Admin party-list solons won’t allow to self-destruct in Cha-Cha
MANILA– Saying they won’t allow themselves to self-destruct if ever there is charter change (Cha-Cha), pro-administration party-list lawmakers on Wednesday expressed the belief that Speaker Lord Allan Velasco would only stick to amend the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution.
“I am a party-list lawmaker. So I will not propose something that will lead to our demise… The Speaker’s direction is clear: just amend the restrictive economic provisions, no politics,” Ako Bicol Representative Alfredo “Pido” Garbin Jr. said.
Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera of Bagong Henerasyon concurred and pointed out that party-list lawmakers have long been filing bills proposing various changes to Republic Act 7941 or the Party-List System Act.
“There’s no need to amend the Constitution for that because a mere amendment to the party-list law is actually enough to improve the party-list system,” Herrera stressed.
Earlier, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III revealed that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wanted to eliminate the party-list groups in Congress as he directly accused the Makabayan bloc composed of Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Gabriela Women’s Party, and Kabataan of serving as fronts for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which has been seeking to overthrow the government through their “protracted armed struggle” for the past 52 years.
The Makabayan legislators strongly denied connections to the local Maoist movement but did not condemn the armed rebellion.
On the other hand, the election watchdog Kontra Daya noted that nearly half of the winners in the last party-list elections were political dynasty scions and influential businesspersons.
Baguio allots P200-M for vaccination program
BAGUIO CITY – The city government has a ready fund of PHP200 million for the roll-out of the local coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program.
Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan, in a telephone interview on Wednesday, said they have approved the allocation of the amount as requested by Mayor Benjamin Magalong.
“We already have an available fund. We will approve the Ordinance allowing the disbursement during the next regular session on Monday (Jan. 18),” Olowan said.
He said the city can advance the 20 percent payment for the vaccines by the end of March.
The city government will purchase from AstraZeneca as well as from the manufacturer of Sputnik V.
On January 10, the city government, the National Inter Agency Task Force (NIATF), Department of Health (DOH), and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Philippines signed the tripartite agreement for the purchase of a minimum of 190,000 vaccines.
Peralta names acting judge for 2 Sulu courts
MANILA – Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has designated a new judge to take up pending matters in two Sulu regional trial courts (RTC), including the court which handles the case involving nine dismissed policemen charged over the killing of four military intelligence officers in June last year.
In Administrative Order No. 12-2021 released on Wednesday, Peralta named Judge Alsad Halil Alfad of the Siasi, Sulu RTC Branch 25 as acting judge for two other courts — the Jolo, Sulu RTC Branch 3 and Parang, Sulu RTC Branch 4 — and to “take cognizance of all urgent matters pending in the said courts until the return” of Judge Grace C. Tillah-Alasco and Judge Shene Canete.
Court Administrator Midas Marquez told reporters that the judges could not return yet to their posts in the province “because it was on lockdown”.
On Tuesday, the Justice department said it would ask a Sulu court for a travel ban against the nine dismissed police officers.
Last Dec. 31, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan announced a lockdown in the province from Jan. 4 to 17 to prevent the entry of a new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant from the United Kingdom, which has already entered neighboring Malaysia.
Killed during the June 29, 2020 shooting were Maj. Marvin Indammog, 39; Capt. Irwin Managuelod, 33; Sgt. Jaime Velasco, 38; and Cpl. Abdal Asula, 33.
The four soldiers were tailing four terrorist suicide bombers when the shooting happened.
Mass immunization targets over 123K kids in Antique
SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – The Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) targets to cover 123,657 children below 5 years old for its mass immunization in February.
IPHO information officer Irene Dulduco on Tuesday said that they target to immunize 66,616 nine to 59 month-old children against measles and rubella (MR) and 57,041 zero to 59 month-old for oral polio (OP) supplemental immunization.
“The immunization will be conducted in the community fixed site,” she said.
Meantime, Dr. Reinhard Dalumpines, a consultant for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) National Immunization Program, said together with the IPHO and the Department of Health (DOH), they will be conducting the mass vaccination the whole month of February.
“MR and OP are a continuing threat to the health and safety of our children,” he said during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) at the Binirayan Gymnasium.
Dalumpines added that since there is still coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), it would be better for the children to have their protection, like undergoing the mass vaccination next month, from other diseases.
“We don’t want there to be an increase of incidence of measles and rubella and polio while we are still in the midst of Covid-19,” he said.
Pangasinan town loses P169-M worth of onions to armyworms
BAUTISTA, Pangasinan – Onion farmers in this town lost P169 million worth of onions last year due to a massive infestation of armyworms locally known as harabas.
In an interview on Wednesday, municipal agriculturist Ernesto Dorado said the losses equate to 4.2 million kilos of onions, covering about 211.7 hectares out of a total land plantation area of 481.2 hectares.
Most of the affected onion plantations are located in Barangays Baluyot, Vacante, Cabuaan, Diaz, and Palisoc, he said.
Dorado said the average annual yield is at around 18 to 20 tons.
“Kung ang cost per kilo na 40 pesos, bale nasa pumapatak ng 169,000,360 pesos ang nawala sa mga magsasaka dahil sa harabas (If the cost is PHP40 per kilo, then the amount lost by farmers to harabas is more than PHP169 million),” he said.
Harabas are nocturnal pests attacking and feeding on the tender parts of onion leaves, reaching down to the bulbs, eventually killing the plant. Suppressing the armyworm larvae seems impossible as they are too many to handle.