Saturday, December 31, 2011

Over 5,000 CL cops sealed firearms

BALER, Aurora, December 31, 2011-To ensure that policemen will not fire their guns during the celebration of the New Year, Chief Superintendent Edgardo T. Ladao, PNP-Region 3 director said in a telephone interview that over 5,000 policemen who assigned in the provinces of Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales sealed their guns with masking tape and signed by their respective commanders.

“In time for the New Year celebration, firearm muzzles of policemen in Central Luzon were sealed during a ceremony held at the Philippine National Police-Region 3 headquarters in Camp Olivas,” Ladao said.

“The muzzle taping of firearms is neither a form of restriction on the use of the firearm nor a sign of distrust on the part of police commanders but, a show of commitment and resolve against indiscriminate firing,” Ladao added.

“As law enforcers, policemen of Police Regional Office 3 must serve as good examples to citizens in observing the law,” he furthered.

The central Luzon police general also warned those that will violate existing policies and regulations on the use of firearms, specifically those who will use their firearm outside the call of duty, will be charged administratively for Grave Misconduct and criminality for Discharge of Firearm.

“Policeman who would violate will be subject for removal in the service,” he said.

The ceremonial sealing of the policemen’s firearms is in accordance with the directive of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that aims to prevent illegal discharge of firearms by members of the police force during the celebration of New Year. 
“We scheduled the removal of tapes on January 2, 2012,” Ladao ended. (Jason de Asis)

Friday, December 30, 2011

‘The Blessed Virgin Mary Journeys With Us This 2012’

As we usher in the Year 2012, we sing at the top of our voice hymns of thanksgiving in appreciation for the manifold blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon each one of us and to the Local Church of Daet as well.
This solemnity that opens our calendar is also observed as the World Day of Peace as introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1967 as drawn from the title of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace.
I wish to bring before your consideration the following points so as to better understand the great gift of salvation that God has wrought for us.
Mary’s Unique Place in Salvation History
“You brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you (Ps. 71:6)”. This passage gives us a glimpse of how God makes use of a mother’s womb in order to bring forth new life into this world. Thus, today’s celebration of the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of creation and salvation. It is meant to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the "holy Mother...through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life." (Roman Missal, 1 January, Entrance Antiphon and Collect.) Indeed, Mary’s extolled place in the History of Salvation brings us to consider the “wonderful works the Lord has done for us.” This day underlines the importance of Mary’s role in the redemptive act of Jesus whose birth, passion, death and resurrection paved the way for our salvation.
Mary Accompanies Us in Our Pilgrimage of Faith
The Church invites us to take a closer look at Mary as we begin this year 2012 for She remains an inspiration and guide for all of us who desire to follow the way that the Lord Jesus Christ has set out for us – as individual persons and as a community. In the Acts of the Apostles, we hear that “…the disciples joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers (Acts 1:14)”. These words describe how Mary, our Mother, accompanied those who believed in Jesus Christ in their journey of faith. In the same way, Mary continues this journey of faith with us. She guides and protects us as we tread the treacherous roads of this world that seek to draw us away from Jesus.
For the past few months, we heard reports of the growing number of crimes that have spawned fear in our hearts and lives. In fact, some of us must have experienced personally these crimes that disturbed our peace and our sense of security in the province of Camarines Norte. There have been hold-ups of business establishments in the capital town of Daet, the hold-up and murder of a couple who were transient businessmen in our province, the violence and murder in some of our mining sites in the province particularly in the towns of Paracale, Jose Panganiban and Labo, and the ambush of people who are liquidation targets for one reason or another. It seems that ours is a time that is constantly buffeted by the stormy winds of greed, violence and the unbridled quest for riches and power.
This is the road that we tread upon these days. This is the road where we seek the maternal guidance and accompaniment of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I reiterate the message of Pope Benedict XVI, in these words, "we entrust to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary our daily prayer for peace, especially where the absurd logic of violence is most rampant; so that all men are persuaded that in this world we must help each other as brothers and sisters to build a civilization of love.(rf. Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 22, 2010)
An Affirmation of Our Love and Devotion to Mary
Truly, the Blessed Mother journeys with us, for we believe that as “Filipinos, we have always had a very tender devotion to Mary as Mother; and this devotion has brought down numberless benefits on our people. The loyalty of our people to Christ has been closely bound with our devotion to Mary who is his Mother and ours” (CBCP Pastoral Letter on Mary, Ang Mahal na Birhen, February 2, 1975). This devotion is also made manifest in the local Church of the Diocese of Daet. Thus, it is with great joy that we welcome the approval of our petition before His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, to have the canonical coronation of our Nuestra Señora de Candelaria during the closing ceremonies of the Quadricentennial Celebrations of the First Three Parishes in the diocese, namely; Parroquia de San Juan Bautista in Daet, Camarines Norte, Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol in Vinzons, Camarines Norte and the Parroquia de la Nuestra Señora de Candelaria in Paracale, Camarines Norte. This distinctive gift from the Lord serves as an affirmation of our love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under Her title, Nuestra Señora de Candelaria.
Looking to the Future with Hope
Imitating the example of Mary, we look forward to the future with hope knowing fully well that God will continue to lavish us with His choicest blessings through the powerful intercessions of Mary, our Mother. We believe that She will remain with us as we try to discover and fulfill God’s plan for us. Like Mary, we are being called to be vigilant lest evil forces overwhelm us. As a popular adage would put it “For evil to triumph, it is enough that good men do nothing”. Let us do our share in working for peace in our province and in our country by being pro-active. Let us join hands with our local government and the different law enforcement agencies in driving away the dark clouds of evil from our midst so that justice and peace will reign once more in our locality.
We also offer this year before the Lord our desire to make the Local Church of Daet more vibrant and fruitful by the following events that will hopefully bring us closer to God plan for us. We shall celebrate this 2012 the Year on Liturgy through which we desire to express our worship of God with more dignity and solemnity. We shall also reorganize this year the Parish Pastoral Councils and the Parish Finance Councils in order to become more effective and efficient in responding to the peculiar needs and challenges of the present times.
I hope and pray that the year 2012 will be an opportunity for all of us to grow more in our faith, hope and love for God.
Imparting to you my paternal blessings, I remain
Most Rev. Gilbert A. Garcera, DD
Bishop of Daet
January 1, 2012

Blasting pyrotechnics is hazardous to health, public warned

MANILA, December 30, 2011—Environmental advocates and other concerned groups warned the public of the health risks linked with the use of firecrackers as the New Year approaches.
The environmental network EcoWaste Coalition has partnered with the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP), a recognized authority in pulmonary medicine, in urging the public to refrain from using pyrotechnics to welcome the New Year for their health and safety.
The air pollution that results from blasting firecrackers and fireworks is hazardous to health, according to the group.
The EcoWaste Coalition and other groups have gathered yesterday morning outside the Lung Center of the Philippines bearing placards to emphasize the toxicity of emissions coming from exploding pyrotechnics.
PCCP president and pulmonologist Dr. Maria Encarnita Blanco-Limpin said pollutants coming from the exploding firecrackers are very harmful especially “to infants and young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with existing heart, neurological and respiratory problems.”
“The toxic smoke and dust resulting from pyrotechnics explosion contain many nasty pollutants, including suspended particulate matters, that can easily enter the lungs and put people’s health at risk,” Blanco-Limpin said.
Aside from particulate matters, pyrotechnics-related pollutants include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, metal, nitrous and sulfuric oxides.
Limpin said the same hazardous chemicals are also found in cigarettes, which explains why smoking is a health risk.
“We would like to remind our people to be vigilant about the dreaded diseases caused by these chemicals every day of the year. These are preventable ailments if people will be more aware and decisive, and with active government intervention," Limpin explained.
Coalition’s Iwas PapuToxic Campaigner Aileen Lucero, pointed out that the pollutants from exploding firecrackers practically turn the surroundings into a huge gas chambers exposing everyone to a cocktail of chemical contaminants.
“We suggest that we honestly re-examine this toxic tradition, which is totally not in sync with ongoing local and global efforts to cut pollution, improve environmental quality and lessen the impacts of the climate crisis,” Lucero said.
“Please heed P-Noy's timely call for a safe celebration,” she added.
President Benigno S. Aquino III had earlier called for a safe celebration saying that "it is time for new thinking, let us all welcome the New Year safely with regard for life and the environment.” (CBCPNews)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christian hope becomes real amid difficult situations, says bishop

MANILA, December 29, 2011—Expressing solidarity with the typhoon victims in Mindanao, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle said his new year’s greeting comes as a message of hope in the midst of devastation.
He conveyed his unity with the people “whose lives were reduced to rubble by typhoon Sendong and human irresponsibility.”
But aside from the victims of calamities, he also keeps in his thoughts and prayers the many people “whose lives are ruined daily by poverty, disease, corruption, lack of employment, inadequate services and abuse of creation.”
“Some people might think that mentioning the ruins of life does not belong to a
New Year message that purports to center on hope,” Tagle said.
He explained that in the Scriptures, “hope arises and becomes truer in absurd and difficult situations.”
He said Christian hope is all about putting one’s trust in God and the acceptance of the truth.
“If we eliminate God in the promotion of life and the construction of society, we will find ourselves buried in ruins of our making,” he said.
Pride and false self-sufficiency destroy, Tagle said, stressing that they never build a world fit for human beings.
“We should know by now that God is not an extraneous factor in genuine development,” he said.
“A Blessed 2012 will come only if we place our hope in God,” the prelate furthered. (CBCPNews)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Be vigilant like Mary—bishop

MANILA, December 28, 2011—A Catholic bishop urged his flock to place their trust in the maternal guidance of Mary in the face of uncertainties and fear spawned by proliferation of crimes around them.
Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera, in a pastoral letter, exhorted the faithful to imitate the example of Mary, saying that “God will continue to lavish us with His choicest blessings through the powerful intercessions of Mary, our Mother.”
“Like Mary, we are being called to be vigilant lest evil forces overwhelm us. As a popular adage would put it ‘For evil to triumph, it is enough that good men do nothing’,” Garcera said.
“She guides and protects us as we tread the treacherous roads of this world that seek to draw us away from Jesus,” the bishop added.
Garcera noted that reports of a number of crimes committed within the province have been spreading in the past months sowing fear in people.
“Some of us must have experienced personally these crimes that disturbed our peace and our sense of security in the province of Camarines Norte,” he said.
The province has recently had a spate of robbery and murder targeting business establishments and businessmen.
Mining sites in the province particularly in the towns of Paracale, Jose Panganiban and Labo had also its share of violence and killing.
Garcera urged the people to do their share “in working for peace in our province and in our country by being pro-active.”
“Let us join hands with our local government and the different law enforcement agencies in driving away the dark clouds of evil from our midst so that justice and peace will reign once more in our locality,” he said.
“It seems that ours is a time that is constantly buffeted by the stormy winds of greed, violence and the unbridled quest for riches and power,” the bishop added.
The pastoral letter, released in time for the celebration of the Solemnity of Mary on January 1 and the World Day of Peace reiterates a previous papal message to ask Mary’s intercession for peace, especially where violence is rampant.
Garcera said the Filipinos’ devotion to Mary has reaped numerous benefits on the people.
He said this devotion is also manifest in the local Church of Daet, saying that the Vatican approval of the canonical coronation of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria during the closing ceremonies of the quadricentennial celebrations of the diocese’s first three parishes was in itself a distinctive gift that highlights the people’s love and devotion to the Blessed Mother.
As the diocese aims to accomplish two events for 2012 to revitalize the spiritual life of the faithful, Garcera hopes that the said occasions “will bring us closer to God’s plan for us.”
The diocese will celebrate in 2012 the Year on Liturgy which aims to bring the faithful to worship God “with more dignity and solemnity.”
Another event is the reorganization of the Parish Pastoral Councils and the Parish Finance Councils “to become more effective and efficient in responding to the peculiar needs and challenges of the present times.” (CBCPNews)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Aim for ‘positive’ resolutions this New Year, bishop says

MANILA, December 27, 2011—Instead of having a list of New Year resolutions that is all about a bunch of “don’ts,” why not fill it with more “dos” to start 2012 positively?
This is what Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon urged Filipinos days before 2011 marks its last calendar day.
Baylon, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth, said focusing on the “don’ts” on one’s New Year’s resolution is a reflection of pessimism for the coming year.
“The problem with New Year’s resolutions is our tendency to look at it negatively: don’t smoke, don’t cheat, etc. If we start something negatively, we will also finish and end up with something negative,” he explained.
“Sooner or later, we will be defeated by our human weakness and we will resume smoking or cheating. Making our New Year’s resolution will only be a futile exercise,” the prelate added.
Although Baylon said the “don’ts” for New Year’s resolution is not entirely wrong, but focusing on it is neither healthier.
“When we talk of New Year’s resolution, it doesn’t have to be always correcting our mistakes but also improving whatever good things we have done in the past or develop what healthy habit that we have started,” he said.
The prelate urged Filipinos, especially the youth, to challenge themselves to improve on the coming year and to make the writing of their New Year’s resolution an avenue to promise that they will be more concerned with their fellowmen and the environment.
“I think the core of the New Year’s resolution is to be positive about the good things that we have done. I am sure during the past years we have done good things, like experiencing how it is like to participate in a relief drive that helped the needy. Why don’t we make it a point to multiply the occasion to help this year?” the prelate added. (YouthPinoy)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Keep an eye on P6.1 billion agri funds, anti-corrupt orgs told

MANILA, December 26, 2011—Fisherfolk group, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) appealed to the anti-corruption community to keep a tight watch over the P6.1 billion (US$141,040,462.43 based on the prevailing foreign exchange rate of P43.25:$1.00) agricultural funds to prevent history of repeating itself.
The appeal was made after the group said that they don’t trust this Government at all, since it has not issued any clear guidelines on how the agri funds are spent or distributed.
“We don’t trust President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. We don’t trust his agriculture secretary, Proceso Alcala. Traditional politicians like them are highly prone to first-rate corruption and Class A raid of public funds,” said Pamalakaya Vice Chair Salvador France.
However the plunder of public funds can be prevented if anti-corruption organizations will “rise up above the occasion”.
During the time of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Department of Agriculture (DA) ranked 5 on the list of the most corrupt government agencies with the P728 million fertilizer fund scam, P5-B swine scam, the P434 million loans to fly by night non-government organizations and the P455-million ice making machines.
“[T]he same may happen again if Secretary Alcala and Malacañang are allowed to spend public funds without periodic audit, financial inventory and assessment,” said the fisherfolk leader.
France said that aside from the Commission on Audit (COA), the committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives can do its share in safeguarding the DA funds by assuring that the money is spent on things or project it was intended for.
Earlier the Agriculture chief disclosed that the bulk of the money alloted for DA’s spending will be used in long-term projects such as irrigation. In the short-term, the DA will be spending a lot for farm inputs such as fertilizers. The agency also said that they plan to irrigate 87,405 hectares of agricultural lands and rehabilitate irrigation systems that service around 79,246 hectares.
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA), an attached DA agency, meanwhile, said that it would restore 57,199 hectares of irrigated land. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hoping for a better tomorrow because “God is with us”

A Christmas Message of the CBCP President
It is my joy and privilege to greet all people of good will and wish upon them the blessings only God can give. This Christmas season, as we call to mind those joyful mysteries when our Lord was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, we also remember, and in fact we love to sing “Joy to the world” and “peace to His people on earth.”
The little town of Bethlehem is a far-away place from our beloved Philippines and the year 1 A.D. is long time ago and yet the angels’ message is still loud and clear for us. Even now as we are about to close year 2011 and enter 2012, even here in our country or wherever we may be, in the midst of controversies and divisions happening in society, we hope of a better tomorrow and a brighter future because “God is with us” (Mt. 1:23).
Reflecting on God-made-man lying in the manger, we know how messy and smelly would that be for God Almighty. He is there because there is no welcome in any home and had no room in the inn. In our time we pray that we are not too full of ourselves so as to have space for God. Jesus should not stay in the manger because we welcome him into our homes and enthrone him in our hearts.
This Christmas what better way to welcome him than to know that mangers contain fodder for animals. The Lord who came that we may “have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10), desires that we eat his body (Jn. 6:51) and drink his blood. Thus having partaken of him, we who partake of one bread may become one body and one people. May the Child who is the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:5) make us experience that blessing we had longed for in our heart.
+JOSE S. PALMA, DD
Archbishop of Cebu
President, CBCP

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Celebrate Christmas simply in solidarity with typhoon victims, public urged

MANILA, December 24, 2011— An environmental watchdog has urged the public to celebrate Christmas simply but meaningfully, in solidarity with the victims of flash floods in Northern Mindanao.
The EcoWaste Coalition called on the people to avoid crass consumerism in celebrating Christmas and instead donate generously to disaster relief and rehabilitation programs initiated by various sectors to help affected communities, especially in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
Coalition president Roy Alvarez said that by keeping the celebrations simple, “we avoid falling prey to obtuse consumerism that has veiled the genuine meaning of Christmas and literally wrapped our surroundings with trash.”
“We invite the faithful to celebrate the joyful season in a way that is closer to the simplicity of the first Christmas and to find inner happiness in looking after our fellow human beings and the environment,” he said.
The group also appealed to both public and private sectors to cancel firework shows on Christmas and the New Year and channel the funds instead to help rebuild the lives and homes of typhoon victims.
A simple celebration of Christmas would cut down unnecessary expenses and wastes, as “unrestrained celebrations eat up huge amounts of raw materials and energy, and generate voluminous wastes and pollutants, including greenhouse gases that cause the planet to heat up,” the group pointed out.
The group said “discarded plastic bags, disposable containers, packaging materials and party leftovers from Christmas bazaars and parties usually end up in marginalized communities where these are either buried or burned, posing health and environmental hazards to residents.”
“We therefore urge the public to be environmentally responsible and remember the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) as Christmas is observed,” the environmental watchdog said. (CBCPNews)

Christmas Message Of Senator Loren Legarda

Peace of mind amid the turmoil, true and genuine happiness, blessings for the body and soul, a sustainable future for all. That is my wish for you this Christmas and always. Thank you for being a part of my blessed Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Time to Grieve, A Time to Build

Christmas is a time of rejoicing. But this year in Cagayan de Oro we mourn and express our condolence for all those who have perished in the wake of Typhoon Sendong on Dec. 16-17.
In some places entire families have been washed away by the rampaging waters of Cagayan de Oro River. Others died in their sleep trapped inside their homes by the sudden rise of flood waters that reached unprecedented levels past midnight.
There are accounts of how a mother clutching the hands of two children was able to escape from the floods, only to lose another child whose pleas for help could be heard receding in the darkness of the night. Another family was able to hold on to an uprooted balete tree that floated out into Macajalar Bay and reached the shores of Camiguin Island. Floating bodies have been retrieved from the waters of nearby towns. The low-lying communities of Cala-Cala and Isla de Oro have been leveled by a tsunami-like river surge.
Practically everyone in the city has lost some relatives or personal friends in this calamity. Schools have lost some students and staff; officemates have not reported because of the condition of their homes; and a number of unidentified bodies still await a dignified burial in a common resting place.
In some of our churches, the Misa de Gallo could not be celebrated because the church became a refuge for families seeking higher ground. In one chapel, even pigs and other animals were brought in and tied at the foot of the altar. Lay ministers were scandalized until the parish priest reminded them that this must have been the same situation in the stable of that first Christmas night. We have also started to celebrate the Misa de Gallo in the evacuation centers.
Even as we grieve with those directly affected by this tragedy, the challenge for us now is to help re-build the lives and broken homes of the survivors. The evacuation centers are slowly being organized in the distribution of relief goods – in particular, water, food, medicine, mats, blankets, etc.
We are heartened to see many volunteers and organizations coming forward to share their time, energy and resources. Our affected parishes and social action workers have collaborated with government agencies in running these centers in the City Central School, West City Central School, Macasandig, Bulua, Kauswagan, Iponan, etc. The 14 centers have been providing shelter and basic needs to more than 7,000 families and 43,000 individuals. Meanwhile, the listed number of dead and missing has reached nearly 700 persons.
The longer-term challenge is to help these families re-build their present homes or re-locate to safer grounds. We are heartened by the visit of President Aquino and other public officials. His declaration of a state of national calamity and observation that families should not be allowed to return to extremely dangerous areas are welcome statements. Last January 2009, the city had already experienced severe flooding. Some old-time residents recalled that this phenomenon happens every forty years. But barely three years after that, Typhoon Sendong came with greater vengeance.
We have to cast a broader look at the entire river basin area of Cagayan de Oro River. This extends to the northwestern part of Bukidnon and surrounding areas. Illegal logging and irresponsible mining activities have contributed to the degradation of the environment and the siltation of the river bed. The erection of man-made structures may have also impeded the natural flow of the waters. (The continued hydraulic flush mining along Iponan River has likewise caused widespread flooding of the Canitoan-Iponan areas of the city.) It is for these reasons that we have to strengthen the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council, a multi-sectoral effort to protect and conserve our most precious natural resource after our human resources – the river system.
As we approach Christmas week and the coming of the new year, may I propose a Family-Adopt-a-Family program. Families unaffected by the flood can invite to their homes an evacuee family, especially those that have lost their homes or loved ones, for a few days or for a Christmas meal to share the spirit of the season. May the new-born child in the manger fill us with the spirit of solidarity in moments of adversity and hope in the sharing of love and life with one another. “Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart” (Ps. 90).
ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, S.J.
Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro
21 Dec. 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Use of same rice variety in Phl farmlands decreases yields-PhilRice

SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ, Nueva Ecija, December 18, 2011-Here’s one tip for the country’s rice farmers: don’t use one and the same rice variety over and over again. That is if you want to increase your yields.

This advice was offered by a biotech expert of the Philippine Rice Research Institute who emphasized that pests become immune when exposed to one and the same rice variety for a long time.

Thelma Padolina, chief of the Philippine Rice Research Institute’s plant breeding and biotechnology division, said resistance of rice plants to pests decreases principally due to two reasons : one due to intensive cropping and two : the use of the same variety every season.

“If pests are continuously exposed to the same variety, these might evolve into more powerful types that would overcome the resistance of the varieties,” Padolina said.

Padolina said not all outstanding traits are present in one rice variety such as high-yielding, resistant to pests, excellent grain and eating quality among others. She said PhilRice breeders keep on improving varieties to help the farmers keep pace with the evolving pests and diseases, changing climatic conditions resulting in various  stresses such as low and high temperature, submergence, salinity that reduces yield, and changing preferences of farmers, millers and consumers.

She said modern rice varieties yield higher than traditional ones as they are more efficient in absorbing nutrients and more effective in photosynthetic activities owing to plant physical traits such as short upright leaves and more tillers.

Many modern varieties, she added, are resistant to “biotic” and “abiotic” stresses. Biotic stress refers to occurrence of pests and diseases while abiotic stress includes drought, salinity, high and low temperatures, and other environmental conditions that cause harm to the plant and reduces its yield.

Padolina said while there are rice varieties that have evolved by natural and farmer selection, rice varietal development remains a priority in a country with a fast-growing population and with a rice self-sufficiency goal.

She added that PhilRice is actively pursuing breeding to provide the farmer more choices and allow him to cope with rapid changes in the biophysical and socio-economic environments as evolution by natural and farmer selection in rice is simply too slow for the needs of modern humans.  

Padolina said traditional varieties, mostly planted in the highlands, are low-yielding and late-maturing.  Based on studies, the rice produced by highland farmers is only sufficient to meet their rice consumption for five months as rice is grown between six to seven  months and yield per hectare is very low.

Furthermore, she said that an intensive cropping using traditional variety is not possible in the terraces or in the highland farms because of the varieties’ long maturity.

Although traditional varieties mature within 150-180 days, they are good sources of resistance and grain quality traits which are being replicated in the development of new and modern rice varieties. (Jason de Asis) 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Youth challenged to proclaim God’s love; be role models to others

MANILA, December 17, 2011—At the closing liturgy of the celebration of the CBCP Year of the Youth, December 15, Episcopal Commission on Youth Vice-Chairman and San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Roberto Mallari challenged the young people to continue proclaim the truth of God’s love and become role models to fellow youth.
Mallari said it is important that there are young people who will proclaim the truth of God’s Love and would challenge fellow youths to aspire for greatness because so many young people are deprived of love from their families and communities.
“The Church in the Philippines can be called a young church. Majority of our members are young. We are [a] vibrant community; full of idealism because of you my dear young people. And because you are many, you serve as a gauge and reference for the lifestyle of this world,” he said during his homily.
Mallari invited the youth to take advantage of the liveliness and aggressiveness of loving in a more radical and authentic way.
He also challenged them to go against the currents of materialism and consumerism.
“In a world marked with various forms of materialism, Catholic youth must dare to be different to manifest pure love that flows forth from Divine Love,” he added.
Mallari said that Jesus inspired the young people during the whole year celebration of the CBCP Year of the Youth and that the youth in return felt intensely the tight embrace of God’s love.
“The CBCP desired so much that during the whole year of the youth, our young people would have felt very intensely the tight embrace of God’s love for each of them and would really have deep conviction that each of them is truly loved so that they will also have the confidence to love others,” Mallari said.
He expressed that the prelates would also like to instill in each of the youth their great hopes that young people too, have to aspire for greatness.
Quoting former CBCP President and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar in his pastoral letter announcing the opening of the Year of the Youth, he said, “Dear young people, we need you. The Church needs you. Echoing the loving words of Pope Benedict XVI,…we affirm ‘your lively faith, your creative charity and the energy of your hope. Your presence renews, rejuvenates and gives new energy to the Church’.”
“In the same manner, today I urge you to give all you can [to] glorify God and His Church,” Mallari stressed.
The bishop explained that the various activities held within the celebration of the Year of the Youth, such as the visit of the relic of St. John Bosco, the beatification of Blessed John Paul II, and the National Youth Day, were not coincidences, but meant to make the young people see clearly that God loves them and is challenging them to aspire for more in their relationship with Him.
Mallari again quoted Bishop Odchimar saying, “trust that this will provide a new impetus and grace from above to pursue our desire as one Church to give a preferential option for our young people.”
Posting questions to the youth, he asked: “What are the things that we have to stop doing which we found ineffective and inefficient in our work for the youth? What are the things that we have to continue doing in line with our vision/mission statement? And finally, what are the things that we have been longing to do but we have not started yet?
“May your answers to these questions put you on the road to take seriously your journey to greatness in God’s Kingdom and help you to be more concrete in following Christ more closely and loving Him more dearly,” he concluded.
More than 500 young people from different Catholic Schools in Metro Manila and youth ministers and leaders in the dioceses of the National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog attended the closing liturgy.
Main celebrant of the Holy Eucharist was ECY Chairman and Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon, with ECY Vice-Chairman and Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando Pampanga Roberto Mallari, Infanta Bishop Rolando Tria-Tirona, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortes and eight other priests, as concelebrants.
After the mass, a simple meal was served to those who attended the closing liturgy and thanksgiving of the Episcopal Commission on Youth. (Jandel Posion)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Malolos’ outstanding youth conferred with Blessed Pedro Calungsod award

MANILA, December 16, 2011—Some 59 outstanding young people in the diocese of Malolos were conferred with Blessed Pedro Calungsod Award during the Diocesan Youth Big Day last December 10.
The diocesan commission on youth which organized the affair anticipated that this year’s celebration would bring young people to a renewed living of their Christian faith, to stand firm and strong in the pursuit of transforming society following the footsteps of the Lord.
Awards were given by Fr. Angelito Santiago, the diocesan youth director and Fr. Boyet Atienza.
Awardees were DCY volunteers, young professional and youth ministers from the 10 vicariates of the diocese.
Vicariate of St. Didacus of Alcala (Valenzuela): Paul Bryan P. Barnacea, Mark Lester E. Risma, Kim Albert C. Grabillo, Maricris A. Bacong, Delo D. Monterde, Randolf J. Yabut, Roxanne L. Asis, and Angelo N. Buhay.
Vicariate of St. Francis of Assisi (Meycauayan): Dominic Jay P. Roberto, Ralph Irvin DR. Ramos, Raffy R. Montalban, Angelo Y. Caburnay, Marydel M. de Jesus, Mark Saavedra, and Glenn Christian A. Encarnado.
Vicariate of St. Joseph the Worker (San Jose del Monte): Maria Rosario Corazon D. Sia, Princess Jackie R. Mata, and Edralyn Mabesa.
Vicariate of Immaculate Conception (Sta. Maria): Cris B. Gonzales, Jayson T. dela Cruz, Lourdes M. Bartolome, Roby Ramos and Kimberly V. Aseñas.
Vicariate of St. Martin of Tours (Bocaue): Reuben P. de Guzman and Lambert Michael I. Resurreccion.
Vicariate of St. Michael the Archangel (San Miguel): Raymart Espiritu, Angela T. Juan, Carlo Zadie delos Santos, Caithlin B. Gonzales, and Ralph Michael G. Omaña.
Vicariate of San Augustine (Baliuag): Ferdinand Guansing, Arriane S. Garcia, Kateina Mari Ann U. Martin, Eugene L. Gonzales, Robelle C. Abaquita, Darwin I. Placido, Joman S. Juan, Elchie Guevarra, Arjay R. Javier and Rowell B. de Sotto.
Vicariate of St. James the Apostle (Plaridel): Leomar Cordero, Rochelle Jose and Crispin Manalo.
Vicariate of St. Anne (Hagonoy): Jhonny C. Clemente, Rene Rose P. de Jesus, Melissa del Rosario and Vann Joseph B. Ibasco.
Vicariate of Immaculate Conception (Malolos): Cherie Rose C. Rubiano, Joanne Mica B. Cruz, and Han Benzen R. Buenaventura.
DCY volunteers, young professionals and youth ministers: Abner Cruz, Sta. Monica Parish, Former VCY Chairman-Vicariate of Baliuag, Joseph Sebastian, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, VCY Chairman-Vicariate of Hagonoy, Conrado de Castro, St. John the Baptist Parish, DCY Volunteer, Carlito Villanueva Jr., Sto. Rosario Parish, DCY Volunteer, Jerone Carlo Labausa, St. John the Baptish Hagonoy, DCY Volunteer-Music Ministry, Elimark Cruz, (DYP) Diocesan Young Professionals Member, Jan Robin Rodriguez, Youth Minister, Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and Mary Grace Principe, Sto. Cristo and St. Andrew Kim Taegon Parish Bocaue, Former DCY Staff.
Aside from the Blessed Pedro Calungsod awards, the diocesan youth big day ended with the youth jam 3. (Jandel Posion/Narwin Gonzales)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Luisita farmworkers ask CBCP for support, prayers

MANILA, December 15, 2011—Various groups of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers are seeking the support and prayers of the Catholic hierarchy for the successful implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision to distribute the 4,916 hectares of HLI to farmers.
Luisita Peasant and People’s Alliance (LUPPA); Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA); Hacienda Luisita Peasant Supporters Network; and Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikutltura (UMA) are asking the influential Catholic Bishops Conference to include them in their prayers and homilies.
“The power of prayer makes us stronger and braver most especially [in the face of] our latest information that the Luisita management is using a supervisor group to reverse [its] 14-0 decision,” said Lito Bais, Chairperson, United Luisita Workers Union- Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (ULWU-UMA), in a recent forum.
Bais added that the death of their fellow farmers and farmworkers is an inspiration for them to be more aggressive in pursuing the HLI case.
Likewise, Atty. Jobert Ilarde Pahilga, Executive Trustee of Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo and a Founding Member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer (NUPL) also asked the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA) to visit and celebrate a Eucharistic Mass in Tarlac.
“The visitation of the different Church communities, especially our beloved Bishops [to celebrate Masses in Tarlac], will be a big help to boost the moral aspects of the HLI victims,” Pahilga added.
Pahilga also hopes the CBCP-NASSA chaired by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo will continue to support the HLI farmers and persists in urging the Supreme Court to be always on the side of truth.
Also present in the forum and pledged their support for the farmers were Sr. M. Francis Añover, RSM, national Coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines –Mission Partner of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP); Lay missionary Conrad Esemple of Columban Missionaries; and ANAKPAWIS Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano, who also discussed the legislative Initiative for Land Reform.
Meanwhile, a Holy Mass was offered at the National Shrine of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque City, on December 14 in thanksgiving for the partial victory of the five-decade struggle of the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita for land and justice.
Free land distribution
“Our position is irrevocable; we want Hacienda Luisita be distributed [for free!],” this was the statement given by Felix Nacpil Jr, Chairman of the Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) on the alleged attempt to convince the Supreme Court, to reverse its early decision on the Hacienda Luisita row.
The Luisita farm worker alliance and its mother federation said petitioners of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) have been highly misinformed and gravely misled by Hacienda Luisita Inc. to pursue the scheme in vain attempt to reverse the 14-0 decision of the Supreme Court to distribute the 4,916 hectares of land to qualified farm worker beneficiaries, according to the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA).
The Supervisory Group had filed a motion for reconsideration and clarification asking the court to nullify its November 22 decision.
However, UMA secretary general Rodel Mesa questioned the motion filed by HLI supervisory group and cited that this action is the opening salvo of the Cojuangco-Aquino family to challenge the SC 14-0 decision on Luisita.
“They (HLI supervisory group) are also workers like us being exploited by the Cojuangco-Aquino. We asked them not to be used as pawn against their farm worker counterparts,” Mesa said.
“We urge them not to be deceived by the management and their cohorts among their ranks promising them fool’s gold in exchange of their support for the reinstatement of the Stock Distribution Option” Mesa added. [Yen Ocampo/CBCPNews]

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

CBCP declares ‘Year of Mission’

MANILA, December 14, 2011— The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has declared a “Year of the Pontifical Mission Societies’ on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the PMS in October 2012.
“It is to be a grace-filled year, marked by renewed enthusiasm for dedicated service as Christ’s evangelizing disciples,” said Cebu Archbishop Palma in his first pastoral exhortation as CBCP president.
The Philippine Year of the PMS will run from January 1, until December 31, 2012.
Palma said that through various activities like seminars, mission activities in Catholic schools, new mission initiatives at home and abroad, “we hope to rekindle among Filipinos a dynamic commitment to the effective preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ—even to the ends of the earth.”
The PMS, he said, have been generously serving the local Church in the Philippines since their establishment here in 1932.
Thus, he added, 2012 commemorates eight decades of uninterrupted dedication to the Church’s mission of evangelization.
Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 expressed his gratitude to the PMS for its “valuable service” and its efforts to promote “love and solidarity.”
Similarly in 2011, the pontiff once again thanked the PMS for its assistance in supporting “evangelizing activities in mission territories.”
The CBCP head encouraged the Filipino faithful to join the PMS mission events as well as various diocesan initiatives – “all in celebration of the gift of the Christian faith that dedicated missionaries brought to our shores.”
“As your bishop-shepherds, we exhort you, the Filipino faithful, to wholeheartedly respond to nationally-initiated PMS programs as well as local efforts coordinated by the PMS Diocesan Mission Directors,” Palma said. [CBCPNews]

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