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Guns for barangay officials

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This here matter is long-drawn. And it’s gladdening to note, City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has finally intervened. Since the start of the firearms ban for local elections last year, precious firearms of barangay units were ordered deposited with the COMELEC Offices. Since then, only very few barangays have been able to retrieve the much-needed items.

Stepping in the malady, Salazar asked the National Government through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to address the issue on the firearms which were earlier issued to but later surrendered by the village officials. And due to the new policy of the Philippine National Police (PNP), for every village tanod or barangay intelligence network (BIN) member to apply for a license to carry a firearm, dissuading the usual issuance of a memorandum receipt (MR). She said Camp Crame personnel are scheduled to come to Zamboanga City for a caravan on firearms licensing.

Even then, do barangay units have the ready funds for the purpose? Licensing fees are no peanuts

“If you are to help the President in our campaign against terrorism, what mechanism should the national government and the DILG give to the barangays to arm them, the tanod and BINs?” Salazar asked. This, she said, is a question “we would like the DILG to address because the city government in the past had bought and issued MR firearms via MR’s.

Agreed, such stringent prohibitive policy should be abrogated.

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US Ambassador to the Philippine Sung Kim on Thursday, 16th March, pledged to continuously support Zamboanga City through various projects implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), as it agreed to extend $1 million in aid for the establishment of a maritime facility in southern Mindanao to help combat piracy and terrorism.

US Ambassador Sung Kim made the commitment during a courtesy call on city Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and security officials yesterday.

The US envoy said this as he called on City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar in City Hall on the sidelight of his visit to the US troops quartered at Camp Basilio Navarro. Camp Basilio Navarro houses, the headquarters of the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City. Kim expressed delight that the strong collaboration between Zamboanga and the US government has resulted to very productive efforts that obliged his government to continue support to the city.

The city hall courtesy call kicked off with welcome honors prepared by the Zamboanga City Police Office and was capped by a short briefing at the City Hall conference room.

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Here is a welcome move for residents in far-flung areas of the west coast. West Metro Medical Center (WMMC) is putting up a well-equipped medical clinic in Ayala that ensures giving residents of West Coast barangay in Zamboanga City easy access to quality healthcare.

Instead of traveling 30-45 minutes downtown proper to go a hospital or see a doctor or for procedures done at the laboratory or radiology center, people can simply to the clinic in Ayala, said president & CEO Ramon Diaz.

The clinic is located in the heart of Ayala, and is centrally located right beside the government complex along the national highway.

The clinic offers medical consultation as well as various laboratory and radiology procedures such as Fasting Blood Sugar, Complete Blood Count, Urinalysis & X-ray.

The clinic is equipped with new state of the art technology, just like the services & facilities in the main WMMC, Veterans Avenue Extension, this City.

West Metro Medical Center is part of the largest chain of private hospitals in the country, the Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. together with Makati Medical Center, Asian Hospital, Cardinal Santos Medical Center & Manila Doctors Hospital.

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An east coast barangay chairman is in hot water following charges of alleged sexual harassment a 15-year old girl lodged with the Curuan police.

Curuan Police investigator, PO3 Miriam Tacbobo disclosed that the girl identified Calabasa barangay chairman Josefino Falcasantos as the person who allegedly touched her breast and private parts while she was sleeping at the suspect’s house last February 22, 2017, at around 11 in the evening.

Tacbobo said the teenager is the household help of Falcasantos’ 5-year old granddaughter.

It was already on March 1 that the girl’s mother reported to the police the alleged harassment because her daughter was afraid.

When contacted, Falcasantos vehemently denied the teenager’s allegations claiming it’s politically motivated because barangay elections is forthcoming.

He, however admitted, he was drunk then, and woke the girl up to prepare coffee, and when he pulled her hand, he was able to embrace her, averring he had no malicious intent..

The policewoman, just same, charged the village chief for acts of lasciviousness, under R.A. 7610, known as the special protection of children against child abuse. “It is up to the chairman to contest the girl’s complaint in court.” Tacboco said.

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The Committee on Local Government of the House of Representatives is fast-tracking the consolidation of House Bill 125, authored by Zamboanga City Congressman Celso Lobregat which seeks the grant of compensation to all Barangay Health Workers (BHW) in the country.

Its author, Cong. Celso L. Lobregat, is seeking ways to give more incentives to the health workers who are in the frontline of health services in their respective communities.

Lobregat said the Committee had conducted series of hearings last week and the chairmen of the committees have agreed to consolidate other bills similar to that of his.

“I am thankful to my colleague Cong. Pedro Acharon,Jr. of South Cotabato for heeding to my special request to push the bill swiftly for it to reach the plenary before the Congress adjourns its First Regular Session next week. This bill is beneficial to our BHW’s,” Lobregat said.

Already Barangay Health Workers are benefitting from various incentives and benefits, such as hazard allowance, as well as non-monetary entitlements, but will still be given an added grant of a modest compensation in the form of an honorarium of P4,000 on top of the current monthly incentives they receive from their respective LGU’s.

In order to help depressed 4th, 5th and 6th class LGU’s, the bill further authorizes the national government to provide necessary subsidy for the payment of the proposed honorarium for the barangay health workers nationwide.

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Some 2 million workers could soon expect better working conditions after the Department of Labor Employment (DOLE) finally released its new department order (DO) on contractualization.

In a press conference, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed DO 174 after almost nine months of comprehensive stakeholder consultations.

It will replace DO 18-A, which was created in 2011 to regulate contractualization in the country.

It reaffirms the constitutional right of workers for security of tenure by reiterating the prohibition of labor-only contracting; “cabo” system; contracting out of job or work through an in-house agency and in-house cooperative which merely supplies workers to the principal; contracting out of a job by reason of strike whether actual or no imminent; and contracting out of a job performed by union members.

Completing the list of prohibited contractualization are requiring contractual workers to perform functions which are being performed by regular workers; requiring contractual workers to sign, as precondition to employment or continued employment, an antedated resignation letter, blank payroll, or waiver of labor standards; repeated hiring of contractual workers under short term employment contract; requiring contractual workers to sign a contract fixing the period of employment to a term shorter than the term of the Service agreement; and other practices, scheme or employment arrangements designed to circumvent the right of workers to security of tenure.

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Foreign hands are again poking their dirty fingers into Philippine domestic affairs. Members of the European Parliament called for the immediate release of Sen. Leila de Lima and for the European Union (EU) to support an independent international investigation on President Duterte’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs.

For them to support an independent international investigation on President Duterte is above board.  But for them to demand the immediate release of a person under detention for criminal charges is ultimately unimaginable.

What non-lawyer as WS is knows, only political detainees may be released from incarceration upon valid demands. Would any European government ever release a criminally-charged person in their respective countries?  WS doubts.

There it goes again – the use of “WS” – this corner refers to. Am uncomfortable with it, as it may confound one on writer’s identity. Thus, the need for retitling this column, and we may using one of those who took time to text us. It is a very appropriate one, believe me. It will start in the next issue.

“Til then. God bless. (By Jimmy Cabato)




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