Land Use experts
blast Senate favor of CREBA lobby contra land use bill
By CLUP Now!
February 8, 2013
QUEZON CITY – “KANIN
o SEMENTO ang kakainin niyo?”
This was the cry of land use
experts, government officials with farmers, fishers, urban poor in a
press conference to the Senators and realtors that derailed the
passing of the National Land Use Act (NLUA) last Wednesday, February
Carrying a plate of rice and a plate of cement, the group firmly said
that if we want our future generations to be fed, the NLUA must be
Present at the press conference were Department of Agriculture
Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano, Climate Change Commissioner Yeb Sano,
land use expert and environmental planner Dr. Elmer Mercado, former
Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor Percy
Chavez, and sector leaders from the farmers, fisherfolk and urban poor
The NLUA bill was stalled on second hearing after Senator Bongbong
Marcos was nowhere to be found in the Plenary hall to deliver his
amendments on the Bill.
His absence led Senate Majority Floor Leader Tito Sotto to suspend the
deliberations on the Bill. He said there are 53 amendments from CREBA
(Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association, Inc.) coursed
through Senator Marcos for the NLUA.
Senators Villar, Enrile and Recto, who also reserved to interpellate
did not proceed anymore. Senator Enrile reasoned the day before that
he wanted to study the bill further.
Environmental planner Dr. Elmer Mercado said, “It’s actually no
question why we need NLUA. It’s a global concern, it addresses
disaster and climate change mitigation, food security and safe
settlements as well. I don’t believe present land use plans of LGUs do
not have national perspective. The national land use act will give an
overall framework to the country’s sustainable use of resources.”
Mercado continues that it’s good that it’s certified as priority bill
by President Aquino but the politicians in Congress are blocking it.
“If CREBA understands the law, it will know that NLUA does not give
away local autonomy from the LGUs. It recognizes different situations
for every local government but there is a need for an overall
framework and guide in land use planning. Parang holen na dapat hindi
titirahin na sabog-sabog para iisa lang ang direksyon,“ he added.
USec. Fred Serrano said that there is limited land, and if we do not
protect it and save it from conversion, food security is put in peril.
“At the Department of Agriculture, we have always supported the
prioritization of the land use bill. The bill pushes to protect prime
agricultural lands based on the definition in the Agriculture and
Fisheries Modernization Act. Unfortunately, it’s the same senators
opposing AFMA who seem to be working against NLUA,” said the USec.
In other countries, USec. Serrano said that Thailand and Vietnam is
protecting even more lands than the Philippines. Vietnam uses 7
million hectares for rice land alone due to national security.
Percy Chavez who formerly sat in the Presidential Commission on the
Urban Poor said that housing sector and the urban poor sector
recognizes food security needs and that prime land cemented cannot be
reverted to agriculture.
“3.7 million units of housing are needed. With NLUA, there will be
selected places for appropriate housing for all sectors. There is
opportunity loss in the lands that we can use for the benefit of all,”
Members of the Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!) were
highly dismayed by the result of the Senate session. Last Monday,
February 4, the Certification as Urgent of the NLUA bill from
Malacanang was delivered and read at the Senate floor. This boosted
CLUP Now’s hopes for the passage of a law that was first filed in the
The Marcos and Villar amendments have already reached Senator Gringo
Honasan, NLUA’s sponsor, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Senator Honasan was ready to answer all the amendments. But Senator
Marcos openly defied the Presidential order to pass the NLUA urgently
by not showing up at all. We would have welcomed a debate to refine
the bill further. Bong-bong’s absence has put this nation and all our
children’s future food security and safety at risk. As a parent, I got
very upset,” said Anthony Marzan, CLUP Now! convenor.
The “CREBA” amendments centered on striking out the coverage of prime
agricultural lands under the Protection Areas land use category. They
also question the conversion and reversion clauses and penalties in
the bill, saying it was sounding too much like another CARP Extension
“Makitid po ang analysis na iyan dahil higit na malawak ang sakop ng
batas NLUA sa paggamit ng lupa. Di lang Protection land use ang
sinisiguro niyan kundi ang mga tamang lugar na panirahan. Kailangan
wala ito sa lugar na madaling naapektuhan ng pagbaha at pagguho ng
lupa upang maiwasan ang mga aksidente na kumikitil ng napakaraming
buhay,” stressed Audie Lavador of the Urban Land Reform Movement.
Marzan adds, “Senator Marcos, if you would have studied the NLUA
suince the oo, local autonomy is NOT being compromised. There are
processes involved in formulating the National Land Use Plan. Only the
framework and guidelines to formulate the plan will be set at the
National level. The CLUPs will then be formulated from the ground and
consolidated by the National Land use Committee to make the National
Land Use Plan.”
“We issue this challenge especially to Senators Marcos, Villar, and
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to study the proposed NLUA bill as
you requested and be ready to interpellate on the floor on June 5,
when session resumes. Do not endanger this nation further by delaying
the passage of NLUA!” said Marzan.
Chiz in tie for top
spot in Pulse Asia survey
By Office of Senator Chiz
February 8, 2013
PASAY CITY – Independent
candidate Senator Chiz Escudero was in a statistical tie for the
number one spot in the latest survey of senatorial candidates by
pollster Pulse Asia.
Coalition candidate Loren Legarda garnered a rating of 58 percent
while Escudero came in with 54.3 percent. With a margin of error of
+/- two percentage points, the two reelectionists were in a
statistical tie for number one.
The survey was conducted
last January 19 to 30.
“I am happy and humbled by
the continued confidence by the people, but what is important is that
public servants seeking the people’s vote like me continue to work to
prove that we are worthy of the positions entrusted to us,” Escudero
The latest Pulse Asia poll
showed that behind Legarda and Escudero were Team Pinoy’s Sen. Alan
Peter Cayetano at third with 48.9 percent, while United Nationalist
Alliance (UNA) bets Nancy Binay, 43.6 percent, and San Juan City Rep.
JV Ejercito were tied for fourth and fifth places.
Other candidates who came
out in the Magic 12 were Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, 41.1 percent; Sen.
Aquilino Pimentel, 40.7 percent; UNA’s Cagayan Representative Juan
Ponce Enrile Jr., 40.4 percent; and former Las Piñas Representative
Cynthia Villar, 39.1 percent.
Completing the list for the
magic 12 are UNA’s Sen. Migz Zubiri, 37.6 percent, Aurora Province
Rep. Edgardo Angara of Team Pinoy, 37.1 percent; and Sen. Gringo
Honasan, 36.8 percent.
Pulse Asia noted the close
difference in the numbers among the candidates ranked from fourth to
Statistically tied for 13th
to 16th places are Team Pinoy’s Bam Aquino, Independent Grace Poe and
UNA’s Dick Gordon.
Pulse Asia said the survey
also showed that with less than four months to go before the May 2013
elections, only about a third of the respondents, or 34 percent, has a
complete senatorial slate with most having a definite eight candidates
in their list of preferred senators.
to push for "child-centered" elections
By Save the Children
February 8, 2013
MANILA – A group of
non-government and civil society organizations and child-led groups
working for the protection of children's rights will embark on a
campaign that will advance children’s issues at the center of
electoral discussions this May 2013 national elections.
The nationwide campaign,
dubbed as "Bata Muna" will urge candidates to adopt a political
platform that will stand up for children and their rights. It will
also educate voters to choose candidates that do not only kiss and hug
babies during sorties, but candidates who have concrete policies and
programs for children.
“This campaign aims to
educate voters, candidates and the general public on the urgency of
children’s issues and to bring these issues into the heart of public
discussion and debate specifically for the coming elections. We hope
to raise as many voices as possible, including the voices of children
themselves, calling on every voter to vote for candidates who will
stand up for children’s rights,” says Anna Lindenfors, Country
Director of Save the Children in the Philippines.
“The campaign also aims to
convince political candidates to include the issues of children in
their electoral platform,” adds Lindenfors.
The Philippines, having
ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), has an
obligation to do its best, to the full extent of its resources, to
make sure that the rights of the child are realized in the country.
Currently, 193 countries are signatory to the UN CRC.
Meanwhile, Rodelio Ablir,
Executive Director of the Samahan ng Mamamayan - Zone One Tondo
Organization (SM-ZOTO) opines, "we have to carefully check and elect
government officials that truly care for our children and their
rights. During elections, candidates repetitively boast that they care
for children only to realize that very few of them, when elected, will
responsibly stand up for our kids. It is very disappointing that
legislative proposals that are meant to protect our children are not
considered important and had to take a back seat, while bills that
threaten children’s well-being are persistently being pushed.”
“For example, our senators
and congressmen are leaving the proposed positive discipline bill
behind while fast tracking the amendments of the juvenile justice law
specially lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15
to 12. It seems that our legislators, now in the bicameral level, are
more motivated in sending children beginning the age of 12 into jail
while at the same time are very cautious in taking up banning corporal
punishment of children, still pending at 1st reading in the Senate as
of this time” adds Ablir.
Lindenfors explains that
children constitute the biggest proportion of the population that
access basic services from the government. Thus, they suffer the most
when services are poor or lacking, or when government is weak or
inefficient. Just like any other citizen, children deserve quality
programs and services. They deserve accountable, responsive and honest
government officials who will look after their best interest.
“If we have these kinds of leaders in office, parents will no longer
worry if they have a sick child, if they don’t have enough money for
their children’s schooling or if their child is outside of their home
because they know that their government will protect and provide
quality services for their children,” she explains.
It has been observed that,
across the world, bad governance has had a devastating effect on
children, often contributing to conflict, climate change, poverty and,
ultimately, the failure to promote the survival and wellbeing of the
The nationwide campaign will
kick off in March with a solidarity launch to be jointly organized by
Save the Children, SM-ZOTO, Plan International, ChildFund, Asia ACTs,
Children Talk to Children (C2C) about the UN CRC Project and
WomanHealth Philippines. The highlight of the campaign is a dialogue
between the political candidates and children.
Police raids in ex-brgy
chairman, son’s house yields grenades
By RPCRD, Police Regional
February 7, 2013
CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – A former barangay chairman in Calbayog City and his namesake
son who is also the village’s councilman are in hot water after the
Regional Special Operation Task Group (RSOTG-Samar) found hand
grenades in raids conducted on their respective homes early Wednesday
Eastern Visayas top police
official Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria of Police
Regional Office 8 (PRO8) said that simultaneous police raid in the
houses of Antonio Casurao Bantad Sr alias Donyong and his son Antonio
Ladag Bantad Jr alias Nonoy, both situated at Brgy Danao, Tinambacan
Dist in Calbayog City at around 5:30 o’ clock early Wednesday morning
yielded two hand grenades and the subsequent arrests of the two
The elder Bantad is a former
barangay chairman of said village, a position now being held by his
wife Marina. The younger Bantad, meanwhile, is a barangay kagawad of
“These police operations are
part of our effort in ensuring secure and fair elections in Samar
province which was earlier listed as an election priority area,” the
Regional Director said.
Soria added this is the
first time that explosives were seized by PRO8 in law enforcement
operations since the start of the election period last January 13
which so far have resulted in the arrest of 14 gun ban violators and
confiscation of 20 firearms of assorted calibers.
The top police official
informed that the police teams are clothed by search warrants issued
by Hon. Alphinor C. Serrano, Executive Judge of Regional Trial Court
Branch 6 in Tacloban City.
The raid in the elder
Bantad’s house was led by Police Superintendent Rolando Bade and was
witnessed by barangay kagawads Florencio Lucis and Fructouso
Bustamante and Chief Tanod Jose Commendador. Aside from a hand
grenade, the police team also recovered 4 slugs of undetermined
implementation of the search warrant in the younger Bantad’s house was
led by Police Superintendent Hector Enage and was witnessed by
barangay kagawad Rolito Monarba and barangay tanod Raul Ariata that
resulted in the confiscation of a hand grenade, one bladed weapon
locally known as “balisong” and iron fist locally known as jabbing-lesa”.
“Cases for violation of
Republic Act 9516 are being prepared for filing in court against the
two suspects who are currently detained at Calbayog City Police
Station lock-up cell,” Soria added.
Said law, approved on
December 22, 2008, amended certain provisions of Presidential Decree
1866 codifying the laws on illegal/unlawful possession, manufacture,
dealing in, acquisition or disposition of firearms, ammunition or
explosives or instruments used in the manufacture of firearms,
ammunition or explosives, and imposing stiffer penalties for certain
poverty in Samar thru goat, sheep raising
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
February 7, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY – The
Department of Agriculture has taken another major initiative in its
quest to reduce poverty in the three Samar provinces. This time, the
agency is banking not just on crops, but more on livestock,
particularly the sunrise small ruminant industry.
Regional Executive Director
Antonio Gerundio informed that presently, the DA-8 is spearheading the
implementation of the Samar Island Small Ruminant Rural Enterprise
Development (SA-SR-RED) Project.
This is a multi-agency
five-year (2013-2017) project focusing on goat and sheep production,
RED Gerundio said. It has two distinct components: the Samar Island
Goat Enterprise (SIGE) Development and the Samar Island Sheep (SAIS)
Production Rural Enterprise Development (RED).
The project aims to
alleviate poverty in the rural areas by transforming goat and sheep
raising from a subsistence type of farm activity into a viable goat
and sheep-based rural enterprise.
“Goat and sheep raising is
now a highly profitable enterprise, thus, a reliable livelihood option
especially for the farmers in the countryside,” DA-8 Regional
Technical Director and Project Proponent Wilson A. Cerbito said.
As a preparatory activity,
DA first conducted the Samar Island Small Ruminant Enterprise
Development Stakeholders’ Consultation Workshop and Pre-Implementation
Meeting on January 30-31, 2013 at the Press Hall, Leyte Park Resort
and Hotel, Tacloban City.
All identified project key
players were represented in the said forum comprised of DA-8’s top
officials, research and extension experts, coordinating officers and
focal persons, provincial, city and municipal agriculturists and
veterinarians, agricultural academe officials, goat and sheep raisers,
and representatives from the Non-Government Associations and people’s
The meeting resulted in the
development of a strategic action plan for 2013, the identification of
focal areas to be developed as the multiplier and production sites at
the provincial and municipal levels and the selection of
farmer-partners. More importantly, commitment of support was expressed
by the project partners.
“A strong cooperation and
support from all stakeholders is what we need the most to successfully
implement this project,” RTD Cerbito said.
He disclosed that from the
total multi-year budget of P10 million, P2 million has been allotted
for year 2013 to undertake priority implementation activities. Each
project component will have an allocation of P1 million for the year,
Meanwhile, RTD Cerbito
enjoined the group to learn from the experiences gained from the Rural
Enterprise Development (RED) thru Innovative Goat Production Systems
Project which was implemented in 2007 with Villaba and Tabango, Leyte
as the pilot municipalities.
“The RED Project gains must
be rolled out to a wider application region wide. This time, with the
Samar Island development agenda, we’ll do it even better because we
will inject new but complementary extension approaches. This only
means that we are not starting from scratch. We already have a good
foundation in terms of project implementation arrangements plus a much
improved inputs therefore, we have greater chance to succeed,” he
Meantime, Ms Lydia Aquino, a
goat raiser from Eastern Samar said, I feel very happy and blessed to
have been invited to this forum because aside from the wider spectrum
of knowledge that I have gained in the past couple of days, I was able
to realize that there is still a lot more in store for me in terms of
further improving and expanding my goat production project through the
Ms Aquino is a farmer
graduate of the School-on-the-Air on Goat Production way back in the
1990s, Ms. Jessa Faye Macapañas of DA RAFID said. Ms. Aquino’s
interest in goat raising started when she was convinced through the
said broadcast course that goat raising has promising economic
potentials that would bring significant development to small farm
holders like her.
Cebu films gaining
VILLEGAS, RAFI intern
February 7, 2013
CEBU CITY – Local filmmakers remain hopeful that the burgeoning of the Cebuano film scene will eventually usher a film industry in Cebu.
“We are really envisioning that we can make a Cebuano film industry.
We continue to produce quality films, we don’t lose hope because we
know we’ll reach that goal. At present, it’s Cebuano film scene only,
we can’t call it industry yet. It’s still a community of filmmakers,”
Remton Zuasola, award-winning Cebuano director, shared during the Feb.
2 episode of "Pagtuki", the official radio program of Ramon Aboitiz
Foundation Inc. (RAFI).
Keith Deligero, another award-winning Cebuano filmmaker, added since
2005, when Cebuano filmmaking scene started to bloom, until today, the
number of filmmakers is increasing but the number of viewers is not
But Zuasola also expressed his happiness on the positive, though slow,
public response to Cebuano films.
Deligero also pointed out financial constraints in independent
“In Indie, you can avail corporate freedom but the trade off is the
limitation in the budget,” Deligero said.
Despite this, he still encourages filmmakers to continue creating
films, but they have to be prepared for many challenges.
Karl Damayo, museum collections officer of RAFI Casa Gorordo Museum,
related the importance of Cebuano films as a depiction of Cebuano
“Our films are like our old stories, legends, and folktales that are
presented visually. They manifest our values, beliefs, and practices
as a people,” Damayo said.
He also added that Cebu experienced a "Golden Age of Cebuano Films" in
the 1950s. Cebu yielded 10 to 20 films; it was also the time when
Cebuano actors Gloria Sevilla and Caridad Sanchez rose to fame.
Pagtuki is aired over DyLA every Saturday at 10-11am. The program,
which is one of the Knowledge Sharing & Advocacy capabilities of RAFI,
tackles timely and relevant issues on politics, governance, economy,
education, and culture and the arts that affect the Cebuano community.
Army man, Brgy.
Chairman, latest gun ban violators in EV
By RPCRD, Police Regional
February 6, 2013
CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – A member of the Philippine Army and a village chair are now
among the latest violators of the Commission on Elections’ gun ban,
the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) announced.
The army man was arrested
during a police patrol operation while the firearm of the barangay
chairman was seized by his own brother and turned-over to the police
over the weekend.
“PRO8 will remain active in
enforcing the gun ban through checkpoints, search warrants and focus
police operations to ensure the success of the Secure and Fair
Elections (SAFE 2013) program,” Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria, PRO8 Regional Director said.
Soria added that since the
start of the gun ban last January 13, PRO8 have already arrested 14
violators and confiscated 20 assorted firearms. Three of the violators
were arrested in Comelec checkpoints, 3 nabbed during the
implementation of search warrants, 6 were arrested as a result of
police response and patrol operations and two by citizen’s arrest.
Of the 20 confiscated
firearms, 9 were .45 caliber pistols, three .38 caliber revolvers,
three shotguns, one .22 caliber revolver, one .22 caliber air rifle, a
homemade shotgun (bardog) and two PVC cannons or boga.
Reports reaching PRO8
disclosed that one Cpl. Ernie Buton y Densing, assigned at Brgy.
Maduruto patrol base of the 43rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine
Army in Matuguinao, Samar was arrested on Saturday night while
carrying a caliber .45 Colt 1911 pistol with serial number 758204 with
6 ammunitions by elements of the Regional Public Safety Battalion
(RPSB8) who were conducting foot patrol operations in the vicinity of
Brgy. Mabuligon of said town.
Buton was in civilian attire
and reportedly under the influence of liquor when accosted by the
police. He failed to show any gun license or any document exempting
him from the gun ban.
The army man, with the
confiscated firearm, was immediately brought to Matuguinao Municipal
Police Station for proper disposition.
Meanwhile, in a separate
incident, the Leyte Municipal Police Station in Leyte province is
preparing appropriate charges to be filed against Barangay Palarao
Chairman Julianito Villegas.
Villegas reportedly went to
the barn owned by his brother Romulo on Sunday morning and punched the
latter but missed. He then drew a caliber .45 pistol and pointed it to
Romulo which in turn grappled for the possession of the gun and
eventually subdued the village chair.
The firearm, a Colt MK IV
model bearing serial number 218634 with 5 live bullets and an empty
shell of .45 caliber were turned over by Romulo to responding police
Under Comelec Resolution No.
9561-A, no person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or other
deadly weapons outside his residence or place of business, and in
public places including any buildings, streets, parks, and private
vehicles or public conveyances, even if licensed to possess or to
carry the same, except only law enforcers in full uniform and on duty,
during the election period from January 13 until June 12, 2013.
600 Philex labor
unions, local governments, indigenous peoples, cooperatives held Cañao
ritual to urge Aquino, DENR to re-open Philex
February 6, 2013
QUEZON CITY – Some 600
members of the Philex labor unions, local government officials,
indigenous peoples and non-government organizations performed a cañao
ritual in front of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department
of Natural Environment and Resources (MGB-DENR) yesterday in urging
government to lift the suspension order following the mine tailings
accident more than six months ago.
“We are shedding the blood
of a boar right on the steps of the MGB as a petition for the
enlightenment of their minds. This is also to signify how urgent and
important our cause is. It’s been more than six months since the mines
were ordered closed. We are afraid Philex might shutdown and we might
eventually lose our jobs if they do not re-open the mine site,” said
Renerio Lardizabal, president of the Philex supervisory employees
He claimed that all 5,000
employees of Philex could be laid off and 25,000 other members of the
community who could be disenfranchised if the company will not be
allowed to resume operations.
“We are asking President
Aquino and the DENR to lift the suspension order and allow the
operation of the mine so that we can continue to work without anxiety
of losing our jobs,” said Alex Bedongen, president of Philex rank and
file employees union.
Local government and
barangay officials, school teachers, non-government organizations
joined the rally and expressed support with the unions.
A discharge of sediments at
one of the tailing pond of the mine occurred on August 1 last year.
Employees and management teams immediately conducted rehabilitation of
the environment and clean up of affected areas in Ballog and Agno
rivers which connects to San Roque dam.
Philex will be allowed by
the government to operate temporarily only after paying the
environmental violation penalty which will be used to compensate
affected claimants and rehabilitate affected areas and other
“Now that these obligations
have been satisfied, the TUCP see no other obstacles for President
Aquino and for Secretary Paje to prolong the agony and uncertainty of
the Philex workers and their families and the thousands in communities
whose daily subsistence is dependent on the mine’s daily operations,”
said Gerard Seno, general-secretary of TUCP.
The Associated Labor Unions
president Michael Mendoza said “Philex unions are affiliated, Philex
Mining Supervisory Employees Unions-APSOTEU and the Philex Rank and
File Employees Union in commending the Philex management by
continuing, until today, the full salaries, wages, benefits and
privileges of all Philex workers despite of its voluntary stoppage of
operations six months ago.”
He added that if the
government continues to ignore workers’ urgent call to re-open the
mine site, Philex might be forced to voluntary shut down and
eventually destroy the future of its workers and their families. The
Philex unions are affiliated with ALU since 2006. ALU is the biggest
labor federation in the country today.