But while Lacson supported the moves that would enhance business activities and strengthen the economy, he reminded authorities to maintain containment strategies to prevent the virus from spreading.
With greater tax revenue shares come greater accountability.
On this note, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson batted Tuesday for greater autonomy alongside greater accountability for local government units as they start getting an increased share of government tax revenues starting in 2022.
Lacson, a champion of empowering LGUs in implementing local development projects, said this is the key to true decentralization in the country while minimizing the chances of corruption in the use of the bigger revenues.
"Sa tingin ko mas makakabuti na bigyan ng laya ang LGUs. Kaya lang, palakasin natin ang reportorial at accountability. Bigyan sila ng responsibility mag-report kung paano sila nag-implement ng pagbaba ng projects (It would be for the best if we give LGUs the proper autonomy. But the LGUs must have additional accountability, including the responsibility to report how they implement their local projects)," he said over a radio interview.
Starting 2022, the country will implement the Mandanas ruling that increases local governments' share of tax revenues.
Under the Supreme Court ruling, Internal Revenue Allotments (IRAs) will increase from P695.5 billion in 2021 to P959 billion in 2022 - a growth rate of 37.9 percent. The ruling is expected to be fully implemented by 2024.
But Lacson said the government also has to make the proper adjustments to make sure decentralization involves not only functions but also funds.
"As we speak, the 2022 budget's compliance to the Mandanas ruling is only on paper. While functions have been devolved, the funds are still with the central offices in Metro Manila," Lacson lamented.
Lacson, who is running for President under Partido Reporma, likened the Philippines' economy to being in an Emergency Room, even as he and Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III are offering their brand of leadership to address the situation.
"Ang ino-offer namin Kakayahan, Katapatan, Katapangan sa pagsagupa ng problema ng bansa (We are offering our brand of KKK in solving the problems of the nation)," he said.
One of the programs the Lacson-Sotto tandem plans to implement should they win in 2022 are:
* to fully fund the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act to provide free health care for all Filipinos
* internship programs for the youth and emergency employment programs to help Filipinos who lost their livelihood to the pandemic
* comprehensive targeted fiscal stimulus packages for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), implementation of eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, and grant of employee-retention tax credits
* a holistic approach to ending the illegal drug menace, which will include drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation instead of law enforcement alone
Lacson added he wants to leave behind a legacy where Filipinos have regained their dignity and self-respect - and what follows is just as important: restoring trust in the government. "Pinaka-important ang tiwala ng mamamayan sa ating pamahalaan (The trust of our people in government is very important)," he added. (PR)
Lacson, who is set to file his candidacy for presidential post today, has vowed to make vaccines accessible and available to every Filipino once elected in office.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr announced on Thursday, August 5, 2021, that the country reached an important milestone in its national vaccination program with more than ten million fully vaccinated Filipinos.
Secretary Roque likewise expressed confidence that the Philippines would reach its target of population protection.
“(M)ahigit sampung milyon, ang fully vaccinated na po. Nasa 109 million ang official population ng Pilipinas ayon sa 2020 census. Nasa 50 to 70 million ang ating target para sa population protection. Kumpiyansa tayo na maaabot natin ito,” said Roque.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, on the other hand, reported that the country reached its highest daily inoculation last Tuesday, August 3, with 702, 013 jabs recorded.
Secretary Dizon added that vaccination would be ramped up in the National Capital Region (NCR), Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Gingoog during the period of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
Also in the same press briefing, Philippine National Police chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar allowed essential workers to be fetched by drivers who are not considered authorized persons outside residence, or non-APORs, provided they present a certificate of employment of the worker APOR or a copy of the business permit of the employer and another certification indicating the driver’s name, contact number, vehicle details as well as the contact details of the worker APOR and the employer.
Secretary Roque earlier attended the ceremonial program of the 10M Fully Vaccinated Filipinos event held in SM Megamall, where he underscored the importance of continuous vaccination to the country’s economy and growth, notwithstanding the imposition of ECQ in the NCR tomorrow, August 6.
“Bukas magsisimula na naman po tayo ng ECQ, ngunit hindi ibig sabihin na magsasara ang Pilipinas. Kaya po ngayon nandito tayo ginawa sa Megamall para ipakita na, COVID or no COVID, tuloy po ang pagtakbo ng ating ekonomiya. Hindi rin na nangahulugan hihinto rin ang bakunahan. Sasamantalahin natin ang ECQ para lalo po natin mapabilis po ang pagbabakuna,” said Roque.
In connection with this, SM Senior Vice President for Operations Bien Mateo mentioned that SM will further open its 67 vaccination mall venues during the ECQ. Two million jabs have been conducted in SM malls as of this writing. Essential shops and services, meanwhile, would remain open during the ECQ.
On the other hand, Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos highlighted that Mandaluyong has vaccinated 30,508 of its senior population out of the target 29,749 senior population, or 102.55%. More than 25,000, or 83%, of seniors in Mandaluyong are fully vaccinated while more than 5,000, or 17%, are waiting for their second dose.
Also this morning, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairperson Benhur Abalos stressed that in view of the rising cases of COVID-19, the government had acted promptly based on their projections and assessments on the ground.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque meanwhile added that that everyone must unite saying that the whole government, the whole society, and the whole system must be there to ensure that the COVID-19 response would be successful.
This, after President Rodrigo Duterte, called on the TFBM to expedite the completion of Marawi rehabilitation so that displaced families can finally return home.
"To Task Force Bangon Marawi, we need to race against time and you have to finish the necessary work to rehabilitate the war-torn city and bring back its families back home," the President said during his State of the Nation Address Monday, July 26.
In response, TFBM chairperson Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario guaranteed the completion of public infrastructure within the President's term.
“On behalf of Task Force Bangon Marawi and our 56 implementing agencies, I would like to assure our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and our Maranao brothers and sisters that we will complete the rehabilitation of all major infrastructures in Marawi City within his administration,” he said.
Del Rosario said the Marawi rehabilitation is now about 70% to 75% complete noting that by December, a substantial number of projects will be completed as embodied in the master development plan.
“In fact, we have started awarding permanent housing units — so far we already awarded 279 permanent shelters since February and two mosques inside the most affected area have been inaugurated, and more housing units will be awarded soon while other projects are scheduled to be inaugurated in the coming months,” he said.
These include the completion of more permanent shelters and the road networks inside the city's most-affected area with underground utilities, solar lamps and traffic lights whose completion will signal the return of displaced families from Sectors 4 to 7.
Meanwhile, Duterte cited the Filipino patriotism that was demonstrated in the battle against the ISIS-inspired terrorists in Marawi.
"Our victory in Marawi is also a testament to how Filipino’s patriotism is far stronger than any extremist group. As I have said before, many times, there is no room for lawlessness in this country," he said. (APB/PIA-ICIC)
Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary and TFBM Chairperson Eduardo Del Rosario shared in a press briefing held after the turn-over of 150 housing units in Darussalam Village in Brgy. Dulay Proper Thursday, July 22, the accomplishments of the housing projects and the foreseen inauguration of units in the coming months.
"In our housing [projects], we are progressing. There were 109 units [turned over] a few months ago and now 170 [units]. Next month, we will be turning over 200 permanent housing units from the projects of the National Housing Authority,” he said.
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Country Programme Manager Christopher Rollo stressed that resettlement sites under their organization are continuously going forward through their Rebuilding Marawi through Community-Driven Shelter and Livelihood Program.
He detailed that in Barangays Kilala, the UN-Habitat has an ongoing construction of permanent houses with the National Housing Authority (NHA) as the land developer. Likewise, the organization has a project in Brgy. Patani in partnership with the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) wherein 17 units are already completed and some are still being constructed to attain the target of 438 houses.
Rollo further said they have already awarded 109 units in Hadiya Village in Brgy. Dulay West on February 25 this year. Another 120 units in Darussalam Village in Brgy. Dulay Proper and 50 units in Pamayandeg sa Ranao Residences at Dansalan in Brgy. Mipantao Gadongan were also turned over on July 22.
He conveyed that they are still looking forward to additional resettlement sites to cover their maximum target of IDPs.
“Hopefully, we can add more. Negotiations are ongoing for additional sites para maaccommodate iyong [to accommodate the] total of 1,057 houses,” said Rollo.
Meanwhile, Del Rosario said with the progressing housing projects, challenges are also present including the land development concern of the permanent shelter project in Brgy. Patani wherein the government is in the process of resolving such through the acquisition of other hectares of land adjacent to the previous site.
“Mukhang mahirap na ipush through further ang land development. May nakita ng another four hectares si Mayor at iyon na ang gagamitin. Itong nakitang site, adjacent lang, better, malapit pa sa road, hindi na malayo at hindi na kailangan ibulldozer pa. Basically, flat na iyong site and the same ang area, “ he said.
[It is like we are having a hard time pushing through further with the land development. Mayor has already found another four hectares and that is what we will use. This found site is adjacent, better, near the road, not far and we do not need to bulldoze it. Basically, the site is already flat and it is in the same area.]
Apart from the housing projects by the UN-Habitat, separate permanent housing projects are also being carried out by the NHA in Brgy. Kilala to be implemented by the city government of Marawi and in Brgy. Mipantao Gadongan with the provincial government of Lanao del Sur as the lead implementer. (CRG/PIA-10/ICIC Lanao del Sur)
In support of the country’s ongoing vaccination drive, HealthNow houses COVIDShield, the COVID-19 vaccination program of the Ayala Group and its partners, to fully inoculate about 500,000 employees and their loved ones, translating into one million COVID-19 vaccinations.
The all-in-one healthtech app is jointly owned by Globe’s 917 Ventures and AC Health. It offers patients a convenient way to talk to a licensed physician through video teleconsultation, buy medicines online for delivery, and soon, schedule clinic and diagnostic appointments.
“We’re currently rolling-out our COVIDShield vaccination program to support the country’s fight against COVID-19. In the pipeline, we are looking at administering over a million doses in the next couple of months. This is a big opportunity for the Ayala Group to ensure the safety and health of our community,” said Beia Latay, HealthNow Chief Executive Officer.
Through the HealthNow platform, employees and dependents of the Ayala Group and partners can register for COVIDShield, book their vaccinations at their preferred location and schedule, receive pre-vaccination health screening, and post-vaccination medical care.
Likewise, healthcare providers from AC Health’s subsidiaries Healthway and Qualimed, can use HealthNow's electronic medical record (EMR) to safely store vaccination information and provide patient monitoring, both for the individual and the Department of Health’s (DOH) record keeping.
Individuals inoculated through COVIDShield will receive a vaccination passport which may be used for workforce re-entry and travel purposes.
Following the arrival of the initial vaccine doses, AC Health has started conducting vaccinations, using HealthNow as the digital backbone to facilitate the end-to-end process.
HealthNow came in amid the pandemic and has garnered over 400,000 app users and more than 600 healthcare providers nationwide since launching in August 2020.
Source: Spokesperson Harry Roque
This latest shipment brings to 16 million the total number of Sinovac vaccine doses received by the country, including the 1 million donation from the Chinese government.
These doses are part of the 26 million CoronaVac shots secured by the Philippine government for this year.
The Philippines also expects to receive 1 million doses of Sinovac vaccines tomorrow, July 23.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, together with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Health Usec. Carolina Vidal Taino, welcomed the arrival of the vaccines.
This latest shipment brings to 29,985,130 the total number of anti-COVID vaccine doses delivered to the Philippines since February.
Cayetano, who had earlier announced he is "seriously considering" running for president, said the 10K Ayuda Bill which he filed on February 1, together with his allies, seeks to promote household consumption and stimulate the economy.
“Personally, I’ll be more than happy na walang posisyon kung maipapasa yung 10K Ayuda (Bill) at five-year (economic recovery) plan. Without that, I’ll really be tempted to run for higher office because I really feel, now more than ever, kailangan natin ng unity at plano matutupad,” Cayetano told reporters in an interview after attending the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the ABC Taguig Agri-Industrial Hub for Freshwater Aquaculture Urban Farming on July 20.
(Personally, I’ll be more than happy not to have any position if the 10K Ayuda Bill and five-year economic recovery plan are passed. Without that, however, I’ll really be tempted to run for higher office because I really feel, now more than ever, we need to unite and have a feasible plan.)
Cayetano said these two programs are necessary in the country's efforts to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he said these initiatives continue to be stalled by politics and "crab mentality."
“If magkakaroon ng five-year economic (recovery) plan and three to five years, kasama rin yung sampung libong ayuda, I think we’ll be in good shape, regardless kung sino manalo,” he said.
(If we have a five-year economic recovery plan and roll out P10,000 in cash aid in the next three to five years, I think we’ll be in good shape, regardless of who will win.)
“But without a plan, nangangamba talaga ako na mauuna yung pulitika at crab mentality at di tayo makakarecover,” he added.
(But without a plan, I fear that politics and crab mentality will prevail and we won’t be able to recover.)
Courtesy: Alan Peter Cayetano Facebook
The commission has particularly excelled in the training of volunteers for the Ka-isa ng Sambayan Laban sa Kahirapan (Ka-sambayanihan) volunteer program, its partner in implementing and monitoring various anti-poverty initiatives at the grassroots level. Seven hundred eighty-nine people, 20 more than the initial target of 769, rated the training as “good” or “better,” for an achievement rate of 102.6 percent.
Recognizing that public consultations and multi-stakeholder dialogues are necessary to understand further issues affecting poverty alleviation, NAPC has organized 110 out of 132 target consultative and convergent platforms, allowing it to reach 83.3 percent of its goal.
At the same time, it has prepared 24 out of 30 policy, plan, and program recommendations and delivered 2,518 out of 3,063 information pieces and advocacy events for 80 percent and 82.21 percent accomplishment rates, respectively.
“These were all made possible through the efforts of the different units of the agency working together with its partners: the basic sectors, the national government agencies, development partners, and other stakeholders, towards the achievement of its goals and objectives,” said Atty. Noel K. Felongco, NAPC Secretary and Lead Convenor.
He added: “I strongly believe that the success of our fight against poverty is tethered not only in the design and implementation of our programs and projects but most importantly in the unity among us and all of our stakeholders.”
The NAPC operates using the Sambayanihan Serbisyong Sambayanihan as a guiding framework. Sambayanihan lays down in detail the agency’s visions and targets for poverty reduction from 2019 to 2023 consistent with “AmBisyon Natin 2040,” the country’s picture of the future, and operationalized by the medium-term Philippine Development Plan,
The NAPC has adopted its thrusts of intensified policy advocacy and people’s participation based on a comprehensive view of poverty, towards the fulfillment of 10 basic needs, namely: Food and Land Reform, Water, Shelter, Work, Health, Education, Social Protection, Healthy Environment, Peace, and Participation.
Although the pandemic has had a significant impact on NAPCs programs, especially in monitoring and coordination, Felongco said that the staff and volunteers are still actively implementing projects for disadvantaged Filipinos.
Among these initiatives are the Kasambayanihan Caravans aimed at bringing basic government services closer to remote provinces and the Paaralang Bayan Online. This weekly live stream provides information to volunteers and all sectors about government programs and initiatives against poverty.
NAPC also coordinates with local governments and other national government agencies for the NAPC-PAGCOR Poverty Reduction through Rural Development (NAPC-PAGCOR PRRD) Projects, including integrated coconut production, the establishment of organic farming and trading posts, and other projects at selected sites in the country.
It has currently signed Memorandum of Agreements with 190 cities and municipalities, 7 provinces and 2 barangays.
To know more about NAPC, visit https://napc.gov.ph/.
Learning opportunities do not come easy in remote towns of Lanao del Sur and other provinces in Mindanao but the European Union’s ReACh 2 TEACH project ensured that the most impacted children in these conflict-affected areas are given the equal learning opportunities and holistic care and protection they deserve despite lack of resources and threats caused by COVID-19.
Those who are lucky enough to go to school are confronted with concerns on lack of educational materials, capacity building for teachers, protection issues in localities, and even access to clean water and hygiene facilities which also puts them at risk of life-threatening diseases.
“As much as we want
ed to improve the quality of our education in our school, we lack ed resources to take care of the welfare of our students in our madrasah (Islamic learning center),” said ustadz Tarahta Macapandi, a madrasah teacher in Tubaran Lanao del Sur, adding that they cannot provide even a simple toilet accessible for their learners.
Macapandi expressed that many children in madrasah schools in their communities are living in poverty. "Despite their willingness to learn, poverty, our lack of resources, and the negative effects of the pandemic hinder the continuity of their education," she said.
The ReACh 2 TEACH project, funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid in partnership with Save the Children Philippines and Care Philippines, has helped ease the difficulties experienced by many formal and informal schools in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Caraga, and Northern Mindanao regions through interventions hinged on education-in-emergencies, child protection, and WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene).
The interventions under the project directly reached 482,753 individuals, 47,058 of which are children.
“The ReACh 2 TEACH project was critical in providing life-saving and life-sustaining interventions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlighted the importance and need for continued learning and protection especially for children who have been equally and most affected by the situation,” said Save the Children Philippines BARMM Team Leader Edwin Horca.
12,575 learners across 96 formal and non-formal schools covered by the project have improved their education-in-emergencies capacity, which directly supports quality learning environment components. These include emotional and psychosocial learning, physical protection, teaching and learning, parents and community, and school management.
“The project is a blessing to us. As a student in madrasah, I learned to further appreciate my education. The simple toilet, new chairs, and hygiene kits you gave us made us feel important
.,” expressed Sultan, a 14-year learner from a madrasah in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur.
For child protection, 1,498 children and 233 adults were capacitated through various duty-bearer trainings on case management addressing psychosocial well-being needs of learners affected by conflict and the pandemic.
“One with the global and especially the European community, we create inclusive access to quality education and ensure that the underserved girls and boys, even in the remotest parts of Mindanao, can continue to learn in safe and positive environments amid the ongoing conflict and pandemic," Horca said. (Save the Children Philippines)
Photo 1: “As student in madrasah, I learned to further appreciate my education. The simple toilet, new chairs and hygiene kits you gave us made us feel important.” expressed Sultan, a 14-year-old learner from a madrasah in Lanao del Sur.
Before (left) and after (right) the school refurbishment and repair of the Ma'Ahad Al-Hidaya Al-Ilamiah Ashamilah Madrasah, Tubaran Lanao del Sur
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