Archive for May, 2012

Solon urges DepEd to adopt an educational program for inmates

Give them education while they are incarcerated and these inmates will be good citizens after they get out of jail.

This was the contention of Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) in filing House Resolution 2342 urging the Department of
Education (DepEd) to come up with a curriculum for inmates who are interested in pursuing their studies while serving their term.

Castelo said half of the 12,000 inmates in the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City did not finish grade school.

The seven operating units under the Bureau of Correction (BuCor) are the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, the Correctional
Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, the CIW Mindanao, Panabo, Davao, the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro, the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City, the Leyte Regional Prison in Abuyog, Leyte and the Davao Prison and Penal Farm in Panabo, Davao.

“This reality indicates that the low level of educational attainment of persons or individuals could be the single greatest factor why such personalities find themselves within the threshold of violating existing laws akin to the commission of a wide range of crimes,”
Castelo said.

Castelo cited policy of the State giving priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism
and nationalism accelerate social progress and promote total human liberation and development.

At present, under BuCor’s rehabilitation program, inmates are given an opportunity to experience formal education classes from intermediate, secondary to collegiate courses.

Likewise, inmates also taking vocational and livelihood skills training like basic electronics and automotive repair, practical
electricity, handicraft making, art paintings, clothing designs, basic welding, and computer literacy courses for juvenile offenders are
offered. A sub-program dubbed Alternative Learning System deals with adult literacy and values formation.

In the United States, a study shows that prison education is significant because it contributes to reduced recidivism among inmates
attending classes or training while in prison.


House leaders propose new general registration of voters in ARMM

House leaders called for a new general registration of voters in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to ensure an honest and credible election in the region.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II have filed House Joint Resolution 29 calling for the annulment of the Book of Voters and an immediate general registration of voters in ARMM.

“To ensure an honest and credible election in the ARMM, the Commission on Elections has to initiate reform moves starting with the
purging of the Book of Voters of illegal and fictitious voters,” the Speaker said.

Belmonte said there is an urgent need for a general registration in the region due the presence of hundreds of thousands of illegal and
fictitious registrants in the ARMM which need to be deleted from the Book of Voters.

The election results in the region have been questionable and tainted with anomaly and irregularity, principally because of the padded Book of Voters, Belmonte stated.

“The practice of padding the Book of Voters has been resorted to by unscrupulous leaders to perpetuate themselves in power and give them a sense of invincibilitty to commit unbridled abuses and anomalies,” Belmonte said.

Gonzales said the anomaly in the ARMM has national ramification because these ghosts, fictitious and multiple registrants constitute
the so-called command votes or controlled votes wielded by political warlords that could decide the winners in local and even  national polls.

“The Executive Department has publicly expressed support to the need for the new general registration of voters in the ARMM,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said to enable the Comelec to field sufficient personnel to effect the new registration of voters in the region, the registration
of voters in the Visayas and non-ARMM areas in Mindanao should be suspended effective immediately until August 31, 2012, and the
personnel and necessary equipment from these areas be deployed in the ARMM for the registration.

Gonzales said due to the urgency and only for the purpose of acquiring the necessary equipment and other registration paraphernalia to be used in the new general registration of voters in the ARMM, the Comelec should be authorized to resort to direct contracting or other alternative methods of procurement under the 2012 General Appropriations Act.

“Congress has recently enacted Republic Act 10153 which synchronizes the ARMM election with the national election as a major step towards electoral reform in the ARMM and this Resolution will supplement and complement the said law,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales also cited the bloated population figures in the ARMM that suggest that voters in the region were padded.

Gonzales said the ARMM population in 2007 was reported to be 4.1 million contrary to the National Statistics Office (NSO) report that it only had a population of 3.3 million in 2010.

“While the country’s population growth rate grew by just 1.89 percent between 2000 and 2007, ARMM reported a population growth rate of 5.46 percent, with Maguindanao at 6.6 percent and Basilan at 6.44 percent,” Gonzales said.

Solon moves to protect workers in labor cases

A lawmaker has filed a bill seeking to enact a law providing full satisfaction of monetary awards to complainants or awardees in labor
cases in the country.

Rep. Rene Lopez Relampagos (1st District, Bohol) said House Bill 6059 shall provide full protection to labor and guarantee the rights of all workers to full satisfaction of monetary awards in all labor cases adjudged in the workers favor.

“This bill seeks to avoid failure at the execution stage of the awards wherein the complainants or awardees will be holding empty and
unsatisfied judgment in their hands,” Relampagos said.

Relampagos said all corporations, partnerships and single proprietorships whose paid up capital or capitalization is at least
P10 million  must set aside at least 10% of their paid-up capital or capitalization as cash bond and held in escrow by their depository
banks to guarantee and answer for the monetary awards of the employees-complainants who have obtained judgments in labor.

“In the event that the judgment in the labor case is finally reversed and adjudged in favor of the respondents concerned, the  cash bond held in escrow shall be immediately released by the arbiter or commission or the court concerned,” Relampagos said.

Under the bill,  the depository banks of the respondent are mandated to get a certification from the Department of Labor and
Employment(DOLE) and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) before a respondent may be allowed to withdraw from their bank deposits of at least one-half at any given time, stating that whatever bank deposits are left can be made to answer  or satisfy any
deficiency in the payment of the monetary award taken from the cash bond held in escrow by the depository bank.

In the case of staggered withdrawals by the concerned respondent, the depository bank, upon noticing and determining that almost one-half of the total deposits of the respondent concerned has  already been withdrawn, must require within  24 hours the latter to obtain the certifications mandated before further withdrawals can be allowed by the depository  bank be made by the respondent concerned.

Violators face a fine of P100,000 provided that in case of a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon its officials, and
if the guilty party is an alien, he or she shall be immediately deported after payment of the fine.

Rep. Enrile to student leaders: Be an instrument of change

Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. told some 300 student leaders from all over the country to be instruments of change, promoters of peace and development, and couriers of hope amid the country’s burgeoning woes.

Enrile was the guest speaker during the May 5-7 Philippine Higher Education Student Government Leadership Training in this regional center and capital of Caraga region.

During an open forum with student leaders, Enrile was given standing ovation when he urged student leaders to inspire and lead fellow Filipino youths and the entire citizenry in transforming the country’s problems into challenges and opportunities. He also urged them to join the bandwagon of transformational politics the country badly needs to move forward.

“What is knowledge, a masteral and doctoral degree or even a degree from Harvard University or La Salle, U.P. or Ateneo without you serving the country for common good? Serve your communities and do whatever little things you can to your classmates, neighbors and families without expecting returns. Making a difference of their lives is what all relevant education all about,” Enrile said.

Enrile cited his personal experiences as a young and happy-go-lucky teenager, saying there comes a turning point in everyone’s life to make a difference in whatever little capacity one has in his/her community.

“There was a time that I was reluctant to my father’s challenge to me to continue his work in serving Filipinos especially those who badly needed help. When I was young like you my focus then was about myself, business and me and me alone but when you reach that peak of your career and you had everything and when you see many people are still suffering, there comes a point you decide to do something rather than sit there and watching,” Enrile said.

Enrile challenged the student leaders to join his search for the right answer in achieving lasting peace and sustainable development for the country.

He said this include fully developing the agriculture sector, sustainably developing the country’s vast human resources, and tapping the country’s vast natural and fisheries resources while protecting the environment.

He also challenged the student leaders to join his quest for good, accountable and transparent governance; re-orienting Filipino voters’ values in eradicating money and patronage politics; and address the long overdue problem of productivity of every Filipinos.

“Alone, I can never even start that long journey and can’t even imagine I can do it, but with you young people of this country whom Jose Rizal referred as the future of this country, we can all do it,” Enrile said.

Magsaysay won’t ‘leave anyone hanging’

Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay on Friday said she would not “leave anyone hanging” should she run for senator in the 2013 elections.

“I will make sure all affiliations are ironed out,” she said during a Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats’ meeting at the Diamond Hotel Friday.

“I will definitely ask permission and talk to them,” she said.

Lakas-CMD president Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. said the party has yet to release its senatorial slate but would respect Magsaysay’s decision even if she runs under a rival party.

“Whatever her decision is, we will still support her,” Revilla said, saying he would understand if she would choose to run under the United Nationalist Alliance.

Trillanes wants tree planting mandatory for graduating students

Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV has filed a bill that seeks to make tree planting mandatory for graduating students from grade school to college in a bid to have at least 175 million new trees planted across the country every year.

Under Senate Bill 3166 or the proposed Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act of 2012 filed by Trillanes, all graduating elementary, high school and college students will be required to plant at least 10 trees before they graduate.

Trillanes expressed confidence the proposed legislation would result in more trees planted in less time given the huge number of students graduating from all levels annually – 12 million in primary school, 5 million in high school and 500,000 in college.

“If properly implemented, at least 175 million new trees would be planted each year under this initiative, and, more importantly, this program will help promote environmental consciousness among our youth,” Trillanes pointed out.

The lawmaker said the measure espouses the idea of “inter-generational equity,” which lays down both rights and obligations of future generations. This concept, he added, has been proven effective in achieving the twin goals of environmental protection and sustainable development.

“While we recognize the right of the youth to a balance and healthful ecology, as proclaimed in the 1987 Constitution, there is no reason why they cannot be made to contribute in order to ensure that this would be an actual reality,” Trillanes said.

The Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education, in coordination with other government agencies, shall be tasked to implement the provisions of the bill.

Trillanes said the measure will complement President Benigno Aquino III’s Executive Order No. 26 that aims to mobilize students and government workers to plant 1.5 billion trees over a period of six years, from 2011 to 2016.

The man named JV Ejercito

San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor (JV)  Ejercito is an epitome of an excellent young public servant, always concerned with the interest of his compatriots, over and above his personal political career. His phenomenal governance as Mayor of San Juan for nine years, along with his conviction to make a difference in the lives of the masses has shown a new type of public servant.

Since he assumed the public spotlight, JV believes that he is called upon to serve and make a positive difference in the lives of the Filipino masses, especially on the youth. His JV Ejercito Scholarship Foundation has already benefited 1,000 college scholars as of this writing. He also helped in addressing the health problem of his constituents in San Juan by distributing Medicare para sa Masa (Philhealth Insurance) and the San Juan Health Card. Along with various youth organizations, JV is tirelessly helping the youth in their pursuit for a better future.

Under JV’s leadership, San Juan had emerged triumphant amidst the economic and political crises besetting the nation. To date, San Juan has the lowest poverty incidence of 2.92% as stated by the National Statistics Coordinating Body, achieved a 200% increase in its revenue in merely four years, and recognized by the Commission on Audit as the best fiscally-managed municipality in the entire country. Despite being in the opposition, and not having received a single centavo or project from the current administration, San Juan likewise emerged as the country’s Most Progressive Municipality in 2006 as adjudged by the Commission on Audit. This is a feat which shows that JV has excelled as a good local executive, while being active in fighting for his principles by being part of different mass actions about various national issues. Because of JV’s sound financial management, San Juan is the only local government unit in the country to be given a AA credit rating by the Local Government Unit Guaranty Corporation, the highest rating among the local government units. Against all odds, JV emerged as one of the best, if not the best performing local chief executive as he spearheads San Juan’s “economic boom”.

JV, also as a successful “entrepinoy”, had managed to draw in local and foreign investors in San Juan. Thus, San Juan now is also known as the “Tiangge Capital,” generating a hefty tourist and merchandizing market that created an opportunity for more jobs for the people of San Juan and nearby towns. After introducing innovations thru computerization and making San Juan a business friendly community, an estimated P2 Billion worth of investments has poured in since 2001. This goes to show that the business sector in particular has given their full trust and confidence in the leadership of JV. As a result of San Juan’s Economic Miracle, thousands of jobs and opportunities have been given the youth in San Juan.

Now as Congressman of the city’s lone district, JV had elevated San Juan into a new booming city in the metropolis that enhanced his health campaigns by providing affordable medical and hospitalization needs, improving the local education system by establishing an affordable City College and promoting technical and vocational courses which provided livelihood programs, and an on-site housing program to the poorest of the poor in San Juan.

Driven by his idealist and nationalist nature, JV had established the first “Museo ng Katipunan” showcasing the Katipunan artifacts and a diorama that dramatized the “Battle of San Juan Del Monte”, the lone incident that sparked the Philippine Revolution. JV made sure that the San Juan will honor heroes and martyrs by establishing monuments and murals of Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Macario Sakay and now Leandro Alejandro.

If only JV had solely focused on his political directions, he should be called “Senator JV” by now. His strong showing in the pre-election surveys and the dominating victory of the United Opposition in the recently-concluded senatorial elections, among others, manifested a most likely resounding victory for “Senator JV”. But JV is not a man for himself. He gave way so that the opposition would be united and have a bigger chance of winning in the election. He sacrificed his personal ambition for the good of his party. JV Ejercito is a man driven by conviction, not by ambition.

JV has become not only a politician but a unique public servant that continues to inspire the Filipino youth to serve our country with honor and dedication. JV belongs to the new breed of public servants that puts the interest of the country above self. JV had been continuously upholding the principles of “bayan muna bago ang sarili” which makes him truly “A Man for Others.”

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