99 N. Samar farmers
receive CLOAs from DAR
By JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
December 22, 2016
MONDRAGON, Northern Samar
– Ninety-nine farmers from remote vilages in this town braved the
heavy rains on Friday afternoon to receive their certificates of
landownership award (CLOAs) from the Department of Agrarian Reform
DAR Assistant Regional
Director Ma. Fe Malinao assisted by Mayor Mario Madera handed to the
beneficiaries the 118 CLOAs covering a combined area of 123.8 hectares
of farmlands situated in Barangays Talolora and La Trinidad in this
The distribution was held at
the covered court of the municipal hall amid heavy rains.
Malinao, Madera and DAR
Northern Samar Legal Chief Atty. Edsel Ballicud repeatedly stressed to
the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) not to sell or mortgage their
awarded lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)
as stated in the CLOA.
Moreover, Ballicud explained
to the ARBs their roles, obligations and responsibilities as
recipients of the land transfer program.
Malinao added that DAR also
provides support services to ARBs to improve farm production that
would eventually lead to increased income.
prisoner finally released, but on bail, wishes freedom for the rest of
December 19, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Ramon Argente, now 57, was all smiles when he met human rights workers upon
his release on December 15, 2016. Upon arrival in Manila, he went
straight to the Philippine Heart Center for a check-up. This is where
he underwent a heart bypass surgery in 2013. Argente was happy, but
has one wish: that the rest of the political prisoners be released
“Hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay
hindi pa rin ako ganap na nakaka-recover sa karamdaman. Sa tagal nang
maysakit ay kahapon lang nakalaya, sa bisa pa ng pagpiyansa. (Until
now, I have not yet fully recovered from my illness. I have been sick
for a long time, but I was only released yesterday, but through
bail),” said Argente, who was granted bail by the RTC Branch 64 in
Labo, Camarines Norte.
One of the 130 ailing
political prisoners, Argente was detained for more than three years on
the basis of trumped-up charges of multiple counts of murder, theft
and frustrated murder. Hehad a triple heart bypass operation in 2013.
After the surgery, he was brought back to detention at the PNP
Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
“Nananawagan (ako) sa
administrasyong Duterte na tuparin ang kanyang pangako bago pa siya
makapanumpa. Nagpahayag na siyang handang palayain ang mga bilanggong
pulitikal ganoon din ang pagpapalaya sa mga maysakit katulad ko, at
iyong mga bilanggong matatanda...mga bilanggong pulitikal na matagal
nang nakakulong maging iyong mga kababaihan. (I call on President
Duterte to fulfill his promises before he swore into office. He said
he is ready to release political prisoners including those who are ill
like me, and the elderly prisoners...and political prisoners who have
spent a long time in prison, even the women),” said Argente.
Now 57, Argente is a peasant
organizer from San Pablo, Del Gallego, Camarines Sur. He has coronary
artery disease and was undergoing medication when he was arrested in
February 18, 2013 in Brgy. Muson, Bauan, Batangas.
He remained in a fragile
condition while in jail, experiencing difficulty in breathing and
chest pains. Argente was undergoing medication when he was arrested.
His health worsened while detained at the Camarines Norte Provincial
Jail. It took six months before his motion for hospitalization was
At least 400 political
prisoners remain in detention, the recent political prisoners released
after the courts ordered them released, or granted bail. None has been
released by the Duterte administration through general amnesty, after
the courts granted temporary release on bail to 19 NDFP consultants.
“Sana po suportahan din
natin ang pagpapatuloy ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng
gobyerno ng Pilipinas at National Democratic Front. (I hope we also
support the continuation of the peace talks between the government of
the Philippines and the National Democratic Front),” Argente added.
Armed clashes in
Basilan displace nearly 7,000 people
December 13, 2016
MANILA – Nearly 7,000
people have been displaced for more than a month following armed
clashes between government security forces and armed groups in Basilan
province, southern Philippines.
“These families left their
homes and sources of livelihood after the hostilities started in
November. The residents of six villages in the conflict-affected
municipalities of Al-Barka and Tuburan chose to stay with relatives or
in evacuation centers for fear of being caught in the crossfire. The
ICRC’s distribution is in response to their basic needs for food,”
said Nezar Tamine, deputy head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Mindanao.
To support their needs, the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided food rations
and hygiene items on December 7 and 9 for the affected families in Al-Barka
and Tuburan, with the support of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC)
Each family received 25
kilograms of rice, 2 litres of oil, 1 kilogram of sugar, ½ kilogram of
salt, 12 tins of sardines, 1 liter of soy sauce, and a hygiene kit
containing shampoo, bath and laundry soaps, toothbrushes and
toothpaste. In July, the ICRC through the PRC provided essential
household items and hygiene kits to 17,000 displaced people in
Tipo-Tipo, Al-Barka and Ungkaya Pukan municipalities.
Also recently, the ICRC
arranged for 12 emergency health kits to be delivered to hospitals and
rural health units in Sulu and Basilan provinces to support the
medical needs of the affected civilians. These kits also contain
dressing materials to treat the weapon-wounded.
Together with the PRC
Zamboanga City chapter, 113 health workers from six rural health units
of Basilan were trained on first aid and basic life support from
August to October to boost the capacity and readiness of health
workers and the community to help save lives during armed fighting and
As part of its mandate to
raise awareness of and respect for international humanitarian law, the
ICRC continues to remind all parties to the conflict about the need to
protect civilians and those who are not or no longer participating in
The ICRC is a neutral,
impartial, and independent humanitarian organization whose mandate is
to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict and other
situations of violence. It has had an established presence in the
Philippines for more than 70 years and a permanent presence in
Mindanao since 1982.
Labor group sees
increase in employment in 2017 but expresses concern on rising
By Associated Labor Unions
December 13, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Labor
group Associated Labor Unions (ALU) attributes the high employment
rate to the optimism created by President Duterte’s repeated promise
to seriously address the worsening problems on peace and order
situation, graft and corruption in government bureaucracy, drastic
cutting on red tape specifically the setting up of business operations
and on his promise to build unprecedented number of strategic
In a Labor Force Survey
released by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed unemployment
reached its lowest level 4.7% in 11 years.
“We are also seeing Mr.
Duterte’s aggressive pro-China diplomacy initiatives, peace talking
with the communist movement actors, separatist entities and
personalities in Mindanao and his leadership sincerity helped magnify
the optimism for local and foreign investors to put up jobs-creating
investments,” said Alan Tanjusay, ALU spokesperson.
Feeling secured and assured
of their investments, he said these investors set up shops early to
anticipate the fruits of reduced graft and corruption, capitalize on
the ease of doing business, and increased mobility due to improve
peace and order situation.
“Plus, they also anticipate
and directly and indirectly participate to take part as Mr. Duterte is
hell-bent to spend big money on building mega infrastructures. All
these combined to create jobs which what we have now in anticipation
of the bigger things to come,” Tanjusay said.
Tanjusay said if Mr.
Duterte’s leadership momentum is not interrupted, construction allied
services would emerge and help create jobs.
However, the underemployment
scenario should be a cause of concern for government and employers, he
“It could mean that though
there are jobs available but their wages and benefits are inadequate
for them to cope with rising cost of living particularly the
increasing prices of basic goods and costs of services,” he said.
Government and employers,
therefore, should act simultaneously in addressing this
underemployment rate. Employers should raise their wages and improve
direct and indirect benefits to workers to help mitigate the rising
rate of underemployment. Government should improve social protection
benefits and insurance, enforce labor laws and safeguard predatory
increase of prices of basic commodities.
“With all of these, we see
an unprecedented increase in domestic employment in the year ahead.
But if employers and government ignore underemployment solutions,
economic growth will continue to be non-inclusive and inequitable with
the very few upper class people racing to the top while the working
people are racing to the bottom,” Tanjusay said.
questions CHED’s drug test proposal
By Samahan ng Progresibong
December 13, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Youth
activists criticized the proposal of CHED's executive director Julito
Vitriolo to make drug testing, (1) a requirement for admission of all
incoming Higher Education Institutions’ (HEIs) students and, (2) the
retention of those currently enrolled.
The Samahan ng Progresibong
Kabataan (SPARK) strongly denounced the proposed policy as promoting a
discriminatory, stigmatizing and skewed approach to solving the drug
problem, in line with the current administration’s bloody War on
They observed how the
current administration has been carrying the massive anti-drug
campaign while condoning the culture of impunity, the wholesale
violation of human rights, and classifying the stockpiling corpses in
drug-infested and poverty-stricken areas as collateral damage.
Armed with the scalding
pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte against all drug users,
Vitriolo assumed a prerogative to declare the crafting of a policy of
sweeping mandatory drug testing to be administered as a requirement in
The youth group however
SPARK concurs that the youth are vulnerable to drug dependence, but it
maintains that bringing the War on Drugs in the campuses will not
solve anything, for evidently the drug war is unwinnable. Whereas
SPARK finds drug testing founded on randomness ingenuous because it
does not incriminate students tested with positive results, the group
says that the new policy proposed by Vitriolo is “outright unjust and
The group interjects that
while random drug testing is crucial to prevent further drug
dependence, a non-random mandatory one administered before a student's
admission to the school could be used as the sole benchmark on whether
or not a student should be retained in school. This prevents the very
victims of attaining a chance and exercising their primary right to
“Even with the
rehabilitation, the stigma it would pose for the students who tested
positive is also not reflective of the student’s actual drug problem,”
says Clarissa Villegas of SPARK.
This is, according to SPARK,
characteristic of the prevailing attitude of Filipinos towards the
horrid War on Drugs.
SPARK believes that drug
addiction should be treated as a solvable public health issue and
cites that “addiction – or compulsive drug use despite harmful
consequences – is characterized by an inability to stop using a drug;
failure to meet work, social, or family obligations; and, sometimes
(depending on the drug), tolerance and withdrawal. These students who
are just applying for school admission may not really be exhibiting
these excessive symptoms.”
Villegas suggests that if
the current administration really wants to tackle the youth’s drug
problem, they should also start focusing on out-of-school youths by
waging a war on poverty instead.
“The right to education and
the overarching need to eliminate poverty and other forms of
exploitation should not be trumped by what it falsely seen as the
worst problem in the status quo – the drug crisis,” she asserted.
Though schools have the
right to impose distinctive requirements on students for admission,
Villegas maintains that it must be just and non-discriminatory.
In relation to such a
measure, SPARK fears that with Vitriolo’s proposal and the pending
bill before Congress seeking to lower the age limit of criminal
liability from 15 to 12 would be the “perfect combo to destroy the
youth’s chances of being a productive member of society”.
The group says that the
claim that this mandatory drug testing for college admissions will
safeguard the HEIs incumbent students from drug use is far from
established. “In addition, student applicants may not have extensively
waived their rights to privacy as to be subjected to such punitive
measures of the HEIs. This over-inclusive and non-random mandatory
drug testing program proposed by CHED is not an effective means of
dealing with the drug menace. The manifestation of reasonableness of
this testing is questionable. It should not be a measure for
disciplinary action as in the case when it is used as a standard for a
college student’s retention, for it to be fair,” she concluded.
Concreting of Brgy. Caucab-Sitio Palayan Phase II. The project
is under contract with BNL Construction with a contract cost of
P4.925M which involves the concrete paving of 0.384 lane Km.,
construction of RCBC, installation of Pipe Culverts and stone
masonry. The completed project will lessen the walking distance
of the residents in Sitio Palayan in transporting their
agricultural product to the market centers thus, providing them
a safer and faster transport of abaca and “palay” which are
abundant on the said mountain serving more or less 1,800
of Palayan FMR project in Almeria, Biliran completed
December 9, 2016
NAVAL, Biliran – The
newly completed Road Opening and Construction of Farm to Market Road (FMR)
project from Brgy. Caucab to Sitio Palayan, Almeria, Biliran, will
slowly pave way to new opportunities and development for the local
Sitio Palayan, Caucab,
Almeria, Biliran is found at the foot of Mount Panamao and is abundant
with abaca and “palay” thus, derived the name “Palayan ng Bayan,” as
rice terraces were carved in the mountains.
The people in Palayan lived
in a small village and survive mainly with their agricultural crops.
Back then, they would travel their products to the municipality of
Almeria by foot and it would take them long hours just to deliver
“Kung daghan ang among da’,
hinay ang among lakaw, mga duha ka-oras ang lakaw igbaw sa Caucab (If
we carry a bulk of abaca, our walk is slow and it would take us 2
hours walk in transporting our product to Upper Caucab.),” said JR
Kalinawan, 32, a manubo settler and one of the abaca farmers who would
greatly benefit from the project.
Previously, earth road from
Caucab-Sitio Palayan was rutted and sometimes become un-passable and
bringing their hard-earned products to the urban community was a
me labi na ingon ana pa karon ang dan, labi na ug mag-uwan-uwan lisud
gyud! Kasagaran namo dili gyud me magsakay dire ug sakyanan, magbaktas
gyud me kutob dinha sa may maayong dan (We often stumble on the rutted
sections of the road especially during rainy days when the road is
slippery. Most of us here don’t take a ride because of the rutted
road, instead we walk until we reach to the concrete paved road)”,
The Department of Public
Works and Highways (DPWH), Biliran District Engineering Office
completed two FMR projects in Brgy. Caucab-Sitio Palayan (Phase I and
Phase II), which involves concrete paving of 0.447 lane km. for phase
I and concrete paving of 0.384 lane km. for phase II with a contract
cost of P9.85M funded under the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“Sa karon, nakabati-bati man
pud ko sa gobyerno nga kini nga ilang giproject karon, gikan daw kuno
ni sa DPWH, ang among kuan ani, dako ning among pasalamat labi na kung
kining kalsada, maderetso kini ngari kay aron ang among ginagmay nga
baligya, gaan na jud ang among pagda. (I heard that the road project
was implemented by DPWH and I am really thankful to them but if they
can stretch the road all the way up here to Sitio Palayan, we would be
really happy because we can already transport our products to market
centers without the burden of carrying it)”, said Kalinawan.
Nieves Dacunes, 52, who owns
a small sari-sari store in Sitio Palayan also shared her difficulties
in transporting her grocery items for her store although she owned a
“Ako mulakaw man kay di man
ko musalig anang dan, siya (husband) musakay (motor), kay mahadlok man
ko ana, kasunog-sunog na gani ni among mga batiis sa tumba-tumba, mao
nang mulakaw ko kutob atong buyod-buyod usa ko musakay, maayo gane run
kay gamay nalang baktason. (I am afraid to ride in our motorcycle
because we had experienced so many accidents in that road that’s why
I’d rather walk than ride in our motorcycle. My husband drives the
motorcycle up to a portion of the road with a flat surface, that’s the
time that I will ride the motorcycle. That is the reason why I am
thankful for the road project because the walking distance was
lessened)”, Dacunes said.
The completion of the road
project up to Sitio Palayan will greatly lessen the burden of farmers
in transporting their farm products to market centers and residents in
travelling to the neighboring towns. This project will serve more or
less 1,800 residence.
portion of the Construction of Slope Protection Structure along
Biliran Circumferential Road (Brgy. Sabang Section). Other than
the slope protection structure, concrete paving of widened
shoulders and construction of concrete canal are included in the
project. As of November 30, 2016, it has an accomplishment of
58% under contract with MAC Builders with a contract cost of
P41,782,330.92. Completion of the project will provide a
structure that will prevent further landslide along this road
section and contain run-off water during rainy days to prevent
future damage to existing paved National Road.
accomplished 90.41% of 2016 infra projects
By CHELSEA C. QUIJANO
December 9, 2016
BILIRAN – The
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) - Biliran District
Engineering Office (DEO) is fast-tracking the implementation of its
2016 infrastructure projects before the year ends.
Engr. Luisito Filemon A.
Abad, Head of Procurement and Monitoring Unit during their guesting at
Kapihan: Pulong-pulong ng Bayan on Radio Natin Fm reported that the
district has already posted 90.41% accomplishment as of November 30,
Out of 66 projects
implemented by Biliran DEO, 60 were already completed while remaining
six projects under Regular Infrastructure Program are on-going.
These on-going projects
includes P45M Construction of Access Road Leading to Declared Tourist
Destination at Higatangan Island, Naval, Biliran, P43M Construction of
Slope protection along Biliran Circumferential Road and P43M Slope
Protection along Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road, P43M Road Opening/
Concreting of Biliran Diversion Road, P8M Replacement of Banlas Bridge
along Maripipi Circumferential Road and P5M Repair of Biliran bridge
along Leyte-Biliran Road.
Abad revealed that the
contactor have already started full operation in the Repair of Biliran
bridge to complete the project the soonest time.
“It is only repair works on
the rusted steel components under the bridge that is undertaken on
Biliran Bridge hence there is no need to use barge in transporting the
traveling public from Biliran Island to mainland Leyte,” explained
Abad when asked if people will be transported through barge during the
repair of the said bridge which happened few years back.
Biliran Bridge is the only
structure that connects the province of Biliran to mainland Leyte,
thus, Biliran DEO is fast-tracking the implementation of this project
along with other remaining projects.
“Hopefully we can complete
two or three projects by December, parang tatlo lang ata ang may mga
problema especially sa Diversion road na may problema sa road right of
way,” Abad said.
Abad also revealed that the
district has been allocated with P911.4M worth of Project for 2017
Infrastructure Projects with a total final list of 44 infra projects
composed of National Roads and Bridges (MFO1) amounting to P741.8M,
Flood Controls (MFO2) costing 60M; Access Road and Airport to sea port
(MFO3) amounting to P54.6M and additional 19 Local Infrastructure
Projects (LIP) costing P55M projects excluding school buildings and
Department of Agriculture projects.
and Bombardier finalize order for up to 12 Q400 aircraft
- Order confirms airline as
launch customer of two-class, 86-seat Q400 aircraft
December 9, 2016
TORONTO, Ontario –
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced today that it has finalized a
firm purchase agreement with Philippine Airlines, Inc., flag carrier
of the Philippines, consistent with the Letter of Intent announced on
October 14, 2016. The purchase agreement includes a firm order for
five Q400 aircraft and purchase rights for an additional seven Q400
Based on the list price of the Q400 aircraft, the firm order is valued
at approximately US $165 million and could increase to US $401
million, should Philippine Airlines exercise all its purchase rights.
"With the lowest seat-mile costs in the regional aircraft market, the
extra-capacity, two-class Q400 aircraft will offer Philippine Airlines
significant opportunities to differentiate itself competitively," said
Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. "The Q400
aircraft is the ideal solution for the airline as it develops its
domestic operations network from secondary hubs and increases
"As we strive to become a top-rated airline, the Q Series family of
aircraft has enabled us to develop our business model into one which
efficiently meets our domestic route requirements while providing our
passengers with a full service onboard experience", said Jaime J
Bautista, President and Chief Operating Officer, Philippine Airlines.
"We are proud of our collaboration with Bombardier and welcome the
first modern and innovatively configured two-class, 86-seat Q400
aircraft to our growing fleet."
The five firm-ordered Q400 aircraft are expected to be delivered
Bombardier's customer support network for commercial aircraft in the
Asia-Pacific region includes Regional Support Offices in Singapore,
Narita (Tokyo), Sydney, Beijing, Shanghai and Mumbai, as well as Parts
Depots in Sydney, Beijing and Singapore. Operating from the company's
regional office located in Singapore, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft's
sales and marketing team is well positioned to provide
industry-leading solutions to its current and prospective customers.
About the Q400 Aircraft
Designed as a modern, 21st-century turboprop, the Q400 aircraft is the
most recent development in the Q Series family of aircraft. It
provides unmatched performance, operational flexibility and passenger
comfort. In addition to the standard single-class configuration, Q400
aircraft are available with a two-class interior for enhanced
passenger comfort; in an extra-capacity configuration offering up to
90 seats for higher-density markets; and in a cargo-passenger combi
Thanks to its combination of turboprop attributes, jet-like features,
industry-leading passenger experience and environmental footprint, the
Q400 aircraft is exceptionally versatile and can be adapted to a
variety of business models. By offering a 30 per cent reduction in
fuel burn over the jets it often replaces, the Q400 aircraft radically
reduces carbon emissions and increases cost efficiency. Its high-speed
cruise – 160 km/h faster than conventional turboprops – places the
aircraft's flight time within minutes of jet schedules, at the same
seat cost as larger single-aisle jets. Its large propellers operate at
a lower RPM, generating more power with less noise and making it a
friendly option for city centres.
The Q400 aircraft family includes over 60 owners and operators in
almost 40 countries. The worldwide fleet has logged more than 6.9
million flight hours and has transported more than 429 million
passengers. Long recognized as a high-value asset by operators, the
Q400 aircraft is now also attracting growing interest from the leasing
Bombardier has recorded firm orders for a total of 571 Q400 aircraft.
About Philippine Airlines
Philippine Airlines (PAL) is the flag carrier of the Philippines.
Headquartered in Manila, PAL celebrates its 75th anniversary this year
as the first commercial airline in Asia. Operating out of its hubs at
Ninoy Aquino International Airport of Manila and Mactan-Cebu
International Airport of Cebu, Philippine Airlines serves 30
destinations in the Philippines and over 43 destinations in Southeast
Asia, East Asia, Middle East, Oceania, North America and Europe.
Technical Vocational and Livelihood (TVL) Workshop Building in
Information Communication Technology (ICT) High School of
Eastern Biliran in Caibiran, Biliran. The project has a contract
cost of P8M under CY 2016 Basic Educational Facilities Fund. The
completed project will give proper educational training to
senior high school students of the school for the courses:
cookery, carpentry, and electrical isolation and maintenance.
Biliran DEO’s CY
2016 school building projects accomplished 33.20%
By CHELSEA C. QUIJANO
December 8, 2016
BILIRAN – Department
of Public Works and Highways Biliran District Engineering Office (DPWH-Biliran)
is on-going on the construction of school building projects with an
accomplishment of 33.20% as of November 30, 2016.
This was informed by Engr.
Luisito Filemon A. Abad, Head of Procurement and Monitoring Unit
through Kapihan: Pulong-pulong ng Bayan on Radyo Nation FM together
with Engr. Alfredo L. Bollido, OIC-Assistant District Engineer and
Engr. Reynaldo P. Peñaflor, Chief of Quality Assurance Section (QAS).
DPWH-Biliran is tasked to
implement 16 school building projects with a program amount of P130.7M
under CY 2016 Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF) of the
Department of Education (DepEd).
Out of 16 school building
projects, 4 were already completed, 10 are on-going, and 2 are Not Yet
“These two not yet started
projects are located in ICT, Caibiran because there was a failure in
soil exploration, so we have to redesign the foundation, and it needs
additional funding,” explained Abad.
Engr. Abad added that they
have already requested for an additional fund to the DepEd but until
now there was still no release of fund.
“We have already bid out
this project, the project will not be awarded unless this funding will
be received, so hopefully we can award this project on the later part
of December, and by January, we can proceed with its implementation,”
When asked if school
building projects will be spilled over until first quarter of 2017,
Engr. Bollido explained that they are pressuring the contractor to
complete the school building projects funded under the FY 2015 BEFF
before end of the year.
“Ang contractor, nagpasalig
man pud sila na on or before this year ma-kompleto gayud nila ang ten
school buildings before end of the year,” Bollido said.
However, Bollido emphasized
that he is still unsure when the two NYS Projects will start because
he cannot tell when the Department of Budget Management (DBM) will
release the budget. He added that the budget was requested last
October 3 of this year.
On the other hand, the four
completed projects which are the P5.3M construction of 2 units
Technical Vocational Bldg. at Biliran National High School and
Construction of three Senior High School Unique Workshop at Cabucgayan
NSAT (P2.5M), ICT High School of Eastern Biliran (P2.5M) and Naval
School of Fisheries (P2.4M) are now ready for occupancy which will
cater the needs of the students for a better learning.
Furthermore, Abad also
informed that 20 units of rain water collector project of Biliran DEO
amounting to P3.2M were also completed. These rainwater were installed
to accumulate rainwater from the roof of school buildings and is used
to flush on toilets and in watering plants, rather than allowing it to
Regular use of
ibuprofen may lower lung cancer risk among high-risk subgroups of
December 7, 2016
VIENNA, Austria –
Regular use of ibuprofen may lower the risk of lung cancer among those
with a history of cigarette smoking, according to research presented
at the IASLC 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Vienna,
It has been established that
chronic inflammation appears to increase the risk of lung cancer, and
medicines that reduce inflammation have been shown to reduce this
risk. However, few prospective studies have examined associations
between lung cancer and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
To test whether a common
NSAID can reduce the risk of lung cancer, Dr. Marisa Bittoni and her
colleagues from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, examined
data from 10,735 participants in the Third National Health and
Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES III.
Baseline data on smoking,
NSAIDs and other lifestyle variables were collected for 10,735
participants starting in 1988-1994, and cause-specific mortality
status was ascertained through probabilistic record matching using the
National Death Index through 2006. Cox proportional hazards regression
models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) to quantify
associations between NSAID use and lung cancer death, with adjustment
for current smoking and other variables.
Over 18 years of follow-up,
269 individuals died from lung cancer, of which 252 (93.6 percent)
reported a history of cigarette smoking. Since all but 17 of the 269
fatal lung cancer cases occurred among current or former smokers,
estimates of NSAID effects were ascertained from a sub-cohort of 5,882
individuals who reported a history of past or current cigarette
Bittoni found that
prospective data from NHANES III showed that among adults with a
history of past or current smoking, ibuprofen intake was associated
with a substantial (48 percent) reduction in the risk of dying from
lung cancer. Effects of aspirin and acetaminophen were not
"These results suggest that
regular use of certain NSAIDs may be beneficial for high-risk
subgroups of smokers as a lung cancer prevention strategy," Bittoni
The IASLC 17th WCLC is the
world's largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic
malignancies, attracting more than 6,000 researchers, physicians, and
specialists from more than 100 countries. For more information on the
IASLC 17th WCLC, visit: http://wclc2016.iaslc.org/.
Negosyo Centers now
403; DTI to add more
December 6, 2016
MAKATI CITY – The
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have already surpassed its
target of 150 Negosyo Centers for 2016 after continuously launching
centers nationwide - with the centers now totaling at 403.
For 2016, there have been
203 Negosyo Centers launched after the Department set a supposed
target of 150.
DTI Regional Operations
Group Supervising Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said that the
launching of these Negosyo Centers is in line with the Republic Act
No. 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act.
Maglaya said MSMEs or
entrepreneurs can visit these centers for access to information,
business name registration, access to finance, access to market and
access to training.
“We are proud that we have
established more Negosyo Centers more than what we have expected to
establish. We did not expect to surpass our target of 150 centers for
2016 but we did to support the growth of MSMEs in the country,”
Maglaya said, adding that NCs will help in achieving job generation
and inclusive growth.
The Republic Act No. 10644
or the Go Negosyo Act aims to help micro, small and medium enterprises
(MSMEs), promote ease of doing business, facilitate access to grants
and other forms of financial assistance, Shared Service Facilities (SSF)
and other equipment, and other support for MSMEs through national
government agencies (NGAs), ensure management guidance, assistance and
improvement of the working conditions of MSMEs; and facilitate market
access and linkaging services for entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, the DTI National
Capital Regional Office will launch its eight (8th) Negosyo Center in
the metropolis, and first Negosyo Center in the City of Malabon on
December 6, 2016. Thus, hiking the number of Negosyo Centers to 403.
The center is located at
Malabon City Hall Annex Building F. Sevilla Boulevard, San Agustin in
The presence of the Negosyo
Center in cities, municipalities and provinces aims to provide better
access and more efficient services to MSMEs.
As of December 2, 2016,
there are 403 Negosyo Centers nationwide since its inception in 2014.
Of the total number of centers, 225 are located in Luzon, while
Visayas and Mindanao have 90 and 88 Negosyo Centers, respectively.
With the Negosyo Centers,
the Department has assisted a total of 483,711 clients and conducted a
total 6,002 seminars for MSMEs and potential entrepreneurs nationwide.
Meanwhile, a special lane is
open to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) at Negosyo Centers to help
OFWs who want to stay in the country for good and start a business,
with DTI noting the current situation of OFWs, especially those who
were repatriated from Saudi Arabia.
Maglaya said these special
desks will help OFWs and their families start a business and have the
option to either pursue it and remain in the country for good or
continue working abroad and leaving the business to their families or
health advocates open new fronts in war on tobacco
December 6, 2016
VIENNA, Austria –
Efforts to control tobacco as a public health threat have escalated as
clinicians and public health advocates have coalesced to beat back
threats from tobacco companies through public advocacy, public health,
and pension reform. Today, public health advocates from Brazil,
Malaysia, Ireland, Australia, and Uruguay presented different
strategies that have effectively reigned in the global threat of
tobacco companies at a press briefing held at IASLC 17th World
Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC).
As a young doctor treating
lung cancer patients at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in
Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Bronwyn King was dismayed to see the impact
of cigarette smoking on her patients – many of whom had started
smoking as children. However, her surprise grew when she discovered
that her hospital's pension fund had invested her money in the very
tobacco products that were killing her patients.
"Once I discovered that
through my compulsory pension fund, I was invested in and actually
owned a part of several tobacco companies, I couldn't just do nothing
– I had to take action," she said.
To accomplish this, Dr. King
Tobacco Free Portfolios to
collaboratively engage with leaders of the finance sector to encourage
tobacco-free investment. She soon found that finance executives were
also alarmed at the scale of the tobacco problem and have deeply
re-considered the role they can play in addressing this pressing
"Because of this, there are
now 35 tobacco-free pension funds in Australia – just over 40 percent
of all funds. Many more will soon follow and each tobacco-free
announcement is met with resounding public support," she said.
In Ireland, the tobacco
industry claimed that environmental tobacco smoke was not harmful to
public health, but the Irish government rejected this claim and
instituted a comprehensive workplace smoking ban that included bars,
restaurants, bingo halls, and casinos, according to Dr. Luke Clancy of
the TobaccoFree Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland. Ireland was the
first country to enact a country-wide ban.
"The 2004 smoking ban in
Ireland has shown a positive impact on public health and has served as
a model for other European countries to follow," said Dr. Clancy of
the TobaccoFree Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland.
Clancy reported that the
planning and investment paid off, as the national Irish smoking ban
was associated with reductions in early mortality. Studies on the
effects of the smoking ban demonstrated a 13 percent decrease in
all-cause mortality, a 26 percent reduction in ischemic heart disease,
a 32 percent reduction in stroke, and a 38 percent reduction in
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
While King and Clancy battle
tobacco interests in their countries, Dr. Zarihah Zain of Lincoln
University College Malaysia is carefully examining global trade
agreements to make sure tobacco products are treated like the
dangerous, addictive products they are.
"The main objective of any
global trade agreement is to encourage the free movement of goods and
service between countries by removal of any forms of tariff and
non-tariff barriers. However, when this principle is applied to
tobacco products, public health may suffer in the countries governed
by these very agreements," Dr. Zain said.
"Tobacco is not like any
legal commodity, it is highly addictive, causes deaths, precipitates
serious debilitating morbidity, and accounts for about 30 percent of
all cancer incidence. An industry such as the tobacco industry should
not be given any privileges and should not be allowed to benefit from
trade agreements to gain hefty profits at the expense of public
health," Dr. Zain said.
The control of tobacco is
one of the most cost effective public health strategies, and tobacco
is the only legal consumer product that has an international law to
curb its supply and demand via the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco
Control (FCTC). However, Zain pointed out that there are clauses in
many free trade agreements that can override the WHO Framework.
Vera da Costa e Silva from
the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control began the press
briefing by providing a global perspective on tobacco control and
initiatives to counter tobacco company efforts to create trade
treaties that are bad for public health.
"I hope everyone in the
world is soon free of tobacco smoke and that people encounter bars,
restaurants, and public facilities that are smoke-free," she said.
Tobacco control plays an
important role in the IASLC 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer. The
IASLC is proud to have a committee comprised of world-renowned tobacco
control experts from so many countries.
Cayetano: PH's AIIB
membership crucial to sustaining economic growth
By Office of Senator Alan
Peter S. Cayetano
December 6, 2016
PASAY CITY – Senate
foreign relations committee chair Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano
thanked his colleagues in the Senate for supporting the treaty that
would make the Philippines a founding member of the Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
The Senate on Monday
(December 5) passed on third and final reading Senate Resolution No.
241, or the Articles of Agreement of the Asian Infrastructure
Investment Bank, which formally ratifies the country’s AIIB entry
documents. The measure got 20 affirmative votes, one negative vote,
and no abstention.
Cayetano’s Foreign Relations
Committee submitted last November 22 Committee Report No. 11
recommending the approval of the resolution of concurrence.
Cayetano said the Senate’s
concurrence with the treaty formalizing the country’s membership into
the China-led multilateral institution will allow the Philippines
access to funds for major infrastructure projects to sustain the
momentum of economic growth that was started by the Duterte
“Any institution that will
promote human development, accelerate economic and social progress,
and further good relations with neighboring nations should be embraced
and supported,” said Cayetano.
He expressed his gratitude
to the Department of Finance led by Sec. Carlos Dominguez III and
their counterparts in the Chinese government for their assistance,
stressing how the treaty could foster a stronger relationship between
the two countries. He also thanked Senator Loren Legarda, sponsor of
the resolution, for making possible the passage of the measure.
Cayetano explained that,
like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB), the AIIB is
a multilateral funding agency owned by sovereign member-countries,
which specifically aims to promote economic development and strengthen
regional cooperation and partnership in the Asian region.
“Our economy has been cited
recently as the fastest growing in the Asian region. We posted a
robust 7.1% growth in the third quarter are on target to achieving a
7-percent full-year GDP growth this year,” he said.
The administration earlier
expressed its plan to raise the government’s share in infrastructure
spending to the gross domestic product (GDP) to 7 percent before
President Rodrigo Duterte's term ends.
Following the Senate’s
concurrence, the executive branch now has the chance to access US$500
million annually from the Bank to finance infrastructure projects in
the country. This, he said, is apart from over $20 billion that China
is prepared to extend to the Philippines after the President's
historic visit to China.
“AIIB’s role as a major
player in infrastructure development in Asia in the future is
inevitable, and the timing of our membership in AIIB cannot be more
perfect as the Philippines is at the point of development where
increasing our infrastructure capacity can no longer be set aside,”
“As Asia’s fastest growing
economy, we surely cannot afford to pass up on this opportunity to be
able to tap an additional fund source to help sustain the economic
progress we have started to gain under the leadership of President
Rodrigo Duterte,” he added.
killings must stop and the perpetrators should be held accountable
By KARAPATAN via the Asian
Human Rights Commission
December 6, 2016
Karapatan today joined RISE
UP!, a campaign initiated by faith-based groups, institutions and
people’s organizations against the drug menace and for the protection
of human and people’s rights against drug-related extrajudicial
killings, in a protest action in front of the Department of Interior
and Local Government office in Quezon City.
"Drug-related killings must
stop and the perpetrators should be held accountable, whether
government officials, police officers, or drug cartel operatives. It
is unacceptable that the killings are justified or merely explained as
'killed in legitimate police operations,' 'nanlaban' or 'killed by
unidentified assailants,'" Clamor said.
"Majority of the victims of
drug-related killings come from poor communities. Their families chose
not to pursue investigation and prosecution against the perpetrators
out of fear and lack of resources. Thus, the climate of impunity
reigns," Clamor said. Karapatan called on the public “to uphold
people’s and human rights amid a system that breeds the existence and
proliferation of the illegal drug trade.”
“We will support efforts to
educate the general public on the roots and impact of the global drug
on the Filipino people, to document cases of drug-related killings,
and to advocate against the brazen impunity by which these killings
are conducted in direct violation of the right to due process,” said
Jigs Clamor, Karapatan Deputy Secretary General.
reported the use of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs in
the conduct of counter-insurgency operations of the Philippine
National Police in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, where four farmer
activists were illegally arrested and detained last October on charges
related to the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act
The farmers’ personal
belongings were taken and their families were traumatized. They were
wrongly accused as members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and one of
them was mauled. The four are members of the Karahumi Farmers
Association (KFA), an organization that has long been resisting the
landgrabbing of more than 1,000 hectares of agricultural lands in
Bulacan. Police authorities planted evidence against them. “Batak kami
sa trabaho, hindi kami batak sa droga,” said one of the arrested
Three of the farmer
activists were released from detention, while another KFA member, Romy
“Nonoy” Gaitero, remains in jail.
“We are also receiving
disturbing reports that the Armed Forces of the Philippines, even
while the GRP has declared a unilateral ceasefire in relation to its
peacetalks with the NDFP, continues military operations under Oplan
Bayanihan by encamping in civilian communities, threatening and
harassing civilians suspected of being members of the NPA and conducts
census of residents in the guise of Oplan Tokhang,” said Clamor.
Karapatan reiterated its
call to Duterte to stop drug-related killings and to respect the
people’s rights to due process.
“The drug menace can be
eliminated without curtailing the basic rights of the people,
especially of the poor. In fact, it is through upholding the rights of
the people, especially social and economic rights, that the people can
repudiate the use and trade of illegal drugs. The government should
instead strive to improve the living conditions of the Filipinos,
especially the marginalized, by providing them secure jobs with living
wages, free education and health care, and land to cultivate,” Clamor
8ID welcomes gov’t
disater response chief
By DPAO, 8ID PA
December 2, 2016
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division welcomed Usec.
Ricardo B. Jalad, Executive Director, National Risk Reduction and
Management council (NDRRMC) and other representatives from the
regional, provincial and local government units and agencies last
December 02, 2016.
Usec Jalad’s visit to 8ID is
part of his itinerary to check the recovery of Eastern Visayas from
the devastation of previous super typhoons and the local governments
and other agencies’ preparedness for upcoming calamities. During his
remarks, Usec Jalad recognized the peculiarity of Region 8 as “highway
of typhoons” of the Philippines.
8th ID Assistant Division
Commander Brig. General Cesar Idio assured that “the men and women of
the 8th Infantry Division are committed in working hand in hand with
various government, non-government, civil sector and private sector
organizations in ensuring the protection and welfare of the people
during disasters or emergencies.”
The conference yielded
discussions on how to increase interoperability among members of the
regional and local DRRMC and capacitate each other in terms of
equipment especially in redundancy of communications and training.
“For our part, we are
looking forward for more capacity-building programs that we can work
together as we prepare for the unknowns of tomorrow,” Idio added.
“Trabaho, Negosyo at Kabuhayan: A Blueprint for Decent
Employment and Entrepreneurship 2017-2022” prioritizes decent
job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation,
formalization and growth of micro, small, and medium-sized
enterprises (MSMEs), youth unemployment reduction, education and
New gov’t blueprint
for decent employment envisions 7.5 million jobs by 2022
December 2, 2016
TAGUIG CITY – A new
government blueprint for decent job creation through employment and
entrepreneurship from 2017 to 2022 was adopted at the conclusion of
the two-day Trabaho, Negosyo at Kabuhayan (TNK) - Employment and
Livelihood Summit on December 2.
Signed by Secretaries Ramon
Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Silvestre
Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the
“Trabaho, Negosyo at Kabuhayan: A Blueprint for Decent Employment and
Entrepreneurship 2017-2022” prioritizes decent job creation,
entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, formalization and growth
of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), youth
unemployment reduction, education and training.
“By 2022, we want to achieve
full employment at 5% unemployment rate by creating 7.5 million jobs,
mainly in key employment generating sectors (KEGS) such as
manufacturing including food processing, construction, tourism,
Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM),
transportation and logistics, and retail trade,” Sec. Lopez said.
The commitment is in line
with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Goals 8
and 9, on the provision of decent work and economic growth, and on
building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable
industrialization and fostering innovation, respectively.
The 2017-2022 livelihood
agenda envisions the transition of informal and economic units to the
formal economy with full respect to fundamental rights and principles
at work. It also reiterates the implementation of the Comprehensive
National Industrial Strategy to upgrade selected industries that
generate employment, integrate manufacturing, agriculture and
services, address supply chain gaps, and deepen industry participation
in global value chains.
The TNK Summit, participated
in by the public and private sectors and some members of the academe
wrapped up policy recommendations from previously held sectoral
summits to chart a new employment agenda, in line with the
administration’s development path.
Sec. Lopez strongly
encouraged Summit participants to invest in the Industry and Services
sector, as well as in the country’s human capital to help address the
perennial problem of skills mismatch and to sustain the growth of
Policy recommendations from
sectoral summits on MSME, manufacturing, construction and IT-BPM fed
into the TNK Summit, which carried the theme, “Malasakit at Pagbabago
Tungo sa Kaunlaran at Katiwasayan,” preparing the workforce for the
industry’s current and future needs.
includes casinos in AMLA to fortify law
By Office of Senator Escudero
December 1, 2016
PASAY CITY – The
Senate is giving more teeth to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) by
amending its current provisions to include the casino industry under
the scrutiny of the law.
Senator Chiz Escudero,
chairman of the Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and
Currencies which is sponsoring the measure, said a panel report to
further amend Republic Act No. 9160 or AMLA of 2001 has already been
filed and is due for sponsorship on Monday next week.
The inclusion of casinos in
the AMLA coverage is one of the recommendations of the Financial
Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering and
anti-terrorism watchdog, to avoid the potential blacklisting of the
Senate Committee Report No.
13, however, has now expanded its coverage to include casinos as part
of the reporting bodies to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC),
which was left out in the amendments made in 2012.
Escudero said the country is
rushing to comply with prescribed global legal and regulatory
framework on anti-money laundering before FATF’s assessment of the
country in June next year. The Philippines was last assessed three
years ago by the international body, which noted strong concerns on
the exclusion of the casino sector from the law.
In the amended act, the cash
threshold for any covered transactions is now anything exceeding
P500,000.00 or US$10,000.00 or other equivalent monetary instrument.
Also covered by the expanded law are money services business or money
transfer companies, dealers of precious stones, jewels and metals,
dealers of high-value items or goods and real estate developers,
brokers and sales agents.
“We are talking of dealers
or those entities, like lawyers and accountants acting in behalf of
clients whenever they receive cash for profit or gains, exceeding
P500, 000.00. So if they don’t want to be covered by the AMLA law,
then they should transact or act in behalf of their clients with
checks, not cash. Then again, checks are already covered by the
reportorial requirements of banks under AMLA,” Escudero said.
Considered high-value items
under the measure are the following goods or items which value exceeds
one million pesos (P1,000,000.00): motor vehicles, including land, air
and water vehicles; art and antiques; and other luxury items such as
jewelry, watches and bags.
“We put a generic and catch
all terms. In the original act, it simply states jewelry, with 50
percent of its value coming from the precious stone used. But this is
ambiguous and evasive, what if you are paying for the luxury brand
itself and not the stones? Then that’s already left out. There are
strong calls to include luxury car dealers, but those who deal
choppers and planes and yachts will also be left out, so we phrased
the inclusion as high-value goods to cover all,” the senator pointed
C.R. No. 13 also strengthens
the power of AMLC to investigate motu propio or upon the request of
appropriate departments or agencies transactions deemed suspicious for
possible money laundering-activities.
It is already being
empowered to file, directly through the Office of the Solicitor
General, before the Court of Appeals petition for a freeze order
against any monetary instrument or property deemed laundered.
The AMLC can also already
subpoena any person and compel his/her attendance to produce
information for verification and investigation in compliance with AMLA.
Escudero scored the
importance of complying with the country’s commitments to the FATF
action plans and to earn its approval after its review next year as
millions of our overseas workers will be the front liners to receive
the impact of a positive or negative review.
“We are rushing to sponsor
this and hopefully pass the measure first quarter next year, to comply
in time for the review. Otherwise, global remittances of our millions
of overseas workers will go through scrutiny and difficulties,”
8ID supports 18-day
campaign to end VAW
By DPAO, 8ID PA
November 29, 2016
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – The Philippine Army in Eastern Visayas joins the nation’s
call to end violence against women (VAW) during the flag-raising
ceremony at Camp Lukban last November 28, 2016.
In all countries of the
world, women and girls are exposed to violence because of their
gender. Its long term effect from physical, sexual and psychological
abuse, oftentimes lead to death. Despite the fact that different
social, cultural and political backgrounds give rise to different
forms of violence, its majority and its patterns are remarkably
endless as it prevents women from fully participating in society.
As enshrined in the 1987
Constitution, the Philippine government is committed to protect the
human rights of women and to address all forms of violence against
them. As this year’s campaign theme, “Violence-free community starts
with me”, 8th ID is actively participating in the quest to achieve a VAW-free community through everyone’s obligation and participation.
8ID has instituted the
gender-based violence (GBV) referral system by handling GBV cases
within the organization and by providing the necessary assistance and
services to survivors and victims of this kind of violence.
In his message, Brig. Gen.
Raul M Farnacio encouraged every female personnel of this command to
empower themselves, to know their rights and available courses of
actions if their rights are violated. Women in the service are also
empowered to speak out and report to authorities and inspire others to
fight for their rights.
On the other hand, Brig.
Gen. Farnacio also directed every male personnel within the
organization to respect women, especially girls in their homes, in
their workplace and community. Male soldiers are encouraged to be a
good role model and enlighten other men not to condone or commit
violence against women and girls.
As he emphasized during his
message, everyone must contribute to the total eradication of violence
in our organization, family and the community.
mega drug rehabilitation center
By Presidential News Desk
November 29, 2016
MANILA – President
Rodrigo Duterte led the inauguration of the mega Drug Abuse Treatment
and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija on
Tuesday, November 29, as part of the administration's efforts to solve
drug problem in the country.
In his speech, President
Duterte said he would fulfill his campaign promise to eliminate
illegal drugs and create a safer environment for the Filipinos.
"Let me warn you, drugs is a
very virulent agent in any society. The campaign against drug will
continue ‘till the last day of my term. I will not stop until the last
drug pusher is out of the street and the last drug lord or king
killed," he said.
The President said the drug
lords have invested on the lives and sanity of the Filipinos.
"Kaya maraming property, mga
hotel, barko, lahat na nandiyan sa kanila," Duterte said.
He said there will be no let
up in the campaign against illegal drugs and the only compromise is
for the illegal drug users and pushers to surrender.
"The only compromise that’s
acceptable to me is you surrender," Duterte said.
"If you continue, I said,
you might end losing not only your funds but your life," he added.
Duterte meanwhile thanked
Chinese philanthropist Huang Rulun who donated the first large scale
drug rehabilitation center in the country, which can accommodate
10,000 drug addicts.
For his part, Huang stated
that the donation was his way of showing support to the
administration’s war against drugs and as a sign of goodwill for the
President’s efforts to strengthen the country’s ties and friendly
relations with China.
Huang is an honorary
chairman of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Association of the
Philippines Foundation, Inc. (FFCAP) and chairman of the board of
directors of Century Golden Resources Group.
During the event, the
President unveiled the marker of the rehabilitation center together
with Huang and the administration’s top officials.
DATRC is located in Fort
Magsaysay, a military camp that occupies a land area of hectares
divided by four zones. It has a total construction area of 60,000
square meters with 172 building units.
Huang first met with the
President in Davao last June 28 before he donated an amount of about
P1.4 billion to construct two drug rehabilitation centers inside Fort
In expressing his
appreciation for the assistance extended by Huang to the government,
the President stressed that those whom he consider as the country’s
allies should also help him solve the country’s drug problem instead
of criticizing his administration in its war against drugs.
In his speech, the President
also mentioned the ambush that happened in Lanao del Sur wherein seven
members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and two soldiers were
wounded. The PSG personnel were part of the advance team of the
President who is set to fly to Marawi City on Wednesday to visit
wounded soldiers fighting the Maute group.
Duterte said he would push
through with his visit despite ongoing conflict in the province.
Hong Kong maintains
top spot in freedom index, United States drops to 23rd
November 29, 2016
TORONTO, ON – Hong
Kong is once again the freest jurisdiction in the world while the
United States continues its decline, dropping to 23rd in the
Human Freedom Index, released today
by the Fraser Institute and a network of international public policy
The index – which uses 76
indicators of personal, civil and economic freedoms to rank 159
countries and jurisdictions around the world – includes rankings from
2008 to 2014, the most recent year of comparable data.
"The Human Freedom Index
measures civil liberties, economic freedom, the rule of law, freedom
of movement, women's rights and much more," said Fred McMahon, Dr.
Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser
Institute and editor of study.
Hong Kong again ranks number
one, followed by Switzerland, New Zealand, Ireland and Denmark.
Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia are tied for sixth. Other
notable countries include Germany (13), the U.S. (23), France (31),
Japan (32), Russia (115) and China (141).
Hong Kong's place atop the
list is largely because of its high scores in economic freedom.
"While the freedom index
doesn't measure democracy, democracy remains the best safeguard of
personal freedoms. If China encroaches on its one-country, two-system
relationship with Hong Kong, we can expect Hong Kong's ranking to
drop," McMahon said.
By region, the average
rankings on the index were highest for Western and Northern Europe,
followed by North America. And they were lowest for South Asia,
Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.
The complete index, a joint
project of Canada's Fraser Institute, the Cato Institute in the U.S.,
and the Liberales Institut of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for
Freedom in Germany, is available as a free PDF download at
McMahon is the project
editor. Ian Vasquez of the Cato Institute, and Tanja Porcnik of the
Visio Institute in Slovenia are the co-authors.
The 10 freest jurisdictions
1. Hong Kong
3. New Zealand
6. United Kingdom
The 10 least free countries
151. Democratic Republic of
155. Central African
Gov’t accountable for
death of political detainee
SELDA to Duterte:
Release the 400 now!
November 28, 2016
QUEZON CITY – SELDA (Samahan
ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) demanded the Duterte
administration the immediate release of 400 political detainees
following the death of Bernabe Ocasla, Monday afternoon.
“The Duterte administration
is accountable for the death of Ocasla, who should have been released
along with more than a hundred ailing political detainees as soon as
it assumed office. This is the tragic result of the government’s
deliberate delays and excuses in the release of political prisoners,”
said Fr. Dionito Cabillas, SELDA spokesperson.
Selda and other rights
groups have been calling for the release of Ocasla, 66, who went into
a coma after suffering a heart attack on Friday, November 25. He has
been languishing in jail for seven years, and was detained at the
Manila City Jail on trumped-up charges of 15 counts of multiple
murder. Calls for the immediate release of more than a hundred
political prisoners who are ailing and elderly on humanitarian grounds
is continuously denied by the government.
He is one of the co-accused
of NDFP peace consultants Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Tiamzon, Randall
Echanis, Rafael Baylosis, Vicente Ladlad, and Adelberto Silva on
trumped up charges of multiple murder cases filed by the Armed Forces
of the Philippines pending before Manila Regional Trial Court Branch
“Ocasla just came from his
court hearing the day before he suffered a heart attack, optimistic
and hopeful for their freedom. He, however, is a ticking time bomb
since, with his hypertension and partial blindness. There are more
Bernabe Ocaslas who are suffering inside detention centers. Their
health conditions are rapidly deteriorating for lack of proper medical
attention and subhuman jail conditions. Most importantly, they should
not be in jail in the first place,” said Cabillas.
More than one-thirds of the
400 political prisoners are sick, a number of them are already old. In
previous years, political prisoners like Alison Alcantara, Benny Barid
and Eduardo Serrano died while under the custody of the state.
Serrano, who died last January, would have been one of the released
NDFP consultants this year, after formal peace talks between the GRP
and the NDFP resumed in July.
Office of the Presidential
Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza and GRP panel
chairman Secretary Silvestre Bello III have been announcing the
release of political prisoners since they assumed office.
“Sec. Dureza even has the
gall to say they’ve released 70 political prisoners while those with
life-threatening illnesses like Ocasla gamble with death. This is far
from truth. We don’t need their empty grandstanding, what we demand is
the release of all political prisoners, alive and granted amnesty.
Release the 400! Amnesty now!” said Cabillas.
industry should be developed not destroyed, labor group says
By Associated Labor Unions
November 27, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Big
labor group Associated Labor Unions (ALU) is calling for convergence
between local government units, national government agencies, industry
players and workers to developed the firecracker and pyrotechnic
manufacturing rather than shut the entire industry in the country.
“We are urging the
government not to destroy the entire industry. What the industry
workers and businesses needs now is help and support from the national
and local government for them to evolve, modernize and flourish. Life
and property destructions can be averted or greatly minimized if the
available new and safe technologies are infused into the industry,”
said Alan Tanjusay, ALU spokesperson.
He said the local government
units or the government agencies such as the Department of Trade and
Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to call for a summit and
lead stakeholders in discussing ways toward modernizing.
The summit could also be a
forum for the introduction of more stringent and consistent
application of safety and health regulation in the manufacturing,
selling and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.
The labor group made the
proposition amid a work stoppage order issued by the DOLE after a
factory blast happened in Sta. Maria, Bulacan Wednesday killing three
persons and left several others injured.
“If the government suppress
the industry, thousands of workers and their families will suffer.
Besides, if the industry is banned unsafe firecrackers and unregulated
pyrotechnics from foreign countries will be smuggled and proliferate
anyway. So rather than destroy, why not develop and make it thrive,”
He estimated there are
around 400,000 workers, employers, retailers and allied industry
workers are dependent in the industry.
Stakeholders Fellowship in Eastern Samar
By DPAO, 8ID PA
November 24, 2016
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – The Army in Eastern Visayas joined in the Provincial Peace
and Order Council Meeting with the local chief executives and
stakeholders of the whole province of Eastern Samar with Lieut. Gen.
Raul L Del Rosario AFP, Commander Central Command, AFP held at Doña
Vicente Hotel, Borongan, Eastern Samar on November 22, 2016.
The activity aims to unite
the Local Chief Executives and stakeholders towards progression and
addressing the poverty problems of the province. Further, it also
advocates President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s thrust against illegal drugs
and other lawless violence that arises in the province. The meeting
was called to order by the PPOC Chairman, Hon. Marcelo Ferdinand A.
Picardal, Vice-Governor of Eastern Samar.
Present during the activity
are: Lieut Gen Raul L Del Rosario AFP, Commander Central Command; Brig
Gen Raul M Farnacio AFP, Commander 8ID; PSSupt Tranquilino A Araral,
PD, ESPPO; Mr Virgilio Capon, Provincial Administrator representing
Governor Conrado B Nicart Jr; Hon. Marcelino Ferdinand A Picardal,
Vice-Governor and mayors of 1 city and 19 municipalities of Eastern
Samar; Rev. Fr. Leroy Geli, Rector, College of Seminary, Our Lady of
Nativity; and members of Provincial Peace and Order Council of Eastern
During the activity, the
Local Chief Executives were given a time to present their actual
situation especially in the far flung areas. Accordingly, the CPP-NPA
movement affects the peace and order that hinders the progression of
their municipalities especially on the delivery of basic services.
Brig Gen Raul M Farnacio AFP
emphasized that through the assistance from the Local Chief Executives
in addressing the needs of the people is the key to win their trust.
“Kailangan nating magkaisa at ibigay kung ano ang kelangan ng ating
mga mahihirap na kababayan. Problema sa lupa at kahirapan ang hinaing
ng ating mga kababayan. Kaming mga kasundaluhan ay handing tumulong sa
inyo para puntahan ang mga malalayong barangay na mas nangangailan ng
inyong serbisyo”, Farnacio added.
Also, Lieut Gen Raul L Del
Rosario AFP said in his message, “Natutuwa ako at nag-open up ang
ating mga LGUs, you really presented the situation base on the
briefing or reactions and I believe we have identified some problem
areas. I hope that from CENTCOM view ay talagang pursigihin natin ito
hanggat hindi natin makamit yung lasting peace na talagang deserve
nating lahat para umunlad na ang ating Bansang Pilipinas,” Del Rosario
small scale businesses receive first-ever ‘Kapatid Awards’
November 24, 2016
TAGUIG CITY – DTI’s
shared service facilities (SSF) beneficiaries on coffee processing,
native bag making, and fiber marketing were the recipients of the
first-ever Kapatid Awards at PLDT’s MVP Bossing Awards 2016 on
SSFs on coffee processing
from Mountain Province, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), on
pandan and bariw bag making from Leyte, Region VIII and on fiber
marketing expansion from Agusan del Norte, CARAGA received awards for
exhibiting sustainable and inclusive growth models that contribute to
the improvement of the quality of lives in said communities.
Receiving the awards were
representatives from SSF cooperators Dangdang-ay di Ibila Cooperative
from CAR, Sto. Niño de Plaridel Parish Multi-Purpose Cooperative from
Region VIII and San Isidro Upland Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative
The SSF Project is a key
component of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)'s initiative
to capacitate micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by providing
them appropriate machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and
knowledge under a shared system.
As backbone of the
Philippine economic growth, composed of 99.6% of locally registered
businesses, generating over one million job a year, MSMEs have become
the government’s current priority, with the DTI placing MSME
development at the forefront of regional development and at the front
and center of the trade agenda.
“Aside from keeping the
country moving towards a more strategic direction at the backdrop of
regional development, the government, through the DTI, vows to pursue
meaningful growth that is truly inclusive, the one that reaches the
bottom of the pyramid,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, who was also
one of the recipient of the MVP Bossing Awards in government service.
DTI’s thrust towards MSME
development is anchored on President Rodrigo Duterte’s 10-point
socio-economic agenda to attain a quality of growth that will result
in shared prosperity among Filipinos, according to the trade chief.
As of October 2016, a total
of 2,099 SSFs have already been established across the country.
In partnership with Go
Negosyo and DTI, the Kapatid Awards is an offshoot of the Kapatid
Program, which has advocated MSME development through training and
partnering with big businesses to mainstream and integrate MSMEs and
their products and services into the bigger value chains.
“Across the country, there
are already successful micro, small and medium scale players who, even
in advance of the Government’s call, have created sustainable growth
models that bring employment to the sectors of society that need it,”
PLDT Vice President Mitch Locsin was quoted in a statement.
8ID Intensifies the
Bayanihan Team Activity
By DPAO, 8ID PA
November 23, 2016
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – The Army in Eastern Visayas headed by Brig Gen Raul M
Farnacio AFP, intensifies its Internal Peace Security Plan “Bayanihan”
that encourages all the Government Agencies and Non-Government
Organizations in working together to end up the socio-economic
problems of this region.
One of these efforts was the
3-day Bayanihan activity from November 7-9, 2016 conducted by the 14th
Infantry (Avenger) Battalion in the barangays of Agsaman, Poblacion,
and Cagmanaba, all of Jipapad, Eastern Samar in partnership with the
AGAPE Rural Health Program, that delivers basic services such as
medical/dental assistance, free medicines, free hair-cuts, film
viewing and distribution of slippers, clothes, and reading glasses.
AGAPE is a Non-Government Organization composed of Christian
volunteers from Asia and US whose mission is to help the less
fortunate that cannot afford to sustain their medications and basic
As a result of the activity,
the people of Jipapad benefited from a total of 1,078 medical
check-ups with free medicines, 78 tooth-extractions, 30 hair-cuts, 330
reading glasses, and 340 pairs of slipper.
In ensuring the safety of
the volunteers of AGAPE, the Avenger Battalion served as their
security all throughout the activity. The security effort of the
troops was not made against the CPP-NPA but rather to prevent any
lawlessness violence that may arise in the area during the activity.
Brig Gen Farnacio says in
his message, “Your Army in Eastern Visayas have not committed any
violations against the observance of ceasefire. We only wanted to make
sure that these good Samaritans will be safe all throughout the
activity against lawlessness. Instead of criticizing and making false
story against the military troops, let the people receive such
services and stop preventing them away from the government. Moreover,
we are encouraging more kind and whole hearted people especially the
Local Government Units to support and help these people living in far
“This is the time to be
united in our desire of addressing the poverty problem of the region.
Let’s help together in building a peaceful and developed Eastern
Visayas“, Farnacio added.
Network Against Drug War
Killings urges probe, fears gov’t cover-up
NAKPhilippines says Duterte
has brought human rights crisis to new, more dangerous level
November 22, 2016
MANILA – The
Philippine government should hold accountable members of law
enforcement agencies implicated in the extrajudicial killings of
civilians in its “war on drugs,” the newly formed Network Against
Killings in the Philippines (NAKPhilippines) said today. At the same
time, the Duterte administration should thoroughly and credibly
investigate the thousands of summary killings attributed to
unidentified gunmen since June 30, 2016.
Since the start of Duterte’s
war on drugs, not a single law enforcer has been brought to court to
answer allegations of extrajudicial executions during so-called
“legitimate police operations.” “What the police and President Duterte
himself have done is to defend the actions of police officers involved
in these operations even though a credible investigation has yet to
take place. We fear not only a lack of accountability but possible
government cover-up for these crimes,” said Father Amado Picardal, one
of the group’s convenors who also serves as its spokesperson.
The government has likewise
failed to launch any meaningful investigation into the more than 3,000
so-called “death under investigation” killings, indicating a serious
failure to fulfill its responsibility and duty to investigate crimes –
particularly crimes of this brutal nature with no semblance of due
process – and bring the perpetrators to justice. “The Duterte
administration’s failure to investigate these summary killings is a
serious lapse in its human rights commitment but at the same time also
indicates complicity in these atrocities,” Father Picardal said.
Several human rights
advocates and civil society organizations, concerned about human
rights, civil liberties and rule of law in the Philippines, formed
NAKPhilippines early this month. “We organized ourselves because civil
society needs to take a firmer, stronger and principled stand against
extrajudicial killings and the continued erosion of universal human
rights in the Philippines,” the group said in its launching statement
released today. “Like the human rights advocates that have campaign
against death squad killings since 1999, we are outraged by these
violations and are committed to do what we can to stop the killings,
demand accountability from government, assert human rights for all,
and protect human rights defenders.”
NAKPhilippines said the
administration of President Duterte has not only made the human rights
situation in the Philippines worse – it has brought it to a whole new
and more dangerous level as the killings in its war on drugs continue.
“It is time for these killings to stop and for the killers to be
brought to justice,” it said.
administrations that have denied complicity in past extrajudicial
killings, the Duterte government “encourages these abuses and even
promises protection to the perpetrators, taking an already egregious
human rights situation to a whole new and more dangerous level,” it
In the first five months of
the Duterte administration, nearly 5,000 people have been killed in
its brutal war on drugs, with the police saying that more than 2,000
of that died in police operations while the rest were killed by
unidentified assailants, what the police calls “deaths under
investigations” that appear to be death squad killings. A number of
children were among those killed.
NAKPhilippines will hold its
launching activity on Nov. 23, which is also the 7th anniversary of
the Ampatuan Massacre. It will hold a “National Day of Prayer and
Solidarity for Victims of Extrajudicial Killings and Their Families”
through a Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Broderick Pabillo at 4:45 PM
at the Shrine of Mother Perpetual Help, Redemptorist Church in
Baclaran, Manila. Families of victims of the drug have been invited to
attend the Mass and the solidarity activities that will follow.
Convenors and supporters of NAKPhilippines will also be present. A
press conference by Bishop Pabillo and the group’s representatives
will also be held at the Sinirangan Café inside the church compound.
The group’s launching
statement is supported and endorsed by several groups from the
Philippines and abroad, among them the Asian Human Rights Commission (Hongkong),
Bahay Tuluyan (Philippines), Bawgbug Advocates for Peace and Human
Rights (Philippines), Coalition Against Summary Execution
(Philippines), Cross Cultural Foundation (Thailand), Human Rights
Watch (USA), Human Rights Office (Sri Lanka), Jagaran Media Center
(Nepal), Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese (Hong
Kong), Katilingbanong Pagtambayayong (Philippines), LBH Padang (Legal
Aid) (Indonesia), Mindanao Peoples Caucus (Philippines), Sentro
(Philippines), Terai Human Rights Defenders Alliance (Nepal),
Interfaith Cooperation Forum in Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Janasansadaya -
Panadura (Sri lanka), Conectas Human Rights (Brazil), Community
Development Foundation Pakistan (Pakistan), Centre for War Victims and
Human Rights (Canada), Odhikar (Bangladesh), and Sedane Labour
Resource Center (Indonesia). Dozens of individuals have also signed up
and the group expects more in the coming days.
Activity (BTA) send-off ceremony - first time in Catarman, LGU ready
43rd Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
November 21, 2016
LOPE DE VEGA, Northern,
Samar – The Local Government Unit of Catarman, Northern Samar
together with the 43rd Infantry (We Search) Battalion, 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers)
Division, Philippine Army and other stakeholders conducted Send-Off
Ceremony of Bayanihan Team Activity (BTA) on November 18, 2016, 9:00
o’clock in the morning at the Municipal Gymnasium.
Some Guests from other
stakeholders such as the Philippine National Police, Department of
Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment
and Natural Resources and Department of Labor and Employment
participated and witnessed the send-off of the BTA operators.
Moreover, the two (2)
barangay captains from Brgy. Quezon and Brgy. McKinley, both of
Catarman, Northern Samar where the BTA Team will be deployed also
attended the send-off ceremony.
The activity was designed to
show to the people that the Bayanihan Team Activity is not a military
activity alone, but it is a convergence of effort from other agencies
of the government as stated in the IPSP “Bayanihan” wherein other
stakeholders are involved from planning, implementation and evaluation
Major Edgar A Gabia (INF)
PA, officer-in-charge, 43rd IB said: “This activity will remind
everyone that IPSP “Bayanihan” is a convergence of efforts to WIN the
PEACE from other stakeholders or line agencies of the government,
wherein the efforts are geared towards convincing the CPP-NPA-NDF to
abandon the armed struggle and engage in Peace Talks/negotiations.” He
also encouraged the other line agencies specially the LGUs to do their
share and give their whole hearted support for the successful conduct
of the Bayanihan Team Activity”.
Executive Assistant Arielyn
L. Fernandez also said that: “In the absence of Mayor Franciso
Rosales, I am representing on his behalf, pinapasabi ni Mayor na ang
LGU ay handang tumulong at sumuporta sa mga gagawin ng mga BTA
operators sa mga barangay na pupuntahan nila para maipaabot din ang
“Actually, this is the first
time na nagkaroon ng ganitong activity dito sa Catarman, on behalf of
the Office of the Mayor, we express our thanks to the 43rd IB who
exerted the effort to make this event become successful, and we hope
that through them, the people of Brgy. Quezon and McKinley will be
enlightened and stop their support and alliance with the NPA so that
the said barangays will become more progressive and well developed.”