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1
NIC2018 Boosting E-POWER MO: Speaking on behalf of Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella presented the DOE programs and policies during the 1st National Information Convention (NIC) on Feb. 19 in Davao City. Plenary Session 1 was aimed to make the public understand government programs and policies.

Around 1,800 information officers and participants attended the NIC 2018. The DOE joined the Presidential Communications Operations Office in co-presenting the convention, together with the Social Security System.

(Davao City). The Department of Energy (DOE) joins hands with the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) in ensuring responsible communication to boost “E-Power Mo” at the National Information Convention (NIC) on 19-21 February at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang, Davao City.

In the speech delivered by DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella, Energy Secretary Alfonso G.  Cusi emphasized that "an informed energy consumer is an empowered one.”

According to Usec. Fuentebella, the DOE took the opportunity through the NIC to inform the public on the "E-Power Mo" concept for the country’s quest to globally compete.

“The power of information can help consumers cut unnecessary costs while industry players are bound to compete more effectively," the DOE official said. 

Using the metaphor of a basketball game, Usec. Fuentebella outlined how energy users can play competitively following the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, the energy policies for an increased consumers’ power of choice, diversity in energy resources, energy resiliency, energy efficiency and conservation, and energy smart consumers.

On addressing the impact of the TRAIN Law, the DOE initiated pro-active measures including advisories and timely monitoring that saved the public around P2.64 billion for liquid petroleum fuels (i.e., gasoline, diesel, kerosene) and P58.4 million for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

For increased consumer power of choice, the DOE together with the Energy Regulatory Commission will push for the full implementation of Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). With RCOA in place, “Contestable Customers” or huge electricity users with at least one megawatt (1 MW) demand are now able to choose their power suppliers to reduce their costs.

Toward providing more choices, the RCOA implementation aims to include consumers with 0.75 MW demand (likened to a nine-storey building) then consumers of 0.5 MW, until reaching 0.10 MW (at least a 2-storey building). 

Another choice is the "Green Energy Option" which gives consumers the power to choose a sustainable and more environmental-friendly energy for their utilization.

Moreover, the DOE presented its program in diversifying the country’s energy resources, highlighting its activities for the realization of a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal and the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

For energy resiliency, the DOE issued policy guidelines to ensure the energy sector's preparedness, quick response and rehabilitation mechanisms to address adverse impact of natural and human-induced disasters.

Lastly, Usec. Fuentebella shared the programs for energy efficiency and conservation including practical energy tips.

Around 1,800 information officers and participants from around the country attended the NIC.

The DOE co-presented the convention, together with the Philippine Social Security System.

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2
Philippine Daily News / Save Philippine Sports
« on: Yesterday at 06:14:11 AM »

REP. MICHAEL “MIKEE” L. ROMERO, Ph. D.
1-PACMAN Party-list
Assistant Majority Leader                                                                            Twitter: @MikeeRomeroPhD

Context: Philippine Olympic Committee General Assembly today; POC Elections on Feb 23 

SAVE PHILIPPINE SPORTS, ELECT NEW LEADERS 

Change in POC leadership long overdue, economist-sportsman says 

The overhaul of the Philippine Olympic Committee leadership is long overdue. We need new direction, new energy, and renewed focus. 

Despite many years and many chances, the current leadership has failed the Filipino people, our International ranking is now at 6th-7th place in Southeast Asia behind Singapore, Vietnam and even Myanmar. The longest-serving POC president has put the country’s sports program to its lowest ever records. It is time for a fresh start.

These are the facts about the POC performance. The current president, Jose “Peping” S. Cojuangco, Jr. has been in power since January 2005. That is 13 long years. When measuring performance, at bottom line are medals. Here are the relevant Philippine medal counts.
 
For all his 13 years in power, his POC has produced only 1 Olympic silver medal. At the Asian Games only 8 golds, 13 silvers, and 29 bronzes. At the SEA Games, the POC record under him has been from 113 golds in 2005 (with a hosting advantage) to a big plunge to 41 in 2007 and a mere 24 golds in 2017.

PATHETIC. The medals our athletes won are not pathetic. Those medals represent the best of the Filipino. Filipinos can win Olympic golds. Filipinos can do better than what the current pathetic POC president has done. His leadership and record is an insult to the blood, sweat, and tears our athletes, coaches, and their families have invested.

This record does not yet include a true and objective audit of all the millions of public funds from the Philippine Sports Commission which were poured into the NSAs and the POC from 2005 to 2017.

I demand a full special audit of all the funds the PSC gave to the POC and all the NSAs since 2005. 

If it is found that there is a systematic and orchestrated misuse, pilferage, and malversation of those funds, then the charge that fits all that is PLUNDER.

Recall that last September 2017, the PSC issued a resolution calling for the proper liquidation of funds and the return of some monies. The current PSC also asked the COA to conduct a fraud audit of the government’s subsidies to the PSC, millions of which go the POC and NSAs.

Whatever the outcome of the POC Elections on February 23, I see a special opportunity for sports leaders, athletes, trainers, schools, local government units, and parents to come together for a new chapter in Philippine sports powered by and grounded on firm grassroots development programs, inclusive leagues, and much, much less political animosities than we have unfortunately had before.

One thing we need is a stronger private-public partnership and cooperativism never before seen in our country. We also need upgraded laws, much better funding mechanisms, and varied international cooperation modes. The unfortunate pegging of Philippine Sports Commission funding to the obsolete sweepstakes must certainly be corrected and new funding sources must be found. 

As our country’s economy gets even stronger, so will the resources it can set aside for sports development. Diversification of Filipino interests in sports would be the natural consequence of economic affluence, particularly of the growing middle class, and the reduction of poverty in the rural areas. (END) 

REFERENCES:
https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/96897-philippines-medals-last-5-sea-games

https://kualalumpur2017.com.my/seagames-country.cshtml

http://www.ocasia.org/NOCs/NocCountries.aspx?7GT6tXlOW1Q

http://sports.inquirer.net/183945/28th-sea-games-singapore-2015-medal-tally

 

 

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3
Pulong Bisaya / Pagsubay
« on: February 18, 2018, 02:12:14 AM »
Pagsubay
ni Omar Khalid

Samtang di pa kasubang ang kabugason, pukawon nato ang
Tanang walhong mananabtan sa Sento Otso.
Uban nila, panangtangan nato sa gapos ang
mga irong bu**** sa ilang pag-uwang unyang alas dose.
Ug pasagdi ang mga Insek nga manghimalad
unsang mananapa ang mipatakdol sa ilang taghoy.
Pabiyai una ang mga sugilanon ug yamyam
sa komedyanteng kosinero samtang wala pa
masunog ang kilay ni Shaay nga nagtayhop
sa anino sa gabii abay sa buak, kuaw niyang lantaka.
Samtang wa pa makapanug-ab
ang karbonatong tungol sa sunod
ting-ihaw og kuwaknit, ipalilong sa punerarya
ang tanang ngiyaw sa ambulansiya sa Bicol ug St. Bernard.
Samtang wa pa mahipos ang tanang ilhanan sa kagios,
sininaan nato ang tanang manikin sa Kamagayan
kay gipanghayblad na ang tanang lamok sa katunggan.
Samtang wa pay uha ang nahimugso nga dramaturgo,
ipa-FedEx sa tanang tubaan sa Lorega
ang kinadak-ang buaya sa Manila.
aron kalingawag sawsaw sa halang nga suka
ang tambok nilang empilya ug baga.
Sa di pa nato tungabon ang sanglitanan
sa sunod nga banagbanag,
panahon karong subayon nato kon diing lawra
manago ang tubig sa miaging tingpanggapnod sa hunasan.

Oo, samtang wala pa—

OMAR KHALID
Sento Otso, Medellin, Cebu

4
The election-interference indictment brought by Robert Mueller, the U.S. special counsel, underscores how thoroughly social-media companies like Facebook and Twitter were played by Russian propagandists.

And it’s not clear if the companies have taken sufficient action to prevent something similar from happening again.

Thirteen Russians, including a businessman close to Vladimir Putin, were charged Friday in a plot to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election through social media propaganda. The indictment said the Russians’ conspiracy aimed, in part, to help Republican Donald Trump and harm the prospects of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The alleged scheme was run by the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm based in St. Petersburg, Russia, which used bogus social media postings and advertisements fraudulently purchased in the name of Americans to try to influence the White House race.

“I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed that it was written by their people,” wrote one of the defendants, Irina Kaverzina, in an email to a family member obtained by investigators.

Tech companies have spent months pledging to fix their platforms ahead of the upcoming midterm elections this year, and reiterated those promises Friday. Twitter said in a Friday night statement it “committed to addressing, mitigating, and ultimately preventing any future attempts to interfere in elections and the democratic process, and to doing so in the most transparent way possible.” Facebook thanked U.S. investigators for taking “aggressive action” and pointed out its own role in helping the investigation.

Researchers, however, noted that the companies’ business incentives don’t necessarily align with improved security and anti-hoaxing measures that might have frustrated Russian agents.

“I’ve never been convinced that these sites are motivated to fix a problem like this,” said Notre Dame business professor Timothy Carone, who added that security controls make it harder for sites like Facebook to offer users new features and keep advertisers happy. “It’s a really, really, really difficult problem.”

The indictment confirms earlier findings from congressional investigations that Russian agents manipulated social media to promote social division by mimicking grassroots political activity. It also underscores that the problem wasn’t just “bots” — i.e., automated social-media accounts — but human conspirators who fine-tuned propaganda and built online relationships with American activists.

5
USA and Canada / Gun Violence and Florida High School Shooting
« on: February 17, 2018, 05:40:21 PM »
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump has made a grim trip to a Florida community reeling from a deadly school shooting, meeting privately with victims and cheering the heroics of first responders.

But he extended few public words of consolation to those in deep mourning, nor did Trump address the debate over gun violence that has raged since a 19-year-old gunman killed 17 and injured 14 others.

Two days after the shooting, Trump visited Broward Health North Hospital Friday, where he saw two victims and praised the doctors and nurses for their “incredible” job. With his wife Melania, he also paid his respects to law enforcement officials in Fort Lauderdale, telling officers he hoped they were “getting the credit” they deserved.

“I was at the hospital with a lot of parents and they are really thankful for the job you’ve done,” Trump said at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, where he was joined by Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio and other Florida officials. He added that the young victims were in “really great shape” considering what they have been through.

6
Inspiration & Hope / When the Odds are Overwhelming
« on: February 17, 2018, 05:35:00 PM »
Judges 7:1-8

The story of Gideon offers scriptural guidance for times when the odds are overwhelming and defeat seems imminent. No matter what your challenges are, the Lord is able to demonstrate His awesome power and deliver you.

God uses difficulty to build faith. Gideon was willing to believe God and go up against an army four times larger than his own. Trusting the Lord is a process that must be learned through experience. At times God takes the people He plans to use and places them in impossible situations—in that way, they discover He is faithful. We may prefer to acquire faith by reading a book, but the Lord knows the best classroom is a place of utter helplessness.

God may require us to do what seems unreasonable. The Israelites were already outnumbered, but the Lord instructed Gideon to reduce the army to a mere 300 men. That made the odds 450 to one! Although God’s ways may seem illogical to us, His wisdom and power are far greater than ours, and His plan can be trusted.

God leads us to do that which brings Him glory. Gideon’s army was so small that its men could in no way take credit for the victory. The Lord delights in demonstrating His awesome power and glory through our weakness and inadequacy.

Think of life’s challenges as opportunities for the Lord to build your faith and prepare you for ministry. He uses those who are willing to obey Him even when the task seems illogical or impossible. And He takes pleasure in showing His faithfulness to those who trust in Him regardless of the situation.

7
Poems and Poets / Morgenstern, Christian is German poet and humorist
« on: February 17, 2018, 05:30:23 PM »
born May 6, 1871, Munich, Ger.
died March 31, 1914, Meran, South Tirol, Austria-Hungary [now Merano, Italy]

German poet and humorist whose work ranged from the mystical and personally lyrical to nonsense verse.

Morgenstern had studied law at the universities of Breslau and Berlin when in 1893 he was diagnosed as having pulmonary tuberculosis, from which he ultimately died. He left school to travel and lived for a time in Norway, where he translated Henrik Ibsen's verse dramas with the collaboration of the author and also translated plays by such other Scandinavian playwrights as B.M. Bjørnson, Knut Hamsun, and August Strindberg. Morgenstern removed to Switzerland for his health, marrying Margarete Gosebruch there in 1908, and from 1910 lived in the South Tirol.

Morgenstern's serious poetry, written first under the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche, includes In Phantas Schloss (1895; “In Phanta's Palace”), in which cosmic, mythological, and philosophical concepts are playfully combined; Ich und die Welt (1898; “I and the World”); Ein Sommer (1900; “One Summer”), which was written in Norway and celebrates physical beauty; and Einkehr (1910; “Introspection”) and Wir fanden einen Pfad (1914; “We Found a Path”), poems written under the influence of Buddhism and the anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner.

Morgenstern's international reputation came from his nonsense verse, in which he invented words, distorted meanings of common words by putting them into strange contexts, and dislocated sentence structure, but always with a rational, satiric point. Volumes of nonsense verse include Galgenlieder (1905; “Gallows Songs”); Palmström (1910), named for an absurd character; and three volumes published posthumously: Palma Kunkel (1916), Der Gingganz (1919), and Die Schallmühle (1928; “The Noise Mill”), all collected in Alle Galgenlieder (1932). - source: Britannica Encyclopedia

8
Prepare yourself for a career in the growing field of healthcare data analytics

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business - ranked among the top business schools in the world – just announced a new master’s degree program in health analytics, delivered fully in a flexible online format.

Designed for working professionals with strong quantitative backgrounds, this 19-month master’s program provides the business fundamentals, industry context, and advanced data analytics needed for decision-making in health care markets.

Your online classroom combines self-paced modules and assignments with real-time virtual sessions and team projects. Our unique cohort learning model ensures you gain functional business knowledge, while benefiting from peer expertise in multiple industries.

With your new analytic skills you’ll be able to help health organizations and business leaders improve medical care and strengthen financial performance.

More details at: https://www.fuqua.duke.edu/campaigns/18071-0?utm_medium=email&utm_source=other&utm_campaign=partner.7.opencourse.targetedmessages.marketing~partner.7.jUPdfknXEeaswA4y58BhkQ

9
Philippine Government / Wind Turbine Invention
« on: February 17, 2018, 05:19:29 PM »
DOST tasks expert panel to evaluate Corpus’ wind turbine invention

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has constituted and tasked a multi-disciplinary panel of technical experts to evaluate the wind turbine machine invented by retired Philippine Army Gen. Victor Corpus that can potentially revolutionize the country’s power generation industry.

Corpus calls his invention the "Nautilus." Included in the expert panel to evaluate his invention are engineers from DOST's Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC),  Industrial Technology and Development Institute (DOST-ITDI), and the Department of Energy-Renewable Energy Management Bureau (DOE-REMB).

From the academe, the panel also includes engineering faculty members from Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Rizal Technological University, and the Technological University of the Philippines; and experts from the state energy company PNOC Renewables Corporation. The panel will conduct its initial inspection of the Nautilus miniature-sized prototype, stored at the Folk Arts Theater compound, Cultural Center of the Philippines complex in Pasay City.

Corpus said he is inspired and excited to have his Nautilus prototype, along with is concept and design, inspected. "I'm fully prepared for it," he added. He expressed hope the evaluation will hopefully result to validation and  endorsement from the government, particularly the DOST, which can help his efforts to secure venture capital funding for the development of the Nautilus’ full-sized prototype and its eventual commercial-scale production.

Jose Patalinjug III, regional director of DOST in the National Capital Region, agreed to support the further development of Corpus’ Nautilus design.  “If we need further R&D on this, we are willing to fund this.  If we need further testing to collect the necessary data, we will do that, until finally we can say that this invention, this innovation is commerciable,” Patalinjug says.

Corpus, now 73, stressed it is better to have an endorsement from the government, especially from the DOST,” if its passes the panel’s critical evaluation.

The retired my General said the Nautilus’ vertical axis wind turbine design has solved has solved the technical flaws of both the horizontal axis wind turbine, the technology behind the giant and towering windmills seen in "wind farms" all over the world; and the vertical axis wind turbine that has long been regarded as not viable for commercial wind energy generation.

The Nautilus wind turbine features an enclosing structure that makes use of the principle of "weirs" built in rivers to redirect water flow either for hydropower or to trap fish, “to achieve multiple maximum areas of ‘wind attack’ that generates energy.”

Corpus said his Nautilus wind turbine invention offers many advantages. "Unlike other windmills, you don't have to build high towers. It's ground- based, so it's cheaper and easier to build, operate and maintain. Existing power generation wind farms, now connected to the power grid, can install the Nautilus wind turbines under their giant windmills, thereby maximizing their huge land areas,” he explained.

He said the vast Sierra Madre mountain range can be developed as a giant Nautilus wind farm that can generate tremendous energy like what China does now.

After his retirement from the military in 2004, Corpus was appointed to the board of the state-owned Philippine National Oil Corporation’s Alternative Fuels Corp. (PNOC-AFC), where he earned an extension education on alternative energy. He left the firm in 2006 and has since then been quietly doing research and development on renewable energy. He initially focused on ocean tidal energy.

Corpus said he was working on tidal energy in Lubang Island,  Mindoro in 2009 when a strong typhoon blew away his tidal turbine prototype and  pushed his R&D to veer to wind energy which later turned out to be in the right direction. He recounted that while undertaking tidal energy study off  Lubang, they set the tidal turbine prototype by the beach when they noticed that the winds blowing incessantly easily sent the turbines spinning effortlessly and angrily, generating power for a generator connected to the turbine. "It was the Eureka moment for the Nautilus," Corpus added.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 1967, Corpus said the general engineering courses offered at PMA, helped him in his R&D. He led a colorful life as a soldier and officer. He was an instructor at the PMA in 1970, during the Marcos dictatorship, when he defected to the communist rebel  New People’s Army (NPA) and led a raid on the academy's armory. Frustrated by what he saw in the NPA, however, he surrendered to his PMA mistahs in 1976, and remaine in prison for about 10 years. He was reinstated into the AFP after the EDSA Revolution of 1986.

He retired as a Brigadier General.

Photo Caption: Retired Gen. Victor Corpus (second from right), together with (from left) Filipino Inventors Society Producers Cooperative president Francisco ‘Popoy’ Pagayon, Department of Science and Technology regional director for NCR Jose Patalinjug III and FISPC director Davis Pagayon, showcases a model of the improved Nautilus vertical-axis wind turbine innovation in Pasay City.

10
REP. HENRY C. ONG
2nd District of Leyte
Vice Chair, Committee on Banks & Financial Intermediaries
BUSINESSMAN-SOLON URGES BUSINESSES TO COMPLY SOON WITH TRAIN LAW INCOME TAX PROVISIONS

Employers in the private sector should be able to iron out within the first quarter of this year the transition kinks in their implementation of the TRAIN P250,000 income tax exemption and new income tax computations.

Three months should be more than enough time to recalibrate the payroll software most businesses use.

One probable reason many private sector employers are unable to implement TRAIN is that they have not yet finished their withholding tax computations for the 2017 taxable year. Those computations are the basis for the issuance of the withholding tax certificate to their employees. For taxable year 2017, the old income tax laws are still in effect.

May I also take this opportunity to remind income tax payers this early to file or prepare for filing their income tax returns on or before this year’s deadline, which is April 16 (April 15 falls on a Sunday).

Next year and onwards, according to the TRAIN Law, the ITR filing deadline is on May 15. One reason the date was moved from April 15 to May 15 is the Holy Week holidays that sometimes fall on or the days before April 15.

Please be aware also that the BIR has recently issued four directives about the following:

1. Instructions for taxpayers subject to Percentage Tax and those required to withhold other Percentage Taxes and VAT, including VAT on government money payments and payments to non-residents;

2. All National Government Agencies shall use BIR Form No. 0605 in the filing and remittance of creditable and final withholding taxes thru the Electronic Filing and Payment System;

3. Withholding Agents shall remit their creditable and final withholding taxes for the first two (2) months of every quarter using BIR Form No. 0605 and indicating MC 200 for the ATC and WE or WF for the tax type, whichever is applicable; and

4. Taxes withheld within the first two (2) months and on the 3rd month of every taxable quarter shall be remitted thru BIR Form 0605 and BIR Form 1601EQ, respectively.

Concerned taxpayers and employers, please be guided accordingly. (END)

11
REP. BERNADETTE “BH” HERRERA-DY                         
Bagong Henerasyon Party-list
Chair, Committee on Women and Gender Equality

NEW HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WOMEN CHAIR IS EXPANDED MATERNITY LEAVE CHAMPION

Newly appointed House Committee on Women and Gender Equality Chairperson, Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, in a dialogue with women leaders of Workers for Expanded Maternity Leave (Work4EML) group, vowed to give full support to the passage of the proposed Expanded Maternity Leave Bill.

The current consolidated house version of the bill proposes 100 days maternity leave. Giving their "yes" to the bill so far are Rep. Raymond Mendoza of TUCP Party-list and Rep. Tom Villarin of Akbayan Party-list, who helped organize the meeting of women and trade unions with Representative BH as soon as she assumed chairpersonship of the Committee.

"Dagdag na maternity leave, pusuan," said one of their placards. Present laws allow women who had normal delivery to take 60 days of maternity leave; and 78 days if by caesarian section.

Their spouses get seven days of paternity leave. Under the ILO and the World Health Organization's standard, a minimum of 98 days is recommended for maternity leave. The Philippines has the fewest days for maternity leave in the ASEAN.

"This is a most fitting Valentine's Day gift to working mothers. We hope Congress approves the bill soon," the women's groups said in a statement.  Women's groups and trade unions are asking for up to 120 expanded days of maternity leave with pay for women workers so as to enable them to fully recover and take care of their newborn babies.

The group is composed of women leaders of political parties, women groups and worker's unions, namely Akbayan Women, IndustriALL, Nagkaisa-Women, Sentro Women, Alliance of Filipino Workers, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation, Mangagawang Kababaihan Mithi ay Paglaya (MAKALAYA), Building and Wood Workers International, Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Labor Union, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, United Cavite Woodworkers Union , Partido Manggagawa and Sanofi Aventis Employees Union.

The proposed measure effectively allows additional paternity leave, too. The bill provides that part of the maternity leave may be availed of by the spouse or the kin or the partner who will help the working mother take care of her baby.

"Nagagalak po kami sa pagsusulong ng Bagong Hirang na chairperson ng Komite ng Kababaihan sa Kongreso ng dagdag na maternity leave," the women's groups said.

Workers for Expanded Maternity Leave (Work4EML), group courted other members of Congress for support to the bill by distributing roses. "Sana ay makuha namin ang kanilang matamis na 'oo' para sa dagdag maternity leave," the groups said. (END)

12
Philippine Daily News / Filipino OFW Remittances from Kuwait
« on: February 16, 2018, 06:16:50 PM »
OFFICIAL STATEMENT
Philippine Association of Agencies to Kuwait (PHILAAK)
Contact Person/Reference: Chester Lobramonte - 0917 729 2437

PINOY REMITTANCES MULA KUWAIT, HIGIT $50M ANG IBINABA NOONG 2017 DULOT NG PAGHINA NG EKONOMIYA NG KUWAIT
Remittances inaasahang bababa pa sanhi ng deployment ban - PHILAAK

Higit limampung milyong dolyar ($50.23 million) ang ibinaba ng kabuuang ng overseas Filipino remittances mula sa Kuwait sa buong taon ng 2017 kumpara sa 2016, ayon mismo sa mga pinakahuling datos ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. (http://www.bsp.gov.ph/statistics/excel/ofw.xls )

Sa palitang $1 = P50, lumalabas na dalawa’t kalahating bilyong piso (P2.5 billion) ang katumbas niyang $50 million; habang P40.32 billion naman na remittances mula Kuwait para sa buong taon ng 2017 ang katumbas ng $806.48 million.

Gayunman, para lamang sa buwan ng Disyembre 2017, nagawa pa rin ng mga OFW sa Kuwait na makapagpadala ng $71.249 million ng kanilang kinita roon bilang pamasko sa kanilang mga pamilya rito sa Pilipinas.

Noong Mayo 2017, $84.46 million ang remittances mula Kuwait. Sa buwanang basehan, iyan ang pinakamataas kumpara sa lahat ng buwan ng taon. Pinakamababa naman ang padala noong September 2017 na $43 million lamang ang naging padala.

Sa tingin ng Philippine Association of Agencies to Kuwait (PHILAAK), ang 5.9 percent o $50.23 million dollars na ibinaba ng halaga ng mga padala mula Kuwait ay epekto paghina ng ekonomiya ng Kuwait dahil sa pagbagsak ng presyo ng langis sa world market mula sa kataasan nitong $100 dollars per barrel noong 2015. (http://www.arabnews.com/node/1238756/business-economy)

Kung mayroon man, masasabi naming kaunti lang ang naging epekto ng naging gusot sa pagitan ng Kuwait at Pilipinas dahil sa pagkamatay ng pitong Pilipino doon. Enero 2018 na kasi nang ipatigil ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ang deployment ng mga bagong OFW papuntang Kuwait.

Dahil sa pagbagsak sa presyo ng langis mula 2015, humina ang kakayahan ng gobyerno roon na pondohan at gastusan ang mga programa ng kanilang pamahalaan. Humina rin ang gross domestic product ng Kuwait at kasabay niyan ang kita ng kanilang mga mamamayan at negosyo.  (http://www.arabnews.com/node/1235421/business-economy)

Ngunit ayon sa mga ekonomista, makakabawi ang ekonomiya ng Kuwait ngayong 2018.

Pero pinangangambahan ng PHILAAK na kung magtatagal pa ang ban ng bagong deployment at kung marami pang OFWs mula Kuwait ang uuwi sa Pilipinas ngayong 2018, maaaring mas lalaki pa sa $50 million ang ibababa ng OFW remittances mula Kuwait.

Malaking bagay iyan sa mga naghihirap na pamilyang Pilipino at ekonomiya ng bansa. Masakit iyan para sa mga pamilyang umaasa lamang sa mga padala ng OFWs sa Kuwait.

Kaya naman, hangad naming maresolba agad ng mga pamahalaan ng Pilipinas at Kuwait ang kasalukuyang suliranin. Umaasa ang PHILAAK na magbubunga nang mabuti at sa lalong madaling panahon, ang mga solusyon nina Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, at Special Envoy Eduardo Manalo.

13
Philippine Daily News / Lady pusher yields P140K drugs in Cebu buy-bust
« on: February 16, 2018, 05:55:16 PM »
Lady pusher yields P140K drugs in Cebu buy-bust
By Luel Galarpe February 16, 2018, 4:21 pm

CEBU CITY -- A newly-identified drug personality in Talisay City was arrested in a buy-bust operation Thursday night in Barangay Tangke.

The Cebu Provincial Police Office identified the suspect as 31-year-old Marry Grace Seguisabal of Purok Rattan, Barangay Tangke.

Packs of methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu” with an estimated value of PHP142,000 were recovered from her possession.
Although newly identified, Seguisabal, who admitted selling illegal drugs for a month now, is believed to be a major player in the drug trade and a direct down-line of an arrested drug lord, meaning she gets her supply directly from the source and jacks up the price.

Another newly-identified drug pusher in the same barangay, however, managed to evade arrest during the same operation Thursday night.

The suspect identified as Jayme Medilo, also known as “Imot,” was able to elude arrest and is now at large and being pursued by the Talisay police.

Meanwhile, the Talisay City police also tracked and apprehended a French national with a warrant of arrest for violation of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, or falsification of public documents, also on Thursday.

The arrested foreigner, David Chetrit, is now detained at the Talisay City police station. (PNA)

14
Philippine Daily News / Tax Amnesty Program House Bill 7105
« on: February 16, 2018, 05:37:56 PM »
By Joann Villanueva February 16, 2018, 4:37 pm

MANILA -- The Finance department supports House Bill 7105, which pushes for a tax amnesty program, in a bid to help the government collect taxes easily.

The bill, which involves Part B of Package 1 of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, is now being deliberated on by the House Committee on Ways and Means. Aside from amnesty for unpaid taxes in 2017 and prior years, the same bill eyes the relaxation of the Bank Secrecy Law.

The proposed bill is expected to be approved within the first quarter of this year.

“In principle we support it not because we need the money at this point but because we want a complete database of taxpayers and their networth level so that in the future it will be easier for us to collect more taxes in a more efficient manner,” Finance Assistant Secretary Mark Dennis Joven said.

The Department of Finance (DOF), under the proposed tax reform program, is pushing for a tax amnesty in a bid to improve collections and correct inequities in the past.

Asked whether pending tax evasion cases will be included in the tax amnesty, Joven said a Senate bill on the same issue exclude pending cases.

“But we are studying whether or not to include them because there are a lot of pending cases which will take a long time to resolve,” he said, citing that the Finance department wants to make sure that the government will not be disadvantaged if these cases are settled.

On the interest to be slapped on the uncollected taxes, the Finance official said they are still considering the proposal for an 8 percent interest, which he said is already on a high side.

He said the last tax amnesty program only sets a 5 percent amnesty on networth.

“Compliance was really low so we need to consider that as well…so probably not 8 percent.”

The last time the government had a tax amnesty program was in 2008 wherein about PHP13 billion was collected.

Earlier, Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua said they expect the collection from the proposed tax amnesty program of the Duterte government to double the amount of the previous amnesty program since domestic growth has also doubled.

Asked for the expected collections once the current proposal is approved, Joven said this still depends on taxpayers’ acceptance of the rules. (PNA)

15
Economic activity is seen to get an additional boost from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) cut of banks' reserve requirement ratio (RRR) to 19 percent effective March 2, 2018, according to the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP).

In a statement Friday, BAP said the decision of the central bank’s policy-making Monetary Board (MB) to cut banks’ RRR supports the government’s bid to further uplift the growth momentum of the domestic economy.

“The reserve adjustment means that borrowers will have access to more sources of funds and more efficient cost of borrowing that is expected to propel more economic activity in the country,” it said.

The latest RRR cut is expected to release about PHP90 billion worth of liquidity into the system.

On Thursday, the central bank said the RRR cut “reaffirms the BSP’s commitment to gradually lessen its reliance on reserve requirements for managing liquidity in the financial system.”

“The Monetary Board believes that the BSP has attained sufficient progress in its shift towards the use of market-based monetary instruments since the adoption of the interest rate corridor (IRC) framework in June 2016,” it said, citing that the central bank now has ample scope to ease the potential liquidity impact of the gradual RRR cut.

The last time the central bank adjusted RRR was in 2014 when it was hiked by a total of 50 basis points as the growth of domestic liquidity grew stronger than in the past years at a level of more than 20 percent.

To date, the country has one of the highest RRR in the world, which is why some analysts have been projecting a cut as domestic inflation continues to rise and the MB keeps key rates steady.

BAP managing director Benjamin Castillo said he expects their member-banks to “be able to extend additional credit to consumers and enterprises that require adequate funds for their personal and business needs.”

“We are confident to this move of the Monetary Board for the gradual reduction in the reserve ratio which clearly demonstrates a strong regulatory framework and supports the BSP’s ability to further manage liquidity while policy rates are within its framework to continuously promote economic growth,” he added. (By Joann Villanueva/PNA)

16
World Daily News / Kim Boutin’s dream of winning an Olympic medal
« on: February 16, 2018, 09:49:31 AM »
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Canadian short track speed skater Kim Boutin’s dream of winning an Olympic medal has quickly turned into a nightmare with her social media accounts inundated with abuse and threats from angry South Korean fans after she won bronze on Tuesday.

Feb 13, 2018; Pyeongchang, South Korea; Kim Boutin (CAN) celebrates winning bronze in the women's short track speed skating 500m finals during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Ice Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The 23-year-old grabbed third place in the women’s 500-metre final at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Tuesday but her joy was short-lived.

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17
Philippine Daily News / CURFEW FOR KIDS YOUNGER THAN 18
« on: February 16, 2018, 09:46:15 AM »
REP. BERNADETTE “BH” HERRERA-DY                          
Bagong Henerasyon Party-list
Chair, Committee on Women and Gender Equality
 
UNIFORM NATIONAL CURFEW FOR KIDS YOUNGER THAN 18 PUSHED IN CONGRESS

We see nearly every day and night on television news the CCTV footages of children and teenagers figuring in gang wars, petty theft, street crimes, and violent skirmishes.

House Bill 7110 seeks to mandate and strictly implement a set of hours during night time within which minors are prohibited from remaining outside of the home, not only as a means of maintaining public order and safety and preventing the further rise in criminality, but also in order to protect minors from potential threat that may arise in the remote environment which may be harmful or detrimental to their development.

We filed this bill because of the increasingly alarming number of children who have gone missing for over 24 hours, children that are abused by syndicates and unscrupulous individuals, as well as have been involved in crimes concerning abduction, rape, abuse, and theft, murder, among others.

HB 7110 seeks to protect children below the age of 18 because they are vulnerable to abuse leading to exploitation, drug addiction, and the commission of criminal acts, as well as also being at the risk of committing criminal offenses themselves.

The Quezon City Ordinance which the Supreme Court upheld as constitutional on August 8, 2017 is the template of this bill. https://goo.gl/eKSJJB  (END)

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18
Inspiration & Hope / Impact of Salt
« on: February 16, 2018, 09:04:14 AM »
In today’s verse from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called His followers “the salt of the earth.” It was a way to describe how we as Christians are to influence the society around us. Who we are, what we say, and the things we do in the world can be compared to the role and effect of salt.

Salt flavors. Have you ever eaten a baked potato without salt? It probably tasted bland, didn’t it? Whenever salt is added to food, the taste is enhanced, and that’s how Christlike character, words, and actions can flavor our witness and open the door for people to hear our message.

Salt preserves. In biblical times, salt was used to preserve food so it wouldn’t spoil. In the same way, our lifestyles offer an alternative to the corrupting ways of the world and point people to Jesus for salvation.

Salt impacts what it touches. The chemical reactions caused by salt may be invisible, but the changes it brings are evident. We never know how a timely word, an act of kindness, or a stand for righteousness may affect someone.

Salt causes thirst. When those who don’t know Christ see how we handle suffering with calmness, endurance, and hope, they will thirst to know how we do it. Telling them of our reliance on God and His sufficiency could lead them to our Savior.

Do the people around you sense something special about you and thirst to know what it is? Becoming salt of the earth isn’t simply a matter of being good; it’s the work of the Holy Spirit. When His fruit is produced in us (Gal. 5:22-23), our life will bear the flavor of Christ.

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19
Inspiration & Hope / Hope in Hard Times
« on: February 16, 2018, 09:00:30 AM »
Maybe there’s not enough money in the bank to cover that bill. Or a loved one died. Or your family is facing hard times. In difficult or painful circumstances, many believers turn to the Bible in search of comfort and guidance. Within its pages, we find assurance that encourages us through every season of life: “The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23).

God truly is faithful. In other words, we can count on Him to be and do exactly what He says. For instance, the Bible assures us that the Lord is trustworthy, loving, and incapable of failure (Psalm 37:5; Rom. 5:8; Josh. 1:5). Out of deep love for us, He’ll  use any aspect of His multifaceted nature to provide exactly what He knows we need. He’s our Savior, Comforter, and Discipliner, who safely guides us through life’s changes and challenges.

No matter what hardships we face, we can trust God because He knows all things. He’s aware of the duration and intensity of our current season and uses His knowledge to offer us the best possible help and support. What’s more, the Lord is all-powerful, which means He is more than adequate to meet needs and change circumstances according to His plan. And our Father is everywhere, including right beside us in whatever we face. He promises, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

Difficulties may cause us to question God’s dependability. But if we’ll place our trust in our omniscient, omnipotent Father, we can begin each morning with a fresh sense of His faithfulness, which will carry us through the day.

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20
U.S. Embassy to Launch Workshops for PH English Teachers

Manila, February 16, 2018 — On Tuesday, February 20 the Regional English Language Office at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines will launch a series of professional development workshops for over 400 English teachers to support English language teaching at schools and institutions of higher learning in Bataan and Metro Manila.  The workshops will take place over a three-week period. 

Dr. Donna M. Brinton, a distinguished American expert and author of textbooks on Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (TESOL), will conduct the workshops for public school teachers, university faculty, and students preparing for teaching careers.  

Dr. Brinton will be visiting the Philippines for the first time as a participant in the U.S. Department of State’s English Language (EL) Specialist Program.  The EL Specialist Program is just one of several Embassy programs that promote the professional development of English teachers through face-to-face instruction and distance-learning programs taught by American experts in the field of TESOL. 

We invite media to cover the opening event on Tuesday, February 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Giardino Room of the Bayview Park Hotel in Manila.

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