Saturday, June 29, 2013

Illegal logging syndicate tagged behind gun attack on Ecija forester

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija –  A syndicate engaged in llegal logging in identified “hot spots” in Nueva Ecija has been tagged for the twin assassination attempts on a forester of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the province.
          Leovino Ignacio, DENR provincial  DENR provincial environment and natural resources officer, said a syndicate operating in Bongabon town could be behind the gun attack on Edgardo Luna.
          De Luna, 49, of Barangay Bantug Bulalo here suffered a gunshot wound at the back of his neck after he was shot by a motorcycle-riding gunman Friday at Purok Camalig, Barangay Bangad.
          De Luna was driving his motorcycle on his way home when shot from close range by the gunman who was riding in tandem with a companion.
          It was the second slay attempt on De Luna who was also shot by a lone gunman on May 23 by a gunman while he was aboard a XLT passenger jeep in Barangay Bitas also in this city.
          Ignacio said De Luna may have angered members of the syndicate operating in Bongabon town following a series of successful anti-illegal logging operations there.
“This is a big syndicate,” he said, adding many were hurt by the DENR’s campaign against illegal logging of which De Luna is in the forefront, particularly  in Bongabon.
          Ignacio said the intensified campaign against illegal loggers was earlier ordered by DENR regional executive director Maximo Dichoso targeting Bongabon and the other “hot spots” such as the towns of  Carranglan, Gabaldon, Gen. Tinio, Laur and Pantabangan.
          Earlier, De Luna led a DENR team in confiscating 1,000 board feet of wood from the owner of a furniture shop in Barangay Antipolo in Bongabon.
Ignacio called on local government officials in the “hot spots” areas to help out in the anti-illegal logging campaign. “If they would just help us, I see no reason why our campaign won’t succeed,” he said.

Juan Fernandez Jr., DENR community environment and natural resources officer for central Nueva Ecija based in Talavera town has asked Ignacio to arm forest rangers in their fight against illegal loggers. (Manny Galvez) 

Legarda’s First Bills: On Education, Disaster Resilience, Poverty Alleviation, Cultural Preservation

On the first day of the 16th Congress, Senator Loren Legarda set out her legislative priorities as she filed proposed measures on education, poverty alleviation, natural resources management, disaster preparedness, environmental conservation, and cultural preservation.

The first five bills that Legarda filed are the following:
·      Senate Bill No. (SBN) 6 - Government Scholarship to Students for University and Technical Vocational Education Act
·      SBN 7 – National Land Use Act
·      SBN 8 – Amending the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers
·      SBN 9 – Philippine River Basin System Administration Act
·      SBN 10 – PAGASA Modernization Act

She will also submit today the following priority measures:
·      Water Sector Reform Act
·      National Food Authority Reorganization Act
·      Micro-Enterprise Development Institution Act
·      Child Nutrition Law
·      Students’ Rights and Welfare Act
·      Malunggay Development Act
·      Integrated Coastal Management Act
·      Land Administration Reform Act
·      Barangay Health Workers Act
·      An Act Creating Folk Art Museums in Every Province

“We aim to support the government’s poverty reduction programs through legislation that will make the lives of Filipinos better and build a more humane society. Education is an important poverty alleviation tool and it should reach the poorest sector. Along with that, we must also look after the welfare of our teachers,” she explained.

The proposed Government Scholarship to Students for University and Technical Vocational Education Act will provide college scholarships to students who are members of households that benefit from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Meanwhile, amendments to the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers will be proposed to further protect the rights of teachers including providing them with security of tenure, ensuring the timely payment of monthly salaries, annual salary adjustment, and retirement benefits.

On the other hand, Legarda filed measures related to building the country’s disaster resilience, stressing that preparing the nation for the onslaught of natural hazards will help reduce poverty.

“The bleak reality is that the poor is hit hardest by disasters. Thus, we must strengthen our defenses against disasters and build community resilience,” she said.

The proposed National Land Use Act will reduce the impacts of disasters to the lives of people and communities by mandating the formulation of a national policy, as well as the complementing policy of local government units, for land use to ensure proper land management and avoid placing urban areas, communities and agricultural areas in fault lines and known path of floods and typhoons.

The creation of a Philippine River Basin System Administration is another legislation on disaster mitigation because it will create an institutional framework on river water management and a comprehensive river administration system for flood control, water use and environmental conservation.

Meanwhile, Legarda said she hopes that the 16th Congress will see the passage of the bill on the long overdue modernization of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The proposed measure addresses the need to upgrade the capacity of PAGASA to perform its mandate, which is vital in providing the necessary informational requirement and warning systems to minimize the vulnerability of people, environment and economy to natural hazards.


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