Wednesday, November 27, 2013

There will be no budget deadlock, Drilon assures

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon is confident that the House of Representatives and the Senate will be able to reach agreement on how to resolve the differences in their versions of the 2014 General Appropriations Bill. The Senate passed yesterday its own version.

“I am confident that we will come into agreement. I’m not worried that there will be a deadlock. I have gone through this numerous times in the past. There can be difficulties sometimes, but at the end of the day, reasonable people can come up with an agreement that is acceptable not only to both chambers but also to the Filipino public in general,” said Drilon.

“We have an obligation to restore the people’s trust in the government. Transparency and accountability will be the order of the day,” he added.

The senators put forward several amendments in the General Appropriations Bill submitted by the House of Representatives.

The Senate lowered the proposed national budget from the original amount of P2.268-trillion to P2.265-trillion, representing a P3.2 billion decrease which resulted from the deletion of the senators' allocations for the now unconstitutional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

"The decrease in the budget proposal was the result of the decision of the 15 senators and the vice president who opted to delete their PDAF allocations worth P200 million each, as the Supreme Court recently ruled that the PDAF is unconstitutional," explained Drilon.

Moreover, the Senate moved to increase several items in the budget. These included the P5.5 billion budget increase for calamity fund and P600 million increase in quick response funds for the Department of Health and Department of Transportation and Communication to better capacitate the government in responding to calamities that may hit the country next year.

The Senate also carved out P100 billion for rehabilitation and reconstruction program on areas heavily hit by the recent disastrous events particularly typhoons Yolanda, Labuyo, Santi, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Visayas region and the siege in Zamboanga City, noted Drilon.

“In total, we have allocated P100 billion for rehabilitation program to be undertaken by the line agencies next year, and of which, P20 billion is funded, and P80 billion is unprogrammed, which funds shall serve as standby authority and ready authorization for spending once we receive the foreign donations and grants for victims of typhoon Yolanda,” said Drilon.

The Senate version likewise realigned P2.5 billion from the P5 billion lump-sum appropriation for scholarships to the budget of 112 state colleges and universities to manage their own scholarship programs for deserving students. The Senate also increased the budget of the University of the Philippines by P438 million.

Lastly, the Senate President proposed to delete the provisions in the budget proposal which are contrary to the ruling of the Supreme Court on the unconstitutionality of the PDAF.

For its voluntary compliance to labor standards Mekeni Food Corp. Gets DOLE Award

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Labor and Employment in Central Luzon recently conferred a new award to the country’s leading and ISO-certified meat processing company.
Regional Director Raymundo Agravante has conferred Tripartite Certificate of Compliance with Labor Standards (TCCLS) to Mekeni Food Corporation (Mekeni) and 10 other companies in Central Luzon. There are about 4,400 enterprises in the region that are under mandated monitoring by the DOLE. Mekeni is the only company in the food industry sector to be given this award. 
“This is a kick-off program of activities in our full implementation of new labor law compliance system that we are usually conducting based on the enforcement power of DOLE,” Agravante said during the awarding ceremonies.
TCCLS is one of the most coveted certifications by any company as it acknowledges voluntary compliance with standards on general labor, occupational safety, health and child labor.
Part of the incentives in the TCCLS certification is a three-year exemption from mandatory inspections and eligibility to win higher recognition such as the DOLE Secretary’s Labor Law Compliance Award and the Tripartite Seal of Excellence to be given in Malacanang.
Agravante said that Mekeni complied with necessary standards per evaluation of the committee “especially on health and safety being in the food industry”.
Mekeni was started by couple Felix and Meding Garcia as a backyard tocino business in Balubad, Porac in 1986.  It now employs more than 1,000 workers and has been conferred various awards and certifications from various government agencies,  local and international private firms.
Its recent awards include the Platinum Award of Total Quality Leadership conferred by Business Initiative Directions in Frankfurt, Germany.
Mekeni is the very first Asian and Philippine meat plant to have been certified with the highest standards in hotdog processing. It is the first in Asia and Philippines and second firm in the world to get the Food Safety Management System (FSMS) or ISO 22000 in 2006.
Recently, it was also certified as the first Philippine meat processing company to have obtained the Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000, the latest and integrated standard on food safety and quality. FSSC covers many of the most comprehensive existing food and safety standards and program requirements because of the full integration of ISO 22000.
This certification covers its hotdog line and marinated products, making Mekeni’s tocino as the first and only tocino that is ISO certified.
Prudencio S. Garcia, president and CEO of Mekeni, said that they dedicate the latest recognition to the customers, dealers and workers.
“We owe it to the people that we are given this award. The customers, the community and our staff. With this recognition, we will continue to commit to excellence in work environments, production, food safety and quality. The public deserves no less than the highest quality standards,” Garcia said.  
“This is another proof that our company truly cares,” Garcia added.
The TCCLS is a seal of good housekeeping award by the Labor Department. It is a pre-requisite to the DOLE Secretary’s Labor Law Compliance Award (SLLCA) and the Tripartite Seal of Excellence (TSE) – two of the most prestigious awards given to top performing Philippine-based companies in terms of compliance and best practices in labor standards.
Other awardees in Central Luzon include:
Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club, Chun Chiang Enterprises Mfg. Company, Inc., Essilor Manufacturing Phils., Inc., International Wiring Systems Phils. Inc., ON Semiconductor SSMP Phils., Corp., Petron Freeport Corp., Petron San Fernando Depot, Pharmatechnical Laboratory, Inc., Subic Enerzone, and Trust International Paper Corp.
Of the 11 awardees, only Mekeni, International Wiring Systems Phils, and Subic Enerzone qualify for the SLLCA and TSE awards.


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