Whatever happened to PUV modernization pilot areas?

October 1, 2019

A MAJOR factor in the continued opposition of jeepney drivers and operators to the PUV modernization program is the absence of palpable and positive results in pilot areas identified by transport agencies, such as Taguig, Pateros and Pasay.   “Since the announcement of pilot areas in 2017, we have not monitored a single official report or briefing by the country’s transport agencies on whether the pilot areas were viable, profitable routes for jeepney operators and drivers that would enable them to  regularly pay the high financial costs of implementing the modernization program,” said Terry Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor and former House transport committee member.   Ridon, who raised concerns on the PUV modernization program as the Duterte government’s urban poor chief, said a positive result of the modernization program in pilot areas is critical to convince operators-drivers that acquiring modern jeepneys will not drive them to bankruptcy.   Mutually acceptable financial proposal   “Ultimately, government will have to provide a mutually acceptable financial proposal to operators-drivers if it really wants the modernization program to succeed.”    Ridon said a major component in an acceptable financial proposal is a larger government stake in acquiring new vehicles.   “Government’s five-percent equity commitment or subsidy to acquire new vehicles is clearly insufficient, particularly because this is an involuntary loan, which no one except government wanted. Worse, the subsidy is still capped at eighty-thousand pesos, while the prices of the modern jeepneys wildly vary to more than P2-Million.”   Raise government subsidy   Ridon said government should consider raising its equity commitment  from ten to twenty percent.   “With next year's P 4-Trillion government budget, a larger equity commitment to ensure the nationwide success of the modernization program is just a drop in the bucket.”   Cut loan interest rates   Ridon also said that the interest rates for the loans should now be adjusted, given that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas had undertaken several interest rate cuts in as recent as last week.   “Clearly, government’s financial proposal fro 2017 should now be updated to reflect current market conditions.” 

Cainta embraces Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo! Program

September 29, 2019

Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation (APC) in collaboration with Department of Health (DOH) and Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) formed ties with the Cainta local government to launch the Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo! 2019 Program.   The ceremonial contract signing held last September 20, 2019 at Cainta Elementary School was graced by former DOH Undersecretary and Mag -Pinggang-Pinoy® Tayo! 2019 Technical Working Group (TWG) Chairman Dr. Ethelyn P. Nieto, Cainta Mayor Johnielle Kieth Nieto, Cainta Vice Mayor Ace Bernardo Servillon, DOH CALABARZON Division Chief Dr. Noel Pasion, FNRI Science Research Specialist II Ms. Jovina B. Sandoval, and APC Group President Tsutomu Nara. The country has been facing decades-long phenomenon called “Double Burden of Malnutrition”, which the World Health Organization (WHO) defined as the “coexistence of undernutrition along with overweight and obesity, or diet-related noncommunicable diseases, within individuals, households and populations, and across the lifecourse.”. In 2018, Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation partnered with government agencies to conduct the pilot run of Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo! in order to raise awareness and promote the practice of Pinggang Pinoy® in malnutrition hotspots in Quezon City, Kalookan, Malabon and Navotas. This year, the public-private alliance brings the program to Cainta to educate its homemakers on the causes and effects of the Double Burden of Malnutrition and make available practical tips on how to serve Pinggang Pinoy® using Ajinomoto’s delicious, healthy, easy-to-prepare and affordable recipes. Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo! 2019 Program aims to unite Cainta to adopt Pinggang Pinoy® and promote healthier eating habits to fight Double Burden of Malnutrition.  The program’s TWG, led by Dr. Nieto, has started to convene representatives from the four (4) institutions to develop modules for homemakers, barangay health workers and barangay nutrition scholars based on careful nutrition needs assessment. The education and livelihood programs as well as the improvement evaluation will ensue until year 2020. Cainta Government also expressed their strong commitment to promote the practice of Pinggang Pinoy® in the whole municipality.   APC President Tsutomu Nara conveyed his gratitude to the program’s stakeholders saying, “We all came here today to mark the beautiful changes that will happen in CAINTA! And I thank all of you for showing your commitment. This event is a milestone that aims for a healthier citizenry to fight Double Burden of Malnutrition, not only in Cainta but in the Philippines.”. For updates about Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo!, visit and *** The Ajinomoto Group is a global company with specialties in the business of food and amino acids, guided by our leading-edge bioscience and fine chemical technologies. Based on the corporate message “Eat Well, Live Well.”, we have been scientifically pursuing the possibilities of amino acids in supporting the healthy lives of people all around the world. We aim for future growth and continuous contribution to greater wellness by creating value through sustainable and innovative solutions for communities and society. The Ajinomoto Group has offices in 35 countries and regions, and sells products in more than 130 countries and regions. In fiscal 2018, sales were 1.1274 trillion yen(10.1 billion U.S. dollars). To learn more, visit  

TeaM Energy turns over water system, other key community projects in Quezon Province

September 28, 2019

Vital projects aimed at addressing  basic  needs identified by their host  communities  were turned over in three barangays in Pagbilao, Quezon by TeaM Energy Corporation. In Barangay Ibabang Palsabangon,  one of the most populated barangays in this municipality, a water system was built by the energy firm in the barangay hall.  A drilled well with electric pump and pressurized tank was constructed to address the water needs of more than 50 households in the area. The water system constructed by TeaM Energy complements the existing rain water collection facility that was previously in use in the barangay hall.  In Barangay Tukalan, TeaM Energy provided basic medical and disaster preparedness equipment such as hard hats, first aid kits, and emergency lights to the Barangay Risk Reduction Members and Volunteers of the Barangay Health Center (BHC). The members and volunteers are also currently undergoing training on disaster preparedness. The BHC serves as a primary provider of basic health services and a force multiplier of the Municipal Health Office in the barangay. The BHC, together with the Barangay Hall, also serves as the center of disaster preparedness and response in the community.  Since majority of official gatherings are held in the covered courts of Barangay Bukal, two public comfort rooms were constructed by TeaM Energy in this barangay. These comfort rooms are complete with toilets, lighting, and water facilities. Senior Citizens of Barangay Bukal will benefit from these facilities since they hold regular meetings in the covered courts.   “These programs were implemented with the help of the respective barangay leaders. We worked closely with them in identifying key needs of their respective barangays. We are thankful for their partnership,” shares Greggy Romualdez, External Affairs Head of TeaM Energy. “The projects we recently implemented address the core needs of these communities like water, sanitation, and emergency preparedness.”   TeaM Energy is the single largest Japanese investment in the country with over 2,000 MW of installed generating capacity in Luzon.  It operates two coal-fired power plants: the 735 MW Pagbilao Power Station in Quezon Province and the 1,200 MW Sual Power Station in Pangasinan. It also has a 50% stake in the 420 MW Pagbilao Unit 3 Power Project in Quezon, and a 20% stake in the Ilijan natural gas project in Batangas. Medical and disaster preparedness equipment such as hard hats, first aid kits, and emergency lights were turned over to the Barangay Risk Reduction Members and Volunteers of Barangay Tukalan Health Center in Pagbilao, Quezon by TeaM Energy. The members and volunteers are also currently  undergoing training on disaster preparedness.  

GSIS inks Php170M loan agreement with 4 LGUs in Tarlac

September 27, 2019

San Vicente, Tarlac. The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with four local government units (LGUs) in Tarlac on September 21, 2019, that opened a Php170 million loan facility for government employees in said areas under the GSIS Financial Assistance Loan (GFAL). GSIS Chairman and concurrent acting President and General Manager (APGM) Rolando Ledesma Macasaet also conducted a stakeholders’ dialogue here in the province. “GFAL is GSIS’s response to the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to help government employees settle their financial obligations with lending institutions. GSIS will refinance their loans up to Php500,000 with lending institutions at a lower interest rate of six percent per annum and payable at a longer term of up to six years. GFAL borrowers stand to take home higher take-home pay and protect their retirement benefits from future deductions. We appeal to government employers to help us make this a reality,” Chairman Macasaet explained. The pension fund chief underscored that GFAL is in response to the President's call to "free government employees from unscrupulous lending institutions or loan sharks which offer 5-6 schemes with double digit interest rates." Macasaet signed the MOA on GFAL along with the local officials of Tarlac headed by Governor Susan A. Yap. The other signatories in the MOA were Anao Mayor Rafael M. Naral; La Paz Mayor Venustiano D. Jordan; Mayantoc Mayor Julie P. Icmat. Also lined up in the list of GFAL activities are MOA signing ceremonies with LGUs in Camiling and San Clemente and Camiling Water District. The four LGUs that participated in the MOA in Tarlac will join some 400 government agencies that have already entered into GFAL agreement with GSIS. Recently added to the list are Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone, Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and the provincial government of Romblon. Under GFAL, qualified members may apply for a maximum loan amount of Php500,000. Those whose outstanding loans with lending institutions do not exceed Php500,000 may opt to borrow the remaining amount through the Top-Up Loan, with the proceeds directly released to the member. GFAL was initially offered to teaching and nonteaching personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd) on 15 May 2018 and has been extended to all government employees effective 29 July 2019. Qualified to apply are permanent government employees with outstanding loan from private lending institutions, government banks, or cooperatives accredited or recognized by their agency; have paid premiums with the GSIS for at least three years; have no due and demandable loan account with the GSIS; not be on leave without pay; have a net take-home pay of not lower than Php5,000 after deduction of monthly obligations; and have no pending administrative case or criminal charge. A borrower with pending case is still eligible to apply for GFAL if the case was filed by a lending institution due to nonpayment as a result of the prioritization of payroll deductions. As of 17 September 2019, GSIS has disbursed over Php33.03 billion in GFAL, benefitting 87,802 GSIS members. The deadline for GFAL application for non-DepEd personnel is 26 July 2020. All GSIS offices nationwide are open from Monday to Saturday to accept GFAL applications. During the dialogue with stakeholders, Chairman Macasaet said that "GSIS also wants to hear from our stakeholders. Dialogues enable us to gain insight into their needs, which in turn serve as guideposts in fine-tuning our programs and services." He added that the event is an opportune time for GSIS to update stakeholders on its latest programs, which include GFAL; Program for Restructuring and Repayment of Debts (PRRD), a one-time condonation and restructuring program for inactive members who have no financial capability to settle their outstanding balances in full; and GSIS’s Guide to Transactions and Processes (GTAP), the first electronic Citizen's Charter in the government.

Mompreneur cares for fellow nursing moms with Mother Nurture Coffee is life

September 27, 2019

It’s a statement that all pregnant women and moms--especially first-timers—will agree with, given that these women are most likely sleep-deprived because of hormones and childcare duties. Unfortunately, medical science has also established limited caffeine intake is best for both expecting and nursing mothers—something which did not sit well with mompreneur Lan Perez, founder of the country’s first brand of lactation coffee and choco drink mixes, Mother Nurture. Perez’s breastfeeding journey is actually a story of relactation. Six years ago, the mother of two decided to relactate in order to nurse her then three-month-old son Jaden. She had missed the chance to breastfeed her eldest, Andre, and she didn’t want the opportunity to do so with her second child. The whole relactation process turned Perez into a breastfeeding advocate, thanks also to the Facebook group, Breastfeeding Pinays, which provided her the support she needed. Perez was happy that she was finally nursing her son—but it also called for a big sacrifice, as her baby was sensitive to any caffeine in her system. “After 14 months of no coffee, I needed my sanity back,” Perez says, chuckling. She tried looking for “friendly” alternatives, but saw that even the coffee with malunggay options were labeled “not suited for breastfeeding mothers.”  That was Perez’s “aha” moment—finding no solution to her problem, she decided to resolve it herself. It took three months of consultations with lactaction experts, plus experimentation with the help of chemists, to come up with the products she and fellow nursing moms needed: Mother Nurture 7-in-1 Coffeemix and Chocomix. Specially formulated for breastfeeding moms, each sachet of these mixes contains natural galactagogues, or ingredients that help in milk production, such as calcium lactate, stevia leaves, gotu kola, ashitaba, and malunggay. Perez’s products helped her not just with her breastfeeding journey, but with her financial freedom as well, as running Mother Nurture allowed her to leave her former job as a merchandising specialist and go into business full time. And five years since she first started her brand, Perez continues to share her good fortune with other women by opening her products for reselling. Most of her associates are nursing moms themselves, who get to enjoy the benefits of Mother Nurture’s mixes, too. “I want to give them the opportunity to earn while taking care of their families,” concludes Perez.

Suzuki Philippines strengthens Mindanao hold, breaks ground for new Tagum dealership

September 26, 2019

Tagum City, Philippines. September 24, 2019 – Suzuki Philippines, Inc., the country’s pioneer subcompact car distributor, continues to bolster its presence in Mindanao with a new dealership in Tagum City in Davao. After setting a new record of more than 2,000 vehicles sold nationwide in four consecutive months this year, SPH is gearing up to open new showrooms in different areas across the country with fast-paced business growth. Suzuki Auto Tagum located in District 1, Purok 5A, Canocotan, Tagum City will soon rise SPH’s 3s dealership in the city, making Suzuki cars and services more accessible to existing and other potential customers in the area and neighboring cities. The new dealership is owned and managed by Grand Canyon Multi Holdings Inc., which manages Suzuki’s 12 other dealerships nationwide.   Tagum City was hailed as Davao Region's Overall Most Competitive Component City in 2018, its second win from the initiative led by the Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Trade and Industry. The awards were given to municipalities in Davao that exemplified excellence in Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, Infrastructure Development and Disaster Resiliency. “As we break ground for what would be the new Suzuki Auto Tagum, we reaffirm our promise to make our best-valued and award-winning products and services more accessible to more Filipinos and let them experience the Suzuki Way of Life,” said Keiichi Suzuki, director and general manager for automobile division of Suzuki Philippines. This year, SPH achieved 14 percent year-on-year growth and landed on the fifth rank in the local automobile industry ranking. These back-to-back milestones continue to motivate the brand to look for more opportunities to strengthen its market in the country by providing best-in-class vehicles and service to Filipinos and bring to them the Suzuki Way of Life.   Leading the groundbreaking rites were Suzuki Philippines Director and General Manager Keiichi Suzuki and executives from Grand Canyon Multi Holdings Inc.  The Suzuki Auto Tagum will be completed by March 2020 and will be fully operational by May 2020.  For more information about Suzuki Philippines and their automobiles, please visit and like them on, and follow on Instagram at @suzukiautoph. About Suzuki Philippines Incorporated Suzuki Philippine Incorporated is a wholly-owned Japanese multinational firm highly recognized in the automotive industry. The company specializes in the manufacture and sale of motorcycles and distribution of compact vehicles and outboard motors. Suzuki has established its reputation worldwide for quality, versatility and innovation, and has created a heritage of trust and reliability.


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