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PH does not tolerate "police impunity", Cayetano asserts

NPA responds to Gen. Farnacio’s claim

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

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

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

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





1 NPA captured during a brief fire fight

June 27, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – A platoon from Samar Provincial Public Safety Company (SPPSC) and a team from Alpha Company, 87th Infantry (Hinirang) Battalion while conducting Focus Military Operation (FMO) at Sitio Opong, Barangay Veloso, Marabut Samar encountered about 15 fully armed communist terrorists on June 26, 2017 at 5:00 o’ clock in the morning.

A five-minute fire fight ensued which resulted to the capture of a certain Jojo Gerilla and the recovery of one (1) .45 pistol with one (1) magazine; assorted cartridge of M-16 5.56mm and M-14 7.62 mm empty shell; IED power source and triggering device with 200 meters of firing wire and five (5) kilograms of rice.

The forewarning on the presence of an armed group from concerned villagers in the area shows a good rapport between the military and civilian populace which is a shared responsibility in preventing the communist terrorists to conduct atrocities that could impede the peace and development in the region.

This NPA terrorist group shows how desperate and inconsiderate they are despite of the on-going tension in Marawi City. Henceforth, they cannot stop our military troops in pursuing security operations until their presence is still in Eastern Visayas. We encourage everyone to follow the path of peace and condemn those terrorist whose advocate is to bring violence and threat in the whole region.

Likewise, Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio, 8ID Commander commended the combined team from the Army and PNP for their efforts and dedication in the performance of their mandated duty. The 8ID is providing support to the Philippine National Police and other concerned government agencies in creating a concept and understanding that security is a shared responsibility not just among security forces and government institutions but also of civil-society and the community.





First of its kind: Fashion show atop hydroelectric megastructure

Jessica Minh Anh added Hoover Dam into the world’s most iconic runway venues

Jessica Minh Anh Hoover Dam catwalk

Press Release
June 27, 2017

NEVADA – Earlier today, producer of the world’s most innovative runways transformed American engineering masterpiece, Hoover Dam, into a sky-high catwalk. Matching the unstoppable strength of a new daring generation with the hydroelectric power, Jessica Minh Anh’s Summer Fashion Show 2017 premiered design excellence while redefining a series of modern standards. The extraordinary production, which stopped traffic atop the iconic megastructure, showcased 9 exquisite haute couture, ready-to-wear, and jewelry collections from 4 continents.

A perfect portrait of modern beauty with endless sensuality, Jessica Minh Anh opened the highly-anticipated catwalk in a mesmerizing mermaid red dress by Brazilian haute couturier Patricia Nascimento. Her striking royal look was complimented by an artistic crown-shaped architectural hairpiece by Mirror Mirror Vegas and uniquely designed crystal and gold jewelries from artist Cristina Sabatini. Against the cinematic backdrop of the Black Canyon and the dreamy Lake Mead, the exotic beauty was followed by a gorgeous model lineup in nude, white, pink, gold, and ocean blue gowns made of fluid fabrics. A master at stand-out waistline and elongated silhouette, Patricia and her new collection ‘Realize’ successfully inserted mystery and seduction onto the epic catwalk.

Returning to Jessica Minh Anh’s grand production for the fifth time, Pakistani award-winning designer Syeda Amera celebrated femininity and elegance with a colorful floral collection inspired by the beautiful nature. Featuring over-sized shoulders, extravagant maxi dresses, and uniquely-cut jumpsuits, the radiant designs brightened up the catwalk while demonstrating special print technique on luxurious fabrics. Poppy, daisy, lily, and rose print were certainly part of the summer charm.

On the contrary, newcomer Kine Dione chose beige and white color pallet for her creatively embroidered collection. Focusing on refinement and craftsmanship, each piece was distinctively cut and handcrafted with gold flowers and pearl details on tulle, lace, silk, and organza. The gold regal designs played a significant role in adding the sun-kiss glow on the lavish looks.

Turkish representative Gulnur Gunes rejoined Jessica Minh Anh’s exclusive runway with a powerful collection influenced by the beauty and intelligence of the Greek goddess Métis. Using special crystal embellishments on lilac, gold, and silver fabric mixed with daring cuts, the talented designer created ultimate glamour while effectively reflecting a woman’s personality.

Next, South American designer Christian Zerrá gave audience a sense of solemnity and modernity through his exciting new collection which used baroque art on red, black, and white velvet and fine cotton. Perfectly blending traditional elements of the great Cuzco heritage with contemporary cuts and original embroideries, Cristian’s designs cleverly revealed the alluring side of practical but by no means simplistic garments.

The ultra-charismatic and bold collection by Hong Kong-based brand Kaprice was a harmonious fusion of the East and the West. Bringing together ambience of texture and designs influenced from across the world, each piece infused freshness with vibrant colors and lightness from soft fabrics such as silk, satin, and chiffon. Imaginative and lavish, the “Kouture” collection, which included exclusive prints and Swarovski and sequins embellishments, gave out a dramatic appeal.

Adding class and sophistication to Jessica Minh Anh’s summer catwalk, Malaysian powerhouse Emmanuel Haute Couture premiered a romantic bridal collection using luxurious fabrics, hand-beaded embellishments, and couture craftsmanship. With deep necklines and polished silhouettes, each design conveyed effortless elegance and edge.

An expert at fabric manipulation, three-dimensional embellishments, and technological cuts, Peruvian designer Ani Alvarez Calderon put the traditional crafts into a new context in the finale collection of the grand show. Inspired by famous architectural shapes of the pyramids, huacas and royal tombs, Ani’s wearable arts were made of gold, turquoise, green, and black colour pallet. Saving the best for last, Jessica Minh Anh appeared as a goddess in a brilliantly crafted royal red dress and an impressive golden feather crown. Symbolizing the ancient beauty with both fragility and power, the supermodel closed the show with unattainable desire and supremacy.

The iconic J Summer Fashion Show 2017 was supported by industry best Joy Mangano, AVP Nationwide Productions, Saks Fifth Avenue Las Vegas, Arrow Stage Lines, Fred's Bakery, Alexis Park All Suite Resort, Hoover Dam Lodge Hotel & Casino, Body in Mind Pilates Studio, JB Pro Graphics, Icelandic Glacial, and Haas-Jordan. The show marked Jessica Minh Anh’s 20th highly successful productions since her history-making catwalk on England’s famous London’s Tower Bridge. The catwalk queen is now ready for her next step: producing original series to share her inspiring journey of conquering the most challenging venues.






38th National Reservists Week
8ID commander MGen. Raul Farnacio AFP delivering his message during the Opening Ceremony of the 38th National Reservist Week at 8ID Grandstand on June 24, 2017.

8RCDG celebrates the 38th National Reservists Week

June 24, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 8th Regional Community Defense Group (RCDG) celebrates the 38th National Reservist Week with the theme, “Laang Kawal: Laging Handa sa Pagtugon sa Pangangailangan at Kusang Loob na Naglilingkod Para sa Kaunlaran ng Bayan,” on June 23-25, 2017 at Camp Lukban, Maulong Catbalogan City.

The three-day activity held at Headquarters 8th Infantry Division, PA is a Provincial Assembly Test to the 1st Western Samar Ready Reserve Battalion in order to determine the completeness of the Reserve Force fill-up; to account the actual number of AFP reservists in the area; disseminate awareness of the AFP Policies; improve their Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) capabilities; and to disseminate the direction of ROTC to the school administrators and cadets.

The activity focuses on the significant contributions and roles of the trained and equipped reserve force of the country and its people through maintaining internal security and stability, participation in disaster/emergency response, community development activities and humanitarian assistance.

Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio AFP in his message said: “I am pleased with your presence because the spirit of volunteerism is still in our youth today. Volunteerism is one of the many ways to show our patriotism to our country. You’ve chosen the right path to be among the selected few who served our country without expecting anything for return.”

“Our constitution recognizes the role of the Citizen Armed Force as protector of the country and its people. In particular, the reserve force, in tandem with the regular counterparts, has played a significant role in maintaining internal security and stability by actively participating in humanitarian assistance, disaster response and community development activities. Let us all continue to work together for peace and progress in our country. Congratulations to all of us and Mabuhay Tayong Lahat!” Farnacio added.





DTI backs electronics industry development

Calls for closer industry-academe ties towards innovation

June 22, 2017

PASAY – Relevant industry players should continue partnering with the Philippine government in developing further the electronics industry, being one of the primary sources of economic growth today, the country’s trade chief said.

Stressing the robust Philippine economy and a booming global market, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez outlined government initiatives to strengthen the electronics industry, as well as DTI’s partnership with industry stakeholders.

Said initiatives include projects that will move the industry’s capabilities to higher value activities, as well as help identify products and technologies in the developing sectors of electronics in the next five years. DTI and the Board of Investments (BOI) also have active partnerships with other institutions to forward capacity-building programs and exchange of best industry practices.

In his keynote speech at the 14th Philippine Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition (PSECE) on 21 June, Sec. Lopez said that closer industry-academe linkages can lead to a stronger electronics industry that will later on “generate inclusive economic growth, reaching those at the bottom of the pyramid.”

As one of the pillars of the country’s industrial growth and one of the top 12 industry priorities of the current administration, the electronics industry is a top export performer with a 51.3% share of total exports in 2016 (worth USD 28.8 billion). The industry has also generated about 2.6 million direct and indirect employments as of 2015.

He also mentioned that as the Philippines chairs ASEAN 2017, the government’s priority is to lead an inclusive, innovation-led growth, which means working to create an enabling environment to develop micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and prepare them to become globally competitive, innovative, inclusive and resilient.

“There is a very strong role that innovation plays in helping and enabling a lot of our countrymen to develop an innovation mindset, culture and capability, for them to also have equal chances to success and move up in life,” Sec. Lopez said.

The trade chief noted the need to focus on key areas affecting MSME growth, including the promotion of productivity, technology, and innovation, as well as making these available and accessible to MSMEs.

“If we are able to broaden the capacity and innovation culture to a larger percentage of our population, then we also increase peoples’ chances of becoming successful,” he added.

Sec. Lopez reiterated that Pres. Duterte’s Dutertenomics aims to narrow development gap and widen the gains of economic growth through creation of jobs and income opportunities for all.

Led by the Semiconductor & Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI), the 14th PSECE provides an avenue, wherein public and private stakeholders gather to strategically identify possible areas of cooperation and to learn best industry practices.

“As we gain insight and appreciation on the issues affecting the electronics industry, we are confident that whatever we learn will help us in our efforts to create broad-based growth that generates jobs, fosters entrepreneurship, and gives Filipinos more opportunities,” Sec. Lopez said.





‘Now, a perfect time to expand’ – Lopez to IT-BMP players

June 20, 2017

TAGUIG – The government intensifies its support for the continuous development of the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry, following the industry’s generated revenue of around US$23 billion and direct employment of 1.3 million last year.

Speaking at the office opening of financial institution ING Business Shared Services BV on 20 June, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said that ING’s expansion comes at a perfect time when the Philippines is considered the global leader in IT-BPM, having an annual growth rate of 30% over a decade.

Sec. Lopez also mentioned that IT-BMP’s economic contributions surpass remittances of overseas Filipino workers, making the industry more competitive and growth-driven.

“The industry benefits from an enabling policy environment under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. I encourage the IT-BMP industry players to continue expanding and specifically take advantage of this moment, when the Philippines is experiencing an economic breakout, as further intensified by efforts to improve ease of doing business,” he said.

The trade chief also highlighted that the country has a qualified, highly-trainable, hardworking work force, with notable English proficiency and fast learning curve.

“Filipinos’ adaptability to universal cultures and their high level of commitment and loyalty prove that the country’s greatest asset has always been its people, who will bring inclusive growth to the rest of the country,” he said.

Globally, the Philippines is competitively positioned in terms of talent, costs, and risks relative to established and emerging offshore destinations. Cities from Metro Manila to Clark, to the cities of Cebu, Davao, Santa Rosa, Bacolod, Iloilo, Dumaguete, and Baguio are listed in the 2016 Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations as reported by Tholons.

While the Philippines is the number one global provider of voice BPM services, it is also rapidly expanding in the value-driven non-voice, complex services segments of the industry.

Non-voice services included range from engineering, health care, legal, financial, creative, and software services for the energy, banking, investment, insurance, shipping, media, and other industries.

DTI has set up Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) for IT-BPM, wherein the government invests on training for students to work in the industry.

DTI also has a partnership with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) to run the Service Management Program (SMP), a specialized track for business and IT schools to develop skills in students needed to work in the IT-BPM industry.

The first foreign bank that transitioned into a universal bank in the country, ING offers banking insurance, retirement and investments services with global presence in 40 countries.





NPA harass troops while conducting community service

June 20, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – A squad of Task Group Alpha of 78th Infantry (Warrior) Battalion while conducting Community Service at Barangay Paglaum, Carigara, Leyte was harassed by undetermined number of NPA terrorist group on June 19, 2017 at around 9:10 o’clock in the evening.

This activity is intended to deliver basic services to interior barangays that will promote economic development and will address the problems affecting peace and security.

Initial result of the harassment disclosed that PFC Reynaldo C. Llemos, suffered a gunshot wound on the left side of his stomach. He was immediately brought to Saint Paul’s Hospital, Tacloban City for immediate medical treatment while undetermined casualties on the enemy side.

Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio, 8ID Commander ensures that no matter what conflict may arise that needs to be addressed, the soldiers are ready to dedicate their lives. Your Army in Eastern Visayas will still pursue and continue its mandated duty to protect the welfare of the populace in the far flung areas. The 8ID is calling the massive support of the communities to report any presence of armed group in their barangays to help stop violence that hinders the fast development of the region.





Philippine Airlines orders seven more Bombardier Q400 aircraft

Philippine Airlines Bombardier Q400

June 19, 2017

TORONTO, Ontario – Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced today, from the International Paris Air Show, that it has signed an agreement with Philippine Airlines, Inc. for the exercise of its seven Q400 aircraft purchase rights. This latest rights exercise brings Philippine Airlines' total firm order to twelve Q400 aircraft. The original firm order for five Q400 with purchase rights for an additional seven was previously announced on December 8, 2016.

Based on the list price of the Q400 aircraft, the firm order is valued at approximately US$235 million.

"The Q400 aircraft have helped airlines around the world expand their networks, and capture new opportunities" said Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. "We are delighted that Philippine Airlines is growing its fleet with more Q400 aircraft, and are confident that the airline will benefit from the aircraft's outstanding economics and performance."

"As we position ourselves for growth, we are pleased to be adding more Q400 to our fleet," said Jaime J. Bautista, President & Chief Operating Officer, Philippine Airlines. "We are thrilled about the opportunities that lie ahead, and we look forward to offering more capacity and improving connectivity in the region with comfortable, fast and efficient regional aircraft like Bombardier's 86-seat turboprops."

The flag carrier of the Philippines is expected to take delivery of the world's first dual-class, 86-seat Q400 aircraft in July 2017.

Including this latest order, Bombardier has now recorded a total of 585 Q400 aircraft on firm order.





Big labor group ALU lauded Lorenzana and Año for sophisticated and careful generalship of Maute and Martial Law in Mindanao

By Associated Labor Unions
June 15, 2017

QUEZON CITY – The country’s biggest labor group the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) today calls for recognition for the nuanced sophisticated leadership of both Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año in this difficult hour of our nation’s history.

The ALU-TUCP lauds Lorenzana and Año for their adherence to the highest standards of professionalism and patriotism in the fight against the Maute terrorist group and in the deliberate and measured tenor of their administration of martial law in Mindanao.

“We warrant full confidence that Secretary Lorenzana and General Año will make the courageous, careful and deliberate moves to counter the seriousness of the Maute threat. The Maute group is the new generation of Muslim youth disgruntled with the failed strategies and tactics of their MILF and MNLF elders and who are now adopting the new social media as the new political fashion for organizing their struggle,” ALU vice president Louie Corral said.

While the Maute’s are seeking to legitimize by identifying themselves as ISIS, Secretary Lorenzana and General Año are systematically reducing their military capacity and annihilating their political potential.

“Let us take our cues from these officers and gentlemen rather than listening to the siren calls of opportunists trying to make political hay of the conflict. We know that both Lorenzana and Año are running an intelligent and intelligence-based interdiction to minimize both troop losses and civilian casualties. We also feel that that their leadership of the military effort is taking proper heed that both the MILF and MNLF secessions can be taken advantage of to evolve into something more sinister and evil. Thanks to their appreciation of the facts on the ground and political sophistication, they are drawing the bounds and scope of both military and political intervention,” Corral said.

We encourage support for both Lorenzana and Año in their difficult task. They have avoided reckless warmongering and irresponsible scaremongering of those wrapping the Philippine flag around themselves while engaging in self-promotion and aggrandizement.

This war against the Maute will not be solved by political adventurism or politicos. Let us fight the fire in one room intelligently now, lest by incautious calculation we destroy the whole house. Let us support our troops in this struggle. Let us support the political and military maturity of Lorenzana and Año to seeing us through this crisis soonest, he added.





Lopez to sari-sari store owners: gov’t is your expansion partner

June 15, 2017

MANILA – Filipino sari-sari store owners can count on the government to finance their dream expansion through the Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3), the country’s trade chief said.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez encouraged sari-sari store owners, who belong to the sector of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to consider expansion plans through the P3 program, a direct alternative to the “5-6” lending scheme.

“Sari-sari stores form part the economic backbone of the country. Providing them more opportunities can only mean greater economic development,” said Sec. Lopez during the appreciation and awarding ceremonies of supermarket chain Puregold on 14 June.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s P1 billion financing program offers an affordable, MSME-friendly micro-financing system, whose priority beneficiaries include microenterprises and entrepreneurs that do not have easy access to credit, or are accessing credit at very high cost, such as, micro-entrepreneurs, market vendors, agri-businessmen and members of cooperatives, industry associations and co-operators.

“Loanable amount has interest rate ranging from 20 to 25% per annum with no collateral requirement. This rate is substantially lower than what is being charged by 5-6 loan sharks,” he said, adding that the government hopes that through the P3 Program, it will be able to reach and help even the smallest of entrepreneurs in the countryside.

The trade chief expressed hoped that Puregold continue its advocacy of assisting sari-sari store owners increase their potential earnings through the Tindahan ni Aling Puring program, as it complements DTI’s grand objective of helping MSMEs level-up and contribute to national development.

Meanwhile, reading Pres. Duterte’s message for the event, Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa urged stakeholders to make MSMEs “globally competitive through sustainable and innovative business practices.”

Puregold’s Lucio Co highlighted the significance of sari-sari stores as the immediate go-to pantry of the common Filipino household, adding that establishing one has likewise become “the business of choice” of returning overseas Filipino workers.

“The shared vision to address inequality and reduce income gaps is the thrust of the Durtertenomics. The current growth story of the Philippines can only matter more to our countrymen if it reaches the bottom of the pyramid,” said Sec. Lopez.

“As we strengthen the industries to create more jobs, DTI’s programs are available to encourage and to inspire Filipinos to give entrepreneurship a good try,” he added.

Puregold, which currently caters to about 10 million Filipino households and employs 52,000 and growing, recognized its top 20 gold members, as well as those with highest sales, highest growth and best merchandise.






Virgin Coconut Oil from ProSource International Inc.
Virgin Coconut Oil from ProSource International Inc. is one of the products to be featured in Taipei International Food Show this coming June.

16 top PH firm joins major Taiwan food show

DTI-CITEM targets US$22M export deals in Taiwan food market

June 15, 2017

PASAY CITY – Sixteen Philippine companies are set to exhibit at Taipei International Food Show or popularly known as Food Taipei this June 21-24 June 2017, held at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center. Organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and considered as one of Asia’s leading food shows, the show will coincide with five events and over 1,500 exhibiting companies.

The FoodPHILIPPINES exhibition is part of the efforts of the Department of Trade and Industry, through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM), to strengthen the position of Philippines as a leading source of premium, natural, healthy, and ready-to-eat processed food and beverages in the Taiwan food market. Exhibitors will be representing the Philippines’ Premium Products such as Coconut, Banana, Cacao, and Tuna and other healthy products.

Tagged as one of Asia’s “Four Tigers,” Taiwan has a vibrant economy and is considered as one of the richest in Asia.

“Our aim is to increase market share of Philippine food exports to Taiwan by achieving at least USD 22 million worth of export sales. For the longest time, Taiwan has been increasingly reliant on food and agricultural imports due to the country’s limited arable land and agricultural production. This factor enhances the market opportunities for the Philippines, to penetrate the Taiwan food market,” says Clayton Tugonon, Executive Director of CITEM, or the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions.

The exhibitor team is composed of manufacturers and exporters of products from the southern regions, focusing on a mix of fresh and processed healthy/natural products, Halal, ready-to-eat food, and industrial ingredients.

Exhibitors includes: Raw Brown Sugar Milling Co., Inc. for organic muscovado sugar, Prosource International Inc. for virgin coconut oil, nectar, amino; Pasciolco Agri-Ventures for virgin coconut oil, coco sugar, coco jam, and coco sap vinegar; Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation for unsweetened chocolate, roasted cacao nibs, and dark chocolate; Fitrite Inc. for fruit juices, noodles, mixes, bagoong; Year Luck Food And Industrial Corporation for soft-serve ice cream powder, as well as ice cream cones- waffles and wafers.

Also participating are Tropicana Food Products Inc. with their virgin coconut oil; CJ Uniworld Corp. for banana chips, Celebes Canning Corporation for canned tuna, pouched tuna, and frozen tuna; DMI Medical Supply-Food Div. for the MX3 Food Supplement, MX3 coffee and MX3 tea which uses xanthone from mangosteen; JNRM Corporation with native pre-mixed delicacies and flavor syrups.

DTI-CITEM also partnered with DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) to feature in the Taiwan the export-ready products of companies under the Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters (RIPPLES) Plus Program. Under the RIPPLES Plus Program, participating are Mama Tina Pasta with their Noodles, Pasta, Canned Meat; Green Life Coconut Products Philippines, Inc. with their coconut butter, organic coconut cider vinegar, organic coconut spirit; Team Asia Corporation with their coconut oil, VCO, and other coconut related products, coconut products, vegan coconut powder; and Weambard International Traders, Inc. with their canned fruit products in light syrup, mango slice, mango bits with nata de coco bits, banana (whole saba) mango puree with sago, young coconut strings.

The Department Of Science And Technology - Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) will also exhibit the products made using the Philippines' state-of-the-art food technologies and equipment.

The food and drinks sector is the fifth largest industry in Taiwan and one of the market’s fastest growing sectors. Attendees are expected to range from local supermarkets, hypermarkets, and convenience stores as these increase range of imported foods to meet demand.

The Food Taipei 2017 visitor profile includes importers/wholesalers, distributors, hotel owners/representatives, restaurant and bakery owner, online retailers coming from China, Japan, and Hong Kong as well as Malaysia, USA and Singapore.

Philippine products to be exported to Taiwan must adhere to the requirements specified by Taiwan’s Food Safety and Sanitation Act (FSSA), a new and improved food safety system. As such, products have complied with their requirements for quality and package labeling.

The retail sector and consumer foodservice industry in Taiwan continue to emerge as lucrative markets for Philippine products, due to Taiwan’s busy lifestyle. Substantiating this is the rapidly expanding foodservice industry, which is forecast to reach sales of US$21.6 billion by 2017 (AAFC, 2014). The Taiwan food industry thus poses an attractive destination for the high-quality products of Philippine manufacturers, suppliers, and exporters.






Biliran diversion road project
On-going Construction of Biliran Diversion Road, Biliran, Biliran with an accomplishment of 60% as of May 31, 2017.

Biliran diversion road project to resume construction work

Press Release
June 15, 2017

NAVAL, Biliran – The P43M Construction of Biliran Diversion Road project will resume its construction activities after problem on Road-Right of-Way (RROW) has been settled. This is revealed by Engr. David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)- Biliran District Engineering Office (BDEO).

“We can now issue resume work order to the contractor because the permit to enter was signed by the affected landowner,” said Adongay.

According to Adongay, the construction of Biliran Diversion road was hindered to proceed with the implementation because one of the landowners affected in the road opening refused to sign the “Permit to Enter”.

Ms. Edwina N. Tan, RROW agent revealed that the problem on diversion road was settled by paying the affected landowner the exact amount as computed based on the assessed value of his lot.

Engr. Albert Cañete, project engineer said that once the resume work order will be issued, contractor will be advised to render over time work 24/7.

“The construction of Biliran Diversion Road at Biliran, Biliran has accomplished 60% as of May 30, 2017 and if weather condition is good, hopefully we can finish it by August or September this year,” Cañete said.

The completion of the project will provide the traveling public coming from Tacloban City, Ormoc City, Baybay City and from other neighboring municipalities going to the northern and eastern part of Biliran Province and vice versa in a much safer and faster transport of goods and services and at a reduced travel time by 20 minutes. The population to be served by the road ranges from 120,000 to 135,000, 7 Municipalities and 50 Barangays.





MSME receives 5th International award in chocolate competition

Malagos Unsweetened Chocolate

June 9, 2017

MANILA – It’s another Silver for the cacao farmers from Davao City! Malagos Unsweetened Chocolate won its 5th International award in a Chocolate Competition recently held at the Academy of Chocolate in London, United Kingdom – a group of industry professionals promoting excellence in fine chocolate-making. The announcement was made on June 5, 2017 on the Academy’s website (http://acadofchoc.com).

Malagos Chocolates has been an active participant and supporter of all trade fairs/events organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Malagos Chocolates is also one of the MSMEs participating as Partner-Supplier of DTI in the Go Lokal! Stores Project. For interested chocolate lovers, product samples will be available at the Go Lokal! Concept Store@DTI slated to open for June 30, 2017.

Malagos’ Dark Collection is 100% pure cocoa liquor – chocolate in its purest form – and a five time winner of international awards: Silver in the Drinking Chocolate Category and Two Stars (out of Three Stars) at the 2016 Academy of Chocolate and Great Taste Awards in London, United Kingdom respectively; won the Silver in the 2015 World Drinking Chocolate Competition organized by the International Chocolate Awards in Hannover, Germany and in April of the same year, Malagos 65% Dark Chocolate won Bronze for Best Unflavored Drinking Chocolate at the 2015 Academy of Chocolate Awards in London, UK.





Increased health risks feared among people displaced by Marawi fighting

June 8, 2017

MANILA – The start of the rainy season in the Philippines may add burden to the thousands of people displaced by the fighting in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, southern Philippines.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has observed an increase in the number of reported cases of diarrhea, upper respiratory infection, hypertension and fever in different health facilities providing medical assistance to the displaced residents, particularly those who are staying in evacuation centers.

“We may have survived the fighting in Marawi, but I’m still concerned for the children and old people like me. Now that we’re here at the evacuation center, everything seems so uncertain. The rains are so strong and many are getting sick,” said Alimpay Macaagir, a 64-year-old evacuee at a covered court in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur.

More than 200,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Marawi City. Majority of the evacuees are temporarily seeking shelter with their relatives. On the other hand, thousands of them who have nowhere to go are cramped in evacuation centers, within and outside the city, for more than two weeks now.

According to Jose Amigo, Health Coordinator of the ICRC in the Philippines, the increase in the number of cases is due to the displaced population’s current living condition. “They – particularly children and the elderlies – become at risk to water-borne diseases because of their limited access to basic water and sanitation facilities. They also become prone to communicable diseases because of the limited space in evacuation centers.”

Amigo added, “The health situation is not yet critical at this point, but we fear that this may worsen in the coming days with prolonged displacement.”

In support of the local health units’ efforts to address this concern, the ICRC has been working closely with hospitals and other health facilities within and around Marawi City to augment their existing capacity.

To date, the ICRC has provided additional medicines and medical supplies to 11 hospitals and health facilities in Iligan and Balo-i in Lanao del Norte, and Tamparan, Balindong, Piagapo, Saguiaran and Marawi in Lanao del Sur.

The ICRC has also supported the mini-hospital setup by the rural health unit of Saguiaran by providing 10 folding beds for patients, and a supplementary kit of essential medicines and medical supplies that can serve 10,000 individuals for three months.

“We have been working closely with the Department of Health (DOH) since the fighting in Marawi broke out, and we commend the good job that they have been doing on the ground despite all the challenges that they face. The ICRC will continue to be one of the active partners of DOH, supporting its efforts in providing the much needed medical assistance to the people affected by the conflict,” said Amigo.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization that protects and assists victims of armed conflict. It has a mandate to promote knowledge on and respect for international humanitarian law.





Mondragon Declared as Stable Internal Peace and Security Condition Municipality in Northern Samar

Mondragon, Northern Samar

June 7, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 20th Infantry (We Lead) Battalion together with the Northern Samar Police Provincial Office declared the Municipality of Mondragon, Northern Samar as Stable Internal Peace Security Condition on June 6, 2017 at the Mondragon Municipal Hall, Northern Samar.

The highlight of the event was the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the AFP represented by Brig. Gen. Mario G. Lacurom, Commander 803rd Infantry Brigade, PSupt. Cezar Zafiro Tannagan, Provincial Director of Northern Samar Police Provincial Office and Hon. Mario M. Madera after which the Oath of the Pledge of Commitment followed.

Mayor Madera was thankful to the AFP as well as to the NSPPO for the unending support given to them. He likewise emphasized that the solution to the countless problems can never be achieved through the barrel of guns but through the oneness of the community of Mondragon.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col Noly F. Lapizar, Commander 20th Infantry (We Lead) Battalion encouraged the participants to do their role to preserve the security gains and development of their community.

Further, Brig. Gen. Lacurom, lauded that this declaration is one-step toward the continuous growth and development of Mondragon. “Let us affirm our commitment to adhere to our common goal of achieving a peaceful and sustainable development in the whole province of Northern Samar,” Brig. Gen. Lacurom added.





ABAC Philippines to focus on MSMEs in pursuing inclusive growth agenda

Press Release
June 7, 2017

MAKATI CITY – MSME Development. This is the main thrust of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Philippines as it presented the priority work areas in the meeting with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez following the second ABAC meeting for 2017 last 25-29 April in Seoul, Korea.

“This is a very welcome development and a boost to the MSMEs that comprise 99.5% of the establishments in the country,” said Sec. Lopez. “The DTI has already been laying the ground work for strengthening MSMEs, especially with the participation of the youth and women. Now as we chair ASEAN this 2017, we likewise put the spotlight on MSMEs and entrepreneurship, as well as the sector’s integration in the global value chains.”

APEC Philippines, through DTI, is working on the development of an APEC SME Marketplace as a one-stop shop for SMEs in the region. This online portal is envisioned to provide useful information such as the MSME policies and regimes in different economies. Ultimately, the project aims to serve as a platform for SMEs to access and tap into global markets and transact with other players in the region.

According to ABAC Philippines Chair Tomas Alcantara, it is important to take advantage of this opportunity and ensure that SMEs in the country will optimize use and benefit from the system. “ABAC PH’s first project will help advance MSMEs interests by developing a pilot Philippine SME Marketplace. We are trying to make concrete outcomes by facilitating linkages between SMEs and domestic market first, then to two or more international markets. After that to ASEAN, eventually to APEC, and then finally, the global market.”

With the very broad and varying interests of the 21 APEC economies, the Philippine team will be keen in realizing its key priority areas. Aside from MSMEs, the group has also expressed interest in Infrastructure Investment. A specific initiative being discussed in ABAC is related to the Islamic Infrastructure Investment Platform (I3P). ABAC Philippines will look into how the Philippines can tap into the available funds from the Islamic banks in the region. Mr. Alcantara added, “With guidance and support from the DOF, ABAC Philippines will help develop a viable Islamic financial regime to benefit Islamic banks and investments in the country, ultimately to contribute to the development of Mindanao.”

“ABAC Philippines will work on identifying and enhancing the country’s comparative advantage and unique proposition so we can optimize and at the same time add value to our participation in APEC – now and on a continuing basis for the long term,” the chair concluded.






8ID Candidate Soldiers
Members of Candidate Soldier Course Class 462-2017 take their oath during the opening ceremony at Camp Eugenio Daza, Barangay Fatima, Hinabangan, Samar on June 1, 2017.

135 Candidate Soldiers take oath

June 1, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The Candidate Soldiers Course Class 462-2017 composed of 135 new aspirants was formally opened on June 1, 2017 at Stormtroopers Jungle Base, Camp Eugenio Daza, Barangay Fatima, Hinabangan, Samar with Brig. Gen. Francisco F. Mendoza,Jr, Commander, 802nd Infantry (Peerless) Brigade, Philippine Army as the Keynote Speaker.

The majority of the newly selected batch of Candidate Soldiers came from the island of Samar 76; 32 from Leyte and Southern Leyte; four from Bohol; eight from Luzon; and 15 from the island of Mindanao. Three of them are licensed professionals; 18 are college graduates and mostly reached in high school level with TESDA schoolings.

They will be honed for the duration of six months in basic military training and tactics and will serve as additional soldiers that will beef-up the personnel strength of the whole 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division to include the Infantry Battalions deployed in Mindanao.

Brig. Gen. Francisco F Mendoza, Jr. in his message said, “Inaasahan ko na kayong lahat, pagkalipas ng anim na buwan ay kumpleto kayong magtatapos at taas noong ninyong haharapin ang inyong graduation at ang inyong panunumpa bilang mga newly enlisted privates ng Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas.

“At inaasahan ko rin, kapag kayo ay naging ganap na sundalong Philippine Army, ay matatapos ninyo ang inyong serbisyo ng buong husay at nang buong katapatan. Yan ang hamon na iiwan ko sa inyo bilang mga susunod na magigiting naming sundalo,” Brig Gen Mendoza added.





Thousands of lives at stake in Marawi City fighting

June 1, 2017

MANILA – Ten days into the hostilities in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, southern Philippines, civilian lives are at stake as the number of casualties continue to grow and nearly 2,000 residents remain trapped in the city.

“We are extremely concerned about the residents who could not leave their homes because of the fighting, and also those who are reportedly being held against their will. We are also deeply worried about reports of civilians being killed,” said Pascal Porchet, Head of Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the Philippines.

“Targeting civilians is prohibited by international humanitarian law (IHL), and all feasible precautions must be taken to protect them in military operations. We urge all those involved in the fighting to protect civilian lives, and are hopeful that those held against their will are being treated humanely and will be released. We stand ready to serve as a neutral intermediary to evacuate civilians caught between the fighting,” he stressed.

The ICRC has been actively supporting authorities in the management of dead bodies. It has donated 160 body bags, as well as gloves and masks, to help the authorities with the proper retrieval of the bodies.

The ICRC has also been negotiating for safe access to trapped civilians in Marawi by engaging in a constant dialogue with all parties to the conflict. However, the current security situation does not yet allow the ICRC to bring them all to safety. It has however transported nearly 600 people from Marawi City to the Saguiaran evacuation center or even as far as Iligan.

International humanitarian law (IHL) limits the means and methods of warfare and protects people who do not take part in the fighting (i.e. civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (i.e. wounded, sick, captured or detained fighters). These limits are particularly meaningful when military operations are conducted in populated areas where the risk of harm to civilians and civilian objects, including essential infrastructure, increases.

Since the onset of the fighting, the ICRC has been on the ground assisting the population affected by it. It has also been reminding parties to the conflict to spare the lives of those who are not participating in the hostilities. Together with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the ICRC has distributed relief items to more than 10,000 displaced people, provided an equal number of people with access to clean water, and enhanced the capacity of six local health facilities to provide basic health care to thousands of people through the donation of medical supplies.

“We have started conducting full assessment of the conditions of displaced people in hard-to-reach evacuation centers, to give us a better picture of the humanitarian needs. We hope to also assess the western and eastern parts of Lanao Lake once the security situation allows us to do so,” said Porchet.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization that protects and assists victims of armed conflict. It has an international mandate to promote knowledge for and respect of IHL.





Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) to go nationwide

May 31, 2017

MAKATI CITY – Micro entrepreneurs around the country will now have access to cheap and easy credit as the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) will now be made available nationwide on May 31, 2017.

DTI Undersecretary for Regional Operations Zenaida Maglaya said the administration’s brainchild of micro-finance facility encourages micro entrepreneurs to borrow money from P3 that will help them finance their businesses.

“P3 is intended to help the underprivileged Filipino entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses. With this program, they can access cheap and easy credit without any hassle. After filling out a half-page application and presenting necessary documents, the money can be released within the day,” Maglaya explained.

With sufficient funds to provide to borrowers, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and its micro-financing arm Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) will lead the implementation that will assist micro entrepreneurs financially and enable them to grow their businesses.

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

“After we’ve launched the P3 in Tacloban, Occidental Mindoro, and Sarangani in January 2017, P3 is now going nationwide. We hope this will encourage micro entrepreneurs to patronize the government’s program so we can eliminate loan sharks,” Maglaya said.

National conduits and local Micro-financing Institutions (MFIs) have already been accredited by the SB Corp to assist in distributing the funds to micro entrepreneurs. The national level conduits are Radiowealth Finance Company (RFC), Taytay sa Kauswagan, Inc. (TSKI), and Mindanao Alliance of Self-Help Societies – Southern Philippines Educational Cooperative Center (MASS-SPECC).

Meanwhile, 18 local (MFIs) are accredited in Luzon, 6 in Visayas and 3 in Mindanao. A total of P104.9 million have been released to P3 conduits as of today (May 31, 2017).

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, eliminate loan sharks, 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. with accredited 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.

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. A total of P7.7 million have been released to individual borrowers in these pilot areas: P3.5 million in Mindoro, P2.2million in Sarangani, and P1.8 million in Leyte.

The primary beneficiaries of the P3 Program are micro-enterprises 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 range between P5,000 and P100,000, with no collateral requirement.





Army troops clashed again with the NPAs in Matuguinao, Samar

May 26, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – Another clash between the troops of 43rd Infantry (We Search) Battalion and the NPA terrorists took place today at 8:30 a.m. at Barangay Mahayag, Matuguinao, Samar.

Upon receiving a warning coming from a concerned villager on the presence of the armed group conducting illegal activities in the community, troops immediately responded and encountered more or less 60 rebels.

During the heat of the firefight, the 3rd Field Artillery Battalion launched rounds of artillery fire support to the engaging troops to pin down the striking enemies.

Initial result of the encounter disclosed that there was no casualty on the government side while undetermined on the enemy side.

During the tension, the military troops ensured the safety of the community and were advised not to go home until the clash is over.

Maj Gen Raul M Farnacio said that the 8th Infantry Division will pursue its combat operation to hunt these terrorists who are continuing illegal activities that disturb the well-being of our people. In planning and conducting operations, the Army puts the people’s welfare and well-being above all other consideration.





Rule of law, human rights must prevail – Cuy

Press Release
May 26, 2017

QUEZON CITY – With the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Catalino S. Cuy today enjoined DILG offices and attached agencies to observe the rule of law and ensure the observance of human rights in the southern region.

In a directive, Cuy said that Martial Law does not suspend the operation of the Philippine Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies even if the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has already been suspended over the entire Mindanao region.

“As part of the observance of the rule of law and recognition of the supremacy of civilian authority even in areas covered by the proclamation or suspension of the writ, all DILG officials and employees, including those from the attached agencies, should refrain from doing acts obstructive of our regular deliverables to the public unless prevented or restrained by the duly constituted authorities,” he said.

Cuy issued the directive to DILG regional directors, provincial and city directors, the Philippine National Police, other attached agencies and bureaus, field officers and others concerns as guidance on the Presidential Proclamation of Martial Law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

In the said directive, he pointed out that any arrest, search and seizure done in areas where the proclamation was made or Martial Law is effective should comply with existing laws, rules and regulations notably the Constitution and the Revised Rules of Court.

He also said that the suspension of the privilege of the writ applies only to a person judicially charged for rebellion or invasion and such person must be charged within three days, outside of that, habeas corpus must persist. The proclamation of Martial Law also does not affect the right to bail.

“Everyone is enjoined to adhere and support the purpose and reasons for the proclamation of Martial Law and suspension of the privilege of the writ in Mindanao, bearing into consideration that this was done to restore and maintain peace and order in the areas covered,” he said.

According to Cuy, the proclamation of Martial Law and suspension of the privilege of the writ, as interim measures, are also subject to review and possible revocation by the Congress, review and nullification of the Supreme Court, and a time limit of 60 days.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte placed the Mindanao region under Martial Law pursuant to Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution following the violent attacks in Marawi City.






DAR Samar turn-over
Outgoing Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer-II of Samar Leovigildo Monge (5th from L) turns over the symbolic key of responsibility to his successor Enrique Granados III (5th from R) in a ceremony witnessed by DAR Regional Director Sheila Enciso (4th from R), Assistant Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay (3rd from L), and all the DAR officials of said province.

DAR installs new provincial heads

May 26, 2017

CATBALOGAN, Samar – Eastern Samar Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer-II (PARPO-II) Enrique Granados III now heads the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) provincial office in Samar after he was installed on Monday by Regional Director Sheila Enciso.

Granados replaced Leovigildo Monge, by virtue of Special Order No. 250, series of 2017 issued by Secretary Rafael Mariano early this month, as the latter will retire from government service on his 65th birthday on May 28.

In his acceptance message, Granados said that his new assignment is a challenge to him on how to maintain the impressive performance of Samar under PARPO Monge. DAR-Samar in 2015 was recognized among top performers.

According to Land Tenure Improvement Division Chief Celsa Mabutin, though they expect a different management style, they need the expertise of PARPO Granados in the documentation of distributed but not yet documented (DNYD) lands.

Granados, 60, joined DAR in 1983 as Senior Land Acquisition and Allocation Officer. He became Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) in 1988 before becoming chief of the Beneficiaries Development Coordinating Division (BDCD) and the Operations Division on separate occasions.

In 2003, he was designated PARPO-II for Northern Samar. He also became the DAR provincial chief in Leyte prior to his assignment in Eastern Samar where he served for eight years.

Meanwhile, on May 12 before reporting to his new assignment, Granados turned over his responsibilities in Eastern Samar to PARPO-I Gilberto Apilado who was designated PARPO-II for the said province under the same special order.

Apilado, 55, joined DAR in 1990 as Agricultural Engineer II. He was promoted to Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer (CARPO) for BDCD and was later on designated as PARPO-I.

Further, Chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division Teresita Caballa-Alde, 60, will take the place of Apilado as PARPO-I.

For a smooth transition, Enciso urged all employees of both provinces to extend to the incoming officials the same support they had given to Monge and Granados during their time.





ICRC steps up response to needs linked to fighting in Marawi City

May 26, 207

MANILA – Thousands of people continue to flee the fighting in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province, southern Philippines, seeking safety in neighboring areas such as Iligan City. Many families are staying with relatives, while others went to evacuation centers or sought shelters in schools.

“This morning, our team has finally entered Marawi City and delivered 1,000 water jugs to the displaced families at the provincial capitol, and transported at least 300 residents from Marawi to the evacuation center in Saguiaran. We were able to access Marawi as we are in touch with various stakeholders,” said Pascal Porchet, Head of Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the Philippines.

“The situation is very fluid. Residents are moving in and out of Marawi, and we are seriously concerned about those who are trapped or have chosen to stay in the city, who are in need of food and water. This is currently a challenge for our teams on the ground as they assess the situation in order to have a clear picture of the number of displaced people and their needs,” he added.

In Iligan, the ICRC has prepositioned medical supplies to reinforce the capacity of rural health units in addressing the basic health needs of displaced people. They include basic medicines, antibiotics, dressing materials; as well as injectable medication and intravenous fluids that can support 30,000 people in three months. One of these kits will be delivered to the RHU in Saguiaran this afternoon.

Medical items to treat wounded people have also been dispatched, for hospitals that may need replenishment. In addition, food, essential household items and hygiene kits will be dispatched to Iligan from the ICRC warehouse in Davao this afternoon for prepositioning.

The ICRC also provided first-aid bags and dressing kits to support the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chapters in Marawi and Iligan cities. It has also provided resources for the mobilization of PRC’s volunteer force in case a greater response is needed. The PRC and the ICRC will coordinate the response according to the needs. The PRC is ICRC’s primary partner in the country.

With the ongoing hostilities in Marawi City, and with some residents remaining there, Porchet urged those involved in the fighting to take the necessary precautions to spare civilians and their property.

“International humanitarian law (IHL) remains applicable in this situation, even after the declaration of martial law in Mindanao. As such, it must be respected at all times and by all the parties. People who may be arrested must be treated humanely and the ICRC will continue to monitor their conditions and treatment,” he said.

IHL limits the means and methods of warfare and protects people who do not take part in the fighting (i.e civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (i.e. wounded, sick, captured or detained fighters). These limits are particularly meaningful in populated areas where the risk of harm to civilians and civilian objects, including essential infrastructure, increases.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization that protects and assists victims of armed conflict. It has an international mandate to promote knowledge for and respect of IHL.






Loading and Unloading Bays
Completed construction of Turn-out (Loading and Unloading Bays) along Biliran Circumferential Road, Kawayan, Biliran with a construction budget of P2.550M. The completed project will provide a safe area to load and unload passengers, goods, agricultural and aquatic products for ready transport to market centers.

Updates on Biliran DEO’s 2017 infrastructure projects

Press Release
May 23, 2017

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways Biliran District Engineering Office (DPWH-BDEO) is now in full swing in the implementation of its FY 2017 Infrastructure Projects. Contractors mostly started at their own risks to attain the target schedule and to avail of the good weather condition.

As of April 30, 2017, the District has an overall actual accomplishment of 8.02% with a positive slippage of 2.45%.

The District has been allotted P940.730M under FY 2017 DPWH Infrastructure Program with a total final listing of 57 projects based on the General Appropriation Act (GAA). Out of 57 projects, 31 projects are on-going, 25 are Not Yet Started (NYS) and one (1) project is completed.

The completed project is the Construction of Turn-out (Loading and Unloading Bays) along Biliran Circumferential Road, Kawayan, Biliran with a construction budget of P2.550M.

The project was prioritized because of its immediate need on the location. The section is located along a National Road at Poblacion of Kawayan, where public utility vehicles mostly stops, to load and unload passengers, goods, agricultural and aquatic products from and to market centers. The completed project will provide a safe area to load and unload passengers, goods, agricultural and aquatic products for ready transport to market centers. This project will benefit more or less 3,500 passengers mostly from the northern part of the Island and from the capital town (Naval) of Biliran Province.

Some Major Infrastructure projects of 2017 have also started and is up for completion in the month of May, 2017. These projects are the Off-Carriageway Improvement along Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road, Repair of Busali Bridge, Biliran, Biliran and Repair of Mapula Bridge, Caibiran Biliran with an accomplishment of 90% as of April 31, 2017.

As of this writing, the district had already bid-out 52 projects while five projects are scheduled to be bid out on a later date.






DPWH-Biliran DEO communication development program award
From R: Engr. Alfredo L. Bollido, OIC-Assistant District Engineer and Mr. Bern L. Calomadre, Chief of Administrative Section bestow the Certificate of Recognition to Engr. Rosario B. Rosete, PIO-Designate together with PIO-Alternates, Engr. Frechbee L. Sabile, Ms. Chelsea C. Quijano, and Engr. Gene F. Delfin on April 3, 2017 at the DPWH-Biliran Open ground after the flag raising ceremony.

DPWH-Biliran DEO awarded 2nd place in communication development program for 2016

Press Release
May 21, 2017

NAVAL, Biliran – The Department of Public Works and Highways Biliran District Engineering Office (DPWH-BDEO) has been awarded as 2nd place for the successful implementation of the Communication Development Program of the Department for the year 2016.

The award thru a Certificate of Recognition was received by Engr. David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer of Biliran DEO on March 28, 2017 at DPWH Multipurpose Building, Region 8, Palo, Leyte during the Regional Monthly Coordination Meeting and was presented to District Public Information Officer (PIO-Designate) Engr. Rosario B. Rosete together with her PIO-Alternates Engr. Gene F. Delfin, Engr. Frechbee L. Sabile, and Ms. Chelsea C. Quijano on April 3, 2017 after the flag raising ceremony.

The certificate of recognition was bestowed in appreciation for the contribution and commitment in the successful implementation of the Development Communication Program of the Department thru information dissemination about its projects and accomplishment in advocating its various programs in helping the department adapt to the demands of the environment such as IT, Social Media, Swift Resolution of RFAS/ 165-02/ Customer Feedback Complains /8888 etc. and in implementing the social marketing programs of the Department in order to strengthen its relationship with external stakeholders in year 2016, thus, the citation reads.

Rosete expressed her gratitude to all who contributed for the Communication Development Reports especially from the different sections in the office, to her PIO-Alternates and to District Engineer Adongay, Jr. for actively supporting the Communication Development Program of the District.

In 2014 and 2015, DPWH-BDEO was also awarded as 2nd place in the most number of Communication Development Reports submitted.

The awards were given to the top 5 performers in the DPWH Eastern Visayas Region having Samar 1st District Engineering Office as 1st place, followed by Biliran District Engineering Office, Southern Leyte Engineering District Office and Northern Samar 2nd District Engineering Office for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place respectively and Leyte 4th District Engineering Office and Leyte 5th Engineering District both for the 5th place out of the 13 District Engineering Offices in Region VIII.






Engr. David P. Adongay Jr.
Engr. David P. Adongay Jr., (wearing hat) District Engineer of Biliran District Engineering Office (BDEO) visits on-going Replacement of Banlas Bridge (B00061BR) along Maripipi Circumferential Road on April 28, 2017. The said project is implemented by Biliran DEO under 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) with an accomplishment of 80% as of April 30, 2017. Upon Adongay’s inspection, the project is on-going with installation of forms and scaffolding for girder and slab of the bridge.

DE Adongay inspects infrastructure projects at Maripipi Island

Press Release
May 21, 2017

NAVAL, Biliran – Engr. David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways Biliran District Engineering Office (DPWH-BDEO) takes time to conduct a round-up inspection of Biliran DEO Infrastructure Projects at Maripipi Island, Naval, Biliran on April 28, 2017.

The Municipality of Maripipi is separated by a narrow channel from the island of Biliran and can be reached by a small boat for about 1.5 hours of travel from Naval, the capital town of Biliran province. It is an island-municipality with a coastal circumference of twenty-four kilometers.

The first project inspected by Engr. Adongay, Jr. is the Rehabilitation/ Reconstruction of Maripipi Circumferential Road. This project is under the implementation of Regional Office 8 with the amount of P135M funded under 2016 General Appropriation Act (GAA). As of April, 2017, it has an accomplishment of 21.08%. The project was started late due to late completion of Preliminary & Detailed Engineering activities. The completed project will provide a standard concrete paved road for the safe and faster transport of goods and services to the capital barangay of the municipality.

Another project inspected by Adongay, Jr. is the on-going Replacement of Banlas Bridge (B00061BR) along Maripipi Circumferential Road. This is a 2016-Carry-over project of Biliran DEO costing 8.7M. Upon Adongay’s inspection, the project is on-going with installation of forms and scaffolding for girder and slab of the bridge with an accomplishment of 80% as of April 30, 2017. Adongay, Jr. said that this project is target to be completed on or before July, 2017. The completed Bridge will provide a standard Bridge (with two lanes) in replacement of the old one which is sub-standard (with one lane only) thereby providing safe passage to the traveling public.

Adongay, Jr. also inspected the just started construction of 2-storey, 8-classroom School Building at Maripipi National Vocational School, Maripipi, Biliran under General Appropriation Act (GAA) of 2016, Batch 13. The project is on-going with the installation of forms and scaffolding for the 1st floor of the building with an accomplishment of 10%. This project has a contract cost of P11.875M under contract with BNL Construction. It is scheduled to be completed on September 23, 2017. Completion of the project will provide additional classrooms for the school hence offering a place conducive to learning for the students. The additional classrooms will accommodate more or less 320 students.





24 Korean exhibitors lead int’l food firms at IFEX Philippines

Korean food exhibitors at IFEX

May 20, 2017

PASAY CITY – Twenty-four Korean companies showcased their leading food and products at IFEX, making it the top foreign exhibitor country at the three-day international food trade fair which started on Friday, May 19, and runs until Sunday, May 21.

This year’s Korean delegation had 23 returning companies and 1 new entrant, presenting their native as well as innovative food and beverages.

Among the group are the top two Korean leading firms in food distribution, manufacturing and service: the CJ Group, a conglomerate that holds both CJ Freshway and CJ Cheiljedang; and the Daesang Corporation, which have combined annual revenue of around $19.8 billion dollars.

“Here in the Philippines, we are looking to create more opportunities for trade and improve our relations with the local companies. We are aware that Filipinos are particularly fond of our product and we are also interested in the tropical products here, especially seafood,” said Shen Shin, Executive Vice President of CJ Freshway.

Targeting the Philippines and Asia’s trade buyers, Korean exports included the iconic seaweed snacks, kimchi, and health beverages. Other products were Gam Moon Yeoun’s soybean paste, Brandacumen’s korean red ginseng, banana milk from Yonsei University Dairy, and Applease Korea Brewery’s Apisode, an apple carbonated hard cider made of fermented Korean apple. There were natural and organic products such as 3B Netrorks’ Smart Bar, made from blueberry, almond, peanut, oat, green tea, and brocolli; and Natural Dream Co.‘s Preto Acai powder, and green tea spreads that seemed to be targeting the younger and trendy market.

Agricultural products from Gyeongbuk Corporation were Apple, Pears, Persimmon, and fruit juices and aloe vera drink from Tulip International.

Food industry experts from ASEAN-KOREA CENTRE Trade Facilitation Workshops in the Philippines also held seminars on Purchasing Trends and Import Procedures of Seafood products, by Mr. YOON Jae-sik; Seafood Merchandiser at CJ Freshway; and Sourcing Trends and Import Procedures of agricultural products by Mr. SONG In-su; Assistant Manager at DAESANG; and Packaging Trend of Food Products and strategy for global market access, by Mr. LEE Young-hwan; Specialist of Strategic Purchasing Team (Packaging team), CJ Cheiljedang.

A total of 85 foreign exhibitors are participating this year, with Korea leading the pack, followed by China with 19 exhibitors, and Taiwan with 11, based on the latest tally.





12 year-old boy apprehended while carrying illegal ammunitions

May 17, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – On May 13, 2017 at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the troops of 803rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade while conducting security patrol in Brgy De Tubang, Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar apprehended a 12-year old boy carrying a half sack of rice that concealed 20 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunitions, three (3) cartridge 7.62 mm, linked for M60 machinegun and two (2) cartridge 5.56 mm linked for K3 machine gun.

After some interview, the child was immediately turned-over to Provincial Social Welfare Development for proper custody and brought to Catarman Provincial Hospital to check his health condition.

This kind of incident is a clear manifestation that the NPA terrorist group violated the International Humanitarian Law stating that children ages 18 below are prohibited to participate in any hostilities and carrying supplies that could merely put their lives into danger.

Thus, Maj Gen Farnacio said, “Let us give our children the chance to grow up while peacefully learning from their youthful experiences and contributing in their own unique ways. NPA should stop recruiting and using minors for their illegal activities”, Farnacio added.





Clashes erupts again, 1 soldier killed

May 17, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 43rd Infantry (We Search) Battalion again clashed with more or less 20 NPA rebels at Barangay Mahayag, Matuguinao, Samar on May 16, 2017 at 9:45 in the morning that resulted to the death of Corporal Renjie P Ada (Inf) PA while undetermined casualty on the enemy’s side. The 15-minute firefight occurred during the combat operation going to the location of the armed group which is according to the concerned villager, asking for assorted foodstuffs and medicines in their area.

A pursuit operation is being conducted to track down and apprehend the rebels. Army units in nearby areas were ordered to conduct checkpoints along possible entries/exits of withdrawals of the enemy and to verify possible accommodation of wounded enemy in nearby hospitals.

Your Army is sincere in its offer of peace. We will ensure the personal safety of those who will choose to lay down their arms and peacefully return to their families. Lay down your arms and return to the comfort of your families and friends. Live peacefully and take care of your children as they grow and become productive members of the community.

Massive military operations will be relentless against these lawless elements as long as peace and development in Eastern Visayas region is at stake.





PH exports up by 18.34% in Q1

May 12, 2017

MAKATI CITY – Philippine exports for the first quarter of 2017 grew by 18.34% after it reflected double-digit growth for March 2017 with 21% total increase amounting to $5.58 billion compared to $4.61 billion recorded value in the same period in 2016, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced.

In the recent report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the increase for March 2017 exports data, an almost double of the 11% year-on-year growth figure posted in February this year, further lifted the cumulative value of merchandise exports covering the period January-March 2017.

“Increase for March 2017 exports marked the fourth consecutive positive growth in the value of Philippine merchandise exports since December 2016,” explained DTI Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen M. Perlada.

For March 2017, electronics remained to be the country’s top export with total receipts of $2.80 billion, accounting for 50.2% of the total exports revenue in March 2017. It increased by 19.0% from $2.36 billion registered in March 2016.

On the other hand, exports of manufactured goods were valued at $4.69 billion, accounting for 84.1% share of the total export receipts in March 2017, went up by 16.5% from $4.03 billion recorded in the same month last year.

United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), with export receipts valued at $809.93 million, topped other countries as the Philippine top export market for March 2017. It is followed by Hong Kong with revenue amounting to $798.25 million, and Japan as third market with $762.43 million export sales.

By economic bloc, East Asia registered to be the top destination of Philippine goods with 46.4% share to total exports, followed by European Union with 16.2% share to total merchandise exports. ASEAN ranked third with 14.9% share in overall Philippine exported goods.

Against other trade-oriented economies, the Philippines landed at third place among the top export performers for March 2017, a major leap after landing 9th place for February 2017. Malaysia topped the list with 24.1% export growth followed by Indonesia with 24% for March 2017.

PH outward shipments for Q1

Covering the first quarter of the year, exports of Philippine electronic products increased significantly by 15.27% while non-electronic goods also posted +21.48%. Positive performance of the five out of nine subsectors of the electronics industry drive growth which contributed 96.65% share in the cumulative total value of the industry. Semiconductors, which grew +16.3% in the first quarter of 2017, remained to be country’s top electronics exports.

Increase for non-electronic goods was driven by the triple-digit growths in Forest Products (+168.1%) and Coconut Products (+133.1%). The rest of the contributing commodities exhibited double-digit increases ranging from 18.7% to 89.4% except for Basketwork (+8.1%) and Travel Goods and Handbags (+7.6%).

Top markets for Q1

Except for Japan, cumulative value of export shipments to top market destinations of the country posted substantive growths in the first quarter of 2017. Combined markets of China and Hong Kong with a share of 23.6% which also grew by 35.94% topped the list of exports destinations. Second to the list with total 15.49% share was USA which rose by 13.66%; followed by Japan with 15.34% total share of exports which declined by 17.41%.

In terms of year-to-date export growth, shipments to the Netherlands, which has 4.12% share in total exports, reflected the highest growth with 55.98%.





Army clashes NPAs, 1 soldier and 1 NPA killed

May 11, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – A tip from a concerned citizen on the presence of armed group in a community triggered the troops of 43rd Infantry (We Search) Battalion to immediately respond on May 10, 2017 at 10 o’ clock in the evening that led to a 10-minute fire fight between the military troops and communist terrorists in the boundaries of Barangay Camayaan, Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar and Barangay San Roque, Matuguinao, Samar.

This resulted to the death of Pfc Jaime C Mabini Jr (Inf) PA while undergoing medical treatment at a nearby hospital and the recovery of one (1) body count from the enemy side.

As of this time, nearby military units and CAA Detachments were alerted to conduct checkpoints along possible entries/exits of withdrawals of the enemy.

Further, the 8ID calls for the active participation of the community in immediately informing nearby military units on the presence of this terrorist group in their area.

We are grateful to serve and protect our beloved people of Eastern Visayas until our last breath, committed to achieve the long lasting peace in the region. Despite of our losses, the 8ID assures that as long as the presence of the armed group still persists in the far flung barangays conducting mass recruitment, collecting revolutionary taxes and instilling psychological fear in the hearts and mind of the populace, we will continuously conduct massive combat operation.





Cayetano proposes to change mandatory retirement age for uniformed personnel

By Office of Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano
May 11, 2017

PASAY CITY – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is proposing to adjust the compulsory retirement age for the country's uniformed men and women from fifty-six (56) to sixty (60) years old.

Cayetano recently filed a measure seeking to adjust the compulsory retirement age for officers and enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), uniformed officers and non-officers of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and members/officers of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

“We need more competent and dedicated uniformed personnel to assist our government pursue its programs to ensure peaceful, orderly, and safe communities," Cayetano said as he filed Senate Bill No. 1436 last May 4.

Cayetano pointed out that the tasks performed by the personnel of the PNP, BJMP, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the BFP require long years of training and experience.

He said he is confident that at age 56, these personnel can still fulfill the physical, mental, and psychological demands and rigors of their position.

Under existing laws, civilian government employees are compulsorily retired at the age of sixty-five (65), while the retirement age for uniformed personnel is pegged at fifty-six (56).

Currently, uniformed personnel who have accumulated thirty years of satisfactory service or who have reached the age of 56 are compulsorily retired.

"Recognizing their indispensable role as protectors of the State and its citizens, the government has heavily invested in the training and development of the officers and members of these agencies," the senator stressed.

“We need to maximize their years of experience and wealth of knowledge, harness their leadership skills and professional competence until the age of 60,” he added.

Cayetano hopes that extending the years of service would also increase the number of qualified personnel in these respective offices.

He noted that the long-term goal is to keep hardworking and dedicated uniformed personnel longer in service and to remove corrupt officials and scalawags who are destroying the image of the institutions that they serve.

"The senior officials are in the best position to help our administration to lead the reforms in their respective agencies,“ Cayetano noted.

“Additional years in service would also allow these officers to have more opportunities for career advancement,” he added.





Army encounters NPAs anew, recovers 2 high powered rifles

May 10, 2017

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – On May 10, 2017 at around 6:40 in the morning, a fire fight ensued between the scout platoon of 78th Infantry (Warrior) Battalion and the NPA terrorist group at Barangay San Antonio, Hilongos, Leyte for about 30 minutes. Concerned villagers tipped the military troops on the presence of the NPA group at their barangay while asking for revolutionary extortion among the villagers.

As a result, the military troops have recovered two (2) AK-47 rifles; six (6) magazines; 158 live ammunitions; 2 bandoleers; assorted food stuffs and medicines; and subversive documents. No casualty was reported on the government side while undetermined on the enemy side.

Brig Gen Mendoza, Commander of 802nd Infantry Brigade has already coordinated with Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) to conduct checkpoints along possible entries/exits of withdrawals of the enemy and to verify possible accommodation of wounded enemy in nearby hospitals.

The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division assures the people of Eastern Visayas that the NPA terrorist group will not succeed on disturbing the peace and order in the region. Thus, the continued support of the public is greatly appreciated by the Command as a paradigm of a good rapport between the military and the civilian populace as partners for peace and development in the region.





Cuy to LCEs: Ensure functionality of local peace and order, anti-illegal drugs committees

May 10, 2017

QUEZON CITY – Cognizant of the key role of local government units (LGUs) in promoting peace and order in localities, Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge Catalino S. Cuy said local chief executives (LCEs) should ensure that all local peace and order councils and committees are proactive and fully functional in each level of local government.

In a directive, Cuy said that LCEs must create Local and Barangay Peace and Order Councils (LPOCs and BPOCs) and Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (ADAC) in the provincial, city/municipal and barangay levels as well as MASA MASID (Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomaliya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga) teams and ensure that these are functioning and performing their roles and responsibilities as stated in all relative issuances.

“Everyone must pitch in their share to eradicate illegal drugs and to attain lasting peace in the country,” he said.

According the Cuy, the creation of such local committees are provided for in several issuances such as Section 116 of the Local Government Code, Executive Order No. 366, Section 51 of Republic Act 9165 and other DILG Memoranda.

"The compliance of LCEs in safeguarding that these issuances are carried out is very crucial as it assures that efforts for peace and order, and illegal drugs are cascaded down to the barangays," Cuy said.

Cuy said that LCEs should also make sure that the said committees will formulate their respective Peace and Order Plans (POPs) and Anti-Drug Action Plans (ADACs), and allocate substantial amount to support their operations.

"Non-compliance, of course, merits proper sanctions to ensure that all parties are aware of their role in the campaign for peace and order, and illegal drugs," he said.

Sanctions for non-compliance is suspension/withdrawal of the deputation of the National Police Commission upon consultation with the provincial governor and congressman concerned, pursuant to RA 8551; non-approval of the request of the LGUs for additional confidential funds granted by SILG; and sanctions provided by the existing laws relative to the non-performance and non-compliance of an LGU, including the officials of the barangay, in addition to the administrative case that may be filed.

DILG Regional and Field offices shall collate monitoring reports of LPOCs, BPOCs and BADACs following the schedule of regional reporting.

In the same directive, Cuy reminded LCEs of the deadlines of required reports. POCs accomplishment report must be submitted not later than July 15 and January 15 of the ensuing year for 1st and 2nd semester, while POCs secretariat accomplishment report and Peace and Order report, must be submitted not later than April 15, July 15, October 15, and January 15 of the ensuing year for the 1st-4th quarter respectively.

On the other hand, the monitoring report for BADAC, allocation of substantial portion in the Barangay Budget and formulation of Barangay Anti-Drug Plan of Action must be submitted on or before February 15 every year.





PH to draft Philippine Human Rights Plan for next 5 years

By Office of Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano
May 10, 2017

PASAY CITY – A Philippine Human Rights Action Plan under the Duterte administration for the next five years is already being prepared.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano reported this in his opening statement during the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review last May 8.

In line with the administration's commitment to uphold the rule of law and protect the human right of all Filipinos, Cayetano said the government is in the process of drafting a five-year human rights plan that will adopt “a culture-sensitive perspective, gender-sensitive paradigm, and human rights-based approach in public service.”

The plan seeks to mainstream the government's human rights agenda in its development initiatives to protect all, especially the most vulnerable sectors, including but not limited to, the indigenous people, children, women, migrant workers, the elderly, domestic workers, persons with disabilities, farmers, laborers, and members of the LGBT community.

It should be recalled that the Human Rights Plan of the past administration was crafted in 2012.

Cayetano cited the President's statement during his first State of the Nation Address in July 2016: “There can never be real, tangible and felt development without making our people feel secure.”

The senator also highlighted the Duterte administration's effort to augment the budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) from P439 million to P724 million. This year’s budget of CHR is the highest since 2005.

“The provision of additional resources for CHR, the President’s most outspoken critic, shows that this administration supports human rights programs and initiatives," Cayetano explained.

Additionally, Cayetano stressed that the issuance of an Executive Order institutionalizing the Freedom of Information in the executive branch as well as the installation of a direct complaint hotline - 8888 - to the Office of the President are clear proofs that President Rodrigo Duterte is for accountability in government.

He also noted the government’s efforts in encouraging private sector participation in ensuring a more effective and sustainable rehabilitation and reintegration program for self-confessed drug users and pushers who surrendered.

“The Philippine Government under President Duterte is committed to real change, to peace and development and to addressing the problems of poverty and inequality… We are committed to Change. We are committed to the rule of Law. We are committed to upholding human rights,” Cayetano concluded.






Philippine UPR Watch delegation
The Philippine UPR Watch delegation in front of the United Nations Building in Geneva call for a stop to extra-judicial killings in the Philippines in time for the third cycle of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in the Philippines scheduled for May 8 in Geneva, Switzerland.

EU parliament members support call to stop killings in PH

Press Release
May 8, 2017

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The Philippine UPR Watch delegation met with members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in an effort to share the human rights situation of the Philippines and enjoin their support for the Filipino people’s aspirations for just and lasting peace.

Francesco Giorji, attending on behalf of Pier Antonio Panzeri, Chairperson of the European Parliament Subcommitee for Human Rights, assured the UPR Watch delegation of their support for the group’s calls for a stop to all Extra-Judicial Killings in the country. He also warmly welcomed ongoing efforts to push for the continuation of the Peace Talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). Giorji was accompanied by other members of the Sub-committee secretariat in separate meetings that were held at the MEPs’ offices.

MEP Estefan Eck of Germany said that he will definitely relay the UPR Watch’s message to his colleagues at the Delegation for the Relations with the Lands of South-East Asia and the Union of Southeast Asian states (ASEAN). Eck is an independent and is from the Confederal Group of the United European Left - Nordic Green Left.

Marie Christine Vergiat from France expressed her complete agreement that genuine peace in the country cannot be achieved unless the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines are resolved. While acknowledging the high degree of difficulty of being a human rights defender in the Philippines, she wished everyone a productive session in Geneva and thanked the delegation for sharing their views with the European Parliament. Vergiat is a member of the EU Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

The Philippine UPR Watch delegation is in Europe for the Third Cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UN UPR) of Human Rights in the Philippines to be held May 8 in Geneva where Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is expected to deliver the Philippine government’s report on the implementation of recommendations made during the previous UPR in 2012. The 3rd Cycle of the UPR of the Philippines will cover the last three years of the Benigno Simeon Aquino III presidency up to the first months of current president Duterte.

Nardy Sabino, General Secretary of the Promotion of Church People’s Response opened the delegation’s presentation. “The election of President Rodrigo Duterte was brought about by the Filipino people’s frustration over the failure of past administrations to deliver on their campaign promises… They thus, overwhelmingly placed their votes behind the candidate who not only promised to end corruption, poverty and criminality, but behind someone who is largely projected and believed to have led the “cleanest and safest” city in the country”, he added.

However, Sabino continued, “extrajudicial killings (EJKs) attributed to President Duterte’s War on Drugs have reached alarming proportions only after a few months since his term started in June 2016.”

“EJKs and various other human rights violations (HRVs) mostly directed against peasant farmers and indigenous people under the watch of former Presidents Benigno Simeon Aquino III and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have continued under President Duterte,” said UPR Watch delegation member Johanna de la Cruz of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP). “Perpetrators of these HRVs, even from the time of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, are not made accountable for the violations they commit thus emboldening to continue to repress the fundamental rights of the people”, she added.

The UPR Watch likewise shared with the MEPs the Executive Summary of their report including the recommendations they earlier submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and its member countries through their embassies in the Philippines and Permanent Missions in the UN in Geneva.

In conclusion, UPR Watch delegation member Dr. Angie Gonzales, Coordinator of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), shared the successes of the latest round of peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in advancing the people’s agenda for genuine development. She further pointed out that the Peace talks hope to address the roots of the armed conflict in the country as they are now discussing much needed socio-economic reforms.


Last updated: 07/23/2017