Thursday, March 10, 2011

Senate sought repayment scheme for study now pay later programs

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 11, 2011-Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. asked Malacaňang to execute a student-friendly repayment scheme to ensure success of "study now-pay later" program of the government where the Department of Education (DepEd) should carefully study the feasibility programs.

“The government, through the Department of Education (DepEd), should know by now the pitfalls of the student loan program and be able to avoid them by crafting a better repayment scheme that is both efficient and workable whereby students would not be saddled by payment obligations long after graduation,” the Senator said.

Last week, the Senate heard various bills sought to beef up schools financial program particularly by establishing a national student loan program, reiterating that the DepEd should carefully study the feasibility of the measures as well as analyze successful models all over the world.

Marcos cited the experiences in some schools in England and in the United States, whereby students could not timely meet their loan obligations to their schools, such that their delinquencies extended even after they have graduated.

It was revealed in the hearing that the Philippines was no stranger to the phenomenon in the Western countries, since, according to the DepEd, student loan programs presently in use in the Philippines have a dismal repayment rate of 0%, although the rate has recently improved to 4%.

Study-now-pay-later program is a scheme of providing loan or credit to the poor but deserving students who are enrolled in any of the DepEd priority courses in selected education institutions in the Philippines.

Relative to this, Senator Edgardo J. Angara also urged the DepEd for the overhauling of the student loan system in the country, saying that there is a need for the restructuring on it so that we can subsidize the education of our future, professionals, scientists and leaders. (Jason de Asis)

Legarda urged local legislators enacting local ordinances for climate change

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 11, 2011-In the recent 8th Philippine Councilors League National Congress held at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, Senator Loren Legarda, principal author of Republic Act 9729 otherwise known as the Climate Change Act of 2009 urged the local legislators to take the initiative in passing local ordinances in their communities disaster-resilient by translating national environmental climate change and disaster risk reduction laws that she created for the concern of their populace.

Legarda, the UNISDR Asia-Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation said that the Philippines has already established the national policies on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation through the Climate Change Act and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act (RA 10121) and the climate change is one of the most daunting issues that the country and the rest of the world faces today.

In her delivered speech, she said that there is a need to back it up with actions from the local level in every town, city or municipality saying that the councilors have the responsibility to translate these laws into local ordinances that would fit into the specific needs in their respective locality and constituent.

“Climate Change Act empowers and equips local government units with the necessary mandate, knowledge, skills and tools, to develop their own disaster risk reduction and climate change action plan within their jurisdiction as a way to reduce losses in life and assets due to disasters,” She said, adding that to win this battle, there is a need to intensify initiatives that have been taking roots in local communities where they are already familiar in the place the vulnerable disasters prone areas to be considered for quick action.

Legarda said that local leaders should ensure Local Government Unit’s programs that are ready for climate change where she said that there is a need to work hand-in-hand for our political will and actions for safer schools, hospitals, for disaster-resilient cities and municipalities so that everybody can be a climate heroes fighting against risk. (Jason de Asis)

Chiz challenged retired AFP David to restore the image of BI

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 10, 2011-Senator Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, challenged the new immigration head to restore the image of the graft-ridden agency of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) as he welcomed the appointment of retired Armed Forces chief of staff Ricardo A. David.

Malacaňang announced the appointment of David to replace Ronaldo P. Ledesma three days after he ended his duty in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Ledesma was being blamed for the fiasco involving the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals.

Escudero said that David appointment was a positive move in the light of the issues confronting the bureau that need immediate attention where he welcomed the new Bureau chief as he challenged David to rid the agency of corruption and improve the level of performance in the bureau to make it more efficient and reliable.

The Senator is expecting that General David will put things in order in the bureau and address the nagging issues of corruption and he wanted to see a newly reformed immigration bureau under the tight watch of the new chief.

Last week, the Senator sought for the resignation and immediate replacement of Ledesma for mishandling the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals to mainland China, which has jeopardized the country's economic ties with Taiwan and put at risk current employment for almost 100,000 Filipinos in Taiwan and causing lost job opportunities for thousands more. Ledesma is still facing a contempt threat from the court of appeals over the deportation of the said Taiwanese despite a standing habeas corpus order. (Jason de Asis)


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