Thursday, April 24, 2014

Drilon: Gov’t needs to hire more gov’t prosecutors to boost war vs criminality

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today underscored the need to beef up the nation’s cadre of prosecutors, who are crucially involved in the country’s intensifying efforts to fight corruption and arrest criminality in the country.

The Senate leader, who was the guest speaker at the 26th National Convention of the Prosecutors League of the Philippines held on April 23,2014 in Legazpi, Albay, said that the magnitude of crime and corruption faced by the nation today “must make us all realize just how important is the country’s ability to prosecute criminals and promote the full iron rule of law.”

Drilon believes that the efficient prosecution of crimes will enforce an effective system of deterrence throughout the land.

“When we put these rogues in jail, we send the signal that no one is above the law. We make a strong statement that the law is always on the side of the victims and not on the side of the criminals regardless of their economic and social status,” stressed Drilon, a former Justice Secretary who had been known for his advocacy “Justice Agad.”

According to Drilon, prosecutors are indispensable in “gaining the trust and confidence of our people in the country’s justice system.”

“Our prosecutors play a huge role in bringing the perpetrators of every imaginable crime behind bars, where they rightfully belong,” he said.

With this, the Senate chief vowed that the Congress will continue to provide budgetary support for the hiring of prosecutors until the desired ratio of one prosecutor for every regional trial court is achieved.

In 2014, the Congress increased the budget for Prosecution Services to P2.6 billion from P2.5 billion in 2013. It also allocated funds to improve infrastructure of halls of justice, including the repair and improvement of existing courts and prosecutors’ offices.

“We expect that support to manifest unto tangible results for the country’s anti-criminal and corruption efforts,” concluded Drilon. 


MANILA-Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara on Friday called on the Aquino government to aim for an education agenda that targets at least one college graduate per family, including those living in poverty.

"State programs for education should transcend the tragedy of timid expectations. Since the problem on classroom shortage has been addressed decisively, we have reasons to believe that the present administration can do something to make sure that there is a college graduate for every Filipino family," the neophyte senator pointed out.

One suggestion of Angara is to reformat the P62 billion-a-year conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

"Maybe the DSWD can initiate a 'one college scholar per family' to those who are enrolled in the CCT program," he said.

Education and healthcare are the primary mandates of the CCT and raising the bar of the programs to include one college scholarship per family, Angara said, would not even alter the basic agenda of the CCT program.

He has filed one such bill, Senate Bill No. 58 or the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Higher and Technical Education (UNIFAST), and he hopes that President Aquino can persuade Congress to fast-track its approval before he steps down from Malacanang two years from now.

The lawmaker lamented recent studies which showed that out of 100 kids that start elementary education, only around less than 20 are able to graduate from college, and the usual reasons of the majority who did not finish were poverty and lack of opportunities.

Angara, author of the Free Kindergarten Law, said that education investment should be spent at all levels, and reforms should cover elementary, high school and college education.

He has also filed a bill that seeks to remove the prohibitive cost of entrance exam fees in all colleges and universities throughout the country.

The former congressman from Aurora, who used to chair the House committee on higher and technical education, has vowed to push for policies and measures that aim to provide opportunities and empower people, primarily through access to quality education and employment generation.


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