Newly discovered ginger species named after FEU chair emeritus
A NEW plant species of the ginger family, endemic to the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Zamboanga del Sur in Mindanao, was recently discovered by Filipino scientist Rudolph Docot. A faculty of Far Eastern University (FEU), Mr. Docot named the plant Plagiostachys lourdesiae in honor of the school’s Chair Emeritus Lourdes R. Montinola. The discovery has been published in the Nordic Journal of Botany. A statement from FEU said Mr. Docot, supported by the University Research Center, discovered Plagiostachys lourdesiae during a botanical exploration for the Plagiostachys species, a small genus of the family Zingiberaceae or commonly known as ginger. “The genus is unique because its flower head breaks through the leaf sheaths just above the ground, appearing lateral,” the university said. The plant is most closely related to Plagiostachys escritorii, which was first discovered in Mt. Apo, also in Mindanao, in 1915.
Solon pushes for pre-audit of public funds to address graft, corruption
GOVERNMENT disbursements relating to infrastructure projects and procurement of goods and services should undergo a pre-audit system to address graft and corruption, a lawmaker said Wednesday. San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florinda P. Robes filed House Bill No. 7127, titled Government Pre-Audit Act of 2020, which, if passed into law, will mandate the Commission on Audit (CoA) to conduct a thorough pre-audit examination of certain public transactions. The proposed pre-audit will also cover lease of goods and real property of any branch, office agency or instrumentality of the government, including state universities and colleges, government-owned and controlled corporations, government financial institutions and local government governments. A Pre-Audit Office will also be created by CoA “to guarantee that there will be no delay in carrying out the pre-audit system. Any delay will subject the state auditor to criminal or administrative sanctions.” Ms. Robes, in a statement, said, “The country has suffered so much from graft and corruption of taxpayers’ money by unscrupulous individuals in and outside of government. It is now time to stop this despicable act.” Ms. Robes said a pre-audit system was implemented in the 1920s, but the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos shifted to a post-audit system in the 1970s, which was adopted by succeeding administrations. In 2009, CoA implemented a pre-auditing system through Circular No. 2002-02 “in view of the rising incidents of irregular, illegal, wasteful and anomalous disbursements of huge amounts of public funds and disposal of public property.” The circular, however, was lifted in 2011 after the audit body re-affirmed that the concept of fiscal responsibility “resides with agency management.” It cited Section 2 of Presidential Decree No. 445, or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, which states that “all resources of the government shall be managed, expended or utilized in accordance with law and regulations… The responsibility to take care that such policy is faithfully adhered to rests directly with the chief or head of the government agency concerned.”— Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza