Army troops scores
against NPA rebels in Northern Samar
By DPAO, 8ID PA
February 15, 2017
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – Troops of 43rd Infantry Battalion, 8ID, PA led by 1Lt.
Edsel Ryan B. Celebre engaged NPA rebels under their leader Salvador
Nordan a.k.a “Badok” while conducting combat operations against
lawless elements at Sitio Cabaywa, Brgy. Santander, Bobon, Northern
Samar on February 14, 2017.
The fire fight lasted for
about five minutes that resulted to one (1) NPA killed identified as
Bernadette Lutao a.k.a. “Kakan”, the wife of “Badok,” and the recovery
of one (1) improvised explosive device (IED) and three (3) cellular
The use of IED is restricted
under the United Nations Geneva Convention because of its
indiscriminate effects and humanitarian harm it can cause to innocent
civilians as well as a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on
Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law between
the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the CPP-NPA-NDF.
In a statement by Maj.
General Raul M. Farnacio, he said that the NPAs have been using IEDs
as of their weapons of choice without consideration on the welfare of
the civilian populace. “The NPA has been deliberately violating the
human rights with their production and employment of IEDs and their
continuous disruption of the peaceful lives of our fellow Filipinos
especially those in the far-flung barangays,” he stated.
“This accomplishment is a
triumph for the collective effort of the local government unit and
agencies, 8ID, and our civilian constituents to attain just and
lasting peace in Northern Samar. Filipinos want peace and it is high
time for our fellow Filipinos who were misled to join the NPA to lay
down their arms and lead their lives away from armed struggle,”
Since the lifting of the
ceasefire by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, 8ID troops have been
conducting security operations in the region as part of their mandate.
“Rest assured that your Army in Eastern Visayas are tirelessly
committed to serve and secure the people within the bounds of respect
of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, and Rule of Law,“
of the 2-storey, 6-classroom School Building in Higatangan
National High School, Naval Biliran on Feb. 13, 2017. The
project has a contract cost of P8.2M under RT Morabe
Construction. The project would benefit 240 Senior High School
Students of the said school and will provide an environment
conducive to learnings.
February 14, 2017
NAVAL, Biliran – The
Fidel M. Limpiado Sr. National High School in Higatangan Island, Naval
Biliran received their newly 2-storey 6 classroom building in a
turn-over ceremony by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
and Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday, February 13, 2017.
“This marks another success
in the pursuit of the government to provide quality education for the
students by constructing additional school buildings”, said Engr.
Alfredo L. Bollido, DPWH OIC-Assistant District Engineer in his
turn-over message on behalf of District Engineer, David P. Adongay Jr.
The occasion was also graced
by the presence of Hon. Brigido Caneja III, Sangguniang Panlalawigan
Member who attended on behalf of Congressman Rogelio J. Espina; Dr.
Rodulfo Pabilada, Supervisor of Kindergarten on behalf of DepEd
District Superintendent Dr. Carmela R. Tamayo; Dr. Allan Paul U. Tubis,
DepEd Administrative Officer; RT Morabe Contractor representative,
teachers and students.
The Higatangan National High
School has more or less 200 enrollees for this year for the K-12
program with 14 teaching force.
Engr. Bollido added “We
expect that this facility would encourage more students to come to
school as this will provide them a facilitative space to learn and be
inspired to study harder and reach their highest potential”.
Mrs. Leonora S. Mission,
Head Teacher II also expressed her gratitude of the new school
building in her acceptance message saying “Ang gusaling ito ay
kapaki-pakinabang para sa maayos na pagkatuto ng mga estudyante dahil
po dito, lubos po akong nagpapasalamat. At bilang tagapamahala ng
paaralang ito, ako po’y nangangako na pangangalagaan ang gusaling ito
kasama ang internal at external na stakeholders. Nawa’y tulungan at
suportaan ninyo ako para sa mga adhikain at programa ng paaralan,
dahil ang lahat ng pagsisikap ng paaralan ay para sa mga bata at dahil
sa mga bata”.
The ceremonial key turn-over
and ribbon-cutting ceremony highlighted the occasion. After the
turn-over, DPWH headed by Engr. Bollido, together with the DepEd
representatives, Contractor and School Heads inspected the newly
turned-over school building.
Prior to their inspection,
there are minor defects/deficiencies found that needs to be corrected
by the contractor. According to Engr. Bollido, contractor needs to
correct these defect deficiencies to fully collect the payment.
The two-storey, 6-classroom
school building projects in Higatangan National High School, Naval,
Biliran is under contact with RT Morabe Construction with a contract
cost of P8.2M. The Higatangan Island is only a few minutes ride by
small boat from Biliran’s capital town, Naval.
SMC don’t beat
around the bush!
By Philippine Movement for
February 13, 2017
QUEZON CITY – The
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), its member Nuclear
Free Bataan Movement (NFBM) and the people of Limay, Bataan told SMC
Global Power Holdings Corp. to stop avoiding the real issue and
refrain from misleading the people in what is actually happening in
Mr. Ramon Ang, President and
COO for San Miguel Corporation released a statement yesterday saying
that they are using the Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) technology
which makes their coal-fired power plant emits sulphur oxide, nitrogen
oxide carbon monoxide and particulate matter lower than the current
standard set by DENR and World Bank.
PMCJ maintains that while it
is possible for CFB technology to lessen the emissions, it seems that
the real issue of bottom ash is deliberately avoided. While it is true
that coal plant that uses CFB technology emits the above mentioned
emissions lower than the prevailing standards it does not address the
production of bottom ash.
The real issue behind is the
huge pile of bottom ash that the 140 MW coal plant of Petron dumps in
the designated temporary ash pond of San Miguel, the very same area
where the 300 MW coal plant own by San Miguel currently conducting its
test run dump their bottom ash. It is this huge accumulation of bottom
ash allegedly resulted to rise in respiratory related diseases and
skin diseases as well.
Coal plant which utilizes
CFB technology produces more coal ash than conventional ones, since it
add limestone to pulverize coal during combustion process. Both the
140 MW and the 300 MW employs the CFB technology hence resulted to a
huge pile up of bottom ash near the area where the community lives.
Hence we strongly call on
SMC to face the music and stop beating around the bush, the real
problem is your bottom ash and the question of the legality of your
ash pond, so long as it is not properly address the sufferings of the
people continues. And the only way to comprehensively address it is to
stop the operation of both coal plants since as long as they continue
to operate there will be accumulation of bottom ash.
Our demand is for the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to immediately
order a shut down the coal plants operation, indemnify the affected
community, suspend incompetent regional DENR officers and include both
coal plants as priority in the ECC audit to be conducted by the
Stakeholders Fellowship in Northern Samar
By DPAO, 8ID PA
February 9, 2017
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – In order to address and strengthen the aspirations of peace
and order in the region, your Army in Eastern Visayas together with
the Provincial Government of Northern Samar came up with a Provincial
Peace and Order Council Meeting and Stakeholders Fellowship with the
Local Chief Executives and Stakeholders of the whole province of
Northern Samar with Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio AFP, Commander 8th
Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division held at the Governor’s Residence,
Catarman, Northern Samar on February 8, 2017.
This activity also aims to
unite the Local Chief Executives and stakeholders in addressing the
poverty alleviation; peace and order update; and support the
government’s drive against illegal drugs and lawless violence in the
Present during the activity
were: Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio AFP, Commander 8ID; Brig. General
Mario G. Lacurom AFP, Commander 803rd Bde; PCSupt Elmer P Beltejar,
RD, PRO8; PSSupt Ceazar Zafiro L. Tannagan, PD NSPPO; Hon. Raul A.
Daza, Representative, 1st District; Hon. Jose L. Ong Jr, Governor of
Northern Samar; Hon. Gary M. Lavin, Vice Governor of Northern Samar;
Mr. Valente P. Bajet. DILG, Provincial Director; Atty. Efren J. Sabong,
Provincial Administrator; Hon. Don. L. Avalon, LCE San Jorge; Ms.
Imelda Bonifacio, Regional Area Manager, OPPAP; Head of Local
Government Agencies; 24 mayors of different municipalities of Nortnern
Samar; church leaders; media personalities and members of Provincial
Peace and Order Council of Northern Samar.
During the open forum, the
Local Chief Executives were urged to deliver the basic social services
needed especially to the far flung areas. Further, on the discussion
of the lifting of unilateral ceasefire, MGen Raul M Farnacio,
Commander 8th Infantry Division rest assured to the people of Eastern
Visayas that they will be highly protected by the military troops
against any atrocities that will be brought by the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Further, as per guidance by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to the NPA
members who would like to surrender to the fold of government, the AFP
will humbly welcome them and rest assured that they will receive
remuneration to start a new and better living. Hon. Jose L. Ong, the
Provincial Governor of Northern Samar stressed-out that it’s about
time to remove the root cause of poverty and to destroy the CPP-NPA
influence in their respective barangays. They must be united to end up
the insurgency and function as reliable public servants to the people.
MGen Farnacio also
highlighted the Armed Forces of the Philippines new campaign plan
dubbed as Development Support and Security Plan (DSSP) “Kapayapaan”.
This is the continuance of Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP)
“Bayanihan” that was terminated last year. This campaign will focus on
sustained military operations to defeat the foreign and local
terrorist organizations; contribute to the promotion of peace active
support to law enforcement in war against drugs; and contribute to
Gov’t to provide
transition period to end ‘5-6’ lending scheme
February 9, 2017
MAKATI CITY – In line
with government’s drive to reform the micro-financing system in the
country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently called
for an inter-agency meeting to work on the transition to allow illegal
foreign money lenders to legalize their resident status and register
with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) their lending
business. The transition period is needed to prevent undue harassment
of concerned lenders.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez
with SEC Chair Tess Herbosa and representatives from the Departments
of Justice and Foreign Affairs, Immigration Bureau, National
Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,
Philippine National Police, Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.) and
the Indian Chamber of Commerce, gathered to discuss legitimization of
lending businesses and initial steps to put a stop on the said lending
The total operation value of
the “5-6” lending system sums up to a total of P2.4 billion, with
30,000 operators across the country, according to the Indian Chamber
of Commerce Philippines. A transition period will be provided to
lending operators, giving them ample time to register their businesses
“After the prescribed
transition period, 5-6 scheme must stop and micro-businesses must
shift to P3 and other legal micro-financing facilities,” said Sec.
Lopez, referring to the government’s flagship micro-financing
initiative Pondo Para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso or P3, initiated by
President Rodrigo Duterte.
Launched in Tacloban,
Occidental Mindoro and Sarangani, the P1-billion micro-financing
program aims to provide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
with easy access to finance with no collateral and minimal interest,
through micro-financing institutions (MFIs) and cooperatives
accredited by DTI and the SB Corp.
“We should be seeking the
frontiers, these people who have not been reached by the MFIs are the
same people targeted by the ‘5-6’,” Sec. Lopez added.
A Technical Working Group (TWG)
on the matter will provide specific guidelines on the compliance and
registration of lending businesses.
Indian Chamber of Commerce
Philippines President Rex Daryanani expressed hope that term “5-6”
would eventually be eradicated and be replaced by the term
By DONNA C. DEBUTON
February 8, 2017
CALBAYOG CITY – Samar
First District Engineering Office has finally completed the
construction of San Agustin-Pagsanghan Road under the General
Appropriation Act (GAA) of 2016. The project includes the concreting
of 3,150 linear meters of road covering Brgy. San Agustin to
The construction of San
Agustin-Pagsanghan Road is one of the high impact projects of Samar I
having a contract amount of 50 million pesos under B. Vicencio
The Municipality of
Pagsanghan can be reached by a river boat or an intermittent concrete
road where gravel road are hardly passable at times during continuous
heavy rains. However with the completion of this project, residents
can travel from the municipality to Gandara and elsewhere anytime
The project provides a wide
range of benefits to the local citizens of said areas which includes a
significantly reduced time of travel and boosted economic activities.
Various types of vehicles can now pass along this road section not
only “habal-habal” and single motorcycles.
Corporation told: Don’t just defer, cancel the project!
By Philippine Movement for
February 8, 2017
QUEZON CITY – The
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) lauds the decision of
Phinma Energy Corporation to defer their planned 900 MW coal-fired
power plant in Sual, Pangasinan. However, the group advises Phinma to
totally cancel the project and, instead, invest in renewable energy
Yesterday, Phinma announced
that they are considering constructing the coal plant in the year 2023
to 2025 because right now, there are already a lot of coal plants
operating and being constructed in the country.
According to Mr. Ian Rivera,
National Coordinator of PMCJ, presently there are 25 existing and
operational coal-fired power plants all over the country including the
1,294 MW coal plant in Sual, Pangasinan. In addition, 35 coal plant
projects are in the pipeline aside from the planned 900 MW project of
“Phinma has to decide to
delist coal projects in their investments as this will turn out to be
a stranded asset as renewable energy (RE) becomes more viable.
Business-wise, investing in RE will yield far more returns because it
is now cheaper, safer and with no negative externalities. On the other
hand, coal is dirty and costly considering the harm and danger it
poses to people and environment as evidenced by what is happening now
in Limay, Bataan where host barangays are suffering from ill effects
of the bottom ash produced from the operation of two coal plants in
the area: the 140MW of Petron Refinery and the 300MW of San Miguel
Global Power Corporation which is currently running on a series of
tests”, Rivera added.
Recent news shows that a
significant population in the host barangays in Limay, mostly senior
citizens and children are experiencing respiratory-related health
problems and skin diseases. These problems were caused by ashes being
spewed during coal combustion of the said two coal plants.
calls on senate to probe AI report
By Office of Senator Chiz
February 7, 2017
PASAY CITY – Sen.
Chiz Escudero has filed a resolution pushing the Senate to investigate
the allegations of Amnesty International that killings related to the
government's war against illegal drugs were extrajudicial executions
carried out by gunmen hired by police officers to kill and plant
Escudero, former chair of
the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, filed Senate
Resolution No. 282 directing the appropriate Senate committee to probe
into the report by AI, saying it must not be simply set aside as it
raises serious allegations that can undermine the Philippines’
reputation as a democratic country that fundamentally recognizes and
upholds human rights.
“I found AI to be radical at
times if you look into our history. The filing of resolution is really
not meant to give AI a platform. It is to allow AI to prove their
allegations because by that report, they besmirched the reputation of
He also added that the
legislative inquiry would be an avenue to verify the accuracy of the
report and give the people and institutions involved an opportunity to
respond to the findings.
“It is not only a matter of
necessity but public accountability as well that AI substantiate and
present its evidence before the Senate for public scrutiny to confirm
the report’s veracity and to hold, or otherwise clear, the Philippine
government of any responsibility,” Escudero said.
“Sure or not, they already
besmirched the name of our country by saying that these violations are
committed by the state itself,” the senator said.
According to the report
released by the international human rights watchdog, “the police paid
killers on their payroll, and unknown armed individuals have slain
more than a thousand people a month under the guise of a national
campaign to eradicate drugs,” adding that the administration’s war on
drugs is actually a “war against the poor.”
AI also alleged the use of a
mere “watch list,” which contents are based on hearsay, community
rumor or rivalry, with little verification.
In their report, AI also
detailed the story of a police officer with the rank of Senior Police
Officer 1, who served in the PNP for a decade and is currently part of
the anti-illegal drugs unit in Metro Manila. According to the source,
the police paid per “encounter” – the term used to mask the
extrajudicial killings as legitimate operations conducted by the
authorities. The police officer claimed that the amount paid by the
police ranges from P8,000 to P15,000 per person, per encounter.
“The logic it presents is
that this money is coming from the government, that is a serious
allegation that would immediately connect the state to what is
happening outside the EJKs (extrajudicial killings) and that would
mean it is already state sponsored. That is a very serious allegation
and AI cannot simply make that allegation and say ‘sorry all of our
sources are confidential, we cannot reveal it.’”
Since the Duterte
administration came into power, the Philippine National Police has
conducted almost 41,000 drug-related operations from July 2016 to
According to AI, more than
7,000 people have been killed in the drug war, with the police
directly killing at least 2,500 alleged drug offenders.
cautioned the administration against giving too much power to the
police force and treating erring officers with kid gloves.
“The worst fear of many
people already happened. It went into the head of the policemen. Not
all, but some,” he said. “We want to see the PNP leadership pursue
with the same vigor as drug suspects the scalawags, misfits and erring
DTI chief to
entreps: go digital
Calls for digital
empowerment in PH
February 6, 2017
Newly-confirmed Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon
Lopez has called for digital empowerment in the Philippines to
continue fueling the development of the country’s digital commerce or
e-commerce, a key priority in the current trade agenda.
“I urge our micro, small,
and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to welcome digital integration,” said
Sec. Lopez, adding that now is the perfect timing to rally towards
digital empowerment as the Philippine economy experiences strong
macro-economic fundamentals, renewed investor confidence and good
During the recent office
opening of Google in Taguig, the trade chief said that “digital
integration is a great equalizer, as it allows MSMEs to gather product
ideas and concepts, do market tests and do promotions and selling at
practically no cost.”
He also said that MSMEs can
make use of programs in partnership with companies like Google, so
that the sector “can take advantage of opportunities that go with
With vast interest infused
in the demography of the Philippines as the world’s social media
capital and with 50 million Internet users, accounting for 50% of the
country’s total population today, the Philippines can be a model
country for digital empowerment, according to him.
“I hope that more effective
web services, improved search experience and effective advertising
platform will be delivered to all stakeholders. With Google officially
in the country, we can only expect production of meaningful local
contents,” he added.
Citing Statista, it is
projected that by 2021, 81% of the country’s population will be
Internet users. For the Southeast Asian region alone, the country has
the fastest growing Internet audience at 22% growth rate, according to
the 2014 Global Web Index, which also found Filipinos having the
highest total screen time spent in social networking globally at 3.2
Sec. Lopez also hoped that
digital companies can be more inclusive in its business operations and
assured that DTI will support initiatives that proactively promote
digital inclusion among Filipinos through digital literacy and digital
“I urge tech companies to
spearhead programs that will empower Filipino consumers with skills to
harness the benefits of technology to improve their quality of life,”
he said, adding that forging multi-stakeholder partnership among the
government, the civil society, the private sector and the academe is
an urgent need.
Google’s expansion in the
Philippines also means creation of more jobs for Filipinos, as country
manager Ken Lingan has promised to hire local talents. In addition,
with the population getting more connected and easily more engaged, an
ecosystem of startups can have more strategic venue, in view of
Google’s commitment to grow small businesses online.
climate advocates laud DENR closure of mining operations, call for
continuous action against destructive large-scale mining industry
February 3, 2017
QUEZON CITY –
Environment and climate advocates, as well as members of grassroot
communities, lauded the Department of Environment and Natural
Resource's (DENR) closure of 23 mining operations situated in
functional watersheds and suspension of 5 mining firms, as of Tuesday,
January 31, 2017.
"This action by the
government has finally brought into the forefront the long history of
suffering inflicted by the country's large-scale mining industry on
our environment and our mining-affected communities," said Concerned
Citizens of Sta. Cruz (CCOS) Chairman Dr. Benito Molino.
Molino referred to DENR
Secretary Gina Lopez's findings on the grave environmental degradation
and disruption of community lives that have been occurring in the
mining capital regions of the country.
"The campaign that calls for
holding accountable destructive mining firms and for the halt of these
recently closed mining operations has been left unheeded for years
until now," said Molino.
"It takes bold and concrete
actions to put an immediate stop to the environmental degradation and
community life destruction that have long been the mark of large-scale
mining industries in this country. The DENR amply stepped up to this
challenge with its closure of a number of mining operations,"
Atty. Aaron Pedrosa hoped that this paves the way for more empowered
communities in their fight to reclaim their home and their proper way
of life from destructions caused by the large-scale mining industry.
In lauding the DENR closure
of a number of mining operations, Pedrosa expressed the need for
continuous action, both by the state and its citizens, against
possible retaliatory measures to be undertaken by huge mining
"Stronger safeguards need to
be installed in our institutions to truly break away from the current
state of affairs of our environment where only a handful from the
mining industry dominate in extracting and benefitting from the
country's natural resources," stated Pedrosa.
In concurring with the
observance of Secretary Lopez during the DENR mining audits, Center
for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) National Convenor Gerry
Arances noted that farmers and fishers from mining-affected
communities are often stripped of their health and their livelihood
due to the disruptive presence of mining operations in affected areas.
According to Arances,
compunded with statements from Molino, in Sta. Cruz, Zambales alone,
the visible environmental impacts of mining operations by BenguetCorp
Nickel Mines Incorporated, Eramen Minerals Incorporated, LNL
Archipelago Minerals Incorporated, and Zambales Diversified Metals
Corporation, included air pollution, biodiversity loss, floods, food
insecurity, loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, soil
contamination and erosion, waste overflow, deforestation and loss of
vegetation cover, and surface water pollution.
"It is high time that we
realize and act on the fact that we put so much burden on our
environment and our fellow Filipinos in mining-affected areas for the
sake of accommodating a large-scale mining industry that empties and
irreversibly damages our resources without having ever contributed to
our economic growth as a country," said Arances.
Arances noted how the
country's current legal framework on mining allows the entry and the
long-term and large-scale destruction by mining corporations of
communities and ecosystems in exchange for few and insignificant
portions of the revenue gained by these corporations.
profit-driven mining industries have long gotten away with encroaching
upon and fully exhausting natural resources that are meant for the use
and proliferation of our present and future communities," concurred
"In order to instigate a
full stop to the destruction caused by mining operations, we have to
shift our way of appropriating our natural resources and make it fully
attuned to the needs of our own communities rather than that of
corporations," said Molino.
Pedrosa cited The Philippine
Mining Act of 1995, the current law governing mining activities, as
one of the major impediments to a truly pro-people and pro-environment
national utilization of land resources.
"A law that allows mining
corporations to own 100% of mineral ores and land covered in claimed
mining areas has no place in our genuine pursuit of reclaiming our
natural resources for our people," said Pedrosa.
CCOS, Sanlakas, and CEED
have long supported the passage of bills like the Alternative Minerals
Management Bill (AMMB), a bill that champions the adoption of a
sustainable, rational, needs-based minerals management, geared towards
effective utilization of mineral resources for the goal of attaining
an ecologically-sound national and modernized agriculture.
"The closure by the DENR of
major mining operations is a step forward to relinquishing the hold of
corporations over this country's natural resources," said Pedrosa.
"To make this move more
meaningful, however, we have to continue creating more avenues, formal
or otherwise, for our communities to assert their rights over the
utilization and management of their resources and the environment in
which they live," concluded Molino.
secretary Mel Sarmiento mentors Mayor Richard Gomez
By MYLES JOSEPH E. COLASITO
February 2, 2017
TACLOBAN CITY –
Former DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, an award-winning former
mayor of Calbayog City, had a productive mentoring session with Ormoc
City Mayor Richard Gomez last January 31, 2017 at the DILG-8 Regional
Office in Tacloban City.
The conference was
facilitated by DILG Local Government Academy (LGA) and DILG-8 under
the Mentoring for Optimal Leadership and Development for Newly Elected
Officials (MOLD the NEOs) program. The mentoring relationship is bound
by a contract by the two parties with DILG and LGA, which aligns the
mentor and NEO’s expectations and guides them throughout their
mentoring time together.
According to Mayor Gomez, he
is thankful to DILG for this program is a good tool to validate how
his administration is performing. Among the topics the two discussed
in this session was long-term planning, resource mobilization, peace
and order and the environment.
Mayor Gomez seeks to pursue
initiatives they started in 2016 that involved crafting new ordinances
as part of a road map to make Ormoc a liveable, business friendly,
competitive and peaceful city.
Former Secretary Sarmiento
belongs to a pool of recognized experts in local governance tapped by
LGA to guide new mayors. He also mentors Maasin City, Southern Leyte
Mayor Nacional Mercado and Dulag, Leyte Mayor Mildred Que, with
possibly more to follow.
Sarmiento helped design MOLD
the NEOs process with LGA Executive Director Marivel Sacendoncillo
(also concurrent DILG-8 OIC-Regional Director) when he was still DILG
secretary. After his term ended, he was asked to help guide the new
mayors due to his wide experience as a Galing Pook winner and
congressman, among others.
MOLD the NEOs was crafted
with the realization that local officials are more receptive to advice
from their peers who have the credibility and experience in resolving
Under MOLD the NEO, both
parties shall agree on the objectives, types of knowledge and skills
to be imparted, duration, basis, regularity, communication and their
forms of interaction, making the relationship dynamic.
Chiz seeks senate
probe into AI allegations
By Office of Senator Escudero
February 2, 2017
PASAY CITY – Sen.
Francis “Chiz” Escudero wants the Senate to look into the report
released by Amnesty International (AI) alleging that Philippine
National Police (PNP) officers have paid individuals to kill thousands
of drug offenders in the country.
Escudero told a press
conference on Thursday that he would file a resolution next week for
the Senate to investigate into what he described as serious
allegations by the international human rights watchdog.
In the report, Amnesty
International claimed that the police had “systematically targeted
mostly poor and defenseless people across the country while planting
‘evidence’ recruiting paid killers, stealing from the people they kill
and fabricating official incident reports.”
“Ito’y seryosong alegasyon
na galing pa sa isang international body na marapat at dapat alamin,
hindi lamang nating lahat, pero pati na rin makita kung may basehan
nga ba o wala kaya dumudungis ito sa imahe ng bansa sa daigdig,”
The veteran lawmaker said he
also wanted Amnesty International to explain their findings and
present their sources at the legislative inquiry.
According to Escudero, who
once chaired the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, he was
alarmed by the claim that hired killers were being engaged by the
police force to help in the war against drugs of the government.
The Senate investigation, he
added, will give the PNP a chance to convey their side of the story.
“Yung basehan ng AI sa kanilang report nais naming ipaliwanag nila, at
pangalawa yung mga pulis na na-mention, at kung sinumang nais maglabas
ng ebidensiya kaugnay nito. Dalawa ang pakay naming dito: Una,
mapatunayan kung totoo nga ba yung alegasyon ng AI, at pangalawa,
mabigyan din naman ng pagkakataon ang PNP na harapin ang AI,
magpaliwanag sa harap ng publiko at ibigay ang panig nila sa publiko
at sa AI,” the senator said.
Furthermore, Escudero assured procedural safeguards for sources of AI
and all the other witnesses who will be invited to the Senate probe.
“We can always call for an executive session in order to hear the
testimony of witnesses. Nagawa na namin yan noon at napatunayan naman
ng Senado na hindi namin nilalabas anumang pinag-usapan sa executive
session maliban na lamang kung pagbotohan ito ng mayorya ng mga
senador kung ganyan ka-sensitibo. Nakahanda naman ang Senado na
tumanggap ng mga ika nga mga sekretong testigo para mapangalagaan ang
kanilang seguridad,” Escudero said.
micro-financing fund launched in Tacloban. As part of
Administration’s commitment to provide affordable
micro-financing program for the micro, small and medium
enterprises (MSMEs), President Rodrigo Duterte (middle right),
along with Department of Trade and Industry Secretary (DTI)
Ramon Lopez (middle left), Housing and Urban Development
Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Secretary Jun Evasco (leftmost),
and Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez (right) led the ceremonial
launching of the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) on
January 25 in Tacloban.
Pondo sa Pagbabago
at Pag-asenso launched in Tacloban, Mindoro, Sarangani
February 1, 2016
MAKATI CITY – The
Department of Trade Industry (DTI) formally launched the Pondo sa
Pagbabago at Pag-asenso Program or P3, a micro financing program
intended for small entrepreneurs, in Tacloban City in Leyte on January
25; San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on January 27; and Alabel, Sarangani
Province on January 31, to help eradicate poverty, and promote
business and employment among Filipinos.
Following President Rodrigo
Duterte’s directive to replace the “5-6” money lending system and
provide an affordable micro-financing for the country’s micro, small
and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the P3 funding program provides
microenterprises an alternative source of financing that is easy to
access and made available at a reasonable cost.
“The P3 program is one way
of helping the underprivileged by giving better chances to elevate
from poverty. Aside from the fund, the DTI thru the Negosyo Centers
will assist the MSMEs with programs suitable to their needs such as
access to market, access to financing, and mentorship,” DTI Secretary
Ramon M. Lopez said.
The identified areas are
considered among the 30 poorest provinces poorest in the country.
A total of 92 micro
borrowers where initially identified to receive loan grants ranging
from P5,000.00 to P100,000.00.
Sec. Lopez also reiterated
the administration’s desire to provide livelihood to those who are at
the bottom of the pyramid.
“Why micro entrepreneurs?
The desire and mandate of our president is to help those who do not
have much. If they fail to be employed, we help them to start a small
business,” he said.
The primary beneficiaries of
the P3 Program are microenterprises and entrepreneurs that do not have
easy access to credit or accessing credit at a very high interest
cost. These include market vendors, agri-businessmen and members of
cooperatives, industry associations and co-operators.
The Small Business
Corporation, an attached agency DTI shall administer the P3 Program.
Aside from creating a Program Management Office to oversee the
management and monitoring of the P3 Fund, SB Corporation will make use
of its lending network and the DTI Negosyo Centers in reaching out to
Loan amounts to
end-borrowers will be in the range of P5,000 to P100,000, at a maximum
interest rate of 2.5% per month, with no collateral requirement.
Catwalking on water
in haute couture
Jessica Minh Anh stunningly
opened 2017 with her iconic Seine river's floating runway
January 27, 2017
PARIS – An innovative
catwalk concept was created 5 years ago when a young model and
entrepreneur decided to transform Seine River’s giant glass boat, Le
Jean Bruel, into a 100-metre floating runway. Yesterday, the world
witnessed the 5th outstanding installation of Jessica Minh Anh's
infamous river catwalk as J Winter Fashion Show 2017 premiered 5
exquisite haute couture collections from various continents. Having
added many international successes into her impressive portfolio,
including the Eiffel Tower and Grand Canyon Skywalk’s phenomena, the
multi-talented catwalk producer has maintained her magic on Paris’
With an extraordinary
vision, Jessica Minh Anh created an illusion of models walking on
water by having guests seated facing the multifaceted glass windows
and watch models walking in front of them while the boat was cruising.
As a result, architectural wonders such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre
Dame, Louvre, and the 37 bridges became the natural backdrop for the
The fashion collections
The breath-taking opening
saw Jessica Minh Anh appeared in a Princess Diana inspired haute
couture dress made of white lace with a classic high neck, big
shoulders, and a 2-metre long trail. Following the flawless beauty is
a stunning model lineup in black, gold and white intricate designs
with an emphasis on mermaid silhouettes. The “Retromantic” collection
is a masterpiece of Indonesian talent Fetty Rusli, who brought class
and elegance to Jessica Minh Anh’s theatrical catwalk.
Next, Malaysian fashion
house Emmanuel Haute Couture unveiled 15 looks full of embroideries,
transparency, layers, and floral ornamentation. A master at hourglass
silhouettes, Samantha Chua’s exceptional designs portrayed a new level
of charm, seduction, and opulence. The couturier successfully mixed
handmade beadwork and extravagant embellishments with floor-length
silky softness in classic black and red.
With a modern take on
classic silhouettes, American designer Johanna DiNardo premiered a
distinctive collection influenced by the beauty of the Seine and
Paris. The alluring looks included pleated brocade skirts, water-like
sleeve drapery, bias-cut panné velvet, and contoured metallic lace
veils, edged in Swarovski crystals. Focusing on precision, handcraft,
and detailed tailoring, Johanna’s collection exuded powerful
Adding femininity and
glamour to the grand catwalk, Maria Ruth Fernanda from Jarkata
presented a timeless haute couture collection which revealed
meticulous fabric manipulation and advanced embellishment techniques.
Using colour pallets such as deep red, royal blue, gold, and earthy
beige on tulles, jacquard, silk, and taffeta, her designs perfectly
accentuated a women’s body.
Closing the show with modern
luxury and a bold statement, Filipino representative Sari Lazaro
introduced her “Royal secret garden” collection, which celebrated
impeccable craftsmanship, beadwork, and embroidery techniques.
Marrying dramatic laser cut details on luxurious silks and soft
flowing tulles and laces, the designer stirred up romance, mystique,
and new age flairs. Saving the best for last, the finale design worn
by Jessica Minh Anh was every inch portraying modernised royalty. With
a special 3-dimension skirt, the striking couture dress highlighted
Jessica Minh Anh’s perfect waistline while enhancing her charismatic
and powerful presence. The collection triumphed the Far East’s
captivating and enchanting fashion, which has been penetrating and
harmonising with the Western world.
The beauty looks
To compliment Jessica Minh
Anh’s extraordinary vision, American luxury cosmetics and skincare
brand Elizabeth Arden joined force with UK’s salon ESHK to create an
exclusive modern chic beauty look. The catwalk models appeared radiant
with flawless and youthful skin, strong contours and highlights, and
sophisticated one-side braided low bun hairstyle. The creative team
accentuated Jessica Minh Anh's exotic beauty with Elizabeth Arden’s
brand new eye-popping red lipstick and a custom-made architectural
hair structure mimicking a futuristic flower. Jessica Minh Anh is
known for her signature stand-out look, previously seen wearing
artistically made Eiffel Tower, Burj Al Arab, Sydney Harbour Bridge,
and One World Trade Center hair pieces.
Getting over the flooded 2016
The great success of J
Winter Fashion Show 2017 was even more rewarding and well received
considering Jessica Minh Anh’s 2016 river catwalk was affected by a
heavy flood on the Seine. “We informed her 3 days before the show that
she had to move it to a week later, and again 3 hours in advance on
the new date that the boat would not move. She was calm, positive and
very decisive. She impressed us all.” said Marco Goncalvez, Director
of Operations, Bateaux Mouches. The model had the boat positioned at
the angle where the Eiffel Tower was the most visible, and went on to
produce one of the best catwalks to date. It was not the first time
Jessica Minh Anh was proved an effective problem solver, as she also
saved her epic catwalk at Gemasolar power plant the year before after
an unexpected and destructive storm. As Madame Figaro stated “With
Jessica Minh Anh, nothing is impossible”
J Winter Fashion Show was
supported by Montblanc, Elizabeth Arden, ESHK UK, Bateaux Mouches, DOT
Laser UK, ProPress UK, and Belmont Hotel Paris. The high profile event
included a VIP red carpet entrance, the iconic runway, and the VIP
party with drinks, canapés, and live music on board Le Jean Bruel. The
flawless production marked a new era in Jessica Minh Anh’s fashion
world domination, as she increases her number of shows per year to 4.
We shall wait with excitement for her next catwalk announcement,
expected in April 2017.
The Vietnamese born, Russian
raised, and Paris-based fashion model and catwalk producer gained her
formal education in IT in Malaysia and PR in the United Kingdom before
transforming London’s Tower Bridge into the world’s newest catwalk.
Besides her mind-blowing productions at iconic monuments including the
Eiffel Tower, PETRONAS Twin Towers’ Sky Bridge, Grand Canyon Skywalk,
One World Trade Center, and Gardens by the Bay’s Skyway, Jessica Minh
Anh is known for her “catwalks on water” on the Hudson river and Seine
river, as well as her “sky-high ocean catwalks” on the sun deck of
international cruise ships in Sydney, New York, and Dubai. Jessica
Minh Anh’s most visually attractive project, besides the Grand Canyon
Skywalk, is her runway in the middle of a solar power plant in Spain
as she added technology into her long list of catwalk elements.
opens new home
Announces grant for digital literacy program for one million Filipinos
January 26, 2017
MAKATI CITY – Google
Philippines is supporting the growth of digital economy in the country
with a Google.org grant to Digibayanihan, a nationwide digital
literacy program that promotes digital inclusion among Filipinos.
This was announced on
Thursday when Google Philippines opened its new home, four years after
it launched its first office in the country in 2013. The support from
Google is expected to extend Digibayanihan’s program to one million
Filipinos in Visayas and Mindanao.
Google.org is the charitable
arm of Google that supports and champions people and projects that are
combatting the biggest human challenges of the 21st century. One of
its key focus areas has been the improvement of education,
particularly ICT enabled literacy.
“This step is part of our
continuing effort to create a stronger, more inclusive digital economy
in the Philippines. While our internet penetration has improved the
last five years, 2 out of 5 Filipinos are still missing out on the
huge opportunities that come with being online. We want to empower
them with digital know-how so that they can make the most of the
Internet,” said Ken Lingan, Google Philippines country manager.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez
who was guest of honor at the launch said, “With the population
getting more connected and engaged every day, it is necessary for
individuals, businesses, and communities to have the right skills to
thrive in today’s modern economy. That’s why we welcome Google’s
commitment to promote digital inclusion and empower every Filipino
online, and in effect, drive the country’s economy forward.”
Google also highlighted the
importance of developers in the digital economy of the country with
the launch of the Launchpad Accelerator program in the Philippines.
The program provides equity-free support to help start-ups scale into
Citing the recent Google-commissioned
report by Temasek, Google said that the Philippines’ online market
value is set to reach US$19 billion by 2025, making e-commerce a major
economic driver in the next 10 years. “Our local developers and
start-ups are instrumental in creating impactful businesses that are
tackling tough local and global issues. We see the importance of their
role in what will be a booming e-commerce in our country in the very
near future because what they do have direct impact in people’s
lives,” Ken said.
start-up Zipmatch, which uses 360° technology to differentiate itself,
is the first Filipino participant in Google’s accelerator program.
Secretary Lopez recognized the program as a potential boost in the
e-commerce industry, and encouraged micro, small, and medium
enterprises (MSMEs) to take advantage of the digital space and digital
training provided by Google and DTI agencies nationwide.
“SMEs still account for more
than 90% of our enterprises, and Filipinos rely heavily on them for
goods and services. I think it is just right for the SMEs to embrace
digital integration now and make use of programs like what we provide
working with tech companies like Google so they can take advantage of
opportunities that go with going digital,” Sec Lopez added.
DTI bares year-long
plans as chair of ASEAN’s business and investment promotion committee
January 24, 2017
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez revealed
year-long plans that aim to complement and heighten the impact of the
country’s strategic priorities and deliverables for the ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC), following DTI’s chairmanship of the ASEAN Economic
Ministers (AEM) meeting and the ASEAN’s Committee on Business and
Investment Promotion (CBIP).
Speaking at the formal
launch of the ASEAN 2017 Business and Investment Program on 24
January, Sec. Lopez expressed confidence on ASEAN as an economic
powerhouse, citing that the region is now the third largest market in
the world with over 620 million people, the third largest economy in
Asia, and the seventh largest economy in the world with a combined
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.3 trillion dollars.
He also called on maximizing
the opportunities and benefits from the AEC, and reiterated the four
pillars of AEC as landscape for the dialogue with ASEAN partners in
realizing the ASEAN 2025, starting with the 23rd AEM Retreat.
AEC’s four pillars are the
establishment of a single market and production base, a highly
competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic
development, and a region fully integrated into global economy.
This will solidify our
priorities for the 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), the 49th AEM
Meeting and the Leaders’ Summit, to be chaired by President Rodrigo
Duterte, according to him.
“As we host the ASEAN 2017
Summit, the Philippines is one with the ASEAN in increasing trade and
investments in the region; in integrating micro, small, and medium
enterprises (MSMEs) in the digital economy for greater access to trade
information, global market and value chain, and finance, promoting
youth and women entrepreneurship; and in increasing cooperation within
the region and connectivity to the rest of the world,” Sec. Lopez
The trade chief said that
coinciding with the Leaders’ Summit in April is the holding of an
ASEAN MSMEs-Mentors Conference, bringing together ASEAN mentors who
can equip ASEAN local community enablers with the necessary
information on access to capital, markets, ASEAN industries and
An ASEAN Creative Cities
Forum and Exhibit will also be held, showcasing initiatives of 10
ASEAN Member States (AMS) in making culture and creativity a driving
force for sustainable development and urban regeneration, according to
“Taste ASEAN as the
Philippines holds International Food Exposition (IFEX) in May. IFEX
will showcase the best food brands from Southeast Asia and its partner
countries,” he said, adding that DTI’s aim is to increase ASEAN SME
participation in the global production and value chains, through
participation of 10 AMS and ASEAN Dialogue Partners (DPs) in the
country's biggest international trade exhibition on food and
Aside from these, an ASEAN
Women’s Business Conference in August will be held to provide
strategic dialogue among ASEAN, the private sector and DPs in
addressing issues and concerns on women entrepreneurship, focusing on
market access and finance and the identification of innovative
business models which supports the ASEAN’s vision of a stronger, more
inclusive, and integrated economic community.
In September, Sec. Lopez
said that an Inclusive Business Summit, emphasizing the role of the
government in sharing best practices on implementing inclusive
business strategies and in recognizing exemplary inclusive business
models through the ASEAN Inclusive Business Awards.
Meanwhile, the 2nd ASEAN
Young Entrepreneurs Carnival will strengthen the network among young
entrepreneurs from ASEAN and other countries capturing the fast-paced
developments on key sectors such as food, agriculture, information
technology, logistics, business process outsourcing, start-ups, and
Internet of Things (IOT). Through the formal launch of ASEAN Young
Entrepreneurs Association (AYEA) Charter, Sec. Lopez hoped to commit
young entrepreneur towards strengthened ties, cooperation and
In October, driven by the
goal to promote innovation across the ASEAN region, DTI will spearhead
the annual Slingshot event, helping create a regional network of ASEAN
ecosystem players including startups, investors, incubators, mentors,
academe, co-working spaces, and industry experts.
“It shall showcase
investment-ready startups for potential local and international
investors as well as facilitate easy access of information between
governments running start-up development programs in the region,” he
Before the year closes,
another MSME Summit will be held, featuring inspiring MSMEs including
those that have benefited from the mentoring program of the
Philippines and other AMS. The Summit, which is in conjunction with
the concluding ASEAN Leader’s Summit, will be an occasion to formally
introduce the establishment of the ASEAN Mentors Network, an
organization of mentors from AMS.
“We shall work hand-in-hand
in creating paths that will lead our people and our communities
towards a truly inclusive, innovation-led shared prosperity,” Sec.
Claims Board agrees
to Selda demand for early distribution of reparation and speed up
processing of applications
January 22, 2017
QUEZON CITY – The
Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) agreed to the demand made by
SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) and human
rights victims to start distributing the reparation and speed up the
processing of claims of martial law victims during a meeting with
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte on January 19 in Malacanang.
SELDA sought Pres. Duterte’s
intervention to expedite the process of recognition and
indemnification of thousands of victims who toppled the Marcos
dictatorship in 1986. Leaders and officials of SELDA met with the
President for the first time on Jan. 17 at the Palace. They told the
President that despite the passage of the reparation law four years
ago the victims, many of whom are old and ailing, have yet to receive
recognition and compensation. Worse, the Board has processed only
30,000 applications, not even half of the total 75,000 applications.
“This snail-paced system
that has been the practice of the Claims Board for the last three
years which could remain unfinished until the sunset year of the
Board’s tenure in 2018 is victimizing the already-victimized victim,”
commented Marie Hilao-Enriquez SELDA Chair who attended the said
Pres. Duterte agreed that
indeed the processing is to slow and summoned the Board to speed up
the processing and distribution of the compensation funds for the
At the January 19 dialogue
called by President Duterte between the HRVCB and SELDA, human rights
victims scored a victory when the HRVCB agreed to expedite the
reparation and recognition of Martial Law human rights victims.
The HRVCB will partially
award in advance the indemnification of the already approved
applicants of human rights violations victim claimants numbering in
thousands as of January 18, 2017. It is also agreed that the partial
indemnification shall be done within a sixty days period.
Consequently, non-monetary reparation will also be made available for
the victims who seek assistance from Department of Health (DOH),
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and TESDA.
“Though the victory is
incomplete and partial, it gives hope to the victims who are already
old and ailing. SELDA will continue to press for the speedy processing
of the remaining forty-five thousands applicants so that justice and
indemnification to the victims will be rendered”, said Enriquez.
Also, SELDA assures to help
the HRVCB in the processing of the partial payment and other
requirements that entail coordination.
SELDA expressed deep concern
on the high fall rate of invalid applicants out of the initially
processed 30,000 of which only 9,000 were approved. Likewise, it will
also look in to the validity of the Claims Board statement that only
3,000 Hawaii claimants had applied for reparation and recognition out
of the original 9,539 class action suit members. It must be recalled
that the Hawaii Claimants were accorded conclusive-presumption
according to the law (RA 10368).
Justice must be served to
all Martial Law victims who were recognized by law when the Republic
Act 10368 was signed and approved into law in February 2013. However,
the Human Rights Victims Claims Board(HRVCB), takes a slow pace in
processing the 75,730 applicants since it was created in 2014.
No less than the President
Duterte himself, during the January 17 dialogue with SELDA officials
and leaders stated that the slow paced reparation process and
recognition is a violation of the law itself and an injustice to the
thousands of victims of Marcos martial law. He also promised to
expedite the process.
Likewise, President Duterte
and SELDA agreed that there should be an immediate and advance
reparation for the already approved claimants.
During the last dialogue,
the HRVCB agreed to write the Commission on Audit (COA) to seek for an
exemption on the publication of the accredited claimants to hasten the
advance and partial compensation. According to the law, it is required
that only after processing all the total claimants and its approved
list in order that the awarding of monetary and non-monetary
compensation could commence, there should be publications of
accredited lists of claimants in three consecutive weeks on broadsheet
At present, the Claims Board
had already spent P136.17 M for its operations from the P10 B allotted
fund for reparation. It has fifteen (15) remaining months to complete
its tasks and implement the law.
SELDA shall also look into
the matter of Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission
which is according to the law should be created which until now is
never implemented. The law also stipulates the “The lessons learned
from Martial Law atrocities and the lives and sacrifices of HRVVs
shall be included in the basic and higher education curricula, as well
as in continuing adult learning, prioritizing those most prone to
commit human rights violations (n, 27)." SELDA is looking forward to
the day that all victims of Martial Law by a dictator, plunderer and
human rights violator Ferdinand Marcos will be recognized and given
Army chief visits
By DPAO, 8ID PA
January 20, 2016
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – The Army’s highest ranking officer together with his staff
has officially visited the home of the 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers)
Division, Philippine Army on January 18, 2017.
A full military honor was
accorded to Lieut. Gen. Glorioso V. Miranda AFP, Commanding General of
the Philippine Army upon his arrival at the Openiano Field and was
warmly welcomed by Brig. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio AFP, Commander, 8ID,
together with the officers, enlisted personnel and civilian employees
of this Command.
This was his first visit to
8ID which boosted the morale of the troops to pursue development
support to foster the foundation for inclusive and human development
in Eastern Visayas.
“The strength of the
Philippine Army rests on each and every one of us. My function as your
Commanding General, or the function of your Division Commander, your
Assistant Division Commander or your Battalion Commander is no more
important than the function of an individual soldier out there in the
squad. Every component of the organization has a vital role in
accomplishing the mission. Strength is being defined the way we work
together, the way we synchronize our effort, the way we harmonize our
skills. Let’s help together to win the peace and prosperity in our
country.” Lieut. Gen. Miranda added.
ALU lauds Duterte
for approval of SSS pension hike; urges SSS to cut fat bonuses to
Associated Labor Unions
January 10, 2017
QUEZON CITY – Labor
group Associated Labor Unions (ALU) lauded President Rodrigo Duterte
for approving the other day a one thousand peso increase of pension
for 2.3 million pensioners of Social Security System (SSS).
“We thank President Duterte
for listening to the needs of pensioners. We welcome this as it is an
answer to the promise he made to pensioners during the campaign. It
will help pensioners to cope with some but not all of the burdens
caused by rising prices of basic commodities and cost of services,”
ALU spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.
However, the ALU argued that
the government should have fixed the system first and institute
reforms within SSS before requiring new contributions from 14 million
paying members out of the 34 million registered members.
Tanjusay said they urge SSS
management to institute reforms within the system by trimming down
excessive bonuses and introduce reasonable perks to all its top
executives, improve its collection efficiency by pinning down
non-remitting employers, stop corruption within and act on 7,000
delinquent employers now pending in the courts.
“There would be significant
improvement in the life fund of SSS if these reforms are enforced.
Resorting to quick fix and the path of least resistance raises doubts
about ability of SSS commissioners ability to trim corporate fat. We
suggest that President Duterte to direct the SSS open their books and
consult with workers since its workers money that the SSS is doing
placements on,” Tanjusay said.
He said the workers’ daily
wage purchasing power is reduced by at least 30% in the face of prices
of basic commodities and cost of services. There are also impending
bigtime increases in the cost of electricity and water utilities.
iManage for document and email management
Leading Philippines law firm
experiences streamlined workflow and greater efficiency with iManage
work product management
January 9, 2017
CHICAGO, IL - iManage
today announced that the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law
Office (ACCRALAW), a top tier Philippines-based firm servicing local
and international clientele, has chosen iManage Work for document and
email management. Since its establishment in 1972, ACCRALAW has grown
into a celebrated and multi-awarded service organization with over 140
lawyers today. True to its vision of "setting the pace in excellence
in the practice of law," ACCRALAW has pioneered the use of technology
in the legal profession.
"The delivery of legal
services should leverage technology. We believe in taking advantage of
the latest technology not only to improve the efficiency of rendering
legal services but also to reduce cost for the benefit of our clients
and to ensure our lawyers have a more conducive environment within
which to work," said Atty. Leland Villadolid Jr., litigation senior
partner with primary field of practice in Telecommunications and IT
and Head of the Firm's MIS Department. "The Firm recognizes the
advantages of today's technological advancements. Technology is used
exhaustively in ACCRALAW to improve the skills of its lawyers and to
render the best legal services to clients at a managed cost. In
iManage, ACCRALAW has deployed a sophisticated Work Product Management
system that encompasses document management, email management,
knowledge management, analytics, process automation and more."
In the first few months of
going live with iManage Work, ACCRALAW has already experienced
significant benefits. iManage Work integrates seamlessly with
ACCRALAW's existing practice management system, so that when a new
matter is created, a workspace is automatically generated in iManage
Work, without the need of manual intervention. Within minutes, users
can start saving and publishing documents to this centralized
repository, allowing anyone connected to the matter to search, access,
and view the related files -- saving valuable time and enabling more
iManage Work has been rolled
out across all of the Firm's practice departments. As a result, the
Firm can better carry out work on behalf of its clients in areas
ranging from Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Corporate and Special
Projects and Intellectual Property, to Labor, Tax and other
Before deciding on a Work
Product Management system, ACCRALAW exercised due diligence by
visiting several legal firms in neighboring Malaysia that were iManage
customers, to hear their opinions first-hand. "We talked to our peer
firms about iManage, and the feedback we got was very positive," said
Atty. Emerico O. De Guzman, the Firm's Managing Partner. "As we got
deeper into the evaluation process, we saw for ourselves what iManage
Work could do and the way it could make our professionals more
iManage partner Business
Network Solutions (BNS) – headquartered in Malaysia, and serving
Southeast Asia – assisted ACCRALAW with their implementation of
iManage Work. The entire process – from information gathering, to
go-live date -- was completed in approximately four months.
"Forward-looking firms like
ACCRALAW pay attention to what other firms are using to help their
busy professionals get work done more effectively," said Dan Carmel,
iManage chief marketing officer. "With iManage Work, ACCRALAW is now
using tools designed for the modern workforce to improve productivity,
make better decisions, and work smarter."
Construction of Slope Protection along Naval-Caibiran Cross
Country Road (NCCR). The project is under contract with Chu
Construction with a contract cost of P41,600,000.00. The above
road section is prone to flooding hence drainage structure was
included in the Slope Protection project. Other than the slope
protection structure and drainage, concrete paving is also
included in the project. The completed project will provide a
structure that will prevent further landslide along this road
section and contain run-of water during rainy days to prevent
future damage to existing paved National Road.
ending the year with 91.84% accomplishment of 2016 infra projects
By CHELSEA C. QUIJANO
January 9, 2017
NAVAL, Biliran – The
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Biliran District
Engineering Office (BDEO) ends the year with high accomplishment
posting 91.84% surpassing the 85% district target set by the DPWH
Biliran DEO has been
allotted P683.745M under FY2016 DPWH Infrastructure Program with 66
David P. Adongay Jr.,
District Engineer revealed that out of the 66 lined-up projects,
Biliran DEO completed 62 projects, with four remaining projects
on-going under the Regular Infrastructure Program.
Adongay previously reported
that these remaining projects encountered delay due to inclement
weather condition in the Province of Biliran that hinders the
contractors to smoothly perform their operation, and other problems
such as the acquisition of Road-Right-of-Way (ROW).
These projects are the P45M
Construction of Slope Protection along Biliran Circumferential Road (BCR);
P45M Construction of Biliran Diversion Road including Slope Protection
and ROW; P8.7M Replacement of Banlas Bridge along Maripipi
Circumferential Road; and the P5M Repair of Biliran Bridge along Leyte-
Adongay said that those
remaining projects will be spilled over on the 1st quarter of 2017.
“We need to fast-track on
our implementation of projects pero hindi ibig sabihin na pag’ inii-speed
natin yung ating implementation ay mawawala na yung quality, speed and
quality of projects should go together," Adongay reminded during the
last day of work on December 29, 2016 during the flag retreat.
Adongay was recently awarded
as Best District Engineer at DPWH Regional Office Baras, Palo Leyte on
Dec. 21, 2016 for his invaluable support and high degree of commitment
in all the undertakings of the Regional Office and for consistently
rendering his superior performance in the attainment of the
Department’s Mission, Vision and Strategic Objectives.
Moreover, Biliran DEO ends
the year garnering the awards as Best in Planning and Design Section (PDS),
Best in Financial Management Section (FMS) and Overall Best District
Engineering Office out of 13 District Offices in Region VIII.
Bayan to AFP:
Disclose contents of new Oplan
January 9, 2017
QUEZON CITY – The AFP
and DND should disclose the actual contents of its new campaign plan,
Development Support and Security Plan Kapayapaan, that was launched
last week at a top level command conference.
If it is a sequel to Oplan
Bayanihan, claiming to put primacy on the peace negotiations and
so-called non-combat "development" work, but continuing the
militarization of communities, then it is not new nor will it succeed.
Will DSSP Kapayapaan cause
the pullout of troops from Lumad and other occupied areas? Will this
cause the suspension of military operations masquerading as
non-combat, development operations in civilian communities? Will this
end the "IP-centric" approach adopted by Oplan Bayanihan that has
resulted in human rights violations in indigenous communities? Will
this make the AFP stop targeting legal activists, whether through
trumped-up charges or by extrajudicial killings? Will the AFP disband
paramilitary groups especially those most notorious for rights abuses
such as massacres?
If the answer to all these
questions is NO, then we are in for more of the same. Maybe even
Oplan Bayanihan of Aquino
also claimed to recognize the primacy of the peace process but instead
unleashed war on the people. It was an utter failure as the peace
talks were stalled while the AFP failed to stop the advance of the
revolutionary forces. It is this reality that served as the basis for
the Duterte government to enter into peace talks with the NDFP.
Government cannot defeat the revolutionary forces because the social,
economic, political and historical basis for the armed conflict
remain. The root causes of armed struggle must be addressed.
The AFP should upload and
make available the new DSSP Kapayapaan to allow its scrutiny by all
stakeholders and interested parties, including human rights groups,
peace advocates, and members of Congress. Kapayapaan's predecessor
Oplan Bayanihan was made available to the pubic by the previous regime
and can be found at the AFP's website.
The people continue to call
for the pull-out of AFP troops operating in civilian communities.
These AFP operations undermine even the government's own ceasefire
declaration, exposing it as a sham as far as affected communities are
concerned. Affected communities have raised many complaints versus the
AFP and hope that these will be discussed during the 3rd round of
formal peace talks that will begin on January 19, 2017.
PRRD’s micro fund
program to pilot-run this month - DTI
January 9, 2017
MAKATI CITY –
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to replace the “5-6”
money lending system and provide an affordable micro-financing for the
country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the
government’s Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program pilots this
month in Mindoro, Sarangani and Leyte, among the top 30 poorest
provinces, to represent Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the country’s
trade chief said.
“The P3 is designed to bring
down the interest rate at which micro-finance is made available to
micro enterprises,” said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
Secretary Ramon Lopez.
The 2017 General
Appropriations Act has included an initial funding of P1 billion for
financial assistance, a part of the planned P19 billion financing
initiative for micro and small businesses in the next five years.
Helping the poorest
The program’s fund will be
lent out in the business centers of the poorest provinces (based on
poverty incidence), where the participating microfinance institutions
(MFIs) and the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.) can operate.
An attached agency of DTI,
SB Corp. shall administer the P3 Program, including the creation of a
Program Management Office (PMO), which will open a separate back
account for the P3 Program, to oversee the management and monitoring
“Fund delivery to
microenterprises shall be carried out in either by wholesale lending
to non-bank financial institutions like MFI-NGOs, and cooperatives
which shall on-lend the fund to beneficiaries or by direct lending by
SB Corp,” Sec. Lopez said.
include microenterprises and entrepreneurs that do not have easy
access to credit, or are accessing credit at very high cost, such as,
micro-entrepreneurs, market vendors, agri-businessmen and members of
cooperatives, industry associations and co-operators.
Loanable amount per
end-borrower can range from P5,000.00 for start-ups to P300,000.00,
with maximum interest rate of 26% per annum with no collateral
requirement. This rate is significantly below the 20% per day/ week/
month charged by “5-6” lenders. It is also lower than what is charged
by most MFIs.
MFIs may opt for portfolio
guarantee cover of up to 15% of their P3 loan portfolio from SB Corp
at a guarantee fee of 0.4%. The guarantee feature is seen to help MFIs
address the P3 Program’s inherent risk. The guarantee fund will be
sourced from the P3 fund.
P3 allocates P100 million
for direct lending by SB Corp. Target loan beneficiaries are the small
enterprises in priority and emerging industries, start-up businesses
and technology innovators.
Minimum loan amount will be
P300,000.00 with interest rate capped at 10% p.a., with or without
“This alternative funding
dedicated for micro and small enterprises is meant to discourage the
5-6 money lending system in our country,” said Sec. Lopez, adding that
through the established MFIs, the government will reach even the
smallest of entrepreneurs in the country.
visits victims of Hilongos, Leyte blast
By DPAO, 8ID PA
December 30, 2016
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – It was December 28, 2016 at 9 o’clock in the evening, while
the residents were enjoying a boxing match in connection with the town
fiesta celebration, when two improvised explosive devices from 81mm
mortar ammunition exploded at the municipal plaza, Central Poblacion,
Hilongos, Leyte that eventually injured 32 residents of the said town.
On December 30, 2016, two
days after the Hilongos, Leyte Bombing, Pres. Duterte arrived at Ormoc
City Airport at around 9:40am and was warmly received by Maj. Gen.
Oscar T Lactao AFP, CENTCOM Commander; Brig. Gen. Raul M Farnacio AFP,
8ID Commander; PSSupt Roberto T Badian, PRO8 Deputy Regional Director
for Admin; Secretary Michael Dino, Presidential Assistant for Eastern
Visayas; Hon. Lucy Torres-Gomes, 4th District Representative of Leyte;
Hon. Richard Gomes, Ormoc City Mayor, and other members of Sanguniang
Panlungsod of Ormoc City.
immediately flew to Hilongos, Leyte via presidential helicopter and
arrived in the area at around 10:21am at Hilongos district hospital to
visit the victims of the bombing. He gave financial assistance worth
P10,000.00 pesos and cellphone to every victim, and promised a
scholarship for every graduating student who became a victim of the
He likewise ensured that
PhilHealth will assist the victims in paying their hospital bills. Any
excess hospital bills that cannot be shouldered by PhilHealth will be
shouldered by DSWD while the crutches and wheelchairs will be provided
by DOH, the President said.
During his message before
the people of Hilongos, the President said, that the bombing incident
in that town is part of the plan of the enemy of the state to
destabilize the government. Hence, he reminded the local PNP & AFP
units to be more vigilant of terrorist’s plan in the days ahead
especially bombings of the Maute group.
In this regard all local AFP
unit commanders are advised to proactively coordinate with their PNP
counterparts to increase joint patrols and check points in urban
centers, ports, churches and other critical infrastructures. The visit
of President Duterte in the municipality of Hilongos, Leyte culminated
at about 12 o’clock noon and he immediately returned to Ormoc City
airport and boarded the presidential private plane going to Davao
Duterte's 6-month contract failed to bring change
corruption and killings still rampant despite Digong's statements
By Sanlakas Youth
December 29, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Student
activists from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao castigated President
Rodrigo Duterte given the absence of genuine change six months under
"While the contracts of
contractual workers who started their jobs with the President last
July have already ended, contractualization still persists under the
President's administration," said Rara Ada of Sanlakas Youth -
Mindanao. "It is quite a shame that already, Sec. Bello of the
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is boasting that 'endo' has
already been abolished, when in fact, regular employment and benefits
are still far from the reach of workers of companies who circumvent
rules and laws through the use of agencies," she said.
Ending contractualization is
one of the promises showcased by the Duterte administration. DOLE has
since come up with a so-called 'win-win' solution, where employees
will be considered 'regular,' but under the agencies which employ
them. "Under this scheme, the hiring company would still be able to
relieve a worker from employment after a given period without giving
them the benefits they are due," said Ada. "It is obvious who lost in
the win-win solution posed by the Department of Labor and Employment:
the workers," she added.
Ada also blasted Duterte for
his 'two-faced' stance regarding corruption. "During his campaign, the
President has also promised ending corruption in the government. And
yet, in under six months, we have seen the release of former President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and a hero's burial for the late dictator
Ferdinand Marcos, two of the most notorious plunderers in our
country's history," she stated.
Youth groups also condemned
the upsurge of drug-related killings under the administration.
"Already, more than 6,200 Filipinos have died under the reign of
terror brought about by the administration's war on drugs," said Zaira
Baniaga of KAISA-UP Diliman. "Instead of an atmosphere of security,
the lawless killings of suspected criminals and innocent citizens has
left Filipinos in greater fear for their own lives and the security of
their families," Baniaga added.
Baniaga said that the
continuation of unlawful killings is a statement that the drug war is
failing, not succeeding.
"On top of this, the
President's allies in the Congress are scrambling to pass death
penalty and lowering the age for criminal liability, blind to the
failure of the law to secure innocents, especially children, from the
discriminatory flaws of the justice system and the sociological roots
of crime," she said.
developments in the realm of education have been criticized by the
youth sector as well.
"Until this administration
ceases to insitutionalize automatic appropriation for education,
accessible and quality education for Filipinos will remain as an
illusion," said Aivan Lloyd Calonia of Sanlakas Youth - Visayas.
"Problems and faults exist in all levels of education, from the poor
implementation of the K to 12 program, the lack of quality facilities
in public schools, the poor wages of teachers, as well as the
curricula designed to make cheap overseas workers or contractual
workers domestically," Calonia continued. "While increasing the budget
for education alone will not solve all its problems, raising the
standard for spending on the sector to the international standard of
6% Gross National Product will be a step in the right direction," he
Calonia also criticized the
proposed embankment project in Tacloban as part of the rehabilitation
and development program in Yolanda-affected areas.
"The proposed project will
only bar small fishing communities from reaching their source of
livelihood, not far from the massive displacement experienced by
poverty-stricken communities under the rehab efforts of the previous
administration," he said.
Calonia urged the President
to distinguish himself from predecessors by refraining from the
neoliberal path of development. "In the six months that have passed,
we are only seeing more of the same policies: privatizing public
services, catering to business interests and keeping wages low," he
Calonia also warned the
public of questionable shortcuts which may be undertaken by the
President and his administration in solving perceived problems.
"We cannot afford a repeat
of the wasted trust and optimism from the part of previous
administration," he stressed. "Especially with voices inside and
surrounding the administration who threaten to steer its popularity
for their own interest," he stressed.
"While a large number of
Filipinos remain optimistic about this administration, being vigilant
and critical of the obvious shortcomings from the administration is
essential for the People to truly lead the changes they want to see in
our society," he concluded.
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.