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Alvin Murcia

Keep graduation ceremonies simple, school officials told

Saturday, 24 February 2018 00:00 Published in Nation


School officials in all public schools in the country were reminded by the Department of Education (DepEd) yesterday to keep the graduation rites as austere as possible.

“Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones has reiterated to keep the graduation rites simple. No more wearing of toga since it’s for college and it is not required since it was sort of a practice by several schools,” DepEd Undersecretary Jesus Mateo said.
Mateo also said that schools should not require glamorous attires or extraordinary venues for the conduct of the ceremonies.
The dresses and rites should be simple and not extravagant and should be memorable, according to Mateo, and added that school uniform will do.
The Education department also warned against collecting graduation fees or “contributions” for the rites.
“Definitely, no collection of contribution because the reality in public schools the graduation fees are already incorporated in the MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) the graduation fees,” Mateo said.
He, however, said that the education department has no budget for the annual yearbook.
“The annual yearbook is voluntary only except if it is needed there should an agreement with the parents and teachers,” Mateo said.
This year’s graduation rites are scheduled any day but not later than April 2.
The Education department, however, said that the conduct of graduation rites in schools near Mt. Mayon will be delayed.
“Graduation in schools that are affected will be delayed the four elementary schools maybe April 10 and the secondary schools will be April 13,” Mateo said.
Meanwhile, the DepEd also said that only children aged six or will turn six before August 31, 2018, with a Learner’s Reference Number (LRN) from completing Kindergarten, may enroll in Grade 1 under the new scheme.
DepEd Undersecretry Tonisito Umali issued the clarification after parents with children who completed Kindergarten expressed concern that they would not be able to enter Grade 1 this coming school year.
Umali said the scheme was based on a study and it can be validated whether the age that they are talking about is the same age not only in the Philippines, but in other countries.
The changes in the minimum age for Grade 1 was based on the stage of development for that age group and how well they will be able to absorb the modules of that grade level.
In the event children who will miss the cut-off date by a few days their parents can contact DepEd for further information.
Umali said that DepEd has supervisory power over private schools and it is them who are covered by the new cutoff age for the Grade 1 level.
The age requirement was needed since some private schools fail to abide by the cut-off date for kindergarten as prescribed by Republic Act 10157 or the Universal Kindergarten Bill.


Ex-Sulu gov posts P50K bail for temporary liberty

Friday, 23 February 2018 00:00 Published in Nation


A total of P50,000 bail was posted by former Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan with the Sandiganbayan shortly after the anti-graft court found probable cause in the five counts for violation of Section 8 of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees concerning non-filing of his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) while in office.

Special assistant prosecutor Jorge Espinal set the bail bond for each case at P10,000.
The case of the former governor stemmed from his non-filing of his SALNs from 2007 to 2011 and only his 2012 and 2013 SALNs were on record.
Each offense is punishable by up to five years imprisonment and maximum fine of P5,000.
The cases were raffled last February 9 and ended up with the Sixth Division.
Temogen Tulawie filed the complaint in 2015 and was the primary witness of the prosecution along with the head of the Case Records Evaluation, Monitoring and Enforcement Bureau (CREMEB) of the Ombudsman for Mindanao which has custody of the SALNs filed by respondent public officials.
The complainant ran and lost as governor to Tan’s son and namesake, incumbent Gov. Abdusakur Tan II, in 2016.
Based on a verification conducted by the CREMEB, the former governor only filed his SALNs for years 2012 and 2013 although he served three full terms as chief executive of the province of Sulu from 2001 to 2013.
Also facing two counts of the same charges is the former governor’s other son, Maimbung Mayor Samier Tan, whose cases are pending with the anti-graft court’s Third Division.
The Ombudsman earlier had ordered both defendants suspended for six months over administrative charges involving the same offense.


Sandigan drops Bohol solon from Antonino’s ‘pork’ case

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 00:00 Published in Nation

The anti-graft court yesterday dropped Bohol Third District Rep. Arthur Yap as a co-accused in the pork barrel scam case of former Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino.

The Sixth Division of Sandiganbayan granted the petition of Yap to dismiss the case due to the “violation of his constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases.”
Because of the dropping of the case against Yap, the hold departure order and bail bond posted by him were lifted by the anti-graft court.
In omnibus motion, Yap argued that the Office of the Ombudsman took more than seven years to conduct fact-finding preliminary investigation into his supposed involvement in the misuse of Antonino’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) worth P14.55 million in 2007.
In its ruling, the Sandiganbayan explained the prosecution has failed to justify the inordinate delay in the investigations of the case and it has merely asserted the presumption of regularity as Yap did not assert his right.
What the prosecution should have done is to finish the preliminary investigation in a reasonable period of time.
Based on the resolution, the argumentation of the prosecution is that Yap did not show any sign of asserting his right like filing a motion for an early resolution of his cases but even without it is the duty of the prosecution to conclude the preliminary investigation within a reasonable time because the delay impaired the ability of the accused to defend himself and present evidence to prove that he has nothing to do with the charges.
The Sandigabayan said the delay in the disposition of the cases against Yap caused anxiety, hostility, additional expenses and restriction on his person and well-being.
The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi and concurred in by Associate Justices Alex Quiroz and Geraldine Faith Econg.
Dissenters are Division chairman Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto.
While his case with Antonino was dropped Yap is also a co-accused in the alleged misuse of pork barrel of former Misamis Occidental Rep. Marina Clarete worth P65 million which was disbursed in 2007 and 2009.
He has also facing charges in connection with the alleged car loan plans to the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Rice Research Institute which was deemed irregular.


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