Wednesday, November 28, 2012
MANILA, November 28, 2012-The Philippine economy grew 7.1% in the third quarter this year beating government targets and besting other Southeast Asian economies that have disclosed their numbers for the period. Among our neighbors the country's GDP growth was higher than Indonesia's 6.2%, Malaysia's 5.2%, Vietnam's 4.7%, Thailand's 3.0%, and Singapore's 0.3%.
This impressive expansion from 3.2% in the same quarter last year, places the country’s 9-month growth rate at 6.5% and on track to surpass the 5-6% full year growth target set by the National Economic Development Authority.
The Philippine economy has shown both resilience and resurgence despite the global economic slowdown. This was made possible due to sustained confidence in the leadership of President Aquino and his administration which has consistently equated good governance with good economics. Underscored by deft fiscal management, responsible and transparent public spending, and a continuously strengthening partnership between government and business, this has resulted in a virtuous cycle for the Philippine economy.
Government has also pushed to ensure this economic growth is felt by the broadest number of people. Within the same 9-month period, the Aquino administration has enrolled more than three million beneficiaries under the Conditional Cash Transfer program and has distributed P20 billion for this priority social investment. On top of this, spending for public health has also increased resulting in an expansion of health care safety nets and improvements in hospitals and health centers all over the country.
Equitable and inclusive growth is a commitment of the Aquino administration that has prioritized the establishment of both social and physical infrastructure which continues to redound to a more robust economy for the benefit of all Filipinos.
CARRANGLAN, Nueva Ecija, November 28, 2012–A brother of incumbent Vice Mayor Efren Alfonso and two others were charged before the Department of Justice for alleged complicity in the cold-blooded November 11 murder of a 67-year-old engineer in this town.
Charged before the DOJ in Manila for the killing of engineer Alexander Mejia were Erwin Alfonso, and two others who remain unidentified.
The trio were charged for the shooting of Mejia at around 5 pm last November 11 at Sitio Pulo, Barangay Joson here.
Police are looking at land dispute as the possible motive for the attack.
Police probers said Mejia was inspecting a land parcel in the site with a geodetic engineer Mario Faustino and Geminiano Lozano when Alfonso’s group arrived and confronted him.
Senior Superintendent Walter Castillejos, provincial police director, said the family of Lazatin filed the case in Manila for security reasons and is planning to file a petition before the DOJ for the change of venue of the trial.
Castillejos said witnesses have refused to come out to testify for fear of reprisals.
Mejia’s sister Chana Lopez said Faustino and Lozano are reluctant to come out because the suspect’s family is highly influential. (Manny Galvez)
MANILA, November 28, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda celebrated the Senate approval of the Kasambahay Bill, which will accord domestic workers official rights and privileges, one day after the House of Representatives also ratified the measure.
“Now we only need the President's signature in order to make minimum wage and other rights and privileges a reality for the 1.9 million domestic workers in the country,” she said.
Legarda, a staunch supporter of the establishment of the rights of domestic workers, added that the Kasambahay Bill is one of the foundations of inclusive growth that the Philippines as a nation aspires for.
Among the Senator's first bills filed in the Fifteenth Congress was Senate Bill 7, which sought to increase the minimum wage of household helpers and require all household working arrangements between employers and helpers to be duly documented.
Legarda noted that this is a clear result of the dedication to equality in the country, and that this heralds better things to come for other marginalized sectors.
“It is imperative that we treat our kasambahays as workers, not servants. The Kasambahay Bill, and hopefully soon, the Kasambahay Law, is a major step in according decent working conditions, just compensation, and sufficient benefits to our domestic workers,” she stressed.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, also ushered the Philippine ratification of the International Labour Organization Convention 189, the Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers, which will enter into force in 2013.
MANILA, November 28, 2012-As the Senate and the House of Representatives have come up with the reconciled version of the proposed measure that strengthens the current Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, Senator Loren Legarda today warned human traffickers that their days are already numbered.
Legarda made the statement as she expressed hope that President Aquino will sign the measure into law in time for the International Day Against Trafficking on December 12.
“Nine years after Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act was passed, we still have a long way to go to eradicate and effectively control the scourge that trafficking inflicts upon our people,” Legarda noted.
“We acknowledge that the problem of continues to hound our society, and this is the reason why we need to strengthen the existing law. The proposed measure that has been approved by the Congressional Bicameral Conference Committee imposes more stringent penalties, including provisions on accessory liability,” said Legarda, Chair of the Sub-Committee on Anti-Trafficking and sponsor of the measure.
She explained that the present law, R.A. 9208, does not have a provision on pre-empted trafficking, but this new law covers attempted trafficking and accessory or accomplice liability, thereby covering under the mantle of the law those individuals who have any involvement in human trafficking.
The Senator noted that by year-end of 2011, the country’s Inter-agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) reported 62 convictions out of a total of 1,519 cases filed between 2003 and 2011. From January to October of this year, however, 38 convictions were made, equivalent to more than half of the total convictions made over an eight-year period.
“While this development validates the modest and positive strides the country has achieved in the battle against trafficking, we need to do more,” she said, citing recent reports that at least 64 people bound for Malaysia, but with no appropriate travel documents, were intercepted by IACAT agents in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.
Legarda added that under the new measure, the IACAT shall be strengthened as it will have a permanent secretariat with funds.
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