Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Saeaming Nga Bukid
Ni Tita Linda Belayro

May guinasugid nga may saeaming nga bukid nga nagapakita kon putli ro imong tagipuso-on. Rondaya rong taeamdon ko mga tawo nga puti suno sa andang hinimuan nga kamaeayran. Owa it nakasueod sa rondayang bukid bangod owa it puertahan. Ogaling mabuksan eamang it isaeang ka onga nga pinili. Abo nga mga guinikanan ro naga handum nga kunta ro anang onga rong mangin pinili.

Samtang nagahampang ko anang titiris si Betty, may nagpaeapit kana nga isaeang ka babaye nga nakasuksok it puting eambong. Guinsampit ko babaye imaw kon bo-ot nana nga magsueod sa bukid nga saeaming. Nagpamalibad imaw bangod owa nakasayod ro anang ina. Golpeng naduea rong babaye. Anang guinsugid sa anang ina rong natabo. Halin kato, guinbawaean imaw nga magadto sa eati.

Ko isaeang agahon ngaron, golpeng nagkasangag ro mga tawo. Naduea kuno ro andang mga onga. Suno sa nakakita, guindaea sanda it babayeng nakaputi. Nagpakita sa mga tawo rong saeaming nga bukid. 

Idto nagsueod ro mga onga nga nagahilinampang. Bugana sanda sa pagkaon ogaling pag-abot it gabi-i hay nagatilinangis sanda tungod sa kahidlaw sa andang mga guinikanan. Guinsamitan nga buksan rong bukid ogaling owa it puertahan.

May nagpakita nga nakaputing babaye ag naghambae nga isaeang ka onga nga puti rong makabukas sa puertahan. Kinahangean nga isakripisyo nana ro anang tudlo bilang yabe agud mabuksan ro puertahan. Guin hambae pa it babaye nga si Betty rong yabe para mabuksan rong puertahan. 

Nag adto ro mga tawo sa baeay nanday Betty. Ro iba nagta-o it kwarta, ag ro iba hay mga alahas ogaling nagpamalibad ro ina ni Betty. Ko ulihe, nagsugot ra nanay. Guinhaead nana ro anang  onga agod isakripisyo ro todlo ni Betty bangod sa kaeo-uy sa mga tawo. Nakaguwa ro mga unga nga kaabuan hay pasaway, owa naga eskwela, naga ligoy sa klase, nagapanakaw ag ro iba hay mga matamad.

Bangod eang sa tudlo ni Betty, nagpasaeamat ro mga guinikanan. Nagta-o man it leksyon rato sa mga onga. Makaron, palangga guid nana si Betty ag imaw hay nangin huwaran ko mga kabataan una sa andang lugar. /MP


*Statement of the Philippine Chamber Of Commerce and Industry.

The serious concern about power supply shortfall in Luzon in 2015-2016, a potential shortfall in the Visayas and the ongoing shortage in Mindanao are definitely deafening sound for action, a deliberate one that does not need to raise the panic button among the public.

This challenge we face now does not come as a surprise.  Over the last four to five years, the power supply and demand situation has been extensively presented and discussed in several consumers, business and government fora both, separately and jointly.

With the supply shortfall escalating into brownouts in Luzon and finally putting everyone on the same page, we are calling for all stakeholders to act in unison in addressing the issue on hand.
From the combined economic, industry, investment and even political views, there appear to be two (2) basic distinct critical periods or challenges to address - the 2015-16 period and post-2016 and beyond. 

The first has to be confronted with basic “stop-gap” or “band-aiding” measure.  This situation is like a golf ball lying 6 inches from the hole.  It is a “give” situation and there is no need to tap it in, meaning any steps taken to cure, to bridge or aid the gap would be acceptable to all.  There is no need to declare a national emergency.

The second is different because it must be addressed by way of a well-laid out plan that is shared with all stakeholders and which government could smoothly and competently implement through the grant of emergency powers to the President, if the plan would warrant the declaration of a state of emergency.  Without such a well-laid plan behind it, declaring a state of emergency would be dangerous and could eventually be counter-productive as we have experienced before.

The private sector has submitted several proposals to entice investments and improve generation adequacy including aggregating the demand of distribution utilities, opening the generation market to competitive bidding and streamlining the business permitting and licensing system. 

We urge the National Government to earnestly consider these proposals and develop them into a roadmap consistent with the goals of adequate and reliable power supply and competitive power rate.

The situation can be solved without need for amending the EPIRA, which would create unnecessary restlessness and uncertainties and slow down the present market and investment momentum.  The same situation may be expected should a national emergency that is not founded on any solid plan is declared.

With the exercise of strong and reasonable political leadership and will, both issues can be effectively overcome and thereby provide assurance of better power supply and price competitiveness ahead. /MP

Drilon Warns Gov’t. Underspending

Drilon Warns Gov’t. Underspending

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon aired concerns about the drop in government spending in 2014 which, if not addressed, could further be aggravated by the “chilling effect” of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) on the government spending plan.

The Senate leader pointed to signs of looming underspending of the government during the Senate’s hearing on the proposed P2.606 trillion 2015 national budget.

“For the first quarter of 2014, the growth domestic product is only 5.7 percent, which is lower than the 7.7percent growth rate achieved in the same period in 2013,” said Drilon.

“The underspending is also visible in the decline in the government consumption for the first quarter of 2014 which only reached 2 ptercent, way below the 10 percent level during the same period last year,” he added.

 Drilon thus issued a challenge to the country’s economic managers: “the challenge now is how to accelerate spending in the remaining months of the year while still complying with the Supreme Court decision on the DAP.”

“The members of the bureaucracy now have apprehension against taking initiatives, because they might face charges stemming from the DAP decision. Whether you like it or not, the SC decision on the DAP had a chilling effect on the government expenditure program,” Drilon pointed out.

 He said the Office of the President and the Department of Budget and Management should closely monitor the line agencies to ensure they would implement their programs in a timely manner.
Drilon also committed that the Senate will continue to exercise its oversight functions to make sure proper and prompt government spending is given priority. /MP

Multi-commodity Solar Tunnel Dryer For Guimaras

Multi-commodity Solar Tunnel 
Dryer For Guimaras

The Department of Agriculture 6 through the high value crops development program provides the first multi-commodity solar tunnel dryer costing Php. 240,000.00 to Ms. Rebecca Tubungbanua of barangay San Isidro, Buenavista, Guimaras. Tubungbanua is an awardee of Gawad Saka and Magsasakang Siyentista of Guimaras. She is proprietor of McNester Food Products. The project is used to dry mango, sweet potato, cassava and mulunggay leaves. (James Earl Ogatis photo) /MP

NWNCHS Wins As Best Brigada Eskwela Implementer 2014

NWNCHS Wins As Best 
Brigada Eskwela Implementer 2014
by Annie B. Malacas

The New Washington National Comprehensive High School (NWNCHS), Poblacion, New Washington, Aklan is awarded the 2014 Best Brigada Eskwela Implementer, Secondary Big School Category in the Division of Aklan. It is Aklan’s entry in the Regional level, Secondary division.

Mrs. Mary Ann S. Lopez, Education Program Supervisor I in MSEP/MAPEH, Division Adopt-a- School/Brigada Eskwela Coordinator, and one of the evaluators announced the Division Level result of the yearly search on July 25, 2014 during the school’s Opening Program of the “Paligsahan ng Lakas 2014” at the NWNCHS Grounds.

The DepEd has mandated all the private and public schools nationwide to conduct the Brigada Eskwela every year in the month of May in preparation for the opening of classes in June through the DepEd Order No. 24, Series 2008.

The NWNCHS with all other schools all over the country held the Brigada Eskwela or the National Schools Maintenance Week on May 19-24, 2014.

The collaborative efforts of the teachers and employees headed by their Principal, Mrs. Santia A. Arboleda and their Head Teacher I, Mrs. Rosalita A. Antaran; the school’s Brigada Eskwela Coordinator, Mr. Marvin R. Parman; the municipal officials led by Mayor Edgar R. Peralta, the Rural Health Unit with its Municipal Health Officer V, Dr. Emmanuel M. Peralta; the Bureau of Fire Protection headed by the Acting Municipal Marshal SF02 Germeniano U. Fernandez, the New Washington PNP led by the Chief of Police, PSI Al Loren P. Bigay, Punong Barangay Kristian V. Peralta with his Barangay Council, PTA Officers headed by the President PO2 Fraim S. Prado; 4P’s recipients, alumni and other stakeholders contributed much in winning the award.

The winners in the Regional level in the Elementary and Secondary divisions will be the Western Visayas’ entries in the National Search for 2014 Brigada Eskwela Best Implementer. /MP

Promoting Safe And Enjoyable Land Travel

Promoting Safe And 
Enjoyable Land Travel
By Ernesto T. Solidum

Ernesto T. Solidum
“Traffic Rules and Regulations” is topic discussed in the weekly Kapihan on August 16, 2014 held at NVC Carmen Hotel. The guests are Chief Insp. Pedro M. Enriquez, Kalibo PNP, Valtimor D. Conanan, Head LTO and Reynaldo A. Agcawili, Pres., Kalibo Pobl. Tricycle Optrs and Drivers Credit Coop. (Kapotodcco).

The rational for road traffic safety focuses on World Health Organization findings that the annual death toll due to road accidents is 1.2 million. The Asean Strategic Transport Plan lists 75,000 deaths, 4.7 million injuries and $15 billion damage to property among Asean countries every year.
In Metro Manila, the UP National Center for Transportation Studies reported that in 2003, the leading cause of injuries was vehicular accidents involving 9,000 road crash fatalities. On this basis, the objective of Road Safety Management is to reduce fatalities from 4.2 to 2.0 percent or save 3,400 lives annually.

According to Mr. Conanan, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is implementing DOTC Joint Adm. Order No. 2014-001. It imposes drastic fines for violation of traffic rules and regulations. Where before minimum penalty was only P1,000. Today the penalties are for colorum buses - P1 million; passenger van - P200,000; tricycle - P6,000; non-wearing of PS helmet - P1,000; reckless driving - P2,000; smoke belching vehicles on road inspection - P3,000; and non-wearing of seatbelt - P1,000. Other sanctions are revocation of driver’s license, franchise, impoundment of vehicle and imprisonment.

Road users or drivers must be educated on traffic signs such as regulatory, warning, guide or info, special instruction and roadwork posted conspicuously along or above the road as in bridge overpass. The presence of undisciplined drivers and stakeholders is due to the dearth of knowledge on road traffic education. We need to start this among school children like program on “Walk this Way” and Defensive Driving averred Conanan.

The police has the mandate to enforce all traffic rules and regulation like the parking/no parking areas, no loading/unloading zones, no vehicle entry, one way streets. Ironically, the international road signs like the no parking, no entry are now posted in bold letters yet many motorists disobey or just ignore them. Pedestrians must use the pedestrian lane or cross on street corners and walk against incoming traffic to the left. Passengers must board in bus or van terminals and expect to be dropped in unloading zone. How many of our riding public and drivers care about personal safety and comfort during travel? An educated guess could be only half, laments Chief Insp. Enriquez.

Mr. Agcawili revealed that Kapotodcco is reorganized in August 2012 and registered with CDA on March 3, 2013. It has 120 regular members and 1,600 associate members. The membership fee is P100 while subscribed capital is P4,000 payable in 4 yearly installments.

All transport services must abide with the existing traffic rules and regulations as well as transport policy of LGU Kalibo which include ban on tricycle outsiders from operating inside Poblacion Kalibo, tricycle rerouting scheme, use of proper uniform (vest, jacket, long pants, and rubber shoes) and phasing out of outmoded or decrepit tricycle units.

To get rid of surplus number of tricycles is to decongest Kalibo streets. We encourage our members to bond together, replace their units with brand new multicabs. Kalibo is a tourist hub and gateway to Boracay. Franchise service routes could initially be suburban Kalibo and later the Pook Jetty Port and Kalibo Circumferential road. However, the plan will materialize if an enabling law is passed to this effect, Agcawili suggested.

LTO has rescinded the drug testing requirement prior to acquiring new driver’s license or its renewal. The mandatory smoke emission testing must also be abolished. Mr. Conanan deflects this issue to the Task Force composed of DTI, DOH, DOST, and DENR that approve license of private contractors. National data on smoke emission tests show less than 1 percent only of all vehicles tested are disapproved. Since the Clean Air Act of 1997, operators of vehicles pay to LTO exorbitant fees ranging from P300 to P450 per unit irrespective of year model as long as it runs on the road. This made highways, roads and avenues in the Philippines filled with smog and increased the number of people with chronic respiratory diseases, asthma and cardiovascular diseases.

Pound for pound, a motorcycle spews more carbon gasses into the atmosphere than a car because the latter is equipped with catalytic converter to trap harmful residue as a result of combustion. In view of this, it is logical that 2 stroke motorcycles especially utilized for sidecar must be banned. If we need a pollution-free environment, we must strongly adopt 4 stroke gasoline engines. The 2 stroke MC’s may be deployed or relegated to secondary or tertiary roads. (2 stroke MC is banned in China 15 years ago. Therefore, the Philippines serves as dumping ground for rejected motorcycles.)  

Unauthorized vehicle modification must be strictly implemented by law enforcers. Multicab operators have the nasty habit of increasing body length and transmission shaft without making proper adjustment of bearings size, tires and engine unit of vehicle. This practice jeopardizes safety of riding public and road stakeholders. Data show that one third of road fatalities are pedestrians and bystanders.

The same is true of single motorcycle used as “habal-habal” found in all provinces and cities of the country. They are oftentimes called daredevils for handily negotiating cross country roads, off tracks carrying 3 to 4 back passengers plus 1 in front of driver racing at speeds of 20 to 30 kilometers per hour. Other cumbersome loads are sacks of palay, corn, copra, vegetables and fruits. Virtually all safety precautions are ignored here: no protective gear like helmets, jackets, shoes, and hand gloves. Worst for some drivers are minors who don’t possess driver’s license. (Even deaf mute is allowed to drive in Aklan.) Under the circumstances, prospective passengers, other vehicles and pedestrians must confront imminent dangers as loss of life or limb. Indeed life is harsh for those living in remote barangays connected with rails and narrow gravel road.

The fundamental solution to safe and efficient transportation lies in 3 strategies namely: a) proper road engineering design and construction of roads and bridges by DPWH and PEO, b) education on road safety by LTO and NGO and c) law enforcement by PNP and LTO. These are complementary and explicitly provided for under the mission/goals of concerned government agencies.

We decry loss of lives during typhoons, floods, and earthquake but road carnage cases each year are mounting and more numerous because authorities and stakeholders tend to ignore basic road safety management. /MP

Women Make A Difference In Peace Process

Women Make A Difference
 In Peace Process
by Megs S. Lunn

Megs S. Lunn
Sarah Cleto Rial, USA/South Sudan, is excited to meet up with Rotary Peace Fellow to the Rotary Peace Fellows’ field study to the Philippines. She is likewise excited to meet with the courageous women who served on the government’s negotiating team, chaired by Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and negotiated a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). 

The stories of the women are covered in the magazine, Kababaihan at Kapayapaan, Issue No. 1, March 2014.  The diverse representation of the women, their personal experience, and technical expertise made them even stronger.  From lawyers to administrators and peacebuilding activists on the ground, they represented their country and their people well.  It is really important to include the voices of the people who are on the ground because they are the ones who suffer the consequences of wars and who yearn for peace. They will eventually implement the peace agreement.  Without including their inputs, any efforts to bring peace from the top down will not succeed.

In a conference that she helped organized in May 2014, Washington – DC, a US businessman and political adviser said, “Women bring order to things much faster than men with AK-47s… The more women we can get involved everywhere, the better off we seem to be.”  This is what the Filipinas proved right.  According to a male interviewed for the Philippine magazine, the women’s work ethnic, competence and their ‘women touch’ contribute significantly to the success of the peace process.  More important, they offered better worded texts!  I hope we can learn from their experience.

 “My country, South Sudan, has suffered a long history of war and, after gaining independence in July 2011, the people hope to enjoy peace.  Yet, violence started again in December 2013 and current peace negotiations seem stalled.  Perhaps we would have made progress by now if women were to lead or included on both sides.  Inclusion must come from the beginning.  We must act now before it is too late.  The Global Peace Index puts South Sudan on the category of least peaceful countries and one of the indicators for structures that sustain peaceful societies is ‘gender equality’. Think about it,” Sarah Cleto Rial stressed.

Though the South Sudan constitution guarantees 25 percent women’s involvement at all levels of government, this is not reflected on the negotiating teams.  The opposition group had three women in the first round of talks but, to my understanding, reduced to only one.  When asked why there are no women on their team, the government representative, the acting chair, said, “What is important is not the gender representation but what is important is the achievement of the objective.  The objective is irrespective if they are represented or not.”

The marginalization of women is a global problem that varies from one nation to another.  The response of the representative above is just one example of how we are still suppressed in our community, our concerns are taken for granted, and our needs largely disregarded.  Leaders must realize that the push for representation the women call for and the issues that they want included in the agreements are the foundation of a stable society.  If these issues are not provided for, they become the reasons for conflicts – started by men! /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Resilient Tourism: Foreign 
Visitors Surge In Albay

Mr. Johnny C. Nunez reported that Albay’s resilient tourism program has speedily and effectively put the province back on track shortly after Typhoon Glenda’s recent devastations. Foreign tourists are flocking back in droves to the country’s fastest growing destination, Albay.

Less than a month after Glenda pummeled the province, the newly opened Albay International Gateway (AIG) rolled out the red carpet last August 8 to welcome 154 Chinese tourists who flew direct from Xiamen on board a Cebu Pacific Airlines’ flight, wrote Nunez.

The batch kicks off Cebu Pacific’s initial 18-cycle, three-month running contract flights from August 8 to October 10 this year.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the province’s strong disaster resilient program made the project possible. The entire machinery of the Albay local government focussed on getting back on track immediately after the disaster, particularly in tourism.

Glenda mauled Albay for over seven hours last July 16. Salceda personally led the provincial government machinery immediately. They  cleared the debris evening of the same day so that residents woke up the next morning with almost all the roads already passable.

Water and power supplies were heavily derailed, but the local government resorted to alternative sources particularly in critical areas. Team Albay’s Water and Sanitation unit provided continuous supply of potable water while commercial and industrial outfits made available their power generators.

The telecommunication systems heavily damaged were back in service in five days, while public offices have reopened immediately the following day. Airplane flights were also restored the following day using back up facilities, he added.

The first batch of about 300 Chinese tourists flew in Albay early this 2014 on board the Philippine Airlines flights, also from Xiamen, in time to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Albay.

Salceda said the AIG was established under Executive Order No. 29, designating Legazpi City as an international gateway for direct flights from foreign tourism markets. It marks a local government breakthrough in tourism, one that opens doors to and from various parts of the world via the non-traditional routes, the links to which were worked out. China, Korea and Taiwan are initial targets.
The Bicol International Airport in Daraga town is now under construction. It is set to open in 2016 but Salceda said tourists “don’t have to wait that long to enjoy Albay’s wondrous experience.”
The Department of Tourism has declared Albay as the fastest growing tourism destination in the Philippines with a 66 percent growth rate in 2013. With the AIG, Salceda hopes to make that record consistent.

“We put in place our CIQS or customs, immigration, quarantine and security systems. We made necessary adjustments to standards of international airports and institutionalized the operating mechanisms under our Albay International Gateway Committee (AIGC) which now supervises the international flights,” said Salceda, who chairs the AIGC.

A noted economist, Salceda said the new Albay gateway could bring in about P6.5 billion in revenues to Albay a year, five times its annual budget. A Chinese tourist can spend around $1,000 a day during his 5-day stay in Albay. This will also help create jobs for Albayanos at a rate of one job opportunity per tourist. 

Salceda expects “many more direct flights to Albay to follow and bring to the heart of Bicolandia thousands of tourists and holiday-seekers who will help boost the Albay BOOM economic battle cry,” Salceda enthused.

The governor said the gateway also opens up Albay for global engagements, particularly the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) in 2015, which kicks off in December this year. /MP


Sluggish Agricultural Growth Alarms Drilon

The maxim “two heads are better than one” may not be applicable for the country’s agriculture sector, said Senate President Franklin M. Drilon who reiterated last week his disappointment over the continued decline in the performance of the agriculture sector over the past months.
“I am very alarmed by the dismal figures presented to us by the economic managers insofar as the growth of agriculture sector is concerned,” said Drilon.

“The agriculture sector only grew 0.9 percent in the first quarter of the year, as compared to the 3.2 percent growth registered in the same quarter last 2013, which is still below target,” Drilon pointed out.

“Is the apparent inability of the Department of Agriculture to increase agricultural productivity due to lack of funding or a case of bureaucratic impasse?” asked Drilon.

The Senate leader said, however, that funds for agriculture sector have continuously increased throughout the Aquino administration in an effort to ramp up agricultural productivity.

For 2015, Drilon said, the DA will receive P88.8 billion, 11.1 percent higher than its current level of P80 billion, which shows an increase of 93 percent from its 2010 level of P47.6 billion.

The bulk of the budget, according to Drilon, will be used to build up the country’s agriculture infrastructure.

“For 2015, the government has allotted P25 billion for various irrigation activities, P14.5 billion for the construction of several farm-to-market roads, and P2.2 billion for the promotion of high value crops, P7.0 billion and P2.3 billion for the development of rice and corn industries, respectively,” pointed out Drilon.

“It appears to me that the consistent prioritization given by the administration to the agriculture sector failed to yield good results for our agriculture sector,” said Drilon.

“The dismal performance of the agriculture sector is a valid concern, considering that 11 percent of the economy is contributed by agriculture sector and nearly one-third of the nation’s labor force belongs to the agricultural sector,” he stressed.

“There is a clear downward trend in the agricultural sector, and it further went down to only one percent this year due to the effects of the past calamities,” said Drilon.

The Senate chief also lamented the poor living condition of farmers and fisher folks who remain the poorest sector of the society: “Two-thirds of the poorest sector in the society belongs to agriculture sector which should not be the case now given the huge support continuously by government to agriculture,”

He thus said there is a need to strengthen and address the various issues confronting the agriculture sector.

Earlier, Drilon suggested that the current structure of agriculture department be reviewed.
“I think we really need to have a clear point man and streamline the DA’s bureaucratic system. They have split the agencies into agricultural departments which should be reviewed,” Drilon strongly suggested. 


In order to revive the agricultural sector and improve the lives of farmers, there is a need to develop reforms on a national scale and to mount ground level initiatives that benefit the poor, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said Friday night.

“I will not profess expertise in the management of the agriculture sector, but common sense and my 20-year experience as a local executive and the last four years as the second highest official of the land tell me this: while we need to develop and start structural reforms that will benefit agriculture on a national scale, we need to mount ground level initiatives that benefit the poor of our country,” the Vice President said during the awarding ceremony of the Landbank of the Philippines’ 24th Gawad Para Sa Pinakatanging Kooperatiba (PITAK).

Binay said the lackluster performance of the agriculture sector was a “tragedy,” considering the vast scope of the sector, its contribution to the national economy, and the millions of Filipinos depending on agriculture for their livelihood.

“Consider these statistics: in terms of land area, agricultural farms occupy 32 percent of the total land area of the country.  From 2004 to 2010, the agricultural sector contributed an average of more than 18 percent to Gross Domestic Product or GDP.  Over the same period, exports from the sector rose from $2.5 billion to $4.1 billion,” Binay added.

“In terms of employment, the sector accounts for almost 35 percent of the total workforce. If the whole agriculture value chain were considered, the contribution to GDP and total employment would reach 35 percent and 50 percent, respectively,” he further said.

Binay lamented that despite the agriculture sector’s importance in the economy, “its performance leaves much to be desired.”

“A decade ago, we were a net agricultural exporter. Now, we are a net importer. Before, we were self-sufficient in rice and corn, now we import substantial quantities of these grains,” he said.
“With the fragmentation of our rural lands due to agrarian reform and the failure to provide the necessary support services previously given by landowners, the sector now is dominated by small farmers and fisherfolks.  Private investment in agriculture has come in trickles and productivity is very low compared to our ASEAN neighbors,” he said. /MP



Chiz Escudero
Senator Chiz Escudero again expressed his opposition to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution, particularly the plan to lift the six-year term that would give President Benigno Aquino III or any sitting president a fresh mandate.

At a media forum last week, Escudero assured the public that he will not support any move in the Senate that will change any provision in the Charter – a position he has maintained since he assumed public office.

According to Escudero, any talk of Charter change (Cha-cha) in order to pursue term extension should have been addressed from start of an administration in order to avoid speculation.

 While Escudero believes that Cha-cha would not happen any time soon, he also emphasized that he will fight any move to amend the Constitution in order to weaken the Supreme Court.

When asked why there was a lot of chatter about extending Aquino’s term which is ending in 2016, Escudero said it could be a “trial balloon” or an attempt to deflect criticisms portraying the Chief Executive as a “lame duck” President.

 Knowing the President, Escudero said, he is already counting the days to leaving MalacaƱang and live a simple and normal life like everybody else.

“The President and his family have already given their share and more to the country. He deserves to get his own life back, and I think he is looking forward to that day to come in 2016.” /MP



VP Binay
Some 572,024 poor Filipinos received assistance from the office of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay since he took office in 2010.

In its fourth year accomplishment report, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) stated it provided food and water to 516,617 disaster survivors during relief operations. 

From January to June 2014, the OVP distributed 14,961 packages of relief goods to families affected by fires and flashfloods.

Some 6,555 bags were given to fire victims in Taguig, Quezon City, Manila, Malabon, Caloocan, and Isla Verde in Davao.

Families in Cebu and Mandaue whose homes were razed to the ground received 2,000 food bags and 5,400 bottles of water.

Another 6,406 bags were distributed to families affected by flashfloods caused by monsoon rains in Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, and Agusan del Sur.
In the aftermath of super-typhoon Yolanda, Binay immediately went to the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo to give aid.

The OVP distributed around 20,000 relief bags in the municipalities of Dumarao, Cuartero, Panay, Dao, Roxas City, Ivisan, Tapaz, Dumalag, Sigma and President Roxas in Capiz. Another 15,000 bags were given to affected residents in Zarraga, Pototan, Barotac Nuevo, Banate, Passi, Lemery, Janiuay, San Dionisio, Lambunao, Concepcion, Estancia, and Dumangas in Iloilo.

Some 5,000 bags of relief goods were sent to Bantayan Island in Cebu.

Binay and his staff were one of the first responders during the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the provinces of Bohol and Cebu in October.

The OVP distributed 1,000 food packs and 7,000 bottles of water in Cebu City. It handed out 12,000 relief bags and 1,000 gallons of water in Maribojoc, Sagbayan, San Isidro, Baclayon and other affected municipalities in Bohol.

The OVP handed out 95,938 bags of relief goods to families in Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, Tarlac, Aurora, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

In 2013, the Rescue Volunteer Teams from the OVP were able to save, rescue and evacuated 793 individuals and 82 families.
Besides relief operations, OVP has been active in providing medical assistance, burial/funeral assistance, medical missions, relief operations, educational assistance, and other services to help alleviate the plight of the poor. 

In March 2014, 7,832 persons benefited from separate medical missions of the OVP in Nueva Vizcaya, Zamboanga, and Nueva Ecija. Some 2,666 beneficiaries were able to take part in simultaneous medical missions in Nueva Vizcaya, including 811 in Bayombong, 482 in Dupax del Norte, 556 in Dupax del Sur, 428 in Kasibu, and 389 in Kayapa.

In Zamboanga, the OVP served 419 beneficiaries in Barangay Sta. Catalina, 498 in Barangay Talon-Talon, 488 in Barangay Taluksangay, 509 in Barangay Tetuan, and 384 in Barangay Tulungatung.

Some 563 beneficiaries were served in Gibaldon, 758 in Licab, 434 in Llanera, 550 in PeƱaranda, and 563 in Quezon all in Nueva Ecija.

In total, the OVP, in partnership with local government units and volunteer medical practitioners, has provided a total free medical, dental, and optical services to 91,505 beneficiaries since 2010. It also provided 612 wheelchairs to persons with disabilities.

For the first quarter of 2014, 1,152 beneficiaries also received medical assistance from the OVP. Binay’s office released P8.58 million from January to March, or an average of P7,454 per recipient.

Another P437,500 was released to 198 beneficiaries as burial assistance, P100,000 for maintenance medicines of 36 patients, and P83,900 for the transport of 15 cadavers.

In sum, the OVP assisted 23,365 beneficiaries who asked for medical assistance since 2010. The requests varied from settling hospital bills; paying for chemotherapy sessions, medicines, surgery and other procedures; or buying implants and hearing aids. The OVP also reached out to 1,476 indigents who needed funeral/burial/transportation assistance.

The OVP’s scholarship grant-in-aid program also continues to assist 1,500 scholars in state colleges and universities nationwide.

Binay’s office also partnered with select private schools for its scholarship program. This includes AMA Computer University/ACLAC/ABE, St. Jude College & Medical Center, Manila Central University, Manila Business College, and University of Batangas.

The OVP also distributed school supplies to 32,275 elementary pupils, most of whom belong to indigenous groups, and distributed medals and certificates of recognition to 21,980 students.

From 2011 to 2013, the OVP also helped fund the construction or repair of around 700 senior citizens’ centers nationwide. The centers serve as venues for assemblies, recreation and sports activities, and medical missions.

Medical equipment—including wheelchairs, sphygmomanometers, nebulizers and stethoscopes—were donated to 44 Offices for Senior Citizens Affairs.

Amid the controversy over the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in September last year, Binay formally requested Congress to remove the P200 million social services fund from the OVP’s budget for 2014.

The fund was given starting 2011 and originally came from the unused PDAF of then Sen. Benigno Aquino III. In 2012 and 2013, the amount was integrated into the OVP’s regular budget. /MP

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

PRC Aklan Launches Awards Response Equipment

PRC Aklan Launches Awards Response Equipment
Photo above shows atty. Ronquillo C. Tolentino - Chairman, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Aklan Chapter, Dr. Jesse M. Gomez - Schools Division Supt., Aklan, and Mrs. Arcely P. Pelayo - PRC Aklan Chapter Administrator with Red Cross volunteers during the School - Based Disaster Risk Reduction Project Launching and Awarding of Response Equipment held at Hernani’s Mix’n Match, Kalibo, Aklan last week.

In partnership with Finnish Red Cross, PRC Aklan Chapter launched the School - Based Disaster Risk Reduction Project and Awarding of Response Equipment last week. It also awarded response equipment to project areas. 

The School - Based Disaster Risk Reduction Project Areas 2014-2015 which were awarded response equipment are Mobo Elementary School, Mobo; Bakhaw Norte Elementary School; Buswang Old - Bakhaw Sur Elementary School; and Tinigaw Elementary School, all in Kalibo; Bulwang Elementary School and Aliputos Elementary School, Numancia; Panayakan Elementary School and Jawili Integrated School, Tangalan; and Laguinbanwa Elementary School and Ibajay Central School, Ibajay, Aklan.

During the launching and awarding of response equipment, Mr. Larrence T. Cadunggan - PRC Aklan presented the school project activities and accomplishment. Atty. Ronquillo C. Tolentino - PRC Aklan; Dr. Jesse M. Gomez - Aklan Schools Division Supt., and Mr. Toni Jokinen - Support Delegate of Finnish Red Cross gave their respective messages. /MP

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Ro Hermitanyo Ag Ro Baeo

Sa bukid it Tabor, may naga-estar nga hermitanyo. Paeangta manlang nagapakita sa tawo rong nasambit nga hermitanyo. Makita eamang imaw kon magpanaog sa bukid ogaling indi nanda masayuran kon siin imaw naga adto. Guina patihan nga relihiyoso rondayang hermitanyo. Naga pinangadi imaw ag naga puasa sa sueod ko anang guina estahan.

Isaeang adlaw, hakita nga nagpanaog rondayang hermitanyo. Owa masayuri kon siin imaw nagapadueong. Sa anang pagpanaw, ha-agi imaw sa sangka baeay. Nagpanuktok imaw sa isaeang ka baeay nga maisot manlang maeapit sa kagueangan. Nagbukas kana rong puetahan. Isa-eang ka babaye ro nag-abi abi kana. Sa andang pag-haeambae, hanotisyahan nana nga baeo gale ro baye. Hanabu-an nga naga patueog imaw sa anang unga nga masakiton.  

Nangayo ro hermitanyo it tubi sa ratong baeo. Pagkatapos, nangayo man imaw it pagkaon. Owa guid magpamalibad ro babaye.  Rondoyon eun lang ro katapusan nanda nga pagkaon, ag kon ipakaon pa nana sa rondayang tawo hay kabay nga may hibilin para sa anang unga. Sayod ro hermitanyo nga ronduyon eon lang guid rong pagkaon ko rondayang babaye. Pagkaeaha, guin hakiran rong hermitanyo ag dayon nagbalik sa naga katueog nga unga. 

Pagkatapos it kaon ko hermitanyo, nangamuyo imaw sa Diyos ag nag hambae, “Bendisyonan ka ko imong guin buhat. Tungod sa kahumok ko imong tagipusuon, guin una mo pa ro ibang tawo ko sa imong kaugalingon. Batunon mo rong grasya nga haead kimo it Diyos”. Nag panaw dayon ro hermitanyo.
Owa guid it habilin sa pagkaon nga guin tao sa hermitanyo. Nag adto imaw sa andang taeagbasan, agod siputon rong habilin nga bugas. Sa abo nga kangawa, eabang ro sueod ko anang taeagbasan, ag may pinutos pa nga karne ag prutas sa sueod. Nageuhod rong baeo ag nagpasaeamat. “Bulahan guid ako nga guinpili ag sukaton ro akong pagto-o. Bulahan man rong Diyos nga nagapamati sa pangamuyo it mga tawo.

Sa tiyempo makaron, kinahangean guid kita magpangamuyo ag magpasaeamat. Unahon naton Imaw eabi sa tanan bangod Imaw eamang rong makapuno sa atong kinahangean. /MP


Is Peace and Non Violence: 
Relevance in the 21 Century?

An Indian king interested to know what exactly is PEACE, invited intellectuals and scholars to answer his question.  After much deliberation and no answer, someone suggested that the king consults a sage outside the borders of his kingdom.  The king went to the sage and posed the eternal question.  The sage listened to the king and without a word went into the kitchen, brought a grain of wheat to the king, and said, “in this you will find the answer to your question.”  The king, though puzzled, grabbed the grain, returned to his palace, locked the precious grain in a tiny gold box, and placed the box in his safe.

Each morning, the king opens the box and look at the grain to seek an answer but could find nothing.  After a long time, another sage, passing through, stopped to meet the king who eagerly invited him to resolve his dilemma.  The sage replied to the king that just as this grain represents nourishment for the body, peace represents nourishment for the soul.  If you keep this grain locked up in a gold box it will eventually perish without providing nourishment or multiplying.  However, if it is allowed to interact with the elements – light, water, air, soil – it will flourish, multiply and soon would be a whole field of wheat which will nourish you and many others.  This is the meaning of peace.  It must nourish your soul and the souls of others. It must multiply by interacting with the elements.

Peace and nonviolence start from a person’s inner commitment and conviction, a core belief in the idea and willingness to share it with others.  It is not only a tool or technique, but also a way of life, as Dr. Chaiwat Satha-Anand said during his lectures on nonviolence.

Nonviolence does not guarantee immediate and unfailing success, no method of peaceful resolution of conflict does.  The proponents of nonviolence advocate that the concept works because it deals with the causes, rather than the symptoms, of conflicts.  Cooperation and consent are the roots of political power and in contemporary world politics where interdependence works. Nonviolence can help as a tool for peaceful resolution of conflicts.

A father of nonviolence, M.K. Gandhi’s struggle was based on a number of  strategies that worked well under the circumstances.  According to Paul Wehr, Gandhi was able to keep the Indian independence movement from lurching out of control  through a number of strategies:

•A “step-wise” process.  Gandhian campaigns began with negotiation and arbitration, during which he worked not only on the issues in dispute, but also on developing a cooperative relationship with the British officials involved.  If the conflict was not resolved at this stage, the satyagrahis prepared for nonviolent action including “agitation, ultimatum, economic boycott and strikes, noncooperation, civil disobedience, usurpation of governmental functions and the creation of parallel government.”

•Commitment to nonviolence.  Each participant in a Gandhian campaign had to make a personal and absolute commitment to nonviolence.  According to Wehr, it was primarily because of this personalized self-control that such a massive movement developed with surprisingly little violence.

•Controlling the dynamics of escalation.  Gandhi avoided common precipitators of escalation.  For example, he tied each campaign to a single issue and thus avoided proliferation of issues or parties.  He put emphasis on developing personal relationships with opponents, and thus refrained from the tendency to move from confrontation to antagonism.  By announcing all intended moves, he minimized the possibility of information becoming distorted.

Gandhi’s nonviolent strategies explain that both practicality and political relevance are vital in any nonviolent struggle.  Nonviolence is in fact based on pragmatic steps towards ideal goals. In other words it is a combination of principle and pragmatism.  Nonviolence does not mean giving in to injustice or submitting to violence, it is to working with resolve in the face of oppression with a realistic view of the goodwill of the opponent.  Nonviolence involves no intention to dominate the opponent but points towards establishing a balanced relationship that fosters dialogue and resolution of the conflict in the interest of the common good.  Hence common good is the guiding principle, a win-win solution where no one feels betrayed, defeated, or overpowered but instead feels accommodated, accepted, and appreciated. (Arshi Saleem Hashmi, Pakistan, Rotary Peace Fellow during the June 2014 Rotary Session)/Megs Lunn. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer by Ambrosio R. Villorente

Corrupt Officials Are No Boy Or Girl Scout

“BSP/GSP – Its Positive Impact on Boys and Girls” is the theme of the Camporal/Encampment held on August 9-10, 2014. The activities were a joint Camporal/Encampment of the Boys Scouts and Girls Scouts of the Philippines  Aklan Council.

The first time ever held in Aklan, I was honored to be invited as guest speaker in Aguinaldo T. Rapiedad Sr. Integrated School (ATRSIS), Banga, Aklan.

Their activities started with a  parade on Saturday morning. August 9. This was followed with the opening program which was attended by ATRSIS faculty and staff members led by their principal Ms. Marilyn R. Mabulay.

The Linabuan Sur baranggay officials headed by Hon. Arthur Robelo who represented Hon. Enriquez S. Belarmino – Punong baranggay, and Ms. Daylinda R. Rigodon of Girls Scouts of the Philippines Aklan Council graced the affair.

During the two days, the boys and girls scouts participants numbering 375 learned: 1. first aid and BLS from RN Ethalyn Legaspi and RN Mary Cris Leyson; 2. first aid and disaster preparedness drill; 3. knot tying, knot lashing, and camp fire rituals; 4. exercise and clean up; 5. tree planting; 6. patrol dynamics/games; 7. smartness and good order among others.

Mr. Roland Democrito, Mr. Arfe E. Lachica, Mr. Ronel V. Mabulay, Ms. Agnes B. Bautista, and Ms. Rosalie L. Ramos served as their guiding stars.

Indeed, the two days camporal/encampment is so memorable to the growing men and women members of the boy scouts and girl scouts. They asked their leaders when will it be held again. The good memories of that leadership training through values and skills development are unquantifiable contribution of education for a peaceful and progressive country, the Philippines.

No Corruption

If our present leaders trained in the Boys Scouts Law and Oath and these are instilled in them and practice them as a way of life, the Philippines could have been in “Matuwid na daan” very long time ago. The people are peaceful, contented and happy. The Philippines is peaceful and progressive.

The Boy Scout Law states: “A boy scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient , cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

What more can we ask of a boy scout who observes and obeys these laws?

A boy scout pledges to do his best, do his duty to God and country; to help other people at all times and keep himself morally straight

Come to read, analyze, and obey the scout laws and comply religiously the Boy Scout Oath and Law.

Who among our leaders claim they were members of the Boy Scout and still profess to belong to the Boy Scout today? Maybe, they registered as members of the Boy Scouts, learned Boy Scouts Oath and Law but forget these after their appointment and or elections to various government positions.

Our government leaders and businessmen, if only they obey the Boy Scout Law and Oath, the Philippines will be in the state of “Tiger Economy”, very progressive, peaceful, and in abundance.
Parents, register your sons for membership to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, and your daughters for membership to the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. If the Scout Law and Oath are inculcated among them and if they live as true boy or girl scout, they will be the best replacement for those dishonest, disloyal, and corrupt public officials. /MP



Creatures from Philippine myths and folklore come to life – but with a twist - in GMA News and Public Affairs’ upcoming Halloween Series entitled ELEMENTO.

 The kapre, tikbalang, duwende and manananggal among others – are traditionally presented as elements of darkness.  In ELEMENTO, viewers discover they are feeling beings who face difficulties preserving their own kind in an increasing modern world.

 ELEMENTO showcases these underworld creatures as having filial concerns and conflicts of interest.  They struggle with their own internal battles between good and evil.

 The family friendly series will include the impact of environmental abuse on nature and the effect of greed and corruption on communities.  In many of the stories, the twist will be: Humans are the villains while the Elementos are the heroes.

 Conceptualized by Ivy Magparangalan, written by Urian winner Zig Dulay, directed by acclaimed horror director Topel Lee and starring premiere Kapuso actors and actresses, ELEMENTO will take viewers into a magical universe rarely seen on local television. 

 Catch this very special Halloween Series only on GMA weekend primetime coming this October. /MP



VP Binay
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said the people behind the campaign to extend President Benigno Aquino III’s term should respect the President’s decision.

“President Aquino, through Secretary Coloma, has made known his sentiments on term extension. We must respect his decision and end this politically-divisive initiative,” Binay said.

Binay also questioned the motive of those behind the proposal after it caused undue criticism of the President.

“It was a selfish proposal to begin with, motivated more by personal rather than national interest.  It was also unfair to the President. The proposal put him on the spot and made him the object of criticisms which he doesn’t deserve,” added Binay.

“The President will not seriously consider running again because doing so would damage the legacy left by his mother former president Corazon Aquino,” Binay pointed out.

“Those who made the proposal don’t know the President.  He is a decent person and will not cling to power. He is a student of history, and he won’t tarnish his mother’s good name just to please some personalities,” he said.

“President Cory rejected a similar move to extend her term. As a private citizen, she opposed similar moves by succeeding administrations. I am certain President Noynoy will follow the sterling example of his mother,” Binay added.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. made it clear that the President has no plans to extend his term.

He also reminded the public of the provision in the 1987 Constitution that a Philippine president could only serve a six-year term.

Aquino could only be re-elected if Congress would amend the Constitution, but the President himself has repeatedly rejected proposals to amend the Charter./MP


By: Megs S. Lunn

Megs Lunn
Did anyone tell you, “Hey, stop crying like a baby?” “Stop being crazy and stupid?”, “He or she doesn’t deserve you?” “Crying will do no good to you?”

Many times, I experienced felt the feelings. Meaning, letting go through the process of getting hurt, in pain, crying, and suppressing the heartaches and pain. It’s all good not to be afraid of feeling the feelings so close to you and learning from it. What does this mean?

“You shouldn’t feel this way” feeling is not right. You need to feel the feelings so that you will know how to react on it and feel better after. Let loose that feeling of pain, cry out loud, feel the heartaches, shout it out. Feel the connection between you and the feeling so that after letting go off that pain, you will make yourself stronger, better and whole again.

Yes, whole again. I went through heartaches and anger a few times. I learned my lessons after that. Then I opened up and trusted again. I got hurt again. I was in pain again. But all the time, I feel the feelings so that once again, I will feel better, stronger and victorious. Yes, I am human. That feeling is only temporary. Feelings change overtime and I feel it again and I go through the process again, because I am human. At least, I feel the feelings. I do not try to detach myself from that feeling. I can’t control, suppress or keep that feeling forever to myself. 

Take it from me, eventually, you will break down later. Break down now, suffer now and feel better after. Most of the time, if not often, we talk to our closest family member, friend or Spiritual Director. We feel bitter because someone just hurt us. Someone don’t appreciate us, someone keeps hurting us. But then again, you feel better and say I have learned my lesson, but next time, you see things in a different perspective. You have listened to the advises of others, and then you feel different again.

We need to accept that many of us actually have fears of acknowledging that feelings. For men, they are afraid to cry. Because their peers will bully them, ‘you are not a man for crying.” This is actually the other way around, huh! For women, if they cry, they are perceived as ‘crying-baby’ and ‘too emotional’. For others, they are afraid to tell the truth because it may hurt their pride, ego and status. Worst for others, they are afraid to acknowledge that they are indeed human. Because they thought they are supreme, they have status, money, position and it makes them feel better. 
I have learned that when I acknowledge that feeling of your feelings, you are actually using it to make you a better and stronger person. I was taught to use, the feeling of pain as our guide to learn from it and make us a better person. Use it to increase our compassion and for making life more wonderful. 

Do not cut yourself from ‘feeling the feelings’. For we need to learn and grow up! It is the messenger where we need to be connected to the ‘real you’ and to life. Use it to navigate yourselves to be more compassionate to the world around you. Feel that feelings and be human! God has promised a better life after. /MP


By: Megs S. Lunn

Infant Jesus Academy delegates

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Region VI held their annual 2014 CEAP VI Regional Youth Congress on August 2-3, 2014 at the San Agustin University, Iloilo City. More or less 3,000 Catholic students in Region VI, among which were the 37 delegates of Infant Jesus Academy and 58 delegates of the Aklan Catholic College who represented CEAP-Aklan attended the overnight affair. This year’s theme is “Defining The Transformative Role Of The Catholic Education In A Changing World.”

“The youth is not only the future but also the present. The Youth are agents of evangelization with their peers. The youth are in the stage of searching for truth and meaning in life that Jesus, who is the truth and their friends that can provide.” (Proposition 51 on the New Evangelization)

In the first talk by Mr. Stephen Borja, he challenged the delegates that the gifts, talents and skills given and entrusted to them by God are opportunities to be good people to be used for the common good in their life experiences and in serving for good, because kindness keeps the world afloat.” 
They also shared what Pope Francis said once, “if you want to change the world, remember only three (3) things: 1. Remember to say Thank you. 2. Remember to say “May I…?” and 3. Learn to say  “I am sorry.” 

“That what little we can do, we must do. What we are called to is to love more and do it without waiting a moment longer.” (Brod Alois of the Taize Community in his letter to Kenya).

The next speaker, a humorous author, Mr. Michael Angelo Lobrin of De La Salle University talked about the youth as a blessing. He cited that “from a life of simplicity to modernity, it led us into a seeming life of insecurity. So we need to breathe freely and feel that when you are blessed, you are blessing the world, too, to turn crisis into defining moments that life is a choice and what you chose, you become.” 

He suggested three simple things: 1. Focus. Occupy our place with focus 2. Be grateful. Learn to count your blessings, instead of counting what you don’t have and thank God every morning that you wake up, stop complaining and remember that the greatest mistakes are learned through failures and not success. and 3. Remain humble. Have attitude and humility.

Human Trafficking was presented where they gave some cautions and practical ways to prevent and protect our youth to become victims. You are a victim when and if -  1. Fake passport, 2. Unclear terms and conditions, 3. No contract and working visa, 4. Keeping the victim away from other people, and 5. Isolating their documents away.  At the end of the day, you are harassed and insulted. That is equal to VICTIM. Human trafficking as an act, means and has a purpose.  They showed video clips of the reality of human trafficking in the country where most of the victims are young girls.

They also had a film showing of St. Pedro Calungsod, the Filipino Saint whose obedience and faith in God inspired him to live according to the Will of the Father, against all odds. 

The San Agustin University Troubadours offered great rendition of their acapella songs, while each school delegates performed their showcase of gifts in between. Mr. Mark Ianne Ang and Ms. Marian Emeri Arellano did a great job in the emceeing from August 2 @ 3:00 pm  up to the wee hours of  August 3, 2014.

The CEAP is commissioned to advance and promote the teaching function of the Catholic Church. It contributes towards the attainment of the objective, “the total development of the human person” through a Catholic orientation in accordance with the norms of the Church, consistent with national development goals as expressed in the Philippine Constitution.

The CEAP promotes religious instruction as an essential element of Catholic education, thereby contributing towards character formation and citizenship building. /MP

Sin Tax, Graphic Health Laws Help Gov’t. Win War vs. Smoking

Sin Tax, Graphic Health Laws Help Gov’t. Win War vs. Smoking

The initial successes of the Sin Tax Reform Law in reducing the number of Filipino smokers could be greatly boosted by the implementation of the Graphic Health Warning Act, according to Senate President Franklin M. Drilon.

The Senate leader made the statement as the Graphic Health Warning Act formally takes effect last week.
“Once the two landmark laws – the Sin Tax Reform Law and the Graphic Health Warning Act – go into full implementation, I am very confident that we will see a significant number of Filipinos quitting smoking especially among the youth and poorer sector,” stressed Drilon.
“A year and a half after the Sin Tax Law was passed, we can see that it is a very potent law towards reducing the number of Filipino smokers,” said Drillon.

The Department of Health and the Social Weather Station reported that as an effect of the Sin Tax Reform Law, smokers of lower socio-economic standing (class E) are beginning to stop smoking. From December 2012 to March 2014, the number of smokers from class E dropped down by 13 percent, from 38 percent to 25 percent.

“By 2017 when a uniform tax rate on all types of cigarettes would have already been imposed making the price of cigarettes much higher and relatively unaffordable to the youth and the poor, more and more Filipinos will be encouraged to finally stop smoking,” Drillon added.

“The numbers reflect the fact that slowly, the state’s aggressive anti-smoking policies can help convince people to stop their smoking habit for good and the implementation of the Graphic Health Warning Act will boost up our campaign against smoking,” Drilon stressed.

Moreover, additional revenues generated from the Sin Tax Reform Law will continue to benefit the health sector.

“For instance, in the proposed P2.606 trillion 2015 national budget, 15.4 indigent families will be enrolled in Philhealth, which will mostly be funded from sin tax collections,” he said.

Under the Sin Tax Reform Act, 80 percent of the remaining incremental revenues will be allocated for the universal health care under the NHIP and 20 percent will be allocated nationwide for medical assistance and health facilities enhancement program.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue report states that the sin tax collections for the first half of the year are nearly twice that of collections made within the same period in 2013.

“The government’s domestic cigarette tax collection has gone up by 44 percent, as the government was able to build up collections up to P28.1 billion from January to June of 2014, as compared to the P19.5 billion cigarette excise tax collections made from January to June of 2013,” said Drilon.

“In 2013, if we did not pass that Sin Tax Law, excise tax collection on tobacco products would have amounted only to P28.5 billion. With the passage of the Sin Tax Law the excise tax on tobacco amounted to P70.392 billion, an increase of P41.8 billion,” pointed out Drilon.

Drilon said the additional revenue will help finance more programs and subsidize more medicine and medical services to many Filipinos including construction of health facilities./MP

Aklan Road Activities

Aklan Road Activities

The widening activities of the 80 years old Kalibo Bridge, one of the road activities province-wide which are simultaneously being done like the cementing of Numancia-Lezo road. 

A minor accident at corner Roxas Ave. A. Mabini St. between a car and a tricycle last week. Accident like this happens daily all over Aklan./MP


Aklan Police Confiscates Pile of Arms and Ammunitions

Aklan Police Confiscates
Pile of Arms and Ammunitions

In the report of Police Sr. Supt. Samuel Camarista Nacion, Mr. Carlito Mamburam Dela Cruz, 63 years old, married, and resident of Brgy. San Ramon, Malinao, Aklan was arrested in his resident at the early morning on Saturday, August 2, 2014. Carlito Dela Cruz was arrested for his alleged violation of P.D. 1866 as amended by RA 8294.

Hon. Merrietta S. Homena, Executive Judge, Regional Trial Court 6, Branch 1, Kalibo, Aklan issued the search warrant. The search was conducted by joint elements of Aklan CIDG and Malinao MPS.

The operation was highly successful as it recovered the following: 1. one Sentinel Cal. 22 revolver; 2. one Super Colt Magnum Cal. 22 revolver; 3. one Cal. 22 revolver without serial number; 4. one Smith and Wesson Cal. 357 revolver; 5. one Cal. 38 revolver; 6. three pieces Smith and Wesson revolvers without serial number; 7. three pieces Cal. 38 revolver with serial number; 8. one piece of 12 gauge homemade shotgun; 9. some live ammunitions; and 10. three pieces air riffles.

 The search was conducted orderly. Brgy. chairman Romulo Ilin, and Brgy. kagawad Leonor Ingeniero both of San Ramon, Malinao witnessed the search. The confiscated items were brought to the CIDG, Aklan Office. The said suspect was turned over to the Kalibo Police Station for custody prior to the filing of appropriate charges against Dela Cruz in court.

The officer on case is SPO1 Jay Teofilo, investigator, CIDT Aklan. /MP

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Drilon: 2015 Budget Boosts Social Services

Drilon: 2015 Budget Boosts Social Services

The proposed 2015 national budget will pour nearly P1 trillion into social protection and services, said Senate President Franklin M. Drilon last week as he hailed the government’s continuing focus on the need to make basic needs accessible to all.

For 2015, Drilon said the social service sector will corner 37 percent of the proposed P2.606 trillion budget, equivalent to P967.9 billion, in order to fund programs that will address the immediate needs of the poor. The figure is 15 percent higher than the present allocation of P841.8 billion. 

“The next year’s spending program reflects the priorities in the remaining years of the Aquino administration which are to alleviate poverty, provide efficient healthcare and improve the quality of education in the country,” said Drilon. He vowed that the Senate will persistently support programs that will directly benefit the Filipinos.

Drilon said the increased spending for social service sector will go for programs and projects which are aimed at improving the delivery of educational services in the country.

He said the Department of Education (DepEd) will get P365.1 billion, cornering the biggest chunk of the budget. The figure is 17.9 percent higher than its 2014 level of P309.5 billion.

The increase, explained Drilon, is being proposed to capacitate the government’s school building program which is budgeted with P52.9 billion in 2015, an increase of P8.248 billion from its 2014 budget.

“As part of the effort to address classrooms shortage, the government will construct 31,728 new classrooms in 2015 and repair 9,500 dilapidated ones, including those damaged by past calamities like super typhoon ‘Yolanda’,” the Senate leader said. Also, 13,586 water and sanitation facilities will be constructed next year.

On top of this, the Senate chief said the government plans to procure 1.3 million new desks and armchairs and 70.5 million textbooks and instructional materials. It will also boost its teaching force with the hiring of 39,066 teachers next year.

“We should keep on investing in the education of our youth, because a quality education will lead the country to a better future. The people, most especially the youth, is the most important asset our country has to nurture, and part of it is by giving education the highest priority in the budget,” stressed Drilon.

The Senate chief also lauded the continued increase in the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) which is proposed to get P102 billion in 2015 from its current level of P90.8 billion.

“For 2015, more money will go to public hospitals and clinics around the country. The government will allot P13.1 billion for the upgrading of 1,242 barangay health stations, 587 health centers in remote barangays, 128 hospitals in different provinces, 19 DOH-managed hospitals, and 11 treatment and rehabilitation centers,” said Drilon.

“It is only right that the government invests in health infrastructure as the condition of health facilities in the country leaves much to be desired: The government should continue to improve its hospital facilities especially in secluded provinces so that our citizens will receive proper and efficient healthcare.” 

He emphasized that as part of its health program, the government will increase the premium subsidy for the National Health Insurance Program to P37.2 billion in 2015 from its present level of P35.3 billion, which will cover 15.4 million households, an increase of 700 beneficiaries from 2014.
Likewise, the Senate chief said the government will increase its budget for the hiring of health personnel by 43 percent, equivalent to P4.3 billion from P3.0 billion.

“For 2015, the government plans to hire additional 398 doctors, 12,540 midwives and 480 dentists to be deployed in different municipalities, cities and health facilities around the country to provide primary healthcare,” he said.
Finally, the social protection package for the poor will continue to receive the priority in the budget. The Department of Social Welfare and Development will get P109 billion in 2015 from its current budget of P83.4 billion.

The increase will go to the continued expansion of the Conditional Cash Transfer program which is allotted P64.7 billion next year – from P62.6 billion this year to benefit 4,309,769 indigent families throughout the country, which include around 4,000 families with no permanent address, 7,000 homeless street families and 116,000 indigenous people. /MP