Official Week in Review: July 30 – August 5, 1979

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July 30

THE PRESIDENT received the three-man committees sent by the regional assemblies in the South. He was informed that the Sangguniang Pampook (regional assemblies) have ratified Zamboanga City and Cotabato City as the seats of the autonomous governments in Region 9 and 12, respectively. The assemblies also submitted to the President a list of 10 recommendees from which the President can select five members of the Executive Council for the region. The council will be the executive unit of the region. Council members may or may not be members of the Sangguniang Pampook.

AMBASSADOR Edward Lucien Bobinski of Canada presented to the President his letters of credence. Following the ceremony, the President received Vice Speaker Maarten William Schakel of the Netherlands Parliament, who paid his respects in the course of an unofficial visit to the Philippines. He was accompanied by Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands, Ambassador J.V. Cruz during his call on the President.

BUDGET Minister Jaime C. Laya disclosed that at least P600 million in the proposed P39.8 billion national budget is intended for salary increases for government personnel to enable them to cope with the rising cost of living. He also said during his budget sponsorship speech at the Batasang Pambansa that the P39.8-billion appropriation is P30.20 billion less than the sum of the proposed budget outlays of the various ministries. He said the appropriations measure does not only answer the exigencies of global energy crisis but also contains measures against graft and corruption.

THE FIRST Lady and Human Settlements Minister Imelda Romualdez Marcos said the chances of solving the malnutrition problems in the country under the five-year national nutrition plan by 1982 “seems fairly bright.” She made this prediction during the awarding ceremonies of the nutrition month celebration at Maharlika Hall. She pointed out that while there are still many shortcomings, including the unevenness of implementation, some apathy and complacency and parental lack of funds, “future prospects are not devoid of hope.” She said that gains have been made to reduce the malnutrition rate in the country since the Nutrition Center of the Philippines was established five years ago.

TASK force on refugees headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Jose D. Ingles has finalized plans for transferring the Tung An refugees to Tara island off Palawan startin Aug. 7. The Philippine Navy has completed the following facilities at the island processing center; 11 prefab buildings with a capacity of 100 persons each; communal kitchen communal toilet and bath with a capacity of 32 persons at any one time (with 16 water closets and 16 bathrooms each); long refugee hut good for 300 persons; and five artesian wells. The Ministry of Social Services and Development is finalizing plans to provide at least one month’s food supply, kitchen personnel and equipment. Deputy Minister of Health Jesus Azurin has activated malaria control and water purifying units. The health ministry will establish a clonic on the island to be named by a physician with two or three assistants.

August 1

THE PRESIDENT said that the only way to honor the late President Manuel L. Quezon is to start fulfilling the mandate that the country has inherited from him and from his time. This call was made by the President in a speech read for him by Foreign Minister Carlos P. Romulo during the ceremonies on the transfer of the remains of the late President from the North Cemetery to the Quezon Memorial Shrine in Diliman, Quezon City. The transfer of the remains highlighted the 35th anniversary of the death of the Commonwealth President.

THE FIRST Lady, Imelda Romualdez Marcos, sent off the Philippine Airlines inaugurated flight to Canton and Peking, saying it “symbolized the mutual reciprocity between the two nations working together in matters of mutual advancement.” The flight—on a 14 passenger Boeing 727, one of the two newly-acquired by PAL—carried some 105 passengers, including the official delegation led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Ingles and PAL Chairman Roman Cruz Jr. On the invitation of the First Lady, four of the President’s new;y sworn Cabinet members also joined the flight—Ministers Luis Villafuerte, Roberto Ongpin, Enrique Garcia and Jose Dans Jr.

STARTING today, locally-refined petroleum products will be retailed at higher prices as a result of the 35 percent average price increase imposed by the Organizational of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last July 1. The new prices approved by the Board of Energy are: premium gasoline, P3.00 from P2.23; regular gasoline, P2.80 from P2.07; diesel, P1.69 from P1.42; kerosene, P1.66 from P1.37 for gasoline stations, P1.69 from P1.40 for ambulant resellers, and P1.79 from P1.50 for sari-sari stores. The Board of Energy also authorized petroleum dealers to increase their mark-up by 2 centavos a liter, and 2 centavos per kilogram mark-up for LPG dealers.

August 2

POPE John Paul II will visit the Philippines late this year, it was officially announced in Rome by Ambassador to the Vatican Antonio Delgado, and in Manila by Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, archbishop of Manila and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. The Pope is expected to arrive either during the last week of November or the first week of December in time for the opening of the International Mission Congress to be held in the country from December 2 to 9.

THE FIRST Lady and Human Settlements Minister Imelda Romualdez Marcos urged provincial governors to continue expanding their “Palayan ng Bayan” projects to protect the people from the ravages of hunger. She presided at Malacañang. She also distributed awards to various provinces for excellence in the pursuance of the Palayan program.

August 3

THE PRESIDENT said that any increase in transportation fares, if it will be granted at all will not go beyond one centavo per kilometer. This assurance was given during the caucus of the KIlusang Bagong LIpunan in Malacañang. He also said that a P400-million subsidy fund for mass transportation and other projects is being readied to limit the increase in the transportation rates to the minimum. The subsidy fund would be taken from the P1 billion the government expects to generate from the new taxes tacked on the increase in prices of petroleum products.

LABOR Minister Blas F. Ople was directed by the President to convene the national tripartite congress to discuss the possibility of granting wage increases in the light of the recent increase in prices of oil products. The tripartite congress of labor, management and government met last March and recommended a P2 daily increase, pegging the minimum wage for non-agricultural workers in Metro Manila at P13 a day. The directive was issued by the President during the caucus of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan party in Malacañang.

THE FIRST Lady and Metro Manila Gov. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos called in the city fiscals of Manila to redouble their efforts to speed up and improve the administration of justice, particularly when the poor are involved. “Justice or the lack of it, is the main problem of the poor in Metro Manila,” she told a meeting of the 123 city fiscals and justice ministry officials headed by newly-installed Justice Minister Ricardo G. Puno at the Satellite Hall of the Hotel Mirador on San Marcelino. During the same speech she pledged to work for the approval of salary increases for the city fiscals. She said she was aware of their difficulties in the face of the present economic crunch brought about by the new oil price increases.

FOREIGN students in local colleges and universities must take six units of Pilipino as a pre-requisite to graduation, the Ministry of Education and Culture said. However, those graduating next school year are exempted. Some 10,000 foreign students will be affected by the requirement.

August 4

THE PRESIDENT has cancelled the referendum scheduled to be conducted today in Cagayan by the Commission on Elections. The referendum, ordered under Proclamation No. 1876, was intended to settle the political leadership in the said province. No reason was disclosed for the cancellation according to Comelec Chairman Leonardo B. Perez who was in Cagayan when the President informed him through long distance call about the cancellation.

THE FIRST Lady and Human Settlements Minister Imelda Romualdez Marcos deplored efforts by what she called subversive elements to create disorder in Metro Manila. In an interview with newsmen after her speech at the opening of the Rural Electrification Week in Malacañang, she said that subversive elements are taking advantage of the present oil crisis to agitate the people. “Our enemies will try to enter into all of these weak points in our society in order to destroy and ultimately take over the government,” she said. To cushion the impact of the rising prices, the First Lady said the Metro Manila Commission will undertake “many projects.”

LIBERALIZED licensing of firearms and the creation of urban civilian home defense forces (CHDF) were among the anti-crime measures proposed by a top level conference on peace and order presided over by Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile at Camp Aguinaldo. The conferees also proposed limiting the movement of vehicles at certain hours of the day. The proposal, which the military officials referred to as a “car-few” regulation, was also intended to contribute to the nationwide energy conservation program.

ASIA’S perennially flooded plains may yet turn into rice-producing areas. The promise is held by initial successes achieved in the search for a floating rice” variety, a type that ably resists the inundations which hit the region’s agricultural fields during the season of the monsoon rains. The ideal variety being sought by researchers based at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños. Laguna, is one which they described as “a tall, tough-rooted plant which can yield rich harvests while beating off the sudden onrush of flood-waters.” Researchers conducted in the Philippines and Thailand indicate the possibility of the existence of such a variety.

August 5

ASIAN Development Bank has approved a technical assistance grant of $700,000 to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for a research program designed to boost rice yields on farm land now producing poor crops in disadvantaged areas. IRRI, wrought its own efforts and in cooperation with rice scientists around the world, has played an important role in developing improvised varieties, production technology and rice-based cropping systems. It has been largely responsible for the Green Revolution by which rice harvests in developing countries have improved dramatically since the mid- 1960s.

Source: Supreme Court Library

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1979). Official Week in Review. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 75(32), clxiii-clxvi.