nation

Phl welcomes Brazil's poultry import ban complaint

October 29, 2020

All member-countries have an equal right to challenge each other whenever there are trade complaints lodged before the World Trade Organization (WTO). Thus, is the reply of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to a letter received recently through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) from the Government of Brazil regarding the ban imposed by the DA on poultry products from Brazil based on reports of widespread COVID-19 infection among meat workers and the laboratory detection in China of SARS-COV-2 in imported chicken wings from Brazil. “Although we have maintained an open communication line with our Brazilian counterparts, the Department of Agriculture welcomes the initiative of Brazil to elevate the matter to the WTO,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar. “We have not yet lifted the ban on poultry, especially whole chicken, as the Brazilian government has yet to furnish the Philippines a report on the rates of SARS-COV-2 infection in their respective Foreign Meat Establishments (FME), where our imports are sourced,” the DA chief said. The report forms part of the protocols of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and the requirements of the DA for a more in-depth risk analysis of the situation. It is within the scope of the importing country to pre-emptively ban FMEs with apparent biosafety lapses until such time that the Philippines is satisfied with the evidence of compliance and/or commitment by the FME concerned, said DA-Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie Domingo. In fact, he said, “with the receipt of the partial documents from Brazil, the Philippines responded promptly by recently allowing the entry of mechanically-deboned meat or MDM from Brazil.” MDM goes directly to accredited local meat processing plants upon which the Philippine government can impose direct monitoring and regulation. On settling trade complaints and disputes, “the Philippines has always been facilitative of trade and open to discussion on trade issues which may not be acceptable to a trading partner,” said Secretary Dar. The WTO provides an avenue that allows member governments to negotiate and resolve trade issues with other members. “We welcome continued bilateral consultations with the Brazilian government, as we have always been to discuss this matter further towards mutual resolution,” he concluded. (DA)  

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Bicolano Artist to launch “Pagbutwa” online exhibit in honor of artists, cultural workers, and frontliners

October 29, 2020

The Kurit-Lagting, a collective artistic collaboration of Bicolano artists from Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate and Camarines provinces with art advocacies on human rights and the environment, will be launching the “Pagbutwa” online exhibit on October 31, 2020 via facebook live in partnership with UAPSA Area B District 5 and Sorsogon Initiatives for Culture and Arts Development.  “Pagbutwa, a Bicolano word for emergence or the process of arrival, coming into view, and becoming exposed after being concealed will explore different visual representations by artists that talk about challenges, pain, happiness, and memories from the displacement, dislocation, and temporality brought about by the present health crisis,” said Res Demdam, a Kurit-Lagting member since 2011. It is an online multidisciplinary community art project or an artistic endeavor that features themes about the struggles of artists, workers, and frontliners during this challenging time. It also encourages active participation and creativity in the Bicolano community, through group interaction and self-exploration. “The featured works will be uploaded in Kurit-Lagting’s official social media pages. The works will talk much about the disruption of the artistic process and the artistic product or outcome in the context of containment, and restriction which may be regarded as dialogues between the ecology of production and space,” quipped Robert Marticio, UAPSA Area B District 5 president and Kurit-Lagting honorary member. “The online exhibit will be curated by Bicolano artist-curator, Geri Matthew Carretero. As an artist-curator, he has exhibited his artworks and curated shows in various museums and galleries with themes about migration, displacement, and disability,” added Jhon Fred Manaligod, the newest member of the art collective. In addition, Carretero’s community-based initiatives include working as a volunteer and consultant for communication, branding, advocacy, and networking for NGOs that help children, youth, women, persons with disability (PWDs), and other vulnerable groups. He is presently finishing his Master of Fine Arts Degree at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. (KuritLagting)  

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U.S. Embassy launches Academy for Women Entrepreneurs in the Philippines

October 29, 2020

The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) by launching a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with more than 150 women entrepreneurs and early-stage business owners in the Philippines. AWE is part of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative to empower women worldwide to fulfill their economic potential and create conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity. W-GDP aims to reach 50 million women by 2025. This year, more than 5,000 women from more than 50 countries will participate in AWE. In the Philippines, the American Corners Bacolod and Marawi are facilitating the program. Three more Philippine cities are expected to launch the program in 2021. “AWE comes to Marawi City at the most opportune time,” said American Corner Marawi Director and Fulbright alum Elin Anisha Guro. “AWE is strategically positioned to train, equip, empower, and guide these new and experienced entrepreneurs as they struggle to adapt to a new business normal to achieve their personal and community goals.” “AWE Bacolod will help aspiring young women entrepreneurs, housewives, and out-of-school youth build networks,” said American Corner Bacolod Director Ma. Girlie de Guzman. The first cohort of 160 Filipina AWE students are expected to graduate by the end of the year. (US Embassy in the Philippines)  

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Manila, Tokyo to convene 10th infra meeting online amid pandemic

October 28, 2020

Philippine and Japanese officials will hold high-level discussions tomorrow on the progress of the Japan-funded infrastructure projects under President Duterte's signature  "Build, Build, Build" program,  and this would happen via videoconferencing for the first time amid the travel restrictions resulting from the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. The 10th Japan-Philippines Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation, to be held on Wednesday (Oct.28), will also be the first time that this bilateral panel will convene under the new administration of Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.  Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III will chair the Philippine side in the committee, while Dr. Hiroto Izumi, the special advisor to Prime Minister Suga, is expected to lead the Japanese side.  On top of discussing the status of Japan-funded “Build, Build, Build” projects, this high-level panel will also provide updates from both sides on Japan’s assistance to the Philippines’ COVID-19 response efforts, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.  Both sides will tackle the impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of the Japan-supported projects and the safety of workers and other personnel involved in their construction.  The Philippines is also expected to share developments on the Mindanao peace process, the ongoing rehabilitation of Marawi City, and the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).   Japan, for its part, will provide updates on its ongoing assistance to Mindanao under the framework of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) and other programs designed to help promote stability and economic growth in the new autonomous region.  Among the Japan-funded infrastructure projects that the committee is expected to discuss in the Oct. 28 meeting are the Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase I), North-South Railway Project, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) Rehabilitation Project, Davao City Bypass Construction Project, and the Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project.  Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the committee met alternately in Japan and the Philippines.   The panel first convened in March 2017 in Tokyo, while its latest face-to-face meeting was in Hakone in December last year. Since the start of the Duterte administration, 15 loan agreements have been signed between the Philippines and Japan worth a combined JPY679.3 billion (approximately P317 billion or US$6.24 billion), of which 11 involve the construction of big-ticket projects under “Build, Build, Build." These agreements also include two loans amounting to JPY100 billion signed this year for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response.  Japan ranks as the No. 1 provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines, with loan and grant commitments amounting to around US$10.1 billion as of June 2020.  This sum represents   38.53 percent of the country’s total ODA portfolio.  As of June 2020, ODA loans from Japan amounted to US$10.03 billion (40.77 percent of the country's total ODA loans), while grants totaled US$69.45 million. This makes Japan the largest ODA loan provider to the Philippines and the 8th largest in terms of grant financing.  (DOF)  

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DILG hails Pangasinan COVID-19 practices, decreasing cases of positive

October 28, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday commended the effective implementation of various safety and health protocols in the province of Pangasinan, which is now yielding low cases of COVID-19. “Binabati natin si Governor kasi maganda yung pag-handle nila sa COVID situation. In fact, bumababa na yung kanilang active cases [We commend you, Governor for effectively handling the COVID-19 situation there. In fact, your active cases are decreasing],” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said during an interview on Network Briefing News with host Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar. As of October 26, there are 351 active cases in the province, while 1,200 patients have already recovered. Governor Amado Espino III, who also sat as guest on the program, recognized the concerted efforts of all local government units in ensuring that reported positive cases are well-managed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. “Nagpapasalamat kami una sa mga kababayan namin sa buong probinsya na sumusunod po at nakikinig sa mga payo at alintuntunin na ini-implement po sa buong probinsya. At the same time, I ‘d like to extend to the LGUs yung recognition and gratitude na nakikiisa po sila sa mga programa [We are first and foremost grateful to our fellow citizens who follow and listen to the advice and guidelines that are being implemented all over the province.  At the same time, I’d like to extend to the LGUs the recognition and gratitude for supporting the programs],” he said. “Hopefully, lalo pang bumaba at hindi naman natin inaasahan na mawawala kaagad, but kung patuloy po ang pagtutulungan, sigurado pong bababa at bababa [Hopefully, the number of COVID-19 cases will go down further, and we do not expect it to disappear immediately. But if we continue to cooperate, it will definitely go down],” he added. According to Gov. Espino, they have recently concluded the targeted mass testing of around 1,520 residents in the province, and out of this number, only 10 turned out positive. “Nais ko pong magpasalamat kay Secretary and of course the other departments na pumunta dito sa Lingayen [I would like to thank Secretary and of course the other departments for coming here],” he said. “Sana po tuluy-tuloy po yung magandang communication and at the same, pagga-guide niyo sa’min dito sa probinsya ng Pangasinan [ I hope the good communication will continue and, at the same time, your guidance to all of us here in the province of Pangasinan],” he added. Meanwhile, to help the agriculture sector during this pandemic, the provincial government of Pangasinan is buying the products of farmers at cost price and selling them to different towns in  the province through its “Pamanang Yaman Produktong Pangasinan” caravan. The project aims to promote the locally-made products of Pangasinan, including bangus, bagoong, and other woven products. For the opening of tourism, Governor Espino said they are still preparing the policies that need to be issued so they can support and participate in the Ride and Reef Corridor tourism bubble. (PCOO)

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Mga pamantasan bumida sa ikatlong yugto ng KUMAIN Webinar ng TF Zero Hunger

October 28, 2020

 “Labis nating pinapahalagahan ang presensya ng bawat kalahok sa aktibidad na ito, gayundin sa ating mga katuwang na ahensya na naglaan ng kanilang napakahalagang oras upang mas marami ang higit pang makaunawa sa ilang mga programa ng administrasyon hinggil sa pagtugon sa kagutuman.” Ito ang bungad na pahayag ni Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Chair ng Task Force on Zero Hunger sa pormal na pagsisimula ng pangatlong bahagi ng “Kasapatan at Ugnayan ng Mamamayan sa Akmang Pagkain At Nutrisyon” o KUMAIN webinar series nitong Lunes, Oktubre 26, 2020. Ang pagbubukas ng ikatlong online seminar sa KUMAIN webinar series ay dinaluhan virtually nina CHED Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III, NNC Executive Director Azucena Dayanghirang, DSWD Director Wilma Naviamos at Director Restituto Macuto, DOST-FNRI OIC Director Imelda Agdeppa, Dr. Maria Corazon Dumlao ng DepEd, kinatawan ng mga kasaping ahensya ng Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger at mga kalahok mula sa mga State Universities and Colleges. “Ang Webinar Series na ito ay naglalayong magbahagi ng impormasyon at itaas ang kamalayan sa nagpapatuloy na pagsisikap ng gobyerno na matupad ang mga commitments ng Pilipinas sa Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) ng United Nations 2030, partikular sa SDG No. 2: tapusin ang kagutuman, makamit ang seguridad ng pagkain at mapabuti ang nutrisyon at itaguyod ang sustainable agriculture. Sa ilalim ng Goal No. 2, tayo ay nakatuon na wakasan ang lahat ng uri ng pagkagutom at malnutrisyon - upang matiyak na ang lahat, lalo na ang mga bata, ay mayroong sapat at masustansiyang pagkain sa buong taon,” ayon sa opisyal ng Malacañang. Sa pamamagitan ng KUMAIN, nagkaroon ng mga serye ng talakayan at palitan ng kaalaman hinggil sa ilang mga paraan sa pagtutulungan ng gobyerno at iba’t-ibang mga stakeholders mula sa mga pamahalaang lokal, pribadong negosyo at mga institusyon sa edukasyon sa pagkamit ng Ambisyon Natin2040 at sa Philippine Development Plan 2017 - 2022 Maginhawa Pillar na naglalayong ganap nang mapalaya ang Pilipinas sa kagutuman at kahirapan. Ang kagutuman umano ay nananatiling isang pangmatagalang hamon sa bansa at mas lalong pinalala ng Covid-19 pandemic batay sa datos na lumabas kamakailan. Batay sa Social Weather System (SWS) Mobile Survey noong Setyembre 2020, ang naitalang 30.7% hunger rate (tinatayang 7.6 milyong pamilya) ay ang kabuuan ng 22.0% na nakaranas ng moderate hunger at 8.7% na nakaranas ng severe hunger. Gayundin, ang porsyento ng mga sambahayan na walang katiyakan sa pagkain ay tumaas nang malaki mula 53.9% noong 2018 patungo sa 64.1% noong 2019 ayon sa pinakahuling datos mula sa DOST Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s 2019 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS). “Noong Enero 10, 2020, nilagdaan ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang Executive Order No. 101, na lumilikha ng Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger kung saan tayo ang itinalagang Chair. Ang task force ang naatasan upang tiyakin na ang mga patakaran, mga inisyatibo, at programa ng gobyerno ay magkaka-ugnay, tumutugon, at epektibo sa pagtiyak sa seguridad ng pagkain, at pagtugon sa gutom at malnutrisyon. Sa mga dumadaming isyu na ito na may kaugnayan sa involuntary hunger, seguridad sa pagkain, kakulangan sa nutrisyon, child wasting, stunting, at minsan ay humahantong sa pagkamatay, kailangan nating gumawa ng maingat na koordinasyon, makatuwiran, masubaybayan, at suriin ang mga pagsisikap ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno upang maibsan natin ang gutom at makamit ang seguridad ng pagkain sa pamamagitan ng whole-of-government approach,” paliwanag ng Kalihim ng Gabinete. Upang magawa ito, kanilang masusing pinag-aralan at inalam ang 6 Key Results Areas or KRAs upang makalikha ng mga roadmaps para maisakatuparan ang Zero Hunger Task Force’s major deliverable: ang unang National Food Policy (NFP) na matagumpay na inilunsad noong Oktubre 16, kasabay sa pagdiriwang ngayong taon ng World Food Day. Ang NFP ay produkto ng Task Force Zero Hunger kung saan inilalarawan nito ang pambansang mga priyoridad batay sa isang komprehensibong pag-unawa sa ating problema sa kagutuman at mga kaugnay na isyu sa gitna ng COVID-19 pandemic. Ito rin ang magsisilbing roadmap ng Pilipinas sa pagkamit ng Zero Hunger,” dagdag pa ng dating mambabatas ng Davao. Ang mga miyembro ng Task Force ay nahahati sa anim (6) na Technical Working Groups (TWGs) para pagsama-samahin ang kani-kanilang KRA. Pangunahing tungkulin ng mga TWG na ito ay matukoy ang mga estratihiya, indicators at mga taunang target pagkatapos ay subaybayan, suriin, at ayusin ang iba't ibang mga aktibidad sa pagtugon sa iba't ibang mga yugto ng kagutuman. “Sa ating pagtugon sa problemang ito, kritikal ang pagkaroon ng whole-of-society approach. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit binibighyan natin ng diin ang halaga ng pakikilahok ng mga SUC, upang ito ay maging isang eye-opener para sa mga kasapi ng akademya at makita kung saan maaari kayong mag-ambag sa ilang national government programs tungo sa pagsasakatuparan ng ating tunay na layunin.” Tulad ng kanilang ginawa sa unang yugto ng KUMAIN series, ipinakita ng National Nutrition Council ang Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition for 2017-2022. Ibinahagi ng Department of Social Welfare and Development, at ng Department of Education ang kani-kanilang mga Zero Hunger Interventions. Ipinamalas naman ng Department of Science and Technology - Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) ang kanilang mga teknolohiya para sa food fortification, at mga science and technology-based food products. Nagsalaysay din sa nasabing webinar ang Sultan Kudarat State University – na isang FNRI Food Technology Adoptor - upang ibahagi ang kanilang best practices at mga karanasan. “Kailangan namin kayo para gamitin ang mga teknolohiyang pang-pagkain ng FNRI upang mapalawak ang saklaw at maabot ang zero hunger programs at mapalaganap ang pag-access sa masarap, ligtas, malusog at masustansyang mga produktong pagkain. Maging bahagi ng kilusang ito. Tumaya tayo sa nutrisyon at kalusugan ng kabataan. Umambag tayo sa kinabukasan ng ating bansa. Maging kabahagi sana kayo sa labang ito ng bayan kontra sa kahairapan at kagutuman, Kapag tamang pagkain at sapat, panalo tayong lahat!” Nagpaabot ng pasasalamat si Nograles sa pamunuan ng Commission of Higher Education na nakipagtulungan sa Office of the Cabinet Secretariat, NNC, DOST-FNRI, DSWD, at DepEd para sa pagsasagawa ng third leg ng KUMAIN Webinar Series. (OCS)

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