'GLENDA' NOW A TYPHOON; LANDFALL OVER BICOL TUESDAY NIGHT

PHILSTAR: JULY 15 --Tropical cyclone "Glenda" intensified into a typhoon on Monday night, weather bureau PAGASA reported. PAGASA said that as of 10 p.m., the eye of the typhoon was estimated at 400 kilometers east of Legazpi City. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 150 kph. It was forecast to move west at 20 kph. As the typhoon slowed down, its expected landfall over Bicol region was moved from Tuesday morning to Tuesday night. PAGASA said the storm may make landfall in the Albay-Sorsogon area, the cross Albay towards Southern Luzon. The typhoon's eye is expected to be in the vicinity of Metro Manila by Wednesday morning. It was expected to exit landmass by the afternoon a d then move out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Thursday night. Public storm warning signal No. 3 was hoisted over: Catanduanes Albay Sorsogon Northern Samar Signal No. 2 is placed over: Camarines Norte Camarines Sur Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands Marinduque southern part of Quezon northern part of Samar northern part of Eastern Samar
Signal No. 1 is raised over:

Romblon
Oriental Mindoro
Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island
Batangas
Cavite
Laguna
Rizal
Bulacan
Pampanga
Bataan
Zambales
Tarlac
Nueva Ecija
Pangasinan
Southern Aurora
Rest of Quezon including Polillo Islands
Metro Manila
Rest of Eastern Samar and of Samar Northern
Leyte including Biliran Island...THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Glenda threatens Bicol; signal no. 1 in MM 

PHILSTAR: JULY 15 --The state weather bureau yesterday placed several areas, including Metro Manila, under storm warning signals as Tropical Storm Glenda (international name Rammasun) continued to intensify as it headed toward the Bicol Region. Jori Loiz, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Glenda intensified further and slightly changed track yesterday afternoon due to a high-pressure area north of Luzon. Loiz said the storm was expected to make landfall over Albay between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. today, bringing heavy rains and gusty winds. Glenda was earlier forecast to make landfall over Virac, Catanduanes. At 5 p.m. yesterday, PAGASA raised signal no. 3 over Virac. Under signal no. 3, winds of 101 to 185 kilometers per hour are expected in the area within 18 hours. Signal no. 2 was hoisted over Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Masbate including Burias Island and Ticao Islands, Albay, Sorsogon, Marinduque, Southern Quezon and Northern Samar. Winds of 61 to 100 kph are expected in at least 24 hours under signal no. 2. Areas under signal no. 1 were Romblon, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Lubang Island, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Southern Aurora, Northern Quezon, including Polillo Island, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran and Metro Manila. Winds of 30 to 60 kph are expected in at least 36 hours in areas under signal no. 1.  * READ MORE...

ALSO: Tuesday classes in Metro Manila, other areas suspended due to Typhoon ‘Glenda’ 

INQUIRER: JULY 15 --Several local governments on Monday announced the suspension of classes for Tuesday, July 15, due to Typhoon “Glenda” (Rammasun).
Classes in the following areas are suspended:
Taguig City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Caloocan City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Malabon City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Marikina City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Makati City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Muntinlupa City – preschool and elementary (public and private) * READ MORE...

ALSO: Bicol braces for typhoon after 8-year lull 

INQUIRER: NAGA CITY--Storm clouds hover above Mt. Isarog in Camarines Sur on Monday, a day before tropical storm Glenda was expected to make landfall in Bicol region. Photo by Juan Escandor, Inquirer Southern Luzon --Eight years after Super Typhoon “Reming” killed about 1,000 people in a destructive strike across Bicol and nearby provinces, Bicolanos on Monday braced for another howler called “Glenda.” Typhoon Glenda is expected to make landfall on Tuesday anywhere on the eastern seaboard of Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes and the two Camarines provinces, as Metro Manila itself came under alert for rains and strong winds that may hit the capital early on Wednesday. Packing maximum sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour near the center, Glenda—estimated to be 470 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes—on Monday intensified as it churned westward threatening Bicol, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said on its website. Reming was the last major weather disturbance to hit Bicol with winds of more than 200 kph, according to typhoon specialist Michael Padua, senior typhoon specialist of the global private weather company MeteoGroup. Strangely, Glenda would occur on the same dates when Typhoon “Bebeng” wreaked havoc in Camarines Sur in July 1983, Padua said. Blue alert The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has issued a “blue alert” requiring half of the personnel of all regional and municipal disaster risk reduction management offices to be at their posts.–With reports from Fernan Gianan, Juan Escandor Jr. Edgar Alejo and Shiena Barrameda, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon; Carmel Loise Matus, Inquirer Visayas; and Julie M. Aurelio and Jerry E. Esplanada in Manila....READ FULL REPORT FROM BEGINNING...

ALSO: And then there was light #28storiesofgiving 

PILSTAR: JULY 15 --A student from Candelaria, Zambales receives a solar lantern from REEF, one of many provided to families in Zambales and Bulacan that live without electricity. When US-based Ralph Chesley, a Filipino born and raised in the Philippines until he was about 12 years old, returned to his boyhood town in Candelaria, Zambales after 38 years, he was shocked to find out that there wasn’t much improvement in the standard of living. “I returned in 2003 after a 38-year hiatus. I couldn’t understand how so many improvements can be made but not the standard of living. The families living in abject poverty bothered me to do something,” Chesley told The STAR. Candelaria, a third-class municipality of Zambales, has 13 barangays, mostly located near the shoreline far from the city proper. Most families in the area are tillers of land they do not own, or fish for a living. Although they do not have electricity, residents prioritize putting food on the table than worrying about having light and power in their homes, which are mostly nipa huts. Chesley says, “After five years of deciding what to do, I put up an organization. The project is about serving the poorest of the poor with renewable energy. Our mission is to empower the people with renewable energy.” Thus, he put up the Renewable Energy Enterprises Foundation (REEF), an international public charity registered with the US Department of Treasury. REEF’s mission of pushing renewable energy technologies to alleviate poverty focuses on health care, solar systems for poor families, education and career development in the renewable energy industry. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino threatens, defies SC, insists DAP is good 

Instead of accepting the Supreme Court (SC) decision declaring Executive actions that created the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional, President Aquino, in a nationwide address, issued what sounded like a threat to the Tribunal whose ruling, Aquino said, was “hard to understand.”
“We don’t want a point to be reached where two branches of government will collide” as a result of the decision on DAP, Aquino said. “Let me impress upon everyone: DAP is good. Our intentions, our processes, and the results were correct. Bosses, I promise you: I will not allow your suffering to be prolonged—especially if we could do what we can as early as now,” Aquino said. Ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, whose impeachment was supposedly facilitated with the use of DAP funds distributed to legislators, said in a text message that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno “should react and defend the institution she represents since it is her duty to answer Aquino personally.” Aquino, in his speech, said his administration would appeal the unanimous ruling of the SC saying the appeal would “allow them to more fully and more conscientiously examine the law.” “We ask that you review your decision, this time taking into consideration the points I have raised tonight. The nation hopes for your careful deliberation and response. And I hope that once you have examined the arguments I will submit, regarding the law and about our economy, solidarity will ensue—thus strengthening the entire government’s capability to push for the interests of the nation,” Aquino said.

“My message to the Supreme Court: We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision. You had done something similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the opinion that what you attempted to commit was far graver. Abiding by the principle of “presumption of regularity,” we assumed that you did the right thing; after all, you are the ones who should ostensibly have a better understanding of the law. And now, when we use the same mechanism—which, you yourselves have admitted, benefit our countrymen—why is it then that we are wrong?,” Aquino said. Aquino asked the SC magistrates to help his administration helping the people by giving a consideration to what he had expressed in his speech. “We believe that the majority of you, like us, want only the best for the Filipino people. To the honorable justices of the Supreme Court: Help us help our countrymen. We ask that you review your decision, this time taking into consideration the points I have raised tonight,” Aquino added. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy’s pork in ’15 budget totals P282 Billion, says Briones
TRIBUNE: JULY 15 --The pork barrel system is alive and kicking in the 2015 budget with P282 billion in lump sums for President Aquino factored in, despite the twin decisions of the Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional the legislative discretionary fund called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the presidential pork barrel pool called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), former National Treasurer Leonor Briones said yesterday. Briones told a forum on the national budget that of the P2.606-trillion proposed national budget for 2015, 11 percent or P282 billion has been alloted under Aquino’s discretion. These funds include contingency, intelligence, social and discretionary funds, Briones said. The lump sums remained in the budget despite “a firm, developing national consensus to do away with all sorts of pork barrel,” Briones said. “In the the 2015 national budget, what remains of the special purpose funds of the President total P282 billion which is the biggest lump sum appropriations,” Briones added. Briones said the computation she made was based on the national expenditure program, noting that not even half of the lump sums were subjected to the BuB (bottom-up budgeting),” Briones said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Promises and Peeves: Everything you need to remember from PNoy's previous SONAs
As President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) this month, let’s take a look at the list of things he talked about since he assumed presidency in June 2010. From talking about the path (Daang Matuwid) to the economic achievements of his administration, keep track of the president’s agenda with this detailed breakdown of all his previous SONAs. HIGHLIGHTS OF 2010 SONA IS A VERY LONG ONE--CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Constitutional crisis feared

Sen. Sergio Osmeńa III warned Malacańang last night of a constitutional crisis if President Aquino would continue to defy the Supreme Court ruling that declared parts of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional. “The SC will have to consider their motion for reconsideration and I expect the SC will not reverse itself, not with a 13 or 14-0 vote. It has never been done. So what will happen is that if the President will not obey, and he says, ‘no, you are wrong,’ that’s going to be a constitutional crisis,” Osmeńa explained. With impeachment moves against Aquino looming, Osmeńa expressed hope that the present administration will not allow a constitutional crisis to happen because it will affect the country’s economic standing. Osmeńa did not rule out the possibility that some groups from the military or the militants might take extrajudicial moves to destabilize the government. “I hope they will not allow it to get to that point, then maybe there will be extrajudicial moves already on the part of other groups who don’t like to see these sort of things,” he said, adding the country’s credit ratings may suffer. Osmeńa also criticized Aquino for being stubborn on the DAP issue. “Well, true to form, the President was hard-headed. It seems he does not know how to accept he made a mistake, an innocent mistake, a mistake without criminal intent but a mistake anyway, because the SC ruled 13-0,” Osmeńa said in an interview. Osmeńa, an ally of the President, was unable to hide his disappointment, although he publicly encouraged Aquino to address the issue and explain it to the people. * READ MORE...


Read Full Stories here:

'Glenda' now a typhoon; landfall over Bicol Tuesday night

MANILA
, JULY 15, 2014 (PHILSTAR)
 Tropical cyclone "Glenda" intensified into a typhoon on Monday night, weather bureau PAGASA reported.


GLENDA THREATENS

PAGASA said that as of 10 p.m., the eye of the typhoon was estimated at 400 kilometers east of Legazpi City.

It was packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 150 kph. It was forecast to move west at 20 kph.

As the typhoon slowed down, its expected landfall over Bicol region was moved from Tuesday morning to Tuesday night.

PAGASA said the storm may make landfall in the Albay-Sorsogon area, the cross Albay towards Southern Luzon.

The typhoon's eye is expected to be in the vicinity of Metro Manila by Wednesday morning. It was expected to exit landmass by the afternoon a d then move out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Thursday night.

Public storm warning signal No. 3 was hoisted over:

Catanduanes Albay Sorsogon Northern Samar

Signal No. 2 is placed over:

Camarines Norte Camarines Sur Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands Marinduque southern part of Quezon northern part of Samar northern part of Eastern Samar

Signal No. 1 is raised over:

Romblon
Oriental Mindoro
Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island
Batangas
Cavite
Laguna
Rizal
Bulacan
Pampanga
Bataan
Zambales
Tarlac
Nueva Ecija
Pangasinan
Southern Aurora
Rest of Quezon including Polillo Islands
Metro Manila
Rest of Eastern Samar and of Samar Northern
Leyte including Biliran Island

Glenda threatens Bicol; signal no. 1 in MM By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 15, 2014 - 12:00am 1 1 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The state weather bureau yesterday placed several areas, including Metro Manila, under storm warning signals as Tropical Storm Glenda (international name Rammasun) continued to intensify as it headed toward the Bicol Region.

Jori Loiz, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Glenda intensified further and slightly changed track yesterday afternoon due to a high-pressure area north of Luzon.

Loiz said the storm was expected to make landfall over Albay between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. today, bringing heavy rains and gusty winds.

Glenda was earlier forecast to make landfall over Virac, Catanduanes.

At 5 p.m. yesterday, PAGASA raised signal no. 3 over Virac.

Under signal no. 3, winds of 101 to 185 kilometers per hour are expected in the area within 18 hours.

Signal no. 2 was hoisted over Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Masbate including Burias Island and Ticao Islands, Albay, Sorsogon, Marinduque, Southern Quezon and Northern Samar.

Winds of 61 to 100 kph are expected in at least 24 hours under signal no. 2.

Areas under signal no. 1 were Romblon, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Lubang Island, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Southern Aurora, Northern Quezon, including Polillo Island, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran and Metro Manila.

Winds of 30 to 60 kph are expected in at least 36 hours in areas under signal no. 1.

* As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the center of Glenda was spotted at 470 kilometers east southeast of Virac, Catanduanes or 500 km east of Legazpi City, Albay with maximum sustained winds of 110 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 140 kph.

Glenda was forecast to move westward at 30 kph.

It is expected to be in the vicinity of Ligao City, Albay this afternoon.

Loiz said Glenda was projected to cross Metro Manila early tomorrow morning. He said strong winds are likely to affect the capital.

It is predicted to be 90 km west northwest of Iba, Zambales by tomorrow afternoon.

By Thursday morning, it is expected to be 500 km west of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

Glenda was expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday.

Class suspension

Classes in all levels in both public and private schools in Camarines Sur are suspended today due to expected inclement weather.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) yesterday said more than 700 people have been reported stranded in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon as Glenda moved closer to the country.

As of 10 a.m. yesterday, PCG data showed there were 762 people waiting at ports: 349 in Tabaco, Albay and 80 in Bulan, 33 in Pilar, and 300 in Matnog, all in Sorsogon.

Thirteen ships and seven motorized boats were also stranded.

900 barangays landslide-prone

Disaster management officials yesterday said more than 900 barangays are susceptible to landslides, while close to 4,000 others are vulnerable to floods because of Glenda.

Lilian Rollan, officer-in-charge of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)’s Lands Geological Survey Division, said 359 barangays under public storm signal no. 2 and 575 others under public storm signal no. 1 are highly susceptible to landslides.

She said 1,117 barangays under public storm signal no. 2 and 2,841 others under public storm signal no. 1 are vulnerable to floods. Non Alquitran, Mike Frialde, Rainier Allan Ronda, Alexis Romero, Celso Amo

FROM THE INQUIRER

Tuesday classes in Metro Manila, other areas suspended due to Typhoon ‘Glenda’ By Frances Mangosing |INQUIRER.net1:13 am | Tuesday, July 15th, 2014


MANILA, Philippines—Several local governments on Monday announced the suspension of classes for Tuesday, July 15, due to Typhoon “Glenda” (Rammasun).
Classes in the following areas are suspended:
Taguig City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Caloocan City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Malabon City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Marikina City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Makati City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Muntinlupa City – preschool and elementary (public and private)
* Pateros – all levels (public and private)
Quezon City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Valenzuela City – kindergarten (public and private)
San Juan City – all levels (public and private)
Navotas City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Manila- preschool to high school (public and private)
Pasig City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Pasay City – preschool to high school (public and private)
Valenzuela City – preschool to high school (public and private)
San Mateo, Cainta, Angono, Antipolo in Rizal province – preschool to high school (public and private)
Cavite – preschool to high school (public and private)
Bulacan – all levels (public and private)
Laguna – all levels (public and private)
Camarines Sur – all levels (public and private)
Tropical Storm Glenda continued to threaten Bicol area. As of Monday evening, Albay and Sorsogon provinces were placed under Public Storm Warning Signal No. 3, besides Catanduanes. Also under Signal 3 is Eastern Samar. It would traverse Metro Manila, which was placed at Signal No. 1, early Wednesday.
Under Signal No. 1, classes are automatically suspended in preschool but local governments have the authority to declare class suspensions in areas where there is no storm signal.
Originally posted at 07:55 pm | Monday, July 14, 2013

Bicol braces for typhoon after 8-year lull By Juan Escandor Jr. |Inquirer Southern Luzon2:27 am | Tuesday, July 15th, 2014


Storm clouds hover above Mt. Isarog in Camarines Sur on Monday, a day before tropical storm Glenda was expected to make landfall in Bicol region. Photo by Juan Escandor, Inquirer Southern Luzon

NAGA CITY, Philippines—Eight years after Super Typhoon “Reming” killed about 1,000 people in a destructive strike across Bicol and nearby provinces, Bicolanos on Monday braced for another howler called “Glenda.”

Typhoon Glenda is expected to make landfall on Tuesday anywhere on the eastern seaboard of Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes and the two Camarines provinces, as Metro Manila itself came under alert for rains and strong winds that may hit the capital early on Wednesday.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour near the center, Glenda—estimated to be 470 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes—on Monday intensified as it churned westward threatening Bicol, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said on its website.

Reming was the last major weather disturbance to hit Bicol with winds of more than 200 kph, according to typhoon specialist Michael Padua, senior typhoon specialist of the global private weather company MeteoGroup.

Strangely, Glenda would occur on the same dates when Typhoon “Bebeng” wreaked havoc in Camarines Sur in July 1983, Padua said.

* He said that based on four models from international weather organizations, Glenda would make landfall somewhere between Catanduanes and Caramoan (in Camarines Sur) or down on the eastern part of Sorsogon.

Typhoon path predicted

MeteoGroup is a private group supported by the Aboitiz Group of companies with a goal of setting up 1,000 automated weather stations around the country to provide weather information to companies, local government units and residents.

Padua was recognized for correctly predicting the path of Typhoon “Unding” in 2004 that directly hit Naga City.

He uses four typhoon models—the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (WRS), Global Forecast System (GFS), Navy Global Environmental Model (Navgem), all based in the United States, and European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts—in making his forecasts.

Padua said all the four models showed that Glenda would make landfall in Bicol with some variations on the exact site.
28-31 kph

Glenda may move slightly south and hit Sorsogon or Albay but if it maintains its track, Catanduanes and the two Camarines provinces would be hit, he said.

Using satellite data, Padua said Glenda was expected to be close to Catanduanes and the Maqueda Channel early on Tuesday morning and make landfall on Tuesday afternoon.

He said Glenda was fast moving at 28-31 kph with a rain diameter of about 500 km, wind diameter of 390 km and maximum gustiness of 120 kph.

“My forecast [for] Tuesday is that the wind could have sustained gustiness of 130-140 kph which could reach to 150-160 kph,”ťPadua said.

“It could damage plantation areas and weak structures [and be] classified as Category 1, compared to Super Typhoon Yolanda, which was classified as Category 4,”ťhe said.

Storm surge

Padua said flooding was expected in low-lying areas and that the storm surge could reach up to 1 meter in height, compared to Yolanda, which reached 5 m.

Classes have been suspended in the Bicol Region while hundreds of passengers have been stranded as relief officials prepared to evacuate residents in flood- and landslide-prone areas.

The Virac Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC), headed by Capt. Ivanhoe Arcilla, said officials assumed Glenda would make a direct hit on the town and warnings had been sent to coastal areas to prevent fishermen from venturing out to sea.

Virac Vice Mayor Roy Laynes said the MDRRMC had authorized the procurement of 100 bags of rice from the National Food Authority (NFA), as well as noodles and canned goods from a supermarket.

In Bicol ports, some 820 passengers were stranded on Monday in Tabaco City in Albay, Bulan and Matnog towns in Sorsogon and Cataingan in Masbate.

In Albay, classes were suspended at all levels as were classes in Camarines Sur and Naga City.

Pangasinan at risk

In Pangasinan province, officials said Glenda might cross the province on Wednesday on its way to the West Philippine Sea.

Melchito Castro, Ilocos regional director of the Office of Civil Defense, said everyone must be alert, especially those living in coastal areas and near river banks.

“Eastern Pangasinan towns are also at risk because the typhoon is coming from that direction. It can cause landslides and flash floods,” Castro said.

“We should not be complacent because we do not know yet how much water Glenda will be dumping into the province,” Castro said.

Avenix Arenas, spokesperson of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the provincial government was ready to carry out any evacuation.

In Aurora province, Gov. Gerardo Noveras convened relief officials to prepare for any emergency.

Food assistance

In Manila, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has prepared food and nonfood assistance to augment resources of local government units.

The DSWD said its field offices in Northern and Central Luzon had prepositioned 78,608 family food packs for immediate distribution to local government units.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said the field offices had 209,875 assorted food items and 101,326 nonfood items.

“Social welfare and development teams at the municipal level are now on the field to monitor the extent of the typhoon,” Soliman said.

Blue alert

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has issued a “blue alert” requiring half of the personnel of all regional and municipal disaster risk reduction management offices to be at their posts.–With reports from Fernan Gianan, Juan Escandor Jr. Edgar Alejo and Shiena Barrameda, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon; Carmel Loise Matus, Inquirer Visayas; and Julie M. Aurelio and Jerry E. Esplanada in Manila

FROM PHILSTAR

And then there was light #28storiesofgiving By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 15, 2014 - 12:00am 0 3 googleplus0 0


A student from Candelaria, Zambales receives a solar lantern from REEF, one of many provided to families in Zambales and Bulacan that live without electricity.

MANILA, Philippines - When US-based Ralph Chesley, a Filipino born and raised in the Philippines until he was about 12 years old, returned to his boyhood town in Candelaria, Zambales after 38 years, he was shocked to find out that there wasn’t much improvement in the standard of living.

“I returned in 2003 after a 38-year hiatus. I couldn’t understand how so many improvements can be made but not the standard of living. The families living in abject poverty bothered me to do something,” Chesley told The STAR.

Candelaria, a third-class municipality of Zambales, has 13 barangays, mostly located near the shoreline far from the city proper. Most families in the area are tillers of land they do not own, or fish for a living.

Although they do not have electricity, residents prioritize putting food on the table than worrying about having light and power in their homes, which are mostly nipa huts.

Chesley says, “After five years of deciding what to do, I put up an organization. The project is about serving the poorest of the poor with renewable energy. Our mission is to empower the people with renewable energy.”

Thus, he put up the Renewable Energy Enterprises Foundation (REEF), an international public charity registered with the US Department of Treasury.

REEF’s mission of pushing renewable energy technologies to alleviate poverty focuses on health care, solar systems for poor families, education and career development in the renewable energy industry.

* The main goal, Chesley said, is to lift families beyond subsistence living, provide opportunities for children to complete secondary school, and improve women’s health through sustainable living practices.

REEF director of operations Grace Gonzales adds that their priority is to provide solar light lantern to families with kids who are in school.

“REEF also provides a work desk where students can do their homework,” she adds.

Currently, REEF operates in the Zambales and Bulacan provinces, where many families are living either off the grid or are unable to afford electricity. Such families and individuals rely on solid fuels such as humid wood, dung, crop residue, charcoal and kerosene for both light and for cooking with crude stoves or open fires, according to REEF’s website, alleviatepovertynow.org.

To curb the practice, REEF came up with a program for families. It partnered with local officials and community leaders to identify what it would take to slow down environmental degradation and improve overall health in the community.

“By offsetting 40 to 60 percent of a family’s cooking and lighting expenses with renewable energy and sustainable practices, a family can divert funds to healthcare and education. By improving socio-economic conditions of the poorest, we believe we can promote good health, environmental and educational practices for the community at large,” REEF also said.

“To date, we have helped 2,000 families since 2011 with solar lanterns and cooking stoves,” he said.

Chesley said REEF hopes to double its outreach every two years.

Another program is its Green Hospital program, created to augment a hospital’s expansion of healthcare and medical care services.

“Since renewable energy projects are designed to reduce a hospital’s electric load by 80 percent or more and because solar modules last 40 years, under these conditions benefits are considerable; the savings can finance expansion of healthcare delivery services and improve medical care with long-term benefits to the community, patient care, administration and, of course, to the environment,” REEF said.

REEF is in discussions with future partners to begin installing solar PV systems to off- and on-grid schools and remote barangay centers without electricity.

Moving forward, Chesley said REEF has more plans.

“In three years, we want to provide teaching modules, solar equipment and trainers to provincial colleges to begin educating and training students for 21st century jobs in the renewable energy industry and in doing so build its own trained workforce for its own projects,” he said.

Last March, REEF conducted disaster relief efforts in Cebu.

“We served 500 families with desperately needed solar lanterns. We plan to expand our efforts in this area as needed by the communities. We look to partner with other non-government organizations and local government units to maximize our resources,” he added.

Overall, he said, the goal is to raise Filipinos’ standard of living.

“We intend to return next year with plans to reach 1,000 families, provided that financing is available. We are a self-financed organization. We are all volunteers in five countries focused on helping the poor. We need to continue this very important mission and would need financial support in the form of grants or donations,” he said.

Interested donors may reach Chesley at rchesley@gmail.com

(Editor’s Note: The Philippine STAR’s #28StoriesOfGiving is a campaign that turns the spotlight on 28 inspiring stories of people and organizations who devote their lives to helping themselves or others. Everyone is encouraged to post or “tweet” a message of support with the hashtag, #28StoriesOfGiving. For every post, P5.00 will be added to The STAR’s existing ‘give back’ anniversary fund. For comments and suggestions to #28storiesofgiving, email contactus@philstar.com.ph follow @philippinestar on Twitter or visit The Philippine STAR’s page on Facebook.)

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Aquino threatens, defies SC, insists DAP is good Written by Paul Atienza Tuesday, 15 July 2014 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print 23 comments

PALACE TO APPEAL ‘DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND’ RULING

Instead of accepting the Supreme Court (SC) decision declaring Executive actions that created the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional, President Aquino, in a nationwide address, issued what sounded like a threat to the Tribunal whose ruling, Aquino said, was “hard to understand.”

“We don’t want a point to be reached where two branches of government will collide” as a result of the decision on DAP, Aquino said.

“Let me impress upon everyone: DAP is good. Our intentions, our processes, and the results were correct. Bosses, I promise you: I will not allow your suffering to be prolonged—especially if we could do what we can as early as now,” Aquino said.

Ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, whose impeachment was supposedly facilitated with the use of DAP funds distributed to legislators, said in a text message that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno “should react and defend the institution she represents since it is her duty to answer Aquino personally.”

Aquino, in his speech, said his administration would appeal the unanimous ruling of the SC saying the appeal would “allow them to more fully and more conscientiously examine the law.”

“We ask that you review your decision, this time taking into consideration the points I have raised tonight. The nation hopes for your careful deliberation and response. And I hope that once you have examined the arguments I will submit, regarding the law and about our economy, solidarity will ensue—thus strengthening the entire government’s capability to push for the interests of the nation,” Aquino said.

“My message to the Supreme Court: We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision. You had done something similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the opinion that what you attempted to commit was far graver. Abiding by the principle of “presumption of regularity,” we assumed that you did the right thing; after all, you are the ones who should ostensibly have a better understanding of the law. And now, when we use the same mechanism—which, you yourselves have admitted, benefit our countrymen—why is it then that we are wrong?,” Aquino said.

Aquino asked the SC magistrates to help his administration helping the people by giving a consideration to what he had expressed in his speech.

“We believe that the majority of you, like us, want only the best for the Filipino people. To the honorable justices of the Supreme Court: Help us help our countrymen. We ask that you review your decision, this time taking into consideration the points I have raised tonight,” Aquino added.

Earlier in his speech, Aquino recited his usual litany of how the nation supposedly gained from the DAP but did not gave any specifics about the 116 projects that supposedly got DAP fundings.

Aquino insisted in his speech the DAP was a correct measure despite the SC ruling it unconstitutional last July 1.

Aquino, in a live telecast from the Malacańang Monday night, chided the 13 magistrates of the High Court who had voted on the illegality of DAP.

“I asked for this opportunity to speak to you today, to explain a few points regarding the Supreme Court decision on DAP,” Aquino said.

Aquino had even asked his entire Cabinet members and other top officials who showed in force during his address along with the public to read the entire decision of the SC so they could understand his message.

Instead of the 1987 Constitution, which he is sworn to uphold, Aquino cited as justifications of his actions the Administrative Code of 1987 signed by his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, which he said clearly allowed him to determine the use of savings.

“Except as otherwise provided in the General Appropriations Act, any savings in the regular appropriations authorized in the General Appropriations Act for programs and projects of any department, office or agency, may, with the approval of the President, be used to cover a deficit in any other item of the regular appropriations,” Aquino said.

Aquino stressed that there was nothing wrong with the DAP and vowed to defend it since it “would provide help to the people.”

Aquino reiterated that when he assumed office last June 2010, the 2010 budget was still in effect, and “we likewise inherited the proposed 2011 budget”.

“Of the P1.54 trillion set aside for the government for the whole of 2010, only P100 billion, or 6.5 percent, was left for the remaining six months of the year. You really have to wonder: Where did the money go?,” Aquino claimed.

Aquino mentioned the “anomalous projects like the dredging of Laguna Lake, where we were supposed to pay 18.7 billion pesos just to play with mud; or the GOCCs that gave away exorbitant bonuses to its officials and employees, even if they were already operating at a loss”.

“It is clear that corruption was endemic in the budgeting system of the past. We made sure to excise all of that, we cancelled anomalous projects, we corrected the governance of GOCCs, and we began to end all the sleight of hand with the people’s money,” Aquino said.

The Aquino administration went into underspending in 2011, resulting in a weak 3.6 percent growth, but this was the result of the administration holding back on the release of funds indicating that it was reviewing most of the projects undertaken during the previous government.

Aquino then tried to explain the meaning of “savings” while indicating a difference of view about it with the Supreme Court’s definition in its ruling.

“Allow me to clarify the meaning of savings in government. At home, don’t we see savings as something positive? For example, if you are able to buy meat at a discount, then you can get more ingredients,” Aquino said.

Aquino said that:”In the case of government, savings have a much more complex meaning”.

Aquino said that DAP is not a project, “it is an efficient way of spending the budget; it follows the law and adheres to the mandate granted to the Executive Branch”.

“We did this to properly allocate funds, and by so doing maximize the benefits that the people may receive,” Aquino said.
Aquino said that his administration’s aim was to not prolong the implementation of projects.

Aquino complained that the Supreme Court’s decision had questioned their use of savings, and raises concerns on when they could use unprogrammed funds.

“They want savings declared only at the 31st of December of each year. If that were the case, when would the government be free to utilize these funds? Following their logic on savings, projects that could have been funded in the middle of the current year would have to be delayed until the following year,” Aquino said.

The SC decision in gist indicated that savings can’t be declared unless these were already realized such as during the end of a calendar year while unprogrammed funds have certain conditions to be met such as government targets.

Aquino said they had a list of projects that would only be funded if government experiences a windfall in earnings, which are referred to as unprogrammed funds.

“With the Supreme Court’s decision, benefits would be delayed, because it would take until March of the following year to fulfill all the requirements regarding these funds; on top of this, it would all then have to go through another four to six months of bidding and procurement,” Aquino said.

“If you file a report in March, it would be September of the following year by the time all of these processes are done. All in all, almost two years would have passed before the benefits of funds would redound to the people,” Aquino said.

Aquino said the implications of the decision would affect the programs for the relocation of informal settlers to safer places.

“In the system the Supreme Court is ordering us to bring back, it might take two more rainy seasons before we are able to relocate our countrymen. Let us remember: about twenty typhoons come our way each year. Is it right to ask those living in hazardous areas to just leave everything to prayer?,” Aquino said.

“As you can see, this law openly gives the President the power to transfer savings to other projects. It does not limit the transfer to only one department or branch of government. In other words: We did not transgress the law when we implemented DAP. The Constitution and the Administrative Code are not at odds with each other,” Aquino claimed.

Aquino said that they were, in fact, surprised to find that the Supreme Court decision did not take into account his administration’s “legal basis” for DAP.

“How can they say that our spending methods are unconsti-tutional when they did not look into our basis? Even until now, Section 39 of the Administrative Code is in effect, along with its other sections,” Aquino said.

Aquino also considered as even more worrisome “when we take into account the “operative fact doctrine,” which the Supreme Court also mentioned in its decision.

“This is simple. When a Supreme Court declares as unconstitutional any law or edict by the Executive, only those projects yet to be implemented under said law are deemed prohibited. The declaration does not include completed projects if this means stripping our citizens of benefits,” Aquino said.

But, Aquino said, in the SC decision, the justices immediately presumed the absence of good faith, which would then have to be proven through trial.

“What happened to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty?,” Aquino said.

Aquino also protested that there were also those who say that DAP and PDAF are the same thing.

“Excuse me. DAP is different from PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund). With PDAF, the corrupt funneled government funds into fake NGOs, money then allegedly divided among themselves. It’s clear that with DAP the people’s money was never stolen, the funds were used for the benefit of Filipinos. And not for later, not soon; but, now. Programs that could be implemented immediately were implemented immediately,” Aquino said.

Aquino said that the World Bank did admit that DAP helped improve the economy. The World Bank, however, in a report took back its assessment that the DAP indeed benefitted the economy.

“It is clear that the Supreme Court has much to consider that they may better clarify their decision regarding DAP; perhaps they can even identify DAP’s negative effect on the country,” Aquino said.

Aquino said they were determined to appeal the 13-0 decision.

“We will appeal the Supreme Court’s decision. We will do this by filing a Motion for Reconsideration, which will allow them to more fully and more conscientiously examine the law,” Aquino said.

Aquino said,”there are those who say that this decision might be a personal vendetta against me, that I am being dared to act in the same vindictive manner against them”.

“All I can say—as the President, as the father of this country—is that we need temperance and forbearance—we must comply with due process,” Aquino said.

He said the mere hope that the decision would be overturned could be a monumental one.

Aquino said that “we had also been warned that pushing through with this motion might put us in greater danger”.

Noy’s pork in ’15 budget totals P282 Billion, says Briones Written by Tribune Tuesday, 15 July 2014 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print 1 comment


former National Treasurer Leonor Briones

The pork barrel system is alive and kicking in the 2015 budget with P282 billion in lump sums for President Aquino factored in, despite the twin decisions of the Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional the legislative discretionary fund called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the presidential pork barrel pool called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), former National Treasurer Leonor Briones said yesterday.

Briones told a forum on the national budget that of the P2.606-trillion proposed national budget for 2015, 11 percent or P282 billion has been alloted under Aquino’s discretion.

These funds include contingency, intelligence, social and discretionary funds, Briones said.

The lump sums remained in the budget despite “a firm, developing national consensus to do away with all sorts of pork barrel,” Briones said.

“In the the 2015 national budget, what remains of the special purpose funds of the President total P282 billion which is the biggest lump sum appropriations,” Briones added.

Briones said the computation she made was based on the national expenditure program, noting that not even half of the lump sums were subjected to the BuB (bottom-up budgeting),” Briones said.

* The BuB taps local governments in the indentification of priority projects to be funded from the budget. Critics of Aquino warned that the supposed reform program can be abused and turned into another pork barrel scheme.

“It is the President that proposes the national expenditure program and Congress has the authority to allocate it but more than 25 percent of the budget as Aquino’s ‘pocket money’ in the national budget is too much,” Briones said.

“The amount is too large for contingencies and that would be hard to pinpoint because the national budget is different from the national expenditure program and the President’s budget,” she said.

President Aquino should have lump sum funds to draw from during calamity periods but these should not be as big as that in the proposed 2015 national budget since Aquino already has his own contingency fund, Briones added.

“Why does Aquino need lump sums? Does the President really need loose change and for what purpose? If, for instance, classrooms are destroyed by the many typhoons that hit the country, he has his own contingency funds, intelligence fund, and confidential fund to draw from,” Briones said.

Aside from these funds, Briones said Aquino also has at his disposal P10 billion in social funds from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) called the Presidential Social Fund.

Aquino also has discretionary power over off-budget funds collected from the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge or road users tax worth billions of pesos yearly which are not reflected in the annual budget.

“That is off-budget funds, aside from automatic appropriations like Malampaya Funds,” Briones said.

Harry Roque said that since Congress has the power over the purse strengthened by the recent decision of the Supreme Court over the unconstitutionality of Disbursement Acceleration Program, the legislature can stop lump-sum appropriations.

“Congress can legally do away with the lump sums in the national budget by assigning these into a line item budget in the different agencies,” Briones added.

“When I was still studying fiscal administration, they drilled into us the one-fund concept. Government should have only one fund. Because if you have so many kinds of funds, the temptation is to hide some and use them for other things,” Briones said.

In direct contrast to the speech of President Aquino, think tank Ibon said the DAP did not stimulate economy, and overall public spending was actually slower since the implementation of the DAP.

Ibon said a genuine stimulus should be able to stir the economy and immediately boost consumer and investment spending.

But it is clear that the DAP had no significant impact on the whole economy, said Ibon.

“In fact the DAP was not able to improve even government’s own spending—it was just 7.6 percent of total government spending in 2011, 4.3 percent in 2012 and 1.0 percent in 2013. Measured versus the economy the DAP was just 0.88 percent of GDP in 2011, 0.56 percent of GDP in 2012 and 0.13 percent of GDP in 2013,” Ibon said.

Ibon said the Aquino administration has played up increased spending upon the DAP implementation, and used quarterly data to make its case.

Ibon explained that the national government budget is not a quarterly but rather an annual budget and taking the more correct annual frame of reference is revealing.

“On an annual basis, it turns out that DAP-related spending is not associated with growing overall public spending and, indeed, the opposite is even the case,” Ibon said. Pat Santos, Paul Atienza

FROM PHILSTAR

Promises and Peeves: Everything you need to remember from PNoy's previous SONAs By Jovan Cerda (philstar.com) | Updated July 15, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 1

MANILA, Philippines – As President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) this month, let’s take a look at the list of things he talked about since he assumed presidency in June 2010. From talking about the path (Daang Matuwid) to the economic achievements of his administration, keep track of the president’s agenda with this detailed breakdown of all his previous SONAs.

* SONA 2010 highlights

1. Unveiling of the straight path (Daang Matuwid), to protect the welfare of the people; to look after the interest of the majority; to have a firm grip on principles; and to be faithful to the public servant’s sworn oath to serve the country honestly

2. Government expenditure exceeding revenues for the last six months of the Arroyo administration, with the deficit increasing to P196.7 billion.

3. Only P100 billion remaining in the P1.54-trillion national budget for 2010

4. P1.4 billion or 70 percent already spent from the P2-billion calamity fund

5. P105 million of the P108-million calamity fund for Pampanga going to only one district, released during the election month

6. Executives of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System rewarded themselves even though the pensions of retired employees remain unpaid

7. Investigation of the previous administration's midnight appointees

8. Called attention to infrastructure projects that are unstudied and unprepared for, sprouting like mushrooms

9. Nineteen of 89 projects for the rehabilitation of areas affected by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, amounting to P981 million didn’t go through public bidding

10. National Power Corp. slumped deeply in debt

11. Landbank and the Development Bank of the Philippines were ordered to purchase the Metro Railway Transit

12. Funds mismanagement at the National Food Authority (NFA), which led to rotten rice

13. NFA incurring a P177-billion debt

14. Promise to stop the wasteful use of government funds

15. Creation of a budget that accurately identifies the problem and gives much attention on the right solution

16. Cases filed against smugglers and those who do not pay the right taxes

17. Half of cases of extralegal killings being solved

18. Formation of the Truth Commission, to make accountable those responsible for the commission of alleged wrongdoing in the last nine years (2001-2010)

19. Creation of public-private partnerships

20. Improvement of national defense through public-private partnerships

21. Construction of needed infrastructure for tourism

22. Access to grains terminals, refrigeration facilities, orderly road networks and post-harvest facilities for agriculture

23. Creation of an efficient railway system

24. Job creation at the forefront of government's agenda

25. Improvement of business registration processes care of the Department of Trade and Industry

26. Call for local government units to implement reforms to make business processes easier

27. Expansion of the basic education cycle from 10 years to the global standard of 12 years

28. Improvement of PhilHealth

29. Implementation of the National Household Targeting System that will identify the families that most urgently need assistance from the Conditional Cash Transfer

30. Restoration of power to almost all those affected by Typhoon Basyang within 24 hours

31. Alleviation of Metro Manila's water shortage

32. Convening of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council to discuss the important bills that need to be addressed

33. Push for the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, which will limit spending bills only for appropriations that have identified a source of funding

34. Plan to amend the Procurement Law

35. The need for an Anti-Trust Law

36. Call for the passage of the National Land Use Bill

37. The need to amend the National Defense Act

38. Appeal to pass the Whistleblower's bill

39. Improvement of the Witness Protection Program

40. Call to begin a re-codification of laws to ensure harmony in legislation and eliminate contradictions

41. Asking former University of the Philippines College of Law Dean Marvic Leonen to head efforts to talk to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front

42. Offering of peace talks to the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People's Army- National Democratic Front

43. Asking the media to police its own ranks

44. Encouraging everyone to take a step toward participation rather than fault-finding

45. Call for Filipinos to become one in achieving a fulfilment of hopes and aspirations for the country

SONA 2011 highlights

1. Doing away with the wang-wang as a symbol of change, not just in the streets, but even in the people's collective attitude

2. The number of Filipinos who experienced hunger has decreased. Self-rated hunger has gone down from 20.5 percent in March to 15.1 percent in June 2011

3. The Philippine Stock Exchange index rising above the 4,000 mark

4. The country's credit rating upgraded by Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, Fitch, and Japan Credit Ratings Agency

5. Revived confidence of investors in our energy sector with 140 companies, all ready to participate in the exploration and strengthening of oil and natural gas resources

6. Signing of a new contract for a power plant to be constructed in the Luzon grid, to be ready by 2014

7. Government-owned and controlled corporations being excessive in their bonuses amid deep debts

8. Use of the zero-based budgeting to review programs

9. Uncovering and stopping of ill-advised plan to dredge Laguna Lake

10. Uncovering of a food-for-school program with no proper targeting of beneficiaries

11. Wang-wang culture still existing in the private sector, where 1.7 million self-employed and professional taxpayers: lawyers, doctors, businessmen paid only a total of P 9.8 billion in 2010, translating to an average of P5,783 in income tax

12. Holding accountable those who practice culture of entitlement in all government offices

13. Elimination of patronage politics that has been prevalent in the Department of Public Works and Highways, translating to savings of up to P2.5 billion

14. The estimated yearly shortage of 1.3 million metric tons of rice is down to 660,000 metric tons

15. A 15.6-percent increase in rice production thanks to the irrigation of an additional 11,611 hectares of fields, and the near 212,000 hectares of land rehabilitated

14. Plan to end rice importation and achieve self-sufficiency

15. Awarding of 4,000 Certificates of Entitlement to Lot Allocation for policemen, the first batch of 21,800 houses intended for men in uniform

16. Capability upgrades and the modernization of the equipment of the armed forces

17. Studying the possibility of elevating the maritime dispute with China to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

18. Large drop in car and motorcycle thefts

19. The Philippines has been taken off the Tier 2 Watchlist of United State's Trafficking in Persons Report

20. Unemployment rate down to 7.2 percent in April 2011 from 8 percent a year ago

21. Review of curricula to better direct jobseeking graduates to industries that are in need of workers

22. Progress in the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program with 92-percent compliance rate

23. Plan to include a total of 3 million poor families in the CCT

24. Identification of beneficiaries through the National Household Targeting System, to make sure that the 5.2 million Filipino families who benefit from PhilHealth are those who really need it

25. Poll synchronization for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

26. Plan to make the stewardship of these trees beneficial to communities

27. Development of low-cost traps that kill mosquito larvae, probably contributing to the nearly 14-percent decrease in dengue incidents

28. Development of coconut coir fibers that are normally just disposed of have been used as a cost-effective way to strengthen roads

29. Development of landslide sensors that warn when soil erosion has reached dangerous levels

30. Development of early flood warning systems for riverside communities

31. Development of a monorail system which could potentially provide a home grown mass transport solution that would cost as little as P100 million per kilometer

32. Call for officials in local government units to remain committed to the straight path

33. The need for local government and national programs to remain in sync

34. Thanking the Congress for passing laws regarding GOCC Governance, ARMM Synchronization, Lifeline Electricity Rates Extension, Joint Congressional Power Commission Extension, Children and Infants’ Mandatory Immunization, and Women Night Workers

34. Timely passage of the national budget

35. Plan to give due compensation to the victims of Martial Law

36. Plan to grant househelp the salaries and benefits that they deserve

37. Plan to improve the system that awards pensions to retired soldiers

38. Plan to expand of the scope of scholarships granted by Department of Science and Technology to outstanding yet underprivileged students

39. The advancement of universal quality healthcare

40. The responsible management of the environment

41. The formation of facilities that will ensure the safety of citizens during times of great need and calamity

42. Plan to develop Bureau of Corrections, National Bureau of Investigation, National Electrification Administration and PTV 4 to better fulfill their mandate of public service

43. Uncovering of anomalies at the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., where P1 billion was spent on coffee

44. Appointment of former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales as the new Ombudsman

45. Promise of filing the first major case against the corrupt and their accomplices within the year

46. Confidence in the Department of Justice in running after offenders, especially in cases regarding tax evasion, drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, graft and corruption and extrajudicial killings

47. Steering the government in a clear direction

48. Thanking priests and bishops for continued dialogue

49. Thanking the Cabinet for sacrificing their personal comfort for public service

50. Special citation to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration for reliable advice and warnings during times of calamity

50. Citing Filipinos who decided to join the rightful path

51. Call to end culture of negativism, and instead express gratitude to hardworking Filipinos

52. Thanking the Filipino nation for making the country truly alive

SONA 2012 highlights

1. The North Rail contract that was an expensive project that became even more expensive after renegotiation

2. Government-owned and controlled corporations handing out unwarranted bonuses despite losses

3. Billions wasted by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. on coffee

4. Corruption at the Philippine National Police, which ignored the need to arm 45 percent of the police force

5. A backlog of 66,800 classrooms, which would cost about P53.44 billion; a backlog of some 2,57 million classroom chairs, amounting to P2.31 billion

6. About 36 million Filipinos still not enrolled in PhilHealth as of 2010, requiring P42 billion

7. P103 billion needed for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines

8. Entering into office with only about 6.5 percent of the national budget in 2010

9. Relief goods being given before the storm arrives, rescue services always on standby and the people are no longer left to fend for themselves

10. Sirens only blare from the police cars, from ambulances, and from fire trucks— not from government officials

11. Reforms established to cut wasteful spending

12. Eight positive credit ratings

13. The Philippine Stock Exchange index hovering near or above 5,000

14. The economy growing to 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012

15. The Philippines becoming a creditor country from being a debtor

16. Investors flocking to the Philippines

17. Commentators all over the world voicing their admiration

18. Registering 3 million households under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program

19. Based on data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development ,672,977 mothers now get regular checkups; some 1.673 million children have been vaccinated against diarrhea, polio, measles, and various other diseases; 4.57 million students no longer need to miss school because of poverty

20. About 85 percent of Filipinos already enrolled in PhilHealth, an improvement of 23.31 million citizens

21. The 5.2 million poorest households identified by our National Household Targeting System will now fully benefit from PhilHealth’s programs, free of charge

22. Owing to the Department of Health’s No Balance Billing Policy, treatment for dengue, pneumonia, asthma, cataracts—as well as treatments for catastrophic diseases like breast cancer, prostate cancer, and acute leukemia—can be availed of for free by the poorest Filipinos

23. In 2010, 10,000 nurses and midwives were deployed under the RNHeals Program; to date, the government has deployed 30,801; over 11,000 Community Health Teams were tasked to strengthen the links between doctors and nurses, and the communities they serve

24. Sending health professionals to 1,021 localities covered by the Pantawid Pamilya, and to the 609 poorest cities and municipalities, as identified by the National Anti-Poverty Commission

25. Aspiration for a true, universal and holistic health care

26. Encouraging results from the tests on anti-dengue mosquito traps

27. The high maternal mortality ratio in our country continues to alarm the government

28. Call for Congress to pass the Sin Tax Bill

29. Promise to build 66,800 classrooms needed to fill up the shortage

30. Promise to address the 2,573,212 backlog in chairs before 2012 end

31. Support for the Responsible Parenthood Bill

32. Proposal to increase the budget of state universities and colleges (SUCs) by 43.61 percent to P37.13 billion in 2013

33. Call for the enactment of the SUC Reform Roadmap of the Commission on Higher Education

34. P292.7-billion budget for the Department of Education in 2013

35. The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) training 434,676 individuals under the Training for Work Scholarship Program

36. The TESDA Specialists Technopreneurship Program delivering victories, with each of the 5,240 certified Specialistas earning P562 or P11,240 a month

37. Creation of 3.1-million jobs in the past two years

38. In 2010, the unemployment rate was 8 percent. In April 2011, it dropped to 7.2 percent, and dropped further to 6.9 percent in 2012

39. The business process outsourcing industry will be bringing $25 billion in 2016, employing 1.3 million Filipinos and creating 3.2 million indirect jobs

40. Promise to create the New Bohol Airport in Panglao, New Legaspi Airport in Daraga, and Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental

41. Upgrading of international airports in Mactan, Cebu; Tacloban; and Puerto Princesa Airport, so they can receive more passengers; in addition to remodeling the airports in Butuan, Cotabato, Dipolog, Pagadian, Tawi-Tawi, Southern Leyte, and San Vicente in Palawan

42. Promise to repair structural defects at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3

43. Launching of infrastructure projects without raising taxes

43. About 1,569 kilometers of roads have been fixed under the leadership of Secretary Rogelio Singson of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), with an additional 2,275 kilometers to be finished within the year

44. The DPWH saving P10.6 billion from 2011 to June 2012 through the right process of bidding and procurement

45. Welcoming 2.1-million tourist arrivals by June 2012

46. Forecast of a 1.5-million increase in tourists by 2012, and 10 million tourists visiting the Philippines annually by 2016

47. The National Food Authority had a P12-billion debt when the Arroyo administration took office, which grew to P177 billion in 2010

48. Reduction of the annual shortage of 1.3 million metric tons to just 860,000 metric tons

49. Possibility of exporting rice by 2013, weather-permitting

50. Export of 16,756,498 liters of cocowater in 2011 from 4,83,862 liters exported in 2009

51. Investment of P1.75 billion to develop the coconut noir sector

52. Improvement of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)

53. Promise to distribute all lands under CARP before leaving office

54. Allocation of P1.3 billion to light up 1,300 sitios, resulting in the electrification of 1,520 sitios at P814 million

55. Crime volume continues to decline across the country. In 2009, over 500,000 crimes were recorded. In 2012, it slipped to 246,958. Moreover, 2010’s recorded 2,200 cases of carjacking has likewise been reduced by half to 966 cases this 2011.

56. Putting carjack gang leader Raymond Dominguez in prison

57. Nabbing of suspects in the Makati bus bombing

58. Testing the quality of additional 74,600 guns for the police

59. Allocation of P28 billion to the modernization of the armed forces, with a P75-billion budget for the next five years

60. The $30-million fund entrusted by the United States for the Defense Capability Upgrade and Sustainment of Equipment Program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is ready on top of their assistance in improving the patroling of shores

61. Announcement of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the second Hamilton-class cutter to partner with the BRP Gregorio del Pilar

62. Two more C-130s will once again be operational. Before 2012 year ends, 21 refurbished UH-1H Helicopters, four combat utility helicopters, radios and other communication equipment, rifles, mortars, mobile diagnostic laboratories and station bullet assemblies purchased will be delivered. Come 2013, 10 attack helicopters, two naval helicopters, two light aircraft, one frigate, and air force protection equipment will also be arriving

63. Building of 22,000 houses under the Armed Forces of the Philippines- Philippine National Police housing program

64. 365 barangays have been liberated from the terrorists, 270 buildings and schools have been repaired and 74 health centers have been built

65. Reforms in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which include real housing, bridges, and learning centers for Badjaos in Basilan, community-based hatcheries, nets, materials to grow seaweeds, and seedlings that have benefited 2,588 fishermen, certified seeds, gabi seedlings, cassava, rubber, and trees that are bearing fruit for 145,121 farmers, P183 million has been set aside for fire stations; P515 million for clean drinking water; P551.9 million for healthcare equipment; P691.9 million for daycare centers; and P2.85 billion for the roads and bridges across the region

66. No single encounter recorded between troops and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front

67. Creation of Executive Order on mining to utilize our natural resources and uplift the living conditions of the Filipinos of today and of the following generations

68. Creation of Project NOAH, where all anti-disaster initiatives have been brought inside one boat

69. The 86 automated rain gauges and 28 water level monitoring sensors in various regions now benefit people directly and in real-time

70. Target of 600 automated rain gauges and 422 water level sensors in 80 primary river basins in the country by 2013

71. The National Convergence Initiative where a tree is planted and the DWSD will coordinate with communities. In exchange for a conditional cash transfer, communities would take care of the trees; some would help nurture seeds in a nursery- 335,078 individuals now earn their livelihood from these activities

72. Confiscation of illegally cut timber

73. Sanctioning 34 Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials, one PNP provincial director, and seven chiefs of police

74. Promise that all old-age and disability pensioners will receive no less than P5,000 monthly by 2013

75. Creation of perfomance-based incentives for government workers

76. Confidence in the economy is growing with a level playing field, and clear and consistent rules

77. A resilient and dynamic economy resting on the foundations of good governance is the best defense against global uncertainty

78. Diplomatic approach to the Bajo de Masinloc standoff with China

79. Calling on the next Chief Justice to reform toward true justice

80. Thanking Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for accepting the challenges that came with the position

81. Calling on the Congress to pass amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act to strengthen measures to hold the corrupt accountable

82. Calling on voters to elect officials who follow the straight path

83. Thanking the members of the Cabinet

84. Thanking Father Catalino Arevalo and Sister Agnes Guillen for spiritual advice

85. Calling on Filipinos to turn their backs on the culture of negativism and to take every chance to uplift fellow Filipinos

86. Giving credit to Filipinos who are the wellspring of change

SONA 2013 highlights

1. Electrification of 8,581 sitios

2. Housing for 28,398 families which are formerly informal settlers

3. Promise of at least P40 billion yearly budget on social services

4. Out of 503,521 graduates of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and Department of Labor and Employment, six out of 10 have found jobs

5. The expansion of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program from 700,000 household beneficiaries in 2010 to 4 million in 2013

6.The inclusion of poor families with children up to 18 years old to the conditional cash transfer program

7. Price of textbooks in public schools have been cut from P58 to P30

8. Rice imports have been reduced from 2 million metric tons in 2010 to 350,000 metric tons in 2013

9. The agriculture sector grew by 3.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013, higher than the 1.1 percent recorded in the first half of 2012

10. The promotion of intercropping among coconut farmers to increase their earnings from P20,000 a year to a maximum of P172,400 a year; an additional of 434 intercropping sites to 90 existing locations in the country

11. The creation of a cold storage facility for fishermen in Bataraza, Palawan in addition to the construction of new roads, bridges and infrastructure for the fisherfolk

12. The turnover of Hacienda Luisita to farmer beneficiaries starting April this year; the development of a speedy distribution system for large tracts of land through the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Land Registration Authority and Land Bank of the Philippines; fixing of the problematic land records system

13. The achievement of an expanded PhilHeath coverage from 62 percent in 2010 to 81 percent; the expansion of the benefit package to cater to patients in need of coronary bypass and corrective surgery for holes and defective blood vessels in the heart

14. Allotment of P33 billion for the improvement and modernization of 4,518 hospitals, rural health units and barangay health stations

15. Completion of the multihazard mapping of the 28 most vulnerable locations in the country

16. Installation of 525 automated water level monitoring stations and automated rain gauges in 18 major river basins throughout the country and modernization of weather detection technology

17. Preparation to relocate informal settlers along waterways through a legal team led by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima

18. A P6.2-billion flood control plan for Metro Manila, including the creation of a 3.3-kilometer Blumentritt Interceptor Catchment area

19. The creation of 9,377 houses for victims of typhoon Sendong with additional 4,374 to be created by the end of 2014

20. The plan to turn over 53,106 homes to victims of typhoon Pablo

21. Building of 26,050 homes out of 31,200 houses for soldiers

22. Increase in pension for personnel of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines

23. Amendment of the Social Security System pension scheme to increase contributions by 0.6 percent

24. Hiring civilian personnel for the PNP to bring 30,000 policemen back to police work

25. Distribution of 74,879 units of 9 millimeter Glock 17 pistols to policemen

26. 63-percent reduction in the number of private armed groups

27. Election-related violence dropping to 77 cases in 2013 from 189 in 2010

28. Peaceful elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

29. Investigation in the killing of Ozamiz Gang members Ricky Cadavero and Wilfredo Panogalinga and the Atimonan shooting incident

30. Citation of PO3 Edlyn Arbo and PO2 Dondon Sultan for exemplary service in the PNP

31. The signing of the wealth-sharing annex of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

32. Asking the Congress to pass the Bangsamoro basic Law by the end of 2014

33. The need to eradicate useless government projects such as the allotment of P5 billion for the Telepono sa Barangay project and the procurement of eight combat helicopters with questionable design

34. The plan to remove informal settlers in Metro Manila

35. Passage of the Sin Tax Reform Law and the Responsible Parenthood Law

36. Enumeration of priority bills that include the Cabotage Law, Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Bill, Land Administration Reform Bill, P2.268-trillion National Budget for 2014

37. Building a minimum credible defense posture while balancing the needs of society

38. Increasing the fares of the Light Rail Transit and the Metro Rail Transit so the government subsidy can be reallocated to social services

39. Completion of the Ternate-Nasugbu Road connecting Cavite, Batangas and Metro Manila which took 20 years to finish, Aluling Bridge in Ilocos Sur which started in 1978 but finished last March

40. Completion of the Laguindingan airport in Cagayan de Oro

41. Inauguration of the Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory for the semiconductor industry which contributed 44 percent to 2012 exports

42. Implementation of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II in Iloilo, expected to benefit 24,000 farmers

43. Upgrading and modernization of the Tacloban Airport, the Bicol International Airport, the New Bohol Airport, the Mactan Airport and the Puerto Princesa Airport

45. Creation of the Daang Hari-North Luzon Expressway link road

46. Intention to build more power plants in other parts of the country

47. Renovation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3

48. Creation of the Integrated Transport System to decongest traffic in Metro Manila

49. Creation of an eight-kilometer, four-lane elevated expressway that will connect C3 road to Caloocan, crossing Espańa, up to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa; a 14-kilometer six-lane elevated tollway extending from Balintawak to Buendia in Makati; and a five-and-a-half kilometer, six-lane elevated common alignment expressway from PUP in Sta. Mesa, crossing Osmeńa and Quirino Avenue, to Buendia in Makati.

50. P18.4 billion had been allotted to other projects from the savings of the Department of Public Works and Highways

51. Construction of the Tagumbao Bridge in Gerona, Tarlac which will save P108 million

52. A 21.4-percent in tourist arrivals from 3.1 million in 2010 to 4.3 million in 2012; a revised target on domestic tourist arrivals from 35.5 million to 56.1 million in 2016

53. The International Civil Aviation Organization's decision to remove safety concerns on the Philippines

54. Government-owned and controlled corporations like the Philippine Reclamation Authority, Local Water Utilities Administration and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System turning over dividends after years of posting losses

55. Two consecutive 10-place jumps in the global competitiveness index of the World Economic Forum

56. Two investment grade credit ratings from two international agencies

57. Posting a 6.8-percent gross domestic product growth in 2012 and 7.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013

58. Singling out of former TESDA chief Augusto Syjuco, Jr. for overpriced procurements

59. Indictment of former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.'s executives who embezzled P26.7 million

60. Former leaders of the PNP being made to answer allegations regarding the P131.6 million wasted on 75 defective rubber boats and the P104.99 million spent on the anomalous purchase of secondhand helicopters from 2009 to 2010.

61. Calling out the Bureau of Immigration, National Irrigation Administration, the Bureau of Customs and the Civil Service Commission for the agencies' lapses and corrupt practices

62. An audiovisual presentation on Filipinos that included a CCT beneficiary, a TESDA scholar, two policemen, a businessman, a member of the Philippine Navy

63. Citation for Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario for leading the evacuation of overseas Filipino workers in Libya

64. Citation for former Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo

65. Dedication of the State of the Nation Address to Filipinos

Constitutional crisis feared By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 15, 2014 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 0


SERGE

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Sergio Osmeńa III warned Malacańang last night of a constitutional crisis if President Aquino would continue to defy the Supreme Court ruling that declared parts of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.

“The SC will have to consider their motion for reconsideration and I expect the SC will not reverse itself, not with a 13 or 14-0 vote. It has never been done. So what will happen is that if the President will not obey, and he says, ‘no, you are wrong,’ that’s going to be a constitutional crisis,” Osmeńa explained.

With impeachment moves against Aquino looming, Osmeńa expressed hope that the present administration will not allow a constitutional crisis to happen because it will affect the country’s economic standing.

Osmeńa did not rule out the possibility that some groups from the military or the militants might take extrajudicial moves to destabilize the government.

“I hope they will not allow it to get to that point, then maybe there will be extrajudicial moves already on the part of other groups who don’t like to see these sort of things,” he said, adding the country’s credit ratings may suffer.

Osmeńa also criticized Aquino for being stubborn on the DAP issue.

“Well, true to form, the President was hard-headed. It seems he does not know how to accept he made a mistake, an innocent mistake, a mistake without criminal intent but a mistake anyway, because the SC ruled 13-0,” Osmeńa said in an interview.

Osmeńa, an ally of the President, was unable to hide his disappointment, although he publicly encouraged Aquino to address the issue and explain it to the people.

* Although not a lawyer, Osmeńa expressed doubt that the high court will reverse itself.

“How can he expect that the SC will reverse that decision? I think he will have a hard time asking for that,” Osmeńa added.

The DAP issue, Osmeńa said, has diminished the President’s credibility in the eyes of the public.

Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Francis Escudero expressed belief that the President meant well when he approved the DAP.

“It was very clear that they have legal basis and noble objectives when they implemented the DAP. He was also able to enumerate some of the gains brought about by DAP,” Trillanes said.

“We’ll now await PNoy’s promise to provide details as to where the DAP funds ended up so that the public would know if the funds were stolen or not,” Trillanes added.

Escudero urged the President to respect the final decision of the SC “even if he disagrees with it.”

“PNoy means well and I think he just wanted to explain and share his frustration with the delays in project implementation that the SC ruling on DAP may bring about,” Escudero said.

“However, the law is the law and, at the end of the day, I firmly believe that PNoy will abide by the SC decision – once it becomes final – even if he disagrees with it,” Escudero added.

Osmeńa earlier said that Aquino would survive the DAP controversy and the impeachment efforts to oust him but he will finish his term with a serious credibility problem.

Speaking to reporters during the weekly Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel in Manila, Osmeńa said the deteriorating net approval rating of Aquino is an indication that the series of controversies is taking its toll on the popularity of the President.

“Yes, he will finish his term. This (controversy) is nothing, but this puts into serious question his credibility with the public. That is why, as I understand, his net approval rating has gone down to +25,” said Osmeńa.

Osmeńa said the President might say that Filipinos have new roads, new hospitals, but that does not cover the unconstitutionality of DAP.

He said Malacańang should also take cognizance of the public pulse regarding DAP after the President delivered last night his nationwide address on the issue.

Osmeńa said that an explanation or even an apology by the President may not be enough to appease the anger of many people after it was found that the DAP has certain elements that are unconstitutional, based on a recent ruling by the Supreme Court.

The senator has been calling for precisely such a public address by the President but he admitted that this might not be enough to satisfy the critics of DAP.

Corona reaction

Former chief justice Renato Corona, who was removed from office allegedly after the Palace bribed senators with the DAP, has dared Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno to answer President Aquino’s attacks on the judiciary over the unanimous ruling declaring acts under DAP illegal.

“Sereno should react and defend the institution she represents. It’s her duty to do so,” he told The STAR in a text message after the President’s televised address.

Corona said his successor, who was appointed by Aquino in 2012 following his ouster after impeachment trial, should answer “personally and not thru the SC spokesman.”

Sereno voted with 13 other justices of SC - including three other Aquino appointees - in declaring DAP unconstitutional.

When Corona was facing impeachment trial, he warned that President Aquino wanted to control the high court.

Stop defending DAP

Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, secretary-general of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), yesterday urged President Aquino to stop defending the DAP and instead focus on his job as president.

Tiangco said defending the DAP after the Supreme Court decision is just a waste of time.

“Mr. President, please defend and uphold the Constitution. The Supreme Court did not say government should stop because of its decision to declare DAP unconstitutional. Why keep on justifying something that has been unanimously ruled as illegal?” Tiangco said. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Evelyn Macairan, Marvin Sy, Aie Balagtas See, Ding Cervantes, Raymund Catindig


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE