MAKATI SETS ASIDE P15 MILLION ASSISTANCE TO LOCALITIES AFFECTED BY TYPHOON ONDOY

Posted in Makati Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2009 by joselito capariño

Makati Mayor Jejomar C. Binay today said the city government of Makati has appropriated P15 Million to assist localities placed under a state of calamity by the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

Binay said City Ordinance No. 2008-035 was approved by the City Council in a special session this morning.

Binay said the amount will be used to provide relief goods and other basic needs of the typhoon victims, particularly blankets and sleeping mats. Relief operations will be carried out in affected localities in Metro Manila and Makati’s sister local government units (LGU) in typhoon-hit provinces.

Meanwhile, Binay said Makati Rescue Units have been deployed to Cainta, Marikina, Pasig, and other areas outside Makati to help in rescue efforts since Saturday afternoon.

“We will pour our efforts to giving aid to people in nearby localities. We are ready to provide food and water and will help in extricating typhoon victims in areas still submerged in flood,” Binay said.

Councilor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Jr., head of Makati Rescue, said that around 50 rescue personnel, supported by the Makati K-9 Unit, have been working in batches round-the-clock since they started mobilizing at 1pm last Saturday.

“We cannot idly stand and watch fellow Filipinos suffer. The proper course of action is to help in rebuilding and to give people hope that a bright tomorrow still awaits them,” Binay said.

Among the areas to receive assistance are Makati sister localities in the provinces of Mt. Province, Ifugao and Benguet in the Cordillera Autonomous Region; Pangasinan, La Union and Ilocos Sur in Region I; Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Viscaya in Region II; Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac and Bataan in Region III; Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Quezon in Region IV-A; Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental and Marinduque in region IV-B; Catanduanes, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur in Region V.

“We are doing everything possible to help families in neighboring localities worst-hit by Typhoon Ondoy. We know that in situations like this, we must act quickly and utilize all available resources in order to reach distressed citizens on time and save their lives,” the younger Binay said.

Initial reports show that the Makati Rescue teams were able to rescue three families trapped in their homes in Provident Village, Marikina, while they also retrieved two bodies.

Using rubber boats and a speedboat, Makati Rescue teams were also able to reach trapped families in flooded areas in Manggahan, Pasig and Cainta, Rizal. At present, the teams continue to conduct search and rescue operations in these areas.

CABINET MEN, SENIOR OFFICIALS WHO WILL SUPPORT ADMINISTRATION CANDIDATES SHOULD ALSO RESIGN – BINAY

Posted in UNO Press Release with tags , , on September 24, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
24 SEPTEMBER 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO

Cabinet members and other ranking officials of the Arroyo administration who will express their support for administration candidates should also be asked to resign, Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay said.

“If Malacanang wants to show a professional Cabinet and a professional bureaucracy that is focused only on their work, then it should also ask for the resignation of those who will support administration candidates,” he said.

“Cabinet members are alter egos of the President in terms of policy, not necessarily politics. But the problem is the Arroyo administration is a practitioner of group-think, and will not tolerate independent minds,” he said.

Binay said by not resigning, appointed government officials who have expressed support for the candidates of Mrs. Arroyo will again be in a position to use the formidable resources of the national government for election purposes.

“We will be looking at a possible replay of 2004, when everything – from fertilizer funds to road user’s tax – were utilized for the presidential campaign of Mrs. Arroyo,” he said.

The opposition leader earlier said cracks are now starting to show at the Cabinet level, and that defections from the local to the national level will transform Malacanang into “a lonely place” after the Nov. 30 deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy.

Palace officials had asked Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo to resign after he said he was supporting Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. It has also been reported that Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. intends to run for president.

“No one wants to be identified with an administration that is distrusted by the people, and an administration candidate who has pledged six more years of hunger, poverty, political repression and abuse of authority,” he said.

MAKATI REMINDS MMDA OF ITS LIMITATIONS

Posted in Makati Press Release with tags , , , , , , on September 24, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
24 SEPTEMBER 2009
REF: MAKATI ICRD , 8998954

A Makati City official today reminded the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) that it does not have the authority to issue traffic violation receipts (TVR) within localities in Metro Manila.

Makati Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Hermenegildo San Miguel said the MMDA does not have the power to legislate and issue traffic citation tickets without the proper ordinances approved by the city and municipal councils.

“The MMDA is a coordinating agency and not a legislative body. They must abide by the laws of the different localities and must be reminded of its limitations,” San Miguel said.

San Miguel said MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando was not fully informed when he cited a legal opinion penned by former Justice Secretary Simeon Datumanong that purportedly guaranteed the MMDA’s authority to issue TVRs, in reaction to an order from the Manila city government banning the agancy’s enforcers from issuing TVRs in the city.

San Miguel cited the provisions in the Local Government Code delegating traffic management to mayors and the Supreme Court decision on the case of MMDA vs. Bel-Air.

In its decision, the SC held that the MMDA is not a political government unit and has no power to approve ordinances and impose penalties.

“With all due respect, the opinion of the Justice Secretary cannot supersede the ruling of the Supreme Court, which forms part of the law of the land,” he said

San Miguel also clarified Fernando’s claim that Manila was the only local government unit in Metro Manila where the MMDA is not allowed to issue traffic citation tickets.

He said that Makati City also does not allow the MMDA to issue their TVRs unless they are deputized by the city government.

Deputization is allowed under the Traffic Code of Makati and other local governments in Metro Manila. However, the MMDA refused to be deputized by Makati .

“It seems that the MMDA needs to be reminded that it is merely a coordinating body and has no authority to pass ordinances. This was the ruling of the Supreme Court. Only the local governments have the authority to regulate traffic in their jurisdiction, based on provisions of the Local Government Code,” San Miguel said.

BINAY BACKS SENATE MOVE TO ABROGATE VFA

Posted in UNO Press Release with tags , , , , , , on September 24, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
24 SEPTEMBER 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO

BINAY BACKS SENATE MOVE TO ABROGATE VFA; SAYS ARROYO ADMIN MUST ANSWER CHARGES OF ALLOWING US TO EXPAND MILITARY BASES IN RP DESPITE CONSTITUTIONAL BAN

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said the Arroyo administration must answer charges that it has allowed the United States to expand its military presence in the country despite the constitutional ban on foreign military bases.

At the same time, Binay backed the Senate move to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), saying the lopsided accord should be corrected to emphasize Philippine sovereignty.

In a statement from Geneva, Switzerland where he is attending the World Scouting Conference in his capacity as its Asia-Pacific chair, Binay said it is high time that the United States “recognizes the Philippines as an equal partner, and show respect for our sovereignty.”

“The administration of US President Barack Obama has always emphasized the importance of cooperation between nations. It follows that such an approach should be premised on respect for sovereignty, and treating other nations as equal partners,” he said.

“The VFA is a lopsided agreement that needs to be immediately rectified,” he added.

The opposition leader said the Arroyo administration has yet to respond to reports made by international policy groups on growing US presence in the Philippines , which is seen as a circumvention of the Constitutional provision banning US bases.

Binay cited the increasing number of US military exercises since 2001, reports of the growing number of port visits by US warships and the alleged “underreported presence” of a unit of US Special Operations Forces stationed continuously and indefinitely in various camps throughout Mindanao since 2002.

Senators approved on second reading Wednesday a resolution urging Malacañang to abrogate the VFA, should the US object to a renegotiation.

Senate Resolution No. 1356 authored by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago asked the administration to give the US a notice of termination in case US officials object to a renegotiation.

Binay said the unfairness of the VFA was again highlighted when US Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith was flown out of the country a day after the Court of Appeals overturned his 2006 conviction for rape. Smith had been found guilty of raping a Filipina the year before.

Authorities quarreled publicly over the incident, with Interior and Local Government officials saying it was in violation of a custodial agreement with security officers of the US embassy, and Foreign Affairs officials maintaining that there are different rules governing the handling of US military personnel involved in criminal cases in the Philippines .

Such a revelation clinches the case for the abrogation of the VFA, Binay said.

International observers have said the US is intent on increasing its presence in Southeast Asia to counter the growing influence of China is the region.

While originally premised on the war against terrorist groups in the region, the US is transforming its presence in the Philippines “to heighten its capacity for intervention within the country and region,” according to the group Focus for the Global South in a report titled “At the Door of All the East: The Philippines in United States Military Strategy.”

The report said because of its strategic location, the Philippines is among the countries where the US wants to set up bases but is unable to do so because of the ban imposed in the Constitution.

BINAY SAYS ALL IS NOT WELL WITHIN ARROYO CABINET; SEES MORE HIGH-LEVEL ADMIN OFFICIALS SUPPORTING OPPOSITION

Posted in UNO Press Release with tags , , on September 23, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
23 SEPTEMBER 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO

‘After Nov. 30, Malacanang will be loneliest place in the country’

BINAY SAYS ALL IS NOT WELL WITHIN ARROYO CABINET; SEES MORE HIGH-LEVEL ADMIN OFFICIALS SUPPORTING OPPOSITION

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said “all is not well” within the Arroyo Cabinet following statements made by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo that he was supporting Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and the reported plan of Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. to run for president.

“When you have a situation where two Cabinet members are not supporting Mrs. Arroyo’s choice for the 2010 election, it shows that all is not well within the Arroyo Cabinet. The pessimism about the chances of Mrs. Arroyo’s candidate winning fair and square has apparently reached the highest level of government,” he said.

The opposition leader said he expects more Arroyo administration officials to jump ship in the weeks leading to the November 30 deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2010 elections.

“The exodus has already started and Secretary Romulo will not be the first and last high-level official who will express support for the opposition,” he said.

“After the November 30 deadline, you can expect mass desertions to the side of the opposition, from the national to the local level. Starting December 1, Malacanang will be the loneliest place in the Philippines ,” he added.

“No one wants to be identified with an administration that is distrusted by the people, and an administration candidate who has pledged six more years of hunger, poverty, political repression and abuse of authority,” he said.

Earlier, Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) Commissioner Jaime Jacob resigned his post to campaign for Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Administration congressmen, governors, and mayors have either signed up or are set to join opposition political parties, he said.

Binay said the realignments that are expected to happen will all be favorable to the opposition.

Recently, local officials, most of them belonging to Lakas-Kampi-CMD, announced their support for Binay, who plans to run for vice president.

Malacañang had urged Cabinet members who cannot support the candidates of Mrs. Arroyo to resign, following reports that the Foreign Affairs Secretary was supporting Aquino.

A Cabinet official had said as the alter egos of the President, Cabinet members should support her choice for the presidency, and the honorable thing to do, if they cannot support her, was to resign.

LOCAL EXECUTIVES CROSS PARTY LINES TO SUPPORT BINAY FOR VP

Posted in UNO Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
21 SEPTEMBER 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO

Local executives from across the Philippines have crossed party lines to express their support for Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) President Jejomar C. Binay’s plan to run for vice president in 2010.

Surigao del Sur Gov. Vicente Pimentel said the local chief executives come from all parties, including the administration Lakas-KAMPI-CMD, and span the major provinces of Pangasinan, Bohol, Laguna, Batangas, Cotabato, Surigao, Pampanga, Quezon and Camarines Sur.

“It just shows that this is not about partisan politics. My fellow local chief executives recognize the need for change and the need to empower the local government units. We believe that Mayor Binay will help us realize this goal,” he said.

Binmaley, Pangasinan Mayor Sammy Rosario said the local executives are unanimous in expressing their support for Binay, and have been informed that more mayors will join their ranks in a couple of weeks.

“We all believe that Jojo Binay is the example of effective governance, and whoever is elected president will benefit from having someone with Binay’s track record, experience, and concern for the common people as his vice president,” he said.

For his part, Kidapawan City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco said Binay’s 20 years as Makati’s mayor is proof that the “he has the experience and political will needed in the executive branch.”

“We have seen what Mayor Binay has done in Makati . He has the competence and the know-how, and being a mayor himself, he knows the needs of local governments. He can help the president focus on social programs and help the local government officials in replicating his achievements in our localities,” Gantuangco said.

Meanwhile, Lucena City Mayor Ramon Y. Talaga Jr. said Binay’s idea to give more power to LGUs will help localities improve the services they render to their constituents.

“Right now, some LGUs are dependent on their Internal Revenue Allotments for salaries and wages for their employees and for development programs – if they are lucky. We need to review the disbursement of IRA, and all other funds for that matter, to ensure that localities have enough funds to create projects for their constituents. We need someone to speak for us in national government about this. I believe Binay is more than qualified to be that someone,” Talaga said.

According to Binay’s spokesman, Lito Anzures, the support for the Makati mayor reflects the true sentiments of the country’s mayors for change in national government.

“Mayor Binay has always believed that for the country to be progressive, the local government units must be progressive. He has shared his belief in LGU empowerment to his fellow mayors. They have seen it work for Makati . And now they believe Binay’s advocacies will work for the country,” Anzures said.

“This growing support for Mayor Binay is a message from the local executives that someone from their ranks would be the best to represent them in the national government,” he said.

Among the local executives who are backing Binay for vice president include Mayor Ferdinand B. Trinidad, Iguig, Cagayan; Mayor Cesar P. Baroña, Sr.,Lacub, Abra; Mayor Sandra Y. Eriguel, Agoo, La Union; Mayor Andrew Vincent R. Pagurayan, Sto. Niño, Cagayan; Mayor Wilfredo S. Domingo, Licab, Nueva Ecija; Mayor Peter B. Flores, Masantol, Pampanga; Mayor Angel L. Cruz, Jr., Hagonoy, Bulacan; Mayor Ariel T. Magcalas, Sta. Cruz, Laguna; Mayor Marilen B.Alonte, Biñan, Laguna; Mayor Rhyan M. Dolor, Bauan, Batangas; Mayor Ramon Y. Talaga, Jr., Lucena City, Quezon; Mayor Joy A, Cabangon, Gumaca, Quezon; Mayor Melencio L. de Sagun, Jr., Trece Martires City, Cavite; Mayor Luis A. Ferrer IV – Gen. Trias, Cavite; Mayor Lily R. Estoya, Calintaan , Occidental Mindoro; Mayor Eric A. Constantino, Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro; Mayor Romar G. Marcos, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro; Mayor Jackson C. Dy, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro; Mayor Lemuel F. Cipriano, Concepcion, Romblon, Mayor Cicero C. Triunfante – Daraga, Albay.

Mayor Vicente B. Flores, Jr., Oton, Iloilo; Mayor Elyzer C. Chavez, Passi City, Iloilo; Mayor Rony L. Molina, San Jose de Buenavista, Antique; Mayor Dan Neri Lim, Tagbilaran City, Bohol; Mayor Reynato M. Latorre, Villareal, Samar; Mayor Gil Norman P. Germino, Can-avid, Eastern Samar; Mayor Cesar G. Tagon, Sr., Hernani, Eastern Samar.

Mayor Nenita M. Suyao, Kalilangan, Bukidnon; Mayor Arsenio A. Latasa, Digos City, Davao del Sur; Mayor Rodolfo Y. Gantuangco, Kidapawan City, North Cotabato; Mayor Carl Elias C. Lademora, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur; Mayor Dale Corvera, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte; Mayor Alfonso Casura, Surigao City; Mayor Mohammad Aquil A. Mamainte, Bayang, Lanao del Sur; Mayor Datu Mohammad Paglas, Sr.,Datu Paglas, Maguindanao; Mayor Datu Allandatu M. Angas, Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao; Mayor Datu Adbulkarin T. Langkuno, Paglat, Maguindanao ; Mayor Al-haj Bonnie Kali, Gen. Salipada K. Pendatum, Maguindanao; and Mayor Hussin U. Amin, Jolo, Sulu.

BINAY URGES REPATRIATION FUND FOR OFWS, WARNS OF BREWING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS ABROAD

Posted in UNO Press Release with tags , , , on September 20, 2009 by joselito capariño

PRESS RELEASE
19 SEPTEMBER 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said the Arroyo administration should immediately establish a national fund for the repatriation of distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWS) and to provide them with legal, financial and other assistance.

Binay said he was alarmed by the increasing number of OFWs reported stranded abroad and unable to go home. Unless the administration responds immediately, he said it may face a humanitarian crisis involving thousands of stranded OFWs.

“Unless the Arroyo administration acts immediately, the national government may face a humanitarian crisis involving thousands of undocumented OFWs stranded abroad and unable to go home because of the government’s failure to provide them with assistance,” he said.

“The biggest indignity is that these OFWs who are hailed as modern heroes have been forced to beg for food, and live in squalid conditions. They rely on the kindness of fellow Filipinos,” he said.

The opposition leader said cases of distressed OFWs have been increasing at an alarming rate, but the government has refused to tap the emergency repatriation fund being managed by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWA).

OWWA justified this by saying that a provision of Republic Act No. 8042 or the Magna Carta for Overseas Filipinos, limits the use of the P100 million fund to cases of war, epidemic, and natural or man-made disasters or calamities.

Binay said despite rising OFW remittances, the Arroyo administration has failed to acknowledge the contribution of overseas Filipinos to the economy by putting in place resources to assist them in their time of need.

He said he found it troubling that government agencies have reportedly failed to provide food and other assistance to some 300 OFWs who have been stranded in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and forced to live under a bridge. The authorities only provided help when the plight of the OFWS were reported in media.

“The economy has been largely sustained by the remittances of the 10 million overseas Filipino workers and yet the administration only pays lip service to their contribution,” he said.

“It’s about time that the administration gives our OFWs the treatment they deserve by setting up a fund for their repatriation, and to provide them with legal, financial, medical and other assistance in their time of need,” he said.

Binay said he finds it ironic that the administration is heavily dependent on the remittances of Filipinos who were forced to work abroad because of Mrs. Arroyo’s failure to provide them decent jobs in the Philippines .

“These are the same Filipinos who are vulnerable to exploitation and abuses because the administration has failed to match its aggressive policy of deploying OFWs with aggressive welfare protection” he said.

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