Monday, March 24, 2014
by ERNESTO T. SOLIDUM
Proposed Base Market Values
of Aklan Real Properties
The provincial Assessor’s office has recommended a Base Market Values of real properties based on the 2005 data for all 17 municipalities in the province of Aklan. The increase in base market value for residential is 125-173 percent, commercial 142-200 percent and 125-200 percent industrial for urbanized Kalibo. For other municipalities (2nd, 3rd, and 4th class) the rated increase is an average of 130 percent.
Meanwile, the increase in tax due for residential lands is 31-105 percent, 137-200 percent for commercial and 122-200 percent industrial. In Boracay Island, Malay residential is an astounding increase of 181-241 percent, commercial 148-200 percent and industrial 120-200 percent.
According to the Provincial Assessor, the justification for the phenomenal increase is that the province failed to revise the base market values since 2005. This is lost opportunity and the recommendation is prepared to cope with this predicament. There are consistent increases of land valuation over the years as evidenced by copies of deed of absolute sale and mortgages filed in the office of the provincial assessor.
According to Ms. Suzette Pioquid, the expected revision of base market value would translate to P54 million starting 2015 when the proposed Ordinance is approved and implemented. However, revising tax declaration of all real estate owners will cost the province P14 million.
Taxes for development sounds very desirable in a democratic and progressive society. We need tax money to build roads, classrooms, hospitals, ports and others. There is vital consideration that citizens must be aware of hence to pay taxes correctly and religiously.
However, the formulation of taxation, must be humanized taking into consideration the financial status of the people. Leonore Briones, UP Economist and author alludes to taxation as the art of plucking feathers from a hen without the bird protesting it. It’s probable that the previous Administration of Gov. Carlito S. Marquez chosed to withhold the revision of real property taxes because of stagnating economy despite the booming tourism revenues of Boracay. Spike in investments on real estate is attributed to OFW’s, foreigners married to Pinays and businessmen from other provinces.
Climate change is a factor to be included in the planning because from 2005-2013, a gap of 8 years, two super typhoons namely: Frank and Yolanda ravaged Aklan and people has to recover from the calamity. Farmers and fisherfolks grapple with weather uncertainties which are intense since in recent years resulting to low production and income.
For the last nine years, NSCB reported that 27 percent of Aklan’s population are living below the poverty line. In the first quarter of 2013, it was reduced to 21 percent. However, in the last quarter of 2013, typhoon Yolanda struck and vaunted the increase gone in the wink of an eye. Full recovery is expected in 2015 or about the time tax increases commence.
Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan has classified the provinces grappling with poverty into 3 which are: Category 1 – robust commercial activity as Pangasinan, Iloilo, Negros Occ., and Quezon. Category 2 – limited economic opportunities for growth as the ARMM, and Category 3 – Areas prone to calamities like Eastern Visayas.
Based on the above description and classification, Aklan is included in Category 3 because it is prone to natural disasters. Our manufacturing sector is very weak, largely dominated by micro industries which are labor intensive, family owned and employing less than 9 percent workers. Moreover, infra development is inadequate as hinterland barangays of Libacao and Madalag are not connected to the center of commerce and industry. They are more often isolated during periodic floods and typhoons. The same is true in agriculture and fisheries since Aklan relies heavily on foodstuff coming from neighboring provinces.
Aklan desperately needs investors especially in manufacturing, business, tourism and recreation. However, for Aklanons to do so, taxes must be reasonable. A 200 percent increase for commercial land outside of Boracay is not acceptable to most investors. An investor has to pay other obligations like electricity, building rental, business tax, and Mayor’s Permit among others. With less investors, there will be scant employment opportunities.
As to the Schedule of Base Market Values for agricultural lands, there is no figure. Hence, it is believed the province condones payment from landowners in the form of taxes.
The reason why we are poor as a nation because we turn a blind eye on “black spots” of our natural resources. This agricultural areas must be taxed as commercial land since owners are business speculators. Financial burden may force them to develop real estate into productive uses like agro-forestry, pasture land and recreation area. Better still, owners must be forced to sell property to more enterprising individuals. Evidently, this needs legal statute to be effective.
It is suggested to the Committees on Appropriation, Budge and Finance and Ways and means that the updated base market values of real properties be reasonable, just and affordable considering that 30 percent of Aklan’s population is living below the poverty line (computed by 26,485 households, 6 family members as 4P’s beneficiaries) and recent ordinance passed by SP condoning payment for real property taxes due to typhoon Yolanda. It is humbly suggested that 40 percent across the board be levied on all classes of real estate based on 2005 data effective January 1, 2005.
It is expected that 40 percent increase will be revised again in 2018 and every 3 years thereafter. A staggered approach is recommended compared to drastic and unrealistic proposals that can significantly affect the provinces’ impressive performance in tax collection. /MP
Ambrosio R. Villorente
How Prepared Are We?
How prepared is the Philippines for the ASEAN Economic Integration which will be effective next year? This is the common question being asked by many people for the forthcoming implementation of the ASEAN Economic Integration.
ASEAN is composed of 10 South East Asian countries which are Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, and the Philippines. As agreed, almost all restrictions between and among these countries are removed such as in trade, business, industry and commerce. A good example is in the import/export of goods and services between and among these 10 countries.
When before the Philippines will allow goods like rice, fruits and vegetables from Thailand to enter the Philippines subject to certain laws and regulations. Philippines goods were also allowed to enter Thailand subject to Thai’s role and regulations. Most of those restrictions will be removed when the Integration takes effect next year.
In the Aklan Forum held in Kalibo on February 28, 2014, the participants believed the Philippines is highly competitive in the professional fields such as in the medical profession. The Filipinos are also advanced in the entertainment field. Filipino musicians are found in Asian countries including Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong.
But the Filipinos are miserably disadvantaged in agricultural fields. Philippines produced fruits and vegetables are not only inadequate, it is also more expensive than the other Asian countries. The Philippines is the highest rice importer of the world and these deficiencies are hard to explain why does the Philippines lag behind in Agricultural production.
It is common knowledge that the Thais, Vietnamese, Malaysians, Indonesians studied agriculture in the Philippines. The International Rice Research Institute is located in the Philippines. But today, the Filipinos cannot compete with them in agriculture productivity.
The Thais studied shrimp and prawn culture in Iloilo. Today, Thailand is number one prawn exporter of the world. Indonesia employed Filipino fishery technologists, today the Philippines is for behind in fishery production compared to Indonesia.
It appears the Filipinos are very effective teachers but poor implementors. Foreigners who are alumni of the Philippines colleges are helping their countries prosper. Are Filipino alumni of our colleges helping the Philippines become progressive? Can we inculcate among our students the love of country so that after graduation, they are loyal and loving citizens of the Philippines? So that after graduation, they will stay in the Philippines through thick and thin and contribute to the progress of our country?
Their dream of seeking employment abroad is a great loss to the country and family. It is difficult to imagine the time, effort and money spent for their education only to leave the Philippines and serve foreign countries. They are big loss in man power, the best and the brightest are going out.
Aklan Tourism Is Booming
Aklan is great and wealthy province but about 35 percent of its people are living in poverty. Aklan has two (2) airports, one of which is the third busiest in the country. Almost in all coastal towns, boats can dock.
However, who are benefiting from these resources? Those who have something to sell to our visitors. Those who have none maybe the victims of the tourist industry. Those who are engaging in transport, hotel, restaurant, souvenir shops, resort and entertainment are the beneficiaries of tourism.
Those who sell none suffer high prices, traffic problem. Food prices are increasing daily and accidents occur along the road. Travel time is increased.
One way to allow farmers to participate in the tourist industry is to assist them produce more food like fruits and vegetables and even flowers. Aklan is short of these commodities. Rice produced in Aklan is inadequate. The shortage is supplied by Oriental Mindoro rice. Chicken and eggs are almost sourced out of Aklan. There is no poultry in Aklan. These inadequate agricultural food production is a drain of money that could have been saved and invested in Aklan.
The LGU, to hasten agricultural production must appropriate more money for agriculture. The P10.8 million 2014 budget for agriculture out of the P1.3 billion budget of Aklan is only good for salaries of agriculture personnel in the capitol.
This explains why agriculture technicians cannot impart scientific farming to the farmers. The decade old law banning the burning of rice straw is not followed. Who cares? For the poultry and swine projects which pollute the environment, the mayors solve it by ordering its closure. It should be to compel operators to follow scientific farming. The technologist must be assigned in the project to fully assist the project operator follow recommended poultry raising practices. /MP
Known world-wide as the Mango Country, the Province of Guimaras is now geared towards the quality production of organic sweet potato as one of the province’s major commodities next to mango, said Governor Samuel T. Gumarin.
“Sweet potato is very resilient to climate change that’s why it is suitable for planting all over the country. It is now being processed for different products such as chips and livestock feeds. In fact, sweet potato is considered as one of the commodities in the implementation of the Philippine Rural Development Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA),” added Gov. Gumarin.
DA Organic Agriculture Asst. Focal Person Glenda Himatay urges farmers to go on with the production of organically-grown sweet potatoes and the department will continue to provide them assistance.
“To assure farmers of high yield and income, the Province of Gumaras will help them in packaging and marketing of their products. It is a must for the farmers to conform to the good agricultural practices,” said Ronnie Morante, Provincial Agriculturist of Guimaras during the graduation of 32 farmers in the Organic Sweet Potato Integrated Pest Management at Brgy. Sebaste, Sibunag, Guimaras, March 14, 2014.
The sixteen-week training on sweet potato production is a joint venture of DA 6 and the Agricultural Training Institute. (da-ipas 6)/MP
Iloilo City – The Department of Agriculture (DA) 6 announces the 2014 Gawad Saka Search for Outstanding Agri-Fishery achievers.
According to Director Larry P. Nacionales of DA 6, a total of 19 categories is at stake which individual farmers, fisherfolks, livestock raisers, agricultural organizations, and local government units can join.
“For the crops sector we have outstanding rice farmer, outstanding corn farmer, outstanding coconut farmer, outstanding high value crops farmer and outstanding sugarcane farmer. For livestock, we have outstanding large animal raiser and outstanding small animal raiser.” Nacionales announced.
He stressed that agricultural institutions can vie for outstanding young farmer/fisherfolk, outstanding young farmer organization, outstanding farm family, outstanding rural improvement club (RIC), outstanding municipal/city agricultural fishery council and outstanding provincial agricultural fishery council while the fisherfolks can vie for outstanding fish capture and fish culture categories.
Organic farmers can vie for outstanding organic farm. Other categories include outstanding barangay/municipal food terminal, outstanding agri-entrepreneur and outstanding agricultural scientist awards.
A cash award of P30,000.00 will be given to individual category winners while a project grant of P50,000.00 will be given to agricultural organization category winners plus trophies/citations. The bureaus of DA will also provide cash award of P50,000.00 to winners in their respective categories.
Gawad saka is an annual undertaking of the DA to give due recognition and pay tribute to dedicated individuals and institutions with exemplary accomplishments in their respective fields of endeavor and significant contribution to the country’s agricultural development. They are deemed worthy of emulation.
Nacionales encourages all agricultural sectors to actively participate in this year’s Gawad Saka search so as to emphasize social justice, equity, productivity and sustainability in the use of agriculture and fishery resources.
The Gawad Saka municipal winners in various categories will compete for the provincial level and the provincial winners will compete for the regional level and finally the regional winners will compete for the national level.
Gawad Saka timetable includes April 4 – submission of provincial winners to the regional office, April 7-16 validation/evaluation and documentation of winners, April 21-25 final packaging and preparation of endorsements and April 28 submission of regional nominees to the national Gawad Saka Secretariat. (JEEO/RAFID 6) /MP
The Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan has set a separate public hearing on Friday, April 4, 2013 on the proposed new schedule of base market values of real properties for Malay town and special base valuation for Boracay Island and Caticlan, Malay.
The public hearing is set at Casa Pilar Beach Resort Pavillion, Balabag, Boracay Island starting at 9:00 o’clock in the morning.
Earlier, the SP, through its committee on Appropriations, Budgets, Finance and Ways and Means has conducted a series of public hearings on the proposed new schedule of base market values of real properties for the whole Aklan on February 27, 28 and March 6, 2014, including Malay and Boracay.
But several property owners in Boracay, barangay Caticlan and Malay asked the SP to hold a separate public hearing in Boracay to ensure widespread participation of property owners in the area and owing to the fact that property owners in the Caticlan, Malay and Boracay Island would be greatly affected by the general revision.
Previous public hearings were held at the SP Session Hall, Provincial Capitol, Kalibo, Aklan. /MP
Ni Tita Linda Belayro
Sandalyas Ni Mercurio
Mensahero it mga Diyos ag Diyosa sa bukid it Olympus si Mercurio. Guina saligan imaw ni Haring Zeus. Isaeang adlaw, guin sugo imaw ni Haring Zeus nga hatdan nana it pagkaon ro onga ni Haring Zeus sa isaeang ka mortal nga babaye. Pagkasayod ni Hera ko sugo it Hari nga asawa ni Haring Zeus, guin tawag nana si Mercurio. Guin painom imaw it Ambrosia, sangka ilimnon it mga Diyosa.
Nahilong si Mercurio bangod sa guin inom. Guin tawag ni Hera si Minerva, Diosa it ka-a-eaman agod basahon ro paino-ino ni Mercurio. Guin bo-oe nana ro sandalyas ni Mercurio agod indi imaw maka eopad. Nangin ordinaryo nga tawo si Mercurio. Nag iba imaw sa mga hayop ag mga pispis agod magpamati ko andang mga guina hambae ogaling owa imaw it nasayuran kon siin makita ro anang sandalyas.
Samtang naga pungko imaw sa kabatohan, habati-an nana ro suguilanon it mga isda hanungod sa sandalyas nga may pakpak ag naga siga sa idaeum it eawod. Guin sugo nana ro mga isda nga daehon kana ro sandalyas. Guin tuman si Mercurio. Owa mabuhayi, nagbalik ro mga isda nga daea ro sandalyas. Guin soksok ni Mercurio ro sandalyas ag bumalik sa bukid it Olympus. Guin sugid ro tanan kay Haring Zeus. Naakig ro hari. Guin paea-as si Hera ag idto imaw nagtener sa baeay ni Minerva agod istudyohan kon paano makabalik bilang asawa it Haring Zeus. /MP
The Aklan Multi-Purpose Cooperative which operates the Aklan Cooperative Mission Hospital at Roxas Avenue Extension, Kalibo, Aklan will hold its General Assembly meeting on Saturday, April 5, 2014. The meeting will be held at the Quadrangle of the said hospital.
According to Atty. Arturo R. Carpio, Secretary, the General Assembly Meeting will discuss “amendments to Articles of Cooperation & By-Laws” to conform with R.A. 9520 or the Cooperative Code of the Philippines of 2008; and election of Board of Director members, Committees and External Auditor.
In the field of power, the National Grid Power Corporation (NGCP), will hold the “Power 102” Seminar for Aklan Media on April 7, 2014. It will be held at Crown Regency Hotel, Boracay, Malay, Aklan.
According to Ms. Venus G. Villanueva of PIA who issued the invitation, two vans will be available to the participants to Ferry them from Kalibo to Caticlan, Malay and boat transfers to Boracay Island. The vans will be in front of the Provincial Capitol Bldg., Kalibo at 7:00 o’clock in the morning, April 7. It did not state however, if NGCP transportation is available in the return trip to Kalibo. /MP
Kapuso personalities and programs gained recognition in the 10th USTv Students’ Choice Awards last Feb. 20. Broadcast journalist Jessica Soho and her magazine show took home a total of four trophies.
Voters from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) gave their nod to Soho in the major categories of: Student Leaders’ Choice of TV Personality; Students’ Choice of News Host; and Students’ Choice of Magazine Program Host.
Her hosting accolades acknowledged excellence in her work for GMA News TV’s flagship newscast, State of the Nation, and the top-rating weekend magazine show, Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, which won the Students’ Choice of Magazine Program award.
Fellow GMA reporters Arnold Clavio and Sandra Aguinaldo were respectively named male and female Outstanding Thomasian Personalities.
GMA News and Public Affairs’ internationally acclaimed documentary show, I-Witness, earned another feather on its cap after being voted as Student Leaders’ Choice of TV Program.
GMA’s longest running gag show, Bubble Gang, was bestowed the Students’ Choice of Comedy Program award.
For its commitment to public service, GMA Kapuso Foundation was cited as this year’s honoree for Student Leaders’ Choice of Network Foundation.
The annual USTv Students’ Choice Awards, which began in 2004, was held at the University of Santo Tomas’ Plaza Mayor. /MP
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan is now in the process of discussion on the proposed “Ordinance to Organize the Aklan Council For The ASEAN Integration 2015, Providing Its Structure, Powers And Functions, Requiring A Regular Monitaring Reports, Appropriating Funds For Its Operations And For Other Purposes”.
The proposed ordinance is authored by Hon. Plaridel M. Morania of the Eastern District of Aklan. A joint committee hearing by the Committees on Cooperatives, Food And Agriculture; Tourism, Trade, Industry, and Commerce; Education, Culture, Science and Technology; and Energy, Public utilities, Transportation and Communications is scheduled on Tuesday at 9:00 o’clock in the morning. March 25, 2014 at the SP Session Hall, Provincial Capitol, Kalibo, Aklan.
According to Hon. Morania, the ASEAN Economic Integration will be effective in 2015 which will provide tremendous opportunities as well as crucial challenges, requiring the imperative need to harness the competitive spirit of our people, as well as business.
Moreover, Morania pointed out that the common analysis points to the Philippines as the least prepared of all the 10 ASEAN member states. A great majority of our people are not aware of this ASEAN Economic Integration 2015 of its effect to our people.
The Council aims to enhance the competence of the Aklanon human resource by identifying, developing, and maximizing the physical, technological and other advantages of Aklan and to conduct forum, programs and projects to help achieve the goals and targets of Aklan. /MP
We are pleased to share with you our observation and experience in our Educational tour on March 10-14 in Metro Manila.
It was our first day in Manila. We saw different faces, new environment, new experiences and challenges on our field trip.
We lodged at the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Guest House, Diliman, Quezon City. We arrived there from the NAIA by jeep and bus rides. We walked very long streets from Philcoa with our baggage. And finally we reached our destination in Elliptical Road, Quezon City. We took a rest all day long. In the afternoon, we went to Trinoma, and SM North EDSA to buy some foods we ate in our dormitory. In the evening, we rested and relaxed with our roommates.
In the second day of our tour in Manila, we went to Manila Bulletin Today. Luckily, we saw all the equipments that they are using in printing newspapers. Our tour guide discussed some ideas and the processes on how they provide thousands of copies to the public. In the afternoon, we went to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. They also discussed about their history and machines that they are using. We were amazed when our tour guide told us that they’re still preserving the machine that they used in the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
On the third day of our field trip, Ms. Yoevena Claire Taguig of ATI, briefed us about e-Learning. After the briefing, we went to the studio of GMA Network and Sir Charlie, our tour guide, brought us to their different studios. We saw some celebrities like Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, Thea Tolentino and the Los Byaheros of Eat Bulaga (Pedro, Eduardo, and Diego) and sir Chino Gaston. He allowed us to see him reporting live in his “breaking news”. After which, he gave us some tips on how to become a good reporter.
In another day for us AB Mass Communication students, early morning, we started our day with preparing the things that we needed to bring for our tour at ABS-CBN. We were very excited for our tour because at last we will see the state of the art facilities that ABS-CBN is offering us. At 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon, we started to travel by riding our service bus. The travel was so fast that it took us one hour to reach the ABS-CBN building; we came there at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon.
The tour was very enjoyable and very interesting especially when we entered the studios of the ABS-CBN. It was very cold inside the studios due to good air conditioning which is needed to secure and prevent equipments from overheating. We saw how hard to make a studio setting. They told us that it takes one day to complete one set for a show. We also saw the dressing room of the “It’s Showtime” celebrities but unfortunately, we didn’t see even one of them inside.
We gained a lot of knowledge on that tour and that was so memorable. We will never forget it for the rest of our lives. We think discipline is one of the most developed among us in that tour. (with the report of: Kim Janus Justo, Erwin Sabino, Rhenz Buenjo Navida, and James Lyle Christopher Ian Carpio). /MP
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
by ERNESTO T. SOLIDUM
Women Empowerment Must Consider
International Women’s month is celebrated every March of each year. Women advocates such as Gender Advocacy for Development (GAD) and Violence Against Women and Children (VAW-C) were invited guests during Kapihan sa Aklan Forum. Both groups arose early at dawn to engage in a fun run from the Provincial Capitol grounds to Pastrana park.
“Juana, Ang Tatag Mo Ay Tatag Natin sa Pagbangon At Pagsulong”, is this year’s theme. Guests are Ms. Evangeline Gallega, Prov’l. Social Welfare and Development Officer, Ms. Jesebel Vidal, Prov’l Planning Officer, Ms. Vivian Ruiz Solano, Prov’l Employment Service Office, Police Sr. Insp. Aileen Rondario – PNP and Atty. Flosemer Gonzales, Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.
Ms. Vidal cited women’s traditional role as “Ilaw ng Tahanan” but expanded in modern times beyond the home to engage in community work. Women must be recognized for their active participation in socio-economic development. Thanks to the collaboration and commitment of Government Organizations and Non Government Organizations in promoting women’s welfare, underscored Ms. Vidal.
The assurance of promoting women in distress through the “Daeangpan it mga Kababayen-an” stands as a beacon to those battered and marginalized sector. Ms. Gallega said that the facility is accessible and open 24/7 where counseling and or debriefing are given to clients by trained social workers.
Ms. Ruiz has announced a job fair scheduled on March 10 to be held in coordination with private companies based locally and abroad. NBI clearance normally secured in Iloilo City could be expedited provided they open NBI website for prior appointment and know the required documents.
For women and children who are victims of violence and sexual exploitation, Atty. Gonzales urged them to report the matter to the nearest Police Station. RA 7610 or Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act prohibits older and unrelated persons in the company of a minor child seen in public places like bars or saloons. Violence between spouses or live in partners is covered by RA 9262 where neighbors witnessing the event could call the police. Depending upon the circumstances, worse scenario could be criminal prosecution and not mediation.
Women trafficking is covered by RA 10364 where national data is 500,000 victims of prostitution, one-fifth of them children. Global trafficking in Persons defines trafficking as the recruitment, harboring, transporting, provision of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act. The Philippines is tagged as one of child cyber pornography hubs, rampant in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao and other key cities.
Women has gone a long way since 1937 when the fair sex was allowed to vote. Women right permeated the civil movement in the 1960’s and empowerment in the 1990’s. This was notably marked by women engage in politics, business, education, welfare and in all work places traditionally dominated by men. However, women has never equaled men in status because the former has to take other responsibility as caring for the children and home while the latter has unfettered role as family provider.
While annual GDP of the country is spectacular 6.3 percent in 2011, 7.3 percent in 2012 and 7.2 percent in 2013, these had not filtered down to the grassroots. It is not an inclusive growth sine unemployment is 7.5 percent or 3.5 million. Some 20 percent or 8 million are under employed. Industrial growth is sclerotic while 70 percent of the economy is consumption-driven.
This prompts Pinoys to leave the country at 3000 daily in desperate search for jobs and better opportunities. Of this number, 95 percent are domestic helpers who are euphemistically labeled as modern day heroes. Not bad for the 10 million OFWs scattered in 200 countries of the world because they send annual remittances of $22.8 billion, enough to keep the country afloat.
The 10 million OFWs practically represent 10 million households which have invariably relinquished their parental responsibility to their kids, either spouse, or family members like grandma, sister and brother. We only reap what we plant. In the early 1970’s juvenile delinquency or teenage hooliganism, drug abuse and family break up were seldom heared. Today, reported cases are skyrocketing despite pertinent laws as RA 7165 or Comprehensive Drugs Act, RA 9775 or Anti Child Porn Law. Family break ups are common in almost all barangays. While OFWs are serving diligently and well their employees, it is causing erosion to the love and respect of other countries to the Filipino nation.
Filipino policy makers must learn from Indonesia, also developing country like us which regulates the sending of her laborers abroad especially domestic helpers. Certain requirements must be met like labor contract, paid up plane ticket round trip, health/accident insurance and immigration visa kept by the employee rather than the employer. Furthermore, overseas employment is prioritized to highly skilled professionals, while domestic helpers are gradually phased out. The contract must include provisions which will maintain and promote Filipino integrity and enhance mutual respect.
Ms. Solano justified the national trend in favor of DH since it is the only employment status open in the international jobs market led by the Middle East, Hongkong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
This notion that migrant women workers are empowered and financially capable is hollow and ephemeral. Empowerment is defined by strength and decision to choose different alternatives. Basically, majority of our OFWs are desperate for jobs that they will do anything just to earn money. It is for this reason that they fall victims to physical harassment and sexual exploitation.
Family values come into light. One may be financially successful but if the family is broken, one is simply finished. When a wife or husband left him/her for another lover, he/she is completely finished. If an unwedded teenage daughter is pregnant, she is devastated.
Time to reflect on Asean innovative leaders like Pres. Park of South Korea, Prime Minister Lee of Singapore, Dr. Sun Yat Sen of Taiwan and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia. One thing common among them is: they have a dream. Sad to say, in the Philippines it’s the refrain of a song, “Que sera, sera or what will be, will be, the future is not ours to say. /MP
Ambrosio R. Villorente
Aklan Budget For Agriculture Is Tiny
What is happening to our society today? In what stage is morality among the Filipinos, particularly in Aklan?
In Nabas, Aklan, a public school teacher is alleged to have sexually molested his 12 years old pupil. Until today, the Department of Education has done nothing on the said case of immorality to have been allegedly committed by a teacher who is supposed to lead in the preservation and maintenance of morality and decency. If a teacher is immoral, who else are not?
If true, the schools may not be doing its mandate in educating our people to secure decency and morality in Philippine society, particularly in Aklan. Moreover, there are some members of society who blemish the good image of the schools.
For that teacher in Nabas who allegedly sexually molested his 12 years old pupil must be meted sanction as soon as possible if true. The pertinent laws applicable to his case must be applied according to its purpose and intent.
At least, his case must be looked into. He must be suspended from the service while his case is under litigation.
On the other hand, the parent of that alleged victim must be required to answer why they must not be penalized for their failure to inculcate to their child good moral conduct. Why did they allow their daughter to sleep with someone in some other’s house?
Aklan tourism is progressing. It is booming. Boracay Island is booming. More people are visiting Aklan because of Boracay’s ideal water, sand, and sun. Both foreigners and Filipinos are visiting Boracay. They arrive via air, water and land transportation.
This influx of visitors to Aklan is good for the operators of both air, land and water transportation. It is good for hotel, restaurant and resort owners and producers of gifts and souvenir items. It is good for farmers who produce more food like vegetables, fruits, corn and rice, chicken and eggs.
It is also good for the government for it can collect more taxes. Malay, where Boracay Island belongs, collects higher taxes than any LGU’s in Aklan. Malay’s budget is twice higher than that of Kalibo, the capital town.
On the other hand, for those who sells nothing to the visitors, sorry for them. Those who produce nothing and sell nothing are experiencing traffic problem, higher risk along the road, increased cost of food like beef, pork, eggs, chicken meat, fruits, vegetables, among others. Rice locally produced is becoming inadequate.
To enable all the Aklanons enjoy tourism boom in Aklan, they must engage in the production of food, even flowers, souvenir and gift items. LGU Aklan must help Aklanons produce these goods both in technical and financial assistance.
Aklan’s budget for Agriculture is tiny. It must be increased. The P10.8 million budget for agriculture is just enough for salaries and wages of agriculture personnel.
It is hard to imagine why only that scanty amount is appropriated for agriculture out of the P1.3 billion Aklan LGU budget for 2014. I believed the budgeting must be balanced for the twin program: Agriculture and Tourism of Aklan. /MP
Effective immediately, after the signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Social Security System (SSS) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), all qualified farmers will be insured. The MOA will be signed on Friday, March 14, 2014 by Emilio S. De Queros, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer in behalf of SSS and by Proceso J. Alcala, Secretary, DA.
The signing ceremony will be witnessed by Judy Frances A. See – Head, Accounting Management Group, SSS and Asterio P. Saliot – Head, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).
Under the agreement, ATI shall enforce compulsory coverage and registration under the SSS self-employed program of all its qualified members of Rural Based Organizations (RBO) and designated Community Extension Workers (CEW) in good standing. ATI will subsidize in full the SSS monthly contributions of all qualified members of RBOs and CEWs. This monthly contributions shall be initially based on the agreed monthly salary credit of P3,000 which will be remitted to the SSS on a monthly/quarterly basis and submit the corresponding payment list to the SSS on or before the 10th day of the month following the applicable month or quarter.
The ATI will also invite the SSS in ATI events, conventions, fora and other activities where there are RBOs and CEWs present.
On the other hand, the SSS will assign Account Officer to manage ATI account and assist in the ATI’s compliance to the agreement. SSS will conduct briefings and orientation for ATI’s CEWs to improve their awareness of SSS programs. SSS will ensure prompt action on transactions filed by the CEW’s in accordance with the Citizen’s Charter.
This MOA is based on the SSS mandate by law to provide social security protection to all self employed persons and other qualified Filipino workers regardless of trade, business or occupation against the hazards of disability, sickness, maternity, old age, death and other contingencies.
The DA is the principal government agency responsible for the promotion of agricultural and fisheries development and growth. The ATI which is an agency under the DA is mandated to train agricultural extension workers and their clients, to conduct multi-level training programs to promote and accelerate rural development and ensure research results are communicated to RBO’s composed of Rural Improvement Clubs the members of which are women, 4H clubs composed of rural youth and farmers.
One of the extension strategies ATI uses is the School For Practical Agriculture (SPA) to develop farmers as CEW’s and their farms as learning sites. These RBO’s and CEW’s serve as ATI’s strategic partners in agricultural extension activities to promote food sufficiency and other DA programs. /MP
Sen. Serge Osmeña last week called for a Senate inquiry into the delay in the awarding of the construction and 25-year management contract of the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA). He expressed fears that the DOTC may award the project to a foreign firm with a questionable operating background and unstable financial standing.
Osmeña, in a Privilege Speech entitled ‘Shades of Piatco’, showed concern that the award of the MCIA contract to the consortium of GMR Infrastructure Ltd. of India and Megawide Construction Corporation would cause a “grievous injury” not only to the people of Cebu but to “all future travellers to and from the Visayas and Mindanao.”
“As a Cebuano, I am very much concerned because if this project is done well, it could send the people of Cebu soaring to higher levels of tourism and other commercial activity. It would result in more jobs and higher incomes for tens of thousands.”
“If done badly, it could send our hopes and aspirations crashing to the ground, with serious repercussions on the national economy, and on our international image,” Osmeña said.
“Should the project falter like the infamous PIATCO Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), it is not only the people of Cebu province but all Filipinos who would suffer the consequences,” Osmeña added.
Osmeña bared “serious misgivings” about the corporate competence of the GMR Infrastructure Ltd. of India to carry out the 25-year project, citing GMR’s ‘shaky’ financial standing and its partnership with the infamous German firm Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide, also known as FRAPORT, which has previously figured in the scandalous PIATCO-NAIA 3 terminal project.
Osmeña said: “Now, I believe we all know who Fraport is. Fraport was the operator partner and majority beneficial owner of the PIATCO consortium of the NAIA Terminal 3 which became notorious because of the numerous post award amendments, flaws and shortcomings in PIATCO’s contract, many of which remain unresolved to this date.”
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee conducted an inquiry in aid of legislation into the PIATCO-NAIA 3 contract. In its Committee Report dated December 10, 2002, the Committee found substantial evidence of irregularities in the contract and referred its findings to the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman.
In 2004, the Supreme Court declared the PIATCO-Fraport contract null and void. Also, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled in favor of the Philippine government in the arbitration case filed by Fraport in Washington, D.C while the International Chamber of Commerce in Singapore ruled in favor of the Philippines in the arbitration case filed by PIATCO.
“So, Mr. President, if a person were to be judged by the company that he keeps, what does GMR’s association with Fraport tell us? Moreover, did GMR learn any tricks from Fraport?” he asked.
Osmeña said: “A Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, found that GMR-Delhi International Airport enjoyed POST-CONTRACTUAL benefits that violated the tendering process which selected its joint venture partner. Shades of PIATCO!”
Osmeña also questioned GMR’s financial capability to finance its P14.4 billion bid, citing various reports from prestigious foreign publications and large financial institutions abroad that “GMR’s corporate finances stand on shaky grounds.”
He noted that GMR’s own Audited Financial Statements reveal that it had been suffering operating losses from 2011 to 2013.
He also pointed to “a damning article in the August 13, 2013 issue of Forbes.com entitled ‘House of Debt,’ which stated that the GMR Group was one of the companies ‘that cannot even pay the interest on their debt on time.”
“My fellow senators, I fear that with its financial situation, GMR should not even be remotely considered a dependable investor to be entrusted with a long-term involvement in our Mactan Airport. I fear that GMR might merely flip its equity in this project for a profit. And where would that leave the Cebuanos?” Osmeña asked.
In his speech, Osmeña called on the Senate Committee on Public Services to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, to find out, among other things, if the current process in undertaking public bidding fully protects the public interest.
He likewise appealed to the DOTC-PBAC and MCIAA to follow the PPP bidding rules, srtressing that “this would be Daang Matuwid at its finest.”
Osmeña also urged President Aquino to “take an official interest in this matter, since it is the Office of the President that ultimately bears the responsibility for maintaining the admirable growth in economic development that we have attained so far.”
“We further pray that this President for whose family the people of Cebu have always been overwhelmingly supportive will not saddle the Cebuanos for the next 25 years with a terminal that looks like a poultry farm managed by a consortium prone to operational and financial shortcuts. But to reward the Cebuano people with the best airport manager in the world – for 25 years! The people of Cebu, the Visayas and Mindanao deserve no less.” /MP
Ni Tita Linda Belayro
Alima It Amo
Isaeang ka sikat nga negosyante si Mr. Carlos. Naga linibot imaw sa iba-ibang lugar it kalibutan. Kada uli nana, may daea imaw nga regalo sa anang asawa. Mga maeahaeon nga relo, bag, alahas, sapatos ag kon ano pa nga daea sa anang pag uli.
Ko olihi, nasum-oe eon ro anang asawa nga si Susy sa anang eokas. Ko olihi, ro anang bu-ot mabaton hay mga misteryoso nga butang sa pag uli ni Mr. Carlos. Busa, parabil umuli imaw halin sa India, nag libot anay si Mr. Carlos sa mga bazaar agod mag usoy it anang e-regalo sa anang asawa. Ogaling owa gid imaw it napili sa anang hakita. Nag balik eon lang imaw sa hotel. Sa anang pag agi sa kalye, may hakita imaw nga alima it amo. Suno sa tinderong Indian, may kinaadman ro alima it amo nga masayran ni Mr. Carlos kon may naga traidor kana sa anang mga amigo, ka trabaho o sa anang panimaeay.
Guin bakae ni Mr. Carlos ro alima it amo. Nag uli eon si Mr. Carlos. Pag abot nana sa anda, malipayon guid si Susy tongod pinasahi ro guin eokas kana sa ibang mga koleksyon. Guin pa obrahan nana it eskaparate agod indi pag sudlon it tagasaw ag iba pang sapat. Sa owa magbuhay, nag panaw eon man si Mr. Carlos sa ibang nasyon.
Sa anang pag uli it uman halin sa ibang nasyon, haabotan nana sa andang baeay nga may eaeaki gali ro anang asawa. Mabuhay eon gali ro andang relasyon, ogaling owa guid nana maaboti. Tongod sa gahum ko alima it amo, hadakpan man nana ro pag eo-ib ko anang asawa. Nangayo it pasensya ro anang asawa. Halin kato, guina daea eon nana ro anang asawa sa anang paglibot sa bilog nga kalibutan. /MP
The importance of high self-esteem is generally linked to formative years, when it can help kids become confident adults. However, a new study from Concordia University in Montreal notes,- it is very important for older adults to maintain, if not improve, confidence levels, as this helps prevent health issues associated with the elderly.
The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Overseen by psychology researchers Sarah Liu and Carsten Wrosch from Concordia University’s Centre for Research in Human Development, the study examined how self-esteem changes as we age. If self-esteem decreases, the stress hormone cortisol increases. Researchers found this association “particularly strong” in participants with a history of depression or stress. However, if self-esteem increases, production of this stress hormone decreases.
The researchers measured cortisol levels, self-esteem, stress and depression symptoms in 147 participants ages 60 and over every 24 months for four years. Factors such as economic and relationship status and mortality risk were also included in the study.
Maintaining or improving self-esteem in older adults is believed to prevent health issues.
“Because self-esteem is associated with psychological well-being and physical health, raising self-esteem would be an ideal way to help prevent health problems later in life,” says Liu. She suggests making new friends or doing whatever else helps promote feelings of self-worth.
“Improving self-esteem provides real health benefits in seniors,” Liu adds. “The ultimate solution may be to prevent self esteem from declining.”
Liu also noted future studies could analyze immune function in relation to self-esteem and aging. Previous studies have also found a link between self-esteem and healthy aging, including a 2012 study from the Chinese Academy of Sciences that examined reminiscence therapy as a way to increase self-esteem in nursing home patients. /MP
Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Saturday, March 8, 2014 lauded all the women in areas affected by super typhoons and earthquake for their contribution to help the country rise above the challenges brought about by a series of calamities last year.
On the occasion of the National Women’s Month celebration, Ochoa expressed his admiration to these women who serves “as pillars of strength and solidarity in their respective families, communities, and our nation.”
The Executive Secretary said the capacity of Filipino women to endure and prevail under demanding circumstances embodied women empowerment.
“Heroines all, women in affected areas, though victims themselves, have inspired us with their efforts to keep their families together, extending assistance to others as volunteers in rescue and rehabilitation efforts, and ably performing their duties as leaders in their respective communities,” Ochoa said.
The theme for this year’s observance of National Women’s Month is “Juana, ang Tatag Mo ay Tatag Natin sa Pagbangon at Pagsulong.”
Ochoa announced that the Philippines will begin this month the assessment of the progress of its commitments under the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) of 1995 in preparation for the 20-year global review next year.
The BPfA is an international accord of women’s rights created during the Fourth World Conference on Women of the United Nation in Beijing in 1995, which has the backing of some 189 countries including the Philippines.
The BPfA includes key areas of concern needing action such as women and poverty, violence against women, and access to power and decision-making.
According to Ochoa, the Philippine report will be crafted by stakeholders in the government and non-government sectors and will be tackled during the Women’s Consultative Conference this March.
“The Philippine experience can very well be a major contribution to this review as the world looks at more opportunities for gender equality and empowerment, and for broadening advocacy in the promotion and protection of women’s rights after 2015,” Ochoa said. /MP
GMA News TV’s original series “Bayan Ko” and “Titser” were awarded for Outstanding Achievement in the Broadcast Media at the 8th Hildegarde Awards for Women in Media and Communications held on Saturday, March 8, at St. Scholastica’s College, Manila.
“Together, both show represent the best in Philippine television and serve as exemplars of what programming should be – entertaining. It must also be relevant, inspiring and truly empowering,” said Hildegarde Awards Exec. Director Johnathan Libarios Rondina.
The mini series “Bayan Ko” tackled political issues including corruption, bureaucracy and dynasties through the story of a newly elected fictional Mayor fighting for good governance. Directed by Adolfo Alix, Jr., “Bayan Ko” was top billed by Rocco Nacino as Mayor Joseph Santiago and Pen Medina as the adversarial Governor Antonio Rubio.
On the other hand, “Titser,” focused on the current state of Philippine education. The series recounted the story of Michelle, played by Kapuso premiere drama actress Lovi Poe, a poverty stricken high school girl who wanted to become a teacher but whose only option after graduation was to work as a housemaid. “Titser,” directed by Alvin Yapan, also starred Agot Isidro and Mara Lopez.
Both “Bayan Ko” and “Titser” are created and produced by GMA News TV channel Head Nessa Valdellon. Established in 2006 in honor of the 12th Benedictine century saint and healer Hildegarde von Bingen, the Hildegarde Awards celebrates women’s achievements in mass media and its allied fields. /MP
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Issues On ASEAN Economic Integration 2015
Re-launching of the weekly Kapihan started with a bang on February 28, 2014 with prominent guest, Hon. Luis Arriola, Kazakstan’s representative to the ASEAN and Editor in-Chief of Asian Times magazine. The re-launching was held at Carmen Hotel, the training site of students in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Northwestern Visayan Colleges (NVC), Kalibo, Aklan.
The first Kapihan broadcast after its re-launching was on March 1, 2014. In attendance are panelist: Johnny P. Dayang, lead convenor of Aklan Media Forum, Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente, former Pres. APCI, Dr. Danilo E. Abayon, Pres. Aklan State University (ASU) and Atty. Allen S. Quimpo, Pres. NVC. The topic is, “Asean Economic Integration in 2015.”
Integration according to English dictionary, New Edition is to make whole or to become complete; to bring parts together into a whole; to remove barriers imposing segregation upon social groups. Economics is the social science concerned with the production, consumption and distribution of goods and services.
Asean was founded in 1967 or 47 years ago. Originally, it was composed of East Asian nations which are: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, Brunei and Cambodia in later years. It is an aggrupation of independent states with different ideologies and economic systems yet strong enough to tackle similar problems that persistently hound them-underdevelopment and poverty. Having shed from the dark days of colonialism and feudalism, the ASEAN has evolved into the Asia Pacific region. Today, it is the most successful regional organization in the developing world. Chungyong Rhee, Chief Economist ADB predicted that ASEAN is expected to join the ranks of India and China by 2015.
On their 30th founding anniversary, the members renewed their pledges and commitment towards building a region of peace, freedom and prosperity. Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia said that we must stand together linking areas and bolstering each other’s strength. Tangible fruits came in dramatic fashion. ASEAN enjoyed the highest GDP growth at 6.9 percent in 1993. Intra ASEAN trade has been growing from $72B in 1992 to $117.6B in 1994. This is buoyed by a highly motivated and professional workforce and traditional values. Common among Asian countries are respect for the old, parents, teachers, the community come before the individual. Family is extended and is responsible for its members, not the government.
The ASEAN Charter was formally signed by all 10 heads of States on November 20, 2007.Alberto G. Romulo, former Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs said that the mission of ASEAN is to transform the inter-governmental organization into a rules-based concept whose purpose is to meet the challenges and opportunities poised by regional integration, expansion of internal linkages and rapid globalization.
Ambassador Cesar B. Bautista, Co-chair Private Sector Competitiveness Center cites hindrances to effect full integration of the Philippines into Asean. One must remember that our country was second to Malaysia in economic development in East Asia during the late 1960’s. Today, we are ranked between 5 and 6. We need to understand our weakness and strength. Reality checks are listed below:
1. The Philippines is not attracting the same kind of investment as our neighbors. Foreign direct investments from 2000 to 2012 show that – Singapore-$376 B; Thailand-90 B; Indonesia-79 B; Malaysia-74 B; Vietnam-59 B; Philippines-22 B;
The reason is that our business people are lethargic and income tent. In the Philippines, it takes 36 days to register a business, 6 days in Malaysia and 3 days in Singapore.
Among the Philippines’ underlying weaknesses are:
A. competitive only in 1 or 2 sectors. In most of the other sectors we are in, our products do not sell abroad simply because we are beaten by the competition;
B. there is an imbalance in the distribution of activities in the Philippines’ approach to industry, services and agriculture. Filipinos seem to be looking at and putting industry at a low level at the moment focusing more on services and actually forgetting agriculture;
C. twenty percent of the population holds 80 percent of the wealth, while 40 riches persons in the Philippines have total assets of $44.7B equivalent to 70 percent of Gross Domestic Product, in contrast to Thailand’s 33.7 percent, Malaysia’s 5.6 percent and Japan’s 2.8 percent.
D. Some 2.92 million or 7.2 percent of our workforce is unemployed. And that’s the result of the productivity problem. The country must create 1.5 million jobs each year to address massive poverty and hunger. This can only be rectified by training and development. In contrast, Thailand has only 1 percent, Vietnam and Brunei – 2.7 percent each, Singapore – 2.8 percent, Malaysia – 3.4 percent, Cambodia – 1.4 percent, Laos – 1.8 percent, and Indonesia – 7.0 percent.
E. We have more than 3,000 people leaving the country each day. This translates to lost opportunities for the country to become stronger. Our OFW’s is 8 million. There are 300,000 domestic helpers in Hongkong majority of them Pinays. Although annual remittances is a hefty $22.8 B this also leads to social disorders – family breakdown, insecurity, drugs and crime.
F. Preponderance of armed conflicts – NPA and Muslim secessionists. For instance a month long military standoff between government forces and MNLF in Zamboanga City in September 2013 cost the government P300 million and lost nearly 200 lives.
Hon. Arriola, a well traveled man in Asia, observed that our native handicraft has not caught the eye of foreigners simply because it is not branded. A branded product reflects taste and sophistication because of quality workmanship and right packaging. Our batek which we love to wear are artfully designed by Filipinos in Indonesia.
Piña cloth could be used as base material in ladies bags, gift packs, home furnishings aside from being worn as elegant gowns or barongs. A number of famous Pinoy courier have adopted and transformed the gossamer pineapple fibers into a workmanship worthy of praise, said Mr. Arriola.
Atty. Quimpo believes that current mismatch between college graduates and job requirements is unresearched response to a phenomenon. Many schools open up nursing courses but after a few years, job opportunity is lost. There has to be established guidelines by Commission On Higher Education that certain institutions must adhere to an approved quota say over a 15 year period, turn out quality graduates and automatically stop the nursing course on expiry date because jobs are no longer available.
Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz of Department of Labor and Employment recently revealed that the country will open its doors to imports whose expertise are in the following fields: Architecture, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Environmental Planning, Fisheries, Geology, Guidance Counselling, Librarian, Medical Technology, Sanitary Engineering, Computer Numerical Contractor, Machinist, Assembly Technician, Test Technician, Pilot and Aircraft Mechanic.
Dr. Villorente said that we cannot compete with Thailand in terms of fruit production for the next 10 years since they are already far advanced than us.
This is echoed by Dr. Abayon that ordinary fruits like rambutan and mangosteen could be marketed and priced higher because of unique quality of taste, odor and consistency. For instance, through research and multiplication we were successful in developing angel sweet rambutan. Aside from this, this rambutan could be processed into prunes. Mangosteen marketing strategy was to adopt the catchword “healthy” to the product label.
Juan Dayang, an inveterate journalists and organizer cited rationale of holding regular media forum to discuss areas of interest and concern, be governance, fiscal management, health and safety. Live broadcast from cable TV stations allow televiewers to inter-act with panelists and recommend solutions/suggestions. PAPI, FPPC and APCI have joined forces in coordination with the academe led by ASU and NVC and the Catholic Church. Kapihan is geared to create awareness, needs and actions among our people. Such is the essence of participatory democracy, Dayang concluded. /MP