Aquino signs Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012
President Benigno S. Aquino III signed the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda announced on Friday.
The new law criminalizes the “arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State.”
Most notable cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances include the abductions of Jonas Burgos, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno as well as other desaparecidos. Under the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012, security forces involved in such offenses can be arrested and charged.
Among the salient features of the law include non-exemption of any offender from amnesty, either convicted or facing prosecution, from liability.
Also, war or any public emergency cannot suspend the enforcement of the anti-disappearance law. Command responsibility will also be observed, making superior officers culpable for violations of their subordinates.
Under the law, subordinates can defy unlawful orders of superiors for the commission of enforced disappearance. It also calls for periodic update of registry of all detained persons in detention centers, and the law prohibits existence of secret detention facilities.
Victims and kin could ask for compensation, restitution and rehabilitation under the new law. Reclusion perpetua will be the severest penalty for violating the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012.
It also mandates that Human Rights organizations shall participate in the crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law. PND (as)
President Aquino extends yuletide message, recognizes people’s contributions to nation building
President Benigno S. Aquino III extended his Christmas message to the Filipino nation Saturday thanking every citizen for their contribution in building a culture honestly and generosity towards others as the country moves forward.
“Pagkakataon ang Pasko para magpasalamat sa lahat ng biyayang ating natamasa. Sa ngalan ng buong pamahalaan, nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng Pilipinong nakiambag sa pagtatag ng kultura ng katapatan at malasakit sa kapwa,” the President said in his message aired over government-run radio station and posted on a government website on Saturday.
“Dahil sa kakaibang pagsusumikap na ipinakita sa tuwid na daan, higit na nagiging makabuluhan ang Paskong Pilipino.”
The President recognized the contributions of every Filipino in realizing major programs spearheaded by the present administration.
Among these projects include the Sitio Electrification Program, which now energizes so many communities, giving joy to people as they celebrate the Yuletide season, the President said.
Because of the support of the Filipino people, the government’s Conditional Cash transfer program was a success, the President said. The program provides assistance to poor families for them to have better lives and good health.
“Malinaw po ---ang bawat butil ng tagumpay na ating inaani ay nagmula sa ipinunlang pagsusumikap ng sambayanan; kayo po, ang aming mga Boss, ang gumawa nito.”
“Muli’t muli nating pinatutunayan sa mundo... bukod tangi ang Paskong Pilipino dahil sa kahandaan ng bawat isang maging tanglaw sa kaniyang kababayan, hindi lamang tuwing Kapaskuhan, kundi sa araw-araw na pagbagtas sa tuwid na daan. Isang maligayang Pasko po sa inyong lahat,” he added. PND (as)
Government approves guidelines protecting air travelers
The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently approved the Rights of an Air Passenger that will protect air travelers from unfair practices.
In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo signed the measure last December 10.
The guideline took effect December 21, Valte said.
Among the passengers’ rights under this guideline include the right to be provided with accurate information before ticket purchase, right to receive the full value of the service purchased, and the right to compensation.
Passengers also have the right to be processed for check-in, and the right to sufficient processing time, Valte said.
The DOTC has been receiving complaints that airline companies do not open check-in counters on time that result to long lines of passengers, which prompted the government to issue this guideline, she said.
The DOTC now has an instruction saying check-in counters must open at least two hours before the estimated time of departure so that passengers do not experience so much inconvenience.
The general rule for the right to board aircraft for the purpose of flight is that a passenger cannot be denied the right to board the aircraft without his consent.
The policy also has guidelines on overbooking and the passengers’ right to compensation and amenities in case of cancellation of flight, Valte said.
In the case of the right to compensation, passengers can ask for compensation for delayed, lost, and damaged baggage. They could also be compensated in case of death or bodily injury. PND (as)
Aquino to sign RH Bill before year ends
President Benigno S. Aquino III will sign the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill into law before the year ends, a Palace official said on Saturday.
“Before the end of the year ‘yan (RH Bill) naman ang pipirmahan,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.
The Senate approved on Monday night the reproductive health (RH) bill with a 13-8 vote. Before Monday’s vote, the bill had languished in Congress for 13 years. The Senate’s approval paves the way for the measure to become a law.
The House of Representatives also approved on third reading recently the bill that President Aquino had certified as urgent.
Proponents to the bill said the legislation would provide women the choice to determine the number of their children, give teenagers protection from unplanned pregnancies and educate citizens about sexual health.
Valte also mentioned the signing of the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 by the President. The law provides for the responsibility of both private and public individuals to report incidents of enforced disappearances.
Reacting to the comment made by Human Rights Watch saying the President should show political will to enforce the law, Valte said, it’s the duty of the President to carry out the law for the benefit of the country and the people.
“Ang mandato ng Pangulo ay ipatupad ang ating mga batas, at sigurong makikita naman natin doon sa mga nakaraang araw, nakaraang linggo… ipinakita ng Pangulo na namumuno talaga siya.”
For instance, Valte said the 2013 national budget was passed three times straight in a row. The Sin Tax Law, considered a landmark legislation, was passed under the watch of the President, she said.
“And also ang matagal na hotly contested and acrimonious Responsible Parenthood Bill ay naipasa rin naman sa ilalim ng pamumuno ng Pangulong Aquino,” she said. PND (as)