More Baguio Trader News

‘SAGIP BUHAY’ BLOODLETTING SET ON JAN 21

BAGUIO CITY (PIA) -- A mass bloodletting donation activity dubbed “Tambalang Sagip Buhay, Karamay Habang Buhay Part III” will be conducted at the city’s Malcolm Square on Saturday,

BENGUET OFFICIALS OPPOSE HB 5518 GRANTING FRANCHISE TO SEPARATE ELECTRIC COOP FOR BAGUIO

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet(PIA)-- Provincial officials expressed their opposition to the proposed separation of franchise on the distribution of electric power from the existing Benguet Electric

DOT TARGETS TO BRING IN 10M FOREIGN TOURISTS BY 2016

BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 13 (PIA) - - To become the ‘must experience’ destination in Asia, is the strategic vision of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) National Tourism Development Plan

HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE OF NHTS-PR POOR FAMILIES EXTENDED UNTIL DEC. 2012

BAGUIO CITY, Jan 13 (PIA) - - The health insurance coverage of Philhealth sponsored members under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) is extended up to December

1,121 INDIVIDUALS IN CAR BENEFIT FROM DOLE’S EMERGENCY EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM IN 2011

BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 10 (PIA) - - Around 1,121 individuals from typhoon-stricken areas in the region were benefitted by the emergency employment program of the Department of Labor and Employment

DENR OFFICIAL SUPPORTS LAW ON STIFFER PENALTY ON ILLEGAL LOGGING

BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 10 (PIA)-- Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR)- Cordillera executive director Clarence Baguilat believes that the bill seeking the imposition of life

ENVIRONMENT IS A MAIN CONCERN FOR BENGUET

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet. Jan.9 (PIA)-- Environment protection will be a top priority of this vegetable producing province for the year 2012. Governor Nestor B. Fongwan said they will intensify the

DOLE-CAR DISPOSES 188 CASES OF INSPECTION-RELATED LABOR VIOLATIONS IN 2011

BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 9 (PIA) - - The Department of Labor and Employment- Cordillera Regional Office (DOLE-CAR), through the inspections they made to 736 establishments in the different parts of the

‘DSWD-CORDILLERA ROSE ABOVE CHALLENGES’ –SEC. SOLIMAN

BAGUIO CITY-- Department of Social Welfare and Development(DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman commended the DSWD-Cordillera personnel Wednesday saying the regional office has ‘risen

SAVING THE WATERSHED OF THE CORDILLERA THRU PES

BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 3(PIA)-- There is an urgent need to revive and to sustain the source of water which is necessity for the survival of all living creatures that include human, plants and

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Burnham park turn over
Posted by: RD HELEN R. TIBALDO | June 26, 2010


Mayor Peter Rey Bautista receives the Burnha Park Master Development Plan from University of the Cordilleras President Ricardo Pama and UC Board of Trustee Nene Salvosa Bowman during the turn over ceremonies at the Baguio City Hall last week. After 10 months of design and concept of the UC Engineering and Architecture the future of Burnham Park is hopefully to be implemented by the city government. Redjie MElvic Cawis PIA

Burnham park mayor
Mayor Peter Rey Bautista is encouraging the next administration to look into the improvement of Burnham Park under the University of the Cordilleras Burnham Park Master Development Plan during the turn over ceremonies at the Baguio City Hall last week. Redjie MElvic Cawis PIA

 

CORDILLERANS SAY THANK YOU TO PGMA IN PASASALAMAT CEREMONY
Posted by: RD HELEN R. TIBALDO | June 26, 2010


The Regional Development Council together with the local government officials and the Cordillera Association of Regional Executives thanked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for all the support she has given for the development of the region in a ceremonial program of Pasasalamat at the Heroes Hall of the Malacañang Palace Thursday last week.

The event started with a “pitik” or a traditional prayer by Baguio City Congressman Mauricio Domogan and Mountain Province Governor Maximo Dalog followed by Cordillera dances by the University of the Cordilleras Hapiyoh Mi Cultural Group.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary and Cordillera Officer for Regional Development Horacio Ramos gave an overview of the milestones of PGMA in the region.

Ramos highlighted the road improvement of the region such as the Baguio-Aritao Road, Bontoc- Tabuk-Tuguegarao Road and the historic Halsema Highway that was started by President Diosdado Macapagal, father of PGMA. Ramos also mentioned the strong support of PGMA in the achievement of the renewed pursuit of regional autonomy and the funding for the social preparation activities for an autonomous Cordillera.

According to Ramos these milestones are the legacy of the President in the Cordillera. These he said have cemented her place in the history of the region and the Cordillerans will be forever grateful for the economic development projects and initiatives she has established.

The different local chief executives also showed their personal gratitude to the President with their testimonials followed by their presentation of gifts and tokens from their respective provinces and cities.

Abra Governor Eustaquio Bersamin shared that he was the luckiest Governor of the province with the different infrastructure projects that were given priority by the Arroyo Administration. Bersamin also thanked Mrs. Arroyo for the Technical Skills and Development Authority-implemented PGMA scholarship programs on which many Abrenian youth had the opportunity to be technical and vocational scholarship grantees and graduates and now even working abroad.
The Fertilizer, Irrigation, Education, Loans, Dryers and Seeds (FIELDS) project of the Department of Agriculture benefited farmers of province, Bersamin said.

Baguio City mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. greeted PGMA as “our loving mother.” He said that the holiday-tourism promotions of the President and the First Family like spending her summer and Christmas vacations in Baguio City, have boosted the city’s image as the country’s “Summer Capital’.
Bautista also thanked PGMA in her support after typhoon Pepeng badly hit Baguio and North Luzon last year. It could be remembered that PGMA came to Baguio three days after the typhoon to show and give her undying support to the victims of calamities.

Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan expressed the gratitude of the people of Benguet for sustaining the vegetable production through the establishment of the cold chain facilities to ensure the freshness and affordability of products from Benguet. PGMA through the DA fought to stop the smuggling of vegetables in the Philippine markets and ensure that the Benguet vegetables will be patronized and prioritized.

Fongwan also highlighted the rehabilitation of Halsema Highway for the farmers to have a better road in transporting their produce.
Ifugao Congressman Solomon Chungalao expressed sentiments of the Ifugaos for the poverty alleviation measures in the province and lifting Ifugao from among the five poorest provinces country and it has now graduated from the 20 poorest province in the country. Chungalao also thanked PGMA for the establishment of the second state university of the region, the Ifugao State University early this year.

Dalog stressed that the rehabilitation and completion of the Halsema highway stretch from Benguet-Mountain Province to Ifugao made an important role in the agriculture and tourism sector of the province and the region being an arterial road which is vital in the SONA Projects of PGMA. Dalog also thanked PGMA for the promotion of Sagada as a major tourist destination in the country.

After the testimonials, the President was conferred the “In-Inan di Kordilyera” or the Mother of the Cordillera title by way of Resolution CAR-024 of the Cordillera Regional Development Council which expresses deep gratitude to Her Excellency for her unprecedented attention and full support to CAR.

The President left Cordillera a legacy of improved development foundation by which Cordillerans will continue to pursue efforts towards a personally more dignified and better quality of life, said the Resolution.

The President was then presented with tokens of appreciation consisting of beads and an intricately woven coat by Sec. Ramos, Presidential Assistant for CAR Armando Galimba, CARE president and DBM director Liza Fangsilat , Tourism regional director Purificacion Molintas and the different local chief executives of the region.
The head beads that represent wisdom and sovereignty while the beads woven to form a necklace represent enduring leadership and motherhood.. The coat will ‘provide protection’ for the President. **Redjie Cawis/ PIA

Pasasalamat at Malacanang palace fotos by redjie melvic cawis

Dalog domogan
Mountain Province Governor Maximo Dalog and Baguio City Congressman lead the pitik or the traditional prayer during the Pasasalamat for PGMA at Malacanang Thursday last week.

Foto ops local officials
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with the local chief executives of the Cordillera Region during the Pasasalamat ceremonies for PGMA last week. From l-r, front row MP Gov. Maximo Dalog, Alfonsolista Mayor Charles Catiling, PGMA, Baguio City Congressman Mauricio Domogan, Mayor Reinaldo Bautista, Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan, (back row)Abra Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin, Baguio Congressman elect Bernardo Vergara and Ifugao Congressman Solomon Chungalao.

Ftoto ops rdc / care
Regional Development Council and Cordillera Association of Regional Executives officers and members with PGMA.

Pgma men
PGMA with DENR Sec. Horacio Ramos and local chief executives from CAR.

Officials saying their thanks to PGMA.

DA celebrates 112th anniversary
Posted by: RD HELEN R. TIBALDO | June 26, 2010


The Department of Agriculture celebrated its 112th anniversary on Wednesday on the back of the government’s major achievements in the agriculture and fisheries sector resulting from President Arroyo’s record farm spending and her flagship food security and sufficiency program dubbed FIELDS.

On the occasion of the Department’s anniversary, two initiatives—the DA-AFMIS and Nokia mobile data gathering system and the Online Import Application, Processing and Approval of Permit project—were launched in the presence of Secretary Bernie Fondevilla and other agriculture officials and guests.

In her message on the occasion of the DA’s anniversary, President Arroyo said that the shift in spending in agriculture—from providing dole-outs to farmers to investing more in infrastructure—has helped sustain the growth of the Philippine farm and fisheries sector in the long term.

“This is the goal of the FIELDS program,” the President said. “Along with the DA, and in cooperation with the local government units and the private sector, we carried out our twin goals of food sufficiency and being free from food imports.”

FIELDS stands for the six areas of agriculture where President Arroyo has focused the unprecedented level of public spending on her watch—Fertilizer; Irrigation and other rural infrastructure; Extension and education services for farmers; Loans; Dryers and other postharvest facilities; and Seeds and other genetic materials.

President Arroyo said her administration doubled spending on agriculture, which reached P21 billion on her watch, as compared to the P11 billion during the Ramos administration and P17 billion during the term of her predecessor, Joseph Estrada.

The increase in funding paved the way for the expansion of farm areas to 1.6 million hectares; P465 billion worth of loans to farmers; and the conduct of 23,000 training workshops for farmers and agricultural workers, she noted.

More than one million hectares were opened for agribusiness development from 2005 to 2009, which led to the creation of more than 2.5 million jobs, the President said.

Her administration was also able to construct more than 18,000 kilometers of farm-to-market roads, along with cold chain systems nationwide, more than 80 bagsakan or drop-off centers and more than 500 barangay bagsakans, which provide farmers with a steady market for their produce and consumers with affordably priced basic goods.

For his part, Fondevilla said that on the Department’s 112th anniversary, he is confident that it will be able to hurdle new challenges brought about by climate change and the heightened competition in international trade market as a result of globalization.

“Despite the many changes and challenges that the Department has faced through the years, it has remained a stable pillar of the government and truly cares for the welfare of our farmers, fisherfolk and other rural workers,” Fondevilla said.

“The Department remains up to now, fully determined to free our people from hunger, poverty and hopelessness,” he said. The anniversary celebration included a photo exhibit showcasing the major events at the Department through its 112 years of existence, a thanksgiving mass, and the awarding of loyalty plaques to DA employees who have rendered more than 20 years of service and citation plaques to top sales performers of the DA’s Agribusiness Export Showroom.

Fondevilla also presented during the affair the certificate that the DA received from the Office International dez Epizootis (OIE) or World Animal Health Organization declaring most parts of Luzon as free of the Foot and Mouth Disease, which is a major step towards declaring the entire Philippines FMD-free. The entire Visayas and Mindanao have already been declared FMD-free by the OIE in 2001 to 2002 respectively.
The other activities included a tiangge at the DA parking lot and the distribution and feeding of dairy milk (from DA’s National Diary Authority), and ‘malunggay lugaw’ and ‘malunggay’ and ‘saluyot’ ice cream (from DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry) to elementary schoolchildren.

The first-ever Department of Agriculture and Manufacturing was created on June 23, 1898 after President Emilio Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Republic. The Department’s first head was Jose Alejandrino.

Through its 112 years, 34 Filipinos and 5 Americans have served as agriculture chiefs.

They included Graciano Gonzaga , Leon Ma. Guerrero, Frank Lamson-Scribner, W. C. Welborn, George E. Nesom, Frederick Taylor, Harry Edwards, Adriano Hernandez, Galicano Apacible, Rafael Corpuz, Silvestre Apostol, Rafael Alunan, Sr., Vicente Singson Encarnacion, Eulogio Rodriguez, Benigno S. Aquino, Sr., Rafael Alunan, Sr., Vicente Singson Encarnacion, Mariano Garchitorena, Placido L. Mapa, Vice President Fernando Lopez, Salvador Araneta, Juan G. Rodriguez, Cesar Fortich, Jose Locsin, Benjamin M. Gozon, Jose Y. Feliciano;

Arturo R. Tanco, Jr., Salvador H. Escudero III, Ramon V. Mitra, Jr., Carlos G. Dominguez , Senen C. Bacani. Roberto S. Sebastian, William D. Dar, Edgardo J. Angara, Domingo F. Panganiban, Leonardo Q. Montemayor, Luis P. Lorenzo, Jr. and Arthur C. Yap. # # # (DA Press Office)
 

BIR implements enhanced tax collection strategies
Posted by: RD HELEN R. TIBALDO | June 26, 2010


BAGUIO CITY – To ensure that its 2010 tax collection goal is achieved, the Bureau of Internal Revenue - Cordillera (BIR-CAR) is employing various strategies to enhance collections even as it is on track on achieving its first-half tax collection target this year .

BIR Regional Director Norberto Vitug, in an interview, said that as of May 31, BIR-CAR has already collected P1,329,578,329.77. Collection target for January to June is P1.484 Billion.

The tax collection represents a 25.65 percent increase compared to their collection of about P1.08 Billion during the same period last year.

‘With our projected June collection of about P306.41 million, we are on track of exceeding or first half target by 10 percent or maybe more, with the implementation of enhanced tax collection strategies,’ Vitug said.

As part of enhanced tax collection strategy, Vitug stressed his office has intensified public awareness campaigns on BIR enforcement program including its regular programs such as the Lifestyle check, Run After Tax Evader (RATE), Oplan Kandado, Operation RIP, and the Humingi ng Resibo Program. Weekly orientation seminar are also being conducted for new registrants.

Vitug also confirmed that BIR-CAR is also intensifying linkages with the different local government units in the region through coordination meetings with municipal, provincial and city treasurer’s for better implementations of BIR programs.

Vitug also stressed that they have also intensified their Tax Compliance Verification Drive, in which they are closely monitoring the withholding taxes of Local Government Units and National Government Agencies (NGAs), business establishments, strict enforcement on issuance of Official Receipts and the speedy investigation on RIP cases.

To show its seriousness on a more strict enforcement approach, the BIR also plans more closure of non-registered and non-compliant business establishments, through their Oplan Kandado program. Just last week, BIR’s Oplan Kandado drive resulted to the closure (padlocking) of three establishments along Session Road, Baguio City.

Vitug is encouraging non-registered business establishments to voluntarily do their duty and pay the P500 registration fee to the BIR office to avoid paying a penalty of P20,000 and even the hassle of closure.

‘We are continuously doing tax mapping and tax compliance verification on all business establishments including boarding houses’., Vitug said. He informed that there are two teams - one is from the Revenue District Offices and the other is from the Special Investigation Division of the regional Office- who are doing these activities.

The BIR-CAR is also currently pursuing the collection of 5 percent withholding tax on Oplan Iboto Mo Program. According to Vitug, as of May, they have already collected about P185,000 in taxes from the said program. He is urging other candidates to voluntarily remit their withholding taxes from their May 10 election expenses to avoid paying penalties.

Vitug stressed that they have already intensified the program as they are now counter-checking the candidates declared expenses from the records of the radio, television and print on election related ads, plugs or campaigns. ‘We are also now checking the sales and withholding tax records of services seller to candidates, like the tri-media and gasoline stations,’ he added. ***Lito Dar/PIA
 

DOH warns public vs unregistered food supplements, products
Posted by: RD HELEN R. TIBALDO | June 26, 2010


BAGUIO CITY –, In celebration of the Department of Health’s anniversary with a theme, “Kalusugan ng Mamamayan, Patuloy na Babantayan,” health officials reminded anew the public against unregistered and smuggled food supplements and products from other countries.

In a Kapihan forum, Wednesday, Center for Health and Development (CHD)-CAR Licensure Regulation and Enforcement Division (LRED) Head, Dr. Erwin Baclig, said the public should be wary of buying unregistered and imported food supplements, and other imported or smuggled products such as cosmetics.

“The public should check first the label, the product’s expiration date and product’s content. If it has a Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) certification then it is safe, otherwise it can be detrimental to a person’s health,” Baclig said.

Baclig also reminded the public that any product labeled as food supplement has no therapeutic value. He explained that all drugs, medicines, food supplements and medical equipments should pass the BFAD for examination and certification.

He explained that Philippines being an archipelago, authorities cannot guard the vast shorelines to prevent the smuggling in of illegal and health detrimental products. But warned those involved in such illegal activities and the establishments that sell such products that under the new Food and Drug Regulation and Administration law, BFAD has now the right and the police power to confiscate such products.

Baclig informed that they have already confiscated many illegal products in Baguio City. These include Chinese slimming capsules and tea which contain very harmful contents and a cosmetic (whitening) product, which has a very high content of mercury and lead.

Records show that CHD-CAR LRED has already confiscated in various establishments and stalls in the city 426 boxes (contains 10 capsules each) and 29 boxes (with 30 tea bags each) of Shen De Shou Slimming Fat Loss capsules and teas. These were tested to contain amphithamine (which is similar to that found on illegal drug “shabu”) and sildenafil, substances known to be very dangerous to one’s health.
CHD-CAR LRED also confiscated hundreds of boxes of Jiaoli, a Chinese whitening cosmetic product, which was found to have a high content of mercury and lead.

According to Baclig, these products were tested by the BFAR Central Office in Manila and the DOH already issued a memorandum order for a national operation for its confiscation. He lauded the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency – Cordillera (PDEA-CAR) for helping them in such endeavor.

Dr Baclig stressed that the public should not be misled in thinking that such products could heal or medicate any illness or health disorder. He also informed that the Health Department, through a memorandum order is now pushing for a specific and detailed (in Filipino or tagalong) advertisement and packaging labeling for such products.

‘What are remaining available in the market are those with old labels or old stocks, if the manufacturers of food supplement would not change their labeling and advertisements, the Health Department, through BFAD would not approve their certification or product registration. We would not give their license if they would not comply,” Dr Baclig added.
The Department of Health was created on June 23, 1898 by then Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo. **Lito Dar/PIA
 

Strict regulation of ambulant vendors in schools urged
Posted by: admin | June 26, 2010


BAGUIO CITY – The health and education sectors are calling on the city government and law enforcement authorities to enforce a stricter regulation on ambulant vendors in the city, especially those plying on school vicinities, to ensure the safety of the school children and to keep them away from illegal vices.

Department of Health (DOH-CAR) Family Health Cluster Head, Dr. Virginia Narciso informed in a kapihan forum that in line with the DOH’s advocacy and in observance of Safe Kids Week, Poison Prevention Week, and No Smoking Month and the recent opening of classes, they are reminding the public on the importance of child’s safety, injury prevention and control and keeping them away from other harmful and illegal vices.

According to Dr. Narciso, child injury remains in the top 10 causes of child morbidity and mortality. She reiterated the call on the public - parents, local government officials and police authorities to help in ensuring a safety living environment for the children, whether at home, school and the community.

On school children’s health and safety, the Health Department said strict regulation and monitoring on the safety of food, the street vendors are selling is very crucial. This is to prevent children from cases of poisoning and in acquiring other food or water related diseases especially this rainy season.

Baguio City National High School principal Dr Elma Donaal also pointed out that that aside from the unsure safety of the food being sold by ambulant vendors, some of these vendors are also the source of the illegal vices like smoking or drugs that are being peddled to students.

Recent data shows that there is an increasing incidence of cigarette smoking, among Filipino youths. Based on the Global Adult Tobacco Survey conducted in the country, in coordination with the National Statistics Office in 2009, approximately 13.8 million Filipinos smoke every day and with the average age for daily smokers at 17.4 years old. The survey was conducted to 15 years of age and older, in rural and urban areas around the country, representing 61.3 million Filipinos.

The Health Department, in line with the government’s effort of achieving a 100 percent smoke- free community, is calling on the local government and police authorities to keep cigarette vendors away from school vicinities.

Donaal, meanwhile, is appealing to the city government and the PNP to increase police visibility on school vicinities and to regularly check or monitor the other small establishments near schools, particularly the BCNHS and all of its annexes, to keep its students from harm, vices and gang related incidences. **Lito Dar/PIA)
 

Strict regulation of ambulant vendors in schools urged
Posted by: admin | June 26, 2010


BAGUIO CITY – The health and education sectors are calling on the city government and law enforcement authorities to enforce a stricter regulation on ambulant vendors in the city, especially those plying on school vicinities, to ensure the safety of the school children and to keep them away from illegal vices.

Department of Health (DOH-CAR) Family Health Cluster Head, Dr. Virginia Narciso informed in a kapihan forum that in line with the DOH’s advocacy and in observance of Safe Kids Week, Poison Prevention Week, and No Smoking Month and the recent opening of classes, they are reminding the public on the importance of child’s safety, injury prevention and control and keeping them away from other harmful and illegal vices.

According to Dr. Narciso, child injury remains in the top 10 causes of child morbidity and mortality. She reiterated the call on the public - parents, local government officials and police authorities to help in ensuring a safety living environment for the children, whether at home, school and the community.

On school children’s health and safety, the Health Department said strict regulation and monitoring on the safety of food, the street vendors are selling is very crucial. This is to prevent children from cases of poisoning and in acquiring other food or water related diseases especially this rainy season.

Baguio City National High School principal Dr Elma Donaal also pointed out that that aside from the unsure safety of the food being sold by ambulant vendors, some of these vendors are also the source of the illegal vices like smoking or drugs that are being peddled to students.

Recent data shows that there is an increasing incidence of cigarette smoking, among Filipino youths. Based on the Global Adult Tobacco Survey conducted in the country, in coordination with the National Statistics Office in 2009, approximately 13.8 million Filipinos smoke every day and with the average age for daily smokers at 17.4 years old. The survey was conducted to 15 years of age and older, in rural and urban areas around the country, representing 61.3 million Filipinos.

The Health Department, in line with the government’s effort of achieving a 100 percent smoke- free community, is calling on the local government and police authorities to keep cigarette vendors away from school vicinities.

Donaal, meanwhile, is appealing to the city government and the PNP to increase police visibility on school vicinities and to regularly check or monitor the other small establishments near schools, particularly the BCNHS and all of its annexes, to keep its students from harm, vices and gang related incidences. **Lito Dar/PIA)
 


Posted by: admin | June 26, 2010


BAGUIO CITY – Unless we act now, the Cordillera is bound to loss its green cover. From the 85 percent of its total land area identified as of forest cover, the Cordillera Region has an actual remaining forest area of only about 40 percent.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR) Forest Management Service (FMS) Regional Technical Director Augusto Lagon stressed this grim scenario in a radio interview last week.

According to Lagon, , originally 85 percent of CAR’s land area is classified as forest cover while the remaining 15 percent is classified as agricultural lands and alienable and disposable lands. Presently , more than one half of the identified forest lands are now either grasslands, open areas or converted to agricultural lands, he pointed out .

Thus, he stressed the importance of the local communities, local government units, non government agencies and the other concerned stakeholders to help in the rehabilitation of the denuded areas and in the protection of the remaining forests in the region.

Lagon said in line with the DENR’s continuing effort to protect the environment and in celebration of Environment Month and Philippine Arbor Day on June 25, DENR-CAR is again embarking on a massive advocacy of reforestation through tree planting activities.

‘Our tree planting activities this month is only a reminder of a continuing advocacy to plant trees, not only forest trees but fruit trees as well, every rainy season, as aside from the economic benefits that it could give, we could also help in mitigating the effects of climate change and to preserve our environment, air quality and water resources for the future generations,’ Lagon said.

For the Philippine Arbor Day,DENR-CAR focused its activities on the city’s Busol and Buyog watershed. About 16 government agencies, private organizations and non-government units participated in the said activity.

Lagon said DENR Regional Executive Director Clarence Baguilat chose the Busol Watershed as a primary venue for the tree planting activity because of its importance in the water supply of the city.
Lagon also bared that many of trees were burned during the dry season. He cited that Cordillera recorded the highest cases in terms of forest fires occurrences and damaged areas. More than 6,000 hectares of forestlands, grasslands and plantations were destroyed during the dry spell. .

According to Lagon, majority of forest fires were due to human activities such as recklessness and kaingin activities. ‘The cheapest way the farmers could clean or prepare their farmlands for the planting is through burning, though they should watch and ensure that no other forest or grass lands would be damaged by such activities,’ Lagon said.

The DENR is already conducting Community-based Forest Management Program and is working on establishing co-management programs with the different LGUs in the region.

The DENR is also currently working on a joint administrative order with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in protecting the region’s forests and watersheds. **Lito Dar/PIA
 

PAG-IBIG Fund reminds employers on the mandatory enrollment of workers
Posted by: RD HELEN R. TIBALDO | June 26, 2010


BAGUIO CITY – The Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or PAG-IBIG Fund is continuously and steadily growing in terms of assets and membership.

In a radio interview, HDMF Baguio Branch Manager Jerome Avila affirmed that PAG-IBIG presently has a total asset of about P256 Billion with a nationwide membership of 7.5 million.

Avila explained that PAG-IBIG Fund is a mutual provident saving institution for government and private workers, Filipinos employed by foreign based employers and other earning groups or individuals. Membership contributions remain to be savings of the members which have the opportunity to double or triple in amount with the employers’ contribution plus the dividend that it could earn.

Avila assured that with PAG-IBIG Fund, the money of members are always safe and guaranteed since funds are invested properly and collection efficiency is strictly monitored.

In the same interview, Marketing and Enforcement Division Head Lorenzo Ocampo clarified that a member’s contribution, plus the employer’s counterpart remain to be a savings fund. In addition, it earns a tax-free dividend every year.

‘Portability of savings of PAG-IBIG Fund members are being implemented, meaning once a HDMF member , their savings remain even if they have a discontinuity on their membership contribution for whatever reason, it continuous to accumulate dividend,’ Ocampo said.

Aside from the provident/savings benefit, Ocampo also stressed that HDMF members are also entitled for a Short Term or Multi Purpose Loan Program, which is being offered to members with a low interest, renewable every six months, and with an interest rebate if paid earlier than the maximum loan period of two years.

HDMF are also entitled to a wide range of housing loan options, which is the primary mandate of the said institution.

Meantime, Ocampo stressed that in line with the new PAG-IBIG Fund Law signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last February 2009, all workers covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Social Security System (SSS) are mandated to be mandatory members of HDMF. He called on all employers, regardless of how many employees they have, to have their workers registered as HDMF members.


Ocampo said they are currently conducting mapping on their coverage areas of Baguio, Benguet and Mountain Province, so as to attain a universal coverage as mandated by the law. They have just spent two weeks in Mountain Province informing the people about the New PAG-IBIG Fund Law.

PAG-IBIG Fund members can withdraw their savings in full plus dividend either upon reaching its maturity (15 or 20 years under some conditions/requirements), immigration to other country, separation from service due to health reasons, total disability or upon reaching the age of 60 or upon retirement.

In case of death, the immediate beneficiary could also claim the member’ savings plus a P6,000 death benefit.

Avila also explained that employers could workout or consider that the contributions they pay for their employees/workers as a retirement benefit, plan or package.

For more information and details, HDMF Baguio Branch Office is located at the Insular Life Building, near the Baguio City Hall or you can call them at tel. numbers, 619-1330 and 619-2770. **Lito Dar/PIA
 

Expanded Senior Citizen’s Act ready for implementation
Posted by: RD HELEN R. TIBALDO | June 26, 2010


BAGUIO CITY – The country’s senior citizens are set to be exempted from Value Added Tax and fully avail of the 20 percent discounts on their purchases of qualified goods and services, as provided for in the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, otherwise known as Republic Act No. 9994, signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last February.

Center for Health and Development (CHD-CAR) Licensing Regulation and Enforcement Division Head, Dr. Erwin Baclig confirmed that the Expanded Senior Citizen Act is now ready for implementation with its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) already signed by concerned government agencies headed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Non-government Organizations (NGOs) serving senior citizens.

Baclig assured the public that the Health Department is ready to monitor the compliance of food and drug establishments to the said law, in addition to their regular conduct of monitoring on the prices and quality of medicines and food products being sold to the public.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-CAR) is now focusing into the advocacy of social preparations for all the stakeholders. Last June 25, an orientation and dialogue on RA 9994 and its IRR was attended by representatives of the different Office of Senior Citizens Affair (OSCA), Regional inter-agency Committee on Senior Citizens, owners of drug stores, transport companies, groceries, department stores, and hospitals from the different provinces and cities in the region.

The DSWD is also set to work for the capacity building of the different LGUs in the region relative to the implementation of the said law.

Meanwhile, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR-CAR) Regional Director Norberto Vitug stressed his support for RA 9994. He admitted that while there will be forgone taxes with in the implementation of RA 9994, the law is a very big help to the senior citizens.

Under RA 9994, the list of goods and services which are entitled to the 20 percent senior citizen discount and VAT exemption were expanded to include purchase of medicines, including influenza and pneumococcal vaccines and other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment, and actual fare for land travel in public utility jeepneys, taxis, utility vehicles and shuttle services.

To avail of the benefits, a senior citizen needs to present his/her OSCA issued ID, passport or any other documents that prove that the he is a Filipino citizen and at least 60 years old. Under the said law, stiffer penalties have been also imposed on sellers of goods and services to ensure its strict compliance. **Lito Dar/PIA
 

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