Friday, August 28, 2009

Republic Acts 6975 and 8551: Philippine Law

Morale booster for men in blue uniforms. 

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) signed into law a measure that finally laid to rest what has been troubling well-meaning police officers who get entangled with cases in the performance of their duties. 

Moreover, the president's action on the law amending Republic Acts 6975 and 8551 also gives five years for undergraduate cops to finish the minimum requirement for police officers under the Philippine National Police (PNP). 

The new law which she signed last week is entitled "An act Extending to Five Years the Reglementary Period for Complying with the Minimum Educational Qualifications for the Appointment of the PNP and Adjusting the Promotion System, Amending for the Purpose the Pertinent Provisions of RA 6975 and RA 8551 and for other purposes. 

RA 6975 effectively bars promotion for any police officer facing service-related charges, until they are cleared. 

This is even if these charges are in furtherance of their duties as protectors of peace, says Camp Dagohoy Information Officer P/Insp. John Gano. 

Some police officers think this law (RA 6975) has been a convenient tool used by criminals who threaten officers by getting back at cops administrative or criminal charges, and not a few have chickened out from performing their duties diligently because of this provision of law. 

Under the new law however, if after two years, the case has not been resolved, sued cops can be considered for promotions. 

Furthermore, some absorbed police officers, especially those who came from the ranks of the now defunct Philippine Constabulary (PC) or the Integrated National Police (INP) still needs to complete the required college degree as a minimum requirement for PNP appointment.  

The new law allows them to breeze through the minimum college requirement in the next five years as a good provision of a continuing education for police personnel, Pinsp. Gano said. (PIA)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Anti-pollution Measure in the Philippines

The government is letting loose P500M to advance its anti-pollution measure, reveals Presidential Management Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr. during a press conference in Panglao. 

The fund, which is from the collected national road safety tax, Esperon said, can be availed by transport groups to help fund the drivers switch from the pollution prone fossil fuels to the cleaner liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). 

According to him, the money could be accessed by transport cooperatives through the Philippine Postal and Savings Bank and it would basically be used to fund for the conversion of engines. 

Through this, the government hopes to enhance its climate change activities, he said. 

Esperon also claimed that the government is now getting more and more serious about the care for the environment added that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has designated Fridays in her schedules as a day for the environment. 

Many also see the move as a way to slowly shake off from a heavy dependence on imported oil amidst the unpredictable price fluctuations in the global markets. 

Over this, Bohol transport groups who could probably avail of such fund may seek details of the credit window at the Philippine Postal Bank. 

While it was not yet certain if LPG works in a terrain which is more harsh than the flat lands of Manila, putting up LPG on taxi units may soon de-clog gas stations, noted several observers. 

Esperon, who was then the Armed Forces Chief said the programmed switch to LPG is also in line with the government's policy on cleaner energy use to mitigate the effects of climate change. 

Government sources also revealed recently that in the remaining days of President Arroyo would be focused on investing in education, economy and the environment. (PIA)  

Donation for Jagna, Bohol

July 3, 2009 was a day of another remarkable accomplishment of DU EK SAM.

In time for the SY 2009-2010 opening, a furnished one-classroom school building was turned over last July 3 to the school officials of Mayana Elementary School of barangay Mayana, Jagna town.  

This one is its third contribution for the development of Jagna town's educational facilities.

In June 2007 and June 2008, Du Ek Sam shared its blessings to Odiong Elementary School and Tubod Monte Elementary School both of Jagna town.

Jagna town holds a special part of Du Ek Sam's matriarch Melecia Uy Du, the reason why the town received the first downpour of the blessings.

Du Ek Sam, Inc. your trusted motorcycle and appliance dealer believes in upholding the importance of education for every child through generations. 

Climate Change in the Philippines

In possibly one of the most advanced strategic response to mitigate climate change in the country, the Department of Agriculture has crafted three of its sector groups to exhaust measures to adopt to the changing climate patterns here.

The sectors on crops, fishery and research and development would soon start drafting mitigating measures to be included in the DA action plans, said Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations Jesus Emmanuel Paras.

He said most of the sectors would seem to be most affected by it, reasoned Secretary Arthur Yap after a UN Commissioned team of climate experts briefed the DA to help strengthen the Philippines institutional capacity to adapt to climate change.

Now the created climate change adaptation teams are in response to the climate change mitigating actions pointed out by the UN team.

The teams would come out with their climate change adaptation plans for their sectors. 

The UN sees the DA as key implementors of mitigating programs to respond to the ill effect of the changing climate patterns affecting the country.

However, the DA sought UN help to fast track release of information on climate change so they could also appraise farm officials the lead time to adjust their production programs to new situations especially on the various climate affects for each region.

Yap stressed that is important to upgrade advanced technology to capacitate forecasting and monitoring of erratic climate changes and weather patterns.

During a briefing, UN consultant Lourdes V. Tibig informed the top DA officials that warming up of the climate in the Philippines is going to pour more rains in provinces that experience the southeast monsoon season from June to October, which means more floods and landslides in wide swatches of Luzon and the Visayas.

The dry season in monsoon season affected provinces will get longer, Tibig said. The same phenomenon is also expected to spawn more droughts in Mindanao.

The "unequivocal" climate change, the retired PAGASA official said, has been seen to hit the agriculture and fishery sector hard with bad effects on productivity, the spread of old and new plant and animal diseases. 

Without adequate preparations, countries like the Philippines may see its farm and fishery productivity drastically go down, the climate experts warned. (PIA) 

President Gloria Arroyo's Expensive Goodbye at New York

By Eye Opener
Sunday Post Newspaper

What an expensive good bye.

 The meeting in Washington DC between President Barack Obama and President Gloria Macapagal was an expensive good bye. Quite frankly, President Gloria did not get anything from the meeting. No fund releases whatsoever

 But what did this admini8stration spend? They spent for the tickets and hotel of the 65 men and women contingent. For their stay in New Work it was at the famous and expensive Waldorf Astoria Hotel, all of them including cabinet secretaries and bodyguards

 And now this controversial news about these expensive dinners at La Cirque in New York and a famous steakhouse in Washington DC

 Obviously, it would appear now that two congressmen, very rich at that paid for the dinner bills. Rep Martin Romualdez of Leyte paid  $20,000 for the dinner at La Cirque and Congressman Danilo Suarez for the Washington dinner at $15,000. In early interviews with Congressman Suarez he never admitted at first that he paid for the bills. President Arroyo now set the tone of her administration that indeed some affluent people could pick up the bills of her food expenses. 

The Death of Cory Aquino

By Eye Opener, Sunday Post

Cory is dead but her spirit is still alive  

 Now that Cory is dead, her death lost a major critic of the Arroyo administration. It is least worry for President Gloria Macapagal.

 To the ordinary observer, it might be so. But to the many deep bench analysts, the death of Cory Aquino was a reincarnation  of the very strong ideals and visions that the Aquino couple left as a legacy to this country.

 The tremendous and spontaneous turnout of people (hindi hakot ha) during her burial, estimated at about 500,000 common people was a very firm demonstration that the ideals of Ninoy and Cory are still very much alive in this country, something that can easily be utilized in the event some people may think to prolong their rule in this country.

 People obviously are getting sick and tired of this Arroyo administration. But what is more sickening even are the attempts of a big number of congressmen to change the Constitution so that from the present presidential form it will be converted into a parliamentary form of government and under this scenario, President Gloria Arroyo will run as a member of Parliament in Pampanga and could easily become Prime Minister Gloria. What a fine plan.

 But there are roadblocks along the way. Once the ConAss is called or assembled, the Senators who are not participants will raise the issue to the Supreme Court, Let us assume that the Supreme Court which is now loaded with Arroyo appointees will declare the Assembly constitutional and let us say that they will finish the work, what about the plebiscite this will need money to fund it. The money measure will pass thru the House of Representatives and the Senate. Of course, the Senate will not pass the measure. So the proposed changes will stall and it will be an exercise in futility

 Even with Cory's death, there some fresh developments

 At the Aquino residence, all the flowers, streamers, candles and bouquet have been removed. Traffic has normalized again.

 The old house will give way to a new edifice. The new house will be built by Kris the more affluent sibling of Cory Aquino for Noynoy and it would appear that they would start building this month.

 Now, a group has also endorsed Ninoy Aquino as president 

The Death and Martyrdom of Ninoy Aquino Jr

      On Friday, it will be 26 years after the shameless killing of Ninoy Aquino at the tarmac. More than anything else, Ninoy's assassination is the fuse that lit the people's collective anger against the Marcos dictatorship.

      To this day, there are many questions that remain – chief among them the brains behind the killing. From a legal viewpoint, all those who could be charged with the crime had been convicted and served their respective sentences, the biggest part of the puzzle continues to be elusive.

      One reason why Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino refuses to break bread with the convicts is his contention that they have not been forthright as far as the mastermind of the killing is concerned. It is amazing how they continue to profess innocence to this day not only as far as the actual shooting is concerned but what they knew of the murder.

      Indeed, if admission of guilt is the first step to repentance, then they continue to be unrepentant to this day. Aside from the guilt arising from the commission of the crime, they continue to be liable for the wholesale deception of a nation.

      The unanswered question notwithstanding, the killing was the one single answer to the quest for democracy then. Although democracy did not come on a silver platter, and certainly not in the days after the crime, it came less than six years later.

      It should be worthy to note that the nation marks the 26th anniversary of the killing just as the fears of another dictatorship loom large and real. In spite of Malacañang's denial to the contrary, there are fresh revelations of the present tenant's expressed intention to resort to military rule.

      This administration's flirtation with dictatorship is not difficult to believe given its propensity to disregard legal, moral and ethical rules whenever it fears for its survival. Power is always an attractive proposition to those who wield it.

      If there is any lesson that the Aquino assassination taught the power-mad, it is the frightening fury of a people who have had enough. It should be a constant reminder to all those who entertain illusions that they can be the exceptions.

      At the same time however, Ninoy's assassination should likewise be a reminder that lessons need to be learned not only by those who went through the experience but all those who are in danger of going through it all over again.

      The tragedy of learning from experience is never learning from it at all. In this regard, it should serve Filipinos in good stead to revisit the lesson lest we forget.

      Yesterday's ghosts are just as real today as they were then. - Editorial, Bohol Sunday Post

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bohol Philippines and ABS-CBN Commitment for Environmental Protection

SOME 30,000 hectares in two major watersheds in Bohol stand to be rehabilitated with the signing Friday of a memorandum of agreement by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. Bantay Kalikasan and the provincial government.

  Environment Secretary Jose "Lito" Atienza Jr., Managing Director Regina Paz Lopez of ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc.  and Gov. Erico Aumentado signed the MOA in rites held at the Loboc Children's Theater in that town's Tourism Center.

  Aumentado says he has a bias for trees and forests because these are carbon sinks and therefore climate change and global warming mitigators.

  He puts a premium on the Abatan Watershed as it sustains the Abatan River that has given the residents therein livelihood from eco-tourism, food, water for irrigation and household use and forest products.

  On the other hand, the Loboc watershed sustains the eco-tourism on the Loboc River, provides irrigation, household and potable water as well as forest products and hydroelectric power.

  Aumentado who had taken part in planting mahogany and endemic trees in what is now known as the man-made forest near the boundary of Loboc and Bilar towns observed that people now realize that the more they protect the environment, the more they can expect to get resources from it, and that as long as they do not abuse these resources, they can get sustainable livelihood from them.

  He thanked Atienza for designating him chair of Task Force Kabukiran that runs after violators of environmental, mining, quarrying and similar laws penalizing those who mutilate, abuse and destroy the environment, as well as for designating lawyers to prosecute environmental cases in so-called "green courts" in the province.

  For his part, Atienza said Bohol has gone a long way in protecting its environment which is a testimony of what the unity of local leaders can do.

  He congratulated the Boholanos, saying that the success in protecting the environment spells the success of the local economy and better livelihood opportunities which means improved income, thereby licking poverty.

  By protecting the environment, eco-tourism has boomed, he observed.

  But Loboc is not the whole watershed, such that he vowed support for the massive reforestation project. The trees are sparse in some areas as checked by a team headed by Mendoza aboard a helicopter.

  Aside from DENR's funds, he said he will look for funding – even Official Development Assistance (ODA) and from non-government organizations to make the rehabilitation of the 11,000 hectares of the Abatan Watershed and the 26,000 hectares of the Loboc Watershed "a success."

  For having done so much for Bohol, Aumentado presented Atienza with a plaque declaring him an adopted son of the province in recognition of his sustained support for Bohol's development and environmental initiatives through the Land Administration Management Project (LAMP 2) Bohol-2 for the security of land titles, a component of Bohol's poverty reduction strategy;

  For rehabilitating the Wahig-Inabanga, Loboc and Abatan Watershed, as well as preserving and protecting Bohol's environment from "ridge to reefs" by empowering Bohol's Task Force Kabukiran as effective instrument to curb, if not, stop previous illegal cutting of trees, mining and destructive ventures in the forest reserves, mangrove areas and fish sanctuaries – all of which contribute much to Bohol's eco-tourism and the general welfare of its people.

  Atienza apparently relished the adoption – he and his wife Beng performed a kuradang or jivy native Boholano courtship dance aboard a raft that was one of the floating restaurant's stops.

  Meanwhile, it was the third time that Lopez visited Bohol, but it was only her first to take lunch al fresco while on board a floating restaurant cruising along the Loboc River. The daytime cruise allowed her to observe the pristine state of the jade-green waters of the river and the cleanliness of the surroundings of houses on both banks.

  "Totally spectacular and beautiful!" she gushed, commending the governor, the local officials and residents themselves for making cleanliness and beautification parts of their culture, and wishing that Pasig – one of her advocacies – could be like Loboc River.

  Bantay Kalikasan is the environment arm of ABS-CBN Foundation. In rehabilitating the La Mesa Watershed, Lopez said the going was tough – one of Project Manager Valerio Mendoza's men was beheaded.

  But somehow they managed – growing from mere three exotic tree species found in the watershed at the satart, to the current 84 endemic species.

  The air is cleaner, the birds have returned because of the trees, and the watershed has become a venue not only for hikers, bikers and picnickers but for educational tours as well, she said.

  "ABS-CBN Foundation will support you all the way because you are doing the right thing," she told the stakeholders at the Children's Theater.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Former Marcos Propagandist: A Memoir

By Boy Guingguing
Sunday Post Publisher

When it was fashionable to be a Marcos boy, the opportunity offered was irresistible that our personification was more of a rule than the exception. 

At least we are man enough to admit that once upon a time we were part of the Marcos coterie in the local level. Unlike some people we know who were easily afflicted with selective amnesia when their Marcos connection became the subject of conversation. 

Simply put, being a Marcos loyalist during its heydays was more of a badge of honor rather than a yardstick of opportunism. 

If we were part of the chosen few who belonged to the Marcos cabal, it was not because of political connection or whatever, but of plain and simple talent. 

In our time with the Marcos partisans, our talent in broadcast media (that was the prime of Inyong Alagad over Station DYRD where luckily for this BGlante catapulted him to the pinnacle of top anchor) was exploited to maximum impact. But of course. In fact, many were called but only few were chosen. 

So, it was no wonder that we were offered the top plum to handle the Marcos speaker's bureau in programs aired over the two city radio stations. 

It may be worth recollecting that our broadcast contemporaries at that time were such opposition heavyweights the likes of lawyers Victor de la Serna and Dan Lim, to name a few radio luminaries. Although we where in opposite sides of the equation, we still maintained our friendship.   

Against this backdrop, it was a rare privilege for this BGlante to have tangled the best and the brightest in the annals of radio broadcasting in paid radio programs which came after the other in prime radio time. We handled the 12:00-1:00 PM slot while de la Serna followed handling the succeeding one hour block. 

It came to pass then that we were caught in a spirited seesaw battle to rule the air lanes of listeners with this BGlante selling Marcos like a product while de la Serna was rooting for Cory. 

We decided to refresh our memories of the Marcos-Cory epic election showdown in February 1986 after the euphoria of the former lady President reached its peak when she was buried last August 5. 

Besides, it was our way of paying tribute to the freedom we enjoyed after Cory clobbered the dictator Marcos in a snap election in 1986. 

What actually happened after Marcos was chased out of Malacañang as a result of Cory's people power? The fact is, it actually was the meat of this brief on how Cory made this BGlante a balimbing and got away with it. 

The most interesting part of this true confession was how we reacted when Marcos was brought to Hawaii feet first and therefore against his will. He begged off to be brought to Paoay in Ilocus only to be dumped in Hawaii. What a way to end a colorful political career. 

Back home, the local Marcos stooges were caught in a quandary and were asking what went wrong. Left like orphans, they had nowhere to go after the product they were selling left the country without any ceremony. 

The hardest part was how to convince our listeners that in selling Marcos like a product there was no warranty that we were obligated to explain that if it broke down it was our duty to replace. 

True, a replacement did come in earnest, but it was in the form of Cory. 

In the case of the Marcos followers like us, what now, was the big question.  

Finding no recourse at the moment, we likened ourselves to dogs left by the master and holding the proverbial empty bag. 

Then, the division of spoils began. Our arch nemesis in the noontime program (de la Serna) was rewarded OIC governor. 

Stereotyped as a white knight in a shining armor, the combative de la Serna ruled Capitol as OIC like a whiff of fresh out to clean the dust and grime of Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) domination. 

While de la Serna ruled the Capitol roost, this BGlante slowly inched back to becoming a "civilian". This time, back as hard-boiled staffer of the Bohol Chronicle. 

Since our KBL contract was co-terminus with Marcos who ran away for good, we were back in the Inyong Alagad saddle with a vengeance. Our usual repartee then when asked about our Marcos stigma,  was that our being a product endorser was not contingent to its behavior in the free market of  competing product lines. 

It did not take so long for the welter of events that followed given the triumph of people power. With our Marcos connection on the block, the next question was how can it easily be buried in the ash heap of history?

The answer was in de la Serna's treatment of political enemies this BGlante included.

But now it can be told. Although adversarial at best, our consolation was that he was not vindictive. In the aftermath therefore of his OIC appointment, this BGlante was easily assimilated in the mainstream media as if our Marcos link was just a bad dream out to ruin a good night sleep of this former Marcos propagandist. 

If truth is to be told, there's no other plausible explanation except to admit that the reason why our Marcos bias was easily erased at the onslaught of the OIC regime was that people indeed have short memories. 

Another factor was the fruit in season then was the balimbing and admittedly it also helped that we converted our self as one and voila! back in the waiting arms of the powers-that-be at the Capitol. 

Meantime, while de la Serna was enjoying the power and prestige of OIC-governor, Dan Lim was subsequently appointed OIC- city mayor. 

To this BGlante, the Lim appointment likened me to a turtle being thrown to a swimming pool. Being a friend from way, way back, it was not hard to imagine that I was readily accommodated as part of the city hall tenants.  Our friendship dated back when I taught him the nuances of a commentary program which we titled Checkpoint. That started a long term relationship that lasted even now.     

Tribute to Cory Aquino

   There was little left to the imagination as far as the Filipino's love for Cory Aquino is concerned. It is difficult to describe the mammoth crowd that accompanied her to the grave such that one journalist said it made Ninoy's burial attendance look like an ordinary one. 
    So what was it that endeared Cory Aquino to a people that many had written off for their skepticism and cynicism? 
    No one can really say considering that no one has been appointed spokesperson of the entire mass that converged since her wake and until she was put to rest beside Ninoy. 
    The word that was either on the mouths of those who knew what it was or those who meant it if their definition was made the basis was sincerity. It was sincerity that made Cory stand heads and shoulders over the rest. 
    It was her sincerity that disarmed otherwise sophisticated and hard-to-please veterans of the corridors of power. It was her sincerity that endeared her to the masa even though she was never one of them or pretended to be so. 
    Sincerity it was that saved the day for her whenever she committed errors in judgment and procedural lapses during her stint in Malacañang. And this was the same factor that made her voice credible long after she had bowed out of power. 
    It would be the understatement of the year to say that she is the most admired woman and Filipino of this generation. The stampede that nearly crushed the frail among the mourners near her burial ground is enough proof of that. 
    Now that she has become larger than life in her death, it would not be far-fetch to think that the Cory wannabes among the present and future crop of politicians are legion. For every original copy, there would thousands of counterfeits all hoping to pass off as the real McCoy. 
    Sincerity however is not merely seen. It is felt because it comes from the heart. It has no need for expert PR consultants to come up with clever machinations that capture a moment's notice but requires a fortune to put up with it. 
    The fascinating thing about sincerity is that more often than not, those who exude it never gave it much thought. Sincerity is not a conscious by-product but a natural consequence of a heart given over to honesty and purity. 
    Sincerity does not pay immediate dividends, the reason why those who want quick fixes frown on it. And yet, Cory's life has taught the Filipino one valuable lesson that should tide him over in this age of cynicism and skepticism.  
    Without a doubt, sincerity has its own rewards. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Philippine Death Penalty to be Revived?

Catanduanes Rep. Joseph Santiago (NPC) has played down the fresh initiative to revive the death penalty, calling it "a pipe dream."

"There is no way Congress will reinstate the death penalty, not during our watch," Santiago said.

He also expressed confidence that President Macapagal-Arroyo, whom he described as "pro-life at heart," would never push for the return of capital punishment.

Mrs. Arroyo voted against the restoration of the death penalty in 1993, when she was still a senator.

As President, Mrs. Arroyo also did not carry out any executions, until she ordered the mass commutation to life imprisonment of the death sentences meted out to 1,200 convicts in April 2006, a move that prompted Congress to abolish capital punishment two months later.

"We maintain that the death penalty, as a potential deterrence to crime, serves no purpose that cannot be achieved by life imprisonment. This was one of the compelling reasons why we abolished it only three years ago," Santiago said.

"The death penalty is cruel, inhuman and immoral punishment that violates the sanctity of human life," he added.

Santiago criticized a number of his colleagues in the House "for playing with the passion of the public" following the supposed abduction and rape by drug traffickers of a minor daughter of an anti-narcotics agents, a report that later turned out to be a hoax.

"Whether or not the supposed abduction and rape happened is beside the point. Congress already established the death penalty as totally ineffective and unnecessary," he said.

Santiago described the country's drug problem as "a growing law enforcement issue."

"The only way we can suppress it is through a sweeping strategy to effectively reduce both the supply of and demand for illegal drugs," he said.

"We have to destroy more shabu laboratories and put more traffickers behind bars, while we send more (drug) users to treatment and detoxification centers. And we have to do this while purging our criminal justice system of rotten individuals that coddle traffickers," Santiago said.

Since the Philippines abolished the death penalty in June 2006, Santiago said seven other countries -- Albania, Cook Islands, Rwanda, Uzbekistan, Argentina, Burundi and Tago -- have abolished the punishment for all crimes. Two others -- Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan -- abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.