▪ Your latest news happening from here at home and abroad ▪

Special Report
Photo Gallery
Video Gallery
My Music Room
Radio Channel
Site Map


more news...

DPWH-Biliran DEO gets P1.276B based on approved 2019 budget

Inflation rate in Eastern Visayas eases to 2.0% in April 2019

Army troops encounter CPP-NPA terrorists in Northern Samar

Eastern Visayas posts $211.36 million trade surplus in January 2019

Pre-construction conferences to heighten awareness on DPWH projects

ACT denounces terrorist-tagging of people’s orgs to EU, calls for international solidarity

Tanauan High School, LNU top DILG poster tilt on World Water Day

New bridge to boost economy in Barugo, Leyte





DAR mini-trade fair
DAR-8 Regional Director Sheila Enciso (2nd from left) cuts the ribbon signifying the opening of the mini-trade fair at the DAR Regional Office compound on Wednesday. Assisting her are (from left) Assistant Regional Director (ARD) for Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development and Sustainability Program Ismael Aya-ay, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Paulina Canales of Leyte, ARD for Administration Ma. Fe Malinao, PARPO I Teresita Alde of Eastern Samar, PARPO I Danilo Lozada of Southern Leyte, PARPO I Alma Peñero of Leyte, and PARPO II Gilbert Apilado of Eastern Samar. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

DAR opens mini-trade fair

June 27, 2019

TACLOBAN CITY – A mini-trade fair featuring farmers’ products was opened yesterday morning at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Regional Office compound in this city.

Products ranging from agricultural to processed foods and handicrafts were produced by the different agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) throughout Eastern Visayas.

The said trade fair which is among the activities lined up in relation to the 31st anniversary celebration of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) will run until June 28.

At the Leyte booth, various types of rice (red, black, white, glutinous rice, etc.), organic eggs, fruits and vegetables including vermicasts are available.

At the Eastern Samar booth, several processed foods such as cassava chips, banana chips, noodles with seaweed, brewed coffee, tablea, coco vinegar, salabat, and calamansi concentrate are available. Handicrafts and vermicasts are also sold here.

At the Northern Samar booth, products available are piñato, tablea, pili products, coco sugar, vinegar, and tuna in oil. They also have vermicasts and handicrafts.

Meanwhile unique products at the Samar booth, are canton noodles with squash which has already been issued with license to operate (LTO) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and white cheese; while unique products at the Southern Leyte booth are guyabano tea and orchid pots.

According to Assistant Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay, this trade fair is a venue to showcase the products of the ARBs. He added, that this is an evidence that the ARBs are gaining grounds in their respective levels.

Aya-ay likewise disclosed that these products will be showcased too during the Agrilink/ Foodlink/ Aqualink 2019, a national agribusiness exhibition organized by the Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development, Incorporated (FRLDI), to be held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on October 3-5, 2019.

He further disclosed that the theme for that said event will be “Climate Resilient Agriculture: A must for Region 8”.

Related to this, Regional Director Sheila Enciso instructed the DAR Provincial Offices to assist the ARBOs in coming up with the best products for that national event. This is an opportunity for them to attract institutional buyers, she added.





DPWH kicks off construction of 2019 infra projects in Leyte 2

2019 infra projects in Leyte

June 27, 2019

CARIGARA, Leyte – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte second district engineering district has already started construction of the various infrastructure projects under the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

According to Gerald Pacanan, DPWH Leyte II District Engineer, implementation of the 2019 projects was delayed due to late approval of the annual budget.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the national budget on April 15 with some vetoed items including the P75 billion insertions applied by congressmen covering public works projects.

For this fiscal year, Leyte 2 is tasked to implement 87 projects worth P1.57 billion covering road and bridge improvement projects and construction of other government facilities. Of which 21 of these projects are already ongoing which include 2 major road rehabilitation, 4 bridge widening, and 15 barangay road projects.

“We strictly require contractors to immediately start the project upon receiving the notice to proceed. This is because we want to avoid further delays and for them also to finish the project within its time duration,” Pacanan said.

Meanwhile, among the high impact projects that the department will implement are the P50 million, P73.5M, and P89.8M road rehabilitation projects along Jaro-Dagami-Burauen-La paz road, P92.8M Ibawon bridge in La Paz town, P100M road pavement project along Burauen-Mahagnao road, P93.9M road improvement works along Palo-Carigara-Ormoc road and also along this road network is the implementation P179M road widening projects.





P2.9M livelihood grants for farmers, PWDs in MacArthur, Leyte

June 27, 2019

TACLOBAN CITY – A total of P2,962,250.00 livelihood funds were released by the Department of Labor and Employment to the local government unit of MacArthur, Leyte during the 2nd Quarter North Leyte PESO Managers Meeting last June 20, 2019 at the ABC Hall, LGU Compound, MacArthur, Leyte.

Present during the simple turnover of livelihood checks are Ms. Bernardita Navarra, DOLE North Leyte Field Office Head, Hon. Rene Leria, Mayor of LGU MacArthur, and Ms. Fedelina Pica, PESO Manager of MacArhur, Leyte. Representatives of recipient associations were likewise present to witness the awarding of checks.

The said amount will be benefiting forty-three (43) persons with disabilities (PWDs) and one hundred forty-one (141) farmers from MacArthur, Leyte.

Mayor Leria was delighted during the turnover and expressed his sincerest thanks to DOLE. He said, “In behalf of LGU-MacArthur, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to DOLE for these funds. I am sure these funds will go a long way for our deserving beneficiaries”.

Ms. Navarra on the other hand said that DOLE will always be ready to extend assistance because it is one of the reasons why it exists. She likewise reminded the beneficiaries to be good stewards of their livelihood projects.

“We are doing the best we can so we’ll be able to be of service to you because that is why we are here as a government agency. I just want to urge our beneficiaries to really be united in handling your livelihood projects for your own benefit too”, said Ms. Navarra.

Breakdown of approved projects are as follows: Photocopying Center Project of the MacArthur Persons with Disability Association amounting to P463,200.00; Poultry Farming and Chicken Egg Production of the Lanawan Farmers Association amounting to P499,050.00; and Provision of 4-wheel Drive Tractors of General Luna Integrated Farmers Association and LIDAROIMMA Irrigators Association amounting to P2,000,000.00.





DTI mandates translations for English, Filipino, or both for business and marketing materials

June 27, 2019

MAKATI CITY – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez signed last 21 June 2019, Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 19-09, Series of 2019, which mandates the translation of signages, billboards, advertisements, brochures, flyers, notices, advisories, labels, price tags/lists, menus, receipts, and other business marketing materials to English and/or Filipino.

The policy move was prompted by the surprise inspection conducted by the DTI in a Chinese food park located in Las Piñas City last 10 May 2019.

During the said inspection, all 33 food stalls were found to be using signages, price lists, and receipts in the Chinese language only. According to the DTI, this is a form of deceptive, unfair, or unconscionable sales act since non-Chinese speaking consumers are not provided with easily understandable information pertaining to the products and services that they need.

“With this new DAO, we are enhancing the protection of consumers on their right to accessible information that can help them in making wise purchase decisions. Presenting information on products and services in foreign languages other than those officially recognized and used by the consumers are deemed unfair and discriminatory, thus, inimical to their interest,” said Sec. Lopez.

In the DAO, the translation into English or Filipino of the marketing paraphernalia of a business must be visible, and printed and/or written legibly. The use of Filipino language in this case is not limited to Tagalog but also includes regional and provincial dialects.

To ensure its accurate translation, business establishments are now required to secure a certification from the Embassy of the country whose language is sought to be translated to, or from its accredited translator or interpreter, or any competent individual or institution duly recognized by the DTI.

Business establishments and entities found to be violating any of the provisions of the DAO shall be imposed with penalties ranging from P1,000.00 up to P300,000.00 depending on the capitalization and frequency of offense.

Erring businesses shall likewise face the cancellation of their business name certificate that was issued by the DTI, and revocation of business registration, permit, license, and any other regulatory clearances upon the recommendation of the Department to appropriate government agencies or units.

All business establishments and entities are given one month following the effectivity of the DAO to comply with the provisions of the Order, which will take effect 15 days after its publication in two newspapers of general circulation.





Minimum wage in EV ‘may’ increase, consultations ongoing

DOLE-8 Director Yahya A. Centi

June 26, 2019

TACLOBAN CITY – The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Region VIII, in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office VIII, will now be on its fourth leg of public consultations on the minimum wage issue after successfully conducting three consultations in Ormoc City, Maasin City and Naval, Biliran in the past three months.

In a press conference conducted last June 18, 2019 during the Kalayaan Jobs and Business Fair in Catbalogan City, DOLE Regional Office VIII Director Yahya A. Centi, who chairs the RTWPB VIII, clarified that there is no final and official say yet as to the issuance of a new wage order for Region VIII.

“We cannot tell yet as of now, but maybe, depending on the results of the consultations, our workers here in Eastern Visayas may get wage increase this year”, said Director Centi.

Last June 17, 2019, the third public consultation was held at Fragoch Tourist Inn in Naval, attended by close to forty (40) participants representing the labor and management sector in the province of Biliran.

Prior to the workshop and open forum which are the highlights of the activity, important topics were first tackled to shed light to participants relative to the minimum wage issue.

Director Celerina Bato of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) presented updates on the prices of basic good commodities and its suggested retail price while Director Meylene Rosales of National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) reported the latest economic condition of the region.

The next series of public consultations are set in Calbayog City on July 1, 2019, in Catarman, Northern Samar on July 2 and in Borongan City on July 5.

A year ago, last June 25, 2018, the existing Wage Order No. RB VIII-20 has been issued increasing the minimum wage from P285.00 to P305.00.





RD Centi inducts new TIPC Officers in Eastern Samar

New TIPC Officers in Eastern Samar

June 26, 2019

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar – The Department of Labor and Employment- Eastern Samar Field Office (ESFO) conducted the Provincial Tripartite Industrial Peace Council Meeting cum Employers’ Forum on June 20, 2019 at Rawis Resort & Hotel Restaurant, Sitio Rawis, Brgy. Alang-Alang, this City.

The one-day activity was graced by DOLE Regional Office No. VIII Director Yahya A. Centi and DOLE-ESFO Head, Ms. Fe A. Estrella. Present also were the Provincial Director of Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Mr. Rolando Juanillo and Department of Trade and Industry Provincial Officer-in-Charge, Mr. Jorge Modesto.

After a brief overview of the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council, election of TIPC officers followed.

Elected officers are as follows: Ms. Fe A. Estrella as Chairperson; Ms. Andresita Y. Cuña as Vice Chair for Management; and Ms. Nathalie Jean Cardeño as Vice Chair for Labor. Members for Management sector are Mr. Oscar Ty, Mr. Jesus Ang, Mr. Conrad Uy and Ms. Marguerite De Veyra. For the labor side, members are Mr. Rey Aves Alido, Ms. Luzviminda Montances, Ms. Emelia Lauresta and Mr. Reymark Estrobo.

Mr. Juanillo of TESDA, Mr. Modesto of DTI, Ms. Maria Rina Vertulfo of Eastern Samar PESO Managers Association (ESPESOMA) and Ms. Penelope Pomida of DYES Radyo Pilipinas completed the tripartite council representing the government sector.

Director Centi solemnly administered the Oath of Office of the newly elected TIPC officers in front of the seventy-five (75) active attendees coming from the different sectors of the province.

In his message, Director Centi encouraged the Council to be proactive in strengthening the cooperation between management, workers and government sectors in promoting the best interest for the Province of Eastern Samar.

“There is a need to institutionalize tripartism by providing for a continuing forum for tripartite consultation in aid of streamlining the role of government by empowering worker’s and employers’ organizations, enhancing their respective rights, attaining industrial peace and improving productivity”, said Director Centi.

The one-day activity was capped with an Employers’ Forum on the latest DOLE issuances. Several important topics were discussed for the information of the attendees.

Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) Secretary, Mr. Reynaldo Soliveres discussed about Productivity and Compensation Scheme of Public Bus Drivers and Conductors while Ms. Michelle Basal, Information Officer II of Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) discussed on the latest updates on Employees Compensation Program (ECP).

Engr. Aleksei Ceasar Abellar, Officer-in-Charge of DOLE Samar Field Office tackled the Department Order No. 198-18 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 11058 “An Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof”. Mr. Marlo Sible, Senior LEO of ESFO, gave emphasis on the Kasambahay Law and Department Order No. 183-17 or The Revised Rules on the Administration and Enforcement of Labor Laws pursuant to Article 128 of the Labor Code, as renumbered”.





DPWH maintenance enhancement training
The participants of the said training from different districts of Region VIII together with the resource speakers and Engr. Ivy Grace M. Baculi from the Bureau of Maintenance (center, red polo shirt)

DPWH conducts maintenance enhancement training at Region 8

June 26, 2019

NAVAL, Biliran – The Maintenance Division of the Department of Public Works and Highways plays an important role in maintaining the national roads and bridges in the Philippines.

It aims to maintain a safe and passable road for the travelling public and responsible for the rectification of road defects that may arise from time to time.

Recently, the Department Public Works and Highways conducted a 3-day training/ seminar held at DPWH Regional Office VIII, Conference Room, Baras, Palo, Leyte on May 27-29, 2019 which is the “Maintenance Enhancement Training (MET)”.

It was attended by the Maintenance Point Person’s (MPP’s) and Maintenance Crews.

After the 3-day course, the participants will be able to apply all the standards on routine maintenance (patching, crack/ joint sealing, pavement marking application and concrete re-blocking) in actual field and to execute road work safety and traffic management during performance of routine maintenance on site.

The resource speakers of the training from Regional Office were Engr. Ferdinand M. Fabile, Engr. Toribio Odtuhan, Engr. Louie Luxie Gumba, Engr. Joemar Villamor, Engr. Leonilo Jumagdao, and headed by Ivy Grace M. Baculi from the Bureau of Maintenance.

Biliran District Engineering Office representatives were Engr. Ronald M. Sebios (MPP), Engr. Frechbee L. Sabile (MPP), Joemar V. Manco (Heavy Equipment Operator) and the Maintenance Crews namely Jayvee Naranjo, Rodelito Marangga, Vincint Sangcap, and Junemar Machete.

Two days of the training were allocated for the discussion of the various topics such as Duties and Responsibilities of Maintenance Crew, D.O 41 Series of 2016, D.O. 93 Series of 2014, D.O. 168 Series of 2015, Coded Defects, Road Works and Traffic Safety, Pothole Patching, Concrete Re-blocking, Sealing of Cracks and Joints, Pavement Markings, and Malpractices in Maintenance work.

On the last day of the training, the participants were grouped into two and that day was allocated for Hands-on application of all the topics discussed. After the field works, the resource speakers gave a short examination to know if the participants really learned on the training conducted.





Completed construction of farm-to-market road in Brgy. Calaghusan-Caltayan in La Paz, Leyte.

DPWH bids out 15 barangay road projects in Leyte

June 26, 2019

CARIGARA, Leyte – The Department of Public Works and Highways field office here will kick off construction of 15 barangay road projects funded under the General Appropriation Fund (GAA) of 2019.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the budget on April 15 with some vetoed items including the P75 billion insertions applied by congressmen covering public works projects.

According to Gerald Pacanan, DPWH Leyte 2 head engineer, implementation of the 2019 projects was affected by the delayed approval of the annual budget.

“This is the reason why we are urging contractors to strictly follow the contract duration of each project to avoid further delays. We also instructed the project engineers to closely supervise the ongoing works,” Pacanan said.

Contractors are strictly required to start the project immediately after receiving the notice to proceed.

Among these projects are the road concreting at San Pablo village in Tabon-Tabon town; Maricum and Capilla both in Pastrana; Pawa, Malabca, Hapunan, Libas and San Esteban all in Burauen; Tabu village in Dulag town; Tarugan in La Paz; Balante, Bongdo, and Calbasag in Julita, and Calipayan in Mayorga.

The pavement of Capilla road in Pastrana is worth P2.97 million while the remaining 14 is budgeted at P1.98 million each.

“Once completed, this would eventually increase agricultural productivity and provide better access to basic social services such as health centers and educational facilities,” Pacanan said.

He added that the district targets to bid out other 2019 projects before the month ends. This includes some road projects, multipurpose halls, and covered courts.

Overall, the department is task to implement 87 projects in Leyte 2 worth P1.57 billion funded under the 2019 GAA.





DPWH-Biliran DEO joins DPWH 121st Anniversary and Sportsfest

DPWH 121st Anniversary and Sportsfest

By DPWH-Biliran
June 25, 2019

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) actively participated the DPWH 121st Anniversary and Sportsfest in a three-day event on June 19-21, 2019 at DPWH Regional Office (RO) 8.

All 13 DEOs including the RO of Eastern Visayas Region gathered together on the said event in the spirit of fun, camaraderie and sportsmanship.

The parade of participants commenced on the first day event at past 7:00AM en route from DPWH RO to Philippine Science High School to Leyte Provincial Hospital and back to DPWH RO. The said activity was followed with a thanksgiving mass at DPWH Multipurpose Hall and the Search for DPWH Best Muse 2019, respectively.

Engr. Jasiel Rasonabe represents Biliran DEO during the Search for Best Muse 2019 along with other lovely candidates from other DEOs and RO. The competition showcased their beauty and fit body to vie for the title Best Muse 2019 of DPWH.

Although Rasonabe didn’t win, she said she was already happy to represent her district in the said competition. She congratulated candidate from RO for winning the Best Muse together with her 1st and 2nd runners up from Leyte IV and Samar 1st DEOs, respectively.

The first day event also showcases the 13 DEOs special delicacies from their respective places during the Exhibit Booth and Food Trade Fair.

Ms. Ma. Rosario Sorrilla, Rank and File Employees Association (RFEA) President of Biliran DEO said that among the products they have showcased are Biliran’s delicious suman, kesong puti, tablea, and ampao.

Aside from the food fair, DEOs also exhibit their completed high impact infrastructure projects relevance to this year’s theme dubbed: “DPWH: Gabay tungo sa Konkretong Pag-unlad”, wherein Biliran DEO exhibits their completed road widening project along Biliran Circumferential Road. This is a competition won from Leyte 5th DEO with Northern Samar 2nd DEO as 1st place winner.

Meanwhile, the competition on cheer dancing highlights the first day activity of the 121st Anniversary and Sportsfest. The said competition proclaimed Southern Leyte DEO as the champion, followed by the RO and Leyte 5th DEO for the 1st and 2nd runners up.

After the cheerdance competition, Regional Director Nerie Bueno officially opens the sportsfest activities with the basketball ceremonial toss at DPWH RO covered court.

Participants were clustered into four teams for the entire sports fest activities.

Cluster I were composed of Leyte 1st DEO, Regional Office, and Tacloban DEO. Biliran DEO was teamed up with Leyte 2nd and Leyte 3rd DEOs, all under Cluster II. Cluster III were composed of Leyte 4th DEO, Southern Leyte DEO, and Leyte 5th DEO, while Cluster IV were composed of Samar 1st, Samar 2nd, Northern Samar 1st, Northern Samar 2nd and Eastern Samar DEOs.

Among the sports activities played were basketball, volleyball (men and women’s division) and badminton. The games continued in the second day event with parlor games prepared by each DEOs.

The DPWH Got Talent featuring “All Man’s Band” is the highlight activity on the eve of the second day anniversary. This showcased the talents of male DPWH employees regionwide.

Biliran DEO performers, Engr. Luisito Filemon Abad, Architect Wincello Nemenzo, Engr. Ronald Sebios and Engr. Ginisar Romero portray the musical group from the Philippines “Boyfriends” singing their hit songs “Dahil Mahal Kita” and “Sumayaw Sumunod”. The said competition was won by Leyte 5th and Leyte 2nd DEO tied on championship while Samar 1st DEO and Leyte 3rd DEO placed 1st and 2nd runners up, respectively.

There was also a DPWH Executive Dance Competition held on the same evening of the second day event. Without proper practice, an impromptu dance presentation was performed from team Cluster II headed by District Engineers (DE) David P. Adongay Jr. of Biliran DEO and Gerard Pacanan of Leyte 2nd DEO with his Assistant District Engineer Cesar V. Makabenta. Luckily, the team still managed to win at 1st place next to Cluster III.

The sports championship games continued on the third day. This is also the last day of the event where winners of the different competitions were awarded.

Overall champion for the sports games are teams from Cluster I followed by Cluster III as 1st runner up, Cluster II as 2nd runner up and cluster IV as 3rd runner up.

Although have failed to bring home the bacon, the management of Biliran DEO expressed their congratulations to its employees who actively participated all activities in the region.

“It is not how you won or lose, but it is how you play the game,” emphasized Mr. Bern L. Calomadre, Chief of Administrative Section.





Church groups, experts urge investors to back renewable energy, not coal in Visayas

Press Release
June 22, 2019

QUEZON CITY – Religious leaders urged investors in the energy sector to back away from funding coal in the Visayas as the Department of Energy (DOE) called on local government officials and business groups to seek more power investors to sustain the growing demand in Visayan regions.

Bishop Gerard Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos warned against the apparent bias for coal in the DOE’s encouragement as it downplays the contribution of renewable energy to growth in Visayas, as it downplays the impacts of coal projects to the health and environment in the Visayan regions.

“As our province’s coal-free status is being threatened by the incoming provincial administration, we are alarmed as the DOE is not giving policymakers and the business sector the whole picture in terms of the costs attached to coal-fired power plants, and why it is not the better choice as opposed to renewable energy,” said Bishop Alminaza.

The Bishop previously called out Governor-elect Eugenio Jose Lacson for stating that he will not honor the ordinance declaring Negros Occidental as a coal-free province. San Miguel Corporation currently eyes the construction of a 300 MW coal plant in San Carlos City.

“In encouraging energy investments, the DOE should not just focus on bringing in new energy sources, but also the role of investments in improving the grid system and energy storage in Visayas to maximize and encourage more renewable energy sources,” Bishop Alminaza continued. “In failing to do so, it is basically implying that the Visayas should look to massive coal-fired power plants which harm our environment, health, and worsens the climate crisis.”

The Bishop stressed that DOE should be at the forefront of honoring the country’s commitment as co-signatory to the Paris Agreement. “I’m disappointed that in their strategic planning they don’t ‘think outside the box’ but are still stuck with the outmoded business model belonging to the first industrial revolution,” the Bishop noted.

“We need to calculate our energy needs within the framework of long-term economic advantage,” said Brother Tagoy Jakosalem of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR). “This means considering a monetary and non-monetary cost-benefit analysis of power investments for both coal and renewable energy,” he continued.

The Augustinian Brother urged the DOE and policymakers to not just present the ‘business’ side of the need to generate power, but to also show the “hidden” or externalized costs of coal. “The ‘profitability’ of these projects do not account for the costs related to pollution impacts, health-related issues, loss of ecosystems and livelihood, as well as exacerbating the effects of climate-related disasters,” said Jakosalem.

“We should manifest our ethical stand on this issue, no ifs and buts, but clearly on the side of truth supported by scientific findings; that indeed, there is a climate emergency - that affected the lives of people and nature,” Jakosalem continued.

Past experiences warn against coal in Visayas

Energy think tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) Executive Director Gerry Arances noted that coal should no longer be associated with affordability and energy security, following recent developments faced by consumers across the Philippines.

“In Mindanao, the rush of coal-fired power plants led to a surge in the prices of electricity, as consumers are obligated to pay for the abundance of coal plants providing not just base load of electricity, but also the peaking and intermediate loads,” said Arances. “The fear of averting brownouts in Mindanao has unfortunately led to an overabundance of coal plants in the area and the drastic increase in the cost of power, negating the low prices Mindanaoans used to experience with renewable energy.”

“Meanwhile, Luzon has suffered increased rates and power interruptions because of the underperformance of coal-fired power plants which underwent unscheduled maintenance shutdowns,” Arances continued.

Arances noted that the costliness, unreliability, and environmental impacts by coal-fired power plants are already being felt by Visayas, like in Ilo-ilo which has one of the highest power rates in the Philippines. “This is unfortunate given the high renewable energy potential in Visayas being taken for granted.”

Dr. Romana delos Reyes of the Coal-Free Negros Network pointed out that lack of power supply foisted on resisting communities, particularly Negrosanons, everytime coal-fired power plants are proposed. “This was done in the late 90s to the early 20s when we resisted the proposed coal plants in Bago, Silay, Pulupandan and Cadiz,” said delos Reyes.

Delos Reyes questioned the 8.8 percent increase in power demand which DOE Visayas Field Officer Maleza used to justify additional power supply in the grid by 2020. “According to the data that Maleza provided last February 2019, varies from 3.3 to 9.1 percent. Furthermore, using the date he provided which says that the peak demand in 2018 was 2053MW while that in 2019 is 2224, the increase was 8.3%,” she noted.

“The government should send the proper signals to deliver the most appropriate energy sources in specific areas,” said delos Reyes. “If they aim to bring in investments, they should provide the whole picture to ensure that those investments will not harm host communities, and will not burden consumers and end-users as was the case in the past.”





PRRD recognizes soldier’s heroism in Eastern Visayas

President Rodrigo Duterte visit to 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division

June 20, 2019

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his visit yesterday at 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army, Camp Lukban, Brgy. Maulong, Catbalogan City, Samar recognized the heroism of wounded personnel as they fought for peace, freedom and development in Eastern Visayas.

Battle casualties of 46th Infantry (Peacemaker) Battalion, 20th Infantry (We Lead) Battalion, and 63rd Infantry (Innovator) Battalion recuperating at the Heroes Ward of Camp Lukban Station Hospital were personally visited and conferred with the Award of Wounded Personnel Medal by the President himself assisted by Maj. Gen, Raul M. Farnacio, Commander, 8ID which boosted the morale and well-being of the wounded personnel. Likewise, the President posthumously promoted five (5) brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during an ambush by communist terrorists last April.

Prior to his talk, the Commander-in-Chief leads the ceremonial distribution of 2,701 Glock pistols and 200 .45 caliber pistols to the Stormtroopers.

The ceremony was attended by Sec. Delfin N. Lorenzana, Department of Natonal Defense, Usec. Arthur I. Tabaquero, Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs, Vice Admiral Gaudencio C. Collado, Jr, Vice Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Lieut. Gen. Noel S. Clement, Commander, Central Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines, officers, soldiers, civilian employees, Philippine Navy personnel, Philippine National Police personnel, and invited guests.

During his Talk to the Stormtroopers, the Commander-In-Chief said that “I salute our brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during an ambush by the communist terrorists last April. Their sacrifice for our country will never be forgotten and their needs including those of their families will be taken cared of.”

The Commander-In-Chief also encouraged the remaining rebels to repudiate their outdated ideology, abandon their terroristic activities, and return to the folds of the law.

“Maubos nyo kaya ang sundalo ko? Maubos nyo kaya ang bala ko? Ang eroplano ko? Bakit hindi na lang kayo mag-surrender? Meron ako programa para sa inyo, gagawa ako ng bahay, bibigyan ko kayo ng trabaho. Just drop your weapon, stop fighting! And we will talk. Pero, if you remain to fight, problema niyo na yan” Duterte added.





PH, Indonesia hold economic and investment summit, agreed to intensify investment

1st Philippines-Indonesia Economic and Investment Summit

June 20, 2019

JAKARTA – The 1st Philippines-Indonesia Economic and Investment Summit was convened on 18 June 2019 in Westin Jakarta Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia, as part of the year-long celebration of the 70th year of Philippines-Indonesia bilateral relations.

Ambassador Leehiong Tan Wee opened the Summit and said that the “summit could not be more timely, as the Philippines and Indonesia are both poised as the new emerging economies in the region posting some of the world's fastest economic growth”.

On other hand, Mr. Antonio B. Capati, Chairman of Philippine Business Club Indonesia (PBCI) expressed that it is about time that Philippines and Indonesia enhance its economic ties in order to optimize opportunities in the ASEAN region and overall relations. Capati also stressed that “the historic 1st Philippines-Indonesia Economic & Investment Summit is a testament to our alliance and friendship”.

Governor Marjorie O. Ramos-Samaniego of the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) made a keynote presentation on why the Philippines remain Asia’s bright spot, while Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of the Department of Tourism presented investment opportunities in PH tourism industry as well as updates on the efforts of the current administration on sustainable tourism. On the other hand, Secretary Raul Lambino, CEO and Administrator of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) pitched on the opportunities in Cagayan region and provided updates on why CEZA is poised to become the fintech and new crypto valley of Asia.

In closing, Commercial Attaché Jeremiah C. Reyes of PTIC Jakarta shared that “while trade and business relations have flourished between Philippines and Indonesia, there is still plenty of room and an abundant number of avenues that both countries can tap. The Summit is not just a celebration of endearing friendship, but also the identification of potential areas that we can partner and collaborate.”

Several B2B agreements and partnerships were also signed during the Summit which include digital tourism, travel and tours, investment promotion, agriculture, e-commerce, and financial technology.

Attended by potential investors, decision makers, policy groups, and business associations from both countries, the 1st Philippines-Indonesia Economic and Investment Summit was organized by the Philippine Business Club Indonesia, in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Jakarta, Embassy of the Philippines, and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

PBCI and CEZA signed cooperation agreement. In the photo (L-R) Mr. Norwin Mark Castro, Secretary General of PBCI, Chairman Antonio B. Capati, Ambassador Leehiong Tan Wee, Secretary Raul M. Lambino, CEO and Administrator of CEZA, Mr. Jomar Agabin of CEZA, and Commercial Attaché Jeremiah C. Reyes, Philippine Trade and Investment Center - Jakarta.





31st CARP anniversary celebration
Employees of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Regional and Leyte Provincial Offices joined forces in planting 600 trees at the beach forest of Barangay Salvacion in Palo, Leyte. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

DAR-EV kicks-off 31st CARP anniversary celebration, plants 950 trees

June 19, 2019

PALO, Leyte – Due to the worsening effect of global warming brought by climate change, employees of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) throughout Eastern Visayas planted simultaneously 800 trees on Saturday as kick-off activity to the said agency’s commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) implementation.

DAR Regional Director Sheila Enciso encouraged the employees to lend a hand to help combat climate change and save mother earth by planting trees.

Employees of the DAR Regional and Leyte Provincial Offices joined forces in planting 600 “talisay” trees at the recommended beach forest of Barangay Salvacion in this town by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).

Forester Michael Macalalag of CENRO emphasized at the site the proper way of planting the trees to the participants, as well as the proper disposal of plastic materials.

In Northern Samar, DAR employees planted 100 mangroves in Barangay Cawayan in Catarman; while 100 narra and mahogany trees were planted in Barangay Taytagan in Bontoc, Southern Leyte.

Meanwhile, DAR employees in Eastern Samar planted 150 narra trees in Barangay Calicoan situated in the City of Borongan. However, the activity was held one day ahead of the others.

DAR-EV kicked-off its two-week CARP anniversary celebration on June 15, the day Republic Act No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), took effect 31 years ago, after said law was signed by then President Corazon Aquino on June 10 of the same year.

Further, Enciso also announced other activities lined-up in relation to the CARP anniversary celebration. According to her, a fun run will be held on June 22 to be participated in by line agencies, while on June 26, a three-day mini-trade fair will be opened at the DAR Regional Office compound featuring agricultural products, processed foods and handicrafts manufactured by agrarian reform beneficiary organizations all over the region. (with reports from Aileen Langomes, Clariza Estremera and Febe Marie Bersabal)





Inflation rate in Eastern Visayas declines to 1.6% in May 2019

By PSA-8
June 19, 2019

TACLOBAN CITY – The Inflation Rate (IR) in Eastern Visayas continued to drop to 1.6 percent in May 2019. This is 0.4 percentage point lower compared with the 2.0 percent IR a month ago, and 4.2 percentage points lower compared with the 5.8 percent IR recorded in the same period last year. The regional inflation rate is 1.6 percentage points lower than the 3.2 percent national average in May 2019.

May 2019 Eastern Visayas inflation rateThe provinces of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Samar registered lower IRs in May 2019 compared with their figures in the previous month. Samar recorded the biggest drop of 1.5 percentage points, from 1.3 percent in April 2019 to -0.2 percent in May 2019. On the other hand, 0.3 percentage point and 0.2 percentage point increases in IRs were noted in Leyte and Southern Leyte, registering 3.8 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively in May 2019. Biliran posted the lowest with negative IR at 2.9 percent, while Leyte recorded the highest IR during the month in review at 3.8 percent (Table 1).

Among the commodity groups, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels commodity group registered the biggest drop of 1.3 percentage points, from 0.2 percent in April 2019 to -1.1 percent during the month in review.

The heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages declined by 0.2 percentage point to 2.3 percent in May 2019 from its previous month’s rate of 2.5 percent. Higher inflation rates noted in fish; sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery products; corn; vegetables; oils and fats; and milk, cheese and eggs were offset by slower price increases in rice; non–alcoholic beverages; bread and cereals; fruits; meat; and food products not elsewhere classified. Rice registered the highest decrease of 1.5 percentage points, from 0.2 percent in April 2019 to -1.3 percent in May 2019. Fruits index continued to register a negative inflation rate at 5.7 percent.

Slower IRs were also exhibited in the commodity groups of alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; and communication.

On the other hand, transport IR increased to 5.9 percent during the reference month, 0.4 percentage point higher compared with the 5.5 percent IR in April 2019. This can be traced to higher IRs in the index for transport services.

IR for the commodity groups of health and recreation and culture increased by 0.1 percentage point each, both settling at 3.6 percent, during the month in review.

Restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services and education, meanwhile, retained their previous month’s rates of 2.3 percent, -16.4 percent, respectively.

The Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region remained at P0.80 in May 2019. This PPP implies that goods and services worth 100 pesos in May 2019 only cost 80 pesos in 2012.

All provinces retained their previous month’s PPP, except for Samar, which posted a 0.01 centavo increase in PPP. Biliran recorded the strongest PPP at P0.84. Southern Leyte ranked second at P0.82, followed by Leyte at P0.81, Eastern Samar at P0.79, and Samar at P0.77. Northern Samar posted the weakest PPP at P0.76.

May 2019 Eastern Visayas inflation rate





Asia-Pacific health care meeting
Participants share their experiences and recommendations on issues of concern during the Health Care In Danger (HCID) Asia-Pacific regional meeting at New World Makati Hotel in Makati City, Philippines.

Working together to protect health care across Asia-Pacific

June 18, 2019

MANILA – Representatives of health ministries, medical associations, academia, military and aid organizations from nine countries have committed to work on ensuring that health care is safe from disruption and violence in the Asia-Pacific region, affirming there is an urgent need to strengthen the preparedness of health-care systems in this regard.

The first regional meeting, held in Makati City from June 13 to 15, gathered 65 participants who reaffirmed their collective responsibility in a declaration to enhance the protection of health-care services from various forms of violence. While the process needs to be led by States, there are many opportunities for other stakeholders to contribute to the effort.

“Every day, medical personnel, nurses and health responders are confronted with situations of violence and other actions that disrupt provision of health care to those who need it the most,” said Maciej Polkowski, head of the Health Care in Danger (HCiD) initiative at International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). “This can range from deliberate attacks in cases of conflict, to violent verbal abuse from a patient. These regional meetings concentrate on the ground realities in Asia-Pacific and are aimed at moving towards improved protection of health care in a very concrete, defined and hopefully, inspiring manner.”

The HCiD initiative was launched globally in 2011 by the ICRC and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to improve the protection of health care. It is a multifaceted initiative that encompasses partnerships, advocacy and an operational approach. The recent Asia-Pacific meeting was organized by the ICRC in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross. It brought together participants from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

In the meeting, the participants discussed and shared concrete experiences in the task of making health-care services accessible, safe and free from violence. By adopting the “Manila Declaration on the Protection of Health Care,” they agreed that:

- Weapon bearers must strengthen their respect for safe and secure delivery of health care through practical measures such as training manuals and standard operating procedures;

- Authorities must undertake appropriate measures to train and educate civil servants, health-care workers and the public on domestic laws protecting health care;

- There is a need to strengthen the resilience and preparedness of health-care systems to face attacks, with focus on the physical security of facilities, training of staff to prevent and manage violence and to strengthen coordination mechanisms.

For the meeting’s host country – the Philippines – protection of health care is highly relevant in the southern island of Mindanao due to decades of internal armed conflicts that presented various challenges for health professionals.

“We have to be concerned with the safety and protection of health-care workers deployed in areas affected by conflict as these are the places we also cater to,” said Dr Rolanisah Dipatuan-Dimaporo, chief of staff in the ministry of health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). “But we also realized during the meeting that health staff in contexts other than conflict are exposed to different risks.”

Moving forward, participants of the Asia-Pacific meeting agreed that by supporting the declaration, they commit to consolidate the good intentions and ideas into action by discussing and incorporating HCiD initiatives in their respective agencies’ strategic planning.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. It has an international mandate to promote knowledge for and compliance with international humanitarian law.





ECCD F1K beneficiaries
PNC Jennibeth S. Canete (right) together with Janice Bael conduct interview with ECCD F1K beneficiaries during an R-TAME team monitoring/evaluation of the village of Buenavista, Baybay City.

ECCD-IP implementation in ASAPP areas evaluated

By JACK C. GADAINGAN, Nation Builder
June 17, 2019

TACLOBAN CITY – In three years of its implementation, the Early Childhood Care and Development - Intervention Package (ECCD-IP) for First 1000 Days (F1K), has really made some impact in the nutritional status of local people in the pilot area.

ECCD program coordinator Jennibeth S. Cañete, who headed the Regional Technical Assistance Monitoring and Evaluation (R-TAME) team, disclosed this in an exclusive interview with Nation Builder.

An R-TAME team composed of Cañete and Janice Bael of National Nutrition Council Region 8 (NNC-8) together with Saloma Guisulga, Elena Monteroso and Melodina Edullantes of the Visayas State University - Barangay Integrated Development Approach for Nutrition Improvement (VSU-BIDANI), conducted a monitoring and evaluation of the ECCD F1K implementation, down barangay level in the city of Baybay and the towns of Abuyog, Mahaplag and Hilongos all in Leyte 5th district on May 28-31, 2019.

“There has been a significant decrease of malnutrition in this city since the implementation of the Early Childhood Care and Development!” Baybay City Mayor Carmen L. Cari claimed in a State of Nutrition Address (SONA) on October 24, 2018.

The local government units (LGUs) of Abuyog, Mahaplag, Hilongos and Baybay are covered under the Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty Program (ASAPP) of the national government, a three-year intervention package being piloted in selected cities and municipalities (10 provinces nationwide) considered poor.

Health and nutrition is only one component of ASAPP, which aims to accelerate poverty reduction and boosting economic growth in the identified localities through public-private interventions, among which by tapping the skills and resources of the poor in enabling private enterprises to expand their production capacities and markets.

Meanwhile, focus on First 1000 Days congruent with the Early Years Act (RA 10410) refers to full range of health, nutrition, early education, and social services development program for the holistic needs of young children. It further narrows down the age-group on First 1000 Days of life, referred as “golden window of opportunity” for the child’s growth and development--that includes the time of conception (pregnancy), until the baby is born and two years of age.

The primary and immediate objective of ECCD-IP F1K is to reduce maternal and child undernutrition, specifically at normal times: a. Promote optimum infant and young child feeding; b. Nutrition services in ante-natal care; c. Health services (prenatal, prenatal, immunization, management of childhood illnesses, reproductive health).

In emergencies: d. Vitamin A, iron, and iodine supplementation; e. Food fortification with vitamin A, iron, and iodine; f. Diet diversification; Increase food supply and improve physical and economic access to nutritious and safe food; and g. Early child learning and psychosocial stimulation.





Rehabilitation of access road leading to Naval port
Completed access road project leading to Naval Port amounting to P37.13M. Application of asphalt overlay with thermoplastic pavement is also included in the scope of work.

Rehabilitation of access road leading to Naval port completed

By DPWH-Biliran
June 17, 2019

NAVAL, Biliran – An access road leading to Naval seaport has been improved by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) -Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO).

From a bumpy and narrow existing concrete road, travellers along Vicentillo Extension to Naval port is experiencing a great difference of travel with the completion of DPWH-Biliran DEO access road project.

Mr. David Julian Culibra, who frequently pass along this road section in going home said that he now enjoys riding his motorcycle along this road.

Before the rehabilitation project of DPWH, the road along this section had intermittent big potholes, posing danger to the travelling public.

“The existing substandard concrete road shows rutting and depressions and it was difficult to drive because the road is uneven,” explained Culibra.

In convergence with the DPWH and the Department of Transportation (DOTr), DPWH-Biliran DEO has included the rehabilitation of this project under its 2017 Regular Infrastructure Program with a contract cost of P37.13M.

According to District Engineer David P. Adongay Jr., the project was prioritized because of the traffic congestion along this route during peak hours due to its damaged surface.

The said project involves the rehabilitation of damaged substandard local road with a width of 6.10-meter and a thickness of 0.23-meter and with a length of 1.390-kilometer two lane road. It also involves a construction of 754-meter length of drainage canal and payment of Road-Right-Of-Way (RROW). Application of asphalt overlay with thermoplastic pavement is also included in the scope of work.

At present, it has already a smooth surface and is much safer for the traveling public.

“This is the kind of road I like to travel every day,” said Culibra.





ACT on doubled salary of teachers in 20 years: Cabinet member pay rose 5 folds

Press Release
June 16, 2019

QUEZON CITY – ACT countered DepEd's claim that teachers are taken care of with the doubling of their salaries in 2 decades by raising the fact that salaries of cabinet members increased by 570% and the president’s basic pay by 606% since 2000.

DepEd Sec. Briones reportedly defended in a recent cabinet meeting that teachers are taken care of by presenting historical data on teachers' salaries and benefits.

“Sec. Briones forgot to mention that in the same period, salaries of top government officials increased 5 to 6 times. Now, whose welfare are truly taken care of?” asked Joselyn Martinez, ACT National Chairperson.

ACT study on government pay scheme since 2000 revealed that cabinet members pay rose from P38,500 in 2000 to P257,809 in 2019 while the president's salary increased from P55,000 in 2000 to P388,096 this year.

“Clearly the principle of equitable and sustainable pay is not reflected in the government salary scheme. The government is the foremost violator of the constitutionally mandated principle of social justice as the gap between rank-and file and top officials continue to widen, ' added Martinez.

Nothing special in doubled salaries in 20 years

Martinez lambasted DepEd for ‘deliberately obscuring the entire picture’ when the agency claimed that teachers’ salaries have doubled since 2000 while failing to mention its context, and the fact that all other salaries as well as the costs of living also rose to around the same rate.

“There is nothing special with the doubling of salaries in the span of two decades. Salaries of all workers have been chasing after the rising cost of living through the years but never managed to keep up,” said Martinez.

ACT cited that the 119% increase in teachers' pay since 2000 are approximately the same, if not lower than those received by minimum wage earners in the public and private sector.

The minimum wage in NCR rose by 140%, from P223.5 in 2000 to P537 at present. Salary Grade I government employees had 130% pay increase, from P4,821 to P11,068 this year.

Better benefits?

ACT also belied Sec. Briones’ claim in ‘pushing for reforms and initiatives’ that allegedly resulted in improved benefits, citing that benefits received by teachers are largely the same as those received by other government employees such as the 13th and 14thmonth pay, and their clothing allowance.

The chalk allowance, ACT said, is a special benefit for teachers for having the distinct situation of needing to buy their own supplies needed in the performance of their duty. ACT also raised that even the benefits that are yet to be received by teachers such as the P500 medical allowance and P1,000 World Teachers’ Day (WTD) bonus are already mentioned by the secretary to make it appear that teachers are better off than other government employees.

“The grant of medical allowance is actually 50 years delayed since the 1966 Magna Carta provided for it, and now it hangs by a thread as the president placed it under conditional implementation. Even the WTD bonus is P500 short of the P1,500 amount promised by Sec. Briones last year,” Martinez explained.

The teachers’ federation further argued that it was the ‘uncompromising pursuit for better pay and benefits’ that gained teachers these rightful compensations.

“The government did not give these benefits out of their own will, these are hard won by teachers together with our partners in Congress, especially the ACT Teachers Partylist,” said Martinez.

ACT detailed that the increase in chalk allowance from P700 to its current amount of P3,500 was campaigned by teachers inside and outside the parliament. The same goes for the additional P2,000 in their uniform allowance and the newly included P500 annual medical allowance for teachers. These amendments were made possible by legislation principally authored and pushed for by ACT Teachers Partylist. Even the official celebration of World Teachers' Day (WTD) was a product of a law passed by ACT Teachers Partylist, which allowed for DepEd's recent move to provide a WTD bonus.

“The same resolve of teachers and partners who recognize the value of education will also win us our much-deserved salary increase,” declared Martinez.

‘Enough with the propaganda’

ACT urged DepEd to stop trying to ‘deodorize the government’ and instead work with teachers in fulfilling the overdue pay hike promise.

“The propaganda has to stop. More time should be spent on actually resolving the crisis in the pay of teachers and other rank-and-file employees, instead of on manipulating facts. Teachers are fighting for decent living and working condition, heed us instead of delegitimizing our struggle,” pressed Martinez.





Senior high school in Leyte gets new classrooms

Julita Senior High School

June 11, 2019

JULITA, Leyte – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte field office here has recently completed the construction of a three-storey six-classroom school building at Julita Senior High School in Julita, Leyte.

According to Erlinda Daya, school head, the new facility will be used as regular classrooms while the old vacated buildings will be utilized as laboratories and office for teachers. The school has a total of 308 enrollees for this year.

The high-rise building is worth P15 million funded under the Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF) of 2018. BEFF is an annual budget for school building program, which covers the improvement and maintenance of school facilities in the country.

“This building is provided with standard toilet and sanitary facilities, storage rooms and proper ventilation, each classroom installed with two oscillating ceiling fans. It is also equipped with fire alarm system and fire extinguisher,” said Gerald Pacanan, DPWH Leyte 2 district engineer.

He added that with the addition of junior and senior high, the number of students in high school has increased prompting the government to allocate more funds for school facilities.

“This is in support to the government’s strengthened education program. We, at the DPWH and in coordination with the Department of Education commit to provide more conducive learning facilities for students,” he ended.

For 2018 BEFF, the district is tasked to implement 25 school building projects worth P371.39 million.





Gift-Giving activity of GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc. in partnership with DepEd and 14IB in Eastern Samar

GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc gift-giving

By 14th Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
June 10, 2019

BRGY DAO, Oras, Eastern Samar – The 14th Infantry (Avenger) Battalion, under the leadership of its Commanding Officer, LTC Jasper Justito M. Pecson INF (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer, participated in the conduct of gift-giving activity of GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc. with the theme “Unang Hakbang sa Kinabukasan 2019” spearheaded by Ms Amabelle Rusiana, Eastern Visayas coordinator of GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc. with the Department of Education (DepEd) Eastern Samar last June 4-8, 2019.

The four (4) day gift-giving activity of foundation is composed of complete school supplies with backpacks that were distributed to the kindergarten and Grade I pupils in the different barangays of the Municipalities of Dolores, San Policarpo and Arteche, all of Eastern Samar. About 3,300 children were benefited from the said activity.

The said gift giving activity recognizes the burden of less fortunate families in providing school supplies for their children. It also creates an impact to the community in order for the people to support the government’s mandate in sustaining the promotion of peace and development of the community and at the same time to bring happiness to the people, making them feel that they are not forgotten. It further encourages the children to continue to go to school and learn for a better future.

The unit expressed its gratitude to the foundation in collaboration with the DepEd for the successful conduct of the gift-giving activity, which contributed to the sustainment of peace through the efforts of the different stakeholders in the province of Eastern Samar.






DPWH-Biliran DEO implements additional flood control projects under 2018 fund

biliran flood control projects

By DPWH-Biliran
June 10, 2019

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)- Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) is implementing additional two flood control projects under its 2018 fund. These flood control projects are implemented at Brgy. Mapuyo in Kawayan town and Brgy. Busali in Biliran town.

District Engineer David P. Adongay Jr. said that these projects are currently on-going with an accomplishment of 50% and 20%, respectively as of May 31, 2019.

“The funds for the additional flood control projects are late release of the 2018 budget under the local infrastructure program, hence also the late in implementation” said Adongay.

According to Adongay, these flood control projects were prioritized to protect the community and agricultural products against flooding and damages.

“There is an urgent need for the completion of these projects especially that it is already rainy season,” said Adongay.

The P9.63M construction of Busali Flood control project entails the construction of a 156-linear meter length on both sides of the river with a height of 3.5-meter. This project is target to be completed on June 30, 2019.

Meanwhile, the Mapuyo Flood Control project entails the construction and reconstruction of revetment structure with a total length of 192-linear meter on both sides and a height of 3.5-meter with a contract cost of P14.46M. This project is set to be completed on September 23, 2019.

Adongay revealed that the portion of the existing flood control structure in Mapuyo river was damaged during tropical storm “Urduja” in December 2017 due to the impact of the washed out debris, thus the need for a reconstruction of a 65-linear meter length on one side of the river.

Adongay said that with the additional project, Biliran DEO now has a total of 62 projects implemented under 2018 fund from only 60 projects.

Out of the 62 projects, 52 were already completed while 10 are on-going with an overall accomplishment of 91.97% as of May 31, 2019.

On-going projects includes four access roads leading to tourist destinations, one slope protection project, one bypass road, one bridge widening, one multipurpose building and two flood control projects.





289 new Candidate Soldiers took oath to serve the country

8ID Candidate Soldiers

June 6, 2019

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – A total of 289 new Candidate Soldiers of the Philippine Army took their oath of duty and service to the country in a simple ceremony held at the hallowed grounds of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division Headquarters in Catbalogan City, Samar on Wednesday morning June 5, 2019.

The oath taking rite was immediately followed by the opening of the Philippine Army Candidate Soldier Course Classes 583 & 603 -2019 by no less than Major General Raul M Farnacio AFP, Commander of the 8ID in the presence of the candidate soldiers’ love ones; and Officers, Enlisted Personnel and civilian employees of the Stormtroopers Division.

The 4-month course is expected to transform and mold the new recruits from being “boys” into “men”. After completing and passing the rigid training, they will be then enlisted into the Philippine Army with the rank of Private.

Major General Farnacio in his remarks assured the candidate soldiers’ parents that their sons, after the training will be competent and disciplined soldiers. “’Ang araw na ito ay hudyat ng malaking pagbabago sa inyong kinagisnang buhay bilang sibilyan. Mula ngayon, sasanayin at tuturuan kayo ng ibat-ibang kaalaman at kakayahan. Ang inyong pagsasanay ay hindi magiging madali. Hindi lamang tatag ng katawan ang susubukin maging ang tibay ng damdamin at bilis ng kaisipan din.”

“Bilang Division Commander, aking inaasahan na kayo ay magiging mga sundalo na may mataas na antas ng disiplina, buo ang paninindigan, matapang, at tapat sa tungkulin na ngayon ay inyong sinumpaan”.

“Huwag ninyong bibiguin ang inyong mga magulang at ang lahat ng taong nagtitiwala at umaasang mapagtatagumpayan ninyo ang lahat ng hamon ng pagsasanay upang kayo ay magiging ganap na sundalo. Wala ng atrasan! Gabayan sana kayo ng Poong Maykapal,” Farnacio said.

The 298 candidate soldiers came from different provinces all over the country with the following education profile: 79 college graduates; 79 college level; 5 vocational graduates; 41 senior high school graduate and 85 high school graduate with special skills from TESDA.





Save the Children Philippines says children have a right to cleaner air

Press Release
June 5, 2019

MAKATI CITY – Save the Children Philippines called for a clean and healthy environment in schools and communities to protect children from diseases and premature deaths due to air pollution.

The group raised the issue at the World Environment Day on June 5, citing around seven million people die every year across the world due to health problems caused by air pollution, 600,000 of them are children.

Lawyer Albert Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines said learners spend an average of five to eight hours in schools, facing health risks from air pollution.

As classes opened last Monday, majority of children will be in schools for five days and will be exposed to air pollution and other health risks, said Muyot.

“Young learners have fragile bodies and exposure to tiny, invisible airborne particles from dirty air pose serious risks to their health,” said Muyot.

Save the Children’s End of Childhood Report 2019 ranked the Philippines 104th in the 176 list of best and worst countries to be a child due to high number of teenage pregnancy, malnutrition and child deaths before reaching five years old.

The report said malnutrition among Filipino children remains high at 33.4 percent – or 3.8m – children under five years not getting enough daily nutrition. It added that nearly three percent – or 322,000 – of children in the country die before their fifth birthday from preventable causes.

“Millions of children who lack daily nutrition are more susceptible to illnesses including pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma due to air pollution and face the risk of dropping out of schools,” said Muyot. These children also face devastating and life-long health risks as air pollution can affect the development of their lungs, brain and other organs, he added.

Last year, the Philippines recorded the 3rd highest number of deaths due to air pollution with 45.3 deaths per 100,000 individuals, next to China as first and Mongolia as second. “Save the Children Philippines makes sure children have a healthy start in life,” said Muyot.

It implements maternal and child health and nutrition services for children and pregnant and lactating mothers in deprived areas in the capital Manila and conflict-affected areas in Mindanao to address malnutrition. To prevent spread of diseases, the group provides clean water, hygiene and sanitation programs in public schools in the most deprived areas and during humanitarian response to natural disasters.





Human Rights Defenders Bill
Meeting with the Technical Working Group on the Human Rights Protection Bill last December 2018. The TWG includes representatives from Karapatan ang Makabayan bloc.

Karapatan lauds passing of Human Rights Defenders Bill on third and final reading, calls for an end to all attacks against defenders, communities

Press Release
June 4, 2019

QUEZON CITY – On June 3, 2019, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 9199, or the Human Rights Defenders Bill, on its third and final reading.

“Everyone’s right to defend and uphold human rights is in peril. In the context of a repressive government’s non-stop suppression of people’s rights, we welcome this development as a long overdue measure for the protection of the people’s right to defend human rights. This comes at a most critical time when human rights defenders and activists are being killed, tortured, disappeared, illegally arrested, criminalized and slapped with trumped-up charges, and harassed in a myriad of ways. Throughout different regimes, the situation of HRDs and the risks that they face have gone from worse to worst and this bill, if passed into law, should provide stronger accountability measures for state actors who systematically and routinely violate people’s rights,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Karapatan initiated and participated in the drafting and filing of the HRD bill, and have campaigned and lobbied tirelessly for its passage. “Since 2007, a proposed measure has already been filed. We know this is an uphill battle, but for human rights defenders who already have one foot in the grave, we are determined to see this through,” added Palabay, citing that since 2001, 58 human rights workers of Karapatan have already been killed in the course of their work as HRDs.

The Karapatan officer noted that the Philippines is among those who first adopted the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in 1998, but a domestic law has yet to be enacted in accordance with the declaration. “This bill comprehensively underscores the needs and dangers of human rights work vis-à-vis State-sponsored attacks, and it is a vital measure for the people, their communities and human rights defenders to continue our work. We are criminalized and tagged as ‘enemies of the State’, ‘terrorists’, ‘destabilizers’ and other labels to justify the attacks against us, executed under the implementation of counterinsurgency programs and other repressive policies. There is an orchestrated and systematic effort to undermine and discredit HRDs, and it is methodically done to strip us of our voices,” she explained.

House Bill 9199 is complemented by the same initiative in the Senate, with Senator Leila de Lima’s filing of Senate Bill No. 1699. Among the salient points of the proposed HRD bill is the recognition of human rights defenders and their work, the recognition of the rights of human rights defenders, obligations of State actors, the creation of a Human Rights Defenders Protection Committee, and stringent measures of those found violating the law. The bill also seeks measure for redress of women human rights defenders and activists in the LGBTQIA++ community who experience sexualized and gender-based attacks.

Palabay cited the cases of Atty. Benjamin Ramos who was killed in November 2018 because his work as a human rights lawyer; of Elisa Badayos, regional coordinator of Karapatan who was killed during a fact-finding mission in December 2017; of Bernardino Patigas, Escalante City councilor and human rights worker who was killed in April 2019; Jolita Tolino, an indigenous volunteer teacher who was charged with trumped-up charges of murder and frustrated murder; and trade unionist Maojo Maga, who wrongfully convicted of fabricated charges. “The harrowing experiences of Atty. Ramos, Elisa Badayos, Bernardino Patigas, Maojo Maga and Jolita Tolino depict the everyday dangers that hundreds of HRDs face,” she further stated.

“Despite efforts of state forces to demonize rights advocates, at the end of the day, we are ordinary Filipinos – teachers, priests, trade unionists, lawyers, artists, health workers, indigenous leaders, farmers, among others. We are not enemies, but are staunch development actors for a life of dignity for all. We expose human rights violations and demand accountability from duty-bearers. As we witness more human rights violations, the onslaught of repressive policies, and the shrinking of the so-called civic space, these are all telltale signs of the need to fight back for the people’s basic rights and fundamental freedoms, in all venues possible including the legislative arena,” concluded Palabay.





New farm-to-market roads to improve trade in Leyte towns

Leyte farm-to-market (FMR) roads

May 31, 2019

LA PAZ, Leyte – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte second district engineering office has recently completed seven farm-to-market road projects meant to improve road access and trade in three Leyte towns.

These projects include the concrete paving of Brgy. Calaghusan to Caltayan and Brgy. Cogon to Buracan roads both in La Paz budgeted at P5 million each, Brgy. Tigbao to Romualdez road in Dulag worth P6 million, and four farm-to-market (FMR) roads in Mac Arthur; Brgy. Casuntingan to Osmeña, Brgy. Liwayway to Danao, Brgy. Sta. Isabel and Brgy. Gen. Luna roads with a total worth of P21 million.

According to Gerald Pacanan, the completion of these projects would increase agricultural productivity, income opportunities, and provide easier access to basic social services such as health centers and educational facilities to these communities.

“These concreted roads will help our hardworking farmers transport their farm products to commercial areas easier. Eventually, it will improve the overall economic progress of these towns,” he said.

For 2018, the district is tasked to implement a total of eight FMR roads with a total length of 4.2761 kilometers, of which one is still ongoing. FMR projects is funded under the convergence program of the DPWH and the Department of Agriculture that aims to promote inclusive growth and poverty reduction in the country’s hard to reach areas through better road connectivity.





DPWH-Biliran DEO completes new school building under 2018 DepEd fund

Biliran new school building

By DPWH-Biliran
May 31, 2019

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office recently completed new 2-storey, 4-classroom school building at Brgy. Larrazabal in Naval town amounting to P10M.

This school building now rise at Naval National High School with more or less 160 students to benefit the said project.

According to David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer, the P10M school building is equipped with toilets and ceiling fans to provide the students a conducive place for learning.

“With good school buildings and classrooms, it will motivate our students and teachers to perform well in their studies and teachings,” Adongay said.

DPWH-Biliran DEO is currently implementing 17 school building projects under the 2018 Department of Education (DepEd) - Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF). Out of the 17 school building projects, one is completed, 15 are underway and one is up for implementation by the contractors.

Adongay said that most of these school buildings have commenced in the month of January and now posts an accomplishment of 48.78% as of April 30, 2019. The school building projects has a total appropriation amount of P118.25M and are target to be completed on June, 2019.





Leyte school teachers await school opening with new classrooms

Hibunauan National High School

May 31, 2019

BURAUEN, Leyte – Teachers of Hibunauan National High School (NHS) in Burauen, Leyte await school opening with more classrooms, as the Department of Public Works Highways (DPWH) Leyte second district engineering office has recently completed its school building project here.

According to Bryan Colilihan, school head of Hibunauan NHS, teachers have been preparing to occupy the new school facility intended for Grade 10 students under the general academic strand. A total of 560 students are enrolled for the opening of the new school year.

The two-storey, four-classroom building is worth P9.5 million funded under the Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF) of 2018. BEFF is an annual budget for school building program, which covers the improvement and maintenance of school facilities.

Gerald Pacanan, DPWH Leyte 2 district engineer said that the district targeted to complete more classrooms ahead of school opening so that students and teachers can utilize them.

“This is in support to the government’s strengthened education program. We, at the DPWH and in coordination with Department of Education (DepEd) commit to provide more conducive learning facilities for students,” he added.

He also highlighted the increasing number of population in schools particularly in the secondary level with the addition of senior high, prompting the government to allocate more funds for school facilities.

For 2018 BEFF, the district is tasked to implement 25 school building projects with a total allocation of P371.39 million.





DPWH readies Leyte school building before class opening

Barugo National High School

May 31, 2019

BARUGO, Leyte – In anticipation with the incoming school year 2019-2020, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte Second District Engineering Office completed a two-storey school building in Barugo, Leyte.

Evangeline Mercado, the school principal of Barugo National High School said that this educational infrastructure project will be used as Science laboratory and computer rooms. The school will accommodate a total of 1,245 students from grades 7 to 12.

This P9.6 million worth of school building project is in convergence with the Department of Education (DepEd) funded under the Basic Education Facilities Fund (BEFF).

District Engineer Gerald Pacanan guaranteed that the district engineering office complies with the National Structural Code of the Philippines, and conforms with the quality standards for school infrastructure to be resilient to strong typhoons, major earthquakes and other calamities.

“The completion of this project is just in time to benefit the students enrolled for this coming school year, and the office made sure that they find safety while learning in their second home,” added Pacanan.

Overall, the department is tasked to implement 25 school building projects in Leyte II worth P371.39 million.





DPWH completes high-rise classrooms in Dagami, Leyte

Patoc National High School

May 31, 2019

DAGAMI, Leyte – The Department of Public Works and Highways Leyte second district engineering office has recently completed the construction of a high-rise six-classroom school building at Patoc National High School (NHS) in this town.

According to Gerald Pacanan, the government allocated a total of P12.9 million for this project, built in strict compliance to the standards and specifications of the Department of Education and DPWH.

“Before we officially turn over building to the school, we follow strict protocols and conducts inspection to ensure that standards are followed. We take note even the slightest problem and address them to the contractor,” he said.

The school building is provided with standard toilet and sanitary facilities, storage rooms and proper ventilation, each classroom installed with two oscillating ceiling fans. It is also equipped with fire alarm system and fire extinguisher.

Zenaida Parado, Patoc NHS principal said that this new learning facility will be used by grades 9 and 10 students. 678 students are expected here to attend classes on the first of school.

For 2018 BEFF, the district is tasked to implement 25 school building projects worth P371.39 million, of which 17 has already been completed and 8 are still ongoing.

BEFF is an annual budget for school building program, which covers the improvement and maintenance of school facilities.





Army troops overrun enemy encampment, 1 CNT killed

May 30, 2019

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – Troops belonging to 14th Infantry (Avenger) Battalion while conducting focus military operations overrun an enemy encampment of the Communist-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) at Sitio Bagong, Barrio, Brgy. Pinanag-an, Borongan, Eastern Samar on May 30, 2019 at 7:30 AM.

The fire fight against more or less 50 CNTs lasted for about 1 hour and 30 minutes that resulted to one enemy killed (body count) and the recovery of one (1) .357 magnum with four (4) live ammos, one (1) improvised explosive device (IED), two (2) magazines for AK-47, two (2) rifle grenades, one (1) M203 ammunition, fifteen (15) backpacks, assorted medicines, three (3) blasting caps, five (5) cellular phones, one (1) detonator (bomb switch), assorted ammunitions (for AK-47, M16, Garand rifles), and subversive documents with high intelligence value. While no casualty on the government side.

The discovery of the said enemy encampment was attributed to the information provided by the civilian populace to the military.

Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio, Commander, 8th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force STORM believed that the CNTs are on the run since the Army launched its relentless internal security operations in the far-flung communities influenced by the terrorists.

In his statement, Maj. Gen. Farnacio said that “Ito ay nagpapatunay na epektibo ang mga ginagawang mga programa at hakbang ng ating mga kasundalohan sa tulong na rin ng ating mga kababayan upang matigil na ang pananamantala, pag-impluwensiya ng mga rebeldeng NPA sa mga liblib na kanayunan sa rehiyon.”

“Muli kung ipinaaabot sa ating mga kapatid na rebelde, na nais na magbalik loob, huwag na kayong mag-alangang sumuko. Ang gobyerno ay may nakalaang programa para sa inyo ang Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program o ECLIP. Masarap ang mabuhay na payapa at kapiling ang pamilya,” Farnacio added.





DPWH ensures proper roadworks safety management in Leyte

DPWH Road Safety Assessment Team

May 28, 2019

CARIGARA, Leyte – To ensure that the standardized system of signs and traffic management in observed in all maintenance and construction roadwork sites, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) conducted its regular roadwork safety assessment in Leyte second district.

According to Gerald Pacanan, DPWH Leyte 2 district head, the office strictly requires the contractors and the maintenance team to provide adequate signage and traffic control devices in all areas where they have ongoing works.

“The safety of the travelling public is our utmost concern. So we always remind our project engineers to closely monitor the construction sites if safety management is properly complied,” he said.

Bureau of Quality and Safety engineers from the central office, Czar Manuel Rosuello, Ehlma Lacuaren, and Reynald Rodriguez led the inspection.

During assessment, various documents are evaluated including the approved roadwork safety and traffic management plan, contractor’s traffic operational program, and materials test results for road signs, temporary markings and other traffic control devices.

Among the projects inspected were the widening of Hibucawan bridge in Jaro town, Talisay bridge in Dulag, Lemon and Masalago bridges both in Capoocan, Carigara bridge in Carigara and road restoration projects of damaged portland concrete cement pavement in Burauen, Leyte.

“Rest assured that all the findings of the Road Safety Assessment Team (RSAT) are noted for immediate actions,” Pacanan said.

RSAT was created through department order no. 99 series of 2016 following reports on road accidents due to failure of some contractors to install proper signage and safety barricades to warn and inform motorists of the ongoing works.

Moreover, worn-out signage made of tarpaulins and wrong detour signage attributed to the number of road accidents ranging from minor to severe fatalities.

For 2019, the district is task to implement 87 projects worth P1.57 billion.





Aid provided to 2,000 people displaced by clashes in Basilan

the ICRC in Basilan

May 27, 2019

MANILA – Nearly 2,000 people in Basilan province, southern Philippines, have been coping with their displacement for over a month after armed clashes broke out between government security forces and armed groups in Sumisip municipality.

“We are deeply concerned about the effect of prolonged displacement on these families. Unable to take care of their farms, these families struggle to provide for their loved ones,” said Piotr Dregiel, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Zamboanga.

According to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) in Sumisip, around 200 families that fled their homes in April 2019 due to the fighting have been staying in Barangay Mangal. In addition, almost 190 families displaced to Barangay Tumahubong by intermittent clashes since June 2016 have not yet returned home due to the fear of being caught in the fighting.

“Though they received initial assistance from the authorities, they need further support due to their continued displacement,” Dregiel said.

To address the needs of these 2,000 displaced people, the ICRC delivered assistance on 25 May through the Philippine Red Cross (PRC). Each family received 25 kilograms of rice, 1 litre of oil, 1 litre of soy sauce, one kilogram of sugar, half kilogram of salt, 12 tins of sardine, and hygiene material including shampoo, bath and laundry soap, sanitary pad, toothbrush and toothpaste that would cater to a family of five for at least 15 days.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. It has an international mandate to promote knowledge for and compliance with international humanitarian law.

“We remind all parties to the conflict about the need to protect civilians and those who are not or no longer participating in the hostilities. They must not be targeted, and their lives and dignity are to be protected at all times,” stressed Dregiel.





DTI, IFAD launch program to link farmers to food manufacturers

May 27, 2019

PASAY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) launched a joint program to link farmers to food manufacturers. The Rural Agro-Industrial Partnership for Inclusive Development (RAPID Growth) program was launched on 24 May at the IFEX Philippines: Next Food Asia at the World Trade Center.

"The RAPID Growth program is close to my heart because it empowers and enables those at the bottom of the pyramid. Increasing rural income and decreasing poverty is one of the main goals of the Duterte administration," said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

With a total cost of P4.7 billion, the RAPID Growth program will be funded by IFAD and implemented by DTI as it upgrades the agri-based SMEs to create a huge sustainable market demand for the output of specific agricultural farmers.

Lopez added that “This is the reason why we say that the RAPID project has a good model since it will all be market-driven, and there will be specific support systems that will upgrade the operations of the SMEs as well as the productivity and yield of farmers. The program will assist both ends of the value chain: the farmers and the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).”

Around 1,050 MSMEs and 78,000 farmers of coffee, cocoa, coconut, and selected fruits and nuts will receive training, supplies, and financial assistance from the program, among others.

RAPID Growth will pilot in four areas and focus on four agricultural products: coco coir in Leyte, coffee in Bukidnon, cacao in Davao del Norte, and calamansi in Agusan del Sur. The areas were chosen based on the number of MSMEs, production area, and poverty incidence. The program will then be implemented in 16 more provinces in six regions (Samar and all the five regions in Mindanao).

IFAD Country Director for the Philippines Alessandro Marini said that RAPID Growth is their biggest investment in the Philippines. He added that poverty incidence among farmers is 34% and to truly eradicate poverty, there should be sustained and inclusive agriculture growth.

RAPID Program Head and DTI Region 11 Assistant Regional Director Edwin Banquerigo added that RAPID aims to foster inclusive and sustainable development in the Philippines by creating a market-driven approach to agri-production. Specifically, projects under the RAPID Growth program will establish value chain-based development, increase production capacities of farmers, ensure innovative agri-financing, strengthen market linkages, create jobs and employment opportunities, and upgrade and modernize MSMEs.





Without addressing roots of poverty, Duterte’s Magna Carta of the poor to fail miserably – labor group

Press Release
May 26, 2019

QUEZON CITY – Labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) is not at all optimistic that the recently signed into law Republic Act 11291 or the Magna Carta of the Poor by President Rodrigo Duterte will even make a dent to address the ever-growing number of families falling below poverty levels.

The group claimed that the law will “fail miserably” in aiming for the reduction of poverty and or even increasing the poor’s access to social services as state policies continue to favor the economic elite.

“RA 11291 is a mere codification of what is already supposedly being implemented or should be by agencies. An overstatement of the mandate of agencies but does it raise a finger at the glaring causes and contributors to the perennial issue of poverty will amount to nothing but cosmetic theatrics to an administration severely failing to deliver change, said Ka Leody de Guzman, chair of BMP.

According to the new law, the poor shall be classified as persons whose income falls below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and those who cannot afford their minimum basic needs of food, health, education, and housing.

He argues that a mere reiteration of the administration’s innate duty to advance the interests of the poor is pointless without properly identifying the root causes and the policies that contributed to its catastrophic rise.

De Guzman said, “despite its overarching scope, RA 11291 is a classic case of doublespeak. Its ambiguity only highlights its deafening silence on the factors that contributed to poverty”

He cites the continued practice of contractualization and circumvention of constitutionally guaranteed labor rights and the regionalization and municipalization of wages in industrial hubs as the obstacles to achieving the law’s objective.

The labor leader adds that recently enacted laws such as Tax reform law and the Rice import tariffication law will only exacerbate the miserable conditions of those living below poverty levels.

He pointed out that the TRAIN Law has been discovered to have contributed to inflation by the state think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies and the Rice import tariffication law deprived Filipino farmers 95 billion pesos in income says the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc..

“Not unless this administration veer away from the path of neo-liberal globalization and the socially generated value is equitably distributed, the man-made crisis of privation will worsen beyond Duterte’s six-year term,“ he said.





DPWH-Biliran drainage project
Completed covered drainage canal at Brgy. Atipolo Section in Naval town. This project is under 2018 funding with a contract cost of P74.58M implemented at Pob. Naval to Brgy. Atipolo, Naval, Biliran and at Brgy. Talahid to Brgy. Matanggo, Almeria, Biliran.

DPWH-Biliran DEO completes P74.58M drainage project along BCR

By DPWH Biliran
May 24, 2019

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) -Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) recently completed the construction of drainage project on two road sections along Biliran Circumferential Road (BCR) amounting to P74.88M.

The said project is located at Pob. Naval to Brgy. Atipolo in Naval town and at Brgy. Talahid to Brgy. Matanggo in Almeria town.

David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer said that the road sections are subjected to excess run-off water during rainy days which sometimes cause flooding along the National road.

“With the completed project, flooding along our National Road will be prevented, thereby preventing our existing concrete road from deterioration against water,” said Adongay.

“This will earn the government savings in rehabilitating damaged pavement in the future,” he added.

The project entails the construction of covered drainage with a total length of 3,321.00 ln.m., constructed after a 3.05 m. widened shoulder. This is funded under the FY 2018 DPWH Infrastructure Program under contract with Rex E. Morales Construction.

Moreover, Adongay revealed that under 2019 implementation, the construction of drainage project will continue at Brgy. Tabunan in Almeria town with an appropriation amount of P15.88M.

The project entails the construction of concrete covered canal with a total length of 136.0 linear meter. It is to be constructed after the existing concrete paved road at one side only.

Aside from drainage project, Adongay said that flood control projects are also lined up for 2019 implementation amounting to P305.6M to protect lives and properties subjected to heavy floods during rainy days.


Last updated: 09/12/2019