Saturday, September 12, 2009

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

ANSWERS TO FIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NOMINEE

  1. The career of Councilor EDWIN J. PIANO can be described as a career characterized by hard work, legislative savvy and selfless dedication to public service. It is a shining example of how a Councilor’s innovativeness and practical skills can be successfully parlayed into the concrete enhancement of the lives of his constituents and the progress of his community and country.

Councilor Piano’s political career began in May 2001, when he was elected to the Olongapo City Council for the first time. He was subsequently re-elected for two more terms, in 2004 and 2007. With not much resource, other than his sagacious legislative skills, Mr. Piano was able to discern the legislation that was actually necessary in his milieu, and has authored and sponsored a wide range of legislative measures which all redound to the improvement of the quality of life of his constituents and the progress of Olongapo City. The scope of ordinances and resolutions he authored/sponsored include those on information and communications technology applications and regulations; and those for the improvement of education, environment, health, labor and employment, and revenue generation.

Believing that a councilor’s duties to the people go beyond mere legislative work, Mr. Piano voluntarily assumed other responsibilities that have a direct impact on the welfare of the community. He formally organized and led thousands of volunteers in rendering a wide range of community services. He set up and now heads the Olongapo Skills Development and Employment Center, while he is one of the pillars of the Subic Bay Information and Communications Technology Council. Mr. Piano is also very active in the scouting movement in Olongapo City.

  1. (a.) As Chairman of the Committee on Labor and Employment, Councilor Piano almost by himself, established and now heads the Olongapo Skills Development and Employment Program, and generously shared his welding skills to more than nine thousand (as of July 2009) unemployed, mostly out-of school youth not only from Olongapo but from all over the country. He was also instrumental in the employment of more than ninety percent of these trainees, mostly at the Hanjin shipyard and some even overseas. Another noteworthy aspect of this achievement is that due to lack of government funds, this program was started with a meager Fifty Thousand Pesos from Councilor Piano’s volunteers’ organization. He innovatively applied “virtual welding” practice to save on welding rods, in order to accommodate more trainees. It was only later that Mr. Piano, using his exceptional legislative skills, was able to persuade a cash-strapped city government to change priorities and provide funding for the program. Today, the training program under Councilor Piano is jointly funded by his Bagumbayan Volunteers and the city government, and accepts trainees from all over the country.

(b.) An important achievement of Councilor Piano was the enactment of City Resolution No. 2005 R-011 which ended the monopoly in the city of one telecommunications provider, and allowed the entry of other providers. What makes this achievement more outstanding is the fact that despite strong lobby from powerful vested interests, Mr. Piano demonstrated his skill in balancing the contending forces and factions of public opinion, and successfully passed this important piece of legislation to the benefit not only of his constituents but the whole Province of Zambales as well.

Other noteworthy achievements of Councilor Piano include:

(c.) Information Technology - Through legislation and actual implementation, Mr. Piano authored legislation to computerize all government transactions and records. This is intended to facilitate doing business with the city government and ensure that the records are safe and easy to access. This resulted in streamlined procedures, faster service and less inconvenience to transacting clients of government.

(d.) Three-in-One ID System via Mobitron – Through a resolution authored by Mr. Piano, the city government put to use an identification card with a built-in tracking system that can be used as a valid ID by city residents such as drivers, vendors, government employees and other sectors who want it. Once swiped into the device, the ID card transmits information to a computer regarding, for example, how many traffic violations a driver has been ticketed for, or whether one has availed of a particular government service. The ID card also serves as daily time record of employees.

(e.) Subic-Clark Telecom Interconnection – Mr. Piano authored a resolution calling for the removal of additional charges on phone calls between Clark and Subic. This will enhance the communications between investors on both sides of the growth corridor minus the extra costs.

(f.) Information Dissemination Ordinance – Mr. Piano believes that information should be readily available to the public, so he took it upon himself, at no cost to the city government, to undertake the computer archiving of all city ordinances and resolutions from 1959 to the present. Now students, researchers and other interested parties can easily have on-line access to the documents. The websites he created namely www.sangunian.com, www.news.olongapo-subic.com and www.jobs.subicbay.ph have been a favorite source of information, to date more than two million viewers have been counted on these websites.

(g.) Telecom Board – Mr. Piano authored legislation creating the City Telecoms Board and regulating the setting up of telecom cell sites in the city, thereby promoting public welfare and increasing city revenues.

(h.) Business-Friendly Revenue Code – To sustain development in financially difficult times, Mr. Piano made amendments to the local revenue code which would encourage new entrepreneurs to start business at minimal costs in terms of required government fees while still paying their proper dues to the government.

(i.) Task Force Guam – As Chairman of Task Force Guam, Mr. Piano’s untiring and unremitting efforts to find employment for unemployed Filipinos found him negotiating with government officials and prospective employers in Guam which resulted in the signing memorandum of understanding firming up the latter’s commitment to hire Filipino workers for the Guam Build-up Project. Today, Mr. Piano’s office is deluged with thousands of job applicants who are being prepared for interview by the employers.

(j.) Councilor Piano has authored a number of other significant legislations especially in the field of education, health and the environment, the details of which are contained in the succeeding Listing of Authored and Sponsored Ordinances and Resolutions. To date a total of 259 Resolutions and 35 Ordinances have been authored and sponsored by Mr. Piano, some of which are the following:

2004 O – 24 - AN ORDINANCE CREATING THE LOCAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY BOARD.

2005 R – 11 - REQUIRING IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF ONE RATE, ONE PROVINCE POLICY

2008 O – 54 - STRENGTHENING THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC INFORMATION MANAGEMENT OF OLONGAPO CITY

2008 O – 02 - PROVIDING FOR THE COMPUTERIZATION OF ALL ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS ENACTED AND ADOPTED RESPECTIVELY BY THE PREVIOUS SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD AND THE PRESENT SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD IN LINE WITH THE COMPUTER MODERNIZATION PROGRAM OF THE CITY

2008 R – 39 - AGREEMENT (MOA) WITH JEMERYK PORTAL SYSTEM INTEGRATION, INC. REGARDING THE COMPUTERIZED I.D. OF PUBLIC UTILITY TRICYCLE DRIVERS AND OPERATORS AND VOLUNTEERS IN OLONGAPO CITY

2008 R- 18 - ADOPTING THE COMPUTERIZATION PROJECT OF THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS OF THE CITY

2007 O – 64 - OLONGAPO CITY 2007 REVENUE CODE

2007 O – 46 – PROVIDING FOR FREE ANNUAL PHYSICAL AND DENTAL CHECK-UP OF OLONGAPO CITY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

2006 R – 69 - APPROVING THE OLONGAPO CITY SKILLS TRAINING PROGRAM AS ONE OF THE PRIORITY PROJECTS

2007 O – 32 –APPROPRIATING AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT OF THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (PHP300,000.00) FOR THE OLONGAPO CITY SKILLS TRAINING PROGRAM

2007 O – 24 –APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT OF SEVEN MILLION PESOS (PHP7,000,000.00) AS CITY’S COUNTERPART FUND FOR THE OLONGAPO CITY UNIFIED LAND INFORMATION SYSTEM

2007 R – 106 - AGREEMENT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (DILG) THROUGH THE BUREAU OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT (BLGD) REGARDING THE LEGISLATIVE TRACKING AND PERFORMANCE MONITORING SYSTEM PROJECT (LTPMS) AND SANGGUNIAN INFORMATION SYSTEM (SIS)

2007 R – 105 – AGREEMENT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (DILG) THROUGH THE BUREAU OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT (BLGD) AND COMMUNITY BASED MONITORING SYSTEM (CBMS)

2007 R – 75 - PUBLIC TRANSPORT COLOR CODED SCHEME, PATS-PUBLIC ASSISTANCE TRACKING SYSTEM, VMS-VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

2006 R – 174 - AGREEMENT WITH HANJIN HEAVY INDUSTRIES CORPORATION-PHILS. (HHIC-PHILS.) AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (TESDA) FOR SKILLS TRAINING PROGRAM

2005 O – 78 –RULES AND REGULATIONS TO GOVERN THE OPERATION, LICENSING ANS SUPERVISION OF ALL COMPUTER RELATED ESTABLISHMENT/INTERNET

2005 O – 54 – AN ORDINANCE PRESCRIBING CELL SITE APPLICATION FEE

2009 R – 116 - ENJOINING ALL TELECOM SERVICE PROVIDERS IN OLONGAPO CITY, SUBIC BAY FREEPORT AND ZAMBALES TO IMMEDIATELY IMPLEMENT THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION COMMISSION MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR 09-07-2007 OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE INTERCONNECTION OF LOCAL EXCHANGE CARRIERS

2004 R – 26 - ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF PUBLIC CONVENIENCE FOR INNOVE COMMUNICATIONS, INC TO RENDER AND PROVIDE INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC LEASED LINED SERVICES IN THE TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION OF SBMA AND OLONGAPO

2009 O – 06 - AN ORDINANCE CREATING JAMES L. GORDON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL ADVISORY BOARD

2004 O – 36 - CREATION AND OPERATION OF THE OLONGAPO CITY COLLEGES NOW NAMED AS GORDON COLLEGE

2007 O – 19 - ESTABLISHING THE INSTITUTE OF GRADUATE STUDIES IN GORDON COLLEGE

  1. In recognition of his numerous significant accomplishments, Councilor Edwin Piano has received many praises, accolades, prizes and awards such as the following:

“Your sustained commitment, dedication and selfless support to the Olongapo City’s disaster risk management initiatives toward a safer, prepared and more resilient community, thus contributing in a large measure to the success of the city in the National Gawad Kalasag Award’s Best City Disaster Coordinating Council.” Given by Angie Layug, Chief, Disaster Management Office/CDCC

“We believe that your organization’s winning TESDA Kabalikat Award was made possible due to your vibrant leadership and strong advocacy program on skills training.” Given By Elizabeth Manio, TESDA Provincial Director

“Scouter Edwin Piano has been instrumental in the continued development and growth of the programs and activities of the local scouting movement in forms immeasurable and most are intangible but very valuable in nature. Given By Council Executive Board, BSP-JLGC.

“His communication and leadership skills are very useful during evacuation of flood victims and crowd control during fire and major traffic accidents… Councilor Edwin J. Piano, truly is an outstanding public servant.” Given by Rudy Dalluay, DX3UNA President and JCI Senator No. 48244.

“For invaluable assistance and support, extended to Olongapo Business Club.” Given by Sam Del Rosario, President, Olongapo Business Club.

“For exemplary performance and significant contribution in providing radio communications assistance to the 23rd SEA Games.” Given by Jaime Fortes, Jr., Deputy Commissioner and co-chair, Phil Olympic Committee

“For wholehearted support and invaluable services rendered to the Executive Committee which has contributed immeasurably to the success of Alay Lakad.” Given by Kate Gordon, City Mayor

“For his most valuable contribution of the EXPLORE 2002: The North Philippines Expedition.” Given by Renato Diaz, Undersecretary, Presidential Assistance for North Luzon

“For unwavering support to the City Police in terms of immediate and accurate telecommunication services.” Given by Ramon Fortunato Ocampo, Police Superintendent, Deputy City Director.

“For meritorious and outstanding service rendered to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.” Given by Jose Rizal Pangilinan, Secretary-General, BSP

“We consider you and all who participated as heroes because your donations will save lives.” Given By Susan Dudley, Executive Director, Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce.

“For outstanding support and cooperation to the Olongapo City Girl Scouts Council.” Given by Erlinda Crispin, Council President, GSP-Olongapo

“Appreciation and outstanding support for the betterment of the school youth and in the realization of the projects launched for the improvement of the Sta. Rita Elementary School,” Given by Merele Ellano, Principal III – District II.

“For sharing valuable insights and global experiences to the participants of e-Services 2009 thus enhancing their knowledge of ICT and BPO best practices in an international context.” Given by Thomas Aquino, Senior Trade Undersecretary, DTI

“For devoted and valuable personal service and support to the youth development program.” Given by William Chavez, Director, Boy Scouts of the Philippines

“For valuable support and unselfish effort extended to the Olongapo Sport’s Council.” Given by Councilor Rodel Cerezo, Chairman, Task Force Sports.

“For invaluable support as resource person in the Olongapo City College symposium.” Given by Edralino Cajudo, Chairman, Board of Regents.

“For timely repair and re-installation of base and mobile radio antennas.” Given by Jonas Silvano, City Fire Marshal.

“For invaluable efforts in assisting our war heroes, their children and family in preserving the robust legacy of patriotism, enriching our heritage and instilling discipline and unity in the hearts of the Olongape├▒os.” Given by Vice Mayor Cynthia Cajudo, President, Veterans Federation - SDAI.

  1. The accomplishments of Mr. Piano has resulted in concrete benefits to his constituents and to the public good in general.

(a) His skills training and employment assistance to thousands of unemployed Filipinos, in particular, has had a tremendous impact and paved the way to a brighter future for thousands of families nationwide. Where before, these unemployed and mostly out-of school youth had no employable skills and faced and an uncertain future, Mr. Piano has empowered them with marketable skills that ensured their lifetime economic security.

(b) His resolution ended one company’s monopoly in the city and allowed competition in the telecommunications sector had a very significant positive impact on the people, paving the way, as it did, for better service and competitive rates. It also required telecommunications companies to adopt the ‘One-Province-One-Rate Policy’ which did away with undue interconnection charges. This means that residents of Olongapo, Zambales and the Subic Bay Freeport can now make long distance landline calls without the extra long distance charges.

(c) The computerization of transactions with the city government which was initiated by Mr. Piano has eliminated the tedious and time consuming processes, thus improving the delivery of services to the public.

(d) His efforts as Chairman of the City Council Committee on Education and member of the Board of Regents of Olongapo City Colleges resulted in the raising of the school’s standards. Today, through the efforts of Mr. Piano, the school, which is until today known as the poor student’s college, is now a full-blown college offering courses the standards of which are comparable, and sometimes better than those in Metro Manila. Poor parents no longer have to worry being separated from their children while the latter go to college, and more importantly, their budgetary concerns have been eased.

(e) Mr. Piano’s concern for the youth is not confined to the students of Olongapo City College. His Skills Development and Employment Program has provided opportunities for the future of thousands of out-of-school youth. His hands-on mentoring of younger students, as Vice Chairman of the Boy Scouts of the Philippine, James L. Gordon Council has impacted tremendously on the boys that he has trained and motivated.

  1. As a manifestation of their confidence and trust in Mr.Piano’s capabilities as a legislator and his dedication to public service, Mr. Piano’s colleagues in the City Council has entrusted him with the most important Committees and the most number of Committee Chairmanships in the City Council.

But his most outstanding legislative and humanitarian efforts are those that have to do with his efforts, despite initial opposition, to persuade an initially reluctant and cash-strapped city government to modify its program of priorities and divert its meager funds to finance the Olongapo Skills Development and Employment Program (OSDEP) and establish the OSDE Center. This proved to be one of the best decisions of the city government, as the tremendous impact of this program has concretely enhanced the lives of thousand of families nationwide.

Mr. Piano’s initiatives regarding the regulation and use of modern information and communication technology in the city have likewise impacted positively on the lives of the people. So does most of his legislative outputs.

In summary, the greatest accomplishment of Councilor Edwin Piano is his effective use of his legislative sagacity and skills in crafting timely and necessary laws that respond to the needs of the community; and his willingness to work even beyond the confines of the legislative halls, without any compensation, to make sure that these laws make their intended positive impact on the lives of the people. This accomplishment aptly exemplifies the line in the JCI Creed that states, “That government should be of laws rather than of men, and that service to humanity is the best work of life.”

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