GOVT DENIES LOBBYING FOR AQUINO'S NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

The Philippine government on Sunday denied rumors that it is lobbying for President Benigno Aquino III’s nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize. “I definitely confirm that I am NOT lobbying for (President Aquino’s) nomination for Nobel peace prize. I wouldn’t even know how to do it,” Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) told Inquirer.net in a text message. Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) claimed they received credible information that Deles, during her visit to Norway, lobbied for the prestigious award. “She and (Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Al Haj) Murad (Ebrahim) were reportedly in Norway recently to attend a peace conference after which they both went to Hiroshima to talk to [Aquino]. This info we got (from Norway-based parliamentarians and groups),” Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said. In a forwarded text sent by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Deles confirmed she attended a forum in Oslo where she met Nobel Peace Prize laureates Kofi Annan and Tawakkol Karman. She said she had always been invited to the said forum but had never met anyone from the nomination committee. Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, “During the Oslo Conference, Secretary Deles had occasion to meet Nobel Peace Prize winners but there are no lobbying efforts. But please note that since Aceh, there has been no significant peace accord reached. Hence, it is possible that there are groups who do wish to nominate the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). But certainly, OPAPP is not lobbying for it.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: Ramadan officially on

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Filipino Muslims officially begin observing today the fasting month of Ramadan, according to a decree issued by the Dharul Ifta (House of Opinion) here late Friday. The Dharul Ifta said efforts to sight the moon with the naked eye failed on Friday evening. The moon sighting was to determine if the dawn-to-dusk observance of abstinence would start yesterday, Saturday. But because the moon was not sighted, the collegial body of scholars and clerics decided on Sunday, today, as the start of the fasting activities. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Hijra calendar. Because of the cycles of the lunar phases on which the calendar is based, the Muslim fasting period varies each year by approximately 11 days from the solar-based Gregorian calendar. Ustadz Jaafar Ali, an associate scholar of the House of Opinion here, said the rule is that if the new moon was not visible on the last day of Sa’aban (the eighth lunar month), then fasting starts on the following day. Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food and water after suhur, the predawn meal. Fasting is called sawm in Arabic and is one of the five pillars of Islam. Aside from food and drink, Muslim couples refrain from sexual contact during the day-long fast. Families and friends then gather for the iftar meal to break the fast after more than 14 hours. Many Muslims begin the meal by eating dates, the naturally preserved fruit of the biblical palm date. Nash Maulana, THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: 8 months after ‘Yolanda,’ kids still endure school woes

Carles, Iloilo — Almost eight months after the world’s worst recorded storm, schoolchildren in far-flung Isla Gigantes Sur, Carles town, Iloilo province still have to endure a rough learning environment. “We do with what we have,” said 39-year-old Ma. Lisa Bonete, principal of Lantangan Elementary School, the most populated of the three public schools in an island known to outsiders as an emerging destination for its white-sand beaches, caves, and salt water lagoon. But far from the curious eyes of tourists, Bonete emphasized that the people of Isla Gigantes Sur, especially students, are still experiencing hardship from the damages of super-typhoon “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan). When the new school year opened last June 2, the 1,144 students have to content themselves with attending classes inside tents or makeshift classrooms made out of tarpaulins and bamboo poles. Of the 25 classrooms in a hilly portion of the island, 90 percent were damaged by “Yolanda” last November 2013. A local division of the Department of Education (DepEd) has more than P3 million allocation for repair, but actual work has not started and only a P30,000-funding was initially released. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Pope visits PH on Jan. 15 – report

Pope Francis will visit the Philippines on January 15, next year, a report from the Catholic News Agency said. Msgr. Nevin Perera, the coordinator of Sri Lankan migrants in Italy, revealed this information in a recent interview with the Catholic News Agency. The interview was quoted in an article posted on the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The Vatican, though, has not formally confirmed the dates and specific itinerary of Pope Francis’ visit to the country. According to the CBCP News post, the Manila visit comes after a two-day visit to Sri Lanka where the Pope will arrive on January 13. Perera said the Pope will leave for Manila in the morning of January 15. Earlier, visiting Vatican officials expressed the pontiff’s desire to visit the country particularly to meet the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said Pope Francis has expressed his intentions to visit the victims of super-typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in Central Visayas as well as the earthquake victims in Bohol. Palo Archbishop John Du said the papal visit would boost the morale of ‘Yolanda’ survivors, especially those who are still struggling to rebuild their lives. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Congress fails to pass bill extending CARP; expires today, Monday

JUNE 26  --PHOTO: Members of farmers’ groups torch an effigy during a rally near President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s house on Times Street in Quezon City. The farmers said the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program that expires today failed to protect farmers from big landholders. The comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP) will end on Monday, the chairman of the agrarian reform committee of the House of Representatives said yesterday. Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said the House and the Senate have failed to approve two bills extending the acquisition of agricultural lands for distribution to farmers, which is the heart of the program. “President Aquino certified the bill as urgent but it was still not passed on the last session days of Congress due to stiff opposition from representatives from the Visayas and the Makabayan bloc,” Baguilat said. “But as chairman of the committee on agrarian reform, I am committed to have this bill passed when Congress resumes session for the sake of the farmers already awaiting the distribution of the land they till,” he said. Aquino issued the certification only a few days before the House and the Senate ended their first regular session two weeks ago. He has assured farmers that the land reform program would be finished under his administration. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) COMMENTARY: CARP

The “program” was supposed to be “comprehensive” for the “reform” of huge and impressive “agrarian” possessions of some blessed and distinguished families all over the country — a famous hacienda somewhere in Tarlac well-included. In fact, in 1998, Agrarian Reform was loudly and repeatedly proclaimed as the centerpiece of the loving attention and genuine concern of the then gloriously reigning administration. Such a program understandably received high praises plus the profound gratitude of all the long-exploited and much wanting farmers — those from the said very extensive and famous hacienda well-included. But lo and behold — after the much-publicized and widely-acclaimed Reform Program — there are at least three well-known infamous realities that to this date remain conveniently forgotten and nonchalantly unresolved: One, the infamous Mendiola massacre where unarmed farmers demonstrating against the untouched Hacienda were mercilessly gunned down by well-armed supposedly lawmen.
The conscienceless killers are altogether unnamed and unknown to this day. Two, the shameless Tarlac murders when even an old, kind and lovable Aglipayan bishop was slaughtered. Who did the crime is a well-kept secret up to this writing. Three, the amazing Hacienda continued existence and operation notwithstanding all loud announcements and repeated claims to the contrary made by the government officials concerned — and notwithstanding the apparently well-paid for ouster of a Chief Justice who dared preside in a pro-farmers judgment * .CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Ombudsman indicts Samar town mayor

JUNE 27  --A Samar mayor and two other key officials are facing criminal and administrative charges for allegedly not remitting the monthly Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) premiums from 2008 to 2012 due from salaries of town officials and employees. In a 14-page resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales declared that there was sufficient evidence to indict San Sebastian Mayor Arnold Abalos, Municipal Treasurer Virgina Uy and Municipal Accountant Pepita Mabini. The respondents were charged with 40 counts of violation of the Section 5 of the the GSIS Act of 1997 (RA 8291). Morales said San Sebastian is saddled by delayed and unremitted GSIS premiums for 40 months. Based on the statement of account issued by GSIS, the municipality did not remit the GSIS premiums covering the months of April 2008 to December 2009, May to September 2010, February to July 2011, September to December 2011, and January to April 2012. The GSIS collection notice indicated outstanding liabilities amounting to P7.6 million. Morales said the respondents committed repeated failures to timely remit the GSIS remittances when they were due and demandable. RA 8291 provides that penal sanctions (jail and fine) shall be imposed upon employers who fail to include the payment of contributions in their annual appropriations or fail to remit or delay the exact amount of monthly contributions. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: 2 soldiers killed in Albay ambush

PILI, Camarines Sur, Philippines — Two unarmed soldiers were waylaid and killed by a group of suspected communist rebels while on their way back to their patrol base in Albay on Saturday afternoon, the Army said. Private First Class Jaynard Guinoo and Private First Class Louie Jardio, both members of the Philippine Army’s 91st Division Reconnaissance Company, were killed on the spot when fired upon by a group of suspected New People’s Army in Purok 5 (sub-village), Barangay (village) Busac, Ligao City, Albay at around 4 p.m. Saturday, Lieutenant Colonel Perfecto Peñaredondo, commanding officer of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion, said Sunday. Peñaredondo said the two soldiers were wearing civilian clothing and were riding tandem on a motorcycle heading for their temporary base in the village of Oma-oma in Ligao City when waylaid by suspected NPA members armed with high-powered firearms. He said the ambush-slay of the two soldiers in Ligao City followed a similar attack in Daraga, Albay, last June 16, wherein two soldiers – Sergeant Servando Bautista and Private First Class Daniel Solinap Jr., both of 9th Civil Military Operations Battalion — were also killed while on their way to coordinate a livelihood program with the local government. Bautista and Solinap were also wearing civilian clothing, unarmed and riding motorcycles when they were killed, he said. “Unarmed soldiers not even in uniform are becoming targets of opportunity hence we are taking precautions to avoid similar scene including victimizing civilians through mistaken identity,” Peñaredondo said Sunday. The bodies of the slain soldiers were brought to a funeral home in Naga City, he said. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT


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Gov’t denies lobbying for Aquino’s Nobel Peace Prize


President Benigno S. Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, LAGUNA, JUNE 30, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Kristine Angeli Sabillo — The Philippine government on Sunday denied rumors that it is lobbying for President Benigno Aquino III’s nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize.

“I definitely confirm that I am NOT lobbying for (President Aquino’s) nomination for Nobel peace prize. I wouldn’t even know how to do it,” Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) told Inquirer.net in a text message.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) claimed they received credible information that Deles, during her visit to Norway, lobbied for the prestigious award.

“She and (Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Al Haj) Murad (Ebrahim) were reportedly in Norway recently to attend a peace conference after which they both went to Hiroshima to talk to [Aquino]. This info we got (from Norway-based parliamentarians and groups),” Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said.

In a forwarded text sent by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Deles confirmed she attended a forum in Oslo where she met Nobel Peace Prize laureates Kofi Annan and Tawakkol Karman.

She said she had always been invited to the said forum but had never met anyone from the nomination committee.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, “During the Oslo Conference, Secretary Deles had occasion to meet Nobel Peace Prize winners but there are no lobbying efforts. But please note that since Aceh, there has been no significant peace accord reached. Hence, it is possible that there are groups who do wish to nominate the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). But certainly, OPAPP is not lobbying for it.”

* While the CAB had already been inked by the Philippine government and the MILF, its enacting law is still being studied by Malacañang.

Murad and Aquino met in Japan on Tuesday to discuss the draft of the Bangsamoro basic law.

Despite the denial, Reyes said they believe the alleged nomination was being timed for the State of the Nation Address in July.

“Aquino is highly unqualified for such an award,” he said.

The group claimed that human rights violations under Aquino’s watch resulted in 192 cases of extrajudicial killings and cases of enforced disappearances and illegal arrests.

“Aquino fosters regional instability and tension with his support for the US military pivot and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that allows the return of US bases and weapons of mass destruction in the country, and through his unqualified support for the rise of Japanese militarism and revision of Japan’s Peace Constitution,” Reyes added.

He said the Bangsamoro peace pact was “deceptive” and has yet to be considered “sealed” pending the approval of Congress.

This is in addition to the stalled peace talks with the National Democratic Front.

Ramadan officially on Philippine Daily Inquirer7:34 am | Sunday, June 29th, 2014


Filipino Muslims bow down to Allah outside Mindanao’s first ever pink mosque at Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province, as they observe the start of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. Devotees of Islam are expected to abstain from food, drinks and other physical needs during daylight hours. The fast is one of the five pillars of Islam, which also include the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. JEOFFREY MAITEM/INQUIRER MINDANAO

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Filipino Muslims officially begin observing today the fasting month of Ramadan, according to a decree issued by the Dharul Ifta (House of Opinion) here late Friday.

The Dharul Ifta said efforts to sight the moon with the naked eye failed on Friday evening. The moon sighting was to determine if the dawn-to-dusk observance of abstinence would start yesterday, Saturday.

But because the moon was not sighted, the collegial body of scholars and clerics decided on Sunday, today, as the start of the fasting activities.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Hijra calendar. Because of the cycles of the lunar phases on which the calendar is based, the Muslim fasting period varies each year by approximately 11 days from the solar-based Gregorian calendar.

Ustadz Jaafar Ali, an associate scholar of the House of Opinion here, said the rule is that if the new moon was not visible on the last day of Sa’aban (the eighth lunar month), then fasting starts on the following day.

Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food and water after suhur, the predawn meal.

Fasting is called sawm in Arabic and is one of the five pillars of Islam.

Aside from food and drink, Muslim couples refrain from sexual contact during the day-long fast.

Families and friends then gather for the iftar meal to break the fast after more than 14 hours. Many Muslims begin the meal by eating dates, the naturally preserved fruit of the biblical palm date. Nash Maulana,

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

8 months after ‘Yolanda,’ kids still endure school woes by Tara Yap
June 29, 2014 (updated)


Schoolchildren in Isla Gigantes Sur, Carles, Iloilo – another province hit by ‘Yolanda’ – attend classes under a tent donated by UNICEF. (Rolan Garcia/Tara Yap)

Carles, Iloilo — Almost eight months after the world’s worst recorded storm, schoolchildren in far-flung Isla Gigantes Sur, Carles town, Iloilo province still have to endure a rough learning environment.

“We do with what we have,” said 39-year-old Ma. Lisa Bonete, principal of Lantangan Elementary School, the most populated of the three public schools in an island known to outsiders as an emerging destination for its white-sand beaches, caves, and salt water lagoon.

But far from the curious eyes of tourists, Bonete emphasized that the people of Isla Gigantes Sur, especially students, are still experiencing hardship from the damages of super-typhoon “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan).

When the new school year opened last June 2, the 1,144 students have to content themselves with attending classes inside tents or makeshift classrooms made out of tarpaulins and bamboo poles.

Of the 25 classrooms in a hilly portion of the island, 90 percent were damaged by “Yolanda” last November 2013.

A local division of the Department of Education (DepEd) has more than P3 million allocation for repair, but actual work has not started and only a P30,000-funding was initially released.


DANCING THE WOES AWAY – Colorfully clad dancers perform at the Leyte Sports Complex in Tacloban City, Leyte, during the celebration of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival yesterday. The festivities took on a special meaning this year as they were meant to boost the morale of the victims of super-typhoon ‘Yolanda,’ which devastated the province eight months ago.


COMMUNAL EFFORT

It was the distinct Filipino trait of “bayanihan” that pushed parents to take action.

Evelyn Abrozo, 37-year-old president of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA), said parents rallied and raised money to pay local carpenters in constructing makeshift classrooms or installing temporary roofs.

Her 39-year-old husband Jupiter, a Grade 5 teacher, added that they had to initiate on their own so their children can continue going to school.

Education, they explained, is a means of empowering and uplifting the fishing community that is considered to be the farthest point of Iloilo province.

Sea travel from the mainland to the island village is anywhere from an hour-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours, depending on the weather.

THE CHALLENGES

With its limitations, tents and makeshift classrooms pose herculean challenges.

On a sunny school day, Bonete said the sweltering heat bothers the students and they become irritable.

With the recent onset of the rainy season, it’s a different story. Bonete sadly noted that when the rain doesn’t stop, classes are cancelled as children start running and head home.

Also, tents and tarpaulins of makeshift classrooms are always in disarray after heavy rainfall.

Bonete noted the inconvenience for students and teachers who have to arrange everything back the next morning before classes can start.

More than that, Abrozo said that there are health risks in this environment. She expressed fears that children may get sick or catch the dreaded pneumonia.

A SIMILAR SCENARIO

The hardships are also similar in two public schools in the neighboring village of Gabi.

Susanita Batobalani, principal of Gabi Elementary School, said the 509 students also have to bear studying in tent and makeshift classrooms as the school remains largely unrepaired.

Batobalani said an allocation has been set by the local DepEd, but no specific date has been set as to when repair work will start.

Fralyn Leones, principal of Granada National High School—Ballesteros Campus, said she had to take an initiative to find ways to install roofs of classrooms that were blown off by “Yolanda” so that the more than 500 high school students can be safe.

SCHOOL NEEDS

Aside from hoping for the immediate repair of damaged infrastructures, the three schools also have other needs, including books.

Bonete, Batobalani and Leones said that books, no matter how old, can still be used by both students and teachers in Isla Gigantes Sur.

Unlike in many urban areas or in the mainland, the three Isla Gigantes Sur schools have no access to the Internet and do not have the luxury to check popular Wikipedia as a quick reference material.

It is mainly because only Lantangan village has reliable signal for mobile phones while majority of Gabi village has no signal at all. Also, electricity is only available from 6-10 p.m daily.

Meanwhile, the three school principals are grateful to private organizations that have ongoing projects.

At the same time, the three are also taking their own initiatives in reaching out to private groups in getting more aid to rebuild their damaged schools.

STRONGER CLASSROOMS

DepEd-6 in Western Visayas region assured that Yolanda-devastated schools such as the three schools in Isla Gigantes Sur will be repaired at a far better quality.

“Let’s have patience,” appealed Dr. Corazon Brown, DepEd-6 regional director.

Brown emphasized that the rehabilitated classrooms will be able to withstand storms as strong as “Yolanda” or major earthquakes.

Brown said that the first phase of the P1.46-billion repair project will be implemented for Yolanda-devastated public schools starting August.

Funding for repair of “Yolanda”-devastated schools in Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, and Negros Occidental provinces are from the quick response fund of DepEd and from Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery.

“In the long run, it is for the good of everybody,” Brown added.

Pope visits PH on Jan. 15 – report by Christina I. Hermoso and Leslie Ann G. Aquino
June 25, 2014

Pope Francis will visit the Philippines on January 15, next year, a report from the Catholic News Agency said.

Msgr. Nevin Perera, the coordinator of Sri Lankan migrants in Italy, revealed this information in a recent interview with the Catholic News Agency. The interview was quoted in an article posted on the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The Vatican, though, has not formally confirmed the dates and specific itinerary of Pope Francis’ visit to the country.

According to the CBCP News post, the Manila visit comes after a two-day visit to Sri Lanka where the Pope will arrive on January 13. Perera said the Pope will leave for Manila in the morning of January 15.

Earlier, visiting Vatican officials expressed the pontiff’s desire to visit the country particularly to meet the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said Pope Francis has expressed his intentions to visit the victims of super-typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in Central Visayas as well as the earthquake victims in Bohol.

Palo Archbishop John Du said the papal visit would boost the morale of ‘Yolanda’ survivors, especially those who are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

* “The pope’s visit is another big blessing. We are happy for the blessings that come to us– the Pope is coming, the people’s solidarity, and the overwhelming generosity of the people,” Du said.

KOREA IN AUGUST

This year, the Pope is scheduled to travel to Korea from August 14 to 18 the 6th Asian Youth Day in the diocese of Daejeon. That visit would be his first in Asia.

THIRD POPE TO VISIT

If the schedule pushes through, Pope Francis will be the third head of the Roman Catholic Church to visit the Philippines after Pope Paul VI in 1970, and Saint John Paul II in 1981 and 1995.

The Vatican considers Asia as a continent of growth for Catholicism. In 2012, Vatican data revealed that Catholicism in Asia is growing faster than in any other region of the world.

FROM PHILSTAR

Congress fails to pass bill extending CARP By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 26, 2014 - 12:00am 1 22 googleplus0 5


Members of farmers’ groups torch an effigy during a rally near President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s house on Times Street in Quezon City. The farmers said the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program that expires today failed to protect farmers from big landholders. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ

MANILA, Philippines - The comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP) will end on Monday, the chairman of the agrarian reform committee of the House of Representatives said yesterday.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said the House and the Senate have failed to approve two bills extending the acquisition of agricultural lands for distribution to farmers, which is the heart of the program.

“President Aquino certified the bill as urgent but it was still not passed on the last session days of Congress due to stiff opposition from representatives from the Visayas and the Makabayan bloc,” Baguilat said.

“But as chairman of the committee on agrarian reform, I am committed to have this bill passed when Congress resumes session for the sake of the farmers already awaiting the distribution of the land they till,” he said.

Aquino issued the certification only a few days before the House and the Senate ended their first regular session two weeks ago. He has assured farmers that the land reform program would be finished under his administration.

* House leaders decided not to take up the certified bill on their last sessions as it was deemed to be so controversial that many congressmen were against it.

One controversial feature would expand the program to cover all government lands, including military camps.

Baguilat said under the law, land acquisition, or the issuance by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of notice of coverage (NOC), will stop on July 1.

However, he said distribution of land already covered by NOCs, along with other processes and support services, will continue.

He suggested that the DAR should now work overtime to issue such notices to landowners whose estates have not been distributed to their farmers. CARP AT A GLANCE: http://www.senate.gov.ph/publications/AG%202006-08%20-%20The%20Philippine%20Agrarian%20Reform.pdf

FROM THE TRIBUNE

CARP Written by Archbishop Oscar V.Cruz Sunday, 29 June 2014 00:00

The “program” was supposed to be “comprehensive” for the “reform” of huge and impressive “agrarian” possessions of some blessed and distinguished families all over the country — a famous hacienda somewhere in Tarlac well-included.

In fact, in 1998, Agrarian Reform was loudly and repeatedly proclaimed as the centerpiece of the loving attention and genuine concern of the then gloriously reigning administration.

Such a program understandably received high praises plus the profound gratitude of all the long-exploited and much wanting farmers — those from the said very extensive and famous hacienda well-included.

But lo and behold — after the much-publicized and widely-acclaimed Reform Program — there are at least three well-known infamous realities that to this date remain conveniently forgotten and nonchalantly unresolved:

One, the infamous Mendiola massacre where unarmed farmers demonstrating against the untouched Hacienda were mercilessly gunned down by well-armed supposedly lawmen. The conscienceless killers are altogether unnamed and unknown to this day.

Two, the shameless Tarlac murders when even an old, kind and lovable Aglipayan bishop was slaughtered. Who did the crime is a well-kept secret up to this writing.

Three, the amazing Hacienda continued existence and operation notwithstanding all loud announcements and repeated claims to the contrary made by the government officials concerned — and notwithstanding the apparently well-paid for ouster of a Chief Justice who dared preside in a pro-farmers judgment.

Question: How is the Agrarian Reform Program going on? Answer: It is more going nowhere that what is supposed to happen. Question: What about the “comprehensive” reform of huge agrarian possessions?
Answer: It is anything and everything except being really “comprehensive.”

Question: How much agrarian lands have undergone reform? Answer: Only but some 15 percent since 1988.

Question: How much did it cost the government, i.e. the people’s taxes — to have such a small reform done?
Answer: Some P82 billion or more.

Question: How come the much-publicized reform is not only too long in the making and too expensive in cost?
Answer: Please ask the Malacañang occupant.

Question: What can be done in order to make agrarian reform not only hard to implement but also rather expensive to realize?
Answer: Make the agrarian land to be reformed a corporation where farmers are given pieces of paper instead of pieces of land. ARP, CARP, CLOA, CLT, etc., etc. So much is the thought of but so little is done.

So far, so bad.
(Reprinted with permission of Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz, from www.ovc.blogspot.com)

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Samar tornado affects 500, destroys 85 homes — NDRRMC June 30, 2014 5:57am 0 3 0 3 Tags: Calbayog City Around 500 people were affected and 85 houses were destroyed by a tornado that hit Calbayog City in Samar, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said late Sunday.

The NDRRMC reported that the tornado hit Barangay Binaliw in Calbayog City at about 3:15 p.m. Friday.

The NDRRMC also mentioned that there were three "casualties," but gave no further details.

The local disaster risk reduction and management council, meanwhile, was providing relief items to the affected residents. — Joel Locsin/DVM, GMA News

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Ombudsman indicts Samar town mayor by Jun Ramirez June 27, 2014


San Sebastian Mayor Arnold Abalos

A Samar mayor and two other key officials are facing criminal and administrative charges for allegedly not remitting the monthly Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) premiums from 2008 to 2012 due from salaries of town officials and employees.

In a 14-page resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales declared that there was sufficient evidence to indict San Sebastian Mayor Arnold Abalos, Municipal Treasurer Virgina Uy and Municipal Accountant Pepita Mabini.

The respondents were charged with 40 counts of violation of the Section 5 of the the GSIS Act of 1997 (RA 8291).

Morales said San Sebastian is saddled by delayed and unremitted GSIS premiums for 40 months.

Based on the statement of account issued by GSIS, the municipality did not remit the GSIS premiums covering the months of April 2008 to December 2009, May to September 2010, February to July 2011, September to December 2011, and January to April 2012.

The GSIS collection notice indicated outstanding liabilities amounting to P7.6 million.

Morales said the respondents committed repeated failures to timely remit the GSIS remittances when they were due and demandable.

RA 8291 provides that penal sanctions (jail and fine) shall be imposed upon employers who fail to include the payment of contributions in their annual appropriations or fail to remit or delay the exact amount of monthly contributions.

FROM THE INQUIRER

2 soldiers killed in Albay ambush By Shiena M. BarramedaInquirer Southern Luzon5:30 pm | Sunday, June 29th, 2014

PILI, Camarines Sur, Philippines — Two unarmed soldiers were waylaid and killed by a group of suspected communist rebels while on their way back to their patrol base in Albay on Saturday afternoon, the Army said.

Private First Class Jaynard Guinoo and Private First Class Louie Jardio, both members of the Philippine Army’s 91st Division Reconnaissance Company, were killed on the spot when fired upon by a group of suspected New People’s Army in Purok 5 (sub-village), Barangay (village) Busac, Ligao City, Albay at around 4 p.m. Saturday, Lieutenant Colonel Perfecto Peñaredondo, commanding officer of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion, said Sunday.

Peñaredondo said the two soldiers were wearing civilian clothing and were riding tandem on a motorcycle heading for their temporary base in the village of Oma-oma in Ligao City when waylaid by suspected NPA members armed with high-powered firearms.

He said the ambush-slay of the two soldiers in Ligao City followed a similar attack in Daraga, Albay, last June 16, wherein two soldiers – Sergeant Servando Bautista and Private First Class Daniel Solinap Jr., both of 9th Civil Military Operations Battalion — were also killed while on their way to coordinate a livelihood program with the local government.

Bautista and Solinap were also wearing civilian clothing, unarmed and riding motorcycles when they were killed, he said.

“Unarmed soldiers not even in uniform are becoming targets of opportunity hence we are taking precautions to avoid similar scene including victimizing civilians through mistaken identity,” Peñaredondo said Sunday.

The bodies of the slain soldiers were brought to a funeral home in Naga City, he said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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