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JV ASKS PNOY FOR MORE FUNDS FOR OFW LEGAL ASSISTANCE

SAN Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada urged President Benigno Aquino III to allocate more funds intended for legal assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are facing criminal charges in their respective host countries. Ejercito Estrada made the call following reports that some 3,000 OFWs around the world are facing criminal charges, ranging from immigration-related cases, murder, theft, to drug trafficking. In China alone, 78 Filipinos are reported to have been convicted for drug trafficking and are awaiting death sentences. The young legislator, who is the vice chairman of the House labor and  employment committee, noted that a measly P60 million was appropriated this year for the legal assistance fund (LAF) that could be used by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to bail out OFWs who are in conflict with the law in at least 68 host countries. “I cannot imagine the fact that our OFWs whom we refer to as the ‘modern-day heroes’ are getting less out of their contribution to our country,” Ejercito Estrada said in exasperation. “If not for the remittances of these hardworking OFWs, our economy could have been in the red. And, yet, the present government seems lukewarm in attending to their needs, especially in terms of providing legal assistance to those who are locked in legal battle in their respective host countries,” he stressed. Under Republic Act (RA) 10022 or the...

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JV CHALLENGED THE NATIONAL POLICE TO STOP CRIME WAVE

SAN Juan Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada challenged Philippine National Police (PNP) director general Alan Purisima to step up the government’s fight against crime. Ejercito Estrada expressed alarm over the spate of sensational crimes involving guns which occurred in the first few days of 2013. “The death of Stephanie Nicole Ella in Caloocan, the shooting spree of Ronald Bae in Kawit, Cavite, and the alleged shootout in Atimonan, Quezon are not just petty crimes. And all these happened in just a span of one week,” the young lawmaker said. He said the PNP under the leadership of General Alan Purisima must immediately roll out crime prevention measures before the public loses confidence in his agency. “General Purisima should step up or step down. PNP officials should show that they have the capability to prevent high-profile crimes,” the San Juan solon said. In the case of the alleged shootout in Atimonan, Quezon involving policemen, Ejercito Estrada urged the PNP to cooperate fully with the National Bureau of Investigation to speed up the resolution of the case.   ### Press Release January 15,...

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JV: WITHOUT GOV’T INTERVENTION, SUGAR FARMERS FACE ROUGH SAILING

SAN Juan Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada warned that Filipino sugar planters may lose their livelihood if the government will not put in place a comprehensive program that will enable them to compete with their counterparts in Southeast Asia. Ejercito Estrada said the absence of a long-term plan to aid sugarcane planters and other stakeholders will put at risk the entire local sugar industry which contributes about P70 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and P2 billion to the national treasury in the form of value-added tax (VAT). The young lawmaker said the government must immediately roll out measures such as alternative livelihood programs for sugarcane planters that may be displaced by the impending full implementation of the free trade scheme of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) in 2015. Under the so-called ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), cheap sugar from ASEAN member-countries such as Thailand could flood the local market and cause farmers to stop planting sugarcane as the price of sugar goes down due to oversupply. “Huwag na sana natin antayin na marami pang magsasaka ang mawalan ng pinagkakakitaan at magutom bago pa tayo kumilos para hanapan sila ng panibagong trabaho,” Ejercito Estrada said. He called on the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to spearhead a campaign that would revive the local sugar industry and improve the economic condition of thousands of sugarcane planters who are...

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JV ASKS PNP TO INTENSIFY CRACKDOWN ON LOOSE FIREARMS

SAN Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensify its campaign against loose firearms to curb gun violence. Ejercito Estrada made the statement amid renewed calls for tougher gun control laws following the death of 23 people in separate incidents barely a few days into 2013. A seven-year-old girl from Caloocan died after she was hit by a stray bullet in the head while watching fireworks on New Year’s Eve. A shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite left nine people dead on Jan. 4. A few days after, 13 people were killed in a shootout in Quezon province. The young lawmaker expressed apprehension that incidents of gun violence may increase if the PNP will not be able to immediately track down and apprehend the owners of some 500,000 illegal firearms. “The PNP must be able to account for these loose firearms especially since the Philippines is already in the thick of preparations for the May elections,” he said. Violent incidents tend to go up as election day nears. Ejercito Estrada said the government particularly the PNP must be able to assure Filipinos that it is capable of safeguarding their lives as well as the sanctity of the ballot. He challenged PNP Director General Alan Purisima to prove that President Benigno Aquino III made the right decision in appointing him as national police chief and...

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JV: ABDUCTIONS STUNT GROWTH OF MINDANAO’S TOURISM

SAN Juan Representative JV Ejercito Estrada urged the government to immediately put an end to the kidnappings in Mindanao especially of foreign nationals as these hinder the growth of the region’s tourism sector. The young lawmaker noted that kidnapping incidents in southern Philippines prevent foreign and domestic tourists from exploring the wondrous travel destinations in the region. “Safety remains as the top concern for tourists who are on the lookout for travel destinations. The government must assure tourists that they are safe in our country,” Ejercito Estrada said. He cited the case of Australian Warren Rodwell who was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf group in 2011 and remains in captivity. Canberra issued an advisory discouraging Australians from traveling to Mindanao following the release of a two-minute “proof-of-life” video of Rodwell on Dec. 16. “Travel bans to the Philippines tend to undermine the efforts of the government to promote the country as a tourist destination,” the solon said. Rodwell is just one of the foreign nationals who were abducted allegedly by the Abu Sayyaf in recent years. The terrorist group usually demands a ransom for the release of their captives. In the case of Rodwell, the Abu Sayyaf asked for $2 million in exchange for the Australian’s freedom. “While I approve of the government’s stance against negotiating with terrorists, these kidnappings must not be left unresolved,” Ejercito Estrada said. “We...

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Partido ng Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN) Campaign Rally in Biñan City, Laguna.

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