Thursday, May 9, 2013
Reelectionist Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV has set aside over P240 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for medical assistance and hospital rehabilitation across the country since he started receiving the allocation for lawmakers’ special projects in 2010 under the Aquino administration.
Trillanes, a staunch critic of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is now detained for a plunder case, did not receive the PDAF during the term of the former leader, but still managed to provide help to those needing medical attention.
“Every citizen of this country should have access to our healthcare system. Indigent patients should not be made to wait and suffer just because they don’t have the means to pay,” said Trillanes, who is running under Team PNoy said.
He added: “Even though I was not given the PDAF by the GMA regime, we found ways to help our people. It did not stop me from fulfilling my duty to the people.”
During the 15th Congress, Trillanes co-authored the Universal Health Care Act that mandates all citizens of the country to be covered by the National Health Insurance Program.
Trillanes also filed bills that seek to give tax credit to physicians rendering pro bono services, establish a national cancer center to be known as the Philippine National Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Fund, raise the salaries of medical doctors, and establish an infant mortality program to reduce the rate of infant deaths in the country, among others.
CABANATUAN CITY – “It’s too brazen.”
With these, Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday deplored the rampant vote-buying activities by moneyed candidates, particularly in the provinces which undermine the coming electoral exercise this coming Monday.
Speaking to newsmen following a campaign sortie in Nueva Ecija with his daughter, senatorial candidate Nancy, Binay expressed hope that authorities would arrest those engaged in buying of votes.
Binay said in many whistle stops of the United Nationalist Alliance, they have monitored several instances of vote-buying.
He cited an incident in Puerto Princesa where registered voters line up in a gymnasium receiving money from certain candidates. He said he just came from Capiz where giving out of money was being done in the open.
“Where are the police? I hope they enforce the law,” he said.
Commenting on the money ban imposed by the Commission Elections to prevent voter-buying, Binay said it would affect legitimate businesses. “What will you do with those receiving wages? And those who have pending loan applications? They might not be able to release the loans,” he said.
He said the ban should be reviewed especially with the reaction of the business sector.
At the same time, the Vice President said there is no way Team PNoy of the administration coalition could score a 12-0 sweep of the senatorial race. “Definitely, there will be no 12-0. Not even 9-3. I think we in UNA will bag at least four Senate seats,” he said.
Binay acknowledged the votes of the influential Iglesia Ni Cristo sect will be crucial, particularly to candidates at the tail-end of the socalled Magic 12. “When you are on the borderline, the INC votes are extremely crucial,” he said. (Manny Galvez)
Reelectionist Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV said there is a need to strengthen the role of women in the society as he vowed to introduce more policies that will further protect and advance their rights.
Trillanes has put forward a slew of pro-women measures in the Senate, but said there is still much more to be done to institutionalize policies that will care for women and promote their rights.
“Women are an integral part of this country, thus, as a policymaker, it is my duty to advance policies toward women’s empowerment in order to protect the rights and improve each Filipino woman’s life,” said Trillanes, who is running under Team PNoy.
Trillanes is the principal author of Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act in the Senate. This law seeks to address the loopholes in RA 9208 and the human trafficking in the country particularly in disaster areas where women and children are easy preys of unscrupulous groups.
Trillanes is also among the authors of the National Health Insurance Act, which is now enrolled for signature by President Aquino. This bill provides comprehensive health care services that will prioritize those in most need and provide free services to indigents.
Other pro-women bills which Trillanes has filed are:
· Senate Bill No. 322 (Increasing Maternity Leave Benefits) – increases the maternity leave of working women to 120 days from 60 days to allow mothers to breastfeed their kids for at least four months.
· Senate Bill No. 230 (Mother-Child Facility Act) – seeks to institutionalize the pulling up of drop-in centers for non-school age children within the vicinity of every private company which employs at least 100 women workers, whether taking managerial, supervisory or rank and file post.
· Senate Bill No. 410 (National Cervical Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment Fund) – seeks to create a breast and cervical cancer diagnostic and treatment fund which shall provide financial assistance for the medical care of indigent patients.
· Senate Bill No. 222 (Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act) – a public education and awareness campaign to inform the general public about the clinical significance of gynecologic cancer and its public health implications such as risk factors, symptoms, need for early detection and methods of treatment associated with gynecologic cancer.
· Senate Bill 189 (Breast and Cervical Cancer Protection Act) – inclusion of periodic diagnostic services for breast cancer and cervical cancer in the benefit package under the PhilHealth.
President Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III, Vice President Jejomar Binay and several other political personalities rallied behind Senator Loren Legarda, attesting to her integrity and commitment to public service.
The outpouring of support came after black propaganda hurled against Legarda surfaced in the last leg of the 2013 campaign season, alleging anomalies in her SALN. “Team PNoy’s composition is based on a shared commitment to honesty, transparency, and accountability in public service,” said President Aquino. “Loren Legarda has never backed away from the duty of every person who works for the people, to live up to our common obligation to stand by these three basic principles of governance.” He added, “I know that our fellow citizens will recognize this and that they can separate the facts from mere rumors or opinions.”
Vice President Jejomar Binay, in turn, said the allegations are “obviously politically motivated,” and he is confident that Legarda will emerge unscathed.
Legarda has consistently held the top senatorial spot in pre-election surveys, owing to her strong track record as a legislator and public servant.
“I sympathize with Loren,” said UNA senatorial bet Richard “Dick” Gordon. “Somebody wants to be No. 1 ahead of her, is that the kind of person you want elected in the Senate?”
Other senatorial candidates from both UNA and Team PNoy expressed support for the legislator, including Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Nancy Binay, and Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, who further attested to Legarda’s “fierce commitment to issues on the environment, education and employment.”
“I urge the Filipino electorate to give Legarda a resounding vote of confidence on May 13 to shame her detractors.” said former Ambassador Roy Seneres of the OFW Family Party List.
Team PNoy Campaign Manager Senator Frank Drilon expressed outrage at the allegations, and vouched for Legarda’s strong work ethic. “As a fellow senator and friend, I have known Senator Legarda as a person of respect and integrity. She was my indefatigable Majority Floor Leader when I was Senate President during the 11th, 12th and 13th Congresses.” Drilon added “I am certain that any attempt at character assassination against her would fail in the face of her impending victory in the elections.”
Following reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) that at least five climbers were killed and several injured in Albay as Mayon Volcano spewed ash, Senator Loren Legarda called on the government to institutionalize geohazard mapping and mandatory LGU training on disaster risk reduction.
“We can do a lot for our environment. Geohazard mapping should be institutionalized and followed down to the grassroots. Funding should be provided in the national budget and to LGUs for relocation or for housing, most especially for communities that are in danger,” Legarda, who chairs the Committee on Climate Change, said.
“There should also be a mandatory training on anticipating risks for LGUs and for frontline agencies,” the Senator added.
Legarda, regional disaster risk reduction champion for Asia Pacific, also asked government to incorporate climate change adaptation in the school curriculum.
“To solve the problem of environmental degradation, it is important that we inculcate the right values to the younger generation. It is only through concerted efforts that we may be able to reverse the damage caused by irresponsible development models and large-scale environmental destruction,” she said.
For the past three months, Senator Legarda has led a massive information drive on the use of geohazard maps in LGUs, SUCs, and barangays nationwide.
"Hindi ito isyu na para lamang sa mga akademiko. Malapit ito sa bituka, at may epekto sa huli ng ating mga mangingisda, ani ng magsasaka, kabuhayan ng mga katutubo at kaligtasan ng mamamayan," Legarda stressed.
The Senator was the principal author of the Climate Change Act (RA 9729) and co-author and sponsor of its amendatory law, which provides for the creation of the People’s Survival Fund (RA 10174).
Legarda was chiefly responsible for the passage of landmark environmental legislations such as the Clean Air Act (RA 8749), Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003), Renewable Energy Act (RA 9513) and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act (RA 10121).
In an apparent repudiation of the instigators of the persistent demolition job against Sen. Loren Legarda, influential youth, student and bishop groups endorsed the senator’s candidacy in separate ceremonies this morning.
First to endorse Legarda was the Independent Bishops Conference of the Philippines (IBCP) at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan.
The endorsement of the IBCP, a Christian sect with nationwide members, was led by Bishop Efraim Perez, president; Bishop James Antioquia, vice-president; Rev. Reynaldo Mapanoo, secretary, and Rev. Jun Bernal, secretary general.
Next to endorse Legarda were the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and Kabataan party list at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Timog Avenue, Quezon City.
The students and youth signed a manifesto expressing their views on why they chose Legarda and a select group of senatorial candidates.
The groups said in her 15 years in the Senate, Legarda promoted the welfare of the youth and students and even teachers and advanced their interests.
In her speech, Legarda said, “Kailangan maiangat ang kalidad ng edukasyon lalo na sa mga pampublikong paaralan at state universities and colleges o SUCs. Kailangan madagdagan ang pondo ng DepEd at CHED para sa mga mahihirap na kabataang kasama natin na nangangarap magkaroon ng diploma, sa pamamagitan ng dagdag na mga scholarship.”
She disclosed her plan called “Pantawid Tuition Program” which would grant a college scholarship to each of the 3.8 million households that are beneficiaries of the government’s Conditional Cash Program.
“Sa ilalim ng Pantawid Tuition Program, bawat mahirap na pamilyang Pilipino ay magkakaroon ng college scholarship. Layunin natin na mabigyan sila ng magandang trabaho at umasenso ang kabuhayan ng kanilang pamilya,” she said.
Legarda added: "Patuloy po tayong magsisikap sa pagsusulong ng mga adhikain natin para maitaas ang budget para sa edukasyon, para sa mga dagdag na scholarship, tamang pasahod sa mga guro, pagbaba ng presyo ng mga bilihin at pasahe, at siyempre, para sa kalusugan ng lahat.
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