Attend to duty or face
disciplinary actions, Robredo warns local government officials
By MYLES JOSEPH E. COLASITO
March 8, 2011
TACLOBAN CITY – In
his strongest words to date on erring public officials, Interior and
Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo on Monday cautioned local
government officials on absenteeism and dereliction of duty.
“A local government
official could be suspended or removed from office for dishonesty,
oppression, misconduct in office, gross negligence or dereliction of
duty, or unauthorized absence for 15 consecutive working days,” he
said, reiterating Section 60 of the Local Government Code.
Robredo gave the stern
waning in the wake of reports of “chronic absenteeism and negligence
of local government officials to the prejudice of public service.”
“Some local government
officials are either frequently absent or holding office elsewhere,
other than their official places of assignment,” he said.
The warning was
directed to all governors, mayors, vice governors, vice mayors, local
legislators, and barangay officials nationwide.
“In the case of
sanggunian members, disorderly behavior and absences for four
consecutive sessions without justifiable cause, subject sanggunian
member may be censured, reprimanded, excluded from the session, or
suspended for not more than 60 days, or expelled,” explained Robredo.
investigation of a complaint on absenteeism, negligence or dereliction
of duty, preventive suspension may be imposed by the following
officials: the President, if the respondent is an elective official of
a province, a highly urbanized or an independent component city; the
governor, if the respondent is an elective official of a component
city or municipality; or the mayor, if the respondent is an elective
official of the barangay.”
The DILG secretary
enjoined all local government officials to hold office at the
established seat of government – the provincial capitol, city hall or
He said local
government officials should render full time service and devote time
and attention to the performance of their official duties and should
refrain from practicing professions, or engaging in any occupation
other than the exercise of their functions.
“They should advance
the primacy of public interest.” (DILG
Office of Public Affairs)
Quit Coal to make
Energy Revolution possible – Greenpeace
March 8, 2011
CEBU CITY –
Greenpeace today called on the Philippine Government to make way for
progress unlimited by dirty energy by phasing out coal-fired power
plants and cancelling all new build of coal as a key step to ensure
the massive uptake of renewable energy in the country.
The environment group
is challenging the current administration to source half of the
country’s energy needs from renewable energy by 2020. The call came
during a Renewable Energy Summit in Cebu City this week which aims to
develop a renewable energy plan for the Visayas.
“In the Philippines,
the Visayas is the most well-suited to become the model for
decentralized renewable energy ‘smart’ grids of the future. But the
biggest challenge to renewable energy development is coal. Every
coal-fired power plant approved and built here is a step backwards to
the dark and dirty power plants of the past,” said Mark Dia, Country
Representative of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
“Local and national
governments must realize that coal is a problem. Renewable energy is
the solution. If we are to meet the challenges of sustainable energy
development in Central Visayas and the whole country, public and
private sectors must move to block coal development with the same
drive and strength with which they promote renewable energy. We need
forward-looking plans, otherwise we will continue to be stuck with
outdated technologies that are hostage to the market prices of limited
and finite fuels,” he added.
The provinces of
Western Visayas are among those which have readily embraced renewable
energy over coal power generation. Negros Occidental is the first
Philippine province to declare a 100% renewable energy target while
Antique is one of the first provinces to declare itself a coal-power
free zone. In the Visayas, renewable energy, such as that from solar,
wind, geothermal, run-of-river hydro and biomass, is abundant,
available, and ready to be deployed.
In Cebu alone, two new
coal-fired power plant developments continue to be built, despite
massive community protest: 264 megawatts in
and 200MW in Naga towns. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel and its
combustion for energy and the resulting toxic coal ash causes sickness
and death, destroys livelihoods, and is one of the leading causes of
"In Iloilo, the entry
of coal has now limited the space to be able to stimulate the
development of renewable energy sources not only in the City but the
rest of Panay. Despite very strong opposition from the public, the
project went ahead. Even before the coal plant has operated, we have
to deal with damaged roads, increased problems with dust, particulates
and noise pollution. During the test phase, there were reported
health problems in the surrounding communities. We are now concerned
what will happen when this coal plant fully operates," said Dr Jose
Ali Bedano from the Foundation of the Philippine Environments Regional
Advisory Council in the Visayas.
"In Cebu, coal plants
are creating problems – they are contaminating water, killing marine
ecosystems, and making host communities sick. These externalities are
not factored into the price of coal. Incorporate these and this will
show the true cost, that coal very expensive. This is the same flawed
energy development pathway that coal and their fossil-fuel apologists
are trying to replicate nationwide such as in Davao," said Vince
Cinches from the Fisherfolk Development Center in Cebu, one of the
lead organizers of the Renewable Energy Summit.
advocating an “Energy Revolution” (ER), a transformation in the way
energy is used, produced and distributed as a key solution to mitigate
climate change. This entails a massive shift to renewable energy and
energy efficiency technologies. Greenpeace believes that the target
of 50% renewable energy in the country’s energy mix by 2020 is not
only achievable but is imperative for energy security and sustainable
economic growth. All that is needed is the political will to
transform vision into reality.
Greenpeace is an
independent global campaigning organization that acts to change
attitudes and behavior to protect and conserve the environment and to
Women to House
members: stop maternal deaths, pass RH Bill now!
March 8, 2011
QUEZON CITY –
Unmindful of the scorching sun and smog, groups of women from
grassroots communities joined the long march of more than 6,000 women
and male allies as they called on the members of the House of
Representatives to stop delaying the passage of the much clamored
reproductive health bill.
More than 1,000 women
members of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP)
joined the “Women’s Long March towards the Passage of the RH Bill” to
express their frustrations over the delays in the passage of House
Bill 4244 or the “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and
Population Development Act of 2011.”
Each day of delay, the
lives of eleven women are wasted due to lack of access to
comprehensive reproductive health education and services, laments
Elizabeth Angsioco, DSWP National Chairperson.
“March 8 is supposed
to be a day for women to celebrate but such celebration is meaningless
knowing that each day, eleven Filipino women, mostly poor, die due to
pregnancy and childbirth complications. Moreover, the bill that can
help arrest this massacre of women is held hostage by some legislators
who resort to all kinds of delaying tactics to block the RH bill’s
passage,” expressed Angsioco.
According to her, DSWP
members are dismayed by the fact that some members of the House of
Representatives would set aside their mandate and instead become
instruments of the Catholic hierarchy in blocking the bill. It is
disgusting that some lawmakers resort to all types of antics - from
being absent from sessions so there will be no quorum, to
filibustering, even expressing needless complaints during plenary to
eat up time, Angsioco said.
Angsioco laments that
RH bill has been languishing in the Halls of Congress for more 16
years now. “So many lives have been wasted. The Catholic church will
never change their opposition on the use of contraceptives, but they
are not the ones directly affected by the issue, it is the women,
especially poor women,” she said.
“Again, as we
commemorate women’s day, we demand accountability from our lawmakers.
Your mandate is to serve the people – us, NOT the Catholic hierarchy.
Your responsibility is to see to it that bills are properly processed,
not blocked. You must see the legislative process through. The RH bill
should be voted on. This is all we ask. If you have the numbers, you
should not delay,” Angsioco emphasized.
Almost all sectors –
government agencies, academe, business, youth, interfaith
organizations, media, medical organizations, civil society and
community organizations are supportive of the bill, shared Angsioco.
The big majority of Filipino people want the RH bill to pass.
“Arguments on the
issue have been exhausted. There is nothing new to add. There is no
need for further delay. Stop maternal deaths. The immediate passage of
the RH bill is the single most important legacy this Congress can give
Filipino women. Pass the RH bill now!” she ended.
partner-industries to ink accord on Adopt-An-Estero Program
By MARIBEL B. MUNSAYAC
March 7, 2011
TACLOBAN CITY – The
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-8) is set to
sign an agreement with three industries for the clean-up of two major
creeks in the city of
Tacloban under the Adopt-A-Estero Program – a priority program of the
DENR under the leadership of Sec. Ramon Paje.
The industries are
Coca Cola Bottlers Phils. (CCBPI) - Tacloban Branch, Shell and Petron.
These three industries
have been diversifying its corporate social responsibility and helping
in the drive to clean up the waterways is now among them.
The signing ceremony
between DENR and the CCBPI, which is slated this March 19 in Burayan,
San Jose, Tacloban, is seen to formalize and solidify the partnership
for the program that is aimed to address the huge volume of silt,
wastes and other debris that have long accumulated in these two
Coca Cola, Shell and
Petron will also be involved in the information and education
campaign, community mobilization, and training of community leaders on
solid waste management. Under the MOA to be signed, part of their
responsibility is to prepare a comprehensive Clean-Up plan and provide
the resources in accomplishing this plan.
They will also have to
undertake expanded environmental improvement, including the dredging
of some portions of their respective adopted esteros.
For its part, DENR,
through EMB will intensify monitoring of industrial and commercial
establishments and undertake, among others, regular water quality
monitoring of selected areas within the Mangonbangon River, Burayan
River and Mahayahay Creeks.
EMB will also provide
the necessary technical assistance to stakeholders as well as
facilitate actions against violators as provided for in Republic Acts
9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act) and 9275 (Clean Water
Battalion violates rights of children in Eastern Samar
March 7, 2011
TACLOBAN CITY –
February 2011 saw the massive military operations conducted by the
14th Infantry Battalion in Giporlos,
Last February 10, 2011
the Regional Alliance was able to document a case of
threat/harassment/interrogation and divestment of property against two
children. These two children, aged 17 years old, were on their way to
get their copra from their farm when a group of operating soldiers
from the Bravo Company of the 14th IB passed by. These two children
were interrogated and questioned on the whereabouts of the New
People’s Army (NPA). Before the soldiers left, the “sundang” of these
children were taken by the soldiers, their pictures were taken and
they were threatened not to tell anyone especially the Barangay
Officials of Brgy. Huknan, or else “they will be abducted”. Out of
fear, the children hurriedly went home.
“This case is a clear
indicator that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) never respect
the rights of children. International and local laws and statutes give
special protection to children and they are considered as “zones of
peace’ and they should be given high respect at all times” said
Kathrina R. Castillo, Head of the Documentation Committee of
“The Regional Alliance
had documented many cases such as these and it is alarming. This case
reveals the true face of IPSP Bayanihan, the new counter-insurgency
program of the US-Aquino III Regime. From the words of the document it
gives emphasis on respect for human rights but as they say, “you
cannot teach old dog new tricks”, the practice of the military of
violating the human rights of the people especially the children
continue” added Castillo.
“We are calling on all
peace loving people who are concerned with our youth to join us in
condemning this act of the military who are violating the rights of
our children in Eastern Visayas. We must be vigilant and we must be
active in protecting the rights of the children. If the children of
Eastern Visayas will be threatened and interrogated, the way these
soldiers threaten and interrogated the children from Brgy. Huknan,
what future can we expect for
Rome Statute of the ICC
March 6, 2011
MALACAŃANG, Manila –
THE Aquino Administration has ratified and endorsed the Rome Statute
of the International Criminal Court (ICC), sending a message to the
international community that it is committed to upholding and
protecting human rights.
Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Sunday that President Aquino III signed
on February 28 the Instrument of Ratification of the treaty, which
provides for the establishment the of the ICC, and had asked the
Senate for its concurrence.
“Ratification of the
Rome Statute enhances Philippine commitment to human rights and is our
contribution to an effective international criminal justice system,”
Republic Act No. 9851, which enables our country on its own to
prosecute international crimes and strengthens human rights’
enforcement in our country,” he added.
Republic Act No. 9851,
or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian
Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, was signed into law
in December 2009. It is said to be the country’s version of the
International Humanitarian Law.
According to Ochoa,
the ICC is the first permanent institution having power to exercise
jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international
concerns such as the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war
crimes and crimes of aggression, and is seen to help end impunity for
the perpetrators of these crimes.
“It adopts the
principle of complementarity that recognizes a State’s right to
exercise jurisdiction over these crimes. Meaning, the ICC will only
act if such State is unable or unwilling to carry out the
investigation and prosecution of the crime,” Ochoa explained.
The Rome Statute
adheres to the general principles of criminal law and exclusion of
jurisdiction over persons under 18 years old, he added.
In a meeting convened
by the Presidential Human Rights Commission in September last year,
the Departments of Justice (DOJ), Foreign Affairs (DFA) and National
Defense (DND) agreed to recommend the ratification of the Rome Statute
by the President and subsequently transmit it to the Senate for
The DFA has
recommended the timely transmittal of the Rome Statute to the Senate
in view of the visit of ICC President Sang-Hyun Song from March 7 to 8
in the country.
The Philippines is one
of the countries that drafted the 1998 treaty. Former Acting Permanent
Representative to the U.N. Enrique Manalo signed it in December 2000.
Calbayog Mayor Uy
reveals intention for running against Tan in a recall election
By GINA DEAN-RAGUDO, Samar News.com
March 4, 2011
CALBAYOG CITY, Samar
– After his first oral declaration before the media of his intention
to fight against Samar incumbent governor Sharee Ann Tan in a recall
election, Calbayog City Mayor Reynaldo Uy revealed the possibility of
holding it either August or September this year.
His pronouncement took
place during fellowship night of the Philippine Councilor’s League
Samar Chapter on Saturday at Ciriaco Hotel,
Said occasion was also
a welcome party for Alma Moreno-Salic, who was lobbying for support
from Samar legislators in the forthcoming March 11, 2011 PCL national
officers’ elections wherein she’s running for president.
“Religion is the opium
of the people while elections are the opium of the politicians. Posibleng magkaroon ng recall election between August and September
for governor and vice governor”, bared Uy.
anomalous transactions are the compelling reasons why he opted to run
for a higher post despite the able performance of the city in
fulfilling its basic social services to the people. These grounds have
been cited in a petition for recall election filed before the COMELEC.
Be it noted that Uy
pursued his Tri-District Programs by stressing his priority projects
upon assumption to office. It includes building Calbayog City Hospital
(health), Aguit-itan Development Project (housing), Hibatang River
Cruise (eco-tourism) and the like.
According to him, he
had been in politics for 25 years serving his constituents to the best
of his ability not because of fame and fortune but it runs in his
blood as a politician to serve… and serve well.
(mother and siblings tandem) manipulation in the second district, he’s
confident that the “ruling majority” at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan
is an affirmative indication for beating his opponents in the race.
On the other hand,
he favored the move for charter change by amending specific provision
on term limits of elective officials as it will be advantageous to
performing politicians. According to him, three years is not enough to
accomplish the programs and projects of a local chief executive for
On the 16th Session of UN Human Rights Council
Rights groups to again
present to UNHRC the continuing human rights violations in the
By ECUMENICAL VOICE
March 4, 2011
The Ecumenical Voice
for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (Ecumenical Voice), an
ecumenical delegation of Philippine human rights organizations and
advocates for the defense and promotion of human rights in the
country, will again send a delegation to the 16th Session of the UN
Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, to present the continuing
human rights violations in the Philippines and to prepare for the
Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines on 2012.
The Ecumenical Voice
delegation will engage the UNHRC about continuing human rights
violations under the Aquino administration, in its first nine months
in office, and gather support from the international human rights
community to act on the continuing impunity and rights violations in
The Ecumenical Voice
delegation, which will be in Geneva from March 5 to 15, 2011, is
composed of: Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Philippine Independent
Church (Iglesia Filipina Independiente or IFI) and the Initiatives for
Peace in Mindanao; Marie Hilao-Enriquez of KARAPATAN, Cristina Palabay
of Tanggol Bayi (Defend Women-Association of Women Human Rights
Defenders); Atty. Rey Cortez of the National Union of People's
Lawyers; Girlie Padilla of the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and
Peace; and Rhonda Ramiro of the San Francisco Committee on Human
Rights in the Philippines.
One of the Morong 43
health workers illegally arrested and detained in February last year,
Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, will also join the delegation to file a
complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture. She will also give
an oral intervention about her ordeal before the Rights Council. In
June last year, her husband Jigs Clamor of Karapatan, also appealed to
the Council in its 14th Session.
The delegation shall
also bring to the attention of the council the continuing spate of
extrajudicial killings in the
under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, specially
the killing of botanist Leonard Co and his companions. The human
rights alliance Karapatan has documented 40 victims of extrajudicial
killings since Aquino took office.
violations of the rights of the Filipino people by state agents, is a
reason for us to be alarmed,” Enriquez stated. “Until now, many of the
recommendations of former UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial
killings, Prof. Philip Alston have not and are not being implemented,
and impunity still prevails in the country.”
Enriquez also added
that they will bring the cases of threats and attacks against human
rights defenders, internally displaced persons, victims of arbitrary
detention to the Council among others.
The UNHRC is an
inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 States
responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human
rights around the globe. The Council was created by the UN General
Assembly on 15 March 2006 with the main purpose of addressing
situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on
Ochoa: PCGG remits
P100-M to national treasury
March 4, 2011
Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Friday the
Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) had remitted a total
of P100 million to the Bureau of Treasury under its six-month-old
Citing a report by
PCGG Chairman Andres Bautista to President Benigno Aquino III, Ochoa
said the amount turned over to the National Treasury was for the
account of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which
funding, under the law, is sourced from cash and proceeds from
recovered ill-gotten wealth amassed by the Marcoses and their cronies.
Secretary noted that the PCGG’s remittance came from the various
accounts of the commission that were no longer subject of any pending
“The Commission is now
led by a new batch of brilliant lawyers who comprise a young, dynamic
and courageous team. Taking cue from this positive development, we are
confident that our pursuit of plundered wealth, stashed away
everywhere and anywhere in this country and the entire world, can be
recovered and be returned to the collective purse of our country,”
According to Bautista,
the money was remitted to the Bureau of Treasury on February 28, in
time for the commission’s 25th anniversary celebration, and came from
certain escrowed deposit accounts, “which upon our review are not
subject of any pending cases and as such may now be rightfully
remitted to the National Treasury.”
“A new day has
definitely dawned on the PCGG, and we have seen the signs of a
reinvigorated commission which has recaptured the organization’s
original vision and energy for good governance,” Ochoa said.
“The PCGG’s task as a
commission, therefore, has a futuristic value. Then PCGG will be
needed more than ever. It shall have proven to everyone that it has
not outlived its usefulness,” he added.