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E. Samar farmers finish farm business school

PSA turns over 2022 CBMS data to the LGU of Pintuyan, Southern Leyte

Farmer group in Samar town gets nearly half a million assistance from DAR

Newly-inaugurated road project to boost peace and development in Northern Samar

DPWH-Biliran DEO holds mid-year contractors’ meeting

High-powered firearm seized in Gandara, Samar clash

Eastern Visayas’ economy expands by 6.8% in 2022

NMP supports maritime modernization in Eastern Visayas





2 So. Leyte farmer groups receive farm equipment from DAR

The Mabatas Irrigators Association based in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte receives farm machineries, tool and farm inputs from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

November 24, 2023

HINUNANGAN, Southern Leyte – Two agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) from this town are the latest recipients of modern farm machineries and equipment, tools and farm inputs, from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to augment their livelihood activities.

Last month, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Roderick Rances led the turnover of three boat-type floating tillers, three turtle-type floating tillers, a water pump with complete accessories, and organic fertilizers to the Mabatas Irrigators Association (Mabatas IA), held in Barangay Tahusan auditorium.

Mabatas IA, with 182 members, where 117 of them are agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), is into rice farming.

On the same occasion, Rances also turned over two fish drying machines with accessories to the Tabjon Settlers Farmers Association (TSFA) for their “tilanggit” (danggit na tilapia) processing.

Aside from farming, TSFA, based in Sitio Tabjon, Barangay Calagitan, is also into aquaculture, particularly on tilapia production.

TSFA is composed of 50 members, wherein 39 of them are ARBs.

Rances explained that this is part of DAR’s commitment to provide our ARBOs with livelihood and agri-enterprise assistance geared towards increasing agricultural production and income in keeping with Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III’s advocacy on genuine land reform program.

Cecil Malubay, chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division (PBDD) at the DAR Southern Leyte Provincial Office, disclosed that these packages of assistance amounted to ₱2.1 million taken from the Major Crop-based Block Farm Productivity Enhancement and Sustainable Livelihood for Disaster Affected Areas of the Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support (CRFPS) program.

Both chairpersons of the recipient-ARBOs, Rogelio Engcoy and Gina Amac of Mabatas IA and TSFA, respectively, expressed their gratitude and committed to maximize the use of their newly-acquired machines in order to increase their production and income.

Meanwhile, Mayor Reynaldo Fernandez, who graced the said occasion with Vice Mayor Marian Pelen, expressed his gratitude to the DAR for continuously supporting the farmers by providing them with various assistance.





19 AFP lawyers trained to apply the rules of war while providing legal advice

AFP lawyers trained to apply the rules of war
AFP Chief of International Law and Special Projects Col. Vener Malabanan III, Office of the Judge Advocate General (first row, fourth from left), head of ICRC legal team Kelisiana Thynne (first row, centre) and armed forces delegate of the ICRC Ricardo Lucero Jr. (far right) and other ICRC staff with the 19 newly appointed second lieutenants of the Judge Advocate General Service. (Photo: L. Arada, ICRC)

November 24, 2023

MANILA – Nineteen newly recruited officers of the Judge Advocate General Service (JAGS), the legal counsels of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), underwent a three-week training on international humanitarian law (IHL) or the law of armed conflict.

Brig. Gen. Erwin Victoriano Machica III, Judge Advocate General, requested the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to conduct the training, held from 6 to 24 November 2023, at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. Those trained form the first batch to be sent to operational units to provide legal advice on the conduct of hostilities. Previously, JAGS officers were responsible for discipline and administration in AFP.

The course touched on pressing topics such as general principles of IHL regarding the regulation of weapons, detention during armed conflicts, protection of health care and the natural environment, domestic law on IHL and the law of naval warfare among others.

“The training aimed to ensure that participants understand the ICRC’s humanitarian mandate and role in ensuring the rules of war are respected, that they know what IHL is, can give advice on the basic principles on the conduct of hostilities and that they understand related domestic laws,” said Kelisiana Thynne, head of the ICRC’s legal department in the Philippines.

Resource person Judge Samina Sampaco Macabando-Usman, an IHL trainer from the Department of Justice, briefed participants about Republic Act 9851 which penalizes crimes against IHL, genocide and other crimes against humanity. Sessions also included role plays where JAGS members drafted rules of engagement or standard operating procedures for certain scenarios.

Training on management of deceased in emergencies also held

Meanwhile, a separate training session on forensics was also organized for 21 AFP officers and staff on 15 and 16 November 2023 in Makati City. The training focused on general principles regarding the protection and management of the deceased in emergencies, especially during land and maritime conflicts, as well as the ICRC’s work in the Philippines and its role in humanitarian forensics.

The ICRC discussed internationally accepted standards for the documentation, recovery, transport, temporary burial or storage of the deceased, and coordination with the parties concerned. AFP officers and ICRC officials exchanged best practices and discussed common challenges in the protection and management of the deceased. The AFP and the ICRC also explored ways in which they can cooperate in the future, such as for capacity-building activities.

The workshop aims to pave the way for more strategic cooperation at the national level.

Prior to the event, the ICRC supported one AFP officer in 2022 to attend an international course on the protection and management of the deceased in Pakistan. Another AFP official will soon attend the same course in December 2023. Material support will also be given next week to the AFP, through the donation of 200 body bags.

The training sessions are in line with the memorandum of understanding signed between AFP and the ICRC in 2021 to enhance the two institutions’ cooperation in the effective implementation of IHL, and its integration into military teaching, systems and processes.





Karapatan on the Marcos Jr. admin’s amnesty program

Press Release
November 24, 2023

QUEZON CITY – Human rights alliance Karapatan takes exception to the Marcos Jr. government’s recently announced amnesty program for its failure to recognize and address the social, political and economic roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines. Instead, its focus is on surrender, totally ignoring why persons have resorted to taking up arms in the first place. It is a shallow and tangential approach that will guarantee not the end but the continuance of armed conflict.

Would-be amnesty grantees are enticed to surrender, and thereafter trapped in a web of self-incrimination. They are obliged or forced to admit to membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the latter’s so-called front organizations of having committed a number of anti-government actions, which may include activities that do not involve the use of arms. This provision basically restores Republic Act 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Law, which penalizes mere membership in the CPP, NPA or NDFP, regardless of actual participation in rebellious acts. The amnesty program also effectively criminalizes political activism and conflates it with rebellion, and insidiously targets persons who would not otherwise be categorized as rebels because they have not taken up arms.

The Marcos Jr. amnesty program likewise excludes those who have been charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the defunct Human Security Act. Considering how these laws are being maliciously weaponized against activists and political dissenters, this is cause for alarm. Once this so-called amnesty program is underway, we may witness another wave of arbitrary terrorist designations and court cases filed against activists and dissenters.

The amnesty program likewise provides no protection against civil suits and offers limited guarantees as to how information disclosed by the amnesty applicant will be used.

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) will have a heyday red-tagging, profiling, harassing and threatening activists who refuse to join the amnesty charade, rendering them more vulnerable to more serious human rights violations.

None of these, of course, will impact the ongoing armed conflict in any significant way, and will prove to be an exercise in futility, like all previous amnesty programs of such nature.

Karapatan calls instead for a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty for all political prisoners and others slapped with trumped-up charges, including those wrongfully charged using the unconstitutional provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act and other related laws.

We demand that the Marcos Jr. government squarely addresses the root causes of the armed conflict. It must abolish the NTF-ELCAC and rescind Executive Order 70, which are nothing but instruments of repression and are totally inutile in resolving the deep-seated roots of armed conflict. It should ensure justice and accountability for all human rights and international humanitarian law violations, and the immediate release of all political prisoners. It should adhere to previously signed agreements in the government’s peace talks with the NDFP and implement thoroughgoing, comprehensive and substantial economic and political reforms. It should stop its doublespeak on human rights, social justice and just and lasting peace.





Eastern Visayas Medical Center bags Gold Trailblazer in its Proficiency Revalida

Eastern Visayas Medical Center in Tacloban City

By Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA)
November 21, 2023

MANILA – In a remarkable stride towards excellence, the Eastern Visayas Medical Center (EVMC) proudly unveiled its transformative journey and recent accomplishments along the Performance Governance System (PGS) pathway, securing the prestigious Gold Trailblazer Award for its commendable progress.

On November 20, EVMC was conferred the PGS Proficient Status during the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s (ISA) Public Revalida. This democratic exercise validates the successful completion of the four stages of the PGS, ISA's good governance program, where distinguished organizations, including the Department of Health, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Department of Trade and Industry, have engaged in and completed.

EVMC Medical Center Chief, Dr. Salvador Evardone, presented the challenges and the initiatives they took to turn their strategic position into reality. In its pursuit of becoming a center of excellence in health by 2030, EVMC envisions itself as a “1,500-authorized bed capacity apex medical center, providing multi-specialty services by 2028.”

From its humble beginnings as a 100-bed capacity general hospital in Tacloban City, formerly known as the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, EVMC’s transformation journey began in November 2019, when they were conferred with the PGS Initiated Status. Amid the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital underwent a strategic refresh, achieving breakthroughs in patient care, human resources, and research.

EVMC’s PGS journey was conveyed in Dr. Evardone’s presentation, with their unwavering commitment to creating positive change in the healthcare industry and attaining several milestones targeted at the areas mentioned in their strategic position, EVMC has gained the support of numerous reputable organizations and external stakeholders from various sectors.

Among the notable achievements highlighted is the enactment of Republic Act 11567, signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte, renaming the institution to Eastern Visayas Medical Center and increasing its bed capacity from 500 to 1,500 beds on June 24, 2021. Additionally, EVMC emphasized the establishment of specialty centers in Cardiology, Neonatal Care, Geriatric Care, and Orthopedics, benefiting the Eastern Visayas community.

Alongside their developments are challenges that EVMC needs to address, which were underlined during the panel evaluation led by Former Medical Field Operations Director at Wyeth Philippines, Mr. Orlando Clavinez. Aside from establishing multiple specialty centers in EVMC, Dr. Evardone shared that they are tackling challenges involving human resources by increasing the competencies of their workforce.

“So one of the challenges, actually, is the manpower, [...] We need to capacitate; we have to invest capital asset, considering that it is a resource and capital incentive in putting some specialty centers,” Dr. Evardone shared.

Dr. Evardone also shared their Multi-Sectoral Governance Council’s (MSGC) commitment toward the growth of EVMC. He highlighted that creating rapport and having a dedicated MSGC is vital to an organization’s development along the PGS pathway.

“The lesson here is that we should make them stay with us, expand the membership if possible, and engross their commitment toward ownership of good governance and the change agenda that we have. The commitment itself translated to ownership and accountability to help us assess the growth of EVMC,” the Medical Center Chief said.

Usec. Francia Laxamana, Undersecretary of Health of the Office of Special Concerns in the Department of Health, commended EVMC for its transformation, noting its evolution into a significant regional healthcare institution with multiple functional specialty centers.

“EVMC has transformed from just a small hospital to now a giant, gigantic hospital as it is, and with all the 16 specialty centers...because most of them started from 70% functionality, even up to 96 to 98%. [Y]ou really are very conscious, committed to be the apex hospital. And you're looking at a very important role, which is your stewardship role as the apex hospital of the Eastern Visayas region,” Usec. Laxamana said.

Following their conferral of the Proficiency status and receiving the Gold Trailblazer Award, Dr. Evardone extended his gratitude to external stakeholders, the panelists, and all their employees.

“This milestone is a reflection of our constant commitment and best intentions," the Medical Center Chief said in his acceptance speech. "I would like to commend the entire EVMC family for choosing to strive to achieve service excellence, in spite of the fair share of challenges, struggles, and shortcomings. With that, I look forward to our continued collaboration as we move on to the final stage of the PGS, the Institutionalization stage.”





1 CNT killed, explosives seized in Northern Samar clash

November 20, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – A Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) was killed in an armed encounter with the troops of the 19th Infantry Battalion in the hinterlands of Barangay Senonogan de Tubang, Silvino Lubos, Northern Samar on November 19, 2023.

Initially, on November 15, 2023, the troops of 19IB engaged the remnants of the Front Committee 1, Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) Emporium of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) in Barangay Senonogan, Pambujan, Northern Samar. On November 19, 2023, while conducting pursuit operations the troops again engaged said CNTs in the hinterlands of Barangay Senonogan de Tubang, Silvino Lubos, Northern Samar.

The encounter lasted for eight minutes and resulted in the death of one CNT identified as Alfonso Tursido and the capture of two International Humanitarian Law-Banned Anti-Personnel Mines (APMs), two blasting caps, five kilos of rice, and other personal belongings of the CNTs.

The Commanding Officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Marvin Maraggun said that the series of encounters was attributed to the cooperation and timely information provided by the civilians.

“We thank the residents for their cooperation in providing relevant information that resulted in the success of the series of encounters. We assure the public that we will not cease with our operations against the Communist NPA Terrorists until we put an end to the decades-long problem of insurgency,” Lt.Col. Maraggun emphasized.

Meanwhile, the 8th Infantry Division Commander, Major General Camilo Z. Ligayo also expressed his sympathy and condolences to the family of the killed CNT and urged the remaining CNTs to choose a peaceful path and rejoin society.

“We are deeply saddened by this incident; another life is lost because of senseless ideology. This would not have happened if they heeded the call to surrender. To the remaining rebels, it is not too late for a peaceful life, return to the folds of the law,” Maj. Gen. Ligayo expressed.





1 CNT killed, high-powered firearms seized in Northern Samar clash

seized high-powered firearms from the encounter

November 18, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – A Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) was killed and six high-powered firearms were captured during an encounter in the hinterlands of Brgy. Senonogan, Pambujan, Northern Samar on November 15, 2023.

The focused military operation was conducted following the information given by a concerned citizen that a group of armed men was seen allegedly extorting the populace in the outskirts of said barangay.

CNTs who belonged to Front Committee 1, Sub-Regional Committee Emporium of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee led by Lontoy Jarito alias Amboy, a notorious CNT leader who perpetrated numerous atrocities and extortion activities in the areas of Northern Samar were encountered by the troops of 19th Infantry Battalion (19IB), Wednesday morning.

The 10-minute firefight resulted in the death of one unidentified male CNT and the capture of five M16 rifles, one M14 rifle, two Anti-Personnel Mines (APMs), seven backpacks, subversive documents, and other war materials.

The 19IB Commanding Officer, Lt.Col. Marvin Maraggun expressed his appreciation for the timely information provided by the locales and commended the Barangay Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict (BTF-ELCAC) for their support in the anti-insurgency campaign.

"The successful operation underscores the desire of populace, members of BTF-ELCAC and MTF-ELCAC in their collective effort in ending local armed conflict in the hinterlands of Pambujan," Lt.Col. Maraggun said.

Meanwhile, the 8th Infantry Division Commander, Maj.Gen. Camilo Ligayo lauded the troops for their efforts to bring peace to Northern Samar. He also thanked the citizens who gave information vital to the successful operation.

"Let us continue engaging the communities from the Barangays down to Sitios, to build a strong relationship with the communities and encourage them to cooperate with the government. Let us continuously engage the populace to inform them of the government’s programs for them who are willing to surrender," Maj.Gen. Ligayo said.

He also extends his deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the killed CNT.

"It is sad that another Filipino who was deceived by the misleading ideals of the communist terrorists died. My deepest sympathy to the bereaved family. On the other hand, I encouraged the remaining members of the rebel group to surrender and be with their families while you still have a chance,” Maj.Gen. Ligayo added.





Hijos Tours and CMDI ignite the spirit of ‘Balagtasan’ among CMDI students

CMDI Balagtasan winners
A shared moment of victory and celebration! CARD MRI Founder Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip (center) stands with CMDI Baisay: Balagtasan 2023 SHS Category Champion Marvin Lourence Hamoc (2nd from right), Jhon Aris Apostol (1st from the left), Febby Heart Aquino (2nd from the left), alongside CMDI Baisay 2023 master of ceremony Mr. Loreto JR P. Sabodan (rightmost).

November 16, 2023

SAN PABLO CITY – CARD MRI Hijos Tours, in collaboration with CARD-MRI Development Institute, Inc. (CMDI), held the BAISAY: BALAGTASAN 2023 at the CMDI Auditorium in Barangay Tranca, Bay, Laguna on October 27, 2023.

Hijos Tours President Ms. Marilyn M. Manila expressed, "This initiative underscores our commitment to preserving Filipino cultural traditions and providing CMDI students with a platform to express themselves through poetry and debate."

Also, CMDI President Dr. Flordeliza L. Sarmiento shared that the activity “adds depth and diversity to the educational experiences of CMDI students.”

The term ‘Baisay’, derived from the Hiligaynon language, translates to ‘debate’. The event aimed to foster the spirit of 'Balagtasan,' a traditional Filipino art form of poetic debate, among the students of CMDI.

The event had two categories: the Senior High School (SHS) category with the theme, “Magkolehiyo, Magkaroon ng Eksperyensa,” (Go to College, Gain Experience) and “Magtrabaho, Magkaroon ng Negosyo” (Work, Start a Business) in the College category. The participants showcased their linguistic prowess, creativity, and a deep understanding of the theme.

The students also delivered their verses with fervor, engaging in verbal duels that captivated the audience and brought to a mesmerizing display of wordplay and intellectual engagement, making Balagtasan a truly captivating experience.

In the SHS category, the CMDI Tagum representative was hailed champion. The representatives also received additional awards, namely, Marvin Lourence Hamoc for the Lakandiwa ng Taon; and Jhon Aris Apostol and Febby Heart Aquino, for the Prince and Princess of CMDI Baisay 2023.

To add, Reyna Faye Baga, John Aris Bantayan, and Meca Samaling from CMDI-Tagum campus secured the 1st place, while John Lloyd Mendoza, Justine Olan, and Justin Reyes, from CMDI- Bay campus, bagged the 2nd place award.

In the college category, Irene Legaspino was crowned Lakandiwa ng Taon, Charity Calibadan earned the title of the Princess of CMDI Baisay 2023, and Lovely Claire Montes, as addition to the team, were declared the champion of CMDI Baisay 2023 in the College Category, while Reany Eisle Cervantes, Hazel Burdeos, and Angel Mar Valencia secured the 1st place award.

All the winners were recognized with certificates and cash prizes.

Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus remarked, "The students' performances demonstrated not only their skill in the traditional art of poetic debate but also their keen awareness of contemporary issues."

He added, “This event served as a testament to the enduring significance of Balagtasan in Philippine culture and the bright future of these young poets and debaters.”

CMDI stands as a learning institute that provides quality education to employees, students, clients of the different institutions of CARD MRI, and other individuals through the use of training programs, academic programs, and digital education programs/open learning.

CARD MRI Hijos Tours is the tour curation company of CARD MRI that aims to promote Philippine tourism and culture while empowering women and their families.





NwSSU civil engineering freshman hails as Eastern Visayas 27th PSQ Regional Champion

Eastern Visayas 27th PSQ
The Board of Judges with the winning tandem (from left): Geselle Frances Zeta, Chief Economic Development Specialist, NEDA 8; John Benedict Sapinit with his coach, Engr. Leland Afundar of NwSSU; RD Wilma Perante, PSA–RSSO 8; Ralph Bariata, Supervising Statistical Specialist, PSA–CO; and Dr. Leo D. Camposano, Supervising Education Program Specialist, CHED 8.

By PSA-8
November 14, 2023

TACLOBAN CITY – Eighteen-year old John Benedict Cuadra Sapinit is this year’s Eastern Visayas Regional Champion, besting 19 other first-time first year college students in the 27th Philippine Statistics Quiz (PSQ) Regional Championship -Eastern Visayas. Mr. Sapinit, a BS Civil Engineering freshman from Northwest Samar State University (NwSSU), graduated senior high school at Christ the King College. During the tense 3-round multiple choice quiz on statistical concepts and analysis, he garnered a cumulative score of 29 points out of a total of 40 points.

The second place winner of the 27th PSQ is Vianney Patnugot Tumbagahan, a 19-year old BS Meteorology freshman from Visayas State University (VSU) who scored 26 points. Mr. Tumbagahan graduated senior high school at Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School in Davao del Sur. Meanwhile, the third place winner is Dwayne Michael Sean Cinco Cabrigas of the University of the Philippines Tacloban College who scored 23 points. Mr. Cabrigas is a 19-yr old BS Computer Science freshman who graduated senior high school from Philippine Science High School -Eastern Visayas Campus.

The winners brought home plaques of recognition and cash prizes worth P10,000 (champion), P8,000 (2nd prize), and P6,000 (3rd prize). Their respective coaches were also awarded with certificates and cash prizes, while the rest of the contestants and their coaches were given tokens and certificates of participation. Mr. Sapinit will represent Eastern Visayas in the 27th PSQ National Championship to be held in Metro Manila on 07 December 2023.

The PSQ is a nationwide annual search for the country’s young statistics whizzes. It is designed to test the knowledge acquired from the secondary education curriculum by freshmen students enrolled in colleges and universities in the 17 regions of the Philippines. At the outset, it promotes, enhance and instill awareness and appreciation of the importance and value of statistics, among students in particular, and the public in general. It was launched in 1992 by then National Statistics Office (NSO) together with the Philippine Statistical Association, Inc. (PSAI).





Samar First completes phase II of road construction leading to Pinipisakan Falls

road to Pinipisakan Falls

November 14, 2023

CALBAYOG CITY – Samar First District Engineering Office recently completed phase II of the construction of access road leading to Pinipisakan Falls in San Jorge, Samar.

This is drawn from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) FY 2023 with a total contract amount of P48.95 million under the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP).

The main carriageway spanned 800 meters and a width of 6.1 meters as well as shouldering of the same length and width of 1.5 meters. A seven linear meters of Reinforced Concrete Pipe Culvert (RCPC) were also installed including slope protections built in two areas with a total length of 45 meters.

As of this time, tourists trudge on foot and ride motor boats for three hours in order to reach Pinipisakan Falls. This multi-year road project is a big help in boosting the tourism industry of Samar and will create different job opportunities for the locals.





IBP successfully holds the second leg of the CPRA rollout

IBP CPRA rollout

Press Release
November 13, 2023

PASIG CITY – On October 27, 2023, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) successfully held the second leg of the rollout of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA), marking a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to create a modern, relevant, and responsive justice system. The CPRA is part of the Supreme Court’s Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027 (SPJI).

Held at the Podium Hall at the Podium in Mandaluyong City, the second leg was hosted by the IBP Southern Luzon Region primarily through the IBP Rizal RSM Chapter. 174 lawyers attended the rollout, which was MCLE-accredited and counted as attendance of a regional/national convention for IBP Lifetime Membership purposes. Court personnel and judges who also attended the rollout were considered on Official Time.

In opening the second leg, Atty. Pitero M. Reig, IBP Governor for Southern Luzon Region, said that “the foundation of civil society rests largely on the rule of law. Ethical and responsible lawyers strengthen the foundation of the rule of law. Conversely, unethical and irresponsible lawyers erode the people’s faith in the rule of law and the legal institutions.”

In his keynote speech, Supreme Court Associate Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez emphasized the addition of the word “Accountability” in the title of the old Code as a significant reinforcement of ethical commitment among lawyers. The CPRA obliges lawyers to give nobility to the profession to regain the people’s trust in the justice system. In this respect, Justice Lopez said that lawyers should maintain a profession that puts a premium on public service over any monetary consideration. He reiterated making the CPRA their way of life and recalling its provisions not just for professional functions but as reminders to live by them. He thanked the IBP for being a staunch partner of the Judiciary in the dispensation of justice. He expressed optimism for future collaborations for the fruitful adherence to the new code for lawyers.

IBP National Director on Bar Discipline, Atty. Avelino V. Sales, Jr. echoed the sentiments of the esteemed Justice that the CPRA is the legal profession's guide to making all lawyers aware and accountable during his overview and rationale for the CPRA Rollout. Ethics and ethical conduct, as propounded by Justice Lopez, is a way of life to be embodied in not just a lawyer’s professional engagements, but likewise in his or her personal life.

The CPRA Rollout is an initiative of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to support the Supreme Court in its information campaign on the new Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability. During the rollout, deputy directors and commissioners of the IBP Commission for Bar Discipline discuss and elucidate upon the newer and salient provisions of the CPRA, as well as the notarial practice among others. The first leg was held in Cotabato last September, with the IBP CBD planning to hold 15 more legs throughout the Philippines until 2025. The third leg will be held in Cebu in December 2023.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines invites all lawyers to familiarize themselves with the updated Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability, emphasizing that adherence to this code is not just a moral obligation but also a means to elevate the standards of the legal profession.

Download CPRA here





International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) gathers in Bangkok to condemn US-backed war crimes of Philippine state and commit to growing solidarity movement for a just and lasting peace

ICHRP gathering in Bangkok

Press Release
November 12, 2023

BANGKOK, Thailand – Over 100 human rights advocates from over 30 organizations across the globe held a three-day conference and assembly on November 6-9, 2023 to decry the implementation of US counterinsurgency tactics in the Philippines and to advance international defense of human rights under the new Marcos regime.

Throughout the conference, human rights experts exposed the ongoing onslaught of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including extra-judicial killings, disappearances, the intensifying suppression of civil liberties, the slanderous designation of respected leaders as terrorists via the Anti-Terror Act (ATA), and the relentless red-tagging of activists, progressive organizations, and solidarity activists via the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Edith Burgos of the Karapatan National Council, identified the counterinsurgency programs of the Marcos government as, “responsible for the steadily deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines and escalating violations of International Humanitarian Law directed against the Filipino people.”

Burgos’ criticism of Marcos counterinsurgency programs opened up the reality that the human rights atrocities committed by the Philippine military and police are not only aided and abetted by US military aid (over 1 billion US dollars since 2015) and the presence of nine US military bases in the country – but patterned after US Counterinsurgency tactics.

Suzanne Adely, President of the National Lawyers Guild, explained counterinsurgency as “the organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge political control of a region” which the US has employed since its colonial operations in the Philippines began in 1898. She further pointed out how the use of the term “insurgency” attempts to delegitimize people’s resistance, including armed resistance, as “terrorism,” and drew parallels between the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation and the Filipino people’s fight against the US-backed Marcos regime.

Edre Olalia, President of the National Union of People’s Lawyers in the Philippines, explained the significance of International Humanitarian Law in the context of the current situation in the Philippines. Olalia expounded that contrary to US counterinsurgency doctrine, armed resistance movements in response to the severe oppression of peoples is legal under the Geneva conventions, and further emphasized the importance of the protection of civilians and non combatants in the context of civil war.

ICHRP chairperson Peter Murphy emphasized the critical role of solidarity in supporting the Filipino people’s aspirations for a just and lasting peace that is free from the injustice of poverty, landlessness, and state repression. He reflected on ICHRP’s role in investigating and exposing the dire human rights situation as well as coordinating an election observers mission which found massive fraud, vote-buying, and red-tagging and intimidation during the 2022 elections.

“The devastating number of attacks that continue under the Marcos regime in the Philippines – the many disappearances, the forced surrenderees, and the killings of NDFP peace consultants, are all violations of international humanitarian law done in the guise of US-designed counterinsurgency programs. The international community must oppose these.”

Organizations from Canada to India, France to Australia, committed to strengthening solidarity support for the Filipino people, continuing to conduct broad education and information dissemination on the situation in the Philippines, lobby their respective government bodies, and oppose foreign support for war crimes in the country.

"The struggle for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines is not a struggle isolated from the people of the world; we will continue to fervently campaign until the demands of the Filipino people are met and activists no longer live in fear of reprisal."





NMP welcomes Second Secretary of the Embassy of Japan

Second Secretary Matsushige Tomoaki of the Embassy of Japan at the NMP facility

By National Maritime Polytechnic
November 12, 2023

TACLOBAN CITY – Mr. Matsushige Tomoaki, Second Secretary of the Embassy of Japan, received a warm welcome from NMP Executive Director Victor A. Del Rosario and other NMP personnel during his visit to the National Maritime Polytechnic on November 8, 2023.

To have a deeper understanding about NMP, an insighful Agency Brief was presented at the NMP Conference Room, giving emphasis to the Agency's role and significance in the maritime industry.

NMP and Japan boast a rich history of collaboration dating back to 1984 through a technical cooperation program, which has been instrumental in fortifying NMP's capacity to elevate maritime education and training standards across the country. Moreover, NMP was a recipient of a generous US$3 million grant from the JICA's "Programme for Rehabilitation and Recovery from Typhoon Yolanda." This substantial aid facilitated the acquisition, installation, and commissioning of a diverse array of training equipment and simulators. Notable additions included a tanker-type enclosed lifeboat and davit, a fast rescue boat and davit, a full mission global maritime distress safety system simulator, a full mission engine room simulator, and various cutting-edge safety equipment.

After the briefing, Mr. Tomoaki was given a comprehensive tour of the NMP premises to have a look-see of the facilities and simulators generously donated by the Government of Japan through JICA. While refraining from making explicit commitments, Mr. Tomoaki expressed a genuine interest in exploring avenues to facilitate NMP's renewed connection with JICA. This potential collaboration could pave the way for substantial upgrades to NMP's facilities and expansion in Luzon and Mindanao, responding to the growing number of NMP enrollees and the ever-evolving landscape of the maritime industry.





CARD MRI clinches Digital Financial Inclusion Award

Digital Financial Inclusion Award
(First from left) CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip and (second from left) CARD MRI Managing Director Aristeo A. Dequito were honored as one of the outstanding microfinance institutions (MFIs) at the 2nd Digital Financial Inclusion Awards (DFIA). The awards ceremony that is dedicated to recognizing achievements in financial inclusion through digital transformation, took place at BSP Assembly Hall in Metro Manila on October 24, 2023. (Photo from MCPI Facebook Page)

November 10, 2023

SAN PABLO CITY – CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) was selected as one of the five microfinance institution (MFI) winners at the 2nd Digital Financial Inclusion Awards (DFIA), a financial inclusion awards program at the BSP Assembly Hall, Metro Manila on October 24, 2023.

"This acknowledgment is one of those that continue to inspire and motivate us to be more effective in this field. As long as there are those who believe in us, we remain committed to expanding the reach of our services and enhancing our product offerings through continued digitalization," CARD MRI Founder and Chair Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip said.

The DFIA awards aims to spotlight financial institutions that have wholeheartedly embraced digital transformation and leveraging its full potential to expand and enhance their operations.

The Microfinance Council of the Philippines (MCPI) organized the event, which was funded by the Citi Foundation and supported by Citi Philippines and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

In addition to CARD MRI, the roster of winners includes Kabalikat para sa Maunlad na Buhay, Inc. (KMBI), Kabuhayan sa Ganap Kasarinlan Credit and Savings Cooperative (K-Coop), RAFI Micro-Finance, Inc., and Rural Bank of Guinobatan, Inc.

Each winner received P100,000.00 mainly to keep honing their digital awareness as well as to improve their usage of technology.

Furthermore, the event gave a spotlight on several microentrepreneurs whose achievements highlight the pivotal role played by these MFIs in adopting technology and delivering digital financial services to communities, thus contributing significantly to the economic development of the Philippines.





Save the Children commemorates a decade of Yolanda and the impact of its lifesaving work for and with children

Save the Children in the Yolanda devastated area

Press Release
November 9, 2023

QUEZON CITY – “I can remember Save the Children very well because they were the first one to respond in Tacloban City,” recalls Lemuel Egot, a survivor of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Lemuel was one of the more than 1.5 million Filipino children affected by Yolanda in 2013. “I can still remember the bright red pail full of hygiene materials. It was so helpful then because money can’t buy anything during that time. We didn’t have food either.”

In the aftermath of Yolanda, Save the Children immediately mounted a massive humanitarian response targeting the needs of child survivors and their families, especially those affected in the most geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in Tacloban and Ormoc in Leyte, Panay Islands, and Estancia and Roxas in Iloilo.

“Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Our Yolanda response aimed to provide affected children and their families immediate support and help them restore their lives throughout the years,” said Save the Children Philippines CEO, Atty. Alberto Muyot.

Over 550,000 people, including around 266,000 children, were reached by Save the Children’s Yolanda Response.

Save the Children provided 73 child-friendly spaces and over 50 temporary learning spaces which supported learning continuity and provided safe spaces for thousands of children to play and recover from their experiences.

More than 42,000 consultations were conducted at the mobile health clinics that were set up by Save the Children and more than 45,000 shelter kits have been distributed to families who lost their homes.

Recognizing the right of children to be protected every day and in times of crisis, Save the Children Philippines led the advocacy for the passage of Republic Act 10821 or the “Children’s Emergency Relief and Protect Act” signed into law in 2016, as well as its implementing rules and regulation.

“This landmark law is truly significant in the fulfilment of children's rights to proper healthcare, access to education, and protection from violence at all times, most especially before, during, and after emergencies.”

“As Filipino children continue to face the threats of calamities, disasters, and impacts of the climate crisis, we continue to urge the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to prioritize the development and roll-out of the Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children (CEPC) and its localization across all 1,700 LGUs, as mandated by RA 10821,” said Muyot.

“A decade after Yolanda, Save the Children not only helped hundreds of thousands of children and people recover but it also made sure that a child protection law is in place and the programs it implemented are meaningful and sustainable. I am grateful to see that many child survivors like me have become productive citizens and are living better lives because Save the Children created lasting positive change in our lives,” concludes Lemuel.





IP groups to UNSR Ian Fry

‘Support our call to stop the attacks against Indigenous Women Environmental HR Defenders!’

UNSR Ian Fry with HR Defenders

Press Release
November 9, 2023

QUEZON CITY – Indigenous Peoples (IP) organizations Bai Indigenous Women’s Network and Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, along with Protect Sierra Madre (PSM), Mamamayang Nagmamahal sa Pakil (MANAPAK), and Kalikasan Southern Tagalog, met with UN Special Rapporteur on Climate Change Ian Fry on November 9, 2023, to share on the impacts of Kaliwa and Ahunan dams, and the Pacific Coast Cities project, to the IP communities in the Southern Tagalog region of the Philippines. Kakay Tolentino, national coordinator of Bai, focused on the attacks indigenous women face as environmental human rights defenders (EHRD).

“Indigenous women are leading the way in stopping destructive programs encroaching our ancestral lands, such as large dams and mines. However, it is becoming difficult for us to play our role in the fight against the climate crisis due to the worsening attacks on indigenous women, our communities and organizations,” said Tolentino.

“We are being criminalized. Presently, there are 63 indigenous political prisoners which include 13 women,” added Tolentino. In 2020, six (6) Tumandok women were red-tagged and arrested due to their opposition to the Jalaur and Pan-ay mega dams.

Moreover, the Anti-Terrorism Council through the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 arbitrarily designates indigenous women as terrorists. These include Igorot women leaders Sarah Alikes and Jennifer Awingan, and Dr. Natividad Castro, a doctor of the Manobo in Caraga Region in Mindanao.

“These attacks on indigenous women leaders and our supporters is a clear attempt of the State to incapacitate our leaders and organizations who protect Mother Earth from further plunder of big businesses for profit,” expressed Tolentino.

Tolentino also raised concern on the Philippine government’s non-fulfillment of its obligations and inaction on the CEDAW General Recommendation No. 39, on the Rights of Indigenous Women and Girls. “State measures should include the creation of specialized government mechanisms to protect IWEHRD with their genuine and meaningful participation,” said Tolentino.

Meanwhile, Beverly Longid, national convenor of Katribu, called for the enactment of Human Rights Defenders and Environmental Defense Bills that would provide policy recognition to Indigenous Peoples as environment and human rights defenders. We hope that this recognition will protect IP as EHRD, especially from escalating attacks as they assert their rights to land and development.

Bai and Katribu implored Mr. Ian Fry to look into the human rights violations inflicted on IWEHRD. They called upon the Marcos Jr. administration to implement the CEDAW GR No. 39, ensure indigenous women inclusivity in development and environmental policy-making space, revoke the arbitrary terrorist designation of Sarah Alikes, Jennifer Awingan and Dr. Naty Castro, and look into the cases of indigenous women political prisoners.





PH’s BOI grants green lane endorsement for P10.85-B wind project in Laguna

Laguna wind project
The BOI officials awarded a Green Lane Certification of Endorsement to the LWEC representatives for its wind project in Laguna.

By DTI-Board of Investments
November 6, 2023

MAKATI CITY – Committed to making more green investments happen in the Philippines, the Board of Investments (BOI), through its One-Stop Action Center for Strategic Investments (OSACSI), awarded a Green Lane Certificate of Endorsement to the Kalayaan 2 Wind Power Project of Laguna Wind Energy Corp. (LWEC) located in Paete and Kalayaan, Laguna.

OSACSI Governor-in-Charge Marjorie O. Ramos-Samaniego awarded the Certificate of Endorsement, under Executive Order (EO) No. 18: Constituting Green Lanes for Strategic Investments, to LWEC representatives at the BOI’s Main Office in Makati City on Oct. 23, 2023.

The project, with an investment cost of P10.85 billion, is set to start its commercial operations by 2026 and is expected to generate at least 30 direct and 500 indirect employment for Filipinos.

In addition, the said wind power project aims to harness renewable wind resources to power industries and promote sustainable and greener economic growth.

Notably, The Blue Circle (TBC), through its subsidiary Laguna Wind Energy Corp. (LWEC), is currently developing the Kalayaan 2 wind power project to spearhead its efforts in increasing its presence in the Philippines, with an overall portfolio of more than 2.5 GW worth of renewable energy projects in development in the entire country.

The Kalayaan 2 project’s footprint will cover 70 hectares of land with an installed 100.8 MW of clean energy capacity utilizing the latest state-of-the-art wind turbine generator technology.

Aligned with the Department of Energy’s target of 35% share of renewable energy in the power generation mix by 2030, the Kalayaan 2 project will contribute to accelerating the Philippines’ goal to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions while promoting economic growth in the project’s region and protecting the health and environment of its stakeholders.

Approved by the Office of the President on February 24 this year, EO 18 aims to expedite, streamline and automate processes on the application of permits and licenses of strategic investments. As the single entry of strategic investments, OSACSI will be facilitating the processing of permits and licenses of the endorsed project to ensure the fast realization of energy investments in the country.





WAO: Earth Run PH a success

Earth Run 2023

Press Release
October 29, 2023

IMUS CITY – We Are One (WAO)-Philippines is thrilled to announce that the “Earth Run 2023: Peace Heritage” which was held on 29 October 2023 at the City of Imus Grandstand and Track Oval (CIGTO) was an outstanding success!

Ms. Beverly Lanot, WAO-Philippines President, expressed her gratitude to the participants, sponsors and partners especially to Cavite Congressman (3rd District) Adrian Jay Advincula, Imus Mayor Alex Advincula and board member Shernan Jaro for allowing the group to use the Imus Oval Grandstand as the venue for this year's Earth Run.

She said: “The Earth Run 2023 is more than just a local event; it is part of a global movement that unites us all. Our mission is to complete the entire circumference of the Earth, a distance of 40,120 kilometers. It is a difficult task, but it also represents our unity and the power that comes from working together.

“In a world filled with differences, we are here to show that when we put our minds to it, there is no goal too big, no distance too great, and no challenge too difficult to overcome. We may come from different backgrounds, but today we stand shoulder to shoulder in pursuit of a common goal. We are proving that we are indeed one on Earth.

“On behalf of the "We Are One" Youth Volunteers, I'd like to express our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for being here and taking part in this extraordinary event. Your presence and support are invaluable in advancing our mission. You are not just runners; you are ambassadors of unity, hope, and change.”

Five hundred ninety-two individuals joined the run who were able to cover a total distance of 1,095 kilometers. The number of participants is over the 500 goal set by the youth group.

Orlando Gomez, Jr., a 17-year old athletic scholar at Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Manila, who emerged champion in the 5k category said that the Earth Run was fun and enjoyable and most of all, it helps make one fit and healthy. "For those who are thinking of joining future fun runs, just enjoy it and if you want to win, listen to your coach."

The other champions are John Kenneth Noche for the 3K category and Jobert Nopal for the 1K category.

This year’s event was sponsored by MPT South Management Corporation, Nature’s Spring Water, Rotary Club of QC Big Bike Riders. Its media partners are The Manila Times and Diyaryo Milenyo Digital News.

Proceeds of the event will fund various initiatives led by WAO such as blood donation, tree planting, clean up drive, donation for victims of disaster, adopt-a-school program, recycling efforts and climate change awareness promotion. It will also benefit the chosen beneficiary of the Imus City government.

WAO is a global organization of 90,000 youth which is an initiative of Shincheonji (New Heaven New Earth) Church of Jesus The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.

WAO Youth Volunteers Worldwide also achieved a Guinness World Record as the most people to sign up as blood donors online in 24 hours consists of 71,121 participants.





Save the Children, EU’s Project SCOPE transformed lives of 19,000 Persons with Disabilities

Project SCOPE heads
EU Head of Cooperation Mr. Christoph Wagner with Save the Children Philippines CEO Atty. Alberto Muyot and ANSA-EAP Executive Director Mr. Emil Gozali during the closing ceremony of Project SCOPE at B Hotel, Quezon City, Philippines.

Press Release
October 25, 2023

QUEZON CITY – After three years of implementation Project SCOPE’s efforts to enhance the lives of more than 19,000 persons with disabilities in Parañaque, Taguig, and Pateros have paid off.

Project SCOPE empowered children with disabilities, their parents, caregivers, organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs), and other civil society organizations (CSOs) to engage effectively with local governments by expressing their rights and monitoring the use of public resources for their benefit. This participation, in turn, helped improve policies, programmes and services for children with disabilities.

The P33.4 million project was funded jointly by the European Union (EU) and Save the Children and was co-implemented by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability -East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP)

During the closing ceremony, the EU and Save the Children Philippines underscored the critical role of organizations of persons with disabilities, groups of children with disabilities, and parents to advocate for their rights and their inclusion in the local governments’ policies and programs.

“While Project SCOPE is ending this month, the work has just begun for the local government units (LGUs), OPDs and CSOs whose capacities were strengthened to work together to develop and implement laws/policies, programs and services to fulfill the rights of persons with disabilities, especially children, and to allow them to participate in the design of those policies” said Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines.

“We hope to share our lessons in empowering children with disabilities to more partners so that more local governments will recognize the capacities of children with disabilities living in an enabling community,” said Atty. Alberto Muyot, CEO of Save the Children Philippines.

People with disabilities, in particular children, in Parañaque, Pateros, and Taguig are now represented in planning and policy-making bodies such as the Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC), Municipal Development Council (MDC), and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC). As one of the project’s activities, Project SCOPE has also developed a database of people with disabilities to help the LGUs ensure policies and programmes are inclusive and leave no one behind.

Save the Children Philippines also helped organise children with disabilities groups, namely, Parañaque Dream Chasers (PDC), Pateros Fighting Scholars (PFS), and Sipag at Pangarap, Accessible at Equal Education (SPACEE). As a result of the project’s activities children with disabilities have also been able to challenge social perceptions that influenced their self-awareness and limited their personal development. According to Aimylyn, 16, a youth advocate and member of partner organization Parañaque Dream Chasers “Through Project SCOPE, I learned to become more confident. Now, I am not shy to speak-up among my peers. I am also able to share my opinions and listen to others in activities like consultations of government.”

As a result of Project SCOPE's involvement, anti-bullying and anti-discrimination measures against persons with disabilities were filed in Taguig. Also, the Children's Code in the three LGUs was revised to include provisions for the welfare and participation of children with disabilities. Project SCOPE also supported the OPDs in their advocacy efforts in support of Republic Act 11650, or the Act Establishing a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education, which was signed into law on March 11, 2022.

During Project SCOPE's culminating activity, the six OPDs, three children with disabilities groups, and three parent groups exchanged best practices in advocacy and local governance.





Samar I continues road construction to augment road network

Gandara - Matuguinao - Las Navas road project

October 24, 2023

CALBAYOG CITY – The construction of Gandara - Matuguinao - Las Navas road commenced from Barangays Deit to Libertad drawn from the Sustainable Infrastructure Projects Alleviating Gaps (SIPAG) program, said Samar First District Engineering Office.

The construction of gravel road will span 2.08 lane kilometers and a width of 9.1 meters. Grouted riprap will also be incorporated in its scope of work with a total length of 220 meters and a height that varies from one (1) meter to three (3) meters.

This road project will connect the Northern and Western portion of Samar. It will start from Daang Maharlika (SM) (San Isidro – San Juanico Br.) in the Municipality of Gandara, Western Samar to Municipality of Matuguinao, Western Samar and connects to Las Navas, Northern Samar. This will increase road network capacity in the Island of Samar and eventually converge the three Samar areas.

The project has a contract amount of P48.51 million. This is targeted to be completed in 2031.





PSA turns over 2022 CBMS data to 7 LGUs of Biliran Province

PSA turns over 2022 CBMS data to 7 LGUs of Biliran

By PSA-8
October 23, 2023

NAVAL, Biliran – The Philippine Statistics Authority -Regional Statistical Services Office VIII (PSA - RSSO 8) and Provincial Statistical Office (PSO) - Biliran, turned over the 2022 Community-Based Monitoring System (2022 CBMS) results to the seven (7) out of eight (8) municipalities of Biliran, namely: Almeria, Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan, and Maripipi. The Data Turnover Ceremony (DTC) marked a significant milestone of the province and its municipalities.

PSA RSSO 8 Regional Director Wilma A. Perante commended the seven (7) municipalities for their full support and cooperation in the 2022 CBMS implementation in their respective municipalities. She mentioned that of the 6 provinces in the region, Biliran is the first province to cover all its municipalities. With CBMS as a tool in diagnosing the extent of poverty, the LGUs will be able to positively target the program beneficiaries in their locality. CBMS enhances local development planning and monitoring of progress. It will also help them attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the municipality.

Director Perante mentioned that the use of Computer-Aided Personal Interview (CAPI) for household enumeration and Computer Assisted Web-based Interview (CAWI) for barangay profiling facilitated the entire CBMS operation. Director Perante thanked the Local Chief Executives (LCEs) for leading the 2022 CBMS implementation, as well as the enumerators, processors, supervisors and barangay officials who all contributed to its success.

National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Claire Dennis S. Mapa, in his recorded message, said that the CBMS Data Turn-Over Ceremony marks a remarkable achievement in its quest for a local level data. He thanked all LGUs for their full support and dedication in uplifting the lives of their constituents through CBMS. He further emphasized that with CBMS, LGUs can now make informed decisions. He encouraged the local officials to turn data into meaningful actions and make CBMS an integral part of their governance framework.

Provincial Director Jesus P. Naquila of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) narrated his experience with CBMS as a tool in planning, identification and prioritization of programs at the local level given the meager resources of the government. He said that CBMS can also be used as a tool in outsourcing funds that will promote betterment of lives of their people.

PSA RSSO 8 Chief Statistical Specialist (CSS) Mae R. Almonte presented the 2022 CBMS highlights of the Municipalities of Almeria, Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan, and Maripipi on the following: basic services such as access to electricity, internet, main sources of water, households’ perception on safety when walking alone in the community, household food insecurity experience in the past 12 months socio-demographic characteristics, education, labor force and employment, senior citizen’s living alone, and person’s with disability.

Symbolically the local officials of the LGUs of Biliran accepted the CBMS data and expressed their gratitude to PSA for the CBMS data turned over to them, to wit:

Mayor Myra A. Cabrales of Biliran represented by William P. Uy, Mayor Richard D. Jaguros of Almeria, Mayor Gemma G. Adobo of Cabucgayan represented by Rosalie R. Agang, Vice-Mayor Linda Baleyos of Caibiran, Mayor Humphrey B. Olimba of Culaba, Mayor Manolo D. Rubi of Kawayan, and Mayor Joseph C. Caingcoy of Maripipi.

The LCEs expressed their commitment to use the 2022 CBMS results for the betterment of the lives of their constituents. The MPDCs of the 7 LGUs discussed the different uses of CBMS data in their respective municipalities. As managers of their CBMS data, they promised to comply with the requirements of the Data Privacy Act.

In closing, CSS Renavil V. Cueva of PSO Biliran thanked everyone for their support and cited that the collective effort of the government to have a localized data paved the way to the success of CBMS. With the CBMS data now turned over to LGUs, she hoped that the results will be cascaded to the department heads of respective municipalities to ensure that data will be utilized.

CBMS is an organized technology-based system of collecting, processing and validating necessary disaggregated data that may be used for local planning, program implementation, and impact monitoring while empowering communities to participate the process. It involves the generation of data at the local level, which serves as basis in targeting households for government programs geared towards poverty alleviation and economic development.





Calbayog farmer group receives greenhouse, farm tools from DAR

Panoypoy Farmers Association
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) provides the Panoypoy Farmers Association (PFA) in Calbayog City a greenhouse facility and farm equipment worth P402,500.

October 21, 2023

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar – Though Barangay Panoypoy is among the remotest villages in this city, farmers here never felt they were forsaken by the government.

Barangay Panoypoy is 18 kilometers away from the city proper.

Almost all government agencies extended assistance to us, said Pedro Abajo, president of the Panoypoy Farmers Association (PFA), when the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) turned over to them a greenhouse facility and various farm implements.

This is a big opportunity given to us by DAR, Abajo said. We were given lands to till, and now we receive farm tools, he added.

Abajo encouraged his members to grab this opportunity, “Let us plant vegetables, because after three months, we can already harvest and generate income.”

Samar Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Alfonso Catorce disclosed during the said occasion that among the priorities of Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III is the provision of modern farm equipment, fertilizers, and other farm implements and inputs to agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) to help agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) make their awarded lands productive.

Catorce encouraged the members of the PFA to invite other ARBs to join any farmer organization assisted by the DAR so they could also avail of the different programs of the government.

Thelma Alfaro, chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division of the DAR Samar Provincial Office, explained that the DAR provided PFA a greenhouse so the latter would be able to produce high valued crops, such as lettuce, broccoli, and carrots, and supply whatever is required of them by institutional buyers.

Recently, DAR linked PFA to Calbayog City District Jail as a ready market for their products under Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP) being implemented by DAR under its Enterprise Development and Economic Support (EDES) program.

According to Alfaro, with DAR’s intervention, PFA and Calbayog City District Jail entered into a marketing agreement in July this year. Under the agreement, Calbayog City District Jail will purchase farm products from PFA for the daily food requirements of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).

Aside from the greenhouse, DAR also provided PFA various farm tools and farm inputs, which included shovels, garden rakes, pick mattocks, suction hose, watering cans, farming boots, bolos, plastic mulches and seeds. All these amounted to P402,500.00, said Alfaro.

Meanwhile, City Agriculturist, Engr. Techie Pagunsan, who was present during the said occasion, expressed gratitude to DAR officials “for being a partner in developing the agriculture sector.”

On this same occasion, Pagunsan also turned over several farm tools and fertilizers to PFA. Her office will be providing the necessary training to the said farmer group.

Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Jose Arropo shared that PFA is composed of 113 members, 69 of them are ARBs.

PFA greenhouse facility provided by DAR





8ID deploys troops to secure Negros Oriental’s BSKE 2023

8ID troops deployment

October 18, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – The 8th Infantry “Stormtroopers” Division, Philippine Army rendered a send-off ceremony for the Company size troops who will be augmented to the troops of JTF-Spear in province of Negros Oriental for the conduct of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election (BSKE) 2023 held at the Tactical Operations Group (TOG) 8, Airforce Headquarters in Tacloban City on October 17, 2023.

The 8th Infantry Division, Assistant Division Commander, Brig. Gen. Perfecto P. Peñaredondo led the send-off ceremony of troops, which is a composite team from the 14th Infantry Battalion, 46th Infantry Battalion, 52nd Infantry Battalion, and 78th Infantry Battalion who will be placed under the operational control of 302nd Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Infantry “Spearhead” Division.

In his message, Brig. Gen. Peñaredondo emphasized the vital role of the troops who will serve as an additional force in securing a free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible BSKE in Negros Oriental.

“Malaki ang inyong magiging kontribusyon sa pagpapangalaga ng demokrasya at pagsisiguro na ang boses ng mga mamamayan ay mapakikinggan,” Brig. Gen. Peñaredondo expressed.

He also urged the soldiers not to loosen their guard and stay vigilant.

He also reminded the troops to maintain discipline, professionalism, and respect for human rights as they perform their sworn duty, and as a deputized agency of the Commission on Election (COMELEC) in securing fair and honest elections.

It can be recalled that on March 04, 2023, Negros Oriental Governor, Roel Degamo was assassinated in broad daylight in his residence together with nine others.





DPWH continues construction of Sta. Margarita Diversion road

Sta. Margarita Diversion road

October 18, 2023

CALBAYOG CITY – Samar First DEO now continues the construction of Sta. Margarita Diversion road under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for FY 2023.

The scope of work will include the construction of concrete road which will span 0.96 lane kilometers and a width of 30 meters (four lanes with center island). Aside from that, a slope protection will also be incorporated on both sides and solar LED lights will be installed.

This will provide a safe and faster route for people, goods and services as it connects different barangays. This will also serve as an alternate route to let through traffic flow without interference from local traffic and reduce congestion in the built-up area which is expected if one goes through the municipality. The road will connect from Barangay Burabod along the Maharlika Highway and will end at the Calbayog Diversion road.

Said road is part of a multi-year project which started in 2022 and targeted to be passable by 2025.





CARD MRI plants 750 mangrove trees in Oriental Mindoro

CARD MRI tree planting

October 18, 2023

SAN PABLO CITY – CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) planted 750 mangrove trees in Brgy. Baruyan, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro on October 7, 2023 as an initiative to reduce the carbon footprint and counteract oil spill in the area.

As part of the restoration effort, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recommended planting the said kind of tree as the area suffered from oil spill recently.

The said activity also signifies CARD MRI’s commitment to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals globally. As shared by CARD MRI Managing Director Aristeo A. Dequito, “While we undertake various initiatives to promote the well-being and prosperity of both people and the planet, the tree planting activity plays an important role in advancing the 17 SDGs.” He also added that the banking institutions of CARD MRI has been one with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in promoting sustainable financing through compliance to BSP Circular No. 1805 Series of 2020.

About 150 staff from institutions under CARD MRI participated in the tree-planting activity, namely, CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO), CARD Bank, and CARD MBA.

“It was challenging yet enjoyable. Aside from saving the earth, we also had an opportunity to bond with each other, enabling us to strengthen our connection,” CARD Bank Regional Director Venancia Salazar said during an interview.

Meanwhile, CARD-Business Development Service Foundation Inc. (CARD-BDSFI), a member institution of CARD MRI that focuses on agricultural and fisheries development, signed a memorandum of agreement with DENR for these environmentally sustainable activities. This agreement outlines DENR's quarterly visits to the mangroves and mandates the institutions provide replacements for any dead plants.

“We cannot fully eradicate poverty without caring for our common home, our planet Earth. With the climate crisis continuously intensifying, this activity is a good approach to help boost ecosystem resilience and combat climate change,” CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip concluded.

With a holistic approach to development, CARD MRI aspires to continuously achieve sustainability through its institutions specializing not only in financial services, but also in health, education, and other community development programs.





DepEd, Save the Children, and Prudence Foundation cite success of School Safety Project protecting 47,000 PH schools from disasters, climate change

Comprehensive School Safety Ecosystem (CSSE) Project
Batang Empowered and Resilient Team (BERT) members are using the School Watching Application (SWApp) as they take part in assessing the dangers after typhoons and other disasters that hit their schools. {Photo by Anna Dominique Esmeralda/Save the Children)

Press Release
October 13, 2023

QUEZON CITY – On International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Department of Education (DepEd), Save the Children Philippines, and Prudence Foundation celebrated the success of the Comprehensive School Safety Ecosystem (CSSE) Project and reiterated their commitments to making learning safe for Filipino learners.

The CSSE Project is a multi-stakeholder partnership by DepEd, Prudence Foundation and Save the Children aimed at strengthening the resilience of the Philippine school system to all hazards, including the impact of the climate crisis.

Since its launch in 2018, the CSSE Project has already reached over 620,000 people across the Philippines through different interventions that leverage innovation, technology, data, collaboration, and children’s participation. It also serves as a sustainable and scalable strategy for protecting all 47,000 schools in the Philippines against disasters, including the effects of climate change.

“With the continuous threats of extreme weather events such as typhoons, floods, and impacts of climate change, we stand firm in our commitment to keep students, teachers, and staff safe in schools, and to limit disruption in learning in case such disasters take place using the different components of the ecosystem and tools developed by the project,” said Atty. Christian C. Rivero, Director IV Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service of the Department of Education. “We are grateful to have worked with Save the Children Philippines and Prudence Foundation to help achieve the vision of uninterrupted education in the country.”

The Philippines ranks first in the World Risk Index with the highest risk of disasters in the world in 2022 and 2023. The said report projects that Filipinos are most vulnerable to disasters due to extreme natural events and impacts of climate change.

“Education is key to uplifting the lives of the most marginalized and vulnerable children, and any interruption in children’s education can negatively impact their lives in the long run,” said Atty. Alberto Muyot, CEO of Save the Children Philippines. “We are grateful for this partnership project with the DepEd and Prudence Foundation. We hope that the achievements of the CSSE Project will be replicated in all schools in the Philippines, and influence other countries so that children can enjoy quality education that is safe from disasters.”

One of the most notable accomplishments of the project was the creation of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Information System (DRRMIS) within the Department of Education. This featured three digital apps that were adapted to the DepEd's needs and integrated into their processes to increase data collection for school safety response and planning.

The Rapid Assessment of Damages Report, or RADaR, digital app enables the immediate reporting of disaster-related damages, allowing the DepEd to respond quickly. The information from the app helped the DepEd's overall internal and external school safety coordination and planning, as well as influencing an increase in the DepEd's disaster response budget. Comprehensive School Safety (CSS) Monitoring and the School Watching App (SWApp) are two more applications and tools developed to support preparedness and children's participation.

“Disaster preparedness and resilience is very important in any setting – even more so in the context of children’s education. The risks to children’s education are increasing, but so is our drive in developing and delivering programs to increase resilience and create a safe and healthy learning environment for children,” said Marc Fancy, Executive Director of Prudence Foundation, the community investment arm of PruLife UK’s parent company Prudential plc.

The CSSE Project received an award at the United Nations Sasakawa Awards for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2022. Best practices from the CSSE Project were recognized at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in 2022, the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2022, and the UK Forum for International Education and Training (UKFIET) Conference in 2023.





DAR proves unending government support to farmers

DAR farming equipment support to San Isidro Rural Association
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Eastern Samar Provincial Office turns over farm machineries and farm inputs worth P1-million to the San Isidro Rural Association in Hernani, Eastern Samar.

October 13, 2023

HERNANI, Eastern Samar – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Eastern Samar Provincial Office proved once again that delivery of government assistance is unending with the recent turnover of farm machineries and inputs to an agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO) in this town.

Late last month, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Danilo Lozada led the turnover of two hand tractors with trailer, two rice threshers with blower, six floating tillers, three grass cutters, eight knapsack sprayers, a water pump, and hybrid seeds to the San Isidro Rural Association (SIRA) in a simple ceremony held at the covered court of Barangay San Isidro.

Lozada, emphasized to the members of the SIRA that the help coming from the government should be well utilized and used for the betterment, not only for their organization but, more importantly, for the whole nation. “Let us help one another and help the government,” said Lozada.

Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Glicerio Camenforte disclosed that these packages of assistance amounting to one million pesos is funded under the Major Crop-based Block Farm Productivity Enhancement of the Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support (CRFPS) program.

He further disclosed that this is in line with Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III’s nine primary goals which include provision of modern farm equipment and farm inputs to ARBOs in order to increase agricultural production and eventually improve the quality of lives of the farmers, particularly the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

Meanwhile, Elias Gayoso, president of the SIRA, assured the officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that they will value everything given to them and maximize the use of the farm equipment, as he expressed their gratitude.

SIRA is composed of 97 members, wherein 45 are ARBs. Most of them are into rice farming.

San Isidro Rural Association





Filing of complaints now easier with CARe System – DTI

DTI care system
From L to R: Atty. M. Marcus N. Valdez, Atty. Marimel Porciuncula, Atty. Cherryl Carbonell, Asec. Mary Jean Pacheco, Undersecretary Kim Lokin, Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona, Secretary Fred Pascual, EDGA-USAID Deputy Director Eric Florimon-Reed, UPPAF-RESPOND Chief-of-Party Dr. Enrico L. Basillo, UPPAF RESPOND Dr. Mario Lamberte, Asec. Agaton Uvero, FTEB Director Atty. Fhillip D. Sawali, and USAID Mr. Jay De Quiros

By DTI-Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau
October 13, 2023

MAKATI CITY – To provide a more efficient and seamless complaint filing process, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the University of the Philippines Public Administration Research and Extension Services Foundation Inc. (UPPAF) introduced the DTI Consumer Complaints Assistance and Resolution System (CARe System) to the general public today, 13 October 2023 held at the New World Hotel Manila.

During the launch, DTI Secretary Fred Pascual emphasized, “The PODRS and CARe Systems are not just tools but symbols of our commitment to justice, fairness, and progress. They signify our government's dedication to fostering a more inclusive and equitable society where access to justice and consumer protection is within everyone's reach. With such systems, consumers will have a strong ally in their corner to safeguard their interests.”

Establishing an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) system is an ASEAN Commitment, as stated in Strategic Goal 3 of the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan on Consumer Protection (ASAPCP) 2016-2025. This commitment aims to enhance consumer confidence in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and cross-border commercial transactions by creating an ODR System in each ASEAN Member State.

The DTI CARe System offers a user-friendly interface and robust security features, enabling consumers to file complaints and find resolutions easily. The system will address complaints that fall within the jurisdiction of the Department. Any other concerns will be directed to the appropriate government office or local government unit (LGU) for further action.

To register in the DTI Consumer CARe System, individuals must provide the following information:

a. Name;

b. Complete Postal Address;

c. Age Group;

d. Social Classification, if applicable [Senior Citizen, Person with Disability (PWD),

e. Indigenous People and Solo Parent];

f. Email Address;

g. DTI Consumer CARe System Account Password;

h. Telephone or Mobile Phone number; and

i. Copy of one Valid Government ID [Students may use their valid School ID].

Upon registration, individuals are required to provide their consent to the DTI Consumer CARe System and Privacy Statement. The system will send an email containing the registration information and verification link to the email address provided. Registrants who successfully complete the DTI Consumer CARe System will receive a copy of their information and a verification link sent to the email address they provided.

The trade and industry chief further highlighted that the DTI Consumer CARe System launched today is very timely serving as a prelude to the provision under the proposed Internet Transactions Act (ITA), recently approved by Congress on third reading for signature into law by the President. He reiterated that this is part of the DTI’s vision to promote the digitalization of government services.

Under the proposed Internet Transactions Act, the DTI is directed to facilitate an alternative mode of dispute resolution for online consumers as well as online businesses.

Through the Consumer CARe System, consumers would have a seamless and stress-free experience, from the time they file their initial complaint until the final resolution.

Highlighting the DTI’s goals of ensuring consumer protection, Secretary Pascual said, “By embracing technology while simultaneously implementing safeguards and raising awareness, we can create an environment where consumers can confidently engage in commerce and other activities online, knowing that their interests and security are protected. The DTI firmly believes that establishing the PODRS and Consumer CARe System will signify a momentous achievement, revolutionizing how consumer complaints are addressed and resolved nationally and internationally.”

For more information on the DTI Consumer CARe System, send an email to





Nabang-Gadgaran road commenced construction

nabang-gadgaran road construction

October 12, 2023

CALBAYOG CITY – Samar First DEO has commenced the construction of the Nabang-Gadgaran road with the contract amount of P94.8 million under the Convergence and Special Support Program (Tatag ng Imprastruktura para sa Kapayapaan at Seguridad or TIKAS).

The first phase will work on the embankment of gravel road which will span 2.2 kilometers and a width of 30 meters. The project started in Barangay Nabang which will reach until Barangay Limarayon.

The construction of the entire Nabang-Gadgaran road will approximately span a total of 6.19 kilometers with four (4) lanes and slope protection. The project will connect Barangay Nabang in Oquendo District and traverse different barangays until its endpoint in Barangay Gadgaran in Calbayog Diversion Road. This will serve as an alternate and faster route for motorist coming from Leyte going to Northern Samar and vice versa instead of taking Brgy. Lonoy junction which will lead them to go through the Calbayog-Catarman and Calbayog-Allen roads.

To provide/build quality and safe infrastructure facilities that connects and speed up movement of people, goods and services, as well as connects barangays in the district by integrated transport system.

This multi-year project is targeted to be completed in 2025.





PSA brings services closer to the people of Tolosa, Leyte

PSA services in Tolosa, Leyte

Press Release
October 12, 2023

TACLOBAN CITY – As a continuing effort to bring its services much closer to the Filipino people, the Philippine Statistics Authority Regional Statistical Services Office (RSSO) VIII in collaboration with PSA Leyte, once again had the honor to serve the people of Tolosa, Leyte during the recently concluded “Bagong Pilipinas Serbisyo Fair” (BPSF) held in Visayas State University last 23-24 September 2023.

PSA delegates attended the event headed by Deputy National Statisticain, Minerva Eloisa P. Esquivias together with Regional Director Wilma A. Perante, Civil Registration and Administrative Support Division Chief, Anesia S. Babante, Registration Officer III, Marife R. Molon and PSA Leyte Chief Statistical Specialist, Sheryl Ann A. Jamisola and other PSA and Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) personnel of Tolosa. PSA officials assisted during the Awarding of the Certificates of Liver Birth (COLB) in Security Paper to 262 beneficiaries under the PhilSys Birth Registration Assistance Project (PBRAP).

The PSA also catered clients under the various services provided with the overall count as follows:

Step 2 PhilSys Registration:   228
ePhilID issued/printed:   69
Prepared COLBs under PBRAP:   46
PBRAP Listing for verification:   52

The PSA also conducted mobile acceptance for requests of civil registry documents with the following total number of applications filed:

Live Birth:   525
Marriage:   45
CenoMar:   22
Death:   6

The BPSF is the country’s biggest service caravan aimed at providing government services to the Filipino people across the country who may not have the means to avail of these benefits. It is one of several flagship programs and projects being launched with the goal of attaining comprehensive policy reforms and full economic recovery.





CARD Inc. Medical Services opens in Tanauan, Leyte

CARD, Inc. Medical Services in Tanauan, Leyte
MaHP Director Dr. Roderick Belen (rightmost, front row), CARD, Inc. Board of Trustee Ms. Haydee Eulin (leftmost, second row), CARD, Inc. Deputy Executive Director for Finance and Admin Lousel Cortes (2nd to the left, front row), CARD Bank Regional Director Ms. Luella Bulalacao (2nd to the right, front row), Mayor’s Office representative Judge Efren Abando (3rd to the left, front row), and Brgy. Captain Mr. Romeo M. Tecson (3rd to the right, front row) alongside other CARD MRI’s staff and clients attended the inauguration of CARD, Inc. new healthcare facility. It aims to bring healthcare services closer to more Filipino communities.

October 11, 2023

TANAUAN, Leyte – To provide healthcare access to far-flung communities, CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO) - CARD MRI’s Microfinance and Health Protection (MaHP) opens a clinic and laboratory facility that offers medical services in Tanauan, Leyte on October 5, 2023.

Recognizing clients' critical need for a health protection program urged CARD, Inc. to establish clinics and laboratories across the Philippines, offering affordable medical consultations and laboratory services, including maternal care, child health, family planning, and diagnostic tests.

CARD, Inc. also partnered with private healthcare practitioners and facilities to ensure the continuous availability of healthcare support and extend the services not only to CARD MRIs clients and their dependents but also to the general public.

“Our mission is to empower the community to make healthier choices and establish an accessible and affordable healthcare facility,” MaHP Director Dr. Roderick Belen said.

The said activity was part of the CARD MRI’s mission to combat poverty through enhanced healthcare access.

Among those who graced the opening of the facility were MaHP Director Dr. Roderick Belen, CARD, Inc. Board of Trustee Ms. Haydee Eulin; Deputy Executive Director for Finance and Admin Ms. Lousel Cortes; CARD, Inc. Assistant Executive Director Larry Jun Barcoma; Regional Director Isidro Guevarra Jr.; CARD Bank Regional Director Ms. Luella Bulalacao; and MaHP Chief MedTech Laarni Fernandez. Also invited were Municipal Mayor Gina E. Merilo represented by Judge Efren Abando and Brgy. Captain Mr. Romeo M. Tecson and some clients.

“This achievement serves as a testament to our unwavering commitment to bringing quality healthcare access for all, a cause that is set to transform lives and communities in the Philippines and beyond,” CARD, Inc. Trustee Ms. Haydee Eulin said.

As of October 2023, CARD, Inc. (MaHP) operates three clinics and laboratories located in San Pablo City, Laguna, and Tagum City Davao del Norte. Meanwhile the third clinic is located in Barangay Buntay, Tanauan, Leyte.

Going Digital

In 2012, CARD recognized the critical need for health protection, thus with the support of CARD, Inc., CARD Laboratory was inaugurated, offering diagnostic services at a minimal fee, in addition to free consultations.

Eight years after, with the advancement of technology and with the COVID-19 pandemic, the company introduced CARD e-Doctor to offer free online medical consultations via Facebook messenger and a series of informative lectures on various health topics, including disease descriptions, symptoms, treatments, and preventive measures, were conducted by partner doctors via live Facebook sessions.

This interactive platform allowed viewers to actively participate, posing questions during the live discussions, and receiving expert answers.

As CARD MRI continues in uplifting the marginalized, the new clinic and laboratory is now open and ready to serve clients, staff, and Tanauan communities with holistic and accessible healthcare services. The said facility is open from Monday to Friday, 6:30 AM to 4:00 PM.





Flood control structure erected in Brgy. Casab-ahan

Brgy. Casab-ahan flood control

October 11, 2023

CALBAYOG CITY – A flood control structure built along Gandara River in Brgy. Casab-ahan has already been completed according to the Department of Public Works and Highways Samar First District Engineering Office.

The flood mitigating structure has a total length of 370 meters (left side has a length of 272 meters while its right side has 98 meters) and a height of three (3) meters which connects to the initial flood control wall built in the area. Part of its scope of work includes a 1.6-meter-wide walkway that runs along the same length as the structure itself and a 0.8 parapet that serves as a protection wall for the residents of the barangay.

The flood control structure will benefit the community with 1,291 population (2020 Census) by reducing flood-related environmental impacts, especially during heavy rains.

This project has total revised contract amount of P53.05 million funded under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for FY 2023.





Tubod in Surigao del Norte named most competitive municipality

most competitive municipality

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
October 10, 2023

BUTUAN CITY – Tubod, a municipality in Surigao del Norte, has been recognized as the most competitive among 315 5th–6th class municipalities during the Philippine Creative Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Congress held on September 28, underscoring its unwavering dedication to excellence and advancement across diverse sectors.

This distinction was awarded as part of the annual Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, a program devised by the National Competitiveness Council in partnership with regional competitiveness committees. The ranking evaluates the competitiveness of cities and municipalities based on an overall competitiveness score, which is derived from combining scores across five crucial dimensions: economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, resilience, and innovation.

Tubod Mayor Richelle B. Romarate emphasized the importance of this award for the local government, saying that, "this award is of great significance to LGU-Tubod because it signifies what has been accomplished across the five pillars: economic dynamism, government efficiency, disaster resilience, infrastructure, and innovation."

Romarate stressed the municipality's commitment to maintaining its competitive position, adding that "in order to sustain our position, we will focus on surpassing our own records. Although this is a competitive index, we are not competing with other municipalities. Our main goal is to identify and address shortcomings for the coming year. Our actions are guided by the standards set by DTI for CMCI, and we strive to meet those standards in every way possible."

Tubod's outstanding performance also earned recognition in several other categories, including Top 1 in the government efficiency and innovation pillars, Top 3 in the resilience pillar, Top 4 in the infrastructure pillar, and Top 9 in the economic dynamism pillar among 5th–6th class municipalities.

Notably, Tubod was not the sole local government unit (LGU) from the Caraga region honored during the event. Other awardees from Caraga included General Luna, Surigao del Norte, which was ranked as the top 5 overall most competitive LGU for 5th–6th class municipalities, securing the top 1 spot in the infrastructure pillar and the top 7 spot in the economic dynamism pillar.

Butuan City was recognized as the Top 2 Most Improved Highly Urbanized City. Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte, secured a spot in the Top 10 of the economic dynamism pillar.

San Jose in the Province of Dinagat Islands achieved the Top 4 in the Government Efficiency Pillar among 3rd–4th class municipalities, while Burgos, Surigao del Norte, was acknowledged in the Top 8 of the Infrastructure Pillar among 5th–6th class municipalities.

"These awards not only highlight the LGUs’ excellence but also underscore the region's dedication to progress and development in various key areas, positioning Caraga as a substantial contributor to the Philippines' competitive landscape," DTI Caraga Regional Director Gay Tidalgo said.





Samar I continues to build road connectivity in Calbayog City

Libertad to Barangay Roxas I barangay road

October 9, 2023

CALBAYOG CITY – A paved road from Barangay Libertad to Barangay Roxas I has been constructed by Samar First DEO drawn from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for FY 2023.

A 350-meter Portland Cement Concrete Pavement (PCCP) with a width of five (5) meters is built in the said area to replace the footh path that residents would trudge in order to reach said barangays. Part of the scope is a 175-meter open drainage to discharge water. Moreover, this drainage structure stops where the ricefields are located so that water can flow freely towards it to help with irrigation.

The project has a contract amount of P9.89 million.

The road construction primarily aims to connect all areas as well as to provide ease and safe mobility of people and products. This road in the said barangay will allow faster transportation of their produce such as root crops and “copra” since it now offers different alternate routes to the marketplace which will lessen the travel time.





PH delegation mainstreams durian in CIIE 2023

The Philippine pavilion during the 5th edition of CIIE in 2022
The Philippine pavilion during the 5th edition of CIIE in 2022. The country pavilion showcased an array of Philippine-made food products, reflecting the country’s vibrant food culture.

October 4, 2023

PASAY CITY – A delegation of 17 Philippine business enterprises will return to the 2023 edition of China International Import Expo (CIIE) for the 6th consecutive time with the theme “Share the love for Philippine flavors.” Anchored on the increasing popularity that Durian is enjoying in China, the delegation will put a spotlight on Philippine Durian as the country’s key feature along with other fresh produce and a diverse selection of uniquely Philippine-made food products. The largest import-themed trade fair in the world will be held on November 5-10 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China.

CIIE is a world-class expo that provides new channels for countries and regions to do business, strengthen cooperation, and promote common prosperity. It has three main parts particularly: the Country Pavilion, Enterprise and Business Fair for goods and services, and International Trade Forum. Similar to its previous editions since 2020, this year’s edition will be a mixture of onsite participation amplified by participants’ CIIE online account to ensure wider reach and better business engagement.

The hybrid participation by the country’s delegation under FOODPhilippines banner, which is spearheaded by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) – the export promotion arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry – aims to promote the Philippinesas a top sourcing destination for premium food products. Working alongside CITEM are the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry - Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), Philippine Trade and Investment Center - Shanghai (PTIC-Shanghai), Philippine Department of Agriculture - Office of the Agriculture Counselor in Beijing (DA-OAC Beijing), Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., (PhilExport), and the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII).

Durian as a rising commodity in China

Over the past few years, Durian was catapulted to fame in China. It has gained increasing popularity among Chinese consumers turning the famed tropical fruit into a status symbol. This can be observed in Chinese weddings which are steeped in customary practices handed down through generations. For one, wedding guests would go the extra mile and show love for the newlyweds by providing the spouses with exquisite gifts. These gifts usually include food and other farm produce such as grapes, ham sausage, milk, and dried mushrooms – all of which symbolize wealth, abundance, and prosperity. Although in recent years, Durian has become the go-to present, putting all its rivals on the sidelines.

Despite its huge, thorn-covered husk and its putrid and pungent smell, Durian has been dubbed the “king of fruits” across Southeast Asia. This could be attributed to the polarizing experience one would go through after munching on the tropical fruit which boasts of its unique, creamy texture and custard flavor that is similar to an ice cream bar.

Durian hailed “king of fruits’, dethrones all other competitors

Accounting for 20% of global market consumption, China is the 3rd largest consumer of Durian across the world faring right behind Indonesia and the Philippines. In 2022, China imported 824,000 tons of fresh Durian which was valued at USD 4 billion. This was 4 times bigger than the volume imported in 2017 according to a report provided by the World Trade Organization.

Early this year, the Philippines forged partnership with China as Chinese President Xi and his counterpart Marcos Jr. signed 14 bilateral agreements covering investment in infrastructure and Durian import following the latter’s state visit to Beijing.

The Philippines is more than capable to tap this huge opportunity and address this demand. In 2021, the Philippines yielded more than 70,000 (73,867) metric tons of fresh Durian, with Davao Region as the top producer after covering 78% of the total Durian production. The country has a well-established Durian market in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong, and South Korea.

“This huge Chinese market for fresh Durian and other related produce is seen as a great opportunity for the Philippines,” PTIC-Shanghai Commercial Counselor Glenn Peñaranda said.

“It’s been quite evident that Chinese consumers have developed this keen appetite for fresh Durian. With China being the Philippines’ largest trading partner, it’s only fitting that we seize this opportunity and put our best foot forward in providing aid to our local Durian farmers. Our longstanding trade partner is cradling a huge market waiting to be tapped,” he added.

shipping of fresh Durian from Davao City to China
Photo taken during the export of the first batch of fresh Durian from Davao City to China. (Courtesy of PTV News)

The Department of Agriculture (DA) set a new milestone after the first batch of Philippine Durian was exported to China in April to May this year, shipping a total of 586 metric tons of fresh Durian which directly penetrated Huizhan market in Shanghai and Gaobeidian market in Hebei Province for the northern market, especially Beijing. This momentous trade deal is expected to generate USD 150 million worth of revenue according to the Bureau of Plants and Industry (BPI).

“This is a significant progress that comes with vast economic potential. Following the export of fresh Durian along with other agricultural produce, we are given the opportunity to generate more exports to China and to also promote collaboration including investments in production and the value chain. That is why our participation in this year’s edition of CIIE can be likened to opening a treasure trove. Not only that it enhances bilateral trade relations between China and the Philippines but also forges stronger ties between the two countries,” Mr. Peñaranda explained.

According to Agriculture Counselor Ana GM B. Abejuela of the DA-OAC in Beijing, the Philippines’ homegrown Durian variety, which slightly edged out its competitors, took a warm reception from the Chinese consumers.

“Consumers who tasted the Philippine Durian, especially the golden Puyat, said that the taste is closer to Musang King, Malaysia’s Durian and the most expensive durian in China. Thus, having Philippine Durian at a much lower price than Musang King is a double delight for the Philippine Durian buyers and consumers. It tastes great at an affordable price,” AC Abejuela said.

The Philippine Pavilion, which is located at booth no. 1.1C3-01, will be housing an array of delectable fresh produce along with an innovative line up of processed food products. A combination of returning and neophyte exporters, 17 local business enterprises will be at the forefront to push the boundaries and put onto the table a diverse selection of fine-tasting agricultural produce which includes fresh Durian, Coconut and other related products, Mango, and Coffee among others. The country pavilion will, likewise, offer fun and healthy snacks such as Banana Chips, Dried Mangoes, Coconut Products and the like.

The participating exhibitors comprising the Philippine delegation are Century Pacific Agricultural Ventures, Inc.; Fisher Farms, Inc.; Lionheart Farms Philippines Corporation; Profood International Corporation; Raspina Tropical Fruits, Inc.; Republic Biscuit Corporation; Sam Lim Corporation; See’s International Food Mfg. Corporation; Avante-Agri Products Philippine, Inc.; Durian Industry Association of Davao City; Eng Seng Food Products; Eng Seng Group of Companies, Inc.; Excellent Quality Goods Supply Company; Gerb Golden Hands; Maylong Enterprises Corporation; Philippine Coffee Guild; and SQ Fresh Fruit Corporation.

The Philippine participation in CIIE 2023 is made possible through CITEM’s partnership with Philippine Airlines, the country’s official flag carrier.





NMP welcomes new executive director

National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) changed of leadership

Press Release
October 2, 2023

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) has recently changed leadership as Mr. Victor A. Del Rosario assumed as its Executive Director III in a turnover ceremony held on 25 September 2023, at the NMP Administration Building, Cabalawan, Tacloban City.

The ceremony, formalized the transfer of authority and responsibility, marked by the passing of the NMP Flag and a symbolic key.

The event began with a welcome message from Capt. Chito Go, the NMP OIC-Head of the Maritime Training & Assessment Division, setting the tone for the occasion. He expressed, "Today, we welcome a new captain on board. As we embark on this journey together, we are prepared to sail into a promising future filled with abundant opportunities in the vast seas of the maritime industry."

NMP's outgoing OIC Executive Director, Ms. Mayla N. Macadawan, reflected on the challenges faced during the transition from being an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to becoming a subsumed office of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). She stated, 'Despite the challenges and the turbulent waters we navigated, I take great pride that we have achieved impressive accomplishments under my leadership from 01 July 2022, up to this date, and all credit goes to the talented and supportive NMP employees.' She also expressed her commitment to continue working with the same passion and hard work as the agency’s Deputy Executive Director (DED). She conveyed her utmost confidence that the NMP will reach even greater heights under the nurturing leadership of ED del Rosario.

In his Acceptance Speech, Executive Director del Rosario expressed his gratitude and enthusiasm. He paid homage to his predecessor, Ms. Macadawan, and all past Executive Directors for their dedication and vision that had charted the course of NMP's remarkable achievements.

He also outlined his vision for NMP, emphasizing the importance of continuous improvement in maritime education and training, calling for unity and cooperation among NMP's staff, partners, and stakeholders.

In closing, he declared, "Together, we will navigate the challenges, seize the opportunities, and continue to write the success story of the National Maritime Polytechnic. I look forward to working with each and every one of you as we embark on this journey of progress and excellence.”

The event was attended by NMP employees and esteemed government officials, including Regional Director Henry John S. Jalbuena and Assistant Regional Director Norman L. Uyvico of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), OIC Assistant Regional Director Engr. Ma. Margarita C. Junia of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Mr. Cydric B. Suyom of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), OIC Regional Director/Coordinator Mr. Marlon C. Macalla of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Regional Satellite Office 8, and PO1 Benedict B. Gloria of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The shift in the Captain's seat ushers in a new era for NMP's leadership and direction, offering the prospect of fresh perspectives and innovative approaches.





592 agrarian beneficiaries receive e-titles during BPSF launch in Leyte

Bagong Pilipinas Serbisyo Fair in Leyte
Five hundred ninety-two agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) receive individual certificates of land ownership award (CLOA) while three agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) receive package of support services worth P1.5 million from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) during the launch of the Bagong Pilipinas Serbisyo Fair in Leyte.

October 2, 2023

TOLOSA, Leyte – A total of 592 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from 21 Leyte towns and a city received their individual land titles as the Marcos administration launched simultaneously on Saturday, September 23, the Bagong Pilipinas Serbisyo Fair (BPSF) in four provinces in the country.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his message, as he led the launching in Camarines Sur, said, “Ang programang ito ay isa lamang sa mga unang hakbangin ng pamahalaan upang magkaroon ng bagong pag-asa at bagong simula ang mga Pilipino. Magkakahiwalay man ang ating mga isla, pinagbubuklod-buklod naman tayo ng isang diwa at isang pangarap, isang bagong Pilipinas para sa bagong Pilipino.”

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who led the launching in Leyte, disclosed that BPSF, a two-day event, is simultaneously being launched also in the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Davao de Oro, bringing the government closer to the people.

Romualdez spearheaded the distribution of various assistance from about 40 government agencies with Leyte Governor Jericho Petilla, at the Visayas State University (VSU) Tolosa campus. The affair was attended by an estimated 60,000 residents coming from the 40 municipalities and three cities in Leyte, as BPSF brings government offices together in one venue.

In the distribution of the electronically generated Certificates of Land Ownership Award (e-CLOAs), Romualdez and Petilla were assisted by Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Eastern Visayas Regional Director, Atty. Robert Anthony Yu.

According to Yu, 665 e-CLOAs covering an aggregate area of 997.7358 hectares of farm lots were handed over to 592 ARBs from Ormoc City and the towns of Alangalang, Babatngon, Barugo, Bato, Burauen, Capoocan, Carigara, Dagami, Hilongos, Jaro, Kananga, La Paz, Leyte, MacArthur, Matalom, Mayorga, Merida, Palompon, San Miguel, Tabango and Villaba.

Yu explained that the e-CLOAs or individual titles were issued under the World Bank-funded Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) project, after subdividing the lands covered by collective CLOAs. This is to improve land tenure security and strengthen property rights of the ARBs, he added.

Marivic Mendoza, 61, a mother of three from Capoocan town, and a recipient of 2.2 hectares farm lot, was so thankful that they now have their individual titles without spending a single centavo, while Evelyn Dayon, 66, from adjacent Kananga town, is hoping that they are included in the condonation of debts and amortization as mandated by Republic Act No. 11953, which was recently signed by the President.

Aside from the e-titles, farm machineries and equipment amounting to ₱1.5 million from the DAR were likewise turned over on the same occasion to the Calaguise Agriculture Cooperative, Taytay-Iphag-Gapas Irrigators Association, and the Pong-on Farmers Association from the towns of Leyte, Jaro, and Matalom, respectively.





CARD MBA marks 24th year with AcciPlan launch and notable achievements

AcciPlan launch
During the 24th anniversary of CARD MBA, seven MBA Coordinators were hailed as regional winners during the 8th awarding ceremony for the “Natatanging MBA Coordinator” on September 07, 2023 held in Maharlika Square Events Place in San Pablo City, Laguna.

October 1, 2023

SAN PABLO CITY – CARD Mutual Benefit Association (CARD MBA), the microinsurance arm of CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI), highlighted its latest microinsurance product, AcciPlan, during its 24th anniversary celebration, on September 7, 2023.

AcciPlan will deliver comprehensive accident insurance coverage for both its members and their legal dependents. The product will undergo pilot testing in select provincial offices starting October 1, 2023.

CARD MBA CEO Jocelyn A. Dequito emphasized the Association’s unwavering commitment for the vulnerable communities. “Our focus has always been the protection and well-being of our members and their families. Our new product underscores this dedication and commitment to safeguarding Filipinos amid uncertainties.

Natatanging MBA Coordinator Awardee

Meanwhile, the program also awarded outstanding MBA coordinators, namely, Rowena Sumilang from VisMin Region as the 2023 NMC National Winner; Jessa Bulos from Luzon 2 Region, 1st place; and Anna Sheila Raut-raut from Luzon 2 Region, 2nd place.

Each awardee received a cash prize, a plaque of recognition, and a token of appreciation.

The event was graced by Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, Managing Director Aristeo Dequito, CARD Bank President/CEO Marivic Austria, CARD SME Bank President/CEO Cynthia Baldeo, CARD RBI President/CEO Elma Valenzuela, CAMIA President and General Manager Vener Abellera, MIMAP Vice President Silvida Antiquera, Insurance Commission Commissioner Atty. Reynaldo Regalado, some of the CARD MRI senior advisers, staff, CARD MBA Board of Trustees, and MBA coordinators.

Adding to the roster of its achievements, CARD MBA has been recognized among the Global 500 ranking of the largest mutual and cooperative insurance companies in the world.

The celebration also highlighted the leadership transition, introducing Reazhyle Francisco as the new president of the CARD MBA Board of Trustees with six newly elected trustees.

As of July 2023, CARD MBA had a total of 7,349,281 active members.





136 female trainees benefit from NMP ‘Serbisyo Para Kay Juana’ Training Program

NMP female trainees

October 1, 2023

TACLOBAN CITY – One hundred thirty-six (136) determined female trainees have embraced the opportunity to advance their maritime careers and availed of the NMP’s "Serbisyo Para Kay Juana" Program. Female trainees were offered free training and dormitory accommodations during the celebrations of the National Women's Month (March), Day of the Seafarer (June), and National Maritime Week (September) of every year, reflecting the agency’s unwavering commitment to fostering inclusivity and empowering women in the maritime sector.

These 136 female trainees, representing diverse backgrounds, enrolled in various NMP regular training courses to enhance their maritime knowledge and skills. They were entitled to a free training fee and complimentary dormitory accommodation in non-air-conditioned rooms, creating a conducive and supportive learning environment. Those opting for air-conditioned rooms can avail it at a 50% discounted rate.

The active participation of these female trainees is testament of NMP’s dedication to fostering diversity and equality within the maritime community. This visionary initiative significantly contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 5: Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, and to highlight the important contribution of women all over the world to the maritime sector.

NMP extends its heartfelt congratulations to these remarkable women who have chosen to embark on this transformative journey, inspiring others to shatter gender barriers and embrace excellence within the maritime industry.

Being a strong and consistent advocate on gender and development in the maritime industry, the said program was launched as one of the advocacy campaigns of the agency to promote empowerment of Filipino women seafarers encouraging them to pursue senior management level positions.

For more information about NMP "Serbisyo Para Kay Juana" program and its ongoing commitment to gender equality in the maritime sector, please visit the Agency’s Facebook page ( or website





Catch wall built in Brgy. Nabang to protect motorists

Brgy. Nabang catch wall

September 30, 2023

CALBAYOG CITY – Samar First District Engineering Office has completed the construction of a concrete catch wall in Brgy. Nabang, Calbayog City, Samar.

It has a total revised contract amount of P38.40 million funded under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) 2023.

The abovementioned structure was built intermittently to cover all areas that needs protection from landslides or rockslides. The above structure spans 158 meters in total and 5-meter in height. The scope of work includes road re-blocking with a length of 101 meters and installation of eight (8) solar LED lights.

A concrete catch wall is built to seize falling rocks and dirt fragments, mainly on sloping terrain. Because of its mountainous surroundings, Barangay Nabang is prone to rockslides and landslides caused by the collapse of a weakened slope caused by heavy rains, natural ground movements, or, in extreme cases, earthquakes. It can be recalled that a landslide occurred in the area in October 2020, closing three lanes due to tropical storm "Quinta."





PSA turns over 100% of 2022 CBMS PSA-funded to 5th and 6th class municipalities in Southern Leyte

PSA turn over of 2022 CBMS to Southern Leyte towns
Witnessing the 2022 CBMS Data Turnover Ceremony (DTC) for Southern Leyte LGUs were (from left) Zonia Salazar, Mae Almonte, Eutemio Llevado and Dir. Wilma Perante, all of PSA-RSSO 8, MPDC Edmar T. Tambis of Tomas Oppus, MPDC Raul B. Fajardo of San Juan, Mayor Reynaldo Saludo of San Juan, Mayor Melchor Petracorta of Limasawa, Mayor Evelyn Lee of Hinundayan, Mayor Benedicta Tiaozon of San Francisco, MPDC Rea Lynd Andena of Anahawan, and MPDC Ma. Bella Gilbuena of Hinundayan.

By PSA-8
September 30, 2023

MACROHON, Southern Leyte – The Philippine Statistics Authority -Regional Statistical Services Office VIII (PSA-RSSO 08) and its Provincial Statistical Office (PSO) -Southern Leyte, turned over 100 percent of the 2022 Community-Based Monitoring System (2022 CBMS) results to the following 5th and 6th class Local Government Units of Southern Leyte, namely: Anahawan, Hinundayan, San Francisco, San Juan, Tomas Oppus and Limasawa, during the recently concluded Data Turnover Ceremony (DTC). This is in addition to the municipalities of Padre Burgos, San Ricardo, Pintuyan and Libagon who have already received their PSA-Funded 2022 CBMS data. Meanwhile, PSA also held the DTC for LGU-Funded 2022 CBMS in St. Bernard town.

PSA RSSO 8 Regional Director Wilma A. Perante, in her opening message, commended the six (6) municipalities for their full support in the 2022 CBMS implementation in their respective municipalities. She mentioned that the 2022 CBMS answers the desire of LGUs to have barangay level data as basis in the formulation of their plans and programs. With 2022 CBMS, LGUs will be able to correctly hit the program beneficiaries in their communities. She also emphasized that the use of Computer-Aided Personal Interview (CAPI) facilitated the entire CBMS operation. Director Perante commended the Local Chief Executives (LCEs) for leading its implementation and thanked the enumerators, processors, supervisors and barangay officials who all contributed to the success of the 2022 CBMS.

National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Claire Dennis S. Mapa, in his recorded message, cited the LGUs for their full support in the CBMS implementation. He also emphasized the relevance of CBMS results in their program formulation, particularly those that were geared toward alleviating poverty situation. He encouraged the local officials to turn data into meaningful action and make CBMS an integral part of their governance framework.

Provincial Director Danilo A. Laguitan of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that all development efforts of the government are geared towards reducing poverty. However, this cannot be done without the correct baseline data and disaggregated information for diagnosing poverty at the local level. CBMS is the long-awaited government effort of generating data up to barangay level for an evidenced-based program planning.

Provincial Director Rey Noel R. Collera of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) reaffirmed in his recorded message his commitment in the CBMS implementation. He emphasized that with the shared vision of becoming a data driven community, the voice of the constituents will be amplified and be given appropriate action. Data from CBMS will serve as catalyst of change if the responsibility and challenges of CBMS are embraced by the community and its officials.

PSA RSSO 8 Chief Statistical Specialist Mae R. Almonte and Supervising Statistical Specialist Zonia C. Salazar presented the 2022 CBMS highlights of the Municipalities of Anahawan, Hinundayan, San Francisco, San Juan, Limasawa and Tomas Oppus on the following: basic services such as access to electricity, internet, main sources of water, service level of toilet facility, households’ perception on safety when walking alone in the community, household food insecurity experience in the past 12 months socio-demographic characteristics, education, reasons for not continuing school, education facilities, labor force and employment, barangay health facilities, housing units characteristics and disaster preparedness.

Symbolically the following LGU officials accepted the CBMS data and expressed their gratitude and appreciation to PSA: Hinundayan Mayor Evelyn T. Lee, San Juan Mayor Reynaldo Saludo, San Francisco Mayor Benedicta Tiaozon, Limasawa Mayor Melchor Petracorta, Anahawan Mayor represented by Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator (MPDC) Realyn Andena, and Tomas Oppus MPDC Edmar Tambis. They also committed to utilize the 2022 CBMS results for the betterment of the lives of their constituents.

Ms. Binky D. Vasquez, Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator (PPDC) of Southern Leyte, thanked PSA and everyone who form part of the success of CBMS. The MPDCs of the 6 LGUs discussed the different uses of CBMS data in their respective municipalities. They also committed to ensure compliance to the requirements of data privacy as managers of their CBMS data.

In closing, CSS Eutemio Llevado, Jr. of PSO Southern Leyte thanked everyone for the support which contributed to the success of CBMS implementation in the province. Supervising Statistical Specialist Elissa P. Carbonilla described the LGU’s CBMS journey as smooth and successful even though there were bumps along the way. The success was made possible because of the strong support and cooperation of all the local officials of the municipality.

CBMS is an organized technology-based system of collecting, processing and validating necessary disaggregated data that may be used for local planning, program implementation, and impact monitoring while empowering communities to participate the process. It involves the generation of data at the local level, which serves as basis in targeting households for government programs geared towards poverty alleviation and economic development.





Samar mayor acknowledges DAR’s continued support to farmers

Malino Small Farmers Association (MSFA)
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) turned over P465,000 worth of farm equipment and farm inputs to the Malino Small Farmers Association in Jiabong, Samar.

September 30, 2023

JIABONG, Samar – Mayor Julie Cereno of this town expressed gratitude to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for continuously supporting the farmers by providing them with various assistance.

Cereno, who witnessed the turnover of P465,000 worth of farm equipment, hybrid seeds and fertilizers to Malino Small Farmers Association (MSFA) last month, thanked Samar Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Alfonso Catorce and other DAR officials present during the occasion for including agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) from this town in the list of recipients of DAR support services.

Catorce led in the turnover of the said assistance which also included starter feeds, pellet feeds, vitamins, dewormer and cylindrical automatic pig feeders for the MSFA’s hog raising livelihood project. Earlier, MSFA was provided with 6 piglets as additional livelihood to their vegetable production.

Catorce explained that DAR does not stop in the distribution of lands alone. DAR continues to help agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) make the land awarded to them productive by providing them support services. This agency also encourages ARBOs to venture into livelihood activities for additional source of income, he added.

Chief of DAR Samar’s Program Beneficiaries Development Division (PBDD), Thelma Alfaro, disclosed that the above-mentioned package of assistance was funded under the Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support (CRFPS) program for Sustainable Livelihood Support to Disaster Affected Areas.

Alfaro also explained to the recipient ARBO that Catorce and MSFA president, Emma Pabua, will sign a Trust Agreement stating that DAR will monitor, within the period of six months, the farm machineries and equipment provided to them if they are being used and accordingly managed.

If the said common service facilities (CSFs) will not be used within the said period or used for other purpose in violation of the Trust Agreement, the DAR will pull them out and transfer to another interested ARBO, she added.

However, if the CSFs are used and well managed, the DAR will execute a deed of donation to MSFA, Alfaro stressed.

Provision of modern farm equipment, fertilizers and other farm implements and inputs is among the priorities of Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III.

Meanwhile, Pabua assured the DAR officials that their organization will treasure everything given to them so that they can still avail of other assistance from DAR in the future.

On the other hand, Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Annaliza Gutierrez encouraged the 43-member MSFA, of which 30 of them are ARBs, to make this opportunity an inspiration to grow as an organization and inspire other ARBOs as well.

DAR with Jiabong Mayor Julie Cereno





CARD RBI offers solar loans to combat rising power costs

September 30, 2023

SAN PABLO CITY – In a move aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to create a sustainable future for all, CARD MRI Rizal Bank, Inc. (CARD RBI) has rolled out its solar loan product. This step is geared towards encouraging affordable, green energy adoption among its clients.

"CARD RBI's solar loans underscores our dedication to promoting renewable energy, combating climate change, and upholding the social objectives of the bank," said CARD RBI President and CEO Elma B. Valenzuela.

“This effort is not just an environmentally conscious initiative but also aims to help Filipino households to reducing electricity bills. Solar-powered devices not only reduce electricity expenses but also have a positive environmental footprint,” added Valenzuela.

For the bank, this solar loan program further defines their commitment to creating a brighter, sustainable future for everyone.

Valenzuela added, "Prioritizing our clients' needs has always been essential to our institution's values. CARD RBI has consistently rolled out products and services tailor-fit to their needs.”

The solar loan caters to various needs, with a range of appliance bundles based on the client's usage and capacity. Among the considered high-technology items is a dual-function solar fan and light. This easy-to-install unit can operate for up to 24 hours.

Merlita Llantos, 59, a resident of West Talaongan, Cavinti, Laguna, and an early client of CARD RBI’s solar loan, shared her experience. “It does not take too long to arrive and is easy to install. The transaction will only take a day, very convenient.” Llantos, who has been using the solar appliances for weeks, expressed satisfaction with its performance, noting that all the devices are functioning optimally.

CARD RBI will continue to work towards providing rural communities with access to financial services and products that aids in environmental and social sustainability.


Last updated: 04/18/2024