Saturday, July 26, 2008

SC: Dual citizens can’t run, hold elective posts

Affirms Comelec vs Fil-Am village chairman

By Tetch Torres

MANILA, Philippines -- The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that only exclusively Filipino citizens can run and occupy elective public positions as it affirmed a Commission on Elections (Comelec) decision voiding the election of a barangay (village) captain in an Iloilo town who also holds American citizenship.

“A Filipino-American or any dual citizen cannot run for any elective public position in the Philippines unless he or she personally swears to a renunciation of all foreign citizenship at the time of filing the certificate of candidacy," the seven-page en banc resolution high court penned by Associate Justice Ruben T. Reyes said.

The decision rejected the petition of dual citizen Eugenio Lopez seeking to reverse the Comelec’s decision voiding his election as chairman of Barangay Bagacay, San Dionisio town, which he ran for and won last October 29.

Lopez’ qualifications to be barangay chairman were contested by Tessie Villanueva. He defended himself saying he holds dual citizenship under Republic Act. No. 9225, or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.

However, high court said that, while the law allows one to reacquire Filipino citizenship, it also provides that anyone seeking elective public office should first "make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer."

Thus, even if Lopez won the elections, took his oath of office and began to discharge the functions of barangay chairman, "his victory can not cure the defect of his candidacy," the tribunal ruled.

"Garnering the most number of votes does not validate the election of a disqualified candidate because the application of the constitutional and statutory provisions on disqualification is not a matter of popularity," the high court said.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Magna Carta for Poor gets solons’ nod

By Maila Ager -

MANILA, Philippines -- A bill proposing Magna Carta for the Poor has been approved by a joint panel at the House of Representatives.

The committees on poverty alleviation, and on people’s participation jointly passed the measure aimed at reducing the number of “extremely” poor Filipinos and help them become economically empowered.

The bill, a substitute for four bills, also seeks to strengthen several social service programs for the underprivileged in order to protect and promote their rights to a decent life.

“For one, it aims to enhance the poor's right to employment by giving them preferential access to employment openings in private enterprises as well as in government programs and projects,” a statement from the House said Monday.

“Further, it seeks to create an Office of Employment Opportunities,” it said.

The proposed legislation, likewise, seeks to enhance the poor's right to food by giving them food or of food assistance/subsidy to help them in their survival.

It also seeks to strengthen the right to free quality education of underprivileged Filipinos by providing them access to quality education at the college level, and expanding the study-now-pay-later plans in state colleges and universities.

In terms of shelter for the poor, the bill proposes the implementation of a housing scheme to provide decent facilities to the poor with the least financial burden.

The bill further seeks to strengthen health and medical services for the poor through a system of free delivery of health services and medicines.

Decline in Philippine unionism alarms labor leaders

By Margaux Ortiz Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- Pervasive contractualization and casualization of employment have weakened unionism among workers in the country and have left workers vulnerable to union-busting company owners.

This is according to an official of the National Union of Workers in the Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Industries (NUWHRAI), who said that the prevalence of labor contractualization has been contributing to the significant reduction of legitimate labor organizations.

“Workers' engagement in intermittent and short-term employment affects, not only their ability to earn livelihood, but also their productivity and quality of work,” Daniel Edralin, NUWHRAI secretary general, said.

Edralin added that less unionism "rendered workers' right to security of tenure meaningless.”

Edralin explained that with severely depleted memberships, unions have been finding it difficult to repel the union-busting actions and schemes of their employers.

“Consequently, the number of legitimate labor organizations continues to decline,” he said.

Edralin added that there has been a decrease in establishments with collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).

He said that based on government data, the number of legitimate labor organizations presently number to 17,021, with a membership of 1,918,000.

“This is insignificant when one considers that we have 783,065 establishments with a total workforce of 33,695,000 in the Philippines today,” Edralin pointed out.

He added that of the 17,021 establishments with legitimate labor organizations, only 1,542 legitimate labor organizations were able to secure CBAs in 2007.

Edralin pointed out that this decreased from 1,670 in 2006.

“This insignificant number of CBAs benefited only 218,000 workers, a reduction from the 236,000 workers in 2006—both far below our total 33 million workforce,” he said.

Edralin disclosed that in the 1990s, around 550,000 workers were covered by these agreements.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

1-M trabaho para sa mahihirap

MILYUN-MILYONG mga unskilled workers, magsasaka at mga walang trabaho ang mabibiyayaan ng bagong trabaho at mas mabuting kabuhayan dahil sa karagdagan pang employment generation program sa taong na nilalayong maibsan ang kahirapan at gutom sa mga maralita, ayon sa National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).

Ayon kay NAPC Secretary Domingo F. Panganiban, nilalayon ng Arroyo government na magkaloob ng mahigit 860,000 mga bagong trabaho para sa mga mahihirap sa pamamagitan ng microfinance services, skills training at coconut intercropping programs may may 50 lalawigan at National Capital Region (NCR).

“We will concentrate the bulk of our jobs and livelihood generation programs in areas that have the highest levels of hunger and poverty,” ayon kay Panganiban.

Nabatid sa National Nutrition Council (NNC), inaasahang aabot sa 430,000 ang mabibigyan ng trabaho bago matapos ang 2008 mula sa microfinance at Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) program nito.

“In addition, we will afford some 332,505 underprivileged folk better livelihood opportunities through the skills and vocational training programs of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and various other community-based training programs,” ayon sa kanya.

Mabibigay aniya ang pamahalaan ng karagdagang kabuhayan at pagkakakitaan sa 67,023 sa magsasaka ng niyog sa pamamagitan ng coconut intercropping program ng Department of Agriculture (DA) habang may 37,583 manggagawa ang kukunin para sa public irrigation at roadside maintenance projects.

Nabatid na prayoridad sa anti-hunger program ng pamahalaan ang Apayao, Mountain Province , Kalinga, Masbate, Camarines Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Norte, Sarangani, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Maguindanao, Surigao del Sur, Tawi-tawi, Northern Samar at NCR. JOurnal online

Monday, July 21, 2008

Heads to roll in drive vs car smugglers

THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) will investigate the surprising increase in registration of motor vehicles in port cities which have been tagged as new car smuggling havens.

LTO chief Alberto Suansing said that his office will leave no stone unturned in the war against smuggling. “If heads are to roll, then so be it, “ he warned amid reports that LTO personnel are in cahoots with car smugglers.

Suansing also said he will instruct LTO personnel to coordinate with the Bureau of Customs-Intelligence and Enforcement Group (BOC-IEG) to find a solution to shut down the new car smuggling hotspots. He added that the new modus operandi of car smugglers -- that of shifting areas of operation -- does not guarantee these criminals are safe.

“Eventually, the long arm of the law will catch up with them and we shall not allow these criminals to make a mockery of the government’s efforts to curb smuggling,” he added.

Suansing was quick to note that the government is actually gaining in the fight against smuggling. He cited the fact that the LTO also has an existing interconnectivity agreement with the Bureau of Customs whereby imported vehicles will not be able to register with the LTO unless the proper duties and taxes have been paid.

With the interconnectivity system in place, certificates of payment from the BOC shall be electronically transmitted to the LTO, eliminating opportunities for fraudulent activities pertaining to the importation of vehicles. The system has undergone thorough testing and implementation and is expected to take effect next month.

The land transport chief stressed that the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (Amcham) has lauded governmen efforts to curb the illegal entry of used cars that resulted in the growth in sales of motor vehicles in the country. Amcham said that in the first four months of 2008, auto sales in the country reached nearly 40,000 units. Total industry sales in 2007 were 117,903 units compared with 99,541 units in 2006, an 18.4 percent growth in sales volume. Suansing also hinted that the LTO might actively participate in the RATS (Run After The Smugglers) program of the government.

“With a more coordinated thrust amongst all the concerned line agencies, the public can be assured that the government will win this fight,” Suansing said.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

‘Flawed’ Customs system allows car smuggling--Escudero

By Veronica Uy
MANILA, Philippines -- The Bureau of Customs system allowing the use of one certificate of payment (CP) for a batch of car importation has resulted the smuggling of between 8,000 to 13,000 vehicles into the country, Senator Francis Escudero said Wednesday.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means, gave this estimate of the number of vehicles that may be running around the country with questionable papers outside an ongoing Senate hearing on smuggling.

At the hearing, Customs commissioner Napoleon Morales said that the single CP for a batch of car imports is given only to members of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi).

The rest of the importing public must follow the one car-one CP rule.

But Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile, chairman of the Senate finance committee, said the rule of issuing one CP for one vehicle should be followed because allowing exceptions would facilitate smuggling.

But Morales said the exemption from the rule for Campi members was initiated by his predecessor, Alexander Arevalo.

Escudero said one CP-one batch system has made the P3-billion computerization program of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), which compiles a database of all registered vehicles, useless.

"The P3-billion LTO computerization project is useless because, as they say, garbage in, garbage out…Right now, our traffic enforcers are taking their chances with the vehicles they apprehend when they see that the registration numbers do not seem to match the model of the vehicle," Escudero said.

"Both the check valves at the Customs and the LTO are not working," he added.

During the hearing, Roberto Valera of the LTO admitted the database does not reflect vehicles issued certificates of registration or official receipts (CR/OR).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

OFW home

The OFWs arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 3 p.m. on board Etihad Airlines flight EY428 from Abu Dhabi.

Aside from Marcos, those who were repatriated were Annabel Cernal, 38, of Las Piñas; Zenaida Calanda, 34, of Davao City; Nomeria Gandingan, 34, Zamboanga, Sibugay Province; Cheryl Marie Cabuata, 28, Solano, Nueva Ecija; Ma. Magdalena Mendoza, 45, of Quezon City; Rose Ann Tagalog, 19, San Pablo City, Laguna; Almie Salcedo, 22, of Cotabato City; Maricel Hermosa, 26 and Michelle Operania, 26, both of Olongapo City; Maricel Triste, 26, of Tarlac; Marianne Sabado, 30, of Quezon City; Dolly Ortouste, 28, of Zamboanga City and Eulie Seterra, 31, of Makati City, Juna Arabes, 40, of Misamis Occidental; Wenna Bacasmot, 42, of Pasig City; Rowena Gonzales, 25, of Tarlac City; Edna Guintibano, 27, of Negros Occidental; Lucielyn Dizon, 34, of Quezon City and Noraima Abidin, 23, of Maguindanao.

Four of them were raped and forced into prostitution.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Naglipanang Bumbay sa bansa iimbestigahan ni Miriam

KAKALKALIN na rin ng Mataas na Kapulungan ng Kongreso ang paglipana ng mga turistang Bumbay sa bansa.

Ayon kay Senador Miriam Defensor Santiago, nais niyang paimbestigahan sa kinauukulang komite sa Senado ang ang ilegal na pagdagsa ng mga turistang Bumbay sa bansa na patuloy na dumarami ang bilang.

Nakasaad sa Senate Resolution 431 ni Santiago na iniulat ng Bureau of Immigration (BoI) na nasa 5,000 Indian tourist ang “unaccounted” na nakapasok sa bansa sa pagitan ng 2005 hanggang 2007.

May discrepancy umano sa bilang ng visas na ipina-labas ng Department of Foreign Affairs sa nasabing panahon at sa aktuwal na Indian tourist na pumasok sa bansa.

“There is a discrepancy between the number of visas issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) during the period and the number of Indian tourists who actually entered the country,” ani Santiago sa kanyang resolusyon.

Sinabi ni BoI Commissioner Marcelino Libanan, nasa 39,495 ang ipinalabas na tourist visas ng DFA sa mga Indian nationals sa pagitan ng 2005 hanggang 2007, pero base sa records, may 44,295 Indian tourists ang nakapasok sa Pilipinas.

Hindi malaman kung saan nanggaling ang visas ng nasa 4,800 Indians na nakapasok din sa bansa.

Aabot umano sa Pl2 million buwis para sa 2,500 per tourist visa ang nawala sa gobyerno dahil sa mga ilegal na turistang Bumbay.

Ayon kay Santiago, maliwanag na dapat pang pag-igtingin ng immigration ang kanilang rules and regulations upang maayos na ma-monitor ang mga du-magdang turista sa Pilipinas. By: Marlon Purificacion - Journal online

Holiday pay rules

LABOR Secretary Marianito Roque has advised all employers in the private sector to follow the holiday pay rules for tomorrow, June 9, a holiday.

President Macapagal-Arroyo, through Presidential Proclamation No. 1463 issued on Feb. 18 this year, moved the celebration of Independence Day to June 9 from June 12 to give employees a long weekend.

Under the pay rules, if the holiday falls on an employee’s regular workday and is unworked, he or she should be paid 100 percent of his or her regular salary for that day.

If the day is worked, 200 percent of the regular daily rate shall apply on the first eight hours plus 30% of the hourly rate if it is in excess of eight hours.

If the day falls on an employee’s rest day and is unworked, 100 percent of the regular daily rate shall apply.

If the day is worked, plus 30% of 200% shall apply on the first eight hours, and plus 30% of the hourly rate in excess of 8 hours. By: Efren Montano - Journal online

Magulang na papayag mamalimos, mag-prostitute ang anak, kulong

Magulang na papayag mamalimos, mag-prostitute ang anak, kulong ng 12 taon

INIHAIN sa Kamara ang isang panukalang batas na naglalayong ipakulong ng 12 taon ang mga magulang, foster parents o guardians na pumapa-yag na mamalimos at pumasok sa prostitusyon ang kanilang mga anak.

Sa ilalim ng House Bill (HB) No. 300 ni Manila Rep.Jaime Lopez ipinaliwanag nitong hindi layunin ng panukala na gawing labag sa batas ang pagi-ging mahirap kundi pakay lamang na mabawasan kung hindi man ganap na matigil ang pang-aabuso sa mga bata.

Papatawan ng anim na buwan hanggang anim na taong pagkakabilanggo ang sinomang mapapatunayang gagamit sa mga bata na 12 taong pataas habang 12 taong pagkakakulong naman kung 12 anyos pababa ang biktimang bata.

“Parents, adopters, guardians or persons exercising special or substitute parental authority over the child who shall use, coerce, intimidate, or force their children to beg or engage in prostitution shall suffer the penalty of prison correctional,” anang panukala.

Sa kasalukuyan, kabilang sa mga umiiral na batas ang International Declaration of the Rights of the Child na nagkakaloob ng espesyal na proteksiyon laban sa pang-aabuso sa mga bata, exploitation at diskriminasyon. Nanindigan naman si Lopez na ang mga magulang ang pa-ngunahing dahilan kung bakit hindi nagiging epektibo ang mga umiiral na batas dahil pinababayaan ng mga ito ang kanilang legal at moral na obligas-yon na ilayo ang mga bata sa kalsada upang mama-limos para tugunan ang pangangailangan ng pamilya.

Idinagdag nito ang pahayag na: “The pa-rents who defaults on his or her responsibility to the child by allowing the child to beg or engage in the sex trade or the illegal undertaking should not be condoned by society.” Ryan Ponce Pacpaco - Journal online

Sunday, May 18, 2008

7 killed at height of 'Cosme'--gov’t reports

It was the so-called calm before the storm.

Northern and Central Luzon experienced moderate rains and wind on Saturday afternoon as tropical storm "Cosme" (international code name Halong) hovered over these regions. But by Saturday night through Sunday, Cosme's wrath was felt in Zambales, Pangasinan, Benguet, La Union and the Ilocos provinces.

Seven people reportedly died in Pangasinan, Dagupan City and La Union during Cosme's onslaught on Saturday night, while two other children swept away by floods in Dagupan City were still missing as of Sunday.

Power supply was cut off in several areas in Central and Northern Luzon on Saturday as trees fell on power lines in Pangasinan, Benguet and Zambales. Power supply had yet to be restored in most of these provinces as of Sunday afternoon.

Several roads in Benguet were closed as landslides hit these areas.

Thousands of families were left homeless in Pangasinan and Zambales as strong winds and waves battered coastal communities.

Reports reaching the provincial disaster coordinating council (PDCC) in Pangasinan said two persons died in Bugallon town, while another died in San Fabian town.

Lourdes Soriano, 72, was hit by a galvanized iron sheet blown off by strong winds in Bugallon town. The other victim, Cesario basi, died after a coconut tree fell on his house on Saturday night.

A 36-year-old man, identified only as Pascual, was pinned by a fallen mango tree in Barangay Bolasi in San Fabian town.

In Dagupan City, Supt. Dionicio Borromeo, police chief, said the body of two-year-old Miguel Poserio was found floating along Tanap River at Catacdang Bonuan on Sunday. However, his two brothers, three-year-old Randyl and four-year-old Rodyl, were still missing as of Sunday. Their mother said the three boys disappeared Saturday night.

Dr. Anthony Golez, deputy administrator of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), told reporters Sunday afternoon that the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) received field reports that three persons were killed in La Union. The NDCC, he said, was still confirming the La Union deaths.

The victims were said to have died of electrocution and trauma injuries sustained after being hit by flying GI sheets and fallen trees, said Golez who is concurrently a Malacañang deputy spokesperson.

"Zambales and Pangasinan were the hardest hit by the typhoon," Golez said.

In Central Luzon, strong winds accompanying Cosme damaged 7,000 houses in Sta. Cruz, Zambales, on Saturday night, Gov. Amor Deloso told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Sunday.

"The winds were strong. They were like ipo-ipo (tornado)," he said when reached by phone while inspecting the damage in the town at past 10 a.m.

The number of damaged houses accounted for 80 percent of total houses in Sta. Cruz, he said.

The Zambales provincial government opened three evacuation centers in public schools in villages Malabago and Gama, and at the Sta. Cruz Academy at the town proper.

More than 500 families or about 3,000 people living near the shores of the South China Sea in the town sought refuge there on Saturday afternoon, he said.

The rest of the affected families chose to stay in their damaged houses, he added.

Deloso said the municipal board in Sta. Cruz would meet in an emergency session on Sunday to declare the town under a state of calamity so the town and provincial governments can use portions of their calamity funds for the reconstruction of houses.

At least 23 houses in a resettlement site in Barangay Cawag in Subic town were damaged as heavy rains and strong winds pounded the area on Saturday. Reports said most of the houses had cracked walls and floors.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Luzon said floods hit villages in Botolan, San Antonio and Iba towns, all in Zambales.

Reports from the Bulacan PDCC on Sunday said there was no report of flooding or typhoon-related casualty in the province's 21 towns and three cities.

On Sunday, major roads in Pangasinan were littered with galvanized iron sheets from blown off rooftops, fallen trees and electric posts and other debris.

"We did not expect the typhoon was this strong," said Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr.

"We can see the devastation but we cannot quantify yet the damage because our local officials are still in the process of assessing the damages in their own towns," he said.

Power went off early Saturday night as Cosme unleashed strong winds and dumped strong rains. Telephone lines also went down after trees fell on electric and telephone lines.

Several families were reported to have been evacuated in Lingayen, Calasiao and Manaoag towns, and San Carlos City.

Espino has ordered clearing operation in major roads in the province to ease the flow of traffic.

Espino said worst hit by 'Cosme' were western and central Pangasinan towns. He said he recommended to the provincial board the declaration of the province under a state of calamity.

In Dagupan City, city administrator Alvin Fernandez said the city took a heavy blow from "Cosme."

"Dagupan City was badly hit but at the moment we cannot assess yet the damage to property for the very reason that it's massive," Fernandez said.

"The truth is that we are prepared for a calamity but not for this type… which was unexpected," he said.

At the Dagupan City Jail, inmates took advantage of the typhoon and the power failure Saturday night and engaged in a riot at 7 p.m. Three inmates escaped during the melee.

But a report at the provincial disaster coordinating council here said one inmate was rearrested.

Fernandez said Dagupan City would be declared under a state of calamity.

"It is just formality. Everyone already sees that we are already in a state of calamity. The fish pens, the crops are all destroyed. Most of the houses, especially those made of light materials, have been damaged," he said.

Bangus (milkfish) pens and ponds in the city also overflowed, allowing bangus to escape to the Lingayen Gulf.

As result, bangus prices went down from a range of P75 to P80 a kilogram to P25 a kg.

Several hardware stores in Calasiao, Pangasinan, ran out of supplies, especially nails, as many residents started rebuilding their damaged houses on Sunday.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Sunday inspected the typhoon damage in Pangasinan.

In Benguet, landslides that hit the province's interior roads led provincial disaster relief officials scrambling for loaders to clear blocked roads.

Cosme's continuous rains closed several provincial roads but several private contractors sent their equipment to clear these roads.

As of 11 a.m. Sunday, the following areas were closed to traffic: Guiset-Ambuklao-Guirrel in Kabayan and Bokod towns, Dalupirip and Twin River in Itogon town, Kennon Road in Tuba and Palew in Tublay.

The Barangay Pakpakitan section of the Halsema Highway in Buguias town was closed but Gov. Nestor Fongwan immediately sent a loader there to clear the area.

Fongwan said more loaders would be needed to clear landslide-hit sections of the 84-km Halsema Highway. The province has only two loaders and a bulldozer.

The highway passes through the major vegetable producing towns of La Trinidad, Tublay, Atok, Buguias and Kibungan in Benguet and Bauko in Mt. Province.

Fongwan allayed fears of lack of vegetable supply since the Halsema Highway along Atok, Tublay and Kibungan towns were open. He said the typhoon struck on Saturday and Sunday when there was no trading.

Two families in Barangay Alno in La Trinidad town escaped death when their houses were destroyed as Cosme crossed the province on Saturday night.

Juanna Banawe, provincial social welfare officer, said Waldo Manuel's house was crushed by rolling boulders while Daniel Aquino's family was able to move out before a strong current swept their house.

At least 21 houses in Sitios Toll Gate, Kiangan, Mill Site, Power and Green Valley in Barangay Camp 6 along Kennon Road were damaged by landslides.

Atok Mayor Concepcion Balao provided comic relief at the provincial disaster coordinating council center at the provincial capitol when she declared that classes in her town would be suspended.

She retracted the announcement after she realized schools were still closed for the summer break.

Roads leading to Ifugao and Mt. Province were closed due to several landslides.

Only Kennon Road, however, was closed among the major routes to and from Baguio City, reports from the Office of Civil Defense in the Cordillera said.

The OCD said two minor landslides were reported along Kennon Road but the agency ordered the road's closure as a "preventive measure."

The Nueva Vizcaya–Ifugao–Mt. Province road, Banaue-Hungduan road and Banaue-Mayoyao road were closed to traffic. Clearing operations started on Sunday.

In Baguio City, the OCD reported only two typhoon-related injuries in the city. A car passing by Bakakeng Road was lucky to miss a tree falling although Harvey Sevilla, 23, was hurt as a branch hit him.

Roger Damaso, 28, was also hit by a fallen branch while walking along a road in Barangay Camp 8. Both are now at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

A house near the Dontogan Elementary School was covered by a landslide but the five family members living there were unhurt.

OCD reports showed that rainfall measured 206.86 millimeters on Sunday.

"The storm was not so strong but the rains were hard," an OCD official said.

The National Transmission Corp. (Transco) ordered half a meter opened in Ambuklao's gate valves to release excess water, but the firm had not been able to update OCD abut the water level at the dam on Sunday morning. Reports from Gabriel Cardinoza, Yolanda Sotelo-Fuertes, Delmar Cariño, Frank Cimatu and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; and Tonette Orejas, Carmela Reyes and Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon; Nikko Dizon, Inquirer in Manila

= = =

Zambales, Pangasinan worst hit by 'Cosme' - NDCC

Zambales and Pangasinan are the provinces hit hardest by tropical storm "Cosme," according to the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC).

Anthony Golez Jr, NDCC deputy administrator said at least two people were reported injured in Baguio City, while several road networks were disrupted due to trees that felled by the storm, which is forecast to exit Philippine territory by Tuesday.

"So far, Zambales at Pangasinan ang may pinakamatinding pinsala (So far
Zambales and Pangasinan have been hit hardest)," Golez said in an interview on dzBB radio.

The Health department has ordered local medical teams to make sure epidemics do not break out in evacuation centers, according to Golez.

The health teams have instructions also to make sure children do not catch diseases while in evacuation centers.

Golez said Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr ordered the release of rice to families in areas affected by the storm.

As this developed, dzBB radio quoted a report from the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council saying that it might take a month before electric power in Pangasinan is restored.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said "Cosme" continues to weaken while traversing the mountainous terrain of Northern Luzon.

It said that as of 10 a.m., "Cosme" was 30 kilometers (km) east of Tuguegarao City, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph.

"Cosme" was moving northeast at 19 kph and was expected to continue to cross Northern Luzon Sunday.

By Monday morning it was expected to be 370 km east-northeast of Aparri, Cagayan or at 330 km east-southeast of Basco, Batanes.

On Tuesday morning it is expected to be 1,030 km northeast of Basco, Batanes or at 440 kms east-southeast of Okinawa, Japan or outside the Philippine area of responsibility.

Under Storm Signal No. 2 are Batanes, Cagayan, Babuyan, and Isabela.

Under Storm Signal 1 are Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Apayao, Kalinga, Abra, Mountain Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Quirino, Benguet, Pangasinan and La Union.

"Cosme" will continue to enhance the southwest monsoon and bring occasional rains over Southern Luzon and Western Visayas.

Residents in low-lying areas and near mountain slopes were advised to take all the necessary precautions against possible flash floods and landslides.

Residents along the coastal areas of Western Luzon and Western Visayas were also alerted by Pagasa against big waves. - GMANews.TV

= = =

'Cosme' ravages Zambales town; 7,000 families homeless

Tropical storm "Cosme" has ravaged Sta. Cruz town in Zambales province, leaving about 7,000 families in the area homeless, according to Governor Ramon B. Lacbain

In an interview with radio dzBB on Sunday, Lacbain appealed for help for the residents of Sta. Cruz, after the storm wrecked an estimated 75 to 85 percent of the homes there.

As of posting time, there were only about 500 people who were evacuated to safer places, according to Lacbain. "Kagabi lang nag-evacuate kasi malalim ang tubig (We were able to evacuated them just last night because the water was deep)."

Santa Cruz, a second class municipality, has a population of 49,269 people in 9,754 households, based on the 2000 census. - GMANews.TV

How stolen vehicles are given new LTO papers

A FULL-BLAST investigation conducted by the Philippine National Police Traffic Management Group with the support of the Land Transportation Office enabled officials to find out how stolen motor vehicles are being sold in the local market complete with LTO registration papers.

“We have identified a number of LTO officials and men who appear to be liable in the anomalous registration schemes concerning stolen motor vehicles in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” said Chief Inspector Joseph Q. Orsos, head of the PNP-TMG Legal Service.

Orsos furnished the Journal Group copies of their investigation report on some of the LTO officers and men. The investigation was conducted with the help of LTO chief Alberto Suansing and his Legal and Internal Affairs Task Force.

He cited the case of former Tagbilaran City LTO district head Gavino L. Paden and verifier/encoder A.G. Petarco. In a report to TMG director, Chief Superintendent Perfecto P. Palad, Orsos said the two appear to be liable for anomalous registration when they allowed the transfer of registration of two Mitsubishi Adventures with license plates AHB-423 and AHE-415 which are supposed to have originated in Cordillera Administrative Region-LTO wherein in fact no confirmation was made in any district office of the Cordillera LTO.

Orsos said their verification from the Cordillera LTO showed that the motor vehicle file numbers used as their basis for the transfer of registration were for jitney and motorcycle as pointed out by Cordillera LTO officials.

The Adventure with plate no. AHB-423 was found out to be truly owned by one Concepcion Ramos and with original plate no. TVV-747. he said. The vehicle was stolen on June 19, 2001.

On the other hand, the Adventure with plate no. AHE-415 turned out to be owned by one Lorenzo Sibayan with original plate no. WSX-464. The vehicle was stolen in Sikatuna Village, Q.C., on June 7, 2001.

Orsos said that on the case of former Tarlac City LTO district head Luciano L. Llanillo and verifier/encoder L.S. de Vera, they appear to be liable for anomalous registration when they allowed the original registration of two motor vehicles-a Honda CRV with plate no. CSP-216 and a Mitsubishi Pajero with plate no. CSN-898-wherein the registration papers were issued even before the supposed ‘owners’ acquired the same.

Orsos said it turned out that the Confirmation Certificates were issued ahead of the Sales Invoices in that particular case at the Tarlac City LTO office.

He said that the Honda CRV turned out to be owned by Jean Pierre Tuazon of Mandaluyong City who lost his car with original plate no. FES-559 to heavily-armed car thieves in Pasig City on May 15, 2002. On the other hand, the Pajero was found to be owned by one Manolito Natividad who reported that the SUV with plate no. YOU-888 was stolen by car thieves along Herrera St. in Makati City on April 27, 2002.

The case of LTO Bislig district head in Surigao del Sur, Bedula R. Lipoles also involved the anomalous registration of a Toyota Fortuner, said Orsos. The TMG lawyer said that Lipoles allowed the original registration of the Fortuner with plate no. LMG-164 under the name of one Edmundo Pang Sr., wherein the supporting documents made it appear that the subject vehicle was imported but without any certificate of payment or listing from the Bureau of Customs.

Orsos said they also doubted if the LTO district in Bislig was allowed to originally register an imported motor vehicle as this is allowed only in certain districts of LTO in Regions 3,7 and National Capital Region. The subject vehicle recovered from the possession of professional basketball player Lordy Tugade was found to be the real property of Jose Marcial Villanueva with original plate no. VDZ-615. The SUV was stolen while parked in Araneta Avenue, Q.C. on Dec. 6, 2006.

There was also the case of an Isuzu Crosswind Wagon with plate no. XEA-609 owned by one Edgardo Grafilo that was stolen while parked in front of a hotel in Quezon Avenue, Q.C. on Nov. 28, 2002.

Orsos said that on Sept. 3, 2007, the vehicle already sporting the plate no. JBM-685 was intercepted by TMG agents in Dumaguete City while being driven by one Sylvia Sy Uymatiao. He said that the Crosswind was established to be the very vehicle of Grafilo upon expert or macro-etching examination which revealed that the chassis and enginenumbers are already tampered and that the restored numbers corresponded to Grafilo’s vehicle.

Orsos said they discovered that the wagon was registered at the Cebu City LTO under the name of one John L. Cabanes using the spurious file number of the Danao City LTO. Orsos said the same Cebu City LTO under Ms. Anita Pulga is being investigated for the anomalous registration of motor vehicles with plate numbers UMJ-979, LMA-667 and YOK-182. By: Alfred P. Dalizon - Journal online

Friday, May 02, 2008

10% wage hike to gov’t workers

Arroyo signs order granting 10% wage hike to gov’t workers

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez,

MANILA, Philippines -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed the executive order granting a 10 percent wage increase to all government workers, her spokesman said Thursday.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bune made the announcement Thursday, Labor Day.

The increase, expected to benefit 898,848 national government employees, will cost P9.216 billion, the budget department said.

Meanwhile the adjustment for the 297,905 soldiers, policemen, firemen, jail guards, and Coast Guard personnel will cost the government P2.84 billion, it said.

Senate OKs working students bill on second reading

By Veronica Uy -

MANILA, Philippines -- The Senate earlier this week passed on second reading a bill allowing, among others, more companies to hire working students and for working students to earn credits while working.

Senate Bill 2116, which seeks to amend the Special Program for the Employment of Students 16 years after its initial passage, was sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, chairman of the labor committee.

In his sponsorship speech, Estrada said SPES was originally set up in 1992 by Republic Act 7323 to encourage poor students to pursue their education through employment -- during summer and Christmas vacations for high school students and throughout the year for those in college or vocational schools.

He said some 984,840 students have benefited under SPES since 1995.

Under the system, SPES-registered employers pay 60 percent of the salaries of SPES-certified poor students in cash, while the government issues education vouchers worth 40 percent of their salaries to pay for tuition and book expenses. It is open to Filipinos between 15 and 25 years old.

The bill is expected to pass third reading next Tuesday, as no senator introduced any changes.

The Senate approved the following amendments to the current law:
• Change the requirement for companies that seek to qualify under SPES from having 50 employees down to 16;
• Grant academic credits to students employed in activities related to their courses;
• Require employers to inform student-workers of their rights, benefits, and privileges under existing laws and company policies;
• Penalize persons or entities who refuse or dishonor educational vouchers by the government; and
• Remove threshold amount (formerly pegged at P36,000) for maximum family income requirement.

"They earn and learn system of SPES has been extremely helpful in assisting poor but deserving students finance their education and open opportunities for employment. It also develops the productive work ethic of our young working students," Estrada said in a statement.

Citing statistics provided by labor regional offices, SPES has benefited in 2006 alone more than 60,000 students who were employed in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, electronics, and other industries all over the country.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CSC, nagbabala sa public officials na iwasang magtungo sa casino

PINAALALAHANAN ng Civil Service Commission (CSC) ang mga government official na iwasang magtungo sa mga casino dahil ipinagbabawal ito sa ilalim ng isang executive policy.

Ang Memorandum Circular No. 8 , na ipinalabas noong Agosto 2001, ay ipinagbabawal ang lahat ng public officials na may direktang kaugnayan sa operasyon ng pamahalaan , maliban sa mga tauhan sa casino, na pumasok o magsugal sa casino.

Ipinagbabawal din sa ilalim ng circular ang mga miyembro ng Philippine National Police (PNP) at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), kabilang ang Army , Navy at Air Force.

Binigyang-diin din ng CSC na ang Republic Act No. 6713, na lalong kilala na Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, na dapat na sundin ng lahat ng government employees ang ethical standards sa kanilang pro-pesyonal , gayundin sa kanilang personal na pamumuhay.

Dahil dito, nananawagan ang CSC sa publiko na maging alerto at i-report ang mga lumalabag sa Memorandum Circular No. 8 at Republic Act No.6713 .

I-report sa Mamamayan Muna Action Center hotline sa 932-0111 o magpadala ng mensahe sa 0917-TEXTCSC (0917-839-8272). Journal online

16 senators now back Pimentel's shift to federalism

Four more senators expressed support for Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr.'s resolution to convene Congress into a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution to adopt a federal system of government.

Pimentel said this brings to 16 the number of senators supporting Senate Resolution No. 10.

The four news supporters of Pimentel’s proposal are Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Loren Legarda, Manuel "Lito" Lapid, and Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

They joined Senators Edgardo Angara, Rodolfo Biazon, Pia Cayetano, Juan Ponce Enrile, Francis Escudero, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Francis Pangilinan, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Manuel Villar, who had signed Pimentel’s resolution earlier.

Pangilinan said his only two reservations are that the system be adopted after 2010, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is out of power, and that a constitutional convention instead of a constituent assembly be authorized to draft the Charter changes.

Under a federal form of government, Pimentel said, senators will be elected by federal states and not at large nationwide. Members of the House of Representatives will continue to be elected by legislative districts, he added.

The resolution calls for the election of six senators in each of the 11 component federal states that are envisioned to be created. Nine other senators will be elected to represent the Filipinos overseas. This will expand the membership of the Senate from the current 24 members to 75.

On the other hand, the members of the House of Representatives will be elected by district but limited to a maximum of 350.

The resolution provides that the senators will serve for a term of six years and congressmen, three years. The senators will be limited to two terms and congressmen, four terms.

Pimentel said his proposed mode of electing senators will considerably lessen the cost of elections and keep election victors from resorting to corruption to recover campaign expenses and pay off poll-related debts.

By electing senators by federal states, Pimentel said the chronic problem of lack of representation or under-representation of certain regions of the country will be effectively solved.

"This will remove a major cause of social discontent and national disunity. With this scheme, no federal state will complain that they have no voice in the Senate," the senator from Mindanao said.

With a majority of senators signing his resolution, Pimentel said he is confident that the Senate will start deliberations on the proposed federal system as soon as possible.

But Pimentel's hope to start deliberations on his proposal were quickly dashed when the chairman of the committee on constitutional amendments, Senator Richard Gordon, declared on Monday that Charter change is not on his list of priorities.

Gordon said he wanted to concentrate on implementing automated elections in the August 11 Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao elections and other electoral reforms in time for the 2010 presidential elections.

The shift to federalism through a constituent assembly also has yet to gain ground in the House of Representatives although Pimentel claims Speaker Prospero Nograles, who is also from Mindanao, declared support for the federalism proposal.

He added that the former speaker, Pangasinan Representative Jose de Venecia, Jr. who failed in his bid in 2007 to amend the Charter to shift to a parliamentary and unicameral form of government, promised to file a counterpart resolution.

Previously, the Senate strongly opposed De Venecia's campaign for Charter change through people's initiative, which was also supported by Malacañang, since De Venecia's proposal would abolish the Senate.

Pimentel said he was in favor of Charter Change only as a means to pave the way for a federal system of government which he said would "correct the over-concentration of powers" in the national government.

"Apparently, there is some misconception that the adoption of a federal system will mean the phase-out of the presidential form of government and this is causing apprehensions in a lot of people, especially those who intend to run for top government positions in the 2010 elections," the senator said.

"But this is farthest from truth because the presidential set-up will be retained even if we shift to a federal system," he added. by Dona Pazzibugan, Philippine Daily Inquirer

LTO warns owners of configured cars

THE Land Transportation Office-Traffic Safety Division (LTO-TSD) discouraged motorists to configure their vehicles.

Daisy Jacobo, chief of LTO-TSD, said many enterprising Filipinos have illegally configured their units to avoid truck ban and the required specifications mandated by law.

Jacobo said the LTO-Law Enforcement Section indicated that many of the apprehended vehicles were illegally configured.

“Marami ’yung double tires ginagawang single tire. ’Yung iba naman nag- expand ng body lampas sa required na haba at lapad.

Ang madalas na gumagawa ng mga ganito ay ’yung mga truck ng gravel and sand at ibang mga delivery mini trucks” Jacobo said.

Jacobo said once a vehicle was illegally configured it would endanger the lives of the driver as well its rider or passenger, and the vehicle was considered unsafe and no longer roadworthy. By: Jun Icban-Legaspi - Journal online

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Checkpoint guidelines

SEARCHES, seizures and arrests in checkpoints shall be done with civility and with due respect to innocent passersby, commuters or bystanders.

Top “Mamang Pulis,” Director General Avelino I. Razon Jr. said this is just among the guidelines to be followed by his men at checkpoints, as he stressed that the “plain view” doctrine must be followed up at all times.

Under Police Operational Procedures (POP), the establishment of permanent checkpoints must always be authorized by the PNP and manned by uniformed personnel.

The guidelines state that checkpoints may be established when there is a need to arrest a criminal or fugitive from justice. Only mobile checkpoints are authorized and they shall be established only in conjunction with ongoing operations. Only official and marked vehicles shall be used in establishing such road blocks.

Enforcement officers manning the checkpoints shall be in proper uniform at all times with their identification cards and nameplates on; and shall always be led by an officer with the rank of police inspector at least. They shall not mulct, extort or harass drivers, passengers, traders, among others.

In the event that checkpoints/roadblocks are ignored and the motorists/suspects attempt to avoid inspection, the team leader shall immediately contact adjacent units to inform them of the situation and immediately conduct dragnet operations, while those at the checkpoint shall pursue the errant fleeing motorists;

Warning shots shall be discouraged. Megaphones or police sirens shall be used instead during the pursuit.

The plate number of the vehicle shall be noted and given to other units in adjacent areas. In the event that the occupants of the vehicle open fire on the personnel manning the checkpoint, reasonable force to overcome the suspect’s aggression may be employed.

Section 4 of the POP also states that “searches made at check or choke points shall be limited to visual search and neither the vehicle nor the occupants shall be subjected to physical search. An extensive search may be allowed only if the officers conducting the search have probable cause to believe that they would find evidence pertaining to the commission of a crime in the vehicle to be searched and there is no sufficient time to secure a valid warrant.”

Last week, National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Geary L. Barias ordered the investigation of some Manila officers who allegedly conducted an illegal checkpoint near Manila Zoo and terrorized a Filipino-Chinese businessman.

Manila cops reportedly ordered the trader’s driver to open the four doors before thoroughly searching the vehicle. They were allowed to go when the search yielded negative results.

Manila Police District director Chief Supt. Roberto L. Rosales said that through their hi-tech Global Position System (GPS) devices, they have identified six crewmen of three prowl cars who were involved in the incident.

(The PNP urges victims of crime and rogue officers to send their complaints through Isumbong Mo Kay Tsip at 0917-8475757, the Anti-Kotong Text 0927-5151515; PNP TXT 2920, DILG Patrol 117 or e-mail to or By: Alfred P. Dalizon - Journal online

11 senators want Charter change for federal system

By Veronica Uy -
Eleven senators say they want Congress convened into a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution to establish a federal system of government.

"Now, therefore, be it resolved as it is hereby resolved by the Senate with the House of Representatives concurring, upon a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of both Houses voting separately, to convene Congress into a constituent assembly pursuant to Section 1, paragraph 1 of Article XVII of the Constitution, and revise the Constitution for the purpose of adopting a federal system of government that will create 11 States, constitute Metro-Manila as the Federal Administrative Region, and convert the nation into the Federal Republic of the Philippines," Senate Joint Resolution No. 10 said.

The resolution was introduced by Senate President Manuel Villar and Senators Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Edgardo Angara, Rodolfo Biazon, Pia Cayetano, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Francis Escudero, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Francis Pangilinan, and Ramon Revilla Jr.

The 11 senators want to create the following 11 states or centers of finance and development: Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Minparom (Mindoro, Palawan, Romblon), Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and BangsaMoro (Moro Nation).

The resolution noted that "the highly centralized system of government has brought about a spotty development of the nation where preferential treatment has been given to localities whose officials are friendly with or have easy access to an incumbent administration."

"[This] lopsided arrangement has spawned a host of problems including massive nationwide poverty to runaway insurgencies and rebellions that feed on the societal inequalities in the nation," it added.

Pimentel, the principal proponent of the resolution, said going federal would disperse political and economic power and solve many of the country's problems, including the decades-long rebellion in Mindanao.

"The 63-page resolution requires the revision of 14 of the existing 18 Articles of the Constitution and the addition of two new Articles. To use the more picturesque terms of surgeons, the revision requires an invasive surgery into the constitutional structure of our body politic," he said.

Sanitation problems hound RP

THE Water and Sanitation for East Asia of the World Bank yesterday warned that the absence of comfort rooms for 20 million Filipinos could result in illnesses, including schistosomiasis.

SEA-WB specialist Jemima Sy, in a health forum in Quezon City, said the shortage of toilets remains a major concern in the squatters’ colony, “home along da riles” and remote areas.

Studies conducted by SEA-WB showed that parts of East Asia, including the Philippines, are feared to be swamped with illnesses due to sanitation problems.

Sy said schistosomiasis, which usually strikes on children, is already in the country aside from diarrhea, acute gastroenteritis, iron deficiency and malnutrition. Rolando Santiago, sanitation engineer of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control of the Department of Health, said the provinces with the lowest sanitation rate nclude Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Marinduque, Masbate, Zamboanga Sibugay, Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.

Santiago said local government officials should focus on sanitation problems as a gram of human waste is composed of 10 million viruses, a million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 parasite eggs that will become worms that affect children. By: Joel dela Torre - Journal online

Thursday, April 24, 2008

No. of registered motor vehicles: 5.5 million (and counting)

No. of registered motor vehicles: 5.5 million (and counting)

DESPITE the economic uncertainties brought about by soaring prices of crude oil, there is no stopping Filipinos from buying motor vehicles.

In a date released a few weeks ago by the National Statistical Coordiation Board, Filipinos bought more cars, motorcycles and other vehicles despite the hard times.

The total volume of registered motor vehicles hit 5.523 million at the end of the year 2007, which is 191,792 units or 3.6 percent more than the 5.332 million sold in 2006.

The data, culled from the number of vehicles registered at the Land Transportation Office, include all types of vehicles such as cars, utility vehicles (including vans and jeepneys), sports utility vehicles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, tricycles, trailers and others.

The growth in the number of registered vehicles slowed from the 5.8 percent increase registered in 2006, after the Supreme Court affirmed its decision prohibiting the importation of used vehicles last year.

A total of 4.553 million (82 percent) are private vehicles while 886,540 units or 16 percent are for hire. The rest are government and diplomatic units.

Data showed that the volume of newly-registered units grew 9.6 percent to 857,171 in 2007 while renewed permits totaled 4,666 million or a 2.6 percent growth. Journal online

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pacific Spotlight: Rosalito Corillo

Stars and Stripes Pacific edition
Petty Officer 1st Class Rosalito Corilla
Job: Recruiter, Naval Recruiting Processing Station Far East, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan

Pacific readers: Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Call Paul Newell at Stars and Stripes with the person’s name and contact information at DSN 229-3158 or e-mail him at:

Rosalito, if you’re from the Philippines, how did you come to join the Navy?
Under the Philippine National Enlistment Program, which was a special agreement between the U.S. Navy and the Philippines.

Was it difficult to join?
Oh yes. During the time I joined, 600 of us were applying for six U.S. Navy positions. We took the ASVB test, and only 33 of us remained. The same day, we had the English language interview with three recruiters, one master chief and two first-class petty officers. We waited 30 minutes for the selection, and from that number, only six of us were allowed to join the Navy that day. It took six months of processing, and then I had to take the ASVB again and the physical exam.

When did the Navy stop allowing Philippine natives into the military?
The agreement between the United States and Philippines ended in 1992 after Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base closed down, which happened because of two events — the rupture of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, which destroyed Clark Air Base and severely damaged Subic Bay, and the failure of the U.S. and the Philippine government to reach a base-extension agreement.

Were you sad to leave the Philippines?
Not really, but the day I left was interesting. There was a coup d’etat the day we left, as the military was trying to take over the country, so we had to change flight plans and flew from Subic Bay to Clark Air Base to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa to Anchorage, Alaska, to L.A. to San Diego. Then I had to show up to boot camp. Luckily, I already knew my 11 general orders.

What has been you favorite thing since joining the Navy?
Actually, being a recruiter. I have been able to help young kids achieve the same dream I did by putting them in the Navy.

What is the area of responsibility for Naval Recruiting Processing Station Far East?
Along with mainland Japan, we cover South Korea, Taiwan, Okinawa and Singapore. We actually spend a lot of time traveling.

Do you have a monthly quota?
We don’t call it quota anymore. We call them goals. It’s three a month.

How have you done on your goals?
In 2007, I was given the Master Chief Bakarian Award for the distinction of being the best rookie recruiter for the Navy Recruiting District, Los Angeles, which Yokosuka falls under.

Why do you think you are so successful?
Honestly, part of the reason is because I know the area so well. Even though I can’t go outside the gate and recruit Japanese, I was stationed here before, and I am involved with the base community and know a lot of the parents here.

What’s the most important characteristic of a recruiter?
Patience. You have to have patience and perseverance. If you are talking to an applicant who says that they aren’t interested in joining the Navy, a few months later they might change their minds, but you might not know unless you follow up with them.

Is it difficult to join the Navy today?
To join the Navy, you have to be morally, mentally and medically qualified. It’s not like the old days when the guys standing before the judge had the choice of doing jail time or joining the military. Now they must have clean records and meet stronger criteria.

What do you like to do in your off time?
I like to go to the library and read about Philippine history, especially Philippine national heroes.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lack of skilled workforce

Top problem for second year

Lack of skilled workforce
slows business expansion

By Katrina Mennen A. Valdez, Reporter

BUSINESSMEN consider the lack of a skilled workforce as the biggest constraint to expansion, according to the annual International Business Report issued by Grant Thornton International Ltd.

For two consecutive years, the unavailability of a skilled workforce emerged as the most important constraint to business expansion among Filipinos. Similarly, skills lack emerged as the number one problem of privately held business around the world, displacing inhospitable regulations and red tape.

The report, which was released by Punongbayan & Araullo (P&A), is an annual survey of the attitudes and expectations of medium-sized businesses. This year, the report surveyed 7,800 respondents from 34 participating countries.

Of the Filipino business leaders polled, 58 percent said the growth of their enterprise is worst affected by the unavailability of a skilled workforce, up from last year’s 43 percent. Globally, the proportion of respondents who cited this constraint increased from 34 percent last year to 37 percent this year.

In terms of lack of a skilled workforce, the Philippines shared the third spot with Australia, while Thailand and New Zealand were the top two countries wherein this was also a problem.

“[We] are in a dire situation since [we] now belong to the top three countries whose business growth is limited mostly by this human resource problem,” Greg Navarro, P&A managing partner said.

Late last year, networking company Cisco reported that the Philippines was short of 1,300 information technology professionals, with this shortage expected to rise to 2,400 by next year.

A large Korean investor and many Middle East contractors also expressed concern about the lack of qualified welders and other skilled technicians, the report said.

“The business community has been experiencing the gradual and continuous deterioration of the quality of graduates in the past decade or so, and has organized itself to help the education sector improve the standard in the country,” Navarro said.

Besides the unavailability of a skilled workforce, the report also showed a notable increase in the percentage of Filipino respondents concerned about the reduced demand for their products or services. From 17 percent of respondents last year, this figure jumped to 46 percent this year.

This was followed by red tape, which had been on a downward track for the past four years. Last year, 26 percent of Filipino business leaders said it was a major roadblock to growth, down from 34 percent in 2006. This year, 49 percent consider it a major constraint.

“Besides being a major constraint to business, red tape also influences the flow of foreign investments into the country. So [we] have to take a serious look at how [we] can reduce bureaucracy and cut the costs of doing business in the Philippines if we want to catch up with [our] Asian neighbors,” Navarro said. Manila Times

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Erring SBMA subcontractors face closure

THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) yesterday warned subcontractors working at various jobsites in the shipyard of Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp. (HHIC-Phil) to adhere strictly to occupational safety requirements or face immediate closure.

The agency issued this stern warning as it probed two recent accidents where three workers hired by two Hanjin subcontractors died at the job site.

The first case involved two sling men who were pinned to death by a toppling 15-ton steel beam on March 10. The other incident involved a worker who fell off the roof the day after.

“We will be going after these companies who show utter disregard for safety,” SBMA officials said yesterday.

According to HHIC-Phil, the first accident occurred when two “sling men” were removing shackles atop a 15-ton beam. When an assisting worker signaled the crane operator to retract the cable, one of the shackles might have caught in one of the brackets beside the lifting lug.

This caused the overhead crane body to topple, the accident report indicated.

The two fatalities and the signalman were employed by subcontractor Globe Distribution Services, while the crane operator worked for Subic Shipbuilder Inc., another subcontractor.

The second case involved a worker who fell off a nine-meter roof after failing to notice that he was at the roof edge.

The worker, employed by subcontractor Bodahhm Inc., was reportedly working backward to mark places where screws had to be bolted on by another worker.

The third fatality was wearing a safety harness, but this was not properly secured, initial investigation showed.

SMBA officials said the ongoing investigation tend to show that some subcontractors and their workers “failed to observe even common-sense safety measures.”

“Every industrial jobsite is a potential safety hazard, that’s why there are clear-cut rules on safety that we require companies to implement strictly,” they said.

They added that HHIC-Phil president Jeong Sup Shim had assured him of Hanjin’s support to the investigation, with the end in view of identifying erring subcontractors and taking appropriate actions against them.
J. V. Antiporda - Journal online

Bill allots 10% IRA share for health care

A LAWMAKER from Mindanao has filed a measure mandating local government units to earmark 10 percent of their annual Internal Revenue Allotment for health programs and services.

Sultan Kudarat Rep. Arnulfo Go filed HB 3614 which seeks to improve the health programs and services provided by every local government units.

The bill provides integrated and comprehensive approach to health and other social services to make essential goods, health and other social services available at affordable prices.

The solon is pushing passage of the bill in view of the need for LGUs to prioritize health services especially for the poor, the sick, the elderly and disabled women and children.

“I believe that the health of the people should come first in the order of battle against poverty, malnutrition and hunger,” Go said.

The bill intends to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of health programs and services by the LGUs to aid in the development of a healthy and productive citizenry. Jester P. Manalastas - Journal online

Anti-corruption drive assured of P1-B fund

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has assured of allocating more funds of close to P1 billion to attain a graft-free regime in the Philippines.

In a letter to Ambassador John Danilovich, chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC), the President said that her administration will earmark additional funding to step up her anti-corruption campaign.

These include about P959 million funding from the P1.227 trillion national budget for 2008 for the Office of the Ombudsman which is twice the level in 2002.

The President further explained that revenue agencies of the government will set up computerized systems to better monitor economic activity and collect the right taxes and duties.

The President also bared that the Procurement Transparency Group which budget chief Rolando Andaya heads is working double time to ensure that all government transactions will be graft free.

“To further enhance integrity of public contract bidding, the Procurement Transparency Group is in full operation, harnessing both national agencies and civil society groups to monitor the procurement process.

I have already ordered all state agencies and corporations to submit spending plans and bidding information requested by the PTG,” Mrs. Arroyo said. Efren Montano

TMG member linked to ’Gapo massacre?

TASK Force Scarlet is investigating the involvement of an official of the Traffic Management Group based in Camp Crame in the massacre of FHM magazine cover girl Scarlet May Garcia and three others in Olongapo City last Thursday.

Philippine National Police Spokesman Senior Supt. Nicanor Bartolome said the task force will look into several motives in the killing, including business rivalry, love triangle, robbery and revenge. One of the victims allegedly received several death threats from a mysterious influential woman.

“Everybody’s a suspect, we are investigating all angles to solve the gruesome killing,” Bartolome said.

He said Task Force Scarlet is headed by Olongapo City Police chief Supt. Abelardo Villacorta.

Probers recovered inside the Toyota Vios of one of the victims an ATM card, police jacket, badge and insignia of SPO1 Leopoldo Vitug, Jr., of the TMG Camp Crame.

“The investigation is still ongoing. Since some of his items were recovered inside the vehicle, he will be investigated to shed light on the incident,” he said.

Bartolome made it clear that Vitug is not directly implicated in the massacre. Vitug is reportedly a cousin of one of the victims, George Vitug Castro, 28.

Scarlet, 21, her boyfriend George and their friends Rachel Estacio, 20, and her boyfriend Van Mark Bandejas alias Wacky, 22, were found brutally murdered inside the condo of George at 53-B Acacia St., Barangay Gordon Heights, Olongapo City. Journal online

Cops eye 'scorned' love behind Olongapo killings
Cops find indications of sexual molestation on mod...

FHM model, three others killed in Olongapo City

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Crane operations at Hanjin jSubic suspended after accident

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said crane operations at the Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp (HHIC) shipyard in Subic had been suspended after a crane fell on two of its employees Tuesday night, killing them instantly.

Ermita said a report submitted by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to Malacañang said investigations are now on going and crane operations had been suspended while the probe is on going.

He stressed that the incident does not warrant a termination of Hanjin’s contract as the accident involved their local supplier, the Globe Distribution Philippines, and not South Korean company directly.

He said that based on the report they received, two workers were removing the shackles of a 20-ton beam that they were moving when the crane fell from its trestle and pinned them down.

It was followed by another accident Wednesday morning when another employee fell from the roof that he was fixing.

Reports said relatives of the three employees are now seeking assistance from HHIC.

Last January, two more Filipino employees were also killed after the shipyard caught fire, which government inspectors said maybe caused by some safety violations. - GMANews.TV




SEN. GORDON: There are lessons to be learned. Dapat bago tayo
tumanggap ng testigo, katulad ng pino-propose ko, ay dapat magkaroon
sila ng sworn statement o kaya ma-depose yung witnesses. At ang
matagal ko nang sinasabi ay kailangang maibigay sa aming mga Senador
yung mga affidavit ng mga testigong iyan para sa ganoon within one
week mababasa namin at mapag-aralan para kapag humarap sila sa amin ay
maganda ang tanungan at hindi yung paulit-ulit. Malalim ang tanungan
at hindi yung lumalayag.

Kahit sino ang dalhin dyan ay wala kaming alam. Kung ano ang
background, nagsu-surprise witness kami. Yung surprise witness dapat
under extreme circumstances lang iyan. Sapagkat hindi dapat basta
pinapapasok dahil ang nangyayari ay nawi-waste ang time ng senado.

Yung mga affivadit –that is in the interest of fair play. It protects
the witness, it protects the prosecution para sa ganoon ay malinaw
kung ano ang sasabihin at makikita ang theory ng mga lumalabas na
nag-aatake, lumalabas na nagbubunyag at yung mga dumi-depensa ay
makikita. Hindi lamang po iyan para sa mga testigo laban sa gobyerno
kundi para din doon sa mga humaharap, katulad ng mga cabinet members,
pwede silang gumawa ng mga statement nila para malaman ang buong
istorya. Hindi nagbabago ang istorya o humahaba ang istorya as we go
along. Ito ay para sa mabilis, malinaw, masinop at logical na

Q: Ginapang daw po ng Malacanang si San Miguel para magdalawang-isip?

SEN.GORDON: Hindi naman ako taga-Malacanang kaya tanungin nyo na
lang ang mga taga-Malacanang. That was the first time I saw Mr. San
Miguel. In fact, if we have been given yung kanyang affivadit dapat
seguro natanong siya ng mas maayos. Mas madali kase kung may affidavit

Q: Ang haba-habang na nang imbestigasyon ito?

Sen GORDON: Kaya humaba dahil nga wala yung rules na dapat
naka-affivadit bago dumating yung witness. Tingnnan ninyo sa America,
bago mag-imbestiga, kukunin muna ang deposition ng lahat ng testigo at
kapag nakuha na yung affivadit ng testigo, nabibigyan ng one hour
yung administration at one hour yung minority para sa pagtatanong. At
dahil hawak na nila ito one week before, napag-aaralan lahat yung
kanilang statement. Samakatuwid, hindi naglulubid ng buhangin,
nagsisinungaling o gumagawa ng istorya.

Q: Sir, sa tingin nyo ba nagsasabi ng totoo si San Miguel?

Sen. Gordon: I can not kase unang-una nang dini-deny niya. Ang sabi
nga ni Sen. Lacson, siya ang magiging surprise witness at mako-
corroborate niya lahat yung mga testigo pero bigla niyang sinabing
HINDI. So ano ang panghahaweakan namin? Pero kung meron siyang sworn
statement na kinuha na kaagad sana ni Sen. Lacson eh di may hawak na
siya kaagad. Hindi na siya( San Miguel) makakatakbo doon. Hindi na
siya makapagsisinungalin. At kung may sworn statement doon – "affiant
sayeth naught" wala na akong idadagdag sa statement ko, nasabi ko
nalahat. Hindi na pwedeng magdagdag ng anumang kalokohan yung mga
testigo. Kaya napakaahalaga ng sworn statement. Yan ang pino-propose
ko palagi.

Q: Pero agree ba kayo sa mga obserbasyon kahit nagulat yung mga
senador napatunayan parin that Abalos was all over the place?

Sen. Gordon: That is correct. August pa lang gusto ko nang i-file yung
kaso kay Abalos. Noong inimbestiga natin ito last year, sinabi ko na
sa kanya na nandito ka palagi. Hindi mo(Abalos) trabaho iyan. Kaya nga
sinabi ko na barko ng mga hudas ito. Bakit kamo, hindi dapat makialam
si Abalos na pupunta siya sa China tuwing may meeting ang ZTE doon.
Hindi niya teritoryo yung broadband, ang teritoryo niya ay Comelec. At
ang election na matino ay hindi niya inaaatupag. At pagkatapos ito
namang si Joey De Venecia, hindi siya dapat nakikialam dyan. Anak siya
ng speaker. Biruin mo kapipirma pa lang memorandum of understanding
meron na agad siyang unsolicited bid. Ni walang amount, walang terms
of reference kung magkano ang amount na ibibigay kaya ang hirap
tanungin. Ano ba talaga,130 M ba o 320M ba? Hindi malaman. Yun nga ang
tinatanong ko kahapon kina Sales – "Wala ba kayong papel na
nagpapakita na meron kayong agency estimate kung magkano iyan para
malaman kung nag-overprice o nag underprice o yung tinatawag nilang

Q: Sir, ano po ang epekto nito doon sa credibility ng senado
considering na parang sumabog yun witness kahapon?

Sen. Gordon: It only tells us that we must be careful. Kaya noong
isang araw nga ay nag-file ako ng resolution na kailangang i-depose
yung witness. Ibig sabihin noon, bago dumating ang isang testigo dapat
may written statement, under oath at ibibigay sa amin ang mga
statement na iyan one week before the investigation. Makikita ninyo
bibilis yan. In two or three days tapos kaagad ang imbestigasyon na

Q: Sir, pwede bang ma-contempt…?

Sen. Gordon: Sino?

Q: Yun witness kahapon?

Sen. Gordon: You can not cite him for contempt if he says "Hindi ko
alam kung ano ang nangyari." You cannot even cite him for contempt if
he says "I have no knowledge" unless you can prove that he was lying.
Pero kung kinuha ni Sen. Lacson yung kanyang(San Miguel) affivadit,
hindi siya makapagsisinungaling.


Q: Sir, yung lie detector..importante ba yun?

Sen. Gordon: Well hindi naman admissible as evidence iyan. Walang
probative value ito.

Q: So, may need for that?

Sen. Gordon: No. I don't think so. Makikita naman kase hindi naman
admissible as evidence iyan saka kung ayaw ng testigo hindi mo

Q: Sir, pumayag sila.

Sen. Gordon: Kung papayag sila, di pakuha sila ng lie detector test
pero it can not be used on a court of law.

Q: What is it, waste of time?

Sen. Gordon: No it's not a waste of time. It is an indication kung
gusto nila at kung pumasa sila eh di hindi sila nagsisinungaling. It
is only an indication but can not be used sa prosecution sa Ombudsman.

Q: Sir, ano ang reaksyon ninyo sa sinabi ng Palasyo na bumaba ang
rating ng tele-novela ng senado dahil sumablay ito sa testigo?

Sen. Gordon: Mangyayari't mangyayari iyan. Kaya nga to protect the
Senate and to protect the truth and justice kailangan may prepared
statement ang witnesses. Without that, truth and justice is in peril.


Q: Sir, pabor ba kayo sa paglalabas ng mga phone conversation na wire

Sen. Gordon: No. That is against the law. Any wiretap should not be
encouraged. Wire tapping is against the law. Can you imagine kung
wina-wire tap tayo, lahat dito ay pwedeng ilabas? Kaya nga iyan ang
wisdom ng batas na yan. Hindi pwedeng ilabas yung wiretap. Kaya itong
mga ito, pwede silang parusahan d'yan.

Q: Yun playing?

Sen. Gordon: Kapag ginawa iyan lalabas ako.

Q: Pero si Sen Enrile plan to…?

Sen. Gordon: Si Sen. Enrile and Sen. Lacson, ilalabas nila?
Napaka-delikado niyan. Under the law they can be hauled to court.

Q: Sir, yun nag-wire tap ba ang…?

Sen. Gordon: The wire tapping at saka yung nagpi-present ng tape na
wiretap illegally obtained.

Q: Si Lozada sir, medyo kinumpirma niya na maaring may ganoon nga
siyang conversation, pwede ba yun?

Sen. Gordon: Maaaring may ganoon pero walang permiso siya na
i-wiretap. Hindi pwedeng gamitin sa kanya iyan.

Q: Sir, paki-ulit lang yung inyong rejection of airing ng mga wire tap

Sen. Gordon: Masamang precedent iyan kapag papayagan natin ang mga
awtoridad o sinumang tao na iwa-wire tap kahit senador pa, kahit na
siya ay presidente o general. Hindi siya dapat mag-wire tap nang
walang pahintulot ang korte. Kapag pinayagan natin iyan na pwedeng
gumawa ng wire-tapping sa bawat tao, para na tayong nasa panahon ni
Hitler na hihilahin ka na lang.

Q: Pero sir, kung titingnan yung korte suprema diba nagpalabas sila
ng desisyon, ina-allow na nila yung airing ng garci tape?

Sen. Gordon: Dahil nagging public knowledge na talaga iyan.

Q: So dapat I-air muna para maging public knowledge?

Sen. Gordon: Hindi naman. Hindi ko masyadong nakita yung desisyon ng
Korte Suprema pero sa tingin ko masyado nang naging public ang
nangyari. Pero remember, dumaan muna sa Korte Suprema para payagang
i-air. Hindi pwedeng payagan mo basta-basta nang walang pahintulot ng

Q: Pero sir, hindi ho ba lumalabas na very prevalent na kahit sino na

Sen. Gordon: Kaya nga dapat parusahan. Kaya nga sinasabi ko, Sen.
Enrile and Sen. Lacson would be liable for suits if they present
illegally wire tapped conversations. Saka it is very bad for our
country to have that. Kakabahan na ang lahat na gumamit ng telepono.
Tingnan ninyo yung nangyari sa Governor of New York (Eliot Spitzer),
may wiretap iyan pero may court order kay napilitan siyang mag-resign.

Q: Who's going to file suit against these two?

Sen. Gordon: Any of the people involved. And that is a crime so people
of the Philippines iyan.

Q: Sir, will you file?

Sen. Gordon: Well, we will see how it goes. I think we should file a
case against anybody who presents illegally wiretapped testimonies.
Iyan ang batas. I will object to it. I already objected before, di ba
sa Garci. Hindi tama yan kahit ano pa ang pagkakamali, kaya may batas
iyun ang nagpo-proteksyon sa tao.

Q: Sir, kung wala ka namang tinatago bakit ka matatakot na i-air nila

Sen. Gordon: Because it sets a precedent. Kung pumapayag ka, walang
problema iyun. Payag lahat sila, payag si Lozada, payag si President
Arroyo, payag silang ilabas nila iyan - Fine. But still hindi
pinapayagan na iyan nag-wiretap ay libre na i-air o gumawa siya ng
wire tapping. It is still illegal.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Korean mafia thriving in RP

By: Renato Gomba Quilicol - Journal Online

THE Philippines has now become a “haven” of the leaders and members of the “Kuan Jupang,” also known as the Korean mafia.

This was revealed by legitimate Korean businessmen in Metro Manila who has become victims to the dreaded group, which seems untouchable to local police authorities.

The victims requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, adding that the number of “Kuan Jupang” members in the Philippines has grown bigger and could have already outnumbered their foreign counterparts, including the triad and bamboo gangs of China and the Yakuza of Japan.

The businessmen talked about their horrifying ordeal from the day they first encountered the members of the group.

They recounted how they were harassed and intimidated by the group, who demanded monthly “protection money” amounting to millions of pesos.

They were also threatened with physical harm or death should they fail to comply with the criminals’ demands.

A Seoul businesswoman admitted giving the syndicate P2 million in exchange for the safety of her family, knowing the fact that the Korean mafia uses local assassins in dealing with those who say “no.”

“That is why many of us were forced to hire local bodyguards because we knew they could kill us anytime they want in case we did not give them money,” another businessman said.

It was learned most members of this Korean crime ring are either undesirable aliens or wanted criminals in their country.

How they were able to enter the country using spurious travel documents remains a big question mark.

“It is interesting to know why these criminals managed to slip into despite being included in the Bureau of Immigration’s blacklist,” the Korean businessmen said.

Apparently the Korean mafia has already established vast connections among key government agencies such as the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Immigration and the Philippine National Police, being unhampered in extortion and money-laundering activities, they claimed.

They also believed the mafia is responsible for kidnappings and murders of Koreans in the Philippines, many of which were not reported to police authorities.

A particular incident took place in Porac, Pampanga, in December last year, where a Korean couple operating a language school was shot dead by masked men in front of their terrified children.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rustans kakasuhan ng PASG

NAKATAKDANG kasu-han ng Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) ang Rustan’s sa sandaling makumpleto nila ang im-bestigasyon kaugnay sa pagpapasok nito ng mga ‘undervalued’ na ‘imported products’ kabilang ang mga ‘signature shirts.’

Ayon kay PASG chief Un-dersecretary Antonio Villar Jr., bilyong piso ang nawawala sa kaban ng gobyerno dahil sa technical smuggling na ito ng Rustan Marketing, Rustan Commercian, Store Specialist at Rustan Coffee Corporation.

Sinabi ni Usec. Villar, nag-tataka siya kung bakit pina-yagan ng Bureau of Customs (BoC) na magbayad lamang ng humigit kumulang sa P20 milyon ang Rustans gayung dapat ay daang milyon ang babayaring taxes at penalties.

“The four companies do not declare their shipment specifically, enabling them to dictate what value to declare in their imports,” ani Villar.

Ipinaliwanag naman ni PASG intelligence chief Jaih Francia, sa nakuha nilang mga invoices sa Rustan’s trading firms na hindi nito idinedek-larang ang totoong value ng kanilang mga inaangkat na produkto upang mabawasan ang kanilang bayaring taxes and duties.

“Take the case of Global trading International which is based in U.S. In the invoice you would see that for the item ladies skirt, it cost only $11.4 per dozen which means one skirt cost only less than a dollar. And these are US brands such as Polo and La-coste that Rustan’s carries,” wika pa ni Francia.

Bukod dito, dagdag pa ni Francia, may mga wallet, handbags, make-ups, at skin care products na idineklara ng Rustan’s na undervalued sa totoong halaga nito gayung mga kilalang brands na galing Europe pa ang mga ito.

Nang padalhan ng BoC Post Entry Audit Group ang Rustan’s noong Abril para sa importation nito mula 2004 hanggang 2007 ay biglang nag-avail ito ng Voluntary Disclosure Program.

Ang Rustan’s group ay pinamumunuan ni dating Ambassador Bienvenido Tan-toco na kilalang crony ni yu-maong Pangulong Marcos habang ang anak nitong si Rico Tantoco na pangulo ng Rustan’s ay biyenan naman ng anak ni Rep. Ignacio Arroyo na bayaw naman ni Pangu-long Arroyo. Journal online

Husay sa Math at English makikita sa sukat ng daliri

By: Bhaby See - Guhit Ng Palad

NAPAPANSIN n’yo ba na may mga batang mag-aaral na mahusay sa math habang ang iba naman ay hindi? May ibang bata naman ay mahusay sa English at ang iba naman ay nag-e-excel sa math?

Malalaman mo agad mga giliw kong magulang kung Math-inik ang iyong anak o mahusay sa English sa pamama-gitan ng di kanilang mga daliri.

Sang-ayon sa pagsasaliksik ng mga psychologists, ang husay sa English at math ng bata ay nakikita sa sukat ng kanilang daliring hintuturo at palasingsingan.

Ang mga mag-aaral na mas mahaba ang palasingsingan o ring finger ay sinasabing mahusay sa math habang ang may maiikli naman nito ay mas interesado sa English o sa literacy.

Ito’y dahil, ayon sa paniniwala ng mga scientists, sa level ng testosterone at oestrogen habang nasa sinapupunan pa ang bata.

Ayon kay Mark Brosnan, na nagpasimula ng pag-aaral na ito sa University of Bath sa United Kingdom , ang testosterone ay tumutulong sa development ng ilangbahagi sa utak ng tao na sinasa-bing associated sa mathematical skills.

May kinalaman ang hormones na ito sa haba ng palasingsingan at hintuturo natin. Malalaman natin sa sukat ng dalawang daliri na ito ang exposure ng bata sa hormones habang nasa sina-pupunan pa. Sa pagkakataong ito, agad na mahuhulaan sa sukat ng kanilang daliri kung saan sila mahusay -- sa Math kaya o sa English.

Sa isang research project na inilathala sa British Journal of Psychology, 75 mga pitong-taong gulang na bata ang sinukatan ng daliring mga scientists, partikular na kinuha ang sukat ng hintuturo at palasingsingan.

Hinati nila ang pagsukat sa hintuturo sa sukat ng palasingsingan para makuha ang ‘digit ratio’ sa bata.

Ang mga adult na kababaihan ay karaniwang may ratio na 1 -- kung saan ang hintuturo at palasingsi-ngan ay magkapareho ng haba. Ang sa kalalakihan naman ay mas mababa na nasa 0.98, dahil maraming lalaki na mas mahaba ang ring finger kaysa sa index finger.

Nakita sa mga batang sinuri na may mababang digit ratio -- mas mahaba ang ring finger at mataas ang pre-natal exposure sa testosterone -- ay mas mahusay sa math kaysa sa English.

Ganun din sa mga mag-aaral na mataas naman ang digit ratio -- mas maikli ang ring finger at mataas ang pre-natal exposure sa oestrogen -- ay mas mahusay naman sa English tests at nahihirapan sa math. Ang mga batang lalaki na mas mahaba ang palasingsi-ngan ay napatunayan din na mahusay at nakakuha ng mataas na marka sa Math.

Pinay raped by US soldier

40,000 American troops stationed in Japan.

The alleged assault on the Filipino victim is the second rape incident involving an American serviceman in Okinawa this year.

It is also the second reported rape of a Filipino woman by a US serviceman. In 2007, a US Marine, who was participating in a joint military exercise with Filipino troops, was convicted of raping a 23-year-old woman in Subic Bay, Olongapo in the province of Zambales .

Last week, police detained a U.S. Marine for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl on Okinawa, a case that has stirred outrage across Japan .

The US military said it is investigating the alleged rape incident, which was revealed a day after it imposed a curfew on troops and their family members to stem public anger in Japan .

Anti-US sentiments in Okinawa are high following the 1995 sexual molestation of a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl who was gang-raped by three American servicemen.

In a related development, the US military said Thursday it was investigating new allegations of rape by a US serviceman in Japan amid an uproar after a string of criminal cases.

The case was revealed one day after the US military imposed a sweeping curfew on troops and their family members in a bid to stem public anger in Japan, a close US ally.

A Filipino woman said she was raped by a member of the US Army on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, which is home to half of the more than 40,000 US troops in the country, officials said.

“The US Army takes this matter very seriously,” Army spokeswoman Dottie Vick said. “Army authorities are investigating and will continue to fully cooperate with the Okinawa prefectural police.”

She declined further details, saying the case was under investigation.

Kyodo News, quoting unnamed sources, said police planned soon to seek an arrest warrant for the soldier over the alleged rape, which was said to have taken place in mid-February in the central part of Okinawa.

US troops are stationed in Japan under a security treaty with the country, which has been constitutionally pacifist since World War II. Okinawa, which was under US occupation until 1972, is a key hub due to its proximity to the Taiwan Strait.

The alleged rape was the latest case this month to damage the image of US forces in Japan.

Okinawa police on Feb. 11 arrested a US Marine on allegations he raped a 14-year-old local girl in his car. Staff Sergeant Tyrone Luther Hadnott, 38, has admitted trying to forcibly kiss the teenager but denied raping her.

“We are so fed up,” Mieko Hokama, a member of a group that opposes US bases, told reporters after a meeting in Tokyo with members of parliament. “We have already had more than enough.”

An Australian woman, who was recognized by a Japanese court as having been raped by a US navy serviceman in 2002 in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, said Japan has been like a “combat zone” even after World War II.

“Even since the war, there have been so many rape cases by US servicemen in Japan,” said the woman, who only identified herself as Jane.

“I speak about my case because I don’t think the 14-year-old girl could talk about her’s right here,” she said outside of parliament.

Three US Marines gang-raped a 12-year-old girl in Okinawa in 1995, leading to major protests that set in motion a process under which Washington agreed to withdraw some 8,000 troops from the small island.

Okinawa police said they have investigated 14 cases of rape allegedly committed by US servicemen since the 1995 incident.

However, protests in Okinawa have been relatively small since the latest case. Okinawa voters in 2006 rejected a candidate for governor running against the US bases, which contribute about five percent to the island’s economy.

Thomas Schieffer, the US ambassador to Japan, quickly flew to Okinawa last week after the rape case arrest to offer a personal apology and to pledge new training for the troops. With AFP

A Filipino woman was allegedly raped by a member of the US Army in Okinawa Japan last week, reports yesterday said.

While investigators in Japan are looking into allegations of sexual assault on the Filipino victim, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Japan maintained silence over the incident.

Reports said investigators are still determining if the alleged rapist is a soldier or a civilian employee working for the US Army in Okinawa.

Okinawa is home to half of more than
By Michaela P. del Callar - Daily tribune

Monday, February 18, 2008

Abolishing amusement tax not a smart move

The Cebu CIty government would forego around P50 million a year if it eliminates the collection of amusement taxes, Councilor Jose Daluz III said.

He discouraged scrapping the 30 percent amusement tax, which is the city’s third biggest source of income.

Daluz gave his comment on the pending proposal of Councilor Hilario Davide III to amend the Omnibus Tax Ordinance and scrap the collection of 30 percent of the gross admission fees from places of amusement like cinemas, concert halls, boxing stadiums and entertainment activities.

Daluz, head of the committee on budget and finance of the city council, said the city could just continue its practice of granting discounts to event organizers on a case to case basis.

Exemptions are granted subject to the approval of the City Council provided the event organizer donates P10,000 to a charitable institution, foundation or non-government organizations duly recognized by the city government, he said.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña in an earlier interview was inclined to abolish amusement taxes to encourage producers to organize concerts and other entertainment activities here.

Osmeña said the city government could make up from the lost revenue by improving their collection on real estate property and business taxes and other charges collected from the delivery of government services.

Daluz, however, said the Local Government Code empowers local government units to collect taxes, a mandate that it should exercise.

Vice Mayor Michael Rama told the council on Wednesday that abolishing the collection of amusement taxes may be beyond the power of the council. Reporter Doris C. Bongcac - Cebu Daily News

Parental respect opens doors for diligent youth

In most scholarship programs, few are chosen.

A good number of the academic scholarships offered by the government, private firms and foundations are limited to “poor and deserving” students who belong to the top five percent of their classes.

The Thailand-based conglomerate Siam Cement Group (SCG) says it believes everybody deserves an education, even the “average” ones, and has launched its Philippine corporate social responsibility program with high school scholarships accessible to most students.

Called “SCG Sharing the Dream,” the scholarship program to be conducted in partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress, will assist 200 high school students in and around Bulacan, Batangas and Metro Manila where SCG has its paper and ceramic tile manufacturing facilities.

To qualify, students need to record a general average of only 70 percent. This is a failing mark in private schools, but still a grade to aspire for in most public schools, considering that the national average in the achievement tests is 57 percent.

The SCG assistance, at around P7,800 a year for each scholar, will cover uniforms, school supplies, miscellaneous expenses for school projects as well as allowance.

“SCG believes that our most important asset is the individual. When we talk of sustainability, we not only refer to the company’s growth or profits but to people and values as well,” says SCG president and chief executive Kan Trakulhoon. “The scholarship program is one of the ways for us to extend that sustainability to the communities where we operate.”

The scholarship will be initially extended to public high school students who have finished their first year in high school to give SCG a better idea of the quality of the high school students.

Uncommon criterion

SCG may have set a low hurdle as far as the average goes, but it has come up with another criterion for selecting the potential scholars: They must be grateful for their parents’ sacrifice.

SCG country director Chartchai Leukulwatanachai says in an interview that SCG wants to benefit students who are grateful to their parents, because the company believes that it is such students that will most likely finish school.

There are no hard and fast rules to measure gratitude, as nebulous a concept as it is. SCG and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), a nongovernmental organization supported by large corporations, will look for clues in interviews and application papers to get the type of scholars they seek.

Leukulwatanachai says SCG feels strongly about the requirement for “smart and grateful” students because of the belief that students who are not grateful do not have as much of a future as those who look up to and respect their parents.

“If you cannot love your parents, how can you love others?” he says.

Leukulwatanachai adds that SCG applies the same principle in its own offices across Southeast Asia because it believes that it is not enough for people to be smart.

They have to show respect for their fellow man in order to foster harmonious relationships, not just in the office, but at home and in the general community.

SCG and PBSP will accept scholarship applications until March 7 and the 200 scholars will be announced on April 11, 2008.

The scholars will then go to a scholarship camp -- where their leadership skills and family values will be enhanced -- after which the grant will be turned over.

Leukulwatanachai says the “SCG Share a Dream” is just the first of a series of projects that the Siam Cement Group wants to implement in the Philippines, the first country that the group expanded to outside Thailand.

SCG operates four businesses in the Philippines -- United Pulp and Paper Co. Inc., Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, CPAC Monier Philippines Inc., and SCT (Philippines) Inc.

“We will definitely do more because we are in the Philippines for the long haul,” Leukulwatanachai says.

One project SCG is exploring is the grant of scholarships specifically to children of overseas Filipino workers.

SCG just thought of starting with education and getting the scholarship program off the ground because it believes that much still needs to be done in the public education system.

Aside from the scholarship program, the group will also extend master’s degree scholarships for Filipino students to study in leading Thai universities, such as Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

SCG has also partnered with the Knowledge Channel to allow elementary schools to gain access to the cable TV station’s programs. By Tina Arceo-Dumlao - Philippine Daily Inquirer