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One nation, one Constitution

Possibly the best Constitution Day ever was celebrated on Feb. 8, 2024, jointly by the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and Manila Overseas Press Club, at Makati Shangri-la Hotel......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarFeb 12th, 2024

Prayer rally vs people s initiative set in Davao

Over 50,000 people from around the country are expected to join “One Nation, One Opposition,” a multi-sectoral prayer rally set on Sunday in Davao City to protest the use of government programs and public funds to mislead voters into signing documents intended to support amendments to the Constitution......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 26th, 2024

EDITORIAL - Cha-cha fast break

If gathering the required number of signatures nationwide for a people’s initiative to amend the Constitution proves so easy, with the threshold allegedly already met even before the month is over and a nationwide plebiscite planned for July, the nation can be sure it will not be the last time that this mode of amending the basic law of the land will be employed......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 25th, 2024

FPRRD opposes disguised Charter change initiative

Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte has vehemently opposed the disguised People’s Initiative for Charter change, denouncing the cash-for-signature campaign as repugnant and a disgraceful act during a YouTube interview with Banateros Brothers on January 22, 2024. Duterte emphasized his disapproval of the initiative, urging for it to be halted, particularly criticizing the payment of individuals to sign the documents. He warned that such actions could lead to a new Constitution that might destroy the nation and open avenues for political abuses. Duterte stressed the importance of democracy in the Philippines, asserting that those seeking to remain in power should go through the electoral process. He highlighted that a well-performing and non-corrupt individual would retain power, while those with poor performance would be ousted through the electoral process. Expressing satisfaction with the current Constitution, Duterte argued that it has contributed to stability, reducing conflicts with groups like the New People's Army (NPA). He strongly advised against meddling with the Constitution, cautioning that it would only bring trouble to the country. Duterte pledged active opposition to the initiative, stating that he would campaign against it. Additionally, residents of Calinan District, Vice President Sara Duterte, and Representatives Isidro Ungab and Paolo Pulong Duterte have also voiced opposition to the People's Initiative for Charter Change. Margarita Atty. Migs Nograles, the representative of the Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Partylist, alleged to have started the cha-cha signature campaign, has yet to issue an official statement on the matter as of the latest update. Related stories include the denouncement of alleged `vote buying’ in signing the petition for Cha-cha by Davao City lawmakers, Vice President Duterte's condemnation of the cash-for-signature drive, and a prayer rally against PI’s Cha-cha on Jan 28......»»

Category: newsSource:  sunstarRelated NewsJan 24th, 2024

Federalism advocate favors Con-Con as mode for Cha-Cha

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 20 January) — Changing the Constitution through a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) composed of individuals who are not incumbent members of Congress will ensure the people’s involvement right from the start and the primacy of the nation’s development, not personal interests, in the minds of the delegates, an advocate of federalism said […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated NewsJan 20th, 2024

EDITORIAL — No silver bullet

For what is touted as an initiative to amend restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution, supporters keep raising political objectives to get the nation to dance the Cha-cha......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2023

On leaving PDP Laban

On Friday, 20 October, I submitted my resignation as the Secretary-General and as a member of the PDP Laban Party. In my resignation letter, I expressed my utmost gratitude to former President Rodrigo Duterte, our party chairman, for the trust and confidence conferred during my incumbency as the PDP Laban Secretary-General. I served the party under him with loyalty and delivered on the duties and responsibilities assigned to me. As a contributing opinion writer in this newspaper, I want to express my opinion on matters concerning national issues affecting ordinary Filipinos without being tied to the political stand of PDP Laban. I was always for nation-building. I believe that after the political season, we can discuss political, economic, and social matters in a manner that is not corrosive but beneficial to our country’s economic well-being. I believe that the incumbent knows their pact with the Filipinos and that they will fulfill it in a manner befitting the proud Filipino class. All of these are written in our Constitution. It is very important for us to support the incumbent, especially when they have a clear political mandate. It is not about the personalities but about protecting our institutions of leadership, like the three branches of our government. This is the only way to have a truly strong republic and attain economic growth. There is this one hypothesis that institutional weaknesses caused by political instability may have been one of the huge reasons why we have left the boat to industrialization. (Jeffrey G. Williamson & Emmanuel S. de Dios, 2014. “Has the Philippines forever lost its chance at industrialization?”  Philippine Review of Economics, University of the Philippines School of Economics and Philippine Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 47-66, December.) The hypothesis is that perennial political instability and legitimacy crises hinder investment and growth. Between 1983 and 1986, the economy plunged. Then came the Edsa revolt. There was political instability, too, in the incumbency of President Cory Aquino, given the seven coup attempts. Further political instability in the 2000s because of the question of corruption led to another revolt to replace President Estrada. However, questions of PGMA’s legitimacy led to mass rallies and attempted coups- political instability. The political instability during the 1990s prompted investor services to grade the Philippines as a “high political risk” from 1984 to 1991. The timing of the political uncertainties was unfortunate, too. It coincided with the spillover and relocation of Japanese manufacturing to Southeast Asia; Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia benefitted but not the Philippines. As a result, Foreign direct investments to Thailand from 1987 to 1991 were USD 24 billion, while the Philippines only had a measly USD 1.6 billion for the same period. It is clear to me that political stability is the path to economic growth. To not undermine the institutions created under our Constitution.   Confidential Funds I wanted to elaborate on my stand regarding the issue of confidential funds in local government. I hope Congress will tackle this not to find fault or to blame anybody but to craft a law prohibiting the practice of it. Giving the discretion to local executives to appropriate confidential funds in their favor is inimical to the interests of the Filipinos. LGUs earn revenues from taxing landholders, however small. It will be similar to the Philippines in the 1800s, with small farmers paying tributes to their Spanish conquistadors without explaining where the money was going. This is why Filipino farmers refused to work on their lands, prompting the Spanish friars to wrongfully brand the Filipinos as indolent. The practice of confidential funds will create dynasties and tyrants at the local level, and soon, even the barangay captains will appropriate for themselves confidential funds. They will claim they have the same rights as their mayor since they maintain peace and order at the barangay level. It is absurd and unjust. It will plunge us into chaos. The elections will be dirty and bloody. Confidential funds in the LGUs will not bring us peace and order, only greater income inequality and poverty. Congress must act. Our nation’s well-being is at stake. The post On leaving PDP Laban appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2023

Fancy word ‘revisionism’

Were there widespread abuses during the martial law years spanning 21 September 1972 to 17 January 1981, or nine years under President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.? Certain groups consider the narrative of the period being the dark ages of civil rights as sacrosanct and should never be challenged. Anything different from their storyline would be revisionism. These are the hypocrites who consider themselves as having the divine appointment to decide what is best for the country after the 1986 EDSA revolt. “I am ready to debate with anyone, and it is my duty to explain to the people,” Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile, who was the martial law administrator, said on the necessity of the controversial 1972 imposition. The situation then called for the declaration of powers to address an extraordinary threat to the nation. Everything was done according to the provisions of the 1935 Constitution, stressed Enrile on his weekly morning show “Bayan ni Juan.” “I was ordered by then — President Marcos Sr., who was acting under the commander-in-chief provision of the law, to study what was contained in the Constitution on the powers of the President,” he said. He pointed out that martial law covering the entire country was necessary at that particular period. Our country, not only today but in the future, is guaranteed always to be stable. “The time will come when there will again be a need to impose martial, and it will be the people who would clamor for it, I’m telling you,” he predicted. Enrile said that all forms of government leave something to be desired; even China, which is fast developing, faces several criticisms. The government, however, is responsible for preventing chaos, anarchy, and disorder. “We should be thankful that martial law was declared, or Mr. Jose Maria Sison would have taken over the government,” Enrile recalled. “Our economy then was hit by a global crisis. America was on a downturn, and it brought down the Philippines with it,” he said. “History will give us a fair picture of the past, such as what happened in Roman times, the Persian period and the Assyrian period.” Similarly, history will bear out that martial law was what was called for. According to the seasoned public servant, he could vouch for the Marcos military rule being fair and far from what was painted by the opportunists. “If they call the declaration of martial law a dictatorship, then what was the description of the government when President Cory Aquino took over? She was the legislator and the executive. Cory, the supposed saint of democracy, changed the 1973 Constitution that the Filipinos voted for,” Enrile said. With a single signature, she changed the Constitution and assembled 60 individuals who were supposedly knowledgeable on the laws to craft the 1987 Constitution, Enrile said, recounting the forming of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Charter. Even though he held the executive and legislative functions, Enrile said Marcos made sure “we were all working under a system of democratic procedure.” Marcos, he said, did not monopolize the government. “All the laws created under martial law were deliberated, debated, and discussed.” As proof of the just creation of the presidential decrees by Marcos, Enrile said that most are still being used by the government “because they were well thought out.” “Compare that with the laws being passed now. After a few years, these are required to be revised because of mistakes,” he said. The Supreme Court was always there to balance the executive and the legislative. “Can anyone say how many decrees passed during martial law were turned down by the SC as unconstitutional?” Of course, all were correctly upheld and in accord with the Basic Law. The post Fancy word ‘revisionism’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2023

Keeping it together

It’s no longer unusual, nowadays, for a family to have one or both parents working in another country, or for grown children to relocate abroad for work or start their own family. Single parenting is also quite common, right along there with blended families and LGBTQ unions with kids. Yet even when families are together in one place — one home, compound, neighborhood or city — it takes a lot to stay “together,” literally and figuratively. Perhaps sensing the threats to what is recognized as society’s basic foundation, our government in 1992 decided to declare the last week of September as Family Week, as mandated by Proclamation 60 signed by then President Fidel V. Ramos. Ramos wanted the week to emphasize the importance of the family as “the foundation of the nation” and “as a basic autonomous social institution,” as well as recognize “the sanctity of family life,” as stated in the Constitution of the Philippines. The world may transform in many ways, but the need for family will never change. “No matter how much life changes and the concept of family evolves, it may continue to benefit human health and wellness by offering a sense of belonging and support,” it aptly states in an article on Better Help, which also enumerates the factors affecting family life as “advancements in technology, changing cultural norms, new priorities and advanced forms of communication fueled by the internet.” The sense of belonging one gains from being part of a family — whether it is in a traditional setup, adoptive or “chosen,” a new kind of family defined in these modern times — has a profound impact on one’s well-being. With government providing the impetus for today’s families to connect or reconnect during the annual Family Week, it is up to each one of us to take steps to keep ours together in these fast-paced, nomadic, dysfunctional times. In the local setting, we already see so many signs of the changing dynamics among families. We could wade through studies to figure out all the issues affecting our core foundation, but we believe one may truly gain more understanding by examining our own experiences. Here, we share the views of people in our sphere, in answer to our query: What do you consider as the biggest challenge for your family in these trying times?   Gigie Arcilla, Editor-in-chief Dealing with young adult children presents the challenge of establishing boundaries as they seek independence and transition into adulthood. Striking a balance between support and autonomy, as well as providing guidance while allowing room for growth, can be difficult, especially for a single parent. [caption id="attachment_187927" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] STEPHANIE Mayo (fifth, clockwise) with her family. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Stephanie Mayo[/caption]   Stephanie Mayo, Film critic and writer I have senior-citizen parents, and my siblings and I are now at the age when our health naturally starts to decline. Even if someone has health insurance, no one can deny how debilitating and expensive getting sick is. Without health, quality of life is decreased. You also cannot work (no work, no pay for freelancers such as myself) if you are sick. Gratefully, none of us in the family are currently seriously ill. It’s just that given that these trying times are also marked by corruption, medical gaslighting, new diseases and viruses and climate change, health problems have become even more threatening. [caption id="attachment_187926" align="aligncenter" width="993"] PAULINE Songco (fifth from left) and dad Arnold, mom Dhen, grandmother Linda and sister Patricia. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Pauline Songco[/caption]   Pauline Songco, Editor and writer I would say our biggest challenge is finding time to be together. I am always never at home. If I am, I would just be there for a few hours to sleep. I would get up, then go to work again. I find myself having less and less free time than before. My sister is busy with work, and so is my father. My mom is left alone at home with my cats. But, she goes to the gym to occupy herself and to see her friends. Yet, I’m thankful for what we have right now for these are the same things that we used to pray for before. [caption id="attachment_187924" align="aligncenter" width="641"] PAULINE Pascual (first from left) and dad Roy, mom Jocelyn and sister Prizcia. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Pauline Pascual[/caption]   Pauline Joyce Pascual, Lifestyle writer Our family became even closer during the pandemic, and now that things are almost back to normal, it is the family bonding that we used to that we find the most challenging. My sister is studying and getting ready for her time at college while my parents are back in business and I am now working outside of our province. I miss the good old days even though we still saw each other every week. [caption id="attachment_187925" align="aligncenter" width="638"] RAPHAEL, Rachael, Joylen and Ruben Ramos. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Raphael Ramos[/caption] Raphael Ramos, STEM student at De La Salle Araneta The desire to act in spite of the potential consequences for everyone else. The family members’ immaturity leads to a more serious issue and may stunt each person’s development. [caption id="attachment_187922" align="aligncenter" width="2246"] GEL, Dino, Tei and Maui Datu. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Dino Datu[/caption]   Dino Datu, Chef, journalist and entrepreneur The biggest challenge in families today is creating quality family time. Everyone is so busy and there are so many distractions. While working and school work are necessities, we need to create time to just sit together for regular meals and chat without our electronic devices. Even on rare occasions that everyone is together, dining out, for example, people look at their phones every few seconds. That’s what I think is a big difference between today’s families and those from a few decades back. We often see “perfect” families on social media. Sadly, it seems like that’s the only place it exists.   Teresa Laurente, Business Consultant For me, it has to be family, healthcare, children’s education and social media effect on young people.   Pamela Palacio, Statistician III, Provincial Government of Bataan Disrespect to God and parents. Negative effect of social media. [caption id="attachment_187920" align="aligncenter" width="1080"] YVETTE Chua-Carrion (fourth from left) beside her husband, businessman Melon. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESYOF Yvette Chua-Carrion[/caption]   Yvette Chua-Carrion, Educator and breakthrough life coach In these financially trying times — the budget for groceries, how to have savings for emergencies (which we hope won’t happen), and high gas prices. [caption id="attachment_187919" align="aligncenter" width="1600"] (FROM left) Riley, husband Noel, Tiffany and Ashley. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Tiffany Cuna[/caption]   Tiffany Sison Cuna, Former beauty queen turned entrepreneur Disciplining and inculcating values in our children knowing how the Internet plays a vital role in their lives — it could either influence them positively or negatively. [caption id="attachment_187923" align="aligncenter" width="1170"] JIA Bote and dad Milton. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Jia Bote[/caption] Jia Bote, Student at the University of Santo Tomas With my father working away from home, the biggest challenge is having more time together as a family. When I was younger, I thought I had all the time in the world to spend time with my family. However, as I grow older, my responsibilities increase, and I have less free time than I used to. I remember spending the peak of the pandemic away from our father, and we could only talk through the phone for months. It was challenging for me not to see my father physically, especially when I go through difficult moments because I believe that we need more of our parents’ wisdom and guidance as we grow older. With the pandemic and the natural course of life, it feels like I have less time and opportunity to be with my father who is also growing old day by day. [caption id="attachment_187921" align="aligncenter" width="1242"] ALEX and Jet Capina (fourth and fifth from left) with their children. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY of Jet Capina[/caption]   Jet Capina, retired bank vice president Our challenge is how to make the family complete on weekends. My children have their own gimmicks. Before every Sunday we were together attending church service but after the pandemic each of them esp  Paolo is out of the house  to be with his gf. I don’t think it’s good to write about it. Our challenge is how to make the family complete on weekends. My children are all good and well behaved but having grown up, the elder ones now and then have their own gimmicks. I am happy that my husband, who often plays golf, is with me always.   The post Keeping it together appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2023

Nina Lim-Yuson  — A lifetime of girl scouting

The president of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Nina Lim-Yuson, grew up in a family and home of Girl Scouts. Her grandmother, Pilar Hidalgo-Lim, was one of the co-founders of the GSP.  “It was actually my Lola Pilar who suggested to Josefa Llanes Escoda, the GSP founder, to go to America to learn about girl scouting.” This tidbit of history, Nina shared in an online interview with the DAILY TRIBUNE. Pilar Hidalgo-Lim became GSP president, and so did Nina’s mother, Estefania Aldaba-Lim, who served as secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Nina’s sister too, the eminent broadcast journalist, Cheche Lazaro, was a Girl Scout. Coming from a lineage of women achievers, Nina could not have chosen a different path. It was scouting that formally introduced the family to social responsibility, skills development and citizenship. Her brothers were also Boy Scouts. “I started when I was six years old and it was my Lola Pilar who inducted me as a Brownie. It used to be called Brownie because we were still using the American pattern,” she related. She belonged to Troop Number One, the first to be organized by the GSP national headquarters. In high school at the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School of the Philippine Women’s University, she became a junior and later a senior Girl Scout.  College would briefly end her Girl Scouting as she focused on her studies. Along the way, she also danced with the Bayanihan Folk Dance Company. It was not unexpected that she would return to scouting, her first love, and her first extra-curricular activity.   For the last 36 years, she has been active in various organizations and volunteer work.  She founded the Museong Pambata. She is a recipient of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service and is active in its various social development efforts. What Nina brings to her post is the legacy of leadership that had been passed on to her through generations of women leaders in the family.  “My Lola Pilar was my idol.  She was such a nice person and I never knew her totally as a president. I knew her more as a loving lola from all the stories she related when we rode up to Baguio. “My mother, on the other hand, was the opposite. She was very career-minded. I learned naman from her a lot of things, like being thrifty and having a list of things to do. In terms of organization, she was like that. Because she was in government. And, you know, when we started Museo, while it was actually my concept, I learned a lot from her. She would call me up at 5 o’clock in the morning and she would rattle off what needed to be done, like ‘number one, number two and so on.’ That was her. And I’m glad that I worked with her for six years in Museo. She was the president and I was the executive director for six years. I took over in 2000 as president and chief executive officer. And then, I stepped down in 2017.”   Girl Scouts who read and tell stories Nina was elected president of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines for the term 2021-2024 during its 2021 national convention. From day one, she shared, “My purpose was to reach out to the community-based troops because we have always been school-based. Many young women now have social problems so we need to reach out to the communities through our community-based troops.” Also on top of her priorities is literacy development, a cause that she addressed even in the Museo Pambata. She explained, “My advocacy has always been education. So, I was very concerned because the Asian Development Bank reported in 2022 that the World Bank found out that our Filipino children at ages 9 and 10 cannot read. So, I felt that because girl scouting is all over the country, with 96 local councils, the organization could serve as a vehicle for improving literacy in our country. “We started the Girl Scout Storyteller project because storytelling affects the heart first before the mind. When young people start with storytelling, they will love the stories and then the written word. They would then want to read. “We now have storytelling in economically challenged communities and we have partners. We sent out 2,500 books throughout the country with the help of our partner couriers.” Initially, she sought the help of her family foundation “to give a donation. I also sought the help of Ging Montinola, who is into literacy development. Together, we founded the literacy program. We are building this fund to cover the cost of buying children’s books. We will have a storytelling contest next year.”   Raising funds for Camp Escoda Nina then shifted the conversation to another major endeavor that she is spearheading as GSP president — fundraising for the 27-hectare Camp Josefa Llanes Escoda in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, which was donated by the provincial government during the term of Governor Amado Aleta, the father of consul and civic leader Fortune Ledesma. “Palayan is beautiful because it has rolling hills, but it doesn’t have electrical and water facilities and roadworks. It doesn’t have a swimming pool, and it’s so hot in Nueva Ecija. It also does not have a conference hall. This is a big one-time fundraising project because it’s for the future of the girls who are going to the camp. Because as of now, if you go camping there, you have to walk up the hills to get your drinking water. You have to make buhos to take a bath.” She recalled, “In my time as a young Girl Scout, which was of another era, we had to walk in the dark to fetch water to fill up two drums. I was so scared because there were tuko in Los Baños. That taught me to be courageous. Camps really build up your lifetime skills and attitude. Camping is very integral in girl scouting and boy scouting. So, this camp will serve a purpose. It just needs various basic facilities to make it world-class and convenient with the proper amenities, but the girls will continue to learn all those survival techniques and appreciate nature right on the camp.” She praised architect Pippo Carunungan, “who is an environmental planner. He surveyed the site and drew up everything. It will be a beautiful camp, he said, because it’s a gift of nature.”   First Lady as Chief Girl Scout Nina recently led the Girl Scouts in a fundraising ball attended by the “First Lady, Liza Araneta-Marcos, who is our Chief Girl Scout. It’s mandated in the GSP constitution that whoever is the female president of the country or the First Lady is the Chief Girl Scout. In the past, we had Imelda Marcos, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  All the first ladies were all Chief Girl Scouts. “Mrs. Liza Marcos spoke before us and she promised to help. She said, ‘We will make it the best campsite.’ Everyone was excited to see her and she obliged everyone who asked to have selfie with her. She is very friendly. She is really a Girl Scout.” Nina shared, “A generous couple is sponsoring the swimming pool at P6 million, while a gentleman entrepreneur is sponsoring the perimeter fence at P1.5 million. Many other businessmen and leaders have pledged to help build this dream GSP project. “We really need to raise about 50 million to have a very good camp. But when the First Lady heard about it, she said, ‘It has to be P250 million.’ But, really, when we have the funds, we can have deep toilets that have running water instead of tabo-tabo. Since we have a little Pampanga river that runs across the camp, we can build a bridge that crosses it and then the girls can have white-water rafting there in the Pampanga river. “Camp Escoda will be a very important and significant venue for our Girl Scouts to gather, bond, learn new skills and develop as morally upright citizens of the country and the world. It is especially so because camping is integral in any Girl Scout’s life. If you don’t have camping, it’s like half of your scouting life is missing. Every Girl Scout remembers that time of her youth. And being the national camp, it will welcome Girl Scouts representing the 96 councils from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao who will participate in various events and trainings.”   Girl Scouts of all ages As GSP president, Nina travels to various parts of the country. “We have regional conferences aside from the meeting of the Central Board when regional heads and executives come to Manila. “I had just come from Baguio where I stayed for two-and-a-half days. I met our young Girl Scout representatives from ages 14 to 18. I enjoyed listening to them and exchanging ideas with them. I am so happy that we have a wealth of intelligent girls who want to serve the country. They are the ones who are going to take over. “It’s amazing that GSP is no longer limited to old people on the board. We finally have young ones on the board. Our Escoda committee is headed by Jade Delgado from Iloilo. Then we have Justine Bautista. She’s a psychometrician. She heads the Program Committee, which is a big committee because when we were in Baguio, we had 86 girls from all the councils throughout the country. Many of them are running for SK. “So, in my 70s now, which I don’t feel at all, I don’t take any medicines or something like that. Being with young people is what inspires me. Because at 15, 16 or 17, they already know that they have some kind of a mission.” Nina proudly shared that the venue of the Baguio conference, 'Ating Tahanan' on the South Drive was bought during the tenure of my Lola Pilar. We have four buildings there, including the houses of Senator and actor Rogelio de la Rosa and Carlos Valdes, the accountant. Lola Pilar, according to Carlos Valdes, twisted his arm to get a low price. I’m so thankful for all those who preceded me because they bought these places. It’s on South Drive which is so valuable. We even have a reserved forest behind us.” As she looks forward to the next camping and gets even busier raising funds for Camp Escoda, Nina feels elated that “every one of us in the Girl Scouts has been together in our various undertakings. The nice thing is we are now intergenerational because we try to bring in the old with experience, institutional memory and their wisdom born of their long life, and the young who are full of enthusiasm, energy and new ideas.”   A star scout for a granddaughter While Nina does her part for the bright future of girl scouting in the country, her personal family too has not stopped contributing to the roster of members to this worldwide organization. Today, a granddaughter of hers, seven-year-old Rocio Yuson de Guzman, is a Star Scout. She is the daughter of Nina’s daughter, Nicky. No grandmother could have been prouder. Nina said, “Rufio loves being a star scout. When I arrived from the recent world conference in Cyprus, I came back with some badges and I gave some to Rufio who is very proud of the little badges that I got for her.” For sure, Nina will pass on not just the badges to Rufio. More importantly, she will give her granddaughter the once-in-one’s-childhood experience of being a Girl Scout and learning “the values that are identified in the Girl Scout Promise and Laws. I think that while there is so much to enjoy and learn, it is the inculcation of these values that would mold her into a well-rounded human being. As we all know, a Girl Scout’s honor is to be trusted. A Girl Scout is loyal, thrifty, courteous… and so on. It’s like a mantra -- the values that one lives by. “I have reached that point when it is not about success or what one accumulates in life, whether awards or accomplishments or material things. It is more about what I can share and scouting gives me that honor and privilege — to do my part in helping mold our young girls and making them aware even at an early age that they have a mission and worthy purpose in life. It is not just about being good and outstanding on your own but it is also about helping others to become better in what they’re doing and live better lives. “And I need not look far. As a grandmother, I dote on my Star Scout granddaughter, Rufio. There’s a world out there for her to discover and in which she has a role to play and use the skills and values she will learn from scouting.” The post Nina Lim-Yuson  — A lifetime of girl scouting appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 17th, 2023

When prior decree is not necessary (2)

It must be emphasized that the enactment of the Family Code rendered the rulings in Odayat, Mendoza, and Aragon inapplicable to marriages celebrated after 3 August 1988. A judicial declaration of absolute nullity of marriage is now expressly required where the nullity of a previous marriage is invoked to contract a second marriage. A second marriage contracted prior to the issuance of this declaration of nullity is thus considered bigamous and void. In Domingo v Court of Appeals, we explained the policy behind the institution of this requirement: Emphasizing the fifth difference, this Court has held in the cases of People v Mendoza, People v Aragon, and Odayat v Amante, that the Civil Code contains no express provision on the necessity of a judicial declaration of nullity of a void marriage. In Mendoza (1954), the appellant contracted three marriages in 1936, 1941 and 1949. The second marriage was contracted in the belief that the first wife was already dead, while the third marriage was contracted after the second wife’s death. The Court ruled that the first marriage was deemed valid until annulled, which made the second marriage null and void for being bigamous. Thus, the third marriage was valid, as the second marriage was void from its performance and, hence, nonexistent without a judicial decree declaring it so. This doctrine was reiterated in Aragon (1957), which involved substantially the same factual antecedents. In Odayat (1977), citing Mendoza and Aragon, the Court likewise ruled that no judicial decree was necessary to establish the invalidity of void marriages under Article 80 of the Civil Code. Marriage, a sacrosanct institution, declared by the Constitution as an ‘inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family”; as such, it “shall be protected by the State.” In more explicit terms, the Family Code characterizes it as “a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life.” So crucial are marriage and the family to the stability and peace of the nation that their “nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation.” As a matter of policy, therefore, the nullification of a marriage to contract another cannot be accomplished merely based on the perception of both parties or of one that their union is so defective with respect to the essential requisites of a contract of marriage as to render it void ipso jure and with no legal effect — and nothing more. Were this so, this inviolable social institution would be reduced to mockery and rest on very shaky foundations. And the grounds for nullifying marriage would be as diverse and far-ranging as human ingenuity and fancy could conceive. For such a socially significant institution, an official state pronouncement through the courts, and nothing less, will satisfy the exacting norms of society. Not only would such an open and public declaration by the courts definitively confirm the nullity of the contract of marriage, but the same would be easily verifiable through records accessible to everyone. What, then, is the important reckoning date? 3 August 1988. If the marriage was before then, no judicial declaration is needed. If after, then one is necessary. Now you know.   Marriage, a sacrosanct institution declared by the Constitution as an ‘inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family’; as such, the State shall protect it.   Sources: Article 349, Revised Penal Code Article 40, Family Code Renato A. Castillo vs Lea De Leon P. Castillo (G.R. No. 189607, 18 April 2016)   The post When prior decree is not necessary (2) appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2023

Brazil opens first ‘ExpoCannabis’ amid pot debate

Bubbling with euphoria as thick as the haze in the air, marijuana enthusiasts flocked this weekend to Brazil's first "ExpoCannabis," amid a national debate over decriminalizing the drug for personal use. Launched in Uruguay a decade ago, the huge marijuana fair opened its first international edition Friday in Sao Paulo, complete with DJs, guest speakers, myriad pot products and a large outdoor space packed with hundreds of visitors, nearly all of them smoking up. Organizers said they expected 20,000 people to attend the three-day event, which aims to showcase cannabis in its many uses, and not just recreational and medicinal. "We want to show the public all the plant's capabilities. We're not just talking about the pharmaceutical industry. The plant can also work in the food and beverage industry, the construction industry, the textile industry and biofuels," organizer Larissa Uchida told AFP. "It's a plant that has been demonized for many years, so there needs to be a whole deconstruction of this idea." Uchida said the event respected Brazilian legislation, with vendors selling cannabis accessories, extracts and derivatives -- but not the actual drug. Those smoking it at the fair likely purchased it illegally, but authorities appeared willing to turn a blind eye. Brazil’s 2006 drug law imposes prison terms for drug trafficking, and lighter penalties such as community service for possession, but has faced criticism for a lack of clarity over the line between the two. - Landmark court case - ExpoCannabis got its start in Uruguay in 2013, the same year the small South American country became the first in the world to fully legalize the regulated production and sale of recreational marijuana. The event in neighboring Brazil comes as the Latin American economic powerhouse re-evaluates its own prohibitionist drug laws. Brazil's Supreme Court is currently hearing a case that could decriminalize small-scale possession and use of cannabis and certain other drugs in the nation of 203 million people. Five of the court's 11 justices have so far ruled for decriminalizing marijuana for personal use, just one vote short of the majority needed. Ruling to decriminalize in August, Justice Alexandre de Moraes condemned existing anti-narcotics laws, which he said principally penalized "young people, especially uneducated Blacks, who are treated as drug traffickers for possessing small quantities." However, in a sign of how controversial the subject remains, Senate president Rodrigo Pacheco announced plans Thursday to introduce legislation to amend the constitution to explicitly make the possession of any amount of cannabis a crime. - Budding mega-industry - "I think it's very important to have the first edition (of ExpoCannabis) in Brazil right now," Sao Paulo state legislator Caio Franca told AFP at the fair. "We're at a very opportune moment for a conversation on cannabis-based medicines and recreational use, both from a legislative point of view and also in the courts," said Franca, who has introduced a bill to include medical marijuana in the Sao Paulo public health system. Marijuana for medical use also remains a touchy subject in Brazil. Patients have had to go to court to win the right to use the active ingredient cannabidiol, or CBD, for treatment of conditions such as epilepsy. Gabriel Vieira, an exhibitor at the fair, called for Brazil to join the growing number of countries that have partially or fully legalized cannabis. "We have to see the truth: there are a lot of people who consume it, whether it's medicinal or recreational. I think we need to follow in the footsteps of countries like Germany, the United States," said Vieira, who is 29. The economic potential of the budding global cannabis industry -- valued at $43.7 billion last year, and projected to grow to more than 10 times that by 2030 -- was on full display at the fair. Visitor Luciano Narita, 40, grinned as he showed off his haul of products. "I came here looking for new products, like this chocolate I bought, pipes, leaves," he said with a smile. "I like it for recreational use." fg-jhb/bbk/tjj © Agence France-Presse The post Brazil opens first ‘ExpoCannabis’ amid pot debate appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 17th, 2023

OP budget sails through House, Makabayan tries to oppose termination of deliberations

Owing to a "parliamentary courtesy," President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s P10.70 billion proposed budget for his office for 2024 swept through the House Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday in less than 40 minutes. Tensions flared, however, when members of the Makabayan bloc tried--but failed—to oppose the termination of the deliberations without scrutinizing the OP's budget. "The highest form of courtesy in this country should be extended to the Filipino people, that the people have the right to know how the public funds are spent, and that should prevail at all times," Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel said in his manifestation. ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro first objected to Abra Rep. Ching Bernos' motion to terminate the hearing but later withdrew, prompting Manuel to intervene to make their manifestation first before ending the budget deliberations. "I don't believe that it's proper for us to terminate the deliberations without the manifestations becoming part of the records of the House. We should give the members their right and the time to pursue their objections. We can't rush it again, Madam Chair. Again, the budget that is being discussed here is the Office of the President," Manuel said. Presiding chairperson Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo, however, carried Bernos’ motion and terminated the hearing before allowing the members of the Makabayan bloc to raise their concerns in a two-minute manifestation. “At the point that the objection was withdrawn, then automatically the motion to terminate the budget briefing was carried,” Quimbo said. The three-member Makabayan bloc, namely, Manuel, Castro and Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas, mainly argued why the OP approved the P1.25 million confidential funds of Vice President Sara Duterte notwithstanding that it was excluded under the General Appropriations Act in 2022. They also questioned the “excessive” travel expenses of the OP worth P1.15 billion and its P4.5-billion confidential and intelligence funds. “Regarding the confidential and intelligence funds, for the record, there are many of our compatriots who do not agree with this, given the record high confidential funds of the Office of the Vice President. But if we compare the OP's CIF, it is significantly larger [than the OVP],” Manuel stressed. Manuel said the confidential funds under the OP are P2.25 billion, while the intelligence funds are P2.31 billion. In total, he said, the CIF constitutes 43 percent of the OP's proposed budget. Echoing Manuel, Castro, meanwhile, argued that instead of giving the OP “courtesy” and “respect,” members of Congress must not allow secrecy and silence to prevail when the concerns of the Filipino people are too loud and echoing. “Why are there billions in secret funds when the urgent needs for aid, free education and medical services, affordable housing, and so on are piling up? Castro said. The teacher solon also quizzed the OP if their P4.56 billion CIF would lower the price of rice, other food in the market, electricity, water, and basic commodities. According to Castro, the OP must not go with the CIF trend, which first ballooned during the Duterte administration, as it goes against the Constitution and deprives Filipinos of transparency and full public disclosure. “This trend must not continue. This is against the policies of transparency and full public disclosure especially in matters related to public money, the government's obligation to fight graft, corruption, plunder, and other hocus pocus on the public's wealth, and other mandates of the Constitution,” she said. “ "We believe that the refusal of the OP, as well as the OVP, to undergo public deliberations regarding their budget especially their confidential and intelligence funds is just one of the increasing reasons why instead of approving their ‘black budgets,’ they should even be abolished.” In a similar vein, Brosas voiced concern that Mr. Marcos may have a hand in the unprogrammed funds and even the special purpose funds, given that the P4.5 billion confidential and intelligence funds are only part of the more than P1 trillion funds that the President will control next year. "The numbers are overwhelming, but at the end of the day, the Filipino people are making ends meet while Marcos Jr. has more than P1 trillion under his control," Brosas said. Panel chairperson, Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Elizaldy Co, prior to the manifestation of the Makabayan bloc members, stressed the importance of the role of the OP, saying it “bears the immense duty of upholding the rule of law, ensuring justice, and preserving the unity and welfare of our nation.” “The presidency is not merely a symbolic figurehead or a ceremonial role; rather, it is the epicenter of governance, the fulcrum upon which the entire nation pivots. It is a position laden with responsibilities, obligations, and the immense weight of leadership,” Co said. The post OP budget sails through House, Makabayan tries to oppose termination of deliberations appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2023

Courting disaster (2)

“The judiciary,” once intoned Alexander Hamilton, “has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but merely judgment.” Thus, is the Judiciary said to be the “weakest” of the Three Great Branches of Government under the Constitution, as it, to paraphrase Hamilton, holds neither the purse (controlled by Congress) nor the sword (under the command of the Chief Executive)? Someone once joked that in the case, however, of then-Chief Justice Enrique Fernando, he holds the umbrella for Imelda Marcos, but that is something those born after the 1980s will not get. This is why the framers of our Constitution, in their infinite wisdom (and I use the phrase advisedly) had deemed it fit to elevate what had hitherto been merely ruling case law into a constitutional injunction. Section 3 of Article VIII reads: “The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.” Looks good. But in practice, it reduces judicial independence to a chimera. While the budget of the courts may not be reduced from that of the previous year, if a nasty Legislature wants to starve out a nonconformist Judiciary, it may simply opt to maintain its budget at the same level year after year after year. After a few years, with inflation, the courts will be reduced to tatters. And this happens every year, with the high officials of the Supreme Court practically reduced to bringing a begging bowl to Congress when budget deliberations come up in the agenda. This year, around P14 billion was arbitrarily lopped off the proposed budget for the Judicial branch. Now, the court administration is asking that some P6.7 billion be restored if only to upgrade the salaries of court personnel, the hazard pay for judges (who lately have been at the receiving end of gun barrels from disgruntled litigants) and costs for their security in the form of judicial marshals, the creation of more courts to serve a burgeoning caseload, and for the Judicial Integrity Board (who keeps erring judges in line). Methinks this is not too much to ask for, and as a lawyer and therefore an officer of the court, it pains me to see the Supreme Court looking like the poorer relations of Congress begging for alms. This is especially since Congress has notoriously been seen to have granted unto itself huge allocations for its members per district, the combined value of which is far and away higher than what the High Tribunal is asking for. The importance of a strong, independent Judiciary cannot be overestimated in a constitutional government such as ours. Aside from adjudicating private rights amongst competing parties, it is the final bulwark against governmental abuse. As former President Jose P. Laurel, when he was a Supreme Court magistrate, so emphatically articulated in the landmark case of Angara v. Electoral Commission, “(i)n cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several departments of the government.” That is why I wish to make this call to our lawmakers to be not niggardly with the monetary allocation to our courts. It will not serve the ends of good governance well to be penny-wise and pound-foolish with the nation’s coffers. By the same token, kudos to Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Senate President Miguel Zubiri and neophyte Senator Raffy Tulfo, who have all filed bills seeking to strengthen the Judiciary’s fiscal autonomy. For to neglect the courts would necessarily be courting disaster. The post Courting disaster (2) appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2023

Salceda’s MUP bill stirs hornets’ nest

Defense Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. took potshots yesterday at the substitute bill recently approved by a House of Representatives ad hoc committee that would require military and uniformed personnel, or MUPs, to contribute to their pension funds. “I do not subscribe to the proposed blanket mandatory contributions for military personnel, especially for those who have already completed at least 20 years of active service,” Teodoro said. Teodoro’s statement came as grumblings in the military and the police and other uniformed services, both active and retired, heightened anew after dying down in the past few months. The Defense chief hinted at the reasons MUPs were becoming restless anew. He said the substitute bill of the ad hoc committee chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda does not conform to the government’s intent regarding their pensions. For one, Teodoro explained that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s proposed pension reform plan should have the least negative impact on active-duty military personnel.   Forced contribution “The President envisions a carefully transitioned introduction of any pension reform plan so that those in active service will be impacted in the least possible way,” he said. But the imposition of mandatory monthly contributions without a transition phase, under the substitute bill, will “definitely” affect the soldiers, Teodoro warned. “As Secretary of National Defense, it is also incumbent upon me to look after the welfare of our military pensioners,” he said. “Ensuring the non-diminution of their retirement benefits is the least we can do in recognition of their sacrifices to the country,” he added. The substitute bill would require those in active service to contribute 5 percent of their base and longevity pay during the first to three years of the MUP pension reform implementation, 7 percent in the fourth to sixth year, and 9 percent in the seventh year onward. The government will contribute its counterpart 16 percent to the pension fund of those in active service during the first three years, 14 percent during the fourth to sixth year, and 12 percent in the seventh year onward.   Sui generis New entrants to the uniformed services like the police and military will contribute 9 percent of their base and longevity pay toward their pension with a 12-percent government contribution. Salceda said the ad hoc panel has committed to approving its version on the third and final reading “as soon as possible.”  He insisted the panel heard all the statements and comments of the various services. But Teodoro was clearly not buying Salceda’s assurance as he remained firm in his position on the soldiers’ pensions and entitlements, “including that the 100-percent automatic indexation shall remain unchanged.” Automatic indexation means the pensions of retired MUPs are adjusted according to the pay scale of active service personnel of the same rank. Meanwhile, the Defense chief stressed the “substantial distinction” members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines enjoyed over all other uniformed personnel. “The AFP performs a sui generis mandate emanating from the 1987 Constitution — to secure the sovereignty of the Philippines and the integrity of our national territory,” Teodoro pointed out. “Despite wearing uniforms and having ranks similar to those of other uniformed personnel, there is no uniformity in terms of the nature of their duties and responsibilities,” he noted. Teodoro underscored that the risks that soldiers face with the “multifarious” roles they play in nation-building and in times of crisis are “well known.” He pointed out that soldiers do not receive additional financial support from local government units, “unlike some of the other services.” He added that soldiers are governed by “strict rules of military law from the moment they first train until the last day of their service.” “The AFP continues to obtain the highest approval, satisfaction, and trust ratings. Adding to their burdens will only serve to distract them from focusing on their crucial mission,” he said.   Cops are sore, too Many police officers are also antagonistic toward the substitute bill. “With that abomination of a substitute bill, Salceda threw into the dumpster the President’s ideas on an MUP reform law that would have been acceptable to us,” a police colonel retiring in a few months told Daily Tribune. He said that they in the PNP thought the MUP reform measure had been placed on the back burner, thus many of those who had filed for early retirement tried to pull out their papers. “Those who would want to retire now before the lawmakers rob us blind would surely increase. The veterans are leaving and Salceda has only himself to blame if we are swamped with rookies,” the police officer said.   No contributors Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno started the MUP pension reform ball rolling when he warned that the next administration would have a “huge problem” if the present MUP pension system was not overhauled. With no contributions from MUPs to the pension fund, Diokno said the liabilities were previously estimated at P9 trillion, compared to the country’s GDP of around P20 trillion. “The pension system of the military is not a real pension system in the following sense — there are no contributors. A pension system is where the beneficiaries of the pension fund contribute to it and there is a government counterpart fund. But in this particular sense, there is no contribution on the part of the beneficiaries, and we only appropriate it annually,” Diokno said. Under the 2024 National Expenditure Program, the government is pushing a P164-billion allocation for the MUP pension fund, reflecting a 3.5-percent increase over the fund this year. The post Salceda’s MUP bill stirs hornets’ nest appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 18th, 2023

Colombians in spotlight over Ecuador, Haiti assassinations

Two years after a Colombian squad allegedly shot dead the president of Haiti, authorities in Ecuador have accused a group of Colombians of being behind the assassination of a top presidential candidate, pointing to the export of a culture of political hit jobs. Colombia has a long history of politicians being assassinated by opponents, drug traffickers, or paramilitaries, and even its president, Gustavo Petro, campaigned before his election from behind a wall of bulletproof shields. After the shock assassination of Ecuador journalist and anti-corruption crusader Fernando Villavicencio on Wednesday, authorities released pictures of six Columbian suspects, one of them splattered with blood. A seventh suspect was killed in a shootout at the scene of the crime. The country's main newspaper, El Universo, reported Villavicencio was assassinated "hitman-style and with three shots to the head." Police said the suspects were arrested in a series of raids in which they also found a rifle, a machine gun, grenades, and ammunition. In a message of support to Ecuador, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro drew a direct link to the murder of Haitian president Jovenel Moise in his home in July 2021 by a group of 17 Colombian mercenaries. "A gang of Colombian hitmen, mercenaries, went to Haiti to assassinate a president," he said during an official event. "These criminal gangs of hitmen are unfortunately taking this Colombian model of political assassinations outside of its borders." Jorge Mantilla, a Colombian investigator into organized crime, said that the arrests showed the "specialization among Colombian criminals in the use of violence" after six decades of armed conflict between the state and guerrillas, paramilitaries, and drug gangs. He said the two assassinations "show the capacity that these violence professionals have of connecting with transnational crime networks." Cross-border ties Villavicencio said last week he had received several threats from Los Choneros, one of Ecuador's most powerful criminal groups which the Insight Crime thinktank said became the armed wing of a Colombian drug cartel. It also has ties to Mexico's Sinaloa cartel. Late Friday Villavicencio was buried in Quito during a private ceremony after hundreds of people paid tribute at an exhibition center, where his coffin was draped with the flag and a symbolic presidential sash with the words "My power is in the constitution." While there has been no clear claim of responsibility, the murder has highlighted the once-peaceful nation's decline into a violent hotbed of drug trafficking and organized crime. Wedged between the major cocaine producers Colombia and Peru, Ecuador -- seen as having laxer controls -- has in recent years attracted foreign drug cartels that have linked up with local gangs to move drugs through the country to the United States and Europe. Mantilla explains that Ecuador's drug gangs "acquired their power from working with Colombian organizations and later became independent" and grew stronger. On Thursday, Ecuador's Interior Minister Juan Zapata referred to the detainees simply as "foreigners," saying they were "members of a criminal group" that assassinated Villavicencio in an "attempt to sabotage" snap presidential elections due on August 20. Colombian media said the suspects had criminal records in their home country, including for arms manufacturing and trafficking, drug trafficking, murder, or domestic violence. Colombia partly 'responsible' After the Haiti assassination, a US investigation revealed that two men at the head of a Miami security firm had devised a plan to kidnap Moise and replace him with a Haitian-American citizen. In March this year, dual Haitian-Chilean citizen Rodolphe Jaar pled guilty in the United States to housing the Colombian commando team and giving them weapons. That same month Colombia's president Petro said his country was partly responsible for Moise's assassination. "Colombia has a co-responsibility... it was Colombian mercenaries who went to kill the president of Haiti, unleashing a crisis even worse than the one they were already going through," he said. Petro has not commented on the Ecuador assassination. The post Colombians in spotlight over Ecuador, Haiti assassinations appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 12th, 2023

S. Africa should tackle ‘environmental racism’: UN expert

South Africa should increase its effort to tackle the "environmental racism" that has plagued the country since the apartheid regime, a United Nations expert said Friday. Marcos Orellana, the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, also expressed shock that children had died because of poor controls on pesticides, and called for better regulation. Landfill sites and polluting industries in South Africa are often positioned in poor and migrant communities, Orellana noted in a statement. Unemployment, hazardous synthetic chemicals, and structural inequality were also among the reasons that make it difficult to overcome "the legacy of environmental racism", he added. The country has "a landscape scarred by abandoned mines and tailing dumps and acid mine drainage", he added -- placed there during the apartheid era. "The legacy of pervasive air, water, and chemical pollution disproportionately impacts marginalized and poor communities," said Orellana, who on Friday concluded a 12-day visit to the southern African nation. And despite the new constitution's commitment to human rights, apartheid-era laws were still hampering progress. "There are laws predating 1994 that continue to result in harms and human rights infringements, such as the laws governing hazardous waste from 1973 and pesticides from 1947," he noted. He was "appalled" to learn that many children had died as a result of consuming or handling hazardous pesticides meant for agricultural use -- but sold illegally to combat pest infestations. He called for accountability, warning that this could "begin to erode" the country's confidence in democracy if not remedied. Mining, one of South Africa's largest industries, has left a legacy of thousands of waste dumps. "The hope for pollution prevention and remediation upon mine closures is lost in the poor enforcement of legislation," Orellana said in his statement. Coal mines, in particular, have a severely negative impact on the air pollution in these communities, because of mercury emissions, ashes, and dust. Coal is a bedrock of South Africa's economy, employing almost 100,000 people and accounting for 80 percent of electricity production. The country's environmental ministry welcomed the report, acknowledging that "rapid urbanization, industrialization, and immigration, combined with fiscal challenges" had hampered efforts to tackle environmental challenges. The post S. Africa should tackle ‘environmental racism’: UN expert appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 12th, 2023

NYC activities above board — chairman

National Youth Commission chairman Ronald Cardema defended the agency's annual hosting of Sangguniang Kabataan summits and trainings which were flagged by the Commission on Audit, pointing to Kabataan Partylist Representative Raoul Manuel as the one besmirching his office. In an interview with the Daily Tribune at the NYC office in Quezon City, Cardema said newspaper reports (not in this paper) failed to mention that not a single "disallowance" was made. In its annual audit report on the NYC for 2022, the COA noted the agency’s “excessive payment of hotel room reservations,” as well as the local accounts of NYC showed that its training expenses amounted to P31.4 million while travel expenses reached P5.43 million. The COA said that the NYC’s local travel expenses jumped by 321 percent from P1.29 million in 2021 to P5.43 million in 2022. Training expenses, on the other hand, surged by 575 percent from P4.65 million to P31.4 million during the same period. "Of course, it would jump. From pandemic period which we are barred from holding such, it will surely ballooned because we never hold those trainings during that period," Cardema explained. He added that they are mandated to hold SK trainings, sometimes called "summit", to prepare the young officials for their positions. An annual budget of P50 million is allotted for this purpose, and according to Cardema, there are over 42,000 barangays around the country that have the same number of SK officials composed also of a chairman and seven kagawads (local councilors). "Di nga namin makumpletong bigyan lahat ng training sa dami (We can't even complete their entire number to train)," Cardema said, noting that some SK chairmen are also considered government officials for being the SK Federation president, heading the entire city or province's SK members and sit as a member of the city council or provincial boards. "Local officials na din ang turing sa kanila (They are considered local officials already). Sometimes they brought along with them a team (photographer, staff, and even families) and would not want to be booked at the hotel we contracted because of these factors. So they would instead pay for their own, in a much expensive hotel," the NYC official further explained. For this reason, Cardema added we're acceptable to COA. "That is why we have 'zero' disallowance (in that report)." He blamed Manuel for insinuating the NYC's alleged overspending, as he always hurled some criticism to the Makabayan Bloc in Congress which Kabataan Partylist is a member, for failing to condemn the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People's Army, and National Democratic Front. Training the SK officials, the NYC chairman said, is a hard thing to do, especially for a commission composed of only 150 personnel including him. "My travel allowance is only P500,000, that sometimes requires me to go to regions and provinces. One time I was made to attend an Asian youth forum, half of that travel allowance was spent already. How are the others, which I have to attend?," Cardema asked. The NYC is the government's sole policy-making body on youth affairs but also coordinates and implements programs designed to respond to and raise awareness on youth issues. Its mandate is enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, to wit: "The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism; and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs." The post NYC activities above board — chairman appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2023

Teodoro scores EDCA ‘paranoia’

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Thursday said the “proximity” of Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, or EDCA, sites to Taiwan may be considered a mere “geographical accident.” Teodoro said the locations of the sites that would host American military forces were chosen with the country’s national interest in mind. “You know, what if its proximity to Taiwan is a geographical accident, and other people are paranoid about it — it’s their problem,” the Defense chief told reporters in Cagayan, which hosts two new EDCA sites. “For me, my concern is the Philippine national interest and national security and we will have to put bases, not necessarily EDCA, throughout our archipelago,” he said. Teodoro was at the Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan, a new EDCA site, accompanied by Armed Forces Chief of Staff Romeo Brawner Jr. The other EDCA site in the province is in the town of Sta. Ana. Some geopolitical experts pointed out most of the new EDCA sites face the South China Sea so that American forces could easily respond to any Chinese aggression or invasion of Taiwan. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., however, had said he would not allow the Philippines to serve as a staging ground for any attack on another nation. “We have to protect that. The paranoia of other people may be, rightly so, taken into consideration, but national security is paramount in this country,” Teodoro said. Teodoro emphasized that the Philippines is not allowed by its Constitution to wage war or take any offensive action. The post Teodoro scores EDCA ‘paranoia’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2023

House receives P5.7-T proposed nat’l budget

The Department of Budget and Management or DBM on Wednesday submitted to House Speaker Martin Romualdez the P5.768-trillion proposed national budget for next year, which the lawmaker said would provide Congress enough time to evaluate the soundness of the fund allocations. DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman delivered the proposal, also called the National Expenditure Program, on the date she promised after it was handed over to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last month. “Your submission of the proposed national budget in less than 10 days from the start of the regular session of Congress provides the House ample time to study, discuss, and deliberate on the point of the proposal, and formulate a national budget that is responsive to the development needs of our country,” Romualdez said. Compared to this year’s outlay, the proposed national budget for 2024 is higher by 9.5 percent. Pangandaman had said in June that the national budget should be passed into law swiftly as it had been pre-approved by President Marcos and the government department heads. She said the individual budgets proposed by government agencies totaled P5.90 trillion before the DBM trimmed it down to P5.768 trillion based on the agencies’ fund utilization capacities and the feasibility of their planned projects. The proposed national budget will also undergo Senate deliberations before the consolidated version will be submitted to Marcos for his signature which would make it a law. Pangandaman said priority allocations of the budget include education, infrastructure, and agriculture projects that are aligned with the goals of the administration’s Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028. For agriculture, the allocation was set at P30.87 billion for rice production, P5.28 billion for corn, and P1.94 billion for high-value crops, among others. “Higher investments will also be provided for agricultural support services, such as irrigation and the construction and rehabilitation of fish ports across the country and farm-to-market roads in key production areas,” Pangandaman said. For infrastructure development, the proposed fund amounts to P1.42 trillion or 5.3 percent of the gross domestic product and covers schools, hospitals and health centers, water and power systems, roads, railways and airports. Climate change projects Among other priorities are climate change projects with an allocation of P543.45 billion, its bulk dedicated to water security. Another is social development programs with a proposed fund of P112.8 billion to help 4.4 million families through the cash-transfer program Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social and Welfare Development. Pangandaman said the pension for indigent senior citizens was doubled to P49.81 billion and would benefit more than 4 million. Meanwhile, the housing allocation was pegged at P9 billion and will be used to shelter 6.5 million families over the next five years. Education received the highest fund proposal as required by the Constitution at P924.7 billion. The Philippines would be “one step closer” to realizing the government’s “transformative vision” for the country once Congress accepts the proposed budget according to President Marcos. In his message, Marcos explained that the proposed budget aims to provide the resources required for government operations and the ongoing pursuit of economic reform. The planned budget is P9.5 trillion more than the P5.268-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2023. “With the Congress’ approval of the proposed (Fiscal Year) 2024 National Budget, we will be one step closer to achieving our transformative vision for the country, the Agenda of Prosperity,” Marcos said. “Our journey has just begun. We will march on — one nation, one people building a better future together,” he added. The President said that the proposed budget for 2024 was a key part of the Philippine Development Plan 2023–2028, which aims to strengthen the country’s capabilities, protect the buying power of Filipinos, and improve output sectors to create more good jobs and products that can compete globally. “In turn, these strategies are to be supported by an enabling environment characterized by macroeconomic stability, infrastructure development, bureaucratic efficiency, strong rule of law, and effective climate action,” Marcos said. The post House receives P5.7-T proposed nat’l budget appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2023

Trump indicted for trying to overturn 2020 US election

Donald Trump was indicted on Tuesday over his efforts to upend the results of the 2020 US election -- the most serious legal threat yet to the former president as he campaigns to return to the White House. It is the third criminal indictment of the 77-year-old Trump since March and charges him with three counts of conspiracy and one count of obstruction. Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is already scheduled to go on trial in Florida in May of next year for allegedly mishandling top-secret government documents. The new charges, two of which carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison, raise the prospect of Trump being embroiled in more legal proceedings at the height of what is expected to be a bitter and divisive presidential campaign. The indictment brought by special counsel Jack Smith accuses Trump of conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding -- the 6 January 2021, joint session of Congress held to certify Democrat Joe Biden's election victory. Trump is also accused in the 45-page indictment of seeking to disenfranchise American voters with his false claims that he won the November 2020 presidential election. "Shortly after election day -- which fell on 2 November 2020 -- the Defendant launched his criminal scheme," the indictment, handed down by a grand jury in Washington, said. "The purpose of the conspiracy was to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud," it said. Smith, a former war crimes prosecutor at the Hague, said the January 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters was "an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy." "It was fueled by lies," Smith told reporters in brief remarks. "Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the US government -- the nation's process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election." Part of that plan, the indictment alleges, was to have then-vice president Mike Pence use his role as presiding officer over the January 6 joint session to throw out several states' votes. Pence ultimately refused, issuing a public statement saying that he did not believe the Constitution allowed him that power. As Trump's supporters later stormed the US Capitol, where Pence was in hiding, Trump tweeted that his vice president "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done." White House silence  The White House on Tuesday maintained silence on Trump's historic indictment. Biden, who is seeking reelection next year, continued his beach vacation in Delaware, dining out with First Lady Jill Biden before seeing the film "Oppenheimer." Trump's campaign, meanwhile, issued a blistering statement, comparing his prosecution to "Nazi Germany in the 1930s" and stating that he had followed "advice from many highly accomplished attorneys" -- a likely line of defense at trial. The indictment mentions six co-conspirators but none are identified and Trump, who is to be arraigned on Thursday, is the only named defendant. The case is expected to be heard by US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, an appointee of former Democratic president Barack Obama. Smith said he is seeking a "speedy trial." Trump furious  Trump lashed out at the special counsel, calling him "deranged" and accusing him of issuing "yet another Fake Indictment" to "interfere with the presidential election." "Why didn't they do this 2.5 years ago?" Trump said in a post on his Truth Social platform. "Why did they wait so long? "Because they wanted to put it right in the middle of my campaign," he said. "Prosecutorial misconduct!" Trump has repeatedly attacked the investigation as a political "witch hunt" by the Department of Justice. Besides the classified documents charges, the former president also faces a criminal trial in New York for allegedly paying election-eve hush money to a porn star. Georgia prosecutors are also looking into whether Trump illegally attempted to overturn the 2020 election outcome in the southern state. As president, Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives for seeking political dirt on Biden from Ukraine and over the events of January 6 but he was acquitted by the Senate both times. Pence, who is competing against Trump in the Republican primary, said on Twitter -- now rebranded as X -- that Tuesday's indictment "serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States." The post Trump indicted for trying to overturn 2020 US election appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2023