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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

MOST LIVABLE CITIES: PHILIPPINES RANKS LOW AT 136th, BEHIND KL, BANGKOK...


FEBRUARY 27 -Manila has retained its ranking in the lower half of the world’s most livable cities, behind Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and other capitals in the region, according to the latest international survey on quality of living. Philstar.com/File photo
Manila has retained its ranking in the lower half of the world’s most livable cities, behind Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and other capitals in the region, according to the latest international survey on quality of living. Global consulting firm Mercer’s 18th Quality of Living survey, released this week in London, showed the Philippines’ regional capital retaining its 136th place among 230 cities. Austrian capital Vienna maintained its top ranking in overall quality of living, with war-torn Baghdad in Iraq rated the worst. Zurich, Switzerland was behind Vienna. Auckland in New Zealand ranked third followed by Munich, Germany and Vancouver, Canada. The city-state of Singapore was rated highest in Asia at 26th place. It was also deemed the safest in the region, ranking eighth globally, followed at 32nd place by five Japanese cities: Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo and Yokohama. Mercer’s survey is considered an authoritative basis for multinational companies and other employers in assessing compensation, including hardship allowances, for employees assigned overseas. Living conditions are analyzed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories: political and social environment, economic environment, socio-cultural environment, medical and health considerations, schools and education, public services and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing, and the natural environment. READ MORE...

ALSO: Study - More hazardous tropical cyclones to hit Philippines


FEBRUARY 27 -At least 6,300 people died as a result of Typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. Philstar.com/File photo
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical cyclones in the Philippines are becoming more extreme causing greater amounts of devastation and loss of life, a new study finds.
It found that in the last two decades, there has been a slight decrease in the number of smaller cyclones (above 118 kilometers per hour) that hit the country. That means more Filipinos are at risk since more hazardous tropical cyclones (above 150 kilometers per hour) were shown to be on the rise, with the northern island of Luzon frequently affected, according to a study released by the University of Sheffield. “Growing up in the Philippines myself, I understand the catastrophic loss of life and damage to property that extreme weather can cause,” said Monica Ortiz from the Department of Geography and Scholar in the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures. While previous research suggested the increase in sea-surface temperatures as the reason for the surge in the number of intense tropical cyclones, this study remains an active part of research on extreme climate events. Drawing conclusions that will influence tropical cyclone projections is too early, the University of Sheffield statement read. READ MORE...

ALSO: Only in the Philippines - World’s smallest giant flower


FEBRUARY 28 -The new species Rafflesia consueloae thrives only in Nueva Ecija Mt. Balokbok and Mt. Pantaburon.
A team of biologists from the University of the Philippines has discovered the smallest giant flower in the world in Nueva Ecija. The new species Rafflesia consueloae has an average diameter of 9.73 centimeters and is found only in the Philippines.
It belongs to the Rafflesia group – parasitic plants with magnificent blooms that can reach up to 1.5 meters in diameter. So far, the new species thrives only in Mt. Balokbok and Mt. Pantaburon within the Pantanbangan-Carranglan watershed where the Pantabangan Hydroelectric Dam is located. The new species has been classified as critically endangered based on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ criterion of a species having less than 100 square kilometers of extent of occurrence with its two small populations. First Gen Hydro Power Corp. (FGHPC), which operates the Pantabangan Hydroelectric Dam, together with the UP Biology and Diliman Science Research Foundation (DSRF), had been undertaking a long-term biodiversity conservation monitoring program in the watershed as part of its commitment to understand and protect that environment. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte’s secret weapon gets ready for prime time


FEBRUARY 29 -DIGONG’S ‘LITTLE HEAVEN’ Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte and partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña at a recent forum on the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City RAFFY LERMA
IT WAS a pretty swank affair at the Manila Golf Club in Forbes Park: Ostensibly a Laurel family get-together, it was actually a fund-raiser for presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. It was the day after the first presidential debate, after which everyone seemed to agree that Duterte did better than expected. Apart from members of the tight-knit Laurel clan, a few invited guests such as actor Cesar Montano and President Aquino’s aunt-in-law Tingting Cojuangco were spotted in the crowd. There was no shortage of Duterte boosters, but many of the guests were there to see for themselves if the tough-talking Davao City mayor was the real deal, or just another lying politico.
In short, it was a golden opportunity to rack up some votes and shore up support from an influential and well-heeled sector of the electorate. Only one problem: The candidate was still in Cagayan de Oro, stuck at the airport where traffic on the runway was backed up, and he was already two hours late. Lucky for him, his partner had flown in ahead to pick up the slack. And we don’t mean his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano. Unassuming, assured Duterte’s public image paints him as an ultra-macho alpha male, and he has publicly admitted to having a string of girlfriends. When his first marriage to Elizabeth Zimmerman ended in annulment, his “philandering” was cited as one of the reasons. Because of this, a lot of people assume that his current partner must be some kind of meek, subservient doormat to put up with him. Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, Duterte’s common-law wife, proved to be anything but. Dressed in a long-sleeved print blouse and brown slacks, she struck just the right tone, coming across as unassuming but assured. She spoke to the crowd for nearly 30 minutes, and fielded questions, speaking plainly. Without sounding too much like a politician, she stayed on message, as the spin doctors like to say, and allayed some concerns about the candidate. READ MORE...

ALSO: VP gets crucial backing from Fil-Chinese groups


FEBRUARY 29 -Opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay may have obtained the support of the Filipino-Chinese community which is much sought by presidential candidates for their influence in the business sector during a visit to the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center (CGHMC) yesterday. CGHMC president Dr. James Dy pledged the unqualified support of the Filipino-Chinese community to Binay during a forum in which Binay presided over.“Our organizations - the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association, Inc., Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, and the Filipino Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Inc.- my entire clan, and the 1.5 million strong Chinese Filipino community of qualified voters are behind you in this challenge to lead our country to progress,” Dy told Binay. “We will give you our 100 percent support to make a difference in our future,” Dy added. Binay was at the CGHMC auditorium where he promise that he will implment the Makati Yellow Card program nationwide.  “The Makati City Yellow Card was recognized in the world and I commit to undertake the program for the entire country na aking gagawin din sa buong bansa,” Binay said. Binay was joined by running mate Senator Gregorio Honasan II, and senatorial candidates Sulu Princess Jacel Kiram, Parañaque City councilor Alma Moreno, former Special Action Force Commander Getulio Napeñas, broadcaster Rey Langit, and labor lawyer Allan Montano in the assembly. The Yellow Card program has been recognized by the United Nations-Habitat as one of the world’s best social welfare scheme. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Most livable cities: Philippines ranks low at 136th,, behind KL, Bangkok...


Manila has retained its ranking in the lower half of the world’s most livable cities, behind Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and other capitals in the region, according to the latest international survey on quality of living. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, FEBRUARY 29, 2016 (PHILSTAR)  February 27, 2016 - Manila has retained its ranking in the lower half of the world’s most livable cities, behind Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and other capitals in the region, according to the latest international survey on quality of living.

Global consulting firm Mercer’s 18th Quality of Living survey, released this week in London, showed the Philippines’ regional capital retaining its 136th place among 230 cities. Austrian capital Vienna maintained its top ranking in overall quality of living, with war-torn Baghdad in Iraq rated the worst.

Zurich, Switzerland was behind Vienna. Auckland in New Zealand ranked third followed by Munich, Germany and Vancouver, Canada.

The city-state of Singapore was rated highest in Asia at 26th place. It was also deemed the safest in the region, ranking eighth globally, followed at 32nd place by five Japanese cities: Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo and Yokohama.

Mercer’s survey is considered an authoritative basis for multinational companies and other employers in assessing compensation, including hardship allowances, for employees assigned overseas.

Living conditions are analyzed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories: political and social environment, economic environment, socio-cultural environment, medical and health considerations, schools and education, public services and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing, and the natural environment.

READ MORE...

Political stability, crime and law enforcement are included in the political and social environment while press freedom and civil liberties are under the socio-cultural environment.

Western European cities dominated this year’s most livable list. In the US, San Francisco was the highest ranked at 28th place, followed by Boston at 34th and Honolulu at 35th.

In Asia, Japanese cities followed Singapore, with the capital Tokyo at 44th place, Kobe at 46th, Yokohama 49th, Osaka 58th and Nagoya 62nd.

Hong Kong ranked 70th overall in a tie with US city Detroit. South Korean capital Seoul ranked 73rd followed by Taipei at 84th, Kuala Lumpur (86), South Korea’s Busan (91), Taichung (100), Shanghai (101), Brunei capital Bandar Seri Begawan (102), Malaysia’s Johor Baru (103), Beijing (118), Guangzhou (119), Bangkok (129), Sri Lankan capital Colombo (132) and China’s Chengdu (134).

Manila ranked ahead of China’s Nanjing and Shenzhen (tied at 137), Xi’an (139), Indonesian capital Jakarta (142), China’s Chongqing (146) and Qingdao (147), Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh (152) and capital Hanoi (155), Laotian capital Vientiane (170), Cambodian capital Phnom Penh (195) and Myanmar’s former capital Yangon (201).

In terms of personal safety, Luxembourg was named the safest city in the world, followed in a tie at second place by Swiss cities Bern and Zurich and Finnish capital Helsinki. Baghdad and Damascus, Syria tied as the world’s least safe cities at 229th place.

“Heightened domestic and global security threats, population displacement resulting from violence, and social unrest in key business centers around the world are all elements adding to the complex challenge facing multinational companies when analyzing the safety and health of their expatriate workforce,” said Ilya Bonic, Mercer’s Talent business senior partner and president.

Apart from safety and health issues, Mercer said obtaining suitable and well-secured housing and access to “reputable professional evacuation services” and medical support add to safety costs for expatriates.

Mercer, a wholly owned subsidiary of global professional services firm Marsh & McLennan Companies, has 20,000 employees in 43 countries.


PHILSTAR

Study: More hazardous tropical cyclones to hit Philippines By Kristine Daguno-Bersamina (philstar.com) | Updated February 27, 2016 - 2:02pm 0 160 googleplus0 0


At least 6,300 people died as a result of Typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical cyclones in the Philippines are becoming more extreme causing greater amounts of devastation and loss of life, a new study finds.

It found that in the last two decades, there has been a slight decrease in the number of smaller cyclones (above 118 kilometers per hour) that hit the country.

That means more Filipinos are at risk since more hazardous tropical cyclones (above 150 kilometers per hour) were shown to be on the rise, with the northern island of Luzon frequently affected, according to a study released by the University of Sheffield.

“Growing up in the Philippines myself, I understand the catastrophic loss of life and damage to property that extreme weather can cause,” said Monica Ortiz from the Department of Geography and Scholar in the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.

While previous research suggested the increase in sea-surface temperatures as the reason for the surge in the number of intense tropical cyclones, this study remains an active part of research on extreme climate events.

Drawing conclusions that will influence tropical cyclone projections is too early, the University of Sheffield statement read.

READ MORE...

The project, which is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Sheffield, the state weather bureau (PAGASA), the Oscar Lopez Centre for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management (OML Centre), aims to help the country better adapt and become more resilient to extreme weather events and challenges of climate change.

“By analyzing this data from the past up to the present, we can better adapt to further climate change and prepare for future disasters,” Ortiz said.

Based on the United Nations University (UNU) World Risk Report 2014, the Philippines is among the most disaster-prone nations in the world.

In November 2013, Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, leveled entire towns in the central Philippines and left at least 6,300 people dead.


PHILSTAR

Only in the Philippines: World’s smallest giant flower (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 27, 2016 - 1:00am 5 222 googleplus1 7


The new species Rafflesia consueloae thrives only in Nueva Ecija Mt. Balokbok and Mt. Pantaburon.

MANILA, Philippines - A team of biologists from the University of the Philippines has discovered the smallest giant flower in the world in Nueva Ecija.

The new species Rafflesia consueloae has an average diameter of 9.73 centimeters and is found only in the Philippines.

It belongs to the Rafflesia group – parasitic plants with magnificent blooms that can reach up to 1.5 meters in diameter.

So far, the new species thrives only in Mt. Balokbok and Mt. Pantaburon within the Pantanbangan-Carranglan watershed where the Pantabangan Hydroelectric Dam is located.

The new species has been classified as critically endangered based on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ criterion of a species having less than 100 square kilometers of extent of occurrence with its two small populations.

First Gen Hydro Power Corp. (FGHPC), which operates the Pantabangan Hydroelectric Dam, together with the UP Biology and Diliman Science Research Foundation (DSRF), had been undertaking a long-term biodiversity conservation monitoring program in the watershed as part of its commitment to understand and protect that environment.

READ MORE...

First Gen chairman and chief executive officer Federico Lopez hailed the discovery.

“The Philippines is blessed with so many amazing living things that, even in this day and age, the world of science isn’t aware of. We’re thankful the country has researchers and scientists at the UP Institute of Biology who dedicate their lives to unlocking the mysteries of these enigmatic species for all of us. It’s really a privilege for us to be working closely with such committed men and women and their work truly deserves everyone’s support,” he said.

The new species is named Rafflesia consueloae in honor of Lopez’s mother, Consuelo.

“With her demure but strong personality traits, which Rafflesia consueloae also possesses, she provides the inspiration for Mr. Lopez’s pursuit of biodiversity conservation in the Philippines,” said professor Perry Ong of the UP Biology and DSRF.

Ong described the sighting of the new flower species as serendipitous, as a field assistant accidentally kicked over a pile of forest litter, exposing a decayed flower of R. consueloae.


INQUIRER

Duterte’s secret weapon gets ready for prime time SHARES: 18.8K VIEW COMMENTS By: Eric S. Caruncho @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:39 AM February 28th, 2016


DIGONG’S ‘LITTLE HEAVEN’ Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte and partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña at a recent forum on the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City RAFFY LERMA

IT WAS a pretty swank affair at the Manila Golf Club in Forbes Park: Ostensibly a Laurel family get-together, it was actually a fund-raiser for presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte.

It was the day after the first presidential debate, after which everyone seemed to agree that Duterte did better than expected. Apart from members of the tight-knit Laurel clan, a few invited guests such as actor Cesar Montano and President Aquino’s aunt-in-law Tingting Cojuangco were spotted in the crowd. There was no shortage of Duterte boosters, but many of the guests were there to see for themselves if the tough-talking Davao City mayor was the real deal, or just another lying politico.

In short, it was a golden opportunity to rack up some votes and shore up support from an influential and well-heeled sector of the electorate.

Only one problem: The candidate was still in Cagayan de Oro, stuck at the airport where traffic on the runway was backed up, and he was already two hours late.

Lucky for him, his partner had flown in ahead to pick up the slack. And we don’t mean his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Unassuming, assured

Duterte’s public image paints him as an ultra-macho alpha male, and he has publicly admitted to having a string of girlfriends. When his first marriage to Elizabeth Zimmerman ended in annulment, his “philandering” was cited as one of the reasons. Because of this, a lot of people assume that his current partner must be some kind of meek, subservient doormat to put up with him.

Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, Duterte’s common-law wife, proved to be anything but. Dressed in a long-sleeved print blouse and brown slacks, she struck just the right tone, coming across as unassuming but assured. She spoke to the crowd for nearly 30 minutes, and fielded questions, speaking plainly. Without sounding too much like a politician, she stayed on message, as the spin doctors like to say, and allayed some concerns about the candidate.

READ MORE...

Duterte talked tough because Davao is a tough place, and he had to be tough to make it a place conducive for business. But his choice of words wasn’t always the best, she admitted.

He couldn’t be a dictator, as some people fear, because it wasn’t his style, and he wouldn’t be as loved by the people of Davao if he was dictatorial.

Despite his reputation as a ladies’ man, he wasn’t a male chauvinist because he had too much respect for women: He has appointed women to high positions in the Davao City administration, supported his daughter Sara when she was mayor and made Davao City a leader in supporting battered women.

As for the rumored girlfriends, she would have left him long ago if this were true, Avanceña said.

Charisma

“Hinamon ko na siya ng hiwalayan, just in case meron talagang totoo, ayaw naman niya,” she said. “Talagang friendly siya sa women. Babae ang lumalapit sa kanya. Pati lalaki nagpapa-selfie. Pati bakla. Hindi naman siya gwapo, bakit ganoon ang charisma niya sa tao? (I challenged him to a separation just in case he had another girlfriend, but he didn’t accept it. He’s really friendly with women and it is them who approach him. Even guys take selfies with him, even gays. He’s not handsome, but he has this charisma).”

Avanceña also managed to work in a few intimate details about the private Duterte that would have sounded hokey coming from him, or anyone else:

He reads the Bible and prays for God’s guidance (a recent development, she admitted, at her prodding). He sometimes goes without sleep and skips meals to attend to Davao’s needs. He prefers to eat and live simply and loses his appetite when too much food is on the table. And he still cries when he visits his mother’s grave.

At the end of her talk, Avanceña had the crowd eating out of her hands. Since when do people line up to get their picture taken with the candidate’s wife? If this was calculated, it was a stroke of brilliance. If not, a stroke of luck.

“Hindi din ako marunong makipag-plastikan,” says Avanceña when complemented on her “performance.” “Hindi naman ako artista, wala akong pwedeng i-project, kung ano lang ako. (I don’t play games. I’m not an actress, I can’t project anybody else but myself.)”

Until recently, Avanceña had kept herself pretty much out of the media spotlight. But as the presidential campaign shifts to high gear, she’s had to take a more prominent role, sometimes accompanying Duterte in some sorties, sometimes staying in Davao to keep an eye on things while he was away on the campaign trail.

Her increased visibility has raised the public’s curiosity about her.

Some of the bare facts: At 46, she’s nearly 25 years younger than the 70-year-old Duterte. He was her first serious relationship, she said, although she turned vague when asked how old she was when they first met.

So how come they’re still not married?

“The right time will come,” she said. “God’s time.”

(It’s probably more complicated than that: Duterte is said to be still close to his first wife, who was diagnosed with cancer last year.)

She was trained as a nurse, and worked for four years in the US, where her Hispanic coworkers used to tease her about her name (Cielito means “Little Heaven” in Spanish.)

Health issues

Her nurse’s training comes in handy because of Duterte’s health issues, which are public knowledge: He suffers from Buerger’s disease, a potentially serious constriction of the blood vessels in the limbs caused by smoking, and occasional migraines. But his blood pressure is actually better than hers, she said, and she can assure the public that he is fit for active duty, if elected.

She returned to Davao from the States shortly after their daughter was born (which makes Veronica, now 11, a US citizen). She runs several businesses in Davao, including donut franchises and a meat shop, apart from keeping house for her family.

Losing her privacy, she said, remains the hardest part of supporting her partner’s presidential bid. She used to roam Davao City’s malls on her own, without a bodyguard. But last week, she complained, an Al Jazeera TV crew embedded itself into her household and filmed them for days, even when they were eating lunch.

She has resigned herself to being in the public eye, and she seems ready for prime time. But is she ready for Malacañang, should Duterte win? In interviews, he has said that he would make daughter Sara first lady.

“OK lang, anak naman niya ’yon,” said Avanceña. “Si Sara aayaw, hindi niya style ’yon. (It’s alright, she’s his daughter anyway. But Sara might not agree; it’s not her style).”

That would mean having to leave Davao and her businesses behind. “Bahala na ang Diyos kung saan kami ilagay. (I’m leaving it up to God where he wants to put us),” she said.

By the time the candidate finally arrived on the scene, the sun had gone down and half the people had left. But all things considered, it felt like a win.


TRIBUNE

VP gets crucial backing from Fil-Chinese groups Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 29 February 2016 00:00



Opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay may have obtained the support of the Filipino-Chinese community which is much sought by presidential candidates for their influence in the business sector during a visit to the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center (CGHMC) yesterday.

CGHMC president Dr. James Dy pledged the unqualified support of the Filipino-Chinese community to Binay during a forum in which Binay presided over.

“Our organizations - the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association, Inc., Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, and the Filipino Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Inc.- my entire clan, and the 1.5 million strong Chinese Filipino community of qualified voters are behind you in this challenge to lead our country to progress,” Dy told Binay.

“We will give you our 100 percent support to make a difference in our future,” Dy added.

Binay was at the CGHMC auditorium where he promise that he will implment the Makati Yellow Card program nationwide.
“The Makati City Yellow Card was recognized in the world and I commit to undertake the program for the entire country na aking gagawin din sa buong bansa,” Binay said.

Binay was joined by running mate Senator Gregorio Honasan II, and senatorial candidates Sulu Princess Jacel Kiram, Parañaque City councilor Alma Moreno, former Special Action Force Commander Getulio Napeñas, broadcaster Rey Langit, and labor lawyer Allan Montano in the assembly.

The Yellow Card program has been recognized by the United Nations-Habitat as one of the world’s best social welfare scheme.

READ MORE...

It provides beneficiaries free maternal, child and elderly care; free outpatient consultations and medicines; and government- subsidized hospitalization, on top of PhilHealth benefits.

“In Makati, no poor resident dies because they do not have money to spend for hospitalization. I did not allow that. All the medical requirements even if it will run up to millions of pesos in medicine and hospitalization are given free to the poor,” Binay said.

The Vice President also said that he will put up more health centers in the country, aside from providing it facilities and medicines.

“My promise is that there will be health center in all parts of the country. Not only health centers but also the facilities that people will need. Many health centers now do not have the required facilities. Most are even short of medicines,” he said.
Binay added that he will work for a 1:1 ratio of one rural health worker for every health center.

“If it is possible, there should be one rural health worker for every health center,” he said.

After his speech, Binay, running mate Senator Gregorio Honasan II, and senatorial candidates Sulu Princess Jacel Kiram, Parañaque City councilor Alma Moreno, former Special Action Force Commander Getulio Napeñas, broadcaster Rey Langit, and labor lawyer Allan Montano had a motorcade around Tondo, Manila.

Hike in OFWs’ LAF vowed

During his campaign sortie last Friday, Binay also vowed to increase the OFW legal assistance fund (LAF) that would assist OFWs in distress.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), 90 Filipinos are facing the death penalty abroad. The LAF can be used for OFWs’ legal concerns such as filing cases against erring or abusive employers, hiring lawyers, bail and other litigation expenses.

Binay lamented that there’s a budget for the LAF, but the administration did not release the fund.

“What is lamentable is that Senator Nancy (Binay) sought a P100 million in the legal assistance (for OFWs in the budget), bu this was not released by the DBM (Department of Budget and Management),” Binay said.

Sen. Binay had pushed for the increase in the LAF to P100 million from the P30 million that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) originally proposed for 2015 budget during the 2014 budget deliberations.

Republic Act 10022, or the amended Migrants Workers Act, sets aside not less than P100 million yearly for the LAF, which the DFA handles.

But when the President signed the 2015 GAA, the LAF was included in the President’s Veto Message particularly under conditional implementation, saying that there was no income source to justify the creation of the fund.

Sen. Binay also questioned the DBM’s proposal for a “zero” budget for the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA). She noted that the proposed 2016 GAA did not contain a special provision for the LAF, when previous GAAs had it.

The increase in the LAF is one of the steps that a Binay administration will implement to protect the welfare of overseas Filipinos.

Binay added that it is high time for OFWs to have their own bank so that their earnings can be augmented.

“I am studying the need for a bank specifically for OFWs which will help them to invest their money that would add to their and their families’ income,” he said.

The Vice President also promised to increase the skills of OFWs, especially of domestic helpers.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said that OFWs sent around $25.767 billion back to the Philippines last year. A total of 2.3 million Filipinos worked abroad in 2014, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Binay also earlier offered prayers at the memorial erected for the Special Action Force (SAF) 44 inside the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) in Silang, Cavite Saturday.

Binay was the guest of honor at the PNPA’s 36th alumni homecoming. He vowed that a bloody incident like what happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao will not be repeated under his administration.

“[W]e will provide a decisive and efficient leadership that will respect and abide by the established principle of chain of command within the PNP. Under my watch, there will be no more Mamasapanos,” Binay said in a speech.

The Vice President again expressed grief at the loss of 44 elite police officers, including six PNPA alumni.

“It is said to think that PSInsp. Ryan Ballesteros Pabalinas, PSInsp. John Gary Alcantara Erana, PSInsp.Max Jim Ramirez Tria, PSInsp. Cyrus Pelayan Anniban, PSInsp. Gednat Tabdi, at PSInsp. Rennie Lumasag Tayrus are not in our midst,” he said.

“While they are not here, their memories will always remain in our heart. And hopefully their sacrifice for the nation and democracy will always guide the police force and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Academy,” Binay added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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