Sunday, September 28, 2014

Senate Commends Pandan, Antique For Conservation Of Bugang River

Senate Commends Pandan, Antique For Conservation Of Bugang River
Mayor Jonathan Tan of Pandan, Antique receiving a copy of Senate Resolution No. 766 from Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senator Loren Legarda, author of the Resolution, and Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano. The Resolution commends the local government and community of Pandan, Antique for their active role in the conservation and preservation of the Bugang River. Also in photo is Former Antique Governor Salvacion Zaldivar-Perez.

Senator Loren Legarda announced last week the Senate has adopted Senate Resolution No. 766, commending the local government and community of Pandan, Antique for their active role in the conservation and preservation of the Bugang River.

Legarda, author of the Resolution and Chair of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said that the Municipality of Pandan, Antique deserves the commendation for successfully maintaining the status of the four-kilometer Bugang River as one of the cleanest inland bodies of water in the Philippines, through the establishment of the Bugang Community-Based Eco-Tourism Organization.

Pandan Mayor Jonathan Tan personally received a copy of the Resolution during the Senate’s session on September 22, 2014.

“We congratulate the local government and the citizens of Pandan for showing how to balance public and private interests as displayed in the sustainable management of the island’s main water source which is the Bugang River,” Legarda said.

The Bugang River is considered as a Hall of Fame awardee in the government’s Cleanest Inland Body of Water contest and in the 2006 Green Environment Apple Awards for best practices in environmental management through the enforcement of regulations such as the prohibition of the construction of pig pens along its river system and swimming activity in its headspring.

“The local government of Pandan has shown that a community-based eco-tourism approach can be adopted by other municipalities and cities to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources,” Legarda stressed. /MP


Senate Passes Chemistry Profession Act

Senate Passes Chemistry Profession Act

The Senate last week approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to regulate and modernize the practice of Chemistry in the Philippines.

Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 914, known as the Chemistry Profession Act of 2014, said that the existing Republic Act 754 enacted in 1952 needs to be reformulated in order to make the law more responsive to the recent developments in Science and Technology.

Trillanes stressed that during the 15th Congress, the bill was passed on third reading in the House of Representatives but due to time constraints, it was not approved in the Senate.

Since “Significant changes brought about by the rapid developments in Chemistry, science and technology, the rise of international standards, global competition, as well as concerns for the environment, climate change and sustainable development, there is an urgent need to reformulate the Chemistry Law so that it wil1 be more responsive to these modern developments.,” Trillanes said.

 The bill aims to update the definition of Chemistry and the scope of its professional practice, rationalize the relationship between Chemistry and its allied professions and bring the practice of Chemistry in line with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) modernization act of 2000 (RA 8981), as well as national .concerns related chemistry, such as toxic and hazardous and nuclear waste (RA 6969) and dangerous drugs (RA 9165). 

The bill, if approved, will create the Professional Regulatory Board of Chemistry which will supervise and regulate the practice of the chemistry profession in the Philippines. The board shall determine the requirements and evaluate the qualifications of the applicants for registration and renewal of license of Registered Chemists and Registered Chemical Technicians. 

The board shall be composed of Chairperson and two (2) Members under the administrative control and supervision of the PRC. The members of the board shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines. 

Any person who wishes to practice Chemistry and Chemical Analysis must obtain a certificate of registration and pass the licensure examination given by the Professional Regulatory Board of Chemistry.  

“Chemistry plays an important role in every aspect of life -from scientific or academic endeavor to its application in everyday life. Without the proper regulation of its application and practice, it has the potential to become a threat to the safety of the public,” Trillanes concluded. /MP

New COMELEC Commissioner Praises Miriam

New COMELEC Commissioner 
Praises Miriam
The newly appointed Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner Arthur D. Lim praised Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago for her exemplary record as a public official.

In his letter sent to Sen. Santiago, Commissioner Lim wrote the Senator, “as a private individual and citizen” I share the “sentiment of many of our people that a wider latitude of intelligent choice would be accorded them where you to make a second try for the highest position in the land within their gift”.

Senator Santiago is a brilliant legal luminary and a parliamentarian par excellence of unquestionable integrity, Lim added. /MP 

PSA Aklan Surveys Business & ICT

PSA Aklan Surveys Business & ICT
The Philippine Statistics Authority (formerly National Statistics Office) in Aklan is conducting two establishment-based surveys. These are the 2013 Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry (ASPBI) and the 2013 Survey of Information and Communication Technology (SICT).

The ASPBI aims to collect and generate information on the levels, structure, performance and trends of economic activities of the formal sector of the economy for the year 2013. On the other hand, the SICT aims to collect and generate information on the availability, distribution and access/utilization of ICT among establishments to enable the assessment and monitoring of the digital divide in the country.

In Aklan, ASPBI covers a total of 134 samples, while the SICT has 49 to complement the nationwide samples of 30,583 and 10,986 establishments, respectively. These establishments are distributed in three broad industry groups--- agriculture, industry, and services. 

According to Provincial Statistics Officer Blas M. Solidum, the data collected from ASPBI will serve as bases for the government and the private sector in the formulation of policies and evolve economic development plans. While, data in ICT survey will help decision-makers develop policy measures and make investment in this field.

Mr. Solidum appealed to respondents of sample establishments to support and cooperate with PSA field personnel by giving complete and reliable information thru survey questionnaires provided them.

The respondents are assured that all information furnished to PSA will be held “strictly confidential” and cannot be used for taxation, investigation or for other law enforcement purposes. 
“No reference to an individual or a corporation will be made public as the responses will be summarized into statistical tables to present a portrait of the structure and trends of the various sectors of the business and industry in the country,” Solidum explained. /MP

Former Aklan Vice Governor Ibadlit Dies

Former Aklan Vice 
Governor Ibadlit Dies
by Odon S. Bandiola

Former Vice Governor Liberato “Popoy” R. Ibadlit
Former Aklan Vice Governor Liberato Popoy R. Ibadlit, 70, passed away due to lingering illness in a Metro Manila hospital on September 13, 2014.

A lawyer since 1967, Ibadlit was elected Vice Governor of Aklan during the 1992 local elections, together with former Aklan Governor, the late Corazon Legaspi Cabagnot.

Ibadlit dedicated some 50 years of his lifetime serving the people of Banga and the entire people of Aklan. He was the municipal Secretary of Banga, Aklan from 1963-1964, municipal councilor of Banga, Aklan from 1972-1979, Vice Mayor of Banga, Aklan from 1980-1986, Sangguniang Panlalawigan member of Aklan from 1988-1992, and Vice Governor of Aklan and regular Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan from 1992-1995.

Ibadlit graduated law at Manuel Luis Quezon University, Manila in 1967. He took and passed the bar examinations in the same year with the rating of 75 percent.

Upon his retirement from politics in 1995, Ibadlit dedicated the rest of his lifetime in the practice of law serving indigent clients to the hilt.

He is survived by his wife Marienne, children Lenard, Marienne and Leniel.

Ibadlit’s remains was flawn from Manila to Kalibo, Aklan via PAL flight on September 17, 2014.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan, on its 32nd Regular Session, September 17, 2014 approved a resolution of condolences. Likewise, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, also declared the hoisting of the national flag at half-mast in all public offices and institutions province wide on September 17-19, 2014. 

His dead body will be brought to the Provincial Capitol, Kalibo, Aklan on Wednesday, Sept. 24 where fitting honors will be bestowed upon him. After the ceremonies and holy mass, interments will take place at Banga Municipal Cemetery, Mambog, Banga.  /MP


Automatic Insurance Coverage For Senior Citizens Hurdles Senate

Automatic Insurance Coverage 
For Senior Citizens Hurdles Senate  

The Senate last week approved on third and final reading a bill providing mandatory insurance coverage to Filipinos 60 years and above regardless of their social or economic status.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto introduced Senate Bill 712, and sponsored by Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, seeks to provide automatic Philippine Health Insurance coverage to all senior citizens.

Currently, only indigent senior citizens are entitled to PhilHealth coverage under Republic Act (RA) 7432, as amended by RA 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

“As of June 2014, PhilHealth has covered 3.9 million senior citizens as lifetime members, dependents, sponsored or indigents,” Guingona said in this sponsorship speech.

However, Guingona said that around 2.16 million senior citizens have yet to get health insurance coverage.

“The government will need about P5.2 billion annually to provide the remaining 2.16 million citizens with insurance. But this amount is small when we compare to the hope we would give to our grandparents. This is a small price to pay for the universal health care we have promised our citizens,” Guingona said.

“The way we treat our aging citizens, and how we spare them from the misery brought by lack of access to health services, is reflective of a nation’s collective character” he added.
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said the health-related measure “will advance the health of millions of Filipinos, and will uphold their right towards effective and easily attainable medical services.” 

“I share the belief that the country’s elderly population must be provided with accessible and sufficient health care that will help them in their twilight years. We can attain it by enrolling every senior citizen in Philhealth,” Drilon said.

According to Recto, PhilHealth, which has P116 billion in reserve and P62 billion in income as of December 31, 2013, can more than afford to provide insurance to the country’s elderly citizens. Its coverage should be automatic and not optional for senior citizens.

“Only six in every 100 Filipinos are 60 years old and above. Many of these six million “dual citizens” are already under the PhilHealth umbrella through various schemes. But there are many who fall between the cracks. This bill seeks to shut close the gaps. The national government has been providing funds to PhilHealth to enroll sponsored members, like the P12.6 billion for sponsored members in 2013; P35.34 billion in 2014; and an estimated P37.06 billion for 2015,” said Recto.

 Once the measure is enacted into law, Recto said, senior citizens need not present a PhilHealth card to avail of its benefits. He said senior citizens need only to present a valid ID to be provided with health care. /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Nagbahoe Sa Latigo

Isaeang ka mapintas nga amo si Don Rodrigo. Imaw ro nagapanag-iya kong maeapad nga hasyenda Lorena nga guin panubli nana halin sa anang inang si Donya Lorena. Abo nga mga manog-obra rong hasyenda. 

Haeos tanan hay naka agum kong hagupit it latigo kon indi sanda magsunod sa Don. Maisot pa si Leandro, solo imaw nga onga it Don. Hakita nana rong kapintas sa mga tawohan it asyenda. Duro guid ro anang kaeu-oy sa mga tawo ugaling owa imaw it mahimo. Imaw man ro anang ina, owa man it mahimo.

Isaeang adlaw, nagmasakit rong Don. Nag pasaeamat guid ro mga tawo ay makapahuway eon sanda sa latigo. Guintawag ni Don Rodrigo ro anang unga nga si Leandro agod magbantay sa mga manog-obra. Guin tao man kay Leandro rong latigo agod gamiton kapareho ko pag gamit nana. Imbis nga gamiton ni Leandro rong latigo, hay anang guintago ag guindumaeahan nana rong pagtrabaho it mga tawo.

Madasig rong pag-obra it tanan. Madali nga natapos ag temprano pa nga guin pauli ro mga tawo agod makapahuway. Nagmayad rong Don. Nakibot imaw nga madali natapos rong trabaho ag pulido pa. Guin pangutana nana si Leandro kon pilang beses guingamit rong latigo. Nagsugid it matuod si Leandro. Guinbo-oe nana rong latigo nga nakatago. Indi kinahangean nga gamiton rong latigo. 

Ro akong guingamit hay rong latigo it akong pa ino-ino ag tagipusu-on. Akong guin taw-an it haeaga ro baeatyagon ko kada isaea, pahayag ni Leandro. Indi eon kinahangean nga gamitan it latigo kon ro mga tawo hay owa naga kahadluk, tungod kaantiguhan man sanda kong pag-obra it minatuod-tuod.
Makaron, nagbag-o eon rong panan awan it Don Rodrigo. Sa tunga it mga trabahador, anang guinsunog rong latigo agod indi eon magamit. Tungod magueang eon imaw, guinsaylo nana rong pagdumaea kay Leandro. Para sa anang asawang mabuhay man nga nagtiis, nageokat it tiket sa eroplano agod magpasyar sa ibang nasyon. /MP

Reason and Concern by Ronquillo C. Tolentino

On Being Fickle And Capricious

I have never believed much less used the quotation “Varium et mutabile semper femina”. Literally, it means that “Woman is a thing that is always changing, shifting  like the wind.”

The reason why I do not believe it is because the  quotation is insulting to women and an act of sex discrimination. Moreover, there are individuals in both sexes who are fickle and capricious.

President Aquino now appears to be criticized on his changing pronouncement of running again. Of course, the President is aware that he can only run for  second term if Sec. 4, Article VII of the Constitution is amended either through one of the three methods provided for in Sections 1, 2 and 3 of Article XVII of the said Constitution and subject further to a ratification process through a plebiscite not later  than 90 days after the approval of such amendment or  revision.

That September 12 ,2014 agenda-setting meeting with top leaders of the ruling Liberal Party at Malacañang when his  statement on the possible choice of a new  candidate drew laughter is still considered as equivocal when he said: “I hope it isn’t me.” Also, consider what he said in Spain.
As I see it, there is no definite end yet to the issue. He may clarify this as he had clarified before but changed his previous position.
***
The Chinese government September 12, 2014 travel advisory warning its citizens  not to travel to the Philippines  had affected losses to the tourism industry  at Boracay estimated at P500  million by the department of Tourism. This was learned from DOT Regional Director  lawyer Helen Catalbas

The People’s Republic of China September 12, 2014 travel advisory stemmed from the alleged kidnapping of a Chinese teenager in the victim’s family store. Too, the advisory also alleged that “the safety situation is deteriorating.”

While the travel advisory is asking Chinese nationals not to travel to the Philippines for the time being, the travel advisory may not be lifted sooner than expected and shall continue to affect adversely the tourism industry in Boracay.

As I write this, the Department of Tourism has designed measures to curb Boracay losses. We can only hope that the measures undertaken by the Department of Tourism shall succeed.
***
In Aklan, it is definite that incumbent governor Florencio T, Miraflores, congressman Teodorico T, Haresco shall seek re-election in the 2016 elections.

There is no name being mentioned yet as of this date who shall oppose them. The opposition has yet to be formed although it is evident in some provinces that political parties or groupings have been organized.
***
Jokes: Last July l5, 2014 while preparing for my cataract surgery at the Medicus  at Iloilo City the next day, and while passing at the Starbucks, I heard a group of young men joking, thus: First joke: “The bald eagle of Malacañang prefers a bald budget secretary.” Second joke: : President Aquino’s preference for Secretary Abad is a bad decision.” /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer by Ambrosio R. Villorente

Family Week In September

By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 60, “last week of September of every year is declared Family Week”. The Proclamation was signed by Executive Secretary Edelmiro Amante and President Fidel V. Ramos on September 28, 1992.

The Presidential Proclamation No. 60 cited among others that the Constitution provides that “The State recognizes the Filipino Family as the Foundation of the Nation.” The said proclamation invokes the policy of the government to fortify solidarity in the family and actively work for its total development.

The proclamation also calls “public attention and ensure nationwide awareness of the importance of the family”.

Some 22 years after the signing of the Presidential Proclamation No. 60 celebrating family week annually, how solid is the Filipino Family today? How solid are we with our respective families?

This year’s theme of the celebration is “Celebrating The Filipino Family: Resilient and Caring”. Million families are resilient, they are caring but on the other hand million families are either broken or separated. Those who separated found either another husband or another wife.

Some families are broken for either husband has separated with his wife and lives with a live in partner; or the wife left her husband and children and lives with another live in partner.

In search for jobs and gold either the husband or wife leaves for another place either abroad or in another City. Meanwhile that they live separately either one of them or both became lonely. They search for happiness in company with other individuals leading to ultimate broken family.

How can this celebration of national family week being observed annually promote a genuine, wholesome and cordial family relation?

President Benigno S. Aquino declared every fourth Monday of September every year as “Kainang Pamilya Mahalaga”, in Presidential Proclamation No. 326 issued on January 26, 2012. How many parents of the Pilipino families eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner together? There is no statistics that will show how many percent of the Pilipino families eat together.

But how can a family eat together when either husband or wife is working in a far place? How can a Pilipino family eat together when the children are still out of the house late in the evening?
Eating together is a social function where exchanges of ideas may take place. It promotes friendship and understanding among members of the family. Sharing of jokes and laughter happens during meals, praises for the good deeds are expressed and resentment to a family member maybe ventilated that will lead to understanding.

How can we eat together with all the family members present enjoying all the food available on the table?

City Mall to Rise In Kalibo
In 8 months to one year, a City Mall will rise in Kalibo. This information was relayed and discussed during the press conference held on Thursday morning, September 25 at Ninos Ihaw-Ihaw, Ati-atihan County Inn, Poblacion, Kalibo.

Kalibo Mayor William S. Lachica and Mr. Ryan Ang announced to some 30 members of the Aklanon media the establishment of a City Mall by the Double Dragon Properties Corporation to be put up in Kalibo.

According to Mr. Ang, 300 million pesos will be invested in Kalibo, Aklan for the construction and development of City Mall. This Double Dragon is 50 percent owned by Edgar “Injap” Sia – Mang Inasal founder and 50 percent by Tony Tan Caktiong, Jollibee founder.

The Mall will be 50 percent solar powered and 30 percent of the water use will come from rain. The mall is on 11,000 square meters with 6,500 square meters floor area. It is one storey mall which will have among others a business center, a hotel, and transport terminal.

Mr. Ang estimates 300 workers are needed even at the initial stage of building construction. He pleads “90 percent of the workers will be Akeanons, Kalibonhons, the first priority.”

The City Mall will be situated in the vacant land between Toting Reyes St. and A. Mabini St., Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan.

During the question and answer portion, several issues like traffic congestion, economic dislocation of small businesses in Aklan particularly in Kalibo. 

Mayor Lachica announced the measures he will follow to solve those anticipated problems. He mentioned the construction of transport terminal, the opening of routes between A. Mabini and Toting Reyes Streets, and the widening of the existing roads. Mayor Lachica also cited the rerouting of traffic circulation in Kalibo. As of today, additional quantity of garbage may result to the City Mall establishment but, the solution is being formulated to solve the garbage issue, said Mayor Lachica. /MP

Editorial by Ernesto T. Solidum

Strong Family Ties Means Strong Nation

The Weekly Kapihan on September 13, 2014 discussed the topic, “Family Week Celebration”. The guests at NVC Carmen Hotel are Atty. Evvie S. Taytayon - Public Attorney’s Office, SPO4 Luzbella Isada - Kalibo PNP, Anna Paloma and Genalyn Nama - both Social Officer I, Bobby Clyde Orbista - Prov’l. Social Welfare Officer, and Erlinda S. Belayro - former SB member Kalibo.
Ms. Belaryo explained that Family Week is embodied in Pres. Procl No. 60 signed by former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos in 1992. The first theme was “The Filipino Family As Resilient and Caring.” While serving as SB member of Kalibo, Belayro was instrumental in the annual search of “Huwarang Pamily” that won provincial recognition for Mr. and Mrs. Roman A. de la Cruz and Mr. and Mrs. Mansueto Palmani.

Presently, the search is on going among the 16 barangays of Kalibo for model families with the following criteria: a) both spouses are living and healthy, b) bonafide residents of barangay, c) never separated in their married life, d) at least 3 children are successful professionals and e) active in civic projects. The winners will be announced during the Foundation Day Celebration of Kalibo on November 3.

Atty. Taytayon cited the Family Code that acknowledges the family as the smallest basic unit of society. The Code strengthens the moral, social and physical bond between husband and wife and their paternal obligation to their children. This is best summed up as responsibility and commitment.
Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente noted that there is increased incidents of marriages hitting the rocks. One’s fidelity and loyalty to your wife or husband must never be assailed since marital vows are meant to be executed for life.

Aklan has a “Daeangpan it mga Kababayen-an” that provides emotional and physical supports to women victims of domestic violence. Ms. Paloma reported that in August 2014, 30 women were given assistance after a police operation busted videoke operators in Boracay for human trafficking. The facility located inside DRSTMH grounds is open 24/7 to battered women and children.

Ms. Nama said that DSWD provides formal trainings and practical skills to empower women. Family counseling is focused on avoiding conflicts that result to repeated physical and emotional abuses. Unlike in most countries of the world, the Philippines does not recognize divorce but legal separation and annulment of marriage.

On the other hand, Mr. Orbista tackles marital woes with the acronym ERPOT or Empowerment and Re-arfirmation of Paternal Abilities. This program has been in effect since 1995 and its success is anchored on shared responsibility, paternal guidance and being gender sensitive. The common cause of family trouble is abdicating one’s responsibility as breadwinner (husband) and wife as nurturer of children. Role of husband and wife could be reversed without losing one’s macho image like doing laundry or taking care of baby. Actually, this is a reality for most Filipino homes since 51 percent of families have one of the parents as Overseas Filipino Workers who live outside their homes, Mr. Orbista added.

SPO4 Isada explained that cases of violence against women and children are handled by the Women’s Desk. It is observed that majority of cases against women occurs when they are plain housewives, bereft of relatives and the husband is the breadwinner. At the back of his mind, he considers his wife second class citizen or inutile. Little does he know that from labor statistics, the women’s work as mother, homemaker and wife is more than equal to or even higher than her husband’s paycheck.

Successful marriages and families are planned and maintained on principle of faith, forgiveness and love. Sex before marriage can be gratification of self but there is no commitment and responsibility. It is only when sex is done in the realm of marriage that God’s commandment to procreation is fulfilled.

Paul’s admonition is for wives to submit to their own husbands as is fitting the Lord. Husbands love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children obey your parents in all things for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Col. 3:18-20.

Unless we heed the moral authority, we will be mired in more heartache. Recently, the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management in Western Visayas reported that 3,747 cases of women violence occurred in the first half of this year. Aklan has 47 percent illegitimate births recorded in 2012 according to Philippine Statistics Authority. In the Philippines, every hour, 24 babies are delivered by teenage mothers. The 2014 Young Adult Fertility and sexuality study reveal that 14 percent of the Filipino girls aged 15 – 19 are pregnant for the first time or more than twice the rate recorded in 2012. Among 6 major Asean economies, the Philippines has the highest teenage pregnancies.

Atty. Allen S. Quimpo knows of sexual cases of teenage pregnancies which are schooling. They discontinued their studies. He said this problem is caused by parental neglect and further exacerbated by the usual practice of forcing youngsters to marry when they are not yet prepared.
The Juvenile Justice Law, RA 9344 as amended by RA 10630 exempts youth, 15-18 years of age from criminal liability unless he or she acted in discernment upon committing a crime needs to be replaced. The reason is that minors are widely used by criminal syndicates in robberies, burglaries, and drugs because they are aware of statutory limits concerning minors in conflict with the law.

Fortunately, the Provincial government has an Aklan Youth Center nearing completion where offenders could be rehabilitated and given skills training. Profile shows that two thirds of total come from broken homes or marginalized groups. It is best that civic societies give a helping hand in providing financial, educational and spiritual guidance. They are like lost gems that could be polished to shine as diamonds.

The objective of the State must be to stabilize the family by inculcating love and commitment among married couples. By their noble examples, children can learn how to trust and obey as they move on to adulthood. Indeed, youngsters need realistic role models, not the deceptive world of make believed that leads to destruction.   /MP


A “GRADING SYSTEM” NEEDS TO TRACK DOWN EDUCATION EXPENDITURES

A “GRADING SYSTEM” NEEDS TO TRACK DOWN EDUCATION EXPENDITURES
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, questioning Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. during a public hearing on the proposed 2015 budget of the Office of the President last week.

Senator Chiz Escudero is proposing a “grading system” that will track down education expenditures after education officials failed to report on the status of classrooms built, books bought, teachers hired this year, for which Congress appropriated billions of pesos during the Department of Education’s (DepEd) budget hearing last week.

Escudero, chairman of the senate committee on finance said, DepEd officials left many pertinent questions on key education projects unanswered. “It was like a spot quiz. I wanted to know how the agency has allocated the P309 billion budget of the year.”

Escudero asked, “how many of the 33,194 teachers who were supposed to be hired this year have joined the DepEd workforce?” DepEd officials present, who included all regional directors, could not give a number. They instead promised to collate the data and submit it to the Senate “as soon as possible.”  

As to the 43,183 classrooms programmed to be built in 2015 have been completed, DepEd officials did not possess the information on how many brand-new classrooms have been turned over and being used. Regarding the 42.6 million books and the 1.6 million new chairs, the same reply: No data available.

Even a purchase which Escudero stressed, was easy to track because of smaller volume involved – 38,315 sets of science and laboratory equipment – “also escaped the DepEd radar.”

He said “if the fund absorptive capacity of DepEd is low, then we must identify what and where the spending and implementation bottlenecks are.”     
     
“The approved national budget is like a lesson plan to spend.  If this is the way how low and slow the way we spend, we are worsening the problems in the public schools, Escudero pointed out.

Escudero said “spending chokepoints in DepEd, or in the DBM which releases the funds, or in the DPWH which builds some of the classrooms must be identified and decongested. We want to maximize their fiscal space.”

Because Congress saw to it that the General Appropriation Act (GAA) will take effect “on the first hour of the first day of the first month of the year” then agencies are not pressed for time in utilizing funds, Escudero added.

He reminded Education officials present that Congress acted on their plea for higher funding on the premise “that it was for urgent things and on the promise that it will be spent promptly.”

 “When we approved your request, in full and without deduction,  you entered into a contract  with us  that the personnel will be hired and the equipment will be bought  in time for the start of the school year and you have a six-month lead time,” he said.

He reminded DepEd officials that the Senate has always given “preferential treatment” to their request. When it is DepEd budget: Do not delay.’’

Escudero said “procurement and recruitment chokepoints” must be addressed this early so that the department would be able to “absorb tens of billions for new teachers, classrooms, and books next year.”

For 2015, government will open up 39,066 teaching positions at a first year compensation cost of P9.3 billion.

A selection window of six months is more than enough, Escudero insisted.

 Escudero also noted that there is  P52.88 billion in the DepEd  “wish list”   for 1.3 million chairs,  31,728 new classrooms,  for the repair of 9,500 classrooms, the purchase of 1.3 million seats,  and the setting up of 455  vocational laboratories.

“These must be procured in the fastest time possible without circumventing procurement, accounting and auditing rules,” he said. /MP

Farmer Leaders Study ASEAN Economic Integration Impact

Farmer Leaders Study ASEAN 
Economic Integration Impact
by James Earl E. Ogatis

Antique Provincial Agriculturist Nicolasito S. Calawag (far left) is shown challenging the farmer leaders of Belison, Antique to embrace the ASEAN integration by being an agri-entrepreneur in their respective fields during the Agricultural Information Caravan and Technology Forum.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) 6 briefed farmer leaders of the municipality of Belison, Antique on the impact of ASEAN Economic Integration comes 2015.

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is the goal of regional economic integration envisions for a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy.

Nicolasito S. Calawag, provincial agriculturist of Antique said that farmers should produce quality products not only for their family consumption but also for markets among 10 member ASEAN countries.

Calawag challenged the farmer leaders to embrace the ASEAN integration by being agri-entrepreneur in their respective fields and must focus on their competitive advantages.

He stressed that Antique which is 60 percent dependent on agriculture and fisheries has many natural resources to tap with in order to hug free flow of services and goods.

Dominador Marquez, agricultural program coordinating officer discussed DA 6 intervention on farm mechanization and post harvest facilities aimed to reduce cost of production and postharvest losses. He emphasized that agricultural stakeholders must be organized according to the commodities they are into for them to avail of DA’s intervention.

“Our advocacies on organic agriculture program are ways to prepare our farmers to produce quality, safe and healthy products intended to capture markets of our neighboring countries.” Marquez pointed out.

Some 150 participants composed of farmer leaders, committee chairperson on agriculture in the barangays, rural women, youths, livestock raisers and fisherfolks attended the forum. /MP


P5.5M Pavia Farm To Market Road Benefits 98 Rice Farmers

P5.5M Pavia Farm To Market
Road Benefits 98 Rice Farmers
by: James Earl E. Ogatis
Farm to Market Road. The newly completed P5.5M Farm to Market Road at barangay Pagsangaan, Pavia, Iloilo serving 162.58 hectares of irrigated rice land with 98 rice farmers. (James Earl E. Ogatis photo)

“It is a big help for us rice farmers in barangay Pagsanga-an, Pavia, Iloilo the construction of one kilometer farm to market road (FMR) by the Department of Agriculture (DA) 6,” declared Ereberto E. Jucaban, president P4MP-Iloilo and manager of Pagsanga-an Farm School established by the agricultural training Institute (ATI).

According to Jucaban, before the establishment of the FMR, farmers have to carry farm machineries, farm inputs such as fertilizers and seeds, and even their produce during harvest time for transportation was not available in this barangay road.

“We have to dismantle our rice thresher, cleaner, and handtractor so we can carry them on our shoulders to bring them to the area where we have work.” He stressed. 
“Farming was very hard at that time. We have to spend more money to bring in farm inputs and bring out our produce to market”, said Jucaban.

Jucaban is smiling for today farming is easier with the completion of FMR. They now bring their farm machineries to their respective areas and bring out harvest to the market. 

They now load their produce right through their waiting trucks beside their farms. The FMR serves a total of 162.5 hectares irrigated riceland with 98 farmer beneficiaries.

According to Homer Hubag, the municipal agriculturist of Pavia, “the municipality is willing to give its counterpart for their proposed two units of FMRs which will connect barangays Pagsanga-an to Lanit and Tigum to Lapayon.” These two FMRS will corroborate the existing road networks to maximize production not only of hybrid rice but also with the organic black rice varieties and high value produce within the area.

“The constructed FMR is constructed sturdier. “This makes our FMR stronger and durable that will stand floods during rainy season. 

The project cost P5 million funded under the Agri-Pinoy Rice program and a counterpart of Php 500,000.00 of Pavia LGU.

Pavia is a second class municipality and is considered the regional agro-industrial center in Western Visayas where agriculture and low-cost housing are the main drivers of its economy. /MP 


Friday, September 19, 2014

EMPOWERING AKLANON WOMEN VIA SOROPTIMIST

EMPOWERING AKLANON WOMEN VIA SOROPTIMIST
By: Megs S. Lunn
Group picture with Soroptimist International of the Philippines Region (SIPR) Governor Myra Paz V. Abubakar and District Director for Western Visayas Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo.
The Soroptimist International of Kalibo, Inc. is a member of Soroptimist International, a global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.

On September 7, 2014, the new set of officers of The Sorotimist International Kalibo was inducted into office held at the Grande Royale of Marzon Hotel, Kalibo, Aklan.

Inducted are the powerful and dynamic Aklanon women, to wit: Atty. Flora B. Almero – President, Dr. Christine Z. Palomar – President-Elect,  Ms. Ester E. Sauza – Vice- President, Atty. Maria Fe M. Taal – Recording Secretary, Dr. Mary Karen Veronica R. Icamina – Corresponding Secretary, Atty. Saykeme M. Martelino – Treasurer, Atty. Diane Angela O. Alindato – Asst. Treasurer, Ms. Joanna T. Meren – Auditor, Dr. Julita Amihan C. Laserna – P.R.O., Dr. Bernadette R. Lim – Ex-Officio. 

The Board of Directors are Dr. Daisy Sucro-Briones, Dr. Felma R. Dela Cruz, Mayor Ma. Lourdes M. Miraflores, Dr. Myrtle M. Pelayo, Dr. Lynn D. Salido. The Board of Advisers are Ms. Manolita Q. Acevedo, Dr. Ofelia E. Laurente, Ms. Ofelia B. Martelino, Ms. Rosario V Quimpo and Ms. Anne M. Salazar. The BOD members are Ms. Maria Santia A. Arboleda, Ms. Annie R. Barbasa, Dr Leilanie C. Barrios, Dr. Luzviminda R. Isagan, Atty. Ria Divina I. F. Macanvinta, Vice-Gov. Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo, Dr. Hiyas E. Quimpo, Ms. Roselle Q. Ruiz, Ms. Jocelyn M. Salido, Dr Pauleen M. Sazon, Dr. Ma. Victoria O. Soguilon, Dr. Zelda Z. Tolentino and Ms. Lucita D. Yu.

Soroptimist means “best for women” by which the organization strives its best to be. Businesswomen and professionals are invited to join. They help each other live their dreams through projects that benefit women and girls. Through their initiative, they improve the status of women and girls and significantly empower them to make positive changes not only in their personal life, but more in their communities. /MP 

FPI Recognizes GMA News and Public Affairs Pillars At 2014 Media Awards

FPI Recognizes GMA News and
 Public Affairs Pillars At 2014 Media Awards
Above photo shows (L-R): GMA News and Public Affairs pillars Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco, Jessica Soho and Arnold Clavio
GMA News Pillars Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco, Jessica Soho and Arnold Clavio were each bestowed with the FPI Bayabay Media Award by the Federation of Philippine Industries, Inc. (FPI).

At the awarding ceremony held on September 3 in Makati City, FPI recognized the four Kapuso news anchors for their “untiring effort in discussing important issues that have serious impact on our country and for conscientiously educating the masses in a clear, equitable, and balanced manner, thereby making them a well informed citizenry, which is a basic tenet required to ensure the preservation of our vibrant, democratic country.”

The FPI Bayabay Media Award is given to media practitioners who have raised awareness on socially relevant issues that include good governance, environment, labor and productivity, international trade, the academe, anti-smuggling concerns and other national issues.

These awards serve as a testament to GMA News and Public Affairs’ credo of Serbisyong Totoo as GMA’s broadcast journalists continue to uphold the values of truth and integrity in their responsible delivery of news and information.

Mike Enriquez, who co-anchors GMA’s primetime newscast 24 Oras with Mel Tiangco and banners the hard-hitting investigative program Imbestigador, affirmed his commitment to the anti-smuggling advocacy saying, “Lalo lang iigting ang ating pakikipag-ugnayan at pakikipagtulungan sa mga grupong katulad nito na walang tigil, walang pagod at walang katakot-takot na lumalaban sa anti-smuggling dahil tayo ay galit sa illegal. Kaya kasama natin ang FPI at iba pang grupo at sektor tulad nila, iyong mga gumagawa ng illegal, di namin sila tatantanan.”

“Napakaganda na ang media at ang mga industry leaders ay nagkakaisa upang mabigyang-pansin ang mga mahahalagang isyung panlipunan,” said Tiang-co. “I’d like to thank the Federation of Philippine Industries for giving me this honor in recognition of our efforts to create awareness and dialogue on issues that matter.”

“I thank our viewers and those who honor us with awards for their trust,” shares Jessica Soho, who hosts the top-rating weekly news magazine program Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho on GMA-7 and anchors GMA News TV’s flagship newscast State of the Nation with Jessica Soho. “And I will continue to help ensure that we are worthy of their trust – through accurate, objective and responsible news reporting.”

Unang Hirit host and Saksi news anchor Arnold Clavio, relates, on the other hand, “Minsan mahirap pag nasa TV ka o nasa radio ka, iniisip mo kung may nanonood ba o may nakikinig ba. So ang mga ganitong award ay confirmation na natutuwa sila na nasa tamang direksyon tayo.” 

The Federation of Philippine Industries, Inc. is an umbrella organization of manufacturers and producers in the Philippines composed of 34 industry associations and 110 corporation members who are local manufacturers and producers of various products from different industries. /MP

STI CHAMPION

STI CHAMPION
By Ms. Megs S. Lunn
Photo above are (l to r) Ms. Roselle Quimpo-Ruiz, Aklan Provincial Tourism Officer, BSTRM Esrah Jims Gutierrez, Arnelyn Tandez, Donna Jane Aroskin, John Patrick Visca and Ms. Megs Lunn, Chair-Travel Management Department, STI College ,Kalibo.

The STI Travel Management Department, once again won the championship in this year’s Provincial Tourism Quiz Bee and in the Tour guiding Contest 2014 the Aklan Provincial Tourism Office and the Aklan Tourism Association in the municipality of Kalibo sponsored on September 16, 2014 at the ABL Sports complex, Capitol Site, Kalibo, Aklan.

BSTRM Year III students Esrah Jims Gutierrez, Arnelyn Tandez and John Patrick Visca and Dona Jane Aroskin were announced CHAMPION among the other contenders of the different Tourism and HRM Colleges and University in the province of Aklan.

The Tourism Quiz Bee and Tour guiding contest is part of the celebration of the Aklan Provincial Tourism Week every September aimed to enhance the students’ knowledge to the different tourism spots and pleasures of Aklan and the Philippines as a whole. It also helps develop students’ confidence and life-long learning and development.

The team coach is Ms. Melrose S. Lunn. The School Deputy Administrator–Mr. Edsel Tupas and Ms. Rebecca Nacubuan congratulate the BSTRM Team for being champion, making STI College Kalibo proud.

Mr. Genesis Castillo and Mr. Ur Marcelino of STI IT led the Tabulation Committee in this year’s event. /MP 

CONGRESS RECEIVES BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW DRAFT

CONGRESS RECEIVES BANGSAMORO 
BASIC LAW DRAFT
President Benigno Aquino III watches as Senate President Franklin M. Drilon receives the official draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) from Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chairman Mohagher Iqbal during the turnover ceremony at Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace, Wednesday, September 10, 2014. Joining them are House Speaker Feliciano M. Belmonte Jr. and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles. (Rey Baniquet photo) /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Sueat Paadto Sa Eangit

Nagbahoe si Nengneng sa anang lola. Halin pa guid nga guin aywan imaw ko anang ina. Ro anang lola ro nagbatiti kana tungod nag masakit it polio ro unga. Maskin ngani indi makatikang si Nengneng, mabahoe man imaw nga kabulig ko anang lola. 

Maeapad ro tanum nga Sampaguita ko anang lola ag imaw ro nagatuhog para obrahon nga kulintas. Abo ro suki ko anang lola bosa owa sanda guina kabos sa pang adlaw adlaw nga gastos.

Isaeang adlaw, may nag-abot nga madre sa baeay ni Nengneng agod mag pidido it kulintas nga Sampaguita. Mabuot rong madre. Duro guid ro anang kaeo-oy sa unga pagkakita nana. Nangutana si Nengneng kon makaabot sa eangit kon magpadaea imaw it sueat. 

Owa it mahimo ro madre kundi nag paho-o agod indi mapaslawan rong pagea-um it unga. Guin bo-oe ni Nengneng rong guin obra nga sueat ag guin tao sa madre. Pag-abot sa simbahan, guin bukad ko madre ro sueat. Sueat rato para kay Papa Jesus.

Naghinyo nga usuyon ro anang ina nga owa nana makita it mabuhay eon. Bangod sa kaeo-oy, guindaea it madre rong sueat sa anang amigang announcer sa radio. Paagi sa radio, idto nangayo it bulig. Guin obrahan nanda it istorya ratong sueat, dungan ko pagpanawagan. 

Ko mga oras ngaron, nakabati rong ina ni Nengneng. Mabuhay eon nga bo-ot nanang makita ro anang unga ugaling owa imaw it oras bangod nagabantay imaw ko anang masakiton nga asawang Hapon. Guin adtonan nana rong estasyon it radiyo ag idto imaw nakabo-oe it impormasyon kon siin naga estar si Nengneng. Kaibahan ko Madre, nag adto sanda sa baeay nanday Nengneng nga naga tinuhog it Sampaguita. Nagkita rong mag ina. Nalipay man ro lola ni Nengneng bangod nagkita sanda ko anang unga. Guindaea sanda sa baeay kong ina ni Nengneng ag kumo owa sanda it unga ko Hapon, guin kabig nga unga ko hapon si Nengneng. Guin pabueong si Nengneng. Nakatikang imaw sa bulig it saklay.

Nag uli sanda agod magbisita sa andang dating lugar. Guin pa arkilahan nanda ro andang katamnan nga Sampaguita, agud may trabaho ro mga kababayehan sa andang lugar. 
Suno kay Nengneng, guina sabat mat-a gali ro sueat paadto sa eangit. /MP

CHIZ ASKS PNP TO STOP KIDNAPPINGS

CHIZ ASKS PNP TO STOP KIDNAPPINGS

Senator Chiz Escudero is alarmed over the rise in kidnapping cases in the country, as he put to task the Philippine National Police (PNP) to step up its campaign to arrest the perpetrators in order to allay fears of a restive public.

Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, said crimes brazenly done in broad daylight are indications of the criminals’ contempt for law and order and a clear mockery of police authorities.

“Why are criminals so emboldened nowadays to perpetrate their crimes in public? Why do these things happen under the noses of our police authorities?” Escudero asked. “I have received feedback from friends who have witnessed kidnappings or relatives of victims who have been subjected to abduction and have paid ransom for their releases. There’s a segment of the community who is already in panic and there must be a concrete action to abate these crimes and prevent the spread of alarm among the public.”

Recent incidents of kidnap-for-ransom have been reported with the perpetrators even killing their victims. Last week, Chinese-Filipino businessman Benito Chao was snatched in Bulacan and was found dead hours after. The kidnappers were reported to have asked for a P20-million ransom but a series of negotiations by the family has brought it down to P15 million.

Just last week, a photo went viral showing a group of heavily-armed men appeared to be forcing passengers of one vehicle at gun point to get out while in the middle of EDSA. When police authorities arrived, the gunmen were gone. 

“These crimes that do not even hide under the cloak of darkness are very disturbing. These are the reported ones, but there are more which have remained unreported by the victims and their families out of fear of retaliation from their aggressors.

“I ask the PNP to intensify its campaign against criminals and beef up security to protect the public. The people must be assured that they can walk safely on our streets to and from their homes,” Escudero said. /MP

DA & KOICA To Develop Panay Upland Areas

DA & KOICA To Develop 
Panay Upland Areas

Recognizing the high agricultural potentials of upland areas in the four provinces of Western Visayas, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office 6 and the Korean International Cooperation Agency ((KOICA) will implement the five-year Panay Island Upland Sustainable Rural Development Program (PIU-SRDP) beginning 2015. 

This program will reduce poverty incidence; increase farmers’ income, technical skills and livelihood opportunities; provide market access; and promote ecological awareness. 

Regarded as suitable areas for agro-forestry development and production of high value crops and upland commodities, Libacao, Aklan; Patnongon, Antique; Jamindan and Tapaz, Capiz; and Alimodian, Iloilo are chosen as the pilot areas for the implementation of PIU-SRDP.

Upland areas, with up to 2,000 meters altitude, 18 percent slope and 1,000 to 2,500 mm annual rainfall, should be of public domain and cannot be declared as alienable and disposable. 

“Foreign assistance is very important in the implementation of agricultural projects,” said DA Regional Executive Director Larry P. Nacionales during the stakeholders’ orientation of               PIU-SRDP held at Hotel Del Rio, Molo, Iloilo City, September 11. 

Emphasizing rural development, Dir. Nacionales urged the collaborating agencies and the local government units (LGUs) to prioritize the needs of the farmers in the upland communities by providing them with appropriate and sustainable projects. 

This Korean government-assisted program will provide production technology support, capacity building, educational and livelihood skills such as the conduct of Farmers Field School, alternative financial support and guarantee mechanisms, building of agri-infrastructures, and support to institutional and organizational development. 

The PIU-SRDP, with the budget allocation of US $7M from the Korean Government and US $2.3M from DA and LGUs, is in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine Coconut Authority, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, Department of Agrarian Reform, National Commission on Indigenous People, Civil Society and People’s Organizations.

“In addition to the Rice Processing Complex in Pototan, Iloilo, this PIU-SRDP is another big project from the South Korean Government through the Official Development Assistance,” said DA Regional Technical Director Manuel O. Olanday. /MP 

Congress Eyes Passage Bills To Increase Workers’ Take-Home Pay

Congress Eyes Passage Bills To 
Increase Workers’ Take-Home Pay

The Congress eyes the passage of two major bills aimed at alleviating tax impositions on Filipino workers and increasing their take-home pay within the 16th Congress, according to Senate President Franklin M. Drilon.

“The Congress is aware of the necessity to revisit our existing tax structure which has remained unchanged since 1997. The Congress is committed to pass legislation which will lower individual income taxes in order to help our workers in dealing with the effect of inflation,” said Drilon.

“If the salary hike that our workers have been asking the government to provide is not yet possible due to fiscal constraints, a legislation that will increase the workers’ net take-home pay is the best alternative we can work on,” he added. 

The first bill which will receive urgent legislative attention, according to Drilon, will lower the rates of individual income tax and adjust individual income tax brackets. The proposed measure is being heard in the Committee on Ways and Means of both houses of Congress.

He also warned that in 2018, if Congress fails to plug loopholes in the nation’s existing tax system, the lowest ranking government employees will find themselves paying under the same tax bracket as the next Philippine President himself.

The same will be the case for entry level employees of an average corporation who will share the 32 percent tax rate with the executives and top officers of their company, who earn way much more.

Both scenarios will be inconsistent with the requirement of the Constitution for a progressive system of taxation, said Drilon.

“If we do not seriously study our tax system and make the necessary adjustment, by 2018 everyone will pay the same tax rate which is not progressive as what the Constitution mandates. This is the sort of unjust ways of taxation that we need to prevent,” Drilon stressed.

Under Article VI, Section 28 of the 1987 Constitution states that (1) “the rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The Congress shall evolve a progressive system of taxation.”

“We at Congress are ready to work on any proposed measure that helps the average Filipino in their daily expenses. The lowering of tax rates may affect the nation’s overall revenue collection, but it will increase the purchasing power of our countrymen and it will be of great convenience for them,” said Drilon.

“When we increase their purchasing power, we could also expect an increase in the household spending that will contribute to the country’s overall economic growth,” he added.

The Congress will also pass a bill which will raise the tax exemption limit on the 13th month pay and other work benefits of all workers in the public and private sectors.

“We have an agreement with the House of Representatives that we will pass this bill within the year, so that Christmas could be merrier for our workers,” Drilon assured.

The proposed measure intends to raise the exclusion limit on an individual’s 13th month pay, Christmas bonus, and other work benefits from income taxation from the current imposed limit of P30, 000 to P75,000.

“There is really a need to revisit the antiquated provisions of the Republic Act No. 7833 which imposes the P30,000 cap on bonuses back in 1994,” said Drilon. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer by Ambrosio R. Villorente

Amount Of Real Estate Tax Is 
Dependent On Its Use

Tax Ordinance No. 001, Series of 2014 has became a controversial legislation of the Province of Aklan. The ordinance seeks to fix the schedule of New Base Market Values of Real Properties for the 17 Municipalities of Aklan for the Year 2015 General Revision Allowed by Law. The ordinance was enacted on June 18, 2014.

Shortly after its approval, a group of oppositions surfaced. Two petitions were submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) requesting for the postponement of its implementation. It alleged that the people is not yet capable to pay the increased amount of Taxes as the Aklanons are still recovering from the losses brought about by Typhoon Yolanda. There are also allegations that the Tax increased is quite high, oppressive, unjust and confiscatory. Further, they alleged that the enactment of it did not follow the proper legislative process.

These two petitions came from the municipalities of New Washington and Kalibo. Moreover, a group of oppositors led by Mayor Edgar R. Peralta of New Washington held a rally in Pastrana Park, Poblacion, Kalibo. They criticized very badly the provisions stated in the said Provincial Ordinance No. 001, Series of 2014.

In view of some negative opinions and opposition, Hon. Rudson Mayor, member of the SP of Aklan filed a resolution to recall the said SP Ordinance No. 001, Series of 2014 with the end in view to institute adjustment and be made acceptable to the people concerned. But Hon. Mayor was rejected by his fellow members in the SP.

“To Be Or Not To Be”

“To be or not to be, that is the question.” Will Governor Florencio T. Miraflores implement the mandate as provided in the Provincial Ordinance? If he implements, some will not be happy. If he will not, all will rejoice for who will be delighted to pay additional amount over the usual?

However, paying taxes is one of the duties of good citizens. The amount a citizen pays as Tax to the government enables the government to manage successfully the affairs of the nation like maintenance of peace and order, infrastructure, education, health and others. The higher the tax a citizen pays, means his higher degree of usefulness to the nation.

The Tax levied and collected on a productive agricultural land will not hurt if that piece of land is highly productive. A land where grasses grow is useless, does not contribute to progress. It means the owner of that land just hoard it, thus preventing more food production. That land owner must be taxed higher for keeping his land idle. A land owner who produces more must be rewarded. He gets more increased income who produces more. He who has idle lands must pay higher taxes. 

Hence, the amount of taxes levied must be dependent on the way the real estate owner uses his property. More improvement on land leads to higher income. Thus, has higher ability to pay taxes. Non-improvement of real property, means zero income, zero capacity to pay tax. 

Anti Burning

One  of the projects of the Department of Agriculture is the production of organic agricultural products. This is the technology where no chemicals are used in the production of crops like fruits, vegetables, and cereals. The produced are free of toxin as  agricultural chemicals are not used. 

The crops are grown in the soil, fertilized by decomposed agricultural waste like rice straw  and other plant materials.

However, even with  this project, farmers in Aklan are still heavily using agricutural chemicals which active ingredients are systemic leading to the attack of human diseases to man when  the limit is reached.

Until today, farmers are burning  the rice straw inspite of the Aklan Provincial Anti Burning Ordinance. This is  a big failure of the agriculturists in the province of Aklan. /MP  

Editorial by Ernesto T. Solidum

Imbalanced Growth Of Aklans’ 
Tourism Industry

“Tourism Month Celebration” was discussed in a weekly Kapihan on September 6, 2014 at NVC Carmen Hotel. The guests are all Municipal Tourism Officers namely: Rhea Rose E. Meren – Kalibo, Ryan T. Candelario – Tangalan, Fransisco A.  Intela – Madalag, Mario Perucho, Jr. – Banga, Maria Zolita Z. Guzman – Nabas, and Razon Perlas – Numancia.

Ms. Meren stated that Tourism Act of 2009 mandates all LGU’s from Regional, Provincial, and Municipal levels to develop its tourism potentials, provide economic and sustainable delivery of services in order to achieve progress and stability in the rural areas. In view of the significant contribution of tourism to the economy and the understanding of peoples around the world, the United Nations has designated September as Tourism Month.

The planned activities are: training on front office operation on Sept. 8-10, Takbo Para sa Turismo with zumba session on Sept. 14, Orientation on the Protection of Mother and Children on Sept. 15, Tourism Quiz Bee on Sept. 16, Specialized Tour Guiding training on Sept. 19 in Kalibo.

As an international gateway to Boracay, Aklan has package tour for tourists visiting Bakawan Eco-park, Pina Village and Tigayon Hill. The Kalibo Ati-atihan festival will be on Jan. 9-18 with opening salvo “Sadsad-Tamboe” on October 24. Tigayon Hill will be fully developed and enhanced by a discovery of earthen jars, ceramics and other artifacts hidden in a cave. A team of archeologists from the National Museum is set to visit the site, averred Ms. Meren.

Madalag has a number of tourism spots like waterfalls and caves located in remote places. The most accessible is the Liktinon in Maria Cristina. This is a picturesque convergence of massive rocks strewn along the path going to Maria Cristina Falls. It is accessible by motorcycle up to a certain point but visitors had to hike one and one half (1 ½) hours over rugged terrain. Guests may savor “Tinuom” delicacy or fish roll cooked in banana leaves and sweet lanzones, said Mr. Intela.
Bugna it Tangalan are Century old church in the Poblacion, developed sites as Jawili Falls, Jawili Beach and Marine sanctuary. Other areas in the pipeline are mangrove walkaway, wave rock formation in Afga, camping and nature trail in Campo Verde. Road widening and concreting are underway to connect Tangalan Poblacion to Naisud, Ibajay to make tourism spots more accessible and enjoyable, Mr. Candelario pointed out.

Mr. Perucho cited Banga’s successful celebration of “Pag-aeaw-aeaw” and Sagibin festivals. The former reminisces the massacre of 350 Banganhons by Japanese troops after they assembled to welcome them to the Poblacion on October 23, 1943. Sagibin is Aklanon word for bayanihan or giving a helping hand.

Like a sentinel, Manduyog Hill hosts the Stations of the Cross and Duyan Pahuwayan. Banga, the Beautiful is known for its tree lined avenues, well managed public plaza and premiere center of vocational education in the province of Aklan.

Nabas has interesting sites like its scenic long beach capped by powdery white sand at its Western end, protected forest reserve-home to numerous flora and fauna, enchanting caves and cold springs. The town holds its annual “Bariw” festival and honors its famous weavers and the industry that supports thousands of families.

Being adjacent to Boracay, Nabas has distinct advantage in infra as terminal of Godofredo P. Ramos International Airport (GPRIA) and two wind power plants nearing completion, Ms. Guzman claimed.

Navitas and Camanci Norte beaches in Numancia attract daily hundreds of bathers/excursionist from neighboring towns. We have tourist attractions of century old acacia trees in Albasan and lechon festival held in May. Presently, Numancia is reviving its buri waving industry to ease out the use of plastics as packaging materials, said Mr. Perlas.

Aklan has a rich goldmine in tourism. Last year tourism influx to Boracay was 1.3 million and revenues totaled P28 billion. Kalibo International Airport (KIA) is congested. GPRIA is being improved by a private firm. Caticlan and Cagban Jetty Ports and road improvement program of DOTC, DPWH and Provincial government of Aklan is progressing at snail speed. Not contented on spending splurge, a Jetty Port and Terminal building will be constructed in Pook to accommodate big fastcrafts. Gov. Joeben Miraflores projects 2.54 million tourists will visit Aklan in 2015. There is 9 percent increase of tourist arrival in the 1st half of this year compared to the same period in 2013. 

Presently, Boracay is bursting at the seams with more and more foreign visitors. It has an area of 1,000 has. and crammed with 37,100 resident population or population density of 37 persons per hectare. This excludes the average number of 4,000 tourists per day using Boracay’s services and amenities. Seeing the google map of Boracay with all high end buildings and infra, former Prov’l Agriculturist Delano Tefora believes that Boracay has transformed from an island resort into a full blown city.

However, the basic problem of eco-tourism of frontier towns like Madalag and Libacao are accessibility, transport and personal safety. Municipal Tourism Officers are temporarily appointed or designated by Municipal Mayor. Hence, they cannot implement a sensible long range plan, except Kalibo and Malay. It is hard to believe that despite its status as tourism capital of Western Visayas, Aklan has never crafted a Provincial Tourism Plan for the last 44 years. This hit or miss way of administering public funds has no equal and most likely boomerang on the taxpayers. Just consider the mothballed P160 million Caticlan Jetty Port Reclamation project restrained by TEPO of Supreme Court. Moreover, the two international airports in a small province can be elegant and convenient, but highly controversial and self defeating.

If ever drafted, the Aklan Tourism Strategic Plan must be the development of other eco-tourism sites in order to decongest Boracay. However, the present officials of LGU’s must strengthen their respective tourism offices with competent personnel and reasonable budget. 

Meanwhile, local farmers and fishfolks are disillusioned and entirely left out by the tourism bonanza with no products to sell to visitors. With the high demand and low supply inevitably leads to higher prices of prime commodities. There is need to rationalize our economic and social agenda that food producers may also benefit from tourism rather than only service providers like hotels, resort, business, construction and transport services. 

Last year, visitors who came to Aklan spent 31 percent of their money for food out of their total expenses in Aklan. However, it is highly lamentable to know that of what they ate like vegetables, only seven (7) percent are Aklan produced, four (4) percent of fruits and 38 percent of meat and fish. The rest was supplied by other provinces or imported from abroad.

This miserable performance in food for tourists is brought about by miss-managed agriculture system, aging food producers, lack of interest among public officials in agriculture and assistance to farmers, and the negative attitude of the youth towards farming among others./MP

CHIZ TO FUND BARANGAY OFFICIALS’ PHILHEALTH PREMIUM IN 2015

CHIZ TO FUND BARANGAY OFFICIALS’ PHILHEALTH PREMIUM IN 2015

Sen. Chiz Escudero
Senator Chiz Escudero will work for funding the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) premium of all barangay officials in the country for 2015.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate Finance Committe, said next year’s budget will have all barangay officials in the country covered by the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) through PhilHealth benefits.

He said he will put a special provision in the PhilHealth budget to include an amount to cover the premiums of barangay officials who are not yet enrolled in the government health insurance program.

An estimated 600,000 barangay officials from the country’s 42,000 barangays will stand to benefit from this healthcare program. Currently, under a Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum, barangay officials are enrolled in PhilHealth depending on the capacity of the barangay to pay their premiums.

 “Given Philhealth’s increased budget, the inclusion of all barangay officials  as its members can  be made mandatory. As public servants who are in the frontlines of public services, the members of the Sangguniang Barangay should have access to healthcare assistance, which is a universal basic service,” Escudero said.

 “We will not wait anymore for the NHIP to identify barangays and its members for enrollment as this will slow down the delivery of a much-needed basic service which is elusive to most of our barangay officials,” Escudero added.

From its P12 billion budget in 2013, PhilHealth’s appropriation amounted to over P37 billion as full national government subsidy for the health insurance premium of over 15 million families for 2015.
According to the Department of Health, 82 percent of the total population or around 80 million individuals are already covered by PhilHealth. The goal is to boost its coverage to more than 90 percent of the total population by the end of 2015.

Escudero explained that the estimated 600,000 to 700,000 additional members from the Sangguniang Barangays, including barangay tanods, to the exisiting number of individuals that are covered by the health insurance is very well within its absorptive capacity.

Under the Local Government Code, a barangay chairman, along with the other barangay officials, should get paid between P600  and P1,000, and Escudero said the compensation they are receiving is enough proof that the health insurance is a need rather than an incentive.

“Their compensation is not even enough to buy the most basic of medicines, much more pay for hospitalization bills,” said Escudero.

Barangay officials, as  listed,  will be classified as members earning P8,999 and below, and shall pay P100 as monthly premium. /MP

Thursday, September 18, 2014

“Only God Can Make A Tree”

“Only God Can Make A Tree”
Only God can make a tree, but man may cut it and climate change may kill it. The above picture shows one of the mango trees approved for cutting to give way for the construction of a fastfood business. These trees are growing on the DRSTM Hospital, corner D Maagma and A Mabini streets, Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan.

Its cutting means increase in temperature, carbon dioxide, and decreased wind break. /MP