OPAPP exec challenges educators to take
part in promoting peace through cultural diversity
Quezon City –
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
Assistant Secretary Jennifer Oreta on Wednesday challenged the
education sector to take part in advancing the peace process by
“changing mindsets, breaking symbolic and imagined barriers that
divide, and embracing inclusivity and diversity.”
“We need you to accompany us in this process,” Oreta told educators
during a conference organized by the Asia-Pacific Network for
International Education and Values Education (APNIEVE) held in
Miriam College here.
In her address, Oreta urged participants to re-evaluate the “data”
being taught and the “language” being used as these can either
encourage or prevent discrimination and exclusivity.
“How much of the language and its symbolic meaning create the
othering?” she asked. “Mostly sa (on) terrorists, do we say
‘Christian terrorist’? But if it is a Muslim, you will see there the
label ‘Muslim terrorist.’ So it is as if when you are a Muslim,
laging kakabit (you are always tagged as one). Again, perhaps that
is not the intention of the message; the subliminal message that it
creates is also problematic.”
Touching on the role of schools in embracing multi-culturalism, she
asked the audience, “How many of our schools actually have prayer
rooms for other religions? How much of our food is halal? This is
what we realize when we had some of our Muslim friends come over,
wala silang makain sa (they can’t eat anything at the) cafeteria.
“So again, we talk about inclusivity. We talk about
non-discrimination,” Oreta said. “Sometimes we look at them as
trivial but these are actually big issues.”
Summing up her address, Oreta told the participants, “We talk about
education as the ideological backbone of our political system. If
that is the case, then we really have to do something with our
“At the same time that we want to promote a culture of peace, maybe
we need to sharpen the discussions and discourse some more. How much
of the core message of our curriculum actually promotes inclusivity
and non-discrimination?” she added.
The audience in the APNIEVE conference was composed of educators
from different regions in the country. APNIEVE is an organization
that aims to promote peace, human rights, democracy, and sustainable
development through values education.
34 Filipinos to arrive home from Syria
24 May 2013 –
The Philippine Embassy in Damascus reported to the Department of
Foreign Affairs (DFA) that 34 Filipinos safely crossed the
Syrian-Lebanese border today.
The group, which is now under the care of the Philippine Embassy in
Beirut, will take a flight for Manila via Dubai, United Arab
They will arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)
Terminal I tomorrow, May 25 at 03:55 p.m. via Emirates Airlines
flight EK 332.
Upon the group’s arrival, the total number of repatriates will reach
The DFA continues to urge all Filipinos who are still in Syria to
seek immediate repatriation as the violence in the country continue
to worsen. For assistance they may call the Embassy at
963-11-6132626, +963-96-8955057, +963-93-4957926, +963-99-2264145,
+963-96-8953340, or +963-95-8903893.
The families of Filipinos in Syria may also provide the DFA with
up-to-date information regarding their next-of-kin’s present
location and contact details in Syria. Those who wish to do so may
call the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA)
at (02) 834-3240 or 834-4583 or the DFA’s 24-hour Action Center at
(02) 834-3333. END
Business sentiment soars to an all-time high
in Q2 2013
confidence registers a record high
Businesses were bullish in their outlook on the economy in Q2 2013,
with the overall confidence index (CI) rising to 54.9 percent. This
is the highest reading since the start of the nationwide survey in
Q4 2006. The confidence index is computed as the percentage of firms
that answered in the affirmative less the percentage of firms that
answered in the negative with respect to their views on a given
Respondents attributed the record-high outlook to expectations of:
(a) expansion of businesses, new product lines (for manufacturing
and trade), and additional projects (particularly in construction
and real estate), (b) brisker business due to election-related
spending, and (c) seasonal uptick in demand during the summer and
harvest/fishing seasons. They were also optimistic that their
business operations would benefit from the country’s strong
macroeconomic fundamentals and investment grade credit rating from
three ratings agencies, namely, Fitch Ratings, Standard and Poor’s
and Japan Credit Rating Agency.
The sentiment of businesses in the Philippines mirrored the bright
business prospects in the US, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR and South
Korea, but was in contrast to the weaker outlook of those in Canada,
Germany, New Zealand and India.
For the quarter ahead (Q3 2013), the business outlook continued to
be favorable. However, the next quarter CI was lower at 46.2 percent
compared to that of a quarter ago. According to respondents, their
less optimistic views were due to seasonal factors, such as: (a)
slowdown in demand (from a high base during election period) for
those in the manufacturing and trade sectors, (b) interruption of
regular business activities during the rainy season, (c) lower
output (which leads to lower trade activities) during the planting
season, and (d) expected slow month for businesses in August.
Outlook for both NCR and AONCR is upbeat
Tracking the national trend, the sentiment of businesses in both the
National Capital Region (NCR) and Areas Outside the NCR (AONCR) was
quite upbeat in Q2 2013 but turned less sanguine for the next
quarter. For both the current and next quarters, NCR respondents
remained more bullish in their outlook on the economy than those
from AONCR. This indicated firms’ expectations that economic
conditions would be more favorable in NCR than in AONCR.
Importers are most optimistic
Businesses involved in international commodity trading had more
favorable views in Q2 2013. Importers were the most optimistic. The
outlook of dual-activity firms also improved appreciably during the
quarter. However, the outlook of importing and dual-activity firms
was less favorable although remaining positive in Q3 2013 due to
expectations of lower consumer demand during the rainy and
Exporters’ outlook was more buoyant in both Q2 and Q3 2013, with
expectations of more projects and orders as a result of the
continuing recovery in the US economy and stronger growth prospects
in emerging market and developing economies.
Optimism is observed across employment size
Business sentiment was more upbeat across employment size in Q2
2013. Large-sized firms’ business confidence was the most buoyant,
with the CI reaching an all-time high. Medium- and small-sized firms
posted near record-high confidence in the current quarter. However,
the outlook of all firms was less positive for Q3 2013.
Business confidence is high across sectors
Across sectors, the outlook of businesses was more bullish in Q2
2013. The confidence of firms in the construction and wholesale and
retail trade sectors were at their highest levels. Likewise, greater
optimism was observed among firms in industry and services. For the
next quarter (Q3 2013), business confidence was less upbeat but
remained positive across sectors, with the exception of firms in the
construction sector which continued to have a more buoyant outlook.
Construction firms expected that the expansion of construction
services would be sustained as more favorable business conditions
would encourage the influx of foreign investments, particularly in
office and housing construction and the expansion of factories.
Construction firms also expected more public infrastructure projects
after the May elections.
The sanguine outlook of the wholesale and retail trade and industry
sectors stemmed from respondents’ expectations of a surge in
consumer demand and business activity due to election-related
spending, the improvement/launch of new product lines and rise in
The services sector recorded the most bullish outlook across sectors
for Q2 and Q3 2013. Among its sub-sectors, financial services
remained the most optimistic, with the CI registering a six-year
high of 89.4 percent in Q2 2013. Likewise, the outlook of other
sub-sectors rose, except for transportation which remained almost
Businesses’ outlook about their own operations is more upbeat
With respect to their own operations in Q2 2013, the outlook of
businesses across sectors was more upbeat, except for wholesale and
retail trade which turned less optimistic. The index for the trade
sector was lower on account of expectations of higher volume of
inventory in the current quarter and less favorable business
conditions for the next quarter.
Firms expect easier access to credit and better financial conditions
The financial conditions index reverted to positive territory at 1.3
percent in Q2 2013 from -1.5 percent in the previous quarter. Firms
were also of the view that their liquidity requirements could be met
through available credit as more respondents continued to report
easier access to credit relative to those that indicated the
opposite a quarter ago. The credit access index rose to its highest
level ever in Q2 2013.
Employment outlook improves
The employment outlook index for the next quarter increased to 24.1
percent from 23 percent last quarter. By sector, firms in the
services sector were the most optimistic in their employment outlook
in Q3 2013. The employment outlook of firms in the industry and
construction sector was likewise upbeat, while that of the wholesale
and retail trade declined slightly compared to that of the previous
Number of firms with expansion plans remains steady while average
capacity utilization increases
In line with the favorable business sentiment for the next quarter,
firms in the industry sector continued to have a favorable outlook
on the economy. The percentage of businesses with expansion plans
for the next quarter remained broadly steady at 28.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the average capacity utilization for the current quarter
slightly increased to 74 percent compared to 73 percent registered
Competition and weak demand remain to be the major challenges to
The top business constraints identified by respondents in Q2 2013
continued to be domestic competition (cited by about three-fifths of
the total number of respondents) and insufficient demand (leading to
low sales volume).
A stronger peso, higher inflation and lower interest rates are
Expectations on the direction of key economic indicators showed that
strong macroeconomic fundamentals are expected to be sustained in
the current and next quarters. Even as respondents who expected
inflation to go up continued to outnumber those that held the
opposite view, businesses anticipated that inflation would settle at
the lower end of the inflation target—at 3.3 percent for both the
current and next quarters. This is consistent with inflation
expectations based on forecast surveys of private sector economists
by the BSP and by Asia Pacific (AP) Consensus, indicating that
inflation has remained well-anchored and within target for
2013-2014. Stronger inflationary pressures, however, could emanate
from pending petitions for utility rate adjustments and the
likelihood of higher electricity rates in Mindanao as a result of
the current power supply shortfall. The possibility of a continued
strong surge in liquidity arising from strong foreign exchange
inflows on the back of favorable domestic growth prospects also
constitutes an upside risk to inflation.
More respondents expected the peso to appreciate in Q2 and Q3 2013,
although the number that said so declined compared to the previous
quarter. Expectations of the peso’s sustained appreciation could be
due to the anticipated strong inflows of overseas Filipinos’
remittances, business process outsourcing (BPO) services receipts,
and foreign investments as well as the recovery of export demand.
Meanwhile, more respondents expected interest rates to decline in
the current and next quarters, as the impact of the cumulative
100-basis point reduction in policy rates as well as SDA rate cuts
in 2012 continue to work its way into the economy.
Survey response rate is higher at 83 percent
The Q2 2013 BES was conducted during the period 1 April–10 May 2013.
There were 1,554 firms surveyed nationwide. Respondents were drawn
from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Top 7,000 Corporations
in 2010, as follows: 607 companies in NCR and 947 firms in AONCR,
covering all 17 regions nationwide. The survey response rate for
this quarter was higher at 83 percent (from 80.2 percent in the
previous quarter). The response rate was higher for both NCR at 81.7
percent (from 76.8 percent in the previous quarter) and AONCR at
83.8 percent (from 82.4 percent in Q1 2013).
A breakdown of responses by type of business showed that 14.9
percent were importers, 7.1 percent were exporters, and 17.6 percent
were both importers and exporters. About 60.5 percent of the
respondents were neither importers nor exporters, or did not specify
their firm type.
CSC issues guidelines on grant of eligibility to
government officials who complete their term of office may now be
granted civil service eligibility.
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has issued the Implementing Rules
and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10156, otherwise known as
‘An Act Conferring Upon Members of the Sangguniang Bayan,
Sangguniang Panlungsod, and Sangguniang Panlalawigan the Appropriate
Civil Service Eligibility under Certain Circumstances, and for Other
Purposes.’ The law allows members of the Sangguniang Bayan,
Sangguniang Panlungsod, and Sangguniang Panlalawigan a certain level
of civil service eligibility.
The Sanggunian Member Eligibility (SME) may be granted to Sanggunian
Members if they meet the required number of years of service and
educational attainment as defined under RA 10156.
The Sanggunian First Level Eligibility is equivalent to a Career
Service Sub-Professional Eligibility and is granted to Sanggunian
Members who have served for an aggregate period of six years and
have completed at least 72 academic units leading to a
Meanwhile, the Sanggunian Second Level Eligibility corresponds to a
Career Service Professional Eligibility and may be granted to
Sanggunian Members who have served for an aggregate period of nine
years and completed a baccalaureate/bachelor’s degree.
Members of the Sangguniang Bayan, Panlungsod, and Panlalawigan who
have been elected after the effectivity of the Local Government Code
of 1991 (R.A. 7160) or on May 11, 1992 onwards and have met the
requirements are entitled to the grant of Sanggunian Member
Under the guidelines, the prescriptive period for Sanggunian Members
who have completed six or nine years of service is within five years
from the effectivity of the IRR or in May of 2013. For those elected
in the May 2013 elections, prescriptive period shall be within two
years upon meeting required number of years of service.
The computation of the aggregate years of service of a Sanggunian
Member shall be based on the actual number of years of service per
official records of the Department of the Interior and Local
Government (DILG) and its regional offices.
Also, the number of years of service of a Sanggunian Member in any
and in one or more positions may be accumulated for the purpose of
computing and completing the required aggregate number of years of
However, Sanggunian Members who were not elected (ex. president of
provincial, city, or municipal chapter of the Liga ng mga Barangay)
are not entitled to the grant of eligibility.
The CSC Regional Offices are accepting applications from qualified
Sanggunian Members whose last term of office or years of service
were served in the province, city, or municipality under their
respective geographical jurisdiction.
information regarding RA 10156, visit the CSC website www.csc.gov.ph.
For further inquiries, the public may call (02) 931-8092, (02)
931-7939, and (02) 931-7935.
CSC reiterates prohibition of liquor
consumption in government offices
liquor ban during the midterm polls may have been lifted, but the
Civil Service Commission (CSC) reiterates the prohibition on the
consumption of alcoholic beverages in government offices.
Pursuant to CSC Resolution No. 1100039, the consumption of alcoholic
beverages such as, but not limited to, malt, wine, and intoxicating
liquor in workplace among government officials and employees during
office hours is prohibited.
CSC Chairman Francisco T. Duque III stressed that the mere
consumption of alcoholic beverages in the workplace during office
hours, as well as reporting for work while under the influence of
alcohol, shall be considered as an administrative offense, separate
and distinct from the offense of Habitual Drunkenness.
However, the consumption of alcoholic beverages may be allowed
during programs and rituals such as ceremonial toasts and
observance/honoring of local customs and traditions. In such
instances, the alcoholic beverage must be limited to malt and wine,
and the consumption shall not result to intoxication which is
defined as, “the impairment of a person’s mental faculties ensuing
to the loss of control over his/her behavior and/or actions.”
Should an untoward incident happen as a result of such consumption,
both the head of office and the officials or employees concerned
will be held liable.
Officials and employees who are caught in the act of consuming
intoxicating liquor and other alcoholic beverages during office
hours, as well as those who will be reporting for work under the
influence of alcohol, shall be held liable for Misconduct which is
punishable by suspension for one to six months for the first
offense, and dismissal from service on the second offense.
COA Official tops Fraud Examination
occasion to be proud of for the Philippines’ Commission on Audit (COA).
The COA’s Fraud Audit Office Director, Atty. Alexander B. Juliano,
will be the recipient of the Walker Award, a recognition bestowed
upon the person receiving the highest annual score on the Certified
Fraud Examiners (CFE) Examination. This recognition bespeaks of the
COA’s commitment to professionalism and global excellence.
A total of fifteen (15) Management Systems International-US Agency
for International Development (MSI-USAID) sponsored COAn examinees
took and successfully passed the CFE Examination.
Atty. Juliano bested other examinees not just from the Philippines
but from other countries as well.
The CFE examination, organized by the Association of Certified Fraud
Examiners (ACFE), tests proficiency and competence in the four
primary areas of fraud examination: Financial Transactions and Fraud
Schemes, Law, Investigation, and Fraud Prevention and Deterrence.
Being the largest anti-fraud organization in the world and the
premier provider of anti-fraud training and education, ACFE has made
a contribution in reducing fraud worldwide. Its
65,000 members are proclaimed experts in the field of fraud
prevention, detection and deterrence.
Atty. Juliano will receive his award during the 24th Annual ACFE
Global Fraud Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA scheduled for June
Mar to Bong, no one is above the law
Philippines Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said on Wednesday/May 22
that no one is above the law as he affirmed his own findings that
the police who chased a group of 30 armed men in Bacoor City to
enforce the gun ban on Election Day were following standard
operating procedure of the Philippine National Police.
“Patakaran ng aking pamamahala dito sa DILG na walang sinisino ang
batas,” Roxas said. “Dahil dito, kahit na ang aking kaibigang si
Senador Bong Revilla –senador man siya, sikat na artista or big shot
sa Cavite – ay hindi pwedeng pumaibabaw sa batas,” Roxas said.
The Interior Secretary personally investigated the May 13 standoff
between the Cavite police and the group of men armed with
high-powered rifles who had sought refuge in Sen. Bong Revilla’s
residence along Aguinaldo Highway.
“May karapatan lang ang mga pulis na sundan ang mga suspek saan man
sila magtago. Wala po ako sa pinangyarihan pero ito po ay SOP o
Standard operating procedure ng mga pulis pag may tinutugis silang
mga suspect,” said Roxas.
“Kung may tumakas na suspek, susundan nila (pulis) ang suspek. Ayon
sa batas, kailangang pumayag ang may-ari ng gusali na pumasok [ang
mga pulis]. Hindi pumayag si Sen. Revilla kaya nag-apply ng search
warrant. Habang naga-apply ka ng search warrant, babantayan mo ang
isi-search mo para 'di lumabas ang suspek," he added.
Roxas emphasized that there is nothing personal in the issue and
expressed surprise at the lawmaker’s behaviour when the police who
gave chase stuck firmly to the rules. “Ang tanong siguro, ay bakit
kaya? Bakit kaya sila (armed men) hahanap ng pagsaklolo sa inyo?
Tauhan niyo ba itong mga civilian na may dalang high-powered
rifles?” Roxas asked.
“Nagtataka ako kasi maraming ginampanang papel sa pelikula si Sen.
Revilla, mga ginampanan nyang role na bayani ng batas at naging isa
pa siyang mambabatas. Kaya hindi po namin lubos na maisip kung bakit
hindi nalang siya pumayag na masundan ang mga suspect na ayon sa mga
saksing pulis ay nanduon sa loob ng bahay na nagtago,” Roxas said.
“Kahit kaninong bahay po 'yun... itong mga armadong lalaki, araw ng
election mahahabang baril ang hawak, high-powered, walang uniporme...
'di ba trabaho ng pulis na sundan sila? Araw ng eleksyon ito," Roxas
During a walking tour of the Estero de Paco in Manila, Roxas further
told reporters, “Ano ang pamermersonal doon? Ang mga isinagawa ng
mga pulis ay ayon lamang sa batas at sa mga alituntunin ng kanilang
Statement of Sec. Balisacan at the 34th
National Conference of Employers
Thank you for the invitation. I was informed that you have asked
NEDA in 2011, to present the Philippines’ overall development
framework for inclusive growth. Today, I am pleased to present to
you the progress our country has achieved for the past two years and
the directions and priorities moving forward towards the achievement
of rapid, sustained and inclusive growth.
The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016 has set the
following major targets to be achieved by the end of the plan
period: GDP growth rate of 7-8% and investment to GDP ratio of 22%
as indicators of rapid growth; low and stable inflation within the
3-5% band as indicator of sustained growth; unemployment rate of
about 7% and poverty incidence of about 17% as indicators of
We are confident that with the 2012 GDP growth rate of 6.6%, we are
on track to achieving our target of 6-7% this year and 6.5-7.5% next
year. Investment to GDP ratio in 2012 was 20.4%. A significant
portion of this is public investments, which increased by more than
32%. Inflation rate was kept low and stable, even settling at the
lower end of our target. There are other indicators that demonstrate
that we have managed our economy quite well. And perhaps the best
evidence is our first ever investment grade rating granted by the
two major credit rating agencies – Fitch and Standard & Poors.
The big challenge in all these is to reduce unemployment and poverty
incidence. Let me clarify, though, that reduced unemployment in 2012
of 7.0% is already within the target set out in the Plan. Moreover,
the quality of employment, as indicated by the proportion of workers
in the wage and salary classification, has improved. In 2010, only
54% of workers were in this classification; this increased to 57% in
2012 and to 60% in January 2013. Despite these seemingly good
numbers in employment, poverty remains high even with the slight
decline. Hence, we intend to revise the employment targets,
particularly paying attention to the creation of decent and
remunerative jobs to make it more consistent with the goal of
inclusive growth. After all, inclusive growth means that a lot more
participate in the growth process (at the very least, those wanting
to work should find work) and that everyone benefits from it (those
working should earn decent returns and even those not able to work
should be able to enjoy the minimum basic needs).
As I speak before you, the Philippine Development Plan is being
updated. We are taking stock of the lessons learned these past three
years. We are also trying to anticipate future developments
especially in the rest of the world, and what these would mean for
the Philippines. Our aim is to refine our strategic framework to
achieve the goal of rapid, sustained and inclusive growth. This
framework takes advantage of the opportunities presented by recent
and possible future developments and prepares for possible threats.
Lest I be misconstrued, it should be noted that, every year, each
agency of government comes up with a workplan and a corresponding
budget. The PDP updating, meanwhile, forces each agency to frame its
workplan – its outcomes and outputs – in the next three years
towards achieving our goal of rapid and sustained and inclusive
growth. The process also provides a venue for agencies and
stakeholders involved in a sector to come together and draw up a
strategic framework that will ensure coherence, effectiveness and
efficiency of policies, programs and projects.
The PDP midterm update will address the two major challenges of
inclusive growth: create massive jobs and substantially reduce
Creating jobs to reduce unemployment requires a multi-pronged
multi-stakeholder approach. More importantly, the strategy should be
anchored on a distinct appreciation of the unemployment problem.
Looking at the data, we have broken down the unemployment problem
into three types – (1) the slow rate of increase of employment
opportunities, (2) low employability of new job entrants, and (3)
slow recovery of firms and businesses that have been affected by
Addressing the first problem, the slow rate of increase of
employment opportunities, requires nothing less than rapid,
sustained investment growth, both from the public and private
sectors. We aim to achor public investment to areas and programs
that would improve the investment climate for private investors. Our
strategic framework envisions the public sector as provider of
enabling conditions for the private sector to invest in productive
sectors, thereby creating decent and remenurative employment
opportunities for the rapidly growing labor force.
High and sustained investment growth will, of course, mean rapid and
sustained economic growth. We will, as I noted earlier, maintain our
target growth path of 6-7% in 2013 and increasing to 7-8% by 2016.
Macroeconomic stability will still be the major strategy to fuel
positive expectations. Government will continue to exercise fiscal
prudence. We will strive to maintain, if not improve, our credit
ratings so that business and employers could enjoy a lower cost of
Government will continue to assist in expanding markets. ASEAN 2015
is just around the corner and in preparation, the DTI has been
conducting seminars on Doing Business in Free Trade Areas. We have
also been aggressively attracting tourists into the country. These
tourists are like export markets already coming into our shores.
Another avenue that can be used to tap foreign markets is through
To boost the competitiveness of our productive sectors, we are
investing heavily in infrastructure, human capital (particularly in
basic education and health), and governance. Admittedly, in
infrastructure development, especially those involving
public-private partnerships, the pace of implementation has been
slower than desired. We expect to see faster implementation of the
key infrastructure programs in the remaining years of this
administration. The Aquino Administration is strongly committed to
building a strong foundation for a competitive economy.
We are also proposing measures to encourage innovations for we know
that this is the only way to sustain growth. A major part of the R&D
work would still be initiated by government. But we hope that the
private sector would increase their R&D efforts as well.
Investments in human capital will also address the problem of low
employability among new job entrants. The President has recently
signed into law the K+12 program. Apart from adding two more years
of education, the curriculum will now better prepare our students to
the world of work. We are also increasing investments in technical
education while encouraging higher education institutions to partner
with business and employers to ensure relevance of their program
offerings. A strategy that can be rolled out immediately is to
enhance the Government Internship Program, whereby interns are
taught skills and work values.
The third problem can be addressed by the other strategies of the
PDP that are meant to improve resilience to shocks. These pertain to
social protection programs, climate change adaptation and even the
pursuit of lasting peace.
The second challenge to be addressed is to substantially reduce
poverty. A major strategy is still to link this with the plan to
generate employment. The employment measure that is more indicative
of poverty is underemployment. An underemployed person is one who
has a job but is still looking for additional work, perhaps because
he is not earning enough. A visibly underemployed person is one who
is working less than 40 hours a week and is still looking for
additional work. The solution, therefore, is to provide the enabling
conditions for part-time employment.
More than half of the visibly under-employed are agricultural
workers. The inherent seasonality of work or the low returns to
agricultural labor results in high poverty incidence in the sector,
almost 40% in 2009.
Linking agricultural workers to the supply chain will increase
effective demand for agricultural output, and hopefully, increase
returns to their labor. However, we are aware that the agriculture
sector will need to improve the quality and increase the quantity of
its output. Government can facilitate the linkage but we are hoping
that the business sector can take on a huge role in this, perhaps
through technology, additional training, equipment or others.
Good governance will continue to be the platform upon which we will
implement the above strategies. I think that in the past couple of
years, we have demonstrated that the President’s mantra that “good
governance is good economics” works. With the cost savings we have
realized because of good governance, we have managed to increase the
budget for education, health, and infrastructure and increased the
scale of our Conditional Cash Transfer program, even without
introducing new taxes, except the sin tax. Going forward, we will
advocate for the passage of the Rationalization of Fiscal Incentives
bill in order to improve the efficiency of our fiscal instruments to
Promoting transparency and accountability in government will remain
in force. We will also strive to improve the responsiveness of
governance. We have accomplished great strides in reducing the cost
of doing business, and we intend to further streamline the
processes. Going forward, we will be advocating for the use of
regulatory impact assessment analytics before any regulation is
imposed. This essentially compares the cost of administering and
complying with the regulation to the supposed benefits. Presently,
the effort is already being piloted by the DOT and the DOLE.
We are also improving our statistical system to enable us to come up
with appropriate and timely policy and program responses. We hope to
be able to reduce the time lag of the reporting of our National
Income Accounts from 60 to 45 days. We will need the cooperation of
private businesses to do this. I would like to request those that
submit reports to our statistical agencies to submit them much
earlier. We just started the practice of releasing the first
semester poverty figures this year. And we are putting in place a
survey protocol to produce nationally representative poverty
statistics annually. We would like to request the indulgence of
household respondents to be generous in sharing their time to answer
the questions truthfully.
To sum up, let me just assure you that we are on track with respect
to a number of indicators on rapid and sustained growth. We are also
aware of the big challenge of achieving inclusive growth. Going
forward, we are seeing various opportunities and we hope to take
advantage of these in order to meet the challenge. This will require
government working hand in hand with the private sector, especially
the employers. We hope that ECOP would continue supporting
government’s efforts in providing high-quality and sustainable jobs
that our country needs to ultimately improve the lives of our fellow
Filipinos. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Mechanism for transparent implementation of
peace pact with former Cordi rebels set
Baguio City – A
mechanism for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Transparency (MET) of the
government’s Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Cordillera
Bodong Administration (CBA) – Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA)
is set for signing on May 24 by the Office of the Presidential
Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and Cordillera-based civil
society organizations (CSOs).
“The MET mechanism shows commitment of both the government and the
CBA-CPLA to principles of transparency and accountability in
implementing the 2011 MOA,” said OPAPP Undersecretary Maria Cleofe
According to Sandoval, the signing ceremony is seen to cement
partnerships with the CSOs towards attainment of good governance.
“OPAPP and our CSO partners believe that the MET mechanism can
improve governance and monitoring of government’s peace and
development projects and programs,” she added.
Engaging the public through CSOs
The signing ceremony with CSO partners is hoped to enhance the
engagement of the public through the CSOs’ creative approaches in
monitoring and evaluation of projects.
“The MET will utilize collaborative approaches and engage the public
in promoting an atmosphere of constructive and productive dialogue
and mutual cooperation in the monitoring and implementation of the
2011 MOA,” Sandoval stated.
The MET mechanism with CSOs shall ensure independent regular
monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the progress of the GPH--CBA-CPLA
It is designed to go beyond the minimum requirements of monitoring
physical accomplishment, towards helping OPAPP find out how the MOA
and its various components have helped to build peace on the ground.
“This means, for instance, helping find the connection not just
between development and poverty, but also between development and
peace. This also means having a role in local mechanisms for
sustaining peace beyond the MOA’s implementation timeframe,” said
The CSOs set to sign the agreement as partners of OPAPP for the MET
mechanism are Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Governance (Abra);
Peoples Organization for Social Transformation Development Network
Inc. (Apayao), Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (Ifugao),
International Association for Transformation (Kalinga), and EBGAN,
Inc. (Mountain Province).
PNP geared for Balik-Eskwela 2013
and security of the students and other commuters, the Philippine
National Police is all set to provide security coverage and public
safety services nationwide during the opening of classes this coming
June for the school year 2013-2014. In coordination with the
Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED),
Local Government Units and other concerned agencies, the
PNP has organized security coverage in different schools, campus,
and universities particularly in Metro Manila and other urban cities
where huge volume of students are expected to converge in the first
to second week of June.
As well, airports and seaports, transport terminals, business
establishments and areas of convergence will be strictly provided
with safety and security measures as people are expected to return
from their vacation at the end of May.
As directed by the Chief PNP, PDG Alan La Madrid Purisima, all
Police Regional Offices (PROs) will organize teams in all police
stations to conduct mobile and foot patrols along major routes and
highways leading to all learning institutions and within the
immediate vicinity of school premises to ensure public safety.
“We also would like to warn the public, especially the students. to
be more vigilant while going to school particularly on public
utility jeepneys, bus, and trains where criminals could take
advantage,” PDG Purisima said.
“Commuters should be mindful and secure their belongings at all
times. In addition, parents should always keep their eyes on their
children while going and leaving school premises,” the Chief PNP
Police Assistance Desks (PADs) will also be established near major
school campuses and clustered schools nationwide in coordination
with school authorities and their security forces, and barangay
The PNP will also designate dedicated personnel to address bullying
inside and outside school premises in coordination with school
officials; coordinate with concerned local government units
regarding the strict implementation of the zoning ordinance
prohibiting the existence of computer shops, billiards establishment
and other distractive recreation within the immediate of the
If unnecessary actions or suspicious person or group are observed,
PDG Purisima advised the public to immediately report or go to the
nearest Police Assistance Desks or Police Stations, or through PNP
hotlines I-Text Mo Kay TSIP 0917-84757557 and PNP TXT 2920.
Talks for stronger ASEAN S&T cooperation now on
The 65th ASEAN
Committee on Science and Technology Meeting (ASEAN COST-65),
organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), opened
on May 20, 2013 at the Taal Vista Lodge in Tagaytay City to formally
usher in the start of this year’s discussions on common issues in
science and technology currently affecting ASEAN member nations.
ASEAN-COST Chairman for the Philippines and DOST Undersecretary for
S&T Services Fortunato T. dela Pena delivered the opening remarks in
behalf of DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo to welcome the 100
delegates from ASEAN member nations, including representatives from
ASEAN’s dialogue partners namely the United States, Austria,
Belgium, Germany, China, Japan, and India.
The Plenary Session for Sub-Committee Meetings officially
kickstarted the opening day of the six-day biennial event.
The Plenary Session underscored matters and issues discussed during
the 64th meeting of ASEAN COST as well as the 7th Informal ASEAN
Ministerial Meeting (IAMMST -7) held in Brunei which will be the
jump-off points for this year’s Sub-Committee talks.
Foremost among these was the Krabi Initiative 2010 , a program
endorsed by S&T ministers during the 6th Informal ASEAN Ministerial
Meeting on S&T held in December 2010 in Krabi, Thailand. The Krabi
Initiative seeks to raise ASEAN’s competitiveness in the global
village by leveraging the capabilities of science, technology and
innovation. Specifically, the program aims to achieve its mission
via identified key areas, namely ASEAN Innovation for Global Market,
Digital Economy, New Media and Social Networking, Green Technology,
Food Security, Energy Security, Water Management, Biodiversity for
Health and Wealth, and Science and Innovation for Life.
Among the other issues raised during ASEAN COST-64 and IAMMST-7
which will provide the springboard for discussions this year are the
reorganization and restructuring of COST, establishment of new
funding mechanisms, and performance review of the various
Another point of discussion was ASEAN’s collaborations with its
dialogue partners and their existing projects. Among these are the
Talented Young Scientist Visiting Program and ASEAN-China Technology
Transfer Center with China, and the ASEAN-US S&T Fellowship Program
and ASEAN-US Award for Women in Science with US.
Plans and updates in connection with these topics will be the focal
points of the nine Sub-Committee meetings anchored on the following
major programme areas of ASEAN-COST: food science and technology,
biotechnology, meteorology and geophysics, marine science and
technology, sustainable energy research, microelectronics and
information technology, material science and technology, space
technology and applications, and S&T infrastructure and resources
Aside from the Sub-Committee Meetings, delegates to ASEAN COST-65,
which will run until May 25, 2013, will also participate in other
activities such as the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Meeting, ASEAN-US
Consultation Meeting, and a tour of the DOST office in Taguig and
the Bonifacio Global City.
Established in 1978, the ASEAN COST aims to strengthen S&T in the
region by ensuring that cooperation between members on S&T
initiatives remains relevant to present day challenges and
supportive of the directives set by ASEAN leaders and S&T ministers.
ASEAN is composed of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia,
Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
DENR okays groundwork for Cagayan de Oro River
Basin master plan
of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has given the go signal
to begin the groundwork for an integrated master plan to
rehabilitate the 137,418-hectare Cagayan de Oro River Basin in order
to reduce the impact of natural disasters.
DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the 15-year master plan would
serve as an “indispensable planning tool” to guide the
rehabilitation and development of one of the biggest watersheds in
“We want to come up with a blueprint that is designed to save lives,
properties and the environment,” Paje said. “We don’t want another
disaster as damaging as ‘Sendong’ to happen again.”
In 2011, the Cagayan de Oro River failed to hold the huge amount of
rainfall brought by tropical storm Sendong that eventually poured
into low lying areas of the city and triggered deadly flashfloods.
Sendong left more than 1,200 people dead and destroyed P1.3 billion
in agriculture and properties in Cagayan de Oro and nearby Iligan
The DENR has created a five-member team led by river basin
management expert Dr. Diomedes Racelis of the Center for
Environmental Studies and Management Inc. to draw up the master plan
and ensure its completion by October next year.
The team was also tasked to conduct a series of public consultation
to generate inputs for the long-term plan, especially on identifying
the possible root causes of the flooding in the area.
“The study and the corresponding public consultations would help
authorities undertake an integrated management of the river basin to
better address problems such as flooding, soil erosion and
pollution, which are caused by unsustainable land use and
agricultural practices, improper waste disposal, and proliferation
of informal settlers along riverbanks,” Paje pointed out.
He said the flooding in the area was further aggravated by heavier
rainfall and other extreme weather events.
The Cagayan de Oro River Basin is one of the 18 major river basins
in the country, straddling most parts of Cagayan de Oro City and
Bukidnon province. It plays a central role in the economic and
ecological viability of Northern Mindanao.
Paje earlier announced that a validation team had been formed to
identify areas to be covered by the massive reforestation program in
Cagayan de Oro City, as mandated by Republic Act (RA) No. 10452.
RA 10452, which was signed by President Benigno Aquino III last
month, mandates the DENR to plant trees in 3,000 hectares of public
land in the capital city of Misamis Oriental to protect its people
and its environment from floods and landslides.
The reforestation program seeks to prevent a repeat of the disaster
left by Sendong in Cagayan de Oro. Another severe flooding hit the
city in January 2009.
According to Paje, the law complements the Aquino administration’s
forest policies – the National Greening Program (NGP) and the total
log ban – aimed at fighting the adverse effects of climate change.
Former DAR Assistant Secretary indicted,
Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of Information before the
Sandiganbayan for one count of the crime of Estafa against a former
Assistant Secretary for Field Operations of the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR), aside from finding him guilty of grave
misconduct for having solicited a total of P610,000 from a security
agency in exchange for a would-be favorable decision in the bidding
for security services at the DAR.
In a 12-page Joint Resolution, Ombudsman Morales found probable
cause to indict Dominador B. Andres for the crime of Estafa under
paragraph 2(a) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. Andres was
also found guilty of Grave Misconduct which is punishable by
dismissal but he, having retired from government service in 2011,
was meted the penalty of FINE equivalent to one year’s salary as
well as cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement
benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
The Joint Resolution resolved the complaint filed in March 2010 by
Marjorie Escorial, marketing director of Isla Security Agency (ISA)
against Andres for Perjury and Estafa as well as Dishonesty and
Sometime in February 2009, Escorial learned from Milagrina Birosel
that the DAR was in the process of accepting bidders for security
services and that Andres is Birosel’s relative.
Birosel introduced Escorial to Andres who, upon learning of ISA’s
intention to join the bidding for security services, started making
false pretense and fraudulent representation to Escorial in order to
induce the latter to give and deliver the amount of, initially,
On April 18, 2009, Andres asked Escorial to give P500,000 that would
be supposedly given to DAR Undersecretary Narciso Nieto who would be
the one to award the contract.
Escorial gave Andres only P400,000 and Andres, in turn, issued a
personal Banco de Oro “Pay to Cash” check in the amount of P400,000
dated May 20, 2009 as guarantee that he will make good of his
representations to Escorial.
When Escorial eventually learned that another security agency was
contracted by DAR, she deposited the check for payment but was
dishonored for having been drawn against insufficient funds.
Escorial, through counsel, thereupon informed Andres of the dishonor
of his check and demanded the return of her money.
The Joint Resolution stated that Andres clearly used his position as
Assistant Secretary to misrepresent and solicit money from
complainant with the promise of a favorable decision.
As for the criminal charge, the Office found prima facie evidence to
indict respondent of the crime of Estafa. As DAR Assistant
Secretary, Andres employed deceit to convince Escorial to part with
her money by making it appear that he has the power or influence to
cause the award of the contract of security services in ISA’s favor.
It noted that this representation is false since he is not a member
of the BAC designated to recommend the winning bidder or the DAR
official who could make such award.
It added that Andres had no power to award the contract in favor of
ISA and that his false representation relative to his power to
influence Undersecretary Nieto to award the contract, if money is
given to the latter, is proof of deceit.
The charge of Perjury was dropped for insufficiency of evidence.
Sandiganbayan convicts former Dapitan
Mayor for graft, malversation
THE Office of
the Ombudsman won the graft and malversation charges filed against a
former municipal mayor of Dapitan City for pocketing close to P1
million in Confidential Intelligence Fund (CIF) from 1998 to 2001.
In a 27-page Decision penned by Associate Justice Efren N. De la
Cruz and concurred in by Associate Justices Rodolfo A. Ponferrada
and Rafael R. Lagos, the Sandiganbayan First Division convicted
Joseph Cedrick O. Ruiz.
Ruiz was sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six
years and one month to eight years for violation of Section 3(e) of
Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act),
and imprisonment of 12 years and one day of reclusion temporal
minimum, as the minimum penalty, to 18 years and one day of
reclusion temporal maximum, as the maximum penalty for violation of
Article 217 (Malversation) of the Revised Penal Code.
Aside from imprisonment, the former mayor who was eventually
appointed as judge of the Regional Trial Court in Makati, was also
slapped with perpetual special disqualification from holding any
public office, fined P950,000 equivalent to the amount malversed,
and ordered to indemnify the city of Dapitan the sum of P950,000,
Records showed that for the period from June 30, 1998 to June 30,
2001, Ruiz allowed Police Inspector Pepe E. Nortal to request, for
and in his behalf, the withdrawal as cash advance the amount of P1
million from the CIF appropriated under the Office of the City Mayor
for fiscal year 2001 “to address the peace and order situation of
Nortal testified that Ruiz could not make the cash advance himself
as he had not liquidated his previous cash releases. Of the amount,
P50,000 was handed to Nortal for the PNP expenses.
In convicting Ruiz, the Sandiganbayan stated that the timing of the
P1 million cash advance was suspect as it was done on May 16, 2001
or five days after the May 11, 2001 elections, where he lost his bid
“Accused Ruiz’s failure to satisfactorily explain where the money
went is sufficient to conclude that he converted the same for his
personal use,” the ruling stated.
MB places Cooperative Rural Bank of Bulacan
under PDIC receivership, all valid insured deposit claims will be
MB places Cooperative Rural Bank of Bulacan under PDIC receivership
All valid insured deposit claims will be paid
The Monetary Board (MB) placed the Cooperative Rural Bank of Bulacan
under the receivership of the Philippine Deposit Insurance
Corporation (PDIC) by virtue of MB Resolution No. 823.A dated May
23, 2013. As Receiver, PDIC took over the bank on May 24, 2013.
Cooperative Rural Bank of Bulacan is an 18-unit bank with Head
Office located in Banga I, Plaridel Bulacan. It has 13 branches in
Bulacan (Angat, Balagtas, Baliuag, Bocaue, Bulacan, Malolos, Malolos-Cabanas,
Meycauayan, Paombong, Pulilan, San Jose del Monte City, San Miguel
and Sta. Maria); and a branch each in Urdaneta (Pangasinan), Cainta
(Rizal), Sta. Rosa (Laguna) and Makati (a microfinance-oriented
branch). Latest available records show that as of March 31, 2013,
Cooperative Rural Bank of Bulacan had 44,388 accounts with total
deposit liabilities of P2.17 billion. A total of 44,166 deposit
accounts or 99.5% of the accounts have balances of P500,000 or less
and fully covered by deposit insurance. Total insured deposits
amounted to P1.79 billion or 82.4% of the total deposits.
PDIC said that upon takeover, all bank records shall be gathered,
verified and validated. The state deposit insurer assured depositors
that all valid deposits shall be paid up to the maximum deposit
insurance coverage of P500,000.00.
The PDIC also announced that it will conduct Depositors-Borrowers
Forums from May 30, 2013 to June 5, 2013 to inform depositors of the
requirements and procedures for filing deposit insurance claims.
Claim forms will be distributed during the Forum. The schedule and
venue of the Forum will be posted in the bank premises and in the
PDIC website, www.pdic.gov.ph. The claim forms and the requirements
and procedures for filing are likewise available for downloading
from the PDIC website.
Depositors may update their addresses with the PDIC representatives
at the bank premises or during the Forum using the Mailing Address
Update Forms to be furnished by PDIC representatives. Duly
accomplished Mailing Address Update Forms should be submitted to
PDIC representatives accompanied by a photo-bearing ID of the
depositor with signature. Depositors may update their addresses
until June 13, 2013.
Depositors with valid deposit accounts with balances of P15,000.00
and below need not file deposit insurance claims. But depositors who
have outstanding obligations with the Cooperative Rural Bank of
Bulacan including co-makers of the obligations, and have incomplete
and/or have not updated their addresses with the bank, regardless of
amount, should file deposit insurance claims.
For depositors that need not file deposit insurance claims, PDIC
targets to start mailing payments to these depositors at their
addresses recorded in the bank no later than the 3rd week of June
For depositors that are required to file deposit insurance claims,
the PDIC targets to start claims settlement operations for these
accounts no later than the 2nd week of July 2013. The schedule of
the claims settlement operations will be announced through notices
to be posted in the bank premises and other public places as well as
through the PDIC website, www.pdic.gov.ph.
According to the latest Bank Information Sheet (BIS) as of December
31, 2012 filed by the Cooperative Rural Bank of Bulacan with the
PDIC, the bank is majority-owned by Crb Employees Credit Coop
(39.74%) and United Coop Bankers Coop (34.77%). Its Chairman is
Isidoro C. Santos and its President/CEO is Reynaldo C. Capalad.
For more information, depositors may communicate with PDIC Public
Assistance personnel stationed at the bank premises. They may also
call the PDIC Toll Free Hotline at 1-800-1-888-PDIC(7342), the PDIC
Public Assistance Hotlines at (02) 841-4630 to (02) 841-4631, or
send their e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.