Saturday, 25 May 2013 08:00 Published in Nation
Some P55 million will be released by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which will be used by the Department of National Defense (DND) for the establishment of coffee and bamboo plantations covering some 4,000 hectares of land inside two military camps.
This was revealed by DENR Secretary Ramon Paje who said that the funds formed part of the agreement entered into by the agency and three other government agencies comprising the Aquino administration’s enhanced National Convergence Initiative (NCI) – the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) – with the DND for the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP).
NCI is among the strategies of the present administration for poverty reduction by way of ensuring countryside development through the promotion of a framework of sustainable agriculture and rural progress.
“This signing is an excellent affirmation of NGP’s centrality to the core mandates of every key national agency like the DND,” said Paje, one of the signatories to the agreement, during simple rites held at the DND Social Hall at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City last Monday.
Other signatories include Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, Agriculture Undersecretary Emerson Palad and Local Government Assistant Secretary Rolando Acosta.
The agreement, dubbed “DA, DAR, DENR and DILG National Convergence Initiative in Partnership with DND,” formalizes the inclusion of the DND in the implementation of the Aquino government’s flagship reforestation program.
NGP seeks to grow 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares nationwide within a period of six years ending in 2016. It aims to address poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Under NCI-DND accord, the DENR will provide a seed fund of P5 million intended to support the coffee plantation pilot project covering 200 hectares in Camp Kibaritan in Bukidnon province. The DENR will also support the remaining 800 hectares that will comprise the 1,000-hectare coffee plantation.
The environment department will also release P50 million to the DND to fund the 3,000-hectare bamboo plantation project at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.
Among its other responsibilities, the DENR will provide necessary technical assistance to ensure the success of the project, conduct regular monitoring and evaluation, and jointly identify with the DND suitable areas for development under the NGP, including vulnerable and hazard-prone areas within military reservations.
A municipal accountant in Mindanao has been sentenced by the anti-graft court after she was found violating the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Law, the Office of the Ombudsman said yesterday.
Penned by Associate Justice Alex Quiroz and concurred in by Associate Justices Francisco Villaruz Jr. and Samuel Martires, the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division, in a12-page decision, convicted Monawara Kiga, Paglat, Maguindanao municipal accountant.
According to the anti-graft office, Kiga violated Section 52 (g) of Republic Act 8291 (Revised Government Service Insurance System Act of 1997) and sentenced her to imprisonment of one year and to pay a fine of P10,000 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of failure to pay the fine.
She was also ordered to suffer absolute perpetual disqualification from holding public office and from practicing any profession or calling licensed by the government, said the Ombudsman which filed the case against her before the Sandiganbayan.
The case stemmed from the letter-complaint filed by Sangguniang Kabataan president Datu Luminog Salendab of Paglat on Aug. 5, 2003 charging Kiga, along with municipal mayor Datu Conte Tampungan Mangelen and OIC-municipal treasurer Salem Bagumbayan for failing, refusing and/or delaying the remittance of GSIS premium contributions and collected dues from municipal employees amounting to P437,601.43.
The decision stated that “neither party contested that the GSIS premiums of the municipality…were not remitted on time.”
“The municipality of Paglat…had incurred delay of more than 30 days in the payment, turnover, remittance or delivery to the GSIS of the municipal employees’ monthly premiums and contributions,” the ruling said.
The anti-graft court pointed out that Kiga had admitted her involvement in the collection of the premium contributions and dues of the municipal employees of Paglat, adding that “the accused Kiga did not recant her admission nor argue it was made through palpable mistake.”
The court dismissed the case against Mangelen in view of his death in 2006 while Bagumbayan remains to be at-large as an alias warrant has long been issued against him.
The case was ordered archived without prejudice to continuation of trial upon his arrest or voluntary surrender, the anti-graft agency said.
Friday, 24 May 2013 08:00 Published in Metro
The Quezon City government has invested P144.4-million for the implementation of numerous flood-control programs for this year alone, Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista yesterday said.
This as he ordered the concerned city hall officials to beef up the flood-mitigating efforts by conducting massive clean-up operations, especially along QC’s major water channels.
The clean-up operations, initially launched at Kalamiong creek, a major water tributary that traverses barangays Commonwealth, Payatas and Bagong Silangan going to San Mateo/Marikina River, involves removal of garbage indiscriminately thrown and dumped in the creek as well as water plants and bushes that grow in the creek.
To date, the city government has already invested P10.177 million for the construction of a six foot-high retaining wall and grouted riprap along Kalamiong creek to protect low-lying communities in the area from flooding when the creek swells or overflows.
“Hopefully, the city can complete the construction of this defensive wall by June,” said engineer Ramiro Tiamzon, head of the engineering component of QC’s Task Force Waterways.
There is also an ongoing construction of retaining walls along the stretch of the Tullahan River, which runs through Fairview, Sauyo, Sta. Monica, Sta. Lucia, San Bartolome and Nagkaisang Nayon, the Tribune was told.
Aside from the Kalamiong and Tullahan, other waterways covered by the city’s flood control program are the Pasong Tamo creek, Culiat creek, San Francisco river, San Juan river and Marikina river.
Meanwhile, the mayor ordered the city’s task force waterways to check the contracts for the different riprap and retaining walls constructed in the city, especially those that have collapsed or crumbled, to ensure that their performance bond/retention fee (warranty) covers the repair of the same.
He also instructed these contractors to use debris from demolition jobs to stuff ripraps/retaining walls to prevent water from seeping in and ensure the sturdiness of the structure.
“Instead of dumping this debris, we can still put these unwanted construction materials into good use,” Bautista, in conversation with members of the QC Press Club, said.
They (contractors) were also ordered to smoothen the surfaces of the retaining walls that are being constructed in QC as a deterrent to criminal elements, especially members of the notorious “akyat-bahay.”
Aside from the non-structural flood-mitigating efforts and engineering interventions, the QC government is also coordinating closely with other government agencies for the relocation of informal settler families residing on top of or along the easement of QC waterways, in compliance with the Supreme Court mandamus to clear all waterways, the mayor said.
QC’s riverways and special cleaning operation has been recognized as one of the sound practices for megacities by the National Research Institute for Earth Sciences and Disaster Prevention based in Kobe, Japan.
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