The Department of Agriculture in the SOCCSKSARGEN region has released P10.6 million worth of agricultural assistance to a group of farmers and fisherfolk as the regional office intensified its campaign to increase productivity and food sufficiency.
The turn over ceremonies were held in Koronadal City as part of the culminating activity of the “buwan ng Magsasaka at Mangingisda” with the theme “Salamat Magsasaka, Pinapakain mo ang bansa.”
Amalia Jayag-Datukan. DA-12 regional executive director, led the turn over rites. Among the recipient was the Don Bosco Multi-purpose Cooperative of Mlang, North cotabato which received P2.9 million worth of assistance in line with the export initiative program of the national government.
The assistance include the following: rice color sorter (P2.28-M); rice seed cleaner (P53,000); double chamber vacuum packing machine (P160,000), rice transplanter (P294,444), and seed trading center (P125,000).
Visibly elated, Don Bosco MPC General Manager Romano Laurilla, said the assistance would help the cooperative maintain good quality products and increase quality of colored rice that the country exports to Middle East and elsewhere.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa DA para sa mga kagamitang kanilang ibinigay na sa tingin ko ay nagpapatunay lamang ng kanilang dedikasyon at suporta upang tuloy-tuloy ang pag-e-export natin ng matataas na uri ng bigas (We thanked DA 12 for this assistance which shows its commitment and dedication in improving productivity and quality of products that we export),” said Laurilla.
Aside from Don Bosco, pump and engine sets were also distributed for the provinces of Saranggani which has eight units, North Cotabato, 10 units; Sultan Kudarat, 33 and South Cotabato, 39 units.
Each set of engine and pump cost P80,000.
DA also distributed two units of power tillers for Colundibus Irrigators Association (IA) and one unit Central Malamote IA, all from Barangay Malamote, Matalam, North Cotabato.
Each unit costs P127,428 under the 85:15 counterparting scheme where DA pays 85 percent of the cost and the recipient takes charge of the 15 percent.
Malamote IA also received on thresher unit for the farmers.
The machinery assistance are now available at the DA research outreach station in Tupi, South Cotabato. (PNA)
President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his message during the courtesy call of the 10 Outstanding Police Women of the Philippines (TOPWP) 2013 at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (June 03). The TOPWP is an annual search that aims to discover and recognize the efforts and achievements of the female members of our national police force. Also in photo is Zonta Club of Makati Paseo de Roxas Foundation, Inc. president Praxedes Yu Tan.
President Benigno S. Aquino III poses with the 10 Outstanding Police Women of the Philippines (TOPWP) 2013 for a group photo souvenir during the courtesy call at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (June 03). Also in photo are Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima and Zonta Club of Makati Paseo de Roxas Foundation, Inc. president Praxedes Yu Tan.
President Benigno S. Aquino III congratulates the 10 Outstanding Police Women of the Philippines (TOPWP) 2013 during the courtesy call at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (June 03).
(Photos courtesy of Benhur Arcayan / Rolando Mailo / Malacañang Photo Bureau / PCOO)
Various religious groups, government and political representatives will gather in Mindanao this week for a major international peace conference to promote dialogue and cooperation to achieve lasting peace in the region.
The two-day peace conference, dubbed as “Peace is Living Together Religions and Cultures in Dialogue for Peace and Reconciliation in Mindanao,” is sponsored by the European Union, the Italian government and non-government Italian organization, Community of Sant’Egidio.
It will be held on June 6-7 at the Notre Dame University in Cotabato.
“We are at a crucial point where we need to keep the momentum and make sure that there’s no opportunity for spoilers to damage fantastic work that has already been achieved by the MILF and the Philippine government,” EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux told a press conference.
The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front concluded in March a new autonomy deal in what has been praised as a major step to ease decades of Muslim unrest that has killed more than 120,000 people and held back progress in Mindanao.
“More than 100,000 people have died and more than a million displaced and I think this leaves scars and these scars need to be healed so this dialogue needs to take place. This event is certainly a contribution to the reconciliation process,” Ledoux said.
The peace conference will be attended by representatives of the government, the MILF, senior religious leaders, political representatives, local administration officials, as well as personalities from education and culture.
It is aimed primarily to promote and intensify the dialogue between the different religions and political stakeholders in Mindanao.
The conference also “seeks to encourage the actors of today’s peace process to meet the challenges of building the new society built on peaceful living together, respect for human rights, and the participation of minority in public life,” an EU conference primer said.
“Italy has a long tradition as an upholder of interfaith and intercultural dialogue as a powerful tool to foster social harmony and mutual understanding,” Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno said.
Culture and religion, he said, “can be unifying, rather than divisive” amid a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.
“(It) brings to surface the common aspirations of people towards peace and prosperity,” Roscigno said.
Professor Alberto Quattrucci, secretary general of Peoples and Religions Community of Sant’Egidio, for his part, emphasized the need for inter-faith dialogue to prevent conflict.
“It is the only medicine against violence,” Quattrucci said. (PNA)
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office III is set to conduct special validation of records of indigent senior citizens receiving the social pension program in Central Luzon.
DSWD regional director Adelina S. Apostol said the validation aims to assess poverty status of the recipients of the social pension program and enlist unregistered indigent senior citizens in the Listahan database of poor households.
Apostol said a total of 9,020 senior citizens and 2,146 Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) beneficiaries in the region will undergo special validation.
She said the validation will take place to observe the DSWD's goal of eradicating beneficiaries who are not real poor and not included in the Listahanan database.
The social pension program allocates monthly stipend worth of P500 to all indigent senior citizens ages 77 and above to augment their daily needs.
She said Listahanan will validate 299 senior citizens in Aurora, 604 in Bataan, 1,689 in Bulacan, 3,962 in Nueva Ecija, 919 in Pampanga, 938 in Tarlac and 609 in Zambales.
Meanwhile, the DSWD official said the current MCCT beneficiaries will be validated to ensure their inclusion in the Listahanan database.
She said a total of 280 MCCT beneficiaries will be validated in Aurora, 190 in Bataan, 285 in Bulacan, 893 in Nueva Ecija, 56 in Tarlac, 261 in Pampanga and 181 in Zambales.
MCCT provides cash grants for the purpose of helping families and children in difficult circumstances overcome their situation.
The program’s clientele includes persons with disabilities (PWDs), indigenous people, typhoon victims, street families and abandoned/neglected children.
The DSWD said it has trained 56 field staff that will conduct the special validation in the region.
Apostol said the training aims to equip the field staff with skills and knowledge on their roles and responsibilities by the time they will be deployed in their areas of assignment. (PNA)
All 136 municipalities in Eastern Visayas are included in the Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig Para sa Lahat (Salintubig) program to be implemented by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP) in 2015.
Each municipality under the potable water program will have a fund allocation of P15 million, said DILG regional director, Pedro A. Noval Jr.
“This is the program that we have committed under the GPBP because we have seen that there are local government units (LGUs) that have no safe and potable water,” he said.
The program also supports the water and sanitation program of the Department of Health (DOH).
The projects can either be implemented at the municipal level or barangay level because there are still towns that have no source of potable water, he added.
This year only 115 of the 136 municipalities were covered by the program with the same allocation. (PNA)
The reign of the provincial government of Sorsogon is now under a father-and-son tandem in the person of Vice-Gov. Antonio “Kruni” Escudero Jr., now acting governor, and provincial board member Krunimar Escudero II, acting vice-governor.
These changes came about as Gov. Raul Lee temporarily stepped down from the Capitol effective June 1 in compliance with the 90-day preventive suspension order issued upon him by the Sandiganbayan.
Lee’s suspension is in connection with one of the several criminal cases filed against him with the Office of the Ombudsman for graft.
Lee was compelled to relinquish his post to the elder Escudero following the denial by the graft court of his plea for reconsideration against the implementation of the order penned by Associate Justices Rafael Lagos, Efren de la Cruz and Rodolfo Ponferrada of the Sandiganbayan First Division dated last Jan. 14.
“Wherefore, premises considered, accused Raul R. Lee’s second Motion to Quash, or to dismiss the above-captioned case is denied, and Plaintiff’s Motion to Suspend Accused pendent lite is hereby granted. The Court hereby orders the suspension pendent lite of accused Raul R. Lee from his position as governor of the Province of Sorsogon, and from any public office he may now or hereafter be holding, for a period of 90 days effective upon notice,” the order says.
The case, which was filed by provincial board member Rebecca Aquino four years ago with the Office of the Ombudsman, stemmed from findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) that Lee, as governor, allegedly overpriced 2,133 liters of fertilizer purchased from supplier Feshan Philippines Inc.
The money used in the purchase was part of the P5-million fund received from the Department of Agriculture (DA) in 2004 which later was found out to be part of the controversial P728-million Agriculture Support Fund allegedly diverted into the election campaign kitty of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Apart from the fertilizer scam case, Lee is also facing charges for the alleged anomalous purchases of electronic products worth P22 million in 2004 and 2005.
In May 2010, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division ordered the arrest of Lee and several others in connection with two graft charges filed against them by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2009 on complaints also filed by Aquino based on separate COA findings.
A P30,000 bail bond for each accused was recommended for each case and hold departure orders were also issued by the anti-graft court.
Graft investigators said the defendants conspired in causing undue injury to the province through the purchase of P12-million worth of distance learning equipment in March 2004 and P9.99-million worth of defective computer hardware and software in October 2005, both without conducting a public bidding.
Another criminal charge for plunder is also pending with the Office of the Ombudsman against Lee over the P350-million loan he acquired under questionable circumstances for the provincial government two years ago.
The complaint was filed against him by former board member Vladimir Frivaldo last year.
On Monday, although a “no show” at the customary flag-raising ceremony in front of the provincial Capitol, the elder Escudero started with his official tour of duty as governor and the younger Escudero as vice-governor by presiding over the regular session of the provincial legislative board.
The father-and-son takeover was smooth as expected being provided under the Rule of Succession.
The same rule automatically elevated to the vice-gubernatorial post the younger Escudero being the senior board member or the one who obtained the highest number of votes during the May 10, 2013 election compared to the other nine elected board members.
Local observers, however, doubt Escudero Jr’s capability to perform his functions as chief provincial executive during Lee’s suspension period due to his reported deteriorating health condition which has caused his long absence as the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Sources who refused to be identified but privy to the elder Escudero’s health status said he is suffering from a liver ailment and has just undergone treatment in a hospital in Metro Manila and now recuperating at his residence in Casiguran, Sorsogon.
Felix Espinas, a Capitol employee, on Tuesday told the PNA that the acting governor has yet to show up at the governor’s office, now being run by provincial administrator Roberto Rodriguez, the son of Gov. Lee.
“Officially, we recognize Vice-Gov. Escudero as our acting governor who should now run the Capitol,” Espinas said.
"My father now performs the official functions of the governor. He is in good shape and physically and mentally fit to do the job," Krunimar told the local media on Monday without elaborating on his father's health condition.
The Escudero and Lee political dynasties have long been dominating Sorsogon’s politics.
The Escuderos keep a tight rein over the first district, while the suspended governor and his wife, Sally, enjoy a 25-year grip over the provincial Capitol.
Sally is now mayor of the city.
The Escudero dynasty is the oldest in the province, with a political career spanning a century. Salvador Escudero Sr. entered politics in 1912 as councilor of Casiguran town and went on to become town mayor, provincial board member and governor.
Salvador Escudero Jr., followed in his father’s footsteps as Casiguran mayor and provincial board member.
The third Salvador Escudero, known as Sonny, represented Sorsogon in the Marcos-era regular Batasang Pambansa from 1984 to 1986.
He consolidated the family’s political base in the first district by keeping six terms as congressman – from 1987 to 1998 and then from 2007 to 2012.
Sonny died in 2012 before finishing his sixth term.
His son, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, took over his father’s reign as first district congressman from 1998 to 2007 before winning a Senate seat in 2007 and in 2010.
Sonny’s wife, Evelina, is keeping the family’s 25-year rule over the first district by winning as congresswoman in the 2010 elections.
Vice-Gov., now acting governor, Escudero Jr was provincial vice governor from 1992 to 1995 and then from 1998 to 2007.
In 2007, he ran for governor but lost to Sally Lee but in 2010 he reclaimed his vice gubernatorial seat with his son Krunimar in tow as senior board member. (PNA)
The South Korean Force that is doing rehabilitation and humanitarian works in Leyte province will have a simple ceremony to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the Korean War wayback June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953.
Families of surviving Filipino war veterans who fought alongside South Korean soldiers during the Korean War will be invited to be part of the event to be held at the Araw Force Joint Support Group camp in Candahug, Palo Leyte, said commander Chulwon Lee.
The commemoration will be held On June 24, a day prior the June 25 anniversary when the Korean War started.
Filipino soldiers who were sent to the Korean War were part of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) Philippine Army contingent of the United Nations (UN).
The PEFTOK was composed of 7,500 troops and was the fourth largest force under the United Nations Command. They took part in the Battle of Yultong Bridge and the Battle of Hill Eerie.
A total of 112 Filipino Soldiers were "killed in action" during the Korean War.
Among the prominent personalities who were sent in South Korea during the Korean War were former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr and former Philippine President Fidel V Ramos who was then a lieutenant.
This gesture of the Filipino in sending military troops to the Korean War was reciprocated by the South Korean government by means of sending troops to Yolanda stricken province of Leyte to provide rehabilitation assistance by repairing local government facilities and structures, said Col Lee.
In addition, houses of Filipino veterans that were destroyed by typhoon Yolanda have been repaired to include three houses from towns of Carigara, Dagami and Tacloban City.
Col Lee also revealed that during the commemoration younger children (grandchildren) of surviving war veterans will be awarded with scholarship grants.
Moreover, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin will visit their base camp this June 10, Col Lee revealed.
The secretary of national defense will be giving recognition to their troops for their out-pouring support to the rehabilitation process of the national government to Yolanda devastated towns of Palo, Tanauan and Tolosa.
This is the second recognition their troops will receive from officials of the Philippine government.
Last month Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Emmanuel T Bautista during his visit to the base camp awarded the Araw Forces with Military Civic Action medal. (PNA)
The affected residents of the siege continue to suffer even the war between government security forces and a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) had ended.
After the siege, residents were left homeless and forced to live in the evacuation centers for several months.
Unfortunately, death toll of evacuees has already reached more than 120 in the evacuation camps, of which more than 50 percent were children.
More than 64,000 remain displaced in evacuation centers and temporary shelter sites, most of them staying at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Grandstand.
As part of its Service for Peace program, the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement (TPBPM) collaborated with the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Manila through their “Oplan Damayan” project to help victims of the Zamboanga siege.
Also committed to the project were the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Young Moro Professionals Network (YMPN), a non-government organization composed of young Moros, whose primary purpose is to serve the common interests of the Bangsamoro people.
Through the project, the TPBPM received a donation of five 20 feet-container vans with relief goods such as food, mineral water, and new clothes, among others, which were shipped from Manila to Zamboanga through the help of the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corporation.
JCI has been conducting the “Oplan Damayan” for years in order to help those who are in need in times of disasters.
"As a support to our brothers and sisters living in Zamboanga, JCI Manila and TPBPM, in partnership with YMPN and AFP, worked together in fulfilling their basic necessities. After seeing the heartbreaking situation of those affected residents in Zamboanga, we decided to turn over the goods we should be giving to the victims of Yolanda to the victims of the Zamboanga siege, since we think that they are the ones who are mostly in need,” said Steve Allen Tycangco, President of JCI Manila.
Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, Founder and Executive Director of the TPBPM, emphasized the importance of "bayanihan" in helping people in Zamboanga.
She said, “While we acknowledge the efforts being made by our national and local officials, it is high time that we all work together in the spirit of bayanihan. The more solid support we can give to them in rebuilding their lives, the more hope we can instill in them.”
Gilberto Go, Vice-President of the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corporation, highlighted the role of the private sector in helping Zamboanga.
“I thought that I should take an action to help the victims. If I don’t, who will? Except for the government agencies, it seems that the private business men had forgotten them. I am also inviting all of the entrepreneurs and businessmen from different parts of the world to please help the Zamboanga siege victims,” he said.