Friday, July 29, 2016

Pagudpud gets award for waste management




By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources awarded the municipal government here the 2015 Regional Award for Best Practices in the implementation of Republic Act 9003, or the Solid Waste Management law.

The awarding was held during the Regional Solid Waste Summit and LGU Awarding of Best Practices in line with the yearly celebration of Philippine Environment Month Day on June 5, 2016. The program had the theme “Fostering Shared Responsibilities in Integrated Solid Waste Management”.   

The summit showcases the best practices of LGUs in Region I on solid waste management programs and a venue to meet with the local government units and see how they can give more help on the other issues and concerns towards SWM implementation.

An exhibit or booth was showcased by the awardees for SWM programs worthy of sharing.


The award was handed over by EMB regional director Marivic Abrera to Pagudpud mayor Marlon Sales on June 1, 2016 at the Agora Complex, Thunderbird Resorts in Poro Point, San Fernando City, La Union.

No warrant needed to get cellphone location data

The Government’s acquisition of historical cell-site location information (CSLI) from two criminal defendants’ cell phone provider without a warrant did not violate the Fourth Amendment, because it did not constitute a Fourth Amendment search, ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in a split decision (12-3) published May 31, 2016.  CSLI are the records of a phone company that identify which cell tower – usually the one closest to the cell phone – transmitted a signal when the defendants used their cell phones to make and receive calls and texts. To obtain the CSLI from Sprint/Nextel, the Defendants’ cell phone provider, the Government had to apply to a federal court for an order directing the company to disclose the records pursuant to the Stored Communications Act. 18 U.S.C. § 2703(c), (d).

Why is this case significant?
The government used the historical CSLI obtained from Sprint/Nextel at the defendants’ trial to place them in the vicinity of the armed robberies when the robberies had occurred. There were 221 days’ worth of information. The defendants were convicted.

When is there fourth amendment search?
The Fourth Amendment ensures that “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” U.S. Const. amend. IV.  Broadly, “a Fourth Amendment search occurs when the government violates a subjective expectation of privacy that society recognizes as reasonable.” The court said that an individual enjoys no Fourth Amendment protection “in information he voluntarily turns over to [a] third part[y].” This rule -- the third-party doctrine—applies even when “the information is revealed” to a third party, as it was here, “on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose and the confidence placed in the third party will not be betrayed.”

According to the Court, the government did not surreptitiously view, listen to, record, or in any other way engage in direct surveillance of Defendants to obtain this information. Rather, CSLI is created and maintained in the normal course of the telephone company’s business. The Court said that the question was whether the government invades an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy when it obtains, from a third party, the third party’s records, which permit the government to deduce location information. Under the third-party doctrine, an individual can claim “no legitimate expectation of privacy” in information that he has voluntarily turned over to a third party, because by “revealing his affairs to another,” an individual “takes the risk . . . that the information will be conveyed by that person to the Government.”  “The Fourth Amendment does not protect information voluntarily disclosed to a third party because even a subjective expectation of privacy in such information is “not one that society is prepared to recognize as ‘reasonable.’” The government therefore does not engage in a Fourth Amendment “search” when it acquires such information from a third party.

The Court held that Defendants did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the CSLI records because Defendants “exposed” the information to the phone company’s “equipment in the ordinary course of business.” Each time Defendants made or received a call, or sent or received a text message, Sprint/Nextel generated a record of the cell towers used. The CSLI that Sprint/Nextel recorded was necessary to route Defendants’ cell phone calls and texts. Having “exposed” the CSLI to Sprint/Nextel, Defendants “assumed the risk” that the phone company would disclose their information to the government. Therefore, the Government’s acquisition of historical CSLI pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 2703(d) orders, rather than warrants, did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Judge James Wynn, in his dissent which was joined by two judges, said that a cell phone customer neither possesses knowledge of his CSLI nor acts to disclose it. Therefore, he “has not ‘voluntarily’ shared his location information with a cellular provider in any meaningful way” and is not subject to the third-party doctrine. U.S. v. Graham, No. 12-4659, 12-4825 (4th Cir. 05/31/16)

An array of freedom-loving organizations supported the criminal defendants’ position by filing amici curiae briefs, including, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union.

(Atty. Tipon has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School where he specialized in Constitutional Law. He has also a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He placed third in the Philippine Bar Examination in 1956. His current practice focuses on immigration law and criminal defense. He writes law books for the world’s largest law book publishing company and writes legal articles for newspapers. He has also a radio show in Honolulu, Hawaii with his son Noel, senior partner of the Bilecki & Tipon law firm, where they discuss legal and political issues. Office: American Savings Bank Tower, 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 2305, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A. 96813. Tel. (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: filamlaw@yahoo.com. Website: www.MilitaryandCriminalLaw.com. He was born in Laoag City, Philippines. He served as a U.S. Immigration Officer. He is co-author with retired Manila RTC Judge Artemio S. Tipon of the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws” and co-author of “Immigration Law Service, 1st ed.,” an 8-volume practice guide for immigration officers and lawyers. This article is a general overview of the subject matter discussed and is not intended as legal advice. No warranty is made by the writer or publisher as to its completeness or correctness at the time of publication. No attorney-client relationship is established between the writer and readers relying upon and/or acting pursuant to the contents of this article.)

Police nabs Pagudpud exec

IN Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, elements of the Provincial Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group arrested the municipal assessor, identified as Engr. Reynaldo Galat.

Mr. Galat is suspected to be one of Pagudpud’s top drug personalities. A total of 21.2 grams of suspected shabu was confiscated from Mr. Galat during the search warrant operations.
He has been a public official for almost 20 years until his arrest.

Imee reacts
ILOCOS Norte Governor Maria Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos, meanwhile, expressed her dismay over the Pagudpud official’s involvement in illegal drugs despite holding a government post.

The governor said officials guilty to drug charges should face heavier penalties, adding that they do not have the right to hold positions as they destroy the honor and integrity of government service.

Ms. Marcos also conveyed her full support to the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office (INPPO) in apprehending other big-time drug users and pushers in the province.

She also urged local officials to remain true to their commitment in government service and be role models of the society.
She further assured of the continuous efforts of the Provincial Government in ensuring safety and security in Ilocos Norte through the various anti-drug and illegal firearms campaigns of the joint law enforcement forces.
(Jennifer T. Pambid)

62-year old suspected drug pusher falls in Laoag City


By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—In an apparent bid to implement incoming President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s call for an all-out war against illegal drugs, the police here nabbed a 62-year old notorious drug personality.

The Laoag police arrested Emelinda Lao aka Linda, 62 years old, single and unemployed following a search warrant implementation on June 2, 2016 at 11 AM. The operation was a joint intel-operation and investigation sections under the guidance of P/Supt. Edwin C. Balles, Laoag police chief; and supervision of P/Sr. Supt. Jose Melencio C. Nartatez Jr, Ilocos Norte police director.

Ms. Lao was reportedly a repeat violator of the anti-illegal drugs act. She was nabbed 15 years ago and remained one of the most notorious drug personalities in the city’s drug watch list. She was arrested at Brgy. 23 in this city. The search warrant was issued by Regional Trial Court Brach 13.

Confiscated from the suspect were 12 small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing shabu; four heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing shabu; drug paraphernalia; several used and opened small transparent plastic sachets with shabu residues.

During the same search warrant operation, the suspect’s associate Miezel dela Cruz, 26 years old, single, self-employed and resident and caretaker of the said residence was also caught in flagrante. She was nabbed with an improvised glass tube tooter with alleged shabu residue.


The confiscated suspected shabu, including plastic materials, weighed 10.72 grams. The police said it has a street value of P64,320.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Oahu Filipino Community Council annual convention maangay June 25, 2016


HONOLULU, Hawaii—Maangay ti kombension ti Oahu Filipino Community Council (OFCC) into Hunio 25, 2016 idiay Philippine Consulate General Pali Highway. Mapakaamuan dagiti amin a unit member organization iti panagbaroda iti panagkamengda. Pannakaited dagiti nagan dagiti delegado a mangibagi iti gungloda. Nagan dagiti nominee para kadagiti masnop a puesto manipud iti president, umuna a bise, maikadua a bise, sekretario/iria, katulongan a sekretaria., tesorero/ra; katulongan a tesorera/ro. auditor, director. Maudi nga aldaw a panagisubmitar kadagitoy a dokumento/aplikasion para iti kombension iti Mayo 30, 2016.


Maibuson amin a dokumento/aplikasion iti OFCC PO Bocx 17531, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817. Mangrugi nga agtakem dagiti mabotosan iti Hulio 1, 2016, ket agserbida iti uneg ti maysa a tawen. Dagiti director, dadduma a director ti agtakem iti dua a tawen.

LC’s Brgy. 15 seniors go on a picnic

Top photo: (third from left) Ernesto S. Tamayo, president; back elevated right, Avelina N. Alipio, vice-president; center front row, Dolores C. Pedro, secretary; and (third from right, partly hidden), Romana S. Fernandez, treasurer.

Lower photo: Senior citizens of Brgy. 15 together with their appokos enjoying the cool and blue water.


The barometer shows 38 degrees Celsius and the summer heat brought discomfort to elderlies.

On April 9, members of Brgy. 15 Senior Citizens Association went on a picnic-swim in the blue water of Bacarra river resort, headed by their president Ernesto S. Tamayo, to relieve them of the high temperature.

He said: “Activities such as this, brings joy in our hearts. Joy has given us consolation and comfort. Joy has encouraged us to go on in spite of our age and lonely moments.”

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ilocos Norte beneficiaries laud cash-for-work program

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

DINGRAS, Ilocos Norte—Around 200 beneficiaries of the government’s “cash-for-work” (CFW) program lauded the provincial government for its continuing effort to provide employment to the less fortunate who is in need of additional source of income.

Pegged at P190 per day, Danilo Agustin, a resident of the flood-prone Brgy. Baresbes here, said the program has helped him provide for the needs of his growing family.

For at least 10 days, qualified beneficiaries helped in the clean and green program of their barangay; planting tree saplings while paving some typhoon-damaged roads.

Funded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office, Ilocos Norte received at least P5 million for the cash-for-work program to generate local employment covering 76 barangays in the province which were hit hard by typhoon in previous years.

“We hope the government will continue this program which is very helpful to us,” said the beneficiaries who received their wages at the Baresbes barangay hall.

Under the CFW program, the recipients are given the flexibility where to spend cash assistance, beyond food, to meet their daily basic needs.


It is a short-term intervention program of the government to provide temporary employment to distressed or displaced individuals by participating in preparedness, mitigation, relief, rehabilitation or risk reduction projects and activities in their communities.

Notices for June 6, 2016

R.A. Form No. 10.1 (LCRO)
Republic of the Philippines
Local Civil Registry Office
Province of Ilocos Norte
Municipality of Sarrat

NOTICE FOR PUBLICATION
          In compliance with Section 5 of R.A. Act No. 9048, a notice is hereby served to the public that CLARINA CALARO MANIBOG has filed with this Office a petition for change of first name from CORINA to CLARINA in the birth certificate of CORINA GARCIA CALARO who was born on 13 January 1959 at Sarrat, Ilocos Norte and whose parents are ALFREDO CALANTOC CALARO and MARIA CALANTOC GARCIA.
          Any person adversely affected by said petition may file his written opposition with this Office not later than June 20, 2016.
(SGD) JOAN A. DUQUE
Municipal Civil Registrar
_______________________________________________

R.A. Form No. 10.1 (LCRO)
Republic of the Philippines
Local Civil Registry Office
Province: ILOCOS NORTE
Municipality: VINTAR

NOTICE FOR PUBLICATION
          In compliance with Section 5 of R.A. Act No. 9048, a notice is hereby served to the public that MAYDA AGCAOILI VEGA has filed with this Office a petition for change of first name from MAYDA MELVA to MAYDA in the birth certificate of MAYDA AGCAOILI VEGA who was born on May 16, 1965 at Vintar, Ilocos Norte and whose parents are ANTONIO AGCAOILI and SEGUNDINA LEAÑO
          Any person adversely affected by said petition may file his written opposition with this Office not later than June 20, 2016.
(SGD) MENELEO JOEY J. LEAÑO
Municipal Civil Registrar
June 6-12, 13-19, 2016*IT
_______________________________________________

R.A. Form No. 10.1 (LCRO)
Republic of the Philippines
Local Civil Registry Office
Province of Ilocos Norte
Municipality of Sarrat

NOTICE FOR PUBLICATION
          In compliance with Section 5 of R.A. Act No. 9048, a notice is hereby served to the public that ROSEMARIE DOMINGO BADUA has filed with this Office a petition for change of first name from NELLY to ROSEMARIE  in the birth certificate of NELLY DOMINGO who was born on 24 August 1959 at Sarrat, Ilocos Norte and whose parents are Unknown and JOVITA DOMINGO.
          Any person adversely affected by said petition may file his written opposition with this Office not later than June 20, 2016.

(SGD) JOAN A. DUQUE
Municipal Civil Registrar
June 6-12, 13-19, 2016*IT
_______________________________________________

R.A. Form No. 10.1 (LCRO)
Republic of the Philippines
Local Civil Registry Office
Province of Ilocos Norte
Municipality of Sarrat

NOTICE FOR PUBLICATION
          In compliance with Section 5 of R.A. Act No. 9048, a notice is hereby served to the public that ERLINDA MEDRANO GARMA has filed with this Office a petition for change of first name from JULIA to ERLINDA  in the birth certificate of JULIA PAGBA MEDRANO who was born on 22 May 1933 at Sarrat, Ilocos Norte and whose parents are ALFONSO MEDRANO and FELIZA PAGBA.
          Any person adversely affected by said petition may file his written opposition with this Office not later than June 20, 2016.

(SGD) JOAN A. DUQUE
Municipal Civil Registrar
June 6-12, 13-19, 2016*IT
_______________________________________________

R.A. Form No. 10.1 (LCRO)
Republic of the Philippines
Local Civil Registry Office
Province of Ilocos Norte
Municipality of Sarrat

NOTICE FOR PUBLICATION
          In compliance with Section 5 of R.A. Act No. 9048, a notice is hereby served to the public that NENITA RUIZ GANOTISI has filed with this Office a petition for change of first name from CONSTANCIA to NENITA in the birth certificate of CONSTANCIA MACNI RUIZ who was born on 28 January 1956 at Sarrat, Ilocos Norte and whose parents are LORENZO RUIZ and ROSALINA MACNI.
          Any person adversely affected by said petition may file his written opposition with this Office not later than June 20, 2016.

(SGD) JOAN A. DUQUE
Municipal Civil Registrar
June 6-12, 13-19, 2016*IT
_______________________________________________

R.A. Form No. 10.1 (LCRO)
Republic of the Philippines
Local Civil Registry Office
Province: ILOCOS NORTE
Municipality: PASUQUIN

NOTICE FOR PUBLICATION
          In compliance with Section 5 of R.A. Act No. 9048, a notice is hereby served to the public that ALEJANDRA EVELYN F. GARAZA has filed with this Office a petition for change of first name from ALEJANDRA to ALEJANDRA EVELYN in the birth certificate of ALEJANDRA FAILMA who was born on February 8, 1955 at Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte and whose parents are MARCOS FAILMA and MARGARITA DAGAN.
          Any person adversely affected by said petition may file his written opposition with this Office not later than June 20, 2016.

(SGD) FELIZA C. RATUITA
Municipal Civil Registrar
June 6-12, 13-19, 2016*IT
_______________________________________________

NOTICE OF PUBLICATION
          Calling the attention of the birth mother of minors JOHN PAUL BARTOLATA BERMILLO and JAMES MARK BERMILLO DULDULAO, now 11 and 9 years old respectively who were left under the care and custody of grandparents MR. AND MRS. RAFAEL DULDULAO of Barangay 8, Panganiban Street, Laoag City sometime in 2010.
          We strongly request the public to relay herein message to the birth mother and relatives of the minors. Failure to appear would mean disinterest on on her part, hence the CSWDO will be constraint to file petition for the abandonment to legally free the children for adoption.
          For further details about the children, please contact the following persons at the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development Officer, Telephone No. (077) 772-0005
AURORA M. CORPUZ – City Social Welfare and Development Officer
PERLITA B. CABELLO – Social Welfare Officer III

(SGD) AURORA M. CORPUZ, RSW
City Social Welfare & Dev’t. Officer

June 6, 13, 20 2016*IT
_______________________________________________

DEED OF ADJUDICATION WITH QUITCLAIM
          Notice is hereby given that the intestate estate of the late SPOUSES BENJAMIN LORENZO and VIRGINIA D. LORENZO consisting of a parcel of land designated as Lot 1, Pcs-1-00360, being a portion of Lots 6469-B and 13901-B (LRC) Psd-130096, L.R.C. Record No. 1153 of the Laoag Cadastre covered by TCT No. T-17345 containing an area of 251 sq.m. situated at Brgy. 50 Buttong, Laoag City has been the subject of Deed of Adjudication with Quitclaim executed by their heirs in favor of MELINDA D. LORENZO ratified and acknowledged before Notary Public ISIDRO CORPUZ as per Doc. No. 111; Page No. 23; Bk. No. CXC; S. of 2015.
June 6, 13, 20 2016*IT
_______________________________________________

DEED OF ADJUDICATION
          Notice is hereby given that the intestate estate of the late FRUCTUOSO AGNO married to ROSITA HERMANO consisting of a parcel of land designated as Lot No. 8171, Cad-621-D covered  by OCT. No. P-41759 containing an area of 9,417 sq.m. situated in Brgy. 23 San Andres, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte has been adjudicated by their heirs ratified and acknowledged before Notary Public John John P. Felipe as per Doc. No. 390; Page No. 78; Bk. No. LIX; S. of 2016.
June 6, 13, 20 2016*IT
_______________________________________________

DEED OF ADJUDICATION WITH ABSOLUTE SALE
          Notice is hereby given that the intestate estate of the late LORENZO PASCUAL married to FLORA SAOIT consisting of a parcel of land desgianted as Lot No. 3982 of the  San Nicolas Cadastre covered by OCT. No. P-5857 containing an area of 773 sq.m. situated at Brgy. 16 San Marcos, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte has been adjudicated by their heirs and simultaneously sold a portion of the above-described property  containing an area of 386 sq.m. designated as Lot No. 3982-A to Sps. RENATO G. GARCIA and APOLONIA H. GARCIA ratified and acknowledged before Notary Public ISIDRO CORPUZ as per Odc. No. 449; Page No. 90; Bk. No. CXL; S. of 2014.
June 6, 13, 20, 2016*IT
_______________________________________________

DEED OF EXTRA-JUDICIAL SETTLEMENT AND ABSOLUTE SALE
          Notice is hereby given that the intestate estate of the deceased SPS. CAMILO MELCHOR and VALENTINA MARCOS MELCHOR, AURELIA MELCHOR FRANCISCO and JOSE MELCHOR and his wife ROSARIO MARTIN MELCHOR consisting of a parcel of land designated as Lot No. 4583-F, Psd-03631 of the Laoag Cadastre covered by TCT No. T-17112 containing an area of 932 sq.m. situated at Brgy. Mangato now (Brgy. 48-A, Cabungaan North), Laoag City has been adjudicated by their heirs exrajudicially and simultaneously sold to ANGEL UTLEG, JR. married to ERMELYN SORIANO UTLEG ratified and acknowledged before Notary Public JUAN CONRADO A. RESPICIO II as per Doc. No. 457, Page No. 92; Bk. No. CDXXIX; S. of 2016.
June 6, 13, 20, 2016*IT

DEED OF ADJUDICATION WITH SALE
          Notice is hereby given that the intestate estate of the late JUAN AGLUGUB ¼ share and MOISES AGLUGUB 1/16 share of a parcel of land designated as Lot No. 5312 of the Laoag Cadastre covered by OCT no. 11070 containing an area of 4,465 sq.m. situated in the Barrio Mang-ngato now Brgy. 48-A Cabungaan, Municipality of Laoag has been adjudicated by their heirs and simultaneously sold the portion owned by the late MOISES AGLUGUB to the extent of 257 sq.m. to Sps. ROMY B. CORALES and RACQUEL ALCON-CORALES ratified and acknowledged before Notary Public ADEL CRISTINA Z. DIÑO as per Doc. No. 183; Page No. 37; Bk. No. XI; S. of 2016
June 6, 13, 20, 2016*IT
______________________________________________

EXTRAJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE OF MA. MARGARITA CABANOS-CUSTODIO
          Notice is hereby given that the intestate estate of the late MA. MARGARITA CABANOS-CUSTODIO consisting of undivided (1/8) share of six (6) parcels of land designated as Lot Nos. 23, 24, 25, 26, 18738-B and 18738-C covered by TCT Nos. 149786, 149794, 149795, 140796, 022-2013000063 and 022-2013000064 containg an area of 210 sq.m., 208 sq.m., 208 sq.m., 210 sq.m.., 2,877 sq.m. and 2,024 sq.m. situated in Brgy.Putatan, City of Muntinlupa, Metro Manila (formerly Municipality of Muntinlupa, Province of Rizal) and Brgy. San Lorenzo, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte respectively has been adjudicated by her heirs extrajudicially ratified and acknowledged before Notary Public FRANCISCO A. MUSNI as per Doc. No. 192; Page No. 39; Bk. No. LXXVIII; S. of 2016.
June 6, 13, 20, 2016*IT
______________________________________________

EXTRAJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE OF MA. MILAGROS CABANOS-MALABANAN
          Notice is hereby given that the intestate estate of the late MA. MILAGROS CABANOS-MALABANAN consisting of undivided share of two (2) parcels of land designated as Lot Nos. 18738-B and 18738-C covered by TCT Nos. 022-201-3000063 and 022-201-3000064 containing an area of 2,877 sq.m. and 2,024 sq.m., both situated in Brgy. San Lorenzo, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte has been adjudicated by her heirs extrajudicially ratified and acknowledged before Notary Public FRANCISCO A. MUSNI as per Doc. No. 191; Page No. 39; Bk. No. LXXVIII; S. of 2016.
June 6, 13, 20, 2016*IT
______________________________________________


DepEd, PIDS, IPA push for evidence-based reforms in PH education sector

Despite the significant gains in primary education participation rates, learning gaps remain high among primary and secondary level students. Increased government spending in education, as well as the implementation of the K to 12 program are important education sector reforms that set the stage for improved access and better education outcomes for the Filipino youth. However, while these reforms are significant, much is still needed to be done in improving learning outcomes for primary and secondary learners in the Philippines. 

On May 24, 2016, the Department of Education (DepEd), Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Philippines hosted a policy forum on "Evidence in the Education Sector" at the PIDS Conference Room in Centris, Quezon City, to disseminate among key decision-makers how impact evaluation and evidence can be useful in achieving improved learning outcomes. 

Around 60 participants attended the forum from various government agencies, international organizations, academe, and nongovernment organizations. 

In his keynote speech, DepEd Assistant Secretary Elvin Ivan Uy stressed that education should enable each person to maximize their potential. He highlighted the need to actively promote the use of evidence within DepEd and that the agency itself should be an active producer of evidence. Meanwhile, NEDA Deputy Director-General Rosemarie Edillon mentioned the pivotal role of evidence in policymaking at the national level. She maintained that each evaluation should address present and future needs in the education sector. 

Roundtable discussions as well as panel presentations on topics such as stakeholders in evaluation, enabling learning, and secondary and technical-vocational education comprised the policy forum. Dr. Gilberto Llanto, in identifying champions in impact evaluations, with panel members Dr. Vicente Paqueo, visiting research fellow at PIDS, and Mr. Roger Masapol, director of the DepEd Planning Service, highlighted important issues such as the usefulness of impact evaluations in preserving effective programs, the need for greater appreciation of evaluations among all levels in government, and the value of having data publicly available. 

IPA Philippines Country Director Nassreena Sampaco-Baddiri moderated the panel discussion on enabling learning where Dr. Aniceto Orbeta, Jr., PIDS senior research fellow, and Assistant Secretary Uy of DepEd presented some critical issues in achieving improved education quality. Discussions were centered on the importance of context of the education system, the possibility of having complementary programs for better outcomes, the role of programs (and evaluation of these programs) in learning, and the need to consider noncognitive competencies. 

A panel discussion on technical-vocational education was moderated by NEDA Deputy Director-General Rolando Tungpalan and included presentations from Dr. Emily Beam of the National University of Singapore and Director Catherine Galapon from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Key topics include the role of education in building skills, employment, and better quality of life, as well as the value of testing different interventions in order to understand what works and what doesn't work.


PIDS President Gilberto Llanto emphasized that the use of evidence generated by rigorous evaluations will definitely play a significant role in moving the country forward, especially in vital sectors such as education. His closing statement, "The unexamined policy intervention is not worth implementing," captures the importance of evaluations in a nutshell. (PIDS)

The Ilocos Times July 18-24, 2016

  Click photo for the PDF file

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Open season

PresidenT-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte just declared open season on journalists. Or did he?

Just a short while after he said “Just because you're a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you're a son of a bitch…. Freedom of expression cannot help you if you have done something wrong”; his political allies and appointed officials immediately went on explanation spree. They mostly said he was misquoted and the issue was blown out of proportion by, well, the national and international media.

Mr. Duterte’s comment was in response to a question on how he would protect press freedom after another Filipino journalist was gunned down in Manila on May 27.

Whether he really was misquoted as insisted by his mouthpieces or it was more than a veiled threat against the fourth estate; it simply comes down to his only solution to all and any problem—kill.

When he made a Davao journalist an example of why he deserved to be gunned down, it did not even make him rethink why that case has remained unresolved to this day. Add the fact that the murdered journalist was Mr. Duterte’s vocal critic, then it becomes quite clearer why the President-elect believes he deserved to be killed.

But the biggest problem Mr. Duterte created for journalists in the country—and maybe even foreign journalists covering the Philippines—is the fact that he believes that if a journalist is perceived to be corrupt, he deserves to be assassinated.

This shuffles us back to the problem of basic rights that should be afforded to anyone, regardless of perceptions. Without proof of any wrongdoing, how can a journalist be called “corrupt”, “paid” or a “propagandist”? if a journalist exposes wrongdoing and malfeasance in government, a private establishment, or of powerful people, should this person now be called “corrupt”, “paid” or a “propagandist” simply because he/she is writing against the government?

It is true that there are members of the fourth estate that are not averse to accepting fees to publish or air stories. However, most media outlets afford the aggrieved party airtime and paper space to address the issue. More so, most media outlets have built-in mechanisms to police their own people; those who have abused their privileges of being a journalist are usually bundled out—and most of those fired could no longer return to journalism.

The media have long been the voice of the people, the conscience of the powerful, and the enemy of those who abuse their powers. They have helped both in nation-building and fighting tyrants that present clear and present danger to the general populace. Some of us have died while trying to expose anomalies—and to label those journalists who have died in the line of duty as “corrupt” and “sons of bitches” is not only a slap to their memories and dignities but a bitch-slap to the media institution; and a veiled threat against the fourth estate.

Mr. Duterte maybe his own man; and that he does not listen to anyone to decide on anything; but he must understand that as President, he should look after the welfare of all Filipinos—and these include Filipino journalists.


For after all, the institution that is the Presidency is bigger, loftier and more valuable than anyone and all of us.

When religion is abused

WE are already familiar with the problem of secularization. That’s when God is set aside not only in society—as in business and politics—but also in one’s personal life. This is the anomaly besetting many developed Western countries that are entering what is known as post-Christian or post-religion era.
 
That means religion is already considered as passé and obsolete. Any mention of God is likely met with a laugh, a derision if not an open hostility. In these places, men are convinced there’s no other source of light, wisdom and guidance than their own selves, their own ideas and devices.

Under this category, we can cite isms like atheism, agnosticism, relativism, skepticism, deism, etc.

But another anomaly can also be found in the other end, precisely happening in places known for religious zeal. Our country falls largely under this classification. Here, religion tends to be abused and exploited. In the end, religion is used to deform, emasculate and even kill religion itself.

This happens when religion is detached from a living relationship with God, with his Church, his doctrine and sacraments, and personal struggle. It is driven more by one’s ideas and efforts. Faith becomes mere philosophizing and theologizing, full of form without substance.

Spiritual life freezes into mere external appearances, reduced to a lifeless set of pietistic practices. Sanctity deteriorates into sanctimony and into what is considered as politically correct. Hypocrisy, calculation, pretension, treachery abound. There’s bigotry instead of broad-mindedness, rigidity and intolerance instead of respect for freedom and variety.

This irregularity has many faces. To mention a few, we can cite religious fanaticism and bitter zeal, fundamentalism, clericalism, superstitious beliefs and practices, simony or commercialization of sacred things, pietism and quietism, fideism and a string of other heresies. There’s also petty jealousy among religious groups.

I suppose we can cite our Lord’s own experience at the hands of those who crucified him as the extreme form of religious abuse. Imagine, they were convinced they were doing it out of a keen sense of religious duty itself.

Our Lord himself said: “The hour comes when whoever kills you will think that he does a service to God.” (Jn 16,2) This is the ultimate in religious abuse.

One can readily suspect religion is abused when all those calls for goodness and holiness are full of sound and fury and bombast, but lacking in charity, patience, mercy, humility, meekness, etc. It drips with self-righteousness, ever eager to flaunt itself and have its authority felt.

There is clear bias and prejudice in the understanding and application of the doctrine. Unfair and discriminatory selectiveness marks the study and practice of the faith.

A holistic approach to religion and freedom of consciences are often compromised in the pursuit of holiness. There’s an absence of balance and openness. Even the elementary norms of naturalness are violated.

Of course, religion will always involve a specific way of life, marked even by a special charism. But it’s a uniqueness that does not annul religion’s universal and common end, but rather enriches it in an original way.

In abuse of religion, coercion is subtly made and can lead to brainwashing and to manipulative isolation of people from others. People are made to do religious practices just for the heck of it.

They do these practices more out of fear than of love, more for some ulterior motives than out of a sincere desire to know, love and serve God and others.

The virtues are pursued mechanically, not organically in the sense that they are vitally motivated by charity as they ought to be. Sincerity, for example, can be understood as simply telling the truth, the whole truth, but without any mention about charity, prudence and discretion. Truth is divorced from charity.

When religion is abused, prayer turns into a soliloquy rather than a loving dialogue with God. Love for sacrifice does not spring from the spirit, but is merely a put-on.

When religion is abused, priesthood is less an office for a total holocaust of self-giving, and more an occasion for privileges. The scandals that black-eyed the Church these past years involving some clerics arise from this disorder.

We need to be wary of these tendencies and possibilities that are open to all of us. We can even fall into them without noticing it, since the decline to religious abuse can mimic the process of osmosis.


We have to ask our Lady to teach us how to truly deal with God without being deluded by the wily ways of religious abuse. Like her, we need to be always simple and humble to be able to stick to what is authentic religion.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

President-elect sends wrong signal on impunity in the Philippines

Bangkok—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) strongly condemns Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's comments during a press conference justifying the killing of journalists. Mr. Duterte made the remarks in response to a reporter's question on May 31 about how his government would handle cases of media murders, according to news reports.

"Just because you're a journalist you are not exempted from assassination if you're a son of a bitch," Mr. Duterte said, according to an Agence France-Presse report. He claimed that many killed journalists were either corrupt or had "done something" that warranted their murders, according to press accounts. He also warned that journalists who defamed others in their news reporting would not necessarily be protected under the law from violent reprisals.

"The only way to address impunity in the woefully high number of unresolved murders of journalists in the Philippines is through the courts," said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative. "President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte's shocking remarks apparently excusing extrajudicial killings threaten to make the Philippines into a killing field for journalists. We strongly urge him to retract his comments and to signal that he intends to protect, not target, the press."

Mr. Duterte, a long-serving mayor of the southern city of Davao, was elected president in a landslide on May 9. He campaigned on an anti-crime platform that threatened to summarily kill suspected criminals without due process of law. The tough-talking politician has been linked in news reports to the killing by death squad of as many as 1,400 suspected criminals in Davao during his mayorship. He is expected to formally assume the presidency on June 30.


The Philippines ranks fourth on CPJ's Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and the killers go free. (CPJ)