Sunday, July 17, 2011

PPCRV wants closure on ‘Hello Garci’ scandal

MANILA, July 18, 2011— The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) supports moves to solve past cases of electoral fraud especially the Hello Garci scandal.
Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV chairperson, said that until those accountable for a crime have been revealed and justice has been served, the case cannot be put to rest.
“They should run after all those who had a hand in the mega cheating in the 2004 and 2007 elections,” said de Villa.
The PPCRV head also said that resolving such cases of alleged electoral fraud is one crucial step to for credible and peaceful elections in the future.
The Commission on Election earlier said it is conducting an investigation on the poll fraud claims in 2004 and 2007 after suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and dismissed Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol admitted of its legitimacy.
Malacañang, on Saturday, supported plans to revive the investigation on poll fraud but denied that they have something to do with it.
But De Villa said authorities should make sure that the Bedol’s pending cases will not be overlooked due to the looming probe.
“Bedol should be charged and, once proven guilty, penalized. But Comelec and the government should not stop with Bedol,” said de Villa.
Bedol is currently facing four charges filed by the Comelec, namely indirect contempt, as well as for violating the Omnibus Election Code (Sec. 261), the Revised Penal Code (Sec. 226), and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Sec. 3-e).
Bedol currently has a pending Warrant of Arrest issued by the Comelec en banc last October 22, 2007. [CBCPNews]

Veteran newsman loses van’s side mirrors to thieves

SAN JOSE CITY, Nueva Ecija, July 18, 2011-A veteran correspondent of People’s Journal and People’s Tonight of a daily tabloid was a victim of unidentified thieves when the two side mirrors of his Nissan Navara pick-up were carted away along the national highway here Friday night.

The victim Steve Gosuico revealed that he parked his vehicle, with license plate NXQ-378 along the Maharlika highway in Barangay Malasin at around 8:30 in the evening to take dinner at a nearby Magellan and Bar Restaurant with wife Annabelle when the incident happened.   

Gosuico said before the thieves struck, he parked the vehicle alongside other cars at an adjacent lot fronting the nearby Marquez Restaurant since Magellan’s parking area was already fully occupied.

When the couple left the resto-bar at around 10:30 pm Friday, they were aghast to find out that their pick-up’s left and right side mirrors were missing and apparently detached and stolen by unknown suspects.

“This incident was made worse by the lax security at the resto-bar,” Gosuico said, saying that when he reported it to Meliton Aglibo, Magellan bar owner, who called security guard on duty, identified as Mark Bautista, the latter said he noticed nothing unusual happening in the parking lot.

At this juncture, the couple decided to report it to the San Jose City police station. The police investigator said that their case was not an isolated one since side mirror-hacking has become the latest craze among car hackers lately.

Gosuico said that cannibalized side mirrors and its assembly parts, especially of SUVs and pick-ups, command a stiff price in surplus stores in Metro Manila and other so-called ‘chop-chop’ car shops in Central Luzon. (Jason de Asis)

Humanae Vitae’s relevance impressed on youth in anniv celebration

MANILA, July 18, 2011–At a time when society is being confronted with ideas, trends, and concrete legislative action that apparently belittle the intrinsic value of the human person, pro-life advocates are gathering to commemorate the release of a landmark encyclical that explained the Catholic Church’s teachings on the dignity of human life.
“Week for Humanae Vitae in celebration of its 43rd anniversary” will bring together students from various schools on July 19 for activities that aim to impress on them the relevance of the 1968 encyclical in modern times.
“The youth, who will be the future parents in our country, are the targets of the population control measure which the RH Bill is proven to be. Humanae Vitae will affirm the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church on love and marriage as the basis for procreation and the preservation of human life. It is critically important that our youth, guided by the wisdom and experience of the elders, are helped to appreciate the values of the Filipino family in their future, especially in their role as parents,” said Edgardo Tirona, national president of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines.
“Pope Paul VI’s encyclical is made more relevant today due to the issues confronting the Filipino family, particularly that concerning the proposed contraception-driven RH Bill. Humanae Vitae tells us not only about the value but the sanctity of life, which is a gift from God,” Tirona added about the encyclical that was released on July 25, 1968.
With the theme “Humanae Vitae: Kalakbay ng pamilya tungo sa kaganapan ng buhay,” simultaneous activities will be held at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Adamson University on July 19 from 2:00-6:00 pm.
The afternoon in both schools will have the youth participants experience video presentations, discussions and workshops, as well as talks to be given by legislators who are believers in the culture of life.
The celebration is organized by pro-life advocates led by the UST, Adamson University, Council of the Laity of the Philippines, Knights of Columbus, Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association (MAPSA), Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), and the Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila (CFAM).
For more details, please contact Edgardo Tirona at tel. 527-5388; Agui Jalin of the UST Institute of Religion at 0922-8411611 or email; or Atty. Julius Babista of Adamson University at tel. 400-0923 or email (CBCP for Life)

31 OFWs laid off due to Nitaqat system—Migrante-ME

MANILA, July 18, 2011—If Saudization scheme is not affecting Filipino professionals in the Kingdom, think again. The number of illegally terminated Filipino workers had already reached 31, and that number, said Migrante-Middle East, will continue to rise as the Saudi Labor Ministry intensifies the implementation of Nitaqat system in order to give jobs to their nationals.
In an email, Migrante-ME regional coordinator John Leonard C. Monterona said that the Philippine Labor Department should proactively assist those affected by the Saudization scheme and be true to its words that there are jobs waiting for the terminated Pinoys in Saudi in the Philippines.
“Recent addition to the information we are receiving [about the mass termination] are Filipino nurses working in government and private hospitals in Jeddah, western part of Saudi Arabia,” Monterona revealed to
But Monterona admits that these reports are yet to be verified with the Philippine Embassy officials in Jeddah.
“I’m trying to call Philippine Labor attaché Vicente Cabe, but to no avail. I need to inform him about these reports and confirm if this information are true. If true, then he should be devising plans in order to help these laid off nurses,” he said.
On the other hand, Migrante-ME has also set-up its own hotline to assist migrants in Saudi if ever they are terminated by their employers.
Dubbed as “Sagip Migrante,” the project aims to document, consolidate reports and to refer laid off migrants to concerned government agency for legal and economic assistance.
“If they have concerns, problems or reports, they can reach us here through mobile numbers 00966535921228 and 00966564978012. For the families of affected OFWs in the Philippines, they can reach our Manila central office through phone number +63921 270 9079 and +63932 399 5952,” Monterona said. (Noel Sales Barcelona)

Laoag Carmel marks Year of the Youth in novena masses for young people

LAOAG City, July 17, 2011—The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Laoag offered their novena masses leading to the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for young people aimed at creating deeper awareness among the faithful the importance of youth ministry in the Church, in this year of the youth.
The novena masses became a venue for the faithful to realize the role of the youth in the Church and the great impact adults have on them to lead a true Christian life.
Themed “Celebrating the Year of the Youth with Jesus through Mary,” the nine-day masses had a daily topic for homilist to reflect on and share to the faithful.
The topics were “The Youth of the 21st Century,” “Youth: Hope of the Nation,” “Youth: Hope of the Church,” “Children and Youth: Blessings from God,” “Parents: First Educators of the Youth,” “The Youth and the Kingdom of God,” “Youth Evangelizing the Youth,” “Youth Saints: Models of the Youth,” and “Mary and Her Love for the Youth.”
Newly-appointed Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio L. Utleg, who serves also as the Diocesan Administrator of the vacant see of Laoag, was the main celebrant on July 16, the feast of Our Lady.
“It is a challenge to all of us, but particularly to the youth, to be a Saint,” the prelate told the faithful.
“But it is sometimes hard to achieve this because our culture has placed a different meaning for holiness,” he explained.
The archbishop added that adults have the responsibility to guide the youth and nurture their idealism.
“The youth is very vulnerable to the things outside them and we need to guide them to holiness. A person who is not striving for holiness is not being faithful to his vocation,” he reminded the people.
It has become a tradition for the people of Laoag to flock the monastery to join the novena and celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
The nuns took the opportunity to update the faithful on the celebrations of the Church, especially the CBCP-Year of the Youth.
They hoped that through the nine-day prayer, people will understand more the youth and their situation and help them in their daily struggle towards holiness, as well as make them feel they have a home inside the Church. (Mark Vertido)

P18.4-B dam project to maximize Tarlac rice production says NIA executives

Balog-Balog Dam Project.

TARLAC CITY, July 17, 2011-A top official of the National Irrigation Administration said here yesterday that the construction of the long-stalled P18.4-billion Balog-Balog Multi-purpose Project (BBMP) would enable Tarlac – home province of President Aquino – to move out of its unenviable position as irrigation tail-ender in Central Luzon and one of the provinces with the lowest irrigation output in the entire country.

Vicente R. Vicmudo, BBMP project manager revealed that the project, which is programmed to irrigate 34,410 hectares of agricultural lands in Tarlac, would boost agricultural productivity and mitigate flooding in low-lying areas in the province.

Vicmudo said that while Tarlac has 102,000 hectares in agricultural lands, which makes it a major production center in Central Luzon, only 32,670 hectares or 29 percent of its 114,530-hectare irrigable area are presently irrigated, the lowest irrigation development percentage-wise among the seven provinces in the region, noting that Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Aurora and Pampanga have considerably high percentage of irrigation development with each reaching up to 70 percent.

“Nueva Ecija and Bulacan are tied at first in terms of the percentage of irrigation development at 74 percent each while Tarlac is dead-last, mired in seventh place with a lowly 29 percent irrigation output,” Vicmudo said, citing statistics from the NIA’s corporate planning (Corplan) division.

The region’s rice granary and onion bowl in Nueva Ecija has total irrigable area of 208,640 hectares of which 155,422 hectares are service areas while Bulacan has a total irrigable area of 51,970 hectares of which 38,225 hectares are service areas.

Aurora has an existing service area of 11,920 hectares out of its total irrigable area of 16,630 hectares, representing 72 percent while Pampanga has an existing service area of 39,900 hectares, representing 70 percent of its total irrigable area of 57,370 hectares.

Bataan has a total service area of 7,817 hectares out of its total irrigable area of 11,520 hectares (68 percent) while Zambales is way behind with only 12,503 hectares out of its total irrigable area of 38,200 hectares serviced by irrigation (33 percent).

Vicmudo said that the irrigation sector in Tarlac is so underdeveloped that at least 81,860 hectares of lands still need to be developed, followed by Nueva Ecija with 53,218 hectares, Zambales (25,967 has.), Pampanga (17,470 has.), Bulacan (13,745 has.), Aurora (4,710 has.) and Bataan (3,703 has.).

Vicmudo said if the fact that Tarlac brings up the rear in terms of irrigation development in the region were not enough, the province also ranks as no. 6 among the provinces with the lowest irrigation output in the entire country. He attributed the low irrigation rate of Tarlac to the eruptions of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 which wiped out some 14,000 hectares of irrigated farmlands in the province.

“This is a pity considering that Tarlac is being primed up as a major food production center in the region. That’s why we need to bring the BBMP to fruition to pump-prime the agricultural economy in Tarlac,” he said, adding that the government should undertake the BBMP not only to restore old areas devastated by the lahar flows in the heavily silted O’Donnel and Tarlac rivers but also to generate new areas.

Vicmudo clarified that the BBMP – which is being supported by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, NIA administrator Antonio Nangel, Gov. Victor Yap and other local officials in the province -  is not a political project as insinuated by critics who claimed it was being pursued because it is located in President Aquino’s turf.

“The development of the Balog-Balog Dam must be pursued and completed under the administration of President Aquino not because it is located in his own province and thus, is perceived by critics as a political project but because it is extremely necessary as it is the only major source of irrigation in the province. It’s not a political whim,” he said.          

The BBMP was conceived during the term of Aquino’s late mother, then-President Corazon Aquino. But it was only implemented in 1999 starting Phase 1 involving the development of 12,475 hectares at a cost of P2.362 billion.

Phase 2 of the project, covering the period 2012-2017 involves the development of 21,935 hectares of farmlands at a cost of P16.095 billion.

The BBMP involves construction of a 113.5-meter high rockfill dam and a 1,800-hectare reservoir with a storage capacity of 625 million cubic meters and a power plant with an installed capacity of 43.5 megawatts. Its other features include construction of 433.25-meter long diversion tunnel and a 368.39-meter power tunnel and provision for flood control and inland fisheries production.

The project intends to rehabilitate and improve existing irrigation canals to irrigate 8,600 hectares in the service area of the Tarlac River Irrigation and 5,700 hectares in the San Miguel-O’Donnel River Irrigation System (Smoris) area, implement a resettlement program for 600 affected families and strengthen 130 irrigators’ associations for the efficient operation and maintenance of the irrigation system.

“This project would increase cropping intensity in the impact zone from 120 percent to 190 percent, thus, increasing crop production and farm income. It would also generate jobs in the on-farm and off-farm levels and boost the eco-tourism industry in province,” Vicmudo said. 

The project would benefit 23,000 farmers and irrigate 34,410 hectares in the province once completed. (Jason de Asis)


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