Monday, March 14, 2011

Consultation on the proposed postponement of ARMM 2011 election needed

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 15, 2011-Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on local government, urged Malacanang to establish first the true sentiments of the villagers living at the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on the proposed postponement of the scheduled elections in 2011 where he said that a consultation should be conducted first in the areas of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Marawi City.

Marcos reminded the Palace officials that the deferment of the August 8, 2011 elections in the ARMM should first clearly establish the true sentiments of the people of ARMM regarding the Palace's bill seeking to postpone elections to 2013 and appointing Officers-in-charge (OIC's) in the interim.

The Senator emphasized that the administration must avoid being seen as imposing their own demands particularly in a region whose acronym begins with the word 'autonomous' making the proposed postponement and subsequent appointments of OIC's an irony if not an outright affront to what is core to the charter itself, adding that the 'autonomy' status of that region must give due respect to in the deliberations regarding the elections scheduled for August of this year.

Prior to this, Marcos advised the government’s plan to appoint OICs who shall sit in the meantime until the synchronized elections in 2013 and the postponement of the ARMM August elections this year saying that it is complicated to be understood by the citizenry.

In the view that barangay officials had to have a fresh mandate from the people, Marcos said that the Palace had last year just rejected calls for the postponement of the barangay elections; thus, it was logical that ARMM elections should also be allowed to proceed so that the brothers and sisters in ARMM could freely choose their leaders.

He said that local officials told him that the ARMM villagers would not recognize officials who were just appointed that would cause a great deal of confusion and might deteriorate into a complete political chaos in the place, explaining that appointing officials violates the principle of the mandates of public officials who are supposed to be elected.

Marcos believed that the best way to cleanse political mess is election, an honest, straightforward and clean election then we can be guaranteed that those who will sit in power shall in fact have been chosen by their own constituency. (Jason de Asis)

Disaster preparedness needed in the country

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 15, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara Yesterday expressed his concern over the disaster preparedness of the Philippines resulting to more than 2,000 dead from the massive 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last Friday where it set off tsunami alerts in 53 different areas in the Pacific, including the Eastern seaboard of the Philippines and the people living near the coastlines were evacuated to higher ground until the risk of being hit by a tsunami passed.

Angara said that the Philippines is fortunate to have not been severely affected by this catastrophe which crippled Japan despite all their measures to safeguard the people and the infrastructure.

“What if we are not so lucky next time,” Angara asked, saying that the Philippines is not nearly as prepared facing such kind of disaster where the “Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis”, a joint study by the Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the World Bank Hazard Management Unit reported that the Philippines is a high-risk area in drought, earthquakes, floods, landslides, storms, and volcano eruptions as the primary indicators combined with mortality and economic loss to establish the risk level for a particular region.

“It was no surprise that the Philippines was classified like that, since we have seen our fair share of calamities and natural disasters which seem to happen more frequently in recent years,” Angara said, saying that the country was hitstruck more than two dozen typhoons a year which rank high in the storm, floods and landslide categories where our archipelago is also part of the Ring of Fire in the Pacific area with several active volcanoes scattered throughout the country.

“The country is among the top 20 worldwide when it comes to emergency loans due to catastrophe,” Angara added, where he believes that there is a need to become more proactive at this point in time and have to establish preventive measures instead of waiting for the next natural disaster that hit the country then scrambling for the right response.

“Knowledge and better preparation facing the disaster will lead the citizenry to lessen casualty,” he said.

Meanwhile, there are more than 80 thousand villagers who were retrieved for radiation threat 20 kilometer exclusion zone away from the Fukushima nuclear power plants for their safety, following the explosion in the place which resulted to 11 casualty and 1 critical in Japan. (Jason de Asis)

Senate approves two bills for 2011 career executive system act and decriminalizing vagrancy

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 15, 2011-The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading the two bills for career executive system act (CASA) of 2011 and bill decriminalizing vagrancy.

Senate bill number 2671 otherwise known as CASA is designed for effective, efficient and responsible administration of government officials and seek to strengthen the bureaucracy by professionalizing the ranks of government managers and executives.
Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, who authored the bill along with Senator Bong Revilla said that the passage of the measure would help minimize political appointments and ensure that all government officials are eligible under the Civil Service Law.

Trillanes furthered that this measure will ensure that our civil servants will follow the principles of merit and fitness in the government and will insulate the Career Executive System and Career Executive Service Board (CESB) from political interference and encourage the professionalization of our government managers and executives.

“CESB is a policy-making body responsible for the development, training and administration of civil managers and executives and was formed to create a continuing pool of well-selected development-oriented career administrators,” Trillanes said, adding that it will be transferred to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) from the wings of the Office of the President, a step seen to curb political accommodations under the bill.

With the CSC being the central personnel agency of the government, the Senator explained that the bill will provide harmonization to the policies, rules and regulations pertaining to government personnel, saying that the legislation would also ensure that civil service officials will be prescribed a fixed tour of duty of three years during which they cannot be transferred to other offices or positions without consent of the CSC.
“The civil servant serves as the government backbone,” Trillanes said, stressing that to install a system which would ensure merit and fitness among our government employees regardless of rank is required.

Meanwhile, the bill decriminalizing vagrancy, a proposal Trillanes co-sponsored with five other senators was also put forward to remove vagrancy as a criminal offense in the Revised Penal Code because it has become a common excuse for law enforcers to detain, arrest or bring to the police station any person the police don’t have sufficient reasons to arrest or those with no specific crime to charged with under Senate bill number 2726 which authored by Senator Chiz Escudero, chairman of the committee on justice and human rights. (Jason de Asis)


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