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8ID participates in the largest Pacific Mission for 2019

HIMSoG-8 to boost NNC-8 social media page

Palm Grass releases Paglangyaw, a Cebuano song for those who left (migrants)

DPWH-Biliran DEO strictly impose 15-ton weight limit for vehicles passing Biliran bridge

DPWH completes P40-M barangay road projects

Karapatan human rights worker abducted in Mindanao

Waray novelist facilitates first Southeast Asian creative writing workshop in the UK

Samar-Leyte media group attend CARD MRI study tour







New bridge to boost economy in Barugo, Leyte

construction of Minuhang bridge

March 15, 2019

BARUGO, Leyte – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte Second district engineering office has allocated a total of P150 million for the construction of Minuhang bridge in Barugo, Leyte.

This project of DPWH supporting Barugo Economic Zone program is seen to improve trade, investment, employment, education and overall progress in this town.

According to Gerald Pacanan, DPWH Leyte 2 district engineer, residents of Minuhang, Balud, and Duka use the existing footbridge in transporting their agricultural and marine products through motorcycle or locally known as “habal-habal.”

“Once completed, this road network would provide access to all kinds of vehicles, thus, transportation of commodities will be easier and cheaper. Moreover, students will no longer skip classes when high tide occurs, which overflows to the shoreline up to the trail,” he added.

Located along Carigara-Barugo-Sta. Cruz-Babatngon-Bagahupi national highway, this road network can also serve as an alternate route in the event that Palo-Carigara-Ormoc road is not passable.

The 154.8 meters bridge with a width of 9.1 meters started its construction last June 2018 and is targeted to be completed within the first semester of the year.

In addition, travel time from Carigara to Babatngon will be shorter once project is fully completed. For 2019, the district is tasks to implement a total of P1.5 billion projects.





Inflation rate in Eastern Visayas decreases further to 3.1% in February 2019

By PSA-8
March 14, 2019

TACLOBAN CITY – The Inflation Rate (IR) in Eastern Visayas decreased further to 3.1 percent in February 2019. This IR is 0.9 percentage point lower compared with the 4.0 percent IR a month ago, and 1.2 percentage points lower compared with the 4.3 percent IR recorded in the same period last year. The regional inflation rate is 0.7 percentage point lower than the 3.8 percent national average in February 2019.

Eastern Visayas inflation rateAll provinces in the region registered lower inflation rates in February 2019 compared with their figures in the previous month. Samar registered the highest decrease of 2.9 percentage points, from 6.3 percent in January 2019 to 3.4 percent in February 2019. The rest of the provinces registered decreases ranging from 0.5 percentage point to 0.7 percentage point. Among the provinces, Eastern Samar recorded the highest IR at 4.8 percent, while Biliran posted the lowest at 0.7 percent (Table 1).

Among the commodity groups, alcoholic beverages and tobacco recorded the highest decrease of 8.2 percentage points, from a double digit 17.4 percent in January 2019 to 9.2 percent during the month in review. It is still, however, the highest IR among all items.

Inflation rate for transport also went down by 2.1 percentage points, from 2.5 percent in January 2019 to 0.4 percent in February 2019. This can be traced to the deflation seen in the index for transport services, and slower IR in the index for operation of personal transport equipment.

The heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages declined to 4.0 percent in February 2019 from its previous month’s rate of 5.3 percent, a decrease of 1.3 percentage points. This can be attributed to the slower price increases of majority of the food items. Fruits index continued to register a negative inflation rate at 5.4 percent, lower than the 1.3 percent in January 2019.Non-alcoholic beverages, meanwhile, recorded a 0.1 percentage point uptick, posting a double digit IR of 10.0 percent during the reference month.

Meanwhile, furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house commodity group increased to 5.3 percent during the reference month, 0.8 percentage point higher compared with the 4.5 percent IR in January 2019. Increases were observed in all indices, except for the household textiles index.

Clothing and footwear also recorded an increase at 2.8 percent in February 2019 from 2.2 percent a month ago.IR for restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services commodity group inched up by 0.3 percentage point settling at 1.9 percent during the month in review.

The Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region remained at P0.80 in February 2019. This PPP implies that goods and services worth 100 pesos in February 2019 costs 80 pesos only in 2012.

Eastern Samar registered a 0.01 centavo increase in PPP compared with their figures in January 2019, while Leyte recorded a 0.01 centavo decrease from its PPP a month ago. The rest of the provinces sustained their PPP last month. Biliran, Leyte and Southern Leyte recorded the strongest PPP at P0.82. Eastern Samar followed at P0.78, while Northern Samar and Samar posted the weakest PPP at P0.76.

Eastern Visayas inflation rate





Eastern Visayas posts $52.12 million trade deficit in December 2018

By PSA-8
March 14, 2019

TACLOBAN CITY – The region posted a $52.12 million deficit in the total Balance of Trade in Goods (BoT-G) in December 2018 from $106.61 million in December 2017, which implies an improvement of 51.11 percent.

Eastern Visayas trade deficitThe region’s total trade in goods in December 2018 significantly dropped to $85.06 million from $276.76 million in the same period in 2017, a decline of 69.27 percent. Total value of exports amounted to $16.47 million, which was 80.65 percent lower compared with the $85.08 million in December 2017. Total value of imports, meanwhile, was recorded at $68.59 million, 64.22 percent lower compared with the $191.69 million imports posted in the same period last year.

The region’s total volume of exports in December 2018 was posted at 61.45 million kilograms. The commodity group of animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes was the major export during the month in review with total revenue of $11.18 million. This accounted for 67.92 percent of the region’s total export revenue in December 2018. United States of America (USA) was the top export market destination with $7.18 million total export revenue, which shared 43.64 percent of the region’s total exports.

The region’s total imports in December 2018 recorded a total gross weight of 114.40 million kilograms. Ores, slag and ash commodity group was the major import during the month with total revenue of $58.37 million, this comprised the bulk or 85.10 percent of the region’s total imports in December 2018. The top import supplier of the region was Australia with total import bill of $58.20 million, which shared 84.84 percent of the region’s total imports.

Eastern Visayas trade deficit





Macalpe bridge construction
The site for the construction of new permanent bridge at Sitio Macalpe, Brgy. Cabibihan, Biliran, Biliran.

New bridge to be constructed at Macalpe, Caibiran, Biliran

Press Release
March 14, 2019

NAVAL, Biliran – A new permanent bridge will be constructed at Sitio Macalpe, Brgy. Cabibihan in Caibiran town to replace the cut-off road washed out during the onslaught of Tropical Storm (TS) Urduja in December, 2017.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office is prioritizing the implementation of this project under FY 2019 DPWH Infrastructure Program with an appropriation amount of P50M.

David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer said that there is a need to construct a new permanent bridge on the said section because a large volume of water crosses the roadway especially during rainy season.

“Rehabilitating the existing road and reinstallation of pipe culverts cannot serve the purpose of allowing the passage of large volume of water and is no longer a cost-effective and efficient course of action,” said Adongay.

Adongay added that the realization of this project will earn the government savings in the rehabilitation of additional damaged pavement in the future.

The construction of the new bridge involves the construction of a 4-lane bridge with a width of 13.4 meters and with a total length of 20.0 meters or a total area of 291.43 square meters.

Presently, DPWH-Biliran DEO maintains a total of 35 national bridges within its jurisdiction with a total length of 1,250-linear meter of both asphalt and concrete surface. The completion of the new Macalpe Bridge would be an addition to this total length of bridges.

When completed, this project will provide a structure that can accommodate big volume of rainwater, minimize vehicular accident as well as provide convenience in transporting agricultural and aquatic products to market centers. This bridge is essential in going to the only Provincial Hospital and Port of the Province and some tourist sites within the island. It will serve more or less 3,000 travellers along Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road (NCCR).





DPWH-Biliran DEO to implement P50M road reconstruction project in Maripipi town

Maripipi Circumferential Road

Press Release
March 14, 2019

NAVAL, Biliran – The existing one lane concrete road at Brgy. Viga - Brgy. Agutay section in Maripipi town will undergo road rehabilitation/ reconstruction to provide a safe riding surface to more or less 3,000 travellers along Maripipi Circumferential Road.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District Engineering Office has included the prioritization of this project under FY 2019 Regular Infrastructure Program with an appropriation amount of P50M.

David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer said that the project was prioritized because of the dilapidated state of the existing concrete pavement.

“Aside from its bad condition, the pavement is sub-standard in width and in thickness, thus recommended for rehabilitation,” said Adongay.

The project involves the removal of damaged substandard concrete pavement to be replaced by a two lane concrete pavement of 6.10 meters width, 0.28 m. thickness with a total length of 1.5-kilometer.

According to Adongay, the realization of the project will provide the residents of the place a wider and safer concrete paved road as well as provide convenience in transporting their agricultural and aquatic products to market centers. This road also leads to some tourist sites within the town of Maripipi, the only island municipality in the province.





“Buwis niyo, Bayad niyo!”

ERC caves after protest against electric cooperatives' petition to pass on real property tax

Press Release
March 14, 2019

QUEZON CITY – Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) suspended the jurisdictional hearing of the petition submitted by Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (Philreca) which seeks to pass on Real Property Tax (RPT) charges to consumers. This is after opposition from consumer and advocacy groups was expressed inside and outside the ERC office.

Organizations behind the Malinis at Murang Kuryente (MMK) Campaign rallied in front of the ERC, to urge the Commission to reject proposal of Philreca to add the tax on real property to the monthly bill of consumers nationwide. The petition follows the Supreme Court ruling that transformers, electric posts, transmission lines, insulators and electric meters are not exempted from RPT under the local government units (LGUs).

“In previous years, consumers have always been one with ECs to be recognized as tax-exempt just like any other cooperative, since they are supposed to be people's enterprises owned by the consumers they serve,” said Dr. Clint Pacana, Convenor of the Mindanao Coalition of Power Consumers (MCPC), President of the Institute for Power Sector Economics.

Pacana explained that Philreca, in filing the petition, abandoned consumer groups who are calling for the exemption of cooperatives from paying for real property tax. “While the consumers fight it out for their tax exemption, ECs want the easy way of passing on the burden to their supposed owners – the unfortunate consumers. We hope there is no collusion among local officials, ECs, and other distribution utilities (DUs) for this,” Dr. Pacana continued.

"All property owners pay amilyar (real property taxes) on what they own. Why do we also have to pay for what the coops own?”, Murang Kuryente Partylist Nominee and MMK Convenor Gerry Arances. Murang Kuryente Partylist filed a motion on behalf of its members and consumers nationwide for the ERC to dismiss the petition.

“Already, electric consumers are bearing the brunt of many ECs’ violation of system loss caps, mismanagement of financial liabilities, and the costly Power Supply Agreements (PSAs) with dirty energy generation companies. Meanwhile, many ECs are guilty of long and frequent interruptions in their respective franchises and failure to electrify areas within them,” he continued.





DPWH completes major tourism road in Jaro, Leyte

Jaro tourism road

March 13, 2019

CARIGARA, Leyte – A major access road leading to Villaconzoilo Agri and Eco Tourism Farm in Jaro, Leyte is now serving tourists and motorists, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte Second district engineering office reported.

The department poured out a total of P85 million for the concreting of the 3.5-km long and 6.1-meter wide road including its drainage system.

According to Gerald A. Pacanan, DPWH Leyte II district engineer, the completion of this project will surely boost tourism in the area and provide more opportunities to the community.

“Through better road connectivity, we are promoting inclusive growth and poverty reduction, especially in rural areas,” he added.

Villaconzoilo is an upland village seven kilometers away from the town proper of Jaro and lies 600 meters above sea level, known for its cool and natural atmosphere.

It is the first farm tourism in Leyte accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT), offering various high-value products including strawberries, grapes, watermelons, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, cauliflowers, rambutan, radish, and asparagus.

The farm is not just known as rich agricultural plantation, but also as a learning site on practical agriculture accredited by the Agricultural Training Institute.

Meanwhile, as part of the government’s effort to extend development programs in hard to reach communities, the district is currently implementing a P9.85 million road concreting project leading to Silawan Falls in this village under Payapa at Masaganang Pamayan (PAMANA) fund.

Gearing towards the Golden Age of Infrastructure, the DPWH-DOT partnership will continue, implementing projects boosting tourism and overall economic progress in the country.





18 new classrooms in Jaro, Leyte school nears completion

18 new classrooms in Jaro, Leyte

March 13, 2019

JARO, Leyte – A total of 18 classrooms worth P34.4 million will open soon in Granja-Kalinawan National High School, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte Second district engineering office reported.

According to Gerald Pacanan, DPWH Leyte 2 district engineer, the office target to complete these buildings before the new school year starts in June 2019.

“This is part of the government’s efforts to provide a conducive learning environment for students, as each year, enrollees continue to rise with the implementation of K-12 program,” he said.

On March 7, the district conducted an ocular inspection on the site to ensure that the program of works, plans and specifications are strictly followed by contractors.

These classrooms are divided into three two-storey units each with six classrooms, all according to the standard design of DPWH and the Department of Education (DepEd).

As of January 2019, GKNHS has a total of 128 teaching and non-teaching staff and accommodates 3,271 students from grade 7 to 12.

Nicerato Gonzaga Jr., the school principal said that with the construction of these school buildings, students and teachers will have a better interaction during classes.

“I am grateful that we are one of the recipients of the school building projects and for the fast implementation of DPWH,” he added.

For 2018, the district is tasked to implement a total of 25 units of school buildings, equivalent to 137 classrooms worth P368 million funded under the DepEd Basic Educational Facilities Fund.





CARD MRI holds forum on rice tariffication; vows to launch related module for its 6.2M clients


rice tariffication forum

By CARD MRI Publishing House Inc.
March 13, 2019

SAN PABLO CITY – Implications of the financial reforms of the government were critically addressed by the Department of Finance (DOF) through Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua during the forum on financial reform agenda of President Duterte for poverty eradication organized by CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) on February 28, 2019 in San Pablo City.

According to CARD MRI Managing Director Flordeliza L. Sarmiento, the forum aims to foster better understanding on the financial reform agenda of the government. “This forum is also our way of supporting the efforts of the government and the Department of Finance, which also reinforces our goal of poverty eradication,” added Sarmiento.

At the forum, Usec. Chua discussed in details and highlighted the impacts of the recently signed law, the Rice Tariffication. The said law, according to Usec. Chua, will lift the quota restrictions on rice import that would result in an increase of supply.

“With this tariffication, we expect that the price of rice would decrease by P2 to P7,” said Usec. Chua, adding the government is just making sure that the food staple is available, accessible, and affordable at all times.

Usec. Chua also emphasized that the law favors local farmers. “Aid will be given to our farmers through the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund (RCEF) to help our farmers modernize and advance the quality of their rice,” he added.

Aside from the financial and technology support, the law will also provide literacy program and capacity building to farmers to ensure that the farmers are capable of coping with the competition.

Vouch of support

One of the crucial undertakings the DOF is working for the laws they are promoting is on the information dissemination. “My role is to make sure that the laws we are implementing reaches to the general public and be understood by everyone,” said Usec. Chua, thanking CARD MRI for hosting the forum.

CARD MRI Founder and Chair Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip assured Usec. Chua that CARD MRI will support DOF in promoting and underscoring the impact of every financial reform the department is reinforcing. “We will be launching a module on Rice Tariffication Law through our learning sessions with our more than 6.2 million clients nationwide to support the efforts of the government and the Department of Finance in disseminating this important agenda,” said Dr. Alip.

The module will be integrated during the weekly center meeting of CARD MRI’s microfinance clients nationwide. The center meeting is a weekly gathering of CARD clients in specific community where discussions of various development-oriented agenda take place.

It is also during this time where when Account Officers (AO) of CARD conduct Credit with Education (CwE), a program designed to educate and inform the clients about topics related to CARD MRI’s products and services, health, livelihood, credit discipline, and disaster preparedness, among others.

According to Dr. Alip, the goals of the law are similar to what CARD MRI is reinforcing that is to provide access to various kind of support and opportunities for Filipinos. “Since the law is aligned with our mission of poverty eradication, it is only rightful that CARD MRI gives its utmost support to the program,” added Alip.

For this topic, CARD MRI will allot one moth for the discussion of the law. “By April this year we hope to roll out the module in collaboration with the DOF to be able to craft a more simplified and comprehensive module.”

“We at CARD MRI will continue to become the government’s arm and support system in promoting financial inclusion in the country and we hope that the Duterte administration will continue to pass laws that will reinforce the economic status of the underprivileged families in the country,” Alip concluded.





Murang Kuryente Partylist to electric coops: "We pay taxes, why can’t you?"

Press Release
March 12, 2019

QUEZON CITY – Murang Kuryente Partylist (MKP) on Tuesday filed a Motion to Dismiss and a Petition for Intervention against the recent petition of the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (PHILRECA) to pass on real property tax (RPT) to the monthly bill of consumers nationwide.

In a petition filed on October 21, 2018, PHILRECA asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to formulate rules on how to pass on real property taxes to their consumers.

"All property owners pay amilyar (real property taxes) on what they own. Why do we also have to pay for what the coops own?”, asked Gerry Arances, a nominee of the Murang Kuryente Partylist.

Joining the partylist in its action are the groups Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) and Sanlakas.

Murang Kuryente filed the Motion to Dismiss on the basis that the petition of the electric coop group is speculative, as there is no proof presented that the coops are being assessed real property taxes, or that they do not have enough funds to pay for these taxes.

Arances said, “If only these coops are as quick in providing cheap and reliable supplies of electricity as they are in inventing ridiculous charges for their customers, our country would have the most advanced electrical system in the world.”

Petitions for Intervention, if granted, allows a party with direct and substantial interest the opportunity to be heard during the hearing.

Murang Kuryente, CEED, and Sanlakas are filing the Petition to Intervene on behalf of the millions of consumers to be affected by the coops’ petition, to ensure that consumers’ interests are heard despite the short notice given to them concerning the request.

Let me remind these cooperatives that they should work for the benefit of their member-consumers. There is no sense in raking in profits for the cooperative if it means unduly burdening their members," Arances further said.





DPWH tackles right of way issues with utility providers

DPWH right of way issues forum

March 11, 2019

CARIGARA, Leyte – Representatives from various utility providers, Local Government Units (LGUs), and contractors attended the coordination meeting initiated by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Leyte 2 district engineering office to tackle issues and concerns on Road Right of Way (RROW).

PLDT Co., Leyte Electric Cooperative III (Leyeco III), Don Orestes Romualdez Electric Cooperative (DORELCO), Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD), Metro Carigara Water District (MCWD) and Jaro Water District were among the utility companies present during the dialogue on March 6, 2019.

Encroachment of water pipelines, electric posts and communication lines was the major concern brought up by the district.

In his opening message, assistant district engineer Daniel Estigoy said that the meeting is meant to establish unified actions on RROW by merging ideas from the department and stakeholders, as this has been a continuous problem that hampers project implementation.

DPWH Regional Legal Officer, Neil N. Reoma and key officials of the district explained the department order (DO) 73 series of 2014 or the “Prohibited Uses Within the Right-of-Way of National Roads” and DO 26 of 2011 or the “Policy on Diggings/Excavations by Public or Private Utilities on National Roads.”

The district also reminded them that the total 20-meter right-of-way or 10 meters from the centerline of the carriageway is government owned, therefore, immediate removal of all obstructions and strict prohibition of constructing structures such us electric and communication lines and others provided in DO 73.

However, district engineer Gerald Pacanan, suggested to install their transmission and distribution lines, if possible, outside the 15-meter from the centerline in projection to the plan of the government to add more lanes on both sides.

“It is also costly on your part to remove and reinstall your lines in case of road developments and rehabilitations, so in anticipation, why not follow this scheme,” Pacanan said.

More, Pacanan emphasized that this meeting is essential in formulating potential undertakings to expedite ongoing and future projects of the government under the Build Build Build program as it gears towards the Golden Age of infrastructure.

As agreed, the district will set-up a committee who will closely coordinate with the utility service companies and provide necessary documents to fast track processes concerning RROW.

Meanwhile, Pacanan appealed to the LGUs to help the district on concerns regarding obstructions of residential and commercial structures.



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