Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nueva Ecija solon files house bill creating the Central Luzon railways body

SAN JOSE CITY, Nueva Ecija, August 17, 2011-To ensure faster and safer transport service and accelerate trade and commerce in the region and all provinces in northern Luzon, Second district Congressman Joseph Gilbert F. Violago filed House Bill 5062, entitled “An Act Creating the Central Luzon Railways Corporation” whose main office is in this city and with branch offices in Tarlac City and Angeles City.

The proposed creation of a railways corporation in Central Luzon seeks the construction of a two-phased railway networks encompassing the region within a 10-year period. Phase 1 covers this city, Science City of Muñoz and Guimba town, Victoria town and Tarlac city while Phase 2 will pass through Tarlac City to Capas to its last station at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

“The corporation will own and operate the railway system, tramlines and other forms of land transportation, vessels and pipelines for transporting passengers, mails and property from San Jose City to Tarlac up to Clark,” Violago said.

The firm will have an authorized capital stock of P1 billion divided into P10 million shares at par value of P100 which will be fully subscribed by the national government. Some 40 percent of the P1 billion or P400 million will be initially paid-up and the balance will be paid from a continuing annual appropriation of not less than P200 million.

Under the measure, the allocation of five percent of the proceeds from the value-added tax for 10 years for its future expansion covering the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan and Zambales which will be administered by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC); however, the corporation will not be subject to the authority and supervision of the Land Transportation Office and the Philippine National Railways.           

Under the bill’s explanatory note, it observed that the PNP used to operate a 479-kilometer railway system from La Union up to the Bicol Region with its North Main Line serving the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan and La Union and Batangas on the South Main Line. However, due to neglect and mismanagement, this was drastically reduced and buses became the most favored mode of mass transport.

He noted that the Northrail project will partly replace the North Main Line but due to numerous legal, technical and administrative problems, and anomalies, a cloud of doubt hangs on the project.

In pushing for a railways corporation for the region, Violago said that the system may utilize either the McArthur Highway in the western side or the Maharlika Highway, also known as the Pan-Philippine Highway in the eastern side where no goods or passengers reach Manila without having to pass either route.

“Just imagine its potentials when connecting trains from Pangasinan leading to La Union will link up with this proposed railway system to complete an ideal rail transport network that would usher industrialization and agricultural boom,” Violago said.

“With a simultaneous rehabilitation and revitalization of the Bicol railway network, the country would have achieved an integrated modern and efficient railway leading to all of Luzon’s airports and seaports, carrying thousands of people and goods daily with Central Luzon serving as the primary dynamo and model,” he added.

Violago furthered that one-stop central depots for grains and other agricultural products could also be developed in Tarlac City, San Jose City and Clark which will considerably reduce the cost of transporting goods to Manila and ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila. (Jason de Asis)

Cordillera universities lauded info drive of the AFP

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, August 17, 2011-School authorities of prestigious universities here in the Cordillera Region lauded the efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the recent information drive with the 1st year college students at Saint Louis University (SLU) in Baguio City and Benguet State University (BSU).     

LTC Rosendo Armas, AFP Civil Relation Service Chief said that the activity aims to increase awareness among the students on the role of the youth towards peace and development.

“The students are encouraged to report to the authorities any monitored criminal and illegal activities that may deter peace and order in their community. Our youth are the hope of the nation where they play a vital role in the development of the country,” Armas said.

He added that school authorities were alarmed by the reported infiltration of militant groups in some colleges and universities recruiting students to join protest actions, rallies in the streets and eventually go on “immersion” to remote areas where they are armed with high-powered firearms and explosives. “The parents and relatives of the students are now worried in the art of deception being carried out by these unscrupulous groups enticing them to join the armed revolution,” he said.

Agnes Lopez Reaňo, a former member of the NPA revealed that she was then a victim of these protesters, explaining that she did not want it to happen when she was still a college student.

“I am now helping and assisting the AFP in conducting information drive to enlighten the students on the form of deception that these groups employ in attracting student victims.

Reaňo said that she experienced joining rallies in the streets, mass protest actions and even in actual operations against government troops. Prior her being a full-fledged NPA member, she was indoctrinated on various books of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

She testified the purging activities of the NPA where the members whom they suspected as government spy were killed and buried in mass graves.
“These inhumane acts of the NPA had prompted me to depart from the group and decided to surrender to the AFP. I am very thankful to the AFP for being responsible and true to help former rebels like me,” Reaňo said.

“My crusade now is to continue helping the AFP in giving enlightenment to the youth sector so that their bright future will not be destroyed by these kinds of organization,” She ended. (Jason de Asis)

Statement at the Senate Hearing Regarding the Problem at the CCP Art Exhibition

Honorable Members of the Senate:

We thank you most deeply for inviting us to help you craft better legislation on the matter concerning the Art Exhibition at the Cultural Center in the Philippines. The particular exhibit in question has been the subject of widespread condemnation especially by our lay Catholic faithful and by other Christian denominations.
1. Our position is simple and straightforward. This position has to do with the moral limits of the freedom of expression. What the legal limits may be we do not presume to suggest, although we also believe that what is legal should first of all be moral.
2. We hold that no human freedom is absolute. Human freedom is a gift of God and has corresponding responsibilities to (a) the moral law of God; (b) to the rights of others; and (c) to the common good. These responsibilities are the triple test for the just exercise of human freedom.
3. When the exercise of human freedom defies the moral law of God or violates the rights of others or militates against the common good of all, the act would be objectively unjust or immoral.
4. In the particular case of some of the art installations exhibited recently at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the exercise of human freedom for the sake of art is subject to moral criteria. To be just or moral, the artistic expression of human freedom must respect the religious symbols of various religions, especially those that are most sacred to them, whether the religion be Islam or Christianity or Hinduism or Buddhism. Disrespecting them by artistic portrayal would be a form of objective desecration of religious symbols. This is especially true for visual art which is a powerful instrument of public discourse. Ars pro gratia artis (art for the sake of art), therefore, has moral limitations.
5. In the same way that we condemn sinful acts but do not condemn the sinner, we condemn such artistic portrayal as objectively immoral; but we do not necessarily condemn the person of the artist who may not be aware of the objective immorality of his action.
We respectfully suggest that the crafting of a law that covers freedom of expression through art include the corresponding responsibilities for the exercise of human freedom.
Once again we express our profound thanks to you for inviting us to this forum and for the privilege of being of some help to your work of legislating for the common good.
For and in behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,
Archbishop of Cebu and
Vice-President, CBCP
16 August 2011


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