Sunday, July 21, 2013

SONA 2013 President Benigno S. Aquino III’s State Of the Nation Address

President Aquino on Monday, July 22, 2013 delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA). It was Pnoy's longest SONA so far but has been applauded less frequently compared to last year.

Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City, on July 22, 2013. Be guided with our analysis and review of SONA 2013. Students may use this as reference for their reaction paper:

SONA this year were focused on the achievements of the government on his term such as approval of the Sin Tax Reform Law and “Responsible Parenthood Law” (RH Law), reforms in Education System(K-12), Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), increase in number of TESDA graduates, increase in Philhealth enrolles from 62% to 81% and improved benefits, allocation of P6.2 billion for flood control in Metro Manila, completion of 9,377 housing units for Typhoon Sendong victims, 63% reduction in number of private armed groups, 21.4 increase in foreign tourist arrivals in 2012 and 7.8% GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth during the first quarter of 2013.

However, it also highlights some of the changes to hike SSS contributions and train fares.

"We believe that it is time to amend the SSS Pension Scheme. We must establish measures that remedy the outflow of funds. If we add 0.6 percent to the contribution rate, it will immediately deduct P141 billion from the unfunded liability," Aquino said.

Pnoy said the need to reform pension scheme is necessary to avoid depletion of SSS funds in the next 28 years. He also explains that fare hikes in MRT and LRT will be implemented. The government subsidizes each passenger's fare by as much as P45 and said to be unfair to residents from Visayas and Mindanao who never set foot on the trains but fund the train operations.

But according to critics or analysts, President Aquino did not mentioned solid agenda on how he will lead us to his 'daang matuwid' campaign until 2016. Nancy Binay highlights that Pnoy didn't include on his speech ways to improve employment rate in the country.

Inspite of the gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2012 and various economic reform programs of Aquino government for his three years in the Palace, Philippines is still have the worst unemployment rate in Asia. More than 11 million Filipinos are jobless according to SWS and IBON Foundation survey results on the first quarter of 2013.

It is common that every SONA, President always make promises. Here are the some of the action items of Aquino government for the next months or year:
  • Classroom shortage will be addressed by the Department of Education within the year.
  • Improve rice self-sufficiency and coconut intercropping to boost agricultural growth.
  • Complete geo-hazard mapping of Metro Manila by next year.
  • Pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law in 2014 which will pave way for a Bangsamoro Government by 2016.
  • Repairs and completion at NAIA Terminal 3.

READ FULL TRANSCRIPT

Monday, March 25, 2013

Val Lagman dares Vicky Vega to resign


Barangay Claro M. Recto chair Valentino Lagman dared over the weekend Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting to resign if the proper court finds there’s truth to his allegations of ghost purchases under the office of the Vice Mayor worth P120,000.
Lagman, at the same time, vowed to resign if there is no truth to his allegations over Cabigting.
Lagman said he would not have filed charges before the office of the Ombudsman against Cabigting and other councilors if there is no truth to his allegations.
Earlier, Lagman filed graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against seven city officials in connection with the alleged anomalous procurement of laptops and cellular phones.
Also facing graft charges, aside from Cabigting, are General Services Officer Menandro G. Dizon, Administrator Dennis Albert S. Pamintuan, and Councilors Jericho G. Aguas, Jesus S. Sangil, Alexander P. Indiongco, and Edgardo D. Pamintuan Jr.
Other complainants who filed the charges along with Lagman are broadcaster Medardo David and lawyer Francisco Ramos Buan Jr.
In their joint complaint-affidavit, the complainants claimed that the seven city officials connived with vendors of a cellphone shop to effect ghost purchases of four units of laptops in August 2011.
They alleged that “no such purchases were made and worse, no actual deliveries.”
The officials allegedly violated several laws including Republic Act 3019 - Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act 9184 - Government Procurement Reform Act, Republic Act 6713 - Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees, and Section 52 of Civil Service Commission (CSC) Resolution 99-1936, dated August 31, 1999, otherwise known as the “Uniform Rules in Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, for Serious Dishonesty and Grave Misconduct.
Lagman said he has a letter coming from Acer Philippines attesting that the serial numbers of the four laptops they submitted to the City Government were non-existent and invalid.
"Hinahamon ko sila na patunayan na wala sila ginawang anomalya. Kung ako ay mali ako ay magbibitiw bilang barangay kapitan ng aking barangay," Lagman added

Thursday, February 21, 2013

UNA senatorial slate resumes AC sorties


Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) resumed sorties in Angeles City, February 20, its first coalition-organized public meeting for its senatorial slate in Luzon.
Vice-mayorable candidate Mark Allen Sison said on Tuesday that it’s all-systems go for the UNA as Binay, Estrada and Enrile, considered as Big Three endorsers of the party, formally endorsed the coalition’s senatorial bets in the midterm 2013 elections to the Angeleño voters.
Sison said that UNA is thankful for the overwhelming support of the Angeleños especially the assistance of Angeles City Public Market Vendors Federation and Thunders which they have given to UNA senatorial slate led by Nancy Binay, Tingting Cojuangco, JV Ejercito, Jack Enrile, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Ernesto Maceda, Mitos Magsaysay and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
”We’re so thankful for the support of my Cabalen and the Vice President. UNA is very honored and proud to have its first assembly here in Central Luzon,” he noted.
UNA secretary general and Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said his group cannot be accused of premature campaigning because there is no such thing under the law. “We are not violating any law. We are doing what is legal.”
The Comelec has conceded that there is no law against premature campaigning. The poll body cited a Supreme Court decision saying that those seeking elective posts are only considered candidates at the start of the campaign period.
Yet, advocacy groups have launched the “anti-epal” campaign in an effort to monitor and shame politicians caught prematurely campaigning, and plastering their faces on government projects.
UNA is a coalition between Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and former President Joseph Estrada’s PMP. It is the self-styled “constructive opposition” to the Aquino administration.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lazatin supporters file raps vs Pamintuan personnel


Ten individuals, who are supporters of Representative Carmelo Lazatin, have filed illegal arrest and physical injuries against personnel of Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan.

Lazatin's supporters were arrested and allegedly harassed and threatened by Pamintuan's allies and men led by Jesse Eres, head of the Angeles City Entertainment Promotion Office (Acepo).

Charged were Eres, other Acepo officers, and officials from the Angeles City Police Station 4 located in Barangay Balibago.

The 10 individuals were arrested by City Traffic Aides on February 3 in Barangay Balibago here while distributing flyers, containing joint affidavit hitting the mayor in connection with the job orders issue at the City Government.

The 10 were taken to the Acepo, where they were reportedly harassed by Acepo personnel and even threatened by Eres.

According to reports, at least two of the apprehended individuals were "strangled" by Acepo personnel.

Eres reportedly told the apprehended individuals, "Papate da ka, ugse da ka Abacan, bayaran dakang P200,000 (I will have you killed, I'll throw you off Abacan (bridge), I'll pay P200,000 for you).”

The apprehended individuals were then transferred to Station 4 where all 10 of them, two of whom are minors, were detained for almost seven hours.

They were identified as Roger Sumala, Jeffrey Sumala, Yoshiko Canque, Princess Gopez, Kristina Arceo, John Michael Delusa, Nicole Ramos, Paolo Sumala, and two minors.

The flyers being distributed by the apprehended individuals contain the joint statement issued by village councilmen William David (Barangay Lourdes Northwest), Roy Ogurida (Barangay Cutcut), Renato Coronel (Barangay Salapungan), Nenita Ferrer (Barangay Margot), and Oliver Chaneco (Barangay Santo Domingo) assailing the Pamintuan administration for the alleged inclusion of the names of the village officials' relatives in the list of the job order employees without their knowledge.

Eres denied threatening to kill one of the arrested persons. He said it is not in his personality to have someone killed.

by Reynaldo Navales

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Barangay Kagawad denies inclusion in JO payroll

A councilman in Barangay Margot here denied reports that she is working as job order (JO) employee of the City Government.

During a guest appearance in a local radio program, Barangay Margot Kagawad Nenita Ferrer clarified that she did not know that her name has been included in the payroll for “job orders.”

Ferrer heard her name mentioned during a radio talk show which named the “ghost employees” at the City Hall.

“Kinausap kami noon para sa gagawing cultural mapping,” Ferrer said, “pero ang paniwala ko ay boluntaryo ang ginawa naming serbisyo doon. Wala kaming tinanggap na sahod maliban na lang sa P50 na allowance na minsan lang.”

Ferrer’s name has been included in the list of JO employees assigned as researchers for the cultural mapping conducted by the City Government under the city’s Tourism Promotion and Development Program. Researchers receive a daily salary ranging from P600 to P650.

According to Ferrer, they were called by a certain Francisco Esguerra from the Office of Senior Citizens’ Affairs (Osca) and were made to attend a seminar at the Gabaldon Building.

Ferrer also said that the city’s First Lady, Herminia Pamintuan, was also present during the said seminar.

Ferrer is only the latest among several barangay officials who surfaced to denounce the arbitrary inclusion of names in the list of the city’s JO appointments.

Earlier, Barangay Lourdes Northwest council member William David also expressed resentment over the situation after having learned that the name of his wife, Irene David, has also been included in the list of JO appointments.

David said his wife does not work as a JO appointment and does not even go to the City Hall to collect her supposed salary.

Barangay Cutcut council member Roy Ogurida also released a statement saying that the inclusion of his sister’s name in the list of the City Government’s JO employees was done without their knowledge.

Ogurida said: “Ito ang tunay na mga ‘ghost employees’ ng City Hall. Nakalista ang mga pangalan nila sa payroll pero kung hahanapin mo sila ay hindi naman talaga nagtatrabaho dahil ni hindi nila alam na nakalista pala sila bilang mga job order.”

On October 19, 2012, graft and corruption charges were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Pamintuan, City Accountant Wilfredo Tiotuico, City Budget Officer Fe Corpuz, City Treasurer Juliet Quinsaat and other department heads by local newsman Robledo Sanchez in relation to the 2,506 job order employees of the City Government.

by: Reynaldo Navales

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mayor Edpam faces graft raps over job order workers


 A veteran newsman has filed graft and corruption charges before the Ombudsman against Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan and several others in connection with the 2,506 “job order” employees of the City Government.
Robledo Sanchez filed the case before the Office of the Ombudsman based on documents he gathered, including appointment papers of job order employees signed by Pamintuan, his secretary Kirk Galanza, and City Administrator Dennis Albert Pamintuan.
Sanchez stated that from July 1, 2012 to September 20, 2012, the job order employees of the City Government have reached 2,506, outnumbering the total number of City Hall’s regular (815), contractual (39) and casual employees (357).
The said job order appointments account for almost 70 percent of the city’s total manpower.
“Nakakapagtaka dahil kung ang lahat ng mga job order na ito ay totoo, pumapasok at hindi ghost employee, sa kanila pa lang, punong-puno na ang City Hall,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said the appointment of the “job orders” is a violation of Civil Service Commission (CSC) Memorandum Circular No. 17 Series of 2002, dated June 24, 2002, which states that contracts for job order employees should be submitted to the CSC Regional Office to be reviewed on whether the said contracts are complying with CSC guidelines.
Job order employees are being paid on a daily basis and receive no benefits usually given to regular employees, like GSIS, PAG-IBIG, among others.
Aside from Pamintuan, City Accountant Wilfredo Tiotuico, City Budget Officer Fe Corpuz, City Treasurer Juliet Quinsaat and other department heads were also charged for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees.
Here’s a statement of Mayor Ed Pamintuan in response to the case on job order employees
Lazatin Hireling
(Representative Carmelo) Lazatin is at the height of desperation in the filing of a case against me that is clearly politically motivated.
We have in fact heard of this case months ago, just after Lazatin announced his candidacy. Robling Sanchez, a self-styled media person, is just a hireling of Lazatin.
The matter of hiring job order (JO) employees was also a practice of Lazatin when he was mayor. Most if not all local government units (LGUs), as well as National Government agencies, resort to hiring job orders and contract of service employees because of the limited number of plantilla positions, particularly if an LGU is implementing many programs and projects.
All the JOs we hired are doing specific tasks from being street sweepers, traffic enforcers, market guards, day care workers, barangay health workers, hospital staff, fiscal and court personnel to program heads.
Many of these JOs are working on the field as street sweepers, traffic aides, garbage collectors, sanitary workers, among others. Not all are working in the offices of the city hall building.
Even Dr. Marietta Gaddi, the vice president of the City College of Angeles, is a job order employee. She has a PhD. Bishop Joe Briones, who is head of the Task Force One Million Trees, is also a JO employee. Most of our nurses and health workers, who deal with life and death situations, are likewise job order employees.
I have eight programs with 27 components under my contract with the Angeleños. These programs are mostly implemented by JOs.
We also have JOs who were hired by Lazatin himself, and whom we retained because of the nature of their tasks, which is continuing, such as street sweeping and garbage collecting.
These JOs are actually not considered as government employees, and are without the usual benefits of regular employees. They are hired to do specific tasks within a certain time frame. Their contracts range from three to six months, which is allowed under rules and regulations of the Civil Service Commission.
But during the time of Lazatin, it was reported that the caretakers of his cock farm and his house help are JOs paid by city hall. In fact, there were more JOs during the time of my predecessor.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lazatin questions real property tax


IC Calaguas, chief of staff of Rep. Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin (1st district, Pampanga), challenged Thursday Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan to release real property taxes (RPTs) due to some barangays for the months of September and October.

She noted that for the month of August, the total share for RPTs collected by the City Government amounted to P443,831.42, but Barangay Balibago chairman Tony Mamac, has not received its P42,427.34 share of the RPT for August.

The same case is true, Calaguas said, with Barangay Cutcut led by chairman Cecille Nepomuceno, whose RPT share for August amounting to P28,421.19 remains unreleased.

“If the current city administration is really practicing sound fiscal management as they claim, why can’t they release the barangay RPT on time? The local Government Code states that barangays are entitled to 30 percent of the RPT collected by the city, 50 percent of which will go to the barangay where the property is located and 50 percent to be distributed equally among other barangays,” stressed Calaguas.

‘Stable’

“If the city is stable, then show documents,” Calaguas said.

She added, “We have documents to prove everything even as they deny that the city government is bankrupt and has a negative cash flow. Even this list of thousands of JOs [job orders] which is costing city hall some P26 million is documented by our camp. Records we gathered from the Treasurer’s Office show that the city has a negative cash flow of P11,945,575. How can they deny that? Let’s prove everything with documents, including the unreleased RPT of some barangays,” Calaguas told Sun.Star Pampanga yesterday.

She also cited Section 271(d) of the Local Government Code which states that “the share of each barangay shall be released, without the need of any further action, directly to the barangay treasurer on a quarterly basis within 5 days after the end of each quarter and shall not be subject to any lien or holdback for whatever purpose.”

“Pero matagal na since August. Two weeks have passed since the end of the third quarter. What’s holding them back from releasing the RPTs?” she said, as she showed volumes of documents to back up the Lazatin camp’s claim: “Let’s prove everything with documents.”