Friday, October 31, 2014


MANILA-Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today decried the recent move of the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee to drag his youngest daughter into their effort to malign his name.

“Alam mo ba nakakalungkot, ako'y sinisiraan pati ba naman 'yung anak ko na bunso? Isinasama pa sa kinukutya at hinahamak. Bahala na Diyos sa kanila,” Binay said in Camarines Sur.

“Sobra na po. Sobra na,” he added.

Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano on Thursday presented photos posted on Instagram by Binay’s youngest daughter showing her inside the Batangas estate owned by Sunchamp.

Binay said that contrary to Cayetano’s claims, having a photo taken inside the property does not prove ownership of the estate.

“Ano po bang masamang magpa-litrato. Yung place na iyon, may lease hold iyon. Tumatanggap ng bisita ang may ari noon. So evidence po ba iyon na nagpa-litrato ka sa isang lugar at sinabi mong in this place, ikaw na ang may ari? Hindi naman siguro evidence of ownership iyon,” he said.

Binay also slammed the blatant disregard for protocol of the senate subcommittee when they prevented United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Interim Secretary General JV Bautusta and UNA Interim President Tobias Tiangco from attending the hearing.

“Wala ng respeto sa protocol. Si Cong. Toby Tiangco pinaalis at balita ko binitbit pa palabas,” Binay said.

“Yan po ang tatak Cayetano. Akala niyo kung sino. 'Yun na lang per protocol na lang. Pati naman ho 'yung abogado, 'yung karapatan ng mga pinatawag doon na magkaroon ng abogado pinaalis pa. Ewan ko na, iba na ho talaga ang batas na nalalaman nitong mga taong 'to sa Senado,” he added.

Binay also appealed to members of the subcommittee to raise the standards of politics and not resort to mudslinging.

“Sana matauhan naman po itong mga naninira sa aming pagkatao. Sana maitaas po natin ang lebel ng halalan. Hindi na ho 'yung pulos kasinungalingan, paninira sa tao. Magpresenta po tayo kung ano ho ang inaasam-asam natin, ano ho 'yung mga advocacies ho natin. Sana isang malinis po na pulitika,” Binay said.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Recto wants P17.5 B ‘mega lump-sum’ for civil society used in fight vs hunger

MANILA-The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will disburse P17.5 billion worth of grants to civil society and local governments next year and a senator wants part of this earmarked for food production and processing projects that will benefit malnourished children.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto described the P17.5 billion proposed allocation for the “Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community-Driven Development Project” or “KC-NCDDP” as “one of the biggest unitemized lump-sum items” in the 2015 national budget.
It is also one of the budget items which will post the biggest increase – from P498 million this year to P17.5 billion next year.
The program intends to fund 6,735 grassroots projects next year at an average project cost of P2.6 million.
While government agencies will be the conduit of funds, the implementation will be handled by a “community entity”, Recto said.
This prompted Recto to urge DSWD officials to ensure that the bidding out of projects fully comply with government procurement laws and that projects be subject to audit by the Commission on Audit (COA).
A COA representative told a Senate finance subcommittee chaired by Recto that “historically, COA has only been able to audit 10 percent of KALAHI projects.”
Despite these “curable issues,” Recto said the KC-NCDDP can be used to boost food inventory in the community.
“The budget for that program next year is big. It is almost thrice that of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and 43 times the money that will be given to the Philippine Carabao Center next year,” Recto said.
“If some of the recipients are SMEs, then the budget of the KC-NCDDP is four times the appropriations of the department in-charge of SMEs, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), for 2015,” Recto said.
“Kung ganoon kalaki ang pondo ng KC-NCDDP, siguro naman makakahanap sila ng mga proyektong magpapalakas ng huli ng isda o pwedeng magbigay ng gatas ng kalabaw sa mga bata,” Recto said.
 “The idea is to attach a food security peg to this P17.5 billion mega fund,” Recto said.
 “If hunger and food scarcity are two of the biggest issues in the grassroots, then this fund should be able to address these,” he said.
Recto said KC-NCDDP should be able to fund food security projects like irrigation and farm roads “in places whose residents have identified these as the kind they need.”
The KC-NCDDP is a P43.9 billion five year project financed by loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
“Kung 25 years from now binabayaran pa rin ito ng ating mga apo, dapat lang siguraduhin natin na mapunta ito sa mga proyektong magbibigay ginhawa sa buhay,” Recto said, referring to the 2022 to 2045 repayment schedule of the loan.
“There may be loan conditionalities. But we should insist that it should serve our interest. And we can begin by using this as a tool to fight hunger,” Recto said. 

Legarda: Include PWDs, Elderly in Disaster Resilience Efforts

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today called for the inclusion of every citizen, including persons with disabilities (PWDs) and older persons, in the country’s disaster risk reduction and management programs.

Speaking at the Symposium for the International Day for Disaster Reduction and ASEAN Day for Disaster Management, which was organized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Legarda stressed that “building resilience should be everybody’s attitude,” hence, even the PWDs and the elderly should be involved in disaster resilience efforts as their special needs are being addressed as well.

“We have the laws in place and the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into our development processes is now a national policy. Yet much remains to be done to realize the benefits these laws ought to bring, especially to the poor and the vulnerable who are most in need of help and protection against disasters and most deserving of participation in resilience building,” Legarda said.

In the past years, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has been highlighting the needs and strengths of various members of society. In 2013, the focus was on PWDs. For 2014, the vulnerability and strengths of the elderly were highlighted. Meanwhile, this year’s ASEAN Day for Disaster Management focuses on the importance of the active participation of everyone in ensuring resilience of communities during disasters.

Legarda, the UNISDR Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, said that PWDs are disproportionately affected by disasters. A survey by the UNISDR among persons with disabilities revealed that, if a disaster occurs, 80% said they would be unable to evacuate immediately without difficulty, while six percent said they would not be able to evacuate at all.

Meanwhile, older persons, or people aged 60 years and above, also suffer disproportionately from disasters. Seventy five percent (75%) of those killed by Hurricane Katrina in the United States were over 60, but they comprise 15% of the population in New Orleans. During the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, 56% of those who died were 65 years old and above, but they comprise only 23% of the population.

“Our PWDs are twice more likely to lose their lives or be injured than any other person, but their disability does not mean inability. Actually, they can and should be active partners in making communities safer and more resilient,” said Legarda.

“Meanwhile, the elderly can also make positive contributions to disaster risk reduction and management. We must tap their knowledge and experience. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that we seek the help of older people in providing vital information on local risks to health since they are familiar with local history, geography and culture. They can also be sought for advice on response and recovery efforts, owing to their experience and wisdom,” she added.

“Building resilience should be everybody’s attitude. With this kind of mindset, we can promote the scaling up of existing government programs to rectify the social and economic structures that breed disaster risk and trap the poor and vulnerable citizens in the vicious cycle of risk and poverty,” Legarda concluded.

Drilon bats for quick passage of BOC modernization law

MANILA-The upcoming holiday will be merrier if gifts and “balikbayan” boxes will make it to their recipients on time for Christmas.

But that does not always happen, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said, citing numerous cases of delayed and inefficient delivery of packages during the holiday season, caused by existing limitations in the customs procedure and structure.

To address this, the Senate leader said that Congress must act on the proposed Customs and Tariff Modernization Act which seeks “to institute electronic processing of import and export, simplify the customs procedure for ordinary citizens, and increase the operating flexibility of the Bureau of Customs.”

According to Drilon, a prominent feature of the proposed measure is to overhaul the BoC's processing of export and import products and goods from its current person-to person format to an automated system. The move, he added, will speed up current custom procedures, limit human interface at customs transaction, and foster transparency and accountability.

"Yearly, many Filipinos with loved ones in other countries deal with the cumbersome process of trying to claim gifts or packages which are stuck at the ports, because the BoC personnel could not immediately attend to the inspection, monitoring, and clearance, thus creating a wave of delays,” said Drilon.

“That will be addressed in the bill. More than creating ease for the business industry, the modernization will benefit millions of ordinary Filipinos who suffer from the inefficiencies in the handling of incoming and outgoing goods,” he underscored.

The Senate leader said that the bill will also help eradicate smuggling and other major criminal activities proliferating in the flow of products entering and leaving the country, noting that in 2013 alone, government losses to smuggling operations have cost an estimated P200 billion in revenues.

In an automated system, Drilon said opportunities for smuggling will be minimized: “By upgrading to electronic processing, not only we are able to make the importation and exportation procedures faster and more effective, we are also reducing human intervention, thus thwarting any chance for anyone to strike illegal deals or transactions.”

Drilon added that the proposed measure seeks to simplify the customs procedure for ordinary citizens, so that the average Filipino will not have to worry about being burdened by overly-bureaucratic procedures. It will also complement government’s efforts to decongest ports.

The bill, currently being heard by the Senate in the committee level, is among a package of economic reform measures the upper chamber is determined to pass at the soonest, in light of the nearing establishment of the ASEAN 2015 Economic Community (AEC).

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recto : Use part of P7.6B CCT overhead for school feeding

MANILA-Budget space can be carved out of the P7.6 billion administrative cost of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in expanding feeding programs for malnourished children, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said today.

Recto said the overhead expense of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) will increase to P7.6 billion from about P5 billion this year.

“If we retain the amount, then there will be P2.6 billion more for supplemental feeding.  If we allow half of the increase being sought, then it is still P1.3 billion in additional funding,” he said.

“Pwede nating pandagdag ito sa isang klase ng 4Ps naman o ang Programang Pagkain sa Pampublikong Paaralan,” Recto said.

Recto chairs the Senate Finance subcommittee reviewing the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) budget.

“We're done with the hearings.  I am now drafting my subcommittee report.  I will recommend some internal adjustments in the DSWD budget,” he said. 

For next year, DSWD’s budget will soar to P109 billion, P25.5 billion bigger than what it is getting this year, and catapulting the once-cellar dweller in government appropriations to the Top 5 biggest recipients.

Bulk of the DWSD’s 2015 budget will be for the 4Ps, with a proposed allocation of P64. 7 billion, of which P57.1 billion is in cash grants and P7.6 billion in administrative cost.

The latter consists of personnel payroll which will reach P3.35 billion next year; training (P404 million); monitoring (P429 million); publicity and information (P115 million); bank service fees (P700); equipment purchase (P24.4 million).   

Recto said he would “validate the justifications for the proposed increases because some of them, on paper, are hefty.”

“Is the almost 185 % increase in the publicity budget really necessary? Why are we increasing payroll by P1.4 billion? Why are we doubling the allocation for monitoring to P430 million?” he said.

“If the cash grant portion of CCT will remain at P57 billion, then why are we increasing the CCT administrative expense by P2.6 billion?” the senator added.

Once he identifies what amounts can be realigned, Recto said he will recommend that these be “laterally moved to the feeding program for daycare pupils.” 

He said the budget for the “supplementary feeding program” of the DSWD is P3.36 billion next year

DSWD’s feeding program involves serving one hot meal a day for 120 days to 2,053,383 0-5 year olds in daycares or under “supervised neighborhood play.” 

What the Senate can do, Recto explained, “is to increase the P14 per meal budget or increase the number of beneficiaries or both children.” 

The DSWD budget, he noted, can only cover 30 percent of the estimated 7.3 million underweight, stunted and wasted children below five years old.

Another option is to include supplemental feeding in other underfunded DSWD programs, Recto said.

“One of these is the DSWD streetchildren program which targets a measly number of 3,000 kids,” Recto said.

“If we are putting too much on its plate, then we can ask DSWD to partner with other agencies like DepED whose P1.3 billion feeding budget is way below what it needs,” Recto said.

He said other “feeding funds” can be sourced from programs outside those of the DSWD.

“But we can begin with what the DSWD can dispose, “ he said.    

"The CCT administrative overhead is two and a half times the proposed budget of the Department of Tourism, thrice the budget of ARMM, twice that of the Department of Trade and Industry, and bigger than the combined budgets of all the 29 state colleges and universities in Mindanao,” Recto pointed out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Legarda Urges Gov’t to Donate NHA Land to PCMC

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today urged the National Housing Authority (NHA) to donate to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) the land that the hospital currently occupies.

During the Senate hearing on the issue of ownership of the land currently occupied by PCMC, Legarda said she hopes that the matter would be resolved before the year ends so that the PCMC can focus on expanding its services to benefit more indigent Filipino patients.

“There is nothing in the NHA charter that would prevent it from donating to PCMC the title to the lot on which PCMC facilities now stand. If not on the NHA’s own accord, there are precedent cases of Presidential Proclamations issued to effect lot donations to and from government agencies,” she said.

The PCMC is mandated to provide pediatric care, offer training programs for medical and allied health care providers, and be a center in clinical research. It treats over 70,000 patients annually, most of whom come from poor families.

Since its creation in 1979, the PCMC has been asking the national government to either donate or finance the transfer of the title to the original 63,656-sq-meter (6.3-ha) property the hospital is built on to its name. The title is currently with the NHA.

Meanwhile, Legarda expressed support for the expansion of PCMC’s current facilities and urged the hospital’s officials to submit their “wishlist” to the Senate finance committee. She also hopes that PCMC will soon have a facility in Visayas and Mindanao.

“We want to ensure that the PCMC is given adequate budget for expansion, purchase of equipment and upgrading of facilities so that it can provide the best medical care to our indigent Filipino children,” said Legarda.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Senate oks bill amending fisheries code

MANILA-The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to strengthen Philippine laws against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and to impose penalties against violators for a more effective conservation and protection of the country’s marine resources.

            Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and author of Senate Bill 2414 otherwise known as Amending the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, said the passage of the measure develop the country’s fisheries sector, which provided direct and indirect employment to over one million people or about 12 percent of the agricultural, fishery and forestry sector of the labor force.

The bill was co-authored by Senators Loren Legarda, Ramon Revilla Jr., Manuel Lapid, Jinggoy Ejercito-Estrada, Grace Poe, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Acting Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III.

Sotto, who introduced the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Code during the 9th Congress, congratulated Villar for a well-crafted new and updated version of the Code.

            For his part, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said that the bill’s approval stresses the "need to strengthen our laws in order to preserve our marine and aquatic resources and protect the livelihood of the members of our local fishing industry, which represents 2.1% of the nation’s entire gross domestic product (GDP)."   

            Data show that the Philippines ranks sixth in fish production and ninth in aquaculture production of fish, crustaceans and mollusks, making it among the top three largest producers of aquatic plants, including seaweeds. The same data show that the country’s aqua-culture production amounts to over $1.58 billion.

            “The bill aims to level the fishing legislation at par with other countries, especially with regard to conservation measures regarding threatened aquatic species, straddling and highly migratory species and other marine resources,” Villar said in her sponsorship speech.
            Villar said the proposed amendments in the Fisheries Code would address the requirements set by the European Union (EU) for countries exporting fisheries and other marine products to its markets.

            She said EU had been conducting regular audits on the country’s fisheries sector, specifically on the compliance to international food and safety and fishery regulations.

            In its 2012 audit report on the Philippines, the EU said the country’s present laws and regulations did not have enough sanctions and disincentives against IUU fishing and gave it a yellow tag warning. Failure to act on the yellow tag may result in the blacklisting of all Philippine marine products in the European Union market.

Villar said the measure also called for the creation of a Fisheries Management Fund to be administered by the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The Fisheries Management Fund will provide scholarship grants for children of fisher folks and fish workers in fish catch, aquaculture, fishing, and fish processing. It will also provide programs for production enhancement and poverty alleviation and assistance to fishermen in the form of shared facilities. 

Villar said the fund would be sourced from the increased penalties for illegal, unauthorized and unreported fishing.

“Twenty five percent of the funds will be allocated to BFAR for fishery law enforcement while 75 percent of the collection will be allotted to provide assistance to poor fisherfolk,” Villar said. (Olive Caunan)

Senate pushes Sugar Cane Industry Development bill in preparation for ASEAN integration

MANILA-The Senate today passed on third and final reading a bill which seeks to help sugar industry players become more competitive when imported sugar starts flooding the local market with the integration of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community next year.

            Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2400, otherwise known as the Sugar Cane Industry Development Act of 2014, said the proposed legislation would put in place programs to promote and support the competitiveness of the Philippine sugar industry.

            “The fear among sugar farmers is that they will not be able to compete with cheaper and government-subsidized sugar from abroad and this will directly impact their livelihood,” Villar said.

            “As it stands, we are self-sufficient in sugar but we are anticipating stiffer competition with cheaper sugar from abroad, particularly Thailand, which is the largest sugar producer among ASEAN countries with the Philippines coming in second,” she added.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon agreed, noting that the agricultural measure will greatly complement “the set of economic reform measures currently being pushed in the Senate to secure the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals and fiscal sustainability, in preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community’s (AEC) launch next year.”

            Once the bill is passed into law, Villar says the sugar workers will be granted more assistance to boost their competitiveness through the Block Farm Program, Farm Support Program and a scholarship program.
            The Block Farm Program is a consolidation of small farms, around five hectares or less, into a large farm.

            “Admittedly, small players will have difficulties competing with bigger players. This practice will take advantage of the economies of scale in the production of sugar cane. This will result in operational advantages because activities in the small farms are aligned and the efficient use of farm machineries and equipment, deployment of workers, volume purchase of inputs, and financing, are ensured,” Villar explained.

Meanwhile, owners of farms with around nine hectares or less can avail of the Farm Support Program wherein they will be granted access to socialized credit through the Land Bank of the Philippines for the acquisition of production inputs, farm machineries, and implements necessary for the continuous production of sugar cane.

            Another provision of the bill is the availability of a Scholarship Program for the underprivileged college and post graduate students who are taking up courses in agriculture, agricultural engineering and mechanics, chemical engineering/sugar technology in state colleges and universities as well as vocational courses for farmers and farm technicians and skilled workers in sugar mills, sugar refineries, distilleries and biomass power plants.

            Once the bill is passed into law, capability trainings will be conducted as well as attendance to local or international trainings including seminars by farmers and workers on the latest technologies related to sugar cane farming, manufacture or production and other products derived from sugar cane, according to Villar.

            She said the program would be sourced from the Sugar Cane Industry Development Fund, which would receive 15 percent of the Value Added Tax on local and imported sugar and tariff collected from the importation of sugar.

            “The bill aims to generate funds to strengthen the competitiveness and boost diversification efforts of the sugarcane industry, especially when tariff on imported sugar drops to a mere five percent by 2015 under the AEC,” Villar said.

            Currently, the Philippines sugarcane industry provides employment to at least 600,000 workers and contributes P76 billion annually to the country’s economy.
            “The biggest opportunity is that it has turned our region and our market into a very promising and viable market. We need to equip Filipino businesses and industries, including the sugarcane industry, with adequate support to get a sizable chunk of that market or to seize those opportunities. The key is preparedness and enhanced competitiveness,” Villar said. (Apple Buenaventura)

Legarda: PHL Gov’t Must Prepare MSMEs for ASEAN Economic Integration

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today said that as ASEAN member-countries anticipate the emergence of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by December 2015, the Philippine government must ensure that the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are ready to be part it.

Legarda said that, in pursuit of an AEC, ASEAN operates on the assumption that with open borders and free trade, more investments will come in and therefore improve the region’s competitiveness.

“It is believed that the AEC will allow the region to gain greater influence in the global economic and political stage. But we take note that the ASEAN region is dominated by MSMEs, which continue to operate as subsistence-based enterprises. If left unprepared or if they remain uncompetitive, our MSMEs will find little benefit from an AEC,” said Legarda, noting that MSMEs account for 98 percent of all enterprises and about 85 percent of total employment in the region.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that as of 2010, duties have been eliminated on 99.2 percent of tariff lines for the ASEAN-6 Member States, including Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.  In the case of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam, tariff has been reduced to 0 to 5 percent on 97.52 percent of tariff lines.  This is partly the reason why there is a significant level of goods from other ASEAN countries in the Philippine market today.

“For the consumers, this can mean wider choices, lower product costs, and exposure to ASEAN brands.  For Philippine MSMEs that are not able to bring their production costs down and compete against well-supported MSMEs of other countries, this development can spell the end,” the Senator warned.

Legarda said that while MSMEs are the backbone of the ASEAN economies, contributing to about 30 to 50 percent to GDP and accounting for 19 to 31 percent of their economies’ exports, they are clearly susceptible to greater competition given that they have limited access to finance and technologies, as well as markets. 

“MSMEs have limited capacities for compliance with standards and certification.  Under this scenario, MSMEs are likely to lose out in deeper competition that will be ushered by AEC. Clearly, innovation and creativity play a significant role in transforming small businesses into competitive components of the ASEAN value chain.  We need to develop industries that will be innovators, rather than consumers, of technology,” she explained.

“If played out wisely, ASEAN’s bold vision of achieving the free flow of goods, services, investment, and skilled labor in the region may help us achieve higher productivity and economic diversification; but we have to play our cards well. The road for an AEC has been paved. We just need to make sure that the path we take will indeed bring us to the goal of a better life for all the people in the region,” Legarda concluded.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Drilon: Senate to pass bill to prevent ban on PHL marine products

MANILA-In order to avert a possible ban by the European Union on Philippine marine and fisheries products, the Senate will approve on third reading tomorrow Monday a bill that will give more teeth to the country’s marine and fisheries laws and ensure our compliance with international conventions and standards.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said that Senate Bill No. 2414, which amends the Fisheries Code, must be enacted into law by the yearend in order to help advance the country’s fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Drilon said that the country’s present laws, rules and regulations lack sufficient disincentives and sanctions against IUU fishing and is among the major issues raised by the European Union through its Directorate-General Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG-MARE) on its 2012 audit report on the Philippines.

Drilon added that we only have until the end of the year to address the “yellow tag” warning issued by the EU.

“Failure to act on the yellow tag and the observations made by the EU on its 2012 audit report on the Philippines may result in the blacklisting of all Philippine marine and fisheries products in the European Union market,” said Drilon.

“We must pass our amendments to the Fisheries Code before the EU puts us under ‘red flag’ which would categorize us as a non-cooperating country by failing to discharge our commitment to eliminate IUU fishing,” explained Drilon.

He said the ban will affect the fishing industry and the country’s economic growth.

“We need to strengthen our laws in order to preserve our marine and aquatic resources and protect the livelihood of our fisher folks,” Drilon stressed, noting that a 2012 study by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) shows that the local fishing industry represents 2.1% of the nation’s entire gross domestic product (GDP).

The Senate leader lauded Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, for her prompt action on the measure that will increase fines and provide a wide array of administrative penalties against IUU fishing. “The quick action taken by Sen. Villar and the Committee on Agriculture on SBN 2414 would strengthen our legal and regulatory framework against IUU fishing and would help ensure our compliance with international conventions for the conservation and management of living marine resources,” Drilon stressed.

Drilon said that intensified punitive actions against serious violations on Philippine aquatic resources will ensure that “sanctions are dissuasive and have deterrent effect.”

Under the proposed measure, a hefty fine of P2.5 million to P10 million, or twice the value of the catch, whichever is higher, will be imposed on large-scale commercial IUU fishing. For medium-scale and small-scale commercial IUU fishing, the fines will range from P250 thousand to P2 million and P50 thousand to P200 thousand, respectively.

The existing Philippine Fisheries Code only imposes fines ranging from P100 thousand to P500 thousand.

The Senate leader said that the SBN 2414 will also bolster government efforts to safeguard the local fishing industry from encroachment by foreign elements, especially intrusions by foreign poachers preying on local waters and fish supply.

“The bill will also protect local fishers from the unlawful competition presented by the wanton entry of foreign poachers who take advantage of our abundant aquatic resources,” Drilon  said, noting  the "alarming recurrence" of high-profile illegal fishing committed by fishermen from neighboring countries within the recent years.

In June of 2014, 12 Vietnamese nationals were sentenced by a Philippine court for illegal fishing near Palawan, while in 2011, 122 Vietnamese fishermen were arrested near Palawan, the biggest illegal fishing bust in recent memory. 

Legarda: Patadyong Weavers from Antique Showcase Their Craft at National Museum

MANILA-Weavers of the colorful patadyong from Antique will show how the age-old art is done in a two-day demonstration at the National Museum, said Senator Loren Legarda.

Legarda, patron of the country’s first permanent textile gallery, Hibla ng Lahing Filipino, said that weavers from Bagtason Loom Weavers Association in Bugasong, Antique are the featured craftsmen at the gallery on October 25-26, from 1:00-5:00 p.m.

“Antique is famous for its handwoven patadyong, which we usually see as a traditional costume paired with a kimona. Many might be curious how this brightly hued fabric is made. The weaving demonstration at the National Museum will show us how,” Legarda, a daughter of Antique, said. 

Patadyongs can be plain or designed with embroidery. These are usually worn as skirts, but they can also be made into shawls, handkerchiefs, scarves, table runners and many others.

“I invite Filipinos to see how our patadyong weavers from Bugasong do their craft so we can better appreciate not only the effort and skill of the weavers but also our culture and heritage,” said Legarda.

The National Museum has organized weekly weaving demonstrations at the Hiblagallery, from September to November 2014, as part of efforts to raise awareness on the culture of weaving and to ensure its continuity.

Weavers from the Cordillera Region showcased their craft last September, while weavers from Panay Island are featured in the weekends of October. Mindanao weavers will demonstrate their weaving traditions in November.

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 a part of our culture and 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 hope that these efforts will contribute in heightening the awareness and renewing the interest of Filipinos about our culture so that we can all work together to preserve our heritage,” said Legarda.*


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