Monday, September 19, 2011

Kiko calls to unmask masterminds of P7.5B farm to market probe

MANILA, September 20, 2011-Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Foods calls to unmask the mastermind of P7.5B farm to market roads.

Pangilinan said that his committee wants to investigate the enormous amount released from the Department of Agriculture (DA) during 2010’s election period supposedly to be used in constructing farm to market roads without a work program.

“If found true that no farm-to-market road was constructed when this amount was released from January to June 2010, then those responsible for this anomaly must be held accountable and must explain themselves to those who toil their farms relentlessly yet remain below the poverty line,” Pangilinan said.

“I will file a resolution calling for an investigation into the anomaly, especially considering COA reports that funds to be used in constructing farm-to-market roads in Maguindanao were mostly spent for gas purchases from service stations owned by former President Arroyo’s known allies the Ampatuans,” he added.

“This is plunder. Our people were deprived of the opportunity to improve their lives with the help of these much-needed roads,” he furthered.

Pangilinan said that theft of government money through anomalous transactions must be ended. The people particularly the farmers should be given justice from their overlong plight. There is a need to trace where the said enormous funds went and the culprits and their accomplices should be punished. (Jason de Asis)

Senate approves Geology Profession Law

MANILA, September 20, 2011-Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, author of Senate Bill No. 2941 was approved on third reading of the senate that seeks to repeal the 46-year-old geology profession law and replace it with a new measure that will govern the practice of geology
profession and education in the country.

Trillanes has been pushing for a new law to make it attuned to the present conditions and global standards and at the same time protect the practice of profession in the country from unqualified foreign nationals.

Trillanes said that geology profession has grown and has become even more vital in our society as well in our economic activities in order to address our country’s present needs in areas such as the continued search for energy sources, mineral resources, land development, mitigating natural hazards, geotechnical and geothermal studies for infrastructures, and environmental planning and monitoring.

Trillanes, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization said that the existing law which covers the geology profession has become completely out-dated, if not obsolete, in the context of developing nation and globalizing world.

The proposed measure stated the following salient features such as; to wit, it redefines and expands the coverage of the practice of geology, and delineates the scope of the practice vis-a-vis other allied fields such as mining and metallurgical engineering; It establishes the creation of a board which shall be named the Professional Regulatory Board of Geology and shall supervise, control, and regulate the practice of geology. It states the Board’s authority
in the conduct of education, examination and licensing of geologists; It provides for a guideline in issuing the certificates of registration and identification card, as well as the certificate of specialization to our professionals; It provides for a mandatory continuing professional education for geologists in order to ensure that they would be up-to-date on the latest development and innovations in their profession; and the bill includes a foreign reciprocity clause which prohibits the practice of foreign geologist in the country unless the country of the foreigner geologist grants the same or similar privileges to Filipino
geologists in their country.

The other version of Trillanes bill is House Bill No. 380 which is still pending with the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation. (Jason de Asis)

P500 thousand pesos awarded to Abra former rebels

BANGUED, Abra, September 20, 2011-A total of five hundred thousand pesos was given as financial assistance by the Department of social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to ten former rebels at the provincial Capitol.

The former New People’s Army (NPA) were awarded 50,000 pesos each by the government through the Social Integration Program (SIP) of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) identified as Igan B Luebyang, Jaime P Luis, Samuel C Gamsawen, Jimmy C Monlingit, Vilma S Valera, Viado S Cayyong, Junjun G Sibalo, Ariel B Sibalo, Joel J Fransisco, Villamor T Bringas and Carmelita B Balweg, the wife of Jovencio Balweg, a former NPA commander and the brother of the late rebel priest Fr. Condrado Balweg.

Governor Eustaquio Bersamin of Abra advised the former rebels to spend their money wisely and invest it in business or livelihood venture for it to be sustained.

Col Eliseo Posadas, the commanding officer of 503rd Brigade and Lt. Col. Noel T Baluyan, the commanding officer of 41st IB, Philippine Army witnessed the ceremony.

“We have called it Local Peace Talk (LPT). We are asking the remnants of NPA here in Abra to go down and surrender. In our level in the military, we will give 15,000 pesos to rebels who will surrender with their arm. We will then turn them over to the DSWD for guidance counseling and then to Gov. Bersamin for them to avail the financial livelihood assistance that will be given to them by the Governor.” Posadas said.

The Social Integration Program (SIP) is a government program that involves a set of intervention for ex-rebels and their dependents. SIP is under the supervision of the National Committee on Social Integration under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) The committee was created by virtue of Administrative Order 172; Creating the National Committee on Social Integration (NCSI) tasked to implement the SIP for rebel groups.

“The goals of SIP are both short and long term. The immediate goal of the SIP is the improvement of security condition (restoration of peace and security) to allow for peaceful social and economic activities, while the long term goal is the sustained social and economic re-integration of former rebels into a peaceful society,” Posadas said. (Jason de Asis)


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