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NPA bomb expert, 2 minor amazons yield

November 14, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Two rebel Amazons and a male bomb expert of the outlawed New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the military camp in Buenavista, Agusan De Norte, the military said Thursday. The report reaching Camp Evangelista here, the army’s largest military camp in Northern Mindanao, identified the male combatant as a certain “Marco,” reportedly a bomb expert. The two minor amazons were identified as “Gethel” and “Cristine,” not their true names, both 17 years old. Gethel, a political guide and Cristine, medic, belonged to the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee, said Lt. Roel T. Maglalang, of the army’s 23rd IB in his report. He said that Marco, the bomb expert of the Guerilla Front 21, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee, also surrendered to the army’s 23rd IB in Buenavista. Maglalang said that Marco guided the military to an arms cache hidden by the communist rebels in the hinterlands of Sibagat, Agusan Del Sur. On checking Marco’s information, the military recovered three M14 rifles, 35-meter-electric wire, two blasting caps with detonating cord, one hand guard for M16, one pair of AR18 hand guard and one improvised anti-personnel land mine, Maglalang said. He said that Marco was recruited to join the communist insurgency movement at the age of 14, became a full-time combatant at 16 and was trained in bomb making and planting and disposing land mines. -0- Upon reaching the area, the troops recovered recovery of three (3) M14 Rifles (serviceable), thirty-five (35) meters electrical wire, two (2) Blasting caps with detonating cord, one (1) pair Handguard for M16, one (1) pair AR 18 Handguard and one (1) Improvised Anti-Personal Mine which was still planted inside CPP-NPA hideout. Alias Marco was used as a courier by the CPP-NPA as young as 14 years old. He became fulltime NPA combatant at the age of 16. He was also taught how to plant and disposed landmines.

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SMEs weakly linked to int’l production, trade, investments

November 14, 2019

ONLY a few small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines are linked to the so-called global value chains (GVCs). This is according to Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Consultant Tristan Canare in a public seminar recently organized by the Institute. GVCs, as defined by the World Economic Forum, are the “full range of activities undertaken to bring a product or service from its conception to its end use, distributed across international borders”.   In his presentation, Canare said it is important to link SMEs to GVCs to expand the country’s market access and promote the transfer of technology, human capital, and information.   SMEs account for 99.5 percent of the total registered firms in the Philippines or almost two thirds of the total sectoral employment and contribute a third of the gross value added to the economy.   Citing the result of the research paper “Obstacles and Enablers of Philippine SMEs Participation in Global Value Chains”, which he coauthored with Jamil Paolo Francisco and Jean Rebecca Labios, Canare said the ‘weak connection’ between Philippine SMEs and GVCs can be attributed to some ‘perceived obstacles’, such as the country’s high tariff taxes in export markets, issues on corruption, and foreign currency fluctuations, among others.   The study also found several challenges to Philippine SMEs’ participation in GVCs. For instance, they have difficulty competing with their counterparts in Southeast and East Asia because they lack the ability to scale up production, thus missing out on economies of scale. “They are too small and not well organized that if a bulk order would come, sometimes they have to say ‘no’. By not being able to mass produce, [they] will not only miss out markets but also [the chance to achieve] economies of scale,” Canare said.   Aside from this, many Philippine SME exporters are also in the “lower-value” part of the chain, meaning, they only export raw materials that are much cheaper than processed products. “For example, coconut is one of our main exports but we only export raw coconuts. The same goes with minerals in the mining industry,” Canare pointed out.   Philippine SMEs also find it hard to comply with international standards and regulatory requirements. “Most export markets require certain certifications and standards for products before you can export to those markets. Applying for these certifications could be very expensive. Sometimes you need to acquire some technologies and equipment which are costly. Most SMEs do not have the capital for this,” Canare explained.     The perennial problem on inefficiencies in processing permits and licenses, and in customs and ports operations in the country also make it more difficult and costlier to export products.   Many Philippine SMEs also fail to adopt to changing market conditions and consumer preferences in export market in terms of international market demand and inputs supply. “One reason for this is that our SMEs that export their technology and assets have high asset specificity, meaning, they cannot just change or adjust their products [anytime] because their technologies and equipment are designed to produce only certain products, meaning, the machine used in producing cotton clothes is different from the machine used to produce wool clothes,” Canare explained. Many SMEs in the Philippines also lack market information. “They don’t know which export market to penetrate because they lack access to information on the demand of consumers. Sometimes they also experience problems in accessing inputs including skilled labor,” Canare noted.   He also pointed out that most Philippine SMEs do not have entrepreneurial mindset and skills. “They are risk-averse. But we have to understand why they are risk-averse. One possible reason for this is the lack of social protection. They do not have many assets, or a fallback or a safety net in case an investment produces negative returns so they are reluctant to invest in something that is new and unfamiliar,” Canare said.   Among the recommendations of Canare and his coauthors to address these issues and gaps is to enhance the efficiency of ports and customs operations by simplifying processes through automation, improve credit terms of SME loans by offering longer repayments, incentivize export of higher value products rather than raw materials in the form of tax breaks, implement programs to promote linkages between SMEs and foreign or large firms, expand their entrepreneurial skills training, find new market niches where competition is not yet too tough, and avoid the procurement of equipment with high asset specificity or those machines that can only produce one product.   They also encouraged SMEs to engage in indirect export which may be done through consolidators or a third party that buys export quality products from local producers and selling them in countries where there is demand, as well as take advantage of government support and network such as Negosyo Centers and the Kapatid Mentor Me Program to improve their entrepreneurial abilities.

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Theater Actors for National HIV Testing Day

November 14, 2019

LoveYourself, Inc. and the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), together with 10 community-based organizations nationwide, will conduct a national HIV testing day on November 23, in advance of World AIDS Day on December 1st. Dubbed Know Your Status (KYS) and Play (#KYSandPlay2019) this national HIV testing day entails a free, fast and confidential HIV test at 19 test locations nationwide.   This collaboration with PETA aims to strengthen the awareness campaigns of community-based organizations through highlighting the #ActingOnHIV drive of the theater institution. Theater performers who are primary ambassadors for the #KYSandPlay2019 inlclude Topper Fabregas, Jimi Marquez, Gio Gahol, Gerhard Krysstopher, Iji Ampil, Eko Baquial, Chamyto Aguedan, Bene Manaois, Dylan Talon, Rhenwyn Gabalonzo, Lygie Carillo, Cheeno Macaraig, Carlon Josol, Mico Esquivel, Miguel Almendras, Jarred Jaicten, and Ian Segarra.   “It's so important to have HIV represented in theater, hopefully in all art platforms. I remember when we did Normal Heart, you'll be surprised at how so much people don't know [about HIV],” Fabregas shared.   Marquez explained, “When you're getting tested, it's a win-win situation if you think about it. If you're negative, you know you're practicing safe sex correctly. If you're positive, then you get to know what to do next.” Gahol said, “There is strength in knowing the changes you need to face, to make good of whatever your status is. Know your status and you get to choose your next step. If we let fear take over, we allow the virus to choose for us.” The Department of Health (DOH) reports there are around 1,111 newly confirmed cases of HIV cases for July alone. 51% of the cases were aged 25-34 years old. There will be five test locations in the National Capital Region – (1) LoveYourself Anglo in Mandaluyong, (2) LoveYourself Uni and (3) Victoria by LoveYourself in Pasay, Lily by LoveYourself x DIOSSA in Parañaque, and (5) LoveYourself Welcome in Manila. For Luzon, there will be four sites, including (1) Hero by LoveYourself in Bacoor and (2) Aves Love and Light in Brgy. Bayan Luma 4 in Imus, Cavite, (3) Lakan Community Center in Brgy. Lakandula in Mabalacat, Pampanga, and (4) Amos Tara in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.   In the Visayas region, there are seven testing areas – (1) LoveYourself White House along Llorente street in Capitol Site, Cebu City, (2) Atma Prema Community Center in Banilad, Cebu City, (3) Watever KTV in Lapu-Lapu, (4) Sunflower KTV in Parkmall, Mandaue, (5) Barangay Poblacion Park in Talisay, and (6) Rajah Community Center in Brgy. Maria Clara, Iloilo City, and (7) kNOwTell Health and Wellness Lounge in Robinsons Place, Iloilo City. Meanwhile, Mindanao region has three testing centers, (1) Oro Pia Community Center in Cagayan de Oro, (2) #36 Loyola St., Bo. Obrero, Poblacion District in Davao City, and (3) Mujer Community Center in Brgy. Tetuan, Zamboanga City. #KYSandPlay2019 is the fifth of its kind HIV testing movement from various community organizations that is supported by Pilipinas Shell Foundation Incorporated, and AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The community-based organizations that have joined this movement include Aves Love and Light, Bangaw Federation, Bisdak Pride, Decent Image of South Signal Association (DIOSSA), Family Planning Organization of the Philippines – Iloilo Chapter, Juan Positive Movement, Kagay-an PLUS, LoveYourself, Inc., Mujer-LGBT Organization, Olympus Society of Davao, and Project H4 (Health. Help. Hope. Happiness).   Those interested to avail of this free testing can register at this link: bit.ly/KYSandPlay2019.    

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Public, private sectors optimistic on Cagayan de Oro-Gwangyang City sisterhood

November 14, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Both public and private sectors are optimistic the recent signing of a sisterhood agreement between Cagayan de Oro and Gwangyang City in South Korea bodes well for both parties. Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar S. Moreno and Gwangyang City Mayor Jeong Hyunbok signed a Memorandum of Agreement for Substantial Exchanges between Cagayan de Oro City and Gwangyang, Korea last November 6, 2019 at a local hotel. “Sisterhood relations encompass many areas of common interests (such as tourism, culture and educational exchanges, trade) but these also manifest a city’s respectability in the domestic and international fronts,” Moreno said. “To me, the more important angle is not what to expect (although improved relations produce many reciprocal benefits), but rather what the sister cities can do together.” Gwangyang is a city in South Jeolla Province, South Korea. It is the home of POSCO's Gwangyang Steel Works, the largest facility of its kind in the world. Gwangyang is at the center of development for the Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone (GFEZ) which hosts port container handling, steel production, and shipbuilding as well as leisure facilities. The Cagayan de Oro City Council earlier enacted an ordinance authorizing Moreno to enter into and sign the Memorandum of Understanding for substantial exchanges with Gwangyang. In his endorsement, Mayor Moreno said the collaboration further enhances the policy of the city to promote sisterhood with other local government units here and abroad which have been determined to be beneficial in the delivery of services to its constituents. Both cities have agreed to carry out cooperation in various fields to further promote friendly relations and jointly make efforts for improved friendship between both cities’ citizens and better economic development. Exchanges will be in various areas of local governance such as, but not limited to economic trade and investment, education, culture and tourism for the promotion of friendly relations of the two cities and their people, Moreno said. “We expect more robust programs in education, tourism and investments,” said Local Economic & Investment Promotion Officers (LEIPO) Eileen E. San Juan. “Before the signing of the MOU on Education, Gwangyang officials met with local private schools on accommodation of Korean students. Gwangyang is inviting Cagayan de Oro to their Plum Festival next year,” she added. As a further sign of goodwill and friendship between the two cities, San Juan said the Gwangyang City Government has designated one of their roads as “Cagayan de Oro Road.”

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Public, Private sectors optimistic on Gwangyang City sisterhood

November 14, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO - Both public and private sectors are optimistic the recent signing of a sisterhood agreement between Cagayan de Oro and Gwangyang City, South Korea bodes well for both parties. Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar S. Moreno and Gwangyang City Mayor Jeong Hyunbok signed a Memorandum of Agreement for Substantial Exchanges between Cagayan de Oro City and Gwangyang, Korea last November 6, 2019 at a local hotel. “Sisterhood relations encompass many areas of common interests (such as tourism, culture and educational exchanges, trade) but these also manifest a city’s respectability in the domestic and international fronts,” Moreno said. “To me, the more important angle is not what to expect (although improved relations produce many reciprocal benefits), but rather what the sister cities can do together.” Gwangyang is a city in South Jeolla Province, South Korea. It is the home of POSCO's Gwangyang Steel Works, the largest facility of its kind in the world. Gwangyang is at the center of development for the Gwangyang Bay Area Free Economic Zone (GFEZ) which hosts port container handling, steel production, and shipbuilding as well as leisure facilities. The Cagayan de Oro City Council earlier enacted an ordinance authorizing Moreno to enter into and sign the Memorandum of Understanding for substantial exchanges with Gwangyang. In his endorsement, Mayor Moreno said the collaboration further enhances the policy of the city to promote sisterhood with other local government units here and abroad which have been determined to be beneficial in the delivery of services to its constituents. Both cities have agreed to carry out cooperation in various fields to further promote friendly relations and jointly make efforts for improved friendship between both cities’ citizens and better economic development. Exchanges will be in various areas of local governance such as, but not limited to economic trade and investment, education, culture and tourism for the promotion of friendly relations of the two cities and their people, Moreno said.  “We expect more robust programs in education, tourism and investments,” said Local Economic & Investment Promotion Officers (LEIPO) Eileen E. San Juan. “Before the signing of the MOU on Education, Gwangyang officials met with local private schools on accommodation of Korean students. Gwangyang is inviting Cagayan de Oro to their Plum Festival next year,” she added. As a further sign of goodwill and friendship between the two cities, San Juan said the Gwangyang City Government has designated one of their roads as “Cagayan de Oro Road.” The private sector led by the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (Oro Chamber) expressed similar sentiments. “Thank you very much to all who participated in the weeklong preparation and work for the successful visit of the delegation from Gwangyang City, Republic of South Korea,” said Oro Chamber President Irene Floro. Floro said among the matters being considered for mutual cooperation between the two cities are technology transfer from both countries related to steel manufacturing, product exchange, the setting up of businesses in Economic Zones and a planned outbound trade mission to Gwangyang on March 2020. “To the local Government of Cagayan de Oro, our gratitude and thanks for paving the road for this partnership. The business sector will benefit from this partnership as we work closely with the Gwangyang Chamber,” Floro added.    Although Gwangyang and Cagayan de Oro have been sister cities since October 29, 2012, it was only last year when a delegation from the city visited Gwangyang to explore how the sisterhood agreement could be further substantiated. City Councilors Suzette Magtajas-Daba and Jay Roa Pascual, were joined by Oro Chamber President Robert Pizarro and former Vice Mayor Antonio Soriano visited Gwangyang last September 18, 2018. In his terminal report to the city council, Councilor Pascual, chair of City Council committee on tourism,  said the Oro delegation attended the sisterhood conference with representatives from other sister cities of Gwangyang from Indonesia, Japan, and China, among others. Of the seven countries and twelve cities represented, Cagayan de Oro was the only sister city of Gwangyang in the Philippines. Pascual presented the city’s current status updates on tourism, financial, business, infrastructure projects, during the symposium. Aside from the booklets about the city, a video presentation featuring the latest Higalaay Festival was also screened. The councilor  said the business sector of Gwangyang was impressed with the presentation and expressed their intention to visiting Cagayan de Oro. City Councilor Suzette Magtajas-Daba, chairman of the committee on Education and also a member of the committees on tourism said the delegation met Gwangyang City Mayor Jeong Hyunbok and Gwangyang Chamber of Commerce President Lee Baekoo. “The purpose of our visit was to strengthen our friendship ties by bringing it to a new level of cooperation and widening it to various fields-education, culture, tourism, business and commerce,” Magtajas-Daba said. Mayor Jeong and Mr. Lee promised to visit CDO soon for the MOA signing, she added. Besides Gwangyang, Cagayan de Oro currently also has sisterhood agreements with the cities of Norfolk, Virginia in the United States; Harbin City in Heilongjiang, China and Tainan City in Taiwan.

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Lima: Paghanduraw, HIV Monologues Part 3 to be staged this November

November 13, 2019

After a two-year hiatus, Lima: HIV Monologues is back for its third installment. First staged in December 2015, Lima is a collection of five stories about real people – mostly Kagay-anons – who share their experiences about the challenges they had to face because of HIV and AIDS. The stories are also about people who are caught in the middle of the fight for HIV and AIDS awareness. This year’s show will focus on “paghanduraw” or reminisce. The five featured stories will take us back to significant events in the lives of Olivia, Billy, Divine, Ethan, and Aaliyah – events that somehow changed the course of life for them. Like the two previous HIV monologues, Lima: Paghanduraw aims to educate and inform – and to remind us that awareness is just as important as prevention, especially since Cagayan de Oro is considered one of the hots pots – or an area with a concentrated epidemic. Likewise, awareness will help people understand that a person Living with HIV (pLHIV) should not be discriminated or condemned. The Paghanduraw stories will be brought to life by actors Christy Bacoto, Christy Aboniawan, Benjie S. Manuel, Kale Alphe Ramons, Zilpha Ibañez, John Teves, Karl Owen Sayson, and  Reynards Abaloyan Tan under the direction of Maia Fortich-Poblete. Lima: Paghanduraw will be staged on November 29&30, 2019, 6pm, at Viajero Outdoor Centre along Domingo Velez and Aguinaldo Streets (across Echo Store). The show is free but donations starting at PhP50 are encouraged. Proceeds of the shows will be used for various HIV and AIDS awareness campaign. (MFP)

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