State of Calamity, Declared by P-Noy

President Benigno “Noy-noy” Aquino III declared National State of Calamity yesterday in areas severely affected by the typhoon “Pablo”.

Based on Proclamation 522 signed by the president, Southern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are covered by National state of calamity due to the severe flooding and landslides storm resulted with the death of many victims.

With the declaration, hasten the relief and rehabilitation efforts of the government as well as helping the private sector.

P-Noy ordered the major agencies and departments of government to implement rehabilitation medical assistance and relief works and also instructed the local government units to use their calamity funds to help their constituents.

Senate Proceed With Sin Tax Deliberations

 

The Senate resumed affair Tuesday with deliberations on the sin tax bill accepted to be accomplished and the measure polled on.

Senator Franklin Drilon told reporters Monday that one of the analytically credibility of the sin tax bill- the P40 billion accumulating ambition from added taxes on tobacco and liquor articles was already agreed aloft by senators in a caucus.

“We will take up the amendments that will generate P40 billion; and then, we will take up other amendments principally on some corrections necessary because of the language; and we will receive amendments on the distribution of the incremental revenue”, Drilon said.

“After that, we will vote on second and third readings. There is no more issue on the amount that will generate P40 billion; and that is voted upon on the plenary,” he added.

Urgent as the previous week, President Benigno Aquino III has certified the bill permitted it to be pushed through on second and third readings in one day.

 

Victims’ Kin: Maguindanao Annihilation Cases Running Actual Slow

The families of the Maguindanao annihilation victims on Wednesday decried the snail-paced balloon of the accused in the assorted massacre case.

In a media conference at the University of the Philippines-Law Center in Diliman, Quezon City, the annihilation victims’ ancestors alleged on President Benigno Aquino III and the Department of Justice for an accelerated resolution of the case.

Statement from Monette Salaysay, wife of the murdered media worker Napoleon Salaysay: “Sobrang bagal po. Madaming tanong sa kaisipan na pumasok. Patas ba ang batas dito sa Pilipinas? Fifty-eight po ang pinatay. Brutally killed. Pakiramdam po namin pinaikot-ikot lang,”

She cited the time if they heard that one of the arch accused, Zaldy Ampatuan, former ARMM governor, was to be arraigned but his aegis admonition against it.

“Ang layo po ng hustisya sa mga biktima,” she added.

Noemi Parcon, wife of announcer Joel Parcon who was a part of the annihilation victims, alleged on Quezon City Regional Trial Adjudicator Jocelyn Solis-Reyes to adjudge on the case which has already abject on for three years.

Parcon said the testimonies and the pieces of affirmation that accept already been presented afore the cloister are acceptable for the adjudicator to cede a verdict.

The families’ as well feared that the case would abide waiting in court continued afore they are dead.

“Baka mamya patay na kami pero hindi pa rin natatapos ang kaso at hindi pa namin nakakamit ang katarungan,” they said.

If Aquino Returns Shortlist Of Nominees, JBC To Hold Its Ground

The Judicial and Bar Council will hold its ground should President Benigno Aquino III send back to the body the shortlist of eight nominees for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the council said Tuesday.

JBC ex-officio member Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. maintained that it is Aquino’s “duty to choose among the list,” adding the JBC will not change the contents of the shortlist should the President return it to them.

A similar incident happened in 2010 when former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sent back the council’s shortlist for Supreme Court chief.

But then Chief Justice Reynato Puno who led the JBC defied Arroyo, throwing the same list back to Malacañang.

The deadline for Aquino to make his final choice from the shortlist is on August 27.

Meanwhile, Tupas said that the JBC did not “single out” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, underscoring that the JBC was simply following its rules.

“I sympathize with the Secretary. I would’ve voted for her if she was qualified but she wasn’t singled out. The JBC just followed rules,” Tupas said.

He said that the President’s appointment of a chief magistrate would “complete the process started on December 12″ when lawmakers approved the impeachment complaint against Corona.

President Aquino Pays Last Respects To Dolphy

Wearing a white barong President Benigno Aquino III arrived at Dolphy’s wake around 5:30 p.m to pay his respects to the late Comedy King Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon.

The President used a back entrance and walked past the reporters without giving a word. While inside, Aquino talked to Quizon’s partner Zsa Zsa Padilla, and left just after around 15 minutes.

The President earlier is considering declaring a national day of mourning for Dolphy. Abigail Valte, a spokesperson of Aquino, said Thursday that the President was now looking at pertinent documents regarding the possible declaration of a day of mourning for the entertainment icon. “It’s being considered, it’s being studied. The necessary documents for the proposal are already with the President,” Valte told reporters.

Valte reminded reporters that traditionally, a national day of mourning is declared on the day of the burial of the comedy king Dolphy.

SWS: Poor Families Rise To 11.1M

A recent survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) discovered an estimated 11.1 million Filipino households consider themselves poor last March, while up from 9.1 million households in December.

The results of the survey was first published in BusinessWorld and found out that 55 percent of the respondents rated their households poor, 10 percent higher than the 45 percent three months earlier.

A rise of 9 points from the 36 percent or 7.2 million families are recorded in the previous quarter saying that they were poor in terms of food, an amount that translates to approximately 9.1 million families which accounted for the 45 percent.

It was with the Aquino administration that the figures went up this high.

SWS used face-to-face interviews as a mean to use for the noncommissioned survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for national percentages and plus or minus 6 percentage points for area percentages.

The record for self-rated food poverty was posted at 59 percent under the Ramos administration in April 1994 and in September 2002 under the Arroyo administration, while the record for self-rated poverty was posted in July 1985 at 74 percent under the Marcos regime.

Malacañang reacted last Thursday to the survey results saying that it was “natural” to see variations in the levels of self-rated poverty because the government’s antipoverty programs were taking time to be significantly felt.

Programs take time

President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesperson, Secretary Edwin Lacierda, acknowledged that discernments of poverty were among the indicators that the administration was looking at.

“As we have said in the beginning, antipoverty programs take some time before the effects are felt on a sustained basis,” Lacierda said in a news briefing.

“In the meantime, it is natural to see fluctuations in self-rated poverty,” he added.

Lacierda, nevertheless has provided subjective evidences of the government’s conditional cash transfer program benefiting target beneficiaries.

“We have heard for instance, when we were in Roxas City… one mother showed how her child was able to buy a new school bag, new shoes. She was also able to buy vitamins for her child,” Lacierda said.

For the survey, SWS showed a card to 1,200 adults nationwide and asked them, “Where would you place your family on this card?” The choices included “not poor,” “on the line” and “poor.”

Self-rated poverty scaled sharply in Mindanao having 72 percent in March from 38 percent in December. Also, it mounted in the Visayas island from 52 percent previously to 61 percent.

But on the other hand the percentages for Metro Manila from 47 percent to 46 percent while the rest of Luzon managed to maintain its 45 percent, remained basically unaffected.

Self-rated poverty also levitated among those living in the rural areas having 49 percent last December and 66 percent in March, but rarely changed among those in the urban areas amounting to 41 percent to 40 percent respectively.

Food poverty

For self-rated food poverty, SWS asked respondents “Based on the type of food eaten by your family, where would you place your family on this card?” Respondents were made to choose from “not poor,” “on the line” and “poor.”

Self-rated food poverty poured in Mindanao with respect to 30 percent last December while 64 percent in March. It also escalated in the Visayas from 43 percent to 47 percent but hardly changed in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon with just a difference of 1 percent last December.

SWS also determined the self-rated poverty threshold of respondents who considered their households poor or food-poor by asking how much they  needed monthly so as not to consider themselves poor.

The median poverty threshold rose in Metro Manila to P12,000 from P10,000, in Luzon outside Metro Manila to P10,000 from P6,000, in the Visayas to P8,000 from P6,000 and in Mindanao to P7,000 from P6,000.

The median food-poverty threshold in Metro Manila rose to P6,500 from P5,000. In Luzon outside Metro Manila, it rose to P5,000 from P4,000.

It went up to P4,500 from P3,750 in the Visayas and to P4,000 from P3,500 in Mindanao.

Aquino Inspects Metro Land, Air, Sea Terminals

Last Monday, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said that transportation services at Metro Manila’s major land, air and sea terminals have considerably enhanced from conditions last year, but further improvements can still be done.

Manuel Roxas II, Transportation and Communicatons secretary, accompanied President Benigno Aquino III last Monday on an inspection tour at Cubao bus terminal, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Manila North Harbor.

According to Roxas, Mr. Aquino who made the same rounds last year has noted improvements at Cubao terminal, NAIA and North Harbor.

“Last year, there was really chaos. Now, people are queuing properly and we have more security measures,” Roxas uttered.

Before President Aquino leaves for Cambodia to attend the two-day 20th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ summit, he supervised the inspection first.

President Aquino told the reporters that he was there not only to assure that the security procedures is well executed at the terminals but also to ensure that terminals provides convenience and safety for departing passengers.

North Harbor

Even with the improvements, Secretary Roxas said that President Aquino still found numerous problems that he wants to be resolved as soon as possible.

“One problem that the President saw was that some of the urinals were not that clean. I will make sure that this is dealt with,” Roxas said.

The President’s inspection began at Manila’s North Harbor, the country’s busiest domestic terminal at around 10 o’clock in the morning.

A commercial vessel with a capacity of 1,929 passengers that was docked at Pier 2 and scheduled to depart at 3 o’clock in the afternoon namely MV St. Michael Archangel, was boarded by President Aquino together with Secretary Roxas and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

The ship’s route is at Misamis Oriental province, with stops at Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and Iloilo.

President Aquino and Secretary Roxas were satisfied with what they saw. They’ve found out that the vessel had enough life jackets, life rings, fire extinguishers, and other emergency equipment.

Data from the Coast Guard presented that more than 147,000 passengers lodged over 1,000 vessels that navigated to several destinations nationwide over the past 24 hours (from 6 a.m., April 1 to 6 a.m. April 2).

Terminal 3

Around 11 a.m., Mr. Aquino was at NAIA Terminal 3. The president accompanied one passenger to check how long the travelers had to fall in line outside the terminal before they could get inside the building.

“Our benchmark is that it should take a passenger 10 minutes at most to get into the terminal,” Roxas told the reporters.

“The Presidential Security Group (PSG) was already telling the President to get inside because he was exposed outside the terminal. But he wanted to see for himself. Fortunately, it only took them 5 minutes,” he added.

“It looked like they met their objectives,” President Aquino told the reporters.

“We are gradually improving facilities in the airport to better serve our people, especially during occasions like the observance of Holy Week,” Roxas said.

Cubao bus terminal

“We want to advise our people to allot more time when they travel this Lenten season. They shouldn’t make their travel plans at the last minute to avoid crowds and reach their destinations as planned.”

President Aquino had lunch with top airport administrators before leaving for the Cubao bus terminal inspection.

He arrived approximately 1 p.m. at the Cubao bus terminal for a 30-minute inspection. The land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) established a random drug-testing center.

Also at the bus terminal, LTFRB organized a pre-departure briefing for around 30 drivers, 11 of them were also subjected to breath analyzer tests to check if they had been engaged to drinking. All the drivers offered themselves for drug testing.

The random drug testing prepared last year by LTFRB for bus drivers has become a regular part of the “Oplan Ligtas Biyahe (Safe Journey)”, a program to ensure safe travel during Lenten season.

“We are making random drug testing a regular part of our ‘Ligtas Biyahe’ program to make sure our bus drivers are fit to bring passengers to their destinations safely,” Roxas said.  “We are doing this to ensure the safety of our bosses: the travelers.”

President Aquino said that the procedures at the bus terminal were “more systematized, and all the passengers I spoke to were smiling.”

Also the President noted that even the traffic on EDSA was easier. “So far I am much happier and I am confident that the preparations were all good,” he said.

President “Noynoy” wishes best for Shalani Soledad and Rep. Roman Romulo

President Benigno Aquino III shared his thoughts about Shalani Soledad’s engagement to Pasig City Representative Roman Romulo, though a talk with Manila-based reporters while he is having official United States visit, and further relates it with a song.

“I know this sounds cheesy and corny, but there is a song I really like, it’s Got To Believe in Magic.’ It has a line that asks a question — “Tell me how two people find each other.” In their case parang mukhang nahanap na nila ang isa’t-isa. Talagang one hopes the state they are in persists throughout their lives,” the president said.

The 51-year-old bachelor president also imparted that he is wishing them well. “Pasensiya na kayo talagang sasabihin ko naman doon maganda sana kapag iyong wish them well, (pero) lalabas na parang world peace (lang). But I really meant it in all sincerity,” he said. “Uulitin ko, ako hindi ko naman masasabi na naabot ko na ang estado na –tinatanong ko pa rin how two people find each other. Sila they found and one cannot help but really wish them well, that their union becomes strong and that they achieve the fullest potential,” the honorable president added.

When he is asked if he will be attending the marriage of ex-girlfriend Shalani and Rep. Romulo next year, here is president’s reply: “Pag sinagot ko iyan, parang sinabi kong uy, imbitahan niyo ako. Wala yatang tamang sagot diyan. Siyempre karapatan nilang hindi ba yayain kung sino man ang witness na gusto nila. Pero kapag sumagot naman ako diyan, para bang kapag hindi nila ako inimbita, may galit sa iyo kaya ayaw kang imbitahin. Kapag inimbita naman ako, pupunta ka roon. Sorry, it’s a question that really doesn’t have an answer.”

With regards to his recent meet-up with Miss Universe 3rd Runner-Up Shamcey Supsup, the president revealed that they had not talked much. In addition, he graciously disclosed what they had discussed during their meeting.

“Nagkuwentuhan kami ng experience niya, sabi ko nakapagpahinga ka na ba? Wala raw pahinga na naka-schedule sa kanya noong nagkita kami ng Sunday at nasa Gen San (General Santos City) siya ng Tuesday, iwe-welcome siya. Tapos marami na iyung responsibilities niya, pero parang naikuwento niya sa iba na magpo-focus lang siya, gusto niyang ma-practice ang kanyang tinapos sa kolehiyo, ang architecture at hanggang doon na lamang ang pinag-usapan namin.”

Homecoming Celebration for 2011 Miss Universe 3rd Runner-Up Shamcey Supsup

Photo from Inquirer News

Photo from Inquirer News

Miss Universe 3rd runner-up Shamcey Supsup has recently arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 through flight PR 103 of Philippine Airlines from Los Angeles. Numerous fans, airport employees and Binibining Pilipinas officials were eager to welcome her at the airport. At the airport’s VIP lounge, she thanked everyone for such a warm welcome and expressed her gratitude to all Filipinos who showed support for her in the beauty pageant.

In her homecoming, the 22-year-old Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2011 had a long list of appearances and engagements to accomplish. First, she had a courtesy call with the President Benigno Aquino III before the president left for a United States trip. In the said meet-up with the President, she has been personally congratulated for her recent win in the Miss Universe.

Her next stop was a ticker-tape parade along Ayala Avenue, Makati City and a visit to Makati High School, where she graduated in 2003.

She also had a victory parade in Cubao, Quezon City where big crowd was there to see her. She was then appointed as Greenbuilding Architectural Consultant of the Araneta Center. “That’s a good thing. I never thought that through this pageant I will be able to practice my profession,” she said referring to the good news. Many celebrity-politicians greeted her at the Quezon City Hall.

Shamcey also had a talk with Gawad Kalinga regarding on the house project for the ‘Bagyong Ondoy’ victims. “Kasi nga iba rin if you have your own house. Sabi nga it’s one of the basic needs aside from food and water. Ako rin, I was a victim of Ondoy kaya alam ko how it is to have your homes flooded,” Shamcey said.

A huge crowed of students awaited her at the University of Philippines Diliman Campus. Shamcey graduated magna cum laude with the degree in Architecture at the most prestigious university in the Philippines. She also extended her support on free tuition for the ‘iskolars ng bayan’ of the state university and congratulated the UP Pep Squad for the a big win in this year’s UAAP Season.

The celebration did not ended yet for her fellow residents of Cainta, Rizal expressed their warm welcome during her motorcade. She was then awarded as the Outstanding Citizen of Cainta. A festive welcome is also scheduled at the General Santos City not later this week.