Public warned of heavy traf­fic on hol­i­day week­end

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! - BY PRINCESS CLEA ARCELLAZ Sun.Star Staff Re­porter

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO Tourists and res­i­dents who will be nav­i­gat­ing the roads of this cap­i­tal city are warned of the heavy traf­fic they may ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing the com­ing hol­i­day week­end.

The pro­nounce­ment was made by Mayor Ed­win San­ti­ago who ex­pressed his con­cern to motorists and com­muters who will be stuck on the streets es­pe­cially dur­ing Christ­mas Eve.

San­ti­ago said that a large vol­ume of ve­hi­cles are ex­pected to pass by the Jose Abad San­tos Av­enue (JASA) in this city which may cause traf­fic grid­lock.

He also cited the ex­is­tence of two huge malls along the ma­jor thor­ough­fare which is ex­pected to draw thou­sands of vis­i­tors es­pe­cially on Christ­mas Day.

How­ever, San­ti­ago said that the city govern­ment is im­ple­ment­ing mea­sures to man­age the flow of traf­fic around the city.

He dis­closed that traf­fic en­forcers will be scat­tered around the city di­rect the flow and min­i­mize traf­fic jams.

on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (CHED) so that all col­lege stu­dents en­rolled in any SUC in the coun­try will not have to pay for their tu­ition fee.

The bud­get for SUCs was also in­creased to pro­vide ad­di­tional funds for schol­ar­ship and cap­i­tal out­lay for all SUCs. Col­lege stu­dents be­long­ing to fam­ily-ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the Pantawid Pam­ilyang Pilipino Pro­gram (4Ps) are cov­ered by the Ex­panded Stu­dents’Grants in Aid Pro­gram for Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion (ESGP-PA); while those who are not part of the 4Ps can avail of fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for ed­u­ca­tional pur­poses un­der the Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial As­sis­tance Pro­grams (StuFAPs) both un­der CHED and SUCs.

Mean­while, in­creased al­lo­ca­tion for the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd) is in­tended for site de­vel­op­ment of public schools and to in­crease teach­ers’cash or chalk al­lowance from P1,500 to P2,500, which they use to pur­chase class­room sup­plies like chalk, erasers and forms.

For health­care, bud­get for Phil­Health was in­creased by P3 bil­lion so that all Filipinos will now be cov­ered by the uni­ver­sal health­care pro­gram, while in­di­gent pa­tients will not have to pay for any­thing in govern­ment hos­pi­tals un­der the No Bal­ance Billing (NBB) pol­icy.

Apart from the Phil­Health sub­sidy, the 2017 na­tional bud­get will also al­lo­cate a to­tal of P96.336 bil­lion for the Depart­ment of Health (DOH), which in­cludes funds for the con­struc­tion of ad­di­tional health fa­cil­i­ties and drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ters. The amount is also in­clu­sive of the P800 mil­lion fund­ing for the Doc­tors to the Bar­rio pro­gram, which aims to pro­vide eq­ui­table health­care ser­vices to all ar­eas of the coun­try through the de­ploy­ment of com­pe­tent and ded­i­cated physi­cians to serve the doc­tor­less mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Un­der the Depart­ment of So­cial Wel­fare and De­vel­op­ment (DSWD), P100 mil­lion will be granted to centenarians and ad­di­tional fund­ing is pro­vided for the sup­ple­men­tal feed­ing pro­gram. More­over, all 4.4 mil­lion ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the 4Ps will now be en­ti­tled to a rice al­lowance in the form of cash gr ant s.

Un­der the Na­tional Ir­ri­ga­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NIA) bud­get, the amount of P2 bil­lion is pro­vided to sub­si­dize ir­ri­ga­tion ser­vice fees (ISF) that farm­ers have long been shoul­der­ing. An ac­com­pa­ny­ing Spe­cial Pro­vi­sion for this pur­pose spec­i­fies that the P2 bil­lion al­lo­ca­tion will be used to cover the op­er­at­ing re­quire­ments of NIA and the main­te­nance of ex­ist­ing ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties which were pre­vi­ously funded out of the col­lec­tions from ISF.

For liveli­hood and mi­croen­ter­prises sup­port, ad­di­tional P1 bil­lion is al­lo­cated un­der the Small Busi­ness Cor­po­ra­tion so it can pro­vide loans at al­most no in­ter­est to mi­croen­ter­prises; ad­di­tional funds were also pro­vided for var­i­ous pro­grams of the Depart­ment of La­bor and Em­ploy­ment (DOLE) in­clud­ing Em­ploy­ment Fa­cil­i­ta­tion and Ca­pac­ity Build­ing Ser­vices.

Un­der the Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (TESDA), there are funds for the Train­ing for Work Schol­ar­ship Pro­gram/ Liveli­hood, as well as Train­ing Pro­vi­sion for Drug De­pen­dents.

For the Depart­ment of In­te­rior and Lo­cal Govern­ment (DILG), ad­di­tional funds were pro­vided for train­ing and equip­ment of fire­fight­ers, sup­port to the Philip­pine Na­tional Police’s (PNP) fight against il­le­gal drugs, in­creased sub­sis­tence al­lowance of pris­on­ers and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and con­struc­tion of jail fa­cil­i­ties.

Ad­di­tional funds were also al­lo­cated to the Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fense (DND) to fund ac­tiv­i­ties to ef­fec­tively de­fend the coun­try from in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal threats, as well as to fund pro­grams such as the re­pair of Vet­er­ans Cen­ter, ex­panded vet­er­ans hos­pi­tal­iza­tion pro­gram, and con­struc­tion of cadet bar­racks.

Funds have been al­lo­cated for the com­bat and in­cen­tive pay of the mil­i­tary and police, as well as for the Ca­pa­bil­ity En­hance­ment Pro­gram of the PNP.

For en­vi­ron­ment and re­silience pro­grams, funds un­der the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) were al­lo­cated for restora­tion of man­groves, which are ef­fec­tive buf­fers against storm surge and tsunami. In im­ple­ment­ing the Na­tional Green­ing Pro­gram (NGP), the DENR should use plant­ing ma­te­ri­als that are re­spon­sive to the needs of the com­mu­ni­ties such as fruit-bear­ing trees, bam­boo, co­conut trees, and trees that are im­por­tant for tra­di­tional use and liveli­hood of in­dige­nous peo­ples and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

Le­garda also en­sured con­tin­ued sup­port for her­itage, arts and cul­ture. Spe­cial pro­vi­sions for cli­mate and dis­as­ter re­silience are also part of the 2017 GAA.

The Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) will un­der­take dis­as­ter-re­silient agri­cul­tural in­fra­struc­ture projects and prac­tices, and the Depart­ment of Agrar­ian Re­form (DAR) will pro­mote the adop­tion of sus­tain­able farm­ing ap­proaches.

DepEd schools and SUCs will in­clude the in­te­gra­tion of ed­u­ca­tional mod­ules on in­dige­nous knowl­edge, her­itage, bio­di­ver­sity, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, dis­as­ter risk re­duc­tion and cli­mate change in their re­spec­tive cur­ric­ula.

The DENR shall iden­tify crit­i­cal wa­ter­shed ar­eas, other pro­tected ar­eas, and com­mu­ni­ties rav­aged by ex­treme weather events as ar­eas to be pri­or­i­tized as plant­ing sites un­der the NGP.

There is also a spe­cial pro­vi­sion to en­sure that evac­u­a­tion cen­ters and in­fra­struc­ture projects con­form to re­silience stan­dards to with­stand nat­u­ral haz­ards, and as­sign­ing pri­or­ity to govern­ment struc­tures lo­cated in ar­eas highly vul­ner­a­ble to seis­mic ac­tiv­ity for re­pair and retrofitting ef­forts.

The 2017 GAA also aims to pro­tect built her­itage, cul­tural prop­er­ties, and cul­tural land­scapes from al­ter­ation, ren­o­va­tion, or de­mo­li­tion by re­quir­ing prior ap­proval by govern­ment cul­tural agen­cies.

There is also a gen­eral pro­vi­sion on the pro­tec­tion of bio­di­ver­sity, man­dat­ing all govern­ment agen­cies, of­fices, and lo­cal govern­ment units to en­sure that pro­tec­tion of bio­di­ver­sity is in­te­grated and main­streamed into their de­vel­op­ment pro­grams and projects.

— Princess Clea Arcellaz

NE­GOKARTS AND TUPAD. Masantol Mayor Danilo Guintu and DOLE Pam­panga Di­rec­tor Ar­lene Tolentino led the dis­tri­bu­tion of Ne­goKarts and salaries of TUPAD work­ers re­cently.

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