Thursday, September 15, 2011

Budget increase for SUCs gathers support from Congress

MANILA, September 15, 2011—The increase for the budget of the state universities and colleges (SUCs) has been garnering much support in the Lower House.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino, in a statement said that Representatives Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna), Emmy de Jesus and Luz Ilagan (Gabriela), Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis), Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers), Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon) Rufus B. Rodriguez (2nd district, Cagayan de Oro City), Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (1st district, Davao City), Juan Edgardo Angara (Aurora and Chairman of House Committee on Higher and Technical Education) and Josefina M. Joson (1st district, Nueva Ecija and Vice Chair of Committee on Appropriations) had joined their call for a higher subsidy for SUCs.
Even Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia B. Licuanan had joined the bandwagon for pressing the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to increase the meager budget for State-run higher educational institutions (HEIs).
Palatino said that during the interpellation and plenary debates, Jocson had said that her committee will “concretely address the requested increases.”
Aside from the decreasing budget, Palatino also stressed the “reframing” of the existing education policies which serve as the “root cause” of SUC budget cut.
The young lawmaker said, the DBM ‘systematically’ reduces the budget allocation for the SUCs as per advice from the World Bank.
“Is it not ironic that both DBM and WB publicize social betterment as they aggressively push for budget cuts to SUCs? We have to understand that social progress and development will not be possible in the absence of a strong public tertiary education system. SUCs need sufficient funds to be able to qualitatively function,” the lawmaker said.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, chief of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA), and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, earlier, had expressed their full support in increasing the budget of SUCs.
On September 19 to 23, different students, youth, and academic organizations will stage a nationwide protest against budget cuts, not only in education but also for other social services. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)

Baler chief of police relieve over crime waves

BALER, Aurora, September 15, 2011-Police Superintendent Benjamin Villasis, chief of police here was relieved by Senior Superintendent Ervin Gumban, provincial director of the Aurora police based in Camp Ravina over the mounting crimes of high-profile robbery-holdup and theft incidents.

Villasis was replaced by Chief Inspector Edgardo Togonon who is assigned formerly as the provincial spokesperson chief and now concurrently PNP chief for operation at Camp Ravina a month after Mayor Arthur J. Angara criticized Gumban and  Villasis over the failure of police to stem the tide of robberies and hold-ups.

Central Luzon regional director Chief Superintendent Edgardo Ladao from Camp Olivas, Pampanga, downplayed the relief of Villasis, saying that the latter went on official leave. “Since he has gone on leave, Gumban replaced him with Togonon and that’s no problem with me,” he said in a phone interview.

Earlier, Angara said that he was totally disgusted with the performance of the PNP in combating lawlessness in this capital town, particularly the rush in high-profile robbery-holdup and theft.

This after unidentified men broke inside the service center of the Aurora Electric Cooperative along Gloria St., Barangay Suklayin last month and ran away with P193,798 worth of cash and other valuables.

Angara was particularly angered that the latest incident happened near the police station. He said with a new police chief, he expects crimes to go down.

He said that his leadership is being embarrassed by the crime wave particularly as this town – Aurora’s smallest municipality but which is the center of education, trade and commerce - is experiencing an unprecedented tourism boom.

Angara said that Villasis texted him after relinquishing his post and even sent him a “thank you” message.

Vice Mayor Nelianto Bihasa, who was with Angara during the birthday bash of the mayor’s sister, Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo at the capitol compound Wednesday night said he warned Togonon to shape up and make sure crimes would go on a downward turn.

Angara-Castillo said that she is expecting that Togonon will immediately conduct case tracking and back tracking of unsolved criminal case to solve the crime waves here.

The crime surge was such that according to Camp Olivas, 170 incidents of theft and 56 robbery cases had taken place in the province from January to June 2011. The first semester report showed that Aurora – on record  as the most peaceful province in the region – even registered higher incidents of theft compared with the more populous Tarlac province which posted only 135 theft cases.

Last July alone, four robbery-holdup incidents were perpetrated one after another, even victimizing a reporter, a prominent contractor, a former board member and a government employee.

Back to Villasis, a reliable source said that despite the alleged failure of Villasis to solve the high profile robbery holdup and theft incidents here in Baler, Villasis is reportedly soon to replace Police Superintendent Eliseo Cruz, an outstanding policeman of the year nationwide who is manning Cabanatuan City police force in Nueva Ecija as chosen by Mayor Jay Vergara. (Jason de Asis)


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