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Palace: Cash aid for GCQ areas possible if Congress OKs more funding

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the existing budget for the SAP will not be enough to cover all areas that are under quarantine because of the coronavirus pandemic......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarMay 17th, 2020

Roque to Congress: Consult Palace on increasing budget for vaccines

Any congressional move to raise the proposed 2021 budget for the coronavirus vaccine should at least be done in consultation with the Executive branch, according to a Palace official.  Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (RESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said while they respect Congress’ wisdom to hike the vaccine budget for the next year, the issue on its funding source must also be addressed. “The power of purse is vested in Congress. We will bow to the wisdom of Congress should they deem it fit to increase the budget for the vaccine, and of course, may pagkukuhanan po iyan (there will be a funding source for that),” he said during a Palace press briefing Thursday. “So we hope that Congress will at least confer with the Executive kung saan nila kukunin iyong pondo para itaas ang budget for the vaccine (on where the funds will be obtained to raise the budget for the vaccine),” he added. Nonetheless, Roque affirmed the administration’s resolve to ensure the country has adequate funds for the vaccine procurement once the life-saving drug becomes available.“We join Congress in our desire that we should have sufficient funds to pay for the vaccine, which according po to (Philippine) Ambassador (to China) Chito (Sta. Romana) is really forthcoming in the near future,” he said.The House of Representatives has reportedly introduced several amendments to its approved 2021 national budget, including a higher budget for the purchase of COVID vaccines to P8 billion.  In the original Palace-backed P4.5 trillion national budget proposal, at least P2.5 billion has been allocated for the COVID-19 vaccination program under the Department of Health’s budget. House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, who leads a small group in charge of amendments to the budget bill, said the additional P5.5 billion to augment the vaccine budget aims to ensure safe and effective vaccine will be available to Filipinos. “This is to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s program to strengthen the country’s health care system. We believe that vaccines play a very crucial role in keeping the population safe and healthy from the pandemic,” the Leyte lawmaker said.  On the part of the Senate, Senator Panfilo Lacson disclosed plans to increase funding for the coronavirus vaccine under the proposed 2021 national budget. Last week, the President said the government has the funds to buy the coronavirus vaccine once it is available but would need more money to vaccinate all Filipinos. Duterte earlier vowed to give priority to the poor, the police and military personnel in the distribution of free vaccines.  He said the country will buy the most affordable vaccine to be sold in the market given the government’s limited resources. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2020

DSWD faces grilling over slow cash-aid

House leaders are set to grill officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on four problem areas, including the slow distribution of cash aid to the poor, when Congress begins its investigation of its social amelioration program today (Monday)......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2020

Palace: SAP for GCQ areas if supplemental budget passed

Households in areas where quarantine measures have been relaxed will receive aid if Congress passes a supplemental budget to fund the government’s Social Amelioration Program.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 17th, 2020

No games, big losses: Money crisis faces US Olympic sports

By EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer DENVER (AP) — The postponement of the Tokyo Games has catapulted the sports organizations that make up the backbone of the U.S. Olympic team into crisis. At least one has already started layoffs and others are desperate to stay solvent. Some are expecting a major downturn in membership dues, while others are reeling from event cancellations totaling more than 8,000 across all sports. A database analyzed by The Associated Press shows combined projected losses of more than $121 million in revenue between February and June for 43 of the 50 national governing bodies that responded to a survey from the NGB Council in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. As much or more as the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which serves as an umbrella regulator of the country's Olympic sports, it's the NGBs that provide funding and other support for athletes to pursue their dreams at the Olympic and other elite levels. About 80% of the typical NGB's budget goes toward supporting athletes. Not including the U.S. Tennis Association — an outlier because of the massive revenue it generates from the U.S. Open — the NGBs have a combined annual revenue of about $685 million. By comparison, the NFL and NBA each reportedly brought in about $8 billion during the latest completed season. Half the NGBs are little more than ma-and-pop operations, working with small staffs and on revenue not more than $5 million a year. The USOPC, which sent cash grants to the individual NGBs to the tune of around $65 million in 2018, is also in uncharted territory. The postponement of the Olympics forces the federation to make up for a shortfall nearing $200 million without the NBC payout that comes during Olympic years. The USOPC broke with recent practice by not taking out insurance against that possible loss, instead deciding to self-insure. Some of the shortfall is expected to come from an endowment fund created out of a surplus from the 1984 LA Olympics. The USOPC says the losses across American sports could range from $600 million to $800 million. A good portion of these losses can be recouped if the games go forward, as expected, in 2021. But staying financially healthy until that time is not a given for some of the more vulnerable NGBs. “I haven't heard anyone say their NGB itself was going to go out of business,” said Max Cobb, the president of U.S. Biathlon, who doubles as leader of the USOPC's NGB Council. “But there's very little buffer to absorb any revenue loss for an NGB. They all run on a very tight revenue and expense model, and very few have much in the way of savings.” Already, USA Cycling, a mid-sized NGB with an approximate annual revenue of $15 million, laid off eight of its 70-person staff. And USA Rugby, which existed on about $14 million in revenue through 2017, was already teetering and could be nearing closer to bankruptcy with the added uncertainty the Olympic postponement has brought. Many NGBs, such as cycling, are event driven — reliant on cash brought when people sign up for local and national competitions that they sanction. Others, such as USA Swimming, get their lion's share of funding from membership dues, which are taking a hit as facilities around the nation close on the order of state and local governments. “We, as an NGB, will feel it next fall when memberships start rolling in. That shortfall could have a profound effect,” said USA Swimming's Tim Hinchey. “We can overcome a lot of these things, I think, if all comes back to normal. But we have to wait and see like everyone else.” The only event that makes money for swimming is its Olympic trials, which are also a significant revenue source for track, gymnastics and other sports that send large teams. All have been postponed, to be rescheduled when the IOC sets a new date for the Olympics in 2021. The USOPC recently sent a letter to Congress asking for $200 million to be included in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed through the House of Representatives on Friday. The money, it said, was to be used to support about 2,500 athletes and to help NGBs, which have a total of about 4,500 full-time employees. “On short notice, we surveyed NGBs and then made additional assumptions about the current and future impact of the pandemic on athlete financial support,” CEO Sarah Hirshland said. “Reflective of that work, funds were requested on behalf of athletes and NGBs only.” That request wasn't granted — the federal government has a long history of not providing financial support to the Olympics — though Cobb said he was encouraged that not-for-profit businesses such as the NGBs are allowed to apply for loans as part of the stimulus package's $349 billion “Paycheck Protection Program.” Hinchey said he'll direct some struggling swim clubs to also seek relief from the loan program. What's clear to Cobb is that without some help, more layoffs could be imminent at some NGBs, while others will suffer in ways that the broad public might not recognize right away. Without as much revenue to support a wider swath of coaching and training programs, to say nothing of equipment and state-of-the-art training facilities, some sports' pipelines might suffer. “The athletes receiving the support right now have earned that by being the best in the country,” Cobb said. “But it's that next generation of athletes, and all the NGBs rely on that next generation, that's the group that's the most impacted.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 28th, 2020

IATF relaxes age restrictions in MGCQ areas

The Palace announced Friday the easing of age restrictions in areas under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), where people aged 10 to 65 years will be allowed to leave their homes starting Feb. 1......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 23rd, 2021

P245 M allocated for Judges-at-Large Act; Angara sees faster resolution of cases

Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara assured the Judiciary Sunday it would be able to expedite the adjudication of several pending court cases with the funds Congress provided for the appointment of judges-at-large under the 2021 national budget.  Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (Senator Sonny Angara Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said a total of P244.988 million was included in the budget of the Judiciary for the implementation of Republic Act 11459 or the Judges-at-Large Act.Enacted on Aug. 13, 2019, the law mandates the creation of judges-at-large posts for the regional and municipal trial courts in order to decongest the courts of its dockets.These judges-at-large would have no permanent salas and may be assigned by the Supreme Court as acting or assisting judges to any Regional Trial Court (RTC) or Municipal Trial Court (MTC) in order to decongest the courts of its dockets.“For 2020, the first year of implementation of the law, we provided funding to cover for the creation of 50 judges-at-large posts,” Angara said in a statement.“For 2021, we will double the number of posts to 100 as requested by our Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta,” Angara said.The senator also said these judges-at-large are entitled to salaries, privileges, allowances, emoluments, benefits, rank, and title of regular RTC and MTC judges.Angara also said the Judiciary’s budget for 2021 also includes a P50-million augmentation to cover for the deployment of Judiciary marshals to secure the justices, judges, and other court officials.He said the inclusion of this funding was prompted by the appeals of the Judiciary for the creation of a judicial marshal service as the threats and attacks against judges and other court officials continue to take place in the country. The Senate is set to approve Senate Bill No. 1947 or the proposed Judiciary Marshals Act, of which Angara is one of the authors. Once approved, an office of the Judiciary marshals would be established under the Supreme Court and its continued funding will be ensured as part of the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).“We want to sustain the implementation of the Judges-at-Large Act to help ensure the delivery of speedy justice in the country,” the lawmaker said.“With the appointment of more judges, we can expect to see the resolution of more cases and eventually free up the courts of its backlog,” Angara added. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsJan 17th, 2021

Don t leave out far-flung areas in access to jabs, Palace told

An opposition lawmaker on Wednesday urged the Duterte administration to resolve issues that would make other COVID-19 brands such as Pfizer unavailable to provinces due to the lack of facilities......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 13th, 2021

Globe readies Malaca& ntilde;ang, Senate, Congress for 5G

Globe is planning to upgrade its infrastructure to further improve its indoor coverage solutions in several buildings in Malacañang Palace, Senate and the House of Representatives......»»

Category: techSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 9th, 2021

Palace: ABC-CBN franchise renewal up to Congress

Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress to decide on the new bill seeking to renew the franchise of television network ABS-CBN, which was forced to lay off thousands of workers after its franchise expired last May......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 5th, 2021

Trump vetoes defense fund bill

US President Donald Trump vetoed a broad defense funding bill sent to him by Congress Wednesday, complaining that it helps Russia and China and objecting to provisions to rename military bases......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 24th, 2020

Congress submits P4.5-trillion national budget to Palace

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Friday the P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021 was now ready for the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 18th, 2020

Palace: Workshops, seminars now allowed at 30% capacity in GCQ areas

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s COVID-19 task force has allowed the conduct of workshops, trainings, seminars, and the like at 30 percent venue capacity in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang said Friday. In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said other events allowed are congresses, conferences, board meetings, colloquia, conclaves, symposia, and consumer […] The post Palace: Workshops, seminars now allowed at 30% capacity in GCQ areas appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 4th, 2020

Experts urge more gov’t funding for evacuation centers to prevent casualties, COVID-19 spread

Disaster risk reduction experts on Wednesday called on Congress to allocate funding for safe and resilient evacuation centers to better prevent casualties and reduce the spread of coronavirus.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 18th, 2020

Shell widens losses to P13.9-B in 9 months; P1B investment set for import facility

With additional valuation-anchored inventory losses and one-off charges booked, the net loss of listed firm Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC) had widened to P13.9 billion in nine months this year. That’s a complete reversal of the P4.4 billion net income it posted last year, when oil prices were at more predictable state and there had been no pandemic-induced uncertainties disrupting oil markets. It specified that if the P5.7 billion inventory valuation losses had not turned up, the company’s net loss in the third quarter should have been at leaner P700 million versus P900 million in the second quarter. And without the one-off charges that stood at P7.5 billion, the oil firm’s net loss should have been trimmed to P6.4 billion within the January-September stretch. The one-off charges came about because of the closure of its refining operations that subsequently prompted the conversion of its Tabangao facility into a world-class import terminal. But while the company works on improving its financial performance in the coming months, Pilipinas Shell President and CEO Cesar G. Romero announced that they will be re-investing roughly P1.0 billion in the next few years “to fully transform Tabangao into a world class facility that will support its marketing growth aspirations.” Part of the company’s major step this year is to set on stream the commercial operations of its 54-million liter capacity terminal in Subic to underpin its supply chain, primarily to serve the demand of its Northern Luzon customers; while its Tabangao import facility will cater to the needs of customers in other parts of Luzon and Northern Visayas. To complete the loop, its Northern Mindanao Import Facility (NMIF) in Cagayan de Oro will be supporting the rest of Visayas and well as customers in Mindanao. Pilipinas Shell said it now “has a more resilient network of three medium-range import terminals with sufficient finished products capacity to effectively serve the demands of customers nationwide.” The firm indicated that despite the challenges, it prioritized business strategies that shall result in cash preservation for the company. As of third quarter’s end, the savings logged by the company stood at P2.5 billion; and this is seen sustained at the level of P2.0 billion until the end of this year. “Savings of P1.2 billion were generated from OPEX (operating expenses); with P1.3 billion from CAPEX (capital expenditure),” Shell emphasized. While the company still navigates the tough terrain of business induced by the coronavirus pandemic, Romero asserted their overall frame “remains optimistic,” as he noted that the “government’s efforts to gradually reopen the economy by prudently relaxing quarantine restrictions are slowly giving elbow room for the economy to recover.” He specified that for Shell, “the wins are coming in gradually as more businesses operate at increased capacity in the areas of manufacturing and transportation.” The company chief executive expounded “our balance sheet, technical capability and resources are solid; and serve as well in continuing to provide Filipinos with high quality fuel products despite the challenging environment.” Parallel to the firm’s aspirations for demand and financial rebound, Romero noted they are also making “the right sustainable decision to protect the long-term interests of our shareholders.” The company’s gearing had risen to 47-percent, and that was mainly attributed to “lower equity from net loss rather than an increase in net debt,” with it emphasizing that “excluding the impact of the refinery one-off charges, the company’s gearing stands at 41-percent.” Romero indicated “the pandemic has forced us to rethink the way we do things, while ensuring the quality of service that Filipinos expect from us.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 12th, 2020

NDRRMC says typhoon response adequate

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Thursday that it has not been negligent in issuing timely and adequate warnings and advisories related to the strength of typhoon “Ulysses” even if many residents in Metro Manila and nearby provinces seemed to be caught by surprise with the sudden flooding in their areas. (MANILA BULLETIN) Requests from people asking to be rescued from the roof or second floors of their houses, specifically in Marikina City, Pasig City, and Rizal, due to the overflow of the Marikina River have flooded social media and the NDRRMC Operations Center, according to Assistant Secretary Casiano Monilla, Office of Civil Defense deputy director for operations. “Patuloy ang paglilikas natin but since yesterday or even the other day, inililikas na ang ating mga kababayan especially doon sa traditionally naaapektuhan ng bagyo. We were not caught flat-footed dito sa event na ito. Kung minsan lang kasi, kapag nag-ikot ang local officials ay hindi kaagad sumusunod ang mga kababayan. Mas nagrerely tayo kung ano ang ating nararamdaman, kung ano ang prevailing na situation na nararamdaman other than the advise na binibigay ng PAGASA,” he said in a virtual media forum. (We are still conducting rescue operations but since [Wednesday] or even [Tuesday], we have already conducted pre-emptive evacuation of our countrymen especially in areas that are traditionally affected by typhoons. We were not caught flat-footed by this event. Sometimes, the residents don’t listen to local officials even if they are already warned. They usually rely on what they are feeling or the prevailing situation rather than the advise given by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration)The NDRRMC has yet to provide data on the extent of damage of  Ulysses and how many people were affected. But NDRRMC chairman and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in a separate interview, said the damage has been “huge.” “[There was] huge damage. [There were] totally flooded villages and low-lying areas were flooded,” Lorenzana said when asked to describe the extent of Ulysses’ effects. Lorenzana said he has briefed President Duterte about the deployment of troops to save some residents in Marikina who were asking to be rescued due to the overflow of the Marikina River. “I just came from the Palace. I briefed him what our troops are doing in Marikina to save people from their rooftops,” he said. Social media users were quick to point out the similarity in the devastation of Ulysses to typhoon “Ondoy” in 2009 which inundated a vast portion of Metro Manila after hours of intense rains. Ondoy left 747 people dead and billions of damages in agriculture and infrasture. In Marikina, Mayor Marcelino Teordoro said Ulysses brought the water level of Marikina River to 22 meters as of 11 a.m. Thursday, which was higher than the 21.5-meter level reached during typhoon Ondoy. Monilla said local government units (LGUs) have the responsibility to conduct search and rescue operations on their affected residents but he noted that the NDRRMC is behind the LGUs to augment their capabilities. “Ondoy really served as a lesson especially sa area ng Marikina at Pasig sa NCR. Nagkaroon na sila even the early warning signals. Sa amin naman, ang pagdirect ng operations ay aming nirerely sa LGUs at kami lang ay tumutulong sa local governments in harnessing the response units para madagdagan ang units na nagre-rescue sa ating mga kababayan (Ondoy really served as a lesson especially in Marikina and Pasig in the National Capital Region. They established early warning signals. On our part, the direction of [rescue] operations rely on the local government units and we just help them in harnessing the response units which will rescue our countrymen),” he said.  “Because highly populated ang lugar it could be a challenge relocating them. Ang Provident [Village] nga which serves as a lesson in Ondoy ay affected din sa ngayon. Highly urbanized kasi ang Metro Manila that’s why it’s really a challenge paano i-relocate ang mga tao na laging affected ng ganito,” he added. Meanwhile, the NDRRMC has also tapped the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and several private companies to deploy their manpower and assets for search and rescue operations. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, AFP chief, said the Joint Task Force NCR has been leading the rescue efforts in Metro Manila. They were aigmented by two disaster response units from the 7th Civil Relations Group, 101stSearch and Rescue volunteers, and private group REACT PH. Another search and rescue unit from Bantay Bayan volunteers were deployed in areas on Tullahan River and Caloocan City to conduct search and rescue operations. The Joint Task Force Bicolandia, Northern Luzon Command (NolCom), and Southern Luzon Command (SolCom) also deployed thousands of soldiers to coordinate the search and rescue operations in Bicol region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos (Region 1), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4A), and Mimaropa (Region 4B). Monilla said they have received reports that major dams in Luzon have been releasing excess water which may inundate Central Luzon and parts of Metro Manila. “Ang Angat, Ipo, La Mesa, at Wawa dams nagpapakawala ng tubig dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng tubig dulot ng ulan na hatid ni Ulysses so baka abutin pa hanggang mamayang hapon o gabi (Angat, Ipo, La Mesa, and Wawa dams were releasing water because of the continuous rain brought about by Ulysses so the [flooding] may persist until afternoon or evening),” he said. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 12th, 2020

Northern Samar sends first batch of relief goods to ‘Rolly’ victims in Bicol

TACLOBAN CITY (PNA) – The provincial government of Northern Samar has delivered the first batch of relief augmentation to areas badly-hit by super typhoon Rolly in the Bicol Region. The trucks used in transporting the first batch of relief augmentation from the province of Northern Samar to areas hit by Super Typhoon Rolly (international name Goni) in the Bicol Region. The provincial social welfare and development office (PSWDO) on Saturday (Nov. 7, 2020) said the provinces of Albay and Catanduanes each received 500 sacks of rice, 200 boxes of assorted canned goods, 200 boxes of bottled water, and 100 boxes each of cereal drink and powdered milk. (Photo courtesy of Northern Samar PSWDO/ PNA/ MANILA BULLETIN) In a phone interview on Saturday, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) Head Jenny Darish, said they have sent eight truckloads of essential goods to the provinces of Albay and Catanduanes on November 6. Each province received 500 sacks of rice, 200 boxes of assorted canned goods, 200 boxes of bottled water, and 100 boxes each of cereal drink and powdered milk. “Northern Samar is also regularly hit by typhoons during this season so it is easy for us to empathize with the plight of the people in Bicol. The Bayanihan spirit lives,” Darish said. The provincial government thanked all various groups and private individuals who extended cash and in-kind donations, including the Philippine Coast Guard, Boyax Cargo, construction companies, Solid M, and JUPA, for the logistics support. “The overwhelming support and fast response from the people of Northern Samar shows us what we can achieve if we work together. We were recently battered by ‘Tisoy’ and ‘Ambo’, so the experience of our Bicolano brothers and sisters is not just a news we read online but a reality we regularly face,” Governor Edwin Ongchuan said in a press statement. The PSWDO is still accepting cash or in-kind donations. Drop-off points will be at the PSWDO office in Dalakit village in Catarman town or the different municipal social welfare and development offices in the province. “Rolly” was the strongest typhoon in the country this year, making four landfalls, and leaving at least 22 people dead while damage to agriculture and infrastructure has reached over PHP14 billion. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 8th, 2020

Task force to pinpoint areas where vaccines will go, Palace says

The government has formed a task group to prepare a COVID-19 vaccination program to ensure the deployment of vaccines in target areas, Malacanang said Friday......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

Labor department rolls out fresh cash aid for workers

The labor department is rolling out another batch of cash aid for workers after it received P16.1-billion in fresh funding from the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, also known as Bayanihan 2......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 30th, 2020

Coconut farmers are poorest agri people

Coconut farmers are now the poorest people in the agriculture sector, much poorer than when they were 30 years ago.  This was the assessment of Danny Carranza, a coconut farmer and member the Kilusan Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan (Katarungan). (MB FILE, Keith Bacongco) Carranza blamed the coconut farmers’ poverty on the low copra prices, inability to intercrop and modernize, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, which isolates some of them who are living in far-flung areas.                “If you’re going to compare, we are much poorer now than we were back in 1990,” said Carranza. Carranza said the “crisis in coconut” that started in the 1990s was never resolved, but even worsened especially when farmers failed to diversify and intercrop before copra prices, dictated by world prices, crashed in 2019 and in the previous years.              “The price of copra is improving, reaching P16/kg from P8/kg last year, but that is still not enough,” Carranza said, adding that farmers’ income from a hectare of coconut plantation does not reach P10,000 anymore.            At present, about 95 percent of the 3.5 million hectares of coconut farms in the Philippines are meant to produce copra, which is the material for coconut oil manufacturing.  But with the collapse of the prices of coconut oil in the world market over the last two years, prices of copra have also dropped plunging farmers into deeper poverty. According to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), prices of copra at farmgate as of October 15 stood at P21.86/kg, which is higher compared to P14.55/kg price level during the same day last year.           But Carranza said that it normally takes three to four years for coconut farmers to recover when a typhoon hits their plantation because coconut trees don’t recover fast. Several typhoons have devastated coconut trees lately.  “Farmers’ income is dictated by world prices, they don’t have enough funds to modernize their industry, and the government has failed to support them in the diversification of their coconut plantations,” Carranza said.  “Then things got worse because of climate change. And then, because of lockdown, a lot of farmers who live in far-flung areas were isolated and couldn’t deliver their produce,” he added.   In 2018, farmers working in coconut farms only received a daily nominal wage rate of P264, based on Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data.   To alleviate the current situation of coconut farmers, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has announced that it will soon distribute a P5,000 worth of assistance to coconut farmers, which will be withdrawn from the agency’s P24-billion stimulus package granted under ‘Bayanihan 2’. The problem, according to Carranza, is that the assistance may only benefit farmers who own 1 hectare of coconut plantations or less. The PCA is also setting aside a portion of its budget to finance on-farm and off-farm livelihood projects for coconut farmers such as intercropping and livestock. Meanwhile, Pambansang Kilusan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (PKMP) Chairman Eduardo Mora said the legal team of Senator Bong Go pledged to help coconut farmers push for provisions that they want to be included in the Coco Levy Act, the proposed law that will pave the way for the release of the P100-billion coco levy fund.           “It was the office of Senator Bong Go that informed us that the senate version of Coco Levy Act was already passed in third and final reading. But his legal team also assured to help us in the congress version of the law, in bicameral, and in the drafting of the IRR [implementing rules and regulation] of the law,” Mora told Business Bulletin.         Mora’s group, which represents more than a hundred thousand coconut farmers in the country, has been calling for increased farmers’ representation in the planned coconut trust fund management committee.         Coconut farmers also don’t want the funds to be handled by PCA, Mora said.         Business Bulletin already sought for Agriculture Secretary William Dar’s reaction regarding the farmers’ opposition of the Coco Levy Act, but he hasn’t responded yet. .....»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 24th, 2020

Duterte asked to act on slow disbursement of aid for seniors

President Duterte has been urged to step in on the supposed slow disbursement of financial assistance to senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior Citizen partylist Rep. Rodolfo “Ompong” Ordanes brought to the attention of the Chief Executive the “continuous troubles” hounding the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s implementation and disbursement of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) , Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT), and Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens. “To date, we continually receive reports from thousands of our senior citizens all around the Philippines on how the DSWD fails to timely disburse the monetary aid that our government promised to them,” he said in his letter to Duterte dated Oct. 21. He laments that some of the senior citizens have perished before receiving a single centavo from the monetary aid due them. “This slow implementation and disbursement of the DSWD of critical monetary aid for our senior citizens clearly runs contrary to the directive of Your Excellency for the government to do whatever it takes to protect the welfare of our almost 10 million vulnerable senior citizens,” he said. “Thus, we humbly seek the assistance of Your Excellency in requesting that the DSWD fast-track the implementation and disbursement of the monetary aid for our senior citizens,” Ordanes said. During the House of Representatives’ plenary deliberations on the proposed P171-billion budget of the DSWD for 2021 last Oct. 13, it was relayed that some 1.404 million senior citizens have benefited from the national government’s SAP. In a virtual press briefing last week, over 2.9 million indigent senior citizens have received their social pension worth about P8.7 billion. The number is almost 83 percent of the 3.5 million indigent elderly targeted to receive the government stipend. During his 58th birth anniversary last Oct. 15, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista led the distribution of social pension worth P2.178 million to around 726 indigent senior citizens in Dinalupihan, Bataan. Republic Act No. 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010” provides that seniors qualified to receive social pension are those who are frail, sickly, or with disability; without any pension from other government agencies; and without a permanent source of income or source of financial assistance and compensation to support their basic needs. However, the DSWD said those senior citizens who are not included in the list, but are eligible, can still appeal to the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA), their local governments, and the nearest Field Office, which has jurisdiction over their areas, for assessment......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 24th, 2020