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 PiƱas; 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.