He added that he
himself has promoted Green Projects through supporting the vast tracts
of land in Gandara which was empty by providing some 50,000 coconut
seedlings for farmers to plant.
Another must he pushed
them to do is Mangrove Tree-Planting.
“Water is a major
source in Samar, we can use water for power generation, irrigation,
and simply return it to the seas still clean and sanitary,” Sarmiento
“We therefore should
use water the nature or God’s way. God placed mangroves to clean the
water from microbes in protecting our fish and other marine life,
thus, the need to plant more mangroves,” he said.
“Let us walk the
talk,” Sarmiento said.
“The government is the
people, each one should do his role in the value chain,” he added.
He alluded to the
German private partner who said that the private sector cannot do it
all alone without the government support.
“Every sector and
individual should therefore help [one another]. That’s why I’m asking
all national government agencies (NGAs) present today, to provide me
with a Score Card indicating what you need to ensure the funds we
need. I will do my share, my best…. As the new Vice-Chairman for
Appropriations in the House of Congress!” he emphasized.
Samar’s First District
Representative raised the importance of the proper execution of
disaster risk reduction-related laws, while Mayor Ramon Ilagan of
Cainta stressed that communities must be able to withstand the impact
of worsening disasters and climate change.
Sarmiento said that
"laws such as the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, the
Climate Change Law, and the Solid Waste Management Act, should be
translated into concrete actions that would build the resilience of
our country to disaster and climate change impacts. We have had too
many disasters in the past years and these catastrophes have stalled
our progress as a nation. We have to ensure that the policies we have
are implemented well, otherwise, the laws we have worked hard on would
not truly serve their purpose."
Sarmiento was among
the participants of the Legislative Workshop on Effective Disaster
Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in the Philippines, held
in Incheon, South Korea in July 2011 and signed the Incheon
Resolution, which primarily urges members of the legislature to
exercise their oversight function in the effective implementation of
DRR and CCA laws.
DPWH Samar bares to
uphold mantra on right project, right cost, right quality
By NINFA B QUIRANTE, PIA
January 28, 2012
CATBALOGAN CITY –
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in its planning for
2013 Infrastructure Program seminar bared that it will uphold its
current mantra on right project, right cost and right quality.
In a press release
signed by Engr Virgilio Eduarte, District Engineer of the DPWH Samar’s
First Engineering District and sent to PIA, it said that the
participants in the seminar were enjoined to be guided by the
strategic policies and programs which include: good governance,
anti-corruption program, upgrading the quality and safety of national
road and bridges and strategic convergence.
were based on the Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) from 2010 to
2016 which will center on National Arterial Roads, National Secondary
Roads and National Bridges corollary to President Benigno S. Aquino
lll administration’s program for peace and economic development in the
Province of Samar,” said the district engineer.
According to Engr.
Raquel Sumayo who is the Chief of the Planning and Design Section,
planning follows the Project Development Cycle of the department. Data
collected which are the output of the Roads and Bridges Inventory and
Analysis (RBIA) go through evaluation and analysis before a final list
of projects is released.
Meanwhile, the same
engineering district also held a seminar on Detailed Unit Price
Analysis (DUPA) where they talked about the preparation of program of
work with emphasis on detailed unit price analysis. It also stressed
on the output per item, the rate of labor and equipment on a per hour
The seminar also
tackled about the locally funded civil works projects. All projects
below P20 million will be approved by the District Engineer, projects
above P20-50M are approved by the Regional Director and those projects
above P50-200M approved by the DPWH UnderSecretary for Technical
Services while above P200M for the approval of the Secretary. (with
G Gomez and B Banocia)
Activism not a crime
Naga MTC upholds
activists’ rights in coal-ash protest case
NAGA CITY, Cebu –
Greenpeace today welcomed the decision of the Naga Municipal Trial
Court (MTC) to acquit activists charged with trespass during a
December 2009 action to document toxic coal ash from the Naga
coal-fired power plant that had been dumped in a public area in Barangay Tinaan. Greenpeace carried out the peaceful protest to call
attention to the threats posed by coal ash to the health of residents
and the environment.
“Activism is not a
crime. And we are very glad that the judiciary recognizes this. But
we repeat our call to the provincial government to get its act
together. Coal ash – a toxic by-product of the coal-firing process
from the power plant – was dumped in an area posing a threat to the
health and livelihoods of the Barangay Tinaan community. The risks
have also increased as more coal ash continues to be produced by the
coal plant and threatens other areas in Cebu, and there are still no
clear plans for proper disposal.” said Mark Dia, Country
Representative of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
Results of tests
conducted by Greenpeace in 2005 from ash samples taken from the Naga
and Toledo coal-fired power plants in Cebu revealed the insidious
presence of mercury, which is a deadly neurotoxin; arsenic, which is a
known carcinogen; as well as other hazardous substances such as lead
authorities wasted time and taxpayers’ money for over two years by
trying to criminalize activists who simply exercised freedom of
expression, taking action that they themselves should have taken to
protect the community” added Amalie Obusan, one of the activists
charged in the case.
for the only long-term solution to this problem – to phase out the
burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, one of the most polluting
energy sources – and to rapidly develop the Philippines’ abundant
renewable energy sources. Developing and using renewable energy is the
smart choice for the economy and for the climate. Fossil fuel prices
are rising and will rise much more steeply once all the social and
environmental costs are factored in.
“Coal, as well as
other fossil fuels will run out and it is recognised globally that we
cannot keep pumping greenhouse gases into our atmosphere at the
current rate for much longer without suffering ever more dangerous
climate impacts. Renewable energy never runs out and is clean and
sustainable,” added Dia.
plants have also been identified as the single biggest source of
carbon emissions, largely responsible for climate change. The loss of
thousands of lives and economic ruin brought about by recent extreme
weather events, such as Sendong, Ondoy and Pepeng, are either
aggravated by or can arguably be traced to climate change and the
havoc it wreaks on the planet. Greenpeace is thus 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 has identified a target of 50% RE
in the Philippines’ energy mix by 2020 as not only achievable but
imperative for avoiding dangerous climate change, for energy security
and for sustainable economic growth.
NPA raid in Northern
Samar slaps down AFP's arrogant posturing and Palparan-style terrorism
By Efren Martires Command, NPA-EV
The Efren Martires
Command of the New People's Army-Eastern Visayas today said the
guerrilla offensive in Lapinig, Northern Samar last Jan. 20
highlighted the NPA's growing strength as well as belied the arrogant
posturing of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“The raid by the
Rodante Urtal Command against enemy forces in Lapinig is a victory for
the NPA and caught the AFP's 8th Infantry Division with its pants
down,” said Ka Karlos Manuel, EMC spokesperson. “The 8th ID resorts to
black propaganda to cover up its embarrassment so soon after having
bragged that the NPA is finished in the region. Moreover, the 8th ID
maliciously accuses the NPA of rights violations to divert attention
from extrajudicial killings and other military abuses recently brought
to light in Northern Samar.”
Manuel said the NPA
targeted the police and private armed group of Lapinig Mayor Romualdo
Menzon in the evening of January 20. “The Red fighters sought to
disarm the police and the private armed group of Mayor Menzon who are
legitimate targets. However, the police fled without even putting up a
fight while Aurelio Jullata, a private security aide of the mayor,
exchanged fire with the NPA and was killed. The NPA was also able to
disarm Police Officer 3 Rowena Opena, who was not harmed in any way
contrary to hysterical statements by the 8th ID.”
The EMC spokesperson
also apologized for the wounding of Romeo Senobio, Jr., reportedly a
civilian, and said the NPA is investigating the matter. “The NPA never
targeted, manhandled and shot Senobio, among other malicious
allegations of the 8th ID. As a matter of responsibility, the NPA is
looking into how Senobio was hit in the exhange of fire between the
Red fighters and Menzon's bodyguard Jullata. The NPA members are
subject to disciplinary action if civilians are put at risk, unlike
the military which wallows in impunity for rights violations.
“In the same light,
the NPA did not target civilians with command-detonated explosives, or
took civilians as hostages, robbed them, and looted houses during the
raid. The use of explosives is meant against enemy targets such as
their arriving reinforcements. It is also routine for the NPA to stop
and put civilians out of harm's way in the course of tactical
offensives, as well as check houses and secure the perimeter of the
operation. These malicious charges of the 8th ID are nothing more than
hysterical rantings born out of sheer humiliation.”
Manuel also slammed
the military for concocting rights violations and ordinary crimes
against the NPA. “It's all over the news that the military is washing
its hands over ongoing rights violations in Northern Samar. How dare
the military divert the public's attention over such atrocities by
hurling false accusations against the NPA.
A human rights mission
documented this January at least 37 rights violations by the 8th ID
while carrying out Oplan Bayanihan in the Northern Samar towns of
Catubig and Las Navas. A civilian, Jovito Pajanustan, was a victim of
torture and extrajudicial killing by those believed to be military
elements. Even children were not spared as hundreds of them suffered
trauma from military operations, such as soldiers taking over and
using day care centers as barracks.
violations are all sanctioned by the Aquino government's Oplan
Bayanihan. But speaking and acting like his predecessor Gen. Jovito
Palparan, 8th ID chief Gen. Mario Chan blames the NPA for rights
violations while his troops are implementing Palparan-style terrorism:
extrajudicial killings, intimidation of civilians, occupation of
civilian communities, Red-baiting progressive organizations to justify
butchering them, and many more rights violations under a continuing
climate of impunity. Who is now the real criminal in war? Because
there is no change under the Aquino regime, the people are fighting
back and the NPA is growing stronger from their support. The NPA's
tactical offensives will surely spread and intensify because of the
people's continuing demand for justice as well as the desire to end
the oppressive and exploitative ruling system.”
PhilHealth extends up
to March 31 the coverage of 5-M LGU-sponsored members
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY – At
least five million LGU-sponsored underprivileged families whose health
insurance coverage expired last December 31, 2011 can still avail of
the health care benefits from PhilHealth-accredited facilities until
March 31, 2012.
Ms. Marimar Zabala,
PhilHealth Tacloban information officer, said that this was announced
by PhilHealth President and CEO Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon who said the
extended validity period will not entail any additional cost to the
sponsoring Local Government Units.
Ms. Palacio said that
this development will ensure the continued health insurance coverage
of over ten million low-income and marginalized families who are
enrolled under the Sponsorship Program. These include the 5.2 million
poor families identified by the National Household Targeting System
for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) of the Department of Social Welfare
and Development (DSWD) and whose coverage comes with National
Sponsorship Program provides health insurance coverage to less
privileged families through a partnership where health insurance
premiums for a year's coverage are paid in behalf of deserving
members, Ms. Zabala explained.
The annual premiums of
enrolled families are jointly shouldered by the National Government
through PhilHealth and sponsors such as local governments, private
individuals with philanthropic hearts and private corporations whose
thrusts include poverty alleviation as an agenda in their corporate
social responsibility (CSR) programs. Members of Congress also join
the program as sponsors through their Priority Development Assistance
Fund or PDAF, Ms. Zabala added.
Meanwhile, in order to
address LGUs’ concern over the increase from P1,200 to P2,400 per
year, in premium contribution rate starting this year, PhilHealth has
developed a new payment scheme will make it easier for LGUs to renew
their sponsorship of the indigent families’ coverage, Ms. Zabala said.
LGUs that opt to renew
their sponsorship for two years until December 31, 2013, and undertake
the renewal through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on or before June
30 this year, will be entitled to an additional three-month extension
of validity date up to June 30, 2012.
arrangement, the LGU will enjoy an effective premium rate for a
two-year enrolment of only P1,800 per enrolled family.
If the LGUs decide to
bring in new or additional enrollees into the Sponsorship Program and
commit to provide them with coverage until December 31, 2013, they
will be able to enjoy a two-year premium of P2,400.
However, the new
enrollees should be committed into the Sponsorship Program on or
before June 30 this year for the LGU to enjoy this premium rate.
Otherwise they will already pay the new rate of P2,400 for every year
of coverage, Ms. Zabala said.
14 public schools
enter finals of Smart’s Doon Po Sa Amin contests
MAKATI CITY – A
total of 14 public schools will vie for the top prize in three online
contests conducted simultaneously by Smart Communications, Inc.
Finalists of the 4th
Doon Po Sa Amin (DPSA) Learning Challenge, “Ano ang Kwento Mo?, and
DPSA Quest will have a chance to showcase their entries during the
awards ceremony that will be held during the 8th SWEEP Innovation and
Excellence Awards on February 22, 2012 at the SMX Convention Hall.
Eight have made it to
the finals of the DPSA Learning Challenge: Bataan National High
School, Barobo National High School, Camiguin National High School,
Cavite National Science High School, Gen. E. Aguinaldo National High
School – Bailen,
Naga City Science High School and Olongapo City National High School.
Four schools have also
been shortlisted from 170 entries submitted by 66 schools to “Ano ang
Kwento Mo”. These are
Jose J. Leido Jr. Memorial National High School, Manggahan High School
and Naga City Science High School.
Meanwhile, the DPSA
Quest has drawn 28 entries from 12 schools, two of which have entered
the finals. These are Naga Central School 1 and San Roque Central
All three online
contests are part of Smart’s efforts to encourage schools to use
computer and Internet technologies to contribute web-based information
and educational materials about their respective communities under its
DPSA project as part of its ‘Internet for All’ advocacy.
Smart introduced the
DPSA Learning Challenge in 2008. The competition, which is exclusive
to SSP partner high schools and Online Associates nationwide, requires
teams to perform basic community mapping exercises to generate local
content which will help their respective communities be educated about
and/or address pertinent local problems or issues. This year’s search
has drawn a total of 137 entries from 31 schools.
In 2011, Smart
introduced two more online contests. "Ano ang Kwento Mo?" (What's your
story?), attempts to get students from all schools nationwide to
create video blogs that feature a distinct characteristic, place, or
culture in their communities. Topic categories include Arts and
Culture, History and Society, Travel and Cuisine, and Environment and
The DPSA Quest engages
teacher-student teams from SSP partner elementary schools and online
associates to research unique stories about their respective
communities and narrate these stories online through their blog sites.
The screening of
entries was done by a panel of judges composed of the Department of
Education’s (DepEd) Albert Erni of the Bureau of Secondary Education,
Thea Joy Manalo of the Bureau of Elementary Department and Romeo
Parayno of Adopt-a-School; Netlearn Ventures, Inc.’s Christopher
Lorenzo and Lloyd Anthony Layug; Jaime Manuel Flores of the Ateneo
Communication Department and Roger Chua of Web Philippines, Inc.
Entries of all the
finalists can be accessed via www.doonposaamin.ph.
TUCP statement on the
attempted power grab on TUCP presidency
QUEZON CITY – A
desperate and discredited minority of the General Council of the Trade
Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) tried but failed to grab
power from the duly constituted officials and take over the compound
A minority faction of
the TUCP council led by former TUCP Secretary-General and former
Senator Ernesto “Boy” Herrera attempted to forcibly enter the TUCP
premises last night, a day after the General Council formally voted
him out as TUCP Secretary-General due to an externally audited
discovery of large sums of financial anomalies, loss of confidence and
gross mismanagement of TUCP affairs during his tenure.
He was replaced by Mr.
Victorino Balais, president of Philippine Trade and General Workers
Organization (PTGWO) by the TUCP General Council on January 24, 2012.
PTGWO is one of the biggest labor federations in the country and has
been a member of the TUCP since its founding in 1975.
Mr. Herrera’s action
last night in trying to take over the TUCP compound was a clear
attempt to take custody of damning financial records on his handling
of TUCP grants and general funds. We believe that he intended to white
wash his involvement in the handling of these funds. He was
accompanied by TUCP former Vice President Roberto “Bobby” Flores.
But due to the timely
arrival and continued presence of the police from the Quezon City
Police District Station 9, his attempt to cover up his malfeasance of
these funds and to perpetrate himself in power through a rump council
and through a takeover of the compound without any General Council
authority was thwarted.
In the light of this
incident, incumbent TUCP President Atty. Democrito Mendoza hereby
issues the following statement:
“The TUCP condemns the
series of illegitimate acts and overt attempts of Mr. Herrera to grab
power and arrogantly impose himself as the President of the TUCP.
behaviour last night magnified his embarrassing fall from grace. His
actions show a reckless disregard in upholding the interest of the
TUCP as he attempts to drag the entire organization into the mud with
On that regard, I
would like to apologize to our social partners and supporters for the
confusion as a result of his misrepresentation; and, to our brothers
and sisters for the pain and anguish that Mr. Herrera has caused.
irresponsible behaviour will never be condoned by anyone from the TUCP.
The TUCP General Council Resolution 01-2012, otherwise known as a
resolution of confirmation of continuing support to me as President of
the TUCP, and the TUCP Minutes of the General Council Meeting on
January 24, 2012 will bear us out.
I tendered a letter of
resignation as TUCP President on October 19, 2011 effective November
1, 2012 to bring up discussions on major transparency and
accountability issues in TUCP. I later, retracted my resignation after
the General Council refused to act on the letter and even as they
pleaded for me to remain and continue as TUCP President.
However, now, Mr.
Herrera wants to assume the presidency. He claims taking his oath of
office on November 11, 2011 before Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and sent
letters afterward to the Secretary of Labor, major international labor
organizations and other agencies misrepresenting himself as the TUCP
He also set up a rump
group of minority members of the TUCP General Council to inflate his
ego. Let me reiterate that of 25 affiliates, 18 remain under our
leadership in the TUCP.
The General Council
has deemed these acts as illegitimate and acts of disloyalty inimical
to the interest and earned reputation of TUCP. The General Council
replaced Mr. Herrera with Brother Victorino Balais as
Secretary-General of the TUCP on January 24, 2012. Mr. Balais is the
president of the Philippine Trade and General Workers Organization (PTGWO).
On that regard, I wish
to assure our supporters, partners, and affiliates that I am in
control and in command of all the federations, offices and continue to
enjoy the recognition and support of local and international
organizations and governments. This is because of the trust reposed
upon me by the majority of TUCP General Council, whom I will serve as
President until December 2012.
I also wish to convey
to the public that the good men and women in TUCP are doing their best
in dealing with this issue for the sake of the highest best interest
of the trade union movement in the
Thank you very