front page

29th Minbizcon | Legal imperatives to revive eco unveiled

September 12, 2020

THE Philippine economy may be turning the corner despite the coronavirus pandemic but government will not jeopardize public health for a restart, and vice versa. “Rebuilding the economy is a condition for ensuring public health. We cannot fight a pandemic with a weak economy; nor can we restore economic vigor without solving the public health crisis,” said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III in his keynote address during the opening session of the 29th Mindanao Business Conference held online for the first time on Sept. 10, 2020. The finance secretary lauded the valiant efforts of businessmen who like their counterparts in the health and security sectors, were braving threats posed by the pandemic and the restrictions imposed by the quarantines and other public health countermeasures.  “While our many other workers brave the front lines to save lives and treat the infected, you, our entrepreneurs, have been fighting in the trenches to save jobs, and bring back our economy to the track of high growth,” Dominguez said. “The country is grateful for your efforts.” The finance secretary cited how fiscal imperatives such as the TRAIN Law, the amnesties for estate taxes and delinquencies, and the increase in sin taxes to fund the Universal Health Care Program, were passed with the support of PCCI chambers nationwide. “These initiatives have strengthened our fiscal and economic positions. We are better prepared now than any point in recent history for “black swan events” such as the Covid-19 pandemic that has put lives and livelihoods at serious risk.” Dominguez also explained how fiscal reforms such as the Build, Build, Build Program and other measures initiated by the DOF’s Sulong Pilipinas consultations have helped bring down the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio to a historic low of 39.6% in 2019 and improved PH’s revenue stream to 60.1% of GDP last year, the highest in over two decades. These allowed the country to build its Gross International Reserves to an unprecedented US$98.6-Billion in July 2020 and earn for the PH its highest ever credit ratings. This also helped the country bring down its poverty rate to 16.7 percent last year compared to 23.5% at the start of the present administration. Turning the corner Since quarantine restrictions were eased beginning July following the lockdowns of the second quarter, the Philippine economy has been gradually getting back on its feet. “The value of production index for the month of July showed a slower annual decline of 14.8 percent from a high of 41.2 percent in April,” Dominguez shared. “Similarly, the volume of production index likewise shrank at a slower rate by 11.9 percent compared to a high of 38.8 percent in April”. Similarly, both the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue registered hefty tax collections in August and exceeded their targets: BIR with P172.06-Billion vs. the target P118.20B, up 45.6%; and BOC P44.65B actual vs. P33.68 target, or up 32.6%. In another favorable development, the country’s unemployment rate in July 2020 fell to 10 percent, easing from 17.7 percent in April. Despite these however, Dominguez stressed government would continue to wage war versus Covid-19 on all fronts even if signs of recovery are emerging. He added that the administration will continue to work with Congress on economic priority bills what will make more support available for businesses, workers and families, and will come online as soon as Congress will be able to pass them. Legislative Imperatives to Revive the Economy  “We are pushing for the swift passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act that will provide targeted incentives and bring down our country’s current corporate income tax rate of 30 percent to 25 percent as soon as possible. This will reduce further by one percentage point every year from 2023 to 2027.” “Our government banks will also set up a company to deal with problems involving solvency issues and we will be inviting other multilateral agencies and foreign investment companies to participate.” “We will provide greater support to the agriculture sector by giving the banking system the ability to support the whole value chain of agri-enterprises.” “Our strategy for economic recovery rests on sustaining the Build, Build, Build program. Investments in infrastructure have the highest multiplier effect in the economy that creates jobs, fires up consumption, and spurs productive activity.” Mindanao is front and center of our Build, Build, Build Infrastructure Program. DOF has been able to secure financing for some key infra and peace building projects in the BARMM and the rebuilding of Marawi City, even amidst the pandemic including multilateral sources like Japan and the European Union. “It is important that we exercise fiscal prudence to ensure we do not run short of resources in this long game,” Dominguez stressed. “We will do what is necessary but we will not be wasteful.” “What we are facing is a test of fiscal stamina. How a country’s economy performs during Covid-19 and how quickly it can bounce back once the crisis is over will depend on this economic resilience.”

READ MORE
29th Mindanao Business Conference | MinDA: Infrastructure & Industry Key Drivers for Mindanao Development

September 12, 2020

The Mindanao Development Corridors strategy will integrate the island’s economic development to help stimulate economic activities in developing and underdeveloped areas by linking them to growth centers through infrastructure and connectivity. “The Duterte administration early on has identified infrastructure and industry development as key drivers for more robust economic activities in Mindanao-- leading to more jobs creation, and poverty reduction,” said Romeo Montenegro, Deputy Executive Director, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) during the second day of the 29th Mindanao Business Conference held virtually for the first time online via live stream. “The catalytic projects under the Mindanao development corridors are targeted to complement the strategies for agriculture and agribusiness, to achieve greater productivity along the value chain,” Montenegro noted. “This approach is also being vigorously pursued by our neighbors in ASEAN, particularly the BIMP-EAGA.” The Mindanao Development Corridors are situated in Northern Mindanao, Western Mindanao, South Central Mindanao and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Spread across Mindanao regions, projects such as roads, bridges, airports, seaports, and railways under the Build Build Build program are expected to boost the potentials of Mindanao in terms of trade, tourism and commerce by improving how fast and cost efficient the transport of people, goods and services is undertaken, he added. Among the Priority Public Investments listed by MinDA are the Panguil Bay Bridge, Laguindingan Airport Development Operation & Maintenance Project, Mindanao Railway System, Davao International Airport, New Zamboanga International Airport, Davao Sasa Port, Gensan Aerotropolis, Polloc Port Development and the Malacca Port Development in Tawi-Tawi. “To complement this, MinDA is pushing for the development and deployment of additional renewable energy capacities that will be crucial in meeting Mindanao’s power requirement by 2030.” To address growing power demand driven by rapid growth of industries, real estate, services and agribusiness, the island will need about 3,500 megawatts (MW) of new capacity between 2021-2030 assuming a 7-8% average annual growth rate.) The Mindanao Energy Plan for 2013-2030 also takes into account a sustained 7-8% Gross Regional Domestic Product after 2022. With agriculture as Mindanao's comparative advantage, Montenegro said MinDA is also pushing for the establishment of the Special Agro Economic Zones, especially in areas under the Bangsamoro Economic Corridor. “Mindanao's economic reboot, restart and rebound-- could best be leveraged on its inherent strength, and the country's economic hero in the time of COVID-- the agriculture sector,” Montenegro stressed. MinDA has listed eight such AEZs in Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Agusan del Sur, and  the Picong Freeport, Hajj Terminal, and Agro-Economic Zone in Lanao del Sur.

READ MORE
Report: Around 2.3 billion children globally affected by hidden impacts of COVID-19

September 12, 2020

SAVE the Children reported on Saturday that the COVID-19 pandemic has so far affected 99 percent or 2.3 billion of vulnerable children who live in 186 countries that implemented some form of restrictions such as lockdown and school closures. In the global report “Protect a Generation: The impact of COVID-19 on children’s lives,” Save the Children said that although children are not at a high risk of direct harm from the virus, they are disproportionately affected by its hidden impacts. The report cited concern that the number of children from poor households may increase to 117 million globally this year as the COVID-19 health crisis transitioned into an economic crisis. Save the Children spoke to more than 8,000 children and 17,000 parents and caregivers in 37 countries, including the Philippines, on the impact of COVID-19 in their lives. “It is clear that the most deprived and marginalized children are being hit the hardest by the pandemic, exacerbating existing inequalities and pushing the most vulnerable children even further behind,” said Inger Ashing, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children International. “For too many children, missing school means that they may never return; a parent losing his or her income means children go hungry; and increased pressures and stress on families mean that children experience more violence,” added Ashing. The unprecedented disruption to children’s education has affected 1.6 billion learners globally, and at least 10 million of them will not be able to return to school, mostly girls and those marginalized and deprived children who lack access to computer technology needed for distance learning, and support at home, said the report. Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines said the global report reflects the situation of millions of Filipino children from poor households, including those with disabilities and living in marginalized areas, who continue to suffer in silence from the devastating impact of the pandemic. “Children’s rights to continue learning is critical amid the pandemic and must be fulfilled not only through access to online technology but the support of parents, caregivers, and communities,” said Muyot. The report showed that less than one percent of children from poor households said they have access to the internet for distance learning, despite more than 60 percent of national distance learning initiatives relying on online platforms. As children adjust to the new learning set-up at home, at least 40 percent of children from poor households said that they need help with their schoolwork, but no one to help them. Children without access to help with their learning will be left further behind they return to school, said the report. Violence against children was already at record high prior to the pandemic with one billion children aged between 2 to 17 who experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence or neglect each year. COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate the risk of violence against children, particularly for those who are already at greater risk of violence – including girls, poor children, children with disabilities, and those in fragile contexts, according to the report. Income loss and school closures heightened such violence, according to the report. Save the Children called on governments to ensure children have access to equitable health and nutrition systems and child protection services including gender-based violence and mental health services. The organization is also seeking support for the fulfillment of the rights of children to access learning and to be listened to and involved in the decision-making processes that affect them.

READ MORE
Oro eyes one-stop shop for construction permits

September 11, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The establishment of a one-stop shop for construction permits in the city is in the offing. The one-stop shop for construction permit was incorporated in the proposed ordinance providing for the streamlined guidelines for the issuance of permits, licenses, and certificates for the construction of shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure (PTTI), which was favorably acted upon by the City Council committee on laws and rules chaired by Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya. As provided for in the proposed ordinance, the One Stop Shop for Construction Permits (OSSCP) shall be composed of the city mayor or his duly authorized representative as the chairperson,  the city administrator as the co-chairperson, and City Building Official, City Planning and Development Coordinator, City Assessor, City Treasurer and City Fire Marshall, members. The OSSCP shall be tasked to establish a system for the fast, easy and integrated system for applications of construction permits including PTTIs. It shall integrate in one location and one application system, the processes for applying for locational clearance, fire safety inspection and other clearances and permits issued by the City Building Official. The proposed law also provides the creation of the OSSCP Joint Inspection Team composed of the OBO as the team leader, City Assessor’s Office and the BFP to conduct the required inspection of structures or buildings subject for inspection. The team shall give prompt and efficient assistance to all applicants securing construction permits and certificates of occupancy; ensure that all buildings and structures within Cagayan de Oro City are compliant with all the requirements and standards set by law; keep records of all the owners of buildings and structures that have complied with all the requirements and perform other acts that are necessary to effectively and meaningfully carry out all its functions. EASE OF DOING BUSINESS Authored by Councilors Nacaya, Enrico Salcedo and Teodulfo Lao, Jr., the proposed ordinance is in line with the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 01-2020, implementing relevant provisions of Republic Act No. 11032, otherwise known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act. The objective of the legislation is to fast track the issuance of building permits and occupancy permits to telecommunication companies for the construction of Shared PTTI consistent to JMC 01-2020; to eliminate red tape in the processing of applications for Shared PTTIs; to further promote transparency in transactions in the city and to further enhance the city’s competitiveness. The authors cited that there is an urgent need for the city to adopt the guidelines provided in the JMC for streamlining the issuance of the permits and be compliant with the national directives regarding the promotion of the policy of the ease of doing business, and enhance the city’s readiness to adopt the New Normal and its competitiveness thru the increase of interconnectivity in Cagayan de Oro. The proposed ordinance was endorsed by the committee on environment chaired by Councilor Salcedo. It will be tackled by the 19th City Council during its 56th regular session Monday to be presided over by Vice Mayor Raineir Joaquin V. Uy. (SP) 

READ MORE
Body tackles 'Clean As You Go' ordinance

September 11, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The City Council committee on health and health insurance chaired by Councilor Maria Lourdes S. Gaane during its recent meeting  tackled the proposed ordinance institutionalizing the “Clean As You Go” practice in food serving establishments in the city. Councilor Ian Mark Q. Nacaya, author of the proposed legislation, cited observations that Filipinos when dining in food serving establishments especially in fast food restaurants just leave the tables messy and expect the crew to clean up everything. Clean As You Go or CLAYGO is a practice commonly observed in some fast food chains and other public places abroad to minimize risks to hygiene, health, and safety by ensuring that surfaces, tables and/or other equipment are clean, hygienic, and clutter-free. This encourages diners to make cleaning a part of their daily routine. During the meeting, a representative of Councilor Nacaya said the proposed ordinance is very timely since the world is now facing a pandemic. He said Councilor Nacaya and his staff already applied CLAYGO even before COVID-19. A representative of one of the establishments in the city said they were planning this even before Covid. However, she said they were hesitant because the Filipino culture is to serve the customer as much as he/she can. “Kung sugdan namo basin naa mga hesitations from our customers and that would also mean nga dili na nuon sila moadto, mokaon sa among restaurant,” she said. She expressed gladness that the proposed ordinance will be passed as it would not be hard for them for customers to follow. Another representative of food chain lauded the initiative of Councilor Nacaya as he emphasized the need for everyone to do their share and to become a responsible citizen. He said it could also help prevent spread of the virus. PROPER SEGREGATION Gaane said she is supporting the proposed law. However, she said she is concerned about the  proper segregation of waste disposal. “Dili ta magsalig nga ‘clean as you go’, dapat naa’y proper segregation sa waste kay magproblema na sad ang city,” she stressed. Gaane said the public should know and identify proper disposal of biodegradable, non-biodegradable, recyclable wastes. As this developed, the committee referred the matter to the City Legal Office for legal opinion. (SP/JBDacer)

READ MORE
WHO calls for global action on sepsis - cause of 1 in 5 deaths worldwide

September 10, 2020

GENEVA--The World Health Organization’s first global report on sepsis finds that the effort to tackle millions of deaths and disabilities due to sepsis is hampered by serious gaps in knowledge, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. According to recent studies, sepsis kills 11 million people each year, many of them children. It disables millions more. But there’s an urgent need for better data. Most published studies on sepsis have been conducted in hospitals and intensive care units in high-income countries, providing little evidence from the rest of the world. Furthermore, the use of different definitions of sepsis, diagnostic criteria and hospital discharge coding makes it difficult to develop a clear understanding of the true global burden of sepsis. “The world must urgently step up efforts to improve data about sepsis so all countries can detect and treat this terrible condition in time,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This means strengthening health information systems and ensuring access torapid diagnostic tools, and quality care including safe and affordable medicines and vaccines.” Sepsis occurs in response to an infection. When sepsis is not recognized early and managed promptly, it can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure and death. Patients who are critically ill with severe COVID-19 and other infectious diseases are at higher risk of developing and dying from sepsis. Even sepsis survivors are not out of danger: only half will completely recover, the rest will either die within 1 year or be burdened by long-term disabilities. A serious complication of infection Sepsis disproportionately affects vulnerable populations: newborns, pregnant women and people living in low-resource settings. Approximately 85.0% of sepsis cases and sepsis-related deaths occur in these settings. Almost half of the 49 million cases of sepsis each year occur among children, resulting in 2.9 million deaths, most of which could be prevented through early diagnosis and appropriate clinical management. These deaths are often a consequence of diarrhoeal diseases or lower respiratory infections. Obstetric infections, including complications following abortion or infections following caesarean section, are the third most common cause of maternal mortality. Globally, it is estimated that for every 1000 women giving birth, 11 women experience infection-related, severe organ dysfunction or death. The report also finds that sepsis frequently results from infections acquired in health care settings. Around half (49%) of patients with sepsis in intensive care units acquired the infection in the hospital. An estimated 27% of people with sepsis in hospitals and 42% of people in intensive care units will die. Antimicrobial resistance is a major challenge in sepsis treatment as it complicates the ability to treat infections, especially in health-care associated infections. Improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis Improved sanitation, water quality and availability, and infection prevention and control measures, such as appropriate hand hygiene can prevent sepsis and save lives - but must be coupled with early diagnosis, appropriate clinical management, and access to safe and affordable medicines and vaccines. These interventions could prevent as many as 84% of newborn deaths due to sepsis. So WHO calls on the global community to: * Improve robust study designs and high-quality data collection, especially in low- and middle-income countries. * Scale-up global advocacy, funding and the research capacity for epidemiological evidence on the true burden of sepsis. * Improve surveillance systems, starting at the primary care level, including the use of standardized and feasible definitions in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), and leveraging existing programmes and disease networks. * Develop rapid, affordable and appropriate diagnostic tools, particularly for primary and secondary levels of care, to improve sepsis identification, surveillance, prevention and treatment. * Engage and better educate health workers and communities not to underestimate the risk of infections evolving to sepsis, and to seek care promptly in order to avoid clinical complications and the spread of epidemics. (PR)

READ MORE

Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Mindanao Daily News.