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Negros Occidental ARBO distributes relief goods to members affected by Covid-19 crisis

April 8, 2020

To lessen the burden caused by Covid-19 to their farmer-members, even just for a few days, the San Juan Torena Agrarian Reform Cooperative (SJTARC), located in Caduhaan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, gave out food packs to 70 household recipients – who are mostly members and non-agrarian reform beneficiaries belonging to the neighboring community.  SJTARC, a Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-assisted agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organization (ARBO), distributed relief packs consisting of 5 kilograms of rice, 3 packs of noodles, a pack of dried fish, and 10 pieces of fresh eggs – straight from their harvest.  “This activity aims to address, even just for a week, the struggles of farmers in finding their next meals, due to loss of income, less mobilization or access to food sources brought about by the Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) crisis. Knowing that we are helping others is hugely empowering and, in turn, makes us happier and more fulfilled,” Rodney B. Cornoso, Chairman of SJTARC said.  Officers and members of the cooperative worked tirelessly the whole week to pack the goods and noted that their generosity and goodwill is only an act of returning the kindness among its fellow farmers and farm workers. “It inspires us more and this is what we need amid these trying times brought by the COVID–19 pandemic,” Cornoso added  San Juan Torena ARC, a humble ARBO with a total of 33 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), located in Barangay Caduhaan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, manages the 61.4223 hectares of land they acquired under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).  “The generosity amidst the unprecedented time of crisis is what we need today to remind us that we must also consider and be mindful of the needs of others” Cornoso said  DAR Negros Occidental 1 (North) OIC-Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Teresita Mabunay said the DAR will continually capacitate and mold the various organizations in the province for them to become an effective, efficient, and model associations and citizens of the nation.   “Farmers are the country’s unsung heroes, working day and night to deliver food straight to our tables. They are frontliners in the production of food, an essential commodity during this Enhanced Community Quarantine period. Farmers are as important as our medical personnel attending and providing intensive care to the disease-stricken patients,” Mabunay said  

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DPWH Facilitates Deliveries of DSWD Goods in Ilocos Region

April 7, 2020

In an effort to speed up the delivery of relief goods in various towns in Region 1, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has mobilized heavy equipment such as dumptrucks and tractor head trucks with trailer for transport assistance to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in its relief operations for families who have been affected by enhanced community quarantine. In his report to Secretary Villar, DPWH Region 1 Director Ronnel M. Tan said that four (4) dump trucks were utilized for deliveries going to Infanta and  Bugallon, Pangasinan; and one (1) unit prime mover tractor head with low bed trailer for the movement of goods in Caba and Agoo, La Union.  Secretary Mark A. Villar said that the national government through DSWD is intensifying its augmentation assistance to local government units with the DPWH manpower and equipment resources supporting in the delivery of food packs in various municipalities.  Food packs delivered in Pangasinan were hauled from DSWD warehouse in Basinloc, Dagupan City with the help of Philippine Army Reservist of 1601st Ready Reserve Infantry Brigade stationed in Manaoag, Pangasinan while  the goods  delivered in La Union were from DSWD warehouse in Barangay Biday, San Fernando City, La Union with the assistance of Philippine Navy. Secretary Villar has instructed DPWH field units nationwide to intensify coordination with DSWD and other frontline offices  for possible transport support of government assistance.  The DPWH Chief also lauded the DPWH men and women who are also acting as support frontliners during this crisis.

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Waterpark repurposes machine to produce surface disinfectant

April 7, 2020

Since the Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort was shuttered on March 17 in response to the government’s plea to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the facility, hailed as “Mindanao’s Showcase of Sustainable Tourism” has lain idle except for a skeleton crew cleaning and maintaining its various attractions. However, that wasn’t going to stop UC-1 President and CEO Engr. Elpidio M. Paras from using its facilities to help in the war against the virus. UC-1 is the holding company which owns and manages the family’s various enterprises in the hospitality industry, business process outsourcing (BPO), internet service provision, and cable television. On March 31st, Paras announced in a Facebook post he had successfully commissioned the Seven Seas Waterpark's Chlorinsitu IIa machine to produce 815 liters daily of Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl) solution. “While it was intended to keep our wave pool sanitized for the summer, it is now repurposed to supply a good quantity of chlorine-based disinfectant for use by the community,” Paras announced. When its daily output of NaOCl is diluted with water, the machine can produce the equivalent of 7,000 Liters of surface disinfectant in a day. “We are working with the XU Chemistry department to properly mix this into a safe and effective product for use by our front liners, hospitals and community checkpoints,” Paras said. Already, the disinfectant is being used in a prototype disinfectant misting apparatus which Paras designed for use by their Parasat HD technical service vehicles as extra protection as they go about their daily duties in response to the demands of their cable and internet business. “Our frontline technical and CSR staff are in constant exposure to possible CoVid-19 infections, so we go to extra lengths to keep them safe in their daily rounds,” Paras noted. A short video of the apparatus can be viewed  here.  In addition to these measures, UC-1 has also implemented a comprehensive package of  measures as recommended by authorities to help curb the spread of the CoVid-19 virus including social distancing, staggered work schedules with a skeletal work force, shorter office hours (8am-4pm), and plastic curtains for their payment centers. The company has also taken advantage of the Holy Week break to implement  sanitation and disinfection procedures of its various offices and payment centers which have already been provided with alcohol sanitizers and disinfecting foot baths for its customers and employees, and has disallowed the entry of all people not wearing a face mask.  As a further measure to comply with the global edict for social distancing, the company suspended all scheduled deactivations for March and encouraged all its customers to take advantage of the faster processing times for their payments at any Savemore/SM store, 7Eleven stores, or through online banking (BDO, Metrobank, BPI, Landbank), and ECPay Merchant Partner including 7Eleven (Nationwide); GCASH; TrueMoney (Nationwide); ExpressPay (Nationwide); Oro Graphic Inc. Main (Graphics); RD Pawnshop (Nationwide); ALP Tickets and Bills Payment; Triple MG Business Center; Top Online Provider Deals (App) or NATCCO (Coop).  

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CDO Filipino-Chinese Community donations to NMMC breach P4.3-M

April 7, 2020

Cagayan de Oro’s Filipino-Chinese Community showed its unequivocal support for the city’s battle against the CoVid-19 coronavirus with its biggest donation yet to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center on April 7. The group headed by President Sonny Choi and COVID-19 Response Committee Chairman Efren Uy turned over to NMMC Center Chief Dr. Jose Chan 1,980 sets of PPEs each worth P1,500 with a total value of  P 2,970,000.00 and 500 pieces of N95 face masks each worth P130.00 valued at P65,000.00 for a total donation of P3,035,000.00. With this latest donation, the community’s collective donations to NMMC comes to a total of P4,304,000.00, excluding donations also made to the city owned and operated J.R. Borja General Hospital (JRBGH). The NMMC is the only hospital in Region X with the capability to test and treat CONVID-19 Patients Under Investigation (PUI). Under the strategy adopted by the Regional and City Health offices, COVID-19 patients are exclusively referred to NMMC, while JRBGH and other private hospitals take in as many non-COVID cases as they can accommodate to give NMMC’s personnel and facilities as much slack as possible to deal with the outbreak. From March 23 to April 6, the CDO Filipino-Chinese Community had previously donated to NMMC on four separate occasions urgently needed PPEs and medical supplies collectively valued at P1,269,000.00. The initial shipment consisted of 60 cartons rubbing alcohol and sanitizing gel, two units knapsack sprayer, 12 pails disinfectant solution (chlorine), safety goggles, rubber boots, protective raincoats with pants, face shields, and 50 cartons disposable water tissues/paper towels collectively valued at P365,00.00 This was followed on March 28 by 480 set plastic rain coats worth P250.00 each valued at P120,000.00.00 and 800 locally made face shields worth P80.00each and valued at  P64,000.00 for P184,000.00 for the entire batch. On April 3, the group turned over 250 sets of PPEs made in Korea worth P1,800.00 each valued at P450,000.00 followed on April 6 by 100 sets PPEs made in China worth P 1,300.00 each valued at P150,000.00 and 200 sets of 5M brand PPE kit worth P600.00 each valued at P120,000.00 or P270,000.00 total. The Filipino-Chinese Community of Cagayan de Oro includes 21 community organizations, including family associations, chambers of commerce, schools, martial arts, civic and religious fraternities.  These including the following: Misamis Oriental Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.;  Mindanao Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China in the Philippines; Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.; Cagayan de Oro You We Tong Civic & Religious Fraternity, Inc.; Oro Christian Grace School; Misamis Oriental Liong Tek Fraternity Association, Inc.; Sejo-Lim Family Association-Northern Mindanao Chapter; Cagayan de Oro Bell Church Foundation, Inc.; Kong Hua School; Cagayan de Oro Volunteer Fire Brigade, Inc.; Phil. Wushu Federation-Cagayan de Oro Chapter; Phil. Kim Mun Association-Misamis Oriental Chapter ; Cagayan Gospel Church ; Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Amity Club;  Cagayan de Oro San Lorenzo Filipino-Chinese Catholic Community; Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.-Misamis Oriental Chapter; Philippine Chinese High School Alumni Association-Cagayan de Oro Chapter; Misamis Oriental Progressive Mason Temple, Inc.; Kong Hua School, Inc.; and the Chee Kung Tong Chinese Free Mason Misamis Oriental Branch.

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DA, DTI, CdeO intensify price freeze implementation

April 7, 2020

The Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 10 (DA-RFO 10) strengthens its coordination with stakeholders regarding price monitoring in a meeting at the DA-10 Conference Room. Under Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-01 of DA, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Health (DOH) have issued the “Price Freeze Act under a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”. Pursuant to the JMC, prices of basic necessities under the jurisdiction of the DTI, DA, and DOH are frozen at their prevailing prices as of March 8, 2020 until May 15, 2020, unless sooner lifted by the President. Accordingly, DA-RFO 10 Regional Technical Director Carlota S. Madriaga and its Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) called for a meeting with DTI-10, City Price Coordinating Council (CPCC) and City Economic Enterprise Department (CEED) of Cagayan de Oro City and the Misamis Oriental Retailers Association (MISORRA). The group agreed on crafting a resolution for setting an enhanced price freeze on agricultural products, especially on premium quality bananas sold in the supermarkets. This resulted after concerns on the apprehension of some banana (lakatan) sellers for allegedly selling overpriced bananas. Madriaga detailed that the Php40.00 ceiling price is for the 8-10 pieces per kilogram specification only, wherein the basis for the set price was from the monitoring of the Cogon and Carmen markets three months prior to the COVID-19 crisis. She noted this might have caused confusion regarding the price among enforcers and consumers. Madriaga shared that the agency has already negotiated with the wholesalers outside Cogon and Carmen market areas to lower their product prices; thereby enabling retailers to follow the price ceiling. On the other hand, she stressed that DA will closely coordinate with the DA- Bureau of Plant Industry, Plant Quarantine Service (DA-BPI PQS), CPCC and the Criminal Investigation Detection Group-10 (CIDG-10) on the inspection of rice warehouses to prevent rice hoarding. Meanwhile, the reactivation of the Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC) is in line with Joint Memorandum Circular No. 77 of DA, DTI and DOH which enables the Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCCs) of local government offices to help implement price freeze, issue warnings and arrest offenders. Said initiative is sought to protect consumers against undue price spikes as the nation is under a state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19. #

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GSIS pensioners may now ‘APIR’ online amid COVID-19 threat

April 6, 2020

Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) old-age and survivorship pensioners who were unable to comply with the personal appearance requirement or Activation of Pensioners Information Revalidation (APIR) before March 2020 are now allowed to do it online. GSIS President and General Manager Rolando Ledesma Macasaet said that providing an online service for the personal appearance requirement for pensioners  is part of the pension fund’s efforts to protect and assist all its pensioners amid the country’s health emergency situation. "The safety of our elderly pensioners, who are among the most susceptible to COVID-19, remains our top priority. To ensure that all of them receive their pension without letup during the enhanced community quarantine, GSIS has been adjusting its operational procedure,” Macasaet said. Earlier, GSIS has extended to 15 May 2020 the deadline for pensioners born in March and April to comply with APIR.  Under normal situations, GSIS requires all old-age and survivorship pensioners to report to  the nearest GSIS office or GSIS kiosk  during their birth month to ensure continued receipt of their pension.  It has been a monitoring mechanism to prevent pension overpayment to deceased pensioners. Despite this concession, according to Macasaet, some pensioners may have failed to undergo APIR even before the program was suspended last March 17. “We are accepting APIR requirements online because we want our pensioners to stay safe at home during the COVID-19 crisis,” he said. To comply with the  online APIR, pensioners must send via email a letter requesting GSIS to activate their status and send it  to an email address designated by GSIS for particular areas.   The letter must indicate the date of request and contain their details, namely, complete name; complete address; contact number (mobile or landline); and signature. Pensioners must attach to the letter a photo of their UMID  or eCard Plus card or their temporary card.  In case these are not available, a photo of their two valid IDs may be submitted. In addition, they must attach a chest-level photo of them holding a current newspaper whose headline and date of publication are prominently displayed.  If not, the photo background may be a news crawler or a ticker on the TV showing the current news headline and date.  (The date in the photo must coincide with the date of request indicated in the letter.) Pensioners  must send  the letter and other requirements  to the designated  email address according to their place of  residence: gsiscares@gsis.gov.ph (for residents of NCR including Quezon City and the entire province of Rizal and Cavite);  gsisnorthluzon@gsis.gov.ph (for residents of North Luzon); gsissouthluzon@gsis.gov.ph (for residents of South Luzon;  gsisvisayas@gsis.gov.ph (for residents of Visayas) gsismindanao@gsis.gov.ph (for residents of Mindanao). GSIS will inform concerned pensioners once it has received their documents. Another online program that GSIS currently made available to assist pensioners  in their financial difficulties during the COVID-19 crisis is the GSIS pension loan program. Under the program, pensioners may borrow up to six times their monthly pension but not exceeding Php100,000, depending on their age. To apply for GSIS pension loan online, pensioners only need to  download and fill out an application form from the GSIS website (https://www.gsis.gov.ph/downloadable-forms/)  and electronically send it  to the  email address designated  by GSIS according to the place of residence of the pensioner. The application must be sent along with a picture or scanned copy  of their GSIS UMID card or ecard or their valid ID (with picture and signature), and the pensioner’s photo holding the duly accomplished application form. For relevant advisories and other information, interested parties may call the GSIS Contact Center at 8-847-4747; visit the official GSIS website (www.gsis.gov.ph); or like and follow   its official Facebook page (@gsis.ph).

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