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CNN-4A wants MELLPI functions as HIMSoG-8

Save the Children PH steps up assistance to displaced children

NMP addresses industry needs through relevant researches

Eastern Visayas records 0.1% deflation in September 2019

Six-classroom building turned over to San Policarpo National High School

Second quarter fishery production in Eastern Visayas up by 12.1%

Eastern Visayas nutrition situation reported

DPWH-Biliran DEO to restore cut off Caraycaray detour immediately





1 in every 4 families in Eastern Visayas is poor

By PSA-8
January 31, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Poverty incidence among families in Eastern Visayas in 2018 significantly improved to 24.0 percent from 32.9 percent in 2015. This implies that in 2018, around 1 in every 4 families in the region is poor or has income below the poverty threshold, which is the amount required to meet basic food and non-food needs.

eastern visayas 2018 poverty incidenceIn 2018, poverty incidence among families in Eastern Samar was estimated at 40.9 percent; Northern Samar at 27.4 percent; Samar at 22.1 percent; Leyte (including Tacloban City) at 21.9 percent; Southern Leyte at 17.2 percent; and Biliran at 13.8 percent.

Significant improvements in poverty incidence among families between 2015 and 2018 were noted in Northern Samar, Samar, and Southern Leyte. Northern Samar recorded the biggest decline in its poverty incidence among families to 27.4 percent in 2018 from 51.5 percent in 2015. Poverty incidence among families in Samar dropped to 22.1 percent in 2018 from 41.8 percent in 2015. The province of Southern Leyte, meanwhile, registered 17.2 percent poverty incidence among families in 2018, lower than the 32.7 percent in 2015.

Given the new master sample, PSA was able to generate reliable statistics down to the provincial level as well as for highly urbanized cities (HUCs). Poverty incidence among families for Leyte (excluding Tacloban City) was estimated at 23.8 percent in 2018, while poverty incidence among families for Tacloban City was recorded at 6.0 percent (Table 1).

The 2018 annual per capita poverty threshold in the region, or the minimum income required to meet basic food and non-food needs of every person, was estimated at P24,979. This indicates an increase of 11.7 percent from the P22,371 annual per capita poverty threshold in 2015. This implies that in 2018, a family of five in Eastern Visayas must have at least P10,408, on the average every month, to meet both basic food and non-food needs.

All provinces in the country were clustered from 1 to 5 using poverty incidence among families as the clustering variable. Cluster 1 comprises the bottom poor provinces and cluster 5 comprises the least poor provinces.

In 2018, three (3) provinces moved one (1) cluster higher from 2015, namely Northern Samar, Southern Leyte and Samar. The rest of the provinces maintained their 2015 cluster categories.

Only the Province of Biliran belonged to cluster 4 in 2018. Three (3) provinces: Leyte, Southern Leyte, and Samar, belonged to cluster 3. Meanwhile, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar were classified in cluster 2 (Table 2).





Fisherfolks in Merida, Leyte receive DOLE livelihood aid

Barbara Fisherfolks Association of Merida

January 29, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office VIII through its West Leyte Field Office successfully turned over livelihood grants to the Barbara Fisherfolks Association of Merida, Leyte amounting to P997,450.00 last January 16, 2020 in Brgy. Calunangan, Merida, Leyte.

The Calunangan General Merchandise Project will be benefitted by some fifty-one association members who are into fishing and other related activities.

Present to grace the turnover ceremony were DOLE WLFO Head, Mr. Edgar B. Tabuyan, Mayor Rolando M. Villacencio, Vice-Mayor Rodrigo M. Wenceslao, PESO Manager Marita S. Mercadal and Senior Labor and Employment Officer Rosilito T. Ygaña.

In his message, Mr. Tabuyan gave his reminders to the beneficiaries. “I hope this project will inspire you more to work hard. Today is only the first step because our goal in DOLE is for you to have sustainable livelihood. In that way only can we really say that we have contributed in poverty alleviation”, said Mr. Tabuyan.

Mr. Godofredo B. Malinao, president of the recipient association, expressed his delight during the turnover of their new business. He said that their merchandise business is intended to augment the income they derive from fishing.

“Gusto po naming magpasalamat sa DOLE sa malaking tulong na ibinigay nila sa aming grupo. Bilang mga mangingisda, hindi po palaging maraming huling isda. Itong negosyo na pinagkaloob po sa amin ay pagsisikapan at pagtutulung-tulongan naming mapalago para sa ikabubuti rin naming mga miyembro pati na po ng amimga pamilya”, Malinao said.

The said livelihood aid was charged against the 2019 DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) funds of DOLE RO VIII.





back to school kits
Students in Cagayan Province showing their back to school kits. (Photo by LJ Pasion / Save the Children)

Save the Children underscores the need for education support for children in armed conflict and disaster-prone areas

Press Release
January 24, 2020

QUEZON CITY – Save the Children Philippines has called for stronger support for education for children trapped in armed conflict and frequently displaced by natural calamities.

Atty. Alberto Muyot, Save the Children Philippines Chief Executive Officer, raised the call in line with the celebration of International Day of Education on January 24 with the theme: “Learning for people, planet, prosperity, and peace.”

Every year, some 400,000 adolescents in the conflict affected areas in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) do not attend school due to poverty, according to government figures.

These adolescents also face different forms of violence as well as recruitment by various armed groups. At the same time, Save the Children is concerned about the situation of half a million learners affected by the continuing eruption of Taal Volcano. These children have been displaced from their homes while their schools are either heavily damaged by ashfall or being used as evacuation centers.

“Save the Children Philippines places education at the forefront of its programs from development to emergency settings, particularly for children who suffer from intersectionality of vulnerabilities including learners with disabilities and indigenous people,” said Muyot.

In the last ten years, Save the Children has reached more than nine million children through its programs in health and nutrition, education and humanitarian response. Of this number, 4.2 million children were provided support to access quality and inclusive learning opportunities.

The group implements the Reach to TEACH program in conflict affected areas of BARMM to provide education to children affected by armed conflict and those living in disaster-stricken communities.

The three-year project (2019-2021) is being implemented in Sulu, Maguindanao, Lanao Del Sur, Marawi City, Surigao del Sur, Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental. These provinces have been experiencing protracted conflict for over 10 years due to insurgency, terrorism, rido (clan feud) and pangayaw (tribal wars).

The program provides children access to developmentally and culturally appropriate instructional and learning materials, and train teachers to provide psychosocial support to learners facing violence due to armed conflict.

The Reach to TEACH program seeks to assist children from 46 schools and nine displaced communities by providing them with learning materials and supplies, and vouchers for improving attendance and participation.

“When children and youth from deprived and marginalized situations get equal access to learning opportunities, education becomes a tool peace-building and development,” Muyot said.

Sierra Paraan, Basic Education advisor of Save the Children Philippines said that inclusion and quality education are the main thrusts of Save the Children Philippines’ education programs.

“People who do not get a chance to receive quality education are more likely to experience socio-economic marginalization and lifelong poverty,” said Paraan. “Promoting an inclusive culture within the education setting contributes to the eradication of discriminatory attitudes and behaviors, further strengthening social cohesion and peace.”

Save the Children also supports policies that advance non-discrimination and the realization of inclusive education for all children. Currently, we are advocating for the enactment of Inclusive Education for Learners with Disabilities Bill.





AFPSLAI donates CPR training mannequin to CLSH

AFPSLAI CPR training mannequin

January 23, 2020

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – The Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loans Association, Inc. (AFPSLAI) donated a set of Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training mannequin to Camp Lukban Station Hospital (CLSH), 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division (8ID) on January 22, 2020 at 8:30 a.m.

The donation was personally received by Major General Pio Q. Diñoso III AFP, Commander, 8ID from representatives of AFPSLAI headed by Ms. Ellen Jocelyn J. Brazil, Acting Branch Head, AFPSLAI Catbalogan City Branch. The Ceremonial turnover was witnessed by the Officers, Enlisted Personnel and Civilian Employees of 8ID.

Commander, 8ID was very thankful on the donation as it will enhance the future trainings on healthcare services to be conducted by personnel of CLSH to its personnel and combat medical personnel of line units.

“This donation will surely improve the healthcare services training for our personnel especially in emergency situations. Personnel of line units who are trained on CPR will also be deployed to conduct rescue operations in the field in cases of disasters and calamities,” as Commander of 8ID stated.





DTI launches livelihood assistance program for disaster victims

DTI livelihood assistance

January 23, 2020

BATANGAS – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched its livelihood assistance program, Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PBG) last 20 January, when President Rodrigo Duterte’s visited the evacuees in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The program will aid the micro entrepreneurs affected by the Taal Volcano eruption. DTI will soon roll out the program as an assistance package for victims of fire, typhoons, and other calamities nationwide.

Under the PBG program, DTI will provide financial assistance of P10,000 and educational materials after profiling and giving negosyo training to existing micro entrepreneurs.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez awarded gift checks to the initial 20 entrepreneurs who are mostly street food vendors, market vendors, and sari-sari store owners who want to continue their businesses. Those interested in the PBG Program may go to the DTI Batangas Provincial Office in Lipa for an initial assessment.

Among the recipients were aspiring entrepreneur Carito Ginil, a 45-year-old habal-habal driver and barangay kagawad, who wants to use his PBG funds to put up an eatery or a sari-sari store. Meanwhile, 35-year-old worker Joel Cruz plans to use his to start a manicure/pedicure business for his wife.

“Ang PBG ay inisyatibo ng pamahalaan at DTI upang matulungan ang mga pinakamaliliit na negosyante na naapektuhan ng pagsabog ng Taal. Ang paunang puhunan ay mabilis at madaling pagkukunan ng kapital upang makabalik sa normalidad ang kanilang kabuhayan matapos ng insidente,” said Secretary Lopez. [PBG is an initiative of the government and DTI to help the smallest of entrepreneurs who were affected by the Taal volcano eruption. The program gives a fast and easy source of initial capital to help microentrepreneurs regain normalcy in their livelihood after the incident.]

Secretary Lopez encouraged entrepreneurs to visit the DTI Negosyo Centers and Provincial Offices to help them restart or grow their businesses. He said that after this initial assistance, the awardees can get free training from DTI as well as low-interest loans through the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program.





DAR-EV 2019 target
Regional Director Stephen Leonidas of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Eastern Visayas commended the Land Tenure Service sector during the regional assessment for accomplishing 160 percent of their target in Land Acquisition and Distribution in 2019, and challenged them to deliver 50 percent of their 2020 target during the first quarter.

DAR-EV hits 160 percent of their target in 2019

January 22, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Eastern Visayas accomplished 160 percent of its 2019 target in land distribution.

Engr. Francisco Diloy, chief of the Land Tenure Service (LTS), reported during last week’s regional assessment that a combined area of 3,282 hectares of private agricultural lands had been issued with certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) and registered at the Registry of Deeds (ROD) in the names of 1,564 qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) throughout the region last year.

He stressed that last year’s accomplishment in Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) was 60 percent over their 2019 target of 2,050 hectares.

According to him, DAR Leyte Provincial Office, headed by Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer (PARPO) Renato Badilla, contributed the most to the region’s accomplishment with 2,986 hectares, which is 175 percent of their target.

Samar, Northern Samar, and Southern Leyte delivered 145 hectares, 125 hectares, and 25 hectares, respectively.

Further, Diloy reported that his sector likewise accomplished more than 100 percent in other activities, such in Claim Folder Preparation and Documentation, Surveys, and Land Valuation, as well as in non-LAD activities.

Meanwhile, Regional Director Stephen Leonidas commended the efforts of the LTS, however, for the current year, he challenged the said sector to deliver 1,000 hectares or 50 percent of the annual target during the first quarter.

When Leonidas assumed office in September last year, he evaluated and resolved issues on landholdings with field investigations conducted in 2018 covering 2,000 hectares and targeted for distribution this year.

Meanwhile, on Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development and Sustainability Program (ARBDSP), Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer Melecia Ong reported that her sector likewise hit more than 100 percent of their targets in 2019.

According to her, 24,373 ARBs throughout the region were exposed to various livelihood and organizational trainings, which is 152 percent of their 16,031 target.

She added that more than 14,000 ARBs were given access to credit and microfinance, which is 128 percent of their target last year.

Further, Ong said that 226 ARB organizations or 156 percent of their 2019 target were provided with technical, enterprise, farm and physical infrastructure support, while 20 ARB organizations were provided with farm machineries and equipment under the Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support (CRFPS).

On Agrarian Justice Delivery (AJD), Leonidas also commended both the Legal Division and the DAR Adjudication Board for resolving pending agrarian-related cases in 2019.





Save the Children session for children
Save the Children staff leads a session for children at the mobile Child Friendly Space set up in the evacuation centre in Balayan, Batangas, Philippines. (Photo by LJ Pasion / Save the Children)

Erupting volcano may leave children homeless for months, warns Save the Children

Urgent need for temporary schools for pupils who are missing out on classes

By Save the Children
January 22, 2020

MANILA – Half a million people made homeless by the Taal volcano eruption will need immediate and long-term support as they face growing uncertainty over whether they will ever be able to return to their towns and villages.

As the volcano continues to erupt, Save the Children is warning of a prolonged crisis that could see hundreds of thousands of people unable to return to their homes for months and forced to live in evacuation centers or with friends and relatives. The Philippines government estimates that in the worst case scenario, communities may not be able to return for up to seven months, though that could change should there be a catastrophic eruption.

According to government figures, at least 580,000 pupils from more than 1,000 schools have been missing out on classes for the past two weeks due to heavy ashfall in the provinces around the volcano and schools being used as evacuation centers. Of this figure, an estimated 55,000 schoolchildren come from the six abandoned towns located in the 14km danger zone, where many classrooms are damaged and buried under hazardous ash. Many of these students could fall behind and miss graduation in three months, affecting their future job prospects. Meanwhile, more than 300 schools are still being used as evacuation centers.

Nearly 3,000 hectares of agricultural land – the main source of livelihood for people living near the volcano – is now covered in thick hazardous ash, crops are ruined, and thousands of homes and schools have been severely damaged and will require rehabilitation. Thousands of farm animals have also died.

Jerome Balinton, Humanitarian Manager for Save the Children Philippines, said:

“We are concerned that thousands of children may not be able to return to their homes and communities for months, with many final year students risking missing their graduations. Being made homeless puts these children at serious risk of abuse and exploitation. Children in the evacuation centers are forced to bathe with little or no privacy, sharing the same facilities as adults. Mothers have told Save the Children they’re worried for their teenage daughters, many of whom don’t have any sanitary pads or even underwear as they were forced to flee quickly when the volcano began erupting.

“The emotional and psychosocial stress of being made suddenly homeless and surrounded by so many strangers in such close proximity are taking a toll on children. It’s vital that we meet their immediate needs for food, clothing, clean water, hygiene and healthcare, while recognizing that they need long-term solutions as well. This means setting up temporary schools so children can return to a normal routine while they wait for the fury of the volcano to subside.”

Save the Children is distributing family household and hygiene items to families. We have also set up mobile child-friendly spaces where children can learn and play in a safe environment while receiving emotional support.

The Philippines government has imposed mandatory evacuation for six towns around the volcano, forcing at least 300,000 people – of whom 124,000 are children – into one of the more than 450 evacuation centers. The government believes a deadly and destructive eruption is ‘imminent.’





ACT slams P36B budget for NTF-ELCAC amid calamity fund cut, measly pay hike

By Alliance of Concerned Teachers
January 21, 2020

QUEZON CITY – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines slammed President Duterte’s granting of P36.439 billion to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), a formation that was built to implement the ‘Whole-of-Nation’ approach to ending insurgency in the country as directed by Duterte’s EO 70.

The task force’s budget was P3 billion more than the P33.2 billion provided for the 2020 pay hike of civilian government employees, and was P20 billion more than the P16 billion 2020 calamity fund, after it was slashed by P4 billion during the budget deliberation. The teachers’ group criticized Duterte’s prioritization of war over people’s welfare.

“We are enraged that the Duterte’s NTF-ELCAC, his main fascist machinery that has militarized the bureaucracy, gets a huge chunk of people’s coffers. Meanwhile, the calamity fund was significantly slashed and the pay hike budget for 1.5 million civilian employees was prudently provided for in the 2020 budget. Such leaves us vulnerable in times of crisis, like now that we are facing the tragedy of the Taal volcano eruption. The government’s neglect has never been more evident, and the people’s collective power ever more powerful as we are left to rely on each other,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

Additionally, ACT argues that the people shall likewise unite to hold the Duterte administration accountable for its abandonment of the people and failure to do its duties. ACT further posits that the government ‘kills us twice over – through his wars against the people, especially the poor, and by denying us our basic rights to social and economic services.”

ACT furthered that the NTF-ELCAC not only takes resources away from necessary services to the people, it also poses a threat to democracy as it was allegedly responsible for the series of political attacks against dissenters and those fighting for their rights, such as ACT and other individuals and organizations.

“The NTF-ELCAC and its regional formations have launched a campaign to vilify and red-tag ACT and teacher-unionists in several regions. We’ve documented reports of the said task force holding symposia and fora in which it tags our and other progressive organizations as communist fronts. Our leaders have been subjected to surveillance, threats, and harassments, and then being given copies of EO 70 and being told forced to ‘surrender’ to the government,” exposed Basilio.

Basilio added that the NTF-ELCAC utilizes the entire bureaucracy in its attempts to quell people’s rightful unrest and democratic exercise of rights amid the economic and political crisis befalling the country through vilification, intervention, and fascist measures. ACT said that the task force’s ultimate objective is to establish Duterte’s tyrannical rule, hence the President’s pouring of resources to the NTF-ELCAC.

“Therefore, teachers’ just fight for decent pay, better benefits and services for all serve more than just the economic interests of the people but also contributes to the frustration of Duterte’s drive for absolute power,” declared Basilio.

ACT underscored that the NTF-ELCAC is a fascist machinery that must be dismantled.

“Should there be any sincerity to the government’s desire to end the 51-year war in the country, it should address the roots of armed conflict beginning with opening the peace talks again with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and signing the CASER,” urged Basilio.

CASER is the Comprehensive Agreement for Socio-Economic Reforms, which provides for genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization, among others. It also provides for the granting of decent wages and salaries to workers.





DAR handicrafts program
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) commissioned the Design Den to train members of agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) to enhance the designs of their handicrafts and be at par with other products in the market.

Farmers see higher sales on handicrafts in 2020

January 17, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – As the new year comes in, four agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) from different remote villages in Eastern Visayas are looking forward to an improved sales and higher revenues for their handicrafts in 2020.

This came out after members of the said ARBOs underwent skills training towards the end of 2019 on how to enhance the quality and designs of their products.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Central Office commissioned last year the Design Den to conduct the training nationwide to boost the marketability of the handicrafts manufactured by farmers utilizing available raw materials in their area.

In Region-8, Regional Director Stephen Leonidas disclosed that the ARBOs chosen to undergo the said training were the Macalpi Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MCMPC) in Carigara, Leyte; the Hantag Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (HFMPC) in Maasin City, Southern Leyte; the Villahermosa Oriental Farmers and Fisherfolks Association (VOFFA) in Pagsanghan, Samar; and the Cabacungan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CMPC) in Allen, Northern Samar.

MCMPC is into plant-holder making using coco coir as raw material; HFMPC is into sinamay-weaving using abaca; VOFFA is into bag and hat making using buri; while CMPC is also into bag and hat making but using romblon as its raw material.

Marlene Ajihari of the CMPC was happy of the outcome of the two-day training. According to her, before, their designs were simple and limited, and the size of their bag was fixed.

During the training, they learned more designs and the use of other raw materials available in their area such as shells, as they are living along the shoreline, she added.

She emphasized that they also learned to be flexible and not to limit the sizes of bags.

With her excitement, Marlene showed their outputs to a retired teacher in the neighborhood and instantly got orders worth P450.

Consolacion Cabacang, another member of the CMPC and at 75 years old, said she learned a lot from the training though she had been a weaver since 14 years old.

For the VOFFA members, according to them, they used to produce bags only as container for crabs that are being sold in their town. Each bag was sold at P40 only.

But now, Rosalinda Cubay added, they are inspired to produce fashionable bags and other accessories and sell them at a higher price.

In Carigara, Cynthia Bodo thanked DAR for exposing them to different trainings to help them earn higher.

Aside from plant-holders, they got ideas from the training to produce also other items, such as lamp shades, using coco coir, Bodo excitingly shared their experience.






access road leading to Bagongbong Falls
Construction of access road leading to Bagongbong Falls at Brgy. Caucab, Almeria, Biliran is on-going with 70% accomplishment as of December 31, 2019. The completion of the project (2018-2020) will provide a better road for local and foreign tourist and more or less 2000 residents in Brgy. Caucab in the town of Almeria. From a bumpy and narrow existing concrete road, road users will enjoy a wider and safer travel.

DPWH-Biliran DEO ends 2019 with 79.05% project accomplishment

By DPWH-Biliran
January 15, 2020

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) has accomplished 79.05% accomplishment of its 2019 Infrastructure Projects as the year ends.

As of December 31, 2019, the district office completes 66 projects with remaining 23 projects on-going and three Not-Yet-Started (NYS) projects incurring negative 9.14% slippage.

According to David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer, the district office is still on-going in the implementation of road widening project, bridge construction, construction of bypass road and other big-ticket projects, hence the low accomplishment of the district office.

To address the said delay, contractors sustaining negative slippages of their projects were obliged to provide a notarized letter of their commitment to complete the projects within its extended duration. This has been tackled during the district’s coordination meeting with the contractors on January 14, 2020.

Adongay advised contractors to exert effort to fast-track its remaining 2019 projects so that they can fully focus in the implementation of their 2020 projects.

“This must be given importance for us to have a smooth and successful implementation of our projects, improve our performance and achieve the goal and objectives of this department,” emphasized Adongay.

Under the 2019 implementation, DPWH-Biliran DEO is tasked to implement a total of 92 projects with a total allocation amount of P1.28B.





DOLE-8 SEnA yields over P13M monetary benefits in 2019

January 14, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – A total of P13,093,034.71 monetary claims was successfully facilitated by the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office VIII in CY 2019 through its Single Entry Approach (SEnA) Program.

Per regional consolidated report submitted to the National Conciliation Mediation Board (NCMB), said monetary benefits were claimed by 1,179 workers coming from different parts of Eastern Visayas with complaints mostly on wages, 13th month pay, overtime pay, holiday pay and separation pay.

Just like in the previous year, the West Leyte Field Office facilitated the highest monetary claims of P5,233,839 benefiting 422 workers followed by the North Leyte Field Office with P4,112,014.11 claimed by 446 workers.

The Southern Leyte Field Office ranked third this year, yielding a total of P1,175,271.71 benefited by 125 workers followed closely by the Samar Field Office which was able to facilitate P1,038,684.68 claims for 54 workers.

Meanwhile, the Biliran Field Office, Eastern Samar Field Office and the Northern Samar Field Office had facilitated a combined monetary benefits of P1,533,224.37 for the benefit of 132 workers.

All 957 Requests for Assistance (RFAs) received by DOLE RO VIII for the entire 2019 were duly disposed.

In terms of settlement of RFAs, the regional office likewise successfully exceeded the target of at least 77%. Over-all, DOLE RO VIII garnered a settlement rate of 88%, with the Southern Leyte Field Office contributing the highest settlement rate at 98.57%.

Director Yahya A. Centi thanked and lauded the hardwork of all Single Entry Approach Desk Officers (SEADOs) in assisting workers in the settlement of their claims and in helping the regional office attain its targets. He encouraged them to be more inspired in what they do for the good of those who need the assistance of the office through SENA program.

“I commend all our staff especially the SEADOs for doing a great job in 2019. I hope this will inspire you all the more to do better this 2020 and surpass the best you delivered in 2019”, said Director Centi during the Year-End Performance Assessment held last December 18, 2019.

In the recent Employees Excellence Awards Night conducted by DOLE RO VIII last December 19 at C Pavilion, San Jose, Tacloban City, Mr. Alejo Labrador Jr. of the North Leyte Field Office was awarded as Best SEADO, handling the most number of SENA RFAs in 2019 and for facilitating more than P1.8 million monetary claims of 149 workers.

SENA is an administrative approach to provide a speedy, impartial, inexpensive and accessible settlement procedure for all issues/complaints arising from employer-employee relations to prevent them from ripening into full blown disputes.





Wage increase for kasambahays in EV takes effect on New Year’s Day

January 14, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – DOLE RO VIII Regional Director Yahya A. Centi announced during the First Flag-Raising Ceremony and Monday program on January 6, 2020 that a new wage order for kasambahays in Eastern Visayas takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Wage Order No. RBVIII-DW-02 prescribes an increase of P2000 in the monthly wage rates of kasambahay workers in Region VIII. For chartered cities and first class municipalities, the new minimum wage shall now be P4,500 while kasambahays in other municipalities will be having a minimum wage of P4,000.

Director Centi, who also chairs the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) VIII, was happy to inform of the said development. He said that the amount of increase was a result of the consultation cum public hearing conducted on November 25, 2019, as well as the current socio-economic indicators, needs of the domestic workers and their families and the employer’s capacity to pay.

Director Centi likewise added that the kasambahay workers deserve the said increase considering that the previous domestic wage order has not been reviewed and revisited since its issuance in 2016.

“We are more than happy that we are able to perform our duty for the good of our kasambahay workers here in the region. They truly deserve the increase considering that no adjustment has been made to their wages in the last three years and yet prices of goods have been increasing”, said Director Centi.

The new wage order shall apply to the following domestic workers in the region whether on a live-in or live-out arrangements: general househelp, yaya, cook, gardener, laundry person or any person who regularly performs domestic work in one household on an occupational basis.

Meanwhile, service providers, family drivers, children under foster family arrangements and any other person who performs work occasionally or sporadically are not covered under the said wage order.

The new domestic wage order was approved by the RTWPB VIII last November 25, 2019 and was published in Leyte Samar Daily Express last December 17, 2019.





Eastern Visayas closes 2019 with 1.5% inflation rate

By PSA-8
January 14, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas closed 2019 with a 1.5 percent Inflation Rate (IR). This IR is 0.9 percentage point higher compared with the 0.6 percent IR a month ago, but 2.9 percentage points lower than the recorded 4.4 percent IR in the same period last year.

2019 inflation rateThe regional IR is 1.0 percentage point lower than the 2.5 percent national average inflation rate in December 2019.

All provinces in the region registered higher inflation rates in December 2019 compared with their figures in the previous month. Biliran recorded the highest increase of 2.2 percentage points, from 1.5 percent deflation in November 2019 to 0.7 percent IR in December 2019. The rest of the provinces registered increases ranging from 0.2 percentage point to 1.8 percentage points. Southern Leyte posted the lowest IR with 1.2 percent deflation. Leyte, meanwhile, recorded the highest IR during the month in review at 2.1 percent.

Four commodity groups in the region exhibited higher IRs in December 2019 compared with their rates in November 2019. Transport commodity group registered the biggest increase of 3.1 percentage points, from 1.0 percent in November 2019 to 4.1 percent in December 2019. This can be attributed to the significant increase in the index for operation of personal transport equipment to a double-digit inflation rate of 10.5 percent in December 2019 from 0.2 percent in November 2019.

The heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group rebounded to 0.2 percent in December 2019 from 1.0 percent deflation in November 2019. Lower IRs noted in fruits; oils and fats; non-alcoholic beverages; meat; and sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery were offset by the higher annual price increases in vegetables; fish; food products not elsewhere classified; and milk, cheese and eggs. Vegetables index registered the highest increase of 2.8 percentage points, from 3.1 percent in November 2019 to 5.9 percent in December 2019. Rice and bread and cereals indices continued to register deflations but at slower rate of 6.2 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels commodity group rebounded by 0.2 percent in December 2019 from its 0.8 percent deflation in November 2019.

Alcoholic beverages and tobacco commodity group inched up by 0.1 percentage points pushing its inflation rate to 7.2 percent during the month in review.

On the other hand, inflation rate for health commodity group decreased by 1.3 percentage points, from 2.9 percent in November 2019 to 1.6 percent in December 2019. This can be attributed to the lower inflation rate on hospital services, from 3.5 percent in November 2019 to 0.6 percent in December 2019.

IRs for the commodity groups of furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house, and clothing and footwear also exhibited decreases during the reference month at 5.7 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, communication; recreation and culture; education; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services commodity groups retained their previous month’s inflation rates.

The Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region remained at P0.80 in December 2019. This PPP implies that goods and services worth P80.00 in 2012 is already worth P100.00 in December 2019.

Southern Leyte posted a P0.01 increase in PPP compared with its figure in November 2019, while Biliran and Eastern Samar’s PPP weakened by P0.01. The rest of the provinces sustained their PPP last month. Southern Leyte recorded the strongest PPP at P0.83. Biliran and Leyte ranked second at P0.82, followed by Eastern Samar at P0.76. Northern Samar and Samar posted the weakest PPP at P0.75.





Army reserve officer gets recognition for exemplary performance

Army reserve officer Pedro R Abong Jr

January 13, 2020

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – An Army Reserve Officer from the 8th Regional Community Defense Group, Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM) Camp Downes, Ormoc City was given recognition by the 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army during the Flag Raising ceremony at the Openiano Field this morning, January 13, 2020 at 7:30 a.m.

1Lt. Pedro R. Abong, Jr. (Res.) was recognized for his outstanding accomplishment and proficiency during the conduct of Pistol and Rifle Marksmanship Training at 8ID Firing Range from December 5-6, 2019.

Among the 135 reservist shooters, 1Lt. Abong garnered a perfect score of 100 points and was adjudged a “top gun” by the training directorate.

Brig. Gen. Ramil M. Bitong AFP, Assistant Division Commander personally awarded the Certificate of Recognition to 1Lt. Abong. He was assisted by Col. Ferdinand S. Razalan, Assistant Division Commander for Reservist and Retiree Affairs (ADCRRA).

1Lt. Abong was grateful and proud for the recognition bestowed to him by the Command.

“It is just fitting to acknowledge the accomplishments made by our men from reserve force. As volunteers without compensation, they continue to carry on the dynamic and full interchange of support between the military and civilians. They continue to be our reliable partners in support operations as to nation-building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” in a statement made by Brig. Gen. Bitong.





NMP launches new mobile app

NMP mobile app

By National Maritime Polytechnic
January 7, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – With the advent of modern technology, the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) has rolled out a new mobile app entitled NMP App which aimed to aid its stakeholders in verifying the authenticity of NMP issued certificates.

Its dashboard displays the options to verify the authenticity of a certificate by using the Name and Birth Date of the trainee, Certificate Number and other pertinent information.

The app also features a side function which allows trainees to verify if they are already enrolled in their preferred schedule for Professional Development Courses (PDC), namely: Training Course for Instructors (IMO Model Course 6.09), Assessment, Examination and Certification of Seafarers (IMO Model Course 3.12), and Training Course for Simulator Instructors (IMO Model Course 6.10).

“The app is very useful, good, and convenient to all trainees of NMP”, said Mr. Donald A. Cosep when asked for his feedback during the mobile app launching on 13 December 2019 at the NMP Training Building.

The mobile app is a free service for NMP stakeholders with Android devices and gadgets. It is available for download in Google Play Store.

Any misuse or manipulation of the personal data provided in the search result will be subjected to Republic Act 10173 otherwise known as the “Data Privacy Act (DPA) of 2012”, its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), and other relevant policies, including issuances of the National Privacy Commission (NPC).

It is the policy of NMP to respect and uphold the data privacy rights and to ensure that all data collected from its trainees and other third party individuals are processed pursuant to the general principles of transparency, legitimate purpose, and proportionality as stated in the DPA.

The NMP app will be updated should there a need to include other features.





SFDEO reports completed flood control structure in Capacuhan, Calbayog

Capacuhan floodcontrol

January 7, 2020

CALBAYOG CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways Samar First District Engineering Office has completed second-phase construction of a flood control structure along Jibatang River in Barangay Capacuhan, Calbayog City, Samar.

The project covers the construction of a 240-meter concrete structure with slope protection consisting of hand-laid riprap and steel sheet piles. The structure was built on the riverbank along the Calbayog-Catarman Road, where it will serve as protection against flooding and soil erosion.

The P35-million project in Capacuhan was accomplished on October 28, ahead of its target completion date of November 8, 2019.

The importance of flood control projects is highlighted particularly around this time of the year, when stronger and more frequent typhoons enter the country. It can be recalled that, last December 2018, typhoon Usman flooded and ravaged the homes and properties of people residing near the rivers. Hence, DPWH is fast-tracking flood management projects to improve the disaster resiliency and safety of villages near river streams.





NMP wharf extension inauguration
Inauguration of the Wharf Extension for the Free-Fall Lifeboat. From L-R: Deputy Executive Director Ponciano Ligutom, Fr. Bert David Carillo, DOLE USec. Renato Ebarle, Executive Director Joel Maglunsod, and Contractor.

DOLE USec. Ebarle inaugurates NMP’s wharf extension

By National Maritime Polytechnic
January 7, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Undersecretary Renato L. Ebarle representing DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III led the inauguration of the National Maritime Polytechnic’s (NMP’s) Wharf Extension for the Free-Fall Enclosed Lifeboat held on 16 December 2019 at the NMP’s Boat Davit Area.

The said construction was conceptualized in view of the donated Free-Fall Enclosed Lifeboat by the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seaman’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), one of the members of the NMP Board of Trustees (BOT).

With the approval of the NMP BOT during its 1st Regular Meeting held last January 18, 2018, the proposal to utilize the insurance proceeds from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) relative to the destruction brought by the Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 for the Wharf Extension for the Free-Fall Enclosed Lifeboat project, was made possible.

The construction started on November 16, 2018 amounting to P26,276,022.17.

Present during the ceremony were DOLE USec. Ebarle, NMP Executive Director Joel Maglunsod, NMP Deputy Executive Director Ponciano Ligutom, Fr. Bert David Carillo, contractor of the Wharf Extension, and NMP employees.

Consequently, this addition to the NMP’s existing training facilities would significantly improve the conduct of quality maritime training services and would enable NMP to offer the Proficiency in Free-Fall Lifeboat Course which is targeted to be developed by NMP’s Curriculum Development Section (CDS) this end of June 2020.

Meanwhile, NMP also regularly conducts maritime studies to come up with policies for the improvement of the manpower sector of the industry. Those interested in NMP research undertakings may visit the NMP website (www.nmp.gov.ph) and access the e-Research Information System Portal which is designed to disseminate NMP completed researches, present the Research Agenda and engage the industry stakeholders to collaborate in the research activities.





Palay production drops by 11.0% in the third quarter of 2019

By PSA-8
January 7, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Palay production in Eastern Visayas dropped by 11.0 percent, from 117,792 metric tons (MT) in the 3rd Quarter of 2018 to 104,851 MT in 2019.

eastern visayas palay productionThe province of Leyte contributed the biggest share in palay production in Eastern Visayas at 35,292 MT during the 3rd quarter of 2019 (Table 1). It comprised one third or 33.7 percent of the total palay production in the region. Northern Samar ranked second with 24,540 MT, accounting for 23.4 percent of the region’s total palay production.

Similarly, the total area harvested for palay decreased to 29,696 hectares (Ha) in the 3rd quarter of 2019 from 33,615 Ha recorded in the same quarter of previous year, a decline by 11.7 percent.

All provinces posted decreases in area harvested for palay. Eastern Samar registered the biggest drop by 43.6 percent during the 3rd quarter of 2019. Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran and Northern Samar, posted decreases at 18.5 percent, 14.3 percent, 7.0 percent, and 2.3 percent, respectively. Samar recorded the lowest decrease in area harvested for palay by 0.6 percent.

On the other hand, yield for palay in the region slightly increased by 0.8 percent, from 3.50 metric ton per hectare (MT/Ha) in the 3rd Quarter of 2018 to 3.53 MT/Ha in the same quarter of 2019 (Table 1).

Among provinces, Southern Leyte recorded the highest yield per hectare at 4.52 MT/Ha during the 3rd quarter of 2019. This figure was lower by 3.5 percent compared with the 4.68 MT/Ha recorded in the same quarter of 2018.

eastern visayas palay production





Garlic in cow feed keeps gases down on the farm

Garlic in cow feed

Via Presswire
January 2, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR – Thomas Hafner, of Mootral, believes that his garlic supplement could cut methane emissions from cows by 38 per cent.

The cows on Joe Towers’s dairy farm have been burping a lot less since he began adding a little garlic to their feed.

They seem to like the flavour but he is not doing it to keep them happy. His 400 cows have taken part in the largest trial of adding a natural supplement to cattle diet to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas they belch.

Scientists found the mix of garlic and citrus extract reduced methane emissions by up to 38 per cent. The effect was produced by adding only about 15g of the supplement to the cows’ daily feed.

Mr Towers hopes the results, published in a study involving the dairy research and innovation centre at Scotland’s Rural College, will help consumers to feel less guilty about eating meat and dairy products. About 15 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock and a third of that is from methane, which traps 25 times more heat than carbon dioxide but remains in the atmosphere for a shorter period. Most of the methane produced by cattle comes from their burps.

The trial also found that milk yield rose by up to 8 per cent. The cows were also less stressed because the garlic appeared to deter the flies that bother them.

The supplement, which is blended in Abertillery in Monmouthshire by the Swiss company Mootral, had no effect on the milk’s taste or smell. Several methane-reducing supplements have been tested on cattle, with the University of California showing that seaweed could reduce methane by 60 per cent. Garlic is cheaper and more readily available.

Mootral’s supplement costs about £50 per cow per year, which could be recouped through higher yields. It also claims the supplement reduces udder infections, saving on antibiotics.

However, Mootral concedes that farmers may need an extra incentive to buy the supplement and has developed a system of “cow credits” under which the benefit of the methane reduction could be sold to those seeking to offset their emissions.

For Mr Towers, one of the greatest benefits is improving the image of dairy farming, which he says has been tarnished by unfair attacks by environmentalists who ignore the nutritional benefits of milk. “This is a good opportunity to show the dairy industry does care about the environment,” he said.





Inflation rate in Eastern Visayas rebounds by 0.6% in November 2019

By PSA-8
December 23, 2019

TACLOBAN CITY – Inflation Rate (IR) in Eastern Visayas rebounded by 0.6 percent in November 2019 from 0.7 percent deflation in October 2019. This figure is 1.3 percentage points higher compared with the 0.7 percent deflation a month ago but 4.6 percentage points lower compared with the 5.2 percent IR recorded in the same period last year.

November 2019 EV inflation rateThe regional IR is 0.7 percentage point lower than the 1.3 percent national average inflation rate in November 2019.

Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar posted inflations in November 2019. Leyte and Northern Samar rebounded to 1.8 percent and 0.2 percent from 0.2 percent and 1.4 percent deflations in October 2019, respectively. Eastern Samar, meanwhile, decreased slightly to 0.6 percent in November 2019 from 0.7 percent in October 2019. On the other hand, Biliran, Southern Leyte and Samar posted deflations during the month in review. Biliran’s deflation further declined to 1.5 percent from 1.4 percent in October 2019. Southern Leyte and Samar exhibited slower deflations at 1.4 percent and 0.2 percent from 2.6 percent and 1.1 percent deflations in October 2019, respectively. Biliran posted the lowest with 1.5 percent deflation. Leyte, meanwhile, recorded the highest IR during the month in review at 1.8 percent.

Majority of the commodity groups in the region exhibited increases in IR in November 2019 compared with their rates in October 2019. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco commodity group registered the biggest increase of 2.4 percentage points, from 4.7 percent in October 2019 to 7.1 percent in November 2019. This can be attributed to the price increases in both the indices for alcoholic beverages and tobacco.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels picked up by 2.1 percentage points, from 2.9 percent deflation in October 2019 to 0.8 percent deflation in November 2019.

The heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group further registered 1.0 percent deflation during the reference month from 2.6 percent deflation in October 2019, an increase of 1.6 percentage points. Higher IRs were noted in majority of the food items, with fish index registering the highest increase of 4.6 percentage points pushing its IR to 4.4 percent in November 2019 from 0.2 percent deflation a month ago. Rice and bread and cereals indices continued to register deflations but at slower rate of 8.3 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively.

Transport commodity group increased by 1.0 percent during the reference month after registering zero inflation rate a month ago. This can be attributed to the index for operation of personal transport equipment which rebounded to 0.2 percent in November 2019 from a deflation of 4.3 percent a month ago.

The commodity groups of restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services, and clothing and footwear exhibited higher inflation rates during the reference month at 4.9 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, health and recreation and culture commodity group eased down by 0.4 percentage point, posting IRs at 2.9 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, during the month in review.

IR for furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house commodity group exhibited a 0.2 percentage point decrease recording IR of 6.3 percent during the reference month.

Meanwhile, education and communication commodity groups retained their previous month’s inflation rates.

The Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region remained at P0.80 in November 2019. This PPP implies that P100.00 in 2012 (base year) is worth P80.00 only in October 2019.

The PPP of Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Samar weakened by P0.01 compared with its figure in October 2019. The rest of the provinces sustained their PPP last month. Biliran recorded the strongest PPP at P0.83. Leyte and Southern Leyte ranked second at P0.82, followed by Eastern Samar at P0.77. Northern Samar and Samar posted the weakest PPP at P0.75.

November 2019 EV inflation rate 2





Samar First received a citation on Citizen’s Feedback Management

DPWH Information Officers

December 22, 2019

CALBAYOG CITY – Samar 1st attended the DPWH Information Officers (PIOs) Communication and Advocacy Planning Workshop on December 13, 2019 at the Central Office, Port Area, Manila.

Regional Public Information Officers (RPIO) and District Public Information Officers from Regions 6, 7 and 9 were scheduled to attend on the said date. The workshop touched on the PIO Reportorial Requirements, Social Media Practices and Social Media Image Template among others.

Mr. Andro Gonzales, Community Affairs Officer IV of the Stakeholders Relations Service talked about the salient points on Ease of Doing Business otherwise known as Republic Act 11032 which supports and promotes transparency in the transactions of the government with the public.

He also discussed the Freedom Of Information (FOI) which gives every person the right to obtain information, documents or data from government bodies without having to give reasons except for Information covered by Executive Privilege, National Security, Defense or International Relations, Law Enforcement & Protection of Public & Personal Safety, Confidential Information for the Protection of Privacy of Persons, Confidential Information by reason of Official capacity, Prejudicial Premature Disclosure, Records of proceedings, Confidential information under banking and finance laws and other exceptions under laws, jurisprudence, and IRR.

He further added that even requests for CCTV footage cannot be released without the consent of all who were caught on CCTV camera unless it was ordered by the court. Minutes of meetings can also be given if and only if all who are in attendance have given their consent.

Ms. Mildred Villar also discussed the Citizen’s Feedback Management Center (CFMC) which talks about the Customer Feedback Form and the status report for 2019 of the Citizen’s Feedback Management Center.

The workshop concluded with the awarding of certificates wherein almost all were awarded to Region VIII such as, media coordination report award, most number of monthly news clippings, excellence award on Citizens Feedback Management as well as excellence award to District Offices in resolving all Feedback for 2019. Samar First was also given a citation award on Citizen’s Feedback Management.





DTI, CARD renew P3 partnership with additional P100M for MSME microfinancing

DTI and CARD P3 partnership

December 21, 2019

MAKATI – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) renewed its partnership with the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), Inc., an NGO that provides microfinancing loans.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding signed last 16 December, CARD committed an additional P100 million of its funds for Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program. This brings CARD's total revolving fund for the P3 program since the partnership began in 2017 to P300 million pesos, which it will lend out to other beneficiaries to widen the reach of the P3 program to more micro borrowers.

P3 is DTI's program that provides low-interest, no collateral loans for existing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The program, managed by Small Business Corporation (SB Corp), is a response to President Rodrigo Duterte's directive to combat 5-6 loans. Through P3, entrepreneurs can borrow amounts from P5,000 to P200,000 from CARD and other accredited credit delivery partners.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that DTI benefits from the partnership since CARD supplements the P3.5 billion P3 allocation from the government with their own funds. CARD is also one of the biggest microfinance institutions in the Philippines, with 7 million borrowers nationwide.

Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip reported that CARD disbursed P600 million in P3 loans to around 56,000 borrowers since 2017. He also said that CARD targets to increase its P3 allocation to P100 million every year to reach 100,000 entrepreneurs.

Signing the agreement are (from L to R:) SB Corp President Luna Cacanando, DTI Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, CARD Founder Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, CARD Inc President Flordeliza Sarmiento and Executive Director Jocelyn Dequito.





Waiters, cooks & dishwashers up in arms over repeal of service charge fee

December 21, 2019

QUEZON CITY – Workers group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) score a recent move of some business owners to repeal the collection of the service charge fee being enjoyed by all contractual and rank-and-file employees in restaurant, hotel and other service-oriented enterprises.

The management move came after the law on service charge fee collection was amended by Republic Act 11360 otherwise known as An Act Providing That Services Charges Collected by Hotels, Restaurants, and Other Similar Establishments Be Distributed in Full to All Covered Employees. The law was enacted by President Rodrigo Duterte last month.

Before the amendment, 85% of the service charge collected by establishments would be distributed to employees while the 15% are collected for management discretion for losses and breakages.

Reduction of benefits

“The repeal of some restaurants, hotels and service-oriented business enterprises of the service charge benefit is not in the intention of the revised service charge law. The revised Service Charge Law of 2019 which was approved by President Duterte last month turns over 100% of the service fees to all rank-and-file employees does not mandate or obligates employers and business-owners to discourage them from adopting the scheme or to rescind the practice altogether. This is not the intention of the law. Rather, the intention of the law is to improve the quality of service of businesses by incentivizing and empowering the best efforts of the employees and improve the workplace working conditions,” said ALU-TUCP National Executive Vice President Gerard Seno.

Negatively impacted by the move are service industry workers including waiters, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, customer assistants in restaurants. Other service industry workers affected are those working in gasoline stations, hotels, rest and recreation, and tourism.

DOLE must cure & correct flaw

The group said the management move clearly breaches the country’s numerous judicial jurisprudence on principles of non-diminution of benefits of workers particularly the non-wage benefits already been enjoyed by the workers.

“In behalf of the working people and before the reduction escalate industry-wide, we therefore call on the DOLE to make the corrective measure and make immediate steps to cure this diminution of benefit among rank and file employees. We urge the DOLE to issue a supplementary corrective administrative order which cures this reduction of benefit and encourages business owners to retain and adopt the scheme that both improves the brand of service of the business and compensate the service the employees has rendered,” Seno said.

Diminution creates workplace tension

ALU-TUCP spokesperson and advocacy officer Alan Tanjusay said some of these employees have approached them in person and through social media seeking assistance are furious over the development.

“The management's repeal of collection of the service charge fee will create tension in the workplace and hurt the relationship between employees and their bosses. It will certainly cause demoralization among the working force and impact on employee's productivity which will surely yield poor employees' output and adversely affects the unique quality brand of service that customers look for in the establishments. Thus, the repeal of collection of service charge fees constitute a diminution of benefit,” Tanjusay said.

Service charge augment minimum wage

According to the group, the service charge fee substantially helps take home pay of service-oriented industry workers.

“Since the country’s standard minimum wage rate is small and inadequate, management, business-owners must understand that lowly-paid waiters, cooks, dishwashers, order-takers and customer assistants and all other service industry workers look forward to the service charge collection because it substantially augment their take home pay. If this is remove, workers are in low morale,” Tanjusay said.





Conviction of Ampatuan massacre masterminds a long-deserved win for families of victims – Karapatan

December 19, 2019

QUEZON CITY – Human rights group Karapatan welcomed on Thursday, December 19, the conviction of 28 suspects, including Datu Andal Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan, in the infamous Ampatuan massacre that brutally claimed the lives of 58 individuals, including 32 journalists who were supposed to cover the filing of the certificate of candidacy of then gubernatorial bet Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu.

“We welcome the court’s decision to convict Datu Andal "Unsay" Ampatuan Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan, who masterminded the heinous massacre on November 23, 2009. This is a long-deserved win for the families of victims of the Ampatuan massacre, who waited a decade for such a decision. We attribute this victory to the tireless pursuit of justice led by the families of the victims, as well as journalists in the country. This is just the tip of the iceberg as the accounts point out to the culpability of other actors, who should likewise be held accountable for this heinous crime,” Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said.

Palabay also assailed the acquittal of accused policemen: "It should be repeatedly registered that the Ampatuan massacre is a State-perpetrated atrocity that revealed the deep and extensive connection between State forces and the local elite. The role and culpability of State actors must never be whitewashed."

Moreover, according to her, this decision is not only a slap on the part of the Ampatuans, but also on their close ally, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was known for leading a regime plagued with human rights violations and impunity. Her government was infamous for committing human rights violations against journalists, dissenters, and social activists.

“We view the decision as headway, but we maintain that justice delayed is justice denied. With the fact that one of the accused Ampatuan was acquitted, some of the accused were out on bail and other legal remedies were accorded to the Ampatuans because of their friendship with powerful people, this decade-long trial is already a form of injustice for the families of the victims. Likewise, the fact that Gloria Arroyo basks in impunity and enjoys protection under the Duterte government is yet another indication that while there is triumph, it is incomplete," she said.

Palabay lauded the families of victims, journalists, human rights advocates, and individuals from civil society organizations who remained unswerving in the pursuit of justice for all the victims killed in the massacre, amid the relentless attacks and harassment perpetrated by the Ampatuans and their allies in the government.

“This only proves that years of hounding and demanding for justice pays off. As long as there is relentless efforts from families to exact justice and accountability, the fight will continue. Our justice system would have put this case in limbo if it were not for the resounding calls of families and journalists to remind the nation of this brutal crime. Many of our legal processes are subverted by murderers and plunderers to allow them freedom or simply wait for their crimes to be forgotten, but this case reminds us that impunity is not forever," she added.

The Karapatan official also urged the public to be “keen and vigilant” as Ampatuan’s staunch ally, Macapagal-Arroyo, is back in power, citing the Duterte regime’s efforts in rehabilitating human rights violators and criminals “who were once thrown in the garbage bin of history.” She added that “with Macapagal-Arroyo being part of Duterte’s immediate circle, along with other officials who share the same contempt for human rights, we are called on to remain vigilant.”

Palabay noted that “the friendship of Duterte and Arroyo can result in the eventual pardon of the Ampatuans, despite a court conviction,” citing the regime’s abetting of top criminals and plunderers, including the Marcoses who are now absolved from graft cases involving billions of ill-gotten wealth.

“While welcoming the court’s decision, we enjoin the public to remain vigilant in calling for the disbandment of private armies of warlords and politicians, as well as of paramilitary groups used by those in power to instigate state terror. More than ever, we need to be conscious of the worsening turn of the country's political climate, which is a fertile ground for criminals like the Ampatuans to plot their escape from accountability. Our conscience moves us to continue the fight for justice for all other victims of human rights violations,” Palabay concluded.





DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez at PH pavilion
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez delivering his speech at the site of the PH pavilion.

DTI chief leads international launch of PH Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020

December 13, 2019

DUBAI – Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez led the international launch of the Philippine pavilion last 12 December for the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai. Located at the Expo’s Sustainability District, the Philippine pavilion is a 1,300 square-meter structure housed in a 3,160 square-meter lot. It will be the biggest ever in the history of the country’s participation in World Expos and the first time the Philippines is building from the ground up.

"We take pride in bringing the reality the vision of our beloved President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to take part in Expo 2020 Dubai, now being referred to as the World’s Greatest Show of our time," said Sec. Lopez.

Sec. Lopez shared that Expo 2020 Dubai is a timely platform to enhance Philippine presence in the global marketplace and promote commercial and public interest in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asian Region.

“With the theme, Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, the Expo 2020 Dubai offers an environment for creativity, exploration, and global cooperation, which will contribute to our goal of vigorously advancing science, technology, and innovation as a strategy for long term growth, consistent with the Philippine Development Plan of 2017-2022,” said Sec. Lopez.

He also sees the Expo as a way to cement the Philippines’ reputation as a progressive nation rich in natural resources and skilled manpower; a beautiful country of panoramic destinations and proud heritage and culture spanning 4,000 years; and a nation of creative, compassionate, and caring people deeply connected in communities worldwide.

The Philippine pavilion is themed “Bangkota,” the ancient Filipino word for coral reef, the world’s biggest organism made up of smaller organisms and which is symbolical of the Filipinos. There are over 12 million overseas Filipinos in the world and around 700,000 of them are in the United Arab Emirates.

“With over 190 countries participating and the biggest presence of OFWs in UAE and the Middle East region, it is therefore a very wise decision for the President Rodrigo Duterte to have the Philippines participate in Dubai Expo 2020, and bring pride and inspiration to all the Filipinos in the region, and even worldwide,” said Sec. Lopez.

The World Expo is a six-month expo held once every five years, where different countries showcase the best of what they have to offer. The Expo 2020 Dubai will run from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021.

The Philippines is not a regular participant of the World Expo, but it has been present in 12 World Expos since 1962. Its last participation was in the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai China, a specialized Expo in South Korea.

From L-R: Archt. Budji Layug, Archt. Royal Pineda, Alternate Commissioner General and DTI Asec. Rosvi Gaetos, PH Ambassador to UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana, DTI Secretary and Commissioner General Ramon Lopez, Expo Bureau Executive Director Najeeb Al Ali, Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes, Marian Pastor-Roces, DOST Asec Leah Buendia, DOLE Director Dominique Tutay.





Child actress Xia Vigor is Save the Children Philippines’ first Child Ambassador

Child actress Xia Vigor

Press Release
December 12, 2019

MANILA – Save the Children Philippines welcomes child actress Xia Vigor as the First Child Ambassador who will help in promoting children’s rights to grow up healthy, educated, and protected from all harm.

Xia, 10, who stars in the upcoming movie “Miracle in Cell no.7,” an entry in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), said she is determined to bring positive change for every child. She also aims to inspire children, especially in marginalized situations to never give up their dreams.

As her first activity, Xia led a feeding program for children in a community in Navotas City. Save the Children Philippines implements Project NURTURE (Nutrition among Urban Poor Through Unified Response) to reduce the number of deaths of children under 5 years old in identified areas in Navotas City by implementing a nutrition-specific intervention focusing on the first 1,000 days of life.

“Whenever I meet other children, I always tell them to work hard to attain their dreams. I hope I can help them make those dreams become a reality with my new role as a Save the Children Child Ambassador,” said Xia Vigor during her visit to Save the Children Philippines office in Quezon City.

Xia learned the importance of sharing her blessings at age 6 when she started joining her mother in outreach activities in the Mindoro provinces to distribute slippers and school supplies to children of Mangyan families.

She was moved to see young children go to school barefoot and without school supplies. Xia has also been active in campaigning for environmental protection and has joined tree planting and coastal clean-up activities.

Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines said Xia fits the role of Child Ambassador because she is very smart, articulate, and has the empathy to children living in deprived situations.

“Children around the world are speaking of their rights, and Save the Children supports the realization of their right to be listened to, by providing a platform so they can speak up on matters that affect them,” said Muyot.

Xia will take important roles in the launch of key global moments of Save the Children and help amplify the call for respect and fulfillment of children’s rights and for the end to all forms of violence against children in the home, school and community settings.

She will also be active in fundraising activities during humanitarian response to help Save the Children bring life-saving emergency kits to children and their families affected by natural calamities, disasters, armed conflict and other emergencies.

Xia is an environmental advocate who has participated in tree planting activities. She once aspired to become a weightlifter and set up her own beauty salon.

The child actress now sets her eyes on becoming an advocate for children’s rights.





Army reservists complete 5-day enhancement training

8ID Army reservists

December 12, 2019

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – A total of 287 Army Reservists coming from the different Community Defense Centers (CDCs) in the region successfully completed on their respective training courses facilitated by 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army through the Office of the Chief of Staff for Education and Training, G8 held at 8ID Covered Court on December 10, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.

This is in line with Republic Act 7077 Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Reservist Act of 1991 otherwise known as An Act Providing for the Organization, Administration, Training, Maintenance and Utilization of the Citizen Armed Force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and for Other Purposes.

Reservists are organized, trained, developed and maintained to ensure their readiness anytime to augment the regular force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines not only in times of conflict but also during emergencies arising from calamities, disasters and threats to peace and order including the need to provide humanitarian assistance in relief and rescue operations.

Courses undertaken are the following: First Responders’ Training - 36 reservists from 806th (Biliran) Community Defense Center based in Naval, Biliran; Signal Company Organization Training - 56 reservists from 804th (Tacloban City) Community Defense Center based at Kuta Kankabato, San Jose, Tacloban City; Marksmanship Training - 135 reservists from 802nd (Eastern Samar) Community Defense Center based in Borongan, Eastern Samar and Reservist Civil-Military Operations (CMO) Training - 60 reservists from six (6) different CDCs in Eastern Visayas.

“As force multipliers of the Regular Force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, our reservists are also our reliable partners in civil-military operations and other undertakings that contributes to nation building,” explained by Col. Ferdinand S. Razalan, the Assistant Division Commander for Reservist and Retiree Affairs (ADCRRA) of 8th Infantry Division as the Guest of Honor and Speaker during the joint closing ceremony.





Tulay ng Pangulo in Javier, Leyte
DAR Undersecretary, Bernie Cruz; OIC-Project Director of the DPWH, Rodrigo Delos Reyes; Javier Mayor, Michael Dragon Javier; and Leyte 5th District Representative, Carl Nicolas Cari (4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th from left, respectively) cut the ceremonial ribbon during the inauguration of the “Tulay ng Pangulo para sa Kaunlarang Pang-Agraryo” project. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

DAR turns over “Tulay ng Pangulo” in Javier

December 9, 2019

JAVIER, Leyte – Residents of Barangay Magsaysay and nearby villages in this fourth-class municipality applauded with joy as they witnessed the inauguration and turnover last week of the bridge that would eventually change their lives.

In his welcome message, Magsaysay Barangay Chairman Raul Abueva said school children would now be able to attend their classes regularly even during rainy days.

For Carmelita Mamalias, transporting of farm products would be a lot easier now.

Mamalias shared that prior to the construction of this bridge, residents in the area cross the stream thru a spillway which is flooded during heavy rains making it impassable.

Undersecretary Bernie Cruz of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) led the inauguration and turnover of the first “Tulay ng Pangulo para sa Kaunlarang Pang-Agraryo” project implemented in Eastern Visayas.

Cruz disclosed that the P9.7-million project was funded under the French Government thru Compagnie Francaise d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur (COFACE).

He further disclosed that the 28-linear meter bridge, implemented in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), used pre-fabricated materials imported from France.

Thus, Cruz reminded the recipients to take care of the project and maintain it to be in good condition always so it could still be used by the next generation.

According to him, the materials used in this project are the same materials used in the construction of the Eifel Tower. “Paghinawakan nyo ang tulay, parang nakarating na rin kayo sa France at tinitingnan yung torre,” Cruz jokingly said during the occasion.

Meanwhile, OIC-Project Director Rodrigo Delos Reyes of the DPWH advised the residents in the area to report to the local government unit any damage seen in the project so it could immediately be repaired.

In acceptance, Mayor Michael Dragon Javier repeatedly thanked DAR and DPWH officials that finally the bridge, which according to him, was requested in 2013 by his father, the former mayor, Leonardo Javier Jr., is now being inaugurated.

Javier stressed the benefit this bridge would bring to his town. ”This is a sign of progress, a sign of success for this town,” he added.

About 10,000 residents from this barangay and five other nearby villages are expected to be benefited by this project, wherein 293 are agrarian reform beneficiaries.

With this bridge, this area becomes an alternate route in going to adjacent municipality, Abuyog.

Joining Javier in accepting the project was Leyte’s fifth district representative, Carl Nicolas Cari, who also committed to help in the maintenance of the project.

Javier likewise acknowledged, during the said occasion, previous projects DAR poured in this municipality, which included six farm-to-market roads with a combined amount reaching P96.8-million.

DAR Tulay ng Pangulo in Javier, Leyte






DPWH-Biliran materials testing laboratory
DPWH-Biliran DEO’s repair/maintenance of Quality Assurance Section (QAS) laboratory testing building is on-going with 80% accomplishment as of November 30, 2019 under contract with W.B. Alagao Construction. The completion of this building will provide additional space for Materials Engineers to conduct more material laboratory testing and space for storage of additional equipments.

DPWH-Biliran DEO gears for two-star materials testing laboratory

By DPWH-Biliran
December 9, 2019

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) is gearing for a two-star materials testing laboratory to further enhance its quality testing services.

David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer said that they are slowly complying with all the requirements needed to qualify for a two-star rating, starting with the renovation of its laboratory testing building.

“At present, the Quality Assurance Section (QAS) laboratory testing is being renovated in order to expand its total floor area which is one of the requirements needed to be complied to qualify for a two-star materials testing laboratory,” said Adongay.

The said project was allocated with a budget of P470,901.18 under contract with W.B. Alagao Construction.

“The renovation will also enable the district to procure additional testing equipment because of the additional area where the procured equipments can be stored. The increase in number of equipments will result to the increase of test being offered within the district,” he added.

Engr. Ronald Sebios, Project Engineer reported that the project is on-going with 80% accomplishment as of November 30, 2019. It has a target completion date of December 22, 2019.

The system classifies testing laboratories into One-Star, Two-Star or Three-Star categories based on the following criteria: Availability of testing equipment and apparatus, Competence/Accreditation of Personnel, Observance of health and safety standards, Working area of the laboratory, Calibration of apparatus/equipment and Third-party certification.

On May 29, 2018, the DPWH QAS-Biliran DEO was given a Star Rating Certification for having satisfactorily complied with the provisions of Department Order No. 126, Series of 2016 Amendment to D.O. No. 11 Series of 2013 “Star Rating of DPWH Regional and District Materials Testing Laboratories” thereby classifying and categorizing it as a one-star materials testing laboratory.

The QAS of DPWH Biliran DEO is responsible for conducting various test of construction materials to ascertain that all materials incorporated into the work meet the minimum requirement by the DPWH.





Karapatan: Close to 400 political prisoners arrested under the Duterte regime

Free all political prisoners

December 6, 2019

QUEZON CITY – Today, December 6, human rights group Karapatan and Kapatid, along with other people’s organizations, trooped to the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City to call for the release of all political prisoners. The said mass action highlighted the plight of political prisoners and the ongoing injustices in jail, the issue of criminalization of activists and human rights defenders, and the weaponization of the law and legal processes to silence dissent.

According to data released by Karapatan as of November 2019, there are now 629 political prisoners in the country; more than half, or 382, were arrested under the Duterte government. Of this figure, there are 50 elderly, 93 women, 113 sickly, 11 peace consultants, and 5 were minors during the time of arrest.

Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor said that these figures are staggering. "The numbers reflect the vindictive, militarist and repressive position of the Duterte government. Duterte has already arrested more activists in a span of three years than his predecessor's entire six years. This is also indicative that the situation has progressively worsened, and that our laws have been increasingly weaponized to criminalize dissent."

Clamor linked the high number of trumped-up charges and arbitrary arrests to the government’s repressive policies, foremost Executive Order No. 70 (s2018), which created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). The structures and partnerships orchestrated by the NTF, particularly its Legal Cooperation Cluster, is tasked to draw up and file legal offensives against activists and human rights defenders.

“We continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of individuals who were arbitrarily incarcerated as a form of harassment and persecution for their relentless fight for social justice. We deplore the Duterte administration for maintaining its militarist policy of criminalizing defenders and social activists. On the other hand, amid these attacks against critics, the regime and its corrupt bureaucratic machinery have been freeing convicted plunderers and perpetrators of human rights violations, killings, torture, disappearances, and harassment,” he said.

“The double standard in our justice system is infuriatingly ironic. While political prisoners are painstakingly suffering inside filthy and cramped jails, the likes of Imelda Marcos, the wife of the former dictator, is now roaming free despite her conviction. Others like Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, along with her corrupt officials in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Commission on Audit, are now absolved from graft cases in the Ombudsman. Other corrupt and vile, but rich individuals such as infamous Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez, find loopholes by trying to buy their way out of justice. This happens because jail management is focused on profiteering and further perpetrating injustices even behind bars,” added Clamor.

The Karapatan official said that this reeks of the gruesome state of the justice system under the Duterte regime, in which criminals are being absolved one after the other from the crimes they committed against the Filipino people, while peace consultants, social activists, human rights defenders, and administration critics continuously face the wrath of state persecution.

Clamor also noted how this same fate is being experienced in other countries, including Hong Kong, Venezuela, and Palestine, where tyrants continue to circumvent laws and use state machinery to suppress dissent and pacify the legitimate calls of victims and various sectors. Issues raised include unjust laws and neoliberal policies which continue to disenfranchise the poor and marginalized – concerns that are similar to those being experienced and criticized in the Philippines.

“Karapatan expresses its solidarity with the brave political prisoners around the world who suffer the unjust and inhumane consequences of standing in the line of fire. We reiterate that political prisoners are not criminals. They are courageous and exemplary individuals who did not waiver in advancing their political beliefs, regardless of the powerful forces that they are confronting. They are farmers, peasant advocates, workers, trade unionists, teachers, agriculturists, health workers, pastors, peace consultants, freedom fighters, community leaders, human rights defenders, and citizens who struggle for a better and humane society,” he explained.

“The rising number of political prisoners indicates the worsening tyranny and repression in the country. Free all political prisoners! Resist tyranny! We likewise enjoin everyone to join us in the December 10 protest, in commemoration of International Human Rights Day,” ended Clamor.





Completed P70.48M asphalt overlay project at Brgy. Lucsoon, Naval, Biliran
Completed P70.48M asphalt overlay project at Brgy. Lucsoon, Naval, Biliran along Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road (NCCCR). The project was completed on November 09, 2019 under contract with B.M Marketing. It covers a total length of 5.276 lane km/ 2.6-kilometer. It also includes rehabilitation of damaged concrete road with a width of 3.05 meters, thickness of 0.28 m. and a total length of 0.117-kilometer.

P132.7M asphalt overlay project completed in Biliran

By DPWH-Biliran
December 6, 2019

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) completes two asphalt overlay projects amounting to P132.7M.

David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer said that asphalt overlays were implemented along the 2.2-kilometer road at Brgy. San Isidro in Biliran town along Biliran Circumferential Road (BCR) and at 2.6-kilometer road at Brgy. Lucsoon in Naval town along Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road (NCCCR).

According to Adongay, the project entails the application of asphalt overlay on an existing concrete pavement with a width of 12.20 meters and a thickness of 50 mm. Rehabilitation of damaged concrete pavement was also included in the project.

Along BCR, Brgy. San Isidro, a damaged concrete pavement was improved with a length of 0.121-kilometer and 0.117-kilometer length along NCCCR, Brgy. Lucsoon, both with a width of 3.05 meters and a thickness of 0.28 m.

“The existing concrete roads paved many years ago already show signs of minor defects and when left unattended might deteriorate further,” Adongay said.

The preventive maintenance project is designed to prevent further deterioration of the existing concrete pavement subjected to wear and tear of heavy equipment and vehicles.

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

The completed project will provide a smooth riding surface for the traveling public as well as provide convenience in transporting agricultural and aquatic products to market.





NEC 2019 showcases top PH exporters, export enablers

National Export Congress

December 6, 2019

MAKATI CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), together with Export Development Council (EDC) and Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport), recognized the top Philippine companies for their noteworthy export performance in 2018 during the National Export Congress (NEC) held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on December 06, 2019.

Also, DTI-EMB and Center for International Trade Expositions & Missions (CITEM) collaborated for the Export Enablers Exhibit which showcased trade regulatory government agencies, financial institutions, and private organizations.

The top exporters were acknowledged based on their track record, excellence, and innovation in the delivery of services. Their grit to achieve success and persistence to make Filipino products be globally competitive has contributed to the country’s export revenue.

DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, DTI-Trade Promotions Group (TPG) and Special Concerns Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman, DTI-EMB Director Senen M. Perlada, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr., Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCI) Chairman George T. Barcelon, and DTI Assistant Secretary Angelo B. Taningco presented the awards to 21 exemplary exporters of the country.

This year’s Hall of Fame Awardee is Nestle Philippines, Inc. for Processed Food and Beverages. The Hall of Fame Award is given to exporters who were awarded consistently as Top Export Performers in the last three consecutive years.

The Top Sectoral Exporters Award were given to Amkor Technology Philippines Inc. for Electronics; B/E Aerospace B.V. (Philippine Branch) for Machinery and Transport Equipment; Lear Automotive Services (Netherlands) B.V. (Philippine branch) for Motor Vehicle Parts (Ignition Wiring Sets); Petron Corporation for Chemicals; Sumifru (Philippines) Corporation for Fresh Fruits; Platinum Group Metals Corporation for Minerals; and Cargill Oil Mills Philippines, Inc. for Coconut Oil.

Other awardees were L&T International Group Philippines, Inc. for Apparel and Clothing Accessories; Nestle Philippines, Inc. for Processed Food and Beverages; SCAD Services PTE. Ltd. for Woodcrafts (Builder’s Woodworks); FPF Corporation for Travel Goods and Handbags; and Millenium Ocean Star Corporation for Fish Shrimps and Prawns/Fresh or Preserved.

Moreover, the Excellence Award for Services Sectors were awarded to Synergy88 Group of Companies for Animation Services; Suyen Corporation (Bench) for Franchising Services; GameOps, Inc. for Game Development Services; ADEC innovations, Inc. for IT-BPM Services (Knowledge Process Outsourcing); and Alliance Software, Inc. for IT Services (Software Development).

The Excellence Award for Services Sectors is given to exporters who were excellent in their respective fields and have shown a praiseworthy contribution to the industry.

Furthermore, the Most Outstanding Ripples Plus Awards were conferred to Primex Coco Products for Luzon; Profood International Corporation for Visayas; and PHILBEST Canning Corporation for Mindanao.

The Most Outstanding Ripples Plus Award was based on Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) ranking for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). This is also a recognition of these exporters’ remarkable success in penetrating global markets.

The exporters’ recognition aims to inspire the country’s exporting community to continuously innovate and improve. It is also to acknowledge their hard work and a testimony of the robust partnership of the government and the private sector in pursuing inclusive growth and improving the exports’ development through innovation.

Meanwhile, in line with the NEC’s theme “Driving Exports through Digital Transformation,” the organizers featured the services of the following organizations during the Export Enablers Exhibition held simultaneously with the NEC at the Mezzanine of the Plenary Hall PICC: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Board of Investments (BOI), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Bureau of Import Services (BIS), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), CITEM, Cobena, and DTI-EMB / 1Export Trade and Services Inc.

Also featured were FedEx Express, Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Highly Succeed, Inc. Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL), Keepr Storage PH, Landbank of the Philippines (LBP), Optical Media Board (OMB), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), PHILEXPORT, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PHILFIDA), Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC), Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), Strategic Trade Management Office (STMO), UnionBank | UBX, Vesl, and World Trade Center (WTC).

The NEC is the highlight event of the National Exporters' Week (NEW). Every first week of December is the annual celebration of the NEW per presidential proclamation 931, Series 0f 1996 and House Resolution 33. It highlights the government and the private sector’s commitment to continuously work together to sustain export promotion and development.





Villar’s capitalistic views have no place in public service – ACT

ACT Press Release
December 6, 2019

QUEZON CITY – Appalled by Senator Cynthia Villar’s statement yesterday about closing down small and ‘underperforming’ schools, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines questioned the senator’s ‘integrity in holding a public post.’

“It is unbelievable for such irresponsible and anti-student comment to come from one of the top officials in the land who is expected to uphold the Constitution, which outrightly mandates the State’s responsibility to provide free, quality education to all Filipinos,” lamented Joselyn Martinez, ACT Chairperson.

Media reported that Sen. Villar gave the comment in reaction to the country’s poor performance in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Martinez chided the senator, saying that such ‘capitalistic view that reward is the ultimate driving force of man has no place in public service.’

“It is a big insult to our teachers who sacrifice daily to teach despite wanting state support, not because of what they will get in exchange, but out of their real love for Filipino children and genuine sense of public service,” Martinez stated.

Martinez asserted that schools should be erected wherever Filipino children are as their right to education needs to be fulfilled by the state. In stark comparison to Villar’s proposal, which Martinez said is ‘tantamount to depriving Filipino children of their right to education, especially those in the far-flung areas.’

“Sen Villar’s comment shows of her sheer ignorance of the problems that beset the public education system and her unfortunate refusal to be part of the solution. As a Senator, she could have pushed for higher budget to education, substantial pay hike for teachers, review of the education curriculum, and other reforms that would improve the quality of education,” Martinez said.

Martinez stressed that the declining quality of education is not due to teachers’ and students’ lacking drive to excel but due to problems on government subsidy, efficient implementation of programs, creation of enabling environment, and the curriculum’s orientation, content, and direction.

“We challenge Sen. Villar to spend a month teaching in a far-flung barrio for her to see the sacrifices of teachers and how eager our students are to learn. While at it, she can also join the communities in planting crops so that she may correct her many misconceptions on farmers,” dared Martinez.

The comment referred to the remark Villar made at the heat of the protests over her authored Rice Tarrification Law about how farmers are asking too high a price for palay when a five-peso-per-kilo income should be enough for them.





New paved road connects 3 barangays in Almagro, Samar

Almagro road

December 5, 2019

CALBAYOG CITY – The road construction project linking barangays Lunang I, Lunang II, and Talahid in Almagro, Samar, is now complete. The finished pavement extends over a total length of 2,469 meters, approaching the barangay of Costa Rica.

According to the Department of Public Works and Highways, the road is part of a bigger circumferential road construction project in the island municipality.

As it is built on the inner mountainous side of the island, riprap slope protection was built into the road for stability. Drainage canals were also built to keep the pavement flood free and safe to use even in heavy rainfall.

At six (6) meters wide, the new road offers greater mobility and ease of traffic for motorists. Although there aren’t too many vehicles in Almagro at present, the provision of a wide road ensures the thoroughfare will accommodate future growth in vehicle population.

The road will also help local tourism. Some of the island’s budding tourist attractions include an exotic diving resort in Keriketi, a museum of endangered species, caves, rock formation, and an iconic lighthouse.

The P50-million project benefits not only the barangays it covers but also the island municipality as a whole.





20IB and LGU Gamay, Northern Samar showcases resiliency against calamities

Army Disaster Rescue and Relief Operations

December 5, 2019

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – The 20th Infantry (We Lead) Battalion of the 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division once again demonstrated its being the protector of the people in its area of operations that include Northern Samar as the unit conducted Disaster Rescue and Relief Operations (DRRO) during the onslaught of Tropical Storm “Tisoy” on December 2, 2019.

“We Lead” troopers responded to the call of duty by augmenting the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) and Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support (PLEDS) Cluster both of Gamay Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) in Northern Samar and rescued 216 families who were trapped by the flash floods caused by intermittent rains, thereby preventing any casualty in the area.

The Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations of 20IB and Local Government Unit (LGU) Gamay, Northern Samar dubbed as “Operation Tisoy” includes rescue and relief operations as well as immediate road clearing operations which is still ongoing as of this report.

“The lessons taught by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” six years ago, made us more resilient, empowered and proactive to withstand disasters that might befall upon us anytime. The mitigation measures being implemented by the LGU through its Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the military with the cooperation of the local residents prevented the loss of lives, limbs and properties” Major General Pio Q. Diñoso III, Commander of 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division said.





DOLE gives early Christmas gifts to 100 child laborers

Project Angel Tree

November 29, 2019

TACLOBAN CITY – Christmas came early for one hundred child laborers as they received gifts from the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office VIII through the Project Angel Tree conducted on November 28, 2019 in Hilongos, Leyte.

With the theme, “Children should not work in fields, but on dreams”, DOLE RO VIII in coordination with the local government unit of Hilongos, gave away different school supplies as early Christmas gifts.

Mr. Virgilio A. Doroja, Jr., DOLE Senior Labor and Employment Officer and regional focal for Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP) gladly shared during the occasion that Project Angel Tree, one of the components of CLPEP, aims to improve the economic and social conditions of child laborers and their families.

“Through this Project Angel Tree, we at DOLE are hoping to assist our child laborers and help them leave the bondage of child labor. Aside from these school supplies, we are also providing assistance to their parents in the form of livelihood”, said Mr. Doroja.

Mr. Doroja likewise informed that the parents of the identified child laborers were organized as a group for them to avail livelihood grants from DOLE.

“The assistance doesn’t end with the gift-giving. We have organized their parents into a group and provided them orientation on our livelihood program. With the provision of livelihood we hope to augment the income of their families, so that this children will no longer work but concentrate on their studies”, Mr. Doroja added.

Project Angel Tree is a component of the DOLE Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program which provides an array of social services that range from food, clothing, educational assistance or school supplies, and even work and training opportunities made available by sponsors or benefactors (‘angels’) to child laborers and their families.


Last updated: 02/18/2020