Thursday, January 3, 2013

Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012

By Lilybeth G. Ison

Malacanang welcomed the filing of petition before the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of Republic Act No. 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.

"Well, maganda po 'yung ginawa nila at least umakyat na sila sa Supreme Court. Alam naman natin na that was expected from our friends who were opposing the RH Law," said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda during a press briefing on Thursday.

Lacierda said the government, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), is prepared to defend the new law.

"Now that it is before the Supreme Court, the government through the OSG will be prepared to defend the RH Law," he said.

A Catholic couple has asked the High Tribunal to stop the RH Law.

The petition was filed Wednesday before the Supreme Court by lawyer James Imbong and his wife, who claim the law signed by President Benigno Aquino III last month was unconstitutional.

The couple also urged the SC to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction to prevent respondents Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas II from implementing the RH Law.

Lacierda said the arguments raised by the petitioner are "not something new" and have already been brought up during the congressional debates.

"The contention that was raised by Mr. James Imbong is not something new. It has already been raised during the debates," he said.

On the other hand, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman insists that RA 10354 is constitutional and will pass any test on this score.

"The Imbong petition before the Supreme Court is premature because it seeks to prevent the implementation of a law which is not yet effective," said Lagman in a statement.

Lagman, one of the proponents of the controversial measure at the House of Representatives, said the law does not run counter to the constitutional principles proscribing abortion and protecting the unborn, religious freedom, family life, marriage and responsible parenthood.

Dipolog City Affected by Philippine Typhoon Auring


At least 90 families in Dipolog City were evacuated due to heavy rains brought by the low pressure area which has developed into a tropical depression "Auring."

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Benito Ramos said Thursday 90 families in Barangay San Jose, Dipolog were evacuated to higher grounds because Lubungan River overflowed.

Ramos also said some areas in Zamboanga Del Norte experiencing flood which included the Municipality of Katipunan- Katipunan National Highway has knee deep water level, Mia sans Dicayo Bridge has high water level while the Municipality of Roxas has high water level affecting barangays Piao, Tanayan, Irasan, Langaitan. Two houses in barangay Lower Irasan and barangay Situbo were totally damaged.

There were no reported casualties or missing person.

Ramos said the agency also went on red alert status on Thursday to prepare for the possible effects of tropical depression "Auring" which is expected to make a landfall in Palawan on Friday morning.

Ramos advised residents in Palawan and the local government units to be prepared.

"They still have 18 hours to go, kaya binigay na natin sa local disaster management units yung discretion kung sila ay mag-preemptive evacuation," he said.

Red alert status requires all disaster management personnel to be on standby and all vacation leaves deferred, while a blue alert requires half of the agency's personnel to be ready for contingencies.

Ramos said particularly ordered red alert for disaster management are officials in the Visayas and Mndanao as some areas are under public storm warning signal no. 1.

The NDRRMC also said it has directed the disaster risk reduction and management councils at the local level to prepare residents for evacuation, if needed.

"Office of Civil Defense centers were instructed to undertake precautionary measures in their respective areas of responsibility," the NDRRMC chief said.

The agency also advised local disaster risk reduction and management councils to "initiate preemptive evacuation of families in low-lying and mountainous areas if the situation warrants."

New Filipino Officials Appointed by Pnoy


Malacanang Thursday bared appointments of new officials in various government agencies.

President Benigno Aquino III has appointed Tomasito Villarin, former convenor of the Reform ARMM Now movement, as Office of the President undersecretary for political affairs.

The President also appointed Rodolfo de Ocampo as Public Works undersecretary and member of the Road Board representing the transport and motorist organizations.

Other appointees are as follows:

Felix Oca as member of the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, representing the sea-based sector; Eulogio Castillo as member of the Cooperative Development Authority board of administrators, representing Luzon; Maria Lourdes Rubueno and Virgilio Yuzon as members of the board of directors of the National Development Company; Oliver Butalid as member of the board of governors of the Board of Investments; and Julius Cainglet as member of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Council representing the labor sector.

Philippine Typhoon Auring Update

by PNA

Government agencies are prepared to handle any situation with the entry of Typhoon Auring in the country, a Palace official said Thursday.

In a regular press briefing in Malacanang, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is on top of the situation.

He added the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development has been informed about the new typhoon.

"Our standard operating procedure is to identify areas that will be hit by the path of the LPA (low pressure area) and so we have pre-positioned goods already in those areas, and also the local government units have already been warned," Lacierda said.

"I think, our level of preparedness has improved, and the local government officials are more than aware of what they need to do in times of a storm," he stressed.

Lacierda said a group of foreign scientists would come to the Philippines, hit annually on the average by 21 typhoons, to observe the country's climate.

Lacierda said the government has been working on a more understandable storm warning system so the public could do the necessary preparations if there's an incoming typhoon.

The President issued a directive a few months ago calling on government agencies to make their storm warnings more comprehensible to ordinary people after noting that the NDRRMC and Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration's reports were too technical to be understood, he said.

Among the basic information that should be given and must be understood by the public during times of weather disturbances are wind gustiness and the amount of rainfall affecting a locality, Lacierda added.