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National Food Policy to Address Hunger in the Philippines: Karlo Nograles, IATF Chief

October 8, 2020

7.6 Million Families experienced hunger in the past three months according to the latest SWS Survey. Amidst the pandemic, hunger is becoming one of the most pressing problems in the Philippines when businesses and companies are shutting down, unemployment rates soar high.  It is an altogether spiraling tragedy crippling the lives of the Filipinos, but let me say that there is hope.  In a press statement, the government has recognized the urgency to conduct Food and Agricultural programs to augment the need for more feeding program activities for imp areas. When poorer families cannot afford to eat three times a day, the government under the leadership of Karlo Nograles, IATF member for Hunger, launches the “National Food Policy” which seeks to end hunger through massive food production, food security, food availability and accessibility, nutrition, and food resiliency. Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles- Chair of the government's Zero Hunger Task Force declared the launching of the NFP that requires and incentivizes micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), LGUs, private companies, civil society organizations, and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to become partners and participate in fighting hunger congruent with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Goal No. 2. Along with this, the government has also set aside budget to fund house-to-house feeding programs in impoverished areas targeting kids who are enrolled in public schools. The budget will be allocated through the schools to which they are enrolled as well as social welfare nets under the DSWD.  Food distributed will include nutribuns, iron fortified rice, instant laing, pochero and growth mixes to also solve malnutrition and stunted children.  As per IATF Chairperson on Hunger, Karlo Nograles, cites his commitment to meet zero hunger by 2030 and passed the Executive Order No. 101. “It may be more difficult (to achieve this) but we cannot stop trying,” he added.  "We should never be deprived of food or any basic needs! With every meal that we miss everyday the light of hope also dims. We should step-up our game to alleviate hunger!"

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Bukidnon dairy workers undergo training on good manufacturing practices

September 29, 2020

MALAYBALAY City--Twenty-eight staff of Universal Harvester Dairy Farms Incorporated (UHDFI) coming from its various processing areas attended an online seminar on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Bukidnon recntly. One of UHDFI’s fast-moving brands is the Bukidnon Milk Company. It is well-known as a homegrown brand of Premium Fresh Milk from the highlands of Bukidnon. Though their product gained positive feedback, they still seek to gain more knowledge and ensure product consistency and quality. Making headway on the Webinar’s talking points, DOST-Bukidnon Provincial Director Virgilio M. Fuertes emphasized the importance of food safety to foster consumers’ safety above other priorities in the food industry. “The goal should not stop at getting FDA-LTO and CPR. It’s only a consequence of conscientious adherence to food safety protocol in the dairy processing industry,” Fuertes said. Lesli N. Uy, Science Research Specialist and member of the DOST-X Food Safety Team discussed every aspect of the GMP manufacturing process to safeguard the products that can be catastrophic to both handlers and consumers.  She also lectured and taught the participants the additional protocols as abidance to the shift for new normal caused by the current pandemic situation. “The GMP Webinar gives us clear guidance for the implementation of GMP based on statutory and regulatory requirements,” said Emily S. Fernando, Company ISO, and Quality Management System Manager. For his part, Jonathan Masloc, ISO Officer and head of the processing Department of UHDFI, said that this webinar is an initial step for their plan to acquire GMP accreditation and Halal certification. Masloc said this Webinar is UHDFI’s first shot to avail of DOST’s technical services, among its requests for DOST’s technical assistance. Among the services that the firm requested from DOST-X are Training and Consultancy for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Certification; Test Method Validation and Microbial Test Training for Lab Analysts; Shelf Life Evaluation of Dairy Products; and Chemical Analysis for Food and Water. Bukidnon Milk Company is grateful to its consumers for the trust and for patronizing its products. The firm guarantees to ensure that their company meets the requirements to satisfy its customers with its products and services. (DOST-Bukidnon/PIA Bukidnon)

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Customs seizes imported cigar worth 40m in Misor

September 25, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Northern Mindanao seized illegally imported cigarettes from China valued at P40 million on September 17, the agency said Tuesday. The contraband arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal, a sub-port under the jurisdiction of BOC-10, in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, said Cris Angelo Andrade, the bureau’s regional information officer. Andrade said the cargo has no import papers and other documents, prompting the Customs to declare it as a “pre-lodged shipment.” Prior to the contraband’s arrival, the BOC-10 district office has already been alerted of the shipment by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), Andrade said. Upon arrival at the MCT, the shipment was immediately issued with pre-lodgement control order, he added. The BOC-10 then put out an alert order against the shipment for violation of National Tobacco Administration (NTA) memorandum circular no. 3 series of 2004 and NTA board resolution no. 079-2005 in relation to section 1113 (f) and section 1400 (misdeclaration) of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act. Oliver Valiente, the Customs’ CIIS field station chief, said the illegal shipment was alerted to them through “Project Crocodile.” Project Crocodile is an information-sharing scheme between customs administration of member-countries notifying each other if there are movements of suspicious cigarette shipments. The information provided to the CIIS was relayed through a global database operated jointly by countries involved in international anti-smuggling campaign. In his statement, John Simon, BOC-10 district collector, has reiterated his support in the Bureau’s drive to combat smuggling in the country as he commended the vigilance and dedication to duty of the personnel instrumental in the said apprehension.   “The Port of Cagayan de Oro will remain steadfast in its mandate to protect the country’s borders by preventing the entry of smuggled goods,” Simon said. Early this month, BOC-10 led the destruction through shredding of 2,150 reams of cigarettes from China and other countries. In a previous interview, Simon said the condemned items were apprehended when the consignees failed to pay duties and taxes in violation of RA 10836.

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CDO transport coop braces for ‘cashless transactions’

September 25, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--A Cagayan de Oro City based transport cooperative is bracing for a “cashless transaction” as the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Manila recently implemented the “No Card, No Ride” rule. Dante Sudaria, Chairman of the Mindanao Daily Express Transport Cooperative (Mendex), a Cagayan De Oro-based transport cooperative, said that Mendex is ready to implement the LTO’s cashless transaction here. Sudaria said that the cashless transaction, also known as the “automatic face collection” scheme, is part of the package of the transport modernization program, scheduled for full implementation in 2021. “The Mendex transport cooperative is now consolidating its approved 160 routes in Cagayan De Oro City although seven of the existing routes would be initially provided with the modern transport vehicles,” Sudaria said. He said that the Mendex transport cooperative is allocating 15 modernization-compliant vehicles in each of the initial seven routes plying in urban and sub-urban centers in Cagayan De Oro City. A top official of the Office of Transportation Cooperatives (OTC) also lauded the implementation of 100 percent “cashless transactions” by modernization-compliant vehicles of two transport cooperatives. Eugene M. Pabualan, the OTC Executive Director, said that the cashless transaction provides ease for both the drivers and commuters as part of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) to overhaul the uncomfortable system. Pabualan cited the South Metro Transport Cooperative (SMTC) and Libra Jeepney Operator Transport Cooperative (LJOTC) in Manila for successfully enforcing the “No Card, No Ride” rule to passengers availing public transport rides. The drivers of transport cooperative offer “green cards” to passengers, each card costing P 30.00 to P 40.00.  The passenger could also buy and reload the green card in the cooperatives’ terminals, designated as drop off points.

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Innovate agri sector to ensure food security, boost resilience amid pandemic and other crises

September 18, 2020

INNOVATING the country’s agriculture sector is necessary to ensure food security amid the COVID-19 pandemic and to improve the sector’s resilience to other risks.   This is the key message of this year’s 6th Mindanao Policy Research Forum (MPRF), which is jointly organized by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), and the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU). The virtual forum, which is slated for September 18, will be hosted by AdDu through its University Research Council.   The 6th MPRF carries the theme “Bouncing Back in the New Normal through Countryside Development and Agricultural Resilience” to underscore the significant role of the agriculture sector in sustaining food production and in improving economic recovery during crises like the novel coronavirus outbreak.   A  report recently published by the World Bank noted that the country’s agriculture sector has exhibited resilience amid the pandemic. It grew “by 1.6 percent in the second quarter of the year” and the only sector that thrived during the period.   While this is good news for the sector, PIDS President Celia Reyes said it is crucial to implement reforms in agriculture to be able to maintain these gains and withstand the adverse impacts of future shocks and hazards.   Mindanao is known for its strong agriculture-based economy, with a third of the region’s land area devoted to agricultural activities.   "Agriculture will be our backbone as we speed up efforts in rebuilding Mindanao's economy post-pandemic,” MinDa Chair Emmanuel Piñol said. Based on the data of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in the Philippines, the region “supplies over 40 percent of the country’s food requirements and contributes more than 30 percent to national food trade”.   “Given Mindanao’s strength on agricultural production, the region will play a key role in sustaining food productivity and availability as the government continues to undertake measures to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic,” Reyes pointed out.   Piñol urged government agencies, local government units, and the private sector in Mindanao to “focus [their] efforts on the region's agriculture and fisheries sectors over the next five years to counteract the economic slowdown” brought by the coronavirus outbreak.   More topics related to the possible contributions of the region in strengthening the sector as well as the challenges and constraints it may encounter will be presented during the MPRF.   The forum will start with a presentation titled “Innovating Governance: Building Resilience Against COVID19 and other Risks: Focus on Agriculture” by PIDS Senior Research Fellow Sonny Domingo. This will be followed by a discussion of various topics such as the “Socio-Economic Impact of COVID19 Pandemic in the Philippines/Mindanao” by Dr. Enrico L. Basilio, “Rapid Assessment of Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security, Rural Livelihoods, and Agricultural Market Chains in Mindanao” by Dr. Roehlano Briones, and “Enhancing Internet Connectivity and Social Inclusivity in the New Normal Using Satellite Technology for a Better-Connected Agriculture Development in Mindanao” by Dr. Rogel Mari Sese.   Panelists were also invited to share their insights and provide recommendations on how Mindanaoans can move forward and bounce back from the pandemic. Among those who will be joining the panel discussion are Hon. Khalid Dimaporo, Chair of the Committee on Mindanao Affairs; Dr. Jesus Antonio G. Derije, President, Central Mindanao University; Mr. John Carlo B. Tria, President of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.; Dr. Hussein S. Lidasan, Dean, University of the Philippines School of Urban and Regional Planning; Ms. Mary Grace Mirandilla-Santos, Lead Convenor, Better Broadband Alliance; Bai Tinangkil Herminia Saway, Member of the Talaandig Council of Elders (Tribal Community from Bukidon); and representatives from the National Telecommunications Commission/Department of Information and Communications Technology, as well as from farmers’ groups. Dr. Vida Mia Valverde of AdDU will moderate the sessions and Secretary Piñol will close the forum.   Launched in 2015, the MPRF is part of the Development Policy Research Month (DPRM) celebration led by PIDS every September, as mandated by Presidential Proclamation No. 247. The DPRM aims to promote nationwide awareness of the significance of policy research in crafting evidence-based policies, plans, and programs.   This year’s DPRM theme is “Bouncing Back Together: Innovating Governance for the New Normal”, or in Filipino, “Makabagong Pamamahala para sa Sama-samang Pagbangon sa New Normal” to highlight the importance of innovating governance across all sectors of society to be able to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and other possible threats.

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No more Sokor waste in Tagoloan

September 4, 2020

Customs Collector for Northern Mindanao John Simon shows to reporters the vacant lot where tons of imported garbage from South Korea were once stored, in a Phividec area in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. Simon said about 6,500 metric tons from South Korea were finally shipped back after 2 years of being stocked at the Phividec facility. Photo by Gerry Lee Gorit

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