NHA to double
housing assistance for Yolanda victims – VP Binay
By OVP Media
November 27, 2013
MANILA – Vice
President Jejomar C. Binay on Tuesday said the National Housing
Authority (NHA) will increase from P5,000 to P10,000 the amount of
assistance it will give to families whose homes were partially
destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda.
“NHA provides construction
materials for families whose homes were partially destroyed by the
typhoon. We initially provided a maximum of P5,000 worth of materials,
but we changed that to P10,000 after we got a clearer picture of the
extent of the damage,” the Vice President said.
Binay, who heads the Housing
and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), said they will
also study the impact of relocation on the livelihood of those
affected by Yolanda who will be moved to safer areas.
“For example, we just can’t
relocate farmers or those living in coastal areas because the sources
of their livelihood will not follow them,” he said.
The National Disaster Risk
Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) has previously announced that
the government will be enforcing ‘no-build’ zones along areas 40
meters from coastlines.
Moreover, the housing czar
said he wants to study what assistance can be extended to residents or
tenants of residential buildings noting that many of such buildings
were destroyed in Tacloban City after being battered by the super
Binay previously said that
members of the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG Fund)
with existing housing loans whose homes were damaged by the super
typhoon are covered by the agency’s Mortgage Redemption Insurance.
“Pag-IBIG Fund has also
allocated P5 billion for calamity loans and an additional P5 billion
for housing loans for members living in areas affected by Yolanda. We
will increase this amount if there is a need,” Binay said.
Senate amends 2014
budget, eyes P100-B calamity rehab fund
By Office of Senator Chiz
November 26, 2013
PASAY CITY – Senator
Chiz Escudero is looking at a P100 billion disaster rehabilitation and
reconstruction fund for FY 2014 as the Senate moves to its second
reading and period of amendments on the proposed 2014 national budget
Escudero, senate finance
committee chairman said there is a fiscal space to increase the
original Palace proposal for calamity fund amounting to P7.5 billion.
The Senate version stamped a P13 billion calamity fund.
He initially proposed for
the creation of a special fund for disaster rehabilitation increasing
the senate approved version to P20 billion.
“Upon further review of the
budget we found more flexibility to further increase the proposed P20
billion rehabilitation funds. It now stands to amount to 100 billion.
The component of which are: P80 billion from unprogrammed funds, P20
billion from programmed funds,” he explained.
Escudero said there is no
telling yet of the amount needed to rehabilitate and reconstruct the
areas wiped out not only by typhoon Yolanda but other past disasters
as well but initial cost estimates are already staggering.
Latest estimates from the
National Disaster Risk Management Council (NDRRMC) pegs Yolanda’s
damage alone at P22.6 billion, with infrastructure’s damage at P11.9
billion and agriculture’s at P10.7 billion respectively.
“The cataclysmic force that
hit our country requires serious response to influence significant
rehabilitation and reconstruction of the communities barreled by
catastrophes. We need to infuse major financial foundation to recoup
and retain the physical, economic and social viability of these
communities,” the senator said.
As this developed, Escudero
said the finance committee will begin hearing on Thursday proposed
measures on supplemental budget to augment the 2013 disaster relief
This year’s calamity fund
amounts to P7.5 billion and Escudero and fellow senators said this is
already almost depleted to obligate rescue, relief, and rehabilitation
and reconstruction requirements of communities struck and displaced by
“We are on track; we will
pass the budget on time. It is critical that we must because this
budget fuels not only the entire government machinery but also our
capability and capacity as a nation,” the senator explained.
committee introduces reforms to 2014 budget
By Office of Senator Chiz
November 19, 2013
PASAY CITY – Senator
Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, presented for
plenary debates the P2.267 trillion spending plan of the national
government for 2014 which includes key reforms to ensure proper use of
funds, transparency and integrity of the budget process.
According to Escudero, the proposed budget is the “most detailed” in
the country’s history to date, itemizing almost all items earmarked
for personal services, maintenance and other operating expenses down
to capital outlays.
This means that the special allotment release order or SARO, a
long-standing system that authorizes a government agency to incur
obligation not exceeding the amount set aside for a specific period,
is removed from the proposed appropriation for next year.
“One other innovative key reform instituted is the movement towards a
budget-as-release-document in 2014. Simply put, the Department of
Budget and Management declares that ‘the budgets of agencies – except
those to be contained in a negative list – are considered released to
them as soon as the national budget takes effect,” Escudero explained.
Another key feature of the budget proposal is the elimination of the
pork barrel allocation of 15 senators amounting to P3.2 billion, which
will be rechanneled to four key government agencies. The spending
package also slashes the P200-million allocation of the Office of the
Next year’s budget, which is 13.07 percent higher than the 2013
appropriations, will be sourced from the P2.018 trillion projected
revenues broken down as follows: 15.1 percent of the gross domestic
product (GDP), 2014 tax revenues effort of 14.1 percent amounting to
P1.879 trillion, and P136.13 billion from non-tax revenues.
“The biggest slice of next year’s budget pie will be consumed by
social services at 37 percent or P842.81 billion, followed by economic
services at 26 percent or a total of P590.22 billion,” Escudero said.
Other sectors will share the proposed budget as follows: defense, 4.09
percent (P92.85 billion); general public services, 16.07 percent
(P364.52 billion); net lending, 1.10 percent (P24.95 billion); and
debt service interest payments, 15.55 percent (P352.65 billion).
In the budget bill of the House of Representatives, the Priority
Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the senators was equally
appropriated to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the
Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Labor and Employment
(DOLE) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Also included in the Senate version is the creation of a new special
purpose fund amounting to P20 billion to be used for the
rehabilitation, repair and reconstruction works and activities in
areas affected by typhoons Yolanda, Santi, Labuyo and the 7.2
Escudero appealed to his colleagues to support the 2014 budget, saying
the spending plan will enable the government deal with the financial
requirements for rebuilding and rehabilitating areas severely affected
by both natural and man-made disasters.
“The enactment of a national budget is a must in this inauspicious
time to carry the nation and the people into the road to recovery and
once again recapture the promises of this vibrant nation,” Escudero
Humanitarian aid effort
gears up on Samar Island
November 14, 2013
MANILA – As staff of the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) move into position to
join a major relief effort, a clearer picture is emerging of the
devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) and the resulting
needs on Samar Island, where the typhoon made first landfall in the
Philippines. The organization is focusing its initial relief efforts
on the island, also affected by a protracted armed conflict, where it
has been working for many years.
After entering Samar at Allen, a team travelled along the west coast
to Catbalogan and on to Guiuan, near the southernmost point, before
reaching Borongan, on the east coast, on 13 November.
"The island's west coast has been spared major destruction," said
Gegham Petrosyan, the ICRC's health coordinator in the Philippines.
"However, along the south coast, from Santa Rita all the way down to
Guiuan, the devastation is massive. Health-care facilities in all the
municipalities, including the public hospital in Guiuan, have suffered
damage. Health posts have been set up by medical personnel to care for
the incoming patients with what little means they have."
Renewed heavy rain showers and deteriorating security (armed gunmen
and looting have been reported) are making matters worse for an
already exhausted population without shelter, food or potable water.
"People are desperate for life-saving aid," said Mr. Petrosyan.
"However, logistical and security constraints continue to hamper the
distribution of desperately needed relief."
The ICRC is working around the clock to bring relief to the population
as rapidly as possible, closely coordinating its relief efforts with
the Philippine Red Cross and other partners within the International
Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The ICRC has launched an appeal
for 15 million Swiss francs (more than 16 million US dollars) to bring
aid to 36,000 households for three months.
Chiz asks COA to
audit ‘Yolanda’ donations
By Office of Senator Chiz
November 14, 2013
PASAY CITY – All donations
to the government are deemed public funds and must be properly
accounted for and audited to ease worries of possible misuse,
according to Senator Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Senate Finance
Escudero wrote to Commission on Audit Chairman Grace Pulido Tan,
seeking a full report on the donations here and abroad extended to the
government to ensure proper compliance with existing rules and
regulations ahead of the plenary debates on the 2014 spending plan
“Such audit and the respective agency’s compliance with rules and
regulations will help all of us in quelling any anxiety the public may
have on the possibility of these aid falling into the wrong hands or
not reaching or benefiting the calamity victims,” Escudero said.
At the same time, Escudero asked Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to
provide the finance committee with the guidelines and procedures on
the acceptance and utilization of donations from donor countries and
international organizations for victims of natural disasters.
“We’d like to retrace our steps on how donee agencies comply with the
reportorial requirements on acceptance and utilization of donations.
GAA mandates that they do. Fund drives are also governed by
presidential decrees and administrative orders. These must be adhered
to,” he said.
Escudero added: “Proper accounting and utilization of donations is the
best that a country like ours battered by natural disasters can do to
match the goodwill of individuals, organizations and foreign countries
who come to our aid in trying times.”
The senator noted that the deluge of aid pouring into the country for
victims of super typhoon “Yolanda” that has displaced millions of
people and killed more than 3,000 others in most parts of the Visayas
and similar assistance coming in for victims of other calamities,
should be properly utilized, disbursed and accounted for.
“All donations shall be used only for the purpose specified by the
Anyone who gambles or takes advantage of money and aid intended to
help save lives is a betrayal and must be considered a heinous crime.
Every single centavo will decide whether a person may survive or die,”
Most wanted man,
about to vote, is arrested for rape
By RPCRD, Police
Regional Office 8
October 29, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – Joel Abalon risked being caught by police authorities to
exercise his rights of suffrage and surfaced in his village after a
year in hiding.
But unfortunately for him, the police had been tipped-off on his
presence and arrested him just when he was about to go to the polling
center to cast his vote for Monday’s barangay elections.
According to Police Chief Supt. Elmer R. Soria, the 28-year old
self-employed suspect tried but failed to resist arrest after being
collared by a police team at around 9:20 a.m. Monday in his parent’s
house at Brgy. Zone 3, San Roque town in Northern Samar,
Abalon is facing rape charges in criminal case number 5444 and has a
pending arrest warrant issued by Judge Alma Esidera of Regional Trial
Court branch 20 in Catarman, Northern Samar.
The presiding judge did not recommend any bail amount for the
suspect’s temporary liberty, the director of Police Regional Office 8
“Abalon thought the police were too busy for the village polls and
will not notice his presence. Despite being occupied with election
duties, our men still performed their normal police functions,” the
police official said.
Soria added that the suspect is ranked number one in the most wanted
person list of San Roque town.
Meanwhile, the number two most wanted person of Daram town in Samar
was nabbed by police authorities on Sunday afternoon.
Marcus Baleña, Jr., 55, was nabbed by a police team led by PCInsp.
Jonathan Momo in his hide-out in Brgy Burgos at around 2:30 p.m.
Suspect is facing two separate charges for frustrated homicide and
qualified theft and was arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant issued
by Judge Agerico Avila of RTC branch 29 in Catbalogan City.
No bail was recommended by Avila for both cases, docketed under case
numbers 8315 and 8316, Soria informed.
The accounting of wanted persons was one of the steps undertaken by
PRO8 to ensure the peaceful conduct of the barangay elections, Soria
18 liquor ban
violators in EV face 6 years in prison
By RPCRD, Police Regional
October 29, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte –
The 18 persons arrested by the police for violating the liquor ban in
connection with the recently concluded barangay elections Monday faces
up to six years imprisonment.
Eastern Visayas top cop
Police Chief Supt. Elmer R. Soria said that as of 12:00 midnight
Monday, there were 20 people, including two minors, arrested for
violating the liquor ban that was implemented on October 27 until
October 28 as per Commission on Elections Resolution number 9715.
“The ban on alcoholic
beverages helped quell tensions among candidates and their supporters
and prevented occurrence of untoward incidents that could have
disrupted the electoral proceedings,” said Soria.
Soria informed that the
arrested violators would face a penalty ranging from one year up to
six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and disqualification
from public office.
At around 11:30 a.m. Sunday,
six persons - Randy Jun Catalogo, 21; Jimar Rago, 19; Jeffrey De Paz,
21; Matthew Macasil, 21; John Robert Ontimare, 20; and Neil Sylas
Babiano, 23 - all residents of Brgy. 57, White Lane, Sampaguita
District in Tacloban city were rounded up by the police while drinking
liquor at the village basketball court.
Fifty-year old Department of
Public Works and Highway (DPWH) employee Carlito Pernitez was arrested
Sunday evening when he appeared before the Mahaplag police station in
Leyte and was noticed by duty police officers to be under the
influence of liquor.
Five seamen, identified as
Mark Saldo, 26; Danny Muksin, 39; Renante Legaspi, 28; Godofredo
Villareal, 33 and Joseph Oliver Nagales, 33; were arrested by the
Reactionary Stand-by Support Force (RSSF) under PSupt. Edilberto Aban
while drinking at the vicinity fronting Gran Hotel in Port Area,
Tacloban City at around 9:00 p.m. on election day.
At around 9:20 p.m., same
RSSF team arrested Baby Misscion, 31; Dennis Duquillo, 33 and Andot
Dansha, 22; with two minors while drinking liquor along the roadside
in Maharlika highway, Brgy. 91, Abucay also in Tacloban City.
Same police team also
arrested Gregorio Esposo, 53; Jeffrey Garrido, 28 and Jovito Casiong,
46; while drinking liquor along side the Maharlika highway in Brgy. 99
also in Tacloban City.
The arrested liquor ban
violators were detained at police stations lock-up cells except for
the two minors who were turned-over to the Tacloban City social
2 NPA members
surrender to 34IB
By DPAO, 8ID PA
October 28, 2013
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City, Samar – Two (2) members of the New People’s Army surrendered
to military authorities in Northern Samar on Sunday, October 27, 2013.
Ruel C. Sirse, alias Bulay
and Melly C. Esponilla, alias Mica, NPA squad member and NPA Medic,
respectively, voluntarily surrendered to soldiers of the 34th Infantry
Battalion under Lt Colonel Rodrigo Ilustrisimo. The government troops
were conducting peace and development activities in Barangay Rizal,
Gamay, Northern Samar when they were approached by the surrenderees.
The duo brought along with them one (1) .45 Caliber pistol with three
(3) magazines and 20 live bullets.
Under the AFP Guns For Peace
Program, they will receive P25,000.00 in exchange for the firearm they
surrendered. Each of them is also entitled to receive P50,000.00
livelihood assistance and P15,000.00 immediate assistance from the
Office of the Presidential Assistant for Peace Process (OPAPP) under
its Comprehensive Local Social Integration Program (CLIP). They can
further avail of Local Social Integration Program of the Local
Government Unit in Northern Samar.
During the interview alias
Bulay and alias Mica admitted that they are live-in partners and they
decided to surrender because they wish to raise a family away from
harm and violence. “Upon learning of the new program of the AFP which
is the Gun for Peace Program, they were encouraged to surrender and
avail of the program.”
Brigadier General Jet B.
Velarmino AFP, Commander of 8th Infantry Division said: “We welcome
the surrender of the two (2) NPA members and we wish them well. The
8ID fully supports and advocates the government’s Peace Program. Rest
assured that your Army in Eastern Visayas is always ready and willing
to assist NPA rebels who wish to return to the mainstream.”
Gun ban violators
in EV rise to 52
By RPCRD, Police Regional
October 28, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – A candidate for barangay chairman was the latest addition
to the list of gun ban violators arrested by police units in Eastern
Visayas since its implementation last September 28, bringing to 52 the
number of arrested persons across the region up to the October 28
barangay election day, the director of Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8)
According to Police Chief
Supt. Elmer R. Soria, all the arrested violators were civilians,
noting that during the firearms ban implemented in relation to the May
midterm polls, three of the 177 violators are military men, six are
security guards and one employee of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“The firearms and other
deadly weapons confiscated by our men could have been used to disrupt
the peaceful holding of the barangay elections,” Soria said.
The police official informed
that at around 9:40 a.m. on Saturday, one Roberto Habilles, 33, a
candidate for barangay chairman of Brgy. Dinagan, Oquendo Dist., in
Calbayog City was arrested in a Comelec checkpoint in Brgy. Malaga by
joint elements of Calbayog City Police Station and 2nd Regional Public
Safety Maneuver Company led by PInsp. Neil Fernando Cerdeña.
Confiscated from the
suspect’s possession were one unit .45 caliber pistol loaded with 14
ammunitions and two empty magazines for .45 caliber. He was brought to
Calbayog CPS as appropriate charges are being prepared against him.
The police official
disclosed that the PRO8 had seized 23 firearms wherein 12 are
revolvers, four pistols, four improvised guns or “sumpak”, two
shotguns and one rifle.
Lawmen also confiscated 33
bladed weapons, one grenade and 103 ammunitions.
Thirty four violators were
arrested during police responses to call for assistance; four were
arrested at checkpoints and two wanted men nabbed by the police were
also carrying firearms at the time of their arrest.
Twelve violators were
arrested during focused police operations initiated by line units.
The ban, that carries a
penalty of not less than one year but not more than six years
imprisonment which shall not be subject to probation, is being
implemented by the police during the election period from September 28
to Nov 12, which is 30 days before and 15 days after the barangay