(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 19 April 2021) At 3:00 AM today, the center of the eye of Typhoon "BISING" {SURIGAE} was located based on all available data at 250 km East of Virac, Catanduanes (14.0°N, 126.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of 195 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 240 km/h. It is moving North Northwestward at 10 km/h. Caraga Region will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorm due to TY Bising. Possible flash floods or landslides during moderate to heavy rains. Light to moderate winds from Northwest to Southwest will prevail over the region with slight to moderate seas/ (0.6 to 2.5 meters).

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Livelihood programs continuing to provide income, battle pandemic

The Duterte government continues to carry out programs that provide people with source of income, prop up the economy and at the same time produce products helpful to the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his talk to the people at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on March 24, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the trade department is working to produce 47 million masks for the poor based on the President’s instruction.

Some 13 million masks were produced and the government has so far delivered more than 12 million masks to poor communities, Lopez said.

Among the participating agencies include the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), Office of the President, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Health (DOH), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Aside from producing non-medical masks, the government has spearheaded the production of medical-grade, internationally certified face coverings as well as personal protective equipment (PPE).

The country has been producing 2.4 million pieces of N95 masks per month and 56 million pieces each month of N88 masks.

“’Yung coveralls, ‘yong pinapatong sa ating katawan, 3.2 million pieces per month ang capacity, dati zero. At iba pa pong mga ano diyan: ventilators dati zero, ngayon 6,000 units per month; iyong meltblown or filter for face mask, ito ‘yong nasa loob ng face mask, 20 tons per month, dati po zero capacity,” Lopez said.

Around six local companies are also in talks with the Board of Investments (BOI) for local vaccine manufacturing, Lopez said, noting the initiative will be helpful to the country’s drive for COVID-19 vaccine self-sufficiency.

“So ang amin lang pong request dito, siyempre ito po ay nagke-create ng local jobs and local manufacturing, pera ng bayan, sana para sa trabaho sa bayan. So we have to buy local. Ito po ‘yong ating pinu-push kasi ‘pag nag-buy local, madali hong makaka-recover ang ating ekonomiya kasi mare-restimulate ang economy,” the trade chief said.

And even during the pandemic, the government continues to give livelihood kits, entrepreneurship seminars, mentoring clinic, and various livelihood opportunities nationwide, Lopez reported.

So far, 56,281 micro- small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) received government assistance and 26,240 individuals were given livelihood kits.

Livelihood programs amidst the pandemic are also ongoing, Lopez said noting the DTI has already visited Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to assist communities with the help of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Department of Agriculture, National Housing Authority, DTI and DSWD.

Former rebels also received assistance, according to Lopez. “Iyong sa project po natin sa NTF-ELCAC. Ito po ‘yong mga natutulungan, nabibigyan ng pangkabuhayan package. Nationwide, mga 829 former rebels po ang naabot natin dito.”

Returning OFWs were also given opportunities through different livelihood programs, he said, noting the government has recorded total approved loans of P3 billion, which benefited 24,581 individuals. PND