Angara: Morales testimonies on Corona was game-changer


Chief Justice Renato C. Corona and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, through their testimonies, provided the turning point of the impeachment trial, said Senator-Judge Edgardo J. Angara.

"I found it difficult to make a decision two-thirds through the trial. However with the appearance of the Ombudsman and the testimony of the Chief Justice himself, the whole picture came together not just for me, but for many of my colleagues as well. You can see this sentiment reflected in the overwhelming vote," explained Angara, who was the first to cast a guilty verdict yesterday.

Angara expained that many issues discussed in the course of the impeachment trial that began on January 16 were cleared up in the past few weeks.

"The Chief Justice clarified many of the issues such as the true value of his dollar accounts, which was the subject of so much speculation. We knew he had foreign currency deposits, but the exact amounts they contained came from him. We did not even know that he had other apparently much bigger peso accounts.

"We lawyers call that 'admission and avoidance'. You admit to doing something, but argue that it is justifiable."
Angara said the three co-equal branches of government have lessons to learn from this process, although he emphasized the need to move on from this episode.

"A process like this will always be divisive and disruptive. But, more important, it is cleansing. There is a sense of cleaning up, and now we are on our way toward healing," he said.

Furthermore, the impeachment trial reinforced the importance of transparency and accountability among government officials and civil servants.

"From now on, people in public service will take the SALN more seriously, fill it up honestly and accurately," he stressed.

The veteran lawmaker said the Senate will now make use of less than two calendar weeks before Congress goes on break for pending legislative work.

"Most of our legislative work has been put on hold because of the trial, so we need to catch up," said Angara.

Mar Roxas: We removed an unworthy Chief Justice


Statement of Secretary of Transportation and Communications Manuel Roxas II:On the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona
[May 29, 2012]
Not since the EDSA Revolution of 1986 have I felt as proud to be a Filipino, than today. In EDSA, we cast out a dictatorship, today we removed an unworthy Chief Justice. And we have done it not by a dint of that great force called people power, but by the normal, Constitutional process ordained by our democratic system.
Indeed, we have shown the world the final maturation of Philippine democracy. For decades past, we have always waited upon some accident or fortuitous event to bring about the change we wanted in our political system. Today is different, because we have proven that by the force of institutional checks and balances, we can impeach, prosecute and convict a wayward Chief Justice.
I am proud of the House of Representatives and the Senate for their acts of courage, determination and statesmanship. Many names from both chambers shall be indelibly printed in our history books.
But let us never forget that this event never could have come about if not for the election two years ago of a President who has led us through the straight and narrow path through which law and justice must be applied—both to the common man, and to the high and mighty.

Valte: Mr. Corona is public face of the things that ail the justice system

Statement of Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte:
On the conviction of Renato Corona
[May 29, 2012]
This afternoon, 20 Senators voted to convict Mr. Renato C. Corona on Article II of the Articles of Impeachment. Our democratic institutions have been strengthened and have been proven to work.
Mr. Corona is merely the public face of the things that ail our justice system. Let us never forget that those who come to court, be they rich or poor, must do so in the expectation of receiving impartial justice from those who uphold both the spirit and the letter of the law. The verdict of the Senate is a step forward in terms of restoring public confidence in our courts, and trust in the members of the judiciary.

PNoy Statement on the conviction of Renato Corona (Video)

PNoy Statement on the conviction of Renato Corona


Pahayag
ng
Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Ukol sa hatol kay Renato Corona
[Inihayag noong ika-30 ng Mayo 2012]
Kahapon po naging saksi tayo sa isang napakagandang patunay na umiiral ang ganap na demokrasya sa ating bansa. Dalawampung senador ang bumoto upang matanggal bilang Punong Mahistrado ng Korte Suprema si Ginoong Renato C. Corona.
Mulat tayo sa kung saan nag-ugat ang lahat nang ito. Sa matagal na panahon, namayani ang agam-agam na ang piring ng Hustisya ay nakatanggal para sa mayayaman at makapangyarihan. ‘Di po ba nakita nating may basehan ang agam-agam na ito, ‘di lang po dito sa atin. Pati na ang World Bank—isang dayuhang institusyon—ay nagkuwestyon dahil miski ang aid na galing sa kanila para iayos ang ating hudikatura ay hindi napunta sa dapat nitong patunguhan.
Nangarap tayong baguhin ito. Naghangad tayo ng isang sistemang pangkatarungan na may malinaw at tunay na kahulugan ng tama at mali. Naghangad tayong ibalanse ang timbangan: kung saan ang inosente ay papasok sa hukuman nang panatag ang loob na siya’y mapapawalang-sala, at kung ikaw naman ay maysala, maghanda ka na dahil tiyak na mananagot ka.
Marapat pong balikan ang konteksto ng impeachment ni Ginoong Corona. Alam na po natin ang malalim na pinagsamahan nila ni Ginang Arroyo. Simula pa lang kinuwestyon na natin ang kanyang midnight appointment dahil sa pananaw na labag ito sa Saligang Batas. Sa kabila nito, noong nagkita kami ang tanging hiniling ko sa kanya, iparehas sana niya ang laban. Ang sagot pa nga niya sa akin, huwag daw akong mag-alala, dahil lahat ng magiging desisyon ay aayon sa batas. Sa paglaon po, naging malinaw sa atin na imbis na siya mismong dapat nagbibigay-linaw sa batas, ang siyang nagpapalabo nito.
Sa EO 1 pa lang, hinarang na agad. Nakita naman po ninyo ang mga nadiskubre nating kalokohan pag-upo pa lamang sa puwesto; hanggang ngayon, pinagdudusahan ito ng mga Pilipino. Ang iniuutos sa atin, lahat ng administrasyon bago po sa atin isali sa imbestigasyon para raw ho parehas. Kailan pa po tayo matatapos ang pagsusuri kung ganoon, at kailan tayo makakakilos? Kaya nga’t sistematiko ang ninais nating tugon sa mga problemang ito, upang matigil na ang pagkasangkapan sa mga butas sa batas, at iwasan ang paglala ng mga sugat sa sistema. Pero pinigilan nila tayo. Imbes na makiisa, itinali pa ang mga kamay ng mga naghahangad na gumawa ng tama. Parang siniguradong hindi na matatapos ang gusto nating ilatag na reporma.
Pati po EO 2 na sana’y umayos ng situwasyon ukol sa mga midnight appointee, nilagyan ng status quo ante order. Pag-aaralan daw nila, pero natapos na po ang term ng nagsampa ng kaso ng tulad niyang mga kapwa-midnight appointee, wala pong nangyari, wala pong pagdidinig na nangyari.
Nilunok po natin lahat nang ito, dahil hindi natin pakay makipag-away; solusyon ang ating hinahanap. Ngunit mali nga po sigurong umasa kami ng patas na laban mula kay Ginoong Corona.
Hindi nagtagal, napatunayan na nga ang mga agam-agam: pagdating kay Ginang Arroyo, handa si Ginoong Corona na ikiling ang timbangan ng hustisya. Naglabas ng isang Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) ang Korte Suprema; muntik nang magtagumpay si Ginoong Corona na bigyan ng pagkakataon si Ginang Arroyo na hindi harapin ang mga alegasyon tungkol sa electoral fraud noong 2007. Mantakin po ninyo: Mula sa Las Vegas, bumalik pa dito sa bansa si Ginoong Corona para lamang pangunahan ang paglalabas ng TRO. Pinaaga nang Biyernes ang kadalasan ay Martes na en banc session. Walang oral arguments, hindi nabigyan ng sampung araw ang bawat panig para magpaliwanag. Siguro po kung nasunod ito, baka natiyak kung totoong maysakit nga si Ginang Arroyo. Nagbigay ng mga kundisyon ang Korte Suprema, ngunit kahit hindi ito nasunod ng mga Arroyo, ipinatuloy pa rin ni Ginoong Corona ang paghahain ng TRO.
Obligasyon po ng Ehekutibo na imbestigahan at sampahan ng kaukulang kaso si Ginang Arroyo. Subalit pinahirap, kundi man ginawang imposible ang pagsasampa natin ng kaso bago maubos ang taning ng prescriptive period doon po sa electoral fraud case.
Kung natuloy silang umalis, ang malamang na ginawa nila ay nagbakasyon lang habang maubos ang prescriptive period ng kasong isinampa sa kanila, at babalik sa panahon kung kailan hindi na sila puwedeng sampahan ng kaso. Mukhang hanggang nasa puwesto si Ginoong Corona—gaano man kalakas ang kaso, gaano man katibay ang ebidensya—ay hindi masasakdal ang kanyang padrino. Ito na nga po ang naging huli at sukdulan.
Naharap po tayo sa sangandaan: hahayaan ba nating manatili ang ganitong sistema kung saan nadadaan sa palusot ang katarungan, at naeengganyo ang mga kawatan na ituloy ang baluktot na pamamaraan, lalo na kung may-kapit sila sa kapangyarihan?
Halos buong bayan po ay sumubaybay sa paglilitis ni Ginoong Corona, at maliwanag na sa atin ang matibay na basehan ng impeachment. Muli, walang personalan sa laban na ito. Sariling mga pasya po ni Ginoong Corona ang nagbunsod sa paglilitis na ito. Siya ang pumiling hindi magdeklara ng katotohanan sa kanyang SALN. Siya ang gumamit ng kanyang pamilya para magpalusot sa kanyang salapi at ari-arian. Siya mismo ang nagkaladkad ng pangalan ng kanyang mga mahal sa buhay upang pagtakpan ang sariling mga kasalanan. Batid nating lahat: Si Ginoong Corona ang kumatawan sa maruming bahagi ng ating hudikatura.
Ang pinakamalaking handog ng paglilitis na ito: Muli po nating napatunayan na posible palang makamit ang pagbabago. Posible palang magkaroon ng justice, at hindi puro “just-tiis” ang litanya sa ating bansa. Napatunayan nating mangingibabaw ang katotohanan, laban sa pagkukubli; mananaig ang tapat, laban sa tiwali; at magtatagumpay ang tama, laban sa mali. Higit sa lahat, napatunayan nating hindi pala ako nagiisa sa pagpasan ng adhikaing maisaayos ang ating sistema.
Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa buong Senate Impeachment Court, lalo na po kay Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile: kung ang bawat mahistrado po ay sing-talas ninyong mag-isip, at gaya ninyo ay walang kinikilingan, siguro po ay hindi na natin dinaanan ang kabanatang ito.
Sa ating prosecution team, sa pangunguna ni Congressman Niel Tupas, na hindi natinag sa kabila ng pagmamaliit at paninindak, nagpapasalamat din ako. Kay Congressman Rudy Farinas na nilinaw ang pilit pinalalabo ng depensa, salamat din. Sa mga private prosecutor na itinaya ang kanilang kabuhayan, at nilabanan ang pinakamataas na mahistrado, nagpapasalamat ako. Kay Speaker Sonny Belmonte, na minabuting tumindig bilang tinig at pinunong ganap ng institusyong nagpadala ng Articles of Impeachment sa Senado, salamat din po. Pati rin po sa defense panel ni Ginoong Corona, nagpapasalamat din ako. Sadya man o hindi, nakiambag kayo sa paglabas ng katotohanan. Nagpapasalamat po ako higit sa lahat sa taumbayan; kayo pa rin po ang aming lakas, at habang patuloy ninyong ipinamamalas ang suporta sa ating agenda ng mabuting pamamahala, hindi po tayo mabibigo. Gaya ng pagtatanggal ng balakid na nakaharang sa ating tuwid na daan, kinailangan nating magtulong-tulong at mag-ambagan upang idiin ang nag-iisa nating mensahe: Sino ka man, gaano man kataas ang iyong katungkulan, kung nagkasala ka sa taumbayan, mananagot ka.
Ngayong matagumpay nating nabunot ang isang tinik sa pinakamataas na puwesto ng ating hudikatura, tapos na po ba ang laban? Kung totoo po ang paratang na pinersonal natin si Ginoong Corona, masasabing tapos na nga.
Pero hindi po natin siya pinipersonal; ang hangad natin ay ayusin ang sistema, kaya’t hanggang mayroon pa ring mga nakaambang tanggalin ang piring ng katarungan, tuloy pa rin ang laban.
Pagtutuonan po natin ng pansin ang paghahanap ng may integridad, may sariling pasya, mahusay, at tapat na magtitimon sa atin pong hudikatura. Mayroon po tayong siyamnapung araw para pag-aralan ito; hindi po natin mamadaliin ang pagpili, dahil ayaw nating magkamali at bumalik na naman sa dating situwasyon.
Sa mga minamahal kong kababayan: muli, maraming salamat sa inyong pagtutok at pagsuporta sa ating agenda ng reporma. Nakita po natin: kung walang katarungang umiiral, hindi matatapos ang sigalot. Kinailangan nating pagdaanan ang prosesong ito, subalit ito ay unang hakbang para matiyak na ang mga naghahari-harian, na para bang sila ang batas, ay mananagot din. Patas po ang laban; ang hangad natin ay puwedeng magkatotoo, basta’t handa tayong tumaya, maninindigan, at ipaglaban ang tama.
Nakikita po ninyo kung paano tayo nananatiling tapat sa mandatong kaloob ninyo: Pinapatatag po natin ang sistema; ipinakikitang tunay na nakapiring ang Hustisya. Nagbubunsad na ito ng isang lipunang kung ano ang ipinunla ay siyang aanihin: Ang mabuti ay magbubunga ng mabuti, at ang kasalanan ay tiyak na pananagutan.
Muli, maraming salamat. Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino.
Magandang gabi po.

House Bill 5608, Puerto Princesa City and Aborlan to be known as third congressional district of Palawan


Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, has delivered today, May 22, the sponsorship speech on House Bill 5608, a proposed measure that seeks to reapportion the province of Palawan into three legislative districts.

"This bill proposes to create one additional legislative district to consist of the city of Puerto Princesa and the Municipality of Aborlan, which is to be known as the third congressional district of Palawan. Puerto Princesa and the town of Aborlan have a population count of 254,883 based on the 2010 census. The proposed first district has a population count of 385,593 based on the 2010 census by the National Statistics Office, while the proposed second district has 353,865 population based on the National Statistics Office 2010 census," Marcos explained.

Puerto Princesa City is proclaimed on June 2007 as a highly urbanized city through a proclamation issued by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Likewise, tourism in the city continuously flourished with the declaration of the Underground River as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

"With the categorization of Puerto Princesa as a highly urbanized city and with Palawan's increasing population, the Palawe├▒os clearly deserve an additional seat in the Lower House, after having complied with the mandates set by the Constitution, which requires that a representative district must consist of contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. The reapportionment of Palawan is based on the principle of equality of representation, which means that larger provinces or representative districts should be entitled to more representatives in Congress," Marcos added.

Video of PNoy speech at the Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party 5th Regular Congress

Philippines was 2012 Honored Country in the Memphis in May International Festival (MIMIF)


The Philippines was privileged to be chosen as the 2012 Honored Country in the Memphis in May International Festival (MIMIF), a month-long celebration of local and international customs, cuisines, and culture held annually in Tennessee, United States. The Philippine delegation led by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr., consisted of high-ranking government officials and representatives from the private sector. Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. also took the opportunity to launch the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign in the heartland of the United States as part of the country’s participation.
“Memphis in May is a very good opportunity to showcase our country’s unique offering to an audience that is relatively clueless of what the Philippines is all about. Aside from the honor that the people of Memphis gave us, this event also allowed us to launch our new tourism campaign to the heartland of America, a market that the DOT has never explored in the past,” Jimenez said.
In selecting the featured country for the festival wherein the chosen country will be given the opportunity to showcase their society and way of life, James Holt, President and CEO of MIMIF shared that, “The opportunity to experience the immense history and culture of this archipelagic country in Asia will certainly make for an educational and enjoyable Festival this year.”
The Philippine tourism campaign enjoyed a huge mileage, especially during the second week of the MIMIF where the Secretary’s visit also coincided with the “International Week Salute to the Philippines.” The delegation showcased the best of Filipino talent in a cultural performance entitled “Philippines: Live from the Islands.” The foreign community was entertained by performances from world-renowned Filipino artists such as the Bayanihan Dance Troupe and the Worldwide Family of Modern Arnis.
In a luncheon program held the following day, Secretary Jimenez presented the idea and strategy behind the country’s new campaign to the tourism stakeholders of Memphis.
In his speech, Secretary Jimenez said“The Philippines’ core strength is its people, the Filipinos, to which our campaign is primarily all about. It is not a scholarly or elegant Madison Avenue line. It is a direct description of the Filipino skill and natural instinct for turning all strangers into friends. And as what we have been treated since the time we arrived, I could say that we have met our match—the people of Memphis, Tennessee. You have not only received us as guests; you have also given up time and space to honor us as friends and that is, if you will allow me, the most Filipino thing I could think of.”
An international gala was also held bringing together over 300 Memphis dignitaries, celebrities, and Filipino-American guests to honor the Philippines and feature the host country’s excellent cuisine. Filipino VuQo, the world’s first and only Vodka distilled from coconut, was served to the guests that evening. Secretary Jimenez invited everyone to come to the Philippines and experience the Filipinos’ genuine hospitality and unique culture.
“The Philippines as a country shares many distinct similarities with the City of Memphis that make the two destinations a great pair in terms of friendship and camaraderie. From the weather to our people’s warmth and love for basketball, the two share many parallels that make it very easy for our citizens to relate to the culture of one another and, in effect, make the travel much convenient for the tourist,” Jimenez enthused.

PNoy speech at the 2012 Brigada Eskwela


Talumpati
ng
Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa 2012 Brigada Eskwela
[Inihayag sa Apolinario Mabini Elementary School, Maynila, noong ika-24 ng Mayo 2012]
Magandang hapon po sa lahat. Maupo ho tayo.
Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro; Mayor Alfredo Lim; Representative Zenaida Angpin; Mr. Rizalino Rosales; Dr. Ponciano Menguito; Dr. Concepcion Vasquez; fellow workers in government; teachers, parents, and students; representatives of nongovernmental organizations and volunteers; mga minamahal ko pong kababayan:
Magandang hapon po ulit sa inyong lahat.
Kung hinihintay po n’yo ako kaninang umaga, pagpapasensyahan ho n’yo ‘ko. Sabi sa akin ngayon hapon tumungo dito. Kaninang umaga po ay mayroon tayong ibang lakad. Nasa Diamond Hotel ho kami kanina hindi para kumain o makitulog doon. Mayroon po akong kumperensya para maiayos natin ang sistema natin ng edukasyon nga kung saan ang ating mga estudyante ay may katiyakan na papasukang trabaho ‘pag nag-graduate. Iyon po ay isang kumperensya para lalong mapaigting ang ating mga pagsusumikap na ‘pag nagsumikap ka sa iyong pag-aaral ay mayroon ka naman talagang patutunguhan.
Kanina po ay nabanggit nga ang mga napansin kong ilang bahagi na dapat nakumpuni na  yata dahil iyon nga ang pinagmamalaki natin ngayon—Brigada Eskwela. Inaayos ang ating mga gusali. Pinangako po sa atin, bago ang pasukan ay maiayos ang mga nakita ko po at babalikan ko naman para makita kung naisaayos na ‘yung pinangako sa atin. [Applause]
At kung saka-sakaling kukulangin pa ho ang napagsumikapan, bagama’t over two billion ang inaasahan ni Bro. Armin this year, handa ko naman pong isama na rin ang suweldo ko kung kakailanganin para mapuno. [Laughter] Ngayon, baka pagdating ho ng suweldo ko sa inyo, sabihin n’yo bakit ito lang ang pinadala—hindi ho malaki ang suweldo ng Pangulo ng Republika, alam po naman n’yo ‘yan.
Noon pa man, kilala na ang lahing Pilipino sa kakayahan nating magkaisa para matupad ang malaking adhika para sa atin pong minamahal na bansa. Ginawa natin po ito sa EDSA noong 1986, para buwagin ang diktadurya. Ipinakita natin ito noong halalan ng 2010 upang tapusin ang halos isang dekada ng kurapsyon at paglilinlang sa atin pong pamahalaan. Ngayong hapon, muli nating pag-aalabin ang diwa ng bayanihan sa pamamagitan ng Brigada Eskwela 2012. Sa aktibidad na ito, tinatayang may 45,000 na pampublikong paaralan mula sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa ang kasabay nating mag-aambag ng tulong para sa lipunan.
Kung tinatawag na pangalawang magulang ng mga estudyante ang kanilang mga guro, natural lamang na tawaging pangalawang tahanan ang mga paaralan. At nais ko pong magpasalamat, hindi lamang sa mga nanay at tatay ng ating mga kabataan na nandito ngayon, kundi maging sa mga nagkusang mag-alay ng oras at pawis para sa programang ito. Maraming salamat sa pag-aaruga sa ating mga paaralan; [applause] maraming salamat  po sa paninigurong ang pangalawang bahay ng ating mga kabataan ay nasa maayos, ligtas, at kaaya-ayang kondisyon. Maraming salamat dahil mulat kayong hindi natatapos sa pagbabayad ng buwis, o sa pagsunod ng batas ang responsibilidad nating lahat bilang mamamayan.
Sino nga po bang di matutuwa; dumarami ang nagbabayanihan para isaayos ang lipunan, tumataas ang bilang ng mga tumutugon sa tungkuling pagandahin ang ating kinabukasan?
Dati po, marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nagmamadaling mag-alsa-balutan dahil wala silang nakikitang pag-asang may magbabago sa atin pong bansa. Ang pagtitipon nga po natin ngayon ay isang kongkretong patunay ng pagbabagong tinatamasa natin. Salamat po sa inyong pakikibalikat para sa kapakanan ng inyo pong mga anak, ng inyong kapwa, at higit sa lahat, ng atin pong bayan.
Bilang bahagi ng brigada eskwela, ang mga hawak nating walis o martilyo o pamunas ang magbibigay-daan upang lalo pang ganahang pumasok ang mga estudyante dahil ligtas at maayos ang kanilang paaralan. Bawat pader na pinipinturahan ng bagong kulay, bawat mesa o upuan na nakukumpuni, bawat sulok na nalilinis, kapalit nito ay isang estudyanteng komportableng nakakatanggap ng kanyang mga leksiyon, isang gurong nakakapagturo ng mas maayos, isang Pilipinong naihahanda at nabibigyang-kakayahan na harapin ang mga hamon ng bukas.
Namumuhunan tayo sa edukasyon dahil dito nagmumula ang pangmatagalang kaunlaran ng ating bansa. Kaya nga nang napansin nating kulang ang 175 bilyong pisong budget noong 2010, ginawa natin itong 207.3 bilyong piso para sa 2011. At dahil ayaw nating kapusin ngayong 2012, tinaasan pa natin ang pondo sa basic education sa halagang 238.8 na bilyong piso. Paglapag po natin sa pwesto, mahigit animnapung libo ang kakulangan sa silid-aralan. Agad po natin itong tinugunan, kaya’t maliban sa mahigit sampung libong silid-aralan na naipatayo na natin, may tinatayang tatlumpung libong karagdagang classrooms pa po ang maipapagawa natin ngayong taon dahil sa pakikilahok ng iba’t ibang sektor. Sa madaling salita, kung tuloy-tuloy ang pakikipagbayanihan ng pribadong sektor sa pamahalaan, pagdating ng 2013—next year po ‘yan. Tama ba ‘to Brother Armin, next year na pala? Kala ko 2014, next year na pala. Bawat estudyante ay mabibigyan ng dekalidad na edukasyon sa loob ng dekalidad na silid-aralan. Ibig din pong sabihin, sa susunod na nga pong school year, mas kakailanganin ng mas maraming kabrigada-eskwela dahil mas marami na tayong lilinisin na mga classrooms.
Aarangkada na rin po ang K to 12 Basic Education Program, na magbibigay ng sapat na panahon sa ating mga kabataan na matutuhan ang iba’t ibang konsepto, kakayahan, at kaugalian. Hindi po magtatagal, dahil kaya na nating makasabay sa sistemang pang-edukasyon ng mga modernong bansa, lalo pa nating makikita ang pamamayagpag ng kabataang Pilipino sa iba’t ibang larangan. Uulitin ko lang po, nasabi ko na dati, sa buong mundo po tatatlo na lang ang bansa na mayroong ten-year basic education program. Sa Asya po nag-iisa tayo. Sa Africa po ‘yung dalawang natitira. Tayo po ‘yung tatlo. Kawawa naman po ang ating kabataan.
Naalala ko nga po ang laging payo ng aking ama tungkol sa halaga ng edukasyon. Sabi niya po: maaaring sikat ka ngayon, pero bukas makalawa, baka laos ka na; maaaring mayaman ka ngayon, pero baka dumating ang panahon na maghihikahos ka. Pero kung nakapag-aral ka, siguradong ‘di mawawala sa’yo ang karunungan at kakayahang itaguyod ang sarili, baliktarin mo man ang ikot ng mundo, ikaw ay handa.
Ano po ba ang prinsipyo sa likod ng lahat ng ito? Lahat tayo ay may itinataya para sa kinabukasan ng bansa, kaya angkop lamang na nagkakasundo at nagkakaisa tayong sumagwan para matupad ang ating hangarin. Samakatuwid, kapag kumakayod ang mga magulang para sa pantustos sa eskwela; kapag nagsusunog ng kilay ang mga kabataan para ma-perfect ang kanilang pagsusulit; kapag nagtataguyod ng kapaki-pakinabang na programa ang pamahalaan, walang duda sa tagumpay ng atin pong bansa. Bakit? Dahil siguradong paglabas ng mga estudyante sa apat na sulok ng silid-aralan, may kakayahan silang magtagumpay sa kanilang piniling larangan at daigin ang hamon ng kinabukasan.
Ngayong nagkukusa ang taumbayan na kabigin ang Pilipinas sa landas na makatuwiran at makatarungan, wala tayong hindi kayang abutin. Ang pakikilahok ninyo sa brigadang ito, ang pagbuhay ninyo sa diwa ng boluntirismo ay patunay sa paglalim at pagyabong ng lakas ng ating demokrasya. Hindi na po tayo mga Juan Tamad na hinihintay lamang malaglag ang nabubulok na bunga ng bayabas. Pinipitas na po natin ang bunga sa tamang kahinugan, dahil maayos natin itong itinanim. Huwag po sana tayong magsawang makiisa at magtiwala sa isa’t isa. Sa ating pagkakapit-bisig, hindi lang bibilis, kundi talagang aarangkada tayo tungo sa ‘di hamak na mas maayos na buhay at mas masaganang lipunan. Ipagpatuloy natin ang bayanihan; ipagpatuloy natin ang pagsulong sa tuwid na daan.
Maraming, maraming salamat po at magandang hapon sa lahat.

Download geohazard maps from DENR, PIA, and Geosciences Bureau


geohazard maps website
Geohazard maps are now accessible and downloadable from four government websites, including a non-government organization, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced.
The government websites hosting the interactive geohazard maps include that of the DENR (www.denr.gov.ph), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (www.mgb.gov.ph), Philippine Information Agency (www.pia.gov.ph) and that of Environmental Science for Social Change (www.essc.org.ph).
DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the move is to broaden public access to the geohazard maps, which has become an important tool in disaster risk reduction and management.
Paje said that with the identification of the Philippines among those highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, Filipinos should brace for typhoons with greater intensity in terms of wind speed and rainfall that could trigger flooding and landslides.
“We don’t want to be alarmist, but as the saying goes, ‘mas maigi na ang maagap.’ With climate change, we have to accept the fact that some of the typhoons that would be visiting us would have greater intensity that could trigger flooding and landslides,” Paje said.
He urged the public to be proactive in taking precautionary measures to minimize or even prevent, any adverse impact of calamities not only in one’s family and community but on the country as a whole.
As part of the government’s risk reduction and management program, the DENR has been negotiating with various entities and organizations for the hosting of the geohazard maps his agency has generated to broaden public access.
The latest of such successful negotiations was with the Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC), a non-profit research organization located at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, which has already put up an online facility for the geohazard maps in its website pursuant to a memorandum of agreement recently entered into between ESSC Executive Director Sylvia SM Miclat and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno.
Under the agreement, the DENR through the MGB would provide ESSC with digital copies in their best resolution of the 700 geohazard maps at a scale 1:50,000, and of the updated ones at scale of 1:10,000 once these become available by 2014.
“Make time to visit their website, www.essc.org.ph. The geohazard maps are not only interactive but are also downloadable,” Paje said.
Meanwhile, MGB Director Jasareno said that the densification of the geohazard maps at a scale of 1:10,000 is now in full swing, and is expected to completed in 2014.
Alongside, the MGB is also conducting coastal and marine geohazard survey to determine the approximate rates of shoreline changes through time due to coastal erosion or accretion, and to identify potential marine and coastal geohazards and the appropriate measures to prevent massive impact.
Jasareno said the agency has already completed the nationwide geohazard assessment and mapping program at a scale of 1:50,000 two years ago, covering a total of 1,634 cities and municipalities.
He also said all local government units have already furnished copies of their respective geohazard maps and have been properly oriented on the use of the maps.

Deped, partners to ensure smooth opening of classes on June 4


The Department of Education, together with the Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) Inter-Agency Task Force, will hold this year’s OBE Command Conference on May 25 to ensure the smooth opening of classes on June 4.
Government agencies and some concessionaires comprise the organization of the Inter-Agency Task Force, with DepEd serving as the lead agency. These include the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and its concessionaires—Manila Water Company Inc. (MWCI) and Maynilad Water Services Inc. (MWSI), Department of National Defense (DND), Philippine Information Agency, and Manila Electric Company (Meralco).
“We have intensified our preparations for the school opening, and the assistance provided by our partner agencies is critical to the success of the Oplan Balik Eskwela,” Secretary of Education Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC said.
DPWH is tasked to supervise the completion of classrooms being constructed and to conduct the clearing of road obstructions. DTI, on the other hand, is in-charge of monitoring the price stability of school supplies. They have also initiated a Diskwento Caravan nationwide offering school supplies at discounted prices.
To ensure students and school personnel are given proper information on health issues, the DOH will disseminate health guidelines in schools. Safe and accessible public transportation will be managed by the DOTC.
Participation of local government units is also of primary importance in the project’s implementation. The DILG will ensure the involvement of the local government and barangays in school opening preparations.
MMDA will control the flow of vehicles as well as flood control to ensure smooth and safe traffic within Metro Manila.
PNP will take charge of crime prevention especially during the opening of classes; Manila Water and MWSS will ensure that there will be enough water supply in schools; Meralco promises no power interruption and assistance in rewiring of public schools while PAGASA guarantees constant weather updates and advanced forecasts.
As per Executive Order No. 66, series of 2012, PAGASA will also be in-charge of providing information on storm signals, which will be the basis for the suspension of classes. Depending on the storm signal, PAGASA may prescribe suspension of classes for affected grade or year levels. If there is no storm signal, suspension will be made by respective local government units.
Prior to the upcoming command conference, DepEd and the OBE partners conducted the Inter-Agency Convergence Meeting to consolidate efforts initiated by each agency for the school opening and to ensure that each measure undertaken by the convergence partners will be maintained throughout the school year. The meeting was presided by DepEd Assistant Secretary Jesus Lorenzo Mateo.
DepEd will formally set-up the OBE Information and Action Center (IAC) from May 28 to June 8 at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan of the DepEd Central Office in Pasig to provide quick information and response to public complaints and queries regarding the opening of classes.
Oplan Balik Eskwela is the annual campaign for school opening preparation initiated by the Department of Education. OBE seeks to address problems commonly encountered during school opening and aims to ensure that students are properly enrolled and are able to attend school on the first day of classes in June.

Malacanang statement on runner-up victory of Jessica Sanchez


Statement of Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte:
On the runner-up victory of Jessica Sanchez in American Idol
[May 24, 2012]
As she competed in American Idol, Jessica Sanchez obtained the loyal and enthusiastic support of Filipinos the world over. Throughout her long, arduous journey, people considered Ms. Sanchez a performer imbued with an extraordinary gift of music and heart. This is only the beginning for Ms. Sanchez whose incredible talent has been recognized and appreciated the world over.

Philippine bananas cleared by China


Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said 170 40-footer vans with fresh Philippine bananas previously held have been cleared by Chinese quarantine officials.
The DA chief received the favorable development from Director Clarito Barron of the DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry, who is currently in Beijing as head of a three-man Philippine quarantine team. They were dispatched to join their Chinese counterparts in inspecting the container vans with fresh Philippine bananas that were allegedly infested with scale insect.
“Four days ago, around 30–40 containers were already given a go signal to enter the Chinese market, as their quarantine officials did not find pests in the shipment. Yesterday, reports from Director Barron said a total of 170 containers were already given clearance,” Secretary Alcala said.
He reiterated that China has not imposed a ban on Philippine bananas.
“Actually, our products were never banned. Our Chinese counterparts are merely conducting a more thorough and extended inspection of our fruit exports,” the DA chief said.
Early this month, bananas from the Philippines were held up longer than usual at Chinese ports as quarantine personnel implemented a 100 percent inspection. The stringent measures were enforced following the discovery of scale insects, scientifically known as Aonidiella comperei, in March.
This prompted Secretary Alcala to send a team to China and present the Philippine plant quarantine protocol.
“We wanted to assure them that our bananas are of highest standards and quality,” Secretary Alcala said.
“This episode should serve as a wake-up call for all us as we may have been lenient in complying with international quarantine protocols,” he said
“From here on, we will impose a zero-tolerance policy with respect to insect and other contaminants. We have to keep a closer watch at our procedures and assure that they are strictly followed,” he added.
He said Director Barron and his team will meet tomorrow with Chinese quarantine officials to consolidate mutual agreements and measures to prevent similar cases from happening in future fruit shipments. The team will fly back to Manila over the weekend.
“Our offer still stands,” Secretary Alcala reiterated, referring to an invitation to Chinese quarantine experts to visit the Philippines, particularly Davao, “to see firsthand how rigid our protocols and procedures are.”

DOLE Approves P8.00 increase of minimum wage in Cordillera


Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced that the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board Cordillera Autonomous Region (RTWPB-CAR) has approved the adjustment in the daily basic wage of private sector minimum wage earners in the region by P8.00.
Baldoz made the announcement after RTWPB-CAR chairman and DOLE-CAR Regional Director Henry John Jalbuena reported that the board, after deliberating on the results of the public consultations and the studies on the socio-economic condition of the region, decided on the need to adjust the minimum wage levels of workers and make them “consistent with the government’s policy of achieving higher levels of productivity to preserve and generate jobs and augment the income of workers without necessarily impairing the growth and productivity of business and industry.”
“I welcome the decision of the RTWPB-CAR. Its latest wage order is pursuant to our wage policy reform called the two-tier wage system and was also meant to restore the purchasing power of our minimum wage earners in the region,” said Baldoz.
Wage Order No. RB-CAR-15 provides for an increase of P8.00 to all private sector workers and employees receiving the minimum wage in the CAR regardless of their position, designation, or status and irrespective of the method their wages are paid. The new wage order shall take effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
The wage order also maintains the COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) ranging from P22.00 to P37.00 granted under Wage Order No. 14.
Baldoz pointed out that the wage board has not received any petition for a wage hike, but it resolved motu proprio, or on its own, to initiate and conduct evaluations and studies aside from undertaking public consultation throughout the region.
Upon effectivity of the wage order, the daily minimum wage rate of workers in the non-agricultural sector in Baguio City, and the municipalities of La Trinidad, Tuba, Itogon, and Sablan (BLIST) in the province of Benguet shall receive P280 per day; while those in the agricultural sector shall receive P262 per day. Outside these areas in the region (Mt. Province, Abra, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Apayao provinces), the minimum wage for non-agricultural sector workers and agricultural workers shall be P263 and P246, respectively.
On the other hand, workers in retail and service establishments employing more than ten workers in the BLIST areas shall receive P280 per day, while those outside the BLIST areas shall receive P263.
Those establishments in the BLIST areas employing ten workers or less shall pay their workers P260 per day, while establishments in other areas of the region shall pay their workers P239 per day.
Baldoz explained that an important feature of the wage order is the provision setting P280 as the floor wage in the BLIST areas and P263 as the floor wage in the other areas of the region, which compose the first-tier of the two-tier wage system. The floor wage was based on the region’s socio-economic indicators, including poverty threshold, average wages, and other specific factors.
There is also the provision for the voluntary payment of productivity- and incentive-based pay based on business performance, labor productivity, work behavior, and enterprise competitiveness, or the second tier. The wage board shall issue an advisory, which shall serve as the guidelines for the implementation of the second tier.
Jalbuena, in his report to Baldoz, emphasized that the wage order also provides for the creation of a Productivity and Incentive Committee (PIC) in enterprises that shall have equal representation from labor and management. The PIC shall establish the criteria and mechanism in determining productivity measures including a recommendation on the range of productivity incentives.
To date, seven RTWPBs, including RTWPB-CAR, have already issued wage orders for 2012. These RTWPBs are those of the NCR and Regions 2, 4-A, 5, 6, and 12.

Malacanang Statement on the statement of CJ Corona


Statement of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda:On the opening statement of Mr. Corona
[May 22, 2012]
In an unprecedented display of liberality, the Senate Impeachment Court has accorded Mr. Corona the widest possible latitude to make the most of his day in court. It did so, by allowing him the unprecedented privilege of an opening statement, unlimited in scope and duration. This is in fulfillment of the Senate’s pledge to guarantee Mr. Corona the fullest exercise of his right to due process.
This opportunity to confront your accusers is at the heart of our system of justice. Where evidence is presented, and where it can be proven or disproved by opposing counsel.
Mr. Corona squandered the opportunity. First, he resorted to the same arguments along the same lines used by people who want to remove President Aquino from office. Then, Mr. Corona issued a waiver—only to reveal it was a conditional waiver. And he further compounded insult with injury by walking out of the court, without leave of the Senate. The result was an unprecedented lockdown of the premises of the Senate, in order to assert its authority and the dignity of the court. Never has there been a more blatant attempt to manipulate a duly constituted court. Never has there been such an obvious attempt to stage-manage judicial proceedings.
It does not help Mr. Corona that after having been given the highest consideration by the Senate, after giving his side he tried to leave the proceedings, as if to say he is the only one who should be heard.
This case has always been imbued with truly profound issues of constitutional lawArticle XI Sec. 17 of the Constitutionrequires disclosure of assets. Mr. Corona, however, proposes that an ordinary law, RA 6426 holds supreme over the Constitution’s requirements. But first and foremost, it is about accountability: about the character and behavior of the head of a branch of government of whose members none but the highest ethical standards are required at all times.
Impeachment is the instrument for determining if a high official otherwise guaranteed a fixed term, can and should be dismissed as a danger to the state or unworthy of high office. As the Senate ponders the testimony of Mr. Corona, one thing is sure: all dangerous avenues that may lead to questioning the Senate, and the conduct of its proceedings, have been closed, by Mr. Corona asking for, and being given, this unprecedented opportunity to speak his mind—and disclose his cavalier attitude to our institutions, the law, and the truth.
Supplementary statement:
On the implications of Corona’s behavior in the Senate
We would like to emphasize that the witness stand is not a place for declamation. Our system of justice subjects all evidence to the test for truth. When a witness is presented, the testimony is subjected to cross-examination to see if it can withstand close examination. Truth should withstand scrutiny, and the job of lawyers is to find it.
But what Mr. Corona did, instead, was to make a speech. The man tasked with being the defender of the Constitution, and upholder of the law, denied the prosecution as the impeachment court, the opportunity to challenge his testimony. This is not the behavior of the chief magistrate of the land. His walkout sent the message that his is the only voice that is important; and that furthermore, that he considers himself exempt from the basic processes of confronting testimony –the process by which courts discover the truth.
Let us all remember the mandate of the Constitution, in Article XI, Sec. 17: “A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth. In the case of the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Commissions and other constitutional offices, and officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public in the manner provided by law.”
Let us not forget Mr. Corona’s proposal, which he did not allow anyone to challenge by confronting him in court, that to his mind, a Republic Act holds supreme over this clear mandate of the Constitution.

The situation at Bajo de Masinloc; DFA statement


Statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs:The situation at Bajo de Masinloc
[May 23, 2012]
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is committed to efforts of defusing the tensions in Bajo de Masinloc. Talks are continuing between the DFA and the Chinese Embassy officials. However, we have received reports from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) that there is an increasing number and pattern of Chinese Government vessels and fishing vessels in the area.
  • At around 1900H of 21 May 2012, there were 5 Chinese Government vessels (CMS-71, CMS-84, FLEC-301, FLEC-303 and FLEC-310), and 16 Chinese fishing boats, 10 of which were inside the lagoon while 6 were outside. In addition, there were 56 utility boats, 27 of which were inside the lagoon and 29 were outside.
  • Yesterday, there were still 16 Chinese fishing vessels and the number of utility boats went up to 76.
  • It is regrettable that these actions occurred at a time when China has been articulating for a de-escalation of tensions and while the two sides have been discussing how to defuse the situation in the area.
  • The Philippines protests these actions of China as clear violations of Philippine sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Shoal and sovereign rights over the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that covers the waters around Bajo de Masinloc.
  • These actions of China are also in violation of the ASEAN-China Declaration of Conduct on the South China Sea specifically paragraph 5 which calls the Parties
… to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.
  • The recent actions of China are also in violation of the United Nations Charter, specifically Article 2.4, which provides the following:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
  • In this connection, the DFA expressed its grave concern over these continuing actions by China that escalate tension in Bajo de Masinloc in a Note Verbale dated 21 May 2012 sent to the Chinese Government through the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
  • Likewise, the increase in the number of China’s vessels in the area imperils the marine biodiversity in the Shoal and threatens the marine ecosystem in the whole West Philippine Sea.  The Philippines has documented the many instances where Chinese fishermen have unlawfully dredged the area and illegally harvested giant clams and corals.
  • The Philippines, therefore, demands that China’s vessels immediately pull out from Bajo de Masinloc and the Philippines’ EEZ and for China to refrain from taking further actions that exacerbate the situation in the West Philippine Sea.
  • Discussions to defuse the tensions in Bajo de Masinloc are continuing cognizant of our mandate under the Philippine Constitution to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

BPI CEO Montinola: Philippines no longer “sick man of Asia”


Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aurelio Montinola III served as the guest speaker of the Economic Club of Memphis last May 9. The event was as one of the activities of the ongoing Memphis in May Festival.
The Harvard-educated banker cited the challenges, which were raised at the recent Asian Development Bank meeting in Manila that the world economy confronts, including high oil prices, the threat of a double dip recession in the United States, worries over China’s hard landing, and possibilities of a Euro zone contagion. He was, however, upbeat over growth prospects in the Southeast Asian region, with its efforts toward closer economic integration, and said that Asia remains resilient.
Providing an account of the gains the Philippines has achieved since the assumption of President Benigno S. Aquino III into office, Mr. Montinola proclaimed that the country is no longer considered the “sick man of Asia.”
He noted that the Aquino administration’s good governance agenda has translated to an improvement in the country’s political situation and fiscal position. He pointed to the country’s healthy banking system and added that the Philippines is no longer indebted to the International Monetary Fund, but is now a net creditor.
Mr. Montinola listed the areas where focus is being devoted by the Philippine economic managers—agriculture, infrastructure, and tourism. He also cited the Philippines’ edge in English proficiency, spectacular returns investors in the stock market have been receiving, strong local currency, and borrowing rates to access foreign funds that are even more advantageous compared to certain investment grade countries.
He urged investors to seize opportunities the Philippines presents, including its free trade zones and large infrastructure projects being offered to qualified bidders.
Mr. Montinola, also serves as President of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) and Director of the Makati Business Club (MBC). He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Management Engineering degree at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1973 and obtained his MBA at the Harvard Business School in 1977.

2012 Brigada Eskwela is slated from May 21 to 26


To emphasize on the importance of school sanitation and hygiene, one of the major thrusts of the 2012 Brigada Eskwela or National Schools Maintenance Week is the improvement of toilets and wash facilities.
Secretary of Education Armin A. Luistro said when schools promote hygiene; they also help develop learners who are conscious of their own health and personal wellbeing.
“Our thrust in this year’s Brigada Eskwela is on school sanitation because it is also where personal hygiene is reinforced among our students which can, in turn, help develop their self-esteem,” Luistro added.
The DepEd also enjoined the Brigada Eskwela participants to help improve the schools of indigenous communities. “As one of the underserved sectors, the schools catering to IPs [indigenous peoples] should be a priority in the repair and cleanup activities,” Luistro explained.
Brigada Eskwela mobilizes parents, teachers, students, civic and business groups, local government units, non-government units and other community residents in repairing and sprucing up schools two weeks before the opening of classes in June.
Brigada Eskwela does not accept cash donations. It instead urges participants to donate construction and cleaning materials or serve as volunteers.
Brigada Eskwela enjoin participants to donate construction and cleaning materials or serve as volunteers. It does not accept cash donations.  To date, it has generated an equivalent amount of over P2 billion from donations in kind and man-hours spent in school repairs, which would have otherwise been taken from the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) of public schools.
This year’s Brigada is slated from May 21 to 26. The annual school maintenance program enjoins education stakeholders to contribute their time, efforts, and resources for the repair work. The goal is to ensure that public schools are ready to receive students when school opens.
Based on DepEd Memo No. 56 series of 2012, the DepEd-wide activity will start with a motorcade from the Central Office in Pasig at 6 a.m. en route to the public school where the cleanup drive will officially lick-off.
Brigada is 100 percent participated in by all 45,000 public elementary and secondary schools nationwide.