Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Legarda: Industries Should Innovate, Go Green to Adapt to Climate Change

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today said that the corporate sector should innovate towards sustainability and green development, or continue to face the growing threats of climate change.

Speaking before more than a hundred advertisers representing different companies, Legarda named industries, such as building and construction, finance, and food and beverage, which are threatened by risks posed by environmental trends.

“In general, climate change affects operating costs, markets for products and availability of raw materials, and the changing weather patterns and extreme weather events could also cause business interruption and infrastructure damage,” she said at the General Membership Meeting of the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA).

Citing a 2013 report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), GEO-5 for Business: Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Corporate Sector, Legarda said that the increasing temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, while seen as a threat, should actually promote ingenuity and innovation in the private sector.

For instance, in the building and construction industry, higher material costs due to availability constraints will be a challenge. But there will be a growing demand for green and sustainable infrastructure and buildings that are disaster-resilient.

Green building designs can generate up to 30% in energy savings, reduce carbon emissions by 35%, reduce water use by 30 to 50% and save 50 to 90% in waste output.

Meanwhile, in the insurance industry, a great concern is the increased cost of insurance claims resulting from extreme natural hazards. Re-insurer Munich Re experienced a 38 percent quarterly drop in profit partly due to the severe floods in Australia in 2010 to 2011, when claims exceeded US$350 million.

The industry can adapt by developing insurance products that would promote climate change adaptation and mitigation such as paying claims that encourage rebuilding homes and commercial buildings that are more energy-efficient after a loss.

The UNEP study also showed that the food and beverage industry is likely the most exposed to the effects of climate change because it is dependent on water resources and various raw materials from agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

“Companies should know and make known the risks and how climate change could affect their business. Mitigate and adapt to the changing climate by reducing the company’s negative impact on the environment. Create business strategies that advocate for ecosystems protection and consider the environmental changes ahead. Have a business continuity plan (BCP) that ensures business resilience and the welfare of employees following the impact of a disaster. Mainstream disaster risk reduction into corporate planning and investment decision-making. Work with the government and other sectors in finding solutions,” Legarda explained.

“The changing environmental landscape poses various challenges that would likewise transform the business landscape, but forward-thinking companies will see adaptation as an opportunity to innovate and contribute to improving the environment,” she added.

PNoy appoints NE Governor as RPOC Chair

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga-President Benigno Aquino III has appointed Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali as the new chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC).
“Your role as RPOC Chair of Region III is very significant in the light of the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police’s efforts to keep the streets of Central Luzon free from crime and lawlessness.  Ensuring peace and order and public safety is a common goal that we share, and we look forward to a fruitful and productive partnership with you as we continue to keep the communities of Central Luzon safe and sound,” Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas told Umali in a message read by Regional Director Florida Dijan.
Moreover, Police Regional Director CSupt. Raul Delfin Petrasanta was appointed Vice Chair of the council.
RPOCs, per Executive Order Nos. 739 and 773 are responsible for the orchestration of internal security operations efforts of civil authorities, agencies, military, and police at the subnational level,” Dijan explained
Its membership is made up of all provincial governors, mayors of highly urbanized cities, chapter presidents of municipal mayor’s league, regional directors of national government agencies, a representative from the mayors of component cities, infantry division commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the area, and three representatives from the private sector. (Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)

Measure passed granting scholarship to top 10 graduating high school studes

MANILA-A bill granting automatic college admission and scholarship to the top 10 graduating public high school students was approved by the Senate on third and final reading today.

Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2275, said the measure, also known as the Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014, seeks to make quality higher education more accessible to the underprivileged youth.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon also hailed the passage of the measure, saying that such initiatives can help address the challenge of providing complete and quality education for the Filipino youth.

“Binilisan natin ang pagpasa nito, upang sa susunod na pasukan ay maging ganap na batas na ito at mapakinabangan ng ating mga kabataan. Sa batas na ito, kahit mahirap ka, basta magaling ka, ikaw ay may laban na makapasok nang libre sa mga state universities and colleges,” he said.

Under the proposed legislation, Cayetano said, the top 10 public high school students of their graduating class would be accorded automatic admission to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) of their choice within their provinces or nearby provinces, depending on the size of the SUCs and their course offerings.

However, she said, the University of the Philippines (UP) will be excluded in the list of SUCs due to its institutional autonomy as the national university unless it would come up with its own scholarship program for the top 10 public high school students.

“It is an unfortunate fact that college education is out of reach of majority of the Filipinos,” Cayetano lamented during her sponsorship speech.

Cayetano cited a study conducted by the Department of Education which showed that out of the 45 students who graduate from high school, only 26 students actually enrol in college. According to the study, the high cost of education is the primary reason for the low turn-out of enrolees in college.

            “The youth are either employed or would rather search employment. The quality of higher education must be more accessible to the students,” Cayetano stressed.

            She said once the bill was enacted into law, the scholars would be provided with free tuition fees, textbook allowance and a monthly living allowance.

 “The Iskolar ng Bayan Program provides a big incentive for high school students to work hard and excel in their academics in order to rank within the top 10 of their graduating class and be afforded the benefits of this measure,” Cayetano said, adding: “Poverty and lack of opportunities will not hinder the crème de la crème of our public high school system from pursuing higher education.” (Patrishia Catilo)

Entrepreneurship subjects soon to be taught in schools

MANILA-The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to instill business acumen among the Filipino youth by introducing entrepreneurship and financial subjects in the curriculum.

            Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, chair of the Committee of Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship and sponsor of Senate Bill 2212, said the measure seeks to encourage Filipinos to go into businesses for themselves as an alternative solution to unemployment and underemployment.

“As the number of unemployed youth in the country grows each year, we really have to create new ways of thinking to address the epidemic,” Aquino said in his sponsorship speech.

            “Through training and exposure, young people would have an option of choosing to be their own bosses and start their own businesses as an option, instead of being an employee for a company that is not their own,” he added.

            Under the bill, Aquino said, the Department of Education would develop and integrate subjects and competencies in entrepreneurship in the curriculum for the primary, secondary and alternative learning modules.

            In addition, he said, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other private institutions would develop entrepreneurship and financial literacy modules for the tertiary and post-secondary education.
            He said financing and grants would also be provided for the students, together with mentoring and the much-needed market linkages.

            “Financial literacy in the basic education system is a good foundation for entrepreneurship in the future. Let us enable an environment where these young people can harness their innate energy and creativity and provide them the opportunity to start on their own and build their own businesses,” Aquino said. (Pilar S. Macrohon)

Senate moves to repeal old law that discriminates women

MANILA-In a move to further uplift the welfare and dignity of women, the Senate today moved to repeal an outdated law which penalizes widows who remarry within three hundred and one days after the death of her husband.

Senate Bill No. 1647, filed by Sen. Nancy Binay under Committee Report No. 47 and sponsored by Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Family Relations and Gender Equality, repeals Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code, which punishes women who contract premature marriages.   

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon lauded the lady senators who took the lead in the latest effort of the Upper Chamber to eliminate discrimination and promote gender equality.

“This measure enjoyed the full support of the Senate, for it is only right to abolish laws that serve no purpose other than to perpetuate discrimination against women,” he said.

Known as “Crime of Premature Marriage,” Article 351 also covers women whose marriages have been annulled or dissolved, if she marries before the expiration of the period of 301 days after her legal separation.
Violators face punishment of one month to six months jail term and a fine not exceeding P500.
“Since there has been no known conviction for violation of Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code, it is high time that we in Congress take the necessary step to abolish antiquated laws which serve no other purpose other than to perpetuate discrimination against women,” Binay said.  

“Approval of the measure by a male dominant-Senate is the right step towards ensuring the equality of law between men and women,” she added.

For her part, Cayetano said that there should be no room for laws that “perpetuates discrimination against women in our laws.”

Senators Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar and Binay signed the committee report. (Apple Buenaventura)

Senate ok’s 2 bills for poor, working students

The Senate today approved on third and final reading two bills seeking to make education more accessible to poor and working Filipino students.

Approved were Senate Bill No. 2272, also known as the Ladderized Education Act of 2014 and Senate Bill No. 2274, or the Act which seeks to expand access to education through open learning and distance education.

SBN 2272 was sponsored by Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, and co-sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Villar while SBN 2274 was sponsored by Cayetano and co-sponsored by Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Jinggoy Estrada, Antonio Trillanes IV, Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Villar.

 Senate President Franklin M. Drilon welcomed the passage of the bills in the opening of the 16th Congress, saying that the improvement of the national education system “remains as one of the most important in our legislative agenda.”

“These approved measures are designed to remove barriers to the effective delivery of education throughout the country, such as poverty, distance and age. We really need to make our education more readily accessible to all for a better future,” he said.  

Institutionalization of Ladderized Education

SBN 2272 seeks to institutionalize the ladderized education program established under Executive Order 358, series of 2004, which provided for the mandate and legal framework for a wider-scaled-and accelerated -implementation of ladderized education nationwide, according Cayetano.

Ladderized education is a system of education that allows students to progress between technical-vocational education and training (TVET) and college, and vice-versa, while at the same time opening opportunities for career and educational advancement for working and non-working students.

Under the ladderized system of education, Cayetano explained, a student who has completed two years of tech-voc training will receive a certificate, allowing him or her to gain employment as soon as possible. A student may proceed to further studies if he or she would choose to.

“Many Filipino youth and adults take tech-voc courses because they cannot afford the expenses of a regular education.  Tech-voc training by itself is a viable career option because it is rapid, flexible, jobs-oriented and competency based,” Cayetano said.

She cited a Philippine poverty and education profile report published by the University of the Philppines-School of Economics on September 2013 which showed that out of 100 children who entered elementary schools, only 45 students graduated from high school and 13 completed college.

Cayetano said the enactment of SBN 2272 into law would address the present compartmentalization of tech-voc courses, along with college degree programs that hinder the recognition and accreditation of tech-voc competencies in college degree programs. She said the bill synchronizes tech-voc and college degree programs, thereby allowing individuals to progress between tech-voc courses, college degree programs and, ultimately, gainful employment.

For her part, Villar, who authored and led the passage of 28 bills on higher or technical education when she was the chairperson of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education from 2004 to 2010, said that a ladderized education system would benefit the poor by helping them attain higher or further education. 

She said the ladderized system would allow graduates of tech-voc courses to pursue higher educational courses offered in colleges and universities without having to start all over again, as the system allows the transfer of credits earned from tech-voc courses to a degree program.

Expanding Open Learning and Distance Education

According to Cayetano, Senate Bill No. 2274 or distance education, is a mode of delivering education and instruction “on an individual basis to students who are not physically present in a traditional setting, such as the classroom.”

“Even though students and teachers are separated through time and space, the measure allows for instruction to be delivered through specially designed materials and methods, such as the use of more advanced technologies like the Internet,” she said.
Students enrolling in open learning systems can get their education through the use of different learning technologies and multimedia material, which strictly follow an approved curriculum, Cayetano further explained.

Under this measure, she said, distance education at the tertiary level will be at par with existing standards, and comparable to formal educational systems, giving more Filipinos more access to quality education and employment.  (Yvonne Almirañez)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Umali convenes water summit as Ecija braces for El Niño

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–The provincial government has set for tomorrow a water summit among various national government agencies and local government units to prepare Nueva Ecija against the adverse effects of the dreaded El Niño phenomenon on food production and water supply in the country’s rice granary.

          Gov. Aurelio Umali will preside over the summit which will gather such agencies as the Department of Agriculture, the National Irrigation Administration, water districts, LGUs, farmers’ representatives and irrigators’ associations towards formulating an action plan against El Niño.

          Umali, who conceptualized the summit said the event will try to identify the areas in the province which will potentially be hit hard by the prolonged dry spell and mitigate its impact on local farmers.

          The summit, he said, will try to come out with projection on the extent of damage, adding they expect a significant decline in palay and rice production which, if not addressed, will impact on food security targets on a nationwide scale.

          “We will include the farmers in our consultations because they are the ones who will bear the brunt of El Niño,” he said, adding that they will also look into improving the operations of irrigation canals to reduce water loss from the source to distribution areas.   

          Last week, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration advised Filipinos to prepare for below normal rainfall in the last quarter of the year, as scientists are predicting the development of a “weak to moderate” El Niño during the period.

          Pagasa administrator Vicente Malano said below normal rainfall is likely in most areas of Luzon and the Visayas while near normal rainfall conditions are expected over Cagayan, Camarines Norte, Albay, Eastern and Central Visayas and most areas of Mindanao in the months of October, November and December.

          The last time El Niño hit the country was in 2009 and experts said the phenomenon happens every four to five years.

          Umali said the province will have to be prepared for El Niño particularly since water elevation in the Pantabangan Dam continues to drop at an alarming rate.

          Last week, water level at the dam was at 179.04 meters above sea level (masl) and according to the National Irrigation Administration, it would take only 22 days of zero rainfall for the water level to shrink to its critical level of 171 masl, which happened nearly two decades ago.

          If its water level continues to ebb, the dam, which services over 100,000 hectares of farmlands in Nueva Ecija and parts of Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac, will be able to irrigate only 60 percent of these areas, Umali said.

          To address the drop in the dam’s water level, Umali said the provincial government released P1 million to bankroll the initial stage of cloud-seeding operations, which is apart from financial support pledged by First Gen. Corp. and other private entities.

          He said prior to the water summit, an inter-agency dialogue convened by the provincial government saw the need to rationalize irrigation use during the dry spell.

          Umali said the province, being the home of the Pantabangan Dam, should be prioritized in the utilization of irrigation water over other provinces such as Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac which also source their supply from the dam.     

          “Servicing other provinces over Nueva Ecija is just unacceptable,” he said.

          At the same time, Umali said the summit will pave the way for the creation of an inter-agency group that will look for other alternative sources of irrigation water to lessen the province’s dependence on the Pantabangan Dam.

          With the dam not fully operational, they will utilize the Penaranda River, the Tayabo Dam and other upstream water sources to augment supply. (Manny Galvez)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Drilon: Let’s revive people’s faith to Senate

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today appealed to his colleagues to set aside 2016 elections and focus on reviving the people’s faith in the Senate by working on legislation aimed at expanding the economy and generating more jobs, advancing workers’ welfare, and strengthening anti-graft and corruption measures, among others.

“The eyes of the people are upon us again as we open the second regular session of the 16th Congress. I view this day as our opportunity to recover the people’s faith in their Senate, regain their trust and revive their confidence,” Drilon said in a speech during the opening of the Second Regular Session.

Drilon, however, acknowledged that the task would be difficult, as he admitted that the barrage of criticism against the Senate may have succeeded in reducing the worth and the weight of the Senate in the minds and lives of the people.

“Though not within reach, I believe with hard work and perseverance we would in time walk past the difficult path ahead,” he said.

“I recognize that as public servants we must remain receptive to and tolerant of criticism. But should we as individuals and as a collegial body allow the Senate to continue to be casually scorned”? asked Drilon.

“The Senate as an institution remains a constitutional body entitled to respect, even if some of its members may have been found to have erred through their individual acts,” Drilon stressed.

He thus called on his colleagues to defend the institution: “We owe it to this chamber to combat falsehoods concocted by cowardly minds who spread their lies through proxy voices and pens; to speak up for the Senate even when it may seem to be more politically convenient and safer for us to be silent, to just wait for the tempest to pass.”

Despite the negative attacks on the institution, Drilon said the Senate will continue to work on various measures that are important for national development.

“My esteemed colleagues, even amid this political turbulence, let us continue to weave dreams for our country,” said Drilon.  

“Let us set aside 2016 and work hand in hand for the rebirth of the Senate,” he stressed.

Drilon said that the Senate would prioritize legislation that would stimulate the economy and generate more jobs, promote fair competition in business, increase the take home pay of our workers, strengthen our campaign against graft and corruption and criminality, expand access to health and education, and protect our country’s territorial sovereignty.

He also assured that the Senate would not waive its constitutional mandate over the 2015 national budget.  

“We shall wield our power of the purse. We shall craft a budget focused on spending on the right priorities and with measurable results, keeping in mind our goal for inclusive growth,” underscored Drilon.      

Also, the Senate, Drilon added, is committed to work on the Bangsamoro Basic Law that will put an end to the decades-old conflict in Mindanao.

Drilon finally requested for the public’s support in the Senate’s efforts to legislate positive and meaningful changes for society.

“Admittedly, instituting reforms to create a better society is an enormous task. We need your help and cooperation. We need your trust,” Drilon.

“To the Filipino people, be assured that your Senate will stand in solidarity with you,” he concluded. 


MANILA-The Office of the Vice President (OVP) distributed 33,700 bags of relief goods as aid to areas affected by typhoon Glenda that hit the country last week.

OVP teams went to various towns in the provinces of Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Bataan, Zambales, and Cavite, which bore the brunt of the typhoon.

"Our relief operations are still ongoing. We want to assure our kababayans that the government will help them recover," said Vice President Jejomar C. Binay.

Binay visited the provinces of Laguna and Batangas over the past weekend, and told the affected residents about the housing programs that they may avail.

So far, 500 relief packages have each been distributed in the following areas in Quezon Province: Quezon, Alabat, Perez, Guinayangan, Tagkawayan, Calauag, Lopez, Gumaca, Plaridel, Atimonan, Padre Burgos, Agdangan, Unisan, Pitogo, Macalelon, Gen. Luna, San Andres, San Francisco, Malanay, Catanauan, San Narciso, and Buenavista.

In Bataan, 500 bags each were also given out for the local governments of Samal, Abucay, Orani, Pilar, Orion, Limay, Mariveles, Bagac, and Morong.

The same number of relief goods was handed in Palawig, Masinloc, Candelaria, Sta. Cruz, Botolan, Cabangan, San Felipe, San Narciso, and San Antonio in Zambales.

In Cavite, 300 bags per town were distributed in Maragondon, Ternate, Alfonso, Emilio Aguinaldo, Magallanes, Rosario, Kawit, Trece Martires, and Dasmarinas.

In Rizal, the towns of Taytay, Angono, Binangonan, Cardona, Morong, Baras, Pililia, and Jala-Jala received 300 relief goods packages each. Tanay received 500 bags.

The following areas in Laguna also received aid: San Pablo, 1500 and Liliw, 500. The towns of Victoria, Calauan, Rizal, Nagcarlan, and Alaminos received 300 bags each.

In Batangas, the towns of Rosario and Nasugbu each received 500 bags. San Luis, Laurel, Tuy, Lian, Taal, San Pablo, and Balayan received 300 bags each. The town of Lemery received 400 bags, while Ibaan, San Nicolas, and Balete received 200.

Legarda Celebrates UNESCO Inscription of Mt. Hamiguitan in SONA Outfit

MANILA-As a tribute to the recent inscription of the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Senator Loren Legarda will be wearing a traditional Mandaya outfit at the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said she wants to further promote her advocacies through the garments she will wear at the President’s SONA.

“My outfit represents two advocacies closest to my heart—environmental protection and heritage preservation. Since the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary is the newest addition to the Philippines’ UNESCO World Heritage Sites, I want to celebrate this triumph by wearing the traditional garments of the Mandaya, one of the indigenous communities in the area,” she said.

Legarda’s Mandaya attire was handcrafted by the Mandayas and a gift from them and Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon. It is composed of a badô (blouse) with embroidered geometric designs of colorful threads and beads, and a dagmay(handwoven skirt) made of abaca strips dyed using organic colorants from plants and herbs. The outfit is worn with various metal jewelry.

The Mandayas, characterized as brave and intelligent, are one of the three major indigenous groups of Davao. In Davao Oriental, most of them reside in Barangays Sangab and Pichon, Municipality of Caraga; Barangay Pantuyan, Municipality of Manay; and Sitio Patong Barangay Aliwagwag, Municipality of Cateel.

Meanwhile, a highlight of Legarda’s outfit at the Opening of the Second Regular Session of the 16th Congress, which will be in the morning before the President’s SONA, is the pangalapang necklace.

The pangalapang is one of the neck ornaments of the Cordillerans, particularly those in the eastern Ifugao region. It is made of at least six pieces of mother of pearl formed into flat trapezoidal shapes and connected by a thin rope of finely braided rattan.

“The outfits and accessories that I wear prove the richness of our cultural heritage and the abundance of our natural resources as these items are made of organic materials. In wearing them, I hope to convey the message that we should not take these things for granted and instead show our gratitude through responsible stewardship of our natural resources and safeguarding our heritage,” said Legarda.

In the 2013 SONA, the Senator also wore indigenous garments from the Gaddangs of Mountain Province and the Bagobos of Mt. Apo in Davao and explained that her outfits represent ‘fashionalism’—fashion and nationalism.


Malugod kong binabati si Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo at ang lahat ng kasapi ng Iglesia ni Cristo sa bansa at iba pang panig ng mundo kaugnay ng kanilang ika-100 na anibersaryo.

Nawa'y ang susunod na siglo ng Iglesia ni Cristo ay patuloy na magbubuklod sa mga Pilipino na bukod sa mga totoong alagad ni Hesukristo ay tunay na kumakalinga sa ating mga kababayan at nagmamalasakit nang lubos sa ating ikinararangal na bansa.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Senate resumes session, focuses on education, fiscal bills

MANILA-The Senate resumes its session on Monday, July 28, with the opening of the 2nd Regular Session of the 16th Congress, as Senate President Franklin M. Drilon vowed that the Upper Chamber “will endeavor to bring back the people’s faith in this institution as a bastion of our democracy.”

The senators, headed by Drilon, will proceed to the House of Representatives in the afternoon for a joint session of Congress to hear the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“In our 1st Regular Session, the Senate has shown a strong resolve to fulfill its duty to the nation, with fervor and determination. Amid the issues that confront us, we have persevered and continued to discharge our duties to the Republic, with our commitments and vows to the people serving as the guiding light on the road to recovery and redemption,” Drilon said.   

The Senate had approved more than 19 bills and 41 resolutions during the 1st Regular Session of the 16th Congress. It had also concurred in the ratification of three international treaties and adopted 44 resolutions.

The Senate committees, subcommittees and joint congressional oversight committees had conducted 352 public hearings and technical working group meetings on 806 bills.

As it resumes working on priority bills, Drilon said that the Senate “must not lose sight of our ultimate goal, which is to provide a better life for each Filipino; a life that is not wanting in choices and opportunities.”

Drilon said the Senate will pass on third and final reading four bills that will increase and democratize access to education. These are Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2274, which seeks to expand access to education through open learning and distance education in tertiary levels of education; SBN 2272, which aims to strengthen the ladderized interface between technical-vocational education and training and higher education; SBN 2212, which promotes entrepreneurship and financial education among the Filipino youth; and SBN 2275 or the proposed Iskolar ng Bayan Act, which mandates all state colleges and universities to annually confer automatic admission and provide scholarship grants to the top 10 public high school students of their graduating class.

Also to be approved on final reading is SBN 1647 which would repeal Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code, which punishes a woman who marries within 301 days from the time of her husband’s death or her marriage’s dissolution, or who marries before delivering a child from her previous marriage.
Drilon added that the Senate would also prioritize the consideration and passage of bills already in the advanced stages of deliberations such as the Barangay Officials Welfare Act, the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Apprenticeship Training Act, the Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship Act, the Open High School System Act, among others.

The Senate is also set to start plenary debates on the Competition bill and Senate Joint Resolution 2 and SBN 480, which aim to increase the subsistence and quarterly allowances of military and police personnel. 

 “We will also work to extend Philhealth coverage to senior citizens and increase the tax exemption ceiling of the 13th month pay for Christmas bonuses and other benefits for public workers from P30,000 to P75,000 so our workers can go home during the holidays without having to worry about decreases in their bonuses," Drilon said.

As agreed upon with the leadership of the House of Representatives, Drilon said they will await House action on the proposal to amend the economic provision in the Constitution to improve the country's ability to invite foreign direct investments.

He said the Senate will immediately act on the Bangsamoro Basic Law as soon as the draft version of the law is submitted to Congress.

“The Senate remains confident and committed to the cause of serving our people, no matter the challenges that this institution will face. We will continue to legislate measures that are of paramount interest and importance to our people, especially in terms of improving the quality of Filipino life, and reforming public service," Drilon said.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ecija mayor says inmates, garbage welcome in town, but not jueteng

GENERAL TINIO, Nueva Ecija – Mayor Virgilio Bote of this municipality where a P50.2-billion regional prison facility (RPF) will be built to accommodate 26,000 prisoners from the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) and the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW), said the inmates, including hardened criminals are most welcome – even garbage – but not jueteng operators.

          “Gen. Tinio is opening its doors wide to prisoners and garbage. But we are closing our doors to jueteng,” Bote said, claiming that among the 27 municipalities in the province, it was only this town which can lay claim to the distinction of being jueteng-free and illegal logging-free.

          He said the possible transfer of prisoners has not created a fear factor in the town.

          Bote said the prison facility project is a very rare opportunity to pass up for the town although this has been opposed in Tanay, Rizal. “Out of 1,500 towns, we were chosen to be the site of the RPF so why not?” he said.

“Sa dami ba naman ng bayan, ikaw ang pinili tapos kokontrahin mo? (Of so many towns you were chosen and yet you would oppose),” he said, apparently referring to the municipal leadership of Tanay.

In 2006, President Aquino’s predecessor, then-president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order 568 authorizing the transfer of the NBP to a 272-hectare reservation in Barangay Cuyambay in Tanay. But this was shot down due to opposition from the local leadership.

Bote said the prison facility is expected to further trigger the economic and tourism boom being experienced by Gen. Tinio which is in the process of establishing two giant dams and a two-megawatt power plant.

He said he is also not opposed if the sanitary landfill project pushes through as long as the project site is remote and not inhabited.

He said that the town, which has the biggest organic papaya plantation in the country spanning 135 hectares, is also set to put up between 5,000 to 10,000 agricultural plantation in the mountains.  

The creation of the RPF is expected to generate at least 53,800 jobs to Novo Ecijanos.

          The two-storey new facility will be constructed under the build-transfer-maintain structure at a 500-hectare area in Barangay Nazareth inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation.

          The 551-hectare NBP in Muntinlupa , which opened in 1940, is now heavily congested as it houses 14,500 prisoners in its maximum security detention area alone although it was programmed to accommodate only 8,400 inmates. All in all, the NBP houses around 20,000 inmates. (Manny Galvez)


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