(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 18 April 2024) Easterlies affecting the country. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

PIA News Service - Monday, June 29, 2009

Environment advocates holds Environment Forum in Surigao Norte

SURIGAO DEL NORTE (June 29) – Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officers, Municipal Planning and Dev’t Planning Coordinators, Mun. SK Federated Presidents and Sangguniang Bayan - chair on Environment and Natural Resources are set to convene in an “Environment Forum” to properly address the problem on global warming and climate change and other environment concerns in the province today, June 25, 2009.

This one-day activity is in consonance with the celebration of the International Environment Month with the theme “Cleaning the Air for a Safer Climate: What would it take?” that urges people's involvement in taking effective actions necessary to address the adverse effects of global warming and climate change.

It was learned that the activity is initiated by the local government unit of this province thru the Provincial Environment and Management Office (PEMO) and League of Planning and Development Coordinators.

PEMO bared that series of lectures on environmental laws will highlight the said activity. Also, an exhibit will take place showcasing the recycled/biodegradable products of the province.

Gov. Robert Ace Barbers on the other hand urged the people to heed the call of the times saying the public should also do to their part in addressing this disturbing ecological problem. (Fryan E. Abkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Cebuano News: Mga miyembro sa Responsible Parenting Movement mibista sa atong probinsya kagahapong adlawa

SURIGAO DEL NORTE – Dako ang kalipay sa tanang RPM-NFP o Responsible Parenting Movement – Natural Family Planning Advocates sa pag-abot nila sa opisina sa Gobernador kagahapong adlawa, dihang gisugat sila sa mga opsiyales sa probinsya nga gipangunahan ni Vice-Governor Noel Catre.

Ang maong grupo sa RPM-NFP nga nagsugod pa niadtong tuig 2007, mituyo ug bisita dinhi sa atong lalawigan arong pagsulong sa ilang adbokasiya pinaagi sa pagpahigayon sa ubay-ubay nga mga klase nga maghisgot sa mga tukma ug saktong pamaagi sa paggamit sa natural family planning method, pag-awhag sa mga inahan nga magpabreastfeed ug kung unsaon pagpalambo sa relasyon sa matag miyembro sa pamilya pinaagi sa gitawag nga responsible parenting nga pagahimuon sa matag barangay.

Dako usab ang kalipay sa mga miyembro sa maong organisasyon sa ilang nasayran nga daghan na nga mga managti-ayon ang mintambong ug mikooperar niining mga barangay classes nga ilang gipahigayon dinhi, ug ngani aduna nay grupo sa mga ginikanan o mga couples ang nahimo dinhi sa atong probinsya ug ilang gipaningkamutan nga modaghan pa ang mga miyembro niini aron nga kini mamahimong pederasyon.

Uban sa maong pagbisita mao ang Executive POPCOM Director nga si Mr. Tomas Osias, mga nagkadaiyang Regional Population Commission Directos ug usa ka RPM-NFP Group sa Tanay, Rizal.

Gipanghinaut sa pangagamhanan sa probinsya nga magpadayon ang gihatag nga dakong suporta sa mga katawhang Surigaonon sa maong programa aron nga ang matag pamilya makahatag gayud ug maayong kaugma-on diha sa ilang mga anak ug aron nga sila makaisatblisar sa usa ka malipayon ug hapsay nga panginabuhi-an. (PGO-Surigao del Norte Media Bureau/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Cebuano News: Kong. Matugas migahin ug 25M alang sa Siargao district hospital

SIARGAO ISLAND, SURIGAO DEL NORTE – Human sa pagrelis sa 20milyones ni DOH Secretary Francisco Duque para pagpaayo sa Siargao District Hospital sa lungsod sa Dapa. Laing pondo na usab ang gihatag nga nagkantidad ug 15milyones ka pesos para dugang sa maong proyekto pinaagi na sa opisina ni Kongresista Francisco Matugas sa unang distrito sa Surigao del Norte.

Sa pakighinabi ngadto sa Kongresista, siya nagkanayon nga aduna na usab lain nga 10milyones ang isunod pagrelis para sa Siargao District Hospital ug mokabat na ngadto sa 45 milyones ka pesos ang maangkon para sa maong hospital.

Sumala pa ni Kong. Matugas usa kini sa iyang paningkamot para ang mga pasyenti dili na moadto sa laing hospital sama sa pagtabok sa Surigao City. Usa usab sa katuyohan sa maong hospital para sa mga bisita sama sa turista ug uban pa. Tungod sa iyang nakita nga ang isla sa Siargao ginadayo sa mga langyaw.

Gitinguha sa kongresista nga mahimong moderno ang mga gamit sa maong hospital para ikapasigarbo ngadto sa mga bisita hilabina sa mga pasyenti sa distrito uno. (Surigao Balita/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

Thousands join TESDA’s Jobs Bridging and Internship Fair

– Despite the scorching heat of the sun and the long queue, thousands flocked to the one-day Jobs Bridging and Internship Fair of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) here, this city recently.

On that day 3,243 clients were served and given gold cards. Out of this, 353 job applicants were hired on the spot, 491 was near hired, 311 provided with internship jobs and 259 were provided with scholarships.

The number of clients served and provided with the gold card is 8.1 percent higher than the agency’s target of 3,000 clients. It was also considered one of the most successful job fairs in the region, given the number of hired on the spot and near hired as well as the number of those given assistance.

“Walang uuwing luhaan sa job fair na ito. (No one will be disappointed in today’s job fair) We do not only provide jobs here, but we also provide internship and scholarship programs. If the participant applies and he or she is not hired, then our personnel we’ll assess if he needs further training or internship. If he or she needs training, then we will give him or her scholarship or training coupon. If he or she needs internship, then we will match his or her skills with the companies who might need his or her skills,” says Rogelio Peyuan, TESDA Deputy Director General for Field Operations during a brief press conference.

“Wala talagang talo, because some of our participants were provided with transportation, hinakot pa naming sila sa probinsya. They are provided with T-shirts and meals. Not to mention the gold card, which will be their passport to world wide employment,” added Peyuan.

All participants to the job fair came out with a gold card. The applicant’s data was stored in the gold card enabling the job seeker to have a paperless application. Through the gold card, the applicant’s profile will be available to the employers all over the world.

It has been a successful event, participated by displaced workers, technical-vocational education and training (TVET) graduates of TESDA and job seekers all over Caraga. 8 national government agencies (NGAs) and 44 private companies participated in the fair.
(Lovely Laudette D. Gamba, PIA-Caraga)

TESDA spearheads Jobs bridging and internship program in Caraga

BUTUAN CITY (June 29) – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Caraga Administrative Region conducted recently the Jobs Bridging and Internship Program held at Balanghai Hotel and Convention Center, Doongan, this city.

The significant activity is TESDA’s response to President Gloria Macapagal– Arroyo’s resiliency program to address the present global economic crisis causing many of our locally employed and overseas Filipino workers to be displaced due to the cost-cutting measures of local and foreign companies.

Accordingly, this event provides an avenue for our displaced workers with other employment opportunities in other companies or a chance to undergo TESDA’s Internship Program under the Pangulong Gloria Scholarship Grants. This will also give our new graduates an avenue to find employment without going through the rigors of the application process, going to different places just to land a job.

The event gathered around 3,000 participants composed of TVET Graduates, students, and workers all over Caraga to engage with more than 50 employers from the private sector both locally and overseas manning agencies with more or less a thousand Job Orders available using a technology-based job-matching encounter.

Displaced Workers, graduates from different fields and those interested to land a job are encouraged to join. (Chiselo Joiada Radaza – Bernaldez, TESDA-13/ PIA-Caraga)

“For a healthy body and mind, exercise regularly”, says FNRI-DOST

BUTUAN CITY (June 29) – The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST encourages the general public to exercise regularly in order to have a healthy body and mind, held recently during the 6th NUTRICOMNET Media Forum of FNRI-DOST at NORMISIST, Ampayon, this city.

FNRI-DOST Senior Science Research Specialist – Ms. Marilou Galang said that walking, running, bike riding, playing sports, dancing, doing push-ups, and simple stretches, such as touching your toes or side stretches are simple exercises that you can enjoy doing.

“When you exercise, you are helping build your body to be strong. This will enable you to move around and do all the things you need and want to do”, Ms. Galang said.

Also, according to Galang, one should start by talking to his/her doctor. “This is especially important if you haven’t been active, if you have any health problem or if you are pregnant or an elderly. You start it out slowly, beginning with a ten-minute period of light exercise or brisk walk everyday and gradually increase the intensity and duration of the exercise”, stressed Ms. Galang.

When asked what best exercise to apply, Ms. Galang explained that the best exercise is the one that you will do. “Walking is considered one of the best choices because it’s easy, safe and cheap. It doesn’t require training or special equipment, except for a good pair of shoes. Walking is an aerobic and weight-bearing exercise, so it is good for your heart and helps prevent osteoporosis,” she added.

It was also learned that the benefits of doing regular exercise are the following: reduces your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and obesity; keep joints, tendons and ligaments flexible so that it’s easier to move around; reduces some of the effects of aging; contributes to your mental well-being and helps treat depression; helps relieve stress and anxiety; increases your energy and endurance; helps you sleep better; helps you maintain a nrmal weight by increasing your metabolism, that is, the rate you burn calories.

Making exercise a habit is beneficial to your body. All you have to do is give your time, commitment and dedication. At the end of the day, what is important is that you have done great things for your body.
(Jennifer P. Gaitano, PIA-Caraga with reports from FNRI-DOST)

FNRI-DOST advices public to practice a healthy lifestyle to stay healthy and live longer

BUTUAN CITY (June 29) – The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) advices the public to practice a healthy lifestyle to stay healthy and live longer, held recently during the 6th NUTRICOMNET Media Forum of FNRI-DOST at NORMISIST Campus, Ampayon, this city.

The 10th message of the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF) states that “For a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition, exercise regularly, do not smoke and avoid drinking alcoholic beverages”.

This health advice is not only to prevent chronic degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD), diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and cancer but is also helpful in preventing osteoporosis.

NGF was developed by the technical working group of health and nutrition professionals led by the FNRI-DOST.

According to Dr. Zenaida Narciso, Chief Science Research Specialist and Officer-in-charge in the Office of the Deputy Director of FNRI-DOST, there are simple tips to follow for a healthier lifestyle.

“Increase consumption of vegetables particularly leafy and yellow vegetables like alugbati, saluyot, malunggay, kamote tops, kankong or fresh salads; eat at least 2-3 servings of fruits, these are rich sources of vitamin C, beta-carotene and potassium; also limit consumption of fatty foods especially those from animal sources; eat breakfast that is high complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, rootcrops, whole grain cereals, and bread; avoid excessive intake of sugar and salt,” Dr. Narciso added.

FNRI-DOST is hoping that the general public would follow the simple tips towards a healthy lifestyle. (Jennifer P. Gaitano, PIA-Caraga with reports from FNRI-DOST)

GSIS bares cause of unexpected crash of its database system

BUTUAN CITY (June 29) – The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) explained the cause of the unexpected crash of its database system being managed by the DB2 database management software of IBM Corporation, held recently during the Dialogue between GSIS and its members in one of the hotels here.

According to Ms. Helen Macasaet, GSIS IT Consultant, the database’s crash was first experienced on March 30, 2009 while the second incident occurred on April 2, 2009. “To date, GSIS has suffered eight system crashes”, she said.

Ms. Macasaet also explained that about 90 percent of the GSIS’s operations were adversely affected by the IBM-DB2 crash. “Thousands of loans and claims of GSIS members could not be processed, membership records could not be updated, transactions could not be recorded, and a sizeable data in the GSIS database were either corrupted or lost temporarily,” she added.

When asked if the GSIS membership data will be permanently lost due to the crash of its database, Ms. Macasaet answered “No, the GSIS assures its members and pensioners that the integrity of all its data has not been compromised and no data is lost. Records are preserved and kept in perpetual storage…”

Ms. Macasaet also stressed that GSIS is now doing extensive evaluation in fixing the system. “As soon as we find replacement for the DB2 database system, the GSIS can have its updated posting of the clientele’s payments and loans,” she said.

With this information provided/explained by the GSIS for its members, they are hoping that its clientele will understand what has been the cause of problem, and so the public will continue to trust their services. (Jennifer P. Gaitano, PIA-Caraga)

GSIS introduces new program on housing loan restructuring and condonation

– The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) introduces its new program on the housing loan restructuring and condonation to all its clientele, held recently during the conducted Dialogue between GSIS and its members in one of the hotels here.

The GSIS Housing Loan and Restructuring and Condonation program is a program wherein delinquent borrowers of the old housing loan program of the GSIS (Bahay ko Program) get a chance to save their homes from foreclosures or cancellation of their Deed of Condonational Sale by paying the restructured amount of the loan. The GSIS implemented this program last April 16, 2009 and will run for 18 months.

According to Ms. Cecil Feleo, Senior Vice-President – Asset, Management Group of GSIS, that those covered by the program include borrowers/instalment buyers of covered accounts notwithstanding that the same borrowers have availed themselves of the benefits of a previous condonation and loan restructuring program; the legal heirs of deceased borrowers/instalment buyers with unpaid loan balances after application of the proceeds of the Housing Loan Redemption Insurance; if any; and successors-in-interest of housing loan borrowers, who have assumed the original mortage or fo instalment buyers who are assignees of Deed of Condonation Sale, as supported by legal documents, including Special Power of Attorney, duly approved by or with consent of GSIS.

Ms. Feleo also emphasized that the amount of the restructured loan shall be the sum of the outstanding loan principal, unpaid principal, accrued interests, insurance premiums, taxes, foreclosure and other incidental expenses, less downpayment and discount on accrued interest, if any.

When asked how much is the interest rate of the program, she said that the restructured balance shall be imposed an interest rate of eight percent per annum compounded annually, fixed throughout the loan term, which is the lowest in the industry today.

“The maximum term of the restructured obligation shall be 30 years, but should not exceed the difference between the borrower’s age at the time of application and number 80,” added Ms. Feleo.

Meanwhile, Ms. Feleo also stressed that for those who are interested to apply for the program, members just need to get an application form from the Housing and Insurance Group of the home office or from an HI Unit staff in other servicing offices. The list of documentary requirements the applicant needs to submit are indicated in the application form.

GSIS is encouraging its members to visit their regional office whenever they have complaints, requests and queries on the implemented programs and services of GSIS to address issues and concerns immediately.
(Jennifer P. Gaitano, PIA-Caraga)

CoPIPAGV, DSWD conduct workshop to gov't Information Officers

BUTUAN CITY (June 29) – To come up with messages to common audiences, the Comprehensive Pilot Intervention Plan Against Gender Violence (CoPIPAGV) in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conducted recently the 2-day Partner Agencies Workshop for the Message Development of the Awareness Raising Campaign on Gender Based Violence (GBV), held in one of the hotels here.

CoPIPAGV Regional Project Coordinator – Ms. Teresa Dela Rosa discussed the overview of CoPIPAGV and Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) situation in Caraga Region.

“CoPIPAGV advocates a rapid appraisal of the occurrence of violence against women and children in Caraga Region being conducted by the Women and Gender Institute (WAGI) with support from the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and the DSWD,” said Ms. Dela Rosa.

Meanwhile, Ms. Ana Marie Daep, Chief Communication and Research Division Social Marketing Service of DSWD Central Office tackled the input on message development.

According to Ms. Daep that there are steps in message development. “In making the messages, one should assess the priorities related to the issue/ problem, set objectives, determine the target group, and research each group…,” she said.

Ms. Daep also said that when making messages for common audiences, principles of message development should be considered such as to keep the message simple, easy to grasp, jargon-free, short and uncluttered, and to define key terms that may sound like jargon.

“Put your frame around the issue, know your audience, invite the audience to ‘fill in the blank’ and reach your conclusion in their own, and also present a solution for the issue,” Ms. Daep added.

On day-1 of workshop, the participants from various partner agencies were able to participate the Workshop 1-Key Message for Specific Audiences while on day-2, participants undergone the Workshop 2-Concept Development for Radio Ads, and followed with the critiquing of outputs by its facilitators.

Participants were able to come up with the three messages to target audiences – to women survivors of maltreatment, physical and psychological in couples; to perpetrators; and to support groups (families and community), which will soon be aired over the radio in the chosen stations in the region. Aside from radio, it will also be shown on television, and billboards.

CoPIPAGV with DSWD is optimistic that violence against women and their children will decrease in its number of cases in the region. (Jennifer P. Gaitano, PIA-Caraga)

RHU Tandag spearheads anti-dengue campaign

– The Dengue Awareness program of the Department of Health (DOH) thru the Rural Health Office of this municipality headed by Dr. Ruth Arraz formally launched Dengue-Awareness Month held recently at Seasons Park Apartelle here.

The Anti-Dengue Campaign ’09 was participated by the Local Government Unit of Tandag, different National Agencies, Stake holders, Brgy. Captains and Barangay Health Workers.

During the presentation of Dengue Situation, Dr. Arraz said that dengue is a manmade problem that can be related to human behavior. “Problems related to disposal of waste, poor water storage and unsatisfactory sanitary conditions are the factors increase the habitats of the mosquito,” she said.

The dengue virus spreads through the bite of the infectious female Aedes mosquito which breeds in artificial containers and in improperly managed garbage where clean and or clear water accumulates. Likewise, increased travel and movement of people coupled with inadequate or delayed response to epidemics worsen the problem, Dra Arraz added.

For Tandag alone there are 15 cases recorded by RHU Tandag from January to June this year, and they are hoping that no additional cases will occur till the end of this month.

To aware with, the DOH-RHU promoted “4S Kontra Dengue”, Search and Destroy, Self-Protection Measures, Seek Early Consultation and S Say No to Indiscriminate Fogging.

Anchored on the theme: “Puksain ang Kitikiti, Sugpuin ang Dengue!”, the launching ends with the Signing of the Pledge of Commitment from the Participants who joined the celebration. (Nida Grace B. Tranquilan/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

DENR pays tribute to Butuan Bishop

BUTUAN CITY (June 29) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) paid tribute to His Eminence Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of this city for his great contribution in the sustainable development of environment and mining industry in Caraga Region.

DENR represented by Regional Executive Director Edilberto S.Buiser gave the plaque of recognition to Bishop Pueblos in a simple program fitting for the Bishop’s Pre Episcopal Silver Anniversary celebration held at the Bishop’s Palace in Barangay Ampayon, this city on June 23,2009.

Director Buiser said the DENR family is very much grateful to Bishop Pueblos for his great contribution in the protection and preservation of environment since he took the mantle of leadership of the Caraga Conference for Peace and Development (CCPD) which is in line with the pursuit of DENR Secretary Lito Atienza to “protect the environment and our natural resources to the best that the laws intend.”

One of the priorities of Secretary Atienza is to curb air pollution and replenish the forest cover even as he encouraged all sectors to do their share to solve the “biggest challenge that our environment and natural wealth are facing which is the climate change.”

It has been the emphasis of Secretary Atienza to inform the public that the DENR is doing its best to contribute to the worldwide effort to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, whose destructive effects are likely to be felt in the country’s long shorelines with the warming up of sea temperatures.

Director Buiser said the efforts made by Bishop Pueblos in holding forums as co-convenor of the CPPD is very effective which has somehow changed the lopsided – public perception of the DENR attributed to the “complex and interlocking socio-economic , political and environmental factors in Caraga region.”

“Bishop Pueblos is very much active in mobilizing the members of the CCPD and other sectors in the region, particularly in drawing up strategies to mitigate climate change. The members of the CCPD also included the military sector, local government executives, leader of the different indigenous group, non-government organization, academe, government officials of the national government and many other private organizations.

He said Bishop Pueblos has a strong influence in promoting transparency thus, the DENR concerted efforts in pursuing its mission and mandate are appreciated by the stakeholders and the public in general.
(Eric F. Gallego, DENR-13/ PIA-Caraga)

GSIS spurs local economy in Butuan, releases P178.36-m in loans from Jan-May ‘09

BUTUAN CITY (June 29) —The Government Service Insurance System has disbursed a total of P178.36 million loans to its members and pensioners covered by the Butuan regional office during the first five months of the year, as the pension fund continues to fuel the local economy here through its various loan products despite the problems posed by the defective IBM-DB2 database management software.

Of the said amount, P163.58 million in proceeds came from loans applied through the GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (G-W@PS) kiosk.

Among the loan products that are available through the G-W@PS include the Consolidated Loan (ConsoLoan), the P10,000-Cash Advance Plus (eCAP), Emergency Loan, Optional Policy Loan, and Policy Loan.

The ConsoLoan provided the biggest amount of proceeds during the period at P143.42 million.

On the other hand, P14.77 million in proceeds came from loans applied over the counter (OTC).

Among the loan products available through OTC include ConsoLoan, Optional Policy Loan, Policy Loan, and Pension Loan.

Pension Loan generated the biggest amount of proceeds at P8.98 million.

GSIS President and General Manager Winston F. Garcia said through the loans it disburses to its members and pensioners, the pension fund helps fuel economic growth in the region, either directly or indirectly.

“When our members apply for loans, they usually use the money either for big purchases, to pay for another loan or to start a business. Whichever the case may be, the money eventually finds itself back to the market,” he said.

Mr. Garcia added that the pension fund continues to provide service to its members and pensioners in Butuan despite the adverse effects of the defective IBM-DB2 software to the GSIS’s operations.

“Despite the still unresolved problem in our system brought about by the faulty database management software of IBM Corp., we are not allowing the situation derail the delivery of our service to our stakeholders,” he said.

Even at the onset of the DB2-induced system crashes in March, the GSIS never ceased disbursing monthly pension benefits to its pensioners through their eCard Plus. In addition, the G-W@PS kiosks continue to facilitate the enrollment and activation of eCards.

Loan applications may be done over-the-counter during the times the kiosks are down although admittedly processing of loans will still take some time.

In the meantime, Mr. Garcia assures all GSIS members and pensioners that the integrity of all membership data has not been compromised and no data is lost. For every step of a process, records are preserved and kept in perpetual storage.

Last June 3, the GSIS filed a civil case against IBM Corp., IBM Philippines, and IBM business partner Questronix Corp. as it asked the court to order these companies to pay the GSIS P100 million in damages.

The 18-page complaint filed before the Pasay Regional Trial Court was an action for tort and breach of contract to hold the defendants liable for the damage caused by the defective software it licensed to the GSIS.

Tort law defines what constitutes a legal injury and establishes the circumstances under which one may be held liable for another's injury.

The case stemmed from IBM’s database management software, called the IBM DB2, whose defect resulted in intermittent crashes in the GSIS system that paralyzed its operations.

Meanwhile, the GSIS Butuan Regional Office has processed P85.56 million in retirement claims for January to May; P.7.65 million for survivorship claims; P21.84 million for regular life claims; and P3.99 million for optional life claims.

As of end-May 2009, the GSIS Butuan Regional Office, which has under its jurisdiction the Surigao and Tandag branch offices, covers a total of 20,814 active members, 4,626 old-age and survivorship pensioners, and 239 agencies. (GSIS-Caraga/ PIA-Caraga)

26 UP Law Professors Signed up Support for Reproductive Health Bill
The controversial House Bill 5043 or the “Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2009” may have been sidelined as Congress took its recess but the clamor from various sectors for its passage has not waned.
Twenty-six (26) faculty members including former deans of the University of the Philippines College of Law recently issued a statement in support of House bill 5043. The faculty members who recently signed the position paper, in their capacity as lawyers, educators, and citizens, are expressing their full support for the passage of the controversial legislation.
The statement said, “we believe that the bill supports Constitutionally guaranteed State obligations to protect and promote the right to health of the Filipino people. It brings to life the ideals of equality, justice, and respect for human dignity that lie at the core of our fundamental law by guaranteeing that all Filipinos have access to quality information and services in reproductive health.”
The statement further said “amid pervasive socio-economic inequality, the availability and accessibility of reproductive health care is an indispensable step towards improving the quality of life of millions of Filipinos.”
In addition it states, “contrary to the contention by some groups that the bill encroaches on religious freedom, we maintain that it does precisely the opposite.” The statement explained, “by providing citizens and their families with adequate information and a variety of options on reproductive health, the bill empowers them to make sound decisions. By enabling choice, the RH bill neither compels individuals nor families to resort to family planning methods or health interventions but rather empowers them to make sound decisions and access information and services for their health and well-being.”
The 26 UP College of Law professors are Froilan M. Bacungan, Merlin M. Magallona, Raul C. Pangalangan, Marvic F. Leonen, Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan, Araceli Baviera, Eduardo A. Labitag, Myrna S. Feliciano, Domingo Disini, Carmelo Sison, Rowena Daroy Morales, H. Harry Roque, Ibarra M. Gutierrrez III, JJ Disini, E. Leo Battad, Florin T. Hilbay, Rommel J. Casis, Tristan Catindig, Jose C. Laureta, Concepcion Lim Jardeleza, Antonio M.Santos, Carol Ruiz-Austria, Rafael Morales, Rowena V. Guanzon, Alfred Molo III and Stephanie Gomez-Somera.
Meanwhile, Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) lauds the law professors, who in the face of heavy opposition of Catholic hierarchy against the bill have bravely acknowledged not only the constitutionality but also the very humane character of this proposed measure.
San Pascual said “despite wha
t happened on the last days of Congressional session where the RH bill was bypassed by other less important issues, particularly by ConAss resolution, we remain confident and steadfast that this bill will become a law soon. And we find inspiration from people who continuously express their support and clamor for the passage of the bill.”
“RH advocates are set to continue the “Big Push for RH Bill” once the 3rd regular session starts in July,” he added. “Activities to make lawmakers understand the urgency of passing the bill are already lined-up, RH advocates are still holding on to Speaker Nograles’ promise that they will vote on this bill under this Congress,” San Pascual concluded. (Vigie Benosa-Llorin, Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc.)
Statement and Position Paper of the U.P. College of Law faculty in support of the Reproductive Health Bill (HB 5043), an act for a national policy on reproductive health, responsible parenthood and population development and other purposes
We, the undersigned faculty members of the University of the Philippines College of Law, in our capacity as lawyers, educators, and citizens, express our full support for the Reproductive Health Bill (HB 5043) currently pending in the House of Representatives.
We believe that the bill supports constitutionally guaranteed State obligations to protect and promote the right to health of the Filipino people. It brings to life the ideals of equality, justice, and respect for human dignity that lie at the core of our fundamental law by guaranteeing that all Filipinos have access to quality information and services in reproductive health. Amid pervasive socio-economic inequality, the availability and accessibility of reproductive health care is an indispensable step towards improving the quality of life of millions of Filipinos.
The bill likewise serves to empower Filipino women in making informed choices about their health – decisions which ultimately affect the lives of their families and communities. Ensuring their right to equality before the law is not only crucial to the health and wellbeing of women and their families, but is also essential to assuring their effective participation in national development.
Similarly, we assert that the bill’s adoption of the human rights framework in dealing with reproductive health is a welcome and long-overdue initiative that more appropriately reflects the emerging international consensus that treats the issue as one that principally involves fundamental rights, free and informed decision-making, and women’s empowerment.
Contrary to the contention by some groups that the bill encroaches on religious freedom, we maintain that it does precisely the opposite. By providing citizens and their families with adequate information and a variety of options on reproductive health, the bill empowers them to make sound decisions. By enabling choice, the RH bill neither compels individuals nor families to resort to family planning methods or health interventions but rather empowers them to make sound decisions and access information and services for their health and wellbeing. This is fully consistent with the principle of mutual respect for religious differences enshrined in our constitutional order.
Apart from being fully in accordance with the precepts of our own Constitution and the principles established under international conventions, recent surveys have also indicated that the bill enjoys the support of the majority of Filipinos. There is therefore no further reason, whether legal or political, for our elected representatives in Congress to stand in the way of the bill’s enactment into law, despite the continued protestations of certain interest groups.
We hereby call on both houses of Congress to immediately pass the Reproductive Health Bill and for those who have stood against its passage to summon up the wisdom to act, not on the basis of faulty assumptions or in the service of vested interests, but for the common good of the Filipino people.
Signed by 26 faculty members of the UP College of Law including former Deans Froilan M. Bacungan, Merlin M. Magallona, Raul C. Pangalangan and Dean Marvic F. Leonen, Professors Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan, Araceli Baviera, Eduardo A. Labitag, Myrna S. Feliciano, Domingo Disini, Carmelo Sison, associate professors Rowena Daroy Morales, H. Harry Roque, Ibarra M. Gutierrrez III, JJ Disini, E.Leo Battad, Florin T. Hilbay, Rommel J. Casis and professorial lecturers Tristan Catindig, Jose C. Laureta, Concepcion Lim Jardeleza, Antonio M.Santos, Carol Ruiz-Austria, Rafael Morales, Rowena V. Guanzon, AlfredMolo III and Stephanie Gomez-Somera in May 2009, Quezon City, Philippines. (Vigie Benosa-Llorin, Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc.)
NSA Gonzales condemns killing of PDSP leader

NATIONAL Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales yesterday condemned the killing of the second highest officer of his party, Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas general secretary Danilo Yang, by unknown assassins in Laguna Wednesday night.

Yang, also a Laguna provincial board member, was killed with two of his aides in Brgy. San Juan Bautista, San Pablo City, when five unidentified men ambushed them during a program in celebraton of the barangay fiesta. A fourth companion of the victims was wounded.

Gonzales noted that Yang was warned by army intelligence about two weeks ago of possible attempts on his life by the New People's Army.

The PDSP leader had been in the order of battle of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA since 2004 because of his vital position in the party and its efforts to educate communities on the true character and modus operandi of the communist group.

The national security chief observed that there has been a rising number of political killings like Yang's.

Gonzales appealed to all democratic political parties and other democratic organizations in the country to join the PDSP in its fight against terrorism of all types and against politicians' collusion with terrorist communists.

Gonzales described Yang as one of the pillars of this fight. “He has been very active in exposing the terrorist character of the CPP-NPA. He is certainly a great loss not only to the PDSP but also to this cause,” he said.

Yang, a PDSP community organizer and political officer since his youth, rose to become a board member of Laguna in 2007 after topping the election for the councilors of San Pablo City and later the provincial league of all city and municipal councilors.
Killed with Yang were PDSP members Manolo Barcenas (Brgy. Chair of Brgy. Santiago 2, San Pablo City) and Brando de los Santos (security staff). (Louie Ceniza, NSC/ PIA-Caraga)

PNOC’s biofuels unit signs a 1,000-hectare jatropha plantation development pact with 2 grower-partners in Negros Occidental

True to its mandate of promoting and accelerating the use of biofuels in the country to reduce dependence on imported fuel, the biofuels arm of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) - the PNOC Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNOC-AFC), has signed a pact with the Ilog Diversified Multi-Purpose Cooperative and Katilingban Sang Katawhan Sa Katayoyon Nga Kauswagan Sa Kabankalan, Inc. (5Ks) for the establishment of an aggregate area of 1,000-hectare jatropha plantation in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental.

“The partnership that we have forged separately with our grower-partners Ilog Diversified Multi-Purpose Cooperative and 5Ks marks the beginning of our collaborative effort towards establishing a most viable and sustainable biofuel feedstock in the country. We all intend to pool and commit our resources together to attain our production target of jatropha to fast track the country’s biofuel initiative,” said Genaro Rafael K. Alvarez III, PNOC-AFC chairman.

Under the Memorandum of Agreements (MOA), the project that the PNOC-AFC will be funding involves an aggregate area of 500 hectares of jatropha plantation within the landholdings of Ilog Diversified Multi-Purpose Cooperative and another 500 hectares with 5Ks.

"The funds for the project will be released to PNOC-AFC's grower-partners in accordance with the Work and Financial Plan. The market for the jatropha seeds that will be produced from the plantation will not be a problem since the PNOC-AFC will be the assured market," said Alvarez.

In addition, the PNOC-AFC shall supply the jatropha seedlings and other farm inputs as well as pay for the labor during the planting process. The Company will likewise provide technical assistance for the setting up of the plantation and help in its maintenance for 18 months.

Meantime, the grower-partner will manage the plantation together with PNOC-AFC. It will also provide the necessary labor inputs for the plantation establishment and maintenance while complying with all the permitting requirements from appropriate government agencies.
“Being the leading proponent of jatropha production in the country, we are not only keen on providing a cost-competitive alternative feedstock for our biofuels industry, but we are also opening alternative venues for business enterprise as well as creating new job opportunities for our marginalized farmers in the countryside,” noted Alvarez.

In line with the government’s policy of reducing dependence on imported oil and utilizing indigenous renewable energy sources, the PNOC-AFC has a mandate to explore, develop and accelerate the use of alternative energy to enhance the country’s energy security. (PNOC-AFC CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS)