Sen. Bam eyes active role of LDCs in disaster preparedness

Senator Bam Aquino calls on Local Development Councils (LDC) to maintain a more active role in disaster and calamity preparedness.

Aquino said LDCs will play a crucial role in disaster preparedness, as they involve not only local government units but also people’s organizations, non-government organizations, and the private sector.

“LDCs should be strengthened and made more active because they are one of the keys in the disaster preparedness of a community. Community needs will be better diagnosed and addressed if different sectors converge and discuss more regularly,”said Sen. Aquino.

Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code mandates each local government to have a LDC at the provincial, city, municipal, or barangay level.

However, Sen. Aquino discovered that many LDCs do not meet regularly, minimizing the participation of non-government, people’s organizations, and the private sector in planning, local governance, and disaster preparedness.

To resolve this, Sen. Aquino has filed Senate Bill No. 1843 to ensure that LDCs will have an active role and make NGOs and POs active partners in the pursuit of socio-economic welfare in the local autonomy.

The bill mandates LDCs to convene at least four times in a year, preferably every March, June, September, and December.

The leagues of LGUs are further mandated to monitor such meetings through the Oversight Committee on Local Government.

The measure also seeks to provide punitive actions to local executives who fail to execute such laws.

The bill calls for a 30-day suspension for the first violation. Subsequent violations will be slapped a 90-day suspension.

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Sen. Bam: Help Agri Workers Affected by Storm

Senator Bam Aquino calls on the government to provide temporary livelihood to agriculture workers, especially coconut farmers, who lost their main source of income to super typhoon Yolanda.

The senator said majority of workers who lost their livelihood are involved in agriculture, which is the primary source of income in Leyte and other provinces destroyed by the storm.

“Around four million workers lost their jobs because of Yolanda. More than half of them are fishermen, farmers and coconut workers,” Sen. Aquino said.

The coconut industry suffered the biggest devastation as more than 2.5 million coconut trees were brought down in Eastern Samar and Leyte.

“Even if there were some trees left, our coconut farmers will still not be able to benefit from them immediately. According to studies, coconut trees that were shaken up by a storm will bear fruit after one year,” the senator explained.

Sen. Aquino added that rice farmers were also affected by the storm as Yolanda hit during the start of the planting season, leaving them with nothing for the harvest season.

“Our fishermen also suffered heavy losses because their fishing boats and other equipment were damaged by the storm,” he added.

With the widespread devastation, Sen. Aquino said it will take some time for the agriculture sector to fully recover.

In the meantime, the senator underscores the need to give agriculture workers other sources of income to help them and their families survive.

One of the possible forms of assistance the government can give them is to engage them in livelihood opportunities immediately.

Aside from this, the government can give them the needed capital to start up some micro enterprises.

The senator added that the government can prioritize farm workers in “food-for-work” efforts, to help them more quickly get back on their feet.

Sen. Bam to Private Companies: Jobs for Yolanda Survivors

Senator Bam Aquino urges private companies to adopt survivors of super typhoon Yolanda as workers and employees.

The lawmaker particularly mentioned malls, fastfood chains, restaurants and other businesses that have branches Leyte and other parts of Visayas that were devastated by the typhoon.

“For example, a fastfood chain can employ workers from its branch in Leyte and transfer them to other branches so that they will have a continuing source of livelihood,” said Aquino.

For the lawmaker, the hiring of additional workers is timely for companies involved in the service and manufacturing industries because of the start of the peak season during Christmas.

Sen. Bam is convinced that the move will help Yolanda survivors more quickly get back on their feet.

“For those whom we have already successfully evacuated and provided relief, the provision of jobs is the next important step, so we can help survivors recover from this tragedy,” he added.

Aside from employment, Sen. Aquino said private companies could take it a notch further and help Yolanda victims by offering temporary shelter while working.

A Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) report said four million workers have lost their livelihood due to typhoon Yolanda.

The labor department has started an emergency employment program that will tap typhoon survivors to help in the rehabilitation and repair of areas devastated by Yolanda.

“We welcome this program, as this will definitely help survivors for both rehabilitation and livelihood. We hope this paves the way for government to implement more long-term and sustainable solutions in response to this crisis,” the lawmaker said.

Photo by Erik de Castro, Reuters

#YolandaPH #ReliefPH: How to Find Missing People

  • Welfare Desks including RFL and tracing services are established in the affected areas. National Societies abroad that are approached by families without news of their loved ones can contact the PRC Social Services Department:Email: Mobile: 09175328500, 09473844497, Landline: 5270000 loc. 126, 5270867.
  • Philippine National Red Cross, if you are looking for a family or friend, contact our Social Services Restoring Family Links and Tracing Services, please call 0917-5328500

Photo source: GMA News

#YolandaPH #ReliefPH: How and Where to Donate


· Donate through the World Food Programme (WFP). “WFP has allocated an immediate $2 million for Haiyan relief, with a greater appeal pending as needs become apparent. The UN organization is sending 40 metric tons of fortifiedbiscuits in the immediate aftermath, as well as working with the government torestore emergency telecommunications in the area. Americans can text the wordAID to 27722 to donate $10 or give online.” (Source: The Huffington Post,


· Donate through World Vision. “The organization isproviding food, water and hygiene kits at the evacuation centers. World Visionwas also still actively responding to last month’s earthquake in Bohol, whichluckily was not struck by the eye of the storm.” (Source: The Huffington Post,


· Donate through UNICEF. “Anticipating that childrenwill likely be among the worst affected by the typhoon, UNICEF is working ongetting essential medicines, nutrition supplies, safe water and hygienesupplies to children and families in the area.” (Source: The Huffington Post,


·  Donate to the American Red Cross. “Emergency responders andvolunteers throughout the Philippines are providing meals and relief items.Already, thousands of hot meals have been provided to survivors. Red Crossvolunteers and staff also helped deliver preliminary emergency warnings andsafety tips. Give by donating online or mailing a check to your local AmericanRed Cross chapter.” (Source: TheHuffington Post,


· Donate to the Philippine Red Cross. The Philippine Red Cross makes it easy to donateonline, via cash or check, over the counter (bank), in-kind, and through SMS.


· Donate to Shelterbox. “ShelterBoxprovides families with a survivalkit that includes a tent and other essential items while they are displaced orhomeless.” (Source: TheHuffington Post,


· Donate to Americares. The relief organization is sending medicalaid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and painrelievers. AmeriCares is also giving funds to local organizations to purchasesupplies. (Source: TheHuffington Post,


· Donate to the Salvation Army. “100 percent of all disaster donations will be used for relief efforts and “to immediately meet thespecific needs of disaster survivors.” Text TYPHOON to 80888 to Donate $10or give online.” (Source: TheHuffington Post,


· Donate to “Hult for Haiyan”, a donation drive by students of Hult Business School.Your$1 donation can feed a family for a day. Donations can be made via will be coursed through the Philippine Red Cross

· Donate to Habitat for Humanity, You can support this work by donating from the Philippines to their Re-Build Philippines Fund or from the U.S. by contributing to their Disaster Response Fund. You can also make a donation by phone at1-800-HABITAT.


· Donate to Architecture for Humanity, it i smobilizing to assist with post-disaster reconstruction and the organization’s working with local architects to identify the most critical rebuilding needs.You can support their Super Typhoon Haiyan Response online, by calling 1-415-963-3511 or by texting REBUILD to 85944 to make a $10 donation from your mobile phone.


  • Donate to Save the Children, the group is on the ground delivering essentials such as blankets and mosquito nets for children and their families but need your support to help more of the 12 million people who have been affected. LINK:
  • Donate to DSWD Region 7, its office is located at MJ Cuenco Ave. cor. Gen. Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City with telephone number (032) 232-9507.
  • Donate to FLY (Filipino Liberal Youth) Hope, it’s office is located at Liberal Party Headquarters, Expo Centro Building, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.
  • Donate to De La Salle University’s Center for Social Concern and Action (DLSU-COSCA), it is accepting web-based donations from overseas individuals
  • Donate to 1000 Bear Hugs Project, this organization accepts huggable-sized toys for children in Tacloban from November 8 to December 9., contact person: Mon Corpuz at 0917-796-1378
  • Donate to UP Diliman Student Council, donations can be sent to New CHK gym, UP Diliman, contact person: Alex Castro at 0917-8725396, Twitter account: @uscupdiliman
  • Donate to the Dream Project Philippines, located at RFM Corporate Center, Pioneer cor. Sheridan Street, Mandaluyong City, contact person: Prim Paypon at 09088100424
  • Donate to Tulong Kabataan, located at UP System, UP Office of the Student Regent, Drop-off point: Vinzon’s Hall, UP Diliman, Quezon City. Contact persons: Eds at 0927-3841392 or Zie 0916-7965740
  • Donate to Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity and Phi Lambda Delta Sorority, located at UP Manila, Pagkalma Park, UP College of Medicine, Pedro Gil St., Malate, Manila. Contact persons: Miko at 0917-5129144 or Gela 0927-7029488. Twitter account: @PhiLambdaDelta1
  • Donate to TindogTacloban, its drop-off points for donations are VCF Alabang – 4th Floor Filinvest Wing, Festival Supermall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, VCF Fort – 32nd Street corner University Parkway Bonifacio Global City. Contact person: Joey Hernandez at 347-3975
  • Donate to Operation Blessing Philippines, located at E. Rodriguez Ave. C5 Road cor. Corporal Cruz Bagong Ilog, Pasig City, contact numbers: 477-7802 to 04 or 0917-5812603
  • De La Salle Santiago Zobel, it has drop-off points in Gate 2, 3, and 7 of the campus. Contact persons: Mr. Jayjay Jacinto at 0917-8597602 or Ms. Evangeline De Peralta at 0917-5638870
  • Donate to Citizen’s Disaster Response Center, located at 72-A Times St., West Triangle Homes, Quezon City, contact number: 929-9820
  • Donate to Mu Sigma Phi Relief Operations of the UP College of Medicine Contact persons: Eman at 0925-8843050 or Billy at 0927-5711017/0922-5356100.
  • Donate to St. Michael’s Church at The Fort, located at 39th Street, North Bonifacio Triangle, Bonifacio Global City
  • Donate to AWANA Organization Philippines, it is located at 35-A Scout Tobias Street, Brgy Laging Handa in Quezon City. Contact person: Jennifer Jansalin at (02) 376-5688 or 0928-8531693
  • Donate to ETYSBM Student Council of Mapua Institute of Technology, it is located at Gil Puyat Ave, Makati City. Contact person: Angeline Bernardino at 0915-4469715 or Edgar Aquino 0905-1492319
  • Donate to Santuario de San Antonio Church, located at 3117 McKinley Road, Forbes Park, Makati. Contact number: (632) 843-8830 to 31
  • Send donations through Air21, free door-to-door pick-up of relief goods on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Hotline: 854-2100. Twitter: @Air21ph
  • Donate to Tulong Kabataan Relief Drive, located at Kabataan Partylist HQ- #5 Palosapis St., Brgy Amihan, Proj 3, Quezon City
  • Donate to Give a Drop of Love, CFC Foundation, Inc., located at Apartelle 12, Starmall Complex, EDSA cor. Shaw Blvd., Madaluyong City. Contact person: Anna Arcaya at 718-2213 or 0923-5838577
  • Donate to St. Scholastica’s College, located at 2560 Leon Guinto St., Manila, located behind DLS-College of St. Benilde.
  • Donate to Lingap Gabriella Manila, located at 35 Scout Delgado St., Brgy. Laging Handa or 25 K-10th Street, West Kamias, Quezon City. Contact number: 374-3451. Twitter: @gabrielaphils
  • Donate to The MVP Tulong Kapatid Center, located at Meralco Covered Tennis Court, Meralco Compound, Ortigas, Pasig City. Contact person: Eds Addun at 0939-9133771 or 632-8301
  • Donate to UP Cebu SC and UP Katilingban Han Leyteño Ngan Samarnon ug Biliranon, contact persons: Darl Santos of KaLeSa-Bi and Ynna Bisnar of UPC SC at0943-4116336, 09328637303
  • Donate to Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc, located at 35 Lopez Jaena Street, Cebu City. Contact person: Edwin Marfil (local 510) or Totits Ocampo (local 204) at (032) 418-7234
  • Donate to YUPPIES Care Ministries of the Grace Baptist Church of Cebu City, Inc., located at 628B Happy Valley Road, Guadalupe. Contact person: Jaspher Obiña at 0923-1500219, 0918-3484294, or 0917-7149679
  • Donate to Lingap Gabriella Bohol, located at FARDEC Office, Lower Butalid St. Tagbiliran City. Contact number: 0912-5949170
  • Donate to Bangon Isabel, Leyte. Contact persons: Pipo Omega at 0933-4219705 or Shiena Marie Bucol at 0917-3262258/0922-8001987 (Cebu)
  • Donate to Operation Yolanda, University of St. La Salle Bacolod. Drop-off point: 2nd Gate Security Office, Center for External Relations, Institute for Negros Development
  • Donate to The Tree House, located at 2nd Floor Red Square Building, Smallville Complex, Barangay San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo
  • Donate to Liceo Ripple of Hope, located at R.N. Pelaez Boulevard, Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City. Contact numbers: (088) 858 4093 to 95 local 231 or 0917-7161613
  • Donate to the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR) Inc., located at MP-NMR Inc, Kalinaw Lanao Center for Interfaith Resources, 0016 Bougainvilla Puti, Villaverde, 9200, Iligan City. Contact number: +63 (63) 223 517

Help Restore Power to Samar, Leyte — Sen. Bam to Electric Coops

Senator Bam Aquino calls on electric firms and cooperatives around the country, including MERALCO, to send humanitarian mission teams to help restore power to Leyte and Samar, saying relief “can’t be carried out blindly” by humanitarian aid missions.

“Hanggang sa walang kuryente sa Samar at Leyte, parang bulag ‘yung mga relief teams na pumupunta doon,” Sen. Aquino says.
“Kailangang maibalik ang kuryente para maibalik rin ang telecommunication lines at maibalik ang contact sa ating mga kababayang talagang nangangailangan ng tulong.”
The return of electric power, the lawmaker points out, will likewise expedite the provision of medical services and will help local businesses restore their services.
“So much of Leyte and Samar were completely cut off from the rest of the country at the onslaught of Yolanda. We now need everyone’s help to ensure that nobody gets left behind in relief efforts.”
On Saturday evening, President Benigno Aquino III delivered a statement during the NDRRMC briefing and said that the restoration of power and communication lines were among the national government’s priorities, aside from extending relief assistance in affected areas.
Sen. Bam Aquino reiterates, “Until power is restored to Leyte and Samar, it will be impossible for people to get back up on their feet. The need is urgent, and we appeal to our fellow Filipinos to make this happen for the sake of our kababayan in those areas.”

Abolish PDAF already — Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino urges fellow lawmakers to already move for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), citing other senators who have officially supported the move

For his part, Sen. Aquino suspended his office’s use of their PDAF allocation as early as August 17, 2013 and publicly called for its abolition on August 23, 2013

Later, Sen. Aquino wrote Senate President Franklin Drilon on September 4, 2013, relaying his decision to forego the PDAF of his office for 2013

“This is to respectfully inform you that our office shall not endorse/identify any projects for funding under the PDAF as provided under the General Appropriations Act of 2013,” Aquino said in his letter to Drilon.

Aquino also requested Drilon to declare his allocation of P100 million be declared as savings and reverted to the National Treasury.

In addition, Aquino also wrote Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, to inform him of his decision to forego his PDAF for 2014.

In his letter to Sen. Escudero dated November 5, 2013 Sen. Aquino wrote to “relinquish and waive the allocated Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), without any reservations.”

“In foregoing my PDAF allocation from the proposed Php 2.268-trillion 2014 National Budget, the amount of Two Hundred Million Pesos (Php 200,000,000.00) shall therefore be deducted from item XLV Section 1 of the proposed National Expenditure Program for 2014. The said amount shall likewise be deducted from the total budget reflected in the proposed 2014 General Appropriations bill,” the letter states.

PH leaps 30 spots in WB report

The Philippines has made significant strides in Ease of Doing Business, leaping 30 spots to 108th place out of 189 countries in the latest joint World Bank-International Finance Corporation report.
The report cited the Philippines as among the 10 best economies that has put inroads in making it easier to do business, together with Ukraine, Rwanda, Russia, Kosovo, Djibouti, Ivory Coast, Burundi, Macedonia and Guatemala.
Also, the report noted that the Philippines made it easier for businessmen to deal with construction permits, get credit, and pay taxes.
Senator Bam Aquino commended concerned government agencies for the country’s vast improvement from the 138th spot last year.
 “I commend the government’s inter-agency task force on Ease of Doing Business for its success in implementing the gameplan for competitiveness that was put forth by the National Competitiveness Council last year to improve our global ranking in the ease of doing business survey,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship.
“Our goal to be pro-negosyo and the most business-friendly country in the region is still a ways off, but this is a good indication that we’re headed in the right direction,” the senator added.
The inter-agency task force is composed of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Finance (DOF), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and the National Competitiveness Council (NCC).
Also included in the task force are the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Land Registration Authority (LRA), Credit Information Corporation (CIC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Social Security System (SSS), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC).
Aquino’s committee has been conducting regular hearings, dialogues, and consultations with different stakeholders, government agencies, including DTI and the NCC to find ways to further improve the country’s Ease of Doing Business ranking.
“Going from 138th to 108th is a big jump, a break in inertia that we’ve been experiencing. Let’s keep this momentum going,” the young senator stressed.
At the same time, Aquino emphasized that the positive result of the new survey underscored the importance of cooperation between government agencies.
“If agencies work together, with clear and focused targets, we can successfully undertake the necessary reforms that can promote SME development and inclusive growth in the country,” Aquino said.
However, Aquino stressed that government agencies should not rest on their laurels, saying there’s still much work to be done to re-engineer the country’s business systems in a way that will truly benefit entrepreneurs and investors, specifically in terms of improving the simplicity and inter-operability of regulatory systems for greater ease in starting a business.
“For this, greater convergence among agencies needs to happen. Ultimately, our goal for 2016 is to take the country to the top third of the global table,” he added.

Sen. Bam Supports Resolution to Use PDAF for Relief, Rehab Efforts

Senator Bam Aquino expressed support behind a Senate resolution urging Malacañang to declare unused Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for 2013 as savings and to use it for relief and rehabilitation of areas devastated by several calamities.

The Senate on Tuesday passed Resolution No. 14, formally abandoning their PDAF for 2013, thereby creating savings which the government can use as calamity fund.

Aquino, one of the first to suspend the use of the PDAF of his office, said that the unused PDAF could augment the government’s depleting calamity fund, which now stands at P1.37 billion.

“Right now, the government needs all the help it can get. This resolution is the Senate’s way of doing its share to help ease the public’s burden,” Aquino added.

“With the government already neck-deep in problems regarding calamities, the remaining unused PDAF, which amounts to more or less P3.18 billion, could go a long way to help the victims of the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu and recent typhoons Labuyo and Santi,” Sen. Aquino said.

Aquino earlier had called for the creation of a P15-billion calamity fund to support rehabilitation of areas that were heavily damaged by the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that hit Central Visayas on October 15. Later, Malacanang announced that it would earmark P20 billion for rehabilitation.

“I laud Malacanang’s efforts to set aside the necessary funds for the rehabilitation and repair of the affected areas. In any case, calamity funds are a better place for the people’s money than the PDAF,” Sen. Aquino stressed.

Aside from the recent earthquake, several areas in the country had been devastated by typhoons “Labuyo” and “Santi” in recent weeks, while Zamboanga City was left in tatters after an assault by a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Sen. Bam to Traders: Follow Price Freeze

Senator Bam Aquino urges Cebu and Bohol traders to consider the welfare of those affected by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit Central Visayas on Tuesday, and to strictly follow the price freeze that is currently imposed on those areas.

“We should not be taking advantage of the victims who have already suffered enough due to the earthquake,” the lawmaker said after receiving reports that some traders are selling basic goods at a higher price despite the existing price freeze.

“In fact, businessmen who are financially capable should even help the government’s relief efforts,” added Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship.

At the same time, Aquino also called on the public to immediately report violators of the price freeze to authorities.

“We ask the public to help us monitor and report unscrupulous businessmen who are taking advantage of the situation and thinking only of profit,” Sen. Aquino emphasized.

Aquino said the public can contact the Department of Trade and Industry’s local offices in Bohol (038-501-8260),Cebu (032-253-2631 and 412-1863) and Region 7 (032-255-0036/255-0037) for their complaints.

The DTI recently implemented a price freeze in quake-damaged areas in Bohol and Cebu, under Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act.

With this, the prices of basic goods in an area placed under a state of calamity must remain at prevailing levels for no more than 60 days.

Price control covers the following basic products: rice; corn; bread; fresh, dried and canned fish and other marine products; fresh pork, beef and poultry meat; fresh eggs; fresh and processed milk.

Also included in the price freeze are fresh vegetables; roots crops; coffee; sugar; cooking oil; salt; laundry soap; detergents; firewood; charcoal; candles; and drugs classified as essential by the Department of Health.

A fine of up to P1,000,000 and a maximum 10-year jail sentence await violators of the Price Act.

Recently, President Aquino signed Republic Act 10623, expanding the coverage of the Price Act to include bottled water, fruits, instant noodles, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) but DTI has yet to draft the implementing guidelines.

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