Sunday, April 3, 2011

Deputy ombudsman Gonzales should be ousted from office-Kiko

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, April 4, 2011-In relation to the hostage-taking at Quirino Grandstand on August 23, 2010, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, a lawyer and formerly a chairman of the Senate Justice Committee yesterday urged for the enforcement of Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III’s removal from his post who was fired by Malacañang last March 31 in a 15 page decision released by the Office of the President declaring Gonzalez guilty of gross neglect of duty and misconduct in the performance of duty, following the Palace review of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC).

“The inordinate and unjustified delay in resolving the case of hostage-taker, former police Chief Inspector Rolando Mendoza, whose removal from service was one of the reasons for the hostage-taking that claimed the lives of eight hostages, plus Mendoza himself. On top these, the Deputy Ombudsman has been suspected of extorting money from Mendoza at the height of the hostage-taking incident,” Pangilinan said, however, Gonzalez and his superior, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, have remained defiant, saying that the President “has no judicial or quasi-judicial jurisdiction” over Gonzalez.

“The presumption of regularity must prevail on the issue of Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III. In this instance, unless constrained by the courts, the decision must be respected and the dismissal enforced,” Pangilinan pointed out, asserting that if there are no legal impediments to executing the President’s order, then Gonzalez should be removed from office. If he needs to be bodily removed from the office premises, then that should already be acted on by the appropriate police agency.

Pangilinan also made reference to the Ombudsman’s ties to the Arroyo administration, saying that unless they have forgotten that we are now under a new administration, it is time to put an end to the wanton disregard for the rule of law so characteristic of the Arroyo administration.

He furthered that there is a need to exorcise the nation from the ghosts of the past regime wherein the Constitution and the rule of law were upheld only when it served the purpose of the incumbent.

The lawmaker asserted: We should not wait for another hostage taking incident. We should follow the rule of the law. (Jason de Asis)

350,000 deaths yearly and expected to rise due to climate change

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, April 4, 2011-It was estimated that 350,000 people died yearly due to climate change due to various illnesses in the country, Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change urged the Department of Health (DOH) to improve its public health services and ensure early prevention and control of diseases.

“There is a need for the DOH to strengthen their initiatives on disease and health surveillance and enhance its awareness campaigns on climate-sensitive diseases not limited to dengue but including pulmonary infections, malaria, cholera, heatstroke, and skin infections,” Legarda said.

The Senator said that climate vulnerability monitor 2010 study showed that not disasters but diseases cause the most number of deaths by climate change, noting that from January to February of 2011 there had been at least 13,821 patients afflicted with dengue already admitted in hospitals across the country.

“According to the DOH, there were 3,640 dengue cases, a 106-percent increase from the figures recorded last year in Metro Manila alone,” she said, adding that the rise in dengue cases is alarming because the country is one of the most vulnerable to vector-borne diseases.

The Development Assistance Research Associates (DARA) which is an international organization monitors aid to victims of conflict, disasters and climate change reported that the Philippines climate and location naturally assist in the proliferation of dengue where higher temperatures and more humid climates caused by climate change favor the growth in the populations of insects and vectors that spread diseases.

Despite serious projected impacts over a range of health concerns, Legarda furthered that the study revealed that there are large gaps in adaptation policies, including health, making up just 3% of priority adaptation projects, reiterating that an estimated 350,000 people die each year due to major diseases and health disorders related to climate change.

“Unless measures are taken, by 2030, climate change will increase its toll to more than 800,000 deaths yearly,” Legarda explained, stressing that there is a need to prioritize prevention and control of climate-related diseases, and enhance the DOH’s capacity for early warning for any outbreak. (Jason de Asis)


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