P40-M barangay road projects
JASON T. DELOS ANGELES
January 26, 2019
CALBAYOG CITY – The
Department of Public Works and Highways Samar First District
Engineering Office completes the rehabilitation and improvement of
two road projects in Oquendo District, Calbayog City, with a
combined appropriation of P40 million.
The first project connects
barangay Cagbilwang to Mawacat, covering the rehabilitation of 1.67
km concrete road. The second road project links barangay Mawacat to
Panlayahan involving the improvement of 1.66 km concrete road.
The Cagbilwang to Mawacat
road leads to the famed Mawacat falls, a tourist attraction in the
barangay which is a source of income for the residents that serve as
On the other hand, the
Mawacat to Panlayahan road helps the local farmers in transporting
their agricultural goods.
“Before, our road was so
rough and muddy. It’s hard for us to travel and to transfer our
agricultural products like coconut and rice, but now we have a
better and wider road when we go to Calbayog proper vice-versa, we
thank DPWH for this project,” said Mr. Alfredo Diaz, sangguniang
barangay member of Mawacat.
Murang kuryente: Posible?
using of Malampaya funds to cover NAPOCOR debts
Consumers, CSOs urge legislators to address true
cause of costly energy in the Philippines
January 25, 2018
QUEZON CITY – A
coalition of civil society organizations, coal-affected communities,
and power consumers finds current pending legislative proposals
insufficient to reduce the high cost of electricity.
The Power for People (P4P)
Coalition in a press conference today warned that energy reforms are
not enough "without overhauling the Electric and Power Industry
Reform Act, the complete removal of pass-on provisions, expanding
subsidies for impoverished consumers, rejecting the entrance of more
coal in the energy mix, and combating corruption in the ERC."
"While we are glad that
the problem of costly energy is front and center in the chambers of
Congress, it will only continue to be felt by consumers if
fundamental changes are not introduced and made into law," said P4P
convenor and Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED)
Executive Director Gerry Arances.
The Coalition zeroed in on
the Murang Kuryente Bill which aims to use the Malampaya fund to
cover the stranded debts and contract costs incurred by the National
"Filipino consumers should
not be paying for these stranded debts and costly contracts in the
first place," said Arances. "The Malampaya fund could be more
properly put to use in order to benefit ordinary end-users directly,
like in expanding the coverage and increasing subsidies for
households which use small amounts of electricity through the
lifeline rates," Arances claimed.
"To put things in
perspective, the P123 billion to be sourced from the Malampaya fund
to pay off NPC's debt is already enough to provide 3.5 million
households with one 200 W solar photovoltaic (PV) system each," he
added. "Instead, while consumers may not pay for it in their bills,
they are paying for it with the benefits they could have reaped from
the Malampaya fund."
The Freedom from Debt
Coalition (FDC) decried the use of the Malampaya fund as it would be
still be citizens "bailing out" independent power producers (IPPs)
for bad, costly deals they made with NAPOCOR and Power Sector Assets
and Liabilities Management (PSALM), which acquired its assets and
"We have continually
called for the renegotiation of contracts entered into by the Ramos
administration with local and foreign IPPs, as they have been found
to be supplying electricity at a much higher price than other power
producers," said FDC's Manjette Lopez. "Consumers have been at the
losing end, paying for the price of these unnecessarily costly
contracts ever since they were brokered, and PSALM has repeatedly
over the years negotiated on behalf of IPPs for higher rates to be
passed on to the public," she continued.
Atty. Avril De Torres of
CEED warns of a similar situation being repeated with the increase
of coal’s share in the country's energy mix. "A study has found that
all coal-fired power plants to go online in the Philippines will
become stranded assets, and many of those operating are already in
various levels of stranding," said De Torres. "Despite this, the
administration remains adamant in pursuing more coal projects, with
3,500 MW of coal to go online this year alone," she continued.
"Not only this, but
through Executive Order 30, the government is fast-tracking the
approval of these projects," said De Torres, citing how almost half
of the awardees of Certificates of Energy Project of National
Significance (EPNS) are coal projects. "Without sober, scientific
reflection of the economic costs of these projects, we will only
have a repeat of consumers having to pay more for uncompetitive and
costly power contracts in their monthly bills," she concluded.
"With renewable energy
technology being more and more affordable and supposedly accessible
for communities, it is appalling that the government is neglecting
its potential to deliver cheaper electricity for the people," said
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice National Coordinator Ian
Rivera. "It is unjust how the Malampaya fund, instead of being used
to fund initiatives by communities to set up and operate their own
renewable energy systems, is being used to pay for contracts and
debts involving dirty energy projects, the very things which are
killing Filipinos with pollution and killing the planet with
P4P: Genuine "Murang Kuryente" Bills Needed
The Coalition then called
for legislative action which will "address the heart of the issue
and put consumers at the center of the solutions".
"The core of the problem
is the idea that citizens should be paying for the costs that
generation and distribution companies do not want to pay for," said
Sanlakas Secretary-General Atty. Aaron Pedrosa.
“Poor Filipinos -
especially women - bear the brunt of the high costs of electricity,”
said Inday Gonzales of Oriang Women’s Movement. “That we have to
adjust our daily expenses to account for the debts and costly
contracts entered by the government and power producers is simply an
injustice that cannot continue,” she continued.
"Whether it is the
universal charge, value added tax, or even the system loss charge
which Congress presently aims to reduce, these are charges which
should not be taken on by ordinary consumers but by the companies
themselves," Pedrosa continued. "Overhauling EPIRA and disallowing
any and all pass-on provisions are necessary first steps to truly
address the problem of high costs. The question is whether the
Congress has the courage to truly take on the corporations and their
own vested interests in pursuing this agenda," he stressed.
Leody De Guzman of the
Partido Lakas ng Masa Coalition spoke on behalf of consumers
affected by high prices which are also exacerbated by additional
"Sunod-sunod ang atake sa
bulsa dulot ng TRAIN Law, panibagong dagok na naman sa pamilya ng
manggagawang Pilipino ngayong taon ang pagtaas ng presyo ng kuryente,"
De Guzman noted. "Tama na ang pamamayagpag ng anti-mahirap na EPIRA
at mga monopolyo gaya ng Meralco. Kailangan na itong lagutin bago
tayo ang lagutin nito," he concluded.
Energy think tank
alarmed over abundance of big ticket coal projects in pipeline
Abundance of coal to
negate efforts on reducing energy costs, group says
January 23, 2019
QUEZON CITY – An
energy think tank is alarmed over the sheer number of major coal
projects to go online this 2019, saying that coal threatens to raise
electricity costs for the next ten to twenty years, on top of its
negative effects on the environment and climate.
The Center for Energy,
Ecology, and Development (CEED), one of the convening organizations
of the Power for People Coalition, expressed concern as the
abundance of coal "will undermine any current attempt to reduce the
cost of electricity for ordinary consumers."
"Despite the global push
to reduce carbon emissions and shift to renewables, 81% of major
projects to go online for 2019 in the Philippines are to be sourced
from coal, amounting to almost 3,500 MW of dirty and costly energy,"
said CEED Executive Director Gerry Arances.
"As early as 2017, it has
been reported that all proposed and committed coal plants are
projected to become stranded assets, with many plants currently in
operation already in various stages of stranding," Arances
continued. "It is ironic that after years of consumers paying for
stranded debts and contract costs of the National Power Corporation,
we are on the verge of replicating the same problem with the current
onslaught of coal projects in the pipeline," he said.
Arances said that the
foreseen devaluation of coal projects will be shouldered by
consumers, who will end up paying for the projects' contract costs.
"As many as four bills are
in the present legislative agenda aiming to decrease the costs of
electricity," Arances said. "But we run the risk of being blindsided
by hidden and externalized costs in pending coal projects if they
are left unhindered."
Reform Secretary John Castriciones (right) turns over the
symbolic key to one of the chairmen of 18 agrarian reform
beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) who are recipient of the
18 six-wheeler dump trucks in Eastern Visayas during the
turnover ceremony. Looking on are DAR Assistant Regional
Director Ma. Fe Malinao and Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominic
Petilla. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)
turns over farm machineries, inaugurates building in EV
JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
January 21, 2019
TACLOBAN CITY –
Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones turned over on Thursday
18 six-wheeler heavy-duty dump trucks to the same number of selected
agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) in Eastern Visayas,
and inaugurated the newly-rehabilitated building at the Department
of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Regional Office-8 compound on the same
Castriciones in his
message emphasized, “If we want our country to be progressive, let
us strengthen the agriculture sector”. Thus DAR is providing ARBOs
the necessary equipment particularly for their agri-enterprise
Provision of the necessary
support services is one of the components of the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to improve the quality of lives of
the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
Regional Director Sheila
Enciso disclosed that the said dump trucks amounted to P81-million
funded under the Agrarian Reform Communities Connectivity and
Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) project.
According to her, of the
18 dump trucks, six units were given to the province of Leyte for
MAALSADA Farmers Irrigators Service Agriculture Cooperative (FISCO)
in Alangalang; Omaganhan Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in
Tabango; Hacienda Maria Multi-Purpose Cooperative in San Isidro;
Merida Agriculture Diversified Services Multi-Purpose Cooperative in
Merida; Brgy. Agutayan Farmers Association in Hilongos and Pastrana
ARC Farmers Organization in Pastrana.
Four units were given to
the province of Eastern Samar for the San Gabriel ARB Association in
Borongan; San Pablo Agrarian Reform Cooperative in Taft; Growers
Integrated Farmers Association in Salcedo and Canloterio Farmers
Association in Maydolong.
Northern Samar was also
given four units for the Centralized Farmers Association in
Mondragon; Victoria Agrarian Reform Community Cooperative in
Victoria; San Jose Farmers Association in San Jose and Northern
Samar Rice Producers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Palapag.
Two units were given to
the province of Western Samar for the Legaspi Farmers and Fisherfolk
Association in Marabut and Villahermosa Oriental Farmers and
Fisherfolk Association in Pagsanghan.
Biliran and Southern Leyte
provinces were give one each for the Lico Agrarian Reform
Cooperative in Naval, Biliran and San Francisco Multi-Purpose
Cooperative in San Franciso, Southern Leyte.
Five units however were
put on hold pending compliance of the requirements by the concerned
Undersecretary for Support
Services Emily Padilla who was with the Secretary during the said
occasion challenged the concerned ARBOs to use the dump trucks in
uplifting the lives of the more than 20,000 members of the 18 farmer
She likewise stressed to
the recipient ARBOs that all farm equipment provided by the agency
will be geo-tagged so the office could monitor them.
According to the
Secretary, the government hopes these ARBOs will succeed in
developing their awarded lands and contribute to national
Rice production and
trading, organic fertilizer production and trading, vegetable
production and trading, coco coir and geotextile production and
abaca trading are just among the agri-enterprise these ARBOs had
Reynaldo Peja, Chairman of
the MAALSADA FISCO, one of the ARBO recipients which is into rice
trading, thank the President and the DAR and said, the dump truck
would enable their cooperative now to deliver rice as far as Ormoc
City and other areas in the region.
Meanwhile, as the DAR
inaugurated a newly-rehabilitated building where the regional office
will be transferred, Castriciones challenged the employees to be
united and “work as a team to be able to achieve our objectives the
way it should be done”.
building used to be a dormitory that was severely devastated during
the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013.
With a contract price of
P25.5-million, the rehabilitation started on December 2017 after the
provincial government of Leyte granted DAR a usufruct for 25 years
to the land where the building is erected, the area being owned by
the provincial government of Leyte.
Governor Leopoldo Dominic
Petilla said during the occasion, though the usufruct is free, he
appealed to DAR officials to always consider Leyte for whatever
programs and projects it has for the ARBs.
With the distribution of
dump trucks, Petilla was happy that six farmer organizations in his
province were among the beneficiaries of the multi-million pesos
worth of machineries.
Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, DAR
Undersecretary Emily Padilla, Leyte Governor Leopoldo
Dominic Petilla and DAR-8 Regional Director Sheila Enciso
cut the ceremonial ribbon during the inauguration of the
newly-rehabilitated dormitory which will now serve as the
new DAR-8 office. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)
seized in Marabut, Samar
DPAO, 8ID PA
January 21, 2018
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – A joint anti-illegal logging operations by Samar
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO),
Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of Sta. Rita (CENRO-Sta.
Rita), 805th Regional Mobile Force PNP, Marabut Municipal Police
Station and elements from the NISU 53, NT G2, Joint Task Force Storm
resulted to the seizure of illegally cut lumber in Brgy. Osmeña,
Marabut, Samar on January 16, 2019 at 4:45 AM.
A total of 12,000 board
feet of abandoned forest products of dipterocarp specie were
recovered at the said vicinity with an estimated market value of
P960,000.00. Said lumbers were turned-over to CENRO-Sta Rita for
proper disposition and documentation.
The success of the
operation was attributed to the information provided by the populace
of Brgy. Osmeña against the illegal loggers operating in their area.
Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio
AFP, Commander, 8ID/Joint Task Force Storm, commended the residents
of Brgy. Osmeña for cooperating with the local government agencies
and the military in locating the abandoned illegal lumbers.
In his message, the
8ID/Joint Task Force Storm Commander said that “the shared
responsibility shown by the populace reflects their awareness in
protecting their community from the catastrophic effects of illegal
logging to the environment."
“The 8ID/Joint Task Force
Storm as one of the deputized agencies of the Department of
Environment Natural Resources relentlessly supports the National
Greening Program of the government through the enforcement of the
anti-illegal logging operations in Eastern Visayas for the
protection and preservation of our ecosystem,” Farnacio added.
hold protest against Makati-based banana firm
January 18, 2019
MANILA – Over 200
workers of banana company Sumifru Phils. Corp. held a protest today
in the company’s main office in Makati for neglecting court’s order
recognizing them as regular workers.
The workers under their
union Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (NAMASUFA) have been
camping here in Manila since November last year in a bid to press
the company as well as the Department of Labor and Employment to
enforce the court’s order, and escape the military harassments
because of Martial law in Mindanao.
Paul John Dizon, NAMASUFA
President, revealed that since their labor dispute erupted on
October 1, 2018, one of their members was already killed, 2 escaped
from slay trials, at least 20 had been mauled, their protest camps
burned, belongings were looted, and their house including the
union’s office were burned down. The workers attributed all these
atrocities to Sumifru in cahoots with the state forces and enabled
through Martial Law.
“Instead of abiding by the
law, they mauled, robbed, and killed! For more than a decade the
company denied us our regular status and better benefits, now that
the Supreme Court had already ordered last 2017, this is how they
treated us!”, Dizon lamented.
As a sign of protest, the
workers threw paint bombs to the replica logo of Sumifru and called
on Paul Cuyegkeng, the company’s owner, to abide the law.
Sumifru Phils. Corp. is an
agricultural company engaged in sourcing, production, shipment and
marketing of various fresh fruits, primarily the export of quality
Cavendish bananas, pineapple, and papaya. The company operates in
more than 12,000 hectares in Mindanao.
In Compostela, Compostela
Valley where the protesting workers came from, the company operates
in more or less 2,200 hectares with 9 packing plants, with total
production capacity of at least 19,000 boxes per day or 7 million
boxes per year. The company’s gross daily income is P19 million per
day in Compostela operations alone.
Farms is now among the 16 Heirloom cacao growers worldwide
that are recognized by the Heirloom Cacao Preservation (HCP).
Davao’s Puentespina Farms gains heirloom status
January 18, 2019
MAKATI CITY – The
beans grown by Davao City’s Puentespina Farms, manufacturer of the
world-renowned Malagos Chocolates, have been recognized as “Heirloom
Cacao” by the US-based organization Heirloom Cacao Preservation (HCP)
founder of Puentespina Farms, said the farm was the 16th recipient
of the international distinction. Other heirloom farmers were from
Bolivia, Ecuador, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua, Vietnam,
Tanzania, and Madagascar.
“We are elated to be part
of this very small group of farmers who have been given this
designation as Heirloom Cacao,” she said.
underwent an extensive evaluation by HCP’s tasting panel before its
heirloom status was announced in San Francisco on January 12, 2019.
According to HCP, the chocolate was praised for its flavor, low
acidity and “touch of fruits.”
HCP’s mission is to
“identify and preserve fine flavor cacao varieties for the
conservation of biological diversity and the empowerment of farming
communities.” It is an initiative of the Fine Chocolate Industry
Association founded in collaboration with the US Department of
Agriculture/Agricultural Research Services.
Primarily grown by small
farms in the lowland tropical regions, cacaos are good for the
ecosystem because they are grown in the shade along with other fruit
trees like bananas, coconuts, and forest trees. Helping preserve
heirloom cacao also helps the livelihood of the farmers who grow
“We want our products to
be worthy of the heirloom designation that has been given to us,”
Meanwhile, the Malagos
Agri-Ventures Corporation has issued a limited edition bar of
Malagos Heirloom Chocolate 72% Dark Chocolate to celebrate the
ACT petitions CA
to prohibit PNP profiling, harassment of teachers
Alliance of Concerned
January 17, 2019
QUEZON CITY – The
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) filed a petition before the
Court of Appeals today to seek remedy to the ongoing profiling
operations being conducted by the Philippine Nationals Police (PNP)
against their organization. ACT asks the CA to nullify all existing
PNP directives to profile its membership and order the prohibition
of the conduct of all operations that harass its leaders and
“This is just a first step
of a host of legal actions that we will undertake against the
illegal profiling, intimidation and harassment that the PNP carries
out against us teachers. The profiling operations are evidently
illegal as they violate our constitutionally-guaranteed rights to
free expression, association and privacy, as well as pertinent
laws,” declared Joselyn Martinez, chairperson of ACT Philippines.
ACT included PNP Director
General Oscar Albayalde, Police Intelligence Director Gregorio
Pimentel, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary
Eduardo Año, as well as ten police regional directors of Cordillera
Administrative Region, National Capital Region, Regions I, III,
IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, X and XIII as respondents to the case.
“The expanse of the
reports we received regarding the profiling operations reveals its
nationwide character, which shows that the top officials of the PNP
and the DILG should be held liable. Anyway, the fish was already
caught in their mouths as instead of categorically denying and
denouncing the operations, they have justified it and laid ACT
members vulnerable to further harm by red-tagging our organization,”
The Petition for
Prohibition with Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of Temporary
Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction cited
first-hand accounts of ACT leaders and members who were victims of
illegal profiling, person-specific surveillance and harassments
perpetrated by police and military officers in the Cordillera
Administrative Region, National Capital Region, Regions I, III,
IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, X and XIII, as well as death threats issued
against leaders at the height of the profiling issue.
“We are determined to
frustrate these vile acts of the state forces against teachers
through our solid unity and hold the perpetrators accountable, be it
through the parliament of the street, lobbying or legal battle as
our fight is not just for the sector but a fight to uphold
democracy, against tyrannical forces,” underscored Martinez.
She added that ‘while we
face this battle against repression, we equally invest our energies
to intensify our struggle for decent salaries. No amount of
intimidation and harassment can distract us from or dampen our
resolve to forward our legitimate demands,” Martinez averred.
Petitioners of the case
include the ACT Philippines, ACT National Capital Region Union, ACT
Region III Union and the Manila Public School Teachers Association.
They are joined by their legal counsels from the National Union of
discover enemy encampment in Samar
DPAO, 8ID PA
January 17, 2019
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – As of this day, the pursuing troops from 63rd Infantry
(Innovator) Battalion, who were after the escaping group of CPP-NPA
Terrorists (CNTs), were given an information by a concerned
resident, on the presence of enemy personalities at Brgy. Bay-ang,
San Jorge, Samar and discovered the abandoned enemy encampment last
January 14, 2019 at 5:00 P.M.
Said operation resulted to
the discovery of the following: four bulwagans (Multi-Purpose Hall),
one big mess hall, one classroom with medical facilities, one
training ground, four caves with one supply room, one comfort room
(Ladies’ CR), five kitchens, six comfort rooms, 13 posts, laminated
sacks, one C type claymore mine, oil container with gas, 122
bunkers, two generators (Honda), two M16 magazines (long), one .45
cal. magazine, assorted wires (300 meters), 10 pcs. water
containers, one command switch for IED, eight assorted light bulbs
and subversive documents.
Maj. Gen. Raul M. Farnacio
AFP lauded the residents of Barangay Bay-ang for cooperating with
the military troops in tracking down the enemies encamped in their
locality. Likewise, MGen. Farnacio urges the CNTs to lay down their
arms, live a normal and peaceful life with their families and avail
the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP)
offered by the government.
In his message, the 8ID
Commander said that “this captured enemy encampment is a big blow to
the CNTs and on their plan to conduct atrocities in the region. It
bespeaks of 8ID’s relentless efforts in internal security operations
and in safeguarding the remote communities that are often abused and
exploited by the CNTs."