Tuesday, February 09, 2016


         The Senate this week approved on third and final reading the proposed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) which aims to simplify, modernize and align the Philippine’s customs procedures with global best practices by amending the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP).
        “We want to overhaul and modernize the bureau which has long been perceived as one of the most corrupt and underperforming government agencies in the country. Approximately $277 billion in revenues was lost by the government for the period 1960 to 2011 due to technical smuggling according to a 2014 study of Global Financial Integrity,” Senator Juan Edgardo ‘Sonny’ Angara said.
      Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2968 or the proposed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), said the measure aims to amend the TCCP in compliance with the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) which is a blueprint for “modern and efficient customs procedures” of the World Customs Organization.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said that upgrading the current Bureau of Customs (BOC) systems to electronic processing, would make the BOC’s importation and exportation procedures faster, more effective and more convenient, especially for the public. 
     ‘The modernization under the CTMA will benefit millions of ordinary Filipinos who suffer from the inefficiencies in the handling of incoming and outgoing goods, especially during holiday seasons when Filipinos endure the cumbersome process of trying to claim gifts or packages which are stuck at the ports,” he stressed. 
      The bill proposes for the use of information and communications technology and other appropriate applications to reinforce the BOC’s functions towards simplified, secured and harmonized trade facilitation.
      Angara said the passage of the bill into law would increase transparency and simplify procedures in the BOC, increase the de minimis value, raise the tax exemption ceiling for packages sent by “balikbayans” and returning residents, and provide harsher penalties for smuggling. De minimis are small items that are usually minor or lacking importance.
        The bill proposes an increase in the tax-exempt value of balikbayan boxes from P10,000 to P150,000 and the de minimis value from P10 to P10,000. Tax-exempt and de minimis values may also change every three years. Donation and relief goods will also be duty and tax-free during times of calamity.
     Angara said the bill aims to ingrain transparency and accountability into the BOC, as apart from drastically reducing human intervention due to the electronification of customs procedures, higher penalties and punishments will be prescribed as a further deterrent to smuggling. 
      “Our measure clearly defines the exercise of customs police authority, customs jurisdiction and customs control,” Angara said.
     BOC officials said they anticipate a 10 percent increase in revenue collection once the bill is enacted into law. The BOC pegged revenue collection at P369 billion in 2014./MP




   Francis “Chiz” Escudero urged the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to start the implementation of the long-standing proposal to link the Mindanao power grid with the rest of the Philippines to avert a potential power shortage in Luzon that is being projected by the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) by 2018.
    According to Escudero, the EDC expects the demand for power to go up due to the country’s growing economy, which may impact on the energy supply to Luzon.
    With the projected over supply of electricity in Mindanao starting next year because of the completion of new power plants, Escudero said the Mindanao-Visayas power interconnection would make it possible to share the surplus power to Luzon. 
    Power supply in Mindanao is projected to hit 13,300 megawatts (MW) by 2016 compared to a projected demand of 12,000 MW, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).
    Escudero said lawmakers have long been pushing for the link-up since discussion on Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) started in Congress 15 years ago.
    “We have been pushing for that since the EPIRA was being discussed in Congress in 2000. We’ve been proposing that already –the inter-connectivity and a truly national grid connecting to the entire country’s power lines,” Escudero said.
    Escudero however, admitted that the government’s hands are tied on the issue since NGCP is a private enity.
    “NGCP cannot be forced to hasten the implementation of the plan since it has already been privatized but the government can exert pressure, and that pressure would come from the fact that no new power could be brought from areas where there is a surplus of supply to places where there is a supply shortfall,” he added.
    The same solution could be applied before to address the Mindanao power crisis because Luzon had only enough power supply for its consumers, according to Escudero.
    Recent reports said the NGCP is still completing the feasibility study on the Mindanao-Visayas power line interconnection but it has vowed to complete the project by 2018.
    NGCP said it has been studying two proposals that would make Dipolog City as the  connection point either Cebu or Negros Islands.
    The NGCP, which is responsible for bringing the electricity produced by power plants to distribution utilities , has thumbed down the original plan of having a Surigao-Leyte route because it’s situated near active fault lines. The said route, which would have spanned 455 kilometers of overhead lines and 23 kilometer submarine cables, is estimated to cost P 24 billion./MP



        The Department of Health should tap and mobilize barangay officials in the effort to ward of the threat of Zika virus, which the World Health Organization declared last week a global public health emergency, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. said this week.
         Medical evidence ties Zika virus to the cause of a birth defect called microcephaly, in which babies are born with undersized heads and brains, as well as to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a neurologic condition marked by rapid muscle weakness.
       “As doctors and scientists rush research to understand the virus better, the prudent thing to do is to step up preventive measures against the spread of the virus in our country,” said Marcos.
     “Our barangay officials constitute our best line of defense against this threat. If we can secure their cooperation and commitment for preventive actions can be implemented properly down to the grassroots level,” he added.
        Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, noted that barangay officials are the ones who know best the situation in their area and directly in touch with the people who need to be informed of the seriousness of the Zika virus threat.
      Currently, there is no vaccine or cure for Zika virus infection. The only way to avoid catching it is to avoid getting bitten by the Aedesaegypti mosquitoes that transmit the infection—the same type of mosquitoes that transmit dengue.
      “While we still don’t know much about Zika, the fact that it is known to be carried by the same mosquito that transmits dengue means we can prevent it by the same methods we use for dengue prevention. We just have to redouble our efforts at it,” Marcos said.
      The senator said barangay officials would be specially effective in leading residents on “search and destroy” efforts to rid their surroundings of pockets of stagnant, clear waters, which are known breeding place of dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Likewise, they can help identify sites for selective fogging and assist in the information campaign to encourage self-protection and seek early consultation upon suspicion of possible infection.
     “We must act together in warding off this serious health threat. With the cooperation of our barangay officials I am confident that we can not only safeguard the well-being of our people and look forward to a brighter, more progressive future for everyone,” said Marcos.
     Marcos has been vocal in recognizing the crucial role barangay officials play in the delivery of basic government services to the people and spearheaded the passage of a bill to provide them with retirement benefits./MP


    The Senate has adopted a resolution urging political leaders to heed the call of the Pope to live simply and in “outstanding honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good.”
    Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who introduced Resolution 1110, said the Pope’s call for all to live simply is relevant since the Philippines faces the challenges of achieving inclusive growth, which despite the sincere efforts of the government today, still eludes a significant percentage of our population who continue to live in poverty and want.
    Senate President Franklin Drilon also said that the Filipinos need and deserve leaders who will make true of the Pope’s assertion that public governance is one of the highest forms of charity: “Public service is not about power or control, it is about uplifting our people from poverty and hopelessness.”
    Pimentel cited a 2014 report from the Philippine Statistics Authority which showed poverty incidence at 25 percent since 2003.
    In a population of 100 million people, that would translate into some 25 million poor Filipinos who are marginalized, robbed of their dignity and stripped of their basic human rights, according to Pimentel.
    He said, Pope Francis also challenged everyone, at all levels of society, “to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor.”
    “The year 2015 has been declared by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) as the Year of the Poor, to respond positively to the papal challenge for us to live simply, it behoves our political leaders to show the way by their living with honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good so that our nation’s resources are channeled properly to benefit  the people, especially the poor, in a culture where the human rights and dignity of everyone are cherished and respected, and justice is done to them whatever their situation in life may be,” Pimentel said.
    Meanwhile, the Senate also adopted Resolution 1044, expressing its full support to the review of peacekeeping operations and special political missions conducted by the United Nations in the light of changes in the geopolitical landscape and risks faced by UN international missions.
    Sen. Loren Legarda, who introduced the resolution, said that UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon had announced last year the creation of a high Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations which will review issues such as the changing nature of conflict, evolving mandates, peace building  challenges, managerial and administrative arrangements, planning, partnerships, human rights and protection of civilians, uniformed capabilities for peacekeeping operations, among others.
    Senate President Drilon said that the upper chamber will support any initiative by the UN to reassess its protocols on its peace-keeping operations given that the Philippines has long been consistently involved in the international organization’s human development and peacekeeping programs.
    “This comprehensive assessment is both relevant and timely given the challenges experienced by Philippine peacekeepers during the conduct of its missions at Golan Heights in Syria in August 2014 when they were forced to defend themselves against Syrian rebels and reposition to avoid further harm,” Legarda said, adding:
    “Being a founding member state of the UN and in keeping with its obligations to the international community, the Philippines has at various times deployed peacekeepers to war-torn areas like Korea, Congo, Afghanistan, Burundi, Cambodia, Iraq, Nepal and Sudan. We therefore express our support to the UN’s review of peacekeeping operations and special political missions.”/MP


      Ro nasyon nga Inglatera hay kilaea sa anang mga eaging kastilyo nga gina estahan it mga may dugong hari-anon. Sa tanan nga gina pangayaw it mga turista hay ro isaeang ka kastilyo nga ginakahadlukan nga sudlon eabi gid ko mga unga. Rondayang kastilyo hay may ap-at ka kwadro sa kada-binit nga nakapinta sa sari-saring porma it uyahon. Ro unang kwadro hay malipayon ro anang uyahon. Ro pangaywa hay masubo.        Ro pangatlo hay nagalisik ro anang mga mata sa subrang kaakig. Ro katapusan hay ginatabunan ro anang uyahon ko anang mga tudlo ag sa ubos hay may nakapinta nga yabe.
     Abo nga nagsamit nga tukibon rong kahueogan ko mga kwadro apang owa sanda nangin madinaeag-on. Isaea si Valdemor, isaea ka negosyante it mga antigong bagay. Nag-adto imaw sa isaeang ka librariya ag gin usisa paagi sa librong anang gin basa.
    Suno sa libro, rong pintor nga nagpinta hay amigo it konde nga naga panag-iya kong kastilyo. Sayod rong pintor kon ano rong pagpanga buhi sa sueod it kastilyo. Ro unang kwadro hay sadya-an nga paghibayag it Konde bangod sa naka-asawa imaw it gwapahon nga babaye. Ro  uyahon hay masubo bangod namatay rong mga ginikanan. Busa naha-aywan imaw. Gin aywan kana rong tanan nga manggad.
     Ro pangatlo nga  kwadro hay naga lisik rong mata sa sobrang kaakig. Suno sa libro, natukiban kong Konde nga gin traidor imaw ko anang asawa ay nag-munot imaw sa isaeang ka eaeaki.
     Owa magbuhay, namatay rong Konde sa masakit nga Hemopelya, masakit it mga may dugong hari-anon. Gin himos rong mga kagamitan ko pintor ag gin aywan eamang ro mga kwadro. Halin kato, abre sa tanan nga turista ro kastilyo nga ginatatap kong pamunuan it syudad.
    Pagkatapos it basa   ni Valdemor, nag bisita imaw sa kastilyo.Gin himutaran nana it mayad rong                 uyahon it Konde sa idaeum ko anang mga tudlo. May nakapinta nga yabe sa kwadro. Idto sa sueod nakatago ogaling indi magkasungka rong yabe. 
    Gin libot nana rong kastilyo. May hakita imaw nga mabahoe nga kandado nga tuktukon eon sa kabuhayon. Gin su-ob nana rong yabe. Nagbukas rong kwadro. Sa sueod nakatago rong maisot nga kahon. Sa anang pagbukas naka pilo rong isaeang ka papel nga naga sa-ad nga kon sin-o ro naga buyot kong papel ngara hay imaw rong mangin tag-iya ko bilog nga kastilyo.
   Gin pakita ni Valdemor rong papel sa pamunoan it syodad. Napamatud-an nga bukon it peke rong papel. Nangin tag-iya it kastilyo si Valdemor./MP

Monday, February 08, 2016


by Ernesto T. Solidum

    Seemingly endless experience of colorfully and clad dancers and merrymakers   snaked their way through the streets of Kalibo in the biggest “Sinaot sa Kalye” and Higante contest. Nimble and agile participants dressed in varied costumes design swayed, pranced, chanted and skipped to blasting musical scores reminiscent of mardi gras parade in Rio de Janeiro. Panoramic view is really a sight to behold.
     All DepEd Districts of Aklan have their own choreography, costume design, and props making it hotly contested. Costumes ranged from native materials of woven coconut leaves and baskets to flamboyant blouses and scarves. Smile etched on the faces of dancers conveyed warmth, vibrancy and passion to the Sto. Niño.
    Intricate ornaments of fancy silver and gold flashed under the early morning sun as performers gyrated and twisted in perfect rhythm while giant figures of legend watched in tacit approval. Not only dancing and merry making occured in the streets. It was also happening in the gaily decorated floats.
    A notable observation though is too few people and cheerers. Plausible reasons: January 14 is eve of Sto. Niño fiesta in neighboring Makato where similar fun and excitement are taking place. Other places celebrating ati-atihan are Boracay, Malay; Naile, Ibajay, Malinao, Batan, Altavas and Ibajay.
    Furthermore, relocating transport terminal from Oyo Torong to Bulwang, Numancia makes going to Kalibo expensive and inconvenient since commuters are forced to board tricyles in order to reach Poblacion,  Kalibo. The authorities appear to be helpless in solving the traffic gridlock. Despite completion of the expanded 4-lane Kalibo-Numancia bridge three months ago, the bridge is not yet operational.
    The winners in the Sinaot event are classified into two. Magueang nga Ati: Orig nga Ati Category, the winners are: Champion – Banga, 1st runner up – Malinao, 2nd runner up – Numancia, 3rd runner up – Buruanga, 4th runner up – Ibajay West. The Best in Mass Presentation Category: 1st place – Numancia, 2nd place Banga, 3rd place – Ibajay East; The Best in Street Choreography 1st place – Buruanga, 2nd place – Banga, 3rd place – Malinao. The Loudest Group 1st place – Batan, 2nd place – Buruanga, 3rd place – Lezo; The Most Jolly Group 1st place – Buruanga, 2nd place – Banga, 3rd place – Malinao; The Best in Costumes and Props: 1st place – Batan, 2nd place – Numancia, 3rd place – Malinao.
     Results of Magueang nga Ati: Best Performing Group Champion – Nabas, 1st runner up – Malay, 2nd runner up – Balete, 3rd runner up – Kalibo 11, 4th runner up – Makato, 5th runner up –Kalibo 1. Best in Mass Presentation  1st place – Balete, 2nd place – Nabas, 3rd place – Madalag. The Loudest Group 1st place – Nabas, 2nd place – Kalibo 1, 3rd place – Tangalan. Best in Higante 1st place – Buruanga, 2nd place – Malay. Most Jolly Group 1st place – Balete, 2nd place – Madalag, 3rd – Nabas. Best in Costumes and Props 1st place – Balete, 2nd place – Malay, 3rd place – Nabas.
    This year’s presentation by the DepEd is a quantum leap from previous performances. A total of 1,800 public school teachers exhibited their skills and talents to new heights. We commend Dr. Jesse M. Gomez, Aklan Division Superintendent of Schools for a job well done./MP



          Mayor: Renato A. Bautista – IND, Rodell R. Ramos – LP, and Benito C. Cortes – NPC
     Vice-Mayor: Cezar C. Cortes – NPC and Jayner L. Demeterio – NP.
          For SB members: William R. Bautista, Jr. – LP, Jessie T. Ciriaco – IND, Myrlin S. Cortes – LP, Enrique B. Custudio – NPC, Eric A. Del Rosario – LP. Eugenio JB S. Fulgencio, Jr. – LP, Catalina T. Jacinto – NPC, Evelyn T. Jarantilla – NPC, Julio S. Leonor, Jr. – NPC, Adam C. Mamay – LP, Anna Lisa B. Panado – LP, Joena B. Parco – NPC, Dennis A. Perlas – NPC, Medardo S. Placer – LP, Jairus C. Salazar – LP, Rina V. Sarceno – NPC, Rolly B. Sucgang – NPC and Rodel S. Victoriano – IND
         For Mayor: Concepcion D. Labindao – LP, Rolando D. Rojo – UNA and Giselle A. Sumabong – IND. 
       For Vice-Mayor: Daniel J. Cajilig – UNA and Allan P. Dagohoy – LP. 
    For SB members: Jesus Bomer A. Alvarez – IND, Ferolina D. Beliran – UNA, Manuel S. Coching – IND, Joseph C. Dela Peña – LP, Femy C. Dumaguin – LP, Carlos D. Dumalaog – LP, Nicolas A. Iguiron – LP, Adonis P. Labindao – LP, Wevena Q. Malayas – UNA, 
  Dextero S. Obrique – UNA, Rommel M. Obrique – UNA, Sammy C. Oquendo – LP, Macario O. Panganiban – LP, Lilian A. Perez – UNA, Rommel R. Rojo – UNA, Arlin Y. Sualog – IND, Benito P. Sualog, Jr. – UNA, Rigor S. Sualog – IND, Marlon C. Sulat – NPC, Gorgonio F. Tandog – IND and Winnie U. Yap – LP.

          For Mayor: Victor Manuel M. Garcia – UNA and Jose Enrique M. Miraflores – LP. 
   For Vice-Mayor: Alejandro S. Diaz – UNA, Jose S. Palacio – IND and Plaridel M. Solidum – LP.    
          For SB members: Diva S. Agustin – LP, Cyril M. Alag – LP, Ervin V. Alonsagay – UNA, Mabini M. Ascaño – UNA, Jurry M. Cabangil – UNA, Elmer F. Colangoy – LP, Julio M. Estolloso – LP, Lowell S. Fernandez – LP, Rano B. Hontiveros – LP, Emilio S. Ilinon – UNA, Remedios G. Lumio – IND, Edgar S. Magbiray – LP, Paul S. Magharing – UNA, Joeplen T. Oczon – UNA, Vonn A. Salido – UNA, Juluis Peter A. Sitjar – UNA and Delano T. Tefora – UNA.
          For Mayor: William S. Lachica – NPC and Raymar A. Rebaldo – LP. 
    For Vice-Mayor: Madeline A. Regalado – NPC and Rey V. Tolentino – LP.
          For SB members: Mark Ace L. Bautista – LP, Pablo D. Beltran, Jr. - IND, Daisy S. Briones – NPC, Cynthia C. Dela Cruz – IND, Ariel O. Fernandez – NPC, Buen Joy V. French – LP, Conrado S. Indelible – IND, Phillip Y. Kimpo, Jr. – LP, Gregorio R. Malapad, Jr. - LP,  Ethel P. Marte – LP, 
    Alexander C. Nabor – IND, Rodillo L. Policarpio – NPC, George L. Quimpo –NPC, Mark V. Quimpo – LP, Delfin M. Quintana – LP, Odonnell R. Radislao – IND, Juris B. Sucro – NPC, Arnaldo M. Tejada – NPC, Augusto C. Tolentino – IND and Melanie V. Tolentino – LP./MP


           Mr. Norlito Ibañez PSO-VISAYAS I-REAP Component Head explaining to the participants the importance of  simplified financial management and appropriate record keeping which are vital in the implementation of small livelihood projects under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) in Western Visayas.( JEEOgatis photo)
       Mr. Cirilo Navarro, Financial Analyst of PSO-Visayas coaching the participants on the proper entry of cash receipts and cash disbursement, general ledger and generation of financial statement. (JEEOgatis photo).

    “Appropriate and proper recording of daily transactions in implementing the enterprise using different book of accounts will surely ensure success of our proposed cattle fattening project, an approved small livelihood project (SLP) under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).” quipped Mr. Rey Ferrer, president of Central Panay Green Revolution Association based at the municipality of Dueñas, Iloilo.
     Ferrer, a participant of the four-day Regional Project Coordinating Office (RPCO)-6 simplified financial management training workshop added that proper recording system will ensure accountability, responsibility and transparency of funds released by the PRDP.
    Mr. Andrew Tiples, Secretary General of Central Panay Green Revolution Association, said that the training workshop enabled him to discover more about PRDP and equipped them of financial management system.
    “You cannot show and prove transparency to your members without showing them proper records of income and expenses reflected on the books of accounts”, explained Mr. Tiples.
     The participants coming from the different proponent groups were able to identify the difference between a journal and ledger as explained by Mr. Cirilo Navarro, Financial Analyst of PSO-Visayas.
     Navarro said that a special journal consist of three books namely; cash receipt journal book, cash disbursement journal book, and journal book for non-cash transaction while a ledger is a summary of monthly total transactions of the three journal books.
     Mr. Norlito Ibañez PSO I-REAP Component Head said that understanding the relevance of books of accounts will lead to easier generation of Financial Statement which consist of trial balance, balance sheet, income statement, bank reconciliation, statement of receipt and expenditure (SRE) and cashflow statement.
      Ibañez stressed that appropriate record keeping is necessary to all PRDP SLP projects in order to liquidate the first tranche of fund releases to PLGUs and a requirement to avail of the second and final fund release.
     The training workshop is part of the capability building interventions to Proponent Groups which have proposed SLPs under the RPCO-6 to enhance their capabilities in enterprise implementation.
    The PRDP is a six-year project of the Department of Agriculture that envisions to increase farm and fishery productivity and income of households in the target areas in 16 regions in the country. (JEEOgatis/InfoACE-RPCO-6) /MP

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


      Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo this week lamented deficiencies in the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) which denied or delayed financial assistance to thousands of students last
     He cited the observations contained in the 2014 audit report of the Commission on Audit which said that there were “deficiencies in the implementation of the CHED of the Student Financial Assistance Programs.”
     The COA report said this resulted  to“unutilized allotments/funds of P1.23 billion, which delayed the availment by the students of the benefits in the CHEDROs.”
     The audit commission also noted that “the total slots allocation of 319,817 students, with a total budget of P5.23 billion including continuing appropriations downloaded to CHEDROs, were beyond their absorptive capacity, resulting to operational defficiences, thus, adversely affecting the implementation of the program...”
    Romulo, who authored several laws providing financial assistance to students, said these deficiencies were “at the very least unacceptable because these funds have been put in place to ensure that qualified students are given financial assistance when they need them most.”
    “I ask the CHED to immediately address these deficiences so no qualified students, especially the financially handicapped, will be turned away or denied what is due them as mandated by law,” he said.
      Romulo, who is running for a Senate seat in the May polls, authored the Iskolar ng Bayan and UNIFAST laws, which provide scholarship grants to top graduates of public high schools and financial support to poor but deserving college students.
    On the other hand, Rep. Roman Romulo said the new administration should heed the warning of a foreign executive that Metro Manila could become “uninhabitable” if no urgent action is taken to build an adequate and seamless infrastructure network in the capital.
    “While there are infra projects underway and will be completed post-2016, it is clear that these are very inadequate. The public is at a loss as to what government is doing to address their concerns,” he said.
     “But we all know it is too late in the day for this administration to do anything meaningful in the next six months. All it can do is ease the pain of daily commuters,” Romulo said.
   The gridlock alarm was raised by John Forbes, senior advisor of the American Chamber of Commerce, who said that Metro Manila would become uninhabitable within four years if no new limited access roads, skyways and rail lines are built.
        Forbes pointed to the projected increase in vehicles of up to 500,000 by 2020, many of them in Metro Manila.
  The new administration should take meaningful action from Day One if we are to sustain and further advance economically and ensure that the commuter can avail of quick and comfortable rides on their way to work and school,” Romulo said.
       “In fact, the infra network should link Metro Manila with Central Luzon and the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) region,” he pointed out.
  Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo this week asked how government will spend the P19.2 billion budget approved last month by President Aquino to mitigate the negative impact of El Niño on farmers and consumers.
    “What’s the plan? Where will the money be spent?,” he asked. “All we know from reports quoting NEDA chief Arsenio Balisacan is that there is a budget and that government is preparing for a worst-case scenario that may arise from this Godzilla El Niño threat.”
   Romulo pointed out that PAGASA has warned that as much as 85 percent of the country, comprising of 68 provinces, will suffer by April, a “meteorological drought” caused by El Niño. Twelve other provinces in Luzon and Mindanao will experience a dry spell. 
        It is expected to peak between March and May this year, the state weather agency said. El Niño is a weather phenomenon that develops in the Pacific Ocean that is a result of the warming of sea temperatures.
     “A consensus of climate models shows that it will likely strengthen further...and may last until the first half of 2016. This 2015-2016 El Niño event will potentially be four strongest events since 1950 (1972-1973, 1982-1983, 1997-1998),” PAGASA said.
     Already, Zamboanga City has began water rationing because its rivers and main reservoir are drying up.
    In a report in October, the HSBC Global Research warned that a prolonged dry spell might also lead to higher inflation and force the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to “hike rates sooner than expected.”
   “The least the government should do is inform the people in areas already affected by El Niño about the interventions being done to help them so they can avail of these assistance,” Romulo said./MP

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


By: Megs Lunn

     “Life is not a path of coincidence, happenstance, and luck. It is rather an unexplainable meticulously chartered course for one to touch the lives of others and make a difference in the world.”
    People would sometimes wonder why we do this and that, why we do things so differently, and while others just watch and figure out how they can destroy that person. Even if you asked those people who do good things, they would simply say, “for we wanted to make them happy and by making them happy, they make me happy too.” Wow!       What a wonderful world it could be if all people you see and meet around would say the same thing. However, though we were created equal in the eyes of God, we were not brought in this world with similar attitude about life. We never know what lies ahead in each one of us. Therefore, we are most of the time influenced by our family values, our peers. The way we look at life doesn’t all comes from our genes. It is influenced by our day to day encounter of life, good or bad.
      One of my good friends approached me with a worried face. She asked me why she doesn’t seem affected by what people say. I also wonder why. Seldom would it happen that I will be affected though, instead most of the time, it makes me stronger even. Kudos to my good education and good influence. I was once taught that we have to respect the opinion of others. If they say something bad about me, that is their problem  and not mine. The reaction of a receiver of criticism will depend on the credibility and the integrity of that person who gives the criticism. On the other hand, one does not need to defend him to people as nobody knows who he really is except himself. One knows by heart he has one something not good to that person or to others. A person’s greatest enemy here is his conscience. Besides, he is in a position to pointing his fingers at anybody else.
    In the teachings of our church, we need to do our best to be holy. Everybody really wants to be. However, with peer pressures, environmental, community, and media influence around, we can only try but not totally be that “holy”. But, here is a good thing in the bible that teaches us if we do things according to HIS WILL, then what you are doing is right.
    What is good to you may not be good to that person. Each one of us has his own standard of what is ‘good or right’. At the end of the day, nobody is perfect. After all, what is important is 
not what is the best, but it’s about doing our best.
    I still believe that there is in each of us so much goodness that if we see it flow, it would light the world. And if what you have in mind, heart and mouth are negative, it would definitely create darkness in others, and in your life, too. Remember, if someone listens, or stretches out a hand or whisper a kind word of encouragement, or attempts to understand that person, extraordinary things begin to happen.
    Life is short and we don’t want to make it shorter to stress our self with so much negativity in life. For life is good and it’s getting better each day! If you wish to make it even better, think each day of something that will make a difference in the life of others, by doing a random act of kindness each day. Surely, God will bless you more. And mark my word, it would give you a peaceful and sweet dream at night. Good luck!/MP

Ro Mangingisda Ag Ro Maisot Nga Isda

     Pila eon nga adlaw ro nagtaliwan nga owa it dakop ro mangingisda. Makaron hay ika ap-at eon nga adlaw. Agahon pa si Undoy nag halin sa anda ag sa bilog nga sang-adlaw owa gid it pahuway nga itsa ko anang lambat, ogaling owa gihapon imaw it hadakpang isda.
    “Siin baea tanan ro mga isda naga panago? Indi ako mag pati nga owa gid it maskin sambilog nga ibis nga habilin”. Hambae ko pobreng Undoy mangingisda. Nagdesider imaw nga mauli eon lang. Nag ta-o pa imaw it katapusan nga tsansa. Initsa nana ro anang lambat ag mag poepanihoe. Sa anang paghunos ko lambat, may hakita imaw nga maisot nga isda nga naga pisik-pisik. Nalipay imaw ko una. Ogaling pagkakita nana ko maisot nga ibis, tinukob  imaw it kaeo-oy.
    “Mahimo eon konta nga daehon ko sa baeay rondayang ibis, ogaling ano ro akong mabo-oe kara ay maniwang manlang ag maisot pa. Habatian nana nga nag hambae rong isda.
    “Ma-eo-oy ka, amo Undoy. Ibalik mo ako sa dagat. Basi kon gina-usoy eon ako makaron ko akong inang isda. Hueata eon lang nga ako magbahoe agod mapuslan mo ako”. Sa kakibot ni Undoy, initsa nana rong isda sa tubi. Dayon nanang umuli lang sa andang baeay.
    Nagtaliwan ro pilang adlaw. Halipatan eon nana ratong isda. Masakit ro anang unga ag owa sanda it pangbayad sa duktor. Hadumduman ni Undoy nga magpangisda. Sa una nana nga pag itsa pa-eang it lambat hay abo nga isda ro anang hadakpan. Sa mga isda ngaron hay may nag hambae kana.
    “Abo guid nga saeamat ay owa mo ako gin daea sa inyo. Pag-uli ko sa among pamilya, gin sugid ko kanda ro imong ka-eo-oy kakon, busa iya kami naga baeos kimo.” Hambae ko isda nga makaron hay nagbahoe eon.
    “Pasensyaha gid ninyo ako ay may masakit ro akong unga. Bo-ot namon nga daehon sa duktor ogaling owa kami it kwarta.” Sabat man ni Undoy mangingisda.
    Ma-angan-angan tumunga rong isdang mabahoe, ro tatay ko isda. May angkit imaw nga perlas sa anang bibig. Gin tao nana  kay Undoy. Nagpasaeamat ro mangingisda.
     Halin kato, owa eon si Undoy naga adto sa baybay. Ro kabakeanan ko perlas hay andang gin negosyo ag naka patindog pa sanda it bag-ong baeay./MP


     For the period January 1 to December 31, 2015, the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Kalibo held a total of 48 sessions, 44 of which were Regular and four (4) were Special Sessions.
    According to Ms. Diana T. Fegarido, Kalibo Sangguniang Bayan Secretary, SB Kalibo approved 10 municipal ordinances and 127 resolutions in the whole year 2015. Moreover, SB Kalibo endorse for approval to the Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan one (1) Sand and Gravel Quarry application. 
    The Kalibo SB also approved one (1) Land Subdivision Plan application, 331 units tricycle franchises and accredited one (1) non government organization.
   Vice Mayor Madeline A. Regalado presided the SB sessions being a Vice Mayor. She went on two (2) official travels, two (2) filial leaves and one (1) vacation leave.
    Among the SB members, Hon. Mark V. Quimpo sponsored six (6) resolutions and one (1) ordinance. He went on official travel twice and thrice filial leaves. 
    Hon. Daisy S. Briones sponsored 15 resolutions and three (3) ordinances. She has two (2) sick leaves and one (1) filial leave. 
    Hon. Augusto S. Tolentino has 24 resolutions and sponsored two (2) ordinances. He was on sick leave for seven (7) times, and one (1) Birthday leave. Tolentino acted as OIC-Mayor on April 16, 2015. 
    Hon. Ariel O. Fernandez has 24 resolutions and sponsored two (2) ordinances. He went on filial leave for three (3) times, sick leave once, and went on official travel once. 
    Hon. Rodillo L. Policarpio has filed 37 resolutions and sponsored four (4) ordinances. Policarpio went on official business on October 22, 2015. He went on sick leave once and filial leave thrice.
    Hon. Gregorio Malapad, Jr. has sponsored one (1) ordinance. He was on travel on March 5, 2015 and on filial leave on November 26, 2015. 
    Hon. Mark Ace C. Bautista neither filed any resolution nor sponsored any ordinance. He went on official travel three (3) times and filial leave two (2) times.
        Hon. Arnaldo M. Tejada filed 14 resolutions and sponsored 13 ordinances. He was on sick leave once and on filial leave twice. 
    Hon. Rey V. Tolentino filed one (1) resolution. He went on official travel  four (4) times, filial leave four (4) times and sick leave once. As to the committee hearings/meetings conducted or attended, Vice Mayor Regalado attended 11 meetings; Hon. Quimpo conducted four (4) and attended ten (10); Hon. Briones attended ten (10); Hon. Augusto Tolentino conducted five (5) and attended nine (9); Hon. Fernandez attended 22; Hon. Policarpio conducted 14 and attended twice; Hon. Malapad conducted once and attended 12; Hon. Bautista attended 10, while Hon. Tejada conducted seven (7) and attended 14; and Hon. Rey V. Tolentino attended five (5). Among the SB members, Hon. Policarpio filed the highest number of resolutions (37) followed by Hon. Augusto C. Tolentino and Hon. Fernandez with 24 each. Hon. Tejada filed 13 ordinances which is the highest number.
  The SB Kalibo accomplishment report neither say how many proposed ordinances filed are approved nor how many resolutions are approved too. The report did not also say what are the kinds of ordinances and how will it affect, if approved, the lives of the Kalibonhons. Are the quality of legislation of the highest standard and relevant to the socio-economic, arts and culture of the Aklanons./MP



By : Ernesto T. Solidum

     Recently, I watched with deep interest a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) documentary on a successful dairy project done in collaboration with an LGU in one of the villages of Sulawesi in Central Indonesia. It was televised via the NHK TV program. That project was locally initiated to improve socio economic life of villagers who depend on farming. Poverty, unemployment and malnutrition especially among children were rated high. The village is seated 1,500 feet above sea level and so climate is cool where few heads of cattle are raised.
    JICA responded by sending a team of experts composed of one veterinarian, one animal nutritionist and one interpreter to the project site for evaluation and orientation. They found that cows raised by farmers were of native stock mainly raised for meat, sickly and malnourished. The animals were of mostly tethered on ordinary pasture of cogon, carabao grass and rice straw/corn stover which are not nutritious.
    The first step in solving the problem was to plant napier grass: two (2) hectares as the main food source. Cut and carry method of feeding is used for animals in closed confinement.
    Meanwhile, a semi permanent building enough to hold 25 heads Holstein dairy cows was constructed by LGU. Standard shed size is 1.5 x 4 meters for every cattle.
    Eight months after establishing improved pasture stock was delivered to project site. Farmers cut lush napier grass one foot above ground, bundled and chopped manually and placed in feeding troughs. The amount of daily forage consumption per animal is computed at 3.0 percent of total body weight (dry basis). This is using tape measurement on girth of animal.
    Detection of animals in heat is done by inserting hand inside the vulva and knowing status of the ovaries. This is aptly demonstrated by veterinarian before the farmer cooperators. Once confirmed that the cow is in heat, artificial insemination (AI) is done by injecting frozen bull semen to maintain or upgrade native stock as the case may be.
    Among the 25 farmer cooperators, Boso was the most outstanding in detecting animals in oestrus or in heat and administration of AI. His exceptional talent allowed him to provide extra servicing to his farmer neighbors’ cows for a fee. With extra income, he was able to send his two (2) children to college and build a decent house.
    After a few weeks, daily milk production reached 6-7 liters per milking cow. Collected milk was pasteurized and delivered in bulk to public elementary schools’ nutrition feeding program three (3) times a week. (Result: more children in attendance during milk feeding). Farmers have enough milk as food source for the family and also for sale.
    The use of agricultural wastes particularly rice straw augmented animal ration. This was collected and placed in plastic bags and drums where dissolved urea is poured on dry roughage. This is tightly sealed for two (2) months in storage. This method increases the protein content of rice straw which is only three (3) percent. Urea granules constitute one (1) percent of the total cattle feed ration.
    As more farmers found the pilot project profitable, an improved dairy industry was born. An increasing number of dairy cows were milked and the need to use a milking machine and delivery truck was essential. A modest milk processing factory turned out milk candy bars, milk chocolate nuggets, fresh milk in bottles, and others were available to the public. More laborers were hired in the processing plant.
    What do they do with animal wastes? Well, solid wastes are collected twice daily and stockpiled to be decomposed. After four (4) months, it becomes fertilizer and sold for additional income. They proved valuable to increase production of rice, corn and vegetables.
    A tearful recognition and farewell program was held by LGU officials to JICA personnel after successful implementation of the three (3) year project. Intensive training of local farmers have paid off. Plaques of appreciation were handed out. The most important part was the transfer of responsibility to local trained farmer leaders to continue the project.
    A similar dairy project could be duplicated in the Philippines if proper planning and implementation are established. Our farmers have the technological edge and resources but sadly, agriculture is neglected and least prioritized. Yes, we have the National Dairy Authority, yet its leaders are just sleeping on their jobs but busy collecting the people’s money./MP


     Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. this week said the next administration should ramp up the campaign against illegal drugs and crimes. According to him, 20 percent of 42, 029 barangays nationwide have drug related cases.
    “I think the priorities of the next administration should be what people are worried about,” said Marcos. He noted that a recent survey shows the problem of illegal drugs and crimes ranks first and fifth respectively, among the concerns of ordinary people.
    “Too often, many of these crimes turn out to be drug-related”, he added.
    Marcos said that according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency more than 20 percent of the 42, 029 total barangays nationwide had drug related cases last year, with the National Capital Region having the highest rate of drug affected barangays at 92 percent.
    Likewise, Marcos said crime rate rose by more than three (3) times from 2010 to 2014 base on the annual reports of the Philippine Statistics Authority. The reports show that total crimes in 2014 reached 1.16 million cases compared to 324,083 cases in 2010.
    “Last August, the Philippine National Police reported that the number of crimes have gone up by almost 50 percent. In the first half of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, or a total crime volume of 888, 445 compared to 603, 085 cases for the same period in 2014.”
    “The PNP later claimed there was actually a 15 percent deduction in the crime rate for the period as only 509, 924 cases were verified as valid.”
    “No matter what the correct figure is, it is undeniable that incidences of crimes remain high”, Marcos asserted.
     With respect to the drug problem, Marcos said law enforcement authorities must set their sights on big time drug syndicates and drug lords.
    “But we also have to increase the capability of our law enforcers. We have to support them with training, with facilities, and with funding”, Marcos recommended.
    Marcos reiterated that additional support for law enforcers should be coupled with an honest to goodness effort to go after erring officers involved in criminal activities.
    “We have to discipline them. We have to investigate them. If need be, we have to change the systems so these crimes would not happen again”, Marcos concluded./MP 


       Vice Governor Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo of Aklan is been number one nominee of the “Ang Kasangga Partylist” for Congressman in the May 9, 2016 National election. According to Norman Gerardo O. Tayag, Secretary-General of the said Ang Kasangga Partylist, the Certificate of Nomination was filed with the Commission On Elections, Quezon City, on October 14, 2015 as per Doc No. 187, Page No. 36, Book No. I, Series of 2015. 
    There are five (5) nominees of the Ang Kasangga Partylist for the National Election on May 9, 2016. According to the Certificate of Nomination, Vice Governor Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo is number one nominee. The second nominee is Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla of Sibalom, Antique; Concordio G. Gorriceta of Jaro, Iloilo City; Segundo M. Gaston of Bacolod City; and Jose Ciceron Lorenzo A. Haresco of Makati City./MP


     The Senate approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to increase maternity leave for female employees in the public and private sectors to 100 days regardless of the mode of delivery.
    Currently, our laws provide for 60 days of maternity leave for government employees and  60 to 78 days for employees in the private sector, depending on the mode of delivery.
   Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2982, said the current allowable maternity leave is less than the 98-day minimum requirement of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
    According to Cayetano, the Philippines is lagging behind other countries in the Asean Region in terms of maternity leave duration. Vietnam for instance, she said, provides 120 to 180 days of maternity leave, depending on the working conditions and nature of the work. Singapore, on the other hand, provides 112 days of maternity leave. Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Myanmar, and Thailand all provides a maternity leave period of 84 days, Cayetano said in her sponsorship speech.
     She said SBN 2982, known as the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2015, aims to provide mothers with ample transition time to regain health and overall wellness as well as to assume their maternal roles before resuming full-time work.It would also give mothers sufficient financial support while on maternity leave,she added.
         They can also avail of an additional maternity leave of 30 days, without pay, provided that the employee gives the head of the agency due notice, in writing, 45 days before the end of her ordinary maternity leave.
      “The expansion of the maternity leave period shall not in any way diminish the existing maternity benefits granted by the employer. It shall not affect the female employee’s security of tenure”, Cayetano stressed.
     According to the proposed leave, employees from the private sector availing of the maternity leave period and benefits must receive not less than two-thirds of their regular monthly wages. 
     “Employers from the private sector shall pay the salary differential between the actual cash benefits received from the SSS by the covered employees and their average weekly or regular wages, for the entire duration of the ordinary maternity leave,” the bill said.
    Data from SSS show that for the years 2012 to 2014, the availment of the maternity leave is less than two percent of the total female population of SSS members.
      Exempted from giving cash benefits are employers who are operating distressed establishments and retail/service establishments employing not more than 10 workers.
    Also exempted are employers who pay their workers on commission, boundary or task basis and those engaged in the production, processing, or manufacturing of products and commodities including agro-processing, trading, and services whose total assets are not more than three million pesos.
    “Through policies like this, we aim to institutionalize standards that promote the rights of working women and protect them from discrimination based on maternity,” Cayetano said.(Olive Caunan)./MP


      Brgy Candelaria, New Washington, Aklan will celebrate its Brgy and Religious Fiesta in honor of their Patron Saint Ntra. Sra. De Candelaria on February 1-2. One of the interesting highlights of the celebration is the Coronation Pageant of Miss Candelaria Gaydiyosa. Picture above shows the 16 candidates buying for the title./MP


    Municipal Mayor: Rolando P. Doroteo – IND and Denny D. Refol Sr. – LP, Municipal Vice-Mayor: Jolly A. Solita – LP and Vito M. Tolentino, Jr. – IND. Sangguniang Bayan Members: Edward R. Ambrocio – IND, Medialin P. Barcelona – LP, Rosario B. Belarmino – LP, Paterno P. Cleope – IND, Girlie R. Custodio – IND, Ric D Cor M. Dalida – LP, Rodelle John L. David   – IND, Adrian Mac R. Gregorio – IND, Confesor F. Inocencio III – LP, Roger S. Oquendo – LP, Ronnie I. Panadero – LP, Shaun Peter M. Panadero – IND, Denny B. Refol, Jr. – LP, Rhense D. Refol – IND, Leticia B. Ureta – IND and Mylah Flor I. Villas – LP
    Municipal Mayor: Teodoro V. Calizo, Jr. – LP. Municipal Vice-Mayor: Roman R. Villaruel – LP.
Sangguniang Bayan Members: Inocentes F. Bantique, Jr. – LP, Crispino P. Beltran, Jr. – LP, Apolinar C. Cleope – LP, Joselito C. Delos Reyes – LP, Jose Roger D. Feliciano – LP, Patrick T. Lachica – LP Agnes R. Recidoro - LP and Sylvia V. Yasa – LP. The above named candidates have no opponents. They are sure winners.
    Municipal Mayor: Stevens N. Fuentes - LP and Erlinda M. Maming - UNA. Municipal Vice-Mayor: Rosemarie S. Piolo - LP and Noel L. Redison – UNA. Sangguniang Bayan Members: Rafaelina A. Arguelles – IND,Valentino N. Belongilot – UNA, Emma T. Cortes – LP, Andrew M. Duran – UNA, Joselito B. Fernandez – UNA, Ronald Ray D. Imperial – LP, Larry T. Maming – UNA, Manuel R. Masangya – LP, Jessie A. Morales – UNA, Alma R. Neron – LP, Abe R. Pastrana, Jr. – LP, Mario A. Perucho, Jr. – UNA, Josel M. Rata – UNA,  Ardin R. Recio – LP,  Nyle H. Reloj – LP, Johnny M. Rentillo – UNA, Victor N. Sarceno – IND, Teddy C. Tupas - LP /MP

Thursday, December 17, 2015

November 29- December 5, 2015

Quotation of the Week

   “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown  at  him.”
  - David Brinkley

Muslims Nationwide Are For BBM

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos warmly welcomed and thanked profusely the Muslim Community for Bongbong R. Marcos (BBM) volunteers from all over the Philippines led by Lanao del Sur  Sultan Ansary Maruhom, Chairman Abdulaziz Cabila and Secretary General Mohammad Mustapha who went to his office to reiterate their commitment and support for his Vice Presidential bid.


Senator Bongbong Marcos pushing for the passage of the bill granting retirement benefits to Barangay Executives and Workers which was passed on Second Reading. 

     The Senate last week approved on second reading Senate Bill No. 12 seeking to grant retirement benefits for Barangay Officials and Workers.
       The measure provides a retirement pay of P100,000 for each qualified Barangay Chairman, P80,000 for each Member of the Sangguniang Barangay, and P50,000 each for the Barangay Treasurer, Secretary, Barangay Tanod, Member of the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa, Barangay Health and Day Care Workers.
       Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., author of the bill lamented that Barangay Officials and Workers are serving in the front lines, delivering basic and other public services, they are only receiving measly benefits.
        “Their dedication and contribution to public service without monthly salaries but with only honoraria, allowances or other emoluments deserves more than mere recognition,” Marcos emphasized.
       “I am confident the Senate can approve this measure within the remaining days of our session,” Marcos assured.
       Under the measure, a Barangay Official or Worker must be at least 60 years old and with at least 9 years of service to be eligible to receive the retirement benefit.
 “Based on these criteria, the DILG’s National Barangay Operations Office has determined that as of June 7, 2013, some 95,616 are qualified for the benefit out of the 1,849,232 total number of Barangay Officials and workers in the country.”
        Marcos clarified, “The government needs P5.2 billion to pay for the retirement of the initial number of qualified Barangay Officials and Workers.”
       “As funding source, the measure proposed for the creation of the Barangay Retirement Fund, which shall be established through annual investments with an amount equivalent to one percent (1) of the share of the national government in the IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment).The DILG shall administer and ensure the appropriate disbursement of the fund,” Marcos concluded./MP


     Social media volunteers nationwide flocked to the Office of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos a few days ago to consolidate their collective efforts for the 2016 Vice Presidential victory. Senator Marcos renewed his commitment for continued sincere public service hopefully in the Department of Labor and Employment where he may concretely help not only in generating more employment but also in the protection of the rights and benefits of laborers.

     The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to intensify public awareness on the protection and promotion of human rights.
      MTRCB Chairperson Atty. Eugenio “Toto” Villareal along with CHR Chairperson Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon, MTRCB Board Member Atty. Noel Del Prado, and CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit, led the MOA signing at the CHR office in Diliman, Quezon City recently.
        According to Chair Toto, the signing is but a confirmation of the cooperation that has already been going on between the two agencies. “First, for the past few years, in both its developmental activities like the Matalinong Panonood for the protection of the viewers, especially children and women, and in the adjudication and dispute resolutions that we do, we have already adopted what we call a “rights-based” approach. And what greater ally we can have in this approach than the men and women of the Commission on Human Rights. Secondly, because of our developmental mandate, we would also like to bring to our stakeholders all our learnings in human rights as these apply to media and entertainment,” he said.
      For his part, Chair Chito shared that as state institutions, both the CHR and the MTRCB have crucial roles to play in terms of building a society and a community of values. “The MTRCB of course is the institution of government that ensures that whatever is produced, that impacts on our future, builds on, draws from, and strengthens a humane, democratic, and peaceful society. The same also with CHR which is a constitutional body that promotes and protects human rights. We are excited about the prospect of cooperation that we might be able to develop between the CHR and the MTRCB as we continue to promote the values of a humane society,” he said.
     Through the partnership, MTRCB and CHR seek to formulate integrated advocacy programs to promote human rights and to prevent violations by undertaking an information campaign on human rights of vulnerable groups particularly women, children, and individuals with diverse sexual orientation and gender identity.
       Also present during the signing were MTRCB Executive Director Atty. Ann Marie Nemenzo, Board Members Atty. Jojo Salomon, Jackie Aquino-Gavino, and Gladys Reyes-Sommereux, together with CHR Commissioners Roberto Eugenio Cadiz and Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana. (30)/MP


Officers of the Manila City Hall Press Corps lead by Pres. Gina Mape, Pilipino Mirror/DZRJ; Vice Pres. Rocel Lopez, TV5; Sec. Thony Arcenal, DZME; Treas.Denz Tonel, X-Files/Mirror; Auditor Ruel Otieco, TV5/Radyo5 chose Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.  to administer their oath of office for their new term held last week at the office of the Senator.


      The last time armored personnel carriers (APCs) or war tanks were deployed in Hacienda Luisita, at least seven protesters were killed and more than a hundred were left wounded.
On December 6, around 4:00 o,clock in the afternoon, farmworkers reported that two APCs and two truckloads of soldiers in full battle gear entered Barangay Balete in Hacienda Luisita, deployed to provide security to PetroSolar, the firm tasked by government to implement the Tarlac Solar Power project (TSPP), a public-private partnership project opposed by Hacienda Luisita farmers.
      Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) Secretary General Ranmil Echanis said: “We condemn President BS Aquino for allowing renewed militarization and harassment of farmers in Hacienda Luisita. Why did Aquino, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, allow heavy troop deployment just to protect this controversial project?”
      “Is Aquino openly declaring war against Luisita farmers? The troops and war tanks must immediately be pulled-out of the area before another massacre ensues,” said Echanis.
The last time such personnel and equipment were deployed in Hacienda Luisita were used to disperse the historic People’s Strike 11 years ago, resulted in a massacre on November 16, 2004. It was the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) which authorized the deployment of soldiers in the Hacienda.
      “Top officials and alter-egos of Pres. BS Aquino in other government agencies found responsible for such troop deployment like the Department of Energy (DoE), which implements the PPP projects along with PetroSolar, or the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), which holds jurisdiction over these disputed agricultural areas, must be equally liable for this atrocious move to silence the community and preempt any kind of protest against this new landgrabbing modus,” said UMA.
      UMA added that state troopers and military logistics can easily be deployed in and out of Hacienda Luisita because of its proximity to the AFP Northern Luzon (NOLCOM) Command Headquarters, right across the McArthur Highway entrance of Hacienda Luisita in San Miguel, Tarlac City. The Training and Doctrine Command HQ of the Philippine Army (PA) is in Camp O’ Donnell next town, in Capas, Tarlac.
      The deployment of soldiers in the disputed agricultural area where the PPP project is to be constructed started on November 26, according to the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang-Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA),. More than a thousand farmers and residents signed a petition to stop the TSPP which AMBALA already submitted to the DAR and local government units a few months back.
       The area in which the electrical posts would be set up was issued a Notice of Coverage (NOC) by DAR in 2013. Farmers decried that the NOC was practically useless as this did not prevent the Cojuangco-Aquino firm TADECO from using local police, private security guards and goons to eject farm worker beneficiaries who have been tilling the lands since 2005. A company headquarters of the 31st Infantry Battalion PA, 3rd Mechanized Battalion is located right in this disputed agricultural area in Balete.
      The actual solar power plant, meanwhile, is planned to be constructed in a 500-hectare area claimed by RCBC in Barangay Lourdes (Texas) and Balete, where the gate of the Luisita Industrial Park 2 (LIP2) Complex is located. AMBALA through its counsels from the Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA), still has a pending petition to revoke the DAR conversion order issued in 1996. RCBC, the LIP Corporation and the Cojuangco-Aquino firm Luisita Realty Corporation failed to abide with the terms of the conversion order as the area remained idle and fit for agricultural use nearly two decades after the DAR issued the said order.
Barbed wires and concrete barriers have also been set-up in front of the LIP2 gate. Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap has earlier called for the cancellation of this controversial PPP project in Hacienda Luisita.
      The Supreme Court already ruled for total land distribution in 2012, but Aquino is clearly doing everything in his power to undermine the farmers’ legitimate demands for land and justice,” said UMA./MP


     “Tax pa more, service no more.”
This was how Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. described the tendency of the Aquino administration to burden the people with heavy taxes, while short in providing basic services.
      “The tendency of this government is to collect and collect. It can’t be “tax pa more’ all the time. What is more important is ‘public service pa more’,” he told more than 1,000 students who attended the students forum held at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in San Fernando, La Union recently.
Earlier, the government had rejected moves in the senate and in the House of Representatives to lower the individual income tax rate to give the taxpayers breathing space.
      Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abegail Valte disclosed that the President ordered the Department of Finance to study the income tax reform bill, the proposed measure that aims to lower the income tax.
But Marcos said the present administration should reconsider its position and agree to the proposed income tax cut. The senator said the people should decide on where to put their money since the government has not been spending the national budget in a timely and adequate manner.
      “I fully support the lowering of income tax. What’s the rationale behind collecting too much tax when the government doesn’t know when and where to spend it?” he asked.
The Commission on Audit has found that of the P2.72-trillion national budget for 2014, at least P763.84 billion was unspent. 
      Marcos said other countries also collect high taxes but then collection are being spent on public services. (Among ASEAN countries, the Philippines  collects the highest taxes, 32 percent.)
       “the people in these countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Laos ,Cambodia and Vietnam are not complaining because the roads and highway are adequate, school building and classrooms are sufficient. There is peace and order, and all the other basic service are being enjoyed,” Marcos said.
       He said the situation is different in the Philippines. The people are paying high taxes, government service hardly reach the taxpayers.(But there is the 4Ps for those who have no work.) /MP


       Appointed deputies of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) are reminded of their duties and responsibilities as the Agency’s volunteers in keeping a close eye on the entertainment industry.
      In a media literacy seminar held on December 4 at the Liezl Martinez Hall of the MTRCB office in Quezon City, a number of participants took part in an engaging discussion with select board members about their role of helping MTRCB monitor shows on the local silver screen and on TV.
      It was explained to the deputies that while they are allowed to enter cinemas for free to monitor violations of MTRCB rules, they are required to submit reports of films and TV programs, and publicity materials they have viewed, and of cinemas, TV networks, and cable operators’ compliance with registration, proper display of permits and exhibition of proper advisory.
      In an earlier statement, MTRCB said that as of October 2015, around 70 percent of its deputies have already submitted reports. “These reports are not limited to violations but may be commendations, mere observations, or suggestions,” said MTRCB Chairperson Eugenio “Toto” Villareal.
     “These deputies,” Chair Toto emphasized, “are not salaried employees of the government and the MTRCB simply relies on their spirit of service and volunteerism. Simply put, they monitor movies and other media content for a cause./MP


      Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo last week expressed confidence that, Sen. Grace Poe would be able to run for the presidency in the May 2016 elections.
      “We remain undaunted and we are hopeful that Sen. Grace will ultimately be vindicated. The law is clearly on her side and we expect a fair and impartial decision on these cases should it reached the Supreme Court,” he said.
       In the cases before the Comelec, Romulo said there is no specific provision which discusses citizenship of a foundling.
       However, he pointed out it was the grandfather of Sec. Mar Roxas himself, former President Manuel Roxas, who explained that “under international law, children born of unknown parents are citizens of the country where they are born.” 
         Roxas then said there was no need for an express provision under the law (The 1935 Constitution) because it’s superfluous as it is already stated under international law.
       Romulo also noted that the 1987 constitution “adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.”
       Therefore, he stressed, Sen. Grace, like all foundlings in the country, is considered as a natural born citizen of the Philippines.
       Romulo, who was among those who attended the ceremonies commemorating the 11th death anniversary of Fernando Poe, Jr., said the Galing at Puso team is intact and determined to continue the fight./MP


     REAP Spokesperson Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis Partylist, a labor leader from Southern Mindanao, said that plantation expansion can only be accomplished through the assistance of the military and its so-called investment defense forces which has been tagged as the number one nemesis of the lumad who are defending their lands against mining and plantations.
     The government targets for plantation expansion include the following:  256,360 hectares for sugarcane;  150,000 hectares for cacao by 2020; 116,000 hectares for rubber;  87,903 hectares for coffee: and one (1) million hectares of oil palm plantations by 2030.
      In addition to these, multinational fruit giant Dole Philippines has expressed its intention to expand to at least 12,000 hectares of land for its pineapple plantation. Unifrutti recently invested P3.7 billion for an expansion of 2,600 hectares of land for Cavendish banana plantations in Muslim areas in Maguindanao.
During the Aquino administration, the unbridled expansion of agricultural plantations has resulted in the displacement of numerous lumad and peasant communities as in the case of the A. Brown oil palm venture in Opol, Misamis Oriental.
     The state, the military and other security forces, are responsible for violating the rights of the people through continued harassment, vilification and even killings to protect the interests of these corporate plantations. Gilbert Paborada, a leader of the Higaonon tribe who strongly opposed the entry of ABERDI, was killed in 2012. Independent and militant trade unions in Dolefil, Polomolok, South Cotabato experienced intense vilification campaign and harassment by the military as part of the previous administration’s counter-insurgency program.
      The existence and target expansion of plantations in Mindanao pose serious threats to the environment and health of the people living within and working in the plantations. The use of pesticides and other chemicals have caused skin and respiratory diseases to workers in oil palm, banana and even pineapple plantations.
Altering the natural landscape and denudation of natural forests to be replaced by plantation crops proved to have negative impact on soil erosion, biodiversity and sources of water./MP


     Consistent enforcement on roads discipline could go a long way to ease the traffic woes in Metro Manila, especially while projects to improve the country’s mass transport systems and road infrastructure have yet to be completed, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. said.
   “You know that the situation has turned from bad to worse when a Catholic Cardinal, who normally devotes himself to spiritual concerns, has to call the government’s attention to address the daily traffic hell,” Marcos said.
     Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, was referring to Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle who urged the government to prioritize “putting order in the streets.”
      He lamented that while the Philippines has an existing light rail system that could help ease the traffic in the metropolis, it is plagued not only with serious safety and reliability issues, poor maintenance, and overcrowding but also allegations of corruption.
      “Construction of new roads and fixing the trains will take some time, but traffic congestion can at least be partly solved by consistently enforcing discipline on our roads,” said Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Works.
       “Without consistent enforcement of road discipline, the traffic situation will not improve even if the traffic czar of the metropolis himself acts as a traffic enforcer,” he added.
 Marcos stressed that discipline should “come from the top” which is why it is important that merit and not political consideration should guide the appointment of leaders of traffic and law enforcement agencies.
      “Corrupt and erring lower-level officers cannot be corrected by superiors who are not above reproach. The next administration must ensure that discipline is the rule throughout every rank of law enforcement,” Marcos said.
        Traffic congestion and an overworked public transit system have a serious negative impact on productivity and well-being of workers, as well as the profitability of businesses, according to Marcos.
       A study of the Japan International Cooperation Agency calculated the cost of traffic at P2.4 billion a day and could rise to P6 billion a day in 2030 if adequate intervention is not in place by that time.
      “The next administration should focus on expanding the transportation infrastructure, as well as providing better training and proper equipment to law enforcement and for the orderly conduct of our transport system,” Marcos said.
       Almost everyday, thousands missed their flights as monstrous traffic jams were reported on most major roads in Metro Manila especially along EDSA, Airport Road and Sucat Road – vital arteries leading to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
       Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya‘s comment that the traffic is “not fatal” infuriated thousands of commuters who endure the daily traffic ordeal, forcing  him to make a hasty apology
Create More Jobs
      Sen. Marcos, said the government should rethink the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program,  
the money devoted for it may be better spent on basic infrastructures that could generate more jobs and spread the benefits of economic growth to more people.
       Speaking at the “Kapihan sa Manila Hotel” media forum recently, Marcos noted that while the government has been trumpeting a “remarkable” growth rate of our economy, its benefit is hardly felt by the majority of our people.
       “You cannot add jobs if the economy is not growing. Now, we hear that we are growing at a remarkable rate, but it is not felt by ordinary people. It is felt by big corporations, it is felt by rich people,” Marcos clarified.
        “There is a very serious failure in the policies for the distribution of wealth,” he added.
 Marcos said it may be time for the government to rethink its policy on the CCT because despite spending P65 billion a year on the program, there are no significant improvements in the poverty rate, literacy rate, and mortality rate in the country.
        “We have probably arrived at a point of diminishing returns. Maybe, that money can be used for schools, for hospitals, for roads, for bridges, for power plants, for the improvement of the internet, a new airport, more ports—all of these things are doable,” Marcos assessed.
 Marcos reiterated that these basic infrastructures are essential in spurring economic growth and creating more jobs for the poor.
        To create more jobs, the government should provide easier credit facilities to small and medium-size enterprises which is one of the main drivers of the country’s economic growth. He noted that around 90 percent of our work force is in the private sector.
        Corollary, Marcos suggested that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) should redirect its courses whereby our workers will be able to compete with their counterparts in the forthcoming ASEAN integration.
         “I believe that without changing any policies, without passing any new laws, we can improve the performance of the DOLE when it comes to protecting our workers, preparing our workforce for employment in the private sector, and in protecting and supporting our OFWs,”  Marcos opined.
       Marcos in the same forum called for the implementation of laws against contractualization, “Our laws provide for protections and benefits for our workers and we must abide by those rights and privileges that we have accorded to our workers,” Marcos concluded,/MP 


  THE GOOD LIFE       By: Megs S. Lunn

    I recall, I had the privilege to watch closely and personally thrilled by the comedy and drama of “CORY IT EDSA” in Marikina City Theater. It is said that the theatre is a perfect tool for social transformation. It brought me good memories of my college days in Manila. 
     Anyway, my expectation of the show is all about politics. But I was wrong. The story depicted the life of a true Filipino. Though the title implies “Cory”, the Mother of Democracy, most of what the character portrayed during the show are what reality bites me in my everyday living. Whether I like it or not, the late president Cory has inspired me to live a life of sacrifice. Do you share this feeling with me?
     I can relate most of the time, as one character was played by Peter, a neophyte reporter who saw the unassuming nature of the widow when the body of the late Ninoy arrived at their residence at Times Street, Quezon City. From the start of the musical play, Peter gave the thrill, made me laugh and made me cry, too.
      Peter in the play is Atty. Vincent M. Tanada, the writer and director of “Cory It Edsa”. He is an artist by heart and soul, a lawyer and professor by profession. The young Tanada gave it all in the play. When I spoke to him at the backstage after the show, his eyes showed redness because just in the almost last part of the play, he shed tears. He moved the audience of his perfect character.
       All the characters in the play were regular artists and homegrown talents of the Philippine Stagers Foundation in Manila and almost all of them are either award winners and or finalists for Best Actor/Actress, Best in Choreography, Best Performer, Best Productions/Designed, and others of Aliw Awards and Awit Awards, to name a few.
       From the set design, costume designs, light and sound were rare opportunity to pay homage to the cinematic treatment of the play. It was almost close to being perfect. With the play, the artists hoped that we learn something from EDSA and that we could make a difference.  /MP