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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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SEC gets ISO certification for all core services

September 2, 2020

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has successfully attained ISO 9001:2015 Certification for its quality management system covering all core services across its main and extension offices. The Commission, under the leadership of Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino and Commissioners Ephyro Luis B. Amatong, Javey Paul D. Francisco, Kelvin Lester K. Lee and Karlo S. Bello, formally received the certificate from TÜV Rheinland Philippines, Inc., headed by Managing Director Tristan Arwen G. Loveres, in a virtual awarding ceremony on August 26. The ISO 9001:2015 Certification attests to the Commission’s adherence to world-class standards in the provision of regulatory services over the corporate sector, the capital market participants, and the securities and investment instruments market in the Philippines, and protection of the investing public. The ISO 9001:2015 further covers the provision of registration of partnerships and corporations doing business in the Philippines in the SEC Extension Offices in Baguio, Tarlac, Legazpi, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga. “When I received the first ISO 9001:2015 Certification of the Commission early last year, I committed that it was but the start of the great transformation of the SEC under my leadership,” Chairperson Aquino said, as he received the main certificate on behalf of the Commission. “The transformation of the SEC as the gateway to doing business in the Philippines continues. Soon, we will start our journey toward digital transformation to keep pace with, if not ahead of, the fast-changing needs of the business industry and the capital market.” The Commission first obtained ISO 9001:2015 Certification in 2018 for its quality management system covering the registration of partnerships and corporations doing business in the Philippines, and the licensing of capital market institutions and professionals. From the initial 59 documented procedures, the SEC successfully expanded the scope of its ISO-certified quality management system to cover 122 documented procedures. The audit also revealed that the Commission’s quality management system has zero nonconformity to the ISO 9001:2015 standards. “The ISO 9001:2015 Certification is exceptionally meaningful to the SEC,” Commissioner Amatong noted during the virtual awarding ceremony. “As a customer-centric organization, we appreciate that it provides us with an external and objective assessment of the quality of our services based on international standards. We take pride in the consistent assessment that we are compliant with ISO 9001:2015 standards. At the same time, we take steps to continuously improve the quality of our services as espoused by the standards.”

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PCCI Mindanao urges Economic Stimulus measures for business survival & continuity

September 2, 2020

The affiliate chambers of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mindanao are urging government to prioritize a package of economic stimulus measures aimed at ensuring business survival and continuity during the 29th Mindanao Business Conference on September 10-11, 2020.  The first ever virtual hosting of Mindanao’s biggest business conference of the PCCI will be hosted by the Davao Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) through online live streaming via ZOOM with a record audience expected to participate in the virtual event despite restrictions on travel and gatherings brought by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “With theme, Mindanao: Journeying to the New Normal, we recognize the urgent need to boost confidence to overcome emerging challenges and opportunities,” said Ma. Teresa A. Alegrio, PCCI Area Vice President for Mindanao. “This stems from a deep understanding of what the new normal presents so that responses to meet them are carefully crafted.” MinBizCon is an annual event organized by the PCCI that aims to create a venue for businessmen, key industry players, government executives, and other private sector leaders to discuss economic concerns and opportunities in Mindanao resulting to policy actions for the development of the region. Through PCCI Mindanao Resolution no. 2020-004 (A Resolution Endorsing To The IATF-EID Proposed Intervention Measures For Business Survival And Continuity of Mindanao MSMEs and Other Industries) the 42 local Chambers of Mindanao will be requesting the National Government’s immediate and urgent intervention to prioritize a package of proposed recommendations aimed at ensuring  the business survival and continuity of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), in the manufacturing and industry, and agricultural sector. MSME’s constitute over 90 percent of the number of business establishments nationwide and in Mindanao. The resolution covers Health Care Capacity, Infrastructure, Economic Stimulus, Structural Reforms, Capacity Building, and Domestic Tourism. The package of economic stimulus measures PCCI Mindanao is urging government to immediately undertake includes the following: ·        For the Department of Agriculture to prioritize strategic areas for modernizing agriculture due to the availability of raw materials in order to address food security as well as the supply chain for the manufacture of PPEs including Central Mindanao, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Norte, Tawi-Tawi, and South Cotabato;   ·        For the Board of Investments (BOI) and LGUs to provide attractive incentives for companies investing in health care-related projects, including conversion of commercial spaces to quarantine facilities, construction of sanitary landfills and importation of special equipment for the safe and proper disposal of infectious and pathological wastes of hospitals and households;   ·        For the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to acknowledge the BMBE law by exempting micro enterprises capitalized below P3M from paying income tax and mandatory compliance of minimum wage adjustments;   ·        For Land Bank and DBP to extend/re-structure the loan terms and maturity dates of loans extended to micro-finance institutions so that the latter can provide re-start/re-open credit assistance to micro enterprises mostly engaged in retail enterprises or services (vendors, repair services etc);   ·        For DILG to encourage LGUs to provide tax credits or discounts on Real Property Taxes (RPT) due from private companies who offer moratoriums on the payment of commercial rents and leases;   ·        Institutionalize the KADIWA Express Food Logistics Program of the Department of Agriculture to promote farm to market linkages; The foregoing proposals were extensively discussed across all the 42 Local Chambers of Commerce in Mindanao during several Regional Consultations with PCCI President Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico, PCCI Mindanao Area Vice President Maria Teresa R. Alegrio, and PCCI Regional Governors Arturo Milan (South Eastern Mindanao), Roderico R. Bioco (Northern Mindanao), Paul Gudmalin (Western Mindanao), Pete Marquez (Central Mindanao), Aldrin Ibbo (BARMM), Julie Senense (Eastern (CARAGA) Mindanao) and Loreta Sy (South Western Mindanao) with Promote NorMin Foundation President Elpidio M. Paras. (PCCI Mindanao)

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