29 JULY 2015

DPWH further streamlines eligibility processing of bidders
BBL remains top priority of Aquino administration
Afghanistan learns from PH experience in peace talks
It’s All Systems Go For Tomorrow’s Metro Shake Drill, 1-M Men and Women Have Applied as Volunteer Earthquake Rescue Workers with MMDA, And Counting . . .
No Stoppage for MRT, LRT; DOTC Issues Road Safety Tips
P3-T 2016 budget to spur broader growth; Abad: Legislation to ensure good governance beyond 2016
MRT holdings must drop case vs. new train cars
Baldoz commends DOLE Central Office, 14 regional offices for setting-up lactation stations
Baldoz lauds five establishments awarded with Service Quality Seal of Recognition in Region 12
PHL Embassy in Brunei conducts lecture-forum on health consciousness
Philippines expands Air Services Cooperation with Russia
Nueva Ecija Credit Surety Fund Launched Today
TBs' NPL Ratio Remains Manageable
DAR Turns Over P19.8-M Road Project In Compostela Valley
Empowering poor communities through community-driven development
Pantawid Pamilya benefits more poor Filipinos
SONA 2015 generally peaceful - PNP
Grateful PNP lauds PNoy SONA
TESDA to hold free assessment and certification for skilled workers, teachers
TESDA five years after: From worrisome to stable
Roxas tests DOST's Hybrid Road Train
PRC Tuguegarao receives the Seal of Excellence Award

DPWH further streamlines eligibility processing of bidders
Source: http://www.dpwh.gov.ph
 
Procurement process at the Department of Public Works and Highways has further simplified with prospective bidders or contractors no longer compelled to submit at least three (3) requirements during the Opening of Bids for eligibility processing.

Secretary Rogelio L. Singson has directed the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) in all DPWH Regional and District Engineering Offices to stop requiring contractors to submit original Contractor Registration Certificate (CRC), Contractor’s Information (CI), and Class “A” documents enumerated in Section 23.1 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) as part of the technical envelope.

Singson said that this development was a result of the updates in the DPWH Civil Works Registry (CWR).

The CWR provides a computerized database of contractors being used for objective, standardized, transparent and efficient processing of interested contractors for DPWH civil works contracts during the eligibility process conforming to existing laws and regulations.

This database is being used to register contractors and determine their eligibility to bid for a project they intend to participate in.

In the updated CWR, the DPWH BAC can now view the Contractor’s authorized Liaison Officer through the CWR’s Contact Person Verification function. This will prevent unauthorized submission of bids by some unscrupulous individuals posing as Contractor’s representatives or Liaison Officers.

An updated version of the CWR v3.5.2 has also been deployed in DPWH Regional and District Engineering Offices, allowing them to print the CI of prospective bidders after eligibility, for evaluation purposes. These prospective bidders need not to submit hard copies of CRC and CI thus preventing the submission of spurious or fake CRC and CI.

Additionally, a new version of CWR will also be deployed wherein Contractors will be able to view their information online.

DPWH projects for bidding are posted in the DPWH and PhilGeps website wherein prospective bidders can download bidding documents and pay at any DPWH offices nationwide.

|TOP|


BBL remains top priority of Aquino administration
Source: http://www.opapp.gov.ph
 
Manila – In his last State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Benigno S. Aquino III trumpeted the Bangsamoro peace process as one of the successes and legacies of his administration and renewed his call on Congress to pass into law the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“May mga batas na nais kong ilapit upang maipasa sa loob ng kasalukuyang Kongreso. Pangunahin dito: ang Bangsamoro Basic Law (There are legislative measures which I want to put forward to the current Congress. Foremost of these is the Bangsamoro Basic Law),” said Aquino.

The BBL, which was based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) -- the peace settlement signed by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) -- aims to establish a parliamentary political system that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

He challenged critics of the BBL to offer an alternative that could be passed into a law. Otherwise, the President added, the critics only mean to preserve the current status in Mindanao where armed conflict plagues its citizens’ lives and its economy.

“Ilang buhay pa ang kailangang ibuwis para magising ang lahat sa obligasyong baguhin ang sirang status quo sa Muslim Mindanao (How many lives have to be offered for everyone to see the obligation to change the broken status quo in Muslim Mindanao)?” asked Aquino during his speech.

Aquino has been pushing for the Bangsamoro peace process since he assumed office in 2010. It would be remembered that one of his first steps into forging the CAB was a meeting between him and MILF chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim in 2011.

The President also lauded OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles and GPH Peace Panel Chair Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and thanked them for their efforts in working toward a peaceful country.

For her part, Deles noted: "Mula sa simula ng administrasyong ito, talagang pursigido ang ating Pangulo sa pagkamit ng kapayapaan at seguridad para sa Mindanao at sa buong bansa. Kaya patuloy tayong nagpapasalamat sa suporta ng taumbayan sa adhikaing ito. At nagpapasalamat din ho tayo sa suporta ng liderato ng Kamara at Senado. (Since the start of this administration, the President has been resolute in his quest for peace and security for Mindanao and the entire country. That is why we continue to thank the Filipino public for their support in this endeavor. We also thank the leaderships of the House of Representatives and the Senate for their support.)

"Sana'y tuluyan na ngang maipasa ang BBL para tuluyan na nating makamit ang kapayapaan na matagal nang hinahangad ng ating mga kababayan sa Bangsamoro (I hope the BBL will be passed soon so that we can achieve the peace that our people in the Bangsamoro have been hoping for)," she added.

BBL to determine 2016

In a televised interview prior to the President's SONA, government chief peace negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer discussed the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in connection to the legacy of President Benigno S. Aquino III, adding that the peace process could spell the difference between winning and losing for 2016 hopefuls.

“Mga tatlong milyon ‘yan (sa Bangsamoro) na inaasahan natin na voting population. May ganyang bilang tayo na mga tao na sumusuporta dito. At make or break yan kung sino man tatakbo sa Senado, sino man tatakbo sa Presidential election kung ganyang klase na pagsuporta na makukuha sa mga tao na sumusuporta dito sa pagtatayo ng Bangsamoro Basic Law (We have at least 3 million people (in the Bangsamoro) who are eligible to vote. We have that kind of support. That could make or break whoever is running for Senate, whoever is running for the Presidential election if that kind of support can be secured from the people who are supportive of the Bangsamoro Basic Law),” explained Ferrer.

Four years into Aquino’s presidency, the GPH and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the historic negotiated peace settlement that aims to respond to the legitimate historic socio-political grievances of the Bangsamoro people by establishing a parliamentary government that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The Bangsamoro political entity, furthermore, introduces significant structural and operational changes to the ARMM that will provide the regional government with more fiscal and political autonomy. “Malaking bagay iyan para sa pangmatagalang kapayapaan at kaunlaran dito sa bahagi ng Mindanao. Sana makita iyan ng lahat ng tatakbo sa Presidente. Ayaw naman siguro nila na pagdating ng 2016 ay mamana nila ang problema. Mas maganda kung mamana na nila yung solusyon (That is a big deal to achieve lasting peace and development in that part of Mindanao. I hope that is clear to all aspiring would-be presidents. I think they don’t want, come 2016, to inherit problems. It would be better if they would inherit solutions).”

Improvements from past agreements

Ferrer pointed out that the various provisions in the BBL reflected President Aquino’s instruction to the panel since the start of negotiations to “learn from the lessons of the past”. “[A]ng talagang gusto nating mangyari dito ay magkaroon ng tunay na empowerment yung mga tao through parliamentary system na magtutulak sa kanila na magtayo ng political parties nila na lalahok sa regional elections dito sa Bangsamoro (What we really want to happen here is for people to have genuine empowerment through the parliamentary system that will compel them to establish political parties that will compete during the regional elections in the Bangsamoro).

“Hindi yan magiging batayan ng patronage na nanggagaling, halimbawa, sa national government papunta sa regional government; kung hindi isang free and fair election na maaaring makalahok lahat: MILF ka, MNLF(Moro National Liberation Front) ka. Hindi dahil ikaw ang pinapaboran ng kung sino mang Presidente, ikaw na ang maluluklok diyan. (That will no longer be the source of patronage, for instance, from the national government to the regional government; but a free and fair election wherein everyone can participate: regardless if you are MILF or MNLF. And not because you are being favored by whoever is the President, you will be automatically elected),” added Ferrer.

|TOP|


Afghanistan learns from PH experience in peace talks
Source: http://www.opapp.gov.ph
 
MANILA – The Philippines will provide technical assistance to Afghanistan in its own peace talks with its local Islamic rebel group Taliban by sharing lessons of its own peace process, primarily in its successful peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

A delegation from Afghanistan is currently on a three-day visit to the Philippines to learn from the country’s peace process, especially in terms of promoting women empowerment in peace talks.

The delegation is composed of 16 out of 70 members of the Afghanistan High Peace Council (HPC), which was created last June 2010 and is composed of government officials, former Jihadist leaders, peace activists, and women. The HPC aims to accelerate the process of peace reconciliation and reintegration of elements of the Taliban and other armed military groups in Afghanistan.

“I am very happy that the Afghanistan peace council’s delegates are coming here to learn from the Philippine experience about the peace process,” HPC Secretary and head of delegation Shaila Samimi said.

“We need to learn how women’s roles have been defined and recognized within the peace process in the Philippines,” she related, adding that the meeting with Philippine officials will provide a good opportunity for ”experience-sharing and exchange of information.”

The delegation was received and briefed on the Philippine peace process by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles, OPAPP Undersecretary Maria Cleofe Gettie Sandoval, government peace panel chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and government peace panel member and former Agriculture Secretary Senen Bacani. During the meeting, the delegation indicated interest in OPAPP’s experience in effective advocacy techniques aimed at promoting gender equality and women empowerment in the peace process, and in responding to gender-related issues and problems within peace negotiations.

Last May 2015, the HPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UN WOMEN to enhance capacity building and women’s participation in the peace process, emphasizing that the role women play is significant in achieving a just and lasting peace. Part of the MoU’s activities include cross-learning experiences with countries that have a history of successful peace and reconciliation process with a gender perspective such as Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines.


Samimi thanked the peace officials for discussing the Philippines’ experience in peace talks, saying “it was a very constructive session, very important, and we learned a lot, so it was a very happy session.”

“It was very useful for us,” she added.

Dr. Socorro Reyes of the Center for Legislative Development, which coordinated the visit of the Afghan delegation, also highlighted the importance of the meeting with OPAPP officials in helping Afghanistan’s own peace initiatives.

“It was very enriching… [we] covered a lot of topics that [the HPC] has always been trying to get answers on and would help them in their own peace negotiations in Afghanistan,” Reyes said.

Deles for her part emphasized that the Bangsamoro peace process has gained much by learning from the experiences of other countries, and said that the Philippines is ready to give back and share its own experience with other countries working on their own peace talks.

“Our own peace process gained a lot from exchanges with other countries and support from other countries so we are happy to share what we can and continue to learn from your experiences as well,” she said.

Women leading PH peace talks

The Bangsamoro peace process has received national and global acclaim for its gender-inclusive thrust. Just this month the New York-based International Peace Institute (IPI) recognized both Deles and Ferrer as ideal women peacemakers, saying that “based on their (Deles and Ferrer) experiences in helping to bring about the Comprehensive Agreement, women will likely have more contributions to make in this journey toward peace.”

The report also noted that for the Bangsamoro peace process, “direct participation at the negotiation table was combined with official consultations, a transition commission, and mass action.”

“Women negotiators united across the table, both to promote gender issues and to push the overall process forward. They emphasized the importance of this united approach when presenting to the media throughout the talks. They worked to demonstrate progress and build support for the peace process, and to persuade the public that continuing the negotiations was a smarter, better approach than returning to violence,” the report added.

During the meeting Sandoval recognized the crucial role of women in the Philippines’ peace process, and noted that the government continues to actively encourage women’s participation in the peace talks.

“The Philippines, in terms of participation of women in the peace process, has also been very active and has encouraged women to actively sit, actively participate either as formal negotiators, as part of the formal negotiations, or as part of the civil society supporting the peace process,” Sandoval explained.

“Women have journeyed with these processes all along…women play key roles in the peace processes in the country,” she emphasized, noting that in total there are 48 women leaders in the peace talks being conducted by the government.

The Philippines is recognized as being the first in the world to have a major peace agreement signed by a woman chief negotiator, Ferrer, under the purview of a peace process chief who is also a woman, Deles.

|TOP|


It’s All Systems Go For Tomorrow’s Metro Shake Drill, 1-M Men and Women Have Applied as Volunteer Earthquake Rescue Workers with MMDA, And Counting . . .
Source: http://www.mmda.gov.ph
 
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) today announced it’s full steam ahead for tomorrow’s metro-wide shake drill even as it reported a heavy turnout of men and women who have applied as members of the Metro Manila Rescue Volunteer Corps to help government efforts cushion the impact of a killer earthquake should it hit the National Capital Region (NCR).

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, in a press briefing held at the MMDA headquarters in Makati City where remedial measures and rescue efforts were finalized for the Metro-Wide Shake drill on July 30, said that from a handful of applicants who initially applied as volunteer rescue workers when the agency first launched its “Be Prepared Website” several weeks ago, a total of one million people, with their complete profile in tow, have all signified to join the drill and in fact have started to undergo rescue and recovery training to qualify them disaster response reservists in times of calamities and other exigencies.

Tolentino said this heavy turnout of volunteer rescue workers, and counting . . ., clearly indicates that the government has successfully instilled in the minds of the public the consciousness and culture of disaster preparedness and have little by little erased the state of panic in the event of a strong earthquake.

“There is now a new shift of attitude or reorientation of values of our people towards civic or social responsibility. Although the July 30 drill is far from perfect, we are overwhelmed by the fact that different sectors of the society have united to drum up support for the project, and as such, I am confident that the event is going to be epic ” he said.

Tolentino also expressed the MMDA’s deepest appreciation for the full support and cooperation of both the public and private sector, especially the volunteer rescue workers without whom he said the drill cannot achieve success.

“It is through their efforts that the seed {shake drill) was planted and we hope to be able to complete what we have started with success,” he said.

Apart from the thousands of organizations which have signified their intent to participate in the drill, public and private schools, universities, hospitals, religious sectors, business process outsourcing firms, business groups, malls, transport groups included, the Iglesia ni Cristo has likewise committed to participate in the drill, according to the MMDA chief.

|TOP|


No Stoppage for MRT, LRT; DOTC Issues Road Safety Tips
Source: http://www.dotc.gov.ph
 
Railway operations will not be affected by the Metro Manila Earthquake Drill tomorrow, July 30, although personnel of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2 will participate in the drill. The LRT-2 Depot in Santolan will also serve as one of the evacuation camps for the East quadrant, where mock exercises will be held.

Apart from observing the 45-second “duck, cover, and hold” procedure once sirens sound off tomorrow, employees of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and its attached agencies have been implementing measures to ensure the safety and welfare of passengers, if and when the “Big One” strikes.

For the past weeks, airport personnel have been conducting table top exercises for earthquake protocols. Tomorrow, the Manila International Airport Authority(MIAA) will distribute information campaign materials to passengers at all the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals, although airline operations will not be interrupted.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Manila Team will deploy one search and rescue vessel, fifty (50) rescue personnel, five (5) rubber boats, medical teams and divers during the drill exercises. While the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Offices and Manila Port Operators will also participate in the drill and assure passengers that minimal interruption in port operations will be felt.

Safety Tips for Motorists

Those on the road during the drill are expected to stop for 45 seconds once Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcers give the signal that the drill is in full swing. However, those plying along and below flyovers and in tunnels must keep driving, in order to avoid being caught or trapped in these risk areas.

According to Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Director Renato Solidum, a driver will feel flat tires in a real earthquake. Once this happens, drivers must pull to the side of the road, preferably near an open space and away from tall structures, and stay inside the vehicle until the quake is over.

Railway operations will not be affected by the Metro Manila Earthquake Drill tomorrow, July 30, although personnel of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2 will participate in the drill. The LRT-2 Depot in Santolan will also serve as one of the evacuation camps for the East quadrant, where mock exercises will be held.

Apart from observing the 45-second “duck, cover, and hold” procedure once sirens sound off tomorrow, employees of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and its attached agencies have been implementing measures to ensure the safety and welfare of passengers, if and when the “Big One” strikes.

For the past weeks, airport personnel have been conducting table top exercises for earthquake protocols. Tomorrow, the Manila International Airport Authority(MIAA) will distribute information campaign materials to passengers at all the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals, although airline operations will not be interrupted.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Manila Team will deploy one search and rescue vessel, fifty (50) rescue personnel, five (5) rubber boats, medical teams and divers during the drill exercises. While the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Offices and Manila Port Operators will also participate in the drill and assure passengers that minimal interruption in port operations will be felt.

Safety Tips for Motorists

Those on the road during the drill are expected to stop for 45 seconds once Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcers give the signal that the drill is in full swing. However, those plying along and below flyovers and in tunnels must keep driving, in order to avoid being caught or trapped in these risk areas.

According to Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Director Renato Solidum, a driver will feel flat tires in a real earthquake. Once this happens, drivers must pull to the side of the road, preferably near an open space and away from tall structures, and stay inside the vehicle until the quake is over.

|TOP|


P3-T 2016 budget to spur broader growth; Abad: Legislation to ensure good governance beyond 2016
Source: http://www.bsp.gov.ph
 

President Benigno S. Aquino, III—through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM)—today submitted the proposed P3.002-trillion 2016 National Budget to Congress, as the Administration continues to expand the national economy and sustain governance and budget reforms instituted over the last five years.

The proposed 2016 National Budget is double the budget of the past six years, from P1.541 trillion of the 2010 General Appropriations Act (GAA) to the P3.002 trillion planned for next year. This is also 15.2 percent higher than the 2015 enacted budget. On the other hand, the GDP share of 19.5 percent in 2016 will take up a larger share of the economy as compared to 18.7 percent of the GDP in 2015 and 16.4 percent of the GDP (actual obligations) in 2010.

“The National Budget is one of our major instruments in creating truly inclusive growth. Our spending blueprint for 2016 will therefore be integral in the administration’s continuing journey on Daang Matuwid. With this budget, the National Government will try to widen its reach so that the benefits of our economic development will truly be felt by as many of our countrymen as possible,” Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said.

“Our proposed spending program will also help us consolidate and sustain the reforms we’ve instituted in the past five years in the pursuit of good governance. We set our targets high, but we were able to prove that honest and effective management of public funds leads to real benefits for our people,” said Abad.

“Now we want to ensure the 2016 budget can sustain the reforms of the past years so that transparency, accountability, and citizen empowerment will last beyond this administration. This means supporting legislation that would push for better public financial management. Besides that, we also need to introduce greater openness and transparency in government by championing the Freedom of Information bill,” Abad added.

Allocation by Sector

Social services will have the biggest budget allocation of P1.1059 trillion, which is 36.8 percent of the proposed budget.Covering education, healthcare, housing, and social welfare and employment, this allocation received a 16.1-percent expansion from the 2015 allocation of P952.7 billion. The proposed allocation also supports the implementation of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) K-12 program, as well as housing programs and health care projects for poor Filipinos.

Economic services took the second largest budget allocation with P829.6 billion—27.64 percent of the proposed budget—which had increased by 17.3 percent from its 2015 allocation of 27.13 percent. Transport and communications infrastructure will get the bulk of the budget and bring expenditures to infrastructure to 5 percent of the GDP. As such, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will receive P391.2 billion to enable the agency to complete the pavement of all national arterial and secondary roads.

Lastly, Defense received P129.1 billion, which increased by 11.5 percent as compared to last year’s allocation. This allocation will fund the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in light of the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

“We’ve already laid down measures to help agencies make optimal use of their allocations so that they can focus on the prompt delivery of public services. That’s why we’re confident that the implementation of the proposed 2016 budget will not only provide inclusive development for all Filipinos, but will likewise make this growth sustainable past 2016,” Abad said.

SECTORAL ALLOCATION

PARTICULARS

LEVELS (P Billion)

BUDGET SHARE

Increase/(Decrease) 2015-2016

2015

2016

2015

2016

P Billion

Rate

Economic Services 707.0 829.6 27.1% 27.6% 122.6 17.3%
Social Services 952.7 1,105.9 36.6% 36.8% 153.2 16.1%
Defense 115.8 129.1 4.4% 4.3% 13.3 11.5%
General Public Services 431.1 517.9 16.5% 17.3% 86.8 20.1%
Debt Burden 399.4 419.3 15.3% 14.0% 19.9 5.0%
    Interest Payment 372.9 392.8 14.3% 13.1% 19.9 5.3%
    Net Lending 26.5 26.5 1.0% 0.9% 0.0 0.0%
Total 2,606.0 3,001.8 100.0% 100.0% 395.8 15.2%

DEPARMENT ALLOCATION

TOP TEN DEPARTMENTS UNDER THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH (In Billion Pesos)
Department

2015

2016

Growth

 

Budget

Rank

Budget

Rank

Amount

%

DepEd 377.7 1 435.9 1 58.2 15.4%
DPWH 304.1 2 394.5 2 90.4 29.7%
DND 154.1 3 172.7 3 18.6 12.1%
DILG 147.2 4 154.5 4 7.3 5.0%
DOH 102.6 6 128.4 5 25.8 25.1%
DSWD 108.3 5 104.2 6 (4.1) -3.8%
DA 90.2 7 93.4 7 3.2 3.5%
DOF 16.9 11 55.3 8 38.4 227%
DOTC 59.4 8 49.3 9 (10.1) -17.0%
DENR 21.7 9 25.8 10 4.1 18.9%
DOST 18.0 10 18.6 15 0.6 3.3%
TOTAL 1,383.3 1,614.0 230.7 16.7%

1.       Budget levels include allocations from PGF and MPBF as well as budgetary support to GOCCs.

2.       The total for 2016 does not include DOST while total for 2015 does not include DOF.

|TOP|


MRT holdings must drop case vs. new train cars
Source: http://www.dotc.gov.ph
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is demanding that the Sobrepeña-controlled MRT Holdings, Inc. (MRTH) drop its bid to stop the addition of 48 new train cars to the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) system.

Following President Aquino's State of the Nation Address yesterday, in which he took note of MRTH's failure to add trains despite its contractual obligation having long passed without action, government is reiterating what MRT-3 commuters are calling for: no more delays to the addition of train coaches to the system.

"The riding public deserves a much better MRT-3 than what the private owner is providing. That is why we exercised political will to add new train cars ourselves. Not only did MRTH fail to add them, they even filed a case to stop us when we did," said DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya.

"MRTH's case against DOTC is a case against new trains. It is a case against the public. So we are fighting this case for the public interest," he added.
MRTH, which used to manage the affairs of MRT-3's contractual owner MRT Corporation and is now its controlling shareholder, filed a case for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and a permanent injunction against the DOTC to stop the latter from adding new trains to the system back in February 2014.

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati initially issued a TRO, but eventually sided with the DOTC and ruled against MRTH. According to the RTC, apart from the fact that only the Supreme Court may enjoin such a project, public interest must prevail in this case.

MRTH, however, appealed its case to the Court of Appeals (CA), which also sided with the DOTC and the public by denying the same. The case is still pending with the CA as MRTH is seeking a reconsideration of the appellate court's decision.

With the public clamoring for new trains, and MRTH being a private company that earns at the expense of ordinary Filipinos, government has been vocal in defending the rights of the riding public while organized groups have been silent on the topic.

|TOP|


Baldoz commends DOLE Central Office, 14 regional offices for setting-up lactation stations
Source: http://www.dole.gov.ph
 
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday lauded the Department’s Central Office and 14 of its 17 regional offices practicing Section 11 of the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 and DOLE Administrative Order No. 385 Series of 2012 which requires all DOLE offices to set up a lactation station in the workplace.

“I commend the officials and staff of the DOLE Central Office and the 14 regional offices for setting themselves as examples to DOLE offices and ensuring that their mother-employees are provided with safe and healthy working conditions on account of their maternal duties,” said Baldoz.

Baldoz, citing a report of Director Liwayway Ilo of the HRDS, said that of the 14 regional offices which already have lactation stations, seven have complete facilities and supplies, while the other seven are still putting together their supplies and facilities.

The DOLE regional offices which already have complete supplies are Regions 3, 5, 9, 11, 12, and Caraga. Those office which still have incomplete facilities and supplies are Cordillera Administrative Region, 1, 4-A, 4-B, 6, 7, 8, and 10.

The DOLE Regional Office No. 2 has not yet set-up its lactation station because it is set to transfer to a new office. The DOLE National Capital Region and its field office will set-up their lactation station this July.

Rule 1960, Occupational Health Services, of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards, as amended, provides that “every employer shall establish in his place of employment occupational health services in accordance with established regulation and guidelines.”

The said rule apply to all establishments, whether for profit or not, including the government. On the other hand, Republic Act. No. 10028, or “An Act Expanding the Promotion of Breastfeeding, Amending for the Purpose R.A. No. 7600, Otherwise Known as “An Act Providing Incentives to all Government and Private Health Institutions with Rooming-in and Breastfeeding Practices and for Other Purposes”, mandates the establishment of lactation stations in all health and non-health facilities, establishments, or institutions with adequate equipment and facilities, such as lavatory for hand-washing; refrigeration or appropriate cooling facilities for storing breastmilk; electrical outlets for breast pumps; small table; comfortable seats; and other appropriate items.

Earlier, the DOLE’s Human Resource and Development Service (HRDS) developed a tool which will monitor lactation stations at the Department. An advisory was also issued on 1 July 2015 defining the operation, including the rules and regulations, of the lactation station at the DOLE Central Office.

|TOP|


Baldoz lauds five establishments awarded with Service Quality Seal of Recognition in Region 12
Source: http://www.dole.gov.ph
 
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday lauded five establishments in SOCCSKSARGEN which have been awarded the Service Quality Seal of Recognition by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB).

“I congratulate these five companies for successfully implementing and sustaining their respective service quality productivity improvement program resulting to more satisfied clients and increased profit, thus, providing bigger incentives to their workers,” said Baldoz

Citing a report of DOLE Regional Director Ofelia B. Domingo, chairperson of the RTWPB 12, Baldoz said the five companies which were awarded the Service Quality Seal of Recognition were Cinco Niñas Resto, Paraiso Verde Resort and Water Park, Inc. in Koronadal City; Dolores Farm Resort in Polomolok; Dolores Lake Resort in Lake Sebu; and Greenleaf Hotel in General Santos City. The awarding took place at the Greenleaf Hotel in General Santos City on July 20.

The SQ Seal of Recognition is aimed at recognizing establishments that have successfully implemented and sustained SQ-PIP as a means to ensure service quality among standard hotels, accommodation, and restaurants.

The SQ-PIP, on the other hand, is a quality improvement and management system which is intended to help an enterprise deliver “error-free” service to its clients by inculcating a client-centric attitude among its workforce. It contains the specific areas for improvement, objectives, strategies/actions.

Domingo said the installation of Service Quality Productivity Improvement Program (SQ-PIP) in the said companies resulted to decrease in the number of client complaints; increased sales; and improvement in the capacity to provide incentives to their workers. The said companies were also awardees of the Certificates of Compliance on General Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

The Regional Board has also issued Resolution No. 4, Series of 2015 forwarding the list of awardees to the Training and Technical Services Division (TTSD) of the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC). The NWPC-TSSD is the official repository of the list of companies with SQ Seal of Recognition.

|TOP|


PHL Embassy in Brunei conducts lecture-forum on health consciousness
Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph
 
29 July 2015 - The Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam sponsored a Lecture-Forum on Health Consciousness on July 24 at the Chancery, as part of its Gender and Development (GAD) program. One hundred sixty nine (169) participants composed of 110 females and 59 males participated in said event.

The lecture-forum provided an opportunity for the Filipinos in Brunei to gain awareness and deeper understanding of ailments affecting many Filipinos like prostate cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, breast and ovarian cancers. The participants also had a chance to have their blood tests for hemoglobin, blood typing, blood pressure and blood donation conducted by Jerudong Park Medical Center (JPMC).

The lecture-forum was conducted in coordination with Dr. Joseph D. Castro, Dr. Ma. Theresa C. Castro, and Dr. Maria Susie J. Magpusao of the Ministry of Health in Brunei Darussalam, who acted as speakers.

Because of the good reception and feedback from the participants, the Embassy plans to undertake similar events in the future.

|TOP|


Philippines expands Air Services Cooperation with Russia
Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph
 
29 July 2015 - A new round of Air Services Talks between the Philippines and Russia was held from July 22 to 23 in Moscow. The Philippine head of delegation, Transportation and Communication Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, and his counterpart, Mr. Sergey Seskutov of the Ministry of Transport signed an amendment to the 2009 Philippine-Russia Air Services Agreement that further enhanced civil aviation cooperation between the two countries.

In his closing statement, Undersecretary Lotilla said that, “the two sides worked very hard in these two days but I feel that we were able to come to an understanding that is mutually beneficial and one that significantly expands cooperation between our countries.”

The new arrangement allows Philippine carriers to conduct operations between any point in the country and three destinations in Russia, including Moscow. Also, travelers between the Philippines and Europe / North America will benefit from faster and more competitively-priced direct flights with the use of Russian airspace.

Major Russian carriers such as Aeroflot will also be able to market the Philippines as a destination using their wide networks and alliances, which will potentially increase further the number of Russian tourists visiting the country. “We are confident that the new arrangements will help us meet our targets for Russia and the CIS,” Philippine Tourism Undersecretary Bengson said. About 40,000 Russian tourists visit the country every year while more than two million travelers from Russia and the CIS visit the other ASEAN countries. With the new arrangement, the Philippines will have an increased chance of getting a bigger share of the market as tourists from the region will gain better access to its world-class destinations.

Another key benefit is the potential development of the Philippines as a destination by Russian cargo liners, providing a boost to trade and economic relations. Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta expressed his satisfaction over the outcome of the talks: “The discussions covered a wide range of issues in our civil aviation cooperation. We are pleased with the way our relationship with Russia is developing and this was reflected in the last two days’ discussions.”

Members of the Committee on Transportation of the House of Representatives, namely Representative Cesar Sarmienta (Chairman, Catanduanes), Representative Alfredo Benitez (Vice-Chairman, 3rd District of Negros Occidental) and Representative Raneo Abu (2nd District of Batangas) participated in the proceedings. The panel also included representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism and the Civil Aeronautics Board. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific officials attended as industry observers.

|TOP|


Nueva Ecija Credit Surety Fund Launched Today
Source: http://www.bsp.gov.ph
 
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Provincial Government of Nueva Ecija and other stakeholders will seal today a social covenant that will bring Nueva Ecija’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to economic progress. The signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) creating the Nueva Ecija Credit Surety Fund (Nueva Ecija CSF) as the 40th CSF established nationwide will be held at the Harvest Hotel, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. This will be led by BSP Monetary Board Member Felipe M. Medalla and Nueva Ecija Provincial Governor Aurelio M. Umali, together with the participating cooperatives and partner institutions such as the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Industrial Guarantee and Loan Fund (IGLF).

The CSF is a credit enhancement scheme that aims to help cooperatives and MSMEs in the province gain access to bank credit even without hard collaterals. The Program is essentially a public-private partnership which links the key players of the economy into a unified purpose of empowering the MSME sector. As of 31 May 2015, total accumulated loans approved by lending banks under the CSF Program amount to P1.74 billion of which P1.47 billion have already been released to around 15,000 MSMEs/cooperatives.

The Provincial Government of Nueva Ecija pledged to contribute P5.0 million while twenty-five (25) cooperatives in the province committed an aggregate of P5.0 million to the Fund. The IGLF, DBP and LBP will likewise contribute to the Nueva Ecija CSF.

Aside from credit enhancement, the CSF Program also provides trainings to participating cooperatives and MSMEs to strengthen their capabilities in the areas of financial and risk management, entrepreneurship and business management, credit appraisal and monitoring and other related trainings. Moreover, to ensure continuous flow of credit to the countryside, banks may rediscount with BSP, all loans granted under the CSF program.

|TOP|


TBs' NPL Ratio Remains Manageable
Source: http://www.bsp.gov.ph
 
The gross non-performing loans (NPLs) of thrift banks stood at 4.54 percent of the banks’ total loan portfolio (TLP) of Php 600.98 billion at end-March 2015.

The first quarter figure slightly increased from the 4.40 percent gross NPL ratio registered a quarter earlier. The banks’ NPL rose by 7.56 percent to Php 27.29 billion in March from Php 25.37 billion recorded at end-2014. Meanwhile, the industry’s TLP grew by 4.33 percent from Php 576.06 billion posted in end-December last year.

Aside from keeping NPL levels manageable, the industry also maintained substantial reserves for potential credit losses. At end-March, TBs’ allocated loan loss reserves equivalent to 74.96 percent of their gross NPLs, slightly lower than the 76.73 percent posted a quarter earlier but up from the 69.37 percent recorded in the same period in 2014.

Despite the quarter-on-quarter decrease in the NPL coverage ratio of TBs, this ratio has been generally rising since March 2010. This is a welcomed trend since setting aside reserves for potential credit losses is a prudential measure for mitigating credit risk.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas monitors the loan quality of the banks as part of its effort to promote sound credit risk management among banks which is essential to maintaining the stability of the financial system.

|TOP|


DAR Turns Over P19.8-M Road Project In Compostela Valley
Source: http://www.dar.gov.ph
 
Farmers and residents of Compostela Valley are the latest beneficiary of the P19.8-million farm-to-market road project, under the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) support services projects.

DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes recently turned over to the local government the 2.892-kilometer concreted road which covers three Barangays namely: Linoan, Dauman and New Visayas, all in Montevista, Compostela Valley Province.

De los Reyes said that the completion of the road project would pave the way for provision of other basic services of the government like health, technology and transportation assistance to the three barangays.

Some 6,000 residents of the three barangays can easily avail of those services now that the barangays are accessible.

In his speech, De los Reyes stressed the key role of the government to alleviate the lives of the Filipinos. “Unlike super heroes the government does not possess enough power to address the problems of every citizen.

“The mandate of President Aquino is to finish what is supposed to be finished before his term ends. Both national and local government units should work harmoniously for the common good of the people,” De los Reyes said.

In his acceptance message, Linoan Barangay Captain Joel B. Hara, said they are very happy and grateful for the realization of the project. He said that it is among the vital components that is badly need their community. “It’s a dream come true for us” He added.

The farm-to-market road was completed under the third phase of the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project (ARISP III). The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) co-financed the project under its official development assistance program with the Philippine government.

|TOP|


Empowering poor communities through community-driven development
Source: http://www.dswd.gov.ph
 
Under the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) was one of the projects selected for the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact. This is due to the President’s commitment to fight corruption and promote good governance.

In December 2014, the Millennium Challenge Corporation Board of Directors re-selected Philippines as eligible for additional funding for its development programs.

Kalahi-CIDSS aims to empower communities through participation in local governance and involvement in the implementation of poverty reduction activities. It employs the community-driven development (CDD) strategy, a development approach that seeks to combat poverty and improve local governance by strengthening the capacity of citizens to identify and implement local solutions to poverty issues. In essence, it puts power back in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions on locally identified options for development.

Started in 2002, Kalahi-CIDSS 1 has reached a total of 4,583 barangays in 200 municipalities located in the 42 poorest provinces across 12 regions. Given the need to reach out to remaining poor municipalities, the project was expanded through a USD$120 Million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation and through a USD$59 Million loan from the World Bank.

The expansion covered a total of 8,435 communities in 364 municipalities.

As of March 2015, the program has funded 17,464 community sub-projects, of which 13,679 are already completed, 1,900 on-going, and 13,931 are yet to start, reaching 4.5 million households.

Examples of these community projects are roads, water systems, school buildings, daycare centers, and health stations, among others.

Mayor Benjie Y. Baguio of Kapatagan in Lanao del Norte showcases how this partnership has resulted to positive changes in his community.

“With the entry of the Kalahi-CIDSS in our municipality, we now have hope in the possibility of improving the lives of our constituents. Our municipality really benefited hugely after the first cycle, not only because of the sub-projects but also because of the trainings conducted to empower our communities. As our response, the LGU, including our barangay captains, are planning programs to ensure that what we received from the project will never be put to waste. Raising money for non-priority barangays is just one thing. Our barangay captains see the Kalahi-CIDSS as a blessing, and paying it forward by raising money for the other barangays to implement their sub-projects is just our way of thanking Kalahi-CIDSS for their trust in our municipality,” the Mayor shared.

In particular, Kalahi-CIDSS has achieved the following:

Improved travel time and cost to key services more for barangays with a higher travel time and travel cost to begin with and more for indigenous persons.
Increased the quantity and quality of participation in local governance around decision-making and implementation.
Improved knowledge and awareness of local governance.
Increased participation in community organizations.
Helped people better deal with financial hardship (as a result of Typhoon Yolanda or any other natural disaster).
Raised capacity of local government (there is an increase in the presence of development projects and plans, and increase in different funding components).

On January 18, 2013, President Aquino approved the expansion of Kalahi-CIDSS as the National Community-Driven Development Program. This is one of the administration’s legacies that will be implemented from 2014 until 2019, covering a total of 19,647 barangays in 847 municipalities located in 58 provinces and 14 regions to benefit approximately 5.3 million households.

|TOP|


Pantawid Pamilya benefits more poor Filipinos
Source: http://www.dswd.gov.ph
 
As the flagship poverty alleviation program which invests in human development, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program has expanded rapidly from 786,523 households in 2010, when the Aquino administration took the helm in government, to more than 4.4 million eligible households to date.

For 2014 alone, the government has poured in more than P48 billion for the cash grants of the beneficiaries.

On the other hand, for the first quarter of 2015, the program has been able to provide grants amounting to P9.2 billion to the active households.

According to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, the DSWD expanded the coverage of the program in 2014 to include the 15-18 age bracket to ensure that the children-beneficiaries will graduate from high school, and have a higher rate of employability.

High school beneficiaries receive a higher grant amount of P500/month.

In February 2015, the high school expansion registered 1.01 million 15 to 18-year old children nationwide. Of these, 252,276 are in grade school while 754,374 are in high school.

A total of 333,673 high school beneficiaries graduated in March 2015. Out of this number, 13,469 graduated with honors.

“The expansion of age coverage for the education grant gives them a fighting chance to move forward in life,” Sec. Soliman said.

She cited exemplary Pantawid beneficiaries who graduated with honors in March 2015, such as Alyanah Terite, the batch valedictorian of Pasay City Science High School; David Louie Manansala, valedictorian of Maligaya High School, Quezon City; Marlito Soriano, a Lumad from the B’laan tribe in General Santos City, South Cotabato who received a full scholarship at the Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, United States; and Edy Rose Tayab, who despite her disability graduated as top nine (9) in her batch at Apayao National High School in Bukidnon.

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) study indicated that the expansion of Pantawid Pamilya significantly contributed to the increase in enrollment of pre-school and elementary students. As partner-beneficiaries, parents are required to send their 3-18 year old children to school, and they must attend at least 85 percent of the school days.

PIDS did the impact evaluation while the Social Weather Station (SWS) gathered data from Pantawid respondents.

The effectiveness of Pantawid Pamilya in transforming the lives of beneficiaries was verified by the results in the 2nd impact evaluation which are:

The program keeps older children in school and reduces the number of days they have to work. 94% of Pantawid children attend classes 85% of the time, a stark difference from the low 55% of non-beneficiaries. Considering that the high school-aged cohort is when children are likely to drop-out of school, it is important to keep them in school. Therefore, though the data to be presented is not enough evidence to show that this will be the case in repeated samples, only 4% of Pantawid children aged 12 to 15 years old drop out of school as opposed to the 9% of non-Pantawid students. Furthermore, incidence of child labor (specifically in days worked in a month) for children aged 10 to 14 is lower by 6 days with program beneficiaries compared to non-Pantawid children.

Pantawid Pamilya increases households’ investments in education. To be more specific, Pantawid households spent P206 more per school-aged child per year compared to non-beneficiaries on education-related items.

Pantawid Pamilya increases mothers’ access to maternal care. 80% of Pantawid mothers had at least four (4) antenatal check-ups, close to the national average of 84% (National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), 2013). Also, seven (7) in 10 live births in the last five (5) years by Pantawid mothers were delivered in a health facility, compared to the 5.5 in 10 among non-beneficiary mothers. Moreover, incidence of postnatal check-ups within 72 hours after birth by skilled health professionals is approximately 21% higher with Pantawid beneficiaries and such check-ups are done in health facilities 17% higher with Pantawid mothers.

The program improves children’s health and access to healthcare services. 86% of Pantawid children between ages six (6) months and six (6) years received Vitamin A supplementation as opposed to 74% of non-beneficiaries. Similarly, 35% of beneficiaries received iron supplementation, compared to 23% of their counterparts. In addition, 19% of Pantawid children aged 0 to two (2) years old received preventive services in public health facilities as opposed to 12% of non-beneficiaries. Among children aged 2-5 years old, 49% Panta0wid beneficiaries visit health centers for bi-monthly weight monitoring, compared to the 25% of non-Pantawid children. Lastly, more Pantawid children aged 6-14 years old (78%) received deworming pills at least once a year compared to non-beneficiaries (69%).

The program does not encourage dependency from its beneficiaries. There is no evidence that Pantawid Pamilya leads to dependency or decreased work effort among adults in beneficiary households. On the contrary, results indicate that among working-age household members who are employed and continue to look for additional work, the proportion is much higher of Pantawid beneficiaries with 17% as opposed to 11% for non-beneficiaries. In relation, the program negates dependency on “adult-specific goods” (i.e. alcohol, tobacco, gambling, etc.), evident in the lack of statistically significant evidence to support claims that show otherwise.

The program encourages the trial use of modern family planning. Findings show that among 15 to 49-year old women who gave birth in the last 5 years, 74% from Pantawid households indicated their use of any modern family planning method as opposed to 68% from non-Pantawid households. This was a result of the grantees attending Family Development Sessions (FDS) (as compliance to program conditionality) which include lectures on family planning.

The results of the impact evaluation released in 2014 shows that the program is on track and is achieving its objectives of keeping children healthy and in school, and in creating avenues for the poor to have improved quality of life.

|TOP|


SONA 2015 generally peaceful - PNP
Source: http://pnp.gov.ph
 
The State of the Nation by His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III was relatively peaceful despite isolated clash between PNP CDM contingents and unruly demonstrators who breached barriers and confronted peace officers. A total 10 personnel from PNP, 2 from AFP and 5 demonstrators were injured. The total crowd/demonstrators in various locations were estimated to be around 6, 000.

This was the overall assessment of PNP Chief, Director General Ricardo C Marquez on the activities staged by some cause-oriented groups and militant organizations in connection with the 6th SONA of President Aquino at the opening of the regular session of the 16th Congress.

“The effective planning, operational readiness of our units and personnel, and the cooperation of all concerned sectors including the participants in the mass actions made this peaceful event possible ,” Marquez said as he congratulated Task Force Kapayapaan Commander and NCRPO Officer-in-Charge, Chief Supt Allen Bantolo, for the smooth turnout of the event.

Nevertheless, the PNP arrested one demonstrator identified as Eric Lopez for violating Batas Pambansa 880, which governs peaceful assemblies in public places; malicious mischief; and direct assault.

"As we respect the rights of those who express their grievances, opinions, they should also respect the rights of those who are just doing their job in preserving the peace and enforcing the law. Actions that prejudice the life, liberty or cause injury to another is unacceptable in a democratic society. We will file cases to those who are involve in the incident against our policemen", PDG Marquez added.

No other significant incidents were reported from the different regions of the country. (PNP-PIO)

|TOP|


Grateful PNP lauds PNoy SONA
Source: http://pnp.gov.ph
 
The Philippine National Police high command is grateful to President Benigno S Aquino II for providing the police force with more fighting tools to better perform its mission.

Some Php 6.6-billion worth of mission-essential equipment has been earmarked for the PNP this year to further boost the mobility, firepower, communication and investigative capabilities of PNP Units.

“This is an expression of the Aquino administration’s responsiveness to needs of PNP, and a recognition of the sacrifices of our policemen, especially those serving at the frontlines, ” PNP Chief, Police Director General Ricardo C Marquez said in reaction to President Aquino’s SONA that described the PNP’s improved capabilities to "shoot, move, and communicate".

We can only be too glad to reciprocate this gesture of genuine concern by President Aquino through better performance and honest public service, the Chief PNP said.

According to Marquez, a total of Php 5.679-billion is alloted this year for the procurement of 16,408 handguns (639-M); 30,253 basic assault rifles (1.96-B); 29,914 handheld radios (660-M); 2,512 patrol vehicles (2.42-B).

Another Php953-million is allotted for investigative equipment and infrastructure for the Firearms Identification System (FIS) and Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the Chief PNP said.

PNP Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor explained that at present, the PNP has in its inventory a total of 144,253 handguns consisting of 9mm & cal.45 pistols and cal.38 revolvers, including the 74,879 units of Glock 17 Gen 4 9mm pistols acquired in 2012.

The PNP's overall requirement for handguns is already 99% filled-up or 1:1 personnel-to-firearm ratio The procurement of 16,408 more handguns in 2015 is meant to equip new recruits and newly commissioned officers who are joining the PNP this year and the coming months.

In metro manila, the handgun requirement is 100% filled-up, Mayor said.

To fill-up requirements for mobility of police units, the DILG-PNP procurement program aims to provide at least 1 patrol vehicle to every Police Station nationwide.

The PNP is awaiting complete delivery of 1,168 patrol jeeps until November 2015 out of the 1,470 units procured by PS-DBM.

The procurement of 29,914 more handheld radios to add to the existing 12,399 units is expected to complete the requirement for handheld radios and provide 100% radio link up to all police personnel performing field patrol.

On his 6th SONA at the opening of the regular session of the 16thCongress, President Aquino underscored the accomplishments of the PNP under his term that was highlighted by the arrest of some 163,000 Wanted Persons and the neutralization of some 1,000 criminal gangs and the confiscation of almost 30,000 illegal firearms.

President Aquino also noted marked improvements in the crime situation in Metro Manila, mainly through the PNP’s vigorous implementation of Oplan Lambat-Sibat. (PNP-PIO)

|TOP|


TESDA to hold free assessment and certification for skilled workers, teachers
Source: http://www.tesda.gov.ph
 
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will be conducting free assessment and certification nationwide on Friday, July 31.

The National TVET Competency Assessment and Certification (NATCAC) will target workers and also the Grade 9 Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) teachers to ensure they possess the competency to teach under the K to 12 curriculum.

The synchronized competency assessment will be held in all participating TESDA accredited assessment centers nationwide, and will kick off at the TESDA Women's Center in Taguig City.

For 2015, the agency targets to assess 60,000 beneficiaries, which include 21,000 TLE teachers. There will be a series of schedules for the NATCAC.

"We urge industry practitioners, K to 12 teachers and returning OFWs to take the assessment to see how they measure up to the needs and expectations of employers," TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said.

"The National Certificate is the best proof that a person is qualified for the job he is applying for," Villanueva added.

Thousands have already benefitted from TESDA's free competency assessment and certification in the past years.

The July 2015 NATCAC will cover all qualifications in NC II, III and IV, including those covered by specific government regulations such as: Driving NC II and Driving NC III (passenger bus, straight truck); Automotive Servicing NC II, III and IV; and, RAC Servicing NC II and NC III.

Villanueva said the target candidates for this year's NATCAC may be composed of trainers of private and public Technical Vocational Institutions, including Local Government Units, and other government agencies providing TVET programs and private enterprises with registered TVET programs; Department of Education trainers; public utility vehicle drivers; workers/industry practitioners/professional/career shifters who want to undergo competency assessment; returning OFWs/Filipino expatriates with relevant experience who want to undergo competency assessment; and, industry practitioners who are prospective competency assessors.

Applicants may get application forms and list of requirements for assessment from the accredited assessment centers or the nearest TESDA offices. The forms may also be downloaded in the TESDA website (www.tesda.gov.ph).

The identified accredited assessment centers or TESDA provincial and district office will process the application for assessment and inform the applicants of their schedule.

|TOP|


TESDA five years after: From worrisome to stable
Source: http://www.tesda.gov.ph
 
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva said that the state of the agency has been transformed from being worrisome to stable in the five years under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

"The state of TESDA five years ago was worrisome. Now it is no longer the case,” Villanueva said in his report which was used for the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.

“Through quality-assured system, good governance and the Aquino administration's strong and sustained support, the agency has been able to fully groom Filipino workers for better employment options, a productive life and a better future," he added.

Villanueva said the employment rate of TESDA scholars was only 28.5 percent when he took the post in July 2010, and many technical vocational graduates could not find jobs.

A number of training centers were also found to be bogus and below standard. Irregularities hound the agency, including the P2.4 billion allotment of the previous administration, which was not authorized and unfunded, and the overpriced dough cutter, which led to the filing of criminal charges against past officials.

The TESDA chief said that several reforms were put in place that turn around the agency, resulting in better accountability, more quality programs and courses that ushered in jobs for its graduates.

He identified seven reforms that helped transform the agency, namely:

1.Nationwide ISO Certification;
2.Effective implementation of the Training for Work Scholarship Program;
3.Free TESDA Online Program;
4.Community-based training programs;
5.Onsite assessment and certification for overseas Filipino workers;
6.Institutionalization of the Philippine Qualifications Framework; and,
7.Promulgation of Training Regulations aligned with the needs of the industries.

From 28.5 percent, the employment rate under the TWSP leaped to 71.9 percent in 2014.

Partnership with industries was crucial in boosting the implementation of the TWSP, particularly in IT-BPM (Information Technology-Business Process Management), semi-conductor and electronics, tourism, construction, among others.

TESDA's online program helped link more students to technical vocational education, allowing them to study at their own pace, at their own time, wherever they are.

To date, there are more than 552,000 registered users in the Philippines and abroad for 30 courses in the last three years.

One of its innovative programs, the Mobile Training Laboratory went to far-flung communities to reach poor but deserving students who want to get into tech-voc.

In collaboration with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), 40 mobile labs will roll out in priority areas, which can help 23,100 individuals finish various tech-voc courses and gain access to decent employment.

The newly-launched onsite competency assessment services have targeted OFWs in vulnerable jobs such as those in Hong Kong, Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Middle East.

As it continues to spread tech-voc education to the youth, TESDA consistently reviews its courses and subjects them to improvement to meet the needs of industries.

There is now the Philippine Qualifications Register hosted in the TESDA website with the following sectors: Accountancy, Dentistry, Engineering, Tourism and Maritime. The register provides information in the educational qualifications available in levels aligned to the descriptors of the Philippine Qualifications Framework.

TESDA has also completed benchmarking construction qualifications using private sector-led ASEAN Constructors Federation standards.

There are other on-going projects with TESDA involvement such as the Vocational and Education Benchmarking Project with Australia, Philippines and Vietnam to enhance the comparability of skills outcomes in manufacturing, logistics, agri-fishery, construction and automotive servicing qualifications.

Villanueva recognized a number of tech-voc graduates, who have hurdled difficulties in life, partly because of their involvement in tech-voc education, which paved the way for their successful careers.

Among them were polio victim Mark Escora, a former jeepney barker, who is now an Escalation Supervisor and preparing to become manager; Jennifer Doble, a solo parent to five children, who sold palamig (cold drinks), and who is now earning more than P2,000 a day after being certified in Beauty Care and Wellness Massage; Jar-Ar Rotaquio, another polio victim, who now has his own tocino and vinegar-making business; Rowena Payoran, who found job in a spa after getting a National Certificate; Cristina Reyes, who after finishing a course on Massage Therapy now has her own spa; and, Rey Caseres, an automotive mechanic, who is now in Perth Australia and earning triple of what he used to earn.

"Most tech-voc graduates depicted how they overcame obstacles in life. Their stories of success serve as testimony that tech-voc can really help achieve 'masayang pagbabago'," Villanueva said.

|TOP|


Roxas tests DOST's Hybrid Road Train
Source: http://www.dilg.gov.ph
 
Secretary of Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas joined Secretary of Science and Technology Mario Montejo for a test ride of the Hybrid Road Train during the opening ceremonies of the Department of Science of Technology’s (DOST) National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) last Friday, July 24.

The Hybrid Road Train has five coaches, four of which can accommodate 60 passengers each. It features all Filipino-made materials and is environmentally friendly, as it runs on a diesel and electric-powered generator and battery.

“Higit sa pangkaraniwan, higit sa laman ng pangkaraniwang bus ang masasakay dito,” he said about the trains. “Ang kagandahan nito ay articulated siya, so ibig sabihin ay isang operator, halos pito ang mga nakakabit na mga bagon o mga bus.”

Roxas added that the Hybrid Road Train’s automotive parts were taken from bus parts rather than from train parts, which would make repairs easier.

“’Yung pangkaraniwang automotive technician ay makakapag-repair nitong mga ito at hindi kinakailangan ng mga special parts na magmumula pa sa ibang bansa para lamang magkarooon nang pagsasaayos,” he said.

Roxas also revealed that in his talks with Montejo, they discussed the possible deployment of the Hybrid Road Trains in Metro Manila’s major thoroughfares, such as EDSA, Roxas Boulevard, Taft, and Quezon Boulevard.

The DILG chief expressed his excitement for the project, but admitted that it could use a few more improvements.

“Malaki future nito,” he said. “Sa ngayon ito yung pangalawang prototype, medyo pulido na. Siguro isa pang prototype ay talagang perfect na ito at mako-commercialize na.”

“Ang pinakamahalaga ay makarating sa paroroonan ang ating mga kababayan,” he concluded.

|TOP|


PRC Tuguegarao receives the Seal of Excellence Award
Source: http://www.prc.gov.ph
 
Manila, July 28, 2015 – The Professional Regulation Commission, Tuguegarao Regional Office received the Seal of Excellence Award from the Civil Service Commission for its excellent performance in providing services to the public and its adherence to the requirements prescribed by RA NO. 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

The award is a result of the Anti-Red Tape Act Report Card Survey (ARTA-RCS) conducted by the Civil Service Commission. The Citizen’s Satisfaction Center Seal of Excellence Award which is symbolized by a wall-mountable glass seal that bears the CSC Seal of Excellence Award symbol and the cash reward of P100,000.00 were received by the Hon. Florentino C. Doble, M.D., Chairman of the Professional Regulation Commission and Dr. Rodrigo F. Balaqui, Jr., Director of PRC Tuguegarao Regional Office. Atty. Marites P. Lappay, Director III, Civil Service Commission Tuguegarao Regional Office conferred the prestigious award.

Chairman Doble, in his acceptance speech, said that with or without this recognition given to the PRC, we will stand to our commitment to uphold excellence in the areas of professionalism, responsibility and integrity! Truly that in the PRC, our people is our greatest competitive advantage. He extended his thanks and congratulated the officials and employees of the PRC Tuguegarao Regional Office headed by Director Rodrigo F. Balaqui, Jr.

|TOP|