04 MARCH 2015

CSC highlights women’s role in governance
Elderly lady becomes a local hero through participation in Kalahi-CIDSS
Badjaus displaced by Zambo siege get permanent houses on stilts
DOJ announces additional 16 Prosecutors in the National Prosecution Service
390 PESOs now institutionalized DOLE exceeds 2014 target of PESOs institutionalised by 31 percent
Baldoz directs POEA to prosecute Primera Human Resource Services for recruitment scam to Canada; urges victims to testify
DPWH evaluates performance of field engineers
Statement of Secretary Mar Roxas on the deaths of three BFP Personnel in Davao Oriental
PNP account for more wanted persons through "Oplan Lambat - Sibat"
DOST to conduct disaster preparedness forum in Senate
Philippines-China@40 goes live
DAR welcomes CBCP call to pass NOC Extension Bill (HB 4296)
MMDA upgrades Edsa-West Ave.- North Ave. intersection to help ease traffic and ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians
SSF on infants’ accessories production to boost GDH sector in Nueva Ecija

CSC highlights women’s role in governance
Source: http://web.csc.gov.ph

As it joins the Women’s Month celebration this March, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) recognizes the role of women in governance and nation-building.

Women make up the majority of the bureaucracy and as such, they play a significant part in the implementation of government programs as well as in policy and decision making. The CSC said it is only fitting to ensure the welfare and raise the morale of female workers so they can continue to be productive members of the bureaucracy.

In the 2010 Inventory of Government Personnel, there are 827,157 female government employees, representing 58.7% of the workforce.

However, according to the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), women’s participation in decision-making can still be improved as males continue to outnumber females in various top leadership posts in government.

The CSC called on government agencies to observe gender and development (GAD) laws and policies, especially those that advance women’s welfare.

Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, the CSC issued Memorandum Circular No. 25, s. 2010 specifying guidelines on the availment of special leave benefits for women who have undergone surgery caused by gynecological disorders.

The policy says that female government workers, regardless of age and civil status, are entitled to up to two (2) months special leave with full pay following surgery caused by gynecological disorders. The employee should have rendered six (6) months of continuous aggregate service for the last 12 months prior to surgery.

In 2005, the CSC also issued Resolution No. 05-1206 or the Guidelines on the Availment of the 10-day leave under Republic Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004). The policy entitles any female employee in the government service who is a victim of violence, or any woman employee whose child is a victim of violence, to a paid leave of absence not exceeding ten days.

March is National Women’s Month and the theme for this year is “Juana, Desisyon Mo ay Mahalaga sa Kinabukasan ng Bawat Isa, Ikaw Na!” which aims to celebrate and emphasize women’s roles in leadership, power, and decision-making.

A copy of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 4, s. 2015 re: 2015 National Women's Month Celebration can be accessed here.

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Elderly lady becomes a local hero through participation in Kalahi-CIDSS
Source: http://www.dswd.gov.ph
For some, the word “elderly” is associated with limitations, retirement, and frailty.

However, Elsie Lomong-oy of barangay Kin-iway, the center of the town of Besao, Mt. Province, thinks nothing of this, despite being 60 years old herself.

“[Age] is just a number and it challenges me to do even more,” she said in her local dialect, while she fixed the glasses perched on top of her head.

For most, it may be more than enough to keep a woman of her age occupied, but not for Elsie.

In between juggling her time between her family (she is a wife to her husband Agustin and a mother of three) and her work (she serves as a treasurer in a local organization), she also serves as a community volunteer for the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) in their barangay.

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the poverty reduction programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). As a program that uses the community-driven development (CDD) strategy, it mobilizes citizens so that they themselves have an active role in the development process, particularly in identifying solutions to problems affecting their community’s poverty situation.

Elsie became a community volunteer in 2012 when the Kalahi-CIDSS started its second year of implementation in Besao.

Like many others who tried volunteering in Kalahi-CIDSS, she said it was the system of how the program was being implemented that initially attracted her to participate in it.

“It was different from other government projects. We really have control over our sub-projects and how it is implemented. We are involved,” Elsie stated.

However, many in her village did not last as community volunteers, she lamented.

According to Elsie, because the program relies on volunteers, there was always a lot of work to be done, but Kalahi-CIDSS does not offer monetary compensation for them, dissuading many of the early volunteers. However, she stayed for one reason – her community.

“I value my community. I want it to be developed from within, for people to see the value of development,” Elsie said.

Initially, she was a member of the Project Preparation Team, where she said she learned how to make proposals and process them. Currently, Elsie is a member of the Bids and Awards Committee.

Even as she helped her community, Elsie realized that she was also able to get something from the Kalahi-CIDSS.

“I thought I was only helping the community but I realized I was also growing,” she mused. The elderly lady related how she felt a strong sense of empowerment when she first stood and spoke in front of the community assembly.

She said the experiences and learnings she gained as a community volunteer of Kalahi-CIDSS were more than what she expected.

“I keep telling others, especially the youth, that they should volunteer because they can help the community and themselves as well,” she said.

Besao Mayor Wellington Pooten, the chief executive since the Kalahi-CIDSS started in the town in 2011, has nothing but good words for the elderly lady.

“Elsie is a very active member of the community. She joins all organizations and does not ask for any incentive or pay for what she does,” he said.

Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinator Roxan Ramirez also has similar words of praise for Elsie.

“Manang Elsie is one of the most active members of the community. She is very keen on transparency, especially in paper works. I never noticed any problems on her work,” she stated.

On December last year, Elsie was chosen as the “Best Senior Citizen Community Volunteer,” a special award of the first BayanI ka! Awards.

On January 23, she received the award from no less than Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman in a ceremony at the AIM Conference Center in Makati City.

The award giving body is intended acknowledge contributions of ordinary persons and groups representing such community sectors, as persons with disabilities (PWDs), women, and indigenous peoples (IPs), in alleviating poverty among Filipinos.

They are dubbed heroes – “bayanI” — for placing their own communities – “bayan” – before their own selves – “I.”

“The picture of my community should change. Many are not willing to volunteer, but a few do. I just want to help even just a little,” Elsie said.

Currently, Besao is in its fourth cycle of implementation. It is implementing Kalahi-CIDSS through the program’s partnership with the Millennium Challenge Corporation of the United States

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Badjaus displaced by Zambo siege get permanent houses on stilts
Source: http://www.dswd.gov.ph
“Walang makakapantay sa saya namin, kahit matagal kaming naghintay, totoo pala ang sinabi nilang magkakaroon kami ng bahay (Our happiness is immeasurable. Despite the wait, they made true to their promise to build us a home).”

Alawi Jamma Asid, 41, cannot contain his emotions as he looked around his new home located in a 3.5-hectare water area in Barangay Taluksangay, Zamboanga City.

Alawi lost his home during the 2013 Zamboanga siege. He, his wife, and their four kids stayed for over a year at the Taluksangay Transitory Site.

He added, “Hindi ko akalain na magkakabahay ako ng ganito. Doon sa Layag-Layag, kung makikita mo, luma ang bahay. Masaya naman kami doon, pero sigurado kong magiging mas masaya kami dito dahil mas ligtas dito (I didn’t expect to have a house like this. In Layag-Layag, if you can see, our house is old. We were happy in Layag-Layag but we will be happier here because we are safer here).”

On February 26, Alawi’s family and 115 others received their new permanent houses on stilts, which were constructed by the National Housing Authority (NHA).

Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco led the turnover ceremony and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera was present to witness the event.

The housing project is part of the Zamboanga Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction of the government for areas affected by the siege.

To ensure that the beneficiaries have access to water and electricity services in their new homes, NHA will also provide them with P10,000 financial aid to be distributed by DSWD.

During the turnover, DSWD also gave out food packs, food and non-food items, and starter kits to the beneficiaries for them to start anew.

Alawi thanked all the agencies and organizations that assisted his family and the other families affected by the siege.

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DOJ announces additional 16 Prosecutors in the National Prosecution Service
Source: http://www.doj.gov.ph
The Department of Justice welcomes the appointment of the following heads of offices by His Excellency, Benigno S. Aquino III:

1) Atty. Peter L. Medalle - Regional Prosecutor of Region IX;

2) Atty. Michael D. Villaret - Provincial Prosecutor of Antique;

3) Atty. Golda B. Bagawi - Provincial Prosecutor of Mountain Province;

4) Atty. Mari Elvira B. Herrera - City Prosecutor of Aritipolo City;

5) Atty. Johnny N. Umpong - City Prosecutor of Bacoor City, Cavite;

6) Atty. Alfonso M. Cinco IV - City Prosecutor of Catbalogan City;

The appointment papers of the above-mentioned heads of offices were received by the Department of Justice on 02 March 2015. Notably, the President's appointment of the said heads of offices came immediately after the appointment of one hundred eighty one (181) prosecutors a few days ago.

Undoubtedly, the President's appointment of the foregoing heads of offices improves the administration of the criminal justice system in the said areas of jurisdiction. The DOJ offices mentioned above have been vacated by the former occupants for some time now, and President's appointment of such prosecutors fills the void created by the absence of heads of offices in Region IX, Mountain Province, Antique, Bacoor City, Catbalogan City and Antipolo City.

Apart from the appointment of the said heads of offices, the Department of Justice also received the promotional and original appointment often ten (10) other prosecutors, to wit:

1) Atty. Rogelio A. Velasco - Deputy City Prosecutor of Quezon City;

2) Atty. Vesta Victoria G. Villamor - Deputy City Prosecutor of Quezon City;

3) Atty. Alfredo P. Agcaoili - Deputy City Prosecutor of Quezon City;

4) Atty. Maria Lelibet S. Sampaga - Deputy City Prosecutor of Quezon City;

5) Atty. Rico O. Verde - Associate Provincial Prosecutor of Northern Samar;

6) Atty. Fidelito L. Marmol - Associate Provincial Prosecutor of Northern Samar;

7) Atty. Wilma Donna A. Garcia - Associate Provincial Prosecutor of Northern Samar;

8) Atty. Rico Leo R. Sacaben - Associate Provincial Prosecutor of Northern Samar;

9) Atty. Jinky U. Ramos - Associate Provincial Prosecutor of Northern Samar;

10) Atty. Luz D. Trinidad - Associate Provincial Prosecutor of Northern Samar.

The promotional and/or original appointment of the prosecutors in Quezon City and Northern Samar would likewise assist in eliminating the backlog in the said offices. Needless to state, more prosecutors are needed in order to achieve the zero backlog policy that the Department of Justice dreams to accomplish in all the offices of the National Prosecution Service.

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390 PESOs now institutionalized DOLE exceeds 2014 target of PESOs institutionalised by 31 percent
Source: http://www.dole.gov.ph
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said the DOLE’s efforts to institutionalize a national employment facilitation service are developing an irreversible momentum, indicated by the growing number of Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) that are being institutionalised since the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III came to office in 2010.
“In 2010, there were only 65 institutionalised PESOs. This rose to 73 in 2011; and 163 in 2012. Then, in 2013, the number shot up to 297, when 134 PESOs were institutionalised that year,” said Baldoz after receiving an update report from Bureau of Local Employment Dominique R. Tutay on the DOLE advocacy for PESO institutionalization.
“At the end of 2014 and four years into this administration, there are already 390 institutionalised PESOs, an increase of 93 over the 297 institutionalised PESOs at the end of 2013,” Baldoz added.
Baldoz thanked local chief executives (LCEs) and PESO managers who have partnered with the DOLE for the achievement. “Without our LCEs and our indefatigable PESO managers, then the PESO Act, which is an unfunded law, would have been rendered ineffective,” she commented.
The labor and employment chief’s commendation also extended to the DOLE’s regional offices whose extensive and strong support to the advocacy for the PESOs’ institutionalisation have inspired many local government units to work hard on their end.
The DOLE’s advocacy for the institutionalisation of PESOs, in partnership with local chief executives, is an alternative strategy to overcome obstacles and problems arising from the PESO being a non-funded law, and after failure of several attempts over the last several years to amend the PESO Act.
“The objective of strengthening employment facilitation at the countryside, at the grassroots level, is to provide access to quality employment opportunities to every working Filipino,” Baldoz said.
“The PESO is a frontline institution that is in the forefront of employment facilitation and services delivery. This is why PESOs are very important. They are our partners, and that is the reason we continue to strongly advocate for LCEs of key cities, provinces, towns, and even for heads of state and private universities and colleges to institutionalise their PESOs.
Regionally, Region 3 has the most number of institutionalized PESOs at the end of 2014, with a total of 53, after it institutionalized five more PESOs during the year. Next follows Region 8, with 50, after it institutionalised 10 PESOs in 2014; Region 4-A has 43, institutionalizing 14 more PESOs during the year; Region 7 institutionalized 11 PESOs to bring its total to 26; Region 6 added seven new institutionalised PESOs and Region 10 added five to tie their totals at 25 institutionalised PESOs each.
The next regions with the most number of institutionalised PESOs are as follows: Region 11 with 23; Caraga and Region 2, each with 21; NCR and Region 9, each with 17; CAR with 16; Regions 4-B and 12, each with 15; Region 5 with 13; and Region 1 with 10 PESOs.
“Our advocacy for PESO institutionalization has been soaring high. This means the strategy is working and that LGUs are realising that an effective enabling mechanism in addressing not only financial concerns, but also local employment facilitation problems, through the PESO is imperative,” Baldoz further said.
Baldoz also pinned hopes on a favourable action of Congress on a tripartite legislative measure to amend the PESO Act. “The amendatory bill to the PESO Act of 1999 has already passed the Committee on Labor and Employment and the Committee on the Appropriations. This, we envision, will lead to a massive institutionalization of all LGU-based PESO nationwide,” she said, thanking the Rep. Alexis Karlo Nogales of Davao City for shepherding the proposed amendatory law.

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Baldoz directs POEA to prosecute Primera Human Resource Services for recruitment scam to Canada; urges victims to testify
Source: http://www.dole.gov.ph
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday directed Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Hans Leo J. Cacdac to investigate, moto proprio, and file an appropriate case against the officials and employees of one Primera Human Resource Services, which is advertising itself to be POEA-licensed, for perpetuating an e-mail scam that lures victims for non-existent care giving work in Canada. Baldoz’s directive came after she received information from Labor Attache Leonida V. Romulo of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Toronto saying that Primera Human Resource Services has been reported to be recruiting caregivers, even if inexperienced, through e-mail, instructing applicants to enrol for a three-month on-the-job training at Ian Anderson House, Ontario’s first in-resident hospice for individuals with terminal cancer and limited life expectancy. “The POLO and the Philippine Consulate General in Ontario had received an e-mail from Heidi Harrigan, volunteer coordinator of the Ian Anderson House, to complain that her hospice is being used by Primera Human Resource Services, to falsely recruit caregivers from the Philippines. She claimed receiving numerous e-mails and calls from applicants in the Philippines telling about the fraudulent activities of the company,” said Baldoz. Ms. Harrigan has forwarded copies of the e-mail that Primera Human Resource Services has been using to dupe applicants. “After evaluation of your resume thru PRIMERA HUMAN RESOURCE SERVICES with POEA License No. POEA-003-LB-022414-PL, we are pleased to tell you you were chosen for the position of a Caregiver (open for BSN or other medical allied professionals such as Caregivers, Nursing Aides, Midwives, Therapists, Graduate or Undergraduate, with or without PRC license, with or without experience, newly graduate). “NOTE: No experience required because we have our own ON THE JOB TRAINING at Ian Anderson House in Canada with salary during the first 3 months within the employment contract. No IELTS required because there is a certificate of exemption that will be issued by your respective employer. We are offering working visa not student/immigrant visa,” the e-mail reads. “This (e-mail) is fraudulent. People in the Philippines are receiving this false email that says it comes from Ian Anderson House, when in fact, it did not,” Ms. Harrigan said. Baldoz said this e-mail is clearly illegal recruitment and urged those who have fallen for the scam to come forward and testify against the company. Warning Filipinos planning to work in Canada to be very careful in dealing with individuals or companies, licensed to unlicensed, recruiting for non-existent jobs, she said: “Our prospective OFWS should better visit the POEA and gather as much accurate information as possible. Don’t fall for the sweet words of scammers. Legal and safe migration is the best and it is possible, but applicants should be diligent, too.” A check with the POEA reveals that Primera Human Resource Services has a license which expired yesterday. Its office is located at Suite 300, Ermita Centre Building, 1350 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, and its official representative is a certain Trina T. Dizon. No one answers the company’s telephone numbers, 543-3755 and 509-8117; and mobile nos. 0916-638-3298 and 0918-398-1453. Labor Attache Romulo said in her report that Ian Anderson House has already coordinated and filed a report about the scam with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Ms. Harrigan said the hospice had already posted a warning in its website.

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DPWH evaluates performance of field enginners
Source: http://www.dpwh.gov.ph
Evaluation process is on-going in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to determine the performance of accredited field engineers assigned to supervise government infrastructure projects specifically DPWH projects.

DPWH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson tasked the Accreditation Committee for Field Engineers headed by Assistant Secretary Gilberto S. Reyes to assess all DPWH field engineers and determine those who are capable or in need of improvement in their technical knowledge.

The Committee, which include Bureau of Construction Director Walter R. Ocampo as Vice-Chairman with OIC-Director Medmier G. Malig of Bureau of Quality and Safety, Project Director Virgilio C. Castillo, and District Engineer Ramon P. Devanadera as members, uses an approved set of performance criteria in their evaluation.

The committee is also responsible in planning and ensuring the implementation of a comprehensive training program for field engineers who need improvement or wish to serve as field engineers.

With the number of DPWH accredited field engineers narrowed down to 2,327 as of end of December 2014 from the 4,686 total accredited or a decrease of 50% since 1998 due to retirement or availment of Rationalization Plan, the Committee shall also work for the development of systems for new accreditation, selection, and assigning engineers in projects.

Of the total accredited 2,327 field engineers, 749 engineers are Project Engineer III, handling projects without cost limit; 505 engineers are Project Engineer II, handling projects that do not exceed P50 million; 558 engineers are Project Engineer I, handling projects that do not exceed P20 million; and the remaining 459 engineers are Project Inspector I.

To ensure the quality of projects, only qualified and competent engineers are issued with Certificate of Accreditation which makes them eligible to supervise projects.

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Statement of Secretary Mar Roxas on the deaths of three BFP Personnel in Davao Oriental
Source: http://www.dilg.gov.ph
Malungkot ko pong tinanggap ang balita ng pagkamatay ng mga bumbero ng BFP Mati City na sila Arnel John Angsinco, Ludovico Ponce, at ni Nico Corambao nang naaksidente ang kanilang sinasakyang fire truck. Nangyari po ito habang rumeresponde sila sa isang sunog sa Manay, Davao Oriental.

Nakikiramay po kami sa mga naiwan ng mga yumaong bumbero habang nagpapasalamat sa kanilang dedikasyon sa kanilang tungkulin. Makasisiguro po ang lahat na ang mga nasawi at ang apat nilang kasamang nasugatan sa aksidente ay makatatanggap ng suporta at tulong mula sa pamahalaan. Iimbestigahan po ang aksidenteng ito upang malaman kung papaano ito maiiwasan sa hinaharap.

Patuloy din po ang pagsisikap ng DILG na mabigyan ang bawat bayan ng kanilang sariling fire truck at masiguro na maayos ang kagamitan ng mga bumberong magtataya ng kanilang buhay sa pagtugon sa mga sunog at sakuna.

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PNP account for more wanted persons through "Oplan Lambat - Sibat"
Source: http://pnp.gov.ph
In line with the directives of the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas III to intensify the police operations in Metro Manila through “Oplan Lambat Sibat” anti-crime strategy, proactive police operations netted in a row thirty nine (39) Wanted Persons in separate police operations conducted from February 18 – March 3, 2015.

National Capital Region Police Office together with the personnel of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and police intelligence services conducted the two-week anti-criminal operations that resulted in the arrest of these criminals. It is in line with the current operational thrust of PNP against organized crime groups, wanted persons, anti-illegal drugs and loose firearms, NCRPO Regional Director PDIR Carmelo E Valmoria said.

Among the arrested wanted persons were listed on the Top Ten Most Wanted Person (MWP) District Level that include:

Jessie B. Badilla for the crime of Murder and Illegal Drugs, no. 3 MWP of Northern Police District (NPD);
Michael Colenares alias Fetus for the crime of Murder and Robbery, no. 8 MWP of Northern Police District (NPD);
Araceli Favorada for the crime of Murder, no. 9 MWP of Northern Police District (NPD); and
Michael L. Rabe for the crime of Robbery/Theft, no. 8 MWP Manila Police District (MPD)
Other Most Wanted Persons arrested in the said operations were members of notoriuos crime groups that include:

Jason Lopeña, leader of Jason Lopena Group;
Benjie Alinain alias Sexy Koreano, leader of Abu-Abu Group;
Cris G. Junie alias Kwatog, member of Navarro/Balweg Drug Group;
Gerry Clemente alias Gerry Boy, member of Bandiola Group;
Manuel Fernandez , member of Marlon Fernandez Group;
Peter De Guzman, member of Macabenta Group; and
Zaldy Hernandez, member of Rey Burgos Group
While the 28 other persons arrested were listed as Most Wanted Persons Station Level.

Each police station is required to report accurate data to monitor the peace and order situation in their area. This is vital for the NCRPO in order to formulate comprehensive and effective security measures and plans in combating criminality.

The PNP’s Oplan Lambat-Sibat, the brainchild of Sec. Roxas, aimed at combating crimes through “deliberate, programmatic and systematic” approach. Because of the program’s success in Metro Manila, Roxas ordered that it be cascaded in the regions. It shall be launched on the first week of March in Region III and on the first week of April in Region IV-A. (PNP-PIO)

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DOST to conduct disaster preparedness forum in Senate
Source: http://www.dost.gov.ph
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will hold a forum on disaster preparedness on March 4, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. at the Senate of the Philippines, Pasay City. The forum aims to help senators formulate appropriate policies on disaster preparedness to strengthen the country’s disaster preparedness program.

Billed as “Iba na ang Panahon: Science for Safer Communities” (INAP: S4SC), said forum will gather members of the Philippine Senate and respective committee chairpersons to equip them with the latest information, tools, and technologies that would give them a better understanding of the possible impacts of hazards in different communities around the country. Discussions will focus on geologic hazards, radiation/nuclear safety program, and issues on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

Forum speakers include DOST Asst. Sec. Raymund Liboro (Science for Safer Communities), Dr. Renato Solidum (Geologic Hazards), Dr. Alumanda dela Rosa (Radiation/Nuclear Safety Program), and Engr. Mauro L. Marcelo Jr. (Bataan Nuclear Power Plant).

In 2013, DOST partnered with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Office of Civil Defense for a three-month INAP: S4SC campaign held in the country’s 17 regions. Participated in by local chief executives and disaster risk reduction managers, the campaign was designed to arm local governments with the necessary knowledge and tools that will help reduce the loss of lives and damage to properties and infrastructure during calamities.

INAP: S4SC featured lectures on science-based tools such as high -resolution maps and flood modeling softwares, as well as table-top exercises for end-to-end communication and strategies before, during, and after disasters.

Meanwhile, the DOST’s Science and Technology Information Institute partnered with the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas to hold the “Seminar-Workshop on Responsible Weather Reporting” in four strategic cities of the country, namely Tuguegarao, Cebu, Davao, and Butuan. The seminar-workshop aimed to equip local radio and television announcers with better knowledge of the various hazards in the country so they could convey weather reports more clearly and responsibly. (S&T Media Service)

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Philippines-China@40 goes live
Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph
04 March 2015 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), launched yesterday, March 03, the website on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China.

The Philippines-China@40 website serves as a portal of information on the cultural projects that have been or will be implemented in Manila and in the Philippine Foreign Service Posts in China to mark the 40-year milestone in bilateral relations. It is a realization of the DFA’s vision to bring the anniversary celebration into the web in order to reach out to the international community and promote Philippine culture to a global audience.

The launching was one of the highlights of the opening program for the exhibit “Philippine Fiestas & Festivals: Photography by Donald C. Tapan” which was held yesterday at the DFA Main Office Building in Pasay City. The proceedings and photos of the program were live tweeted with the hashtag #PHChina40.

The website may be accessed via the URL www.philippine-exhibit.com.

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DAR welcomes CBCP call to pass NOC Extension Bill (HB 4296)
Source: http://www.dar.gov.ph
The Department of Agrarian Reform welcomed the support of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urging the Congress to pass House Bill 4296 or the NOC Extension Bill. If passed into law, the DAR will be able to continue to issue Notices of Coverage (for lands under Compulsory Acquisition) and accept Voluntary Offers to Sell.

President Aquino has already certified the NOC Extension Bill as urgent and the Senate has already passed the bill as early as September of last year. In the House of Representative, the bill was approved at the Committee level and is still awaiting scheduling for Plenary discussions.

From January – June 2014, the DAR was able to issue Notices of Coverage for 28,000 landholdings with total area of 233,000 hectares. However DAR Undersecretary for Field Operations Jose Grageda said that from 36,000 – 50,000 hectares of lands still need to be issued or re-issued Notices of Coverage.

“This is why that the bill is necessary. It would be grossly unfair to the former landowners of the 2.5 million hectares of private agricultural lands whose lands have already been distributed to beneficiaries if government lets go of these 36,000 – 50,000 hectares due to the fact that NOCs were not issued to these before June 30, 2014”, Grageda said.

“We have been actively working with both chambers of Congress to get law passed to allow us to continue to issue NOCs,” Grageda added, “The Senate has already passed its version while we are still waiting for the House to pass HB 4296.”

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MMDA upgrades Edsa-West Ave.- North Ave. intersection to help ease traffic and ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians
Source: http://www.mmda.gov.ph
The intersection of Edsa-West Ave.-North Ave and its environs in Quezon City, a major hub for buses plying the Edsa route was wanting in cleanliness and orderliness.

This converging zone of passengers going to different destinations in Metro Manila was congested, unsightly and disorderly with run-down structures, sidewalk blockades and road impediments.

It is within this environment that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) saw the need to undertake the tremendous task of sprucing up the area for the common good of motorists and pedestrians.

Gone are these sights today.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said it is alongside this sorry state of the said intersection that the role of the MMDA becomes critical.

“This is an opportunity for our agency to put its best foot forward to improve the image of Edsa and Metro Manila as a whole,” he said.

Tolentino said given the increased volume of vehicles passing the intersection, the project involves road widening and installation of bikini-type median islands to avoid vehicle conflict in the area. Drainage improvement was also undertaken to minimize flooding in the vicinity.

The roads have also been widened, now it’s seven lanes on the north bound and six lanes on the southbound, which he said, has surely eased traffic in the area.

Based on the findings of a survey conducted by the MMDA Traffic Engineering Center before and after the intersection underwent a major face-lift, there has been a 24.86 per cent increase in travel speed and 39.24 per cent decrease in travel time.

The project also involves providing adequate lighting in the area where 40 LED streetlights were installed, curbs painted white, pavements marked, bollards and hazard markers were installed for the safety of motorists and pedestrians.

Re-greening of the intersection was likewise undertaken to improve air quality and aesthetic view of the area.

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SSF on infants’ accessories production to boost GDH sector in Nueva Ecija
Source: http://www.dti.gov.ph
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Nueva Ecija launched a shared service facility (SSF) on infants’ accessories production in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija on 04 February 2015.

The equipment, valued at P301,500 consisted of 15 high-speed sewing machines with two more high-speed overlock machines expected at a later date. The Dynamix Business Resource Center in Sto. Rosario, Aliaga, Nueva Ecija received the equipment as SSF co-operator. Dynamix currently is sub-contractor with the Manila-based Stardust Infant Wear, Inc. a registered exporter.

The facility is projected to increase the volume of production of portable baby beds, comforters, mosquito nets and head pillows by 100%; provide new jobs to an additional 20 persons; and double the total gross monthly income of P 700,000 to P1.4M.

The infant accessories facility is seen to boost the supply chain of the gifts, décor, and handicraft (GDH) sector in the province with increased productivity and indirectly support the tourist trade by offering quality infant wear.

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