Wednesday, March 2, 2011
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 3, 2011-Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, yesterday sought for the immediate approval of Magna Carta for Environment Workers where he expressed concern over the alarming rate of killings involving environmental workers following the death of an environment official in Samar due to timber poaching.
The Senator condemned the barbaric death of Pierre Gillo, 51, officer in charge of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) in Sta. Rita, Samar, who was shot to death by unidentified assailants riding on a motorcycle last February 25, 2011 outside his house in V&G Subdivision in Tacloban City where the authorities believed that Gillo was killed due to his campaign against illegal logging activity in Santa Rita, some 40 km away from Tacloban City.
Zubiri said that there is a need to intensify campaign against illegal logging operation in the country to protect our green army, our environmental officers on the ground, who are helpless against big time logging operators and criminals.
There were more than 120 government environmental workers who were killed in the line of duty since 1987 according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) statistics.
DENR Ramon Paje said that the department had lost about eight personnel from July 2010 to present, thus Zubiri expressed his commitment to push for the immediate passage of the Magna Carta for Environment Workers saying that there is a need to ensure their safety, benefits and recognition to our Green army, volunteers, cops, soldiers and lawyers who are tasked to protect, preserve and maintain the quality of our environment and natural resources.
He said that the task to protect our natural resources is not a walk in the park where he appealed to his colleagues to pass Senate Bill 2550 or the Magna Carta for Environment and Natural Resources Personnel which aims to promote and to improve the health, physical safety, social and economic well-being of the environment and natural resources personnel, their living and working conditions, security and terms of employment.
The said bill seeks to develop their skills and capabilities in order that they will be more responsive and better equipped to deliver environmental management functions and it also offered benefits for them to remain in government service.
Protection and benefits shall be given to the personnel of DENR, its Bureaus, Regional Officers, and attached Agencies, environmental units in the other government agencies and the ecological waste management department of the local government units including forest rangers and park rangers, according to the said bill including the private individuals and groups who are engaged in the protection of the environment such as NGOs and environmental units of private corporations or enterprises.
Those who are involved in hazardous undertakings such as field inspectors, waste monitoring and sampling specialists and those whose duties expose them to radiation, volcanic eruption and other occupational risks will be granted hazard allowance equivalent to 25% of the monthly basic salary while the environmental workers will also get highest basic salary upon retirement, higher insurance premium and increase medical examination package.
He said that if the Magna Carta for Environmental Workers will be approved, it will hasten the investigation, form a task force for environmental killings alone and apprehend the perpetrators the soonest possible time. Recognition for our environmental workers who continue to put their lives at great risk should be granted. (Jason de Asis)
BALER, Aurora, March 3, 2011-The militant organization here from the Multi-Sectoral Action Group is set to remember in a simple ceremony the reportedly missing for five (5) years who was known as a hard hitting radio commentator airing on DZJO FM.
Mr. Joey Estriber, 37 years old, host of the radio program Pag-usapan Natin (Let’s Talk About It) was abducted at around 6:20 p.m. March 3, 2006 by unidentified men near an internet café here. Witnesses said that they saw Estriber resisted his abductors, shouting as he was being dragged to a maroon Besta van with tinted windows and no plate number. The Witnesses saw four men surrounded Estriber and threw him into the van face down, after which the van moved south toward the central school, saying that the same van had been parked in the area hours before the abduction.
Estriber left behind a pair of slippers. Two text messages sent through his cellphone were received half an hour later, saying "Huwag kayong mag-alala, ok lang ako," (Don't worry, I'm all right.) and "Nagtatago ako." (I am hiding.) However, those who received the two text messages from Estriber’s cellphone doubted if he was the one who sent the messages.
Estriber, was an active Bataris member, a church-based non-government organization here who was tagged by the soldiers as supporter of rebels in the province and said that this was the reason for his abduction. In mid-February, the Philippine Army’s 48th Infantry Battalion raided the Bataris office. At about the same time, a military officer claimed on radio that members of non-government organizations like Bataris are in the military's "order of battle."
Estriber was speaker at a forum where four soldiers reportedly tried to force their way in. Family members have made the rounds of radio and police stations but they were unable to gather information about Estriber’s abduction.
Militant groups are seeking justice for the victim through candle lighting vigil. (Arnel Turzar, DZJO FM, CMN-Baler, Aurora)
SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga, March 3, 2011-Hundred families and relatives of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), students, and parishioners of the Catholic Church in Pampanga are expected to gather to celebrate the national Migrants day on March 6 at Santo Tomas town headed by Reverend Father Arnie Serrano, the director of the Archdiocese Commission on Family and Life.
Ed Balagtas, core group member and head of paralegal and advocacy of the Pampanga Archdiocesan Migrants’ Desk (PAMD) said that the group was organized to provide various services and assistance to families of OFWs in the province where Father Serrano has lined-up various activities to make the annual celebration of migrants’ day more meaningful to the families and relatives of OFWs.
Balagtas said that they already advised the participants to assemble at seven o’clock in the morning at the Pampanga provincial Capitol before going to the St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Santo Tomas where a mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Paciano B. Aniceto.
The PAMD will award the winners in the provincial search for the top three outstanding sons and daughters of migrant workers dubbed Gawad Anak ng OFW after the mass.
Rose Clarie Feliciano, PAMD core group member said that the provincial winners will vie for the national search for the ten outstanding sons and daughters of OFWs scheduled on March 17, adding that on the same day, a service forum will be held with representatives of government agencies concerned with the welfare of OFWs as resource persons.
The local Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), Social Security System and the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) were also invited including the Pampanga Action Center for OFW Concerns (PACOC), an office recently established by Governor Lilia G. Pineda to provide necessary services and assistance to Capampangans who work abroad, has also been invited to participate in the said service forum.
Earlier, the PAMD was organized five years ago and has been conducting family counseling, especially in matters of spiritual concerns, and providing linkage services with agencies of the government among the families of the OFWs which aimed to strengthen the families left behind by the migrant workers by providing necessary counseling services through the parish migrant desk coordinators.
Records showed that the PAMD has coordinators in the parishes of San Roque and St. Rafael in Lubao; St. James in Betis, Guagua; Sto. Tomas; Virgen delos Remedios in Dila-Dila, Sta. Rita; Holy Rosary in Angeles City; Sacred Heart in Palmayo and Divine Mercy in San Jose and Mother of Perpetual Help in Gutad, all in Floridablanca; Sto.Niño in the City of San Fernando; and La Consolacion and Immaculate Conception, both in Guagua. (Jason de Asis)
TARLAC CITY, March 3, 2011-The provincial government of Tarlac will launch a two (2) day Mega jobs fair at the Diwa ng Tarlac saying that thousands of overseas careers will be offered billed as “Handog Trabaho ni Gob. sa Kanyang Kaarawan”.
The occupations needed are motorpool workers (auto-mechanics/electricians/painters/denters/ auto aircon tech), medical & hospital staff (nurse/laboratory technicians/ therapists/medical secretaries/x-ray technicians), construction workers (carpenters/H.E. operators/masons/plumbers/rebar/electrician), maintenance workers, engineers, I.T. personnel, cooks, waiters, dressmakers, baby sitters, drivers, reflexologists and manicurists.
The applicants are advised to bring with them the necessary pre-employment requirements like resume, ID pictures, transcript of records or diploma and clearances where the provincial government reminds jobseekers that they will only be entertained from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon.
The said fair will not be charging application, entrance and registration fees from those applicants according to the participating recruiters from the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI). (Jason de Asis)
NORTHERN, Aurora, March 2, 2011-Farmers and villagers in Dilasag, Casiguran, and Dinalungan here watch out for the Aurora e-village Roadshow which started yesterday until March 3 where the event serves as a jumpstart of Aurora e-village (Phase II) in the said areas which are facilitated by the Development workers from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and Provincial Government of Aurora (PGA).
The project came into reality through the efforts of Senator Edgardo J. Angara where the roadshow is expected to facilitate stakeholders’ awareness of the project and the various agricultural information services that they can access through Information and Communication Technologies or ICTs. The provision of ICT wares and infrastructure is just one of the project’s components.
The Aurora e-village website (http://www.aurora.gov.ph/e-village/) and Aurora e-village Text Center (3914400 for Smart Subscribers and 0908-896-8278 for other networks) are among the services highlighted during the activity, saying that these e-services are developed specifically for the benefit of Aurora stakeholders. The participants experience computer hands-on activity and win freebies from collaborating agencies.
Last year, the Phase I of the e-village was officially launched in Baler, Maria Aurora, Dipaculao, and San Luis followed by related activities such as project orientations for other stakeholders, ICT trainings, kiosk management seminars, and livelihood seminars.
The Aurora e-village Project aimed to give farmers the opportunity to have easier access to farm and market online information that will help them improve productivity, build stakeholders’ capability to retrieve and use information significant to their farming lives. (Jason de Asis)
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 2, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations urged the government to change strategy to keep pace with the troubles in the Middle East in order to lessen the negative impact on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) affecting the economy in the continues rise in crude oil prices.
He said that there is a need to learn to anticipate instead of waiting and then reacting to the events in the crisis, saying that a sense of urgency is needed for we are facing serious global situation particularly the affected Filipinos.
“There are two (2) major and inevitable effects of the unrest in the Middle East for the Filipinos where it will directly affect the OFWs currently based in Middle Eastern countries adding that these people might be put out of their jobs if the problem continues and they might be put into harm’s way if they stay.
This is an offshoot of the turmoil in the Middle East and has impact in the Philippine economy. Angara explained that the region supplies much of the world’s crude oil, and as an oil-dependent country, the rise of oil prices would translate into higher transportation fares, then higher food prices and an overall increase in the cost of living. This would ultimately give an unneeded boost to the country’s inflation rates and surely be felt first by the poverty-stricken citizenry.
“The administration should take pro-active measures so that the country’s people and economy stay safe,” Angara said, explaining that it has a domino-effect in the countries of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and other lands in the Gulf area where a lot of Filipinos work in those places.
The Senator said that there is also a need to put additional funds for the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to good use in providing OFWs a way back to the Philippines and helping them once they get here.
Meanwhile, there are still 4,097 Filipinos awaiting evacuation from Libya and finally repatriation to the Philippines according to DOLE Middle East Crisis Monitoring Center while 3,544 Filipinos are already out where transportation to the Philippines is in various stages.
OWWA reported that they are ready to provide Php10,000 grant assistance to every OFW coming home from Libya in addition to the package assistance of National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NCRO) such as job placements and business loan. (Jason de Asis)
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