Friday, December 19, 2014

UGLY AND DANGEROUS

UGLY AND DANGEROUS

The picture at right are symbols of neglect by those concerned officials. Had it not for the combination of electric, telephone, and cable TV wires, these wooden posts should have collapsed completely. They are not only ugly, they are dangerous. The black spaghetti wires above  are ugly and dangerous too.
These posts are located in F. Quimpo Street, Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan. One of the posts is just in front of the Philippine Red Cross building, while the other is in front of the Barangay Hall, Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan. 
Attention of the AKELCO and Telephone line companies operating in Aklan was called on this matter. However, all of them disowned these posts. If nobody owns these posts, who owns them? Who will fix it?
Meanwhile, it brings ugliness and danger to the people in the vicinity. Will the provincial or municipal disaster and risk reduction management do something to remove the said posts? Or put in place the said posts to prevent any untoward accident to happen and make the place safe? /MP 

VICE PRES. JEJOMAR C. BINAY’S VIEW ON INTERNATIONAL TRAFFICKING

VICE PRES. JEJOMAR C. BINAY’S VIEW ON INTERNATIONAL TRAFFICKING

The Philippines ranked No. 1 in Asia, No. 3 in Asia Pacific, and No. 29 globally in terms of government response against human trafficking, according to the 2014 Global Slavery Index released by Walkfree Foundation.

While this reflects the gains we have achieved so far in securing the welfare of our people from the menace of modern slavery, much remains to be done. Unscrupulous groups and individuals continue to find ways to take advantage of others, especially the poor and those who were affected by disasters.People who are in dire financial need and children who have been orphaned by tragedies are easy targets for human traffickers.

Vice Pres. Binay calls on everyone to do their part in putting an end to human trafficking. Let us be one with Pope Francis in condemning “the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man.” Many of our people, especially in the Visayas, have already fallen victims to nature’s wrath. Let us not subject them to further suffering by preying on and taking advantage of their weakness.

Likewise, I wish to assure our people that we will continue to find ways to improve upon our efforts to curb trafficking in persons in our country. /MP

BUILDING INCLUSIVE ECONOMICS, BUILDING BETTER WORLD*

BUILDING INCLUSIVE ECONOMICS, 
BUILDING BETTER WORLD*

(*Welcome Remarks of Hon. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., Executive Secretary, delivered on December 8, 2014 during the APEC Informal Senior Officials Meeting.)

His and Her Excellencies, the members of the Diplomatic Corps, the Senior Officials and delegates of the APEC member economies; fellow officials and workers in government; representatives from the APEC Business Advisory Council and the private sector; and the APEC Regional Secretariat, a good morning to all of you, and welcome to the Philippines and the first leg of our country’s hosting of the 2015 APEC.

Please allow me to begin by enjoining everyone to join our people in prayer, as our countrymen in the Visayas, parts of Mindanao, and the Bicol Region are now feeling the effects of Typhoon Ruby. Our thoughts and prayers go to them, and to the men and women who have been mobilized to ensure their safety.
It was with this typhoon in mind that we decided last week to move the venue of this Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting from the province of Albay to Metro Manila. We would have preferred to hold this meeting in the shadows of one of the country’s most majestic sights, the Mayon Volcano, but we believed it was more prudent for the local government of Albay––internationally recognized for its accomplishments in disaster risk reduction and management––to focus on the preventive actions they needed to undertake in the wake of the typhoon.

Nonetheless, we thank Albay’s tireless governor, Governor Joey Salceda, as well as the local government officials of Legaspi City, for all the work they put in to prepare for the ISOM. I am sure that had you seen the city and what they had in store for you that you would have been very impressed. As they say in Bicol, dios mabalos sa indo gabos, or thank you very much.

Though there are dark skies overhead and the rest of the country, these stand in stark contrast to the bright prospects of APEC and its 21 member economies. This is due in part to the chairmanship of our previous host, the People’s Republic of China. Under China’s chairmanship, the APEC’s strategic relevance in the region has been advanced, as embodied in the 2014 APEC Leaders’ Declaration, and we shall strive to build on these gains in our hosting year.

It has been almost two decades since we last hosted the APEC in 1996. We have come a long way since, and this is something that we hope to display in the coming months as we hold the various APEC meetings leading to the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in November 2015.

As our President, Benigno S. Aquino III, announced last week, our theme for APEC 2015 is “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World.” This theme was chosen to orient this year’s APEC toward making certain that the sustained growth of our economies will result in tangible benefits on the lives of all our peoples. We are confident that with our country’s remarkable turnaround in recent years, our story and our experiences can certainly enrich the discussions on this subject.

The objective of this ISOM is to introduce the host priorities for 2015. These priorities are designed to ensure continuity of past and ongoing work; promote balance and relevance to each economy’s domestic and regional needs; and ensure sustainability of efforts in achieving short, medium, and long-term goals.

We believe that these priorities will help lead towards a sustained, inclusive, and resilient growth in the Asia Pacific region, and we hope to obtain your support in advancing these strategic priorities.

In light of this, we encourage your active participation in the activities lined up for the next two days. To this end, excellent speakers and notable moderators have been invited to foster dynamic exchanges and solicit innovative ideas from all of you.

In 2015, the Philippines sees APEC deepening its role as a cornerstone for regional dialogue, cutting-edge innovation, and constructive engagement. We envision dynamic APEC economies that will embrace all sectors and stakeholders within their people-centered economic agenda. We also envision a progressive region, both within and across economies, that collectively works together towards our common goals of shared prosperity and inclusive growth for all.

The APEC, of course, is not all about work and serious discussions. We believe this is a great venue to build friendships and encourage camaraderie among individuals who play significant roles in their respective economies.

We also encourage you to take advantage of our hosting year to enjoy what our country has to offer. We hope to bring you to some of our splendid beaches and to show you some of our magnificent vistas during the succeeding meetings. But more importantly, we hope you will bear witness to our greatest resource: our people, who are kind, hospitable, compassionate, and talented beyond measure.

In ending, we wish you a fruitful, productive ISOM, and an enjoyable stay in Metro Manila and the rest of the country.

Thank you very much, and a good day to you all. /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Doble-Karang Kabog
Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Isaeang adlaw, nag-abot rong inang maya agud magsugid nga ro anang buto nga isiw hay guinkaon it mga ilo o fox. Naakig it duro ro Agila nga pinuno it mga pispis. Guintipon nana tanan ro mga pispis agod hambaean kon baea makipag-away sanda sa mga sapat nga naga kamang sa eogta. 

Sa andang pagtililipon nagkasugot rong tanan ag ha-om sanda sa pakikipag-away. Nagpadaea it mensahero nga saeampati ro mga pispis idto sa lugar it mga sapat. Guin baton ro ayat it mga sapat. 

Idto sanda magakita sa maeapad nga kaeati-an. Umabot rong adlaw it pagtu-os. Nagtililipon tanan ro mga hayop ag isaea ro kabog nga guin imbita it mga sapat. Nagpamalibad ro kabog bangod isaea kuno imaw nga pispis tungod sa anang pakpak. Guinkangay man ro kabog it agila agod madugangan ro andang kaapin ogaling nagpamalibad ro kabog. Bukon kuno imaw it pispis tungod owa imaw it baeahibo ag mga pakpak.

Nagkita ro daywang ka grupo sa maeapit nga kaeati-an. Nagdueom rong kaeangitan bangod sa kaabo abo nga mga pispis. Nagumpisa it tusik ag angkit ro mga pispis sa eawas it mga sapat hasta nagsueog rong dugo. Sobrang eaea rong mga angkit ag sugod ko mga pispis ag ibang insekto sa mga hayop nga may dalit. Owa guid it nabuhin sa mga pispis bangod maabtik sanda nga naka eopad pagkatapos it sugod. 

Nagdaeaeagan ro mga sapat. Bosa nagdaug ro mga pispis. Nagselebrar it kadaeag-an rong tanan kutob sa may mga pakpak. Nagtambong man ro kabog. Pagkakilaea kana it Agila, guintabog imaw tungod bukon imaw it pispis. Nagadto man imaw sa mga sapat agod magtao ko anang simpatiya, ogaling guintabog man imaw ko elepante tungod isaea imaw ka pispis. 

Duro rong kahuya it kabog. Halin kato, owa eon imaw naga guwa guwa kon adlaw tungod nahuya imaw magpakita sa mga sapat ag pispis. Idto imaw nagapanago sa mga uengib ag naga guwa nga doble-kara tungod owa imaw it guina kabig kon imaw hay sapat o pispis. Kon gabi-e eang naga guwa du kabog sa anang uengib. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

The Missing Dollars Inside Check-in Baggage
by Ambrosio R. Villorente

A South Korea national from Inchun, South Korea, upon arrival in the Kalibo International Airport (KIA), Kalibo, Aklan complained to the Philippine Airlines Officials that the sum of US$ 2,400 was missing in his wallet. He was immediately referred to the security officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) at the KIA.

He immediately searched and saw the security officer. He revealed he lost a part of his money placed inside his wallet and placed inside his suit case, a check in baggage. He related he lost US$1,100, a portion of the total sum in his wallet.

He revealed further that his check-in baggage where he put his wallet with the sum of money was unlocked. Asked if he wish to file a complaint about his loss, he answered “NO”. I’m not interested to file a complaint but will request a copy of the Police Report about my lost amount of money.

I found the report of the South Korea national strange. He claimed that he lost his money as he arrived in KIA, Kalibo, Aklan. First, he reported his loss to the PAL official, he lost US$2,400. When he reported it to the CAAP security official, he lost US$1,100 only. 

Is that money too heavy to carry that it was placed inside an unlocked check-in baggage? Usually, a traveler is asked by the customs service officer before check in, thus “How much money do you carry during your trip abroad?” This is asked to prevent money laundering.

Why will that South Korea national ask the police authority to include his report in the Police Blotter and request a copy of that Police Blotter report? He did not intend to file his complain with proper authority anyway. Is his money insured that he can claim insurance payment?

If he got the police report, he might show it to his compatriots thereby staining the integrity and honesty of the Filipino, especially the Aklanons, that we are thieves?

The CAAP could have called for an investigation with that South Korea national as the principal witness with the presence of a South Korean Consul or his representative to know the truth. Is the South Korean complainant telling the truth? If not, he is destroying the good image of the Philippines.

With the presence of the representative from the South Korean Embassy, communication will be facilitated and the truth will be easily discovered.

Installing Propaganda Material
Last week, I went to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Office building to find out what is the name of that street where the PRC is located. There is no road name even at the corner of Veteran Street. So I went to the corner at A. Mabini where the Kalibo Elementary School is located. There, I found the road name “F. Quimpo”.

The road name is totally covered by the billboard of a politician at the A. Mabini corner F. Quimpo St. Road names are totally covered by the picture of a politician and her message on a billboard posted in the street corner.

Sometime last year, 2013, Vice Gov. Billie V. Calizo-Quimpo has proposed “Ordinance Regulating The Installation, Posting, Hanging, and Display of Streamers, Posters, Banners, and Other Similar Forms of Signage of Commercial Products/Goods including Billboards in the Province of Aklan  and Providing Penalties Therefore.” What happen to that proposal? Is that approved into an ordinance? Is it enacted? If approved, is that ordinance implemented?

There are 10 regulated acts in that proposed ordinance which the authorities in-charge of the implementation can enforce to improve our community as a wholesome and interesting place.

PH Internet Is World’s Free
Internet use in PH is most free in the world, a report said, amid Pinoys’ worry over a newly approved law that critics say threatens online rights.

“People in PH enjoy unrestricted access to the Internet and other ICTs,” independent watchdog Freedom House reported. 

The Philippines was rated “free,” scoring 23 points in the report where a score of zero means “most free” and 100 “least free”.

This placed the Philippines 6th out of 47 in the list, shared with Italy.

Performing better were Estonia, with a score of 10 points; U.S., 12 points; Germany, 15 points; Australia, 18 points;  and Hungary, 19 points.

In Asia, the Philippines is the only country deemed “free.”

South Korea is second with a score of 34 points. It was deemed “partly free” along with India, 39 points; Indonesia, 42 points; and Malaysia, 43 points.

“To date, the [Philippine] government has steered clear of blocking access to any type of online content,” said the report.

During the survey period, however, the report noted eight proposed measures on the “regulation of online content.”

Such proposals have raised concerns the government is seeking to institute a “filtering infrastructure” which “could be potentially used for political and social censorship,” Freedom House said. /MP


Editorial by Ernesto T. Solidum

“DIWAE”, Treasure 
Of Kalibo Needs Protection

Angelwing clam (Pholas orientalis) or locally known as “Diwae” is a protected marine mollusk that is only found in shallow tidal waters of Kalibo. The neighboring Roxas City has a thriving shellfish industry famous for diwae but encountered setbacks because of unbridled harvesting. The unique clam is discovered in 2006 by local fisherfolks occupying an area of one (1) hectare straddling the boundaries of Pook and Caano.

A total of 60 fisherfolks in Pook under the supervision of Municipal Agriculture Office is organized as the Kalibo Angelwing Protection and Conservation Council (KAPCCO). Pook Brgy. Captain Ronald Marte installed the officers and members three months ago with Mr. Ronilo Saloria as chairman. By fiat, he heads an 11 member team from different GO’s and NGO’s where corporate interest is to protect and regulate the collection and gathering of the rare, endangered and most expensive bivalve in the Philippines.

Kalibo Ordinance No. 2009-007 approved on August 27, 2009 by then Mayor Raymar A. Rebaldo imposes conservation measures to protect or safeguard its marine environment, regulates harvesting by declaring off and open season and imposes stiff penalties for violators.

Unfortunately, five years after passage of the law, the one hectare protected marine habitat neither increased nor developed. Mr. Saloria bewails uncontrolled extraction of angelwing clams. Marketable mollusks are those reaching 3 inches but juveniles are not spared by gatherers.

The open season starts in May and ends in September while the close season is from October to April. But this is often violated because of the high price. Diwae sells for P400 per kilo in Boracay, Roxas City, and Tigbawan, Iloilo. Roxas City and Tigbawan use them mainly as seeding materials.

The highly sought soft bodied clam begins as sperm and egg in the coastal waters. The fertilized egg develops into a sensory trocophore larvae in about 12 hours in coastal water. After further physiological changes, the clam reaches a setting stage when it metamorphosised and the final adaptation to sedentary bottom existence. It thrives best in a mixture of deep sand and mud sea bottom less likely to be exposed to pollution, extreme water temperature and salinity.

Clams live deeply buried in the seabed using the greatly extensible siphons. It reaches length of more than 4 times the diameter of the shell. It feeds microscopic plants, animals and other organic food substances as they are filtered from the seawater.

Sexual maturity may be reached after one year when it can be harvested and marketed. Here, they reach 3 inches in diameter but its maximum size can be 7 inches said Mr. Saloria. The known predators of angelwing clams are blue crabs and sting rays because they live together in the same environment.

Undoubtedly, there is a need to regulate and protect this viable fishery project in Pook. A total of 50 – 70 kilograms of diwae is harvested per month during the open season. The bivalve is coveted by gourmets of high end hotels and restaurants in Boracay. Presently, there are no law enforcer on “sea angels” to deter poaching and other illegal fishing activities.

Mr. Primo Ibesate, Municipal Agricultural Officer of Kalibo said that for the last two years, diwae colonies have cropped up in New Buswang and Caano but their expansion is hindered by water pollution especially the open dump site in Bakhaw Sur. Water samples tested by DENR in and around the vicinity show high concentration of coliform bacteria: 11,000 – 17,000 per ml as Most Probable Number which is deleterious to fisheries and human health. This could be further aggravated once the Pook Jetty Port operates and oil slicks from sea-crafts become daily occurrence.

Presently, KAPCCO is nothing but a paper tiger. It has no funds, personnel and equipments. Under the Ordinance, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources are mandated to conduct annual underwater assessment on the angelwing culture site. However, Mr. Edgar Mendoza, Chief Fisheries Extension Regulatory Division admitted they have no technical capability to do so.
If they cannot render any technical assistance, the DA-BFAR must get other competent people to do the job. It must be remembered we are interested in technocrats who can deliver the goods. Not those who sit idly in their offices and complain if their salaries, bonuses and per diems are not given.

The angelwing clam in Kalibo must be treasured like the pina weaving industry. Sense of vision and commitment from government and stakeholders is paramount, without it nothing worthwhile comes into existence. /MP

AKLAN HAS 8.6B PESOS FOR YOLANDA VICTIMS

AKLAN HAS 8.6B PESOS 
FOR YOLANDA VICTIMS
by: Megs S. Lunn

Typhoon Yolanda was one of the strongest storms ever recorded with wind speed of more than 300km/hr. The storm surges were over four (4) meters high. Of the 14 badly affected provinces, Aklan is unfortunately one of them.

According to NDRRMC and DSWD update on April 17, 2014, there were 6,300 reported deaths. Of these, 14 were Aklanons; 1,472,261 families were affected. Yolanda injured 572 persons. Some 918,261 families were displaced. 

The government created the Office of Presidential Assistance on Recovery and Rehabilitation to address the Yolanda victims’ problems. Through Memorandum No. 62, Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) was organized to manage and coordinate rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction efforts. It will act as the over-all manager and coordinator, consult with LGUs in the formulation of plans and programs for the rehabilitation, recovery and development of affected areas; propose funding support for the implementation of the plans and programs; and exercise oversight function over the relevant government agencies with respect to the implementation of its plans and programs. 

On December 6, 2013, President Benigno Aquino appointed former Senator Panfilo M. Lacson as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery. 

PARR adopted the concept of BUILD BACK BETTER, FASTER AND SAFER. It serves as the guiding framework in the development and implementation of rehabilitation and recovery interventions and to focus on long-term, sustainable efforts to reduce vulnerabilities and strengthen capacities to cope with future hazards. It adopted the Bottom Up Planning Approach. Each LGU will come up with its own 1) LGU Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (LRRP), which will be integrated and vetted by the Cluster Groups 2) PARR will consolidate integrated and vetted LRRPs and submit to the President for approval, and 3) projects Implementation should be in accordance with the “build-back-better” after the President’s approval.
The Aklan-OPARR serves as mirror of the PARR Central Office and expected to: a) establish the presence of PARR in the local physically and psychologically, b) serves as hub of information, c) disseminates information to project stakeholders, d) provides on-going support for the various government units, private sector and other donors at the local level, e) maintains continuing dialogue with the community regarding PARR role, plans and programs, f) monitors progress of government, private sector and other donors project delivery plans, timeline and standards, g) validates progress reports from project implementers, h) submits required information, updates, reports to the PARR Central Office, and i) performs other functions.
 
Governor Florencio “Joeben” Miraflores, through the office of the Provincial Planning and Development Office passed to PARR a program, activities, projects and budgetary requirement to the Office of the President in the amount of Php6.2B, of which Php1.2B is for Infrastructure, Php224M for Livelihood/Productive projects; Php1.1B for Social Services, Php3.5B for resettlement projects, and Php14M multi-sectoral. 

On October 29, 2014, President Aquino approved Php8.6B budget for Aklan. The budget is divided as follows: Livelihood under the DTI - Php461m, Infrastructure under the DPWH - Php824m, Social Services under the DSWD - Php1.4b, and resettlement under the HUDCC - Php5.8b.

On the livelihood cluster, there are about 136 projects and its implementing agencies are BFAR, DA, DOLE, DSWD, DTI, PCA and TESDA; Infrastructure has 335 projects with the implementing agencies as CHED, DA, DENR, DEPED, DILG, DOLE, DOH, DOTC, DPWH, and LWUA, on Social Services, there are 101 projects where CHED, DA, DENR, DEPED, DSWD and HLURB are the implementing agencies, and Resettlement Cluster has 15,348 number of units to be constructed in both LGU and private lands. There are 56 community facilities to be constructed which include school buildings and multi-purpose covered courts.

With these, PARR created the Electronic Management Platform Accountability and Transparency Hub for Yolanda or simply eMPATHY. It contains pipelines of on-going and completed projects in relation to Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation efforts. What does it do? The eMPATHY covers all projects funded from all sources and implemented by government and non-government entities. 

PARR-Aklan has been doing road shows and cluster meetings with the different government and non-government sectors like the 17 LGU’s Municipal Planning Officers of Aklan, student leaders forum, the Rotary clubs, and Diocese of Kalibo. 

PARR- AKLAN Coordinator, Atty. Clarence V. Guinto said, “our main purpose is encouraging every Aklanon to be watchful, to be morally responsible to the society, environment and towards a sustainable planet at large. PARR- Aklan counts on people to be the eyes and ears by patrolling leaders and report anomalies. /MP

Hagupit And Ruby

Hagupit And Ruby

In the international scene, he was known “HAGUPIT”. In the Philippines where she lingered for a few days, until December 8, she was known as Ruby.

In Aklan, typhoon Ruby affected all the 17 towns with 184 barangays consisting of 15,231 families with 60,123 persons adversely affected based on the report of Mr. Galo Ibardolaza, executive officer, PDRRMO.

Of these affected families, 8,583 families consisting of 38,078 persons stayed in the 337 evacuation centers while the 210 families with 459 persons did not stay in the evacuation center.

On the whole, 11,045 families with 46,036 persons were affected by typhoon Ruby.

At the height of Typhoon Ruby, Aklan spent the total sum of P1,496,733.60 for assistance to the evacuees like food, drinks and other basic needs. LGU New Washington spent the highest amount of P264,310 for its evacuees followed by Nabas which spent P172,357.80, and Tangalan is third which spent P135,045.00. The fourth is LGU Balete which spent P93,750.00.

Kalibo is fifth which spent P77,500.00 only with all the other towns which spent P62,500.00 each.
Ruby did not leave any casualty in Aklan, except some few minor injuries which were not reported. /MP

2015 BUDGET FUNDS SCHOLARSHIPS, TEACHING POSITIONS TO GET P300M

2015 BUDGET FUNDS SCHOLARSHIPS, TEACHING POSITIONS TO GET P300M

To spur the competitiveness of the Philippines tertiary education system, Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III said that the 2015 national budget will provide funding requirements to hire permanent educators, provide more scholarships, and modernize school facilities and curriculum in government colleges and universities throughout the nation.

On top of the P41.79 billion budget for state universities and colleges (SUCs), the 2015 budget will provide the P5 billion funding requirement for the filling up of faculty plantilla positions in the 114 SUCs.

“For the past 15 years, SUCs were not given additional plantilla items despite the increase in enrollment. To address this issue, the SUCS are hiring part time faculty with no employer-employee relationship. This has affected the quality of higher education,” Sen. Guingona stressed.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Normal University will get P300 million for the modernization of its facilities, training of its faculty, enhancement of its curriculum programs and for the conduct of research and policy studies in education. PNU has been declared as the National Center for Teacher Education dedicated to developing highly competent teachers and educational leaders.

Sen. Guingona said that the P300 million funding for PNU is pursuant to the passage of Republic Act 9647 otherwise known as the “PNU Modernization Act of 2009.” Since its enactment into law five years ago, it is only now that PNU will finally receive an appropriation.

Likewise, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will get P2.38 billion next year. The bulk of the budget will be for the provision of assistance, incentives, scholarships and grants.

The Mindanao State University System will be given an additional P200 million for its maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) to enable the system to continue developing capacities and educating Bangsamoro communities. Of the P200 million, P140 of which will go to capital outlay for the purchase of books and e-library resources.

Moreover, Sen. Guingona also mentioned that P11 billion will be given to housing agencies to provide adequate housing and shelter fund for homeless low income families. The budget will be given for relocation and resettlement of informal settler families; for the construction of shelters for the victims of calamities, and for the housing program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police. /MP 


Senate Passes Fair Competition Act

Senate Passes Fair 
Competition Act

The Senate on December 15 passed on third and final reading a measure which aims to shield small business owners and consumers from companies engaged in unfair business practices which lead to increase in prices of basic goods and services.

Senate Bill No. 2282, otherwise known as the Fair Competition Act of 2014, was introduced by Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, chair of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.
“A fair competition policy will level the playing field for Filipino businesses and allow more Filipinos to exercise their entrepreneurial spirit,” Aquino said.

The measure works hand-in-hand with the recently enacted Go Negosyo Act (Republic Act 10644) which he also authored. He said SBN 2282 will allow more Filipinos to make a living “out of their own businesses,” which, in turn, will generate more employment and strengthen the purchasing power of more Filipinos, Aquino pointed out.

“The bill puts in place measures that will protect the welfare of businesses and protect honest, hard-working entrepreneurs against abuse of dominance and position, and other unfair practices that put both Filipino businesses and their consumers at risk,” Aquino added.

According to Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, “having a competition law will lead to lower prices, higher quality of products and services, and more choices for consumers, as fostering a competitive economic environment spurs market efficiency and innovation.” 

“The Fair Competition Act contributes to Congress’ goal of passing a package of priority economic measures to improve the Philippine business climate, boost investment and ensure macroeconomic and fiscal sustainability to prepare the country for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015,” Drilon added. 

He noted that “the Philippines remains the only member of the ASEAN-5 countries (which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand) where a competition law is not in place.”

Acts considered as unfair competition include, among others, any competitive agreement between competitors; setting, limiting, or controlling the production of goods and services to the detriment of consumers; the application of contradictory conditions to equivalent transactions with other parties, and price fixing. 

To accomplish its goals, the bill mandates the establishment of a Fair Competition Commission which will ensure that industrial concentration would not limit economic power to a few. 

Tasked to promote competition, ensure consumer welfare, and penalize abuses of market power, the Commission is also mandated to prohibit anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant position that distort, manipulate, or constrict the operation of markets in the Philippines through constant monitoring of business practices being implemented by market leaders.

The proposed measure states that those found engaged in unfair competition will face a fine ranging from P50 million to P200 million. 

Any competitive agreement between competitors shall be penalized by imprisonment from two to five years, or fined an amount not less than P100 million but not more than P200 million or both, with “the  penalty of imprisonment being imposed upon the officers and directors of the entity.”  

“We believe that the Fair Competition Act is all at once pro-poor, pro-people, and pro-business. It safeguards the welfare of businesses, large and small, and protects honest, hardworking entrepreneurs,” Aquino said.

The measure was approved on third reading after the inclusion of an amendment by Acting Minority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto, which further empowers the proposed Commission to consider whether market entities selling their products below cost “are doing so in good faith to meet or compete with the lower price of a competitor.” 

Senators Serge OsmeƱa III, Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada and Antonio Trillanes IV are co-authors of SBNN 2282. /MP

Monday, December 15, 2014

NGCP Prepares For Typhoon Ruby

NGCP Prepares For Typhoon Ruby

NGCP has implemented the necessary preparations and precautions to minimize the impact of Typhoon Ruby on transmission operations and facilities.

Preparations included ensuring the reliability of communications equipment, availability of hardware materials, standby generators, vehicles, SCADA spares and supplies necessary for the repair of damage to facilities, as well as the positioning of line crews and helicopters in strategic areas, to facilitate immediate restoration work. Double shifting of Regional Control Center (RCC), Area Control Center (ACC), and substation personnel has been implemented.

NGCP also deferred all scheduled maintenance activities on facilities within the expected path of the typhoon. The grid operator also continues to coordinate with power plants, substations, and customers to balance system load and voltage and with LGUs, AFP, and PNP to access and clear right-of-way areas.

NGCP’s Integrated Disaster Action Plan (IDAP) prescribes these and other procedures to ensure the readiness of all power transmission facilities expected to be affected by the passage of the weather disturbance.

Typhoon Ruby, carrying maximum sustained winds of 195kph and moving west northwest at 20kph speed, is estimated to make landfall over Eastern Samar on December 6.
NGCP’s Overall Disaster Command Center monitors all power restoration activities, reports, and updates from the Regional Command Centers in North Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, whichever is directly affected by the weather disturbance. /MP


Senate commends Miss Earth 2014

Senate commends Miss Earth 2014

The Senate will adopt on December 9 a resolution congratulating Jamie Herrell for winning the Miss Earth 2014 competition on November 29, 2014 at the University of the Philippines Theater in Diliman, Quezon City.

Senate Resolution No. 1039, authored by Senator Lito Lapid, recognizes the achievement of Herrell when she won the prestigious title against 83 other candidates from all over the world.

“Nineteen-year old Miss Earth Philippines 2013 title holder Jamie Herrell made the country proud when she won the prestigious Miss Earth crown on November 29, 2014,” the resolution stated.

The Cebuana beauty is the second Filipina to bag the Miss Earth title after Karla Henry, also a Cebuana, who won in 2008.

Aside from the Miss Earth title, Herrell also took home three special awards namely Miss Earth Hannah’s Beach Resort, Best in Swimsuit and Sun for Miss Earth.

The Miss Earth competition was first organized in 2001 to promote environmental awareness and the preservation of the earth.

“By being crowned this years’ most beautiful woman in the planet, Jamie Herrell gave Filipinos unparalleled pride and showed the world the grace and excellence of Filipino beauty,” the resolution said. /MP


Senate Commends National Artist F. Sionil Jose

Senate Commends National 
Artist F. Sionil Jose
The Senate on December 9 will adopt Senate Resolution No. 1045, commending National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose for his distinguished contribution to literature and journalism.

Senate Resolution No. 1045, introduced by Sen. Loren Legarda, recognizes Sionil Jose’s “artistic and literary genius, and his perseverance to instill national pride through the arts.”

Born in Rosales, Pangasinan on December 3, 1924, Sionil Jose is considered as one of the country’s most prominent writers in the English language, his works having been translated to twenty-two languages, including Czech, Indonesian, French, Korean, Russian, Latvian and Dutch.

He has received numerous accolades, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Pablo Neruda Award, Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, and the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for literature, among others.

He was bestowed the title of National Artist of the Philippines for Literature in 2001.

“He has been an inspiration to several generations of writers and journalists through his essays, his role as a publisher, his lectures, his iconic bookshop, Solidaridad, and his founding of the Philippine chapter of the PEN, an international organization of poets, writers and novelists,” the Resolution said. /MP

Gov’t Allocates P11.2-M For President Aquino’s Visit To Busan

Gov’t Allocates P11.2-M For 
President Aquino’s Visit To Busan

The government has earmarked P11.2 million for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s visit to Busan for the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Commemorative Summit next week from December 11 to 12, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. reported.

President Aquino will leave on December 11 via a chartered flight to Busan, to be accompanied by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Press Secretary Herminio Coloma, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Andrea Abad and Presidential Protocol Chief Celia Anna Feria.

The amount covers expenses for transportation, accommodation, food, equipment and other requirements of the Chief Executive and his 48-member delegation.

“President Aquino’s attendance to the 25th ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit is an occasion to fortify our country’s relationship with South Korea in various areas of cooperation such as trade and investment, development, labor and migration, tourism, among others,” Ochoa said.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, President Aquino is scheduled to deliver his country-statement on this year’s summit theme, “Building Trust, Bringing Happiness,” and hold a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who will host a welcome dinner and cultural performance to officially welcome the ASEAN leaders.

Initially, the ROK was a sectoral dialogue partner of the ASEAN and became a full dialogue partner of the ASEAN in 1991. The dialogue relations between the ASEAN and ROK were upgraded into a strategic partnership in 2010. /MP

Can You Smile?

Men Virus Women
“A husband providing to his wife that women talk more than men, showed her a study which indicated that men use on the average only 1,100 words a day, where as women use 2,200 words a day.

She thought about this for a while and then told her husband that women use twice as many words as men because they have to repeat everything they say.
He asked, “what?”

Atty. Kel Tolentino sent to the Madyaas Pen the following jokes while Ruby is visiting Aklan.
A singing group called “The Resurrection” was scheduled to sing at a church when a strong typhoon postponed the performance. The priest fixed the outside sign to read “The Resurrection Is Postponed. Church Signs:
1. “No God – No Peace. Know God - Know Peace.”
2. “Have trouble sleeping? We have sermons – come hear one!”
3. “Fight truth decay – study the Bible daily.”
4. “If you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.”
5. “If you don’t like the way you were born, try being born again.”
6.“Dusty Bibles lead to Dirty lives.”
7. “Come work for the Lord. The work is hard, the hours are long and the pay is low. But the retirement benefits are out of their world.” /MP

Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Alibang-bang Ni Minerva
Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Maisot pa si Minerva hay ma ila-on eun imaw magdakop it mga alibang-bang. Nagbahoe imaw nga mahugop kana ro alibang-bang. Umabot rong oras nga nagmasakit ro anang ina. Sa owa mabuhayi hay namatay. 

Nag-asawa ro anang ama sa isaeang ka baeo man nga may unga sa unang asawa nga ka edad man ni Minerva. Kada agahon, naga adto sa eati si Minerva agod makihampang sa mga alibang-bang. 

Parabil namatay ro ina ni Minerva hay guin bilin imaw sa alibang-bang. Pananglitan hidlawon imaw sa anang ina hay idto nana usuyon sa mga alibang-bang agod mabu-eong ro anang kahidlaw.

Ko isaeang agahun ngaron, guina ga-oy guid nga mayad si Minerva. Ogaling indi magsugot ro mag-ina nga magpahuway imaw bangod guin paeabhan pa kana ro mga kurtina ag kobre kama nga dapat matapos. Guin pilit nana nga matapos ro anang pageaba. Pagkatapos, nag-adto imaw sa eati agod idto magpahuway. Nag-a-eabot ro mga alibang-bang. Guin hapunan imaw ag habatyagan nana ro mga hapeos nga manami hasta imaw hakatueogan. 

Pagbugtaw nana, owa eon it hapdi ro anang eawas. Gabi-e eon imaw nag-abot sa andang baeay. Nakasamit imaw it mueay. Bilang pina kana, owa imaw pagtagan-e it pagkaon. 

Nakatueogan imaw sa kagutom. Agod makalibre sa mga sugo kana, nagpanaw imaw sa eati ag idto nagpa-utwas ko anang kasubo. Maangan-angan, may naghapon nga isaeang ka mabahoe nga alibang-bang. Bali ro anang pakpak. Naeo-oy si Minerva busa anang guin boeong rong pakpak paagi sa pagbutang it laki-laki. Hakatoeugan ro alibang-bang imaw man si Minerva. Pagbugtaw ko daeaga, hakibot imaw ay may haboe eota imaw. Paglingot nana, hakita ni Minerva ro isaeang ka eaeaki nga nakabeste it matsa prinsepe. Pormal ro tindog ko eaeaki nga gina tinueok nana si Minerva. 

Nagpakilaea rong eaeaki nga isaea imaw nga prinsepe sa ibang kaharian. Bangod guinmaldesyon imaw it bruha matapos nga guinbalibaran nana rong onga it bruha. Guin himo imaw nga sangka alibang-bang. Suno sa eaeaki, mabalik eamang imaw sa dating kahimtangan kon may mabuot nga babaye nga makabulig kana. 
Suno sa prinsepe, utang nana kay Minerva ro anang kabuhi. Anang guin daea si Minerva sa anang kaharian. Nangin prinsesa si Minerva ag daea pa guihapon ro anang mga amigong alibang-bang kaibahan eon ko anang kabuhi. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Long & Endless KIA Improvement
by Ambrosio R. Villorente

After spending almost one billion pesos (P1,000,000,000) for the upgrading of the Kalibo International Airport (KIA), the airport is until today topsy-turvy. Both the departure and arrival areas are congested, and hot. The comfort rooms are below standard.

According to Mr. Arturo Balderas, project manager of KIA-DOTC implementing the expansion works, the government has appropriated P946 million for the upgrading and expansion of KIA facilities.

Balderas reported that P32.50 million was allocated for site acquisition which is “substantially completed”. For apron expansion, P15 million was allocated for site acquisition. Some P300 million was also allocated for the extension of runway, construction of access road, apron expansion, and taxiway and completion and rehabilitation of terminal building, with only 51 percent completed of the project.

The P59 million apron expansion, asphalt overlay of runway project has been suspended. There is P26 million allocation for asphalt overlay of damaged portions of the runway. Again P125.14 million is budgeted for another batch of site expansion and taxiway.

Capitalizing on the Philippines’ hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, another P150 million is set aside for KIA expansion plus the P237.55 million.

Endless Projects Constructions
It seems and it appears that the agencies concerned in the improvement of KIA in Kalibo, Aklan are endlessly appropriating public funds for endless similar projects constructions.

P110 Million For Banga-Libacao Road
Libacao is twenty one and one half (21.5) kilometers away from Banga and 30 kilometers away from Kalibo, the capital town of Aklan. In view of the road conditions, it takes from one hour to one hour and one half to reach Libacao from Kalibo via a 4-wheel vehicle. While the distance seems short, travel time is longer. This is due to the road condition of the 21.5 kilometers Banga-Libacao road, of which 9.44 kilometers remain rough resulting to its slow economic progress.

Libacao is the biggest municipality among the 17 towns of Aklan in terms of Aklan’s total land area. Should the road condition improved, progress will hasten not only of Libacao but Aklan especially.

Considering its vast fertile land, favorable climate, and its industrious people, there will be economic progress. Production of fruits, flowers, abaca, livestock among others will be increased as the mode of transportation is made easier and transport cost is greatly reduced. One factor which impedes increased agricultural productivity is the transport costs of products from the farm to the road side and from the road side to the market.

Moreover, the consumers cannot appreciate the efforts spent by the farmers in the production of farm products. They often bargain for the bottom price possible. Our consumers do not realize the hardship of the farm producers in bringing the farm products to market.

A good example is the exploitation of consumers and traders of our palay farmers. With the use of early maturing palay seeds, it will take 100-115 days to harvest the palay after transplanting. Before transplanting, a farmer sows the rice seeds and prepares the field ready for transplanting rice seedling.

Since rice is a hydro-phonic plant, it needs water to produce grains. Studies proved that to produce 10 metric tons of palay per hectare per season is possible in normal times with the use of recommended farm technology like good seeds, control of weeds, pests and diseases and irrigation.  

But can you, Mr. Consumer sympathize with the farmer whose lower limb of his body is buried in the mud and his upper limb is either under the sun or rain during land preparation, transplanting and harvesting?

 To produce 10 metric tons of palay per hectare per season, a farmer must supply 15 million kilograms of water for land preparation until the rice crop reaches its ripening stage. This means supplying 1,500 kilograms of water to produce one kilogram of palay from one square meter riceland.

Moreover, palay crop is vulnerable to the damage cause by wind, flood and birds. And when his crop is damaged, a farmer cries alone, when he has a bumper crop, everybody smile.

Mr. Consumer, I have yet to meet a palay farmer who became rich. On the other hand, I saw several rice traders who became millionaires.

Mr. Consumers and rice traders, can you recognize the difficulties a palay farmer undergoes by buying his products at a higher but reasonable price? “Lets do it.” /MP


Editorial

Kalibo’s Dumping Site Is
A Serious Environmental Threat

Unless drastic remedial measures are undertaken, the threat to the environment being posed by the dumping site in the Ati-atihan Town of Kalibo, capital town of Aklan can worsen further and will endanger the health and lives of people living nearby, to include students population of various learning institutions operating near its vicinity.

This matter surfaced in a committee hearing conducted by the Committee on Environmental Protection of the 16th  Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan recently.

The SP committee was prompted to conduct an inquiry into the matter when the Sangguniang Barangay of Old Buswang furnished the body of its resolution addressed to the local officials of Kalibo seeking for the immediate closure of the said dumping site. Kalibo’s dumping site is located at the adjoining barangay of Bakhaw Sur, along the Sooc River, one of the extensions of the Aklan River.

Not only are residents of the two barangays are affected of the persistent emission of foul odor from the dumping site but also commercial and institutional establishment operators and students near the area.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Ivene D. Reyes of Aklan stressed that LGU Kalibo maybe liable for several violations in the operation of the dumping site since 2006 when the department ordered the LGU Kalibo to already start the safe closure procedures for the dumping site. But until now, it remains to be implemented.

DENR Aklan emphasized that for the foul odor to be temporarily and immediately remedied, spraying of chemicals on the dumpsite must be done at once, but safe closure procedure must be started right away.
Engr. Jessie Fegarido, head of Kalibo’s Municipal Economic Enterprise Development Department, said safe closure procedure will start next week with the construction of the perimeter fence of the said dumping site expected to be finished within one month. Is it done?

Portion of the concrete enclosure of the dumping site had been damaged while holes were bored at the undamaged portions facing the Sooc River. These caused emission of the waste fluids into the river.
Former Congressman Allen S. Quimpo feared that the naturally grown marine resources in the nearby 250-hectare mangrove eco-park are already affected by the pollution of the river.

Ms. Adorada Reynaldo, Solid Waste Management Officer of Kalibo explained that the safe closure procedures can never be successful until wastes segregation is strictly enforced on Kalibo’s households.
Both Fegarido and Reynaldo expressed their exasperation over their difficulty to obtain budgetary appropriations for the P20 million they need to fully implement the safe closure of the dumping site.

PENRO Reyes informed the committee that DENR has already identified a 12-hectare area in Castillo, Makato, Aklan which can be developed into a sanitary landfill site for Kalibo’s garbage and that of the neighboring towns west of Kalibo like Numancia, Makato, Lezo, and Tangalan.

But Reyes said this will take about one year to prepare the area to be ready to receive the wastes of these towns. (Editor’s note: Adopted from “The Legislator”, the official newsletter of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan.) /MP 


BICAMERAL PANEL APPROVES 2015 BUDGET

BICAMERAL PANEL 
APPROVES 2015 BUDGET

The proposed P2.606 trillion national spending package was approved by the bicameral conference committee after revisions and finetunings were made on the budget version of the House of Representatives.

Senator Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the approved budget has kept the original amount as proposed by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Escudero, however, said lawmakers made some realignments amounting to P72.542 billion, a big chunk of which came from the Unprogrammed Fund for MRT 3 buyout.

In the House version, the MRT 3 acquisition amounted to P53.9 billion. From this original amount, the bicameral panel only restored P7.428 billion for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the transit system. Also, P6.520 billion was retained for the payment of taxes of MRT 3 in connection with its BOT contract. The panel also retained P4.4 billion for the remaining equity buy out of the MRT 3.

The biggest realigned item totalling P20 billion went to the rehabilitation fund to cover Yolanda-struck areas and other areas hit by past disasters.

Other realignments to the budget went to Trade Remedies Fund amounting to P4.384 billion; P10.694.754 for the incremental revenue from excise for the Department of Health; and P472.485 million for the terminal leave pay of Philippine Postal Office employees.

Escudero also said the 2015 budget has adopted the Senate version’s definition of savings in full compliance with the Supreme Court decision on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The General Appropriations Bill for 2015 has quoted en toto the entire 2013 PDAF article by the High Tribunal defining savings as “the portions or balances of any released appropriations in the GAA which have not been obligated.”

It also states that savings may result from the following: non-commencement of the program/activity/project (P/A/P) or the inability of the agency to obligate its released allotment and implement it within the period when the appropriation is valid. In the same manner, Escudero said the bicameral panel-approved 2015 budget  demands more fiscal responsibility from agencies, by adding the provision that “programmed appropriations which have not been released or allotments not obligated due to the fault of the agency concerned shall not be considered savings and shall revert to the General Fund.”

The 2015 budget is distributed as follows: Social Services, Economic Services, General Public Services, Debt Burden and Defense. /MP


52 Akeanon Families Get New Homes This Christmas

52 Akeanon Families Get New 
Homes This Christmas
by RECTO I. VIDAL

Some 52 families will be celebrating their first Yuletide season on their disaster-resilient shelters given by the Diocesan Social Action Center (DSAC) of the Diocese of Kalibo under #REACHPhilippines Recovery Assistance to vulnerable communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan Project.

“The DSAC made it sure that all units of shelters followed the right resiliency features of the United Nations Shelter Cluster for the beneficiaries to stay in a safe and typhoon resilient houses. All the shelters were built with strong foundation, tied from the bottom, has strong braces, good quality materials, roofing, consideration of risks, appropriate shape and making the beneficiary and the community to better prepare  for another disaster,” Rev. Fr. Ulysses Dalida, DSAC-Kalibo Director, told the local media in a news conference.

“Right now, we have the assurance that these 52 families in Barangay Nalook, Kalibo will  celebrate their Christmas in their new homes,. Moreover, other eight barangays have their respective on-going constructions and are targeted to be turned over in January,” Fr. Dalida added.

The building of shelters is just one of the five programs under the #REACHPhilippines Projects of NASSA/Caritas Philippines  through the DSAC of the Diocese of Kalibo. The other programs are livelihood, WASH (Water, sanitation and Hygiene), Disaster Risk Reduction, and Capacity Building.

“We are very happy to see that we have helped many families before Christmas after the tragic event of Yolanda that ravaged their houses,” the priest further said.

It can be recalled that the turn-over of 52 units were conducted in Barangay Nalook in Kalibo, Aklan last November 8 in commemoration of Super Typhoon Yolanda. The blessing was presided by the Kalibo Bishop Most Rev. Jose Corazon T. Tala-oc, D.D. 

Aklan Is In A State Of Calamity
Aklan is placed under a state of calamity due to the destruction brought by Typhoon Ruby. 

Acting on the request of Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan declared Aklan in a state of calamity during a special session held on Monday morning.

A total of 15,231 families or 60,123 individuals have been evacuated in 184 barangays of the 17 towns of Aklan, according to Mr. Galo Ibardolaza of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office-Aklan.

With the said declaration, the Aklan provincial government can now utilize the remaining 30 percent or P11.6 million of the 5 percent calamity fund of Aklan, according to Vice Governor Gabrielle Calizo-Quimpo.
The fund will be used for the relief and rescue operations of typhoon victims in the province. /MP

GARIN SUGGESTS HOUSE PROBE ON ALLEGED PLASTIC SMUGGLING

GARIN SUGGESTS HOUSE PROBE ON ALLEGED PLASTIC SMUGGLING

Alarmed by the report of the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) that Filipinos had been deprived of P1.33 trillion in government revenues from 2002 to 2011 due to technical smuggling, a lawmaker has urged Congress to investigate the smuggling of plastic resins allegedly committed by big importers in the country.

 AAMBIS-Owa Party-list Representative Sharon Garin files House Resolution 1603 directing the House Committee on Ways and Means to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, to ensure that revenues from resin products are properly collected by the government.

Garin is the vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

FPI identified resins, plastic packaging materials, and PVC pipes as some of the commodities being smuggled.

Technical smuggling, as opposed to outright smuggling, is the undervaluation, under declaration of the volume shipped, misclassification and diversion of cargoes.

Using names and code names, Inquirer.net published on February 3, 2014 a list of alleged smugglers. The list was sourced from a Bureau of Customs (BOC) official who refused to be named.

In the report, plastic resin topped the list of imports subjected to technical smuggling.

Plastic resin is a key raw material used in var-ious consumer items, appliances and construction materials. It is also a main component of packaging materials for beverages and food products.

“Reports of trillions of pesos allegedly lost due to smuggling are appalling! Congress should flex its muscles to put pressure on the Customs Bureau to curb smuggling. If it has been happening for more than a decade now, there must be some officials in the BOC in cohorts with the smugglers,” Rep. Garin pointed out.

Anonymous customs official revealed in the Inquirer.net report that there is not even a complete or concise recording of identified revenue losses due to technical smuggling happening in Philippine ports.

House Resolution 1603 aims to direct the BOC to identify in exact terms the losses allegedly incurred by the government to smuggling and the industries being affected by it to help Congress plug the policy gaps in order to help the BOC fulfill its mandate in revenue generation and port regulation.

“Undervaluation of plastic resins is hurting not just the petrochemical industry, but also the entire Philippine economy. For this, Congress must investigate the big importers named in the newspaper report. BOC officials must also be called to explain why burglary in such a scandalous magnitude continues to happen,” Rep. Garin said. /MP

NGCP inaugurates Panay Area Control Center

NGCP inaugurates 
Panay Area Control Center
(L-R, front row) Mr. Raymund Fontillas, Financial Controller; Atty. Karen Ong, Corporate Secretary; Mr. Ma Ruoxin, NGCP Board Director, and, Mr. Santiago Dimaliwat IV, Deputy Assistant Chief Technical Officer for System Operations, leading the ribbon-cutting of the Panay Area Control Center, together with Atty. Cynthia Perez-Alabanza, Spokesperson and Head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department (2nd row extremely left) and System Operations managers from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

“NGCP recognizes Panay’s potential, and NGCP is ready to respond to Panay’s growth.” This is NGCP President and CEO Henry Sy, Jr.’s message to customers in the area during the inauguration of the system operator’s Panay Area Control Center (ACC) in Iloilo recently.

Serving as a nerve center, the Area Control Center enables the system operator to monitor the grid situation in real-time and under all circumstances. The new control center in NGCP’s Sta. Barbara Substation houses top-of-the-line SCADA system and telecom equipment. It serves as satellite office of the Visayas System Operations.

“With this facility, our customers are assured of a more secure and efficient monitoring and control system for transmission facilities serving the area, particularly in places of interest for tourists and investors alike” stated Mr. Sy.

The Panay ACC’s inauguration came a week after NGCP marked another milestone with the completion and inauguration of the Bohol Backbone Transmission Project. The projects are part of NGCP’s 2015 corporate goal of achieving an entirely improved power transmission system.

NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid. It transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations, and related assets. The consortium holds the 25-year concession to operate the country’s power transmission network. It is comprised of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp., led by Henry Sy, Jr., Calaca High Power Corporation, led by Robert Coyiuto, Jr., and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) as technical partner. /MP

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Agri Dept Holds Race To Promote RICEponsibility

Agri Dept Holds Race 
To Promote RICEponsibility

In support to the nationwide promotion of responsible rice consumption, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office 6 has conducted a 3-kilometer Run4RICEponsibility at the Iloilo City Freedom Grandstand on November 29, 2014.

The Run4RICEponsibility is part of the National Rice Awareness Month (NRAM) celebration this November in pursuant to Proclamation No. 524 issued in 2004. 

The 2014 NRAM theme “We are RICEponsible” calls the active cooperation of all sectors to attain rice self-sufficiency and responsible rice consumption for better health, less wastage, and productive farming. 

DA 6 Regional Executive Director Larry P. Nacionales urged consumers to diversify their dietary intake by eating other food staples like white corn, banana, cassava, sweet potato, and adlai. He further suggested to the participants to eat brown rice or pinawa which is proven to be more nutritious than milled white rice. 

More than 600 advocates joined the fun run. Winners for the male, 39 years old and below category are  Ramonito Cuelbar, Jonas Daligdig and Chris Bacla-an from the private sector; for the male, 40 years old and above category include Ilmar Elardo of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Margarito Villa Gracia of Traffic Management and Transport Regulation Office and Agustin Sigre of Philippine Ports Authority (PPA). 

Meanwhile, for the female 39 years old and below category, winners are Ronylen Sigre of PPA, Rona Salvacion from the private sector, and Rodylen Sigre from the PPA. For the female 40 years old and above category, Evelyn Oren and VeraglenTropico of DA RFO 6, and Florence Robinson of the National Food Authority clinched the first, second and third slots, respectively. /MP

PAPI Joins National Greening Program

PAPI Joins National 
Greening Program
By JESSICA M. BACUD

CORDON, Isabela -- The Publishers Association of the Philippines Inc. (PAPI) has joined the government’s National Greening Program, initially with a recent tree-planting outing at its two-hectare farm at Sitio Estampa, Quirino, Cordon, Isabela.

PAPI Region II coordinator Jessica Bacud and PAPI Board director for Luzon and Isabela chapter president MacArthur Daguro coordinated the tree planting activity with the local DENR-CENRO office, the Office of the Isabela Provincial Governor and the Cordon Local Government Unit.

DENR personnel led by CENRO Mindo Aquino, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from the Mariano Marcos National High School led by Scout Master Danny dela Cruz, Cordon employees, Isabela PIA personnel led by Merlito Edale, other local volunteer groups, and local PAPI members led by Daguro and Bacud participated in the tree planting activities.

PAPI Executive Vice President Johnny C. Nunez motored up to Isabela to support and participate in the activity. With him were PAPI national treasurer Nelson Santos, CALABARZON Herald Group publisher Nena Mallari, and staff personnel Carmela Cruz and Andrew Amores,

Louie Ariola, PAPI national president said their PAPI’s decision to join the government’s National Greening Program is an expression of a core value which PAPI treasures, and for which they have tasked their Isabela Chapter to pursue the Cordon project seriously as part of its corporate social responsibility for sound environmental care.

In his brief remarks at the event’s simple opening rites on-site, PAPI EVP Nunez said the bald mountainsides of the Cordilleras should not spell hopelessness for Filipinos, “but should instead pose a challenge for us to rectify our past errors and resolve to ensure the survival of our future generations and of posterity by helping restore our lost forest cover.” He recalled the vast successful reforestation projects he had personally seen in Guangxi Province, Southern China.

Nunez said PAPI plans to plant more bamboos as part of its NGP involvement. He noted that with the ASEAN Integration in 2015, bamboos could be raw materials for signature Philippine products for the ASEAN common market of over 600 million consumers.

The PAPI tree farm in Cordon, Isabela is awarded to the media organization during its 18thNational Press Congress held in Cauayan City in February 2014, hosted by the PAPI Isabela chapter. The area forms part of the base of the Cordillera Mountain range. Isabela Gov. Faustino G. Dy III has pledged his support for the project.

Daguro and Bacud said the recent tree planting activity is just an initial move of their group. “We intend to pursue this initiative as tasked and mandated by our national PAPI leadership,” they stressed. They also thanked DENR for the Mahogany and Narra seedlings planted, and Cordon Mayor Laurencio Zuniega for providing transportation for the participants to the tree farm site and back.

The NGP seeks to plant 1.5 billion trees in about 1.5 million hectares of denuded forest lands over six years from 2011 to 2016. /MP

Save the Children Names Mikael Daez and Kylie Padilla As Official Filipino Ambassadors

Save the Children Names Mikael Daez and Kylie Padilla As Official Filipino Ambassadors

GMA Artist Center stars Mikael Daez and Kylie Padilla are the first Filipino representatives of Save the Children.  They join international ambassadors Hollywood A-listers Jennifer Garner and Julianne Moore, football star Cristiano Ronaldo and distinguished stylist/editor/fashion designer Rachel Zoe in promoting the advocacy that aims to provide both emergency and long-term support to improve the quality of life for children.

Mikael shares that being chosen as one of the first Pinoy ambassadors of Save the Children is such an honor and fulfils his dream to help an advocacy close to his heart. “I always want to help children. All children should be able to dream about what they want to be when they grow up. Save the Children’s work means that more children can have those dreams. I am excited about the opportunity to work alongside this amazing charity and am privileged to be able to use my work for this excellent cause.”

Meanwhile, Kylie is eager to take on her new role as ambassador of a children’s organization. “It is a privilege to be a representative of Save the Children and be given the opportunity to help children in need, especially typhoon Yolanda survivors. I want to do whatever I can to help provide them everything they need so they can recover from their experiences and reach their full potential.” 

In the coming days, Mikael and Kylie together with some of the staff of Save the Children will visit Yolanda-affected communities in Tacloban to meet some of the survivors of the typhoon. Save the Children has already reached nearly 800,000 people in some of the ‘Yolanda’ hit areas providing them with emergency life-saving aid and long-term support for livelihood programs that will sustain their everyday living.

Save the Children’s Country Director, Ned Olney, shares that they are happy to be working with passionate Kapuso stars. “Save the Children is delighted to have such passionate engaged young people working with us as we strive to give every child in the Philippines the best start in life. We hope that our relationship with Kylie and Mikael will give us the opportunity to reach many more children and save even more lives.”  /MP

Aklanons Long For The Services Of Fernandez

Aklanons Long For The Services Of Fernandez
By Ambrosio R. Villorente

“Congratulations to Mr. Antonio “Tony” Fernandez for being assigned in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR-74) in Zarraga, Iloilo. May you enjoy very much in your new assignment serving the people there as you have served the people in your previous assignment in Aklan.”

These are some of the messages Tony Fernandez’ family, relatives, and friends sent him after he left Kalibo upon his assumption of duty of his new assignment in the BIR-74 as Revenue Officer IV, Zarraga, Iloilo.

“Since you left BIR-71, Kalibo, Aklan, the people transacting business with BIR had been missing your fair, prompt, and friendly services. The Aklanons are hoping you come back soon to Kalibo to resume your excellent services to the people.” These are some of the comments from some Aklanons.

I am not surprise if Mr. Tony Fernandez is well loved by the people he served in Aklan. I found him, amiable, friendly, courteous, prompt and fair in his dealings with the people especially with BIR clients.

He finished BS in Commerce (cum laude) in Aklan College, Kalibo and passed the board examination for Certified Public Accountant given by the Professional Regulatory Commission.

Fernandez started his accounting career with the University of the Philippines, Manila as Accountant on June 16, 1982. In his desire to serve his people in Aklan, he transferred to the Agricultural Training Institute, ASU, Banga, Aklan on Dec. 16, 1988 as administrative officer II.

He did not stay long with the Agricultural Training Institute for he was invited by a friend to file his application for employment with the BIR. His application was accepted on September 3, 1990. Mr. Fernandez transferred to the BIR where he is now serving as Revenue Officer IV assigned in BIR-74, Zarraga, Iloilo.

Fernandez is a member of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Government Association of Certified Public Accountants.

For his loyalty, diligence, and honesty in the service, Mr. Antonio Fernandez was awarded as the “Bureau of Internal Revenue Model Employee in 2006. /MP


GOV’T PRIORITIZES VITAL HEALTH SERVICES IN 2015 BUDGET

GOV’T PRIORITIZES VITAL HEALTH SERVICES IN 2015 BUDGET

As part of the government’s commitment to provide accessible and sufficient healthcare services throughout the country, Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said in the 2015 national budget, the Department of Health and its attached agencies will get P90.21 billion allocation to carry out projects and programs that will benefit the Filipinos.

The Congress, however, is still looking to augment the health budget to incorporate programs that will be funded by sin tax budget collection.

The unrelenting pursuit of the administration for reforms to improve transparency and accountability in public institutions bring forth economic gains that adequately fund the basic health needs of the society, said Guingona.

Out of the P90.21 DOH budget for 2015, P37.06 billion will be for the payment of the full health insurance premium of the following: a) indigent families under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction of the DSWD; b) Poor and low-income enrolees, other than indigent families identified by DSWD; c) Indigent barangay officials; and d) senior citizens as mandated by the newly-signed law, Republic Act 10645 which mandates automatic Philhealth coverage of senior citizens throughout the country.

Sen. Guingona noted that P1 billion will be allocated to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center to ensure the structural integrity of its facilities and to improve the delivery of services to children needing special health care.

To address the need for additional medical personnel in government health institutions, the 2015 budget will fund P4.3 billion to hire 398 doctors, 13,500 nurses, 2,700 midwives and 480 dentists vital for the government’s goal to achieve better health services in both urban and rural areas.

A total of P129.03 million is allocated to fund the payment of Philhealth premiums of former rebels identified under the PAMANA and the Sajahatra Bangsamoro programs of the government.

The Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) will get P13.1 billion where P10.337 billion will be allotted for the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of 1,660 barangay health stations, 475 rural health units and city health centers, 168 local government unit hospitals, 66 hospitals under DOH and 11 treatment and rehabilitation centers. Some P2.771 billion will be allocated for the procurement of quality hospital equipment. 

The 2015 budget will also fund an additional P500 million for the Quick Response Fund,  a standby fund to be used for the repair and rehabilitation of health facilities and equipment, as well as provision of emergency medical assistance in areas stricken by calamities, epidemics and catastrophes. /MP


Sugilanon Ni Tita Linda

Ro Gahum Ni Elijah
Ni Tita Linda Belayro

Pagkataliwan it tatlong dag-on nga tag gutom sa kaharian ni Haring Ahab, guin tawag it Diyos si Elijah. Guin sugo imaw nga mag-atubang sa hari ag hambaeon nga pagapunduhon eon rong gutom ag padaehan pa sanda it uean. Imbis nga magpasaeamat ro hari, guin basoe pa nana si Elijah nga imaw rong dahilan it gutom sa anang kaharian.

Mas naakig pag guid ro hari nga tipunon ro anang mga sakup kaibahan ko anang 850 ka mga peke nga mga pari. Sa tunga kong mga pomoeoyo, guin padumdum ni Elijah “hin-uno pa kinyo maduea ro inyong pagduha duha? Hin-uno pa magmukeat ro inyong mga mata sa kamatuoran? Owa guid it nag-apin kay Elijah ag guinhibaygan eang imaw kong mga peke nga Pari ni Ahab. 

Guin ayat ni Elijah rong mga peke nga pari. Nangayo imaw it pilang bilog nga baka agod ihaead sa andang Diyos-Diyos. Kon matuod ro andang guina tu-ohan nga Diyos, pagapadaehan sanda it kaeayo agod sunugon ro andang haead. Guin himo rong tanan ko mga peke nga pari, halin sa agahon hasta mahapon nga pagpangamuyo sa andang Diyos nga si Baal, ogaling owa guid it kaeayo nga nana-og.

Makaron, si Elijah eon man rong nagpakita ko anang gahum. Guin hueay hueay nana rong pilang ka baka ag guin pabubu-an pa it tubi ro karne. Nagpangamuyo si Elijah nga ipakita ro anang gahum agod magapati ro mga tawo. 

Ma-angan angan, nanaog rong kaeayo halin sa eangit ag kinaon rong tanan nga kutob haead. Hakita kong tanan ro natabo. Naakig rong asawa ni Ahab nga si Jezebel. Guinpadakop si Elijah agod patyon. Nanago si Elijah sa kagueangan ag idto guinbuhos nana rong kasakit ko anang baeatyagon. 

Maskin guinpakita eon sa tawo rong gahum it Diyos, imaw guid lang rong isaeahanon nga naga-tuo sa buhi nga Diyos. Guin paeogpay it Diyos si Elijah. Guin padaehan imaw it anghel nga may pagkaon. Una anay imaw nagtener sa kagueangan agod makapahuway ag makapuwasa. /MP