Sen. Legarda commits her part in achieveing MDGs, urges RP leaders to do the same

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, October 25, 2010-In support of Senator Loren Legarda to the advocacies and programs of the United Nations (UN) Day yesterday, Sunday (October 24), she reiterated her commitment to do her part in helping the Philippines achieve the eight (8) Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) by the year 2015.


Sen. Legarda who joins the world in celebrating the United Nations (UN) Day wherein said in commemorating the UN Day that we have to work harder because we have an enormous task in the achievement of the eight (8) Millennium Development Goals, adding that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it is a day when we must resolve to do more.


The senator said that this year’s UN Day focuses on the MDGs, particularly on the global action plan adopted by the UN member states during the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly last month.


During the summit, the member states, including the Philippines, reaffirmed their commitment to promote the socio-economic development of all people.


“We only have five (5) years left before the 2015 deadline. We must exert all our efforts and resources to achieve the MDGs because these are the very same concerns of our people. I commit, that I will do everything in my power as a legislator and Asia Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction to help realize these goals,” Sen. Legarda said.


Senate Resolution No. 198 was filed in the senate, which calls for the review on the progress of the Philippines towards the achievement of the MDGs in comparison with the progress of other country-signatories.


She was conferred the 2001 UN Environmental Program award for her significant contributions to environmental work, had also filed several bills that would help realize the MDGs, especially through disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.


“I also call on our government to prioritize the fulfillment of the MDGs and integrate it in our national development planning efforts. Likewise, I enjoin my fellow legislators in both Houses of Congress and all national and local leaders to do their parts in this great endeavor. We are in a race against time, but we can still catch up if all our efforts are focused on working on a clear, precise, accurate, and efficient plan of action towards the achievement of the eight MDGs,” Sen. Legarda stressed. (Jason de Asis)


Sen. Angara seeks financial aid for the victims of typhoon Juan

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, October 25, 2010-Senator Edgardo J. Angara recognized the accuracy of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) in forecasting the path of Supertyphoon Juan last week, which was also known as Megi, the world’s strongest storm so far this year.


He said that PAG-ASA officials correctly predicted that Juan would make a landfall in Isabela, opposing the international forecasts which said that it would make a landfall in Cagayan. The people were well-prepared for the typhoon; hence casualties and damages were minimized.


“We are very critical of PAG-ASA, especially since Basyang. We must also give credit where it is due, and their accurate forecasts about Typhoon Juan shows that they’ve learned from their mistakes. I believe this will go a long way towards restoring the public’s trust in them,” Sen. Angara, head of the Senate Committee on Science and Technolgy (COMSTE) said.


The veteran senator has been pushing for the modernization of PAG-ASA as the rainy season promises to bring more and more typhoons.


“The officials at PAG-ASA personnel were almost perfect in predicting the coming of the typhoon due to the presence of better equipment,” he stressed.


Sen. Angara suggested using the unused funds from different government agancies, saying that perhaps we can also donate a portion of the government’s calamity fund to the victims of Juan even if it's relatively early yet. Or maybe we can divert the unused 2010 allocation from different agencies, since there are only two months left in the year. (Jason de Asis)


EDSA congestion plan should be aimed at bus reduction says Sen. Recto

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, October 25, 2010-Decongestion in EDSA could be resolved by reducing the number of public utility buses (PUBs) plying the national thoroughfare say Sen. Ralph G. Recto.


He said that a traffic reduction plan clamping down on the use of private vehicles would not solve the problem. There should be a laser-powered approach to cut through the volume of buses traversing EDSA to attain satisfactory results.


“The World Bank (WB) figures indicate that the ideal volume of buses along EDSA should be only 1,600 but around 7,000 PUBs, including unregistered buses, are actually using the major thoroughfare,” the senator said, adding that the challenge for government agencies such as the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is to moderate the current number of buses using EDSA.


The reduction of the number of buses will cut down traffic and pollution along EDSA, he explained, noting further that some $2 billion in possible income from economic activities that depend on EDSA is lost every day.


Sen. Recto said new proposals to enroll public utility buses (PUBs) in the number-coding program would impact significantly in bringing down the number of buses plying EDSA.


He said one positive trickle effect of this would be an increase in the ridership of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3, which has become heavily dependent on state subsidy due to weak revenues.


“The MRT-3 was projected to transport around 600,000 riders daily but only about 414,000 to 500,000 are serviced daily, adding that with fewer buses, we could be moving people from buses to climb up the stairs and take the much safer MRT-3 and, in the process, increase its viability.


Sen. Recto said shifting the commuting preference of people to MRT-3 would also mean “more value for every peso subsidy” that government pours into MRT system yearly as fare subsidy and for maintenance.


“With a P7.3-billion subsidy for MRT-3 next year, EDSA-bound commuters should better put to good use this subsidy money by patronizing the MRT service,” he said.


He said ultimately, the MRT-3 would be able to expand its fleet of coaches or trains on the back of increased passenger traffic and wean away from costly subsidy in the long-term.


Sen. Recto recognized the Metro Manila mayors, who comprised the policy-making body of the MMDA, for shooting down the proposed odd-even scheme for private vehicles along EDSA. (Jason de Asis)