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PHL, Malaysia, Indonesia agree to explore joint air patrols in transit areas
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By Priam F. Nepomuceno

President Rodrigo Duterte joins other heads of states on stage during the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Summit at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos on September 6. (MNS photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte joins other heads of states on stage during the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Summit at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos on September 6. (MNS photo)

MANILA  (PNA) – The defense chiefs of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to explore joint air patrols in transit corridors considered by the three nations as maritime areas of common concern.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin and Indonesian Defense Minister Ryacudu reached the agreement on the sidelines of the ASEAN-US Defense Dialogue in Hawaii last October 1.

The trilateral cooperation among the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia contributes to a stronger ASEAN, the defense department’s assistant secretary for strategic assessment Raymund Jose Quilop said in a statement issued Monday.

Quilop said the cooperation among the three nations is driven by the need to address the rising incidents of armed robbery at sea, kidnapping and piracy in the three countries’ areas of common concern.

He noted that the trilateral meeting has evolved to become a platform for the defense ministers to address other emerging common concerns to include violent extremism.

Quilop further said that the return of fighters from the conflict in the Middle East could eventually create security challenges for the three countries, something which the defense chiefs recognized, hence their decision to set up the cooperation.

With the political support of their respective political leaders, Presidents Rodrigo Duterte and Jokowi Widodo and Prime Minister Najib Razak, the three defense chiefs have expressed confidence that the apparent intent of Islamic State-affiliated groups in their respective countries to establish a caliphate in Southeast Asia, similar to what the IS intends to put up in the Middle East, would not become a possibility, Quilop said.

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PHL, Malaysia, Indonesia agree to explore joint air patrols in transit areas
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By Priam F. Nepomuceno

President Rodrigo Duterte joins other heads of states on stage during the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Summit at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos on September 6. (MNS photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte joins other heads of states on stage during the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Summit at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos on September 6. (MNS photo)

MANILA  (PNA) – The defense chiefs of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to explore joint air patrols in transit corridors considered by the three nations as maritime areas of common concern.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin and Indonesian Defense Minister Ryacudu reached the agreement on the sidelines of the ASEAN-US Defense Dialogue in Hawaii last October 1.

The trilateral cooperation among the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia contributes to a stronger ASEAN, the defense department’s assistant secretary for strategic assessment Raymund Jose Quilop said in a statement issued Monday.

Quilop said the cooperation among the three nations is driven by the need to address the rising incidents of armed robbery at sea, kidnapping and piracy in the three countries’ areas of common concern.

He noted that the trilateral meeting has evolved to become a platform for the defense ministers to address other emerging common concerns to include violent extremism.

Quilop further said that the return of fighters from the conflict in the Middle East could eventually create security challenges for the three countries, something which the defense chiefs recognized, hence their decision to set up the cooperation.

With the political support of their respective political leaders, Presidents Rodrigo Duterte and Jokowi Widodo and Prime Minister Najib Razak, the three defense chiefs have expressed confidence that the apparent intent of Islamic State-affiliated groups in their respective countries to establish a caliphate in Southeast Asia, similar to what the IS intends to put up in the Middle East, would not become a possibility, Quilop said.

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Free irrigation eyed in 2017
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By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA  (PNA) – The Duterte administration’s plan to provide free irrigation services to increase productivity and lower rice prices may be realized next year, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol said on Wednesday.

Piñol told reporters that Senator Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, has assured that an additional PHP4 billion will be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2017 to implement free irrigation for Filipino farmers.

“The PHP4 billion will cover the expected SIF (irrigation service fees) collection which is being used by NIA (National Irrigation Administration) to pay for the salaries and wages of its employees,” he said.

NIA is using ISF collections to maintain and operate the different irrigation systems in the country.

With free irrigation, Piñol expects the cost of production of rice farmers to lower by PHP3 per kilo, which he believes will “make them at least a little bit competitive.”

He estimated that rice prices can drop by PHP7 per kilo with DA’s distribution of good seeds and sufficient fertilizers alone.

The Agriculture chief considers the free irrigation program “historic,” noting it is a realization of the commitment of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

“…A President who believes that just like the travellers who use the highway for free, the Filipino farmers who produce food for this country should also be allowed to use for free the water services and irrigation services,” Piñol added.

Meanwhile, Legarda, during the hearing on the proposed 2017 budget of the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday, hoped that the free irrigation could be done if the DA could use its remaining unobligated funds under the 2015 budget.

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Senator lauds administration’s efforts to abolish temp jobs
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By Azer N. Parrocha

Job applicants wait in line outside a shopping mall in Manila, Tuesday. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) warned companies of possible closure or cancellation of their license to operate if they fail to address labor contractualization or end-of-contract policies in their work force..(MNS photo)

Job applicants wait in line outside a shopping mall in Manila, Tuesday. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) warned companies of possible closure or cancellation of their license to operate if they fail to address labor contractualization or end-of-contract policies in their work force..(MNS photo)

MANILA  (PNA) – Senator Joel Villanueva on Wednesday lauded the efforts of the Duterte administration to stop contractualization or ‘endo’ (end-of-contract) and the efforts of private establishments to regularize their contractual workers.

Citing the first 100 days accomplishment report of the administration presented by the Department of Labor and Employment, Villanueva said some 195 establishments have so far voluntarily regularized 10,532 workers.

These establishments include SM Malls and 7/11 convenience stores which regularized 4,800 and 800 employees, respectively.

He meanwhile urged other private companies to follow suit and put safeguards against the blurring of employer-employee relationship and the circumvention of the law on security of tenure.

The neophyte senator authored Senate Bill No. 1116 which seeks to ensure security of tenure, protect workers’ welfare by ensuring regularity of salary and benefits, and protect their right to organize.

He also stressed that a law is urgently needed to protect and regularize workers and ensure their entitlement to social benefits and protection.

Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development, is set to hold the next hearing on ‘endo’ on October 13.

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What breakup? KC posts photo with Aly, Sharon
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KC Concepcion and Sharon Cuneta (MNS photo)

KC Concepcion and Sharon Cuneta (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Actress-host KC Concepcion posted on Instagram a photo of her with her mother Sharon Cuneta and rumored beau Aly Borromeo, amid speculations that she had stopped dating the former Azkals captain.

In the image, Concepcion was all smiles with Borromeo and Cuneta, who took to Twitter afterwards and wrote: “I loved spending time with you and ze bebe boy this whole evening. Miss you already. Love you!”

Cuneta, one of the coaches of “The Voice Kids,” has already admitted that she likes the football player for her eldest daughter, even if Concepcion and Borromeo have yet to make public their relationship.

“Anybody that’s nice to my daughter, makes my daughter a better person, and brings her closer to the family, I will like. Aly is like that,” the Megastar said, adding that Borromeo gets along well with Concepcion’s other siblings.

Early this month, Concepcion left many of her followers on Instagram confused when she revealed that she is both not “single” and “taken” at the same time.

According to her, she is “building an empire, finding [herself], healing [herself], loving [herself], being passionate, getting fit, growing friendships, meeting new people, and making memories.”

Some of Concepcion’s fans speculated that her “update” meant that she and Borromeo stopped dating. (MNS)

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Campaign Promoting Benefits Of U.S. Citizenship Targets Asian Immigrants, Fastest Growing Immigrant Population
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Eligible immigrants strongly urged to take the first step now to have a chance of becoming a U.S. citizen before November election

Over 300,000 Asian immigrants in L.A. County currently eligible to naturalize and become a U.S. Citizen
rp_ADV1-300x231.jpgLOS ANGELES – Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA), in close partnership with community-based organizations and local government, announced an unprecedented campaign to encourage and increase the number of Asian American immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship. Community based organizations serving the Asian American community will receive additional funding and support to process citizenship applications. In addition, Asian ethnic media will be invited to join the effort as official campaign partners, to promote the benefits of citizenship. In Los Angeles County, over 300,000 Asian American immigrants are currently legal permanent residents who are eligible to naturalize and become U.S. citizens.
“The United States was founded by immigrants and continues to thrive because of the contributions of immigrants,” said Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA. “For many Asian Americans, the risk of leaving their native countries in pursuit of better opportunities outweighed all their fears of the unknown. Today, we are launching ‘Endless Possibilities. Citizenship Now!’ in seven Asian languages, drawing on an unprecedented partnership between nonprofits, government, and media, with the purpose of reminding immigrants that citizenship is a pathway to the many benefits and opportunities many hoped to achieve for themselves and their families by coming to America.”
“More than 1 million people in Los Angeles County speak an Asian language and their main source of information is ethnic and in-language media. We are asking that our Asian-language media step forward to be a part of this campaign, alongside our nonprofit partners, government agencies, and elected officials who are leveraging their collective voice to raise awareness about the opportunities and resources available to anyone who is eligible and interested in becoming a United States citizen,” said Nasim Khansari, Citizenship Project Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA. “Not only are media critical to informing our communities about what they need to know, but media can also empower our community to achieve what they may not know is possible.”“Endless Possibilities. Citizenship Now!” is a coordinated effort of more than 10 nonprofit organizations serving multi-ethnic communities as well as government agencies and the offices of elected officials. The first partnership event is a free citizenship workshop taking place on Sunday, April 10th at the Long Beach Convention Center. For an appointment, call the Advancing Justice-LA helpline:
  • English: 888-349-9695
  • Mandarin/Cantonese: 800-520-2356
  • Khmer: 800-867-3126
  • Korean: 800-867-3640
  • Tagalog: 855-300-2552
  • Thai: 800-914-9583
  • Vietnamese: 800-267-7395
All who are interested in citizenship assistance or legal services are encouraged to call the toll-free helpline service. Callers can reach helpline staff between 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. When unable to speak with a live helpline staff, callers are encouraged to leave a voicemail message including their name and contact information. Calls will be returned within one business day.The campaign is made possible through funding and support from the California Community Foundation in an effort to break down the myths and barriers preventing more L.A. County residents from applying. “Endless Possibilities. Citizenship Now!” is a coordinated campaign operating in conjunction with ¡Protégete!…¡Ciudadanía Ya!, a campaign taking place in Spanish-language media and is led by a strong coalition that includes Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles and several other nonprofit organizations.
About Advancing Justice – LA:
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.
Source: courtesy of http://advancingjustice-la.org/

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Humility as a virtue
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rp_Chito-Parazo-300x173.jpgThe word humility is defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary as the quality or state of being humble. Humility, most often than not, is mistaken as a sign of weakness and submissiveness or even fear. But to me, real humility is a sign of strength and confidence and courage exhibited by a real man.

It is also often said that humility is an act of selflessness. However, when it is done so grudgingly, it is considered an act of selfishness. So many preaches the importance of humility in one’s life, but only a few practice it.

The ancient Greeks often wrote in their numerous poems and literature about the importance of humility. In almost all of their writings, the subject of discourse was the shameful often fatal effects of one’s hubris, excessive and arrogant pride.

There are two men that I know of, based in history, that possessed extreme pride, arrogance and lofty ambitions that lead to their ultimate downfall – Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler. During their reign, both men were despised even by their supporters because of their arrogance and overbearing pride.

In the case of President Rodrigo Duterte, many were surprised that they found it hard to believe that the tough-talking former Davao city mayor known for openly advocating murder to bring peace and prosperity, will have the courage to humble himself in public for being wrong. Duterte did not only do it once, but twice.

He publicly apologized to former Pangasinan Governor and now Congressman Amado Espino and two other local officials for linking them in the illegal drugs trade. He publicly admitted that he and his officials were wrong and negligent in counter checking on the possible involvement of Congressman Espino and his two local officials.

To spare his officials and law enforcement officers from further embarrassment and ridicule, Duterte asserted himself as a true leader by assuming full responsibility in the Espino “brouhaha.”

President Duterte made his second public apology when he made a personal appearance at a synagogue in Makati on the occasion of the Jewish New Year’s celebration. Duterte was given a standing ovation by his Jewish audience after expressing his sincere apology for his “Hitler remarks’” and his promise never again to make jokes about Jews.

Duterte should be commended for what he did. I do not know of any other government official, in my more than 24 years as a newspaperman in the Philippines , who made an apology to anyone he had wronged or shamed publicly by mistake.

As what most people say, it takes a real man to practice humility or to admit publicly his mistake. Filipinos should be thankful that they now have a President that is not only honest and sincere but humble as well in of spite all the powers he has at his disposal.

No wonder, President Duterte continues to get excellent public satisfaction ratings despite his alleged deadly crackdown on suspected drug lords and drug peddlers all over the country.
***
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on Justice, did the right thing in terminating the on-going hearing on the so-called extra judicial killings on suspect drug lords and addicts. The Senate inquiry, despite the grandstanding of Senators Leila Delima and Antonio Trillanes, failed to link President Duterte to the alleged killings in Davao city perpetrated reportedly by the Davao Death Squad (DDS).

The Senate investigation instigated by De Lima did not prove anything, except to showcase the potential of De Lima of being a dramatic actress, except her looks and body shape. (LOL!)

It was a total waste of time and waste of taxpayers’ money. Both De Lima and Trillanes should apologize to the public for their behavior and for bringing a bogus killer in the person of Edgar Matobato. Both De Lima and Trillanes walked out from the hearing after they were both accused by Gordon of withholding information that Matobato has a pending case of Kidnapping with ransom. It was reported that De Lima walked out from the hearing to avoid further embarrassment from the trashing she was getting from Gordon and Senator Panfilo Lacson.

***
If Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has all the necessary documents and information needed to indict De Lima, they should do it right away to avoid public perception that she is being persecuted by the administration for being a critic of Duterte.

Aguirre should also look into the possibility that the five police generals implicated by Duterte as having been involved in the illegal drugs trade also had “business” dealings with De Lima during her stint as Justice Secretary in the Aquino administration. Ever since their names were mentioned by Duterte, no formal charges have been filed against them as far as I can remember.

Most probably, the government is still investigating them and extracting information as to the identities of other government officials involved in the illegal drugs trade, as well as those who they dealt with and who gave them protection to carry out their nefarious activities without being arrested or prosecuted.

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