|GSIS to grant Christmas cash gift to pensioners|
the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) will receive their
annual Christmas cash gift through their eCard accounts by December
"The Board of Trustees and Management of GSIS realize that our pensioners look forward to receiving their cash gift every year as part of the Christmas season," said GSIS President and General Manager Robert G. Vergara.
"That is why, the Board wants to release it as soon as possible." According to PGM Vergara, the pension fund will disburse a total of Php2.1 billion for the cash gift, an amount that is 16.7% higher than last year's allocation of Php1.8 billion.
Qualified to receive the cash gift are 238,490 old-age/retirement and disability pensioners who have been receiving their monthly pension for at least five years as of December 15, 2012.
Pensioners living abroad and in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) who are on suspended status at the time of the grant of the Christmas Cash Gift will be ineligible to receive it, but may still qualify if they activate their status not later than April 30, 2014.
Vergara said that pensioners who will receive their cash gift for the first time will be granted an amount equivalent to a month's pension but not to exceed Php10,000. While pensioners who have been previously receiving a cash gift of more than Php10,000 will get one month's pension up to a maximum of Php12,600.
In addition, pensioners who resumed their regular monthly pensions after December 2012 (or the five-year guaranteed period) will receive an amount equivalent to a month's pension up to a maximum of Php10,000.
However, certain pensioners will be ineligible to receive the cash gift. These include survivorship and dependent pensioners; retirees who received in advance, their guaranteed pensions in the form of lump sum and who will be receiving their regular monthly pensions after December 31, 2013; and new retirees from 2009 to 2013 who will be entitled to the Christmas Cash Gift five years after their retirement date.
Pensioners who will activate their status by April 30, 2014 will receive their cash gift not later than May 31, 2014. For questions on the grant of cash gift, pensioners may call the GSIS contact center at 847.4747.
|Industry, services sectors lift employment in October 2013|
hiring in the industry and services sectors boosted employment
during the October 2013 round of Labor Force Survey, according to
the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan explained that the employment rate in October 2013 still went up to 93.5 percent, from 93.2 percent a year ago, even after a series of typhoons struck the country in August and September.
“The increase in employment in these sectors, propped up by wholesale and retail trade in the services sector, more than offset the decline in the agriculture sector,” he said.
The services sector employs more than half of total workers in the country at 53.4 percent, followed by the agriculture sector with 31.4 percent, and industry with 15.2 percent.
“We expect growth in these sectors to continue in light of the Christmas season,” Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General, said.
Unemployment rate likewise improved to 6.5 percent from 6.8 percent in the same period last year. Underemployment dropped as well to 17.9 percent, possibly due to satisfaction on current employment situation brought by higher incomes or low and stable inflation.
Based on the latest data from the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics, the average daily basic pay has been increasing steadily since January 2012 from about PhP327 in January 2012 to about PhP346 in January 2013, while inflation stood at 2.8 percent in the first 10 months of 2013, still below the government’s target of 3 to 5 percent.
The bulk of the employed in October 2013, or 44.6 percent of total employed, came from the more remunerative wage and salaried class of workers, particularly those who worked for private establishments. To continually improve the employment picture in the country, Balisacan said, the Philippine Development Plan Midterm Update puts emphasis on the reduction of underemployment in agriculture and creation of conditions for the emergence of new drivers of growth that will generate high-quality jobs and strengthen the competitiveness of different regions in the country.
“There is a need to sustain efforts that facilitate the substantial creation of decent and quality employment. Further, we need to implement disaster risk-management to mitigate the impact of weather disturbances, particularly in agriculture,” he stressed.
He specifically mentioned linking the manufacturing sector with agriculture as one of the means to create quality employment.
“We need to intensify the implementation of measures that will increase agricultural productivity through the use of appropriate technology. We also need to strengthen the link of agriculture with the manufacturing sector to create more quality employment such as in the agro-industry,” Balisacan said.
The Cabinet official further said that as the economy grows and its structure transforms, employment normally exhibits volatility, as shown by experiences of other emerging economies.
He added: "Growth tends to increase optimism among the working-age population such that more people become inclined to look for work. Some jobs are destroyed and new ones emerge in the course of structural transformation. While jobs are created, current skill sets of the labor force may not be able to immediately meet the growing and shifting demand for labor.”
Policies that allow flexible work arrangements, he said, are also needed so that both employers and the labor force can seize growth opportunities and easily adapt to changing markets.
Meanwhile, Balisacan disclosed that October 2013 round of the LFS excludes data from Leyte as the province was devastated by Typhoon Yolanda, including the data storage infrastructure of the provincial National Statistics Office.
He said that although employment levels are not directly comparable, since the 1.5-million residents of Leyte are excluded in the recent survey, rates and percent shares remain comparable with those in earlier LFS rounds.
|P239-M in housing aid assured for Yolanda victims|
Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad today
announced the release of P238.6 million to the National Housing
Authority (NHA) to support the Housing Materials Assistance (HOMA)
to victims of Typhoon Yolanda under the agency’s Emergency Housing
Assistance for Calamity Victims Program (EHACVP).
The release—sourced from Budgetary Support to Government Corporations under the 2013 National Budget—is part of a larger P350-million rollout for the EHACVP, a nationwide program designed to respond to the permanent housing needs of low- and marginal-income families and informal settlers affected by calamities, including typhoons, landslides, earthquakes, and fires.
Under the program, beneficiaries will be relocated to permanent dwellings in safe areas. NHA implements the EHACVP with other LGUs in need of housing assistance for their affected communities. Through the HOMA component of the program, the NHA will provide housing materials assistance of P5,000 for every family whose home was partially damaged by calamities, but who will not require resettlement.
“Rehabilitation activities for Yolanda-hit communities are in full swing, as the Aquino administration continues to coordinate with aid groups, civil society, and affected LGUs in restoring normalcy in all typhoon-stricken areas. We’re facilitating the prompt release of funds that will aid our recovery efforts, especially with respect to providing secure shelter to low-income families and informal settlers who cannot otherwise afford rebuilding their own homes,” Abad said.
The DBM also announced that the rest of the P350-million release—amounting to P111.4 million—will also be used to help households affected by previous calamities, including typhoons Vinta, Santi, Laguyo, Yolanda, Quinta, and Pablo, as well as other disasters, such as fires and earthquakes.
However, HOMA beneficiary-families affected by Typhoon Santi will receive only P2,000 worth of aid for roof repairs, as noted by NHA.
“The Aquino administration is prepared to complete the arduous but necessary work of rebuilding all communities affected by disasters and calamities. Besides ensuring secure housing for families who now have to recompose their lives in the wake of these tragedies, we’re also poised to bring immediate aid and recovery assistance in the form of key social services, including the resumption of health and education services, as well as the provision of other public services that calamities like Yolanda temporarily cut off,” Abad said.
|DOLE’s POEA opens bigger OEC processing center in SM Manila|
Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday cut the
ribbon signaling the opening to the public of a bigger facility for
the processing of overseas employment certificates (OECs) for
returning OFWs, or balik-manggagawa.
The new and bigger OEC processing facility is located at the 5th Floor of SM Manila along Arroceros Street near the Manila City Hall.
“I appreciate the POEA’s effort since August last year to process and issue OECs at the SM Manila’s Global Pinoy Center and I am very grateful to SM Manila management for accommodating this brand of DOLE’s public service”, said Baldoz.
The new site is a huge place newly constructed and refurnished by the SM Manila management. It is provided with 10 counters, computers, chairs, waiting area for at least 100 persons, internet connection, and other furniture, all free of charge.
Since the start of operation of the OEC processing center, it has issued OECs to more than 16,000 OFWs or balik-manggagawa. Other OECs processing centers in malls are located in SM Pampanga, Duty Free Philippines, and Trinoma Mall, Quezon City. More than 70,000 OFWs have been served by these processing centers.
The OEC Processing in SM Pampanga will also be provided by SM Management with a bigger site, complete with all the facilities, construction of which starts January 2014.
Baldoz said the OEC processing centers that the POEA has brought out of its central offices bring more convenience and comfort to OFWs.
“It also saves them money and time, considering that may OFWs are here only on a short vacation. Time saved by them on processing personal employment documents is time freed for them to spend with their loved ones,” Baldoz said.
|POEA governing board re-imposes total deployment ban on OFWs to Yemen|
|Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, yesterday announced the re-imposition of a ban in the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to politically-unstable Yemen, citing security risks for OFWs. "The POEA Governing Board, in an emergency meeting, has approved yesterday Governing Board Resolution No. 12 Series of 2013 re-imposing a total ban on the processing and deployment of all overseas Filipino workers bound for Yemen, both returning and newly-hired, effective immediately" Baldoz said. "It is not safe for OFWs to go to Yemen and work there, or even visit, considering the present circumstances," she added, citing the bomb attack at the Yemeni defense ministry complex last week that resulted to the death of seven and injury to 11 OFWs. Felix Rodolfo M. Oca, Estrelita S. Hizon, Alexander E. Asuncion, and Milagros Isabel Cristobal all signed the resolution, together with POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, Governing Board Vice Chairman and Secretary Baldoz. Baldoz said the Department of Foreign Affairs, in a communication yesterday, informed the DOLE that it has again raised the crisis level alert in Yemen to Alert Level 3, in view of the escalating domestic violence in the country in the aftermath of the 5 December 2013 attack that killed 52 people, including the seven Filipinos. Alert Level 3 entails the voluntary repatriation of Filipinos in a country. In the case of Yemen, the deployment of new workers as well as the return of vacationing workers is banned. It can be recalled that the DFA lowered the crisis alert level in Yemen from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 on 29 January 2013. Following that, the POEA on 27 February 2013 issued Governing Board Resolution No. 2 Series of 2013 effectively allowing the processing and deployment of all OFWs, both returning and newly-hired, to Yemen. Baldoz said that with the latest development, she has instructed the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh, which exercises jurisdiction over OFW affairs in Yemen, to closely coordinate with Philippine Embassy officials in Riyadh and in Yemen on how the POLO can provide support and assistance to OFWs who would like to come home due to the unstable security situation in that country.|
|UN agencies offer to fix venue for DSWD debriefing sessions|
Leyte – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
continues to conduct Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) to
victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas.
A team of social workers were deployed to visit various evacuation centers to conduct CISD to affected individuals, especially to women and children.
As of December 9, the stress debriefers have served 384 women and children in different evacuations centers in this city alone.
The CISD is a process that prevents or limits the development of post-traumatic stress in people exposed to critical incidents. Professionally conducted debriefings help survivors cope with, and recover from the after effects of a calamity.
Participants are asked to share their experiences and the social workers assess their level of recovery and their needed interventions.
In support to this, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have offered to refurbish a pension house in the city that can be used as a venue for stress debriefing and provide distraught women and children a resting facility during their recovery period.
“As of the moment, we are still in the process of identifying a potential pension house which we can use. We are thankful for the support of UNICEF and UNFPA as providing an ideal place where stress debriefing can be conducted is very critical in ensuring that the victims would overcome their trauma,” DSWD Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera, who currently heads the disaster relief operations in Eastern Visayas, said.
|Fathers support families through DSWD’s cash-for-work|
Leyte – The challenge of achieving normalcy and finding a source of
income after a disaster mostly falls on the shoulders of the fathers
whose main responsibility is to ensure the safety and survival of
With the recent disaster’s magnitude, it has been especially difficult for the men in Typhoon Yolanda-devastated areas, as they have been rendered jobless.
To help the affected families get back on their feet, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been implementing the Cash-For-Work (CFW) scheme for repacking and hauling of relief goods at the different hubs in the region.
The CFW is an immediate response to provide means of earning to families affected by disasters. It is a recovery effort to aid families go back to their normal social functioning.
In exchange of helping in the repacking and hauling of goods, the CFW beneficiaries get paid based on the equivalent of the prevailing minimum regional daily wage
Narciso Fabricante, 49, used to be a habal-habal (motorcycle) driver in his barangay in Palo. With almost all roads rendered impassable, Narciso lost his source of income.
Jobless and with six children to feed, Narciso and his wife relied on relief goods provided by DSWD. With his big family, he shared that they have learned to live daily with little food on the table.
“Six coconut trees fell down on our small house during the typhoon. It’s a good thing we have evacuated. If we didn’t, we could have died,” Narciso narrated in the local dialect.
When the weather cleared, he collected the materials left of their destroyed home and built a small hut for his family. He felt his family will be more comfortable in their own place rather than staying with relatives or neighbors.
Narciso now works under the CFW.
Together with other men, he goes to the Tacloban City Seaport daily to help unload family food packs, canned goods and used clothing from cargo ships.
“We are glad that at least we can support our family better. We can now buy sufficient food for our children and not simply rely on relief goods,” Narciso said.
Rogelio Padal, 50, another father working at the seaport shares the same story.
He used to be a fisherman but has not gone back to fishing after the typhoon since his banca was destroyed.
For Rogelio, earning from the CFW program is already a big help for his family.
Narciso and Rogelio are just two of the more than 400 individuals who have already been mobilized by DSWD for CFW repacking and hauling activities.
|MB strengthens capital structure of foreign bank branches|
Board (MB) approved amendments to the capital framework of foreign
bank branches (FBBs) operating in the Philippines. The amendments
will align the capital structure of FBBs with the implementation of
the Basel III Accord while further strengthening the capacity of
FBBs to absorb risks from their operations in the Philippines.
Under the new framework, the capital component of FBB that is classified as Tier 1 shall be predominantly composed of permanently assigned capital (PAC). The concept of PAC was initially introduced by law under Republic Act 7721 (An Act Liberalizing the Entry and Scope of Operations of Foreign Banks in the Philippines and for Other Purposes).
On the other hand, FBB accounts which are booked under the “Net Due To” account will now be re-classified as Tier 2 capital. These “Net Due To” accounts typically reflect transactions between the FBB and its parent entity and include placements, investments and borrowings.
“Net Due To” accounts were previously categorized as Tier 1 capital under the older Basel II framework. The new policy is consistent with the intention of the reforms under Basel III to classify as Tier 2 the debt instruments that are deemed eligible as Basel III capital.
The Philippine implementation of the Basel III framework that is set for the beginning of 2014 will also apply to FBBs since these branches operate locally under either a universal or commercial bank license.
This means that FBBs must meet all the prescribed minimum ratios. These include a 6 percent Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio, a 7.5 percent Tier 1 ratio and a 2.5 percent capital conservation buffer which can only be met by CET1-eligible instruments.
For the FBBs, common equity is represented by PAC.
With the recent amendment approved by the Monetary Board, FBBs which do not meet the prescribed minimum capital ratios on January 01, 2014 will be given a year or up to January 01, 2015 to comply. However, a capital build up plan must be submitted by these FBBs to the BSP by April 01, 2014. This capital build up plan does not only reflect how these FBBs intend to meet the new prudential thresholds but also the necessary approvals from their parent entity.
Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr noted that “this new initiative strengthens foreign bank branches in the Philippines because they will have their capital onshore when they take on onshore risks”. He added that this is the “prudent policy direction since it will reduce unwarranted reliance of foreign bank branches on their parent entity for capital support when operating domestically”.
|BSP rediscount rates for December 2013 and availments as of November 2013|
announced today the rediscount rates applicable on loan availments
by banking institutions for December 2013 and availments as of
For loans under the Peso Rediscount Facility, the rediscount rates effective 15 November 2013 up to the next policy rates revision are as follows:
The Peso rediscount rates for RW I and RW II are based on the applicable BSP one-month repurchase rate and overnight reverse repurchase rate, respectively, plus term premia for longer maturities per Circular No. 806 dated 15 August 2013.
Meanwhile, for loans under the Exporters Dollar and Yen Rediscount Facility (EDYRF), the rates for the month of December are as follows:
The EDYRF rediscount rates are based on the respective 90-day London Inter-Bank Offered Rate as of 29 November 2013 plus 200 basis points plus term premia for longer maturities pursuant to Circular No. 807 dated 15 August 2013.
Under the Peso Rediscount Facility, total availments of commercial, thrift and rural banks amounted to P17,735 million for the period 01 January to 30 November 2013, 59.5 percent lower than the P43,740 million total in the same period last year. Of the availments for the period, 82.0 percent went to commercial credits, 3.2 percent to agricultural and industrial credits, and 14.8 percent to other credits consisting of CAPEX (7.5 percent), other services (6.5 percent), permanent working capital (0.7 percent) and housing (0.1 percent).
Under the EDYRF, aggregate dollar availments of eight commercial banks and a thrift bank for the period 01 January to 30 November 2013 amounted to US$109.4 million and benefitted 31 exporters. This represents a 35.3 percent decrease in availments compared to the US$169.1 million grants for the same period last year.
On the other hand, there was no Yen-denominated availment under the EDYRF for the period 01 January to 30 November 2013.
|OWWA RWO3 releases livelihood assistance to 93 beneficiaries|
The OWWA RWO3
released livelihood assistance to 93 beneficiaries under the
Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP) of the Agency
from October to November 2013.
The individual recipients of the 15,000 pesos worth of livelihood assistance came from the provinces of Pampanga (30), Bulacan (31), Tarlac (5), Bataan (15), Zambales (1), and Nueva Ecija (11). The beneficiaries of the livelihood grant are surviving spouses/dependents of deceased OFWs.
The livelihood assistance granted is in addition to the education assistance provided for a child of a deceased OFW. The education assistance intends to cover the continuing education of an eligible dependent until completion of a tertiary education or a technical/vocational course the educational assistance is PhP 5,000.00 for elementary, PhP 8,000.00 for high school and PhP 10,000.00 for college per school year. The RWO 3 has a total of 380 ELAP scholars.
The ELAP aims to fill the void resulting from the OFW’s death and its impact on the family through the provision of financial assistance and assure the continuing education of one eligible dependent.
A total of PhP 1,395,000.00 was disbursed by the Office for the livelihood assistance to the beneficiaries.
|Despite rise in the number of families, extreme poverty among families remains steady at 1.6 million in 2012—NSCB|
Statistical System (PSS), through the National Statistical
Coordination Board (NSCB), releases its latest report today on the
2012 full year official poverty statistics in the country. The NSCB
report— using income data from the Family Income and Expenditure
Survey (FIES) conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) in
two visits last July 2012 and January 2013 – estimates poverty
incidence or the proportion of poor families to the total number of
families. The report also examines various monetary and non-monetary
measures of poverty in the country.
In a press briefing, NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon G. Albert reports that about one out of every five Pinoy families (19.7 percent) was poor in 2012. Compared with the MDG benchmark, the proportion of poor families has significantly gone down from the 29.7 percent estimated poverty incidence in 1991. The estimate for 2012 is slightly lower than the 2009 and 2006 poverty incidence figures, which were estimated at 20.5 and 21.0 percent, respectively, but these differences are not statistically significant.
Although the proportion of poor families has been practically similar between 2006 and 2012, on account of the country’s growing population, the estimated number of poor families has risen from 3.8 million in 2006 to 4.2 million in 2012.
Food and poverty thresholds
The NSCB report points out that in 2012, a Filipino family of five needed PhP 5,513 to meet basic food needs every month and Php 7,890 to stay above the poverty threshold (basic food and non-food needs) every month. These respective amounts represent the food and poverty thresholds, which increased by 12.4 percent from 2009 to 2012. Such increases can be attributed to inflation of about 4.1% on the average per year between 2009 and 2012.
The food threshold is the minimum income required by a family to meet its basic food needs and satisfy the nutritional requirements set by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), while having individuals in the family remaining economically and socially productive. Put another way, the food threshold helps measure extreme poverty (also called subsistence poverty).
The poverty threshold is a similar concept, but this incorporates costs of basic non-food needs, such as clothing, housing, transportation, health, and education expenses, among others, in addition to costs of basic food needs.
Extreme Poverty among Filipino families
Aside from poverty incidence, the NSCB also released statistics on extreme poverty among families—a crucial social indicator that guides policy makers in their efforts to improve the conditions of the poorest of the poor.
According to the NSCB report, the subsistence incidence, which represents the proportion of Filipino families in extreme poverty, was estimated at 7.5 percent in 2012, which is almost the same in 2009 but the figure in 2012 is significantly lower than the 8.8 percent estimate in 2006.
The NSCB notes that despite the rise in the number of families in the country between 2006 and 2012, the estimated number of extremely poor families has remarkably remained steady at around 1.6 million.
Estimated cost of eradicating poverty
The NSCB also releases other poverty-related statistics in the report, such as the income gap. This measures the amount of income required by the poor in order to get out of poverty, in relation to the poverty threshold itself.
In 2012, on the average, incomes of poor families are short by 26.2 percent of the poverty threshold. This means that a poor family with five members needed a monthly additional income of PhP 2,067 to move out of poverty in 2012.
In other words, using figures for the income gap and the poverty threshold, the NSCB estimates that if government were to provide a mere cash transfer to all poor households in terms of what they would require to cross the poverty line, a total of Php124 billion in 2012 would be required to eradicate poverty (exclusive of targeting costs). It may be noted that the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), which provides support to poor households conditioned on these families sending their children to school and on pregnant women receiving pre and post-natal care, was Php 39.4 billion for the entirety of 2012.
More timely and frequent release of poverty statistics
This release of the latest official poverty statistics is a remarkable milestone for the country. The FIES, the basic data source for the poverty statistics, could be released as much as 18 months after the reference year, but the 2012 FIES full year results were released by the NSO much ahead of the usual schedule. In consequence, the 2012 full year poverty statistics is now made available to the public less than a year after the conduct of the FIES.
Starting this year 2013, NSCB Secretary General Albert points out that upon the initiative of Director General Arsenio Balisacan of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the monitoring of poverty will be more timely and frequent, especially since first semester data of the FIES are being examined. In addition, the 2013 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey, conducted by the NSO has made use of the FIES income module. In effect, the latter will allow the PSS to generate poverty statistics from the FIES and even the APIS.
Albert says that the NSCB—together with partner institutions, such as the NSO, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), and the NEDA as well as the group of experts on poverty measurement comprising the NSCB Technical Committee on Poverty Statistics– continue to make the estimation and publication schedule of official poverty statistics more timely, while ensuring data quality and accuracy.
He hopes that, these initiatives on frequent and timely poverty statistics shall be sustained when the newly established Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), a single body which consolidates the Technical Staff of the NSCB, NSO, BAS, and Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (or BLES), becomes fully operational sometime next year. The consolidation of these statistical agencies comes as a result of the Philippine Statistics Act of 2013, signed into law by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III last 12 September 2013. These initiatives allow policymakers and poverty stakeholders alike (from both the public and private sectors) to work together in accelerating the reduction of poverty based on more relevant and more up to date snapshots of welfare and living conditions in the country.
|2,800 families in "Yolanda" stricken-areas to have new homes this Christmas season|
142 bunkhouse units which will serve as temporary shelter of some
3,336 Typhoon “Yolanda” affected families in Eastern Visayas are on
a fast-track mode.
Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio L. Singson said that homeless families will have their new dwellings to stay before Christmas as workers rush the completion of 119 bunkhouses, each comprising of 24 units of dwellings or a total of 2,856 units/families on or before December 22, 2013. Hopefully, more will be completed in time for the New Year.
The construction of these bunkhouses in 29 different sites is closely being supervised by DPWH Regional Directors and District Engineers from the Regions 4A, 4B, 5, 10, 11, 13 and National Capital Region, given special assignment by Secretary Singson to assist DPWH Region 8 in the emergency works in the devastated areas of Eastern Visayas.
Immediately after completion, DPWH will turn-over these bunkhouses to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for distribution to beneficiaries.
Targetted for completion by December 15 are the following bunkhouses in Eastern Samar : 16 units at nine (9) sites in Guiuan; 11 units located in Barangays 4, Batang, Carmen, and Padang in Hernani; five (5) units located in Barangays Paya, Biga and Parena all in Giporlos; one (1) unit in Barangay Busay, Mercedes; four (4) units in Balangkayan; four (4) units in Quinapondan; one (1) unit in Maydolong; two (2) units in Barangay Sabang Suribao, Borongan; two (2) units in Lawaan; three (3) units in Salcedo; and two (2) units in Balangiga.
Additionally, 16 units in Barangay Conception, Ormoc City are also targeted to be completed by December 15, 2013.
About 22 bunkhouse units being constructed at Motocross Area along Daang Maharlika (Caibaan) and one (1) unit at NHA/Sagkahan Bliss in Tacloban City are scheduled for completion by December 20, 2013.
In various stages of construction are 17 units at Government Center in Baras, Palo, Leyte; and five (5) units at Basey First Housing Area in Sitio Bangon (CanManila) and four (4) units in Barangay Amambucale, Marabut both in the Province of Sama. These are programmed for completion by December 20, 2013, while three (3) units in Barangay Abucay, Tacloban City will be completed by December 22, 2013.
Site development and construction activities in 29 different sites are hampered by the sporadic heavy rains being experienced in area. Private contractors tapped by DPWH have committed to work double time during good weather to facilitate the completion of these bunkhouses.
Within four (4) days after “Yolanda,” DPWH made all national roads passable while clearing of initial debris in about 2,541 kilometers of national roads in Region 8 are almost fully completed.
|Finance Secretary Purisima in Les Entretiens De Royaumont|
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima spoke before the prestigious Les
Entretiens de Royaumont (The Royaumont Interviews) on 30 November
This year, the theme of the event was “New Emerging Countries: Building a Sustainable Relationship”. The Philippines, together with Mongolia, Turkey, Indonesia, Poland, Colombia and the conurbation of Lagos, Lome, Accra and Abidjan in Africa, were identified as having the best potential for growth. As such, it was argued that these places should be of particular interest to France, particularly for French companies looking to invest and do business.
In his speech, Secretary Purisima highlighted the major strides the Philippines has undertaken in terms of good governance in the last three years as this has unleashed the country’s potential. He said that “economies are about people” and that as Philippines will hit its demographic sweet spot in the next few years, growth will also be expected to accelerate as a result.
Secretary Purisima urged France to participate in this economic resurgence and to look at opportunities in the infrastructure, tourism, fashion,and education sectors. He mentioned that France will likewise do well to consider the Philippines as a hub for Asian trade.
The Secretary also took the opportunity to call on the international community to give more importance to climate change and the impact this phenomenon has on the poor and vulnerable. Citing Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, Secretary Purisima pushed for more global risk sharing and safety net mechanisms that will benefit those affected by such disasters.
With around 500 participants over the course of two days, the Royaumont Interviews was held in the Royaumont Abbey around 50 kilometers from Paris.
The conference has gained much prestige and high-level participation since its inception 10 years ago. It has become an annual meeting place for policy reflection among the French political, economic, social and cultural leaders.
|Closing Statement of GPH Panel Chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer on the 42nd GPH-MILF Formal Exploratory Talks|
Today the Annex
on Powersharing is born.
It has 4 major parts; 3,807 words; a set of principles of intergovernmental relations; a section that provides a level of detail on the structure of government of the future BMG; and three lists of powers, 9 reserved to Central Government, 14 concurrent or joint powers of the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government, and 58 exclusive or devolved powers to the Bangsamoro, not to mention 4 items relating to jurisdiction in a section on “Other Matters”.
Such a laborious document as this Powersharing Annex is consistent with the fact that this Annex has many mothers and fathers. Certainly it was not a result of immaculate conception (which is celebrated today in the Catholic world). There are of course the negotiating panels and their principals and the constituents behind them. On the GPH side, one would trace its lineage to the President certainly and the different Cabinet secretaries in all the Cabinet clusters (security, justice and peace; good governance and anticorruption; economic development and finance; human development and poverty reduction; environment and climate change adaptation), including the Office of the Executive Secretary and the Office of the Presidential Counsel for Legal Concerns, and especially the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, down to their undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, heads of special offices, bureaus and agencies; to the different CSOs that have kept watch with their respective advocacies. We have talked to and consulted with all of them.
After the labor pains, we have heaved our big, collective sigh of relief. After all, we carried this draft in our wombs (although the men here do not exactly have this facility) for 16 months. It was a mere zygote when the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Powersharing was convened for the first time. This was in our 30th Round of Formal Exploratory Talks that was held in August 2012. The GPH Panel was then chaired by now Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, and I was then assigned the adviser of the TWG. Since then, TWG chairship moved from former panel member Upi Mayor Ramon Piang to Undersecretary Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon. TWG members have included OPAPP Usec Jose Lorena and Secrtary Mehol Sadain of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. All throughout the process, the only other surviving original member of the Panel (other than myself) under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, former secretary Senen Bacani, provided the anchor, supported by the next oldest member of this panel (in terms of length of time in this panel) Usec Yasmin Busran Lao.
In between we have met with and even brought over consultants from the Departments of Transportation and Communication, National Defense, DILG, DOJ and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource. We were ably supported by our legal staff, Atty Armi Bayot from the Office of the Solicitor General and Atty Anna Tarhata Basman, and before that, by the former head of the legal team, Atty Johaira Wahab. Technical support was provided by our secretariat headed by Iona Jalijali.
Aside from the parents, aunts and uncles, this rather difficult pregnancy was accompanied by its many godparents (ninong and ninang) – the third party to this process, Malaysian Facilitator Tengku Ghafar and the members of the ICG, all of whom contributed immensely at one point in time during the long wait for the birthing of the Annex. We thank them and especially the ICG members who survived this round – Emma Leslie of Conciliation Resources, Ali Saleem of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, and Ahmet Doğan of the Government of Turkey, also the most handsome member of the ICG.
Now this newborn baby will have to be introduced to the world. We expect that a good number out there would be eager to see it, scrutinize its different parts and get to know about it more. We of course tried our damnedest best to ensure that it will be a healthy baby, with all the parts in the right places, with the complete sets of toes and fingers, and not an unnecessary piece less or more.
In all, it will represent all the good intentions, wise counsel, and difficult sacrifices all the parents had to make in order to bring a healthy baby in this world. In its genes, the shape of the future Bangsamoro political entity is encoded. But we know that all these will have to be translated into the Bangsamoro Basic Law – one that will put in place a strong, viable autonomous governance for the Bangsamoro in Mindanao, and connect with its siblings and cousins who came before and will come after.
There remain many challenges ahead. We know that and we are ready for that even as we remain focused on the immediate task on hand, which is to finish once and for all the Annex on Normalization and an addendum on Bangsamoro Waters and put in place the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. These will be our new year’s gift to each other.
|Crisis alert level 3 raised in Yemen|
2013 – To ensure the safety of Filipinos given the current security
situation in Yemen, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario
on December 09 raised Crisis Alert Level 3 (voluntary repatriation)
in that country.
The announcement comes after a terrorist attack on the Yemeni Defense Ministry Complex killed 52 individuals, including seven (7) Filipinos, last December 05. Eleven (11) Filipinos were also injured during the incident.
Crisis Alert Level 3 is raised when violent disturbances or external aggression occur in certain areas of a country.
Filipinos in Yemen who wish to return to the Philippines will be repatriated at the Philippine Government’s expense.
Under Crisis Alert Level 3, the Department of Labor and Employment automatically imposes a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers.
Our citizens are also advised to defer travel to Yemen regardless of purpose.
|Senator Loren Legarda receives award for Philippines on Leadership in closing the gender gap at women in Parliaments Global Forum in Brussels|
20l3 - Senator Loren Legarda, as President Benigno Aquino’s Personal
Representative, receives the prestigious Award for Leadership on
Closing the Gender Gap (Winner by Region: Asia) at the Women in
Parliaments Global Forum Annual Summit Award Ceremony held on
November 27, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
In accepting the Award for the Philippines, Senator Legarda highlighted the country's success in closing the gender gap through relevant policies and programs of the government, including laws for the protection of women; the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, the Magna Carta of Women (MCW), the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, and the Domestic Workers Act, among others.
Senator Legarda took the opportunity to convey the Philippine Government's appreciation for the international community's generous humanitarian support for the victims of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
She recounted the critical role of Filipino women doctors, nurses, paramedics and civilian volunteers' role as first responders in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, and vowed to work towards integration of gender into emergency responses as part of the change that needs to be introduced.
Legarda's speech struck an poignant note to an audience of more than
400 women parliamentarians around the world who came together for
the very first time to contribute to this agenda setting conference,
entitled "The Spirit of Women in Parliament: Advancing Society.
|SSS advises public to be wary of fake checks|
Social Security System (SSS) warns the public especially small
establishments to be more careful in accepting SSS checks as
payments for purchases and encashing the same.
SSS management has received a report from SSS La Union Branch Officer-In-Charge Francisco F. Pentecostes last week that a bogus SSS check was encashed from a grocery store amounting to nine thousand pesos.
"The fake SSS check was allegedly issued by Land Bank of the Philippines Baguio City Branch but the account from which it will be drawn is from Land Bank of the Philippines Tarlac Branch. The SSS check also indicated two different account numbers and the signatures are not by authorized signatories of the agency," said SSS.
The SSS La Union Branch has already alerted grocery stories and other establishments within the area of this kind of modus. They advised the owners regarding the features of the fraudulent check and to call the SSS branch to verify the genuineness of the SSS checks before accepting any.
"We want to remind everyone to be more prudent in accepting SSS checks being encashed to them. The fake SSS check that was encashed may look authentic for someone who is not familiar with the SSS check. But if placed side by side with the real SSS check, one can see a lot of inconsistencies," said SSS.
Authentic SSS checks only have one account number which is located above the check date and at the bottom part of the check unlike the fake one which contained two different account numbers. The SS number of the member-payee is also printed on the check while such information is not found on the fake check.
Most importantly, the SSS President is the only signatory for all benefit checks issued by the SSS.
"We assure our members that SSS checks are secured and cannot be easily copied. However, we still urge the public to be more vigilant especially with the holiday season fast approaching for possible fraudulent transactions and to report such incidents to the SSS Branch so that we can take the necessary actions," said SSS.
Store and other establishment owners and the general public can verify the authenticity of SSS checks by presenting the same to the SSS Branch near them.
|Board of Professional Teachers holds oath-taking ceremony in Iloilo|
Ceremony for passers of the September 2013 Licensure Examination for
Teachers (LET) in Region 6 (Western Visayas) under the jurisdiction
of PRC-Iloilo is on Thursday, Dec 12, 2013, 9 AM at Kalantiao Hall,
Sarabia Manor Hotel.
All passers are encouraged to attend, and be at the venue preferably at 7 AM for an orderly distribution of printed materials, including the Souvenir Program, the printing of which has been facilitated by the Board for Professional Teachers.
|VP Binay alarmed by media killings, urges PNP to act on cases|
Jejomar C. Binay Monday expressed concern over the unabated media
killings and pressed for the Philippine National Police to act on
“The growing number of work-related murders of journalists and other media practitioners is alarming. I call on the PNP to put a stop to this spate of crimes,” Binay said.
“Media serve to promote and protect freedom of speech and expression, both of which are crucial in a democratic country like ours. We, in turn, must ensure that they are safe from any harm while doing their duties,” he added.
Two broadcasters have been shot dead last week, bringing to 10 the number of media members killed under the Aquino administration.
Michael Milo of DXFM in Tandag, Surigao del Sur and Joas Dignos of DXGT in Maramag, Bukidnon were both felled by assassins on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Both broadcasters reportedly received death threats.
|National Volunteer Month 2013 - volunteer for the MDGS: Combat HIV and AIDS|
the Philippines has been inculcated in the very foundation of its
culture. It has taken different guises or traditional names such as
Bayanihan, Pahinungod, Kawanggawa or Bahaginan. Throughout the
decades, volunteerism has continuously evolved and remains to be an
essential part of Filipino lives.
In recognizing the vital role of volunteers and their contributions to the nation-building, the Philippine Government has designated the month of December as the National Volunteer Month (NVM). The NVM aims to build nationwide public awareness and appreciation of volunteerism and create the environment for voluntary action. It also recognizes volunteers as partners in the development and an appropriate form of recognition to the modern day heroes whose work is demonstrated by commitment and service to others.
The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) is designated as the focal agency for the NVM celebration. It is assisted by the National Volunteer Month Steering Committee (NVM-SC) in planning and organizing NVM events and activities. The NVM-SC is composed of representatives from government and the private sector.
This year’s theme for the NVM celebration is “Volunteer for the MDGs: Fight HIV and AIDS” The campaign is led by the NVM Honorary Chair Efren Penaflorida, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year and the 2008 Search for Outstanding Volunteer Awardee.
Major events to look forward to during the NVM celebration in December 2013 are the International Volunteer Day (IVD) on December 5, which is a global event celebrated annually in the Philippines, the Kite Flying Festival by the National Coalition on Volunteerism (NCV), and the Awarding Ceremony for the 2013 Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV) to be held on December 13.
The National Coalition on Volunteerism (NCV) in partnership with United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and PNVSCA will celebrate NVM through a Kite Flying Festival dubbed "Saranggola para sa Katapatan, Kalusugan at Kapayapaan (KKK)" on December 7, 3pm to 7pm at the Quezon City Hall Plaza. The symbolic turn-over of these aspirations and commitments will be done on 9 December and will also be held at Quezon City Hall Plaza.
The traditional kite maker known as Pa Andang from Sulu, Tawi-Tawi will make the kites which will each bear the words “Katapatan, Kalusugan, Kapayapaan.” Local Chief Executives from Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Naga are expected to participate in the Kite Flying Festival.
The 2013 Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV) culminates in an Awarding Ceremony to be held on 13 December 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Galleria, corner Ortigas and San Miguel Avenues, Ortigas Center, Quezon City.
SOV recognizes and highlights the exemplary performance and dedication to service of Filipino volunteers in building strong communities across the country through volunteerism. The search is open to all individuals of Filipino citizenship and Filipino volunteer organizations or local chapter organizations of foreign volunteer organizations that currently provide volunteer assistance in the Philippines.
PNVSCA invites everyone to celebrate the NVM in December, either through participation in activities advocating volunteerism and/or initiating volunteering activities that showcase the work of volunteers for local and national development.
Please visit the PNVSCA website at www.pnvsca.gov.ph to see other NVM volunteering events/activities for 2013 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to share information regarding your NVM initiatives.
|Outstanding volunteers for 2013 to be awarded|
"volunteerism" becoming a buzzword for 2013 mainly due to the
devastation brought about by Typhoon Yolanda, the government once
again emphasizes the need to recognize community heroes and their
efforts not only in emergency response but in nation-building as
The Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV) is a recognition program that culminates a year-long nationwide search for exceptional volunteer individuals and groups. The event is conducted by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) in cooperation with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Offices, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao - Regional Planning and Development Office (ARMM-RPDO), and the National Volunteer Month Steering Committee (NVM-SC). The awarding ceremony will be held on 13 December 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila, Ortigas Center, Quezon City.
Aside from being role models in their chosen fields, the awardees also function as servant leaders who dedicate their lives to aid their fellow Filipinos who have less in life but need more attention and help.
At the forefront of this year’s awardees is Mrs. Margarita H. Coscolluela, the recipient of the Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award (VLAA). Fondly referred to as Sister Manggi, she formed the Sta. Maria Iloy Sang Dios Prison Ministry in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental in 1981. She is being recognized for 32 years of active involvement in the prison ministry, which conducts regular visits, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and teachings to 19 jails all over the province. Aside from evangelical services, she also conducts a welfare program which provides prisoners with medical, livelihood, personal, and paralegal assistance.
The national awardees for the Individual Category are Mr. Arvin O. Marabiles and Mr. Demetrio P. Anduyan, Jr.. Mr. Marabiles from Davao City formed the Saint Francis Xavier Trabungco Mountaineering Club Search and Rescue Group (SFX TRABMOC), which is the only volunteer emergency response group in Northern Davao. He personally assists SFX TRABMOC in its emergency missions and has come so far as joining the search, rescue, and retrieval operations during the Compostela Valley landslide in December 2012.
Mr. Anduyan, who hails from Isabela, is currently serving as the Dean of the College of Industrial Technology and Education at the Isabela State University. He initiated and implemented Project TEACH (Teach Every Agta Child), which develops the functional literacy of Agta children in Brgy. Cabisera 10, Ilagan City, Isabela. He also formed the Project DEMI (Dynamic English and Mathematics Instruction), a barangay-based literacy program which aims to empower school-age children of Brgy. Namnama, Ilagan City to acquire functional skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Aside from individual awardees, the SOV also acknowledges volunteer groups and organizations, further divided into two categories: the Not-for-Profit and the Corporate categories.
One of the group awardees for the Not-for-Profit Category is the Volunteer Service Provider (VSP), which is composed of students from the San Pedro College in Davao City. In 2010, VSP started FLUSH (For the Love of Ultimate Hygiene and Sanitiation) by constructing two ceramic toilet bowl units for the Matigsalog Tribe of Marilog District, Davao City. The group also initiated and implemented DOMES (Developing Ocean's Man-made Eco-friendly Shelters), in which they constructed six concrete domes that were then deployed in previously destroyed seabed at Purok Pigasaan, Samal Island, Davao del Norte.
The Kabalikat Civicom – 475 Marinduque Chapter, another Not-for-Profit Category awardee, is one of the more than 700 chapters of the Kabalikat Civic Communicators Association, Inc., the Philippines’ largest and most active civic communication group. The organization’s Marinduque chapter has a 24/7 Disaster Monitoring and Civic Rescue Team that can be deployed anywhere in the entire province. The group also disseminates early warnings to localities and makes available radios with portable antennas and solar powered communication systems which can be used in times of calamities.
The recipient of the Corporate Category award is the PLDT Employee Volunteers, a group of PLDT employees who took it upon themselves to volunteer outside regular working hours. One of the group’s most notable volunteer contributions is the TELEpuno, a 5-year tree planting program established in 2008 that has so far planted over 80,000 seedlings to restore the ecology of the Infanta-Real Quezon watershed reserve.
Special citation will also be conferred to Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) or the German Development Service. From 1990 up to 2011, DED has sent a total of 210 German volunteer development workers to the Philippines, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao. The DED established a Peace Building Program in 2003, which pushed for peaceful conflict resolution in Mindanao, and the Weltwaerts Program in 2008, which extends assistance in basic literacy, non-formal education, health, and environment concerns, among many others.
NVM Honorary Chair Mr. Efren G. Peñaflorida, who is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Dynamic Teen Company, SOV National Awardee for 2008, and CNN Hero of the Year for 2009, will present the awards along with Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning Arsenio M. Balisacan, NEDA Deputy Director-General and Chair of the SOV National Search Committee Margarita R. Songco, and PNVSCA Executive Director Joselito C. de Vera.
As the highlight of the annual NVM celebration every December, the Search for Outstanding Volunteers is both a recognition platform and advocacy medium of the government to promote and sustain volunteerism as a strategy for community development and nation-building. Since 2001, the SOV has recognized 109 individuals and volunteer organizations, thus bringing to the fore many years of outstanding practices and inspiring stories that changed the lives of many people and communities.
For more information on SOV, please contact Mr. Kenneth C. Siruelo at PNVSCA, NEDA sa QC, EDSA, Quezon City, Telephone: 3810559/9276847, Email: email@example.com or visit the website http://www.pnvsca.gov.ph