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Chiz condemns culture of impunity in the military

Kasugbong Samar initiates regional MSQRT assembly

Attend to duty or face disciplinary actions, Robredo warns local government officials

125 brand new candidate soldiers took oath to serve the country

Peace and Order Council discusses criminality, internal security situation of EV

Proponents to Malacañang: disregard CBCP let’s push through with RH

AFP-PNP signs MOA, activates Joint Peace Security Coordinating Councils (JPSCC) in cities and provinces

Why both Mayweather and Mosley can’t beat Pacquiao

8ID Army Commander composes hymn for Filipino soldiers

DENR-Biliran urges residents to preserve marine turtles




DOT-8 conducts workshop on tourism plan preparation

April 4, 2011

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The tourism stakeholders of the three provinces of Samar gathered for the Samar Island Tourism Master Development Plan Workshop from March 30 to 31 at the New Maqueda Bay Hotel in Catbalogan City. The two-day activity was organized by the Department of Tourism - Regional Office 8 (DOT-RO8).

The Department of Tourism also brought along a team of experts from the Berkman International Incorporated (BII), a private professional consulting and project management firm contracted by the DOT for the purpose of preparing the Tourism Master Development Plan (TMDP). The BII team was led by former DOT Undersecretary Dr. Evelyn Pantig and also included Professor Reil Cruz, the Marketing Specialist and the Dean of the Asian Institute of Management; Dr. Victoria Apuan, a Sociologist and Gender Specialist; Ms. Elizabeth Espino, a Landscape Architect and Land Use Planner and Ms. Agatha Gatbonton who is the BII Product Development Specialist.

The workshop was meant to assist the three provinces in the preparation of their respective Tourism Master Development Plans (TMDP) on which the tourism plan for the entire island shall be based on. It was designed according to the project’s objective of creating a Samar Island Tourism Master Development Plan (SITMDP) that balances economic development and environmental preservation. DOT and BII endeavours to come up with a framework that will veer towards community-based empowerment that values the preservation of the area’s natural resources and cultural heritage.

To attain these objectives, the first workshop had each province identifying the existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in their area. This exercise enabled the participants to identify traits, resources and policies that could hinder or facilitate their growth. It also enabled them to identify certain circumstances that they should take advantage of, avoid or prepare for. These learnings were taken into consideration in the second workshop as the participants formulated their Mission, Vision, Goals and Objectives. The last workshop was the Selection/Identification and Reprioritization of Tourism Development Areas.

Based on the workshop inputs, the SITMDP shall be formulated containing other key information including an an assessment of how existing policies, resources, constraints and threats affect each province’s potential growth. The plan will also cover a wide range of data ranging from a conceptual design for the Tourism Areas for Development (TDA) including a development strategy and targets with timeframe and cost, to an investment portfolio for the identified TDAs, Strategic Destination Areas or Tourism Enterprise Zones. A marketing strategy, implementation strategy and monitoring and evaluation system are also incorporated in the plan.





Palace directs DBM to create comprehensive gov’t manpower database to stop abuse of PS spending

Press Release
March 31, 2011

MALACAÑANG, Manila  –  Malacañang has directed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to establish a comprehensive database on government personnel to prevent the abuse of savings generated from the release of funds on the basis of authorized positions.

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Thursday the directive was contained in Executive Order No. 31 signed by President Aquino III on March 30, which aims to cut down spending on personal services (PS).

According to Ochoa, the creation of the comprehensive database will allow government to accurately determine the number of people under its employ so that “only the appropriate funds for filled positions will be included in the national budget and be released accordingly.”

The government is the single biggest employer in the country with 1.3 million workers and spends one-third of its P1.645 trillion national spending package on payroll alone.

“The government is doing everything to ensure that we maximize our resources, and that begins with spending only what is necessary and avoiding extraneous costs because every peso counts,” Ochoa said. “If daang matuwid will save money lost to graft and corruption, daang matipid will help government save money lost to wastage and inefficiency.”

Under EO 31, the Comprehensive Database on Government Manpower (CDGM) will replace the existing Government Manpower Information System (GMIS), a computer-based management information system on employees in the Executive, Legislative and the Judiciary, as well as constitutional offices.

It also expands the coverage of the CDGM to include military personnel under the Department of National Defense, uniformed personnel of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Philippine Coast Guard, casual and contractual government workers, and employees of government-owned and -controlled corporations and government financial institutions.

“[T]he effective management and control of the PS expenditures require the urgent coverage in the GMIS of all the personnel in all these aforementioned departments and agencies… through the enhancement and continuous development of this information system in order to accurately determine the government’s manpower complement for budget management purposes,” the EO said.

The DBM has three years to establish the enhanced information system on government personnel. All heads of departments and agencies of the national government are required to immediately submit to the budget department complete information on positions, incumbents and authorized compensation of all civilian, military and uniformed personnel – whether they are regular, casual or contractual – and the source of their PS requirement.

To ensure responsible budgeting, agencies and department heads shall ensure that their proposed PS requirement is consistent with the CDGM and in accordance with authorized compensation.

The DBM, in coordination with the Civil Service Commission (CSC), is also instructed to conduct a regular risk-based personnel audit of the manpower complement of government agencies.

The EO also authorizes the linking of the CDGM with the personnel information systems of the CSC, the Government Service Insurance System and Bureau of Internal Revenue.





Garbage collector shows Contract of Services: admits flaws, asks people to join effort for proper waste disposal

March 30, 2011

CALBAYOG CITY  –  Amid confrontations questioning his capabilities to meet his obligations as the sole service-provider for Calbayog City’s garbage collection, Cleoje Contracting Services (CCS) thru Gregorio Jusayan showed the contract of services executed between him and the local government and argued that garbage privatization and street sweeping took effect only in 2008 and not in 2006 as what City Solid Waste Management Officer Reynaldo Gonzaga disclosed.

For fiscal year 2010-2011, the contract took effect last March 1, 2010 until February 28, 2011 with the city’s obligation amounting to more or less P508,000 per month, a total of P6.09 million a year.

For this year onward, the contract of service has yet to finalize as there were other negotiations being conducted between the parties. Pending the absolute closure of the deal would not affect his obligation as the city’s sole service provider for garbage collection, he stressed.

The local government on the other hand is mandated to provide a solid waste disposal or environment system and services facilities related to hygiene and sanitation. It is committed to implement a sustainable system of solid waste collection and cleaning and disposal services for the constituents.

Based on the agreement, the LGU through the City Solid Waste Management Office shall be responsible for the supervision and monitoring on the proper implementation of the provisions of the contract and reporting to the chief executive in violation thereof; and the LGU thru the chief executive shall inform the contractor in writing of any violation on the terms of references (TOR).

Any violation committed by the contractor such as inability to carry out an efficient solid waste management collection, cleaning and disposal services in the area of assignment shall constitute cancellation or termination of contract.

Based on the scope of services embodied in the agreement, the area of collection designated by the city are the Public Market Phase 1 and 2, slaughterhouse and the 22 barangays which include Aguit-itan, Bagacay, Balud, Cagsalaosao, Capoocan, Carayman, Carmen, Central, Dagum, East Awang, Hamorawon, Matobato, Nijaga, Obrero, Oquendo Poblacion, Payahan, Rawis, San Policarpo, Tinambacan Norte, Tinambacan Sur, Trinidad and West Awang. Exempted from the services are the hospitals, clinics and sanitaria where wastes or refuse are considered toxic, hazardous and infectious.

For street sweeping, the 24 personnel shall only render services at the public market phase 1 and 2, slaughterhouse and city streets.

Inconsistent to the previous report that the contractor should provide 6 units of dump trucks, the contract stipulates that its obligation is to provide at least 3 with a minimum capacity of 4 cubic meters per truck, both sides of the body bearing a slogan “NO TAG, NO COLLECTION POLICY, and should have an identifying or distinguishing sound to inform the public that garbage collection is being undertaken.

In this case, Jusayan admitted that he failed to fix the sound system of the truck.

In conformity with the “motor pool issue” that the CSWMO been asserting, the contract specifies that CCS shall provide a dispatching area garage strategically located within the city which can accommodate its fleet or dump trucks and other heavy equipment used in the solid waste management operation.

Presently, the contractor’s dump trucks are still visible within the city proper and no particular dispatching area garage was built for it.

Another provision of the contract requires the contractor to submit his key personnel to undergo basic solid waste management orientation before the CSWMO, though it had been disclosed by the office that no training or seminar had been conducted towards said personnel at the onset of privatization.

In an interview with Jusayan, he said that while the local government through CSWMO is still intensifying its advocacy campaign on Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (i.e. waste segregation, construction of Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) in other service areas and creating Barangay Solid Waste Management Councils and etc.), he had been unmindful of the provisions and doing services beyond the mandates of the contract such as collecting all refuse and non-segregated wastes from every household; wherein the “No Tag No Collection Policy” is not even followed, he added.

Be it noted that even a CSWMO employee has confirmed that the service provider’s responsibility is to collect only the residual wastes which would directly be dumped to the sanitary landfill.

He made an appeal to the public to follow the collection schedule given by the CSWMO (i.e. 5:00-9:00AM & 6:00-10:00PM), and request further that garbage bags or containers/boxes should be properly tied or packed and be situated in accessible areas for easy collection.





Gays warn Philippine village councils: condom ordinances to boost HIV risks

By ProGay Philippines
March 30, 2011

BAGUIO CITY  –  GAY, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights (LGBT) activists decried the ordinance restricting the sale, distribution and use of condoms in several barangay (village) councils in a Philippine province, saying that the measure will surely spike the rising HIV infection rates nationwide.

Goya Candelario, spokesperson of the The Progressive Organization of Gays (ProGay Philippines), said that the group opposes the successive passage of local ordinances that require consumers to obtain medical prescriptions for acquiring condoms in Manila and in Bataan.

This is such a dangerous trend, coming at a time when HIV infections in the Philippines have suddenly increased in the past two years. Making it difficult for most at risk populations or MARPs to obtain preventive measures such as condoms can surely promote more transmission of HIV and parallel infections," Candelario said.

ProGay also said that it is high time to enact the comprehensive reproductive health bill so that not only heterosexual couples can get access to health care but also the low-income LGBTs of the country, which the groups said should also benefit from health legislation.

The gay advocacy group is backing the Comprehensive Reproductive Health Bill proposed by Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan in the House of Representatives. At the moment, five different bills have been consolidated into House Bill 4244 or An Act Providing for a National Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development.

ProGay said that although LGBT health concerns are not yet highlighted in HB 4244, any positive reproductive health measure can eventually benefit LGBTs as some services, education campaigns and benefits can be tailored by creative local governments to cater to the special needs of LGBTs.

"Gays and lesbians are also members of poor families and caring and providing for health needs that are part of our burdens. If the RH Bill is passed, that would provide a little government assistance for health care, lessening costs which can then be channeled for education, housing and food," Candelario explained.

The ProGay leader revealed that the health care sector of the country must also be updated to become more gender-sensitive and focus specific services for LGBT reproductive health needs, as the these populations can be more prone to undiagnosed cervical cancers, breast cancers, and STDs. ProGay said that poverty has pushed some gay and transgender youth into prostitution, which exposes them to even greater risks of HIV transmission.

"Because of discrimination they suffer from misinformed doctors and health workers, many LGBTs delay or avoid altogether early diagnostic procedures rather than be humiliated by moralistic medics," Candelario said.

The group said that condom ordinances in Bataan would increase the sense of shame and discrimination that LGBTs suffer, raising the likelihood that young and low income gays would practice unprotected sex.





Mosley: I will never drink my own urine

March 30, 2011

Two-time world welterweight champion Sugar Shane Mosley told the ESPN Sports Nation recently while it is true that there have been reports in the past that Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez “drinks his own urine” reportedly as secret of his ring success, he won’t do the same even as he prepares to fight seven-time world champion Manny Pacquiao on May 7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“No,” swore the 39-year-old Mosley, who was studio guest in the one-hour popular TV sports show in the United States. “I will never drink my own urine. I will rely on my natural talent.”

Now training in a high-altitude camp in Big Bear, California, Mosley (46-6, 39 KO’s) had bolted from the management of the Golden Boy Promotion to sign a rich deal with Top Rank to fight the 32-year-old Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KO’s).

He had served notice as a serious customer by personally lobbying to face Pacquiao since 2009 and was always visible in the press conferences of Pacquiao’s three previous fights in Nevada and Texas.

‘True competitor’

“Manny’s a great guy and when I look at him I look at him as a true competitor. I look at him as someone who really wants to win. He loves the sport of boxing and he loves to fight,” Mosley said.

Mosley mangled Antonio Margarito in the 9th round for the WBA weltereight belt on January 24, 2009. Margarito, on the other hand, lost to Pacquiao by unanimous decision in Arlington, Texas last November 13, 2010.

Mosley lost by 12-round split decision on Nov. 10, 2007 to Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KO’s), who was stopped in the 12th stanza by Pacquiao on Nov. 14, 2009 for the WBO welterweight title.

He will fight Pacquiao for the WBO 147-lb championship in a pay-per-view card to be co-promoted by the MP Promotion and HBO in the same arena where Margarito tortured and tore to shreds Cotto for the WBO welterweight bauble on July 26, 2008.

Marquez (52-5, 38 KO’s) fought Pacquiao twice, splitting the first and losing in the rematch by a hairline decision.

In their first duel for the WBA/IBF featherweight titles on May 8, 2004, Pacquiao dropped Marquez three times in the opening round but could not finish of the hard-hitting Mexican warrior known as “Dinamita” or dynamite.

Bloody brawl

Marquez, 37, one of the most effective counter-punchers in the world, turned the rest of the rounds into a bloody brawl and salvaged a draw after 12 rounds.

In their rematch on March 15, 2008, Pacquiao scored the only knockdown in the 12-round WBC superfeatherweight title bout and once more failed to put away Marquez, but hammered away with a controversial 12-round split decision.

Pacquiao suffered the ugliest cuts in his ring career.

Ring expert Freddie Dawson of Las Vegas said Marquez, the reigning WBA/WBO lightweight champion, will forever be a nightmare for Pacquiao, who has reportedly nixed a third meeting with Marquez. Pacquiao’s camp has been egging Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KO’s) to face the Filipino lefty but has closed the curtains for a third match with Marquez.

“Even Muhammad Ali had a hard time each time he fought Joe Frazer. The style of Marquez is difficult for Pacquiao to handle,” Dawson, 63, said.

Dawson, however, didn’t comment that it is because of Marquez’s alleged propensity to drink his urine why he has become durable and packs extra ordinary power in both fists.

‘We’re ecstatic’

Meanwhile, Bob Halloran, MGM Grand Sports Entertainment director, quipped during a recent press conference to kick off the Pacquiao-Mosley setto: “We’re not happy you’re (Pacquiao) back, we’re ecstatic. We know that when you get the best promoter you ultimately get the best fighter and that’s what we have in Congressman Pacquiao and Shane Mosley. Globally, the most popular fighter in the world today is Manny. We got the best.”

Halloran added: “Every time this guy fights, we open the ticket office and then they all go home in an hour. We’ve got about 580 tickets left for this fight and we’ll have about 30,000 closed circuit tickets available at our different properties around Las Vegas.

“You may not have this many cameras at the Grammy’s on Sunday night. They’ll be lucky if they have this many.”

Pacquiao, a congressman representing Saranggani province in Mindanao, is now on the final stage of his two-month long training in Baguio City supervised by his foster father and trainer Freddie Roach.

He and wife Jinkee will fly to Hollywood, California for his final preparations at the Wild Card gym two weeks before the showdown with Mosley.





More children’s rights violation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines

March 29, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Last March 4, 2011 more than 30 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines conducted military operations in the hinterlands of Brgy. Carolina, Matuguinao, Samar. The residents of Brgy. Carolina heard gunfire for five minutes. Moments later, these soldiers burned down a house located just outside the barangay proper. Upon entering the Barangay, the soldiers forcibly summoned all the residents of the Barangay to the town plaza.

Residents who did not heed the summons were “visited” by the soldiers at their houses, and deliberately bombarded their houses with stones just for them to attend the meeting.

The soldiers even entered a house with four children inside. The children, with ages ranging from four to 12 years old, were left on their own because their father was picked up by the military to attend the town meeting. One soldier who acted as the team leader, interrogated the children. The children were asked if they have a gun. The children answered no and the team leader accused the children of lying. The eldest child then answered the team leader that if he does not believe them, he can search inside the house. That was the time that the soldiers left.

“The Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan of the AFP, on its text gives “primacy to human rights”. Does this incident show any iota of respect to human rights?” Katungod-SB-Karapatan through its Documentation Head Kathrina R. Castillo commented.

The Regional Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, Katungod-SB-Karapatan, condemns in the strongest possible terms this blatant and unforgiveable violation of children’s rights. Children are considered as “zones of peace” and at all times must be respected. This incident shows the ignorance of soldiers and the culture of disrespect and shroud of impunity arrogated by the soldiers to themselves as they obediently implement the counter-insurgency program devised by the US-Aquino III Regime.

“We call on all advocates of human rights in the Region to be one with us in condemning this disrespectful act of the military to the rights of our children. We must make effective measures to ensure the protection and the advancement of the rights of our children, as we ensure the attainment of the progressive future that we are all fighting for”, ended Castillo.





House passes bill compelling hospitals to display price list

Press Release
March 28, 2011

QUEZON CITY  –  The House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a bill that seeks to mandate hospitals and other healthcare providers to clearly display in their premises a full price list of their services and products.

The compulsory posting of an exact price list under the proposed Healthcare Services Price Disclosure Act would cover hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, diagnostic and laboratory clinics, medical offices and related facilities, including those providing dental services.

The displayed price schedule would be binding on the healthcare provider upon the patient’s admission, and any price increase would take effect only after proper posting.

"The measure gives more meaning to the State's avowed policy in The Consumer Act to protect the interests and general welfare of buyers, and to establish the fair standards of conduct for business and industry," said House Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo, the bill’s author.

An absolutely transparent and readily available price index would safeguard consumers against misleading and unfair sales acts and practices, said Romulo, who represents the lone district of Pasig City in Congress.

"This will also facilitate sound choice by end users of hospitalization and other healthcare services," he said.

Romulo pointed out that patients invariably get billed for the flimsiest expense while being treated in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

He added: "In some cases, without their prior knowledge, patients even get charged for the extra cotton balls or toilet paper they use in the hospital."

A complete price list, to include all incidental charges for room and amenities, meals, medicines, and use of medical equipment and technology, would enable patients to compare costs and freely decide where best to obtain the services or supplies that they need, according to Romulo.

"For instance, once the patient becomes aware that he could get charged for hospital toilet paper that is five times more expensive, then he might just opt to bring his own supply," he said.

Romulo's bill requires the posting of the price catalogue in a conspicuous place within the healthcare provider’s grounds.

Violators face fines up to P25,000 per instance, without prejudice to administrative sanctions such as the suspension of their professional licenses for up to 60 days.

If the offender is a firm, it faces a fine up to P50,000 per instance, plus suspension of its license to operate for up to 60 days. The firm's officers directly responsible for the infraction also face fines and suspension of their licenses.





SELDA on proposals for Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and the distribution of the victims’ compensation from the settlement agreement

Press Release
March 26, 2011

QUEZON CITY  –  “Our struggle for justice is far from over. At this time that martial law victims are receiving a small amount of indemnification, a dangerous proposal to bury the remains of the fascist dictator Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is being pursued hurriedly and in earnest by Marcos allies in Congress. We find this grossly unacceptable and a travesty of history.”

Thus said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) and daughter of one of the original named plaintiffs in the historic class suit against Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, in a press conference today with other victims of the Marcos dictatorship. SELDA initiated and led the 9, 539 Martial Law victims in filing the case against Marcos in the US Federal Court system on April 7, 1986,  barely two months after the dictator’s ouster by the so-called People Power I or EDSA I.

Enriquez lambasted House Resolution 1135, recently filed and signed by legislators from the House of Representatives appealing to President Noynoy Aquino for former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“It makes a mockery of the horrors that the Filipino people endured during the Martial Law era: plunder, numerous human rights violations including summary executions, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrests and detention, hamletting and forced evacuation, among others. While we welcomed the distribution of funds from the $10M settlement agreement with the Marcos crony Jose Campos, such victory won by the victims should not be seen as a sign that the Marcoses can just get away with the obliteration of the gross human rights violations committed by the Marcos dictatorship against the Filipino people," said Enriquez.

SELDA also monitored the distribution of the funds for the Marcos victims which started on February 28, 2011.  Enriquez and her fellow victims noted the following reports in summary:

1) The reduction of the number of claimants from 9,539 to 7,526 victims is arbitrary.

In the National Capital Region, there were some 150 victims and their relatives who were among the 9,539 victims who were not given their claims and were made to accomplish forms to indicate that their claims are for further investigation. Among the victims who were among the original list of victims were Fidel and Rosario Agcaoili, Prof. Joma Sison, Satur Ocampo, Judy Taguiwalo, Josephine Dongail, Bonifacio Ilagan, Carol Araullo, Sonia Brizuela Planas, Rhodora Julian Clemente, Maxima Luneta, Corazon Casambre, Manuel Navarro, Ramon Veluz, Melvin Cayabyab, Jose Barsoles, Carlos Ortega, victims of the Tatalon massacre during the Martial Law period, and many others were not given the compensation due them.

The victims who struggled against the construction of the Chico River Dam and operations of the Cellophil Resource Corporation in the Cordilleras were not in the reduced list even though they are among the 9,539.

Many victims from Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, and Southern Mindanao were also arbitrarily delisted. Many of them belong to the urban and rural poor and are in the twilight of their lives. They spent money to go to the regional centers of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) but their names were not in the so-called masterlist.

2) The system of distribution is not efficient and inconsiderate of the situation of the victims.

Some victims who were told that their names are not on the masterlist were soon told that their names are included in other regions’ masterlist.

Some victims did not receive notices from the court or Atty. Swift but when they checked their names in the masterlist, they were able to find their names and receive their claims.

Some victims received notices from the court and Atty. Swift but when they checked the masterlist, their names were not included in the said list.

“With the arbitrary delisting of victims, they find themselves victims all over again. Such action is tantamount to saying that they are not victims of human rights violations and therefore not entitled to justice and indemnification. It denies victims of our legitimacy of status as victims and their claim to justice,” Enriquez commented.

SELDA calls on Judge Manuel Real and Atty. Robert Swift to accord the compensation due the victims and demands the reinstatement of the 2,013 delisted victims.


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