Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bus operators, drivers, conductors in CL undergo training on Basic Occupational Safety and Health

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga-A total of 60 bus operators, drivers and conductors coming from the provinces of Bataan and Zambales and representing 57 companies recently participated in a training on Basic Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) conducted by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in partnership with Corporate Occupational Safety and Health Environment Association of the Philippines.
“The five-day activity was meant to impart to the attendees the necessary skills and knowledge on Occupational Safety, Occupational Environment, Occupational Health, and responses to various OSH issues and concerns faced by the transport industry,” DOLE Regional Director Raymundo Agravante said.
Among the topics discussed include OSH situationer of the bus transport industry, General Fleet Safety, Safe Driving Practices, Defense Driving, Housekeeping and Materials Handling, Fire and Machine Safety, Use of Personal Protective Equipment, Accident Investigation,Industrial Hygiene and Control Measures, Various Forms of Hazards and their Potential Health Effects, and Promotion of Healthy Lifestyle.
Apart from lectures, participants took part in the crafting of the OSH programs and policies that would address the needs of their industry.
They also visited bus terminals to check and evaluate their OSH practices.
“With recent and numerous cases of reports on vehicular accidents involving public transportations, particularly bus-related accidents, it’s high time for the bus transport industry to take serious efforts in working with government in promoting safe and health practices in their day to day operations. We need to push these efforts in order to prevent or minimize occupational transit accidents, which can result in injuries or claim lives of workers, passengers, and other motorists,” Agravante stressed. (Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)

Cuevas-Mercado dream team in 2016?

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–A powerhouse tandem involving Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas and Vice Mayor Florante Mercado is looming in 2016 amid the latter’s affirmation of support to the Cuevas administration.

The Cuevas-Mercado dream team is a possibility after both politicians said they are open to a team-up.

This after Mercado assured Cuevas he would continue to support her administration and her programs and won’t seek the mayorship for as long as she is the local chief executive.

Earlier, Mercado denied reports his father, former Makati City vice mayor Nestor is considering to run for mayor in this city to challenge Cuevas’ reelection bid. He said these are mere speculations.

          “It’s not impossible. If he wants to be with me,” Cuevas said, responding to a question of whether Mercado could be her running mate in 2016.

          Asked the same question, Mercado replied : “puwede naman (it’s feasible).”

Cuevas and the younger Mercado belong to rival political parties. Cuevas is a partymate of Gov. Aurelio Umali at the Liberal Party and its local party Unang Sigaw Partido ng Pagbabago while Mercado ran for vice mayor under the Nationalist People’s Coalition and the local party Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija of the Josons.

Both won by landslides in last May’s elections. Cuevas defeated former three-term congressman Pacifico Fajardo by some 4,500 votes  while Mercado clobbered Cuevas’ running mate, former three-term mayor Romeo Capinpin by 2,900 votes.

          Mercado said he will never fight Cuevas nor oppose her programs because he has never seen anything wrong in what she is doing.

          Cuevas said she liked and appreciated what Mercado said. “I also believe that he trusts in what I do,” she said, adding this inspires her to work harder in her job as mayor.

          She also mentioned that she and Mercado appear to have chemistry. “We are working together very well,” she observed. (Manny Galvez) 

380 LGU reps in CL attend seminar-workshop series on the Localization of Magna Carta of Women

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga-Around 380 personnel coming from 114 local government units (LGUs) in Central Luzon recently took part in a seminar-workshop series on the Localization of the provisions of Republic Act 9710 otherwise known as the Magna Carta of Women.
Spearheaded by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in partnership with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the activity was meant to capacitate provinces, cities and municipalities in coming up with a gender-responsive plan and budget for 2015.
“Central Luzon is one of the first to conduct this kind of activity. In the past three years, LGUs are receiving audit observations on the utilization of Gender and Development (GAD) Funds. Through this, our resource persons gave the most palatable and most acceptable inputs and information which would be very useful to be able to craft the LGU GAD Plan and Budget,” DILG Regional Director Florida Dijan said.
“DILG’s goal is to make all LGUs sustainable development-oriented which can only be achieved if they all practice self-reliance,” Dijan added. (Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)

Mercado denies pa’s mayoral bid, reaffirms support to Cuevas

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – Vice Mayor Florante Mercado has denied reports that his father, former Makati City vice mayor Nestor Mercado is gunning for mayor in this city to challenge the reelection bid of Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas even as he reaffirmed his and the Sangguniang Panglungsod’s support to the executive agenda and programs of the local chief executive.
          Speaking during an out-of-town meeting with Cuevas, city councilors and barangay chairmen in Baler, Aurora, Mercado dismissed as sheer speculations that his father would make a political comeback by seeking the mayorship in this provincial capital.
          “This issue of my father running for mayor of Palayan is farthest from the truth. He no longer want to re-enter politics,” he said.
          The younger Mercado issued his statement after word spread that the elder Mercado is planning a comeback after his aborted mayoral run in Makati City against Junjun Binay.
Cuevas and the younger Mercado belong to rival political parties. Cuevas is a partymate of Gov. Aurelio Umali at the Liberal Party and its local party Unang Sigaw Partido ng Pagbabago while Mercado ran for vice mayor under the Nationalist People’s Coalition and the local party Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija of the Josons.
Both won by landslides in last May’s elections. Cuevas defeated former three-term congressman Pacifico Fajardo by some 4,500 votes  while Mercado clobbered Cuevas’ running mate, former three-term mayor Romeo Capinpin by 2,900 votes.
          Nestor was once a staunch ally of Binay’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay. He was his running mate for three terms.
          When the elder Binay’s term as mayor was to expire in 2010 due to the three-term limit, Nestor started to campaign for mayor but Jejomar suddenly fielded his son.
          The younger Mercado said his father was already committed so he went on with his mayoral bid out of principles.
          In his case, the younger Mercado said he will never fight Cuevas and that for as long as the latter remains as mayor, the position he will be seeking is that of vice mayor.
          “I will never fight you. It’s because I have never seen anything wrong in what you are telling us to do,” he said of Cuevas as political leaders and city hall personnel cheered. Also in the audience was Cuevas’ husband, Bong.
          Mercado told the audience to disabuse their minds of the thought that he and his camp is planning to contest the city’s top post. He said he and Cuevas have no disagreements, real or imagined.
          He recalled that before he entered City Hall after they won last year, he told Cuevas “You are the mayor, You are the one to be  followed,” he said.
          He also said that his absence in certain official functions of Cuevas was no indication that he was distancing himself from her. “The truth of the matter was that I was tending to my business so I was not able to go with her,” he said.
          Mercado also defended himself and the SP from criticisms and complaints that they are blocking certain requests forwarded for approval, particularly by some barangay chairmen.
          “Some say I was blocking all requests forwarded to the SP. I have no right to do that. As a presiding officer, I just bang the gavel. So it’s not true that there are pending requests in our office,” he said.
          Mercado said some of the requests take some time before they get approved because the SP deliberate on them. “We have a process to be followed. We are just doing our job. We have to do it because it will be subject for review by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,” he explained.             
          Mercado reiterated that for him, elections are just one day, saying he will not politicize development.
He said the issue of majority and minority is no longer relevant in the 10-man SP, saying the programs of the sitting mayor deserve the support of everyone, especially if this involves the welfare of majority of Palayanos. – Manny Galvez

Slowest in ASEAN Faster internet speed pressed

MANILA-Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto is urging government to also mandate internet service providers (ISPs) and telecom companies to increase the minimum speed of their internet service to 10 Mbps (megabits per second) from the current internet speed of 3.4 Mbps.

Recto said with 3.4 Mbps, the country has the slowest internet speed in South East Asia followed by Indonesia with 4.1 Mbps, Malaysia at 5.5 Mbps, with Singapore as being the fastest in the ASEAN region with a lightning internet speed of 61.0 Mbps.

The global internet speed to download information and pictures from the worldwide web is 18.4 Mpbs.

“Unfortunately, the Philippines ranks at the tail-end of world broadband speed rankings and is also tagged as one of the most expensive,” Recto said.

The Senate leader added: “The national march towards a broader internet or Wi-Fi access should be in cadence with a decent internet speed. Aanhin mo ang Wi-Fi kung puro ka naman antay?”

Recto said Filipino internet users are also paying more than their ASEAN counterparts with a monthly average of $24.92 or roughly P1,120 compared to the fraction spent by other nationalities.
He said his Senate Bill (SB) 2238 dubbed “Bilis Konek Act of 2014” would empower the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to require a minimum internet speed for all ISPs and telcos offering internet service of 10 Mbps for mobile broadband/internet access.

The speed should be faster at 20 Mbps when it comes to fixed and fixed wireless broadband/internet access or those installed at home. The transition to a faster internet speed would be two years after the enactment of the law.

“This bill recognizes the importance of high-speed internet connections in increasing productivity and the growing demands for connectivity,” he said, noting that faster internet has correlation to economic growth according to a foreign report.

Recto stressed mandating a minimum internet speed makes sense since the country aside from being the "Texting Capital of the World" was also named by the Global Web Index as having the Fastest Growing Internet Population with a 531% growth in the last five years.

“If the Human Rights Council of the United Nations General Assembly declares internet access as a basic human right, internet users should also have the right to faster internet -- call it internet on steroids,” he said.

Recto has also filed SB 2232, which seeks the roll out of free Wi-Fi access to all public places in the National Capital Region (NCR) as a companion measure to his "Bilis Konek Act."

Recto said an NCR-wide free internet access would provide equal opportunity to all, especially the marginalized members of society and promote efficiency and productivity in businesses.

“Providing free internet access to public buildings and facilities in the national capital will also ensure that our growing labor force will be updated with employment opportunities,” Recto said in filing SB 2232.

He said a free internet access to the public would “mean providing access to the underserved in our society, including getting low-income people online.”

A free Wi-Fi service, according to him, would also give access to vital information available online such as school information for students; traffic reports and alternative routes for motorists; latest weather bulletins, basic goods prices such as oil and gas; and, updates on government services.

Recto said his proposed bill, if enacted into law, would mandate free internet use to the following public areas in the entire NCR:

·        All national and local government offices
·        Public health services and hospitals
·        Public elementary and high schools, and state colleges and
·        Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Terminals I, II, III and IV)
·        Public libraries
·        Tollways and expressways
·        Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) and other national roads
·        Public transport terminals
·        Port of Manila; and
·        Rail transit stations (LRT Line 1, MRT Line 2, MRT Line 3, and PNR
south rail).

He assured that once seamlessly in place in Metro Manila, other major cities in the country should be also accorded with free Wi-Fi service.

The Recto bill mandates the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as the lead agency. 


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