Wednesday, April 20, 2016

PRDP frontloads big-ticket infra projects in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY- Investments for big-ticket agricultural infrastructure projects from the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) have seen a surge in Mindanao.

As of March 2016, Mindanao has a total of 208 infrastructure subprojects mostly farm-to-market roads (FMRs), generated from various local government units (LGUs) amounting to P12.13 billion. Of the figure, 117 are ongoing subprojects with a total cost of P6.06 billion and 91 are on the pipeline with a total cost of P6.07 billion.
“The Infrastructure development component (known as Intensified Building Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development or I-BUILD) has a total approved portfolio of P13.67 billion and Mindanao gets the biggest share with Php6.06 billion (44%),” PRDP National Deputy Project Director Engr. Arnel De Mesa said during the second World Bank review mission in Davao City held this month.

Visayas got P2.18 billion (16%), South Luzon has P2.72 (20%), and North Luzon with P2.71 (20%).
The I-BUILD portfolio in Mindanao has increased by 30% from the last review of P9.91 billion in August 2015 to P12.87 billion in March 2016. The total approved cost of the portfolio has also increased by 21% from P4.92 billion to P5.97 billion.

Region 11 cornered the biggest allocation with P2.76 billion (23%), Region 10 with P2.5 billion (21%), Region 12 has P2.15 billion (18%), Region 9 with P2.14 billion or (18%), Region 13 with P1.48 billion (12%), and ARMM got P1.09 billion (9%).

As of this report, Mindanao cluster completed four subprojects. Three are in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat: rehabilitation of Purok-2-San Martin FMR with a length of 1.82 km. worth P18.67 billion; rehabilitation of Tayugo-Paladon FMR with a length of 1.81 km. worth P17.83 million and; rehabilitation of Baul-Talitay farm-to-market road with 1.43 km. amounting P16.21 million.

Another one is the Portable Water System (PWS) in Tampakan, South Cotabato worth P4.30 million.
The I-BUILD component aims to put in place strategic and climate resilient-resilient rural infrastructure facilities along the value chain.

PRDP is a six-year special program of the Department of Agriculture focused on establishing a modern, value chain oriented, and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector. It is jointly funded by World Bank, national government and the local government units throughout the regions in Mindanao.  (Eva Mae Baculio-Intern/PRDP Mindanao)

Bill seeks to strengthen state workers' right

Lawmakers seek to amend some sections of Executive Order 180 to strengthen the right of government employees to self-organization.

Akbayan Party-list Reps. Angelina L. Katoh and Ibarra H. Gutierrez III filed House Bill 6199 to reinforce union participation in Public Sector Labor-Management Council (PSLMC) and to upgrade the rules governing the exercise of the right to self-organization of state workers.

"This bill seeks to strengthen the constitutional mandate under paragraph 5, section 2, B, Article IX of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which states that government employees shall not be denied to self-organization," said Katoh.

The proposed measure seeks to clarify the coverage of membership in government unions. It also seeks to limit the type of workers that can be excluded from union coverage.

The bill shall cover all rank and file government employees whose functions are not coterminous or high level in nature.

It shall be applicable to all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters.

HB 6199 also aims to define what constitute as unfair labor practices that undermine the right to self-organization.

It shall also provide the penalty for officers of agencies that will engage in unfair labor practices. Any heads of offices and other officers of the agency and on the part of the employee organization who participate in an unfair labor management practice shall be held administratively liable.

The bill likewise defines the procedure on how collective negotiations agreement should be carried out between government agencies and state workers unions.

It shall contain terms and conditions of employment or improvements except those that are fixed by law which may be subject to negotiations.

Lastly, the created national PSLMC under EO 180 shall be attached with the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

It shall also establish a Regional Public Sector Labor Management Board composed of heads of Regional Offices and Regional Representatives of the public sector union.

"To strengthen the union participation in the (PSLMC), setting up of regional PSLMCs is likewise proposed in order to immediately address issues involving state unions based in the regions," said Katoh.

The PSLMC in general shall assist in the promulgation of rules and regulations and the formation and development of programs regarding government employees' rights.

The council shall also exercise jurisdiction over inter and intra employees organizational disputes and those arising from interpretation and implementation of the provisions of the collective negotiation agreement. (House of Representatives)

Justice Secretary Caparas expresses needs amendment to IRR of the Senior Citizens' Act

Justice Secretary Emmanuel L. Caparas expressed the need to amend the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 (RA 9994) to avoid confusion with the proper identification documents that a senior citizen may use to avail of the benefits under the law.

Responding to a request for legal opinion made by the National Coordinating and Monitoring Board (NCMB), Sec. Caparas noted that both Sec. 4 of (RA 7432), as amended by RA 9994 and Article 5, Rule III of the IRR state that, to avail of the benefits provided by that law, a senior citizen may present any of the following: an identification card issued by the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA), passport, or any other documents that establish Filipino citizenship and age.

However, under Article 6 of Rule IV of the same IRR, a senior citizen may only be eligible for the privileges provided by the act upon presentation of the OSCA-issued Senior Citizens' ID.

Sec. Caparas said "it would appear that Article 6, earlier quoted, is incomplete and does not conform to the provisions of the law it seeks to implement" and "a reading of the provisions of R.A. No. 7432, as amended, does not show any legislative intent to limit the grant of the benefits and privileges only to holders of OSCA-issued Senior Citizens ID."

He further said the power to amend the subject IRR however, belongs to the DSWD Secretary pursuant to Sec. 90 of RA 9994 and not to the NCMB, which is limited to monitoring the implementation thereof under Sec. 8 of said law. (DOJ)

Needs assessment of El Niño -affected families continues

Approximately 250,000 family food packs worth P90.8 million have been extended, as of April 15, by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as augmentation support to local government units (LGUs) affected by the El Nino phenomenon.

The distribution of relief goods started in the fourth quarter of 2015.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that the provision of food aid to affected families through the LGUs will continue as long as there is a need for it.

Sec. Soliman added that the DSWD, in coordination with LGUs, is fast-tracking the conduct of needs assessment of affected families to determine other appropriate assistance.

As of April 16, a total of 457,497 families or 2,124,790 persons from Regions NCR, I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, VI, VII, X, XI, XII, and ARMM have been affected by El Nino.

In Region X, the DSWD-Field Office distributed food and rice in the affected towns of Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon over the weekend.

It is also scheduled to distribute rice to 13,292 families in the municipalities of Quezon and Talakag, and in Valencia City, all in Bukidnon on April 19-29. Bukidnon is already under a state of calamity.

Duly accredited civil society organizations, in close coordination with the DSWD, shall undertake the distribution.

“Along with the rest of the government, DSWD recognizes the urgency of responding to the situation of hunger affecting the poor in many parts of the country,” Sec. Soliman said.

She added that families who have not received help yet may inform the Pantawid Pamilya parent leaders in their barangays and sitios so that DSWD can send the needed assistance immediately. (DSWD)

Malacañang condemns abduction of five policemen in Davao

The Palace has condemned the abduction of five officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Davao City last week.

"We join the PNP in condemning this lawless act against our police officers, who were performing their duty to protect the security and well-being of our people," Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement issued on Tuesday (April 19).

The Palace official said the PNP is exerting efforts to apprehend the suspects, while ensuring the safety of police officers.

According to news reports, five PNP personnel on board patrol car No. 82 of the Davao City Police Office, were abducted at about noon on April 16 by heavily armed men. (PCOO News Release)