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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

‘Protestang Bayan’ vs. oil overpricing launched


Condemning the Big 3’s overpricing of petroleum products and the Aquino government’s collusion with oil companies, thousands gathered in various protest centers in Metro Manila today to call for an immediate P9.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil.

The coordinated local actions are part of the “Protestang Bayan laban sa Overpricing sa Langis at Sabwatang Noynoy-Kartel,” which also saw jeepney drivers launching a protest caravan to the main office of Shell Philippines and holding transport strikes in Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.

The Metro-wide protest gathered hundreds in the following: Sta. Mesa and Anda Circle in Manila; Litex, Philcoa, Cubao and Elliptical Road in Quezon City; Monumento in Caloocan; Marikina; and other areas.

“The Big 3 persists in overpricing oil products and the Aquino government continues to collude with the oil companies. Because we want an immediate relief in the form of an immediate P9.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil products, the Filipino workers and people are left with no choice but to unite and fight,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“It is simply not true that Petron, Shell and Caltex are merely following price movements in the world market. It’s their mother companies who are dictating global oil prices and they are overpricing local petroleum products by P9.00 per liter at the least,” he added.

KMU claims local oil prices have been overpriced by at least P9.00 per liter, accumulated since January 2008. It says whenever there is a price hike in the world market, the Big 3 increases local prices by amounts higher than that dictated by the world market. Whenever there is a price rollback in the world market, the Big 3 reduces prices by amounts lower than that dictated by the world market.

Led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, the protest brought together the following: the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap, Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees, Gabriela, Migrante, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, among other organizations, as well as progressive partylists Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, and Act Teachers.

The protest caravan and transport strikes were led by the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide or PISTON.

“We are calling on the Filipino workers and people to intensify protests against the overpricing of petroleum products in the coming weeks. We have to match the Big 3 and the Aquino government’s determination in robbing us through overpricing with our determination to fight,” Labog said.

“The overpricing of petroleum products has become simply intolerable for those who are receiving meager wages or are jobless in the first place and are directly using petroleum products in the house or in earning a living. We vow to continue the fight in the coming weeks,” he added. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson

IKA-54 TAONG ANIBERSARYO NG SSS, PATULOY SA PAGLILINGKOD SA TAUMBAYAN



Pinangunahan ni Social Security System (SSS) President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. De Quiros Jr. (may hawak ng mikropono) kasama sina (mula kaliwa) AVP for Media Affairs Department Joel P. Palacios, AVP for Records Information Management Division Renato N. Malto, VP for Member Services Division Mario R. Sibucao, EVP Edgar B. Solilapsi at VP for Management Services Division & PO May Catherine Ciriaco sa isang Press Conference na ginanap (Agosto 31, 2011) kaugnay sa ika-54 na taong anibersaryo ng SSS. Nagkaroon ng pag-uulat ng mga nagawa at ginagawa pang serbisyo ng kanilang ahensya para sa taumbayan. Kasama sa tinalakay ang kinita na mahigit 42.72 bilyon piso na kontrobusyon at sinasabing nahigitan pa ang ‘target’ na koleksyon na 1.2 bilyon piso. Larawan ni Robert Gines

HANGGANG KAILAN MAGIGING ISKWATER SA SARILING BAYAN ANG PINOY?




Nakipagtulakan ang mga kalalakihan na ito na pawang mga residente ng San Rafael Old Balara, Quezon City laban sa mga ‘demolition team’ at mga kagawad ng pulis ng salakayain ang kanilang tirahan at pilit na ginigiba ang kanilang mga kabahayan na mahigit isang libo pamilya batay sa kautusan ng korte. Larawan ni Robert Gines

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Three Mindanao watersheds present excellent agriculture potential


For many years, Mindanao has been labeled “The Land of Promise”, because of its vast potentials for agriculture given its vast land and typhoon-free climate.

But the deep-seated conflicts in Mindanao have made it hard for the government and local people to make their lands highly productive. Climate Change also presents new sets of challenges to farming activities in Mindanao.

This is sad considering that Mindanaoans, Muslims and Christians alike, are an industrious lot who can make their island a source of pride when it comes to agriculture production.

Yet many people still see lots of hope for Mindanao, including the public servants of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), which is among the agencies actively involved in the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP).

The BSWM is actively involved in the Mindanao Rural Development Program – Adaptable Program Loan Phase 2 (MRDP2), which is a poverty-alleviation initiative implemented through the Department of Agriculture (DA) jointly funded by the World Bank, National Government, and local government units. The project covers Mindanao's 26 provinces and 225 municipalities.

The objective of the MRDP is to “further improve rural incomes and achieve food security through agri-fishery infrastructure, livelihood enterprise, and biodiversity conservation projects,” according to the project’s website (http://www.damrdp.net/).

The role of the BSWM in the project is to undertake “Soil and Land Resources Evaluation” of various watershed areas in Mindanao, which are essential in increasing or stabilizing agriculture production in the southern island.

“Unless watershed areas are protected, lands planted to agriculture cannot be assured of having enough water supply for crop production. Watershed areas are also important in checking erosion or siltation, which can be damaging to farm lands,” said Mr.Sunny de Guzman of the BSWM.

Among others, the BWSM already finished the evaluation of the watersheds of Linamon in Lanao del Norte, Gigaquit in Surigao del Norte, and Nasipit in Agusan del Norte.

Overexploited

The BSWM’s survey of the Kinabangan Watershed in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte showed that its soil, land and water resources are “over exploited beyond its capacity resulting to low productivity of various farm areas.”

“Evaluating said capacity, adopting appropriate land use and employing farming systems, soil and crop management practices that realize the potential of the land and restore its productivity, are important considerations in long-range planning for the effective development and sustainable use of soil and land resources,” the BSWM’s report said.

The soil and water agency’s survey of the land showed that around 4,250 hectares or 68.53% of its total land area could potentially host agribusiness activities like the planting of high value commercial crops (HVCCs) like fruit trees and vegetables like sweet pepper, pole sitao and ampalaya. Industrial crops could also be planted in the said lands.

“The introduction of agriculture development interventions like proper organic and inorganic balance fertilization, composting and liming will improve sustainable productivity in the long run for the above mentioned crops. The provisions of support services such as construction, improvement and rehabilitation of the farms machinery equipment and post harvest facilities as well as the introduction of improved and modern technology, facilitation of credit and market assistance are all crucial in the attainment of the aforementioned goals that will jive with the development strategy of the watershed,” the BSWM report said.

Low fertility

For the Linamon Watershed in Linamon, Lanao del Norte, the soil and water agency’s evaluation revealed that “soil, land and water resources are optimally utilized and hence, resulting to low productivity of various farm areas.”

“The inherent fertility is generally low, especially in the upland and hilly and due to soil erosion, shallow soil, moderate to steep slope that limit the crop producing sustainable productivity,” the BSWM report further stated.

The DA has identified around 1,824.79 hectares or 88.26% of the lands of the Linamon Watershed as potential sites for HVCC cultivation.

Similar set of findings were also made by the BSWM on the Gigaquit Watershed in Surigao del Norte, particularly, noting the “low productivity of various farm areas.”

Gigaquit boasts of the largest area among the three watershed areas evaluated by the BSWM, since around 15,769 hectares or 67.25 percent of its total land area was found to be potential agribusiness sites for HVCC cultivation.

The BSWM also recommends the same set of interventions for the development of th eLinamon and Gigaquit watershed areas, particularly: proper organic and inorganic balance fertilization, and composting; provision of support services such as construction, improvement and rehabilitation of the farms machinery equipment and post harvest facilities; introduction of improved and modern farming technology; and facilitation of credit and market assistance.

Large potential area

With a total of around 21,843 hectares of lands that could be planted to HVCCs and other crops, the BSWM said that the development of the three watershed areas presents vast development potentials in agriculture for Mindanao.

“The potential employment and livelihood opportunities from the development of the Kinabjangan, Linamon and Gigquit watershed could help Mindanao achieve its potential as the food basket of the Philippines. Likewise, the development of the three watershed areas would greatly help in achieving peace in Mindanao because many still believe that poverty and lack of livelihood are also the causes of conflict in Mindanao,” said Sunny de Guzman, MRDP, focal person.

The soil and water agency’s role in the MRDP underscores the need to take into account the environmental factors in developing farming clusters in the rural or hinterlands of the country. The BSWM thus remains committed to its role in undertaking the MRDP to help realize the Mindanao’s vast agriculture potential. Veron A. Hernandez, Greenfields Magazine & PSciJourn Mega Manila

DENR appeals to LGUs to comply with RA 9003 to avoid repeat of Baguio tragedy


Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje appealed to all local government officials to strictly comply with Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, to avoid a repeat of the collapse of a dumpsite in Baguio City that killed at least five persons.

At the same time, he said he will be meeting soon with Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo to discuss ways on how to enhance LGU compliance with the law.

“I will be meeting with Secretary Robredo regarding this matter of low compliance of LGUs to the Solid Waste Management Act. We really need to come up with a purposive approach of (enhancing) their compliance so as to prevent any more catastrophe such as this trashslide in Baguio City.” Paje said.

In separate interviews with ANC and DZMM, Paje said that as early as 2006, the DENR, through the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) which he chairs, has sent out notice of violations to more than a thousand local government units (LGUs) who have continually been operating open and controlled dumpsites.

Unfortunately, he said, while at the national level, the government is performing, the LGUs are not in compliance. “The DENR’s role is to help LGUs manage their garbage. At the national level, the government is performing, but the LGUs are not complying. Dapat kasuhan na talaga sa Ombudsman,” he stressed.

Since the law holds the LGUs primarily responsible for solid waste management in their areas of jurisdiction, Paje advised the local executives who do not have the capability to construct landfills to form clusters with other neighboring LGUs as this would be more feasible.

The environment chief said, however, that although there is indeed a legal issue with the Baguio tragedy, “now is not the time for finger pointing. The DENR has been working closely with the LGU and the provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) since the tragedy to address the problem, remove the trash and bring it to Capas, retrieve the bodies… We will tackle the legal issue later.”

Paje also committed to extend technical assistance in the construction of the retailing wall of the dumpsite.

Paje stated that the Irisan dump in which collapsed on Saturday (August 27) had been closed since 2008 and that “it has been acting as a materials recovery facility (MRF), a ‘transfer station’ where the LGU would sort recyclable and non-recyclable waste before bringing the latter to the landfill in Capas, Tarlac.”
He added that the tragedy may have been caused by an engineering problem. “Hindi sila naglagay ng daluyan ng tubig… Sa tingin ko, hindi sila naglagay ng labasan dahil the leachate would come out and they would still have to put up a collecting pan. Hindi nakaya ng retaining wall yung bumagsak na tubig (brought about by the heavy downpour caused by typhoon Mina), so ang nangyari, bumigay,” he said.
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He further disclosed that the Irisan site had been identified as an area highly susceptible to landslides in a geohazard map of the province. He thus requested all LGU officials to review the geohazard maps distributed by the DENR to assess which areas are prone to floods and landslides to avoid similar future tragedies. “The maps identify areas of no-habitation zone, plus debris accumulation zones, kung saan ipinapakita na kapag tumibag ang lupa, dun (sa lugar na iyon) itatambak ang lupa,” he said.

The DENR chief reiterated that the problem of solid waste management remains a responsibility of each Filipino citizen, and that the best way to address it was to ensure segregation at source. It is estimated that with every household practicing waste segregation at home, only 30 per cent of waste would actually be dumped in landfills nationwide.

Under the law, the establishment or operation of open dumpsites is punishable with a minimum fine of a Php500,000. LGU officials can also be charged administratively in accordance with RA 7160 or the Local Government Code. Ayda Zoleta, PAS, DENR

FBG presents list of qualified applicants for Academic Excellence Award


The Fraternal Benefits Group of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) presents the list of qualified applicants for the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ award for Academic Excellence, which is conferred to inspire the members of the Knights of Columbus family to excel academically which could serve as an asset in forming a ‘strong Christian society.’

The program was divided into 4 divisions, namely: Elementary Level (Valedictorian of the Graduating class of 2010-2011), High School Level (Valedictorian of the Graduating class of 2010-2011), College Level (Cum Laude and higher of the Graduating class of 2010-2011) and passer of BOARD/BAR examination from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.

To date, there are a total of 69 applicants who qualified for the incentive program; seven from the Elementary Division, six from the High School Division, nine from the College Division and 47 from the BAR/BOARD Passer Division. Each of them will be receiving the Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ’s Award for Academic Excellence Medallion and a Certificate of Recognition. The awarding will take place in their respective councils and will be facilitated by their Area Manager.

The Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ award for Academic Excellence was sponsored by KCFAPI to recognize the members of Knights of Columbus and their immediate families who have excelled in their studies.

Here are the lists of qualified applicants for incentive program: Board/Bar passers: Berbadeth Antalan, teacher; Roda Antalan, Cyndale Glaze and Amarillento Aparente, Registered Nurse; Bryan Ray Arzanan, CPA; Percy Balderia, Medicine; KC Love Cong, CPA; Daniel Espina Corpin, Crimimologist; Edison Pescante Daigdigan, Architect; Francisco de Torres, Jr., Registered Nurse; Sydrick Jose Andrei Deiparine, Lawyer; Ramon Dela Cruz, Laywer; Rose Anne Derramas, Registered Nurse; Ivan Andrew Derramas, Registered Nurse; Jose Ramil Escasinas, Registered Nurse; Rosa Dalya Enriquez, CPA; Gloreline Denolio Florida, Registered Nurse; Mark Louie Francisco, Dentist; Maria Angelica Fernandez, CPA; Dareall Allan Garcia, Engineer; Kharlo Mikhail Gonzales, Med Tech;

Nip Victor Belloga Hipolito, Registered Nurse; Sarah Jane Claudine Jose, Registered Nurse; Catherine Anne Junio, Registered Nurse;Kyle Anthony Laserna, Registered Nurse; Reynaldo Chan Libatique III, Lawyer; Reymund Chan Libatique, CPA; Melanie Libatique, Teacher; Joanna Kay Liberato, Registered Nurse; Jefferson Mari Mariano, Registered Nurse; Michael Jordan Navarro, Registered Nurse; Ryan Jay Orteza Salvador, Registered Nurse; Ma. Krisirene Santilla, Registered Nurse; Jeffrey Medina Santos, Lawyer; Glaiza Gonzales SArmiento, Lawyer; Dee Magaux Villareal Sudario, REgistered Nurse; Diana Mae Villareal Sudario, Registered Nurse; Richard Liston Tabublong, Agriculturist; Anna Victoria Talens, Registered Nurse; Orlando Tenorio, Jr., Lawyer; Vian Karel Tolentino, Registered Nurse; Vladimir John Untalan, Engineer; Jade Sagnip Verdillo, Registered Nurse; and Jeruh Viesca, Registered Nurse.

Recipients of Academic Award in College are: Rona Mae Mangle Baligala, Cum Laude; Carlo Antonio Buado,, Cum Laude; Gerard Angelo Salmorin Cruzado, Cum Laude; Reyman Estrella Dominguez, Cum Laude; Antonette Hallara Palacios, Cum Laude; Mary Luz Sajulga Pelesco, Magna Cum Laude; Rhoda Redulla, Cum Laude; and Ritz Darwin Payoyo Resuello, Magna Cum Laude.

Recipients of Academic Award in Highschool are: Aliana Grace Alipio, Valedictorian; Rommel Rodrigo Ceblano, Valedictorian; Angelica Capito Frias, Valedictorian; Camille Anne Ocumen, Valedictorian; and Dave Sim Servano Saul, Valedictorian.

Recipients of Academic Award in Elementary are: Anthony Rodrigo Ceblano, Valedictorian; Jean Diolas, Valedictorian; Ryan Glenn Fronda, Valedictorian; Kino Gabriel Gumayagay, Valedictorian; Myra Elizabeth Raquino Pascua, Valedictorian; Aldrea Marie Santos, Valedictorian; and Neal Patrick Sumagaysay, Valedictorian. Michael Medina, KCFAPI News

Phl Knights of Columbus marks Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ 34th death anniv


The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines are commemorating the 34th Death Anniversary of Rev. Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J. on September 14, 2011.

It will be highlighted by a Family TV Mass at the San Agustin Church at 9:00 in the morning with Most Rev. Jesse E. Mercado, D.D., Bishop of Parañaque as Main Celebrant to be assisted by KC Priest-scholars and the Augustinian Priests.

The Mass will be aired on September 25, 2011 at IBC Channel 13 from 9:00 to 10:00AM.
A wreath-laying ceremony will follow at the statue of Fr. Willmann located at the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) head office in Intramuros, Manila.

Father Willmann is referred to as the “Fr. McGivney of the Philippines” because, like the venerable founder of the Knights of Columbus, he vigorously pursued the growth of the Order and dynamically worked for the radical transformation of faith into action.

Fr. Willmann spent 44 fruitful and productive years in the Philippines serving young people, the poor, the sick, the orphans, the oppressed, the lonely and the desolate.

Born on June 29, 1897 to very devout Catholic parents in Brooklyn, New York, Fr. Willmann was granted Philippine citizenship by then President Ferdinand Marcos through Presidential Decree No. 740.

Father Willmann established numerous organizations in the country most notable of which is the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) which he, together with a number of dedicated KC members, founded in 1958. Denise Solina, KC News

QC NEEDS BLOOD DONATIONS FROM MALL-GOERS


The Quezon City health department will be extending to the shopping malls the city’s efforts to encourage more blood donations for patients with dengue fever and other high-risk illnesses.

Coordination with the different malls in QC is now being undertaken to set up blood donation booths at three SM malls in QC --- at North Edsa, Cubao and Fairview--- and also at Trinoma and the Ever Gotesco mall at Commonwealth Avenue, according to city health officer Dr. Antonieta Inumerable.

Institutions and hospitals to benefit from the QC expanded bloodletting drive are the Philippine Blood Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Phil. Heart Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, QC General Hospital and the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Proj. 4, which have registered the most number of confinement for dengue cases.

The city health department regularly conducts mass blood donation activities at the QC Hall and district health centers.

On orders of Mayor Herbert Bautista, the QC health department has been continuously conducting a massive anti-dengue information dissemination campaign in an effort to encourage city residents to participate in efforts to control dengue, which is transmitted by the day-biting Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes.

The information campaign underscores the importance of maintaining cleanliness and sanitation in reducing the number of potential breeding grounds for the dengue-carrying mosquitoes, which usually thrives on stagnant water on old tires, roof gutters, refrigerator drainers and indoor plants.

From August 1 to 20, the epidemiology and surveillance unit of the city health department reported about 3,948 dengue cases, with 29 death cases. This year’s cases registered a 125.2% change in the number of cases as compared with the same period last year.

However, despite the increase, Quezon City only managed to register the ninth highest number of dengue cases among Metro Manila’s 17 cities and municipalities, taking into account its population.

Barangays registering the most number of dengue cases are Bagbag, San Bartolome, Commonwealth, Batasan Hills, Gulod, Holy Spirit, Sauyo, Sta. Monica and Novaliches Proper.

To date, the city health department has declared the areas of Bagbag, San Bartolome, Novaliches Proper, in District II, and Barangays Pansol and Matandang Balara, in District III and Barangay Bahay-Toro, in District I, as dengue hotspots.

In addition, larvitraps were also set up in some barangays to alert the public on the index of mosquitoes. Likewise, an ovilarvicidal traps from the Department of Science and Technology were set up in the dengue hotspots to control the density of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Precy/ Ej/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

STATISTICAL REPORT BELIES “CARNAP CAPITAL” TAG ON QC


Quezon City’s tag as carnapping capital may well be a case of mistaken identity, after all.

According to the statistical report of the Highway Patrol Group, Manila registered the most number of wanted vehicles from January 1 to July 31 with 368 as against QC’s 291.

While both cities posted the highest number of carnapping incidents in July, Quezon City’s number was lower than that of Manila with 64 as against the 84 cases registered in Manila.

The report also indicated that other police districts in the National Capital Region, like Pasig and Marikina, also registered a higher number of carnapping incidents.

“This is a vindication on the part of our city police. All along, for the past seven months, QC has to live with this label as if the city police is doing nothing”, said Mayor Herbert Bautista during a meeting with members of the QC peace and order council.

During the meeting, the Mayor assured QC Police District director P/CSupt. George T. Regis of the city government’s continuing support in the peacekeeping efforts of the QCPD, especially in solving carnapping incidents in the city.

To date, Regis said, the QCPD has been continuously reinforcing its patrol operations to prevent bank robbery and carnapping incidents and has strengthened surveillance capabilities and intelligence network on the identified members of carjacking groups and their modus operandi. Precy/ Ej/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

Big 3 carrying on with overpricing modus operandi – KMU


Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned the Big 3 oil companies after industry giants Shell and Caltex implemented a price hike today, saying the Big 3 oil cartel is continuing with its modus operandi in overpricing local petroleum products.

Citing price movements in the world market, Shell and Caltex increased the prices of unleaded gasoline by P0.35 per liter, regular gasoline by P0.50 per liter, and kerosene by P0.15 per liter effective 6:00 am today.

The Department of Energy, in response, said the recent international price movement corresponds to a mere P0.18 per liter increase in price of unleaded gasoline.

“We have seen the Big 3’s modus operandi in overpricing local oil products this August and we are revolted. The Big 3 continues to rob the Filipino workers and people of our hard-earned money through overpricing,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“The price rollback implemented on the third week of August was smaller than what the price movement in the world market dictate. After a price hike on the fourth week of August, another price hike is implemented this week – which is higher than what global price movements dictate,” he added.

The price rollback on the third week of August was preceded by the DOE’s statement that oil companies should rollback per liter prices by not less than P2.00. The Big 3 instead implemented a less than P2.00 price rollback, which legislators say is way below the P5.00 dictated by the world market.

KMU is calling for an immediate P9.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil products, which it says corresponds to the Big 3’s accumulated overpricing per liter since January 2008.


Protestang Bayan Laban sa Overpricing at Sabwatan

KMU called on the Filipino workers and people to participate, in various ways, in the “Protestang Bayan Laban sa Overpricing at Sabwatan ng Kartel at Pamahalaan,” which it will hold tomorrow, August 31.

“We have every right to be outraged. Amidst worsening poverty and hunger, the Aquino government, instead of protecting us from the Big 3, is allowing, even conniving with the oil cartel to exploit us through monopoly pricing and local overpricing,” said Labog.


“Tomorrow’s nationwide protest against overpricing and the collusion between the Aquino government and the oil cartel is a ‘big-time kickoff’ for “big-time protests” in the coming weeks,” he added.

“Hundreds from different sectors will hold noise barrage protests in each of the more than 20 protest centers in Metro Manila tomorrow. Transport workers headed by PISTON will hold a transport caravan to the main office of Shell. Transport strikes will be held in the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions,”said Labog. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson

ZERO LEVEL CORRUPTION’ IN GOV’T POSSIBLE BY 2015 – CASTELO

Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo today described the goal to eradicate completely the widespread corruption in government as possible to achieve in 2015, but said this objective would require the full mobilization of the public and private sectors to develop an anticorruption culture and the deployment of a “critical mass” of supporters to enforce the anticorruption laws.

While describing the current anticorruption campaign as a “sequel” to the 1986 EDSA Revolution and the “centrepiece program” of the Aquino administration, Castelo (Liberal Party, Quezon City) said “a different, albeit special, kind of political will be necessary to drive away from public service the corrupt elements.”

Castelo has proposed a set of initiatives to strengthen the anticorruption campaign. These include:

• increase in the budget of the Office of the Ombudsman to at least one percent of the annual national budget;
• sustained lifestyle check of public officials;
• enactment of a law protecting whistleblowers;
• empowerment of the private sector to go after corrupt public officials,
• development of a mass culture that rejects corruption as a way of life, and
• creation of an “anti-corruption army,” which would involve and represent a critical mass of ordinary citizens, who would run after corrupt public officials.

Castelo said he has based his anticorruption agenda on complete cooperation of the public and private sectors, stressing that it requires the full involvement of the private sector, which includes the Church, civil society, business community, the academe, and even the youth and young professionals, who have bigger stake in the nation’s future.

“What we need now a new social movement that would reject corruption as a way of life and usher a new mass culture that highlights integrity in public service,” Castelo said. “Anything short of a mass movement would lead to failure.”

Castelo defined corruption is the use of power for private gain. It involves public officials, who use their power to extort bribes and private persons, who bribe officials to gain advantage or secure profitable government contracts.

Corruption impedes national development, discourages investments, and negates moves to make the country as globally competitive as possible. It denies the poor the access to public services, as the government loses resources, Castelo added.

While saying that the country has become notorious for being one of the most corrupt nations in Asia, Castelo stressed it has to develop the political will to confront and tackle corruption, but warned it cannot leave the anticorruption agenda to the government alone since “it neither has the wherewithal, the political will, nor new ideas” to handle corruption.

An anticorruption agenda requires the full participation and mobilization of the government, civil society, the Church, business community, and the youth in a social movement against it, Castelo said.

“Their mobilization and participation would be crucial to reduce corruption to zero level by 2015,” he said.

Initially, the budget of the Office of the Ombudsman should be raised because its current budget of 0.7 percent or less of the national budget is insufficient, Castelo said.

“Raising it to at least one percent of the national budget would signal the serious policy shift to combat corruption,” Castelo said. “In contrast, the government loses at least 20 percent of the national budget to corruption.”

Because of its limited budget, the Office of the Ombudsman could hardly build up cases and prosecute them, as shown by its batting average of winning only 7% or less of all lawsuits it has filed in court is hardly satisfying, Castelo said.

The Office of the Ombudsman has hardly run after any other big fish, making corruption a “high yield, but low risk” activity in the country, Castelo said.

“Hence, corruption has become endemic, taking roots in the nation’s social, economic, and political fabric, Castelo said, adding that opinion polls showed that most Filipinos have learned to accept corruption as a way of life.

Castelo also called for a vigorous, sustained, and continuous lifestyle check of public officials, adding that this is easier to pursue because a glaring difference between his lifestyle and his reported statement of assets and liabilities would be enough to establish prima facie evidence of corruption.

The proposed anticorruption agenda calls for enactment of the Whistlebowers’ Protection Law, which elevates to state policy the provision of ample protection to people, who would spill the beans on public officials, who have committed – or about to commit – corrupt activities.

Embedded in government, whistleblowers possess knowledge about corrupt acts; they are in the best position to expose and make them public, Castelo said. “Hence, a whistleblowing policy becomes necessary for the detection and prosecution even of well-hidden anomalous transactions.”
Castelo said that a major reason for the government inability to prosecute corrupt public officials is the continuing failure to protect whistleblowers, who feel that the government would leave them alone when the situation becomes tough.

Castelo’s anticorruption agenda includes the fourth point, which requires the multisectoral involvement – from the nongovernment and people’s organizations that compose civil society, the business community, the Church, the academe, and even from ordinary citizens.
“The imperative is for the private sector to take the lead,” Castelo said, even as he pointed to the fiftth point, which is the development of the anticorruption culture, or the counter-consciousness that stresses the negative effects of corruption.

“The anticorruption agenda should propagate the awareness that corruption is not normal in a developing nation like ours. It has to develop the counterculture that justifies and rewards whistleblowing,” Castelo said.

Also, the fifth point should strive to the creation of an anticorruption army of private citizens, who would readily report and run after corrupt public officials and even private parties, who corrupt public officials. 30

Saturday, August 27, 2011

DENR, Albay gov’t team up for disaster risk reduction

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the provincial government of Albay in Bicol region have teamed up to reduce and manage disaster risks in this calamity-prone province.

In simple ceremonies held recently at the DENR office in Quezon City, Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje and Regional Executive Director for Bicol Joselin Marcus Fragada signed a deed donating a confiscated six-wheeler Fuso truck loaded with lumber materials to the 3rd District of Albay. The donation was accepted by Albay Governor Jose Maria Clemente Salceda and Albay 3rd District Representative Fernando Gonzales.

The cargo, consisting of about 5,000 board feet of Lauan lumber of different dimensions, are to be used in the repair of damaged property caused by tropical storm Juaning, which hit the area in July of this year. The truck would also be used by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) for disaster relief, as well as evacuation of families located in identified hazardous areas.

In the same event, both parties also signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the assessment of landslide and flood hazard risks of 18 municipalities in Albay. The project, entitled “GIS-based Landslide and Vulnerability Assessment of the Province of Albay”, includes the densification of the province’s geohazard map on a scale of 1:10,000 by the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

“The donation, though small in comparison to the magnitude of disasters that face the province, can immediately help in recovery efforts. Meanwhile, the assessment project will be piloted in Albay as a laboratory of disaster preparedness,” said Paje, who also hails from Albay.

The DENR-MGB has completed the geohazard mapping of all municipalities in the country on a 1:50,000 scale. The Albay project, however, which includes the development of flood and landslide hazard models for the province’s most vulnerable areas, will enable the province to plan for disaster risk reduction down to the barangay level.

The project also covers information dissemination on landslide and flood hazards and the installation of warning systems in highly vulnerable areas.

Salceda expressed gratitude for the donation and the MOA, which he said “respects the dignity of persons… and will reduce risks from climate change and geohazards, especially in our province which experiences a cocktail of disasters.”

The governor also said that the maps will be “used for response and reconstruction,” and that to avoid human casualties, “all evacuation sites will be cleared by the MGB.” Ayda Zoleta, PAO-DENR

Friday, August 26, 2011

PDEA OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON THE ACQUITTAL OF BRODETT AND JOSEPH

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) respects the decision of the court.

This is the statement of the Director General of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Undersecretary Jose S Gutierrez Jr. after Judge Juanita Guererro acquitted Richard Brodett and Jorge Joseph this morning for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002.

As the lead anti-drug agency, PDEA is saddened with result of the long legal battle which lead to the acquittal of Brodett and Joseph, however, it acknowledges the finality of the decision of the court.

Gutierrez already instructed the legal service of the Agency to review the transcript of the decision rendered by Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204 for future reference of the Agency. Evangeline DJ Almenario, Chief, Public Information Office, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency

CHILD-FRIENDLY QC JOINS ALLIANCE FOR CHILDREN’S RIGHTS


Children’s rights must be protected to ensure a good future for them.

This is the main thrust of the Quezon City government’s partnership with non-government organizations (NGOs), private organizations and civil society groups led by Miriam College which are advocating for the transformation of every communities into a a better place for children.

QC officials led by Mayor Herbert M. Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte will sign a covenant for the protection of children’s rightrs on Saturday (Aug. 27) at Miriam College campus in Katipunan Avenue in line with QC’s child-friendly policies.

The child-friendly movement in QC is anchored on the concept of the United Nation’s Child-friendly Cities which intends to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The movement is also aimed at creating a better environment where children can live, play and study for their good future.

Among the gifts that the movement is committed to deliver for children are: Local Development Plan for Children (LDPC); Local Investment Plan for Children (LIPC); Local Code on Children; and Local State of Children Report (LCSR).

The movement will tap the strength and resources of families and communities in promoting the well-being of children. Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

SPED CENTER SA BAWAT DISTRITO IMINUNGKAHI SA QC



Dapat magkaroon ng kahit tig-isang Special Education Center (SPED) ang bawat distrito sa Quezon City para sa mga batang may special needs.

Hinikayat ni Konsehala Aly Medalla ng 2nd district ng QC si Mayor Herbert Bautista na maglagay ng mga District SPED centers upang mapangalagaan ang karapatan ng mga children with special needs sa pagkakaroon ng de kalidad na edukayson.

Ayon kay Medalla, ang paglalagay ng SPED centers sa bawat distrito, lalo na sa mga lugar na wala nito ay makakatulong sa mga magulang na makatipid sa gastos sa pagpapaaral ng bata sa special schools.

Kailangan din aniya na maglaan ang pamahalaan ng suporta at tulong sa bawat bata na may special needs.

Ang mga SPED Centers, dagdag ng konsehal, ay magsisilbi ring lugar para madibelop ang abilidad, talento, interes, at lahat ng aspeto sa kanilang paglaki upang maging mas responsable sa kanilang paglaki at maging epektong kabahagi sa pagsusulong ng bansa.

Naniniwala ang konsehala na ang paglalagay ng mga SPED centers ay makapagbibigay ng positibong pananaw sa publiko ukol sa mga batang may disability. Divine/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

DISTRICT SPED CENTERS PROPOSED IN QC


Quezon City should have at least one Special Education Center (SPED) for children with special needs in each district.

Councilor Aly Medalla of the 2nd district of QC has urged Mayor Herbert Bautista to establish District SPED centers to promote the rights of children with special needs to be given quality education.

Medalla said that establishing the SPED centers for each district, most especially in areas with no existing SPED classes, will help lower the costs of sending children to special schools.

She said that there is also a need to provide support and assistance to every child with special needs.

SPED Centers, the councilor added, could serve as venues to ensure that children with special needs will fully develop their abilities, talents, interests, and all aspects of their development so they can become more responsible for their lives and more effective partners in all the affairs and concerns of the country.

She believed that establishing SPED centers will also create awareness and positive attitude effect towards disability. Divine/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

QC TEAM WINS INTER-AGENCY BASKETBALL FINALS



Quezon City Hall ruled the 2nd Philippine Heart Center Director’s Cup by beating the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), 96 – 72, in the finals of an inter-agency basketball tournament held recently at the Quezon Memorial Circle covered court.

The QC team was powered by a selection of basketball standouts from the QC Hall Employees Athletic Association (QCHEAA) to defeat the visiting NTC dribblers in the one-game championship match.

The 14-man QC basketball team was only leading by a point at the half before stepping the gas pedal in the third and fourth quarters as QC was able to break the NTC line of defense.

“Defense was the key,” said team manager and QCHEAA chairman Ramon Matabang, the QC civil registry chief.

The QC team, coached by Architect Pedro “Sonny” Rodriguez, is composed of Rodel Torres, Mark Amper (mythical five), Manny de Leon, Tommy Caballero; Bong Rasos, Ochnelle Lacambra, Henry Bawag (most valuable player), RJ Sibayan, Bobby Navarette, Jessie Tariga, Melchor Bumagat, Ryan De Mesa, Michael Cordero and Marvin Tejada.

Organized by the Phil. Heart Center Employees Association – Alliance of Health Workers, the tournament was also participated in by basketball teams fielded by PHC, Social Security System (SSS), National Grid Corporation and Transmission Commission. Precy/ Ej/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

QC GAINS SUPPORT IN BID TO TRANSFER TANDANG SORA’S REMAINS TO SHRINE


Exhumation of the remains of the Grand Old Lady of the Katipunan, Melchora Aquino, from Himlayang Pilipino for transfer to the Tandang Sora Shrine now have a good chance of gaining congressional approval after the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) backed up Quezon City’s claims to have the remains transferred to the heroine’s birth place at Banlat Road in Tandang Sora.

The non-inclusion of Himlayang Pilipino in the list of NHCP’s national historical shrines and the failure of the memorial park’s administration to provide the city government with valid documents supporting claims that Tandang Sora should remain buried at Himlayang Pilipino, have bolstered QC’s interest to pursue the transfer of the heroine’s remains, which has long been requested by her family.

Tandang Sora’s remains were transferred to Himlayang Pilipino in 1970.

“QC is not giving up its claims to exhume Tandang Sora’s remains. Nothing will be more timely and fitting than to have her rightfully buried in her original birthplace during the commemoration of her bicentennial year on January 6, 2012,” said Mayor Herbert Bautista during a meeting with members of the QC Task Force Tandang Sora.

According to Architect Veronica Dado, chief of NHCP’s historical sites and education division, only an act of Congress would force the transfer of Tandang Sora’s remains.

To date, plans are now underway for the historical and economic development of the Tandang Sora area in Quezon City.

On orders of the Mayor, a task force was formed to oversee the development of historical and economic activities in the area, especially the expansion of the Tandang Sora Shrine, which was restored by the city government in 2005 as a fitting tribute to Tandang Sora.

The Mayor has named Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte as task force chair.

Development plans shall include the establishment of a museum dedicated to preserve the ideals and good deeds of Tandang Sora, particularly her quest for women empowerment.

The Mayor is eyeing the purchase of properties located beside and behind the shrine for the proposed construction of the Tandang Sora museum.

Mayor Bautista was optimistic that the museum will have its groundbreaking in time for the commemoration of the 200th birth anniversary of Tandang Sora next year.

According to the mayor, part of the expansion program for the shrine will also include the clearing of sidewalks along the Tandang Sora area against all forms of illegal structures. The Mayor has already instructed concerned city government officials to conduct a series of dialogues with establishment owners in the area on the city’s plan to recover the sidewalks along Tandang Sora leading to Visayas Avenue. Precy/ Ramir/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

DA lowers farmers’ equity to avail of farm machines, equipment

To enable more farmers’ cooperatives and irrigators’ associations (IAs) avail of farm machines and equipment, the Department of Agriculture recently approved a more affordable scheme by reducing their counterpart or equity to only 15 percent (%), from the previous 30%.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said with the scheme the Aquino government is making modern farm equipment within easy reach of farmers nationwide.

He said the DA will shoulder 85% of the cost under its farm mechanization and postharvest program. This year, the DA has earmarked P1.8 billion for the purpose under its national rice program, and proposes to increase it further to P3 billion next year.

Secretary Alcala made the announcement during an agricultural farm machinery and equipment roadshow, dubbed as “AgriMach 2011” in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, August 23, 2011. More than 1,100 farmers, local officials, and farm machinery manufacturers, distributors and dealers attended the two-day roadshow and exhibit.

The DA through its regional field units (RFUs) will screen IAs and farmers’ cooperatives who wish to avail of agricultural machinery and equipment. Deserving recipients will be chosen based on a set of criteria.

Qualified farmers’ groups can choose from a range of agricultural machinery and equipment that include four-wheel tractors, rice combine harvesters, hand tractors, drum seeders, threshers, reapers, rice seed cleaners, flatbed dryers, solar dryers, and moisture meters.

Secretary Alcala said the Aquino government is serious in its efforts to implement a farm mechanization and postharvest initiative, as it will also contribute to attaining self-sufficiency in rice and major staples.

With the lowering of the farmers’ equity to 15%, Secretary Alcala hopes to encourage farm machinery manufacturers and distributors to follow suit by offering easy availment terms and financing schemes to farmers’ groups and IAs.

He said the DA farm mechanization and postharvest program aims to address the declining and ageing farm labor force, and to encourage more Filipino youths to pursue agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the DA will make AgriMach an annual affair to encourage farmers mechanize their operations — from land preparation, production, harvesting, processing to marketing — to increase their productivity and incomes.

Pursuing agricultural mechanization will also address the declining and ageing labor force in the agriculture and fishery sector. Another related strategy the DA is pursuing is encouraging more Filipino youth to pursue agriculture, fishery and other related courses by granting them scholarships.

The farm machinery roadshow—with the theme “Aangat ang ani at kita sa paggamit ng tamang makinarya”—will also be held in Iloilo for the Visayas cluster, on September 22-23, and in General Santos City for the Mindanao leg, on September 28-29, 2011.

It is jointly spearheaded by the DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), DA rice, corn, and high value crops program directorates, and the host DA RFUs in partnership with the Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association Inc. (AMMDA) together with independent farm machinery and equipment manufacturers and dealers. Adam Borja, DA Information Service

QC HALL DONATES BEDS TO HELP HOSPITAL WITH DENGUE CASES


The Quezon City government, on orders of Mayor Herbert Bautista, has turned over 79 folding beds to the Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC) in Proj. 4 to help it accommodate more patients, especially those who have contracted dengue fever.

Aside from the new beds, QC also provided additional electric fans to provide comfort to the patients, some of whom were already occupying the hospital hallways.

QMMC medical director Angeles de Leon personally received the donation from officials of the QC health department, which was represented during the occasion by Dr. Mary Rochel Paulino, Medical Specialist I.

Receiving the bulk of the QC donation is QMMC’s pediatric ward.

From August 1 to 15, QMMCs department of pediatrics reported an admission of 74 dengue cases from Quezon City.

Barangay Old Balara accounts for the most number of admissions, said Dr. Bella Vitangcol, chair of QMMC’s pediatrics department.

To date, the city health department, headed by Dr. Antonieta Inumerable, has been taking all the necessary precautionary measures to avert possible dengue outbreaks in the city.

The measures include a continuing information dissemination campaign to raise the level of awareness of city residents in curbing the spread of the dreaded disease.

The department also launched an emergency mosquito control program by distributing larvae traps to schools and by targeting adult mosquitoes during supervised and space spraying activities.

Meanwhile, the Mayor has mobilized barangay officials to assist city health workers in the information drive, which underscores the importance of maintaining cleanliness in reducing the number of potential breeding grounds of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

As of August 20 this year, the city health department reported about 3,948 dengue cases from January to August, which was 125.2 % higher than the 1,753 cases reported during the same period last year. To date, the disease has already claimed 29 lives, mostly from urban poor communities in District II.

Barangay Bagbag registered the most number of dengue cases with 227 and one death.

Barangay Batasan Hills registered the most number of deaths with four, and Barangay Commonwealth had three deaths. Precy/ Jonah/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Manila has one of lowest purchasing power in the world Global study shows wage hike, price controls urgent


“This recent global research merely confirms what our stomachs have been saying all along: that a significant wage hike and price controls are most urgent.”

This was the labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s reaction to a UBS Prices and Earnings Report released last week which reveals that while Manila has one of the cheapest cost of living in the world, it also has the smallest wage levels and purchasing power.

The UBS August 2011 research ranked 73 countries in terms of price levels, wage levels, and domestic purchasing power and showed that Manila has the second lowest price levels, second lowest wage levels, and third lowest purchasing power.

“Widespread poverty and hunger and intense labor migration are just some of the concrete phenomena that the recent UBS research sheds light on. All of these confirm the Filipino workers’ and people’s need for an immediate relief in the form of a significant wage hike and controls on prices of basic goods and services, especially oil,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“Having one of the world’s lowest purchasing power is a result of years of denying workers a substantial wage hike and of allowing the prices of basic goods and services to go up unabated, which the Aquino government continues to do. As the Aquino government speaks for big capitalists in pressing down workers’ wages, it allows the oil cartel for example to amass huge profits through overpricing,” he added.


Family Living Wage


KMU, citing the independent research group Ibon Foundation, said the gap between the minimum wage and the family living wage (FLW) has significantly widened over the years.

“The real value of wages continues to plummet as prices of oil, basic goods and services continue to soar,” said Labog.

The daily minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR) of P404 is just 2/5 of the estimated average FLW of P988 in the region as of March 2011. It has dropped to 41% of the amount needed for decent living in 2011 from 52% in 2001.


Bankrupt economic model


KMU said the UBS research shows the bankruptcy of the “development” model being pursued by the government.

“Having one of the world’s smallest purchasing power is also a result of the government’s eagerness, one of the worst in the world, in adhering to the pro-market policy of pressing down wages to attract investors because the government has tied its hands from providing employment,” Labog said.

“The UBS research presents the true picture of ‘development’ under the Aquino regime – big foreign and local businesses thrive as workers and the people who create wealth sink deeper into proverty. We have every right to be outraged at a government that does not serve the interests of the workers and people but of profit-hungry big capitalists,” he added. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson

Manggagawa at Mamamayan: Lumahok sa Agosto 31, Araw ng Paglaban sa Sabwatan ng Kartel sa Langis at Pamahalaan!


Mga kababayan: Grabe nang paghuthot at pagpapahirap ang ginagawa sa atin ng monopolyo sa langis. Napakataas na nga ng presyo ng langis, tuluy-tuloy pa itong tumataas, at may overpricing pa na P9.00 kada litro.

Ang laging sabi ng Petron, Shell at Caltex, gayundin ng gobyerno ni Noynoy Aquino, sinusundan lang daw nila ang paggalaw ng presyo sa pandaigdigang pamilihan. Huwag tayong maniwala sa panggagantso nila sa atin.

Ang monopolyo ng mga kumpanya ng langis ang nagtatakda at nagpapalobo ng presyo ng produkto sa pandaigdigang pamilihan. Sila rin ang nagtatakda ng presyo ng langis sa bansa, kaya nagagawa nilang mag-overpricing.

Kumita na nga sila sa galaw ng presyo ng langis sa mundo, kumikita pa sila sa P9.00 tongpats nila sa presyo sa ating bansa. Kapag tumaas ang presyo sa mundo, mas mataas ang itinataas nila. Kapag naman bumaba, mas mababa.

Kaya naman patuloy ang paglobo ng tubo nila. Nitong huli lang, nabalita ang mahigit 100% paglago ng tubo nitong Enero hanggang Hunyo ng Petron, na ang kalakhan ay pag-aari na ni Danding Cojuangco, tiyuhin ng pangulo.

Pinapatindi ng kartel sa langis ang paghihirap natin. Lalong lumiliit ang halaga ng napakaliit nating sahod sa harap ng nagtataasang presyo. Nitong huli lang, nabalita na isa sa pinakamababa sa mundo ang sahod sa Pilipinas.

Kasabwat ang gobyernong Aquino sa overpricing. Matagal na itong idinadaing ng iba’t ibang grupo, pero walang kibo si Noynoy. Lumalaki rin kasi ang koleksyon sa 12% Expanded Value-Added Tax sa paglobo ng presyo ng langis.

Gusto natin ng kagyat na ginhawa sa mataas at nagtataasang presyo ng langis. Dapat lang na iutos ng gobyerno sa kagyat ang P9.00 rollback sa kada litrong presyo ng langis. Pero hindi ito gagawin ng gobyernong Aquino nang kusa.

Kaya tinatawagan natin ang lahat: Labanan natin ang overpricing sa langis! Labanan natin ang sabwatan ng gobyernong Aquino at ng kartel sa langis! Kumilos tayo sa Agosto 31, Araw ng Paglaban sa Sabwatan ng Kartel at Pamahalaan!

Lumahok tayo sa Pambansang Araw ng Paglaban sa Sabwatan ng Kartel sa Langis at Pamahalaan. Lumahok tayo sa mga martsa at asembliya sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa. Mag-ingay tayo. Isigaw natin ang ating mga panawagan. Kalampagin natin ang abusadong kartel at manhid na pamahalaan. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson

KMU, other groups announce Aug. 31 protest vs. oil overpricing


Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, together with the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston), Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and Anakpawis Partylist announced today that they will be holding a nationwide protest on August 31 to condemn the overpricing in local petroleum products and the Aquino government’s collusion with the Big 3 oil cartel.

They said the protest, dubbed “Araw ng Paglaban sa Sabwatan ng Kartel sa Langis at Pamahalaan,” is a “big-time kickoff” for “big-time protests” in the coming weeks. It will feature marches, assemblies and noise barrages in various parts of Metro Manila and the country.

“We are calling on the Filipino workers and people to translate their discontent into dissent, their anger into action against the overpricing of petroleum products and the Aquino government’s connivance with the Big 3 on August 31,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“Because we know that the Aquino government will not by itself give the Filipino workers and people an immediate relief from the soaring prices of petroleum products, we are calling on everyone to join the protests and press for a P9.00 per liter rollback immediately,” he added.


Just the start

KMU said the August 31 protests will just be the kick-off of a bigger protest in the weeks ahead.

“Our August 31 protest is just a kick-off which we hope will jumpstart an even bigger protest in the coming days, one which will draw in the participation of more workers, poor people and transport workers,” Labog said.

“Given the intensifying speculation in oil prices worldwide, the oil monopoly’s rapacity for profits, and the Aquino regime’s collusion with the oil cartel, we know that our fight for an immediate relief on the issue of oil will be a protracted one,” he added.

“We are also calling for the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law, which has allowed oil companies to manipulate prices to serve their greed for profits. We simply cannot trust profit-greedy corporations to control the pricing of a commodity as important as oil,” he said. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson

2 ALABANG BOYS FACE JUDGEMENT TOMORROW


Almost three years after the Alabang Boys were arrested by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on September 20, 2008, Richard Brodett and Jorge Joseph will finally face judgment tomorrow, August 26, 2011.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Jose S. Gutierrez Jr said that the guilty verdict expected by the Agency to be handed down in tomorrow’s promulgation shall be considered a legal triumph for the national anti-drug campaign.

In 2008, the Alabang Boys, Brodett, Joseph, and Joseph Tecson, collectively known as the Alabang Boys were arrested by PDEA for selling ecstasy tablets, cocaine and marijuana. The case against the suspects became the center of controversy when their families allegedly used money and influence to keep their “boys” out of jail. Gutierrez is now concerned that the same money and influence will be used to gain favor in court.

“The promulgation of the Alabang Boys’ case tomorrow not only decides the fate of two Alabang Boys. It also puts to test our very own justice system,” Gutierrez said, hoping that the result of the long legal battle between PDEA and the Alabang Boys will be a testimony that justice cannot be bought. Evangeline DJ Almenario, Chief, Public Information Office, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency

Agri Credit Summit Tackles Rural Financing Issues

A strategic action plan to increase access to credit in the agricultural sector, particularly among small farmers and fishers, was the centerpiece of deliberations during the Agricultural and Fisheries Credit Summit (AFCS) 2011 held last August 18 at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel in Manila.

The gathering of representatives of lenders and borrowers, as well as policy makers in the agricultural sector was spearheaded by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) and the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFM). Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and COCAFM Chairman Senator Francis N. Pangilinan headed the list of speakers and discussants all renowned for their significant contributions to rural financing and agricultural development.

Deploring the huge credit gap, Secretary Alcala welcomed the Credit Summit as an opportunity for rural finance and development stakeholders from government and the private sector to come up with a more efficient credit system that will help farmers and fisherfolk increase their productivity towards the nation’s food self-sufficiency.

Senator Francis Pangilinan warned of the imminent decline of local agriculture as it fails to inspire the youth to take up farming as a profession. He welcomed the holding of the credit summit as part of the continuing efforts of both the legislative and executive branches of government to ensure the viability and sustainability of agriculture.

Other special guests who delivered their messages were: DA Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat who opened the summit with her welcome remarks, Department of Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Jerry E. Pacturan, Secretary Mary Ann Lucille L. Sering of the Climate Change Commission, COCAFM member and Butil Party List Representative Agapito Guanlao, and COCAFM Executive Director Jocelyn R. Badiola who gave the closing remarks.

Presented by ACPC Executive Director Jovita M. Corpuz, the strategic action plan recommended six major strategies: 1) Strengthen the AFMA-mandated AMCFP and Land Bank lending to small farm and fishing (SFF) households; 2) Reduce cost of lending and provide incentives for private banks to increase lending to agriculture and fisheries sector; 3) Strengthen credit guarantee and agricultural insurance programs; 4) Build up small farmers and fishers database; 5) Intensify information dissemination and strengthen monitoring and evaluation; and, 6) Expand programs that build the capacity of small farmers’ and fishers’ cooperatives or other organizations to manage credit funds.

A set of discussants composed of former University of the Philippines President Dr. Emil Javier of the National Academy of Science and Technology, 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Dr. Aris Alip of CARD Bank, former Agriculture Secretary Senen Bacani, National Credit Council Deputy Executive Director Joselito Almario and Raul Montemayor of the Federation of Free Farmers’ Cooperatives, Inc. presented their critiques on the strategic action plan. Dr. Javier suggested lowering interest rates by bringing down the cost of money. He also urged ACPC to strengthen the cooperatives by assuming the role of the former Bureau of Agricultural Cooperatives. Dr. Alip proposed that AGFP guarantee private bank loans, not government lending funds. He also called for the strengthening of the mutual benefit associations which have developed cheaper and more viable insurance systems. Mr. Bacani suggested tapping an institution like Land Bank to ensure the successful implementation of the plan. But he also advised that Land Bank should refocus on its original mandate, which is to lend primarily to small farmers and fisherfolk.

PIDS Senior Fellow and also former ACPC Executive Director Dr. Gilbert Llanto facilitated the open forum, where the participants further threshed out their issues.

Forum panelists who responded to their queries included DA Sec. Alcala, DA Usec. Puyat, ACPC ED Jovita Corpuz, Dr. Rolando T. Dy of the University of Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Isabelita Pabuayon of the Institute of Cooperatives and Bio-Enterprise Development, University of the Philippines Los Banos , Dr. Marife Ballesteros of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) and Dr. Meliza Agabin of the Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) who is also former Executive Director of the Technical Board for Agricultural Credit (TBAC), the forerunner of the ACPC.

The AFCS was attended by a good mixture of participants cutting across the spectrum of political persuasions in both the supply and demand, as well as policy making sides of the agricultural credit equation.

Aside from DA Sec. Alcala and Usec Puyat, also present were the other members of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Department of Finance Undersecretary Jeremias N. Paul, Jr. Department of Budget and Management Director Estrellita Bangsal and Dominador Gomez of the National Economic Development Authority. Heads of the line agencies, attached agencies, bureaus and regional offices of the Department of Agriculture as well as the officers and staff of COCAFM came in full force. NFA Administrator Angelito T. Banayo also lent his presence.

Among those who actively participated were the representatives of farmer and fisher organizations such as Ernesto Ordonez of Alyansa Agricultura, Felix Borja of the Cooperative of the Philippines, Danilo Fausto of the Dairy Confederation of the Philippines, Joey Faustino of the Coconut Industry Reform Movement, Rolando Danila of the Banana Industry Council of Southern Mindanao, Jaime Tadeo of the Rice Farmer Council, Arsenio Tanchuling of Tambuyog Development Center, Edgardo Codilla of the Association of Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Councils , Ofticiano Manalo of the Irrigators Association (North Luzon), Roger Navarro of Philippine Maize Federation, Romeo Royandoyan of Centro Saka, Angelito Dasmarinas of the Iloilo Federation of Livestock, Arlene dela Vega of Bolinao Fishpen and Caretakers’ Association and Ardan Copas of the La Trinidad Upland Vegetable Farmers.

Also present were the representatives from the banks and other financing institutions led by BANGKOOP Chairman Rufino Fernandez and President Nancy Marquez, Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines Executive Director Vicente Mendoza, Development Bank of the Philippines Assistant Vice Presidents Leopoldo Resmundo and Romeo Carandang, Land Bank of the Philippines First Vice Presidents Liduvino Geron and Leticia Villa, Planters Development Bank Vice Presidents Neliza Onate and Bernadette Sevilla, United Coconut Planters’ Bank Vice President Ramon Fernandez, Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) President Jovy Bernabe, Quedancor President and CEO Federico Espiritu, Bank of the Philippine Islands Assistant Vice President Perlina Padilla, People’s Credit and Finance Corporation President Edgardo V. Generoso, and National Livelihood Development Corporation Executive Director Gondelina G. Amata.

Sec. Alcala instructed the ACPC to come up with the revised strategic plan within a month based on agreements during the summit. Virgilio Crisostomo, ACPC Information Division

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

KC continues fight against RH Bill


In reaction to a recent survey that showed respondents favoring the use of artificial birth control methods, a Knight of Columbus official said it remains a big challenge for the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines (K of C) to keep on fighting against the House Bill No. 5043 or popularly known as Reproductive Health Bill.

“As Catholics, we must follow what the Church says ― natural methods such as rhythm method or plain abstinence. I agree it is a personal method. The difference lies in the range of options or alternatives to choose from.”

This was the statement given by Fr. George J. Willmann Charities Executive Director Roberto “Bobby” Cruz, in reaction on the recent SWS survey, which found out that a little over half of adults believed that the use of pills, condoms, and intra-uterine devices (IUD) cannot be considered as abortion.

Cruz stressed those who want information on legal methods need not totally represent those who intend to use artificial methods. And wanting information on government legal methods can be used to know what Filipino should not do and what they are fighting against.

Cruz added this information can be used as a means to convince non-believers to follow the Church's teachings by empowering their campaign on the cause and effect of the RH Bill; to educate the next generations to be socially responsible leaders; and to evangelize fellow Filipinos that the Catholic faith is what they believe in and not what they simply have known.

The Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc., the foundation arm of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines (KCFAPI) strongly supports and cooperate all the fraternal, charitable, religious, patriotic and civic enterprises of the organization.

The Knights of Columbus has been at the forefront in the fight against measures that threaten the sanctity of life and family.

The K of C believes that using oral contraceptives (pills) may cause breast cancer. Pills are type 1 carcinogen like arsenic, a chemical element occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals; and asbestos a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant.
Likewise, the K of C condemns the IUD, a small contraceptive device that is placed in the woman's uterus, which may cause infections and smite.

The organization stands for responsible parenthood, which means Caring, Not Killing. It is the responsibility of the state and of the parents to care for the children… not to eliminate them.

Pro Life Advocacy

The issue on the RH bill has divided the country’s predominantly Catholic population and pitted the Catholic Church against the government that is pushing for its legislation.

Philippines is approximately 85 percent Christian and mostly Roman Catholic, 10 percent Muslim, and 5 percent 'other' religions.

During the 129th Knights of Columbus Convention held recently in Denver, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar cited the presence of the Knights of Columbus in the country’s dioceses as a big boost in the Catholic Church’s pro-life advocacy.

In the country’s 85 ecclesiastical territories the over 260,000 member knights are active in their pro-life advocacies and promotion of the parish’s pastoral programs.

Luzon State Deputy Arsenio Isidro Yap plans to conduct symposiums, exhibits, and seminars that would enlighten the people on the value of life and the horrors of abortion.
Yap mentioned that each council of the Luzon Jurisdiction will be having its “Monument to the Unborn” to serve as a reminder that abortion is not only “a sin but a crime against life.”

As cited in the Philippine Constitution Article II, Section 12 -the State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. Yen Ocampo


Workers launch community protests vs. oil overpricing


Workers and urban poor lauched community protests today in Manila, Pasig and Marikina to condemn the Big 3’s overpricing of petroleum products, demanding that the Aquino government order a P9.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil.

Led by the Kilusang Mayo Uno, the workers and urban poor held local marches, programs and noise barrage in Delpan and Anda Circle in Manila, San Joaquin in Pasig and at a venue near the Marikina Sports Complex.

They carried placards calling on the people to fight the overpricing of petroleum products and the Aquino government’s collusion with the oil cartel, as well as the demand for a P9.00 rollback in oil prices.

“Workers and the poor have had enough of the Big 3’s overpricing of petroleum products in the local oil market. We were further enraged by the meager less than P2.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil last week, which was followed by a more than P1.00 increase this week,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“Workers and the poor were further enraged by news that Petron, which earned the highest profits among corporations last year, further boosted its earnings by more than 100% from January to June this year. We are revolted by the fact that the big oil companies continue to amass huge profits by sucking poor people dry through overpricing and other schemes while we suffer from low wages and high prices,” he added.


More to follow

KMU said more community protests will follow in the coming days in Quezon City, Pasay and Makati.

“We will not stop protesting until we get an immediate relief from the soaring prices of oil and of other commodities significantly brought about by oil price hikes. The Aquino government is playing deaf to our calls right now but we will force it to listen with our local and national protests in the coming days,” Labog said.

“Our local unions, community organizations and chapters of transport groups are clamoring for bigger protests in the coming days. We know that without such protests, the Big 3 will go on overpricing their products and hiking prices at will, and that the Aquino government will continue conniving with the Big 3 in the latter’s profiteering schemes,” he added. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson

PDEA EXPECTS CONVICTION OF ALABANG BOYS


The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) expects the court to rule in favor of the government and order the conviction of the two Alabang Boys for violation of Republic Act 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, during the scheduled promulgation of the controversial case on Friday, August 26, 2011.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Jose S. Gutierrez, Jr. said that the case against Richard S. Brodett and Jorge J. Joseph, are supported by concrete and air-tight evidence enough to prove them guilty in court. Brodett and Joseph were arrested by elements of the PDEA Special Enforcement Service (SES) in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa on September 20, 2008 after consecutive buy-bust operations. On the same date, Joseph Tecson, who completed the trio, was arrested in a follow-up operation conducted in Quezon City. The suspects collectively yielded 60 tablets of ecstasy, cocaine and marijuana.

The Alabang Boys are all members of prominent families. It will be recalled that the case of the Alabang Boys’, Brodett, Joseph together with another cohort, Joseph Tecson, stirred up controversies after the families of the accused allegedly used influence and money in an effort to have the suspects released before Christmas of 2008. There were also reports of attempts to bribe PDEA operatives.

The Department of Justice, from state prosecutors to the top officials, were questioned for apparent lapses and improprieties in handling the case. The resolution to release the Alabang Boys was issued by Prosecutor John Resado. Then Senior State Prosecutor Philip Kimpo recommended for its approval and was approved by then Chief State Prosecutor Jovencio Zuno.

The case of the Alabang Boys paved the way for the issuance of Administrative Order 253 in January 2009, directing the automatic review by the Office of the President on all decisions and resolutions involving the dismissal of drug cases. Congress and Senate hearings were likewise held “in aid of legislation”.

The case against Brodett and Joseph was tried in Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204, while the case against Tecson is separately being tried in Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 227.

Gutierrez revealed words are going around that efforts are being exerted by the family of the Alabang Boys to influence the decision of the court. However, Gutierrez is counting that the presiding judge, Hon. Juanita T. Guerrero of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204, will decide on the merits of the case and consider the incriminating evidence presented against Brodett and Joseph.

“The PDEA is counting on a guilty verdict for Brodett and Joseph on Friday,” Gutierrez said. Evangeline DJ Almenario, Chief, Public Information Office, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency

Pilot production of organic pigs by 10 farmer-cooperators to build up lechon as a distinct Filipino dish

A pilot production of organic pigs by 10 farmer-cooperators in Southern Luzon will build up marketing of ‘lechon’ as a distinct Filipino dish, preserve indigenous pig species, and give livelihood to farflung areas.

The breeding and production of native pigs by 10 initial farmer-cooperators in Southern Luzon will bolster the Philippines’ unique culture of serving lechon in special occasions.

It can consequently carve a niche for the Philippines that can make lechon, a roasted pig deemed as a delicacy, internationally-renowned, according to Dr. Nicomedes P. Eleazar, executive director of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) which funds the program.

The “Conservation, Evaluation and Commercialization of the Philippine Native Pigs” covers three provinces-- Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon. But the 10 initial farmer-cooperators are found in Quezon and Laguna.

The program uses an organic material from pigs endemic to the country. It has started propping up hog production of some countryside farmers, according to Dr. Rene C. Santiago, National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (NSPRDC) chief.

“Upon seeing the advantage of raising pigs which gives big savings in the cost of feeds and materials for housing, farmers who are growing commercial hogs have started adding native pigs to their herd,” Santiago said.

Government will also promote the use of native pigs in commercial farms as a product differentiation strategy that has a market among organic and health buffs.

The organic pigs, while carrying lower feed costs, command a higher price in the market owing to its healthful, organic nature and quality meat. Compared to the farm gate price of only P95 per kilo of live weight for commercial hogs, organic pigs are priced P100 to P180 per kilo.

Even native pigs’ heads can have a high average price of P100 per kilo at farm gate since bulk buying can average P1,000 for 10 kilos.

The Philippines has a one-of-a-kind opportunity to market native pigs for lechon.

“The United States has turkey for Thanksgiving. The Chinese have the Peking Duck, and we have lechon that without it, your feast is not complete. Genetically, our native pig is suitable for lechon which is why we see a lot of economic potential in it,” said Santiago.

The government is also encouraging production of native pigs not only to have a continuous supply of native pigs to local market but also to aid in cutting pork import which reduces employment opportunities for farmers. Pork import reached to 172,626 metric tons (MT) in 2010, up by 54 percent from 114,365 MT in 2009.

Native pigs can be organically grown—raised without the use of antibiotics and using naturally-available feeds— since they are highly-adaptable to the environment. They can tolerate heat and cold better than imports. Their small size—30 to 50 kilos for mature weight— and a 10 to 30 kgs of grower stocks makes them ideal for lechon. The alternating layers of fat and meat in native pigs make for its delicious taste, said Santiago.

A type of feed developed by NSPRDC costs only P11.40 per kilo, just about 50 percent of the cost of commercial feeds at P20 to P22 per kilo. This consists of corn, rice bran, copra meal, molasses, salt, and limestone.

Without this BAR-NSPRDC breeding project, Philippine native pigs—known for their black, black spotted, or black with white belly color, are feared to soon become extinct.

“BAR has initiated funding this project because we need continuous R&D (research and development) so we won’t lose our native breeds,” said Eleazar.

There are herbs used as medicine for native hogs.

These are chili for treating respiratory problems and as appetite stimulant and dewormer; oregano for diarrhea and anticoccidial; black pepper against fowl pox; antibacterial ginger and onion; anti-diarrheal guava leaves, star apple, and banana; and dewormer ipil-ipil, beetle nut, and kakawate.

Government aims to train farmers on how to select superior breeds to be used for reproduction of better offspring. Among the preferred traits are good litter size of eight piglets and up, fast growth rate, thick body, strong legs, at least five to six pairs of teat, and good mothering ability.

NSPRDC has already come up with a standard feeding practice. This is 1-1.5 kilos of low-cost breeder mash per day with ad-libitum (at one’s pleasure) feeding of other feeds source such as from forages, kitchen left over, and root crops. For suckling piglets, feed is hog starter mash from one to six weeks old while for weaner grower, its feed is 0.5 to one kilo of low cost grower mash with ad-libitum feeding of other feeds.

Farmers can opt to feed the animals with indigenously grown crops. Among these are the rootcrop Gabing San Fernando and Madre de Agua which is easy to propagate and has high protein and calcium content while also palatable to pigs.

NSPRDC also trains farmers on maintaining a healthy herd. This is through quarantine of an animal for one month upon arrival in the farm so that it can be checked up for any disease, keeping animals from stress, and preventive medicine and good nutrition and housing.

The pigs may also be vaccinated for hog cholera at 45 days old and every six months. However, NSPRDC stressed farmers should not claim their animals organically grown when treated with antibiotics.

Aside from lechon, native pigs are ideally used for other Filipino specialties like longanisa, etag, and bagnet.

“I think our original longaniza came from native pigs because the delicious longaniza has a good amount of fat,” said Santiago.

With government support, there are already emerging small and medium enterprises that are going into commercial native pig production. Among them is Mr. Elmer Rivero of Nasugbo, Batangas.

Under the training program, each farmer was provided with a set of five female and one male native pig as breeder stocks. BAR gave a grant of P10,000 for a one-time housing and P1,000 worth of feeds for each farmer.

Recommended housing materials are available in rural areas including coconut coir dust, saw dust, and rice hull for beddings; nipa, cogon, and anahaw for roofing; and bamboo, and coconut husks for walling; and hog wire and coconut husks for range fences.

“The good thing about using rice hull, saw dust, coir dust, and other biodegradable materials for bedding is you have a beddings that after 1 to 2 years of using you have organic fertilizer for plants and replace it with new one. This kind of bedding type pig pen use no water to bath the animals. And these do not emit four air,” Santiago said.

To demonstrate housing for organic pigs, NSPRDC constructed its own housing model for native pigs using steel, concrete, and other locally-available materials including coconut husk, bamboo, nipa, coconut lumber, and rice straw.

The farmer-cooperators of the native pig program in Quezon are: Dionesio Samiano and Virginia Bautista from Dolores; Renato Macalendro and Dexter Nase, both from Tagkawayan; Teresita Saniano from Tiaong; and Aristotle Ilao from Sariaya.

From Laguna, the farmers are Edmer Valencia, Jun Alacasid, and Sister Rosalie. Dr. Rene C. Santiago, Chief, National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (NSPRDC)

PDEA EXPECTS CONVICTION OF ALABANG BOYS


The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) expects the court to rule in favor of the government and order the conviction of the two Alabang Boys for violation of Republic Act 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, during the scheduled promulgation of the controversial case on Friday, August 26, 2011.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Jose S. Gutierrez, Jr. said that the case against Richard S. Brodett and Jorge J. Joseph, are supported by concrete and air-tight evidence enough to prove them guilty in court. Brodett and Joseph were arrested by elements of the PDEA Special Enforcement Service (SES) in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa on September 20, 2008 after consecutive buy-bust operations. On the same date, Joseph Tecson, who completed the trio, was arrested in a follow-up operation conducted in Quezon City. The suspects collectively yielded 60 tablets of ecstasy, cocaine and marijuana.

The Alabang Boys are all members of prominent families. It will be recalled that the case of the Alabang Boys’, Brodett, Joseph together with another cohort, Joseph Tecson, stirred up controversies after the families of the accused allegedly used influence and money in an effort to have the suspects released before Christmas of 2008. There were also reports of attempts to bribe PDEA operatives.

The Department of Justice, from state prosecutors to the top officials, were questioned for apparent lapses and improprieties in handling the case. The resolution to release the Alabang Boys was issued by Prosecutor John Resado. Then Senior State Prosecutor Philip Kimpo recommended for its approval and was approved by then Chief State Prosecutor Jovencio Zuno.

The case of the Alabang Boys paved the way for the issuance of Administrative Order 253 in January 2009, directing the automatic review by the Office of the President on all decisions and resolutions involving the dismissal of drug cases. Congress and Senate hearings were likewise held “in aid of legislation”.

The case against Brodett and Joseph was tried in Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204, while the case against Tecson is separately being tried in Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 227.

Gutierrez revealed words are going around that efforts are being exerted by the family of the Alabang Boys to influence the decision of the court. However, Gutierrez is counting that the presiding judge, Hon. Juanita T. Guerrero of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204, will decide on the merits of the case and consider the incriminating evidence presented against Brodett and Joseph.

“The PDEA is counting on a guilty verdict for Brodett and Joseph on Friday,” Gutierrez said. PDEA

ANG LINGKOD BAYAN NOON HANGGANG NGAYON . . .



Katulad ng maraming nasa hanay ng media nagsimula din si Tony Falcon bilang isang simpleng manggagawa o ‘runner’ sa radyo hanggang sa nabigyan ng pagkakataong maging Field Reporter ng iba’t ibang radyo sa bansa noong 1987.

Sa loob ng isang taon ay tinagurian nya ang kanyang sarili bilang isang ‘Freelance Reporter’. Hanggang sa subukang magsarili sa DZME noong 1988 bilang isang Brodkaster.

Napansin ang angking galing sa pagmamahayag sa himpapawid hanggang sa kunin ang kanysang serbisyo ng Crusaders Broadcasting Service-DWAD si Tony bilang isang ‘Announcer’.

Taong 1989 nang magdesisyon si G. Falcon na magsarili ng kanyang programa sa radyo na binigyan naman ng bendisyon ng pamunuan ng CBS-DWAD na hindi saklawan ang kanyang pagpapaimbubulog sa himpapawid.

Palibhasa isang ‘Field Reporter’ nakita nya ang tunay na mukha ng buhay sa lipunan kaya higit pa nyang isinulong ang pagtulong sa kapwa sa munti nyang kakayahan gamit ang angking galing sa pakikipagtalastasan.

Inilunsad nya ang pahayagan ng Lingkod Bayan Balita at linggguhang labas sa telebisyon sa Channel 13. Nagsagawa sya ng ‘Medical and Dental Mission’ sa iba’t ibang panig sa bansa sa pakikipag-ugnayan na rin nya sa pamahalaan katuwang ang ibang sector sa lipunan na handing tumulong sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan.

Bagaman natigil ang dyaryo at telebisyo pinanatili ni Tony Falcon ang radyo magpahanggang sa kasalukuyan.

Isa sa mga unang grupo ng ‘reporters’ ng Lingkod Bayan na magpasahanggang ngayon ay nananatili kay Tony Falcon ay si Clemen Andrade.

Umabot ng halos 200 kasapi ang organisasyon ng Lingkod Bayan ni Tony Falcon Inc. subalit ilan lamang sa mga ito ang matatag na nakasama ng masipag na brodkaster. Kabilang dito sina Raffy Rico, Boy Cruz, Jimmy Camba, na kasabayan ng ngayo’y Co-Host ngayon na si Vea Corpuz.

Palibhasa galing sa pagiging ‘Freelance Reporter’ kaya tuwina ay bukas palad sya sa mga ‘reporters’ na pawing nagsimula at nahasa rin sa Lingkod Bayan sa pamamahayag sa himpapawid. Ilan sa mga ito ay sina Ricky Sulla, Greg Fernando, Cathy Cruz, Ernie Dela Cruz, Allan Aguire, Edmond Pangilinan, John Nacion, Erwin De Lara, Fred Salcedo, John Nation at Boy Morales.

Abril 2011 nang muling magdesisyon si Tony Falcon ng TV program na ngayon ay mapapanood sa ZOE 33 tuwing Biyernes 5-6 ng hapon at Linggo 4-5 ng hapon.

Layunin ni Tony Falcon na makatulong sa mga maralitang kakabayan sa bansa kaya naging tema ng kanyang mga programa ay pawang ‘public service’. Ang kanyang mga Medical Mission ay naging kakaiba dahil ay kahalong ‘entertainment’ at banda.

Palibhasa isa ring artista noong kanyang kabataan kaya tumutulong sya sa mga kabataan na madiskubre sa larangan ng pag-arte. Kabilang sina Angelica Jones, Willy Garte at Jericho Rosales na isa lamang sa mga artistang ngayon ay kinikilala na sa establado.

Noon magpahanggang ngayon ay patuloy sa pagseserbisyo ang Brodkaster na si Tony Falcon gamit ang kanyang 23 taong nang programa at paglilingkod sa bayan ng programang ‘Lingkod Bayan’.

Hindi naging sagwil kay Tony Falcon ang hamon ng panahon kaya magpahanggang sa kasalukuyan ay mapapakinggan pa rin ang kanyang programa sa DWAD na nagsilbing ugat na rin na ngayong pumapalaot nang mga reporter sa iba’t-ibang istasyon ng radyo maging ng mga artistang nabanggit. Cathy Cruz, PSciJourn Mega Manila

OPLAN DENGUE ALERT CAMPAIGN OF PMA


The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) through its local component society, the Quezon City Medical Society (QCMS), launched yesterday its OPLAN DENGUE ALERT campaign starting with the intermediate students of the Congressman Rey Calalay Memorial Elementary School in San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City.

“Quezon City is one of the Department of Health (DOH) dengue declared hotspot in Metro Manila and we would like to rally the people of this city beginning with its most vulnerable population, the school children, to be aware and prepared against this deadly dengue infection ” according to QCMS President Dr. Rialisa Henson.

“Dengue can be prevented and we would like to educate our people, starting with the children, on how this could be done. Our medical doctors will be going from school to school to literally teach elementary students and also their teachers on the most effective way to evade this dreaded infection” Henson added.

“Besides teaching these young students the crucial need to maintain a clean environment in order to eliminate potential breeding grounds of mosquitoes we also train them on how to make effective home-made mosquito traps” said QCMS Director Dr. Michael Marasigan.

“As a matter of fact we are also organizing, among our students, Brigada Bulilit Health Clubs to encourage our youth to propagate, among others, the anti-dengue awareness and preparedness mentality to other children and even to their parents at home. Some of the practices that the bulilit club members are encourage to do is to advocate for the Four -O -Clock habit. This simply means that at four in the afternoon everyday they should start cleaning their surroundings and check for possible breeding grounds of mosquitoes in their area” Marisigan finally said.

“As the popular saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. We are therefore calling on everybody, starting with our school children, to do their share in preventing this life threatening infection from spreading. This simply can start with the proper understanding of what this disease we call dengue is all about” Henson finally said. Dr. Mike Aragon, Chairman, Media Affairs, Philippine Medical Association (PMA)

QC HALL DONATES BEDS TO HELP HOSPITAL WITH DENGUE CASES


The Quezon City government, on orders of Mayor Herbert Bautista, has turned over 79 folding beds to the Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC) in Proj. 4 to help it accommodate more patients, especially those who have contracted dengue fever.

Aside from the new beds, QC also provided additional electric fans to provide comfort to the patients, some of whom were already occupying the hospital hallways.

QMMC medical director Angeles de Leon personally received the donation from officials of the QC health department, which was represented during the occasion by Dr. Mary Rochel Paulino, Medical Specialist I.

Receiving the bulk of the QC donation is QMMC’s pediatric ward.

From August 1 to 15, QMMCs department of pediatrics reported an admission of 74 dengue cases from Quezon City.

Barangay Old Balara accounts for the most number of admissions, said Dr. Bella Vitangcol, chair of QMMC’s pediatrics department.

To date, the city health department, headed by Dr. Antonieta Inumerable, has been taking all the necessary precautionary measures to avert possible dengue outbreaks in the city.

The measures include a continuing information dissemination campaign to raise the level of awareness of city residents in curbing the spread of the dreaded disease.

The department also launched an emergency mosquito control program by distributing larvae traps to schools and by targeting adult mosquitoes during supervised and space spraying activities.

Meanwhile, the Mayor has mobilized barangay officials to assist city health workers in the information drive, which underscores the importance of maintaining cleanliness in reducing the number of potential breeding grounds of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

As of August 20 this year, the city health department reported about 3,948 dengue cases from January to August, which was 125.2 % higher than the 1,753 cases reported during the same period last year. To date, the disease has already claimed 29 lives, mostly from urban poor communities in District II.

Barangay Bagbag registered the most number of dengue cases with 227 and one death.

Barangay Batasan Hills registered the most number of deaths with four, and Barangay Commonwealth had three deaths. Precy/ Jonah/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

SABAYANG FOGGING INILUNSAD NG KYUSI SA DISTRITO DOS


KAUGNAY na tumataas na bilang ng mga may kasong dengue sa bansa at sinasabing kabilang ang Lungsod ng Quezon sa may pinakamataas na bilang na apektado at namamatay dahil sa lamok.

Bunsod nito ay naglunsad kaninang umaga ang si Bise Alkalde Joy Belmonte kasama sina NCR Regional Director Eduardo Janairo ng DOH maging ang ilang opisyal ng Kyusi nang sabayang pagpapausok kontra lamok sa 30 barangay sa Ikalawang Distrito ng nasabing lungsod.

Pinasimulan sa Barangay Batasan Hills ang nasabing ‘fogging operation’ kasabay ng pagpapakalat ng mga flyers na may mga paraan at impormasyon sa paglaban sa nakamamatay na lamok na nagdadala ng dengue sa tao.

Ayon kay Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte na taunang pinaghahandaan ng lokal na pamahalaan ang isyu ng dengue na halos nasa 3 milyong piso ang inilalaang pondo dito hiwalay pa ang Health Department na halos nasa 2 milyon. Dagdag pa nya na inihanda rin ang mga barangay health centers upang mabigyan ng kaukulang serbisyo ang mga residente ng kyusi dahil sa nalaman na napupuno na ang mga ospital sa lungsod ng mga pasyenteng may dengue.

Sinasabi ni City Administrator Victor B. Endriga na malaki ang nasasakupan at populasyon ng Kyusi kumpara sa ibang lungsod sa Kalakhang Maynila kaya huwag umano mabahala na sa bilang ay mataas ang Kyusi. Ayon sa datos, sinasabing pang-9 ang Kyusi sa may mataas na bilang ng kaso ng dengue sa NCR.

Samantala, tinatayang 6 libong OV Trap ang ipapakalat sa lahat ng mga paaralan sa 30 barangay ng Distrito Dos samantala 3 libo naman ang ipamamahagi sa mga barangay, ayon kay Dra. Antonieta V. Inumerable na ipinagkaloob naman sa kanya ng DOST.

Ang Larvicidal Trap ay gawa sa isang latang pininturahan ng itim na nilagyan ng tubig at may nakalagay na maliit na hugis parihabang lawanit na nilagyan ng pellets na syang papatay sa itlog ng lamok.

Pagtatapos ni Dra. Inumerable ng Kyusi hindi aniya puwedeng magpatalo ang tao sa isang lamok lamang kaya’t hinihimok nya ang bawat isa na magsama-sama na panatilihin ang kalinisan simula sa bahay upang ang buong komunidad ay matiyak ang kaligtasan laban sa mga pumapatay na lamok sa bansa.

Asahan na hindi lamang sa District II gagawin ito kundi maging sa iba pang distrito ng kyusi.

Subalit sa isang press conference na isinagawa matapos ang paglulunsad na isinagawa sa isang plasa sa Barangay Batasan Hills ay binanggit ng isang kasama natin sa media na isa sa mga posibleng pinakamaganda at pinakamabilis na solusyon ng dengue ay ang muling paggamit ng Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) na nadiskubre noong 1874 pa, na napatunayang epektibo noong panahon ng digmaan na talamak ang kaso ng malaria, dengue at iba pang ‘mosquito born diseases’. Cathy Cruz, PSciJourn Mega Manila

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