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Global demand for plant-based meat to reach USD74.2B in 2027

Salcedo Mayor sees refrigerated van from DAR an opportunity

Cebuanos tell ADB to cease funding coal, dirty energy

TESDA to open training program for agricultural drone operation

DOLE awards P500-K livelihood project to Palompon fisherfolks

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


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Inflation rate in Eastern Visayas escalates to 3.1% in May 2021

By PSA-8
June 19, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – Inflation Rate (IR) in Eastern Visayas escalated to 3.1 percent in May 2021. This IR is 0.3 percentage point higher compared with the 2.8 percent IR in April 2021. This May IR of the region is also 1.3 percentage points higher than the recorded 1.8 percent IR in the same period last year.

Inflation rate in Eastern Visayas May 2021In comparison with the national average IR, the regional IR is 1.4 percentage points lower than the 4.5 percent national IR in May 2021.

Among the provinces, only Southern Leyte and Leyte registered decreases in IRs. Southern Leyte’s IR declined to 3.3 percent in May 2021 from 4.1 percent in April 2021, a reduction by 0.8 percentage point. Leyte’s IR, meanwhile, decreased to 0.9 percent in May 2021 from 1.4 percent in April 2021. It was the lowest IR among the provinces during the month in review. Samar registered the highest increase in IR by 1.6 percentage points. Its IR rose to 8.3 percent in May 2021 from 6.7 percent in April 2021. It recorded the highest IR among provinces during the reference month.

Northern Samar grew by 0.9 percentage point, registering 1.6 percent IR in May 2021. Biliran’s 0.6 percentage point increase in IR brought its level to 5.5 percent. While Eastern Samar’s IR settled at 5.4 percent, prompted by the 0.5 percentage point increase during the month in review.

Majority of the 11 commodity groups in the region exhibited higher IRs in May 2021 compared with their rates in April 2021. Transport commodity group registered the biggest increase in IR by 0.8 percentage point. Its double-digit IR of 12.9 percent in April 2021 grew to 13.7 percent in May 2021. This can be traced to higher double-digit IRs for both operation of personal transport equipment (28.9%) and transport services (10.1%).

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels commodity group recorded 3.1 percent IR in May 2021, higher by 0.7 percentage point from the 2.4 percent IR in April 2021. This growth can be attributed to the higher IRs in the indices for electricity, gas, and other fuels (8.7%), maintenance and repair of the dwelling (2.1%), and water supply and miscellaneous services relating to the dwelling (0.9%).

The IR for food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group increased to 2.2 percent in May 2021 from 2.0 percent in April 2021. Lower IRs were noted in majority of the items under this commodity group. However, these were offset by faster IRs noted in other food indices resulting to 0.2 percentage point increase in IR for food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group.

Fruits index registered the highest decrease of 5.3 percentage points, from 2.9 percent IR in April 2021 to 2.4 percent deflation in May 2021. The IR for vegetables index managed to shed off by 2.9 percentage points from its 3.2 percent IR in April 2021, posting 0.3 percent IR in May 2021.

The IR for sugar, jam, honey, chocolate, and confectionery index also declined by 0.2 percentage point, settling at 1.4 percent during the month in review. Corn index further deflated to 4.1 percent. Decreased IRs were also registered in the indices for meat (8.9%) and non-alcoholic beverages (0.4%).

Meanwhile, prices of fish picked up at a faster rate of 6.4 percent in May 2021 from 5.3 percent in April 2021. Faster price increases were also noted in indices for food products not elsewhere classified (3.7%); milk, cheese, and eggs (2.2%); and oils and fats (1.6%). Rice and bread and cereals continued to register deflations in May 202 but at a slower rate of 1.0 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

The IR for clothing and footwear commodity group increased by 0.2 percentage point, pushing its IR to 2.0 percent in May 2021.

Compared with its April 2021 levels, IR for communication commodity group inched up by 0.1 percentage point, registering to 0.7 percent IR in May 2021.

Recreation and culture commodity group continued to record deflation but at a slower rate of 1.4 percent in May 2021 from 1.5 percent in April 2021.

Only the commodity group of restaurants and miscellaneous goods and services registered a decrease in IR. Its IR declined to 2.8 percent in May 2021 from 3.6 percent in April 2021.

Meanwhile, alcoholic beverages and tobacco; furnishings, household equipment, and routine maintenance of the house; health; and education commodity groups retained their previous month’s IRs at 6.9 percent, 3.2 percent, 1.6 percent, and 0.5 percent, respectively.

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

Compared with their levels in April 2021, PPP in Biliran strengthened by P0.01, while PPP in Northern Samar and Samar weakened by P0.01. The rest of the provinces retained their previous month’s PPP. Leyte recorded the strongest PPP among provinces in May 2021 at P0.80. Biliran ranked second at P0.79, followed by Southern Leyte at P0.78, Eastern Samar at P0.73, and Northern Samar at P0.71. Samar posted the weakest PPP during the reference month at P0.69.





DPWH-Leyte 2nd DEO completed P9.55M road improvement project leading to Mahagnao natural park

Road leading to Mahagnao natural park

June 19, 2021

BURAUEN, Leyte – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) -Leyte Second District Engineering Office (L2DEO) recently completed the P9.55-million off-carriageway road improvement leading to Mahagnao Natural Park in Burauen, Leyte.

The project involves an additional 1.5-meter of road pavement on both side of the existing road in Brgy. San Esteban along Burauen-Mahagnao road section covering a total length of 519 meters which was completed last May 31, 2021.

According to OIC-District Engineer Leo Edward Oppura, this project will enhance the road conditions and traffic flow in the area especially that this road section is leading to a tourist destination.

DE Oppura is optimistic that this project will ease the burden of the local residents in transporting their farm product to the public market likewise travel time and expenses will be reduced.

DPWH off-carriageway improvement projects aims to make better access of road that will help enhance the local economy, decrease the volume of traffic and accidents and convenience in travelling.

Aside from this project, the district office is set to implement P550-million slope protection project considering that some portions along Burauen-Mahagnao road section are prone to mudflows and landslides.





Acceptance and Respect: Equality before the law

By IBP Public Information
June 17, 2021

PASIG CITY – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines under Atty. Doming Egon Q. Cayosa’s leadership has established a campaign to do MORE, BETTER, and FASTER through partnerships with other organizations. In pursuing its advocacy to strengthen its commitment on Gender and Development, it will enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Rainbow SOGIE Rights Philippines, Inc. (R-Rights).

R-Rights, led by Atty. Jazz Tamayo, is a legal organization composed of persons of diverse SOGIESC and gender activists which aim to contribute to the promotion and visibility of the human rights in the Philippines, specifically on SOGIE advocacy. It also helps engender a broader institutional and societal understanding of the need for proper legal protections and has already established initiatives focusing on their rights, welfare, and needs.

During the partnership proposal meeting, Atty. Cayosa noted that under his watch, “IBP has been bolder in getting into other areas where it used to shy away.” He also noted that IBP should pursue matters of public interest affecting the justice sector where “IBP should be heard and be seen.”

A Historic milestone for IBP

Atty. Regal Oliva, the past President of Cebu City Chapter and Director for Gender and Development says that she was “happy that this development has taken place, especially in the IBP.” She describes it as a “first time and a historic day as IBP has tackled something that is very sensitive, and we have also tackled an elephant in the room which is the people who belong to the LGBTQI community.”

As a member of the LGBTQI community, Atty. Oliva thanked Atty. Cayosa “for being true to his words to protect not only the IBP, but also the [LGBTQI] community.” Atty. Oliva also urged the Executive Vice President, Atty. Burt M. Estrada, to continue this partnership with R-Rights.

Atty. Estrada, who will assume the Presidency beginning July 1, 2021, assured that he commits “to find a way to fix a budget for Gender and Development activities similar to other institutions like LGUs.” This he said, in order “to have even more activities.” He also assured the continued support under his administration.

Atty. Eric Alajar, the National Director for Legal Aid expects for the IBP that it may “realize and implement the envisioned collaborative approach in promoting our common advocacy on gender sensitivity.” Also, he hopes that the incoming administration, it will carry out its mandate under the proposed MOA.

As noted by Atty, Cayosa in “We will never be ready until we work on it. IBP should move, to put itself behind this advocacy to help.” For his message to the members of the legal profession, “We welcome and respect them.”

The MOA covers support for policy reforms and initiatives, case referral system, as well as training and programs:

Free legal aid referral system

Under the MOA, to pursue developmental legal aid but “subject to the means and merit test, the IBP and its Chapters shall extend free legal aid services to persons of diverse SOGIESC referred by R-RIGHTS. R-RIGHTS shall provide free training and materials to the IBP, its Chapters, and the designated legal practitioners so that the legal service/s may be effectively and efficiently rendered.”

Grassroots initiatives through Local Government Units

Further, the MOA provides for the “IBP and its Chapters shall assist in the conduct of Pride Month Events of amenable Local Government Units through the League of Cities and League of Provinces. R-RIGHTS shall provide support through programs and materials related to Gender and Development, subject to availability of resources.”

In relation to the absence of an anti-discrimination law, IBP and R-Rights will work together to pursue “Round Table discussions with amenable Local Government Units through the League of Cities and League of Provinces, on provisions and passage of an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance.” R-RIGHTS are willing to provide their resources such as sample Ordinance and IRR provisions, talking points, and counterarguments.

Use of pseudonym in the proceedings

In relation to HIV law and the Safe Spaces Act, IBP agreed to protect the LGBTIQ+ community “to a draft of a policy or rules to protect the confidentiality of complainants for an option of use of a pseudonym in the proceedings to be promulgated by the Supreme Court. The IBP shall endorse the policy to the appropriate institutions such as the Supreme Court of the Philippines through a letter of support.”

Dress codes and grooming policies

To promote diversity and inclusion in public offices, courts and tribunals, IBP agreed “to craft and pursue policies and rules on dress codes and grooming policies to be promulgated by the institutions duly authorized such as the Civil Service Commission. R-RIGHTS shall provide domestic and international research and resources to the IBP regarding this initiative, and the IBP shall endorse such policies or rules to the appropriate institutions or offices through a letter of support.”

Passage of gender-progressive laws

Further, the MOA provides for IBP and R-Rights “to submit aligned position papers supportive of gender-progressive pieces of legislation in Congress when needed. R-RIGHTS can undertake to facilitate the inclusion of the IBP in committee hearings.”

To ensure the implementation of this MOA, IBP and R-Rights will designate their respective focal persons and for monitoring progress on the ground.

On the part of the IBP, the MOA is expected to be approved by the 24th Board of Governors during its last meeting this coming June 19, 2021.





DAR celebrates Independence Day with persons deprived of liberty

DAR Eastern Samar Provincial Office
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Eastern Samar Provincial Office provided fruits and vegetables for the preparation of the meal for the persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) confined at the Borongan City Jail, Guiuan and Balangiga District Jails on Independence Day. (DAR Eastern Samar)

June 17, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – As the nation commemorated this year the 123rd Independence Day on June 12, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) opted to celebrate the occasion with persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) at the different jail facilities throughout the country.

In Eastern Visays, some 40 PDLs at the Female Dorm of the Tacloban City Jail were surprised with food packs from the DAR Regional Office-8 which they shared with jail personnel.

According to DAR’s Program Beneficiaries Development Division Chief, Melecia Ong, “This is DAR’s way of expressing our gratitude to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) for supporting the agrarian reform beneficiaries by purchasing their products under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP).”

Ong disclosed that BJMP is among the institutional buyers of ARB products, which they use in feeding the PDLs.

Meanwhile, JINSP Fe Reynalda Chan of the Tacloban City Jail Female Dorm said, “Continuous coordination and linkages to other government and non-government organizations in the community is highly recommended to augment the needs of the PDLs while temporarily confined at this jail unit.”

Further, in Eastern Samar, the DAR Provincial Office likewise provided the Borongan City Jail, as well as the Guiuan and Balangiga District Jails with “free” fruits and vegetables, which the said jail facilities could use in the preparation of the meal for the 115 PDLs in the province on that day.





Samar First built multi-purpose buildings

Blanca Aurora Elementary School

June 17, 2021

CALBAYOG CITY – As the population increases, the need to have a facility that can cater to different events and purposes is beneficial to every community of the city. Four (4) multi-purpose buildings are erected in Brgy. Rawis and Saljag, Calbayog City; Brgy. Blanca Aurora, San Jorge; and Brgy. Lunang I, Almagro, Samar.

These projects have a total contract amount of P8.45 million under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2021.

The multi-purpose buildings in Barangays Rawis and Saljag are covered courts that can be the central venue for different sports, entertainment, and recreational activities of both barangays.

The multi-purpose building in Lunang I, Almagro, Samar completed its second phase of the project. It completed the construction of the covered court with comfort room which is good when conducting different events in the community.

The completed multi-purpose building in Blanca Aurora Elementary School, Brgy. Blanca Aurora, San Jorge, Samar will benefit hundreds of elementary school students and youths as the school can utilize the covered court as venue for recreation and learning. As the schools prepare for the face to face learning, this additional facility within the school will help them manage their activities. Also, this can be used as an evacuation center in times of typhoon or any bad weather that might threaten the lives and properties of the residents in the barangay.

These multi-purpose buildings are the right fit in the stated barangays as it can create a sense of solidarity as they all gather to enjoy different activities held in these facilities.





Palay production grows by 6.7% in the first quarter of 2021

By PSA-8
June 16, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – Palay production in Eastern Visayas increased by 6.7 percent, from 252,869 metric tons (MT) in the 1st quarter of 2020 to 269,853 MT in the same quarter of 2021. This is attributed to a notable 10.5 percent expansion in the total area harvested for palay from 75,600 hectares (Ha) in the 1st quarter of 2020 to 83,522 Ha in the same quarter of 2021. Likewise, the hefty increase in production was due to the increase in the production in Northern Samar by 73.5 percent during the reference period.

Eastern Visayas Palay productionThe Province of Leyte contributed the biggest share in palay production in Eastern Visayas at 139,207 MT during the 1st quarter of 2021 (Table 1). It comprised more than half or 51.6 percent of the total palay production in the region. Samar came next with 52,865 MT production, accounting for 19.6 percent of the region’s total palay production.

Northern Samar followed with 40,228 MT production contributing 14.9 percent share to the total production. Eastern Samar and Southern Leyte shared 7.2 percent (19,377 MT) and 4.7 percent (12,600 MT), respectively. Biliran had the least contribution at 2.1 percent (5,576 MT) of the total palay production in the region.

All provinces except Biliran and Leyte registered increases in area harvested for palay. Northern Samar posted the biggest increment at 76.7 percent from 8,575 Ha in the 1st quarter of 2020 to 15,155 Ha in the same quarter in 2021. Likewise, area harvested for palay in Eastern Samar, Samar and Southern Leyte increased by 17.8 percent, 2.0 percent, and 0.5 percent, respectively.

Among the provinces, Southern Leyte recorded the highest yield per hectare at 4.36 MT/Ha during the 1st quarter of 2021. This figure was 1.9 percent lower compared with the 4.45 MT/Ha recorded in the same quarter of 2020.

Biliran followed at 4.32 MT/Ha, 0.7 percent lower than its 4.35 MT/Ha recorded in the 1st quarter of 2020. Leyte ranked third with 4.21 MT/Ha, also a 0.7 percent lower compared with its figure in the same quarter of 2020. Northern Samar ranked fourth with 2.65 MT/Ha, a decrease of 1.8 percent from 2.70 MT/Ha recorded in the same quarter of 2020. Samar registered a 2.33 MT/Ha in the 1st quarter of 2021, a decrease of 2.1 percent from 2.38 MT/Ha in the same quarter in 2020.





ICHRP lauds landmark ICC investigation into Duterte’s “war on drugs”

Press Release
June 15, 2021

MANILA – “The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) praises today’s announcement by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it will formally seek an investigation into the Philippine government’s deadly ‘war on drugs’”, said ICHRP spokesperson Mr. Peter Murphy.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she has concluded her preliminary examination of the Philippines and is seeking authorisation from the Court’s judges for a full investigation into the crime against humanity of murder committed in connection with the country’s ‘war on drugs’ between 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019, and torture and other inhumane acts, and related events as early as 1 November 2011.

“ICHRP sees this announcement as a positive step that may help bring some measure of justice to the thousands victimized and terrorized by the Duterte Regime’s so-called ‘war on drugs’. Justice may also come to those who are victimized by Duterte government’s war on Islamic communities and war on dissent,” said Mr Murphy.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council must now initiate a long overdue independent investigation into the Philippines to examine crimes under international law and other serious violations of human rights committed over the full duration of the Duterte administration, including its so-called war on drugs. The perpetrators and architects of these crimes must be held to account,” said Mr Murphy.

The ICC announcement follows the recently launched independent civil society commission of investigation (Investigate PH), which has been examining the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines including and beyond the so-called war on drugs. The first report of Investigate PH was delivered to the UNHRC by ICHRP in March 2021, which highlighted many of the issues that will be tackled by the International Criminal Court.

Duterte’s state-orchestrated killings amount to crimes against humanity

The case against the Duterte government is already well documented, including by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Investigate PH. Reports have been published on major investigations detailing ongoing extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations by the police and their superiors. Despite the continued broad exposure of the human rights situation by domestic and international human rights organizations, however, the killings continue unabated.

Since the beginning of the Duterte administration in July 2016, thousands of people mostly from poor and marginalized communities have been killed – either by the police or by armed individuals suspected to have links to the police. These killings have been conducted by state institutions with impunity, and there is a clear lack or absence of effective domestic remedies to stop the killings.

Evidence emerging from Investigate PH’s second round of hearings in May 2021 supports the charge that institutions of the state are being used as instruments of terror to organize and execute extra judicial killings.

“Further action from the international community is urgently needed,” said Mr Murphy.

Instead of taking positive action when informed of these systemic and widespread human rights violations, and recognizing the complicity of the Philippine Government, the UN Human Rights Council voted to provide technical cooperation and capacity-building to the same government that has publicly endorsed the policy of killings, avoided independent investigations, and continued its crack down on civil society.

“ICHRP calls on the UN Human Rights Council to act now, and to send a strong message that it too will no longer allow the Philippine government to continue its campaign of human rights violations with impunity,” concluded Mr. Murphy.





DPWH is set to construct a 2-storey rural healthcare facility in La Paz town

La Paz rural healthcare facility

June 15, 2021

LA PAZ, Leyte – To have an adequate access to rural healthcare services, residents of La Paz in Leyte will have a 2-storey healthcare facility. The infrastructure project has 25-percent of reported work accomplishment currently working on its concrete columns, beams, walls and floors slabs.

The project amounting to P14.8-million is being undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) -Leyte Second District Engineering Office (L2DEO).

According to OIC-District Engineer Leo Edward Oppura, the 2-storey building will have 249.6-sq.m. floor area and equipped with nurse stations, receiving areas, ward rooms, utility rooms, health worker quarters, toilets and parking spaces.

Once completed, rural residents can obtain primary access, necessary and appropriate healthcare services available in a timely manner.

Patients seeking medical attentions will have a better healthcare resources and systems which often they encounter limited access to healthcare especially during this time of coronavirus pandemic.

Funded under DPWH-General Appropriation Act FY-2021, the project is seen to be fully completed on or before November 09, 2021.





DPWH completes road concreting project in interior barangay

Julita road concreting project

June 14, 2021

JULITA, Leyte – To give a better access road to local residents, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) -Leyte Second District Engineering Office completed the road concreting project in Barangay San Andres in Julita, Leyte.

The P17.64-million project has a total length of 2.394-lane kilometer of concrete road which aims to provide safe travels and faster delivery of agricultural goods to the town proper.

“Motorists can now utilize the newly constructed road, transportation costs and travel time will be reduced. Adjacent barangays will also benefit from this project,” according to OIC-District Engineer Leo Edward Oppura.

The project was completed last June 01, 2021 under DPWH General Appropriation Act 2021 Local Infrastructure Program.





Exports growth accelerate in April, up by 72%

PH exports growth

By DTI-TPG-Export Marketing Bureau
June 9, 2021

MANILA – Allowing 100% operating capacity even during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), coupled by the gradual economic recovery of its major trading partners from the COVID-19 pandemic, Philippine exports in April 2021 were up again, this time by a hefty 72.1%, to USD5.71B from USD3.32B in the same month last year, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed. The country’s growth rate was the highest among select Asian economies surpassing even that of Japan’s 38.0% and China's 32.3% growth rates.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez noted that this was the second consecutive month of positive year-on-year (YOY) growth, following the 33.3% revised growth rate in March. Cumulative export earnings from January to April 2021 amounted to USD23.37B, up by 19% from the USD19.63B in the same period in 2020.

“Our latest export growth rate shows that we are steadily recovering from the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be considered a solid growth considering that the performance was even stronger than the pre-pandemic levels in 2019, and not just due to the low base in 2020. The recorded amount of USD5.71B for April 2021 was higher than the recorded amount of USD5.65B in 2019."

Meanwhile, for year-to-date (YTD) exports, or from January to April, 2021 figures still showed improvement, posing USD 23.37B. This is a huge increase compared to the 2020 YTD of USD19.63B and also a growth from the pre-pandemic YTD exports of USD22.23B.

Semiconductors are still the top export product, comprising 42.2% of all exports. Exports of the said product grew by 40.4% YOY.

Out of all the export products, ignition wiring sets for vehicles, aircraft, and ships had the highest growth at 1,237.6%. This was followed by metal components at 345.2%.

Sec. Lopez shared that looking at the total trade data, the YOY doubling in imports of manufacturing inputs such as raw materials and intermediate goods (118.6%) and capital goods (104.8%) also signals that local manufacturing is ramping up.

China was the country’s top export market in the review period, receiving 16.7% of all exports, followed by the US at 15%. Both markets are experiencing brisk economic recoveries, which bodes well for the Philippines.

In April, China’s imports growth reached a decade high of 43.1%, the highest since 2011. In the US, there were 742,000 new jobs in the private sector, with the leisure and hospitality sector opening up and hiring 237,000 workers in the said month.

Other top markets were Japan (14.3%), Hong Kong (12.9%), and Singapore (5.5%). By region, the Philippines exported half of its goods to East Asia.

To maximize the gains from the revival of the global economy, Sec. Lopez mentioned DTI is working to increase market access. He also stated that DTI is pushing for the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year, to open more market opportunities and further boost exports for the country.

"As we gradually and safely reopen our economies both locally and abroad, we are confident that we will see a sustained improvement in our export growth rate this year,” said the trade chief.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the positive outlook for 2021 remains largely dependent on subsiding pandemic restrictions. Nevertheless, the fiscal stimulus packages, particularly in developed countries, are expected to strongly support the global trade recovery throughout 2021.



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