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House approves bill declaring ‘Walingwaling’ as national orchid

December 9, 2019

THE House of Representatives on Wednesday approved unanimously on third and final reading with 169 affirmative votes, House Bill No. 4952, which seeks to declare the Walingwaling orchid as the National Orchid of the Philippines. Principally authored by Rep. Vincent Garcia (2nd District, Davao City) and co-authored by Rep. Roman Romulo (Lone District, Pasig City), the bill mandates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in coordination with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, to promulgate the rules and regulations governing the acquisition, care, protection, conservation and propagation of Walingwaling, known scientifically as Vanda Sanderian. Garcia said the Walingwaling plant, the best orchid variety in the country, used to abound in the tropical forests of Mount Apo in the province of Davao and Zamboanga del Sur. “The orchid is touted as the queen of Philippine flowers and is worshiped as ‘diwata’ by the native Bagobos,” Garcia said. Aside from its origin in the Philippines, Garcia said the Walingwaling flower is symbolic of the Filipino traits and characteristics. “The majestic plant perched atop a tall tree and enjoying the elements of the earth symbolizes the high aspirations of the Filipino. It is never choosy in its growing environs. Such quality can be a resiliency of the Filipinos. It does not shy away from symbolic relationships with the dipterocarps (tall forest trees). Such characteristics are symbolic of Filipino independence,” he said. Garcia also cited the ornamental value of Walingwaling which is of national and international popularity. “It was in 1982 when Frederick Sander of London introduced the Walingwaling to the orchid enthusiasts and lovers in London. It was also propagated by orchid lobbyists and commercial orchid growers in other countries particularly Singapore, Thailand, Hongkong and Hawaii. Since then, Walingwaling hybrids have been one of the world’s multi-billion dollar orchid and cutflower industry. This is symbolic of the adaptability of the Filipinos,” he said.

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Gov’t destroys 94 NPA-surrendered weapons in NorMin

December 8, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- Some 94 firearms turned-in by former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and Militia ng Bayan in Bukidnon province were destroyed during a demilitarization ceremony held inside the 4th Infantry Division camp last week. The firearms were cut using circular saws to ensure that no parts of the firearms could be re-used or recycled. The demilitarized firearms consisted of 13 M16 rifles, 17 M14 rifles, two grenade launcher, one CZ 858 tactical, one 22mm long rifle, ten 12 gauge shotgun, 14 carbine cal.30 rifle, seven cal.45 pistols, one 9mm Uzi, eight cal.38 revolvers, one mini barret, one 5.56mm revolver, 16 improvised handguns, and two improvise rifle. National Defense Undersecretary and Task Force Balik Loob Chairperson Reynaldo Mapagu said demilitarization of firearms is the government’s way of showing its commitment to ending the local communist armed conflict “By destroying the means by which the atrocities of the communist terrorist groups are perpetuated, we are showing that we are sincere in creating a more peaceful country for our children and our grandchildren to live in. Also, the demilitarization of firearms is a testament that we are not recycling firearms to pursue corrupt or other unlawful ends,” he said. The destruction of NPA-surrendered firearms in Cagayan de Oro City marked the second demilitarization rites conducted under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). The first demilitarization was held in July, this year, in Tagum City and witnessed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. The demilitarization activity dubbed “Kalinaw sa Amihanang Mindanaw” was conducted by the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on ECLIP (RIATFE) in support to the operationalization of Executive Order No. 70, known as the “whole-of-nation approach” in ending local communist armed conflict. During the activity, financial assistance packages totaling Php2,862,000 were by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to 105 former rebels who embraced the path to peace. The financial packages consisted of immediate assistance (Php1,560,000), livelihood assistance (Php950,000), firearms remuneration (Php142,000), and reintegration assistance (Php210,000). The Department of Social Welfare and Development also distributed cash assistance, sleeping kits, and family food packs while the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority committed to provide skills training and livelihood programs to the former rebels and their families. Moreover, a check worth Php5 million was handed over to the city government of Cagayan de Oro for the construction of a halfway house. The former rebels will now be our partners in championing the retooled community support program (RCSP) as they will be part of the core teams who will immerse in the barangays to mobilize communities into sectoral groups and ushered them to participate in sectoral dialogues, said DILG Assistant Secretary for Peace and Security Alexander Macario According to him, the RCSP aims to address identified issues of the communities by closing the governance and development gaps through the provision of government services, programs, and projects. As he welcomed the former rebels to a new peaceful life, he reminded them not to waste the opportunity given to them to start a new life with their respective families. Macario also urged them to encourage their comrades to go down and return to the fold of law to avail of E-CLIP packages. Meanwhile, Mapagu said the Armed Forces of the Philippines recorded a total of 11,969 surrenderees as of October 31, this year, of which 3,593 are either NPA regular fighters or Militia ng Bayan members. The rest are members of the Underground Mass Organization, Sangay ng Partidong Lokalidad, and mass supporters. Of the 3,593 former rebels, 2,991 have already been enrolled in the E-CLIP and have received financial assistance from the DILG. (APB/PIA-10)

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4ID slams NPA for death minor

December 3, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The 4th Infantry Division (4ID) of the Philippine Army condemned the New People's Army (NPA) for the death of a minor combatant in a fresh encounter sitio Shiohan, Barangay Malinao, Gingoog City. Last November 30, the troops of 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion, 402nd Infantry “Stingers” Brigade under the 4ID encountered a group of Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) in the hinterlands of sitio Salvacion, Barangay Manila de Bugabos, Butuan City that resulted in the death of a 16-year-old Litboy Talja Binongcasan. In a press statement, the military said the encounter resulted to the recovery of one two AK-47 rifle, one M16A1 rifle, one M16A1 RMC rifle, five civilian backpacks, two bandoleers, six magazines of AK-47 rifle, five magazines of M653 rifle, subversive documents and other personal belongings.  “We vehemently condemn the continued CNT recruitment of minors as combatants for this is a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). We continue to urge the parents to take care of their children and don’t allow the CNTs to destroy their future," said MGen Franco Nemesio Gacal, commander of the 4ID, adding "the CNTs have been bringing our minors to their deaths for 5-decades now.” “In this Christmas season, we want nothing but for our Filipino families to celebrate it peacefully and happily together," Gacal added. (4ID,PA)

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Top sports tourism destinations, events, organizers in PH honored

November 30, 2019

THE award-giving body, the Philippine Sports Tourism Awards (PSTA), honored top sports tourism destinations, events, and organizers during the prestigious 3rd Sports Tourism Awards at the Grand Wing of Resorts World Manila, Newport City, last November 26. Running away with the top award as Destination of the Year was Clark Freeport for organizing and supporting well over 200 sporting events in the free port zone last year alone. Representing the destination was Noel Manankil, president of Clark Development Corporation who received the award from Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. of the Department of Tourism; along with Charles Lim, founder and chairman of the Philippines Sports Tourism Awards (PSTA), and Pauland Dumlao, president and managing director of Primetime as co-presenters. The PSTA originated from the long standing Sports Tourism Forum (STF) which originated in Cebu in 2004 but moved on as an educational series on sports tourism event management supported by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for event organizers, sports associations, hotels, sports clubs, and local sports and tourism offices. Other winners of PSTA 2018 were Sunrise Events, Inc. (Event Organizer of the Year – Private), City of Dumaguete (Event Organizer of the Year – Government), Subic Bay – Ironman (Event of the Year – International), Ceres – Negros FC (Sports Association of the Year), Resorts World Manila (Charity Event of the Year), City of Davao (Destination Marketing of the Year – Ironman), Sunlife Financial (Event Sponsorship of the Year), Philippine Airlines (Airline of the Year), AA Philippines (MICE Event of the Year), Marco Polo Plaza Hotel (Hotel of the Year), Cebu Pacific – Juan for Fun (Adventure Event of the Year), Philippine Sports Commission/Philippine National Games (Event of the Year – Domestic), Panaad Park & Sports Complex, Bacolod City (Sports Venue of the Year).

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Veterans Bank nets P505m as of 3Q 2019, ROE at 28.44%

November 30, 2019

THE Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) reported a strong 3Q Net Income of P504.6 million, a 28.44% Return on Equity (ROE), one of the highest in the banking industry. The net income figure has already exceeded the Bank’s full year target of P500 million and is the highest recorded 3Q net income level since the Bank reopened in 1992. The 3Q results show a complete financial turnaround from a net loss of P574 million for the full year of 2018. The robust net income results were driven mostly by the Bank’s lending business from both corporate and retail loans. Total Loans (net) was pegged at P21.29 vs. P18.74 billion year on year. Total Deposits grew by 11% from P45.4 billion as of 3Q 2018 to P50.6 billion. As a result, Total Assets also grew to P57.03 billion from P50.78 billion YOY and P49.3 billion at 2018 yearend. As a result, the Bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio was at 10.63%. “We are finally reaping the benefits of the major reforms in the areas of operations, compliance and risk management which were our focus since 2014 when I came in as Chairman. Now that many of these reforms are in place, the Bank has directed its efforts on Business Development, enhancing and developing new products and services. The third quarter results show not only a significant rise in net income but the highest levels in deposits and loans ever for the Bank.” said PVB Chairman Roberto F. de Ocampo. For his part, President Renato A. Claravall said that “This year’s unprecedented growth levels show that all the hard work and sacrifice were worth it. Our primary mission is to give value to our shareholders - the families of Filipino WWII veterans.  And the best way to give value is to deliver above market ROE.” Philippine Veterans Bank is owned by some 384,000 Filipino World War II veterans and their designated heirs. As part of its mandate, PVB provides assistance in WWII veteran’s endeavors, such as the Board of Trustees of the Veterans of World War II (BTVWWII). It manages programs for the benefit of the veterans, their widows, orphans and heirs. These include the BTVWWII Museum and the BTVWWII Out-patient Center. (PR)

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Mindanao state colleges, universities hold friendship games in Camiguin

November 24, 2019

MAMBAJAO, Camiguin--Close to 4 thousand athletes and at least a thousand support staffs, coaches, referees and sports regulators flocks to this island for a week of  friendly athletic and arts meet of the Mindanao Association of State Tertiary Schools, Inc. on Saturday, November 23, 2019. MASTS, Inc. is an organization of 31 state-funded institutions of higher education in Mindanao which is part of the larger State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association (SCUAA) that organizes the athletic programs of SUCs. The MASTS games will run from November 23-29, 2019 but delegates started to arrive in the island on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. Colleges students from as far as Tawi-tawi came here for the annual MASTS friendship games with 24 sports events, dance competition, performing arts, literary, pageant, musical and visual arts competitions. MASTS president and Western Mindanao State University president Dr. Milabel Enriquez-Ho said that the supports of the the SUCs made it possible for MAST to continue its grassroots sports and athletic programs. Enriquez-Ho said that the theme for this year is MASTS at 30: a legacy of leadership, unity and passion through sports, cultures and the art. "We have 29 out of 31 SUCs participating this year's event, "This is the time where we express the wholistic aim of all SUCs to provide education and training together with sports, MAST 2019 friendship games calls for solidarity, unity," Enriquez-Ho said. Camiguin Island representative Xavier Jesus Romualdo, urged the students to make lasting memories and create new friends. "My fundest memories when i was a student-athlete is when we will have out of town games or set to join competitions of towns, like competitions like this, these experiences allowed us to play at different level  usually at higher levels of competition and thus become better athletes," XJ Romualdo said. XJ added that sports events allows them to bond and grow closer as a team and meet and make new friends from other  schools from different places. "This is really the great thing about sports, the arts and competition- they had this unique power to bring us closes together if we came from very diverse background, it has this way of changing our hearts and opening up ourselves  to others in a ways  that maybe  business or politics cannot," XJ Romualdo said. "When you see these group of young people with different shapes and backgrounds coming from different provinces and communities competing and playing the right way and celebrating each other, that shows us something about what Mindanao is, and what we can be," XJ Romualdo added. Camiguin first bid to host MAST in 2017 but failed to get the honor. This is also the first time that a MAST game is held in an Island province. Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said that he felt sentimental seeing the athletes from across Mindanao together in a single event. "We proved that we can do it, we are peaceful here in Mindanao, that we can work together for peace," Romuald said. "You will become the spokesperson of your community, you can tell them that we are peaceful in Mindanao," Romualdo said.

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