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DSWD vows to bring more prompt and efficient services under the Duterte admin
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By Leilani S. Junio

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo (center) makes the Duterte fist-gesture together with other DSWD Executive Committee (Execom) members to highlight their continuous vow to bring more efficient services after citing their accomplishments in their first 100 days in office on Tuesday (Oct. 11, 2016). Others in photos are (from left) DSWD Assistant Secretary Aleli B. Bawagan, Asec. Hope V. Hervilla, Undersecretary Vilma Cabrera, Usec. May Fe Ancheta, Usec. Florita R. Villar, and Asec. Jose Antonio Hernandez. (MNS photo)

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo (center) makes the Duterte fist-gesture together with other DSWD Executive Committee (Execom) members to highlight their continuous vow to bring more efficient services after citing their accomplishments in their first 100 days in office on Tuesday (Oct. 11, 2016). Others in photos are (from left) DSWD Assistant Secretary Aleli B. Bawagan, Asec. Hope V. Hervilla, Undersecretary Vilma Cabrera, Usec. May Fe Ancheta, Usec. Florita R. Villar, and Asec. Jose Antonio Hernandez. (MNS photo)

MANILA  (PNA) – Bringing of prompt and compassionate services to the poor, fair treatment in addressing the concerns of its vulnerable clients and beneficiaries while echoing the government’s relentless anti-corruption campaign are the phrases that aptly described the accomplishments of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) during the first 1OO days under the Duterte administration.

“By fair treatment, meaning if you have referrals or not and you are in need and qualified for our service, you’ll be given such service,” Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said in a press briefing held at the DSWD Central Office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

She explained that their main thrust is listening to the sentiments of DSWD constituents such as poor and vulnerable sectors of society comprising of persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens, women, children, youth, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), among others, suffering from crisis situations.

Taguiwalo shared that marginalized clients seeking help from the DSWD’s Assistance for Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) were also given different types of assistance that they needed.

AICS is where the people go to seek support in times that they are suffering from crisis situations and needing medical, burial, financial, educational, transportation assistance, etc.

In relation to AICS, the DSWD Chief mentioned the issuance of Memorandum Circular Nos. 9 and 10 on this for clarification on the operational policies or guidelines in providing assistance to individuals in crisis situation.

Aside from this, she also cited other programs of the department addressing concerns on hunger, repatriated and distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families, Lumads and other indigenous peoples, soldiers either wounded or killed in action and their families.

Secretary Taguiwalo also mentioned the agency’s accomplishment in terms of finalizing the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Centenarians Act or Republic Act No. 10868. The IRR was signed last Sept. 26 in Malacanang by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The DSWD Chief also said that they have developed and disseminated various information materials to explain the services and benefits offered by the Department.

She added that problems about children in the streets were also given attention.

“Just yesterday, we met with officials of various local government units (LGUs) as well as civil society organizations (CSOs) assisting street children,” she said.

On Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), she said that they will converge with other concerned agencies to ensure that the poor families already identified to be in the category of non-poor will be given focus in terms of strengthening their capacity to sustain the path to self-sufficiency so that they will not slide back to where they have been before.

She explained the objective of this is to eventually make the said beneficiaries self-reliant and resilient to other factors that may arise and hamper the road to their dream of enhanced lives or not remain poor forever or overpowered by economic shocks.

“This requires multi-government approach… Other government agencies and stakeholders have to do their share also,” she said.

She further shared that they will also make a visit to some of the beneficiaries that are in transitioning status.

She also mentioned other efforts that she and other members of the DSWD Executive Committee have done such as visiting the different DSWD field offices, assessing the status of typhoon “Yolanda” donations, and finding ways on how to simplify and enhance the system of giving assistance, especially for victims of disasters, big or small.

She also shared how they are handling the concerns on Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) and in ensuring that similar problems can be better addressed in the future as part of the desire to lessen the complexities of the requirements to comply in availing of such assistance.

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Robredo underscores urgent need for community rehab program for drug surrenderers
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Vice President Leonor G. Robredo (left) exchanges views with Samie Lim (right), Chairman Emeritus of Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) and Blims Lifestyle Group, during the opening of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry's 42nd Philippine Business Conference & Expo on Wednesday (Oct. 12, 2016) at Marriott Grand Ballroom in Pasay City. (MNS photo)

Vice President Leonor G. Robredo (left) exchanges views with Samie Lim (right), Chairman Emeritus of Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) and Blims Lifestyle Group, during the opening of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s 42nd Philippine Business Conference & Expo on Wednesday (Oct. 12, 2016) at Marriott Grand Ballroom in Pasay City. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Vice President Leni Robredo has tapped several government units and groups from various sectors to help her office devise a community rehabilitation program for drug surrenderers.

Speaking before them on Tuesday night, Robredo underscored the need to come up with a comprehensive in-community program soon as most of the surrenderers qualify for this.

Data from the Philippine National Police showed that 738,193 people have surrendered to the anti-drug drive as of Tuesday morning.

The Department of Health earlier said that at most, only 10 percent of them will need to enter rehabilitation centers.

Robredo said her office has tapped at least 11 local government units, where they will roll out a pilot “template” program based on the consultations they have done.

The LGUs, chosen based on the number of surrenderers in the area and the “quality of leadership,” already have existing programs of their own, “but are willing to try our suggestions,” she said.

“Sa amin lang, dahil ang pangangailangan nandoon sa community na, that’s where we want to help. We don’t have naman any imagination or false hope that we can do so much. Pero sa akin lang, kung ano ‘yung matutulong at our level, we will do it,” she said.

The Vice President, who was briefed on the government’s approach on the matter last month, earlier urged various government agencies involved in rehabilitation to jumpstart efforts by making use of resources from both the public and private sectors.

She noted then that institutionalizing the interagency programs presented to her may take some time.

On Tuesday, she said the template program her office will carry out “will not be competing with the programs being done by government now.”

“What we just want to do is to complement. Kung meron nang programa, titingnan kung paano puwedeng mas mapapaganda ‘yung programa,” she said.

“We don’t have as much resource, pero nakikita ko lang, if we are able to show that the programs that we have decided on actually work in the pilot areas that we started with, I’m sure the government will be willing to spend for them. Maipakita lang natin na may mga programa na actually nagwo-work,” she added.

Hope for reform

Several groups gathered at the Office of the Vice President (OVP) on Tuesday afternoon for a multi-stakeholder consultation on community drug rehabilitation.

Representatives included religious leaders, medical professionals, as well as former drug users now assisting in rehabilitation efforts.

During the consultation, they asked the OVP to help them notably in linking organizations and resource mapping, as well as in pushing for a national policy.

For her part, the Vice President noted the need to see hope in reforming the surrenderers.

“[M]any of you here are testaments that there is hope for everyone. Kailangan lang tulungan ng buong community,” she said.

Robredo reiterated that the drug problem must also be seen “from a public health perspective” that cannot be addressed with a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

“All of us want the same thing. The bottomline kasi is we want to prove that everyone should be given a chance to reform. And again, I think there is so much that needs to be done as far as mindsets are concerned,” she said.

“This is the reason why some of you are faith-based, some of you are from the medical profession, some are LGUs, some from the NGOs and civil society organizations. Because we want to look at the program from all the different angles available. Because we think there is no one solution or formula that will work. It has to be a combination of so many things, which should be made available for everyone who will be needing our help,” she added. (MNS)

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PHL economic managers to US business, Fil-Ams: Govt to focus on reducing poverty, inequality
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Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia speaks to the audience while Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno (center) and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia (right) listen during the “Coffee Meet and Greet with US business community” held at the Philippine Embassy Chancery Annex on last October 5.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia speaks to the audience while Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno (center) and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia (right) listen during the “Coffee Meet and Greet with US business community” held at the Philippine Embassy Chancery Annex on last October 5.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Philippine Secretaries of Finance, Budget and Management, and Socioeconomic Planning discussed the Duterte Administration’s plan of action to reduce poverty and inequality during engagements with the business and Filipino-American communities on 05 October 2016.

In a special edition of the Talakayan sa Pasuguan, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority Director-General Ernesto Pernia expressed the need for innovative statistics that will accurately track how economic growth is distributed across geographic regions and income classes.

“Poverty- and inequality-reducing economic growth requires a rebalancing of the economy,” said Secretary Pernia in reference to programs aimed at expanding development from the National Capital Region to rural areas in other parts of the country.

Our policies and our plans are certainly aimed at reducing the differentials between the growths in the regions,” added Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III delivers the Keynote Address entitled "Inclusive Growth under the Rule of Law," in the forum Economic Outlook for the Philippines: A Discussion with the Philippine Economic Team, held at the International Finance Corporation in Washington DC on 6 October 2016.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III delivers the Keynote Address entitled “Inclusive Growth under the Rule of Law,” in the forum Economic Outlook for the Philippines: A Discussion with the Philippine Economic Team, held at the International Finance Corporation in Washington DC on 6 October 2016.

Secretary Dominguez noted how the concentration of investments and infrastructure in Metro Manila has resulted in two-thirds of gross domestic product being produced in this area. He likewise cited the huge gap in the gross national income per capita between Metro Manila (Php 100,000/year) and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Php 26,000/year).

This is what we are addressing. This is what the electorate is asking us. This is why they elected the three top officials of our country from Mindanao,” the Finance Secretary stated, referring to the President, the Senate President and Speaker of the House.

Critical to the Administration’s socioeconomic agenda is improving infrastructure, to which more resources will be committed, according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

“From 2017 to 2022, we’re spending around Php 8.2 trillion for public infrastructure,” Secretary Diokno said.

This is to be achieved, he said, by “changing the way we budget,” in that only projects that are  shovel-ready will be included in the budget; doing projects in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao on a non-stop basis; and using technology, such as drones and Google Maps, to boost monitoring capability.

“There will be no ghost projects under the Duterte Administration,” the Budget Secretary stressed.

He also explained that a large part of the budget will be invested in education, health and nutrition, and social services, in order to develop the Filipino youth into a competent, healthy and agile workforce.

In a separate briefing for the business community, Secretaries Diokno and Pernia discussed how reforms in government procurement and cutting bureaucratic red tape can enhance the competitiveness of the Philippine economy and boost its attractiveness to foreign investments, as well as will result in more affordable services for individual citizens and businesses.

The economic managers gave the assurance that previous initiatives that have yielded positive results for the economy will be carried on by the present Administration.  They cited the strong macroeconomic fundamentals and drivers for growth that continue to attract foreign investments into the Philippines.

Secretaries Dominguez, Pernia and Diokno are in the US capital to attend the 2016 World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (WBG-IMF) Annual Meetings from 05 to 08 October 2016. ###

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Senate bill seeks web-based monitoring for provincial projects
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By Azer N. Parrocha

Senate turns 100: Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (4th from right) is joined by (from left) Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto, Senators Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay, Joel Villanueva, Juan Edgardo Angara, JV Ejercito, and Juan Miguel Zubiri during the Senate Centennial Dinner and Reunion on Wednesday (October 5, 2016). Pimente said the current Senate is proud to continue its role as the vibrant repository of the country's democratic ideals. (PNA photo courtesy of Senate PRIB)

Senate turns 100: Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (4th from right) is joined by (from left) Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto, Senators Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay, Joel Villanueva, Juan Edgardo Angara, JV Ejercito, and Juan Miguel Zubiri during the Senate Centennial Dinner and Reunion on Wednesday (October 5, 2016). Pimente said the current Senate is proud to continue its role as the vibrant repository of the country’s democratic ideals. (PNA photo courtesy of Senate PRIB)

MANILA  (PNA) –To ensure transparency and efficiency, a senator on Monday pushed for the creation of a web-based monitoring of the implementation of infrastructure projects at the provincial level.

This web-based monitoring system is part of a measure authored by Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson that seeks to ensure that resources from the national government are downloaded to the local government units (LGUs).

Under Senate Bill 40, Lacson said that he wanted web-based monitoring systems set up to monitor and evaluate programs funded by the local development funds.

Lacson said such a system could take a cue from that being implemented in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which uses apps like Google Maps.

“I would suggest (that this be implemented at the) provincial level. Provincial governments should replicate the ARMM’s map-based solution,” Lacson said.

Lacson noted that by giving the LGUs the chance to be active participants in the development of the country, this could end the culture of mendicancy and political patronage that thrive in the current system.

He explained that this way, provincial governments could ensure their constituents are informed and updated on the progress of infrastructure projects.

The senator said that information accessible to the public may include funding/cost, location, contractor, progress status, number of beneficiaries, date of completion and responsible government official.

An initial PHP100 million will be appropriated for such a system.

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‘Yolanda’ survivors’ tales to help build libraries
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Members of the women’s group GABRIELA hold a protest outside the DSWD headquarters in Quezon City on Friday, to mark the 2nd year commemoration of Typhoon Yolanda. The group pushed for the immediate release of the Emergency Shelter Assistance to help victims with their recovery.(MNS photo)

Members of the women’s group GABRIELA hold a protest outside the DSWD headquarters in Quezon City on Friday, to mark the 2nd year commemoration of Typhoon Yolanda. The group pushed for the immediate release of the Emergency Shelter Assistance to help victims with their recovery.(MNS photo)

TACLOBAN CITY  (PNA) – Librarians in Eastern Visayas have been collecting untold stories of super typhoon Yolanda survivors to come up with a book.

The 100-member Philippine Librarians Association Incorporated and the Eastern Visayas Regional Librarians Council (EVRLC) plan to build public libraries in the region from the net proceeds of sales of books with compilation Yolanda survivors’ stories.

Aside from the construction of libraries, they will also archive stories not just in print, but in web-based form for easy access.

“This is good because people not just in our country will know of our experiences during super typhoon Yolanda. We can also inspire them, that despite of the disaster in our lives, we still manage to move on,” said Roxane Cobilla, a typhoon survivor from Anibong district, this city.

Roxane, despite of the ordeal brought by the monster typhoon, managed to gave birth to a healthy baby, two weeks after the catastrophe.

Ma. Chona Rama, who initiated the compilation of survivors’ tale three months after the typhoon on Nov. 8, 2013, said the first library to be constructed in the region will be at the Kapuso Village in San Jose, Palo town.

Another outlet will rise in Palo town center as a provincial library.

“These stories would serve as a part of our history and this project would remind the next generation and the rest of the world of the regions’ experience during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda,” Chona told PNA.

The group expects to launch the book late next year, containing at least a hundred tales of selected survivors.

Supertyphoon Yolanda with international name Haiyan, recorded to be strongest at its landfall, killed at least 6,300 lives, leaving 1,061 missing and damage to property of PHP89 billion, ravaging a big part of Visayas region, based on government’s official report.

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Another fish kill hits Lake Sebu
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By Allen Sam V. Estabillo

Workers haul their catch of clams and mussels in the late afternoon at the Navotas fish port in Manila on Tuesday. President Duterte is set to discuss rights and access of Filipino fishermen to the disputed West Philippine Sea during his visit to China on October 19-21.(MNS photo)

Workers haul their catch of clams and mussels in the late afternoon at the Navotas fish port in Manila on Tuesday. President Duterte is set to discuss rights and access of Filipino fishermen to the disputed West Philippine Sea during his visit to China on October 19-21.(MNS photo)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY  (PNA) – Around 9,000 kilograms of tilapia were destroyed as another major fish kill hit Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.

Rudy Muyco, lake warden of Lake Sebu town, said Tuesday the ongoing fish kill started in parts of the lake last week as its dissolved oxygen dropped anew to the critical level due to the onset of the rains in the area.

Citing their monitoring, he said the decline in dissolved oxygen levels affected about 50 percent of the 354-hectare lake.

“At least 9,070 kilos of tilapia were so far destroyed because of the fish kill,” Muyco said in a radio interview.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Region 12 earlier reported that 19 fish cages owned by nine operators in Barangay Poblacion were affected by the fish kill.

Muyco said other fish cage operators at the lake were forced to conduct emergency harvests to avoid further losses.

As a result, the price of tilapia from Lake Sebu in the local markets dropped to as low as PHP50 per kilo.

Lake Sebu Mayor Antonio Fungan clarified that the tilapia from the emergency harvests that are being sold in the markets are safe for consumption.

To address the fish kill, the mayor said he has ordered the continuous cleanup of water hyacinths in portions of the lake.

Fishery officials earlier noted that the presence of water hyacinths in Lake Sebu compounded the occurrence of “kamahong,” a phenomenon caused by the sudden rise in the water’s temperature.

“Kamahong,” which usually occurs during the rainy season, triggers the rise of sulfuric acid in the lake’s waters that eventually caused the massive fish kill.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist said the phenomenon occurs when cold rainwater, which is heavier than warm water, settles at the abyssal zone of the lake.

It causes the upturn or upwelling of warm water carrying silts, sediments and gases such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, sulphur and methane gas produced by the decomposing organic matter such as fish feeds.

Such situation results in the reduction of dissolved oxygen in the water, “forcing fishes to take in oxygen directly from the atmosphere and eventually die,” it said.

From April to June, around 14,000 kilos were also destroyed in a series of fish kills blamed on “kamahong.” The municipal government reported the first fish kill in January.

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Senators: Lookout order can’t stop de Lima from going abroad
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By Azer N. Parrocha

Senate hearing on the DOJ's proposed budget of PHP15.017-B for 2017: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II (right) responds to a question from Senator Leila de Lima during the hearing on the proposed 2017 budget of PHP15.017-billion of the Department of Justice and its Attached Agencies on Friday (Oct. 7, 2016) at the Senate in Pasay City. (PNA photos by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)

Senate hearing on the DOJ’s proposed budget of PHP15.017-B for 2017: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II (right) responds to a question from Senator Leila de Lima during the hearing on the proposed 2017 budget of PHP15.017-billion of the Department of Justice and its Attached Agencies on Friday (Oct. 7, 2016) at the Senate in Pasay City. (PNA photos by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)

MANILA  (PNA) – Senators on Monday said that Senator Leila de Lima need not to worry about the immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) issued against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ) because it was not to prevent her from leaving the country.

To recall the DOJ issued the order against de Lima and five others for their alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

De Lima earlier described the order as “unnecessary” since she had no plans to leave the country to dodge her allegations which she repeatedly denied.

Senators, however, noted that the order would not stop her from leaving the country anyway.

“This is not a hold departure order which comes from a court order. A lookout (order) is to report if a person under a lookout order is leaving the country but he or she cannot be prevented,” Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said in an interview.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II stressed that de Lima and the five others will be prevented from leaving the country if they leave without corresponding travel authority from their heads of offices.

“A lookout bulletin is just a reporting system if this person leaves or tries to leave,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel also explained that the Senate has recently changed its rules regarding official and personal trips.

“If a Senator has private trip, he does not need to ask permission but if it is an official trip, he needs to ask permission because the Senate needs to know that they carry the name of the Senate,” Pimentel said.

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