Your latest news happening from here at home and abroad
news 626


more news...

Samar First DEO coordination meeting with PAMANA held

PH registers strong first semester performance – Lopez

Sun Life, Jolibee, Smart, Shell, SM Supermarket and Vita Milk Scoop 1st Place in ICERTIAS Best Buy Award Survey in the Philippines

Farm Business School launched in Biliran

Davao entrepreneur finds his dream car online

ADE Bollido attends district engineer candidates training course

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

16 top PH firm joins major Taiwan food show







Stronger PH-Russia relations bank on complementarity

PH-Russia relations

September 15, 2017

MAKATI CITY – The Philippine and Russia expressed intention to work closely to enhance trade and investments relations, as well as to explore cooperation areas of mutual interest, as both sides take advantage of the complementarity in each other’s industrial strengths.

At the sidelines of the Philippine hosting of the 49th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, who also serves as the 2017 AEM chair, convened a bilateral meeting with Russian Deputy Minister for Economic Development Alexey Gruzdev on 11 September in Pasay City.

Both sides discussed measures for enhancing bilateral economic relations arising from the successful visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Russia and the inaugural meeting of the Philippine-Russia Joint Committee for Trade and Economic Cooperation (JCTEC).

Sec. Lopez conveyed that the Philippine initiative to engage Russia through the JCTEC is in line with the present administration’s pursuit for an independent foreign policy, securing collaboration with non-traditional partners. Both sides agreed to conduct more business missions and roundtable discussions with the private sector of both sides to know more about each other’s business environment.

The Philippines reiterated the commitment of Russian President Putin to source USD 2.5 billion worth of agricultural products from the country.

Both sides affirmed the importance of complying with respective sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements for improved market access, as well as agreed to pursue increased agricultural trade in line with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Agriculture Cooperation signed during the Presidential Visit to Russia in May 2017.

PH encouraged Russia to explore the opportunities from PH industries particularly in production and manufacturing, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, oil and gas, energy, transport and infrastructure.





Graduating class of Escuela Taller of Bohol ready to help restore earthquake-damaged built heritage

Press Release
September 15, 2017

MANILA – On September 15, Escuela Taller -Bohol holds the graduation of its first batch of trainees. Among the special guests gracing this momentous event is Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., who is the former Mayor of Maribojoc, the Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Luis Antonio Calvo, and the Bishop of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, Most Rev. Alberto S. Uy.

A total of 48 young men and women completes the one-year training program in traditional construction and conservation techniques for masonry, carpentry and wall finishing. This group of young people are now part of a unique pool of specialists and skilled workers in conservation aptly called Heritage Protectors. They can now be tapped to help conserve and restore the historical structures of Bohol that were ravaged by the 7.2 magnitude quake in 2013 and other heritage structures in the region that consistently demand conservation works through preventive maintenance. They will be soon be part of the rehabilitation efforts within the Santa Cruz Parish Complex in Maribojoc. The restoration of the church’s retablo, the repairs of the stone steps leading to the rear side of the church and the restoration of the old convent are among the many projects included in their list of future undertakings.

According to ET Executive Director Carmen Bettina Bulaong, “Escuela Taller’s mission in Bohol is to equip the local youth with skills related to the conservation of built heritage. This new skill set is not simply a means of livelihood for these young men and women. It is their opportunity, as members of a community, to actively participate in safeguarding the legacy of a culture that they are so much a part of. This is our shared mission with other Escuelas Taller in Spain, North Africa and Latin America.” In fact to ensure the quality of their training, ET has sent its finest graduates from Manila to become instructors in the various trades and workshop areas that were established as a response to massive damage due to the earthquake in October 2013.

Escuela Taller in Intramuros was among the first organized groups who conducted emergency response by conducting the assessment and documentation of the damage caused by the earthquake. Eventually, ET's first satellite training program, which was participated in by 28 young Boholanos, was organized through the support of the Ayala Foundation. The training involved the restoration of the Dauis Watch Tower as the “learn-by-doing” project of the trainees. The Dauis church complex, where the watchtower stands, is a declared National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. After the satellite training program in Dauis and the completion of the Dauis Watch Tower, Escuela Taller established its center for training in Maribojoc Church Complex through the support of Senator Loren Legarda and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

About Escuela Taller

Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation, Inc. was organIzed in 2009 as a project by the Philippine and Spanish governments through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), the international aid agency of the Spanish government. Today it is an independent Filipino foundation and ET Bohol is its second training center in the country after the pilot training center in Intramuros.





Women human rights defenders in Asia and the Pacific say:

Stop the killings in the Philippines now!

Stop the killings in the Philippines

September 10, 2017

QUEZON CITY – More than a hundred women from different countries in Asia and the Pacific joined the #BlackFriday protest against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines held last September 8, 2017, in Chiangmai, Thailand, in the sidelines of the 3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum (APFF) organized by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).

“We, participants from the Philippines at the third Asia-Pacific Feminist Forum, joined by our sisters in the Asia-Pacific region, condemn in the strongest sense, the unabated killings in the Philippines in the context of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs and Oplan Kapayapaan,” they said in a statement.

The women added “State-sponsored killings in the Philippines have become relentlessly horrendously, victimizing the poor and marginalized. State-sponsored killings in the Philippines have become relentlessly horrendously, victimizing the poor and marginalized. The latest victims are: Kian Delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, Reynaldo de Guzman, Obillo Bay-Ao, Vaugh Carl M. Dicang, Luardo Yac, Oscar Asildo Jr. and Jezreel and Dalia Arrabis.”

Shirley Tagi, artist and member of the DIVA for Equality in Fiji, offered songs in solidarity with the Philippines. Women human rights defenders from at least twenty countries (Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Fiji, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Laos) participated in the said protest action.

“Thousands of poor people have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte came into power last year. Peasants and indigenous peoples have been killed as Duterte continues to implement the State’s dirty war against its perceived enemies. His war on drugs has resulted to killings and gross violations on the right to due process in urban poor communities. The climate of impunity has worsened, with Duterte’s war on drugs and counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, promoting further unpeace,” they added in the statement.

“We demand an immediate end to the killings. We demand a transparent and sift investigation on the killings! We demand that perpetrators be held fully accountable!” they concluded.

On the last night of the APFF, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte won the Insulting Intelligence award in the What The…Mock Poll by the APWLD among the more than 350 participants of the forum. On the poll with the question “Who displayed the most misogyny, sexism, homophobia or transphobia and made a public statement that was illogical, irrational or blatantly false?,” majority of the participants answered Duterte, citing his authorised killing of 13,000 in the war against drugs, declared martial law in Mindanao, ending peace talks and encouraging the military to rape women amid the conflict.

Duterte “bested” other sexist government leaders in the Asia Pacific region nominated such as Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Indian State Minister Abu Azmi and Malaysian Parliamentarian Shabudin Yahaya.






Turn-over Odiong-Guindapunan road
Leyte Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Renato Badilla (seated, center) and Javier Vice Mayor Michael Dragon Javier (seated, right) signs the turnover and acceptance documents for the 2.64-kilometer concreted Odiong-Guindapunan road implemented under the second phase of the Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP-II).

DAR concretes road, opens opportunities

September 6, 2017

JAVIER, Leyte – With the road leading to Barangay Guindapunan now concreted, residents here can already eat fresh fish and avail of the various government services.

This was the testimony of Barangay Councilor Elizabeth Mendoza as she thanked the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Mayor Leonardo Javier Jr. for concreting the Odiong-Guindapunan road.

Guindapunan is situated on top of Mount Mairig, some seven kilometers away from the town proper in this fourth class municipality. Residents here used to ride in a horse as their mode of transportation in the past as the place has steep slopes, sharp curves and dangerous for other kinds of vehicles especially on rainy days.

But with the said road now concreted, this village is already accessible to all kinds of vehicles. Hauling of farmers’ products is easier now and a lot of opportunities were opened to residents here, said Simplicio Bahinti.

ARCP-II National Project Manager Jean Fornoles disclosed that in 2010 Mayor Javier was among the first and very few mayors who invested in the second phase of the Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP-II) when DAR introduced it.

According to her, many mayors turned down the offer for they found the share of the LGU in the total project cost too big that they cannot afford to finance. But Mayor Javier thought otherwise, Fornoles added.

Under ARCP-II, for a fourth class municipality, the national government will provide only 40 percent of the project cost through a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), while the LGU will shoulder the remaining 60 percent.

Fornoles further disclosed that Javier did not only commit to provide equity to one farm-to market road but wanted six road projects, a road opening and five road concreting, with an aggregate project cost of P84.5-million.

The concreting of the 2.64-kilometer Odiong-Guindapunan road was the second project completed and was turned over recently by DAR Assistant Regional Director Ma. Fe Malinao representing Regional Director Atty. Sheila Enciso who was then out of the region.

The remaining four other road projects are expected to be completed before the year ends.

During the said occasion Malinao reminded the LGU and the recipient villages to maintain the road in good condition within 10 years otherwise they will also be shouldering the 40 percent share of the national government thereby converting the grant into a loan.

In acceptance, Vice Mayor Michael Dragon Javier in behalf of the mayor, as the latter was recuperating after undergoing a kidney transplant, thanked DAR for the assistance and assured “we will take care of this wonderful gift”.

In his message, he confirmed the stories of Mendoza and Bahinti as he himself witnessed how hard life was in this area which resulted to the mayor (his father) seeking the assistance of DAR through its Program Beneficiaries Development (PBD) as there are 1,437 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) here.

Meanwhile, Chief of the PBD Division Melecia Ong explained that the six road projects are also part of DAR’s commitment to the Regional Convergence Initiative (RCI) with the Departments of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, and Interior and Local Government wherein this town was chosen as the pilot area in Eastern Visayas.





Blood of slain Lumad youth by CAFGU is on Duterte’s hand

September 6, 2017

QUEZON CITY – Lumad youth Obillo Bay-ao, 19, died 9:26 p.m. September 5, after eight hours of fighting for his life at the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City. Bay-ao was shot dead by a certain Ben Salangani, a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), a paramilitary group. He was a grade six pupil of Salugpongan Ta 'Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) in Sitio Dulyan, Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte.

“We mark Obillo Bay-ao’s death with rage! It is another testimony to the mounting crimes of the US-Duterte regime against the national minorities,” said Datu Jerome Succor Aba, chairperson of Suara Bangsamoro and co-chairperson of Sandugo.

Sandugo called for the punishment of Bay-ao’s killer and the disbandment of the notorious paramilitary group even as it holds the US-Duterte regime accountable for the escalation of attacks against the national minorities as part of its all-out war and counterinsurgency policies and martial law declaration.

The national minorities – the Moro and indigenous peoples – are the hardest hit by Duterte’s martial law and all-out war. “Our people are being killed, harassed, and almost wiped out by state attacks.” There are at least 29 documented victims of extrajudicial killings among the national minorities from June 2016 to June 2017, excluding those killed in the Marawi siege.

Yesterday, the Sandugo second assembly indicted the US-Duterte for the intensifying fascist attacks against the national minorities and the worsening landgrab and plunder of resources in ancestral lands and territories, which may now lead to ethnocide.

“The President – who earlier recognized and promised to correct the hundreds of years of injustice against the national minorities – now embodies national oppression, which has caused the injustices to and oppression of the national minorities,” the declaration stated.

The indictment came after hearing the regional reports of various national minorities all over the country. Some 2,500 national minorities from the Cordilleras, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mindoro, Quezon,Tanay, Palawan, Panay and the island of Mindanao are in Metro Manila for the assembly and Lakbayan 2017.





Return ALL ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, hold them accountable - Karapatan

Press Release
September 1, 2017

QUEZON CITY – “The Marcoses have become legends among thieves and they used public funds for their political and personal gains. All their ill-gotten wealth should be returned to the people. We should be vigilant against any compromise agreement of the Duterte administration with the Marcoses that enables their getting a free pass for all their crimes and their continuing political rehabilitation. This will only perpetuate the injustices they committed against the Filipino people,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor, on statements of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre that the Marcoses will return some of their ill-gotten wealth and that a compromise agreement is being arranged.

The Basel Institute of Governance/International Center for Asset Recovery (ICAR) estimated that around $5-$10 billion of Marcos ill-gotten wealth needs to be recovered from Switzerland and the US. As of 2009, only $658 million have been recovered.

Several compromise agreements have been initiated by previous administrations. In 1993, the Ramos government through then Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Chair Magtanggol Gunigundo, entered into a 75%-25% sharing agreement with the Marcoses. The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), a group of Marcos’ martial law victims that led the filing of the class action suit against the Marcoses in Hawaii, rejected the said arrangement as anomalous.

On September 13, 1995, while Imelda Marcos was appealing and contesting the US Federal Court decision before the US Court of Appeals in the class suit of human rights victims, Atty. Robert Swift, the court-appointed counsel of victims, and Gunigundo hatched a compromise agreement accepting a $150 million monetary settlement, in exchange for the dropping of the entire class suit. According to SELDA, Swift made this unilateral move, without adequate, thorough and genuine consultation with the victims. The martial law victims protested and Pres. Ramos was then forced not to sign the agreement.

On December 9, 1998, under the Estrada administration, the Philippine Supreme Court declared the December 28, 1993 agreement invalid, under which the PCGG had agreed with the Marcoses on a 75%-25% (75% for the PH government, 25% for the HR victims) split in the $150 million settlement. In February 1999, after SELDA’s opposition before the US Hawaii Court Judge Manuel Real on the said settlement, Real finally nullified the $150 million compromise settlement agreement.

Under the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, in 2004, P544 million were used by Arroyo and the Department of Agriculture, in the DA’s fertilizer program, which was exposed as a scam, and serious allegations were made on the Arroyo’s diversion of said funds to her presidential campaign.

“Almost all administrations have worked in cahoots with the Marcoses to absolve them of their grave crimes against the people, and to line up their pockets with a few millions. With Duterte’s facilitation of the political rehabilitation of the Marcoses, through the hero’s burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos and political horsetrading with the Marcos family, it is very important that the Filipino people, especially the martial law victims and their families, keep a close watch on what transpires between the Duterte administration and the Marcoses,” Clamor concluded.





“Return every centavo of it, but plunderers and criminals they remain,” SELDA says of reported Marcoses’ return of ill-gotten wealth

Press Release
August 30, 2017

QUEZON CITY – “The Marcoses should return all ill-gotten wealth, every centavo of it, but plunderers and criminals they remain.”

Thus said Danilo dela Fuente, Marcos’ martial law victim and spokesperson of SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto), reacting to statements by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte that the Marcoses will return some of their ill-gotten wealth.

“But for us, martial law victims, this does not mean absolution from their crimes of plunder, human rights violations and massive corruption. We see this as a token and deceptive gesture of a family seeking to complete their political rehabilitation,” said dela Fuente.

Dela Fuente is one of the named plaintiffs in the class action suit filed against the Marcoses in Hawaii in 1986. US Federal Courts upheld that the Marcoses are accountable for grave human rights abuses under the Marcos 21-year reign.

“The Marcoses should be in jail for their crimes against the Filipino people and for the destruction and plunder of the economy they have committed for 21 years. They should not go scot-free. The political accommodation and rehabilitation by the Duterte government is unacceptable,” added dela Fuente.

Selda said the fact that the Marcoses continue to weave a string of lies means this alleged plan to return ill-gotten wealth is part of their unfinished scheme to return to power in Malacanang, through the dictator’s son Bongbong Marcos.

“This seemingly new development is, in fact, hideous and doublespeak. They continue to deny that this amassed wealth is ill-gotten, and even have the gall to make up stories again and again. They plundered the country and made the economy worse as ever before. Their continuous denial of the plunderous reign of the Marcoses is the reason why we shouldn’t be plainly accepting these statements,” said Dela Fuente.

The group urged Pres. Duterte to disclose details of what seemed like “negotiations” with the Marcoses.

“The president should stop speaking on behalf of the Marcoses and disclose to the people whatever has transpired in these talks. Duterte should not think the people have forgotten how he and the Supreme Court have allowed a hero’s burial for Marcos. He should be wary of the people’s protest,” dela Fuente.

In the end, the Marcoses should be made accountable for their crimes of plunder. This development will in no way exonerate the Marcoses’ crime against the people.

“It seems like a fix designed to fool the martial law victims and the people to make the plunderous and murderous Marcoses look like benevolent family to complete their rehabilitation and revision of history,” said dela Fuente.

SELDA rejects the alleged settlement by Duterte and the Marcos family and their justifications as to why they hid the loot.

“Not in the name of the victims of martial law, not in the name of the people who demand justice for the Marcoses crimes against the people that Pres. Duterte is acting like a stooge of the dictator’s family. Never again,” said dela Fuente.





Marawi’s missing: Red Cross website helps reunite families

PRC welfare desk

August 30, 2017

MANILA – It has been more than three months since fighting broke out in Marawi City, in Lanao del Sur province, but for families whose loved ones are still missing, the wait seems never-ending. In an effort to reunite these families, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recently launched an online page ( that helps trace missing persons. On the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared (30 August), the ICRC wishes to draws attention to the plight of these families and stresses that people have a right to know what happened to their missing relatives.

Camilla Matteucci, head of the ICRC team working with the PRC to reunite families in the Philippines, said there are many possible causes of separation during a conflict situation. “People could be trapped by the fighting, detained or even killed. They could be in an evacuation centre but not have the means to contact their kin. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that families have a right to know what has happened to their loved ones, and wherever possible, be reunited with them. Our tracing website offers a platform for people to share information about their missing relatives and request our help in tracing them.”

The website supplements existing tracing services such as the 12 PRC welfare desks in evacuation centres in Marawi and Iligan cities. The information shared by families with the Red Cross remains confidential. Since the beginning of the Marawi conflict, the Red Cross has received 402 tracing requests, 179 of which are still being looked into.

Aisha (not her real name), whose husband went missing in Marawi, said: “With each day that the fighting continues, our hope diminishes. We praise Allah if my husband is still alive. But if he is dead, then we need to recover his remains so that we can bury him according to our religion and traditions. Every Maranao family looking for a loved one wishes for this.”

Reuniting families in times of conflict or disaster is a key service that is always provided by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In Marawi, the ICRC and the PRC have been providing technical and material support to help the authorities manage dead bodies. Besides this, the PRC has provided psychosocial support to more than 10,400 people, including children, affected by the conflict.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. The ICRC also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.



◄◄home I next►►