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DPWH-Biliran DEO ground breaks two major projects in Biliran

Duterte’s administration should be held accountable for the killings of activists and human rights defenders

Wounded NPA, abandoned by comrades, dies in Samar clash

Profit with Peanuts: Success story of Tinnie’s Food Products

FMR projects opened another route for farmers in Sta. Margarita, Samar

Samar First received 162 projects for 2021

EV closes 2020 with 2.4% inflation rate

DPWH-Biliran DEO turns-over donated printers, tablets and other supplies





Salcedo Mayor sees refrigerated van from DAR an opportunity

DAR refrigerated van
Chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division, Melecia Ong (3rd from left), representing DAR-8 OIC-Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay, hands over the symbolic key to FEA Agrarian Reform Cooperative Chairman Luis Bayarong (5th from right) as DAR turns over the P1.8-million refrigerated closed van to the agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO). Witnessing the event are Salcedo Mayor Melchor Mergal (3rd from right), Vice Governor Maricar Gootesan (4th from right), and Sebastian Caspe (representative of Congresswoman Maria Fe Abunda, 6th from right).

May 20, 2021

SALCEDO, Eastern Samar – An opportunity not only for the recipient agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO) but for the entire municipality as well is how Mayor Melchor Mergal of this fifth-class municipality perceives the refrigerated closed van provided by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), rather than just a plain assistance.

During the turnover of the delivery vehicle worth P1.8 million to the FEA Agrarian Reform Cooperative (FEA ARCo) early this month, Mergal stressed, “It is not only an ordinary refrigerated van. It offers a whole lot of opportunity where we can start the engagements of our farmers to multi-corporations because we have the facility.”

Thus, Mergal encouraged FEA ARCo to sustain their operation because according to him, “It’s not only your organization that will be benefited but the whole municipality as well.”

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Gilberto Apilado said, FEA ARCo, though situated in the remote village of Iberan in this town, is one of the progressive ARBOs in Eastern Samar. Aside from being producer of various crops and processed foods, they also serve as consolidator of farmers’ products throughout the province, particularly cassava and cacao.

Chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division at the DAR Regional Office, Melecia Ong, explained that they recommended FEA ARCo to be the recipient of the delivery truck in Eastern Visayas because this ARBO has never received a common service facility from DAR yet.

Ong, who represented Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay in the turnover rite, disclosed that FEA ARCo upon evaluation by DAR Central Office passed the criteria, including marketing arrangements with institutional markets.

FEA ARCo at present has existing marketing contracts with the Department of Health retained hospitals, Department of Education, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and San Miguel Corporation for their products ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to processed foods. “They indeed need this type of facility to keep the freshness of perishable products,” Ong added.

She further disclosed that this facility was funded under DAR’s PaSSOver: ARBold Move for Deliverance of our Farmers from the COVID-19 Pandemic project hoping to bolster the role of ARBOs as frontliners in the food supply chain by helping them overcome the obstacles in the consolidation, marketing, and delivery of farm products.

Meanwhile, FEA ARCo Chairman Luis Bayarong considers this assistance as an investment for them to be able to help others too.

In acceptance, he revealed their immediate plan to use the refrigerated closed van in delivering dressed chickens and fresh eggs which they supply throughout the province.

Mayor Melgar was so thankful for the assistance DAR has extended to his constituents which according to him, “the local government could not provide due to our limited resources”.

“An amon nala, an pagbulig paglink ha magkadurudilain nga ahensya,” (For our part, we will help link them to the different agencies) said Melgar.





DPWH-Biliran DEO allocates P50-M to rehabilitate Biliran bridge

Biliran bridge

By DPWH-Biliran
May 20, 2021

NAVAL, Biliran – P50-M has been allocated by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)- Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) to rehabilitate the deteriorating Biliran Bridge.

District Engineer Ferdinand A. Briones said that the fund from Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the said project was already released to the district office and is ready for implementation by July 2021.

The District Engineer recently reported that the said condition of the bridge can no longer accommodate large tonnage of vehicles/ cargoes due to its poor and old condition.

The realization of this project will not only preserve the historical significance of the existing bridge but most importantly, ensure the safety and convenience of the travelers and residents of the province.

Engr. Rosario B. Rosete, Chief of the Planning and Design Section revealed that the P50-M budget involves the rehabilitation of bearings of the bridge, repair of bridge deck, replacement of bolts, de-rusting, repainting and retrofitting of the bridge girder using carbon fiber plate and construction of field office for the maintenance crew under the bridge.

Engr. Rosete also added that construction of a new bridge is also being proposed parallel to Biliran Bridge to accommodate the increasing volume of traffic.

Inaugurated in 1976, Biliran Bridge was considered as the major and only bridge that connects the Province to the mainland Leyte and to the rest of the Philippines.





Inflation rate in Eastern Visayas eases to 2.8% in April 2021

By PSA-8
May 20, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY - Inflation Rate (IR) in Eastern Visayas eased to 2.8 percent in April 2021. This IR is 0.1 percentage point lower compared with the 2.9 percent IR in March 2021. This April 2021 IR of the region, however, is 1.0 percentage point higher than the recorded 1.8 percent IR in the same period last year.

Eastern Visayas Inflation rateIn comparison with the national average IR, the regional IR is 1.7 percentage points lower than the 4.5 percent national IR in April 2021.

Among the provinces, only Northern Samar and Leyte registered decreases in IRs. Northern Samar’s IR declined to 0.7 percent in April 2021 from 2.2 percent in March 2021, a reduction by 1.5 percentage points. Leyte’s IR, meanwhile, eased to 1.4 percent in April 2021 from 1.9 percent in March 2021.

Eastern Samar registered the highest increase in IR by 1.6 percentage points. Its IR rose to 4.9 percent in April 2021 from 3.3 percent in March 2021. Biliran grew by 1.3 percentage points, registering 4.9 percent IR during the month in review. Samar and Southern Leyte’s IRs registered increases of 0.2 percentage point to 0.1 percentage point, settling at 6.7 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively. Samar recorded the highest IR among provinces in April 2021 at 6.7 percent, while Northern Samar posted the lowest at 0.7 percent.

Majority of the 11 commodity groups in the region exhibited higher IRs in April 2021 compared with their rates in March 2021. However, these were offset by the lower IRs recorded in four (4) other commodity groups, which resulted to 0.1 percentage point decrease in the overall IR of the region in April 2021.

Transport commodity group registered the biggest increase in IR by 4.0 percentage points. Its 8.9 percent IR in March 2021 grew to a double-digit IR of 12.9 percent in April 2021. This acceleration can be traced to the increased double-digit IR (25.6%) registered in the index for operation of personal transport equipment.

The commodity group for communication which registered a 1.4 percent deflation in March 2021 recorded price increase in April 2021 at 0.6 percent. This increase was brought about by the 2.8 percent IR in the index for telephone and telefax equipment in April 2021, from 23.8 percent deflation in March 2021.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels commodity group recorded 2.4 percent IR in April 2021, 1.0 percentage point higher than the 1.4 percent IR in March 2021. This growth can be attributed to the higher IRs in the index for electricity, gas, and other fuels (6.5%) and maintenance and repair of the dwelling (1.8%).

The IR for furnishings, household equipment, and routine maintenance of the house commodity group picked up by 0.7 percentage points, pushing its IR to 3.2 percent in April 2021.

Health commodity group registered 0.5 percentage point increase in its IR, from 1.1 percent in March 2021 to 1.6 percent in April 2021.

Compared with their March 2021 levels, IRs for restaurants and miscellaneous goods and services commodity group (3.6%) and education commodity group (0.5%) were higher by 0.2 percentage point and 0.1 percentage point, respectively, in April 2021.

On the other hand, IR for food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group declined to 2.0 percent in April 2021 from 3.2 percent in March 2021. Lower IRs were noted in majority of the items under this commodity group. Vegetables index registered the highest decrease of 14.9 percentage points. Its IR dropped to 3.2 percent in April 2021 from its double-digit IR of 18.1 percent in March 2021.

The IR for oils and fats index managed to shed off 4.0 percentage points from its 5.5 percent IR in March 2021, posting 1.5 percent IR in April 2021. The IR for fruits index also declined by 3.5 percentage points, settling at 2.9 percent during the month in review. Bread and cereals index further deflated to 1.5 percent while the rest of the items registered decreases ranging from 0.6 percentage point to 2.3 percentage points. Meanwhile, prices of meat picked up at a faster rate of 9.0 percent in April 2021 from 7.0 percent in March 2021. Faster annual price increases were also noted in indices for sugar, jam, honey, chocolate, and confectionary products (1.6%) and fish (5.3%). Rice continued to register deflation in April 2021 but at a slower rate of 2.2 percent.

The IR for clothing and footwear commodity group declined by 0.8 percentage points, settling at 1.8 percent in April 2021. The IR for the commodity group of alcoholic beverages and tobacco likewise eased by 0.1 percentage point, settling at 6.9 percent in April 2021.

Recreation and culture commodity group further deflated to 1.5 percent in April 2021 from 1.0 percent deflation in March 2021.

The Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region strengthened to P0.77 in April 2021. This PPP implies that the goods and services worth P77.00 in 2012 is now worth P100.00 in April 2021. Compared to their levels in March 2021, PPP in Leyte strengthened by P0.01, while PPP in Biliran and Eastern Samar weakened by P0.01. The rest of the provinces retained their previous month’s PPP.

Leyte recorded the strongest PPP among provinces in April 2021 at P0.80. Biliran and Southern Leyte ranked second at P0.78, followed by Eastern Samar at P0.73 and Northern Samar at P0.72. Samar posted the weakest PPP during the reference month at P0.70.





P35-M FMR projects underway in Biliran

Brgy. Catmon Farm to Market Road
On-going concreting of Brgy. Catmon Farm to Market Road, Brgy. Catmon, Naval, Biliran. This project involves the concreting of .85-kilometer two-lane road with a .23-meter thick and a 5-meter width.

By DPWH-Biliran
May 19, 2021

NAVAL, Biliran – Three Farm to Market Road (FMR) projects amounting to P35M are underway in Biliran Province that will pave way for local farmers to easily transport their agricultural products to the market centers.

District Engineer Ferdinand A. Briones reported that the concreting of 2.18-kilometer FMRs by the Department of Public Works and Highways- Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) has an overall accomplishment of 43.48% as of April 30, 2021.

Funded under the 2020 Convergence Program of the DPWH and the Department of Agriculture’s (DA’s) Bayanihan II, P12.5M is allotted for the concreting of Brgy. Matanggo to Sitio Patag, Brgy. Tabunan FMR in Almeria town with a length of .83 km, P10M for the concreting of Brgy. Cabungaan FMR (.5 km) and P12.5M for the concreting of Brgy. Catmon FMR (.85 km), both in the town of Naval. These projects involve the opening and concreting of a two lane-road with a .23-meter thick and a 5-meter width.

According to Briones, various agricultural crops such as coconut are found along these road projects.

“Contractors of these projects are being instructed to avail the good weather conditions in order to complete the project by June, this year,” said Briones.

Moreover, the district engineer revealed that six FMRs with a total allocation amounting to P87-M will also be implemented by the district office this year funded under the FY 2021 DA project.

Briones said that these projects have already been bid out and just awaiting for the release of Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) to commence the project.

FMR projects are among the top priority projects implemented by DPWH-Biliran DEO in support of economic development in the Province.





DPWH-Leyte 2 upgrades road for safe and faster travels

Jaro-Dagami-Burauen-La Paz road section

May 19, 2021

DAGAMI, Leyte – For faster travel and mobility of goods, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte Second District Engineering Office recently completed the asphalt overlay project along the secondary road of Jaro-Dagami-Burauen-La Paz road section.

The P38.4-million project involves 8.39-lane kilometer of asphalt overlay traversing the barangays of Plaridel, Rizal, Calipayan and Patoc in Dagami, Leyte.

“Motorists can now utilize the completed asphalt overlay project giving them a better road access which is one of the priorities of the department,” said OIC-District Engineer Edward Oppura.

Asphalt overlay is a paving method of applying a new layer of asphalt and a cost-effective approach to extending pavement life.

A total of 206.985-kilometer road length is maintained by Leyte 2 DEO of which 96.363-km were asphalted and 108.356-km were paved.





DOLE-RO8 assists 600 youth beneficiaries in Leyte through TUPAD

DOLE Assistant Secretary Victor “Jun” Del Rosario

May 18, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – Six hundred youth beneficiaries from the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) of Tacloban City, Palo and Alangalang, Leyte were recently assisted by the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office No. 8 through the Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or TUPAD program.

Each beneficiary received P3,250.00 as payment for their services rendered during the ten-day implementation of the program. Aside from the wages, all beneficiaries were provided personal protective equipment and micro insurances.

The total of TUPAD assistance extended amounted to P 2,193,600.00.

DOLE Assistant Secretary Victor “Jun” Del Rosario, in behalf of Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, led the series of payout to the TUPAD workers conducted on May 17, 2021 in three separate venues – Tacloban City Engineer’s Office, Montejo Gym in Palo and Alangalang Covered Court. He was assisted by Mr. Norman L. Uyvico, Head of DOLE-North Leyte Field Office, representing Regional Director Henry John S. Jalbuena.

In his message, Asec. Del Rosario said that the labor department continues to work passionately for the benefit of the workers in need.

"The DOLE never stops working in order to help our workers, including our youths, especially during this pandemic”, said Asec. Del Rosario.

He likewise urged the youth beneficiaries to use their hard-earned money for the basic needs.

“I would like to remind our beneficiaries to spend the money for basic needs and not on alcoholic drinks or gambling. Please bear in mind that these are government’s funds", Del Rosario added.

The good Assistant Secretary ended his message by giving words of encouragement to the young workers. He said, “Although we are facing difficulties because of this pandemic, please do not ever lose hope”.

In attendance during the said series of payouts were Director Alan Tanuakio and Ms. Jane Anne Lo from the Office of the President, who brought raffle items for the beneficiaries such as bicycle, rubber shoes and electronic gadget.

Mayor Alfred Romualdez and Vice-Mayor Jerry Yaokasin of Tacloban City, and Mayor Lovell Ann Yu of Alangalang together with their respective SK Federation Presidents Thomas John Diaz and Jan Reian Saavedra, were likewise present during the event. Oriell Chiquillo, SK Federation President of Palo represented Mayor Frances Ann Petilla in the payout.

Aside from their TUPAD wages, the youth beneficiaries also received P2,000.00 each as financial aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development under its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) Program.

Meanwhile, the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also joined the activity to answer queries on trainings being offered and provided free advice and consultations for youth beneficiaries with business inclinations. (with reports from Norman L. Uyvico -DOLE NLFO)





NMP commemorates 43 years of excellence

NMP 43 years

Press Release
May 14, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) committed to serve the Philippine maritime industry for 43 years, celebrates its founding anniversary on 03 May 2021 at the NMP Annex Building with the theme “Enhancing the Filipino Seafarers' Capabilities through NMP Trainings In Meeting Global Competitiveness Towards Adopting The New Normal".

The celebration started with the regular Monday-morning Flag Ceremony held at the Wharf Extension in the Boat Davit Area of NMP. It was followed by a Thanksgiving Mass and the NMP Anniversary Program at the NMP Annex Building wherein Loyalty Awards were bestowed to employees and Job Order Workers exemplifying devoted and productive years in the NMP service.

In his message, Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod looked back to the many challenges that NMP had surpassed and to the endurance and growth that it had experienced as an institution.

“Rising above the hurdles, NMP will continually make itself relevant and productive to the maritime industry by equipping our Filipino seafarers with quality and holistic training programs, upgraded technological facilities and relevant researches to produce more globally competent and qualified seafarers.”, ED Maglunsod said.

NMP’s Deputy Executive Director, Mayla N. Macadawan, summed up the event equating NMP to a running race where it aims not to compete with other training centers but to daily improve, innovate and achieve its target, reach its finish line – providing upgrading and specialized trainings and relevant researches leading to glorious moments of the Filipino seafarers.

Due to the pandemic, the said program was livestreamed via Zoom and aired in strategic rooms where other employees were able to view while observing safety and health protocols. It was also videocast live at NMP’s official Facebook page.

It can be recalled that NMP was created on May 01, 1978 with the signing of Presidential Decree No. 1369 by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos as the country’s response to the challenges posed to Filipino seafarers in relation to the requirements of 1978 International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW).

NMP began by offering the Basic Messman Course but today, NMP course offerings totaled to forty-seven (47), consisting of twenty-three (23) STCW courses and twenty-four (24) Non-STCW, three (3) mof which are Professional Development Courses.





BotiCARD celebrates one decade of serving communities

May 14, 2021

SAN PABLO CITY – BotiCARD, the pharmaceutical company under CARD MRI, celebrated its 10th year of serving communities on May 11, 2021.


BotiCARD President Rosenda P. Aquino remembers the idea of conceiving the institution. “Poverty has different faces. Our goal is to contribute to CARD MRI’s mission of ending poverty by giving communities access to affordable and quality medicines. Since 2011, we have witnessed the impact of our health care to many families. We always aim to bring what is best to Filipino families at an affordable cost.”

Aquino added that the institution also promotes community-oriented programs that benefit the lives of many communities. “We are not just a pharmacy that provides medicines, but we deliver our services with a heart. Our approach is in line with CARD MRI values as we engage with our clients.”

Amidst the health crisis

BotiCARD continues to expand its reach despite the ongoing pandemic. It was able to open its 12th branch in Oroquieta City in October 2020. “Our service is needed, especially that we are facing a health crisis. By doing so, we bring closer our health care services to the rural communities in the country.”

“We remain steadfast in our mission to deliver our healthcare services to our communities. Our hearts continue to beat for every family who needs our service, especially in these trying times,” emphasized Aquino.

Aquino also took the opportunity to thank the staff who stayed despite the threat of COVID-19, “During this challenging time, I saw how dedicated and compassionate our workforce. Despite the continuous virus threat, they conquer their fear and still manage to serve.”

Embracing the new normal

To continuously deliver affordable and quality medicines to its clients, BotiCARD also use an online delivery channel, Medhatid. This is an initiative to deliver quality medicines to clients in the comfort of their homes.

“We understand that with the travel restrictions and limitations, our clients need us the most at this challenging time. As such, we shifted to a more innovative way of reaching them,” Aquino concluded.

To date, BotiCARD already has 12 branches in the country and serves more than 2 million clients nationwide.





TESDA to build training center, provincial office in Eastern Samar

May 7, 2021

TAGUIG CITY – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is set to build a Provincial Training Center (PTC) and their provincial office in Guiuan, Eastern Samar., boosting the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the area.

On May 3, TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña and Guiuan, Eastern Samar Mayor Analiza Gonzales-Kwan signed the Deed of Donation for the 1,000 square meter lot, on which the PTC-Eastern Samar and provincial office will be built.

The donated 1,000 square meter parcel of land is part of the 13,861 square meter land owned by Gonzales-Kwan and located at Barangay Ward 10.

As part of its guiding principle “TESDA Abot Lahat”, last July 2019, Lapeña issued a directive to all TESDA offices to establish at least one PTC to ensure continued access to quality training and skills development.

In his message, Lapeña said that the establishment of PTC in Guiuan will ensure the advancement of TVET training in the province of Eastern Samar.

“Establishing this PTC here in Guiuan will surely bring the programs and services of TESDA closer to its beneficiaries, considering that Guiuan has the greatest number of island barangays in the province,” Lapeña said.

Lapeña likewise expressed his gratitude to Gonzales-Kwan noting that the continuous support TESDA has been receiving from local government units (LGUs) nationwide is a proof that TESDA is doing its job in providing training to Filipinos.

“I would also like to thank people of Guiuan and the members of the Municipal Council for welcoming TESDA and supporting the act of goodwill of Mayor Gonzales-Kwan,” Lapeña added.

For her part, Gonzales-Kwan also expressed her gratitude to TESDA for giving the opportunity to empower more of their constituents and also their neighbors from other towns of the province.

“TESDA teaches us how to hone our skills to be competitive and world-class workers. It teaches us how to rise from poverty and improve the quality of life. It will give the people of Guiuan a good fighting chance to succeed in life,” she said.

Meanwhile, also present during the virtual event were TESDA Chief-of-Staff Director Juliet Orozco, Guiuan Vice Mayor Veronica Cabacaba-Ramirez, TESDA Region 8 Regional Director Gamaliel Vicente Jr., TESDA Eastern Samar Provincial Director Antonio Waniwan, and school administrators of TESDA Technological Institutions (TTIs) in Region 8.





Eastern Visayas posts 9.5% increase in government spending in 2020

By PSA-8
May 6, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas Region posted 9.5 percent increase in Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE) in 2020 from 7.0 percent in 2019.

Government spending in Eastern VisayasFOE refers to the value of all types of output of the general government to provide goods and services to the people for free or at insignificant prices. Included in GFCE are the expenditures of the government on salaries of employees, supplies, materials, and other expenses that are needed in the everyday operations of government institutions.

All other expenditure items exhibited declines in 2020 with Gross Capital Formation (GCF) posting the biggest drop at 40.4 percent. Exports of Goods and Services to Rest of the World further declined to 13.6 percent from 10.3 percent. Imports of Goods and Services to Rest of the World declined by 17.9 percent from 5.0 percent in 2019. Likewise, the region’s Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HFCE) contracted by 7.9 percent in 2020 from 5.7 percent growth in 2019.

Consequently, the per capita HFCE of the region declined by 9.1 percent in 2020. Per Capita HFCE was estimated at P79,116 in 2020 lower than the previous year’s figure of P87,033.

In terms of the share of expenditure items to the regional economy, HFCE comprised the biggest share with 86.6 percent, followed by GCF with 26.7 percent, Net Exports to Rest of the World with 26.4 percent, and GFCE with 24.3 percent. On the contrary, the negative performance of Net Exports to the Rest of the Philippines pulled down the expenditure in the region by 64.0 percent.

The economy of Eastern Visayas contracted by 7.6 percent in 2020 from its 5.6 percent growth recorded in 2019.

The Gross Regional Domestic Expenditure (GRDE) complements the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) in monitoring the economic performance of a region. It is the sum of all final uses of goods and services by residents of the region in the domestic territory, plus their expenditures in other regions, including the rest of the world.





Cebuanos tell ADB to cease funding coal, dirty energy

Naga coal power plant

Press Release
May 4, 2021

QUEZON CITY – The Power for People Coalition (P4P) and residents of Naga City, Cebu on Monday demanded a clear commitment from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to end its financial support for coal and other dirty energy projects in the Philippines and Asia through a symbolic action at the site of the ADB-funded Naga coal plant in Cebu.

The action was held as the Bank starts its 3-day Annual Meeting, as statement that the impacts of the coal power and other dirty energy projects must be a top-of-mind matter in the evaluation and updating of ADB's 2009 Energy Policy and investment decisions.

"For over a decade, ADB allowed itself to believe that its supposedly 'clean energy' agenda propelled it towards leadership in sustainability while helping achieve energy security in its member countries. That is far from the reality experienced by communities affected by ADB's coal projects," said Teody Navea, Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) Cebu. PMCJ is a convenor of P4P.

Inaugurated in 2011 and currently managed by Korean Electric Power Corporation-Salcon Power Corporation (KSPC), the 200 MW Naga coal power plant is ADB's first coal power generation project under its 2009 Energy Policy and was touted by the Bank as adopting “a more environment-friendly technology by using circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustion boilers". Upon entering operation, the plant was subjected to complaints from community members and concerned groups for heavy pollution and noncompliance in social acceptability and public communication requirements.

"As the Bank's executives attend their Annual Meeting in the comfort of their homes and offices, we gather here today to let them know of our health and livelihood problems, environmental degradation, vulnerability to climate disasters, and a constant fear for the welfare of future generations of our people," Navea said.

The groups led a symbolic wreath-laying activity featuring a 'tombstone' detailing destructive impacts of ADB's Naga coal plant to community members.

"We live next to a coal facility that is taking us nearer to our demise with each day it burns coal and emits toxins into our air, land and water. We know the same is being experienced by other Filipino communities. It is in solidarity with them that we urge ADB to lay to rest its dirty energy legacy and bury its support to coal and other fossil fuels in the past, so that communities like ours would no longer need to bury loved ones led to their early deaths by dirty energy," said Dominador Basaya of the Naga Neighborhood Association.

ADB is expected to publicize a draft of its updated energy policy around the time of its Annual Meeting.

"In this Annual Meeting and its new energy policies, we hope the Bank chooses to initiate projects that would help communities like ours access clean and affordable renewable energy sources, of which we know our country is rich in," Basaya said.

Last week, P4P including several groups and community organizations from Cebu, submitted to the Bank a joint Philippine civil society statement urging ADB to end its dirty energy legacy and align to the 1.5°C Paris ambition.

"ADB’s Energy Policy is severely outdated in the context of the global energy transformation and the climate emergency, the deadliest manifestations of which are already being experienced in our country....ADB is about to make a critical decision that will define its role in global energy transformation and addressing the climate emergency. We urge it to choose to finally end financing for coal and other dirty energy projects, and set the standard among all other development banks in climate and sustainable finance leadership," the statement read.





Canadian Parliamentary hearing on the human rights situation in the Philippines

By ICHRP-Canada
May 4, 2021

MANILA – The Canadian House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights conducted a hearing on the human rights crisis in the Philippines on Tuesday, May 4, 7:30 - 8:30 P.M. EST. The hearing was conducted amidst growing calls to the Canadian government to end its policy of quiet diplomacy in the Philippines and fulfill its commitment to human rights.

ICHRP-CanadaFollowing the Bloody Sunday massacre in the Southern Tagalog region on March 7, 2021, where 9 activists, human rights defenders, and community organizers were killed in a coordinated police operation, 65 Canadian organizations, including churches, trade unions, and Filipino associations, and prominent individuals signed a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing profound concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines and Canada’s deafening silence.

The Subcommittee invited journalist Maria Ressa, one of Time Magazine 2018 Persons of the Year, and Cristina Palabay, Secretary General of Karapatan Philippines, a national network of human rights organizations, to testify at the hearing. Quebec lawyer and co-chair of International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines - Quebec, Guy-Lin Beaudoin and Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada, also testified.

In her testimony, Ms. Palabay underscored the urgency of the human rights crisis in the Philippines. “It has become even more dangerous every day for human rights defenders and ordinary citizens, with an epidemic of rights violations in the Philippines.” Fifteen human rights workers of Karapatan were among the 394 civilians killed “in the course of the Duterte government’s counterinsurgency campaign.”

Even in the run-up to the Canadian Parliamentary hearing, there had been no letup in the military and police deadly campaign of terror.

On April 25, 2021, a local government official, Froilan Saez Oaferina III, in Camarines Sur, was killed after about 30 members of the Philippine National Police went to his home to allegedly serve a search warrant.

On April 27, police officers appeared at the office of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines Southern Mindanao District in search of Bishop Hamuel Tequis and five others, including two social workers and an indigenous leader. They were charged with violating the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act for sheltering indigenous evacuees at the church’s Haran Centre.

Earlier, the government froze the bank account of Haran Centre for alleged violation of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act on allegations that assets are being “used to finance terrorism.”

The application of this law to harass human rights and other civil society organizations into silence raises grave concern about Canada’s funding of a program to combat “the financing of terrorism” for the Philippines and three other Asian countries through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

On May 2, Pastor Dan Balucio of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and youth leader Sasah Sta. Rosa were arrested in the province of Bicol.

On the same day, John Heredia, a well-known journalist, town administrator in the province of Capiz and past chair of the provincial chapter of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, was assassinated. In 2019, his wife, Criselda, a human rights lawyer, and their daughter survived an ambush.

These cases underscore the impunity with which the Philippine military and police carry out extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and other atrocities against innocent citizens.

Ms. Palabay told the Subcommittee, "in the midst of all these; there is the inadequacy or lack thereof domestic mechanisms that encourage victims for the rendering of justice and accountability. Courts mandated to provide legal protection for defenders refuse or deny them, resulting in more harmful impacts on our lives, security, and liberty.” She urged the "Canadian government to actively take action on these concerns with urgency, as our country further descends into an authoritarian state.”

"Canada must end its policy of quiet diplomacy," said Guy-Lin Beaudoin. Mr. Beaudoin called on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to publicly condemn the atrocities committed by the Philippine government and its security forces. On behalf of ICHRP, he called on Canada to suspend all Canadian support to the Philippine government's anti-terrorism and counterinsurgency programs.

As well as, calling on the Minister to urge the Canadian Embassy in Manila to apply vigorously the tools in Canada's guidelines on supporting human rights defenders (Voices at Risk) to protect those who face immediate danger of being killed or arrested. Listing human rights violations associated with Canadian mining companies operating in the Philippines, Catherine Coumans called on Canada “to fulfill its obligation to protect human rights in the context of the deteriorated human rights situation in the Philippines, and in particular to protect those who are criminalized and whose lives are threatened for speaking out in defense of human rights and the environment."

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines is a global network of organizations, concerned about the human rights situation in the Philippines and committed to campaign for just and lasting peace in the country. It aims to inform the international community about the grave human rights situation in the Philippines today.





DPWH-Biliran DEO implements P9.8-M access road in Caanibongan, Cabucgayan town

Caanibongan-Cabucgayan road
On-going construction of road leading to Caanibongan Elementary School, Brgy. Caanibongan, Cabucgayan, Biliran.

By DPWH-Biliran
April 30, 2021

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) is implementing the construction of road leading to Caanibongan Elementary School project in Cabucgayan town that will benefit not only the learners but the entire residents of Brgy. Caanibongan.

The P9.8-M road project involves the construction of a 0.33-kilometer two lane road with a 5-meter width and a 0.2-meter thickness.

Situated in the hill top of Cabucgayan town, District Engineer Ferdinand A. Briones revealed that road safety features are also included in the project such as the construction of road slope protection structure and concrete barrier.

“From a narrow one lane dilapidated concrete road, residents will enjoy a wider, better and safer road when this project is completed,” said Briones.

Based on the 2015 population census, about 270 residents will benefit this road.

DE Briones reported that the project which is under contract with QYT Construction and Supply is now halfway complete with an accomplishment of 51.77% as of April 30, 2021.

From its start date on February 16, 2021, this project is to be completed by July 15, 2021.





Eastern Visayas’ economy contracts by 7.6% in 2020

By PSA-8
April 29, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – The economy of Eastern Visayas contracted by 7.6 percent in 2020 from its 5.6 percent growth recorded in 2019. The total value of goods and services in the region or the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) declined to 433.4 billion pesos in 2020 from 469.3 billion pesos in 2019, resulting in 35.9 billion pesos economic loss during the reference period.

Eastern Visayas economy 2020The economic contraction in 2020 was driven by the declines in Construction, Transportation and Storage, Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles, Accommodation and Food Service Activities (AFSA), Real Estate and Ownership of Dwellings (REOD), Education, Other Services (OS), Mining and Quarrying (MAQ), and Professional and Business Services (PBS).

Services plunged to -9.4 percent in 2020 from 8.9 percent growth in 2019. Among its industries, AFSA posted the largest contraction of 70.4 percent. The following industries also dropped: Transportation and Storage (40.2%); Other Services (19.3 %); Real Estate and Ownership of Dwellings (11.6%); Trade (6.6%); Education (5.0%); and Professional and Business Services (3.2%).

Industry declined by 8.5 percent in 2020 from 3.2 percent growth in 2019. Construction, and Mining and Quarrying (MAQ) dropped by 34.2 percent and 26.8 percent, respectively. On the other hand, the upbeat performance of Manufacturing slightly mitigated the contraction of the economy after posting 20.8 percent growth in 2020. Electricity, Steam, Water and Waste Management likewise grew by 4.1 percent.

Meanwhile, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (AFF) managed to grew by 0.9 percent in 2020 from 2.1 percent in 2019.

Services and Industry shared the bulk of the region’s economy at 45.7 percent and 39.6 percent, respectively. AFF had a share of 14.8 percent.

Among the three (3) major industries, Services and Industry contributed to the region’s economic contraction with -4.4 percentage points and -3.4 percentage points, respectively. AFF cushioned the decline at 0.1 percentage point.





Army-PNPs Darangpanan offers food to people in need

Army-PNP Darangpanan

April 28, 2021

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – Selling chicharon or pork rind has been the source of income of the 72-year old Anita Oliva. Despite her age, she worked hard to provide food on the table. For months since the Covid-19 pandemic began, her family has been struggling to make ends meet.

“Akon mga anak damo gihapon it mga anak salit kulang pa, may gin-atiman pod ako na pag-umangkon na may kapansanan.” (My children also have many children, so it’s not enough. I also provide the needs of my nephew who has a disability.)

Seeing the need to alleviate hunger, the soldiers of the 8th Infantry Division and the police personnel of the Samar Police Provincial Office strengthen the spirit of Bayanihan by setting up “Darangpanan” outside the 8ID Headquarters, Catbalogan City, Samar.

Darangpanan is a venue that provides food packs to families affected by the pandemic. Each food pack contains rice, canned goods, noodles, eggs, sugar, coffee, some fruits, and vegetables.

The 8th Infantry Division Chief of Staff, Colonel Perfecto P. Peneredondo said the initiative to help dubbed as the Kapwa Ko, Sagip Ko Program was made possible by the help of kind-hearted Samareños who never cease to extend their hand to the needy.

“It is this time of difficulty that we see the spirit of Bayanihan among every Filipino and how they willingly share a portion of what they have to those who need it the most,” Colonel Penaredondo said.

One of those who were able to receive goods is the15-year old Ryan Igdalino, who patiently fell in line just to bring home something to share with his family at home.

“Nakita ko kasi kung paano nahihirapan ang mga magulang ko ngayon upang may mapakain lang sa aming magkakapatid. Gusto kong tumulong kahit sa maliit na paraan, sagot ko na po hapunan namin mamaya.” (I see how my parents struggle just to provide food for me and my siblings. I want to help them even in the smallest way, I am in charge of tonight’s dinner.)

Colonel Penaredondo added that although they are delighted by the fact that many people benefited from this activity, a feeling of sadness still lingers, as there are still plenty of people who need help.

“May this initiative inspire others to help, especially during these trying times. I am also hoping that, with the help of some kind-hearted Samareños, this could last long, especially now that a lot of individuals have expressed their willingness to help the initiative.”

As of 3pm, April 26, Darangpanan was able to provide food packs to 316 individuals.





CARD e-Doctor marks Year One; served more than 30,000 individuals through online consultation

April 28, 2021

SAN PABLO CITY – CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) through its Microfinance and Health Protection (MaHP) unit launched CARD e-Doctor in April 2020 to continuously provide online medical access to clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Said MaHP Director Dr. Roderick Belen, "We started this online platform because we saw an opportunity to continuously reach CARD MRI clients and their families amidst the pandemic. We realized at the onset of community quarantines and lockdowns last year that access to medical support will be gravely needed as we face this health crisis.”

After a year of conducting online consultations, the program recorded a total of 34,756 consultations. Further, a total of 11 partner doctors were tapped, specializing in internal and general medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, dentistry, ophthalmology, and orthopedic surgery.

"When they invited me to this program, I never hesitated to join because helping other people is my purpose in life. Being part of this initiative made it easier for doctors like us to reach clients in the country and address their medical concerns," said Internal Medicine Physician Dr. Remedios Maligaya.

Aside from the online consultation, CARD e-Doctor also became a venue for CARD MRI to inform and educate the general public about current health issues and concerns. "Before the pandemic, we regularly conducted simultaneous weekly community health days (CHD) nationwide to provide medical, optical and dental check-ups. The CHD also allowed us to host physical forums to discuss various health topics. We decided to transform these forums online to continue our advocacy of raising awareness on health and wellness,” Dr. Belen shared. He recalled that when CARD e-Doctor held its first live consultation, the viewers reached more than 2,500 viewers nationwide. The first topic discussed in this Live is COVID-19, its symptoms, and preventive measures.

"From a total of 149 health topics that were discussed, we have reached 15,404 live viewers throughout the country. As we continuously fight the COVID-19, we are now embracing to adopt advanced technology in order to cater more clients and their families," he concluded.

Like and follow CARD e-Doctor official Facebook page to avail free online medical consultations, watch health-related live discussions and know more about the program.





DPWH-L2DEO rehabilitates and widens roads along Palo-Carigara-Ormoc road section

Rehabilitation of Palo-Carigara-Ormoc road

April 27, 2021

CARIGARA, Leyte – To increase the load capacity and improve the road condition along the national highway, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) -Leyte Second District Engineering Office allocates P121 million covering road improvement, rehabilitation, widening, slope protection structure and concrete drainage canal.

OIC-District Engineer Leo Edward Oppura said these projects will be in the major road of Palo-Carigara-Ormoc road section particularly in Jaro, Carigara and Capoocan areas.

“Road slope protection will be installed in Brgy. Lemon, Capoocan, Leyte, while road in some parts of Carigara & Jaro road section will be widened and rehabilitated.” Oppura said.

DE Oppura calls to the public affected by the road widening project to cooperate with the government’s effort to improve the road network for better and faster mobility of the motorists considering that Palo-Carigara-Ormoc road section is one of the busiest roads in Leyte.

The P121-million is composed of six (6) infrastructure project namely; Asset Preservation Program-Preventive Maintenance-Primary Roads-Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Road, K0958+123.67-K0958+413.00, K0958+534.35-K0958+827.40;

Asset Preservation Program-Rehabilitation/Reconstruction/Upgrading of Damaged Paved Roads-Primary Roads-Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Road, K0957+357-K0957+659; Network Development Program-Road Widening-Primary Roads-Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Rd. K0957+(-212)-K0957+347;

Asset Preservation Program-Preventive Maintenance-Tertiary Road-Palo-Ormoc via Jaro Poblacion Rd.-K0941+1144-K0941+1196, K0941+500-K0941+1144; Network Development-Road Widening-Primary Roads, Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Road K0940+910-K0941+442;

Asset Preservation Program-Rehabilitation/Reconstruction of Roads with Slips, Slope Collapse and Landslide-Primary Roads along Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Road K0972+776.13-K0973+041.13.

Among these projects 4 are on-going while the 2 projects are waiting for the modification approval.





Barugo-San Miguel road section undergoes road rehabilitation

Barugo-San Miguel road

April 26, 2021

BARUGO, Leyte – Aiming to deliver a better road connectivity in the town of Barugo and San Miguel in Leyte, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte Second District Engineering Office works to improve road network in these road sections.

The project involves rehabilitation and improvement of intermittent section traversing Poblacion District 4 to Barangay Calingcaguing in Barugo town covering 5.19-lane kilometer.

“This is a vital road considering that this road network serves as an alternative road for motorists utilizing Palo-Carigara-Ormoc road section,” said OIC-District Engineer Leo Oppura.

Barugo-San Miguel road section is under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Government of Leyte, connecting to the national road network. The Babatngon - San Miguel road section is connected to Palo-Carigara-Ormoc road section under Leyte First District Engineering Office. Meanwhile, Bagahupi-Babatngon-Sta. Cruz-Barugo-Carigara road connects to Leyte 2nd District Engineering Office.

This road section had been an alternate route to and from Tacloban, Ormoc, Biliran when the Hiagsam Bridge along Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Road (Jaro road section) was damaged due to severe flooding caused by typhoon Seniang in December 2013, causing severe deterioration of the road pavement thus immediate reconstruction is needed for the safety of the travelling public.

Once completed, the P43.808-million worth project will provide safer and convenient travel of the motorists.

The rehabilitation project commenced last April 12, 2021 and will be completed on or before October 30, 2021 is part of the FY-2021 General Appropriation Act (GAA).





DPWH-Biliran DEO starts construction of two diversion road projects

Pawikan-Esperanza Diversion Road project
On-going construction of Pawikan-Esperanza Diversion Road, Brgy. Cabucgayan, Biliran.

By DPWH-Biliran
April 25, 2021

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Office (DEO) has started the construction of two diversion road projects in Biliran that will relieve traffic congestion in the main highway of Naval and Cabucgayan towns.

District Engineer Ferdinand A. Briones said that the projects are implemented at Sitio Riverside to Brgy. Sto. Niño leading to Biliran Provincial Hospital, Naval, Biliran and Brgy. Pawikan to Brgy. Esperanza, Cabucgayan, Biliran.

The P47.4-M construction of Naval Diversion Road which recently started involves the road opening and concreting of 0.946-kilometer two-lane road and 6,338.20 sq.m. roadway slope protection and acquisition of Road-Right-Of-Way (RROW).

According to Briones, the said project is a multiyear project from year 2021-2022 with a total appropriation amount of P80M.

“The completion of this project by phases will relieve traffic congestion and provide quality, safe, and direct access to the Provincial Hospital of Biliran,” said Briones.

Meanwhile, DPWH-Biliran DEO is also implementing the construction of its P9.9-M Pawikan-Esperanza Diversion Road. This project involves opening and concreting of a four-lane road with a length of 0.341-kilometer.

This is also a multiyear project from year 2021- 2023 with a total allocation of P243-M. It involves road opening and concreting of a four-lane roadway with a total length of 4.658 kilometer and a construction of a four-lane, 20 ln.m. bridge and acquisition of ROW.

Briones said that the project is prioritized in lieu of the road widening in the main highway of Brgy. Baso, Brgy. Bunga, Brgy. Libertad, Brgy. Magbangon and Brgy. Esperanza all in the town of Cabucgayan where many residents will be affected.

“These diversion road projects will not only help speed up the movement of people, goods and services for economic development in the towns of Naval and Cabucgayan, also it avoided the damages to the existing establishments/ buildings that could have been incurred if road widening projects were to be implemented on these areas,” said Briones.





DTI helps protect the environment through accredited Service and Repair Enterprises

Service and Repair Enterprises accreditation

By DTI-CPG-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau
April 23, 2021

MAKATI CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry - Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB), through the Business Licensing and Accreditation Division (BLAD), accredits service and repair enterprises including those that repair, service, install, and maintain refrigerator and air conditioning (RAC) units, whether for household, commercial or mobile (motor vehicle) purposes.

Department Administrative Order No. 03, Series of 2006 requires these shops to have refrigerant recovery machine to use in recovering refrigerants in the A/C units to prevent the refrigerant from venting to the air while being serviced or repaired. They are also required to have non-disposable refrigerant cylinders/tanks, one for each type of refrigerant to store the recovered refrigerants. Refrigerants are known for having harmful effect on the environment since they have global warming and ozone depletion potentials. Relative thereto, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has a program in the collection of these recovered refrigerants for proper disposal.

Service and Repair Shop Enterprises are also required to have technicians properly trained and certified by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and to submit copies of the relevant and valid TESDA certificates as part of the accreditation requirements.

FTEB-BLAD conducts validation inspection in the shop’s premises to verify the application and to check the required tools and equipment including the recovery machine. In 2019, the result of inspection showed that several shops were found to have no recovery machines, as such were endorsed to the FTEB Enforcement Division (ED) for issuance of Notice of Violation (NOV) and filing of Formal Charge.

“We remind all Ref and Air-conditioning SREs to submit proof of acquisition and a photo of their recovery machine as evidence that they own or lease the said equipment. New applicants, however, are to be inspected to ensure and validate the presence of recovery machines in their respective shop,” DTI-FTEB Director Ronnel O. Abrenica underscored.

Undersecretary for DTI - Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Ruth B. Castelo also added that DTI is one with DENR in protecting the environment and ensuring that consumers are provided with fair and satisfactory service from Ref and Air-conditioning service and repair shops and that sustainable consumption is promoted and practiced as well.

The Ref and Aircon SREs is the second among the most number of accredited SREs after Motor Vehicle SREs.





TESDA to open training program for agricultural drone operation

TESDA agricultural drone operation

April 22, 2021

TAGUIG CITY – To boost the country’s agriculture, forestry and fishery sector, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will start offering a training program for Agricultural Drone Operation.

This was after TESDA, together with the stakeholders and experts of agricultural remotely piloted aircraft from the AgriDom Solutions Corp. developed the Competency Standards (CS) for Agricultural Drone Operation which will be used by training institutions.

Last March 18, TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña issued a circular containing the guidelines in the deployment of the Competency Standards (CS) for Agricultural Drone Operation Level II.

Lapeña noted that the training program aims to respond to industry skills requirements for agricultural drone operation and produce individuals with 21st Century Skills and compliant to the existing industry standards.

“We also want to provide world-class and competent human resources for the Agricultural Drone Operation under the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Sector,” he said.

Lapeña has been strongly supporting the agriculture sector to help the country achieve food security, even listing it as among the top priorities of TESDA.

“We should be developing more training programs that would shift the skills of our local farmers from traditional farming to smart farming. We want to make farming more attractive and enticing among the youth,” he added.

Drones become an essential part of smart farming, helping farmers to deal with wide range of challenges and gaining numerous benefits. Specifically, drones can be used for the following: estimating soil condition, planting future crops, fighting infections and pests, agriculture spraying, crop surveillance, livestock monitoring, among others.

The TESDA chief is also encouraging all Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions to register their own agriculture drone operation courses.

According to TESDA’s Qualification and Standards Office (QSO), DJI Academy of Region XI has started working on program offerings this April 2021.

Based on the competency standards, trainees for agricultural drone operation who will be trained for free must have basic communication and arithmetic skills.

Meanwhile, an agricultural drone operation trainer must be a holder of Trainer's Methodology Certificate or must be a practicing trainer for two years; with two year’s industry experience within the last five years related to Agricultural Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operation; and must be a holder of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) license.

Graduates of Agricultural Drone Operation could be employed as Ground Support, Junior Drone Pilots, and Senior Drone Pilots.





DAR-8 maintains QMS, gets ISO recertification

DAR-8 ISO recertification
The Department of Agrarian Reform Regional Office No. VIII was recommended by TUV NORD Philippines, Inc. for recertification of its quality management system based on ISO 9001:2015 standard after it expired on April 12 this year.

April 22, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – Three years after it has been conferred with the internationally recognized quality management system (QMS) certification based on ISO 9001:2015 standard, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Regional Office VIII maintains its status after being recommended for recertification.

On Monday last week, TUV NORD Philippines, Inc. recommended the said office for recertification after the conduct of the remote audit.

In its report, TUV NORD Philippines, Inc. said “The organization has basically demonstrated that it operates its management system in order to ensure fulfillment of its own requirements, the requirements of its customers and the relevant legal requirements.”

Audit Team Leader Edmund Angelo Larroza cited in their report that “no nonconformity” was found. Rather, he emphasized the commendable positive aspects or good practices of the organization.

According to Larroza, they found the following positive aspects of the management system worthy of special mention – the recognitions received by the organization and its personnel; the infrastructure improvements such as the digital archiving for records and the feedback survey system; the controls implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19; the Legal Cases Monitoring System; and the introduction of the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA).

Further, the audit team also found the following items as potential for improvement – the ICT preventive maintenance plan; document and retrieval records; issuance of Corrective Action Requests for any finding that are recorded during the conduct of quality assurance inspection; and the minutes of management review meeting.

Meanwhile, in his message, DAR-8 OIC-Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay said “The top management conveys our sincerest thanks and appreciation as we recognize the substantial efforts and contributions casted by the entire DAR Regional Office workforce for hurdling the ISO 9001:2015 recertification.”

“All the hard works invested, whilst going through the rigors, are contributory to the success in our bid to sustain our quality management system,” he added.

Aya-ay encouraged everyone to carry on working for continual improvement.

DAR Regional Office VIII got its initial ISO 9001:2015 certification, with Certificate Number 756219, on April 13, 2018 which expired on April 12 this year.





DPWH Leyte 2nd DEO Chief conducted various project inspection

DPWH Leyte 2nd DEO projects
On-going construction of new DPWH L2DEO office building located in Mac Arthur, Leyte.

April 21, 2021

MAC ARTHUR, Leyte – Spearheaded by OIC-District Engineer Leo Edward Oppura and the Inspectorate Team and Project Engineers of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte Second District Engineering Office (L2DEO) conducted various ocular project inspection.

Among those projects inspected were the New DPWH L2DEO office building in Mac Arthur, Leyte; Hibuga river basin flood control in Brgy. General Luna, Mayorga, Leyte; Batug flood control in Brgy. Batug, Dulag, Leyte; Asset Preservation Program- Rehabilitation / Reconstruction / Upgrading of Damaged Paved Road along Kiling- Tanauan- Tabontabon- Julita Rd. - K0939+529- K0940+529.50; Construction of missing links-new roads Burauen-Albuera road, Burauen Package 1 and 2, Leyte; and the multi-purpose building in Brgy. Poblacion, Burauen, Leyte.

“Our commitment to the public in delivering quality infrastructures continues despite the coronavirus pandemic threat, we ensure project implementation conforms with its plans and program of works,” said Oppura.

Among those projects inspected were the New DPWH L2DEO office building in Mac Arthur, Leyte; Hibuga river basin flood control in Brgy. General Luna, Mayorga, Leyte; Batug flood control in Brgy. Batug, Dulag, Leyte; Asset Preservation Program- Rehabilitation / Reconstruction / Upgrading of Damaged Paved Road along Kiling- Tanauan- Tabontabon- Julita Rd. - K0939+529- K0940+529.50; Construction of missing links-new roads Burauen-Albuera road, Burauen Package 1 and 2, Leyte; and the multi-purpose building in Brgy. Poblacion, Burauen, Leyte.

“Our commitment to the public in delivering quality infrastructures continues despite the coronavirus pandemic threat, we ensure project implementation conforms with its plans and program of works,” said Oppura.





DPWH concretes road along rice fields beneficial to local farmers

road along rice fields

April 21, 2021

DAGAMI, Leyte – In an effort to ease the burden of the farmers in transporting their rice grains the Department of Public Works (DPWH) Leyte Second District Engineering Office is now working to concrete the roads along the rice fields of Barangay Guinarona and Ormocay in Dagami, Leyte.

“The existing gravel road beside the irrigation canal will soon be paved to provide farmers and residents a convenient and safer road. Once completed, transportation costs will be less and faster,” said OIC-District Engineer Leo Edward Oppura.

The P28.9 million road concreting project commences on April 14, 2021 involving the construction of 4.76-lane kilometer with 20-centimeter thick concrete pavement and 400-linear meter stone masonry works. Target completion will be on or before July 13, 2021.

Rice and coconut production is the primary economic source of income, copra is the main industry while rice farming is the second source of livelihood of the townsfolk in Dagami, Leyte.

The district office is also set to concrete road traversing the barangays of Hinabuyan and Buntay in this town.





SBFIC and CARD SME Bank successfully concludes 12 year joint project

SBFIC - CARD SME Bank joint project
Mr. Aristeo A. Dequito, President and CEO of CARD SME Bank, presents the “Tree” as a symbol of SBFIC and CARD SME Bank’s fruitful partnership.

April 16, 2021

SAN PABLO CITY – To celebrate the successful completion of their joint project, Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation, also known as Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC), and CARD SME Bank concludes their 12-year partnership for a joint project with a closing ceremony via Zoom on March 25, 2021.

The ceremony was attended by CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, CARD MRI Managing Director Flordeliza L. Sarmiento, CARD SME Bank President and CEO Aristeo A. Dequito, CARD SME Bank COO Cynthia Baldeo, CARD SME Bank Senior Management Adviser Ms. Mary Jane S. Perreras, CARD Bank Senior Management Adviser Dr. Dolores M. Torres and other CARD MRI executive and management committee members. Representatives from SBFIC were also present led by Sparkassenstiftung Managing Director Niclaus Bergmann, Sparkasse Essen Former Chairman of the Board Dr. Henning Osthues-Albrecht, Sparkasse Rotheburg Former Chairman of the Board Thum Werner and Long-term expert Elmar Benjie Panahon. Also present are German Deputy Ambassador to the Philippines Laura Oexle and other partners and guests.

In his welcoming remarks, Dequito mentioned the results of the partnership between the two institutions. “The past 12 years has been fruitful, meaningful, helpful, not only for CARD SME Bank, but for the whole CARD MRI. The know-hows and expertise of our local and foreign experts have helped the bank to improve its processes for us to be of better service to our clients,” he continued in his speech.

Improvements such as the increased productivity and efficiency of the staff when it comes to SME lending and the savings mobilization activities are some of the highlights that were mentioned. He also highlighted that the tools developed for monitoring productivity and the hands-on training and mentoring of the loan officers are key factors in the thrift bank’s improvements.

Project Overview

Developing and improving CARD SME Bank to become an established institution to cater to the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is the main goal of the partnership.

Establishing a precise business development framework for the institution is their first goal for CARD SME Bank. Through this, groups such the Business Development Group (BDG) and the Marketing Working Group (MWG), were made to function with separate objectives. These groups support, monitor, and capacitate the SME operations for the branches with strategic, technical, and operational directions.

The second goal is the development of the Human Resource Management and SME staff. Specific training programs for specific responsibilities were provided to better capacitate CARD SME’s personnel to the global standards of SME lending. Research was also conducted to gather data for a more effective training program.

Strengthening CARD SME Bank’s Risk Management is the last goal of the project and is achieved through the extensive technical support and training from SBFIC’s local and foreign experts. Members are equipped to handle the crisis management capacity of the bank for times such as the current pandemic.

Overall, the project impact has led to the enhanced access to finance for SMEs nationwide. It also brough a sustainable, market-based, and responsible SME finance in the country and made hundreds of bank professionals capable in SME finance and risk management.

Through the project, SBFIC and CARD SME Bank has implemented a cooperation project that embodies SBFIC’s core topics. The project also further enhanced and contributed to the Filipino-German cooperation.

SBFIC and CARD’s Partnership

The partnership between the two institutions started with a similar project for CARD Bank in 1997. From then, the partnership between CARD and SBFIC has been strong even after 25 years.

In his closing remarks, Bergmann looks forward to the future of both institutions and their projects for nation development. “We are just finishing a chapter right now, our long journey together is just beginning,” he stated.

For Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, Founder and Chairman of CARD MRI, the partnership took CARD MRI one step further to its goal of poverty eradication. “CARD SME Bank is treading a difficult path and with SBFIC’s extensive help, we are able to generate hundreds of thousands of employments by supporting SMEs. Another important way to eradicating poverty is through employment generation.”

Currently, CARD SME Bank has served more than a million clients and has 336 offices located nationwide.





56 former UGMO members receive livelihood starter kits

New People’s Army Underground Mass Organization

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
April 16, 2021

ILOCOS SUR – A total of 56 former supporters of Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) and former members of New People’s Army (NPA)-Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) in the municipalities of Suyo and Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur received various livelihood starter kits from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its provincial office here.

In partnership with the 81st Infantry (SPARTAN) Battalion, 702nd Infantry (DEFENDER) Brigade, Philippine Army, the DTI turned-over the kits to the 23 former UGMO members at Sitio Kimpatubbog, Barangay Poblacion, Suyo on April 8 and to 33 former UGMO members at Sitio Linggawa, Barangay Pidpid, Sta. Cruz on April 9.

Of the beneficiaries in Suyo, 11 received two piglets each, nine received two goats each, two received a sari-sari store package, and one received a Bigasan package while in Sta. Cruz, 28 beneficiaries received two goats each, four beneficiaries received two piglets each, and three beneficiaries received a sari-sari store package.

Afterwhich, Dr. Jhon Rey Camino, a veterinarian, conducted lectures on livestock raising, especially handling and raising goats and hogs as well as the profitability of raising the livestocks.

Funded under the DTI’s Livelihood Support Program-Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay (LSP - NSB), the provision of starter kits intends to create jobs for one of the priority sector of the government today in order to improve their economic status and dissuade them from supporting the advocacies of the leftists.

Moreover, as a member-agency of the Poverty Reduction Livelihood Employment Cluster (PRLEC) under the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC), the DTI along with other member-agencies of the PRLEC, through the Philippine Army, continue to reach out to former supporters and sympathizers of the CTG and alleviate their plight especially in these trying times.

The Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative (ISECO) in Sta Cruz, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) –Tagudin Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) also provided services to the residents in the two-day activity.

The CDA conducted pre-reorientation for the free registration seminar to the 23 members in Sitio Kimpatubbog, who have been trained and organized to establish their own livelihood group or association.

Meanwhile, the ISECO also conducted inspections for the repair and improvement of the processing center in Sitio Kimpatubbog, and also conducted site inspection for the construction of the processing center in Sitio Lingawa while the DENR-Tagudin CENRO conducted a survey for the special use of the Timberland area for the construction of the food processing center in Sitio Lingawa.

In her message, DTI Ilocos Sur Provincial Director Grace Lapastora challenged the beneficiaries in managing the starter kits for their future.

“Sa pamamagitan ng mga tulong ng gobyerno sa inyo, as long as maayos ang pangangalaga at pagpapalago ninyo, 101 percent sure na magiging successful ang mga ito. Let us join hands together. Wala lang sa amin sa DTI ang success ng bawat isa because we are all part of it. We will do our part but the important role will come from the community because it’s your choice kung gusto ninyong maging successful or hindi,” she told the beneficiaries.

Lt. Col. Rodrigo Mariñas Jr., Commanding Officer of 81IB, assured the support of the Philippine Army to all the programs and services of the government agencies in achieving lasting peace in the country.

“We will continue to ensure that the government programs and services are delivered to the people through our active partnership with the different government agencies as well as being a dynamic member of the TF-ELCAC. We only ask the beneficiaries, as well as the people in these areas, for their continued support and cooperation in pursuit of a peaceful and progressive environment for the people to live in,” he said.





3 flood control structures built in Samar

Hamonini River flood contril

April 15, 2021

CALBAYOG CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways- Samar First District Engineering Office has recently built three (3) flood control structures in Samar with a total contract amount of P79.3 million under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2020.

One of the flood control structures was erected along Malaga River in Barangay Malaga. It has a height of three (3) meters and a length of 155 meters.

A three-meter height of flood control structure was also built in Barangay Mancol along Sapinit River. It spans 228 lineal meters with a 0.8-meter parapet.

Another one was constructed along Hamonini River in Barangay Pilar that covers a length of 233 meters with walkway. Its height is nine (9) meters and a parapet of 0.6 meters. Hamonini River is a tributary to Jibatang River. Aside from this, water coming from Pan-as Falls also contributes to the water level of the river which is very hazardous to the residents especially during heavy rains and typhoon.

Lydia Acot-acot of Barangay Hamonini stated that, “now, I don’t fear anymore the occurrence of damages due to the protection the project gives”. She further said, “the post in our kitchen is almost gone since only a few more stretch and this portion will also get destroyed due to erosion. That is why every year I reconstruct my kitchen at the back. As of now, I don’t have a problem about flooding since the water level don’t reach us anymore. Every time the water level rises, we get scared because the flood here is usually up to the waist level, especially during the past storm. We are really grateful of the project that protects the whole barangay”.





Inflation rate in Eastern Visayas inches up to 2.9% in March 2021

By PSA-8
April 14, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – Inflation Rate (IR) in Eastern Visayas inched up to 2.9 percent in March 2021. This IR is 0.1 percentage point higher compared with the 2.8 percent IR in February 2021. This figure is also 0.7 percentage point higher than the recorded 2.2 percent IR in the same period last year.

Eastern Visayas Inflation rate March 2021In comparison with the national average IR, the regional IR is 1.6 percentage points lower than the 4.5 percent national IR in March 2021.

Among the provinces, only Northern Samar registered a decrease in IR by 0.6 percentage point. Its IR declined to 2.2 percent in March 2021 from 2.8 percent in February 2021. Leyte, meanwhile, retained its previous month’s IR at 1.9 percent. Biliran registered the highest increase of 0.9 percentage point, pushing its IR to 3.6 percent in March 2021. Samar, Southern Leyte, and Eastern Samar’s IRs registered increases ranging from 0.3 percentage point to 0.4 percentage point, settling at 6.5 percent, 4.0 percent, and 3.3 percent, respectively, during the month in review. Samar recorded the highest IR among provinces at 6.5 percent, while Leyte posted the lowest at 1.9 percent.

Five (5) of the 11 commodity groups in the region exhibited higher IRs in March 2021 compared with their rates in February 2021. Transport commodity group registered the biggest increase in IR of 2.7 percentage points, from 6.2 percent in February 2021 to 8.9 percent in March 2021. This acceleration can be traced to the double-digit IR (11.3%) registered in the index for operation of personal transport equipment.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels commodity group recorded 1.4 percent IR in March 2021; 1.2 percentage points higher than the 0.2 percent IR in February 2021. This increase was brought about by the 4.2 percentage points growth in the index for electricity, gas, and other fuels, from 0.7 percent deflation in February 2021 to 3.5 percent IR in March 2020.

The March 2021 IRs for alcoholic beverages and tobacco commodity group (7.0%) and clothing and footwear commodity group (2.6%) are both 0.1 percentage point higher compared with their February 2021 levels.

The commodity group for communication continued to post deflation but at a slower rate, settling at 1.4 percent during the month in review.

On the other hand, restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services commodity group recorded 0.5 percentage point decrease in its IR, from 3.9 percent in February 2021 to 3.4 percent in March 2021. This can be traced to the lower IR in the indices for catering services (5.2%), personal care (2.1%), and personal effects not elsewhere classified (1.0%).

IR for food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group declined to 3.2 percent in March 2021 from 3.5 percent in February 2021. Lower IRs were noted in majority of the items under this commodity group. Fruits index registered the highest decrease of 4.8 percentage points. Its IR dropped to 6.4 percent in March 2021 from its double-digit IR of 11.2 percent in February 2021. IR for vegetables index managed to shed off 1.5 percentage points from its double-digit figure of 19.6 percent in February 2021, posting 18.1 percent IR in March 2021. Corn, rice, and bread and cereals indices further deflated to 3.3 percent, 2.3 percent, and 1.4 percent, respectively. The rest of the items registered decreases ranging from 0.1 percentage point to 0.3 percentage point. Meanwhile, prices of meat picked up at a faster rate of 7.0 percent in March 2021 from 5.3 percent in February 2021.

IR for health commodity group eased by 0.3 percentage points, settling at 1.1 percent in March 2021.

The commodity groups of furnishings, household equipment, and routine maintenance of the house and education retained their previous month’s IRs at 2.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, recreation and culture commodity group retained its previous month’s deflation at 1.0 percent.

The Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region weakened to P0.76 in March 2021. This PPP implies that the goods and services worth P76.00 in 2012 is now worth P100.00 in March 2021.

Compared to their levels in February 2021, PPP in Northern Samar strengthened by P0.01, while the rest of the provinces retained their previous month’s PPP. Biliran and Leyte recorded the strongest PPP among provinces in March 2021 at P0.79. Southern Leyte ranked second at P0.78, followed by Eastern Samar at P0.74 and Northern Samar at P0.72. Samar posted the weakest PPP during the reference month at P0.70.





DPWH is set to widen Canomantag Bridge in Barugo town

Canomantag Bridge in Barugo, Leyte

April 14, 2021

BARUGO, Leyte – To conform with the road widening projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways nationwide, the Leyte Second District Engineering Office has set the widening of Canomantag bridge connecting the towns of Carigara and Barugo in Leyte.

“The bridge expansion aims to accommodate greater number of vehicles travelling along the road section of Barugo and Carigara likewise it serves as an alternate route in going to the major cities of Ormoc and Tacloban utilizing the primary road of Bagahupi-Babatngon-Sta. Cruz-Barugo-Carigara road section,” according to OIC-District Engineer Leo Edward Oppura.

With a contract amount of P48.1 million, the widened bridge will have a total length of 60.45 linear meter and total width of 16.76 meter constructed with reinforced concrete pile foundation, prestressed concrete deck girder, concrete railings, and introduction of stone masonry works as slope protection.

“Out of 55 bridges maintained by the district office, 31 bridges were already widened to provide safer roads and faster mobility of motorists and goods,” said Oppura.

The widening of bridge project started last March 08, 2021 and is expected to be completed on or before October 03, 2021.





SFDEO mounts rainwater collector systems in 14 schools

rainwater collector systems

April 14, 2021

CALBAYOG CITY – Fourteen rainwater collector systems were mounted in schools with a contract amount of more than P4.1 million under the General Appropriations Act of 2020 (GAA 2020).

The school recipients are the following: Jimautan Elementary School, Saputan Elementary School, Sinantan Elementary School, Marcatubig Elementary School, Cagmanipis Sur Elementary School, Cagmanipis Norte Elementary School, Cagsumje Elementary School, Arapison Elementary School, Curry Elementary School, Avelino Elementary School, Mabuhay Elementary School, Tambongan Elementary School, Sto. Niño Integrated School and Macugo Elementary School.

Dr. Rosemarie J. Badiola, head teacher of Tambongan Elementary School stated that, “Now that a rainwater catchment is constructed for our school, we are very thankful because it solves our difficulties, including our utilities. They don’t have a problem anymore of getting water for the CR, for watering the plants and if we will construct a little project, we won’t be short of water supply since our tank is always full. It has a great use because actually, in the area near the wall (referring to the wall surrounding the school premises), we have adorned it with plants and it is easier to water them”.

Schools located outside the city where water supply from the local water service cannot reach or the water supply is very scarce are the ones that are having a hard time in terms of sanitation, hygiene and for other school projects. The rainwater collector aids them to eradicate or at least lessen these worries.





Samar I delivers new building to Inoraguiao Elementary School

Inoraguiao Elementary School

April 13, 2021

CALBAYOG CITY – Inoraguiao Elementary School recently received a two-storey, four classroom school building constructed through the Department of Public Works and Highways -Samar First District Engineering Office with a contract amount of P12.19 million.

The school building is equipped with a fire alarm system, fire extinguisher, automatic water sprinklers, fire escape, PWD ramp access, and sanitary restrooms. A roof-mount twin water storage tank was also installed. Part of the scope of work is a walkway with a length of 165 meters and a width of two (2) meters as well as a canal surrounding the building with a length of 106.10 meters.

The building will be occupied by 54 Kindergarten pupils, 46 Grade 1 and 45 Grade 2 students. Teachers of these grade levels would have to use rooms intended for other purpose just so they can conduct classes, like, the school’s e-classroom is used by Grade 2 students while the Marcos-type building is used by Grade 1 pupils which are not conducive for learning.

A Kindergarten teacher Maria Adely Sollano has this to say, “before, our room is already dilapidated and is ready for demolition. But because the school lacks rooms, we still occupy this room which has a roof that is leaking. When it rains, it causes flooding inside the classroom and it is also not conducive for learning for pupils due to space limitation which is not enough for 25 kindergarten pupils. We are very happy that there is a new building constructed for teachers, Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 because they are the ones who does not have their own classrooms”.

This additional school building will benefit students and teachers alike because it provides more spacious and safe classrooms for students – better facilities that will allow the students to study better.





DOLE awards P500-K livelihood project to Palompon fisherfolks

DOLE livelihood project to Palompon fisherfolks

Press Release
April 12, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office VIII through its West Leyte Field Office awarded on April 8, 2021 a P573,980.00 worth of livelihood assistance to the Kalanggaman Fisherfolks Association of Palompon, Leyte.

The recipient association, with 27 members, received glass bottom kayaks to boost their livelihood in Kalanggaman Island, one of the famous tourist destinations in Eastern Visayas. DOLE likewise awarded tables, chairs and other equipments for their “equipment for rent” business.

Present during the turnover are Ms. Fe A. Estrella, DOLE-WLFO Head, Hon. Myra Georgina L. Arevalo, Mayor of Palompon, Ms. Annabelle P. Marquez, PESO Manager and Mr. Rolando Urboda, President of Kalanggaman Fisherfolks Association.

Ms. Estrella congratulated the association for their new business and encouraged them to be good stewards of the government assistance.

“I congratulate you for these new equipment which will surely boost your livelihood. I hope these will inspire you to be more hardworking so that these help from our government will go a long way”, said Estrella.

Mr. Uborda expressed his gratitude for the assistance received from DOLE and LGU-Palompon. He said that the livelihood project will bring them new hope and to remain hopeful amidst the pandemic.

“In behalf of our association, we would like to thank the DOLE and the LGU for helping us fisherfolks here in Palompon. We are hopeful that these things we receive will help us and our families to survive the effects of the pandemic”, Uborda said.





CARD clients take semi-finalist spot for 18th CiTi Microentrepreneurship Awards

April 8, 2021

SAN PABLO CITY – Two (2) microentrepreneur clients from CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) were among the 50 semi-finalists who will compete for the 18th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) 2021 which will be virtually held in June 2021.

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) is a nationwide search for outstanding microentrepreneurs in the country and founded by Citi Foundation in partnership with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Citi Philippines, and Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc. (MCPI). This aims to give recognition to microentrepreneurs and to showcase their significant contribution to the country’s economic growth.

This year’s objective is to give incentives to microentrepreneur clients who stepped up and embraced the change brought about by COVID-19 pandemic. These microentrepreneurs have an important role in rebuilding local communities during this pandemic.

The CARD clients

Among the selected microentrepreneur clients are Renalyn Brondial from CARD SME Bank and Rosalyn Espenorio from CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO).

Renalyn Brondial from Nagbalayong Morong, Bataan and her husband Willy used to own a sari-sari store. After several years of trying their luck and knowing that their community was abundant in cashew, they decided to venture into selling cashew nuts. The couple started to make roasted cashew nuts and packed them and displayed their products along their house. “Many tourists who pass by our barangay buy our products for pasalubong to their families and friends.”

In 2012, the couple officially started their own cashew nut business, “We used our little savings as capital so that we can purchase materials for the business. Later on, we decided to borrow funds from sharks and some friends.” But the couple realized that they needed to find a financial partner that could help them in sustaining their business, then they met CARD SME Bank in 2017.

Their business grew and started to expand in their province. “Since cashew is not really popular in the market, we highlighted its health benefits and made it as our marketing strategy to have a wider network.”

But COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly happened in 2020. Due to threats of the virus, the couple decided to temporarily close their stores and shift to online selling. Despite these challenges, they continued their business and started to use online platforms such as Facebook to market their products. They were able to generate employment with their community.

On the other hand, Rosalyn Espenorio is a microentrepreneur from Antipas, North Cotabato and a client for more than a decade of CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO).

In order to provide the needs of her family, Rosalyn started her own bakery, fish and vegetable business, and fish cracker factory in 2004. "I grew up in a simple family and we we're raised by our parents to work hard for us to live a life comfortably."

After several years, her business grew and was able to employ a total of fifteen (15) workers from their community. "They helped me to expand my business. With their loyalty and respect, we built a great bond with each other. In return, I also treat them like family."

But when the government started to implement the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and total lockdowns in the country, Rosalyn was forced to temporarily close her business. Since food is one of the most important necessity, she decided to create a small talipapa. "During the ECQ, I sold fish and vegetables, and other household goods to our neighbors. It's one way for me also to help them in maximizing their time and securing their safety of being infected by the virus."

Also, Rosalyn provided relief goods to her employees to help them in their daily needs. She also donated bread and coffee in the barangay for the frontliners. Aside from that, she also volunteered in the distribution of relief goods to households.

When the Local Government Unit lifted the ECQ, she immediately opened her factory and bakery to allow her employees to resume their work.

Because of her humility, generosity, and good leadership, many people admire her. Driven to reach her dreams, Rosalyn wants to expand her business and plans to put up a car wash business and buy additional equipment for her factory. Ultimately, she dreams of creating more employment in her community.

Empowering the microentrepreneurs

Said CARD MRI Managing Director Flordeliza L. Sarmiento, "I'm really proud that two of our clients were chosen as semi-finalists for the CMA 2021. These clients both admirably showed measurable results in terms of making income generating activities in their respective communities despite the pandemic."

She added that they embody the capacity of every CARD client, "Since we started CARD in 1986, our main goal is to empower and give ownership to these women. Through our capacity building programs, our activities about entrepreneurship have contributed a lot in their growth."

Sarmiento is looking forward for the success of these microentrepreneur clients and concluded that many CARD clients will be known in the business in the future.





Palay production inches up by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2020

By PSA-8
April 6, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – Palay production in Eastern Visayas slightly increased by1.4 percent, from 268,382 metric tons (MT) in the 4th quarter of 2019 to 272,182 MT in the same quarter of 2020. This is attributed to the minimal or 0.1 percent change in the total area harvested for palay from 72,797 hectares (Ha) in the 4th quarter of 2019 to 72,892 Ha in the same quarter of 2020. Likewise, the minimal increase in the production was due to the increase in the production in Samar by 3.2 percent during the reference period.

Palay production in Eastern VisayasThe Province of Leyte contributed the biggest share in palay production in Eastern Visayas at 148,509 MT during the 4th quarter of 2020 (Table 1). It comprised more than half or 54.6 percent of the total palay production in the region. Samar came next with 54,859 MT production, accounting for 20.2 percent of the region’s total palay production.

All provinces except Samar registered decreases in area harvested for palay. Southern Leyte posted the biggest drop by 2.4 percent from 6,674 Ha in the 4th quarter of 2019 to 6,512 Ha in the same quarter in 2020.

Among the provinces, Biliran recorded the highest yield per hectare at 4.35 MT/Ha during the 4th quarter of 2020. This figure was 0.5 percent lower compared with the4.37 MT yield per hectare recorded in the same quarter of 2019. Meanwhile, Samar registered the lowest yield at 2.86 MT/Ha.





Chicken production in Eastern Visayas drops by 7.9% in the fourth quarter of 2020

By PSA-8
March 29, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – The total volume of chicken production in Eastern Visayas declined by 7.9 percent during the fourth quarter of 2020. It went down to 15,360 Metric Tons (MT) in the fourth quarter of 2020 from 16,673 MT in the same quarter of 2019.

Eastern Visayas production accounted for 3.2 percent of the country’s total chicken production during the fourth quarter of 2020. It ranked ninth from the region with highest chicken production.

The chicken population in Eastern Visayas as of 01 January 2021 stood at 2,437,068 birds. This figure was higher by 14.7 percent compared with the 2,124,681 birds as of 01 January 2020.

All provinces contributed to the increase in chicken population except for Eastern Samar which posted a decline of 8.9 percent.

Among provinces, Leyte recorded the highest chicken population at 838,911 birds as of 01 January 2021, which comprised more than one third (34.4 %) of the total chicken population in the region. Southern Leyte ranked second with 589,360 birds accounting for 24.2 percent of the region’s total chicken inventory. Eastern Samar, meanwhile, registered the lowest inventory of chicken with 3.3 percent share or 79,505 birds.

Among the type of chicken, broiler chickens posted the highest growth of 68.6 percent, from the 251,348 birds as of 01 January 2020 to 423,778 birds as of 01 January 2021. This can be attributed to the triple increase (229.3%) in the broiler chicken population in Southern Leyte. Northern Samar and Biliran followed with 41.4 percent and 15.3 percent increases, respectively. Leyte posted the lowest increase at 0.8 percent. Samar registered 12,000 birds on 01 January 2021 from zero inventory due to scheduled downtime on 01 January 2020.

Layer chicken inventory stood at 615,422 birds on 01 January2021. This posted a significant growth of 26.0 percent from 488,322 birds on 01 January 2020. The biggest contributor to this increase is Samar which doubled its inventory (99.6%) from 94,429 birds on 01 January 2020 to 188,510 birds on 01 January 2021. This accounted 30.6 percent of the region’s total layer chicken population. Southern Leyte followed with 29.1 percent increase. Biliran and Northern Samar posted a lower increase at 7.8 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. While Leyte (0.01%) and Eastern Samar had nil or no increase at all.

Meanwhile, native/improved chicken inventory recorded almost steady inventory (0.9%) from a total inventory of 1,385,011 birds as of 01 January 2020 to 1,397,868 birds as of 01 January 2021. The 13.3 percent increase in the inventory in Biliran was offset by the decreases in inventory of Eastern Samar (9.13) and Southern Leyte (6.23). Northern Samar (4.4%), Samar (2.9%) and Leyte (1.2%) managed to post slight increase in their inventories.

More than half or 57.4 percent of the total chicken population in the region were native/improved chickens. Layer chickens accounted for 25.3 percent, while the remaining 17.4 percent were broiler chickens (Table 1).

Chicken production in Eastern Visayas





Lapeña eager to light up more remote communities in Eastern Visayas

March 29, 2021

TAGUIG CITY – The Director General of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Secretary Isidro Lapeña, spearheaded the launching of Liwanag At Malasakit Ramdam ang Asenso at Ginhawa (LAMRAG) Project in the provinces of Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Southern Leyte.

After attending the meeting of President Rodrigo Duterte with the Joint National and Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-RTF-ELCAC) in Eastern Visayas, Lapeña spent his days afterwards on visiting TESDA offices and meeting the Regional Poverty Reduction, Livelihood, and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) together with the different local government units.

Project LAMRAG was first launched by Lapeña in Eastern Samar on Friday, March 19, 2021 with TESDA Deputy Director General for TESDA Operations Lina Sarmiento, Chief-of-Staff Juliet Orosco, TESDA-VIII Regional Director Gamaliel Vicente, Jr., local officials, PRLEC member-agencies, and regional officials of the Department of Energy (DoE).

Last Monday, March 22, 2020, the said project was launched in Southern Leyte and on the following day, in Leyte Province.

Like its equivalent training programs launched in other regions, Project LAMRAG in Eastern Visayas aims to provide solar lighting systems in Geographically Isolated Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) including the PRLEC-identified barangays.

It trains residents of GIDAs in Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Installation NC II through the scholarship and community-based training programs of TESDA and the installation of Solar Home System Components under the Household Electrification Program (HEP) of DoE.

"Lamrag" is the Waray term for "liwanag" or light.

The TESDA Chief hopes that the agency’s skills training, along with the projects of the PRLEC and other RTF-NTF-ELCAC Clusters will help bring lasting peace and development in the communities of Eastern Visayas which were once a stronghold of the New People's Army (NPA).

"Now that they will know how to bring light inside their homes, we will follow it up with more skills training related to agriculture, construction, livelihood, and other training programs that can help uplift their living conditions and develop their community," he said.

During the RTF-ELCAC Meeting with President Duterte, Lapeña also led the awarding of Certificates of Scholarship Commitment to the six priority barangays in Northern Samar under the Barangay Development Program.

TESDA is also set to provide skills training and scholarship to 1,768 individuals in Eastern Visayas who have received Certificates of Land Ownership (CLOA) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).





Trade surplus in Eastern Visayas drops in December 2020

By PSA-8
March 29, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – Total trade in goods in Eastern Visayas slipped to USD 165.80 million in December 2020. This amount is 38.63 percent lower than the USD 270.18 million total trade reported in December 2019.

Trade surplus in Eastern VisayasTotal value of exports in Eastern Visayas dropped to USD 150.51 million in December 2020 from USD 255.05 million in December 2019 or a 40.99 percent contraction of exports revenues.

The total value of imports, meanwhile, slightly increased by 1.10 percent, from USD 15.13 million in December 2019 to USD 15.30 million in December 2020.

Consequently, the Balance of Trade (BoT) in goods registered a 43.64 percent decrease, from USD 239.92 million in December 2019 to USD 135.21 million in December 2020 (Table 1).

Total volume of exports in December 2020 was 77.37 million kilograms valued at USD 150.51 million. The major export for the month was copper and articles thereof commodity group worth USD 138.99 or 92.35 percent of the region’s total export revenue. The region’s top export market destination was Thailand with USD 47.31 million worth of exports which comprised 31.43 percent of the total export revenues in December 2020.

Total value of import receipts amounted to USD 15.30 million in December 2020 with total gross weight of 87.09 million kilograms. Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes was the major commodity group imported by the region. Its import valued at USD 6.48 million in December 2020 was 42.39 percent of the region’s total import receipts during the period in review. The region’s top import trading partner in December 2020 was Singapore with USD 3.95 million worth of imported goods, or 25.85 percent of the region’s total import value.





DE Briones inspects various projects in the island of Maripipi, Biliran province

DPWH-Biliran courtesy call with Maripipi mayor
District Engineer Ferdinand A. Briones (in red shirt) and Asst DE Alfredo L. Bollido (in long sleeve) together with project engineers, technical personnel and some section chiefs pay courtesy call to Maripipi mayor Joseph C. Caingoy (right) on March 19, 2021 before conducting inspection at the island municipality.

By DPWH-Biliran
March 26, 2021

NAVAL, Biliran – District Engineer (DE) Ferdinand A. Briones of the Department of Public Works and Highways - Biliran District Engineering Office (DPWH-DEO) monitors various projects in the island town of Maripipi, Biliran in his recent inspection on March 19, 2021.

DE’s inspection was accompanied by Assistant District Engineer Alfredo L. Bollido, Project Engineers, Technical Personnel and some Section Chiefs of Biliran DEO.

The projects inspected are the on-going projects from FY 2017, 2019 and 2020 implementation under contract with LM Baltonado Construction and LEDA Construction.

These projects are the P47M Rehabilitation / Reconstruction / Upgrading of Damaged Paved Roads - Tertiary Roads, Maripipi Circumferential Rd - K0004+585 - K0006+600 at Brgy. Casibang to Brgy. Ol-og implemented under FY 2020 and P45.6M Rehabilitation of Damaged Paved Roads at Brgy. Danao – Brgy. Bato implemented under FY 2019, both under contract with LM Baltonado Construction and P118.6M Rehabilitation of Maripipi Circumferential Road under FY 2017 implemented at Proper Poblacion to Brgy. Ermita, Brgy. Bato to Brgy. Banlas and Brgy. Binalayan West, all in Maripipi town under contract with LEDA Construction.

Maripipi is located in the northernmost part of the province of Biliran and is separated by a narrow channel from its mainland. Means of transportation to the island is only by boat which takes about 45-60 minutes from the port of Kawayan, Biliran.

According to Briones, these projects were behind schedule and that the delay was attributed to the unfavorable weather conditions and the difficulty in transporting construction materials and manpower to the province and into the island which are worsened by the strict border policies against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to fast-track the said projects, Briones demands the contractors to provide additional manpower and equipment on site. He also suggests some strategies to the contractors on how to ease the implementation and cope up with the delays. He also emphasized to the contractors the strict compliance of installing road warning signs and proper disposal of construction spoils to avoid road accidents. Moreover, Briones also inspects the vegetation control along the Maripipi Circumferential Road.

Briones revealed that contractors have only until December, 2021 to complete these projects and get paid.

“Pag-hindi pa rin natapos, ibabalik na natin ang pera at ire-recommend natin for blacklisting ang contractor,” said Briones.

Briones added that liquidated damages will also be imposed to the contractors for the delays incurred. The district engineer explained that these contractors can no longer be paid in full based on the contract amount of the project.

Meanwhile, Briones also takes time to inspect the on-going construction of P3.8M Construction of Multipurpose Building (Health Facility), Brgy. Ermita and the P2.88M Construction of MPB (Municipal Hospital) under FY 2021 Fund.

As per request by Hon. Joseph C. Caingcoy, Maripipi Municipal Mayor, joint inspection on the LGU-implemented projects in the proposed government center of the municipality were also conducted.

DE Briones said that he will conduct regular inspections in this island town in order to fast-track these high-impact projects which are beneficial to the entire Municipality with about 17,000 populations.





DPWH-Biliran DEO turns-over Almeria bypass road project, phase I

Almeria bypass road project
Biliran Congressman Gerardo J. Espina, Jr. (2nd from left), District Engineer Ferdinand A. Briones (3rd from left), and Assistant District Engineer Alfredo L. Bollido (3rd from right) lead the cutting of ribbon in a turn-over ceremony of the Almeria Bypass Road project, Phase 1 in Pob. Almeria, Biliran. They are joined in by Engr. Luisito Filemon A. Abad (leftmost), Chief of Construction Section, Engr. Reynaldo Peñaflor (rightmost), Chief of Quality Assurance Section and Engr. Glenda G. Dagalea (2nd from right), Chief of Maintenance Section.

By DPWH-Biliran
March 26, 2021

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) turns-over the completed Almeria Bypass Road Project, Phase I in Pob. Almeria, Biliran on March 11, 2021.

The turn-over ceremony was led by Biliran Congressman Gerardo J. Espina, Jr., Almeria Mayor Richard D. Jaguros, Brgy. Captain Rolando S. Nierra of Poblacion Almeria, District Engineer (DE) Ferdinand A. Briones and Assistant District Engineer Alfredo L. Bollido together with DPWH employees.

The said project is implemented in two phases under FY 2018 and FY 2019 fund allocation.

The first phase of the project which is now completed involves the road opening, slope protection, bridge construction and a road concreting of a 0.879-kilometer four lane road with a contract cost of P83.1M.

Mayor Jaguros expresses gratitude for the realization of the Almeria Bypass Road Project which is seen to decongest traffic along the main highway of Poblacion Almeria.

“Dako kaayu ni’g tabang namo kay kung wala gyud ni marealize, ang among baryo sa Brgy. Poblacion basin Sitio nala na,”

“This project (bypass road) is really a big help because if it was not realized, maybe our town in Brgy. Poblacion will just become Sitio,” said Jaguros.

The said project was proposed by the Sangguniang Bayan in lieu of the road widening project on the main highway of Poblacion Almeria where numerous residents will be affected.

The alternate road begins at Sitio Daro traversing rice fields all the way to Upper Look in Almeria town. It is implemented in two phases with a total length of 1.262 km. 4-lane roadway and a 20 ln.m Bridge (4 lanes) amounting to P95.8M.

According to DE Briones, Phase II of the said project is almost completed and expected to be finished on the end of the 1st quarter of 2021.

The Phase II of the project involves the construction of a 4-lane concrete road with a total length of 0.383-kilometer amounting to P12.7M.

The completion of the bypass road project will provide a wider, safer and faster travel for the motorist from the towns of Kawayan and Almeria in going to the capital town of Naval and vice-versa. This road also leads to the only Provincial Hospital of Naval.





2,800 Biliranons to benefit from P9.8 million TUPAD funds

Biliran TUPAD funds

March 26, 2021

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office No. 8 through its Biliran Field Office (BFO) on March 23, 2021 awarded a total of P9,873,500.00 assistance under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD). The said funding assistance will benefit 2,800 informal sector workers in Biliran.

Regional Director Henry John S. Jalbuena, assisted by DOLE-BFO Chief, Engr. Emmanuel Y. de la Cruz and Senior Labor and Employment Officer Imelda M. Codilan, led the turn-over of TUPAD checks to the Provincial Government of Biliran and seven municipalities of the province namely Naval, Almeria, Kawayan, Maripipi, Culaba, Caibiran, and Biliran.

Hon. Rogelio “Dok Roger” Espina, Jr., Governor of Biliran Province personally welcomed the DOLE-RO8 Regional Director. Mayor Humphrey Olimba and Mayor Richard Jaguros of the municipalities of Culaba and Almeria, respectively, were in attendance to personally claim the funding assistance.

In his message, Director Jalbuena thanked the local chief executives in Biliran for the warm welcome and for actively supporting the programs of the department.

“I’d like to thank Governor Espina as well as our Mayors here in Biliran for welcoming me. We at DOLE are privileged to have active partners like you in implementing the different programs and services of the department”, Jalbuena said.

The newly-installed Director of DOLE-RO8 likewise expressed his unwavering commitment to serve the region with excellence.

“As your new Regional Director in Region 8, I commit my steadfast dedication to deliver excellent services to our clients. May these TUPAD grants bring new ray of hope and optimism to our informal sector workers here in Biliran especially during this time of pandemic”, Jalbuena added.

Public Employment Service Office (PESO) managers representing their local chief executives were also present to receive the funding assistance: Estrellita Santolorin of Almeria, Myra Cabrales of Biliran, Sheryl Udtohan of Culaba, Maya Borromeo of Caibiran, Jose Amador of Kawayan and Rosita Maranga of Naval.

The breakdown of TUPAD funds awarded are as follows: P1,735,500 for the Province of Biliran; P1,751,750 for LGU-Naval; P874,250 for LGU-Almeria; P1,313,000 for LGU-Kawayan; P438,750 for LGU-Maripipi; P698,750 for LGU-Culaba; P1,313,000 for LGU-Caibiran and P1,748,500 for Biliran.

Also in attendance during the turn-over activity were Jason Sanjorjo, PESO-OIC of Provincial Government of Biliran, Mr. Ritchie Garcia, Head of Congressional Office, Jean Sanjorjo, Livelihood and TUPAD in-charge and Dwight Anthony Inchoco, Provincial Government focal on TUPAD. (with reports from Imelda M. Codilan-DOLE Biliran Field Office)





NMP and DMMA College forge agreement on the conduct of PDC

MP and DMMA College agreement
Exploratory Meeting of NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod and Deputy Executive Director Mayla N. Macadawan with DCSP Officials in Davao City.

By National Maritime Polytechnic
March 25, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – With the aim of enhancing the quality of trainings for Filipino seafarers and expanding its services to Davao and its nearest regions particularly on the conduct of Professional Development Courses (PDC), the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) and the DMMA College of Southern Philippines (DCSP) forged a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on 15 March 2021.

NMP being an authorized PDC provider by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) ensures the conduct of trainings in accordance with its policies, rules and standards pursuant to international practices in maritime education and training. The programs include the Training Course for Instructors (IMO MC 6.09); the Assessment, Examination and Certification of Seafarers (IMO MC 3.12); and Training Course for Simulator Instructors and Assessors (IMO MC 6.10).

Among the NMP’s significant achievements is its pioneering role in the development and offering of IMO Model Courses with the objective of reaching out to more active and aspiring seafarers. These courses also provide avenue and medium to review and improve current training techniques and provide insight into course management necessary to achieve the prescribed standard of competence for those responsible for the education and training of seafarers.

DCSP signified its intention of partnering with NMP to update and improve the knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA) of its maritime instructors / trainers. Noteworthy that the said institution is also equipped with the necessary facilities, equipment and other resources needed for the conduct of the said trainings.

“NMP is always open for collaborative undertakings that give priority to our seafarers and maritime-allied professionals including the maritime faculty such that they are all empowered with the technical competence as they face the challenges in these trying times”, NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod disclosed.

The first training to be held is IMO MC 6.09 scheduled on April 12-23, 2021 followed by IMO MC 6.10 on April 26-30, 2021 which will be conducted at the DCSP, Tigatto Road, Buhangin, Davao City. Interested participants may contact these nos: (082) 241-2090 / 0920-264-8169.

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


Last updated: 09/20/2021