▪ Your latest news happening from here at home and abroad ▪

Special Report
Photo Gallery
Video Gallery
My Music Room
Radio Channel
Site Map


more news...

14IB with 1368th Dental Company joins ESSU for Dental Mission in Maydolong

Army troops scores against NPA rebels in Northern Samar

DTI chief to entreps: go digital

DTI bares year-long plans as chair of ASEAN’s business and investment promotion committee

President Duterte visits victims of Hilongos, Leyte blast

DPWH construction of Palayan FMR project in Almeria, Biliran completed

Cayetano: PH's AIIB membership crucial to sustaining economic growth

Hong Kong maintains top spot in freedom index, United States drops to 23rd





Samar First District Engineering Office
Engr. Loreto M. Cedro (R) symbolically turns over files of the Assistant District Engineer’s Office to the newly installed OIC Assistant District Engineer Denis Cagomoc.

2 SFDEO key officials assume higher positions

April 28, 2017

CALBAYOG CITY – Under and by the virtue of Special Orders No. 53 and 54 series of 2017 released on April 4, 2017, Samar First District Engineering Office’s two key officials are elevated into higher positions.

Former Chief of Planning and Design Section, Engr. Denis C. Cagomoc is designated as Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Assistant District Engineer of the same office which is vacated by Engr. Loreto M. Cedro.

Meanwhile, Engr. Cedrois designated as Officer-in-Charge-Chief, Planning and Design Division of DPWH Regional Office No. VIII, Palo, Leyte.

Spearheaded by District Engineer Alvin A. Ignacio together with the Section Chiefs of Samar I, the turn-over ceremony cum send-off party to the key officials is made just recently at Samar I Covered Court.

Former ADE Cedro heartily thanks District Engineer Alvin A. Ignacio for supporting him and his endeavors during his stay in the office while the new ADE vowed to continue what the former has started for the best interest of the service.

Both are directed to perform the duties and assume the responsibilities appurtenant to the above mentioned positions pursuant to the provisions of Section 6 and 37 of Executive Order No. 124.





NPA responds to Gen. Farnacio’s claim: It’s not us but the AFP that private armies in Samar are close to

By Efren Martires Command, NPA-EV
April 24, 2017

SAMAR – The Efren Martires Command of the New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas today told Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio, chief of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, not to pass the buck to the NPA over the abject failure or in fact the reluctance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to stamp out private armies in Samar province.

“Private armies have nothing in common with the NPA but a lot with the AFP – some hired goons are even CAFGU paramilitaries,” said the NPA’s regional command. “For example, in Matuguinao there is a group of CAFGU elements under the 43rd IB who are also hired goons of politicians and who have already killed at least ten peasants without having been brought to account yet. We can identify two of these CAFGU elements as Jovic “Laloy” Oblado, the ringleader and henchman of Mayor Antonieto Cabueños of Gandara, and Jonas Boller, who is suspected of killing peasant activist Rex Arandia last September 2016.”

The EMC also dismissed Gen. Farnacio’s claim the NPA is in the pockets of corrupt politicians just like the private armies as a far-fetched fabrication. “Gen. Farnacio should know the NPA has publicly announced it has been ordered by the people’s court to arrest the two most bloodthirsty politicians in Samar province, Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino and San Jorge Mayor Jojo Grey.

Meanwhile, up in Northern Samar, the NPA has also publicly declared it is ready to carry out any decision of the people’s court against the two most corrupt and anti-people politicians, Congressman Raul Daza as well as former Congressman Emil Ong, who leads the ruling dynasty in the province.”

On the other hand, said the NPA regional command, the AFP has been not only failed to crush the private armies despite much posturing, but has lately been criticized for causing mass evacuations of peasants in Calbiga. “The much-ballyhooed AFP crackdown on private armies has proven inutile in the face of their continuing killings even of women and children, particularly in Calbayog and San Jorge. Private armies cannot be dismantled without their warlords first being brought to justice. If that is impossible, it is evident the AFP is likewise defending the local tyrants who are often big landlords and warlords, and who thus remain untouchable despite their hideous crimes. These local tyrants often collaborate with the 8th ID in using paramilitaries, supporting NPA surrender campaigns, harassing the people against supporting the NPA, and committing criminal activities such as spreading illegal drugs.

“Moreover, the 8th ID under Gen. Farnacio has been receiving flak over the mass evacuation of more than 500 families in Calbiga, Samar in protest over militarization. The AFP once again shows itself as no different in committing human rights violations against the people.

“The AFP and private armies are thus opposite sides of the same coin coin as defenders of the reactionary ruling system. They are the reason for the rise and prestige of the NPA as the genuine army of the people against the armed minions of the state. As far as the NPA is concerned, doing away with private armies is part of the revolutionary struggle, because justice is essential for lasting peace.”





MWEs real income fell to P250 - P361 versus P393 needed by family to survive in 1 day

30 million ‘Endo’ workers fall deeper into poverty in January 2017

April 22, 2017

QUEZON CITY – Despite the country’s consistent high economic growth, thirty million short-term contractual, minimum-waged earners remained a working poor as the value of purchasing power of their daily wage remained below the standard poverty threshold level, the country’s biggest labor group labor group the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said yesterday.

However, these minimum-waged earners who helped built the country’s high economic wealth are living way below standard poverty line. Their chances to get out of poverty by way of job regularization and security of tenure on employment is forever shut by the recent issuance of Department Order 174.

Rather than prohibiting contractualization, DO 174 of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ‘legalize’ and perpetuate contractualization. Aside from having no security of tenure because their work for less than 6 months, contractual workers are forever tied to minimum wage.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) set the Poverty Threshold Level or the standard amount needed by a family of five for them to survive in a month in the year 2015 is P9,064 or P393 a day.

In a monitoring made by the ALU-TUCP on the behavior of workers’ purchasing power vis-a-vis cost of living, the real value of Endo workers’ nominal P491 daily minimum wage in Metro Manila fell to P361.30 in January 2017 which is equivalent to P8,671.20 a month, according to data from the country’s wage board the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC).

The average real wage amount in regions outside National Capital Region, on one hand, is P250 a day or equivalent to P6,000 per month.

Thus, the buying powers of minimum wages P361 in Metro Manila and P250 in regions outside NCR are inadequate compared with the P393 amount needed by a family to survive in a day.

It means, minimum-waged workers needs least P32 more and P143 more on top of their daily pay for workers within and outside Metro Manila respectively to stay within the threshold and considered not poor.

“There has been no inclusive growth for MWEs because the buying power of minimum wage is going downward amid rising prices of basic necessities and cost of services. Because they have no savings and inadequate government support programs, minimum waged workers are so vulnerable that if they get sick, if they get late or absent from their work, or any small price hike shocks, they fall deeper and deeper into poverty,” said ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) estimated there are 7 out of 10 of the 43 million workers are employed as contractuals working in less than six-month short-term employment receiving mandated minimum wage.

Tanjusay said the ALU-TUCP offer various pragmatic measures towards helping workers cope with growing inflation. He said government should ban contractualization, provide a minimal cash amount by way of monthly subsidy while reinforcing government’s enforcement of compliance to labor and price regulations.

Employers, on the other hand, could help their employees cope with poverty by voluntarily providing across-the-board wage increase and implement in-house programs providing their employees with cash and non-cash benefits, Tanjusay said.

Government define poverty threshold as the minimum income required to meet food and non-food needs of a family of five including clothing, housing, transportation, health and educational expenses.





Army troop encounters NPAs, recovers 3 high powered firearms

April 21, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – A tip-off from a concerned citizen on the presence of an armed group at Sitio Ogbok, Barangay Villa Aurora, Basey, Samar on April 18, 2017 prompted the troops from 87th Infantry (Hinirang) Battalion to conduct a reconnaissance patrol to confirm the validity of the information on the alleged NPA safe house. As the troops cautiously approach the alleged safe house, they were fired upon by the communist terrorists. Government troops retaliated in defense which the communist terrorists scampered in different directions.

This campaign resulted to the recovery of two (2) 5.56mm M16A1 Rifles with SN 033681 and 9021623; one (1) magazine assembly (30 rounds) steel; one (1) magazine assembly (30 rounds) plastic; one (1) magazine assembly (20 rounds) steel and 48 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition.

Meanwhile, in the early morning of April 19, 2017, troops from 87th IB while conducting a reconnaissance patrol within their area of operation encountered undetermined number of communist terrorists at the vicinity of Barangay Borong, Calbiga, Samar. This resulted also to the recovery of one (1) M16A1 Rifle. No casualty reported on the government side while undetermined on the enemy as evidenced by the bloodstains seen on their route of withdrawal.

Your Army in Eastern Visayas Region will ensure that the armed group, with whom the government is talking peace with, will be unable to use force or threaten to use force as leverage in the negotiating table. 8ID stands ready to respond and address any such attempt by armed threat groups.






Naval-Caibiran Cross-Country Road widening
Widening along Naval-Caibiran Cross-Country Road is on-going on the embankment activities and installation of scaffoldings of drainage with an accomplishment of 7% as of March 31, 2017. The projects were prioritized because of its potential for development with the vision to accommodate huge number of road users. The completion of this project will increase the capacity of the existing roads and improves the safety aspect of said sections. This road also leads to the only Provincial Hospital and Port of the Province.

DPWH-Biliran DEO starts construction of CY 2017 regular infra projects

April 19, 2017

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) has already started its CY 2017 Regular Infrastructure project implementation. With over P940M projects to complete this year, this district office is up for the challenge.

As of March 2017, 12 projects out of 52 projects below P50M are already on its full swing. Among these projects are repair of six (6) bridges and extension of two (2) flood control structures.

DPWH-Biliran DEO have also started project implementation on Turn-out (loading and unloading bays) in Kawayan,Biliran and Widening of Naval to Caibiran Cross Country Road specifically within the limits of Capiñahan, Naval, Biliran and the Municipality of Kawayan.

The usual flooding that occurs along Sanggalang Highway will no longer be a problem since the project on rehabilitating the road and reconstructing a larger reinforced box culvert has already commenced. Soon this problem will just be a thing of the past.

These projects are just the start and 19 more projects are expected to start on April this year. Soon, DPWH-Biliran DEO will be able to begin full implementation on the remaining projects and take up the challenge of completing these infrastructures before this year ends.





DPWH PIOs conducts 1st quarter meeting/workshop

DPWH PIO workshop

April 19, 2017

BILIRAN – Public Information Officers (PIO) of the Department of Public Works and Highways of Region VIII held their first quarterly PIO Conference/ Workshop on March 29, 2017 at Summer’s Garden, Catbalogan City.

Biliran District Engineering Office were represented by Engr. Gene F. Delfin, Engineer II (PIO Alternate) and Engr. Frechbee L. Sabile, Engineer I.

The workshop focuses on the topics “Journalism and Workshop on Layouting using Indesign and Publisher Applications with resource speaker, Mr. Bryan Azura, newswriter of Sinirangan News Plus.

Discussed during the workshop was about the Microsoft Publisher 2010, its parts, the do’s and don’ts to make a good newsletter that can provide information of interest to the readers, and how to layout a newsletter using it.

Comparison between Indesign and Publisher Application were also discussed by the resource speaker to know if which one is more advance and easier to use in layouting a newsletter.

After the discussion, the participants from the different districts present their previous newsletters for the critiquing.

It was found out that most of the participants needs to change their way of lay-outing the pictures in their newsletters to remain the quality of the photos. Participants were also advised not to insert the captions inside the photos so that the readers will not be distracted.

According to Azura, every space in the paper is equivalent to money, thus they need to maximize their writings in the page. However, Azura complemented the participants for their organized thoughts in newswriting giving the readers an informative news.

After the workshop, Ms. Antonieta R. Lim, Regional PIO II gave updates on the new DPWH memorandum and the plans for the next quarterly workshop/ meeting.

The one day conference was hosted by Eastern Samar District Engineering Office and Samar 2nd District Engineering Office.





P3 guidelines set; DTI to introduce national conduits

April 18, 2017

MAKATI CITY – As funds for the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) expected to be released anytime soon, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and its micro-financing arm Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) have ironed out the guidelines of its implementation that will help micro entrepreneurs throughout the country.

Being the administration’s program to provide an affordable micro-financing for the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the P3 funding program provides micro enterprises an alternative source of financing that is easy to access and made available at a reasonable cost.

"We’re very much excited because this is our vision in the agency – to help underprivileged by giving better chances to elevate from poverty. Through this micro-financing program, those from the bottom of the pyramid will get to climb the ladder by expanding their businesses,” DTI Regional Operations Group (DTI-ROG) Supervising Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez is set to introduce the national conduits and local Micro-financing Institutions (MFIs) for the P3 program.

The Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) is a P1 billion financing program intended to give MSMEs better access to finance and to reduce their cost of borrowing. The fund will also give priority to the country’s 30 poorest provinces.

Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to replace the “5-6” money lending system, the P3 is also seen to help stabilize supply and cost of commodities in public markets, encourage small entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, and offer employment and generate income for Filipinos.

The P1 billion fund of the P3 program from the Office of the President will be coursed through the SB Corp., which will accredit partner institutions such as non-bank MFIs, cooperatives and associations to serve as conduit for the P3 funds. With borrowers identified through these, collection of repayments will be efficient.

“We’re very grateful that this Program has become a reality. MSMEs now have an option to avail of cheaper funds to expand their business,” Maglaya explained.

The P3 Program was launched in Tacloban in Leyte on January 25, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on January 27, and Alabel, Sarangani last January 30.

The primary beneficiaries of the P3 Program are microenterprises and entrepreneurs that do not have easy access to credit. These include market vendors, agri-businessmen and members of cooperatives, and industry associations.

P3 will also make it easy for borrowers since it will only require minimal documentation requirement; easy to access with only one (1) day processing of application; low cost interest at 2.5% per month; and easy payment with collection on a weekly or daily basis, as necessary.

Loan amounts to end-borrowers will range between P5,000 and P100,000, with no collateral requirement.





PH exports continue to grow, up by 11% in Feb 2017

April 18, 2017

MAKATI CITY – Philippine exports posted an increase of 11% with total sales of $4.782 billion for the month of February 2017, marking its third month of positive growth according to a report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

For February 2017, eight out of ten top major Philippine exported goods rose with electronic products comprising 51.6% of the total exports revenue amounting to $2.470 billion compared to $2.131 billion registered in the same period last year. Other products that increased include cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper (946.9%); other mineral products (107.5%); coconut oil (66.5%); electronic equipment and parts (64.9%); metal components (29.4%); other manufactures (20.1%); electronic products (15.9%); and chemicals (9.6%).

United States (US) topped other Philippine export destinations for the said month, accounting for 15.6% to total exports with receipts valued at $745.22 million. It is followed by Japan with 15.25% share with revenues amounting to $728.35 million.

The increase in February 2017 exports lifted the cumulative value of merchandise exports by 17.36% for the first two months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, based on preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Continued export growth can be attributed to the significant increase of Philippine electronic products by 13.24% in the first two months of 2017. This stemmed from the positive performance of the six out of nine subsectors of the industry which contributed 96.74% share in the cumulative total value of the industry.

Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) noted that the increasing efforts of the Philippines in strengthening ties with its ASEAN neighbors including China is expected to sustain the growth of the sector in the coming months.

“Enhancing trade promotion efforts to huge consumer markets is seen as a viable strategy in sustaining the performance of Philippine exports in the coming months,” said DTI-EMB Director Senen M. Perlada.

As the Philippines serves host for this year’s ASEAN Summit, the country is pushing for the conclusion of the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations. RCEP is the free trade agreement being advocated by the ASEAN 10-member states with its six (6) dialogue partners including China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India.

"RCEP is the chance to balance the country’s trade deficit, especially with China," emphasized Perlada.

Among selected trade-oriented economies in Asia, the Philippines placed 9th in terms of exports growth, a decline after it placed third last month. Vietnam topped the list for February 2017 with 29.6% recorded exports growth, a significant increase after dropping to among the worst performers for January 2017.

“We see a trend of recovery among economies in the first two months of 2017. For us in the Philippines, the numbers are healthy. While we ranked 9th for this month, on a year-to-date (YTD) analysis among selected trade-oriented economies, we placed third in terms of export growth. This is a signal of a robust export sector,” explained Perlada.





NPA threats led to massive evacuation in Calbiga

April 11, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – About 549 household from the barangays of Cambagtic, Bulao, San Mauricio, Guimbanga, Minata, Sinalangtan, Caamlungan, Binangaran, Daligan and Buluan all of Calbiga, Samar fled their respective communities to seek shelter to the town gymnasium from April 4-7, 2017.

One of the Barangay Chairmen from upper barangay claimed that residents were forced to evacuate on the grounds of threat from communist terrorists that they will conduct an attack against the 87th IB troops at the said area and they were ordered purportedly by the New People's Army to troop down to avoid being caught in a possible crossfire with government troops. The passing of the villagers of Canbagtic to other barangays spread like wildfire of the above mentioned rumors which the residents panicked and also evacuated, triggering a mass exodus to the town gymnasium.

Combined efforts of 87th IB, Municipal Police Station (MPS), Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWD) and Local Government Unit (LGU) reached at a dialogue with the evacuees to solve the current situation represented by their respective Barangay Chairmen, agreed to convince the residents to return to their community.

Local DSWD distributed relief goods to the evacuees and the LGU of Calbiga provided trucks for transportation back to their respective barangays. Most of the evacuees returned to their communities but some refused and opted to stay at the covered court as of press time.

Your Army in Eastern Visayas is deploying community peace and developments teams which are encouraging community based initiatives defined by the local communities, with local government units coordinating efforts against insurgency, geared towards presenting long-term solutions while at the same time addressing the immediate needs of the local community.





A month before the UN review on PH rights compliance:

Karapatan submits cases of political killings under Duterte to UN

April 11, 2017

QUEZON CITY – In a letter of allegation submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial/Summary or Arbitrary Executions Ms. Agnes Callamard yesterday, April 10, 2017, Karapatan submitted documentation on forty-seven (47) victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines under the Duterte administration, in line with the continuing counter-insurgency program of the government.

The said cases were submitted a month before May 8, 2017, the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review on the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council, a process whereby the human rights record of a country will be examined by other State. The period under review covers the last four years of the Aquino administration and the first months of the Duterte government. Karapatan also submitted similar complaints during the Arroyo and Aquino administrations.

“The victims of killings are peasants, indigenous peoples and workers; many faced harassment and villification by the military because of their advocacy and actions to defend people’s rights and are thus considered as human rights defenders,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General, in her letter to Callamard. Karapatan urged Callamard to consider, investigate, make recommendations and take any appropriate actions on the cases.

“Despite the 2008 report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Philippines by your predecessor, Prof. Philip Alston, strong recommendations on extrajudicial killings perpetrated as part of counter-insurgency programs, was unheeded both by the Arroyo and Aquino governments. Throughout both administrations, political killings of peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, workers, women and youth continued and intensified. Under Arroyo, Karapatan documented at least 1,206 individual victims of extrajudicial killing. Under Aquino, there were 334 victims of extrajudicial killing,” Palabay explained.

Karapatan said that “under Duterte, from July 2016 to March 31, 2017, a total of 47 cases of political killings have been documented by Karapatan.”

“These killings are all in the context of the counter-insurgency programs implemented from one regime to another that supposedly seek to end the armed rebellion of revolutionary movements in the Philippines. From Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya, Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan and to the current Oplan Kapayapaan of Duterte, these counter-insurgency programs have victimized thousands of Filipinos, including struggling communities, tagged as “enemies of the State,” she further stated.

Karapatan expressed hope “that Callamard’s findings about the gravity of political killings in the Philippines will convince the Duterte government to completely junk counterinsurgency programs of which EJKs are a major aspect, to issue strong warnings to and prosecute EJK perpetrators, and continue to pursue his efforts at attaining just and lasting peace with the NDFP and the Moro liberation movements.”

Palabay said they are working with Rise Up, a campaign network of faith-based institutions and people’s organizations, in preparing similar complaints that will be filed at the UN on cases of extrajudicial killings in line with the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

Karapatan is also in the process of preparing documentation on other cases of human rights violations such as illegal arrest and detention of civilians and activists, forcible evacuation and bombing of communities, which will be forwarded to relevant mandate holders. The organization also co-convenes the Philippine UPR Watch, a network of faith-based and human rights organizations that engages in the UPR process which will send a delegation of human rights defenders to the UPR this May.





Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI) kick starts a packed 2017 season

Car Awards 2017

Press Release
April 6, 2017

MANILA – To start the ball rolling for the new 2017 season, the Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI) held their momentous launch events at the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) at the World Trade Center in Pasay City last March 31, 2017.

With the continuous vision of keeping the Filipino consumer informed of the best cars for sale in the market, CAGI not only kick started the rigorous search for the best vehicles contending in the Car of the Year Philippines (COTY-P) and Truck of the Year Philippines (TOTY-P) awards, but also opened the doors to the world of two-wheelers with the inauguration of the Motorcycle of the Year Philippines (MOTY-P).

“By welcoming new blood into our fold, the organization is expanding its reach, and tapping into the expertise of the motorcycle media to adapt our successful model,” said CAGI president Ronald de los Reyes during a speech.

"We believe that it's about time that we also give due recognition to our fellow two-wheeled contemporaries on the road," he added.

Special guests representing various sectors of government graced the launching ceremonies, such as Department of Tourism assistant secretary Inaki Jose and Department of Public Works and Highways undersecretary Atty. Karen Jimeno.

"The state of our country's infrastructure affects our car preferences,” Jimeno mentioned in her speech as she related the event to current local issues.

Since 2004, CAGI prides itself of holding annual test fests, where all vehicle entries go through a strict process of classification and sorting, before they are subjected to qualitative (consumer) and quantitative (performance) testing. Qualitative testing uses predetermined consumer metrics like the ride, fit, and feel, while quantitative testing uses GPS-based hardware to measure handling, braking and acceleration. Each year, winners for each category are announced, and from that winning pool emerges the year’s COTY-P, TOTY-P and this time, the MOTY-P.

“We expect more than a 100 motor vehicles consisting of cars, pickups and motorcycles to be tested this season,” de los Reyes shared.

Aside from the official launch in MIAS, the usual Test Fest in September and October; and the awards night in November, this year’s season will include various dealer talks in April and May, test demonstrations in June and July, and the television special in December – thus further adding more excitement to the jam-packed season.

For the third straight year, www.Carmudi.com.ph presents this endeavor while internationally respected auditing firm KPMG is once again on-board as partner. The latter will be in-charge of all the data handling during the testing process, which consists of data gathering, tabulation, and up to the final audit and release of the official results.

Car Awards Group, Inc. is comprised of members from the following media entities: Business Mirror, Cebu Daily News, Daily Tribune, Malaya Business Insight, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, The Manila Times, Bulgar, Abante Tonite, Mindanao Daily News, AQ Magazine, Autocar.Ph, C! Magazine, Motorcycle Magazine, Power Wheels Magazine, Top Gear Philippines, 2nerMagazine.com, Carmudi Magazine, Iginition.ph, Interaksyon.com, Kotse.com, ManilaSpeak.com, MotionCars.com, Ride and Drive Phils., Speed by MP Turbo, SprocketPh.com, TessDrive.com, TimeAttackManila.com, Yugatech.com, DZMM, Inside Motoring on DZRJ 810 AM, Mellow 94.7, Motoring sa DZME, The Motoring Page on Mellow 94.7 FM, ABS-CBN, Auto Review, Spotlight TV.





DTI cuts bureaucratic red tape on SRP setting

April 6, 2017

MAKATI CITY – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez recently (April 5) convened the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) to closely evaluate the price and supply situation of basic necessities and prime commodities during the first quarter of this year.

During the meeting, DTI discussed its stand to deregulate the setting of Suggested Retail Prices (SRP) on certain commodities to reduce bureaucratic red tape in the system, while it continues to closely monitor the movement of prices of products and ensure fair trade in the market.

DTI clarified that there will still be SRPs on manufactured products but it can be set by the companies themselves for guidance of the supermarkets and consumers. These SRPs will still be closely monitored by DTI.

“We can let the companies set the SRPs because products with competitive market players and several brands, both locally produced and imported, have their ‘self-correcting mechanism’ on their prices,” said Sec. Lopez.

“In fact, prices of brands and commodities that do not pass the approval system of DTI before remained stable and some are even declining because of competition” he added.

Sec. Lopez believes that liberalizing price setting would help spur competition among industries and would further improve their product quality.

“DTI would prioritize the protection of the consumers by ensuring that industries have a competitive business environment that allows entry of brands and players in the market and give the consumers the widest range of choice,” the trade chief said.

“We will continue to closely monitor the prices of basic goods, and will have the oversight function to enforce regulation of irregular price increases,” added Sec. Lopez, ensuring commitment to consumer protection.

The NPCC will work with DTI on analyzing the industry structure and streamlining the process of price regulation to create a more efficient and effective system for both manufacturers and consumers. DTI would also be working with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to continuously review the industries' structure, and the play of competitive forces, that will ensure optimum competition and best options for quality products/services and affordable price points for consumers.





Samar I proposes P302.932 million tourism projects

April 5, 2017

CALBAYOG CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Samar First District Engineering Office (SFDEO) proposes a total amount of P302,932,000.000 for four (4) tourism projects under its jurisdiction for the year 2018 under the DPWH-DOT Convergence program.

A project cost amounting to P200 Million is proposed for the Improvement/Construction of 5.660 kilometers Portland Cement Concrete Pavement (PCCP) with 6.1 meters width and 230 mm. thickness of Sto. Niño Circumferential Road, Sto. Niño, Samar.

Some P30 Million is proposed for the concreting of 900.0 linear meters PCCP with 3.0 meters half lane width and 230 mm thickness, Access Road from Brgy. Rizal II leading to Mapaso Hotspring, Oquendo District, Calbayog City, Samar.
Meanwhile, some P50 Million, is proposed for the concreting of 1450.0 linear meters PCCP with 3.0 meters half lane width and 230 mm thickness of the Access Road from Brgy. Lungsob leading to Guinogoan Cave, Calbayog City, Samar.

The proposed project cost for the concreting of 1000 linear meters road with 6.00 meters width and 230 mm thickness is P22.932 million of the Access Road from Brgy. Caglanipao Sur leading to Busay Falls, Brgy. Caglanipao, Tinambacan District, Calbayog City, Samar.

SFDEO submitted the pertinent documents for the possible approval of the proposed projects by the Department of Tourism. Approval of the said proposed projects signifies increase of domestic and foreign tourists visiting the said tourist attractions in Calbayog and the booming of economic activities of the locals in the concerned villages.





DILG turns over transport terminal to Hinundayan

Hinundayan transport terminal

April 4, 2017

HINUNDAYAN, Southern Leyte – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) turned over on March 29, 2017 the completed P3M-worth Transport Terminal to the Municipal Government of Hinundayan.

The Turn-Over Ceremony was kicked off with a blessing officiated by Rev. Fr. Ricarte Olayvar, followed by the ceremonial ribbon cutting. Gracing the event was the DILG RO 8’s PDMU Head, Engr. Ofelia M. Pido, along with DILG Southern Leyte OIC-Provincial Director, Jesus P. Naquila, and Cluster Head, Geraldine C. Maquelabit.

Funded thru DILG’s Bottom Up-Budgeting (BUB) Program, the multi-million-peso project was also made possible thru the commendable efforts of MLGOO Edgar S. Bayano and under the dynamic leadership of Mayor Alfredo M. Lagumbay and Vice Mayor Elisa C. Cadingan. In his speech, PD Jesus P. Naquila, encouraged the CSOs to continue their active participation in the monitoring of all government projects, not just the DILG’s. Meanwhile, Engr. Pido expressed her great joy as well as her high hopes for the completed project to spur more economic activities in Hinundayan.

Mayor Lagumbay upon receiving the symbolic key expressed his deepest gratitude to all who became instrumental to the completion of the project, and with great sense of pride asserted that the completed project is a standing proof that Hinundayan always puts to good works anything they’re given with, and given the necessary assistance, “Hinundayan can!”

In attendance also were the local functionaries of LGU Hinundayan as well as the active Civil Society Organizations.





BIR owes each 600K workers P9,000 blood money in 2008 SC tax refund case

April 2, 2017

QUEZON CITY – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) owes each 600,000 minimum-waged workers nationwide with an estimated P9,000 “blood money” from the tax they collected for six months in 2008 amid a law exempting the workers from withholding tax, labor group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said yesterday.

In its decision released on February this year, the Supreme Court said minimum wage earners (MWEs) should not taxed because they are exempted from doing so by Republic Act 9502 – the law giving exemption to minimum waged workers from monthly salary tax deductions.

The law became effective June 17, 2008. However, the BIR issued Revenue Regulation 10-2008 and only exempted MWEs six months later. The TUCP filed a contesting petition at the SC nullifying the regulation as contrary to the law.

It is estimated the BIR collected an average P792 a month for six months from each MWEs at that time but the BIR should also be charged with 12% legal interest fees for nine years, said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of ALU-TUCP.

“This is a subtle form of injustice done by BIR for minimum-waged workers who depended on their daily pay to make both ends meet. The amount of money the BIR collected is blood money that could have been spent to buy food, pay for tuition fees and purchase medicines,” Tanjusay said.

He said the ALU-TUCP is urging the SC to hasten the specific implementing rules and regulations that lay the mechanism for the actual refund.

“We suggest the cash refund should be coursed through the employers if the employers are still existing. If the company has shut down, we suggest the refund should be disbursed through BIR regional offices,” Tanjusay said.

Refund by means of tax credit is more problematic because most of minimum-waged earners at that may have become unemployed or remained at the same minimum waged level and so they are still tax-exempt, Tanjusay added.






DAR beneficiaries
Some of the 84 agrarian reform beneficiaries pose, after their ceremonial installation to their awarded lot under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, with officials from the Department of Agrarian Reform, Registry of Deeds and local government unit together with representatives from the RIGHTS Network and CARITAS. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

DAR installs 84 beneficiaries

March 31, 2017

SAN MIGUEL, Leyte – After over 20 years of waiting the 84 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) here were finally installed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to their awarded lots within the Leyte Sab-a Basin Development Authority.

In 1991, DAR handed a collective certificate of landownership award (CLOA) numbered OC-4, covering Lot 1578 in Barangay Capilihan to the beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) but failed to install them due to harassment by other farmers in the area.

Leyte Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Renato Badilla who issued the writ of installation disclosed during the ceremonial installation that the area measures 207 hectares.

In September last year, DAR conducted the subdivision survey and revalidation of ARBs to check if those mentioned in the CLOA are still around.

Remegia Labaclado, one of the ARBs installed, wished in her message that the individual CLOAs be released to them soon. She also said that they will immediately till the land and make it productive after having been deprived for two decades.

Meanwhile, Regional Director Sheila Enciso directed DAR’s Program Beneficiaries Development Division to discuss with the ARBs appropriate projects that would help increase the farmer’s production and income and submit immediately the project proposals to the central office for funding.

Meanwhile, Badilla likewise acknowledged the partnership that has been established between DAR and the Rights, the non-government organization assisting these farmers, which resulted to their installation.





NPA attacks CAFGU detachment, wounding 4 civilians

March 31, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – On March 30, 2017, a day after the 48th NPA Founding Anniversary, a series of attacks was perpetrated by communist terrorists in different military detachments as part of their offensive operation against government forces. Among these is the NPA attack on the Geparayan CAA Detachment located at Brgy. Geparayan, Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar.

More or less 150 NPAs attacked the detachment which is surrounded by the community of the Brgy. Geparayan which resulted to the casualty of four civilians, namely, Genalyn C. Tulin, 31 y/o; Jocelyn Tulin, 12 y/o; Danica Tulin, 10 y/o and Ruby Jane Tulin, 2 y/o, burning of the detachment, and the loss of one (1) M60; one (1) R4A3; four (4) carbine rifles; five (5) garand rifles and one (1) Harris handheld radio.

The atrocity proved once again that the NPA is no longer concern for the well-being of civilians who are considered non-combatants and a clear manifestation that the communist terrorists do not abide to the Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and Rule of Law.

To achieve lasting peace and development, your Army in Eastern Visayas is calling the stakeholders and the general public to support the government forces in fighting these communist terrorists. Everyone is highly encouraged to report to any nearest military units any NPA sightings in their area.

Despite this unfortunate incident, rest assured that the 8ID will continuously conduct massive combat operation to deter the evil plans of the NPA and other lawless elements against our peace-loving people in Eastern Visayas.





'Killing us softly' says POWER of ERC's decision to allow PSALM to continue collecting P53.8B in stranded contract costs from consumers

Press Release
March 30, 2017

QUEZON CITY – Consumer group People Opposed to unWarranted Electricity Rates (POWER) today slammed the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for allowing the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) to continue charging electricity consumers with a 19 centavo/kWh universal charge to pay for its stranded contract costs.

Samelco II electric billIn an order dated March 6 but released only on March 27, the ERC indefinitely extended PSALM's P0.1938/kWh universal charge originally allowed from April 2013 to February 2017. The charge was supposed to cover PSALM's stranded contract costs of P53.851 billion incurred from 2007-2010. But the ERC said PSALM was only able to collect P48 billion by February 2017, thus it should be allowed to charge consumers P5.5 billion more in the coming months.

"The amount might seem small, but they have been charging this to millions of consumers for the last four years, translating to billions already. With ERC's action, consumers will most likely be paying even more for the next nine years. They're killing us softly," said POWER Convenor and former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño.

PSALM's stranded costs are due to the onerous "take or pay" provisions in NAPOCOR's contracts with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) which allowed IPPs to charge NAPOCOR even for unused power. It is similar to the much-hated "power purchase adjustment (PPA)" that was abolished under the Arroyo administration. Most of the contracts were signed during the Ramos administration but was continued by succeeding governments, resulting in huge stranded contract costs.

Due to strong opposition to the passing on of such costs to consumers, it was only in 2013 that PSALM was able to get ERC approval. But said charge was supposed to have ended last February.

By extending the 19-centavo universal charge, POWER says the ERC is setting a bad precedent for PSALM to charge additional stranded contract costs covering the years after 2010, including stranded debts estimated at P245 billion. At present, PSALM has pending applications in the ERC to pass on P35 billion in stranded debts and P70.12 billion in stranded contract costs to electricity consumers. This will be reflected in monthly power bills for the next nine years, at least.

“Electricity consumers are being made to suffer the consequences of NAPOCOR and PSALM's bad decisions. The original debt to be passed on to consumers was only P255 billion in 2001 as mandated by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). This was supposed to be covered by the sale of NAPOCOR's assets. But the reverse happened and PSALM was left with an even bigger debt plus stranded contract costs. Why should our people suffer for PSALM's incompetence? This is unjust and cruel, considering we already have the highest power rates in Asia!" said Casiño.

Last January, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi announced that the Malampaya Fund would be used instead to cover PSALM's stranded debts and stranded contract costs so as not to burden consumers. "So why is the ERC now allowing PSALM to continue charging consumers for something that the government already said it would shoulder?" asked Casiño.

Casiño called on Congress to investigate ERC's actions and said POWER was studying options to file with ERC or the Courts to put a stop to PSALM's charging of its stranded debts and costs to consumers.





Empowering jail paralegals in the decongestion effort

March 30, 2017

MANILA – The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), launched an electronic learning platform as part of its jail decongestion initiatives.

The Electronic Paralegal Learning Module (EPLM) is an interactive offline learning platform containing basic legal modules and resources. It aims to support jail paralegals’ continuing education and give them an electronic resource center for timely interventions to detainees. The EPLM is distributed in USB sticks that users can easily plug and play on their computers even without internet connection.

The EPLM will benefit more than 400 BJMP paralegal officers nationwide. This will help them monitor the cases of detainees undergoing trial, and coordinate with criminal justice stakeholders such as public attorneys, law enforcement, court staff and judges, among others.

“We developed this learning platform based on the challenges faced by our paralegals, which include lack of training and varying availability of resource materials in jails. By ensuring that our paralegals have all the necessary tools and resources, we will be able to capacitate them so they can help us process the inmates’ cases and decongest our jails,” said Jail Director Serafin Barretto Jr., BJMP chief.

The learning platform ensures paralegals in all BJMP jails access to topics such as criminal procedure, modes of early release, time allowances, alternative dispute resolution, rights of the accused, international standards, and negotiation with justice stakeholders.

In addition, the EPLM provides paralegals access to national laws, BJMP manuals, paralegal manuals and examples of written interventions that would help them facilitate timely and meaningful assistance to detainees.

The EPLM was pilot tested in 15 BJMP jails in Regions 3 and 4-A, involving 22 paralegals. It will be available in all BJMP jails nationwide in April 2017.

The ICRC, a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization, has been visiting places of detention in the Philippines after World War II. It supports the BJMP in its efforts to improve the conditions of detention and the treatment of detainees.

For the past 10 years, the ICRC has been assisting the BJMP in projects aimed at providing relief to the endemic national jail congestion rate averaging at 555% as of February 2017. Jail paralegals are essential to the BJMP’s initiatives to ease the congestion of jails in the country.





Civil society urges Duterte to walk the talk in signing Paris Agreement

CSOs to PH government: take leadership in decarbonizing ASEAN

Press Release
March 27, 2017

QUEZON CITY – After members of the Senate unanimously voted to pass the Paris Agreement last March 14, civil society groups challenged the Duterte administration to deliver on its commitments to reducing the country’s emissions and lead other countries in combating climate change and decarbonization.

This was expressed in a press conference organized by groups at the forefront of the campaign for climate justice and energy transformation, including Sanlakas, the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED), the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Greenpeace, and the Green Thumb Coalition (GTC) this March 27, 2017 in Quezon City.

Paris commitment must be reflected in national energy policy

“While having its own share of flaws, the Paris Agreement obligates party governments to commit to a 1.5 degrees Celsius global temperature by shifting from dirty fossil fuel energy to renewable energy alternatives,” said Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, Secretary-General of Sanlakas.

“However, the Department of Energy's (DOE) Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) has yet to reflect this commitment, and its troubling pronouncements on continuing to rely on coal for the next decades, increasing indigenous coal extraction by 100%, and turning to nuclear energy only raises additional concerns, rather than being consistent with the Paris Agreement,” he added.

“Already, the Filipino people are threatened with death by coal from two fronts,” Pedrosa noted. “Not only is the Philippines the second most vulnerable country to disasters brought about by the climate crisis, of which coal use is the leading cause, the Filipino people also suffer directly from each stage of the coal life cycle, threatening their health, natural resources and livelihood.”

“We urge the DOE and the Climate Change Commission to push through with a national energy review, auditing the environmental, economic and social cost of ongoing coal operations,” Pedrosa stressed. He also encouraged the DENR to tighten its grip on enforcing environmental laws and revising its standards to align with current global standards.

Groups to PH gov’t: “Lead ASEAN in decarbonisation by example.”

The press conference also saw the public launching of “Boom and Bust 2017: Tracking the Global Coal Plant Pipeline,” an international assessment report of the coal situation across the globe.

“Overall, the number of coal-fired power plants under development worldwide saw a dramatic drop in 2016,” Gerry Arances of the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) noted. “This is mainly due to shifting policies in Asia, including China’s decision to stop new coal plant projects and the decreased financing by coal plant backers in India. A record-breaking 64 gigawatts of coal plant retirements, equal to 120 coal-fired power plants, were also seen in the past two years, mainly in the European Union and the U.S.,” he added.

However, Arances warns, this shift is not seen to be the case in Southeast Asia. “The Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand are among the world’s ten biggest contributors to future coal expansion, accounting for 75% of coal power capacity under pre-construction development outside China and India,” he said. “Malaysia and Myanmar are also among coal’s biggest hotspots, contributing 10 GW of coal power in the pipeline,” said Arances.

“With the ASEAN Summit coming up this April, the Philippines is currently in an urgent position in leading the ASEAN countries to increase their ambition and commitment in reducing carbon emissions in the region,” Arances said. “We urge President Duterte to step up and follow through. The passing of the Paris Agreement is just the beginning, it is now his move.”

Actions against dirty energy to continue

The previous week has yielded global actions calling for the abandonment of fossil fuels, as part of the international Break Free Movement. In relation to this global call from coal and other fossil fuels, Sanlakas, PMCJ, Greenpeace and other active national and local groups have organized a number of mobilizations for the past week, which are set to continue this week.

This includes a mass action on March 29 in front of the DENR by residents of Limay, Bataan regarding the continued operation of the Petron and San Miguel Corporation power plants in the area. “Producing more than 250 tons of waste ash daily, the power plants have exposed the people of Limay to numerous cases of skin, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases,” he discussed. “Both corporations have refused to take responsibility for the effects of its reckless and unlawful coal ash-dumping and have even resorted to harassing the affected community and to spreading lies to the general public.”

“If the government only looks at the situation of coal-affected communities, it is clear that continuing on this dirty energy path is not realistic,” Pedrosa said. “We want the same ferocity in implementing regulations exacted by the government in mining operations to be seen in the case of dirty energy,” he added.

Following this, a day-long activity condemning the surge of dirty energy projects and showcasing the power of renewable energy will be led by these civil society groups on March 31st.






unveiling of the 8th CIAP Window in Tacloban City
Construction Industry Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo, together with DTI Region 8 Director Cynthia Nierras forefronted the unveiling of the 8th CIAP Window in Tacloban City on Monday, March 20 2017. From L-R: Philippine Contractors Association Ormoc Chapter Contractors; DTI Region VIII Director Cynthia Nierras; CIAP Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo; PCA Ormoc President Jonathan Bautista; PCA Leyte Chapter Victorio Esperas; PCA Leyte Chapter Contractors.

CIAP drives towards efficiency, launches one stop window in Tacloban

March 27, 2017

TACLOBAN CITY – With the target to increase competency, the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP) opened a one-stop window facility in Tacloban City last March 20, 2017 to cater to licensing, arbitration and training needs of aspiring local contractors in the regions.

Undersecretary for CIAP Atty. Ruth B. Castelo, together with DTI Region VIII Director Cynthia Nierras fore fronted the opening of the event to enhance the access and delivery of CIAP services in the provinces.

Services that can be availed at the newly opened facility include construction licensing and registration issued by Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB); handling of contract claims, arbitration and mediation for disputes arising from contract concerns administered by Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC); and signing up for various training programs under the Construction Manpower Development Foundation (CMDF).

PCA Leyte Chapter President Engr. Victorio Esperas, Jr. and PCA Ormoc Chapter President Jonathan Bautista graced the event by welcoming such initiative and declaring their support for the project. Also present in the event are TESDA Regional Director Cleta Omega, and representatives from Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of the Interior and Local Government Region VIII, National Economic and Development Authority, Social Security System, PhilHealth, Department of Public Works and Highways and Home Development Mutual Fund -Tacloban.

“By bringing our services to the regions, we’re enabling our contractors to save incidental expenses incurred in fare and accommodation. Filing will be easier and ultimately, we can reduce red tape and eradicate fixers.” said Undersecretary Castelo in her keynote speech.

Usec Castelo also added that for the first time in the history of the industry, President Duterte’s administration acknowledges the fact that the construction industry is a vital factor in development along with other industry sectors’ efforts.

“CIAP, the DTI, Regional Offices and stakeholders are working together to provide our valued Filipino contractors with first-rate services in the comforts of their regions.” Usec Castelo ended on a high note.

There are also service windows currently assisting in Regions I- La Union, III-Pampanga, V-Legaspi, VII-Cebu, X-Cagayan de Oro, VII- Davao and Cordillera Administrative Region.

CIAP is an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry that promotes, accelerates and regulates the growth of construction industry in the country.

It has five implementing boards namely; the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB), the Philippine Overseas Construction Board (POCB), the Philippine Domestic Construction Board (PDCB), the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC), and the Construction Manpower Development Foundation (CMDF).





8ID celebrates the 120th Philippine Army Anniversary

8ID 120th Philippine Army Anniversary celebration

March 23, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army celebrates the 120th Philippine Army Founding Anniversary at Openiano Field on March 22, 2017.

The celebration started with a flag raising ceremony and followed by re-affirmation of oath of allegiance and reading of anniversary message by the Commanding General, Philippine Army which was delivered by Brig. Gen. Cesar M Idio, Assistant Division Commander of 8ID.

Brig. Gen. Idio quoted, “Kabayanihan, kagitingan, at kahusayan sa paglilingkod – mga katangiang nagsilbing mga haligi ng kadakilaan ng Hukbong Katihan sa nagdaang labindalawang dekada. Ang mga katangiang ito ang siya ring pinagkukunan natin ng lakas upang higit pang mapagbuti ang ating paglilingkod para sa bayan. Patuloy din nating gawing inspirasyon ang ating mga ninuno at mga kasamahang nag-alay ng kanilang buhay sa pagtupad ng tungkulin.

“Kung kaya’t sa ating pagsasariwa ng ating pangako ng katapatan sa ating bandila, sama-sama nating pagtibaying muli ang paninindigang paglilingkuran ang sambayanan, ipagtanggol ang bansa, at dalhin ang ating bayan tungo sa isang mapayapa at masaganang kinabukasan.”





50 million pesos tourism funded project completed

March 20, 2017

CALBAYOG CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) - Samar First District Engineering Office (SFDEO) completed the Access Road Project leading to Bangon Falls in Brgy. Tinaplacan, Tinambacan District, Calbayog City, Samar.

The project is appropriated P50 Million under the DPWH FY 2016 Infrastructure Fund thru the DPWH – DOT Convergence Program.

Scope of works of the project involves concreting of 1,200 linear meters road with 768.20 linear meters Reinforced Concrete Lined Canal that is intended to prevent clogging and water ponding in the area which may eventually cause early deterioration of the structure.

The concreted road reaches at the farthest area where base of Bangon Falls is a few steps away. Following its completion, the influx of guests visiting the three waterfalls namely Larik Falls, Bangon Falls and Tarangban Falls increased from 2,075 in 2015 to 14,413 in 2016 based on the data provided by the Calbayog City Tourism and Information Office.

SFDEO is set to implement the Construction/Improvement of Access Road Leading to Bangon Falls (Slope Protection) under the DPWH FY 2017 Infrastructure Program amounting to P100 Million before the end of March 2017.






2017 Biliran infra projects
The above road is an access road leading to Naval Port in Naval, Biliran. It is proposed for rehabilitation with an appropriation of P54.939 Million. The proposed project on above road is Rehabilitation of Access Road leading to Naval Port. The project covers rehabilitation of 2.78 Lane Km. roadway and construction of drainage on some section.

Status of FY 2017 Biliran infra projects

March 17, 2017

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways - Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) has been allocated almost P1B for the FY 2017 Infrastructure Program with a total final listing of 57 projects based on the General Appropriation Act (GAA).

Out of the allocated amount, P940.730M is to be implemented by Biliran DEO, while P65M is to be implemented by the Regional Office, the widening of the Anas Bridge along Biliran Circumferential Road.

Biliran DEO’s FY 2017 Infra Program consists of twenty (20) projects under the National Road Network Services; five (5) under the Flood Management Services, one (1) project under the Maintenance and Construction Services of other Infrastructure; and thirty-one (31) projects under the Local Infrastructure Program with a total of 57 projects based on GAA.

Major projects for 2017 includes the P128.667M Concrete/Reconstruction of Maripipi Circumferential Road, P61M Slope protection project along Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road, and P54.939M Rehabilitation including drainage and Right-Of-Way (ROW) Acquisition of Access Road Leading to Naval Port, Naval, Biliran.

Another major project prioritized for FY 2017 is the road widening including drainage of Biliran Circumferential Road of road sections in Brgy. Tucdao, Kawayan, Brgy. Virginia, Culaba, Brgy. Bool, Culaba, Sto. Riverside to Sto. Sagrada, Naval, Brgy. Burabod, Biliran and Brgy. Balaquid Cabucgayan, Biliran costing P172.192M with total length of 5.940km and another P125.588M road widening project of road sections in Brgy. Lumbia, Biliran, Brgy. Burabod, Kawayan, Brgy. Mapuyo, Kawayan, Brgy.Tucdao, Kawayan, and Brgy. Kaulangohan,Caibiran, Biliran with a total length of 4.281km.

As of February 28, 2017, the district had already advertised and bid-out 49 projects while eight (8) projects are scheduled to be bid out on a later date.

Construction of bid-out projects will start on early March 2017.





Carmudi PH holds first financial seminar as part of CSR Roadshow

Carmudi PH CSR Roadshow in Cebu

Press Release
March 14, 2017

TAGUIG CITY – To uplift and educate financial awareness in the country, online car sales platform Carmudi conducted a financial literacy seminar in the Queen City of the South, Cebu. Held last March 7 at the Sky Hall of SM Seaside, the event – which is part of the Carmudi Philippines' CSR Road Show – aims to help and empower graduating students on how to financially secure their future.

In partnership with University of Cebu, University of Cebu-Maritime Education and Training Center, and SMX Sky Hall, the financial literacy seminar for students is part of Carmudi Philippines’ way of helping every Filipino in making the most out of their hard-earned money. The CSR road show, meanwhile, is a series of events that will be held in key areas around the country and tackle various issues that concern the public.

For the Cebu leg, the main speaker for the day-long program was wealth and life coach Chinkee Tan.

During the event, Tan discussed the importance of having a healthy financial mindset and how students can utilize their hard-earned money through savings and increasing its cashflow. According to Tan, good investments and the improvement of one’s financial standing starts when they make the right decisions with their finances.

Meanwhile, Abhi Mohan, managing director of Carmudi Philippines, expressed optimism that the 1,500 students that attended the event learned to be more financially literate.

Mohan said that they impart their knowledge to future leaders and developers of the country so that they could maximize the potential of their hard-earned money.

“As part of our role as a responsible corporate citizen, this is our way of helping improve the financial literacy of the future young overseas Filipino population. Seafarers are particularly vulnerable since, unlike the gradual rise in income (in relative terms) of traditional jobs in the Philippines, they experience a faster rise in their financial net worth. Financial literacy becomes critical to level out the lack of life experience in order to ensure they are able to retain most of what they have earned,” he said.

Further, Mohan said that the financial literacy program for students is just the start of their grand idea in making every Filipino financially-stable.

He cited that in the Philippines, owning a motor vehicle is a sign of financial stability. “We are in the Philippines for the long haul and when they are stable enough financially, they could tap us when they are ready to purchase their preferred vehicle that is within their budget,” explained Mohan.

Late last year, the company made its debut CSR program in Manila with the Road Safety Caravan – with hundreds of students in attendance – that was successfully made in partnership with Turbo Zone. Students from STI-BGC came to listen and participate in the healthy discussions about road safety education. The seminar was led by award-winning journalist Jiggy Manicad and Oscar Oida.






CLOA distribution in San Miguel, Leyte
Angel Cabello (3rd from right), a 78-year old farmer from Jaro, Leyte, is being congratulated by Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Renato Badilla (2nd from right) after receiving his certificate of land ownership award (CLOA) from DAR Regional Director Atty. Sheila Enciso (3rd from left). Others in photo from left are: CARITAS country coordinator Jess Agustin, Assistant Regional Director Ma. Fe Malinao and Leyte Registry of Deeds Head Atty. Emeterio Villanoza. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

A septuagenarian farmer among DAR’s beneficiaries

March 10, 2017

SAN MIGUEL, Leyte – A 78-year old widower was among the 658 farmers from three Leyte towns who received their long awaited certificates of landownership award (CLOAs) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) last week at this town’s auditorium.

Angel Cabello from Jaro could only say he was so happy after receiving the land title to the 2.1-hectare coconut land he is tilling.

DAR Regional Director Sheila Enciso led the distribution of the 344 CLOAs covering a combined area of 689.6 hectares of farmlands situated in 21 barangays within this town and in the municipalities of Jaro and Barugo.

But before the CLOAs were handed to the recipients, Agrarian Reform Program Officer Wendell Ariza gave a lecture first to the former their rights as well as their obligations as agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

Enciso, assisted by Assistant Regional Director Ma. Fe Malinao, Leyte Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Renato Badilla, Head of the Leyte Registry of Deeds (ROD) Atty. Emeterio Villanoza, RIGHTS National Coordinator Danny Caranza, CARITAS Country Coordinator Jess Agustin and Vice Mayor Atilano Oballo, explained why it took long for DAR to distribute the CLOAs.

According to her, after the release of the titles at the ROD there is a need for DAR to validate the CLOAs to check whether the information in the said documents are still correct.

She likewise advised the ARBs not to sell their CLOAs nor convert their farmlands into another uses to ensure food security.

Further, Enciso disclosed that DAR has P288-million additional budget for support services. Her office, she added, received instructions from Undersecretary for Support Services Rosalina Bistoyong to submit project proposals for funding until Friday. In relation to this she directed the Program Beneficiaries Division to discuss with the ARBs in identifying projects that would help increase the farmers’ production and income, and submit project proposals before Friday.

Meanwhile Badilla acknowledged the partnership that has been established between DAR and the RIGHTS, the non-government organization assisting these farmers, which resulted to the release of these CLOAs that were pending at the ROD since 1994.





PH exports surge 22.5% in January 2017

March 10, 2017

MAKATI CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry sees exports recovering in 2017 as numbers surged in January 2017 with an increase of 22.5 percent with total sales of $5.130 billion from $4.187 billion recorded value in the same period last year according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report.

“We are positive that we will continue to drive growth and recovery for the export sector as we increase our efforts in promoting Philippine industries throughout the year in various key markets. We take the consistent growth since the last quarter of 2016 as a sign for positive outlook in the coming months,” said DTI Industry Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.

Eight out of the top ten Philippine exports reflected growth with articles of apparel and clothing accessories with 270.1% increase as the highest gainer. Other gainers include: coconut oil includes oil and refined (229.6%), chemicals (104.7%), metal components (66.3%), electronic equipment and parts (64.8%), other manufactures (58.8%), machinery and transport equipment (27.9%), and electronic products (10.4%).

Electronic products remain to be the top Philippine export comprising almost 46 percent of the total Philippine exports with total receipts of $2.365 billion for January. On the other hand, non-electronic goods which accounts for 54 percent of exports likewise increased by a hefty 35.19% for that same month.

In terms of commodity groups, manufactured goods went up by 23.1 percent with total export sales of $4.505 billion, accounting for 87.8 percent of the total export receipts while exports from Total Agro-Based Products, with a 7.5 percent share to total exports in January 2017, amounted to $386.46 million. It increased by 33.7 percent compared to $289.12 million in January 2016.

Japan is still the top Philippine export destination with 17.3 percent share to total exports while United States ranks second with 16.5 percent share.

By economic bloc, exports to European Union member countries posted the highest growth with 82.5 percent increase from $491.34 million recorded in January 2016 to $896.69 million for the same period in 2017.

“The increase in our shipments to European Union member countries could be attributed to the impact of EU GSP+ which continues to gain traction for our exports. We wish to further build on this by integrating new strategic measures in promoting the Philippines and our products and services,” explained Undersecretary Terrado.

On the other hand, countries in East Asia received most of Philippine exports accounting for 45.1 percent share to total exports valued at $2.315 billion. It increased by 11.1 percent from $2.085 billion of January 2016.

Exports to ASEAN member countries comprised 14.7 percent of the total exports in January 2017 and was valued at $751.54 million also posted growth which went up by 19.3 percent.





P19.4M worth of school buildings turned-over to Caibiran, Biliran

Union Elementary School

Press Release
March 6, 2017

NAVAL, Biliran – The Municipality of Caibiran, Biliran receives two 2-storey school buildings worth P19.4M for the K-12 program in a turned-over ceremony by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Education (DepEd).

The recipient of the new buildings are the Union Elementary School in Brgy. Union, Caibiran Biliran with its P8.2M 2-storey, 6 classroom building and the Manlabang National High School in Brgy. Manlabang, Caibiran, Biliran with its P11.2M 2-storey, 8 classroom school building, turned over on the same day on February 24, 2017.

In a turn-over ceremony of the Union Elementary School, Mrs. Teresita Mocorro, School Principal, revealed that the school has already proposed for the establishment of a National Special High School in Union Elementary School renaming it as Union Integrated School that will soon cater the elementary and high school students.

The announcement made one of the parents, Mrs. Rachel Sinanggote, resident of Brgy. Union, Caibiran, Biliran to be grateful with the news.

According to Sinanggote who has a student in Grade 6 in Union Elementary School and Grade 8 student studying in other school of the neighboring barangay: “Maiban-ibanan na ang gasto ha pamasahi” (Transportation expenses will be lessen), she said because of the rise of the senior high school building in Brgy. Union.

The Union Elementary School teachers, students and parents also showed their gratefulness to Congressman Rogelio J. Espina, Biliran Lone District Representative, for giving P25,000 cash from his personal pocket to purchase sacks of cement for the school to widen the road in going to the school campus.

The turned-over ceremony were graced by Congressman Rogelio J. Espina, Engr. Alfredo L. Bollido, OIC-Assistant District Engineer, Dr. Ronico Y. Amistoso, Division Senior High School Coordinator, Hon. Rosario Sinangote, Brgy.Captain, Hon. Antonio Lim, Committee of Chairman, teachers, parents and students of Union National High School.

Another school building turned-over was the Manlabang National High School which started with the cutting of ribbon-ceremony led by Cong. Espina and Hon. Naricris Go, Acting Municipal Mayor of Caibiran.

The ceremonial turn-over of symbolic Key also highlights the occasion.

According to Amistoso, the construction of the senior high school buildings will give the students an environment conducive to learning.

In his message, he emphasized that: “They deserve this facility and this is for them.”





Samar I still No. 1 in quality assurance nationwide

March 6, 2017

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar – Out of the 234 district engineering offices nationwide, the Department of Public Work and Highways, Samar First District Engineering Office (DPWH-SFDEO) maintains its place as ranked 1 in the implementation of quality control.

The annual rating of quality assurance implementation for 2016 reveals Samar I to be still on top besting other district engineering offices nationwide.

Both District Engineer Virgilio C. Eduarte (now Asst. Regional Director of Region VIII) and DE Alvin A. Ignacio (then the Asst. District Engineer who was installed as District Engineer after the former’s promotion) shared the honor as they effectively implemented the quality control measures in projects and providing the required laboratory equipments gaining the One Star Rating status in 2015.

District Engineer Alvin A. Ignacio commends the effort of the Chief of the Quality Assurance Section, Engr. Raquel Y. Sumayo for her relentless efforts in project monitoring to effectively come up with quality projects and the presence of laboratory equipments in her section.

Evaluators or the Assessing team looks into the quality of completed projects, the adherence of the district to quality control policies, construction materials sampling and testing procedures and personnel competence.

The DPWH Central Office conferred the One Star Rating to Samar I in 2015 for satisfactorily complying with the requirements and provisions stipulated in Department Order No. 11, series of 2013 and still remains on the same rating in 2016 based on the amended Dept. Order # 126, Series of 2016.





8ID administers blessing and hand over of KIA KM450 truck

KIA KM450 truck

March 6, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division administered the blessing of 51 units of brand new 1 1/4 ton KIA KM450 truck held at 8ID Basketball Court and Samar Police Provincial Office ground last March 3, 2017.

This multipurpose all-terrain military truck was first introduced in 1998 as part of the AFP Modernization Program. It is powered by a 3.9 liter diesel engine and can run a maximum road speed of above 100 kilometers per hour.

Out of the 51 units of KM450 received by this Command, 17 of which were issued in advance to line units in Mindanao to boost and strengthen their mobility assets in support to the intensive military operation against the terrorist groups.

Capt. John O. Geronimo, the Division Chaplain blessed the newly issued vehicles to keep the driver and the troop’s safe at all times while rendering their duties. The ceremony was led by Col. Clifford Cyril Y. Riveral, the Assistant Division Commander for Retiree and Reservist Affairs together with other officers and enlisted personnel of the division.

In his message, Col. Riveral urged the respective military truck drivers to take good care of the vehicles for the higher headquarters provided these to enhance the Command mobility assets in support to the tactical operations both in the region and in Mindanao. “May the Almighty God bless you along your journey in securing and serving our nation,” Riveral added.





PH’s economic priority deliverables in ASEAN reaffirm inclusive growth agenda

ASEAN 2017

March 3, 2017

MAKATI CITY – The 31st High-Level Task Force on ASEAN Economic Integration (HLTF-EI) convened on February 15-16 in Manila, gathering high-ranking ASEAN trade officials to discuss the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025.

HLTF-EI Chairperson and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam Dato Lim Jock Hoi said that ASEAN needs to remain strong and united as the region navigates and charts its course ahead “collectively as ASEAN.”

Representing the Philippines, Undersecretary for Industry Development and Managing Head of the Board of Investment Ceferino Rodolfo laid down the Philippine priority deliverables for 2017, highlighting the country’s agenda on inclusiveness and innovation with a focus on increasing trade and investments, integrating micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the digital economy, and developing an innovation-driven economy.

“Inclusiveness should be intrinsic to the ASEAN agenda. The AEC Blueprint 2025 development framework will be most effective if it results from inclusive and open multi-stakeholder participation, one that is informed by the perspectives of people, especially the marginalized,” Undersecretary Rodolfo said.

The Philippines is taking the lead in seeking new policy interventions that are practical from the MSME perspective. These are expected to contribute towards helping MSMEs harness the opportunities presented by open and increasingly integrated markets. These initiatives range from free trade and trade facilitation, trade in services, investment, connectivity, and innovation:

- Maximizing the benefits of free trade agreements (Self-Certification for MSMEs, and Substantial Conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [RCEP]);

- Fostering a more facilitative and transparent trade in services regime and harnessing the contribution and global competitiveness of the ASEAN services sector (Conclusion of the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement);

- Strengthening the investment linkages between MSMEs and Multinational Enterprises or MNEs (FAST Action Agenda on Investment, Inclusive Business, Women and Youth Entrepreneurship);

- Enhancing intra-regional connectivity and bolstering socio-economic growth in the regions (Launch of the Davao-General Santos-Bitung route of the ASEAN Roll-on Roll-of Network);

- Supporting an ecosystem of entrepreneurship based on technology and innovation (ASEAN Declaration on Innovation); and

- Introducing more systematic and robust method for AEC compliance monitoring (ASEAN Trade Facilitation Indicators, Review Mechanism for AEC).

Said priorities are in line with the Duterte Administration’s 10-point socio-economic agenda. In particular, these will leverage the global competitiveness of the Philippines’ services sector in order to generate jobs and growth, as well as bring development to the South through rural and value chain development.

The Philippines also delivered to HLTF-EI the collective statement of the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (ACSC/APF) Philippines National Organizing Committee, reflecting the people’s aspirations for an ASEAN that asserts peace and security, human rights, democratization, and broad-based economic, social and ecological justice.

Undersecretary Rodolfo highlighted the potential of civil society organizations as strategic and responsible partners in the process of ASEAN community-building, given their knowledge and reach at the grassroots level and cohesive international network.

Recommendations of the 31st LTF-EI will be the focus of discussions at the 23rd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat and Related Meetings to be held on March 8-10 in Manila.

Composed of Trade Vice Ministers from the ten ASEAN Member States (AMS), the HLTF-EI functions as an advisory body to the economic ministers of the AMS, ensuring that all 10 AMS are on-track and on-time with the plans and programs intended to realize regional economic integration and achieve the vision of an AEC.

The AEC Blueprint was crafted to further advance ASEAN economic integration, envisioning a community characterized by the following: a) a highly integrated and cohesive economy; b) a competitive, innovative, and dynamic ASEAN; c) enhanced connectivity and sectoral cooperation; d) a resilient, inclusive, and people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN; and e) a global ASEAN.

ASEAN economies are expected to hold up reasonably well amidst the slowing of global growth, and the uncertain and shifting geo-political and economic landscape.

Forecasts from the Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund place the region as the most dynamic part of the world with strong economic outlook for 2017 at 4.6% to 4.9% of GDP growth rate, vis-à-vis the 3.4% projected for the growth global GDP. The Philippines leads the region with a growth forecast of 6.8% for 2017.





11.9 million pesos calamity funded project completed

calamity funded project

March 2, 2017

CALBAYOG CITY – The Samar First District Engineering Office (SFDEO) has completed the Rehabilitation/Improvement of slope protection structure along Daang Maharlika (S00062SM) K0692+300 - K0692+500, Brgy. Bugtong, Tinambacan District, Calbayog City, Samar.

This project is appropriated P11,909,700.00 under the 2016 Calamity Fund of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and is under contract with B. Vicencio Construction.

The old structure was damaged by the yet strongest typhoon that struck the Samar provinces in 2014, Typhoon Ruby. Several typhoons, tropical storms and continuous heavy rains occurred which resulted to landslide while the implementation of the project is ongoing that apparently caused the delay of its completion.

Scope of works of the project involved structure excavation, installation of reinforcing steel and construction of structural concrete for the drainage canal, and construction of grouted riprap.

Significance of the project is of great impact especially to the residents of the said village and motorists passing along the said road section since possible soil erosion, landslides or rock slides are already prevented by the said undertaking.





14IB conducts info drive to 200 youths of Maydolong

14IB youth info drive

March 1, 2017

ORAS, Eastern Samar – Your Army in Eastern Visayas thru personnel of 14th Infantry (Avenger) Battalion, Philippine Army facilitated an Information Awareness Drive to two hundred (200) youths from the Eastern Samar State University Maydolong Campus, Maydolong, Eastern Samar last February 23, 2017.

The topic discussed was the Career Guidance on how to apply to become an officer and soldier in the Philippine Army.

This Information Awareness Drive was initiated by the 14th IB to encourage more applicants to join the profession of arms to supplement the needs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

2Lt. Dennis S Carig, CMO Officer of 14th IB, emphasized that, “being a soldier is a noble profession, that each individual dedicates their lives for his/her love of the country.” Leaflets about the Army recruitment were also distributed to the youths for their reference.

Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Manuel Leo Gador reaffirms the commitment of 14th IB in reaching out to the academe and youth sector in order to bring inspiration on their role on nation-building. “We hope that our partners from the academe followed suit and also be our active partners in molding the youth as agents of peace and development of our country,” Gador said.






widening of Sapinit Viaduct
During the QAU assessment, construction workers are installing steel bars for the widening of Sapinit Viaduct.

DPWH Samar I upgrades bridges within the district

March 1, 2017

CALBAYOG CITY – DPWH Samar First District Engineering Office (SFDEO) has programmed five (5) bridges for upgrading this year.

A total of P415 million projects which involves retrofitting and strengthening, and widening to more than two (2) lanes is soon to be implemented under GAA CY 2017.

Bridges scheduled for upgrading include: Oquendo Bridge (B00370SM) along Calbayog-Catarman Rd., P20 Million, for widening to more than two lanes; Sapinit Viaduct (B00337SM) along Daang Maharlika, Phase II - P40 Million; Binaliw Bridge (B00337SM) along Daang Maharlika - P155 Million; Jibatang Bridge (B00342SM) along Daang Mahalika - P130 Million; and Rosales Bridge (B00345SM) along Daang Maharlika - P70 Million.

The detailed engineering works for four (4) projects are almost completed while the widening of Sapinit Viaduct Phase II has started already.

The upgrading implemented is in keeping with the demand of a widened road, therefore, a widened bridge to lessen accidents and provide safe road.





8ID renders send-off ceremony to newly enlisted privates

8ID enlisted privates send-off ceremony

February 28, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – A send-off ceremony was rendered to the 242 newly enlisted privates of this Command during the Monday Flag Raising at Openiano Field on February 27, 2017.

The newly enlisted privates will report to the line units of the 8th Infantry Division in Eastern Visayas and units deployed in Mindanao to carry out their mandated task in sustaining operation against any lawless elements that disturbed the peace and development of our nation.

The newly enlisted privates were blessed by Capt. John O. Geronimo, the Division Chaplain to keep them safe all the time while performing their duties.

Brig. Gen. Cesar M. Idio, the 8ID Assistant Division Commander, in his message reminded the newly enlisted privates the difficult process they went through before they became part of the AFP.

“As new soldiers, love and take care of your profession. Your job will bring a better life not only for you but also for your family. Likewise, respect each human rights, rule of law and international humanitarian law. Always remember, the security of the people lies on you. May the Lord bless you every day to bring you success in your chosen profession,” Idio added.






Launching ceremony of the Philippine manufactured Mirage G4
In photo: President Rodrigo Duterte (center L), DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez (2nd from L), Executive Secretary Medialdea (3rd from L), Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Domiguez (leftmost), Mistubishi Motors Corporation President Osamu Masuko (center right).

Additional 1,000 in jobs rolls-off in auto manufacturing industry

February 28, 2017

MANILA – Following the Presidential visit of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Mistubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) President Osamu Masuko and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez last October in Tokyo, Japan, President Duterte, Secretary Lopez together with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, led the launching ceremony of the Philippine manufactured Mirage G4 under the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS), February 27, in Malacañang.

The production of the Mirage G4 in the Philippines is in line with the initiative of the government to revive and develop the auto manufacturing industry in the country, making it as a regional manufacturing hub for auto parts.

“The CARS Program will bring in more investments, better paying and high productivity jobs that will lead to spill-over effects by stimulating economic activities in related manufacturing and services. It will create employment and require local sourcing of auto parts up to 70 percent local content, that will develop more SMEs and generate more jobs,” said Secretary Lopez.

Over 200,000 units are to be produced under the program for 6 years which will require additional manpower of 1,000 workers including direct and indirect sales and general administration employees from Mitsubishi and Auto parts suppliers. The program will furthermore serve as an opportunity for technology transfer to local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through joint ventures and technical licensing agreements.

“This is important to enable us to maximize the trade and investment opportunities arising from the ASEAN Economic Community and take advantage of our growing domestic market” said Secretary Lopez highlighting the significance of building the domestic auto market base to attain the necessary scale economies that would bring down costs of auto manufacturing in the country.

“The implementation of the CARS Program signals government’s vigorous support and focus on industries with auto as platform for manufacturing take-off,” said Secretary Lopez.

“This will maximize the trade and investment opportunities arising from the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and take advantage of our growing domestic market,” he concluded.





Re-imposition of death penalty, a return to barbarism - Spark

By Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan
February 28, 2017

QUEZON CITY – With the expected approbation of House Bill 4727 in the lower chamber of Congress this week, SPARK-Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan commands the youth to rise up against the re-imposition of death penalty in the Philippines.

According to the group, rationalising the current administration’s show of terror will cause the country to capsize very low, as they maintain that the absolute measure is not preventive of future crimes, and will only inflict injustices to those who may be innocent and who are socially marginalized.

House Bill 4727 or “An act imposing the death penalty on certain heinous crimes, repealing for the purpose Republic Act No. 93446, entitled ‘An act prohibiting the imposition of death penalty in the Philippines,’ and amending Act. No. 3815, as amended, otherwise known as the ‘Revised Penalty Code and other special penal laws” is expected to pass in the House of Representatives this Tuesday, February 28, as predicted by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

In an interview on CNN Philippines, Alvarez said, “Tomorrow or Wednesday…Mangyayari na po.”

The group views the measure as repulsive and characteristic of a corrupted and insecure regime whose depressing morality is still nurtured with feudal if not barbaric instincts. Henceforth, reminding the public that the Philippines is a signatory to international treaties proscribing death penalty.

They declared that, “This administration have founded justice on retaliation instead of law and reason. The promised constructive changes were supplanted with the pursuit of an increasingly fascist tendency of those elected on bureaucratic seats.”

The group vehemently insisted that "for as long as we live under a political system wherein an elite minority reigns over a destitute majority and a blindfolded and impartial Lady Justice is all too familiar with the scent of currency, then there could be no guarantee that justice will truly prevail.

Furthermore, SPARK asserted that Congress should as an alternative, focus its attention on earlier interventions in the life of a citizen before he/she commits a crime.

“It is broadly feasible and logical to invest in, and prioritize matters such as increasing the accessibility of education, improving the juvenile justice system and uplifting the economic conditions of the Filipino people, than intervening when it's irrevocably too late,” the group’s spokesperson Joanne Lim said.


Last updated: 05/26/2017