22 JULY 2014

Former DOTC Exec indicted for falsification
DFA raises alert level 2 in Israel and West Bank
Philippines assumes Chairmanship of G-77 and China in Vienna at its 50th anniversary
GSIS opens emergency loan to Glenda-hit members
GSIS extends housing loan restructuring until December 29
"Money matters for kids" exhibit opens at the MET
Evacuees due to bad weather in Biliran now back home
BOC revenues grow 17.5% in June 2014
Customs beefs up inspection mail, parcels
DPWH employs women
Oplan Likas' Zero-ISF water easement implemented in Salapan Creek
Oil monitor as of 22 July 2014
DepEd, JICE to send first batch of exchange students scholars to Japan
Reforms happening in conflict areas due to DAP
Farming Municipality receives P2.7-M from DAR
No augmentation to Landowners Compensation – DAR

Former DOTC Exec indicted for falsification
Source: http://www.ombudsman.gov.ph
The Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to criminally charge the Head Executive Assistant (HEA) of former Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Leandro Mendoza and a private person for falsifying travel documents.

In a 16-page Resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of an Information against former HEA Romeo German for violating Article 171(1) of the Revised Penal Code for falsifying the Travel Authority issued in his favor by counterfeiting the signature of former DOTC Secretary Mendoza.

Ombudsman Morales also ordered the filing of another Information against German and Maria Waneza Dy for violating Article 171(1) and Article 172 (1) of the Revised Penal Code for having conspired with each other in falsifying the Travel Authority issued in favor of Dy.

The Field Investigation Office found that on 18 July 2006, German and Dy travelled to the United States using fake Travel Authorities purportedly issued by Mendoza.

“All the elements for violation of Article 171(1), RPC are present. German as public officer being the HEA has the duty to make, or to prepare, or otherwise intervene in the preparation of documents emanating from the Office of the Secretary as he in fact had access to the bar codes being attached to all outgoing documents. He took advantage of his official position when he caused the preparation of the Travel Authorities in their favor and attached the series 4 bar codes in his possession to give the documents semblance of authenticity,” the Resolution stated.

The complaints for violations of Article 174 and Article 175 were dismissed for lack of probable cause, while t he charges against former DOTC Assistant Secretary Emmanuel Noel Cruz were also dismissed for lack of probable cause.

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DFA raises alert level 2 in Israel and West Bank
Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph
22 July 2014 – The Department of Foreign Affairs has raised the Alert Level in Israel and the West Bank to Alert Level 2 (Restriction Phase) in view of the threats to security posed by the continued conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Alert Level 2 is issued when there are real threats to the life, security, and property of Filipinos arising from internal disturbance, instability, and external threats. Filipinos are instructed to restrict non-essential movements, avoid open spaces, and prepare for evacuation.

Alert Level 4 (Mandatory Repatriation) remains raised in Gaza. The Philippine Government continues to implement mandatory repatriation of Filipino nationals from Gaza.


The DFA continues to closely monitor developments in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

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Philippines assumes Chairmanship of G-77 and China in Vienna at its 50th anniversary
Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph
22 July 2014 – Philippine Ambassador to Vienna Lourdes O. Yparraguirre, the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in Vienna officially assumed on July 16, the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 (G 77) in Vienna. The Philippines took over from Sri Lanka which chaired the Group from January to June 2014.

On her assumption as Chair, Philippine Ambassador Yparraguirre affirmed that the Philippines has always been committed to the ideals and principles of this venerable institution which is commemorating its 50th Anniversary this year, and conveyed her acceptance of her role with great sense of responsibility and humility.

The Philippine chairmanship was warmly welcomed by the Group and several Ambassadors expressed their confidence on the leadership of the Chair and strong support during the well attended meeting convened by the Philippine Chair today.

The G-77 was established on 15 June 1964 by 77 developing countries during the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. The Group which is now composed of 132 countries maintains its original name to keep the vision of the Group at its inception alive.

Philippine Ambassador Yparraguirre emphasized that as a Group representing over half of the world’s population and more than two-thirds of the entire United Nations membership, G-77 and China is an important actor in the pursuit of world order that is just, equitable, peaceful and stable.

As Chair, Philippine Ambassador Yparraguirre will lead the Group in advancing its interests within the framework of the different UN and other international organizations in Vienna such as UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-BanTreaty Organization (CTBTO).

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GSIS opens emergency loan to Glenda-hit members
Source: http://www.gsis.gov.ph
State pension fund Government Service Insurance System is opening its Php20,000 emergency loan window to more than 102,000 members who either reside or work in areas devastated by typhoon Glenda and declared under a state of calamity by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council or the local government unit.

Members in Sorsogon, Albay, Camarines Sur, Bataan, Laguna and Obando, Bulacan may already apply for the loan, through the GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) kiosks stationed in GSIS offices, provincial capitols, city halls, selected municipal offices, large government agencies such as the Department of Education, and selected Robinsons malls.

The loan will be electronically credited to borrowers from three to seven working days. If the loan proceeds were not credited within seven days from the date of application, members may either go to the nearest GSIS office or the nearest kiosk for the status of their account.

Qualified to apply for the loan are GSIS active members who are not on leave of absence without pay; have no arrears in the payment of mandatory monthly contributions; and have no loans that are declared in default.

Those who have balance in their previous emergency loan should pay at least 12 monthly contributions to renew their loans.

GSIS allocates a budget of Php5 to 10 billion for emergency loans every year.

Anticipating that more typhoons are forthcoming for the rest of the year, President and General Manager Robert Vergara said “we will request the Board, an additional budget of Php10 billion, to cover the loan applications of members adversely hit by Glenda and to ensure sufficient funds for calamity-related assistance within the year.”

The pension fund chief also said that the System plans to offer a Php20,000 pension emergency loan for pensioners which was similarly offered during super typhoon Yolanda, as “typhoons don’t make a distinction as to whether you are an active member or pensioner”.

For the first seven months of the year, GSIS has already released a total of Php1.7 billion in emergency loans covering more than 51,000 members and pensioners.

For inquiries on the emergency loan program, members may call the GSIS contact center at 847.4747.

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GSIS extends housing loan restructuring until December 29
Source: http://www.gsis.gov.ph
State pension fund Government Service Insurance System has extended anew the deadline for the housing loan remedial and restructuring program until 29 December 2014 to accommodate more applicants.

This is the third time GSIS extended the deadline since the program was launched in August 2013. More than Php1.5 billion accounts have so far been restructured covering a total of 3,000 borrowers. Of these, 1,049 or 34% have already fully paid their housing loans amounting to Php223 million while 1,996 or 66% opted to pay on instalment totalling Php1.2 billion.

Borrowers with current or up-to-date accounts; whose deeds of conditional sale were cancelled but not yet sold; and whose accounts are under foreclosure proceedings may apply for the program.

The program is also open to buyers of rights and heirs of deceased borrowers subject to eligibility criteria.

Under the program, GSIS will condone unpaid penalties and surcharges and grant extended payment terms for qualified borrowers who opt to restructure their housing loans.

Discounts will be given to applicants who intend to pay their outstanding obligations in full. Those with arrears of up to six months will get 100% discount on unpaid interest, penalties and surcharges while those with arrears beyond six months will receive discounts based on their payment history.

GSIS has also made it convenient for them to pay their obligations by spreading the payments over a longer period at lower monthly amortizations for those who are qualified.

By restructuring, qualified applicants may save their houses from being sold to other buyers.

GSIS is enforcing a by-appointment-only policy to ensure applicants are properly attended to when they visit and avoid unnecessary waste of their time.

Metro Manila applicants may call telephone numbers 479-3548, 479-3583 and 479-3587 to set an appointment. Applicants based in provincial offices, may call the GSIS’s contact center at 847-4747.

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"Money matters for kids" exhibit opens at the MET
Source: http://www.bsp.gov.ph
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is mounting the Money Matters for Kids (MMK) Exhibit from July 22 to August 18 at the Main Lobby of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (MET) at the BSP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. and officers of the Department of Education-Manila and the MET led the ribbon cutting ceremonies for the exhibit. Students from A. Albert Elementary School of Dapitan-Casañas, Sampaloc, Manila also graced the opening ceremonies.

MMK is a fun and interactive way for students 12 years old and younger to learn the concepts of money, saving, spending and sharing. Designed to catch the fancy of schoolchildren, the exhibit provides hands-on tools that encourage kids to play and study while exploring money-related themes.

MMK features a make-believe bank where children can play the roles of bank managers and tellers, and a mock-up Automated Teller Machine (ATM) that teaches kids how to use ATM cards and enter personal identification numbers. This enables the kids to learn about bank accounts, deposits, and withdrawals.

There is also a grocery shop which teaches kids how to budget and to differentiate between needs and wants. The children can likewise use ultraviolet light to know the security features of peso bills and to distinguish between genuine and fake banknotes.

The exhibit is open to the public Mondays through Saturdays from 10 am to 5:30 pm. The exhibit has so far attracted 15,660 visitors since it was launched in 2011. Last year, MMK exhibits were held at the Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City and the University of the Philippines Los Baños in Laguna.

The MMK exhibit, which is a component of the BSP’s integrated Economic and Financial Learning Program, is spearheaded by the BSP’s Financial Consumer Affairs Group. The traveling exhibit will be put up across the country to enable the BSP to cover more ground in teaching the citizenry to become disciplined savers, conscious spenders, and smart consumers at an early age.

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Evacuees due to bad weather in Biliran now back home
Source: http://www.dswd.gov.ph
With bad weather from the southwest monsoon enhanced by Typhoon Henry prevailing in Eastern Visayas, particularly over Biliran province, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) received a report from Almeria town Mayor Dominador Agahan that 126 families from Sitio Basud evacuated to three evacuation centers in the area.

The number is different from media reports that some 400 families have evacuated.

Mayor Agahan further informed DSWD that of the 126 families, 117 have returned home and only nine continue to stay at the evacuation center as their houses were eroded due to floods. The local government unit (LGU) of Almeria will attend to their housing needs.

The LGU has provided ‘pabaon’ packs composed of canned goods, rice, and noodles to those who already returned home. The remaining families at the evacuation center are being provided with hot meals and other appropriate services by the LGU.

Mayor Agahan stressed that the evacuation was pre-emptive to ensure the safety of the families. He related that he went around the town to encourage families to evacuate in safer grounds.

“We had no casualty so far because of the pre-emptive evacuation that we conducted,” Mayor Agahan said.

‘Glenda’ evacuees returning home

Meanwhile, disaster operations in Typhoon Glenda-affected areas continue, but DSWD reported that only 224 evacuation centers have remained open, as of 4 a.m. today, with 181 located in Southern Luzon which was hardest-hit.

Most of the evacuees who remain at the evacuation centers are those whose houses were totally damaged.

DSWD said that evacuees have started returning home after their towns have been declared safe by authorities.

To date, 68,343 houses were reported to be totally damaged while 291,060 were partially destroyed.

DSWD has provided the affected LGUs some 41,642 food packs, 18,725 pieces of other food items, and 6,345 non-food items such as mattresses, blankets, and tarpaulins, among others.

Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Teams continue to coordinate with the affected LGUs on the extent of damage and for the provision of other appropriate services for the victims.

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BOC revenues grow 17.5% in June 2014
Source: http://www.dof.gov.ph

The Bureau of Customs posted revenues of P27.33-Billion for the month of June 2014, up 17.5% versus the same month last year. The final report from the Bureau of the Treasury showed that cash collections—those generated from BOC operations net of the Tax Expenditure Fund (TEF), or paper transactions from government importations—grew 17% to P27.28-Billion.

Month on month, there was an increase in the total collection growth from 11.1% in May 2014 to 17.5% in June 2014.

For the first half of 2014, total revenues reached P173.4-Billion, higher by P28.27-Billion or 19.5% year on year. The Ports of Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Subic, Aparri, Cebu and Davao closed mid-year ahead of their collection targets, on the back of improved economic activity and on-ground reforms.

For July 2014, the BOC is programmed to collect P35-Billion by the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

Revenue collections of the Bureau of Customs:

 

2014 Actual

2013 Actual

2014 Goal

TOTAL BOC      
June P27.327-Billion P23.253-Billion P33.292-Billion
January-June P173.401-Billion P145.132-Billion P198.949-Billion
PER PORT

June 2014

January-June 2014

 

Actual

Target

Actual

Target

San Fernando P 87.8 -M P 269.8-M P 893.4-M P 1.24-B
Batangas P 5.66-B P 6.06 -B P 36.35-B P 36.67-B
Legaspi P6.4-M P 23.7-M P46.5-M P144-M
Subic P1.0-B P694.8-M P7.01-B P4.22-B
Clark P73.8-M P128.5-M P436.4-M P780.7-M
Aparri P329.3-M P25.8-M P523.8-M P157-M
Limay P3.26-B P3.56-B P19.5-B P21.21-B
Port of Manila P4.55-B P6.93-B P31.34-B P42.13-B
Manila International Container Port P7.34-B P9.4-B P47.14-B P57.1-B
Ninoy Aquino International Airport P2.44-B P2.89-B P13.66-B P17.57-B
Iloilo P133.8-M P68.5-M P520.2-M P416.2-M
Cebu P1.02-B P1.01-B P6.49-B P6.16-B
Tacloban P9.9-M P28.8-M P73.5-M P175.3-M
Surigao P300,000 P7.6-M P2.9-M P24.4-M
Cagayan de Oro P649.6-M P640.3-M P3.95-B P3.89-B
Zamboanga P5.1-M P4.7-M P21.3-M P28.5-M
Davao P811.5-M P623.9-M P4.27-B P3.79-B

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Customs beefs up inspection mail, parcels
Source: http://www.dof.gov.ph
The Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), through its Non-intrusive Inspection Team, has intensified its operations against illegal drugs hidden in airmail and parcels sent and received through the Philippine post and express courier services.

The implementation of stricter inspection of mail and parcels came as authorities confiscated a letter bound for Israel containing 15 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu last July 15 and four grams of ‘white crystal-like substance’ that was later confirmed as shabu concealed inside a four-inch plastic straw and in between documents attached by a fastener in an express courier parcel bound for France discovered during X-Ray screening last July 11.

“We are reminding the public that we are closely monitoring all mail, parcels, and packagescoming in and going out of the country. Just because drug smugglers hide behind the anonymity of the postal system does not mean we will not detect the contraband or that authorities will not arrest perpetrators,” said Edgar Macabeo, District Collector for BOC-NAIA.

Drug dealers and usershave used postal mail and express parcels to ship narcotics to and from the Philippines. Officials of BOC say the two services are popular with drug traffickers because of affordability, anonymity, reliability and a perception that there is minimal chance of being caught.

“While we are focused on generating much-needed revenues for our government, the bureau also has a moral responsibility to ensure that we stop the movement of illegal drugs. These contraband substances cause harm to our kababayans and young ones. It is our duty to apprehend these anti-social goods.”

To date, Customs officials at NAIA have turned-over an estimated P24-Million worth of various illegal or controlled drugs and substances since February of this year,including methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, marijuana, Ecstacy, Valium, Ativan, Dormicum, Rivotril,Alprazolam, Ritalin, and other unlabeled tablets. The confiscated drugswere found hidden in shoes, denim pants, slippers, books, billiard cue stick, teddy bear, and bottles of lotions placed in parcels bound to some parts of Europe, Middle East, South Africa, Israel, and France. Authorities are able to identify the illegal items in the parcels upon inspection using X-Ray scanning machines. Customs examiners also perform rigid physical inspection, with aprofiling technique used to flag packages. Some signs of suspicion include heavy taping, bulging and unusual odors.

Improved inspection and examination of BOC-NAIA personnel have pushed revenue collections up to P2.44-Billion in June 2014, up 29.5% versus the same month in 2013. For the first half of 2014, the Collection District of BOC-NAIA, which includes the NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3; the Manila Domestic Terminal; the Central Mail Exchange Center; Duty Free shops; international cargo facilities and international courier services, posted revenues of P13.66-Billion.

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DPWH employes women
Source: http://www.dpwh.gov.ph
The on-going Samar Road Rehabilitation Project under the United States Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Grant Secondary National Roads Development Program has provided equal employment opportunities for women to increase their productivity in line with Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) poverty reduction program and women empowerment advocacy. Women local residents on the basis of proximity to project areas are tapped to direct vehicular traffic along the on-going 222 kilometer Samar Road Rehabilitation Project. DPWH was also a recipient of citation from the Philippine Commission on Women as one among the most gender-responsive agencies in the Philippine bureaucracy.

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Oplan Likas' Zero-ISF water easement implemented in Salapan Creek
Source: http://www.dilg.gov.ph


The government’s clearing of the three-meter easement of informal settler families (ISFs) in danger zones in Salapan Creek in San Juan paved the way for the construction of the River Wall along the creek and the Salapan pumping station to help mitigate flooding in the area.

The project was implemented after the successful voluntary relocation of the initial 157 families living along the dangerous Salapan Creek in San Juan City to San Jose Del Monte Heights in Bulacan as part of the national government’s “Oplan Likas” program.

“Oplan Likas” or “Lumikas para Iwas Kalamidad at Sakit” is being spearheaded by the Department of the Inteiror and Local Government (DILG) which aims to clear Metro manila of informal settler families (ISFs) from danger zones in various parts of Metro manila to help speed up flood management in priority waterways.

DILG Secretary Mar Roxas recently led the turn-over rites of the Zero-ISF water easement in Salapan Creek to the local officials of Barangay Salapan.

Roxas was joined by San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez, Congressman Ronaldo Zamora, Secretary Dinky Soliman and other local officials.

Roxas said the three-meter water easement and the pumping station with catchment area of 18 hectares of flood waters as well as the 709 meter long river wall along Salapan creek resulted in lower flood heights in San Juan during the recent typhoon Glenda.

He underscored the importance of cooperation of the different national government agencies, local officials, and the community in the implementation of the program.

“Patunay po na lahat tayo, maganda po kung magsasama-sama tayo gaya ng mga daliri. Kung wala po ang mga leaders, kung wala po ang mga barangay officials, at higit sa lahat, kung wala po ang kooperasyon ng mamamyan, hindi po mangyayari ito,” he said.

During the turn-over ceremony, Lola Benigna Caranza, an elderly, who lives outside the water easement, expressed her gratitude to the project which greatly helped in reducing flooding in their community.

“Naranasan po namin na lumangoy sa taas ng baha. Maraming salamat po proyekto, malaking tulong po sa amin yang pader at pumping station dahil madali na pong humuhupa ang baha. Hindi kaparis noon, maghapon kami naghihintay, ngayon po sandali lang wala na po ang baha,” she said.

The Salapan creek is connected to San Juan River covering barangays Salapan, Balong-Bato, Rivera, Progreso, and Batis with some 431 initially identified ISFs living along its three-meter easement.

San Juan city representative Ronnie Zamora said the construction of the Salapan pumping station is an addition to the two other pumping stations in Rivera and Balong-Bato. Another one will be constructed in Batis, making it the fourth pumping station in the first district of San Juan.

Zamora lauded Sec. Roxas for facilitating the project in San Juan despite the fact that they belong to different political party affiliation.

“Ako po ay malaki ang pasasalamat kay Sec. Mar na hindi nagpakita ng pulitika sa amin. Ang nakita po namin ngayon ay tunay na public service,” he said.

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Oil monitor as of 22 July 2014
Source: https://www.doe.gov.ph

Crude oil prices continued its downward trend since early this month as Iraqi insurgents failed to advance and oil exports remained unaffected. Libya's comeback to the oil market also pushed down prices, though some experts remained cautious.

While there was slight uptick due to report of a big drop on US crude inventories and higher refinery activity levels, analysts believed that oil prices will likely be dictated above all by the development of Libyan oil supply. However, it added that it may take some weeks before the oil terminals are fully operational again, so oil supply is unlikely to increase noticeably in the short term.

Announcement of new sanctions by Washington against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine were also seen to give some support to crude prices. Nonetheless, their impact is not expected to be immediately significant.

On Asian products market, Platts noted that gasoline remains under pressure after a sharp correction in the product's cracks over the past two days. Buying interest is so far to remain thin through August because of a steeply backwardated market structure. However, despite the selling pressure, Platts noted that inventories still remain low, keeping the market sensitive to any supply disruption or unexpected demand.

As regards gasoil/diesel, fundamentals in the Asian gasoil market were broadly unchanged, as demand in the region continued to struggle to keep pace with supply. Market sources reportedly attributed the supply overhang and rebound in stock levels in Singapore to ample exports from the rest of Asia, and slow demand in the region. Moreover, Platts noted the improved supply-demand fundamentals in the Middle Eastern gasoil market with the onset of the warm summer season in the region. Demand from East Africa somehow also added uptick in Asian market sentiment.

Overall, Dubai crude decreased week-on-week by US$1.40/bbl. Both MOPS gasoline and diesel decreased as well by about US$1.85 and US$0.50 to a barrel, respectively.

FOREX: Peso per US dollar rate depreciated week-on-week by P 0.16 to P43.57, from P43.41 in the preceding week.

Other recommended reference sites:
(1) http://www.aip.com.au/pricing (2) http://www.med.govt.nz/ers/oil_pet/prices/prices.html

DOMESTIC OIL PRICES

Effective 22 July 2014, most of the oil companies implemented a decrease of P0.30-P0.35 per liter for gasoline and increase of P0.10 for kerosene. No adjustment was effected for diesel.

Year-to-date total adjustment for gasoline stands at a net increase of P0.50/liter while diesel remained at a net decrease of P2.70/liter for diesel.

As monitored, shown below are the retail prices in Metro Manila beginning 22 July 2014.
Products Price Range Common Price
P/liter
Diesel 40.28-43.70 42.30
Gasoline* 50.60-57.45 53.85
Auto-LPG    
LPG, P/11-kg cylinders 649.00-796.00  
*RON 95

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DepEd, JICE to send first batch of exchange students scholars to Japan
Source: http://www.deped.gov.ph
The Department of Education and the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) released the results of the qualified applicants for the first batch of Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange Students and Youths (JENESYS 2.0).

The program aims to spread an understanding of Japanese culture and values through youth exchange programs and to open more opportunities that will allow public school students to acquire 21st century skills.

The Department will conduct a JENESYS 2.0 National Formation Program on September 4, 2014 for the qualified applicants prior to their travel to Japan.

The qualified applicants are advised to submit the necessary travel documents such as Passport, Affidavit of Support and Consent (ASC), DSWD clearance, Birth Certificate, valid IDs, and other supporting documents to prove identity to JENESYS 2.0: Language Program Secretariat, Office of the Undersecretary for Regional Operations at DepEd Central Office on or before July 28, 2014. For further information, JENESYS 2.0 Secretariat may be contacted at (02) 633-7203.

The comprehensive list of qualified applicants for the first batch of JENESYS 2.0 may be viewed at http://bit.ly/JENESYSresults1.

Passing the screening process

In one of her interviews, Keila Abarientos—one of the qualified applicants for the first batch of JENESYS 2.0—said that the program would provide a venue for her to continue learning more. She added that she would share with her classmates in the Philippines whatever she learned in Japan.

Emman Gregorio, qualified applicant from Region 2, said, “Kailangan natin ipakita sa mga Pilipino ang umuunlad na Pilipinas.” He added the JENESYS 2.0 would be an opportunity to do that.

“It feels very good to know that the ordeal is finally over! Before we got here we have been met by a lot of challenges, like the application essay. It was just a simple essay at first, but then when we got here, it began to mean something so much more. It was worth the effort,” Kathleen Anatalio, JENESYS 2.0 qualified applicant from the National Capital Region.

Rolando Alag, another qualified exchange student, said, “I read about Japan, learned interesting trivia and understood their culture. I have thought that the interview, like any other exam, would be much less intimidating if I know that I've studied for it. And I was right, the interview was very comprehensive but I enjoyed every second of it.”

DepEd will be sending its first batch of JENESYS 2.0 scholars to Japan on September 8-16, 2016. The second batch will be sent on November 3-11, 2014.

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Reforms happening in conflict areas due to DAP
Source: http://www.opapp.gov.ph
MANILA – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said that people are feeling the consequences of "reforms that are now happening in most difficult areas," such as conflict-affected and vulnerable communities.

Deles cited the reforms being undertaken in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where the regional government, under the administration of Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman, has been pushing long-awaited reforms as it had been historically lagging behind the rest of the country in terms of peace and progress.

"Maraming pagbabagong nangyayari sa ARMM," Deles said during Monday's general assembly of employees and staff of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), adding that said "reforms are very important for the region."

Hataman, who was a guest during the general assembly noted that reforms in the ARMM include validating licensed teachers to weed out ghost teachers; capacity-building programs for ARMM agencies particularly the Department of Public Works and Highways, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Department of Education towards the goal of having ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certification for these offices, which used to be very susceptible to corruption, as well as ensuring quality road infrastructures in the region.

Hataman conveyed that the ARMM regional government aims to attain positive results and benchmarks before their elected officials step down once the Bangsamoro region is created with the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. “Kaya nga ngayon bago kami bumaba (That is why before we step down), we will set a good standard for the new government of the Bangsamoro."

The regional governor added that the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) also helped boost investments in ARMM this year. “In 2014, the target investment was 2.5 billion. After the CAB was signed, we reached PHP 2.7 billion by early June.”

ARMM is one of the biggest recipients of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which has been used to support the reforms and development initiatives in the region.

DAP in support of the Philippine peace process

In terms of the peace process, Deles, noted that as a result of DAP funding, there are those who feel the consequences of the reforms of "pagtigil ng 'dating-kagawian' or 'business as usual' or what they were formerly doing.”

OPAPP received additional allotment from the DAP amounting to PHP 1.819 billion in 2011 and PHP 248 million in 2012, to support its crucial work on achieving negotiated political settlement of armed conflicts and peace and development initiatives as a complementary track under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program.

"The funds were utilized for priority development projects for communities nationwide affected by and vulnerable to armed conflict as well as areas covered by existing peace agreements," Deles said.

The funds were also utilized for the provision of immediate and livelihood assistance to former rebels; for consultation and capacity-building interventions in support of addressing women’s issues in situations of armed conflict through the “Localization of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security”; and for the conduct of information, communication, and monitoring activities in line with the peace process.

"As OPAPP is not an implementing agency, the funds were transferred to line agencies and local government units who signed memoranda of agreements with OPAPP, for the implementation of the projects," the peace adviser noted.

Deles said that these programs benefited the people in the desire for inclusive peace and progress.

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Farming Municipality receives P2.7-M from DAR
Source: http://dar.gov.ph
A grant of P2.7 million was recently approved for release by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to the farming municipality of Tupi, South Cotabato for the implementation of various rural projects in its nine barangays.

The nine barangays were adopted by DAR under it’s area component of the national government’s PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) program that aims to provide these barangays with community-based projects to bring genuine peace and development.

DAR Regional Director Nasser Musali said that “the program intends to reduce poverty, improve governance and empower communities in situations of conflict.”

Under the PAMANA grant, “each beneficiary (barangay) will receive P300,000 to fund the implementation of their proposed community projects,” Musali said.

The projects that may be funded by the program include connectivity systems, basic services for economic development, agricultural services and industry investments, economic investments in indigenous people’s areas, disaster-preparedness and climate change adaptation interventions.

The municipal government of Tupi and DAR signed a memorandum of agreement in April last year for the implementation of the PAMANA program.

Tupi Mayor Reynaldo Tamayo said the grant forms part of the area’s initial allocation under the agrarian reform area component of the PAMANA program.

The mayor said five barangays — Crossing Rubber, Kalkam, Lunen, Palian and Tubeng — have proposed for the renovation and construction of multi-purpose buildings.

He said Barangays Acmonan, Bunao and Simbo pushed for the rehabilitation of their potable water systems while Barangay Cebuano proposed for the replacement of the submersible water pump in one of its communities.

Once the funds are released, Tamayo said they would immediately proceed with the bidding of the contracts for the identified projects.

“The implementation phase for these projects will likely begin within the third quarter of the year,” Tamayo said.

PAMANA is the government’s program and framework for peace and development in areas affected by conflict and communities covered by existing peace agreements.

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No augmentation to Landowners Compensation – DAR
Source: http://dar.gov.ph
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), today, reiterated that no funds outside of what was appropriated by Congress were added to the landowners compensation which government uses to pay the cash portion of the compensation to landowners.

DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes explained that Congress appropriated a total of PhP7.932 billion for landowners compensation for the years 2010 and 2011, under the 2010 and 2011 General Appropriations Acts, respectively. A Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) for the said amount was released to the Land Bank on 4 October 2011. Of the total amount, the release of PhP 5.4 billion was facilitated through DAP and correspondingly released to the Land Bank as part of the government’s disbursement strategy.

The DAR further asserted that paying the landowners for lands acquired for distribution, in this case out of the Php 7.932 billion, was mandated not only by the law (R.A. No. 6657, as amended) but also by the Constitution.

“Some groups are trying to make it appear that this is the first time that the government is paying landowners. It is not. The DAR has been paying landowners for lands it acquired for distribution under its agrarian reform program for more than thirty years”, de los Reyes said.

DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes explained last week that although an amount was indicated for landowners compensation in the list of DAP-Identified Projects, this item was included in the list only because it was part of the government’s disbursement strategy. However, he pointed out that there was no augmentation of the funds facilitated through the DAP for the said purpose. He further clarified that the entire amount released through the NCA (cash)—a part of which was released through the DAP strategy—were appropriated by the Congress under the 2010 and 2011 General Appropriations Acts (GAA).

The DAR also belied today statements that it contradicted the explanation of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on the release of cash for landowner’s compensation through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

DAR stated that this actually complemented the “List of DAP-Identified Projects” published by the DBM in its website, which described the Landowners Compensation item as “5.46B indicated in the memo to the President but only indicated as cash release…”, and where the following statements were provided for as remarks: “This item was included in the DAP as part of the disbursement strategy since it only required the release of the NCA (cash). It already has an appropriation in the FY 2010 and FY 2011 GAA in the total amount of 7.932B. The cash requirement was released on October 4, 2011 to beef up disbursement alongside disbursements under DAP.”

The Department emphasized that the funds for landowners compensation was validly appropriated and allotted under the 2010 and 2011 GAAs; with the actual cash release of a portion of the amount was merely facilitated through the DAP.

DAR also reiterated that it was the Supreme Court decision on the case of Apo Fruits Corporation and Hijo Plantation, Inc. vs Land Bank of the Philippines in April 2011 which prompted the Land Bank to request for the immediate release of the cash appropriated for landowners compensation.

“We must also remember that the Supreme Court had not yet decided with finality the Hacienda Luisita case when the acceleration of the cash release for landowners compensation was approved in 2011.”, said DAR Undersecretary Anthony N. Paruñgao in refuting statements that the DAP was approved to pay Hacienda Luisita, Incorporated.

The Supreme Court decision in the Hacienda Luisita case became final only in April 2012, six months after the NCA for the landowners compensation was released to the Land Bank.

“HLI is just one of the more than 4,000 landowners who were paid just compensation from the Agrarian Reform Fund which was partially funded through the DAP strategy”, added Undersecretary Paruñgao.

“Let me add that if there are groups who believe that the Land Bank has made a mistake in its appraisal of the just compensation of the HLI, the proper forum to question this amount is the DAR Adjudication Board or the special agrarian courts (Regional Trial Court).”, Undersecretary Paruñgao further stated.

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