Archive for November, 2011

Bill seeks to uplift status and work conditions of barangay workers

A House member is seeking the betterment of the status and work
conditions of the country’s barangay workers through the passage of
the proposed “Barangay Workers Act” that aims to pursue their rights
and welfare.

Rep. Arthur Defensor, Jr. ( 3rd District, Iloilo), an assistant
majority leader,  said his proposal embodied in House Bill 5441 aims
to institutionalize the status of barangay workers by establishing
their rights and providing for their welfare.

It also aims to provide an administrative development council at the
national and local levels for the formulation and implementation of
policy and regulation in pursuit of the rights and welfare of barangay
workers.

The bill also aims to provide for an organization that shall serve as
a forum for self-determination and empowerment of barangay workers
according to Defensor.

Covered by the bill are barangay health workers, barangay nutrition
scholars, barangay day care workers and the barangay service point
officers who are the frontline government personnel in the delivery of
basic social services in the area of health, nutrition and child care.

At present, Defensor said the employment and service of the barangay
workers are governed at least in part by scattered pieces of
legislation which are rather outdated and not as relevant as may be
desired for more effective and motivated delivery of basic services of
health, nutrition and child care services.

Defensor cited these “scattered pieces” of legislation governing the
barangay health workers include: Republic Act 7883, Barangay Health
Workers Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995; Presidential Decree 1569,
Strengthening the Barangay Nutrition Program by Providing for a
Barangay Nutrition Scholar in Every Barangay, Providing Funds
Therefor, and for Other Purposes; P.D. 1567, Establishing a Day Care
Center in Every Barangay and Appropriating Funds Therefore; and P.D.
79, the Revised Population Act of the Philippines.

The bill provides that the State guarantees the following rights of
barangay workers, namely: security of tenure; right to just
compensation; right to administrative and logistical support for the
effective performance of their functions; right to training for
accreditation under the relevant government programs; right to health
services, including entitlement to full coverage in government health
insurance programs; right to government scholarship of barangay
workers and their legitimate spouses and dependents in state colleges
and universities; and right to organize to protect the barangay
workers’ rights and promote their welfare.

The bill enumerates the powers and functions of the National Barangay
Workers Council (NBWC) which shall include acting as a national
consultative and advisory body to the President of the Philippines and
Congress on matters relating to the barangay health, nutrition, day
care and other related services.

The NBWC shall also formulate and approve policies and regulations on
the employment and functions of the barangay workers in the following
areas: appointment; qualification; compensation; working conditions;
training; and social benefits.

The NBWC shall also review and approve the programs of the local
barangay workers councils, consistent with national development plans.
It shall also call, from time to time, national conferences of
barangay workers, and shall exercise technical and administrative and
operational supervision over the Provincial Barangay Workers Councils.

The NBWC shall be assisted by a secretariat to be headed by an
executive director and two deputy directors who shall be appointed by
the President of the Philippines, upon the recommendation of the
Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The bill also provides for the creation of the Provincial Barangay
Workers Council, the Municipal Barangay Workers Council, the Municipal
Barangay Workers Assembly, the Municipal Barangay Workers Board, the
Provincial Barangay Workers Assembly and the Provincial Barangay
Workers Board.

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House and business leaders agree on legislative priorities

The House of Representatives and the Joint Foreign Chambers and
Philippine Business Groups on Tuesday agreed to pursue a common list
of legislative priorities focusing on accountability, and transparency
promoting the sustained war against poverty.

“This is a remarkable opportunity for strengthening our bonds of
cooperation and solidarity toward the attainment of our common
aspirations for further growth,” Belmonte told the leaders of foreign
and Philippine business groups led by Mr. Hubert D’Aboville, president
of the European Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Aurelio Montinola, Jr.,
President, Banker’s Association of the Philippines, among others.

The priorities focus mainly on economic and governance legislation,
aside from other vital matters, including legislative support to the
recently launched “Integrity Initiative United Code of Conduct,” an
anti-corruption movement in the private sector being pushed by a
consortium of 21 groups and associations that includes the Makati
Business Club.

Belmonte also stressed that the Philippine Development Plan targets
the following for the next six years: reduction of poverty incidence
by half to 16.6 percent in 2015; employment creation of one million
jobs a year; a GDP growth rate of 7 to 8 percent a year; increase in
the investment-to-GDP ration from 15.6 percent in 2010 to 22 percent
in 2016; and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Many measures included in the common priority list are also included
in the House and Senate common priorities and President Aquino’s
legislative agenda.

Among those whom Speaker Belmonte and other House leaders met in an
open dialogue were:  Mr. Philip Soliven (Vice Pres.- American Chamber
of Commerce; Mr. Danilo Sebastian Reyes (Vice  Chair – Business
Processing Association of the Philippines); Mr. Edgardo Lacson
(Pres.-Employers Confederation of the Philippines); Mr. Nobou Fujii
(Vice Pres. – Japanese Chamber of Commerce); and Julian Payne
(Pres.-Canadian Chamber of Commerce).

The House leaders who also took an active part in the open dialogue
were: Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia; Deputy Speaker Ma. Isabelle
Climaco; Majority Leader Neptali Gonzalez II; and committee chairmen
Joseph Emilio Abaya (Appropriations); Sigfrid Tinga (Committee on
ICT); Albert Garcia (Trade and Industry); Hermilando Mandanas (Ways
and Means); Loreto Leo Ocampos (Constitutional Amendments); Ben
Evardone (Public Information); Ronald Cosalan (Public Works); Erico
Basilo Fabian (Government Enterprises); Emil Ong (labor & Employment);
and Danilo Fernandez (Ecology), as well as Sec. Gen. Marilyn Barua-Yap
of the House Secretariat, among others.

The identified priorities, some of them passed by the House and
transmitted to the Senate for action, included the following: 1) Data
Privacy Act (Approved on 3rd reading); 2) Rationalization of  Fiscal
Incentives (Approved on 3rd reading); 3) Customs Modernization and
Tariffs Act ( Approved on 3rd reading); 4) Direct Remittance to LGUs
of their 40% share from National Wealth Taxes (Approved on 3rd
reading); 5) Fair Competition or Anti-Trust (Approved on 2nd reading);

6) Amendments to the BOT or PPP Law (TWG substitute bill being
drafted); 7) Exemption from Common Carrier’s Tax/Gross Philippine
Billing (for 2nd reading); 8) Clean Air Act Amendment (Committee
deliberation); 9) Retail Trade Act Amendments (no bill filed yet); 10)
Financial Sector Tax Neutrality Act (no bill filed yet); 11)
Amendments to certain (economic) provisions of the Constitution (under
committee deliberation); 12) Enhancing the Curriculum of Basic
Education (committee); 12) Land Administration and Reform (committee);

13) Anti-Smuggling (for report preparation by the Committee on Ways
and Means); 14) Excise Taxes on Tobacco and Alcohol (committee); 15)
Creative Industries Act (no bill filed yet); 16) Cybercrime Prevention
Act (committee report for filing); 17) Rationalization of Non-working
Holidays (committee); 18) Security of Tenure (approved at committee
level; awaiting plenary schedule); 19) Mining Act Amendments
(committee); 20) Authorizing LGUs to issue small and large scale
mining permits (for TWG study);

21) Intellectual; Property Rights Act Amendments (Approved on 3rd
reading); 22) Lemon Law (Approved on 3rd reading); Plastic Bag
Regulation Act (Approved on 3rd reading); 23) AMLA Amendments
(Approved on 2nd reading); 24) Creation of the Department of
Information and Communications Technology (Approved on 2nd reading);
25) Whistle Blowers Protection Act (committee report for filing); 26)
BSP Charter Amendments (committee); 27) Freedom of Access to
Information (committee); and 28) Philippine Immigration Code
(Committee and TWG).

The prevailing uncertainty in the global economic outlook, Belmonte
stressed, should not dampen everyone’s aspirations. “Instead, it
should serve as both challenge and motivation for us to work harder.”

The House leader, quoting one Chinese proverb, said: “A crisis is an
opportunity riding the dangerous wind.” And indeed, for every crisis,
there is always an opportunity, Belmonte said.

The House leader noted that public trust and confidence in all
branches of government have improved.  “However, these positive
developments should provide no room for complacency.  There remain
vital weaknesses in our economy that immediately need to be
addressed,” Belmonte concluded.

People to get free text and call services from telcos during calamities

Telecommunications companies are being asked to offer free text
messaging and calls services to their subscribers in times of
calamities and other natural disasters.

Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), author of House
Resolution 1845, appealed to the Philippine Long Distance Telephone
Company (PLDT), GLOBE Telecom, Digital Telecommunications Corporation
(Digitel) and Bayan Telecommunications Corporation (Bayantel) to give
the people access to free text messaging and call service in times of
emergencies.

“Free short messaging and call services would go a long way to
mitigate the adverse effects of any crisis, disaster, and calamity,
enabling better coordination in rescue and relief operations, saving
more lives, attending to the injured, and easing the pain brought
about by losses in crops, livestock, property and others,” Castelo
said.

Castelo said the business community particularly the private sector is
an integral part of the national disaster risk reduction and
management plan and program which the national government and local
government units jointly enforce during times of extreme crisis,
disaster and national and local emergencies.

“These major and minor telecommunications firms have provided
universal access, as shown by the provision of landline and wireless
services in 99 percent of the country’s land area,” Castelo said.

Castelo said the services of these major and minor telecommunications
firms are extremely vital during times of crisis, local and national
emergencies.

“In times of crisis and calamities, wireless service subscribers,
especially those in remote areas, have difficulties, if not limited
means, time, and opportunity to purchase loads which they use to
communicate to the outside world,” Castelo said.

“It is but right that these telecommunications firms have to return a
portion of their earnings to the communities they have been serving,”
he added.

Castelo said the private sector now engages in what has been described
as corporate social responsibility (CSR), where private companies use
a portion of their net profits to pursue ‘conscience projects’ or
those that help the poor.

Castelo said PLDT and Globe being the two biggest telecommunications
firms are prominent advocates of CSR, it being a part of their
respective corporate cultures, and that the two companies should make
his proposal a part of their respective corporate practice for them to
continue helping the poor and downtrodden.

“The government has limited resources and funds to meet and mitigate
natural and man-made disasters, which include typhoons, heavy
rainfall, landslides, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic
eruptions, lahar flows, extensive drought and mass pollution among
others,” Castelo added.

Castelo said the Philippines is vulnerable to an assortment of
uncontrolled disasters, which brings death and injury to thousands of
people, massive destruction to crops, property and untold misery to
the people.

“According to the Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary
Graciano Yumul studies showed that climate change could alter the
climatic dynamics, creating more weather disturbances to make the wet
season wetter and the dry season drier,” Castelo said.

Castelo said the global warming and the melting of the polar caps has
been creating havoc on this planet, as shown by studies depicting the
rise of seawater level and changes of climatic patterns with
unpredictable effects to result in immeasurable misery.

Rename EDSA as Cory Aquino Avenue – solon

A lawmaker is proposing to rename Epifanio de los Santos Aveñue or
EDSA to Cory Aquino Aveñue, in honor of former President Corazon C.
Aquino, the first woman president of the country.

Rep. Rene Relampagos (1st District, Bohol), author of House Bill 5422,
said the former president is the leading figure in the historic 1986
People Power Revolution that restored democracy in the Philippines and
a true icon of democracy.

Relampagos said the measure also seeks to repeal Republic Act 2140
changing the name of Highway 54 in the province of Rizal to Epifanio
de los Santos Avenue in honor of Don Epifanio de los Santos, a
Filipino scholar, jurist and historian.

Relampagos said EDSA is the main circumferential road and highway in
Metro Manila and one of the longest avenues in the country, has become
synonymous to the People Power Revolution or to democracy.

Relampagos said the events of February 1986 culminated in the
installation of Corazon C. Aquino as President of the Republic, ending
the twenty years of tyrannical rule of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

“From being a simple housewife, she eventually became the nation’s
mother as she served as President.  President Cory oversaw the
promulgation of a new constitution, which limited the powers of the
presidency and established a bicameral legislature,” Relampagos said.

Relampagos said President Aquino administration gave strong emphasis
to civil liberties and human rights and her economic policies centered
on bringing back economic stability and confidence and focused on
creating a market-oriented and socially-responsible economy.

“President Aquino gained the respect, and certainly, the admiration,
not only of the citizens of our country, but also of the world.  She
earned certain citations and was recognized internationally as a woman
who helped pave the way for the restoration of democracy,” Relampagos
stressed.

Relampagos said one cannot think of the 1986 EDSA Revolution without
thinking of Corazon C. Aquino.  She lived her life fighting for
democracy, as she goes out of her way to fight for justice and truth,
peace and democracy.

“It would be a fitting tribute to former President Corazon C. Aquino,
a woman of courage and valor, that EDSA, an avenue that became
testament to the country’s love of democracy, be named after her,”
Relampagos said.

Solon bats for watchdogs against corruption in government

A lawmaker representing the youth sector has moved to create an army
of watchdogs against bad practices in the government.

Rep. Raymond V. Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan) filed House Bill 5417,
which mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to educate the
elementary and high school students on good governance, ethics and
accountability in public.

Palatino said by including in the basic education curriculum topics on
good governance, ethics and accountability, the importance of
efficient and moral leadership will be inculcated in the minds of the
youth.

“Even at an early age, our youth should be empowered to engage their
leaders and contribute to social development,” Palatino said.

“Educating our children on the ideals of public service will encourage
them to get involved in bettering public and civic affairs,” Palatino
added.

Under the measure, to be known as Good Governance Education Act of
2011, the DepEd shall integrate in the social science curriculum of
primary and secondary school students, good governance topics
including but not limited to Article XI of the 1987 Philippine
Constitution-Accountability of Public Officers, RA 6713 or the Code of
Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and
RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“In the long term, the bill seeks to create model citizens and a
large reserve of public servants who, with the ideals of patriotism,
justice, responsibility and integrity, are accountable to and are in
service of the Filipino people,” Palatino said.

“As the State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation
building, educating the young about good governance, ethics and
accountability in public service shall encourage their involvement in
public and civic affairs,” Palatino added.

Bill to boost socialized housing nationwide takes shape

The House of Representatives will soon tackle in plenary a proposed
amendatory bill requiring the participation of owners and developers
of condominium projects in the government’s socialized housing
program.

The House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, chaired by Rep.
Rodolfo Valencia, has endorsed the measure strengthening the “Balanced
Housing Development Program” under HB 5446 for plenary consideration
and approval.

“To accelerate the government’s socialized housing program nationwide,
we are eliciting the participation of owners and condominium
developers.

HB 5446 is entitled “An Act Strengthening the Balanced Housing
Development Program, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 7279,
entitled: ‘An Act to provide for a comprehensive and continuing Urban
Development and Housing Program, establish the mechanism for its
implementation, and for other purposes.”

“We have included the development of education facilities within the
projects (areas) or within cities or municipalities as a mode of
compliance with the balanced housing requirements, among others,”
revealed Valencia, principal author of one of the six separate but
related bills consolidated by his committee.

HB 5446, contained in Committee Report 1498 and approved in committee
last October, is in substitution to the separate bills principally
authored by: Rep. Valencia; Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy; Marcelino
Teodoro; Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla; Rep. Walden Bello; Rep. Kaka
Bag-ao; and Rep. Carmelo Lazatin.

Other co-authors are Reps. Winston Castelo, Catalina Leonen-Pizarro,
Irvin Alcala, Sigfrido Tinga, Angelo Palmones, Arnel Ty, Isidro Lico,
Emerenciana De Jesus, Mel Senen Sarmiento and Jeci Lapus.

Likewise, the proposed measure would also allow developers covered by
the proposed Act to engage in a joint-venture project with another
private developer, both of whom shall be “solidarily liable” in the
production of the socialized housing in compliance with the balanced
housing requirement, regardless of the provisions of their
joint-venture agreement.

Furthermore, HB 5446 includes in the coverage of Section 18 of
Republic Act No. 7279 condominium projects whose owners or developers
shall be required to develop an area for socialized housing equivalent
to at least 20% of the total condominium area or condominium cost.

To further ensure compliance, the bill proposes to amend Section 45 of
R.A. 7279 to include a penal provision for those who violate Section
18 with imprisonment of not more than six years or a fine of not less
than P500,000.00 but not more than P10-million.

Mangudadatu to deliver ‘Ulat ng Bayan’ a day before massacre anniversary

Maguindanao Provincial Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu will deliver his “Ulat ng Bayan” (State of the Provincial Address) on Tuesday, November 22, a day before the second year anniversary of the infamous Maguindanao massacre that saw the gruesome killing of 58 people.

Mangudadatu intentionally coincided the occasion to give emphasis on that very tragic event that claimed the lives of his wife Genalyn, two sisters, relatives, 30 media members, among others where it paved the way for the province to move forward with the change of leadership from the warlord Ampatuans.

The governor is set to present to his constituents the great transformation of the Maguindanao and the innovations he made to make their lives better and improved.

With more than a year as the provincial chief executive, Mangudadatu implemented various projects like construction of gymnasiums and housing units, animal dispersal, provision of health care services through the mobile hospitals, and a lot more.

 

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