Friday, August 31, 2012

CBCP head gives Roxas ‘benefit of the doubt’


MANILA, August 31, 2012— Newly appointed Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas will have “big shoes to fill” but the head of the Catholic bishops’ leadership is giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said late DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo left an exemplary record but Roxas’ performance should not be prejudged.
He said they also want to give Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Transport Secretary Joseph Abaya similar chance to prove their worth, but will closely monitor their performance.
“We don’t know their plans. For the meantime, we put our trust that they would try to give their best and somehow approximate them the performance of a great man like Robredo,” Palma said.
Palma made the statement on the sidelines of the 2012 Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Annual Convention at the SMX Center in Pasay City on Friday.
In his homily during a Mass to end the convention, Palma praised Robredo for being a “good public servant.”
Palma then urged the new appointees to lead with integrity and advocate good governance in their new positions of power.
The archbishop added that he is praying that Roxas will continue the work done by Robredo, a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee who was an advocate of good governance and accountability in government.
“We just pray once more that knowing the task ahead he would give his best to continue the work done by Sec. Robredo and prove that like the secretary, his basic interest is for the benefit of the people and not for any alternative motive,” said Palma.
“I am not so familiar with the various work of the DILG but we know what it means to truly reach out to the needs of the community, of course the barangay people which were in a sense a priority of Sec. Robredo, and giving special barangay great role in trying to implement straight path,” he said.
Robredo died in a plane crash off Masbate province last Aug. 18  and his body was recovered three days after.
As for Sereno, Palma also said he expects the Chief Justice to judge with fairness and integrity and true to the spirit of the law.
“We don’t want to judge anybody until proven otherwise,” Palma said. “Let us give those appointed a chance to prove that they are true to their task and that is our prayer for the nation.”
Sereno will be deciding on cases that can affect the Church’s social concerns including mining laws, the reproductive health (RH) bill, and the Hacienda Luisita case. [RL/CBCPNews]

Drilon asks DoJ to intervene on recycling of seized drugs


MANILA, August 31, 2012-Senator Franklin M. Drilon has asked the Department of Justice (DoJ) to call a meeting with drug enforcement agencies and the Court Administrator to finally put a stop to the rampant cases of confiscated illegal drugs being recycled.

Drilon, also former Justice Secretary, lamented the poor implementation of a special provision in the Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which is supposed to prevent the recycling of seized drugs.

“When I was Secretary of Justice, every time we present a policeman in court to submit evidence of confiscated drugs, the police officer would always say the drugs were either lost or eaten by rats,” said Drilon.

“We know that what happens is recycling of confiscated illegal drugs. There are recycled drugs especially when volumes and volumes of drugs are confiscated,” he added.

“I suggest that the Justice Department through the National Prosecution Service sit down with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Dangerous Drugs Board and the Court Administrator to come up with a circular or a memorandum which will enforce this special provision,” said Drilon.

Prosecutor General Claro A. Arellano responded positively to Drilon’s proposal.

Under Section 21 of the Republic Act 9165, within 72 hours after filing of criminal case, the courts shall conduct ocular inspection of the confiscated drugs and the PDEA shall proceed with the disposition of the seized drugs within 24 hours, noted Drilon, who proposed the specific provision.

“This provision was designed to precisely prevent the recycling of the confiscated drugs. This is a clear policy that we want enforced and it is so frustrating to know the execution of this law is so lacking,” stressed Drilon.

Earlier, the Senate Finance Committee withheld the budget of the PDEA over the apparent inaccurate data on confiscated illegal substance.


For reference:

Section 21, paragraph 4 states: “After the filing of the criminal case, the Court shall, within seventy-two (72) hours, conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals, including the instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment, and through the PDEA shall within twenty-four (24) hours thereafter proceed with the destruction or burning of the same, in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the DOJ, civil society groups and any elected public official…”

Drilon: Comelec purchase of P1.19-B land without Congress approval culpable violation of Constitution


MANILA, August 31, 2012-Senator Franklin M. Drilon warned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that their purchase of a P1.19 billion property without the approval of Congress is a culpable violation of the Constitution and can lead to prosecution for technical malversation of funds.

“There appears to be a gross violation of the Constitution on the part of the Comelec when they decided to use their P3.5 billion savings to purchase a piece of land worth P1,188,865,295.82,” said Drilon.

He added the Comelec admitted having entered a contract with the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) to purchase that P1.19 billion property, and of the amount, P250 million has already been advanced to the PRA.

Drilon said the agency cannot invoke its so-called fiscal autonomy as a constitutional body and use its savings to purchase land and building without securing any approval of Congress who gives authorization for the government to spend money.

Drilon said the “Comelec’s position is totally wrong.”

Under the Constitution, the Comelec may, by law, be authorized to augment any item or in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the respective offices from savings in other items of the respective appropriations, noted Drilon.

He stressed the appropriations act clearly states that the Comelec can only use its savings to augment funding for projects that exist in the GAA or which the Congress has previously authorized, but the poll body cannot use its savings to fund and to create new projects such as the purchase of land and building without any authorization from Congress.

“What the Comelec did is that without any appropriation for a main building and field office in the 2012 General Appropriations Act, they re-aligned their savings to buy land and building, but this purchase is not authorized in the budget,” explained Drilon.

“There is no authority of whatsoever under the 2012 General Appropriations Act for Comelec to purchase land for a building. That is the role of Congress, the role of Congress is to appropriate to specific items,” he added.

“In other words, they became Congress by themselves. Labag po sa Saligang Batas na ilagay mo sa item na hindi existing, so iyan po ang nilabag ng Comelec,” ended Drilon.

KIKO CONGRATULATES ROXAS, ABAYA ON NEW APPOINTMENTS


MANILA, August 31, 2012-Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan congratulates partymates Manuel "Mar" Roxas III and Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya on their new appointments as secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), respectively.

"We welcome the appointments of Secretary Roxas and Secretary Abaya and we congratulate them as they assume their new posts," Pangilinan says. "Continuity of policy is crucial as the administration pushes for necessary and urgent reforms, and we know that these two fine public servants will take to the task, as they have always done so in their previous roles." 

"We pledge to support them in their continued efforts to serve our nation," the lawmaker adds.

Malacañang on Friday announced the appointment of both Roxas and Abaya following the untimely demise of former Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

DOLE 3 plants 500 trees along Mega dike


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga August 30, 2012-Employees of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office 3 on Thursday planted around 500 African Tulip and Fringon seeds along the Mega Dike in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga.
 
DOLE Regional director Raymundo Agravante said “the activity is part of the Green our DOLE program which supports President Aquino’s National Greening Program (NGP).”
 
NGP was created under Executive Order No.26 of President Benigno Aquino III to pursue sustainable development for poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
 
It aims to plant 1.5 billion trees covering about 1.5 million hectares for a period of six years (2011-2016) in lands of public domain.
 
These lands include forestlands, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations and urban areas.
 
“We are sending out our message, through this tree-planting undertaking, to the employers and workers from various industries here in the region by urging them to foster genuine care for our environment by keeping their surroundings environmentally cleaned to ensure a safe and healthy workplace which will yield productivity and growth” Agravante added. (Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)

‘No turning back’ – Aurora vice gov says of Capitol run


BALER, Aurora, August 30, 2012–The man largely considered by political experts as the biggest threat to the decades-old reign of the Angaras at the Capitol declared yesterday he is not withdrawing from the gubernatorial race next year to give way to the Capitol bid of outgoing Sen. Edgardo Angara.

Vice Gov. Gerardo Noveras said his decision to run for governor is final amid backdoor negotiations for him to just seek reelection to accommodate Angara, a little over a month before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacies of aspirants to local and national posts.

“There’s no turning back,” Noveras said, adding if he loses, it will be his “fitting graceful exit” from politics.

Noveras said he appreciates efforts by the Angara camp for him to forego his gubernatorial bid but said he has “crossed the Rubicon,” meaning, he has made a final decision to seek only the governorship.

“I have made my decision, it is final and I hope they would understand me,” he said.

Earlier, emissaries from the Liberal Party of which Noveras is provincial chairman, tried to persuade the vice governor to abandon his Capitol bid. Among them were Presidential Legislative Liason Office chief Manuel Mamba and Sen. Franklin Drilon, a close friend of Senator Angara.

Noveras said he has the highest respect for Senator Angara, and acknowledged he is in for an uphill fight. “If it’s Senator Angara I am up against, then I have a reason to lose,” he said.

However, he said he could no longer back out of the race because he is “committed” to run for governor. “If I back out, people would think I was paid or I received some favors,” said Noveras who still has a term left as vice governor.

Negotiations for Noveras to give way to Senator Angara have reportedly been going on since last February when President Aquino visited the province on the occasion of its 33rd anniversary. Shortly after, Mr. Aquino announced that Angara’s son, Rep. Juan Edgardo, would be running for senator under the LP.    

President Aquino and the Angaras – this province’s political kingpins - are from different parties. The clan belongs to the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino. But they became close due to the impeachment trial that led to the eventual ouster of then-Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Senator Angara and Congressman Angara played key roles in the impeachment, with the former acting as one of the senator-judges and the latter as one of the spokespersons of the House prosecution panel.

Sources said Mamba even offered Noveras a position as Regional Trial Court judge if he wants.

Reports said Senator Angara and Noveras met in the former’s residential compound in Barangay Reserva sometime in late June during the observance of the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day. But nothing came out of the talks. 

The elder Angara, a veteran lawmaker and one of the senior statesman in the Senate, earlier denied he is eyeing the Capitol but reportedly reconsidered after his brother, outgoing Baler Mayor Arthur Angara, would “lose” to Noveras.
         
        Noveras announced his intention to run for governor in July last year, two months after reports came out that the Angaras were planning to field him as their standard-bearer in tandem with Rommel Angara, the senator’s nephew Rommel, whom he defeated in the 2007 polls.

When Noveras learned of the plan, he looked excited, saying he would gladly accept it when offered. But negotiations fell through after the Angaras’ political leaders reportedly rejected the “Dream Team” tandem.      
          
         The senator’s Capitol bid has been the subject of much speculation, particularly due to his “increasing visibility” in the province. Since last year, he has been going around the province, meeting ward leaders of the Angaras, particularly local chief executives.  (Manny Galvez)     

Filipino And US Soldiers Construct School Building In Pampanga


Camp Aquino, Tarlac City, August 30, 2012 – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), and United States Pacific Air Force  (PACAF) formally kicked-off the month-long Engineering Civic Action Program (ENCAP) at Cacutud Elementary School, Barangay Cacutud, Mabalacat, Pampanga recently.

A simple ceremony which was attended by participating troops, as part of the series of joint and combined Humanitarian Civil Assistance (HCA) and Civil Military Operations (CMO) under the Pacific Unity 12-6.

A U.S. Pacific Command-funded humanitarian assistance mission and a bilateral and joint engineering civic action program conducted by the AFP and US forces in cooperation with the provincial government of Pampanga and Tarlac. Among those who graced the occasion were Lieutenant Colonel Relly Francisco, Civil-Military Operations Officer of the 1st Air Division, Philippine Air Force (1st AD, PAF); Captain Carey Davis US Air Force, Officer-In-Charge, 13th Air Force of the US, and the Principal of Cacutud Elementary School, and other visitors.

Relative to this, a Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) will also be conducted in an exercise scenario to perform joint and combined response in a mass casualty situation. Military doctors and dentists from the AFP Reserve Command together with the participating agencies and partner stakeholders will also conduct Cooperative Health Engagement (CHE) which includes MEDCAP and Dental Civic Action Program (DENCAP) in Villa Bacolor, Tarlac City.

Subject Matter Expertise Exchange (SMEEs) on Master Base Planning, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HA/DR) and Table Top Exercise on HA/DR will also be held at Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga and Clark Air Base, Mabalacat, Pampanga. Joining the month-long activity are the Philippine National Police, Local Government Units, Local Government Agencies, and Non-Government Organizations.

Barangay and school officials in the area are very thankful that their place was chosen as beneficiary of the school projects of the soldiers. Barangay Councilor Aurelio Gamtan of Barangay Cacutud said that these projects being undertaken by the soldiers will be of great help to their community especially to school children.

ANGARA: COOPERATION NEEDED FOR GLOBAL PEACE, PROSPERITY


Hanoi, Vietnam, August 30, 2012-Senator Edgardo J. Angara keynoted today the 5th Biennial International Conference of the Korean Studies Association of Southeast Asia (KoSASA) at the Hotel Intercontinental in Hanoi, Vietnam.

In his address, Angara underscored the importance of global cooperation in promoting prosperity, economic equity, and peace.

He said that continued cooperation at the bilateral, regional, and international levels is necessary for the global community to respond to challenges like disasters and financial crises.

"Global cooperation will be crucial in helping developing nations realize their economic potential—and accordingly alleviate the inequalities arising from globalization. As recent events have shown, a single country's fate is inextricably linked and intertwined with the rest of the world’sThe mistakes of one can have haunting effects, far and wide."

Angara proposed four areas of collaboration: climate change mitigation and adaptation, the use of biotechnology to address food and water scarcity, managing the social and economic impact of a greying population, and intensifying socio-economic cooperation to ensure that everyone benefits from progress.

"We ought to work for a future built by a community of nations unified by a shared purpose and bound by mutual trust. We must remember that what one country can do well alone, nations united in cooperation can do better together. 

"In this era of globalization, we must look beyond our own countries and collectively aspire for inclusive prosperity, lasting peace, and provision of opportunities for the fulfillment of individual potential."

Angara cited the strong partnership of Korea and the Philippines as a model for growth and development partnership.

"Our partnership is one of the best examples of how one country invests in the progress of another based on shared goals," he said to an audience composed of academics and decision-makers from all over Asia.

Angara said Korea supports many of the Philippines' projects on agriculture, ICT, education, health, governance, infrastructure development, energy, environment, and disaster relief. 

The Philippines is also one of Korea's top aid recipients. From 2006 to 2010, Korea's ODA to the country totaled US$287 Million. Last year, the ODA ceiling for the Philippines was raised from US$300 Million to US$500 Million.
The Conference is organized by the Korea Development Institute and the Korea Research Institute at University of New South Wales, and hosted by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities-Hanoi, and the Korean Studies Association of Southeast Asia (KoSASA).

Angara is also on a tour of Southeast Asia to promote regional cooperation in anti-corruption among parliamentarians through the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC) in anticipation of the 2013 GOPAC Manila Conference. (Rikka Sotto w/ Shielo Mendoza)

Legarda Urges Sustainable Coconut Farming as She Joins Nat’l Coconut Week Celebration


MANILA, August 30, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today encouraged coconut industry stakeholders to support the programs of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), particularly the practice of sustainable farming, to ensure continuous development of the industry and maximize the benefits gained from it.

Legarda, who was Guest Speaker at the National Coconut Week Celebration held at the PCA Building in Quezon City, noted that the country gains much from the coconut industry.

According to PCA, the country earns as much as US$2-Billion in exporting various coconut products, including coco water and virgin coconut oil. Export rate for coco water increased 300% in the first quarter of 2012 and has earned the country more than US$4-Million; while, export rate for virgin coconut oil for the first three months of 2012 rose to 138% with earnings worth US$7.5-Million.

“These figures alone give us more reason to further improve coconut farming and continuously develop the coconut industry, and I wish to congratulate the PCA for its laudable programs for the industry, including the national coconut planting and replanting; institution building, which is very important to give our coconut farmers the capability to be entrepreneurs and to have their own growing income through the continuous learning of methods in developing their farms; and the livelihood program dubbed as Kasaganahan sa Niyugan ay Kaunlaran ng Bayan,” Legarda said.

The Senator also said that the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009 (RA 10000), which she authored and sponsored, can provide support for farmers as the law requires banks to allocate at least 25 percent of their loanable funds to the agriculture sector, and that modes of alternative compliance must only pertain to activities directly related to agriculture and agrarian reform to ensure that funds are channelled to farmers.

“The theme for this year’s celebration, Masaganang Kinabukasan Mula sa Niyugang Inalagaan, clearly sends the message of gaining from the tree of life by ensuring its sustainability,” she stressed.

“As I urge the PCA to never tire of creating projects and programs that would boost the industry, I encourage all the coconut industry stakeholders to help in the development of this sector, but bear in mind that as we reap the fruits of our labor, we should always give back to the very tree that sustained our livelihood by nourishing the very Earth that sustains our life,” Legarda concluded.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CL among regions with highest forest cover in the country


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, August 29, 2012-Central Luzon’s forest remains among the regions with the highest cover in the country, latest statistics released by the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) show.
 
DENR Central Luzon chief Maximo Dichoso bared that Region 3 ranks third in the entire archipelago accounting to 62% of the total forestland remain with intact vegetation and topping other regions with large tract of forestland.
 
“ Out of 942,387 hectares of forestland we have in the region, 589,495 hectares remains to be forested,” Dichoso said.
 
The Regional head attributed the intact forest cover of Central Luzon to the DENR solid plans and programs on forest regeneration and biodiversity conservation including the concrete accomplishments in forest protection and law enforcement.
 
Adding to this, he said, is the strong regulatory efforts of the government on environment with the implementation of Executive Order (EO) No. 23 or moratorium on logging on natural and residual forests and EO 26 or the National Greening Program (NGP).
 
NGP likewise boosted the reforestation efforts in the region with the planting of various forest and fruit trees covering some 5,548 hectares of denuded watershed.
 
“Strong allies and creative partnership with local government units (LGUs) and the law enforcement sectors are also vital to arrest further forest destruction and is crucial in forest restoration,” Dichoso explained.
 
Of the seven provinces in the region, Aurora with 238,776 hectares or 124% forest cover including those forest in alienable and disposable (A and D) lands and Bulacan with 73,987 hectares or 96% forested are the top contributors to the remaining forest.
 
Dichoso added that the latest satellite imagery and remote sensing interpretation showed that the forest cover of the country has increased to 7.2 million hectares from 6.5 million hectares in 1988 and the eight percent of it could be found in Central Luzon.
 
The top region with the highest forest cover is Region 4-B (MIMAROPA) with 68% forested area composed of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Romblon and Palawan followed by Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) with 67% forest vegetation composed of Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya and Quirino. (Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu-PIA 3 with reports from DENR 3)

Army and Lyceum's "Takbo para sa Inang Kalikasan" a resounding success, lures 500 Aurora runners


MARIA AURORA, Aurora, August 29, 2012-Some 500 running enthusiasts from a cross-section of the province have taken part in the "Takbo para sa Inang Kalikasan" fun run initiated by the Lyceum of the East-Aurora (LEA), making the run-for-a-cause held last August 20 a resounding success.

          Jason De Asis, Lyceum's Dean of the Bachelor of Science for Entrepreneurship and the event's program director, said the fun run, which carried the theme: "One Spirit, One Advocacy, One Goal," showcased the green advocacy of various sectors, led by the school's twin campuses which spearheaded the fun run along with the Army's 48th Infantry (Guardians) Battalion.

          The runners converged at the LEA Campus Saturday afternoon and sprinted to their respective three kilometer (3-K), five-kilometer (5-K) and 7-K routes at the starting signal of 48th IB civil military office chief, Captain Rozzel Ticar and De Asis.

          Aside from the 48th IB, also participating in the event were provincial and barangay officials, members of the Maria Aurora Police Office, government employees, officials and staff from the National Statistics Office, Department of Health, volunteer health workers and students from the capital town of Baler and the central Aurora towns of  San Luis, Dipaculao and this town.

          The activity was highlighted by the opening of the 1st “SAYAWIT” competition for the National Service Training Program (NSTP) students of both campuses of which De Asis is NSTP chief.

          De Asis stressed that the fun run seeks to bring into focus three popular advocacies. These, he explained, are in support of Republic Act (RA) 9729, otherwise known as the Philippine Climate Change Act; RA 9512, otherwise known as the National Greening Program and RA, 9710, or the Magna Carta for Women.

          He said these triple advocacies have a huge impact in the lives of the people.

          De Asis cited climate change which, he said, has caused uncertainties. "As we can see, climate change has brought us rains even during the summer months when it is supposed to be rain-free and there is sunshine during the rainy season. It's akin to the temperament of a woman who is sometimes fickle-minded," he quipped.

          De Asis said the Magna Carta for Women’s rights, authored by Sen. Loren Legarda, provides the necessary mechanisms to enforce and guarantee the realization of women’s rights as public servants.

          He said public office is no longer the domain of men. "In every sphere of our life, we see women as increasingly prominent and having a stake. We have women engineers, architects, mechanics, electricians and soldiers. Joking aside, I dread the day when someday we see women loggers and miners,” he said.

          De Asis said the management of Lyceum of the East, led by its President, Engr. Jaime S. Gose, is putting premium on the three advocacies which is why it tasked the NSTP to implement them.

          He also pointed out that the twin campuses intend to push foward environmental awareness through Republic Act 9512, otherwise known as "An act to promote environmental awareness through environmental education" wherein the Lyceum of the East formulated a parallel program and activity for the National Greening Program to foster patriotism and nationalism. (Manny Galvez)

Youth event brings counter-cultural message on love, relationships


MANILA, August 29, 2012—When it’s a barrage of heavily tainted messages that the media are dishing out to the youth, it’s time to go counter-cultural. And this is how organizers of Real Love Revolution 2012 are going about spreading the notion of authentic love among young people.
“We strongly feel that young people need to hear this message! They are bombarded 24/7 with negative messages and values in media, so that at least every year or year and a half, they can hear positive messages about virtues and values,” said Carol Anne Tansingco, coordinator of Youth for the Family (Y-FAM).
Y-FAM has put together Pure Mind, Pure Heart II, the August 31 event at the University of the Philippines (UP) Theater of UP Diliman featuring youth speakers Leah Darrow and Chris Stefanick.
The two are in the Philippines for a series of talks and conferences to be held in Manila, Cebu and Iloilo from August 29 to September 1.
The August 31 event, which happens from 1:00 o’clock to 5 p.m., has been organized primarily for high school and college students.
“I met with several principals of the schools we invited. They are all so excited to have an event like this!” Tansingco excalimed.
“They all agree that there is a sore need for symposiums like these for the young people, as problems with purity are some of the biggest problems besetting the youth nowadays!”
Darrow, a full-time apologist for Catholic Answers, brings her experience in the fashion world and the Catholic world to the masses. She speaks internationally to people of all ages on topics of forgiveness, conversion, human dignity, the ability to change one’s life, modesty and chastity. She made it to the finals of TV show America’s Top Model and did succeeding modeling stints till she decided on another path.
Stefanick, who is director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry in the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, is an accomplished guitarist and songwriter. His dynamic presentations and retreats have inspired thousands of teens all over the world to a deeper love for Jesus Christ and his Church.
“I am excited about Leah Darrow and Chris Stefanick. I’ve watched many of their videos and interviews on Youtube, and their styles are so different! Leah is soft-spoken, while Chris is a guitar-playing, outspoken guy,” Tansingco remarked.
Real Love Revolution 2011 brought renowned chastity speaker Jason Evert to the Philippines and audiences were significantly inspired by his talks that dwelt on true love, relationships, dating and finding happiness. Tansingco expects the same enthusiasm from students this year based on the organizers’ experience last year. She described how teens loved Evert, took in every word he said and revered him “like a rock star!”
“I guess our job is to get them into the theater, maybe even kicking and screaming,” Tansingco said in jest, “and the excellent speakers do their magic, and in the end the youth come out converted and fortified in values!”
For the Y-FAM event alone, more than 35 public and private schools are sending participants. Over 1,600 participants so far have snapped up tickets, according to Tansingco.
Aside from the August 31 event at UP Diliman, Real Love Revolution 2012 will bring Darrow and Stefanick to Iloilo’s Western Visayas State University today, August 29; Cebu’s Waterfront Hotel on August 30; and World Trade Center in Manila on September 1.
For details and ticket reservations for the UP Diliman event, please contact Carol Anne Tansingco at 0905-4819566. For information on the World Trade Center event, please contact catalyst@uap.asia and 0908-8648491.
Pure Mind, Pure Heart II is organized by Y-FAM Woodrose School Chapter in cooperation with the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) Center for Social Responsibility (I Am S.T.R.O.N.G), and World Youth Alliance (WYA). (CBCP for Life)

KIKO TO RESOURCE PERSONS IN SMUGGLING PROBE: TELL THE TRUTH OR BE DETAINED


MANILA, August 29, 2012-Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan today issues a challenge to all resource persons appearing before the Senate in an investigation on alleged rice smuggling at the Subic Bay Freeport: Tell the truth, or face contempt charges and be detained.

Now on its fourth week of investigation, the Senate committees on Agriculture and Food, Ways and Means, Trade and Commerce, and Blue Ribbon Committee are conducting an investigation into alleged smuggling of some 420,000 50-kilogram bags of rice, worth almost P500 million, from India into the Philippines.

Pangilinan, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, says that there is no question that the seized rice being investigated in the Senate is meant to be sold in the local markets, adding that what must be determined now is how the system has failed to stop contraband produce from entering the country.

“Ang puno't dulo nito, paano nakapasok sa bansa ang isang regulated na produkto na walang permit, at pagkapasok sa bansa ay gagawan ng paraan para magkaroon ng permit para maging legal ang kalakaran? Nakakabahala ang ganitong palakad,” says Pangilinan, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food. “We are losing a valuable source of revenue for the government, and—worse—we are essentially killing the livelihood of our farmers.”

Previous hearings have uncovered inconsistencies among the statements of the various resource persons. Some resource persons also failed to attend today’s hearing, Earlier today, the Senate investigating committee issued a warrant of arrest against Magdangal Diego Maralit Bayani III of St. Andrews Field Grains and Cereal Trading for refusing to appear in the investigation proceedings. Pangilinan says the committee may also decide on whether they should cite some resource persons for contempt before the next hearing.

"Offhand, we have to study some more the documents that they have presented—there are some show cause documents we have gone through that contradict what was on record. In particular, Cesar Ramirez of Federation of San Miguel Cooperatives and Robson Enterprises contradicts himself after denying on record that he emailed Protik Guha, CEO of Amira Foods, yet saying in his show cause document that he did. We need to send a strong signal that we are serious in this investigation. I am inclined to cite some of the resource persons in contempt. If we need to detain some, even perhaps all, of the resource persons when found lying, we need to do it."

Pangilinan adds that the lack of accountability has contributed greatly in corrupting the system.

"There are glaring loopholes in the system of importation. The government agencies involved—the NFA, BOC, DA, and their attached agencies—must exert serious effort in making the system fool-proof. On top of that, the government must ensure that guilty parties are punished according to the provisions of the law. We must not let these corrupt practices to continue to exist with impunity."

CL farmers condemn harassment of journalist, blame Oplan Bayanihan

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga, August 29, 2012-The regional farmers' group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers' Alliance in Central Luzon) condemned the recent harassment and threat to veteran journalist Ding Cervantes.  Cervantes is a correspondent to the Philippine Star and columnist of Punto Central Luzon newspaper.  He is based in Angeles City, Pampanga and a member of National Union of Journalist in the Philippines (NUJP).

“This is unacceptable as even media practictioners are threatened for doing their profession.  This is essentially the same with the Maguindanao Massacre where they were killed for doing their jobs.  We condemn this harassment and we believe that this is part of Aquino's counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.

Amgl believed that Cervantes' case is part of Oplan Bayanihan as he wrote about sensitive issues in the region such as Hacienda Luisita, Willem Geertman's extra-judicial killing, the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (Apeco) project, mining in Zambales and other agrarian issues.

It was reported that an unidentified texter sent him a message, “Isang bala ka lang,” on Friday last week, then the following weekend, his house was subjected to surveillance and again threatened through a text message.  The texter claimed he is a member of the New People's Army (NPA) but Cervantes dismissed it was the case as a veteran journalist he would if the NPA is just being used for intimidation.

“This is exactly what Oplan Bayanihan is, neutralizing those from the middle sector who support or work that highlights the issues of the oppressed farmers and basic sectors.  This is the type of freedom of the press, president Aquino is promoting, suppressing those who expose the truth and the ill-effects of his program and policies,” Canlas said.

The group said that the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan in the region has been stepped up from merely a phase of civic-military and pyschological warfare(psywar) operations to direct assault such as extra-judicial killings.  Last July, the Dutch development executive Wilhelmus JJ Lutz Geertman was killed in Angeles City while Bayan Muna leader Romualdo Palispis was killed on June 30 in Maria Aurora town, Aurora province.

“We hold the Aquino government responsible if something undesirable happens to Cervantes.  We support Cervantes' struggle against this harassment and violation of press freedom.  We vow to protect Cervantes' basic rights and call on other media practictioners to defend freedom of the press in the region,” said Canlas. 

ANGARA GIVES P5M TO KNOWLEDGE CHANNEL FOR TECH-VOC MODULES

MANILA, August 29, 2012-Senator Edgardo J. Angara signed a memorandum of agreement with the Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc. (KCFI) yesterday to provide P5 million from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for the creation of new technical-vocational education modules.

Under the agreement, KFCI will  produce quality learning materials for technical-vocational learners throughout the country through video training programs and e-learning modules in fields such as Food Technology, Crop Production, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista also signed the agreement together with Ms. Rina Lopez Bautista, KCFI President and Executive Director. The local government of Quezon City is tasked with the release of the allocation and performance monitoring.

Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, underscored the importance of technical-vocational training to the continued development of the Philippine workforce.

"Tech-voc graduates have a better chance of landing jobs than the average college graduate because they fill the employment gaps in crucial industries like food production," he explained.

According to Angara, also Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, the country must also recognize the value of utilizing modern information and communications technology (ICT) in education.

"These e-learning modules can be made available to marginalized youth and adult learners who cannot afford the textbooks and school materials. The e-learning modules and training videos that will be produced by the Knowledge Channel can be used by hundreds of students and learners simultaneously in different areas of the country.

"This way we are expanding the learning platform without adding to our shortfalls in textbooks and classroom furniture," Angara explained.
"This tech-voc project is also aligned with the specialization thrust of the K to 12 basic education reform. It is important that we promote tech-voc as a viable means toward gainful employment," he emphasized. (Rikka Sotto w/ Shielo Mendoza)

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