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Region X economy grows faster by 7.0% in 2018

April 25, 2019

The economy of Northern Mindanao grew by 7.0 percent in 2018. This expansion was faster than the recorded economic growth of 5.8 percent in 2017. The acceleration was driven by Industry and Services. Among the three major economic industries, Services remained to have the largest share of the region’s economy with 44.1 percent, followed by Industry with 35.6 percent and Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing with 20.3 percent.      Services recorded the fastest growth of 8.9 percent in 2018 as all of the sub-industries grew faster during the period. The top contributors to the growth in Services were Trade and Repair of Motor Vehicles, Motorcycles, Personal and Household goods, which grew by 7.4 percent; and Transportation, Storage and Communication, with a double-digit growth of 12.8 percent. Likewise, Other Services grew at a faster rate of 8.9 percent as compared with the growth of 6.1 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, Financial Intermediation grew by 8.7 percent; and Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities by 5.7 percent.      Public Administration and Defense and Compulsory Social Security also expanded by a double-digit growth of 12.6 percent as compared with the 6.3 percent growth recorded in the previous year. Industry likewise accelerated to 8.8 percent. Among its sub-industries, Construction grew the fastest at 16.3 percent, faster than the recorded growth of 2.0 percent in the previous year. Mining and Quarrying also expanded at a faster rate of 14.6 percent. Manufacturing also sped up to 6.6 percent, from 5.5 percent growth posted in the previous year. On the other hand, Electricity, Gas and Water Supply managed to grow by 4.4 percent, slower than the 13.8 percent growth in 2017.      Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing grew at a slower pace of 0.4 percent in 2018, from 4.7 percent growth recorded in the previous year. Agriculture and Forestry posted a decelerated growth of 0.8 percent, from the 5.7 percent growth in the previous year. Fishing declined further by 1.9 percent.      The 7.0 growth rate of Northern Mindanao was contributed mostly by Services with 3.8 percentage points, followed by Industry with 3.1 percentage points. AHFF contributed the least with 0.1 percentage point.

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Senator Gordon confirms 3 dead in Bulacan helicopter crash

April 25, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MDN digital, April 25) - Senator Richard Gordon in his tweet Thursday has confirmed that three passengers on board a private helicopter that crashed in Anilao, Bulacan have died. "Death toll rose to 3 in a helicopter crash in Malolos, Bulacan. Other injured passengers were already transported by our team to Bulacan Medical Center," the senator said in his tweet. The senator did not reveal the identity of those who died but Bulacan Governor Willy Alvarado has identified and confirmed that one of those who died was Businessman and the helicopter owner, Liberato "Levy" Laus. Other fatalities were said to be the pilot and another male who was rushed to the nearest hospital but attending doctors pronounced him dead several hours later.  The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CCAP) told the media that around 12:47 in the afternoon today, the helicopter with body marking RP C8098 crash landed at a fishpond in Anilao, Bulacan. CAAP said the helicopter was owned and operated by LGC Air Transport.   CAAP said aircraft was bound for San Fernando, Pampanga when it encountered trouble and the pilot crashlanded the helicopter into a fishpond hoping they could still survive. Meanwhile, Police investigator Danilo Torres has confirmed to reporters that initial investigation disclosed three passengers have really died including the pilot.  The aircraft, authorities said, carried more than five passengers and left Ninoy Aquino International Airport at around 12:28 this afternoon. Minutes later it crashlanded in Bulacan.

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UHC, NICC laws give cancer patients new lease on life

April 24, 2019

WHEN 66-year-old widow Gertrudes Calderon was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in May 2013, she feared the treatment costs more than what the disease will do to her body.      Calderon, at that time, works as “kasambahay” -- her only source of income for their daily needs.      “Natakot ako noong una kong nalaman dahil sa aming anim na magkakapatid na babae ako lang ang meron. Nagkusa lang ako magpa-checkup nung nakapa ko na may bukol at mula sa maliit na bukol. Lumaki na ito pagdating ng Hunyo (I was scared when I first learned about it because among us six sisters I’m the only one who has it. I went to have a checkup when I felt a lump in my breast and from a small lump. It became bigger in June), she told Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.      According to the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, cancer is the second cause of death among females and males in 2016 nationwide at 60,470.      Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in his speech at the First National Cancer Patient Congress on April 8, said cancer death toll for both adults and children is around 66,000 and there are 110,000 new cases diagnosed yearly.      Duque said the Department of Health (DOH) recognizes the burden -- emotional and financial – that cancer patients face, that it is why the agency continues to provide medical assistance programs in its hospitals and selected local government hospitals, where the public can get free diagnostics and other medicines for cancer.      “(The) DOH offers free breast and cervical cancers screening for women 25 to 55 years old, and medicines, therapies for those who have cancer,” he added. Cancer treatment cost      Calderon said she almost lost hope when she learned that she needed surgery, which would cost her hundreds of thousands.      “Sinabi ko sa mga doktor na wala akong pera para sa operasyon at may mga tumulong sa akin maipasok ako sa Ating Dibdibin Foundation noong July at naoperahan ako ng September nang matapos ang mga clearance na nilalakad ko (I told the doctors that I don’t have money for the surgery and someone helped me to become a member of Ating Dibdibin Foundation in July and I was operated on September when I finished the necessary clearances),” she added.      Calderon’s right breast was removed to keep the cancer cells from returning, her doctors said.      “Sinabihan ako ng mga doktor na kailangan ko ng chemotherapy, PHP120,000 daw iyon, pero nang sinabi ko na wala akong pera, pina-interview lang ako sa DOH at hindi nako nagbayad gaya ng iba. Wala akong binayaran kahit isang gamot o session, ang natatandaan ko lang na binili ko ay dalawang karayom dahil nabali iyong karayom na ginamit sa akin (The doctors told me that I need chemotherapy, it costs PHP120,000, but when I said I have no money I was interviewed by DOH and I didn’t pay for it unlike others. I didn’t pay any single medicine or session, I remember buying only two needles because the needles used on me broke),” she said.      Calderon added that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office provided for all her medicines for five years while the DOH supplied her with tamoxifen, a medication for breast cancer patients, for two years and a half. NICC Act, Universal Health Care law      Duque said cancer patients can now receive quality health care without financial hardship through the National Integrated Cancer Control (NICC) Act and Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, adding that both aim to ease the financial burden of cancer patients and their families by providing assistance for the early detection of the disease.      “Cancer care and prevention begin with the establishment of strong primary health care systems which enables early diagnosis, coupled with the social safety net which provides sufficient financial coverage. This complements of the NICC Act which utilizes mechanisms for the state to control quite complex treatment conditions of adult and childhood cancers,” he said.      With the NICC Act, Duque said the DOH has intensified the Philippine Cancer National Control program, which includes the establishment of 24/7 cancer centers in various DOH hospitals nationwide and continued provision of free medicines for breast, childhood and colorectal cancers.      “Recognizing that our resources are limited we commit to its judicious use through the institutionalization of the health technology assessment and price negotiation processes. This means for us to afford more conditions we’ll be benchmarking our reimbursements to the most cost-effective protocols,” he added.      Meanwhile, Cancer Coalition of the Philippines president Paul Perez said more cancer patients will have a fighting chance through the NICC Act, regardless of their status in the society, through sustained medication and reduction of “treatment abandonment”.      “Cancer patients and their families can look forward to life’s journey with new hope, especially the underprivileged, since they’ll now have better access to equitable and affordable cancer treatment and care,” he said.      Perez also underscored the importance of the law in boosting the efforts of various cancer awareness groups that are promoting cancer care, which include early detection, treatment, prevention and access to palliative care.      On February 14, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11215 or the NICC Act which institutionalizes a “national integrated” program to control cancer.      Under the new law, the DOH is tasked to provide early and sufficient access to cancer medicines and “ensure highest possible chance of survival among people with cancer”.      The law also created the cancer assistance fund, which will support the cancer medicine and assistance treatment program and mandated the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to expand benefit packages for all types and stages of cancer.      Meanwhile, signed into law by Duterte on February 20, the UHC law makes all Filipinos members of PhilHealth, either as direct or indirect contributors, providing immediate eligibility and access to preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care for medical, dental, mental and emergency health services.      “Sa mga kababaihan na gaya ko, huwag po kayo matakot dahil maraming natutulungan ang DOH na may cancer, gaya ko na walang binayad kahit piso. Huwag kayo magpapabaya at suriin ninyo ang mga sarili ninyo bago lumala ang maliit na bukol (To women like me, don’t be scared because DOH helps a lot of cancer patients, like me who didn’t pay a single peso. Don’t neglect yourselves and observe yourselves before a small lump becomes big),” she said.      After six cycles of chemotherapy and five years of medication, Calderon has been declared cancer-free and is now enjoying her life with her daughter and grandchild.      “Sixty-six years old na ako ngayon, trese kaming cancer patients na naoperahan noong 2013, ako na lang ang natitirang nabubuhay sa amin. Nagpapa-bone scan ako, every six months nagpapa-X-ray ako at ECG ako dahil kailangan pero lahat walang bayad (I’m 66 years now, we were 13 cancer patients who had surgery in 2013, I’m the only one left alive. I undergo bone scan, every six months I have X-ray and ECG because it’s needed but all of them are for free),” she said. (PNA)

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Miral's killing not election-related - Destura

April 24, 2019

THE shooting death of Napaliran, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental barangay chairman Claver Miral is not election-related. This was confirmed Wednesday (April 24) by Misamis Oriental provincial police director Col. Rolando Destura during a press conference here in Cagayan de Oro City. Destura said that based on their initial probe, police are already tracking several persons of interest in his April 21 ambush-assassination but the suspected perpetrators are not connected to the rivals of the politicians he is supporting. Although barangay officials are deemed non-partisan, Miral is closely allied with Balingasag mayoral challenger Alexis Quina who is supporting the candidacy of first district congressional candidate Christian Unabia and reelectionist Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano of PaDayon Pilipino. Destura refused to divulge to journalists though the circumstances behind the persons of interest that they are tracking. “Amo pa kini ginasuta og maayo pero moingon ako sa inyo nga dili kini election-related,” he said. Miral was on his way home from nearby Jasaan municipality when he was waylaid by two motorcycle-riding assailants at around 10:00 p.m. along the highway in Puntagorda, barangay Hermano in Balingasag. The barangay chairman sustained five gunshot wounds in his chest and torso and was rushed to a hospital here in Cagayan de Oro City where he died. In a press statement earlier, Emano called on authorities to immediately solve Miral’s killing, saying that murders like this have no place in the province which has already maintained a stable peace and order situation during his incumbency.

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Duterte government lost 6 soldiers in gunbattle with NPA rebels

April 24, 2019

Cagayan de Oro (MDN Digital, April 24) - Gun battle between communist rebels and government forces in Samar province resulted to the death of six soldiers and the wounding of six others, a report from the military said. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a report sent to MDN digital reported that members of the 46th Infantry Battalion were patrolling in Barangay Beri in Cabiga town when they encountered a group of armed men who were members of the New People's Army. A firefight ensued but unfortunately, six of the army members died on the spot while another six were also wounded. Reports from Eastern Visayas police said the NPA rebels used improvised explosive device, in which they used to kill at least 6 members of the military and the wounding of six others. AFP has yet to devulge the names of those who died during encounters pending verifications of their names, as well as notifying their families first of what happened to them in the battle ground. Capt Reynaldo Aragones, Philippine Army's spokesperson said that during the encounters there were over 20 NPA rebels. However, Aragones claimed, adding that the number of casualties on the NPA side cannot be .    The newest skirmishes came after President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to NPA rebels to go back to the fold of the law and lay down their arms. The earlier failed talks with the government was represented by the National Democratic Front (NDF) but the Duterte government reportedly walked away from the negotiating table because of off ands on negotiations between the government and the New People's Army. 

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World Bank to act on PHL call for closer coordination with ADB

April 24, 2019

THE WORLD Bank has responded positively to the Philippines’ call for the institution to closely coordinate its efforts and explore complementarities with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to more efficiently and effectively deliver development assistance and aid to countries in the Asia-Pacific region.  Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III received the World Bank’s commitment on collaborating closely with the ADB to improve aid effectiveness during a recent meeting with Victoria Kwakwa, the bank’s vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, at this multilateral institution’s headquarters in Washington D.C.  Dominguez reiterated during the meeting his concern about the duplication of the work of the ADB and World Bank in the region, which, he said,  has led small countries with limited resources to eventually incur unnecessarily high operational costs and borrowing rates in obtaining loans from the two institutions.  “As governor of both institutions, I’d like to see overheads not duplicated and how you can work together more effectively,” Dominguez told World Bank officials during the meeting.  Also present at the meeting were Mara Warwick, the World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand; and Secretary Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).  Dominguez pointed out that small countries would have to deal with two multilateral institutions with their own economic assessments before they can secure assistance from either the World Bank or ADB.  “What’s the value added there in relation to the overhead that the members really have to eventually bear in terms of higher interest rates, among other factors?” Dominguez stressed.  Pernia said the a more effective division of labor and specialization between the two multilateral institutions “results in higher efficiency.”  Kwakwa, in response, agreed with Dominguez, saying that his concerns mirror the goals of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) and the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (2012), which both aim to improve the quality and effectiveness of aid extended to developing countries.   The Philippines, ADB and World Bank have endorsed, and adhere to, these Paris and Busan documents.  “So Secretary Dominguez, on this issue of collaboration and being more efficient as your development partners, our response is yes, we will take it forward. We will work with ADB to be more efficient,” said Kwakwa during the meeting.  Kwakwa said she will “engage ADB to see how we can move forward.” “I think we can do better. I think we have come a long way and I think we can do better,” she said. “This is something we will keep you very much in the loop and see how we can move forward on this agenda.” Kwakwa said the two institutions can start by discussing about coming up with a single, rather than, two economic reports for a country in need of development assistance. “On our side, we will seek opportunities to work more closely with ADB and others who are in the field working not just in the Philippines but other countries and so on. We will think about it some more,” Kwakwa said.  Kwakwa suggested calling a meeting between the ADB and World Bank “about how we can make sure we are not duplicating efforts.”  “That would be good. That’s the way that we can start on this,” she said. Also during the meeting, Warwick provided Dominguez and Pernia with a brief update on the Bank’s upcoming country partnership network with the Philippines, which will have a “strong focus on Mindanao” in terms of peace building and development, and will also cover disaster risk management, customs reform, and the modernization of the civil service.  Dominguez, on behalf of the Philippine government, thanked the World Bank for its financial support and valuable advice, which both reflect the institution’s “very deep” understanding of the Duterte administration’s goals to achieve inclusive growth.  “We are very happy with the engagements we have with the World Bank. For the first time in a long time, we are really truly, intensely working together,” Dominguez said.  Kwakwa said she looks forward to the Philippines accomplishing its goal of reaching high-income status by 2040 through its continuing strong partnership with the World Bank.

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