[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 17 August 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Aug 17 11:35:47 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 17 August 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Classes suspended Friday in Metro Manila, 8 provinces (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 3) Classes at all levels are suspended in Metro Manila and eight provinces Friday due to expected monsoon rains triggered by super typhoon "Egay" (international codename: Sepat), disaster officials announced late Thursday evening.

Egay, which has halted classes in Metro Manila since Wednesday, also forced all schools to close in the Luzon provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Bataan and Zambales, Defense Secretary and National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) chairman Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said.

"Because of high probability of rain, we are announcing tonight the suspension of classes in all levels tomorrow [Friday]," he told a news conference at the state weather bureau offices in Quezon City.

MIAA, PCG says there are no canceled trips (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


The Philippine Coast Guard on Friday said there will be no canceled sea trips even as typhoon Egay (international codename Sepat) threatens the country's seaboard with strong winds.


Lt. Senior Grade Armand Balilo, PCG spokesman, said the agency will cancel trips only if Egay has actually turned into a super typhoon as feared by weather bureau PAGASA.


He added that vessels and ships with 2,000 gross tonnage could still cancel trips to routes affected by the typhoon. 


He said crews of fishing vessels have been repeatedly advised to take caution. "They should use their professional judgment. Anyway, they are familiar with the sea," Balilo told ABS-CBN News.


LGUs responsible for flood control - SC (www.philstar.com) 

The Supreme Court has reiterated that local government units (LGUs), not the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), are responsible for flood control in Metro Manila.

In its Aug. 10  decision in the case of Filinvest Land Inc. versus the flood-affected homeowners of Meritville Townhouse Subdivision in Las Piñas City, the court's First Division cited the SC's earlier decision recognizing the MMDA as a development authority that was created to formulate policies and coordinate with the various national government agencies, people's organizations, non-government organizations, and the private sector to efficiently and expeditiously deliver basic services in the Metropolitan Manila area.

"The powers of the MMDA are limited to the following acts: formulation, coordination, regulation, implementation, preparation, management, monitoring, setting of policies, installation of a system, and administration," the SC decision penned by Associate Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez stated.

The SC reiterated its decision stressing that flood control is the function of the concerned local government unit after Filinvest argued under Republic Act 7924, that the MMDA should be responsible for flood control.

The Court said that under Section 17 of the Local Government Code, local government units "shall endeavor to be self-reliant and shall continue exercising the powers and discharging the duties and functions currently vested upon them. They shall also discharge the functions and responsibilities of national agencies and offices devolved to them pursuant to this Code.

"Local government units shall likewise exercise such other powers and discharge such other functions and responsibilities as are necessary, appropriate, or incidental to efficient and effective provision of the basic services and facilities enumerated herein."

Total log ban pushed (www.philstar.com) 

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. urged President Arroyo to certify as urgent the total log ban bill in the effort to address the worsening situation of the country's forest cover.

Despite the spate of disasters caused by the continuing destruction of the forests, Pimentel said illegal logging activities still continue, defying the moratorium on tree cutting in what remains of the country's forests.

Pimentel revived Senate Bill 275, calling for a ban on commercial logging operations all over the country for 25 years.

Pimentel explained the length of time it takes for hardwood trees to mature. It is also expected that within this period, the country will be able to regain its lost forest cover.

"Unless we implement a total log ban, we will continue to lose more of our already depleted forests. And the horrible tragedies in Aurora-Quezon in 2004, Guinsaugon, Southern Leyte in 2006 and Ormoc in 1991 due to flashfloods and landslides, are bound to be repeated," he said.

Rosales for peace talks; Velarde backs offensive (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- Leaders of the Catholic Church are divided on the issue of the ongoing conflict between government and rebel troops in the South, even as the military is preparing to strike at the Abu Sayyaf and "lawless elements" in Sulu and Basilan without fear of engaging its allies in the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said on Wednesday that returning to the negotiation table and addressing the real issues in Mindanao could resolve the conflict.

But El Shaddai leader Bro. Mariano "Mike" Velarde, while backing the peace talks, said on Thursday the military offensive was a justified reaction to the killing of Marines last month by the Abu Sayyaf.

Speaking with reporters in Tagaytay City, where he led the inauguration and blessing of the St. John Mary Vianney-Galilee Development and Retreat Center for Priests, Rosales said the government and the MILF should be "sincere" in the peace talks. (The peace talks have been stalled since September 2006.)

"Nagkakalokohan, eh (There is no sincerity). Go back to the issues and let's start addressing them," Rosales said when sought for comment on the situation in Sulu.

"One thing is, we will never have peace if we always fight each other," Rosales said.

DepEd to buy 70 million books for P4B (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Education (DepEd) is to buy 70.6 million textbooks worth about P4 billion in the next two years, according to the DepEd's Instructional Materials Council Secretariat (IMCS).

IMCS executive director Socorro Pilor and Carolina Rivera, officer in charge of the body's procurement monitoring division, assured the public that the DepEd would be buying "high-quality textbooks, those with the best content and the best printing."

The new textbook purchases will test reform measures put in place by Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus to improve the department's procurement system.

"We expect the cost of textbooks to further go down because of these reform measures," Lapus said.

The measures include the creation of an oversight committee to "further ensure transparency in the government's textbook procurement program."

"The panel will be composed of independent and highly respected educators and experts. Even our critics are welcome to join the committee so that their concerns can be addressed at the proper venue," Lapus said.

DOH: Family planning the least of our priorities (www.philstar.com) 

Despite the country's ballooning population, family planning remains to be the least priority of the Department of Health (DOH).

Health Secretary Francisco Duque yesterday said the government's "overwhelming priority" at this time is the improvement of maternal health care to curb the high maternal mortality rate.

While the DOH will promote the use of scientific natural family planning, Duque said it would only be a complementary strategy to advance women's health and for those who may demand such service.

"We will push natural family planning for women who want to control their fertility and ask the local governments to implement reproductive health policies for their constituents. But for the majority of women who want to get pregnant, our health system must be ready to give safe and quality maternal care where and when they need it," Duque stressed.

Speaking before delegates to the Midwives' Congress, Duque said Filipino women are in dire need of quality obstetrical care more than artificial contraceptives.

"More than access to family planning commodities which only cater to a certain segment of women, this is where we need to target our interventions - birth, the time of greatest risk - because every woman will face this situation and will need the care of the most skilled professionals in safe and equipped facilities," Duque said.

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