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Chiz leads groundbreaking of Sorsogon’s first cancer treatment center

MPBs built for the municipalities of Samar

DOLE Samar provides labor education to academe workers

NMP collaborates with LGU Guiuan for BSTMHOF

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





85 HOTS in Labor Day Job fair in Eastern Visayas

Labor Day Job fair

May 6, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – A total of 85 jobseekers were hired-on-the spot (HOTS) out of the 1,081 applicants who registered in the Trabaho Negosyo Kabuhayan (TNK) Job and Business Fairs conducted in Tacloban and Ormoc on May 1, 2022.

Among the HOTS jobs were accounting staff, production crew, nurse, information technologist, cashier, HR staff, supervisor, management trainee, sales associate, utility worker and data encoder.

This year’s labor day celebration, with the theme, “Matatag na Manggagawa, Matatag na Bansa”, offered more than 3,000 local and overseas jobs from over 80 employers for the hopeful jobseekers of Eastern Visayas.

A simple yet meaningful program was held in Robinsons North Tacloban prior the most awaited job fair to commemorate the special day for the working class. It was graced with the presence of representatives from the labor and management representatives in the persons of Atty. Miguel T. Tezon and Mr. Eugene A. Tan, respectively.

Atty. Tezon, in his message, underscored tripartism as a key so that no sector will be left behind. “Wala dapat pro-work or pro-management, that’s why we have tripartite council so that lahat maisama at walang maiwan”, he said.

Mr. Tan, President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Tacloban-Leyte Chapter, thanked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for spearheading the conduct of face-to-face job fair.

“We recognize DOLE for this face-to-face TNK Job Fair program. After the long period of anxiety due to the pandemic, we badly need this kind of intervention to help our economy bounce back to recovery”, Mr. Tan said.

Meanwhile, Regional Director Henry John S. Jalbuena acknowledged all the government agencies and partner employers for their usual support. He likewise urged all jobseekers to be more patient and strategic in their journey towards employment.

“Maximize this job fair to your advantage and apply in as many employers as your qualifications merit. Like what the famous line says, the more entries you have, the more chances of winning”, said Jalbuena.

Also in attendance during the program was DTI Regional Director Celerina T. Bato, who as well delivered a message being DOLE’s partner in the conduct of TNK.

The DOLE-8 likewise awarded the program the regional winners of the 2022 Search for Best DOLE-Assisted Livelihood Projects for individual and group categories. Winners for individual category were Videography Project of Mr. Roy C. Valera from Balangkayan, Eastern Samar and Burger Vending Business of Mr. Jiwarren Lantape from Maasin City. The Egg Production of Lanawan Farmer’s Association (LAFA) in MacArthur, Leyte and Community Store of Cervantes Integrated Organic Farmers Association (CIOFA) from Catarman, Northern Samar dominated the group category.

Conducted simultaneous with the TNK job fair was the livelihood exhibit wherein different locally-produced items such as assorted native delicacies and woven banig were made available for the public.

Various government agencies such as SSS, Pag-ibig, PSA, DFA and Philhealth were also present during the celebration to offer frontline programs and services for the benefit and convenience of the jobseekers.

Some 146 jobseekers were tagged as Near Hires during the recently concluded job fairs and will undergo further interviews or examinations, depending on the hiring company’s requirement.

Also present during the celebration were DOLE-8 OIC-Assistant Regional Director Atty. Cecilio I. Baleña, Police Colonel Edwin Portillo, National Maritime Polytechnic Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod and other members of the DOLE-Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC).





Chiz urges college students in private schools to get subsidy

Press Release
May 6, 2022

SORSOGON CITY – Senatorial aspirant and Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero is urging college students to avail of the tertiary education subsidy (TES) which gives around P60,000 tuition subsidy and allowances to those enrolled in private colleges and universities.

He said this provision in Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act has not been well promoted and therefore not accessed by its intended beneficiaries.

“Merong probisyon ang batas na yan na TES – Tertiary Education Subsidy – ibig sabihin hindi lang limitado sa nag-aaral sa state universities and colleges ang libre. Kung nag-aaral ka sa isang private university, pwede kang mag-apply para sa TES Scholarship kung saan nagbibigay sila ng P60,000 pang-tuition fee mo plus allowances pa,” said Escudero, a staunch supporter of free education when he was a senator.

He said this was in recognition of the fact that not all courses are available in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and that not all municipalities have SUCs so some students are compelled to study in private schools, despite the heavy financial burden.

“Gusto namin ipakita at patunayan na hindi lang pang-mayaman ang mga private universities and colleges. Dapat may oportunidad din ang bawat Pilipino kahit hindi ipinanganak na mayaman na makapag-aral sa mga unibersidad na yan,” said Escudero.

He said students should first make sure that their schools are accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) so they can apply with the CHED for the subsidy and allowance under the TES. He pointed out that the TES does not have a grade requirement.

“Hindi namin inilagay iyon basta pumapasa ka. Huwag ka namang bumagsak. Hindi kinakailangan maging honor, ang importante pumasa at makapagtapos sa kolehiyo,” he said.

In 2019, only 33% of Filipinos, or 3 out of 10 were enrolled in higher education institutions, much lower than Thailand’s 43% and Malaysia’s 44%, according to CHED. In 2010, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) found that only 36.3% of Filipinos 17 to 24 years old had post-secondary and college education.

Escudero, former chair of the Senate Committee on Education, said the TES was meant to support college students, whether in public or private schools.

“Titingnan ng CHED ‘yung kalagayan economically ng pamilya niyo para malaman kung magkano, sakto ba ang ibibigay na tulong para makapag-aral at makapagtapos ka sa ano mang kursong pinili mo sa isang pribadong eskwelahan,” Escudero said.





National Library of the Philippines promotes establishment of Peace Corners in libraries

Aklatan Pangkapayapaan

Press Release
May 4, 2022

MANILA – On April 25, 2022, the National Library of the Philippines (NLP), through the Public Libraries Division, held its comprehensive free blended training entitled “Significant Role of Libraries in the Establishment of Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions” at the NLP Auditorium. With the theme “Aklatan Pangkapayapaan", it was held in partnership with the Philippine branch of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international peace organization associated with the UN ECOSOC and the UN DGC.

The training was attended by over 500 participants onsite and online, including private and public library staff, school librarians, educators, and peace advocates. The training provided learning opportunities about institutionalizing peace in the Philippines and the importance of establishing peace corners in the libraries nationwide.

Commissioner Dr. Ronald L. Adamat of CHED said, “Our libraries shall give prominent places those books and publications about peace where readers could easily access and get their hands. By doing this, our libraries can be of big help to the work of promoting peace to the reading public.”

Regarding the role of libraries in line with the UN SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, Justice Raoul Victorino said, “In Ukraine, the libraries continue to remain open despite the continuing Russian invasion. Ukraine’s libraries are offering bomb shelters and classes are resumed inside the libraries. These heroic stories continue to prove that libraries are our best home for the future.”

Mr. Cissette B. Ricardo of Parañaque City Public Library, talked about “Library and Peace” where he shared his experience of having a partnership with HWPL. The first peace corner was established in Paranaque City Public Library and its inauguration was held on February 15, 2019. He said that through the peace corner, the students coming in and out were able to learn and appreciate peace initiatives. He also encouraged all libraries to sign a partnership with HWPL to receive peace-related materials and also put up a peace corner to spread awareness, especially among the students and learners.

Mr. John Rommel Garces, Chief Branch Manager of HWPL Philippines, highlighted the importance of establishing a peace corner in the library, as well as HWPL’s peace achievements in the Philippines.

HWPL Philippines aims to establish more peace corners in public and private libraries as well as school libraries all throughout the country to make relevant peace-related materials more accessible to the public especially to the youth and students. After the event, 40 peace corners are expected to be established.





Martial law survivors, activists pay tribute to human rights champion Marie Hilao-Enriquez

May 4, 2022

QUEZON CITY – In a gathering at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani compound in Quezon City, martial law survivors, activists and friends of human rights champion Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson emeritus of Karapatan, paid tribute to her courageous and indefatigable work for the cause of people’s rights, justice, and national democracy. On April 24, 2022, Hilao-Enriquez, a stalwart in the anti-Marcos dictatorship struggle and a leading human rights activist, died in the US.

“Today, we extol Marie’s life and legacy of service to the Filipino people at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, before the names of the many martyrs and heroes of martial law – many of them Marie had known, worked and were friends and colleagues with. She now belongs to the nation’s pantheon of heroes who have dedicated their lives against the Marcos dictatorship and to the greater cause of social justice and democracy,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Andrea, Marie’s daughter, in a video message thanking those who delivered and sent messages, stated: “Kaya naman po, para sa amin, ang pinaka-akmang pagpaparangal kay Mama, at sa libu-libong biktima ng martial law ay ang pagpapatuloy ng kanilang adhikain. Nananawagan po kami sa lahat na bumoto nang tama at mariing ireject ang mga Marcos at kanilang mga kampon sa eleksyon na ito at sa mga susunod pang panahon. Never again to the Marcoses, never again to martial law!”

Hilao-Enriquez was Karapatan’s founding secretary general and eventually became its chairperson. She worked with several martial law survivors and human rights advocates in the pursuing the landmark class action suit against the estate of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and in the campaign for justice and indemnification of victims of human rights violations under martial law. Her sister, Liliosa, was the first documented victim of extrajudicial killing of an activist under detention after Marcos’ martial law was imposed. Marie and several members of her family were detained and tortured as well.

In Karapatan, Marie led campaigns against the extrajudicial killings, torture, enforced disappearance and other gross human rights violations against activists and civilians, particularly during the administrations of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Rodrigo Duterte.

In a written tribute read during the gathering, former UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston said: “Before I visited the Philippines as United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions in February 2007, I was warned that she was a trouble-maker and that I should not trust any information that she provided to me... I soon came to the conclusion that Marie was the ‘real deal.’ She didn’t make empty or careless allegations. Instead, she provided detailed, carefully put together, dossiers on each of the cases of the alleged killings that she presented to me... She stood out as an outstanding example of someone who dedicated her life to human rights. She was indeed a trouble-maker, but in the best sense and in the highest of causes. She loved her people and her country in the best possible way and I mourn her passing.”

Marie’s colleagues in Karapatan led by its chairperson Tita Lubi and friends during martial law, including those while in detention, rights advocates including Mrs. Edita Burgos, Atty. Edre Olalia, former Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Bonifacio Ilagan, and several human rights and people’s organizations also spoke in the said program.

“Marie dedicated her life in advancing and defending people’s rights – and in the face of a massive human rights crisis in the Philippines as well as the threat of a Marcos restoration and Duterte extension, we turn towards Marie’s life and legacy as a courageous human rights defender as our guiding light in the continuing struggle against tyranny and fascism. As we approach the upcoming elections, we call on all freedom-loving Filipinos to honor Marie and the many other heroes and martyrs of martial law by fighting for our hard-won rights and freedoms. We are all called to firmly reject the Marcoses and Dutertes in the elections and beyond, and, like Marie, we are compelled to relentlessly pursue justice and to hold them accountable for their crimes against the Filipino people,” Palabay concluded.





Temporary hospital at New Bilibid Prison for continued provision of health care to 28,000 detainees

NBP-ICRC temporary hospital
ICRC Head of Delegation Boris Michel (fifth from right) and Assistant Secretary Gabriel Chaclag (fifth from left) during the ribbon cutting ceremony at the hospital’s inauguration. Joining them are other ICRC and BuCor officials.

May 2, 2022

MANILA – To ensure the continued provision of basic health-care services for 28,000 detainees in Muntinlupa City’s New Bilibid Prison (NBP), a 150-bed temporary hospital was inaugurated today by officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The 4,000 sq m temporary facility, which was designed and built by the BuCor and the ICRC, has an emergency room, pharmacy, intensive care unit, dental clinic and psychiatric ward. Staffed by 147 workers, it can provide minor surgical services to patients. It also supports the newly built tuberculosis (TB) laboratory inside NBP by serving as an isolation and treatment facility for patients who have tested positive for TB. Some of the medical equipment inside the hospital have been donated by the ICRC.

“We remain committed to support the BuCor to guarantee the detainees’ right to adequate health care. The temporary hospital will help improve the quality of medical care for detainees and provide a good working environment for NBP’s health workers,” says Boris Michel, head of the ICRC’s delegation in the Philippines.

With the temporary hospital, detainees will no longer have to be transported to medical facilities outside NBP unless they have major health problems. They will have access to its services while the BuCor builds NBP’s 500-bed permanent hospital.

The temporary hospital will also serve as a referral facility for the infirmaries in the minimum and medium security compounds. Prior to its construction, detainees were treated inside medical tents.

The ICRC’s support for detainee health care in NBP began in June 2013 with technical assistance through monitoring, supervising and evaluating the implementation of the national TB programme.

According to BuCor, the NBP has a congestion rate of 348 per cent, making its detainees susceptible to communicable diseases such as COVID-19 and TB.

“We commend the ICRC team in the country for its very professional and collaborative approach in the performance of its mission as an impartial, neutral and independent humanitarian organization. Maraming salamat at mabuhay po kayo sa ICRC!” says Assistant Secretary Gabriel P. Chaclag, BuCor’s Deputy Director General for Administration.

The ICRC has been supporting the NBP in its COVID-19 response through the provision of equipment and technical support since the start of the pandemic. It has also been assisting the NBP in the vaccination of detainees since 2021.

The ICRC is a strong advocate of the e-dalaw programme and announced today that it would donate equipment that would help NBP detainees keep in touch with their loved ones through voice and video calls.

Since 2007, the ICRC has been working closely with the Philippine authorities to help ease the consequences of extreme overcrowding in jails, focusing particularly on health issues such as TB treatment, and improving living conditions of persons deprived of liberty (PDL).





DTI Chief: US IT firm eyeing high-value BPO presence in PH

DTI - Mphasis Corporation - Industry Solutions Group meeting

By DTI-OSEC-Public Relations Unit
May 2, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez met with Mphasis Corporations’ CEO Nitin Rakesh and Industry Solutions Group SVP & Global Head Indranil Roy on 22 April 2022 to discuss the company’s plans to have its first business process outsourcing (BPO) presence in the Philippines.

The US information technology (IT) company expressed interest in the Philippines as a major investment location for their high-value services with an initial headcount of 1,500 - 2,000 IT-Call Center Jobs.

“Our country is increasing its capacity to become a global player in IT-enabled services through the provision of analytical and AI skills development, competitive enabling environment, and cost efficiencies. This, thereby, ensures that investors can profitably serve international and fast-growing regional markets,” Sec. Lopez said.

Meanwhile, Mphasis’ Mr. Roy disclosed that a number of their clients, which are major American banks and insurance companies, have advised them to look into the Philippines for their BPM operations highlighting their preference for the Filipino brand of service and skill sets.

As Mphasis prides itself as being known in the industry as a client-centric organization, they are bent to accommodate clients’ wishes such as setting-up operations in the Philippines. The company provides IT services to banking and finance, healthcare, telecommunication, logistics and other high-tech industries. They employ around 40,000 employees across the globe such as IT-BPO facilities in India, Mexico, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Germany, and UK. Mphasis is a subsidiary of the New York -based financial giant Blackstone Group.

Secretary Lopez also noted that despite the challenges, the IT-Business Process Management (BPM) sector did not lay off workers during the pandemic. He mentioned how resources would not be a problem as the country has a workforce of 49 million, generates 800,000 graduates annually, with 30% coming from the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field.

Joining them in the discussion, Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head and Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo mentioned that BOI has an MOU with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and can also link Mphasis with various education institutions for curriculum customization and talent development. He added that another resource that they can tap into is the returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have an advantage in terms of experience with their new knowledge and skills acquired from their respective countries. Lastly, USec Rodolfo expounded on the advantages of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.

The Philippine Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry has contributed a total of USD26.7 billion and USD23.8 billion in service exports in 2020. The Philippines gained 13% of the global market share and is serving North America, APAC, and EU Markets. The industry has contributed 1.3 million direct jobs and 4.5 million jobs with more than 700 BPO companies in the country. The startup ecosystem in the country also has a strong potential to flourish with around 500 start-ups businesses.

“Our continued efforts to upskill our workforce and liberalize our industries through major economic reforms under President Duterte’s guidance and leadership, partnered with our strong economic fundamentals, have proven our capability to position the Philippines as an ideal investment hub in Southeast Asia. We look forward to how the next generation of leaders can further build on these successes,” Sec. Lopez said.





BJMP, Samar agrarian beneficiaries sign marketing agreement

BJMP-HFA marketing agreement
The Hilaba Farmers Association based in Marabut, Samar and the Tacloban City Jail Male Dorm sign a marketing agreement under the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR’s) Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

Press Release
April 30, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – A farmer organization based in Marabut, Samar thanked the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for introducing them to institutional buyers as steady markets for their products.

Hipolito Maligmat, Chairman of the Hilaba Farmers Association (HFA), was so happy to tie-up with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), specifically the Tacloban City Jail Male Dorm, as a sure market for their fresh eggs.

Earlier this month, Maligmat and Jail Chief Inspector Bernardino Edgar Camus signed a marketing agreement where HFA will be the jail’s supplier of fresh eggs for the consumption of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).

The signing was held at the Tacloban City Jail Male Dorm. It was witnessed by Melecia Ong, Chief of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Sustainability Program (ARBDSP) Division of the DAR Regional office 8 and SJO3 Ferdinand Ordovez, Chief Operations Officer of the Tacloban City Jail Male Dorm.

Maligmat and Camus agreed that HFA will deliver no less than 24 trays of fresh eggs every month to the said facility and will be paid based on the prevailing market price.

Camus commented, “We hope this will continue so we can help the farmers, while for the Bureau, we can buy cheaper and nutritious food for our PDLs.”

The tie-up was facilitated by Salfie Macalde and James Albia of DAR Samar Provincial Office under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program.

HFA is one of the agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) being assisted by DAR.

According to Maligmat, “Aside from fresh eggs, our organization has sufficient supply of other farm commodities, the most popular of which is lettuce.”





Heart Evangelista-Escudero shows love and support for women in livelihood training in Muntinlupa

Heart Evangelista-Escudero at the Muntinlupa livelihood training

Press Release
April 29, 2022

SORSOGON CITY – Global brand ambassador and social media celebrity Heart Evangelista-Escudero has visited the Muntinlupa Training and Resource Center for Women (MTRCW) to find ways on how to support the community as part of her women empowerment advocacy.

During her visit on Wednesday, the actress and fashion icon learned about the process of making local products that included bottled bangus, gourmet tuyo and tinapa as well as peanut butter.

The 37-year-old GMA Kapuso star, wife of Sorsogon Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero who is seeking a return to the Senate, also took time to interact with some 160 women who are undergoing various livelihood trainings to augment the income of their families.

In her brief remarks, Mrs. Escudero urged the ladies to get into small business after finishing their training, which is being provided for free by the city government through the Gender and Development (GAD) Office and the Muntinlupa City Technical Institute (MCTI).

“I am here to just show my support sa lahat ng ginagawang mga programa para sa women empowerment and of course, I am here for the women that have gone very difficult times of their life. Sana makatulong sa inyong makapagnegosyo ang natutunan ninyo dito,” Evangelista-Escudero said.

“We, as women, are here to give love, to take care of people and so as we get together, let us empower each other, support each other. Suportahan din po natin ang mga programa na ibinibigay ng city para mas maging maayos ang ating mga buhay at mabigyan natin ng pansin ang mga capacities natin to create wonderful things and create an impact,” she added.

The GAD office said in a Facebook post that the actress visited the livelihood training center to help the women promote their products.

“Ang layunin ng kanyang pagbisita ay upang tulungan tayo na maipakilala ang mga produktong gawa ng Muntinlupeño sa iba't ibang lugar sa ating bansa,” it said.

GAD Chair Trina Biazon thanked the actress for visiting the center and lauded her for using her celebrity status to advocate women empowerment and champion their rights.

“We are very thankful that Heart accepted our invitation to visit and get to know the women here at the center. Her presence was a big morale booster for all of us,” she said.

“Mula sa Muntinlupa Gender and Development Office & MCTI Tesda, Maraming Salamat, Ms. Heart Evangelista-Escudero for visiting the Muntinlupa Training and Resource Center for Women,” she added.





DENR, LBP, ROD renew support for DAR

pledge of support for DAR
Officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Land Bank of the Philippines-Agrarian Operation Center (LBP-AOC), and Registry of Deeds (ROD) sign Pledge of Support for the attainment of the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR’s) 2022 targets.

Press Release
April 28, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Regional Director Atty. Robert Anthony Yu thanked the officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Land Bank of the Philippines-Agrarian Operation Center (LBP-AOC) and the Registry of Deeds (ROD) after they expressed renewal of support to DAR’s attainment of its targets in Eastern Visayas this year.

The three government offices play vital roles in DAR’s accomplishment of targets in the Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Engr. Ramon Unay, Head of DENR’s Surveys and Mapping Division, together with Manager Fiel Pedrosa of the LBP-AOC, and all the Registrars of the different RODs in Eastern Visayas expressed their continued support to the smooth and speedy implementation of CARP in the region during the Synchronized Planning and Problem-Solving Session organized by DAR.

All the officials from the said line agencies signed the Pledge of Support for DAR Eastern Visayas following targets for 2022: Land Survey, 796.0513 hectares; Land Valuation, 117 landholdings covering 867.8535 hectares; and Registration of Emancipation Patents and/or Certificates of Land Ownership Award (EP/CLOA), 1,526.9917 hectares.

Atty. Yu clarified that these are just under DAR’s regular targets. There is another set of targets under the Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Title (SPLIT), a special project of the agency which seeks to parcelize collective CLOAs previously distributed by the DAR into individual title.

The line agencies and the DAR had lengthy discussions and exchanged views regarding their problems, issues and concerns arising from the implementation of CARP, even resolving problems on land valuation and registration of more than 29 hectares of landholdings.

With the full support of the three line agencies, Atty. Yu anticipates a 100 percent accomplishment for Eastern Visayas by the end of the year.





NMP Tacloban reoffers PDC trainings

NMP PDC training

By National Maritime Polytechnic
April 27, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), the only government-owned and operated maritime training and research institution in the country, has reoffered the Professional Development Courses (PDC) in its main office at Brgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City, commencing with IMO Model Course 6.09 or the Training Course for Instructors and Assessors. This training is the first PDC training offered this year here in Tacloban which will run from 25 April-4 May 2022, with a total of 12 enrolled trainees.

The IMO MC 6.09 is a 10-day course for seafarers/non-seafarers who intends to acquire the necessary knowledge and proficiency to teach in the maritime education in accordance to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended.

During the opening program conducted to formally start the said training, Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod emphasized in his message the importance of the course in enhancing the skills of trainers, as a vital factor in the effective delivery of trainings, thus producing competent Filipino seafarers. He also stressed the many challenges the institution faced just to sustain its operations especially the conduct of trainings amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the disease outbreak, NMP’s training courses were halted along with the offerings of the PDC courses both its main office in Tacloban and in NMP Manila. With the approved post ECQ Protocols of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) NMP was able to revive back its trainings. However, in accordance with the protocols imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Local Government Units, class intakes were reduced to 50% and accommodated clients only from within Region VIII. This affected the operation of the PDC’s since most takers of the said course are from outside the region. Hence, PDC courses were conducted offsite and in NMP Manila office only.

The PDC is one of flagship trainings of the agency and NMP is also the pioneering institution to offer IMO Model courses. It was developed to provide the maritime industry a pool of competent trainers equipped with appropriate approach and discipline in the delivery of training courses, which, in effect will enhance the skills and capabilities of the Filipino Seafarers.





Sigo Bridge constructed for passing motorists

Sigo Bridge in Calbayog City

April 22, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY – Samar First District Engineering Office constructed a bridge situated in Brgy. Sigo, Calbayog City. The said project has a revised contract amount of P11,146,107.58 million under the “Tulay ng Pangulo Para sa Kaunlarang Pang-Agraryo (TPKP)”.

The Sigo Bridge has a total length of 28.80 meters and a width of 10 meters. It is a double-laned bridge and a small riprap was likewise constructed on the side of the bridge where part of the soil foundation is susceptible to erosion.

Initially, a box culvert was built for easy flow of huge amounts of water, and at the same time, it was used as a passage for vehicles. However, due to continuous scouring from flowing of water, it has caused damage to the structure which prompted the DPWH-Samar I to build a bridge instead.

A bridge is usually constructed over a physical obstacle such as a body of water to provide crossing over that obstacle. As a system for transportation, a bridge is built to be strong enough to safely support its own weight as well as the weight of both public and private vehicles traversing thereto.





DTI works on ENDEC, B&V to build RE-enabled hyperscale data centers in PH

DTI meeting with ENDECGROUP Inc., Black and Veatch

By DTI-IDTPG-Bureau of International Trade Relations
April 20, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez pursued investors that will build hyperscale data centers, with the corresponding renewable energy generation projects that should provide for their power requirements. This was discussed mainly during a meeting with executives from ENDECGROUP Inc. and Black and Veatch (B&V) on 18 April 2022.

The trade chief cited the Duterte administration’s major economic reforms and investment promotion activities on high-tech-oriented projects. “Among our priority sectors include those that promote Regional Equity, Digital Infrastructure and Skills Development, and Climate Adaptation, which can potentially be categorized under Tier III of the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP).

Building more data centers supports our strategy to build the country’s digital infrastructure needed for the hyperscalers in this age of growing e-commerce and internet and social media use,” Secretary Lopez said.

“The setting-up of renewable energy projects would also benefit from the recent policy move to allow greater foreign equity participation in renewable energy projects. DTI-BOI team has also been pushing for more green metals processing activities or the further processing of nickel, copper and cobalt as new efficient minerals for batteries and battery energy storage for clean energy systems,” the Trade Secretary added.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has also been pursuing digital transformation as a means to sustain the recovery and enhance the resiliency of the country in 2022 and into the next administration. During the same meeting, NEDA Undersecretary Rose Edillon highlighted digital transformation as one of the priorities of the Task Group on Recovery and one of the focuses of the updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

During the meeting, the trade chief likewise mentioned the Philippine Skills Framework (PSF) initiative, which will ensure capacity building and availability of skills in digital technology, and the Center for AI Research, which will encourage more innovation in these new industries.

“These, we see, will further grow the Philippine economy by nurturing higher-value economic activities, bringing in more investments, jobs, and income – which would further fuel consumption spending, as well as attract more investments and expansion activities,” Secretary Lopez added.

For his part, B&V Executive Director Mr. Martin Travers took note of the Philippine policies on electric vehicles (EVs), renewable energy, and data centers which align with the priorities and strategic direction of the US firm. B&V is among the top 10 employee-owned companies in the US, with experience in deploying a network of EV charging stations. It is also among the top data center developers in the world and a leader in climate-friendly data centers.

Meanwhile, ENDECGROUP Chairman and CEO Mr. Bill Johnson highlighted the country’s strategic location in the Asia Pacific region, existing infrastructure in telecommunications and submarine cables, strong business process outsourcing (BPO) hub, and ability to develop renewable energy to power data infrastructure as some of the reasons for considering the Philippines as an ideal location for their investments.

“With the sound economic policies and reforms already set in place, we are confident and optimistic that the next leaders in government will be able to build upon the successes and continue the gains of the Duterte administration,” Secretary Lopez said.

Last 4 April, ENDEC together with its US partner, Diode Ventures LCC, met with Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head and Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo to discuss further its serious and substantial business plans in the Philippines. In the same meeting, ENDEC CEO Mr. William Johnson recognized BOI’s efficiency in assisting the group in moving forward with their business plans in the Philippines.

DTI, ENDEC, and B&V are committed to working together in accelerating this project.





NMP’s JICA funded projects undergoes ex-post evaluation

JICA funded NMP projects
On-site evaluation of various JICA-donated Projects in NMP conducted on 18 April 2022.

By National Maritime Polytechnic
April 19, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), a recipient of the “Programme for Rehabilitation and Recovery from Typhoon Yolanda” of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), underwent an Ex-post evaluation on 18 April 2022.

The following equipment procured and completed in 2016 under the Project “Rehabilitation of Equipment for National Maritime Polytechnic, namely: fast rescue boat with davit, totally enclosed lifeboat with davit, engine simulator by full mission, the GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) Simulator related device, and various safety equipment were evaluated through on-site inspection by Ms. Jocel Nuique, Local Consultant, Evaluation Team of JICA’s Evaluation Department.

As part of the evaluation activity, NMP alumni were interviewed to assess the impact of the trainings they had in NMP which particularly utilized JICA-donated projects. OIC Fidel Lito Caparro and Capt. Gil Tenefrancia, who were interviewed via Zoom, and OIC Nader Lumangco, who responded through a survey questionnaire, provided their feedbacks that the trainings in NMP were up-to-date and very useful in their actual field of work, emphasizing that the facilities and equipment used, especially during Simulation, were updated and are similar to the actual facilities used on-board.

Prior to the on-site visit, concerned NMP personnel led by Deputy Executive Director Mayla N. Macadawan, had a kick-off meeting on 13 April 2022 with Ms. Kieko Asato, appointed External Evaluator, as well as with the local consultant of JICA, to discuss the preparations and clarify matters relevant to the ex-post evaluation.

The ex-post evaluation is implemented on all JICA projects, usually three to four years after the project completion, to assess whether the projects were carried out appropriately to realize development outcomes and review its impact, as well as the current state of operation and maintenance of the completed projects. The data and information gathered from the evaluation will be used for further improvement of projects, and ensure accountability and transparency.

The “Program for Rehabilitation and Recovery from Typhoon Yolanda” of the JICA intends to help in the recovery of public services and strengthen support facilities by constructing various infrastructures & facilities and procuring various equipment particularly for the social and economic sector, which contributes to the restoration and economic revitalization of areas devastated by the Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Meanwhile, NMP continues to pursue its mandate of providing quality service through upgrading and specialized training programs (conducted online, face-to-face and blended) to maritime and allied personnel, and its pool of competent instructors, with advanced and upgraded training facilities and equipment.

JICA funded projects





87.6% of surveyed NCR teachers say school internet not strong enough to host their classes

By ACT Philippines
April 18, 2022

QUEZON CITY – In a survey conducted by the ACT NCR Union, 8,106 of the 9,254 teacher-respondents from the region answered no when asked if their school internet can service all teachers who will be conducting simultaneous online classes now that DepEd mandated a 100% workforce reporting on-site. This was the top issue raised by survey participants, followed by health risks in light of the still on-going pandemic, then by transportation concerns.

ACT NCR Union leaders went to the DepEd-NCR office today to demand a dialogue regarding these issues and to register their call for the suspension of the implementation of DepEd memorandum 29, s. 2022, which effected the mandatory physical reporting of all teachers in areas under Alert Level 1.

“It’s no secret that our public schools are in dire conditions, especially after being on lockdown for more than two years. Many of our schools don’t even have enough supply of clean running water, sapat na internet pa kaya para sa, halimbawa, 100 plus na guro kada eskwelahan? Some of our teachers reported to have had to resort to asynchronous digital classes instead of holding online synchronous classes in order to consume lower internet bandwidths, which was all their school internet can handle.

In other cases, teachers have LGU-provided data allocations which they can use to hold online classes; however, they reported of having ‘dead spots’ within the school premises, forcing multiple teachers who – all simultaneously holding their own classes – to share small areas with enough cell reception. This is what we mean when we say that the blanket DepEd memo will have counterproductive impacts on the already challenging education delivery amid the pandemic,” lamented ACT NCR Union President Vladimer Quetua.

Today is the first day of implementation of DM 29, s.2022 in most schools in the National Capital Region. Last week, the group publicly called for the suspension of the order and instead pushed for a flexible and needs-based and -responsive working arrangements for public school teachers. It argued that the nature of teachers’ work vastly differs from that of other government employees – with the former’s being closely tied to the presence of students in schools, which is currently still at a minimum due to the slow expansion of limited face-to-face classes. ACT also argued that schools are not ready to host teachers employing distance learning modalities, nor are schools equipped with sufficient health measures to protect employees from the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 31.6% of those surveyed said that the school will not provide hygiene kits to teachers, while 36.7% are unsure if the school has any plan to do so.

“Forcing a blanket policy among teachers – and without any prior consultation – unnecessarily puts teachers in more challenging conditions, without any guarantee of support from DepEd, and while further impeding education delivery. The last two years have forced us to adapt to the pandemic: we have procured internet connections at home, we have setup a system for handling multiple learning modalities for our students, only for it to be completely disregarded and disrupted by this new order that was implemented without enough thought and preparation. DepEd officials are terribly blind to our conditions and deaf to our justified calls,” Quetua criticized.

ACT NCR Union reiterates its call on the agency to suspend the memorandum’s implementation and discuss with its employees’ duly recognized representatives a working arrangement that is ‘more responsive’ to the needs of education and ‘less onerous’ to public school teachers. ACT is the sole and exclusive negotiating agent for public school teachers in NCR.

“Even prior to this memo, teachers have been coming to school regularly to print, retrieve, and distribute moduels, to prepare their schools for its eventual re-opening, to attend meetings, among others. Teachers have been showing up to respond to the actual needs of education in the midst of the pandemic, despite little to no support from DepEd and the Duterte admin. We have gone above and beyond to ensure learning continuity amid the health and socio-economic crises, often shouldering the massive burden of the state’s duty to the youth. It’s high time that DepEd officials listen to our demands,” concluded Quetua.





3 roads declared as national roads under Samar I

Capoocan-Dagum Diversion Road

April 18, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY – Three (3) roads under the jurisdiction of Samar I has been converted to national roads this year through Memorandum Order No. 42 pursuant to the provision of Executive Order No. 124.

Calbayog City Coastal Road, Rueda Extension Road and Capoocan-Dagum Diversion Road are now considered as national roads that can expect more funds for its maintenance. These roads are still on its ongoing construction through a Multi-Year Contractual Authorities (MYCA) funding.

The coastal road will offer an alternate route since it is situated alongside the main road in the city proper while Rueda Extension is another way to veer away from the city traffic and will exit to the Calbayog Diversion road in Barangay Rizal. On the other hand, Capoocan-Dagum will help the building traffic jam that starts in Barangay Matobato as an alternative way for those going in and out of the city proper.

These roads will offer better economic opportunities in Calbayog City once completed. The City proper is still experiencing heavy traffic bottleneck despite the existence of Calbayog Diversion road as one of its alternate main road for heavy vehicles, buses and other motorists coming from Luzon going to the Southern part of the country or vice versa.





Eastern Visayas’ year-on-year total trade drops by -22.25% in December 2021

By PSA-8
April 7, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Total trade of goods in Eastern Visayas plunged by -22.25 percent, from the USD 173.05 million total trade of goods reported in December 2020. It went down to USD 134.55 million in December 2021. The decline was attributed to the -26.31 percent drop in exports to USD 110.90 million in December 2021 from USD 150.51 million in December 2020.

Eastern Visayas year-on-year total tradeMeanwhile, the total value of imports went up by 4.90 percent to USD 23.65 million in December 2021 from USD 22.55 million in December 2020.

The region’s Balance of Trade in Goods (BoT-G) registered a -31.81 percent decline at USD 87.25 million in December 2021, from the USD 127.96 million in December 2020.

The total volume of the region’s exports in December 2021 was 73.33 million kilograms. By commodity group, the top export was copper and articles thereof with USD 90.24 million receipts comprising 81.37 percent of the total exports in the region during the month. Exports to People’s Republic of China worth USD 40.12 million was the major country of destination of the region’s export commodities, representing 36.18 percent of the total exports value in December 2021.

The total volume of the region’s imports in December 2021 was 48.03 million kilograms. Imported goods were mostly the commodity group of mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes. This was worth USD 16.46 million or 69.61 percent of the total value of imports during the month. Thailand topped the country of origin of imported goods contributing USD 6.94 million or 29.34 percent to the import value of the region in December 2021.





JTF-Storm, PCG strengthen collab in pursuit of peace and security in EV

Army-PCG collaboration in eastern visayas

April 7, 2021

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – The AFP’s Joint Task Force (JTF) Storm and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) strengthened their collaboration in pursuit of peace and security in the region.

JTF-Storm Commander, Major General Edgardo De Leon, personally visited Coast Guard Commodore Marco Antonio P Gines at their district office at Ormoc City, Leyte on Tuesday. Among the topics discussed were the inclusion of PCG to the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC) to enhance coordination and interoperability among law enforcement agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), the PCG, and the AFP. Joint trainings will be conducted to enhance the capabilities of both agencies.

MGen. De Leon emphasized the important role of PCG in maritime law enforcement (MARLEN) in the region specifically in the registration and monitoring of watercraft to prevent and deter crimes.

“We may recall that recently, members of the NPA terrorists belonging to Guerilla Front Damol surrendered and then turned-in unregistered motorized banca which they used as their primary mode of transporting war materials in the coastal towns of the province,” De Leon said.

Meanwhile, CG Commodore Gines commits that his unit will actively participate in the programs and projects of the Region 8 Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF8-ELCAC) without directly getting involve in armed conflict. This could be through the conduct of Serbisyo Caravan, particularly the registration and marking of watercrafts for free.

“The PCG of Eastern Visayas will continue to perform our mandate on Maritime Law Enforcement (MARLEN) programs such as the free registration of motorized bancas and the conduct of information and education campaign to increase awareness on maritime environmental protection and enforcement,” Gines added.

The PCG is a one of the active member agencies in Peace, Law Enforcement, and Development Support (PLEDS) Cluster of the RTF8-ELCAC in the campaign to end insurgency in Eastern Visayas.





DTI clamps down almost P6M worth of uncertified products

DTI uncertified products

By DTI-CPG-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau
April 6, 2022

MAKATI CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) clamped down P5,895,664.30 worth of uncertified products in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Visayas Region from March 1 to March 30, 2022.

According to the report, a total of 37,870 pieces of uncertified products were confiscated by the DTI-FTEB after conducting its periodic series of random spot-checking activities in 324 local establishments; 175 of which received a Notice of Violation (NOV) for selling consumer products without the quality mark and required markings and labels to attest that the products passed the DTI-Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS) product mandatory certification process and is declared safe for use by end consumers.

Included in the seized consumer goods were chemical products, electrical and electronic products, mechanical products, building and construction materials, and other consumer products that are included in the scope of the mandatory product certification scheme of the DTI-BPS.

Products covered by the said mandatory product certification schemes are required to bear the Product Safety (PS) certification mark/logo or the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) sticker, in accordance with the Department Administrative Order 2:2007 and the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 4109, otherwise known as the Product Standards Law. The PS marks/logo and ICC sticker serve as consumers’ assurance that the products they buy in the market are conforming to the relevant Philippine National Standards (PNS), which means it’s safe for use and will deliver the performance as indicated by its manufacturer.

Failure to comply with the government-mandated markings shall force the DTI to make necessary legal action against the retailers that received NOVs. As such, administration fines and sanctions will be imposed on erring establishments after due process.

“No matter how big or small the number is, as long as there are still uncertified products being sold in the market, our monitoring and enforcement team will always be on-the-run in curbing the proliferation of uncertified goods nationwide,” said DTI Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo.

“DTI-FTEB is not only visible in the NCR but we make it a point to also expand our visibility in the regions especially those areas who were hardly hit by Typhoon Odette which happened last year,” DTI-CPG Assistant Secretary Ronnel O. Abrenica underscored.

Further, the DTI encourages and reminds the consuming public to only purchase certified goods with the required and legitimate markings to ensure product quality and safety.

Know the list of products that are covered by the mandatory product certification scheme by visiting www.bps.dti.gov.ph. To report firms that sell critical consumer products in the market, call 1-DTI (1-384) or drop an email to consumercare@dti.gov.ph.





Threat of Magnitsky-style sanctions stings Malacañang

April 2, 2022

MANILA – "The global civil society coalition ICHRP launched its ‘Dirty Dozen’ campaign for targeted sanctions against top Philippine government officials on March 29, 2022, and within two days Malacañang Palace has responded with its characteristic allergic reaction to any international criticism,” said ICHRP Chairperson Peter Murphy in Sydney today.

“Acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar was right to say we are ‘naming and shaming’ but he has no excuse to claim he is ‘baffled’ or that we are ‘misusing’ the available Magnitsky laws,” said Mr. Murphy.

“Our ‘Dirty Dozen’ campaign would never have been necessary if there was any credible judicial action on perpetrators of human rights violations in the Philippines,” said Mr. Murphy, “and sadly the Palace claim that these massive violations have never been brought to their attention is just another case of brazen rejection of responsibility for their actions.”

Investigate PH’s three Reports in 2021 covered more than 50 emblematic cases of human rights violations that occurred largely in 2020 and 2021; ...violations of civil and political rights and IHL (International Humanitarian Law) carried out by the Duterte administration since 2016; and violations of economic, social, cultural and other collective rights. The Reports draw on the testimonies of survivors and witnesses, relatives of victims, human rights advocates with direct knowledge of state violence, and expert witnesses or resource persons working with peasants, trade unions, women, churches, community organizing, economics, political advocacy and peace negotiations.

In June 2020, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Michelle Bachelet reported:

“Persistent impunity for human rights violations is stark and the practical obstacles to accessing justice within the country are almost insurmountable. Human rights advocacy is routinely equated with insurgency and the focus diverted to discrediting the messengers rather than examining the substance of the message...

“Given the widespread and systematic nature of the alleged killings, and the failure of domestic mechanisms to ensure accountability thus far, there have been strong calls for an international accountability mechanism. In June 2019, a group of 11 Special Procedures mandate-holders called on the Human Rights Council to establish an independent investigation. ... The High Commissioner again emphasizes the need for independent, impartial and effective investigations into the killings and stands ready to assist credible efforts towards accountability at the national and international level.”

ICHRP points to the decision of the International Criminal Court in September 2021 to investigate Philippine government officials for the crime against humanity of murder. “This demonstrates that nothing has improved, despite the claims of the Acting Presidential Spokesperson,” said Mr. Murphy.

“Our ‘Dirty Dozen’ campaign will mobilize civil society to work with the parliaments and congresses of the USA, Canada, the European Union, UK, Japan and Australia to take action on these grave human rights violations, in parallel with the ICC.”





AFP Chief lauds AFP-PNP troops in Region 8 for successful internal security operations

AFP Chief 8ID visit

March 31, 2022

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – The Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief, General Andres C Centino, on Tuesday commended the operating troops of the 8th Infantry Division (8ID) and policemen of Police Regional Office 8 for successful operations that led to the neutralization of a Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT).

Alias Prix, notorious leader of NPA propaganda platoon in Northern Samar who was responsible for the series of attacks to the Army’s Community Support Program Teams immersed in barangays of Northern Samar was killed during the encounter with the operating troops of the 20th Infantry Battalion last March 25, 2022. According to locals, the NPA propaganda group is known for its notorious extortion activities among the residents and small business owners. Three M16 assault rifles loaded with magazines and ammunitions were also captured.

General Centino personally congratulated and awarded the Gold Cross Medal to First Lieutenant Adonis Adan Collado, Sergeant Vincent Bulan, Corporal Edwin De Leon, Corporal Ernesto Nunez Jr., Private First Class Bert Bay-an, Private First Class Loige Nocido, Private First Class Jaymark Buctot, Private First Class Ber Flores and Private Nikko Pesidas for their indispensable service rendered during the conduct of the Development Support and Security Operations.

According to Centino, the 8ID troops have constantly been performing well in addressing insurgency in the region. Aside from the combat operations, AFP Chief Centino lauded the success of the localized peace engagements through the Samar Peace Panel which facilitated the surrender of nine NPA members who turned-in 30 high-powered firearms, ammunition, medical supplies, and materials used in making anti-personnel mines. These are clear indications that the Whole-of-Nation program of the NTF-ELCAC is the ultimate solution to attain lasting peace and sustained development.

"May paraan pala para pababain sila (NPA) nang walang buhay ang masasakripisyo and this is through localized peace talks. We will continue immersion at the grassroots to determine their problems and issues so that the government can assess and provide proper intervention", General Centino added.





Lopez: PH as first country in SEA for Elon Musk's SpaceX

DTI - SpaceX meeting
From L to R: DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, DFNN Executive Chairman Ramon Garcia Jr., SpaceX Senior Manager for Government Affairs Rebecca Hunter, and SpaceX Market Access Director Ryan Goodnight.

By DTI-OSEC-Public Relations Unit
March 31, 2022

MAKATI CITY – Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez committed assistance to the planned establishment of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) in the country, which will provide internet services in the Philippines using its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network constellation called Starlink. The constellation consists of over 1,600 satellites in mid-2021, and will eventually comprise of thousands more of mass-produced small satellites in LEO, which communicate with designated ground transceivers.

According to the trade chief, the launch of SpaceX/Starlink in the country will enable a much faster broadband speed, better connectivity, more capacity for telecommunications services and more affordable rates for consumers. Lopez said “Their system will augment as well as complement existing broadband capacities. This will further capacitate micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), facilitate online learning, e-commerce and fintech."

Preparations are underway for their registration, as discussed in the recent meeting among Secretary Lopez, SpaceX senior executives Rebecca Hunter and Ryan Goodnight, NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios and DFNN Executive Chairman Ramon Garcia Jr.'s. SpaceX is bullish on the growing consumer base and much-improved investment climate in the country with the current major economic reforms. They noted that the signing of the amended Public Service Act (PSA), which allows up to 100% foreign ownership of public services in the country, was a critical factor in the company’s decision to invest, as all its technologies are proprietary.

In a US Investment Mission in November 2021, the Department of Trade and Industry-Board of Investments (DTI-BOI) and SpaceX intently discussed the project’s entry timeline and the PRRD Administration’s priority legislative reforms. This was followed by a series of online meetings with the company, immediately after the Senate ratification in December last year, an update session in February 2022, and another in early March to discuss further its business plans in the Philippines in line with the amendment to the PSA. At present, their application is being processed and the locations of their gateways are being visited.

SpaceX is a relatively young but fast-growing technology and aerospace company owned by the highly celebrated entrepreneur Elon Musk. The company is currently establishing a local Filipino entity that will be their wholly-owned subsidiary and is targeting to deploy three gateways in the first phase of their launch. The Philippines is set to be the first in Southeast Asia to avail of such technology that will bring high-speed satellite broadband connectivity to customers, particularly to areas where connectivity has been difficult or impossible.





NMP empowers women through Elementary First Aid training

NMP Elementary First Aid training
NMP employee-participants of Elementary First Aid Training on 25 March 2022 with DED Mayla N. Macadawan (front row 3rd from left).

By National Maritime Polytechnic
March 30, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – In line with the nationwide observance of the National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC) anchored on the 6-year theme “We make change work for women” and highlighting this year’s sub-theme, “Agenda ng Kababaihan, Tungo sa Kaunlaran,” the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) conducted a Basic Training on Elementary First Aid (EFA) at the NMP Training Building on 25 March 2022.

This training is part of the “Serbisyo para kay Juana” advocacy of the agency to help empower women by equipping them with knowledge on basic survival skills. Fully aware of the significant contributions of women in nation building, it is equally important that women should likewise be active beneficiaries of the trainings and capacity development. Hence, the training on First Aid, which is considered a life-saving skill, was conducted to help effectuate this cause.

The training, participated by 15 women employees of NMP, composed of regular and Job Order Workers, covered basic emergency principles of first aid, and the appropriate first aid response applicable on each emergency situation. It was facilitated by Ms. Ms. Michelle G. Lutrania, a registered nurse and a Training Specialist I of NMP.

The participants were also asked to do a return demonstration through a practical exercise on the proper Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Artificial Resuscitation (AR), right after the lecture.

NMP’s Deputy Executive Director Mayla N. Macadawan, emphasized to the participants during her opening message, the importance of knowing basic survival skills that every person should learn. She also added that the NWMC is not only a celebration but also a call to action, recognize gender equality and highlight the role of every Juana in all aspects of the nation’s development.

In addition to this, NMP identified employees and staff likewise participated in a virtual forum entitled “Forum on Women and men in Eastern Visayas cum Appreciation course on Gender Analysis” sponsored by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), conducted on the same day.





DTI Caraga distributes livelihood kits to small stores affected by ‘Odette’ in Siargao

DTI Caraga livelihood kits for Siargao
In a separate turn-over ceremony, Provincial Director Arnold Faelnar leads the distribution of livelihood starter kits to 75 MSMEs in Siargao towns Dapa and General Luna.

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
March 29, 2022

MAKATI CITY – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Caraga, through its provincial office in Surigao del Norte, distributed livelihood kits on 23 March to eligible micro-entrepreneurs (MEs) affected by Super Typhoon Odette in Siargao Islands.

Odette made landfall in the province, particularly Siargao Island on December 16 that displaced around 48,204 families or 157,052 individuals. This affected not only the tourism industry of the island, but also the agriculture and fishery sectors.

In response, DTI through the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) turned over livelihood kits to a total of 113 MEs in the municipalities of San Isidro, Del Carmen, Sta. Monica, San Benito, Pilar, and Burgos at Surigao State College of Technology (SCCT) - Del Carmen Campus.

These MEs were comprised of 84 sari-sari stores, four water refilling businesses, three dry goods stores, five printing services, three agrivet supply stores, six carenderias, three native delicacies shops, two fish trading, one internet café, one school supply store, and one poultry farm.

Simultaneously, kits were distributed to 75 MEs in the Municipality of Dapa and General Luna headed by Provincial Director Arnold Faelnar.

“It is our hope that this will support the recovery and continuity of the affected people and businesses in the island,” said Regional Director Gay Tidalgo who personally led the distribution.

Tidalgo added that after Odette hit Siargao Islands in December last year, the regional office has immediately begun the profiling of affected MEs.

“We have started giving cash cards to affected small businesses before 2021 ended and we are happy that through this small assistance from the Department, we are able to contribute to the recovery of the islands,” Tidalgo said.

Tidalgo added that the distribution is set to assist the MEs in the island that incurred damages amounting to P1 billion in the agriculture and fishery sectors, and P20.2 million in tourism facilities because of Odette.

“Dako kog pasalamat kaayo sa gihatag karun sa DTI nga 32 sacks nga semento para sa among hollow blocks business. Dako na kaayo ni nga tabang para maka hinay-hinay tag bangon sa atung negosyo” (I am very grateful for the 32 sacks of cement given by DTI for our hollow blocks business. This is already a great help for us to slowly recover), said Ivan Bret Esparago, a recipient from Dapa.





1st Samar PMFC bags Silver Eagle award

1st Samar PMFC Silver Eagle award

Press Release
March 29, 2022

PALANAS CARA, Calbayog City – A Silver Eagle Award was conferred to First Samar Provincial Mobile Force Company by Police Brigadier General Bernard M Banac, Regional Director, Police Regional Office 8, on March 25, 2022 at Matapat Hall, Police Regional Office 8, Camp Kangleon, Palo, Leyte.

The award was in recognition of 1st SPMFC’s outstanding performance in the effective implementation of the PNP P.A.T.R.O.L Plan 2030 during the Proficiency Stage Evaluation in January 18, 2022 at same venue.

The award was received by Police Lieutenant Colonel (PLtCol) Eleazar R Barber Jr., 1st SPMFC Force Commander, with Ms. Leviresa Getigan, member of the unit’s advisory group.

PLtCol Barber lauded his men for the displayed commitment, unity and teamwork that yielded to the said award.

He also encouraged his men to continue striving for the best not only for the unit but also for the whole PNP organization.

"Receiving this award represents the unity and teamwork of all the personnel of this unit and with the indispensable contribution of the advisory group in achieving this exceptional feat," PLtCol Barber added.

"We will continue to exercise the tradition of excellence especially that we are now pointing towards the Institutionalization Phase," Barber concluded.

Should you have any queries, please feel free to contact us through Hotline 09564460025, Facebook Account - FirstSamar Pmfc, or e-mail us at firstspmfc.sppo@yahoo.com.





Hijos Tours welcomes back travelers for first in-person tour in 2022

Hijos Tours in-person tour
With the help of the Forest Wood Garden owner Mr. Joel Frago, making pansit kalabuko became more convenient and memorable for Nanay Maximina Aima and Nanay Marissa, both CARD MRI clients.

March 29, 2022

SAN PABLO CITY – Despite the many challenges that the tourism industry faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, many tourism-related enterprises are getting back on its feet beginning March of 2022. As Alert Levels have gone down, local travel requirements also eased. The Department of Tourism (DOT) became more optimistic about this progress because this will bring back opportunities for tourism and will gradually help the industry to recover.

CARD MRI Hijos Tours, a tour operator based in San Pablo City, Laguna, and a member of CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions, is one of the many tourism companies welcoming back travelers to its in-person tours in response to the simultaneous lowering of alert levels in our country.

On March 19, 2022, Hijos Tours catered to a group of travelers during their very first in-person Cocina de San Pablenos Tour for the year. This tour program is a combination of their heritage tour dubbed as Hijos de Siete Lagos and a culinary tour highlighting the unique dishes in San Pablo City, Laguna.

The tour started with a suman demo that emphasizes the importance of recreating an old handed-down recipe. The travelers also visited Sampaloc Lake where the pre-Hispanic way of life of the San Pableños was explored. They also stopped by the St. Paul the First Hermit Cathedral, a city landmark in San Pablo. Churches are often linked to community celebrations like fiestas, communions, and weddings.

After that, they visited the Forest Wood Garden, where they enjoyed some of the restaurant’s signature dishes such as the Pancit Kalabuko, a stirred fried noodle that only used organic vegetables and the Plantsado lamang lupa, a root crop dessert relative to cassava with its special way of cooking.

“One of the things I will never forget is making Pansit Kalabuko, where it not only taught me how to do it, but it even entices me to appreciate what nature has to offer us, just like growing organic vegetables. Not only is it nutritious, but it also helps our ecosystem,” shared Maxima Aima Veridiano, one of the tour participants.

Hijos Tours in the new normal

For other interested travelers, Cocina De San Pablenos is available in three packages. First is the Salig Tour, a half-day tour that can be availed for only P2,949 per pax minimum of five. This guided tour package includes a private van transfer and travel insurance. During the Salig Tour, travelers will experience the cultural and culinary heritage of San Pablo, Laguna. A cooking demo of a San Pableña suman will be one of their fun activities. In addition, travelers will also explore Sampaloc Lake then a quick visit to San Pablo Cathedral. Their lunch will be at Pandin Lake, which is the most exciting part since travelers will cook their own food by catching and grilling tilapia from the lake and prepare their own ensaladang pako (fern salad). Salig is a Cebuano word that means trust.

Meanwhile, the second tour package is named after another Cebuano word, “Padayon,” which means to move forward and never give up. This package is a half-day tour, which can be availed at P2,999 per pax for a minimum of five travelers. This tour also includes a tour guide, private van transfer, and travel insurance. The Padayon Tour will also have a San Pableña suman cooking demo and a heritage tour to Sampaloc Lake and San Pablo Cathedral. The thrilling part of the Padayon Tour is the farm tour and lunch at the Forest Wood Garden. The travelers of this tour package will cook few signature dishes of Forest Wood Garden such as Pancit Kalabuko and Plantsadong Lamang Lupa where they pick needed ingredients of the dishes right inside the farm.

Last is the Paglaum Tour, a full day tour which can be availed at P4,499 per pax minimum of five people. The tour is a combination of the full experience of both Salig and Padayon Tours. Paglaum is a Cebuano word that stands for hope.

Although Hijos Tours is now accepting in-person tours, they will still accommodate virtual tours for travelers who still want to experience Food tours and Pilgrimage tours that feature various churches in Laguna at the comfort of their homes.

Hijos Tours President and Chairperson Ms. Marilyn M. Manila is optimistic for the good outcome of this new era of tourism, “At Hijos Tours, we are hoping that through our tour programs, we will be able to help our community and the tourism industry to recover from the effects of pandemic. Local communities and their stories are always at the heart of what we do.” She concluded that Hijos Tours’ will soon accept travelers who are interested in their customizable heritage tours in Samar-Leyte, Baguio City, Iloilo City, Davao City, and Legazpi City.





What’s in it for Leyte? Stakeholders question second SMC LNG plant in Visayas

Press Release
March 25, 2022

QUEZON CITY – Church, fisherfolk, and other concerned groups ask for clarity from San Miguel Corporation (SMC) if its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant will truly be beneficial to locals, amid concerns on implications to largely agricultural and highly climate-vulnerable Leyte and surrounding provinces, and with how little information and education efforts have so far been on issues relevant to the project.

Questions were raised as SMC subsidiary Prestige Power Resources Inc. (PPRI) held a public scoping for the 600 MW project Friday in Brgy. Tugas in Tabango – the second SMC is holding in Visayas in less than two weeks, with Negros Occidental locals also airing worries on the San Carlos LNG project at its own public scoping last week.

“Last January, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines released a new Pastoral Statement on Ecology calling for unity and action amid a climate emergency and planetary crisis. Leyte knows firsthand how dire the climate situation is, with the devastation many calamites bring us every year. Humans have played a big role in the degradation of our Common Home – particularly because of the kind of energy we use. We hope to understand why we are looking to have an LNG power plant enter Leyte, knowing that in doing so, we are contributing to a crisis that our people already suffer harshly,” said Naval Bishop Rex Ramirez, whose diocese oversees the church in Tabango.

In 2013, Leyte and surrounding provinces were hit hard by Typhoon Yolanda, known as one of the deadliest climate disasters in the world in recent history.

“We do not want another Yolanda. It was a wake up call that the climate crisis is real, and that it is in the best interest communities hard-hit by the typhoon for industries that make the climate situation worse end as soon as possible. This fossil fuel project will not even benefit Leyte directly with the power it will produce, why must they welcome it with open arms?" said Fara Diva Gamalo of Freedom from Debt Coalition - Tacloban and Oriang Tacloban.

The power plant intends to contribute power to the Visayan grid once operational. Meanwhile, key stakeholders also testified to not having been involved in any information and education campaign (IEC) by PPRI-SMC., a requirement for power projects to comprehensively conduct prior to the public scoping.

"Nalaman ko lang na may ganitong proyekto isang araw bago ang public scoping. Balewala ba sa PPRI-SMC kung may mga tanong o hinaing ang mga taga-Tabango? Sana hindi. Marami dito sa amin ang umaasa sa kalikasan para sa pang-araw araw na kabuhayan. Kung makakaapekto sa kanila itong planta ng LNG, dapat maging malinaw 'yon," said Tabango Holy Child Parish Priest Fr. Edgar Dolina.

Clean energy advocates have been raising alarm on the steep rise of new fossil gas and LNG projects planned in Visayas and the rest of the country, as their construction and operation will harm not only host communities, but also climate and energy security and affordability ambitions.

“We wonder if the reason why fossil gas project proponents exert seemingly insufficient IEC efforts is because they are worried stakeholders will come to understand how undesirable it is to have an LNG plant in their shores, or to be forced to pay for the expensive electricity it will produce once it is feeding power into the grid. Local government leaders in Leyte and Visayas would be better off choosing not to entertain new LNG proposals, turning their attention instead to making clean, affordable energy and green jobs from renewables available to their constituents,” said Avril De Torres, Deputy Executive Director of energy think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED).





DTI helps revive livelihood of typhoon-affected micro entreps in Southern Leyte

DTI Southern Leyte livelihood assistance

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
March 25, 2022

MAKATI CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) initially distributed the first batch of livelihood kits to 412 micro entrepreneurs affected by Typhoon Odette through DTI’s Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) in Southern Leyte.

Over 2000 micro entrepreneurs were identified by the DTI to be granted with livelihood starter kits in the province. This was the result of the survey conducted last December 2021 to assess the calamity-affected micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the area.

PPG program intends to support communities, especially micro enterprises, to resume their business after devastating incidents and other calamities, including health disasters such as pandemics and armed conflicts. The livelihood kits may be in a form of sari-sari store package, cooking implements for food vending, and barbershop equipment. It is designed according to the needs of the micro entrepreneurs.

According to the Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, the program was designed to help revive the livelihood of micro entrepreneurs affected by unfortunate incidents and turn them to become successful business people one day.

“Pangarap po ng DTI sa inyo na ang inyong kabuhayan ay maging malaking negosyo, mula micro, small, medium hanggang maging large,” said Secretary Lopez.

Further, the trade chief shared the various programs that DTI offers to help develop these micro entrepreneurs. He stressed out the importance of livelihood trainings as well as the loan assistance DTI’s financing arm Small Business Corporation extends to MSMEs.

The simultaneous distribution activity benefited all 16 municipalities of Southern Leyte spearheaded by Secretary Lopez together with DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG) Assistant Secretaries Asteria Caberte, Dominic Tolentino, and DTI-8 Regional Director Celerina Bato.





CMDI unlocks first e-Library

March 23, 2022

SAN PABLO CITY – According to a nationwide survey conducted by the Movement for Safe, Equitable, Quality, and Relevant Education (SeQuRe) in March 2021, 53% of Filipino students were not confident if they can be up to par with the requirements in online learning.

The number says three things: distance learning is a struggle for most students in the Philippines. Lack of internet facilities, gadgets, and even access to finances are some of the things that hinder students from experiencing quality education at the comforts of their homes.

Second, distance learning is not for all. The reality is, as much as mothers want to help their children, the times have changed. Lessons have evolved and mothers are left behind by technology.

Lastly, distance learning distances children from school libraries where credible resources are available making them vulnerable to possible wrong information and “fake news” in doing research in the wide world of internet and social media.

While CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) addresses the first and second points by continuously providing access to cellphone loans and giving online training to mothers and students, CARD-MRI Development Institute, Inc. (CMDI) also does its part in providing access to learning resources by unlocking its first e-Library on February 22, 2022, to cater to its students during the new normal.

Problem Solved

CMDI’s electronic-Library or “e-Library” is the first online library of CARD MRI that provides access to relevant reading materials anytime and anywhere using electronic devices and the internet. Catering exclusively to enrolled students of CMDI and its faculty members, the e-Library contains books that are particular to research, thesis, and other academic requirements of both students and staff.

CMDI Senior Executive Vice President Dr. Edzel A. Ramos shared the importance of this digital initiative and its potential to help the students ease the birth pains of distance learning. “By maximizing the use of digital resources, we do our part in freeing our students from the worries associated with the pandemic and letting them achieve their goals and dreams for the future. In line with our mission of eradicating poverty, we give access to quality and affordable education through our senior high school, baccalaureate, and TESDA Programs. Aside from these, we provide free online training and other capacity-building programs to our students as well as to clients of CARD MRI,” Dr. Ramos said.

The Modern Library

CMDI Head Librarian Mila M. Ramos also emphasized the significance of the “modern” library during its launching. “While traditional libraries are indeed helpful, we still encounter some challenges with them. Aside from the pandemic that restricts our students from visiting the library, books are also limited. Students cannot borrow the same book at the same time. There are also times that, even if they have a chance to take the book and read it at home, they still need to return the book at a specific time. However, with the e-library, students will no longer have to wait for a book to be available or read it in a rush. It can be accessed anywhere as long as the students have devices connected to the internet. Multiple access is also possible.”

Since its inception in 2005, CMDI has served as the training ground for CARD MRI staff and clients alike. The learning institute aims to equip future leaders of the society to create change in their community by empowering socially-and-economically-challenged families through education, in line with CARD MRI’s mission of poverty eradication.





Displaced workers in Tacloban find new hope for livelihood

DTI turned over of equipment under the Shared Service Facility (SSF) program in Tacloban.

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
March 23, 2022

MAKATI CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) brought silver lining to local folks as the agency successfully turned over equipment under the Shared Service Facility (SSF) program providing livelihood support to displaced carpenters, welders, painters, and other skilled workers in the northern barangays of Tacloban City, March 22.

These construction workers once lived in the city proper near the Cancabato Bay who were relocated by the local government to northern barangays after their homes had been devastated by Typhoon Yolanda.

Lack of livelihood is the top challenge faced by these men who had been displaced from their place of work. Some of them are fishermen who, by their current situation, are far off the shore and were forced to shift to the construction industry for employment and income.

The local government of Tacloban saw this opportunity to capacitate these men thru TESDA trainings and provision of equipment via DTI’s SSF program. This will help them become productive members of the society.

“Ang role namin ay magbigay ng equipment at magpalakas sa ating mga kababayan. Maaari rin po kayong matulungan ng DTI through our livelihood programs para magkaroon ng tuluy-tuloy na kabuhayan,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

SSF is one of DTI’s programs to address bottlenecks in the value chain of priority industries and enhance productivity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by providing technical support and processing or manufacturing equipment in a shared system.

The initiative complements the priority program of the LGU to provide livelihoods in the relocated communities of Tacloban. These areas came from hardly-hit barangays of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 and were displaced from their place of livelihood. The project is expected to gen erate jobs and income for the skilled workers in the relocated sites.

The project amounts to P928,400 for the tools and equipment used for basic construction. The potential beneficiaries are skilled graduates of TESDA NC II and accredited schools for welding, carpentry, and painters.

Secretary Lopez graced the said launching together with DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG) Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona, Assistant Secretaries Asteria Caberte, Demphna Du-Naga, and Dominic Tolentino, and Regional Director Celerina Bato.

DTI encourages the promotion of MSMEs to a higher level where they could tap a better production facility for wider market share and be integrated with the global supply chain.





Trade Chief spearheads distribution of livelihood kits in Bohol

DTI chief distribution of livelihood kits in Bohol.

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
March 22, 2022

BOHOL – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its provincial office in Bohol turned over 430 livelihood kits to the beneficiaries of the Livelihood Seeding Program-Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay (LSP-NSB) and the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) on 21 March 2022. The beneficiaries were micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the municipalities of Loay, Sevilla, Loboc, Talibon, Bien Unido, and Trinidad.

In his message, Secretary Lopez expressed high hopes for the beneficiaries of the Livelihood Seeding Program, "Ang pangarap po namin para sa inyo ay maging masagana ang inyong mga kabuhayan at inyong mga negosyo. At itong maliit na puhunan ay para lamang matulungan makabangon ang ating mga kababayan na nasalanta ng bagyong Odette. Ito rin po sana ang susi sa kanila-kanilang tagumpay”. Lopez credited President Duterte and Senator Bong Go for facilitating the provision of additional funding to DTI’s budget to assist those displaced by calamities.

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap and Mayors from the six municipalities of Bohol delivered their messages of support for the program. Also present during the turnover were DTI Regional Operations Group Assistant Secretaries Asteria Caberte and Dominic Tolentino Jr., DTI-VI Regional Director Maria Elena Arbon, Assistant Regional Director Hope Megar, and the Provincial Directors of DTI Region 7.

This set of beneficiaries is part of over 3,230 recipients of livelihood assistance for the 48 municipalities of Bohol which the DTI initially targets to distribute this year.

The LSP-NSB and LSP-PPG were conducted in partnership with the Local Government Units (LGUs) of the said municipalities and the beneficiaries were profiled by DTI Negosyo Center Business Counsellors prior to the distribution of the livelihood assistance.

Further, these are programs being implemented by DTI to widen the reach of business development assistance by bringing government services closer to the local people through partnerships between relevant local government units and DTI Regional Offices. The LSP-NSB focuses in areas affected by fire incidents and other calamities such as typhoons and health disasters like outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics such as COVID-19. This livelihood entrepreneurship program aims to provide support to priority sectors and individuals through the provision of training and livelihood starter kits.





CMDI celebrates 22 years of devotion in providing quality education and services to the community

March 22, 2022

SAN PABLO CITY – Two years defying the pandemic, CARD-MRI Development Institute Inc. (CMDI) continues to “turn challenges into opportunities” as it celebrates its 22nd anniversary on February 14, 2022.

Broadcasted via Zoom and Facebook Live, the learning institute’s anniversary celebration began with a Thanksgiving Mass, followed by a series of online activities that commemorated the opportunities, innovation, and achievements born from adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his welcome remarks, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Edzel A. Ramos welcomed the attendees with a Valentine’s Day-inspired message. “Today, we are commemorating two of the most anticipated events this February. It is indeed a great day to celebrate not only Hearts’ Day but also CMDI’s very own 22nd founding anniversary. Looking back, this was also the day when CARD MRI first provided shares of stocks to its clients, proving that CARD MRI’s heart belongs to our clients and their family. Through CMDI, we express this love with our efforts to provide education as part of our mission to eradicate poverty,” Dr. Ramos said.

CMDI also looked back on the reason for its establishment, including its dedication towards poverty eradication through effective and purposive education, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seeing how CMDI turned the pandemic into an opportunity, CMDI President Flordeliza L. Sarmiento reminded everyone of the reason why CMDI is still standing today. “Even COVID is not enough to stop CMDI from doing what it desires, and that is to improve our services and to continue our programs for our clients and their family.”

The celebration continued with the presentation of CMDI’s digital learning progress and testimonials from its students, teachers, and staff. Clients who attended CMDI’s training also shared how the learning institute’s programs have helped them and their business in the middle of the economic crisis.

John Ivan Bajo from Grade 12 - Vietnam expressed how CMDI’s digital learning has benefited him as a senior high school student. “Digital learning is an excellent response to the changing times as it helped me be flexible in my studies, studying on my own time.”

When it comes to the digital transformation of CMDI, Senior High School Teacher Laila Dioso shared some of CMDI’s initiatives to help its teachers adapt to digital learning together with their students. “CMDI molded teachers to be teachable and equipped with technological advancement through webinars and hands-on training to cope with the challenges in learning.”

Commitment to Devotion

Immersed in the spirit of love and devotion, CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip shared his favorite parable from the Bible to express the sharp difference between devotion and commitment of all staff in the pursuit of nation-building.

“Commitment is a pledge, and therefore, is binding one’s self to a commitment to a word. Commitment is a promise which is often made to be broken. On the other hand, devotion means to give one’s time to a specific cause, selflessly. It is given out of love. Commitment is ‘talk the talk,’ while devotion is ‘walk the talk.’ With devotion, we do things with purpose, out of love. The devotion that emanates from our CMDI staff, most especially during the pandemic, is an act of love, a gift of love from CARD MRI to our clients. This is how we surpass every challenge, and this is how we will go forward at CMDI,” Dr. Alip said as he recognized those who have shown devotion in serving the CARD community.

Following Dr. Alip's inspirational message, the students’ Capstone Projects were also exhibited in the broadcast. Made by the graduating students from the Information and Communications Technology Department, the Capstone Projects are digital systems aimed to help the school and CARD MRI’s clients in the future.

Research publications about the students’ works and the clients’ stories were also featured. Among these were thesis compilations, scholar stories, and a recipe book that show the students’ progress in their digital learning journey. “Katuparan ng mga pangarap” is a compilation of client stories and their success with the help of CMDI.

Dedication to Service

With devotion as its guiding force in helping communities, CMDI also recognized the dedication, impact, and outstanding contributions of Senior Management Adviser Dr. Dolores M. Torres as the outgoing Dean of the Department of Business and Management through an audio-visual presentation by CMDI Vice President for Academic Affairs Glenda M. Lagarile. Dr. Torres was appointed as the Senior Dean of CMDI while Dr. Ramos will assume the deanship of the department.

Continuing the parade of innovations, the students of the CMDI Business Society also presented their Love Month Online Bazaar with the theme “Innovative and Resilient StudEntrepreneurs in COVID Times.” These are online food shops where interested customers can message their respective Facebook pages for their orders.

Finally, CARD MRI Managing Director Aristeo A. Dequito congratulated the CMDI family, including its teachers as well as the students and their parents who have all worked together to withstand the pandemic and to continue learning despite it.

“It has been two years since the onset of the pandemic. Despite this, CMDI remained steadfast in helping its students, CARD MRI clients, and staff. This is the fruit of what Dr. Alip described as devotion. With this, we will continue standing our ground until we have turned every challenge into opportunities for growth and success in our mission to fight poverty,” Dequito concluded.

Since its inception in 2000, CMDI has served as the training ground for CARD MRI staff and clients alike. The learning institute aims to equip future leaders of the society to create change in their community by empowering socially-and-economically-challenged families through capacity-building programs and quality education, in line with CARD MRI’s mission of poverty eradication.





Mission Accomplished!

Duterte distribution of the land titles
President Rodrigo Duterte handed certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to representatives of the 772 agrarian reform beneficiaries on March 17, 2022 at the new Leyte Provincial Capitol. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

Press Release
March 22, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Employees of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) shout “Mission accomplished!” after President Rodrigo Duterte finally handed the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) for the former rebels on Thursday in support of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

DAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Robert Anthony Yu disclosed that 446 individual CLOA covering 89 hectares of land in Sitio Limite, Barangay Daja Daku in San Isidro, Leyte, were handed by the Chief Executive to the 446 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) during the inauguration of the new Leyte Provincial Capitol in Palo town.

Two hundred fifty-eight of the 446 ARBs are former rebels, while 188 are actual farmers, Dir. Yu added.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Bernie Cruz, who assisted the President in the distribution of the land titles, lauded the DAR-Leyte employees for a job well done.

Sec. Cruz dropped by the DAR Leyte Provincial Office the day before the distribution, to check on the titles.

The President on January 23, 2020, during his visit to the remote San Isidro town to turnover various government assistance to former rebels, ordered former DAR Secretary, John Castriciones, to provide the former rebels farmlands to till under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) where they can start a livelihood.

One year and eight months after, a collective CLOA covering 91.6 hectares was generated and registered at the Registry of Deeds (ROD). Thereafter on March 19, 2022 the collective CLOA was parcelized into individual CLOAs, which were then distributed by the President on March 17, 2022.

During the same occasion, 326 more CLOAs with a combined area of 487.7 hectares were distributed by the President to the representatives of ARBs from other Leyte towns as well as from the provinces of Northern Samar, Western Samar and Southern Leyte.





NPA high ranking official says he does not regret his decision to surrender

March 21, 2022

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – A newly surrendered high-ranking official of the Guerilla Front Damol and 7 other high ranking CPP-NPA-Terrorists (CNTs) attended the Local Peace Engagement Panel and Peacebuilder Group dialogue at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial office in Catbalogan City on Monday, March 21, 2022.

The said dialogue is an assessment of the situation and concerns of the newly surrendered CNTs and discussion on the assistances that the different government agencies can offer and provide.

Alyas Dori, the Organization Department Secretary of the Guerilla Front Damol which operates in the areas of Pinabacdao and Villareal, expressed that they can now prove that the government’s help is real. He is hopeful that it can alleviate their way of living.

“We do not regret our decision to surrender to the government, rather we are happy. First, we no longer have to hide and we will no longer hesitate to help other people. And, I can now be with my family whom I never been with for 15 years,” Dori said.

Dori has expressed his gratitude for all the government’s efforts especially in helping them and calls out his former rebels to surrender as well.

“To my brothers and sisters in arms who are still in the organization (Communist Terrorist Groups), just cooperate and stop running so that we can take care and help your family. I can assure that I can help them. We do not want to die in the armed struggle because of wrong ideology, instead, be back to the folds of the law for us to have peace and make Samar prosper,” Dori added.

The dialogue was attended by the different government agencies like the Philippine Information Agency, the Philippine Army, Department of Interior and Local Government, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office Samar, Office of the Provincial Agriculture, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment and Philippine National Police who will be providing different assistances to the former rebels.





Members of LPE panel of Samar discuss assistance to new NPA surrenderers in EV

NPA surrenderers assistance

March 21, 2022

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – The Local Peace Engagement Panel of Samar with the 801st Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army have discussed assistances to newly surrendered high-ranking CPP-NPA-Terrorists (CNTs) who have been organized into a Peacebuilder Group in a dialogue held at Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Catbalogan on Monday, March 21, 2022.

In the said dialogue, the different government agencies assessed the situation, concerns and needs of at least 8 rebels who surrendered in February and this month.

Colonel Lenart R. Lelina, the Commander of 801st Brigade said that this is just the start of the talks that include the identification of livelihood programs and other government assistances that will significantly benefit the former rebels.

“In the military, we can only provide security for you but here are the other government agencies who can provide different assistances that you need,” Col. Lelina said.

The LPE panel of Samar is hopeful that the localized talks will lead to the dismantling of the Guerilla Front Damol that operates in areas in Pinabacdao and Villareal, Samar.

Ms. Alma Austero, the head of the LPE panel said that she believes that the former rebels still have a lot to offer and help in the fight against insurgency.

Among the 8 CNTs who surrendered, some were holding a higher post in the Communist Terrorist Group – 2 are top leaders in the Guerilla Front Damol, 1 Political Guide, others are in-charge in the logistics, and other significant positions in the organization.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Juanito Parazo Jr., Philippine Army, the Commander of 46th Infantry Battalion said that the surrender of these rebels is a great loss to the NPA.

“It is a great decrease in the capacity and capability of the CPP-NPA here in the Samar province,” Col. Parazo said.

Also discussed in the dialogue were the financial assistances that the government offers to the surrenderers. Ms. Austero of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office Samar said that the Local Social Integration Program or LSIP provides transitional assistance of P25,000, another P50,000 for livelihood assistance, and for those who will surrender with firearms will receive P25,000 for each firearm, and P10,000 for each NPA member that a facilitator can persuade to surrender.

On the other hand, the Department of Interior and Local Government said that the E-CLIP provides P15,000 for immediate financial assistance and P50,000 for livelihood assistance, plus firearm remuneration that's double the valuation amount.

With all these assistances the government is hopeful that the remaining CNTs will soon lay down their arms, abandon their armed struggle and be back to the folds of the law.





TUCP files P430 wage hike for workers in Region 7; cites price hikes, malnutrition, hunger, poverty

March 21, 2022

CEBU CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) today files a petition before the Regional Wages and Productivity Board VII (RTWPB-VII) for a P430 increase in the daily minimum wages in the Region.

TUCP stated in its petition that minimum wage earners and their families in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and other underlying islands are barely surviving with their meager income. The labor group said that since 2018, the prices of basic goods and services have gone up substantially which eroded the purchasing power of the current minimum daily wage of P404.00. This year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas projected that inflation will hit at 5.1% with the continuing increases in the price of oil triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ensuing economic and digital war.

“With the current high prices of food and other essential items, the measly income of workers can only accord them and their families with nutritionally deficient survival meals. We are deeply concerned that with the looming price hikes in the basic commodities, including electricity and transport fares, our workers and their families could really go hungry this time and that is unacceptable to us. We are filing our wage petition today to help our workers and their families in Cebu and in the entire of region VII to at least survive,” said TUCP President Raymond Democrito Mendoza said.

TUCP said that an P18 increase in the daily minimum wage which the RTWPB-VII granted in January 2020 has long been dissipated by the high cost of basic goods and services, even before it could be felt by minimum wage earners.

“Today, we are waging war against malnutrition and imminent hunger of our workers and their families in Central Visayas. We are fighting for a minimum wage that at least will save them from starvation. We are not even asking for wage adjustment that will also cover the increasing costs of non-food items which are also necessary to the daily lives of our workers and their families,” said Mendoza.

“With the current minimum wage in Region VII, a measly P15.00 per meal can be allocated per member of the family which is P41.17 lower compared to P61.17/meal/person estimated by the Ateneo Policy Center using the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Pinggang Pinoy model, and the March 2019 PSA Media Service Market Price of Selected Commodities. What kind of food can be bought by P15.00? Do our workers deserve just to eat nutritionally deficient foods while they continue breaking their backs to sustain and expand the economy?” asked Mendoza.

During the recent meeting of the House Committee on Labor and Employment, Mendoza who is the Vice Chairperson of the committee, pushed for the RTWPBs to act immediately on the wage petitions filed before them within 30 days. The TUCP also wrote President Duterte to direct the RTWPBs to swiftly deliberate on the same petitions.

“This is a race against time for the survival of millions of workers and their families who fell through the cracks. There dire conditions should be improved without delay by approving our desired minimum wage increase,” said Mendoza.

“Let me also be clear on our fight for decent wages. Wage hike was needed long before the Ukraine-Russia war and the skyrocketing oil prices that followed. The possible oil price rollback this coming week, although we would certainly welcome it, does not mean rolling back our wage petitions. Our minimum wage earners and their families have already fallen below the poverty level even before the ongoing conflict and its aftermath. The fact that our minimum wage earners have become the newly poor is a blatant injustice that must be seriously and urgently addressed by the government,” Mendoza said.

TUCP said that Region VII enjoyed an average GRDP growth rate of 9.35% for the period 2016 - 2019 before hitting -8.3% in 2020. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by an average of 5.6% in 2021. Central Visayas has been the consistent fourth biggest contributor to the GDP, averaging 6.44% for the period 2016-2020.

“Workers continued to give and sacrifice even with their declining health and strength due to poor nutrition for the sake of regional and national economic development. And what do they get? Malnutrition, hunger, and poverty,” said Mendoza.

The labor center said that the present monthly take home pay of P9,663.94, is far below the P16,295.00/month poverty threshold for a family of five in Central Visayas.

“What kind of life do our workers and their families have? Our workers and their families deserve to live, and to live with dignity. They need the wage adjustments now or they will continue to live in destitution. As a civilized society, we cannot and should not perpetuate the miserable conditions of our workers and their families,” Mendoza finally added.





DTI reports threefold increase on retail value of confiscated products

DTI confiscated products

By DTI-CPG-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau
March 15, 2022

MAKATI CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) reported a threefold increase on retail value of confiscated products in the National Capital Region (NCR) from January 1 to February 28, 2022.

A total of 7,551 pieces of uncertified products, with a retail value of P1,401,189.05, were cracked down by the DTI-FTEB through random inspection activities for the first two (2) months of the year. This resulted in a whopping 304% increase on the seized products’ retail value compared to the same period last year wherein a total of 846 pieces of uncertified products, with a retail value of P346,704.00, were seized by the team.

Out of the 181 inspected establishments in NCR this year, 100 of which were issued Notices of Violation (NOVs) for selling products without the required Philippine Standard (PS) mark and Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) sticker certified and mandated by the DTI-Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS). Among the seized products are low carbon steel wires, sanitary wares, television sets, cement, extension cords, electric blender, brake fluid, circuit breakers, helmets, plugs, socket outlets, uPVC pipes, rerolled steel bars, and other consumer products that requires to undergo mandatory certification.

Pursuant to Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2:2007 and the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 4109 otherwise known as The Product Standards Law, products covered by the BPS mandatory product certification schemes, whether locally manufactured or imported, are required to bear the Philippine Standard (PS) mark or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) sticker prior to market distribution.

“The PS marks and ICC stickers are the guide and assurance of our consumers that the products they purchase are safe and conforming to the relevant Philippine National Standards (PNS) mandated by the law,” DTI-Consumer Protection Group (DTI-CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo underscored.

DTI-CPG Assistant Secretary and DTI-FTEB Concurrent Director Ronnel O. Abrenica noted that the positive performance of his Bureau is a result of recalibration of resources with the newly formed DTI-FTEB strike teams and redirection of focus on conducting intensified technical regulations enforcement and seizing operations on a regular basis.

“We kicked off the year strong and we will sustain this synergy to foster a heightened consumer protection in the country,” DTI-CPG Assistant Secretary and DTI-FTEB Concurrent Director Abrenica added.

To check the list of products that should bear the PS mark and ICC sticker, visit www.bps.dti.gov.ph. Consumers are encouraged to report establishments selling critical products in the market by calling 1-DTI (1-384) or by sending a consumer complaint to consumercare@dti.gov.ph.





NMP kicks off National Women’s Month Celebration

NMP Women’s Month Celebration
The NMP Key Officials pose with their Agenda ng Kababaihan placard to show their support to women as the NWMC 2022 kicks-off.

By National Maritime Polytechnic
March 15, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Maritime Polytechnic, a strong advocate of Gender and Development (GAD), opens the National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC) during the flag raising ceremony held on 8 March 2022 in time for the observance of the International Women’s Day.

NMP highlights anew women’s empowerment and honors the unequivocal contributions of women to societal development, with a set of activities lined up for the month of March focusing on the sub-theme: Agenda ng Kababaihan, Tungo sa Kaunlaran, capping up the six-year recurring theme “We make change work for women.” This theme celebrates the dynamic Filipino women, perceptive of their choices, making their voices heard and trailblazers of change.

As part of this month-long observance, NMP put up the NWMC display center featuring Filipino women in “Today’s Herstory” and “Juana Says.” The activities will also include the Emergency First Aid (EFA) lecture for NMP female employees, women representatives from Barangay Cabalawan (where this office is located) and from the Sailor’s Association. The “Serbisyo para kay Juana” program of NMP, offering free training and dormitory fee for female trainees for this month, is likewise reinstituted. Also part of the activities is the distribution of Information/Education/ Communication (IEC) materials and collaterals to be uploaded on the agency’s FB page and official website.

In support to the Philippine Commission on Women’s (PCW’s) campaign to signify support on gender equality and women's empowerment, the employees, guest trainers and trainees were encouraged to participate the Purple Tuesdays or the wearing of any purple every Tuesday of March, and use the hashtag “PurpleTuesdays, #PurpleYourIcon in their social media posts.

“As women, what we can do is limitless, we just have to activate it. We have the power to convert pain into passion to be a successful member of the community.” Deputy Executive Director Mayla N. Macadawan said during the opening program. She also enthused women to speak up and let their voices be heard, and that, regardless of status, women’s role in complementing with men cannot be belittled. Women should continue to explore and unlock their abilities, as these open opportunities to be better.





DTI Bagsakan and Bahandi jointly celebrate Women’s Month in Region 8

By DTI-TPG-Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion
March 15, 2022

MAKATI CITY – After the success of the recent Bagsakan: Panubli-on in Western Visayas, the DTI Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (BDTP) is expanding its reach to more provinces through a collaboration with the DTI Region 8 in the upcoming Bagsakan in Eastern Visayas to be held on March 17 to 20, 2022 at Robinsons Place Tacloban.

DTI Bagsakan and Bahandi Trade FairBilled as the Bagsakan Bahandi: Women’s Trade Fair in Eastern Visayas, the four-day selling and order-taking activity is aligned with the celebration of the National Women’s Month with the theme “Kababaihan Tungo sa Kaunlaran.” This special Bagsakan initiative will proudly showcase the wide variety of products manufactured by 65 women-led Micro, Small, and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) from Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, and Samar.

Capturing the true essence of “Bahandi,” a Cebuano word for wealth or treasures, the Bagsakan will highlight the diverse selections of food products and non-food items that represent the rich heritage and traditions unique in each Eastern Visayas province. Among these cultural treasures are the authentic Eastern Visayas delicacies such as chocolate moron, suman latik, sasema, and binangol which will be available for sale to shoppers and institutional buyers. Various handicrafts, souvenirs, handwoven products, homestyle items and decors, fashion accessories as well as health and wellness products will also be in stock for retail selling and bulk orders during the event.

A special feature of the event is the exhibit of prototypes of newly-developed products and packaging innovations under the One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) Next Gen, DTI Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), and the Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID) Growth Programs.

In launching the event, DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG) Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona will lead the Opening Ceremony with DTI ROG Assistant Secretary Demphna Du-Naga, DTI-Region 8 Regional Director Celerina Bato, BDTP Director Marievic Bonoan, DTI Provincial Officers and representatives from the DTI BDTP. Consumers and institutional buyers who will not be able to attend the physical show can still participate online. A live broadcast of the activities and a video tour of the event and products will be streamed via the BDTP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DTI.BDTP. The DTI has also prepared a digital product catalog with full contact information of participating MSMEs. Download the official event catalog in this link: https://bit.ly/bagsakanbahandi.

The Bagsakan Special Project started out as a crisis response to the pandemic to help farmers, fruit growers MSMEs and social coops sustain their livelihood during the pandemic. This innovation contributed to the “Bayanihan We Heal As One Act” by ensuring the availability of food products while helping MSMEs sell their goods, thus supporting the economy amid the COVID-19 crisis. Since 2020, the project has generated P44.28 Million for 359 farmers and fruit growers associations, MSMEs and social coops from several regions.

To get updates on upcoming Bagsakan events, national fairs and programs for MSMEs, join the DTI-BDTP Community on Viber and follow us on Facebook and Instagram (DTI.BDTP), Twitter (DTI_BDTP), and Tiktok (DTI.BDTP).





Sec. Bello awards over P12-M livelihood, emergency employment assistance in Ormoc City

TUPAD emergency employment assistance in Ormoc City

March 14, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – More than 2,000 workers from Ormoc City benefitted from the P12,144,250 worth of DOLE livelihood and emergency employment assistance awarded last February 19, 2022 at the Ormoc Superdome.

Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III graced the activity and personally led the awarding of livelihood funds amounting to P3,000,000 for the motorized banca and fishing gear projects of 100 beneficiaries. A livelihood check amounting P2,880,000 was likewise awarded for the Negokart Projects of some 96 beneficiaries.

The labor chief likewise took part in the payout of TUPAD wages of 1,849 workers amounting to P6,009,250.00. Each worker received P3,250 for the ten-day work rendered.

Meanwhile, some 34 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and OFW-dependents also received livelihood grants with a total amount of P255,000 under OWWA’s programs namely, Tulong Puso, Balik Pinas Balik Hanapbuhay and Educational Livelihood Assistance Program.

Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez and Mayor Richard I. Gomez thanked Secretary Bello and the entire DOLE team composed of Undersecretary Renato L. Ebarle, Usec. Benjosantos M. Benavidez, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, DOLE-NCR Director Sarah Buena S. Mirasol and DOLE-BWSC Director Ma. Karina P. Trayvilla.

Sec. Bello in his message expressed untiring support and commitment to extend assistance as needed by the workers not just in Ormoc but the whole of Region 8.

“I assure you that the DOLE programs will continue to help our needy workers, tuloy-tuloy lang po ang ating serbisyong TUPAD”, said Sec. Bello.

Also present during the activity were Regional Director Henry John S. Jalbuena, DOLE-West Leyte Field Office Head Mr. Edgar Tabuyan and DOLE-Technical Support Services Division Head Mr. Norman L. Uyvico.





CMIT celebrates 12th anniversary with innovations to fight poverty

March 14, 2022

SAN PABLO CITY – “We won’t stop forging onward alongside the fast-paced, fast-changing developments in the world of IT to equip CARD MRI in serving the Filipino poor.” These are the words of CARD MRI Information Technology (CMIT) President Edgar V. Cauyan, as the whole CARD MRI community celebrated CMIT’s 12th anniversary on March 10, 2022.

To commemorate its historical founding, Cauyan recollected how the institution started and how CMIT is straining forward to lead CARD MRI’s digital transformation initiatives.

“The need for CARD Bank to computerize in 1999 was the starting point of the operations of CMIT. I can recall how it was back then, and every time I think about it, the memories make me smile. Because it was the first time CARD MRI had an IT department, everything that has to do with new technology, from printers to air conditioning, is taken care of by its IT department. These were the initial operations of CARD’s IT department. Today is different as it became a separate entity in 2010 to advance the technology of the CARD MRI group,” Cauyan shared.

Cauyan is talking about the digitalization of CARD MRI in the 21st century, not only to expedite the transactions of CARD MRI clients but also to achieve digital financial inclusion in the country.


CMIT continues to support CARD MRI’s microfinance institutions (MFIs), including CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO), CARD Bank, CARD SME Bank, and CARD MRI RIZAL BANK, to assist its account officers (AO) and to improve their service delivery to clients.

From the manual application of loans using pen and paper, AOs are now equipped with the loan origination system (LOS). Through the LOS, AOs only need to conduct an interview with clients and input their data on the system installed in their tablets. Once done, the loan application will be sent automatically to the unit manager for approval. Once approved, the loaned amount will be sent to the applying client’s savings account.

Having the same concept as LOS, the mobile onboarding digitally records those who want to be clients of CARD for faster and simpler registration.

According to Cauyan, besides these new systems that aim to support both CARD MRI staff and clients in their transactions, CMIT is also hands-on in the continuous upkeep and monitoring of its konek2CARD mobile banking application for CARD MRI clients.

Technology Savvy

“konek2CARD is perhaps our proudest contribution to CARD MRI, and we are thankful to FDS ASYA PHILIPPINES (FDSAP) for working with us hand-in-hand to make this possible. We are also forever grateful to the CARD MRI community, most especially our MFIs and our clients, for making this possible and for absorbing this into their lives,” Cauyan shared as he expressed his gratitude for the clients’ positive response towards the mobile banking application despite the difficulties they faced in implementing konek2CARD in 2016.

konek2CARD recently reached 2 million registered users in February 2022, a milestone for the CARD community that can be attributed to how the clients recognize the application as a necessity in their lives.

It can be recalled that konek2CARD saw an increase in user registration in 2021 after the “Saya ng Buhay, Level App” campaign that emphasized konek2CARD’s role in the lives of CARD clients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

konek2CARD users can skip taking transportation, going to the bank, and waiting in line with the mobile banking application’s features that allow clients to do their banking transactions in the comforts of their home. These features allow them to access their savings, to pay their loan amortization and bills, to purchase e-load, and to check their balance and other transactions without going to the bank and putting themselves at risk of contracting the virus.

CARD clients can also be assisted by authorized konek2CARD agents in their neighborhood for their banking transactions and easy access to their savings through cash-in and cash-out.

Cauyan also breached the subject of remittances as CARD MRI also steps up other alternative delivery channels to bring better services to its clients.

“We are also supporting and empowering more Filipinos, not just our clients, with CARD Sulit Padala. Through this local remittance provider, located in our branches and branch-lite units, you can send and receive money from your loved ones anywhere in the Philippines. It’s the best alternative for people who are looking for nearby remittance outlets in their neighborhood,” Cauyan explained.

Now, CMIT led the conversion of 52 unit offices of CARD, Inc. from the local system to the Core Microfinance System which aims to provide real-time transactions and reports, automatic calculations, and paperless transactions, among others.

Together with FDSAP, CMIT also monitors the migration of 20 remaining CARD Bank branches from the local system to the centralized Core Banking System which enables the clients of CARD’s MFIs to make their banking transactions at any of CARD’s branches.

Since 2010, CMIT has been developing the technical designs and systems required in the day-to-day activities of CARD MRI. The IT company is at the forefront of CARD MRI’s digital transformation in the hopes of eradicating poverty through its technology-driven initiatives.


Last updated: 08/03/2022