No major crimes in
By RPCRD, Police Regional
December 11, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – There were no major crime incidents recorded in Tacloban
City and other affected areas in Eastern Visayas more than a month
after super typhoon Yolanda wrought havoc to the region, according to
the top police official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) here.
Police Chief Supt. Henry
Losañes, acting regional director of Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8)
during Wednesday’s coordination meeting at the Leyte Sports Academy
command center said that since November 8, his office has not received
any report of major crimes in Tacloban City and other towns affected
by the typhoon in Leyte, Samar and Eastern Samar provinces.
“The peace and order
situation in the region after the onslaught of the typhoon is
generally peaceful although minor occurrence of crimes such as theft
is being reported,” Losañes said.
He attributed this to the
deployment of policemen in strategic areas and the curfew hours that
is being implemented by the police from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
personal tragedy and loss of property suffered by our men, they
continue to perform their normal police functions and the augmentation
personnel from other regions are a big help,” he said.
The PNP had sent more than
1,200 personnel that augmented the PRO8 manpower drawn from the PNP’s
Special Action Force (SAF) and various regional offices which provided
security and police assistances.
The police official also
acknowledged the role of “force multipliers” in supporting the police
in the affected localities.
“Barangay tanods are already
supporting police officers in patrolling their villages and reporting
incident of crimes,” the regional police chief added.
NHA releases P388-M
housing aid for Bohol
By OVP Media
December 11, 2013
MANILA – The National
Housing Authority (NHA) has already released P388 million to local
government units for the repair of partially damaged houses in Bohol,
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said.
Binay said under the Housing
Materials Assistance (HOMA), the NHA will provide P10,000 for every
family whose home was damaged by the 7.2 magnitude quake that hit
“The government remains
committed in helping the earthquake victims rebuild their lives. This
is only the start,” Binay said.
Binay added that the
municipalities of Maribojoc and Antequera already received checks
worth P33,470,000 and P31,780,000 respectively. The Vice President
personally handed Mayor Leoncio Evasco and Mayor Jose Mario Pahang the
checks when he visited Bohol in November.
He added that the checks for
the municipalities of Tubigon, San Isidro, Catigbian, Sagbayan, and
Loon can now be claimed.
According to the National
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the quake had
damaged 73,002 houses (14,512 totally damaged and 58,490 partially
damaged) in Bohol, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Iloilo,
Siquijor and Guimaras.
Binay had earlier created a
multi-agency task force to see to the housing needs of Central Visayas
residents whose homes were destroyed by the October 15 earthquake.
The Vice President said
aside from the shelter agencies under the Housing and Urban
Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), the Bohol-Cebu housing
rehabilitation task force will include the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Public Works and
Highways (DPWH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The HUDCC is composed of the
NHA, the Home Development Mutual (Pag-IBIG) Fund, the Home Guaranty
Corporation, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, the National
Home Mortgage Finance Corporation, and the Social Housing Finance
P2.264-T budget for
2014 gets Bicam nod
By Office of Senator Chiz
December 10, 2013
PASAY CITY – The
bicameral conference committee today approved the spending package of
the national government for 2014 amounting to P2.264 trillion, which
includes the P100-billion post-Yolanda rehabilitation fund and key
provisions to boost transparency and accountability.
Senator Chiz Escudero,
chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said one important feature
of the reconciled budget version is that it clips the power of
lawmakers to recommend projects after the enactment of the
appropriations law pursuant to a decision by the Supreme Court that
declared pork barrel funds unconstitutional.
The bicameral panel slashed
by P3.2 billion the original proposal of P2.268 trillion put forward
by the House of Representatives – the equivalent of the lump sum
allocation of 15 senators and the Office of the Vice President under
the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF they gave up after
the pork barrel controversy erupted.
According to Escudero, the
committee also removed the House provisions for consultation with and
identification of legislators on programs in the Agricultural
Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), the Roxas Law for school
building funds and the excise tax.
Aside from removing the pork
barrel system in the budget that enabled legislators in the past to
determine projects for their annual lump sum allocations, the
bicameral conference committee also introduced provisions for stricter
rules and guidelines in identifying nongovernment organizations as
partners, Escudero said.
He explained that there will
be stringent reportorial requirements to Congress, the Commission on
Audit and real-time posting on websites on when and where funds are
spent by government agencies.
“[We] added a provision
imposing the heaviest penalty in the Revised Penal Code, the plunder
law and the anti-graft law for those who will violate any provision in
the above-mentioned laws in relation to the utilization of savings,
realignment and lump-sum funds,” Escudero said.
Escudero also explained that
the amendments from both sides have been adopted without difficulty
because most of it was related to rehabilitation and
disaster-preparedness programs. “Big ticket items like the P100
billion rehabilitation fund breezed through since both houses
acknowledged the urgency for which the fund will be used. We also
recognized the availability of the fiscal space from which we will
source this fund from.”
He said P20 billion of the
rehabilitation fund will be sourced from programmed funds, with the
Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Transportation
and Communications (DOTC), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Health (DOH),
state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local government units as
implementing agencies. The rest of the financial requirement for
post-Yolanda work will come from unprogrammed funds.
Escudero said lawmakers are
working on the ratification of the budget by Wednesday so it can be
transmitted to the Palace for the President Aquino’s signature.
“We are conscious of the
fact that the timely passage of the budget is the key to fuel not only
the entire government machinery but also our capability and capacity
as a nation especially in this challenging time,” Escudero said.
VP Binay orders
review of land use plans of Yolanda hit LGUs
By OVP Media
December 10, 2013
MANILA – Vice
President Jejomar C. Binay ordered the review of old Comprehensive
Land Use Plans (CLUPs) of local government units severely affected by
The Vice President issued
the directive on Monday before leaving for South Africa to attend the
memorial and state funeral for former South African president Nelson
“In Tacloban particularly,
we initiated a talk with Mayor Romualdez. We plan to meet with him and
his city planning officer to discuss their CLUP and make sure the
proper revisions are made,” Binay said.
Binay added that the review
of CLUPs will focus on the effects of climate change and the adoption
of risk reduction measures.
“Given the recent calamities
that struck our country, it is crucial that we reassess the CLUPs and
make sure that they contain measures on climate change adaptation and
disaster risk reduction,” Binay said.
“Lives are at stake. We
cannot afford slipshod planning," he added.
Binay said the housing
sector has already pushed for initiatives to include climate change
response actions in national and local government land use policies.
The housing czar cited the
Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board’s (HLURB) Zero Backlog Program,
which aims to complete updating the CLUP of all local government units
The HLURB, which Binay
chairs, is the national government agency primarily tasked with
assisting LGUs in drawing up their CLUPs and regulating the real
estate industry. Its plans and programs are anchored on three major
mandates namely planning, regulation and adjudication.
In 2011, the HLURB began to
require all LGUs to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster
risk mitigation in their CLUPs before seeking HLURB Board approval.
Meanwhile, Binay emphasized
the need for agencies to be united and vigilant in implementing urban
development plans. He also called on LGUs to show political will in
preventing structures from being constructed on non-buildable areas
and danger zones.
“We need to ensure that
homes and communities are safe from or can at least withstand the
effects of climate change and any disaster,” he said.
"The national government,
the local government, and the people themselves should cooperate
closely to promote sustainable urban development,” Binay added.
make the budget bicam interactive, ‘netizen-friendly’
By Office of the Senate
December 9, 2013
PASAY CITY – “Kahit
sino ka man, nasaan ka man, karapatan mong makialam. Sama-sama nating
bantayan ang paggamit ng kaban ng bayan.”
Senate Majority Leader Alan
Peter “Companero” S. Cayetano is strongly urging that the bicameral
conference committee use social media to make the deliberations next
week on Bicameral Conference Committee on the proposed 2014 General
Appropriations Act (GAA) more “interactive.”
The senator made the call as
the whole country commemorates the National Anti-Corruption Day today
which, he said, should remind all Filipinos to remain vigilant against
graft in government.
“We could make this exercise
more transparent and interactive by using social media platforms such
as Facebook and Twitter to get feedback, suggestions from ordinary
Filipinos and netizens,” Cayetano said.
“Nakatutok ang buong
sambayanan sa bawat galaw ng ating pamahalaan, lalo na ngayong
naisisiwalat ang mga katiwalian sa paggamit ng pondo ng bayan. Kaya
buo ang aking suporta na buksan sa publiko ang pag-uusap sa national
budget upang ipakita na wala tayong itinatago sa usapin ng pananalapi
He proposed the bicam
committee to use facebook and Twitter accounts to engage the public in
a more interactive way and give real time updates on the proceedings.
“Social media can be used to
promote a healthy engagement on public policy. Never has the Filipino
people been more empowered to have their voices heard in high places
in government than now, with all the avenues being made available by
Cayetano said this proposal
is in support of the move of Sen. Francis Escudero, chair of the
Committee on Finance, to have the bicam deliberations on the budget
open to the public and be streamed live through the internet.
All of these, he explained,
will greatly help in making the bicam deliberations on the budget
accessible to the public and consequently leave no room for doubt in
the Filipino people’s minds.
“This will help in restoring
the faith and confidence of the people in the Senate and in the House
The majority leader is one
of the members of the Senate contingent to the bicam panel, which is
set to meet next week to harmonize disagreeing provisions between the
Senate and House versions of the proposed budget for next year.
Cayetano, who is the author
of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4 which sought to abolish pork
barrel in all its forms, is seeking a pork-free, insertions-free 2014
prisoners' fast on its second week, score Leviste's parole
December 9, 2013
QUEZON CITY – "As
former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste walks out of prison, 449
political prisoners, who were wrongfully accused of criminal offenses
because of their political beliefs, will have to spend Christmas again
in jail. Some 28 of them are elderly like Leviste. They, too, deserve
to be out of prison. After all, they are not criminals," said Marie
Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of SELDA and Karapatan.
including the 13 peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of
the Philippines, are now on their second week of fasting/hunger
strike, “precisely to call attention to the demand to immediately
release all political prisoners. These people shouldn't be in jail in
the first place, but that's what we get under an oppressive system –
those who uphold the rights and interests of the poor majority of our
people are jailed,” she said.
In September, Alison
Alcantara, 55 died of fatal arrhythmia, sepsis and health-care
associated pneumonia. The BS Aquino government ignored repeated pleas
for his release on humanitarian grounds and was only taken to the
Philippine General Hospital after he fell into coma a few days before
he died. “There are at least 48 others who are similarly suffering
from various ailments without proper medication,” added Hilao-Enriquez.
"These ailing and elderly
political prisoners need to be released from prison, where conditions
are poor, and may likely prove fatal to their already delicate
health," said political prisoner and NDF consultant Ramon Patriarca.
Patriarca is detained at the AFP Central Command Headquarters at Camp
Lapulapu, Cebu City.
Other detainees cited by
Patriarca were: Intong Amirol, 70, who also died this year following a
stroke and other medical complications; Mariano Umbrero and Crisanto
Fat who died in 2011 of cancer and heart attack, respectively, while
"The overwhelming show of
people's goodwill and humanitarianism in the aftermath of
super-typhoon Yolanda should prod the BS Aquino government to extend
compassion to ailing and elderly political prisoners who continue to
suffer systemic and systematic injustice," he said.
also criticized the government's misuse and plunder of public funds
which he said "makes the immediate release of ailing and elderly
political prisoners necessary as widespread corruption effectively
prevented, among others, resources and reforms for the justice system
and prison network."
The political prisoners'
fast/hunger strike will continue up to Dec. 10, to mark the
International Human Rights Day. A multi-sectoral protest rally is set
in the morning of December 10 at Mendiola where BS Aquino's effigy
named P-Noy the Destroyer will be burned.
Post Yolanda, the
Philippines needs a decentralized energy future – Greenpeace
December 6, 2013
MANILA – Greenpeace
today welcomed the Philippine government’s moves to immediately start
rehabilitation and reconstruction work urgently needed in Eastern
Visayas, following the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda
(international name Haiayan).
At the same time the
environment group cautioned the government from repeating mistakes
from the past and advised newly-appointed rehabilitation head Panfilo
“Ping” Lacson to look at the work ahead as a new opportunity to
establish sustainable climate-resilient communities using renewable
energy (RE) systems.
“Yolanda caught us
completely unprepared forcing us to deal with serious consequences of
climate change. Aside from the human tragedy, we also have to deal
with the socio-economic impacts,” said Amalie Obusan, Regional Climate
and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “Because the work
ahead is massive, critical decisions will be made for the
reconstruction and repair of energy systems in the devastated
provinces. And this is where RE can make a difference.”
Typhoon Yolanda cost the
country an estimated 35 billion Pesos worth of damages to
infrastructure and agriculture. Power systems are mostly down with
1,959 transmission facilities partially or fully destroyed.
Greenpeace said that solar
panels can make a huge difference to disaster-hit areas, when power
lines are down for many days, if not months. There would be cost
savings for the entire archipelago and the size of the savings would
be commensurate to the number of households and businesses whose
partial or total energy resilience would make them suffer less in the
aftermath of storm-induced black-outs.
Obusan said a de-centralized
energy system, through renewable energy is needed to power
communities, especially those living off the main grid. A good example
are small scale solar energy systems which have the ability to foster
a small-town energy revolution by and for people, families,
communities, farms, and small and medium sized businesses. A million
homes with solar in the Philippines could raise installed capacity of
Greenpeace recommends the
following for the rebuilding and rehabilitation of Eastern Visayas:
• Light up communities
through renewable energy technologies. In order to bring energy
services to remote, off-grid, typhoon-affected communities in Visayas,
this should be one of the principal goals. Communities that are
located outside of the nearest electricity service areas should be
energized using stand-alone RE technology such as solar PV and
• Include capacity-building
for energy projects by creating partnerships with communities and
providing technical assistance.
• Provide micro-credit and
consulting for the promotion of off-grid, decentralized RE
• Financially support local
entrepreneurs who could either benefit from energy access, or supply
their communities with renewable energy services.
• Institute an RE program in
schools. With RE-powered multi-media technology, teachers and students
will have the opportunity for better teaching and learning conditions.
“The ongoing reconstruction
will give the government an opportunity to rethink energy systems in
these devastated areas. We hope Mr. Lacson will listen to our advice
and do what he can to turn this tragedy into an opportunity. Now is
the time to rebuild our towns and cities using greener and sustainable
energy systems that are climate-resilient,” said Obusan.
VP Binay to Lacson:
you have full cooperation of shelter agencies
By OVP Media
December 5, 2013
MANILA – Vice
President Jejomar C. Binay Thursday said he welcomes the opportunity
to help Senator Panfilo Lacson as the latter heads rehabilitation
efforts for Yolanda-ravaged areas.
“This is an enormous
challenge that cannot be done by one person. Senator Lacson can count
on my full support as well as that of the National Housing Authority (NHA)
and other key shelter agencies (KSAs),” Binay said.
Lacson earlier said he will
consult Binay regarding housing rehabilitation efforts.
The Vice President
concurrently chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating
Aside from the NHA, the KSAs
under HUDCC include the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG), the
Social Housing Finance Corporation, Home Guaranty Corporation, the
Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, and the National Home Mortgage
Binay stressed the need to
seek the assistance of the private sector in helping the affected
areas recover in the wake of the super typhoon.
“It is important that we get
experts on board, not only from government but also from the private
sector, especially in rebuilding communities,” the housing czar said.
“We need to ensure that the
new homes and communities we build for the survivors are sustainable
and resilient to climate-change,” he added.
When he was still mayor of
Makati, Binay partnered with Gawad Kalinga (GK) in establishing a
resettlement community for informal settlers in San Jose Del Monte,
When he became HUDCC chair,
the Vice President also enlisted the help of GK and other private
groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Subdivision and Housing
Developers Association, Inc., Chamber of Real Estate and Builders'
Associations Inc., and United Architects of The Philippines to help
government provide affordable and climate-resilient homes as well as
close the 3.6 million housing gap.
Binay also concurred with
Lacson that the rehabilitation program should be implemented in a
“Transparency is important
in the rehabilitation efforts, especially considering the enormous
funding for the program,” the Vice President said.
According to the Foreign Aid
Transparency Hub, which monitors the international aid the government
received for the victims of Yolanda, the Philippines has received
P22.07 billion or US$504.04 million in pledged foreign assistance.
adds insult to injury - Karapatan
December 4, 2013
QUEZON CITY – “BS
Aquino’s appointment of Gen. Panfilo Lacson as the ‘rehabilitation
czar’ in typhoon-affected areas is the same as appointing Gen. Jovito
Palparan to a plum civilian position in government. Nothing in
Lacson’s bloody record indicate his competence to handle the
rehabilitation communities affected by typhoon Yolanda. In fact, he is
most known as a notorious torturer during the Martial Law period and
his involvement in high-profile cases of rights abuses such as the
disappearance of PR consultant Salvador “Bubby” Dacer in November
2000,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
Lacson is said to be among
those responsible for the disappearance of Redemptorist priest Fr.
Rudy Romano in Cebu in 1985 and the torture of activists Marco Palo,
Joseph Olayer, Manuel Mario Guzman, Rolando Salutin and Rodolfo Benosa
in 1983, when he was part of the Metrocom Intelligence and Security
Group (MISG). He was also charged with multiple murder cases in the
death of 11 suspected members of the Kuratong Baleleng in 1995.
“The appointment of another
favoured ally of BS Aquino who is most known for human rights
violations is adding insult to injury. This shows the real intention
of BS Aquino – to silence any emerging discontent of hungry and
neglected victims of super typhoon Yolanda,” Palabay said.
“We need a government that
understands the plight of the poor people, look at things from their
perspective, and support the people’s efforts to rebuild their
communities. Even before the typhoon wrought havoc in Samar and Leyte,
these communities were already poverty-stricken, thus, making people
vulnerable to the impact of natural and man-made calamities. There was
neither economic security nor basic services for the people. Efforts
to rehabilitate and reconstruct the areas hit by the typhoon require a
full grasp of the situation in these communities, especially of the
poor peasants, fisherfolks, workers,” Palabay added.
Karapatan said that the
government cannot use the typhoon to escape its responsibility from
its failure to address the people’s needs in these communities when BS
Aquino assumed office. The government should have prioritized the
implementation of genuine land reform, quality health services,
education and housing, infrastructure development to spare or shield
the people from the impact of natural calamities.
“That would also ensure a
speedy recovery after a calamity hits the communities,” said Palabay.
“But the government did not. And, now the people are left to fend for
themselves because the government has turned deaf and blind to the
situation of the plight of the people.”
On November 20-25, two teams
from Karapatan went to Samar and Leyte to join the relief and medical
missions organized by BALSA and Samahang Operasyong Sagip (SOS). The
teams documented the situation in Samar and Leyte.
In Tacloban and Samar,
almost all crops and houses were washed away by the storm surge. Some
villages merely rely on rain water or water from wells. Relief
operations remain sluggish. Barangay officials lamented how government
agencies only distributed relief goods in barangays “with casualties.”
Karapatan teams observed
that pregnant women, children and those with wounds sustained during
and after the typhoon need immediate attention but the hospitals are
incapable of accommodating as much patients because it lacks personnel
and equipment. Some hospitals were also destroyed. It would take six
to eight hours travel to get to the next hospital in Calbayog or
Mosquitos started to breed
in stagnant waters. Sanitation problems also put the health of
communities in danger. There are still missing persons that are feared
to have been covered by the rubbles but search efforts and the
clearing of debris by the authorities were idle.
“Samar and Leyte reeks not
only of decaying bodies that BS Aquino have tried to downplay but also
of corruption that exacerbates the already downtrodden situation of
the people of Visayas,” ended Palabay.