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Posted on July 11, 2012

Local level services get UN support

EFFORTS TO boost social services at the local level have been formalized under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and the United Nations, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said yesterday.

Under the MoU inked by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Department of Interior and Local Government and NEDA, training and consultancy services will be offered to 36 local government units.

“We are one with [the local officials] in this endeavor because children’s rights are ensured in the Philippine Development Plan for 2011-2016,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, a signatory to the agreement, in a statement.

Technical assistance will be on child malnutrition, early child health care, basic education and children’s rights. The assistance is seen to aid officials in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, a set of eight objectives in social development set to be accomplished by 2015.

“Many, if not all LGUs, are geographically isolated and disadvantaged, and their families and children must be reached in order to close the gap between the have’s and the have-not’s,” said Mr. Balisacan. The 30 municipalities and six cities comprise the first batch of the program, which will last until 2016, said the NEDA.

Quezon City has new districts

TWO CONGRESSIONAL districts have been added in Quezon City following the enactment of a law that created the new jurisdictions.

In a statement yesterday, Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., chairman of the local government committee, said President Benigno S. C. Aquino III had enacted on July 2 Republic Act No. 10170, which divides the present second district into three, creating Districts 5 and 6.

“The reapportionment of the Quezon City legislative districts shall commence in the next national and local elections after the effectivity of the law,” Mr. Marcos said in the statement.

District 2 now groups barangays Bagong Silangan, Batasan Hills, Commonwealth, Holy Spirit and Payatas.

District 5 will be composed of Barangays Bagbag, Capri, Greater Lagro, Gulod, Kaligayahan, Nagkasiang Nayon, North Fairview, Novaliches Proper, Pasong Putik Proper, San Agustin, San Bartolome, Santa Lucia, Santa Monica and Fairview.

The sixth district will cover barangays Apolonio Samson, Baesa, Balon-Bato, Culiat, New Era, Pasong Tamo, Sangandaan, Tandang Sora, Unang Ligaw, Sauyo and Talipapa.

“With the large population of Quezon City, the people of this local government unit undoubtedly deserve additional seats in the House of Representatives,” he added, noting that the city’s second district “has a constituency in size and land area bigger than all the other existing districts in Quezon City combined.”

According to the 2010 records of the city government, District 2 accounts for more than 1.7 million of the city’s total 2.9 million population RA 10170 will add two new congressmen and an equivalent number of representations in the city council, all of whom will be elected in next year’s midterm polls, said Mr. Marcos. -- ASOA

Bacolod mayor sacks erring employees

BACOLOD CITY -- Four city government employees found guilty by the Ombudsman of tampering of receipts have been dismissed by the mayor.

Dismissed by Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia were Ricardo T. DahilDahil, Jr., Salvacion P. Ortega, Eduardo H. Ravena and Lalaine Villalva.

Former executive assistant Renato Rojo and former city accountant Pioquito Quinones were also charged administratively; they are deceased.

Mr. Dahildahil, Ms. Ortega and Mr. Ravena were on leave and could not be reached for comment, while Ms. Villalva has refused to receive the order as the case is on appeal.

Mr. Leonardia said he decided to implement the Ombudsman order to dismiss the employees despite the appeal based on acting director Juris Narvios-Tanco’s directive, which stated that an appeal does not stay the implementation of the Ombudsman’s decisions, orders or resolutions.

The mayor received the order on July 5. A memorandum order dismissing the employees was issued on the same day.

The employees were charged administratively for tampering of receipts during the term of former mayor Luzviminda Santos-Valdez. A separate case was filed against Ms. Valdez before the Sandiganbayan. -- Chrysee G. Samillano

Consultations to back deal

LEGAL EXPERTS, including former Constitutional Commission members and justices, are being consulted to ensure that the proposed peace deal with Moro rebels will be able to withstand scrutiny, a senior official said yesterday.

“The Philippine panel has been diligently consulting all government agencies and departments on the agenda of power and wealth sharing, and governance which are being discussed with the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) on the peace table,” said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Q. Deles in a speech at the end of a Moro assembly in Camp Darapanan, Maguindanao province that ended on Monday.

“Regular consultations are also being done with members of Congress and Senate, while discussions with retired Supreme Court Justices and members of the 1987 Constitutional Commission are set to be conducted,” she said in the speech uploaded at the Web site of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process.

Ms. Deles admitted in a text message yesterday that possible “challenges to any agreement could come from anywhere,” but the government wants “to be as solid as we can be on the proposals that we can put on.

MILF leaders on Monday cautioned that the talks are on a “make or break” stage. -- NMG

Pinoy, US troops end joint training

GENERAL SANTOS -- Filipino and US navy and coast guard forces ended on Tuesday their joint exercises in Mindanao, with both side vowing to continue collaboration in maritime defense and disaster response.

“Our navies and coast guards will be continuing to interact in the coming years and I believe that the interaction the personnel from both navies as well as coast guards and marine corps will be of great significance for future coordination and interactions,” said Commodore Philip L. Cacayan, Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao commander in a speech at the closing of the nine-day Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2012 (CARAT 2012).

US Navy Captain David Welch, commander of Task Group 73.1, said the exercise “sharpened the participating troops’ skills and developed their proficiency and their ability to operate as a team.” -- R. S. Sarmiento

Palace appoints new officials

NEW OFFICIALS of the presidential communications group have been appointed by President Benigno S. C. Aquino III, a Palace aide said yesterday.

Lesley Jeanne Y. Cordero was appointed as undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, while Cathryn Jonne T. Licudine was promoted to assistant secretary, Deputy Presidential Spokesman Abigail F. Valte announced in a press briefing yesterday. The two, whose appointments are coterminus with their superior, have been with the communications office since last year.

Joy C. Legaspi, meanwhile, was appointed register of deeds II in the Land Registration Authority.

The President also appointed Ronnie S. Mallari as member, representing language teachers in the Teacher Education Council under the Department of Education.

LEDAC ‘avenue’ for Charter talks

CHARTER CHANGE could be discussed in the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), a Cabinet secretary said yesterday.

“The LEDAC will be the avenue by which the Senate, the Congress and the Executive can agree on priority legislations,” Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said in a Palace briefing.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr. have earlier revived the issue of Charter change.

“That will be an occasion for either the Speaker or the Senate President to present whether in fact there should be a joint undertaking of the Executive and Congress,” said Mr. Abad, without disclosing the schedule of the next LEDAC meeting.

The LEDAC last met in August 2011 wherein 13 measures were identified as priority by the government.