Monday, January 22, 2018

Laoag City DepEd chief bags back-to-back leadership awards

By Jennifer T. Pambid
Compassionate leadership and dedication to public service. This brought Dr. Joel B. Lopez to the regional and national limelight one-and-a-half-year after he took over as officer-in-charge of the Office of the Schools Division Superintendent of the Department of Education Schools Division of Laoag City.

For his exceptional accomplishments in improving the quality of education, Dr. Lopez received two consecutive awards in September 2017.

On September 8, 2017, he was one of the regional finalists of the 2017 Civil Service Commission’s (CSC) Dangal ng Bayan Award at the Diego Silang Hall, Provincial Capitol, City of San Fernando, La Union.

Under the category, CSC recognizes outstanding public officials and employees for exemplifying extraordinary acts of public service and consistently demonstrating exemplary ethical behavior as stated under Republic Act No. 6713.

The nomination for Dr. Lopez narrated his achievements in the past three years particularly in improving management, empowering teachers and school heads as well as championing student development.

Among his accomplishments are the introduction of democratic and collaborative leadership, enhancing the efficiency of the division’s services, improving communication and information dissemination and launching of Learning Resource Center.

Three days after receiving his regional award, another award-giving group recognized him as honorable mention in the Ambrosio Antonio L. Cabangon Chua Gintong Parangal Para sa Edukasyon-Pamumuno.

Organized by the Fortune Life Insurance Inc. and the Mary Lindbert International, the nationwide search honors the exemplary deeds of educators who upholds the value of hard work, discipline and dedication to their profession.

Dr. Lopez received the award during a ceremony at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, Department of Education Central Office, Pasig City on September 12, 2017.

“I am very honored for the recognitions and for being able to lead SDO Laoag City. We will continue improving the system and the overall quality of service we are providing to our clientele,” said Dr. Lopez in an interview.

For Dr. Lopez, leadership is not only about leading people to achieve a goal; it is about making impact on the lives of everyone he encounters.

Testimonies from his constituents affirm his transformational and inspirational kind of leadership. People around him describe him as having strong commitment, professionalism, responsibility, justness and humility.

Dr. Lopez’s quest for continuous improvement carries on as he leads the whole SDO Laoag City towards an ISO-certified organization which will provide all its stakeholders a world-class quality service.

More than receiving awards and recognitions for his achievements, Dr. Lopez believes that leaving a mark in the lives of people is the most important and fulfilling part of being a leader—one that is compassionate and dedicated to help others be the best person they can become.

Ilocos Norte board moves to settle boundary dispute between Vintar, Bangui

Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) appealed to the municipalities of Vintar and Bangui in the province’s first district to settle amicably a boundary dispute covering more than 1,000 hectares.

SP member Da Vinci Crisostomo said both municipalities, represented by Vintar mayor Larissa Foronda and Bangui mayor Fidel Cimatu, have a claim for the contested lots located under cadastral survey 734-D covering an area of 1,049.9621 square meters.

In a letter forwarded to both concerned municipalities, Gwendolyn Bambalan, assistant director for technical services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources based in San Fernando City, La Union clarified that on December 9, 1995, there was a memorandum of agreement signed by the former local chief executives and Sangguniang Bayan members of each town resolving the jurisdictional areas of both localities.

Based on the documents, Ms. Bambalan said the 1995 MOA favored Bangui town but the Vintar officials alleged there were some “discrepancies” or misrepresentations that happened during the signing of the MOA as shown in an affidavit of then Vintar mayor Antonio Foronda.

As the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is responsible in the resolution of political boundary conflict as stated under Section 118 of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government code of 1991, Mr. Crisostomo, in his capacity as chairperson of the committee on laws hopes that both parties will just settle amicably instead of undergoing the tedious process of court proceedings to resolve the issue.

Following a series of two meetings held at the Provincial Session Hall, Mr. Crisostomo said another meeting has been set early January 2018 to finally decide on what is best way to settle the contested area.

To date, Vintar town has the largest land area in Ilocos Norte’s first district with a total of 61,434 hectares while Bangui has 10,247 hectares.

DILG holds federalism dialogue

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) conducted a federalism dialogue at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena on December 1, 2017.

Barangay, municipal and provincial officials including different government agencies; and representatives from the religious sector, academe, and private sector participated in the said dialogue.

According to Atty. Joseph Apolonio, DILG Regional Office 1 legal officer, in a federal system, about 70-80% of the collected funds becomes the share of the region; with the remaining 20-30% becomes the share of the national government.

He added that projects implementation will likewise become easier since there will no longer be necessary to wait for national government approval.

Mr. Apolonio, however, stressed that a federalism system will not erase graft and corruption. He added that administrative and criminal cases can and will still be a feature of a federal government.

Meanwhile, Laoag City local government officer Roger Daquioag said to become a federal government, we need to change the constitution.

He disclosed that the national government is soliciting the opinion of the Filipino people through a series of consultations nationwide. He emphasized that it will be the people who will decide whether we will have a shift to a federal system of government.

For his part, Ilocos Norte vice governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba said he assumes that it will be a “long and painful” process to change the form of government. He also pointed out that soliciting the stand of the Filipino people is an “indispensable requirement” both in changing the constitution and the form of government (Frances Alegre)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Laoag City council Oks session livestreaming

By Dominic Dela Cruz
Laoag City—Moving along with today’s new technology, the Sangguniang Panlungsod here is set to livestream its sessions.

Laoag Councilor Roque C. Ablan, main author of the ordinance said this aims to “provide accurate information in real time to the public” on what is transpiring at the plenary during the council’s regular sessions

He also cited Section 28, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, which states: “The State shall adopt and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest, subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law”.

He then added that the move is also to recognize the fundamental role of “free and open exchange of information in a democracy meant to enhance transparency and accountability in government official acts, transactions or decisions”.

Under the 2016 Internal Rules of Procedures, particularly Section 30 of Rule V of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), it provides that SP sessions or meetings of any committee shall be open to the public. This encourages the people listen to the proceedings and provide immediate constructive feedbacks to the members of the SP to further enhance or improve legislative measures.

Mr. Ablan stated that the ordinance supports President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Executive Order No. 2 issued on July 23, 2016 entitled “Operationalizing in the Executive Branch the People’s Right to Information and the State of Policies to Full Public Disclosure and Transparency in the Public Service and Providing Guidelines Thereof”.

The Laoag council earlier approved the Laoag City FOI Ordinance of 2017, in support of the president’s EO.

The planned livestreaming covers all regular and special sessions, committee hearings and other proceedings of the SP, unless the council decides on a closed session or ordered by an affirmative vote of majority for reasons of security, decency of morality; or for reasons affecting the dignity of the Sanggunian or any of its members or when they discuss confidential matters.

The proposed measure also calls on the presiding officer to inform the body if the proceedings are already on a livestream.

Should the livestream face technical difficulties, the council can upload the video and/or audio recording of the proceedings immediately after the session.

Laoag vice mayor and council presiding officer Michael V. Fariñas said he favors the proposal. He explained that the livestreaming of council sessions will help the public in understanding the issues they are tackling.

Laoag mayor Chevylle V. Fariñas, meanwhile, said she “respects the wisdom of the city council regarding the ordinance for transparency”.

She added that the city already included a budgetary allocation in the council’s budget for next year for this purpose.

Laoag Liga ng mga Barangay president and ex-officio councilor Mary Michelle Louise “Mikee” V. Fariñas and councilor Justine Clarence Chua co-sponsored the ordinance.

PCOO recognizes Ilocos Norte as ‘FOI champion’

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY— The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO recognized the Ilocos Norte government as one of the champions of the Freedom of Information program after a year of implementation nationwide.

Jun Arvin Gudoy, communications and media officer of the Ilocos Norte provincial government accepted the award on December 4, 2017 in Manila.

The PCOO thru the FOI program director and assistant secretary Atty. Kristian Ablan initiated the search for FOI champions to recognize the significant contributions of departments, attached agencies, government-owned-and/or-controlled corporations, state universities and colleges, and local government units in operationalizing the constitutional mandate of right to information.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin M. Andanar led the awarding ceremonies. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, chairperson of the House Committee on Public Information were also on hand during the event.

Based on established criteria, the screening committee composed of representatives from the Office of the Executive Secretary, the PCOO, and two civil society organizations evaluated the nominees.

The FOI Awards Night is part of the three-day FOI Summit organized by the PCOO and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Summit aims to celebrate the first anniversary of the FOI Program since its launch in November 25, 2016.

Executive Order No. 02, Series 2016, signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on July 23, 2016 made the FOI program official. It recognizes “the fundamental role of free and open exchange of information in a democracy” and through it the government aims to “enhance transparency and accountability in government official acts, transactions, or decisions.”

The PCOO then started the implementation of the FOI Program on November 25, 2017, which coincided with the launching of the FOI portal and the primary objective is to redefine the relationship of the government with its citizens through a full public disclosure and transparency in public service.

While the EO only covers the state's executive branch, it also encouraged LGUs to implement the same.

Ilocos Norte is among the first provinces in the country to implement the right of access to information as the Ilocos Norte board passed Provincial Ordinance No. 002-2016 on September 2016 now observed by all departments of the provincial government including the 21 towns and two cities here.

Amidst controversies hounding the Ilocos Norte government concerning the alleged misuse of tobacco excise tax, Ilocos Norte governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos said she is grateful to receive to the FOI award, promoting transparency and accountability in government.

In addition to official and public records, documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions and decisions, the FOI Bill also mandates sharing of government research data for use as basis in policy development. These include information on peace and order or school performance which would be useful even for Filipino families. (With a report from Bernard Ver)

DILG recommends PPOC reorganization

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recommended the inclusion of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Land Transportation Office (LTO), and the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) in the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC).

Responding to this, Ilocos Norte governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos issued an executive order that will reorganize the said council.

Ilocos Norte vice governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba, for his part and upon receiving a copy of both the recommendation letter and executive order, set a meeting with the respective heads of the mentioned agencies.

Mr. Barba added that he sees the council reorganization as a move to “improve safety and sustain peace and order in the province.”

He added that the LTO participation will also help solve crimes related to motor vehicles, especially the killings attributed to motorcycle-riding killers.

PDEA, on the other hand, he said will help the province further in its anti-drug efforts.

As for the NCIP, Mr. Barba said their inclusion will further broaden the council’s knowledge and expertise. (Frances Alegre)

ASEAN experts share R&D highlights to build resilient communities

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—In a gathering of environmental researchers and scientists across Southeast Asia, they presented various technologies, strategies and innovations in a three-day forum to rise above the challenges of climate change particularly in urban cities.

Organized by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the forum hopes to develop a holistic approach and come up with a resolution or agreement towards achieving urban resilience to climate change and disaster risks.

On December 5, 2017, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu urged member states of the ASEAN to focus on building sustainable cities and urban areas.

In the past 10 years, Mr. Cimatu noted that ASEAN countries became highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change as they are now experiencing more frequent extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

In a study conducted by World Bank, it identified the Philippines as early as 2009 as under the top list of most vulnerable countries to storms, with Vietnam as the second most vulnerable to rising sea levels, and Thailand and Vietnam among those threatened by flooding.

In 2006, the Global Climate Risk Index of GermanWatch listed four out of the 10 ASEAN countries—Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines—as among the 10 nations most affected by climate change from 1995 to 2014 based on annual averages.

Citing the vulnerability of ASEAN countries to climate change, he underscored the need for a proactive policy and action for urban resilience.

He noted that pursuing urban resiliency has become an urgent agenda for all nation as experts expect the world’s urban population to balloon to 2.5 billion by 2050.

Ilocos Norte governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos said Ilocos Norte is lucky as the venue of the forum.

“We are happy to showcase our efforts in renewable energy as well as the development of community-owned renewable production.  We are also pleased to showcase our green wall and the effort to create reforestation as a genuine community livelihood,” the governor said citing Ilocos residents are also eager to learn about the excellent water conservation efforts being practiced by other ASEAN member countries.

“While there’s [still] much to [do], through our exchanges for the next few days, we hope to explore more ideas that will tackle innovative approaches for sustaining urbanization that reflect the inclusiveness of development and the adverse consequences of climate change,” said Dr. Henry Adornado, director of DENR-ERDB in his message to the delegates attending the forum on December 5-7 at the Plaza del Norte, this city.

Following the opening ceremonies on December 5, 2017, plenary sessions immediately took off which include topics on climate change impact assessment, green growth strategies, policies, and disaster risk reduction management strategies.

The forum also opened an exhibit on urban resilience to guest and visitors at the convention lobby.