Thursday, November 27, 2014

Government Spends P11.6-M For President Aquino’s Trip to Singapore

Government Spends P11.6-M For 
President Aquino’s Trip to Singapore

The government has appropriated P11.6 million for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s participation in The Economist’s World in 2015 conference in Singapore from November 18 to19, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Tuesday, this week.

President Aquino left this morning via a chartered flight to Singapore, accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary ArsenioBalisacan, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Andrea Abad, Presidential Protocol Chief Celia Anna Feria, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), President Aquino will be the keynote speaker at The World in Gala Dinner on Tuesday night, November 18. He is the first Philippine leader to speak in this global forum since the influential magazine, The Economist started organizing the conference series in 2009.

“This is a significant opportunity for our President to share his administration’s plans and reform programs towards sustainable economic and inclusive growth, as well as the peace process for Mindanao,” Ochoa said.

Other highlights of President Aquino’s working visit to Singapore are his meetings with President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The amount allocated for the trip covers expenses for transportation, accommodation, food, equipment and other requirements of the Chief Executive and his 54-member delegation. /MP


CONTINUATION OF THE MAKATI BUILDING PROBE: Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee Chair Senator Koko Pimentel (right) talks to Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) President Hans Sicat (left) before the start of the resumption of the hearing on the alleged overpriced 11-storey Makati parking building, Tuesday, November 18, 2014. Sicat has said that his office has been monitoring the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigation on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 as it may involve dealings of companies listed at the PSE.  (PRIB Romeo Bugante photo)

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Haeaw Sa Kabuhi Ni
Pangulong Ramon Magsaysay

Si Anhing Pangueong Ramon Magsaysay rong guina bansagan nga tsampyon it mga masang Pilipino. Imaw ro kauna-unahang pangueo nga nagsuksok it Barong Tagalog sa adlaw ko anang inagurasyon. Imaw man rong unang Pangueo nga nag bukas kong puertahan it Palasyo it Malakanyang sa adlaw ko anang inagurasyon bilang Pangueo it Pilipinas. Palangga na guid ro mga tawong kubos, ag palangga man imaw ko mga tawo, eabi guid ro mga kubos ag mga ordinaryong tawo.

Kat imaw eon rong Pangueo it Pilipinas, may mga reklamo nga nakaabot kana nga ro mga tawo nga nagabantay it saeakyan sa highway halin sa mga probinsya paadto sa Manila hay owa guina parahe ag pasakyon sa andang saeakyan, eabi guid kon abo sanda it bagahe. Imbis nga ipatawag nana rong hepe it departamento it transportasyon, imaw mismo ro nagbisita ag magpangusisa agod tukibon kon matuod rong mga reklamo.

Ko isaeang agahon ngaron, temprano pa hay ana eon guin tawag rong drayber, sumakay sa saeakyan ag magpahatod sa anang bo-ot bisitahan. Nagsuksok imaw it ordinaryong eambong, naka kaeo it maeapad ag nakatsinelas nga may daea nga eakpon. 

Sa isaeang lugar, guin papundo nana ro sa-eakyan ag nana-og imaw sa anang kotse. Anang guin papanaw ro drayber daea ro saeakyan. Idto nana guin paparking sa idaeom it kahoy it Acacia, mga sien metros ro eayo. Anang guin singhanan do drayber nga bumalik imaw kon makita nanang ginapaypay eon imaw nga bumalik. 

Nagtindog si Pangueong Magsaysay sa binit it karsada. May nag-agi nga saeakyan. Anang guinparahan, ogaling owa guid imaw pagparahe. Pagkataliwan it napueong minutes, may umagi eon man nga saeakyan ag imaw man rong natabo. Ko olihe may nagapadueong eon man nga saeakyan. Tumindog imaw sa tunga it karsada. Hapilitan nga magpundo rong saeakyan. Guin hukas nana ro anang kaeo. Nana-og rong konduktor ag hakilaea nga si Pangueong Magsaysay gali. Hinadlukan rong drayber ag konduktor. 

Guinpaypay ni Magsaysay ro anang drayber ag dayon umabot man. Dayon bumalik sanda sa Palasyo it Malakanyang sa Manila. Nagpadayon mat-a it pagbyahe ratong bus nga andang guin parahan. 

Napamatud-an ni Pangueong Magsaysay nga matuod rong mga reklamo it mga tawo. Pagka-aga guin patawag ni Pangueong Magsaysay tanan rong mga operator it saeakyan nga naga biyahe sa tanan nga parte it Luzon. Anang guin walihan sanda nga ro serbisyo publiko hay uwa it guina pili ag dapat tanan tanan ro naga kinahangean it serbisyo pareho it transportasyon hay dapat serbihan. Tanan ro pagpadumdum hay guin laygay sa tanan nga operators it busses. 

Halin kato owa eun it reklamo hanongod sa saeakyan nga nagaabot sa Palasyo it Malakanyang. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Binay Dares Trillanes
by Ambrosio R. Villorente

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay dared Senator Antonio Trillanes IV Tuesday night October 21 “to a one-on-one debate with the Senator not hiding behind his parliamentary immunity”. Binay issued the challenge during an open forum with the members of the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters ng Pilipinas (KBP).

“I’m willing, if you want you can sponsor. I’m willing to debate with Trillanes. I’ll appear in all your forum,” Binay told the KBP members.

Binay Back Off
However, in two weeks time, Vice President Binay back off from the debate which in the first place he proposed. His change of heart and mind is one character he possesses. He seems unreliable.

Binay believes “engaging in a debate with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is a disservice to the millions who still have to recover from devastation caused by super typhoon Yolanda”. 

But what is the relation between Typhoon Yolanda devastation and his debate with Sen. Trillanes to prove his innocence on the alleged corruption while Mayor of Makati City?

On the other hand, Joey Salgado, head of Media Affairs of the Office of the Vice President believes “there would be nothing to nothing to gain from a debate with someone (Trillanes) who does not respect reasons, facts or the rule of law”… But what for this debate held? It should have been done for the information of the public, the people in order for them to make their own conclusion, to know who is telling the truth and who is wrong. Is Vice President Binay lacking of truth and more of lie?

The Vice President could have disclosed the correct and accurate information about his alleged huge wealth and prove Sen. Trillanes is wrong. Until today, the public, the Filipino people is in a big doubt who is honest, who tells the truth, Vice President Binay or Sen. Trillanes? But the burden of proof is in the hands of Vice Pres. Binay.

VP Binay Appologizes
Vice President Binay extended his formal apology to the members of the KBP for not pushing through with the planned debate with Sen. Antonio Trillanes the IV.

His formal apology was extended to the members of the KBP when he delivered his speech during the 40th top-level management conference held in Cavite. He said he did not like how Trillanes portrayed himself as an underdog and he did not want to be accused of having an unfair advantage on Sen. Trillanes.

This is another alibi. He could have debated with Sen. Trillanes, and told the truth, so that the people can more or less accurately prove who is truthful between Vice President Binay and Sen. Trillanes?
Does it mean “Silence means yes?” 

Committee For Papal Visit
President Benigno C. Aquino III has organized the Papal Visit – National Organizing Committee (PV-NOC) to coordinate and prepare for the visit.

The PV-NOC is tasked to take up all government participation and responses in connection with the visit of the Pope, and ensure efficient coordination among public and private sectors; peace and order; and the traffic management plan for the transportation of persons and goods during the event.
There are two local Executive Committees organized: EXECOM-Manila and EXECOM-Leyte—in the areas of engagement of His Holiness Pope Francis. The EXECOMs will serve as the on-site full-time, day-to-day operations arms of the PV-NOC.

The EXECOM-Manila is led by an Undersecretary in the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES). The members are Undersecretaries of the DFA, DND, DILG, DPWH, DOH, DOTC, DOT, and PCOO; Chief of the Presidential Protocol Office; representatives from the OP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and MMDA; Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager; Presidential Security Group (PSG) Commander; and head of the Radio-Television MalacaƱang.

The EXECOM-Leyte is led by an Undersecretary in the OES. The members include the Regional Director of the PNP, Commander of the AFP Central Command, Regional Directors of the DOTC and DPWH, PSG Security Task Action Group Commander-Leyte, and a representative from the Radio-Television MalacaƱang. /MP

Editorial by Ernesto T. Solidum

OPARR Ready To 
Address Yolanda Victims

The Weekly Kapihan on November 15, 2014 discussed the topic, “Typhoon Yolanda: A Year After” at NVC Carmen Hotel. The guests are Atty. Benito Salazar, Consultant Office of the Presidential Assistant on Recovery and Reconstruction (OPARR), Ms. Sorne Abada, Field Operations Head, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and Mr. Bobby Clyde Orbista, Asst. Provincial Welfare Officer, Aklan.

A power point presentation by Atty. Salazat on super typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013 showed that swath of destruction covered 171 cities and municipalities in 14 provinces, caused the deaths of 6,000 people, destroyed 1.4 million houses and displace one million families. The eye of the storm made landfall at Tacloban City registered winds of 314 kilometers per hour and storm surge of 20 meters. Death toll in Tacloban reached 2,500 with many more missing.

Earlier, mass media warning of impending disaster and need to implement mass evacuation of families in coastal communities by Pres. Benigno S. Aquino apparently fell on deaf ears. The people of Samar and Leyte are used to typhoons. They thought that it was only a bluff. Only a few managed to flee to higher ground at the eleventh hour.

 Cataclysmic meltdown devoured all infra houses, buildings, power lines like match sticks. Livelihood of the people such as fishing boats, nets, fishponds, coconuts, fruit trees were obliterated or smashed to pieces.

The US Navy arrived first with its army of medical specialists and equipment to provide food relief, medical treatment and rescue operations. Massive relief and rehabilitation poured from NGO’s and GO’s in terms of monetary and material assistance. Tents and core shelters grad-ually emerged from the ruins of human tragedy.

Hope springs eternal and Filipinos are known to be resilient to adversities in life. The OPARR was created specially to address the problems of Yolanda victims. Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson heads the OPARR.

President Aquino recently approved the P167.9 billion Rehabilitation Master Plan where Aklan province will receive P8.6 billion. Earlier release from the fund is P70 million for coconut rehabilitation.

Atty. Salazar said that OPARR will include 11 coastal towns and cover 1,000 priority projects of LGU’s. The program has four components namely: Livelihood – P406 million, infra – P824 million, social services and resettlement – P1.5 billion.

The Implementing lead agency for livelihood is DTI, infra – DPWH, social services – DSWD, and resettlement – NHA. Targeted under housing are 16,000 house units considered relocation sites where beneficiaries can live on “better houses and lots”.

The mode of fund transfer will be from DBM direct to project implementers in order to facilitate early completion of projects. We need to get volunteers especially from the Tri-media and civic societies to monitor strict compliance said Atty. Salazar.

Ms. Abada mentioned that the Philippine Red Cross has handed out 2,325 units core shelters, shelter repair assistance – 7,100 units, livelihood projects – 3,412, health facilities (water sanitation) – 10 units and repair assistance to schools – 13 classrooms. These projects are located in nine municipalities and 138 barangays, reported Ms. Abada.

Confucious once said, “Give a man a fish and he will eat fish for a day; train a man how to fish and he will eat throughout his lifetime.” The amount of P406 million out of P8.6 billion budget constitutes 4.7 percent for economic recovery. It took eight months for OPARR to draft the 8,000 pages and supporting documents. Majority of typhoon victims have recovered, but OPARR is yet to implement its P8 billion recovery and reconstruction Program. Logic will be economic recovery in terms of acquiring fishing boats, nets, fish cages, planting materials, fertilizers, breeding stock in order to rise from despondency. 

Evidently, there is much prejudice against people helping themselves than the present mentality of giving dole outs  to poor families who shun hard work and personal initiative.

Relocation sites for mass housing projects must be in flood-free zones and titled properties. Here in Aklan, real estates are highly fragmented and land ownership is mostly supported by tax declaration. A few foreclosed properties by DBP, LBP, and others may be considered for purchase by OPARR but can be tricky because of the above limitation. Possible solution for instance in congested areas of Kalibo is to make available   high multi-level houses for squatter families in Laserna St. Presently, all 16 barangays of Kalibo are flood prone.

Atty. Salazar confides that $20 million additional fund for six interior towns of Aklan will come from Canadian International Aid. The rehabilitation and recovery projects of the government will end on June 30, 2016 or co-terminus with the term of President Aquino. 

With projects simultaneously done at a fast pace, there is a grave danger in building substandard infra and housing units. The biggest threat is that certain politicians will use the fund for their own benefits, 2016 being the Presidential elections. Having said that, there must be higher sense of integrity and competence among project implementers since these are humanitarian endeavors. 

Theme song entitled, “We Will Rise Again” sung by Raki Vega provided excellent reminder of travails and vicissitudes in life, one of them is brought by Yolanda. But the resilience and determination of the victims to rise from the calamity amazes officials of international relief agencies. Christian virtues of love and sharing in the face of adversity bring renewed courage and hope. /MP



Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health conducted hearings regarding the preparedness of the country’s front liner agencies in dealing with the possible spread of ebola in Asia.

 “We conducted these hearings, not to sow panic, but rather to gather everyone involved and ensure that all concerned government agencies are synchronized in their efforts and are prepared in dealing with this disease,” said Sen. Guingona. “This is a multi-faceted issue, and we should be able to work together as a cohesive unit in order for us to effectively control this pandemic.”

Data from the Department of Foreign Affairs said, there are nearly 3,500 Filipino workers in West African countries that are hardest hit by ebola. Recent outbreak of ebola has killed more than 4,000 people in 2014.

The Senate hearing was conducted initially on October 22, 2014. Resource persons were the following:

1.      Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona
2.      DOH Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa
3.      DOH Assistant Secretary Enrique Tayag (Head, National Epidemiology Center)
4.      Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario
5.      Administrator Hans Cacdac of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
6.      Dir. Emmanuel Labella, Bureau of Quarantine
7.      Administrator Carmelita Dimzon of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
8.      Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, Jr., Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines
9.      Dr. Socorro Lupisan,  Director of Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
10.  Dr. Winston Go, Head of San Lazaro Hospital
11.  Dr. Aileen Javier, Executive Director of National Kidney and Transplant Institute
12.  Dr. Julie Hall, Country Representative of World Health Organization
13.  Dr. Maria Minerva Calimag, President of Philippine Medical Association
14.  Dr. Roger Tong-an, National President of Philippine Nurses Association, Inc.
15.  Dr. Ruben C. Flores, President of Philippine Hospital Association. /MP

DA Equips Farmers Of Iloilo Rice Processing Complex Management Skills

DA Equips Farmers Of Iloilo Rice 
Processing Complex Management Skills

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office 6 is scheduled to turn over the P200 million Korean International Cooperative Agency (KOICA)- funded Rice Processing Complex (RPC)  to Pototan Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PFMPC).  To prepare the coop members for the commercial operations of the RPC, the DA conducted a three-day training on business planning and value chain analysis, held at West Visayas State University (WVSU) - Pototan Campus on November 10-12, 2014. 

The training spearheaded by Prof. Florencio Dagdag of WVSU College of Business and Management, was aimed to enhance the capability of the PFMPC in value-adding and business entrepreneurial enterprises which focus on palay processing and trading.

Prof. Dagdag encouraged coop members to make Iloilo RPC a growth-oriented enterprise to achieve its sustainability and to complement the needs of the farmers in the community. 

RPC Plant Manager Josefa S. Melocoton said that PFMPC, a cooperative established in 1969, is selected as the recipient farmers’ organization to take over the management of Iloilo RPC from the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR). Iloilo RPC is being managed by the NABCOR since its first operation in April 2012. 

PFMPC chaired by Andrei B. Celiz has more than 4,180 actual members. This cooperative has provided P2 million equity for the operations of the RPC, making PFMPC capable to take over the management.

Through KOICA, the Korean Government put up RPCs in the strategic sites of Pangasinan, Iloilo, Bohol and Davao Del Sur in order to help the Philippines attain technical and agriculture mechanization development. The Iloilo RPC is jointly owned by DA and the Municipal Government of Pototan. The Iloilo RPC situated in Brgy. Amamaros, Pototan has the capability to produce high quality milled rice—from regular to well and premium milled rice. /MP

Tribute to Former Senator Juan Flavier

Tribute to Former 
Senator Juan Flavier

Senators paid tribute to former Senator and Health Secretary Juan Flavier, “who was described as a giant of a man” despite his diminutive size.

“Although he was the first one to make a joke of his height, Johnny was a giant of a man. His monumental achievements made him stand out from the rest. But what made him more extraordinary was his strong compassion for those who have less in life, his sense of duty, and commitment to make a difference,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said in his eulogy.

“He will always be remembered for passionately and courageously advocating for a reproductive health law despite strong opposition from different sectors. That law was finally passed two years ago, and we dedicate it to his memory. The passage of the Reproductive Health Law is a fitting tribute to him,” Drilon added.

Senators received the remains of Flavier at 9:30 a.m. Monday, November 17, and hosted lunch for his family, relatives, senators and guests at the Recto-Laurel Rooms after the necrological services. Flavier succumbed to pneumonia last October 30 at age 79 years.

For her part, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said she would chat with the former health secretary when she was bored or tired. “I was confident I was sharing time with an honest man. He was the most honest senator,” she said.

“Hardly had the dust settled from the campaign, when I rose in a privilege speech to denounce pork barrel kickbacks, which in that simpler time consisted of 10 percent of the public funds involved. I denounced the system, expecting that my colleagues would leap to their feet and confirm my narrative,” Santiago said in her eulogy. 

“But, foolish me, after my speech there was no interpellation and no comment from anybody. Nobody spoke. Except for one man - Sen. Juan Flavier. With an offended expression, he rose to affirm my accusation of corruption in the Senate. If Sen. Flavier did not have the courage and the purity of heart to support my story of corruption, I would have made no impact. Because of Sen. Flavier’s comment, the media picked up the story,” she added.

“He had no air. His ways were simple. He was always for the common man,” Senator Serge Osmena recalled.

Senator Gregorio Honasan II said he had “lethal exposure to the viral Flavier humor,” when Flavier was in Congress.

Flavier laid the foundations for tobacco health warning and reproductive health laws, Senator Pia Cayetano added.

“He was a father to me but as a legislator, we complemented each other. We shared a common passion for healthcare, Cayetano said.

“At the start of the 13th Congress, I asked him if he would continue to chair the Committee on Health. He said, “It’s your turn. I will support you. With the former secretary of health at my side, I faced the challenges with a positive outlook. I sponsored my first bill on the expanded vaccination program” she added.

Legarda recalled how Flavier mentored her when she was a neophyte senator and described him as the Senate’s quorum maker. “Siya po ang pulitiko na hindi kailangang umikot sa buong Pilipinas para manalong top-notcher,” Legarda said.

Legarda said she sought Flavier’s advice on what to do with her first privilege speech. He told to talk about something distinct, something that the rest of the Senators know nothing or very little about. 
“And so I remember I spoke about the delineation of our forests and filed it as one of my first bills in 1998. Manong Johnny will always be remembered for bringing healthcare to the unempowered and to the marginalized, for being kind, for being generous, for being noble. He has touched us all and his memory shall forever be etched in our minds and in our hearts,” Legarda said.

Meanwhile, the Senate adopted a resolution expressing sympathy and condolence to Flavier’s family.
Resolution 1014, introduced by Drilon, cited Flavier’s perfect attendance in sessions during the 10th and Congresses that followed as well as the landmark laws he authored and sponsored.

“The death of the illustrious doctor and senator is a great loss not only to his bereaved family but also to the millions of Filipinos whom he loved and served so well,” the resolution stated.

Flavier, a Tondo native who was raised in the Mountain Province, was a shoeshine boy, newspaper boy, waiter, tutor until he earned his Medicine degree from the University of the Philippines in 1960 and Master’s degree in Public Health from John Hopkins University in 1969.

He placed fifth in the 1995 senatorial elections as “people acknowledged his outstanding work as a Cabinet member.” In his re-election in 2001, he ranked second for his “excellent performance as a senator during his first term.”

Flavier served as chairman of the Senate Committees on Health and Demography, Education, Arts and Culture, Cultural Communities and was the longest serving Senate President Pro-Tempore since the 8th Congress when he was elected for the position in August 2002 (12th Congress) and in July 26, 2004 (13th Congress).

“The hardworking Senator Flavier registered a perfect attendance during the sessions and authored or co-authored landmark laws which promoted public health care and disease prevention and improved the quality of life of the people,” the resolution stated. /MP



Some 31 or 64.58 percent of the 41 examinees passed the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Accreditation Test given in Kalibo, Aklan on October 18, 2014. Mr. Ron N. Bautista, Chairman, KBP, Aklan chapter announced.

The 48 who took the accreditation test are from Antique, Capiz, and Aklan. Of the 31 who passed the test, 12 or 38.71 percent are alumnus (5) and seven are still studying in the Northwestern Visayan Colleges (NVC). The five are already working with radio stations in Boracay and Kalibo, Aklan.

Those NVC graduates who passed the accreditation test are Archie G. Hilario, Carla N. Suner, Leonelyn M. Artes, Gloria T. Villas, and Jay-ar M. Arante. Those who are still studying are Rio S. Trayco, Danita Jean A. Pelayo, Keia M. Isturis, Jessa N. Pioquid, Kim Janus N. Justo, Daisy Jane R. Penalba, and Joecel R. Cuenca.

Atty. Allen S. Quimpo, NVC President, Mrs. Melrose Q. Martelino, Chairman, BOD, NVC, Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente, Dean, AB MassCom Dept., and the whole NVC community congratulate the accreditation test passers especially those who are NVCians. /MP

Thursday, November 13, 2014

SC Automatic Philhealth Coverage Approved

SC Automatic Philhealth 
Coverage Approved 

According to Sen. Teofisto Guingona, the passage of Philhealth for Seniors Citizens (SC) is an early christmas gift. It shows how we take care of our elders as it reflects our character as a nation.
Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III this week said the passage of Republic Act 10645 which mandates the automatic Philhealth coverage of senior citizens throughout the country is an early Christmas gift to the country’s elders.

“It is high time that we give back to our country’s elders. In our culture, the condition and situation of a person in his/her advanced age is the reflection of the character of his/her children. How we take care of our senior citizens is also a mirror of our character as a nation,” Sen. Guingona stressed.

He sponsored the measure as chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography. The senate version of the bill was authored by Senators Ralph Recto, Guingona, Bam Aquino, Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay, Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Francis Escudero, JV Ejercito, Vicente Sotto III, Sergio Osmena, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Sonny Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, Manuel Lapid, Bongbong Marcos and Senate President Franklin Drilon.

With the signing of RA 10645, it amends RA No. 994 (The Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010). It also removes the qualification that a senior citizen has to be an indigent before being covered by Philhealth, with premium payments fully subsidized by the national government.

There are roughly 6.1 million senior citizens in the Philippines of whom, 3.94 million are already covered by Philhealth under classifications such as indigent, sponsored, lifetime members, and dependents. With the signing of the new law, the remaining 2.16 million will now be covered by Philhealth.

“It is the priority of this administration to give social protection services to all Filipinos. Let us start with our seniors,” Sen. Guingona said.

He added that with the passage of the mandatory Philhealth coverage for seniors, our country’s elders will now feel secure during the remaining years of their lives because of the guarantee that they now have sufficient access to medical and health care once the need arises.

“In their younger years, our elders have worked hard to take care of their respective families and communities. Now it is our turn to return the favor,” Sen. Guingona pointed out. /MP



Some three and a half million coconut farmers and workers who are beneficiaries of the coconut levy funds will have an estimated P200 billion worth of financial protection with the passage of House Bill 4900 filed by AAMBIS-Owa Party list Representative Sharon Garin.

Already referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Food, House Bill 4900 or the proposed Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund Act aims to create a trust fund for the benefit of small coconut farmers and farm workers who shouldered coconut levy collected during the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

“House Bill 4900 proposes a better trust fund as it unequivocally specifies the purposes for which the Trust Fund shall be established such as social, marketing, and development fund,” Former Philippine Coconut Authority Chairman Jose Romero, Jr. said.

“Scholarships, pension plans, educational assistance, health and life insurance coverage, and credit and investment facilities are just some of the benefits that every coconut farmer will enjoy if the trust fund proposed by Congresswoman Garin will be set up for farmers,” Romero added.

 The proposed measure stemmed from the clamor of major coconut farmers’ organizations for a new law that will create a mechanism that will ensure that the coco levy money is used for their benefits.

In its July 9, 2013 ruling, the Supreme Court after decades of litigation upheld the dual-ownership character of the funds, ruling the fund is owned both by the government and by the coconut farmers. The funds should be used for the benefit of marginalized coconut farmers and workers, the Supreme Court ruled further.

Even before the high court’s latest ruling, national coconut farmer organizations like the Philippine Association of Small Coconut Farmers Organizations and the Pambansang Koalisyon ng mga Samahang Magsasaka at Manggagawa sa Niyugan expressed their favor of setting up a trust fund for farmers’ benefit, (October 9, 2012 issue of the Business Mirror).

If HB 4900 becomes law, a Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund Council will be created to administer the fund. The Council shall be composed of the President of the Philippines as Chairman and 17 other members.

Of the 17 members, four (4) will be from coconut farmers’ organizations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and two (2) will come from non-governmental organizations involved in rural development.

Rep. Garin is set to meet soon with coconut farmers groups and the Philippine Coconut Administration (PCA) to iron out details of the trust fund mechanism.

Meanwhile, Coconut Industry Reform (COIR) Movement Executive Director Jose Marie Faustino believes every group claims to propose a ‘better’ measure for coconut farmers.

“Amidst all these, all stakeholders must remain vigilant to prevent a rerun of what happened during the Marcos regime where farmers’ money was stolen right under them,” Faustino added. /MP

Bring Filipino Resilience To Higher Level, Legarda

Bring Filipino Resilience 
To Higher Level, Legarda

One year after Super typhoon Yolanda battered Central Visayas and other nearby regions, Senator Loren Legarda this week said that the well-known Filipino resilience should be manifested even before a natural hazard occurs.

“The world recognizes the resilience of the Filipino spirit. Even after experiencing the worst disaster, we find reason to smile and laugh, we help others even if we are victims too, and we immediately go about our business. Resilience has been a remarkable strength of our citizens, but at the end of the day, the greater challenge after a typhoon or earthquake is always: how do we rebuild our communities?” said Legarda.

“One year after Yolanda devastated numerous communities in Central Visayas and nearby regions, I hope we all have learned our lessons well. Let us bring our resilience to a higher level—where we need not weep for a lost loved one after a natural hazard and where there is less or no more damaged infrastructure and properties because we have already managed to make our communities safe,” she stressed.

Legarda, United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, said she hopes that the rehabilitation plan of the government will be carried out well so that the survivors would not face the same tragedy again.

“I am glad that our government has embraced the concept of ‘building back better’. In building back better, we must rebuild communities with the confidence that we are not rebuilding the risks again; we need to ensure that reconstruction of homes and infrastructure will be on safer ground following geohazard maps and sound construction standards; we need to re-start and create livelihoods; and restore normalcy to people’s lives with a stronger sense of hope and confidence for the future,” she explained.

Legarda also reiterated key lessons from Yolanda and other disasters that caused great devastation, such as typhoons Ondoy, Pepeng, Sendong and Pablo.

First, we must focus on managing the risks rather than managing disasters.  Local disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) plans are indispensable. Funds should be sufficiently allocated. Cooperation among local and national governments, businesses, and the communities is imperative.

Second, governments and businesses need to let science work for our communities. The best solutions are possible only with the guidance of science.  Develop land use plans that are risk sensitive.  The dictum is not just to build, but build stronger.  Build for the future.

Third, protect our environment and pursue green urban development.  We need to go back to the basics: protect our ecosystems and natural buffers such as mangrove forests to mitigate floods, storm surges and other hazards. Design and enforce building standards to address future hazards, not past ones.

Fourth, we should all be ‘disaster-literate’. We need to understand and believe in the risks.  Everybody should be part of the solution.

Finally, prepare adequately and engage. While disaster prevention should be the greater focus of our efforts, response preparedness is likewise important to prevent further casualties and reduce losses. Contingency plans are crucial in times of disasters. LGUs must have the political will to implement forced evacuation when called for. With adequate and proper preparation, we would have won already half the battle.

“We do not hope for more natural hazards to come, but that is already part of our lives. We only hope that when the next typhoon or earthquake strikes, the world will laud us for our strength, for the greater resilience of our communities—zero casualty, minimal property damage, quick response and recovery,” said Legarda. /MP

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Remembering Yolanda

Remembering Yolanda
The remains of a house the morning after Yolanda in Dongon, Numancia, Aklan.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC), Aklan Chapter will commemorate the first year anniversary of the devastation brought to the Province of Aklan by Haiyan (Super Typhoon Yolanda). The commemorative program will be held on Saturday morning, November 8, at Teodosio’s Cultural and Sports Complex, Banga, Aklan.

The guests and participants will start arriving at six thirty o’clock in the morning. The opening program will begin at eight o’clock in the moring which will have Ms. Mary Cris Leyson-PRC  Chapter volunteer and Mrs. Carol Ordines-PRC project staff as masters of ceremonies.

There will be photo exhibit and trade fair which will feature some interesting case stories and showcase livelihood projects from selected beneficiaries.

Aklan Governor Florencio T. Miraflores and Mr. Andrew Nocon, member Board of Governors, PRC will lead the guests and participants in the commemorative program.

Madalag Mayor Alfonso A. Gubatina, Banga Mayor Erlinda M. Maming, Balete Mayor Teodoro V. Calizo, Jr, Altavas Mayor Denny D. Refol, New Washington Mayor Edgar Peralta, Lezo Mayor Victor L. Fernandez, Malinao Mayor Ariel I. Igoy, Numancia Mayor Jozyl Isidore Templonuevo, and Libacao Mayor Vincent I. Navarosa are expected to attend the program.

During the opening program, Ms. Arcely C. Pelayo-PRC, Aklan chapter administrator will welcome all the guests, visitors and participants. This will be followed by Ms. Zorne R. Abada-Field Operation Head with the PRC Recovery Program power point presentation.

Governor Florencio T. Miraflores and PRC Governor Andrew Nocon will deliver their respective messages. They will turn over Disaster Risk Reduction equipment to the 22 barangays of Libacao. Libacao Mayor Vincent Navarosa will give his message.

Some 80 core shelters will also be turned over to respective beneficiaries in Guinbaliwan, New Washington. This will be followed by the message of Mayor Edgar R. Peralta and a testimonial of a core shelter beneficiary.

Dr. Floriphez L. Yer-ro of Malinao and Dr. Anna Lyn Refol of Altavas will receive medical supplies in behalf of their respective Rural Health Units. Altavas Mayor Denny D. Refol will deliver a short message. 

In behalf of the recipients, Malinao Mayor Igoy will deliver a brief message after the distribution of Lego Set to 13 elementary and high schools. A footbridge is constructed in Brgy. Oquendo, Balete, Line Ditch with rip-rap in Brgy. Alas-as, Madalag, eight (8) core shelters in Brgy. Cogon, Lezo from Air Asia for which Lezo Mayor Victor Fernandez will give his message of thanks.

Madalag Mayor Gubatina, Balete Mayor Calizo and Banga Mayor Maming will deliver their respective messages of thanks. Ms. Wendelyn Castro, a cash for work beneficiary and Ms. Evilita Fuentes, a livelihood beneficiary will give their respective testimonials. John Daniel Regimen, PRC volunteer will relate interesting story about his Red Cross experience. 

Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente-Vice Chairman, PRC Aklan will give his thank you message for the guests, visitors, and participants who contributed to the success of the PRC programs, projects, and activities. /MP



“I welcome the decision of the Pasay Regional Trial Court to temporarily stop the collection of airport fees from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW),” Vice Pres. Binay said.

I am concerned about the implementation of the International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC) scheme without consultation with our OFWs, he added.

The IPSC integrates the terminal fee with airplane tickets, automatically requiring all passengers including OFWs to pay P550.  

By virtue of the Migrant Workers’ Act of 1995, OFWs are exempted from paying airport fee, travel tax and documentary stamp upon presentation of their overseas employment certificate (OEC) issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. 

The government must address the problem in our airports, and make the arrival and departure of passengers as smooth and hassle-free as possible. Efforts to improve airport service are welcomed. However, imposing fees and charges on our OFWs should not be done unilaterally, Binay stressed.
He called the Manila International Airport Authority and the Department of Transportation and Communications to defer the implementation of the IPSC scheme, and seek a dialog with our OFWs and other stakeholders. We must listen to their voices and address their concerns over the IPSC. /MP



I join the entire nation in mourning the passing of Senator Juan M. Flavier. While the country has lost a statesman who achieved greatness in dedicating his entire life to public service, I have lost a dear friend.

Senator Flavier’s humility and simplicity defined him. He was a doctor who shunned the lure of a financially rewarding private practice to be a “Doctor to the Barrios”. He continued his selfless ways by joining public service as a Secretary of Health who bravely campaigned for his advocacies, and as a Senator who placed the interest of our people above all else.

That was JMF or Johnny, who I came to know—a man whose integrity and devotion to duty only a few can match.

I am fortunate for having had the opportunity to work with Senator Flavier both in the cabinet and in the Senate. I am personally thankful for his dedication and hard work as my Senate President Pro-Tempore, and his loyalty to the institution.

On behalf of the Senate, I extend our condolences to the family of Johnny.

Senator Juan M. Flavier passed away on October 30, 2014. /MP


Vice President Jejomar C. Binay last week decried the recent move of the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee to drag his youngest daughter into their effort to malign his name.

Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano on Thursday, October 30, 2014 presented photos posted on Instagram by Binay’s youngest daughter showing her inside the Batangas estate owned by Sunchamp.

Binay said that contrary to Cayetano’s claims, having a photo taken inside the property does not prove ownership of the estate.

Binay also slammed the blatant disregard for protocol of the senate subcommittee when they prevented United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Interim Secretary General JV Bautusta and UNA Interim President Tobias Tiangco from attending the hearing.

Binay also appealed to members of the subcommittee to raise the standards of politics and not resort to mudslinging.

On the other hand, the architect who has been named by former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado as the one who designed a rest house in a farm estate in Rosario, Batangas purportedly owned by the family of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay has vehemently denied the claim, saying that his signature on the supposed design proposal was forged.

The purported written proposal, which was allegedly submitted by Architect Rodolfo R. Bongato to JCB Farms, Inc. on September 10, 1997, was reported in a front page story of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and presented by Mercado at the Senate hearing.

In an affidavit executed on October 30, Bongato attested that he never submitted such a proposal and that it was “obviously a FORGERY” as the signature that appears above his name “is not even remotely similar to my real signature.”

“I have never designed a rest house for JCB Farms in Rosario, Batangas or in any other location. The signature over my printed name as appearing in the proposal is not mine. It is a clear FORGERY as I have never signed the same,” Bongato stated.

Bongato also noted in his affidavit that the price quoted in the said proposal was not the “normal price” which he charged for the scope of services stated therein.

“I am executing this affidavit to attest to the truth of the foregoing facts and BELIE in the strongest possible terms the genuineness and authenticity of the said proposal and anyone who will be peddling the same as genuine is committing a BLATANT LIE,” he stated.

Rodolfo R. Bongato is a member of the United Architects of the Philippines. /MP 

GMA Network Wins 18 Recognitions At 36th CMMA

GMA Network Wins 18 Recognitions 
At 36th CMMA

GMA Network received multiple honors for its value-laden programs and special projects at the recently held 36th Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA).

The big winners in the television category are GMA-7’s weekend primetime newscast 24 Oras Weekend (Best News Program) for its Yolanda Coverage and family sitcom Pepito Manaloto: Ang Tunay na Kuwento (Best Comedy Program); GMA News TV’s original series on education Titser (Best Drama Series/Program) and pioneering documentary program Reel Time (Best Public Service Program); and GMA News’ comprehensive coverage of the first-ever joint papal canonization St. John Paul II: We Love You (Best Special Event Coverage).

GMA-7’s multi-awarded documentary program I-Witness, the Philippines’ first and only nature and wildlife series Born To Be Wild (Best Adult Educational/Cultural Program), and the youth-oriented programs Tropang Potchi and Binoy Henyo (Best Children and Youth Program) received special citations. Also cited were GMA News TV’s highly-acclaimed flagship newscast State of the Nation with Jessica Soho (Best News Program) and weekly news magazine program Brigada (Best News Magazine); GMA News’ Bantay Kaban ng Bayan, which traced the anatomy of the pork barrel scam (Best TV Special); and GMA Cebu’s Visita Iglesia (Best Religious Program).

GMA’s flagship AM radio station Super Radyo DZBB took home awards for the radio programs Imbestigador sa DZBB (Best Public Service Program) and Bangon Na Bayan (Best News Commentary).

GMA Marketing and Productions, Inc., bested the entries from other creative agencies by gaining the top prize for KFC’s “Munting Sakripisyo” (Best TV Ad – Branded) while So Lucky’s “Kahati ng Kahapon” received a special citation in the same category. 

Recognized in the Music Category is “Pagbangon” (Best Secular Song) – an initiative of GMA News, produced by the Program Support Department, written by Joseph Saguid, composed by Edward Mitra, and sung by Asia’s Pop Sweetheart Julie Anne San Jose. “Pagbangon” tells of the resilience of the Filipino people and reminds everyone to help his fellowmen in times of crisis. 

Since 1978, the CMMA has been recognizing students, professionals, and organizations that made use of mass communication in promoting Christian values among Filipinos. /MP

A T.E.A.C.H.E.R. by Merlinda Nadal Flores Master Teacher I, Banga Elem. School

A  T.E.A.C.H.E.R. 
by Merlinda Nadal Flores Master Teacher I, Banga Elem. School

Ms. Merlinda Nadal Flores, Master Teacher I, in the bneautiful flower garden, Banga Elementary School, Banga, Aklan. 
A TEACHER is terrific, energetic, able, cheerful, hardworking, enthusiastic, and remarkable.
You are a terrific Teacher if you truly care for your students. As the saying goes, “the best Teacher is a Teacher who teaches from the heart.” As a terrific Teacher, you need to be genuine and show interest in the students. When you are real, it radiates from within to your aura. Students can see if you fake them or if you truly care for them.  A terrific Teacher thinks about his/her students welfare and wellbeing. 

How do you show that a terrific Teacher cares? He/She ask if the students truly learn from their lessons and he/she ask for evaluation, then a follow up. The learning is also structured according to the need of the students. A teacher needs to show them support. If he/she has high standard, he/she needs to check on them if they can come up with what is expected from them or else, if not, a teacher doesn’t need to adjust his/her standard, but rather, challenged them in a good way that reaching that standard would mean a good future for them. Help the students understand what effective studying is so they will appreciate the topic and learning at the end of the day.

Teaching with enthusiasm requires heaps of motivation from within.  Teaching is a noble profession. Therefore, those who teach should embrace this noble characteristic to be an energetic Teacher. Once the teacher steps inside the classroom, the students expect their teacher to be an inspiring Teacher. Being enthusiastic is one of the many qualities of an effective Teacher.  

Engaging students and showing spark in the activities of the day would surely inspire them to be participative and attentive.  Teacher energy shows so that they will also show their energy back, too. The more motivated a student, the more a teacher gains respect from them and he/she will significantly and truly have a great day. An energetic Teacher is someone that shows joy, mastery of the subject and good influence to the students.  On the other hand, a boring Teacher will also expect the same from students. It is behavioral because energy is emotion. It is one’s willingness to teach and to stimulate to share ideas with the student. Always remember, energy is infectious!

To be a Teacher is someone who is able to know what is right and wrong. An able Teacher is someone who truly understands his/her profession and can carry it accordingly. For one, a Teacher should be digitally challenged. He/she knows how to connect with his/her students. He/She knows what his/her students want and need and able to cope up with those. A teacher is able to learn how to adjust and be flexible, update with what is the need of the industry, as well.  One very good quotation states, “The greatest sign of success for a Teacher is to be able to say, the children are now working as if I did not exist.”

There is hundreds of reasons why a Teacher should be cheerful. For one, seeing the children is a blessing from above. They are our second children away from home. Teachers are blessed to be called their ‘second parent’ once a teacher steps on that gate and in the comfort of the classroom. 
Smile is always contagious. It is a virtue that a teacher carries as a person of authority. Teacher should enjoy teaching and seeing the children play, creative, and attentive. Teach them to view the world as a happy and better place to live in. Teach those good manners and right conduct, to be like you so that you can create another you. What a beautiful feeling of creating another model person like you, isn’t it? “Smile and so the world will smile with you.” 

“Motivation comes from the heart. Ideas come from the brain. Achievement and success come from hard working person.” Indeed, a Teacher is expected to deliver the task with a full knowledge of the subject with a wholehearted effort.  It is hard work because a teacher painstakingly prepared for it. 

A hardworking Teacher is one that gives more beyond what are called for, information, knowledge and skills. Consider teaching profession as a gift from the Lord. Otherwise, you will not be where you are standing now – A Teacher. Be an empowered Teacher by being hard working.

A Teacher shares one special quality – “They all loved what they are doing.” 

“Teacher enthusiasm plays a central role in holding students’ attention, generating students’ interest, and developing students’ positive attitudes toward learning. Highly enthusiastic teachers are highly expressive in vocal delivery, gestures, body movement, and overall energy level. All of these are crucial ingredients that, in turn contribute to greater student achievement.” (Tauber and Mester 1995, p11)

An enthusiastic Teacher constantly develops his/herself and who continuously learns and develops by studying more and attending more updates on teaching.  Discovering more of you is showing interest in what you are called for.

What makes a remarkable Teacher? A student who feels they are warmly welcomed in their classes, a student feels the leadership of a Teacher in class, students are comfortable with the Teacher’s presence. A Teacher is articulate and knows how to get his/her message across to them and more. But most importantly, “You must be very skilled, very knowledgeable, and exquisitely well trained, because neither the teacher nor the surgeon can say, ‘Everybody sits still until I figure out what in the heck we’re gonna do next.” (Goldberg, 1990, p. 43). /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Hueuwarang Manogturo

Sa lugar it mga Ati sa Zambales natawo si Arita. Bukon imaw it kapareho ko ibang mga Ati nga kontento eamang nga magpakalimos ag guina inom rong pinakalimosan. Samtang ro mga eaeaki hay nagapanikop it ueang sa suba ag guina eamhay sa gawad ag gutaw para sa andang ilabas ag ihapon. Pagkatapos it ihapon, naga suguilanon dayon sanda sa libot it dap-ong ag kon duygon hay una eon lang sanda man matueog sa idaeum it kahoy o siin nga masilungan.

Handum ni Arita nga makatalimwas sa anang miserableng kahimtangan. Guin eapas nana rong kaugali-an it tribo. Sa edad nga trese dag-on hay ipaasawa eon imaw sa sangka Ati nga eaeaki. Mataas ro handum ni Arita. Bu-ot nana nga mabuligan ro anang isig ka Ati.

Ko isaeang agahon ngaron, samtang naga eaba imaw sa isaeang ka busay, may nag-agi nga babaye agod magpalibanaw ko anang siki. Hakita nana si Arita ag nababasa sa anang mata nga may maeab-ot nga swerte bangod sa anang kahugod. Sa mapig-od nanda nga pagsuguilanon, nagpahinuhod nana si Arita nga boe-on nga kabulig. Nagpasugot si Arita maskin indi magsugot ro anang ina. Isa-eang ka pagpasimpaead ro anang pagahimu-on.

Bangod sa kahugod ni Arita, naila-an ro anang serbisyo. Isaeang ka manogturo si Mrs. Satero sa primary ag tanan nga tu-eon-an hay guinabinasa ni Arita. Ko olihi nag-antiguhan eon imaw magsueat ag magbasa. Napan-uhan ni Mrs. Satero nga interesado nga mageskwela si Arita. Sa edad nga trese anyos nag umpesa imaw sa grade one hasta nakatapos sa mataas nga eskuylahan. Guin patun-an pagid imaw hasta sa kolehiyo. Nagtu-on si Arita agud mangin maestra. Nakatapos it kurso sa pagkamaestra si Arita. Ro una nana nga guinobra hay nag-uli imaw sa andang lugar ag guintipon rong tanan nga kabataang Ati. Sa bulig it mga kaeaeakihan, nakapatindog sanda it isaeang ka kamalig agud idto tun-an it pagsueat ag pagbasa ro mga inunga. Sa bulig ni Mrs. Satero, guin tun-an man ro mga kababayen-an it pagtahi, pageaha ag pagobra it basket human sa  oway, butong, nito, ag buli.

Nakaabot sa Mayor it banwa paagi sa kapitan it barangay rong guin himo ni Arita. Bosa guinpatindugan sanda it eskwelahan. May mga negosyante nga nagdonar it mga igdaeapat sa eskuylahan kapareho it tueon-an, papel ag iba pang igdaeapat it mga eskuyla. Nageapta rong balita. May mga reporter it radio ag peryodiko nga nag-abot sa lugar ni Arita. Guin baehag imaw sa mga pahayagan ag nangin bukang-bibig rong pangaean ni Aritang Ati. Guintaw-an imaw it plake bilang pagkilaea sa anang pagka Huwarang Manugturo. Nagapati si Arita nga maskin ano ro imong kolor ag ikaw hay may handum, guinabaton ka it sosyodad eabi guid sa tagipusu-on it mga tawo nga imong habuligan. /MP

Editorial by Ernesto t. Solidum

Visual Arts: Journey 
Begins  With A Single Step

“The Role of Visual Arts in Tourism” is the topic of the weekly Kapihan on October 25, 2014 held at NVC Carmen Hotel. Guests are Ms. Erlinda Quimpo-Wilson, Visual Artist and Mr. Ricky Molo, Pres. Rotary Club of Metro Kalibo.

Born in Kalibo, Ms. Wilson is the daughter of former Judge Rustico Quimpo and Carmen Salas. Early in her teens, she dabbled in painting still life and lush greenery that elicited praises from her peers, teachers and parents. Naturally gifted with ability to mix different colors and etching them on canvass gave way to greater interest and involvement.

However, her father wanted her to study Education course in order to prepare for better security and exciting career in life. As a dutiful child she took up BSEEd at UP Diliman, Quezon City, but all the time her burning ambition was to study architecture.

Eventually opportunity came when Erlinda was recipient of American Field Service scholarship to the United States. For three years, the young Kalibon-hon studied art classes in two schools namely: Mt. San Jacinto College and Hemet Valley Arts Association. The latter emphasized Plein Air Impressionist or “on location” painting sessions.

Madam Wilson has participated in 10 joint exhibitions in the US and made three solo performances in Kalibo. Her impressionists paintings done in oil show delicate use of colors to draw contracts in her subjects making rich tapestry of bucolic life, majestic waterfalls and vibrant gardens.

Samples of her art works are on display during the Kapihan while bulk of her prized collections done in the United States and in Aklan whetted the appetite of viewers during the power point presentation. Actually, some of her art pieces are on display at the GSIS Museum in Manila together with other contemporary art works which runs on October 1-31, 2014.

Mr. Johny Dayang former member of National Commission on Culture and the Arts commented that as a nation, we have not matured in our cultural identity particularly in appreciating and treasuring various visual art forms. Artists have a mystical talent of capturing on canvass scenic landscapes, the fine wrinkles on a man’s face and uninhabited laughter of a child.

Development of visual arts into our way of life could be started with 33,000 out-of-school youth as suggested by Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente. Kids could be provided with non-formal training on basic art like coloring black and white pictures, clay or plaster moulds, and others.

Mr. Ricky Molo is currently holding art classes at NVC focusing on disabled youth especially deaf mutes. We are successful in our series of exhibitions here in Kalibo that we want to show our finished works in Manila. Hopefully, this will be realized this coming October 30. This will afford kids especially Lester Lumio, an outstanding PWD to further enrich his knowledge and skills.

Hon. Lilian Q. Tirol confirmed that the Provincial government of Aklan is now finalizing draft proposal to create the Provincial Council on Culture and the Arts. Objective is to conserve and enrich our cultural history in language, music, dance, visual arts, religion, political, architecture and agriculture. Centerpiece of this collections will be Museo it Akean said Hon. Tirol.

Vietnam which was colonized by the French for four (4) centuries has emerged the bustling capital of art works in this part of the globe. Time magazine in its report 14 years ago revealed myriad display of live colors and designs posted on concrete fences, sidewalks and graphic artists who ply their trade in downtown Hanoi. For small fee, any visitor could have his picture etched on canvass using either charcoal or water color. Her art shops and antique stores are crammed with a passion for art and burden of life has diminished with the beauty around them. No wonder more tourists flock to this socialist country than the Philippines.

Paris is world’s top tourist destination attracting 32.2 million visitors per year. This is because of its enduring icon “Eiffel Tower”, baroque churches, treasure trove of reknowned art masterpieces from 18th to 20th century. Modern transport of fast trains, planes and ships are marvels of modern engineering. The French also excels in education and supported political slogan of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” during the French revolution. The slogan remains to the present.

When can the Philippines achieve maturity and appreciation for the arts?

Surprisingly, we have inspirational models. Juan Luna’s “Parisian Life” created in 1892 was prized at $1 million and Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s “Nose Flute” - $649,000. Francisco V. Coching, now delared National Artist has ancestral roots in Brgy. Aquino, Ibajay, Aklan.

It is welcome news that Dr. Jesse M. Gomez, Aklan Schools Div. Superintendent plans to train teachers in visual arts. Local art exhibit will be held in Boracay early January 2015 confided Ms. Wilson.

Confucious once said, “The mile long journey starts with a single step.” May it be a reality soon./MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Wanted Agri-Businessmen
by Ambrosio R. Villorente

The latest survey report of the Social Weather Station (SWS) states that 43 percent or 9.3 million Filipinos considered themselves hungry. While 55 percent or 12.1 million Filipino families believed they are poor. The survey was conducted on September 26-29.

Moreover, Sen. Grace Poe pointed to a very grim statistics. In her recent privilege speech, she called the government to redirect its focus to the rampant hunger and poverty. According to Sen. Poe, “some 87 percent of households are so bereft of proper food that they resort to food alternatives like soy sauce, bagoong, tomato, salt, and coffee.” About 7.36 million Filipino children, five (5) years and below, are malnourished, and 5.5 million of 13.4 million poor children below 18 years old are forced to skip school. They look for jobs to augment family income.

In Aklan, more than 33,000 children of school age are out of school of whom 12,000 or about 35 percent wanted to attend training to qualify themselves for immediate employment and eventually conquer poverty.

Sen. Poe recommends for the “realignment in budget priorities to increase funding for children’s feeding programs and for greater institutional support for agriculture, a sector long battered by natural calamities and chronic governmental corruption, to ensure the adequate supply of food.

Agriculture - The Weapon Against Poverty
In the column of Jose Rene C. Gayo in PDI, August 25, 2014 issue, he pointed out to “agriculture still the most potent weapon against poverty.”

However, a review of “Philippine experience in managing economic development shows a strong bias against agriculture,” Gayo stressed. Since 1950, industrialization has been the main focus of economic policy that has its centerpiece strategy hinged on import substitution.

To attain sustainable agriculture development, Gayo recommends some measures to do:
1. Re-engineering bureaucracy for agriculture with rural development. This is the merging of DA, DAR, DENR to maximize resources facilities, coordination, and avoid the problems associated with “turfs”. The DA be the surviving entity with DAR, DENR as bureaus. These sectoral groupings may serve as the basic framework for the DA.

2. Manage agriculture as a business. Until today, agriculture is being treated from the scientific and technical point of view. It is now time to shift to “farming as a business, make farming more profitable. The farmers must know how to manage their farm well, finance adequately their operations, market their production and solve their expenses, income and profit.”

3. Re-invent education for agriculture and rural development. Education must prepare agricultural curriculum to generate corps of agriculture entrepreneur and agri-business professionals who will engage in agriculture and rural development projects.

ASU Still To Produce Agri-Businessmen
Aklan State University is still to produce agriculture leaders in the field and agri-businessmen. What ASU has been producing are graduates who are job seekers rather than job providers. ASU Banga seems to forget its primary mandate which is to produce farmer leaders.

Agriculture is a system, therefore, our farm education training institutions must develop human resources who are competent to manage agriculture as a system. Being a system, it must start from production, harvesting, transportation and handling, processing, storage, marketing and utilization.

Motivation must be provided to young men to go to agri-business, to cajole them to study and become agri-businessmen. Scholarships for students of agriculture be provided and guaranteed starting capital for those graduates who will venture in agriculture enterprise after graduation.

The Philippines is an agricultural country with her soil and climate best suited for agriculture. She has most fertile lands, wide seas, long rivers and lakes. But, sad to say, these huge natural resources are just left undeveloped and continuously wasted.

The Philippines needs the best and the brightest farm developers who are in excellent health conditions to withstand the adverse weather condition. The Philippines need farmers who know more, who must know biology as farmer deals with life, engineering, accounting to compute his investment, chemistry as he deals with chemicals, human relation as he deals with peoples and many other human disciplines.  /MP


by Ernesto T. Solidum

Mr. Efren Trinidad, Secretary to the Mayor of Kalibo has confirmed the notice of STL Panay Resources that its outfit is prepared to undertake excavation/extraction and hauling of gravel and sand from the Aklan river. This is based on Aklan SP resolution approved by then Governor Carlito S. Marquez in early 2013 to mitigate periodic risks and disasters during typhoons.

About 15 million cubic meters will be extracted from the Aklan river starting from its mouth at Bakhao Norte up to Linabuan Norte, Kalibo at no cost to the government. Payment will be a token of P5.00 per cubic meter. Excavated minerals will be shipped in bulk to Singapore.

With this advice from STL, a technical working group will be convened to prepare the memorandum of agreement, said Mr. Trinidad. It appears that they have secured the Environmental Clearance Certificate from the DENR dated July 25, 2014.

Aklan province has two (2) main river ecosystems that are perennially flooded during super typhoons namely: Kalibo and Ibajay. Worse off is Kalibo because of its dense population and relative bigger built-up area. Typhoon Frank in 2008 inundated all 16 barangays of Kalibo and the adjoining municipalities of Numancia, Lezo, Malinao, Banga, Madalag, and Libacao.

From aerial footages after Typhoon Frank, mud and debris seen on both sides of the river upstream specifically in Daguitan, Banga was 800 meters wide. However, water flow became constricted in its path going to Poblacion, Kalibo where floodwater was “squeezed” to 400 meters. The resulting impact was massive flooding and distruction never experienced in the last 40 years.

Engr. Jun Sanchez Jr., Head of Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council stated that Surabya, second largest city in Indonesia has encountered similar flood problems before. What they did was to build concrete river dikes from the City to its source in a straight line at equal widths. This means that if the width upstream is 400 meters, the lower portion must be the same to prevent flooding and danger from soil erosion.

In Aklan, the same ingenious method can be done. Once successful with flood management, Aklan can easily attract domestic and foreign investments. Can we remember the disastrous P100 million dredging project on Aklan river administered by DPWH in 2012? That went nowhere.

Under the plan, the provincial government is expected to get a revenue of P75 million, but there is no guarantee it will solve recurring risks. STL Panay Resources is just too happy to exploit the Aklan river with motorized dredger and flat bottom boats with no Pinoy laborer on its payroll. Everything will be mechanical and systematic, 24/7.

Unnecessary bottleneck or constrictions in the normal flow of water is removed once the concrete river dike is approved. This means restoring the full length of the Kalibo bridge to its original structural design and capacity. At least Puroks 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Laserna St. must give way to the natural volume of flow of the Aklan river.

A technical working group composed of representatives from DPWH, PRRMC, MPDC, DENR and DILG must be convened at the soonest time possible to design the concrete river dike for funding consideration by the Regional Development Council. At least the concrete structure may have a total of 10 kilometers long which could be undertaken by segments. The priority must be the three (3) kilometers segment from the Aklan river delta up to Brgy. Tigayon before any dredging and extraction takes place.

The alternative proposal could be the advance payment of STL Panay Resources for the P75 million compensation for concreting the river dike. Is the P5.00 payment per cubic meter of sand and gravel fair and just? Is this Aklan-STL Panay Resources deal onerous agreement that allows foreigners to exploit our patrimony right under our very noses at a token cost?

Black gold means oil to Arab countries, coal to Semirara but gravel and sand to Aklanons. This is a resource for our younger generation to cherish and nurture, given away for free is the height of stupidity.

However, historically after the Israel-Egypt war, gasoline mining in the Middle East was nationalized for the advantages of the Arabs. It ended the exploitation of the Magnificent 7 oil companies. /MP

Drilon Demands Evidence To Show ICC Is Overpriced

Drilon Demands Evidence 
To Show ICC Is Overpriced
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon is not adverse to any Senate investigation into the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC). He expressed confidence that the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) will be able to defend the regularity of the project.

“The DPWH, which supervised the ICC, can easily disprove the malicious allegations made against the implement-ation of the project.” Drilon said. “I have no involvement in any way in the bidding process for the project. I was nowhere near that process to intervene, let alone nominate anyone to be the contractor of the project.”

Likewise, Drilon said he will never use his position as Senate President “to block or prevent the holding of a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry into the matter.”

“I have nothing to hide. Any inquiry or investigation will validate the facts and figures of this project, and will just show how absurd these vile allegations really are,” he said.

He emphasized that it was only proper that those who were responsible for spreading lies regarding the ICC “must be made liable for their actions if their allegations were proven wrong and politically-motivated. The project was bidded out under the supervision of Public Works Sec. Rogelio Singson, who is widely known for his integrity”.

Sec. Singson had earlier disputed the allegations of overpricing. He said the project was above-board and strictly followed bidding process. In fact, Singson said the actual price of the ICC is even lower than the approved budget for the contract, after they allowed the adoption of value engineering specifically on structural aspects of the building.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez had earlier said that he “expressed full trust and confidence in the competence and sincerity of all those involved in the ICC Project.”

“I firmly believe that our actions in support of this project will withstand scrutiny. Notwithstanding this unfortunate allegation of overpricing, we will not allow this distraction to derail our mission to make tourism a force for growth and inclusiveness in this country,” Jimenez said in a statement.
Drilon said he believed that the public will realize that the issues being hurled against them were mere harassment. “The ICC is a major undertaking by various agencies particularly the DPWH, DOT and TIEZA. To say that Secretary Singson, Secretary Jimenez and I all connived to ruin the integrity of the ICC project is absurd, baseless and malicious,” said Drilon.

The ICC’s construction is part of a major campaign to improve Iloilo’s capacity to host and accommodate international events and conferences, particularly the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meetings.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will formally investigate the alleged overpricing in the construction of the ICC and other issues related to it.

The Blue Ribbon Committee will initiate the probe on these controversies that are also partly covered by Senate Resolution No. 906 filed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The Blue Ribbon Committee shall commence the investigation as soon as initial preparations have been completed. /MP

Miraflores Submits P1.527 Billion 2015 Annual Budget For SP Review

Miraflores Submits P1.527 
Billion 2015 Annual Budget For SP Review

The Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan has set marathon schedules of budget briefings and hearings starting November 3, 2014 on the proposed 2015 annual budget of the Province of Aklan. It carries a total appropriation of P1,527,370,719.00 submitted by Gov. Florencio T. Miraflores.

The 2015 proposed budget is higher than P300 million over that of this year’s annual budget of P1.2 billion. 

The 2015 budget is projected to be funded by income/revenue projections of P149.2 million from regular local income sources, some P618.805 million income projections from the operation of the province’s economic enterprises, mainly from the operation of jetty ports and terminals and the projected share of the Province from the national government’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of P759.365 million.

As to next year’s expenditure programs, out of the budgetary allocations, some P45.428 million is reserved as calamity fund; P53.339 million for debt servicing; P121.485 million for social services; P262.678 for economic programs and services; and P425.634 for general public services.

“Transparent and Accountable Allocation of Government Resources by Delivering Basic Services that are Responsive to People’s Needs,” is next year’s budget theme according to Gov. Miraflores.
Local non-tax revenue is projected to be at P618.805 million and some P544.230 million tax revenue from the operation of the economic enterprises.

Under the general/regular fund operations, the total tax revenue for 2015 is projected at P235.7 million, P18.5 million from non-tax revenue, and P759.365 million from external sources, and P105 million from the Special Education Fund. 

Since three years ago, Aklan has joined the elite Billionaires Club of Provinces throughout the country in terms of revenue generation and budgetary appropriations.  It also ranks first in local income generation among the provinces in the entire country last year, thus, greatly reduced its dependence on its share of the Internal Revenue Allotment.  Aklan is also one province at the top 10 of the heirarchy which spends more amounts for the education of its young people through the Special Education Fund. /MP