24 NOV 2014

Two new 'PISAY' campuses get funding boost; Abad: P6-M releases for faculty support
RIPS scores another victory for DOF in anti-corruption drive
BIR belies report on alleged rise of illegally-traded cigarettes
PHL tops list in Fight vs Human Trafficking
PHL urged to establish competitive digital niche in Asia
CIAP holds 3rd Philippine Overseas Construction Symposium
Baldoz and Qatar Labor Minister Abdullah Saleh Al Khulaifi meet; agree to resume bilateral talks in January
The Bangsamoro is for all -- GPH legal rep
Philippines highlights importance of financial inclusion in UN Meeting in Geneva
Philippines congratulates Thai National Legislative Assembly President
NAPOLCOM announces special police examinations
Roxas fetes wounded cop in Surigao encounter
Paje: Gov't measures to counter climate change in place
DA awards top quality corn producing LGUs and agriculture workers
PhilRice celebrates innovations
DBP posts P3.95 Bn Net Income as of Oct 31, 2014
Vice mayor indicted for ghost repairs
PDIC to pay depositors of the closed Synergy Rural Bank, Inc. starting November 25

Two new 'PISAY' campuses get funding boost; Abad: P6-M releases for faculty support
Source: http://www.dbm.gov.ph
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P6 million for the salaries and other compensation of recently hired personnel of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) regional campuses in CARAGA and SOCCSKSARGEN, as part of the Aquino administration’s continued drive to further improve access to quality education in the country.

The release will cover the Personnel Services (PS) requirements of a combined twenty-seven newly filled teaching and non-teaching positions. The staff for these positions were only hired last June and September at the two recently-established science-based campuses.

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said: “In our bid to enhance the public school system, we’re not just putting up more schools and classrooms. We’re also making large investments in our teachers and school personnel. By giving enough budgetary support for their salaries, we’re able to look out for the welfare of our teaching and non-teaching staff in public schools, particularly in these two new PSHS campuses,” Abad said.

Of the P6-million release, P4 million was allocated for the PSHS-CARAGA while almost P2 million was allotted for PSHS-SOCCSKSARGEN. Since the positions were not yet filled while the 2014 Budget was being prepared, majority of the release was charged against the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) under the 2014 Budget.

The PSHS, an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), operates as a government high school whose mandate is to offer free scholarships to qualified students with special emphasis on science-based subjects. The goal is to prepare students for future careers in science and technology, engineering and mathematics.

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RIPS scores another victory for DOF in anti-corruption drive
Source: http://www.dof.gov.ph
The Department of Finance’s (DOF) Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) scored yet another victory after the Office of the Ombudsman denied last 25 October 2014 a motion for reconsideration filed by a DOF employee found to be on the wrong side of anti-graft and corruption laws.
Jesse Javier Carlos, a tax specialist at the DOF’s One Stop Shop Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center, was previously investigated by RIPS for violations of Section 7 of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Section 8 of the Republic Act 6713 Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
In a decision dated 24 January 2013, the Office of the Ombudsman found that Carlos had unexplained wealth and had most likely falsified his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), an official document, constituting perjury. The Ombudsman found probable cause to charge Carlos for violation of the provisions of Republic Act 1379, a law forfeiting in favor of the state ill-gotten wealth of public officials.
Carlos, whose last gross annual salary was P 210, 480, was found to have an incongruent amount of assets and properties. Over ten (10) years, a period in which he would have earned a total of P2.46 million in income, he has acquired a disproportionately high amount of assets totaling P9.36 million. Among some of his assets are a property in Manila worth P1.1 million and a farm lot worth P4 million which he bought in cash.

Carlos defended himself by claiming to have total liabilities of P7.54 million in explaining his wealth. The Ombudsman found the claim dubious, as he failed to present creditors or any supporting documents, especially given that he claims to have P5 million in loans. The Ombudsman declared then in 2013 that Carlos’ unexplained wealth can be forfeited in favor of the state under RA 1379.

Further clarifying where Carlos erred, the Ombudsman pointed to section 2 of RA 1379 stating that, “whenever a public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary…said property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired.”

In denying Carlos’ motion for reconsideration, the Ombudsman said, “a reasonable prudent mind would believe that respondent’s (Carlos’) non-declaration of assets and business interest appears to be intentional; meant to conceal his wealth.” The Ombudsman further stressed that Carlos has not reasonably explained and reconciled his assets and liabilities. Following the denial of Carlos’ motion for reconsideration, the government will work to forfeit the ill-gotten wealth under the process and parameters provided by RA 1379.

Launched in 2003, the DOF’s RIPS program systematically roots out corruption by investigating and eliminating erring and corrupt public officials and employees. As of 30 September 2014, RIPS has charged 226 public officers.

Since the Aquino administration took office in 2010, RIPS has filed 113 cases—a marked change of pace from when the same number (113 cases) was filed over the 2003-2010 period. The DOF, through RIPS and other championed initiatives, is committed to protecting the nation’s coffers by ensuring public officers are held to the highest standards of integrity and excellence.

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BIR belies report on alleged rise of illegally-traded cigarettes
Source: http://www.dof.gov.ph
The Bureau of Internal Revenue highlights overwhelming growth in sin tax collection as an indication of the inconclusiveness of a report alleging the fast-rising illegal cigarette trade in the country.

In a report prepared by the International Tax and Investment Center and Oxford Economics entitled “Asia-14 Illicit Tobacco Indicator 2013”, it is alleged that of the 105.5 billion cigarettes locally sold in 2013, 18.1% is attributable to illicit consumption.

“The growth in collections on sin taxes disproves the allegations that the government is losing revenues through illicit trade.”

The BIR collected a total amount of Php100.9 billion in excise taxes from sin products in 2013, with the incremental revenue under the sin tax reform amounting to to Php51.1 billion. This total collection is 81.2% higher compared to 2012 of Php55.7 billion. Likewise, for the first three quarters of 2014, total collections reached Php78.3 billion which is 27.7% higher than the collection made in the same period of 2013, an excess of Php13.8 billion or 21.4% as compared to the goal of Php64.5 billion.

The BIR also belies the said report on the ground that the data used in the said report is incomplete and lacks proper attribution as to source.

As compared to the report, the BIR data of cigarette removals/consumption of 107.2 billion sticks (84.9% accounted for Domestic Consumption,1.8% for Importations/Inflows, and 13.3% for Exports/Outflows) is 1.7 billion sticks greater than the Oxford Economics’ reported data of 105.5 billion sticks inclusive of the alleged illicit 19.1 billion sticks.

Likewise, the 2012 BIR data of cigarette removals/consumption of 129.1 billion sticks is 20.4 billion sticks higher than the 2012 Oxford Economics’ reported data of 108.7 billion sticks removed/consumed inclusive of the alleged illicit 6.4 billion sticks.

The BIR is not discounting the fact that illicit consumption of cigarettes exists as it has become a worldwide concern.

“The Bureau, together with the Bureau of Customs, has been very consistent in its fight against smugglers of goods as this affect our revenues,” Commissioner Jacinto-Henares said. “We implemented various measures to counter illicit cigarette activities such as implementation of stamp tax on cigarettes. We have also acted on reports by sectors to address allegations of misdeclaration / underdeclaration, and we are strictly monitoring removals of cigarettes products to ensure that those that are sold in the market are properly taxed.”

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PHL tops list in Fight vs Human Trafficking
Source: http://www.doj.gov.ph
The Philippines garnered the top spot in the 2014 edition of the Global Slavery Index, ranking it among countries “making comparatively strong efforts with limited resources” in the campaign against human trafficking.

The second edition of the index ranked the country number one in Asia, number three in Asia-Pacific and number 29 globally, out of 167 countries, in terms of government's efforts and programs, especially on the response of the criminal justice system against human trafficking.

Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Chairperson of the Inter- Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), lauded the government's ‘frontliners’ in the fight against trafficking, saying the Index is a “clear indication that the country is in the right direction in the bid to eradicate this global menace”.

“The report is something that every Filipino must be proud of and should serve as inspiration to the ‘frontliners’ from the different government agencies to persevere and further improve,” De Lima said.

The 2014 Global Slavery Index was released by Walk Free Foundation, an Australia-based global human rights organization dedicated to ending modern day slavery. The 2013 edition also cited the Philippines’ innovative approach to combat human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

The Index provided a scientific approximation, country by country, of the number of people currently living in modern slavery. Based on the report, the Philippines acquired a high government response rating (BB), noting that the government has taken significant steps to fight human trafficking. These include short-term victim support services, a criminal justice framework that criminalizes some forms of modern-day slavery, a body to coordinate the response, and protection for vulnerable sectors.

“This achievement is a result of the integrated approach that the government has been implementing since the advent of the law in 2003,” De Lima explained.

“We are honored that the country's efforts are now being recognized” De Lima added.

Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente B. Salazar, Undersecretary-in-charge of IACAT, credited the top global rating to the efforts of the public servants, government organizations, local government units, NGO partners, faith-based organizations, and other groups who contributed to the overall efforts of the country in fighting human trafficking.

“We attribute this milestone to the long-standing partnership that has been forged with the various sectors of society in protecting our people from the evils of modern day slavery,” Salazar said.

The Global Slavery Index, according to Walk Free Foundation, is a tool for citizens, non-government organizations (NGOs), businesses, and public officials to understand the size of the problem, existing responses and contributing factors, so they can build sound policies that will end modern-day slavery.

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PHL urged to establish competitive digital niche in Asia
Source: http://www.dti.gov.ph
During the 5th IC Design Training Program, Professors Shuenn-Yuh Lee PhD and Cheng-Han Hsieh of the Taiwan-based National Cheng Kung University urged Filipino engineers to set up companies to encourage innovation in the Integrated Circuit (IC) design and to establish a competitive digital niche in Asia.

The training program, which was held at the JICA-Net Satellite Center in UP Diliman, Quezon City, focused on the importance of analog to digital and digital to analog converters. This is an initiative of the Board of Investments (BOI) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Taiwanese government, and the Philippine Institute for Integrated Circuits (PIIC).

“These four institutions are working together to improve and promote the IC Design industry in our country. Individual Industry Roadmaps have identified training needs to address human resource development and upgrade them with latest technology requirements of the global market,” Industry Development Group (IDG) Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said.

Professor Lee noted that homegrown engineers have increased their technical capability over the years. He further encouraged the trainees to innovate and even put up IC Design start-ups to boost the digital revolution.

IC Design is an essential part of the Philippine semiconductor and electronics industry. In 2013 alone, the industry accounted for 28% of the country’s GDP output or revenues in excess of USD 21B and employed some 4M employees directly and indirectly.

The country’s Electronics Industry Roadmap envisions the country as a globally competitive electronics hub by 2030 with investments of USD 10B, exports of USD 112B and direct and indirect employment of up to 24M. For the short and medium terms, the country’s total exports are expected to top USD 37B by 2016 and USD 52B by 2022.

Some 29 participants, mostly faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students in the fields of Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering from the University of the Philippines (UP_, University of San Carlos, Mindanao State University, Iligan Institute of Technology, and Bulacan State University completed the training. Other attendees include representatives from the electronics companies of Analog Device Inc. and Zynix Design. Also present were representatives from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), UP College of Engineering, PIIC, and the BOI.

Based on the latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the country’s electronics industry exported USD 16.28B from January to August 2014, a 5.2-% increase from USD 15.28B in the same period last year.

In 2012, the DTI and BOI launched the Industry Development Program (IDP) to support the preparation of the Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy (CNIS). The Electronics Industry, as well as 29 other industry sectors, collaborated with government, academe and civil society in the crafting of their respective industry roadmaps. The project aims to chart the direction, goals and strategies for key industries and form the basis for the development of the CNIS.

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CIAP holds 3rd Philippine Overseas Construction Symposium
Source: http://www.dti.gov.ph
The Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP) through one of its implementing arms, the Philippine Overseas Construction Board (POCB), held the 3rd Philippine Overseas Construction Symposium on 20-21 November 2014 at Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.

The Supervising Undersecretary for CIAP, Dr. Prudencio M. Reyes, Jr., said that the theme of the symposium is about, “ASEAN Economic Community 2015 (AEC 2015) and its Impact to the Construction Industry and Exploring Opportunities in our non-ASEAN trading partners.” He emphasized that the essence of the ASEAN 2015 commitment is the “regional economic integration”, which will be achieved through the three pillars of the ASEAN Community which are the ASEAN Political-Security Community, AEC, and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

CIAP Officer-in-Charge Engr. Sonia T. Valdeavilla said that the objective of the Philippine overseas construction symposium is to increase awareness of the industry players on the challenges and benefits of AEC 2015. It is also expected that the participants will be informed on the business opportunities in our non-ASEAN trading partners. According to her, the 2014 construction missions to Timor Leste, Cambodia and Myanmar was an offshoot of the 2nd Philippine overseas construction symposium conducted in 2013.

The symposium was attended by contractors, engineering consulting firms, materials manufacturers & suppliers, and representatives of relevant government agencies like the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and academe. The embassy officials of South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Papua New Guinea also took part in the event as resource persons.

The CIAP is an attached agency of DTI which accelerates, promotes and regulates the growth of the construction industry. It has four implementing arms namely, the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB), POCB, the Philippine Domestic Construction Board (PDCB) and the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC).

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Baldoz and Qatar Labor Minister Abdullah Saleh Al Khulaifi meet; agree to resume bilateral talks in January
Source: http://www.dole.gov.ph
Doha--Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, here in the Gulf State of Qatar on her way to the 3rd Abu Dhabi Dialogue in Kuwait, yesterday met with Qatar Labor and Social Affairs Minister, Dr. Abdullah Saleh Al Khulaifi, to discuss bilateral labor issues between the Philippines and Qatar. The two officials, exuding warmth to each other even if this was just their first meeting, promptly agreed to resume the talks on the existing agreement concerning the employment of Filipinos in Qatar at the level of the PH-Qatar Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) on Labor Matters.

“Ours was a brief, but a very productive meeting,” said Baldoz in a release to the media she issued after the meeting.

“Labor and Social Affairs Minister, Dr. Abdullah Saleh Al Khulaifi, and I agreed to resume the talks at the PH-Qatar Joint Committee Meeting in January. I have instructed our Philippine Overseas Labor Office to coordinate with the Philippine Embassy in Doha and with the Qatar Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to fast-track the preparation of the agenda for the meeting,” said Baldoz.

“This will only be the second meeting of the JCM and Qatar will host it. The Philippines hosted the first JCM in Bohol in March 2009 yet, and I am very much delighted that after a hiatus, both countries have again exhibited strong initiative to resume the talks. This is long overdue,” she added.

The PH-Qatar labor agreement was signed on 10 March 1997, formalizing and outlining the procedures for the deployment of Filipino workers in Qatar.

Baldoz, who was joined in the meeting by Philippine Ambassador to Qatar Crescente Relacion and DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III, thanked the Qatari government through Minister Saleh Al Khulaifi for hosting 190,000 Filipinos in Qatar.

She also congratulated Qatar for winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and expressed hope this will open more opportunities for Filipinos in the infrastructure projects planned for the said event.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Report to Congress, January-June 2014, a total of 175, 000 of the 190,000 Filipinos in Qatar are regular migrant workers and dependents, while 15,000 are irregular or undocumented workers. In terms of job category, 22,000 of the regular migrant workers are professionals; 92,500 are skilled; and 29,000 are semi- or low-skilled workers.

“The number of household service workers has gone down from 33,000 in December 2013 to only 31,500 workers in June 2014,” noted Baldoz, who has been pushing hard for more protection among Filipino HSWs in countries of destination.

“We acknowledge Qatar’s hospitality in hosting our workers who we believe contribute greatly to Qatar’s economic development, thus, I have instructed our Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) to institute an incentive and rewards system for Qatari employers who are protective of our workers’ welfare,” she said to the Qatari labor minister.

“We are also continuously reviewing our rules and regulations to make it easy for foreign employers to hire Filipino workers. There is no reason why we should make it difficult for them to employ Filipinos when they treat them well. We assure you we continue to ensure that the workers we send to Qatar meet your manpower requirements,” Baldoz added.

On his part, Minister Saleh Al Khulaifi said Qatar is channeling its resources to further improve its economy and infrastructure, such as roads and public health facilities, and this means further need for skilled manpower. He said in one hospital alone, there is an immediate need for 500 nurses and medical technicians.

“Our employers like the Filipino workers very much, so much so that this is reflected in the very few complaints our legal affairs receive. To be honest with you, I have been very tough on those who mistreat migrant workers, particularly those who charge exorbitant recruitment fees. Of the complaints we received from foreign workers, we have solved internally 450 complaints and only 36 have gone to the courts,” Minister Al Khulaifi said to Baldoz.

During the meeting, Al Khulaifi outlined to the Philippine labor and employment chief some of the reforms Qatar is pushing in light of its desire to modernize its labor laws. One of these reforms, he said, is the e-payment Wage Protection Scheme, which allows the payment of workers’ salaries through electronic banking, and which now includes even foreign banks in Qatar.

He also said that Qatar has adopted technology-based kiosks that entertain and receive complaints.

“We have deployed these kiosks, which are like ATM machines, in strategic places. The facilities are equipped such that they “speak” five languages,” he said.

Al Khulaifi also briefed Secretary Baldoz on the developments on Qatar’s move to amend its labor laws, saying an amended law may pass the legislative hurdle this year. A part of this legislation is a proposal to replace the “kafala” or sponsorship system, It also provides for the abolition of the exit permit requirement for migrant workers leaving the country.

“We are moving from a sponsorship-based to a contract-based employment scheme for migrant workers and we hope our Parliament can accelerate the process,” Al Khulaifi finally said.

Baldoz congratulated Minister Al Khailifi for his country’s efforts to fast-track its labor law reforms, saying this augurs well to freer labor mobility. The meeting of the two labor ministers ended with a promise from both to see each other again at the 3rd Abu Dhabi Dialogue in Kuwait.

Minister Al-Khulaifi, who was appointed Minister of Labour and Social Affairs on 26 June 2013, holds a PhD in economics from the Southern Illinois University (USA). He is also the Chairman of Qatar’s Constitutional Committee.

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The Bangsamoro is for all -- GPH legal rep
Source: http://www.opapp.gov.ph
CEBU CITY – A member of the government’s legal team stressed that Mindanao’s pursuit of peace is not simply a Moro agenda, but called for everyone to stake their claim in the process for it to succeed. “Ang usapin ng Bangsamoro ay hindi lang para sa Bangsamoro. Ito ay usapin din ng mga taga-Luzon, ng mga taga-Visayas (The discussion on the Bangsamoro is not for the Bangsamoro alone. It is also a discussion for those in Luzon and in Visayas),” said Atty. Mohammad Al-Amin Julkipli at the Bangsamoro Peace Festival held at the Cebu Provincial Capitol. Around 400 university students from across Cebu were in attendance. The theme of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Julkipli said, is very meaningful. “Kaya nga (that is why) ‘Nagkakaisang bayan para sa kapayapaan'—because it calls for greater cooperation from all stakeholders." Julkipli invited all those in attendance to “become partners in the peace process.” “Participate in scrutinizing the law to improve it,” he said. The Bangsamoro Peace Festival was spearheaded by the 2014 graduates of the Academy of Political Management (APM), a leadership training course funded by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). The event sought to engage youth groups in a dialogue on the proposed BBL, as well as to showcase Bangsamoro history and culture. It coincided with ongoing public consultations on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by both Houses of Congress in different parts of the country. Collective future Speaking on behalf of the APM graduates, event program manager Tasneem Abdulrauf noted the importance of making the proposed BBL a national conversation “as it is a law anchored on the goal to bring peace and progress in the country for all Filipinos.” Abdulrauf also stressed the need for open-mindedness in analysing the substance and spirit of the proposed law. “While there are fears for moves to change the status quo, let us seek to understand how these changes will be beneficial to us; how it is for the common good and for our collective future.” While fellow APM alumnus Garie Rigor emphasized on creating avenues for dialogues for better understanding of issues affecting the country. “Platforms for stakeholders of the peace process to share views and understand the Bangsamoro law is important, especially that we are in a momentous episode of peace-building not only in the history of Mindanao, but of the entire Philippines.” “As progressives, we as APM alumni believe that Filipinos all around the country are stakeholders in the success of the peace and development efforts in Mindanao,” Rigor added. ‘All-inclusive Bangsamoro’ The FES, in a statement, noted that the essence of the Bangsamoro Peace Festival is to inculcate “the crucial value of openness that can further our enthusiasm to be inclusive—in this context, that an all-inclusive Bangsamoro is possible.” The organization, being socially democratic at heart, stressed the need for greater dialogue and understanding for peace and democracy to prevail. “Let us not confuse, but rather be clear and proud of our intention to recognize the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people. There is no other time to show our utmost support for the Bangsamoro and the peace process, but now.”

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Philippines highlights importance of financial inclusion in UN Meeting in Geneva
Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph
24 November 2014 – The Philippine delegation to the United Nations Expert Meeting on the “Impact of Access to Financial Services, Including by Highlighting Remittances on Development” held in Geneva from November 12 to 14, emphasized the importance of “Financial Inclusion” as a means for development. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which convened the Expert Meeting, invited Ms. Pia Roman-Tayag, head of the Inclusive Finance Advocacy of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to speak on the topic.

The Philippines deems access to financial services as important for every household and business. Ms. Roman-Tayag highlighted in her presentation that access to financial services makes a positive impact on people’s lives. Given this view, she said that “The BSP has taken deliberate measures to promote financial inclusion in the Philippines. As the central monetary authority and banking system regulator, the BSP recognizes that financial inclusion is a worthy policy objective that can be pursued alongside the promotion of financial system stability and integrity.”

She added that the BSP’s definition of financial inclusion is “a state wherein there is effective access to a wide range of financial services for all.”

The BSP has undertaken a strategy to improve financial inclusion such as through financial education and consumer protection. There is also an advocacy campaign through which linkages are built with public and private sector stakeholders to increase awareness and generate support for financial inclusion.

Other topics discussed at the meeting centered on the relationship between technological innovation and access to financial services. Mobile technology, such as smart phones, makes it easier for a majority of the population to access financial services, which would allow for greater financial inclusion. Developments in this field are being closely monitored to see how the majority of the population in developing countries, which still have limited access to financial services, may benefit.

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Philippines congratulates Thai National Legislative Assembly President
Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph
24 November 2014 - Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Jocelyn Batoon-Garcia called on Professor Pornpetch Wichitcholchai on November 18 to congratulate him and personally deliver the congratulatory letter of Philippine House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., on his appointment as President of the Thai National Legislative Assembly.

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NAPOLCOM announces special police examinations
Source: http://test.napolcom.gov.ph
The National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) today announced the conduct of a Special Philippine National Police (PNP) Entrance and Promotional Examinations on December 14, 2014 in designated schools in Makati City and six (6) other testing centers nationwide.

“The Commission is at the forefront in its campaign for an improved quality of police service. Hence, the conduct of the special exams for police entrants is in consonance with the PNP’s thrust to hire the most competent and qualified applicant to enter the police service and to attain the ideal police to population ratio of 1:500,” NAPOLCOM Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer Eduardo U. Escueta said.

Escueta said that the period of filing of application for the Special Entrance Examination started today, November 24, and will end on December 3, 2014.

“Only applicants with printed letter-reply/corresponding reference number confirming their scheduled appointment shall be entertained,” Escueta said.

The PNP Entrance Examination is open to all Filipino citizens who are not more than 30 years old, bachelor’s degree holder, and 1.57 meters (female) and 1.62 meters (male) in height.

Police Officers I (PO1) whose appointments are temporary for lack of appropriate eligibility are also required to take the PNP Entrance Examination.

Escueta emphasized, however, that the Special Promotional Examination shall be administered only to all police officers who are candidates for attrition due to non-promotion for 10 years or more because of lack of appropriate eligibility. The police examinees who have been pre-identified by the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management (DPRM) shall be processed through “walk-in” by the NAPOLCOM Regional Offices concerned.

Director Josephmar B. Gil, Acting Service Chief of the NAPOLCOM Personnel and Administrative Service, said that each examination center is allocated a quota of 1,000 applicants for the entrance examination and is open nationwide. Applicant has the option to choose the examination center where he/she will take the examination. The selected testing centers are located in the cities of Makati, Calamba and Baguio (Luzon), Cebu and Iloilo (Visayas), and Davao and Zamboanga (Mindanao).

Application forms and index cards can be obtained for free at any NAPOLCOM Regional Office nationwide. They may also be downloaded from www.napolcom.gov.ph.

Civilian applicants must bring the printed letter-reply/corresponding reference number confirming the scheduled appointment; two recent, identical and color 1”x1” ID pictures with white background and complete name tag (for PNP members, the name tag should indicate the rank before the name); one legal size window envelope with P12 worth of mailing stamp (for NCR, CAR and Region 4A) and P15 (for Regions 6, 7, 9 and 10); transcript of scholastic record with Special Order issued by CHED or diploma; and birth certificate issued by the Local Civil Registrar or National Statistics Office (NSO). For a PO1 with temporary appointment, a certified true copy of Attested Appointment/Plantilla Appointment or Special Order is also required for submission.

Applicants for the Special Promotional Examinations should submit their applications together with their College diploma and letter issued by DPRM, to the center of their choice of preference.

Examination fee is P400 for the PNP Entrance and Police Officer Examinations; P450 for Senior Police Officer Examination; P500 for Police Inspector Examination; and P600 for Police Superintendent Examination.

The coverage for the PNP Entrance Examination consists of general information, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and logical reasoning; while the PNP Promotional Examinations include general information, police administration and operations, and police customs and traditions/values and ethical standards.

The NAPOLCOM issued Memorandum Circular No. 2013-007 last October 30, 2013 to deter examinees from committing any form of cheating.

“Civilian examinees shall now be permanently barred from taking the PNP entrance examination instead of just barring them from taking the said exam for a period of three (3) years. In addition, if these anomalous acts were committed by a police officer, he/she shall be charged with dishonesty and, if found guilty, be meted the penalty of dismissal from the service,” Escueta said.

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Roxas fetes wounded cop in Surigao encounter
Source: http://www.dilg.gov.ph
BUTUAN CITY, AGUSAN DEL NORTE - In simple rites, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas awarded the Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting to PO3 Ariel Dobles at the Butuan Doctors Hospital on Thursday for wounded bravery and service to the country.

The secretary personally visited and pinned the medal to Dobles while resting on his hospital bed, as a symbol of the government's appreciation and recognition of his commitment "to serve and protect" civilians.

“Talagang sinasaluduhan ko siya sa kanyang katatagan, katapangan, at sa kanyang pagiging tapat sa kanyang tungkulin [I salute him for his strength, bravery and commitment to service],” he said.

According to CARAGA Police Regional Office Director Chief Supt. David Ombao, Dobles and PO1 Wilmer Sabling were patrolling the vicinity of Sitio Kampalan at around midnight after receiving reports that armed men were spotted in the area.

Dobles was wounded but Sabling died from the encounter.

Roxas assured Dobles that the government will provide for all of his medical needs to ensure his full recovery.

“Talagang tumagos doon sa buto ‘yung bala kaya nangangailangan ng mga dagdag na operasyon para makabalik siya sa normal o regular na paglalakad kaya talaga namang sasagutin ng pamahalaan ang lahat ng kanyang pangangailangan (He needs to undergo another operation in order to walk normally again because the bullet hit the bone),” Roxas said.

Also present to witness the awarding were Agusan del Norte Governor Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba and PNP CARAGA Regional Office Director Police Chief Supt. David Ombao.

In the end, Roxas reiterated his appeal to members of the PNP to continue to emulate the heroism and due commitment to service, as shown by police officers Dobles and Sabling.

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Paje: Gov't measures to counter climate change in place
Source: http://www.denr.gov.ph
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said the Aquino administration has put in place adequate, long-term measures to counter the effects of climate change, which benefits can come well beyond 2016.

“We have very focused anti-climate change programs being implemented by the government such as the nationwide geohazard mapping and the massive restoration of watersheds that serve as the country’s natural defense against environmental impacts caused by climate change,” Paje said.

He said that geohazard maps, which indicate areas susceptible to landslide and floods, could spare the government further losses and expensive rehabilitation works that may be brought about by natural disasters and poor geologic planning.

“One of the biggest costs the government faces right now is rehabilitation. Why are we doing rehab? Because we have damaged facilities,” Paje pointed out.

“But if we have good plans, we need not invest in areas which will be affected by landslide. Remember Guinsaugon? Had we have a good plan at the time, we would have not built school in the area, which will be covered by landslide and cause 300 casualties,” he added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through its Mines and Geosciences Bureau, is close to completing more detailed geohazard maps at a scale of 1:10,000, replacing the previous maps with 1:50,000 scale.

Paje said the government is also enhancing climate change resilience in watershed areas all over the country.

“Basically, this is part of a bigger program of restoring the integrity of our natural ecosystem because watershed is our Number One natural defense from the onslaught of climate change,” Paje said.

He added: “We really have to restore it because we have to improve what we call the natural water-holding capacity and we also have to fortify our natural defenses.”

Paje said restoring the country’s natural defense involves two-pronged approach: protection of the remaining forests and rehabilitation of damaged areas.

“We are doing it two ways. One is we have to rehabilitate the damaged areas. We have more than eight million hectares of open denuded and degraded forests. And, we are also implementing a total log ban in the natural forests to protect the remaining,” he said.

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DA awards top quality corn producing LGUs and agriculture workers
Source: http://www.da.gov.ph
The Department of Agriculture recognized outstanding provinces, cities and municipalities, provincial and municipal/city corn coordinators, provincial and municipal/city agriculturists, and agricultural extension workers (AEWs) during the 2nd Quality Corn Achievers Awards, on November 20, 2014.

The awarding ceremony was held in conjunction with the three-day 10th Philippine National Corn Congress (November 19-21) held in Limketkai Center, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental.

Pangasinan, Isabela, Occidental Mindoro, Agusan del Norte, and Agusan del Sur were declared as outstanding provinces and received PhP3 million-project grants for corn related endeavors.

Other awardees include twenty five outstanding cities/municipalities awarded PhP1M in project grant (upon submission of project proposals); 3 provincial agriculturists – PhP 40,000; 5 provincial corn coordinators – PhP 30,000; 20 municipal/city agriculturists – PhP 30,000; 18 municipal/city corn coordinators – PhP 25,000; and 100 AEWs – P 20,000.

Outstanding regional corn teams (DA-RFU 4B – MIMAROPA, DA-RFU 1 – Ilocos, DA RFU 2 – Cagayan Valley, and RFU 13- CARAGA) were likewise given recognition for their efforts in increased corn quality and production while a special award was given to Mr. Eulogio Cabiles of San Manuel, Tarlac for being the First GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) Certified Corn Farm in the country.

“Aside from volume, quality is among the top criteria in selecting the winning provinces. Counterpart investments of the local government units in pursuing corn-related projects in their respective areas are also taken into consideration,” Assistant Secretary and National Corn program Coordinator Edilberto de Luna said.

The awards encourage the winning LGUs to further improve the performance of the corn sector in their respective areas. The incentives received will help the awardees boost efficiency and quality of corn produced, he added.

In preparation for the upcoming ASEAN integration in 2015, DA under the leadership of Sec. Proceso J. Alcala, will continue to prioritize post harvest facilities and mechanization to make the corn industry in the country competitive in terms of cost.

“Manual labor is quite costly and post harvest losses are high due to inadequate facilities such as dryers. If the yield increase by 0.3 MT/ha, cost will dramatically decrease,” de Luna said.

The Assistant Secretary encourages the private sector to shift into value addition, instead of the traditional wide use of corn as human food and animal feed stressing that the country’s poultry and livestock sectors will not survive without yellow corn, which comprise 40 to 50% of the feed requirements for poultry layers and 40% of hog feed ingredient.

In addition, corn production will be increased specially white corn which is widely eaten in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. Research on high yielding corn varieties is in progress so the country can withstand the changes brought about by AEC.

Undersecretary for Operations Emers on U. Palad said Sec. Alcala defined international competitiveness as the highest form of competitiveness and if the country’s products are accepted in the global market, then we can say that we are internationally competitive.

DA’s Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (DA-BAFS) has completed crafting product standards and GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) for agricultural commodities including corn, Palad said.

Earlier this year the Philippines exported corn silage to South Korea, a clear indication that the quality of Philippine corn is at par with internationally established product standards, hence globally acceptable. He also said that the South Korean companies have placed additional orders for corn silage.

“Kayang kaya ng Pilipinas makipaglaban sa larangan ng agrikultura lalo na sa mais,” said Palad.

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PhilRice celebrates innovations
Source: http://www.da.gov.ph
The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) renewed its commitment to the Filipinos by inspiring innovations and rural transformation during its recent 29th anniversary.

Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr, PhilRice executive director, said that the Institute`s advances in research and development show the rice workers` efforts in helping the country provide enough rice and foster progress in rural areas.

In 2013, PhilRice released 10 new early-maturing varieties for saline, irrigated, and rainfed lowland areas. NSIC Rc3442SR, an aromatic special that is moderately resistant to green leaf hopper, was also released.

“We have achieved sustained progress in rice production by providing Filipino farmers with new high-yielding rice varieties. [Last year was] also remarkable with the National Year of Rice campaign. [During this campaign], we led many Filipinos in sending a unified message that each of us can help attain rice sufficiency and this year, we [upheld] that message by motivating everyone to be responsible rice consumers,” Rasco said.

The 29-year-old agency spurred innovations such as the development of nutri-rice milk, Metarhizium anisopliae in powder form, and hydrous bioethanol fuel injector for spark-ignition engines.

Nutri-Rice milk is a healthy drink made from germinated brown rice containing Gamma Amino Butyric Acid, which improves brain and cardiovascular functions and can slow down the effects of ageing.

On the other hand, Metarhizium anisopliae is a fungal microbial agent that controls rice black bug – a pest that can reduce yield up to 80 percent and cause complete crop loss due to bug burn. “[Other than our researches], we also launched an ambitious rural transformation campaign aiming to reduce poverty through our Gusto namin milyonaryo kayo advocacy,” Rasco said.

Under the Gusto namin milyonaryo kayo campaign, diversified farming and agri-business ventures will be promoted through nucleus estates across the country starting from 10 PhilRice stations. Nucleus estates will be put up to give farmers access to support services including training, input, custom services, modern support technologies, product development and packaging, and marketing.

In preparing farmers for the ASEAN integration, PhilRice launched the Palayabangan: The 10-5 challenge, a national competition, which aims to find out technologies that will produce rice at the least cost without sacrificing yield.

Competition results show that farmers can yield 10.54 t/ha for P4.94/k. Average input cost is at P11/k.

Aurelio M. Umali, Nueva Ecija governor, lauded the Institute’s contributions in the country`s rice granary.

“[While working with] PhilRice for the past years, I have witnessed, with considerable pride, how your tremendous and highly successful efforts in the field of agricultural research and development [propelled] rural progress. Truly, you are at the forefront of agricultural innovation. Your work to boost agricultural productivity is integral in our efforts to secure the welfare of our farmers and enhance Nueva Ecija`s reputation as the Rice Granary of the Philippines,” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala said that PhilRice was efficient and productive in addressing the challenges in the agriculture sector.

Alcala said that PhilRice helped the country increased its local rice supply. In 2013, the Philippines produced 18.44 million metric tons of rice, making it the fastest growing rice-producing country in Asia.

PhilRice, created through Executive Order 1061 signed on November 5, 1985, also honored more than 100 of its research and development workers.

Honourees were led 2 international awardees; 7, national; and 2, regional. Recipients of 3 international best poster awards; 19, national; 7, best paper international awards; and 12, national were also recognized. The institution also recognized 36 loyalty awardees and welcomed 3 PhDs and 9 master`s graduates.

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DBP posts P3.95 Bn Net Income as of Oct 31, 2014
Source: https://www.devbnkphl.com
State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines posted a net income of P3.95 billion for the 10-month period ending October 31, 2013, down -12% from the P4.47 billion net income same period in 2013 as trading gains contracted by P2.08 billion from P2.70 billion last year. This was partly offset by net interest income which grew +30% to P8.495 billion through October 2013, an increase of nearly P2 billion over the comparable period in 2013 coming from interest income on investment securities held by the bank and regular loans. Operating expenses increased by +435 million brought about by volume-related expenses including PDIC fees (+P180 million) and higher salaries and personnel expenses (+P229 million).

The P3.95 billion income exceeds the bank’s internal targets due to the increase in interest income and lower cost of funds.

Net loans and other receivables increased by +23% or +P33.879 billion to P183.173 billion from last year’s P149.294 billion contributed by an increase in regular loans (+P31.516 billion) and placements in unquoted debt securities classified as loans (P2.082 billion) .

Deposits climbed by 9% to P237.98 billion vs. last year’s P217.43 billion or a gain of P20.55 billion. In the last comparable period vs. peer banks, the third quarter ending September 30, 2014, DBP’s deposits growth (in total deposits, demand, savings and time deposits) were the highest among universal banks.

For the 9-month period that ended September 30, 2014, the bank’s net income stood at P3.41 billion vs. P4.04 billion at the same period in 2013, as a result of reduced trading income of P492 million vs. P2.49 billion as at September, 2013. This was partly compensated by a gain in interest income which increased by +P337 million to P7.60 billion vs. P7.26 billion as of September 30, 2013 and lower cost of funds for the same period compared to previous year.

The bank’s developmental loan portfolio surged to P112.15 billion as of September 30, 2014, representing 83.6% of its total loan portfolio of P134.2 billion.

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Vice mayor indicted for ghost repairs
Source: http://www.ombudsman.gov.ph
Vice Mayor Rosalinda Joseph of Tarragona, Davao Oriental faces graft charges for illegal expenses in the repair of an unserviceable government vehicle.

In a Resolution approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on 20 October 2014, Joseph claimed reimbursement amounting to P112,755.31 representing expenses from February 2006 to November 2007 for fuel, oil, lubricants, and repair/maintenance of the Nissan Patrol AUV assigned to her.

The special audit conducted by the Commission on Audit (COA), however, found that the Nissal Patrol was listed as unserviceable since January 2006. Actual ocular inspection and interviews made by the COA confirmed that the vehicle was indeed unserviceable and not in running condition for a long period of time as it remained parked at the motor pool section since January 2006.
The COA also found that the documents supporting the reimbursement like trip tickets were all undated, and that the actual travel dates the vehicle was used could not be ascertained.

Joseph faces charges for violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) which punishes any public official who, in the discharge of official functions, acts with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence causing undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference.

Meanwhile, the charges against Mayor Samuel Uy, Municipal Budget Officer Cancio Serafin, Municipal Treasurer Ernesto Dapitanon, Officer-in-Charge Municipal Accountant Solina Delagua, and Job Order Workers Mercy Nanong, and Remalyn Punay were dismissed for lack of probable cause.

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PDIC to pay depositors of the closed Synergy Rural Bank, Inc. starting November 25
Source: http://www.pdic.gov.ph
The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) will service the deposit insurance claims of depositors of the closed Synergy Rural Bank, Inc. on November 25 to 26, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m at the bank's premises located at No. 5 Kap. Simeon Luz St., Brgy. 4, Lipa City, Batangas.

Depositors with valid deposit balances of P50,000 and below, with complete mailing address found in the bank records or updated through the Mailing Address Update Form, and without any outstanding obligation with the bank do not need to file claims.

Depositors whose accounts have balances of more than P50,000, and those with outstanding obligations with the closed Synergy Rural Bank, Inc. or with incomplete mailing address, or those who maintain the account under the name of business entities, regardless of type of account and account balance, are required to file their deposit insurance claims. The announcement on the claims settlement operations of Synergy Rural Bank, Inc. is posted at its office and in the PDIC website, www.pdic.gov.ph.

When filing deposit insurance claims, depositors are advised to personally present their duly accomplished Claim Form, original copy of evidence of deposit such as Savings Passbook and Certificate of Time Deposit, and two (2) valid photo-bearing IDs with signature of the depositor. Depositors may also file their claims through mail and enclose the same set of documentary requirements.

Depositors who are below 18 years old should submit either a photocopy of their Birth Certificate issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) or a duly certified copy issued by the Local Civil Registrar as an additional requirement, with the Claim Form signed by the parent and the other requirements. Claimants who are not the signatories in the bank records are required to submit an original copy of a notarized Special Power of Attorney (SPA). In the case of a minor depositor, the SPA must be executed by the parent.

The procedures and requirements for filing of deposit insurance claims are posted in the PDIC website, www.pdic.gov.ph. The Claim Form and format of the Special Power of Attorney may also be downloaded from the PDIC website.

Depositors who are not able to file their claims during the claims settlement operations period may submit their claims either through mail to PDIC or personally at the PDIC Office, 4th Floor, SSS Bldg., 6782 Ayala Avenue corner V.A. Rufino Street, Makati City starting on December 8, 2014.

In accordance with the provisions of the PDIC Charter, the last day for filing deposit insurance claims in the closed Synergy Rural Bank, Inc. is on November 7, 2016. After this date, PDIC as Deposit Insurer, shall no longer accept any deposit insurance claim.

The PDIC said that all valid claims will be paid. For deposits to be considered valid, it must be recorded in the bank's records and must have evidence of inflow of funds, based on the results of PDIC examination. PDIC, as Receiver, has the authority to adjust the interest rate on unpaid interests on deposits of a bank if such rate is deemed unreasonable.

For more information, depositors may contact the Public Assistance Department at telephone numbers (02) 841-4630 to 31, or e-mail at pad@pdic.gov.ph. Depositors outside Metro Manila may call the PDIC Toll Free Hotline at 1-800-1-888-PDIC (7342).

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