withdraws Bill converting NMP into PMMA Visayas Extension Campus
August 12, 2020
TACLOBAN CITY –
Cagayan de Oro Representative, Atty. Rufus B. Rodriguez withdrew his
authored House Bill No. 6367, an Act Converting the National
Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) in Tacloban City into the Philippine
Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) Visayas Extension Campus during the
eighteenth meeting of the Committee on Higher and Technical
Education (CHTE) on 07 August 2020, 1:30 pm via Zoom.
It can be recalled that
NMP has time and again been plagued with propositions to be merged
with or to be under other departments and offices outside of its
mother agency, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
With the aim of making
quality maritime education free and accessible to people with less
opportunity, Rep. Rodriguez introduced House Bill No. 6367,
transforming NMP into PMMA’s Visayas Extension Campus knowing that
the latter offers free tuition and other school fees as per Republic
Act No. 10931 otherwise known as the Universal Access to Quality
tertiary Education Act.
NMP clearly pointed out on
its position paper that converting NMP into another maritime
education will not solve the dearth of qualified merchant marine
officers, especially management level officers (both deck and
engine) and shifting its core service from offering of upgrading
training and specialization courses to offering the basic education
requirement to becoming a seafarer, Bachelor of Science in Marine
Transportation (BSMT) and Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering
(BSMarE). It will leave solely to the private sector the provision
of training interventions which will prove unfavorable to the
interests of the seafarers in particular and the maritime industry
in general. NMP, therefore, is a stabilizer in the maritime training
Moreover, the training
simulators and other equipment procured by NMP and some others that
were donated to NMP to support the training activities will no
longer serve its purpose and can be considered as an investment
going to waste. Collaborative and partnership initiatives by both
the government and private sectors is now a must to maximize the
resources of both institutions to ensure that the Philippines is not
only the major provider of seafarers, but a seafarer workforce who
are the “choice seafarers” and are globally-competent and qualified.
Thus, human capital development cannot be solely the responsibility
of the private sector, even if such is regulated by the government.
“We have no objection to
the vision of Congress of expanding PMMA to the Visayas and
Mindanao. However, we would like to reinforce our stand that NMP as
a learning institution that provides world-class education and
training to Filipinos, which purpose is aligned with the mandate of
DOLE to promote gainful opportunities and develop human resources,
consistent with its mandate as stipulated in Presidential Decree No.
1369”, said NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod during the CHTE
ED Maglunsod also added,
“NMP is also planning to establish a satellite office in Cebu and
Mindanao to provide an alternative maritime training center that
provides accessible, affordable yet quality maritime trainings.”
“After they have given the
position paper, I see the light that the PMMA should not anymore
convert NMP to be part of them. I see their vision of being able to
also open other satellite schools that they will manage. So I am now
withdrawing practically my bill because in due deference and in
respect to NMP who has given their position paper objecting to my
bill. So, I therefore reiterate my motion to table this, meaning
that it will not be discussed anymore, it’s a dead bill”, Rep.
Based on the above
premises, NMP strongly maintain its stance that it should remain as
a maritime training institution under DOLE by virtue of Executive
Order No. 126 (“Reorganizing the Ministry of Labor and Employment
and for Other Purposes) promulgated on 30 January 1987, for policy
and program coordination and administrative supervision as an
attached agency. It shall continue to pursue its mandate under PD
1369 and continue to be a strategic partner of the maritime
administration in the pursuit of maritime training, assessment and
Meanwhile, in its effort
to sustain its mandate in providing quality service through
upgrading and specialized training programs, NMP continues to
maintain and upgrade its facilities and its pool of competent
instructors. Those Interested to take the training courses may visit
the NMP website @ www.nmp.gov.ph or visit the agency’s Facebook page
(www.facebook.com/ nmptrainingcenter) where all updates and relevant
information on NMP programs are available.
who wish to validate the authenticity of their seafarers-employed
with NMP issued certificates may visit www.verify.nmp.gov.ph.
Likewise, those interested in NMP research undertakings may visit
the NMP website and access the e-Research Information System Portal
which is designed to disseminate NMP completed researches, present
the Research Agenda, and engage the industry stakeholders to
collaborate in the research activities.
Further, NMP encourages
OWWA registered seafarers to avail of the NMP-OWWA (Overseas Workers
Welfare Administration) Seafarers’ Upgrading Program (SUP) and
Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP) which entitles the
beneficiary to receive financial assistance for training costs from
group condemns state murder of Filipino peace consultant
Assassination of land
reform activist Randall Echanis designed to destroy peace dialogue
August 11, 2020
MANILA – The
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines protests
in the very strongest terms the murder of Mr Randall Echanis, 71, in
the country’s capital region last Monday. In a letter to the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, ICHRP
reports the crime of state terrorism in the killing of veteran
activist and peace consultant Echanis.
At about 1:20am Manila
time, August 10, 2020, five men were seen leaving the rented home of
Mr Randall Echanis, in Novaliches, Quezon City, Philippines. Inside
the bodies of Mr Echanis and an unnamed neighbour were found, with
stab and gunshot wounds. Mr Echanis was at home receiving medical
“This murder is almost
certainly a calibrated operation of the Duterte counter-insurgency
program, Oplan Kapanatagan. It is designed to destroy any dialogue
that may resolve the five-decade long armed conflict in the
Philippines, and instead pursue all out political violence against
civilians,” says ICHRP Chairperson Mr Peter Murphy in a letter to
the UN High Commissioner.
Mr Echanis was a Peace
Consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, a
member of the 2016-17 Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and
Economic Reforms in the formal peace talks sponsored by the Royal
Norwegian Government. He advocated for the mass of poor peasant
farmers, for he was the Deputy Secretary-General of the Peasant
Movement of the Philippines (KMP) and Chairperson of the Anakpawis
Party-List, a political party for peasants, fisherfolk and workers.
On the same day, Ms
Erlinda Echanis, wife of the slain peace consultant, reported that
police officers forcibly took the body of her husband which is now
being guarded by state authorities. “I have positively identified
his lifeless body which bore torture marks, multiple stab and
gunshot wounds,” says Ms Echanis.
ICHRP urged the UN High
Commissioner’s office and the United Nations Security Council to
lead international condemnation of the murder of Mr Echanis, and to
urge the Philippines government to bring the perpetrators to
justice. In the same letter, it also appeals to the government to
abandon its war on all political opposition, and instead to release
all political prisoners and resume the stalled peace talks.
“We call on all member
states of the UN Human Rights Council to be seized of the
seriousness of the human rights situation in the Philippines and to
adopt all the recommendations in your June 30 report on the human
rights situation in the Philippines,” says ICHRP.
Lastly, Mr Murphy
addresses the international community, calling on it “to
unequivocally condemn the state killing of Mr Echanis.”
44 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from 11 farming
villages in Jiabong, Samar received garden tools,
fertilizers and vegetable seeds from the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR) under the second component of its
ARBold Move project as the nation experiences health crisis.
happy to receive aid from DAR
JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
August 10, 2020
JIABONG, Samar –
After failing to receive assistance distributed by other
organizations in their barangay, Rosalina Gabahin was happy to know
she was among the 44 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from 11
farming villages in this town who were included in the list of
recipients of farm production inputs given away by the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR).
“Nagpapasalamat gud kami
nga nahi-api kami hini nga bulig han DAR, kay didto han pinanhatag
ha iskwelahan, waray man kami mahi-api.” (“We are very thankful that
we were included by the DAR in their distribution of assistance,
because we were not included in the distribution that was held in
Gabahin, 45 years old and
a mother of four, rushed out of their house when she learned of the
arrival of DAR personnel in Barangay Macabetas.
Municipal Agrarian Reform
Program Officer (MARPO) Thelma Alfaro, assisted by Naome Rojas,
Janeth Lapara, Kim Dasig and Nikko Banjo Llano, went from one
barangay to another on Wednesday and Thursday last week to
distribute farm tools, fertilizers and seeds under the farm
production assistance component of the ARBold Move project, which is
DAR’s immediate response to Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
received a shovel, a hoe, 10 kilos of complete fertilizer, 10 kilos
of vermicast, urea, organic pesticide and two varieties of vegetable
Alfaro explained to the
recipients that DAR is giving these items to help them generate
additional income by planting vegetables during this time of crisis
caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Thus, she encouraged them
to plant the seeds to earn more. According to her, not all were
given the same opportunity.
Meanwhile, Dasig taught
the recipients how to apply the organic pesticide for best results.
For Yolanda Lagbo, 55, a
widow, and also from Barangay Macabetas, the said assistance would
certainly help her earn additional income, especially that she is
now a single parent with four children to support.
In Barangay Parina,
Clemente Gallegar, 66, shared how greatly they were affected during
the lockdown. He reminisced that they could not sell their copra.
Now, price of copra is very low, he added.
Moreover, the three
recipients in Barangay Hinaga, an upland village about 17 kilometers
away from the town proper, were surprised to receive the said
assistance. Monico Villar, 79, said they have no idea about this
distribution, while Tirso Cabanjen, 49, thanked DAR for the seeds.
According to him, these would be additional source of food for his
New flood control
structure built along Gandara River
CHENZI MAY D. UY
August 9, 2020
CALBAYOG CITY – The
Department of Public Works and Highways Samar First District
Engineering Office has completed the construction of a flood control
structure along Gandara River in barangay Tambongan, Gandara, Samar.
Said structure covers a
284-meter-long section of the river and stands at a height of 2.7
meters. The project is part of the regular infrastructure program of
SFDEO under General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2019 with a P52.35
Gandara River is one of
two major river systems in the 1st District of Samar. While it is a
source of livelihood and water for nearby villages, it is also
usually the source of flooding. Hence, SFDEO is undertaking more
flood control projects along said river under its GAA 2020
Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, CARD MRI Founder and Chairman
Emeritus, welcomes the clients during the opening of CARD
RBI Siniloan Branch on July 27, 2020.
CARD RBI opens
its first branch under the new normal
JEFFREY C. TANDINGAN
August 7, 2020
SAN PABLO CITY – As
we fight the COVID-19 pandemic, easy access to financial services is
one of the most needed assistance of the people. To bring its
banking products and services closer, CARD MRI Rizal Bank (CARD RBI)
opened its 32nd branch in Siniloan, Laguna on July 27, 2020.
“We are already present in
various municipalities with our BLUs branch-lite units. Even during
community quarantine, our bank branches continue to operate to serve
our clients, even though, our BLUs were not allowed to operate,”
said CARD RBI President and CEO Elma B. Valenzuela.
Valenzuela also shared
that the situation has limited the access of the people to banking
services. “As part of our thrust and despite the crisis, we will
continue to expand our bank branches and provide the public with
services in response to their banking needs.”
The new branch is also in
line with the bank’s direction in promoting financial inclusion in
the country. The Siniloan Branch has an initial 17,626 clients from
its Sta. Cruz branch.
To reach more communities,
the bank also implements digital innovations as it recently launched
its konek2CARD mobile banking app. “Despite the physical barriers,
we constantly create ways to better serve our clients. Aside from
the financial services, we will continually provide community-based
development programs to respond to the various needs of our
clients,” underscored Valenzuela.
“Before 2020 ends, CARD
RBI will be opening four more branches and 18 additional BLUs in the
country, to provide access to better financial services to the
community,” said Valenzuela.
CARD RBI, a member
institution of CARD MRI, caters to various financial needs of its
clients as it offers a wide range of banking products and services.
To ensure that all socioeconomically challenged families in the
country have access to affordable and quality financial service, it
offers micro and SME loans, savings accounts, and remittance
The branch is located in
Gualberto Building, L. de Leon St., Barangay Wawa, Siniloan, Laguna.
The opening was attended
by CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Artistotle B.
Alip, CARD RBI’s Senior Vice President for Operation Juliana B. de
Leon, and CARD RBI clients and staff.
Since its establishment in
1996, CARD RBI has grown significantly with P5.1 billion assets and
493,757 clients nationwide.
1.26-kilometer section of Calbayog-Migara Road
CHENZI MAY D. UY
August 6, 2020
CALBAYOG CITY –
Rehabilitation of 1,260 linear meters of concrete road with six
meters width in Barangay Tabawan is now finished, says the
Department of Public Works and Highways Samar First District
Also included in the works
are the rehabilitation and improvement of the drainage and slope
The project is allocated
with P30 million based on General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2019,
as part of the SFDEO’s program to upgrade the road infrastructure of
Samar 1st District.
Coping with Covid
Association of the Philippines, Inc. (MiMAP)
August 5, 2020
SAN PABLO CITY –
Since March 2020 when the Philippines was placed on lockdown
associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, food-based microentrepreneurs
have been hard at work as frontliners, without much fanfare or
support, to provide Filipino communities with access to food and
other essential household supplies.
Celia was one of these
microentrepreneurs who woke up at dawn, opened her store daily to be
of service to her community in Caloocan. But while the sales for her
business increased, she was also weakened by the long hours of work
and constant interaction with buyers.
She got sick back in May
from COVID-like symptoms and died at 55 years of age. Celia, a
member of a Microinsurance Mutual Benefit Association (Mi-MBA), had
microinsurance. When informed of her passing, the Mi-MBA staff
promptly processed her insurance claim. Despite operational
challenges during the lockdown, the Mi-MBA was able to settle
Celia’s family’s claim within a week.
Celia’s case is one of 428
other COVID-related deaths among members and beneficiaries that was
promptly settled from 16 March - 15 July 2020 by Mi-MBAs connected
with the Microinsurance MBA Association of the Philippines Inc. (MiMAP).
These claims under MiMAP account for 2% of the total 20,540
microinsurance claims involving P462.81 million that Mi-MBAs settled
and paid for within the 4-month lockdown period.
Microinsurance Just Around
MiMAP, also known as
RIMANSI, is composed of 18 Mi-MBAs and institutional partners spread
all over the country. This network is united by a shared vision to
bring microinsurance access and benefits to 48 million poor and
low-income Filipinos by 2024. MiMAP has a collective outreach of 7
million individual members majority of whom are microentrepreneurs,
small farmers and fishermen. As microinsurance coverage is likewise
extended to members’ families, insurance coverage is given to nearly
25 million Filipinos. MiMAP Mi-MBA members account for a substantial
62% share in the country’s total microinsurance coverage of 40
million individuals in 2019.
The Mi-MBAs provide basic
life microinsurance plans and a range of optional life plans that
include coverage for health and retirement. For example, one Mi-MBA
extends a microinsurance coverage of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000)
for basic life insurance for only Sixty Pesos (P60) a month. More
than having access to an affordable and good set of risk-protection
products, the MBA is structured to be owned and governed by its
members drawing on the power of mutual care and support.
During the first month of
the lockdown, Mi-MBAs extended the grace period of 45 days to add 30
more days on premium collections while managing to sustain the
processing and settlement of microinsurance claims. This move has
helped ease the financial burden of members and their families.
MiMAP has successfully
lobbied with the Insurance Commission (IC) for MBA operations to be
categorized as a frontline essential health service. This has paved
the way for mobilization of staff to validate claims and to arrange
for money transfer of approved claims. To further support members,
MiMAP has also filed a proposal to allow Mi-MBAs to draw on the
accumulated refundable equity value of members for premium payment
when the prescribed grace period expires. If this proposal gets the
nod of IC, members will be given more time to generate income and
save up for the next premium payment.
Microinsurance at your
With a growing membership
base, Mi-MBAs have turned to technology to increase efficiency. This
enabled Mi-MBAs to settle claims and release the insurance benefits
within a day. The submission of claim documents has been made easy
through electronic copies shared via email or other mobile phone
applications such as FB messenger. MBA staff resorted to teaching
members or their beneficiaries on use of phone camera or relevant
software applications to ensure the timely submission of documents.
A strong culture of mutual support keeps Mi-MBA staff flexible and
committed to deliver responsible and efficient services.
Amidst the challenges
brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic to the operations of the
Mi-MBAs, Citi Foundation continues to support the growth of the
microinsurance industry through a grant partnership with MiMAP (RIMANSI).
The program aims to build capacities of Mi-MBAs by developing
innovative mobile technology solutions and a member-education
strategy that will help them adapt with the new normal conditions.
Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the
lives of people in low-income communities around the world.
In 2019, MiMAP Mi-MBAs
mobilized a total of P4.81 billion in contributions and premiums,
paid P1.43 billion in claims benefits, and reserved P956.10 million
in refundable equity value to members. Also positioned as a regional
microinsurance resource center through RIMANSI, MiMAP has provided
technical support to promote, build and strengthen microinsurance in
Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia and Vietnam involving eight (8)
microfinance institution partners. These efforts have helped
establish the Philippines the reputation of being the microinsurance
capital of the world.
regulation of social media under terror law, continuing online
attacks vs. public and rights defenders
August 4, 2020
QUEZON CITY –
Instead of using the draconian Anti-Terrorism Act to “regulate”
social media, human rights watchdog Karapatan strongly retorted that
the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should “instead regulate
and police the social media platforms of their own ranks and other
law enforcement agencies, which have been known for spreading
malicious lies and violent, terroristic threats against the public
without letup and with rampant impunity.”
“The government, its
military and police do not have any moral authority to ‘regulate’
the use of social media under the guise of counterterrorism when
they have repeatedly weaponized social media to proliferate blatant
and dangerous fabrications against activists and critics through
red-tagging, or when local officials post violent ‘shoot-to-kill’
threats against the public – violent threats hewn directly from the
president’s own violent and terroristic threats,” Karapatan
Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.
Yesterday, August 3, new
AFP Chief of Staff Gilbert Gapay said that they would “capitalize”
on the new law and that it should have “specific provisions…
pertaining to the use of social media” in its implementing rules and
regulations to supposedly combat terrorist activities on social
Palabay averred that “if
the military really wants to ‘regulate’ social media use against
terrorism, they should start by sanctioning their own men who,
through their own social media accounts, have publicly and rabidly
accused journalists of being linked to ‘terrorists’ for reporting on
human rights groups and civil society organizations, or the accounts
of police stations inciting violence against activists through
red-tagging, or the ‘shoot-to-kill’ threats posted on the social
media accounts of officials like Quezon City Task Force Disiplina’s
Ludovica, who heads the
task force, publicly posted on his Facebook account that those who
would violate the quarantine measures in Quezon City are now
“shoot-to-kill,” following the imposition of the two-week “modified
enhanced community quarantine” in Metro Manila. Ludovica and members
of the Quezon City task force had previously drawn flak for mauling
fish vendor Michael Rubuia, for allegedly failing to wear a face
mask in public.
The Karapatan official
asserted that any proposal to “regulate” the use of social media
under the Anti-Terrorism Act “is very much tantamount to Marcosian
censorship, which is already sending a chilling effect to the public
given the track record of the military and police in tagging
government critics as ‘terrorists’ or ‘terrorists sympathizers,’
while officials like Ludovica who actually publish terroristic
threats on their social media accounts can get away unpunished or
unsanctioned – if not for the loud outcry and condemnation of the
“This fascist regime is
desperately seeking all means to silence dissent while coddling
officials who incite State violence and terrorism against critics,
activists, and the larger public. We assert that the government’s
terror law is unconstitutional, it cannot be used to regulate any
exercise of our rights – and we will continue to fight back against
any and all efforts to stifle and muffle the people’s resistance to
this regime’s terrorist and tyrannical rule,” she ended.
151 new ‘Matikas’
privates reinforce E. Visayas
DPAO, 8ID PA
August 4, 2020
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine
Army produced another 151 new soldiers during the closing ceremony
of Candidate Soldier Course ‘Matikas’ Class 633-2020 at the 8ID
Grandstand on August 4, 2020.
The ceremony was graced by
Lord Byron P. Torrecacion, Regional Director, Office of the Civil
Defense, Regional Office VIII, as the Guest of Honor and Speaker who
also led the ceremonial entrustment of firearms together with senior
military officers and partner stakeholders.
Out of the 190 original
strength of the class, only 151 successfully hurdled the six months
Graduating from the course
is not a piece of cake as new soldiers were properly nurtured with
the basic skills and knowledge of soldiery in order to develop their
character worthy to become members of the Armed Forces.
Among them, 102 were from
Samar, 37 from Leyte, six from Mindanao, two from Luzon, two from
Cebu, one from Iloilo, and one from Negros Occidental. Sixty of them
were college graduates, 40 were college undergraduates and 51 were
high school graduates with skills training from Technical Education
and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
The newly enlisted
privates will provide a much-needed boost in the fight against the
CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) in Eastern Visayas who have been
disturbing the peace and development of the region.
Director Torrecacion said
that the hardships experienced by the soldiers while training have
molded them to become responsible and professional soldiers of the
“You are now Stormtroopers,
as such more people will look to you for strength, support, and
solution to their problems. And those behind you are the ones who
cannot defend themselves. They are your families, they are the weak
and the oppressed. They are your neighbors and your friends, they
are the Filipino people.”
Major General Pio Q.
Diñoso III PA, Commander, 8ID, extended his profound congratulations
to the proud parents who have given their all-out support and
entrusted their sons to 8ID.
“Sa mga magulang,
kapamilya at mga kaibigan na nanunuod ngayon sa kani-kaniyang bahay,
hindi niyo man masasaksihan ng personal ang ating mga bagong sundalo,
sinisigurado ko sa inyo na ang inyong anak o kapatid ay isa nang
malakas, matikas at magiting na lalaki na may direksyon sa buhay.
Maraming salamat at ipinagkatiwala ninyo sila sa amin at nawa’y
patuloy ninyo silang gabayan at suportahan dito sa pinili nilang
propesyon at makapagsilbi sa bayan. Kayo mismo bilang kanilang
kapamilya ang katuwang namin sa pagsusulong ng mga programa ng
Hukbong Katihan para sa pagkamit ng ating minimithing kapayapaan
tungo sa matiwasay at maunlad na komunidad.”
He also stressed to the
new soldiers that their enlistment in the AFP is now the beginning
of their true service to the government.
“Remember to always strive
to become stronger, smarter and better Stormtroopers. Mabuhay ang
Candidate Soldier Course ‘Matikas’ Class 633-2020! Mabuhay ang Team
8ID! Mabuhay tayong lahat!”