Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Legarda Calls on State Auditors to Protect Environment

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today called on state auditors from all over the world to ensure accountability and judicious use of natural resources by leading an environmental audit in their respective nations, noting that the urban population of the world contributes to 80 percent of global carbon emissions.

Speaking at the Assembly Meeting of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions Working Group on Environmental Auditing (INTOSAI-WGEA), Legarda told 150 officials from audit institutions worldwide that there is a need to look at how nations are carrying out their commitments and implementing policies towards sustainability.

“Our ecosystems have been altered more rapidly in the name of development, but the poor have remained poor and their numbers are increasing notwithstanding the emergence of megacities and the increasing GDPs of nations. This only underscores the need to establish accountability for environmental issues,” said the UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific.

In the 24 ecosystem services examined during the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment between 2001-2005, 15 or approximately 60 percent were degraded or used unsustainably.

A report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on keeping track of the changing environment showed that half of the seven billion human population live in urban areas and account for 75 percent of global energy consumption as well as 80 percent of global carbon emissions.

Moreover, the global use of natural resource materials has already increased from 42 to almost 60 billion tons annually; the primary forest area has decreased by 300 million hectares since 1990; and global fish stocks continue to decline.

Legarda said that in the global effort to address environmental issues, numerous international instruments were passed such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). 

At the local level, numerous laws have also been introduced not just to demand accountability for environmental issues but to also provide impetus to incorporate environmental concerns into planning and policy making.

“The presence of these international agreements and local laws, however, does not automatically guarantee results. This is the value that your organization brings. You have a key role in making this happen.  Somebody needs to look at these issues with an objective lens and with a keen eye for details. You need to train your skills on environmental matters as these affect the financial statements of government, businesses and even private individuals,” Legarda told members of the INTOSAI-WGEA.

Legarda has already proposed in the Senate for an environmental audit covering the performance of relevant national agencies and local government units in relation to their enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and compliance guidelines to identify where implementation can be supported and how to remove barriers to implementation.

She noted that the Commission on Audit, led by Chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan, has already taken on the enormous task of ensuring accountability and judicious use of government and public resources in the Philippines.

The COA has done an assessment of disaster risk reduction and management practices in the Philippines in light of the tragedy brought by Supertyphoon Yolanda. It showed that the country needs to do more in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. The level of disaster preparedness at the local level has improved, but much more needs to be done in the area of response and recovery efforts. There is also a need to adopt a “preventive” mindset by ensuring that building standards are strictly enforced so that better infrastructure and housing are built even before disasters strike.

“Environmental audit here in the Philippines and in other nations is a vital step in achieving our sustainable development goals. We need an audit not merely to know how well or how bad we are doing.  We need to audit to exact accountabilities and to establish environmental stewardship as a way of life,” said Legarda.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Drilon assures passage of economic measure, mulls special session in 2015 to pass economic bills

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today expressed readiness to recommend to the President the holding of special session in order to enact a number of economic measures which will improve business climate, boost investment and ensure the nation’s macroeconomic and fiscal sustainability.

“If we cannot make a substantial progress to our economic legislative agenda by March 2015, I am prepared to recommend to the President that we convene Congress to a special session in May and June 2015 to pursue our economic reform policies,” said Drilon, who was the guest speaker during the Management Association of the Philippines' General Membership Meeting today.

“The 2016 elections can wait. We have work to do,” he stressed.

Drilon told the business leaders that upon the resumption of session in October, the Senate will shift its focus on a comprehensive package of reforms that will improve the business and investment climate, apart from the enactment of the 2015 national budget and the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

This reform package includes the proposed amendment of the Build Operate Transfer Law “to create a better enabling policy environment for Public-Private Partnership.”

“To attract foreign investment, we have set our sights on cultivating a business environment that allows foreign investors to engage in a wider array of financial activities, to comply with reasonable and expedient regulatory requirements, and subsequently earn fair and equitable return of their investments,” said Drilon.

The Senate leader assured business leaders that the Congress is looking into the looming power shortage in the summer of 2015.  However, Drilon maintained that the request of the President to authorize him to contract additional generating power must not be done in haste and must be the “last resort”.

“Although there is a need for additional generating capacity, I believe that we must first explore other available solutions to the problem. We can implement various efficiency and conservation measures such as load curtailments (or demand response), an example of which is utilization of the existing Interruptible Load Program,” underscored Drilon.

He added that it is an opportune time “to establish a clear energy agenda and to address the growing concern over the perceived inability of the country’s power sector to keep up with the growing demand that is intricately linked to the Philippine economy’s immense economic growth.”

In addition, the Congress will also pass the Fair Competition Act to promote economic efficiency in trade, industry and commerce through the prohibition of anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position, and anti-competitive mergers which distort and restrict competition.

“Having a competition law and policy in place will foster the competitive environment in our national economy. Competition spurs economic efficiency and innovation, and attracts investments, all of which lead to lower prices, higher quality of products and services, and more choices for consumers,” explained Drilon.

“Competition law and policy will ultimately bring about a dynamic, sustainable, inclusive economic growth and national progress,” he added.

After the Congress allowed the full entry of foreign banks in the country, Drilon said the Congress is seriously considering the amendment or repeal of provisions in existing laws limiting foreign equity in areas such as retail trade enterprise, contracts for the construction and repair of locally-funded public works, and rice and corn production, among others.

It also plans to amend the Cabotage law to allow foreign-registered vessels to engage in coastwise trade in the country. Drilon explained that the amendment is being proposed to open the market to competition, bring down transportation costs by sea, and enable the country to fully utilize the supply chains for products.

Also up for discussion in Congress are measures calling for a review of numerous fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and subsidies to foreign and domestic investors.  Drilon noted that there are around 186 laws which provide numerous fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and subsidies to foreign and domestic investors.

“We would reassess and harmonize these laws to avoid redundant and overlapping incentives to cut revenue loss,” he said.

Drilon added that they are also studying options for the mining fiscal regime with the view of increasing the government’s share from mining revenues.

Lastly, Drilon said that the Senate is also open to discussing the proposed constitutional amendment which will allow Congress to formulate economic policies by legislative process. It will also act on the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act to address smuggling and simplify customs procedures for ordinary citizens. 

Legarda Invites Filipinos to Join in Dayaw IP Festivals

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today encouraged Filipinos to be immersed in indigenous Filipino culture through the Dayaw Indigenous Peoples Festival.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said that Filipinos have a lot to learn and rediscover about their culture and through the Dayaw Festival, citizens will be able to witness more indigenous performances, rituals, forums, traditional cuisine demos, traditional games, arts and crafts exhibit, which are all part of the Filipino identity.

“We have a very rich culture. I salute our indigenous peoples for preserving our culture and I thank the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, led by its Chairman Felipe De Leon Jr., for always showcasing our indigenous heritage through the Dayaw Festival, the biggest annual celebration of indigenous Filipino culture,” she said during the press conference to launch Dayaw 2014.

“Culture is our common ground as a people. We have to find that common ground so that we remain connected to one another, to find the essence of being Filipino. We have to know about and be proud of what we have and where we came from so that we can strengthen the unity among our citizens. Our culture, no matter how diverse, weaves us into one unbreakable fabric that is the Filipino soul,” Legarda stressed.

For this year, the NCCA announced that the Dayaw Festival will be held in three different venues—in Baguio City on October 22-23; in Bacolod City on October 27-28; and in Zamboanga City on November 6-7.

Legarda said that this would allow more Filipinos to be part of the celebration.

In line with the Dayaw 2014 theme, “Katutubong Filipino Para sa Kalikasan at Kapayapaan”, the Senator urged IPs to remain stewards of the country’s natural resources.

“It is sad to note that while our IPs contribute the least with respect to carbon emissions due to their simple and sustainable lifestyles and practices, they are most affected by the consequences of climate change. As we work on measures to better protect the environment and conserve our biodiversity, I urge our IPs to continue to be the primary guardians of the environment,” she said.

Legarda also assured that she is working on other measures that will benefit indigenous peoples and their communities.

Among the bills filed in the Senate for the welfare of IPs and for cultural preservation are: Ethnic Origin Act; Department of Culture Act; Traditional folk arts preservation through National Museum’s regional branches; Traditional Property Rights of IPs Act; Equal Employment Opportunities for IPs Act; Resource Centers for IPs Act; and Anti-Religious and Racial Profiling Act.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cabanatuan top cop deploys 90% of men in streets to combat crimes

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – The newly installed station commander of the local police here has deployed 90% of his men in this city’s streets to increase police visibility and to serve as a deterrent against crimes.

          Police Superintendent Joselito Villarosa said a total of 130 lawmen are now patrolling various areas of the city, including far-flung areas to enable communities to have ready access to police assistance.

          Villarosa, who assumed his post only this month, said that the deployment of lawmen in the streets is part of the anti-crime action plan codenamed JAY VERGARA which he laid out for the city’s law enforcers.

          Villarosa explained that the scheme is an acronym named after Mayor Julius Cesar “Jay” Vergara. J stands for Junior police accreditation and utilization, A for activation of police community precincts (PCPs), Y for youth training on water safety and rescue (WASAR) and first aid, V for visibility of police officer, E for employment of special operations teams, R for reorganization of barangay tanods, G for green police utilization, A for adoption of Friends of COPS concept, R for retraining of traffic aides and  A for advancement of police personnel.

          Villarosa said under J of the program, around 100 junior policemen and interns will be accredited as force multipliers while under the first A, 20-footer movable PCPs will move around remote areas to further increase police visibility.

He said that at present, lawmen in the city are mostly concentrated in the urban barangays.

Under Y of the program, a group of seven youths will be trained in WASAR and first aid to lessen their dependence on policemen during calamities.

He said two teams of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) will be created and scour both urban and rural areas to counter the notorious riding-in-tandem crime groups under the E component.

Under the first R, six barangay tanods per barangay will be trained on how to use their batons and how to write in their barangay blotters while under G, policemen will plan 20 trees per barangay per two weeks in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

He said this is part of the core values of the Philippines wherein they are trained to be “Maka-Diyos (God-centered)” and “Maka-kalikasan” (Environmentally oriented).

Under the second A, Villarosa said the local police will tap the assistance of the Kabalikat civic group and other organizations in helping advance police-initiated activities in the city.

Under the second R, the 34 traffic aides will be retrained and its ranks will be beefed up by an additional 30 traffic enforcers while under the third A, seminars on intelligence gathering and build-up, VIP security, investigation and peace and order will be conducted periodically.

          Villarosa said people of the city will feel the impact of the JAY VERGARA action plan within his first 100 days as police chief. He said the city government has been very supportive of the scheme. – Manny Galvez 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ecija town has 2 mayors

ALIAGA, Nueva Ecija – This town now has two mayors.

           This after the camps of Mayor Elizabeth Vargas and her rival, court-declared Mayor Reynaldo Ordanes both declared their hold on the mayorship, triggering a leadership crisis.

          Vargas, who was unseated 10 days ago in an order issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 30 Judge Virgilio Caballero which proclaimed Ordanes by a scant 11 votes, urged her townmates to respect the mandate given by constituents, and maintained she is still the mayor.

          In a streamer hanging in front of the municipal compound, Vargas ended her message with the words “patuloy na naglilingkod (continuously serve),” to indicate she is still in charge.

          The Vargas camp circulated a supposed copy of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) En Banc enjoining Caballero to cease and desist from enforcing and/or implementing or continuing to enforce and implement his June 19 issuance of a writ of execution of his decision pending appeal and Ordanes to cease and desist from assuming the post of mayor.   

          Ordanes’ camp has initially dismissed the TRO, saying it was fake since it was only signed by Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes and not the commissioners.

          The supposed Brillantes order, dated September 23, was later stamped with the words “fake po to (it was fake).”

          Ordanes, in a text message, said he is still the legitimate mayor, adding that by next week, Brillantes’ TRO would be suspended.    

          Last week, Ordanes was declared duly elected winner in the May 2013 elections, ending the Vargas’ 22-year stranglehold in this town.

          Ordanes,  an ally of the Joson’s Nationalist People’s Coalition,  was installed after Cabanatuan City RTC  Branch 30 deputy sheriff Victoria Roque served the writ of execution issued by Caballero to Vargas at the town hall where she  holed herself last week.

          Ordanes, a brother of Quezon City assessor Rodolfo Ordanes, has been holding office in his residential compound “to keep the peace.”

          Vargas, a four-term mayor and wife of former three-term mayor Marcial Vargas, was proclaimed winner by the municipal board of canvassers last year, garnering 11,477 votes to Ordanes’ 11,413, or a scant margin of 64 votes.

          However, Ordanes  filed an election protest before the RTC which examined the votes.

Last May 28, the court voided 72 of Vargas’ votes. It also ruled that three of Ordanes’ votes, which were rejected by the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines , were valid, bringing his vote total to 11,416 while Vargas’ votes were reduced to 11,405 votes after the 72 votes were deducted from her tally, prompting the court to declare Ordanes winner by a plurality of  11 votes.

The June 19 writ of execution was withheld on July 15 after the Comelec issued a TRO enjoining it to cease and desist from enforcing its order for a 60-day period. The TRO expired last September 16, prompting the court to issue another order dated September 17 implementing the writ.

In its September 17 order, the court said Vargas has not produced any evidence to defend her position.

          He was accompanied by his running mate, Vice Mayor Alfredo Domingo and throngs of wildly cheering, loyal supporters. (Manny Galvez)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Legarda Invites Filipinos to Visit Weaving Demos at the National Museum

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today encouraged Filipinos to visit the Hibla ng Lahing Filipinogallery at the National Museum in Manila every weekend to witness various weaving traditions continuously being practiced in indigenous communities in the country.

“As part of efforts to raise awareness on our culture of weaving and to ensure its continuity, the National Museum is organizing events that will further promote this tradition. From September to November this year, weavers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will showcase their weaving traditions. I hope that Filipinos would be able to visit the Hibla gallery and witness these weaving demonstrations,” said Legarda, patron of Hibla, the country’s first permanent textile gallery.

For the month of September, weavers from Cordillera showcased their tradition, starting with Ifugao weavers from Kiangan, who demonstrated their craft last September 6 and 7, and Kalinga Weavers from Mabilong Weaving Center of Buscalan, who showed their distinctive weaving design and pattern last September 21-22.

Weavers from Samoki, Mountain Province will demonstrate a distinctive style of weaving on a back-strap loom on September 27-28.

For October and November, the National Museum invited weavers from Sagada as well as those from the Panay Island and Mindanao.

Weavers from Arevalo, Iloilo will demonstrate Sinamay weaving; the Indag-an Cooperative in Miag-ao, Iloilo will showcase patadyong weaving and its innovations; weavers from Bagaton, Bugasong in Antique will show their own style of patadyong weaving; and members of the Panay Bukidnon community will demonstrate their panubok embroidery.

Meanwhile, Maranao weavers from Tugaya in Lanao Del Sur will show their traditional back-strap loom weaving known as dagmay and langsay; weavers from the T’boli Weaving Center in Davao will feature their ikat weaving process on abaca textile; weavers from the Yakan Weaving Center in Zamboanga City will demonstrate their expertise in creating patterns from supplementary warp weaving; and Zamboanga-based Tausug weavers of Pis Siyabit will showcase their craft.

The weaving demonstrations can be viewed from 1:00-5:00 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, at the Hibla gallery, located at the 4th Floor of the Museum of the Filipino People, Finance Road, Manila.

“These weaving demonstrations reveal the richness of our culture. We have many other weaving traditions as we see the various kinds of weaving patterns and designs in the textiles and items at the Hibla gallery. We will continue to collaborate with the National Museum in organizing more events that will heighten the awareness and renew the interest of Filipinos in our indigenous culture and heritage,” said Legarda.

In 2012, Legarda and the National Museum organized a lecture series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge, which included lectures from Dr. Maria Stanyukovich of Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in Russia; Dr. Lynne Milgram of Ontario College in Toronto; Dr. Patcharawee Tunprawat, a specialist in Cultural Heritage Management based in Bangkok; Hoang Thi To Quyen and Nguyen Thi Tuan Linh of the Vietnam Musem of Ethnology; and Sonja Garcia, along with members of the Tudaya School of Living Tradition of the Bagobo Tagabawa Community who demonstrated weaving and making dyes from natural sources.

P29.8-M JICA-funded projects benefit 4,900 townsfolk in Ecija town

ZARAGOZA, Nueva Ecija – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the municipal government unveiled here on Thursday P29.8-million worth of projects funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) covering a farm-to-market road (FMR), potable water system (PWS) and day-care centers (DCCs) benefiting 4,904 local residents in two Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs).

DAR regional director for Central Luzon Arnel Dizon led the launch of the projects at the municipal gymnasium along with DAR provincial agrarian reform officer (PARO) 2 Romeo Cordero, PARO 1 Jocelyn Ramones, Mayor Lovella Belmonte-Espiritu and other local officials.

The projects consist of the 2.6-kilometer, P18.5-million FMR in barangays Sta. Lucia Young and Old covered by the ARC, PWS for 216 households in Sta. Lucia Old and the repair and renovation of day-care centers in all 19 barangays of this third-class town.

ARCs refer to a cluster of barangays provided support services by the DAR.

Belmonte-Espiritu said the three projects are high-impact projects, particularly the FMR which enables 3,794 local residents to have access to good roads and hasten the transport of agricultural produce from the farms to the market.

The economy of this town, covering a population of 42,217 and a household population of 9,874, is largely agricultural with 6,246 hectares out of land area devoted to farming.

Belmonte-Espiritu said that prior to the completion of the road, local residents have been enduring the dirt road, particularly during the rainy season when it gets muddy.

“The local residents have suffered long and hard waiting for the road network to be concreted. It has been a long wait. Now, they can finally cross the road in the two barangays without having to worry about the bad road condition,” she said.

Cordero said the three projects are under the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project (ARISP) of the DAR whose scope covers FMR, PWS, communal irrigation system (CIS), agriculture and agribusiness development (AAD) and institutional development (ID); and other program components such as the grassroots participatory planning and budgeting (GPPB) and ARCCESS covering mechanized palay production.

ARISP is a JICA-funded project wherein the local government unit (LGU) and recipient shell out their equity.

As its equity for the FMR, the municipal government has earmarked P2.4 million and also bankrolled  four other road projects spanning 15 kilometers worth P17 million.

For the PWS, the municipal government also allocated P2.5 million as its share for the establishment of an elevated water tank for 216 households.

Belmonte-Espiritu said that for the DCCs,  914 children under the day-care service will be the principal beneficiaries of the project worth P950,000.

She said over the last three years, the town has been the recipient of various projects funded by both the national and provincial governments involving a P10-million flood control project, nutrition, disaster preparedness, infrastructure and education.

She said that Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali  has extended to the municipal government projects involving the construction of gymnasium cum evacuation center, and several bags of cement for its “Bayanihan” road-concreting project in the barangays, scholarship programs for poor but deserving students and assistance to senior citizens.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, she noted, has also released a P1.2 million-check for supplemental feeding and hog dispersal.

Belmonte-Espiritu added that the AECID or the Spanish Cooperation Agency for International Development also gave a P4-million grant to the town for disaster preparedness.

Jocelyn Ramones, provincial agrarian reform officer 1, said that early this month, they also turned over a P4.5-million water systems project to the Canaan West Potable Water Service Cooperative (CWPWSC) in Rizal town.

The project, completed in partnership with Rizal Mayor Rafaelito Andres, enabled 130 households to now avail of clean, potable water in the said town.

          Ramones said the project was the second to have been turned over by the DAR in Rizal following the P18-million 5.37-kilometer FMR which connected the town’s four barangays of Canaan East, Canaan West, Casiligan and Gen. Luna. (Manny Galvez)

Legarda: Let Us Do More To Address Climate Change, Disaster Risks

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for greater climate action not only from the international community, the national government and concerned sectors but also from every citizen.

Legarda, United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, noted that in the speech of President Benigno Aquino III before his fellow heads of state at the UN Climate Summit in New York, he urged his fellow leaders to have “a change in mindset from arguing over the division of work to one where we’ll do the maximum we can.”

Legarda said that Filipinos should likewise have a change in attitude.

“We must be the change we seek. With all the disasters that we have experienced, we have to be concerned and get involved now. We must do more and do everything we can to address climate change,” she stressed.

“We could have reduced the volume of floodwaters, if not completely prevent flooding, caused by the recent Typhoon Mario, which was enhanced by the Southwest Monsoon, if we have been faithfully implementing the Solid Waste Management Law and if we all do our share in protecting our environment,” she added.

The Senator said that the Climate Change Act, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, and the People’s Survival Fund Act, as well as other environmental laws, should all be fully operational and implemented down to the local level.

Legarda said local-based resilience strategy should be strengthened, especially that the People’s Survival Fund now has one billion in programmed funds under the proposed 2015 national budget intended to finance climate change adaptation activities of local governments and organizations.

She also said that she is hopeful for a significant progress in the global climate action as many world leaders who attended the UN Climate Summit renewed their commitment to cut down carbon emissions and to contribute to the Green Climate Fund, which supports climate adaptation programs of developing countries.

“We continue to hope that industrialized countries would commit to ambitious sustainable development goals such as deep cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions and significant technological and financial assistance to countries which remain poor and vulnerable to disasters. But as we demand bold global climate action, we must equally demand from ourselves involvement in adaptation, mitigation and resilience efforts in our respective communities,” Legarda concluded.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

RDC forms TWG on Ancestral Domain

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija-Regional Development Council (RDC) has approved the request of its Sectoral Committee on Social Development, which is chaired by Governor Lilia Pineda of Pampanga, on the creation of a Technical Working Group (TWG) on Ancestral Domain.
“The TWG shall assess the state of ancestral domain lands in Central Luzon and recommend ways to facilitate and derive maximum benefit from the use of it for the improvement of the economic conditions of Indigenous Peoples (IPs),” RDC Vice Chair and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Director Severino Santos said.
“This initiative supports the provisions of Articles XIII and XIV of the Philippine Constitution and Republic Act 8371 otherwise known as Indigenous Peoples Rights Act,” Santos added.
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples shall head the TWG with NEDA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Interior and Local Government, the RDC Private Sector Representative for IPs, and provincial government of Pampanga as members.
RDC 3 is the highest policy-making body in Central Luzon and serves as the counterpart of the NEDA Board at the subnational level.
It is the primary institution that coordinates and sets the direction of all economic and social development efforts in the region and serves as a forum where local efforts can be related and integrated with national development activities.
Council members include all governors, city mayors, municipal mayors of capital towns, presidents of municipal mayors’ league, regional directors of national government agencies and representatives from the private sector. (Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)

National government allots P1.5B for 2015 Grassroots Participatory Projects in CL

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga-The national government has allotted for 2015 around P1.5 billion for funding of 1,144 projects in Central Luzon under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) formerly known as Bottom-Up Budgeting.
Department of Agriculture has the most number of projects with 285 followed Department of Social Welfare and Development with 257, Department of Education-170, Department of Health-148, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)- 118, Department of Trade and Industry-76, Department of Labor and Employment-44, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-24, Department of Tourism and Department of Environment and Natural Resources with 10 each, and Department of Energy and National Electrification Administration with one each.
“GPB is a process through which priority poverty reduction projects are identified jointly by citizens and their local governments and are incorporated into the proposed budgets of the implementing national government agencies submitted to Congress for approval,” DILG Regional Director Florida Dijan said.
It specifically seeks to make the national budget more responsive to local needs, provide incentives for local good governance, strengthen the devolution of basic services delivery, create a conducive environment for people’s participation, and generate demand for good governance at the local level.
GPB cycle begins with the conduct of city/municipal civil society general assembly whose main agenda is have an orientation on the undertaking, conduct poverty situation analysis, and election of members and co-chairpersons of the Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT).
Civil Society Representatives (CSO) shall constitute 50 percent of the membership of the LPRAT while the remainder shall come from both the national and local government.
It is followed by the holding of local poverty reduction planning workshops; submission of list of priority projects and other supporting documents to DILG; consolidation of list of projects by DILG Regional Office and submission to the National Anti-Poverty Commission and distribution to Regional PRAT members; adoption of final list of priority projects by local Sanggunian; integration into the national budget; and provision of funding for local government unit (LGU) counterpart in local budget.
“Projects must be supportive to the provision of basic social services and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals; hunger mitigation and elimination; job generation and inclusive local economic development; climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness; and shall not be less than P500,000 except for Gulayan sa Paaralan,” Dijan explained.
Over P20 billion was allocated for GPB projects this 2014 covering 1,226 towns and cities of which 52 are in Central Luzon.
For next year, it shall cover all LGUs including Region 3’ s 116 towns and 14 cities. (Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)

RDC OKs construction of Pulilan-Baliuag Diversion Road

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija-Regional Development Council (RDC) has passed a resolution favorably endorsing the construction of the P660 million, 10-kilometer Pulilan-Baliuag Diversion Road in a bid to boost the potentials of Bulacan’s emerging agri-industrial area.
It has a width of 20 meters as well as a 2.80-meter, two-lane bridge and drainage with Tibag, Pulilan serving as entry point and Makinabang/Pinagbarilan in Baliuag as exit point.
“The strategic location of Pulilan along the confluence of North Luzon Expressway and Cagayan Valley Road has made vehicle traffic a major issue specifically multi-national companies and factories located in the northern part of the municipality where trucks coming from the central business district (CBD) cause heavy traffic and delays in delivery of goods and services. This road is expected to address the matter,” RDC Vice Chair and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Director Severino Santos said.
RDC 3 is the highest policy-making body in Central Luzon and serves as the counterpart of the NEDA Board at the subnational level.
It is the primary institution that coordinates and sets the direction of all economic and social development efforts in the region and serves as a forum where local efforts can be related and integrated with national development activities.
Council members include all governors, city mayors, municipal mayors of capital towns, presidents of municipal mayors’ league, regional directors of national government agencies and representatives from the private sector. (Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)


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