secondary schools from Tacloban City, Leyte National High School and
Sagkahan National High School, showcased the dancing skills of their
students to the tune of CRVS jingle and vied for the 2018 CRVS
Jingle Dance Champ.
Sagkahan National High
School emerged as winner after garnering an average score of 90.3
The CRVS Jingle Dance
Contest was organized by PSA-RSSO 8 as part of the 2018 Civil
Registration Month (CRM) celebration and the CRVS Decade 2015-2024.
The contest aimed to encourage the youth to participate in the
global advocacy of getting everyone registered and of promoting
awareness on the importance of civil registration in the lives of
Ms. Zonia C. Salazar,
OIC-SOCD of PSA-RSSO 8, Ms. Judith Joy D. Avila, Administrative
Officer I of PSA-Leyte, and Ms. Matilde A. Dacullo, Administrative
Officer IV of PSA-RSSO8, sat as board of judges. Criteria of the
competition included, choreography (50%), execution (30%), costume
(10%), and over-all impact (10%).
Winners were awarded with
cash prizes, certificates, and PSA tokens. They will once again
perform during the 2018 CRM Closing Ceremony.
The years 2015-2024 was
declared as CRVS Decade pursuant to Proclamation 1106 issued on 20
August 2015 and signed by then President Benigno S. Aquino III.
this site, 586.00 lineal meters of flood mitigating
structures will be constructed which will serve as an
extension to the existing flood control in Oquendo, Calbayog
Samar I foresees
flood-free district for 2018
MAE ANGELICA R. COMOTA
February 23, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY – DPWH Samar
I will soon construct twenty-one (21) flood control (FC) projects
with a total appropriation of P520 million sourced out from the
General Appropriations Act of 2018. Last year, the district office
implemented ten (10) FC projects totaling P415.5 million.
Flood control structures
are aimed to mitigate flooding caused by the fluctuation of water
level in rivers and creeks. These projects are: Construction of
Flood Control Structure along Jibatang River (Upstream and
Downstream) in barangays Capacuhan, Mag-Ubay and Jose Roño;
Construction/Extension of Oquendo Flood Control; Construction of
Flood Control Structures in Brgy. Cautod; Construction of Flood
Control Structure along Tagnao River (Upstream) in Brgy. Tagnao;
Construction of Flood Control Structure along Gandara River in
barangays Himay and Mancol; Construction of Flood Control Structure
along Calbayog River in Brgy. Nijaga; Construction of Flood Control
Structure in Brgy. Tinambacan Norte and Sur; Construction of Flood
Control Structure along Binaliw River (Upstream) and Binaliw Creek
in Brgy. Binaliw;
of Flood Control Structure along Caglanipao River in Brgy.
Caglanipao Sur; Rehabilitation/Improvement of Flood Control
Structure along Cagnipa River in Brgy. Cagnipa;
Rehabilitation/Improvement of Flood Control Structure along Tangao
River in Brgy. San Joaquin; Rehabilitation/Improvement of Flood
Control Structure along Manguino-o Creek in Brgy. Manguino-o;
Rehabilitation/Improvement of Flood Control Structure along Banti-an
Creek in Brgy. Banti-an; and Rehabilitation/Improvement of Flood
Control Structure along Gandara River (Upstream and Downstream) in
Brgy. Ngoso, Gandara, Samar.
Plans and Programs of Work
(POW) of the aforementioned projects have been approved, advertised
and bid-out. According to the Secretariat of the Bids and Awards
Committee, most of the notices of award and notices to proceed have
been issued to contractors. All projects are expected to be
completed within the year.
closer look of the bio-gas digester.
Animal waste: An
FEBE MARIE BERSABAL
February 23, 2018
TACLOBAN CITY –
Three farming communities in Southern Leyte were relieved somehow
from using expensive fuel in cooking.
This after the Department
of Agrarian Reform (DAR) introduced to the residents of three remote
villages in the City of Maasin and the towns of Hinunangan and Tomas
Opus the Community-managed Potable Water and Sanitation Hygiene (CPWASH)
project, a new approach in delivering water, energy, health and
sanitation in the countyside by using available resources in the
CPWASH has four
sub-projects – the rain water collector, the bio-sand filters, the
iron removable filters and the bio-gas digester.
Under the last
sub-project, no one in these villages ever thought that the wastes
of their pigs can be transformed into an alternative fuel.
Virginia Dueñas, one of
the recipients of the said project in Barangay Hantag, Maasin City,
disclosed that they no longer use firewood or LPG (liquefied
petroleum gas) in cooking after this project was introduced to them
by DAR. According to her, they can now save around P700 a month for
they no longer buy LPG.
Their income likewise has
increased as they are forced to raise more pigs in order to gather
sufficient organic wastes that would be turned into fuel.
CPWASH project coordinator
Julius Monge explained that animal wastes are fed and collected in
the bio-gas digester, that in turn, produce methane gas through
Further, under the CPWASH
project rural folks were also trained how to construct bio-sand
filters and iron removable filters to make water from deep wells
farm to market road connecting Brgy. Panaruan and Brgy. Can-ipulan,
Sta. Margarita, Samar.
FMR improves farmers’ livelihood
MAE ANGELICA R. COMOTA
February 23, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY –
DPWH Samar I completes the construction of four (4) farm to market
roads (FMR) within the district benefiting the farmers and
residents situated in Barangays Cabunga-an and Sitio Mactang in
Santo Niño; San Luis and Pange in Tarangnan; Santo Niño and Macugo
in Gandara; and Can-ipulan and Panaruan in Santa Margarita.
These projects have a
combined appropriation of P20 million and cover the concreting of
1.44 kilometers of road. In these communities where agriculture is
the primary source of income, the concrete road provides the farmers
direct access to neighboring barangays and their respective
poblacions, establishing trade and income.
In Brgy. Panaruan, farmers
had to endure walking on uneven and rocky ground while carrying
heavy produce just to deliver it to Brgy. Can-ipulan and Brgy.
“We used to walk for more
than an hour because even habal-habals and motorcycles would not
ride through the bumpy old dirt road,” explains Michael Catalan, a
farmer from Brgy. Panaruan. “Now that this road is concreted, it is
easier for us to transport our products using motorized tricycles.”
Travel time and transport
cost for agricultural products is reduced by 50%.
2018 makes waves with exciting seafood edition
February 23, 2018
PASAY CITY – Global
buyers are up for an exciting showcase of the Philippines’ premier
seafood and other food segments in the International Food Exhibition
(IFEX) Philippines, the country’s biggest export-oriented food show,
on May 25-27 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, Pasay City.
Organized by the
Department of Trade and Industry‐Center for Trade Expositions and
Mission (DTI-CITEM), IFEX Philippines 2018 will stage its first
special edition featuring “The Best of the Seas,” focusing on the
fast-growing seafood market in the Philippine regions and other
“Now an annual event, IFEX
Philippines continues to be the largest and widely anticipated food
trade event in the country,” said Nora K. Terrado, DTI
Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group and CITEM
“For its 12th edition, we
will highlight the Philippines’ finest seafood to satisfy the
growing global demand for marine product and coastal cuisines, along
with other exquisite food products across the globe”, added Terrado.
As one of the official
business events during the country’s hosting of ASEAN in 2017, last
year’s IFEX Philippines opened more trade opportunities and
innovations around the world with the showcase of Philippines’ best
and overseas participation of the European Union (EU), China, South
Korea, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore,
Thailand and other countries.
The three-day event was
attended by nearly 11,000 international and local visitors,
including 2,057 high-profile trade buyers from top global retail
giants and supermarkets. These buyers came from different regions
across the globe, such as Europe, China and SARs, Middle East, East
Asia, America and Southeast Asia.
For its 12th edition, the
IFEX Philippines will excite buyers with the country’s top and
emerging food export companies to promote Philippine food products
and strengthen links with buyers, importers, and retailers in the
global market. Meanwhile, the event will also put up an
International Hall to host the top seafood and non‐marine products
of leading companies and manufacturers from other participating
Making a flavorful splash
in its seafood edition, IFEX Philippines will also stage the
Regional Seafood Pavilion, a regional showcase of world‐class
seafood products and ingredients locally sourced from the coasts and
diverse marine environments across the Philippine archipelago.
“We are tapping the
country’s most marine-abundant coastal regions from Luzon, Visayas
and Mindanao. This is where we will bring key suppliers to make it
easier for buyers to source in one pavilion the best fish and marine
products, such as tuna, milkfish, prawns, tilapia, and other seafood
from the Philippines,” said Terrado.
The Coastal Culinary
Cuisine will then complete the culinary journey in a dynamic
presentation of the Philippines’ most iconic and distinct regional
seafood cuisines from top international and local experts to give an
exquisite experience of the country’s heirloom flavors and
The Marketplace is also
open for a one‐stop retail experience of premium food products
ranging from seafood products, fruits and vegetables, meat and
poultry, processed foods, homemade regional delicacies, and many
For those in want of much
more inspiration and adventure, visiting buyers and exhibiting
companies can also attend export and investment seminars to get new
ideas and updates on the latest regulations, trends, and innovations
in the food industry from renowned experts, researchers, lecturers
and members of the academe.
The 12th edition of IFEX
Philippines is supported by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and
the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
companies/exhibitor may contact Ms. Alex Lucas at 831-2137, or send
an inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
team from the Planning and Design Section of Biliran
District Engineering Office conducts survey of the site for
the Construction of Slope Protection Project located at Brgy.
Pinamihagan, Culaba, Biliran with an allocation of P
50,000,000.00. The section is prone to road slips and
landslide posing danger to lives, properties and existing
national structures, hence prioritization under FY 2018 DPWH
Program. The completion of this project will provide a
structure that will prevent road slips and landslides which
will eventually prevent damage to the existing paved
P1.8B worth of
infra projects allocated to DPWH-Biliran DEO for FY 2018 with
February 23, 2018
NAVAL, Biliran –
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District
Engineering Office gets an additional budget for project
implementation this year.
Biliran DEO has been
allotted with a total budget of P1.8B worth of Infrastructure
projects which comprises of 63 projects.
According to Engr. Rosario
B. Rosete, Chief of Planning and Design Section, 61 of which are to
be implemented by the District Office while two will be implemented
by the Regional Office.
“Previously, we only had
57 projects, 52 are for Biliran DEO’s implementation and five from
the Regional Office with a budget amount of P1.584.224B [sic]. Out
of the five Regional Office projects, three were requested by the
District Office for authority to Bid and Implement amounting to
P320.9M. It was just recently been approved by DPWH Secretary on
January 29, 2018 including the P100M project funded under the
Regionwide Congressmaen’s Fund,” revealed Rosete.
Rosete said that aside
from the four projects added, the District Office will have another
five additional projects for implementation amounting to P147.5M.
“The budget came from the
Regionwide funds of Congressmen as per request by Biliran Province
Local Government Officials,” she said.
The additional projects
are the construction of four seawalls, one multipurpose building,
one baywalk and two slope protections.
As of February 15, 2018,
Rosete said that 48 projects were already bid out, 2 are advertised
and 11 are not yet started under pre-construction activities.
Preliminary and Detailed Engineering (PDE) Activities are still
on-going for these 11 projects.
of the 2018 CRM Poster Making Contest (L-R): Bradlee
Vanz M. Porquez, 1st Place; John Patrick N. Casio, 2nd
Place; and Michael Roy Eclipse, 3rd Place.
Boys dominate in
the 2018 civil registration month poster making contest
February 22, 2018
TACLOBAN CITY –
Three boys bagged the highest awards in the 2018 Civil Registration
Month (CRM) Poster Making Contest for secondary schools spearheaded
by the Philippine Statistics Authority - Regional Statistical
Services Office 8 (PSA-RSSO VIII) last 22 February 2018 at the
PSA-RSSO VIII Training Room.
Among the nine (9)
students from six (6) secondary schools in Tacloban City, Bradlee
Vanz M. Porquez of Leyte National High School was awarded first
place. Completing the top three winners were John Patrick N. Casio
of Sagkahan National High School - second place and Michael Roy B.
Eclipse of Leyte National High School - third place.
The poster making contest
was one of the activities of PSA-RSSO VIII to celebrate the 2018
Civil Registration Month with the theme, “#napapanahongCRVS”. This
contest is conducted yearly to encourage the youth to participate in
the global advocacy of getting everyone registered and of promoting
awareness on the importance of civil registration in the lives of
Mr. Rodolfo R. Novillo,
Jr., Statistical Analyst of PSA-Leyte,Mr. Venerando D. Lagrosa,
Statistical Specialist II of PSA-RSSO 8, and Ms. Matilde A. Dacullo,
Administrative Officer IV of PSA-RSSO8, sat as board of judges.
Criteria of the competition included, creativity and concept (50%),
originality and uniqueness (30%), and relevance to the theme (20%).
Winners were awarded with
cash prizes, certificates, and PSA tokens.
The CRM is celebrated in
February of every year pursuant to Proclamation 682 issued on 28
January 1991 and signed by then President Corazon C. Aquino.
construction of Archives, Record Building inside Biliran
District Engineering Office, Brgy. Calumpang, Naval, Biliran.
The new facility has an allocation amount of P900,000 and
funded under Biliran DEO’s Engineering Administrative
Overhead (EAO) of FY 2017.
DEO’s newly completed record archives, to help improve records
February 22, 2018
NAVAL, Biliran –
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District
Engineering Office (DEO) has completed the construction of its
Record Archives as one of the Quality Workplace Standards for
effective implementation of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System.
Mr. Bern L. Calomadre,
Chief of Administrative Section of Biliran DEO said that the
building can accommodate more or less 3000 archival boxes for
thousands of records from the different Sections of Biliran DEO for
the last ten years.
Americans (AJA) Registrars Inc. only requires us to keep files from
the last two years however, there are some old files that are still
retrievable like Department Orders that is why we still keep it” he
Calomadre also said that
in order to keep the efficiency of record keeping, they have made a
move to dispose documents which are not under litigation.
“Old files which does not
have any issues/ problems were properly disposed with the permission
from the National Archives and in coordination with the Commission
on Audit (COA),” he said.
“With the new archives
building, files will be easier to access in times of need. If our
employees can find files faster, they can accomplish more work and
deliver excellent services to our client,” he added.
Biliran DEO was recently
been certified with the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) 9001: 2015 last October, 2017. ISO 9001 is
international standard that focuses its requirements for Quality
Management System (QMS) including a strong customer focus, the
motivation and implication of top management, the process approach
and continual improvement.
P8.49M 3.55-kilometer all-weather road in Barangay Salvacion,
Alangalang, Leyte was implemented under the second phase of
the Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP-II).
(Photo by Engr. Ellen Dico)
The road to
Salvacion and Langit
February 21, 2018
TACLOBAN CITY –
Nine months after the completed road project here was turned over,
Alicia D. Josol, Barangay Captain of Barangay Salvacion in Alangalang,
Leyte, remembers the time when the way going to her village was
dangerous, as it was very slippery.
regularly. She even fell down one time from her ride on a motorcycle
or “habal-habal,” as it is commonly known in the area.
There was no decent road
at all. It was an unpaved one, only a foot trail where pedestrians,
animals and motorcycles could pass by.
The road was such in a
terrible state that accidents are an accepted reality.
It was part of the price
to pay when going to the village. It was also a reality that they
would have to wade through waist-deep water every time it rains just
so they could go to their place, Josol said.
Now, these are just
memories of the past.
Josol thanked the
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Asian Development Bank (ADB)
that provided the funds under the second phase of the Agrarian
Reform Communities Project, and the local government unit (LGU) of
Mayor Reynaldo Capon Sr.
said that today, the road is made more comfortable.
People can already travel
here and to the adjacent Barangay Langit using a bicycle, something
that used to be unthinkable before, he added.
There are now more
vehicles that ply this area. Motorcycle fare has gone down to P20
from the previous P80 to P100, Capon said.
The P8.49-million total
project cost of the 3.55-kilometer road was shouldered by the LGU
and a loan from the ADB by the national government.
Thus, Regional Director
Sheila Enciso reminded the recipients during the turnover of the
said road project to maintain it in good condition for 10 years.
Otherwise, the LGU will have to pay the loan counterpart, equivalent
to 40 percent of the total project cost.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Renato Badilla advised
the residents in the area to take this opportunity in improving
their quality of life.
According to him, this
project is aimed at increasing household income by improving farm
production, thereby reducing poverty in the countryside.
TRAIN Law to
worsen student fees hike
National Union of
Students of the Philippines
February 17, 2018
QUEZON CITY – The
tax reform program by the Duterte administration will further drive
increases in tuition and other school fees (TOSF) collected from
students in private higher education institutions (HEIs).
“The annual burden of
increases in TOSF in private HEIs will be aggravated by Duterte’s
tax reform which is now being cited to legitimize proposals to
increase TOSF for the next academic year,” said Raoul Manuel, Deputy
Secretary General of National Union of Students of the Philippines,
a nationwide alliance of student councils.
In Far Eastern University
(FEU), the eighth largest private HEI in the country in terms of
enrolment, the school administration used Republic Act 10963 or the
Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law to justify the
five-percent increase in semestral energy fee from P1,800 in AY
2017-2018 to P1,890 in AY 2018-2019.
From the hike in energy
fee, FEU can earn an additional income of P3.4 million from its over
18,000-strong student population. In addition, the total
miscellaneous fees charged from FEU students will rise to as much as
P10,914 for AY 2018-2019, which will amount to around 400 million
pesos in income for the school.
Energy fee, which is
commonly collected from students both in state and private
universities to cover the cost of consumption of electricity and
other energy sources, is one of the many fees that school
administrators want increased as they expect higher electricity
bills due to the TRAIN Law.
Top regional schools set
to increase fees
For NUSP, Duterte’s tax
reform law gives capitalist educators and private school owners more
reason to justify their incessant fee increases to amass
superprofits from their students. According to the reports they
gathered, among the over 400 schools projected to apply for fee
increases this February are those that take in the most number of
students in their regions.
Saint Louis University in
Baguio City, the country’s second largest private HEI in terms of
enrolment, has a student population of 32,725 as of 2017. This
university will impose an eight-percent increase in tuition fees for
the next academic year.
Located in Angeles City,
Pampanga, Holy Angel University recorded an enrollment rate of
15,963 as of 2017, the highest in Central Luzon. Next academic year,
this private Catholic university is set to raise tuition fees by six
percent and all other fees by five percent.
In Northern Mindanao
region, Capitol University stands as the private HEI with the fourth
largest student population. This school will implement a
five-percent across-the-board increase in tuition and other fees.
“Students and their
families suffer from the rising cost of education and other daily
necessities. Students will walk out of classes on February 23 to
show their opposition to the TRAIN Law which will further drive
Filipinos along the road to poverty and misery,” said Manuel.
welcomes 2018 with 4.5% inflation rate
February 13, 2018
TACLOBAN CITY –
Eastern Visayas welcomed 2018 with a 4.5 percent Inflation Rate (IR).
This January 2018 IR was 0.5 percentage point faster compared with
its 4.0 percent IR a month ago and 1.7 percentage points faster than
the recorded 2.8 percent IR in the same period last year. The
regional inflation rate was 0.5 percentage point faster than the 4.0
percent national average.
Three provinces in the
region – Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, and Biliran posted faster
inflation rates in January 2018 compared with their figures in
December 2017. On the other hand, Southern Leyte and Leyte
registered decreases, while Samar had sustained its inflation rate
from December 2017. Northern Samar registered the highest IR at 7.3
percent, while Southern Leyte posted the lowest IR at 1.5 percent
By major commodity groups,
Transport, Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Alcoholic Beverages and
Tobacco, and Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine
Maintenance of the House exhibited higher annual growths from
December 2017 to January 2018.
On the other hand, annual
price changes in the Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other
Fuels, and Health slowed down from December 2017 to January 2018.
The rest of the commodity groups retained their previous month’s
The Purchasing Power of
Peso (PPP) of the region was recorded at P0.61 in January 2018. This
is weaker compared with the P0.62 PPP registered in the previous
month. This PPP implies that goods and services worth 100 pesos in
January 2018 only costs 61 pesos in 2006.
Northern Samar, Biliran
and Eastern Samar registered decreases in PPP compared with their
figures in December 2017. The rest of the provinces had sustained
its PPP. Biliran recorded the strongest PPP at P0.65, followed by
Northern Samar and Leyte at P0.62 and P0.61, respectively. Eastern
Samar, Samar, and Southern Leyte, meanwhile, posted the weakest PPP
at P0.60 (Table 1).
It’s okay to fall
in love with your boss, labor group says
February 13, 2018
QUEZON CITY – There
is no government policy addressing workplace romance in the country
but there is none that prevents an employee from falling in love
with her/his boss either, claims the labor group Associated Labor
Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).
An employee falling in
love with her/his boss is okay as long as it is exercised
across-the-board, says labor group Associated Labor Unions-Trade
Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) yesterday.
“Since there is no
government policy governing workplace romance between co-employees
or between a rank-and-file employee falling in love with her boss or
vice versa for that matter, the matter of workplace romance issue is
controlled by company’s management prerogative. And some employers
use or create such prerogative to lay off, demote, or transfer their
employees,” Tanjusay said.
That is why the ALU-TUCP
is calling for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to step
in and issue guidelines on inter- and intra-office workplace romance
policy to prevent abusive employers from such oppressive management
“The law is vague and
subject to many interpretations. Therefore, many employers tend to
demote, transfer, or lay off their employee on the basis of having a
relationship with their boss or with their co-employee –
particularly those who are not unionized,” he said.
jurisprudences had always been in favour of complainant workers, the
DOLE regulation can help minimize employees and management from
strained relations and physical, financial and emotional
exasperation of going to the courts for those felt injustice,”
In its policy engagement
with the DOLE, the ALU-TUCP, however, maintains that company policy
should allow, not prevent, workplace romance, period. Workplace
romance should not be the cause for dismissal, demotion, transfer,
or diminution of wages and benefits.
prerogative’s policy on intra-office workplace romance should not be
restrictive. While we respect such prerogative, the most extreme the
policy can do is transfer an employee to another division or
department,” Tanjusay said.
The ALU-TUCP also
maintains that workplace romance company policy only covers the
couple’s professional relationship from 8a.m. to 5p.m. office hour
City Engr. Marlo Resulta, MPP Mario Balani, CCDHO Atty.
Anthony Singzon, Cong. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, DE Alvin
Ignacio, City Engr. Restituto Monsanto, RROW Coordinator
Anthony Baltazar and Maintenance Chief Engr. Ramon Calagos.
intensifies road right-of-way acquisition
APRIL FATIMA DIRA-VILLANUEVA
February 13, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY – A
consultative stakeholders’ meeting between Congressman Edgar Mary
Sarmiento and representatives from Samar First District Engineering
Office, City Engineering Office and Calbayog City Development
Housing Office was conducted last January 25, 2018 at Rep.
Sarmiento’s District Office in Brgy. Payahan, Calbayog City. The
main agenda for the said meeting was the strict implementation of
the Right-of-Way (ROW) limit along National Roads.
During the meeting,
District Engineer Alvin Ignacio informed everyone that SFDEO will
implement a ROW patrol which will be directed to immediately remove
or cause the removal of all obstructions and prohibited uses within
the ROW of all national roads within the District and to prohibit
the presence or occurrence of structures, objects and activities
along our national roads as well as strictly disallow the building,
erection, construction, planting and fabrication of any barricade.
personnel will form the ROW patrol and will conduct routine roving
activities in order to maintain the 10-meter ROW limit. If they
encounter obstructions of any kind within said limit, its immediate
removal shall be executed.
According to RROW
Coordinator Anthony Baltazar, who presented the status of
encroachers and RROW obstruction, “it was concluded then that
pertinent laws, provisions and regulations has to be implemented in
strict compliance in its enforcement with the help of PNP Calbayog.”
calls out CHED over free tuition funds
February 12, 2018
QUEZON CITY – A
nationwide student union is calling to investigate the Commission on
Higher Education (CHED) regarding the use of over eight billion
pesos allotted to free tuition for calendar year 2017.
National Union of Students
of the Philippines (NUSP), the broadest alliance of student councils
in the country, expresses grave concern over the disbursement of the
Higher Education Support Fund (HESF), which is supposed to cover the
tuition of students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs)
for the first and second semesters of Academic Year 2017-2018.
“CHED should have already
given each SUC its share of the free tuition funds. But up until
now, CHED has not released any report as to how the funds have been
disbursed,” said Raoul Manuel, NUSP Deputy Secretary General.
Based on Joint Memorandum
Circular 2017-01 released by CHED and the Department of Budget and
Management, CHED must post on its official website the amount of
HESF funds disbursed to each SUC within one month after the end of
each enrollment period. However, no official documents pertaining to
this have been released by the Commission to date.
Impact on student fees
For the NUSP, the delay in
the release of funds has adversely affected students enrolled in
SUCs. “We have gathered numerous reports from students who were
compelled to pay tuition fees despite the existence of the free
tuition policy. More stringent requirements were imposed on students
so that many would be exempted from the policy and be forced to pay
tuition,” lamented Manuel.
“Others were not charged
tuition but were compelled to pay higher miscellaneous fees in their
schools. This is part of the measures taken by SUCs to secure their
profits at the expense of the students,” said Manuel.
He added that some schools
like the University of the Philippines (UP) introduced new fees this
academic year “to ensure their profits while CHED has not yet given
them their share of the funds. In UP, students must pay hundreds to
thousands of pesos simply for the use of classrooms, conference
rooms or outdoor venues.”
“Decades of implementation
of government policies that commodity education, have pushed SUCs to
become profit-oriented. Looking more deeply into the problem, it is
not surprising that SUCs are doing this. Thanks to our
commercialized educational system: it has become the instinct of
schools to charge higher or new fees to keep their bank accounts
filled to the brim.” ended Manuel.
and slams Pres. Duterte’s P20,000 offer to kill NPA
February 11, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
“Maaring naghihirap ang mga Lumad, pero hindi nila kultura ang
maging bayaran, lalo’t hindi ang pumatay!” Jerome Succor Aba,
co-chairperson of Sandugo (Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples
for Self-Determination) said today in response to President Rodrigo
Duterte’s offer to the Lumad of P20,000 for every NPA they kill.
“President Duterte’s offer
to recruit and train the Lumad to be members of the Civilian
Auxiliary Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and kill members of the
NPA for money is the height of his desperation to eliminate the
insurgency in Mindanao,” Aba said. “This only means that his
soldiers with all the new equipment, overflowing funds and the tacit
support of the United States military, could not suppress of the
intensifying civil war especially in Mindanao. Pres. Duterte has to
resort to bribery to gain the support of the Lumad or forcebly
recruit them to kill for him,” Aba said.
“The Lumad survived
centuries without much need of cash but by developing the land and
resources in their ancestral territories. Their deep sense of
community and identity impel them to protect themselves from
outsiders who want to plunder their lands. By trying to divide and
pit them against each other through military training and offer of
money to kill is simply bastardization of their culture. Pres.
Duterte reeks of the worst discrimination against the Lumad,” Aba
“Many of the Lumad
leaders, who were previously offered large sums of money to allow
private corporations into their ancestral lands, were killed by
CAFGUs or paramilitary groups after they refused the offer,” Aba
said. He cited the case of Datu Jimmy Liguyon who was killed in 2012
by paramilitary leader Alde Salusad. In 2016, Salusad led his group,
the New Indigenous People’s Army for Reform (NIPAR) that killed a
pregnant woman and wounded five children in San Fernando, Bukidnon.
Aba also mentioned the
infamous Lianga massacre on September 1, 2015 where Datu Juvello
Sinzo, Lumad school director Emerito Samarca and Lumad leader Dionel
Campos were murdered by the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani led by
Bobby Tejero and Loloy Tejero and elements of the 36th Infantry
“The list goes on of the
Lumad getting killed by their fellow Lumad who were trained,
brainwashed and paid by the Philippine military and the government,”
Aba said. “President Duterte’s offer to kill for money will further
embolden the paramilitary groups, CAFGU and the Philippine military
to kill anyone they label as NPA” Aba said.
“This is also the case of
the Capion massacre,” Aba said. On October 18, 2012, elements of the
27th Infantry Battalion and members of the CAFGU strafed the hut of
the Capion family and killed the mother, Juvy who was pregnant and
her two sons, Jordan, 13, and John Mark, 8. The father, Daguil
Capion then led his community against the entry of mining in their
ancestral lands. The AFP later announced it was a legitimate NPA-AFP
encounter. The massacre exposed the Task Force KiTaCo (Kiblawan,
Tampakan, Columbio) as a special unit created by the Philippine Army
to protect SMI-Xstrata’s mining interest in Tampakan, South Cotabato.
“The Lumad communities and
their leaders do not need the money offered by Pres. Duterte but the
respect of their right to their ancestral lands and resources that
they can develop for the coming generations. Duterte can offer a
bigger amount but the Lumad will always reject this and continue to
defend their ancestral lands even if it takes to be labelled as NPAs
and be killed by their own corrupted and trained to be mercenaries
by the AFP and Pres. Duterte,” Aba said. “This same corrupted line
of thought and prejudice against the Lumad by the US puppet and
fascist Pres. Duterte will only lead to further intensification of
the legitimate resistance of the Lumad and the Filipino masses. His
only way out of this social conflict is to pursue the peace talks
and address the roots of the on-going armed conflict,” Aba
task group to study P500 proposed subsidy as workers’ lose P3,900 a
month as daily wage buying power fell by 30% due to TRAIN inflation
Associated Labor Unions
February 10, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the creation of a small task group
that would set in motion the P500 monthly cash voucher government
subsidy and concrete steps in bringing down electricity rates being
proposed by the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the
Philippines (ALU-TUCP) to help minimum-wage earners cope with the
rising cost of living.
“During a dialogue with
labor groups last Wednesday, the President ordered the creation of a
small working group composed of four representatives from his
cabinet and four representatives from the ALU-TUCP to discuss how to
operationalize the subsidy and the proposed measures in bringing
down the cost of power,” said ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.
Duterte’s order followed
after the group discussed the matter in a dialogue with labor groups
in Malacañang last Wednesday. The government’s task group is made up
of secretaries from the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of
Energy (DOE), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the
Department of Budget and Management (DBM). They are to meet with
ALU-TUCP representatives on March 15, 2018.
The proposed subsidy came
amid the country’s highest daily minimum wage fell by 30% due to the
inflation caused by the usual demand and supply hikes and by the
implementation of Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN)
excise taxes on fuel and sweetened beverages, the ALU-TUCP said.
In a monitoring being
conducted by the group, as of February 10, 2018, the purchasing
power of daily minimum wage of P512 in Metro Manila region fell to
P360.31 a day – an remarkable erosion of P151.69 a day.
“In sum, workers’ lose a
total of P3,943.94 a month to inflation. With this amount, a family
can buy additional food needed for them to stay healthy in our
society and remain productive citizen in nation-building. But it
looks like there is no immediate relief in sight coming from the
Duterte government to extend government assistance to those who are
immersed in poverty and no safety nets for those who are about to
fall into poverty,” said ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay.
The Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas (BSP) noted the inflation rate nationwide at 4% in January
2018. The ALU-TUCP is proposing to President Rodrigo Duterte a P500
monthly cash voucher subsidy for an initial 4 million minimum wage
earners to help them cope from rising cost of living and as safety
net for them from falling into further poverty.
CHED to protest fee collection, hikes
February 9, 2018
QUEZON CITY – Youth
and students led by the National Union of Students of the
Philippines (NUSP) stormed Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on
Friday to condemn the proposed increase in tuition and other school
fees (TOSF) this year and the continuing collection of TOSF in State
Universities and Colleges (SUCs).
“Due to this Commission’s inutility, private Higher Education
Institutions (HEIs) have freedom to increase TOSFI without any
disapproval from the government, while SUCs still find ways to
collect tuition and other school fees, despite having a Free
Education law in place,” NUSP Deputy Secretary-General Raoul Manuel
The Union exposed on Monday that around 400 schools will increase
tuition and other school fees this year at an average rate of six to
ten per cent.
“The increase in tuition and other school fees is indeed an added
burden to students. We are talking about thousands of pesos in
addition to the expensive cost of education in private schools,”
‘Maneuvers’ in SUCs
NUSP also slammed the continuing tuition and other school fees
collection in State Universities and Colleges.
According to the Union, several SUCs ‘maneuver’ RA 10931 or the
Universal Access to Quality Higher Education Law to still collect
fees from the students.
“In Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), students were
required to pay miscellaneous fees amounting to P1,500 to P6,000.
Freshmen also paid the whole amount of tuition and other school
fees,” Manuel reported.
“In University of the Philippines (UP), some students were forced to
opt-out of the free tuition policy. In the Manila campus of UP,
freshies also paid tuition and other school fees,” Manuel added.
NUSP also received complaints from Visayas State University where
free tuition was implemented to cover all students on the first
semester of Academic Year (AY) 2017-2018, but was withdrawn in the
second semester and the school switched to limiting the
beneficiaries of free tuition, similar to the discriminatory
Socialized Tuition System of UP. Moreover, the school revised its
grading scheme to automatically give a grade of 5.0 (failure) to
students with INC (incomplete) standing.
“Under the deceptive law, students with failing grades will no
longer be qualified for free education. This implies that the school
can now collect tuition and other fees from them, regardless of the
fact that some students fail their subjects because, in the first
place, they work while studying to cope with the exorbitant school
fees,” said NUSP.
Education becoming a business
The student union likewise denounced the “profiteering” in private
schools through tuition and other school fees increases.
“Private school owners lie through their teeth when they say that
tuition hikes will lead to higher quality of education. Their
historical financial data belie their own statements: fee hikes only
result in higher profits for these capitalist-educators who see
education as a good business venture,” claimed Manuel.
According to the study conducted by the NUSP, among the schools with
millions of revenues from tuition and other school fees last 2016,
the University of the East (UE), Lyceum of the Philippines
University (LPU), and Far Eastern University (FEU) topped the list
with 600 million pesos each in gross revenue from tuition and other
“Duterte and his agencies should know what they are signing up for.
The more expensive education gets, the bigger the protest actions
will be outside their gates. They must brace up to face the
students’ rage if they continue being a protector of these
capitalist-educators,” ended Manuel.
NUSP called on to the students to join the National Walkout on
PRIDE! Wrestling Team of #LeyteEVRAA2018 hauls 13 gold and 2
silver. Coaches: Ma’am Baby Salvacion Canamaque and Sir Jose
Leyte Wrestling Team hauls
13 gold, looks forward to Palaro
February 8, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY –
Leyte Conquerors lived up to their stellar billing dominating the
Wrestling Competitions with 13 gold medals of the 16 gold at stake
and two silver medal in the Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic
Association (EVRAA) Meet 2018 at the Rawis Covered Court, Feb. 6.
The win was four gold
medals greater than the nine gold they have in last year’s EVRAA to
claim the championship in the event.
“The team will continue
training for the Palaro as we want to surpass the six gold medals we
got in Antique last year,” said Jose Edgar Blones, coach of
Coached by Baby Salvacion
Cañamaque, the secondary boys bagged 7 gold and 1 silver and the
secondary girls capped six gold and 1 silver.
Gold medalists in the boys
category were Joenil Lagarde, Crispin Cruzzel Caliguid, Diomel Hugo,
Jesus Gabriel Raganit, Jonathan Berdida, Pedro Obias and Anthony
“We are going to Vigan and
hopefully we win gold also,” said Lagarde.
In the girls division, the
gold medalists were Zenith Gayas, Lovely Ann De la Cruz, Jane Erasmo,
Veronica Ompod, Mariel Liwanag and Renalyn Claros.
The silver medalists were
Joel Belecario and Marilyn Villaruel.
construction of 1 storey, 2 classroom (toilet attached) at
Balaquid Elementary School, Cabucgayan, Biliran. The project
has a construction cost of P2.834.09M under contract with
BNL Construction. As of January 31, 2018, it has an
accomplishment of 10%.
starts implementing the next batches of school building projects
February 7, 2018
NAVAL, Biliran –
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District
Engineering Office implements 76 school building projects worth
P367.6M funded under FY 2017 DepEd - Basic Educational Facilities
Fund (BEFF) that is just released on the later part of FY 2017.
Engr. Salvador G. Regis,
Chief of the Construction Section says that out of 76 projects,
three of these have already started while 73 are Not-Yet-Started (NYS)
because of the suspension of work activity due to the damaged caused
by typhoon Urduja and other matters such as the perfection of
Regis informs that that
the on-going projects are the P2.8M Construction of 1 storey, 2
classroom (toilet attached) at Talibong Elementary School,
Cabucgayan, Biliran; P2.8M Construction of 1 storey, 2 classroom
(toilet attached) at Balaquid Elementary School, Cabucgayan, Biliran;
and P4M Construction of 1 storey 3 classroom at Maurang Elementary
School, Caibiran, Biliran, all under the supervision of Engr.
Alberto V. Cañete, Project Engineer.
Engr. Cañete reveals that
the said projects were started on December 5, 2017, however due to
the onslaught of tropical storm Urduja on December 15-16, 2017,
these projects were suspended.
“Work activity for these
three projects were temporarily suspended after Urduja due to the
difficulty in transporting the materials to the site. Construction
will resume on February,” says Cañete.
Based on Biliran DEO’s
physical status report, these three on-going projects have an
overall actual physical accomplishment of 0.39%, hence still meets
the target of only 0.19% as of January 31, 2017.
Callera, Labtic lead
Billiard’s squad in gold medal hunt
February 7, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY –
Experienced players Jaymel Callera and Deanna Marie Labtic
spearheaded Leyte’s campaign in Billiard’s 8-Balls competition at
the Christ the King College on Monday.
The 17-year old Callera,
who is a veteran in Billiards tournaments in the region, blanked
James Howard Bertumen of Eastern Samar in his first match in the
race-to-three elimination round in Bracket A.
Callera of Sta. Mesa NHS
then outlasted Jade Las Piñas of Maasin City, 3-2 to advance into
the quarterfinal round against the winner of the match between
Jayvee Cayson of Tacloban City and Caesar Ian Valles of Catbalogan
“I want to have the gold
medal for the cash incentive,” exclaimed Callera in the interview
along with his coach Melvin Calupaz of Cabacungan NHS.
In Bracket B, Rommel
Damiles bested Francis Copada of Tacloban City after taking a bye in
the first round. Damiles, who came from Puerto Bello NHS, will next
face Mark Neil Rey Salas of Biliran.
In the distaff side,
Palaro veteran Labtic, who came from San Isidro NHS, defeated
Jonalyn Surio of Northern Samar to arrange a duel with Angel Yanga
of Samar in the quarterfinals.
Labtic’s teammate Beatemae
Kate Ibarra also advance to the next round with a win over Christine
Yero of Southern Leyte.
Hong Kong experienced
haute couture on the ocean
Minh Anh rose to fame after phenomenally turning England’s
iconic London’s Tower Bridge, French pride the Eiffel Tower,
and America’s new symbol of hope and freedom One World Trade
Center into a catwalk.
Jessica Minh Anh
transformed Costa neoRomantica’s sundeck into the world’s newest
February 7, 2018
PARIS – At 12:30pm yesterday, supermodel Jessica Minh Anh officially
added Hong Kong into her famous catwalk series at the world’s most
iconic venues. Featuring the city’s picturesque skyline, J Winter
Fashion Show 2018 premiered 6 haute couture and pret-a-couture
collections from Europe, Asia, South America, and America on the
sky-high sundeck of Costa neoRomantica cruise ship. More than
perfectly marrying fashion with the old and new Hong Kong, Jessica
successfully celebrated the rise of a new generation of female
Against the cinematic backdrop, Jessica Minh Anh appeared as a
vision in an impressive royal red dress with gold embroidered
geometric symbols. Reflecting sunlight in her every move, her
elegance was dramatized by flowy chiffon and silk. Jessica’s iconic
look was complimented by a unique hair structure resembling a
multiple-sail boat. Following the exotic beauty was a stunning model
line-up, all dressed in Ani Alvarez Calderon’s latest designs. The
Peruvian artist used decorative border, multi-coloured cords,
fringes made of textiles, and velvet ribbons to emulate Inca Empire
and the spiritual world.
Pakistani representative Syeda Amera returned to Jessica Minh Anh’s
catwalk with structured jackets, flared pants, and fridge beaded
dresses. Her expressive collection mixed gold embellishments with
Swarovski crystals and ruby jewels against a deep colour palette of
sunset red, forest green, and royal blue.
Adding femininity to the grand showcase, American designer Mimi Tran
introduced a ravishing haute couture collection that mirrored
endless variations of modern beauty. From immaculate detailing,
texture, and luminosity, to dimensional patterns with depth, the
designs portray majesty and complexity of an independent woman.
Staying true to the brand’s aesthetic, Mimi featured artisanal hand
beading and utilize the colour palette to full effervescent effect.
A master at portraying the perfect silhouette, Patricia Nascimento’s
new collection was a mix of sensuality and boldness. Distinctive
cuts, strategic transparency, and embellished crystals on fine
fabrics defined her signature looks. After describing Jessica Minh
Anh as “a visionary who can change the world” on the historic Hoover
Dam catwalk, the Brazilian talent has certainly inserted another
level of refinement onto her powerful and exceptional designs. The
multi-colour mermaid collection exuded individuality and richness.
Next, Monaco-based label Nordic Angels presented a classic and
timeless collection with clean cuts, avant-garde silhouettes, and
contemporary patterns that would prevail through generations.
Attaining an impeccable fit, the designs included red roses
embroiled on transparent fabrics, structured dresses and suits with
deep necklines, and a red-carpet touch.
Closing the show with ultimate glamour, Indonesian powerhouse
XIAOFEN COUTURE created a fairy-tale moment with mostly soft colours,
fine materials, big bows, and trained dresses. Advanced
craftsmanship and great attention to details were seen in elaborate
gowns, which were structured yet artistically dreamy. Saving the
best for last, the finale blue-violet dress, which embodied Jessica
Minh Anh’s beauty and sophistication, is a quintessential example of
advanced beadwork, original patterns, and intricacy. Symbolizing an
East-meet-West enchanting presence, the supermodel ended the show
with unattainable desire and supremacy.
The high-profile J Winter Fashion Show 2018 welcomed guests on board
of the luxurious Costa neoRomantica cruise ship with a red-carpet
entrance and a VIP after-party with Italian delicacy and live music.
Hong Kong’s finest Make Up For Ever, Daz Salon, Buccellati, Nirav
Modi, Cristina Sabatini, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, Pure Group, Ovolo
Group, HK Branding, Camlux Hotel, Expo King, GOGOVAN, Roytal Tailor,
and EAST Hong Kong were among the show supporters.
With an incredible track record of 3 iconic catwalks per year in 3
continents, Jessica Minh Anh redefined the unstoppable energy and
creativity of a new generation of leaders. In her own words, Jessica
described her motivation and hard work as “the air I breath, the
only road I see, my way of life”. With her history-making
achievements at national symbols from the Eiffel Tower, London’s
Tower Bridge to Hoover Dam and Gemasolar plant, it’s no doubt
Jessica is an asset not only to the fashion industry, but many
others. As she continues to expand her multi-faceted career and meet
with country ambassadors, ministers, and CEOs of multinational
corporation, one may wonder where she will head to next?
House approval of bill restricting public assembly
February 7, 2018
QUEZON CITY – The
House of Representatives, voting 212-55, approved House Bill No.
6834 on its third and final reading yesterday, February 6, 2018. The
said bill is set to replace the Batas Pambansa (BP) 880 or the
Public Assembly Act of 1985.
Under HB 6834, in lieu of
securing a permit, rally organizers would need to serve a notice to
the mayor, three working days before the protest. The bill will
impose graver penalties of 6 months to 6 years imprisonment for
rallies without notice, or those held outside the notice’s coverage.
“A permit or a notice
should is not a prerequisite for the Filipino people to exercise
their right to peaceably assemble. That is a basic right enshrined
in the Philippine Constitution and international human rights
instruments. It should take precedence over insidious attempts by a
Duterte-controlled Congress to pass another repressive legislation
that will further curtail people’s rights,” said Palabay.
Karapatan mentioned that
it is explicitly stated in the Bill of Rights section of the
Constitution that “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of
speech, of expression, or of the press, or of the right of the
people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress
“The use of BP 880 to file
trumped-up charges against leaders have been tirelessly used by the
police as basis for illegal arrests. No doubt that HB 6834 will be
used to the same end,” Palabay noted.
secretary-general cited the cases filed against Karapatan’s own
paralegal staff, Neil Legaspi, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes
and spokesperson Teddy Casino, and several other leaders of
progressive groups who took to the streets on November 2017 during
the visit of US President Donald Trump in the country. “The Duterte
regime has caused and enabled systemic injustices that merits the
people’s indignation and protest. Yet here it is, working ways to
further cripple measures for individuals and organizations to demand
accountability,” she added.
“HB 6834 was passed
yesterday, along with the Supreme Court’s decision affirming the
constitutionality of martial law extension in Mindanao. Duterte is
relentless in bombarding us with repressive policies, expecting
other draconian measures to pass discreetly. We thus call for
vigilance. If all this is indicative of something, it is that the
Duterte administration holds the legislative and the judiciary by
its neck, and is completing the recipe for a full-blown
dictatorship,” concluded Palabay.
chief MGen. Raul M. Farnacio AFP, hand-over the unit symbol
to LtCol. Hilarion G. Palma INF (GSC) PA, during the
activation of the 93rd Infantry (Bantay Kapayapaan)
Battalion, Philippine Army at 8th Battalion Retraining
Facilities (8BRF) at Camp Eugenio Daza, Brgy Fatima,
Hinabangan, Samar on February 5, 2018.
8ID activates new
battalion to defeat CPP-NPA terrorists in Eastern Visayas
DPAO, 8ID PA
February 6, 2018
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine
Army activated the 93rd Infantry (Bantay Kapayapaan) Battalion with
Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio AFP, Commander, 8ID as the keynote
speaker at 8th Battalion Retraining Facilities (8BRF), Camp Eugenio
Daza, Barangay Fatima, Hinabangan, Samar on February 5, 2018 at 10
o’ clock in the morning.
The activation of this
unit is purposely to prevent the spill-over of hostilities in the
aftermath of Marawi crisis, destroy the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs)
the soonest possible time and assist the government agencies in
addressing illegal drugs and Private Armed Groups (PAGs).
Battalion is headed by Lt. Col. Hilarion G. Palma composed of brave
and proficient Officers and Enlisted Personnel that will augment the
Infantry units in Eastern Visayas.
In his message, Maj. Gen.
Farnacio said, “I have every ounce of my confidence and high
expectation of your capability as a unit to accomplish your mission.
For one, most of you are seasoned officers and soldiers who have
already accumulated trainings, experience and operational
backgrounds of fighting our enemy in this rugged terrain of Samar
“Like any other battalion,
I know that you would form your own culture and identity as a unit.
I challenge you therefore to go beyond the brand, and instead strive
to create the prestige of a unit that is known for its performance
excellence, empowerment, commitment and accomplishments,” Farnacio
Media Alternatives issues briefing paper on SIM card registration
February 6, 2018
QUEZON CITY – With
efforts to establish a mandatory SIM card registration gaining steam
in Congress, the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) released a
briefing paper on the subject this Monday, February 5, 2018.
FMA is a civil society
organization whose aim is to assist civil society organizations and
other development stakeholders in promoting and defending their
right to information and communication.
In its brief, the
organization presented an overview of the benefits and risks that
come with a SIM card registration system, as evidenced by the actual
experiences of other countries. It noted that the rationale behind
most SIM card registration policies is their supposed ability to
deter crime and terrorism, while at the same time increasing public
access to mobile-based government services. Something that is
inconsistent with the experiences of many jurisdictions that have
such a system. In a number of instances, its weakness in curbing
terrorism has been exposed due to the ability of criminals to
circumvent regulation. It even caused the emergence of black markets
where stolen or counterfeit SIM cards are sold, as well as an
increase in handset theft incidents, as demand for untraceable
In the recent past,
concerns about its effectiveness have already been raised by local
stakeholders such as the Department of Information and
Communications Technology and the telecommunications industry. Even
the Office of the President of the previous administration had
occasion to express its doubts about the measure.
The briefing paper
highlights other issues surrounding the controversial measure, not
least of which is its potential use for surveillance against those
belonging to at-risk groups or sectors such as journalists,
whistleblowers, witnesses, and victims of discrimination and
oppression. Ultimately, it argues, an environment where intrusions
to privacy become institutionalized and prevalent, inevitably poses
a significant risk to other fundamental rights and freedoms, such as
free speech, freedom of assembly, and right to information, just to
name a few.
In conclusion, FMA
declares that the promise of SIM card registration to help law
enforcement and improve the delivery of government services has
already been revealed as illusory, or at least significantly
inflated. The group then enjoins the government to consider all
things – particularly the dangers posed by the proposal – before
rushing to pass a policy that can do more harm than good. For the
public, they need to remain vigilant and resist any or all measures
that attempt to narrow individual space for privacy and other
related rights and freedoms.
New DPWH Samar I
office building near completion
JASON DELOS ANGELES
February 6, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY –
DWPH Samar First Engineering District Office fast tracks the ongoing
construction of a (2) two storey DPWH Engineering Office Building,
located at Brgy. San Policarpo, Calbayog City inside SFDEO compound.
This project is
implemented by SFDEO and is under contract with ADB Dynamic Builders
and Supply JV NORSAM Builders and Construction Supply with a total
appropriation of P30 million sourced out from the GAA Fund.
It is in accordance with
Department Order No. 81, series of 2012 which provides guidelines
for a new uniform design that will easily identify DPWH buildings.
The plan maximizes the use of the lot area providing ample parking
spaces for both employees and visitors as well as meeting the
necessary office space requirements.
“The new building is in
line with the district’s policy to continuously improve the delivery
of our services. Through the new design, we are able to achieve
complete organization, cleanliness and standardization which will
relate to the improved productivity of our employees, thus resulting
to a higher quality of work which will greatly benefit our
stakeholders,” said Assistant District Engineer Denis Cagomoc.
Mark Villar delivering his message during the instructional
meeting held last January 22, 2018 at the DPWH Central
Office in Manila.
DPWH Samar I to
uphold integrity in 2018 project implementation
MAE ANGELICA R. COMOTA
February 5, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY – On
Monday, January 22, 2018, sixteen Regional Directors (RDs) and 183
District Engineers (DEs) from all over the country attended an
instructional meeting regarding the FY 2018 and Proposed FY 2019
DPWH Budget conducted at the DPWH Central Office in Manila. Among
them was Samar First District Engineer (DE) Alvin Ignacio.
Before the meeting proper,
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar delivered his message by expressing his
support to the RDs and DEs, “Huwag kayong matakot gumawa ng tama,
susuportahan ko kayo. I’m aware of the pressures you are facing but
in the end, it is our duty to protect the budget. I will make sure
that under my watch, we will not sink but shine.”
The instructional meeting
mainly focused on the general and special provisions of the FY 2018
General Appropriations Act (GAA) as well as its modification and
augmentation which was discussed thoroughly by DPWH Undersecretary
for Planning and PPP Maria Catalina Cabral. Additionally, Usec.
Cabral mentioned that 2018 will serve as a transition period because
there will be a shift to annual, cash-based appropriation for the FY
2019 budget compared to the obligation-based approach used in the
Monitoring Division Chief, Melrose Pailma, encouraged those in
attendance to religiously update the projects in the Project and
Contract Management Application (PCMA) which is a system used as a
tool for inspection by reflecting the accomplishment of infra
projects real-time in compliance with DPWH’s transparency efforts.
DE Ignacio restated all of
the important points made during the instructional meeting during
the regular staff conference with Samar First’s key officials and
project engineers. He gave out instructions to use the lessons
learned in 2017 as basis in the implementation of projects for 2018.
He concluded the meeting by reiterating Sec. Villar’s words of
protecting the budget, “due to the increased budget for this year,
the office [Samar First] shall put in place the necessary measures
to speed up payment to contractors, reflecting an increased
accomplishment rate while still upholding integrity in our project
implementation so that the quality of our projects will not be
regional director Bonifacio Uy hands over the M16 Rifle
during the Ceremonial Entrustment of Firearms to the newly
enlisted privates on February 3, 2018.
enlisted privates take their oath to serve Eastern Visayas
DPAO, 8ID PA
February 3, 2018
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – One hundred twenty eight (128) new breed of soldiers were
enlisted into the ranks of the Army’s 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers)
Division during the Closing Ceremony of Philippine Army Candidate
Soldier Course Class 488-2017 held at the 8ID Jungle Base, Camp
Eugenio Daza, Barangay Fatima, Hinabangan, Samar at 10 am on
February 3, 2018.
The closing ceremony was
graced by Atty. Bonifacio G. Uy, Regional Director, National
Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office VIII as the
Guest of Honor and Speaker who further led the ceremonial
entrustment of firearms, distribution of certificates and awarding
of individual achievements. The entrustment of firearms to the new
enlisted privates symbolizes their responsibilities and commitment
to the people and the country.
In his message, Atty. Uy
said, “To our new breed of soldiers, your journey has just begun.
Always uphold the virtues of the army. Serve this nation and this
region to the best of your ability. Remember that your fight in the
battlefield is also a fight against the social ills in our society.
Take courage to do what is right and just. Remain true to your
Panata na Itaguyod at ipagsanggalang ang Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas.
Nasa kamay niyo po ang katuparan na makamit ang isang mapayapa,
panatag at progresibong Eastern Visayas at Pilipinas.”
Major General Raul M.
Farnacio, Commander, 8ID lauded the Division Training School
personnel who were responsible for the training of these new
soldiers, who will be later distributed to different line units of
8ID in Eastern Visayas.
The newly enlisted
privates will boost the troops of 8ID that will go after the CPP-NPA
Terrorists in the region and help establish an environment conducive
for peace and development.
Duterte’s sincerity in vow to make free tertiary education
accessible to Lumad youth
Samahan Ng Progresibong
February 3, 2018
QUEZON CITY – Youth
activists reacted to statements of President Rodrigo Duterte on
Thursday to lumad parents of not needing to worry about sending
their children to college now that free education will be provided
under his administration’s Republic Act 10931 or the Universal
Access to Tertiary Quality Education Act.
In an emailed statement,
the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Spark) together with KAISA UP
claimed that the President “was merely weaving lies and giving false
hopes to parents in order to douse the growing social discontent and
frustration towards his administration which promised and
deliberately failed to deliver lasting social change”.
Under RA 10931, which is
expected to be implemented by the upcoming academic year, tuition
and other school fees in state and local universities and colleges (SUCs
and LUCs) are to be subsidized by State for qualified students.
There is also a Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) to augment the
other costs of tertiary education.
“Far from what state
officials have been peddling, there is a huge disparity between the
supposed intention of the law and its actual contents”.
Spark’s spokesperson, Jade
Lyndon Mata said that under the law, “free education remains to be
not free, inaccessible, and mentions nothing on the quality of
education, totally unreflective of the law’s title”.
“The mere existence of the
Student Loan Program (SLP) in the law attests that tertiary
education remains to be not free, even profiting from students with
long-term loans to be collected by the government through SSS and
GSIS contributions,” Mata added.
“These loans and the
voucher system only reinforces the existence of private higher
education institutions (HEIs) and ensure their profit while having
no aim to further capacitate public learning institutions,” he
added. “Duterte even that Lumad youth can obtain free education in
schools like Ateneo, La Salle and San Beda”.
Student leader and
chairperson of KAISA UP Shara Landicho also pointed out that a big
percentage of students from poor families will be unable to access
the perceived gains of the law.
She said that “given the
current situation of the entire education system, those who came
from private or science high schools are the ones most likely to be
awarded free education. This scheme will not allow the students from
poor families who need it most to avail of free tuition”.
“Another glaring flaw of
the law is the absence of an automatic appropriation provision to
fund the law annually, it leaves its implementation unstable and
questionable, similar to the Reproductive Health law. This
inadequacy is a major and glaring flaw if it genuinely seeks to
provide universal access to those who wish to pursue tertiary
education,” she asserted.
The groups concluded that
without major amendments to the Free Education Law, Duterte’s
statement to the lumad parents “remains to be empty words meant to
simulate his administration is reform-oriented and sincere.
“Come enrollment time,
many will be staggered that they shall not be able to access the
much-vaunted Free Education of Duterte”.
They likewise called on
all students to unite and challenge the veracity of Duterte’s
sincerity in providing “free tertiary education for all”.
mount dance protest vs. Cha-Cha
February 3, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Karapatan and SELDA held a dance protest against charter change on
February 3, 2018 at the Grandstand, Sunken Garden, UP Diliman,
Quezon City. The event, dubbed Cha-cha laban sa Cha-cha, was
attended by human rights advocates, martial law veterans, members of
progressive organizations, and individuals who have expressed their
opposition to Duterte’s charter change.
“If the Duterte regime is
inching the country closer to a full-fledged dictatorship to the
tune of Cha-cha, the people will unhesitatingly dance to the tune of
resistance,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
Karapatan explained that
the current proposals in Congress which aim to change the
constitution pose as dangers to the people’s hard-won rights.
Palabay also noted that
“these self-serving schemes will be the Duterte government’s
instrument to install a dictatorship, appropriate favors to his
cohorts, and sell the country’s sovereignty to imperialist powers by
removing economic protections – all at the expense of the people’s
The groups reiterated that
several efforts to change the constitution have failed in the past
because of resounding protests from the people. In past
administrations, proponents of charter change have consistently
peddled its passage, primarily targeting the removal of provisions
in the current constitution which aim to protect the country’s
economy. “Now, a more treacherous version has seeped into the heads
of power-hungry and greedy politicians, and it has found a perfect
mascot in the form of a wanna-be tyrant,” added Palabay.
“To frustrate such
ambitious and self-serving efforts, we urge organizations and
individuals to undertake different forms of actions to protest this
anti-people charter change,” concluded Palabay.
supports NIA’s project implementations and speedy recovery of
damaged irrigations caused by typhoons Urduja and Agaton
February 2, 2018
NAVAL, Biliran – In
pursuit of the National Irrigation Agency’s (NIA’s) commitment to
provide an efficient, effective and sustainable irrigation services
in support of the farmer’s livelihood and the government’s program
for food self-sufficiency and inclusive economic growth, the NIA
Leyte Irrigation Management Office - Region 8 conducts a
stakeholders forum on January 31 at Marvin’s Seaside Inn, Brgy.
Atipolo, Naval, Biliran.
Engr. David P. Adongay
Jr., District Engineer of the Department of Public Works and
Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office participates the
said forum on behalf of Engr. Edgar B. Tabacon, DPWH 8 Regional
Engr. Fermina B. Aling,
Acting Regional Manager, NIA 8 says that the rationale of the
stakeholders’ forum is to establish a covenant in support of faster
and better implementation of irrigation projects and sustainable and
reliable irrigation service and to solicit the assistance of the
stakeholders for the immediate restoration of the communal
irrigation systems and the speedy recovery of irrigation communities
devastated by typhoons Urduja and Agaton.
During the forum, Engr.
Estelita S. Sumile, Manager, Engineering and Operations Division
shares the status of irrigation development of CY 2017 projects and
the proposed CY 2018 projects of the region while Engr. Alejandro C.
Culibar,D.M., Acting Division Manager, Biliran-Leyte del Norte-
Leyte del Sur IMO tackles the province’s status of irrigation
development of CY 2017 projects and the proposed CY 2018 projects.
Engr. Conrado M. Samson,
OIC, Operations and Maintenance Section also gives updates on the
damages of typhoons Urduja and Agaton particularly on irrigation
Adongay says that on the
part of the rehabilitation assistance, DPWH is willing to provide
equipment to be used for the immediate restoration of the communal
irrigation systems and for the speedy recovery of irrigation
communities devastated by the said typhoons.
He clarifies that the
equipment should be requested from the Regional Director through the
District Office to determine if the equipment to be borrowed is not
currently used by the office because at present, Biliran DEO is
prioritizing the restoration of all the damaged infrastructure
facilities on the national roads and highways facilities and its
“Be ensured that they can
immediately avail the equipment in case the Regional Director will
approve their request and whenever the equipment is available,” says
Adongay also says that the
district office will support the implementation of NIA’s projects
particularly on the implementation of their drainage canals
considering that most of the DPWH projects at present are road
widening improvement so some of the canals constructed by the NIA
will be affected during the road widening project.
“We are requesting NIA
that before the start of their project implementation, they should
coordinate with our office because if it crosses the national
highway, we will be requesting from the Regional Office that we need
to cut our national highways in order for the irrigation project to
pass through the national highway,” says Adongay.
The Stakeholder’s forum
ends with the signing of the covenant from stakeholders in
irrigation development coming from NIA’s Office, Bishop of the
Diocese of Naval, the Representative of the Lone District of Biliran,
the Provincial Governor, the Municipal Mayors and the Municipal
Agriculturists of the Province of Biliran, the Regional Directors in
Region 8 and the Provincial Heads in the said province of the
various government instrumentalities and agencies like the
Philippine Army (PA), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the
Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Natural Resources
(DENR), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Education
(DepEd), and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), the Chairman
of the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters ng Pilipinas (KBP), Chiefs/
Representatives of selected non-government organizations (NGOs) and
the Presidents of the IAs in the province.
livelihood packages, extends 0%-interest microfinance loans to
By DTI- OSEC-PRU
February 2, 2018
ILIGAN – The
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) awarded 1,500 livelihood
packages as well as 0%-interest microfinance loans to the internally
displaced people (IDP) of the Marawi siege during the DTI Negosyo
Seminar Para sa Marawi on 30 January 2018.
“We want to assure the
IDPs that President Duterte’s administration continues to provide
more business and livelihood opportunities through the DTI Negosyo
Seminars being given to help them recover soon,” said DTI Secretary
There were 1,500
participants and beneficiaries who attended the Negosyo Seminar. One
of them was Mr. Alikman Nata, who intends to share the benefits of
the livelihood package to his group, the Lanao Muslim Youth
As the head of Bangon
Marawi’s Subcommittee in Business and Livelihood, DTI had earlier
distributed 588 livelihood packages and conducted Negosyo trainings
to 1,963 IDPs as of December 2017. There were also 240 beneficiaries
who were linked to financial institutions.
The Department also
allocated P50 million this year to fund the Shared Service
Facilities (SSF), providing Maranao entrepreneurs with facilities
and knowledge that match their business needs. This is apart from
the budget provision to support other Bangon Marawi programs in
providing mobile rice mills, tricycles, vehicles, and the
construction of public markets.
DTI flew in different
business experts to teach business preparedness, opportunities
spotting, product development and marketing, financial literacy, and
The beneficiaries were
likewise briefed on the microfinancing loan programs of the
government through the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.), which
developed a special 0%-interest microloan program for Marawi IDPs.
This program has a grace period to help in the quick recovery of the
IDPs. It started last December 2017 and has benefitted a total of
During the acceptance and
distribution of transitory shelter units by Task Force Bangon Marawi
(TFBM) with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Brgy. Sagonsongan,
Marawi City, Sec. Lopez turned over the 0%-interest microfinance
loan from SB Corp. to 150 beneficiaries, where 95 of them are public
market vendors. The beneficiaries were represented by Ms. Rocaya
Macabantog, Mr. Abbas Inidal, Mr. Allan Carimbaran, Mr. Acadon
Macapundag, and Mr. Cosain Solaiman.
microfinance loan program for the 150 beneficiaries amounted to
P2.19 million. This is a part of the P100 million-fund under the
Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) loans allocated for Marawi
entrepreneurs by SB Corp, an attached agency of DTI.
registers 95.6 percent employment rate in 2017
January 30, 2018
TACLOBAN CITY – The
annual employment rate in Eastern Visayas slightly increased to 95.6
percent in 2017 from 95.5 percent in 2016, ranking sixth among the
regions with high employment rate in the country (see table below).
Employment rate is the proportion of employed persons to total labor
Out of the estimated 3.0
million population 15 years old and over in 2017, about 1.9 million
were economically active or in the labor force. This number
translates to an annual Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) of
60.3 percent. This figure is 1.8 percentage points lower compared to
the previous year’s LFPR of 62.1 percent. Among the regions, Eastern
Visayas registered the sixth lowest annual LFPR.
The underemployed persons
or those employed persons who express the desire to have additional
hours of work in their present job or to have additional job, or to
have a new job with longer working hours was estimated at 402
thousand. This is equal to an underemployment rate of 22.6 percent,
lower than the 28.3 percent recorded a year ago. The region had the
fourth highest underemployment rate in the country.
Meanwhile, about 82
thousand persons in the labor force were unemployed. This translates
to an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, slightly lower than the 4.5
percent rate recorded in 2016. Eastern Visayas ranked sixth among
the the regions with low employment rate.
The preliminary results of
the Annual Labor and Employment Estimates for are based on the
average of the four (4) Labor Force Survey (LFS) rounds (January,
April, July and October).
Año: Brgy tanods
not allowed to carry firearms; Brgy captains liable for tanods under
January 30, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Chief Eduardo
M. Año calls on Punong Barangays to ensure that no tanod under their
supervision uses firearms even in the performance of their duties.
Año reminded all Barangays
that tanods or community brigades composed of civilian volunteers
appointed by the Punong Barangay upon recommendation of the Barangay
Peace and Order Council are not allowed by any law to carry firearms
even in maintaining peace and order in their communities.
“Bilang kayong mga Punong
Barangay ang pumili, nagtalaga, at nangangasiwa ng inyong mga tanod,
kayo rin ang may pananagutan sa paraan ng pagsasagawa ng katungkulan
ng inyong mga tanod,” he says.
Año said that tanods may
only use nightstick with teargas (probaton) with belt and holster,
handcuff with holster, whistle, flashlight, raincoat, rainboots,
small notebooks and ballpens, first aid kits, and other non-lethal
“Bagaman mahalaga ang
papel ng mga tanod sa pagtulong sa pagbabantay at pagpapanatili ng
kaayusan at seguridad sa mga komunidad, kailangan pa rin pong
linawin at ipaalala na hindi sila otorisadong magdala at gumamit ng
baril kahit pa ang armas ay personal nilang kagamitan at kahit pa
mayroon silang permit to carry outside their residence,” he adds.
“If our barangay tanods
see themselves in a potentially dangerous situation, they should
seek the help of their local police officers. That’s the job of the
police,” he said.
The DILG chief explained
that Republic Act (RA) No. 10591 known as Comprehensive Firearms and
Ammunition Regulation Act enacted in 2012 has revoked the authority
of police auxiliary units members such as tanods to carry firearms,
which was previously allowed by Circular No. 2008-013 of the
National Police Commission. “There is no longer any legal basis for
arming barangay tanods,” said Año.
The DILG chief called on
all local chief executives to ensure compliance with this directive
and to withdraw any firearm that has been issued by them to barangay
He stressed that
registered firearms of local government units (LGUs) shall only be
issued to a government official or employee with a permanent
plantilla position as provided in Section 5.5.2 of the Implementing
Rules and Regulations of RA 10591.
“Ang mga tanod ay hindi po
permanenteng mga manggagawa ng gobyerno kaya hindi sila maaaring
gumamit ng armas maging iyong mga nakarehistrong baril ng LGU,” he
“Ayaw na po nating may
mapabalita pang tanod na sangkot sa paggamit ng baril kahit pa
ikatwirang dahil ito sa kanyang pagganap ng kanyang trabaho sa
barangay peace and order. Gawin po natin ang ating trabaho ng hindi
lumalabag sa batas,” Año warns.
Punong Barangays, on the
other hand, are entitled to possess and carry firearms within their
territorial jurisdiction, subject to appropriate rules and
regulations, as stated in Section 389 (c) of the Local Government
Code but only in the performance of their peace and order functions.
Spokesperson ASec. Jonathan E. Malaya reminds the public that among
the indications of a good punong barangay ‘worth voting for’ in the
upcoming barangay elections are those knowledgeable of the powers
and functions as well as limitations of barangay workers such as
tayo sa publiko na bumuto sa darating na barangay elections.
Pangalawa, piliiin po nilang mabuti ang ating mga ihahalal nang sa
gayun ay maging maunlad at mapayapa ang kanilang komunidad na ligtas
sa kapahamakan ng iligal na droga, kriminalidad, at korapsyon,” he
He said that the DILG will
be coming up with a list of qualities of a good barangay official
which will serve as a citizen’s guide in the forthcoming Barangay
and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. He said that they will encourage
the people to vote for a new set of Barangay officials who are
“Matino, Mahusay at Maaasahan.”
of the plan for Calbayog Coastal Diversion.
Samar First DEO
soon to implement coastal diversion road
BON JOSEPH N. ASTILLA
January 28, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY – A
Coastal Diversion Road is slated to be constructed by the DPWH Samar
First at the earliest possible time this year. The idea is conceived
out an immediate need to provide an alternate route to decongest
traffic in Calbayog City proper. The increasing volume of vehicles,
mostly heavily loaded trucks plying along the National Road from
Luzon to various destinations in the south including local
motorists, congest the National Road in the City Proper of Calbayog.
Seen as a long-term
solution to decongest traffic like the Calbayog Diversion Road, the
Coastal Diversion Road is going to be implemented together with the
idea of bringing economic development in the area. These two roads
will serve as significant components of the road network in Calbayog
City but with the latter being more accessible.
The road projects are
divided in three points: the first where it starts in Brgy. San
Policarpo, Calbayog City; the second that acts as a midpoint access
in Brgy. Aguit-Itan; and the last one in Brgy. Rawis where it ends.
The total length of the road is 4.6732 km. with 4 lanes. The
diversion road covers bank and slope protection works and other
structures. For FY 2018, the District has programmed for these road
sections the total amount of P350 million.
This project aims to
minimize traffic congestion in the city proper by diverting the
vehicular traffic to the Coastal Diversion Road thereby, reducing
traffic accidents or convergence in the busy city streets. Since the
passage in the diversion road decongests traffic in Calbayog City’s
major thoroughfare, travel time will also be reduced. Inevitably,
this will soon also spur economic activities in barangays traversed
by the road projects.
Threats to go
after legal, progressive organizations show Duterte’s contempt for
January 28, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
“Duterte’s nauseating hubris to target legal and progressive
organizations which he brands as ‘enemies of the state’ shows his
contempt for the exercise of the people’s basic right to freedom of
expression, association and assembly, among other civil and
political rights, and to any and all forms of opposition to his
anti-people policies,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina
Palabay, in response to Duterte’s recent statement where he
reiterated that he will go after so-called “legal fronts” of the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The Karapatan leader said
“pea-brained fascists like him and his minions in the military and
police, who made the very same threats and have employed numerous
means to suppress these rights, are the very reasons why majority of
the Filipino people strongly distrust government institutions.”
“Making no distinction
between armed combatants and civilians gives state forces carte
blanche to kill, arrest, threaten, and harass any one, including
free speech advocates, unarmed activists, peasants, workers,
indigenous peoples, church workers, among others. These tactics,
used by the Marcos dictatorship and subsequent regimes such as that
of Benigno Aquino III and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, are acts of
desperation and paranoia,” Palabay said.
Karapatan has recorded 84
human rights defenders killed under the Duterte administration, many
belonging to local peasant and indigenous organizations working
towards advocacies on genuine land reform and defense of ancestral
lands from big landlords and businesses. Since 2001, 697 human
rights defenders have already been killed. Many more have been
illegally arrested and detained.
Palabay also challenged
Duterte in his assertions of illegal financial transactions. “We are
not facing reports of undeclared P100 million in investments, nor
are our immediate family members implicated in smuggling $125
million worth of drug shipment. We are not befriending plunderers
like Marcos and making compromise deals with thieves. Unlike Duterte
and politicians in the same rotten basket, we are not the ones
lacking accountability,” she responded.
“Unlike the Duterte regime
which has cowered to the dictates of US lackeys in his Cabinet and
has shamelessly surrendered our sovereignty to US and China,
progressive organizations have stood firm against State repression,
fighting alongside the Filipino people throughout different
administrations. The 126 victims of political killings and the
thousands more killed in the course of the drug war, the many
anti-people policies, compounded by the brazen submission of our
territories justified by insulting the capacity of Filipino
scientists are indications of the Duterte government’s ineffectivity
and inutility,” concluded Palabay.
General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. with the Philippine food
delegation at the 2018 Winter Fancy Food Show, Moscone
Center, San Francisco.
wows visitors at Winter Fancy Food Show
January 26, 2018
MAKATI CITY –
FoodPhilippines, the country’s signature brand for food items under
the Department of Trade and Industry’s Center for International
Trade Exhibitions and Missions (DTI-CITEM), surprised buyers and
attendees of the recently concluded Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS)
held in San Francisco, USA from 21 to 23 January 2018.
Organized by the Center
for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) in
partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)
in San Francisco, FoodPHILIPPINES’ showcased variety of specialty
food product offerings by seventeen (17) of the best and biggest
Philippine food exporters.
According to Specialty
Food Association’s Trendspotter panel, FILIPINO CUISINE is among the
top food trends anticipated at the 43rd WFFS. Other top trends are
Plant-based foods, Upcycled products, Goth food, Alt-Sweet, Product
labeling 2.0, Root to stem, Cannabis cuisine, a (deeper) feast from
the Middle East, and the rise of traditional bread.
participation at the said food show is among DTI’s major efforts for
2018 in advancing the promotion of Philippine specialty food
products in overseas trade shows.
attracted support from many Philippine exporters including Arko
Foods, Bethany Sales, Inc. (Tamcor Mexim USA), Century Pacific Food,
Inc., Hacienda Macalauan, Inc., Islamic Da'wah Council of the
Philippines, JNRM Corporation, Magical Blend Marketing
International, Magic Melt Foods, Inc., Mama Sita's (Marigold
Manufacturing Corporation), Monde M.Y. San Corporation, Pasciolco
Agri Ventures, Profood International Corporation, Sagrex Food
Incorporation, San Miguel Pure Foods, Inc., Seabest Food Beverage
Corporation, Subic Superfood, Inc., and Super Q.
Philippine Consul General
Henry S. Bensurto, Jr., welcomed the delegation in their respective
booths in the pavilion during the show opening on 21 January
following a discussion with his economic diplomacy team about
expanding trade opportunities between the West Coast and the
Philippines on 22 January. He also hosted the delegates and their
prospective business partners in a welcome reception providing an
opportunity for Philippine companies to deepen their discussions
with importers and buyers.
WFFS is the US West
Coast’s largest specialty and food beverage event, with an estimated
20,000 visitors annually, 1,500 exhibitors and showcases more than
80,000 different specialty food products and beverages from the US
and across the globe.
During its 2017
participation in WFF, the delegation secured a total of US$ 48.73
million negotiated sales in 463 inquiries from trade buyers,
exceeding targets and recording its highest sales in its four years
of participation in the WFFS.
The US is one of the
largest foreign investors in the Philippines and the country’s
third-largest trading partner. The Philippines has been among the
largest beneficiaries of the US’ Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
scheme for developing countries, which provides preferential
duty-free access to the U.S. market.
this site in Brgy. Malayog, the catch wall will be
slope protection structures slated for CY 2018
MAE ANGELICA R. COMOTA
January 24, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY – The
Department of Public Works and Highways Samar First District
Engineering office will soon implement two projects with a combined
appropriation of P187 million sourced out from the General
Appropriation Act (GAA) of 2018. It will focus on the
rehabilitation/ reconstruction of roads with slips, slope collapse
and landslide along Calbayog-Allen Road.
The first project will be
divided into five sections and catch walls will be constructed on
the following stations: K0691+(-250) to K0691+(-100) and K0691+100
to K0691+200 in Brgy. Caglanipao Sur; K0699+364 to K0699+460.7 and
K0699+508 to K0699+535 in Brgy. Cagmanipis Sur; and K0700+075 to
K0700+265 in Brgy. Malayog.Its total area is 2,683 square meters
with a total length of 563.7 linear meters.
The second project will be
implemented in Brgy. Malayog with a total area of 2,572.50 square
meters, running a length of 525 linear meters which is divided into
two sections: K0700+580 to K0700+790 and K0701+000 to K0701+315.
“The continuous rains
brought about by Typhoons Urduja and Agaton caused a number of
rockslides and landslides in these barangays, blocking the road and
causing inconvenience to the travelling public. We are hoping that
by implementing these projects, these incidents will no longer
happen because the catch walls will prevent rock particles from
sliding onto the road. Thus, ensuring the safety of our motorists
and also the residents of the said barangays,” said Engr. Alfredo
Monsanto, Jr., the project engineer of one of the projects.
Both projects are expected
to be completed within the year.
Bato’s refusal to
release police info on drug war, a disgraceful attempt to escape
January 24, 2018
QUEZON CITY – “PNP
Chief Ronaldo ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa’s refusal to release information on
police operations regarding the drug war campaign is a disgraceful
attempt to escape accountability, not that one can expect integrity
from the Philippine National Police anyway.
Releasing information on
the drug war would indeed endanger cops, in the sense that they will
be legally prosecuted and made accountable for their murder spree in
urban poor communities,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina
According to the PNP, they
have documented 3,000 casualties under the Duterte government’s
anti-drug campaign, though estimates from the media and human rights
groups give out a much higher figure of at least 12,000. The Supreme
Court ordered the PNP to provide the full documentation on the
aforementioned deaths. On January 22, PNP Chief Dela Rosa appealed
to the SC, citing the “sensitivity” of the information requested.
“Hiding behind the
ambiguous and arbitrary keyword of “national security,” police
impunity has been blatantly tolerated by the Duterte regime. Despite
the admission of police abuses by no less than the institution’s
Chief, the PNP still insists on what it calls ‘internal cleansing’,
shielding cops from the full force of the law,” said Palabay.
The Karapatan secretary
general added that “allowing the police to mete out punishment to
its own ranks is akin to allowing your barkada to lightly hit your
back. This completely does nothing to exact accountability nor does
it provide justice for the victims of police abuses. Honestly, who
are they kidding?”
On January 12, the PNP
Chief himself admitted that cops demanded money from alleged drug
users and sellers to have their names removed from the drug list.
Palabay also cited cases in 2017, including the killing of Korean
businessman Jee Ick Joo inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame on
February 2017 and the charade that followed the investigation of the
killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos on August of last year, as
indications of how police impunity have exacerbated in the country.
“The police is accountable
to the Filipino people, lest they forget that. It is the mandate of
the PNP to serve and to protect, yet in the current and past
administrations, they have been among the main instruments of
repression and abuses. The basic and simple fact of the matter is
that releasing this information will jumpstart the independent
investigation on the PNP’s conduct in the war on drugs. Clearly,
however steadfast the PNP may be in claiming that the 3,000 deaths
were all cases of ‘self-defense,’ closer scrutiny may and will
reveal deliberate rights abuses done at the expense of the poor’s
right to due process,” concluded Palabay.
PH exports to EU
grew by 31%
By DTI- OSEC-PRU
January 22, 2018
MANILA – The
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) welcomed another milestone
for Philippines (PH) and European Union (EU) trade relations as
export products hit a 31% growth wherein EUR 2 billion-worth of PH
products were exported through EU’s Generalised Scheme of
Preferences Plus (GSP+).
“We are pleased to hear of
the significant increase of our exports entering the EU market
through the GSP+. This trade preference has benefitted several
communities in the Philippines and opened opportunities for our
Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME). In the same manner, it
has allowed our MSMEs to be more competitive in the local and
foreign market,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
The 31% of total PH
merchandise exports to the EU amounted to USD 8.4 billion in 2017.
This made the EU the third largest export partner of PH.
In the EU Trade
Preferences Monitoring Report released on 19 January 2018, the
robust trade relations between the two parties was highlighted with
EUR 2 billion-worth of PH exports in 2017 benefitting from the GSP+
compared to the EUR 1.66 billion in 2016.
A major increase was in
food and agriculture exports such as animal products, fish and
related products, prepared food, and edible fruits. Likewise,
automotive parts, leather, textile, and footwear showed significant
Since the beginning of the
preferential treatment in 2014, both PH and EU have enjoyed the
mutual benefits of GSP+ by letting Filipino MSMEs participate in a
bigger value chain and giving the EU market more options for their
Local communities can take
advantage of the export opportunities under the GSP+, like fishermen
in General Santos and coconut farmers in Lanao del Norte, as their
products can join those by other MSMEs in contributing to EU’s
“We acknowledge that the
GSP+ has been an important tool in making the country’s economic
growth more inclusive. It also encourages investors to come in and
provide job opportunities to many Filipinos,” Sec. Lopez said.
Meanwhile, dialogue on the
expansion of the trade preference is ongoing between PH and EU, with
both parties continuing to engage through relevant government
agencies and other existing mechanisms.
widened portion of the Calbayog Diversion Road along
K0729+400-K0732+400 in Brgy. Dagum.
diversion road widening project benefits travelling public
JASON DELOS ANGELES
January 19, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY – Due
to the increasing volume of vehicles in the city, traffic congestion
has become a norm for the average Calbayognon motorists, whether
they are travelling for their morning commute or going home after a
long day at work or school.
This is the primary
purpose why DPWH Samar I implemented the widening of Calbayog
Diversion Road. The project covers the widening of the existing
3-km. road from K0729+400 to K0732+400, 5,945 lin. m. reinforced
concrete canal and 1,116.80 sq. m. slope protection. It is under
contract with RNMK Construction and Supply with a total
appropriation of 105 million from the FY 2017 GAA Fund.
Widening the lanes on a
curve can reduce the risk of head-on crashes by giving drivers more
room to get around it without crossing into the opposing lane.
Similarly, widening turn lanes can improve safety, especially for
larger vehicles. It can also reduce sideswipe crashes.
Mr. Romeo Llauderes, a
councillor in Brgy. Dagum, stated that since the widening of certain
portions of the diversion road, motorists passing through the area
have increased bringing along motorized tricycles which make travel
more convenient for the local residents.
the projects completed is the construction/ improvement of
access road leading to Bangon Falls in Brgy. Tinaplacan,
Calbayog City with an appropriation of P100 million, it
reached 100% completion on December 15, 2017.
Samar I registers
80.48% accomplishment of CY 2017 infra projects
MAE ANGELICA R. COMOTA
January 18, 2018
CALBAYOG CITY – The
Department of Public Works and Highways Samar First District
Engineering Office closed the preceding year with an accomplishment
of 80.48% on all its regular infrastructure projects under the
General Appropriations Act (GAA).
As of December 31, 2017,
Samar I surpassed the 77.57% physical target by a 2.91% mark. The
office constructed, improved and rehabilitated 35.034 kilometers of
roads; constructed 518.10 lineal meters of bridges; and undertook 8
flood control structures and drainage systems.
Projects with external
funding under the convergence program, Samar I also improved and
built 1.44 kilometers of farm-to-market roads under the Department
of Agriculture; constructed 15 academic, secondary and senior high
school buildings under the DepEd’s Basic Educational Facilities Fund
(BEFF); implemented a total of 20 projects funded from the Motor
Vehicles Users Charge (MVUC); and constructed 5.54 kilometers of
tourism road infrastructure projects.
District Engineer Alvin
Ignacio gave assurance that he will continue to monitor and
supervise the remaining projects under CY 2017 with the assistance
of Construction Chief Engr. Carlos Rañola and the assigned project
for TRAIN’s revocation and living wages
January 16, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Militant labor groups Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and
Socialista held protest actions at Mendiola Monday and demanded the
scrapping of the recently signed into law Tax Reform Acceleration
and Inclusion (TRAIN) as it commences to take effect on all
petroleum products Monday.
Workers also used the
occasion to call for living wages to offset the impacts of TRAIN on
their already constrained familial budget.
Both groups tagged
Duterte’s TRAIN as “ruthlessly anti-poor for placing them at the
losing end as corporations merely transfer their tax obligations to
the consuming public”.
“The very character of
this administration’s revenue generating imposition is to liberate
the already affluent economic elite of their duties and make the
laborers and the poor bear the yoke of Duterte’s infrastructure plan
which we will not also directly benefit from,” said BMP leader,
Leody de Guzman.
The groups deplored claims
made by cabinet members that workers shall benefit from the new tax
Protestors lamented that
despite not abolishing contractualization and failing to grant them
decent wages, the Duterte government has the gall to tell workers
that they too shall benefit even if prices of basic goods have
already risen since the New Year.
They explained that the
lower economic strata such as minimum wage earners shall not benefit
since they are already tax exempt since 2008. The slum dwellers and
farmworkers shall also not benefit because their income is erratic
and their employment temporary.
Both the BMP and
Socialista also demanded living wages.
De Guzman argued with the
impacts of the new round of taxes taking effect, “it is not only
timely but is also apt and justified. We have no other recourse but
to pursue economic relief to keep their families economically
“We shall rightfully claim
what is ours,” he declared. Referring to the much publicized the
economic growth last year and projections for 2018. “All those gains
were generated mainly on the workers’ collective productivity.
Besides, it is our constitutionally guaranteed right to receive our
fair share of our labor”.
The leaders claimed that
their demonstration at Mendiola shall be the first of many
escalating protest actions in various cities nationwide until the
government concedes and grants them their demands.
The next protest is
scheduled to take place on the twenty-third of January.
chief MGen. Raul M. Farnacio personally pins the award of
the Wounded Personnel Medal (WPM) to Corporal Artemio Bendo
Jr. (Inf) PA on January 16, 2018 at Camp Lukban Station
pins award to wounded soldier
DPAO, 8ID PA
January 16, 2018
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan,
Samar – The Commander of the 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers)
Division Maj. Gen. Raul M Farnacio AFP pinned the award of the
Wounded Personnel Medal (WPM) to Corporal Artemio Bendo Jr. (Inf) PA
who was wounded during an encounter with undetermined number of
communist terrorists (CTs) on January 16, 2018 at Camp Lukban
Corporal Bendo along with
his fellow soldiers from 43rd Infantry (WE SEARCH) Battalion were in
the area of Barangay Somoroy, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar last
January 14, 2018 to conduct humanitarian assistance to residents
affected by torrential rains when the encounter with CTs transpired.
In his short message, Maj.
Gen. Raul M Farnacio said that, “This award is a manifestation of
the degree of sacrifice that a soldier has to pay in order for our
fellow Filipinos to continue to live in peace. It is just fitting to
commend personnel such as Corporal Bendo who risked his life in
helping and protecting the less fortunate in the far-flung areas.”
Since the beginning of the
year, the 8ID has been intensifying its campaign to defeat the CTs
as per marching order given by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army
as an identified terrorist organization.
It can be recalled that on
January 4, 2018, two CTs were killed and two high powered firearms
were recovered by the soldiers of 78th Infantry (Warriors) Battalion
during an encounter at Barangay Hilapnitan, Baybay City, Leyte.
“The successful encounters
of our government troops are the result of 8ID’s effort to defeat
the communist terrorists in support to President Duterte’s campaign
against the CTs who continue to extort money from communities and
private businesses and employ atrocities against civilians.”
Circular (JMC) to speed up issuance of construction-related permits
January 15, 2018
MAKATI CITY – The
Department of Trade and Industry sees improvement in the ease of
doing business in the country, with the implementation of the Joint
Memorandum Circular (JMC) directing local government units (LGUs) to
streamline the issuance of building permits and certificates of
For the first time, the
JMC 2018-01, which was issued by the Departments of Public Works and
Highways (DPWH), Interior and Local Government (DILG), Information
and Communications Technology (DICT) and DTI, sets service standards
for processing simple applications for construction-related permits.
This is in response to President Duterte’s call to simplify the
issuance of permits by LGUs in support of the Build Build Build!
Program of the government.
The JMC covers single
dwelling residential buildings of not more than three floors,
commercial buildings of not more than two storeys, renovation within
a mall with issued building permits and warehouses storing
As prescribed in the
circular, LGUs are enjoined to set up a processing system that will
ensure that applicants follow a four-step procedure in securing
building permits – submission of application with complete
documentation, receipt of the order of payment, payment of fees and
claiming of the permits.
Processing time by LGUs is
reduced to five (5) working days maximum, while that for BFP permits
is limited to not more than three (3) days for building permit
applications. The same number of steps and processing time are
prescribed for applications for certificates of occupancy.
The JMC also recommended a
pre-formatted form and a uniform set of documentary requirements,
and a one-time assessment and one-time payment of fees, with the
latter eliminating the current practice of separately paying for
different construction-related documentary clearances in different
LGU offices and the BFP.
To be able to comply with
the service standards, the government is mandating LGUs to establish
one-stop shops that will consolidate the processing of clearances
issued by LGUs related to construction permits, such as building
permits, certificates of occupancy, locational clearances, tax
declaration, tax clearances, certificates of final electrical
inspection as well as those required by the Bureau of Fire
protection – the Fire Safety Evaluation Clearance and the Fire
Safety Inspection Certificate. To be able to do this,
representatives from the Office of the Building Official (OBO),
Treasury Office, Zoning Office, Assessor’s Office of the LGU, and
Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) will be co-located in one area at
the LGU. Joint inspection teams will also be organized to ease the
burden of applicants in accommodating multiple inspections by
different offices before their certificates of occupancy are
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez,
who chairs the National Competitiveness Council and Doing Business
Task Force, is confident that the recently signed circular will
bring significant results in the Philippines’ ranking in Doing
“We fervently support the
implementation of this circular, as it strengthens our previous
efforts to eliminate red tape. Now that JMC 2018-01 is in place, we
look forward to improved ease of doing business and better
performance in Doing Business rankings.” Secretary Lopez said.
Last year, Philippines
dropped 14 notches to No. 113 in Doing Business Report published by
World Bank-International Finance Corp. Particularly, the country
ranked No. 101 in Dealing with Construction Permits.
Following the drastic
process re-engineering that LGUs will be undertaking as a result of
the JMC, the Secretary is also persuading the cities, especially
those in highly urbanized areas, to start developing a web-based
system for online submission and processing of construction-permits
similar to the processes already being implemented by some ASEAN
countries. This is also in line with the JMC which enjoins LGUs to
automate procedures, including the mode of payment, with the support
dictatorship looms to the tune of Cha-Cha - Karapatan
January 15, 2018
QUEZON CITY – “From
floating the bogus revolutionary government concept, to waving the
banner of federalism as the end-all, be-all solution of the problems
of Philippine society, the Duterte regime is once again peddling
another scheme that will essentially benefit and strengthen
political dynasties, open the country to more foreign exploits, and
bring us closer to a full-blown dictatorship – Duterte’s charter
change,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
As early as 2016,
proposals have already been filed in Congress seeking the revision
of the 1987 Constitution. “The Resolution of Both Houses No. 8 (RBH
8) and the PDP-Laban Proposed Federal Constitution are dangerous
proposals which disregard peoples’ rights and introduces a shift
that will worsen the current political and socio-economic problems
of our society,” added Palabay.
Among the transitory
provisions of the RBH 8, Congress will be dissolved and legislative
powers will be relegated to the President until the first Federal
Congress is convened. In both versions, the new constitution will be
designed to allow foreign corporations to further economic plunder
by removing remaining protections that the 1987 Constitution has put
in place, including the deletion of provisions that prohibit
transnational corporations from owning and acquiring land, and
prohibiting foreigners from fully operating and controlling public
Palabay noted that “there
is an instance in our history where legislative powers were handed
to the executive. That period proved to be a disaster, as martial
law under Marcos gave rise to laws, decrees, and regulations that
outrightly curtailed people’s rights. Duterte, a self-confessed and
crazed fan of Marcos, is expected to follow a similar path towards
fullblown fascism and dictatorship. Checks and balances in
government will be removed, leaving a chorus of inutile and
power-hungry crocodiles controlling our affairs while restricting
forms of dissent.”
“Aligning himself with
Marcos, his US lackeys in the security cluster, and imperialist
nations such as the US and China, the Duterte regime has chosen a
set of self-serving friends. Moreover, answering to the demands of
his imperialist masters, Duterte obediently aims to remove
protection for our already ailing and backward economy” the
Karapatan secretary general said.
“The extent that this
regime will go to to swindle its own people and forward its
fraudulent agenda is revolting. With the current versions and
changes proposed, charter change is far from justified, and is a
mere instrument of the ruling elite to further their power and gain.
Attempts at charter change failed to take hold in past
administrations due to protests and resistance from the people who
clearly and rightly saw it as a move that will benefit the wealthy
few; this new deceptive scheme will be met with the same
resistance,” concluded Palabay.