Monday, September 1, 2014

Outstanding teachers, cops, soldiers get Senate recognition

MANILA-The Senate today approved three solutions commending and congratulating the outstanding teachers, police and soldiers through Metrobank Foundation’s annual search.
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said, “The awardees should be lauded for their devotion to their profession and for being outstanding role models.” “These men and truly women have truly raised the bar in their respective professions,” he added.
Drilon said that the distinction displayed by the awardees provide inspiration to  the Senate to the pass pending measures aimed at improving the lives of government workers, cops and soldiers.
“The exemplary actions of these teachers, cops and soldiers just how state workers deserve more support from the government they so eagerly serve, hence the Senate’s recent passing of resolutions that will raise benefits for members of the police and the military, along with the Senate’s focus on proposed legislations on reviewing the tax bracket and on raising the 13th month pay tax exemption for state workers,” he said.
Senator Cynthia Villar sponsored Senate Resolution Nos. 836 commending the recipients of Metrobank Foundation’s Search for Outstanding Teachers (SOT) for 2014 award.
“We should recognize the essential role of the teachers in educational advancement, their important contributions in the development of humanity and modern society, and their rights as members of a highly regarded profession,” Villar said.

The Outstanding Teachers for 2014 are Anna Bella F. Abellera of Naga Central School 1, Naga City; Sharon Rose P. Puyo of Cabadbaran South Central Elementary School SPED Center, Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte; Dr. Enerio E. Ebisa of Doña Juana Actub Lluch Memorial Central School, Iligan City; Allan Moore S. Cabrillas of San Jose West Central School, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija; Juanito A. Merle of Talipan National High School, Pagbilao, Quezon; Jesus C. Insilada of Alcarde Gustilo Memorial National High School, Calinog, Iloilo; Matrose P. Galarion of Angeles City National High School, Angeles City; Noel V. Ibis of Vinzons Pilot High School, Vinzons, Camarines Norte; Resurreccion B. Sadaba of University of the Philippines-Visayas, Miag-ao, Iloilo; and Teodora D. Balangcod of University of the Philippines-Baguio, Baguio City.
Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe sponsored Senate Resolution No.827 commending and congratulating the Country’s Outstanding Police Officers in Service (COPS) of 2014 who were selected by Metrobank Foundation, PS Bank and the Rotary Club of New Manila East.
“COPS serves as the social contract of the Metrobank Foundation, Rotary Club of New Manila East and PS Bank to the police force that will advance the welfare of the PNP and contribute in the realization of the Integrated Transformation Program of having the institution as a highly capable, effective and credible police service working in partnership with a responsive community,” Poe said.
According to the resolution, the Search for COPS aims to “honor models of professionalism, competence, dedication and integrity” among members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and is an “expression of the civilian sector’s appreciation and gratitude to the effort of the PNP in maintaining the peace and order situation in the country.”

The 2014 COPS awardees are Police Senior Superintendent Cedrick Gayona Train, Police Senior Superintendent Rodelio Balza Jocson, Police Chief Inspector Byron Filog Allatog, Police Chief Inspector Reynald Estrada Ariño, Police Officer 3 Michael Dalisay Pontoy, Senior Police Officer 1 Reynaldo Granada Solante, Police Officer 2 Arshear Usman Ismael, Police Officer 3 Alexander Baradillo Fazon, Jr., Senior Police Officer 1 Rey Hinautan Sarcon and Police Officer 3 Comet Dimla Dumangeng.
The Senate also honored the Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS) of 2014 through Senate Resolution No. 792 sponsored by Senator Sonny Angara.
“The competition is an expression of gratitude to the heroism, gallantry, dedication and sacrifices of the gallant men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Angara stated in the resolution. “The Philippine Senate proudly joins the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. and Rotary Club of Makati Metro in honoring and commending the gallant men and women who have risked life and limb in the defense of our country’s sovereignty.”
The recipients of the 2014 TOPS award are Philippine Army Colonel Teodoro A. Llamas, Philippine Army Master Sergeant Aladin S. Dacayanan, Philippine Army Staff Sergeant Rehum P. Magno, Philippine Navy Captain Alberto B. Carlos, Philippine Navy Sergeant Eugene J. Padilla, Philippine Navy Commissary Steward 2nd Class Felix B. Guaves II, Philippine Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Adriano SJ. Duadico, Philippine Air Force Technical Sergeant Benny G. Dofitas, Philippine Air Force Staff Sergeant Sheryl P. Toribio, and Technical and Administrative Service – Medical Administrative Corps Major Florencio Ritchie I. Capulong III. (Apple Buenaventura, PRIB)

Drilon takes on ice bucket challenge

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today joined the list of Filipinos who have participated in the popular Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) ice bucket challenge not only to raise funds and promote awareness for the dangerous disease, but also to bring attention to other important causes in the country.

Drilon became the latest public official to became doused with iced water when he gamely took the charity challenge at his Senate office on Monday morning.

As per the ice bucket challenge’s rules, Drilon said he is going to donate to the Neurosciences Department of the Philippine General Hospital, which is responsible for the treatment of many Filipinos afflicted with neurological diseases.

The Senate leader also made sure that his version of the ice bucket challenge will signal his commitment to water-conservation: collected rain water over the weekend was used in the event, instead of fresh potable water.

Drilon emphasized that apart from the debilitating ALS, he also wanted to bring attention to other pressing causes, hence his nomination of advocacy-oriented people with whom he has worked before to continue the ice-bucket challenge: Gawad Kalinga (GK) founder Tony Meloto, ABS-CBN Kapamilya Foundation Chairman Gina Lopez, and Federation of Filipino- Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.(FFCCCII) President Dr. Alfonso Siy.  

Meloto's Gawad Kalinga helps manage the 1,000 low-cost housing project in Iloilo whose funding was supported by Drilon and  Lopez, as head of the Pasig River cleanup campaign, has exchanged ideas with Drilon, who is also working for the restoration of the Iloilo River.  

Meanwhile Siy, as part of FFCCCII, has previously partnered with Drilon in a nationwide classroom-building project which built 1,600 classrooms at a cost only half compared to regular government contract prices. 

Palace order to rectify historical errors on “Unang Sigaw ng Nueva Ecija unheeded

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – Three years after Malacañang called on the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to look into several “historical errors” about events involving the “Unang Sigaw ng Nueva Ecija,” these have yet to be corrected which would have set the heroism of Gen. Mariano Llanera and other revolutionaries in its proper perspective even as Novo Ecijanos observe today the 118th anniversary of the historic revolt.

Among these errors are accounts that up to 3,000 revolutionaries from this town marched towards San Isidro and that they used a “musikang bumbong” in assaulting the Spanish garrison in the afternoon of September 2,1896.

          In 2011, Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) said the NHCP, led by its executive director Ludovico Badoy should conduct a thorough research on the historic event and make facts and figures “accurate” and “realistic” to give justice to its heroes.

          This after local historian Jose Hipolito said one of these errors include accounts that up to 3,000 revolutionaries from this town marched towards San Isidro with the use of a “musikang bumbong” where they assaulted the Spanish garrison in the afternoon of September 2,1896.

          “That is fatally wrong. The fact is only 753 revolutionaries laid siege in San Isidro and they marched there accompanied not by “musikang bumbong” but by a brass band,” Hipolito said.

          He said that the 3,000 supposed revolutionaries were too bloated a number and would clearly constitute an “overkill” on the part of Llanera’s group since they were up against only 100 Spanish soldiers.

          Hipolito said he knew of no one who conducted a realistic and in-depth research about the revolution and its heroes. “I was the only one who went to the National Archives to conduct my own research,” he said.

          Aside from the glaring historical inaccuracies, Mayor Gloria Crespo-Congco also questioned that the center of celebrations for the annual event is often held in the provincial capital Palayan City and not in this town. She said she had nothing against holding festivities in other towns to commemorate the event for Novo Ecijanos to appreciate history but said Cabiao’s role should be given utmost importance.     

The late 69-year-old head of the marching band that stormed the Spanish garrison in San Isidro also said Cabiao should be given recognition as the rightful venue for anniversary rites.

          Raul Nogoy, Banda, ’96 leader said San Isidro (then known as Factoria) can not be considered as the center of the celebrations neither because this was where the Spaniards held fort.

          The provincial government, led by Gov. Aurelio Umali, Vice Gov. Jose Gay Padiernos and third district Rep. Czarina Umali, has held various activities to usher Nueva Ecija Day consisting of a harana, health caravan, quiz bee, sikad Novo Ecijano, muscle showdown, agri-aqua ctrade fair, hair and make-up Olympics, aerobics competition, Binibining Nueva Ecija pageant, boxing competitions, the search for the outstanding young Novo Ecijanos   and the 1st governor’s cup shooting competitions.

          Today’s provincial government-led activity will be held at the old provincial capitol, according to provincial administrator Al Abesamis.

          When asked for his reaction regarding the issue over the venue, Abesamis did not return text messages.

          Local officials in Cabiao said it is only fitting that organizers consider the town as the center of celebrations because General Llanera was from Barangay San Roque here.

          The event marks the day when Llanera and Gen. Pantaleon Valmonte led home-grown revolutionaries, armed only with 100 guns, bolos and pointed sticks in assaulting the Spanish garrison in San Isidro on September 2,1896, two days after the “Unang Sigaw ng Balintawak.”

          Waving black and red flag, the revolutionaries caught the Spanish guardia civil by surprise.

For its role in the revolution, the province earned its place in the Philippine flag as one of the eight rays of the sun, each ray representing the province that revolted against the Spaniards. 

Drilon rejects proposal to amend Blue Ribbon rules

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today said he was not inclined to amend the rules of the Blue Ribbon Committee as suggested by former Senator Joker Arroyo who claimed that the Senate’s investigation into the alleged overpriced Makati Parking Building as "one-sided.”

“First of all, the rules are proven to work. We must remember that the Blue Ribbon Committee is not a judicial proceeding, nor is it a criminal investigation. It is primarily in aid of legislation and in seeking the truth. The rules have been there, and they work well, and they continue to work well,” Drilon emphasized. 

“The present rules being applied by the current Blue Ribbon committee are the same rules that our former colleague, Joker, used when he was the chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee,” said Drilon.

He said that the present setup served well in uncovering a wide range of anomalies which the Blue Ribbon committee had investigated in the past.

“These are the rules that enabled the Blue Ribbon Committee to find out the truth with thePhilippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco) deal, to discover the anomalies in the North Rail Project, and the ones used in the Fertilizer Scam,” pointed out Drilon.

With this, the Senate chief said he was not in favor of amending the present rules as they are proven to be effective in uncovering the truth and exposing government frailties.

“Those rules have been there for a long time, and I am not in favor of amending the rules,” he stressed. 

Congress should heed Sereno's plea for higher budget

MANILA-Sen. Ralph Recto said Congress should heed Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno’s appeal for a higher judiciary budget, but any increase, he said, can be attached to performance outcomes like faster disposal of cases.

The plea to augment the budget of our courts has merit, Recto said. “It is a request which should not invite a dissenting opinion.”

While the judiciary’s budget has increased from P11.2 billion in 2010 to P19.3 billion this year and to a proposed P20.3 billion for 2015, “it, however, accounts for less than one percent of total government expenditures,” Recto said.

He noted that while the national budget will expand by a robust 15.1 percent next year, the judiciary’s budget will only grow by 4.8 percent.

What the Senate and the House can do, Recto said, is go through the “original wish list” of the judiciary for 2015 and “take a second look on items which were not included in the 2015 national budget Malacanang has sent to Congress.”

He noted that during the budget preparation the judiciary requested P152 million for new equipment but instead got zero in the National Expenditure Program (NEP).

It likewise asked for P500 million for the construction of the Cebu City Halls of Justice Complex and the same was not favorably endorsed by the executive branch, Recto said.

A briefer prepared by the Court Administrator of the Supreme Court said only P10 million out of its original request of P914 million for “buildings and infrastructure” was carried in the NEP.

In the same presentation, the SC is also requesting funds to hire 2,239 court legal researchers and 3,089 personnel for 172 new Child and Family Courts.

Funding for the creation of these positions was also not endorsed by Malacanang to Congress.

“Maybe the executive has its own reasons for denying the requests. In the case of the halls of justice, it has always been its position that the funds be lodged with the Department of Justice,” Recto said.

What the legislature can do is revisit the original request of the judiciary and put back what needs to be restored, Recto said.

The judiciary originally requested a budget of P31.3 billion for 2015 but a review by the DBM pared this down to P20.3 billion.

When it comes to appropriations, Recto said “Congress is in the position to reconcile the differences in opinion between the other two branches.”

While the judiciary can dip into the Judiciary Development Fund to bankroll some of its capital outlay requirements, “the fund’s P1.2 billion annual collection may not be enough, more so if we consider that proceeds have been earmarked for other uses by law,” Recto pointed out.

Mere collection of JDF alone should not disqualify the judiciary from receiving appropriations for other purposes, Recto said.

“There are many agencies which spend the fees they collect and yet they still get funds from the national budget. In 2015, earmarked revenues will reach P86 billion. Yet it is only JDF, which represents a fraction of it, which is attracting attention,” Recto said.

“Isang halimbawa n’yan yung Road Users Tax na aabot ng P14.4 billion ang collections next year, na ginagasta na wala namang appropriation. ‘Yan siguro ang dapat silipin,” Recto said.

But should Congress increase the budget of the judiciary, “it should be anchored on a set of deliverables,” Recto said.

“Can we improve, for example, the present 38 percent disposition rate of cases in lower courts? Will velocity of cases improve in other courts?” Recto said.

In 2012, 2,214 lower courts disposed 376,289 of the 988,291 cases they handled that year.

Also in the same year, the Supreme Court reported a 38% case disposal rate out of a total case intake of 11,302.

Recto believes that investing more funds in the courts will allow them to reduce docket backlog and speed up the resolution of cases. 

He cited an SC “reform project piloted in Quezon City courts” as an example of what funding support to the judiciary can do. Dubbed HUSTISYEAH, it has reportedly resulted in a 30-percent drop in pending cases.


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