Friday, June 16, 2017

PIA Caraga to hold ASEAN info drive in Butuan

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, June 16 (PIA) – As part of its continuing efforts and promotion of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga is set to hold an ASEAN information drive to college students of Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) here.

According to PIA Caraga regional director Abner Caga, the activity seeks to raise the awareness of every Filipino especially the students on the benefits of the ASEAN.

“We believe that these students have big roles in communicating the ASEAN to their peers, in their respective communities so people could benefit from ASEAN and avail of any opportunities that it offers,” expressed Caga.

Meanwhile, Dr. Emiliana Lozano, dean of Business Administration Program of FSUU, said that some 1,000 students under the FSUU's Business Administration Program will be attending said activity at the Morelos Campus.

Lozano said that she wanted to equip their students with the right information and knowledge on ASEAN. She also asked PIA for ASEAN-related Information, education and communication (IEC) materials to be utilized by the students.

“As students of Business Administration and Management, being motivated and organized personalities that will thrive in business, where environments are often high-powered, it is but proper and timely for them to be fully aware of this effort of the government. We believe that ASEAN has a lot to offer to our fellowmen especially those who are engage in businesses,” underlined Lozano.

Also, Caga bared that the agency is open for other schools that would want to know more about ASEAN. He also highlighted that more ASEAN-related activities will be conducted in the coming months. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


AgNor elementary, high school completion rate reached record high

By Nora C. Lanuza Molde

BUTUAN CITY, June 16 (PIA) – “To invest in the children is to invest in our future,” says governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba of the province of Agusan del Norte.

In her State of the Province Address (SOPA) during the 4th Special Session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan held at the provincial capitol covered court here, governor Matba bares that the completion rate of both elementary and high school students in the province increased in the year 2016.

“It is interesting to note that more students attended school during the year in review,” she says. The total actual number of enrollees in the elementary level exceeded the projected school age population by almost 6.5 percent.

The completion rate, according to governor Matba, inched upwards from 74.76 percent in 2015 to 85.33 percent in 2016 for the elementary level with the same pattern observed at the secondary level.

Conversely, the drop out rate also decreased from 3.24 percent in school year ending 2015 to 1.19 percent in 2016, Matba adds.

With the positive note of the achievements, Matba is optimistic that the target of attaining full literacy by 2030 becomes more attainable and that achieving the next few year’s target is not getting far, she says. (NCLM/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


Agusan Norte guv supports SHS implementation, education for all

By Nora C. Lanuza Molde

BUTUAN CITY, June 16 (PIA) – With the implementation of the Senior High School (SHS) on year 2016, the province of Agusan del Norte in partnership with the national government spent over P413 Million for the construction of 305 classrooms located at the different schools in the province.

According to governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba, 41 classrooms were also rehabilitated during the SHS implementation with a total cost of P13.1 Million.

Also, governor Matba bared during her State of the Province Address (SOPA) here that 256 teaching and non-teaching items were created generally to serve the requirements of the SHS.

Meanwhile, in year 2016, Matba bared that the Department of Education (DepEd) Agusan del Norte division has always been in the forefront of achievers. From the regional to the national levels, the province boasts of quality education, Honey Loque of Carmen Central Elementary School won first place during the Science Trail Elementary level in the 13th National Science Quest in Baguio City, Matba said.

Also, the Agusan del Norte division was ranked first among the Caraga region’s 12 divisions in the elementary level during the latest National Achievement Test.

Meanwhile, governor Matba also vigorously promoted the preservation of the culture of Indigenous Peoples and Muslim brethren in the province through the  special programs, such as the Indigenous People Education (IPEd) and Madrasah Education.

Aside from the academics or school-based approached, community-based trainings, center-based trainings, and other non-formal types of education were also given attention by the provincial government by allocating P2 million to support the Technical Vocational Scholarship Program that produced 4,700 graduates, Matba added. (NCLM/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


SSS disburses nearly P45B in 2017 1st quarter

BUTUAN CITY, June 16 (PIA) - State-run Social Security System’s disbursements for the first three months of 2017 soared to nearly P45 billion on the back of the bulk of the release of the recently approved P1,000 additional benefit for the pensioners last March.

Total disbursements of the pension fund reached P44.77 billion in the first quarter, translating a 43.06 percent increase from the P31.30 billion in the same period last year.

“As you may recall, President Duterte has approved the release of the P1,000 across-the-board benefit increase for our dear pensioners last January and we released the amount to more than 2 million pensioners last March in three tranches covering the first three months of 2017. This jacked-up our disbursements for the period by nearly P7 billion,” said SSS president and chief executive officer Emmanuel F. Dooc.

The P1,000 additional benefit disbursed in April was also included in the total expenditures for the first quarter period. SSS deposits to partner banks one-month in advance the pension benefits to assure on time crediting.

Retirement and death benefit payments both increased by 50 percent to P24.24 billion and P13.63 billion, respectively. Bulk of the disbursements in the first quarter were from these two major benefit payouts, accounting for almost 85 percent of total expenditures.

Other benefit outlays also rose as of the end-March 2017 period such as disability grant at P1.51 billion from the P1.05 billion a year ago; maternity benefit at P1.63 billion from the P1.46 billion; funeral grant at P967.42 million from the P859.89 million last year; sickness benefit at P614.24 million from the P589.04 million; and medical services at P3.89 million from the P3.35 million last year.

Only benefits on rehabilitation services dropped to P69,125 from the P359,033 a year ago.

Meanwhile, total revenues for the first three months of 2017 rose to P48.78 billion from the P43.5 billion recorded in the same period a year ago.

“The increase in our collections for the first quarter of this year is the fruit of our continuing labor in strengthening our collection efforts such as going after delinquent employers through Operation Tokhang,” Dooc said.

Of the total revenue collections, members’ contribution accounted for the bulk of the revenues at P39.55 billion, up by 10.9 percent from the P35.66 billion last year.

Investment and other income also increased by 17.76 percent to P9.23 billion from the P7.84 billion last year.

Dooc said SSS took more concrete steps in strengthening the pension fund’s collection and legal enforcement units with the end in view of reducing and preventing occurrences of delinquencies.

To date, the SSS has been able to secure 45 employer convictions with a collective delinquency of P52.7 million.

“Over the past several months under the new Commission, SSS relentlessly pursued to engage the full force of the law by convicting and arresting delinquent employer,” Dooc said.

Operating expenses, on the other, slightly declined by less than 1 percent to P2.18 billion as of end-March 2017 from the P2.2 billion recorded in the previous year.

Net revenue for the first three months of 2017 plummeted to about P4 billion from the P12.3 billion as total expenditures surged by 43.06 percent, outpacing the 12-percent growth in total revenue collection, primarily due to the increase in benefit disbursements.

"The contribution increase shall enable SSS to provide meaningful benefits to our members. I trust that we shall be authorized to hike the contribution so that SSS can fulfill its mandate." Dooc added. (SSS/PIA-Caraga)