Thursday, January 17, 2013

Legarda Lauds New AFP Chief for being a Green Warrior

MANILA, January 18, 2013-Senator Loren Legarda today lauded Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, newly-installed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, for being a green warrior by giving due importance to climate change adaptation and environmental protection.

“Our soldiers are now one with us in the great battle against climate change and environmental degradation. I am glad that the new AFP Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Bautista, has declared that the military will also give due focus on efforts to make our nation disaster-resilient,” said Legarda, a reserve officer in the AFP.

In his speech during the turnover of command, Bautista said that the effects of climate change have become greater and the military should pay serious attention to this “emerging concern”.

He vowed to strengthen the AFP’s capacity for disaster rescue and relief while also taking part in environmental protection to combat the adverse effects of climate change.

“Our times and climes have changed. This is the harsh reality that even our soldiers now realize. Our armed forces are no longer merely rescuers in times of calamities, they are now green warriors who will protect our people from the threats of natural hazards,” Legarda said.

“The AFP’s stronger involvement in our climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction efforts, will make our communities better prepared against disasters,” Legarda concluded.

Legarda Extremely Concerned Over Ship’s Damage to Tubbataha

MANILA, January 18, 2013-Senator Loren Legarda expressed extreme concern over reports that a foreign ship ran aground on theTubbataha Reef early Thursday.

“The Tubbataha Reef has been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1993. And in September, the World Future Council even lauded the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act for ensuring the effective management of this World Heritage Site. It is severely disheartening to hear that a United States ship ran aground on the Reef and has reportedly caused considerable damage to the corals in the area,” she explained.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, reiterated the study by the World Resources Institute entitled Reefs at Risk showing that 85% of the reefs in the Coral Triangle, which covers six countries including the Philippines, are in danger.

“With the available resources at hand, we cannot guard every inch of the entire coast and Philippine territorial waters, but it is alarming that this jewel in our crown on biodiversity conservation efforts can be so easily accessed and damaged this way. We will be monitoring these developments closely to make sure that those who must be held accountable will comply, with possible penalties. Guards patrolling the area should also be sources of vital information,” she said.

“Not all may be aware of the implications of coral reef degradation in our daily lives. Beyond aesthetics, corals serve a greater purpose in our marine ecosystems, because without them, marine species would practically be homeless. This incident should raise awareness about the status of our reefs and what else we can do to conserve them,” Legarda concluded.


MANILA, January 18, 2013-"First it was a U.S. drone. Now its a mine sweeper."

Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan is puzzled by two incidents of questionable U.S. Military incursions within the Philippine territory. A U.S. Drone was found in Masbate early January, then a mine sweeper belonging to the U.S. Navy ran aground in the protected Tubbataha reefs of Mindanao a week later.

"What is a minesweeper doing in our reef? Why are they moving freely over our territorial waters and airspace? What are they doing in our backyard? These are disturbing incidents requiring answers. The Department of Foreign Affairs must ask the United States government to explain."

The U.S. Government is sketchy in providing answers in both incidents. The mine sweeper is said to have come off Subic Bay and is on its way to Japan before running aground in Sulu. U.S. Officials are mum on details of the accident.

"Friends and allies must exercise good faith by coming clean," says Pangilinan.

Legarda Expresses Support for Small Businesses, Farmers at Sikhayan Festival 2013

MANILA, January 18, 2013-Senator Loren Legarda today expressed her support for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at the opening of Sikhayan Festival 2013 at the City Plaza of Santa Rosa, Laguna.

“Sikhayan Festival 2013, with its theme Pagsisikhay ng Mamamayan, Tungo sa Pag-unlad ng Pamayanan, celebrates the ingenuity and hard work of our citizens, as well as their contributions to the overall progress of the country. It is important to hold these gatherings because it gives them a chance not only to showcase their products, but also to learn new strategies and gather support for their ventures,” she said. 

Legarda, author of both the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and the Barangay Livelihood and Skills Training Act, detailed that the MSME Law passed in 2008 provides more assistance to entrepreneurs by requiring lending institutions to allocate at least eight percent (8%), an increase from the previous six percent (6%), of their total loan portfolio to micro and small businesses. It also provides access to new technologies and regular entrepreneurship training programs for workers to ensure the viability and growth of MSMEs in the country.

“We have to utilize the available resources in the country, encourage the development of the exceptional creativity and artistry of Filipinos, and vigorously implement our laws in order to promote the growth of MSMEs as a main driver of our economy,” she added.

“I am one with the local government and residents of Santa Rosa in recognizing that the efforts of every entrepreneur, every employee, is vital to our growth as a people. Together, we will make the excellence of the Filipino known to the world,” Legarda concluded.

Legarda Encourages Use of Envi-Friendly Campaign Materials

MANILA, January 17, 2013-As the 2013 campaign season draws closer, reelectionist Senator Loren Legarda encouraged her fellow political candidates to use only environment-friendly campaign materials.

“There is no better manifestation of concern for our country and our people than the use of biodegradable, recycled, or post-consumer materials during the three month-long campaign. From posters to small tokens, we can eliminate unnecessary waste by avoiding plastics and Styrofoam. This 2013, I urge everyone to run a campaign that will not harm the environment,” she said.

Legarda, currently the Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and the UN Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, noted that campaign teams should avoid nailing paraphernalia to trees and take appropriate measures to ensure that waste materials are disposed of properly before leaving the area.

“It is up to every single one of us to work for a cleaner and greener Philippines. I appeal to my fellow candidates to take their place at the frontline of spreading awareness about environmental concerns and ensure that all campaign guidelines, whether legal or environmental, are duly met,” she concluded.


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