Kill bill, Take 2?
FOI death by
inaction looms in Congress
By Right to Know, Right Now!
September 5, 2012
QUEZON CITY –
The conspiracy to kill the FOI bill in the 14th Congress is unfolding
yet again, this time in the 15th Congress.
House Majority Leader
Neptali Gonzales II on Monday started sounding the death knell for the
Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, saying in two news reports that
“many lawmakers” do not want to pass it. He cited as reason their fear
that hao siao or illegitimate media members will abuse it to attack
politicians like him and the members of Congress.
“Ang problema kasi sa FOI, kapag ang impormasyon ay napunta in the
hands of unscrupulous media. Ngayon lang may tumitira ng hao siao,
bibigyan mo pa ng ganyang armas. Eh baka wala ng manungkulan sa
gobyerno dahil sa takot na titirahin sila palagi,” Gonzales was
reported as saying in the tabloid Remate. A similar news report with
the same statements attributed to Gonzales also ran in Pilipino Star
Ngayon the same day.
As House Majority Leader and concurrent Chairman of the powerful
Committee on Rules, Gonzales oversees the preparation of the Order of
Business and Calendar of Business of the House. His committee may
declare a bill urgent so it may be considered according to a fixed
timetable, as well as a deadline for it to be reported by the
But Gonzales would not intervene to get Rep. Ben Evardone, chairman of
the House Committee on Public Information, to call a hearing on the
FOI bill. Instead, by his statements Gonzales merely confirmed
Evardone's earlier claim that Evardone’s refusal to act on the bill
was consistent with instructions from the House leadership.
To be sure, Gonzales is no stranger to conspiracies in the House to
kill FOI. He was Senior Deputy Majority Leader of the 14th Congress
under then Speaker Prospero Nograles, which had also refused to
calendar the FOI bicameral conference report for ratification.
Nograles and the leaders of the 14th Congress finally called the
report for ratification only the final session day, only to kill the
FOI bill by an alleged “lack of quorum.”
The roll call tally, however, had all the earmarks of
reporting by Nograles, Gonzales, and the leaders of the 14th Congress.
At least eight House members who had been documented by media’s video
footage and by their own statements to have been physically present on
the floor during the roll call. But in the dishonorable manner of hao
siao reporting by the leaders of the 14th Congress, the eight
legislators were marked absent. The eight would have brought the
number of members present to more than the required quorum.
Gonzales himself was among those erroneously marked absent the day the
14th Congress killed the FOI bill.
At the time, Gonzales was a senior member of the ruling
Lakas-Kampi-CMD. He made a well-timed defection to the Liberal Party
about a month before the 2010 elections when then the election of
presidential candidate Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III had become fait
accompli. This well-timed act of evident turncoatism earned for
Gonzales the coveted Majority Leader position in the 15th Congress.
Like Gonzales, Evardone was also a belated defector from
Lakas-Kampi-CMD. He took his oath as Liberal Party member in June
And now, to justify why the FOI bill remains stuck in his committee,
Evardone in a recent television interview has so casually, if quickly,
tossed blame for the failure of the bill to pass on the Liberal Party.
He had said that the FOI has not moved past his committee because it
is not a priority of President Aquino, and neither does the Liberal
Party have any party stand on FOI.
In truth, even if Gonzales and Evardone were discounted from the
equation, a fortnight ago at least 117 members of the 280-member House
of Representatives had signed on to a public statement they called
“Declaration of Commitment to Pass the FOI Bill.” In contrast,
Gonzales can only refer to unnamed "many lawmakers" as being opposed
to the bill.
The true and original LP stalwarts in jest call Gonzales, Evardone and
their likes who are recent converts as LP or “Lakas Pala” members. But
perhaps they should do better than set up the FOI bill for slow death
by merely raising the spectre of hao siao reporters taking liberties
with information to attack politicians like them.
By all indications, the real fear about the FOI bill that spooks
Gonzales, entrenched politicians and political dynasties in the
country is that it will open the door to legitimate public scrutiny
into their official acts and transactions, and enable the people’s
right to know the good, the bad, and the ugly about them all.
PRO8 8 hiring more
Police Regional Office 8
September 5, 2012
CAMP SEC. RUPERTO K.
KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The leadership of Police Regional
Office 8 is hoping to improve its crime-busting capability with the
recruitment of 117 more warm bodies for police visibility and
“This will be a big boost on
our strength. With additional personnel, we hope to close the gap in
terms of police to population ratio”, PCSupt Elmer Ragadio Soria, PRO8
Regional Director said.
Eastern Visayas has a police
to population ratio of one policeman for every 666 population while
the ideal ratio is 1:500 to conform to international standard.
Soria added that those who
will be recruited are expected to further beef-up the existing PNP
personnel complement for law enforcement and public safety operations
of the PNP in the region.
The Regional Director also
informed that he had requested the National Headquarters for an
additional quota of 130 more new recruits to increase the second
semester 2012 quota to 247.
He however stressed that
only half of the total figure can be considered as additional force to
the 6,140-strong PRO8 personnel while the other half will serve as
replacement to those who will or are expected to retire, resign and
dismissed from the service.
Based on PNP records, an
average of 2,500 to 3,000 policemen leaves the organization yearly for
various reasons aside from retirement, dismissal and resignation.
In year 2011, PRO8 have 154
policemen who have either compulsory or optionally retired while 20
others were dismissed from service.
The Regional Personnel and
Human Resource Management Division of PRO8 had started accepting
initial application folders last September 3 up to September 14 this
Applicants are required to
undergo recruitment processes of Neuro-Psychiatric (NP) Screening;
Physical, Medical and Dental Examination; Physical Agility Test; Drug
Test; Complete Background Investigation; and Final Board Interview.
Oath-taking ceremony for new
recruits will be held on November 16, 2012 formalizing their
appointment to the rank of Police Officer 1 (PO1) with a basic monthly
salary of P14,834.00 with allowances and other non-cash benefits.
Upon appointment into the
service, the recruits will undergo the mandatory Public Safety Basic
Recruit Course (PSBRC) at the Philippine Public Safety College –
Regional Training School 8 (PPSC RTS8) for six months after which the
trainees will undergo another six months of Field Training Program
(FTP) before they are assigned to full duty status in the Regional
Public Safety Battalion 8 (RPSB8).
The recruitment program is
part of the modernization program of the PNP, in which P2 billion was
allotted to the organization for recruitment of additional personnel
and procurement of equipments.
The National Police
Commission has authorized the PNP to recruit 6,000 more police
personnel this year as part of the 2012 Regular and Attrition
Recruitment Program which is intended to replace the projected number
of personnel who will be separated from the service due to retirement,
resignation, and dismissal for cause, Soria explained.
at US-backed GMO experiments on children
September 5, 2012
Greenpeace has expressed alarm at a recent scientific publication that
suggests researchers, backed by the US Department of Agriculture
(USDA), fed experimental genetically-engineered (GE) ‘golden rice’ to
24 children in China aged between six and eight years old.
“It is incredibly disturbing
to think that an American research body, in a serious breach of
scientific and medical ethics, used children as guinea pigs for
genetically engineered food, despite a clear directive against this
very experiment issued by Chinese authorities in 2008,” said Fang
Lifeng, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.
“Greenpeace hopes the Chinese government will uphold its previous
decision to stop such experiments. We are calling for a thorough
investigation into this case and that adequate support be provided to
the affected children and their parents.”
Greenpeace East Asia first
heard of this experiment in 2008 and immediately informed the Chinese
Ministry of Agriculture. The Ministry confirmed with Greenpeace that
no ‘golden rice’ had been imported and ostensibly, the trial had been
stopped. However these new findings reveal that this directive had not
Greenpeace believes that
‘golden rice’ is an irresponsible and dangerous way to address Vitamin
A Deficiency (VAD). ‘Golden rice’ does not address the underlying
causes of VAD, which are mainly poverty and lack of access to a more
diverse diet. Because it encourages a diet based on one staple rather
than an increase in access to the many vitamin-rich vegetables,
‘golden rice’ could, if introduced on a large scale, exacerbate
malnutrition and ultimately undermine food security.
While VAD remains a problem
in some parts of Asia, some countries such as Bangladesh, the
Philippines and Pakistan, have made considerable progress in combating
VAD in recent years: through Vitamin A supplementation, food
fortification and dietary diversification. While more work needs to be
done to eradicate the problem, Greenpeace believes that these existing
and successful solutions – particularly dietary diversification which
directly addresses malnutrition – are the ones that must be supported,
rather than channeling millions of funds into ‘golden rice’
The problem of ‘golden rice’
is a concern in the Philippines, which is earmarked to be one of the
countries where this GMO will be first launched. The International
Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in Los Banos, Laguna and the
Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) based in Muñoz, Nueva
Ecija, are the main proponents of this project. Open field trials of
GR are now currently ongoing in Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Norte and
Camarines Sur, exposing conventional rice crops – the country’s staple
food – to GMO contamination.
“The next ‘golden rice’
guinea pigs might be Filipino children,” said Daniel Ocampo,
Sustainable Agriculture campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
“Should we allow ourselves to be subjects in a human experiment? There
are already safe and proven solutions to vitamin A deficiency which do
not rely on the genetic modification of food. Filipinos should oppose
approval of any GMO rice.”
“Golden rice’ is still a
myth, and worse, it carries with it all the environmental and health
risks associated with GMO crops. Spending even more time and money on
‘golden rice’ development is not only environmentally irresponsible,
but also a disservice to humanity,” he added.
Greenpeace is demanding that
IRRI and the Department of Agriculture stop field trials of ‘golden’
and other GE rice varieties. Organizations that are funding the
development of ‘golden’ rice should shift their resources to boost
current efforts that are tackling VAD, particularly dietary
diversification and empowering people afflicted by the deficiency.
3 suspects arrested by
PRO8 for illegal possession of firearms
By RPCRD, Police Regional
September 4, 2012
CAMP SEC. RUPERTO K. KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – At least three persons
were arrested by the police in a series of operations in the campaign
against the proliferation of loose firearms in the region, the Police
Regional Office 8 top official reported today.
“The implementation of law on unlicensed firearms remains as one of
our priority in our anti-crime drive.”, PRO8 Regional Director PCSupt
Elmer Ragadio Soria disclosed as he commended his men for the said
He added that the recent police campaign succeeded due to active
participation of concerned citizens who tipped off police authorities
on such illegal activity, further noting that two of the recent
operations were implemented through applications of search warrants.
Soria said a raiding team seized a caliber .38 “paltik” revolver and
five pieces live ammunition from the house of Aniceto M Salentes, 46
years old, married, fisherman in Brgy. Uson, Caibiran, Biliran.
The police official said the raid was conducted past 6:00 in the
morning of September 1 by elements of Caibiran Municipal Police
Station led by its chief, PSInsp Restituto Reglos.
The raid was based on a warrant issued by Hon Constantino F Esber,
presiding Judge of RTC Branch 37, Caibiran-Naval, Biliran dated August
Soria said that the suspect was arrested during the search witnessed
by Brgy. Chairwoman Violeta Torlao, Brgy Kagawad Robin Mondido and
The Regional Director said a check with the Firearms and Explosive
Division in Camp Crame, Quezon City showed the firearm have no
He said Salentes has been charged with illegal possession of firearms
and ammunition at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Naval, Biliran
docketed under NPS No. VIII-14-INQ-2012-0027.
Meanwhile, at around 6:30 AM of August 30, 2012, joint elements of
CIDG and elements of Liloan Police Station led by PSInsp Alex Prisno
implemented the Search Warrant Number R-003-S-2012 issued by Hon
Rolando Gonzales of RTC Br 39, Sogod, Southern Leyte dated August 30,
2012 at the house of a certain Rowie Baay, 37 years old, married,
jobless located at Brgy. San Roque, Liloan, Southern Leyte.
The search resulted to the arrest of the suspect and the seizure of
the following: one (1) unit caliber .357 revolver “Paltik”, three (3)
pieces fired cartridge for caliber .357, one (1) black holster for
short firearms and one (1) bullet holder.
The search was conducted in the presence of Brgy. Kagawad Diana Adona
and Eleazar Perro while the suspect and the confiscated items were
brought to the police station for proper disposition.
Relatedly, at around 2:30 AM of September 2, at the front row of a
videoke bar located at the corner of Orquin Street and Magsaysay
Boulevard in Calbayog City, elements of Samar Provincial Public Safety
Company (SPPSC) led by PInsp Silvano Soteraña arrested one Mark
Magbutay, 32, married and a resident of Purok 7, Brgy Hamorawon,
Calbayog City, Samar for carrying one (1) unit caliber .357 revolver
without serial number loaded with four live ammunition. Suspect and
the confiscated items were turned over to Calbayog City Police Station
and Magbutay was subsequently charged with violation of PD 1866 as
amended by Republic Act 8294 at Calbayog City Prosecutor’s Office
docketed under NPS No. VIII-10-INV-121-00055.
Soria further informed that for the month of August 2012, thirteen
persons were arrested by PRO8 for violations of the law on illegal
possession of firearms, resulting in the confiscation of 29 loose
firearms of different caliber, 5 were classified as high-powered while
the rest are low-powered firearms.
“This recent success will significantly reduce the prevalence of
shooting-related incidents in the region as loose firearms are one of
the main reasons for the proliferation of crimes,” Soria further said.
clears P2.7-B OP budget for 2013
September 4, 2012
MALACAÑANG – The
House Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday approved President Benigno S. Aquino III’s P2.7 billion spending plan for the Office of
the President (OP) for fiscal year 2013.
The OP’s proposed budget was
presented by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. to the House
Committee on Appropriations and was quickly cleared by committee
members in the spirit of inter-parliamentary courtesy and in deference
to a co-equal branch of government.
Ochoa thanked members of the
House Appropriations Committee for “extending this courtesy and
immediately approving the OP budget.”
The 2013 OP budget is 4.26
percent higher than this year’s appropriation of P2.7 billion, with
the bulk of the increase going to the funding requirements for salary
adjustments under the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law
(SSL), as well as major repairs, rehabilitation and improvement of
various buildings and facilities inside the Malacañang Complex.
The P111-million increase in
the OP’s proposed spending package for the next fiscal year would go
to Personal Services (PS), up P39 million to P552.9 million; and
Capital Outlays (CO), from P150.6 million to P300.4 million.
The OP has slashed the
allocation Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOE) by
P77million to P1.88 billion, from the current fiscal year’s P1.96
Appropriation for Capital
Outlays under the OP’s proposed budget measure has been adjusted
upward to fund the improvements of various buildings and facilities
inside Malacañang, some of which are over a hundred years old.
Presidential residences outside the Malacañang Complex will also
undergo repairs namely, the Mansion House in Baguio City; Malacañang
Park in Nagtahan, Manila; and the Malacañang sa Sugbu in Cebu City.
The Executive Secretary said
the OP budget is “guided by the principles of fiscal discipline,
principles the OP applies by defining specific objectives and
priorities in terms of projects and activities, efficiency byobserving
the best value for money in the allocation and use of resources, and
transparency and accountability by assigning delivery units as cost
requires use of MID in all transactions
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
September 4, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY –
Since September 1, 2012, the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG
has started requiring all its members to transact with the Fund using
their Membership Identification (MID) numbers.
Manager Paulino C. Talacay
of Pag-IBIG Fund Tacloban Branch informed the Philippine Information
Agency that this is part of the Fund’s transition to an enhanced
system that will make its services even faster and more efficient for
Manager Talacay said that
with this latest development, the employers are encouraged that every
time they remit the contributions and loan payments of their
employees, their MID numbers must be indicated in the remittance
“Without the MID numbers,
processing of transactions may have delays,” Manager Talacay said.
As such, Manager Talacay
advised members to indicate the MID when remitting and submitting such
documents as Members Contribution Remittance Form, Short Term
Loan/Multipurpose Loan Applications and Monthly Remittance Schedule
for Multi-Purpose Loans and Housing Loans.
The Pag-IBIG manager also
stressed that members or employees without MID mat secure a
Registration Tracking Number (RTN) by registering online through the
e-member Services facility at www.pagibigfund.gov.ph.
“The RTN can be used in
place of the MID,” Manager Talacay said.
Moreover, for faster posting
of Pag-IBIG contributions and loan payments, member-employees are also
advised to submit a softcopy (computer file) of the remittance
schedules with the fund.
“They can secure our
easy-to-use soft copy format at all Pag-IBIG Branches or online at
www.pagibigfund.gov.ph,” Manager Talacay added.
PNP field training
program augments organic elements
By PIA Samar / NBQ
September 4, 2012
CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar – Some 40 members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) field training
program have been augmenting the police organic force in the city of Catbalogan.
In an interview, Catbalogan
City Police Superintendent Avelino Doncillo said that these new
recruits have been helping out in the crime prevention efforts of the
“This is why we have
enhanced police visibility during business hours in the commercial
district, then, there is also a 7-man team with a patrol car deployed
at the Public Market during ‘market hours’,” the chief told PIA.
“These men have been on hand
to fill up security gaps caused by the shortage of organic personnel,”
Meanwhile, Doncillo said
that Catbalogan is generally peaceful.
“The one month fiesta
activities and Samar Day went on smoothly with no untoward incident,”
he proudly claimed.
One thing though that is
bothering the chief is the presence of minors that have been doing
petty crimes like cellphone snatching and thievery.
“We have coordination with
the City Social Welfare Officer, about these minor offenders but each
time, because of the law, they are out there again,” Doncillo
He suggested that since the
present generation have matured earlier that the age of discernment be
lowered from 18 to 12.
“I think they know what is
right and wrong, at this age.”
He is calling the attention
of lawmakers for the necessary amendments of the Juvenile Justice
8ID joins the whole
nation in advocating peace
By DPAO, 8ID PA
September 3, 2012
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan Samar – The 8th Infantry Division in
coordination with all Government Agencies and Civil Society
Organizations joins the whole nation in the observance of the Annual
National Peace Consciousness Month with the theme “Ikaw, Ako, Tayo,
Magkakaiba, Nagkakaisa Para sa Kapayapaan” which was done on 3
September 2012 at Headquarters 8ID, Camp Lukban, Catbalogan City.