National Newsbits for June 8, 2013

NAT'L CONSECRATION

Catholic Church leaders will lead the simultaneous holding of the national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary today, June 8. Bishops and priests will consecrate the Philippines to the Blessed Virgin Mary at 10 a.m. today in all cathedrals, parish churches, shrines and chapels in all the archdioceses, dioceses, prelatures and apostolic vicariates of the country. This solemn act entrustment and consecration is part of the Year of Faith observance and also part of the nine-year preparation for the 2021 celebration of the arrival of the Christian faith in the Philippines. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the entrustment would re-affirm the Filipino people's love for the Blessed Mother. (Leslie Aquino)

$5.5-M GRANT

The United States has allocated $5.5 million (roughly P184.3 million) to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to support the roll-out of the third phase of WFP's Disaster Preparedness and Response/Climate Change Adaptation (DPR/CCA) Program, which was piloted in 2011 in the four highly disaster-prone provinces of Benguet, Cagayan, Laguna, and Sorsogon. The third phase will expand the DPR/CCA Program's activities to five new provinces, namely Batangas, Misamis Oriental, and Iloilo, as well as in the Typhoon Bopha-affected areas of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley. It will likewise now incorporate climate change adaptation activities in all program areas. (Roy C. Mabasa)

PAGASA MODERNIZATION

President Benigno S. Aquino III has certified as urgent House Bill No. 6546 that aims to modernize the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the certification has already been transmitted to the Senate. Valte said the President certified the HB 6546 as urgent because it is already on the advanced stage of legislation. "It would be disheartening if it will not be passed by Congress," Valte said. (Madel Sabater-Namit)

P.C.O.S. PLAN

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) may use the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls in October. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said it may only involve a limited number of polling precincts for pilot testing. "It's probably the entire Metro Manila or just one city in Metro Manila, either biggest or smallest city," he said in an interview. (Leslie Ann Aquino)

WATER CODE

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) held a consultative review of the Water Code of the Philippines at the NWRB-VSP Hall in Quezon City. NWRB Officer-in-Charge Elenito M. Bagalihog presided over the meeting. Water Code Review Committee Chairman Juan Y. Corpuz Jr. presented the background and highlights of the Water Code. Among issues raised during the meeting include the merging of the mandates of the National Water Resources Management Office (NWRMO) in the code and the River Basin Control Office (RCBO) to form River Basin Organizations (RBO) all over the country.

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