Malacañang: disregard CBCP let’s push through with RH
February 22, 2011
QUEZON CITY – Amid
reports that the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
has pulled out from the supposed third round of the series of
dialogues with Malacañang, leading proponents of the much clamored
Reproductive Health (RH) bill urged Palace to be unfazed with this
development but instead support passage of the bill by certifying it
as urgent and by including the bill as one of the legislative
priorities of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
Ramon San Pascual,
Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on
Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD), expressed
disappointment over CBCP’s recent initiative. According to San
Pascual pulling out in the middle of the dialogue on a very crucial
issue is an attitude of defeat. “This development does not surprise
us, CBCP has long been trying to block RH from floor deliberations and
approval,” he added.
San Pascual explains,
much as we try to understand CBCP’s excuse for their temporary
suspension, we cannot help but see malice in their intent. If indeed,
they are sincere with their dialogue with the Palace, why would they
pull out in the scheduled end of February dialogue and resume on March
when Congress is set for recess. “Could this be another delaying
tactic?” he asked.
Meanwhile, San Pascual
expressed optimism over Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s
statement that the Palace intends to fulfill its mandate consistent to
the 5-point position on responsible parenthood (RP).
As this develops the
civil society and other concerned government agencies are initiating a
friendly dialogue with P-Noy on RH and RP.
“Since CBCP will never
change their opposition on contraceptives, it is best if Malacañang
would just terminate the dialogue with CBCP and adopt RH as part of
its legislative priorities, San Pascual stressed.
City Dad meets with
colleges, universities’ Presidents throughout Eastern Visayas
By R.G. CADAVOS, PIA Southern Leyte
February 22, 2011
MAASIN CITY –
Presidents from different private colleges and universities throughout
Eastern Visayas Region, met Thursday at the Holy Infant College,
Tacloban City to respond to queries concerning each institution and to
know its commitment to work for the common good of the society, as a
City Mayor Maloney
Samaco, the President of Maasin City College (MCC), as one of the
participants during the gathering disclosed in a live interview this
morning over radio station DYDM that the meeting focused on the
standard and quality of education they can give to the students,
performance of board examinations participated by each school,
upgrading of systems and services, among other concerned topics.
The body also agreed
to put up a Research Department which is one of the bases for standard
education, Samaco reported. “For
Maasin City College,
we will hire one from the Visayas State University (VSU) of Bayabay,
Leyte to head the research department,” Samaco said during the “Maasin
City in Action” program.
They had also jointly
decided to meet quarterly at different venues throughout the region.
While Maasin City was agreed to host on the third quarter of this
year, 2011, the city mayor revealed. There are more than 50
presidents from the colleges and universities in the whole region, he
Moreover, the group
also suggested creating a consortium in order to share to other
schools each expertise, knowledge, resources or to facilitate the same
and offer their facilities or equipment during seminars and the like.
was also asked to share their ideas and to tie up with other schools
that have advance learning, explained the city mayor. A quality of a
broad variety of educational opportunities for learning through its
processes can provide the students a quality place of learning.
Though Mayor Samaco
was from a government owned institution, a director from one of the
schools in Tacloban said ”you should be grateful to have invited in
the said gathering.”
PROGAY begs Bahrain,
free jailed gays, respect street protests
February 22, 2011
MANILA – Gay
activists in the
issued a call for the release of gay men arrested by police a week
before massive protests swamped the oil-producing kingdom of Bahrain.
spokesperson of the Progressive Organization of Gays in the
Philippines (PROGAY) called on the government of
Bahrain to immediately free 127 gay Arab men as their security
in detention is compromised due to the political instability in the
On February 2,
Bahraini police raided a private reception for an alleged same-sex
wedding, netting more than a hundred men, mostly visiting from Syria
and Lebanon. The party venue was a sports hall in Hidd, a village on
Police argued that the
party was decadent and depraved because of the presence of male guests
who wore makeup and women’s attire, and were also consuming alcohol,
behaviors that are sanctioned as immoral and illegal in most Gulf
countries. Later, the police conducted checks to ascertain if the men
engaged in sexual relations.
concern that the police in the Middle East routinely practice
increased cruelty when dealing with gay men in their custody, while
citing reports from returning gay overseas Filipino guest workers.
According to Candelario, some unlucky gay OFWs who entertain in private
parties for fun or income get arrested in surprise raids and spend
between six months to one year in prisons, where they suffer further
sexual abuse, deprivation and shame.
However, victims do
not file complaints and even reapply and reenter Gulf countries for
work, preferring curbs on homosexual lifestyles to the grinding
poverty and unemployment in the Philippines.
Last year, the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia issued a blanket ban on the recruitment of known
homosexuals from the Philippines, raising protests from gay activists
and prospective migrant workers.
On the other hand,
PROGAY also saw hope of increased freedoms for gays and lesbians in
the simultaneous uprisings of the Arab peoples against tyrannical
rulers in Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. PROGAY believes
that democratization in these countries may provide opportunities for
advancing human rights based on sexual orientation and gender
scored the Aquino administration for not pursuing genuine economic
reforms that would generate employment for Filipinos. The gay advocate
said that Aquino should now order an immediate evacuation plan to
protect thousands of lives in the Middle East and Africa who fear
further escalation of violence and job losses.
Build Saint Bernard,
build a nation – Oquiňena
By BONG PEDALINO, PIA Southern
Southern Leyte – A tested advocate in the Filipino concept of
“bayanihan” has raised the significance of helping this town recover
from a fresh challenge of keeping its inhabitants safe and productive,
saying doing so would be like building a nation.
“The biggest challenge
is: can we work together? Can we actually work together?” asked Jose
Mari Oquiňena, Assistant Secretary for Special Concerns under the
Office of the Executive Secretary, as he spoke in front of various
public and private agencies gathered here last week for a pledging
The occasion was the
fifth commemoration of a tragedy that shook the world, in which more
than a thousand unsuspecting people were trapped to their death
mid-day of February 17, 2006, as an avalanche of rocks and soil of
Mount Kan-abag, loosened by days of incessant rains, resulted in a
The tragedy was
repeated last month, albeit in a much smaller scale, when a house in
barangay Bolod-bolod was crushed also because of non-stop rains,
killing three children.
But January’s rains
only compounded settlement problems here and along with it livelihood
opportunities, as three more barangays with over a thousand residents
needed to be fully evacuated in new locations.
The 2006 disaster had
already resettled seven barangays in permanent resettlement sites.
In his message,
Oquiňena reiterated a point he stressed in an exclusive interview
earlier with PIA, saying that “people power”, a force that can remove
Presidents, can also be a potent force to build a new Saint Bernard
and to build a nation as well, especially against poverty.
He noted that in the
presentation of Mayor Rico Rentuza, no totals were shown in the
figures, but totals, he said, should not be that important.
“A person having a big
heart is more important that having a big pocket,” Oquiňena said,
stressing once again that attaining the vision ahead is not
He said the plan must
be inclusive, not exclusive, for everybody, referring to the 5-year
recovery plan of the town in which anyone can contribute anything.
The same mindset can
be extended to nation-building, Oquiňena said, adding that those who
want to help should do so not for recognition but for love of country.
“Pilipinas natin ito”
(this is our country), he added.
ESSU’s nursing passing
rate surpasses national’s
By NINFA QUIRANTE, PIA Eastern
Samar – The result of the December 2010 Nursing Board Exam revealed
the lowest passing rate in the last ten years – 35.25%.
Closer to home though,
the Eastern Samar State University’s first go at the board
examinations resulted in a 63.62% passing rate.
Out of the 44
examinees from the university, 28 graduates passed the licensure
examinations hailing from the towns of San Julian, Balangkayan,
Dolores, Borongan, Maydolong, Jipapad and Hinabangan, Samar.
The dean of ESSU’s
College of Nursing Ruth Aguilar, is expecting a motorcade to
congratulate the passers and most certainly a streamer with the
Rey Dominic Ladera,
instructor in the college credits “teacher factor and the rigorous
screening process” for this success.
conducted a pre-board examination before the actual board examinations
on December and 90% of the students aced the test.
“But we were
overwhelmed of the result,” Ladera said.
The stakes are high
for high school graduates wanting to enroll to the university’s
program because a student has to have a general weighted average of
85% to qualify.
Entry to the college
is not the end all though because, Aguilar explained, students in the
nursing program are expected to get a 2.2 mark on all courses;
otherwise, they are “advised to shift to a different program or
“The students are
evaluated every semester,” Aguilar said.
When asked about her
reaction to reports of nursing graduates ending up unemployed or
underemployed, Aguilar said that she would still encourage people to
take up nursing. “In our province alone, there remains a big need for
health workers,” Aguilar said.
The college is
planning to launch a campaign in local high schools to encourage
students to become nurses.
The passers will
take their oath on March 14 and 15, 2011.
DOH launches RN HEALS
in Northern Samar
By TERESITA B. CARDENAS, PIA Northern
Samar – The Department of Health has launched the Registered Nurse
Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN HEALS) in
Northern Samar on
February 18, 2011 at
the Ibabao Hall, Capitol Building in Brgy. Dalakit, Catarman.
The launching was
attended by DOH Secretary Enrique Ona, DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky”
Soliman, DBM Secretary Florencio Abad and DepEd Secretary Armin
Luistro, Deputy Speaker Raul A. Daza, Governor Paul R. Daza,
Philhealth Regional Vice-President Walter R. Bacareza, DSWD Regional
Director Letecia Corillo, DOH Regional Director Edgardo Gonzaga.
According to Secretary
Enrique Ona, RN Heals is the immediate answer of the government to
provide registered but unemployed nurses the practical experience.
They will be having the work experience they need to qualify and be
employed on hospitals and other related institutions.
He said our presence
here is to attest the commitment of President Aquino to combat
poverty, economic and social problem of the nation. The program will
service the most advantageous group of our society.
This bridging program
will train and employ them for 6 months to one year to deliver health
services. The span of the training is the minimum entry-level of what
is required for job seekers.
In Northern Samar we
deployed 201 nurses for the 24 municipalities of the province. They
will be given a monthly stipend of P8,000 from the Department of
Health and P2,000 as counterpart from the local government where they
are assigned, he added.
DepEd Sec lauds Leyte
Sports Academy project
By Provincial Media Relations Center
TACLOBAN CITY –
Education Secretary Armin Luistro lauded
Leyte province’s sports-academic program at the
Leyte Sports Academy
saying it is an “excellent” program which other local government unit
Sec. Luistro, who was
among of the four cabinet secretaries in attendance during the
Regional Development Council Meeting, made a side trip to the Leyte
Sports Academy at the Leyte Sports Development Center to personally
see the facility that has produced athletes who have earned a number
of medals during the recent regional sports fete.
Sec. Luistro was
showed around the facility and personally briefed by Gov. Carlos
Jericho Petilla of the five-months old sports-academic program which
was initiated by the provincial government of Leyte to offer
high-caliber training to young individuals in the fields of swimming,
athletics and boxing as well as provide them with quality education.
Describing the program
to be “excellent”, Sec. Luistro said the program is a bit similar, in
principle, to the sports program of the Chinese government which have
produced great swimmers and other athletes in the world.
“In principle, this
program is a bit similar and I hope it will produce the same effect as
it did in China,” Sec. Luistro told the governor.
secretary otherwise wanted assurance that the athlete are getting the
academic part of the scholarship in accordance with the curriculum
provided in public elementary and high schools.
Director Felicidad Saet assured the scholars are being given the tight
academic learning similar to that of a regular student in a public
The pool of athletes
who are full scholars of the province now numbers to 42. They have
been undergoing rigid sports trainings under professional trainers and
coaches and at the same time completing their school studies
supervised by the DepEd Leyte.
Rooms and other areas
at the Leyte Sports Development Center have been converted into a
dormitory, kitchen, mini gym and other necessary facilities for these
athlete-scholars while the rest of the facilities of the Grandstand
such as the oval track and swimming pool are made available for their
Gov. Petilla said this
is a fund-consuming undertaking but this is the only way to develop
champion-caliber athletes and to improve the province's and
subsequently the Region's standing in national sports competitions.
Region 8’s PNP Press
Corps “under watch”, proposed reorg suspended
By GINA DEAN-RUGUDO, Samar News.com
February 19, 2011
CALBAYOG CITY, Samar
– In his attempt to alienate other members of the media from
participating the election or reorganization of the PNP Press Corps,
DRDO PSSupt. Edgar Basbas failed to justify the basis of his assertion
that “only legitimate media practitioners of Region 8 who are members
of the PNP Press Corps can cast their votes and be nominated/voted
upon and those who are not members will serve as witnesses in the
election.” This statement has created doubt and negative reactions
from the body especially those who came from Samar, Southern Leyte and
Biliran provinces that attended the general assembly for the first
time based on the invitation of the PNP Press Corps under the
leadership of Ben Veridiano.
The effect of his
statement has prompted others to check if the organization had an
existing constitution and by-laws that could define and identify the
legitimate members of the PNP Press Corps. Offended and dismayed, the
rests opted to leave the conference room in the middle of argument,
though there were those who walked-out disappointed when their
ultimate intention of unseating an officer was deferred due to
It was found out that
the organization had no constitution and by-laws, and dominated mostly
by Tacloban or Leyte media.
It was also observed
that there were even no minutes of the previous meeting made, and
accomplishment reports from the previous year or 2011 plan of
activities presented by the incumbent officers.
The fact that the
organization could not present any list of the “legitimate members” of
the PNP Press Corps is a manifestation that the organization is
inoperative and dysfunctional, said Samar media.
was the alleged move of the officers to overthrow their president from
the position and submitted their new set of officers before the office
of the PNP regional director but was rejected.
reorganization had pushed through last Wednesday, only few of region
8’s media practitioners could participate, and the scenario could
worsen the situation by defeating the efforts of the PNP to establish
alliance with the group.
Be it noted that
Eastern Visayas is composed of 6 six provinces namely Biliran, Leyte (Tacloban
City and Ormoc City), Southern Leyte, Samar (Calbayog City), Northern
Samar and Eastern Samar but the PNP Press Corps for the past 4
administrations had been monopolized by only one province. That is why
the present leadership of Ben Veridiano and PRO8’s Community Relations
Office endeavored to tap the region’s member of the press (radio,
television, print, and online media) to attend the general assembly.
reorganization was realized, PCR Chief PSupt. Elizar Egloso recouped
by allowing everyone to become a member of the PNP Press Corps.
The present set of
officers would act as “interim officers” while the committee created
to draft the constitution and by-laws chaired by Chito Morante (dyVL)
will meet again to finalize the rules and internal regulations of the
organization that would prescribe the rights and duties of its
officers and to regulate the acts of all its members which would be in
accordance with the journalist’s code of ethics.
communion to RH supporters angers women’s group
February 18, 2011
A group of women
advocates working with the grassroots communities is angered over
reports that a certain parish has initiated banning communion to
Reproductive Health (RH) supporters.
Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP), a group of more than 300
organizations nationwide, cried foul over this initiative and called
on Catholic RH supporters to act on the call.
DSWP National Chairperson expressed grave concern that the anti-RH
Roman Catholic hierarchy is again using people’s faith to hostage the RH bills. “Using the pulpit and the sacrament of communion to block
the passage of the RH bill in Congress is an act of desperation,”
The Catholic hierarchy
says that it is unfazed by the passage of the RH bill in the House
Committee on Appropriations and that they have the numbers to block it
in the plenary, yet it resorts to desperate measures laments Angsioco.
“This is totally
unfair and detestable,” said Angsioco. “Many of our members are
practicing Catholics who religiously hear mass every Sunday. These
poor women do not see any inconsistency between their religion and
active advocacy for the RH bill. Today, upon learning of this ban, one
of our leaders said that she will no longer go to mass if she is not
welcome there. She also said that she can always directly pray to
“Moreover, people are
now talking of ways to make the Catholic hierarchy feel their
resentment. Some say they have walked out and will continue to walk
out of masses where the RH bill is vilified; others call for total
boycott of masses; there are those who engage their priests in
discussions; and there are Catholics who vow to stop giving donations
to the church,” added Angsioco.
“As a woman RH
advocate, I urge other pro-RH catholics to act on this call of the
Catholic church to NOT receive communion. This is religious bigotry
plain and simple. This is coercion in the guise of religion Do not
let the Catholic hierarchy’s arrogance deter us from our work of
making RH information and services available especially to those in
poverty who need these the most,” she continued.
Catholic RH supporters to make their sentiments known. “This is the
time to speak up and act. Whatever you do, make the hierarchy know how
you stand on this issue.”
LGU dad appeals for
public-private partnership to redesign a disaster- proof St. Bernard
By ES GORNE, PIA Southern Leyte
February 18, 2011
ST. BERNARD, Southern
Leyte – “Ano ang taya mo?” The battle cry of Municipal Mayor Rico
Rentuza as he invited for a public-private partnership in redesigning
and rebuilding St. Bernard into a disaster-free municipality during
the Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) forum at Cristo Rey High
School Social Hall, Thursday, February 18, 2011.
Mayor Rico Rentuza,
who spearheaded in the 5th commemoration of the Guinsaugon landslide,
met with the various private and public agencies who responded to his
five-year recovery plan at the DRRM forum right after the Holy Mass at
the New Guinsaugon Relocation Site.
Mayor Rentuza hoped to
begin the process of a disaster-free nation building right in St.
Bernard as he called on those present to take their share in moving at
least 1,300 families of St. Bernard to safer grounds in his
disclosed that the municipality could have taken off from the 2006
calamity, however with the onslaught of the tail end cold front that
brought incessant rains resulted to flooding and landslides, more
barangays were greatly affected and needed assistance, thus the
municipality is back to zero.
He said that the task
to relocate some areas of Barangays Tambis Tabon-tabon, Mahayag,
Malinao and Sitio Ma. Asuncion (Barangay San Isidro), portions of
Barangay Bolod-bolod, Catmon, Maria Asuncion, Hindag-an and Himbangan
for permanent relocation and the task is gigantic but he intended to
start in smaller scales, he added.
He clearly illuminated
that the five year recovery plan is anchored on the following aspects:
The livelihood assistance, that relocating these families need
livelihood assistance since they are moving in another environment.
Secondly, the need for the acquisition and development of relocation
sites and building of their new houses. Third is the dire need to
construct their own primary hospital since the district hospital of
Anahawan is located in another town, and fourth will be the
rehabilitation of now three-pronged and wild Lawigan River that
brought at least three barangays underwater including their rice
fields during heavy rains.
Mayor Rentuza appealed
for help since their municipality’s coffers which is P2.4 million
where 70% is intended for the preventive measures and 30% is mandated
to be utilized for the relief assistance is surely not enough for the
great task to rebuild St. Bernard and move people to safer grounds.
The DRRM forum was
assisted with Assistance and cooperation for Community Resilience and
Dev’t. (ACCORD), who is among those non-government organizations who
provided continuously technical assistance in managing ongoing
humanitarian response, drafting early recovery plan, long-term