PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK

WET, FIERY NEW YEARS DAY LEAVES 4,000 FAMILIES HOMELESS 

JANUARY 2, 2015 ---Fires broke out as the nation welcomed a wet New Year with a bang, leaving at least seven persons dead and thousands homeless, arson investigators reported. Three people were killed and around 4,000 families rendered homeless, in a six-hour fire that razed a community of informal settlers in the 2.3-hectare Kaingin Bukid compound at Barangay (village) Apolonio Samson in Quezon City at 6:45 a.m. Thursday. Supt. Jesus Fernandez, Quezon City fire marshal, said the blaze started in a shanty owned by Janine Lopez along a creek. It reached general alarm at 8:10 a.m. before it was finally put out at 12:45 p.m. Fernandez estimated damage at P3 million. In Malate, Manila, a 7-year-old boy perished in a fire that gutted several dozen houses. Bureau of Fire Protection spokesman Renato Marcial told ABS-CBN TV network that at least 14 fires were reported across the country as Filipinos ushered in 2015 with raucous parties, according to the Associated Press. At least seven people perished in two of the fires, Marcial said, adding some of the fires were believed to have been caused by firecrackers, the AP said. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Fewer firecracker injuries, but more amputations

A firecracker victim shows his injury at the Jose Reyes Medical Center in Manila. BERNARDO BATUIGAS  MANILA,  - The Department of Health (DOH) reported that the number of victims of firecracker explosions before and after the New Year revelry reached 346, lower than last year’s figures. But there were more serious injuries this year that led to amputations, Health Secretary Janette Garin said in a press briefing yesterday. Garin said that 173 revelers were injured on New Year’s Eve, bringing to 346 the number of firecracker-related cases. This is almost half of the 566 cases recorded during the 2014 revelry. The 346 cases are 160 cases lower than the five-year average and 227 cases lower than the same period last year. “But sad to say, the number of amputations have increased from eight last year to 14. This is because there are more kids using firecrackers now and almost half of the amputation cases involved drunks,” she noted. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Firecracker injuries near 600, 10 stray bullets Recorded as of Jan 2

PHOTO: Spectators watch a fireworks display during a New Year's celebration at the Quezon Memorial Circle in suburban Quezon city on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. AP/Aaron Favila MANILA, Philippines - The number of firecracker-related injuries during the New Year revelries jumped to 593 on Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) said. In an interview over radio dzMM, DOH Assistant Secretary Elmer Punzalan said 580 firecracker injuries, 10 stray bullet cases and three cases of firecracker ingestion have been recorded as of this morning. Punzalan said the total number of injuries was 40 percent lower than the figure recorded in welcoming 2014. It was also 36 percent lower than the average number of injuries per year from 2009 to 2013. Piccolo still accounted for most cause of the injuries, Punzalan said. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: PNP: 56 stray bullet incidents; 12 nabbed

Four policemen, an Army soldier and four security guards were among 12 persons arrested for indiscriminately firing their guns as 56 stray bullet injuries during the holiday revelry were recorded nationwide as of 5 p.m. yesterday. Despite warnings against firing guns to greet the new year, the Philippine National Police (PNP) National Operations Center recorded 26 incidents of stray bullets over the last 24 hours. Fourteen of the cases were in Metro Manila. The PNP is also investigating 18 other incidents of indiscriminate firing, for which four civilians have been arrested. PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said a total of 40 persons were injured by stray bullets nationwide. Police arrested Army Staff Sergeant Gorgonio Pogado for indiscriminately firing his gun, which resulted in injury to a five-year-old boy who was playing in front of his house in Rizal. The boy was hit in the lower left back and right thigh. He was rushed to the Morong provincial hospital where he was reported to be in stable condition. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Rainshowers, cloudy skies greet Phl on first day of 2015

Several parts of the country will have cloudy skies and rainshowers on the first day of the 2015, the state weather bureau said. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the tail-end of a cold front is affecting Bicol region while the northeast monsoon or amihan is affecting Northern and Central Luzon. PAGASA said Southern Palawan will experience cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms. READ MORE...

ALSO: Bill proposes emergency relief for children during calamities

MANILA, Philippines - A bill seeking to give children emergency relief and protection during disasters, calamities and other emergency situations has been reported out for floor deliberations at the House of Representatives. House committee on the welfare of children chairman Aurora Enerio Cerilles said House Bill 5062 aims to let government agencies perform priority action to protect the rights of children and set standards to guide humanitarian groups. “Children are among the worst affected and most vulnerable because of the country’s geographical location and geology, with an average of 20 typhoons yearly, including numerous earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and similar disasters,” she said. Tarlac Rep. Susan Yap, one of the bill’s authors, said more than 10,000 children affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda are still uncertain of their education, welfare and health living in difficult conditions in evacuation centers. “Six children died after their tent in the evacuation center was razed by fire, many of them were not able to go back to school and some children are now engaged in harsh and dangerous labor,” she said. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: 11th-hour plea to defer train fare hike

PHOTO FROM GMA NEWS: Two days before Christmas and with thousands of Metro Manila denizens on vacation outside the metropolis, MRT riders experience a rare comfortable ride to their destinations on Tuesday, December 23. Malacañang on Monday stood firm on the government’s decision to raise fares of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) amid calls from some senators to defer the fare hike scheduled on January 4, 2015. Roy Lozano --- The government can start the new year on the right note by postponing the fare increase for the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3), Light Rail Transit 1 and LRT 2 that will take effect this Sunday, until improvements to the train service are put in place, a congressman said on Friday. A base fare of P11 will implemented, with an additional P1 charged per kilometer.
Several groups led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) plan to petition the Supreme Court on the same day to stop the fare adjustment. “It has always been my position that service improvement in the MRT and LRT (lines) should come first since it would be easier for the government to impose fare hikes if the people can see that higher fares are translated to better service,” said Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, also vice chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.
In a statement, Gatchalian urged Malacañang to first address controlling inflation, reducing poverty and other national concerns. READ FULL REPORT ...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Fire kills 3; 4,000 families homeless

MANILA, JANUARY 5, 2015 (INQUIRER)  Jaymee T. Gamil @inquirerdotnet - Fires broke out as the nation welcomed a wet New Year with a bang, leaving at least seven persons dead and thousands homeless, arson investigators reported.

Three people were killed and around 4,000 families rendered homeless, in a six-hour fire that razed a community of informal settlers in the 2.3-hectare Kaingin Bukid compound at Barangay (village) Apolonio Samson in Quezon City at 6:45 a.m. Thursday.

Supt. Jesus Fernandez, Quezon City fire marshal, said the blaze started in a shanty owned by Janine Lopez along a creek. It reached general alarm at 8:10 a.m. before it was finally put out at 12:45 p.m. Fernandez estimated damage at P3 million.

In Malate, Manila, a 7-year-old boy perished in a fire that gutted several dozen houses.

Bureau of Fire Protection spokesman Renato Marcial told ABS-CBN TV network that at least 14 fires were reported across the country as Filipinos ushered in 2015 with raucous parties, according to the Associated Press. At least seven people perished in two of the fires, Marcial said, adding some of the fires were believed to have been caused by firecrackers, the AP said.

The fires raged under light daylong rain, enhanced by the northeast monsoon, weathermen said. The drenching is likely to continue through the weekend.

Elizabeth de Jesus, barangay chair at Apolonio Samson, said fire victims reported that the cause of the blaze was a firecracker called kwitis (skyrocket) gone awry.

Investigators were looking at two possible angles, De Jesus said. “The first is that there was a drunk man who lit the firecracker inside a house; the other that a leftover firecracker was playfully lit during a cleanup, and it accidentally rocketed inside a house.”

Killed in the Quezon City fire were Arnold Tusi, 50, Tirso Romano, 39, and Evangeline Nicosia, 16.

Fernandez noted the fatalities were either asleep, or were probably resting from the festivities of the night before.

Strong winds

Five people were also injured, including volunteer firefighter Paul Manuel who lost three fingers in gas tank blasts, De Jesus said.

About 90 percent of the shanties were razed, De Jesus said. The fire spread quickly because of strong winds, she said.

The fire left most residents, even those whose families were unscathed, lost and as to what awaits them this new year.

Lumen Oclares, who is five months pregnant with her third child, could only give a helpless shrug when asked where her family would go.

Oclares said she and her husband were both unemployed, and that their family’s hometown in Leyte province was “too far” away. Oclares said she grew up in Apolonio Samson.

The same uncertainty hounds the family of taxi driver Jerry Cielo, 54, a resident of the compound for 20 years. Cielo said he would have to take a break and rebuild his hut.

Cielo was on his way home from work when he heard on radio that there was a fire in his area. He rushed home and found that his wife and two children had evacuated.

“We were not able to save anything from the house. All we are left with are the clothes we are wearing,” Cielo told the Inquirer at the barangay covered court, where half of the fire victims were evacuated. The other half were relocated to the covered court of neighboring Barangay Masambong.

Boy left alone

At Malate district in Manila, Andrei del Rosario, 7, was killed and two others injured in a fire that broke out a row of houses at 2 a.m. on Thursday.

The Manila Fire Department said Del Rosario was alone in a locked house when the fire broke out. Jomar Sualo, 31, and Ryugi Tanaka, 22, suffered burns as they fled the blaze. Del Rosario’s charred remains were recovered after the fire, which reached third alarm, was extinguished around 3 a.m.

SFO4 John Joseph Jalique said the fire started at the house of a certain Sonia Hizon, along C.F. Muñoz Street, Barangay 735, and spread to 20 other houses.

Home goods store

Jalique’s report suggested that the blaze was caused by a firecracker that exploded near the houses, which then caught fire. Around P300,000 in valuables and properties were destroyed in the blaze.

In Makati City, fire hit a home goods store, the two-story Living ‘N Style building, on Don Chino Roces Avenue at Barangay Bangkal an hour before the New Year celebrations, causing damage worth about P3 million.

The blaze started at the employees’ canteen on the second floor and raced through the store for home furnishing goods, floor tiles, faucets and other fixtures, SFO1 Segundino Comon Jr. told the Inquirer. The fire was discovered by the building’s security guard, Aian Mark Madula, and two maintenance officers. Cause of the fire, which lasted more than an hour, was under investigation.

Comon said the second floor of the building collapsed after the fire.

No one was reported hurt. More than 20 firefighters were able to put out the fire before it could spread to the adjacent Home Depot building, which also sells housing improvement products.—With reports from Nathaniel R. Melican, Maricar B. Brizuela and AP


FROM PHILSTAR

Fewer firecracker injuries, but more amputations By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 2, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 2


A firecracker victim shows his injury at the Jose Reyes Medical Center in Manila.
BERNARDO BATUIGAS

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Health (DOH) reported that the number of victims of firecracker explosions before and after the New Year revelry reached 346, lower than last year’s figures.

But there were more serious injuries this year that led to amputations, Health Secretary Janette Garin said in a press briefing yesterday.

Garin said that 173 revelers were injured on New Year’s Eve, bringing to 346 the number of firecracker-related cases. This is almost half of the 566 cases recorded during the 2014 revelry.

The 346 cases are 160 cases lower than the five-year average and 227 cases lower than the same period last year.

“But sad to say, the number of amputations have increased from eight last year to 14. This is because there are more kids using firecrackers now and almost half of the amputation cases involved drunks,” she noted.

Garin claimed firecracker blasts this year were stronger.

The three firecrackers that caused most of the amputations were whistle bomb, pla-pla and piccolo.

Two of the amputation cases that happened on Christmas Day involved a five-year-old boy from Cebu who lost his right hand after lighting an unknown firecracker.

The other is a nine-year-old boy from Manila whose left hand was cut off due to piccolo.

Fifty-nine revellers sustained eye injuries. This is lower than the 72 cases last year.

“These should have not happened. This will result in future damage, future loss,” she added.

The data are based on reports coming from 50 sentinel hospitals nationwide from 6 a.m. of Dec. 21 to 6 a.m. of Jan. 1.

The DOH had registered two cases of luces ingestion.

Garin added while the number of injuries from piccolo had decreased by three percent, it remains the leading cause of injuries at 166 of the 346 cases.

Asked who is at fault for the continued sale and use of piccolo – a banned firecracker designed for children – during the Yuletide season, Garin refused to blame anyone.

“We have to be sure about the facts – if the piccolo was smuggled and repacked or if manufactured here. We cannot just point to anybody. We cannot blame just one person, many factors are involved. What is the role of the parents here?” Garin said.

Total ban

According to Garin, the DOH will now vigorously pursue a total ban on firecrackers for public use.

She will ask President Aquino to certify as priority any pending bill in Congress that seeks to prohibit the use of firecrackers by the public.

The DOH will instead push for fireworks display in the community handled by professionals.

At present, only a few firecrackers and fireworks are considered banned under the law. These include piccolo, goodbye Philippines, goodbye Yolanda, goodbye Napoles, watusi, pla-pla and giant kwitis.

Every year, however, manufacturers come up with new firecrackers or rename existing ones to avoid confiscation.

But under the law, firecrackers containing 0.2 grams of gunpowder and those that explode within three seconds and after six seconds after the wicks have been lighted are banned.

Garin said that firecrackers are taking their toll not only on the victims and their families but on government as well, in terms of healthcare expenses.

She claimed that each of the 70 DOH-retained hospitals has allocated some P500,000 to P1 million worth of medicine and medical supplies to be used for injuries related to the New Year revelry.

Garin gave assurance the supplies, consisting mostly of antibiotic and anti-tetanus shots, would not be wasted since they could still be used for other patients.

“We have also prepared eggs for those who have ingested fireworks. They will not be wasted because the hospitals can cook them for the meals of the patients,” she added.

Egg whites are being taken as first aid by patients who have ingested firecrackers because they can provide coating on the intestines until they are brought to hospital. – With Rey Galupo, Non Alquitran, Ramon Lazaro, Ric Sapnu, Celso Amo, Manny Galvez, Cesar Ramirez, Eva Visperas


FROM PHILSTAR

Firecracker injuries near 600, 10 stray bullets Recorded as of Jan 2 By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated January 2, 2015 - 1:40pm 3 1 googleplus0 0


Spectators watch a fireworks display during a New Year's celebration at the Quezon Memorial Circle in suburban Quezon city on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. AP/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines - The number of firecracker-related injuries during the New Year revelries jumped to 593 on Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

In an interview over radio dzMM, DOH Assistant Secretary Elmer Punzalan said 580 firecracker injuries, 10 stray bullet cases and three cases of firecracker ingestion have been recorded as of this morning.

Punzalan said the total number of injuries was 40 percent lower than the figure recorded in welcoming 2014. It was also 36 percent lower than the average number of injuries per year from 2009 to 2013.

Piccolo still accounted for most cause of the injuries, Punzalan said.

The DOH said on Thursday that the number of piccolo injuries decreased from 70 percent on December 30 to 48 percent on New Year's Eve.

The agency had welcomed the lower number of firecracker injuries recorded so far, believing that Filipinos had been heeding the government's call against firecracker use.

"Mas maraming Pilipino ang nakonsensya ngayon, at sila ay nagdesisyon pabor sa kanilang kaligtasan," acting DOH Secretary Janette Garin said on Thursday.

The DOH also warned on picking up unexploded firecrackers after the New Year revelries.


FROM PHILSTAR

PNP: 56 stray bullet incidents; 12 nabbed By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 3, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Four policemen, an Army soldier and four security guards were among 12 persons arrested for indiscriminately firing their guns as 56 stray bullet injuries during the holiday revelry were recorded nationwide as of 5 p.m. yesterday.

Despite warnings against firing guns to greet the new year, the Philippine National Police (PNP) National Operations Center recorded 26 incidents of stray bullets over the last 24 hours. Fourteen of the cases were in Metro Manila.

The PNP is also investigating 18 other incidents of indiscriminate firing, for which four civilians have been arrested.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said a total of 40 persons were injured by stray bullets nationwide.

Police arrested Army Staff Sergeant Gorgonio Pogado for indiscriminately firing his gun, which resulted in injury to a five-year-old boy who was playing in front of his house in Rizal.

The boy was hit in the lower left back and right thigh. He was rushed to the Morong provincial hospital where he was reported to be in stable condition.

Pogado was found with a .45-caliber pistol, two empty magazines and eight bullet casings, said Rizal police director Senior Superintendent Bernabe Balba.

Pogado is assigned at the Army training command in Dawsa in Cotabato province.

Balba said a case of indiscriminate firing resulting to serious physical injury would be filed against Pogado, who is now detained in a lockup.

Pogado is also facing summary dismissal proceedings for violating the Armed Forces warning not to fire their guns during the New Year celebrations.

Reports reaching Balba indicated that a drunken Pogado took out his pistol and fired indiscriminately in the air and on the ground in front of his house to welcome the new year.

However, Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said that all unified area commands have not received complaints about soldiers illegally discharging their firearms during the holidays.

“There was no report of soldiers being investigated for indiscriminate firing. It shows that our soldiers are well-disciplined and respect the people in the communities they serve,” Cabunoc said.

“The warnings given to our soldiers were also effective,” he added.

Unlike their police counterparts, the military did not seal the muzzles of their firearms before Christmas.

On Dec. 24, however, two Marines shot each other using their M16 rifles after a heated argument, though it was not considered a case of indiscriminate firing. The shootout left one soldier dead and the other injured.

Four policemen, meanwhile, are facing dismissal from service for allegedly firing their guns during the holidays.

PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said they are presently under custody and appropriate criminal and administrative charges are being readied against them.

“They are all in custody since they were arrested in flagrante delicto or in the act of firing their guns,” Espina said. “We will proceed against them both administratively and criminally. And this will cause their dismissal from the service.”

Espina said PO2 Alger Ballicud of the Manila Police District (MPD) was among the four policemen.

The STAR earlier reported that Ballicud fired his 9mm-caliber pistol in Binondo before Christmas Day at the height of an argument with his wife.

Espina said Ballicud initially went absent without leave (AWOL) but eventually turned himself in to the authorities.

He said administrative and criminal charges have been filed against Ballicud by his superiors in MPD.

“I will personally monitor progress of these cases (of indiscriminate firing of guns). These cases are considered breach of discipline. I am very strict about discipline,” Espina added.

Another was identified as PO2 Mark Ballesteros who allegedly fired four times in the air after his girlfriend rejected him in Tondo on Dec. 31.

The girl’s uncle brought four empty ammunition shells before MPD as evidence against Ballesteros.

The incident allegedly happened about 11:30 p.m. when Ballesteros, a married man, arrived at his girlfriend’s house and confronted her.

Ballesteros even hit the woman, said her uncle, who requested anonymity.

Meanwhile, PO2 Romel Mitra, assigned at Police Station 6 in Batasan Hills in Quezon City, might be dismissed from the service.

Quezon City Police District Director Senior Superintendent Joel Pagdilao said charges including alarm and scandal have been filed against Mitra.

Last Dec. 28 at around 7 p.m. in Novaliches, Mitra, in the middle of a drinking spree, reportedly fired his gun upward because of family problems.

“He was immediately arrested after our people received a call from a concerned citizen identified as Eddie de la Cruz,” Pagdilao said.

Unsealing gun muzzles

Pagdilao yesterday morning led the removal of masking tape from the muzzles of police officers’ service firearms at the Quezon City Police District headquarters in Camp Karingal.

The simultaneous inspection and removal of taped muzzles of PNP personnel in Camp Olivas in Pampanga, meanwhile, indicated that no cop in Central Luzon was involved in indiscriminate firing.

Chief Superintendent Ronald Santos, officer-in-charge of the Police Regional Office-3, noted that the two reported cases of indiscriminate firing in the region were perpetrated by civilians.

Santos identified the revelers as Dan Dojillo, resident of Barangay Sabang in Bataan, and Angelo Olaivar, resident of Barangay Loma de Gato, in Marilao, Bulacan.

He said Dojillo was arrested after he fired his 9mm-caliber pistol into the air last Dec. 29 while Olaivar was arrested by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for firing his .45-caliber pistol.

The Cordillera Police Regional Office (PRO-COR) as well reported that no policemen fired guns during the New Year revelry, although the lone stray bullet fatality came from the region.

“In PRO-COR, no police personnel were reported to have discharged their firearms in the region as of yesterday,” Nerez said.

Espina said Oplan Katok, a PNP drive to account for loose or unrenewed firearms licenses, has netted 156,444 firearms. – Non Alquitran, Ric Sapnu, Rhodina Villanueva, Alexis Romero, Aie Balagtas See


FROM PHILSTAR

Rainshowers, cloudy skies greet Phl on first day of 2015 By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated January 1, 2015 - 10:50am 4 36 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Several parts of the country will have cloudy skies and rainshowers on the first day of the 2015, the state weather bureau said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the tail-end of a cold front is affecting Bicol region while the northeast monsoon or amihan is affecting Northern and Central Luzon.

PAGASA said Southern Palawan will experience cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms.

Bicol region, the rest of MIMAROPA and the province of Quezon will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms. Cagayan Valley and Cordillera will be cloudy with light rains.

Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains. Visayas and Mindanao will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.

Meanwhile, the Tropical Depression "Seniang" had weakened into a low pressure area was located at 4 a.m. today at 210 kilometers south southeast of Puerto Princesa City.


FROM PHILSTAR

Bill proposes emergency relief for children during calamities By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 2, 2015 - 12:00am 2 3 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - A bill seeking to give children emergency relief and protection during disasters, calamities and other emergency situations has been reported out for floor deliberations at the House of Representatives.

House committee on the welfare of children chairman Aurora Enerio Cerilles said House Bill 5062 aims to let government agencies perform priority action to protect the rights of children and set standards to guide humanitarian groups.

“Children are among the worst affected and most vulnerable because of the country’s geographical location and geology, with an average of 20 typhoons yearly, including numerous earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and similar disasters,” she said.

Tarlac Rep. Susan Yap, one of the bill’s authors, said more than 10,000 children affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda are still uncertain of their education, welfare and health living in difficult conditions in evacuation centers.

“Six children died after their tent in the evacuation center was razed by fire, many of them were not able to go back to school and some children are now engaged in harsh and dangerous labor,” she said.

Yap said thousands of children died during Yolanda and survivors have experienced psychosocial trauma and difficulties in evacuation centers, where they are exploited and abused due to lack of social protection.

“These traumas and sufferings can be avoided or mitigated by establishing clear policies and principles to protect the children in times of calamity and disaster,” she said.

The bill seeks to require the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Office of Civil Defense to formulate a comprehensive emergency program to protect children and support their immediate recovery after the declaration of a national or local state of calamity.

The DSWD, in coordination with the Armed Forces and Philippine National Police, would monitor and ensure the safety and security of affected children in areas declared under a state of calamity. It shall protect them against all forms of abuse and exploitation.

The DSWD and the Department of Health (DOH) would immediately attend to the health and medical needs of children and shall give highest priority to the treatment and rehabilitation of pregnant mothers and babies.

Within five days from declaration of a national or local state of calamity, the DSWD would set up a Children’s Emergency Center in every city or municipality declared under a state of calamity to give the necessary child care services and coordinate with lead agencies to effectively respond to the needs of children in the area.


FROM THE MANILA TIMES

11th-hour plea to defer train fare hike  January 2, 2015 11:18 pm
by REINA TOLENTINO REPORTER


PHOTO FROM GMA NEWS: Two days before Christmas and with thousands of Metro Manila denizens on vacation outside the metropolis, MRT riders experience a rare comfortable ride to their destinations on Tuesday, December 23. Malacañang on Monday stood firm on the government’s decision to raise fares of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) amid calls from some senators to defer the fare hike scheduled on January 4, 2015. Roy Lozano

The government can start the new year on the right note by postponing the fare increase for the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3), Light Rail Transit 1 and LRT 2 that will take effect this Sunday, until improvements to the train service are put in place, a congressman said on Friday.

A base fare of P11 will implemented, with an additional P1 charged per kilometer.
Several groups led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) plan to petition the Supreme Court on the same day to stop the fare adjustment.

“It has always been my position that service improvement in the MRT and LRT (lines) should come first since it would be easier for the government to impose fare hikes if the people can see that higher fares are translated to better service,” said Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, also vice chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.

In a statement, Gatchalian urged Malacañang to first address controlling inflation, reducing poverty and other national concerns.

He cited Pulse Asia’s fourth quarter survey, which he said indicated that “controlling inflation” topped the list of most urgent national concerns, followed by improving or increasing workers’ pay.

Gatchalian stressed the need for genuine action on such issues.

“A lot of changes have been done by the Aquino administration, but there is still a lot of work to be accomplished before the President’s term ends next year,” he said.

“These concerns may be national in scope but they affect every working Filipino down to their very bones. It is high time for the government to set aside differences in order to work together according to the needs of their bosses,” Gatchalian added.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd early in his six-year term said the people are his “bosses.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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