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Army provide light meals to Covid-19 Checkpoint frontliners in Surigao Sur

March 30, 2020

BISLIG CITY, Surigao del Sur-Camp Jaime N Ferrer Sr., Brgy Maharlika, Bislig City (Stn) – The 75th Infantry "Marauder" Battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel Warren C Munda, Commanding Officer, together with the Marauder troopers gave snacks to COVID-19 checkpoints frontliners within the 75IB's Area of Responsibility (AOR) in Surigao del Sur on March 25, 2020.             Mostly, our frontliners were up for numerous hours in performing their tasks in ensuring the health and safety of the public and community to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). With appreciation to our frontliners, the Marauder troopers prepared Four Hundred Thirty (430) pieces of sandwiches, drinks and distributed it to all COVID-19 checkpoints frontliners.             In this time of crisis where COVID-19 gone pandemic and created fear worldwide, still, our frontliners have sincerely performed their tasks in protecting the people's health, safety, and well-being. Frontliners were soaked under the sun, uncertain of the situation that they may likewise get infected due to their everyday tasks outside their homes to serve the people and community.             Further, the Philippine Army is not only tasked to defend the land, but soldiers have become instrumental and dedicated with a heart to serve as COVID-19 checkpoint frontliners.             Thus, Lt. Col. Munda expressed his deep appreciation and care to all the frontliners. “Together, we will assist and support our Local Government Units (LGUs), especially in times like this. Always observed precautionary measures; take your vitamins; eat healthily; have faith; be still, and one day we'll contain this COVID-19 outbreak." Lt. Col. Munda stated.             A little act of kindness will produce a happy heart that is sincere to perform their duty day-by-day. With discipline, cooperation, and support from each of us, the country will successfully contain this COVID-19.

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DA’s ALPAS COVID-19 eyes increased food prod’n; distributes vegetable seeds

March 30, 2020

Cagayan de Oro City, March 28 – The agriculture department (DA) encourages the Filipinos in the government’s bid of ensuring every household adequate, accessible and affordable food through the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra sa COVID-19 (ALPAS COVID-19). Complementing the department’s existing regular programs, DA under the helm of Secretary William D. Dar has already sought an additional Php31 billion fund to fulfill its mandate of ensuring a food secure Philippines amid the current health crisis. The requested budget will be used to provide immediate assistance in scaling-up activities relative to food productivity and availability, food accessibility and mobility, and food price stability. “In doing so, it will avert food shortage, supply disruptions, and unstable prices as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges even more our farm and fishery production, including the movement of agricultural commodities and products from production to market areas,” said DA-RFO 10 OIC-Regional Executive Director Carlene C. Collado, reiterating the agriculture secretary’s statement. While the supplemental budget is underway, DA-Regional Field Office 10 (DA-RFO 10) through its High Value Crops Development Program intensified the distribution of vegetable seeds to the local governments in Region 10. On behalf of DA-RFO 10 exec Carlene C. Collado, Regional Technical Director Carlota S. Madriaga handed over four boxes of vegetable seeds to the City Agriculture’s Office of CdeO. Costing more than a hundred thousand, each box contains 150 packets of vegetable seeds in different variants (5-in-1 Pinakbet, 4-in-1 Chopsuey, 4-in-1 Salad Green and 5-in-1 Sinigang). “While most of us are staying in our homes, we could be a lot more productive by planting vegetables in our own backyards or gardens,” Madriaga said, on the provision of seeds to the city government, which is targeted to be given to its constituents. “Even more rewarding later on, is reaping the fruit of one’s labor, as they can consume their harvest, which are nutritiously good and safe, without going beyond the comforts of their home,” she added. This Monday, DA-NorMin will continue to distribute more vegetable seeds to the different local governments across the Region, with DA-10’s Provincial Operations Center of the respective provinces through the city/municipal agriculture office expected to facilitate the distribution to its residents amid the imposed community quarantine. On the other hand, the office has set up the ALPAS COVID-19 center to cater to the needs of walk-in clients interested to go into backyard gardening. The center is open from Mondays to Sundays, from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. “We urge everyone to be one with us, to reinforce the government’s efforts during this difficult time, to ensure food is set at the tables of every Filipino household,” the director concluded.#

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Women have less access to social protection programs than men: Study

March 30, 2020

A STUDY published by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) found that women in the Philippines have less access to social protection programs than men, which may result in their vulnerability, instability, and poverty.   The study, “Towards Inclusive Social Protection Program Coverage in the Philippines: Examining Gender Disparities”, said that this could be attributed to women’s low labor force participation rate, noting that “women’s access to social protection is largely tied to their employment status.”   Furthermore, most social insurance programs in the country “cover only those who are formally employed” as required by law, making women less likely to be covered.   “Women are more likely to be part of the informal sector than men. There are also more unpaid family workers among women than men,” authors Aubrey Tabuga and Carlos Cabaero said, PIDS research fellow and research analyst, respectively. According to the study, social insurance in the informal sector is only optional because of low and unstable earnings.   In 2017, the study found that there were 15 million female workers who are formally employed, whereas 39 million were under informal employment. On the other hand, about 31 million male workers were formally employed, while only about 25 million were under informal employment.   The study also found more women not in the labor force from poorer households than richer ones (58% vs 34%).   Meanwhile, the study found that there are workers who still do not have access to social protection programs. Based on 2017 data, the study said that 69 percent or around 8.3 million women workers are not yet members of any social protection programs, such as the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).   “Among women, the highest proportion of those without social insurance are the private household workers at 98 percent, followed by unpaid family workers at 95 percent and then the self-employed at 92 percent,” the authors said.   In terms of sector, the study showed that the agricultural sector has the highest proportion of those unable to avail of the SSS, GSIS, and PhilHealth, at about 98 percent for female workers compared to 95 percent for male workers.   Given these findings, the study emphasized that interventions seeking to improve women’s access to social protection must prioritize those in the agricultural sector, the self-employed, unpaid family members, and household workers.   The study further stressed that social insurance scheme must not be tied with having a formal work or registered business, saying that “innovative schemes must be developed to care for the social protection needs of the working age population regardless of their labor force status.”   This is especially applicable to women, according to the authors. “So long as women are viewed as the persons responsible for looking after their family and household needs, the problem of low labor force participation rate will persist,” they explained, adding that “between formal work and family, many women would rather care for their family members.”   In the long-run, the study said the government should be able to come up with an integrative framework that will improve the skills and employability of people as well as ensure the development of agriculture, services, and industry sectors “so that people can obtain decent jobs”.   The study also suggested creating social insurance schemes that are affordable for the informal sector and home-based enterprises. It also called on the government to streamline its numerous requirements and lengthy processes in the access of social insurance.

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STATUS UPDATE ON LOCALLY-DEVELOPED COVID-19 TEST KITS

March 30, 2020

Monday, 30 March 2020 The field validation for the COVID-19 testing kits is ongoing and is expected to be finished by Wednesday, April 1. The issuance of the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration Philippines (FDA) is expected on Friday, April 3. We have informed the FDA that requirements for CPR Certification will be submitted on Wednesday, April 1 at the latest. The Manila HealthTek Inc. reported that the first batch of reagents has arrived which will enable them to start the manufacturing process to create additional kits that can accommodate 120,000 tests. A total of 1,300 testing kits good for 26,000 tests will be manufactured by and prioritized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for field implementation and distribution to the Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, and Baguio General Hospital. From April 4 to 25, there will be a field implementation for the 26,000 tests funded under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) Project. The remaining kits good for 94,000 tests will be sold commercially by Manila HealthTek at around P1,300 per kit which is cheaper than the units currently being used in hospitals which cost about P8,000. The Manila HealthTek said they have enough orders from the private sector who intend to donate them in turn to the Department of Health (Philippines) and hospitals. #dostPH #ScienceForThePeople

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A paradigm shift whose time has come: The 2020 Corolla Altis HEV self-charging automobile

March 30, 2020

In our not so distant past, the free falling prices of gasoline and diesel products brought by nil demand worldwide would have encouraged motorists to travel more. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has constrained all kinds of travel, including land transport. The sudden drop in demand has also brought to fore just how significant the effects of fossil fueled vehicles are in the air quality of the world’s leading metropolitan cities which are now enjoying clear blue skies and fresh air after so long a time. This brings us to the rising popularity of electric vehicles especially in urban areas. At zero emissions and negligible noise, they appear to be the personal vehicle of choice even in a post-COVID-19 word. But the present profile of the power industry in the Philippines precludes the efficient and economical operation of all electrical vehicles (EVs). This doesn’t have so much to do with the EVs per se but rather with the “generation mix” of how electricity in the country is now produced. When the full costs of a EVs operation in the Philippines are factored over its average economic life, it is still more expensive and inefficient compared the fossil-fueled internal combustion engines (ICE). Moreover, in the Philippines where the provision of charging points is next to non-existent, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) chose to instead begin with Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) in the transition from gasoline and diesel powered ICEs to full EVs As Ritsmond A. Kalambacal, TMP Group Head for General Job Technical Training Group 1, CSO-Customer Service Training Dept., Marketing Division explained to us: “Because of the generation mix and availability of electricity in Luzon (where the bulk of the Philippine market is), TMP believes HEVs are the electric vehicles that are most suited for the Philippines at this time,” he noted.  “We are constantly working to dispel misconceptions most motorists have about HEV: one, it is complicated to drive, and that it can be switched to full gas or full EV manually.” “However, the Corolla Altis HEV drives just like a conventional ICE powered vehicle and automatically charges the car’s batteries as needed. There’s no need to plug it in the grid to recharge it.” “The Toyota Corolla Altis HEV is ready for today’s infrastructure and local power situation,” said Elvin G. Luciano, PR and Communications Section, Marketing Services Dept. “New owners will need almost zero learning curve since it’s no different from driving a conventional powered Altis.” That’s exactly how auto journalist Jacob Oliva of autodeal.com.ph relates it in his review after trying out the Corolla Altis Hybrid for a week. “ I learned one thing: it’s no different from a vehicle with an internal combustion engine – except when you start the car up, which is as silent as a teenager escaping in the middle of the night.”  Teacher Bogie Teves, who blogs at  Bogie's Wonderland and was lucky enough to test drive the 2020 Toyota Corolla Altis during the HEV Toyota Hybrid Electric Vehicle Campus Tour in Cagayan de Oro on February 21, remarked: “The car was very comfortable but what stands out the most is the super quiet engine.” Previous Prius In fact, the Prius, Toyota’s first HEV was already introduced in the Philippines as early as 2009 but never took off even when the more affordable Prius C was later offered as a more affordable option. With taxes and other custom duties making them relatively expensive, Toyota loyalists opted for the more affordable gasoline powered models which in their minds returned more bang for the buck. Not the least, there were fears the new technology  wasn’t mature enough to guarantee the affordable life cycle costs that had long been the most decisive factor in making previous and new Toyota owners opt for the brand. However, topgear.com.ph's Drei Laurel  believes the 2020 Toyota Altis HEV’s P1,580,000  price point could be a “real game changer” relative to the Prius (P2,289,000) and Prius C (P1,907,000).   Keeping it simple To partly address these apprehensions and  simplify the workings of the Altis HEV, TMP distributed a pamphlet to students who attended its Feb. 21st  lecture at a local restaurant “HEV 101 Hybrid Electric Vehicle powered by Toyota.” The material describes the HEV as “Combining one gasoline engine with two electric motors, the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive makes the vehicle powerful, fuel efficient and environment friendly.” One System. Two Worlds. “Enjoy the performance that you’re used to getting from a gasoline engine, while experiencing more kilometers per liter and generating less pollutants.” Power and Performance. Fuel efficiency and lower emissions. “One motor keeps your vehicle moving at low and moderate constant speeds, and charges the battery when you brake. Need to go faster? The other motor starts the gasoline engine to add power, and also fills up the battery. The engine turns off automatically when you come to a full stop.” One gasoline engine. Two electric motors. “The Hybrid Synergy Drive works automatically to make your driving efficient and great for your wallet and the environment. All these while still giving you the great performance you love!” A simple illustration describes in a series of line drawings how the HEV “From a full stop or at a low or medium constant speed it uses one electric motor. Uses the gasoline engine and one motor when you need more power. Back to one motor when you need less power. And charges the battery when you brake.” For the techies reading this, the Altis HEV is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder DOHC gasoline engine and an electric motor that together churns out 121hp at 5,200rpm and 142Nm of torque at 3,600rpm. First Dibs The effort seems to have paid off. As topgear.com.ph’s  Drei Laurel reported, “TMP tells us that it managed to sell 30 units of the Toyota Corolla Altis in October 2019. That figure accounts for a little over 12% of total Corolla Altis Sales. In contrast, that’s already five times the number of Prius units sold in all of 2018.” “At first glance, 12% doesn’t seem that impressive, but keep in mind that, at P1.58 million, the hybrid variant is by far the model’s most expensive option locally. The top-spec conventionally-powered Corolla Altis 1.6 V CVT, at P1.185 million, costs nearly P400,000 less. What’s more, TMP tells us it estimated the hybrid would only account for 7% of Corolla Altis monthly unit sales, so this is definitely a good start.”  The Lowdown Asked how much emissions are reduced in the HEV, Kalambacal replied: “Based on data from our regional office, the total emissions from our HEV is reduced by 34% per kilometer compared to a similar ICE powered vehicle.” He also dispelled apprehensions about the provincial “casas” capability to service the  HEV, explaining how local service centers are ready to maintain the “new” tech cars, with their mechanics being trained at TMP. Toyota also uses nickel-hydride batteries over the newer lithium ion batteries since the former are recyclable and have a mature technology compared to the latter. “If a HEV is not used often, the battery deteriorates. However, if the car is used responsibly, its batteries will last the entire life of the vehicle without need of replacement,” Luciano stressed. For Toyota hybrid vehicles beginning with model year 2020, the hybrid (HV) battery is covered for 5 years from original date of first use or 200,000 kms, whichever comes first. Coverage is subject to the terms and conditions of your New Vehicle Limited Warranty. Mileage Since I was unable to test drive the car itself due to other pressing concerns, I turned to existing reviews online to find out more about its mileage. In an article posted last October, autoindustriya.com’s Vince Pornelos reported consuming only 3.28 liters on a trip from Manila to Tagaytay.  In a later article, the same author reported the Altis HEV used only 0.622 of a liter on his 17.8 kilometer route from his home to the office in fairly heavy to moderate traffic at an average speed of 18 km/h. “That's not even two thirds of one liter because of a very high 28.5 kilometers per liter fuel economy figure with the A/C set for comfortable levels, yet still it only used up about 30 pesos worth of gasoline.”  In his previously mentioned review, Oliva  reported 14.2 km/L. after an hour on northbound EDSA starting around 4PM, while a leisurely drive on a Sunday clocked in 26.2 km/L on an average speed of 60 km/h. “The best fuel economy number I got with the Corolla Hybrid was 29.7 km/L – that’s after an hour on the highway with the cruise control set at 90 km/h.” “Of note, these numbers are better than our initial Corolla Altis Hybrid fuel efficiency testing, which was done with five people on board.” Put all these in the context of the current pandemic with gasoline prices in the Philippines dropping by P3.90/L from the start of 2020 before dropping by a further P4.25/L on March 17, and the Toyota Corolla Altis HEV looks more and more like a car whose time has come.

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DSWD-10 to augment LGUs' COVID-19 response with 73,655 food packs

March 30, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Mar. 30 (PIA)--Primarily tasked to augment provision of food and non-food assistance to local government units (LGUs), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-10 is targeting to repack 73,655 food packs with about P26 million budget allocation. "Ang gihimo sa DSWD as per request from the LGU. Duna sila’y listahan ana mao kini ang basehan sa atong tagaan (The DSWD will wait for the request of the LGU. They [LGUs] have their own list and this will be the basis for the distribution)," Assistant Regional Director for Operations Aldersey M. dela Cruz of DSWD-10 said. DSWD-10 prioritizes the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, informal sector, Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT), and Listahanan. Such will be forwarded to the local chief executives so there won't be any duplication of beneficiaries within the latter's area of responsibility.  "Responsible in food distribution is the local government unit," dela Cruz said. Since this is the primary role of the LGU, the assistant regional director said the LGU must promptly come up with the list of households whom they are going to provide assistance with. DSWD-10 has already hired volunteers to repack the goods and they are targeting to complete such by mid-April.  Furthermore, the department has identified prepositioned areas for distribution and with the aid of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, deliveries will be conducted at Maramag and Malaybalay in Bukidnon, Sinacaban and Oroquieta City in Misamis Occidental, and negotiations are currently held with a private facility for Camiguin area. (RTP/PIA10)

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