Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Youth solidify anti-RH bill stand during Mt.Samat pilgrimage

BATAAN, November 30, 2011—Following the Annual Mt. Samat Pilgrimage, the youth participants from the diocese of Balanga and other dioceses in the Central Luzon Region solidified their stand against the proposed reproductive health (RH) bill on November 26 in Mt. Samat, Balanga, Bataan.

Jerome Tuazon, a 4th high school student and former staffer of the school paper, Extra, was among the marshals who went around obtaining signatures for the anti-RH bill signature campaign.
His school also conducted a similar signature campaign, Tuazon said.
“Minsan nahihiya din kasi may mga nakiki-argue na tao. Pag nag-sign naman po, may mga nagtatanong din,” the student said.
He explained that first of all, as Christians, people must follow the teachings of the Church about the issue.
“In my own opinion, RH bill is one way of killing [people].”
“Minsan din kasi nasa disiplina ng tao. Kung ayaw nilang lumaki ang pamilya nila, dapat matuto sila ng natural family planning. Useless din naman ang RH bill kung pwede naman disiplinahin ang ating sarili (Sometimes it is all about discipline. If they don’t want a big family, then they must learn natural family planning. No need for the RH bill if we’re able to discipline ourselves),” he said, explaining his opinion on why the measure shouldn’t be passed.
Asked how he knows about and gets updates on the issue, Tuazon said that as a blogger, he always checks the news and as of now, the bill is still a hot topic among bloggers.
For his part, Fr. Joshua Santos, MMHC, the Diocesan Youth Director of Bataan diocese lamented the consequences of an RH law, if passed, on the country’s youth.
“It’s a difficult time for us, especially to the youth. Kapag na-approve ang RH Bill, ‘yung mga values na pinaglalaban natin like purity, chastity, lahat ‘yun maiisantabi at mababale-wala (If the bill will be approved, the values that we are teaching like purity, chastity, all of those will be disregarded). The values of the youth will change,” Santos said.
Balanga is anti-RH
Meanwhile, Balanga Mayor Jose Enrique ‘Jo-et’ Garcia asserted that the city and the government is anti-RH.
“These pills are under group 1 in the list of drugs that are carcinogenic. Galing ‘to mismo sa WHO biennial report of 2005,” he said.
In his message to the youth, Garcia pointed out that “Lahat ng dapat ipatupad ay ipatupad, it can’t just be the rule of the majority but has to be based on the truth and it should uphold the dignity of man.”
The mayor also shared that seven barangays have already passed an ordinance banning the use of contraceptives in their own barangays.
But banning the use of the contraceptives in the city level is still up for approval with the city council.
The mayor also mentioned that the March for Love, March for Life” rally held in March gathered some 7,000 people around the Plaza.
On the other hand, Jay Quicho, a seminarian at the San Carlos Seminary and a former youth minister in the vicariate of Our Lady of the Pillar said that the youth who are pro-RH should weigh the issue and listen to both sides. Being firm in their faith is a must, too.
“Kung Katoliko ka, panindigan mong Katoliko ka. (If you’re a Catholic, you must stand up for your faith),” Quicho said. (Jandel Posion)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Aurora police senior officer among 8 most outstanding cops in Central Luzon

Pride of Aurora, outstanding police
non-commission officer of the
 year awardee SPO2 Desiderio
‘Ding’ Noora. (Jason de Asis)  

BALER, Aurora, November 29, 2011-Eight most outstanding police officers in Central Luzon were awarded Friday night by Deputy Director General Arturo G. Cacdac of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Chief for Operations in partnership with JBT Group of Companies under Jose B. Tan at Camp Olivas, San Fernando City Pampanga.

Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) Desiderio ‘Ding’ Noora of Aurora provincial police office was awarded Police Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year (PNCO) together with SPO2 Danilo Nazareno-Bataan PPO, while SPO1 Shirley Mostoles-Olongapo CPO and PO2 Norbelita Ingaw-Tarlac PPO for the Women Police Services category.

Other awardees in the region were Superintendent Edgar Alan Okubo, Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office (PPO) director, and Supt. Rommel Velasco, Bataan PPO director for the Senior Police Commissioned Officer (PCO) category.

Under the junior PCO category, the awardees were Chief Inspector Luisito Tan of the Angeles City Police Office and Chief Insp. Pascual delos Reyes of the Tarlac PPO.

Supt. Romeo de Castro, Central Luzon PNP spokesman said in a telephone interview that this was the first time that JBT Group of Companies gave recognition to PNP.

“It was timely since the program of the police dubbed, ‘Strengthening the Reward and Disciplinary System of the PNP,” as among the priority thrusts of Director General Nicanor Bartolome in his 10 Point Action Plan,” de Castro said.

However, he said that they will also be swift and decisive in punishing the misfits, undisciplined or scalawag police.
“Police awardees were given P30,000 each and trophy from the JBT Group of Companies which sponsored the event last Friday,” de Castro said.

The 8 outstanding policemen awardees
standing from left are P/Supt. Edgar
Alan O. Okubo-Nueva Ecija, P/Supt.
Rommel A. Velasco-Bataan,
P/Chief Insp. Luisito M. Tan-Angeles
City, P/Chief Insp. Pascual M.   delos
Reyes-Tarlac, SPO2 Desiderio ‘ding’
Noora-Aurora, SPO2 Danilo R.
Nazareno-Bataan, PO2 Norbelita G.
Ingaw-Tarlac and SPO1 Shirley
B. Mostoles-Olongapo
City. (Jason de Asis)
Central Luzon PNP Chief Superintendent Edgardo Ladao, regional police director, said that the awardees were chosen based on their accomplishments in maintaining the stability of peace and order situation in their respective area of responsibility and also in pursuing crime suspects.

Ladao said that the screening of awardees was held by the panel of Judges after its meticulous process of evaluation, verification of documents, performance, accomplishments and interviews of all nominees in the entire region which the selection board were the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Florida Dijan, National Police Commission (Napolcom) Regional Director Manuel Pontanal, Commission on Higher Education Officer-in-Charge Virginia Akiate, and Monsignor Eugenio Mercado.

Meanwhile, as of this writing Noora was lauded by the people of Aurora saying that he deserved the additional feathers in his cap, a model family man, devoted policeman, and a layman. (Jason de Asis) 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Aurora nails down seal of good housekeeping award says Robredo

DIPACULAO, Aurora, November 28, 2011-A top executive of the department of the interior and local government (DILG) has announced yesterday that the province of Aurora won the prestigious seal of good housekeeping award.

DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo said that the award is conferred to the provincial government units that have satisfactory disclosed its fiscal management and operations publicly while following all the country’s requirements on audit procedures where her office granted the prestigious award to Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo.

“Gusto ko pong ipaabot ngayong kapistahang ito sa bayan ng Dipaculao na sa buong Pilipinas, ang lalawigan ng Aurora ay ginawaran ng seal of good house-keeping dahil sa pagsisikap ng inyong mga  leader,” Robredo said.

“The ‘good housekeeping seal’ is given to LGUs that have excelled in the areas of planning, budgeting, revenue mobilization, financial management and budget execution, procurement and resource mobilization,” Robredo added.

The criteria was that the LGU be able to pick out items in its annual investment plans that support national development priorities that help bring down poverty, spur economic development, and help conserve the environment through programs in ecological waste management or disaster risk reduction among others.

“Isa lang po ang ibig sabihin nito, ang lalawigan ng Aurora ay may mahusay na pamahalaan at mahusay na pamayanan na pinangangalagaan,” Robredo revealed.

Prior to this, Angara-Castillo was also awarded the 2011 Apolinario Mabini Award for local government unit of the year for her dedication to duty and hard work in the implementation of programs and projects that benefit persons with disabilities.

It could also be remembered that Angara-Castillo has consistently been chosen as hall of fame award when she was a congresswoman and now as governor of the province. (Jason de Asis)

Dipaculao celebrates 61st Foundation Anniversary

DIPACULAO, Aurora, November 28, 2011-Dipaculao yesterday held its culminating 61st foundation anniversary with the theme: “Luntiang Kapaligiran:Responsableng mamamayan, tungo sa kaunlaran” led by Mayor Reynante Tolentino.

Tolentino said that the town’s celebration started last November 2 in their 5th
Mayor’s cup at the municipality’s covered court and volley ball court. Other activities were ginebra night, St. dancing competition and brgy. night/SK night-auditorium.

A grand parade and program were also held yesterday morning with the towns’ guest DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, Congressman Juan Edgardo ‘Sonny’ Angara, Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, Baler Mayor Arthur J. Angara, Casiguran Mayor Reynaldo “Binsu” Bitong, Dingalan Mayor Zenaida Padiernos and Maria Aurora Mayor Ariel Bitong.

A drum and lyre competition was also held in the afternoon then followed by SMB night and awarding ceremony. (Jason de Asis)

Group urges recycling Christmas decors for Christmas

MANILA, November 27, 2011—With just 28 days more to go before Christmas, an anti-pollution watchdog is urging the public to use recycled materials as decorations for Christmas.

EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog noted that beautiful decorations can be crafted out of recycled materials.
Aside from saving a lot of money from using recycled materials for decorations, it is also an effective way of addressing the garbage problem that piles up during the holiday season, the group said.
Recycling advocate Ofelia Panganiban of the EcoWaste Coalition emphasized this point as she lauded Makati City’s “3B sa Pasko” recycling project.
“3B sa Pasko,” which stands for “Basura’y Bawasan, Balik-Gamitin at Baguhin ang Anyo sa Pasko,” seeks to reduce the waste volume during the holidays, as well as promote recycling awareness among city residents.
The recycling project turns discards into beautiful Christmas ornaments like Christmas trees from a frame of an old umbrella, cardboard boxes, tin cans and plastic bottles.
Lanterns can also be fashioned out of bottle caps, drinking straws and tetra packs.
Making decorations from discards is an eco-friendly way of expressing the Christmas spirit without creating trash, Panganiban said.
She added that the endeavor is not only good for the environment, but also in strengthening family relationship as family members bond together while doing the activity.
It is also a good source of income for enterprising group and individuals, she added.
Panganiban noted that Makati’s “3B sa Pasko” participants earned P139,527 in total sales in 2010, an eight percent increase from the sales of 2009.
"We hope our community recyclers will earn more this year and prove once again 'may pera sa basura' (there's money in trash)," she stated. (CBCPNews)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Elderly couple exchange I do’s after 31 years

SAN LEONARDO, Nueva Ecija, November 26, 2011-After 31 long and agonizing years of “living-in” together, a 67-year-old farmer finally took his 74-year-old girlfriend home as his lawfully wedded wife in this town Saturday night.

And they sealed it with a brief smooch after the mayor, who officiated the wedding, told them: “you may now kiss the bride.”

Rogelio Pangilinan and Juliana Ramos both heaved a sigh of relief after their civil wedding at the campus grounds of the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology.

“It’s a dream come true,” says a visibly overjoyed Pangilinan of his union with Ramos. They were one of over a dozen couples who swapped I do’s in the mass wedding presided by Mayor Froilan Nagaño who also doubled as sponsor together with Board Member Romanito Juatco and Jon Padiernos, who represented Vice Gov. Jose Gay Padiernos.

The mass wedding was the main highlight of the affair which also included the inauguration of the sprawling municipal park and a rock concert.

Nagaño said the event was a wedding for all ages. “Here, you can see people of various ages getting married, the old and the young. Finally, their relationship will be blessed with this marriage,” he said of the couple.

Pangilinan told newsmen that before he met Ramos in 1980, he was a 36-year-old bachelor looking for a lifetime partner. “It’s love at first sight,” he recalls fondly.

Ramos is a mother of four children from her husband of a previous marriage. She has 17 grandchildren. Her first husband died in 1991.

Pangilinan said that in spite of this development, they could not get married right away, citing hard times.

Asked if there would be a honeymoon afterwards, Pangilinan giggled, saying “we have been through that for 31 years.” (Jason de Asis) 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Church urges Aquino to help Hacienda Luisita farmers

MANILA, November 25, 2011— Now that the Supreme Court has spoken, Catholic Church officials called on President Benigno Aquino III to ensure the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to the farmers and provide them with support services.
Fr. Edu Gariguez of the National Secretariat for Social Action— Justice and Peace (Nassa) said he is certain Aquino’s clan, which owns the vast sugar plantation, will make moves to block the land distribution.
“The Cojuangcos will definitely oppose land distribution as what they did in the long history of this struggle,” Gariguez said.
“President Aquino must now show impartiality and political will in implementing social reform law. He should not give special favors to his relatives and friends,” he said.
Nassa is the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines which is at the forefront of the Church’s campaign for agrarian reform.
The CBCP official also vowed the Church will keep an eye on the case until the agricultural land is fully distributed to the 6,296 farmer beneficiaries.
“Land distribution is just the primary step in genuine land reform. We will continue our work to ensure that the farmers will be given the needed support services,” he said.
“The government, under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, is supposed to help the farmers. Without this support, the farmers are always in danger of losing their lands,” Gariguez added.
The High Court on Wednesday ordered the distribution of 4,915 hectare Hacienda Luisita to the farmers.
It also ordered the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) management to pay farm worker beneficiaries P1.3 billion—P500 million for the sale of 200 hectares of land in 1996, P750 million for the sale of the Luisita Industrial Park and another P80 million for the sale of the 80-hectare lot for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) road network. [CBCPNews]

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bataan youth go on pilgrimage at Mt. Samat

MANILA, November 24, 2011― Young Catholics from all over Bataan will once again gather on the sacred grounds of Mt. Samat, as they celebrate life through the Annual Mt. Samat Pilgrimage in this momentous occasion of the Year of the Youth.

In line with the celebration of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Year of the Youth (CBCP-Year of the Youth), the diocese of Balanga in Bataan will hold its 8th Diocesan Mt. Samat Pilgrimage together with the other young people of the province on November 26.
Fr. Joshua Maria Santos, MMHC, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee, in an invitation letter sent to YouthPinoy!, said that year 2011 is not only a gift to our young people but also to the youth ministry.
“The diocese of Balanga made use of this opportunity to gather once again the youth of our province, inspiring them and energizing them in order to bring life not only in the Church but also in our society making them potent agents of renewal at this springtime,” Santos indicated in the letter.
The procession of pilgrims will begin at 1 p.m. followed by different presentations of the youth and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the Shrine’s quadrangle.
A candle lighting ceremony and fireworks display at around 8 p.m. will cap the event.
Other activities for the event include animations, praying the rosary and video presentation. (Jandel Posion)

Church hails SC ruling on Hacienda Luisita

MANILA, November 24, 2011— The Catholic Church’s social action arm lauded the Supreme Court decision ordering the distribution to farmers of Hacienda Luisita, a vast agricultural land owned by President Benigno Aquino’s family.

The National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said the farmers deserve to own land that they have been tilling for decades.
“It’s a long awaited decision and a step forward for the Supreme Court to regain its credibility in proving that it can truly stand for the truth and justice,” said Fr. Edu Gariguez, Nassa executive secretary.
“We hope and pray that the Supreme Court will be consistent in rendering judgment not for any political exigencies but to safeguard the interest of justice,” he said.
The High Court, in a resolution released yesterday, ordered the immediate distribution to over 6,000 farmworker-beneficiaries of about 5,000 hectares sugar estate.
Except for Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who did not take part in the voting, 14 of the 15 magistrates agreed to grant the motion for reconsideration of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council and the farmers’ group Ambala.
The High Court also changed its ruling in July that allowed the farmers to choose between land ownership or shares of stock representing the value of the land.
It stressed that the stock distribution option exercised by Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) was contrary to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
“The SC decision has long been overdue. This is a victory not only for workers at the Hacienda Luisita but for all the farmers as well,” Gariguez said.
“With this development at Hacienda Luisita, we have a better hope for a genuine agrarian reform in the country,” he added. [CBCPNews]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Divine Word College holds forum on RH Bill

CALAPAN, Oriental Mindoro, November 23, 2011―The Divine Word College of Calapan in cooperation with the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan and Calapan Cable Center Inc. held a forum on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill last November 18 at the DWCC Gymnasium.
Dubbed “Ang Dalawang Mukha ng RH Bill”, the forum focused on the medico-legal aspects of the controversial measure. Four speakers from both anti-RH and pro-RH camps gave their opposing opinions on the bill based on research.
Ms. Anna Kristina Cosio, RN from Pro-life Manila together with Fr. Vicente R. Uy, JCD of the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan explained to participants the fiascos the country may face in the future once the Bill is passed and totally implemented.
On the other hand, Dr. Christopher Joseph Soriano, MD of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health and Mr. Jonas Bagas of AKBAYAN stressed that the RH Bill would be beneficial and of great help in nation building and in achieving Philippine economic stability.
An open forum highlighted the program, allowing the audience composed of students from various colleges in Oriental Mindoro, local government employees, health officers, church organizations and members of non-government organizations to ask questions to the guest speakers.
The forum was organized by the Divine Word College of Calapan’s External and Alumni Affairs Office led by its Director, Mr. Don Stepherson Calda, M.Ed. (John Rey Rodriguez)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Japan’s P594-M new Aurora hospital to be turned-over next month

BALER, Aurora, November 22, 2011-The Japanese government is scheduled on December 14, 2011 to turn-over the P594-million project of the new Aurora Memorial Hospital (AMH) to the provincial government in this capital town which has completed its buildings and structures at Brgy. Reserva.

Aurora Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo said that the new AMH will fortify medical referral system and give quality medical services for the people of Aurora through the grant of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“The Japanese representatives are coming ahead of the schedule this December for the turn-over at the 3.8 hectare project site in Barangay Reserva” Angara-Castillo said.

She also mentioned her brother Senator Edgardo J. Angara, who initiated the project together with Congressman Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and with the kindness of the Japanese government through Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura, JICA Chief Representative Norio Matsuda, Japanese Embassy First Secretary Takeshi Sakata and Health Secretary Enrique Ona among others.

“This will serve as a general hospital playing a central role in the local health referral system included aside from improving of the AMH’s infrastructure and equipment while the old 70 year old Aurora Memorial Hospital located near the Baler Park will be the emergency operation department of the new hospital,” Angara-Castillo said.

“It’s inspiring, the Japanese government continued the project despite the devastation that happened in their place, the hospital was funded through a P509-million grant from the Japanese government,” Angara-Castillo said.

She explained that Japan added latest equipment for the hospital while the provincial government funded P85-million as counterpart in building up the new AMH.

“It’s a blessing when I was in Japan and I signed the two (2) aids for the Aurorans. The facilities and equipments will be the most advanced in the entire region,” Angara-Castillo said, explaining the generosity of Japan for the people of Aurora despite the Japans problem on nuclear radiation brought by the killer earthquake and tsunami.

The old AMH has only 25-bed capacity hospital’s license was even lowered from Level 2 to Level 1 when the Department of Health clamped down on hospitals without a trained surgeon and an anesthesiologist; thus, the Angaras sought assistance from the Japanese government which, in response, conducted a preparatory survey in January 2009 and dispatched a basic design team in June of that same year.

On March 15, 2010, the Exchange of Notes was signed in Manila by then-Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Katsura.

“Yearly, the AMH would be able to confine 800 more patients without transferring them to other provinces and will lessen the financial burden on the part of the families with the upgraded facilities, adding that it would also increase by nearly twice the total patient-days confined from the present 7,700 patient-days to 13,000 patient-days.

The improved facilities would also enhance the hospital’s examination and medical care capacities, especially in surgery and obstetrics and gynecology departments and the quality of medical services. In the process, the AMH would also be used as the training institution for the midwifery and nursing students from the University of the Philippines School of Health Sciences in the province.

Angara-Castillo said that after the turn-over of the new hospital, they will already setup for its full operation in the 1st quarter of 2012, targeting February 14 as the province celebrates the Aurora day foundations and valentines’ day or will move it on February 18.

Angara-Castillo is now working for additional five (5) doctors aside from the current doctors in the province for the new hospital who are specialists in their chosen fields in medicine such as surgeon, anesthesiologist, pediatrician, internal medicine among others.

The governor also instructed Dr. Rio Florido, chief of Casiguran district hospital and Dr. Luisito G. Teh, provincial health officer  to find more doctors for the province, explaining that Angara-Castillo will provide additional benefits for them such as scholarship, free board and lodging to mention a few. (Jason de Asis)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Padiernos assures passage of Nueva Ecija P1.8 billion 2012 budget

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, November 21, 2011-Ecija Vice Governor Jose Gay Padiernos assured that the provincial government’s proposed P1.8-billion budget for 2012 will be passed before the end of the year, saying that it is now in the thick of deliberations.

“We are now consulting with the various chiefs of officers. We expect the deliberations to be finished by December,” Padiernos said, allaying fears for the second year in a row that the province would be operating on a re-enacted budget like in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Padiernos said that the budget impasse that marred the province over the last four years leading to this year is now a thing of the past because of the “unified leadership” at the Capitol.

This after Governor Aurelio Umali submitted a 2012 budget of P1,857,319,103 as he underlined the priorities of his administration, including turning Nueva Ecija – the country’s titular rice granary - into an “agro-industrialized province.”

Umali said in his budget message to the SP that the proposed budget was crafted taking into consideration its primary thrust of transforming Nueva Ecija into a sustainable and progressive agro-industrialized province.

He said with the budget, he expects the provincial government to uplift the economic and social conditions of Novo Ecijanos anchored on an eight-point objective among which are improvement of agricultural productivity, provision of jobs and livelihood; provision of quality education, social welfare, nutrition and related social services; rehabilitation of typhoon-affected areas, infrastructure development, enhancement of revenue-generating measures and promotion of public-private partnerships in development.

The proposed appropriations, which are four percent bigger than last year’s budget, had proposed P691.9 million for personnel services representing 37 percent of the budget, P368.2 million (19.8 percent) for maintenance and other operating expenditures, P279.8 million (15 percent) for capital outlay.       

Board Member Joseph Ortiz, chairman of the SP’s committee on appropriations, said one of the salient features of this year’s budget is the allocation of P265.8 million for the Annual Investment Plan covering economic and social services, general services, health, housing and community development.

The provincial government is expecting to raise internal and external revenues, including P1.35 billion allotment shares and sources from the share of national wealth, grants and donations, sale of assets and share from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. (Jason de Asis)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Supreme Court is serving whom? Pangilinan

MANILA, November 20, 2011-Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan revealed that the bigger issue now hounding the Supreme Court is that of accountability and justice and who is the supreme court is really serving.

A day after the court served a warrant of arrest to former president and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Pangilinan said that it is his view that one cannot look at the temporary restraining order (TRO) controversy involving Gloria and Mike Arroyo simply as a textbook case in constitutional law.

The senator advised that it has to be viewed from a larger context to include the fact that: 1) the persons involved are a former president and former first gentleman, both of whom have been subject of numerous investigations involving allegations of illegal activities to the tune of billions of pesos; 2) a Chief Justice appointed by the former president under a shroud of doubtful legality for allegedly being a midnight appointee; 3) a Supreme Court faced with a string of controversial cases that have eroded its reputation--including the TRO on the House of Representatives in its impeachment proceedings against (former Ombudsman) Mercy Gutierrez, who has been accused of sitting on cases involving both GMA and Mike Arroyo; the voiding of the Truth Commission meant to investigate allegations of wrongdoings by Gloria and Mike Arroyo; and now this TRO in favor of Mike and Gloria Arroyo.

The lawmaker also cited the high court's tarnished image because of the reversal of some of its high-profile decisions, including "its flip-flopping four times on the cityhood case (of 16 municipalities in the League of Cities of the Philippines) and its flip-flop on the FASAP case, (which have) likewise raised eyebrows as to the manner in which the SC conducted its business."

"All these should, at the minimum, make us pause and think seriously about the role of the SC in all these cases involving the former president and first gentleman. One cannot help but wonder if the SC is upholding the interest of the nation and its people, or if it has become, as earlier feared, a court beholden to the Arroyos and ready to do as told by the Arroyos," Pangilinan ended. (Jason de Asis)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Build your life plans in Christ, bishop tells youth

MANILA, November 18, 2011—Be like the wise man who builds his house upon the rock, not the foolish one who builds his house upon the sand. This was what Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon urged the youth as he reiterated the meaning of the theme of the National Youth Day (NYD), “Planted in Christ, firm in the Faith.”

In his parting message to the participants of the NYD, Baylon likened centering one’s life in Christ and shaping one’s life goals based on his faith to building one’s house upon the rock, which stands still even if the rain falls, the flood comes and the winds blow.
Baylon, the chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said it is important for the NYD participants to apply the meaning of the NYD theme in their practical lives.
“Your plans of being happy and successful, getting married and building a family or even serving God through a religious vocation, all have to be established in Christ, just like the house that the wise man built upon the rock,” he said.
Because if one’s plans are only centered on the short-lived pleasure and temporary bliss, Baylon said the rain, flood and winds will overturn it like what happened to the house that the foolish man built upon the sand.
The prelate also challenged the youth to show their firmness as Catholics by living out their faith in the open, defending the Church’s teachings and being witness of Christ to others.
“Let us not be mere Catholics in private. Let us live up to our faith in public and show that we bear witness to God’s Words and follow Church teachings,” he said.
At least 3,300 young Filipinos from different parishes, schools, organizations and dioceses nationwide went to Manila since last Monday to participate in the week-long celebration of the NYD, which will culminate this evening with a grand festival night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City. (YouthPinoy)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bishops, Church leaders learn social media tools for ministry

HUALIEN, Taiwan, November 17, 2011―More than 30 bishops, priests, religious and lay people from 10 Asian countries learned different social media tools during the 16th annual FABC-OSC Bishops’ Meet in Hualien, Taiwan Nov 14-19.

In a two-day training workshop Nov 15-16, the participants understood better the workings of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others through multi-media presentations and hands-on sessions facilitated by Manila-based Fr. Stephen Cuyos.
The participants learned visual storytelling and how to translate Biblical narratives into the language of digital communications. The delegates also engaged in virtual interaction and connected with “digital citizens” using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). They also learned first-hand that online games can be used to teach human and Christian values.
Cuyos, a Missionary of the Sacred Heart (MSC), who oriented the participants to social networking realities in Asia and beyond, is a production and training specialist for Communications Foundation for Asia (CFA).
He said young people are now engaged in chatting and blogging, sharing photos, sharing videos, playing games as well as sharing software.
For the so-called “online culture,” the consequences are many-fold. They flatten organizations and dissolve hierarchies because “all of us, regardless of race, culture and position, can be friends in social networks,” the priest said.
The shift from “control to collaboration” is also a reality in the social media sphere along with the immediacy of feedback, good or bad. The tendency for today’s youth is to think “entertainment as king!” and “if it is popular, then it must be true!”
Evangelization efforts may be included in social media activities. But it is necessary, Cuyos said, to, first, “friend” people (include in one’s friends list). “Friend” is a verb in social media conversations, the priest said, likewise, the term “favorite.”
It is “imperative to use popular media” like Facebook and Twitter, and to “entertain” using videos and images which speak more than do plain text. The Church should also launch evangelization efforts that are “collaborative,” by having partners who may share different forms of expertise in online activities.
In the end, Cuyos encouraged the participants to learn more about social media. Wherever possible, the Church should strive to devise her own content or applications in order to truly share in the worldwide dialogue offered by social media tools.
The participants are bishops responsible for social communications, their national secretaries, as well as religious and lay collaborators from India, Myanmar, Mongolia, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan, Thailand and Philippines.
The 16th annual “Bishops’ Meet” was organized by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences – Office of Social Communication (FABC-OSC). (Anthony Roman)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NIA to set up CCTV cams for 24/7 monitoring in major Phl dams

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, November 16, 2011–To ensure 24 hour basis monitoring of rising floodwaters in the event of heavy rains and typhoons, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said that they will be installing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at the steel gates of the Pantabangan Dam and other major dams in the country and to guarantee that these irrigation facilities are secured, particularly during nighttime.

NIA Administrator Antonio Nangel said that the CCTV cameras play vital roles in monitoring water levels in the countrys’ major dams where they seek for funding for the CCTVs.

“With the CCTVs, our monitoring of dams will be accurate and thorough and we would be able to keep track of the conditions of these dams even at night. Having CCTVs is most crucial when trying to monitor the water level which rises significantly during typhoons,” Nangel said.

Nangel said putting CCTVs is a “win-win” solution as it will also tighten security around dam facilities. He expressed preference for the CCTVs even as other places hosting various dam systems plan to put up such facilities as monitoring mechanisms to prevent overflowing and trigger floods.

Earlier, Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado raised the possibility of installing CCTVs at the spillways of Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams and major rivers of the province with the monitoring systems to be set up at the operations center of the Bulacan provincial disaster risk reduction and management office (PDRDMO) at the capitol compound.

The plan was apparently hatched when flood ravaged the towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy at the height of typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel” which were reportedly aggravated by the release of water from the three dams.

In Cauayan, Isabela, the Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (MARIIS) which operates the Magat Dam covering 84,000 hectares, is now in the process of installing a CCTV. According to MARIIS operations manager Helsy Bermudez it is expected to be operational within the week.   

In Nueva Ecija’s Pantabangan Dam, Gov. Aurelio Umali said that the history of the dam is as equally important in  the release of water so people could prepare for floods aside from CCTVs where images beamed by these cameras would help feed local officials and residents accurate and early information on water levels.

Umali said Nueva Ecija was able to prevent severe flooding during typhoons because its own PDRRMO thoroughly studied the history of water release of the Pantabangan Dam. “What is more important is to know the dam’s history – its inflow and outflow and its storage capacity – so dam regulators will be guided on what should be done,” he said.

Umali stressed that the province has effectively handled past calamities with consistent monitoring of low pressure areas and releasing water from the dam and other irrigation systems ahead of the coming typhoons.

The Pantabangan is the country’s biggest irrigation system, irrigating 102,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Nueva Ecija and Central Luzon.

Umali cited that during typhoon “Ondoy,” the province suffered zero casualty because the Upper Pampanga river Integrated Irrigation Systems which runs the Pantabangan Dam released water several days before the typhoon came. (Jason de Asis)


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