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Weathermen protest

Employees of the Weather Bureau (PAGASA) staged a protest Tuesday wearing black armbands.

Ramon Agustin, president of the Philippine Weathermen Employees Association, complained their benefits have been suspended since March.

President Aquino promptly went to Pagasa to look into their complaints.

Many complained that their P12,000 a month salary is just not enough to support their needs, including transportation expenses. Twenty-two Weathermen have left for jobs abroad. There are 31 vacancies in the bureau as of June.

DBM Sec. Butch Abad assured their hazard pay would be paid retroactively. Why were they delayed in the first place? Pay them today.

Longevity pay is dependent on the length of service in the bureau. Their subsistence pay have been suspended since March.

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Ordinary government employees complain when they see other employees in government corporations receiving substantial allowances.

With inflation at a record 3.2% in July, certainly there is additional hardship on low salaried employees.

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NOT ADVISABLE . . Sen. Frank Drilon has revived his proposal to move the opening of classes to September.

In a hearing at the House of Representatives, Dep Ed Sec. Armin Luistro opposed the proposal saying it has been tried once before but it didn’t work.

Luistro said there are typhoons in September, October and November and the problem will still subsist. We agree with Sec. Luistro.

Luistro said the weather problem in June-August is mainly in Metro Manila but does not affect other areas of the country.

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BINAY ACTS . . Vice President Jejomar Binay announced that 5,363 squatter families will be relocated by the National Housing Authority. (NHA)

The families to be resettled include 2,400 in Mangahan, Pasig, 1,500 in Navotas, 970 in Tondo, Manila, 200 in Malabon, 150 in Libis, Quezon City, 75 in San Juan and 68 in Mandaluyong.

But Secretaries Singson and Robredo admit there are 125,000 informal settlers (squatters) in Metro Manila. It will take 10 years to relocate them unless P50 billion is made available.

But Malacañang announced only P10 billion a year will be released.

In fact, Sec. Robredo as head of an interagency committee announced the program is to relocate only 30,000 families a year.

It’s not going to be easy. Expect the squatters to resist.

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FINALLY . . The Food Terminal, Inc. (FTI) 74 hectare complex in Taguig City has been bidded out. The winner, Ayala Land won with a P23.88 billion bid, more than twice the P11.2 billion bid of Empire East. Robinson’s Land Corp. bid P14.66 billion.

Ayala Land previously won the P1.95 billion Daan Hari-SLEX Link road.

Joseph Roxas, president of Eagle Equities said the bid translated to P32,800 per square meter which in his opinion is quite high.

It’s a good deal for the government.

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WHAT’S WRONG . . The Philippines is the 14th biggest country with a population of 95 million plus. Why can’t it produce Olympic quality athletes?

New Zealand with a population of 4.4 million got 5 golds, Jamaica with a population of 2.8 million got 4 golds. Cuba with a population of 11.1 million also got 5 golds. Even Trinidad and Tabago with a population of 682,000 won a medal.

Singapore with a population of 5 million also won medals.

The last time we got silver medal were Anthony Villanueva in 1964 and Onyok Velasco in 1996.

The usual excuse is not giving enough money for our sports programs. Let’s ask Manny V. Pangilinan and Danding Cojuangco to handle our preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

DBM Sec. Butch Abad should double the funding for Palarong Pambansa. Selected provinces should be given financial aid for their Sports Development Programs. The AFP should also be given special allocation for its boxing program.

But overall, President Aquino should now take a personal interest in our Sports Development Program.

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RED TAPE . . Barangay officials are complaining that a lot of paperworks is now required to implement even small P50,000 barangay projects. They are having a hard time complying with the E-procurement law as required by DBM.

DBM Sec. Butch Abad should review this matter. We should trust barangay officials.

AT LAST . . After so many typhoons and floods, DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson has taken up the idea of building water reservoirs under streets and parks.

This has been suggested a long time ago but was not done as it would cost P65 million per reservoir.

Again, we suggest, rain water conservation programs must be constructed to help capture valuable rainwater.

Local government units must now pass ordinances to require high rise condominiums and subdivisions to build reservoirs under their building and subdivisions.

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SERIOUS AILMENT . . It is now clear that President Gloria M. Arroyo has a serious neck and back problem with the dislocation of a titanium plate in her cervical spine. It is equally clear that there is no local doctor qualified to solve her problem. She’s in danger of dying from choking.

Christian charity requires that she be allowed to seek medical treatment in the US.

Minority Leader, Quezon Cong. Daniel Suarez has called for compassion for GMA. That’s very much in order.

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TIDBITS . . . Prisoner Rolito Go was missing from his detention quarters at Bilibid.

Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III and La Union Governor Manoling Ortega prepared well for typhoon Helen.

It is welcome that MMDA has decided to recruit hundreds for rescue teams.

A dike was breached at Sto. Tomas, Pampanga. Gov. Baby Pineda is supervising the repair.

Bulacan reports P1 billion worth of damage to crops and fishpens especially in Hagonoy and Calumpit towns.

Mayor John Rey Tiangco has started relocating 1,300 families to a relocation site in Barangay Tanza with the help of NHA.

Some generous philanthropist should start a fund drive for weather forecasters.

Condolences to Cong. Edcel Lagman on the death of his mother Cecilia. Her wake is at Arlington Memorial Chapels at Araneta Ave., QC Internment is scheduled today at Loyola Memorial Park, Marikina.

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