The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines are commemorating the 34th Death Anniversary of Rev. Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J. on September 14, 2011.
It will be highlighted by a Family TV Mass at the San Agustin Church at 9:00 in the morning with Most Rev. Jesse E. Mercado, D.D., Bishop of Parañaque as Main Celebrant to be assisted by KC Priest-scholars and the Augustinian Priests.
The Mass will be aired on September 25, 2011 at IBC Channel 13 from 9:00 to 10:00AM.
A wreath-laying ceremony will follow at the statue of Fr. Willmann located at the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) head office in Intramuros, Manila.
Father Willmann is referred to as the “Fr. McGivney of the Philippines” because, like the venerable founder of the Knights of Columbus, he vigorously pursued the growth of the Order and dynamically worked for the radical transformation of faith into action.
Fr. Willmann spent 44 fruitful and productive years in the Philippines serving young people, the poor, the sick, the orphans, the oppressed, the lonely and the desolate.
Born on June 29, 1897 to very devout Catholic parents in Brooklyn, New York, Fr. Willmann was granted Philippine citizenship by then President Ferdinand Marcos through Presidential Decree No. 740.
Father Willmann established numerous organizations in the country most notable of which is the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KCFAPI) which he, together with a number of dedicated KC members, founded in 1958. Denise Solina, KC News
The Quezon City health department will be extending to the shopping malls the city’s efforts to encourage more blood donations for patients with dengue fever and other high-risk illnesses.
Coordination with the different malls in QC is now being undertaken to set up blood donation booths at three SM malls in QC — at North Edsa, Cubao and Fairview— and also at Trinoma and the Ever Gotesco mall at Commonwealth Avenue, according to city health officer Dr. Antonieta Inumerable.
Institutions and hospitals to benefit from the QC expanded bloodletting drive are the Philippine Blood Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Phil. Heart Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, QC General Hospital and the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Proj. 4, which have registered the most number of confinement for dengue cases.
The city health department regularly conducts mass blood donation activities at the QC Hall and district health centers.
On orders of Mayor Herbert Bautista, the QC health department has been continuously conducting a massive anti-dengue information dissemination campaign in an effort to encourage city residents to participate in efforts to control dengue, which is transmitted by the day-biting Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes.
The information campaign underscores the importance of maintaining cleanliness and sanitation in reducing the number of potential breeding grounds for the dengue-carrying mosquitoes, which usually thrives on stagnant water on old tires, roof gutters, refrigerator drainers and indoor plants.
From August 1 to 20, the epidemiology and surveillance unit of the city health department reported about 3,948 dengue cases, with 29 death cases. This year’s cases registered a 125.2% change in the number of cases as compared with the same period last year.
However, despite the increase, Quezon City only managed to register the ninth highest number of dengue cases among Metro Manila’s 17 cities and municipalities, taking into account its population.
Barangays registering the most number of dengue cases are Bagbag, San Bartolome, Commonwealth, Batasan Hills, Gulod, Holy Spirit, Sauyo, Sta. Monica and Novaliches Proper.
To date, the city health department has declared the areas of Bagbag, San Bartolome, Novaliches Proper, in District II, and Barangays Pansol and Matandang Balara, in District III and Barangay Bahay-Toro, in District I, as dengue hotspots.
In addition, larvitraps were also set up in some barangays to alert the public on the index of mosquitoes. Likewise, an ovilarvicidal traps from the Department of Science and Technology were set up in the dengue hotspots to control the density of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Precy/ Ej/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO
Quezon City’s tag as carnapping capital may well be a case of mistaken identity, after all.
According to the statistical report of the Highway Patrol Group, Manila registered the most number of wanted vehicles from January 1 to July 31 with 368 as against QC’s 291.
While both cities posted the highest number of carnapping incidents in July, Quezon City’s number was lower than that of Manila with 64 as against the 84 cases registered in Manila.
The report also indicated that other police districts in the National Capital Region, like Pasig and Marikina, also registered a higher number of carnapping incidents.
“This is a vindication on the part of our city police. All along, for the past seven months, QC has to live with this label as if the city police is doing nothing”, said Mayor Herbert Bautista during a meeting with members of the QC peace and order council.
During the meeting, the Mayor assured QC Police District director P/CSupt. George T. Regis of the city government’s continuing support in the peacekeeping efforts of the QCPD, especially in solving carnapping incidents in the city.
To date, Regis said, the QCPD has been continuously reinforcing its patrol operations to prevent bank robbery and carnapping incidents and has strengthened surveillance capabilities and intelligence network on the identified members of carjacking groups and their modus operandi. Precy/ Ej/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO
Condemning the Big 3’s overpricing of petroleum products and the Aquino government’s collusion with oil companies, thousands gathered in various protest centers in Metro Manila today to call for an immediate P9.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil.
The coordinated local actions are part of the “Protestang Bayan laban sa Overpricing sa Langis at Sabwatang Noynoy-Kartel,” which also saw jeepney drivers launching a protest caravan to the main office of Shell Philippines and holding transport strikes in Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.
The Metro-wide protest gathered hundreds in the following: Sta. Mesa and Anda Circle in Manila; Litex, Philcoa, Cubao and Elliptical Road in Quezon City; Monumento in Caloocan; Marikina; and other areas.
“The Big 3 persists in overpricing oil products and the Aquino government continues to collude with the oil companies. Because we want an immediate relief in the form of an immediate P9.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil products, the Filipino workers and people are left with no choice but to unite and fight,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“It is simply not true that Petron, Shell and Caltex are merely following price movements in the world market. It’s their mother companies who are dictating global oil prices and they are overpricing local petroleum products by P9.00 per liter at the least,” he added.
KMU claims local oil prices have been overpriced by at least P9.00 per liter, accumulated since January 2008. It says whenever there is a price hike in the world market, the Big 3 increases local prices by amounts higher than that dictated by the world market. Whenever there is a price rollback in the world market, the Big 3 reduces prices by amounts lower than that dictated by the world market.
Led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, the protest brought together the following: the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap, Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees, Gabriela, Migrante, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, among other organizations, as well as progressive partylists Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, and Act Teachers.
The protest caravan and transport strikes were led by the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide or PISTON.
“We are calling on the Filipino workers and people to intensify protests against the overpricing of petroleum products in the coming weeks. We have to match the Big 3 and the Aquino government’s determination in robbing us through overpricing with our determination to fight,” Labog said.
“The overpricing of petroleum products has become simply intolerable for those who are receiving meager wages or are jobless in the first place and are directly using petroleum products in the house or in earning a living. We vow to continue the fight in the coming weeks,” he added. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson
Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo today described the goal to eradicate completely the widespread corruption in government as possible to achieve in 2015, but said this objective would require the full mobilization of the public and private sectors to develop an anticorruption culture and the deployment of a “critical mass” of supporters to enforce the anticorruption laws.
While describing the current anticorruption campaign as a “sequel” to the 1986 EDSA Revolution and the “centrepiece program” of the Aquino administration, Castelo (Liberal Party, Quezon City) said “a different, albeit special, kind of political will be necessary to drive away from public service the corrupt elements.”
Castelo has proposed a set of initiatives to strengthen the anticorruption campaign. These include:
- increase in the budget of the Office of the Ombudsman to at least one percent of the annual national budget;
- sustained lifestyle check of public officials;
- enactment of a law protecting whistleblowers;
- empowerment of the private sector to go after corrupt public officials,
- development of a mass culture that rejects corruption as a way of life, and
- creation of an “anti-corruption army,” which would involve and represent a critical mass of ordinary citizens, who would run after corrupt public officials.
Castelo said he has based his anticorruption agenda on complete cooperation of the public and private sectors, stressing that it requires the full involvement of the private sector, which includes the Church, civil society, business community, the academe, and even the youth and young professionals, who have bigger stake in the nation’s future.
“What we need now a new social movement that would reject corruption as a way of life and usher a new mass culture that highlights integrity in public service,” Castelo said. “Anything short of a mass movement would lead to failure.”
Castelo defined corruption is the use of power for private gain. It involves public officials, who use their power to extort bribes and private persons, who bribe officials to gain advantage or secure profitable government contracts.
Corruption impedes national development, discourages investments, and negates moves to make the country as globally competitive as possible. It denies the poor the access to public services, as the government loses resources, Castelo added.
While saying that the country has become notorious for being one of the most corrupt nations in Asia, Castelo stressed it has to develop the political will to confront and tackle corruption, but warned it cannot leave the anticorruption agenda to the government alone since “it neither has the wherewithal, the political will, nor new ideas” to handle corruption.
An anticorruption agenda requires the full participation and mobilization of the government, civil society, the Church, business community, and the youth in a social movement against it, Castelo said.
“Their mobilization and participation would be crucial to reduce corruption to zero level by 2015,” he said.
Initially, the budget of the Office of the Ombudsman should be raised because its current budget of 0.7 percent or less of the national budget is insufficient, Castelo said.
“Raising it to at least one percent of the national budget would signal the serious policy shift to combat corruption,” Castelo said. “In contrast, the government loses at least 20 percent of the national budget to corruption.”
Because of its limited budget, the Office of the Ombudsman could hardly build up cases and prosecute them, as shown by its batting average of winning only 7% or less of all lawsuits it has filed in court is hardly satisfying, Castelo said.
The Office of the Ombudsman has hardly run after any other big fish, making corruption a “high yield, but low risk” activity in the country, Castelo said.
“Hence, corruption has become endemic, taking roots in the nation’s social, economic, and political fabric, Castelo said, adding that opinion polls showed that most Filipinos have learned to accept corruption as a way of life.
Castelo also called for a vigorous, sustained, and continuous lifestyle check of public officials, adding that this is easier to pursue because a glaring difference between his lifestyle and his reported statement of assets and liabilities would be enough to establish prima facie evidence of corruption.
The proposed anticorruption agenda calls for enactment of the Whistlebowers’ Protection Law, which elevates to state policy the provision of ample protection to people, who would spill the beans on public officials, who have committed – or about to commit – corrupt activities.
Embedded in government, whistleblowers possess knowledge about corrupt acts; they are in the best position to expose and make them public, Castelo said. “Hence, a whistleblowing policy becomes necessary for the detection and prosecution even of well-hidden anomalous transactions.”
Castelo said that a major reason for the government inability to prosecute corrupt public officials is the continuing failure to protect whistleblowers, who feel that the government would leave them alone when the situation becomes tough.
Castelo’s anticorruption agenda includes the fourth point, which requires the multisectoral involvement – from the nongovernment and people’s organizations that compose civil society, the business community, the Church, the academe, and even from ordinary citizens.
“The imperative is for the private sector to take the lead,” Castelo said, even as he pointed to the fiftth point, which is the development of the anticorruption culture, or the counter-consciousness that stresses the negative effects of corruption.
“The anticorruption agenda should propagate the awareness that corruption is not normal in a developing nation like ours. It has to develop the counterculture that justifies and rewards whistleblowing,” Castelo said.
Also, the fifth point should strive to the creation of an anticorruption army of private citizens, who would readily report and run after corrupt public officials and even private parties, who corrupt public officials. 30
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned the Big 3 oil companies after industry giants Shell and Caltex implemented a price hike today, saying the Big 3 oil cartel is continuing with its modus operandi in overpricing local petroleum products.
Citing price movements in the world market, Shell and Caltex increased the prices of unleaded gasoline by P0.35 per liter, regular gasoline by P0.50 per liter, and kerosene by P0.15 per liter effective 6:00 am today.
The Department of Energy, in response, said the recent international price movement corresponds to a mere P0.18 per liter increase in price of unleaded gasoline.
“We have seen the Big 3’s modus operandi in overpricing local oil products this August and we are revolted. The Big 3 continues to rob the Filipino workers and people of our hard-earned money through overpricing,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“The price rollback implemented on the third week of August was smaller than what the price movement in the world market dictate. After a price hike on the fourth week of August, another price hike is implemented this week – which is higher than what global price movements dictate,” he added.
The price rollback on the third week of August was preceded by the DOE’s statement that oil companies should rollback per liter prices by not less than P2.00. The Big 3 instead implemented a less than P2.00 price rollback, which legislators say is way below the P5.00 dictated by the world market.
KMU is calling for an immediate P9.00 rollback in the per liter prices of oil products, which it says corresponds to the Big 3’s accumulated overpricing per liter since January 2008.
Protestang Bayan Laban sa Overpricing at Sabwatan
KMU called on the Filipino workers and people to participate, in various ways, in the “Protestang Bayan Laban sa Overpricing at Sabwatan ng Kartel at Pamahalaan,” which it will hold tomorrow, August 31.
“We have every right to be outraged. Amidst worsening poverty and hunger, the Aquino government, instead of protecting us from the Big 3, is allowing, even conniving with the oil cartel to exploit us through monopoly pricing and local overpricing,” said Labog.
“Tomorrow’s nationwide protest against overpricing and the collusion between the Aquino government and the oil cartel is a ‘big-time kickoff’ for “big-time protests” in the coming weeks,” he added.
“Hundreds from different sectors will hold noise barrage protests in each of the more than 20 protest centers in Metro Manila tomorrow. Transport workers headed by PISTON will hold a transport caravan to the main office of Shell. Transport strikes will be held in the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions,”said Labog. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson
The country’s tobacco industry is not a “sunset industry,” at least not during the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.
This was the forecast made by National Tobacco Administration (NTA) chief, Edgardo D. Zaragoza during the agency’s 24th anniversary the other day (July 26) at Quezon City, attended by employees, farmer leaders, and representatives of the country’s wholesale tobacco distributors.
“We cannot deny that the Philippines is a signatory to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) that provides for a gradual elimination of tobacco because of health concerns. It is ironic because despite regulations in the US and Europe, it appears there is still growing demand for tobacco,” Zaragoza said in his speech.
He revealed that tobacco production value has continuously increased by an average of 20 percent in the past eight years. From an estimated 74 million kilos in the 2010 cropping season, production has increased to about 77 million kilosin 2011, and is expected to further increase to 80 million kilos in 2012.
A table provided by the NTA’s regulation department on the estimated tobacco production for crop year 2010-2011 reveals that the country has produced 43 million kilos of Virginia tobacco, worth P3.096 billion; 20 million kilos of burley, worth P1.36 billion; and 14 million kilos of native tobacco, worth P588 million. The estimated totals amount to 77 million kilograms, equivalent to P5.044 billion.
Volume of tobacco produced in crop year 2010 totalled 73.756 million kilograms, which showed a 26 percent increase compared to the 2009 volume of 58.571 million kilograms. In terms of value, this is equivalent to a 20 percent increase, from P4.024 billion in 2009 to P4.846 billion in 2010.
Of these figures, Zaragoza said tobacco farmers have contributed over P34 billion in taxes to the government, with tobacco traders and cigarette manufacturers contributing about four percent to revenues being collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Zaragoza added there is a worldwide glut for tobacco and tobacco products, but the demand for Philippine tobacco continues to increase because of the high quality it offers. He said over 45 percent of the country’s tobacco production are being exported.
The world’s largest cigarette manufacturer, Phillip Morris, and the world’s largest tobacco dealer, Universal Leaf, believe the country’s tobacco market will continue to be viable in the next five years, Zaragoza said.
As this developed, lawyer Raul Academia of Phillip Morris Philippines Inc. outlined the problems besetting the tobacco industry, as he asked tobacco farmer leaders to unite in facing the challenges being experienced by the industry.
Academia said there are plans to increase excise taxes on cigarettes from an average P5 to P6 per pack to about P30 per pack. “Saan pupulutin ang tobacco industry kung magkakaroon ng 500 percent increase sa buwis?” he said.
On the nationwide campaign to stop smoking, he said the firm recognizes that cigarette smoking has its adverse effects on people’s health, but it is best left to the people’s choice on whether to smoke or not. “Kailangan lang nating ipaalam ang mga epekto nito upang makagawa ang mga tao ng tamang desisyon,” he added.
He also questioned local government regulations designating open spaces as no-smoking areas saying it is against the law. He said the designation of absolutely smoke-free areas should also be coupled with the designation of smoking areas.
Administrator Zaragoza, for his part, vowed to establish financial stability for the agency amidst declining budget allocations and subsidies from the government.
He said the agency shall continue to uphold the welfare of 50,000 direct farmers who still engage in tobacco growing, and over 600,000 other individuals benefitting from the industry. “Tutulong tayo habang may mga magsasaka pang nagtatanim ng tabako,” he said. Edgardo D. Zaragoza, Administrator, DA-NTA