October 30, 2010

DAR links arms with CARD for credit access to farmers

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has forged a partnership venture with the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) to provide credit to farmer-beneficiaries.

DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said the project, entitled “DAR-CARD Microfinance Capacity Development Program,” is three-year project that seeks to extend loans to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

De los Reyes said CARD will also work with DAR in training cooperative members to ensure better performance in managing business ventures and to avoid, if not limit, delinquency or even default on their payments.

“The program aims to develop small farmers cooperatives into successful microfinance service providers in their areas,” De los Reyes said.

The DAR, through the Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development, aims to bolster its credit program through partnership with various microfinance institutions (MFI) like CARD.

BARBD Director Elena Cabañes said the program is expected to serve at least 18,000 active ARB borrowers and depositors, extend loan amounting to more than P27 million and generate savings and share capital of more than P13 million.

She added that the program covers 12 cooperatives, which include among others the Kaunayan Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte; Sirmata (MPC) in San Ildefonso Ilocos Sur, Villaluna MPC in Cauayan City Isabela; and Kalipunan ng Maliliit na Magniniyog ng Napaan in Malay Aklan.

Other targeted cooperatives are San Julian MPC in Badiangan Iloilo, Panubiban Community MPC in Canlaon City Negros Oriental, Mayaposi Small Farmers MPC in Mabina Negaros Oriental, Subula Farmer’s MPC in Lopez Jaena Misamis Occidental while three other are to be identified in Cagayan , Agusan del Sur and Siargao del Norte.

Cabañes explained that their cooperatives must have at least 100 members, their livelihood and enterprise potential high, and have no existing contracts with other microfinance institutions.

She added that participating coop members must save P50 weekly to be deposited in their savings accounts. All money borrowed and deposited through the program are covered by CARD’s insurance.

She said that the project offers an effective credit line for ARBs and non-ARBs to spare them from loan sharks.

October 28, 2010

Bus firm suspended after STAR tollway mishap

BATANGAS – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has ordered the suspension of franchise of Jam Liner, which figured in Monday's road mishap on Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) that killed 5 passengers and injured 20 others.
LTFRB Chairman Atty. Nelson Laluces in a phone interview said the Jam Liner (DXV-511) bus, which was plying the Batangas-Lawton route before colliding with a cargo jeep and fell into a ravine, is operating under a franchise covering nine more bus units.

“We will serve the suspension today(Tuesday) to conduct the necessary investigation and eventually file the appropriate charges, if any, against the bus company,” Laluces said.
Laluces said the bus company could face penalties such as retraining of drivers or even outright revocation of its license, depending on the outcome of the investigation.

“We’re still waiting for the police report, which will be one of our basis in our investigation,” he added.
Assistant Director of LTFRB-Batangas Luz Lumbera said insurance beneficiaries of dead passengers are expected to receive at least P50,000 each while those of injured victims are entitled to at least P12,500 each.

On Monday , five people died when the Jam Liner bus collided with a cargo jeepney and plunged into a ravine along the STAR Tollway in Ibaan town around 5:30 a.m.
Chief Inspector Von Nicasio, Lipa City Fire Department chief, identified 4 of the five fatalities as Gilbert Calaluan, 30 of Barangay Isla Verde, Batangas City; Marcelo Bagos, 42, of Barangay Bucal, San Isidro, Tingloy, Batangas; Benita Santos of Mabini, Batangas, and the bus conductor Aden Llanes, 41 of San Vicente, Albay.
 
One female fatality remains unidentified.
 
Ronald Generoso, Chapter Administrator of Philippine Red Cross Batangas, said the five died on the spot when they were pinned at the bottom of the bus.
 
"We checked the vital signs of the victims but they didn't have a pulse and they were not breathing anymore," Chester Villafuerte, Emergency Response Unit crew of Red Cross-Batangas, said.
 
Villafuerte said 14 victims were brought to Batangas Regional Hospital , eight were rushed to St Patrick Hospital and one to Golden Gate Hospital for treatment.
 
Some of the injured were identified as Ernesto Maralit, Feliza Atienza, Girlie Yabut, Lucia Amor, Rogelio Pule, Rodelon Gibe, Ronalyn Peradilla, Allan Peradilla, Zoe Peradilla, Dave Marin, Hans David Marin, Rodolfo Luneta and Catherine Caeg.
 
source : http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/10/26/10/bus-firm-suspended-after-star-tollway-mishap

October 26, 2010

SK’s dark side

AN ARTICLE, “SK youth’s loss of innocence,’’ (Inquirer, 10/24/10) should set legislators to thinking about amending the law providing for the election of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) members. The article, written by Hon Sophia Balod and Cielo Marjorie Gono, both honor graduates of the UP College of Mass Communication, showed some defects in the SK setup.
Among them:

The SK is supposed to teach the youth how to become responsible leaders and citizens. Actually, in many cases, the organization serves just as a venue for frivolous programs and projects. It wastes a lot of money. Almost P5 billion from the internal revenue allotment of more than 42,000 barangays is allotted annually for the SK. If something concrete and good for the country has been accomplished with this huge sum of money, we have not seen it. It has taught many SK members the ways of corruption of adult politics. 

It reminds us of what the late Mayor Arsenio Lacson once said of a young politician, “So young, and yet already so corrupt.” Corollary to this, President Aquino wants the SK abolished. Balod and Gono said the President believes, “as numerous critics do, that the SK has led the youth to the dark side of politics.’’In a sidebar (an accompanying article), Balod and Gono, citing an instance of corruption, said that in one case, 12 percent of the P120,000 cost of a street lights project of a youth council was pocketed by “Santino’’ (not his real name). This is the youth official who, if he is later elected mayor, congressman or senator, will demand millions in “commissions’’ from a contractor.

In a study conducted by the UP Center for Integrative Studies in 2009, some SK respondents said they were exposed to or directly involved in questionable practices of corruption.
Most SKs have no direction, no meaningful programs. Reports collected by the Sangguniang Kabataan National Federation showed that programs undertaken by the youth councils mostly included parties, beauty contests, dances and singing competitions. With wise adult advice and guidance, they could have accomplished things that would have benefited their communities more.

SK councils are not required to submit financial liquidation. How is all their money being spent? Is most of it going down the drain? To be sure, not everything is negative about the Sangguniang Kabataan. For instance, Balod and Gono cite the example of Vice Governor Hemerlito Dolor of Oriental Mindoro, who started his political career in the SK. Dolor, not a member of any political clan, served at 16 as the provincial SK president.

Dolor drafted the 1997 SK Constitution and by-laws and worked for the purchase of the first computers in several public schools in Mindoro. He also worked for the adoption of a resolution prohibiting local and foreign miners from extracting nickel from the town of Naujan.
Balod and Gono said that “Dolor’s political experience is one proof that SK could be a very good venue for community service and development.’’

The study conducted by the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies showed that youth participation in local governance promotes the holistic development of the youth. It also teaches them the value of time management, responsibility, teamwork and sense of nationalism.
Some SKs have not been entirely useless organizations engaged only in frivolous activities like parties and beauty contests. Some have passed no-smoking ordinances, curfew on minors, bans on chemical waste dumping and set up sports facilities for the youth.

Abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan may be too drastic a proposal. A thorough legislative study should be made to correct the defects in the organization and implementation, give the movement a sense of patriotic direction and get it involved in the task of nation-building.
The Sangguniang Kabataan could be reorganized and re-purposed so that it could better serve the youth and the nation. The youth are generally idealistic people who would like to see real change to happen in their country. A reorganized, re-purposed SK movement could be a big help in President Aquino’s program to reform the socio-political system of the country.

source :http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/editorial/view/20101025-299727/SKs-dark-side

October 25, 2010

UNDAS, PINAGHAHANDAAN NA

     Nabatid mula kay City Administrator Loreto S. Amante na naisaayos na ang mga hakbanging dapat ihanda para maayos na maipagdiwang ng mga San Pableño ang Araw ng mga Patay sa mga libingan sa sakop ng Lunsod ng San Pablo, mula sa pagsasaayos ng mga ruta ng sasakyan, paglalagay ng mga health station, pagtatalaga ng mga tauhan (na ang marami ay mga kusangloob) para pangasiwaan ang kaayusan at kapanatagan ng pamayanan simula sa Oktubre 31 hanggang Nobyembre 2 na naging kaugalian na ng marami na sa mga araw na ito dumalaw sa puntod ng mga namayapa nilang mga mahal sa buhay.
 
     Pangunahing kumikilos sa paghahanda ang Office of the City Engineer, ang City Health Office and San Pablo City Red Cross, ang San Pablo City Police Station, at ang General Services Office. Ang DPWH-Laguna Sub-District Engineering District na naka-base sa Barangay Del Remedio ay handa  ring magpahiram ng gamit kung kakailanganin sa pagsisikap na maging maayos at mapayapa ang gagawin pagdalaw sa mga libingan ng mga mamamayan.

     Ayon kay City Administrator Amben Amante, nakuha na ng City Engineer’s Office ang kapahintulutan ng pangasiwaan ng Santa Lucia Realty, Inc. upang  mabuksan Metropolis Subdivision at magsilbing daanan mula sa Maharlika Highway ng mga sasakyang patungo sa Barangay San Gabriel para dumalaw sa mga nakalibing sa San Pablo Memorial Park (Jollibee) at San Gabriel Memorial Garden (Mc Donald).

     Ang pinakamalaking konsentrasyon ng mga boluntaryo ay sa kapaligiran ng San Pablo City Public Cemetery (Prosperity) at ng San Pablo Chinese Cemetery (Chow King). Doon maglalagay ng ilang first aid stations at mga public announcement’s booth ng City Health Office at ng San Pablo City Red Cross para magabayan ang naghahanapang nagkahiwahiwalay na magkakasama sa pagdalaw. Karaniwan pang ang Daang Miguel Leonor, mula sa may Llana’s hanggang panulukan ng Maharlika Highway ay hindi pinadaraanan sa mga sasakyan, sa halip ito ay pinalalagyan ng mga sidera at eklusibong nagiging pedestrian lane para sa publiko.

     Ayon sa City Administrator, may nakahanda ring planong pangkaayusan at pangkapanatagan para sa Himlayang San Pableña (Siete Tres) sa Barangay Del Remedio, at wala pang inaasahang magiging suliranin sa Eternal Garden (Greenwich) sa Barangay San Vicente dahil sa ito ay kabalantay ng Maharlika Highway at iilan pa ang doon ay nakahimlay, gayon pa man, magtatalaga roon ng mga plainclothmen ang himpilan ng pulisiya sa dahilang mula sa mga nakaririwasang pamilya ang doon ay dumadalaw. (Ruben E. Taningco)

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