Tuesday, April 26, 2011

300 South Koreans and Phl mountaineers to trek Aurora’s Mt. Falcon

SAN LUIS, Aurora, April 27, 2011-Professor Leonardo Usita, president of the environmentalist group Noble Blue Falcons International reported that at least 300 mountaineers and environmentalists from the Philippines and South Korea will embark tomorrow in a bold attempt to conquer Mt. Falcon in this town.

Usita said that the mountaineering adventure was dubbed as “Akyat Kalikasan,” was meant to drum up multi-sector support to save the Sierra Madre mountain rangers, the country’s longest mountain range.

“The climb for a cause activity will start April 29 and end on May 1, culminating in a lung-busting hike atop Mt. Falcon which, at 5,231.60 ft. above sea level is one of Central Luzon’s highest peaks and is considered to be the toughest to climb,” Usita said, adding that the mountain trek is more than just a simple climb.

“Conquering Mt. Falcon is not just an adventure. It is our way of promoting Aurora as an eco-tourism haven,” he said, saying that it is said to be Central Luzon’s stiffest mountain.

He said that the Blue Falcons mountaineers, who have become a global organization, will retrace their roots in Mt. Falcon, Ditumabo here in San Luis, Aurora where it was founded on March 19, 1996 by Sir Edward J. England.

Usita said that the event will also be highlighted by a peaceful prayer rally for the successful implementation of Executive Order 23 issued last February by President Aquino directing a moratorium on cutting of trees in natural and residual forests nationwide, including the province. “In effect, this is a celebration of our victory against logging in Aurora, a battle which we have waged over the past 15 years,” he said.

“I would like to add that aside from Filipino and South Korean mountaineers, also will join in the mountain trek are peace volunteers, hospital personnel, fitness buffs, fire personnel, government employees, religious groups and media practitioners,” he said.

“The Greenpeace, UST Hospital, Gold’s Gym, Philippine National Red Cross, Department of Foreign Affairs-Katribu Climbers , Bureau of Fire Protection, Green-Philippines, Rotary Club of San Juan, Hotel SOGO, ESports Daily News climbers,   Kibbal, Ordo Luminis Legis, St. Mary’s College-QC., CUB’71, Aurora National Science High School, Genesis Bus Trekkers, Bagong Henerasyon Climbers and Christian pastors are also part of this activity,” he added.

The 414,000-strong NBFI, which includes 8,000 green armies in Aurora, have been in the forefront of protecting Aurora’s biodiversity against corrupt local officials, timber poachers, illegal loggers and their financiers. (Jason de Asis)

Sotto law to be amended for the benefit of media practitioner says Sotto III

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, April 27, 2011-Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto C. III today seeks to amend the law introduce by his grandfather and to continue to be enjoyed by media practitioners in exercising press freedom to include cable and internet-based media exempting them from revealing their sources of information, saying that today’s modern technology and various social networking sites are already being used for faster dissemination of current events where existing laws should be made to conform with the emerging new medium of mass communications.

Sotto III furthered that technology has advanced by leaps and bounds and with it, the expansion of coverage of mass media where news and investigative reports are not only broadcast through the print media but also through radio, television, cable and internet.

In his Senate Bill No. 41, Sotto III said that the law was conceived at a time when today’s technology was unthinkable. Nonetheless, the purpose of the law protecting and enhancing the freedom of the press, so as to inform the public of current events and issues that affect their lives, remains relevant and important where he proposed for an amendment to R.A. No. 53 to include responsible personnel from radio, television, cable and internet-based media from the exemption provided by the law to conforms in the fast-changing technology and further protect the freedom of the press.

Sotto III also proposed for an amendment in section 1, to also cover station manager, producer, news director or duly accredited reporter of any print, broadcast or electronic mass media, including but not limited to newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation.

He said that such persons representing media entities in radio, television, cable, internet site and other electronic media outlets, cannot be compelled to reveal the source of their news items obtained in confidence, unless the court or any of the two Houses of Congress or any of its committees finds that such revelation is demanded by the interest of the State.

In 1946, the late Senator Vicente Yap Sotto authored R.A. No. 53, otherwise known as an act to exempt the publisher, editor or reporter of any publication from revealing the source of Published news or information obtained in confidence. At times they called it “Sotto Law” which was put in place when dissemination of news and investigative reports were not as sophisticated as today. (Jason de Asis)

US-Australia offer technical and financial assistance to Phl disaster preparedness

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, April 27, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission of Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) yesterday said that the government should take advantage of the technical and financial assistance to develop disaster science and preparedness that the United States and Australian governments are offering.

He said that COMSTE will participate in the event sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command, the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, the Experimentation Center, and the Office of Naval Research Global, adding that 2011 Forum on Post-Disaster Water and Waste Management will bring together the research and development (R&D) and operational communities from the Philippines and the United States in an interactive environment where current technologies and operational needs can be discussed.

“It will focus on water purification, water distribution and waste management (W3M) which are critical concerns during post-disaster Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) operations,” Angara said, adding that the W3M aspires to provide a forum where stakeholders from the HA/DR operational community can convey their requirements to researchers, and for those researchers to describe their current research projects to the operational stakeholders.

“The interaction is designed to foster the development of more effective HA/DR W3M technologies which may someday support the fielding of portable/mobile systems designed to alleviate the effect of future disasters on civilian populations,” Angara said, noting that the event will help one of the main priorities of COMSTE, which is the expansion of the Philippine Disaster Science Management Center (DSMC).

He said that the Australian government has also committed P 720 million to help the country implement a disaster risk management plan on the local level, saying that the announcement was made by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), which has also launched a book entitled, “Rising to the Call”, which documents ideal practices in disaster-risk reduction and climate change adaptation on the 21 provinces of the Philippines.

“The DSMC is needed to help us to prepare for the earthquakes and similar disasters that will continue to threaten the country, noting that the government needs to be able to understand how to develop an advanced and real-time information dissemination strategy so people can better prepare to handle such events.

DSMC will also house a training center that will focus on scenario-type learning utilizing technology for disaster mitigation and management. He said that Taiwan and Japan are already actively cooperating with training of local experts for situations like floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. It will also help the scientific community to better understand the mechanics of managing disasters with the cooperation of neighboring countries that have experienced similar storms and natural calamities like the country. (Jason de Asis) 


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