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Bringing government services at the doorsteps of an isolated community in San Julian, Eastern Samar

Local entrepreneurs earn more than a million during the BAHANDI Food and Fashion Fair

New leader takes helm at DAR Eastern Visayas

Villar and Lorenzana lead inauguration of two units 2-storey building for army brigade in region 8

Good food and a thriving business success story straight from the heart of the Philippines

SBCorp, DBP forge partnership for MSME sector recovery

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

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


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UP Diliman Chancellor, UP library vow to stand against book censorship

academic freedom

October 31, 2021

QUEZON CITY – UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, Ph.D in a forum on book censorship and academic freedom last Friday, 29 October 2021, strongly condemned attempts by the military and the NTF-ELCAC to remove books that are deemed “subversive” from the libraries of universities and colleges in different parts of the country.

“Mariin tinututulan at kinukundena ng UP Diliman ang ginawang pagtanggal ng militar sa mga sinasabi nilang subersibong libro, dokumento, at materyales ng ilang state university libraries. Ito'y paglabag sa kalayaan ng mga pamantasan na makapagturo, magsaliksik, at magpalaganap ng kaalaman nang malaya at walang kinatatakutan,” said Nemenzo.

“Desisyon natingmga guro kung ano ang ipababasa o hindi ipababasa sa ating mga estudyante, at ang tamang desisyon ay ipabasa ang lahat. Gusto natin ay buksan ang kanilang isipan para makita nila ang lahat ng ideya, lahat ng punto de bista, lahat ng alternatiba,” said Nemenzo.

UP Diliman's stand comes in the wake of the latest attempts to clampdown on academic freedom with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the Cordillera Administrative Region issuing regional memo nos. 113, series of 2021 calling on all universities and colleges to surrender so-called “subversive” books and materials to authorities. UP Visayas Chancellor Clement Camposano has previously made a stand against book censorship.

Chancellor Nemenzo describes the removal of books and readings as a form of censorship, violence, and repression of ideas: “Ang kanilang mga aksyon sa mga pamantasan ay lalo pang nagdudulot ng takot sa ating mga estudyante. Tinatanggalan sila ng kalayaang mag-isip, magtanong, at magsaliksik, kalayaang tumuklas ng kalayaan batay sa kanilang sariling kakayahan,” he said.

Former UP Faculty Regent Ramon Guillermo, Ph.D, said the military intrusion on libraries is a concrete example of the intensifying attacks on academic freedom under the Duterte administration, which he compared to state forces repressing feelings and ideas that are not acceptable to those in power. “Ang pagpasok sa aklatan ay talagang pagpasok sa puso ng pamantasan,” he said.

“Sa pagtatanggol ng ating mga aklatan, hindi tayong maaaring bumigay ng kahit isang centimeter dahil kung bibigay tayo nang kahit isang centimeter ay sa susunod ay magiging isang meter na yan. Pagkaraan ay magiging isang kilometer naman. Hindi lamang sa isang iglap nawawala ang kalayaan,” said Guillermo.

One of the highlights of the forum is a discussion by UP Diliman's Deputy University Librarian Eimee Rhea Lagrama on the martial law papers special collection at the UP Diliman University Library.

These include the Philippine Radical Papers, composed of banned documents, brochures, flyers, manifestoes and clippings during the dictatorship years that were secretly donated by individuals and anti-Marcos groups to the library, and the SELDA Papers which includes legal documents, police reports, eyewitness reports and other memorabilia on human rights violations during martial law that were donated by the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA).

Chancellor Nemenzo vowed to protect these special collections and other library materials from military repression to keep UP Diliman a “sanctuary of academic freedom and ideas on peace and social justice.”

Amidst the fear and intimidation wrought by the military on libraries, UP Diliman Head Librarian Elvira Lapuz likewise called on librarians especially in smaller state universities to stand their ground against attacks on freedom of information and academic freedom.

Since September 2021, books relating to the peace talks and other writings by revolutionaries have been removed from the libraries at the Kalinga State University, Isabela State University, Aklan State University, and University of Antique at the behest of the military and the NTF-ELCAC.

About two hundred UP Diliman librarians, research, extension and professional staff, faculty, and library sciences students attended the forum which concluded in an online zoom protest with participants holding paper placards with the calls #HandsOffOurLibraries and #DefendAcademicFreedom.

The forum was organized by the University of the Philippines Diliman Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development in cooperation with the All-UP Academic Employees Union-Diliman and Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy.





Widows among 33 agrarian beneficiaries installed in Ormoc

Ormoc agrarian beneficiaries
Widows Rosario Torlao and Asuncion Agcang prepare for their installation to the lots awarded to their late husbands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

October 28, 2021

ORMOC CITY – Mixed emotions was how widow Rosario Torlao felt when she was accompanied by a survey team from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to her late husband’s awarded lot under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) as she and 32 other agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) were physically installed early this month and take full possession of the land.

“Sobrang saya ko ngayon, ngunit nalulungkot din dahil hindi na naabutan ng asawa ko ito,” (I am now very happy, but at the same time sad because my husband never caught up with this.) said Rosario, 65.

She added “Noon pa sana ito nakatulong sa amin,” (This could have helped us long time ago.) as she could not believe her family now owns an almost three-hectare lot, which used to be a sugarland.

In 1997, Rosario’s husband, Vicente, became a recipient of a certificate of land ownership award (CLOA) covering a 2.9-hectare lot in Barangay Patag, formerly owned by the Larrazabals.

But Vicente, according to Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Artheiriza Manalo, failed to take full possession of the said land due to several agrarian issues and disputes until he died in 2013.

Aside from Rosario, three other widows, Teresita Caliwan (71), Asuncion Agcang (78), and Trinidad Solayao (77) were also installed as they likewise took over the place of their late ARB-husbands during the installation.

The four widows were among the 33 ARBs, who now take full possession of their awarded lots after having been physically installed following DAR survey teams conduct of a perimeter survey. Many of them waited for this moment for more than two decades.

Manalo disclosed that the landholdings where the ARBs were installed were formerly owned by the Larrazabals, Pongos and Pensergas.

Meanwhile, DAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Robert Anthony Yu expressed thanks for the support and cooperation which led to the peaceful and successful installation of ARBs both on September 22 and October 1 this year to Philippine National Police Regional Director PBGEN Rommel Bernardo Cabagnot as well as Ormoc City Director PCOL Ramil Ramirez, Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade Commander Zosimo Oliveros and to Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez.

A total of 58 ARBs have already been installed since September.

RD Yu, together with the police and the military, believe this activity would contribute to the government’s End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) program.





Chiz condemns ‘online selling’ of Pinay domestic helpers on Facebook, Instagram

Press Release
October 27, 2021

SORSOGON CITY – Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero strongly condemned the trading of Filipino domestic workers like commodities in the Middle East through Facebook and Instagram and called on these popular social media giants to take down immediately these “maid-selling” sites.

The sad plight of Filipino helpers based in the oil-rich region came to light anew after they told the Associated Press (AP), an American news agency, in an interview that they were “sold” online by their employers to other employers via Instagram or Facebook.

“Nakakakilabot, nakakapanglumo at nakaka-high blood ang kwento ng mga kababayan nating domestic helpers na dumaan sa mga maid-selling sites,” Escudero said, referring to story which included accounts of some Filipino domestic workers.

“Hindi po produkto ang ating mga kababayan na mabibili sa Facebook Marketplace kasabay ng mga basahan. Hindi rin po sila produkto sa mga online barter kung saan puwede silang pagpasapasahan,” said Escudero, who once headed the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

In an online article on October 26, the AP disclosed that in 2019, technology giant Apple almost pulled Facebook and Instagram out from its app store after receiving reports about the social media platforms being used as a tool to trade and sell maids in the Middle East.

Apple brought the matter to Facebook, which also owns Instagram, and threatened to delete the mobile apps in their digital store. After publicly promising to go after the maid-selling sites, Apple relented and Facebook and Instagram remained in the app store.

In the same report, the AP said Facebook’s crackdown seems to have little effect because “even today, a quick search for ‘khadima,’ or ‘maids’ in Arabic, will bring up accounts featuring posed photographs of Africans and South Asians with ages and prices listed next to their images.”

“Noong panahon ng slavery, ang mga sinasabing alipin ay pinapahanay at pinipili ng mga magiging master nila. Parang ganoon din po ang nangyayari ngayon. Kapag nag-quick search po sa Facebook ang isang pamilyang nangangailangan ng isang kasambahay, lalabas po doon ang kanyang picture kasama ang kanyang edad at ang presyo ng kanyang pagkatao,” the former senator pointed out.

Escudero urged the government to conduct its own investigation on the AP exposé and protest this despicable practice on the two social media platforms.

The veteran legislator stressed that the plight of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf states, especially the unskilled workers such as household service and construction workers, needs to be addressed with urgency as they are still bound by “kafala,” a sponsorship system that monitors and restricts the migrant laborers’ movement.

In 2018, when Escudero was still senator, he described this system as “modern day slavery” and “involuntary servitude.”

Last April, President Duterte has already called for the “complete abolition” of the controversial scheme, branding it as “unjust” and “exploitative” as it puts thousands of OFWs “in the most vulnerable situation.”

According to the January 2020 records of the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are about 2.2 million OFWs in the Middle East and North Africa. The top three destination of our migrant workers are Saudi Arabia (865,000), the United Arab Emirates (650,000), and Kuwait (242,000).

“Sa kagustuhan nilang kumita para sa kanilang pamilya dahil kulang o salat ang trabaho at oportunidad sa sariling bansa, nagiging subject sila ng iba’t ibang klase ng pang-aabuso. Sa kabila ng kanilang pagtitiis at pagkawalay sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay sa gitna ng pandemya, ganito pa ang nangyayari sa kanila,” Escudero lamented.





2,716 workers benefit from 10 million TUPAD grants in Calbayog City

TUPAD grants in Calbayog City

October 26, 2021

CALBAYOG CITY – A total of P10,065,496.00 grants under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or TUPAD program of the Department of Labor and Employment have been availed of by some 2,716 informal sector workers in this city.

In a payout held last 14 October 2021 at Brgy. East Awang Covered Court, TUPAD beneficiaries received P3,250.00 each as payment for their services rendered during the ten-day program implementation.

Aside from the wages, all beneficiaries were provided personal protective equipment, disinfection materials and coverage to micro accident insurances.

Beneficiaries were so thankful and expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the assistance received through TUPAD.

“Lubos pa akong nagpapasalamat sa TUPAD program ng DOLE. Ito po ay napakalaking tulong para sa aming mga pamilya”, sabi ni Limuel M. Jackson, isa sa mga benepisyaryo ng TUPAD. (“I am so thankful to the TUPAD program of DOLE for helping us. This is really a big relief for us”, said Limuel M. Jackson, one of the TUPAD beneficiaries.)

Meanwhile, Iris J. Amogues, another TUPAD beneficiary, thanked the collaborative efforts of the government in helping people like them who were greatly affected by the ongoing health crisis.

“Maraming salamat po sa ating gobyerno na hindi kami pinabayaan at tinulungan kami sa gitna ng pandemyang ito na nakaapekto sa aming mga kabuhayan”, sabi ni Amogues. (“Thanks to our government for not neglecting us and for assisting us during this pandemic which affected our sources of income”, said Amogues.)

Present to grace and lead the payout were DOLE-RO8 Regional Director Henry John S. Jalbuena, assisted by Samar Field Office Head Fe Norma D. Valuis, Congressman Edgar Mary Sarmiento of the 1st District of Samar and Congressman Florencio “Bem” Noel of An Waray Partylist.

RD Jalbuena is happy and grateful that the TUPAD Program, a flagship program of the department in providing displaced workers temporary emergency employment in exchange of community service is reaching and helping more and more beneficiaries.

He thanked Congressman Sarmiento and Cong. Noel for their strong support and active commitment in uplifting the economic conditions of the Samarnons in the 1st District of Samar, especially during this pandemic.

Also in attendance during the payout were Engr. Bethsabee Delgado and Ms. Ma. Fe Lebario from the Congressional District Office of Congressman Sarmiento, City Administrator Rosario Chat Gonzaga representing City Mayor Diego P. Rivera, and Calbayog PESO Manager Purisima Sarzata. Personnel of the DOLE-SFO were likewise present and assisted in the payout. (with a report from K. Orara-DOLE-SFO)





MLNI supports farmer communities in Cordillera

October 22, 2021

SAN PABLO CITY – Mga Likha Ni Inay (MLNI) supports a community of more than 4,000 farmers in the Mountain Province and Benguet by sourcing their produce to provide affordable vegetables to vendors in San Pablo City, Laguna and neighboring municipalities.

Mga Likha Ni InayThis allows MLNI to transport vegetables like potatoes, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, chayote, and pechay that are ethically-sourced and naturally grown from Mountain Province, La Trinidad, and Baguio and deliver these through Palengke on Wheels (PoW), an initiative introduced by MLNI during the start of the pandemic in 2020.

According to MLNI President Frederick M. Torres, this project supports the client-farmers of CARD MRI, a group of social development institutions with a goal to support the marginalized communities in the Philippines through financial and other community development programs.

Aside from this, MLNI also helps PoW’s talipapa vendors to profit more by sourcing their vegetables from Mountain Province. These goods are sold at a farmgate price that is usually P5.00 to P10.00 less than its market price. The high margin, to which the talipapa vendors sell their produce, helps them in their small business.

“This is a two-way street. Aside from helping CARD MRI’s client-farmers sell their produce to a larger market, we are also supporting our vendors to profit more by purchasing affordable and fresh vegetables through Likha Ni Inay Palengke on Wheels,” Torres said. He continued, “Even if we are still pilot-testing this project, we are optimistic that our objectives will come to fruition as we aim to help the client-farmers and their families.”

Further, Torres shared how the project made it possible for them to build a relationship with their members and become a bridge between their farmers and their consumers.

“Visiting our farmers in Benguet gave me an opportunity to see how they toil their land and work for their families. Their humbling stories not only inspire us but also propel us to solve the problems our clients usually have with a middleman,” Torres concluded.

Meanwhile, CARD MRI Managing Director Aristeo A. Dequito highlighted the importance of CARD’s relationship with its clients through MLNI’s new project.

“This strengthens our relationship with our clients. It is proof that our service does not depend on distance. We literally trek mountains to reach our communities in far-flung areas of our country. It is what CARD does in its mission of eradicating poverty,” Dequito said.

The 10-20-80 Campaign

When asked how this can impact CARD MRI’s 10-20-80 campaign, CARD MRI Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip affirmed that the project fulfills CARD MRI’s goal of reaching 20 million clients and insuring 80 million individuals in the next 10 years.

According to Dr. Alip, “Here at CARD MRI, we support our clients by patronizing and promoting their products. Because of this, we are humbled and delighted to pique the interest of Filipinos, especially microentrepreneurs, to join CARD because of the opportunities they may experience through the services we bring. We want others to experience the same opportunities our clients have, and it is because of this that we strain forward to reach every Filipino family in need,” concluded Dr. Alip.

MLNI aims to help microentrepreneurs in marketing, manufacturing, and trading their products to the Filipino community. Through its online market, Likha Ni Inay Palengke on Wheels, the institution delivers fresh produce to residents of San Pablo City during the pandemic. To place an order, visit Likha Ni Inay Palengke on Wheels’ Facebook page at





Upfield and Violife celebrate 5 top chefs in Dubai as climate change food warriors on World Food Day

Chef Amro Al Yassin

This is in line with Upfield’s Environmental, Social and Governance strategy and its vision for “A Better Plant-based Future”.

Press Release
October 19, 2021

DUBAI – In celebration of World Food Day 2021, Upfield and Violife have identified and recognized five top creative Chefs in the UAE who have opted to play a significant role as frontliners of the food industry in addressing global climate change. These 'Climate Change Food Warriors' have taken on the vision to advocate for a more sustainable food system while creating the best plant-based meal alternatives in the region. Their vegan creations have helped to make significant inroads with discerning gourmets and regular diners, and they have made a name for themselves in the mainstream.

The five game-changers who have been honored are Chef Nawaf Al Mhamid, Chef Amro Al Yassin, Chef Suresh Baabu, Chef Kait Gandhi and Chef Ryan Waddell. As the world gravitates towards health-conscious and sustainable dining, culinary experts are shifting their focus to offer more plant-based meals on their menus. In the UAE, this plant-based lifestyle is gathering momentum, opening endless possibilities for food innovators and foodservice operators.

Speaking on the recognition of these top Chefs by Upfield and Violife, Reinier Weerman, General Manager of Upfield North Africa and Middle East says, “We are pleased to recognize and celebrate our first set of Climate Change Food Warriors on this year’s World Food Day. These are the Chefs who are at the forefront of promoting plant-based diets in the region through their work and general advocacy. Plant-based diets have been recognized to significantly reduce our impact on the environment and this is especially important for us at Upfield as we work towards our vision to create a better plant-based future. Our recently published Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report provides further insights on our commitment.”

Talking of their experience, Chef Kait says, “I am honoured to be recognized for advocating for a better planet because this is something I am very passionate about.” Chef Nawaf adds, “Moving to a plant-based diet can make such a difference to our environment and our health without affecting our lifestyle.” Further, Chef Amro states, “Products like Violife plant cheese from Upfield make it easier for me to create tasty, plant-based meals because they provide Chefs and cooks with quality, delicious and functional plant-based alternatives that I can use in my menus. Chef Suresh also adds, “I hope we inspire more people to make the shift in their food choices so we can create the sustainable future we all want.”

The significance of World Food Day is immense because food affects not only human health but also the environment. Food is at the heart of many environmental issues – it is a significant contributor to climate change and is responsible for a third (34%) of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions. In this light, countries worldwide are uniting to help build sustainable food systems that deliver food security and nutrition for all without compromising the economic, social, and environmental bases for generations to come.

Upfield, the world's largest plant-based consumer products company, has been leading the advocacy for a sustainable food system through the adoption of innovative plant-based foods both amongst the public and culinary professionals globally, including in the GCC region. Upfield's extensive plant-based portfolio includes Flora Plant Butter and Cream, and Violife, a range of award-winning vegan alternatives to cheese. These have all been designed to cater to the needs of those who are aware of the importance of making the shift and want to cook and enjoy delicious plant-based recipes.

The growing awareness about health, climate change, conservation of resources and animal welfare have been a catalyst in plant food innovation. Driven by highly talented visionary chefs who are constantly reinventing their recipes by adopting plant-based ingredients, the new vegan-friendly culinary trend is reshaping Dubai's restaurant sector. As part of its commitment to the region's sustainability drive, Upfield has been working closely with the UAE's food sector, helping to spearhead the shift to plant-based diets.

World Food Day 2021 will be the first International Day celebrated at Dubai Expo 2020 as a series of activities and events that call for global solidarity in rethinking and reshaping food systems for people and the planet.

Violife is the plant-based cheese supplier of choice in the Sustainability Pavilion which features a three-storey vegan dining complex housing a trio of vegan kitchens, each bringing its clean, sustainable menu to the world's greatest show. Chef Ryan Waddell who was part of the team to create the sumptuous plant-based menu in collaboration with Matthew Kenney Cuisine says, “I couldn’t be prouder to see Expo visitors enjoy our dishes while at the same time knowing these dishes are helping us protect our planet.”





Let’s talk about platforms now, Karapatan urges 2022 aspirants

October 19, 2021

QUEZON CITY – Rights group Karapatan urged candidates for the 2022 national elections to lay down their platforms, their positions on issues and concerns of Filipinos especially of poor communities now, way before the election campaign starts.

election issues“We challenge candidates and aspirants to clearly state their positions now, and present their plans on how they will address issues and problems that Filipinos face. First and foremost, we ask them, how will they address the people’s needs during the pandemic? How do they respect and protect the rights of the people amid this crisis?” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Palabay said that amid easing of restrictions and opening up of the economy, the Filipino people remain in dire need of an effective and rights-based pandemic response which many sectors, including health workers and medical frontliners, have long been calling for since last year.

“The people do not only want or expect one-time assistance or ayuda, but a concrete and comprehensive program that will address the people’s needs amid the pandemic. Much of the proposals for an effective pandemic response were merely shrugged off by the militarist task force of the Duterte government. Worse, it used and exploited the pandemic to silence the people and trample upon our rights,” Palabay explained.

Karapatan said that 2022 aspirants should present a clear-cut and comprehensive program that will include the long-overdue needs for effective and adequate mass testing, contact tracing, vaccination, and economic recovery that will benefit most especially the rural and urban poor.

The group issued the challenge in light of a recent survey done by the Social Weather Stations which showed that 9 out of 10 Filipinos are still worried they might get COVID-19. The survey also revealed that more Filipinos fear that “the worst is yet to come.” Also, the Philippines recently ranked last in Bloomberg’s monthly survey in COVID-19 resilience, citing poor scores in the roll-out of vaccines.

“With the country named as among the worst in pandemic response, we should be made aware of those who will merely continue the inadequate and anti-people response of the current administration. We should demand, advocate and work for a pandemic response that advances the rights of the people to health, livelihood, basic freedoms and rights, at all costs, and does not trample upon the rights of the people,” said Palabay.

The group said that aside from concrete plans to address the pandemic, candidates should also present their views and positions on corruption and human rights violations. “Especially during a pandemic, corrupt practices and careless spending of public funds are crimes that highlight the extent of the climate of impunity. Those who incite, drive, promote and/or conduct

“State-sponsored killings and other rights violations should also be held accountable. We want to hear from the candidates, will they go after those who steal the people’s money, or simply tell us to move on? Will they keep those accountable for these crimes in public office and in power? Will they investigate and pursue accountability against those involved in the Pharmally scheme, and the rampant killings, all under Duterte?” asked Palabay.

The group called on the public to make these issues, among many others, to be at the center of the discussion in the elections.

“Every elections, we are constantly promised of change and now, even continuity. Thus, we should bring the public discussion on the people’s needs and concerns to the center. After so many lives lost due to the pandemic and the government’s policies against the people, we shouldn’t be settling for anything less,” Palabay said.





TUCP condemns unlawful "no vaccine, no salary" scheme as inhuman, illegal

Press Release
October 17, 2021

QUEZON CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) strongly condemns as inhuman and illegal the 'no vaccine, no salary' scheme imposed by employers over their unvaccinated employees.

Under the scheme, some unscrupulous employers withhold the salary of unvaccinated employees until they have shown to company supervisors their vaccination cards indicating that they are fully vaccinated.

Several workers from different enterprises deprived of their salaries until they showed their vaccination cards proving that they are fully vaccinated sought TUCP assistance to intervene on their behalf for fear of reprisals, being singled out or even being terminated if they come out in the open.

Violation of Labor Code

"The TUCP strongly condemns workplace arm-twisting being done by these employers. This is clearly an act of reprehensible discrimination and harassment imposed on helpless workers. We warn employers that such a scheme to compel workers to get vaccinated is contrary and unlawful pursuant to Article 116 of the Labor Code and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment," said TUCP President and TUCP Partylist Rep. Raymond Mendoza.

Article 116 of the Labor Code says: "It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, to withhold any amount from the wages of a worker or induce him to give up any part of his wages by force, stealth, intimidation, threat, or by any other means whatsoever without the worker's consent."

Violation of human rights

The labor leader said compelling workers to get vaccinated by withholding worker's wage and denying employees' full compensation for work performed or rendered is not only a violation of the Labor Code but obviously also a human rights violation.

Double indemnification for violators

Mendoza said they asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which earlier issued Labor Advisory No. 03-21 prohibiting compelled vaccination, to conduct immediate labor inspections of these identified workplaces and ensure that unvaccinated workers are paid an amount equivalent to double the unpaid wages owing to them as provided by Republic Act No.8188 or the Double Indemnity Law.

According to paragraph 2 & 3 of Section 1 of RA 8188: "Any employer concerned shall be ordered to pay an amount equivalent to double the unpaid benefits owing to the employees. Provided, that payment of indemnity shall not absolve the employer from the criminal liability imposable under this Act.

If this violation is committed by a corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association, or any other entity the penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed upon the entity's responsible officers, including, but not limited to, the president, vice-president, chief executive officer, general manager, managing director or partner."

"The DOLE must act immediately before this practice spreads and becomes a norm. To stop this unlawful scheme dead on its tracks, I have urged Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to issue a labor advisory clearly outlining the fines and imprisonment imposable on employers for withholding the salaries of unvaccinated employees," Mendoza said.

Violation of COVID-19 vaccination program

Mendoza further explained that the 'no vaccine, no wage' scheme is violative of Section 12 of the Republic Act 11525 or the "Act Establishing the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Expediting the Vaccine Procurement and Administration Process" which says that vaccine cards "shall not be considered as an additional mandatory requirement for education, employment, and other similar government transaction purposes."





PSA starts pilot Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) in Baybay City

By PSA-8
October 15, 2021

TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) through its Provincial Statistical Office - Leyte in coordination with the Local Government of Baybay City will conduct the Pilot Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) in Baybay City starting 18 October to 17 December 2021.

The PSA is implementing CBMS by virtue of RA No. 11315, An Act Establishing A Community-Based Monitoring System and Appropriating Funds Therefore, signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on 17 April 2019. The pilot operation is a preparatory phase for the 2022 CBMS Nationwide Rollout.

The pilot CBMS is being implemented simultaneously in selected nine cities and municipalities of the country. In Baybay City, it will cover an estimated 27,728 households. Tabulation and assessment of Pilot CBMS results will be from January to February 2022 while the report of results is tentatively scheduled to be released in March 2022.

The PSA-led CBMS will utilize tablet-based method as well as online data collection method. These technology-based systems for data collection will enable PSA to automate monitoring of data collection, integrate geo-tagging activity, and hasten data processing and consistency checks in data, among others.

The CBMS has been in place in many parts of the country for more than 25 years. In 1995, CBMS was conducted for Micro Impacts of Macroeconomic and Adjustment Policies for project monitoring purposes. In 2000, it was recognized by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as a community-based monitoring tool and was adopted by Local Government Units (LGUs).

In 2003, the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) En Banc Resolution No. 7 included the 13 core local poverty indicators to be generated from CBMS. The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) issued Resolution No. 06, s. 2005, recognizing CBMS as a tool for strengthening the statistical system at the local level, generate statistics for monitoring and evaluation of local development plans, including the progress of LGUs in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This time, the PSA-led CBMS will allow the geographical aggregation at the city/municipal, provincial, regional and national level. Under R.A. 11315, complete enumeration coverage is desired but the law provides for voluntary participation in responding to the CBMS. The new CBMS will ensure high quality data being collected at the city/municipal level and adherence to official concepts, definitions and standards of poverty statistics recognized internationally.

The PSA adheres to the principles of transparency, legitimate purpose, and proportionality pursuant to R.A. No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and R.A. No. 10625 or the Philippine Statistical Act of 2013. All information gathered on the survey are confidential and not for disclosure unless authorized by law. Moreover, PSA will release data only in the form of summaries or statistical tables.

PSA assures the public that health and safety protocol are carried throughout the pilot operations. Pilot team members and supervisors will observe physical distancing and carry PPEs such as alcohol/ sanitizer, face masks, face shields throughout the interviews. They shall likewise follow all protocols laid down by LGUs.



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