Archive for October 20, 2013

Mencias welcomes critics of his administration


By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

ALCALA- The municipal mayor of this town is seemingly unfazed by his detractors right after he won the mayoralty last May 13.
“ Let them talk and let me work,” Mayor Ryan Paolo V. Mencias tersely said when asked to comment on the various criticisms hurled against him by the founder of the “Save Alcala Movement.”
It will be recalled that Mencias’ team swept the elections last May 13 over his opponent’s team under the Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Tolentino.
“ Politics should already be at the backseat. We have to work together for the betterment and progress of our town. We are committed to serve the Alcalenians including our detractors,” he said.
Mencias also said the town has just celebrated its 138th years and noted the rise of development in the town through the efforts of his town mates that include those living in foreign lands. (more…)

October 20, 2013 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

Abono’s corn program includes Asingan


By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

ASINGAN- Twenty eight farmers of this town were all smiles as they receive their corn seeds and bags of fertilizers for their corn farming this season under the expanded corn production program of the Abono Partylist and the provincial government of Pangasinan.
The distribution of the planting material was done last October 18 at the town’s gymnasium, which was attended by Governor Amado T. Espino Jr., Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So, Vice President Romy Co of National Federation of Hog Raisers Inc. and Mayor Heidee Ganigan-Chua.
Chua expressed her thanks and gratitude to Governor Espino and the Abono Partylist for including her town in this year’s corn production program.
“ You have been helping us a lot in our agricultural endeavors. It is here where you started the accelerated palay certified seed production and now you have included us in the corn production program,” Chua said. (more…)

October 20, 2013 at 11:50 pm Leave a comment

Global Pinoy Center readies Christmas treats for OFWs, expats


By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
ROSALES- The Global Pinoy Center (GPC) of SM City Rosales is currently readying activities to treat returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and expats with “Pamaskong Handog Para sa OFWs” during the holiday season in December this year.
This was bared by Mylene Portuguese, GPC supervisor, as a way of giving thanks and tribute to the OFWs and their families for patronizing the services of SM City Rosales.
The event is scheduled on December 7 at 3:00 in the afternoon with fun-filled Pinoy-style variety show, raffle draws and games.
“ This event will be simultaneously undertaken by the SM Malls nationwide, “Portuguese said.
The expected audience, Portuguese added, are SM Global Pinoy members, BDO Kabayan Savings Account members and OFWs with passports and working visas and proofs of remittances from various remittance outlets in the country. (more…)

October 20, 2013 at 11:47 pm Leave a comment

MAGANES: All roads lead to cemeteries on November 1


vir maganes“ To remember the dead is to serve the living,” an adage said. On November 1, many Christians will go to the cemeteries to pay homage to their departed ones by placing candles and flowers on their tombs and graves. This practice has been observed for years as a way of showing love and care to our loved ones who have left this world. (more…)

October 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm Leave a comment

Region I Medical Center now ISO-certified


By Yolanda Sotelo

DAGUPAN CITY – The Region I Medical Center (RIMC) has been awarded the ISO 90001:2008 certification by the International Standards Organization in the provision for preventive, curative, rehabilitative, health care services.
The RIMC is the first hospital north of Manila to be given the certification, and the second hospital of the Department of Health given the certification this year, the first being the Quirino Memorial Medical Center, DOH Assistant Secretary Gerardo Bayugo said.
The ISO covers the entire hospital system – medical and nursing care, laboratory, administrative, waste disposal and others, Bayugo said during the awarding of the ISO certificate on October 14.
“The bottom line is we will be working for customers’ satisfaction. The hospital’s ultimate goal is good service. We cannot be perfect but we will be doing our best. The hospital would also have open eyes and ears to criticisms, ready to accept comments so we would continue to improve our services in the long run,” he said. (more…)

October 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

BTF’s First 100 Days highlights improved servicedespite financial burden


By Leziel C. Aquino

DAGUPAN CITY – Mayor Belen T. Fernandez declared during her First 100 Days Report that improvement of the quality of life of all Dagupeños by upgrading the delivery of social services will be the top priority of her administration.
“We deliberately choose to give social services top priority. Dagupeños should not be deprived of the necessary services just because of our financial manager’s report that the city is cash-strapped,” Fernandez said.

During her First 100 Days Report last October 14, Fernandez looked back at her difficulties and struggles when she officially started her job as the new local chief executive where she inherited a cash-strapped city government.

A reportfrom the Local Finance Committee revealed that Dagupan is left with a P23million budget deficit because some 2012 expenditures were charged against the 2013 budget and some appropriations for different programs this year have already been spent in the first six months.

Fernandez said that funds left for the Social Services Program is only 29 centavos out of its P6.6 million budget, P473 for the Nutrition Program and only P175,000 for Health Services Program. Aside from that, the 2013 appropriation for electricity amounting to P27 million had also been already spent by the previous administration.

Instead of getting disheartened, Fernandez considered these severe financial difficulties as a challenge to her leadership because she managed to deliver uninterrupted social welfare services to her constituents and was able to find ways on how the city can survive despite its current financial standing.

NUTRITION PROGRAM

In terms of nutrition, Fernandez is now on her third month of providing three different kinds of continuous and uninterrupted feeding programs, namely: feeding program in Day Care Centers, school-based feeding and community-based feeding. Fernandez forged partnership with some private companies and civic and professional organizations for the continuous implementation of the feeding program.

She also shared the good news that her efforts in curbing malnutrition among young Dagupeños have been recognized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development as it endowed the city government P3 million to fund the program until December.

HEALTH SERVICES

Because of limited resources, Fernandez has again partnered with non-governmental organizations and civil societies to address the health needs of Dagupeños. Starting in July this year up to October 8, the City Health Office has provided more than eight thousand individuals with medical care as against only around 1,000 last year for the same period; almost 1,500 for dental care as against 129 last year; and treated 1,120 senior citizens as against 100 last year.Forty-one senior citizens were also given free cataract operation while another 206 of them were provided free eye check-up because of a medical mission sponsored by Fernandez and the University of Sto. Tomas.

City-wide anti-dengue and leptospirosis measures were also initiated with a total of 4,640 leptospirosis prophylaxis shots administered as against 2,150 last year, and installed more than 7,500 anti-dengue items against only five last year. The City Health Office has increased provision of health services by 711percent from the period July to October 2013 compared to the same time in 2012.

DRUG / ALCOHOL PREVENTION

As for the city government’s response against illegal drugs, Sec. Antonio ‘Bebot’Villar of the Dangerous Drugs Board provided the city with P5 million as initial funding for a drug rehabilitation center in barangay BonuanBinloc. A Dangerous Drugs Board was also formed and activated to ensure the sustainability of the fight against illegal drugs.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES & SENIOR CITIZENS

Fernandez gives importance to persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens to become productive members of the society by listening to their issues and concerns and promoting their social well-being and welfare. At present, there are three referrals to the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center, three medical intervention cases and 19 candidates for the livelihood program, against zero for all categories last year. A sports festival for PWDs was also conducted and wheelchairs were given to some of them to ease their mobility.

The PanangaroKinenLaki Tan Baiprogram was also launched to cater to the needs of Dagupeño elders. A medical mission exclusively for senior citizens is being conducted twice a month in line with the program andFernandez also granted them a one year free movie viewing privilege. Another notable project for the seniors is the Kwentoni Lola Basyang story telling session with the children where a total of 206 senior citizens are actively participating as Lola Basyang.

LIVELIHOOD

Numerous livelihood projects were also launched to enable Dagupeṅos, even PWDs, to become self-sufficient. Project BELEN or the Better Education for Livelihood and Employment Needs Project already has 90 students enrolled in sewing, cosmetology, and food processing. Classes for carpentry and basic computer will soon be opened and a course in 2D animation is currently being coordinated with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Graduates of the livelihood classes will receive a seed capital to help them apply their learning through the Sustainable Livelihood Program of 4th District Rep. Gina De Venecia who already gave P1 million.

Fernandez also coordinated with the Department of Labor and Employment which resulted to additional employment opportunities through the Skills Registry System, a database that would help applicants get into the right employment that matches their skill.She also bared her plan to set up a Service and Assistance Center beside the One Stop Shop to cater to the needs of Dagupeños and speed up the process of their transactions with the city government.

BASIC EDUCATION

Fernandez, together with 4th District Rep. De Venecia, is sponsoring almost 300 college scholars coming from the city’s 31 barangays. With the goal of eachDagupeño family to have at least one college graduate, Fernandez said she and De Venecia plan to double the number of city scholars to give poor but deserving youths a chance to finish their studies and help their families. A newly repaired Mobile Library equipped with complete learning tools is now hopping from one barangay to another to educate young children. She also thanked the P & G Computer Assistance Project which benefited several barangays to introduce the world of information technology to school children.

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS & RELIEF OPERATIONS

Severaldisaster preparedness activities, trainings and drills were conducted by the CDRRMC to prepare Dagupan citizenry against disasters. Around 10,000 participated in earthquake drills and 4,000 underwent lectures about basic lifesaving.

The 2014 Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan has already been submitted to the SangguniangPanlungsod and just awaiting its approval. The CDRRMC office which used to be affected by flood has been relocated to a more conducive area at the 3rd floor of a building inside the Engineering Compound.
A 24/7 Joint Command and Communications Center and B.E.L.E.N. 16911 which is similar to call 911 in America will also be utilized soon to immediately respond to emergencies .

During the last two biggest typhoons – Labuyo and Maring – the City Health Office and City Social Welfare and Development Office provided various medical and humanitarian services to evacuees totaling 516 individuals belonging to some 139 families at the People‘s Astrodome.

Fernandez thanked Vice President JejomarBinay, De Venecia, the Philippine Red Cross, and DILG Sec. Mar Roxas through the DSWD Regional Office, as well as various NGOs and volunteers from the Filipino-Chinese Community, for providing relief assistance during the said calamities. There was an outpour of relief goods because there are over 40 non-governmental organizations which donated and helped in the relief operations as compared to only 11 last year.

STREET CHILDREN

“We cannot be a city of vagrants,” Fernandez said as she addressed the proliferation of street children especially during Christmas season which needs long term and firm solution.

Last August, Fernandez created the Task Force for the Prevention & Protection ofStreet Vulnerablescomposed of the City Library, City Health Office, and City Social Welfare and Development Office, DepEd and PNP. The street children rounded up will be washed and cleaned, given reading lessons by the Mobile Library, provided with ample support and their parents will be counseled and trained. . As of October 8, a total number of 249 children and other street vulnerables have been rescued, 172 of which are from Dagupan. Since there is no quick fix to the problem on street children, Fernandez is in close coordination with concerned agencies and NGOs who can effectively contribute solutions to this social problem.

BARANGAY CONSULTATION

Fernandez recently launched the Barangay Consultation Program dubbed as Bringing City Hall Closer to Barangays in barangays Bacayao Sur and BacayaoNorte. This regular undertaking was already conducted in nine barangays as of October 14.

Fernandez brings her department heads during the consultation such as Social Welfare and Development Officer, Nutrition Officer, and Health Officer to address issues on health, nutrition, and livelihood;the Population Officer and Civil Registrar for legal issues on birth, family and marriage, including the provision of free birth certificates to the underprivileged; the City Treasurer for tax information drive and to remind property owners of their tax obligations to avoid levy and auction; the City Engineer for infrastructure matters; and an officer from the Human Resources Department for employment affairs. Fernandez also deployed surveyors to further assess the condition of her constituents, especially for those belonging to the lower and most deprived sector.
(more…)

October 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm Leave a comment

ORTIGOZA: Pork Barrel is legal – SC decisions


mortz-nw-colored32Recently I was watching bald Democrat Strategist James Carville (a dead ringer for controversial Filipino fugitive former congressman Ruben Ecleo Jr of Surigao), with his funny Texan- liked twang, who argued with Bill O’ Reilly at The O’Reilly Factor at Fox TV that the Republicans would be slaughtered in the coming polls and they are now frantically looking for a way out in relation with their stand off with the Democrats on the budget.
Then here comes the new NBC poll I saw last October 12 that sent shock waves to the GOP (Grand Old Party of the Republicans).
According to the Republican Strategist Dick Morris on his website dickmorris.com, the government shutdown is triggering a disastrous decline in Republican fortunes especially in the 2014 mid-term election and had left President Barrack Obama largely unaffected.
Morris enumerated the finding of the polls:
• GOP approval is down to 24% the lowest ever, a drop of ten points in two weeks. The Democratic Party approval is 43%, down four.
• By 53-31 people blame the Republicans for the shutdown.
• 70% say the Republicans put their own agenda ahead of the needs of the country (only 51% say that about Obama).
• Two thirds think the shutdown is hurting the economy. Only 17% expect the economy to improve next year. 43% expect it to worsen.
• And the percent that say the country is on the right track has dropped from 30% two weeks ago — very low — to just 14% now. That’s very, very, very low!
These data indicate that the Republicans are headed toward losing the House and the Senate in 2014 unless they change course.
***
The adverse statements of former Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, a constitutional law expert, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, and Church People’s Alliance against the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or the dreaded “pork barrel’ in the General Appropriation Act (GAA) 2013 is unconstitutional is just, well, their opinion.
There were two decisions or jurisprudence by the Supreme Court that say that the tens of billions of pesos of “pork” (that was used by almost all of the 24 senators and the more than 200 (presently they are 288 members whose names are appended with the word “honorable”) members of the House of Thieves, er, Representatives to identify their pet and fancy projects) were constitutional.

Philippine Constitutional Association vs. Enriquez

The nemesis of the pork should know that in 1994 that countryside development fund (CDF), the forerunner of the PDAF, was rendered by the high court as constitutional.
Before that 1994 decision petitioners (composed of Philippine Constitution Association, Exequel B. Garcia, and A. Gonzales) argued against respondents (composed of Secretary Salvador Enriquez of the Department of Budget & Management, Hon. Vicente T. Tan head of the National Treasurer, and the Commission on Audit)for the nullification of the pork: “claim that the power given to the members of Congress to propose and identify the projects and activities to be funded by the Countrywide Development Fund is an encroachment by the legislature on executive power, since said power in an appropriation act in implementation of a law”.
They continued “the proposal and identification of the projects do not involve the making of laws or the repeal and amendment thereof, the only function given to the Congress by the Constitution”.

Speaker de Venecia’s “High Priest” told me pork is imaginative and innovative

Susmariosep, why I know this? I once had a lengthy argument with constitutional lawyer and guru Raul Lambino (who used to be former speaker Joe de Venecia’s “political high priest “on charter change that almost won its bid on the abolition of the Senate for a parliamentary system of government in 2006 by a hair thin 8-7 votes by justices of the Supreme Court.
“The pork is immoral. Solons should legislate and not implement projects,” I told Lambino in 1999.
He told me that solons did not implement the infrastructure, they don’t even handle the money that was given to them but they only identify the projects for the national departments like public works and highway, agrarian reform, education, and agriculture and national agencies like national irrigation administration.
He even quoted in toto to convince me that the high tribunal even lauded the pork as being “imaginative” and “innovative”:
“The CDF attempts to make equal the unequal. It is also a recognition that individual members of Congress, far more than the President and their congressional colleagues are likely to be knowledgeable about the needs of their respective constituents and the priority to be given each project
I learned about corruption in the Pork after I ran into an errand.
When my mother asked me decades ago to buy vetsin (monosodium glutamate) and vinegar at a sari-sari store where I stumbled into gin drinking media men who “proselytized” me to join the 4th estate, I learned in the trade that lawmakers not only identify projects but were on the take from their favorite private contractors who constructed defective projects either it be a P10 million worth one kilometer concrete road that lacks steel bars, a P3 million rip rap that cost only P1 million, or a P7 million covered court that can be constructed in an honest to goodness way with P3 million only.
(You can read how elective officials pocket public funds by accessing at my blog http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com/2012/07/corruption-101-guide-to-struggling.html)

LAMP vs. Secretary of the DBM
The other argument by the high court that PDAF is constitutional can be seen in the jurisprudence of Lawyers against Monopoly and Poverty (LAMP) vs. Secretary of Department of Budget and Management, the Treasurer of the Philippines, COA, Senate president, and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
According to petitioners, the provision of the PDAF, unlike the CDF, does not allow members of Congress to identify projects. According to them, “[t] he silence in the law of direct or even indirect participation by members of Congress betrays a deliberate intent on the part of the Executive and the Congress to scrap and do away with the ‘pork barrel’ system.” “[T]he omission of the PDAF provision to specify sums as ‘allocations’ to individual Members of Congress is a ‘casus omissus’ signifying an omission intentionally made by Congress that this Court is forbidden to supply.” LAMP then concluded that “the pork barrel has become legally defunct under the present state of GAA 2004.”
The court in upholding the pork barrel for the second time, ruled: “Although the possibility of this unscrupulous practice cannot be entirely discounted, surmises and conjectures are not sufficient bases for the Court to strike down the practice for being offensive to the Constitution. Moreover, the authority granted the Members of Congress to propose and select projects was already upheld in Philconsa. This remains as valid case law”.
2013 Petition at the Supreme Court to nullify the pork

With a petition filed recently by senatorial candidates Samson Alcantara and Greco Belgica and Pedro Nepomoceno versus President Benigno Aquino III, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte at the High Tribunal assailing the constitutionality of the PDAF, let’s cross our fingers that the Court sides with the petitioners and revokes finally the controversial pork that many opine has its good side (e.g scholarship to poor students, financial aid to areas struck by calamities) too, or emulate the high court’s decisions in 1994 and 2006.
The petitioners’ argument for the abolition are the President’s delegation of his power to realign savings in the GAA to Cabinet secretaries, the concurrence of the Senate finance committee and the House appropriations committee to such a realignment, and the identification of projects by lawmakers.
Were the same arguments identical with the positions of the petitioners in the past against the pork?
(You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at totomortz@yahoo.com)

October 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm Leave a comment

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