Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jail Destination for Unlawful Use of Military Uniforms

If plans snowball, civilians using military or police uniforms could get to jail.

  Just as criminal syndicates perpetuate their criminal activities by passing off as members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), two prime Central Visayas (CV) councils jointly propose a regulation on police and military uniforms.

  Both (CV) members of the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Peace and Order Council (RPOC) agree that an amendment of the Republic Act 493 would provide a strong deterrent to crimes associated with the illegal use of AFP and the PNP uniforms.

  The move is an attempt to curb activities of criminals simply passing off as members of the police or the military, especially when they wear uniforms in their criminal activities, members said. 

  While Republic Act 493 regulates the wearing, use, manufacture and selling of insignias, decorations, medals, patches, badges and identification cards prescribed for the AFP and the PNP, the act does not cover the use and wearing of military and police uniforms as well as the manufacture and selling of military and police uniforms and textiles, and the penalties provided by the law is perceived to be light, the RDC members agreed. 

  The amendment would center on expanding the coverage on the prohibitions of the use of military and police uniforms by unauthorized persons, regulate the sale of manufacture and the sale of PNP and AFP uniforms and the similar textiles used in the uniforms as well as to impose a heavier penalty against unlawful use of such.

  Even Police Regional Director Ronald Roderos admitted that that penalties provided by EO 297 appeared light as he endorsed the proposal to impose heavier penalties to the unlawful wearing of uniforms. 

  In the Revised Penal Code, crime of usurpation is punishable only by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or more than a year imprisonment.

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Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant to the Philippines

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant to the Philippines is free and not a loan package from the United States, says Finance Secretary Margarito Teves. Sec Teves said this to clarify reports that the grant is another US loan to the country. 

  According to Teves, the grant is not in a form of cash but in form of projects or programs 

  Teves, who chairs the MCC grant proposal team earlier created by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said they are expecting a team from MCC based in Washington, D.C. to visit the country to check the project proposal of the Philippine government for funding under the MCC assistance program. 

  The MCC announced on March 11, 2008 that the MCC Board has selected the Philippines as "Compact Eligible." 

  Teves said the MCC grant proposal team is now consulting with different government agencies, citizens, non-government organizations (NGOs) and private sector representatives to pinpoint priority projects that would be submitted to the MCC for a grant proposal for a five-year program to reduce poverty through sustainable growth. 

  Teves added that once the proposed project is finalized by the different sectors of society, they will submit it to the President for approval and later on it will be forwarded to the MCC. 

  He also assured the public that even though the grant has been approved by the MCC, the Philippine government would continue to implement and improve its measures on anti-corruption campaign. 

  When asked on how the Filipinos can benefit from that particular MCC assistance, Teves said the money collected from the ongoing programs such as Run After Tax Evaders (RATES), Run After The Smugglers (RATS), and Revenue Integration Protection Service (RIPS) will be diverted into social, infrastructures and health services projects. 

  Teves said the Department of Finance (DOF) has achieved a lot of success in its work to combat corruption and improve revenue collection through the RATE, RATS, and RIPS programs. (PIA)

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