Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Legarda Stresses Role of Business Sector in Making Laws Work

MANILA, October 9, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today stressed the vital role of the business community in making the country’s laws work during the 38th Philippine Business Conference at the Manila Hotel.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Climate Change, Foreign Relations, and Cultural Communities, was invited as speaker for the plenary session on Charting the Legislative Agenda for Economic Transformation: Prospects for the 2013 Mid-Term Elections.

“With the mid-term elections on our horizon, it is time to revisit our desired ends and the means by which aspired outcomes can be achieved. The business sector is a vital partner of the government in carrying out the needed programs and reforms for a progressive nation,” she stressed.

The Senator was particular in enjoining the business sector  in contributing to the effective implementation of  the country’s laws that are related to disaster-resiliency, such as the Climate Change Act, the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, and People’s Survival Fund Law.

“As disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business, I urge heightened action from the business community. Private companies should be encouraged to come up with their business continuity plans (BCP) that will showcase how prepared they are to face disasters and be back in business as soon as possible,” Legarda said.

She noted that BCPs are already being undertaken in Japan that is why recovery has been fast and efficient. The business community in the Philippines must begin to think about this.

“The higher value of corporate business is not found in the monetary profit it brings neither in the wealth it creates, but in the nobility of purpose—to improve the quality of life of the people and to build a sustainable and resilient human society.”

“The road promises to be filled with stumbling blocks. But instead of slowing us down, these challenges should bring about consensus — an agreement that our country should double, even triple, its efforts to reach our targets,” Legarda concluded.

Drilon urges passage of bill on picture-based tobacco warning labels

MANILA, October 9, 2012-Alarmed over the increasing number of Filipinos who died from smoking-related diseases, Senator Franklin M. Drilon pushed for the immediate passage of a bill requiring tobacco companies to show picture-based health warnings on cigarette packages.

“The Department of Health places the costs associated to cigarette smoking at 87,600 Filipino deaths annually or about ten Filipino deaths for every hour. Also, cigarette smoking costs an estimated P218 to P416 billion in annual health care expenses and productivity losses,” stressed Drilon.

Citing various studies including the 2009 Philippine Global Adult Tobacco Survey, Drilon emphasized that more than 17 million of the population aged 15 years and above currently smoke, on the average, 10.7 sticks of cigarettes a day.

He added that Philippines registers one of the highest smoking incidence in the Western Pacific Region and was reported to have the lowest prices of cigarettes in the ASEAN region, except for Laos and Cambodia.

Given the alarming statistics, the Senate Finance Committee chairman said there is a need to increase the awareness of the cigarette consumers on the harmful effects of smoking, noting that about 4 billion packs of cigarettes are being produced in the country every year.

He thus urged his colleagues in the Senate to pass the Senate Bill 3283, “Act to Effectively Instill Health Consciousness through Picture-Based Warnings o Tobacco Products,” also known as “Picture –Based Warning Law” filed by Senator Pia Cayetano

Citing different studies, Drilon said that strategically placing meaningful graphic images along with text warnings to cigarette cartons and other tobacco products have effectively deterred smoking in other countries which already have this system in place.

He notes, for instance, a study by the Center For Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, showed that from 2008 to 2010, more than 25 percent of people in the 14 countries surveyed were affected by warning labels, while the use of prominent pictorial warnings was considered to be the most effective medium in communicating the health hazards associated with smoking.

“Other studies have shown that the use of graphic images on packets have a significantly wider reach than mere text warnings, as images produce effects not just on the smoker, but on the people around him,” explained Drilon, “it has also been apparent that these images have a significant effect on those who have difficulty in reading and writing.”

Drilon also noted that this picture-based warning is already being done by tobacco companies in the Philippines; except that it is not distributed locally, it is exported.

Legarda: Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro Needs Closer Scrutiny, Extensive Consultations

MANILA, October 9, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today said that she welcomes the draft Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro as the first of many steps toward the attainment of lasting peace in Mindanao and stressed that the agreement needs closer scrutiny and must undergo extensive consultations.

“While the important details of this Agreement have yet to be formulated, the opportunities for continuing dialogue and the prospects for peace should be welcomed by all Filipinos,” she said.

“As a legislator, I will carefully study the Framework Agreement and its subsequent companion documents to determine how this Agreement conforms to the spirit and intent of our Constitution.  There are provisions in the Framework Agreement that invite closer scrutiny and I trust that questions that may arise would be answered through a process of extensive consultations,” she explained.

Legarda noted that Congress still needs to enact a law in order to give life to the new political entity envisioned by the Framework Agreement.

“I look forward to the inputs of the relevant bodies that will be constituted to formulate a draft that is representative of the sentiments and wishes of the people,” she added.

“As a legislator, I will do my part in ensuring that the new legislation becomes an instrument by which we can finally achieve lasting and durable peace in Mindanao,” Legarda concluded.


MANILA, October 9, 2012-Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan today says that the breakthrough in the peace process between the government and the MILF that brought forth the Bangsamoro will help pave the way for progress and development, and must therefore be given a chance by pundits before jumping to conclusions.

“It all starts with a cessation of hostilities. We cannot hope to have progress when there is war. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking we can reach developed nation status without ending armed conflict in the countryside,” Pangilinan stresses.

He adds, “We have been trying to achieve peace in a certain way for decades, and now we are trying to do it another way. The best thing that could happen is that we have broken the status quo. That is a good start, in my opinion.”

Pangilinan, who has been advocating for the continuation of the peace talks and its eventual resolution, says that even if a small window has opened in the interim, it would be enough to see progress in the Mindanao region.

“We have seen how Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and other such cities have flourished when a cessation of armed conflict was implemented during the Ramos administration. These regions have since progressed exponentially. Once economic progress sets in, the people themselves will work hard to sustain that progress. We must not forget that poverty is the main reason why there is social unrest.”

“The government must seize this opportunity and act quickly as soon as that window of opportunity presents itself to introduce and implement economic reforms and development in the region.”


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