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Monday, 22 July 2024

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CIBAC Rep. Bro. Eddie Villanueva supports PBBM’s directive to end POGOs

CIBAC Party-List Representative, Bro. Eddie Villanueva, expressed approval of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s clear directive in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22 to terminate the operations of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) by the end of the year. Villanueva, however, anticipates further comprehensive statements outlining the government's concrete plan to eradicate graft and corruption, a central pillar of CIBAC's advocacy. “The directive of the President is a very welcome development to CIBAC Party-List’s anti-gambling advocacy. Since day one, we have been saying that POGO is not of God, will do the country harm, and will invite divine wrath and curses to our nation," Villanueva explained. In his third State of the Nation Address, President Marcos declared a nationwide ban on all POGO operators, responding to mounting pressure from recent months. This decisive action followed a Senate investigation spearheaded by Senator Risa Hontiveros, which exposed alleged criminal activities involving Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo. “Effective today, all POGOs are banned. I hereby instruct PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) to wind down and cease the operations of POGOs by the end of the year,” Marcos stressed. Marcos emphasized that POGO operations had delved into criminal activities, including financial scams, money laundering, prostitution, human trafficking, kidnapping, torture, and murder. Villanueva has been a staunch critic, vehemently denouncing the detrimental impact of POGO operations since their inception in the country. "In fact, its ill effects are already manifested by various social costs which far outweigh its alleged benefits," he said. He hopes the President's SONA announcement will lead to the total eradication of gambling. "The President’s POGO ban should ultimately refresh government resolve to stamp out all forms of gambling in the country. We earnestly hope and pray that this policy will be translated into complete implementation,” said the CIBAC solon. CIBAC Rep. Bro. Eddie is the author of House Bill 4522, which aims to ban online gambling in the country. 📷 CIBAC FB 7 hours ago

NATION

“Mas marami pa kayong posts sa Facebook!” – Hontiveros counters Guo’s remark

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Risa Hontiveros responded on Friday to suspended Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo's recent remarks accusing senators and government officials of having a "seeming fixation" on her. In a statement, the senator chided Guo for venting through social media instead of attending the Senate hearings related to her case. "Mayor Alice Guo o Guo Hua Ping, mas marami pa kayong post sa Facebook kaysa sa attendance sa Senate hearing. Attendance before the Senate hearings is adherence to the rule of law," Hontiveros said. "So sadly for you, hindi katumbas ng attendance mo sa Senado ang maya’t-maya mong pagso-social media," she stressed. Due to Guo's absence from two Senate sessions, the body moved to have the suspended Mayor of Bamban, Tarlac arrested so she could appear at their investigation. Guo claimed, however, that the "severe exhaustion and trauma" she had endured from the preceding hearings and the cases brought against her prevented her from attending the previous hearings. "Senators fixated on her" - Guo Prior to Hontiveros's statement, Guo, who remains in hiding amid a Senate arrest order, wrote a lengthy statement on Facebook on Thursday night. "I am deeply concerned about and keep questioning why Senators Win Gatchalian and Risa Hontiveros and other offices seem fixated on me," Guo said. "If they have evidence against me, I am ready to face them in a fair trial and at a proper forum. Respectfully, I do not wish to be used by anyone to boost their political ambitions." Guo also brought up Sens. Sherwin Gatchalian and Risa Hontiveros, requesting that they concentrate on problems like the scarcity of food and access to healthcare rather than "threatening [her] with arrest." "I appeal to them to focus their attention on these problems instead of continuously threatening me with arrest and accusing me of being complicit in various Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO)-related crimes, which are untrue and unfounded," the suspended mayor added. Guo denies death threats against Gatchalian, having Chinese passport, and claims of escape from PH Guo also denied any involvement in the death threats received by Senator Gatchalian. "I assure the public and Sen. Win Gatchalian that I do not pose any threat to him or to anyone," Guo said. "I have no capacity, much less intent, to cause any harm against anyone," she stressed. On July 4, Senator Gatchalian wrote to Pasay City Police Sub-station Commander Police Major Paul Benjamin Mandane to denounce an internet video featuring "explicit threats" against his personal safety and well-being. Gatchalian believes the threat is a "consequence" of his involvement in the Senate investigation into the raided POGO hub in Bamban, Tarlac, which is linked to the suspended mayor. It was said in the video that Mayor Guo paid P5 million to "silence" Gatchalian. Furthermore, another P5 million was offered to do the same to Senator Risa Hontiveros to halt the probe into the busted POGO hub in Bamban. "The creation and online dissemination of this video has caused me substantial concern for my security, as well as the safety of those around me, particularly my family and staff," Gatchalian said in his letter to Mandane. "In light of these serious threats, I formally request that the Pasay City Police initiate a police report on this matter and conduct a thorough investigation. I urge you to take swift action to ensure the safety of myself and those associated with me," he added. The suspended mayor also responded to Senator Gatchalian's allegation that her Chinese passport, valid until 2011, is still active. "If anyone can disregard my right to privacy by prying into my personal records, they will know whether I have left the Philippines without simply asking the BID or the DFA, as I do not hold a Chinese passport," Guo said. Citing immigration records, Senator Gatchalian said Guo used both Chinese and Philippine passports from 2008 to 2011. "I believe that she has a Filipino passport and she also has a Chinese passport. Maybe, just maybe, she used her Chinese passport to leave," the senator said. 📷 Senator Risa Hontiveros FB, Mayor Alice Guo FB

2 days ago

National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea (NYMWPS) advocates for the inclusion of West Philippine Sea history in K-12 curriculum

Manila, Philippines – The National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea (NYMWPS) has formally addressed a letter dated July 8, 2024 to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Secretary Sonny Angara of the Department of Education, calling for the inclusion of the history and significance of the West Philippine Sea in the K-12 curriculum. Maverick Paul Bersalona, NYMWPS National Chair and Director for Internal Affairs and Membership for YOUTH Sector says, “This initiative aims to educate young Filipinos about the vital importance of this region to our nation's heritage and future.” The NYMWPS, an organization dedicated to the preservation of Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity, emphasizes the critical need for educating young Filipinos about the West Philippine Sea. “The West Philippine Sea is not merely a geographical location but a region with profound historical, cultural, economic, and geopolitical significance. By integrating its history and relevance into the K-12 curriculum, NYMWPS believes that students will gain a comprehensive understanding of their nation's maritime heritage”, says Dr. Celia Lamkin, NYMWPS founder and global chairperson. The key objectives of the initiative are: Raising Awareness: Highlighting the impacts of aggressive activities by other nations. Fostering Patriotism: Cultivating love for the country among students. Respecting Sovereignty: Instilling respect for Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity. Promoting Conservation: Encouraging the preservation, conservation, and sustainability of the Philippine ecosystem. Encouraging Unity: Promoting love and respect for the Filipino people In the letter, the NYMWPS outlined several key reasons for inclusion of WPS history and issues in the K-12 curriculum: Historical Significance:Educating students on the historical claims, events, and treaties that have defined our maritime boundaries. Geopolitical Importance:Understanding the strategic significance of the West Philippine Sea and the intricate relationships between the Philippines and neighboring countries. Economic Value: Highlighting the economic stakes, including rich fishing grounds, potential oil and gas reserves, and crucial maritime trade routes. Environmental Education: Promoting awareness of the unique marine biodiversity, conservation efforts, and the impact of human activities on marine life. Cultural Connection: Fostering respect and unity by teaching about the sea's cultural importance to coastal communities. The NYMWPS also underscores the regional, continental, and global importance of the West Philippine Sea. Its strategic location impacts regional security, international trade, and global maritime dynamics. "Integrating the West Philippine Sea into the K-12 curriculum will provide students with a well-rounded education, preparing them for future challenges and fostering a deep appreciation for their heritage," says Jojo Sebastian, Co-Chair of NYMWPS Australia chapter and a member of the NYMWPS Education Subcommittee on Education (WPS Inclusion in K-12 curriculum). “The organization also calls on law schools to enhance their teachings on territorial rights, thereby producing future lawyers who are well-versed in the legal aspects of the Philippines' maritime claims and can actively contribute to preserving our sovereignty,” added Dr. Carolyn R. Valenton, a dean of a private college in Metro Manila and the chairperson of the NYMWPS Education and Research Committee. The letter also underscores the regional, continental, and global relevance of the West Philippine Sea, emphasizing its crucial role in regional security, international trade, and global maritime dynamics. The National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea (NYMWPS) envisions a free, peaceful, stable, and secure West Philippine Sea and territories for better lives of Filipino people and a better Philippines. Their mission is the preservation of Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity. 📷 NYMWPS

5 days ago

Sen. Hontiveros shows link between POGOs and Pharmally

Sen. Risa Hontiveros explained the potential link between the controversial Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, or POGOs. During an online press briefing conducted on Monday, Hontiveros stated that the suspended mayor of Bamban, Alice Guo, might be associated with “larger syndicates.” She disclosed that her business, Baofuland Development Inc., had dealings with a certain Hongjiang Yang, who is the brother of Michael Yang, a former advisor to former President Rodrigo Duterte and a key player in the Pharmally controversy. “Friends, let me show you this image from the Anti-Money Laundering Council. Ang kumpanya ni Alice Guo, ang Baofu, ay may direktang transaksyon sa joint account ng dalawang tao: Ang isa si Yu Zheng Can, na incorporator ng Hong Sheng, ang Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) na ni-raid sa Bamban, Tarlac. Ang kasama niya sa account ay isang nagngangalang Hongjiang Yang,” Hontiveros said in her online press briefing. “Who is Hongjiang Yang, you may ask? Kapatid po siya ni Michael Yang. Yes, the same Michael Yang na dating economic presidential adviser kuno ni Duterte. In short, the money of Michael Yang’s brother was used to fund HongSheng, the raided Bamban Pogo,” she added. Hontiveros then revealed documentation from the Anti-Money Laundering Council that linked the incorporators of several POGO hubs to Pharmally—the government's contentious COVID-19 medical supplier. “Si Hongjiang Yang ay incorporator ng Full Win Group of Companies, kung saan incorporator din si Gerald Cruz, na isa sa mga incorporator ng Pharmally Biological. The same Gerald Cruz na incorporator din ng POGO ng Brickhartz na ang mga papeles ay natagpuan sa Bamban. Sabi ko nga, mukhang one big happy Pharmally pala itong mga POGO at Pharmally members," Hontiveros said. "Baka nga itong pharmally ang PHARM na kinalakihan ni Alice Guo,” Hontiveros said in jest. “Mukhang konektado talaga si Guo Hua Ping sa mga mas malalaking sindikato pa,” Hontiveros added. Yang's lawyers deny link between Yang and POGOs Hontiveros also stated that because Michael Yang was a previous adviser to former President Rodrigo Duterte, they will investigate the latter's alleged involvement with POGOs. “Yun yung susunod na dots na titignan kung maikokonekta o hindi,” Hontiveros remarked. Michael Yang's counsel, Atty. Raymond Fortun, however, stated that his client has no involvement in POGOs. “I don’t know a Hongjiang Yang. I didn't even know that Michael has a brother,” Fortun said. Fortun has also stated that Yang's Pharmally Biological and Pharmally Pharmaceutical, the company connected to the Pharmally affair, are different entities. 📷 Sen. Risa Hontiveros FB

5 days ago

Tagum RTC convicts Rep. Castro, ex-Rep Ocampo for child abuse case

A court in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, has found ACT Teachers Party-list Representative France Castro and former Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Satur Ocampo guilty of child abuse. Their conviction resulted from allegations that they took minors into custody in November 2018 while on a solidarity mission in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. According to Bayan Muna, the incident was a "rescue mission" of students from the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Ingkanogon Community Learning Center, Inc. in response to the alleged aerial bombings and the school's purported militarization. Ocampo, Castro, and eleven others were found guilty of violating Section 10(a) of Republic Act 7610, also known as the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act, in a 25-page ruling dated July 3. The court sentenced all 13 respondents to four to six years in prison and ordered them to pay a total of P20,000 to each of the 14 victims, including P10,000 in civil indemnity and P10,000 in moral damages. Meanwhile, the court acquitted Pastor Edgar Ugal, Rev. Ryan Magpayo, Eller Ordeniza, and Rev. Jurie Jaime for the failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. "Wrongfully accused" In a joint statement, Ocampo and Castro insisted on the innocence of all the defendants. They claim the lower court "wrongfully convicted" them. “This wrongful conviction speaks of the continuing persecution of those who are helping and advocating for the rights of Lumad children and the persistent attacks on Lumad schools and communities,” they said. “This is a clear miscarriage of justice, and we will strongly question this decision in all venues possible,” they added. Castro and Ocampo also claimed the court disregarded the testimony about the ongoing "harassment" that military and paramilitary personnel were putting Lumad schools through, as well as the "danger" that the students were in. They added that it would be impossible to prove a conspiracy based on their simple appearance while meeting the teachers and students on the roadway. "The persons who are actually responsible for the forcible closure of the schools as well as the threats and harassment have never been investigated," they said. 📷 Screenshot from press conference

6 days ago

PROVINCES

DOST-PAGASA inaugurates first Bulacan Weather Station

SAN ILDEFONSO, Bulacan—The province's first synoptic weather station was inaugurated on Thursday, July 18, in this town. The inauguration was led by Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Administrator Nathaniel Servando. The construction of the weather station was made possible through the concerted efforts of PAGASA and the local government unit of San Ildefonso. Local disaster risk reduction management practitioners, researchers, students, and other interested parties are expected to benefit from the weather station, as well as from brief discussions on meteorology, atmospheric sciences, and astronomy, Servando noted. The PAGASA administrator said this is the 83rd weather station throughout the country, and 10 more weather stations are set to be constructed under the agency's modernization program. He said the station is equipped with state-of-the-art observational instruments, including a digital barometer that measures atmospheric pressure; an aerovane and anemometer for wind direction and speed; rain gauges; and several thermometers for temperature, relative humidity, and minimum temperature. Solar radiation sensors are also installed for the measurement of bright sunshine duration and the total or global irradiance coming from the sun's disk. All measurements are taken following the standard protocols and practices set by the World Meteorological Organization for weather observation. 📷 Mon Lazaro 2 days ago

Rains slightly raise Angat, Bustos dams water elevations

CITY OF MALOLOS -- Rains have slightly raised the water elevations of Angat and Bustos Dams in Bulacan as of Wednesday morning, while Ipo Dam's water level receded minimally. Records from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office of Bulacan showed that as of 8:00 AM yesterday, the water elevations of Angat and Bustos Dams were at 173.24 meters (m) and 17.44 m, compared to their previous day's levels of 173.18 m and 17.33 m, respectively. Meanwhile, Ipo Dam's water level receded from 99.87 m the previous day to 99.86 m yesterday. Angat Dam supplies more than 90 percent of Metro Manila's potable water needs, contributes hydro power to the Luzon Grid, and provides irrigation supply to Bulacan and parts of Pampanga ricelands. However, at its current water elevation, its water allocation is reserved only for the water needs of Metro Manila. Currently, its water elevation is still 6.76 meters below Angat Dam's minimum operating level of 180 meters and 38.76 meters below its normal high water level of 212.00 meters. Meanwhile, the water elevation of Ipo Dam is 1.14 meters below its spilling level of 101.00 meters. This dam is part of the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system, which channels water to the Balara filtration plant before being distributed to Metro Manila households. On the other hand, Bustos Dam's water elevation is slightly above its spilling level of 17.36 meters. However, a dam operator official confirmed that it has not yet released its excess water because they are reserving it for the irrigation of farmlands in Bulacan and parts of Pampanga. Bustos Dam's water elevation has risen due to increased local flow from its upstream river system and not from the irrigation allocation coming from Angat Dam. Angat Dam's irrigation allocation is usually stopped when its water elevation falls below 180 meters. 📷 Mon Lazaro

4 days ago

NFA Bulacan still buying palay, conducts test milling of palay stocks

CITY OF MALOLOS -- The Bulacan branch of the National Food Authority (NFA) is still procuring palay from farmers in the province. Rhona Talens, the NFA Bulacan officer-in-charge branch manager, confirmed to ARKIPELAGO NEWS BULACAN on Tuesday (July 16) that they are still procuring farmers' produce in Bulacan, provided that the quality of the palay meets the food agency's set parameters. Talens added that they are currently procuring farmers' produce not included under the Palay Assistance to Legislators and Local Government Units (PALLGU) Program at P27.00 per kilo for clean and dry palay, while fresh or newly harvested palay is being bought at P21.00 per kilo. Palay included under the PALLGU program is being procured at P28.00 per kilo for clean and dry palay, while fresh palay is being procured at P22.00 per kilo. She also mentioned that they are currently conducting test milling with private rice millers on their palay stocks. She said the test millings are being conducted with "private millers who are interested in test milling the palay procured in the main crop with a GMR [general milling recovery] of 63 percent." The agency will be paying the private rice millers for processing its palay grains into rice under "a payment-in-kind scheme, wherein rice by-products corresponding to the test milling fee will serve as payment," Talens noted. However, she did not disclose when they will process all of their palay stocks in their warehouses in the province. Earlier, Talens confirmed that they have already surpassed their procurement target of 103,000 bags for the months of January to June this year. 📷 NFA

5 days ago

NCR

Navotas navigational gate to be operational by August — MMDA

MANILA, Philippines -- Repair works on the damaged navigational gate on the Malabon-Navotas River will be expedited as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the local government units (LGUs) of Navotas and Malabon agreed on Friday to work together to complete the project based on the agreed timeline. According to MMDA, the DPWH will finish the dredging activity of the river at the section of the navigational gate by August 2. The fabrication and installation of the necessary components for the repairs will take place from August 3 to 16, and the navigational gate is scheduled to be fully operational by August 17. “The repairs will be done while the navigational gate is in an open position and during low tide so that flooding will be minimized,” Artes said, explaining further that weather conditions and water currents are crucial for the timely repair of the gate. Navotas representative Toby Tiangco mentioned that a P299 million budget has been allocated for 2024 for the rehabilitation of the navigational gate, which will now be used for its repairs following the damage. Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco and Malabon City Mayor Jeannie Sandoval said they are working to reduce the effects of flooding in some areas of their cities since the period from July to September is high tide season. Mayor Sandoval emphasized the need for clear rules to prevent this problem, which has harmed local businesses and livelihoods, from happening again. Mayor Tiangco said that immediate repairs to the navigational gate are essential for both residents and the shipyard industry. The navigational gate in Barangay Tanza Uno in Navotas City was damaged in June after a barge forcefully entered the channel despite low tide, causing significant damage. 📷 MMDA 2 days ago

‘Project Binhi food security & cash for work scheme’ inilunsad ng DSWD at Caloocan

Inilunsad ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) at Caloocan LGU nitong Hunyo 16 ang ‘Project Binhi (Breaking Insufficiency through Nutritious Harvest for the Impoverished) na naglalayong isulong sa lungsod ang pagtatanim ng mga halamang pagkain kasabay ng pagbibigay ng ayudang pinansyal sa mga lalahok sa proyekto. Ang naturang ‘food security & cash for work scheme’ ay isa sa mga proyekto ng DSWD na pantulong sa mga naapektuhan ng El Niño ang kanilang trabaho, pamumuhay at access sa masustansiyang pagkain. Ayon kay Mayor Along Malapitan, “Layunin nito na matulungan na mabigyan ng pagkakakitaan ang ating mga kababayang higit na nangangailangan lalo na ang mga pamilyang apektado ng El Niño.Makakatanggap po ang mga benepisyaryo ng minimum wage kapalit ng kanilang pakikibahagi sa mga proyekto tulad ng communal vegetable gardening, urban gardening at vermicomposting.Hiling natin na makatulong ito sa mga benepisyaryo gayundin sa mga komunidad na kanilang pagtataniman at maging sa ating kalikasan.” Sabi naman ni DSWD Spokesperson and concurrent Assistant Secretary for Disaster Response Management Group Irene Dumlao, “Project BINHI aims to promote food security and nutrition among communities by facilitating the adoption of climate-resilient and sustainable agricultural practices such as communal and urban gardening; vermicomposting; and planting of disaster-resilient crops, fruit-bearing trees and mangroves, among others. Project Binhi seeks to empower communities.” Masaya namang nag-post sa Facebook si Tatay Bernabe, na kabilang sa mga residenteng Caloocan na benepisyaryo ng proyekto. Aniya, “Ito po yung project binhi na nagmula sa city of Caloocan DSWD at katuwang ang Caloocan city Parks development & administration services, 20 days work po ito.” 📷 Along Malapitan FB

1 month ago

900 SPES jobs handog ng Caloocan LGU; miyembro ng sindikato, rapist at mga pusher arestado ng city police

Umaabot sa 900 pansamantalang trabaho ang handog ng Caloocan LGU sa mga estudyante sa ilalim ng Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES). Ayon kay Mayor Along Malapitan, ito ay bahagi ng kanilang tulong sa mga kabataan upang magkaroon ng inisyal na karanasan sa pagtatrabaho, kasabay ng pagkakaroon din nila ng oportunidad na kumita ng pera na magagamit nilang pandagdag na panggastos sa araw-araw. Ang naturang programa ay pinangangasiwaan ng Caloocan Public Employment Services Office (PESO). Sa iba pang balita, naaresto ng pulisya ng lungsod ang isa umanong miyembro ng notoryus naDacallos criminal gang na sangkot sa gunrunning, panghoholdap at pagbebenta ng iligal na droga. Kinilala ni Caloocan City Police Station (CCPS) Chief Col. Ruben Lacuesta ang suspek na si alyas Ryan, 41 anyos, residente ng Phase 8-B, Package 1-B, Brgy. 176 Bagong Silang. Naaresto ang suspek matapos niyang nakipag-negosasyong magbenta ng kalibre .38 revolver na baril na may tatlong bala sa isang pulis na nagpanggap na bibili ng armas. Nahaharap ngayon ang suspek sa kasong paglabag sa Republic Act (RA) 10591 o Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition. Naaresto rin sa lungsod ang Top 4 Most Wanted Person (MWP) ng Parañaque City na nahaharap sa 4 counts ng kasong Statutory Rape. Ang suspek na kinilalang si Alias Jay-Ar, 27 anyos, ay nahuli sa pinagtataguan nitong bahay sa Samson Road, Brgy. 80, Caloocan. Isa ring Top Seven MWP ng Caloocan na nahaharap sa kasong Sexual Abuse o paglabag sa R.A 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act) ang nahuli ng pulisya sa Kaunlaran Village, Libis Baesa, Brgy. 160, Sta. Quiteria. Umaabot naman sa P840,000 halaga ng hinihinalang marijuana ang nasamsam sa tatlong suspek sa bahagi ng Phase 10, Brgy. 176, Bagong Silang. Natiyempuhan ang mga suspek habang nagsasagawa ng transaksyon sa pagbebenta ng naturang mga iligal na droga na nakalagay sa isang back pack at tumitimbang ng pitong kilo. Samantala, arestado sa isinagawang buy-bust operation sa bahagi ng Sampaguita Street, Brgy. 156, ang apat na lalaking nahulihan ng 21 gramo ng hinihinalang shabu na may Standard Drug Price (SDP) na P144,160, gayundin ang isa pang lalaki sa Phase 7C, Kaagapay Road, Brgy. 176 Bagong Silang, na nahulihan din ng 4.5 gramo ng hinihinalang shabu na may SDP na P30,600. Nahaharap sila ngayon sa kasong paglabag sa RA 9165 o Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. 📷 Along Malapitan FB, Northern Police District FB

2 months ago

Dambana ng Paghilom para sa mga biktima ng ‘drug war EJK’ binuksan sa Caloocan

Pormal nang pinasinayaan at binuksan sa loob ng La Loma Catholic Cemetery sa Caloocan City ang Dambana ng Paghilom, na kauna-unahang memorial site o himlayan at lugar ng pag-ala-ala sa mga sinasabing biktima ng extra-judicial killings (EJK) o pagpaslang sa ilalim ng bayolente at madugong drug war o kampanya kontra iligal na droga noong termino ni dating Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Ang Dambana ay bahagi ng Program Paghilom, isang inisyatibo ng Simbahang Katoliko at ng Arnold Janssen Kalinga Foundation, Inc. sa pangunguna ng founder at presidente nito na si Fr. Flavie Villanueva, SVD, na naglalayong matulungang mapaghilom ang sugat sa puso at isipan ng mga kapamilya, kaanak at kaibigan ng mga biktima ng EJK, kasabay ng pagpupursige para sa hustisya sa kanila at pagbubunyag ng buong katotohanan ng nasabing drug war at ng mga nagpakana nito. Binigyang pansin nila ang mga ulat na ang naturang drug war ay nagresulta umano sa pagpaslang sa humigit-kumulang na 30,000 katao na pinagbintangang sangkot sa iligal na droga at pinaslang dahil "nanlaban." Ayon kay Fr. Villanueva, sinimulan ang Program Paghilom noong 2017 sa panahon ng kasagsagan ng drug war EJK, "Ang Dambana ng Paghilom ay inisyatibo ng simbahan upang muling maipadama sa mga naulilang pamilya ng EJK victims ang pag-asa at paghilom sa kabila ng mga karahasang nangyayari sa bansa. The memorial site and columbarium symbolizes more than just a final resting place for those killed. Dambana ng Paghilom is also a statement of hope. Evil will never persist if men, women, senators, ambassadors, people of good conscience, HR advocates, seminarians, sisters, religious, people at the margins will continue to stand firm for life, truth, and peace." Sinabi niya na lubhang mabigat ang pinagdaanang trahedya ng pamilya ng mga EJK victims na dahil sa matinding kahirapan ay walang nagawa upang protektahan at ipagtanggol ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay. Katuwang ni Fr. Villanueva na nagbasbas sa Dambana si Diocese of Kalookan Vicar General Fr. Jerome Cruz. Bukod sa mga kapamilya, kamag-anak at kaibigan ng mga EJK victims, nakiisa at dumalo rin sa inauguration ng Dambana ng Paghilom sina European Union (EU) Ambassador Luc Veron; German Ambassador Andreas Michael Pfaffernoschke; Dutch Ambassador Marielle Geraedts; British Ambassador Laure Beaufils; Senator Risa Hontiveros; dating Senator Leila De Lima; Running priest Fr. Robert Reyes; forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun; at marami pang iba. Kabilang din sa mga sumuporta sa inisyatibong ito ang Diocese of Kalookan; Diocesan Shrine & Parish of Our Lady of Grace sa pangunguna ni Rector & Parish Priest Fr. Eduardo Cariño Vasquez Jr.; mga parokya ng simbahang Katoliko; at iba-iba pang grupo at indibidwal. Kasunod ng ribbon-cutting sa okasyon ay sinaksihan ng mga dumalo ang inurnment o paglalagay sa urno ng mga labi ng 11 EJK victims, bilang inisyal na batch ng mga ilalagak na labi sa himlayan. Tinataya umano na aabot sa 400 urns ang maaaring ihimlay sa naturang memorial site. “This was once a hope, and it is now real,” dagdag pa ni Fr. Villanueva. 📷 Veritas FB

2 months ago

Caloocan pinarangalan ng DENR bilang “Champion in ISF and Illegal Structures Management”

Tinanggap ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Caloocan ang mataas na pagkilala bilang Champion in ISF (Informal Settler Families) and Illegal Structures Management sa 4th Gawad Taga Ilog (GTI) Awarding Ceremony ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources - National Capital Region (DENR - NCR). Naging basehan ng parangal ang tuloy-tuloy na mga aktibidad at pakikipagtulungan ng LGU sa DENR para sa paglilinis ng Estero de Maypajo na nasa lungsod partikular sa bahagi ng Barangay 35 at Barangay 28, at pag-relocate o paglilipat ng mga nakatira rito patungo sa bago nilang bahay at komunidad na maayos, disente at ligtas. Kinilala rin ng DENR ang Caloocan City bilang second runner-up sa main award category na Search for the Most Improved Estero in Metro Manila. Ang parangal ay pinangunahan nina DENR Undersecretary for Integrated Environmental Science Dr. Carlos Primo David at DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan. Kasama rin sa nagbigay ng parangal ang mga kinatawan mula sa Water Environment Association of the Philippines, Inc., Envirokonsult Equipment and Services, Inc., Maynilad Water Services, Inc., at Environmental Management Bureau - NCR, bilang ilan sa mga partner organizations sa pagsasagawa ng GTI Awards. Ayon kay Mayor Along Malapitan, "Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa DENR sa nasabing pagkilala at asahan niyo pong walang patid nating titiyakin na namumuhay nang maayos at ligtas ang ating mga kababayan [na inililikas mula sa tabing-ilog] at nabibigyan sila ng pagkakataon na magkaroon ng marangal na tirahan." Dagdag ng alkalde, "Congratulations po sa ating City Environmental Management Department (CEMD) at sa Housing and Resettlement Office (HARO) sa matagumpay na pakikiisa sa layuning ito." Kamakailan din ay nagsagawa ang DENR Metropolitan Environmental Office (MEO) – North at ang DENR Environmental Management Bureau - Central Office ng Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) campaign sa Barangay 177, North Caloocan tungkol sa pangangalaga ng ilog. Ang aktibidad ay pinangunahan ni MEO-North OIC Deputy Director Glenn Alvin Gustilo kasama sina Engr. Rocelle Estoya at Mr. Rolando Enoc, at dinaluhan ng 20 mga opisyal at kawani ng Barangay 177 sa pamumuno ni Punong Barangay Donna De Gana-Jarito. Tinalakay sa aktibidad ang epektibong pangangalaga sa ilog at sa kabuuan ng kapaligiran na nasasakupan ng barangay, partikular ang regular na paglilinis sa mga daluyang tubig, wastong pamamahala ng mga basura, Republic Act 9003 o ang Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, at R.A 11893 o ang Extended Producer Responsibility on Plastic Packaging Waste. 📷 Along Malapitan FB, DENR NCR FB

2 months ago

Lifestyle and Entertainment

BUSINESS

PCCI Metro Manila Business Conference 2024 set for August

The 2024 Metro Manila Business Conference (MMBC) organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry - National Capital Region (PCCI-NCR) will be held on August 22-24 at the Fiesta Pavilion, The Manila Hotel, bringing together top leaders in business, government and related entities. The event banners the theme, "Integrating Trade, Technology & Tourism for Sustainable Economic Transformation." The business group announced, “Join us as we delve into thought-provoking discussions, foster meaningful connections, locally as well as globally, and be engaged in shaping the future of business in Metro Manila. Don't miss this remarkable opportunity to gain invaluable insights, network with industry leaders, and be part of a transformative journey towards sustainable economic growth.” PCCI-NCR is currently headed by Dr. Hernando B. Delizo, Chairman and CEO of Clinica Manila, also referred to as Ambulatory Healthcare Institute, Inc., renowned as the pioneer in operating a fully-automated, comprehensive healthcare facility inside a shopping mall, and accredited by the prestigous Accreditation Canada International (ACI). Dr. Delizo will lead the chapters of PCCI in the NCR, which are expected to be joined by the officials of the region’s 17 local government units (LGUs) comprising 16 cities and one municipality. “This business event promises to be a convergence of brilliant minds and innovative ideas,” the PCCI-NCR underscored. Regarded as the Philippines’ biggest and most influential business group, the PCCI counts among its members more than 30,000 small, medium, and large enterprises, local chambers, and industry associations representing various sectors of business all over the country. PCCI is currently led by its President, Enunina “Nina” Mangio, owner of several large businesses including the SamgyeopMasarap chain of restaurants, Board Governor of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), a Board of Trustee for the Philippine Food Exporters Confederation (Philexport), Honorary Chair and Senior Adviser for Philippines-Korea Business Council, and Honorary Consul of the Republic of Liberia in West Africa. 📷 PCCI FB

1 month ago

PH and Qatar to sign investment pact

The Philippines and Qatar are eyeing to ratify this year an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) which will ensure a business-friendly environment to facilitate greater trade, investment, and economic cooperation between the two countries. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual shared that he and Qatar Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al-Abdullah Al-nes have discussed the proposed agreement in a meeting held in Doha on the sidelines of the Qatar Economic Forum. He added that they also discussed the holding of the inaugural Philippines-Qatar Joint Economic, Commercial, and Technical Committee (JECTC) meeting in the first quarter of 2025, with a business forum and a business-to-business matching session on the sidelines of the meeting. The DTI and MOCI also agreed to pursue a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen cooperation on intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, as well as facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, training programs, and high-level dialogues on IP policy, Pascual elaborated. He noted that the Philippine delegation expressed concern about the proliferation of counterfeit Filipino brands in the Middle East, including Qatar, as he expressed optimisim that enhanced cooperation on IPR protection, including the proposed MOU, would address these concerns and create a more fair and secure environment. Pascual emphasized, "The Philippines is eager to further strengthen its economic partnership with Qatar through enhanced investment flows, increased cooperation on intellectual property rights, and the establishment of the Joint Economic, Commercial, and Technical Committee. We believe that this collaboration will not only benefit our two countries but also contribute to greater prosperity and stability in both the Gulf and Southeast Asia regions." During the forum, he discussed the Philippines' focus on infrastructure development, improved connectivity, and strategic policy reforms to ensure the country’s competitiveness. He stressed that the Maharlika Investment Fund, the Philippines' first sovereign wealth fund, provides support to the nation's Build Better More infrastructure program. The new Public-Private Partnership Code also ensures a clear and predictable policy environment for investors, he added. “Our competitive economic environment, coupled with our game-changing reforms, signals our readiness to attract foreign investments and support sustainable development,” Pascual emphasized. 📷 DTI FB

2 months ago

Philippine SME Business Expo kicks off

The 14th Philippine Small and Medium Enterprises Business Expo (PHILSME), described as the biggest business-to-business (B2B) expo, conference, and networking platform in the country, has kicked off at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. About 10,000 individuals registered to attend the two-day (May 10-11) event, highlighted as a one-stop-shop of business solutions to help SMEs, start-ups, and entrepreneurs boost their business growth, link with other businesses, and foster new relationships, according to event organizer, Mediacom Solutions. Up to 180 companies and businesses engaged in finance, banking, advertising, healthcare, franchising, tourism, logistics, telecommunications, and several other services are participating in the event. Also attending are entrepreneurs, top-level executives, business owners and investors who will be seeking products to grow and scale their businesses. The PHILSME was initiated by Mediacom Solutions founder David Abrenilla, who had said, “SMEs comprise the largest sector of businesses in the Philippines. Being the backbone of the Philippine economy, we should help them succeed. This is the very reason why PHILSME has been concepted, to give SMEs the platform to grow and develop. With our SME enablers growing each edition offering the newest business solutions and opportunities, PHILSME will continue its mission to strengthen entrepreneurship and business here in the country." David's widow, Trixie Esguerra-Abrenilla, now leads the company as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director. Esguerra-Abrenilla said, "Our commitment extends beyond the expo. We strive to continue supporting SMEs by helping them become aware of the latest business solutions, sharing exclusive offers they can take advantage of from various service providers, and providing them exclusive opportunities for the PHILSME Business Network." She shared that she intends to continue her husband’s legacy in supporting SMEs. 📷 PHILSME FB

2 months ago

OFWs in UAE eye investing in property and business, according to survey

Majority of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that are based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) want to invest in property and business, according to a survey conducted by integrated marketing and communications firm New Perspective Media (NPM). NPM noted that of the 3,200 UAE-based OFW respondents in the survey, 62 percent said they want to invest their salaries in property or real estate. In the same survey, 58 percent of the respondents stated that they would like to invest in business, preferring entrepreneurial activities. About 30 percent of the respondents said they want to invest in life insurance, and 27 percent answered that they want to invest in the equity market. Dr. Karen Remo, chief executive officer and founder of NPM, underscored, “The growth in the Philippines’ real estate market is backed by strong economic fundamentals and the country’s anticipated leadership role in ASEAN’s (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) economic expansion.” She added, “The long-term outlook remains positive, particularly with ongoing asset appreciation and attractive rental income.” Dr. Remo said that this appetite from OFWs to invest in property provides an opportunity for the Philippine property sector amid the growing income of Filipino expats in the UAE. Seven out of 10 Filipinos in the UAE said they have experienced a significant increase in their salary, with seventy-five percent saying that they earn at least AED5,001 (UAE Dirhams), equivalent to PHP78,000, per month. The NPM is spearheading the Philippine Property and Investment Exhibition (PPIE), the country’s largest international property and investment show, on May 11 to 12 at The Bristol Hotel, Deira, Dubai. Dr. Remo is a Dubai-based Filipina herself who has chosen to engage in entrepreneurial activity.Apart from forming and heading the NPM, she publishes The Filipino Times—the biggest free newspaper in the UAE and the largest digital platform for Filipinos in the region. 📷 OWWA FB

2 months ago

PH to tap into billion-dollar global horticulture market

The Philippines is poised to play a role in the global horticulture industry and tap into its market worth billions of dollars, as the government through the Department of Agriculture (DA) gears to expansively help local growers beef up their production. At the launch of the May 3-5 “Pagsibol: Philippine Horticulture and Urban Agriculture Summit” organized by the DA and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) in Makati City, DA Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. shared that he sees a promising future for the Philippines’ active participation in the said international industry. The Philippines can also supply plants for landscaping, the DA chief said, noting, “I was told that for landscaping, there is lack of supply versus demand so there’s still a good opportunity for us in that field.” He likewise cited as an advantage that many Filipinos have “green thumbs” or have the natural abilities to grow plants. Pagsibol, a three-day conference and exhibit, was organized to create a dynamic platform for knowledge exchange, innovation, and collective action among key stakeholders for the growth of the Philippine agriculture sector. Laurel highlighted the role of horticulture and urban agriculture in food security, economic growth and sustainability. “Horticulture, with its focus on cultivation of high-value crops and ornamentals, offers a pathway to diversity. Our agricultural landscape is limited as of the moment, and that with this, we will definitely diversify and meet the evolving demands of domestic and international markets," he said. “Urban agriculture, on the other hand, represents a modern adaptation of traditional practices. It presents a unique opportunity to reimagine the role of urban spaces in our agricultural system and harness the capacity of idle lands into centers of food and land production,” he added. Bureau of Plant and Industry Director Gerald Glenn Panganiban, for his part, disclosed that they are looking at ways on how to scale up production of high-value crops especially ornamental plants. “Globally, it's a billion-dollar industry. Based on experience, there's a huge potential because Filipinos love horticulture, we love taking care of plants,” Panganiban stated. He added, “We have a lot of high-value crops and ornamentals, and with the support of the government and with private sector collaboration, we can scale it up because we have the talent to do it and the technologies are here.” The government intends to invest in greenhouses and irrigation technologies for this initiative on horticulture, Panganiban said. 📷 BPI FB

2 months ago

Leandro Leviste acquired 8.5 percent interest in ABS-CBN Corp.

Businessman Leandro Leviste, the son of Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda and owner of the renewable energy company Solar Philippines, has acquired an 8.5 percent interest in ABS-CBN Corporation. ABS-CBN disclosed to the stock exchange that LL Holdings and its parent company Countryside Investments Holdings Corp. had purchased 76.5 million shares of the company. The transaction makes Leviste the second-largest shareholder of the company after the Lopezes. As of 1:50 pm on Thursday, ABS-CBN shares were up 9.9% to P4.95 a share. “ABS-CBN is a great company that helped countless people over the years. I hope there may now be a way for us to be of help, for the benefit of ABS-CBN’s shareholders and employees, and the media industry of the Philippines,” Leviste said in a statement. Senator Legarda, Leviste's mother, is a former ABS-CBN news anchor. She refrained from voting on the extension of ABS-CBN's franchise in 2020 as House deputy speaker, citing a "conflict of interest," for which she faced widespread criticism. However, in July 2021, Legarda expressed support for ABS-CBN and called for a refiling of the franchise renewal bill. Leviste has recently been actively pursuing acquisitions after the sale of P6 billion worth of SP New Energy Corp. (SPNEC) shares to MGen Renewable Energy Inc., a subsidiary of power utility behemoth Manila Electric Co. (Meralco). The founder of Solar Philippines still controls 20.6 billion SPNEC shares worth roughly P22 billion. 📷 Leandro Leviste FB

2 months ago