Executive Staff, Section and Unit Heads during the Audit
Entry /Exit Meeting with the SOCOTEC Auditors.
NMP retains its
ISO 9001:2015 certification
March 10, 2020
TACLOBAN CITY –
Following a rigorous audit conducted by the SOCOTEC Certification
Philippines, the National Maritime Polytechnic Quality Management
System (NMP QMS) retains its ISO 9001:2015 Certification as it
passed the 2nd Surveillance Audit held on 05 March 2020 both at its
main office at Brgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City and liaison office
with address at 2nd Floor ECC Building, 355 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue
NMP’s quality procedures,
manuals and other systems documentation were reviewed by Ms. Olivia
Eco and Mr. Ringo Pabua, SOCOTEC auditors, as against the
requirements set forth by the standard. The auditors looked into
NMP’s several processes which include registration and certification
procedures; course delivery; assessment / examination;
documentation; performance monitoring and assessment; provision of
resources; performance evaluation of suppliers and other
administrative support services during the audit.
During the exit meeting,
Ms. Eco, audit team leader, expressed her appreciation for the NMP’s
established QMS, as well as the strong support and demonstration of
leadership of the top management for the continual improvement of
She likewise relayed her
positive observations on the significant developments since her last
visit in May 2017. These include collaboration/ partnership with
different manning and shipping agencies, acquisition of additional
equipment, establishment of extension offices, remarkable set-up of
NMP’s training facilities coupled with excellent equipment
maintenance activities and auditees are very competent and
Finally, the audit report
disclosed that there were no non-conformances noted, but somehow
some observations were raised which NMP may look into as an
opportunity for continual improvement. With the said findings, the
NMP QMS was recommended for continued certification.
“We acknowledge the
concerted efforts of the entire workforce in passing the audit. Rest
assured that NMP will remain dedicated to further improve its
systems, processes and procedures”, said NMP Executive Director Joel
Likewise, NMP OIC Deputy
Executive Director shared “All the efforts and hard work of NMP
employees have paid off. Congratulations to all of us.”
As an Agency that commits
to continuous enhancement of seafarers, maintaining ISO
Certification of its QMS confirms the Agency's relevance in carrying
out its mandate of upgrading the qualifications of Filipino
seafarers and providing maritime industry researches.
Over the years, NMP
aggressively pursued for the establishment of its QMS in compliance
with the requirements of the Standards of Training, Certification
and Watchkeeping Convention (STCW) 1978. Its first ISO Registration
Certificate was obtained in April 2000. Since then, the NMP QMS has
undergone continuous certification and surveillance audits, passed
and was eventually re-certified over the years under ISO 9001: 1994,
ISO 9001: 2000, ISO 9001: 2008, and the latest in 2018 under ISO
It can be recalled that in
2009, NMP received a special recognition from the Office of the
President for being one of the forty (40) government offices across
the country to be ISO-certified. Also, in 2015, the Agency earned a
commendation from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for
continuously improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its
Meanwhile, in its effort
to sustain its mandate in providing quality service through
upgrading and specialized training programs, NMP continues to
maintain and upgrade its facilities and its pool of competent
instructors. Those Interested to take the training courses may visit
the NMP website @ www.nmp.gov.ph or visit the agency’s Facebook page
(www.facebook.com/ nmptrainingcenter) where all updates and relevant
information on NMP programs are available.
who wish to validate the authenticity of their seafarers-employed
with NMP issued certificates may visit www.verify.nmp.gov.ph or
download the NMP App at Google Play Store for android phone users.
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
Congress bid to pass 'terror bill'
ACT Press Release
March 10, 2020
QUEZON CITY – The
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines opposed the
proposed 'draconian' amendments to the Human Security Act (HSA) of
2007, which the group says will 'render teachers' just fight for
decent pay and benefits, better services, and social justice as acts
of terrorism.' The House of Representatives is set to hold a
committee deliberation today on the proposed amendments. Earlier,
Senate already approved on 3rd and final reading the Anti-Terrorism
Bill that sought to overhaul the 2007 HSA.
"This is yet another
attack on our rights and liberties. Not only are we denied livable
wages and dignity with the President's treacherous passing of an
insultingly meager pay hike, now we are at risk of being called
terrorists for demanding more and what is due us," decried ACT
Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
ACT said that both
versions of the Senate and lower house contains 'vague and
overbroad' definitions of terrorist acts with 'grave consequences,'
such that legitimate exercises of rights may be deemed as such
'should the state say so.' Said acts are punishable by at least 8
years to life imprisonment under the proposed amendments.
"Say for instance, we take
to the streets again to call for salary upgrading, the state has the
authority to say that the intentions of such is to 'intimidate the
government to do something' and it instantly becomes terrorism. Even
calling on DepEd to release our benefits can be tagged as terrorism
under these proposals. These are horrid and disturbing affront to
our hard-won rights, and we all should fight back," called Basilio.
The teachers' group
furthered that the proposed amendments to HSA will greatly
contribute to the quickly shrinking democratic spaces amid a time of
unrest in the country due to worsening socio-economic conditions.
"Instead of providing
relief to the people, the government wants to punish us for seeking
redress over the people's suffering, which no less than their own
policies have caused – like the SSL 5, TRAIN Law, Rice Tarrification
Law, war on drugs, EO 70, among others," hit Basilio.
ACT said that the proposed
measure will be 'dangerous at the hands of an administration who is
intolerant of dissent' and is a 'turn for the worse under an
increasingly repressive regime.'
ACT urged the Congress to
junk the amendments to HSA, which it said will make the HSA even
more repressive with much less accountability. The group challenged
lawmakers to 'be on the side of democracy' and refuse to legitimize
further repression of the people.
"As for us, we will push
back against all attacks on our rights and freedoms. Our collective
unity and strength, realized through our unions and organizations,
will stand against repression and will triumph in frustrating a
tyrannical regime, just as we did many times before. We will
continue advancing the interests of teachers, students, and the
entire nation," pledged Basilio.
ACT joined other
freedom-loving groups in a protest action outside of the House of
Representatives today to call for the junking of the proposed
kicks of construction of 2020 infra projects
March 9, 2020
NAVAL, Biliran –
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District
Engineering Office (DEO) has started the construction of various
infrastructure projects under 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
David Adongay Jr, District
Engineer said that 14 projects are already on-going as of February
29, 2020 with an accomplishment of 3.20% while 61 projects will soon
“With a total of 75
projects to be completed this year under the cash-based budgeting,
this district office is up for the challenge,” said Adongay.
Under local project
implementation, the district office is now implementing the
construction of two multipurpose buildings located at Brgy.
Calumpang and at Brgy. Caraycaray in Naval town. One access road
project at capitol compound also in Brgy. Calumpang has already
started amounting to P1.89M.
In Caibiran town, two
projects have begun construction. These projects are the
constructions of road at Mocorro Street, Brgy. Palenque amounting to
P1.18M and at Brgy. Palenque and Palanay amounting to P2.5M.
Meanwhile, one seawall
project at Brgy. Baso in Cabucgayan town is also ongoing amounting
Under regular project
implementation, six flood control projects are underway. These
projects are the construction/ rehabilitation of Amambahag flood
control in Culaba town (P19.4M), Kaulangohan Flood control in
Caibiran town (P18.6M), Mapula flood control in Caibiran town
(P18.6M), Ungali flood control in Kawayan town (P9.3M) and Santol
flood control (P27.9M) and Busali flood control (P28M), both in
The district office is now
also in full swing in the construction of Biliran Provincial Police
Office (BPPO) Building at Brgy. Larrazabal in Naval town in
convergence with the Philippine National Police (PNP) amounting to
P24.15M and the rehabilitation /reconstruction of national road with
slips, slope collapse and landslide in Caibiran town amounting to
Adongay always reminded
contractors to speed up the project implementation to complete
projects before the year ends without compromising the quality of
78th IB encounters remnants of Communist NPA
Terrorist (CNT) in Sogod, Southern Leyte
Battalion, 8ID PA
March 8, 2020
BURAUEN, Leyte –
78th Infantry (Warrior) Battalion had a series of encounters with
the Communist NPA Terrorist believed to be remnants of Front 42,
Sub-Regional Committee, LEVOX, Eastern Visayas Party Committee under
Communist NPA Terrorist Leader Roberto Opo @Resty/Migo/Lowie in Brgy.
Pancho Villa, Sogod, Southern Leyte on March 5, 2020 and March 7,
Said series of encounters
resulted to the capture of one (1) M1 Garand Rifle with six (6) live
ammunition, one (1) ammunition clip and two (2) fired cartridges.
The troops also discovered the enemy harboring site in vicinity of
Brgy. Pancho Villa, Sogod, Southern Leyte along with the following
items: six (6) kilos of rice; one (1) plastic bottle of cooking oil;
four (4) pieces 3n1 coffee; one forth (1/4) pack of brown sugar; and
eight (8) pieces coffee stick.
The security operations
are in response to the civilian populace reported presence of
terrorist groups who were conducting illegal activities, such as,
extortion and recruitment. Said presence and illegal activities of
Communist NPA Terrorist in the area affects the peaceful living
conditions of the populace and their livelihood and expose their
children to recruitment.
These actions of the
Communist NPA Terrorist shows their clear defiance to the
government’s initiative on peaceful resolution of conflict intended
to advance development, boast economy, and sustain peace and order
through the effective implementation of the Executive Order Number
70 or the Institutionalization or the whole of nation approach in
order to uplift the social status and living conditions of the
This successful engagement
with the Communist NPA Terrorist is attributed to the timely
information provided by the people in the area who refused to
believe the futile struggle and propaganda of the terrorists. They
are already tired of the extortion and propaganda activities
conducted by the said terrorist group.
According to Lieutenant
Colonel Roberto B Obaob, Commanding Officer of 78th Infantry
Battalion, “the said military security operations against the enemy
of the state will be relentless in order to finish the remnants of
Communist NPA Terrorist. However, our door is open for the peaceful
return to the folds of the law of those Communist NPA Terrorist who
will opt to lay down their arms and join the mainstream law abiding
society. They can avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local
Integration Program (E-CLIP). Our priority remains to be the overall
safety of the people of Leyte and Southern Leyte. Thus, whoever will
attempt to endanger the people must be ready to face our full
Narratives of how
is it really back home reverberate in the halls of UN rights body
March 7, 2020
– With three oral interventions one after the other last Friday and
another last Monday, a team of Filipino rights defenders further
strongly urged the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to
look into the state of human rights in the Philippines.
The four speakers from the
Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice)
also unanimously supported the reports presented by UN experts in
calling for further investigations on rights violations in the
country, contrary to the rather confrontational stance employed by
the government in the ongoing 43rd UNHRC session here.
co-leader and Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said she
welcomes the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of
human rights defenders that noted “wide-ranging and cumulative
violation of the rights of defenders.”
“This rings true in my
particular case and that of human rights defenders of Karapatan.
Twelve of my colleagues were killed by suspected State forces under
the current administration, three have been arrested the past four
months, and many more are facing trumped up charges. Women defenders
face misogynist attacks, driven by discriminatory pronouncements of
government officials,” Palabay added.
Johanna dela Cruz of the
National Council of Churches of the Philippines said they are also
grateful for the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights defenders and support his conclusions and
Dela Cruz said church
people’s rights in the Philippines are violated, primarily those
“doing their Christian mandate and mission of ministering to the
poor and the marginalized. Bishops and Parish priests, particularly
from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), were red-tagged,
harassed by soldiers implicating them as rebels.”
EcuVoice head and
International Association of Democratic Lawyers interim president
Edre Olalia for his part reported to the UNHRC that in the 44 months
of the Duterte administration, at least 48 lawyers including judges
and prosecutors have been murdered.
“Human rights lawyers like
Ben Ramos as well as lawyers handling drug-related cases continue to
be brazenly attacked in various forms. Orchestrated smear campaigns
and vilification by red-tagging, labelling and reprisal charges
against human rights defenders at every opportunity in different for
a continue with impunity,” Olalia said.
The three defender’s
reports Friday, March 6, brings to four the successful oral
interventions presented by EcuVoice before the UNHRC. Earlier in the
week, Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan People’s Network for the
Environment reported that there are serious challenges to life,
security and liberty of environmental defenders in the Philippines,
“which redound to transgressions on the rights to a safe, clean,
healthy and sustainable environmental of communities, including that
of indigenous peoples and peasants.”
“It must be noted that the EcuVoice delegation have welcomed all the
UN special rapporteurs’ reports presented thus far, quite different
from the bellicose stance of the Philippine government in the
ongoing debates,” Olalia said.
EcuVoice is enjoining the
UNHRC to ensure that Filipino human rights defenders have access to
the UN free from reprisals and provided with safe environments for
the exercise of its work. The group also said it supports the
special rapporteurs’ recommendations to enable official visits to
countries in conflict situations such as the Philippines.
DTI to champion
loom weaving industry
March 5, 2020
MAKATI CITY – In an
effort to revive the Philippine weaving industry and provide
livelihood opportunities for local weaving communities, DTI key
officials, led by Secretary Ramon Lopez and Regional Operations
Group Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona, met with Cabinet
Secretaries’ and Congressional Spouses last March 2, 2020 at the
Heroes Hall of the Malacañang Palace to present samples of native
woven textiles from across the country and to propose a project that
will aid and promote Filipino weavers.
The meeting was initiated
by Madame Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, through the Office of the
President. The project was birthed from a previous dialogue with
Madame Avaceña and DTI officials, including selected DTI Regional
Directors, last February 26, 2020.
The project, with the
working title “MODA: Modernong Obra, Disenyong Atin”, will be
championed by the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Program, under the
leadership of Assistant Secretary Demphna Du Naga. The word “MODA”
is a Filipino term which means “fashion”.
The MODA project will
focus on two components – a showcase of designed wearables made from
natively woven textiles and a sustainable marketing space to display
featured hand and loom woven fabrics for prospective buyers.
Cabinet Secretaries’ and
Congressional Spouses lauded the initiative and echoed the call for
increased patronage for weaving communities. OTOP, through DTI
Regional Offices, will be coordinating with local governments and
the Cabinet Secretaries’ and Congressional Spouses Group, through
the Office of the President, to reach these weaving communities and
monitor the progress being made in the project. Further meetings
will be taking place leading up to the completion of the project by
This effort aims to
kickstart the series of initiatives that could place the local
weaving industry in the frontlines of Philippine fashion, arts, and
commerce. The MODA project also hopes to encourage younger
generations to keep native crafts alive and relevant in an
DTI, Google, tie
up for MSME digitalization
March 3, 2020
MAKATI CITY – The
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) finally inked deal with
Google Philippines in upgrading the micro, small, and medium
enterprises (MSMEs) through the power of digitalization, creating a
strong online presence and training them on digital skills to grow
their businesses globally.
Through Google’s MSME
Caravan, the goal is to conduct training sessions among MSMEs
nationwide so they can be well-informed of the digital landscape,
latest consumer insights and tools such as Google My Business, a
free online listing on Google maps and Search to help MSMEs connect
with more consumers in the digital space.
Google will train MSMEs
build their online presence, control their business information, and
create a free website and posts.
The series of workshops
have already started, training more than 2,780 MSMEs in over 20
cities across eight regions nationwide.
“DTI shares same vision of
Google on enhancing the skills of our entrepreneurs to become
digital-savvy. That’s why we want to thank Google for this program
that lets MSMEs maximize Google My Business to manage their online
presence in Google Search and Google Maps. We laud them for their
program goal of trying to reach 500,000 businesses by 2020 from the
current 125,000 businesses registered in Google My Business,”
expressed Trade Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona, speaking on behalf
of Secretary Ramon Lopez during the launch of MSME Caravan at the
Google Philippines Office, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig last
February 26, 2020.
DTI and Google target to
reach more throughout 2020 as empowering MSMEs plays a vital role in
driving the economy forward.
“Filipino MSMEs have the
drive, the passion and the dedication to succeed. Combine that with
the new tools and opportunities of the internet, and there is no
limit on what’s possible for them! We hope that the MSME Caravan
will help bring on board more trainees, visit more communities, and
give more business owners the digital skills they need,” said
Bernadette Nacario, Country Director of Google Philippines.
Furthermore, the three (3)
MSMEs who were also products of DTI’s Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME)
Program – Gerome Panlilio, a chili oil manufacturer from Quezon
City, a Michelle Mariano, a calamansi juice bottler from Isabela
Province and Beltranalmendral, a dried pork producer from Quirino
Province – shared their inspiring stories on how they were able to
leverage the power of digital tools in growing their businesses and
reaching their consumers.
Brgy. San Joaquin, Calbayog City, Samar and (R) Legislative
Building-Phase II, Brgy. Poblacion C, Tarangnan, Samar.
Multi-Purpose buildings in barangays of First District of Samar
GISSELLE G. PARUNGAO
March 3, 2020
CALBAYOG CITY –
Samar First District Engineering Office completed ten (10)
Multi-Purpose Buildings (MPB) in different barangays within the
First District of Samar with a total appropriation of 39 million
under the General Appropriations Act of 2019.
Completed MPBs are located
in Calbayog City at Barangays Bagacay, Hamorawon, San Joaquin, San
Rufino, and Rawis. Another completed MPBs are situated in Barangay
Villahermosa Oriental in Pagsanghan, Samar as well as Barangays
Poblacion C and Tigdaranao, Tarangnan, Samar. MPBs are also finished
at Barangay Hinugacan in Gandara, Samar and Barangay Aurora, San
They are primarily used
for hosting events in the barangay, meetings, seminars and can also
be used as evacuation centers during emergencies.
The Legislative Building
at Poblacion C will house the Sangguniang Members of the
Municipality of Tarangnan. It will serve as a place for where the
members can formulate municipal orders and decrees that will be
beneficial to the development of Tarangnan and its people.
Moreover, the MPB at
Barangay San Joaquin is a flourishing coastal village with over
6,000 residents. Based on interview with residents, the MPB will be
utilized as barangay council office and venue for community-based
programs such as livelihood seminars and day care. The MPB is easily
accessible and PWD friendly.
SA-BEST-Centre Alliance investigation:
pornography material being sold over the counter in Australian
March 2, 2020
ADELAIDE – Sickening child pornography material is being sold widely
over the counter in popular Australian retail outlets, a special
investigation by SA-BEST and Centre Alliance has found.
A range of
animated movies and “comic books” showing sexually-explicit images
of young girls and connotations of incest and rape involving minors
are being freely sold in some of the country’s most popular retail
outlets, and online.
The investigation found that some of child exploitation material has
been reviewed and classified legal by the Classification Board -
despite falling within the meaning of child abuse material under the
Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 which makes it illegal to both
sell and buy some pornographic items – while other graphic material
has not been reviewed and/or classified due to disturbing loopholes
in current laws.
The SA-BEST-Centre Alliance investigation revealed the explicit
child exploitation material is found in a Japanese form of animation
called anime – both on Blue Ray discs and in Japanese “comic books”
The two forms of media share a unique visual style that is globally
popular - especially among teens.
However, there is a sinister and sickening side to anime and manga
with a significant proportion of the two media featuring child abuse
material containing images of wide-eyed depictions of children -
usually in school uniform – who are engaged in explicit sexual
activities and poses, often being sexually abused.
This is referred to as “hentai” anime and manga which child abuse
experts warn that paedophiles use as a tool to groom children.
SA-BEST MLC and Attorney General spokesperson, Connie Bonaros – who
recently introduced laws to ban childlike sex dolls in South
Australia – and her Federal colleague, Centre Alliance Senator
Stirling Griff, are demanding urgent action by the Federal
Government to ensure laws banning such child exploitation material
are properly enforced.
Connie has written to all of the state Attorneys-General to alert
them to the issue and requesting they take immediate action to stop
the material being sold.
Stirling has written to the Minister for Home Affairs and to the
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts requesting
the government takes immediate action.
Connie said she felt “sick to the core” by the findings of the
“I am horrified that child pornography material is freely available
in Australia despite clearly being in breach of the definition of
child abuse and exploitation material under both commonwealth and
state law,” Connie said.
“Even in cartoon/anime form, this is child pornography and the law
in Australia is explicitly clear about it,” she said.
“Depictions and/or representations that appear or are implied to be
of under 18-year-old children and are depicted in sexual poses or
engaged in sexual activity or is a victim of torture, cruelty or
abuse is child abuse material under both commonwealth and state
“Any retailer who sells such pornographic material is in serious
breach of the law but probably is not aware of it given current laws
are not being properly enforced.”
Stirling said a number of anime (animation) films containing child
abuse material - such as rape scenes – had received classification
by the Classification Board, allowing them to be imported and sold
However, explicit manga (graphic novels) is currently not vetted by
the Classification Board and is freely available due to the fact all
film and video games must be submitted for classification,
publications are only required to be submitted if they are deemed to
be a ‘submittable publication’ putting the onus on distributors and
publishers to determine what they should submit.
This is despite the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 prohibiting
the sale, production, possession and distribution of offensive and
abusive material “that depicts a person or a representation of a
person who is or appears to be under 18”.
“Graphic Japanese manga novels and anime depicting sickening child
abuse, rape, incest and sexualised images of children should be
removed from shelves, streaming services and banned from entering
the country,” Stirling said.
“Child exploitation is a global problem, heightened by modern
technology and the myriad of platforms that are used to access such
material,” he said.
“As legislators, we have a critical role to play in stamping it out.
There is much more to be done, and areas where we need to focus more
attention, such as the child abuse material that comes into
Australia via Japanese anime and manga.
“Experts that advocate against child exploitation have referred to
this type of anime and manga as a gateway to the abuse of actual
children. Experts also say that explicit anime and manga can be used
by paedophiles as tools to groom children.
“Incredibly, in Japan the definition of child abuse material
specifically excludes child porn anime and manga, as these media
don't include real children.
“But the law in Australia is very clear. The Commonwealth Criminal
Code prohibits the sale, production, possession and distribution of
offensive and abusive material that depicts a person, or is a
representation of a person, who is or appears to be under 18. It is
“The Classification Board appears to be making decisions in
isolation to criminal law. This must stop. There is also the issue
of explicit manga graphic novels, which are not vetted at all by the
“I recently made a submission to the current Review of Australian
classification regulation raising issues over the inadequacy of the
current regime to deal with such abusive material but we can’t wait
for the review to report, we must act now.
“The Board doesn’t seem to be following its own guidelines*
The SA-BEST-Centre Alliance special investigation found the shocking
child abuse material is freely available in Australia – including in
well-known electronics store and popular bookstores in Adelaide and
Sydney – as well as online.
The investigation follows a trip Connie made late last year to Japan
- regarded as the home of the manufacture and distribution of
childlike sex dolls – where she heard disturbing accounts from
people at the frontline fighting the scourge of child sex
exploitation in that country.
Connie said her trip to Japan was an extremely productive and
educative despite attempts to meet with the Minister for Justice
being declined at the 11th hour.
“I was able to meet with several outstanding non-government
organisations advocating against child sexual abuse, child abuse
material and child sexual exploitation in Japan – which is a
significant problem in that country,” Connie said.
“These remarkable women are working in difficult circumstances with
absolutely no government funding and are up against a system that
does not view child abuse material in the same way we do,” she said.
“They were left shocked when they heard about the extent of our
robust child exploitation laws in Australia.
“They all welcomed assistance from external sources and were
grateful that an Australian politician was keen to support them and
assist in any way to achieve legislative change with respect to
child abuse and child exploitation laws in Japan.
“They are desperate for pressure to be exerted on the Japanese
government in order to bring about meaningful change because,
ultimately, child exploitation knows no borders – and that’s what
SA-BEST and Centre Alliance intend to do.”
Connie will return to Japan later this year to continue the dialogue
with these organisations and attempt to raise her concerns with the
bishop: Philippine banks must divest from coal
March 1, 2020
CAGAYAN DE ORO –
Representing the Withdraw from Coal Campaign, a Church leader on
Friday appealed to Philippine financial institutions to stop funding
the expansion of coal operations in the country and support the
development of renewable energy instead.
The call was made during
the 3rd Philippine Environment Summit, an event that presents
current initiatives contributing to the country’s social and
economic development while conserving the environment, held on 26-28
February at the Grand Caprice Convention Center in Cagayan de Oro.
“As fulfillment of their
moral obligation, Philippine banks must have concrete plans to phase
out coal finance in the time required by today’s climate crisis.
They must have clear policies restricting their exposure to coal,
channeling the funds they divest from it into clean and affordable
renewable energy for all Filipinos,” said Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of
the Diocese of San Carlos, Negros Occidental.
While praising the SONA
2019 directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to “fast-track” the
development of renewable energy resources and reduce dependency on
coal, the bishop pointed out that the continuing dominance of coal
in the country's energy mix calls for even more ambitious ways
forward from different sectors, including the finance industry.
“Banks financing coal are
not only funding the climate crisis, they are also enabling the
continued suffering of coal-affected communities,” he stressed.
In addition to the 16 new
coal-fired power plants added to the national fleet in the last
decade, the Philippines is still looking to add a total of 12,014 MW
of new coal power, making it the ninth biggest coal expansionist in
the world as of 2019.
13 local banks had been
identified to have loaned or underwritten USD 6.303 billion to coal
interests from 2017 to the third quarter of 2019. Two of these
banks, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Banco de Oro (BDO)
account for nearly 55% of this finance.
“The IPCC reported that
the world has until 2030 to reduce coal use by 78% from 2010 levels
to avoid even more disastrous climate impacts. As stewards of
Creation, we must unite with our scientists on this and seek to veer
away from a fuel that causes the suffering of our people and
destruction of our Common Home,” Alminaza said.
Alminaza stated that as
the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate
change, it must lead in phasing out coal, and financial institutions
must take their role in it seriously – similar to the commitment of
the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and his
own diocese to divesting its resources from dirty energy
A petition letter
addressed to the Bank of the Philippine Islands, the bank with which
many Church organizations have financial relations, was also
circulated during the event and was signed by hundreds of
participants, including Bishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan De Oro.
“We appeal to all to join
the calls as written in our letter as expression of our care for our
common home and our future generations. For as one saying goes, ‘we
do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors – we borrow it from our
children.’ We must act swiftly for time is running out,” said
Launched in Manila in
January and in Visayas in February, "Withdraw from Coal" is a
campaign spearheaded by the Church, civil society, and people’s
organizations urging Philippine banks to divest from businesses
involved in coal power generation and coal extraction.
PNP Chief Archie Francisco Gamboa, DILG Secretary Eduardo
Año, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar,
and MMDA Chair Danilo Lim.
substandard products like selling illegal drugs - DTI chief
February 28, 2020
QUEZON CITY –
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said
that selling substandard products is like selling illegal drugs
because both activities endanger the lives of Filipinos.
The trade secretary made
this remark during the joint press conference on 26 February 2020
with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The press conference
tackled the DILG-DTI-DPWH Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No.
2019-01 on ensuring safe, adaptive, and disaster resilient
The JMC aims to prepare
the Greater Metro Manila Area (GMMA) for the potential devastation
in the event of “The Big One” – or a magnitude 7.2 earthquake
resulting from the movement of the West Valley Fault.
According to PHILVOLCS OIC
for Earthquake and Earthquake Hazards Ishmael Narag, The Big One can
potentially kill more than 48,000 people and around 24,000 more in
Under the circular, all
local governments are ordered to assess the structural integrity of
all public and private buildings, facilities if they conform to the
National Building Code of the Philippines.
For his part, Secretary
Lopez assured that the Bureau of Philippine Standards imposes
compliance to the Philippine National Standards, which is aligned
with its international counterparts. The standards for critical
construction materials such as steel, cement, and concrete have also
been developed and reviewed periodically.
“We even made the
procedures stricter in testing standard compliance. For example, we
have adjusted the sampling. Before, we only test three pieces no
matter how large the imported steel shipment. Now, we are conforming
to ISO’s ideal sample size: 50 pieces for 20,000 MT,” said Sec.
He also mentioned
additional inspections for local steel manufacturers. As such, he
said that DTI is collaborating with DILG and the PNP in conducting
surprise inspections on suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers of
“We would have to trace
the sources, the distributors, warehouses, as well as the source of
the manufacturers. To guarantee that substandard materials are kept
out of the market, those who fail to comply with requirements can
face payment of penalties, revocation of permits, and possible
imprisonment,” said Sec. Lopez.
Aside from product
standards, DTI is also coordinating with food manufacturers,
retailers, and distributors to coordinate food supply and delivery
to the GMMA in case of earthquakes and other disasters.
“We asked the food
manufacturers and retailers for their committed supply and
designated areas for delivery in case of natural disasters in the
GMMA. This arrangement will just be triggered and run automatically.
Some of these will be donated and the others will be paid by the
government. We currently have technical working groups finalizing
this arrangement,” said Sec. Lopez.
overhaul K-12 - ACT
ACT Press Release
February 27, 2020
QUEZON CITY – As
the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture tackles today the
‘long overdue’ review of the K to 12 program, the Alliance of
Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines issued its urgent call for the
government to re-orient the Philippine education system towards a
‘nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education.’ The group
said that since their long time call for a thorough evaluation of K
to 12 has finally been granted, the government shall take bold
measures to correct the ‘problematic program,’ which will entail a
‘complete overhaul’ in the service of national interests.
“The key issue with the K
to 12 program lies in its core objective, which aims to produce
graduates who are immediately ready to work as semi-skilled and
cheap laborers here and abroad. The program exploits the majority of
impoverished Filipinos for the gain of foreign capital, foregoing
the objective of honing the country’s human resource to serve the
purpose of national industrialization and development,” criticized
ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
Basilio also hit the
curriculum’s removal and weakening of integral subjects for the
development of nationalism and core values among the youth. ACT
cited the removal of Philippine History in high school, the
shortening and simplistic presentation of Araling Panlipunan, the
faulty implementation of the mother tongue-based multilingual
education (MTB-MLE), and the conservative and individualistic
approach to Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (EsP).
“These are clear
manifestations of the neoliberal and colonial character of K to 12.
It retards instead of advances the process of molding patriotic
youths whose aspirations are interlinked with that of the entire
nation and who shall later contribute to national development,”
Further exemplification of
the problematic program, said ACT, can be seen in the curriculum’s
emphasis on producing ‘outputs’ at the expense of the development of
higher-level literacy, critical thought, and scientific approach in
problem solving. The group cited that not only was time allocation
for each subject shortened but an even smaller portion is dedicated
to discussion, while the bigger share of time goes to activities
supposedly meant to exhibit students multiple forms of intelligence.
“K to 12 curriculum was
implemented alongside an array of policies for teachers, which
included a very strict budget of work in our congested daily lesson
logs. Little focus is given to the thorough digestion of lessons as
both students and teachers are pressured to produce multitude of
outputs on a daily basis. Such follows the neoliberal framework of
efficient production in which output is generated at record time for
maximum profit,” said Basilio.
Add to that the spiral
progression approach of the K to 12 curriculum, which ACT claimed
‘messed up and fragmented’ students’ education.
“In the old curriculum, an
entire school year is dedicated for the learning and mastery of
different subjects, which progresses into more complex and advanced
levels as students likewise proceed to higher levels of schooling.
The new curriculum, however, integrates a little of everything
without honing mastery, then immediately moves on to the next field,
all within a single school year. Students will then go through the
same cycle of subjects and fields but with more complex contents in
the following year,” lamented Basilio.
ACT notes that these
issues do not yet mention the haphazard implementation of K to 12
and the government’s failure to provide the budgetary, logistical,
and administrative requirements of the program, which led to a host
of other serious problems such as the worsened shortages in learning
resources, the perennial problem of insufficient classrooms, wanting
training for teachers, lacking education support personnel at the
school level, among others. All these created a substandard quality
of education, which is mostly made up for by overworked and
underpaid public school teachers, added ACT.
ACT also cited the results
of the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA),
the National Achievement Test (NAT), and the Philippine Informal
Reading Inventory (Phil-IRI) as proof of the further decline of
education quality under the K to 12 program.
“These are enough causes
for alarm to reorient and overhaul the program, not to mention the
grave injustice and dire consequences of the dismal state of
education to one whole generation of Filipino youth and to our
country. What we need is an education based on Philippine context
and one that responds to the requisites of national development.
Hence, we urge the government to maximize the ongoing review and
finally take the necessary measures to establish an education system
that follows its constitutional mandate of contributing to national
development, instilling patriotism and nationalism, and espousing
total human liberation,” concluded Basilio.
Gandara River, Barangay Villahermosa Oriental, Pagsanghan,
Samar and (R) Cagpaco Creek, Barangay Sigo, Calbayog City,
DPWH builds two
flood control systems in Samar I
CHENZI MAY D. UY
February 27, 2020
CALBAYOG CITY –
Department of Public Works and Highways has completed the
construction of two flood control systems in the first district of
One is built along Gandara
River in the adjacent portion of barangay Villahermosa Oriental,
which is located in the municipality of Pagsanghan, Samar. The
260-linear-meter structure is made of reinforced concrete and steel
sheet piles, costing around P39.2 million.
The specified area is
known to be flood prone, hence the significance of the new
structure. By keeping the area from being inundated in extreme
rainfall events, the flood control structure ensures the safety of
residential and agricultural properties located therein.
The other project
comprises reinforced concrete structures on both sides of Cagpaco
Creek, which runs across barangay Sigo in Calbayog City. Its scope
covers a net length of 140 linear meters, amounting to P19.5
The structures not only
control flooding but also preserve the integrity of the existing
bridge and barangay road that cross the creek.
SME Bank opens newest branch in Bacoor City to serve mSMEs.
Leading the ribbon cutting ceremony are CARD SME Bank
President and CEO Aristeo A. Dequito and CARD MBA President
CARD thrift bank
opens 34th branch in Bacoor
CARD MRI Publishing
February 26, 2020
SAN PABLO CITY –
CARD SME Bank, a thrift bank under the CARD Mutually Reinforcing
Institutions opened its 34th branch in Bacoor City on February 24,
Establishing branches in
different parts of the country is one of CARD SME Bank’s key
strategies to make its products and services accessible to mSMEs or
micro, small, and medium enterprises and to other businesses and
individuals that may require them. “Expanding to Bacoor will enable
us to reach our goal of serving more mSMEs through our micro and SME
loan products. With each branch we open, we strive to provide
opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs in the country to grow
their business and uplift their lives,” said CARD SME Bank President
and CEO Aristeo A. Dequito during the branch opening.
He also added that other
products and services of the bank such as savings accounts and
remittance will be available in the newly opened branch. “This is
our sixth branch in the province of Cavite. We have seen the
potential and development of our clients here and it’s the time to
respond closely to the growing needs of our microentrepreneur
clients,” Dequito concluded.
The branch opening was
also attended by CARD SME Bank Executive Vice President and COO
Cynthia B. Baldeo and CARD MBA President Flordeliza Cristobal. CARD
MRI clients and staff, representatives from the local government
unit, and other members of the community were also present.
Since its establishment in
2011, CARD SME Bank has a total of 975,070 clients with 319 offices
and 34 branches nationwide.
re-accredits NMP courses
February 25, 2020
TACLOBAN CITY – The
National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), the sole government maritime
training and research center in the country consistent with its
mandate to provide maritime training and research that measure up to
international standards and respond to the needs of the Filipino
Seafarers and the industry, was re-accredited by the Maritime
Industry Authority (MARINA).
In a letter from MARINA
dated 04 February 2020 relative to the Notice of Accreditation,
NMP’s five (5) Standards of Training, Certification, and
Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) courses namely: Rating's Forming
Part of a Navigational Watch (RFPNW), Medical First Aid (MEFA),
Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Other than Fast Rescue Boats (SCRB),
Refresher course on Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Other than Fast
Rescue Boats (RSCRB), and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System
(GMDSS) Radio Operators were granted full course approval for three
(3) years effective last 14 February 2020 which was the date of the
payment of accreditation and inspection fees.
The application for
renewal of NMP's courses were in accordance with MARINA Circular
2013-01 or the Rules on the Inspection and Accreditation of Maritime
Training Courses, STCW Circular 2018-02 or Standards for Mandatory
Training Courses Under The STCW Convention, 1978, as amended, and
STCW Advisory No. 2019-05 or Clarifications and Supplemental
Guidelines on the Implementation of STCW Circular No. 2018-02.
The said renewal approval
was a result of the site inspection conducted by MARINA last 04-08
November 2019 and the submitted course packages to the MARINA
Central Office on 21 February 2020 complying the above-mentioned
Meanwhile, the other five
(5) courses in need of re-accreditation are scheduled for
re-inspection by MARINA to verify full compliance of the equipment
and facilities on 24-28 February 2020 namely: Basic Training (BT),
Refresher Course on Basic Training (RBT), Advance Fire Fighting (AFF),
Refresher Course on Advanced Fire Fighting (RAFF), and Ratings
Forming Part of a Watch in a Manned Engine-room or designated to
Perform Duties in a Periodically Unmanned Engine room (RFPNW).
Adherent to its priority
thrust on the quality, accessibility and relevance of training
programs and the responsiveness of its maritime researches, NMP
continues to upgrade its facilities and provide maritime trainings
required pursuant to the STCW Convention as amended in 2010
including value-adding courses towards improving the qualifications
of Filipino seafarers for their employment acceptability and
enhanced competitiveness. It also regularly conducts maritime
studies to come up with policies for the improvement of the manpower
sector of the industry.
Moreover, those interested
in NMP research undertakings may visit the NMP website (www.nmp.gov.ph)
and access the e-Research Information System Portal which is
designed to disseminate NMP completed researches, present the
Research Agenda and engage the industry stakeholders to collaborate
in the research activities.
For more information about
NMP trainings viewers may visit the agency’s facebook page (www.facebook.com/nmptrainingcenter)
where all related information on NMP trainings are available.
Likewise, for shortlisting on preferred training schedules, please
visit verify.nmp.gov.ph or download the NMP App on Google Play
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
NMP & PCGA
strengthen its tie-up
February 23, 2020
TACLOBAN CITY – The
National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) and Philippine Coast Guard
Auxiliary (PCGA) continue to strengthen its tie-up as the NMP
Executive Director, Joel B. Maglunsod was inducted as a new member
of the PCGA under the PCGA 11Ost Auxiliary Squadron last 09 February
2020 held at the NMP Maritime Training Annex Building, Cabalawan,
The said induction was led
by the Philippine Coast Guard District Eastern Visayas (CGDEV) Commo
Normando D Reyes PCG. It also highlighted the promotion of selected
NMP employees as officers of the PCGA.
Noteworthy that the
cooperation of NMP & PCGA started since 2012 as several NMP
employees were appointed to services of the PCGA per PCGDEV General
Orders Number 01 dated 24 April 2012. In the same manner, other
Directors of NMP were also members of the said auxiliary.
Similarly, on NMP's
conduct of Basic Safety Training for Motorboat Handlers/Operators
and Fisherfolks with Typhoon Preparedness (BSTMHOF) in coordination
with Local Government Units (LGU), the PCG acts as Resource Person/s
on topics: Debriefing and Marine Environment Protection that would
promote safety of life and property at sea.
Consequently, aligned with
the same mission of preserving the marine environment, NMP offers
the Consolidated Marine Pollution (MARPOL) 73/78, an STCW Mandated
course which discusses ways in minimizing pollution of the oceans
and seas including dumping, oil and air pollution among others.
Also in the objective to
provide officers and crew onboard the proper operation of the Oily
Water Separator (OWS), the said course is also offered by NMP to
ensure the preservation of the marine environment through the
complete elimination of pollution by oil per MARPOL regulations.
Through the years, the NMP
& PCGA tie-up preserved the vision and mission of the auxiliary – to
enhance coastal community relations and preserve the marine
environment through the conduct of coastal clean-up in various
places of the region and other activities adherent to being reliable
partners of the PCG.
The PCGA is a uniformed,
voluntary, non-government, non-political, service-oriented
organization established on 09 February 1972 whose membership adhere
to naval customs and traditions; to its organizational structure and
its own chain of leadership and management parallel to the PCG.
Further, the PCGA was
officially recognized under Section 11 of Republic Act Number 9993,
otherwise known as the PCG Law of 2009.
CARD SME Bank and
its digital banking transformation
February 20, 2020
SAN PABLO CITY –
The CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) has always
been an advocate of financial inclusion. Throughout the years, it
has been providing Filipinos from the low-income sector with access
to financial services. As CARD MRI continues to explore new
innovations to reach the goal of poverty eradication, its thrift
bank – CARD SME Bank – is undergoing digital transformation to
provide reliable banking services.
Late last year, CARD SME
Bank introduced to its clients the konek2CARD mobile application
where they can do hassle-free banking transactions with the use of
android phones. Through this app, clients can monitor their savings
account, transfer funds, pay loans, check their transaction history,
and view mini statement, anytime and anywhere.
They can also do
self-initiated withdrawals from its Digital Cash Machine (DCM)
installed in their bank premises via a QR Code generated by the app.
A digital cash machine is a proprietary machine provided by the bank
for its clients.
Clients can also pay their
loans and withdraw their savings through konek2CARD agents located
in their barangays.
According to CARD SME Bank
President and CEO Aristeo A. Dequito, transforming the mindset of
people from traditional banking towards technology is difficult, but
the institution’s determination to provide its clients better
banking experiences is their utmost priority. This makes changing
the outlook of its clients in its digitalization efforts a top
“We know that introducing
a new technology may be challenging, but we assure them that these
innovations are of highest integrity and user-friendly. Our efforts
are now paying off as our clients are experiencing the efficiency of
these services,” said Dequito.
Digital banking through konek2CARD and Digital Cash Machine
Said CARD SME Bank client
Josefina Carpio, “konek2CARD initiative is really a good development
for the clients of the bank. Withdrawals are done faster. Another
good thing about konek2CARD is its convenient features like adding
mobile top-ups. We always have our smartphones with us anywhere we
go and konek2CARD is very convenient when we forget our ledgers or
ATM cards. We can always access our savings account, anytime and
anywhere. This mobile application is also very user-friendly.”
Carpio also encourages
other clients to use the mobile app for easier banking transactions.
The bank is initially
offering this service to its clients who are residing in
hard-to-reach areas to provide them access to their accounts and do
other transactions without going to the bank.
“Through these digital
transformations, CARD SME Bank clients can now work smarter as they
experience more efficient banking services,” said Dequito. These
digital revolutions can help clients decrease cost by not regularly
going to the bank and be more productive.
Its clients are more
satisfied with the fast and competent services rendered by the
“Through these efforts,
CARD SME Bank is pushing for digital financial inclusivity for all
so everyone can have access to affordable financial products and
services of CARD MRI,” Dequito concluded.
from left: PCol. Julius M. Coyme, Provincial Director, BPPO
lead the dropping of time capsule together with Hon. Brigido
Caneja III, Vice-Governor, Engr. Warlito Alagao, Proprietor
of W.B. Alagao Construction, Mr. Jesus Naquila, Provincial
Director DILG Biliran, Alfredo L. Bollido, Assistant
District Engineer of DPWH-Biliran DEO, PCol. Arnel Apud,
Regional Logistics, Research and Development Division and
PMaj. Aspiro Badiola, OIC, Regional Engineering Unit during
the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Biliran
Provincial Police Office Building on February 18, 2020 at
Brgy. Larrazabal, Naval, Biliran.
PNP, DPWH lead
the groundbreaking ceremony for new Biliran Provincial Police Office
February 20, 2020
NAVAL, Biliran –
The Philippine National Police (PNP) Biliran Provincial Police
Office (BPPO) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DEO)
Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) lead the groundbreaking
ceremony for the new BPPO building on February 18, 2020 at Brgy.
Larrazabal, Naval Biliran.
“The new building is an
upgraded version of a standard police office building where the men
and women of BPPO will be housed to have more decent and presentable
police office,” said Police Colonel (PCol) Julius M. Coyme,
Provincial Director, BPPO.
Coyme revealed that the
construction of new building was realized because the assessment
conducted to the existing BPPO building tells that the building is
unstable for occupancy after the earthquake on April 23, 2018.
A total of P24.15M was
allotted by the DPWH in convergence with the PNP for the
construction of the three-storey new building which is expected to
be completed on November 06, 2020.
“The construction of this
new PNP building is a manifestation that BPPO is finally ready to
provide the public with the quality of service they rightfully
deserve,” said PCol. Marvin Manuel Pepino, Deputy Regional Director
for Administration in his speech delivered by PCol. Arnel Apud.
According to Pepino, the
new building will not only serve as a mere structure but it will
also signify as an avenue for community partnership and
“Having a conducive
workplace embedded with fully functional facilities is not only
bringing comfort for the personnel who will utilize such. It is also
highlighting the idea that the whole community will benefit in this
progressive cause,” Pepino said.
The ground breaking
ceremony was led by PCol Julius M. Coyme, Provincial Director, BPPO,
Alfredo Bollido, Assistant District Engineer for and in behalf of
David Adongay Jr., District Engineer of DPWH-Biliran DEO, Hon.
Brigido Caneja III, Vice-Governor representing Hon. Rogelio Espina,
Governor, Engr. Warlito Alagao, Proprietor of W.B. Alagao
Construction, Mr. Jesus Naquila, Provincial Director DILG Biliran,
PCol. Arnel Apud, Regional Logistics, Research and Development
Division and PMaj. Aspiro Badiola, OIC, Regional Engineering Unit.
Senate version of
CITIRA to help remove investor uncertainty - DTI chief
February 20, 2020
PASAY – Department
of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the tax
reform bill endorsed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee is a
well-balanced approach to the corporate tax reform and helps remove
the uncertainty of foreign investors.
On 19 February, Senator
Pia Cayetano sponsored Senate Bill No. 1357 also known as the
Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization (CITIRA).
Senator Cayetano, who heads the committee, is optimistic that the
Senate would approve the bill on final reading by March 13.
“DTI would like to thank
Senator Pia for sponsoring a bill that could create a better
investment climate for the greater majority. We think that this is a
well-balanced bill that enhances the incentives but will ensure
investment performance and efficiencies, with a systematic way of
rationalizing incentives,” said Sec. Lopez in a press conference.
“We appreciate this
version of the bill, and we hope for the immediate passing of the
bill to remove uncertainties and the wait-and-see attitude of
investors. We are now pushing for the passage of the bill to resume
the growth momentum of the country,” he added.
The CITIRA Bill, which
seeks to lower income tax rate from 30% to 20%, and modernize the
tax incentive system, is a priority bill of President Rodrigo R.
Since a bill on
rationalizing tax incentives was first proposed in 1995, the
Department of Finance (DOF) and DTI have urged Congress to finally
make this crucial reform happen.
“After a series of
consultations and meetings with various members of the government,
business community, and academe, and thorough consideration of the
sensitivities of key stakeholders, the new bill offers a more
reasonable transition period and one that gives recognition to high
performing investments such as being 100% exportation, or 10,000
jobs created or being in a highly competitive footloose industries”,
said Sec. Lopez.
Through the CITIRA, the
Philippines’ corporate income tax rate will be gradually reduced
from 30% to 20% over the next ten years, not far from the 17 to 25%
of its neighboring ASEAN countries.
The bill prioritizes
incentives of business activities that generate local employment,
promote development, innovation, high technology projects and
agribusiness, as well as those that invest in less developed areas
or communities recovering from disasters and conflicts.
The incentives provided
will be in accordance with the principles based on international
good practices to make it performance-based, targeted, time-bound,
construction of access road leading to Bagongbong falls in
Brgy. Caucab, Almeria, Biliran under FY 2019 implementation.
Access road to
Bagongbong Falls in Almeria, Biliran, 90% done
February 19, 2020
NAVAL, Biliran –
The on-going construction of access road at Brgy. Caucab in Almeria
town will pave a better road for local and foreign tourists going to
Bagongbong Falls when completed.
The Department of Public
Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office
reports 90% completion of the said project under FY 2019
implementation as of January 31, 2019 [sic].
The said project entails
the construction of a 0.51-kilometer two lane road concreting
including drainage structure at Brgy. Caucab road proper going to
Brgy. Upper Look with a contact amount of P18.7M.
David P. Adongay Jr.,
District Engineer said that the project is a multi-year
implementation from Fiscal Year (FY) 2018- 2020 in convergence with
the Department of Tourism (DOT) with a total length of
3.80-kilometer two lane road.
Under 2018 implementation,
the district office has already completed the 1.656-kilometer
two-lane road concreting from proper road of Brgy. Caucab going to
Bagongbong falls amounting to P44.7M.
Adongay revealed the
remaining 1.63-kilometer two-lane road concrete paving for FY 2020
implementation will be undertaken by the DPWH Regional Office with
an appropriation amount of P63.38M. The project will continue from
Brgy. Caucab road proper going to Brgy. Upper Look.
The road project also
leads to several agricultural farms in Brgy. Caucab including one of
the most visited mountain resort in the place which is the Bethany
When completed, not only
the tourists, but also the residents and farmers will benefit this
road project,” said Adongay.
“From a bumpy and narrow
existing concrete road, they can enjoy a wider and convenient travel
and safer transport of their farm-produced goods,” Adongay added.
6-classroom facility replaces old school building in San Joaquin CES,
CHENZI MAY UY
February 18, 2020
CALBAYOG CITY –
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), through its
convergence program with the Department of Education (DepEd), has
upgraded a dilapidated single-storey school building to a
two-storey, six-classroom learning facility in San Joaquin Central
Elementary School (SJCES) in Calbayog City.
The school building
project has an allocation of P18.57 million funded by the Basic
Educational Facilities Fund CY 2018 - Batch 3.
School Principal Michael
Pernia expressed his gratitude towards DepEd and DPWH for choosing
SJCES as a beneficiary of the school building program. “The
construction of this school building is very necessary [and] urgent
to San Joaquin, especially that this building has wide CRs and
spacious classrooms that follow specifications for the standard
classroom size,” Pernia said.
The new building is
currently occupied by Grades 1 and 2, consisting of around 210
students. With an average classroom size of 35, the young learners
of SJCES sit comfortably during class and focus better on their
The rest of the students
in SJCES are occupying decades-old, Marcos-type buildings, some of
which are already subject for demolition. The school principal hopes
for these other structures to also be upgraded in the future, in
order to provide a safe and conducive learning environment for all
of their learners.
ACT calls for
release of nationwide reading inventory report
February 18, 2020
QUEZON CITY – Amid
reports on the reading proficiency issues of pupils in Bicol, the
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines calls on the
Department of Education (DepEd) to make public the detailed report
of the reading inventory done by the Philippine Informal Reading
Inventory (Phil-IRI) in every region nationwide. The group said that
DepEd Sec. Leonor Briones ‘could be right in saying that reports on
struggling readers in Bicol is unfair for the Bicolanos as the
situation could be true in the whole of the country, or worse in
poorer regions and localities.’
“Especially as our call
for the review of the K-12 program has finally gained attention from
the government, all indicators should be laid down to have an honest
assessment of our educational system. The development of our
students is a national concern,” said Joselyn Martinez, ACT
Martinez advised the
education agency ‘not to be onion-skinned’ on the issue and
truthfully identify and address the factors that contribute to the
declining quality of Philippine education if it is sincere in its
‘no learner left behind’ slogan. She also warned against the
‘simplistic’ tendency to put the blame on the teachers’ capabilities
and dedication to teach pupils how to read, but to look at the whole
Congested K-12 Curriculum
Martinez raised the
practical problem of less time allocated to honing the reading
skills of students with the inclusion of more learning areas in the
Grades 1 and 2 curriculum of the K to 12 program, compared to past
education curricula implemented in the country. Under the K to 12
program, 40 to 50 minutes is allocated for each of the 7 subject
areas compared to 1 hour for each of the 5 subjects before.
“Our primary education
teachers lament of insufficient class hours dedicated to honing the
reading skills of students, which they are compelled to make up by
conducting special reading classes outside of regular class hours.
Unlike before where primary education gives significant attention to
the 3Rs—reading, writing, and arithmetic,” Martinez shared.
She said that teachers
have little elbow room to make adjustments based on the learners’
needs as the DepEd sets the daily lesson log, budget of work for
each subject everyday, and competencies that students are expected
to acquire, based on which teachers’ performance is evaluated.
Amidst these, Martinez said that DepEd further presses teachers to
be “more innovative and sacrificing.”
“Yet, teachers are made to
carry the brunt of this weakness in the curriculum as we are obliged
to work extra hours for special reading classes on school days and
even during summer vacation,” Martinez lamented.
Martinez also stressed the
many government deficiencies in creating an enabling working and
learning environment for teachers and pupils as hindrances to
developing the reading competency of learners. She cited the large
class size and inadequate textbooks and other learning materials as
contributory to their difficulties in teaching pupils how to read.
“With years of the
government’s failure to fill in the shortages in the educational
system, the teachers carry everyday the burden of ensuring that ‘no
learner is left behind,’” said Martinez.
ACT also noted that with K
to 12 implementation came a host of paperworks and non-teaching
duties that take teachers away from their focus in teaching, while
teachers’ compensation does not measure to the volume and value of
“They always say that
quality education necessitates quality teachers. How can we have
quality teachers if they were always interrupted in their primary
focus and are not given quality pay?” asked Martinez.
Assessing K-12 from the
ACT pushed for an
inclusive and comprehensive assessment of the K to 12 program that
would involve the participation of teachers, students, and parents.
“The DepEd and Congress
should be as keen in involving the very sectors that tackle the K to
12 program daily as they engage experts and the business sector in
the K to 12 review,” asserted Martinez.
She said that teachers and
parents alike are “very much concerned with what and how we train
our students as the future of our children and our nation is what’s
ACT pushes for the
reorientation and overhaul of the current education program towards
a nationalist, scientific, and quality mass education that is
responsive to the needs of national development.
meets 2020 with 2.0% inflation rate
February 18, 2020
TACLOBAN CITY –
Eastern Visayas met 2020 with a 2.0 percent Inflation Rate (IR).
This IR is 0.5 percentage point higher compared with the 1.5 percent
IR in December 2019, but 2.0 percentage points lower than the
recorded 4.0 percent IR in the same period last year.
The regional IR is 0.9
percentage point lower than the 2.9 percent national average
inflation rate in January 2020.
All provinces in the
region registered higher inflation rates in January 2020 compared
with their figures in December 2019, except for Leyte, which had
retained its previous month’s inflation rate at 2.1 percent.
Northern Samar recorded the highest increase of 1.4 percentage
points, from 0.8 percent IR in December 2019 to 2.2 percent IR in
January 2020. The rest of the provinces registered increases ranging
from 0.2 percentage point to 1.2 percentage points. Southern Leyte
posted the lowest IR at 1.0 percent. Eastern Samar and Northern
Samar, meanwhile, recorded the highest IR during the month in review
at 2.2 percent.
Majority of the commodity
groups in the region exhibited higher IRs in January 2020 compared
with their rates in December 2019. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
commodity group registered the biggest increase of 1.6 percentage
points, from 7.2 percent in December 2019 to 8.8 percent in January
2020. This can be attributed to the significant increase in the
index for tobacco to a double-digit inflation rate of 11.2 percent
in January 2020 from 8.9 percent in December 2019.
The heavily weighted food
and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group increased to 1.1 percent
in January 2020 from 0.2 percent IR in December 2019. Higher IRs
were noted in majority of the all food items. Fish index registered
the highest increase of 2.5 percentage points, from 6.5 percent in
December 2019 to 9.0 percent in January 2020. Rice and bread and
cereals indices continued to register deflations but at slower rate
of 5.2 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.
IR for Transport commodity
group increased by 0.7 percentage point, from 4.1 percent in
December 2019 to 4.8 percent in January 2020. This can be attributed
to faster annual price hike in the index for operation of personal
transport equipment, from 10.5 percent in December 2019 to 14.6
percent in January 2020.
The commodity groups of
clothing and footwear, and housing, water, electricity, gas and
other fuels registered 0.2 percentage point increase in their IRs,
posting IRs at 3.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, during the
miscellaneous goods and service commodity group inched up by 0.1
percentage point pushing its IR to 5.0 percent in January 2020.
On the other hand,
inflation rate for furnishings, household equipment and routine
maintenance of the house commodity group decreased by 0.4 percentage
point, from 5.7 percent in December 2019 to 5.3 percent in January
2020. This can be attributed to the lower inflation rate on goods
and services for routine household maintenance, from 6.7 percent in
December 2019 to 6.1 percent during the month in review.
health; recreation and culture; and communication commodity groups
retained their previous month’s inflation rates at 5.3 percent, 1.6
percent, 1.4 percent, and 1.2 percent, respectively.
The Purchasing Power of
Peso (PPP) of the region was recorded at P0.79 in January 2020. This
PPP implies that the goods and services worth P79.00 in 2012 is
worth P100.00 in January 2020.
The PPPs in all provinces
in the region weakened by P0.01 in January 2020 compared with their
figures in December 2019, except for Eastern Samar, which had
sustained its PPP at P0.76. Biliran, Leyte and Southern Leyte
recorded the strongest PPP at P0.81, followed by Eastern Samar at
P0.76. Northern Samar and Samar posted the weakest PPP at P0.74.
construction of Almeria bypass Road at Pob. Almeria, Biliran.
This is a multi-year project from 2018-2019 with a total
amount of P104,009,000.00. It involves the construction of
1.262 km. four (4) lanes roadway, 20.0 ln.m Bridge (4 lanes)
and slope protection to include payment of Road Right of
to implement P1B for FY 2020 infra projects
February 14, 2020
NAVAL, Biliran –
P1B is allocated to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
Biliran District Engineering Office for the implementation of
various infrastructure projects in Biliran.
David P. Adongay Jr.,
District Engineer said the district office will implement a total of
75 projects this year based on the approved General Appropriations
Act (GAA) of FY 2020 DPWH Infrastructure Program.
According to Adongay,
P265.5M is allocated for the construction of slope protection
structures, asphalt overlay and reconstruction/ upgrading of damaged
paved roads, all under the Asset preservation Program.
Under the Network
Development Program, two road widening projects along Biliran
Circumferential Road will be implemented this year with a total
amount of P80M.
Meanwhile, P160M under the
Flood Management Program has been allocated for the construction and
rehabilitation of eight flood control projects.
The district office will
also implement a total of P160M under the Convergence and Special
Support Program. P85M is allocated for the construction of two
access roads leading to tourism destinations in convergence with the
Department of Tourism (DOT), one access road leading to trades and
industry worth P50M in convergence with the Department of Trades and
Industry (DTI), and one construction of Biliran Provincial Police
Office Building in convergence with the Philippine National Police
amounting to P25M.
Biliran DEO will also
implement a total of P400.8M for the implementation of various
infrastructure projects under the Local Infrastructure Program. This
includes the construction/upgrading of school buildings,
rehabilitation and construction of flood control structures and
seawalls, construction of multi-purpose buildings and construction/
rehabilitation of local roads and bridges.
Last year, the district
Office has been allotted with a budget amount of P1.2B for the
implementation of 92 projects.
According to Adongay, poor
performance of contractors also affects the performance of the DEO
in terms of physical accomplishment and disbursement.
“We cannot deny the fact
that there are big projects, undertaken by contractors, who cannot
immediately perform their obligations and commitments,” said Adongay.
“We are hoping that for
this year, those challenges should not happen again as we would be
operating under the Cash Based Budgeting Program,” he added.
Under the new budgeting
system of the department, the validity of fund is only good up to
one year. This means that contractors must finish their project
within the year.
road widening project along Biliran Circumferential Road (Brgy.
Busali to Brgy. Bato, Biliran, Biliran). As of January 31,
2019, the project is on-going with 74.65%.
widening projects to be implemented in Biliran
February 14, 2020
NAVAL, Biliran –
Two road widening projects amounting to P80M is up for
implementation this year according to District Engineer David P.
The Department of Public
Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO)
has prioritized the implementation of this project under its Road
Network Development Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.
According to Adongay, this
project is to be implemented along Biliran Circumferential Road (BCR).
One at Brgy. Bato in Biliran town with a length of 1.6-kilometer
worth P42.92M and one at Brgy. Cabibihan to Brgy. Mainit Villa
Vicenta in Caibiran town with a length of 1.27-kilometer worth
The project entails the
widening of road from two lanes to four lanes including drainage
“This is highly
prioritized because it is the district’s major road going to and
from Mainland Leyte,” said Adongay.
The completion of this
project will increase the capacity of the existing roads and
improves the safety aspect of said sections. This road also leads to
the only Provincial Hospital and Port of the Province.
By early part of 2019, the
District has widened 12.973 kilometers of existing road. The bridges
of the District are already permanent with two bridges along BCR
already widened with additional two lanes.
“It is the vision of the
district to widen the entire existing concrete roads within the Road
Network of Biliran Province in accordance with the DPWH National
Standards by phases”, said Adongay.
P24M TUPAD funds
to benefit 5,375 Leyteños
NORMA RAE S. COSTIMIANO
February 11, 2020
TACLOBAN CITY – The
Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office VIII through its
North Leyte Field Office awarded to nine (9) municipalities of the
second district of Leyte Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating
Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) funds amounting to a total
of P24,160,731.00 last February 5, 2020 at Haiyan Resort Hotel in
Congresswoman Lolita Karen
T. Javier of the 2nd District of Leyte graced the turn-over ceremony
together with DOLE Regional Director Yahya A. Centi and NLFO
Officer-in-Charge Norman L. Uyvico. Mayors of the recipient
municipalities were likewise present to personally receive the
municipalities are the recipients of the TUPAD funds: Jaro, Dulag,
Capoocan, Julita, Pastrana, Barugo, Tunga, Dagami and Burauen. A
total of 5,375 disadvantaged workers from the said municipalities
are to benefit from the emergency employment assistance. These
workers will be employed for the implementation of projects which
will include declogging of canals and clean up drive in their
Director Centi in his
opening remarks committed to remain relentless in pursuing the
mandate of DOLE.
“As your fellow public
servant, I assure you that the government is doing its part in
sending help where help is needed. We at DOLE are working so hard
for all of you and this TUPAD program is just one of DOLE’s ways to
extend assistance to the community and eventually pursue our given
mandate”, said Director Centi.
Meanwhile, Cong. Javier,
aside from expressing her sincere thanks to DOLE for the strong
commitment to assist the second district of Leyte, likewise
emphasized that she will continue to remain dedicated for the good
of her fellow Leyteños.
“I would like to thank
DOLE for being so active in helping us have this TUPAD projects come
to reality. It is indeed comforting to know that we have this kind
of partnership centered on delivering excellent service. As your
representative, I would like to inform you that mañana habit is not
in our vocabulary. We will work together for the good of my fellow
Leyteños”, said Javier.
TUPAD is a community-based
package of assistance that provides emergency employment for a
minimum period of 10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days,
depending on the nature of work to be performed. (with reports from Gemma D. de la Cruz)
amendments to anti-terror law, a steep descent to martial rule in PH
February 11, 2020
QUEZON CITY – Human
rights group Karapatan today submitted its position paper to the
House of Representatives Committee on Public Order and Safety
regarding the six House bills which seek to amend the Republic Act
9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007, during the committee’s
hearing on the proposed measures.
“If enacted in Congress,
the said amendments will pave the way for the steep and mad descent
towards martial law in the Philippines. The proposed draconian
measures will ensure the throwback to the Marcosian era, enabling
the wholesale disregard of human and people’s rights enshrined in
the 1987 Constitution. These proposals are severely inconsistent
with international human rights standards including the right to due
process, against unlimited detention of suspects, rights to free
speech and expression, right to peaceably assemble and petition the
government for redress of grievances, right to freedom of
association, the right of human rights defenders to promote and
protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, right to mobility and
against unjust and cruel punishment,” said Karapatan Secretary
General Cristina Palabay.
According to Karapatan,
House Bill Nos. 551, 2082, 2847, 3103, 3413, and 5710, authored by
Reps. Rozzano Rufino Biazon, Jericho Jonas Nograles, Luis Raymund
Villafuerte Jr., Michael Romero, Jocelyn Tulfo, Eric Yap, Rowena
Nina Taduran, and Lianda Bolilia, will “worsen the provisions of
this already monstrous piece of legislation in furtherance of legal
repressive measures that are in sync with the brand of state
repression that the current administration employs.”
In their position paper,
Karapatan noted the questionable provisions in the said bills, which
includes among others:
a. The removal of all
provisions and language on the duty and obligations of the State
under international law to protect people from terrorist acts in a
manner that is consistent to and that respects and promotes human
b. The iteration and
expansion of the already vague and overly broad definitions of
terrorism and acts of terrorism that threaten the rights of
individuals and the exercise of the rights of human rights defenders
and the people’s rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and
association, to seek redress of grievances and to be involved or to
take part in public affairs;
c. The reinstatement of
the death penalty, in direct violation of the Second Optional
Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, and institutionalization of disproportionate, cruel and
unjust punishment of life imprisonment and prison terms;
d. Gross implications on
the right to due process and the right to privacy on provisions
regarding surveillance of suspected terrorists including those that
imply that even upon mere suspicion, any individual may be subject
to electronic or physical surveillance and to scrutiny of personal
communications by law enforcement and worse, military personnel who
have time and again conducted surveillance activities against
activists that resulted to extrajudicial killings, torture and other
e. Gross violations on the
right against illegal and arbitrary detention, torture and to cruel
and degrading treatment in proposed provisions, and the removal of
provisions in pertaining to rights of detained persons and against
f. Removal of provisions
providing penalties and/or lowering of penalties for State
authorities who violate basic civil and political rights of persons,
including those that pertain to the failure of police or law
enforcement official to notify the person subject of surveillance,
monitoring, interception and recording; failure to notify in writing
the persons subject of the surveillance; violations on the rights of
detained persons and against torture; and damages for unproven
charge of terrorism is proposed to be repealed; and
g. Violations of
international instruments pertaining to protection of sources and
whistleblowers in provisions pertaining to unauthorized revelation
of classified materials and arrest of unwilling material witness.
Karapatan also noted that
enactment of the said proposals is meant “to institutionalize not
only the notorious National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed
Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) transformed into the Anti-Terrorism Council,
but also its “whole of nation approach,” a paradigm and approach
that has been criticized as militarist and corrupt.”
The human rights group,
meanwhile expressed full support for House Bill No. 0482, repealing
RA 9372, filed by the Makabayan Bloc led by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos
Position Paper on the Proposed Amendments to
the Human Security Act of 2007
L to R: Congressman DV Savellano, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez,
and DA Secretary William Dar.
gets boost from government and private sector
February 10, 2020
QUEZON CITY –
Government and private sector stakeholders converge to support the
bamboo industry during the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development
Council meeting (PBDIC) on 6 February.
As Chair of the Bamboo
industry council, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary
Ramon Lopez reported that various agencies like the Departments of
Agriculture, Environment, Local Government, and Trade are aligning
their various programs and connecting the dots in the value chain of
the bamboo industry. These programs include from tissue culture, and
planting materials developed by DA to plant propagation and greening
program of DENR, to processing, product development and design and
marketing by DTI.
organizations and advocacy groups will likewise merge their
activities into the council’s programs. Moreover, being an
agribusiness activity, located at the countryside, Lopez added that
these activities are included in the Board of Investments BOI
investment priorities plan or IPP that can enjoy incentives. The
PBDIC is now also heavily supported by the House Deputy Speaker DV
Savellano, being a staunch Bamboo advocate for years.
“The DENR’s National
Greening program is targeting to plant 19,000 hectares of bamboo
nationwide" said Sec. Lopez.
Department of Agriculture
(DA) Secretary William Dar also expressed support for this effort in
turning bamboo crops into an investment opportunity. Sec. Dar
recently approved DTI’s request of including bamboo as a high-value
crop. DA encourages farmers to plant high-value crops like mango,
banana, coffee, and cacao as they are expected to generate more
"With bamboo as a
high-value crop, we can undertake various interventions that include
research, processing and value-adding, and budgetary support,
complementing the programs and projects of the PBIDC," said Sec.
Bamboo takes only three
years to fully grow as compared to 10 to 20 years for wood trees.
The plant can be used as construction materials, as well as
furniture and paper-making, among others, providing a good
livelihood source for a community.
Sec. Lopez shared that
investments are welcome at all stages of the value chain from
nurseries to design studios. Both secretaries also promoted the use
of modern technology to quickly propagate and process the plant.
Secretary Dar meanwhile encouraged the participation of big
businesses to partner and help the small farmers, to make the
project more competitive and profitable.
PBDIC Vice-Chair and
Ilocos Sur Representative Savellano shared that the bills filed are
to institutionalize the PBDIC and these are now being discussed at
the 18th Congress. He also committed to push the bill at the
Senate Bill 524, proposed
by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, aims to make bamboo a main export
product by creating the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development
Roadmap and the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council to
provide the overall policy and program directions, and coordinate
the activities of the public and private sectors.
The council will have an
official launch to promote the bamboo industry. The campaign will be
named 5K: Kawayan, Kalikasan, Kabuhayan, Kaunlaran, Kinabukasan.
questions integrity, independence of Tacloban judge who signed off
on questionable search, arrests vs Tacloban 5
February 10, 2020
QUEZON CITY – In a
press conference in Quezon City today, human rights group Karapatan
questioned the integrity and independence of Judge Eligio Petilla of
the Regional Trial Court Branch 44 in Tacloban City, who issued the
search warrants effecting the highly questionable search and arrests
of five human rights defenders last February 7, 2020.
“We have been wary of
judges who facilitate the use of their courts for the judicial
harassment of human rights defenders. Are they, in any way, related
to executive officials who have been brazenly implementing Executive
Order No. 70? Will their signing off on the supposed search warrants
in the offices of these organizations result in juicier posts like
those magistrates who have done the same?,” said Karapatan Secretary
General Cristina Palabay.
Karapatan observed that
one officer of the court have been “rewarded” with a Supreme Court
post after dismissing a petition for the privilege of the writs of
amparo and habeas data filed by three non-government organizations
last year, while another one is in the running as a Duterte-endorse
nominee for a Court of Appeals seat after issuing similar search
warrants in October last year, when raids and arrests were also
conducted by the police and military in Negros and Manila.
“Whether they have done
this to further their careers or out of fear or out of political
pressure, the effects are damning – the political persecution of
activists and actual harm on their lives, security and liberty.
These judges should be ashamed of themselves,” Karapatan said.
Five activists – Alexander
Philip Abinguna of Katungod Sinirangang Bisayas – Karapatan, Mira
Legion of Bayan, climate justice activist Marissa Cabaljao of
People’s Surge, humanitarian worker Mariell Domequill of the Rural
Missionaries of the Philippines and journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio –
were arrested during dawn raids by the Philippine National Police in
Tacloban City by virtue of Petilla’s search warrants. Karapatan
asserts that the supposed evidence, which includes several firearms
and explosives materiel, were planted.
“How circumspect has the
judge been in personally determining the veracity of reports on the
existence of such firearms and explosives in the officers? Did he
look for other witnesses, other than the police officers or military
intelligence agents who may have reported to him?,” Palabay asked.
Karapatan noted that the
planting of evidence by police and military officials have laid the
pretext for the filing of false charges of illegal possession of
firearms and explosives against activists resulting in their long
incarceration. “There is always presumption of regularity on police
and military operations, despite questions on their integrity and
adherence to human rights principles. Courts who rubber-stamp such
operations should be similarly be doubted,” she averred.
“This case further
illustrates the lack of independence of the judiciary in the
Philippines, and that all domestic mechanisms of redress, including
the courts, have been transformed into factories of trumped up
charges and platforms of political persecution of social activists
and political dissenters,” Palabay added.
A national solidarity and
fact finding mission led by Karapatan is slated in Leyte today, as
the inquest proceedings for the five activists are also scheduled
“We reiterate our call for
the immediate and unconditional release of the Tacloban 5 and all
political prisoners in the Philippines. We likewise demand the
abolition of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed
Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which is responsible for such rights
violations,” Palabay concluded.
190 new Eastern
Visayas candidate soldiers take oath to serve the country
DPAO, 8ID PA
February 7, 2020
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan,
Samar – A total of 190 new Candidate Soldiers of the Philippine
Army took their oath of duty and service to the country in a simple
opening ceremony held at the Army’s 8th Infantry Division Grandstand
in Catbalogan City, Samar on Friday morning February 7, 2020.
The oath taking rite of
the mostly Eastern Visayas-based applicants was immediately followed
by the opening of the Philippine Army Candidate Soldier Course Class
633 - 2020 by Brig. Gen. Ramil M. Bitong AFP, Assistant Division
Commander of 8ID as the keynote speaker in the presence of the
candidate soldiers’ love ones; officers, enlisted personnel and
civilian employees of the Stormtroopers Division. The six-month
course is expected to transform and mold the new recruits from being
“boys” into “men” of duty, honor and patriotism.
During his inspirational
message, Hon. Reynolds Michael T. Tan, Governor, Province of Samar
said, “I am one with you, sa lahat ng endeavors ng Philippine Army.
We have always been and we will always be one with you especially
now that EO 70 is in place, na dapat tayo magsama-sama, the local
leadership, the local government units at kayo na nasa Army, na tayo
ay magsama-sama na tapusin na ang communist insurgency dito sa Samar.”
Brig. Gen. Bitong in his
remarks assured the candidate soldiers’ parents that their sons,
after the training will be competent and disciplined soldiers,
“Today you are to leave your previous lifestyle, your comfort zones
and learn to live the level of discipline and courtesy expected from
“Sa mga magulang, maraming
salamat na ipinagkatiwala ninyo ang inyong mga anak lalo na dito sa
8th Infantry Division. Sinuportahan ninyo sila hanggang sa kanilang
paglaki at nawa’y patuloy ninyo silang suportahan lalong-lalo na’t
simula ngayon sila ay magiging mga sundalo,” Bitong added.
The 190 candidate soldiers
came from different provinces all over the country: Samar-135;
Leyte-43; Iloilo-1; Cebu-2; Negros Oriental-1; Luzon-2 and
Mindanao-6 with the following education profile: 68 college
graduates; 45 college level; 4 vocational graduates; 25 senior high
school graduates and 46 high school graduates with special skills
from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
After completing and passing the rigid training, the Candidate
Soldiers will then be enlisted into the Philippine Army with the
rank of Private.
officer of communist terrorist group arrested in Tacloban City
DPAO, 8ID PA
February 7, 2020
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan,
Samar – Executive Order 70's Joint AFP-PNP law enforcement
operations led to the arrest of Frenchie Mae Castro Cumpio @Pen,
Secretary, Regional White Area Committee - Eastern Visayas Regional
Party Committee (RWAC-EVRPC) and four (4) others today, February 7,
2020 in Tacloban City, Leyte.
At about 2 a.m. this
morning, a simultaneous implementation of search warrants were
conducted by joint AFP-PNP in two (2) identified Communist Terrorist
Group (CTG) safe houses within Tacloban City. The warrants (SW No.
2020-02-02 and No. 2020-02-03) for violations of R.A. 10591 or
otherwise known as “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Law on
Firearms and Ammunitions” were issued by Executive Judge Eligio P
Petilla of RTC 44, Tacloban City on 03 February 2020.
The searched houses are
located in Gumamela St, Bañezville II, Fatima Village, Brgy 77,
Tacloban City, Leyte (SW1 # 2020-02-02) and Calanipawan St, Brgy 96
(Calanipawan), Tacloban City, Leyte (SW2 # 2020-02-02). Reports
disclosed that these houses were being maintained by the CTGs of
Eastern Visayas as their safe houses in Tacloban City.
Incidental to the lawful
search, the government security forces arrested the CTG
personalities who were found to have an actual and/or constructive
control and possession of illegal firearms, ammunitions and other
contraband items inside the searched houses.
The CTG personalities were
arrested for violation of RA 10591 or otherwise known as “An Act
Providing for a Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunitions”. The
arrested personalities and the seized illegal items are now under
the custody of PNP Regional Office, Tacloban City, Leyte for
documentation and proper disposition.
Major General Pio Q Diñoso
III, Joint Task Force Storm Commander in his message “Ang
pagkakaaresto kay Frenchie Castro Cumpio at ng kanyang mga kasamahan
ay resulta ng ating pagtutulungan – impormasyon mula sa ating mga
kababayan, teamwork ng ating security forces at suporta ng ating
local na pamahalaan at mga ahensiya”.
“Sinasabuhay na po natin
ang whole-of-nation approach. Ipagpatuloy lang po natin ito at
siguradong marami pa tayong mahuhuli at ma-neutralize na miyembro ng
Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) at sama-sama nating ma-aaccomplish
ang ating mission to end local communist armed conflict dito sa
Eastern Visayas”, Diñoso added.
ProPak; strives for sustainable PH economy through processing and
February 7, 202
MAKATI CITY –
Ensuing the success of last year’s trade exposition, ProPak, the
premiere processing and packaging trade show in Asia, returned to
set up its 2nd edition in the Philippines, at the World Trade Center
Metro Manila, Pasay City last February 5.
Organized by Informa
Markets, with the support of the Department of Trade and Industry
(DTI), Packaging Institute of the Philippines (PIP) and other
government and non-government agencies, ProPak Philippines 2020
flaunts more than 400 exhibitors from 30 countries featuring the
world-class packaging and processing machines, benefiting a wide
range of sectors from food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries.
This three-day trade
exhibit aims to further boost the capability of local packaging
service providers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
DTI has acknowledged the
role of good packaging and processing to Philippine MSMEs in
enhancing their productivity, marketability, profitability and
competitiveness and so introduced various initiatives on product
development such as Pak! Pinas, One Town One Product (OTOP) Next
Gen, and now the promotion of the ProPak Philippines.
“Many of the MSMEs, food
processors, and even non-food, will always be challenged to exhibit
their products well and so we are challenged to find solutions –
maybe integrate these two sectors, the packaging and the MSMEs. So
in 2018, we gave some rounds of packaging gatherings. We created the
Pak! Pinas roadshows in Region 4A as well as in Visayas and
Mindanao, and it gained success. From that time on, we saw the
improvement in the confidence of micro entrepreneurs seeing
developments in their products. Then came the ProPak Philippines and
we’ve seen some its successes already. We hope that this will
continue to get better and better,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
during the ProPak’s launching.
Trade Chief Lopez also
urged the ProPak exhibitors to continuously reach out to MSMEs and
offer affordable packaging technologies.
Through the Regional
Operations Group’s initiative, DTI sent more than 500 MSMEs to
ProPak Asia in Bangkok, Thailand in 2018. Last year, the pioneer
edition of ProPak Philippines reached to a close of 10,000 trade
visitors, and stakeholders.
“DTI vows to continue its
support to ProPak as the Department has seen the huge potential of
the Philippines in the packaging industry and exploring ways to
reach its goal to help the people in this industry through expanding
their knowledge, innovating packaging solutions, and connecting with
the international network of the industry,” said MSME Advocate
Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona.
Lopez reiterated the significant role of MSMEs in sustaining the
economic development of the Philippines, as it continuously
contributes to the employment generation as well as the eradication
of poverty in the country. Through DTI’s efforts, there are now
around 1.5 million registered enterprises in the country.
Gracing the event was also
House Committee Chairman in Commerce and Industry Weslie Gatchalian.
ProPak Philippines 2020
runs through February 5-7, 2020.
DICT intel fund a
backdoor for corruption, civil rights violations - Karapatan
February 5, 2020
QUEZON CITY – Human
rights group Karapatan called for an independent investigation of
the intelligence and confidential funds allocated for all government
agencies, as it slammed the allocation of such funds for the
Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). The
rights group made the statement following the revelations of DICT
Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, who resigned from his post on Monday,
February 3, over anomalies on the use of the department’s
administration is desperate in further militarizing the civilian
bureaucracy by allocating millions of confidential funds for
intelligence and surveillance, even for agencies such as the DICT.
The government is merely opening backdoors for corruption and the
embezzlement of taxpayers’ money rather than properly allocating
these funds for basic social services,” Karapatan secretary general
Cristina Palabay said.
Rio resigned from his post
citing anomalies in the disbursement of the DICT’s funds for
“confidential, intelligence and extraordinary expenses” which he
warned were not subject to regular audit. Under the 2019 national
budget, P400 million worth of confidential and intelligence funds
have been allocated to the DICT. Cash advances from these funds
amounting to P300 million have been released to DICT Secretary
Gringo Honasan toward the end of 2019, without the required notice
of cash allotment from the Department of Budget and Management.
raised by the Commission on Audit deserve to be answered, as a top
department official has already resigned over such anomalies. Where
did this P300 million actually go?” Palabay questioned.
On top of the president’s
own confidential and intelligence funds worth P4.5 billion, the
confidential funds of the DICT doubled to P803 million under this
year’s national budget. Palabay asked further: “If Rio says that the
DICT has no use for such funds since intelligence and surveillance
work are outside the scope of the department’s mandate, then how
come the DICT is receiving millions of pesos for activities that are
outside the scope of its mandate in the first place? Why is the
government funneling millions for the DICT to conduct intelligence
and surveillance work? Is the government propping up the DITC to
weaponize the country’s telecommunications system as part of the
whole-of-nation approach of the government's counterinsurgency
program by having the DICT conduct draconian and illicit
intelligence and surveillance against activists, critics, and
In the 2019 national
budget, at least P8.28 billion had been allocated for confidential
and intelligence funds, almost half of which is with the Office of
the President. The Karapatan official stated that “Rio’s revelation
brings to light that millions and billions of the so-called
confidential and intelligence funds are possibly being misused in
widespread malversation to fund the Duterte regime’s
counterinsurgency program and to fatten his allies’ pockets. The
National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict already
has already been given a whopping P36.439 billion budget for this
year. While the people suffer due to budget cuts on healthcare and
disaster response, the Duterte administration is funneling billions
of pesos to fund its all-out war on the people.”
“Karapatan urges the
Congress to conduct a probe on Rio’s revelations and for more
officials to speak up against government anomalies and corruption.
It has become evident that Duterte’s priority is war and murder, not
the welfare of the Filipino people – and the people will take all
necessary means to hold the fascist regime accountable for its
negligence and crimes against the people,” she ended.
Trainers receiving certificate of completion for a 5-day
training (20-24 January 2020) on Instructor Station
Operation Course using Engine Room Simulator 5000 Techsim v.
NMP acquires new
National Maritime Polytechnic
February 4, 2020
TACLOBAN CITY – At
the core of constant improvements in the National Maritime
Polytechnic’s (NMP) services and facilities is the priority placed
on its clients – the Filipino seafarers. The passion, focus and
determination of the NMP family on creating value are all aimed
towards the wellbeing of the country’s seafarers in the context of
quality, accessible and relevant training.
As part of the Agency’s
thrust in keeping its training services updated and responsive to
the dynamic nature of maritime industry and sustaining the provision
of quality training, NMP pursued the procurement of one (1) unit
Class “A” Full Mission Engine Room Simulator funded from the
insurance proceeds from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)
relative to the destruction brought by the Super Typhoon “Yolanda”
The Full Mission Engine
Room Simulator Version 8.8 is capable of simulating a realistic
environment for competence requirements on engine operations.
Trainees will experience realistic simulation exercises, as mimic
panel and sound system that imitate the different sound of the
machineries and alarms are installed.
The simulator also has an
interactive walk-through functionality that allows trainees to move
around giving a full immersive experience using 3D visualizations of
various compartments in actual ship. It is also able to replicate
the dynamic behavior of the machinery systems and all its vital
parameters as well as the interactions between the sub-systems.
It also has a statement
product quality according to the NK standard for certification of
maritime education and training simulator systems based on the
latest Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW)
requirements and corresponding International Maritime Organization
(IMO) model courses.
As articulated in its
mission, NMP, as the sole government maritime training center of the
country, plays a crucial role in the enhancement of skills and
competencies of Filipino seafarers. Being the government’s maritime
training arm, NMP with the use sophisticated equipment and
facilities, will continue to lead in the country’s efforts of
grooming the Filipino seafarers for them to become the “choice
seafarers” who are globally competent and qualified.
Building a responsive
Maritime Education and Training (MET) is believed to be a sure way
of sustaining the country’s distinction as the No. 1 provider of
seafarers in the world amidst stringent requirements of the STCW
2010 Manila Amendments.
NMP, as a maritime
training and research agency, remains on guard for new developments
in MET as these are crucial considerations in the accreditation,
validation and improvement processes of its training programs. It
continuously endeavors to precipitate and capitalize in program
offerings and ensures that measures are undertaken to keep abreast
with evolving standards and other industry requirements.
Joint Task Force
Storm extends helping hands to the victims of Taal volcano eruption
DPAO, 8ID PA
February 4, 2020
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan,
Samar – Upon the instruction of Major General Pio Q. Diñoso III
AFP, Commander of Joint Task Force “Storm” of the Armed Forces of
the Philippines in Eastern Visayas, combined personnel of 546th
Engineering Construction Battalion (546ECBn) under Lt. Col. Ricnon
Carolasan and 8th Forward Service Support Unit (8FSSU) under Lt.
Col. Arlene Epe equipped with five (5) military trucks withdrew 200
sacks of rice from Chen Yi Agventures Incorporated Rice Processing
Complex in Mudboron, Alang-alang, Leyte in coordination with
Engineer Jerjohn Tesorio on January 31, 2020 at 4:00 o’clock in the
afternoon and transported said items to Tacloban City Port. Upon
reaching the port, the troops transferred the 200 sacks of rice to
BRP SULUAN vessel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) under the
command of Commander Dan August Cariño.
Based on the report of
Commander Cariño, they ferried the cargo and successfully reached
Batangas Port on the following day and released the 200 sacks of
rice to the proper authorities that distributed the same to the
victims of Taal Volcano Eruption.
“Despite the distance, we
find ways to help the victims of Taal Volcano eruption as a
manifestation of our concern with our brother Filipinos who are in
need of assistance in the area,” said Major General Diñoso.
building helped solve classroom congestion in Malaga NHS - Peña I
CHENZI MAE UY
February 1, 2020
CALBAYOG CITY – The
new two-storey, four-classroom building in Malaga National High
School - Peña I Annex has helped the school with its perennial
problem on classroom congestion, said Officer-in-Charge Dr. Lilia
The building was turned
over by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), on
behalf of the Department of Education, last December 2019.
Three (3) Grade 8 sections
and one (1) Grade 9 class, or around 140 students, moved in since
the resumption of classes in January 6, 2020.
Kent Feb Owen Olasiman, a
Grade 8 student, said space was really tight in their previous
rooms. He recounted that they used to have a hard time cleaning
their rooms, which get flooded whenever it rained.
On congestion, Dr. Adel
says it has been a problem since 2011. “We would fuse two classes in
one makeshift room because we don’t have another option. After
typhoon Yolanda, we had up to three sections occupying one room at a
time,” she recalls.
Now, all classes have
their own rooms except for Grade 12 students. The two Grade 12
sections are still sharing one room because the school utilizes one
of the rooms as a computer laboratory. Nevertheless, the students
will transfer to another DPWH-implemented school building project in
the same campus as soon as it is turned over.
“We are grateful to DepEd
and DPWH for these new learning facilities. They are a big help to
our school especially since we have a year-to-year increase in
defends P116.109M budget for 2020 at the House of
Representatives last 24 September 2019.
P116.109M budget for 2020, up 8.74%
January 31, 2020
TACLOBAN CITY – The
National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) has been appropriated with a
P116.109 million budget for 2020, higher than the P106.779 million
budget in 2019, based on the General Appropriations Act of 2020
signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on 06 January 2020.
The 2020 budget posed an
8.74% or P9.330M increase as against the budget last year. The
additional appropriations mainly covers Capital Outlays (CO) plus
certain provisions for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE).
Of the total fund,
P49.975M is allocated for Personal Services to cover among others
(a) requirements for salaries and wages and other personnel benefits
of seventy-four (74) filled positions, (b) Retirement and Life
Insurance Premium (RLIP), (c) benefits for employees certified
eligible by the DOST Secretary in consonance with the provisions of
RA 8439 or the Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers
and Other Science & Technology Personnel in Government, (d)
honoraria for Guest Trainers / Assessors, (e) loyalty pay, and (f)
terminal leave benefit for mandatory retiree.
MOOE funding amounting to
P51.689M which is P5.242M or 11.29% higher compared last year
intends to supply additional provision for rental of office space in
Makati, travelling expenses, security services, insurance premium
and other fees, additional operating requirements for completed
facilities and provision for Medium-Term Information and
Communications Technology Harmonization Initiative (MITHI) office
CO budget totaling to
P14.445M representing 101.75% increase or P7.285M higher than in
2019 includes funds for the provision of one (1) unit water tanker
service vehicle, improved maritime training machinery and equipment
(firefighting equipment and accessories) and MITHI Information and
Communications Technology (ICT) Equipment. These are vital core of
NMP’s main concern, particularly in terms of improvement and
upgrading in order to build and sustain training operations.
With the approved budget,
NMP shall endeavor to attain its organizational outcomes of 1)
Employability and Competitiveness of Filipino Seafarers Enhanced,
and 2) Maritime Manpower Sector Improved Through Quality Research,
which will have a positive impact in firming up a vibrant Philippine
maritime industry and sustaining the country’s position as the
leading provider of manpower in the international labor market.
Maritime training indeed
entails considerable investment cost, but it plows in profit through
economic and social gains generated from the employment of Filipino
competitiveness and employability of our Filipino seafarers, who are
contributing several millions of dollars to our national coffers is
a significant role of the DOLE and NMP in particular, that cannot be
defenders network submits reports to UN High Commissioner on Human
January 31, 2020
QUEZON CITY – At
least sixteen faith-based and rights organizations under the
Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice)
have submitted reports on the human rights situation in the
Philippines, in response to the call for submissions by the Office
of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. This
is in accordance with the Iceland-led resolution on the Philippines
adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in July 2019.
In a press conference,
EcuVoice convenor Edita Burgos said that the reports they submitted
depict the worsening human rights crisis besetting the Filipino
people. “The extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances,
arbitrary or illegal arrests and detention and other civil and
political rights violations exacerbate the landlessness, lack of job
security, and gross inequalities faced by poor Filipinos. Such is
the situation under the administration of President Duterte,” Burgos
The EcuVoice network
mobilised for the submission of reports of the National Council of
Churches of the Philippines, National Union of People’s Lawyers,
Karapatan, Rise Up for Life and for Rights, Save Our Schools
Movement, Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, Kusog sa
Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (KALUMARAN), Cordillera People's
Alliance (CPA), Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), Philippine
Task Force for Indigenous Peoples (TFIP), SANDUGO Kilusan ng mga
Moro at Katutubong Mamamayan para sa Sariling Pagpapasya (Movement
of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-determination), Makabayan,
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Save Our Schools Movement,
Kalikasan People’s Network, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, National
Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Migrante, Kilusang Mayo Uno,
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Ibon Foundation.
EcuVoice members also
provided key inputs in the submissions by the International
Association of Democratic Lawyers, World Council of Churches of the
Philippines, the Center for Human Rights of the CUNY, and
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.
Human rights defenders
outlined the socio-economic and political context marked by
intensified poverty, violations on security of employment, high
prices of basic commodities and services, and the continuing plunder
of land and resources including that of ancestral domains in their
submissions. Analyses and documented cases were cited in relation to
the “war on drugs,” the attacks on human rights defenders, lawyers,
journalists, indigenous peoples and members of the political
opposition that resulted in the significant and further shrinking of
civil and democratic spaces. Violations on the right to freedom of
expression, to peaceably assemble and to form associations were also
administration’s anti-narcotics campaign, its counter-insurgency
program through Oplan Kapanatagan and its ‘whole of nation attacks’
under Executive Order No. 70, and its rampage against critics and
political dissenters have immensely contributed to the hyper state
of impunity,” Burgos stated.
EcuVoice network and its
partners recommended for the initiation of UN-led investigation
through fact finding missions, a creation of a Commission on
Inquiry, or official visits of UN special rapporteurs in the
Philippines. In June 2020, Bachelet is scheduled to deliver her
report at the UNHRC.
The network notes that
this year, aside from this process at the UN HRC, the Duterte
administration is set to be reviewed before the treaty body UN Human
Rights Committee while the Office of the Prosecutor of the
International Criminal Court is likewise set to release results of
its preliminary examination on complaints regarding crimes against
“We reiterate our call to
the international community to help us make the Duterte
administration accountable for its rights violations. ENOUGH
ALREADY!,” Burgos concluded.