Tuesday, September 9, 2014
The Senate today adopted a resolution commending the Filipino peacekeepers stationed at the Golan Heights for exhibiting bravery and resolve during a tense standoff against Syrian rebels.
Senate Resolutions 876, taking in consideration Senate Resolutions 877, 881 and 899, introduced by Senators Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Teofisto “TG” Guingona III and Antonio “Sonny Trillanes IV lauded the “extraordinary valor” shown by the Filipino peacekeepers.”
According to the resolutions, the Filipino peacekeepers, together with the United Nations peacekeeping force, have been stationed in Golan Heights since 1974 to monitor a ceasefire between Israel and Syria.
Of the 331-strong Filipino contingent serving as part of the United Nations Disengagement Force in the Golan Heights, 75 were encamped at the region’s Positions 68 and 69.
On August 28, 2014, Syrian rebels surrounded the two encampments and demanded that the Filipino peacekeepers surrender their firearms. Filipino peacekeepers refused, resulting in a standoff.
On August 30, 2014, 40 Filipino soldiers valiantly held their ground as around 100 rebels attacked Position 68 while 35 Filipino peacekeepers from Position 69 managed to leave their encampment with Irish peacekeepers securing their escape route. At midnight of the same day, the 40 Filipino soldiers from Position 68 also managed to flee, walking 2.3 kilometers to safety, as the rebels slept.
“Our Filipino peacekeepers exhibited extraordinary valor above and beyond their call of duty, demonstrating once again that Filipinos are among the bravest peacekeepers in the world,” Guingona said.
“Our soldiers’ brave front only proves that Filipinos will not back down from any challenge that we face,” said Senator Bam Aquino, who dubbed the Filipino peacekeepers as the new “action heroes of the world” for their bravery and resolve during a standoff with Syrian rebels in Golan Heights.(Yvonne Almiranez)
The Senate today approved two bills on third and final reading seeking to upgrade the Forestry Profession Law and the Metallurgical Engineering Law to international standards.
Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2055 or the Forestry Profession Act 2014, said the measure seeks to repeal Republic Act No. 6239 and enact a more comprehensive law that will regulate the practice of forestry in the Philippines. The bill was also co-authored by Sen. Cynthia Villar.
“The pressing concern of climate change has been aggravated by human-induced environmental destruction as well as by natural calamities. This necessitates a major reorientation of the Forestry profession which has remained unchanged since it was signed into law by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1971,” Trillanes said.
He said the bill seeks to remove a provision in the previous law that allows the registration of forestry practitioners even “without examination” and to define the scope of work of the forestry profession.
“The measure is meant to enhance the standards of the forestry profession and to create a professional regulatory board. The bill also provides for a foreign reciprocity clause, continuing professional education and designation of an accredited integrated professional organization,” he said.
Trillanes noted the shortage of foresters in the Philippines, which has 30 million hectares of land. While the ideal ratio is one forester to 5,000 hectares, Trillanes said the country has only 8,000 foresters. He said the passage of the measure into law would encourage students to enroll in the forestry and make it their career.
“Forestry is already a dwindling profession and hardly a child would manifest the desire to become a forester someday. One of the objectives of the bill is to set the standards so that more courses in forestry would be offered in different universities across the country,” Trillanes said.
Also approved on third and final reading was Senate Bill No. 2103 or the Metallurgical Engineering Act of 2014.
Trillanes said the measure seeks to replace the existing Metallurgical Engineering Law created under Presidential Decree No. 1536 to make it more attuned to the recent developments in the field of technological advancements.
Like the Forestry profession, Trillanes said, SBN 2103 seeks to create a professional regulatory board which will supervise the practice of metallurgical engineering, including the conduct of examination for the prospective metallurgical engineers.
Trillanes said the bill also seeks to redefine the scope of practice of metallurgical engineering, providing for a clear delineation of functions against its allied professions such as mining engineering and geology.
“To mainstream metallurgical engineering practice in the country, there is a need to provide a stable and updated framework which will ensure for the country a capable and competitive stream of metallurgical engineer professionals. The country’s professionals must keep pace with the changing environment and this bill will help them do that,” Trillanes said. (Pilar S. Macrohon)
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