Thursday, December 27, 2012

Politicians Must Stop Harassing DSWD Beneficiaries

by RECTO I. VIDAL


The Pantawid Pampamilya, a national anti-poverty program of the DSWD, is threatened.

In a year end news conference with the media, DSWD regional director Brigoli bared they have received reports that a number of beneficiaries got threatened by certain politicians under the pain of being delisted in the Pantawid program if they will not cast their votes for them. There were reports too that said government program like the universal health insurance program is also being claimed by credit grabbing politicos. 

In said press conference, Brigoli appealed before the public not to believe such propaganda. “The Pantawid Pampamilya program is a national program aimed towards alleviating poverty among the marginalized sector of our society. Clearly, it’s not a local government initiative thus this program is non-political,” she averred.

Brigoli said that “no one can delist a legitimate beneficiary. Not even the DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman herself. No one has the power to strike out anybody in the list. This can only happen if said beneficiary is not compliant to the guidelines set by the DSWD.”

Brigoli made it clear that the beneficiaries must hurdle certain conditions for them to stay in the program. There is a formula on how one can be delisted and this can be gleaned according to the monitoring done by the DSWD like the non attendance of classes for at least thrice and failure to attend a family development session.

“We don’t want them to go back to survival mode on their journey to self-sufficiency. We must preserve their gains and prevent them from going back to scratch,” Brigoli enthused.

Describing the upcoming elections as an empowering exercise, Brigoli disclosed that the DSWD has already prepared strategies to educate the public on how to counter such misleading information being peddled by unscrupulous politicians.

“We want the best for our people. That’s why we are targeting in an organized and scientific manner as we aim to break into the generational cycle of poverty. We will see the impact of the program once the beneficiaries graduate from this undertaking.”

Brigoli likewise said that the DSWD secretary has already issued a memorandum to DSWD workers not to play politics. She also clarified that there is no election ban as far as implementation of DSWD projects are concerned.

“All DSWD programs must be sustained to ensure that there is high compliance among the beneficiaries as to the requirements set by the DSWD,” she said. /MP

Aklan SP Adopts APIAO and Charter


The Aklan Provincial Internal Audit Office (APIAO) is created by virtue of Special Order No. 2012-013. The creation is in full compliance with the national government promulgations and issuances. The Aklan SP has also officially adopted the APIAO Operations Manual and charter through Special Ordinance No. 2012-022. 

The official approval of the APIAO Manual and charter came during the SP’s 43rd regular session last Wednesday, Dec.12.
The APIAO manual and charter embodies rules and procedures of internal management and operational audit of all offices of the provincial government.

The “strengthening of the internal control systems of government offices, government owned and controlled corporations, including government financial institutions, state universities and colleges and local government units” is mandated by Administrative Order(AO) No. 70 promulgated by then Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on April 14, 2003.

Subsequently, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued Budget Circular No. 2004-4 and Memorandum Circular No. 89 pursuant to the mandate of AO 70.

When the provincial government of Aklan was included in the Provincial Roads Management Facility (PRMF) program funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid), one of the requirements is the creation of an independent internal audit office.

On Feb. 20, 2012, through Special Ordinance 2012-001, the Sangguniang Panlalalwigan created the internal audit unit under the Office of the Provincial Governor with personnel detached from the Office of the Provincial Accountant.

The APIAO, as an independent office has a separate budget of P3.278 million in the 2013 Annual General Fund Budget just approved last week.

The manual and charter also provide for the organizational structure of the APIAO with personnel transferred from the internal audit unit of the office of the Provincial Governor. /MP

Cruising Lagatik River






Riding in the cruise boat of Metallica owned by the Salvadors, majority of the Aklan tri-media enjoyed the Christmas Party the generous Aklan Vice Gov. Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo sponsored on Saturday, December 22, 2012. 

With more delicious food and games held in Buyoc’s fish farm, the members went home with more goodies like smoked ham and cases of beer. Lynette Mendoza walked away with a free trip to Metro Manila and Ms. De Fiesta of Bay Radio went home with washing machine. Vice Gov. Calizo-Quimpo promised Christmas on the air outside Ph next year.  /MP

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Canada’s 150th Birthday ‘Gift’: Canadian History Museum


by ALEX P. VIDAL


Ottawa, Ontario – As one of the many measures in preparation for Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, the Canadian federal government announced it is creating a Museum of Canadian History.

The government will introduce legislation to give the Canadian Museum of Civilization both a new name and a new mandate. “The Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation manages the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum, although the Canadian War Museum has its own building at a different location,” reported Susan Munroe.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is located in Gatineau, Quebec, across the Ottawa River, overlooking the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. The museum grounds cover about 9.6 hectares (24 acres). The current museum building was opened in 1989. It receives 1.3 million visitors every year.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization was the Canadian Museum of Man before 1989, and its mandate includes the responsibility for increasing interest, knowledge and understanding of human cultural achievements, with a special, but not exclusive, reference to Canada. In announcing the changes, James Moore, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, said that “Canadians deserve a national museum of history that tells stories and presents our country’s treasures to the world.” About 50,000 square feet of public gallery space will be renovated to highlight Canadian achievements, accomplishments and artefacts that have shaped the Canadian identity. The new emphasis will come at the expense of some international exhibitions and a more general emphasis on anthropology. The First Peoples Hall and the Canadian Children’s Museum will remain.

The new museum will also work on a new process to link the network of history museums across Canada to the Museum of Canadian History, so Canadians in all regions will have better access to our history. It will mean developing partnerships for exchanges that work two ways.

The government will be looking for input from Canadians across the country on the major themes, events, and accomplishments that have shaped Canada.

An online forum called My History Museum has been set up to gather suggestions. You can take the quick survey, and you are also asked to offer suggestions in six key areas: What is the Canadian Story? Stories and Objects?

Who Has Shaped Our Country? Reaching Canadians Everywhere; Making the Museum Work for Everyone; Whose Perspective Would You Use?

Museum officials will also be travelling across the country from October 2012 to January 2013 to hear from Canadians in person. You can reserve a spot at one of these consultation events by filling in the form at the bottom of the My History Museum page.

COSTS TRANSFORMATION

The estimated cost of the museum transformation is $25 million, according to the initial announcement. The money will come from the existing Department of Canadian Heritage budget. There is no indication what will be cut to find it though. The government also says it will be working on fundraising activities to get support from the private sector.

We’ll see a lot more emphasis in the next few years as the federal government puts the spotlight on Canadian history and identity. Some of the celebrations in the works are
Canada Commemorate the War of 1812 (for 2-1/2 years)
100th anniversary of the Grey Cup on November 15, 2012
100th anniversary of the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913-1918 in 2014, the 150th anniversary of the Quebec and Charlottetown conferences on Canadian Confederation
And all lead up to Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. /MP

Reason & Concern

Ronquillo C. Tolentino


New Criminal Code: 
Advocacy Which Time Has Come


Not since that November  16, 2012 forum in Iloilo City with Justice  Leila de Lima’s calling for the consolidation of the Philippine’s penal laws had it really dawned on me again that  the  proposal  for a new criminal code is really an advocacy which time has  come.

In retrospect, the Revised Penal Code was enacted in 1930. Enacted as Act No.3815 Various criminal laws have since then been enacted outside of the 1930 Revised Penal Code as separate Republic Acts.

Before 1930, the Spanish Penal Code was in force from 1886 to 1930. The codification was not total as the committee created headed by Justice Anacleto Diaz revised the old Penal Code and reportedly included all other penal laws when the committee considered its relation and connection to the Penal Code.

Secretary de Lima has called, and rightly so, the Revised Penal Code “a collection of antiquated provisions dealing with irrelevant crimes and obsolete penalties.”

The justice secretary pointed to the definitions of certain archaic crimes in the  Revised Penal Code which she criticized “to be ineffective in combating  organized crime, transnational or cybercrime-emergency activities that we confront today.”

Consider the justice secretary’s on what she calls “the unsystematic proliferation of special penal laws.”

Any lawyer in active law practice, the trial lawyers more especially, would verily  assent to her observation, thus:” The laws had been passed by our legislature in piecemeal fashion without the benefit of an integrative framework or even a uniform standard of documentation. As a result, we can scarcely keep track of the exact number of penal laws that we have and find difficulty determining which law or laws may be used to punish a particular criminal conduct”.   

 ***On this season, I am reminded to quote a poet’s greeting: May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; The spirit of Christmas which is peace; The heart of Christmas which is love. “***A blessed Christmas and a progressive New Year! /MP

LGU-Kalibo Is Region’s Best Aklan Is 2nd Best In Excell Awards


by ODON S. BANDIOLA


It’s a cause for a celebration by now, as far as performance of local government units in Aklan is concerned.

Over the weekend, the Department of Interior and Local Government adjudged Aklan as First Runner Up In Best Performing Province. Kalibo is adjudged the Best Performing Municipality (1st-3rd class category) in Region Vl in this year’s Regional Search for EXCELLENCE IN LOCAL GOVERNANCE or EXCELL.

In bagging the regional champion plum in this EXCELL AWARDS, the municipal government of Kalibo came out 2nd Runner-up in Administrative Governance, 2nd Runner-up in Social Governance, regional winner in Excellence in Economic Governance, regional winner in Valuing Fundamentals in Good Governance and winner in Excellence in Environmental Governance.

On the other hand, as first runner-up in the Best Performing Province, the provincial government of Aklan is 2nd runner-up in Administrative Governance, 2nd Runner-up in Excellence in Economic Governance, Winner in Excellence in Environmental Governance and 1st runner-up in Valuing Fundamentals in Good Governance.

Engr. Roger M. Esto, Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator said, Negros Occidental, adjudged as the winner in the Best Performing Province edged Aklan by a hairline.

In last year’s EXCELL AWARDS, Aklan landed 2nd runner-up.
EXCELL Awards is a continuing project of the DILG Vl for best managed local governments in the region showcasing their achievements in governance: administration, social services, economic development and environmental management initiatives, all components of the Local Governance Performance Management System (LGPMS).

The search is also intended for advocacy for transparency and accountability in governance, positive reinforcement for good performers, popularizing replicable best practices, and educating the electorate.  /MP

Vice Gov. Quimpo Backs Up MOVE Aklan, Cites Aklan’s Rising VAWC Cases


Vice Gov. Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo assured the members of the Men Opposed to Violence Against Women and Children (MOVE) and male advocates of women and children’s rights in Aklan of the solid support of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to the MOVE’s campaign to minimize or eliminate crimes degrading women and children.

Vice Gov. Calizo-Quimpo emphasized this during the 4th MOVE Provincial Congress held at the Gov. Corazon L. Cabagnot Memorial Tourism and Training Center, Buswang Old, Kalibo. However, she expressed alarm over the rising figures on VAWC cases in the province.

Quimpo then proceeded to rattle the rising VAWC incidents in Aklan since 2005 to 2012.

According to her, the figures had been comparatively low in 2005 and 2006, the minimal number of cases was a result of the lack of information and education among the Aklanons as to the urgency of reporting cases of violence against women and children.

This is true particularly on the part of the victims who were  avoiding embarrassments in reporting what happened to them or their family members to government authorities, she pointed out.

Quimpo said a measly 46 VAWC cases had been recorded and reported in Aklan in 2005, 25 against women and 21 against children. In 2006, only 62 cases had been documented, 33 against children and 29 against women.

But as the provincial campaign against VAWC progresses and gains momentum, the documented cases became disturbing, if not alarming, starting in 2007 until this year, Quimpo stressed.

In 2007, some 605 VAWC cases were recorded, 483 against women and 122 against children. In 2008, 615 had been documented: 426 against women and 189 against children.

There were 841 cases in 2009, an average of 70 victims per month or two women or children abused everyday in Aklan. In 2010, some 417 cases were reported or an average of 43 victims per month, or 1.5 women or children abused per day.
The years 2011 and 2012 however reveal reduced figures of 411 and 278, respectively.

Quimpo cited the various enactments made by SP Aklan as proofs of its support to the campaign against VAWC.She cited the enactment by the SP of the Aklan Children’s Code and the Gender and Development Code of Aklan. /MP

ASU Pres. Abayon Speaks


Aklan State University Pres. Dr. Danilo E. Abayon (above) was the guest speaker during the 18th regular weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Kalibo, Kalibo, Aklan.  Dr. Abayon spoke before the officers and members of RC Kalibo about the thrusts of ASU as to  instruction, research, extension, and production.  


Abayon is shown receving his Certificate of Appreciation with RC Kalibo Pres. Dens Lim and Sec. Raphy Tayco. /MP

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Editorial

by Ernesto T. Solidum

Visually For Globally Competitive Aklan


I read with apprehension and dismay our huge debt of P579.294 million as of 2004. Until this time after paying the principal and interest with PNB and LBP we still have outstanding balance of P394.46 million (MP related story on Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, 2012 issue). In order to manage this debt, the province under Gov. Carlito S. Marquez has put up a budget of P1.19 billion for FY 2013 to be spend as follows: subsidy to LGU’s – P25.25 million, NGOs, Pos – P3 million, donations – P7 million, scholarship – P25.087 million, indigency program – P9 million, intelligence expenses – P9 million and sports development – P2 million. Actual budget under the Office of the Provincial Governor including Economic Enterprise Development Department (EEDD) total P172.301 million said SP Secretary Odon S. Bandiola. 

The current debt servicing of Aklan’s outstanding loan of P394.46 million is equivalent to 39.0 percent of the total budget. Based on economic performance particularly the EEDD, only Jetty Port Caticlan is profitable, the rest like School of Nursing, DRSTMH, Provincial Sports Center are operating in the red. The Jetty Port Reclamation project called Caticlan Recovery project funded by bond floatation of P160 million has been issued Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) by Supreme Court. Despite obvious funding shortages, there is deliberate spending on Capitol Main Building improvement project amounting to P53.625 million.

Analysis shows that the majority of provincial expenditures are on infra that are practically non-performing. On the other hand, the socio-economic thrust like creating stable, progressive agriculture and fisheries is a mere token. The P10.8 million budget for agriculture is lamentable. Gov. Marquez must consider the plight of farmers who are in abject poverty and misery. Of the total area of 17,120 hectares planted to rice, only 6,712 hectares or 39.2 percent are irrigated. How can they avail of funding assistance given the high cost of production inputs like seeds and fertilizers? Similarly, our poultry and livestock raisers must content with stiff competition from other provinces like Iloilo, Capiz, Negros Occ., Cebu, and Batangas.

To increase rice production, existing communal irrigation systems must be rehabilitated. It must be recalled that Secretary Proceso Alcala targets 7.1 percent increase from 3.0 percent annual increase in rice production in order to achieve self sufficiency not only next year but on a sustainable basis. Data show that rainfed farms have marginal production with only one cropping a year.

Evidently, a balance between infra projects and agriculture must be instituted to meet domestic demands of local population and the tourism industry. For instance, huge capital investment on infra projects like Jetty Port improvement must be matched with the same allocation for the agriculture sector. It is the presence of this skewed arrangement that farmers lack the incentive to produce food requirements (like meat, eggs, fish, fruits and vegetables) for high end tourists market. With inadequate supply to meet market demand results to high prices. Nevertheless, Aklan farmers have the comparative advantage over other provinces. 

Mr. Niven Maquirang, Administrator of Caticlan Jetty Port once told a provincial tourism stakeholders’ brainstorming and tasking workshop last November 14 that there is likelihood that foreign tourists may shift their travel destination to Caticlan instead of Kalibo International Airport. This is understandable since Caticlan is much closer to Boracay and would eliminate extra time, hassle and expenses in going to Boracay. 

Please note that there is no clear budget for tourism when this is one of two priorities of Aklan Gov. Carlito S. Marquez. At issue is our marketing strategy for mainland Aklan tourist destinations aside from Boracay. High end tourist resorts  developed in Jawili, Tangalan are catering to beach and nature adventurers. Quaint mangrove eco-park exist in Naisud, Ibajay while exciting dive sites are in Buruanga. The list is endless. This is one gray area where our leaders talk of big gains in the business yet expends practically nothing. This is the reason why we have cranky receptionists at Caticlan Jetty port. Other tourists destinations like Puerto Princesa and Cebu cities have tourism officers who passed rigid mental and physical exams. Here in Aklan, they are hired on the basis on whom do you know.  There is no scientific recruitment process followed. This omission portrays our lack of sensitivity to our travelers especially tourists. They say first impression is lasting. 

Do we have a sustainable and aggressive program of governance? None for sure. Budget mirrors the planned program has encountered a sinkhole. To extricate from this predicament, imposition of higher taxes and/or selling at public auction of real estate properties with unpaid taxes may be resorted to. Such a bitter pill is unpalatable since next year coincides with midterm elections. However the newly elected Governor must be reminded of the provincial vision – “prosperous Aklan where empowered citizens live amidst a well anchored vibrant economy where agro ecotourism developments are globally competitive”. Practically this is clear unequivocal mandate for positive action. Leaders must rise up to the challenge of a globally competitive Aklan. Otherwise, Aklan will remain a poverty–stricken province. /MP 

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

Advance Campaigning


The election period starts on January 13 – June 12, 2013. The campaign period for senators and partylist candidates is from February 13 – May 11. Candidates for congressmen, elective regional, provincial, city and municipal officials is on March 29 to May 11, 2013, according to the Commission On Election. However, some candidates has started campaigning after filing their certificate of candidacy. 

Please take a walk at the Kalibo bridge. Stroll toward Numancia and witness the names being flashed at the electronic billboard. Names just flash, no services or goods offered to sell. This campaign method will instill their names in the minds of the voters to hasten name recall comes election day.  

There are spot announcement over the radio to portray to the listeners that person is kind hearted, helpful, generous, a philanthropist. This is being done via the testimony of persons who appear very hard up in life whose relatives got sick, no enough money to pay hospitalization expenses. They acknowledged the financial assistance that candidate gave them which enable them to buy medicine, blood, and others spent in the hospitalization until patients got well.

They became so helpful and generous as the election nears.
There are candidates who donate both money and material to defray the expenses of some projects. They assure probable voters for more donations.

Accept the things candidates offer you. Study how to vote right. Follow your conscience in voting.

Candidates who give favor to limited few are unfair, unjust and play favorite. A promising candidate for a public office is a person who does things for the common good. He is a person who refrains from giving things or services to a person if he cannot give the same to as many persons who also need the same. 

ANOTHER SCAM

There is a new scam in Kalibo, Aklan. The victims are the old men and women who has labored long and hard that qualified them for a monthly pension either from the Government Service Insurance System or from the Social Security System. 
The SSS pensions are for those retirees from private firms. The GSIS pension are for those government retirees.  

Comes the Metro Negros Credit Corporation which provides pension loans to the pensioners. Many applied for loans, were given loans of varying amounts depending upon the amount of monthly pension the applicant receives. 

They signed loan applications, presented valid IDs to authenticate their identity. Upon approval of their loans, the applicants surrender their ATM Cards and PIN to the Metro Negros Credit Corporation. For one thing, the ATM card holder is instructed by the Bank to keep PIN a secret, known only to card holder.

However, the borrowers surrendered the ir ATM card and the PIN with their applications. 

Since last week, several borrowers complained they are still indebted even after having fully paid their loans. They discovered their loans were renewed by fictitious persons.

Moreover, withdrawals from their bank account are more than the amount loaned. Their 13th month pay or bonus are withdrawn.  There are those who lost their monthly allotment from relatives either in the Philippines or abroad deposited on the same bank account which ATM cards were deposited the Credit Corporation. 

Madyaas Pen learned all ATM cards are transmitted to the head office of Metro Negros Credit Corp. Better luck next time pensioners.  /MP

Pacquiao-Marquez Fight: Dynamite Punch Stuns Philippines


Manny Pacquiao lays face down on the mat after Juan Manuel Marquez knocked him out in the 6th round during their bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, on December 9, in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - The punch that knocked out national boxing hero Manny Pacquiao left the Philippines shocked.

From the highest corners of government to the man in the street, Pacquiao’s defeat dampened spirits already weighed down in a country dealing with a killer typhoon that left more than 1,000 dead or missing last week.

Senator Francis Pangilinan summed up the national sentiment. “It hurts,” he said. “This is a painful defeat felt throughout the nation.”

But he said Pacquiao is still and would “always be our nation’s greatest boxing champion. This painful defeat does not lessen in anyway what he has achieved as a boxer, as a Filipino and as a human being. We will always hold him in highest esteem.”
In General Santos City, Pacquiao’s hometown, where the fight was broadcast live in several public stadia, shocked viewers reacted with stunned silence after their fighter fell in the sixth round before a 16,000-strong crowd at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We were all silent because we were unsure what happened. He was unconscious for so long,” said businessman Jun Bayonico, 51, who watched the fight live with friends and relatives.

“For so many years, he was our idol. We are saddened by what happened, but maybe this is a sign he should retire. It would have been better if he retired a winner,” he added.

In Quezon City, people strode out of cinemas at Eastwood Mall in Libis, looking like they had been seeing a sad movie.

Before joining what seemed like a funeral procession, the crowd stayed for some 30 minutes after the sixth round. Unable to accept that their hero had been defeated, they sat there, waiting for word from Pacquiao himself.

The 39-year-old Juan Miguel “El Dinamita” Marquez of Mexico sent down Pacquiao, 33, face first to the canvas with a right hand with one second left of the round to win their welterweight fight-their fourth meeting-on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), Dec. 9.

The end came too soon, unexpected, a group from Laguna told the Inquirer.

“What happened?” one from the group said, apparently trying to understand what had just happened. /MP 

Aklan MOVE Launches Barangay VAW Handbook



Photo taken of the unveiling of the cover of the Barangay VAW Desk Handbook during the 4th MOVE  -Aklan Provincial Congress, December 7, 2012 with Malinao Mayor Wilbert Ariel Igoy of Aklan (L-R), Jones Arrieta, MOVE Aklan President, PCW Chair  Remedios Rikken,  Governor Carlito S. Marquez, Toti Uysingco, MOVE Phils. BOT, and Lynette Urquiola - DILG Aklan

The Men Opposed To Violence Against Women Everywhere (MOVE) – Aklan chapter  held its 4th Provincial Congress on December 7, 2012 in Gov. Corazon L. Cabagnot Livelihood and Training Center, Buswang Old, Kalibo. They launched the country’s Barangay VAW Desk Handbook which shall guide all barangays nationwide in the operationalization of the Barangay VAW Desk. 

Hon. Remedios Rikken, PCW Chair was the Congress keynote speaker. She stressed the urgency and the role of men in the elimination of violence against women and children. She provided inputs on men and masculinity and challenged the 100 Aklanon men present to first internalize and understand themselves as MOVE members. Ms. Honey Castro, Planning Officer of the Philippine Commission on Women presented the salient features of the Barangay VAW Desk Handbook.

Governor Carlito S. Marquez of Aklan welcomed this development. He expressed his unconditional support to the projects and programs of MOVE Aklan as he presented the Governor’s Gender Awards for the Search of the Best Barangay VAW Desk in Aklan and the Most Outstanding MOVE Chapter for 2013. This is a gender affirmative action to encourage active participation among the 327 barangays in Aklan. The province of Aklan is presently implementing the National VAW Documentation System (NVAWDocs) under the PCW-AECID project.

Mr. Jones Arrieta, MOVE Aklan President reported the accomplishments of the chapter as well as other local chapter presidents from Kalibo, Malinao, Nabas, PNP and DAR Aklan.


MOVE Aklan delegates during its 4th Provincial Congress attended by 120 participants from its seven local chapters. Keynote speaker is Hon. Remedios I. Rikken, PCW Chairperson.


The MOVE-Aklan is the premier organization of men in the province who pledged never to commit VAW, never to condone VAW and Speak out against VAW. This men’s group is in the forefront of Aklan’s celebration of the 18 Day campaign to End VAW in the locality in coordination with the Aklan Gender and Development Commission in the locality. /MP 

Religion Doesn't Relate With Pacquiao’s Fall


by ALEX P. VIDAL


Las Vegas, Nevada -– If it is true that “God punished” Manny Pacquiao supposedly for converting from Roman Catholic to “born again” Christian, then God is not just; He is cruel and He plays favorites. 

Since most of us believes that God is pure love in its most supreme form, He could not have guided Juan Manuel Marquez’s lethal right to inflict harm on a faithful follower.

God has laid down from all eternity the law which governs all things, like light from the sun; but He will never change the economy of world boxing for Marquez who is a Roman Catholic.

What happened to Pacquiao had also happened to other great marquee names such as Muslim convert  Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Roberto Duran, Tomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, and to the now Rev. George Foreman.  

SINGLE BLOW

When all these rings titans were felled with one single blow in high profile fights, nobody blamed God or their convertion to any faith for their Waterloo.

Ali (56-5, 37 KOs), formerly Cassius Clay, was converted from Christian to Muslim after winning the world heavyweight crown from Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964. As a Muslim, he racked up 10 straight wins before losing by unanimous decision to Joe Frazier for the world heavyweight championship on March 8, 1971 in New York.

In this defeat to Frazier (32-4, 27 KOs), Ali was floored with a single punch and nearly suffered a knockout loss. He managed to finish the fight scheduled for 15 rounds. Nobody blamed his shocking loss for his decision to embrace Allah.
Before he became a pastor, Foreman suffered a humiliating 8th round technical knockout defeat to Muslim Ali on October 30, 1974 in Zaire. In this epic war dubbed “Rumble in the Jungle,” the Christian God and Allah did not intervene to save their respective “bets.”

MUSLIM

Another Muslim fighter Hasim Rahman (50-8, 41 KOs)  made headlines all over the globe when he scored a major upset in the heavy-weight division with a one-punch knockout win over previously indestructible Briton Lennox Lewis (41-2, 32 KOs) at the Carnival City, Brakpan, Gauteng, South Africa  on  April 22, 2001. Again, nobody credited Allah for Rahman’s extra-ordinary power that night. Nobody blamed Lewis for missing his “duties and obligations” as Christian Anglican faithful.

The distinction between religion and superstition is fundamental in the fall of Pacquiao.

Voltaire, in his magnificent prayer, once addressed to God in the article “Theist” where he expounded his faith finally and clearly:  “The theist is a man firmly persuaded of the existence of a supreme being as good as he is powerful, who has formed all things; who punishes, without cruelty, all crimes, and recompenses with goodness all virtuous actions…Reunited in the principle with the rest of the universe, he did not join any of the sects which all contradict one another. His religion is the most ancient and the most widespread; for the simple worship of a God preceded all the systems of the world.” /MP  

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Tita Linda Belayro

Eclipse

Sa mga taga Ehipto, ro eclipse hay kapaslawan ag pagka eopig. Sa mga Griyego hay pag bag-o mat-a. Sa mga Mayans ag Incas sa Peru ag Mexico hay pagbangon man. Busa, pagbaton it kamatuoran ag kapaslawan sa bukon it matarong ro pagtunga it buean o “eclipse.”

Suno man sa mga Intsik, may mabahoe nga dragon o bakunawa nga maga kaon ko adlaw. Sa lugar it mga Incas sa Mexico, naga pati ro mga tawo nga may matawo nga onga sa royong kaharian nga maga dueot kon bukon it kahilwayan hay kapaslawan kon magsubat ro buean. 

Parabil magdueom, natawo ro onga it hari ag reyna. Naghugyaw ro tanan sa bilog nga palasyo. Andang guin pangaeanan kay Rexes. Ogaling sa maisot man nga baeay it hardinero, may natawo man nga isaeang ka onga nga eaeaki tama guid sa pagtapos ko eclipse. Anda guin pangaeanan kay Elizar.

Owa it eabot kara, may natawo pa guid nga onga nga babaye sa guwa it palasyo. Guin pangaenan kay Zarina. Pareho nga nagbahoe si Prinsipe Rexes ag Elizar sa kaharian. Mapisan, masaligan ag mabuot si Elizar. Samtang mainiton it oeo si Prinsipe Rexes. Sunod tanan ro andang gusto. Ro dalagita nga si Zarina hay mabinuligon ag matinahuron sa anang ama ag ina, eabi gid sa mga katigueangan. 

Nagtaliwan ro mga dinag-on. Ko agahon ngaron, naga tindog sa balkonahe it palasyo ro hari. Hakita nana si Elizar nga naga dilig it mga hardin. Nahamut-an guid ko hari. Guin tawag nana si Prinsipe Rexes ag guin pangutana kon sin-o ratong binatilyo. Nangimon ro Prinsipe. Nanaog imaw ag guin bo-oe ro hose, guin papuslitan nana it tubi si Elizar ag maghinibayag. Owa guid maakig si Elizar. Bangod kara, guin himo imaw nga alalay ni Prinsipe Rexes. Pagtaliwan it sang dominggo, namasyar sanda sa liwan it palasyo sakay sa kabayo. 

Nakaabot sanda sa baybayon sa lugar nanday Zarina. Pagkakita kay Zarina, naila-an eagi ni Prinsipe Rexes si Zarina. Boot nanang eogoson ro daeaga. Anang hinakos. Habatyagan ko Prinsipe ro pagbaga ko eawas ni Zarina busa nasunog ro alima ni Prinsipe Rexes. Guin buytan man dayon ni Elizar ro alima ko prinsipe ag golping naduea ro init. Ogaling sunog eot-a ro alima ni Prinsipe Rexes.

Owa matabo ro pag eogos ni Prinsipe Rexes kay Zarina. Pag abot sa palasyo, guin suguid ro tanan sa hari, ngani duro ro kaakig it hari. Guin patawag ro pamilya ni Zarina. Owa it ibang hambae. Guin preso si Zarina kaibahan ro anang ama. 

Owa maila-i ni Elizar ro pagdumaea sa palasyo ko hari ag prinsipe. Anang guin bisitahan si Zarina sa presohan. Boot ni Elizar nga buligan si Zarina ag ro anang ama. Parabil matapos ro andang paghambae, nagkasugot ro daywa. Guin buytan ni Zarina ro rehas nga sae-saeon ag golping natunaw. Guin buytan man dayon ni Elizar ro mga rehas ag nag eamig eagi. Busa naka guwa ro mag ama sa presohan. Idto nag estar sanday Zarina sa kagueangan agod indi masundan it mga gwardiya it palasyo.

Umabot ro oras nga nag masakit ro hari hasta namatay. Guin koronahan si Prinsipe Rexes bilang bag-ong hari. Abong mga tawo nga owa naila ko anang pagdumaea. Abo man ro anang guin papatay. Nag alsa ro mga tawo. May sambilog nga eaeaki nga biktima it pagpatay sa anang mga guinikanan nga mayad sa pagpana. Guin pana nana si Haring Rexes. Inigo sa dughan ro hari ag namatay dayon. 

Nag hugyaw ro mga tawo. Nagtilipon ro mga tawo sa plaza. Sa tunga ko andang pagtililipon, nag abot ro puno it babaylan. Hakita nana ro kahayag sa uyahon ni Elizar ag Zarina. Sanda ro may sinyales nga natawo ko pag abot it eclipse mga 20 anyos eon ro nagtaliwan. Sanda ro simbolo it pagbag-o ag pagka eopig sa bukon it matarong nga pagdumaea sa kaharian. 

Guin koronahan si Elizar nga bag-ong hari ag si Zarina nga bag-ong reyna it palasyo. /MP    

Chiz Eyes Copra Farmers As CCT Beneficiaries


Senator Chiz Escudero is seeking the inclusion of coconut farmers affected by the declining prices of copra in the market as beneficiaries in the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

“The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should intervene. If they have the Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) for the poor, they should also have financial aid for the coconut farmers and workers who are affected by the very low price of copra in the market,” Escudero said during a visit to Tacloban City.

The senator said coconut farmers who are affected are not only from Eastern Visayas but also from the Bicol Region, where he hails from.

Escudero also questioned the accuracy of the National Household Targeting System of the DSWD in distributing the conditional cash transfer.

“Kasi kung accurate lang talaga ang national home targeting system ng DSWD, e di ang copra farmers and workers, dapat sa ngayon beneficiaries na sila ng Pantawid program. Ang tanong ko, lahat ba sila beneficiary niyan?,” he asked.

Escudero said the DSWD should ensure that all affected copra farmer households are given their 4Ps. For those who are not yet included in the program, the DA, for its part, should provide subsidy and alternative livelihood while copra’s price in the market is still low, he said.

“Maraming apektado ngayon. Sana binabantayan ng DA at ng PCA iyan na kapagka mababa ang presyo, magbigay sila ng sistensya sa mga pamilya, sa mga coconut farmers dahil maraming hindi makakapag-enroll, maraming hindi makakapasok sa baba ng presyo ng kopra ngayon. At dapat nagshi-shift din sila ng assistance depende sa pandaigdigang presyo ng mga produktong umaasa ng kita ang ating mga kababayan, the senator said.

Escudero also called on the DA to closely monitor the prices of copra and its effects on the copra farmers.

“On a yearly basis or on the monthly basis, dapat binabantayan ng DA iyan. Dapat tini-tingnan ang presyo para malaman kung apektado nga ba ang partikular na grupo ng magsasaka o hindi. Para mabigyan sila ng assisstance, subsidy o alternative habang mababa ang presyo,” Escudero said. /MP

NSO Cites Outstanding Civil Registrars


Eliezer L. Sevilla, a dynamic and well-trained municipal civil registrar from Ibajay topped this year’s search for outstanding civil registrar after besting 16 other Municipal Civil Registrars (MCRs) in Aklan.

Mr. Sevilla bagged the first place during the evaluation for his timely and quality submission of civil registry reports to NSO, keeping an updated and organized civil registry book, and maintaining an orderly and conducive local civil registry office. Likewise, he was noted for organizing the unprecedented biggest mass wedding in Aklan last February 2012 where 247 couples wed in a civil rites. 

Mrs. Jocelyn P. Maglunob of Banga placed second. Mrs. Ma. Cecilia P. Maribao of Buruanga is third, while Mrs. Dinah Myra V. Tejada of Makato and Mrs. Nenita A. Soqueña of Nabas ranked fourth and fifth places, respectively.

The winners received a plaque of recognition from Director Norman R. Julag-ay of NSO Region VI.

According to Mr. Blas M. Solidum, Provincial Statistics Officer and adviser of Aklan Civil Registrars Association (ACRA), the annual search aims to recognize and honor registrars who excel in performing their duties and functions as well as for promoting civil registration activities in their respective municipalities. 

“MCRs play a crucial role in the lives of every individual since they are the primary implementers of civil registry laws. This recognition will encourage and motivate them to do their best,” Solidum concluded.

The awards of the top five (5) performing civil registrars of Aklan were given during the 2012 Regional Year-end Assessment held at Raymen Beach Resort, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras on November 21-23, 2012. /MP

SP Aklan Proposes Creation of APDRRMC


A week before Tropical Cyclone Pablo almost smashed the Province of Aklan on December 4-5, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan requested Gov. Carlito S. Marquez for the immediate creation of the Aklan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (APDRRMC).

In Resolution No. 2012-322 sponsored by SP Member Raymar A. Rebaldo, the provincial legislative body has asked the provincial chief executive for the APDRRMC creation so that the provincial risk reduction and management system can be strengthened and subsequently institutionalize the provincial disaster risk reduction and management plan. The said resolution was passed during the 41st regular session on November 28, 2012.  

The creation of the local disaster risk reduction and management office in every municipal and provincial government units in the Philippines is mandated by Republic Act No. 10121, otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act enacted into law on July 2010 yet and by its subsequent implementing rules and regulations.
In Aklan, Kalibo has permanently created the said office. The other 16 towns are yet to comply with the provisions of RA 10121.

In January 2011, the Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan has drafted an ordinance creating the said provincial office. Vice Gov. Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo cautioned however the body that the move must come from the initiative of the provincial governor. Hence, the proposed enactment was shelved.

At present, the disaster risk reduction and management functions are entrusted to a very small unit under the office of the Provincial Governor. It is manned by people designated from the existing plantilla personnel of the executive office.

Section 6 of Rule 6 of RA 10121 IRR provides that local sanggunians shall enact the appropriate ordinance to create the disaster risk reduction management office to include the allocation of necessary structure, staff and budget.

The SP member-proponent in 2011 of the said draft ordinance emphasized that the creation of the said office poses no budgetary constraints as far as the statutory limitation on Personnel Services allocation of 45 percent from first to third class provinces is concerned. LGU Aklan then, in its budget, has total allocation for Personnel Services of about 39 percent of its total annual budget.

The 5 percent operational expenditures of the said office can be charged to the calamity fund of the province, the proponent pointed out. /MP

JCI Boosts Marine Fisheries Ecosystem


by ERNESTO T. SOLIDUM


The Aklan Kalantiaw Jaycees under the umbrella arm of Junior Chamber International (JCI) held its 34th annual induction program and turnover ceremonies at Adees’ Place, Capitol Site, Kalibo on December 9, 2012. Sworn into office were the 2013 set of officers led by Ms. Cheng M. Ocampo as President. The affair was attended by 60 officers and members majority of whom are young professionals, career executives and businessmen.

The event was marked with the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing of mangrove reforestation project between Chairman Allen S. Quimpo of Kalibo Save the Mangroves Association (KASAMA) and JCI represented by Ms. Cheng M. Ocampo and Mr. Ryan C. Ravanzo, National President. Mr. Rodolfo Baclay, Jr., Area Vice Pres. for Visayas and Ms. Shannah Leigh I. Octaviano, Reg’l Vice Pres. for Western Visayas witnessed the ceremonies. Atty. Ronquillo C. Tolentino, 1977 President Aklan Jaycees came later.

The major advocacy of the Jaycees is marine and wildlife conservation to minimize negative impact of global warming especially in coastal communities, said Ms. Ocampo. The 2.0 hectares mudflat in New Buswang, Kalibo will be planted to 6,000 propagules of bakawan specie and utilize as youth training of Kasama in leadership and capability building, Ms. Ocampo pointed out. Eventually this will provide safe haven for wildlife and breeding/spawning ground of several marine species. The estimated cost to plant and manage one hectare is P23,000.

Mr. Ravanzo lauded the efforts of the Kalantiaw Jaycees to use their resources and skill in a national re-greening program of the government. He reported that their local Jaycees Chapter in Dagupan City have similar mangrove reforestation program that led to improve fisheries catch and reduce coastal erosion. He pledged that under his leadership all 118 Chapters with 7,000 members will be encouraged to come and visit the multi-awarded Bakawan Eco Park of Kalibo.

Atty. Quimpo said that it takes only simple logic and purposive will to work with nature. From a barren 50 hectares mudflat in 1983, we mobilized fisherfolk families to plant mangrove propagules. Aklan river is known to deposit rich sediments of sand and silt during rainy season. As the size and shape of the river delta expanded, we labor hard in our reforestation efforts. 
Fortunately, NGOs and POs plus foreign and domestic funding came in so we are able to plant 110 hectares. Today, the site is favorite tourists’ attraction with facilities like 900 meters boardwalk, reception area, charcoal processing plant and marketing center. The resident fisherfolks have augmented their income by catching crabs, shrimps and collecting shellfishes. This is apart from their regular wages as workers. Another plus factor is thriving angel wing clam (diwae) in Pook and Caano previously found only in neighboring province of Capiz. 

The Jaycees with its mission to provide development opportunities that empowers young people to create positive change has all the potentials to achieve them. To their credit are youthful dynamics, dedication and creativity. It is significant that Jayceesm is founded in Aklan by Atty. Allen S. Quimpo on September 8, 1974. The operation went on smoothly in the beginning until 2005, then suffered a decline or hiatus for 5 years. It was finally revived in 2010 through the initiative of concerned individuals. 

Atty. Tolentino said that its advocacies are mainly on environment, human rights, economic and community development, leadership and management training. Based on data, there are 5,000 local organizations in more than 100 countries worldwide with 200,000 active members. 

To our friends in Kalantiaw Jaycees, congratulations and more power! /MP 

DepEd Builds Most Expensive School Buildings

by Ernesto T. Solidum


In a recent DepEd budget hearing, Sen. Franklin Drilon was visibly shocked over the P730,000 cost for the construction of one classroom of 63 square meters. The reason is that based on disbursement of his PDAP the actual cost is only P325,000. DepEd builds most expensive buildings of inferior quality and out of specification. 

DepEd spent P1.25 million to construct a classroom in a 2 storey building and P730,000 for a classroom in a single storey building. According to Senator Drilon, this budget is already the cost of one multi-storey condominium. Even the luxurious structure in the country is shoddily constructed, unpainted and susceptible to strong wind and floods. 

Why the sudden interest in getting into actual cost of constructing classrooms? Well, Mr. Antonio Cosing, Vice Pres. of Fil-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) reported that they built 5,000-2 room school buildings that cost only P370,000 each and took just 15 days to finish. This means 74.6 percent less expensive than the one contracted by Sec. Armand Luistro of DepEd. Although the budgets differ between regions and among regions due to cost of construction materials, the above expenditure is legitimate and/or accurate.

The classroom shortage in the country stands at 48,802 at an average number of 45 pupils per room. Due to the acute problems, DepEd is forced to accommodate 60-70 pupils making room hot, humid and miserable both for kids and mentors to concentrate on teaching – learning process. Thus, the DepEd must appropriate an outlandish sum of P35.6 billion in order to address this classroom deficit.

Pres. P-noy last year suspended three (3) bridge projects funded by the United Kingdom, Austria and Spain contracted under the previous administration for anomalies particularly in the awarding of contracts. This was part of the P111 billion infra spending that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee unearthed plus the P10 – P15 billion missing fund.

Corruption in the Philippines is endemic and pervasive. The Makati Business Club Pres. Ramon del Rosario, Jr. said that 20 percent of the government budget or P300 billion per year is lost to corruption. Graft and plunder cases in the country regularly fill our airwaves and tabloids of sleaze committed by top government officials. Many escaped the dragnet because of political patronage. The latest success was the conviction of chief justice Renato Corona for unexplained wealth.

Confucius said that in a well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of, in a badly governed society, wealth is something to be ashamed of. This is timely wisdom but majority of our leaders have lost this delicadeza. Political dynasties flourish because wealth is tied to politics and vice versa. One way of leveling the playing field is to scrap the pork barrel so poor but deserving candidates could evenly, fairly compete and win in the election. 

The Philippines with GDP per capita of $2,223 is presently falling at its UN Millenium Development Goals (MDG) in eradicating extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education, child mortality and sustaining maternal health. Only passing marks are on reducing TB, HIV/AIDS incidence, gender equity and ensuring environmental sustainability. 

With 21.76 million youth enrolled in 45,927 public schools against the backdrop of perennial classroom, toilet, desk and teacher shortages expected result can only be mediocrity and inefficiency of graduates. The 2012-13 Global Competitiveness Report shows that China ranked 69th while the Philippines is 98th. Even with math and science competition, the country’s youth ranks at the bottom list among Asian countries.      

We need to allocate more funds for education but make sure that realistic and honest budget spending is observed. Other items that need to be checked are computer software that are procured and distributed by DepEd Regional Offices. Corrupt officials in the DepEd must be weeded out and meted the highest penalty under the law. Teachers ought to be models of discipline and uprightness. /MP

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

DAR-JICA-ARISP Complete P35M Projects In Aklan



Ribbon cutting of the Mataphao-Guinbaliwan Road in New Washington, Aklan with (l to r) Engr. Ernesto Anino-DAR Aklan, Mayor Edgar Peralta of New Washington, Engr. Melle Lamboon, ARISP 3, PARO Eberardo Erispe, New Washington SB member Quimpo, Ms. Sachiko Takeda, JICA Senior Representative, Mr. Yukihiro Kahawara, NIPON KOIE, Ms. Sherilyn Aoyama, JICA Program Officer and Helen Tilano, OIC MARO, DAR New Washington.


Ribbon cutting and unveiling of marker of Dumlog Communal Irrigation Project, Dumlog, Malay, Aklan. L to R are Engr. Arnold Solano, Engr. Wilson Rey, and Engr. Rizalo Concepcion of NIA; PARO Eberardo Erispe, DAR Aklan; Ms.Sachiko Takeda, JICA Senior Representative; and Malay Mayor John Yap. 

In pursuit to rural development and farmers economic upliftment, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) senior representative Sachiko Takeda and ARISP-III head consultant Yukihiro Kawahawa together with the Department of Agrarian Reform officers of the Province of Aklan, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the National Irrigation Administration turned-over completed infrastructure projects to the municipalities of New Washington and Malay on November 27, 2012. 

Turned over are five infra projects, three farm-to-market roads, one irrigation system and one post harvest facilities at a total cost of Php 34,330,368.00. These projects are now benefiting farmers of Pacto De Sangre Agrarian Reform Council (ARC) in New Washington and the Malaya ARC in Malay. These road projects were turned-over to local government units, irrigation project to CABADU Irrigators Association and post-harvest facilities to KAMMANA MPC of Napaan, Malay.

These projects are providing the farmers easy access to transportation facilities and other basic support services. After the project turn-over and acceptance, the local community will operate and maintain the said projects.

The ARISP (Agrarian Infrastructure Support Project) of DAR is the funding and implementing body of this project benefiting New Washington, Malay, and Buruanga. There are still on-going and pipeline projects for DAR-ARISP expected to be completed before April 2014. /MP