People’s initiative steps up
in Region 8
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
March 28, 2006
Leyte – People’s initiative in the Region stepped up during the weekend as
supporters started the signature campaign in the different barangays.
Reports coming from all over the Region show the great possibility that the
needed signatures will be obtained, based on the big turnout of signatures.
In a short interaction with
PIA 8, Southern Leyte League of Municipalities president, Bontoc mayor Pete
Fustanes said that they are targeting at least 70 percent of the voters to
support the proposal to change the Constitution from presidential bicameral
to parliamentary unicameral body. He said that as long as the purpose of the
people’s initiative is explained to the voters, it is easy to get their
Naval Vice-Mayor Brigido
Caneja III said that about thirty-three to thirty-five percent of the
registered voters in the capital town of
have already signed the petition for Charter Change.
In Leyte, Governor Petilla
called for a massive information dissemination on the people’s initiatives
even as the barangay officials and non government organizations have started
campaigning for signatures with the purpose of getting at least thirty
percent of the total number of registered voters.
Eastern Samar Governor Ben
Evardone who is one proponents of the people’s initiative, also called for a
stepped up information campaign to explain to the people the importance of
the exercise. The same is true in
There are three ways of
changing the Constitution. The first is by Congress. Upon three fourths vote
of all its members, both chambers of Congress may sit as a Constituent
Assembly to amend or revise the Charter.
The second process is
through a Constitutional Convention where the members are elected by the
people. This is a very expensive manner of changing the Constitution.
Amendments to the
Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through a
people’s initiative upon a petition of at least twelve percent of the total
number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be
represented by at least three percent of the registered voters therein.
With the deadlock between
the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Union of Local Authorities
in the Philippines (ULAP) believes that the initiative to amend the Charter
must now come from the people themselves. The current trend shows that there
will be a big turnout of those who are in favor of the proposal.
Installation and Canonical Possession of the
new Archbishop of Palo set
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
March 25, 2006
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte –
Most Reverend Pedro R. Dean, D.D. will be the Installing Prelate while
Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, D.D. will be the Homilist in the Installation and
Canonical Possession of the new Archbishop of Palo on May 2, 2006.
This was learned from the
Archdiocesan media coordinator, Msgr. Ramon Aguilos who informed PIA that a
meeting is set on April 3 to thresh out the details for the installation of
Bishop Jose Palma of the Diocese of Calbayog as the new Archbishop of Palo.
Bishop Palma was appointed
by the Holy Father Benedict XVI as the new archbishop of Palo on March 18,
the day before his birthday on March 19, in lieu of Archbishop Pedro Dean
whose retirement was accepted by the Holy Father that same day.
Born at Dingle, Archdiocese
of Jaro, His Excellency Most Reverent Jose Palma in a phone patch with PIA
said he will always strive to emphasize God’s love for the people which will
redound to true peace and solidarity among the people of the Region and of
the country and the whole world.
He accepted the appointment
humbly although he revealed that he is most surprised about the appointment
as there are bishops who are "more experienced and more charismatic." He
said that he is sure that God has a message here especially because the Holy
Father has just written an encyclical about love, the Church Compendium of
He requested PIA to tell the
people to pray for him so that he will be able to become a good pastor to
his flock, ever discerning the needs of the clergy and the people in the
The tentative program, Msgr.
Aguilos said, includes the Arrival and Breakfast of Bishops, Special Guests
from all over the country and the Calbayog Clergy at the Gonzagahaus and the
other guests at the
The Installation, Canonical
Possession and Concelebrated Mass will be held at 10:00 o'clock in the
morning at the Palo Cathedral while the Agape will be held at the Leyte
Academic Center at Pawing, Palo, Leyte at noontime. Most of the guests will
leave at 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon, Msgr. Aguilos said.
At 6:00 o'clock in the
evening, Solemn Vesper, Te Deum and Benediction will be held at the
Cathedral afterwhich, a Thanksgiving Night will be tendered by the Clergy
and Religious men and Women at the Cathedral Parish Pastoral Center.
There is no stopping Cha Cha
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
March 24, 2006
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte –
Charter Change is now the hot issue in the countryside. The Charter Change
issue gains momentum as government leaders and private sectors have
intensified their efforts to support it.
In Region 8, solons and
local government executives are fulfilling their covenant to push for
Charter Change. Congresswoman Petilla of the First District of Leyte for
one, is working closely with the local government officials in campaigning
down to the barangays level for people’s initiative that would pave the way
to the changing of the form of government from presidential to parliamentary
Representative Roger Mercado announced that the campaign to gather enough
signatures for the Charter change to really get moving will start next month
in Maasin and in the rest of the province. He said that the move to push
through with the people’s initiative was rooted from the fact that the
Senate has continued to remain lukewarm to the suggestions that both Houses
be convened as a Constituent Assembly to carry out changes or revisions in
the fundamental law of the land.
Leyte Governor Carlos
Jericho Petilla has also been going around the province explaining that 12
percent or more signatures of the country’s total voting population is
enough reason for Cha Cha to push through.
He said the recent attempt
to overthrow the duly constituted President of the Republic and the
continuous attempt of the self-interest motivated and power greedy
detractors to unseat the President are more than enough reason to say that
the old system has already lost its usefulness for the country and that it
is about time to change the system of government.
The local government
executives are united in this move as this would mean the stabilization of
the country and would allow the economy which has started to perk up to
continue its growth.
On Tuesday, Congressman
Francis Escudero of the 5th district of Sorsogon was in Tacloban together
with Bayan Partylist Representative Bembem Noel and in a press conference
warned congressman Joe de Venecia not to be over confident because he might
not be able to get the support of all the 165 lawmakers for the charter
But as the Provincial
governors have already committed themselves to back up people’s initiatives
to push for ChaCha and that a simultaneous launching date have already been
set by people’s organizations, non government organizations and local
government units from the cities, municipalities, down to the barangays
level, it is expected that about seven to 10 million signatures will be
gathered in no time at all.
Indeed, the clamor of the
people for Charter Change has gained momentum. There is no stopping Cha Cha.
Health workers in Biliran
conduct information campaign on meningococcemia
By RODRIGO S. VICTORIA, (PIA Biliran)
March 23, 2006
Biliran – In order to allay fears of the residents of the place where the
cause of death of a nine year-old boy was suspected to be a case of
meningococcemia, health workers in the
conducted a thorough information campaign inside the school campus of
Balaquid Elementary School (BES).
It was reported
that the nine year old victim is a pupil of the Balaquid Elementary School
who died Sunday evening (March 19) at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical
Center (EVRMC) whose cause of death was suspected to be a case of
The information campaign was
facilitated by Dr. Gabino S. Velasquez III, Chief of the Technical Section
of the Biliran Provincial Hospital (BPH), Dr. Salvacion G. Salas, DOH
Representative in Biliran province in coordination with Mayor Arnelito
Garing of Cabucgayan, health workers of LGU Cabucgayan and BES
administration and faculty.
The purpose of the
information campaign was to inform the residents in the affected community
about meningococcemia as a disease, transmission, symptoms, prevention and
control and treatment.
Dr. Velasquez showed to the
residents through a laptop presentation a more comprehensive facts about
meningococcemia as bacterial disease and the signs and symptoms of person
inflicted with the dreaded bacterial disease.
Dr. Velasquez also explained
to the residents not to be afraid of the disease because it can be treated
through prophylactic treatment or by taking antibiotics as the appropriate
way to prevent from being inflicted with the disease.
He added that the disease
will be prevented by observing proper personal hygiene and maintaining a
On the other hand, Dr. Salas
stressed that in order to prevent and control the disease, it is important
to follow the health advisory on meningococcemia coming from the National
Center for Health Promotion and National Center for Disease Prevention and
Control which enumerated the following prevention and control guidelines:
avoid crowded places, avoid close contacts with meningococcemia patients,
increased resistance by having healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate rest
and sleep, no alcohol and cigarette smoking, maintain a clean environment
and surroundings, don’t share utensils or anything that has been in the
mouth of an infected person and wash hands frequently with soap and water.
Meanwhile, all the pupils of
BES were given with an oral dose of antibiotics as part of the continuing
prophylactic treatment before the information campaign on meningococcemia
According to Dr. Salas, the
prophylactic treatment for the pupils will be administered twice a day for
two days. The same treatment will be given to adults.
On the other hand, Mayor
Garing appealed to the residents in the barangay especially the residents
who are living in the place where the victim lived, to stay calm and not to
panic or be afraid with the still unconfirmed report that the cause of death
of the nine year old boy was due to meningococcemia.
Mayor Garing further
appealed to rumor mongers who fed and spread the wrong information regarding
the cause of the death of the nine year old boy to please stop the same
because it has contributed more panic to the residents in the area and
caused damage to the image not only in the municipality of Cabucgayan and
its residents but also in the province of Biliran as a whole.
Bishop Jose Palma is new
Archbishop of Palo
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
March 22, 2006
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte – The
Holy Father Benedict XVI has appointed as Archbishop of Palo, His Excellency
Most Reverend Jose Serofia Palma, the present bishop of Calbayog. He will
take the place of Archbishop Pedro Dean whose resignation was accepted on
Saturday (March 18) by the Holy Father.
This was learned from Msgr.
Ramon Aguilos, media coordinator of the Archdiocese of Palo who said that
the announcement was made on Saturday evening by Archbishop Pedro Dean who
personally broke the news before a group of priests who responded to an
earlier text message from the Archdiocesan Chancery calling priests to go to
His Excellency Most Reverend
Jose Serofia Palma was born in Dingle, in the Archdiocese of Jaro (Iloilo)
on March 19, 1950. He studied his philosophy at St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary
and his theology at St. Joseph Regional Seminary. Subsequently he earned his
Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the
Tomas in Manila, and his doctorate at the St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical
University in Rome.
He was ordained a priest for
the Archdiocese of Jaro on August 21, 1976. After a year as parochial vicar
at the Jaro Cathedral, he was given a teaching assignment in St. Vincent
Ferrer Seminary. Then he became the Rector of the St. Joseph Regional
Seminary. At the same time he occupied several positions in the diocese. In
1997 he became the parish priest of the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua in
Appointed Titular Bishop of
Vazari Didda and Auxiliary Bishop of
November 28, 1997 by John Paul, he was consecrated on January 13, 1998. A
year later on January 13, 1999, he was transferred to the Diocese of
Calbayog where he still is until today.
The new Archbishop has not
yet been reached for his comments.
New Human Rights Council
"welcome step" says AHRC
HONG KONG – The Asian
Human Rights Commission (AHRC) described the creation of the United Nations'
Human Rights Council as "the first step on a new road towards the worldwide
enjoyment of human rights and the protection of victims" in a statement
issued on Thursday.
The creation followed a
resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006.
According to the Hong
Kong-based regional rights group, "This adoption, by a vote of 170 to four
with three abstentions, underlines the universal ownership of human rights."
"We welcome this significant
step and sincerely hope that the body's establishment will herald a new and
positive era in the implementation of all human rights for all," said Basil
Fernando, the group's executive director.
New impetus within the
international human rights community has been required for some time said
the AHRC, particularly with "the Commission on Human Rights having
progressively lost credibility, notably due to the inclusion of some of the
world's worst human rights violators as its members and the lack of
effective implementation of its recommendations".
The AHRC gives primacy to
the implementation of human rights laws and standards.
Implementation requires "the
concrete improvement of the situation of actual or potential victims, the
protection of persons from violations and an end to the impunity that
accompanies even the gravest abuses in many parts of the world, including in
the majority of Asian countries", noted Fernando.
The resolution establishing
the 47-member Human Rights Council provides new standards and procedures for
the election of members. According to Michael Anthony, AHRC's UN liaison
officer, "the absolute majority requirement of at least 96 positive votes
should allow grave violators of rights to be excluded from Council
The standards and
credibility of the Council will be defined by those of its members. "It is
therefore important that only those countries with good track records are
elected to the Council. Regional groups should present a range of candidates
at least thirty days prior to the elections, which are set for May 9, 2006
so that each candidate's human rights record can be evaluated," continued
The Council is set to meet
three times a year over a span of ten weeks. It will also have the
possibility of convening emergency sessions. This allows for "greater speed
of reaction with regard to grave crises… Violations committed at any time,
in any place, should now face greater scrutiny" said the AHRC.
Furthermore, "the Council
also comprises a system of universal review, under which all States will
have their rights records examined. Recommendations stemming from this
process must be followed."
"The success of the Council
depends on the good will of its members to uphold the values and honour the
commitments made at its inception. The implementation of recommendations and
resolutions is an area in which great progress is needed--this should be a
fundamental yard-stick with which States' cooperation and good faith should
be measured," said Fernando.
According to the rights
group, civil society must also take responsibility to effectively
participate in the new workings of the UN human rights mechanisms.
"The members of civil
society have a continuing crucial role to play, notably given that the
Council will continue with the practice of adopting country-specific
resolutions. Non-governmental organizations must ensure their participation
in the proceedings and that the provision of information to the Council
evolves to accommodate the new prospects," said the AHRC.
NIT’s application for
university status now in Senate – Dr. Genson
By RODRIGO S. VICTORIA, PIA-Biliran
March 21, 2006
NAVAL, Biliran – The
application for university status of Naval Institute of Technology (NIT)
appears brighter after several years of delay in the House of
Representatives as it is now in the Senate, said Dr. Edita S. Genson,
President of the college.
In a letter sent to the
different national government agencies in the province of Biliran, Dr.
Genson informed that the application for conversion of NIT into Biliran
State University (Bilsu) authored by Congressman Gerry Boy Espina, Jr. of
the Lone District of Biliran has already been approved by the House of
Representatives through House Bill No. 4918.
House Bill 4918 is entitled
“An Act Converting Naval Institute of Technology in the Municipality of
Naval, Province of Biliran into a State University to be known as the
Biliran State University, Integrating therewith the Biliran National
Agricultural College in the Municipality of Biliran and Appropriating Funds
Dr. Genson said that the
college’s application for university status is now in the Senate Committee
on Education chaired by Senator Juan M. Flavier.
It was also mentioned in the
letter the record and performance in the field of education of the college
that would warrant the conversion of NIT into a state university such as the
consistent rating of Noteworthy and Very Satisfactory of the College of
Maritime every year since its International Standard Operation (ISO)
Certification by the Det Norkes Veritas (DNV) on Rules on Maritime Academies
in the year 2000 based on its findings on the annual DNV Surveillance Audit
and other educational achievements of the college.
In order to further
strengthen the application of NIT for a university status, Dr. Genson sought
the support of the different sectors and high ranking government officials
in the province of Biliran and region 8 by signing an endorsement paper to
be submitted to Senate President Franklin M. Drilon for the early passage of
the bill into law in the Senate.
Meanwhile, in a previous
interview with Congressman Gerry Boy Espina in one of his visits here, he
said that converting NIT into a state university is his top priority being
the representative of the people in Biliran province.
Congressman Espina said that
he only continued what was started by his father, former Congressman Gerardo
S. Espina, Sr. now mayor of Naval, who also worked hard for the conversion
of NIT into a state university.
The young representative
further said that the realization of the university status of NIT is the
biggest thing he can contribute for the improvement of the educational
status of the Biliranons and which can also contribute to the economic
development of the province as a whole.