inflation rate accelerates further by 5.7% in March
April 17, 2018
TACLOBAN CITY – The
annual Inflation Rate (IR) of Eastern Visayas accelerated further by
5.7% in March 2018. This IR was 1.4 percentage point faster compared
to the 4.3% IR a month ago, and 2.8 percentage points faster than
the recorded 2.9% IR in the same period last year. The regional
inflation rate was 1.4 percentage point faster than the 4.3%
national average in March.
Four provinces in the
region – Biliran, Samar, Leyte, and Eastern Samar posted faster
inflation rates in March compared with their figures in the previous
month. On the other hand, Southern Leyte registered decreased IR,
while Northern Samar had sustained its inflation rate from February.
Northern Samar registered the highest IR at 7.1%, while Southern
Leyte posted the lowest IR at 0.9% (Table 1).
By major commodity groups,
Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas
and Other Fuels, Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Transport,
Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routine Maintenance of the
House, Health, and Education exhibited higher annual growths from
February to March.
Annual price changes in
Clothing and Footwear slowed down from February to March. The rest
of the commodity groups retained their previous month’s rates.
The Purchasing Power of
Peso (PPP) of the region was recorded at P0.82 in March 2018. This
is weaker compared with the P0.83 PPP registered in the previous
month. This PPP implies that goods and services worth 100 pesos in
March 2018 only costs 82 pesos in 2012.
Biliran, Leyte, and Samar
registered decreases in PPP compared with their figures in February.
Southern Leyte recorded a 0.01 centavo increase in PPP, while the
rest of the provinces had sustained PPP. Leyte recorded the
strongest PPP at P0.85, followed by Southern Leyte at P0.84.
Northern Samar and Samar, meanwhile, posted the weakest PPP at P0.77
electricity coops, consumers decry corruption in CA overturn of ERC
April 17, 2018
QUEZON CITY – A
coalition of household electricity consumers, people’s and
environmental groups, faith-based groups, and electricity
cooperatives slammed the Court of Appeals' issue of a permanent
injunction against the Ombudsman’s order of suspension of four ERC
Commissioners alleged to be in collusion with Meralco and its
affiliate coal-sourced electricity generation companies.
“For the second time, and
to the grave detriment of public interest, the Court of Appeals has
turned a blind eye to the rampant corruption being committed in the
ERC,” said Power for People Coalition Convenor and Sanlakas
Secretary-General Atty. Aaron Pedrosa.
“In spite of
well-established facts illuminating the favors given by key ERC
officials to Meralco and its sister energy companies, the Court of
Appeals halted these commissioners’ rightful suspension and now has
allowed them to return to their posts untouched,” continued Pedrosa.
“Moreover, this permanent
injunction by the Court of Appeals is an injunction against the
cheaper, cleaner, and safer energy sources. The CA has sealed
electricity consumers’ fate to costly, dirty, and deadly energy,” he
The Power for People (P4P)
Coalition cited the graft charges filed by a number of petitioners
in the Ombudsman against Commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Yap-Taruc,
Josefina Patricia Magpale-Asirit and Geronimo Sta. Ana for their act
of exempting the Power Supply Agreements submitted by Meralco and
other major energy companies from the coverage of the Competitive
Selection Process, a legally required process which seeks to ensure
that electricity consumers are given the cheapest, most competitive
source of electricity.
P4P Coalition Convenor
Erwin Puhawan of Freedom from Debt Coalition also slammed the
judicial body for “normalizing the culture of corruption within the
Energy Regulatory Commission.”
“The Court of Appeals
keeps protecting these commissioners from the legal repercussions of
their collusion with private companies – all under the guise of
preserving the stability of ERC’s operations,” Puhawan said.
“But it is clear as day
that the ERC has long been operating on corruption, and it is high
time that the Commission is made to answer for its repeated
violation of its public mandate. Otherwise, the public is doomed to
suffer through dirtier and costlier electricity alongside the rising
prices of other goods,” he continued.
According to Cris Palabay
from Save the Beauty of La Union, the contested Power Supply
Agreements irregularly accommodated by the ERC all compel the
generation of electricity from coal, an energy source known for
being detrimental to the environment and to the health of
“The Court of Appeals and
the ERC are effectively allowing for the continuation of these coal
companies’ destruction of our communities,” said Palabay whose
group, Save the Beauty of La Union, is currently resisting the
efforts of Global Luzon Energy Development Corp. (one of the
questionable PSAs) to build two 335-MW coal-fired power generating
facility in Brgy. Luna, La Union.
Center for Energy,
Ecology, and Development (CEED) Legal and Policy Officer Atty. Avril
De Torres also called out the coal industry’s continuing influence
over key agencies in the government, which in turn hinders the
entrance and development of cleaner and cheaper alternative,
renewable energy sources in the Philippine market
“At present, the cost of
solar and wind are drastically decreasing, with recently the cost of
wind at P3.50/kwh already leagues away from the present cost of
coal. This is notwithstanding the current cost of solar which is at
P2.99/kwh,” stated De Torres.
“The cost of RE is
projected to decrease even more in the coming years. If the ERC,
with the help of the CA, goes on to greenlight the contested PSAs
entered into by Meralco, they will be stealing at least 20 years of
cleaner, more affordable energy from Filipino communities and
electricity consumers,” she continued.
Philippine Movement for
Climate Justice National Coordinator Ian Rivera expressed alarm at
what he called the administration’s “repeated failure” to address
corruption, an inaction that largely benefits corporations while
exposing the public at large to burdens of costlier goods, and
damaged communities and environment.
“The solution following
the complaints against the ERC Commissioners has been very
straightforward: to remove the accused commissioners from their
posts and to immediately replace them in the continuation of ERC
operations,” said Rivera.
“Instead, gross inaction
on the part of the administration has culminated to a resumption of
posts by these highly contested commissioners who are now in the
position to approve the Power Supply Agreements that greatly
prejudice public interest,” he continued.
“This incompetence in
addressing corruption is a betrayal of the entire administration’s
promise to uphold an accountable government,” he concluded.
universities in NCR intend to hike fees
National Union of
Students of the Philippines
April 16, 2018
QUEZON CITY – Among
the private universities and colleges in the National Capital Region
(NCR), 78 submitted petitions to raise their tuition and other
National Union of Students
of the Philippines (NUSP) spokesperson Mark Vincent Lim slammed the
proposed fee increases as a sign of the “worsening system of
profiteering” on education.
“Rising prices of goods
and commodities due to the TRAIN Law have already been a great
burden to Filipino families under the Duterte administration. Even
the cost of education is no exemption. There are no signs that
Duterte will stop fee increases so as to allow capitalist educators
to amass more profits by selling education,” said Lim.
According to the student
union, private school owners already “milked” millions of pesos from
the Filipino youth. Among those are Lyceum of the Philippines
University (LPU), Far Eastern University (FEU), and University of
the East (UE) who topped the list with at least 600 million pesos
each in gross revenue for 2016 from collecting fees.
“At the end of the day,
kawawa ang mga kabataan if the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
and the Duterte government will favor the interest of capitalist
educators way more than the welfare of students. There is not a time
in history when the interests of big businessmen were not factored
in the policy making of CHED,” claimed Lim.
Included in the 78 schools
are Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University - Manila, De
La Salle Araneta University, Far Eastern University, University of
the East, Centro Escolar University, Adamson University, and
University of Asia and the Pacific.
More profits from public funds
“Profiteering is not just
about the collection of tuition and other school fees in private
schools anymore. Capitalist educators found a way in tapping the
public funds, which are supposedly intended for free education, for
their profit,” said Lim.
Lim added that the
recently released implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the
free ed law allow owners of private schools to rake in profit from
the national budget.
From the data gathered by
the Union, the P40 billion funding for the “free education law” is
allotted for various programs: P16 billion and P7 billion for free
education in SUCs and in technical-vocational programs,
respectively; P16 billion for the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES),
from which the tuition and other school fees of students in private
schools can be billed; and P1 billion for student loans.
“Duterte’s free and
accessible education is just pure press releases and soundbites.
While 1 in every 4 students of state universities and colleges (SUCs)
still paid tuition and other school fees in AY 2017-2018, a huge
portion of funding in the form of the TES go straight to the pockets
of private school owners, at the expense of the students’ right to
free education. This is the government’s way of assuring businessmen
that they will not run out of enrollees and source of superprofits,”
“Duterte is exposed as
insincere in making education more accessible to all. Collection of
various fees is still rampant both in private and public schools.
There is indeed a necessity for us to stand up against Duterte for
his anti-student and pro-businessmen policies disguising as
pro-student reforms. We call on the youth to carry out protest
actions on April 19 in opposition to fees collection and increases
in their respective campuses,” ended Lim.
Duterte order to
Calida and Alvarez to oust Sereno destroys system of checks and
Movement Against Tyranny
April 10, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
President Rodrigo Duterte’s livid response to Chief Justice Ma
Lourdes Sereno’s acceptance speech in yesterday’s Parangal Ng
Kagitingan awards displays how he has swept away the checks and
balances so necessary for democracies to function.
An irate Duterte said he
would personally ensure Sereno’s ouster from the Supreme Court: “I
will egg (Solicitor General) Calida to do his best. Ako na mismo
maglakad, magkalaban sa ‘yo.”
Duterte also said he would
ask Congress to “go into the impeachment right away” and “to ask
Speaker Alvarez now, kindly fast track the impeachment of Sereno.”
Directly addressing Sereno,
Duterte said: “Sige ka diyan, daldal nang daldal, sige, upakan kita.
I will help any investigator, talagang upakan kita. I am putting you
on notice na I am now your enemy and you have to be out of the
In declaring himself an
enemy of the Chief Justice and guaranteeing her ouster from the
Supreme Court, the President also declared war on a Constitution
that clearly stipulates the co-equal status of the executive,
legislative and judicial branches of government.
Likewise, his brusque
order for the House of Representatives to fast track an impeachment
process his solicitor general has tried to derail gives lie to his
efforts to wash his hands off this persecution of Sereno.
Speaker Alvarez’s swift
assurance that his lord’s order be done only cements the reputation
of the House of Representatives as a chamber of servile, venal
politicians who have reduced Congress to a rubber stamp of
We challenge Supreme Court
justices: pull back from the brink. Show the tyrant that there are
lines you will not cross.
But we are sure of one
thing. Even if our so-called democratic institutions crumble from
the rot of corruption and the iron-hand of tyrannical rule, the
Filipino people will resist, we will not give up the fight.
2 CNTs captured,
1 high powered firearm recovered in N. Samar
DPAO, 8ID PA
April 6, 2018
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – A platoon from 43rd Infantry (We Search) Battalion while
conducting security patrol in Brgy. San Vicente, Catubig, Northern
Samar encountered undetermined number of CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs)
at around 4:05 A.M. April 5, 2018.
Troops were in the area to
check the validity of the information relayed to them by the
populace on the extortion activities of the armed group. The
encounter resulted in the apprehension of two (2) suspected CNTs
(their names are presently withheld) and the recovery of one M16A1
Elisco rifle SN:039188, two magazines long, two magazines short, 79
rounds for 5.56mm ammunition, one Lenovo laptop, three USB drive,
one memory card, two card readers and, two cellphones. There was no
casualty or injury on the government side.
Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio,
Commander 8ID lauded the troops for a job well done and urged them
to be aggressive against the CNTs who continue to harass civilian
communities thru armed threats and deceptions.
In his statement, Maj.
Gen. Farnacio said that, “troops are there in the area to protect
the people and safeguard the ongoing PAMANA Projects and other
government projects in Northern Samar. This incident clearly shows
that these CNTs are desperate to incur casualties to government
troops to slow down the delivery of basic services of the government
to the communities.”
“This terrorist group is
responsible for large-scale extortion activities, and other criminal
acts that instill fear and anxiety in the hearts and mind of the
peace-loving Filipinos that greatly affects their day-to-day
activities,” Farnacio added.
Duterte urged to sign
Endo EO & free millions of Filipinos from bondage of
April 5, 2018
QUEZON CITY – Labor
group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the
Philippines-Nagkaisa (ALU-TUCP-Nagkaisa) is urging President Rodrigo
Duterte to fulfill his promise to end the precarious short-term Endo
work scheme in the country by signing the Executive Order drafted by
labor groups and free millions of Filipino workers kept in poverty
by contractualization arrangement.
“We are calling on
President Duterte to read the latest Executive Order on
contractualization that he asked us to draft which was submitted
February 7 to his office during our dialogue with him in Malacanang,”
said Michael Mendoza, ALU-TUCP-Nagkaisa National President.
“This EO drafted by labor
is consistent with Article 106 of the Labor Code which says that the
DOLE Secretary may prohibit or regulate the contracting out of jobs.
Further, the DOLE Secretary is just the alter ego of the President
so the EO is feasible contrary to the views of some cabinet
officials,” said Mendoza.
“The President is a
lawyer. By going through the draft, the President will find that
labor groups are no longer pushing for an absolute, total ban on
contractualization and that there is no need to transfer the end
contractualization matter to Congress to amend the law. There’s no
need to amend any laws,” explained Mendoza.
This latest version of the
EO is different from the first and previous drafted EO from labor
which practically abolishes the practice of all forms of short-term
employment including contractualization, Endo (end-of-contract), and
“555” (referring to five months contract duration).
In recognition of
President Duterte’s concern that an absolute ban on
contractualization may discourage new investors in the country,
labor organizations revised the first EO draft by giving
business-owners flexibility to hire the services of contractual or
seasonal jobs on top of the regular and directly-hired workforce.
Section 2 of the EO
drafted by labor group says that: “The Secretary of Labor and
Employment may, however, in consultation with the National
Tripartite Industrial Peace Council under Article 290 of the Labor
Code, as amended, by appropriate regulations, determine activities
which may be contracted out.”
On the other hand, Article
106 of the Labor Code says: “The Secretary of Labor and Employment
may, by appropriate regulations, restrict or prohibit the
contracting-out of labor to protect the rights of workers
established under this Code. In so prohibiting or restricting, he
may make appropriate distinctions between labor-only contracting and
job contracting as well as differentiations within these types of
contracting and determine who among the parties involved shall be
considered the employer for purposes of this Code, to prevent any
violation or circumvention of any provision of this Code.”
“We hope the President
would fulfill and not renege on his commitment to free millions of
workers from the bondage of abusive labor slavery under
contractualization. We hope he would keep his promise to end
contractualization,” said Mendoza.
Around 30 million
Filipinos of the 41 million labor force are working under
contractualization scheme without security of tenure and other
benefits received by regular workers. They are paid poverty wages,
and accorded with poor social protection insurance benefits despite
having rendered labor throughout their productive years.
Engineer David P. Adongay Jr., (wearing shades) inspects the
on-going road widening project along Biliran Circumferential
Road (BCR) - Burabod, Biliran Section on March 6, 2018.
Completion of this project will accommodate huge number of
vehicular users. It is target to be completed on May 1,
DEO’s 2017 projects posts 67.93% accomplishment
April 4, 2018
NAVAL, Biliran –
Engr. David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer of the Department of
Public Works and Highways Biliran District Engineering Office (DPWH-DEO)
said that the district will finish the on-going 2017 projects based
on their target schedules.
Biliran DEO posts 67.93%
accomplishment for 2017 projects with a negative slippage of 5.55%
as of March 31, 2018. This is already behind of the district’s
73.48% planned target accomplishment.
Adongay said that
contractors were ordered to speed-up the implementation of the
on-going 2017 projects for completion.
“Ginagawa talaga namin
ngayon, una, we are requiring the contractor to render overtime even
during night time. Pangalawa, to add their additional resources,
yung mga equipment nila,” said Adongay.
Adongay revealed that
delayed projects for 2017 implementation were those projects with an
allocation budget of P50M and above.
“Projects more than P50M
were delayed because the approval of the authority to bid and
implement just happened on the 1st quarter of year 2017,” he said.
As of March 31, 2018, out
of the 57 projects, 51 were completed while six are on-going.
Among the on-going
projects for year 2017 implementation are the P61M Rehabilitation of
Slope Protection along Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road (NCCR),
P54M Access Road Leading to Naval Port, P49M Rehabilitation of Slope
Protection along Biliran Circumferential Road (BCR), P172M Widening
along Biliran Circumferential Road (BCR) and another P125M Widening
along BCR on six road sections and P128M Rehabilitation of Maripipi
Aside from the late
approval to implement the projects, Adongay said that the
devastation of typhoon Urduja last December, 2017 is also one of the
main reasons for the delay of project implementation in the
“Naapektuhan tayo sa
pagtransport ng ating aggregates, kasi yung ating CarayCaray Bridge
hindi madadaanan ng Malaki (heavy vehicles), so they have to travel
to the alternate road which is 90 kms, malayo din yun,” he said.
The CarayCaray Bridge is
one of the main bridges of the province which was damaged by the
onslaught of typhoon Urduja. It is the only shorter access in going
in and out of Mainland Leyte.
According to Adongay,
remaining 2017 projects will be finished on May and June this year
except for the Maripipi Circumferential Road which is scheduled to
be completed on October, 2018 because of the difficulties in
transporting the equipment and materials to the island town.
“With the good weather,
hindi naman sana mangyari yung katulad sa Urduja, walang reason na
hindi namin matatapos lahat to’,” Adongay said.
expand MSME marketing capabilities through OneSTore.ph
April 4, 2018
MAKATI CITY – The
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will tie up with the
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to help micro, small and
medium enterprises (MSMEs) expand their market and reach clients
online with the OneSTore.ph.
“MSMEs are the backbone of
the Philippine economy. And as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s
whole-of-government approach to assist MSMEs, we are teaming up with
DOST to impact the lives of more Filipino entrepreneurs,” said DTI
Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.
The OneSTore.ph is a first
government e-commerce platform (Business–to-Customer and
Business-to-Business platform) dedicated to marketing high-quality
Filipino products of MSMEs through the worldwide web by “bringing
quality products at Filipino doorsteps.”
This comes as DTI
intensifies marketing capabilities of MSMEs to help them reach the
Under the OneSTore.ph
agreement, DTI will promote the oneSTore.ph to MSMEs through Negosyo
Centers as a platform where they can market their products on-line.
At the same time, DTI will
make Negosyo Centers accessible to clients of DOST and allow clients
to display and dispatch their products with its payment and logistic
partners in One Town One Product (OTOP) Philippines HubStores,
subject to availability of space and to DTI priorities and promote
oneSTore and provide signage for the spaces provided for oneSTore.ph
and oneSTore hub in every OTOP Store identified as co-branded hub,
The One Town, One Product
(OTOP) Philippines is DTI’s collaborative program with national
government agencies and local government units as a customized
intervention to level up the products of various localities and
drive inclusive local economic growth.
DOST, on the other hand,
will develop and maintain oneSTore.ph where its accredited Regional
Hubs and MSMEs may sell products and services to its clients and
engage with payment and logistics partners and provide better
oneSTore.ph services to its accredited Regional Hubs, MSMEs and its
DOST will also provide
priority to jointly identified OTOP products for product development
initiatives including improvements in packaging and labeling,
subsidy or discounts in testing fees, equipment support such as the
Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), and
strengthen research and development efforts.