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Yolanda housing in MacArthur, Leyte, 100% complete - Nograles

October 23, 2020

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles led the formal turnover of housing units for Typhoon Yolanda victims in a virtual ceremony on Thursday, October 22, 2020 as part of the government's effort to complete all its housing commitments despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It was the 10th such virtual turnover of the Yolanda Permanent Housing Project, held at Brgy. San Isidro, MacArthur, Leyte. A total of 122 units were distributed to local beneficiaries. "We're very thankful for the gracious invitation of Mayor Rudin Babante and the other LGU officials who also joined us online. The turnover was also made more meaningful with the active participation of residents who directly expressed their gratitude for the free housing units," the Malacañang official said. Nograles, chair of the IATF Task Force for the Unified Implementation and Monitoring of Rehabilitation and Recovery Projects and Programs in the Yolanda-affected Areas, commended the various national and regional partner agencies for "working double time and extra hard despite the health challenges posed by the Corona virus." "The tireless efforts of the local chief executives, in coordination with National Housing Authority Region 8 Regional Manager Engr. Dodong Antiniero and District Manager Marilyn Lauzon made the succesful turnover possible. Our collective efforts have borne fruit. Everybody needs to be commended for a good job. This is the essence of selfless public service," the former Davao legislator noted. According to the Cab Sec, President Rodrigo Duterte was fully aware of the plight of people in the countryside, particularly those who expect assistance from government like those whose lives and livelihoods were swept away by Typhoon Yolanda. "That's why the President made this housing project in affected provinces a top priority, even during this pandemic." Based on NHA data as of October 12, 2020, out of a planned 53,038 housing units for Region VIII, 37,414 have already been completed, with the remaining 15,624 undergoing construction. "I am proud that we are already 100% complete in our 112 housing commitments here in MacArthur, Leyte. This is the result of everyone's dedication," said the official. For his part, Mayor Babante said that "in behalf of everyone, we thank the President and the various government agencies such as the NHA which helped the people of MacArthur. We will do everything to deserve this generous gift." In response, Nograles expressed that "government is just doing its job. Delivery of basic services is essential to good governance. We hope that the free housing will spur the growth of responsible families and communities and improve their lives. We build, so the people can rebuild." (OCS)

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PPO brings classical music to Filipino audiences amid pandemic with Chamber Concert series

October 22, 2020

In this time when social gatherings are prohibited, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra finds an alternative way to bring classical music to the Filipino audiences through the PPO Chamber Music Concert, slated on October 30, 2020 (Friday), 8pm, streamed via the CCP and PPO Facebook Pages and CCP YouTube Channel.   Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura, PPO music director and principal conductor, has carefully programmed a chamber concert series that highlights the different instruments of the orchestra while performing music composed for small ensembles.   For the October concert, the repertoire focuses on string instruments.  For the first part of the program, PPO concertmaster and violinist Dino Akira Decena and cellist Giancarlo Gonzales will perform VIOLIN AND CELLO DUO OP. 6 No. 1by Franz Anton Hoffmeister.   Violinist Jose Carlo Tuazon, violinist Berny Dulce Payte, cellist Giuseppe Diestro, and double bassist Ariston Payte III will play SONATA FOR 2 VIOLINS, CELLO AND DOUBLE BASS NO. 2 IN A MAJORby Gioachino Rossini for the second part of the program.   On November 27, the PPO Chamber Concert puts a spotlight on wind instruments.  Clarinet players Ariel Sta. Ana, Jayson Rivera, and Hernan Manalastas will play SERENADE FOR 3 CLARINETSby Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.   It will be followed by PREGON DE DANZA FOR CLARINET AND CELLO by Georgia Sanchez, to be performed by clarinettist Jayson Rivera, clarinet and cellist Gerry Graham Gonzales.   The program continues with flutist Rosemarie Poblete, clarinettist Ariel Sta. Ana, bassoonist Frenvee Andra, and French horn player Ernani Pascual serenading the audience with WOODWIND QUARTET NO. 4 IN B MAJORby Gioachino Rossini.   The November concert will conclude with flutist Hercules Santiago and marimba player Aimee De la Cruz playing TWO PIECES FOR FLUTE AND MARIMBAby Ney Rosauro.   “In compliance with the protocols imposed by the government, the most logical and safest way to perform classical music is through ensemble playing.  By doing so, it will not only help highlight the artistry of individual players with their respective instruments more but also offer another form of performance for instrumental classical music to audiences aside from the usual full orchestra performances of the PPO before the pandemic,” shared PPO orchestra director Eugene Delos Santos, DMA.   For more information, please visit the CCP website (www.culturalcenter.gov.ph) or follow the official CCP and PPO Facebook pages ( CCP).

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Gordon, concerned about young Chinese retirees in RP

October 22, 2020

Senator Richard J. Gordon on Monday expressed concern that Chinese retirees, mostly 35 year olds, compose 40 percent of the total foreign retirees in the country.   During the budget deliberation in the committee level for the Department of Tourism and its attached agencies which includes the Philippine Retirement Authority, Gordon directed Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat and PRA General Manager Bienvenido Chy to submit a report on the foreign retirees in the country and on the PRA’s policies.   “I suggest Sec. Puyat, you better look into this very rapidly and give us a formal report on this,” the senator said.   “Kahit na dinatnan mo yan, you should be savvy enough to know and check kung anong ginagawa ng mga 35 year olds na ‘yan dito. How can they retire at 35 years old? That is just too young to retire. A retiree has just finished his job and wants to spend his money and later years here in the Philippines…I’m disturbed by it,” he told Chy, meanwhile.   Records show that with 27,678, the Chinese tops foreign nationals who choose the Philippines for their retirement and majority of them are 35 years old.   Gordon said the Senate Committee on Tourism should conduct an inquiry with the aim of amending pertinent laws to attract more of the old population from other countries such as Japan and the United States.   Aside from the Chinese from the People’s Republic of China, the foreign retirees’ population in the Philippines is comprised of 14.144 Koreans, 6,120 Indians, 4,851 Taiwanese, 4,016 Japanese, 3,704 Americans, 1,870 Chinese from Hong Kong, 1595 British, 792 Germans, 752 Australians, and 4,498 other nationalities.   “The Committee on Tourism should look into this and amend this provision because retirees, as you know, retire at the average of 56 to 60, to 65 years old. To retire at 35, that’s very liberal,” Gordon stressed.(OSRG)  

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DSWD extends help to 4Ps workers in shooting incident in Tawi-Tawi

October 21, 2020

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has assisted the two program implementers who were attacked by gunmen in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS). AICS is the provision of integrated services to individuals and families in difficult situations. These services include financial, material, and medical assistance, among others, based on the assessment of social workers. According to reports,  Niezel Ladjauddin Asakil,  Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) OIC Provincial Link in Tawi-Tawi, and Kevin Pon,  4Ps Municipal Link, were attacked by gunmen along the highway of Barangay Lapid-Lapid while on their way home following a 5-day payout in Panglima Sugala on October 12, 2020. The two field workers were wounded. DSWD recognizes the efforts of field workers to deliver the necessary assistance to 4Ps and other program beneficiaries despite the many threats to their health and safety,  thus, the Department vows to institute better mechanisms and to strengthen coordination with the government of BARMM to ensure their protection and to prevent the repeat of similar incidents.  (DSWD)

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Phl launches Nat’l Food Policy, capping World Food Day celeb

October 20, 2020

The Philippine government formalized its commitment to end hunger and malnutrition as it launched the National Food Policy (NFP), during the closing program of the week-long 2020 World Food Day (WFD) celebration on October 16, 2020. “We strongly endorse and commit to action the newly-launched National Food Policy under the authorship and leadership of Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said during the event, held at the DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management in Quezon City. For his part, Nograles — chair of the Inter-agency Task Force on Zero Hunger that crafted the NFP of President Duterte’s administration — said hunger is a multi-dimensional problem caused by a combination of inter-related factors, and thus collective action of everyone is crucial in addressing it effectively. “To ensure not only a whole-of-government approach, but also a whole-of-nation approach in eradicating hunger, the NFP provides an outline of the national priorities based on a comprehensive understanding of hunger and related issues,” he said. Secretary Dar, who serves as vice-chair of the Zero Hunger Task Force, said the 2020 World Food Day celebration is made more relevant as it highlighted the need to attain food security with a greater sense of urgency, as the Philippines and other countries worldwide contend with the global COVID-19 pandemic. “With this year’s theme, ‘Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together,’ the Department of Agriculture (DA) assures our countrymen that we will sustain our efforts to ensure food adequacy for the present and future generations of Filipinos,” the agri chief said. As the country’s food security depends on the agriculture sector, Secretary Dar said the DA will continue developing more strategies aimed at increasing food productivity in cost-efficient and sustainable ways. He said the DA strives to make revolutionary changes to the sector, elevating it to “Agriculture 4.0” — that is a smarter and more efficient industry that employs big data and new technologies benefiting the entire food value chain, especially producers and consumers. During the early weeks of the pandemic, Secretary Dar said the DA and its partners worked hard and implemented various initiatives that helped avoid any food shortages, thus there were no queues at food distribution centers unlike in previous economic crises. The DA programs include “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” marketing, urban agriculture, and other initiatives under the ‘Plant, Plant, Plant’ umbrella program. All of these are expected to be part of the new normal to help ensure food security, Secretary Dar said. As part of the WFD celebration, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) also launched on October 16 its Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) Roadmap that complements the NFP, said CabSec Nograles. The NFP has outlined six key result areas, namely: 1) review and rationalize existing policies, rules, and regulations related to zero hunger; 2) ensure available and affordable food; 3) secure nutrition adequacy; 4) secure food accessibility and safety; 5) ensure sustainable food systems, food resiliency, and stability; and 6) ensure information, education, awareness, and people participation. “We hope everyone is inspired by this indispensable goal of food security and takes steps forward in fighting these injustices, amid the pandemic – where consuming a balanced, nutritious diet every day is our only weapon against the Covid-19 virus,” Secretary Dar concluded, as he thanked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his leadership and commitment to the Filipino people. (GB, DA-AFID)  

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Philhealth expedites 100% inclusion of all Filipinos in NHIP as part of UHC

October 20, 2020

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) recently gave updates on hastening the process to register all Filipinos in  the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP). Under the Universal Health Care Law (UHC), all Filipino citizens are automatically eligible to avail the government’s health benefits packages. President Rodrigo Duterte signed the UHC Law last February 20, 2019 to ensure that every Filipino, with the inclusion of overseas Filipino workers, has access to a comprehensive set of quality and cost-effective, promotive, preventive, curative, palliative, and rehabilitative health care, without causing financial hardship, and prioritizing those who cannot afford such services. With the Universal Health Care Law (UHC), about 110 million Filipinos, based  on  the Philippine Statistics Authority consensus, are now eligible to receive universal healthcare. They will also be granted access to all health care services in accredited public facilities, as well as basic accommodations in accredited private health care institutions (HCI). “As of August of this year, about 85.4 percent of the total Filipino population are registered members of PhilHealth,” explained Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire. She added that this is composed of 51,785,474 members as well as 42,352,559 dependents. It is the government’s objective to fully register the entire population in the NHIP, from 95 percent in 2021 to 100 percent in 2022 so that all Filipinos will have access to health services and benefits. Though not all Filipinos are registered in the PhilHealth database, they may still benefit from PhilHealth coverage at the point of service. This development is in line with the provisions for a nationwide universal healthcare system that will be executed, together with the implementation of a whole-of-government, whole-of-system, whole-of-nation approach in the program. Updating your PhilHealth registration Filipinos who are already members of PhilHealth can update their member data record, and  employers or members with  financial means must keep their premiums updated. PhilHealth is also committed for all Filipinos to secure their PIN (PhilHealth Identification Number) by updating their membership records, particularly for their dependents. Direct contributor members will need to register and apply for PIN using the PhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF), declare their monthly income, and submit their supporting documents. Indirect contributor members, or those subsidized by the government, need only to register and apply for PIN; they may also need to present their certificate of financial incapability. For updating of records, both direct and indirect contributor members need to submit their PMRF as well as the required supporting documents. Expanding UHC’s coverage With the broadening of its coverage under the UHC Act, the health sector is mandated to provide sufficient and high-quality individual-based and population-based health services. Philhealth has accredited a combination of public and private healthcare providers who can offer sufficient and accessible individual-based health services. OIC-Undersecretary Singh-Vergeire also explained the DOH efforts in implementing the UHC in the provinces and cities. She said, “DOH has contracted province and city-wide health systems with minimum components like a reliable primary health care provider network who gives free consultations and assessments. Epidemiologic Surveillance Systems monitor the status of every community and gather data on diseases like COVID-19 and polio. A proactive health promotion campaign also makes the community aware of the health protocols.” (DOH)

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