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Eastern Visayas’ economy expands by 6.8% in 2022

NMP supports maritime modernization in Eastern Visayas

Church worker tells UN about continuing rights violations in the PH

DENR, LBP, ROD renew support for CARP implementation in E. Visayas

8ID installs new Battalion Commander of 19IB

Estrella pledges support to Samar’s agri development programs

Rural development seen as DAR turns over 2 bridges in So. Leyte and E. Samar

DAR gives P1.5M for the establishment of greenhouse in Palo



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High-powered firearm seized in Gandara, Samar clash

recovered weapon from NPA

May 19, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The troops of the 87th Infantry Battalion was engaged in an armed encounter with members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) at Barangay Mabuhay, Gandara, Samar early morning of May 17, 2023.

The government troops were conducting a Focused Military Operations (FMO) when a firefight ensued between the troops of 87IB and more or less ten CNTs operating in the area.

Seized during the encounter were one Bushmaster rifle, two M16 rifle magazines and a backpack with personal belongings.

The Commanding Officer of the 87th Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Luzelito Betinol renewed his call to the remaining CPP-NPA to abandon their armed struggle, lay down their arms, and return to the folds of the law.

“The government already prepared programs that will help the former rebels as they will reintegrate back into the community. The government is sincere in helping them start their life anew,” Lt.Col. Betinol expressed.

Meanwhile, the 8th Infantry Division Commander, Major General Camilo Z Ligayo lauded the accomplishment of 87IB and vowed to continue the Army's intensive operations against the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs).

“I congratulate the troops of 87IB for their contribution to our fight in ending the local communist armed conflict. To our constituents in Eastern Visayas, rest assured that we will continue our relentless efforts of ensuring peace and security and putting an end to the decades-long problem of insurgency,” Maj. Gen. Ligayo emphasized.





DTI seizes almost P300K prohibited vape products in Valenzuela City ops

Consumer Protection Group raided prohibited vape products in Valenzuela City
Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo, DTI- Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) Director Atty. Fhillip D. Sawali, and Mayor Weslie T. Gatchalian inspecting vape products in Valenzuela, on 04 May 2023.

By DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau
May 11, 2023

MAKATI CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry - Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) seized 923 units of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, and novel tobacco products worth P255,940.00 during its focused enforcement operation in Valenzuela City, on 04 May 2023.

Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo and DTI-FTEB Director Atty. Fhillip D. Sawali led the inspection of vape products being sold by seven (7) vape stores in Valenzuela City.

Valenzuela City Mayor Weslie T. Gatchalian is also present in the said activity, expressing his full support for DTI’s enforcement efforts.

Three (3) non-conforming shops were issued a Notice of Violation (NOV), and they were required to submit a written explanation within 48 hours from receipt of the NOV.

The common violations of non-compliant vape establishments are the failure to post the minimum age requirement, the absence of point-of-sale signage, and the sale of vapor products that are appealing to minors, such as those with fruit, candy, and dessert flavors; and/or packaging that features cartoon characters, and the sale and promotion of the said products within one hundred(100) meters from any point of perimeter of a school, playground, or other facility frequented by minors.

During the course of the DTI’s operations, the City Government of Valenzuela conducted an inspection, and two (2) the monitored vape stores were issued with a closure order for operating without a business permit.

USec. Atty. Castelo emphasized that the significant result of the enforcement operation in Valenzuela and the accomplishment of the campaign against violators of R.A. No. 11900 and its IRR in the National Capital Region (NCR), reflect the dedication and commitment of the DTI to protecting consumers and ensuring that products prohibited in RA11900 are not sold in blatant contravention of the law.

“The DTI enforcement teams regularly conduct steadfast surveillance monitoring and enforcement operations in all cities of the National Capital Region (NCR) to ensure that appropriate actions are being taken against violators of R.A. No. 11900 and its IRR, and that prohibited vape products being sold are seized to safeguard consumers, especially minors,” said USec. Atty. Castelo.

Meanwhile, Valenzuela City Mayor Gatchalian, the former Deputy Speaker of the 18th Congress and co-sponsor of the vape law commits to the City Government’s obligation of regulating vape shops.

“Valenzuela City stands with the DTI in protecting consumer rights and welfare. We appreciate their efforts in implementing RA 11900, and rest assured that this local government unit is also doing its best to ensure that vape shops are operating with business permits and other documentary requirements,” Mayor Gatchalian underscored.

With DTI-FTEB as the CPG’s implementing arm, Director Atty. Sawali welcomes and commends the support of other government agencies such as the City Government of Valenzuela in enforcing RA 11900 and its IRR, and upholding consumer protection and welfare.

As of 02 May 2023, the enforcement teams have already monitored and visited 427 physical vape stores. Consequent to surveillance, the enforcement teams conducted physical validation where 139 firms were found to be compliant, while 171 firms were issued with Show Cause Orders (SCO) and Notices of Violation (NOV), mandating non-compliant firms to submit a written explanation within 48 hours from their receipt of SCOs and NOVs. The 117 monitored stores, however, were either closed or no longer selling vape products.

Alongside its enforcement operations among physical stores, the DTI-FTEB Online Monitoring Unit (OMU) has also intensified its monitoring initiatives, resulting in 17,828 monitored online vape stores. Of these, 93 online stores were found to be compliant, while 17,735 were non-compliant.

Out of the non-compliant online stores, only 98 have valid addresses and have been subjected to validation and physical inspection. During the physical inspection, 32 NOVs were issued while the rest were either closed or cannot be located.

Recognizing the challenge of regulating vape products in online platforms, 30 SCOs were issued to different online platforms notifying that there are online merchants selling or offering for sale vape products that do not conform with RA 11900 and its IRR. They were given 48 hours from receipt thereof to submit a written explanation.

The OMU is monitoring seven (7) major online platforms and 14 company websites daily.

Through the combined efforts of the on-the-ground and online enforcement teams, there are already 57 formal charges filed against violators of R.A. No. 11900 and its IRR. A case has also been filed against one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the country.

RA 11900 lapsed into law on July 25, 2022. The IRR was issued on 05 December 2022, published in Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon on 13 December 2022, and took effect on 28 December 2022, 15 days after publication. The law vests the regulatory jurisdiction over vapes and other novel tobacco products to the DTI, while providing complementary roles to other government agencies particularly, the Department of Health (DOH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), and Local Government Units (LGUs).

On top of confiscated vape products, the nationwide campaign of DTI against uncertified items in the market is highlighted by the intensified enforcement of products under technical regulations mandating compliance with Philippine Standard Certification Mark Schemes, particularly Department Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 2007.

The DTI-FTEB has already monitored 1,078 firms, from January to April 2023, resulting in the sealing of 22,286 units of uncertified consumer products worth P10,553,762.80.

To protect consumers or potential buyers of electrical and electronic products; mechanical or building and construction materials; and chemical and other consumer products and systems, DTI – Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS) covered products and systems through implementing Mandatory Product Certification Schemes: the Philippine Standard (PS) Quality and/or Safety Certification Mark Licensing Scheme and the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) Certification Scheme.

The DTI urges consumers to report violators of retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell uncertified items, through the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI (1-384) or





CTGs suffers another major blow, 15 firearms seized in Mapanas, Northern Samar clash

recovered assorted weapons and belongings from the NPA

May 10, 2023

CATARMAN, Northern Samar – Fifteen assorted firearms were recovered in an armed encounter between the 74th Infantry Battalion (74IB) under the operational control of the 803rd Infantry Brigade of the 8th Infantry Division and members of Platoon 1, Front Committee 15 (FC15) of the Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) Arctic, of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) in the hinterlands of Barangay Magsaysay, Mapanas Northern Samar, earlier today, May 10, 2023.

Following the information from a recently surrendered Former Rebel (FR) about the location of their hideouts, the troops were able to clash with 30 Communist-Terrorist Groups (CTGs).

The 20-minute firefight resulted in the seizure of two M14 rifles, two AK47 rifles, two M16 Rifles, two M4 rifles, one ingram, one uzi submachine gun, one homemade shotgun, three cal.45 pistol, one 38 revolver, one bandolier, 12 backpacks and subversive documents.

The 803rd Infantry Brigade Commander Colonel Efren Morados lauded the collaboration of the 74IB and the former rebels that resulted in the major setback of the CTGs in Northern Samar.

"We will relentlessly pursue them, for we are determined to put an end to their atrocities here in Northern Samar. Despite this, we are still offering you peace to start a new life with your loved ones. Lay down your arms and return to the folds of the law,” said Col. Morados.

Meanwhile, the Commander of the 8th Infantry Division Major General Camilo Z. Ligayo commended the troops for their unwavering effort and commitment to sustain the operations in addressing the CTGs in the region and ensuring safety and security in Eastern Visayas.

Barangay Magsaysay of Mapanas Northern Samar was immersed by the Community Support Program (CSP) of the 803rd bde and was declared cleared last November 10, 2022, where an underground mass organization was unearthed, and politico-military structures were dismantled.

recovered assorted weapons from the NPA





ASEAN Economic Ministers push for sustainability agenda

22nd ASEAN Economic Community Council Meeting
From L-R: Deputy Secretary General Hairil Yahri Yaacob of Malaysia, H.E. Alfredo E. Pascual of the Philippines, H.E. Gan Kim Yong of Singapore, H.E. Ekachat Seetavorarat of Thailand, H.E. Nguyen Sinh Nhat Tan of Viet Nam, H.E. Airlangga Hartarto, AECC Chair of Indonesia, H.E. Jerry Sabuaga of Indonesia, Alternate AECC Lead of Indonesia, H.E. Manonthong Vongsay of Lao PDR, H.E. Dato Dr. Amin Liew Abdullah of Brunei Darussalam, H.E. Pan Sorasak of Cambodia, H.E. Joaquim Amaral of Timor-Leste, and Secretary-General Dr. Kao Kim Hourn of the ASEAN Secretariat.

By DTI-Bureau of International Trade Relations
May 9, 2023

JAKARTA, Indonesia – DTI Secretary Fred Pascual joined fellow ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) in advancing ASEAN’s sustainability agenda during the 22nd Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Community Council (AECC) on 07 May 2023 at Jakarta, Indonesia.

Under Indonesia’s ASEAN 2023 Chairmanship theme of “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”, the AEM recognized the need to harness the region’s sustainability initiatives, such as pursuing transition to clean energy and development of relevant frameworks for carbon neutrality and electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem at the regional level, among others.

In line with the EV initiative, the AEM finalized and endorsed for adoption of Leaders at the 42nd ASEAN Summit the Declaration on Developing Regional Electric Vehicle Ecosystem. The Declaration institutionalizes regional cooperation and collaboration as well as discussions on standards on e-vehicle in the region. Under this initiative, it is envisioned that the Southeast Asian region can serve as a global production hub for EV industry.

According to Secretary Pascual, the initiative is timely as the Philippines positions itself as a manufacturing hub in the region.

“We are happy to inform Member States that the Philippines has signed the Republic Act 11697 also known as the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act or EVIDA, which was promulgated on 15 April 2022. This legislation reflects our strong commitment toward a greener mobility and fossil fuel-free environment. We are also currently working on our EV Incentive Strategy to encourage more EV investments in the country,” said the DTI Secretary.

He also stressed that an initiative like this places ASEAN in a stronger position to further attract hi-tech investments and create high-value jobs, especially on the ongoing global shift to EVs.

Secretary Pascual also reaffirmed the country’s commitment toward ASEAN’s sustainability agenda, which can boost economic competitiveness and complements PH's existing domestic reforms.

Likewise, he stressed the need, however, to take into account different levels of development among ASEAN Members State (AMS) in advancing other sustainability initiatives in the region, especially in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, accelerating the energy transition, decarbonizing the land transport sector in the region.

The AEM then welcomed the implementation of the initial phase of the Circular Economy Implementation Plan, which focuses on agriculture, energy, and transportation as high-value sectors relevant in reducing carbon emissions.

On carbon neutrality, Secretary Pascual expressed support for the initial development of a regional strategy. He emphasized, however, that “The deliberation on the definition, objectives, scope of action plan, monitoring and evaluation mechanism, and timeline for the implementation plan must, however, take into consideration the different levels of development among AMS as well as prioritize adaptation given high vulnerability of the region to the impacts of climate change.”

Other regional integration initiatives supported by the AEM include the monitoring of progress in the implementation of the AEC Blueprint 2025, development of the Post-2025 Vision, and implementation of Indonesia’s Priority Economic Deliverables under its ASEAN 2023 Chairmanship.

At this Meeting, Timor-Leste’s inaugural participation in the 22nd AECC was welcomed by the AEM. The 22nd AECC Meeting was held in preparation for the 42nd ASEAN Leaders’ Summit and Related Summit on 10-11 May 2023 in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia.





Stop attacks against press freedom and free expression

world press freedom day

May 3, 2023

QUEZON CITY – On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, Karapatan renews its call for a stop to continuing threats and attacks against the right to press freedom and free expression.

The right to free expression is enshrined in the Philippine Bill of Rights as well as in Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

And yet, threats and attacks against these rights continue, with 60 reported press freedom violations documented by the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines since Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took over as president. This includes two media killings, the most notorious of which were the brutal slayings of hard-hitting broadcaster and vlogger Percy Lapid on October 3, 2022 and of editorial cartoonist and satirist Benharl Kahil on November 5, 2022.

The weaponization of laws against critical media practitioners as well as activists, which intensified under the Duterte regime, is a continuing trend under the current administration. On December 14, 2022, Baguio-based Rappler correspondent Frank Cimatu was convicted of cyberlibel for a case filed by former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol. Earlier, Cordillera Peoples Alliance secretary general Sarah Dekdeken was likewise convicted of cyberlibel on December 1, 2022 after she denounced then Cordillera Police Regional Office Director Brig. Gen. Rwin Pagkalinawan in a press conference of ordering the demolition of the Anti-Chico Dams Struggle Monument in Tinglayan, Kalinga following complaints by local residents. Meanwhile, the conviction of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and journalist Reynaldo Santos Jr. for a retroactive case of cyberlibel has been upheld by the Court of Appeals.

The most notorious case so far involved Quezon-based broadcast journalists Darcie de Galicia and Noel Alamar of ABS-CBN Teleradyo who face up to 941 counts of cyberlibel filed by Quezon Governor Helen Tan and her husband, DPWH Region IV-A director Ronel Tan over an interview the journalists made during their online broadcast.

The antiquated laws in the Revised Penal Code that criminalize libel and oral defamation constitute prior restraint and censorship of free speech and expression. Instead of heeding widespread calls to decriminalize libel, State authorities have even strengthened these measures through a “cybercrime” law prescribing harsher punishments for criminal libel and granting authorities massive powers to shut down websites and monitor online information. Worse, Section 9 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 has invented the new crime of “inciting to terrorism,” which prohibits speech, proclamations, writings, emblems and banners without providing a clear definition of what constitutes terrorist acts. This renders not only media practitioners but all activists and ordinary citizens vulnerable to bogus charges and wrongful arrests and creates a chilling effect on the media and on political activism as a whole.

Independent and progressive media outfits, or those associated with the opposition have been red-tagged, judicially harassed, and in some cases, have had their websites taken down or the renewal of their franchises denied, as in the case of ABS-CBN, and Rappler whose certificate of incorporation has been revoked. Barely a month before Marcos Jr.'s inauguration as president, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), at the instigation of then National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., blocked the websites of Bulatlat and 25 others for alleged links to terrorist organizations. While a Quezon City court has granted online media outlet Bulatlat's plea for a preliminary injunction, the websites of Pinoy Weekly and other progressive organizations remain blocked due to the NTC order.

NUJP Secretary General and Bulatlat editor-in-chief Ronalyn Olea has been likewise red-tagged by NTF-ELCAC enabler, TV and online network SMNI. Also among the journalists and media groups who have been red-tagged in 2022 are Bulatlat’s Associate Editor Danilo Arao, ABS-CBN’s Mike Navallo, Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Dexter Cabalzo, GMA-7’s Atom Araullo, Vergel Santos of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and Inday Espina Varona of Rappler. The NUJP, Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines and Movement Against Disinformation have also been labeled as communist propagandists for advocating press freedom.

To date, two Tacloban-based activists are in jail for championing the cause of freedom of expression – Frenchie Mae Cumpio who edited the progressive online media outlet Eastern Vista, and Alexander Philip "Chakoy" Abinguna, who, as national council member of Karapatan, fearlessly documented and exposed human rights violations in Eastern Visayas, especially during the onslaught of military operations in the region under the Duterte region. They were arrested with three others on February 7, 2020 in a police raid on a staff house in Tacloban City, and slapped with trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Amid ever growing indications that the Marcos Jr. government is perpetuating its predecessor's fascist tradition of red-tagging media practitioners, activists and other human rights defenders while fostering the weaponization of laws to stifle dissent, Karapatan renews its demand for the decriminalization of oral defamation, libel and cyberlibel laws and the repeal of all other laws that are being weaponized against journalists as well as human rights defenders and other activists. The weaponization of laws to attack the hard-won rights to press freedom and free expression must stop.

Karapatan likewise calls for the unblocking of the websites affected by the NTC's order, the dropping of all trumped-up charges against Frenchie Mae Cumpio and Chakoy Abinguna and their immediate release, and justice for all journalists slain in the line of duty.





U.S. President Biden vows to strengthen economic cooperation with PH; to send 'one of its kind' trade and investment mission

Biden-Marcos meeting

By DTI-OSEC-Public Relations Unit
May 3, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During the extended bilateral meeting between United States President Joe Biden and President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. together with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual and other PH Cabinet officials on Monday, President Biden expressed his eagerness to strengthen economic cooperation with the Philippines.

The US is one of the Philippines' most important political, economic, and military allies and both countries are bound by common values and aspirations. In 2022, the US was PH's 3rd largest trading partner, top export market, and 5th major import source. In addition, the US was also the country's 5th largest source of foreign investments in 2021, especially in IT-BPM, electronics, real estate, construction, and transportation and storage sectors.

As part of the continuing efforts of the US to maintain a stronger and more stable trade and investment partnership with the Philippines, President Biden mentioned during the meeting that he will send a "first of its kind" presidential trade and investment mission to the Philippines.

With this, DTI Secretary Pascual said that, "We welcome, with great optimism, this initiative from the President of the United States. We wish to convey that the Philippines aims to maintain mutually-beneficial relations with the US and establish deeper economic cooperation, including through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which the Philippines is a founding member."

He also added that, "It is critical for us to further improve trade relations and achieve economic security amid the constantly-changing nature of international trade."

Aside from economic cooperation, President Biden also committed to supporting the Philippines in various areas, such as climate change mitigation and worker's rights, which are part of the shared democratic ideals between the Philippines and the US.

The extended bilateral meeting was also attended by Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Department of National Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy, Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople, Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Antonio Yulo-Loyzaga.





Marcos, Pascual welcome the agreement that will jumpstart the manufacturing of e-motorcycles in PH

PH e-motorcycles manufacturing agreement

By DTI-OSEC-Public Relations Unit
May 2, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual, together with other members of the Philippine delegation, welcomed on Monday, 1 May 2023, the cooperation agreement signed between Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI) and Zero Motorcycles, a global leader in electric motorcycles and powertrains.

As one of the proponents of the country's transition to electric vehicles and the use of green technology, Secretary Pascual said that, "We thank Zero Motorcycles for their trust. This is considered a historic agreement because it is a pioneering activity involving high-end electric batteries, motors and motorcycle assembly. With this investment, we will be better positioned as an export manufacturing hub for electric batteries and vehicles in the region. This partnership between IMI and Zero Motors is a testament to the expertise and capabilities of our local manufacturing sector.”

Through the said agreement, Zero Motorcycles has agreed to subcontract its manufacturing operations vis-a-vis electric motorcycle assembly and other related sub-assemblies, such as battery and motor assembly, to IMI. The agreement projects an annual revenue of USD65 million and investments of USD250 million over the next 5 years. In addition, this venture will generate at least 200 new jobs for Filipinos in high end and high performance motorcycle manufacturing.

Under the terms and conditions of the agreement, IMI is expected to provide the needed manufacturing facility in the Philippines. Currently, IMI's headquarters is located in Biñan, Laguna, where they operate as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in diversified sectors that include automotive, industrial, medical, telecommunications infrastructure, storage devices, and consumer electronics.

Zero Motorcycles and IMI have agreed on a preliminary timetable with the goal of starting mass production by June 2023. The IMI-ZERO facility that will be set up in Laguna will be assembling full electric motorcycles for Zero's Europe, Asia, and other markets.

With the enactment of the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA), the government, through the Board of Investments (BOI), an Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) under the DTI, aims to narrow the cost gap between traditional vehicles and EVs to increase market demand. Further, the law provides for the creation of the Electric Vehicle Incentive Strategy (EVIS) that will provide more incentives for EV-related investments to help establish an enabling environment for the said sector.

During the signing ceremony, IMI was represented by Mr. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman of the Board of Directors of AC Industrial Technology Holdings, Inc., while Zero Motorcycles was represented by its Chief Executive Officer Sam Paschel.





78th IB among top markets of ARBO products

DAR top 15 institutional markets of ARBOs in the country

April 28, 2023

TACLOBAN CITY – The 78th Infantry Warrior Battalion of the Philippine Army was recognized last week by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for being among the 15 top institutional markets of agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) in the country.

With headquarters based in Borongan City, Eastern Samar, the 78th IB, headed by Commanding Officer LTC Allan Tria INF (GSC) PA, was recognized for registering the highest purchases from ARBOs among the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) partners nationwide, from January to November last year.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Danilo Lozada of Eastern Samar disclosed that the 78th IB registered aggregate purchases of ₱225 thousand from the San Gabriel Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative for the daily food requirements of military personnel.

Chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division (PBDD) in DAR Eastern Samar, Celso Cidro, shared that the 78th IB and the San Gabriel Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative entered into a marketing agreement in March last year.

SSGT Jovame Clavite received the plaque of recognition from DAR Assistant Secretary for Support Services, Ubaldo Sadiarin Jr. during the awarding rite held on April 20 this year at the Hive Hotel in Quezon City.

Sadiarin stressed during the said occasion, “We are giving this recognition to exceptional partners who have been active participants and leaders in helping agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) enhance their productivity and increase their income through the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program.”

PBDD chief at the DAR regional office, Melecia Ong, explained that under EPAHP, ARBOs are linked to institutional buyers such as the AFP, Department of Health (DOH) through their retained hospitals, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) through the different jail facilities, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd) and the National Nutrition Council (NNC), among others, as ready markets for their farm products.

DAR Eastern Samar EPAHP focal person, Jocyne Nizza Palacio, was likewise recognized for her incomparable dedication in providing assistance to the EPAHP program and for her remarkable effort in assisting the procurement by the 78th IB.

Aside from the 78th IB, DAR Also recognized the following:

- DAR Zamboanga Peninsula (Highest sales among DAR regional offices)

- DAR Pangasinan (Highest sales among DAR provincial offices)

- Bantog Samahang nayon Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Top performing agrarian cooperative)

- Christine Ascutia, Bicol Region (Most outstanding Regional Point Person)

- Manila City Jail, Male Dorm (Highest sales among BJMP)

- Jose B. Lingad Regional Memorial Hospital (Highest sales among DOH)

- Department of Education, Pangasinan II (Highest sales among DepEd)

- Puerto Princesa City Cooperative Hospital (Highest sales among Medical Mission Group)

- LGU of La Paz, Agusan del Sur (Highest sales among LGUs)

- DSWD-FO VII, Cebu (Highest sales among DSWD)

- National Nutrition Council, Region IX (Highest sales among NNC)

- DAR Surigao del Sur (Highest sales among DAR)

- DAR Employees in Bicol Region (Highest sales among DAR employees)

- San Miguel Food Inc., Echague, Isabela (Highest sales among private institutions)



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