28 JULY 2014

Almost 100 beneficiaries from Pasay receive safer homes
High Representative of the European Union For Foreign Policy And European Commission Vice-President Catherine Ashton Visits The Philippines
GPH, MILF make ‘good progress’ in draft Basic Law
Statement of OPAPP Usec. Jose Lorena on the concern raised by Sen. Nancy Binay on OPAPP's DAP allocation in support of the MNLF peace table
DepEd remains committed to deliver quality basic educ
BIR reminds importers and customs brokers of the July 31 accreditation deadline
NG Records P62.5 Billion Fiscal Deficit for June 2014 Year-to-Date Fiscal Deficit at P54.0 billion
BSP Holds 2014 Awards Ceremony and Appreciation Lunch for Stakeholders in La Union
Agcons due north
46 Filipino repatriates from Libya arrive in Manila today
Roxas: Gov't to relocate more informal settlers from Metro Manila danger zones
From challenges to changes
DOST's National Science and Technology Week to feature IT-BPM career talks
Total Gross Revenue Index of Industries posts 6.3% growth in Q1 2014
Bureau of Customs opens over 1,000 job vacancies

Almost 100 beneficiaries from Pasay receive safer homes
Source: http://www.dswd.gov.ph/
Pasay City – After many years of living dangerously along the Tripa de Gallina creek in this city, Gildo Cajuntoy and his family will now have their own home, safe from floods and fires common in informal settlements.

The Cajuntoy Family is one of the 98 informal settler- families (ISFs) from Brgy. 156, Tripa de Gallina, Pasay who was awarded with a new housing unit on Friday, July 25, through the government’s Oplan Lumikas para Iwas Kalamidad At Sakit (LIKAS) project.

The Cajuntoys and the other families were relocated to safer homes in Trece Martires, Cavite.

Oplan LIKAS, spearheaded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government Unit (DILG), resettles ISFs residing on top of or within the three-meter easement of a waterway.

The goal is to relocate families in danger and high risk zones to safe and humane housing close to their sources of livelihood and also to lessen flooding in Metro Manila.

Called “Voluntary Pre-Emptive Evacuation” by DILG, the project is supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Public Works and Highways ( DPWH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), National Housing Authority (NHA), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), and local government units (LGUs).

Brgy. 156, located along the 920-meter long Tripa de Gallina creek, was identified by the LGU as one of the city’s 42 danger zones. The soil in the area was becoming loose and houses were starting to lean.

DENR was in charge of the demarcation of the area while DPWH, MMDA, and Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) dismantled the structures.

The Relocation Action Center was bustling with activity as the 98 ISFs lined up to get their documents evaluated. They received an entry pass from NHA and Resettlement and Development Services Department, food assistance from the LGU, a medical kit from DOH, the P18,000 Interim Shelter Fund from DSWD. Their biometrics were also processed by MMDA and DSWD.

Present in the event were DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas III, NHA General Manager Chito Cruz, DSWD Assistant Secretary Javier Jimenez, Mayor Tony Calixto, Representative Emi Calixto-Rubiano, and barangay officials.

Mayor Calixto, Rep. Calixto-Rubiano, and Brgy 156 Chairman Serrano all expressed their gratitude for the project.

They emphasized that the participation of their constituents was crucial in making the project a success.

Rep. Calixto-Rubiano also mentioned that President Benigno S. Aquino expressed his concern for the safety of the residents of the city especially for those living along the city waterways who are always in danger during typhoons and storms.

Assec. Jimenez said that more than 1,000 families here have already received financial assistance from DSWD since the project began last year.

According to Sec. Roxas, this was clear proof that the Aquino administration was fulfilling its promises.

“Sa ilalim ng pamahalaan ni Pangulong Aquino, maari nang muling mangarap. Ngayong gabi, halos 100 pamilya ang makakatulog nang mahimbing, malayo sa kapahamakan (Under the administration of President Aquino, it is now possible to dream. Tonight, almost 100 families will be able to sleep soundly, far from danger),” Sec. Roxas said.

Headed by Sec. Roxas, the officials then proceeded to inspect the voluntary dismantling of houses by the ISFs.

Afterwards, the families bid goodbye as they travelled in vans to Cavite, carrying their belongings to a new way of life.

Cajuntoy said that after so many years of suffering in their homes – always fearful of fires, storms, and floods – they would now get to live in a place they can call their own.

“Ngayon, mayroon na kaming minimithing tirahan. May maipapamana na po kami sa aming mga anak (We now own our dream house. Finally, we have something to pass down to our children),” Cajuntoy stated.

|TOP|


High Representative of the European Union For Foreign Policy And European Commission Vice-President Catherine Ashton Visits The Philippines
Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph
25 July 2014 – Vice President of the European Commission (EC) and High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, (HRVP) Baroness Catherine Ashton will undertake a two-day official visit to the Philippines (PH) on 28 and 29 July 2014. The first visit to Manila by the EU high-ranking official coincides with the 50th Anniversary of PH-EU diplomatic ties and reaffirms the importance that they attach to their relations. HRVP Ashton will be welcomed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario on her first official trip to the country.

HRVP Ashton and Secretary del Rosario will meet in Manila to discuss wide-ranging issues which will include the further expansion of the PH-EU economic cooperation, the Mindanao peace process and regional security. During the visit, the Philippine side will take the opportunity to express its appreciation for the outpouring of support that EU countries have extended to the Philippines in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, as well as the substantial assistance the EU has provided to the Mindanao Peace Process.

Both PH and EU expect more improvement in their bilateral trade and investments. The Philippines anticipates the approval and acceptance of its application as a GSP+ beneficiary country of the EU in the next few months. Approval of the application will result in further expansion of PH exports to EU and a substantial generation of employment in the country.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and EU were established in 1964. There are more than 700,000 Filipinos in EU Member States, most of whom are in Italy and in the United Kingdom. The total trade between the Philippines and EU reached US$12.429 billion in 2013.

|TOP|


GPH, MILF make ‘good progress’ in draft Basic Law
Source: http://www.opapp.gov.ph
MANILA – Government of the Philippines (GPH) chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferer today said that the peace panels of the state and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are finding good solutions to the sticky issues on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“We met over the weekend and made progress on two important articles pertaining to fiscal autonomy and the structure of the Bangsamoro government,” Coronel-Ferrer said, noting that the panels “took to heart the request of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III during a meeting with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to work together and bridge differences in the draft law.”

The President met with the BTC on July 24 and affirmed that he will push for the enactment of the BBL in Congress.

“Let’s approach this with an open mind, see if everything is consistent with the CAB [Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro], and limit the potential challenges,” President Aquino exhorted.

Aside from the peace panels, also present during the meeting were Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Abd Ghafar Tengku bin Mohamed. Representatives from the International Contact Group coming from the governments of UK, Japan and Turkey and the Conciliation Resources and Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue also observed the proceedings.

Four lawyers were also invited jointly by the two panels during the meeting to provide advice. They were selected for their good understanding of the Bangsamoro question and their legal expertise.

To give way to the celebration of Eid’l Fitr, the panels will observe a break in the discussions but will convene again after the Muslim holiday.

“The GPH and the MILF are both committed to continue the work until the draft BBL is finished so that it will be submitted to the Office of the President in the soonest possible time,” Coronel-Ferrer said.

The state chief negotiator likewise conveyed her apologies to Congress for the longer time they’re taking in working on the draft law.

“I guarantee that we will have a good draft BBL and we commit to work with Congress in any way the legislators see fit,” Coronel-Ferrer said. "We call on the public to keep the faith and to join our collective effort for peace and development in Mindanao."

President Aquino is expected mention the Bangsamoro law during his State of the National Address today in Congress. Mohagher Iqbal, BTC and MILF negotiating panel chair, accompanied by BTC and panel member Datu Al Camlian, and the government peace panel will attend the ceremony held annually at the reopening of Congress.

|TOP|


Statement of OPAPP Usec. Jose Lorena on the concern raised by Sen. Nancy Binay on OPAPP's DAP allocation in support of the MNLF peace table
Source: http://www.opapp.gov.ph
First of all, we need to clarify that OPAPP's DAP funding allocation in 2011, which amounted to P1.8 B, as reflected in the DBM report, was used for different peace and development initiatives in conflict-affected and vulnerable communities across the country and in support of several existing peace tables and not in support of the MNLF peace process alone.

Of this amount, nearly P 704 million was used to fund 219 projects in priority MNLF Peace and Development communities in 14 provinces and four chartered cities, which were implemented by national implementing agencies and partner LGUs under the PAMANA program. These projects include community infrastructures, post-harvest facilities, local roads, and water systems, etc.

Clearly, the Zamboanga siege happened not because of lack of development assistance for MNLF communities. In fact, on the ground, many have noted that it is the first time that they have seen the delivery of development projects and services in areas affected by the GPH-MNLF conflict on the scale that it has happened under the Aquino administration. No, the Zamboanga siege happened not because we neglected the MNLF but because of Misuari's personal and political agenda, which, aside from causing havoc in the lives of Zamboanguenos, which continues to be felt by the city today, also caused the disruption of the OIC-facilitated tripartite implementation review process on the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

We would be happy to discuss this further with Senator Binay to clarify any misconceptions regarding the DAP allocation to OPAPP peace and development initiatives as well as on the GPH-MNLF peace process.

|TOP|


DepEd remains committed to deliver quality basic educ
Source: http://www.deped.gov.ph
The Department of Education (DepEd) continues to make substantial investments in basic education through various programs for all Filipino learners.

DepEd Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC underscored the department’s commitment to ensure that no learner shall be left behind. “Our mandate is to provide every Filipino child with access to quality education,” Luistro said. He added that DepEd’s programs have always been directed to promoting inclusive and learner-centered education for Filipinos.

In its mission to expand access to quality education, the Philippine government has enacted the Kinder Basic Education Act and the Enhanced Basic Education Act in February 2012 and May 2013, respectively. Since the institutionalization of the K to 12 program, DepEd has made stride in its implementation.

The introduction of Universal Kindergarten in 2011 led to the increase of Kindergarten enrollees—from 1.64M in Sy 2010-2011 to 2.29M in SY 2013-2014.

Following the implementation of Kindergarten was the roll-out of enhanced curriculum for Grades 1 & 7 in SY 2012-2013, Grades 2 & 8 in SY 2013-2014, and Grades 3 & 9 in SY 2014-2015. The entire K to 12 curriculum has been completed in February 2014.

In 2012 and 2013, DepEd rolled out the SHS modeling program in 56 schools in different parts of the country to prepare for its full implementation in 2016. The selected schools offer four main tracks—Academic, Technical-Vocational, Sports, and Arts and Design. The pioneer batch of the SHS modeling program has graduated in May 2014. At present, over 10,000 students are enrolled in DepEd’s SHS modeling program for SY 2013-2014.

In SY 2013-2014, DepEd also assisted more than 809,000 students in private schools under the Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE), a program wherein the government enables eligible students to pursue secondary schooling in private schools through the provision of a fixed annual subsidy to cover tuition and other school fees. The Department increased the subsidy for students in private schools outside Metro Manila—from P6,500 to P7,500. DepEd is targeting to increase its coverage this year with a total projected grantees of 995,000 representing 50% of students enrolled in private high schools.

DepEd also gives prime importance to Indigenous Peoples (IP) and Muslim learners. Through the Philippines’ Response to Indigenous Peoples and Muslim Education (PRIME) program, DepEd expanded access to education to more than 100,000 IP and Muslim learners in the last three years.

To further advance services for all Filipino learners, DepEd boosted its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) initiatives which include mapping of schools and library hubs nationwide. Of the 46,603 public schools nationwide, 84% have already been mapped. Integrated in this ongoing geolocation project is the mapping of libraries and library hubs. Of the 9,855 registered public schools with libraries, around 9,000 have already been mapped while 153 of the 188 library hubs in the country have also been geolocated.

Together with local and international education partners and public school teachers, DepEd developed the Learning Resources Management and Development System (LRMDS), an online library containing downloadable and free teaching and learning materials. These learning materials are tied in to the curriculum to ensure relevance and appropriateness.

Luistro stressed that these ICT initiatives will help the Filipino learners have more access to relevant, up-to-date and quality education materials. “It also provides a database to our educators where they can derive their lesson from. These materials will assist them in their lesson plans, and may also give an array of contextualized classroom discussion,” he said.

To ensure that learner needs are met, DepEd has completely addressed the 2010 backlogs in textbooks and seats, attaining a 1:1 students to textbook, and student to school seat ratio in 2012. Moreover, DepEd has constructed 66,813 classrooms from 2010-2013, closing the 66,800 classroom backlog.

The Department has also created over 102,600 teacher items from fiscal year (FY) 2010-2013, which translated to around 25,000 new positions created every year. With this, DepEd has doubled the average number of teaching positions created in previous budget years.

Furthermore, DepEd targets to complete the ongoing construction and procurement of water and sanitation facilities by the end of the year.

Luistro said that DepEd remains steadfast in its commitment to enhance and transform basic education for all Filipinos.

|TOP|


BIR reminds importers and customs brokers of the July 31 accreditation deadline
Source: http://www.dof.gov.ph
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is reminding once again all importers and customs brokers that July 31, 2014 is the deadline for them to comply with accreditation requirements of the tax agency.

The deadline for compliance was first extended to June 30, 2014. Now, importers and customs brokers have until the end of the month to apply for accreditation with the BIR, a requirement they have to comply with before they are accredited by and allowed to transact with the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Failure on their part to comply with the accreditation requirements will lead to the cancellation of their existing BOC accreditation effective August 1, 2014, or the date of the expiration the said accreditation, whichever comes first.

The BIR previously issued Revenue Memorandum Order Nos. 10-2014 and 22-2014 to set the guidelines, policies and procedures in the accreditation of Importers and Customs Brokers before they can be accredited by the BOC.

“There will be no more extension of the new deadline,” said Commissioner of Internal Revenue Kim S. Jacinto-Henares.

Commissioner Henares called on all importers and customs brokers to immediately comply with the BIR’s accreditation requirements, which have been simplified and made easier.

She said: “We believe we have given them enough time to comply with our accreditation requirements since this is already the second deadline extension given to them. This is part of our reform program and good governance initiatives and we call on all concerned to be part of this process.”

|TOP|


NG Records P62.5 Billion Fiscal Deficit for June 2014 Year-to-Date Fiscal Deficit at P54.0 billion
Source: http://www.dof.gov.ph
28 July 2014 Manila, Philippines – The National Government (NG) recorded a P62.5 billion fiscal deficit in June behind government efforts to speed up spending during the period. The deficit grew six-fold from the P8.5 billion registered in June 2013. The June turnout resulted to an aggregate budget shortfall of P54.0 billion for the first half of 2014, 5% higher over comparable levels in 2013.

Revenue Performance

Total revenues for the month amounted to P138.6 billion, with tax revenues representing 88.6% of the total. Revenue collections in June grew 6% year-on-year due to stronger revenue performance of tax collecting agencies. This brings year-to-date collections to P933.7 billion, 11% higher over the comparable period last year.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected P94.1 billion in June, increasing its take by 6% over comparable figures last year. Total BIR collections for the first 6 months of 2014 amounted to P643.2 billion, increasing 8% compared to the same period in 2013.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) maintained its double-digit performance growth as collections reached P27.3 billion in June. The 18% year-on-year improvement in June puts BOC collections up by 19% year-on-year for the first half of 2014 with a total collection of P173.4 billion.

Meanwhile, Total BTr Income declined 21% year-on-year registering at P7.0 billion in June due to lower NG income, particularly dividends, remitted to BTr. Despite this, Total BTr Income of P62.9 billion for Jan-June 2014 has already exceeded the 2014 full-year target of P56.2 billion.

Revenue from other offices contributed P10.1 billion for the month, which is almost the same with revenue collections recorded in June 2013. However, year-to-date revenue of P54.2 billion still indicates a 15% performance improvement over the same period last year.

|TOP|


BSP Holds 2014 Awards Ceremony and Appreciation Lunch for Stakeholders in La Union
Source: http://www.bsp.gov.ph
In celebration of its 21st anniversary, the Bangko Sentral Pilipinas will hold the 2014 Awards Ceremony and Appreciation Lunch for BSP Stakeholders in Region I and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) that have continuously supported its statistical initiatives, information requirements, and advocacy programs. The event will be held on Tuesday, 5 August 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Convention Hall, BSP La Union Regional Office, San Fernando City, La Union, with the theme “Forging Stronger Alliances, Propelling Sustainable Growth.” Monetary Board Member Felipe M. Medalla will lead in honoring this year’s awardees and stakeholders.

The BSP will give seven awards for outstanding partners—two for the Business Expectations Survey (BES), one for the Cross Border Transaction Survey, two for information source for the Report on Regional Economic Developments, one for the Local Government Unit (LGU) supporting the Credit Surety Fund (CSF) and one for the Currency Programs of the BSP.

The Outstanding Respondent among Large and Medium Firms and the Outstanding Respondent among Small Firms will be conferred to the BES respondents that have participated regularly in the survey by providing timely, complete, accurate and consistent responses. The awardees were selected from among the country’s top corporations in Region I. The Outstanding Respondent for Inter-Company Accounts was selected from the respondents of the CBTS based on their timeliness of submission, internal consistency, accuracy and completeness of details provided in all of the monthly surveys conducted in 2013. The Outstanding Partners for the Report on Regional Economic Developments will be awarded to the agencies or institutions that provided the BSP with information support for an effective environment scan of Region l and CAR. The Outstanding LGU supporting the CSF will be granted to the LGU that promoted the CSF and helped in the advancement of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMes) under its jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the Outstanding Regional Partner in Currency Programs will be given to the agency or institution that supported the BSP’s currency programs and advocacies in the region such as the clean note policy and coin recirculation.

This occasion is the third leg of the BSP’s regional stakeholders’ events which will be held from July to September 2014 in 11 areas outside the National Capital Region (AONCR) to honor stakeholders in various award categories. Stakeholders of the BSP in the National Capital Region were earlier recognized during the awards ceremony held last 9 July 2014 at the BSP Main Office.

This event is expected to further strengthen the partnerships between the BSP and its stakeholders, resulting in more efficient and effective means of information gathering and conduct of advocacy campaigns to achieve the BSP’s ultimate goal of safeguarding price stability and promoting a healthy financial system as well as ensuring an effective payments and settlements system in the country.

|TOP|


Agcons due north
Source: http://www.dswd.gov.ph
Conner, Apayao –She does not know how to read and write but through hard work and perseverance she successfully fulfilled her dreams.

Intan was born into a poor family from Jolo, Sulu. She never had formal education and, at an early age, had to work to support her family. At 15, she married Hiyawata Agcon, with whom she now has 10 children.

She promised herself that she would build a home for the family and send all the children to school.

“Ayoko na maranasan ng mga anak ko ang naranasan namin, gusto ko makaahon sila [sa kahirapan] at [maging] maganda ang kanilang kinabukasan (I do not want my children to go through the same experience I had. I want them to move up and have a better future), she says.

Intan and Hiyawata relocated to different places wherever job opportunities were available. They lived in makeshift houses or lived with relatives. Hiyawata worked as a security guard in Tawi-Tawi, while Intan took odd jobs to help with the expenses.

The couple eventually migrated up north and settled in Apayao, willingly going through all the difficulties to provide a brighter future for their children.

Receiving help from DSWD

In 2008, after finding a home in Conner, Apayao, Intan’s family was included in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. As a beneficiary, she eagerly complied with the conditions set by the program, actively participating in Family Development Sessions conducted in their municipality.

Eventually, she received a P10,000 loan from DSWD when the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) was first implemented.. Without any hesitation, Intan grabbed this chance to continue her existing small enterprise – selling snacks near the Apayao Stage College. In addition to the loan she received, Intan underwent various capability building activities for entrepreneurs.

With help from the DSWD, she was able her to sell more food products like cooked meals for lunch. According to Intan, her earnings peak during school days. Hiyawata, who is now retired, and the children are her partners in operating their small carinderia.

Participating in the Pantawid Pamilya and SLP gave Intan an opportunity to send her children to school. At present, four of her children have already earned college degrees. The other two finished short courses, while the seventh, Annie, is now in college taking up Education. The eighth, Ay-ann, is in high school, while the remaining two are both in elementary.

Intan believes that her dreams are finally coming true. Aside from being able to send the children to school, the family now has two houses in Conner. Intan attributes the fulfillment of her dream to hard work and perseverance.
The secret is in saving

Aside from the positive attitude showed by the Agcon family, Intan said that another secret to their success is that she remembers to save.

“Importante mag-ipon,” (Saving is very important) she happily shares. “Dahil sa pag-iipon ko, napalago ko ang aking negosyo”( Because of saving, I was able to expand my business)

“Dahil sa tulong ng programa ng DSWD, malaya ko na nagagawa ang mga bagay para sa kapakanan ng kanyang pamilya (With the help of the DSWD programs, I am now more empowered to freely do things better for my family),” which she was not able to do before, she shared.

They no longer ask for help or financial assistance from any of their relatives. There is money saved in case of an emergency.
Some of her savings were also used as capital to raise pigs and poultry, from which they gain additional income. Furthermore, the bond among the family built the foundation of a strong workforce, which resulted to the expansion of their business.

Intan believes that without DSWD, her children would not have been able to finish college. Moreover, she may not know how to read or write, but her hard work and perseverance have made Intan successful in her own right. Intan has proven that everybody has the chance to turn their dreams into reality.

SLP in figures

Intan’s family is one of 7,480 Pantawid Pamilya families from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) provided with seed capital assistance through the SLP between January 2011 to June 2014.

Other Pantawid Pamilya families who ventured into micro-enterprises were served through micro-finance institutions, national government agencies, and local government units. Others were provided with physical assets such as infrastructure for their micro-enterprises, while others utilized their savings.

A total of 15,829 families from CAR were served through the SLP for the given period, including non-Pantawid Pamilya families.

|TOP|


46 Filipino repatriates from Libya arrive in Manila today
Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph
26 July 2014 – Forty six (46) more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Libya will arrive in Manila today at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

Eleven (11) of the OFWs will arrive at 7:05 a.m. on board EK336, while 12 OFWs are set to arrive at 4:35 p.m. on board EK 332. The remaining 23 OFWs will arrive at 10:10 p.m. on board EK334.

These arrivals bring the total number of repatriated Filipinos from Libya to 579. DFA and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) representatives will meet them at the airport to brief and assist them.

While Alert Level 4 remains raised in Libya, the DFA reiterates its call to OFWs to get in touch with the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli and register for repatriation. Filipinos can contact the Embassy through the telephone numbers (00218) 918-244-208 / (00218) 911061166, and the e-mail addresses tripoli.pe@gmail.com; tripoli.pe@dfa.gov.ph. The Embassy's address is KM 7 Gargaresh Road, Abu Nawas, P.O. Box 12508, Tripoli.

The DFA’s 24-hour hotlines are also available for families of OFWs in Libya. Those who have questions and concerns about the conditions of their relatives in Libya can call the hotline numbers (02) 552-7105 / (02) 834-4685. They may also send their queries by e-mail to oumwa@dfa.gov.ph.

|TOP|


Roxas: Gov't to relocate more informal settlers from Metro Manila danger zones
Source: http://www.dilg.gov.ph
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas today said the Aquino administration is determined to relocate more informal settler families to safer and better communities under "Oplan Likas" or Lumikas para Iwas sa Kalamidad at Sakit being spearheaded by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Roxas said the DILG, together with various implementing agencies, intend to relocate 200 informal setter families every week.

The DILG chief visited the informal settler families along the Estero Tripa de Gallina in Barangay 156, Pasay City, who voluntarily dismantled their own shanties as part of the relocation program.

A total of 98 informal settler families volunteered to be relocated to Barangay Hugo Perez, Trece Martirez, Cavite. The Relocation Action Center is still processing the application of 40 other informal settler families and would-be beneficiaries of the program.

The DILG chief was accompanied by officials of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and was welcomed by Pasay City Mayor Antonio Calixto and his sister, Rep. Emi Calito-Rubiano and other local officials during his visit.

In his brief message, Roxas said the government will continue to implement Oplan Likas given the urgent need to relocate those at risk of being swept away by floodwater with the onset of the typhoon season or of acquiring disease because of the polluted waters near the danger zones.

“Tuloy tuloy po itong gagawin natin na paglikas para naman ang mga kababayan natin na nakatira sa mga estero ay magkaroon ng sariling bahay na maayos, wasto at nasa tamang lugar," he said.

The DILG chief lauded officials and employees from various agencies implementing Oplan Likas for doing their job as public servants, underscoring the importance of saving lives.

Roxas said Oplan Likas forms part of Pres. Aquino's fulfillment of his covenant with the poor.

"Sa ilalim ng administrasyong P-Noy, maaari na ulit mangarap ang taong bayan. Itong programa na ito ay katuparan ng mga pangako na yan. Kaming mga nasa gobyerno ay utusan ninyo. Kayo ang boss," he said, addressing close to 200 residents who witnessed the relocation.

Roxas reiterated that the program aims to rescue informal settler families living along flood-prone areas and to relocate them to safer, better communities where they can start a new life.

"Ngayong gabi, sa paglipat nyo sa inyong bagong mga tirahan, makakatulog kayo nang mahimbing. Hindi nyo na kailangan na mag-alala na baka sa inyong pagtulog ay tangayin ng baha ang inyong bahay o sirain ang inyong mga pundar na kagamitan," he said.

Engr. Victor C. Balba, NHA Group Manager for the National Capital Region, said the beneficiaries under Oplan Likas in Estero Tripa de Gallina are the ones who picked the relocation site after conducting site visit.

"Gusto nila na lumipat sa NHA housing project na yun dahil maganda ang bahay, may ilaw at kuryente na, at may paaralan pa. Sila ang pumili ng relokasyon nila at maayos ang naging paglikas," he said.

For his part, Calixto expressed his gratitude to Pres. Aquino and Roxas for implementing "Oplan Likas" in Pasay City.

The mayor said he is happy with the way the program was being implemented, knowing that his constituents who used to live in constant danger are now safe in Cavite.

"Masayang masaya po ako dahil ang mga kababayan natin ay nasa maayos na kalagayan na, ligtas sa sakuna at mayroon ng sariling mga bahay," he said.

Rep. Calito-Rubiano, on the other hand, asked the DILG chief to consider including other informal settlers in Pasay in the list of beneficiaries under Oplan Likas even if they are not living within the three-meter easement which are being targeted for relocation under the program.

"Sabi ng ilan naming kababayan, sana po pati kami mabiyayaan ng sariling bahay. Sabi ko, hayaan nyo, sasabihin natin yan kay Pang. Aquino at Sec. Roxas," the lady solon said.

Barangay 156 Chairman Remando Serrano expressed mixed feelings as the first batch of five informal settler families from the Estero Tripa de Gallina started to haul their personal belongings later in the afternoon.

"Malungkot dahil matagal tagal rin namin silang nakasama pero masaya dahil alam ko na maayos ang kanilang lilipatan kung saan magkakaroon sila ng panibagong simula," he said.

Egildo Cajuntoy, 52, who has been living along the Estero Tripa de Gallina since 1997, said he volunteered to be relocated under the program to keep his family away from danger.

"Unang una, sa paglipat namin, magiging safe ang pamilya ko. Safety sa baha, sunog, sa mabahong amoy ng estero," he said.

A taho vendor since he was 22, Cajuntoy said he intends to bring to his new home his tricycle and vowed to use the P18,000 financial assistance given to him to acquire transport franchise so that he can use his tricycle to earn a living in Trece Martirez.

"Gusto ko na talagang magkabahay kaya nung nag-offer ng relokasyon, pumayag na ako. Isa pa, may pangako na tulong na magagamit ko panimula sa paglipat," he said.

The package of support to be received by informal settler families under the program include housing unit - in the case of Estero Tripa de Gallina, P240,000 worth, P35,000 of which will be subsidized by the government with one-year moratorium.

Between the 2nd to the 4th year of their stay, the beneficiaries will only pay P200 a month after which their amortization will increase to P1,330 a month until they are fully paid.

The cost of the housing units are payable in 30 years, at most.

|TOP|


From challenges to changes
Source: http://www.dswd.gov.ph
To embrace it with optimism is what the 33-year-old Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary Atiya Enting Jumdail always does whenever she faces a new challenge on her life. She says that every challenge that comes her way brings a perfect opportunity to learn through change. To her, learning through challenges is a strategy that has long helped her through the countless trials that she experienced ever since she and his husband started their lives together.

Atiya has been married for eighteen years to Timbasil Jumdail, a fisherman. With the meager income of P3,000 a month, the couple struggled to support even the studies of their six children. Atiya, however, carried the challenge devotedly and surpassed it together with her husband.

“Simula nang masama kami sa Pantawid Pamilya, marami ang nagbago sa buhay namin. Nagkaroon kami ng karamay sa pinagdadaanan namin (Since we became beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya, many changes came in to our lives. Now we are not alone on our struggles),” Atiya recounted.

Positive change

Jumdail family is among the first beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya in Hadji Panglima Tahil, Sulu. According to them, receiving their first grant from the program in 2009 brought changes to their lives. “

Noong nakuha namin ‘yung una naming cash grant, tuwang-tuwa kami dahil naramdaman namin na may kaagapay kami sa pagpapaaral sa mga anak ko (We were very happy when we got our first cash grant because we finally felt that we are supported on sending our children to school),” said Atiya.

Pantawid Pamilya did not only help the couple send their children to school. Part of the first grants that they received was used as well in upgrading his pump boat, which then gave him a boost on his fishing.

Small successes

The boost on Timbasil’s fishing gave the family a head start on their life. His added earnings were able to add up to the capital of Atiya on their sari-sari store.

With the small but sustainable income of the couple, they were able to ensure that the studies of the children are continued.

For the couple, the education of their children is a paramount consideration. This is why they insisted on sending to school even their married son and his wife. The changes that happened in their lives, no matter how small, were able to contribute to their family’s development.

For them, diligence is key.

Convergence of help

Thankful for how their lives were able to develop through DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilya, Jumdali family yet again received another support by being the first batch of families to avail assistance from Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

SLP is another project of DSWD that provides zero-interest capital assistance loan to eligible individuals or groups.

“Napakalaki ng pasasalamat namin sa DSWD kasi hindi lang isang program ‘yung tumutulong sa amin. ‘Yung nahiram namin na pera sa SLP, ginamit namin pandagdag na puhunan sa tindahan namin (We are very grateful to DSWD because we are supported by more than one of their programs. The loan that we got from SLP was used as added capital to our store),” said Atiya.

Through the combined income from the sari-sari store and fishing, the couple was able to buy a house in mainland Jolo for their children who are in high school and college.

“Dati, nakakaya naming mag-survive pero ‘nung dumating ‘yung Pantawid Pamilya at SLP, naramdaman naming mag-asawa na kayang magbago ang buhay namin. Hindi man namin inasahan pero malaki ang naitulong ng gobyerno sa aming mga mahihirap (Even if our family survives before, the moment Pantawid Pamilya and SLP went to our life made us feel that we are capable of changing our lives. We did not expect it but the government really gave a big help to us),” they gladly told.

The couple also actively joins different community-based activities such as mangrove planting funded by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, organic planting funded by the Department of Agriculture, and cash-for-work activities wherein they were able to build a seawall for their community. All these activities not only gave the couple an additional income but a deeper sense of purpose as well that transpires to their community.

Mutual gratefulness

According to Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, the changes that happened to the lives of the beneficiaries of the different programs of the Department are not solely brought by the assistance of the government, but because of the willingness of the individuals, families, and communities as well towards change.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa aming mga benepisyaryo sa panininwala na kaya nilang mabago ‘yung aspeto ng buhay nila. Ang mga programa ng DSWD at ng gobyerno ay tulong sa mga nangangailangan – tulong natin para sa mga taong hindi lang handa, kung hindi ay gusto ng pagbabago (We are thankful to our partner beneficiaries for believing that they are capable of changing their lives. The programs of DSWD and of the government are only assistance – assistance that we give not only to those who are capable of, but are willing as well to change),” Sec. Soliman said.

For Atiya and Timbasil, their success cannot be measured based on their current state of living. It is when they look back at what they were before and see the changes in their lives, which they embraced in full willingness.

|TOP|


DOST's National Science and Technology Week to feature IT-BPM career talks
Source: http://icto.dost.gov.ph
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICT Office) will be holding a IT-BPM Career Talks during the DOST’s celebration of the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) on July 27, 2014 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Through the government’s drive to be the global leader in Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) generating direct employment of 1.3M, the ICT Office looks to promote career opportunities within the different sectors of the IT-BPM industry. The IT-BPM Career Talks will feature lively discussions with resources persons who had made a niche in this field.

The forum will feature overview and updates on the local and global IT-BPM industry from both the industry and the government’s perspectives. It will also provide the audience a broader view about the IT-BPM sectors in the country. The contact center is well known as a popular and most significant sector of the IT-BPM, however, the industry has been showing growth to its other non-voice sectors. The forum will be featuring key personalities different sectors of the IT-BPM industry particularly in Software Development, Game Development, Animation, Healthcare Information Management, and the Contact Center sectors.

Other topics include discussion on the industry’s widespread development which includes key cities and even in the countryside. The forum will also feature testimonials from different industry practitioners and also a preview of what is to come for Philippine IT-BPM Industry. The forum is targeting audience from students, graduates, young professionals, academic communities, and the private sector.

The NSTW 2014, carrying the theme “Philippines: A Science Nation Meeting Global Changes”, will be held on July 23-27, 2014 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City. The NSTW features Science & Technology fairs, exhibits, and other exciting events in different venues to provide audiences updates on what’s going-on within the local S&T community. Admission to the NSTW and the IT-BPM career talks are free of charge.

|TOP|


Total Gross Revenue Index of Industries posts 6.3% growth in Q1 2014
Source: http://www.nscb.gov.ph
Total Gross Revenue Index of key industries grew by 6.3 percent in the first quarter of 2014, lower than the 9.5 percent expansion a year ago.

Among industries, Transportation and Communication sustained its growth with two consecutive quarters of fastest growth at 15.7 percent for the period, a rebound from a negative growth of 0.1 percent in the same period in 2013. It was followed by Real Estate which maintained a double-digit growth of 13.4 percent from 12.1 percent. All other industries also posted positive growths, although at a decelerating pace, with Trade and Manufacturing at 7.1 percent and 2.2 percent from 11.1 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, Finance and Private Services likewise slowed down, with 6.7 percent and 5.1 percent from 18.1 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively.

Total Employment Index posted a slight improvement of 1.4 percent growth from 1.3 percent in Q1 2013. This growth was largely contributed by the upturn of Transportation and Communication and Trade which rebounded to 8.7 percent and 3.8 percent from negative 3.2 percent and negative 1.8 percent, respectively, in the previous year. Similarly, positive growth was also attributed to Finance with a growth of 8.5 percent from 1.0 percent, the fastest since Q1 of 2008 and Real Estate which sped up to 9.8 percent from 6.7 percent. Albeit the slowdown, Private Services and Manufacturing managed to contribute positively with 1.7 percent and 0.01 percent growth from 6.7 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. On the other hand, Electricity and Water and Mining and Quarrying pulled down the Employment Index with a negative growth of 0.04 percent and 8.9 percent from 1.6 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively.

Total Compensation Index decelerated to 5.2 percent in Q1 2014 from the previous year’s growth of 8.0 percent. The deceleration was contributed by the weakening of Mining and Quarrying (negative 4.9 percent from 18.0 percent), Transportation and Communication (5.9 percent from 15.8 percent), Manufacturing (negative 2.9 percent from 6.8 percent) and Trade (2.8 percent from 6.0 percent). Meanwhile, Real Estate recorded the fastest growth with 25.8 percent from 1.3, followed by Private Services and Finance with 11.9 percent and 11.7 percent from 6.9 percent and 3.3 percent in Q1 2013. Electricity and Water also contributed positively with 3.4 percent growth from 2.5 percent in the same period in the previous year.

With the slowdown in Compensation Index and the minimal growth in Employment Index, Total Compensation per Employee Index slackened to 3.7 percent from 6.6 last year. The deceleration was attributed to the downswing of Transportation and Communication (negative 2.6 percent from a double-digit growth of 19.7 percent), Trade (negative 0.9 percent from 7.9 percent), Manufacturing (negative 2.9 percent from 5.8 percent), and Mining and Quarrying (4.4 percent from 5.9 percent). The remaining industries, namely: Private Services, Electricity and Water, and Finance recorded an accelerated growth in Q1 2014, while Real Estate managed to bounce back from slack last year.
- See more at: http://www.nscb.gov.ph/pressreleases/2014/PSA-PR-201407-ES1-01_Q1_QEI2014.asp#sthash.bQ8BigOd.dpuf

|TOP|


Bureau of Customs opens over 1,000 job vacancies
Source: http://www.dof.gov.ph
In order to fill up the lack of manpower and further improve its quality of service, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is opening 1,056 job vacancies in first and second level positions for the agency’s various groups, offices, and collection districts across the country.

“By filling up these vacancies, we will be able to provide a faster and better standard of service for importers, exporters and the public dealing with Customs,” said Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla, “On the average, we have over 3,000 entries and over 6,000 individual items being imported every day. Around 4,000 containers arrive in the country everyday that we need to inspect. In order to facilitate these transactions we need additional manpower. Right now, there are only 3,600 employees in BOC tasked to do a lot of mandates. The lack of manpower is further aggravated by natural attrition due to retirement, resignation, death, as well as dropping from the rolls, and dismissal from service.”

Available job positions include: Customs Operations Officer (COPO) I, II, III, and IV, (Salary Grade [SG] 10, 11, 13, 16, and 18 respectively); and Administrative Officer (ADOF) I, II, III, IV, and V (SG 10, 11, 15, and 18 respectively). The complete list of job vacancies as well as the application procedure is available at the BOC website atwww.customs.gov.ph.

In order to be able to properly screen the potential influx of applications, the Bureau also came out with new guidelines in the hiring and selection of personnel under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 15-2014. The CMO has simplified the hiring and selection process that will enable Customs to choose the best qualified applicants.

Interested applicants just need to visit www.customs.gov.ph to download the details and documents required for their applications, fill up the application form and submit together with the following supporting documents: updated Personal Data Sheet; Certificate of Eligibility issued by the Civil Service Commission, Professional Regulation Commission, or Supreme Court as appropriate; Transcript of Records and Diploma; certificates of trainings and seminars attended, if any; and Performance Appraisal Report for the last two (2) rating periods for those who area already working in government offices.

Applicants must submit their applications either personally or by mail to the BOC office located at 16th Street, Port Area South Harbor, Manila. A special booth will be set up at the lobby of the OCOM building to receive applications from Monday to Friday, 9AM to 4PM. Provincial applicants may also send their applications via courier. Deadline for the submission of application is on August 6, 2014.

Accordingly, applicants with relatives in the BOC up to the 4th degree of consanguinity are barred from applying for any position in the Bureau. This is in accordance with the Administrative Code (Executive Order No. 292) which explicitly prohibits nepotism.

According to the CMO, all applicants shall be screened by the newly formed BOC Personnel Selection Boards (PSB). The different PSB boards comprises of a Central PSB chaired by the Deputy Commissioner of the Internal Administration Group, six Group PSBs headed by of each of BOC group deputy commissioners, and local PSBs led by district collectors. Applicants that passed the initial screening will undergo special aptitude and psychometric tests conducted by the Civil Service Commission. If they pass, applicants will then take competency-based tests given by requesting groups or offices consisting of a written test, interview, and a physical exam for applicants for the Intelligence and Enforcement groups.

CMO 15-2014 also streamlined the process of promotion for employees with first and second level positions. First level positions include positions in clerical, trades, and crafts, and custodial services which involve sub-professional work in a non-supervisory capacity; while second level positions include positions in professional, technical, and scientific work in nonsupervisory or supervisory capacity, up to division chief level. The CMO states that an employee may be promoted to a position which is more than three salary grades higher than the employee’s present position in meritorious cases, such as if the vacant position is next-in-rank in the staffing pattern, the entry position, or the lone position of its kind, or if the applicant ranks highest in the competency based exam given by the Bureau.

|TOP|