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NDF-EV urges Gov. Nicart to support the peace talks at the national level

NDF-EV slams 8th ID's US-funded “road to war”

Chan: “We are more than ready!”

NDF-EV criticizes MSQRT as a palliative measure and a platform for absolving human rights violators

Sec. Robredo offers P200K for identity and P1M for the arrest of mayor Uy’s killer

Samar I DPWH initiates media conference for transparency efforts

Artists, journalists, academe call for release of detained cultural worker

DOT-8 conducts workshop on tourism plan preparation

Chiz condemns culture of impunity in the military

Kasugbong Samar initiates regional MSQRT assembly




ANAD oppose nomination of Diokno and Tañada as next Ombudsman

By ANAD Partylist
June 7, 2011

QUEZON CITY  –  “How can either Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno or former Senator Wigberto Tañada fulfill with clarity and impartiality the requirements of the Office of the Ombudsman when their own personal credentials is highly questionable and suspect and their nomination to the Judicial and Bar Council backed by the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan), a Maoist terrorist created and sponsored political party, and other legal front sectoral organizations of the Maoist terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF,” said Rep. Jun Alcover as he expressed opposition to the twin nominations.

“How can they claim to possess untainted reputation and incorruptible principles if, God forbid, one of them is chosen to fill-in the shoes left vacant by Merceditas Gutierrez’s resignation, as they would surely represent the interest of the group who, for the past 42 years, have sought the destruction and capitulation of the current national government and replacing it with a communist dictatorship? Where is the so-called nationalism that Satur Ocampo has been trumpeting that Diokno and Tañada solely possess as against the other nominees to the position?” Rep. Alcover asked.

Rep. Alcover explained that the Office of the Ombudsman is empowered by the Constitution of the Philippines to safeguard the government and government-related institutions and corporations from corruption and dispense justice in the case of such offenses and is solely charged with the responsibility to investigate and prosecute Philippine government officials accused of such crimes.

“Diokno, one of the leaders of the Free Legal Assistance Group, a legal front organization of the Maoist terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF; and Tañada, once leading convenor of the Asian Peace Alliance and the Gathering of Peace that are all surreptitiously and callously orchestrated and supported by the National United Front Commission of the Maoist terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF, has ever since been at odds with the security forces of government. No one could say that their acts would not be replete of biases in favor of their masters in the Maoist terrorist organization in the event that they will be investigating officers and men of the AFP and the PNP,” he pointed out.

“Surely, with their political leanings revealed, Diokno or Tañada could not exercise cold-impartiality, independence, and transparency of function which is primarily required from whoever is appointed Ombudsman of the Philippines,” Rep. Alcover pointed out.

“We call on the JBC and President Aquino III to deny appointment of Diokno and Tañada and all other nominees who have dubious and highly suspect track record and political leanings, especially those who surreptitiously incite and fan the flames of hate and black propaganda against government,” said Rep. Alcover.





DILG memo on use of 20% dev’t fund for LGUs has legal basis

Press Release
By DILG Office of Public Affairs
June 6, 2011

A senior official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today said the agency’s memorandum on the local government’s use of their 20 percent development fund has legal basis and is part of its function of general supervision over local government units.

DILG Undersecretary for Local Government Austere A. Panadero said the department’s latest memo on said subject is just a reiteration of a similar directive issued jointly, with minor amendments, by the DILG and the Department of Budget and Management in 2005.

He cited Section 287 of the Local Government Code which provides that “each LGU should appropriate in its annual budget no less than 20 percent of its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) specifically for development projects. “

Panadero issued the clarification in response to published reports quoting Bacoor, Cavite Mayor Strike Revilla, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, that the DILG has “dictatorial tendencies” in the issuance of memos and that town mayors are disappointed and offended by it.

“The joint DILG-DBM memo is meant to inform and enlighten the public and local officials on the proper use of their 20 percent development funds derived from their IRA. We issued the directive in response to reports we received from the Commission on Audit on the misuse of the 20 percent development funds for LGUs,” the DILG Undersecretary said

“We have no intention whatsoever to disappoint, offend, threaten or treat LGEs like children if they do not follow our memos. The memos are meant to implement good governance and proper use of the 20 percent development funds as prescribed by the DBM and COA,” he added.

The DBM, Panadero said, has the authority to prescribe items eligible for financing under the IRA while the COA can disallow improper use of the 20 percent development funds.

The latest DILG-DBM joint memo, Panadero explained, gave meaning to the phrase “development projects” in Section 28 of the LG Code which refer to projects related to social, economic, environmental development, and other related projects covered under it.

These development projects include the following: construction or rehabilitation of evacuation centers, portable water supply system, evacuation centers, local roads or bridges, sanitary landfills, material recovery facility and public facilities such as multi-purpose halls; purchase or repair of area-wide calamity-related alarm or warning system and appropriate alarming-related rescue operations equipment; and purchase and development of land for relocation of victims of calamities, among others.

The guidelines also provided items that are not related to or not connected with the implementation of development projects and should not be paid out of the 20% IRA such as, such as cash gifts, bonuses, medical assistance, food allowance, uniform meetings, supplies, communication, water and light, petroleum products, and the like, salaries, traveling expenses, seminar and conference fees, construction and repair of administrative offices, purchase of office furniture and equipment and maintenance and repair of motor vehicles.

“More than half or 55% of the IRA of the LGUs may be used to pay salaries and wages, and another 20% may be utilized for maintenance and other operating expenses such as gasoline expenses and the like,” Panadero pointed out.

On the LGEs claim that they were not consulted on the issue prior to the issuance of the DILG-DBM joint circular, the DILG undersecretary said it had been discussed in the two meetings of the Coordinating Committee on Decentralization on May 14, 2010 and August 13, 2010 where the LGU leagues had been represented by their Secretariat.

“Moreover, the draft circular had also been posted in the DILG website since April 13, 2011 to encourage LGUs and other sectors to comment on it. But we have not received any feedback from them during the two-week period that it was posted,” he said.





Ochoa: GOCC law strengthens fiscal prudence and discipline in governance

Press Release
June 6, 2011

MALACAÑANG  –  Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Monday that the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 institutionalizes the administration's policy for fiscal prudence and discipline in government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs) that will protect public coffers and ensure delivery of social services to the people.

Ochoa said the enactment of the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 or Republic Act 10149, which President Benigno Aquino III signed earlier, ushers in a new era of running the affairs of the state in terms of fiscal discipline.

"The President certified this measure as urgent because he wants GOCCs and GFIs to remain true to their purpose, that of earning additional income for government coffers. Such income can be used to fund government programs and projects for our people rather than being used for excessive pay and perks and benefits of GOCC and GFI officials and personnel," Ochoa said.

"The passage of the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 is a significant milestone as this is the first Republic Act signed into law by the President as chairman of the Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Cluster," the Executive Secretary noted.

Ochoa explained that while the Chief Executive had earlier issued Executive Order No. 24 to rein in the excessive pay and perks of GOCC and GFI executives, the new law puts in place regulations that ensure that compensation rates for board members and trustees will be reasonable.

Ochoa underscored the crucial role GOCCs and GFIs play as tools for economic growth and development, and with the new law, their operations will be aligned with the national policies and program, and their assets and resources used efficiently.

"The impact of this measure will be felt not only during this administration but also in the years to come. This represents the kind of far-reaching governance reforms the President is resolved to implement during his term," Ochoa said.

Under the new law, the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) will be created attached to the Office of the President to serve as an advisory, monitoring and oversight body. Among GCG's key responsibilities are to evaluate the performance and relevance of the state firms, and reorganize, merge and streamline the operations and structures of the GOCCs. It can also recommend the abolition or privatization of any state-owned company.

The GCG is also tasked to conduct a compensation study and develop a Compensation and Position Classification System and Fit and Proper Rule to maintain the quality of management of the GOCCs and GFIs.

"We intend to make the governance of GOCCs and GFIs carried out in a transparent, responsible and accountable manner and with utmost degree of professionalism and efficiency," Ochoa said.





Hope blooms on floral arrangement training

floral arrangement training

By LAIMINH S. MABULAY, City Mayor's Office
June 5, 2011

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  For a long time now, the local floral trade has been limited to the selling of freshly cut stems. The business is usually at its peak season during the months of November, for the All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day; and in February for the Valentine’s Day, leaving the vendors with lean sales for the rest of the year. In order to fill this gap, the Ornamental Producers’ Cooperative requested the Local Government Unit (LGU) for a training so that they can diversify from mere growing and selling of flowers to floral arranging and design.

In response to this, the LGU’s City Cooperatives Office (CCO) conducted a Basic Training on Floral Arrangement last May 30 until June 1, 2011. It was expected that the training will enable the participants to repackage the products according to a variety of occasions and depending on the preference of their clients. Having this skill is likely to create more demand for their business throughout the year instead of them being solely dependent on the two aforementioned occasions.

All three sessions were conducted in the afternoon with the first day having been reserved for lectures mainly on the history of floral arrangement and the different basic designs and themes, which were presented by Coop Extension Worker Designate John Ric Tan. The potential of flower arrangement as a business venture was discussed by Training Coordinator Designate Merle B. Muñoz. She also talked on the importance of having the right attitudes and values on the second day.

The participants had a workshop on the second day, wherein they were told to apply the design principles that they learned. They were made to create two arrangements each for free style, funerals, weddings and Valentine’s Day. The best among the finished designs were then selected by an invited panel of judges, which included City Information Officer Hannia Ayllon-Tan, Mr. Nicasio Cinco; a resource person from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-Samar), and educator and seasoned events organizer Mr. Marvin Piczon, who gave practical tips on the latest trends in floral arranging based on his experience as an events organizer.

The third day was another lecture-filled day which began with topics on packaging and pricing and marketing as discussed by DTI representative Nicasio Cinco. Tan came back on this day to talk about proper waste disposal management. The Ornamental Producers’ Cooperative then received another encouragement when City Cooperatives Officer Vivencio Eslopor relayed about the financial assistance to be given to them by both the City Mayor Coefredo T. Uy and City Councilor Stephany Uy-Tan in the sum of 50, 000 pesos. Eslopor facilitated the ensuing discussions on how the money may be utilized to improve the cooperative’s business.

Being a medium for expressing varied emotions and occasions depending on the design makes floral arranging a perfect home-based business, and equally suitable for the participants which consisted mainly of mothers and housewives. This was the first training of floral arrangement that was conducted for the benefit of the sector engaged in this business. It is hoped that the additional technical and creative knowledge will give a much needed boost to an industry that has remained stagnant for so long.





8ID: NDF-EV could not stop development of Samar Island

MGen. Mario Chan sharing to the media the PowerPoint he presented to the RDC-8 meeting about the 8ID’s road project proposal interconnecting the three provinces of Samar. The Army’s engineering brigade will do the road construction work with the financial counterpart of the 3 provinces. Once it is started, Gen. Chan assured to the media that any possible sabotage by the NPA to the road construction project will never prosper.

By CMO Battalion, 8ID PA
June 2, 2011

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City  –  Unquestionably, “Samar Island currently lags in terms of economic development compared to its neighbouring provinces. It has been the trend for so many years until the pronouncement of the RDC 8 Chairman Gov. Petilla and the passing of the resolution during the last meeting on 20 May this year, that the road projects interconnecting the three provinces of Samar will be the priority of the council. These road projects are the keys to peace and development of Samar Island that will alleviate lives of the people and will free them from the tyrant group of NDF-EV’s spokesman Mr. Santiago Salas” says Major General Mario Chan, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division.

Major General Chan is a stalwart partner of the local government units and strong advocate for the immediate construction and rehabilitation of the different roads and bridges throughout the region for he firmly believes that infrastructure projects precede sustainable economic growth. As Commander of the 8th Infantry Division, General Chan is committed to accomplish his mandate to protect the people, bring peace and security and stability and sustain development in Region 8.

While different government and non-government organizations are working hand-in-hand to realize the projects, the National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) is continuously tagging “them as anti-insurgency and militarization of the region in the guise of pursuing peace and order but actually a way to running after the NPAs” – the armed group that the NDF protects.

It can be recalled that when General Chan announced his proposal to the different stakeholders and civil society group about these road projects that will pave the way to regional development, 8ID has become the focal point of the NDF’s propaganda campaign and malicious attack.

In the six paragraph press release by NDF-EV that was published in Samar on May 21, 2011, Mr. Santiago Salas, the “defrocked” priest turned NDF-EV’s spokesman calls the development project in Samar a “road to war”.  Salas consistently speaks out loud in order to block the project by deceptively interceding and calling out for the people to support him capitalizing the issue that US is at the back of these projects.  (read NDF-EV slams 8th ID's US-funded “road to war”)

General Chan described the report as a total disgrace to the desire of the people to live with the standards of life.  He even categorically declared the allegations of NDF-EV to be baseless and immaterial.

“8ID and the different agencies continuously supporting the road projects are not connected with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).  Even the funds that will be used are not coming from any foreign organizations.  It just happened that MCC has a similar project in the province which was already pronounced early last year and which I think will also help our province to move forward. I feel pity for Mr. Salas; he is desperately doing anything just to prevent development and the imminent defeat of the NPA bandits he protects” Chan proclaimed.

General Chan also disproved Salas’ claim that these projects only serve for military purposes.  Isn’t it an advantage for our people to facilitate transport of their goods from the production area to the market, do business and give them chance to prosper? Definitely, the projects have significance to military operations. Perhaps a very minimal percentage compared to the opportunity the projects proffer for development and prosperity in the Island of Samar.

Governor Paul Daza of Northern Samar also perceived positively with the good General’s 4.6 billion pesos proposed road projects. In his letter reply to General Chan’s letter request to support the proposal, Gov Daza affirmed that the road projects are really for the development and prosperity of the people of Samar.

“These road projects will open-up socio-economic activities between provinces and among towns located in the interior part of Samar Island and it will provide access to the delivery of basic social services as well as It will bring about opportunities in production, trade and processing thereby maximizing the utilization of existing facilities like seaports of Catbalogan, San Isidro and Calbayog City.  It will also contribute to the peace and order efforts of the government as these interior municipalities of Samar Island are considered conflict-afflicted areas,” the good governor says.

The ultimate purpose of these projects is for the development of Samar while for peace and order is just secondary.

Salas even mocked the “Bayanihan” culture of the Filipinos and called it as “US inspired”.  Is Salas ignorant that “Bayanihan” is a virtue that is expected of an individual Filipino by joining hands to do tough job a lot easier? Salas only proves that he is against Filipino culture and tradition that is valued by generations.  Is in it disrespectful to our human rights? Well it is obvious.

“Claiming that IPSP “Bayanihan” is targeting the social activists and supporters of local terrorist group, Salas is in a total day dreaming because what the 8ID is looking after is only the New People’s Army (NPA) bandits”, adds General Chan.

Calling these road projects as violations of human rights, Salas is totally deceiving our people to what human rights are.  NDF-EV is the one depriving our people of their rights by preventing the construction of roads that will give our people a more decent life.  Our people have the right to acquire the full access to our government to deliver basic services and to live freely away from harm and fear.  Now, who is violating our people’s right? Is it the Army pursuing the road projects for development or the CPP-NPA-NDF who are not doing anything but to criticize the government serving the people like a dog barking on his own caretakers? Again it is obvious.

“Salas calls the road projects as ‘road to war’.  Yes it is in a better perspective. It is a road to war against poverty.  It will be the main weapon in combating poverty, bringing food on our people’s table and giving them the most decent life that every people of Samar ever dreamed of.” says General Chan.

Development in Samar is the choice of the people, not by the 8ID. These projects have already been included in the development plan of Region 8 even before General Chan assumed as the commander of 8ID. The role played by the Army in the realization of these projects was just to propose them to be put on top of the priorities.  It is the people of Samar not the military are the one who wanted to have roads. Why don’t we give those services to them?

The consistent attempts of NDF-EV to stop these road projects in Samar Island only leaves certainty that the development will point towards the ultimate downfall of the NPA bandits and the group of Mr Salas.

But General Chan is positive that no one can stop the people from progressing.  Not even the selfish desire of the Communist Party of the Philippines to grab power, the lies of the National Democratic Front, the terror being carried out by the New People’s Army, the eloquent wordings of Mr. Salas who keep on barking at the crowd with his tails wrapped-in to him and even by vicious claim of some people vested in personal interest.

General Chan once again encouraged the people, members of the POs, CSOs, NGOs and other organizational sectors including the media, to unite and work hand in hand to instill to our people’s mind that the government is doing this for benefit once and for all.  He further said that Samar Island is left far behind than other provinces and the same problem will be inherited by the upcoming generations if it will not be abated.

The road they are claiming as “road to war” is the road that will be used by our misguided brothers (CPP-NPA) in coming back to the folds of the law for the attainment of a lasting peace, thus it is actually a road to peace.

As General Chan always says “There is no happiness and satisfaction derived from killing NPA rebels, only desperation. The real sense of fulfillment comes in embracing a rebel back to the folds of law and help him become productive and contented citizen of this country.”

“For the sake of peace and development, we advise the members of the lawless NPA to go to the nearest Mayor and negotiate for your surrender.  Join us in the pursuit of genuine peace in our region and our government has best plan not only for you but also for your family,” General Chan concludes.





House Bill 375

Casiño: regional poverty incidence highlights urgency of P125 wage hike bill

Press Release
June 2, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño today called on private sector workers to lobby hard for the passage of a legislated wage hike "that would provide substantial relief to workers and their families, most especially in regions and provinces that have among the highest poverty incidence rates in the country.”

Congressman Teddy Casiño

At the hearing of the House Committee on Labor and Employment tackling House Bill 375 (An Act Providing for a P125.00 Daily Across-The-Board Increase in the Salary Rates of Employees and Workers in the Private Sector and for Other Purposes) held in this city, Rep. Casiño stated that a substantive legislated wage hike would not only help the workers by providing immediate economic relief but also help reduce poverty in Region VIII (Eastern Visayas).

“Low wage levels have a great impact on poverty incidence in the country, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao. The current Region VIII daily minimum wage rate was increased by a measly 25 pesos. Pero ang ginawa ng Wage Board dito, chinop-chop ang implementation. Barya na nga lang, di pa sinagad sa implementasyon," he said.

Effective June 1, the minimum wage range from P188.50-P228 was increased to P208.50-P248 or an increase of P20/day. The P5 remaining hike will only become effective on September 1, 2011 wherein Region 8 wage rates will range from P213.50-P253 per day.

"I am in fact aghast at the extremely low and distorted wages in the region that is a far cry from daily minimum wages in the National Capital Region that range from P389-P426 after a P22 peso hike effective last May 26. With these immensely low wage adjustments, nothing much can happen with regard to poverty reduction in all of the country’s regions,” Casiño said.

In pressing for the passage of HB 375, Casiño, who is also the spokesman of the Makabayan Coalition in Congress, cited data from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) showing that Region VIII and some of its provinces ranked high in poverty incidence.

The latest NSCB data (2009) on the country’s poverty incidence among families and poverty incidence among the population was at 20.9% and 26.5% respectively. But figures in Eastern Visayas were higher than the national average among families (33.2 %) and as a percentage of total population (41.4%). In terms of poverty incidence, Eastern Samar ranked 4th with 45.8% and Northern Samar 10th at 41.7% in the Top Ten Poorest Provinces in the country.  Leyte was Number 6 in the Top Ten Provinces with the Most Number of Poor Families with 110,214. "These figures will certainly not change even with the P25 peso hike. An additional substantial hike via legislation is urgently needed if we want to make a meaningful dent in reducing poverty in Region VIII,” Casiño said.

“Let us remember that poverty is basically the condition of receiving less income that the average individual or family needs to survive, with little or no prospect of increasing that income without appropriate government attention and intervention. The last legislated wage hike was in 1989. All the regional wage boards in the country have never issued a wage order that approximates previous legislated wage hikes. Without a P125 wage hike, nothing will improve among workers and their families in Region VIII and the whole country,” he stressed.

Likewise, Casiño appealed to employers to be more understanding of the workers' plight and see the positive impact that higher wages would have on the productivity and purchasing power of their employees, leading to higher demand for local products and services.

Casiño’s co-authors are fellow Party-list Reps. Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis), Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna), Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus (Gabriela Womens Party), Raymond Palatino (Kabataan) and Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers) who all belong to the Makabayan Coalition in Congress.


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