▪ Your latest news happening from here at home and abroad ▪

Special Report
Photo Gallery
Video Gallery
My Music Room
Radio Channel
Site Map


more news...

Filipino startup wins in global pitch competition

RTF-8 ELCAC vows stronger coordination to attain peace by 2022

NMP answers the call for a sustainable maritime future

P3.4-M TUPAD grants benefit 679 Leyteňos

DPWH-BDEO installs rainwater collection systems in Biliran province

DTI’s OTOP Ambassador Catriona Gray raises the flag, flaunting the PH weaving crafts

DAR links 14 farmer organizations in EV to institutional buyers

Congress withdraws Bill converting NMP into PMMA Visayas Extension Campus





Int’l Commission assembled to investigate Duterte’s crimes against humanity

Investigate PH

All eyes on the Philippines now as independent global probe happens

Press Release
December 17, 2020

MANILA – After the recent pronouncement of the International Criminal Court (ICC), prominent members of the international community declared on Thursday that there is an independent investigation ongoing in the Philippines called Investigate PH.

The ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said last Tuesday that there is "reasonable basis" to believe that crimes against humanity were committed by President Rodrigo Duterte, specifically the thousands killed in his war on drugs.

In a virtual press conference, the Independent International Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations in the Philippines or INVESTIGATE PH was publicly announced.

“We are here to announce that an independent people-led probe is happening in the Philippines. This is most definitely a global issue. The world community has a responsibility to speak up and seek the truth” says Former Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon also a member of the INVESTIGATE PH High Level Commission.

The former Australian senator further emphasized that: “We must not allow the call for human rights be hijacked. Accountability must be a part of the justice and democratic system.”

Also speaking live in the media event were its leading High Level Commissioners namely: Rev. Michael Blair, General Secretary of the United Church of Canada; Atty. Jeanne Mirer, President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers; Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe - General Secretary, General Board of Church & Society, the United Methodist Church; and Rev. Dr. Chris Ferguson, General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

According to INVESTIGATE PH, this global endeavor is an independent international investigation of the human rights situation in the Philippines. It is an initiative of global organisations, religious, legal, trade union and political leaders, and civil society.

“We will submit the final report of the findings to the International Criminal Court and other relevant UN bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly Special Session,” says Atty. Jeanne Mirer, Investigate Ph High Level Commissioner.

The independent investigations are scheduled to happen through a hybrid of virtual and physical fact findings. This aims to further substantiate the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights June 2020 report.

A final report of the findings will be submitted to the Enhanced Interactive Dialogues and General Debates of the UN Human Rights Council 48th Session in September 2021, when the High Commissioner will update on the implementation of the Human Rights Council Resolution 45/L.38 that shall provide technical assistance and capacity-building to the Government of the Philippines for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

INVESTIGATE PH also intends to join in preceding UNHRC sessions, including the 46th Session in February to March 2021 and the 47th Session in June-July 2021 to share about the on-going investigation and the preliminary findings.

“That is what brings us together today. What is happening in the Philippines amounts to crimes against humanity. These crimes must be investigated. The human rights cases must be investigated and the perpetrators be made accountable,” Former Senator Lee Rhiannon ends.





CARD SME Bank inaugurates 36th branch in General Santos City

Press Release
December 17, 2020

SAN PABLO CITY – CARD SME Bank opens its 36th branch on December 7, 2020, to cater to the financial needs of more MSMEs in Brgy. Lagao, General Santos City. The Lagao Branch, located at Sestina Building, Lucio Velayo Sr. Road, Brgy. Lagao, General Santos City, is officially the 6th CARD SME Bank branch in Mindanao and one of the two (2) branches in the city.

CARD SME Bank President and CEO Aristeo A. Dequito is positive that the products and services of the bank will ignite hope despite the challenges of 2020. “We want to end 2020 reaching more entrepreneurs and helping them recover from the adverse impact of the pandemic,” says Dequito.

While the first branch in General Santos City already caters to more than 25,000 clients, Lagao Branch “will be the home of thousands of MSMEs in the area,” says Dequito. He continues, “We assure that this expansion will provide easier transactions for our clients with us.”

As the quarantine protocols ease, Dequito also shares how the bank braves the pandemic to constantly provide financial access to the unbanked and underbanked families.

“The branch strictly follows the safety guidelines and protocols to ensure the safety of our clients and staff,” he adds. Like all its branches nationwide, CARD SME Bank Lagao Branch is equipped with plexiglass dividers and hand sanitizer dispensers, while strictly following government mandated health protocols like social distancing and wearing of face mask.

Digital Banking

Dequito also shares how the pandemic led the institution to accelerate its digitalization to advance its banking system. “Throughout the decade, we have been investing in our digital transformation, but with the current situation, our banking technological solutions need more urgency to provide our clients the safety and convenience they need amid the pandemic.”

With digital banking, clients can now experience hassle-free banking transactions anytime and anywhere using their mobile phones through konek2CARD, a mobile banking application, offered free to all account holders of CARD SME Bank. “With our continuous journey to digital transformation, we will advance more of its capabilities.”

Dequito continues, “We at CARD SME Bank, together with the other institutions under CARD MRI, are in full swing to continue our mission in improving the lives of the socioeconomically challenged families in the country.”

CARD SME Bank is expecting to initially serve more than 7,000 clients from five (5) branch lite units.

The grand opening of CARD SME Bank Lagao branch was personally attended by several CARD MRI clients and staff, representatives from local government units, and other members of the community. Virtually present via Zoom conference were CARD MRI Executive Committee Members, including CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip and Managing Director Flordeliza Sarmiento.

As of October 2020, CARD SME Bank has already served more than 1 million clients, has disbursed more than P7 billion loans, and has a total asset of P8 billion.





DPWH completes P1.9M footbridge project in Caibiran town

Caibiran footbridge

By DPWH Biliran
December 16, 2020

NAVAL, Biliran – Accessing basic essential services is now easier for the residents in Sitio Guindulangan, Victory village in Caibiran town with the completion of the P1.9M footbridge project from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO).

District Engineer David P. Adongay Jr., said that the footbridge project links Sitio Guindulangan to Sitio Katipunan, Victory village to the town proper of Caibiran and to other neighboring villages.

The said project covers the construction of a 14-meter length footbridge with a height of 4-meter from the river bed and a concreting of an 8-meter footbridge approaches on both sides.

Prior to the implementation of the project, residents of Sitio Guindulangan are crossing the river through a log bridge from an unused electrical post supported only by bamboo poles for its foundation.

Adongay revealed that the situation of the old bridge limits the residents’ capacity to access the very basic services they need especially during high tide.

“Because of the poor condition of the old bridge, crossing the bridge also poses danger to the passers especially to the children, pregnant women and senior citizens,” Adongay said.

“With the completion of the footbridge project, residents of Sitio Guindulangan can now enjoy a safer and faster access to the basic essential establishments of the town such as schools, health facilities, and other government and non-government services,” Adongay said.

Moreover, transport of goods and farm products will now be much easier since the footbridge is now accessible by motorcycles.

From its start date on October 15, 2020, the said project was completed on November 25, 2020, ahead of its target completion date which is on January 02, 2021.





DTI launches National Trade Fair Digital Mall

By DTI-TPG-Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion
December 15, 2020

MAKATI CITY – In lieu of the usual National Trade Fair (NTF) organized annually, the Department of Trade and Industry - Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (DTI-BDTP) is launching the NTF Digital Mall. This is in response to the unprecedented challenges faced by micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has adversely impacted their operations.

National Trade Fair Digital MallTo help MSMEs future-proof their businesses as they pivot to online selling, the NTF Digital Mall is a platform that offers continuous promotion of the food and non-food products from the different regions, amid the physical restrictions of the pandemic. A project of the DTI-BDTP in collaboration with the DTI-Regional and Provincial Offices, the NTF Digital Mall is an e-commerce platform inside the UB GlobalLinker site.

Formally opened on December 15, the NTF Digital Mall, like all national trade fairs, showcases the best products of 223 MSMEs from all parts of the country. Featured products include processed food and beverages, gifts and souvenirs, houseware and decor, fashion accessories, wearables, as well as health and fitness products.

For a more convenient online shopping experience, the NTF Digital Mall features a product catalog with a facility to search for a specific product or product category. For easier transactions, buyers can connect with the MSMEs via the Viber app for secure instant messaging. Visitors will also have access to DTI webinars, and can read about the participating exhibitors' inspirational success stories.

Digital Mall Features for MSMEs

The NTF Digital Mall is hosted on UnionBank GlobalLinker, a free and innovative platform that helps MSMEs grow online with tools for efficient business management and network expansion. It is distinct from other e-commerce platforms as it is an all-in-one accessible platform that enables MSMEs to connect to both local and global B2B and B2C partners, suppliers, and customers. It has networking capabilities to help MSMEs grow and manage their business. It offers immediate access to financial service providers, point of sale, accounting, inventory, human resources, tax and payroll services, supply chain management, and B2B and B2C marketplaces.

Some of the business features offered on the NTF Digital Mall that MSMEs can readily use are:

• Linker.Store - Connect the MSME’s business to the world by launching their do-it-yourself E-commerce store for free with its inventory management and data analysis tools.

• Network – Search for and manage a global network of potential suppliers, partners, and customers, not just in the Philippines, but also in other parts of Southeast Asia.

• Biz offers - Have access to business tools that will help MSMEs manage their business, share files, and track important events more efficiently.

• Secure multi-device access via desktop, mobile or tablet.

• Apply online for business loans, deposit products, and credit cards without the hassle.

• Biz Forum - Get tips and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs. A place for discussing new business ideas, topics and useful articles within a vibrant business community.

To visit the site, simply log in to https://ntfdigimall.linker.store/

For more information about the DTI-Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion, please follow their social media accounts @BDTP on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You may also email bdtp@dti.gov.ph.





DELIVER-e will be “game-changing” for farmers and consumers - DTI chief


By DTI-OSEC-Office of Digital Philippines
December 13, 2020

MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – together with the Department of Agriculture (DA), private sector partners, farmer cooperatives, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – is officially launching DELIVER-e on December 14, 2020 alongside a multi-stakeholder commitment pledge signing to upscale agriculture value chain and improve overall food security in the country even beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

“This initiative is all about bringing farm produce closer to consumers and cutting layers of traders. Through technology and innovation, it will be game-changing not only for our farmers but also for our consumers,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

He added: “This is part of our strong partnership with Agriculture Secretary William Dar as we jointly work on solutions to increasing farmers’ income, providing better supply chain in agriculture and its link to industry processors or direct to marketplace, and delivering fresher products for consumers.”

DELIVER-e is a digital platform that connects farmers to buyers through an efficient and transparent end-to-end market-based system. It operates through a sophisticated blockchain technology developed by a Filipino tech startup, Insight Supply Chain Solutions (InsightSCS), that integrates related e-commerce and logistics application services from consolidation point to central warehousing facility, and then to last-mile delivery services to reach end-clients.

As the lead agency for the Inter-agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) sub-taskforce on food value chain and logistics, DTI brought together public and private partners, as well as development partners like the USAID, to design and implement strategies addressing the looming threat on food security and widened gap in agriculture value chain.

“Our main goal is to increase production and ensure supply stability for basic necessities and prime commodities through new business models,” Sec. Lopez said.

The immediate collaborative planning, consultation, and benchmarking activities of the DTI, DA, private sector partner Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines (SCMAP), logistics technology experts, farmer groups, and the USAID DELIVER-Project paved the way for the development and initial launch of DELIVER-e in early April 2020.

Since April, this innovative platform has mobilized over 260 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables and recorded more than P7.15 million worth of transactions. Additionally, it has helped around 600 farmers in Luzon and some provinces in Mindanao by doubling their income from their harvests and reducing wastage from 50 percent down to only 5 percent.

Even beyond the pandemic situation, DELIVER-e’s technology is deemed as one of the key sustainable solutions to improve the Philippines’ agriculture value chain, making the country more food-secure while improving the lives of every Filipino farmer.

With the intent of further developing DELIVER-e and its database modules, DTI – together with its collaborators from the National Government, private sector, farmer groups, and the USAID – will undertake a ceremonial commitment pledge signing during the “DELIVER-e Goes Live” official launch event on 14 December 2020 to solidify greater collaboration and cooperation efforts.

As the platform onboards more players in the agriculture value chain, DELIVER-e will soon be able to build an elaborate supply-and-demand dashboard system that will be useful in providing insightful data for the Philippine Government’s evidence-based decision-making process in relevant sectors and issues as the country moves towards building back better.

“Instead of adjusting to the New Normal, let us try to create a Better Normal where all Filipinos can enjoy the fruits of our country’s inclusive growth and shared prosperity for all,” DTI Sec. Lopez underscored.

In October 2019, DTI and DA also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) reinforcing strong collaboration and implementation of the Agribusiness Support for Promotion and Investment in Regional Expositions (ASPIRE) between the government and the private sector.

Through DELIVER-e, the public and private sectors will be able to realize ASPIRE’s ultimate vision of creating businesses and jobs to the rural community by linking farmers directly to the market.





Unwrapping the sweet success story of a mother turned entrepreneur from Occidental Mindoro

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
December 11, 2020

MAKATI CITY – While motherhood and running a business might be a ‘tight-rope walk’, Jerlie Daseco, owner of Triple P Food Products from the Municipality of Paluan in Occidental Mindoro, embraces both her vital roles.

Triple P Food ProductsTriple P Food Products’ flagship product is pastillas. A sweet milk-based confection made with carabao’s milk, pastillas is a popular pasalubong in the municipality of Paluan, as it is in any part of the country. The enterprise offers a variety of pastillas flavors, from purple yam (ube), jackfruit (langka), cheese, pandan, coconut, and chili, showing the diverse taste palette of Filipinos.

Occidental Mindoro is also home to cashew, expanding her product line to roasted and fried cashew nuts. More of Triple P’s products include, sampaloc candies, papaya relish (atsara), and honey.

With an initial capital of P1,500.00 just enough to produce and sell pastillas in their small community, backed by the owner’s passion to help her family, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) MIMAROPA’s support, the enterprise grew remarkably. From a monthly gross sale of P12,000.00, Triple P Food Products hit P200,000.00 to P300,000.00 gross sale per month. Furthermore, the enterprise was able to employ two full-time employees and 6 part-time employees.

Since DTI MIMAROPA’s interventions, Triple P Food Products has attended several free business development trainings and seminars, product packaging and label designs assistance through the Regional Integrated Product Development Assistance Project (RIPDA) under the One Town One Product (OTOP) Program, laboratory analysis support, and participation to numerous municipal, regional, and national trade fairs. Ms. Daseco is also a member of the Paluan Food Processors Association (PAFPA), cooperator of Milk Processing Shared Service Facility, and a beneficiary of the Livelihood Seeding Program – Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay (LSP-NSB), among others.

Triple P Food Products takes pride in helping their community, especially the indigenous peoples (IPs) and farmers, by buying their produce at fair prices.

DTI’s interventions helped Jerlie Daseco to reach out to more aspiring and existing Mompreneurs, having hired as one of the trainers of the Department on pastillas and cashew nut processing in the province. This stay-at-home mom turned entrepreneur is a perfect example of how one can ripple change to the community through entrepreneurship.

Triple P Food Products has also tapped the online market, enrolling their products to several digital platforms, as assisted by DTI. They supply their products to different stores in Occidental Mindoro and nearby provinces in the region. Likewise, their product distribution has extended to Manila, Batangas, and Tarlac, through retailers and distributors.

Interested buyers and distributors may reach them via their official Facebook page: Triple P Food Products -Apong. For more information on local products and produce proudly made from MIMAROPA, visit the nearest DTI Provincial Office or Negosyo Center.





Castriciones signs AO giving land to agriculture graduates

DAR Secretary Brother John Castriciones

December 10, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Agriculture graduates can now avail of farmland under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) where they can apply their knowledge on farming as Agrarian Reform Secretary Brother John Castriciones signed Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Administrative Order No. 03, series of 2020.

During the Radyo Agraryo program aired on Monday (December 7) over Radyo Veritas, Castriciones announced that he had already signed the said law that would allow agriculture graduates to become agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) of CARP’s Land Transfer Program.

The new law will take effect 10 days after it has been published in the newspaper of general circulation.

To qualify, DAR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs, Luis Meinrado Pañgulayan, explained that aside from being a graduate of a four-year agriculture-related course, the applicant must be landless; living within the municipality where the land to be awarded is situated; has the aptitude to make the land productive; and not an applicant of any other DAR’s land transfer programs.

He emphasized that an applicant need not be a fresh graduate.

Once this new law takes effect, Pañgulayan said, interested applicants can file letter of intent at the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) in their area, and fill out the forms that will be provided to them.

A certification from the school registrar, where they completed their studies, attesting that the applicant is truly a graduate of an agriculture-related course must also be submitted, Pañgulayan added.

Two weeks ago, Castriciones shared when he distributed Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) in Alangalang, Leyte, that his agency is preparing an administrative order that would grant graduates of agriculture-related courses a maximum of three-hectare farm lot under CARP for their laboratory.

With the signing of the new administrative order, Castriciones calls on parents to encourage their children to take agriculture-related courses to boost the country’s agriculture sector.

He reported that per inventory, there are approximately 230,000 hectares of government-owned lands (GOL) that may be involved all over the country.





NCCP on Human Rights Day: Stand for Justice, Stand for Human Rights

Press Release
December 10, 2020

QUEZON CITY – On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines joined the multisectoral actions commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “This year’s commemoration of International Human Rights Day is a reminder that as Christians we must actively take part in defending human dignity especially at a time when wanton disregard for human rights and the rule of law seems to be a state policy,” said Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP).

“To remain silent runs counter to what our faith and conscience demand – to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8)” Bishop Marigza added.

The NCCP has always been vocal in its defense of human rights especially in the midst of the pandemic where spiraling deeper crises plague the country, and have pushed many of the vulnerable sectors to the fringes of society as toxic lockdowns were implemented. NCCP avers that the government’s militaristic response to the pandemic only brought devastating effects to the lives of the Filipino people.

The Council and its member churches also experienced intensifying vilification and red-tagging. Aside from NCCP, repeatedly mentioned in the recent presentations made by NTF-ELCAC Executive Director Allen Apuyan were Iglesia Filipina Independiente, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, United Methodist Church and Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches. Last December 8, the image of IFI Obispo Maximo Rhee Timbang was also included in malicious flyers distributed around Cagayan De Oro tagging him as a “communist terrorist”.

“Red tagging is real, but despite these attacks, we will continue to defend human rights. Denouncing evils in our society and proclaiming and asserting Jesus’ promise of abundant life for all remains to be our fundamental task.” Bishop Marigza averred.

“The defense of human rights is at the very core of our faith because of our belief in the sanctity of life and the need to protect human dignity that God bestowed on each of us. Just as Jesus triumphed over death in order to proclaim God’s love, the churches will surely win against the attempts to malign our ministry and prophetic stance. We will continue to stand for human rights!” Bishop Marigza concluded.





Castriciones delivers CLOAs in Leyte
DAR to Door. Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Brother John Castriciones delivers Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to agrarian reform beneficiaries’ (ARBs’) homes in Barangays Lourdes and Bobonon in Alangalang, Leyte.

Castriciones delivers CLOAs in remote Leyte villages despite heavy rains

December 5, 2020

ALANGALANG, Leyte – Despite the sudden heavy downpour, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Brother John Castriciones did not back out from his original plan of delivering the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to six agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in a remote village here under the “DAR to Door” program.

Upon his arrival on Wednesday (November 25) in Tacloban City, Castriciones went directly to this town, which is some 30 kilometers away.

Accompanied by his deputies, Undersecretary David Erro of the Field Operations Office and Undersecretary Carim Panumpang of the Special Concerns Office, Castriciones proceeded to Barangay Lourdes, which is still about five kilometers away from the town proper.

While in the middle of his talk with ARB Francisco Catindoy in the land the latter is tilling, heavy rain suddenly poured. But Castriciones patiently waited in a nearby house of Bernardo Lagaday, another ARB, for the rain to subside to continue with his purpose of delivering the CLOAs to the homes of the four other recipient farmers in the area.

From Barangay Lourdes, Castriciones went also to Barangay Bobonon to deliver the CLOA of Alicia Tabernero, who became emotional when she received the land title.

Tabernero, as she thanked Secretary Castriciones, shared that she had been wishing for a long time that the land she was tilling would be hers someday, and that her wish is now being realized. She added that she valued much that land especially the time that she was sending her children to school.

On the following day, Castriciones went back to this town and distributed in a formal rite at the municipal covered court 1,280 more CLOAs covering an aggregate area of over a thousand hectares to 1,042 ARBs from other farming villages in this municipality as well as from the towns of Barugo, Burauen, Capoocan, Carigara, Dagami, Jaro, Kananga, and Pastrana.

According to Castriciones, “kaya ako ay lumilibot sa buong Pilipinas upang palakasin ang pag-asa ng ating mga magsasaka sapagkat alam ko na sa panahong ito ay dapat silang bigyan ng pag-asa, bigyan sila ng motibasyon para magpatuloy sa paghahanapbuhay bilang mga magsasaka.

Castriciones described the farmers as true heroes of our nation.

He emphasized “malaki po ang utang na loob ng ating bansa sa ating mga magsasaka lalo na ngayong may pandemya. Dahil sa kanila may pagkain ang ating mga mesa.”

Meanwhile, MAALSADA-Farmer Irrigators Service Cooperative (FISCO) was honored on the same occasion as outstanding agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO) in the region for garnering the highest product sales encompassing both the traditional and institutional markets, at P13.3-million from March to October this year.

However, Reynaldo Peja, chairman of the MAALSADA-FISCO, begged to increase the buying price of rice. At present, a kilo of rice is sold at P12 only.





Karapatan files complaint against gov’t officials engaged in red-tagging

December 4, 2020

QUEZOZN CITY – On December 4, 2020, days after the last Senate committee hearing on red-tagging, Karapatan filed criminal and administrative charges against the ranking officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and former PCOO Undersecretary Mocha Uson. The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) serves as Karapatan’s counsel in this case.

During the filing of charges before the Office of the Ombudsman, Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Antonio Parlade Jr., Lorraine Marie T. Badoy, and Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson should be held criminally and administratively liable for the acts that malign, vilify and baselessly red-tag her along with Karapatan’s officers and members.

Palabay said red-tagging of activists and progressive groups has led to the killings of human rights defenders, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention, torture, criminalization of their jobs and advocacies, and other defilements of their civil and political rights.

Parlade was earlier quoted in an article by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) entitled “Denounce Reds over brutal slay of CAFGU member, Karapatan told”, written by Priam Nepomuceno and published on June 2, 2019, alleging that Karapatan has a connection with the New People’s Army.

“On March 7, 2019, Respondent Parlade, in a poster shared from the account of the Civil Relations Service AFP, referred to KARAPATAN as a terrorist front organization, told the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) falsehoods with regards to the human rights situation in the country, and sought material support from EU member states on the basis of these false claims,” the 40-page complaint said.

“Thereafter, on April 9, 2019, Respondent Parlade utilized the social media as his platform to spread lies against me and my organization KARAPATAN. In a story published by Kalinaw News in its website, Respondent Parlade was quoted.”

The complaint also cited that Parlade continued red-tagging KARAPATAN, “that even our support for the calls for press freedom insofar as the franchise renewal issue of ABS-CBN is concerned was smeared with malicious and baseless accusations against us.”

The complaint said the respondents’ red-tagging of Palabay, KARAPATAN and its members and officers violates the principle of distinction under international and domestic humanitarian law.

The Philippine government is a party to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). One of the hallmark principles of International Humanitarian Law is the principle of distinction, which restricts targets of attacks to military objectives only to protect civilian persons and objects.

“Both parties affirmed the applicability of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and its 1977 Additional Protocols, which are main IHL treaties. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court has parallel provisions and principles on this,” the complaint said.

Under the complaint, Palabay and Karapatan said red-tagging constitutes the Crime against Humanity of Persecution.

Republic Act No. 9851 (RA 9851) or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity penalizes the crime against humanity of persecution.

Republic Act No. 9851 (RA 9851) or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity penalizes the crime against humanity of persecution.

Under Section 3(p) of RA 9851, persecution refers to “the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of identity of the group or collectivity.”

“This crime against humanity is committed when there is persecution “against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation, or other grounds, committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population,” the complaint said.

Under the complaint, Karapatan and Palabay said the government officials also violated the Anti- Graft and Corrupt Practices Act by doing acts that “are contrary to law or regulation; are unreasonable, unfair, oppressive or discriminatory; and are inconsistent with the general course of an agency's functions, though in accordance with law proceed from a mistake of law or an arbitrary ascertainment of facts; are in the exercise of discretionary powers but for an improper purpose; or are otherwise irregular, immoral or devoid of justification.”

“Respondents acted with manifest partiality and evident bad faith when they recklessly engaged in red-tagging me and KARAPATAN publicly, absent any competent, admissible, much less credible evidence to prove their claims,” the complainants said.

“Lastly, the red-tagging and vilification against us have indubitably already caused us undue injury not only by threatening our lives, liberty, security but also discrediting our work and advocacy and besmirching our reputations.”

Download: Copy of the complaint





livelihood kits to former rebels
Ninety-nine LSP-NSB & PPG beneficiaries received livelihood packages from DTI Asec. Niño Contreras with DTI R8 RD Celerina Bato, DTI Leyte OIC-PD Araceli Larraga and other government official.

DTI Leyte grants livelihood kits to 99 former rebels, MEs in Calubian, Leyte

By DTI-OSEC-Office of the Assistant Secretary for PPG
December 4, 2020

MAKATI CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Leyte Provincial Office grants livelihood kits to 82 former rebels (FRs) and 17 COVID-19 affected micro entrepreneurs of Calubian, Leyte during the Livelihood Seeding Program (LSP) - Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay (NSB) and Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) Program Distribution of Livelihood Kits last November 19, 2020 at Brgy. Jubay, Calubian, Leyte.

DTI Assistant Secretary Niño Contreras, PPG Head for Visayas and Mindanao Region led the distribution of P5,000.00 worth of sari-sari store and food processing livelihood packages to these FRs together with Leyte Vice-Governor Carlo P. Loreto representing Governor Dominic L. Petilla, Representative Vicente Veloso of the 3rd District of Leyte, Brigadier General Zosimo A. Olivares, Brigade Commander of 802 Brigade of the Philippine Army, DTI Region 8 Regional Director Celerina T. Bato, Calubian Mayor Marciano A. Batiancela, Jr., DTI Leyte OIC-Provincial Director Araceli D. Larraga and Capt. Roberto Q. Beatisula, Jr., Battalion Commander of 93rd Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army.

“We are bringing the services of the national government through DTI and other government agencies to the remote barangays and conflict affected areas of the country”, says Asec. Contreras.

He also emphasized that “President Duterte is there to help the people affected by calamities including those former rebels who are now in one with the government.”

The sari-sari store package is composed of: 72 pieces of instant noodles assorted flavor, 240 single packs of 3-in-1 coffee, 50 pcs. canned sardines, 45 corned beef and 144 sachets of detergent powder. On the other hand, the food processing package comprised of one (1) unit two-burner gas stove, a frying pan and an 11 kg. filled liquefied petroleum gas tank (LPG) with accessories. In addition to the livelihood kits, the beneficiaries also received grocery items courtesy of Senator Bong Go who co-funded the PPG program.

Mr. Rotchel Itol, a former rebel expressed his deep gratitude to DTI and the national government for the assistance received:

“Thank you very much to DTI and to our government for this PPG livelihood grant. This is a big help us (former rebels) as we start a new life”, he said. He encouraged all other beneficiaries to properly manage the pangkabuhayan kit they received. “Let us nurture the livelihood packages given by the government so this will grow and help us improve our lives”, Itol added.

The Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) Program is one of the initiatives of the government and the Department of Trade and Industry that aims to help micro entrepreneurs and individuals who were affected by natural and man-made calamities such as typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flash floods, fires, health emergencies or pandemics and local armed conflicts. The said program gives a fast and easy source of initial capital in the form of livelihood kits such as the sari-sari store and food processing package to help micro entrepreneurs recover from the effects of a calamity and for identified individuals like former rebels start a new business opportunity.





First BAHANDI Virtual Trade Fair earns more than P8M

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
December 2, 2020

MAKATI CITY – Moved by the determination of our assisted micro entrepreneurs and the readily available opportunity for a wider market reach through technology, the Department of Trade and Industry Region 8 launched its first BAHANDI Eastern Visayas Virtual Trade Fair.

BAHANDI Virtual Trade FairThe Trade Fair ran from November 16-20, 2020 which was participated by 104 micro entrepreneurs across the region. These entrepreneurs showcased their products remotely using online platforms such as Zoom and Facebook. The products were also posted online as DTI sees it as one of the best marketing strategies in this season.

The micro small and entrepreneurs generated a total sale of P8,087,302 including cash and booked orders. Food products in the region remain best sellers with 81% chunk from the total sales generated.

Top sellers were Alboco Food Industry with P2.775 M sales for peanut butter and Delza’s Native Products with P450,230.00.

The products are still posted at the BAHANDI Eastern Visayas FB Page and the PLDT Kaasenso Virtual Trade Expo Platform.







DAR-EV employees financial assistance
OIC-Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay (2nd from right) of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Eastern Visayas turns over the P201,000.00 cash to DAR Secretary Brother John Castriciones (extreme right) as financial assistance for colleagues in Regions II and V who were severely affected by Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. Assistant Secretary David Erro (left) and Assistant Regional Director Ma. Fe Malinao (2nd from left) witness the event. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

DAR-EV employees extend financial assistance to victims of Typhoons Rolly, Ulysses

December 1, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – OIC-Regional Director Ismael Ay-ay of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Eastern Visayas turned over on Friday P201,000.00 to Agrarian Reform Secretary, Brother John Castriciones as financial assistance for colleagues in Regions II and V who were severely affected by Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.

Aya-ay disclosed that the said amount was a combined contribution of all employees throughout the region.

Even the contractual and job-order employees did not hesitate to voluntarily share any amount they could afford. No matter how small an amount is, but when summed-up, we were able to raise more than P200,000.00, Aya-ay added.

According to Girlie Costa, a job-order employee assigned at the Land Tenure Service Division, “we can feel how they feel now because we’ve been through the same situation when Typhoon Yolanda struck our region in 2013, and they were there to help us recover from devastation.”

“Now, it’s our time to help them. It’s time that we show them our love even in a small way,” said Costa.

Earlier, DAR Southern Leyte Provincial Office send more than P10,000.00 to the DAR Employees Association in Central Office for the same purpose.

Meanwhile, Castriciones was in the Region 8 last week to distribute Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs).





Young female NPA fighter killed in a clash in Kananga, Leyte

By 802nd Infantry Brigade, 8ID PA
November 28, 2020

CAMP DOWNES, Ormoc City – A young female NPA fighter died in a 15- minute clash between the operating troops of the 93rd Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) at Sitio Mat-i, Barangay Mahawan, Kananga, Leyte about 3:35pm today.

The Kananga Municipal Police Station identified the fatality as a certain Rochelle Mae Bacalso alias Ruth/Justine, about 21 years old, said to be a newly-recruited member of the remnants of Sub-Regional Committee Levox, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee, CPP-NPA-NDF.

The attending physician declared her dead when brought to the Kananga Municipal Hospital, where the troops rushed her in an attempt to save her life. She sustained gunshot wounds in the body that caused her death.

Bacalso was among the undetermined number of CPP-NPA terrorists who attempted to ambush a team of soldiers patrolling in the area. The soldiers were deployed to check reports from local residents on the presence of armed persons who were suspected to be communist terrorists.

Captured from the encounter site were one Austrian-made Glock pistol, one bandoleer for M16 magazines, one magazine for M16 rifle with 29 pieces of caliber 5.56 ammunition, one backpack with personal belongings, one cellular phone, four hammocks, four poncho tents, and documents with high intelligence value.

It can be recalled that in the aftermath of the first armed encounter between 93IB troops and the same marauding CPP-NPA band led by a certain Juanito Selleza alias Tibor, the 802nd Infantry (Peerless) Brigade, 8ID, PA posted in its Facebook Page photos of a certain Ruth alias Justine who was identified as a member of the engaged communist terrorist group.

The 802Bde appealed to the public then for help in locating her family in Samar Island or elsewhere in Eastern Visayas in a bid to rescue her from the CTG that deceived her into joining the armed struggle.

Facial photos taken from the remains of the female NPA casualty whom the police identified as Rochelle Mae Bacalso matched with the photos of Ruth alias Justine, which were downloaded from her Facebook account bearing the pseudo name of “Kenlyn Mark.” Three unmistakable moles under her lower lip confirmed her identity.

Brig. Gen. Zosimo A. Oliveros PA, commander of the 802Bde, reiterates his previous call for “the local CTG members to abandon the armed struggle and return to the mainstream of the society and become productive citizens.”





Army troops seized high-powered firearm, explosives in Northern Samar clash

By 803rd Infantry Brigade, 8ID PA
November 28, 2020

CATARMAN, Northern Samar – The troops of the 43rd Infantry Battalion engaged in an encounter with more or less 25 Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) after a concerned citizen reported the presence of an armed group in the vicinity of Barangay Mabini, Catarman, Northern Samar on November 27, 2020.

Gunfight lasted for about 15 minutes. No casualty on the operating troops while an undetermined number of wounded NPA terrorists were reported based on the bloodstains found in the encounter site.

Seized during the clash were one M16 rifle, one shotgun, a hand grenade, detonator with detonator cord, six M16-magazines, 91 rounds of ammunition, bandolier, laptop, cellphones, 22 backpacks with personal belongings, five CNT flags, medical supplies and subversive documents.

The Commander of the 803rd Infantry Brigade, Colonel Lowell R Tan, lauded the troops of 43IB for their efforts in protecting the community of Barangay Mabini. He also thanked the residents who gave the information.

“Let us continue engaging the community from the Barangay down to Sitios, to build a strong rapport with the communities and help them cooperate with the government and the armed forces. The government troops are also willing to extend our hand for the wounded members of the NPA,” Tan said.





NMP BOT approves offering of Vessel Crane Operator Course

Vessel Crane Operator Course

By National Maritime Polytechnic
November 28, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Driven to address the current training needs of domestic and ocean-going seafarers and maritime allied personnel, the National Maritime Polytechnic developed new training course, namely: Vessel Crane Operator Course which aimed to provide adequate training and familiarization on the usage and operation of a vessel crane equipment to ensure the safety of the crew, dockworkers and cargoes.

Reports revealed that majority of crane accidents are caused by human error, resulting to safety risk, and controllable lost time to the whole operation and even death, however, these accidents may be minimized, controlled, or prevented if the person assigned to operate has the proper training, thus, equipped with the needed knowledge, understanding and skills on the principles and safe practices relative to the its operation.

It can be recalled that last 19 July 2019, on the occasion of the Maritime Industry Tripartite Council Dialogue held in Cebu City, NMP Head of the Curriculum Development Section, Capt. Chito A. Go had an initial discussion with a representative from the Gothong Southern Shipping Lines, Inc. (GSSLI) on the possible development of a company specific course for vessel crane operator to address the latter’s need to increase awareness and to keep its crew and personnel abreast of the safe and effective operation of the equipment.

Relative to said cause, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was forged by both parties on 18 September 2019 in Cebu City. The course development was completed in the 3rd quarter of CY 2020 and pilot-class was eventually conducted on 24 October 2020 with twelve (12) participants. It was also attended in by six (6) validators, three (3) from NMP and three (3) from GSSLI.

After the successful conduct of the pilot-class, the course package was presented to the NMP Polytechnic Council on 06 November 2020 where it was thoroughly deliberated and agreed to have it endorsed to the NMP Board of Trustees and seek their approval.

The NMP Board of Trustees (BOT) during its Third (3rd) Regular Meeting (virtual) on 25 November 2020 approved the Agency’s proposal to offer the said course with a training fee of Two Hundred Eighty-One Pesos (P 281.00) only.

Schedules for the conduct of the training will be finalized and posted at the NMP website: www.nmp.gov.ph or in the Agency’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ nmptrainingcenter) where all updates and relevant information on NMP programs are also available.

Meanwhile, NMP continues to conduct face-to-face trainings with strict implementation of the Maritime Industry Authority’s (MARINA) approved Post-Enhanced Community Quarantine Operational Plan and other health and safety protocols as required by the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and local government unit (LGU).

Likewise, Filipino seafarers who are interested to avail of the NMP’s FREE online classes on SHAPIMS, PADAMS, and GSTS may register through this link: https://nmp.gov.ph/online-course-offerings/.

Interested stakeholders who wish to validate the authenticity of their seafarers-employed with NMP issued certificates may visit www.verify.nmp.gov.ph. Likewise, those interested in NMP research undertakings may visit the NMP website and access the e-Research Information System Portal which is designed to disseminate NMP completed researches, present the Research Agenda, and engage the industry stakeholders to collaborate in the research activities.

Further, NMP encourages OWWA registered seafarers to avail of the NMP-OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) Seafarers’ Upgrading Program (SUP) and Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP) which entitles the beneficiary to receive financial assistance for training costs from the OWWA.





1st NSPMFC, POP celebrate National Children’s Month with 200 schoolers and non-schoolers

November 28, 2020

CAMP CARLOS DELGADO, Catarman, Northern Samar – The First Northern Samar Provincial Mobile Force Company (1st NSPMFC), Philippine National Police (PNP), in a joint activity with the People’s Outreach Program (POP), celebrated the 28th National Children’s Month with 200 school and non-schoolers in Barangay Mirador, Mondragon of same province, on November 25, 2020.

1st NSPMFC National Children’s MonthNovember marks the National Children’s Month as declared by the Council of Welfare for Children (CWC). The month-long event aims to promote awareness on the children’s rights and protection.

COVID-19 has disrupted the activities in an environment where children thrive that basically affect their rights to enjoy and develop themselves; thus, the celebration.

The distress suffered by the families, coupled with restricted movement, aggravated the risks of children to certain abuses like neglect, exploitative labor, social exclusion, physical, sexual and psychological, which existed long before the spread of the dreaded corona virus.

With the theme: “Sama-samang Itaguyod ang Karapatan ng Bawat Bata sa Panahon ng Pandemya”, 1st NSPMFC, collaborated with POP and local officials of said barangay including feeding and distribution of slippers, facemask and school supplies.

Relatively, each child received copy of 1st NSPMFC’s Comic Books as additional reading materials which promote the PNP’s campaign against terrorism. Parlor games concluded a fun-filled and enjoyable Children’s Month Celebration.

Meanwhile, an orientation was simultaneously conducted to the parents and guardians to take care of their children by upholding their rights especially during this global crisis.

The significance of responsible parenting plays a primordial role in influencing the developmental competence and life course trajectories of the children.

“Our children must be treated with utmost protection. Being powerless, they become vulnerable to exploitation, violence and certain abuses. As protector of innocents and weak, we assure to stand for their security and protection and exemplify ourselves as role model to guide them along their journey,” said Police Major Edwin Oloan Jr, 1st NSPMFC Commander.





Upset Hindus urge ex-beautyqueen Imelda apologize & replace album cover mimicking goddess Kali

Press Release
November 26, 2020

Upset Hindus are urging Filipino-German musician and former beauty queen Imelda Bautista Schweighart to apologize and replace cover of her album “Fuccboi” emulating Hindu goddess Kali, calling it highly inappropriate.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used for selling albums with vulgar names. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.

Celebrities should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply disrespectful and trivializing of divine Hindu deities to be ill-used in scenarios like this; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, emphasized.

Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled; Rajan Zed noted.

Zed further said that such trivialization of Hindu deities was disturbing to the Hindus world over. Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers, Zed added.

Goddess Kali, who personifies Sakti or divine energy, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. She is considered the goddess of time and change. Some Bengali poets described her as supreme deity.





Caraycaray-Libtong road
On-going construction/improvement of access roads leading to trades, industries and economic zones - Caraycaray-Cabungaan-Libtong road in support of the agribusiness: food and resource-based processing in Brgy. Libtong, Naval, Biliran.

DPWH-Biliran DEO improves road in support of agribusiness in Libtong, Naval

By DPWH Biliran
November 26, 2020

NAVAL, Biliran – The on-going construction/ improvement of access road in Libtong, Naval town in support of the agribusiness: food and resource-based processing is now more than halfway complete.

The project which starts from Brgy. Caraycaray-Cabungaan-Libtong is now on its third phase of implementation, according to David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer.

According to Adongay, this is a multi-year funded project from FY 2018-2022 under the Convergence program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). This project covers a total length of 5.8-kilometer two-lane road concreting with road slope protection, masonry barriers, drainage structures and rehabilitation of damaged pavement with an allocation amount of P187.9M.

To date, DPWH Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) has completed a total length of 1.6-kilometer two lane road under 2018 and 2019 implementation.

Currently, DPWH Biliran DEO is implementing the 1.86-kilometer two-lane road concreting with drainage & slope protection in Brgy. Libtong under 2020 implementation. This project has a contract amount of P46.7M and is now 71.64% complete as of October 31, 2020.

The completion of the project by phases will provide a safer and faster transport of farmers’ agricultural products for food and resource-based processing such as palay, abaca, copra, cassava, camote, curioso and ginger in Brgy. Libtong to the market center in the progressive town of Naval and to the nearby urban areas.





High-powered firearm, explosives seized in Paranas, Samar clash

By 801st Infantry Brigade, 8ID PA
November 26, 2020

FATIMA, Hinabangan, Samar – Operating troops of the 87th Infantry Battalion engaged in an encounter with Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) following a tip from a resident of the presence of terrorists in Barangay Sto. Niño, Paranas, Samar, 9:40 a.m. on November 25, 2020.

During the conduct of focus military operations, the army troopers clashed against five CNTs in a 10-minute firefight.

No casualty on the government side while an undetermined casualty was reported on the terrorist side following the bloodstains found in the area and route of withdrawal.

Seized during the operation were one AK47, bandoleer, three long magazines, 27 ammunition, two improvised grenades, cellphones, and subversive documents.

“The army will continue its offensive against the NPA. We will assure the people of Samar that the Army will continue relentlessly and will use all its resources against the threat group. The government troops will not stop until we see an end to the local communist armed conflict”, said Brigadier General Camilo Z Ligayo, Commander of 801st Brigade.

Ligayo also encouraged the people to work closely with the authorities by reporting any information regarding the NPA movements and activities in their communities.





Paying it forward: NMP mobilizes donation drive for MPCF

NMP mobilizes donation drive for MPCF

By National Maritime Polytechnic
November 25, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Humbled by the Super-typhoon Yolanda experience in November 2013, the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) rolled out a donation drive for the victims of Super-typhoon Rolly in Bicol region, particularly to the employees, staff, and students of the Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation (MPCF) - Legaspi and Naga Campuses. A special committee for the said undertaking was created, chaired by the NMP Deputy Executive Director, Ms. Mayla N. Macadawan.

“It is our time now to give back to the MPCF who wholeheartedly helped NMP recover and rebuild after the onslaught of Super-typhoon Yolanda. In the spirit of unity, we need to help them, no matter how small, to reciprocate the kindness they extended to NMP during the difficult and challenging days of Yolanda, besides, no act of kindness is too small”, said NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod.

It can be recalled that on 26 November 2013, roughly eighteen (18) days after Yolanda, Commodore Dante L Jimenez, the then President and CEO of the MPCF, visited NMP and upon seeing the damages wrought by the typhoon, volunteered in mobilizing assistance from the private maritime sector including the Philippine Association of Maritime Training Center, Inc. (PAMTCI) and other maritime associations.

The MPCF deployed four (4) batches of its National Service Training Program (NSTP) cadets to NMP from December 2013 to March 2014 for the much-needed clearing and cleaning operations. Relief goods consisting of food packs and used clothing were also distributed to NMP employees, job order workers, and security guards.

NMP knows how it feels after being devastated by a super-typhoon, life was grey and dreary. However, everything had to be recovered including the broken spirits of the people affected, thus, the donation drive was pushed to convey the NMP’s heartfelt appreciation to the overwhelming support of the MPCF who laboriously helped the Agency to rise above the shackles of uncertainties brought by Yolanda.

Through the concerted efforts of the NMP management and staff, the Agency’s sole and exclusive negotiating agent, the NMP Services Association (NMPSA), and the Philippine Coast Guard - Coast Guard District Eastern Visayas (CGDEV), the relief assistance was successfully turned -over to the MPCF on 21 November 2020.

“We are very much glad and thankful for the assistance of NMP and for its effort of personally coming to our place to hand-over the heartwarming donations for the victims of Typhoon Rolly”, relayed by Ms. Ahmie Lanuzo, Community Extension Service Director of MPCF. 

NMP will forever be grateful to everyone who in one way or another helped the Agency to rise again after the devastation of Yolanda, repositioning NMP for a higher rebound in maritime training and research.





Eastern Visayas’ economy slows down to 5.3% in 2019

By PSA-8
November 24, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – The economy of Eastern Visayas grew by 5.3 percent in 2019, albeit, slower than the 7.0 percent growth recorded in 2018. The economic growth in 2019 was driven by the Financial and Insurance Activities (FIA), Education, Manufacturing, Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles, and Electricity, Steam, Water Supply and Waste Management (ESWW).

Eastern Visayas GRDP 2019Services sustained its 9.1 percent growth in 2019. Among its sub-industries, Financial and Insurance Activities (FIA), as well as Information and Communication (IAC) posted accelerated growths at 19.3 percent from 12.1 percent, and 11.0 percent from 7.2 percent, respectively. Public Administration and Defense; Compulsory Social Security (PAD) sustained its 14.1 percent growth in 2019.

Other sub-industries grew at a slower pace: Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and motorcycles slowed down to 6.0 percent from 7.6 percent; Transportation and Storage decelerated to 5.3 percent from 12.7 percent; Accommodation and Food Service Activities (AFSA) decelerated to 1.8 percent from 19.9 percent; Real Estate and Ownership of Dwellings (REOD) slowed down to 3.0 percent from 6.1 percent.

Professional and Business Services (PBS) decelerated to 4.0 percent from 4.9 percent; Education decelerated to 13.5 percent from 14.2 percent. Meanwhile, Other Services (OS) rebounded from 4.0 percent contraction in 2018 to 16.2 percent growth in 2019. Human Health and Social Work Activities (HHSWA) continued to decline at a slower rate to 0.7 percent in 2019 from 7.3 percent contraction in 2018.

Industry decelerated to 2.2 percent in 2019 from 7.7 percent in 2018. Electricity, Steam, Water Supply and Waste Management slowed down to 7.1 percent from 7.4 percent. Manufacturing recovered from 6.6 percent contraction in 2018 to 6.0 percent growth in 2019. Meanwhile, Mining and Quarrying (MAQ), and Construction contracted to 6.0 percent and 1.8 percent in 2019, respectively.

Meanwhile, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (AFF) recovered from 0.8 percent contraction in 2018 to 2.1 percent growth in 2019.

Services and Industry shared the bulk of the region’s economy at 46.8 percent and 39.7 percent, respectively. AFF had a share of 13.5 percent.

Among the three (3) major industries, Services contributed most to the region’s overall growth rate at 4.1 percentage points. Industry shared 0.9 percentage point, followed by Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing at 0.3 percentage point.





Puentespina Farms opens doors to DavOr’s cacao farmers, coops

DavOr’s cacao farmers

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
November 24, 2020

DAVAO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Rural Agro-enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) Project, in partnership with the Puentespina Farms, conducted a five-day intensive training on cacao processing, bean trading, and cacao economics among the seven cacao farmer organizations from Davao Oriental on November 16 to20.

The Puentespina Farms, through its Malagos Cacao Development Center (MCDC), which is the birth place of the award-winning Malagos Chocolate, shared its processing technology, standards and protocols that brought them to the world stage. The participants, composed of twelve farmers, underwent several activities to hone their skills further. These included those on understanding the Philippine cacao genetics and opportunities, productivity enhancement, fermentation and drying process, bean grading and cacao economics, such as product costing. Furthermore, the cacao farmers and coop leaders had an actual field demonstration on all the topics to ensure that they acquired the necessary knowledge and skills related to technology and the science behind cacao production and processing.

In the meantime, the participants also received an orientation on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and process requirements from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regulatory Division, as part of the project’s package of assistance. Likewise, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) gave an orientation of its services, as well as, encouraged these farmers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to avail of the government’s subsidized insurance intervention.

The seven farmer organizations that participated in the latest activities were the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa San Isidro (NAGMASID ARCO), Davao Oriental Coco & Cacao Development Coalition (DOCCIDeC), Limot Tribal Mandaya Coop (LIMTRIMCO), Gov. Generoso Cacao Farmers (GGCFA), Panikian Cacao Sustainable Farmers (PACSFA), NAKMACCO and Yagakauyon ng Kooperatiba ng San Ignacio (YAKOSI). They would cascade these learnings to their respective members. These groups are beneficiaries of DA’s Philippine Rural Development Program’s (PRDP) cacao post-harvest facilities. As such, the DTI-RAPID Growth Project complements the other government agencies’ interventions and harmonizes the support to ensure that the proposed business model will be carried out and sustained.

The MCDC shared the same vision with the DTI - RAPID Growth Project, which is to build and sustain a solid supply of raw materials. Thus, it commits to help in the production of high quality cacao beans, while strengthening the foundation of cacao farming. Along this line, the company will enter into a marketing agreement with the farmer organizations. Part of the said partnership are the continuous technical interventions of MCDC, particularly the Puentespina Farms. Being the anchor firm, it would help establish the business enterprise systems and protocols of the backward links. This partnership with MCDC is expected to benefit around 300 to 350 cacao farmers, by having an institutional market for high quality beans.

Puentespina Farms owner Charita Puentespina encouraged the farmer leaders to share the knowledge they acquired to their members and to really nurture their most vital capital - the cacao variety in the Philippines.

“If there’s proper technology transfer, the farmers could get a premium price for their produce, since they are targeting to provide and offer fine cacao both to the local and international markets,” Puentespina said.

To achieve the collaboration’s objective, all parties agreed to continuously work together to finalize their commercial partnership agreement. This would include the operation systems and protocols and the roles and responsibilities of each of them to strengthen and sustain the partnership.

The DTI- RAPID Growth Project is a special initiative, which DTI implements, and with a funding support from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). It focuses on four industries - cacao, coffee, coconut and processed fruits and nuts.





Caibiran road slope protection
Completed construction of road slope protection in Brgy. Tomalistis, Caibiran, Biliran.

DPWH-Biliran DEO completes P35.7M road slope protection in Caibiran, Biliran

Press Release
November 23, 2020

NAVAL, Biliran – Motorists are now enjoying a wider and safer travel along Tomalistis Road in the town of Caibiran as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)- Biliran District Engineering Office completes the P35.7M road slope protection project.

According to David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer, the construction of road slope protection was implemented in three road sections at Tomalistis road along Biliran Circumferential Road (BCR) where road slips and landslides are most likely to occur.

The said project entails the construction of 2,002.87 square meters of road slope protection (gravity wall) (left side) including re-blocking and paving of shoulder.

The District Engineer said that the completion of the said project will prevent further road slips and landslides along this road section at BCR, thereby protecting the existing national road from future damage.

“Road closures because of road slips and landslides causes inconvenience to the travelling public, the completion of this road slope protection will ensure that motorists can always have an alternative route along BCR when other road sections will be closed to traffic,” Adongay said.

Moreover, the road slope protection project will preserve the existing concrete road subjected to wear and tear of heavy equipment and vehicles. This will earn the government savings in rehabilitating damaged pavement in the future caused by slips and soil collapse.





MARINA on-site inspection
MARINA Representative, Engr. Jose Romualdo Denzon, conducting on-site inspection for AFF and RAFF training courses on October 21, 2020.

NMP courses pass MARINA accreditation

By National Maritime Polytechnic
November 20, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Maritime Polytechnic’s (NMP) application for reaccreditation of its two (2) Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) courses, namely: Advanced Fire Fighting (AFF) and Refresher Course on Advanced Fire Fighting (RAFF) have been approved by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

In the official letter issued by MARINA dated 30 October 2020, which was received by NMP on 05 November 2020, the aforementioned STCW courses were granted full course approval valid for three (3) years effective upon payment of course approval fees. However, the 3-year validity period of RAFF will commence from the grant of its Provisional Authority to conduct the said training on 01 July 2019.

Alongside with the approval of the said courses, MARINA also accredited the NMP’s instructors, assessors and supervisors who will be handling the above-mentioned courses.

During the 3-year period, announced and unannounced visits will be made by MARINA STCW Office or its duly authorized representatives to ascertain NMP’s compliance with the MARINA’s rules and regulations.

Moreover, the records of implementation of corrective actions for audit results both internal and external, records of review and validation of the courses including the assessment and statistical record of trainees enrolled / certificated must be made available during the conduct of monitoring.

NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod expressed his appreciation to MARINA for granting the full course approval of the Agency’s ten (10) STCW courses within the year.

“We are thankful for the support and guidance that the MARINA has continuously extended to NMP throughout our journey in putting our STCW courses in place which paved way to the accreditation of our ten (10) STCW courses which took us over two (2) years of working out”, said ED Maglunsod.

It can be recalled that NMP applied for reaccreditation of its ten (10) STCW courses in January 2018. The full course approval of each course was issued in a staggered basis pending the compliance with the requirements set forth under MARINA STCW Advisory No. 2019-05 re: Clarifications and Supplemental Guidelines on the Implementation of STCW Circular No. 2018-02 entitled “Standards for Mandatory Training Courses Under the STCW Convention, 1978, as Amended” and the results of the site inspections conducted last 24-28 February and 21 October this year.

The aforementioned courses are now open for enrollment. Interested enrollees may call the NMP Registrar’s Office at the following contact numbers: 0965-182-3521 / 0939-006-3780 or the Information Marketing Section (IMS) through cellphone no. 0936-786-2196 or email us at info@nmp.gov.ph. They may also visit the NMP website @ www.nmp.gov.ph or the agency’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ nmptrainingcenter) where all updates and relevant information on NMP programs are available.

Meanwhile, NMP continues to conduct face-to-face trainings with strict implementation of the Maritime Industry Authority’s (MARINA) approved Post-Enhanced Community Quarantine Operational Plan and other health and safety protocols as required by the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and local government unit (LGU).

Likewise, Filipino seafarers who are interested to avail of the NMP’s FREE online classes on SHAPIMS, PADAMS, and GSTS may register through this link: https://nmp.gov.ph/online-course-offerings/.

Interested stakeholders who wish to validate the authenticity of their seafarers-employed with NMP issued certificates may visit www.verify.nmp.gov.ph. Likewise, those interested in NMP research undertakings may visit the NMP website and access the e-Research Information System Portal which is designed to disseminate NMP completed researches, present the Research Agenda, and engage the industry stakeholders to collaborate in the research activities.

Further, NMP encourages OWWA registered seafarers to avail of the NMP-OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) Seafarers’ Upgrading Program (SUP) and Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP) which entitles the beneficiary to receive financial assistance for training costs from the OWWA.





Road leading to Mapaso Hot Spring undertaken

Road leading to Mapaso Hot Spring

November 19, 2020

CALBAYOG CITY – An access road leading to Mapaso Hot Spring is currently undertaken by the Department of Public Works Highways- Samar First District Engineering Office.

This road taps from an existing road that leads to Maharlika Highway and will lead to one of the leading tourist destinations in Calbayog City, the Mapaso Hot Spring. This is drawn from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) 2020 with a total allocation of P30 million.

Calbayog City is well-endowed with natural resources and potential tourist magnets. Mapaso Hot Spring is one of the main tourist attractions of Calbayog City, well-known for its soothing and refreshing pools of hot water. Bordered by mountain glades and rich vegetation, the place is as remote as it gets.

There are two ways that this destination can be reached. One way is through Oquendo Poblacion where you would have to take a boat to cross a river (Oquendo River) going to the hot spring which will take 30 minutes.

Another way is to go through Barangay Amampacang then to Dinagan, Mabini and finally in Barangay Rizal II which is roughly 6.6 kilometers with a vehicle.

Calbayog City is a fast-growing commercial hub. With its boom comes the need for bigger and better thoroughfares to accommodate the increasing traffic volume and influx of tourists that may visit the tourist destination.





Samar agrarian reform beneficiaries organization wins DOST award

November 19, 2020

JIABONG, Samar – The operationalization of a common service facility by a pop rice producer-agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO) based in this fifth class municipality was recognized on Friday by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as this year’s best Grant-in-Aid (GIA) science and technology project implemented in Eastern Visayas.

CARFA Pop RiceCantongtong Agrarian Rice Farmers Association (CARFA) bested five other contenders coming from the five other provinces in the region and received P5,000 cash prize.

This was announced during the virtual culmination activity of the weeklong celebration of DOST-8’s National Science and Technology Week held on November 9-13, with this year’s theme, “Agham at Teknolohiya: Sandigan ng Kabuhayan, Kaayusan at Kinabukasan".

OIC-Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) sent his congratulatory message to CARFA for the honors they are reaping now. Aya-ay is happy to know that CARFA is taking advantage of the all the assistance and opportunities extended to them.

He likewise commended those responsible at the DAR Samar Provincial Office and at the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office of Jiabong for a job well done.

According to Engr. Ramil Uy, DOST-8 Information Officer, CARFA stood out for its best practices and community participation as well as its socio-economic impact.

Uy disclosed that the judges were moved by the transformation of CARFA which started producing pop rice the traditional way until they were able to acquire modern equipment through the combined assistance of DOST, DAR and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

CARFA is composed of 46 rice farmers. According to Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Thelma Alfaro, 41 of the members are agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs). Thus, DAR organized them into an association in 2012, Alfaro added.

For additional income, CARFA produced pop rice made from left over rice that are sun-dried and fried to puff the grains.

DAR Samar Provincial Office’s Enterprise Development and Economic Support point person, Monica Bato (now MARPO), disclosed that in 2016 CARFA became a recipient of a processing facility under DAR’s Village Level Farm-Focused Enterprise Development (VLFED) project.

Later, it received more assistance under the DAR, DTI-CARP, DOST Regional Synchronization, as well as from the provincial government under then Governor Sharee Ann Tan.

From the various assistance, CARFA was able to procure modern equipment, exposed to skills trainings, and was able to comply with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements.

Bato further disclosed that with the P250,000 Grant-in-Aid from the DOST, CARFA was able to acquire nitrogen gas flushing packaging machine and stainless pre-cutter molders. They were also able to undergo training on Good Manufacturing Practices, which led to FDA’s approval in granting the association in 2018 the License to Operate (LTO), making them eligible to penetrate a wider market for their product, Bato explained.

From plain pop rice they used to produce, CARFA has now nine available flavors to choose from: peanut, pili, cookies and cream, vanilla, sesame seeds, marshmallow, choco-coated, pandan and butter.

In 2019, CARFA’s sales on pop rice had increased by 50 percent with 4,470 packs sold. It has also generated employment at least to its members.





DPWH - LGU Naval tackle solutions to sustain major bridge detours in Naval

DPWH - LGU Naval meeting

By DPWH Biliran
November 18, 2020

NAVAL, Biliran – To address the recurring problem on the Caraycaray and Catmon Bridge Detours in Naval town, the Naval Local Legislative Members and the Department of Public Works and Highways- Biliran District Engineering Office (DPWH-BDEO) joined hand in hand to find solution for the problem.

During the 59th Regular Sangguniang Bayan (SB) Session of the Local Legislative Members on November 16, 2020 at SB Session Hall, David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer (DE) and Alfredo L. Bollido, Assistant District Engineer (ADE) clarify and explain some issues regarding the controversial bridges and detours in Naval, Biliran.

Recently, the Catmon and Caraycaray Bridge Detours became unpassable to the travelling public due to the continuous heavy rains brought by subsequent typhoons: Rolly (October 25, 2020) and Ulysses (November 10, 2020) that caused the water to overflow which resulted to erosion of the bridge detours.

To prevent or minimize the situation of the said detours, Hon. Eduardo B. Gaviola, SB Member suggested to DPWH thru DE Adongay to improve the roadway of the Catmon Bridge detour by concreting it, similar to the detour of Caraycaray Bridge. Gaviola also suggested to conduct a rechanneling on the Catmon and Caraycaray rivers.

Citing the construction/ widening of the Anas Bridge project, Gaviola said that the bridge was no longer inundated as it used to, after the said project was completed. In his assumption, because the aggregates used during the construction of the said project was taken from Anas River, it makes the river deeper and wider, thus less likely for water to overflow.

The suggestion was supported by Hon. Ben T. Olid, SB Member. He added that if rechanneling would be done, quarried materials should be taken away or be placed at the back of the flood control where it cannot return to the river.

DE Adongay explained that the district office has already submitted a request for funding, not for rechanneling but for dredging of all rivers in Biliran right after typhoon Urduja in 2017.

However, Adongay said that there was no action taken regarding this request. The District Engineer suggested to the Local Legislative to conduct a topographic survey in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to determine the portion of the river channel where dredging/ rechanneling has to be undertaken. He suggested the SB Members to pass a resolution through the Congressman of the Lone District of Biliran requesting the DPWH for funding of the project.

On the status of the construction/ replacement of Caraycaray Bridge currently being implemented by the DPWH Regional Office VIII, the District Engineer reported that the delay has remained caused by the unavailability of required pile integrity and dynamic strain tests, since accredited companies (geotechnical firms) from Manila and Cebu are still affected with travel restrictions due to the prevailing pandemic.

According to Adongay, the said construction tests are part of the construction process and a requirement. He explained that the absence of the said tests will affect the bridge construction process which will result in variation order and additional expenses. The said tests are also needed for the Construction/ Replacement of the Catmon Bridge.

Hon. Marietta C. Ebio, SB Member clarified that workers who are doing projects in the Province are no longer required to undergo quarantine as long as they will coordinate with the LGU. According to Hon. Ebio, workers can immediately report to their work assignments as long as they will just be in one place for the whole stay.

During the session, some issues were also brought up concerning DPWH infrastructure projects.

The meeting concluded with DE Adongay assuring that the suggestions/ recommendations taken during the meeting be brought to the attention of the DPWH Regional Office for action.





A closer look of Farm-to-market road in Barangays Imelda to Avelino

Barangays Imelda to Avelino Farm-to-market road">

November 17, 2020

CALBAYOG CITY – Farm-to-market roads (FMRs) constructed from the fund allotted by the Department of Agriculture paved the way for the concreting of FMR in Barangays Imelda through Bana-o to Avelino located in the Municipality of Sta. Margarita, Samar with a total allocation of P50 million.

A concreted road which spans 900 meters is constructed on most part of Barangay Imelda. The rest is an opening with a length of 1.780 kilometers. With a width of 5.3 meters, a riprap was also infused in the project to avoid collapse of structure and protect soil from erosion since the structure is located in the mountains.

Copra, rice, banana, corn and other root crops such as taro, cassava and sweet potato are products that are usually being delivered to the local markets in Calbayog City from the said barangays.

Residents and farmers alike, who are living in Barangays Imelda, Bana-o and Avelino would have to walk for 3-4 hours on foot on a footpath to reach Barangay Napuro and from there, they will need to ride a motor vehicle to reach the city proper for another 30 minutes. Income is strenuous for farmers since they need to bribe someone depending on the product that they are selling aside from the fare that they pay for the motor vehicle from Barangay Napuro to the city proper.

A resident and farmer of Barangay Bana-ao, DayDay Tolibat have these to say. “Amon la ginkakarga amon produkto pareho san saging o kopra sa amon kalugaringon na lawas tapos mano-mano la ngadto sa dalan tapos pag abot namon sa Napuro, gnsasakay na namon ngadto sa Calbayog. Tikang sa Bana-o maglalakat kami sa Napuro tapos sa Napuro karga na namon tikadto sa Calbayog na. Naglalakat kami danay upat ka oras, naabot lima, danay tulo liwat depende la san imo kalakat ngadto. Wara pa dida an tikang sa Napuro tikadto sa Calbayog. (We carry our own products in our backs like bananas or copra and trudge the footpath to Barangay Napuro, then we load it on a motor vehicle that passes the said barangay to the city proper. We walk for four hours, sometimes five or three depending on our pace, excluding the time-travel from Barangay Napuro to the city proper.)

A resident and Barangay Captain of Barangay Imelda attested saying, “mahirap talaga noon na hindi pa kalsada ang aming barangay dahil sa mga produkto na lang na aming dinadala papunta sa car line dahil upland itong aming lugar, mahirap talaga. Kung mayroon kaming produktong copra na dinadala namin sa Napuro, galing dito, ang pagdala, binubuhat lang ng tao at yan ay kada sako binigbyan ng suhol ng seven pesos kada kilo o five pesos depende sa presyo ng kopra. Kaya sobrang hirap na wala pang kalsada noon”. (When the road is non-existent, it is so hard for us to deliver our goods to where motor vehicles are available because we come from an upland. If we have products to send to the market, we need to go walk on foot and load it on a make-shift basket carried at the back to Barangay Napuro and bribe them with seven or five pesos per kilo depending on the price of copra. That is why it is hard when there is no road.)

With the completion of this farm-to-market road, farmers’ income is much better since travel of their goods are directly delivered to the public markets. Travel time was reduced from 15-10 minutes to Barangay Napuro where they can get ahold of vehicles to Calbayog City. Farmers won’t have to bribe just to get their products to the local markets since public transportations can now reach their barangays because of the completed roads.

Furthermore, health issues such as problems in carrying their sick or those who are pregnant, can now be transported to the nearest hospitals immediately unlike before that that they have to carry them and travel on foot for hours.

“Pag-abot naman san mga may sakit amon la iton ginkakarga ngadto kay wara man natukad ngadi sa amon nga ma check-up. Tapos kun may mga burod, nanganganak, amon iton gnbababa liwat, lakat na liwat. Pag abot sa Napuro mao na masakay ngadto sa Calbayog, Pero yana madali na kay didi na la masakay deretso na an byahe kay may ada na man sarakyan”, said Mr Tolibat. (when it comes to those who are sick and pregnant, we carry them in our backs since no one can come here for check-ups. But now, it is easier since any vehicle can now reach our place.)

In the communities where the primary source of livelihood is farming, the concrete road is a welcome respite from the inconvenience of travelling to the Poblacion and back, and able to get their produce to the market cheaper and faster.

Farmers have better opportunities ahead of them now. Basic infrastructure paves the way for a future that holds an abundance of promise, heightened productivity and accessibility.





Lilibeth Arce
Lilibeth Arce opened her egg-layer machine for 1,000 chickens amid a pandemic but her hopes were high all for the advocacy of food sustainability in Surigao City.

An egg-citing story of an ex-OFW: If chicken do it, so can you

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
November 16, 2020

SURIGAO CITY – Meet Lilibeth Arce, an all-around entrepreneur who used to be an Overseas Filipina Worker (OFW) but is now embarking into entrepreneurship with many ventures.

From being the chairperson of Trinidad Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (TARBECO), a food processing cooperative located at Brgy. Trinidad, to managing her own carenderia and the local bagsakan outlet for farmer's yields Casa de Verdura, she is also the president of Marajaw Karajaw Local Producers and Exhibitors Association, the cooperator of OTOP Hub Surigao City, a pasalubong center located at the Luneta Park, this city.

Just recently, she added another feather to her cap when she put up the Memorada Farm, a 1.7 hectare of agri-tourism haven. It is a vegetation site for ginger, eggplant, okra (lady finger), string beans, chili and bell peppers, among others amid flowering and beautiful shrubs lined by several mango trees. It also has pigpens and chicken coup for fighting and free-range native chickens.

But what draws us into her world even more and prompted a visit from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Surigao del Norte OIC Provincial Director Elmer M. Natad was her recently opened egg-layer machine for 1,000 chickens. Nestled almost at the edge of her land bordered by the Surigao River was a structure built to supply the egg requirement not only within Trinidad but also Surigao City and nearby municipalities such as Placer.

Although it opened last March 2020 when COVID-19 pandemic had just started to be felt in the country, she was not daunted by its effect but instead gave her an additional drive to do right by it. She became hands on in the operations (procuring feeds and tending to the chickens) and meticulously keeps track on how the egg business works. She first started by selling eggs around the neighborhood and tap agencies such as DTI to help her market her eggs. Not long after, she started harvesting an average of 900 eggs daily. Pretty soon, egg dealers started stopping by at her farm to buy all her eggs.

Conversing with her about her return on investment, capacity to repay capital loan, business contingency plan and the next bout of increased harvest by putting up another egg-laying machine, it was very clear there is no stopping her just yet.

"I want to share what I have learned because I want to help not only in providing jobs for people of Trinidad but also because I am an advocate of food security for Surigao," Arce said encouraging other existing or would-be entrepreneurs by sharing her story and the thriving agri-business of Memorada Farm.





Four multi-purpose buildings constructed for different barangays

Brgy. Arapison multi-purpose building

November 15, 2020

CALBAYOG CITY – Four (4) multi-purpose buildings (MPBs) were built in Calbayog City, Sta. Margarita and Gandara with a total allocation of P33 million, said Samar First District Engineering Office.

One of these MPBs was from Barangay Dumaloong in Gandara which will serve as a day-care center that will be used by children in the barangay and allotted with P3 million. Two (2) other MPBs were also built in Calbayog City. One was built in Barangay Danao 1 that was made as a covered court while the MPB in Barangay Guin-on was designed as a basketball court. They were both allotted P5 million each.

The three (3) MPBs were drawn from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2020.

Another completed MPB in Barangay Arapison is allotted with P20 million from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2019. This comes with three (3) comfort rooms including those for persons with disability (PWDs).

DPWH is doing its part in developing the communities as a whole, by providing MPBs that can serve as venues for livelihood seminars, medical and dental missions, feeding programs, recreational events, sports competitions, and other activities. The buildings are also designed to provide temporary shelter for local residents in the event of flooding during typhoons and other calamities.





Two road projects completed by Samar 1

Tarangnan road

November 14, 2020

CALBAYOG CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways Samar First District Engineering Office has completed the construction and rehabilitation of two barangay roads in the first district of Samar.

One of the completed projects is the rehabilitation of población roads in Pagsanghan, Samar. The P19.4-million project is a five-meter wide concrete road covering a span of 1.112 kilometers.

To further support the improvement of the said roads, the project covers 327 meters of open line canal for drainage. This is an essential structure to avoid flooding in the town proper where most of the residential areas in the barangay are located. Slope protection structure of 96 meters in length, are also installed to prevent erosion since some parts of the población roads are located alongside of Gandara River which passes through the west part of the barangay.

On the other hand, a concrete road in Brgy. Cabungaan, Tarangnan, Samar is constructed with 0.758 lane-kilometers length (2.5 meters wide) of concrete roads, amounting to P4.5-million.

This project supplements the existing provincial roads connecting Brgy. Cabungaan to the town proper of the Municipality of Tarangnan, Samar, providing for a more convenient transport of goods and people in the barangay.

Both projects, which are funded through the district’s Local Infrastructure Program aims to help improve the quality of transportation by providing a safe, efficient, and reliable infrastructure thus contributing to the economic growth of the community.





DAR subdivides lot in Samar
The survey team of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Samar Provincial Office conducts subdivision survey on an 8.4-hectare landholding covered by a collective Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) in Motiong, Samar. (Photo by Reynaldo Labine)

DAR subdivides lot in Samar town despite rise of COVID-19 cases

November 13, 2020

MOTIONG, Samar – Despite the continuous rise of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the province of Samar, the survey teams of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) remain unstoppable in performing their tasks.

Last week, Engr. Enan Chua and Ferwell Aquino of the DAR Samar Provincial Office survey team proceeded to this town to subdivide an 8.4-hectare landholding covered by a collective Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) for the eventual issuance of individual titles.

According to OIC-Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Constancio Mabag, the said collective CLOA was issued in 1996 to four agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) under the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Mabag disclosed that the area is situated in the upland barangay of Candumacol, some nine kilometers away from the town proper.

Meanwhile, the province of Samar, as of press time, posts the highest number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Eastern Visayas with 2,383.

However, based on the Department of Health (DOH) data, 2,240 of them have already recovered, leaving a total of 143 active cases and 21 deaths. (with reports from Reynaldo Labine)





Eastern Visayas inflation rate declines to 1.8% in September

By PSA-8
November 6, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Inflation Rate (IR) in Eastern Visayas declined to 1.8 percent in September 2020. This figure is 0.5 percentage point lower than the 2.3 percent IR recorded in August 2020. The September 2020 IR of the region, however, is higher by 1.9 percentage points compared with the 0.1 percent deflation in the same period last year.

Eastern Visayas inflation rate September 2020The regional IR is 0.5 percentage point lower than the 2.3 percent national average in September 2020.

Among provinces, Samar posted the highest IR in September 2020 at 5.3 percent. This figure is 1.0 percentage point higher compared with its 4.3 percent IR in August 2020. Southern Leyte and Eastern Samar also recorded increases by 0.1 percentage point, resulting to an IR of 3.1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

Leyte retained its previous month’s IR of 1.3 percent.

Alcoholic beverages and tobacco commodity group continued to post the highest IR at 7.6 percent in September 2020, followed by restaurant, miscellaneous goods and services at 4.7 percent.

Of the 11 commodity groups in the region, four (4) commodity groups exhibited lower IRs in September 2020 compared with their figures in 2020. The commodity group for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels declined by 2.2 percentage points from 1.5 percent IR in August 2020 to 0.7 percent deflation in September 2020. This can be traced to the continued decline in the index for electricity, gas and other fuels from 0.7 deflation in August 2020 to 6.8 percent deflation in September 2020.

The IR for furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance declined by 0.5 percentage point from 3.2 percent in August 2020 to 2.7 percent in September 2020.

Compared with their figures in August 2020, the IRs for both clothing and footwear commodity group and health commodity group decreased by 0.2 percentage point settling down to 3.1 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively, in September 2020.

On the other hand, four (4) other commodity groups exhibited higher IRs in September 2020 compared with their rates in August 2020. Transport commodity group posted the highest increase of 2.2. percentage points, from 0.5 percent in August 2020 to 2.7 percent in September 2020. This can be attributed to the 4.7 percentage points increase in the index for transport services, from 1.4 percent in August 2020 to 6.1 percent in September 2020.

The IR for education commodity group went up to 0.4 percent in September 2020 from zero IR in the previous month. This increase is due to the 1.4 percent increase in the index for pre-primary and primary education.

The IR for restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services commodity group rose to 4.7 percent in September 2020, higher by 0.3 percentage point compared with the 4.4 percent IR a month ago. This can be attributed to the 0.3 percentage point increase for both indices of catering services and personal care.

The index for recreation and culture commodity group inched up by 0.1 percentage point, from 2.0 percent deflation in August 2020 to 1.9 percent deflation in September 2020.

Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, and food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity groups retained their previous month’s IRs at 7.6 percent and 2.2 percent respectively. Meanwhile, communication commodity group retained its previous month’s deflation at 1.7 percent.

The Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region remained at P0.79 in September 2020. This PPP implies that the goods and services worth P79.00 in 2012 is worth P100.00 in September 2020.

PPP in Northern Samar strengthened by P0.01 compared with its figure in August 2020. Biliran weakened by P0.01, while the rest of the provinces retained their previous month’s PPP.

Biliran recorded the strongest PPP at P0.82. Leyte ranked second at P0.81, followed by Southern Leyte at P0.80, Eastern Samar at P0.77 and Northern Samar at P0.74. Samar posted the weakest PPP at P0.73.





Pre-school show “Tish Tash” all set for worldwide distribution

Pre-school show Tish Tash

By DTI-Foreign Trade Service Corps
November 3, 2020

MAKATI CITY – Animated pre-school show “Tish Tash” will soon be enjoyed by kids around the world after leading kids entertainment specialist CAKE has inked a distribution deal with its producers – Korea’s Studio Gale, Singapore’s August Media Holdings, U.K.’s Karrot Entertainment, and Philippines’ Synergy Entertainment Media.

“Tish Tash has huge potential – a fresh take on what it’s like to have an imaginary friend, something most children have experienced and can relate to,” said CAKE CCO & Managing Director Ed Galton.

“We are very excited to be working with strong partners from around the world, whose collaboration has resulted in a truly global approach,” he added.

Synergy88 COO and Managing Director Jackeline Chua also expressed her excitement over this landmark deal.

“We’re excited to see another show come to life and now distributed globally. It was a great collaboration with Studio Gale and August Media. Tish Tash is just one of the many shows that Synergy88 has co-produced with the best global entertainment companies,” she said.

Chua also recounted how Synergy88’s participation in the government sponsored outbound business missions in Cannes from 2016-2018 had opened opportunities for global partnerships.

“The company’s portfolio of properties now spans across television, mobile and web platforms targeting pre-school kids all the way to millennials. We’re truly glad that DTI-Export Marketing Bureau & FTSC (DTI Foreign Trade Service Corps) have been very active and supportive in promoting PH’s global presence in the creative industry.”

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez welcomed this development, saying, "We have been pushing for the promotion of the economic potential of our creative industries globally and we are happy to see developments like this. The creative industry is a high value-adding sector, and the country has a natural competitive edge in this area, considering its rich pool of talents."

DT-FTSC Executive Director Anthony Rivera also added, "We will continue to collaborate with the creative industry stakeholders and government partners to help promote and develop opportunities in the creative sector such as in advertising, animation, film, game development and design among others. We hope to feature more of our creative capabilities and gain more access in international markets for Philippine made content."

Aside from “Tish Tash,” Synergy88 also paved the way for the country’s first Filipino animated series “Barangay 143,” which aired on free-to-air television channel GMA 7 in 2018. It made headlines once again last Oct 1 as it premiered on streaming giant Netflix and made it to the top ten most watched titles for the week.





The aerial view of the on-going construction of access road leading to Talustusan Falls in Naval, Biliran. The project involves the concreting of existing gravel road and a rehabilitation of existing damaged paved road with a length of 1.215-kilometer two lane road.

Tourism road leading to Talustusan falls in Biliran now halfway complete

By DPWH Biliran
October 29, 2020

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways- Biliran District Engineering Office’s (DPWH-BDEO’s) access road project leading to Talustusan Falls in Naval town is now halfway complete.

David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer said that the project is being fast-tracked for completion on January 03, 2021, the revised expiry date.

“Not only the tourists will benefit from this project but also the farmers along this road project will enjoy a wider, safer, and convenient transport of agricultural products to market centers,” said Adongay.

The improvement of access road leading to Talustusan Falls involves the road opening and concreting and rehabilitation of existing damaged paved road at Sitio Magtaran-an, Brgy. Talustusan with a length of 1.215-kilometer two lane road.

This project is implemented under fiscal year 2020 with a contract amount of P31.3M.

DPWH in convergence with the Department of Tourism (DOT) has allotted P105M under multi-year funding to enhance the hidden waterfalls in the province.

The fund will be implemented by phases from year 2020-2022 with a total length of 4.715-Kilometer two-lane road with a width of 6.10-meter and a thickness of 0.23-meter.

The completion of this project by phases will help boost tourism in the province. Walking time will also be reduced from 30-40 minutes to just 3-5 minutes to reach the waterfalls.





Biliran Bridge detours
Effective 6:00 AM October 27, Caraycaray Bridge Detour along Biliran-Naval Section is open to all types of vehicles. DPWH-Biliran DEO in coordination with LM Baltonado construction complete the restoration works of the scoured approaches (Caraycaray Side) after being damaged by continuous heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm “Quinta”.

Bridge detours damaged by TS Quinta in Biliran completes restoration

By DPWH Biliran
October 28, 2020

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)- Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) has completed the restoration works of the scoured approaches of the Caraycaray and Catmon Bridge detours.

David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer informed that effective 6:00 AM on October 27, 2020 the Caraycaray and Catmon Bridge detours along Biliran-Naval section are now open to all types of vehicles (lightweight, four (4) wheels and heavy equipment).

Restoration works which involve backfilling were done in coordination with DPWH-BDEO and LM Baltonado Construction.

According to Adongay, DPWH-Biliran DEO is exerting their efforts and closely monitoring and coordinating with the contractor under contract with DPWH Regional Office VIII to restore the said detours for the safe passage of the motorists and the travelling public.

“These detours are deemed important as the construction of both Caraycaray and Catmon Bridges are on-going at present,” said Adongay.

“Travelling public especially heavy equipment operators will no longer need to take a longer route to travel to the capital town of Naval and to its neighboring municipalities,” the District Engineer added.

The District Engineer also acknowledges the help extended by Businessman Mr. Robert Juve Yao Ang to fast-track the repair of the detours.

The Caraycaray and Catmon detours were damaged due to continuous heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm “Quinta” on October 25, 2020.





China asked to listen to the people to make BRI “people-centered”

The Kaliwa Dam in the Philippines

Press Release
October 28, 2020

MANILA – Eight national and Asian regional organizations based in the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka on Wednesday asked China to listen to the voices of the people in communities most directly affected by Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.

In a virtual press conference, leaders of the organizations said appropriate consultations with the local communities transformed by the BRI projects would maximize social benefits, minimize investment risks, and make the BRI truly “people-centered.”

A new book chronicling the effects of the BRI projects in the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka turns the spotlight on the views of people affected by the BRI projects. The book was launched during the virtual press conference.

“Numerous books, studies, and research papers have been produced by governments, companies, economists, and investors about the BRI. The voices from the most important community, however, have not been heard,” Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), said during the launch of “Belt and Road through My Village.”

The “Belt and Road through My Village,” co-produced by eight non-governmental organizations, is a collection of interviews with over 100 villagers who live on sites where BRI projects are being undertaken.

China’s total investments in countries where BRI projects are ongoing reached USD 117.31 billion, according to the 2019 China Outbound Direct Investment Statistical Report released recently by China’s Ministry of Commerce, the National Statistics Bureau, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

As of end-2019, over 27,500 Chinese investors have established 44,000 direct investment enterprises in 188 countries and regions where BRI projects are located.

“The lives of billions of people in these 188 countries are being affected directly and indirectly, positively and negatively, and their lives are changed forever,” Nacpil said.

The book project was led by the People of Asia for Climate Solutions (PACS) and APMDD, and supported by Asia Comms Lab, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Indonesia’s Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak Atas Air (KruHA: People's Coalition for the Right to Water), Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) in Bangladesh, the Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC), and the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) in Sri Lanka.

The book covered seven major BRI projects. They are the Kaliwa Dam in the Philippines, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Rail in Indonesia, the Barisal 350 MW Coal Power Plant in Bangladesh, the Bahawalpur Solar Power Park and Sahiwal Coal-Fired Power Plant in Pakistan, the Colombo Port City and the Colombo Highways in Sri Lanka. The total population being affected by these seven projects alone stands at more than 15 million.

Based on the interviews, renewable energy and road construction are among the most welcomed projects, while lack of communication and transparency, especially with communities on the sites of the projects, unfair employment practices, and social and environmental impacts are among the most frequently raised complaints.

The following are snapshots of the stories and quotes in the book:

Philippines: the Kaliwa Dam Project

Water crisis is a serious challenge for the growing population in Metro Manila.

Mike Santos, a barangay official from Barangka Drive, Mandaluyong City, said they had to mobilize fire trucks to distribute water to residents. Santos said even with the emergency water distribution, “residents were easily angered despite our efforts because they were getting impatient over the situation.”

The Kaliwa Dam is part of the New Centennial Water Source projects to provide new water sources for Metro Manila and other nearby provinces. The project involves the construction of a 600 million liter-per-day (mld) capacity dam (73m high) and a conveyance tunnel that has a capacity of 2,400 mld (27.70km long, 4m diameter, around 200m deep).

Around 300 indigenous people will be displaced from their ancestral lands when the construction begins. Once completed, the project will inundate a large part of Barangay Daraitan in Rizal and several areas, including Barangay Pagsangahan and Barangay Magsaysay in Quezon Province. Residents of indigenous communities living along the Kaliwa River said they were not fully informed nor consulted about the project. “We remain clueless about the proposed dam,” Maria Clara Dullas, 39, a resident of Daraitan, in Rizal province near Metro Manila, said. “The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems has not reached out to residents of Daraitan to explain its possible impacts on the community,” she said.

Indonesia: the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Rail

Talking about the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway, 23-year-old student Nissa Nurmauluddiana said: "I think this is positive because there will be many transportation options to Jakarta, especially now, Bandung people who work in Jakarta or Jakarta people who are on business to Bandung always run out of train tickets.”

The project was envisioned to be completed in 2019, but was delayed due to problems related to land acquisition and compensation to villagers and local workers. The total investment is estimated to be USD $5.5 billion. About 124,000 villagers have been affected by the construction of the railway.

According to KRuHA, which works closely with the local communities, some people protesting the land acquisition have been beaten and arrested. They are gravely concerned about reports of incidents of human rights abuses.

Silvi Febrianti, a college student from Gempolsari village in Bandung said: “until now, I have not heard any news from the government about our land compensation money. It’s not clear enough when we will get it, and how much we will receive. I want to move as soon as possible.”

Bangladesh: the Barisal 350 MW Coal Power Plant

Maliha Hossain, 38, a business woman, talked about the importance of electricity to her online business and to Dhaka. “In Dhaka city, there is an unlimited number of food courts and recreational activities, if electricity stops working, everything stops. This is a matter of great satisfaction. But for the last three years or more, we have been getting an uninterrupted electricity supply.”

However, she also voiced her worries about possible air pollution from the coal-fired power plant project.

The Barisal coal-fired power plant project is expected to begin operations in 2022. The entire project will require 300 acres of land and the government is expected to buy power from this plant for a period of 25 years, according to the agreement. The project site is surrounded by land reserved for wildlife and fish sanctuaries. Villagers said they were forced to evacuate the land to give way for the project.

Abdul Malek Mosulli, 96, from Taltoli, is one of the hundreds of villagers who lost his house. “Local villagers protested, but police brought charges against innocent young men,” he said.

Now the village is visibly divided into two parts: the high land acquired for the power plant and low land where the villagers relocated. With the recent floods, the relocation site has been underwater for months. There is no drinking water and no fish to catch. The residents are jobless. A number of people have become laborers at the plant site.

Pakistan: Bahawalpur Solar Power Park and Sahiwal Coal-Fired Power Plant

“Our lands have gone from zero to hero since the Quad-i-Azam Solar Power Park project was initiated in the area,” Muhammad Iqbal, 62, a counselor in Chak 6-BC, one of the villages close to the solar power park in Bahawalpur, said.

The Quaid-i-Azam Solar is a 100 MW solar plant spanning 200 hectares of desert land, and Sahiwal Coal-Fired Power Plant, encompassing 690 hectares of fertile land, has an installed capacity of 1320 megawatts.

In a different village, Noman Bhatti, 40, was not happy with the Sahiwal Coal-fired Power Plant. “I’m still at a loss to understand why the most fertile land in the Punjab province has been selected to commission such an anti-agriculture project,” Bhatti said. “We, the affected community, had approached the court of law to resist installation of the plant here. Some officials managed to blackmail most of the plaintiffs in the name of National Interest.”

Sri Lanka: The Colombo Port City and Colombo Highways

In 2019, China and Sri Lanka signed an agreement to further fund and build the Central Expressway Project (CEP).

Tharushika Wickramasinghe, 25, talked about how she had changed her mind about highways near her house after experiencing the new conveniences: “I would like to see more highways coming up in the country and want the Chinese to help the Sri Lankan government to build more expressways.”

The Colombo Port City was proposed in early 2012 by the China Harbour Engineering Corporation as the site for constructing the Colombo International Financial City. The project is expected to be completed by 2041 and will be on a 99-year lease.

Aruna Roshantha Fernando, a 49-year old fisherman, raised questions about it: “I don’t think Sri Lanka needs such a big city port in Colombo. Only the rich people will benefit from this project. What happens to poor people like us who earn a living by the resources of the sea?”

“People-to-people connectivity is supposed to be the ultimate vision for BRI, alongside policy connectivity, infrastructure connectivity, trade connectivity, and financial connectivity,” Xiaojun Wang, executive director of PACS, said.

All the testimonials are presented in the book in the native languages of the villagers, and have been translated into English and Chinese for international and Chinese audiences.

At the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2020, President Xi Jinping called on all major countries to act with leadership. “They should provide more global public goods, take up their due responsibilities and live up to people's expectations.” This was a continuation of his call for China and host countries “to act on the principles of high standard, people-centered and sustainable development” at the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in April 2019.

“In order to achieve true ‘people-centered’ vision for the BRI, China must work with host country governments and be more proactive in reaching out to the communities to be affected,” Wang concluded. “Only when these voices are heard, will social, environmental, political and financial risks be minimized, and will real benefits and welfare improvements be shared by all involved.”


Last updated: 02/28/2021