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EDITORIAL - Accountability in disaster

Scientists say the Verde Island Passage in Batangas is home to 36 marine protected areas with an estimated 1,700 fish species and 300 coral species. About two million people depend on the passage for their livelihoods, mostly fishermen and workers in the tourism industry......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarMar 20th, 2023

STATEMENT | A cry for justice for the victims and survivors of the ongoing climate disaster in Davao region

This most recent landslide is only a stark reminder that recurring disasters have occurred, pointing to a lack of corporate accountability and the failure to install mitigating measures to prevent a new landslide and prompt response when a new one occurs......»»

Category: newsSource:  davaotodayRelated NewsFeb 14th, 2024

EDITORIAL - Building for resilience

Ten years after Super Typhoon Yolanda turned much of Eastern Visayas into a wasteland, have lessons been learned in disaster preparedness and resilience? In the catastrophic aftermath of the typhoon, there was much talk about building back better and designing resilience into the reconstruction effort......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 7th, 2023

PBBM wants agenda to address global challenges as he signs UNSDCF

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called for a "transformative agenda" to address global challenges and bridge divides as he signed a new United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework on Tuesday. The UNSDCF is a five-year plan to guide the UN's development activities in the Philippines from 2024 to 2028. It is aligned with the Philippine government's eight-point socio-economic agenda, the Philippine Development Plan, and Ambisyon Natin. In his speech at the signing ceremony in Malacañan, Marcos said that the UNSDCF is "oriented to support Philippine government policies and priorities embodied in the eight-point socio-economic agenda, the Philippine development plan, and Ambisyon Natin." He added that the UNSDCF "enjoins us and agencies in the government's determined pursuit of the highest aspirations of our people." Marcos said that the Philippines looks forward to "vigorous engagements and key issues that bear on the future of our communities, including food security, education, climate action, decent work, digital transformation, and disaster risk reduction." He also invited new approaches to help promote innovation driven by climate-smart and sustainable growth at all levels. Marcos said that the Philippines is also fostering access to green financing, lasting peace, and better public services across the archipelago. "With the UN delivering as one fully cognizant of the Philippine needs and context and the voices of its partners including civil society, our partnership can be a catalyst for the accomplishment of our shared goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," he said. Marcos also noted that the UNSDCF is among the first of its kind under the reformed UN development system. "Our collaboration will showcase the best and finest the UN development system can offer the world with programs that provide solutions and a far-reaching impact and provide good models of co-ownership, transparency, and accountability," he said. Marcos said that the UNSDCF brings with it not only the legacies of the Philippines' constructive and long-standing engagement with the UN, but also signifies the country's role in shaping more inclusive and effective multilateral institutions that embrace and bring tangible results to all. He added that the UNSDCF also acknowledges how the Philippines' best practices and experience can help the achievement of the SDG agenda elsewhere through South-South cooperation platforms. Marcos said that the UN recognizes that peacebuilding milestones in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao offer valuable insight for peacemaking across the world. He added that the Philippines' advocacies in the Indo-Pacific and in the global arena for the rule of law and a peaceful settlement of disputes also provide opportunities for a more substantive engagement with the UN. "These noble aspects of the UNSDCF show how our partnership has evolved. It is now infused with a more mature-looking synergy of efforts serving the interests of both the Philippines and the United Nations as we work for a safer and more prosperous world," Marcos said. He added that it is "truly fitting that we embark on this new journey together as we celebrate the founding of the UN 78 years ago." "This daunting and profound enterprise of making our collaboration deliver meaningful change and transformation on the ground lies before us," Marcos said. "I look forward to hearing many more success stories in the Philippines-UN partnership under this cooperation framework," Marcos added......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 24th, 2023

Bong Go pushes for Coast Guard modernization following Romblon tragedy

Senator Bong Go is demanding accountability and pushing for a modernization program to strengthen the Philippine Coast Guard after the recent maritime tragedy off the shores of Corcuera, Romblon, where a 55-year-old woman tragically lost her life. On 5 August,  MB King Sto. Niño 7 became half-submerged near Corcuera and one of its passengers managed to contact the local PCG station to report the situation. "Unang-una, managot po ang dapat managot dito at sino talaga ang may kasalanan. Tuwing may lumulubog, tuwing may disaster na nangyayari, sisihan ang nangyayari,” Go said in an interview on 7 August, after distributing assistance to tricycle drivers in Pasay City. Go also highlighted the importance of strengthening the capabilities of the PCG to better safeguard maritime welfare and security. In line with this, Go filed Senate Bill No. 2112, or the PCG Modernization Bill, which was scheduled for hearing the following day. "Our Coast Guard serves as the frontline defense against threats like smuggling, terrorism. Malaki po ang kanilang trabaho. Additionally, they provide invaluable assistance during natural disasters and emergencies," Go said. The proposed bill seeks to upgrade PCG’s assets and resources. Its main goal is to upgrade the coast guard's vessels, aircraft, and equipment to meet international standards. Such improvements are expected to significantly enhance response time during maritime incidents and emergencies. "At dito po sa nangyari sa paglubog, ay dapat makasuhan po ang may kasalanan,” Go said. Go's pronouncements come amidst not only the Romblon incident, but also a ferry disaster in Rizal province on 27 July, where a boat capsized due to severe winds, resulting in 27 deaths. The post Bong Go pushes for Coast Guard modernization following Romblon tragedy appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2023

SBG pushes for Coast Guard modernization following Romblon tragedy

Amid the recent maritime tragedy off the shores of Corcuera, Romblon, where a 55-year-old woman tragically lost her life, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go is demanding accountability and pushing for a modernization program to strengthen the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). The incident occurred on 5 August after passenger vessel MB King Sto. Niño 7 became half-submerged near Corcuera. According to the PCG, one of the passengers managed to contact the local PCG station to report the situation. "Unang-una, managot po ang dapat managot dito at sino talaga ang may kasalanan. Tuwing may lumulubog, tuwing may disaster na nangyayari, sisihan ang nangyayari,” Go said in an interview on August 7, after distributing assistance to tricycle drivers in Pasay City. Go also emphasized the importance of strengthening the capabilities of the PCG to better safeguard maritime welfare and security. "Kung kailangan pa nating mas palakasin ang Philippine Coast Guard upang mas magampanan nila nang buong husay ang kanilang tungkulin, (gawin po natin)," he said. In line with this, Go has filed Senate Bill No. 2112, or the PCG Modernization Bill, which is scheduled for hearing the following day. "Our Coast Guard serves as the frontline defense against threats like smuggling, terrorism. Malaki po ang kanilang trabaho. Additionally, they provide invaluable assistance during natural disasters and emergencies," Go said. The proposed bill seeks to upgrade PCG’s assets and resources, to enable the service to carry out its duties and responsibilities more effectively. Its main goal is to upgrade the coast guard's vessels, aircraft, and equipment to meet international standards. The post SBG pushes for Coast Guard modernization following Romblon tragedy appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2023

EDITORIAL - Recipe for disaster

The Philippine Coast Guard dismissed the story as absurd. Yet because of the tragedy that befell the motorized wood-hulled boat Aya Express last July 27 after leaving the port of Binangonan in Rizal, people tend to believe the story of its captain......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 8th, 2023

EDITORIAL - Transparency, accountability

The administration has defended the allocation of about P10.14 billion for confidential and intelligence funds in the proposed national budget for 2024. Such assurances must be matched by actions that will allay public fears of the CIF being used mainly to skirt transparency and accountability in the utilization of people’s money......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 6th, 2023

EDITORIAL - Disaster zones

Large swathes of Bulacan and Pampanga and parts of Pangasinan have turned into disaster zones amid incessant heavy rainfall and floods that refuse to subside. The massive flooding can’t be due simply to the release of water from surrounding dams, whose operators insist they have been following water release protocols that have been in place for a long time......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2023

No point hiding

At a time of greatest need, one learns the true character of those who proclaim to always be on the side of the marginalized sector. Business big kahuna San Miguel Corp.’s motto, “Walang iwanan” (Leave no one behind), became an empty sales pitch during the Mindoro oil spill, one of the biggest catastrophes of its kind in the country’s history. SL Harbor Bulk Terminal Corp., a subsidiary of San Miguel Shipping and Lighterage, contracted RDC Reield Marine Services to ship 900,000 liters of industrial oil on its tanker, the MT Princess Empress, that later sunk off the coast of Oriental Mindoro. SMC has not addressed calls to take responsibility for the 28 February incident. It has instead maintained its silence on its role in the MT Princess Empress tragedy. Groups representing the oil spill-affected communities in Mindoro decried the audacity of SMC in covering up its involvement with a mere cleanup drive. Mindoro communities continue to worry about the increased presence of tankers carrying toxic fuel in their waters courtesy of SMC, which is beefing up its liquefied natural gas business in the area. Protect the Verde Island Passage, which advocates freeing the marine treasure called the “Amazon of the Oceans” of human threats, said SMC cannot be trusted with safety due to its dismal record in safeguarding communities from the destructive effects of its businesses. “We hope that this time around, SMC will be called to account for its role in the MT Princess Empress oil spill, as stated in the Revised Rules on Prevention, Containment, Abatement, and Control of Oil Marine Pollution of Philippine Coast Guard Memorandum Circular 01-2005,” Fr. Edwin Gariguez, lead convenor of Protect VIP, said. With SMC as the charterer of the oil tanker, it is considered the owner of the vessel and the spiller of the oil, according to the ecology warrior. His group has demanded that SMC pay at least P70 million in cash bonds consisting of P50 million for cleanup and containment and P20 million for the damage and payment to the impacted communities as a preliminary reparation. “Environmental destruction and livelihood deprivation come with a hefty price tag. SMC should be in the news for something big — we hope it will be for the biggest penalty ever imposed on a Philippine company,” Gariguez said. In a Senate investigation, it was estimated that the oil slick from the tanker affected 20,000 hectares of coral reefs, 9,900 hectares of mangroves, and 6,000 hectares of seagrass beds in Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan and Antique. In the investigation, it was found that RDC had been operating under a falsified certificate of public convenience that SMC appeared to have tolerated. The scant mention of SMC during the Senate proceedings did not escape the notice of many since the senators were directing the blame for the tragedy on the vessel owner and the maritime agencies. One senator even had the temerity to free SMC from any accountability, saying that under the law the charterer is not responsible for an oil spill. Given that such a law exists, it can’t be denied that the SMC cargo caused untold misery. The Asian conglomerate has pictured itself as a responsible corporate citizen, particularly during the pandemic years. It has been reported that residents affected by the oil spill continue to experience dizziness, nausea, headaches and fever. A report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, or NDRRMC, said the oil spill affected 42,487 families, 200,244 persons, and 24,698 farmers; caused P6.7 million worth of damage to the livestock, poultry, and fisheries industries, and P4.9 million in estimated damage to agriculture. In the Mindoro oil spill, SMC can’t use its minions in the judiciary and the legislature to escape accountability for its glaring neglect of the safe shipment of cargo it owned. It must man up to its responsibility. The post No point hiding appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 1st, 2023

World job market on brink of ‘AI revolution’: OECD

The world's wealthiest nations must urgently prepare for the impact of an imminent "AI revolution" that will change jobs, create new ones and make others disappear, the OECD said Tuesday. The rapid development of artificial intelligence -- with tools that can generate essays, create images and even pass medical exams -- have raised concerns that it could replace whole sectors of the workforce through automation. In its 2023 Employment Outlook, the OECD said there was little evidence of significant negative effects on employment from AI "so far". "While the adoption of AI still remains relatively low, rapid progress, falling costs and the increasing availability of workers with AI skills indicate that OECD economies might be on the brink of an AI revolution," the report said. "While there are many potential benefits from AI, there are also significant risks that need to be urgently addressed," according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The international and influential organization has 38 member countries ranging from Australia to Britain, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the United States. The OECD said it was "vital" to gather better data on AI uptake and use in the workplace, "including which jobs will change, be created or disappear, and how skills needs are shifting". AI use is generally concentrated in large firms that are still experimenting with the new technology, and many appear reluctant to replace staff, said Stefano Scarpetta, OECD director for employment, labor and social affairs. "However, it is also clear that the potential for substitution remains significant, raising fears of decreasing wages and job losses," he wrote in an editorial. AI has the potential to improve workplace safety by reducing "tedious or dangerous tasks" and lead to higher wages for workers whose skills complement the technology, the OECD report said. But it could also "leave workers with a higher-paced work environment" and reduce wages for those "who find themselves squeezed into a diminished share of tasks due to automation". When taking AI into consideration, jobs at the highest risk of automation account for 27 percent of employment, according to the OECD. "The use of AI also comes with serious ethical challenges around data protection and privacy, transparency and explainability, bias and discrimination, automatic decision making and accountability," Scarpetta said. "Urgent action is required to make sure AI is used responsibly and in a trustworthy way in the workplace," he said. "On the one hand, there is a need to enable workers and employers in reaping the benefits of AI while adapting to it, notably through training and social dialogue." The post World job market on brink of ‘AI revolution’: OECD appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 11th, 2023

Fraudsters steal over $200-B Covid-19 small business loans

The United States lost more than $200 billion to fraud from two schemes designed to help small businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a United States government watchdog report. “We identified multiple schemes used by fraudsters to steal from the American taxpayer and exploit programs meant to help those in need,” the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General said in a new report. The potentially fraudulent loans were disbursed through two Covid-19 programs, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the report published on Tuesday. “Over $200 billion in potentially fraudulent Covid-19 EIDLs, EIDL Targeted Advances, Supplemental Targeted Advances, and PPP loans,” the SBA report said. “This means at least 17 percent of all Covid-19 EIDL and PPP funds were disbursed to potentially fraudulent actors,” according to the SBA. The US government provided around $4.6 trillion of funding for pandemic response and recovery, according to a recent estimate by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. Of this, around $90.5 billion in funding remained unspent as of January 2023, according to the GAO. The post Fraudsters steal over $200-B Covid-19 small business loans appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 28th, 2023

Groups want ban on toxic cargo in VIP

Civil society groups and representatives of fisherfolk have demanded a total ban on tankers carrying toxic cargo along the Verde Island Passage. The ban should spare the island’s marine environment and communities from the risk of oil spill, according to the think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development, the environmental advocacy group Protect VIP and the Koalisyon ng Mangingisdang Apektado ng Oil Spill. The call was made as the House of Representatives Committee on Ecology and Committee on Natural Resources are jointly investigating the oil spill caused by the 28 February sinking of the fuel tanker MT Princess Empress off Oriental Mindoro. “Tankers carrying toxic cargo like industrial oil and other fossil fuels should be banned from coursing through the VIP,” Gerry Arances, Executive Director of CEED and co-convenor of Protect VIP said Arances said the complexity of responses necessary in the aftermath of a disaster like the Oriental Mindoro oil spill showed that the government should not allow such incidents to happen in the first place. “We’re disappointed that even as it took two long months before Congress called for another investigation, there appears to be no significant progress in exacting justice for affected communities and biodiversity. Coordination among various government and responsible actors still proves to be severely lacking,”  he complained. The groups raised alarm over the high volume of fossil fuel and toxic cargo-carrying vessels’ allowed to ply critically biodiverse seas, especially the VIP, without a complete and thorough assessment of these vessel seaworthiness right from its point of departure as seems to be the case for the Princess Empress. Meanwhile, fisherfolks complain of unclear and unjust processes for the delivery of compensation, inedible products in food packs and lack of plans for long-term support for alternative livelihoods. “It is disheartening to see the finger-pointing at the hearing earlier: the discussion of allowing MT Princess Empress to sail despite its no permit to sail between the Philippine Coast Guard and Marina (Maritime Industry Authority), the unclear water testing and results from Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and Department of Social Welfare and Development’s recall of canned tuna after it has been distributed,”  Dindo Melaya, convenor of KMAOS, said. Melaya called for a clear and long-term plan such as providing alternative livelihoods to fisherfolks who are yet to resume fishing, retrieval of the sunken tanker and full accountability from the polluters, instead of sending them canned tuna that are unsafe even for their dogs.   The groups raised alarm over the high volume of fossil fuel and toxic cargo-carrying vessels allowed to ply critically biodiverse seas.   The groups also pointed out that the absence of RDC Reield Marine Services and the oil tanker owner and charterer, subsidiaries of San Miguel Corporation, makes the oil spill hearing unable to genuinely facilitate the exacting of accountability from polluters. “Government agencies and members of our congress can go on with the blame game as much as they want, but there will be no justice if the polluters that caused this ecological disaster are allowed to play truant,” according to Arances. “We sincerely hope that our government will deliver the punitive actions these companies deserve, including the compensation they owe to communities whose livelihoods they robbed and whose welfare they harmed. These polluters should stop sending stand-ins, and instead, stand up and face the consequences of their actions,”  he said. The post Groups want ban on toxic cargo in VIP appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 10th, 2023

EDITORIAL — Code of conduct for lawyers

It’s good to know that the Supreme Court has promulgated a new Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability for lawyers......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 24th, 2023

EDITORIAL - Biggest Hour for Earth

The Philippines joins around 190 other countries tonight for an hour-long lights out as it confronts an environmental disaster from a sunken tanker that continues to spew toxic industrial oil 400 meters deep in the waters off Mindoro, threatening marine biodiversity and livelihoods......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 24th, 2023

EDITORIAL - Environmental disaster

As the sunken motor tanker Princess Empress continues to spill toxic industrial oil into the country’s western seaboard, threatening the Verde Island Passage in Batangas as well as the pristine waters of Palawan, the government is belatedly verifying if the vessel was even authorized to set sail......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 15th, 2023

EDITORIAL - Environmental disaster

Last Friday as its beaches and surrounding waters turned black, with dead fish washing ashore, the town of Pola in Oriental Mindoro declared a state of calamity......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 4th, 2023

EDITORIAL - Accountability in CIF use

After drastically cutting the confidential and intelligence funds approved by the House of Representatives in the 2023 national budget, senators went along anyway with the version of the larger chamber......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 6th, 2022

EDITORIAL - Enhancing disaster management

Contrary to the claim of Maguindanao local officials, the country’s geohazard map clearly shows in red the areas prone to landslides in the province, now gerrymandered into two, as well as the rest of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 2nd, 2022

An ‘eco-disaster’ waiting to happen

The editorial headline by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 22, 2021 said it all. The “monumental eco-disaster” waiting to happen is the P23-billion, 174-hectare reclamation project that the city of Dumaguete plans to build on the entire seafront of this gentle city by the bay. The project seeks to transform the seaside site into […] The post An ‘eco-disaster’ waiting to happen appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 13th, 2021

EDITORIAL - Vaccine accountability

The Senate Committee of the Whole is reportedly set to conduct an inquiry into the government’s utilization of the funds for COVID vaccine procurement......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 15th, 2021