Sunday, January 13, 2013

No politics in graft raps vs Joson - Umali

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, January 14, 2012-Gov. Aurelio Umali denied allegations that the filing of graft charges against Quezon Mayor Mariano Cristino Joson was politically motivated as claimed by the Josons’ camp.

          Speaking to reporters at the provincial Capitol here, Umali said he could not be accused by the Josons of playing politics in the graft charges filed before the Ombudsman and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan against Mayor Joson.

          “In the first place, somebody filed the complaint against them, not me. So how can they accuse me now of playing politics?” he said.

          Earlier, the Josons claimed Mayor Joson was a victim of political harassment.

          Former four-term governor Tomas Joson III said charges have also been filed before the SP against San Leonardo Mayor Froilan Nagano, a close ally of the Josons, in what he termed as an apparent “pattern to harass” mayors belonging to the Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija of the Josons.

          Aside from Mayor Joson, also charged before the Office of the Ombudsman were Quezon municipal treasurer Anacleta Arucan, municipal accountant Rona Joson and municipal budget officer Leilani Domingo.

          The charges, filed by former municipal accountant Ruperto Libunao, accuse the four of alleged non-remittance of Government Service Insurance System premiums of employees and unliquidated cash advances and disbursements worth at least P100 million.

          A preventive suspension of the four respondents is being sought by Libunao to prevent them from using the powers of their office to influence the outcome of the investigation.

          Mariano Cristino, a former vice governor, ran for governor against Umali in 2007 but lost by landslide, ending the clan’s 48-year rule in the Capitol. He is the husband of first district Rep. Josie Manuel-Joson who is running for governor against  Umali.

          Umali said he is inclined to issue a preventive suspension order against Mayor Joson if only to send the message across that the Umali administration is serious in running after anomalies in the local governments.

          “I am inclined to issue the suspension once the document is submitted to me by the SP. It’s a measure the law allows to protect the integrity of the investigation,” he said.

The issuance of a preventive suspension order, Libunao said, shall preclude the possibility of the respondents exerting undue influence on the complainants and witnesses and the possibility of tampering of evidence considering that they are the heads of their respective offices, having control and custody of the documents which may be used against them.   

          Umali said when he assumed as governor in 2007, he encountered  a variety of problems left behind by the previous administration, including the non-remittance of GSIS premiums for 10 years.

          He noted that his predecessor, Tomas III, entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the GSIS which is detrimental to the interests of Capitol employees.

          “In fact, I wrote a letter to then GSIS president Winston Garcia that the MOA they worked out with the provincial government was detrimental to the cause of Capitol employees and I asked that it be re-visited. After four years, the new Board of the GSIS looked into my plea and agreed with my findings. Now, they are trying to re-do the MOA,” he said.

          He also said that during his first term as governor, he asked the SP then led by vice governor Edward Thomas Joson to grant him authority to enter into loan agreements to pay for the loans of the previous administration but this was turned down.

          “In effect, I was asking then vice governor Joson to authorize me to enter into new loans to pay for the loans the Josons incurred but I was not given authority,” he said. 

          Earlier, Manuel- Joson branded the alleged non-payment by the municipal government of the GSIS premium contributions of employees as malicious. 

She said the municipal government has already forged a MOA  with the GSIS wherein the municipality is already paying for the GSIS premiums.

“In fact, the municipality of Quezon is in a much better position now than the provincial Capitol which has not forged a MOA with the GSIS. It is the Capitol which is guilty of non-remittance, certainly not Mayor Joson and not the municipality of Quezon,” she said. (Manny Galvez) 

Legarda Reiterates Need for Disaster Risk Reduction, as NDRRMC Chief Resigns

MANILA, January 14, 2013-In light of the resignation of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Benito Ramos, Senator Loren Legarda reiterated her call for the government's thrust to be on preparedness, not response, during these times of severe and successive disasters.

“The government cannot be fragmented in dealing with flood risks and natural hazards. We hope that Undersecretary Ramos will be succeeded by one with equal passion and sense of responsibility. And as provided in the law, by a universally acknowledged expert in the field of disaster risk reduction and management,” said Legarda, who is one of the authors of Republic Act 10121.

The Senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, added that although meaningful strides have been made to increase the country's disaster resilience, there is still a need to fully implement the environmental laws as well as for heightened action from all stakeholders in disaster risk management.

“We need disaster-resilient development planning, which means the integration of disaster risks into local land use and development plans. We need to raise awareness among private citizens, the business community, even the youth sector,” she stressed.

“A sunset review of the law three years after its enactment may also be timely to see if an amendment is called for in order to equip the government with better DRR mechanisms,” Legarda concluded.

Legarda to Hold Geohazard Briefings, Distribute Maps in Pangasinan

MANILA, January 13, 2013-Senator Loren Legarda will conduct geohazard briefings and distribute geohazard maps to municipalities in Pangasinan on January 15.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, will also speak before students of the Pangasinan State University in order to reach out to the youth about climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

“Our local officials need to have the valuable, life-saving information regarding risks present in their communities, all of which can be found in the geohazard maps. These maps show where it is safe and unsafe to reside or to build infrastructure. And while I believe that LGU support is crucial, we must also involve the youth because they will be the ones to continue the practice of adhering to our standards of safety and disaster preparedness,” she explained.

Legarda started the distribution of maps last week with the formal turnover of geohazard maps to local officials of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental. 

“Our citizens have the right to know if they are living in landslide or flood-prone areas. Everyone from public servants to members of the youth should be equipped with this knowledge. Through this, we should be able to radically minimize the casualties and damages when a natural hazard strikes,” she stressed.

“As Filipinos, we owe it to each other to be involved in efforts to reduce disaster risks and adapt to climate change. Now is the time to give nothing less than our wholehearted commitment to arm all sectors with the right tools to be disaster resilient,” Legarda concluded.

Trillanes thanks PNoy for signing law to modernize interior design industry

MANILA, January 13, 2013-Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV hailed the signing of Republic Act 10350 or the Philippine Interior Design Act of 2012 by PresidentBenigno Aquino III, saying this will help boost the sector to make it globally competitive.

“I thank the President for signing the amended interior design law. Surely this development will boost the interior design industry to make it more competitive globally and at par with international standards,” said Trillanes, principal author of the new law.

In his sponsorship speech as chairman of Senate Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization, Trillanes lamented that with the advances in technology and swift development in the industry, “it is necessary for us to introduce changes which would modernize the practice of interior design in the country to make it at par with the international standards and to enhance the competitive edge of the Filipino interior designers.”

The amended law protects the interest of local interior designers and enhances their competitive edge by providing the mandatory professional education and upgrading the knowledge and skills of professional interior designers.

The young senator said only legitimate professionals will be allowed to practice the profession in the country.

The new law, signed by President Aquino on 15 December 2012, amends Republic Act No. 8534 of 1998.


Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this blog do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of "THE CATHOLIC MEDIA NETWORK NEWS ONLINE".

Should the Philippine government legalize same-sex marriage?