Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Legarda: Utilize Science for a Better PHL

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today said that the nation should utilize science, technology, and innovation in transforming the Philippines into a country not just of potential but of actual success.

Legarda made the statement in time for the 2013 National Science and Technology Week (July 23-27, 2013).

“The science community is a vital sector that must be tapped to provide the needed innovations to address the pressing needs of various sectors like agriculture, transportation, industry and services as well as improve climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts,” said Legarda.

The Senator noted that the Philippines’ growth should be translated to better services for Filipinos. She said that programs based on scientific research and innovation can change lives by averting disasters, safeguarding jobs, incomes, and livelihoods, enhancing food supply, promoting environmental sustainability, and combating poverty.

“Through science, our cities will be planned better; our farmers and fisherfolk will be more adequately supported; our people will live in a healthier and safer environment; and our economic growth will finally start to benefit all,” Legarda said.

Meanwhile, Legarda also cited the improvements in the country’s climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction programs as announced by President Benigno Aquino III in his State of the Nation Address yesterday.

“We are making headway in improving our disaster preparedness. The Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) has been helpful particularly in providing the needed equipment to provide accurate information and timely warnings to our communities,” she said.

“We also note the ongoing work for the completion of multi-hazard mapping and geohazard mapping. According to the President, geohazard mapping will be completed by the end of 2015, while the multi-hazard mapping of the Greater Metro Manila Area is expected to be done by 2014, following the completion of similar mapping in 28 hazardous areas. In all these efforts, science and technology has been our great weapon,” she added.

“The Department of Science and Technology has been tireless in providing solutions that address the country’s challenges in environmental sustainability, jobs and livelihoods, rural development, and disaster resilience. We hope that the path the DOST is treading on will lead to a better and smarter Philippines,” Legarda concluded.

Drilon assures on-time passage of 2014 budget

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today/July 23 expressed optimism that the 2014 national budget will pave the way for an inclusive and all-encompassing growth which President Aquino promised in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Drilon, who was chair of the Committee on Finance that hears the country's expenditure program, likewise, gave assurance that, with him at the helm, the P2.268-trillion 2014 budget will be passed before the year ends.

The expenditure program for 2014 – submitted today to Congress – is 13.1 percent or P262.1 billion higher than this year’s National Budget.

"I am particularly pleased with the sustained priority being given to health and education systems. I laud the highest budget increase of 45.5-percent budget given to the Department of Health making its 2014 budget P87.1 billion to provide a wider health coverage," said Drilon.

He stressed that the excise tax collections from the Sin Tax Reform Law - touted by Drilon as an anti-cancer law- will augment the budget for health insurance of indigent families next year.

Based on the submitted budget, P35.3 billion is being proposed for the Premium Health Subsidy of 14.7 million indigent families.

Drilon also said he hopes the highest budget yearly being allocated for the Department of Education amounting P336.9 billion for next year will finally enable the agency to put closure to the problems on classroom and school facilities, textbooks, and teachers.

Drilon, as Finance chair in the previous Congress, successfully led the passage of the budget before each fiscal year ends. He said it is vital to the economic growth to have the budget by January 1, so that infrastructure projects can jump-start during the summer season to take advantage of the good weather.

"I am confident that our fellow senators, whether from majority or minority blocks, will scrutinize the proposed outlay objectively, bearing in mind the greatest needs of our people, especially the poorest of the poor," said Drilon.

He added: “Ang sabi ng Pangulo: ‘Ang stratehiya: Sagarin ang oportunidad para sa lahat, lalo na para sa mga mas nangangailangan. Hindi natin pakay maghintay ng trickle down; hindi puwedeng baka sakali o tsamba lang silang daratnan ng mga biyaya ng kaunlaran. Ito pong tinatawag nating inclusive growth—itong malawakang kaunlaran—ang mismong prinsipyong bukal ng bawat inisyatiba, bawat kilos, bawat desisyon ng inyong gobyerno.”

“As legislators, it is our duty to ensure that indeed no Filipino, regardless of economic status, will be left behind and that every Filipino will experience a remarkable improvement in his or her life,” said Drilon.

Recto on SONA : ‘ A rising tide must raise all ships’

A rising tide must raise all ships. I think that is the core of the President’s message this afternoon.  He wants any economic improvement to be enjoyed by all.  And he has prescribed the ways by which wealth created can be dispersed.
Tama ang pinahiwatig ng Pangulo na ang mahirap ang siyang unang dapat makatikim ng biyaya at hindi binabalatuhan na lamang ng tira-tira. He is right in saying that the poor must be the priority of progress and not its postscript. 
It is now up to Congress to respond to his challenge of creating the mechanism by which economic gains will be immediately felt by those who need it most and not something that trickle down to the poor who usually enjoy it last.
It is for this reason that we are looking forward to the examination of the national budget for 2014 because that is one best tool in making growth inclusive.
We are confident that his vision of inclusive growth is translated into budget initiatives, in terms, for example, of jobs to be created by government spending and economic opportunities to be opened up by new infrastructure.
Through the CCT, we have placed a large number of the poor under welfare. But the way for relief to be permanent is to put them to work.  The SONA has given us insights on how it can be done.

In his SONA this year, the President has authored the comprehensive manual on how to achieve inclusive growth.

It is a manual brimming with details, from income-increasing inter-cropping schemes to refrigerating lapu-lapu, from the number of houses to be built to where flood control projects will be constructed, from entitlements to be reformed to laws to be passed. 

Legarda Honors Indigenous Filipinos in SONA Outfit

MANILA-Hoping that issues concerning culture and indigenous Filipinos will be included in the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), Senator Loren Legarda made a statement on preserving and promoting the Filipino heritage and literally walked her talk.

The Senator, who has been passionately advocating for a more active promotion of the traditions and cultural practices of the country’s 110 ethno-linguistic groups, wore indigenous garments at the opening of the 16th Congress and during the President’s SONA.

“My outfit represents ‘fashionalism’—fashion and nationalism. I wanted to wear something relevant and meaningful,” said Legarda.

During the opening of the Senate’s session for the 16th Congress, Legarda wore a red, beaded Gaddang outfit composed of an aken (skirt), a barawasi (blouse), and a bakwat (belt), which are all woven out of cotton “kapat” thread and accessorized with the traditional Gaddang intricate beadwork. A Bontoc necklace completed the outfit.

The Gaddangs are from the Mountain Province and other parts of the Cordillera and Nueva Vizcaya.

They are known for their unique traditional costumes accentuated with beads and precious stones. The Gaddang women weave these garments and apply the intricate beadwork to every piece of clothing. A belt alone is made in more than a week’s time.
For the President’s SONA at the Batasan Pambansa, Legarda wore a Nabal abaca cloth turned into a skirt. This was presented to her during the third lecture of the Senator Loren Legarda Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge at the National Museum by Master Weaver Tia Ines Pandian of the Bagobo Tagabawa community in Tudaya, Sta. Cruz located at the foothills of Mt. Apo. The cloth was woven by Tia Ines’ mother who passed on the Bagobo weaving tradition to her.

“My SONA outfit represents the artistry of our Mindanao indigenous peoples. I am wearing a skirt calledginayan that was woven using the Bagobo abaca ikat weaving technique,” said Legarda.

The skirt was formed using dyed abaca fibers—red dye is from the bark of apatot tree, black dye is from the leaves of mabolo, and turmeric for the yellow color.

The Bagobo skirt was accentuated by a TBoli brass belt casted by Sbanay Lugan of the TBoli community of Lamlahat, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. The double row of brass bells is intended to attract more spirits to guide the wearer.

“In wearing these garments, I wish to recognize and honor our indigenous peoples for their great contribution to our rich heritage and unique culture. Many of their concerns have yet to be addressed but they remain faithful to the traditions passed on to them by their ancestors,” said Legarda.

“This is a statement of support to all efforts in preserving our culture and protecting the rights of IPs. This is a statement that we will continue to initiate programs that will promote our heritage. Through this, I also wish to invite everyone to visit the National Museum, especially the country's first permanent textile galleries known as the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles, to be reunited with our past and discover how blessed and rich we are as a people,” she stressed.


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