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Updated: 32 min 31 sec ago

Raymond Garcia elected as president of Vice Mayor’s League in Cebu

Tue, 2022-07-26 21:56
CEBU City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia was elected as president of the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines’ (VMLP) Cebu chapter on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Garcia was elected unopposed during the VMLP’s general assembly at the Holiday Inn in Cebu City.

Garcia is the second official from Cebu City chosen to lead a group of local executives, whether in Cebu or nationwide. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Garcia’s running mate in the recent elections, was recently elected as president of the League of Cities in the Philippines.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu, Garcia was thankful to his fellow vice mayors in Cebu for electing him.

“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the vice mayors of all the different municipalities and cities of Cebu for their trust and confidence in selecting me to steer the league,” Garcia said.

The first-term Cebu City vice mayor promised that he will not waste the trust given to him by his fellow vice mayors.

“We will work hard to be worthy of that trust by working to secure additional benefits for the League’s members in terms of capacity building and enhancement,” Garcia added.

This is not the first time that Garcia served as president for a local chapter of an association composed of local officials.

The son of former Cebu City mayor Alvin Garcia had served as president of the Barangay Councilors’ League of the Philippines-Cebu City Chapter when he was still a councilor of Barangay Kamputhaw in 2014.

During his first term as city councilor in 2016, the younger Garcia was also elected as president of the Philippine Councilors’ League-Cebu City Chapter. / PAC / JKV
Categories: Philippines News

Cebu Newscoop holds annual general assembly

Tue, 2022-07-26 20:33
AFTER not being able to hold its general assembly in the past two years due to the pandemic, the Cebu News Workers and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Newscoop) was able to hold one for this year.

Newscoop’s members and officers gathered for their 23rd annual general assembly at the Marcelo B. Fernan Press Center in Sudlon, Barangay Lahug, Cebu City on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

The general assembly carried the theme, “Newscoop: Growing community through innovation and resiliency.”

Coop NATCCO Party-list Rep. Felimon M. Espares was the guest speaker of the event.

The general assembly was presided over by lawyer Elias L. Espinoza, chairman of the board of directors. Also present were directors Marlinda Angbetic-Tan, vice chairperson; and Elias Baquero, Jovy Taghoy-Gerodias, Divine Sanchez-Ngujo, Oscar C. Pineda, Dr. Joseph Elvir C. Tubilan, Fred P. Languido and Gregg M. Rubio.

It was a day of fun and excitement as the attendees did not go home empty-handed.

Apart from the dividends and patronage fund, each of the members also received a sack of five kilos of rice and packs of noodles. These were all prepared by the management led by Evelyn S. Sarsale, Newscoop’s manager.

Some of the attendees were also extra lucky as they won freebies and prizes in the raffle draw.

With over 2,000 members, Newscoop is still expanding its membership. Any person who is interested to join the cooperative can call inquire through its contact numbers 09275193135 (cell phone) and 345-4670 (landline) or through its Facebook page @cebunewscoop and email addresses cebunews96@gmail.com and cebunews.exeoffice@yahoo.com.
Categories: Philippines News

PTC hosts Asia-Pacific engineering convention, general assembly

Tue, 2022-07-26 20:33
THE Philippine Technological Council (PTC), the umbrella organization of the 13 professional engineering associations in the country, is hosting the 30th General Assembly and 6th Convention of the Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and the Pacific (FEIAP) at the Waterfront Hotel, Cebu City on July 27-29, 2022.

It is noted that the PTC, one of the four sectoral councils of the Philippine Federation of Professional Associations, continues to pursue its mandates and thrust as the umbrella organization for engineering and technology in the country.

The Council’s interdisciplinary collaborations foster the harmonization of the profession it represents, the government, and the societal communities across technology and engineering field practices.

As part of its mission in the development and advancement of engineering and technology, the PTC decided to bring this prestigious FEIAP’s 30th General Assembly and 6th Convention right in Cebu City’s doorstep.

The event is expected to be participated by 26 member economies of FEIAP and distinguished guests from five other countries. Only 500 technological and engineering professionals in the country are anticipated to attend the convention to ensure the effective implementation of health protocols. The organizers also opted to open the registration for online participation.

With the theme, “Engineering Education, Accreditation and Mobility Geared towards Industry 5.0,” this year’s 30th general assembly and 6th convention exerted a valuable preparation on inviting high-caliber experts and mentors from both local and international levels.

The invited professionals will impart their valuable experiences and gain knowledge on engineering education, policies on international accreditation, aspects of engineering mobility, environmental engineering projects, and discussion and arguments on circular economy.

As the catalyst for sustainable development among engineering and technological professionals, the program was expected to be a venue for exchanging ideas and networks among professionals and members of the academe, the industry, the government, and the private sector groups.
Categories: Philippines News

BJMP retains ISO certification

Tue, 2022-07-26 20:19
THE Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) has retained its certification of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) after Socotec (Société de Contrôles Techniques) Certification Philippines Inc. conferred its official accreditation to the Jail bureau this morning at the BJMP Management Conference.

Socotec Certification Philippines Inc. conducted its final review and assessment of BJMP management systems and procedures on May 24, 2022 and determined the bureau’s compliance with international standards after a brief but thorough evaluation.

The recertification under ISO 9001:2015 Standard is proof of the Jail Bureau’s commitment to providing world-class service to its stakeholders.

Meanwhile, BJMP Chief Jail Director Allan Iral thanked all personnel in the National Headquarters, BJMP regional offices in National Capital Region, Calabarzon, CALABARZON, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for being responsible players in the efforts for ISO recertification.

“Since we decided to accept the challenge of ISO and recognize ourselves as ISO-certified in 2018, we have been consistent in our excellent quality management system),” he said in mixed Filipino and English.

“This awarding ceremony is a beacon of hope for the BJMP and optimistically, sooner or later, all the regional offices of the BJMP will be I-S-O certified,” the BJMP chief added.

Policy formulation, communication planning and monitoring, recruitment and placement of Jail Officer 1 are the scopes of BJMP’s registration to the ISO 9001:2015 standards which translates to BJMP management systems being at par with international guidelines.

As the implementing body of the bureau’s various policies, the Jail Bureau’s management systems shall be covered by the three-year ISO recertification and will be subject to re-audit in the year 2025.

Jail Director Allan Iral congratulated all the personnel of the bureau for this another achievement but urged everyone to maintain the highest standards as required by the ISO and strive to be consistent in implementing them in the delivery of quality public service.

“To my colleagues in the Bureau, let us continue improving in our work, so we can translate it into an improved service for our clients,” he said.
Categories: Philippines News

EXPLAINER: COA has no specific finding of overprice in Cebu City's 2021 Covid spending. But it flags LGU 'violations' of rules and law on rice, packed meals. How would Sanggunian minority use COA report?

Tue, 2022-07-26 20:08
CONTEXT. The Cebu City Council -- starting when Michael "Mike" Rama was still vice mayor, then acting mayor, mostly in 2021 -- had been pressing for an accounting of multi-billion pesos spent on the anti-Covid campaign. It didn't get what it wanted: not the detailed summary the Sanggunian minority, led by Councilor Nestor Archival Sr., had asked for.

Commission on Audit's (COA) report on 2021 transactions of the City is out. Does it say directly that there were cases of overprice or bloated cost? It does not. It cites though a number of alleged violations of rules on procurement and allocation of goods and supplies intended for pandemic victims.

Just as no councilor, from either of two camps, had explicitly accused the city administration of corruption, the 2021 COA report has not made any direct finding of fraud.

USING THE COA REPORT. The interest shown by the minority on Covid spending in 2021 must have spilled over to July 2022 when COA finally unwrapped its report. The public must wonder how it would make use of the said report in the minority's self-imposed job of fiscalizing city spending on anti-Covid response. In one Sanggunian session in 2021, the minority was advised: Wait for the COA report.

That report is out. Would the minority help pursue the officials responsible to account for the violations? Would it help see to it that the violations are not repeated, even during non-emergency times?

FLAGGED VIOLATIONS. In its Covid-19 audit (Section D of COA's observations on Cebu City in 2021), COA found, among others, these transactions and practices to be irregular:

[1] RICE PURCHASE. Buying 39,478 sacks of rice with the total cost of P90.799 million from an "ineligible supplier or middleman," one Markabi Distributors Philippines Inc. COA doubts it is a legitimate supplier. Thus the City, COA says, was not assured of getting advantageous price and other terms in the purchase.

[2] DISTRIBUTION OF RICE. Improper distribution of 28,407 sacks of rice costing P65.336 million, out of 39,478 sacks, wherein the supplier delivered directly to the barangays, without documents that show they were distributed to qualified or authorized recipients.

[3] RISK ALLOWANCES. A total of P5.137 million special risk allowances (SRA) were granted to non-public health workers, in violation of DBM-DOH circular. And checks were released to non-bonded personnel, as required by law.

[4] PACKED MEALS. Packed meals costing P96.770 million were delivered even before purchase requests (PRs) and purchase orders (P.O.s) were completed, making the transaction "irregular."

NOTHING ABOUT BLOATED PRICES. As can be seen, there's no allusion to padded pricing, on the sacks of rice or the packed meals, favorite targets of criticism from administration critics during the campaign leading to the 2022 May elections.

COA found only: wrong supplier, unqualified beneficiaries, improper or premature delivery, absence of documents, and the like. And COA has required explanations and supporting documents.

The suspicious councilors or doubting Juans in the city can't find from the COA report specific and direct accusation of corruption, just lapses in compliance with COA or DBM rules or some requirement of law.

LGU'S JUSTIFICATION. Comments from the audited LGU, to justify the mistakes and omissions, inevitably point to the pandemic, a popularly used excuse, some of which COA may accept as concession to the emergency.

On picking the prescribed supplier, the City said "we didn't have the luxury of time to look for suppliers because people were already clamoring for rice due to the hard lockdown."

On rice distribution, COA asks for documents, imposing a suspension (which can lead to disallowance) until the required papers and acceptable explanation are submitted.

Categories: Philippines News

SONA go signal to push for dam, CCMC upgrade, ecozone dev’t

Tue, 2022-07-26 20:01
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama praised President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. for citing water, energy and specialty hospitals as priorities during his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 25, 2022.

According to Cebu City’s Public Information Office Tuesday, July 26, Rama said he will lobby for the construction of a dam and upgrading of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) as a specialty hospital.

While several other local leaders piled on their approval of the new administration’s priorities, however, some residents expressed dissatisfaction with the Sona.

Rama described the first Sona of Marcos Jr. as "very comprehensive" and "in fact, encompassing," addressing all the needs to bounce back from the setbacks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and recent calamities.

The president's direction on agriculture, fiscal management, and right-sizing of employees also received a thumbs-up from Rama as these echoed the policies of the mayor in the city government.

“It is superb for the President to bring the nation to be sound,” said Rama.

Transportation

Rama was also pleased to hear that the Marcos administration intends to complete the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project and finally realize the Cebu Railway System.

The mayor hopes that the monorail and cable cars will be included in the implementation of these mass transportation systems.

Through these, Rama said that becoming a Singapore-like city may not be far-fetched.

Rama hopes the original route of the BRT as planned from Barangay Bulacao will be adopted.

“This will definitely be pursued in view of the pronouncement of the President that he will continue the infrastructure projects put in place by his predecessor,” he said.

Dam

When Marcos Jr. instructed government departments to explore partnerships with the private sector to rehabilitate and improve water systems in the country, Rama said this was an opportunity to push further for the construction of a new dam.

Rama is also looking at the desilting of the Buhisan Dam to increase and return its storage capacity to when it was built 110 years ago.

After the devastation of Typhoon Odette (Rai) in December 2021, both the private and public sectors agreed on the need for the city to have a dam to ensure ample water supply when disasters strike.

The recent announcement of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District to impose an increase in its water tariff has also renewed Rama's objective to build a dam.

Specialty hospital

Marcos Jr. mentioned that there is a need to build more specialty hospitals so citizens would no longer have to travel to Metro Manila for their health needs.

Rama said he would lobby for the CCMC to become one such hospital, whether a heart center, lung center, children’s institute, or kidney and transplant institute.

The CCMC may also be a center for patients with diabetes, cancer, and other critical illnesses if the planned construction for a wellness building will push through.

Traffic

The head of the traffic board in Cebu City also commended Marcos Jr. for mentioning the Cebu Railway System and BRT project in his Sona.

Former city councilor and now chairperson of the Cebu City Traffic Management and Coordination Committee Rico Rey Francis "Koko" Holganza said Tuesday, July 26, that the president's pronouncement was a "good step in the right direction."

Holganza said having a mass transport system like railways can improve the traffic situation of the city.

Tourism

Cebu leaders Tuesday also hailed the Sona for its mention of tourism, the end to Covid-19 lockdowns and economic development outside the National Capital Region (NCR).

Cebu 4th District Rep. Janice Salimbangon said: “The direction of our national agenda in terms of key policy areas is totally in sync with what I envision for the fourth district of Cebu. The declaration of importance of building ecozones to boost economic growth and development in areas outside of NCR is a change I am very welcoming of, considering that we have been pushing for the creation of the Cebu Fourth District Special Economic Zone since the 15th Congress.”

“I am also looking forward to the direction where our tourism industry is headed. I am most excited with the given importance in creating more international airports throughout the country, hoping that our airport in Medellin will be inaugurated within PBBM's term,” Salimbangon added.

“I am hopeful and optimistic about his (Marcos’) future plans, particularly with regard to tourism recovery and the assurance of having no more lockdowns,” said Lapu-Lapu City Lone District Rep. Ma. Cynthia “Cindi” King-Chan.

“Moreover, there is no doubt that everyone is excited about his plans to continue his predecessor, former President Rodrigo Duterte's, infrastructure programs, as these are the backbone of the economy,” King-Chan added.

Her husband, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan, said: “Tourism will be prioritized to promote the Filipino brand of hospitality and create more jobs to boost our tourism industry,”

Tourism is the bread and butter of Lapu-Lapu City.

Digital connectivity

The mayor also voiced support for Marcos’ pronouncements to modernize agriculture, end Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns, and continue the Covid-19 vaccine booster rollout.

“I support adding vaccine boosters to ensure that all Filipinos, especially our Oponganons, would not be vulnerable to Covid-19 once our children return to full face-to-face classes in the upcoming school year,” the Lapu-Lapu mayor said.

Chan said the President’s order to the Department of Information and Communications Technology to deploy digital connectivity across the country “gives benefits to students and it can be used such as in digital payments and e-commerce.”

The mayor said the City Government aims to give free laptops to all public school teachers and tablets to all junior and senior high school students in Lapu-Lapu so they can participate fully in the digital community here and abroad.

Chan also applauded the Marcos administration’s plan to build more power plants to have more sources of energy in the country, especially renewable energy sources.

“Probably, solar power energy is also suitable on Olango Island. In fact, we installed solar-powered lights and lampposts in Olango Island, Caubian and other islet barangays during my first term. The President would also look into the water supply, especially in urban areas,” Chan said.

Shelter and Mandanas

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes was also pleased with Marcos’s Sona, saying late Monday: “I echo the President's sentiment regarding economy, agriculture, social services, health and Emergency Shelter Assistance program, among others, as this is parallel to our five-point agenda for Mandaue City.”

“Lastly, I am glad that the President is open to talk with local chief executives pertaining to the implementation of the Mandanas Ruling on what is practicable and what functions belong to the LGUs (local government units) and what belong to the National Government,” Cortes said.

In the Mandanas Ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that the just share of LGUs from the national taxes (or the Internal Revenue Allotment) is not limited to “national internal revenue taxes” collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue but includes collections (customs duties) by the Bureau of Customs.

This is expected to increase the Internal Revenue Allotment of LGUs in fiscal year 2022 by more than 27 percent, according to a presentation by John Aries Macaspac of the Department of Budget and Management.

Several functions currently being undertaken by many national agencies, however, would be devolved to the LGUs to mitigate the fiscal impact of the Mandanas ruling.

Not satisfied

However, not everyone was happy with the Sona where President Marcos discussed a wide range of issues including tourism, agriculture, education, health, economic recovery, disaster response, and the welfare and rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and farmers.

Arcel Amerol, 30, from Mindanao, observed that the President did not address issues like corruption, crime, and the drug war, which were the most prominent platforms of previous President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Ang pinaka-importante talaga doon ay yung korupsiyon kasi ang dami nang naging President, hindi pa rin nabago (nasolusyunan) iyon. Kabilang na rin yung krimen and ang drugs," Amerol told SunStar Cebu. (What was most important was corruption because many have been President but this has not changed. That includes the problems of crime and drugs.)

Like Amerol, Charmane Piedad, 20, believes that the long-running fight against corruption should have been included in the speech because it is crucial to the country's economic strength.

Concerning the topic of corruption, Piedad emphasized the inequity and inappropriate distribution of financial support, particularly to those adversely impacted by calamities or the pandemic.

"Ang ganahan nako na ma-address niya unta kay ang corruption kay sa pila ka tuig, mao na gyud ni ang permeng problema nato nga mga Pilipino. Usa sab, dili fair ang paghatag sa financial assistance," Piedad said. (What I would have wanted addressed was corruption because for years, that has been a perennial problem of Filipinos. Also, the distribution of financial assistance has not been fair.)

However, Piedad expressed amazement at Marcos’ mention of unresolved issues that previous Presidents had not mentioned in their Sona.

Piedad spoke of Marcos’ highlighting of the rights of the farmers, single parents, overseas Filipino workers, and the mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), which she believes is essential for the youth nowadays.

"What I can say of the Sona yesterday of President Marcos is that he said many things not mentioned by other Presidents. I like it also that he mentioned in his platform the rights of the farmers, especially the rights also of single parents and OFWs,” she said in Cebuano.
Categories: Philippines News

Book on Venerable Camomot’s life launched in cebu

Tue, 2022-07-26 19:35
TO HELP promote the cause of Venerable Archbishop Teofilo Camomot to the faithful, the Archdiocese of Cebu has launched an official book of the late prelate’s life and works.

The book entitled “The Faces of Divine Love” was launched on Monday night, July 25, 2022 at the IC3 Pavilion in Cebu City.

Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili, the vice postulator for Camomot’s cause, is the main author of the book.

Balili said in his speech that the book was made as a “product of labor and love,” especially for people who were part of the diocesan inquiry that initiated the campaign to declare Camomot as a potential saint.

Balili said 45 people, considered as “living witnesses” to Camomot’s life, were interviewed for the book.

Church officials, particularly those tasked to help gather information on Camomot’s life, were also interviewed for the book.

The priest also narrated their team’s journey in the making of the book and the inquiry of the causes for the canonization of Venerable Camomot. The Dicastery for the Causes of Saints approved the contents of the book that were taken from the positio (a document or collection of documents used in the process by which a person is declared Venerable).

Excerpts from the book were read by Haidee Palapar, Fr. Joselito “Joy” Danao, Msgr. Renato Beltran, and Msgr. Florencio “Boy” Salvador.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who was also at the event, said he was particularly thankful that the early stage of Camomot’s campaign for sainthood has been fulfilled.

Searching for a miracle

Balili told reporters on the same event that they are now in the process of finding two miracles that can help in pushing for Camomot’s beatification and sainthood.

The path to sainthood starts with the examination of a candidate by the church officials if he or she had lived a devout Catholic life, Balili said.

“Hopefully, anytime soon, we can find a miracle that we have been asking for from God,” Balili said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

On Wednesday, July 27, a solemn thanksgiving mass will be held at Camomot’s shrine in Barangay Valladolid, Carcar City.

Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, who will lead the thanksgiving mass, will also declare the promulgation of the decree of the Heroic Virtue for Camomot.
Categories: Philippines News

Carvajal: Cebuanos deserve the truth

Tue, 2022-07-26 19:23
Market vendors are in desperate straits. Their daily earnings flow from Carbon Market is either down to a trickle or completely dried up due to the forced demolition of their stalls without a suitable relocation site.

Helpless in the face of official intransigence, vendors could only pray. But even that was disrespectfully drowned out with loud music. To add insult to injury, the police are now investigating the priests who led the prayers. They think it was their shields that kept vendors at bay when they should probably credit the priests for channeling the vendors’ anger to a peaceful Eucharistic celebration.

It’s time Mayor Michael “Mike” Rama and the Council are called to account. Cebuanos deserve answers to some troubling questions.

Why privatize Carbon Market when it can be just as easily modernized without privatizing it, without unnecessarily displacing vendors who, to this day, have not been assured of a spot in the new market? Why did the City snub the well-studied and expertly prepared alternative proposal of the vendors?

Why was the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) drafted without consulting the vendors who stand to be most directly impacted by it? Why did the Council approve and endorse the JVA for signing when by their own admission they did not read the document in full much less scrutinize it?

Why did Rama, when he was still vice mayor, admit to defects in the JVA that he insisted must be cured and why, now that he is Mayor, is he ramming the JVA through without the defects being cured to the satisfaction of all stakeholders?

True, he did come up with two, not one, supplementary Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) to cure the defects. But why were the vendors again not consulted in the drafting of the MOA? And why are there two MOAs the details of which the vendors know nothing about?

The vendors have filed a case against the JVA. This case is still to be heard. (There is an ongoing mediation between the lawyers of the vendors and those of City Hall.) At the same time, the vendors filed a petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO). The concerned judge summarily dismissed this but has been excruciatingly slow to resolve the vendors’ motion for reconsideration.

Why can’t the City wait for the court’s decision on the motion for reconsideration of the TRO? More importantly, why can’t the City wait for the resolution of the case the vendors filed against the JVA? Why the unfair rush? What happens if the vendors win their case? Or is it that the Mayor and the Council have already been assured of a favorable court ruling?

Did not Mike Rama and the Council run for office to serve Cebu City’s real citizen-persons? Why are they now catering to the profit needs of a legal non-resident person, Megawide, and not to the basic needs of financially strapped warm-bodies, the market vendors?

Cebuanos deserve the truth. Accountability requires it of Mayor Rama and the Council.
Categories: Philippines News

Espinoza: Karma: Fact or fiction?

Tue, 2022-07-26 19:22
Is karma fact or myth? A noun, Merriam Webster defines it as “the force generated by a person’s actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person’s next existence.” Broadly, it’s such a force considered as affecting the events of one’s life. Anthony Walton calls the idea of karma, “that what goes around comes around.”

The term karma in Sanskrit refers to “both the executed deed, work, action, act and the object, intent.” (Wikipedia)

A businessman and a reader, Manny G., sent me an article about what he and his friends had talked about karma. To fully understand his thoughts of karma, permit me to reprint his article here.

“In a recent conversation, my friends and I talked about karma. We need to avoid hurting others unfairly, and we need to do the right and honorable thing even if we are not personally benefited.

I have heard of a man with the seeming power to direct Karma at others—those who treat him unjustly. Let’s call him Mr. Y.

Long ago in the 1990s, a multinational company fired Mr. Y unjustly to save on paying him a well-earned bonus, at least in his opinion. Well, it took a while, but 15 years later, that company was bankrupt.

An employee of Mr. Y was accused of theft by a foreign dignitary. A high official who was very close to the then President tried to punish Mr. Y by shutting down his entire company. The bullying scheme did not succeed. A few years later, in his early 50s, with no prior warning the official died of a heart attack.

A high official instituted a money-wasting program designed to generate bribes for government officials and gave them sweeping powers that had never been intended. Mr. Y publicly opposed this plan, but the official insisted. The official died of a heart attack in his mid-60s.

A town mayor tried to throw his weight around and demanded money from Mr. Y as compensation for an alleged offense. Mr. Y refused. Less than a year later, the mayor was shot dead by hired assassins in his own town in Luzon.

The list goes on. A dishonest employee of Mr. Y took kickbacks but soon died of mysterious causes in his 40s. The supplier who had paid the kickbacks was shot dead in his own office building by an unknown assailant.

A government agency conducted an investigation into a matter connected with Mr. Y. The agency should have cleared him, but squashed its own report, afraid to displease certain powerful persons who were angry at Mr. Y; the agency’s head died of Covid-19 a year later.

In connection with the same matter, a public personality ridiculed Mr. Y publicly without bothering to check his facts. One year later, still fairly young, the personality died of ‘natural causes.’

A man threatened to file a nuisance lawsuit in relation to properties owned by Mr. Y; a month later he was shot dead by unknown assailants.

Mr. Y affirms he had nothing to do with any of these sad events. Anyway, how could anyone have the power to bankrupt a multinational company from afar, or remotely cause someone to have a heart attack? So, there must be some other forces at work here. Maybe, it’s Karma? Did you notice? The lag-times between Offense and Karmic Retribution have gotten shorter. Better watch yourself around Mr. Y. People who try to bully him have a tendency to wind up dead.”
Categories: Philippines News

DSWD-Central Visayas delists non-compliant 4Ps beneficiaries

Tue, 2022-07-26 18:14
THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Central Visayas has delisted “persistent non-compliant” Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries.

As of July 2022, the program already delisted 10 households whose monitored children are not attending school or have not shown any commitment to returning back to school and the grantee did not attend the monthly Family Development Session (FDS).

For 2022, the program also monitored a total of 767 households that are not compliant to the program conditions and are subject to case management and further evaluations.

Based on Section 12 of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act, or Republic Act (RA) 11310, “should the qualified household-beneficiary so notified persists in not complying with the conditions within a period of one year since the day of receipt of the written notification, the household-beneficiary shall be removed from the program.”

“Those non-compliant beneficiaries will be case managed by our case worker and will take appropriate steps to resolve those issues on why they cannot comply with the conditions set by the program,” said DSWD-Central Visayas officer-in-charge Director Shalaine Marie Lucero.

Through the case management process, the beneficiaries will undergo a transformative process, as they will be guided with new information and ways to evaluate past ideas, beliefs, and understandings through critical reflection that will lead to a change of perception.

The case management process outcome would subsequently keep them on track and allow them to remain in the program after the appropriate case management intervention.

“Our 4Ps beneficiaries must value the program membership and understand the conditions to be complied with, including health and education. Their difficulty in compliance can be resolved by addressing the root cause of the problem,” said Lucero.

"We have cases of 20 households who were retained in the program after one year of the evaluation period and intensive case management that showed improved compliance in all program conditionalities, like their children, are already attending school and the grantee is attending the monthly FDS," she added.

Meanwhile, the DSWD-Central Visayas welcomed the request of the Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) to seek remedial legislation or executive measures providing penalties for individuals and corporate entities who accept 4Ps cash cards as loan collateral.

The request to the National Advisory Committee through the 4Ps Oversight Committee was made through a resolution passed by the RDC during its second quarter full council meeting on June 23, 2022.

“Adequate sanctions are in place for certain 4Ps households that abused their 4Ps cash cards. However, there are still no laws or policies that provide sanctions to individuals or organizations that accept cash cards as loan collateral,” said Lucero.

The proposal to impose penalties on individuals and corporate entities was initiated during the second quarter of the RDC’s Social Development Committee (SDC) meeting, which was headed by the DSWD.

RA 11310 became a law in April 2019. It is the government’s major poverty alleviation program that invests in the health, nutrition, and education of poor eligible households. These, along with the psychosocial and educational components provided through the Family Development Session (FDS), lead the beneficiaries to have improved and sustained well-being.

The beneficiaries who complied with the program conditions during a particular period will receive their full grants. These conditions include sending and keeping school-aged children in school; pre- and post-natal care of mothers; regular and preventive check-ups of children aged five and below; deworming of children aged six to 14; and attendance at the monthly FDS.

Based on the law, households may receive P750 for compliance with health and FDS; children monitored by the program in elementary will receive P300; those in junior high will receive P500; and P700 for children in senior high school.

The education grants benefit a maximum of three children in a household and cover only 10 months per school year. (PR)

Categories: Philippines News

PH suffers loss in AFF U18 Women’s opener

Tue, 2022-07-26 18:11
THE Philippines suffered a huge setback in the opening match of its campaign in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-18 Women’s Championship 2022 after a lopsided 4-0 loss to Australia on July 25 at the Jakabaring Athletic Field in Palembang, Indonesia.

Avaani Prakash hit the opening goal in the 26th minute after scoring inside the box.

With a 1-0 lead going into the second half, India Luise Beier doubled the lead in the 59th minute following an accurate pass by substitute Alana Cortellino.

Prakash scored a brace in the 62nd, while Maya Lobo finished off the Filipinas with a fourth goal in the 69th minute.

Meanwhile, Myanmar beat Malaysia, 2-0, in the other Group B match.

The Philippines sits at the last place after the opener loss.

Australia is at the top with three points and is just ahead of Myanmar, which is in second place, on goal difference.

Malaysia is third with no points and is only ahead of the Philippines on goal difference.

The Philippines takes on Myanmar in a very crucial match today, July 27. The Philippines can’t afford another loss if it intends to advance in the semifinals.

The Philippines needs at least a second place finish in Group B to advance.
Categories: Philippines News

Business leaders welcome BBM's plan to tax online sales

Tue, 2022-07-26 18:11
BUSINESS leaders in Cebu have welcomed the plan of the Marcos administration to impose taxes on digital goods and services.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Charles Kenneth Co said imposing value-added tax (VAT) on online selling “will even the playing field with the brick and mortar retailers.”

During his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the tax system will be adjusted in order to catch up with the rapid development of the digital economy including the imposition of value added tax on digital service providers.

By imposing duties on digital services, the government could generate as much as P11.7 billion in the year 2023 alone, the President said.

For his part, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Kelie Ko said they welcome the plan to improve and adjust the tax system to align with developments in the digital economy and of course to raise much-needed revenues for the economy.

“In broadstrokes, these are welcome initiatives in order to benefit the common good. We support that. However, since many of these reforms are yet to be legislated, there has to be transparency in how Congress will formulate the policies and mechanics. The stakeholders need to be consulted. The devil is always in the details,” he told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday.

MCCI past president Steven Yu also said the tax reforms outlined in Marcos’ Sona is appropriate and effective for the current state of the economy and “acceptable to the super majority of the stakeholders.”

“The evolution of the digital space has to be considered and internalized in the realm of the taxation/taxpayer base,” the business leader said in a separate comment.

“Increasing taxes is not negative per se as long as we know where to target it correctly with profound positive implications to the economy and consuming public,” he further said.

Noting the “plenty of wisdom” in the economic roadmap as outlined in the Sona, Yu noted the business sector’s heightened optimism and confidence level that they “are in good hands” with the current administration.

Marcos asked lawmakers to pass what he called the Internet Transaction Act or E-Commerce Law, which he said aims to regulate commercial activities through the internet or electronic means.

Marcos said this is to “ensure that consumer rights and data privacy are protected, innovation is encouraged, fair advertising practices and competition are promoted, online transactions are secured, intellectual property rights are protected, and product standards and safety are observed.”

Aside from the digital tax, Marcos also pushed two new tax reform packages.

He said the Valuation Reform Bill seeks to establish real property values and valuation standards across the country, and develop a database for this.

Another tax package is the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act, which he said seeks to reform taxes on capital income and financial services.

Marcos is also eyeing to increase the national budget to P7.712 trillion in 2028 from P4.955 trillion in 2022 and P5.086 trillion in 2023 to ensure the continuous implementation of priority programs.

He said his medium-term fiscal strategy “seeks to attain short-term macro fiscal stability while remaining supportive of the country’s economic recovery.”

Echoing the earlier statements of Duterte’s economic managers, Marcos said the economy is seen to grow by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent in 2022.

The economy expanded by faster-than-anticipated at 8.3 percent in the first quarter as Covid-19 mobility restrictions eased.
Categories: Philippines News

DOLE 7 to help PUJ drivers who would be affected by BRT

Tue, 2022-07-26 18:06
A TOP official of the Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas (DOLE 7) said they are prepared to help drivers of traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJ) who would be affected by the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Cebu City.

DOLE 7 Director Lilia Estillore said they are planning to provide aid to PUJ drivers through the agency’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or Tupad program, which provides emergency employment for displaced workers and other vulnerable workers.

Since the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic started, Tupad has benefitted over 112,000 individuals in Central Visayas, Estillore added.

In his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 25, 2022, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he plans to continue pending rail transport projects such as those set for implementation at the National Capital Region, Cebu, Panay and in Mindanao.

Pending road and transportation systems in key cities would also continue, including through Cebu’s BRT, Davao High Priority Bus System, Ilocos Norte Transportation Hub, and the El Nido Transport Terminal.

Business as usual

Estillore said that even though Marcos did not mention the agency in particular in his Sona, they will continue doing their usual duties, such as offering local and overseas job opportunities in line with the directives of Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma to help uplift the economy and the living conditions of every Filipino.

She added that if the development projects being touted by Marcos in his Sona will finally see implementation, they could become possible job generators.

But aside from providing job opportunities, Estillore added that they will continue with their mandate to implement occupational safety within the workplace.
Categories: Philippines News

DOLE to help PUJ drivers who would be affected by BRT

Tue, 2022-07-26 18:06
A TOP official of the Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas (DOLE 7) said the agency is preparing to help public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers who would be affected by the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit in Cebu City through the Tupad (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers) program, which provides emergency employment for displaced workers and other vulnerable workers.

The program is expected to benefit over 112,000 individuals in Central Visayas.

In his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 25, 2022, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said the country’s rail transport system would be developed, including those beyond the National Capital Region, like the Cebu railway system, the Panay Railway Project, and the 102-kilometer Mindanao Railway Project.

Road and transportation system improvement in key cities would also continue, including through the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Davao High Priority Bus System, Ilocos Norte Transportation Hub, and the El Nido Transport Terminal.

DOLE 7 Director Lilia Estillore said that even though the President did not mention the agency in particular in his Sona, they would still continue doing their usual duties, such as offering job opportunities for workers in line with the directives of Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma to help uplift the economy and the living conditions of every Filipino.

"Sa Sona nga napaminaw even if wala gi-klaro but ang tanang agenda sa presidente it encompasses to the Department of Labor," Estillore said.

She cited as an example the railway project in Cebu, farm infrastructure and construction projects as job generators.

Estillore said they would also monitor companies if they adhere to the agency's Occupational Safety and Health Standard to ensure the safety of workers, mostly construction workers, in the workplace.

The DOLE regional director believed that the messages delivered by Marcos in his Sona would bring positive impact to the labor department in the coming years. (PAC, TPT)

Categories: Philippines News

Japanese tech firm boosts digital learning in PH

Tue, 2022-07-26 18:00
A JAPANESE education technology (EdTech) company has expanded its teaching and learning materials as the country resumes its face-to-face classes after more than two years in hiatus.

Yusuke Takagi, chief executive officer of Quipper Philippines, said the company is committed to helping narrow the digital divide in the education sector by helping teachers, students and parents maximize the opportunities of digital learning.

The Philippines’ education sector has seen significant shifts over the last two years. The Covid-19 outbreak forced educators and over 27 million students to shift to several alternative learning modalities such as remote and blended learning modalities to cope with the situation.

This reality amplified the importance of using technology to allow remote learning.

“Nowadays, educational institutions need to provide their students with more engaged learning experiences while ensuring their well-being and meaningful connections. All these elements are critical for a successful learning experience now and in the future. Leveraging the right technology and platform can help educators transition to all types of setups for learning,” said Takagi.

New content offering for Math, English, Science, Filipino and Araling Panlipunan for kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 have been added since June this year.

Takagi also announced new content offering for this school year, including Oh Strand that is composed of eight subjects such as Business Math and Principles of Marketing.

It also has ready-made contents for Grades 4-10 on subjects Math, English, Filipino, Science, Araling Panlipunan and Grades 11-12 core subjects with improved version aligned with the Department of Education’s Most Essential Learning Competencies.

Quipper Philippines combines user-friendly technology with relevant and engaging content to create meaningful teaching and learning experiences.

It currently offers three solution offerings—the basic Quipper Learning Management System with parent portal and service support features; Quipper School Premium, which enables students to access lectures, assessments, and downloadable study guides in portable document format or PDF files anytime; and Quipper Video, which has all these features plus access to video lessons.

Prior to the pandemic, Quipper, according to Takagi, already had a healthy partnership with various schools and learning institutions in the country and this was further heightened during the global lockdown.

“When the pandemic started, we made sure that we could help our partner schools to implement and transition to the new remote learning dynamics. Our e-learning solutions provide teachers with teaching guides, editable presentation slides, and other resources to support their daily lessons. We also provide downloadable study guides for students as alternatives to textbooks and video lessons,” said Takagi.

Quipper started with more than 30 schools in the Philippines. Cebu, Takagi said, “is one of our priorities and we hope to expand our mission to more partners.”

Currently, Quipper has 316,239 teachers and reaches 5,000,000 students worldwide. It has more than 5,982 video content and 69,572 quiz questions.

It has more than 600 employees around the globe and operates in six countries: Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Categories: Philippines News

Army routs Chery Tiggo to bolster playoff bid in PVL

Tue, 2022-07-26 17:27
Army got back on track with a 25-20, 25-23, 25-22 win over Chery Tiggo on Tuesday as the Lady Troopers wrested solo fourth heading to the final week of the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference elims at the Filoil Ecooil Centre in San Juan.

Behind its veteran crew, Army uncorked a strong finishing kick to emerge on top of a see-saw first set battle, battled back from 21-23 down in the next, then imposed their will in the third to complete the 90-minute victory.

With a 3-2 slate, the Lady Troopers stayed behind joint second running PLDT and Creamline, toting identical 3-1 cards, with Cignal clinching the first seat in the next phase with a sweep of its four games.

Only Choco Mucho, despite its 1-3 mark, has the chance for the last semis berth but the Flying Titans must sweep their last two matches against the High-Speed Hitters and the Angels.

They must also hope that Army would drop its last game to Creamline, and Creamline or PLDT loss their last two assignments, to force a tie at 3-3. The last slot to be decided via the PVL points system.

The Lady Troopers took the first two sets on a pair of aces with MJ Balse-Pabayo capping their big windup in a tight opener marked by a number of lead changes and setter Ivy Perez delivering the other that capped their big stretch run fightback in the next frame.

They never gave the Crossovers a chance to recover, storming to 13-9 and 22-15 leads in the third then holding sway after the 2021 Open Conference champions, the first in the pro league era, pulled to within 22-24 on a Mae Layug kill that spiked a three-hit run aided by back-to-back Army miscues. But Joanne Bunag hammered in an off-the-block hit, dashing whatever hopes the Crossovers had to save a campaign hindered by injuries to their top stars.

Gonzaga produced the only double-digit performance with 15 points but Audrey Paran’s eight hits, Perez and Mary Anne Esguerra’s identical six points and Bunag and Jeanette Villareal’s similar five points proved enough to anchor the Troopers’ romp over the Crossovers.
Categories: Philippines News

Authentic Japanese dining experience in Cebu

Tue, 2022-07-26 17:22
Located at bai Hotel on Ouano Ave. is Ume, which serves authentic Japanese cuisine. In a highly competitive market, Ume has carved out its spot as one of the go-to spots for traditional and high quality Japanese cravings such as sushi and yakitori dishes.

What’s more—things are looking up for Ume as it comes out of the pandemic bringing in an experienced Japanese chef with decades of experience, Chef Nobu.

While flipping through pages in law school, Chef Nobu discovered a burning passion for the culinary arts as a part-time cook in a restaurant in Shibuya, Tokyo. Eventually, he fulfilled his dream of working abroad in the United States but later relocated to Makati, Manila where he met his eventual wife. He then worked at various hotels in the capital before bringing his talent to Cebu.

Alongside Chef Nobu in the conceptualization of Ume’s menu is Chef Ko. Beginning as a line cook in Jollibee, Chef Ko went through a long gastronomic journey around the world to perfect his craft. The talented chef has trained under renowned master chef Marco Pierre White and worked in Princess Cruises.

Now, the pair seeks to revitalize Ume as the traditional Japanese revamps its menu. The veteran chefs plan to introduce over 70 dishes this coming August.

Ume will still serve their signature dishes like the Nature Spring Roll, which is sushi topped with bonito flakes and oozing with cheese, their crunchy Chicken Karaage, and Shrimp Tempura which is thankfully more shrimp than batter.

The resident Japanese chef understands the Filipino taste buds: “Savory, spicy, and there has to be rice or noodles.” Chef Nobu said. His special Spicy Shrimp Tempura Roll encapsulates this perfectly.

But for an authentic taste of traditional Japanese dishes, go with the assorted sushi sashimi platter featuring Norwegian salmon, black tiger shrimps, unagi, and tuna from General Santos, one of the few producers of sashimi-grade tuna in the Philippines.

If you want to satisfy your Japanese cravings, Ume is located on the ground floor at bai Hotel on Ouano Ave. corner C.D. Seno St., Mandaue City, Cebu.
Categories: Philippines News

Neri: A food strip by the sea

Tue, 2022-07-26 17:21
A food strip in a seaside setting is the latest attraction in town. It is a long strip that covers a North Food Yard and a South Food Yard with a row of full service restaurants in-between. Yes, Il Corso Lifemalls along the South Road Properties is the go-to place for foodies and families, lovers and loafers, the young ones and young once who seek food adventures set up against a background of blue skies and serene waters.

The most recent additions to the restaurants in the food strip are Hussam Middle Eastern Cuisine, Ayame Seaside Tales and Luminous. The dynamic Il Corso team—officer-in-charge general manager/lease manager Judith Sanchez, senior marketing manager George Calles and marketing lead Hanski Garcia—took time to acquaint media friends with these new restos.

Hussam Middle Eastern Cuisine is a dream-come-true for Syrian national Hussam Alfakieh Alkourdi who is a cook at heart (although a finance officer by profession) after having learned the intricacies of cooking from his mother and grandmother as a young boy. He is married to Cebuana nurse Hazel Paloma and has decided to introduce his country’s cuisine to the Cebuanos.

Hussam personally takes charge of the kitchen and whips up Middle Eastern favorites. We loved his Kebabs (he has a very flavorful one-meter version using ground beef), Hummus (a dip of mashed chickpeas mixed with spices), Shish Taouk (cubed chicken over steamed rice covered with flatbread Kubos), the soothing ginger-lemon tea with honey and all else served during our lunch. He has many other exotic offerings which make for more food discoveries. It’s definitely a delightful food adventure over at Hussam... a must-try!

***

Ayame Seaside Tales is a Japanese restaurant operated by sisters Ingrid Espina Gamboa and Marjorie Espina Coo. Both are seasoned hands in the food business because they are part of the family’s “My Joy” eateries which has several branches in town.

With a Tokyo-trained Japanese chef as consultant, they have come up with an extensive Japanese menu which features classic Japanese dishes with both traditional and modern innovations. They have a well-chosen selection of appetizers, salads, soups, hotpot, Bento boxes, noodles, rice meals and more!

Lunch at Ayame found us enjoying an array of the resto’s specialties. Oh yes, our group loved the melt-in-the-mouth Salmon Sashimi, the mango-infused Cebu Maki; the wide selection of delectable sushis; the Lomi Salmon salad, the deep-fried Agedashi Tofu; the rich Shoyu Tonkutsu Ramen; the Angus Beef Gyoza, the crunchy Ebi Tempura... the list goes on.

***.

Luminous Expresso Industry is a cafe restaurant which had its beginnings in Doha, Qatar. The newly opened Luminous at Il Corso is the first branch in the Philippines and the sixth outlet outside Qatar and Dubai. Aside from offering a variety of great-tasting coffee, the cafe resto serves an all-day breakfast, Italian food and scrumptious desserts.

The dessert list is extensive and we got to taste most of it over coffee with Nida Vega, the admin/procurement manager of Luminous. Among the best-sellers are its Tiramisu, Black Forest Cake, Creme Brûlée, Red Velvet Cake, Panna Cotta, Triple Choco Mousse, and many more.

Categories: Philippines News

Leyteño nabbed in Mactan airport over shabu found in underwear

Tue, 2022-07-26 17:05
A 27-YEAR-OLD man from Leyte who was about to return to his hometown through the Mactan Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City was nabbed after a pack of shabu placed in his underwear was detected by a scanner at the airport's terminal 1 at 10:35 a.m. Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Leia Alcantara, spokesperson of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA 7), identified the suspect as Vincent Obong, 27, reportedly a homosexual from Leyte province.

Alcantara said that airport personnel subjected Obong to a body search immediately after the metal detector sounded an alarm and found a pack of shabu and two lighters in his underwear.

Obong will be facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. (BBT, TPT)

Categories: Philippines News

PDEA-Central Visayas vows to continue war on drugs

Tue, 2022-07-26 17:01
THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Central Visayas vowed that nothing will change in the government’s war against illegal drugs despite it not being mentioned in the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Marcos delivered his first Sona on Monday, July 25, 2022, wherein he talked about tax reform, tourism, infrastructure projects, education and energy, among other things. He, however, did not mention the fight against criminality and drugs, as well as corruption.

PDEA-Central Visayas Director Levi Ortiz said Tuesday, July 26, that the war on drugs will continue to be implemented nationwide.

He said they will, in fact, strengthen the campaign against illegal drugs in Central Visayas.

"Kami man gud under mi sa Office of the President, kon unsay order kon unsay will and pleasure sa president, amo gyud na nga tumanon," he said.

(We are under the Office of the President, so we will follow whatever is the will and pleasure of the president.)

"Basin naa siya'y plan about ani, wala pa lang niya e discuss, pero on the part of PDEA, padayon ang atong pakigbisog," he added.

(He might have a plan about the fight against illegal drugs and he has yet to discuss it, but we in PDEA, we will continue the fight.)

Ortiz also said Tuesday that they will continue the Barangay Drug Clearing Program, which according to PDEA website “encompasses a holistic and whole-of-nation approach in addressing the drug problem by enlisting the participation of local government units, government agencies, and various stakeholders of the national anti-drug campaign.”

Ortiz met with PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva on Tuesday to talk about the drug clearing program, which they aim to be certified under the International Standard Organization (ISO).

"Mao na ang among na meetingan kay ang among plano nga ma certify siya sa ISO (That’s what we are going to talk about, because we want it ISO certified)," he said. (BBT/LMY)

Categories: Philippines News

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