PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK

EBOLA: NO QUARANTINE NEEDED  FOR PNP CHIEF, DOH ACTING CHIEF AFTER CABALLO ISLAND VISIT

PHOTO: Philippine Navy photo shows peacekeepers who returned from Liberia arriving on Caballo Island yesterday to begin a 21-day quarantine period as part of government protocol against the Ebola virus. - Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin and Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang need not undergo quarantine despite their visit without protective suits to Caballo Island, where 133 Filipino peacekeepers from Liberia are under quarantine, Malacañang said yesterday. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the two officials followed health protocols under the guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO).  READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Fil-Am groups back Obama’s sweeping immigration reform

NOV 22 --PHOTO: President Barack Obama speaks during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Spurning furious Republicans, President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation and refocus enforcement efforts on “felons, not families.” AP  LOS ANGELES—President Barack Obama drew mixed reactions among Filipino-American immigration advocates on Thursday after he outlined his plan to shield up to 5 million immigrants—including tens of thousands of Filipinos—from deportation. The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Naffaa) threw its full support behind Obama’s sweeping immigration reform, saying “his bold decision is a step forward” in fixing a broken immigration system and dealing with the plight of undocumented Filipinos.  READ FULL REPORT...

(ALSO) Closer to midnight madness: Malls on Edsa OK new sked

NOV 22 --Operators of shopping malls located along Edsa have agreed to adjust their operating schedule for five weeks to help ease traffic during the holiday season. In a meeting on Friday with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, the operators signed a manifesto adopting the so-called “open late-close late” scheme that sets their store hours at 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., starting Nov. 28 to Jan. 3. With this change from the usual 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (or 10 p.m.) schedule, the MMDA assumes that the movement of commuters or motorists heading to or pouring out of malls is less likely to aggravate rush-hour traffic in the early morning or early evening. Traffic volume on major roads in Metro Manila, especially on Edsa, swell by 15 to 20 percent during the holidays, according to the agency.  READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: ‘Papal visit can help bring peace to Mindanao’

NOV 23 --Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad yesterday said the forthcoming apostolic visit of Pope Francis to the country “as an opportunity to bring peace in Mindanao.” POPE PHOTO: FRANCIS DOLLS — Twin sisters Lorichelle and Lorilly Celestra of Carika Dolls show their latest creation, a Pope Francis doll which will be on display at SM City Taytay starting November 27. A significant part of the proceeds of the sale of the dolls will be donated to charity, the Celestra sisters said. (Nel B. Andrade) POPE FRANCIS DOLLS — Twin sisters Lorichelle and Lorilly Celestra of Carika Dolls show their latest creation, a Pope Francis doll which will be on display at SM City Taytay starting November 27. A significant part of the proceeds of the sale of the dolls will be donated to charity, the Celestra sisters said. (Nel B. Andrade) READ THE  FULL REPORT...

ALSO: A song of hope for Yolanda survivors

The official local theme song for the visit of Pope Francis to Palo in Leyte will express the hope nurtured by survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Fr. Kim Margallo, director of the Archdiocese of Palo’s Commission on Youth, composed the song, “Shepherd’s Love,” and described it as “an unveiling of the sentiments of the Typhoon Yolanda survivors who long for God’s embrace with a hope of better days ahead.” PHOTO OF THE Pope Francis Complex Center to be built in Leyte by Leslie Ann Aquino November 13, 2014 (updated) Share this: The Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte is building a center for the poor to be named after Pope Francis. The construction of the Pope Francis Complex Center for the Poor, which will be built at the compound of the Metropolitan Cathedral of our Lord’s Transfiguration in Palo, will be funded by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Human and Christian Development of the Vatican. Palo Archbishop John Du said the center aims to “address the needs of the poor”. WATCH VIDEO OF "SHEPHERD'S LOVE".....READ FULL REPORT.

ALSO: ‘Gift’ for Palace allies; Solons bare ‘midnight allocation’ worth P23 B 

NOV 24 --PHOTO: Colmenares ---OPPOSITION lawmakers accused the Palace Sunday of playing Santa to its allies with some P23.34 billion that must be spent by the end of the year, at the expense of victims of super typhoon Yolanda. In an interview over radio dzBB, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said the Palace was rushing the distribution of P23 billion before the year ends since there is a “no carry-over policy” that would send unspent funds back to the national treasury. “This is a last-minute midnight allocation and the amount involved is not peanuts for distribution this Christmas. But the Palace is being cruel as it plays Santa to lawmakers, it also plays Scrooge to the victims of Yolanda, considering that we knew the allocations for them remained unaccounted for,” Colmenares said. Administration ally Senator Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, said the Senate would demand that Budget Secretay Florencio Abad disclose to Congress where the P23 billion will go. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: DOH chief defied expert advise on vaccines—NBI 

NOV 24 --PHOTO: CURRENTLY ON-LEAVE DOH CHIEF ONA --HEALTH Secretary Enrique Ona disregarded a recommendation of the World Health Organization when he approved the purchase of a vaccine by his department in 2012, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Sunday. She said Ona’s action was contained in the National Bureau of Investigation’s report on its probe of his purchase of the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine 10 or PCV 10, a vaccine for children suffering from pulmonary diseases. Instead of the PV 10, the WHO, the National Center for Pharmaceutical Access and Management, and the Formulary Executive Council had recommended that the Health Department purchase the PCV 13, which they said was more cost-effective because it covered more diseases. “That’s what I know. That’s in the initial report of the NBI,” De Lima said. “Whatever I said earlier, that was what I knew based on facts, based on the referral that I forwarded to the NBI.”  The NBI’s investigation of the case started after the Office of the President received complaints in June from stakeholders who criticized Ona’s decision to purchase the PCV 10 instead of the PCV 13.  READ FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

No quarantine for AFP, DOH chiefs


Philippine Navy photo shows peacekeepers who returned from Liberia arriving on Caballo Island yesterday to begin a 21-day quarantine period as part of government protocol against the Ebola virus.

MANILA, NOVEMBER 24, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Delon Porcalla - Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin and Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang need not undergo quarantine despite their visit without protective suits to Caballo Island, where 133 Filipino peacekeepers from Liberia are under quarantine, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the two officials followed health protocols under the guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“And they continue to act responsibly in the light of the overriding objective to ensure that the Philippines remains Ebola-free,” Coloma told a news briefing amid calls for Garin and Catapang to undergo quarantine as well.

Garin explained yesterday that they saw no need to wear hazardous materials or hazmat protective suits during the visit.

“The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is only necessary when the patient is showing signs and symptoms of Ebola,” she explained.

Some health professionals who worked in Ebola-hit countries developed the disease several weeks after returning to their homes in the United States and Spain. This prompted the decision to place the Filipino peacekeepers under 21-day quarantine.

More than half of nearly 6,000 fatalities in the world’s worst recorded Ebola outbreak were from Liberia.

Coloma said Garin and Catapang were just doing their job.

All actions of both the Department of Health (DOH) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are geared toward ensuring that the Philippines remains free from Ebola, and in compliance with President Aquino’s directives, Coloma said.

“The DOH is tasked with ensuring that all concerned strictly follow the established health protocols. The AFP continues to provide communication and recreational facilities to make the peacekeepers’ stay on Caballo Island pleasant and comfortable,” he said.

Garin defended her decision to visit the 132 peacekeepers in Caballo, saying it is her duty to ensure the troops are being afforded proper facilities and medical treatment.

“It is also my duty to allay the fears of our peacekeepers and help address their medical concerns. We held a discussion with our soldiers and answered the questions they raised,” Garin said.

If they see any risk of getting infected with Ebola virus, Garin said they would not have visited the peacekeepers.

She said the DOH and the AFP have been working together to address the concerns of the peacekeepers.

Garin insisted that no quarantine rules were violated during the visit since the military and doctors are allowed in the quarantine area.

Before meeting the peacekeepers, Garin said a short meeting was held to orient Catapang and the military medical corps.

“Guidelines on the appropriate use of PPEs were reiterated to keep everybody in the loop. The importance of not putting a stigma on people coming from Ebola-affected countries was emphasized,” she added.

Garin also defended the DOH and the AFP’s decision to transfer one of the soldiers to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa, saying it was a precautionary measure although it turned out the peacekeeper involved was suffering from malaria.

“The move may not be popular, but the issue here is saving lives,” she said.

Catapang, for his part, said he is willing to undergo quarantine if asked to do so by the DOH.

Speaking to reporters in Zamboanga City, Catapang said he is ready to follow any decision health officials handling the matter would make.

“We want to set the protocol. I was with Secretary Garin during the visit and if she says that we should undergo quarantine, we will follow orders,” he said.

Catapang stressed the visit to the quarantine area in Caballo Island was meant to assure the public that they should not worry about the Ebola virus.

Catapang said no protocol was broken during the visit because it was sanctioned by the DOH. He said the DOH has already explained that Ebola patients could only become contagious when they start to show symptoms.

When asked whether the families of the peacekeepers would be allowed to go to the island, Catapang said it would be up to the DOH to decide on the matter.

While insisting that there is nothing wrong with his visit to the peacekeepers, Catapang said he is putting on hold his plan to invite the media to the quarantine site.

“We might add more anxiety and misunderstanding. For the meantime, we will just hold it,” he said.

Catapang, who shook hands with President Aquino last Monday during the defense department’s anniversary and yesterday during the Chief Executive’s send-off to Singapore, said he would not visit Caballo Island without purpose.

“I might disturb their ishing. I told them I want to hold a contest on autobiography writing, best essay, best poem and best photograph. It’s like saying it’s more fun in Caballo Islands,” Catapang remarked.

To keep the troops physically fit during their 21-day stay at Caballo, the AFP launched a sports fest that would also help uplift their morale. – Alexis Romero, Jaime Laude, Jess Diaz, Mayen Jaymalin, Roel Pareño


FROM THE INQUIRER

Fil-Am groups back Obama’s sweeping immigration reform Nimfa U. Rueda-LA Correspondent
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:48 AM | Saturday, November 22nd, 2014


President Barack Obama speaks during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Spurning furious Republicans, President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation and refocus enforcement efforts on “felons, not families.” AP

LOS ANGELES—President Barack Obama drew mixed reactions among Filipino-American immigration advocates on Thursday after he outlined his plan to shield up to 5 million immigrants—including tens of thousands of Filipinos—from deportation.

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Naffaa) threw its full support behind Obama’s sweeping immigration reform, saying “his bold decision is a step forward” in fixing a broken immigration system and dealing with the plight of undocumented Filipinos.

The Los Angeles-based Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) called it a “partial victory” for Fil-Am immigration advocates who have been pushing for a path to citizenship for undocumented Filipinos.

“It’s the biggest relief granted since 1986, but it’s not a complete victory,” said PWC director Aquilina Soriano-Versoza, who watched Obama’s televised speech at a gathering of Fil-Am community members at the nonprofit’s LA headquarters.

One of the undocumented Filipinos who attended the event said he was “very disappointed” that he and the majority of undocumented Filipinos “have been left out.”

“I haven’t seen my family in the Philippines for 11 years,” said the 50-year-old health-care worker who requested anonymity.

But many other undocumented Filipinos—up to tens of thousands—will benefit from the long-awaited reform, said immigration lawyer Arnedo Valera, executive director of the Washington-based Migrant Heritage Commission.

Limitations

Under Obama’s plan, undocumented parents of children born in the United States will be shielded from deportation—potentially benefiting more than 2,000 undocumented Filipinos in the Washington area alone, Valera said.

“[Obama’s] executive action is not a cure-all … but an immediate and practical immigration relief to millions of undocumented immigrants,” Valera said.

LA-based immigration lawyer Paul Mendoza Allen clarified the Obama immigration plan’s limitations.

“It’s not an amnesty and it’s not a path to citizenship,” Allen said. “It’s simply a deferment of possible deportation proceedings. However, it’s a good start for many to come out of the shadows, get a job and provide for their families.”

Allen said the program may eventually become permanent “since the government cannot possibly deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.”

Vargas to benefit

Among those who will benefit from Obama’s reform is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas.

Vargas is one of the 270,000 people who would be eligible for relief under the expansion of a 2012 move by Obama to stop deporting people brought illegally to the United States as children by their parents.

“Personally, this executive action means a lot to me: I can have temporary status, I can have a work permit, I can travel outside of the country,” Vargas said in a Facebook post.

“The moment I can travel, I will fly to the Philippines and see my Mama, my sister, my brother and relatives. It’s been 21 years,” he said.

But the fight is not over for Vargas.

“Let’s be clear: President Obama’s executive action is temporary, not permanent; it also leaves out millions of people, like undocumented parents (day laborers, farm workers, civil rights leaders) and many LGBT people I know,” he said. “This action is historic and it’s necessary, but we need to do more.”

The LA-based Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) released a statement saying it was disappointed that the plan excluded the 25,000 grandchildren of Filipino World War II veterans who were covered in an immigration bill passed by the Senate several months ago.

“It’s very unfortunate that President Obama bowed to the wishes of the conservative Republicans,” JFAV national coordinator Arturo Garcia said.

1M undocumented Pinoys

There are 270,000 undocumented Filipinos in the United States, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, but other estimates range from 500,000 to 1 million.

Naffaa plans to hold educational forums to educate the community on the Obama reform and its impact on undocumented Filipinos.

PWC will conduct an outreach to undocumented Filipinos who will potentially benefit from the Obama plan and offer them low-cost legal assistance. It will also provide no-interest loans under its “Paluwagan” program to cover application fees.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Closer to midnight madness: Malls on Edsa OK new sked Maricar B. Brizuela @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:33 AM | Saturday, November 22nd, 2014


INQUIRER PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Operators of shopping malls located along Edsa have agreed to adjust their operating schedule for five weeks to help ease traffic during the holiday season.

In a meeting on Friday with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, the operators signed a manifesto adopting the so-called “open late-close late” scheme that sets their store hours at 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., starting Nov. 28 to Jan. 3.

With this change from the usual 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (or 10 p.m.) schedule, the MMDA assumes that the movement of commuters or motorists heading to or pouring out of malls is less likely to aggravate rush-hour traffic in the early morning or early evening. Traffic volume on major roads in Metro Manila, especially on Edsa, swell by 15 to 20 percent during the holidays, according to the agency.

The 15 malls located on Edsa agreed to the new schedule, including Trinoma, Farmers Plaza, Robinsons Galleria and Pioneer, SM Megamall and SM Mall of Asia, among others.

MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino noted the collective “sacrifice” on the part of the mall operators. “This is the first time they will do this and the move will surely alleviate the traffic situation in Metro Manila during the holiday rush,” he said.

Dollie Bufi, regional operations manager of Robinsons, said she doesn’t expect the new schedule per se to affect the malls’ income or sales since the number of operating hours would remain the same.

“It is for the benefit of the public and our consumers, so it should be easy for us to make the necessary adjustments,” Bufi said.

However, Paul Santos of the Philippine Retailers Association raised a concern: “The changing of the schedule for more than a month will certainly raise our cost.”

“There is one consequence for us, for example. If our employees are made to work beyond 10 p.m., we are required to pay them a night differential which is a cost implication for us,” Santos said.

But Santos said he only wanted to raise this point on behalf of his association. “Since they (mall operators) have agreed, we retailers will go with the idea and hope that the (MMDA) chair’s proposal will help improve Metro Manila traffic.”


FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

‘Papal visit can help bring peace to Mindanao’ by Christina I. Hermoso and Leslie Ann G. Aquino November 21, 2014 Share this:


POPE FRANCIS DOLLS — Twin sisters Lorichelle and Lorilly Celestra of Carika Dolls show their latest creation, a Pope Francis doll which will be on display at SM City Taytay starting November 27. A significant part of the proceeds of the sale of the dolls will be donated to charity, the Celestra sisters said. (Nel B. Andrade)

Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad yesterday said the forthcoming apostolic visit of Pope Francis to the country “as an opportunity to bring peace in Mindanao.”

In an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas, Jumoad said that even if the Pope will not visit Mindanao, “the Prelature of Isabela in Basilan hopes that the historic visit will finally bring peace in the region as a papal visit always brings countless blessings to a country.”

“The arrival of the pope is truly a pastoral visit, even if he could not come here in Mindanao. It is seen to strengthen our faith and hope for a more peaceful Mindanao as well as unite all Muslims and Christians,” he said.

Pope Francis is set to meet with religious leaders from different faiths at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila at 9 a.m. on January 18 next year, to be followed by a meeting with the youth and a public mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta at 3 p.m.

The pontiff is set to arrive in the country from Sri Lanka for a five-day visit from January 15 to 19 next year.

THEME SONG FOR PALO

Meantime, a priest from the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte has composed a theme song for the visit of Pope Francis in the province next year.

Fr. Kim Margallo, director of the archdiocese’s Commission on Youth, said the song “Shepherd’s Love,” unveils the sentiments of the Typhoon Yolanda survivors who long for God’s embrace with a hope of better days ahead.

“The song should be an image of a child waiting for his father to arrive, a child who longs to tell his father everything that had happened to him. He is full of confidence that his father will come so soon to rescue and protect him, for he believes that his father is rich in mercy and full of compassion,” he said in a CBCP News post.

Recorded by Elaine May Emping, Juliana Rose Estrera, and seminarians Elfie Mercado and Paul de Pio, the 4:34-minute song is a combination of English, Waray and Cebuano languages.

ARGENTINE PRELATE CONCELEBRATING MASS

An Argentinian priest serving in the Philippines will be among the priests who will celebrate Mass with Pope Francis next year in Manila.

Fr. Luciano Felloni, a missionary priest serving at the Holy Trinity Parish in Novaliches, is one of the priests attending the papal Mass for the bishops, priests, religious men and women at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros.

“He is my kababayan. I met him because we used to live in one neighborhood for three years. I confessed to him many times. I was also among those who had attended a recollection he gave when he was still an ordinary priest,” he said.

PAPAL FIGURINES

Over in Baras, Rizal, two hobbyist will soon make available to the public uniquely Pope Francis dolls.

Twin sisters Lorichelle and Lorily Celestra of Carika dolls said the Pope Francis dolls are expected to be on display at the Event Center of SM City Taytay from November 27 until December 7.

The Celestra sisters, who also are behind the making of a personalized Carika Dolls version of American armless pilot, Jessica Cox, television personality Julia Clarete and provincial and local officials here, agreed to donate a generous amount from the sales of the Pope Francis Dolls to the Christmas projects of Antipolo Persons With Disability (PWDs) group, which is also scheduled to provide massage service to the visitors of “Pamaskong Handog ng Rizal Exporters and Manufacturer’s Association Inc. and Department of Trade and Industry-Rizal” at the same venue.

The sisters said each of the pope dolls is uniquely hand crafted with features of Pope Francis wearing his eye glasses, black leather shoes and his signature silver cross necklace. (with a report from Nel B. Andrade)


FROM THE MANILA TIMES

A song of hope for Yolanda survivors November 21, 2014 11:17 pmby ROBERTZON F. RAMIREZ, REPORTER


Pope Francis Complex Center to be built in Leyte by Leslie Ann Aquino November 13, 2014 (updated) Share this: The Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte is building a center for the poor to be named after Pope Francis. The construction of the Pope Francis Complex Center for the Poor, which will be built at the compound of the Metropolitan Cathedral of our Lord’s Transfiguration in Palo, will be funded by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum for Human and Christian Development of the Vatican. Palo Archbishop John Du said the center aims to “address the needs of the poor”. In an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, Du said the Pope Francis Complex will be composed of the home for the elderly, home for the sick (clinic), orphanage and chapel. He said he hopes the construction of the center will be finished before the expected visit of Pope Francis in the country next year. Pope Francis earlier revealed his plan to visit the country in January 2015, but the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said they have yet to receive a formal announcement from the Vatican. Visiting Vatican officials also expressed the desire of the pontiff to visit the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas. Du said he is hoping that aside from visiting the areas hit by the typhoon, the pontiff will also get to visit the Pope Francis Center for the Poor. The prelate said Vatican representatives will be here in the country next month to “coordinate the details of the visit of the Holy Father”. FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN, NOV 14, 2014.


PHOTO POSTED LAST FEBRUARY 3, 2014: POPE FRANCIS WANTS TO VISIT THE PHILIPPIES (PHILSTAR) By Evelyn Macairan - Pope Francis may visit the areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda, according to an official of the Vatican.

The official local theme song for the visit of Pope Francis to Palo in Leyte will express the hope nurtured by survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Fr. Kim Margallo, director of the Archdiocese of Palo’s Commission on Youth, composed the song, “Shepherd’s Love,” and described it as “an unveiling of the sentiments of the Typhoon Yolanda survivors who long for God’s embrace with a hope of better days ahead.”


Pope Francis has emphasized the importance of a pastoral approach in ministry, and once said that priests should stay close to the vulnerable and be “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.” This little sheep agrees.

Francis will be in Palo on January 17 to have an audience with families that lost their homes, livelihood and relatives when the super typhoon tore across Central Visayas on November 8, 2013.

“The song should be an image of a child waiting for his father to arrive, a child who longs to tell his father everything that had happened to him. He is full of confidence that his father will come so soon to rescue and protect him, for he believes that his father is rich in mercy and full compassion,” Margallo said.

The song was recorded by Elaine May Emping, Juliana Rose Estrera, seminarian Elfie Mercado and Paul de Pio. Running for 4.34 minutes, it is a combination of English, Waray and Cebuano languages.

Margallo said they also came up with a music video featuring the animation of the song song performed by members of the youth ministry of the Vicariate of Ormoc.

He added that the music video also represents the survivors’ bright outlook despite the death and devastation from Yolanda.
“Yolanda was not a curse, but it is also a blessing to all and did not only bring destruction but also inspiration,” Margallo said.

“Shepherd’s Love is festive at the start, has sadness because of the tragedy, excitement in expectation of somebody important, horror so that those who will listen to it will have the experience of what I call the wailing of the wind, the monstrous surge and the lamentation of the victims, and lastly, the feeling of hope amidst hopelessness,” he added.

Fr. Chris Militante, information officer of the Palo archdiocese, said they will carry three theme songs for the papal visit including singer Jamie Rivera’s “We Are All God’s Children,” the official theme song of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines on January 15 to 19 next year.

The third is “Mercy” by British band Ooberfuse, which also performed the official theme song of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last year.

Militante said the song was composed by the band’s vocalist Cherrie Anderson, whose mother is from Tacloban City (Leyte’s capital), specifically for Yolanda survivors.

Shepherd’s Love will be launched during the closing of the Year of the Laity and opening of the Year of the Poor at the Palo Cathedral on November 29.

THEME SONG FROM PALO, LEYTE: shepherd's love (local theme song) by Kim Margallo

 
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K8sQ4WtOqU 
Published on Nov 20, 2014 this is the official local theme song of the Archdiocese of Palo for the Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Philippines and to the Archdiocese of Palo.


FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

‘Gift’ for Palace allies; Solons bare ‘midnight allocation’ worth P23b
By Christine F. Herrera | Nov. 24, 2014 at 12:01am


Colmenares

OPPOSITION lawmakers accused the Palace Sunday of playing Santa to its allies with some P23.34 billion that must be spent by the end of the year, at the expense of victims of super typhoon Yolanda.

In an interview over radio dzBB, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said the Palace was rushing the distribution of P23 billion before the year ends since there is a “no carry-over policy” that would send unspent funds back to the national treasury.

“This is a last-minute midnight allocation and the amount involved is not peanuts for distribution this Christmas. But the Palace is being cruel as it plays Santa to lawmakers, it also plays Scrooge to the victims of Yolanda, considering that we knew the allocations for them remained unaccounted for,” Colmenares said.

Administration ally Senator Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, said the Senate would demand that Budget Secretay Florencio Abad disclose to Congress where the P23 billion will go.

“The Palace has no choice but to disburse the P23 billion on or before Dec. 31 this year. The Palace is playing Santa and the lawmakers would seek Christmas gifts. The problem is, it is not the Filipinos that would benefit from this,” Colmenares said.

“We have to guard against this Palace scheme. These are multi-billion-peso projects. There is a danger that this will be distributed to administration allies because 2016 is just around the corner, and that’s an election year,” Colmenares added.

Colmenares said the opposition lawmakers would demand that Abad be summoned by Congress to explain why the P23 billion in supplemental budget was not included in the regular budget deliberations for 2015.

He branded as “unfair and unjust” the Palace’s move to invoke the welfare and well-being of the Yolanda victims in seeking the supplemental budget.

“It was unfair for the Palace to use the Yolanda victims because we know for a fact that the funds don’t reach them. Up to now, there has been no accounting for the P14.8 billion in supplemental budget for 2013,” Colmenares said, referring to the extra funding that Congress had granted to deal with the effects of super typhoon Yolanda.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Department of Budget and Management said in its bid to develop a more responsive budget plan for the next fiscal year, the DBM is pushing for a P23.34 billion supplemental budget to ensure sufficient funding support for crucial development initiatives, including various infrastructure projects for post-Yolanda rehabilitation and government preparations for the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

A total of P16.4 billion—comprising the bulk of allocations under the supplemental budget—has been earmarked for new priority initiatives, Abad said.

Of this amount, Abad said, the administration’s Yolanda reconstruction and rehabilitation program will get P9.5 billion and another P1.44 billion will support key projects in preparation for the APEC Summit, which the Philippines will be hosting next year.

Abad said the supplemental budget would cover liabilities arising from obligated infrastructure projects worth P1.85 billion under the Department of Public Works and Highways.

He said a total of P5.08 billion would be coursed to a number of priority projects under various government agencies that have not been implemented or have been partially implemented.

“The funds will account for the budgetary requirements of priority projects that were partially implemented or previously approved for implementation this year,” he said.

“Most of these projects have already been completed, are on-going, or are urgently needed to sustain our socio-economic development. The passage of the proposed supplemental budget will allow us to allocate funds accordingly so we can complete these projects right away,” Abad said.

If approved by Congress, the 2014 Supplemental Appropriations will fund a number of priority projects, ranging from the rehabilitation of the LRT lines 1 and 2 to the construction of permanent housing for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda.

“We are not being unreasonable but I believe using Yolanda victims, who had been victimized many times over, would be too much already,” Colmenares said.

Colmenares said the supplemental budget would allot some P5.08 billion for projects that were previously funded by the Priority Development Assistance Funds and DAP.

“Why would P5.08 billion be allotted for the completion of projects that have been funded by the DAP and PDAF?” Colmenares said.

He demanded that these DAP and PDAF releases be accounted for first.

“This supplemental budget is like the insertion of errata after the debates to avoid scrutiny. They said that the DAP has already served its purpose but why are they now saying that it still needs funding? They should first account for the P142 billion they spent in DAP before asking for more funds,” Colmenares said.

“If the DAP projects are unfinished Malacanang should have included it in the 2015 budget and not merely inserting it as a supplemental budget. We will guard against attempts to insert funding for projects which could be used by politicians in the 2016 election,” Colmenares said.


FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

DOH chief defied expert advise on vaccines—NBI  By Rey E. Requejo | Nov. 24, 2014 at 12:01am


CURRENTLY ON-LEAVE DOH CHIEF ONA

HEALTH Secretary Enrique Ona disregarded a recommendation of the World Health Organization when he approved the purchase of a vaccine by his department in 2012, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Sunday.

She said Ona’s action was contained in the National Bureau of Investigation’s report on its probe of his purchase of the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine 10 or PCV 10, a vaccine for children suffering from pulmonary diseases.

Instead of the PV 10, the WHO, the National Center for Pharmaceutical Access and Management, and the Formulary Executive Council had recommended that the Health Department purchase the PCV 13, which they said was more cost-effective because it covered more diseases. “That’s what I know. That’s in the initial report of the NBI,” De Lima said.

“Whatever I said earlier, that was what I knew based on facts, based on the referral that I forwarded to the NBI.”

The NBI’s investigation of the case started after the Office of the President received complaints in June from stakeholders who criticized Ona’s decision to purchase the PCV 10 instead of the PCV 13.

It appeared that the Bids and Awards Committee had been preparing to procure the PCV 13 but Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag ordered the purchase of the PCV 10 with Ona’s approval.

De Lima said the NBI had already summoned the Health officials involved in the PCV 10 procurement project.

Ona was said to have been forced to go on leave as a result of the case and other matters. Those allegedly include his request for P600 million to rehabilitate the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine, his supposed request for a P3-million Toyota Land Cruiser and a utility Toyota Hilux, and P1 billion to rehabilitate the state-run Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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