Tuesday, March 19, 2013


MANILA, March 19, 2013-Instead of “conquering Southern Mindanao” as what the opposition claims it would do in its sorties here Tuesday/Mar. 19, Team PNoy senatorial bet Jamby Madrigal challenged the United Nationalist Alliance to do something concrete for the victims of Typhoon Pablo who are in dire need of relief and rehabilitation.

“I dare UNA to do away with politics and show their compassionate hearts by helping these people even in the form of a donation. I don’t think they can get away with their song-and-dance acts in these places,” Madrigal said.

Madrigal issued the remarks on the eve of UNA’s scheduled sorties in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, two areas ravaged by floods spawned by Typhoon Pablo last year.

The campaign manager of the Liberal Party-led coalition said he expects the opposition to make promises to woo the votes of Southern Mindanao, but doubts whether it has done anything tangible to alleviate the plight of Pablo’s victims.

“In contrast,” Madrigal said, “the Aquino administration has a solid relief and rehabilitation program in place for some 1,176 barangays in 43 municipalities, six cities and four provinces involving 986,346 families and over four million individuals.”

He said that as of last month, affected families in the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur have been the beneficiaries of  food packs and over a P1 million worth of non-food items such as blankets, clothing, mats and kitchen wares.

An additional P50 million in standby funds, Madrigal said, has been released by the DSWD for the food requirements of the affected families.

Madrigal also cited, among other things, the more than P4 million worth of burial assistance provided to 431 beneficiaries and the cash-for-work (CFW) program amounting to over P47 million.

“So you see, while the opposition has yet to offer anything, the Aquino administration is already doing what it can to ease the suffering of our brethren in Southern Mindanao,” Madrigal said. 

“Hindi puwede ang pa-Gangnam-gangnam dito.”


MANILA, March 19, 2013-Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is calling for a review and restructuring of the government’s college education policy, following the tragic suicide case of a University of the Philippines – Manila student after reportedly failing to pay tuition fee.
“I join the UP community and the entire student sector in mourning the death of a fellow Iskolar ng Bayan. This unfortunate incident where one promising student took her own life out of frustration should not have happened, especially when she belongs to a state university,” says Jinggoy, who completed his AB Economics degree in UP School of Economics.
Jinggoy cites that the “State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.”
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada further notes, “If this happens to the UP which is considered as the country’s premier state-funded university, I can only imagine more students undergoing the same distress and hardship in finishing their college education in private, considerably more expensive academic institutions.”
Sen. Estrada filed a proposed Free Public College Education System through his Senate Bill 447.
“By instituting a free public college education system in our country, we would be helping more of our less privileged constituents in realizing their dream of obtaining a college diploma. Also, through this legislative measure, we are able to provide these youth with the basic leverage in securing decent employment for them in the near future,” Sen. Estrada says in the bill’s explanatory note.
Apart from this, Sen. Estrada authored Senate Bill 496 or the Regional Subsidized College Education Program or RSCEP.
The measure seeks to establish a RSCEP in each region of the country which shall provide a free tuition and all school expenses in any four-year college course leading to degrees in engineering, agriculture, veterinary medicine, education, computer science, nursing and mass communications; sustained provision for books, subsistence, clothing and transportation allowance; and contingent provision for medical and hospitalization expenses.
Both legislative proposals were referred to the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and Committee on Finance.
Sen. Estrada intends to refile both measures in the incoming 16th Congress and actively push for the passage of the same.

Drilon, Magsaysay appeal to NDF-NPA Participate in the elections, be sincere

Team PNoy campaign manager Sen. Franklin M. Drilon and former Sen. Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr. on Tuesday/March 19 appealed to the Communist-led NDF and New People’s Army not to disrupt the conduct of a peaceful election in May, the first under the Aquino Administration.

“I challenge our fellow Filipinos who are members of the CPP-NPA-NDF to participate in the electoral process,” said Drilon, as the LP-led administration coalition candidates barnstormed the Caraga Region, one of the remaining hotbeds of the four-decade-old Communist insurgency.

One of the country’s poorest regions, Caraga is made up of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

“The best and most effective way to change the system is by electing to power the people that we believe will carry out the reforms we all want to see,” added Drilon.

Drilon and Magsaysay also challenged the National Democratic Front, which has held on-and-off peace talks with the government since the 1990s, to “demonstrate utmost sincerity in pursuing peace negotiations.”

The government, the two said, is “resolute in finding ways to achieve lasting peace” in the country.

“Panahon na ng kapayapaan. Tapos na ang digmaan. Let us give peaceful elections a chance,” said Drilon.

During the presidencies of Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, Drilon was a consultant in the peace panels that were formed to reach out to Communist and Muslim rebels.

Magsaysay, whose father and namesake was instrumental in ending in the fifties the Huk rebellion tied to agrarian unrest, chided what he called wrongful activities attributed to NPA rebels such as imposing “campaign permits” from P50,000 to P5 million on political candidates visiting rebel-influenced areas.

“Team PNoy will not tolerate such activities as it will only worsen the problem on insurgency,” Magsaysay and Drilon said in a press statement.

Magsaysay said the government will “exhaust all means to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace” amid reports of the NDF’s insincerity in the stalled peace talks with the government.

“A peaceful Philippines is not impossible under the Aquino administration,” Magsaysay said.

“This is evident in the on-going discussions on the framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the Bangsamoro entity in which the first of four annexes have already been signed,” Magsaysay said.

“Team PNoy supports all efforts at ending the conflict in Mindanao. That is why the President needs a majority in the Senate, to ensure the success of the peace negotiations with the MILF, as well as with the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Magsaysay said.


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