3.13.2014

BCWD’s one-stop shop service continues

By Nora L. Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 13 (PIA) - In its effort of conveniently bringing the services to the barangay residents, the Butuan City Water District (BCWD) will once again conduct its One-Stop Shop Service Connection Installation Program for new water service connection applicants.

BCWD Senior Public Relations Officer Ramil S. Barquin said the program will feature services for the immediate installation of new service connection.

"Applicants can avail of the marketing promotional package which offers a minimal amount of 500 pesos as down payment and the balance including the cost of the necessary fittings and materials will be paid on termed payments for six months," Barquin said.

Barquin said the BCWD personnel will visit the barangays and conduct the required orientation seminar for new service connection applicants including processing of the necessary requirements and installation of approved applications.

On Saturday, March 15, BCWD personnel will visit barangay Pinamanculan from 9am until 5pm. “Watch out for the visit of your Water District in your respective barangays and avail of the latest promotional offer now,” Barquin added. (NCLM/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


AgSur NGO launches 'FAITH-Gojo'

By David M. Suyao

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Mar. 13 (PIA) - Federation of Agrarian Reform Peoples Organization in Agusan del Sur, Inc. (FEDARPOADSI) recently launched an insurance product dubbed "FAITH-Gojo." FEDARPOADSI is a SEC-registered agrarian reform beneficiaries organization based in Agusan del Sur which has a total number of 7,112 individual members belonging to a total of 32 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs).

FAITH –Gojo aims to provide unique insurance products which are not offered by established insurance companies such as burial assistance, maternity assistance, hospital daily assistance, graduation gift, and wedding anniversary souvenir.

FAITH –Gojo is the combination of acronym FAITH and Japanese word Gojo. FAITH stands for “Fairness in all activities, Accountability for each other as Interpersonal relationship and Transparency in all transactions with Humility to everyone”, while Gojo means mutual aid based on spirit of cooperation. In the Philippines, Gojo maybe comparable to “damayan” in Tagalog or “dayong” in Visayan dialect which refers to the cultural practice especially by the local folks of pooling and sharing their resources to extend sympathy and assistance to the troubled families during unwanted incidents like death and calamities.

The product research and development including promotion and marketing of FAITH-Gojo is funded by Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project III (ARISP III). ARISP III, a foreign-assisted project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The successful launching of FAITH-Gojo was attended by ARISP III Central Office personnel Yojiro Sekiguchi, Antonio Domingo, Rizal Saligumba,  Regional Project Management Office and Provincial Management Office representatives, DAR personnel, Area Operation Manager of Allied Botanical Corporation Bernabe M. Meso, chairpersons and selected members from different ARBOs.

Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer of DAR, Fe H. Mosquera stressed that DAR as the lead agency in the implementation of agrarian reform partnered with ARISP III in implementing various projects including federation development component.

Yojiro Sekegutchi, the Japanese consultant for management and operations of ARISP III thanked everyone for promoting Gojo or “Dayong” in Agusan del Sur. In his message, he suggested to FEDARPOADSI to design specific program providing assistance that would meet the needs of the victims during calamities.

Bernabe Meso of Allied Botanical Corporations on his part gave his commitment to help the farmers in achieving their developmental goals by increasing their productivity and income.

Highloghting the event was the momentous ceremonial pledging of commitment wherein the chairpersons of different organizations, DAR officials and guests wrote their names and affixed their signatures in the “support commitment board” to show their passion and enthusiasm to the project.

The launching event gained additional members and prospects for FEDARPOADSI which may be the best gauge of its success. (SUARPO Allan N. Mundala/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


Planting of 1,500 tress to kick-off Vision 2020

By Diana Generalao

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 13 (PIA) - To initiate the onset of the Butuan City Government’s Vision 2020, a total of 1,500 mahogany trees will be planted during the simultaneous tree planting activity along the stretch from Bancasi Rotunda going towards the boundary of Bancasi-Bonbon road on Sunday, March 16, 2014.

Around 7,500 people coming from the different public and private sectors, including regional line agencies, bankers, academe, medical societies, sports clubs, and the local tri-media are expected to join this noble cause of not only doing a simple act to help save the environment, but to help attain the aspiration of Butuan becoming a model for a sustainable forest-based economy in the country through Vision 2020.

“We want to instill to our people the value of commitment,” Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante, Jr. said. “The commitment of those people who will plant the trees will not stop after they have planted them. They will be committed to visiting their trees on a regular basis, water them, check on them. And to make sure that these trees will not wither and die, to make sure that their planters have really been exercising their commitment, the Forest Grow A Million-Tree Project or what we now call as the Forest GAMP has been created for this purpose. They will be responsible for the monitoring of this project,” Mayor Amante added.

Vision 2020, which states that, “By 2020, Butuan will be a model for sustainable forest-based economy in the country, thereby giving its people the highest per-capita income in Mindanao,” is now the foremost point of all the city government's goals, with Mayor Amante previously having asserted that individual visions and missions of every office in the local government unit here should be in-sync and supportive to it.

The new vision has earned mixed reactions from the Butuanons, but Mayor Amante, now more than ever, remains determined and optimistic. “More than the comments, positive or negative, the important thing here is that each of us should be able to do something for Butuan. What have we done for Butuan? Let’s ask ourselves that and let’s all start from there.” (LGU-Butuan City PIO/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


News Feature: TUCP calls for improved environment for FoA, CB in Special Economic Zones

MANILA, Mar. 13 (PIA) - Over a hundred trade union leaders and activists from the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to prioritize closing the gap between law and practice on workers’ freedom of association (FoA) and collective bargaining (CB) in special economic zones (SEZs) in the country.

TUCP also called on the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and zone locators to respect constitutionally-guaranteed and internationally supported labor standards as the responsible way of doing business.

“Government’s endeavour to achieve top-of-the-chart economic growth is admirable. However, without equal resolve to improve compliance with core labor standards, respect for worker’s rights, security of tenure, living wages through equitable sharing of profits and gains, and implementation of decent work principles, economic growth is meaningless,” says TUCP President Ernesto Herrera.

“It cannot be said that we are not doing our best in organizing workers. We are! Inside and out special economic zones, organizing challenges are the same. But we can do better. DOLE and PEZA only have to implement the law, and implement it right,” adds Herrera.

In a two-day national conference held recently in Manila titled “Promoting Social Dialogue for Constructive Industrial Relations and Compliance with Core Labor Standards in Special Economic Zones in the Philippines,” enterprise unions and national federation representatives discussed current socio-economic and labor and employment conditions. They analyzed recent developments, policies, and challenges on industrial relations (IR) in the SEZs and prospects for trade unions. They shared good practices on social dialogue and IR and crafted recommendations for DOLE, PEZA, employers, and unions.

The conference was highlighted with presentations from DOLE Undersecretary Rebecca Chato; Field Projects Director Toshiyuki Wakatsuki of the Japan International Labor Foundation (JILAF); International Labor Organization-Bureau of Workers Activities (ILO-ACTRAV) Senior Specialist Shigeru Wada; BWC-DOLE Director Catherine Legados-Prado; and PEZA Officers Rene Joey Nipa and Ms. Rachel Angeles.

TUCP Vice President Alejandro Villaviza welcomed the participants and wished them a productive workshop. Japanese Labor Attach├ę Hiroyuki Enoki, JILAF Director Waka and ILO Senior Specialist Wada extended brief messages on behalf of the Japanese Embassy in Manila, the JILAF, and ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, respectively.

Global Perspective on CLS and IR

ILO-ACTRAV Senior Specialist Shigeru Wada presented recent ILO and trade union developments in Asia Pacific. He explained the Decent Work Framework anchored on eight core labor standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. He described the wave of industrial actions in Asia and Pacific including the calls for wage increases in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, and Vietnam. He described workers struggle against contractualization and outsourcing leading to precarious working conditions in Myanmar, Indonesia, and Philippines.

He cited an ILO report referring to the deficit in job creation despite rapid growth and industrialization in the region. Regular jobs are replaced with contract workers aggressive anti-union sentiments in special economic zones. Likewise, he noted the growing number of migrant workers in the ASEAN and lack of corresponding social protection for them.

He challenged unions and other stakeholder for concerted action to achieve the goals on the 2006-2016 Asian Decent Work Decade.

Bro. Toshiyuki Wakatsuki of JILAF shared the experiences of Japanese trade unions in their pursuit of better labour representation at the national and enterprise levels. He highlighted the history of the Japanese trade unions towards one united national labour center that is now called the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO). He explained the structural changes that the labor movement had to undergo to keep pace with the challenges of globalization. He described the Japanese ‘shunto’ (Spring Offensive) where collectively, trade unions submit their demands on wages and other working conditions to government on an annual basis.

Local Labor Policies and Trade Unionism

DOLE Usec. Rebecca Chato presented recent trade union statistics citing the decreasing members of organized labor at 8.4 percent and the lesser number of workers enjoying benefits and protection of collective bargaining agreements. She noted that there are 1,331 collective bargaining agreements covering a total of 225,183 workers.

She reported that employment level slightly grew by one percent in 2013.   Total employed persons increased to 37.92 million from 37.60 million a year ago. This represents an employment generation of 317,000. The latest growth figure was lower compared with 2012’s growth rate of 2.9 percent (+1.041 million).

 She discussed development in industrial relations policies, particularly the tripartite adoption of the (1) Guidelines on the Conduct of the DOLE, DILG, DND, DOJ, AFP, and PNP Relative to the Exercise of Workers’ Rights and Activities; (2) Joint DOLE-PNP-PEZA Guidelines in the Conduct of PNP Personnel, Economic Zone Police and Security Guards, Company Security Guards and Similar Personnel during Labor Disputes; and (3) The Rules of Procedure of the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) in resolving labor disputes, among others.

PEZA officers Rene Joey Nipa and Ms. Rachel Angeles who spoke on industrial relations policies and practices in special economic zones. They proffered counselling and education services to union leaders, especially those who have lost certification lections and who are subjected to undue harassment and other pressure from employers.

BWC-DOLE Director Catherine Legados-Parado discussed the recently adopted Labor Law Compliance System (DO 131-13) as a mix of development and regulatory approaches that gives benefit to small and medium enterprises and address existing rigidities on labor laws compliance while ensuring decent and productive work. LLCS has three modalities of implementation: (1) Joint Assessment, (2) Compliance Visits, and (3) OSH Standards Investigations.

Trade union perspectives

Federation of Rizal (FUR) Executive Vice President Arturo Basea, Alyansa ng Manggagawa at Organisadong Pilipino (AMAPO) General Secretary Roberto Flores, and Voice of Workers in the Call Center Industry (VOICE) Officer Angelita Senorin shared their organizing challenges and other experiences in Cavite Export Zone, Subic Freeport Zone and BPO industry, respectively.

They recognize that SEZs and the BPO industry provide employment to many workers. SEZs and BPOs are growing. There is potential for more growth that would help address the increasing rate of unemployment and underemployment in the country.

However, they agree and believe that lingering social and labor issues in SEZs and BPOS should be addressed.

Despite differences in their geographical and industrial areas of operation, their sharing pointed to similar challenges. Among others, they shared how difficult it is to enter “walled’ special economic zones for organizing and workers education purposes. They pointed out how workers daring to become new union leaders are treated like ‘common criminals’, where criminal offenses are thrown to them just to subvert union activities. Workers are threatened with company closure. Others are promised with promotion and other benefits if they vote against the unions. And there too, are extremely bold employers, HR managers and unenlightened government officials who would do anything to subvert unions.

Union representatives from Laguna Auto Part Manufacturing Corporation and Honda Parts Manufacturing Corporation in Laguna Technopark (LAMCOR) concurred that Constructive industrial relations at the enterprise level is possible, but not without challenges.

Obrero Pilipino-LAMCOR Chapter struggled for ten years up until the Supreme Court, to establish itself as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent (SEBA) in the company. Honda Part Employees Union – Obrero Pilipino, kept vigilance since 1998, to ensure unity and existence of the union.

They shared the protection that they get from the union. They are especially proud and happy of the benefits they enjoy through collective bargaining that are way beyond what law and other companies are willing to provide. These include excellent compensation benefits (wages higher than most industry players pay, signing bonuses and other incentives), transportation services, rice subsidies, maternal and paternal benefits, union leaves for training, education and other purposes, longevity pay, and medical/health packages, among other.

They explained that for good industrial relations to work at the enterprise level, it requires independent and vigorous unions (brave leaders and empowered members); consultation mechanisms (grievance committee, LMC, etc.) that are put in place through the CBA; labor standards-compliant employers; and labor policy that allows unions to thrive.

JILAF Director Shinichi Nakumara congratulated the participants for a successful program and committed JILAF’s continued partnership with the TUCP and unions in the Philippines. Likewise, BLR-DOLE Director Evelyn Ramos wished the best for the participants. She expressed DOLE’s continued efforts with the tripartite partners to improve policies and practice on labor.

Former Executive Secretary and TUCP Executive Board Member Ruben Torres closed the program by highlighting union milestones achieved over years and years of struggle, which workers now enjoy. He said that these benefits are not given to workers on a silver platter. These are fruits of unions’ sustained advocacy, paid with workers sweat and blood. He challenged the participants to do more, move faster, and act better. (TUCP/PIA-Caraga)


DTI campaigns for 'BAGWIS' awards

By Cerila P. Inson & Leah L. Galano

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, Mar. 13 (PIA) – Some 15 owners/representatives from the business sector attended in the advocacy initiatives on "BAGWIS" program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Agusan del Sur last week in San Francisco town.

BAGWIS is a program that aims to give recognition to establishments that uphold the rights of consumers and practice responsible business where consumers get value for money. In thisprogram, the business establishment will create an environment where they will uphold fair and honest business practices whereby the consumers will be assured of quality and safe goods, products and services.

During the meeting, laws on price tag, product standards, no return no exchange policy and warranties were discussed. The participants were also encouraged to install Cansumer Welfare Desks to facilitate consumer complaints. Each desk shall have an assigned consumer welfare desk officer so that client’s complaints will immediately be responded.

It was agreed, that the participants shall undergo training on consumer complaints to equip and enhance their ability in handling customer’s complaints.

In Agusan del Sur, about 19 establishments were already certified of BAGWIS and these are located in Bayugan City, Prosperidad and San Francisco. (DMS/DTI-ADS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


Feature: Tips in buying safe cooked food

By Ma. Idelia G. Glorioso

MANILA, Mar. 13 (PIA) - Today, more people are resorting to buying cooked foods outside the home. This is for practical reasons like saving time in planning and preparing meals, convenience, availing of choice of reasonably-priced and flavorful food, and experiencing other special treats aside from the usual family menu.

Cooked and street foods are easy to find in the carinderia, outside the school premises, churches, parks and even in malls.

However, there are safety issues in buying cooked and street foods.

Are these foods safe to eat?

These foods are safe to eat provided that the food handlers have the proper knowledge and training on food handling and services, food preparation, personal hygiene and  maintaining a clean and safe environment.

The sixth message of the 2012 Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF) emphasizes that “consume safe foods and water to prevent diarrhea and other food-related and water-borne diseases."

Here are simple tips to prevent food and water-borne diseases:

-         Buy cooked food from known safe sources.
-         Avoid foods with mayonnaise or similar dressings. These spoil quickly.
-      Avoid buying foods cooked in tomato sauce and coconut milk because they also easily spoil.
-         Buy frozen or refrigerated fresh cooked food like embotido or morcon.
-         Buy only newly-cooked foods and avoid foods that have been long-standing.

Examples of these are foods cooked in the morning and sold until the afternoon, or evening or on even the following days. 

Remember the 6th message in the 2012 Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF), consume safe foods and water to prevent diarrhea and other food and water-borne diseases.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, Bicutan, Taguig City; trunkline: 837 2071 local 2296 or 2287; telephone/fax no.: 837 3164, email: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph or mar_v_c@yahoo.com; website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph (FNRI-DOST S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


Cebuano News: Ordinansa sa pag-establisar og VAWC desk sa syudad sa Cabadbaran giaprobahan sa SP

Ni Mary Cherly S. Monoy

AGUSAN DEL NORTE, Marso 13 (PIA) - Atol sa selebrasyon sa bulan sa kababaihan, gipasa sa syudad sa Cabadbaran ang City Ordinance No. 2013-044 o ang “Ordinance Mandating Every Barangay in the City of Cabadbaran to Establish a Functional Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) Desk and providing Funds Thereof” nga gipangunahanan ni Sangguniang Panlungsod Member Alicia C. Funcion.

Ang VAWC desk officer nga pinili sa Punong Barangay kinahanglan adunay igong kaalam bahin sa Republic Act 9710 o ang Magna Carta of Women nga maoy magsilbing dagananan sa mga victim – survivor sa panahon nga ang biktima o ang iyang anak gidagmalan, gipanamastamasan ug uban pa nga mga pang-abuso aron mahimoan kini dayon og insaktong aksyon ug masilotan ang mga nang-abuso kanila.

Ang VAWC desk kinahanglan nahimutang sulod sa Barangay Hall o kon asa dapit nag-opisina ang Punong Barangay, adunay kaugalingong lamisa, lingkoranan, filing cabinet alang sa butanganan og confidential nga mga impormasyon og log book alang sa mga records.

Gilaoman nga sa maong ordinansa, mahunong na ang mga pang-abuso sa kababayen-an ug sa ilang mga anak.

Gi-aprobahan gilayon kini sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan sa pagpanguna ni Bise Gobernador RamBu Bungabong pinaagi sa Sanggunian Resolution No. 033-2014 nga gipanghingusgan ni Provincial Board Member Elizabeth Marie R. Calo isip tsirman sa Committee on Social Welfare and Population Development. (LGU-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)