Waiver on secrecy
tops Chiz’s filed bills for 16th congress
By Office of Senator Chiz
July 1, 2013
PASAY CITY – Senator Chiz
Escudero made good his campaign promise to pursue transparency in
government when he filed as his first bill for the 16th Congress a
measure requiring government officials and those seeking public office
to make public their financial records through the signing of waivers
on the secrecy of bank deposits to accompany the submission of SALNs.
Escudero had filed Senate
Bill 16 (SBN 16) or the Submission of Waiver of Bank Deposits Bill, a
legislative measure he filed way back in 2010 that seeks the mandatory
signing of bank waivers. The controversy involving the illegal use of
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) funds prompted the filing of the
“This is a transparency move
I had advocated for several years ago and it is still an advocacy I am
bent to pursue in this fresh mandate given to me by the people. When I
went around the country during the campaign I promised our people I
will continue pursuing measures to fight graft and corruption, I am
only making good my pledge by re-filing this bill, my first
legislative agenda in the 16th Congress” the senator said.
Escudero emphasized that
“government service is a privilege and not a right, therefore everyone
working in and those who plan to join the government should open their
finances to audit”.
SBN 16 stipulates that all
public officials and employees, except those who serve in an honorary
capacity, shall submit with the Ombudsman a written waiver in favor of
the Ombudsman to look into all deposits of whatever nature with banks
or banking institutions, both within and outside the Philippines,
including investment bonds issued by the government of the
The senator challenged his
fellows in Congress to take the lead in the transparency move by
enacting this bill into law.
He signed a similar waiver
last April 25 when he filed his statement of assets and liabilities (SALN)
before the Senate Secretary.
defender says Philippines a paradise for the wealthy and purgatory for
June 30, 2013
QUEZON CITY – “Progress
limited, some backsliding: needs to do better, but systemic barriers
suggest will not improve,” is how Australian Professor Gill Boehringer,
Esq. viewed the three years of the Aquino government.
Prof. Boehringer, an expert
on contemporary state and corporate abuse of human rights, has written
a number of articles on Philippine lawyers, human rights and the
Philippine elections and justice system.
In a statement, he
illustrated the Aquino regime’s track in the past three years, saying
the Aquino administration “in order to maintain its anti-people
program has dished up through an adoring media the self-serving and
contentious message that the economy is doing really well, and
receiving plaudits from round the globe; corruption is under attack;
and the protection of human rights is improving and is far better than
under his predecessor.”
But in reality, he quickly
added, “it (the Aquino government) has failed to act to effectively
prosecute and sanction human rights violators.” Prof. Boehringer also
pointed to the government’s failure “to prioritize Freedom of
Information legislation which is essential for a genuine human rights
In July, Prof. Boehringer
joins human rights and peace advocates from all over the world who are
attending the International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in
the Philippines. Prof. Boehringer is set to address the conference on
the U.S. government’s Asian pivot and the role of Australia as its
“Of course we know that (Noynoy
Aquino’s) real “bosses” (the rich and powerful) are not the ones who
have to worry about their human rights being violated or ignored. The
country is following the typical neo-liberal program whereby
inequality worsens, hunger and poverty continue at high rates,
citizens are driven overseas so their family may have a better income
while unemployment, under-employment and child labor remain
significant problems,” he observed.
“In a country with a
semi-feudal political-economic system generating a huge gap between
rich and the masa, the former will fight in every way possible to
maintain the structure of social, political and economic
relations-including relations of coercion, violence and
state/corporate terror- which have made the Philippines a paradise for
the wealthy and purgatory for the rest,” he ended.
Prof. Boehringer is a former
Dean of Macquarie University Law School, Sydney, Australia, and Former
Director of the Center for the Critical and Historical Study of the
Common Law. He was a delegate in the People’s International Observers’
Mission during the Philippine elections in 2007 and 2010, and
personally observed the 2013 elections.
DAR pours in over
P31-M worth of support projects to increase productivity of Silago
Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 27, 2013
SILAGO, Southern Leyte – The
Department of Agrarian Reform recently turned over more than
P31-million worth of agricultural support projects to the local
government unit (LGU) of this town.
Turned over for the
recipient’s maintenance were the communal irrigation system (CIS) with
a total project cost of P24.8-million; the potable water supply (PWS)
amounting to P4.3-million; and the common service facilities (CSFs)
with a combined total amount of P2.2-million, all situated in Barangay
Hingatungan, an agrarian reform community (ARC).
DAR Regional Director
Eliasem Castillo disclosed that the irrigation system which is
expected to supply water to about 153 hectares of rice fields in the
area and potable water supply that will benefit more than 2,000
residents, were funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
thru the third phase of the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support
Project (ARISP-3) under the Program Beneficiaries Development (PBD)
component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Meanwhile, the farm
machineries which include four hand tractors; four flatbed dryers; and
two threshers were funded under the Agrarian Reform Communities
Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) for the agri-enterprise
activities of the Hingatungan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries
Cooperative, the Regional Director added.
underscored that with irrigation and the necessary farm implements now
in place, agricultural production in this area particularly rice is
expected to improve in the succeeding cropping season.
Eventually, household income
of the farmers where about 500 are agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs)
will likewise increase, Director Castillo added.
These projects will greatly
contribute to the National Rice Program of the Department of
Agriculture in attaining rice sufficiency at least in this province,
the DAR Regional Director said.
PROGAY supports US
Supreme Court approval of marriage equality
By PROGAY Philippines
June 26, 2013
QUEZON CITY – The
Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay) lauded
today's landmark decision on two cases brought before the Supreme
Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to bestow
equal rights to American same couples in 12 states and the
District of Columbia to enjoy marriage rights, adding that much
remains to be done before full equality can be guaranteed for lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens in other states where
there is still no legal rights to marry.
ProGay said the decision to
honor family rights to same sex couples by declaring the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional is historic and auspiciously
timed with the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising of New York
City, the LGBT community's watershed event in the street battles for
gay rights. DOMA was passed 17 years ago by Congress under the
presidency of President Bill Clinton and defined marriage as a union
of a man and a woman.
"The SCOTUS rulings can
inspire LGBTs and their allies in many countries around the world to
advance human rights," said Clyde Pumihic, spokesperson of ProGay,
which is preparing for a gay pride parade this week in Baguio City to
mark the 19th year of the first pride march in Asia and the
The SCOTUS also dismissed
Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban which reinstates
marriage equality for 18,000 couples wed in 2007 and all other couples
who plan to marry. Both rulings provide many legal benefits including
tax breaks, hospital visitation rights, and parenting choices.
ProGay congratulated the
American LGBT community as same sex couples can have more legal basis
to repeal unequal laws in 50 states, especially California, which can
now marry gays next month. "Marriage equality will not ruin
heterosexual marriages and family, and in fact will even strengthen
ProGay also expressed regret
that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines or CBCP is
exerting political influence in getting a popular gay-themed soap
opera "My Husband's Lover" suspended by the country's television
review board. "Our dear bishops should appreciate that the moral of
that TV show is about letting gay men make correct decisions to love
their fellow gay men and not be forced into loveless marriages
enforced by culture."
Philippine LGBT rights
activists have been fighting for two decades now for legal rights, and
has been pushing for the enactment in Congress of a law that bans
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
VP Binay - criminal
cases can be filed in PHL vs labor staff in “sex for flight”; hails
courage of OFWs who testified
By OVP Media
June 26, 2013
MANILA – Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today said administrative and criminal cases can be
filed in the Philippines against labor and embassy staff if incidents
of sexual harassment, rape, abuse or maltreatment happened inside the
Philippine embassy compound.
Binay said the embassy is
considered an extension of Philippine territory. If the offense was
committed outside the embassy grounds, then the host country has
jurisdiction and the Philippine government is duty-bound to extend
legal help to complainants.
“Maaari silang sampahan ng
administrative at criminal charges at makakapag-proseso lamang tayo ng
criminal charges kung nangyari ang krimen sa loob ng embassy,” Binay
“Ang embassy ay itinuturing
na bahagi ng Philippine jurisdiction. Kapag sa labas ng embassy
nangyari ang krimen, saklaw na iyon ng host country. Maaari pa ring
magsampa ng kasong kriminal ang biktima pero iyon ay ipo-proseso na sa
lugar kung saan nangyari ang krimen. Ang magagawa ng ating gobyerno ay
tulungan ang biktima para ipaglaban ang kanyang kaso,” he added.
The Vice President cited the
women who testified against some labor officials for their bravery,
and urged other victims and witnesses to the “sex for flight” scheme
to come forward and submit formal complaints and testimonies.
He assured them of
protection and vowed that government will prosecute labor and embassy
staff found to have committed acts of sexual abuse, harassment, rape
“Huwag kayong matakot. Ang
dapat matakot dito ay ‘yong mga nang-agrabyado. Isumbong ninyo agad sa
amin ang anumang kaso ng pang-aabuso nang sa gayon ay magawan agad
namin ito ng aksyon,” Binay said.
“Determinado ang ating
pamahalaan, sa pamumuno ni Pangulong Aquino, na protektahan ang
kapakanan ng ating mga OFW. Kaya makakaasa kayong tutulong kami sa
pagtugis sa sinumang mananamantala sa inyo,” he added.
The Vice President said the
swift action of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Del Rosario is proof
that the administration is determined to address the issue. He
welcomed Del Rosario’s order to expand the probe to include all other
Binay also said he was
informed that the Ople Policy Center, a non-government organization
that directly assists distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), is
also in touch with two former OFWs who are prepared to file complaints
of sexual harassment against certain labor personnel.
While these OFWs are not
involved in the "sex for flight" controversy, Binay said their
experiences at the shelters would help in making sure that what they
experienced would not happen to any other OFW seeking refuge in these
RSOG nabs suspect
in rape of 15-year old student
By RPCRD, Police Regional
June 25, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte –
The elite unit of Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) arrested recently an
18-year old out-of-school-youth suspected of raping a 15-year old high
school student in 2011 in Dulag town in Leyte.
Eastern Visayas police
director PCSupt. Elmer Ragadio Soria said that Anthony Ibañez y
Capungcol alias Klote, of Brgy. Alegre, Dulag town, was arrested in a
manhunt operation conducted by PRO8’s Regional Special Operations
Group (RSOG) Saturday evening at the outskirts of said village.
The arresting team, led by
SPO4 Ananias Monteroso, was armed with an alias warrant of arrest
issued by Judge Rogelio Sescon of Regional Trial Court Branch 7,
Tacloban City issued on July 11, 2012.
Accused is facing charges of
Forcible Abduction with Rape in criminal case number 2012-04-295 filed
by a 15-year old girl in 2011.
Follow-up manhunt operations
conducted by same police team also led to the arrest of Ibañez’
co-accused, identified as Emily Peleño, 19, charged as an accomplice
in same crime.
Judge Sescon did not
recommend bail bond for the suspects’ temporary liberty.
Accused Ibañez was a suitor
of the then 15-year old victim, Erika (not her real name), who was
then a third year high school student.
Erika informed the Women and
Children Protection Desk (WCPD) investigators of Dulag police station
that she was about to report to her classes in the afternoon of
November 22, 2011 when she chanced upon Ibañez and Peleño who invited
her to go with them to Brgy. Rawis since Peleño, her friend, will get
money from her mother who resides in said place.
While hesitant at first,
Erika went with the two and they arrived in the area at past 4:00 P.M.
After Peleño talked with her mother, they crossed the river and stayed
in a nipa hut owned by Peleño’s friend.
The suspects then have a
drinking spree and despite the victim’s pleadings that she be allowed
to go home as her mother was waiting for her, the two ignored her
until evening comes.
Erika said that she got
tired of insisting so she decided to sleep. At around midnight, she
was awakened upon sensing that suspect was on top of her. She resisted
but Ibañez succeeded with his evil motive.
The victim was fetched by
village officials the following day wherein they immediately filed a
complaint to the police.
“With the suspect’s arrest,
the victim will finally get the justice she deserves,” Soria said.
Soria added that PRO8 had
intensified Manhunt: Charlie, the police’ campaign against persons
wanted by law for them to face trial on the cases filed against them.
Moreno alyas Ka Kulas and his wife Nida Lugares Moreno alias
receives P50,000.00 from Col. Mario G Lacurom INF (GSC) PA,
Deputy Brigade Commander, 803Bde, 8ID, PA at Brgy Trojillo,
Bobon, Northern Samar as remuneration for the two (2) Cal .45
Pistols that they surrendered as part of the AFP’s Gun for Peace
Program. Also present during the activity is Mayor Rene
Celespara of Bobon, LTC Noel A Vestuir (INF) GSC PA, CO, 20IB,
8ID, PA and 1LT Andrew M Linao, CO, BCO, 20IB, 8ID PA.
encourages comrades and followers to surrender
By 20th Infantry Battalion,
June 24, 2013
BRGY. MAGSAYSAY, Lope de
Vega, Northern Samar – Lemuel Moreno alias Ka Kulas, the squad leader
of Seksyon Komite 2 (SK2), Front Committee 2 (FC2), Northern Samar
Provincial Party Committee (NSPPC) of the Eastern Visayas Regional
Party Committee EVRPC who surrendered to 20th Infantry (We Lead)
Battalion, along with his wife, Nida Lugares Moreno alias Mina,
Medical Offr, SK2, F2, NSPPC, EVRPC last June 13, 2013 urged his
comrades and followers to surrender.
Ka Kulas calls for his
comrades and followers to return to the mainstream of society during
the giving of immediate cash assistance amounting to Fifty Thousand
Pesos (P50,000.00) as part of the remuneration after he turned over
two (2) caliber .45 pistols, in a simple ceremony held yesterday, June
23, 2013 at 10:00 o’clock in the morning at Barangay Trojillo, Bobon,
The said amount was given in
consonance the AFP’s Gun for Peace Program that provides corresponding
amount to former rebels who turn-in firearms as a manifestation of
their commitment to leave the revolutionary organization and to live
decent and normal lives with their families.
According to alyas Kulas, he
decided to surrender after knowing of the program from some of the
residents in their former mass base barangays in the hinterlands of
Bobon, Northern Samar.
Due to the continued
presence of government troops in the barangays that conduct peace and
development activities, alyas Kulas and his group has experienced
hardships of hiding, moving from one place to another that forced him
to realize the futility of his continued struggle since the mass base
that they considered their own, are no longer supporting them.
According to Kulas, “Makuri an sige tago kay diri na kami
ginsusuportahan sa mga tawo nga gin lalauman namon nga mga masa sa mga
barangay (It is hard to keep on hiding since the people that we
believe to be our mass base would no longer help us in the barangays).
LTC Noel Vestuir, the
Commanding Officer of 20IB on his part said that, due to the continued
combat and social pressure exerted by the government troops and with
the collaboration and support of all the stakeholders to include the
people, the movements of the armed NPAs in the hinterland barangays
were restricted and they could no longer hide in the barangays since
the people are already tired of their extortion activities and
supporting the revolutionary movement.
Vestuir said, “With the
continued and concerted efforts of all our peace and development
stakeholders, we were able to bring the programs and services of the
government up to the remotest barangays in the area. This has allowed
the people to realize that indeed the government is sincere in
bringing peace and development in the barangays unlike what the NPAs
are doing, they took advantage of the people’s hard earned resources
to support their revolutionary struggle”.
Vestuir also calls for the
remaining NPA regulars to lay down their arms and avail the current
programs of the government that could help them as they return to the
mainstream of our society. He also thanked the stakeholders as well as
the people in the barangays for their continued support to the ongoing
peace and development efforts of Philippine Army in the area.
“We will welcome and help
those who choose to live in peace, but we will not hesitate to use the
full might and strength of our forces to those who continue to
threaten the people in the barangays that we are bound to serve”,
6 agrarian scholars
in EV earn college degrees
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
June 22, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY – Six more
recipients of the Programang Agraryo Iskolar (PAI) in Region-8 joined
thousands other graduates who completed college education this school
Department of Agrarian Reform Region 8 Director Eliasem Castillo said
that three of the scholars graduated from the Eastern Samar State
University (ESSU) main campus while the remaining three from the
Visayas State University (VSU) Tolosa, Leyte Campus; Southern Leyte
State University (SLSU) Tomas Oppus campus and Naval State University
(NSU) in Naval, Biliran.
The three graduates from ESSU in Borongan City all took up a degree in
Grace Lumaghos and Christian Jay Lopido finished Civil Engineering,
while Andrie Caspe completed a course in Electrical Engineering.
Meanwhile Gabriel Abad, Alma Labastida and Aigy Rose completed BS
Fisheries (VSU), BS in Information Technology (SLSU) and BS Education
All six graduates are dependents of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs)
which made them qualified to avail of the PAI offered by the
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) as among the numerous support
services extended under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program
According to Director Castillo, in Eastern Visayas, there were 108
recipients of the scholarship program who have earned college degrees
as of April of this year.
DAR started offering this scholarship program to deserving children of
ARBs during the school year 2003-2004.
Since then, 2,494 recipients have already graduated from various
courses throughout the country as of 2012.
Director Castillo added that many of them have landed better paying
jobs in the region and in Metro Manila.
Castillo further disclosed that in 2009, Mr. Omar Jayag, one of the
PAI recipients in the Region, placed 5th in the Agricultural
Engineering Board exam.
Currently, Jayag is in Belgium taking up advanced studies, Mr. Jose
Alsmith Soria, DAR Information Officer said.
VP Binay: Inaction
on illegal settling is an offense
By OVP Media
June 22, 2013
PASAY CITY – Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said inaction by local officials on the proliferation
of illegal settlers in their jurisdiction can be considered an
“Local government official
ako nang matagal. Alam namin na may responsibilidad kami diyan.
Inaction is an offense,” he said during an interview Friday at the
Before becoming vice
president, Binay served Makati City as mayor for 24 years. He
currently chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating
Binay warned that officials
who allow the number of illegal settlers to balloon in their area may
be meted with administrative sanctions.
“I suppose at least may
warning ‘yon. Kasi inaction ‘yon, ‘yong tolerance,” he added.
The Vice President, however,
acknowledged that the country’s policy on putting an end to illegal
settling had been inconsistent.
“Noong 1986 hanggang sa
‘90s, ilang beses binago. Oops, extension ng one year. Oops, walang
tatanggalin. Oops, ‘yon nga, may eleksyon. May mga nangangako na hindi
kayo (paaalisin). Gagawan ng paraan, etcetera, etcetera. Yun naman ang
mga nakaantala dun,” he said.
Binay stressed that the
government should be firm in its policy on how to address the issue.
He also appealed to
prospective barangay official candidates not to use the elections in
October to tolerate illegal settling.
As of 2011, Metro Manila has
104,219 informal settler families (ISF) living in danger areas,
President Benigno Aquino III
had approved a P50 billion budget for the housing program for ISFs.
The program, which is
intended to be completed by 2016, provided for in-city, near-city and
Currently, the National
Housing Authority has 10 multi-level low-rise housing projects in
various stages of development and construction that will generate some
6,426 housing units for Metro Manila ISFs.
Sen. Pia lauds
passage of Universal Health Care Act
By Office of Senator Pia S.
June 22, 2013
PASAY CITY – “No one
should be left behind.”
This is the underlining
philosophy of the new PhilHealth Law (Republic Act 10606), says its
principal sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Chairman of the
Committee on Health and Demography.
“With this new law, we seek
to identify and enroll the poorest segments of the population,
numbering to about 25 million Filipinos, under the National Health
“In the past, there was a
gap in the law because the poorest of the poor were not covered by
PhilHealth unless their local government units or their Congressmen
sponsored the payment of their premiums. Only those who could afford
to pay the premiums were able to benefit from Philhealth and these
would primarily be the formally employed," Cayetano said.
“Unfortunately, not all LGUs
had the capability to sponsor the PhilHealth enrolment of their poor
constituents, while other LGUs do not see this as a priority at all.
And so we were left with a situation where the poor were,
by-and-large, left out of the national health insurance system when
they should be its primary beneficiaries.”
“This measure addresses a
shortcoming in the implementation of the original PhilHealth law (RA
7875) by ensuring that the poorest of the poor, including the
indigents, unemployed, self-employed, and those from the informal
sector, would be enrolled in PhilHealth and would actually benefit
from its programs and services,” she added.
To give effect to the law’s
provision on mandatory coverage, she said premium contributions for
indigent members would be “fully subsidized” by the national
government and appropriated in the Department of Health’s budget under
the annual General Appropriations Act approved by Congress.
Other vulnerable sectors
include the lower bracket of the informal economy, such as street
hawkers, market and ambulant vendors. Although these low-income groups
may not necessarily qualify as poor in the means test of DSWD because
of certain factors, their incomes are still not above the poverty
“Their membership shall be
entirely subsidized by their respective LGUs, or through cost-sharing
mechanisms between or among the LGUs, legislative sponsors (senators,
congressmen) and other sponsors, including the national government,”
“The difficult task of
identifying and classifying indigent and low-income beneficiaries will
be undertaken by the DSWD. But the agency need not start from scratch
since it has been implementing the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT)
program for several years already.”
Consistent with its
principle of universality and compulsory coverage, she said the law
mandates LGUs to pay for the premium contributions of all barangay
health workers, nutrition scholars, and other barangay workers and
volunteers; for employers to shoulder the premium payments of their
household workers (also in accordance with the ‘Kasambahay Law’);
while DSWD will shoulder the contributions of orphans, abandoned
minors, out of school youths, street children, and battered women
under its care or those of its accredited non-government
Lastly, members in the
formal economy and their employers, as well as government employees
and the government agency they work for, shall continue paying the
same monthly contributions as provided for by law.
The National Health
Insurance Act of 2013 was signed into law by President Benigno S.
Aquino III on Wednesday (June 19).