People of Palo remember life’s biggest lessons learned from ‘Yolanda’
(PALO, Leyte) The resilience of Filipinos and their strong devotion towards the Catholic faith were on display Sunday as those who survived the onslaught of super typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) shared everything they remember during that fateful Friday of November 8, its aftermath, and how God helped them through those harrowing times.
Fr. Sunny Quejada told a packed audience inside Palo Cathedral about his own ordeal upon learning that he had lost two members of his immediate family from the tragedy. He, however, said that blaming God for what happened never crossed his mind.
The 33-year old priest took a few days of leave from his parish in Aurora and rushed home to his family as soon as he learned that his mother went missing following Yolanda’s onslaught. When he arrived, he was surprised to find out that his elder sister was also missing.
He immediately went to search for his beloved kin, gone as far as looking at and praying for the dead bodies he saw on the road one-by-one, and felt relieved when he did not find them there. Such relief, however, was just temporary as the remains of his mother showed up a few more days later.
Fr. Quejada said he wished to see his mother alive but he already prepared himself for the worst and accepted her death. He, too, acknowledged the possibility that his sister did not survive even if her body has not yet been found.
He took care of everything for her mother’s burial, from buying the coffin to processing the papers, despite being overwhelmed with sadness. He even personally led the ceremonial rites during her interment.
“Some priests found it hard to lead a funeral mass for their loved ones because they get very emotional. But somehow I managed to hold one for my mother because I wanted to give her a proper burial,” Fr. Quejada said in Filipino while keeping his emotions in check.
Fr. Quejada admitted he once had thought about asking some of his brothers why they let something bad happen to their mother and sister, but he quickly abandoned the idea, knowing that it must be more agonizing on their part as they were witnesses to Yolanda’s devastation.
Instead, Fr. Quejada prayed to the Lord and thanked Him for allowing them to experience this pain because it made them stronger as a family. With God on their side, he said he would rather look at his experiences with Yolanda on a positive note.
Fr. Quejada already sent his remaining family members to Manila where they can start rebuilding their lives. He also plans to go back to his parish soon in preparation for the traditional Misa de Gallo.
His testimony was just one of the many stories shared here in Palo as part of its cathedral’s Days of Prayer and Remembrance to mark the first month since super typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc in Leyte and other places in the Visayas.
Monsignor Bernie Pantin, parish priest of the Palo Cathedral, said this prayerful event was held to provide a communal experience of healing and closure as they take a rest from the frenzy of relief activities and spend a period of silence, pay respects to, and pray for the dearly departed, as well as offer sympathies to their families and friends.
It was also meant to give thanks to God for the valuable gift of new life given to those who survived the typhoon, and to remember with gratitude and to pray for the countless generous persons, who continue to work together to help with the healing process and rehabilitation of the beautiful island of Leyte.
A group of talented children who fortunately survived the tragedy performed two songs, "Yesterday’s Dream" and "Pag-ibig Tulad ng Batis," during the said program that drew applause, cheers, and tears of joy from the adults who were watching from the pews.
Archbishop John Du of the Archdiocese of Palo capped the program with a prayer before leading the Eucharistic celebration. PND (hdc)
President Aquino to receive honorary doctorate degree at Tokyo's Sophia University
(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to receive an honorary doctoral law degree from Japan's Sophia University during his visit here this week.
President Aquino is scheduled to visit the university on Friday morning, before meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Some 150 guests from government, business leaders, think tanks, the diplomatic corps and Filipino community members and Filipino students are expected to attend the event.
Sophia University president Tadashi Takizawa is expected to deiver the opening remarks before formally awarding the Honorary Doctorate Degree to the President.
President Aquino is expected to deliver a commemorative lecture after Chancellor Toshiaki Koso gives his congratulatory address.
Following the event, the President and his delegation are expected to head for Prime Minister Abe's residence for a bilateral meeting and working lunch.
The conferment of the degree is one of the activities of the President during his visit to Japan, for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Commemorative Summit.
Sophia University is a Jesuit educational institution and has exchange agreements with Jesuit universities including Ateneo de Manila University, President Aquino's alma mater. PND (jl)
President Aquino to promote PHL economic interests in meetings with Japanese business leaders in Tokyo visit
(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to promote Philippine economic interests in Japan this week, through scheduled meetings with Japanese business groups and delegations during his visit here.
President Aquino will lead a Philippine delegation to Tokyo to take part in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Commemorative Summit here.
On Friday, the President is scheduled to meet with the Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) at the Meeting Room of the Keidanren Kaikan in Chiyoda-ku here.
The President and members of the Philippine delegation are to meet 12 representatives of the Japan Business Federation led by Hiromasa Yonekura.
The meeting is scheduled after a bilateral meeting and working lunch hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Also on Friday, the President is scheduled to receive a social call by Bank of Japan Governor and Mrs. Haruhiko Kuroda at the Main Building of the Imperial Hotel.
On Saturday, President Aquino is scheduled to join fellow ASEAN heads of state at a lunch hosted by the Japan business community, including the Keidanren and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at the Japan Business Federation building.
Also on Saturday, the President and members of the Philippine delegation are to meet with officials of the Sumotomo Mitsui Banking Corp.
Expected to represent the SMBC are chairman Teisuke Kitayama and deputy president Hiroshi Minoura.
Meanwhile, the President is scheduled to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding for an 850-room retirement community in Cebu City.
To sign the MOU are officials of the Cebu City government, Japanese real estate firm I-Land Co., and construction company Primary Structures.
On Saturday evening, the President and the Philippine delegation will meet with officials of Nidec Sankyo Corporation led by chairman of the board Shigenobu Nagamori. PND (jl)
President Aquino to pursue closer Phl-Japan ties in Tokyo visit
(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III will pursue closer ties between the Philippines and Japan during his visit here this week for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Commemorative summit.
President Aquino and the Philippine delegation are to take part in several events aimed at bolstering various aspects of Philippine-Japan friendship.
On Friday, the President is scheduled to receive an Honorary doctorate law degree from Sophia University.
The President is then expected to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a bilateral meeting and a working lunch at the Prime Minister's official residence.
He is then to meet with the Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) at the Keidanren Kaikan) in the afternoon.
The President will then join fellow ASEAN heads of state at tea hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda, Tokyo.
Also on Friday, the President and the Philippine delegation will receive a courtesy call by the Japan Philippines Parliament Arians Friendship League (JPPFL) at the Imperial Hotel.
Expected to lead the JPPFL delegation are Minister of Justice Sadakazu Tanigaki as advisor; chairman Kenji Kosaka; vice chairman Takeshi Maeda; chief secretary Yukio Ubukata; and secretary-general Taku Otsuka.
Following this will be a social call by Bank of Japan Governor and Mrs. Haruhiko Kuroda.
On Friday evening, the President will join ASEAN heads of state at a dinner to be hosted by Prime Minister Abe and his wife Akie Abe at the Prime Minister's official residence.
On Saturday, the President will take part at the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit at the Akasaka State Guest House, President Aquino may deliver a statement during the summit.
The President and fellow ASEAN heads of state will then take part in a lunch hosted by the Japan business community, including the Keidanren and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
President Aquino will then join fellow ASEAN heads of state at the closing session of the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit.
Also on Saturday, the President will receive a courtesy call from former Japan International Cooperation Agency president Dr. Sadako Ogata, who is now advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and a special advisor to JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.
He will then meet with a delegation from the Sumotomo Mitsui Banking Corp., and witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding for an 850-room retirement community in Cebu City.
The President will likewise meet with representatives from Nidec Sankyo Corp.
President Aquino will then join fellow ASEAN heads of state at a gala dinner to be hosted by Prime Minister and Madame Abe.
He is expected to depart for Manila Saturday night and arrive in Manila early Sunday. PND (jl)
DSWD to consider extending distribution of relief goods until next year
(TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte) Distribution of relief goods especially to vulnerable sectors in calamity-stricken areas of Visayas may be extended until next year, the Department of Social Welfare of Development’s (DSWD) regional office in Eastern Visayas announced.
The DSWD previously said their relief distribution efforts would just be until the end of this year, but this could change depending on the agency’s assessment of the situation, DSWD officer-in-charge for Eastern Visayas Nestor Ramos said.
“(As) per assessment of our department, the relief distributions will be up to December 30, but we will do another assessment of whether we would continue our relief distribution after December. But definitely, for the vulnerable (sectors), it will continue,” Ramos told members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) during a meeting here.
The DSWD already plans to move into its cash-for-work program beginning January next year and has instructed local government units, through their Municipal Social Welfare Development offices, to prepare a project proposal as for the qualified beneficiaries of the said program.
About P533,698,756 worth of family food packs were already distributed by the DSWD for Leyte and Samar provinces alone as of December 7 (Saturday). Cost of assistance for the relief distribution efforts of local government units amounted to P3,938,454.
Meanwhile, the DSWD is launching this afternoon its ‘Feel Good’ project to be attended by Secretary Corazon Soliman, in partnership with the Department of Education and private companies like HBC and the Reyes Haircutters.
The project will serve as a morale booster to the typhoon survivors conceptualized by DSWD’s partner groups from the private sector in Manila. Some 30 haircutters will be giving free haircut to teachers and volunteers in Palo and Holy Infant College in Tacloban. This will be followed shortly by an activity to decorate the ‘Tree of Hope’. PND (hdc)
DSWD to look into allegations of missing relief goods from foreign donors
(TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte) The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will look into reported allegations of missing relief goods from international donors that have generated rage and concern over social media recently, its regional office here said on Monday.
Fielding questions from the media, DSWD officer-in-charge for Eastern Visayas Nestor Ramos said they have not yet received information regarding the matter but they will seek clarification from their workers on the ground to address this concern.
“The reality on the ground is there are NGOs (non-government organizations) directly distributing relief goods to LGUs (local government units)… (In) every municipality, we have already deployed (teams) to assess whether commodities are being received by our people in the villages,” Ramos said.
British tabloid, the Daily Mail, published a report over the weekend quoting an expat source that emergency supplies delivered by military helicopters from the United Kingdom have turned up on the shelves of shops in Makati instead of its intended recipients in calamity-hit areas.
Ramos said they will investigate this matter, as well as the alleged hoarding of imported relief goods from international organizations by corrupt local officials to be swapped with local ones hidden inside cadaver bags.
“Usually, when there are donations from the international organizations, we just make an inventory of it by box, but we are not opening that box. We immediately dispatch them to the different municipalities. We have a list of distribution plan as to who will be given priority. We do not repack (these relief goods) in our offices,” Ramos explained.
Ramos also encouraged members of the media to visit their relief hubs to see for themselves whether the DSWD was indeed keeping these goods inside cadaver bags just to hide them from the public.
He also addressed complaints raised by some volunteers who were displeased with DSWD’s rotational policy in line with its food-for-work program. He said rotating the volunteers was necessary so they could give equal opportunity to everyone.
“We have to rotate our volunteers because they are being given family food packs. It’s part of the food-for-work program. If they help in the repacking, we give them family food packs, so they can’t stay as volunteers for a long period of time. We have to remember that there are also a lot of people like them, that’s why we have to rotate our volunteers,” Ramos explained. PND (hdc)
Meeting with Filipino community first on President Aquino's schedule in Japan
(TOKYO, Japan) A meeting with the Filipino community in Japan will be the first item on President Benigno S. Aquino III's itinerary during his visit here this week.
The meeting is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, shortly after the President and the Philippine delegation are to arrive here from Manila.
It comes ahead of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Commemorative Summit, which the President is to take part in.
During Thursday's meeting scheduled at the Large Hall of the Arts Building of the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center, the President is to be presented with a symbolic check for Y1 million for victims of super typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan).
He will also award the Presidential Medal of Merit to former National Historical Institute (now National Historical Commission of the Philippines) Chairman Ambeth Ocampo, before delivering his speech for the occasion.
Meanwhile, Joyce Ogawa, chairperson of the Philippine Assistance Group representing the Kanto region and Jocelyn Yoshitomi, chairperson of the Philippine Community Coordinating Council representing the Kansai region, will deliver their respective remarks.
Filipino artists will also perform songs from the President's inaugural concert. PND (jl)
DSWD asks media’s help to warn ‘Yolanda’ victims against illegal recruiters
(TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte) Victims of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’, especially women and children here who are susceptible to trafficking, are being warned against illegal recruiters that are promising them jobs outside.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) issued this statement Monday and asked members of the media to advise citizens of Leyte to be more cautious when they are offered job opportunities outside their province.
“I-advocate natin huwag kayong papayag sa mga wrong information that there is job outside of Tacloban,” DSWD officer-in-charge for Eastern Visayas Nestor Ramos said.
Ramos added that any information with respect to job opportunities can be easily verified with the Department of Labor and Employment. He also mentioned that the DSWD continues to work with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to address the issue on trafficking.
They are also working with the Philippine Navy as regards to the unescorted minors who wanted to board their ships. “If there are kids na walang magulang, hindi po ‘yan pinapasakay. ‘Yung mga bata na gustong sumakay pero walang nanay, kinukuha po namin, nilalagay po namin sa aming shelter,” Ramos said. PND (hdc)
Filipino community to present Y1-million check for ‘Yolanda’ victims during meeting with President Aquino
(TOKYO, Japan) Filipinos here will present to President Benigno S. Aquino III this week a symbolic check for Y1 million (P426,007) for victims of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
The presentation will be one of the highlights of the President's meeting with the Filipino community shortly after his arrival here on Thursday afternoon.
Expected to present the check are Jenavila Shigemizu, chairperson of the Philippine Barrio Fiesta Executive Committee, and Olive Akatsu.
Yolanda battered parts of the Visayas and Southern Luzon last Nov. 8, leaving behind nearly 6,000 dead and more than P35-billion in damage.
The destruction it caused has prompted the international community to pitch in and help the survivors.
President Aquino is to lead a Philippine delegation to Japan this week for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Commemorative Summit.
The delegation is scheduled to arrive on Thursday. PND (jl)
President Aquino mulls to give subsidy to transport sector due to power rate adjustments
President Benigno S. Aquino III announced on Monday that he is studying the option of providing subsidy to public transport sector in efforts to lessen the effects of the possible power rate adjustments.
In an interview following his attendance to the 80th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Labor and Employment which has for its theme "Walumpung Taong Pag-unlad, Walumpung Taong Paglilingkod" held at the Ichikawa Hall, Occupational Safety and Health Center located at the corner of North Avenue and Science Road, Diliman, Quezon City, the Chief Executive issued the statement in the light of the plan of the Manila Electric Company to implement power rate adjustments.
President Aquino said he issued a directive to Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr., Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget Secretary Florcencio Abad, among others of the possibility of tapping the Malampaya Funds to finance the program to cushion the effects of electricity power adjustments.
"Itong araw na ito inatasan ko si Secretaries Jericho Petilla, Cesar Purisima, pati ang Department of Justice, ang Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, Executive Secretary and Secretary Florencio Abad na i-review kung paano ba magagamit—paano at puwede ba magamit ang Malampaya funds to cushion the impact," the President said.
"So baka pumasok ang pagbibigay ng subsidy sa ating mga—, ulitin ko lang ha, baka muna dahil pinagaaral ko pa nga ang subsidy doon sa ating mga public transports, ano, during the period of up to, if I remember correctly, hanggang February, ano, para hindi na kailangang mag-rate increase. ...Meron tayong sinubukang ganyan noong rumagasa iyong presyo ng langis about two years ago, kung hindi ako nagkakamali so, that amongst other things," he said.
The President expects the concerned Cabinet Secretaries to give him the result of the study and proposal to address the issue before he leave for Japan this week. PND (js)
President Aquino lauds Department of Labor and Employment for helping displaced workers in the aftermath of typhoons and calamities
President Benigno S. Aquino III lauded on Monday the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for facilitating employment services for the typhoon-displaced workers in the aftermath of typhoons and other calamities.
In his speech during the 80th Founding Anniversary of the DOLE which has for its theme "Walumpung Taong Pag-unlad, Walumpung Taong Paglilingkod" held at the Ichikawa Hall, Occupational Safety and Health Center located at the corner of North Avenue and Science Road, Diliman, Quezon City, the Chief Executive said the DOLE is working hard to find all possible means in providing employment opportunities for the victims of calamities.
"Iba po talaga ang DOLE. Noong nakaraang taon lang nang ipaabot ko sa inyo ang aking paghanga sa matatagumpay ninyong inisyatiba para sa ating manggagawa. Pinasalamatan ko rin kayo noon sa pagtulong ninyo sa mga kababayan nating sinalanta ng bagyong Pablo. Kung napakataas na ng antas ng serbisyong ipinakita ninyo noon, tinumbasan pa ninyo ito ng panibagong gilas ngayong taon," President Aquino said.
"At ito nga po ang lalong nagpapatingkad sa pagdiriwang natin sa inyong ika-80 anibersaryo. Alam po ninyo sa sunud-sunod na trahedyang dinaanan ng bansa ngayong taon, nariyan ang inyong ahensya bilang matibay na sandigan ng mga kababayan natin para sa kanilang muling pagbangon," he said.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz ordered the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Bureau of Local Employment, among others, to mobilize resources, partners, and allies and conduct overseas job fairs for workers in calamity-stricken provinces in Visayas region following the devastation of super typhoon Yolanda last November, the President said.
"Isipin ninyo: 11 araw lang ang nakalipas matapos hagupitin ng bagyong Yolanda ang kalakhang Kabisayaan, pinangunahan ng DOLE ang pagkakaloob ng libu-libong emergency employment sa mga apektadong komunidad," the President said.
"Si Secretary Linda nga po ang naging punong-abala sa koordinasyon ng mga ahensya sa paghahatid ng ayuda para sa mga biktima. Siya po ang inatasan nating mangasiwa sa typhoon Yolanda Information Assistance Center—ang ahensyang nakatoka para sa pagkalap at pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon ukol sa mga donasyon, volunteers, missing persons, at pagtukoy sa mga pangangailangan ng komunidad," he said.
The President also expressed his gratitude to Baldoz and the officials and employees of the DOLE for immediately extending assistance to the victims of calamities.
"Balita ko po, simple na lang din ang ginawa ninyong selebrasyon upang higit kayong makapaghatid ng tulong sa mga sinalanta nating kababayan. Hayaan ninyo pong ako na ang magpaabot sa inyo ng isang taos-pusong pasasalamat. Kapag po talaga masigasig, maaasahan, at sinsero ang ating mga ahensya sa pagtugon sa mga hamon, talagang naiibsan ang bagabag at agam-agam natin sa panahon ng trahedya," he said. PND (js)
President Aquino says Department of Labor and Employment's conciliation and mediation averts strikes
President Benigno S. Aquino III said the Department of Labor and Employment's National Conciliation and Mediation Board succeeded in averting strikes, paving the way for the government to achieve stable industrial peace climate in the country.
In his speech during the 80th Founding Anniversary of the DOLE which has for its theme "Walumpung Taong Pag-unlad, Walumpung Taong Paglilingkod" held at the Ichikawa Hall, Occupational Safety and Health Center located at the corner of North Avenue and Science Road, Diliman, Quezon City, the Chief Executive said the DOLE's conciliation and mediation strategy is the best approach in settling work-related disputes.
"Kapansin-pansin nga po ang maayos na relasyon ng ating mga manggagawa at mga kompanya. Isipin po ninyo: Buhat 2010, nananatiling mababa ang bilang ng mga strike ayon sa National Conciliation and Mediation Board. Sumasalamin ito sa tagumpay ng Single Entry Approach ng DOLE, kung saan dumadaan sa 30-day conciliation-mediation ang nakahaing labor cases," the President said.
"Ang maganda nga, sa 152 notices of strike and lockout ngayong taon, isa lang ang natuloy na welga. Ito raw po ang pinakamababa sa kasaysayan ng DOLE. Dahil sa naresolbang mga kaso sa pamamagitan ng SEnA mula Oktubre 2010 hanggang Setyembre 2013, napadali ang pagbabayad ng 2.4 billion pesos na monetary benefits para sa 82,578 manggagawa. Kaya naman di na po ako nagtatakang nakuha ng SEnA Team ang CSC Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award ngayong taon," President Aquino said.
The DOLE continues to enhance its conciliation and mediation techniques in maintaining harmony in the workplace. It has trained labor and management representatives to become skilled and qualified conciliators-mediators in an effort to maintain industrial peace in the country.
"Maipagmamalaki rin natin ang pagkakaroon ng stable industrial peace climate sa bansa. Dahil dito, mas nahihikayat natin ang mga investors para sa pagpapalawak o pagbubukas nila ng negosyo sa Pilipinas," the President said. PND (js)
170 units of temporary shelters already under construction in Leyte and Samar—DPWH
(TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte) The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has proposed a total of 219 units of bunkhouses to be constructed in the provinces of Leyte and Samar, 170 units of which are already underway, DPWH regional coordinator Serafin Lago, Jr. reported on Monday.
Lago added that clearing operations by the different engineering districts of the DPWH in Eastern Visayas are still ongoing with some areas already completed one hundred percent. Main highways here are almost cleared although the debris that comes from the inside streets kept returning.
“We collect this debris daily, but after collection the following day, another set of debris is piled up on the streets. We are still conducting debris collections daily and we are even scheduling it at night time,” Lago said during his meeting with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.
The DPWH has also already cleared the Burayan Creek, as well as the Tacloban City Astrodome, which served as an evacuation center for residents here during the height of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ last month.
Roofing for the two buildings of the Leyte Sports Complex, which is being used as central command post for relief operations of various international aid organizations, as well as work stations for foreign, national, local media is almost completely repaired.
Upon its acquisition of important materials such as coco lumber, the DPWH will start repairing six school buildings and one regional office building that were damaged during the typhoon. Lago said they might begin the work by next week as soon as the materials arrive. PND (hdc)
President Aquino commends the Department of Labor and Employment for developing Labour Law Compliance System
President Benigno S. Aquino III commended the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for developing a new "Labour Law Compliance System" (LLCS) in ensuring decent and productive work.
In his speech during the 80th Founding Anniversary of the DOLE which has for its theme "Walumpung Taong Pag-unlad, Walumpung Taong Paglilingkod" held at the Ichikawa Hall, Occupational Safety and Health Center located at the corner of North Avenue and Science Road, Diliman, Quezon City, the Chief Executive acknowledged the move of the DOLE to implement this year the new LLCS that aims at improving work conditions, fostering good employer-employee relations, and enhancing work productivity through voluntary compliance with labor standards.
"Saludo rin tayo sa new labor law compliance and incentivizing system bilang tugon sa mga isyung nakapaloob sa labor contractualization. Sa tulong nito, sinisiguro nating napapangalagaan ang karapatan ng ating manggagawa; na ang mga kompanyang sakop ng Labor Code ay may tamang pasuweldo at benepisyo para sa kanilang mga empleyado," President Aquino said.
"Nakapag-deploy na rin tayo ng Unified Registration System ng Batas Kasambahay. Sa pagtutulungan ng DOLE, Social Security System, PhilHealth, at Pag-IBIG, mas mabilis at simple na lang ang pagrehistro ng mga employer at kasambahay para sa kanilang mga benepisyo. 2.9 na milyong kasambahay po ang inaasahan nating makikinabang sa sistemang ito," he said.
The DOLE earlier improved the processes of the LLCS by developing a software system that will establish a coordinated program relative to labor law enforcement.
The President also lauded Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz for coming out with various initiatives to create more job opportunities for the Filipinos.
"Pinalawak din natin ang serbisyo ng Phil-Job.Net para sa epektibong paglalatag ng oportunidad sa ating mga kababayan. Ang dating 40,000 na bakanteng trabahong nakapaskil dito noong 2010, umabot na sa 100,000 ang monthly average buhat noong 2012. Habang ang mga rehistradong establisyamento naman, tumaas din mula 2,000 noong 2010 hanggang maging 30,000 na ito sa kasalukuyan.
"Sa pagtutulungan naman ng DOLE, Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior and Local Government, at Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, pumaspas ang programa natin para palayain at protektahan ang nasa isandaang libong kabataan mula sa child labor. Sa kasalukuyan, bukod sa nagkaloob na tayo ng educational assistance sa humigit-kumulang 50,350 batang manggagawa, nabigyan din natin ng marangal na kabuhayan ang kanilang mga magulang," he said. PND (js)
Aquino sees faster negotiation with MILF
President Benigno S. Aquino III said he expects the peace negotiations to speed up now that the government and the Moro Islamic Liberations Front signed the agreement on power-sharing annex.
During his attendance to the 80th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Labor and Employment in Quezon City Monday, the President said in an interview that although both sides signed the Framework Agreement last year, they have a huge task in hammering out the details of the annexes which will take time.
Asked if the government and MILF negotiators remain on track in establishing Bangsamoro government by 2016, the President said: “Lahat tayo gusto nating mas maaga mapirmahan ito pero hindi nga ganoon kadali, reason of itong timeframe.”
“Palagay ko ma-a-accelerate ang process para naman makaupo na sila by 2015, after the enactment of the enabling law.”
The President said that after power-sharing, negotiators must iron out normalization, the last hurdle in the talks.
“Medyo hindi ganoon kasimple iyon dahil talagang dito lalabas iyong buong pagtitiwala o ide-demonstrate nito ang buong pagtitiwala ng lahat,” the President said.
Normalization includes MILF fighters going back to folds of the law as well as safeguarding their weapons, he said noting that the issue is contentious since it involves complete trust to the Philippine government by the MILF.
In a press briefing, government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in a teleconference from Malaysia that they intend to meet in January to complete the annex on normalization as well as the addendum, which is the timeline.
In the meantime however, the Transition Commission is going on with their meetings in the next few weeks.
Ferrer also said that the committee on wealth-sharing has been working on the text for the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law following the signing of the wealth-sharing annex this year.
Negotiators have to work double time given the previous delays, Ferrer said. She added however that they are still working on the same timeline which is to establish the Bangsamoro government and hold the first elections in 2016.
Both panels target to sign the comprehensive agreement by January, she said.
In October last year, the government and the MILF signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro aimed at ending decades-long conflict in Mindanao that resulted to a huge number of casualties and instability in the region. PND (as)
Govt chief negotiator: There’s enough mechanism to solve problems on the ground
There are enough mechanisms on the ground to avoid hostilities while the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front thresh out the remaining annex of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by both sides last year, the government chief negotiator said on Monday.
In the teleconference from Malaysia with Palace reporters, chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said that the government always keeps in touch with their counterparts whenever there are problems arising on the ground.
One example is the attacks committed by the MILF in Lanao and Marawi City, she said.
Ferrer said that as both parties craft a permanent peace pact in Mindanao there are stumbling blocks that may arise along the way.
“We have always said that the road ahead is going to be rough and these are the kinds of problems that we know we will be encountering along the way, but what is important is that we have the mechanisms to be able to address things … that we are able to extract the kind of accountability and discipline that is expected of everyone,” she said.
For instance, during the incidents in Lanao and Marawi City, Ferrer said they held two executive sessions with their counterpart in the MILF.
That set off the process of immediately contacting respective ceasefire committees, contacting the commanders that were involved in the incidents and making sure that the remedial steps are undertaken, she said.
The process led to the immediate release of the police chief in Marawi City and in another incident the release of abducted civilians, Ferrer said.
The government and the MILF recently signed the agreement on power-sharing annex and gear up to thresh out the normalization annex. Both sides target to sign the comprehensive agreement next year. PND (as)
President Aquino remains focus at empowering the poor to fight poverty
President Benigno S. Aquino III said the government remains focused at empowering the poor and the marginalized sector of the society to fight poverty.
In an interview following his attendance to the 80th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Labor and Employment which has for its theme "Walumpung Taong Pag-unlad, Walumpung Taong Paglilingkod" held at the Ichikawa Hall, Occupational Safety and Health Center located at the corner of North Avenue and Science Road, Diliman, Quezon City, the Chief Executive said the government continues to work harder to alleviate poverty.
The National Statistical Coordination Board reported that poverty incidence in the Philippines eased to 25.2 percent of the population in 2012 from 26.3 percent in 2009. The Board also said that among Filipino families, poverty incidence also declined to 19.7 percent last year from 20.5 percent in 2009.
The President said the government continues to invest in people's capacity to participate meaningfully in the economy.
"Pero ang bottom line, ‘pag sinabi naming “inclusive growth,” di ba, the primary stimulus has always been the poverty level ... So kung may motivating force, it has to be that number, and that focus has to keep on diminishing kaya nga inclusive," he said.
"How do you participate in economic growth? That’s why you have all of these funding for Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, in Commission on Higher Education and Department of Education for that matter. That’s why you have Conditional Cash Transfer now to be expanded to high school students. Iyong all and everything that we do is aimed at bringing our people beyond, di ba, to poverty threshold," the President stressed.
The National Economic and Development Authority attributed the slight improvement in poverty incidence to the government's social programs such as the conditional cash transfer scheme. It also said that sustained high economic growth is needed to enable the Philippines to reduce poverty faster especially in rural areas. PND (js)
United Kingdom coordinates with Philippines and international aid agencies to ensure relief reaches typhoon victims
The United Kingdom government is working closely with the Philippine government and international aid agencies to ensure that the needed humanitarian aid reach the victims of super typhoon ‘‘Yolanda’’ (international name Haiyan.), the British Embassy in Manila said.
The British Embassy in Manila issued the statement following reports that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will look into reported allegations of missing relief goods from international donors that have generated rage and concern over social media recently, its regional office here said on Monday.
“We have no evidence of British aid being used for anything other than the relief effort, which is helping hundreds of thousands of Filipinos rebuild their lives,” the British Embassy said in a statement on their website.
DSWD officer-in-charge for Eastern Visayas Nestor Ramos said they will seek clarification from their workers on the ground to address this concern after British tabloid "Daily Mail," published a report on December 7 quoting an expat source that emergency supplies delivered by military helicopters from the United Kingdom have reportedly turned up on the shelves of shops in Makati instead of its intended recipients in calamity-hit areas.
“Usually, when there are donations from the international organizations, we just make an inventory of it by box, but we are not opening that box. We immediately dispatch them to the different municipalities. We have a list of distribution plan as to who will be given priority. We do not repack (these relief goods) in our offices,” Ramos explained.
Ramos also encouraged members of media to visit their relief hubs to see for themselves whether the DSWD was indeed keeping these goods inside cadaver bags just to hide them from the public.
He also addressed complaints raised by some volunteers who were displeased with DSWD’s “rotational policy” in line with its food-for-work program. He said rotating the volunteers was necessary so they could give equal opportunity to everyone. PND (hdc/js)