Wednesday, January 17, 2018

COMELEC sets public hearing on barangay, SK polls in CDO

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 17 (PIA) - In order to give all interested parties equal opportunity to be heard on whether or not to postpone the 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections in Mindanao, in view of the one year extension of Marital Law, the Commission En Banc hereby orders the conduct of a Public Hearing on January 23, 2018 at Grand Caprice Restaurant and Convention Center, Limketkai Center, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City.

Atty. Samuel Rollo, COMELEC Butuan City election officer said, this is an opportune time for various stakeholders to raise their issues and concerns regarding the upcoming Barangay and SK elections. Through this public hearing, voices of the common public will be heard as to whether or not they want the 2018 BSKE pursued in the month of October.

It was also learned that along with the order to conduct the said hearing, the Commission En Banc also ordered the following:

* To designate Atty. Reseller Abad, director III, BCAD as the Hearing Officer;

*To direct the Office of the Clerk of the Commission to notify the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Youth Commission (NYC), Liga ng mag Barangay, SK Federation, non-government organizations, civil society organizations and accredited citizens' arms of this order; to direct the concerned field offices to post this order immediately in conspicuous places;

*To direct the Office of the Clerk of the Commission to furnish the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) copy of this order; and

*To direct the Education and Information Department to publish this order in three newspapers of the general circulation once a week for two consecutive weeks.

Meanwhile, interested party may file a verified opposition, on or before the scheduled hearing at the Office of the Regional Election Director of Region X, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental. Pre-marking of evidence shall be done on Jan. 23, 2018, 1:00-2:00 p.m. at the said venue. (with a report from City COMELEC/PIA-Caraga)


DOE promotes E-Trike, smart electricity consumption

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 17 (PIA) – With an aim to reduce the transport sector’s annual petroleum consumption by 2.8 percent (based on 20 million barrels annual consumption in 2010) and to avoid carbon dioxide emission of the estimated 259,008 tons annually, the Department of Energy (DOE) introduced the energy efficient electric vehicle project or the E-Trike Project during the Alternative Fuels and Energy Technologies Forum held on Tuesday in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur.

As explained by Engr. Federico Domingo, Jr., supervising senior research specialist of DOE, the E-Trike will significantly improve the quality of life of the beneficiaries of E-Trike; promote the use of cleaner and more efficient vehicles; reduce health cost and economic impact of lost productivity as a result of air pollution.

“With the utilization of electronic vehicles, it will also stimulate the market for E-Trike related support services such as charging stations, repair and maintenance shops, parts and supply services,” Domingo added.

He also mentioned in his discussion the innovations and emerging technologies, its potentials and applications like energy resource diversification; energy generation, conversion and storage; industry, commercial and residential energy use; and alternative fuels production improvement.

“This is a serious project of the government and such initiatives is geared at achieving the short, medium and long-term plans that will assist in its establishment. That’s why it is critical to our campaign to deliver the right information in order for the public to cascade the same correct and factual data regarding these programs. We are encouraging you to advocate on E-Trike and AFET,” Domingo said.

Mayor Librado Navarro said that with the E-Trike project, he wants Bislig City to be known as an organic city and be recognized as a smoke-free zone.

“We are into organic farming, forest protection, urbanization, and we worked on the mitigating factors that will help decrease or impede the damage to our environment. We see to it that Bisliganons and visiting people will enjoy a clean and healthy environment. Let’s see what we can do for this E-Trike project as it is best suited to be adopted in our locality,” underlined Navarro.

Meanwhile, Karoline de Vera, Science Research Specialist of DOE elaborated the tips on smart energy use. She emphasized on employing smart electricity consumption measure or action at workplace, at home, or wherever people might be to help save energy.

All these are in pursuit of improving the country’s energy security as well as to contribute in mitigating the adverse environmental effect of energy utilization. Hence, the government is continuously implementing programs that promote the utilization of alternative fuels and new and advanced energy technologies to effectively diversify and manage the country’s utilization of energy resources. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


SurSur starts new year with SERTSS enhancement training, program planning workshop

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Jan. 17 (PIA) – The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) of this province kicked-off the new year with an enhancement training cum program planning workshop for the members and staff of the Search and Emergency Response Team of Surigao del Sur (SERTSS) on January 11-12, 2018 at Libtong Cove, Barangay General Island in Cantilan town.

PDRRMO chief Abel de Guzman said this has been their usual practice every year as its kick-off activity. “The activity helps develop a good camaraderie among the SERTSS members,” he said.

De Guzman said, this year the team members are focusing on the aid and emergency response protocols as well as different scenarios during disasters.

The formulation of a doable plan of activities for 2018 was also included during the discussion based on the reported activities accomplished in 2017. 

De Guzman also revealed that the activity was supposedly conducted before 2017 has ended, but due to the unfavorable weather condition, the activity was then reset to January. (NGPBarcena, PIA-Surigao del Sur)


DTI Surigao Norte releases 1st SRP for 2018

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Jan. 17 (PIA) – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB) under the Consumer Protection Group released the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) guides for basic necessities and prime commodities as of January 1. 2018.

The Suggested Retail Price (SRP) is the selling price suggested by the manufacturer of a product.

The intention of the SRP is to ensure that prices of basic necessities and prime commodities will be sold at affordable price levels.

Major retail establishments are directed to set their selling prices within SRP, especially with the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

The DTI price monitoring activity conducted monthly at major retail establishments is one way of ensuring that retailers of products listed in SRPs shall follow the guide in their pricing. Hence, they are provided with updated SRPs regularly.

Consumers interested to know more about SRP’s and other consumer related concerns are encouraged to visit the DTI Office located at the 2nd Floor, Simtoco Business Center, Burgos Street, Surigao City with telephone numbers (086) 826-6129/826-2373 or log on to DTI’s website at www.dti.gov.ph. (DTI-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


SSS posts revenues of P175B at end-Nov 2017

BUTUAN CITY, Jan. 17 – State-run Social Security System (SSS) said that its revenues reached nearly P175 billion in the first 11 months of 2017 on the back of aggressive collection efforts for members’ contribution, and investment and other income. 

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said the pension fund's total revenues grew to P174.94 billion from January to November 2017, up 9.3 percent or P14.92 billion from the P160.02 billion it earned in the comparable period in 2016.

“The growth in our contribution collection is primarily due to the collection drive of the current administration of the Social Security Commission along with the efforts of SSS employees who are in direct contact with our employer- and employee-members every day,” Dooc said. 

Broken down, members’ contributions, which accounted for 82.5 percent of total revenues, grew to P144.36 billion in the 11 months ended November 2017 from P131.28 billion of end-November 2016.

Investment and other income further increased to P30.58 billion from January to November 2017 from P28.74 billion of the comparable 2016 period. It was boosted by income from government securities, equities, and salary loans amounting to P11.04 billion, P8.15 billion and P7.61 billion, respectively. 

“Total investments, representing 92.6 percent of the pension fund’s total assets, rose by P16.68 billion due to additional placement in government bonds, new salary loans releases including restructured member loan accounts, and the reclassification of real estate properties,” Dooc explained.

Likewise, end-November benefit payments in 2017 were higher at P157.39 billion compared to the P123.17 billion recorded in the same period in 2016, as hiked up by the P30.85 billion in total releases for the P1,000-additional benefit for pensioners.

"The pension adjustments arising from the un-lumping of 1985 to 1989 contributions which we began to release to SSS death, retirement and disability pensioners in 2016 correspondingly increased benefit disbursements. The 3rd and 4th tranches of these pension adjustments that were released in June and September last year in the amount of P72.43 million and P66.92 million, respectively, contributed to the entire amount of benefit payments for that period ended in November. Also, the earlier tranches of adjustments released in in June and November 2016 have still an effect on 2017's total disbursements for benefits.” he added. 

Payments for retirement benefit made up the bulk of total benefit disbursements at P91.22 billion from January to November 2017, 25.72 percent higher than the P72.56 billion released in the same period in 2016.

Likewise, benefit payments for death and maternity increased to P49.04 billion and P5.56 billion, respectively.

Expenditures for disability, funeral grant, and sickness benefits rose to P5.71 billion, P3.50 billion, and P2.35 billion, respectively, while expenditures dropped to P11 million for medical services, and P1.48 million for rehabilitation services.

Operating expenses of the pension fund, which included personnel services and maintenance, and other operating expenses were slightly lower by 0.4 percent to P7.86 billion at end-November 2017 compared to the P7.89 billion of the comparable 2016 period.


Meanwhile, Social Security Commission Chairman Amado D. Valdez said the Commission shall adopt measures that will ensure the stability of SSS financial position. SSS total resources as of end-November 2017 stood at P493.29 billion or P16.89 billion higher than 2016 year-end level of P476.4 billion. (PIA-Caraga)