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PDEA-10 director to jail warden: resign

September 18, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The head of the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency in Region 10 (PDEA-10) yesterday (September 18) sought for the resignation of Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail (MOPJ) Warden Dominador Tagarda. PDEA Director Wilkins Villanueva urged Tagarda to resign shortly after his two sons were arrested for illegal drugs inside the compound of the Tagardas in Gumamela Extension in Barangay Carmen yesterday morning. PDEA-10 agents reportedly seized more than a dozen of sachets allegedly containing methamphetamine hydrochloride locally known as "shabu" when they executed the search warrants against Gregor and his younger brother Von Clinton Tagarda. Villanueva told reporters the Tagarda brothers have been the subject of surveillance since 2007 until their final arrest were made on Wednesday (September 18) when the PDEA arresting team were able to secure a search warrant from a judge. "Mag resign ka na, nagtratrabaho ka sa MOPJ. Itinago niya ang kanyang anak sa Gingoog City. Witness pa ang 3 taong gulang sa pag rerepack. Nasa iisang balay at lugar sila," Villanueva was quoted as saying in a report posted by Bombo-Radyo-Cagayan de Oro in its website. Over Magnum radio, Tagarda belied the accusation hurled by Villanueva. In the same interview, Tagarda said he has already filed his early retirement which is scheduled in December this year.

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Hog industry in Normin still safe from ASF: aggie exec

September 14, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The 200-kilos of pork grilled during the weekly Farmers' Market Day at the capitol grounds on Friday (September 13) can help boost the hog industry in Northern Mindanao, said an official from the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 10 on Friday. “It’s important that we secure our region from the outbreak of the ASF,” said Juliet Araos, DA-10 regulatory division chief during a press conference called by the Misamis Oriental provincial government. Araos said the spread of the deadly virus that can infect and kill swine in a matter of days can be slowed down as the country is archipelagic. Although the ASF has not yet reached Mindanao, agriculture officials are not taking any chances as points of entry to the island are being closely monitored. Dr. Leo Mira, officer of the Bureau of Animal Industry’s regional veterinary quarantine services, said they have stepped up their monitoring of incoming pigs and meat products and byproducts from other areas, whether local or imported. Those most likely affected if the ASF reaches Mindanao are the hog farmers. Robert Uy, a hog raiser in Northern Mindanao, said since they have biosecurity measures in place in their farm facilities, they are confident their livestock will not be easily infected. Their concern, though, is the lowering of the farm gate price of the pig. The average per-kilo for a live swine is P125 per kilo, but due to the ASF scare, they are selling these past days at P95 per kilo. But, he said, it has not yet affected their production on a large scale. Uy added those most vulnerable of the ASF are the backyard piggery growers who feed their swine with “swill” or food scraps. “Commercial hog raisers feed their livestock with feeds, while our backyard counterparts with swill. We urge them to cook the swill for at least an hour before feeding to kill the bacteria,” he said. At the weekly farmers’ market held at the Misamis Oriental Capitol grounds on Friday, about 200 kilos of pork meat were grilled and then given to the public and employees. This, Dr. Benjamin Resma, the provincial veterinarian, said is “to prove that our pigs and pork meats are safe and are free from the African Swine Fever.” On Thursday, Misamsi Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano has issued an executive order banning pigs, pork products and byproducts from entering the province, especially those coming from areas with ASF infestation. The executive order has also activated task force that will implement the ban including inspection and coordination with other government agencies to ensure no pigs and pork products from ASF-infected areas can enter Misamis Oriental and nearby provinces.

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‘Bambi’ leads tourism week festival in MisOr

September 14, 2019

PROVINCIAL Governor ‘Bambi’ Emano inaugurate the new tourism building in front of the provincial capitol as the observance of the weeklong tourism week in the province kick-off  today. Emano said that the weeklong tourism festivity showcased a wide and diversified array of food flavors uniquely made in the 25 municipal towns and cities of Misamis Oriental. He said that for the key players and tourism stakeholders, the celebration opens an avenue to reach a wider consumer population and exposure. Jeffrey Saclot, the provincial tourism officer, said that for the past two years now, the celebration lamps on one central them dubbed as “Tienda sa MisOr: A MisOr Food Exhibit.” Every month of September, the province of Misamis Oriental joins earnestly in the country’s annual celebration of the National Tourism Week, highlighting the quintessential food delights of the different municipalities and cities, Saclot said. He said that tourism has become the flagship program of the Emano administration, which propel Misamis Oriental into an economic powerhouse. As a flagship program, Emano banks on the potential economic activities that a flourishing tourism industry could offer. Aside from bringing the food products closer to your table, the province’s sole culture and the arts are also on the spotlight during the celebration. Saclot said that the Emano administration always brings the province to the national tourism radar that behind the mist of misconception, Misamis Oriental is more than just what meets the eye. Saclot also invites everyone to visit the Activity Center of Ayala Centrio Mall and the Misamis Oriental Provincial Capitol Lobby on September 16-20, 2019. Explore MisOr and be part of this year’s Province-wide Tourism Week Celebration. -0-

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8 GCTA prisoners in North Mindanao yield

September 13, 2019

EIGHT prisoners in Northern Mindanao who availed of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) had initially yielded to the various sub-police stations in the region. Lt. Col. Mardi Hortilloza, the spokesperson of the regional police command in Camp Alagar in Cagayan De Oro City, said that the eight former prisoners are now in the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG). He said that some of them were already transported to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Manila while others were still in the CIDG. According to Hortilloza, the Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR) has also informed the police regional command of the updated list of GCTA prisoners. “We are expecting more names of the GCTA prisoners who remained at large to be transmitted to the regional police command anytime,” Hortilloza said. He said that the BUCOR is releasing the names of GCTA prisoners by batches. He said that the freed prisoners voluntarily reported to the various sub-police stations in Northern Mindanao to beat the 15-day deadline issued by President Rodrigo Duterte. On Sept. 4, 2019, Duterte gave a 15-day recall order to all released heinous crime prisoners under the GCTA to return to prison. He said that the police will apply a warrant of arrest only after the 15-day deadline set by the President has lapsed. Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, of Cagayan De Oro City, warned that the police who would conduct a “warrantless” arrest against the freed prisoners could be charged in court. Rodriguez said that the released prisoners were already released and were already considered free and no longer deprived of liberty. -0-

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Duterte to address 28th MinBisCon in Iligan

September 12, 2019

ILIGAN City--President Rodrigo R. Duterte will address the closing ceremonies of Mindanao’s biggest gathering of businessmen later today as the 28th Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) ends at the MSU-IIT gym in Iligan City. Prior to his speech, the President will be presented with the 28th MinBizCon Policy Agenda and Top 10 Actionable Recommendations  by Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Vice President for Mindanao Merlou S. Quisumbing. The six policy recommendations on the 28th MinBizCon Policy Agenda were earlier raised in a series of regional consultations conducted by the PCCI with its chambers in Mindanao. These include the  Upgrading Airport Capabilities in five key areas; increasing private sector consultations and participation in the Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and Trade (ROLL IT) program;  expediting action on the TRABAHO Bill given its Implications to Business; Fast-tracking the Rehabilitation of Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Plant ; Institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach under EO 70 to address Mindanao’s perennial peace and order issues; and, Fast-tracking the Economic Recovery of Marawi City. Meantime, the Top 10 Actionable Recommendations were raised during the Mindanao Leg of Sulong Pilipinas held earlier the same day and facilitated by the Department of Finance as an integral part of the 28th MinBizCon. Spearheaded by the Duterte administration, the Philippine Development Forum – Sulong Pilipinas: Hakbang Tungo sa Kaunlaran is an annual consultative conference that brings together different stakeholders from all over the country. By establishing a strong partnership between the government and different sectors – from business and development partners, to the academe, youth organizations, and many others – Sulong seeks to build a truly inclusive economy, and work towards a comfortable life for all Filipinos. Sulong Pilipinas is a platform through which the government can provide updates on our country’s achievements. More importantly, it is a way through which the administration receives feedback on its proposed plans and programs. Each conference generates ten actionable recommendations for government: the public’s identified priorities, which can guide policy and reform moving forward. Recommendations from past Sulongs are in various stages of implementation, including the National ID, Ease of Doing Business law, and the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program. Facilitating the Mindanao Leg of Sulong Pilipinas  are Asst. Sec. Tony Lambino and Usec. Karl Kendrik T. Chua, of the DOF’s  Strategy, Economics & Results Group. Lambino will brief participants on the workshop purpose and mechanics while Chua will present updates on Zero-to-10 Point Socioeconomic Agenda. Adding inputs to the workshop will be Roberto C. Amores, Chairman, Agriculture Committee and Vice Chair for International Affairs who will speak on Opportunities for Developing Mindanao Agriculture and the DWPH which will present updates on key Mindanao Infrastructure Projects. As a Mindanaonon himself, the President will present his feedback on the MinBizÇon’s Policy Agenda and Top 10 Actionable Recommendations from the Sulong Pilipinas workshop. Previous Sulong Pilipinas workshop recommendations covered K-12, water security,  Ease of Doing Business Law, the Anti Red Tape Authority (ARTA), grants for startups to enable technology transfers, improvement of agriculture infrastructure and logistics, business and job creation, appointment of competent technocrats as Secretaries of key departments, enactment of a modern and sustainable national land use and marine use policy, rehabilitation of major airports, and amendments to the Public Services Act, Right of Way Act, and economic provisions of the constitution to improve infrastructure development.

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28th MinBizCon to raise six policy agenda to Duterte

September 12, 2019

THE 28th Mindanao Business Conference will raise six major policy agenda to President Rodrigo R. Duterte when he addresses the closing plenary of the annual event on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at the MSU-IIT gym in Iligan City. The Mindanao Business Conference is an annual area conference organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Inc. (PCCI) led by President Alegria Limjoco and Area Vice President for Mindanao and 28th MinBizCon Chair Merlou Quisimbing.    This year’s host is the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Iligan Foundation Inc. (CCIIFI) led by President and 28th MinBizCon Director Reggie Punongbayan. Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, PCCI Region 10 Governor identified these policy agenda as Upgrading Airport Capabilities in five key areas; increasing private 2sector consultations and participation in the Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and Trade (ROLL IT) program;  expediting action on the TRABAHO Bill given its Implications to Business; Fast-tracking the Rehabilitation of Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Plant ; Institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach under EO 70 to address Mindanao’s perennial peace and order issues; and, Fast-tracking the Economic Recovery of Marawi City. Upgrade Airports in Key Areas The first policy agenda seeks the upgrading of airports’ capabilities in Pagadian, Ozamiz, Surigao (and Siargao), Camiguin, and Laguindingan Airport. “Mindanao’s air passenger volume performance in 2011 to 2018 is surpassing the country’s annual average growth rate (9.7% vs. 7.7%), coupled with an increasing share (12.0% to 13.1%),” Alegrio noted.  Aside from Mindanao’s 5 biggest airports of Davao, Laguindingan, Zamboanga, General Santos and Butuan, the Ozamiz, Pagadian, Camiguin, and Surigao Airports have exhibited increasing shares and growth – a testament of their rising significance to business and to the influence areas they cater to, she added. Among the actionable areas being sought by the MinBizCon are increased transparency on the entire project cycle of all airport development projects, the upgrading of night time operations capabilities of all airports, and the acceleration of the procurement process for Laguindingan Airport’s upgrade, expansion, operations and maintenance given the OPS status granted to Aboitiz InfraCapital unsolicited proposal. ROLL-IT Program Meantime, the private sector is asking DPWH and DTI to conduct regular consultations between and among the Mindanao regions with business and industry sectors of all regions to improve transparency and spur participation/optimize benefits of the Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and Trade (ROLL IT) program. Intensifying regular consultations and feedback mechanisms would improve the knowledge level of the private sector and should include orientation on the entire project cycle (planning to evaluation), regular consultations with the local industry leaders for project identification, and dedicated website portals for effective monitoring of project implementation. The policy of the national government during the procurement process e. g., opening of sealed bids, should designate the private sector representative as a permanent and voting member of the bids and awards committee, and not merely as an observer. TRABAHO Bill The private sector is seeking a similar protocol from the Department of Finance (DOF) as the main proponent of the TRABAHO bill to undertake a series of consultations similar to small town-hall meetings with the business sector to provide first-hand information on the relevant contents, and implications to members of the business community, labor and to the national economy. With the failure of the bill to pass last Congress, the TRABAHO package needs to be refiled in the House of Representatives in the 18th Congress. Even if passed, this is expected to be a protracted process, thus the business community need to increase lobbying efforts on the legislative process in order to fast-track its enactment into law, while allowing for more in-depth analysis on its implications to labor and human capital, internal revenues, business competitiveness, trade performance, health and education, countryside investment, among others. Proposed comprehensive reforms on taxation and in fiscal incentives are seldom undertaken resulting to dissimilar and contrasting interpretations and implications. Hence, it is imperative for the national government, more particularly the DOF as the main proponent of the TRABAHO package of tax and fiscal incentives reforms, and together with other government agencies The TRABAHO package forwarded by DOF intends to progressively lower the current corporate income tax (CIT) from 30% to 20% over a 10-year period to benefit MSMEs that constitute the bulk of business establishments in the country. It also aims to modernize the current convoluted fiscal incentive environment to make it more ‘pro-investment and pro-incentive’ i.e. create more jobs, advance R & D, cause technology transfers, encourage innovation, stimulate domestic industries, promote countryside development, and diversify to high-value export goods. Agus-Pulangi HEPP Rehab In another key policy agenda, the private sector is asking the DOF and DOE to fast-track the Rehabilitation of Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Plant (HEPP) in the 2020 National Expenditure Program plan, being the most significant and urgent challenge to the power sector as it has far ranging ramifications on the business climate and competitiveness dynamism of Mindanao. Corollary to the fast-tracking of Agus-Pulangi system’s rehabilitation is the privatization mandated by the EPIRA law. PSALM together with the Joint Congressional Power Committee (JCPC), should consider other options such as a hybrid privatization where the Operations and Maintenance (O& M) can be privatized but the ownership of the facility remains with government. Another option is to exclude the Agus and Pulangi HEPPs from the privatization plans of PSALM and seriously considered this in the amendment of the EPIRA law. The websites of the departments of Finance and Energy and the National Power Corporation should contain a dedicated section on the status of the rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric power plants and evolving completion targets, if any.  Furthermore, the updates should include progressive updates on the privatization of these HEPPs. At present the procurement of services for the feasibility study is still underway and if proceed as planned; the entire rehabilitation will take place within the next 4 to 5 years or, 2023 to 2024.  Cost has been estimated to exceed a little over US$1.0 Billion.   EO 70 Whole-of-Nation Approach To address Mindanao’s perennial peace and order problem, the private sector is seeking the institutionalization of the Whole-of-Nation Approach detailed in Executive Order No. 70 (EO 70). As the most crucial first step, this policy agenda seeks the formation of regional and/or city ad-hoc inter-agency and multi-sectoral groups facilitated by the designated lead government agency to fast-track the attainment of inclusive and sustainable peace. Government agencies and their instrumentalities can present to the ad-hoc groups their respective plans and programs in accordance with their respective mandates that can significantly contribute to EO 70.  In the same manner, the private sector partners can likewise present complimentary plans and programs.  Only then can an implementation plan be formulated that defines the activities to be undertaken, the extent of required resources (manpower, funds, hardware and technology) needed, with responsibilities clearly allocated amongst the members.    Issued in December 2018, EO 70 reframes and refocuses government policy as it recognizes that insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions, and other armed conflicts and threats are not only military and security concerns, but symptomatic of broader social, economic, and historical problems, such as poverty, historical injustice, social inequality, and lack of inclusivity, among others. Thus, the whole-of-nation approach addresses the root causes by prioritizing and harmonizing the delivery of basic services and social development packages by the government, by facilitating social inclusivity, and by ensuring active participation of all sectors of the society in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda. Fast-tracking the Economic Recovery of Marawi City Not the least, the private sector seeks the following measures to expedite the economic recovery of Marawi City following the protracted siege by Islamic terrorists. ADB estimates 369,196 persons with about 100,000 school-aged children were displaced from Marawi City and surrounding municipalities, with 270 civilians killed; 5,627 houses damaged including one municipal hall, one public market, 69 school buildings and 10 madaris, 21 health facilities; and, 73.8 kilometers of city roads and 3 bridges, numerous water supply and distribution assets, and 30.4 kilometers of power distribution lines destroyed. To fast track the rebuilding of the city’s economy, the private sector is asking the DTI and other relevant government agencies especially members of the Business and Livelihood Sub-Cluster to continue, enhance and further accelerate efforts to assist the Marawi business community through external marketing and promotion of local products and services. Orientation by DTI on the Supplier Development Program should be conducted soonest to explore potential opportunities with the business sector. For DTI, the City Government of Marawi, the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur, with the support of multilateral donor agencies, to establish a Business Resilience Center to institutionalize the promotion of overall business and economic recovery and ensure unparalleled prosperity and growth for Marawi City; as well as enable the business community to pro-actively adapt to future disruptions while strongly maintaining continuous business activities, and safeguarding people and assets. For DTI with partner MFIs and other private financial institutions to design and support an expanded and Marawi-specific financing packages with risk-mitigation features for the entrepreneurial business community in Marawi. And lastly, for DICT to strongly urge private telecommunications companies to immediately restore the necessary infrastructure to improve telecommunication connections in Marawi.

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