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Luzon needs P1.2 trillion to improve economic growth, Salceda says

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Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the national government needs P1.2 trillion to further improve the economic and social growth in the eight regions of Luzon.

Salceda, who chairs the Luzon Regional Development Committee (RDCom), said the amount will fund at least 16 mega-infrastructure projects for Luzon from 2015 to 2045.

The RDCom has formulated the Luzon Spatial Development Framework (LSDF) plan, which would cover the Cordillera Autonomous Region, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and the National Capital Region.

Citing budgetary figures, Salceda said the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) alone is spending P68 billion a year, while it actually needs P1.3 trillion to decongest Metro Manila.

Salceda said once the proposal has been approved by the RDCom, this will be endorsed to the NEDA Board for adoption.

The LSDF has adopted strategies that would link communication, transportation (land, air, sea) and economic infrastructure system through a high-standard highway system from Ilocos Region down to Bicol.

In Bicol region, projects lined up include the North-South Railway Project, which has a total project cost of P340 billion and the new Naga Airport Project, which involves the reorientation of the airfield, and carries a P3.5-billion funding requirement, Salceda said.

[bctt tweet=”Luzon needs P1.2 trillion to improve economic growth, Salceda says”]

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Palace brushes off Zarate claim: Nalilito lang siya

By Prince Golez

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque downplayed the statement of Bayan Muna Rep. and House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate on the “tokhang modus” against the nine activist leaders in Calabarzon region.

Zarate in a statement called the simultaneous police-military operations in Southern Tagalog, which also resulted in the arrest of at least six others, as “pure terrorism to brutally silence dissent.”

“Nalilito kasi si Congressman Zarate kasi hindi natin sigurado kung sino talaga ang pinaninindigan niya. Pero ang sabi ni Presidente, hindi lang po siya aktibista, kabahagi siya ng mga rebelde na mayroong mga armas,” Roque said in his televised briefing Monday.

The secretary also urged the remaining members of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (NPA) to lay down their arms and rejoin society.

“Ang panawagan natin, kung kayo talaga ay nagmamahal sa kapuwa Filipinos, ibaba ninyo na po ang armas at lahat naman po ay ginagawa natin para maibsan ang paghihirap ng ating mga kababayan na dahilan kung bakit sila ay nagrerebelde,” he added.

In December last year, President Rodrigo Duterte accused Zarate of being a communist and a co- conspirator. Duterte also alleged that Zarate used NPA funds to pay for his son’s education abroad.

Sotto salutes Bernas for ‘life of service, devotion to God, rule of law’

The Senate on Monday adopted a resolution expressing its profound sympathy and sincere condolences on the demise of constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, who passed away last Saturday at the age of 88.

Senate Resolution 674, introduced by Senate President Tito Sotto, was unanimously adopted by the chamber, which honored Bernas for his “immeasurable and invaluable contributions to the legal profession and society.”

The Jesuit priest was a notable constitutionalist and one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution.

“We salute you for a life of service and devotion to God, the Rule of Law and your countrymen, Fr. Joaquin Bernas,” Sotto said in his sponsorship speech.

He described Bernas as a man with a “strong sense of morals and ethics who was humble and calm, exuding authority even in his silence.”

Sotto said the Jesuit priest had willingly responded to the call of legal and moral duty to protect democracy and human rights unmindful of his own physical well-being.

He said Bernas’ unblemished devotion and faith in God and the Rule of Law had helped rebuild the country through his teachings, writings, and leadership.

“His death is great a loss not only to his Atenean family and to the legal profession but to the Filipino people and the nation as well,” Sotto said.

Senate celebrates women’s contributions in battle against Covid-19

The Senate on Monday, International Women’s Day, adopted a resolution to commemorate the occasion and the role of women in nation building and to celebrate women’s indispensable contributions to the Filipino home and in the workforce, particularly in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Senate Resolution 673, sponsored by Senator Joel Villanueva, stressed that this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day with the theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world,” celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the pandemic.

“While recognizing that across the world women are facing increased domestic violence, unpaid care duties, unemployment and poverty, and despite women making up a majority of front-line workers, there is disproportionate and inadequate representation of women in national and global COVID-19 policy spaces,” the resolution read in part.

Also according to the resolution, “In order to uphold women’s rights and fully leverage the potential of women’s leadership in pandemic preparedness and response, this year’s celebration also recognizes that the perspectives of women and girls in all of their diversity must be integrated in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes in all spheres and at all stages of pandemic response and recovery.”

The resolution also cited that “the Philippines has always recognized the role of women in nation-building and the need to ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men, as enshrined in Article II, Section 14 of the Constitution.”

“Pursuant to this state policy, Republic Act 9710, or the Magna Carta for Women, tasked the Philippine Commission on Women to act as a catalyst for gender mainstreaming, as well as the authority on women’s concerns and lead advocate of women’s empowerment, gender equity, and gender equality,” the resolution said.

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