Saturday, March 1, 2014
Bonifacio Dacayanan, publisher of Facts and Figures Newsweekly based in this city, said the incident took place at around 1 pm last February 26 when he visited the TPPO headquarters in Barangay San Vicente, Camp Macabulos here to inquire about the status of a previously arranged appointment with Senior Superintendent Alex Sintin, newly installed provincial director.
Dacayanan said two policemen manning the gate of the police camp whom he identified as a certain Police Officer 1 Bautista and one PO1 Rombaoa asked him for his concerns.
When he informed them he was going to meet Sintin, the two lawmen asked him to present his identification card. After doing so, he said the lawmen gave him clearance to proceed to the police headquarters.
But a few moments later, Dacayanan said one of them called him out and stopped him. The lawman then took his ID and ran towards the headquarters supposedly to show it to officials at the camp.
He said while holding him at the camp gate, others who passed the gate, including ordinary people, were allowed freely inside without being subjected to such harassment.
After a few minutes, the lawman returned with the ID and finally allowed him to enter the camp.
Dacayanan said prior to the incident, he and Sintin had held initial talks on the possible coordination between the PNP and the media in Tarlac.
Dacayanan said it was not the first time he was maltreated by authorities. He said he received a similar treatment from the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) when he visited the military headquarters in Barangay San Miguel in
Aquino here. Camp Servillano
He narrated his experience during the directorate meeting of the CLMA at a local restaurant here Friday night.
CLMA president Tony Vallejo asked Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, regional director of the Philippine National Police Regional Office 3, to order a full-dress investigation on the incident to prevent a possible whitewash by the TPPO.
“We condemn the strongest terms this dastardly treatment of the members of the fourth estate, particularly our own. They ought to accord respect to media practitioners. Authorities should do something about it,”
Vallejo said. (Manny Galvez)
MANILA-Twenty thousand additional Yolanda-stricken families will be included in the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program this year, courtesy of a Senate amendment in the 2014 national budget which slashed P336 million from the program’s overhead in order to enroll that many typhoon victims.
The senator who authored the amendment, Ralph Recto, said that as a result of the Senate action, an equivalent of 100,000 more individuals in Yolanda areas will be brought under the coverage of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), CCT’s official name.
“Calamity victims should not live from one relief bag to another. One of the best forms of aid is the 4Ps because it is predictable, guaranteed and sustained. Yan ang tunay na pantawid, hindi pansamantala o panandalian,” Recto, who is also Senate President Pro-Tempore, said.
With their enrollment in 4Ps, Recto said the 20,000 families will receive P16,800 this year, in monthly payouts of P1,400, provided that they comply with certain “conditionalities” like regular attendance of their children in school.
He explained that what the Senate did to fund the enrollment of 20,000 families is cut the 4Ps administrative expenses from the proposed P5.41 billion to P5.03 billion.
“Specifically, what was reduced was the budget for publicity, from P141 million to P40 million, and the budget for training, from P533 million to P218 million, and the cuts were mainly used to accommodate more 4Ps beneficiaries,“ he said.
As a result, the cash grant component of the 4Ps budget rose from P57.2 billion to P57.57 billion. If its administrative overhead of P5.03 billion is included, the total budget of 4Ps for the year is P62.2 billion.
This amount will be used to put 4,461,732 households under the regular 4Ps program. In addition, 4.3 million high school students will be enrolled in the “extended CCT” program in which each will be given a monthly stipend of P500.
Recto praised Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senate finance committee head Sen. Francis Escudero for “accepting and defending this and other calamity rehabilitation amendments” which made their way to the 2014 General Appropriations Act.
Other Recto amendments which were consolidated in the 2014 national budget were the creation of the P20 billion Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Fund, the increase of the Calamity Fund from P7.5 billion to P13 billion, and earmarking P20 billion in the Unprogrammed Fund for reconstruction.
MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda shared the Philippines’ “long and arduous journey” towards policies and action on climate adaptation and disaster resilience at the recent East Asia Summit Climate Change Adaptation Workshop organized by the Australian Government.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that past disasters of grave magnitude exposed the need to build the resilience of Philippine communities.
“Since my first term in 1998 in the Senate, my advocacy has been consistent and clear – protect our environment, adapt to climate change and mitigate its impacts. It has never been an easy task as people viewed climate change then as an abstract issue best reserved for experts and the scientists,” she explained.
“It had to take typhoon Ondoy for Filipinos to realize that climate change is not just a scientific and environmental issue, but an all encompassing threat to us, our aspirations, and to future generations. The massive loss of lives and the inundation of Metro Manila opened the eyes of the government and the public that climate change is no longer a threat, but a challenge we all need to take seriously,” she added.
It was in 2008 when the Senate Committee on Climate Change, through a resolution filed by Legarda, was formed. In 2009, less than 30 days after Ondoy, the Climate Change Act, which mainstreams climate change adaptation in various phases of policy formulation, was passed; and in 2010, the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act was enacted.
“Along with the passage of important laws on climate change, appropriations for climate change programs have been increasing at an average of 26 percent yearly since 2009. The enacted budget of 2014 provides more funds for rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in disaster-stricken areas. The amount of 13 billion pesos has been allocated for the Calamity Fund, which is now known as the NDRRM Fund,” Legarda said.
“Given these resources, albeit limited, we should build better, stronger, and using the best standards in light of the natural and man-made hazards we face today. In light of this need, I am pushing for an environmental audit that will measure the level of compliance with the country’s environmental laws. I also call on our officials, community members, and our partners to lead disaster resiliency efforts,” she added.
Legarda emphasized that vulnerabilities can be addressed through the upgrading and enforcement of building standards, risk-sensitive urban planning and investment, stronger social protection, promoting measures that advance economic and business resilience, and engaging communities in efforts to achieve resilience.
“We should all remember that poverty breeds disaster vulnerability. Those who have less in life are faced with the greatest risks. Thus, as disasters become more prevalent, the greater is the responsibility of government to extend social protection to the country’s poor. Disaster risk reduction is social justice in action. Moreover, the disasters that we have experienced, along with our shared memory of death, loss and survival, should drive us to build a resilient future and a safer Earth,” Legarda concluded.