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Gerry Baldo

Solon to divorce buffs: Not easy to break up with wife

Saturday, 24 February 2018 00:00 Published in Headlines

The main proponent of the divorce bill yesterday warned would be divorcees that there is no “quickie” way to break up marriages that are made in heaven.

According to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the absolute divorce bill does not allow “drive through,” “no-contest” or “quickie” divorces.
Lagman explained that the bill unequivocally provides that “no decree of absolute divorce shall be based on a stipulation of facts or confession of judgment,” which is a prohibition on a no-contest divorce.
It was passed at the committee level on Wednesday.
Coerced petitions and convenient collusions are also prohibited, Lagman said.
He said divorcing a spouse is not easy to come by as the Office of the Public Prosecutor is mandated to conduct investigations to determine whether or not there is collusion between the spouses.

The bill specifically provides that the “Office of the Public Prosecutor in provinces, cities and capital towns is authorized and obliged to conduct investigations to find out whether or not there is collusion between the spouses in a petition for absolute divorce and shall report its findings to the proper court within six (6) months from the filing of the petition”.
He said steep penalties of five years imprisonment and a P200,000.00 fine are imposable on a spouse who coerces the other into filing a petition for divorce as well as on colluding spouses.
Section 12 of the bill provides that “a spouse who is a party to a petition for absolute divorce and who is found by the court to have used threats or coercion to compel the other spouse in filing the petition, and spouses who are guilty of collusion, shall be punished with imprisonment of five (5) years and a fine of Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00).”
These provisions uphold the State’s commitment to protect marriage as a social institution, Lagman said.
Prelate: Divorce bill anti-family
Members of the clergy said the divorce bill, which passed the committee level at the House of Representatives on Wednesday, is against family.
With this, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes expressed disappointment over the lawmakers’ decision to pass the measure at the committee level.
“This is a very disappointing development. The Philippines is the only Catholic country in the world where divorce is forbidden. The Church should rally against this law by showing the disastrous effect of divorce that destroys the family, the basic unit of society and the domestic Church,” he said.
“Divorce is a direct affront to the law ordained by God and specifically reiterated by our Lord Jesus Christ!,” the Catholic prelate added.
Bastes is hoping that legislators will see the sanctity of marriage and also the effects of divorce in nations where such law is implemented.
“The destruction of families by divorce is indeed a project of Satan, the enemy par excellence of God! Would that our lawmakers open their eyes and hearts to the beauty of upholding the dignity of marriage and to the horrendous situation which divorce has caused in all countries of the world,” he said.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Public Affairs Committee said Congress will betray its mandate if it passes the divorce bill.
“Divorce is anti-marriage and anti-family! By passing this measure, Congress betrays its mandate to protect our country’s legally and morally declared social and inviolable institutions!” he said in a post on his Facebook account.
The Catholic priest noted that they support the protection of rights of parties involved but such rights should coincide in protecting marital unions.
“The Church is all for the protection of rights especially of the aggrieved parties in marriage. But protection of rights should go hand in hand with upholding our cherished institutions like marriage,” he said.
“While divorce may indeed vindicate the rights of women, as congressmen believed, it is unfortunately to the detriment of marriage and family as sacred institutions that should otherwise be protected by the State,” Secillano added.
A technical working group of the committee on population and family relations headed by Lagman approved a substitute bill that consolidates several measures which seek to legalize divorce in the country.
With PNA

Lawmakers conflict on NFA importation

Friday, 23 February 2018 00:00 Published in Nation

Two lawmakers, one from Northern Luzon and the other from Bicol, yesterday expressed conflicting views on how to solve the looming rice shortage that could befell the country.

For Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, the NFA Council should the stop of policy of letting traders import rice and allow them to dictate prices.
Villafuerte said the NFA Council should discontinue its policy of allowing private traders to import rice, given that certain unscrupulous grains traders have cashed-in on this system to corner the bulk of domestic supply and unduly jack up prices of this staple at the expense of ordinary Filipinos.
Amid the current “artificial” supply problem, Villafuerte said the NFA Council should also consider setting up a separate body to monitor the supply and prices of rice, with the end goal of imposing a price ceiling once retail prices spiral out of control — in the same way that the government exercise regulatory control over vital services like electricity for the protection of consumers.
“In the same way that there exists regulatory control on the cost of electricity, there should also be regulatory control on the price of rice to prevent the profiteering schemes of unscrupulous traders from upsetting the supply of the staple in the domestic market,” said Villafuerte, who filed way back last year a House resolution calling for an inquiry into the true state of the country’s rice inventory.
Rep. Jose Panganiban Jr. of the partylist Ang National Coalition of Indigenous People’s Action Na! Inc. (AnAC IP), chairman of the House committee on agriculture, said that there is a need to import rice as the stocks of the NFA has dwindled to last until March this year.
“NFA rice is going to last until March only,” Panganiban said at a news forum yesterday.
Panganiban, who is from Isabela, the country’s biggest supplier of rice, pointed out that some 10 million people who rely on cheap NFA rice could be forced to buy the pricier commercial rice now selling from P40 up.
He said that there is a need to import some 250,000 metric tons of rice to stave off the shortage.
Panganiban also disclosed that there is a need to develop a system whereby the NFA could buy rice from farmers at a price higher than that of the traders.
Villafuerte has filed House Resolution 993 last May 2017 amid the then-unstable rice price and supply scenario in CamSur, or several months before the current situation has become a nationwide problem.
Panganiban has conducted a hearing this week in response to probe resolutions separately filed by Villafuerte and other lawmakers.
“We need to fix the existing system to shield both farmers and consumers from the shady practices of private traders that have left the NFA helpless in carrying out its primary task of ensuring the stability of the price and supply of rice in the market,” he added.
“Clearly, the present setup doesn’t work, as greedy grains traders have managed to game the system by cornering domestic supply through imports and heavy purchases of locally produced stocks and, in the process, managing to influence and dictate retail prices through a seemingly ‘artificial’ supply deficit,” Villafuerte said.
Under the current system, the NFA has the sole authority to import rice, but the NFA Council allows private traders to similarly purchase stocks from abroad through the NFA.
Villafuerte said the NFA Council, chaired by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., should do away with the current system of allowing private traders to facilitate rice importations as “this setup obviously does not work in the face of the recent price spike of the grain in the retail market, which could apparently be traced to the hoarding done by unscrupulous businessmen that has created an artificial supply shortfall.”

‘Use P100K reward for rebel killed to fix MRT’

Friday, 23 February 2018 00:00 Published in Metro

The Moro and indigenous people’s alliance Sandugo has asked President Duterte to stop blabbering about his P100,000 reward to killers of New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas and just use the taxpayers’ money to fix the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

“Kung ilalagay na lang ni Duterte ang P100,000 niya sa pag-aayos ng MRT o sa serbisyo publiko o rehabilitasyon sa Marawi, baka mas makatulong pa siya (If Duterte allocates the P100,000 to fix the MRT, Marawi rehabilitation or to social services—he might be able to actually help the people),” Sandugo co-chairman Jerome Succor Aba said yesterday in response to President Duterte’s raising of the bounty for any Lumad who kills an NPA fighter.
“Dahil kahit magkano pa ang gawin niyang reward, hindi yan tatanggapin ng mga Lumad (Because no matter how much that reward is, the Lumad will still to reject it),” Aba said.
“Such pronouncements from the President add insult to indigenous peoples’ historic injuries. They have long been living in poverty, discrimination and government neglect. Now, Duterte wants to shower them with money to bribe them to kill,” he added.
“It is not the NPAs, nor the insurgency, that is the problem in our ancestral lands and territories but the big companies who want to encroach upon our land and plunder its resources, the Duterte regime for selling out the nation’s sovereignty and the terror of human rights violations that comes along with it,” Aba said.
“The NPA is only the effect of the long-running fundamental problems of landlessness, poverty and oppression. The Filipino people, including the national minorities, are pushed to wage a war in their hunger to change their situation,” Aba said.
“If this government wants to get rid of the war without much expenditure, Duterte should go back to the negotiating table. He should instead channel government resources to basic social services, free education and land reform and national industrialization,” he said.
“That’s where the nation’s coffers should go to—not to kill people,” Aba said.


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