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Region 8 Task Force ELCAC sends carpentry teams to Southern Leyte

DAR turns over Samar land for former rebels

UP Diliman Chancellor, UP library vow to stand against book censorship

Bringing government services at the doorsteps of an isolated community in San Julian, Eastern Samar

Local entrepreneurs earn more than a million during the BAHANDI Food and Fashion Fair

New leader takes helm at DAR Eastern Visayas

Villar and Lorenzana lead inauguration of two units 2-storey building for army brigade in region 8

Good food and a thriving business success story straight from the heart of the Philippines

 

 

 

 

Chiz inaugurates Bulusan eco-tourism center, recreational facilities

Bulusan eco-tourism center

Press Release
March 7, 2022

SORSOGON CITY – Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero led the reopening and inauguration of the Bulusan Eco-tourism Center and Facilities in the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park after two years of massive rehabilitation, to welcome more local and foreign visitors with the easing of travel restrictions around the country due to decreasing COVID-19 cases.

“Ginawa nating world class ang mga facililities dito sa park upang mas marami pang turista ang pumunta sa muling pagbubukas ng ating lalawigan dahil sa paghupa na ng mga kaso ng COVID sa Pilipinas. Pinaganda pa natin ang lugar na ito at hindi lamang ang lalawigan ng Sorsogon ang makikinabang, kundi partikular ang bayan ng Bulusan,” Escudero said at the reopening rites on Saturday.

The natural park is also home to the Bulusan Eco-Adventours, which was launched coinciding with the blessing and inauguration of the tourism center. It also hosts new amenities like the al fresco coffee shop and restaurant, a massage spa and souvenir shop.

Recreational activities such as eco-tour, trekking, kayaking, stand up paddling, boating and fishing are now also open to visitors.

Other attractions in Bulusan Volcano National Park, a protected area, are up for restoration and improvement, Escudero announced, including the 18th century bell tower of St. James The Great Church which will be done in partnership with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).

Aside from the physical improvement of tourism sites, Escudero said there is a need to immortalize the beautiful stories and history behind the landmarks and destinations in Sorsogon for better appreciation of the Sorsoganons and visitors.

“Ang turismo ay hindi lamang tungkol sa magagandang tanawin at mga lugar. Bahagi ng turismo ang kasaysayan at pinanggalingan ng lugar na sana sa sinumang bibisita rito ay malaman at makita niya ang mga karasanan at kwento ng mga pangyayari katulad dito sa Bulusan,” Escudero pointed out.

He commended the Provincial Tourism Office (PTO), the Bulusan local government unit and government agencies involved in the beautification of the Bulusan park, which was carried out at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Department of Public Works and Highways–Region V has also undertaken the construction of the arrival and departure shed, a ramp, food bar and upper view deck at a cost of P30 million.

Sorsogon PTO chief Bobby Gigantone said the town of Bulusan hopes to attract even a fraction of the pre-pandemic tourist arrivals as the country transitions to the new normal phase. In 2019, Bulusan received 141,000 visitors, mostly locals.

“After two years of being shut down and undergoing massive rehabilitation, this ecological escapade is ready to say hello to tourists again. We are hopeful na ang mga turista ay unti-unting makabalik sa Bulusan at sa aming lalawigan,” he said.

“Thank you to Governor Escudero and Bulusan Mayor Mike Guysayko for their commitment and for supporting our tourism campaign. In time, makakabangon na rin ang turismo sa Sorsogon,” Gigantone added.

 

 

 

 

CARD Sulit Padala waves goodbye to long queues with remit to deposit for CARD clients

CARD Sulit Padala
Through CARD Sulit Padala outlets nationwide, CARD clients can now conveniently and affordably send money straight to their loved ones’ CARD savings account anywhere in the Philippines.

By LYNFA A. TAN
March 2, 2022

SAN PABLO CITY – CARD MRI clients can now say “bye” to long queues and “hello” to more convenient transactions with CARD Sulit Padala’s new remit to deposit service!

Through CARD Sulit Padala, clients of CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO), CARD Bank, CARD SME Bank, and CARD MRI RIZAL BANK can now send money straight to their loved ones’ CARD savings account in any CARD Sulit Padala outlets nationwide.

CARD MRI Managing Director Aristeo A. Dequito is optimistic that the new service of CARD Sulit Padala will help CARD MRI clients to have easier and faster banking transactions. “With this goal in mind, we are ever-ready and equipped to improve the alternative delivery channels of CARD MRI, including CARD Sulit Padala, to give our clients more options to send money to their families.”

Dequito also mentioned that with the additional outlets of CARD Sulit Padala, clients can now easily access CARD MRI’s financial services, in line with its financial inclusion initiatives and its mission of poverty eradication.

CARD Sulit Padala, formerly known as CARD Bilis Padala, is a local money remittance service, operating since 2006. It finally gained recognition as CARD Sulit Padala in 2012, and has since upgraded to serve clients more efficiently in 2017. Aside from express lanes for CARD Sulit Padala customers, it is also known for its “Piso sa unang padala” promo that charges as low as PhP 1.00 for its customer’s first transaction, amounting to PhP 20,000 and below. Affordable charges also apply in succeeding transactions with CARD Sulit Padala.

CARD clients can also pay their loans through CARD Sulit Padala, which gives its clients more options on where to pay their amortization dues. Moreover, CARD Sulit Padala also welcomes non-clients of CARD to send and receive money through the remittance provider as well.

To send money through CARD Sulit Padala, visit any CARD, Inc. unit offices or CARD Bank, CARD SME Bank, and CARD MRI RIZAL BANK branches and branch-lite units. Head to the remittance outlet and fill out the remittance slip. Indicate the date, sender, beneficiary, and contact information, sign the remittance slip, and present it to the remittance personnel together with one valid government issued ID or CARD client ID.

To receive money, fill out the remittance slip with the correct Reference Code from the sender. Present one valid ID, and you are good to go. Whether a customer is a CARD client or not, there is no need to wait in line as CARD MRI gives priority to customers of CARD Sulit Padala.

With CARD Sulit Padala’s 1,449 outlets as of January 31, 2022, customers can now send and receive money from their loved ones with ease. To know more about CARD Sulit Padala and their affordable remittance fees, visit their official Facebook page, @CARDSulitPadalaOfficial

 

 

 

 

Eastern Visayas welcomes 2022 with 5.2% inflation rate

By PSA-8
February 28, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas welcomed 2022 with 5.2 percent Inflation Rate (IR) in January. This IR is 1.0 percentage point higher compared with the 4.2 percent IR in December 2021. This January 2022 IR nearly doubled the recorded 2.9 percent IR in January 2021.

Eastern Visayas Janaury 2022 inflation rateIn comparison with the national average IR, the regional IR is higher by 2.2 percentage points than the 3.0 percent national IR in January 2022.

Among the provinces, Leyte posted the highest IR at 6.2 percent in January 2022. Southern Leyte’s IR came next at 5.7 percent, then Eastern Samar at 5.2 percent. The lowest IR was noted in Samar at 4.1 percent. All provinces exhibited higher IRs in January 2022 compared with their figures in December 2021. Southern Leyte’s IR more than doubled, from 2.8 percent in December 2021 to 5.7 percent in January 2022. This is the biggest increase in IR among the provinces in the region at 2.9 percentage points. The IR in Biliran posted at 4.6 percent in January 2022 is 2.0 percentage points higher than its 2.6 percent IR in December 2021.

Leyte and Northern Samar both recorded 1.2 percentage points increase, pushing their January 2022 IRs to 6.2 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. IR in Eastern Samar picked up by 0.5 percentage point, registering 5.2 percent IR in January 2022. Samar’s IR inched up by 0.1 percentage point in January 2022, settling at 4.1 percent. Meanwhile, IR for Tacloban City, the lone Highly Uranized City (HUC) in the region, was recorded at 4.4 percent in January 2022, 0.8 percentage point higher than its 3.6 percent IR in December 2021.

In January 2022, only the commodity groups of food and non-alcoholic beverages, transport; and housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels registered IRs higher than their previous month’s levels by 2.3 percentage points, 0.2 percentage point, and 0.2 percentage point, respectively. All other commodity groups have either lower or retained their December IRs.

The financial services commodity group maintained its December 2021 IR at 47.0 percent, registering the highest IR among commodity groups in January 2022. This was followed by transport commodity group (7.4%); food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group (7.2%); and housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels commodity groups (5.7%). All the other commodity groups have IRs lower than the IR for all items recorded at 5.2 percent.

The heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group registered the biggest increase in IR with 2.3 percentage points, from 4.9 percent in December 2021 to 7.2 percent in January 2022. Higher IRs were noted in majority of the items under this commodity group. Fish and other seafood index registered the highest increase of 4.7 percentage points, posting an IR of 14.9 percent in January 2022 from 10.2 percent in December 2021. Meat and other parts of slaughtered land animals index likewise posted higher double-digit IR in January 2022 at 17.3 percent from 12.7 percent in December 2021. Prices of corn picked up by 0.6 percent in January 2022 after registering 4.0 percent deflation in December 2021.

The indices of vegetables, tubers, cooking bananas and pulses (4.1%); non-alcoholic beverages (0.5%); and flour, bread and other bakery products, pasta products, and other cereals (0.5%) likewise registered annual price hikes during the month in review after registering deflations in December 2021. The rest of the items under this commodity group recorded increases in IRs ranging from 0.2 percent to 0.7 percent. Meanwhile, IR for fruits and nuts index fell to 8.6 percent in January 2022 from its double-digit IR of 10.4 percent a month ago. Sugar, confectionery, and desserts index retained its previous month’s IR at 1.1 percent.

The IRs for transport commodity group and housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels commodity group both inched up by 0.2 percentage point registering 7.4 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively, in January 2022.

On the other hand, IRs for the commodity groups of clothing and footwear; information and communication; and furnishings, household equipment, and routine maintenance of the house managed to shed off 0.2 percentage point from their IRs in December 2021, settling at 1.2 percent, 0.6 percent, and 0.4 percent, respectively, during the month in review.

The IRs for restaurants and accommodation services commodity group (1.0%); personal care and miscellaneous goods and services commodity group (0.5%); and recreation, sport, and culture commodity group (0.5%) all eased by 0.1 percentage point in January 2022.

Meanwhile, the commodity groups of financial services; alcoholic beverages and tobacco; and health retained their previous month’s IRs at 47.0 percent, 2.5 percent, and 0.9 percent, respectively. Education services registered zero IR during the month in review.

The Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region weakened to P0.89 in January 2022 from P0.91 in December 2021. This PPP implies that the goods and services worth P89.00 in 2018 is now worth P100.00 in January 2022.

Compared with their levels in December 2021, PPP in Biliran and Southern Leyte both weakened by P0.03. PPP in Eastern Samar and Samar reduced by P0.02, while PPP in Leyte and Northern Samar diminished by P0.01. Southern Leyte recorded the strongest PPP at P0.91, while Samar posted the weakest PPP during the reference month at P0.87.

The PPP in Tacloban City was pegged at 0.89 in January 2022. This figure is P0.02 lower compared with its P0.91 PPP in December 2021.

Note: The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has rebased the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all income households to base year 2018, from base year 2012. The methodology of rebasing the CPI to base year 2018 was approved by PSA Board Resolution No. 15, Series of 2021. Starting January 2022 (reference month), PSA will release the 2018-based CPI series for the region, provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities (HUCs).

 

 

 

 

Samar First secures 100% road maintenance rating for three consecutive years

By ROMELLA LALAINE A. GUARDE
February 23, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY – Samar First District Engineering Office through its Maintenance Section obtained a 100% rating on the CY 2021 Road Maintenance Performance Assessment pursuant to the Interim Guidelines of Department Order 41, series of 2016.

DPWH-Samar I has been consistently achieving a 100% rating on road maintenance and bridges for three (3) consecutive years now. In accordance with D.O. No. 41, series of 2016, otherwise known as, the “Amended Policy Guidelines on the Maintenance of National Roads and Bridges,” the cumulative rating for the road maintenance performance assessment is based on the inspection and validation made for both 1st semester and 2nd semester rating periods.

The Regional Office and the Bureau of Maintenance commends DPWH-Samar I for its continuous effort in providing the traveling public with safe and well-maintained roads and bridges. Hence, DPWH-Samar I is highly motivated in maintaining said performance for the years to come.

Additionally, the district is inspired to continue striving hard to sustain its good performance in keeping with the commitments and target in the Philippine Governance System (PGS) Enterprise Scorecard.

 

 

 

 

konek2CARD hits 2 million-user milestone in Q1

konek2CARD

By CARD MRI
February 23, 2022

SAN PABLO CITY – With its continuous campaign to financially include more communities in the Philippines, konek2CARD has finally reached two million registered users on February 12, 2022 with 2,002,482 registrations and counting.

konek2CARD is a mobile banking application used by clients of CARD Bank, CARD SME Bank, CARD MRI RIZAL BANK, and now, CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO) to make their financial transactions accessible in the comforts of their home. Through konek2CARD, clients can now easily check their balance, pay their bills and loan dues, purchase e-load, and transfer funds with just a few taps on their phones. Agent-assisted cash-in and cash-out services are also made possible through konek2CARD agents strategically placed in barangays.

Looking back, the mobile banking application has first seen an increase in user registration after its “Saya ng Buhay, Level App” campaign in April 2021, which ramped up the registrations to 808,378 in May 2021. Two months after the campaign, konek2CARD finally reached its one million milestone on June 28, 2021 with 1,000,828 registrations, which was recognized by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno in a recorded statement.

Ms. Cynthia B. Baldeo, President/CEO of CARD SME Bank who spearheaded the konek2CARD expansion together with CARD microfinance institutions' (MFIs) champions, accomplished the milestone of reaching two million registered clients.

“Once again, we are reaping the fruits of our digital initiatives, and this cannot be possible without the help of our institutional partners, konek2CARD champions, Account Officers (AO), and even our konek2CARD agents on the ground,” Baldeo said.

Further, Baldeo, emphasized the role of Account Officers and konek2CARD agents, who continuously promote the benefits of konek2CARD to clients. “The success of konek2CARD can be attributed to the hard work and perseverance of our economic frontliners. With the new normal, they have served as vanguards to our konek2CARD initiatives. As our Account Officers visit their centers day by day and as our konek2CARD agents collect their fellow center members’ weekly dues, our Account Officers and agents include the importance of the mobile banking application in their agenda, now that our operations are a mix of high tech and high touch,” Baldeo added.

A Sign of Success

Consequently, CARD MRI Managing Director Aristeo A. Dequito also recognized the efforts of over 17,000 on-boarded konek2CARD agents as of February 2022. “With the help of our konek2CARD agents, who work closely with our MFIs and who have taken on a huge and important role in their community, we are even more hopeful that our goal of bringing our financial services closer to our clients in all corners of the Philippines is within reach,” Dequito expressed.

Further, Dequito added, “There is no question that our clients are composed mostly of nanays or mothers who desire better lives for their families. Some of them are not digital savvy or inclined to modern technology, but again, our hearts are warmed to see our elders try and our younger generation try with them. It is this family spirit that we see that makes our konek2CARD experience more purposeful and our journey to overcoming the pandemic more possible.”

“Growth can be a sign of success, yes, but it is always the collaborative effort between CARD MRI and our clients that sustains us to make our mission of poverty eradication possible,” CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip said. “As we pull the ropes together to surpass the poverty line, we are positive that we will reach even more milestones together,” Dr. Alip concluded.

The two million milestone has motivated CARD MRI to continue its mission of serving communities with its digital financial services. It hopes to achieve the 3.5 million-user mark by June 2022.

To know more about konek2CARD, visit their official Facebook page, @konek2CARDOfficial or their new YouTube account, konek2CARD Official.

 

 

 

 

MPBs built for the municipalities of Samar

Multi-Purpose Building in Tarangnan, Samar

By ROMELLA LALAINE A. GUARDE
February 23, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY – Samar First District Engineering Office has constructed four (4) Multi-Purpose Buildings (MPBs) in the municipalities of Tarangnan and Pagsanghan, Samar.

These projects are funded under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) FY 2021 with a total contract amount of P10.97 million.

The multi-purpose buildings in Tarangnan, Samar consists of a health center and a covered court. The newly-constructed health center in Brgy. Tigdaranano will provide efficient and improved health services to the community, especially with the subsisting health pandemic. Further, the constructed multi-purpose building in Poblacion is a covered court in Tarangnan Elementary Central School which already has an existing stage. Said MPB will serve as a venue for recreational and social activities of the students and faculty of the said elementary school.

On the other hand, the multi-purpose building in Brgy. San Luis, Pagsanghan, Samar finished its second phase. It completed the construction of comfort rooms for male and female, located beside the covered court which is beneficial especially when conducting different events within the community. Additionally, the multi-purpose building in Brgy. Calanyugan, Pagsanghan, Samar comprises of the classrooms which will cater more students so as to provide accessible and quality education.

With the completion of these projects, the people and the whole community will become more involved with the various affairs of their respective barangays.

 

 

 

 

Over USD 23.6 million in export sales reported on first four days of PH participation in Gulfood 2022

Philippine Pavilion at Gulfood 2022

By DTI-TPG-Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions
February 23, 2022

PASAY CITY – The Philippine participation in Gulfood 2022, facilitated a running total of USD 23,634,500.00 in export sales in the first four days of the expo. The Philippine delegation is still expecting to generate more sales as the event and the business-to-business (B2B) matching activities conclude. The country showcased its finest tropical food selections, top halal-certified food products, and unique local flavors at Gulfood 2022, held recently at the Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 13 to 17, 2022.

Led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), this year’s delegation marks the 17th participation of the Philippines at Gulfood and is the biggest Philippine group that has joined in the global trade event. Featuring a hybrid setup, the Philippine Pavilion featured product displays with food tasting areas and meeting spaces, and interactive kiosks with QR codes providing more information about the exhibitors.

The 2022 cohort also benefited from CITEM’s updated content and lead generation platforms for the local food industry, IFEXConnect.com and FOODPhilippines.com, which provide a seamless sourcing experience for buyers and exhibitors all year-round. While all thirty-nine exhibitors got to showcase their products online, nine companies were able to exhibit onsite in Dubai.

“The Philippines is a great sourcing destination for food products because of its diverse agricultural landscapes and rich gastronomy. Especially with this pandemic, the demand for healthy and halal-certified food products is high, and the country is poised to be a leader in this category,” said CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan.

The Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition Salon Culinaire, known popularly as Gulfood, is one of the world’s biggest food and hospitality industry expos. The trade and business platform provides buyers and exhibitors to strengthen their presence and foothold in the Middle East and African (MEA) region.

“Gulfood has always been a strategic platform for the Philippines and our companies to showcase our premium Halal exports to the world. This year’s participation in Gulfood is a testament to our commitment to export more halal-certified products to the world as our companies and institutions continue to develop more products and seek new ways to reach Halal consumers worldwide,” says DTI Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman.

Usec. Abdulgani Macatoman led the walkthrough of the Philippine Pavilion for the VIPs, which included Undersecretary Robert Eric A. Borje, Special Envoy of the President; Congressman Christopher De Venecia, Consul General Renato N. Dueñas, Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines Assistant Secretary Noel Prudente, DTI Assistant Secretary Joan Riola, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines Director General Roel Barba, and Board of Investments Governor Angelica Cayas. More officials attended the ceremonies in full support of Gulfood 2022 as it is also one of the business events that support the Philippine National Week in Expo Dubai.

They were also joined by the organizing team of the Philippine participation at Gulfood 2022, which included CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan, Export Marketing Bureau Director Christopher Lawrence Amuco, and Commercial Attache Charmaine Mignon Yalong.

Also in attendance at the ceremony is Chef JP Anglo, who recently opened Filipino restaurant Kooya in Dubai. The celebrated chef joins the movement for promoting and strengthening Filipino cuisine in the region.

The Philippine Pavilion at Gulfood 2022 showcased the products of Agrinurture, Inc., Brandexports Philippines Inc./8VX Corporation, Business Innovations Gateway, Inc., Century Pacific Food, Inc., CJ Uniworld Corp., Federation of People's Sustainable Development Corp., Fenor Foods Corporation, Fisher Farms Inc., Fruits of Life Inc., Gem Foods International Inc., Greenlife Coconut Products Philippines Inc., Innovative Packaging Industry Corp., Janicahh Food Products, JNRM Corporation, KLT Fruits, Inc., Krystle Exports Philippines Inc., Limketkai Manufacturing Corp., MagicMelt Food Inc., Marikina Food Corporation., Market Reach International Resources, Mega Global Corporation, Miguelitos International Corporation, Pasciolco Agriventures, Peter Paul Philippines, Philippine Grocers Food Exports, Inc., Q-Phil International Trading, Sabroso Chocolate Manufacturing, SandPiper Spices and Condiments Corp., SL Agritech Corporation, Unilab Inc. /Sekaya Global, Universal Canning Inc., Cocoturmeric Health Products, KF Nutri Foods International, Inc., AG Pacific Nutriceuticals Corporation, Nutrarich Nutraceutical Innovations, Ahya Coco Organic Food Manufacturing, Gacayan General Merchandise, PMTZ Care Marketing, and Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation.

The Philippines’ participation in Gulfood builds on and strengthens the continuous demand for the country’s halal-certified food exports to the MEA region. Data from the Philippine Trade Investment Center (PTIC) in Dubai indicates that high-quality fruits such as mango, pineapple, coconut, and other fruits and plant-based products constantly enjoy high demand and meet Halal production standards.

“Our promotion of Philippine food to UAE and other countries does not end with our participation in Gulfood. We are continuously promoting our export products 24/7, anytime, anywhere through IFEXConnect.com, our B2B platform for food exporters, and FOODPhilippines.com, our leads generation and promotion platform for Filipino food. These websites allow us to widen our reach and strengthen our engagement across the globe. Buyers and food enthusiasts who want to know more about Philippine food are welcome to check out our platforms,” added Suaco-Juan.

The Philippines’ participation in Gulfood 2022 is made possible with CITEM’s partnerships with the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Dubai and Jeddah; the RAPID Growth Project; and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). The consolidated efforts of these offices are all in support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their recovery amid the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the events at Gulfood 2022, a face-to-face business-to-business (B2B) matching activity will be held on February 18, 2022, at the Jumeriah Beach Hotel, organized by the EMB in partnership with PTIC Dubai and Jeddah. There will also be an online networking event for Gulfood Digital participants from March 1 to 3, 2022 to connect Philippine exporters to prospective buyers. The initiative is organized by CITEM in partnership with the EMB and also with PTIC Dubai and Jeddah.

 

 

 

 

Eastern Visayas posts 92.4% employment rate in October 2021 (preliminary)

By PSA-8
February 21, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas registered a Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) of 60.1 percent in October 2021. This placed the region’s labor force at 1.92 million persons who were either employed or unemployed out of the estimated 3.20 million population 15 years old and over in October 2021. The latest labor force was lower by 22 thousand persons compared with the 1.94 million persons reported in July 2021 at 60.7 percent LFPR. However, this was higher by 151 thousand persons compared with the 56.2 percent LFPR estimated on the same period in 2020. In 2021, LFPR was lowest in January at 59.8 percent and highest in April at 62.3 percent.

Eastern Visayas employment rate

The region’s Employment Rate in October 2021 was estimated at 92.4 percent, which was equivalent to 1.77 million employed persons out of the 1.92 million persons in the labor force. This was lower by 1.5 percentage points than the 93.9 percent employment rate in July 2021. This was also lower by 2.3 percentage points compared with the 94.7 percent employment rate in October 2020. In 2021, the lowest employment rate of 92.4 percent occurred in January and October, while the highest employment rate was recorded in April at 95.0 percent.

Unemployment rate in Eastern Visayas stood at 7.6 percent in October 2021 or about 146 thousand unemployed persons out of the total labor force of the region. This figure was 1.5 percentage points higher than the 6.1 percent unemployment rate recorded in July 2021. This was also higher by 2.3 percentage points compared with the 5.3 percent unemployment rate in the same period in 2020. In 2021, the highest unemployment rate of 7.6 percent occurred in January and October, while the lowest was noted in April at 5.0 percent.

Employed persons who express the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or to have additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours are considered underemployed. The number of underemployed persons in Eastern Visayas was recorded at 316 thousand. In terms of proportion, this was 17.8 percent of the total number of employed persons in October 2021. The latest underemployment rate was lower than the 27.6 percent and 21.2 percent underemployment rate recorded in July 2021 and October 2020, respectively. In 2021, underemployment rate was lowest in April at 15.5 percent, and highest in July at 27.6 percent.

 

 

 

 

Chiz: Sorsogon to build ‘home for homeless gays’

Press Release
February 18, 2022

SORSOGON CITY – Homeless and abandoned members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community will soon have a place to stay in Sorsogon.

Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero announced on Thursday that his dream project for the abandoned as well as elderly members of the LGBT community will soon materialize as the provincial government has already secured the land where the gays’ sanctuary will be built.

“We shall soon establish and construct a ‘Home for Homeless Gays’ in Sorsogon,” the veteran legislator posted on his Twitter account.

Zaldy Jebulan, a good Samaritan residing in Sorsogon City, has donated 1,500 square meters of land located at Barangay Roro to the provincial government in support of Escudero’s project for the gay community as part of his “Diversity and Inclusion” advocacy.

The veteran legislator expressed gratitude to Jebulan for his generosity and for supporting the provincial government’s desire in “promoting the welfare and well-rounded development of the people of Sorsogon.”

Jebulan agreed to give away his land as stipulated in the Deed of Donation so that the Sorsogon provincial government can proceed with the construction of the shelter with access road for homeless gays.

“Thank you, Mr. Zaldy Jebulan, for donating the land where our vision/plan can finally be realized,” the governor wrote on Twitter as he shared the photos of the signed Deed of Donation.

According to the Sorsogon Public Information Office (SPIO), the governor also envisions the shelter to have a livelihood training center for all LGBT members in the province.

Escudero, who is running for senator in the May elections, has been a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, pushing for equal opportunities for all regardless of sexual orientation, religious beliefs or political affiliation.

During his stint as senator in the 17th Congress (2016-2019), Escudero backed the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill, also known as the Anti-Discrimination Bill.

In the 16th Congress (2013-2016), Escudero co-authored Senate Bill 2358, an older version of the Anti-Discrimination bill, along with Sen. Grace Poe, which makes any form of discrimination a “crime against humanity and human dignity.”

The bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion or belief, sex or gender or sexual orientation, language, disability, educational attainment and other forms of discrimination.

He also participated in the “I dare to care about equality” campaign spearheaded by the Bahaghari Center for SOGIE Research, Education and Advocacy, Inc. (Bahaghari Center) as one of its champions in fighting discrimination.

“All of us were equally born albeit not born equal. It is our duty to ensure the equality of each person in our own eyes and in the eyes of the law,” Escudero said when he joined the Bahaghari campaign.

 

 

 

 

A chance to give back

By CARD MRI
February 16, 2022

SAN PABLO CITY – Education is the ticket to success. This is perhaps the reason why parents break their backs to send their children to school. For students, the school may be a chore, but for KC Montañes, education can help her reciprocate her parents’ hard work.

As a Grade 6 student, KC loves to participate in different school activities which make her parents proud. All her hard work can be traced back to her dream of becoming a doctor. Besides her dream, she works hard to give thanks to the love and support that her parents gave her. Not only is she an active student, but she is also a responsible daughter. From helping around household chores, to manning their store when her mom is resting, she is always there for her family.

As a mother, Arlyn Romaldon couldn’t be prouder of KC. “At a young age, she is so responsible around the house and at school. Helping her achieve her dreams, in any way we can, is really our goal because we want her to have a bright future,” said Arlyn.

Seeking to improve her means of providing for her family, Arlyn, a sari-sari store owner, joined CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO) in Parañaque City. CARD, Inc. provided her with the financial assistance she needs to get by. After being a client for three years, opportunities entered her door one by one.

First, she was able to use her loan as additional capital to her established store. Because of this, she increased her stocks and added a variety of essential goods, which her neighbors benefited from. Second, due to their financial management, Arlyn and her family acquired a property in Quezon City. This is now one of their sources of income as they turned this into a rentable property. Lastly, through the Microfinance NGO, she availed one of CARD’s products, the Zero Dropout Program.

Through the Zero Dropout Program, clients like Arlyn can now avail loans for their children’s education. This program is exclusive for biological and legally adopted children of clients and their relatives. For elementary students like KC, clients can avail up to PhP 3,000 loan to help them with their children’s fees at school.

Introduced to her by her Account Officer, the Zero Dropout Program became a way for Arlyn to afford school supplies to assist KC in her studies. With the issue of supplies out of the way, Arlyn has one less problem to think about. This also ultimately helps KC focus more on working harder for her dreams.

Through the Zero Dropout Program, Arlyn cleared one hurdle for KC in her journey to success, while for KC who reciprocates her parent’s love through perseverance, this is one hurdle cleared for her chance to give back.

KC is one of the 1,245,071 beneficiaries of the Zero Dropout Program in the Philippines as of December 2021. To know more about this loan program, leave a message at CARD, Inc.’s official Facebook page, @CARDIncOfficial.

 

 

 

 

NMP delivers free Basic Safety Training to Hernani

NMP Basic Safety Training
BSTMHOF held at the New Municipal Gym, Brgy. Canciledes, Hernani, Eastern Samar on 27-28 January 2022.

Press Release
February 14, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – In a conscious effort to spread its advocacy to ensure safety of life at sea, the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) conducted the Free Basic Safety Training for Motorboat Handlers/Operators and Fishermen (BSTMHOF) with Typhoon Preparedness on 27-28 January 2022 in partnership with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Hernani, Eastern Samar.

The two-day training, in collaboration with the Philippine Coast Guard Station thru the Coast Guard Substation (PCG-CGSS) Balangkayan, Eastern Samar and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Regional Office 8, was successfully carried out to 53 participants comprised of the fisherfolk and motorboat handlers/operators, and the members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) of Hernani’s Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).

The first day of the training started with an opening ceremony headed by LGU Hernani thru Mayor Amado L. Candido, with the presence of NMP’s Training Specialists and Instructors Capt. Lito C. Jain, OIC Navigational Watch Timothy Limpiado and PCG (Ret.) ENS Telesforo M. Sambalilo. Also in attendance were Seaman Second Class Raymond C. Borromeo and Jover Padojinog, representing the PCG-CGSS Balangkayan, and Mr. Santiago M. Acera of MARINA RO8. The activity was followed with the theoretical discussions of the topics. While the practical and assessment exercises was undertaken during the second day.

During the concluding ceremony, NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod cited the different emergency incidents at sea and other crises due to man-made or natural calamities, thereby, giving emphasis on the importance of equipping not only the local fishers and motorboat operators, but the community as well, with the basic safety skills. This is done by exposing them to the new techniques in personal survival, fire prevention and firefighting, first aid and knowledge on the rules of the road, marine environment and basic marine meteorology.

The Basic Safety Training for MHOF is aimed at improving the basic safety skills of local motorboat handlers/operators and fisherfolk and expose them to new techniques in Personal Survival, Fire Prevention and Firefighting, Elementary First Aid and Personal Safety and Social Responsibility. Additional topics covered the Rules of the Road, Typhoon Awareness and Marine Safety Requirements.

 

 

 

 

Former rebels in Northern Samar receive DOLE assistance

DOLE assistance to former rebels in Northern Samar

By JEROLD AMAGO, DOLE-NSFO
February 14, 2022

CATARMAN, Northern Samar – The Department of Labor and Employment Northern Samar Field Office (DOLE-NSFO) distributed livelihood kits amounting to P900,000 to the first batch of twenty-four (24) former members of the communist group, the New People’s Army (NPA), on February 8, 2022, this town.

Temporarily sheltered in the government-managed half-way house in Barangay Dalakit, the Darangpan Center, the former rebels had surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and have since been receiving comprehensive assistance from various government agencies, including the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and many others.

DOLE-NSFO, in collaboration with the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) and the PSWDO, has enrolled the former rebels in the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP), which provides in-kind livelihood assistance amounting to a maximum of P30,000 to qualified and deserving beneficiaries. This initiative, a result of the consultative meeting between DOLE-NSFO and Northern Samar Provincial Governor Edwin Ongchuan, intends to change the lives of former rebels and their families by providing them with sustainable sources of income and help them reintegrate into mainstream society.

Joy, a former member of the NPA who collected extortion money – often called “revolutionary tax” – from residents of remote communities in Catarman to fund the communist group, said that he joined the NPA because he had little choice at the time, with subsistence farming barely making enough to feed and support his poor family. When life in the mountains became too risky and difficult, he decided to surrender, hoping to give his family a better life away from the insurgency.

During the formal turn-over ceremony held in the Darangpan Shelter attended by representatives of DOLE-NSFO, DepEd, PSWDO, and the AFP, Joy formally expressed his appreciation for the assistance he and the other former rebels have received from the government.

“Malugod ko pong tinatanggap ang tulong na ito mula sa DOLE. Meron na po kami pagkakakitaan at malaki po ang maitutulong nito sa aming mga pamilya ngayon hanggang sa paglipat namin doon sa permanent resettlement”, Joy explained. (“I welcome the assistance given us by DOLE for it will help my family earn a living while we adjust to our new life once we move on to our permanent resettlements houses, Joy explained.)

He likewise thanked DOLE-NSFO, led by Provincial Head, Virgilio A. Doroja, Jr., for the livelihood assistance, which will help him and his fellow rebel returnees ease back into their normal lives and into their new homes and communities.

The second round of distribution, consisting of livestock kits, is scheduled on February 23, 2022 in Catarman, Northern Samar.

 

 

 

 

PH food exporters to bring local flavors, top Halal products to Gulfood 2022 in Dubai

PH food products to Gulfood 2022 Dubai

By DTI-TPG-Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions
February 13, 2022

PASAY CITY – The Philippines is set to showcase its finest tropical food selections, top halal-certified food products, and unique local flavors at the Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition Salon Culinaire (Gulfood), one of the world’s biggest food and hospitality industry expos. The event will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates from February 13 to 17, 2022.

Led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the Philippine delegation to Gulfood 2022 is the biggest yet, with 39 food export companies offering a variety of Philippine food products. The country seeks to strengthen its presence within the Middle East and African (MEA) region with Philippine halal-certified products, high-value coconut products, and other distinct and quality food products.

CITEM will spearhead the country’s hybrid participation in a 135-sqm space at Gulfood 2022 for both onsite and online exhibitor participants. The onsite pavilion will be located at Booths R140 and R160 of the Sheik Rashid Hall, while a virtual showcase of Philippine products will be available via standby terminals that will provide access to IFEXConnect.com and FOODPhilippines.com.

Visitors will also be able to browse the exhibitors’ products through an interactive LED display and connect with the exhibitors through digital on-site pods. Queuing pods will be also provided for prospective buyers who wish to schedule a meeting with a particular exhibitor or request on-site assistance.

Attendees will be given opportunities to conduct virtual business-to-business (B2B) meetings in collaboration with the Export Marketing Bureau, Philippine Coconut Authority, and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Dubai.

“This will be the first CITEM overseas trade fair that will benefit from our updated content and lead generation platform for the local food industry, IFEXConnect.com and FOODPhilippines.com. Our recently-launched websites will provide the best 365-sourcing experience for both buyers and exhibitors,” says Paulina Suaco-Juan, Executive Director of CITEM.

IFEXConnect is a digital platform that allows users to source Philippine food products, connect with exhibitors, and access support services. On the other hand, FOODPhilippines is a digital platform that gathers chefs, industry experts, and food enthusiasts worldwide to share insights and news on Filipino food. The community platform features stories on Philippine ingredients, flavors, processes and techniques, recipes, heritage, culinary talents, and regional specialties.

“We are bringing a holistic-sourcing experience through a mix of digital and physical showcases in the pavilion that will act as the onsite storefront of IFEXConnect. It will showcase the exhibitors’ products in a curated retail store-like setting and these products can be viewed online through the QR codes that we set in place,” Suaco-Juan adds.

This year’s 39-strong delegation is composed of the following companies: Agrinurture, Inc., Brandexports Philippines Inc./8VX Corporation, Business Innovations Gateway, Inc., Century Pacific Food, Inc., CJ Uniworld Corp., Federation of People's Sustainable Development Corp., Fenor Foods Corporation, Fisher Farms Inc., Fruits of Life Inc., Gem Foods International Inc., Greenlife Coconut Products Philippines Inc., Innovative Packaging Industry Corp., Janicahh Food Products, JNRM Corporation, KLT Fruits, Inc., Krystle Exports Philippines Inc., Limketkai Manufacturing Corp., MagicMelt Food Inc., Marikina Food Corporation., Market Reach International Resources, Mega Global Corporation, Miguelitos International Corporation, Pasciolco Agriventures, Peter Paul Philippines, Philippine Grocers Food Exports, Inc., Q-Phil International Trading, Sabroso Chocolate Manufacturing, SandPiper Spices and Condiments Corp., SL Agritech Corporation, Unilab Inc. /Sekaya Global, Universal Canning Inc., Cocoturmeric Health Products, KF Nutri Foods International, Inc., AG Pacific Nutriceuticals Corporation, Nutrarich Nutraceutical Innovations, Ahya Coco Organic Food Manufacturing, Gacayan General Merchandise, PMTZ Care Marketing, and Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation.

From this delegation, expect to see halal-certified food products such as high value coconut products, plant-based food products, processed marine, fruit and vegetable products, frozen native delicacies, noodles, coffee, cacao nibs, spices, condiments and more.

As one of the world’s biggest expos for the food and hospitality industries, Gulfood has historically attracted huge numbers and key players in Dubai. This year, more than 98,000 professional attendees from 120 countries are expected to discover different productions of over 5,000 exhibitors from a wide range of product sectors. Gulfood 2022 marks the 17th participation of the Philippines in the expo. It is also one of the business events that support the Philippine National Week in Expo Dubai.

Currently, there are over 148,929 Filipinos living in the UAE – the third largest expatriate community in the West Asian country, next to Pakistanis and Indians. There is also a rising number of Filipino restaurants and city centers in the UAE, as more franchises are catering to the growing demand for Philippine food products.

Data released by PTIC Dubai indicates food exports from the Philippines to the MEA region went steady in 2020 amid the pandemic. High-quality fruits such as mango, pineapple, coconut, and other fruits and plant-based products constantly enjoy high demand and meet Halal production standards. The country’s participation at Gulfood seeks to strengthen this demand further.

Halal food culture is also thriving in the Philippines due to its increasing Muslim population. As of 2021, around 7.9 million or 8% of the country’s total population are Muslims. Islamic belief has also been in the country since the 14th century, creating a deeply rooted appreciation of Islamic faith and culture among Filipino Muslims.

“This year’s participation in Gulfood is a testament to our commitment to export more halal-certified products to the world as our companies and institutions continue to develop more products and seek new ways to reach Halal consumers worldwide,” adds Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman of DTI.

The Philippines’ participation in Gulfood 2022 is made possible with CITEM’s partnerships with the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Dubai and Jeddah; the RAPID Growth Project; and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). The consolidated efforts of these offices are all in support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their recovery amid the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

 

 

DOLE Samar provides labor education to academe workers

DOLE Samar labor education

By NORMA RAE S. COSTIMIANO
February 10, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office No. 8 through its Samar Field Office (SFO) conducted a seminar on Labor Relations, Human Relations and Productivity (LHP) for the management and employees of Christ the King College in Calbayog City last February 2-3, 2022.

The two-day seminar was attended by over 100 participants.

Mr. Demmie Jose Uyvico, Senior Labor and Employment Officer and Mr. Raul Tabao, Labor and Employment Officer III, tackled several important topics on Labor Relations as well as General Labor Standards, Family Welfare Program and the Batas Kasambahay.

School President, Fr. Jovito Malinao, thanked the DOLE for imparting relevant information through the conduct of LHP.

He said that the seminar has indeed brought new learning not only on increasing productivity but also on maintaining good and harmonious relations at their workplace.

Mr. Uyvico, in behalf of SFO Head Engr. Aleksei Ceasar Abellar expressed continued commitment to provide necessary assistance through the Labor and Employment Education Services (LEES).

“With this LHP seminar, we hope we have provided the assistance you need. And it doesn’t end here, because DOLE is always ready to serve its clients”, said Uyvico.

LHP is one component of the LEES program which aims to increase awareness on the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers, work ethics, values and skills to contribute in fostering a more cooperative labor-management relations and attainment of decent and productive work.

Other components of LEES are Labor Education for Graduating Students (LEGS) and Continuing Labor Education Seminar (CLES). (with a report from DOLE-WLFO)

 

 

 

 

Angono, Calbayog schools pursue art dreams despite pandemic, thanks to Rebisco

Rebisco art

Press Release
February 9, 2022

QUEZON CITY – Rebisco continues its support for young artists by providing art and design essentials to two of its beneficiary schools, the Regional Lead School for the Arts in Angono (RLSAA) in Rizal and the Calbayog Arts and Design School of Eastern Visayas (CADSEV) in Samar.

Rebisco began to provide RLSAA with paint brushes, easels, paints and other materials that will support the needs of the art students in 2019. It also put up a mini gallery on school grounds that was both classroom and exhibition space for the students’ art work. In 2021, Rebisco added CADSEV, known as “a Haven of Art in Eastern Visayas” as a beneficiary school.

This year, Rebisco will provide more basic art tools and materials as well as equipment for mixed media and the performing arts to the two schools. The snacks and biscuits company hopes that their artistically-inclined students can continue to hone their innate skills in art and design and embark on new creative adventures that will allow them to enrich the Filipino art scene.

The Rebisco donations will be a great help, said Ms. Rinalyn Beso, CADSEV School Head. “Teaching the arts through distance learning can be very challenging, but the instruments and art equipment will give every learner the opportunity to be creative in the comfort of their homes while being safe from Covid-19.”

“The new set of art equipment will inspire and motivate our students to be more creative and to pursue their passion. They can create more inspiring and challenging artworks even as they deal with the challenge of remote learning. We thank Rebisco for being our solid partner in honing the talents and skills of our young artists. The art equipment will be an inspiration, a source of joy and a morale booster for our young artists,” said RLSAA Principal, Edgar Diñozo.

In support of the arts, Rebisco also introduced to the market its Designer Tin Cans. The designer cans, which change designs periodically, are mini versions of the Rebisco Special Assorted Cans, the iconic, all-time favorite pasalubong. Featured on the sides of the cans are the works of famous contemporary artists and some students of RLSAA. Packed with premium Rebisco biscuits, cookies, crackers and wafers, part of the proceeds from the sales of the cans go to the support being given to the schools.

The designer tin cans are available at Rebisco Flagship Store on Lazada for those who want to have artful keepsakes, enjoy yummy snacks and help boost art and young artists in their own little way.

 

 

 

 

Free seaman’s book for first-time applicants gains NMP’s support

seaman’s book

By National Maritime Polytechnic
February 4, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) affirms the approval of Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Board on the free Seaman’s Book to be issued to first time seafarer applicants, as well as the granting of 50% discount for its renewal.

As recently announced by Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, the Seaman’s Book, which cost ranges from Php1,000.00-Php1,800.00, will now be given for free to seafarers who are applying for the first time during the term of President Rodrigo Duterte, while the 50% off for the renewal will be valid until December 2022.

In a statement, MARINA Administrator Robert Empedrad explained that this initiative of the MARINA and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) aims to support the Filipino seafarers especially in the midst of the pandemic and help lessen the expenses for the processing of their documents. MARINA yearns to wholeheartedly fulfill the request of our seafarer-heroes who remains steadfast to help boost our economy amid the health crisis.

NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod expresses full support to this cause as an excellent way to help our seafarers and repay their valuable contributions. As an advocate of the seafarers’ welfare, the NMP will likewise explore other areas possible to pitch in and further assist the department in the implementation.

The MARINA however is yet to issue an official advisory for the guidelines and effectivity of its implementation.

The Seaman’s Book, technically referred to as Seafarer’s Record Book (SRB), is a full record of a seafarer's career experience and certifications. It certifies that the person holding it, is a Seafarer as per The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and serves as record of sea service of the holder.

 

 

 

 

Nearly 3 in every 10 families in Eastern Visayas are poor

By PSA-8
February 2, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Poverty incidence among families in Eastern Visayas in the first semester of 2021 was estimated at 28.9 percent. This implies that in the first semester of 2021, nearly 3 in every 10 families in the region were poor or have income that were below the poverty threshold, or the amount needed to buy their basic food and non-food needs.

In the first semester of 2021, poverty incidence among families in Eastern Samar was estimated at 36.0 percent; Leyte (excluding Tacloban City) at 31.3 percent; Samar at 30.0 percent; Southern Leyte at 25.5 percent; Northern Samar at 23.1 percent; and Biliran at 22.4 percent.

Significant improvements in poverty incidence among families between the first semester of 2018 and first semester of 2021 were noted in Eastern Samar and Northern Samar. Poverty incidence among families in Eastern Samar dropped to 36.0 percent in the first semester of 2021 from 43.0 percent in the first semester of 2018. The province of Northern Samar, meanwhile, registered 23.1 percent poverty incidence among families in the first semester of 2021, lower than the 30.0 percent in the first semester of 2018. On the other hand, poverty incidence among families in Biliran significantly increased to 22.4 percent in the first semester of 2021 from 18.0 percent in the same semester of 2018 (Fig. 1).

poverty incidence among families in EV

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 Tacloban City, the lone HUC in the region, was recorded at 14.7 percent in the first semester of 2021.

36 out of 100 individuals in Eastern Visayas are poor

Poverty incidence among population in Eastern Visayas in the first semester of 2021 was estimated at 36.0 percent. This implies that in the first semester of 2021, 36 in every 100 individuals in the region belong to the poor population whose incomes were not sufficient to buy their minimum basic food and non-food needs.

In the first semester of 2021, poverty incidence among population in Eastern Samar was estimated at 43.1 percent; Leyte (excluding Tacloban City) at 39.1 percent; Samar at 37.0 percent; Southern Leyte at 31.7 percent; Northern Samar at 31.0 percent; and Biliran at 30.7 percent.

Significant improvements in poverty incidence among population between the first semester of 2018 and first semester of 2021 were noted in Eastern Samar and Northern Samar. Poverty incidence among population in Eastern Samar dropped to 43.1 percent in the first semester of 2021 from 52.0 percent in the first semester of 2018. The province of Northern Samar, meanwhile, registered 31.0 percent poverty incidence among population in the first semester of 2021, lower than the 36.6 percent in the first semester of 2018. On the other hand, poverty incidence among population in Biliran significantly increased to 30.7 percent in the first semester of 2021 from 24.9 percent in the same semester of 2018 (Fig. 2).

Poverty incidence among population in Tacloban City in the first semester of 2021 was recorded at 20.1 percent.

poverty incidence among population in EV

Subsistence Incidence among Families

The subsistence incidence among families in Eastern Visayas in the first semester of 2021 was estimated at 13.2 percent. This means that in the first semester of 2021, about 13 in every 100 families in the region have incomes below the food threshold or the amount needed to buy their basic food needs and satisfy the nutritional requirements set by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) to ensure that one remains economically and socially productive.

In the first semester of 2021, subsistence incidence among families in Eastern Samar was estimated at 18.7 percent; Leyte (excluding Tacloban City) at 16.0 percent; Samar at 11.7 percent; Southern Leyte at 10.4 percent; Biliran at 8.7 percent; and Northern Samar at 7.1 percent.

Subsistence incidence among families in Northern Samar significantly improved to 7.1 percent in the first semester of 2021 from 12.2 percent in the first semester of 2018. On the other hand, subsistence incidence among families in Biliran significantly increased to 8.7 percent in the first semester of 2021 from 5.7 percent in the first semester of 2018. Southern Leyte registered 10.4 percent subsistence incidence among families in the first semester of 2021, significantly higher than the 7.9 percent in the first semester of 2018 (Fig. 3).

Subsistence incidence among families in Tacloban City in the first semester of 2021 was recorded at 5.3 percent.

subsistence incidence among families in EV

Subsistence Incidence among Population

Subsistence incidence among population in Eastern Visayas in the first semester of 2021 was estimated at 17.3 percent. This translates that in the first semester of 2021, about 17 in every 100 individuals in the region have incomes below the food threshold or the minimum amount needed to buy their basic food needs.

In the first semester of 2021, subsistence incidence among population in Eastern Samar was estimated at 24.6 percent; Leyte (excluding Tacloban City) at 21.1 percent; Samar at 15.4 percent; Southern Leyte at 13.9 percent; Biliran at 13.1 percent; and Northern Samar at 10.6 percent.

Subsistence incidence among population in Northern Samar significantly improved to 10.6 percent in the first semester of 2021 from 16.1 percent in the first semester of 2018. On the other hand, subsistence incidence among population in Biliran significantly increased to 13.1 percent in the first semester of 2021 from 7.8 percent in the first semester of 2018. The province of Southern Leyte registered 13.9 percent subsistence incidence among population in the first semester of 2021, significantly higher than the 10.3 percent in the first semester of 2018 (Fig. 4).

Subsistence incidence among population in Tacloban City in the first semester of 2021 was recorded at 7.6 percent.

subsistence incidence among population in EV

Food Threshold

In the first semester of 2021, a family of five in Eastern Visayas needed at least P7,904 per month, to meet the family’s basic food needs. This amount represents the average monthly food threshold for a family of five. This figure is 11.2 percent higher compared with its first semester 2018 level of P7,106.

In the first semester of 2021, the average monthly food threshold for a family of five in Eastern Samar was estimated at P8,451; Southern Leyte at P8,445; Biliran at P8,352; Leyte (excluding Tacloban City) at P7,835; Northern Samar at P7,660; and Samar at P7,319.

Increases in food threshold between the first semester 2018 and first semester 2021 were observed in all provinces. Biliran posted the biggest increase in food threshold at 19.4 percent (Fig. 5).

average monthly food threshold for a family in EV

Meanwhile, average monthly food threshold for a family of five in Tacloban City was estimated at P8,224 in the first semester of 2021. This registered an increase of 19.3 percent compared with its level in the same semester in 2018.

The average monthly poverty threshold for a family of five in Eastern Visayas in the first semester of 2021 was estimated at P11,292, an increase of 11.1 percent from its first semester 2018 level of P10,163. This represents the amount needed every month to meet the family’s basic food and non-food needs.

In the first semester of 2021, the average monthly poverty threshold for a family of five in Eastern Samar was estimated at P12,103; Southern Leyte at P12,088; Biliran at P11,957; Leyte (excluding Tacloban City) at P11,232; Northern Samar at P10,977; and Samar at P10,494 (Fig. 6).

Increases in poverty threshold between the first semester of 2018 and first semester of 2021 were observed in all provinces. Biliran posted the biggest increase in poverty threshold at 19.2 percent.

average monthly poverty threshold for a family in EV

Meanwhile, average monthly poverty threshold for a family of five in Tacloban City was estimated at P11,777 in the first semester of 2021. This registered an increase of 19.1 percent compared with its level in the same semester in 2018.

Clustering of Provinces based on Poverty Incidence

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 the first semester of 2021, two (2) provinces moved one (1) cluster lower from their cluster category in the first semester of 2018, namely Leyte and Biliran. The rest of the provinces maintained their first semester 2018 cluster categories.

Three (3) provinces: Biliran, Northern Samar, and Southern Leyte belonged to cluster 3. Meanwhile, Eastern Samar, Leyte (including Tacloban City) and Samar were classified in cluster 2 (Table 6).

clustering of provinces based on Poverty Incidence in EV

 

 

 

 

IT-BPM sector urges Senate to ratify RCEP

By DTI-IDTPG-Bureau of International Trade Relations
February 2, 2022

MANILA – The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) called on the Senate to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement in a statement released Thursday, 27 January 2022. IBPAP represents over 332 member-companies and six partner associations engaged in the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and related sectors.

According to Jack Madrid, president of IBPAP, “We believe that RCEP will increase external trade and spur more investments that create more livelihood and other business opportunities in the country.”

He added that the stable regulatory environment provided by RCEP would improve the Philippines attractiveness to investors and accelerate the economy’s recovery, stressing that the country had the potential to be a manufacturing and services hub under the agreement.

“RCEP also promises seamless production networks among the members who will be tied to common standards, disciplines on intellectual property, rules of origin, customs process, e-commerce and competition policy. With stable and predictable rules, the Philippines could aspire to become a regional manufacturing and services hub, thereby creating much-needed domestic jobs. This framework will benefit the IT & Business Process Management Industry by making the country a more attractive investment destination and help expedite the economic recovery from the pandemic by creating more job opportunities,” he explained.

The RCEP Agreement is an economic treaty brokered by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which the Philippines is a member, and its dialogue partners – Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. It is estimated to be the largest trade bloc in the world, representing 30% of the global GDP.

The RCEP Agreement was signed by the ministers of 10 ASEAN Member States and 5 dialogue partners last 15 November 2020. The Agreement took effect last 1 January 2022 for 10 Signatory States, for South Korea on 1 February 2022, and will be implemented by Malaysia on 18 March 2022.

The Agreement was ratified by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last 02 September 2021, with the measure being deliberated in the Senate for concurrence.

 

 

 

 

MWSS, NCIP’s railroading of Kaliwa Dam strengthens peoples’ unity

By KATRIBU
January 31, 2022

MANILA – The desperation of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to railroad the Kaliwa Dam project strengthens the peoples’ unity against the said destructive program.

IPs’ organizations, led by Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU), IPs’ rights advocates, and defenders of the environment under Network Opposed to Kaliwa, Kanan, and Laiban Dams (NO to KKLD) protested in front of the MWSS’ office, January 31.

They opposed the railroading of the Kaliwa Dam project and the recently concluded week-long activity by the MWSS and NCIP in General Nakar, Quezon province.

"MWSS and NCIP continue to disrespect and neglect the non-consent decision of the majority of the Dumagat people on the dam project. The manipulation of the FPIC process also manifests MWSS and NCIP’s desperation to implement an anti-people program," Rei Paulin, National Coordinator of KATRIBU, said.

Paulin also added the need for Metro Manila to address its water security issue. However, he emphasized that the concern should not compromise the state of the environment.

"We recognize the water security problem in some parts of Luzon. Still, this matter should not compromise the rights and welfare of Indigenous Peoples and the status of our environment," Paulin added.

During the activity from January 24-29, 2022, MWSS and NCIP conducted the anomalous MOA validation of the Kaliwa Dam project amid Alert Level 3 due to the pandemic.

The agencies barred the Dumagat people from joining the discussion and negotiation for the MOA signing and workshop on the Community Royalty Development Plan. The Dumagat people said that the NCIP invited them to negotiate. However, during the day of the negotiation, officials required them to present negative Antigen Test Results. NCIP did not mention the requirement in the invitation, according to the prohibited individuals.

Rodrigo Piston, Indigenous People Mandatory Representative from Lower Pagsangahan, General Nakar, Quezon, denounced the local government of General Nakar, Quezon, for allowing such activity amid the Alert Level 3 due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Members of the affected community claim that such activity put them at risk amid the threat of the COVID-19 virus.

“We are under Alert Level 3 due to the COVID-19. Still, the NCIP proceeded with the negotiation. We, in General Nakar, condemned this activity amid the pandemic. Individuals from other affected communities also opposed the railroading of the program,” Piston said.

Meanwhile, the NCIP is notorious for manipulating FPIC processes. In the case of the Kaliwa Dam project, the commission selected “leaders” from the community to join the MOA validation. Genuine FPIC requires genuine community participation. The opposition of the affected communities to the exclusivity of the MOA validation questions the process’ legitimacy. Hence, NCIP’s selection of “leaders” for the process violates the Dumagat people’s collective rights to self-determination.

Piston also condemned the presence of members of the Philippine National Police during the negotiation. He reiterated his community’s goals to protect the environment and secure their ancestral lands from the destructive state project.

“We are not criminals, murderers, and thieves. We are expressing the truth and the impact of the destructive Kaliwa Dam project to our children in the future,” Piston added.

During the mobilization, Kakay Tolentino, National Coordinator of Bai Indigenous Women’s Network, supported the call of the Dumagat people in their struggle for the protection of their fundamental rights.

“We stand in solidarity with the Dumagats in opposing the implementation of the Kaliwa Dam project. We call on the government to stop all destructive projects across the country. Defend the rights of our IPS! Save our environment!” Tolentino emphasized.

On the other hand, NO to KKLD urged candidates for the 2022 May Elections to stand with the Dumagat people in opposing the Kaliwa Dam project.

"We challenge all candidates for the upcoming elections to join the struggle for the protection of the environment, livelihood, and rights and welfare of the Filipino people,” NO to KKLD said.

 

 

 

 

Southern Leyte residents clamor for housing materials


The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) distributes shirts to children at the Anilao Elementary School in Liloan, Southern Leyte, which serves as evacuation center after Typhoon Odette left many families homeless. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

Press Release
January 28, 2022

LILOAN, Southern Leyte – Members of agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) in the Panaon Island area are so grateful for the relief assistance that keeps on pouring from various sectors.

In the afternoon of December 16 last year, Super Typhoon Odette made its third landfall in this town leaving many families homeless.

On January 5 of this year, a team from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), headed by Chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division, Victoria Ligtas, brought relief goods for the members of the Anilao Farmers Association, San Roque Farmers Association, Pandan Farmers Association, Himay-angan Rice Farmers Association and the Liloan farmers Agricultural Cooperative.

Ligtas shared that they have provided the member of the five ARBOs, who are all severely affected by Typhoon Odette, with food items, drinking water, garments and “trapal” (tarpaulin) to address their current needs.

The team likewise distributed shirts and biscuits to children at the Anilao Elementary School, which serves as evacuation center, where some agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) are taking refuge.

On December 29, 2021, the same relief goods were received by the members of the Tuno Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative and the Cangcasto Farmers Association, Ligtas added.

Ligtas shared that more than 400 ARBO members from the two municipalities, mostly ARBs, were benefited. However, they are begging for housing materials to rebuild their homes that were destroyed when the typhoon hit the province nine days before Christmas.

ARB Ma. Nita Palabrica, 52, and a mother of three, appeals to those who are still planning to bring relief assistance for the typhoon victims, “Sana financial assistance na lang para makapagpatayo kami ng kahit kubo lang” (We hope for financial assistance instead, so we could build even a small house only.)

Palabrica’s family is among those who are still staying in the evacuation center after their houses were crashed down by the typhoon.

Markenn Jay Maloto, 25, daughter of an agrarian reform beneficiary (ARB), when asked why she was crying, said “Wala na kaming bahay. Di kami makatulog ng maayos.” (We have no house anymore. We can’t sleep well.)

According to her, their house was knocked down by a coconut tree. Now she, her parents, and her younger brother, are crammed in one bed to sleep in a corner of their broken house with a makeshift roof.

She appeals for housing materials they would use in repairing their house.

Josefa Lupas, 72, was lucky that she and her paralyzed ARB husband were able to evacuate before the typhoon came but was dismayed when they returned the following day to see their house, which stands along the seashore, heavily damaged.

ARB Jenelyn Almojicar, 50, chairperson of the Tuno Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, exclaimed “Salamat! Kahit sa kahirapan sa lugar na papunta dito, nakarating ang taga-DAR at naalala kami” (Thank you! Even if it’s hard to come here, people from DAR reached our place and remembered us.)

Almojicar is also asking for materials they could use in repairing their organization’s building which include a “sari-sari” store.

Just like what happened to many houses all over the province, the roof of the said organization’s building was blown away by strong winds, and consequently, everything inside were damaged.

According to Almojicar, members of their organization, who are all farmers, are dependent on the store for their daily needs.

Meanwhile, DAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Robert Anthony Yu is looking for ways the office could help the distraught ARBs recover and start a livelihood.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Wild leads call for action against Philippines human rights violations

Press release
January 28, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) led a bipartisan group of her colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretery of Treasury Janet Yellen, urging them to seek targeted sanctions against members of the Duterte regime with documented records of grave human rights violations in the Philippines. Reports of widespread harassment and assassinations have been observed by human rights groups, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has now begun a probe into possible crimes against humanity during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s infamous so-called “war on drugs” – a pretext for an estimated 30,000 killings by security forces during the Duterte presidency.

"Those behind these corrosive violations should no longer operate with impunity. In our stand for democracy, the United States cannot overlook the crisis in the Philippines, and we must take tangible action if we are to truly stand for human rights and the flourishing of freedom around the world," the lawmakers wrote. "To this end, we urge the imposition of sanctions on individuals who are behind these major human rights violations, particularly via the use of the Global Magnitsky Act."

In July, Rep. Wild reintroduced the Philippine Human Rights Act, legislation to reinforce American commitment to international human rights by suspending security assistance to the Philippines until violence against dissidents ceases and accountability against the perpetrators commences.

This letter also arrives alongside horrific reports detailing the rape of a 15-year-old girl, Belle, by the 59th Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army (IBPA) under the leadership of Lt. General Antonio Parlade, who is among the individuals listed in the letter as responsible for human rights violations committed by the Philippine security forces under the Duterte regime. Rep Wild stands with Belle and her family, who filed charges against General Parlade and other officials this past week.

Rep. Wild was joined in sending the letter by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Dina Titus (NV-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), James McGovern (MA-03), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Andy Levin (MI-09), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Angie Craig (MN-02), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Jim Costa (CA-16), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Danny Davis (IL-07), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Gerald Connolly (VA-11).

Read full text of the letter here

 

 

 

 

NTF-ELCAC’s red-tagging underscores urgency of passing bill on protection of rights defenders - Karapatan

By KARAPATAN
January 27, 2022

QUEZON CITY – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) red-tagging of the authors of House Bill No. 10576 or the proposed Human Rights Defenders Protection Act “only underscores the urgency of passing the bill into law,” human rights alliance Karapatan stated on Thursday, as it called on the Senate to pass Senate Bill No. 179, the proposed measure’s counterpart bill, filed by Senator Leila de Lima.

“The NTF-ELCAC and Badoy’s unhinged and rabid red-tagging of the authors of the proposed Human Rights Defenders Protection Act in the House of Representatives should seriously alarm our senators to act with urgency. This is a very clear reason why a law on protecting human rights defenders in the country is long overdue, and why it should be passed without any delay,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay urged.

NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Badoy, in her statement last January 20, red-tagged the authors of the proposed measure, as well as Karapatan and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, by claiming that it was authored by “urban operatives” of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front, and that, if passed, “the bill will open the floodgates of abuse and torment on our people by terrorists” and render the Anti-Terrorism Act “ineffective and toothless.”

House Bill No. 10576 – a consolidated version of House Bills No. 15 filed by Albay First District Rep. Edcel Lagman, No. 161 filed by Quezon City Sixth District Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, and No. 240 filed by the Makabayan bloc – was approved by the House of Representatives on its third and final reading last January 17, 2022 with a total of 200 affirmative votes. No legislator voted against or abstained on voting on the bill.

Palabay asserted that the Badoy’s statement “clearly shows the NTF-ELCAC’s aversion to uphold human rights in its militarist, fascist, and anti-people counterinsurgency agenda; after all, the NTF-ELCAC is guilty of the worst atrocities against human rights defenders from red-tagging, judicial harassment, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. Intentionally or not, she also exposes the true intent of the terror law: the NTF-ELCAC wants to use it specifically to target human rights defenders.”

“With or without the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act, human rights defenders should not be targeted by the government for their work. However, the specific situation of human rights defenders and the NTF-ELCAC’s attacks continue to put us – and each and every Filipino – in peril. It is therefore urgent that the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act be passed by the Senate along with the proposed measures to penalize red-tagging,” the Karapatan official ended.

 

 

 

 

NMP collaborates with LGU Guiuan for BSTMHOF

NMP and Guiuan fisherfolks meeting
Meeting with NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod and the Presidents of different fisherfolks association of LGU Guiuan held at the Municipal Hall of Guiuan, Eastern Samar last 14 January 2022.

By National Maritime Polytechnic
January 26, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), is set to propel its way forward with a renewed partnership with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Guiuan in a meeting conducted last 14 January 2022 at the Municipal Hall of Guiuan, Eastern Samar with NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod, Mayor Analiza Gonzales-Kwan, and LGU PESO Manager Rina P. Vertulfo.

ED Maglunsod and other NMP personnel, met with the officials of LGU Guiuan to present the proposal for the conduct of the Basic Safety Training for Motorboat handlers/Operators and Fishermen with Typhoon Preparedness (BSTMHOF), and eventually finalize the terms and agreements for the said training which is scheduled on 25 February 2022. ED Maglunsod and the rest of the NMP team also met with the fisherfolk of Guiuan for a consultative meeting to discuss concerns for the said training.

BSTMHOF is aimed at improving the basic safety skills of local motorboat operators and fisherfolks and expose them to new techniques in Personal Survival, Fire Prevention and Firefighting, Elementary First Aid and Personal Safety and Social Responsibility, including topics on the Rules of the Road, Typhoon Awareness and Marine Safety Requirements.

It is imperative that such training be conducted to help their people acquire the skills and knowledge to adapt to varying risks since the municipality of Guiuan is a fishing community and the only municipality in the region with the most number of island barangays, hence, most of the houses are situated in coastal areas, making them more susceptible to the hazards of typhoons.

Moreover, Mayor Kwan added that the BSTMHOF is a much-needed training because the Municipality of Guiuan also serves as a tourist attraction having rich historical background and a century-old church, and several scenic spots, surfing camps and white-sand beaches.

This initiative is a collaborative effort between the NMP, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and LGU Guiuan. It can also be recalled that prior to this, NMP was able to forge partnership with LGU Guiuan in the previous years for the conduct of the said training.

Meanwhile, NMP continues to upgrade its facilities and provide maritime trainings pursuant to the STCW Convention as amended in 2010 including value-adding courses to enhance the competitiveness and qualifications of Filipino seafarers, and conducts maritime studies to come up with policies for the improvement of the manpower sector of the industry.

 

 

 

 

Mayor condemns NPA’s bomb attack in Samar

By DPAO, 8ID PA
January 25, 2022

CATBALOGAN CITY – An anti-personnel mine was detonated by communist NPA terrorists in Brgy Pelaon, Pinabacdao, Samar at around 08:26 in the morning January 25, 2022.

NPA bomb attackAn army soldier and a CAFGU Active Auxilliary (CAA) were wounded by the explosion. The victims were on their way to a site for a new detachment when the incident happened. The construction of a new detachment was initiated in response to an earlier request by the local community leaders and residents.

Mayor Teodorico Mabag of the Municipality of Pinabacdao, Samar condemned the communist terrorist’s use of anti-personnel mine as it poses significant risk to the lives of the civilian community of Brgy Pelaon where the explosion happened.

"The incident proves the CPP-NPA’s willful disregard on the safety and well-being of humanity. Their continuing manufacture, stockpile, and use of anti-personnel mine is a gross disrespect to the UN convention that bans anti-personnel mines to protect humans from its mutilating effects and suffering. The leaders of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), which represented the NPA in past peace negotiations, should be held answerable for the continuing IHL violations of the NPA that they have been representing," Maj Gen Edgardo De Leon, Commander 8ID said.

In September 18, 1997 the Ottawa Convention banned the Use, Stockpile, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel mine to put an end on the unnecessary suffering and desecration of human body caused by its explosion. Aside from NPA’s use and stockpile of the banned anti-personnel Mines, the communist terrorists were observed to be abandoning explosive mines they laid hidden on trail, posing great risks to innocent civilians passing along. For the year 2021 alone, troops of 8th Infantry Division have discovered and safely recovered 96 pieces of abandoned anti-personnel mines in various parts of Region 8.

As of this report, the wounded servicemen were already evacuated safely and brought to medical facility for treatment.

 

 

 

 

Eastern Visayas closes 2021 with 3.4% inflation rate

By PSA-8
January 20, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas closed 2021 with 3.4 percent Inflation Rate (IR) in December. This IR is 0.4 percentage point lower compared with the 3.8 percent IR in November 2021. However, December 2021 IR of the region is 1.0 percentage point higher than the recorded 2.4 percent IR in the same period last year.

December 2021 Eastern Visayas inflation rateIn comparison with the national average IR, the regional IR is lower by 0.2 percentage point than the 3.6 percent national IR in December 2021.

Among the provinces, Eastern Samar posted the highest IR at 4.4 percent in December 2021. Biliran’s IR came next at 4.2 percent, then Samar at 3.7 percent. The lowest IR was noted in Southern Leyte at 2.2 percent. All provinces exhibited lower IRs in December 2021 compared with their figures in November 2021. Samar recorded the biggest drop of 1.7 percentage points from its 5.4 percent IR a month ago, registering 3.7 percent IR in December 2021. The IR in Southern Leyte moved at a slower pace of 2.2 percent in December 2021, 1.2 percentage points lower than its 3.4 percent IR in November 2021. Northern Samar recorded 1.0 percentage point decrease, bringing its December 2021 IR down to 3.0 percent. Meanwhile, IR of Leyte, Biliran, and Eastern Samar all eased by 0.1 percentage point in December 2021, settling at 3.0 percent, 4.2 percent, and 4.4 percent, respectively.

In December 2021, only the commodity groups of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services registered IRs higher than their previous month’s levels by 0.3 percentage point, 0.1 percentage point, and 0.1 percentage point, respectively. All other commodity groups have either lower or retained their November IRs.

Transport commodity group posted the highest IR during the month in review at 6.7 percent, followed by housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels commodity group at 6.2 percent. All the other commodity groups have IRs lower than the IR for all items recorded at 3.4 percent.

The alcoholic beverages and tobacco commodity group registered the biggest decrease in IR with 2.8 percentage points, which settled at 2.3 percent in December 2021 from 5.1 percent in November 2021. This can be traced in the declines of IRs in both indices of tobacco and alcoholic beverages by 1.0 percentage point and 3.9 percentage points, respectively.

Slower IR was also noted in the transport commodity group, from 8.7 percent in November 2021 to 6.7 percent in December 2021. This 2.0 percentage point decrease in IR was brought about by the reduction of the double-digit IR in the operation of personal transport equipment index by 9.7 percentage points.

The IR for food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group in December 2021 slowed down to 3.3 percent from 4.0 percent in November 2021. The IR for vegetables dropped to 1.0 percent in December 2021 from 5.0 percent in November 2021, the highest decline of 4.0 percentage points. The IR for fish fell to 9.7 percent in December 2021 from its double-digit IR of 12.4 percent a month ago. Slower IRs were also exhibited in the indices of food products not elsewhere classified (2.8%); oils and fats (1.4%); sugar, jam, honey, chocolate, and confectionery (1.1%); and milk, cheese, and eggs (0.7%).

The index of rice and corn continued to register deflations but at a slower rate of 1.5 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. The index of non-alcoholic beverages retained its previous month’s IR at 0.2 percent, while bread and cereals retained its previous month’s deflation of 1.2 percent. On the other hand, meat index continued to register double-digit IR at 14.4 percent in December 2021. Prices for fruits also picked-up posting IR of 6.1 percent in during the month in review.

Compared with its November 2021 levels, IR for clothing and footwear commodity group (1.4%) declined by 0.2 percentage point in December 2021. The IR for health commodity group likewise eased by 0.1 percentage point, settling at 0.9 percent in December 2021.

On the other hand, housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels commodity group’s IR increased to 6.2 percent in December 2021 from 5.9 percent in November 2021, recording a slight increase of 0.3 percentage point. This uptick in IR was brought about by the higher double-digit IR in the electricity, gas, and other fuels index posted at 17.9 percent.

The IRs for restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services commodity group and furnishings, household equipment, and routine maintenance of the house commodity group both inched up by 0.1 percentage point registering 1.1 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, in December 2021.

Meanwhile, the commodity groups of recreation and culture; communication; and education retained their previous month’s IRs at 0.9 percent, 0.7 percent, and 0.1 percent, respectively.

The Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region remained at P0.75 in December 2021. This PPP implies that the goods and services worth P75.00 in 2012 was already worth P100.00 in December 2021.

Compared with their levels in November 2021, PPP in Biliran and Northern Samar both weakened by P0.01. The rest of the provinces retained their previous month’s PPP. Biliran and Leyte recorded the strongest PPP at P0.78, while Samar posted the weakest PPP during the reference month at P0.69.

 

 

 

 

NCCP welcomes House passage of bill for the protection of human rights defenders

Press Release
January 18, 2022

QUEZON CITY – The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), through its General Secretary, Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, welcomed yesterday’s passage of House Bill No. 10576 or the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act on its third and final reading. “The passage of the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act is a positive step forward in upholding the rights of those who are working for the protection of God’s Gift of human dignity,” Bp. Marigza stated.

“For the NCCP, the defense of human rights is an integral part of our Christian witness and mission and we have supported this Act since it was introduced in the previous 17th Congress and we are glad that legislators of this 18th Congress finally voted in favor of its passage,” the Protestant leader added.

“In recent years, the state of human rights has sharply declined and the NCCP has observed various forms of human rights violations and more vicious patterns of attacks against human rights defenders, including church people, several of which are our pastors and lay members. We are also concerned over the rampant red-tagging and we are alarmed over the freezing and/or monitoring of bank accounts of church-designated sanctuaries, NGOs and humanitarian actors,” Bp. Marigza said.

“When rights defenders have fallen victims to violations and abuses, who will now defend the defenders? We thus call on our Senators pass the counterpart Senate Bill No. 179 filed by Senator Leila de Lima,” the Bishop added.

The Human Rights Defenders Protection Act or House Bill No. 10576 is a consolidated version of House Bills No. 15 filed by Albay First District Rep. Edcel Lagman, No. 161 filed by Quezon City Sixth District Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, and No. 240 filed by the Makabayan bloc composed of representatives from partylists Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Kabataan and Gabriela Women’s Party.

The House Bill defines the rights and freedoms of human rights defenders (HRDs) in the Philippines and aims to institute measures that will protect them. This was approved by the lower house chamber on January 17, 2022 with 200 affirmative votes, zero negative, and no abstention.

The NCCP is the largest aggrupation of mainline Protestant and non-Roman Catholic churches in the Philippines.

 

 

 

 

CLFC takes 14th spot on PFA financial survey

By CARD MRI
January 18, 2022

SAN PABLO CITY - Among the 49 participating companies, CARD Leasing and Financing Corporation (CARD LFC) takes the 14th spot with the highest net income after tax and places 22nd with the highest gross income in the Philippine Finance Association’s (PFA) Survey on Financial Performance conducted earlier this year.

Established in 1962, the PFA, comprised of finance and leasing companies in the country, aims to develop innovative financial products and services for the betterment of the country.

“Ranking 14th was something we never expected. Regardless, CARD LFC welcomes the recognition as this proves our growth in terms of the quality of our services to our clients,” CARD LFC President Frederick Nicasio M. Torres said as he recognizes the leasing corporation’s achievement. As of December 2021, CARD LFC has more than 6,500 clients, doubling more than what they had the year before. “This also reinforces the company, as this shows that we are providing our clients with the right financing and credit access,” he added.

Besides doubling the number of clients served by more than 100%, CARD LFC had an improved repayment rate from last year’s 90% to this year’s 97%. Repayment rate refers to how often someone pays based on the lender’s loan terms.

The increase of performance of the CARD’s leasing and financing institution may also be attributed to their technological innovations, one of which is their online loan application via Facebook. Assisted by a chatbot, interested applicants may message their official Facebook where they can apply for loans and be immediately released.

Holistic approach

Torres also mentioned that CARD LFC’s holistic and hands-on approach to their clients drives the good performance of the institution. “Whenever our clients have concerns, we respond personally to help them address their needs. We also refer them to CARD MRI’s institutions to help them expand their businesses. We know our clients by heart, and we focus on each one of them.”

CARD MRI Managing Director Aristeo A. Dequito congratulates CARD LFC’s progress. “The growth of CARD LFC despite the pandemic shows that CARD MRI will always find a way to be of service to our communities. Staying true to their mission of providing the best leasing and financing services in the most affordable way, CARD LFC’s achievement is proof that at CARD MRI, we keep in mind our clients’ best interests.”

Since its inception in 2013, CARD LFC has provided leasing and financing services such as start-up, vehicle, and gadget loans to clients in and outside CARD MRI. For more information on their products and services, please visit their official Facebook page, @CARDLFCOfficial.

 

 

 

 

TESDA sets up solar lighting systems in Caraga

tesda solar lighting

By TESDA-PIAD
January 18, 2022

TAGUIG CITY – Due to the power outage caused by the Typhoon Odette in the Caraga Region, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has set up solar lighting systems and charging stations in the region.

A total of 59 solar lighting systems have been installed in the Caraga Region, of which, five were installed in Surigao City and Surigao Del Norte; 27 in Siargao Islands; and 27 in Dinagat Islands.

These solar lighting systems were installed by TESDA Caraga with the help of their buddy regions, the National Capital Region (NCR) and Regions III, XI, and XII. The “buddy system” is being implemented by TESDA Central Office to ensure a smooth and faster provision of assistance and skills training to “Odette”-hit areas.

Also, TESDA Caraga, together with the augmentation team from Region III, conducted a community-based training on Solar Concept and Installation at Consuelo, Dapa, Surigao del Norte last January 12 where a total of 18 families attended the training.

Meanwhile, other interventions are still ongoing not just in the Caraga Region but also in other regions which were devastated by Typhoon Odette. TESDA has allotted P195 million worth of scholarship for the residents of the affected regions nationwide.

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña shared that TESDA field offices are currently laying the groundwork to conduct massive training-cum-production on construction-related courses which will help the affected residents rebuild their destroyed houses and other infrastructure in their community.

These construction-related training courses include Masonry, Tile Setting, Electrical Installation, Painting, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Plumbing, Carpentry, and also Photovoltaic Systems Installation.

Other TESDA units have started the conduct of community-based training in Electrical Installation and even hollow-blocks making. Training in Cookery and bread-making will also be offered.

It can be recalled that the TESDA Chief himself has approved the implementing guidelines of the agency for disaster response last February2021 which is being followed by all TESDA operating units.

This includes the Relief Phase where immediate basic needs of the affected population should be provided and the Rehabilitation Phase which requires the implementation of construction and livelihood trainings.

Lapeña also noted that after their recovery, the affected residents can also use what they have learned from these trainings to generate their own income through business or employment.

"In the spirit of Bayanihan, and with TESDA's mandate and guiding principle ‘TESDA Abot Lahat’, we will always be ready to provide relief and rehabilitation programs for our disaster-affected kababayans so they can immediately recover from the crisis," he said.

 

 

 

 

Duterte appoints new brigade commander in Samar

By DPAO, 8ID PA
January 9, 2022

CATBALOGAN CITY – Col Lenart Lelina assumes command of the Army's 801st Infantry Brigade through a Change of Command Ceremony at its headquarters in Camp Eugenio Daza, Brgy Fatima, Hinabangan, Samar on January 8, 2022.

801st Infantry Brigade commander Col. Lenart LelinaPresident Duterte signed the appointment of Col Lelina as new Commander of 801st Bde on December 28, 2021. Lelina replaced Brigadier General Camilo Ligayo who assumed higher position as the AFP's Deputy Chief of Staff for Reservist and Retirees Affairs, J9.

During the ceremony, Ligayo was recognized for his invaluable contributions to AFP's mission. He was given Meritorious Achievement Medal and Command Plaque from Visayas Command and Military Merit Medal from 8th Infantry Division in recognition of his achievements as Brigade Commander of 801Bde.

Ligayo on his speech as outgoing Commander, thanked various stakeholders to include the provincial governments of Samar and Eastern Samar, Provincial Task Force ELCAC, PNP and others for their contributions to accomplishing Brigade Mission.

Lelina is a veteran in Region 8, first assigned as a young 2nd Lieutenant in 43IB in Samar and Eastern Samar. In 2019 he became the Deputy Brigade Commander of the unit until his assumption of the top post. Lelina has a short and simple message to communist terrorists in Samar and Eastern Samar: "Lusad na kamo ngan uli na ha iyo pamilya samtang mayda pa panahon, (Come home and be with your families while there's still time) period".

AFP Commander in Eastern Visayas and 8th Infantry Division Commander Major General Edgardo De Leon presided the ceremony. De Leon on his speech commended the officers and troops of 801st Infantry "Bantay at Gabay" Brigade for their high degree of professionalism and commitment to serve. "Nawa'y lalo ninyong paigtingin ang inyong katapatan sa tungkulin at sa ating bansa nang sa ganon ay mabilis nating maisulong ang pagkamit ng kapayapaan at kaunlaran dito sa Samar".

Lt General Robert Dauz, Commander, Visayas Command was also present during the ceremony to personally award the Command Plaque and medal from Visayas Command to BGen Ligayo.

 

 

 

 

Chiz to LGUs: Don’t count on windfall from Mandanas ruling

Press Release
January 9, 2022

SORSOGON CITY – Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero is advising his fellow local chief executives not to count on the additional P234 billion in internal revenue allotment (IRA) expected this year as the national government complies with the Mandanas ruling of the Supreme Court.

Escudero, a veteran legislator, said the cost of the full devolution of services mandated by Executive Order 138 would be twice as much as what local government units (LGUs) are entitled to receive from the national tax collection. He used 2021 data to estimate the gap between the increased IRA and the increased cost of newly devolved services.

“Inisa-isa ko iyon sa national budget ng 2021 dahil line item naman ng budget. Ang kabuuang halaga ng dini-devolve nila sa LGU ay humigit-kumulang P1.3 trillion samantalang ang dagdag na IRA na bigay ng Mandanas ruling ay P695 billion lamang,” said Escudero.

“In other words, they devolved double the amount of what they will be giving LGUs. Iyon pa lang kukulangin palagi yung pondo ng LGUs,” he said.

According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the total IRA for LGUs is projected to increase by 55.7%, from P695.49 billion in 2021 to PHP 1.083 trillion in 2022, which is 4.75% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This is based on the national tax collections in 2019, when the Supreme Court made the landmark decision giving LGUs greater share in national revenue.

The decision, now known as the Mandanas ruling, stemmed from petitions lodged by Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas and former Bataan Gov. Enrique Garcia Jr. seeking local government share in all national taxes, not just in the taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue but also in the duties collected by the Bureau of Customs.

Because of this, LGU share in the IRA is expected to increase to at least 60% from the current 40%, leaving less money for the national government. As the IRA is based on the collections in the third year preceding the current fiscal year, the adjustment in tax allocations resulting from the Mandanas ruling will take effect in 2022.

“Hindi dapat umasa ang mga LGUs sa sinasabing windfall from Mandanas ruling kasi mas matindi ang windfall ng trabaho at pagkakagastusan nila dahil sa EO 138,” said Escudero, who is seeking a Senate comeback.

“Gaya din ng naranasan natin ngayong COVID-19 pandemic at nitong nakaraang Typhoon Odette, kanya-kanyang diskarte ang mga LGUs para tugunan ang pangangailangan ng kanilang mga constituents. Ganun din ang inaasahan nating mangyayari sa full devolution,” he said.

To mitigate the impact of the Mandanas ruling, the national government through Executive Order 138 signed in June 2021, decided to implement the full devolution of functions, services and facilities to the local government no later than 2024. LGUs and national agencies were instructed to prepare devolution transition plans and capacity development agenda.

Escudero warned that attaching permanent functions and services to a volatile source of funding is detrimental to LGUs and counter-productive to long-term planning. He urged local governments to be extra cautious in their spending because while the devolved functions and services will remain steady in the coming years, their source of revenue will not.

“LGUs should not create recurring expenditure or permanent positions because next year, they might not have the budget for those. By 2023, the IRA will be based on the 2020 national revenue, and we all know the Philippines had its worst economic performance that year due to the pandemic. Our GDP shrank by 9.5% in 2020, the worst since 1947, which means we may also see the worst IRA since then,” Escudero said.

 

 

 

 

Government agencies converge to Limasawa Island

limasawa island relief

By DPAO, 8ID PA
January 7, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Regional line government units converged to Limasawa island on Jan 7, 2022 to pour-in more assistance to the Municipality of Limasawa following President Duterte's order to ensure typhoon victims will not sleep without roof.

According to Cpt Ryan Layug, military spokesperson in Region 8, a Philippine Air Force reconnaissance aircraft was immediately dispatched on Dec 17, 2021 to assess the damage caused by typhoon Odette. It was immediately disclosed to the public that 90% of existing structures in Limasawa were totally damaged, while the remaining 10% were severely damaged. Most of the small boats of the fishermen were also damaged leaving the Island municipality isolated. Two small boats were even blown up by strong winds towards the top of a hill, about half kilometer from the shore.

"Simbahan ra gyud mi nanagan tanan, naa pa gani pumpboat gilupad ni Odette padulong sa tuktok sa bukid dadto oh sa punuan sa cellsite (The church became our sole shelter, there were even pumbboat blown away on top of the hill in the cellsite)" a resident said pointing on the cell tower at the hilltop of the barangay. She also mentioned that have they not pushed themselves inside the unfinished 3-storey church, where 200-300 residents of Brgy Magallanes sought shelter, many could have died. Sea water and from ocean surge reached the houses, pushed and washed away all the debris. A resident said it was a miracle that in Brgy Magallanes, only one died.

"Nakakapanghinayang, mahigit 70% ng mga pananim, lalo na puno ng niyog, ang natumba at naputol. Nagkasirasira din ang mga bangka. Halos walang natirang maayos na bahay." Major General Edgardo De Leon, AFP Commander in Eastern Visayas or JTF Storm said.

The AFP in Region 8 sent soldiers in typhoon affected areas to assist the residents and facilitate relief operation. Carpentry-skilled teams of soldiers were deployed to help make temporary pantry and sanitation area. According to MGen De Leon: “scaled down muna ang military operations para bigyang daan ang pagtulong ng mga sundalo sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo. Nagkakarpintero muna ang mga sundalo natin para tumulong sa pagkumpuni ng mga nasirang bahay.”

Limasawa Mayor Melchor Petracorta broke into tears as he expressed gratitude to the government agencies’ non-stop convergence effort to help. "Ramdam na ramdam namin ang presensya ng gobyerno natin, nandyan sila para sa amin. Maraming salamat". Mayor Petracorta encouraged his constituents to replicate by waking up early at 5AM everyday to expedite their recovery process, particularly the repair of homes and pumpboats. He coined the "Magsipag at Magtulungan, para ang Pagbangon Hindi Matatagalan" as new motto for the people of Limasawa.

The AFP and PCG has been helping in the logistics requirement of RDRRMC, transporting relief goods to the Island. "We along with other government agencies like OCD, DSWD, DILG and other agencies in Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council will exhaust all effort to help our people in the entire Southern Leyte get back on their foot. We are thankful for their understanding of our shortcomings but we are most especially touched when they say babangon tayo sir." De Leon added.

OCD distributed family, house repair and sanitation kits while DSWD handed Family Food Packs. The AFP sent manpower, able-bodied to help rebuild homes.

 

Last updated: 04/24/2022

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