Monday, September 12, 2011

Senate approves People’s Survival Fund on 3rd reading

MANILA, September 13, 2011-Senators’ passed the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) Bill on Third Reading that would allow local governments and communities to put in place climate mitigation practices to lessen the destructive impact of natural disasters.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile lauded the PSF measure saying that the lack of funding seems to be the main deterrent to solving the country’s problems in dealing with the effects of climate change yearly.

“The PSF is a fund that intends to provide incentives for early adaptation measures by allocating finances for local resilience-building needs,” Enrile said, believing that the sooner the People’s Survival Fund is approved by the House and the sooner it is enacted into law, the earlier the government will be able to implement policies and reforms geared towards building a country that is not only climate-resilient but economically sound as well.

The PSF bill is principally sponsored by Enrile and co-sponsored by Senators Loren Lagarda, Ralph G. Recto, Franklin M. Drilon and Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid.

To reflect prevailing conditions in the country, Enrile pointed out that government intervention on climate change and disaster risk reduction should be given more importance.

Enrile said that the recent rains that inundated major parts of Visayas and Mindanao not only caused loss of lives and destruction to property, but also destroyed sources of livelihood, adding that adaptation finance should always be seen as an investment, and not a cost.

The bill was unanimously approved after consideration of Drilon’s amendment to appropriate the amount of P1 billion annually to be used for the fund under the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The PSF aimed to strengthen the Climate Change Act of 2009. PSF is a special trust fund for the financing of adaptation programs and projects based on climate change action plans of local government units and communities. Private donations, if any, shall be exempted from donor’s tax.

Among the uses of the fund stated in Section 20 of the proposed measure are adaptation activities in the areas of water resources management, land management, agriculture and fisheries, health, infrastructure development, fragile ecosystems including mountainous ecosystems, and integrated coastal zone management.

Authors of the bill also said that the PSF aims to improve the monitoring of diseases triggered by climate change and in the same vein, improving the country’s disease control and prevention measures and at the same time improve the country’s forecasting and early warning systems as part of disaster-preparedness measures for climate related hazards, among others.

The Fund will be managed by a PSF Board composed by one commissioner coming from the Climate Change Commission, the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic and Development Authority and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, together with representatives from government financial institutions, the business sector and non-government organizations under the bill. (Jason de Asis)

The untold story of Bacalzo’s possible early retirement

MANILA, September 13, 2011-Unknown to many retired Philippine National  Police Chief Director General Raul M. Bacalzo tendered his retirement from the service three years ago.

Bacalzo’s wife Levy said that call it destiny or just plain luck, retired PNP Chief Director General Bacalzo would not have been the 16th chief of the 140,000-strong police organization if his retirement papers were approved way back in 2008 where she confirmed the retirement plan.

Mrs. Bacalzo said that her husband was forced to retire to devote more time for his family. Back then, she recalled that her husband was abroad when a call from Camp Crame came telling him he was needed there.

“At that time, Bacalzo was head of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management,” Mrs. Bacalzo said.

There were reports that Mrs. Bacalzo was “pressuring” him to decide to retire early because she wanted him to spend quality time with her and their kids.

She said that they were really having indifference on him because when there were occasions in the family, he almost always failed to come and join them because of his work at the PNP.

But somehow, Camp Crame officers were able to dissuade Bacalzo from proceeding with his retirement.

“He asked me what he should do and I asked him what was his desire. When he said he was staying put, I said, okay go ahead,” she said.

The wife said they have no inkling that two years later, he would be named PNP Chief by President Aquino, replacing Jesus Versoza.

“We had not talked about that possibility. In fact, we were so surprised when he got appointed,” she recalled.

During his speech relinquishing the post, Bacalzo mentioned that his relatives went home from abroad to make sure he was retiring.

He then turned to his wife, assuring her he was indeed retiring. “This is not a promise but a statement,” he said. 

Bacalzo admitted that it must have been destiny that propelled him to the highest police post of the land. “Pasensiya sila hindi natuloy ang retirement ko (They should bear with the fact that my retirement then did not push through),” he said of other police officers in line who would have taken his post last year.

Bacalzo is reportedly mulling over several options on his retirement, among which is to teach in his high school alma mater in Batangas for free. (Jason de Asis)

Bacalzo says no demoralization over choice of Bartolome as top cop

MANILA, September 12, 2011-Retired Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Raul Bacalzo yesterday said that no demoralization swept the ranks of the police organization despite the choice of Deputy Director General Nicanor Bartolome, explaining that police officers are professionals and they know that choosing the PNP Chief is the prerogative of the President.

“Besides, there was already a precedent, as in the case of Ping,” he said, referring to Senator Panfilo Lacson who was appointed PNP chief in 1998 by then-President Joseph Estrada ahead of other more senior officers. Lacson was a member of the PMA’s Batch ’71.

Bacalzo made the observation after turning over the reins of the PNP to Bartolome, a member of the Philippine Military Academy’s Class 1980, at the PNP multi-purpose center in Camp Crame which was witnessed by no less than President Aquino, former President Fidel Ramos and Lacson himself. When Lacson was appointed PNP chief, he bypassed other senior officers like general Jewel Canson.

In the case of Bartolome, his appointment as the 17th PNP Chief also breached the seniority tradition as he went ahead of Deputy Director General Benjamin Delarmino of Batch ’77 and Deputy Director General Raul Castaneda, the Deputy Chief for Operations.

Director Alfredo Caballes, chief of the PNP Directorate for Plans, also downplayed the appointment of Bartolome. “Even if there were controversies, there were not much,” he said.

One general who requested anonymity, said that the designation of Bartolome over more senior police officers, is no longer an issue considering that police officers know it’s the President’s call.

He said that there is no demoralization within those who were bypassed. They look at it with a degree of realism because let’s face it, it’s the President who decides who will be the next PNP Chief.

The police officer said Bartolome, though not the most senior, is already ripe for the post, having served as one-star general for a long time already. (Jason de Asis)

Church assesses growth of BECs

MANILA, Sept. 12, 2011—Fifty years after the Second Vatican Council, Church leaders are looking back on how the growth of basic ecclesial communities in Asia have been faithful to the vision that brought them to their very existence.
BEC practitioners from India, Sri Lanka, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and the Philippines gathered at the One World Community Service Center in Taipei from September 2 to 5 for the Asian Continental BEC Meeting to report on the state and development of BECs in their
respective countries.
Fr. Amado Picardal of the Episcopal Commission on Basic Ecclesial Communities of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines reported on the state of the BECs in the Philippines.
“Each (of us) gave a report on the state of the BECs in (our) country and how the BECs have realized the vision of a renewed Church of Vatican II and the challenges that (we) face at present,” Picardal said.
“I am just amazed about the growth of BECs not just in the Philippines but also other countries in Asia. This is a sign of hope of the vitality of the Church in this region,” the priest added.
According to Picardal, the conference, themed "BECs in Asia 50 years after Vatican II," was held in preparation for the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council next year, when a separate conference for BEC practitioners all over the world will be held in Germany.
“This meeting was [a] preparation the intercontinental gathering on BECs which will be held in Tubingen, Germany next year. The Latin American BEC continental conference has already been held. The other continental conferences in Africa and North America will also be held
soon,” he said.
The continental conferences and that which is slated in Germany next year are meant to identify the challenges to the BECs in Asia and throughout the world “in the light of the recent social, economic, and cultural developments, especially globalization and post or late modernity.” (CBCPNews)


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