Thursday, March 10, 2016

PhilHealth says its finances remain robust, healthy and substantial

MANILA -- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) clarified on Thursday there is no truth to the report that its operating funds will run out in six to 10 months.

“PhilHealth’s finances are still robust, healthy and substantial as ever,” PhilHealth President and CEO Atty. Alexander A. Padilla said as he stressed that the report emanating from Legazpi City in Albay was baseless and the PhilHealth official cited in it was probably misquoted.

The report said PhilHealth Board Member Eddie Dorotan made the statement in his speech at the inauguration of a new PhilHealth Office at the Pacific Mall-Gaisano Complex in Legazpi City on Tuesday.

Dorotan was reported as saying that the operating funds of PhilHealth are good only for six to 10 months unless the government pays its past billings for government hospitals amounting to billions of pesos.

“The six months mentioned in the report is really impossible. First of all, our reserves are huge — Php128 billion, and these comprise our biggest reserves for the past so many years,” the PhilHealth president said in a press briefing.

He explained that while PhilHealth has shelled out bigger chunks for the benefit payments to members as the agency improved the package benefits, he also assured that their financial reserves are not depleting.

“Our collections are also increasing at the same time... Our investment rates are also good, all Triple A (government securities that are guaranteed),” he said.

He cited that PhilHealth has investments on Treasury bills, fixed securities (Triple A securities) and is not even entering in doubtful transactions.

Padilla said that upon examining the news story, it was mentioned that in 2015, PhilHealth premium collections were Php96 billion while the benefit payments amounted to Php97 billion, insinuating that they lost Php1 billion in a year.

He said that granting they lost Php1 billion in 2015, since they have reserves of Php128 billion, that will mean PhilHealth will be running out of funds in 128 years and not in six months, which is also impossible since the agency is earning continuously.

He also said that actually, PhilHealth has not at all lost Php1 billion in 2015 because they still have at least Php7 billion surplus.

According to Atty. Padilla, he had already talked to the concerned PhilHealth board member and that Dorotan said he had been misquoted.

“I repeat, PhilHealth is stable, our funds are robust. There is no doubt about that,” he said as he stressed that PhilHealth keeps on enhancing its system of benefit packages.

He added that PhilHealth continues to innovate as it hopes to reduce out-of-pocket expenses of its members. (By Leilani S. Junio, PNA)

DOH recommends 4S against Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases

The Department of Health (DOH) addressed the public to remember and use ‘4S’ against Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. The 4S means Search & destroy mosquito breeding places, use Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation for fever lasting more than 2 days, and Say yes to fogging when there is an impending outbreak.

“The first step to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is within our homes. We should not only remember the information being delivered by DOH to the communities. Instead, let us make it a practice and instill cleanliness in our surroundings. It is not only your family that will benefit from this habit, but the entire community as well.” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin said.

This January, there were reports from different countries regarding a disease caused by Zika virus. Zika virus causes a influenza-like disease with concurrent conjunctivitis. Some cases are asymptomatic (does not manifest any symptoms) and it can be acquired when bitten by an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito – the same type of mosquito that spreads dengue, Chikungunya, and yellow fever. Symptoms of Zika virus infection usually begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Other symptoms are muscle pain, headache, and vomiting. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for 2-7 days. Hence, it is very important to clean the surroundings in order to prevent the breeding of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that serve as the vector of the said virus.

Health authorities are currently investigating a potential link between Zika virus in pregnant women and microcephaly (a rare condition where a baby has an abnormally small head). Until concrete evidences are verified, women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should take extra care to protect themselves from mosquito bites. DOH advises that pregnant women who are experiencing symptoms of Zika virus disease should seek early consultation.

Currently, there is no available vaccine to prevent Zika virus, and there is no available medicine to treat the infection. However, the symptoms of Zika virus disease can be treated with common pain and fever medicines, rest, and plenty of water. If symptoms continue to occur after 2 days, consultation in the nearest health facility to seek medical advice is recommended.

In the Philippines, a documented case of Zika virus infection was traced in Cebu City in 2012. A 15 year old boy was reported with symptoms of fever, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, muscle pain, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. The said patient recovered fully after 3 weeks of continuous bed rest and medication. After yielding negative from tests on dengue and Chikungunya, the patient’s serum was tested positive for Zika Virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) still does not recommend the imposition of any travel, trade, or screening restrictions related to Zika virus disease. However, it is advised that travelers going to and coming from countries with known Zika virus cases maintain a high level of vigilance and self-care.

“Let’s go back to basics; we always say that prevention is better than cure. Prevention should start from our home. Make 4S a regular habit and participate in cleaning activities initiated in our community. Kalinisan at kalusugan. Makiisa sa kalinisan ng ating komunidad, ang kalusugan ay responisibilad ng bawat isa.” Garin concluded.

PhilHealth Albay opens new office at Landco Business Park

LEGAZPI CITY -- The Philippine Helath Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) Albay Local Health Insurance Office (LHIO) opens its new office today located at the 2nd Floor of De los Santos Building in Landco Business Park here.

LHIO Albay chief social insurance officer Darlene L. Nuyles welcomes the new office as a way to bring the services closer to Albayanos, as the LHIO is strategically located in the heart of the city.

Nuyles hopes to help decongest clients served in the regional office by catering to all membership and collection functions at the LHIO. Meanwhile, claims and accreditation functions still remain at the regional office located at the Alternate Road, Legazpi City.

Prior to the LHIO’s establishment, the membership and collection functions were carried out by the PhilHealth Members Assistance Counter (PMAC), the forerunner of LHIO Albay, operating inside the regional office.

The PMAC was under the supervision of Marcia Natalia Simsiman, then CSIO of the Membership Section, in 2011.

LHIO- Albay was formally proposed for creation under then OIC- RVP Veronica T. Mateum in October 2011. It was approved by PhilHealth’s former president and CEO Eduardo P. Banzon in November 4, 2011, and was operationalized under RVP Orlando D. Iñigo as soon as he was reassigned back to PRO V after his short assignment as head of PRO IV- A. Since its creation, LHIO Albay was located at the ground floor of the regional office.

Iñigo decided to transfer LHIO Albay to a much bigger office after it was given enough resources to rent its own office space.

As of today, the LHIO has two PhilHealth Expresses under its wing: P- Express Tabaco and P- Express Ligao, catering to members in the first and third districts, respectively. The LHIO covers close to 1.1 Million PhilHealth Albayano members and their dependents representing 85% of the population. These are catered to by 32 accredited hospitals, 107 non hospital facilities, and 306 professionals in the province.

For the RVP, the LHIO’s inauguration establishes its presence as a separate entity from the regional office, and is expected to boost PhilHealth coverage rate from 85% to at least 90% of this year’s population in Albay.

Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda and Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal are expected to grace the inauguration, along with PhilHealth Board Member representing elected Local Chief Executives, Dr. Eddie Dorotan. The inauguration will officially open with a motorcade at 7:30 am, followed by a Mass and blessing of the LHIO. (MAL/AZSanPablo-PhilHelath/PIA5/Albay)

Comelec lays down preparations for 2016 national and local polls in Camarines Norte

DAET, Camarines Norte – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office here bared preparations for the coming May 9, 2016 national and local elections during the Talakayan sa PIA of the Camarines Norte Information Center held recently.

Atty. Noriel P. Badiola said that they are on the right track in the preparations wherein they have already undergone the trainers’ training for the election supervisors and officers recently; and slated the training for all the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) in the province from March 1-15.

He said that BEIs will be trained by the Comelec on theoretical aspect particularly on general instructions and practical aspect on the actual operation of the Vote Counting Machine (VCM). This will be followed by the examinations to be conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) who will certify passers.

Badiola said that they are expecting some 84,000 VCM to be deployed in the province and will do sealing and testing of the machines. “We will also tap deputized agencies for the protection of the machines”, he said.

The PCM has its own battery that when plug will be automatically charging and in case of power interruption it is already full charge, he said.

He also said that there will be a 100% remittance in the result of the election because all the areas will have satellites and they have already conducted survey for the smartmatic and rated those areas with high and low signals.

He said that the challenge for him in the coming polls is that to be less controversial as he expects to proclaim winners on the following day.

He also reminded candidates on their compliance to the Omnibus Election Code regarding the submission of expenditures and they invite them for consultation.

Badiola said he will reorganized the task force for the removal of the illegal campaign materials or “operation baklas” in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other deputized agencies. “We will not hesitate to prosecute those who will not abide the laws and we will also strengthen the implementation of checkpoints”, he said.

He urged the media and the public that if there are willing to testify in the case of vote buying, the Comelec can prosecute with evidence or maybe this can be done through a posture buyer.

On the other hand, Atty. Francis D. Nievez, Municipal Election Officer of Daet said that there are 300,890 registered voters in Camarines Norte for the coming elections.

He said that the challenge for the Comelec is to be a non-partisan and to maintain the peace and order in partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP).

He urged media to not openly show candidates they are supporting because this will be a lack of respect and beside they should deliver unbiased reports.

Joy Cabrera, officer-in-charge chief, Curriculum Implementation Division of the Department of Education (DepEd) on the other hand said that they have already disseminated the schedule of the trainings for the BEIs.

She clarified those teachers who received delayed payments in the last elections were due to instances that those in the list were not the one who served because of emergencies. They have already coordinated these to transfer the payment and all of them have been paid, she said.

She said that they have already reminded teachers on the DepEd policy on banning political candidates from schools’ graduation ceremonies.

Cabrera cited that they are also guided by the rules of the COMELEC on how to handle during elections those Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) as well as those who cannot read and write.

Police Supt. Wilmor Halamani, chief of the police community relation/public information officer of the Camarines Norte Police Provincial Office (CNPPO) said that the PNP has been alerted since January this year. “We have also implemented last year the “Lambat Sibat” wherein 95% of policemen were assigned outside for police visibility”, he said.

He said that Camarines Norte was one of the peaceful provinces during the 2010 national and local elections. “We are now conducting seminars for the barangay tanod who will serve as our force multiplier in maintaining peace and order during elections”, he added. (by
By Rosalita B. Manlangit/MAL/RBM-PIAV/Camarines Norte)

PNP probes election-related incidents

MANILA -- The Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management (DIDM) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is validating and verifying further all documented violent incidents since January to identify which among them are election-related incidents (ERIs), Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesperson said on Wednesday.

These include two purported violent incidents in Albay and Masbate.

Mayor said that during the first 45 days of the election period, from Jan. 10 until Feb. 26, the PNP-DIDM has validated only one incident that will qualify as ERI.

According to DIDM, Police Regional Office 5 rectified its validation on the case involving Brgy. Chairman Jonathan Sullerra of Barangay Cabangcalan, Placer, Masbate from validated ERI to Non-ERI. Base on the investigation, the motive was personal grudge and nothing to do with political interest.

Meanwhile, a case of harassment that happened in Albay which involved an election officer, is still classified as ERI.

Mayor said that in two months, 34 incidents were recorded. PRO 18, PRO 10 and PRO 13 recorded 4 incidents each; PRO 4A, PRO 5, PRO 9 with 3 incidents each; PRO 2, PRO 3, PRO 7, PRO 11 and NCRPO with 2 incident each; and PRO 4B, PRO 6 and ARMM with 1 incident each. 15 were non-ERIs and 17 are still suspected ERIs.

The seven cases were referred to the Prosecutor’s Office while 27 are still under investigation.

Shooting recorded the highest with 25 incidents, three were stabbing/hacking incidents, two were explosions whereas strafing, grenade throwing while abduction and threat recorded one incident each.

There were 48 victims, of which 22 were identified as Elected Government Officials (EGOs), 10 were civilians, eight were supporters, three were candidates, two were former EGOs while EGO/Candidate, Former EGO/Candidate and AGO registered one each.

A total of 25 persons were killed, seven were wounded and 16 were unharmed. (PNA)

Pag-IBIG Fund's new saving scheme targets Bicol’s public school teachers

LEGAZPI CITY -- With the grant this year of salary increase to state workers, the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-IBIG Fund in Bicol has renewed its efforts to enroll them to its newest contribution collection scheme.

Primarily targeting Bicol’s around 30,000 public school teachers, the agency recently entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the regional office of the Department of Education (DepEd) here that allows the former to discuss with teachers the scheme called PagIBIG II.

In a memorandum issued last week, DepEd regional director Ramon Fiel Abcede instructed all schools division superintendents, principals and other education officials concerned to allow representatives of HDMF-PagIBIG Fund “to discuss briefly the substantial provisions set forth in the MOA” with teachers.

Abcede’s memorandum entitled “Upgrading of Monthly Membership Contribution and Enrolment to Modified PagIBIG II” said the Members Services Branch of HDMF “shall coordinate with schools division offices” relative to the matter.

The Modified Pag-IBIG II (MP2), according to the HDMF, is designed to provide members with another savings option that would grant them with a yield higher than those given under the Pag-IBIG I membership program.

The new program requires a minimum contribution of Php500 per month with a renewable term of five years and offers flexible dividend rates that are always higher than PagIBIG I.

Contributions and earnings are government guaranteed, the HDMF said.

The program took effect in February 2010 but since availing of it is not compulsory, its enrollment was minimal due to the low take-home pay of teachers, a local HDMF official on Wednesday here said.

Under PagIBIG I, as mandated under Republic Act 9679 or the HDMF Law of 2009, all salaried government employees are required to be members and contributors in the intention of improving their life quality by offering housing assistance and provide them saving schemes that gives an opportunity to set aside money for the future.

Once a member completes the 240 monthly contributions, or the 20-year maturity period, he or she would get the entire amount saved, the equivalent contributions made by the employer (if there are any) and the dividends earned.

Members are required to contribute at least two percent of their monthly salary in exchange for the many benefits such as savings and opportunity to avail of short-term loans as well as affordable housing loan assistance, according to the HDMF. (PNA)

Regional wildlife rescue center to rise in Albay

LEGAZPI CITY–The first Regional Wildlife Rescue Center in the Bicol region will be put up in the province of Albay.

The Rescue Center is a joint project of the PGA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol and Legazpi City government.

Albay provincial veterinarian Dr. Florencio Adonay stressed the importance of the facility, complete with all the necessary equipment, to cater to the needs of animals living in the wild especially those that require medical attention and rehabilitation.

“If we had this facility back then when there was a Philippine Hawk Eagle injured in Camalig last year, we would have been able to save its life and return it to the wild after,” said Adonay.

The groundbreaking ceremony at the Albay Park and Wildlife was held in time for the celebration of the 3rd World Wildlife Day.

DENR Bicol director Engineer Gilbert Gonzales commended Albay governor Joey Sarte Salceda for his initiatives on environment noting that the DENR and the PGA have spent three years to conceptualize the new Regional Wildlife Rescue Center and has now become a reality.

“The DENR is only a part of this initiative, we are here for support, financially and technically, but it is still the PGA who will be at the forefront of this endeavor,” Gonzales stated.

Legazpi mayor Noel Rosal also showed his support for the project and exclaimed that the new Regional Wildlife Rescue Center is another landmark for Albay and the City of Legazpi, noting that projects like these are possible through the stewardship of governor Salceda.

“This is the type of project that our local government should immerse in, it shows the people that we care,” Mayor Rosal said.

In his message, Salceda said the partnership of the PGA and the DENR under his three terms has been very solid, noting that through the partnership, Albay has remarkably grown its forest areas giving the local wildlife a highly livable habitat.

“Unlike in other advanced areas, where progress equates to lower areas for wildlife, Albay has made a different impact, we have created a good balance where progress and nature can develop together,” Salceda said.

He further stated: “We create homes for God’s creations, and if everyone unites, any endeavor becomes easy.”

The new Regional Wildlife Rescue Center is one of the various projects reflecting Albay’s commitment to fight climate change, both in its causes and in its adaptation. (SAA/PGA/PIA5/Albay)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Ten Tips to Top-notch Time Management

by Sheila M. de Guzman
Calauag Elem. School

As a resource, time is both unlimited and limited, because although it goes on infinitely, it will not go on the same way for us mortals. No matter how we put it, we will all run out of time to do what we have to do in our lives. Because of this fact, time is probably the most important resource that we own as individuals.
In a lighter sense, we should all maximize our time so that we may accomplish all of our goals. Sure, 24 hours a day might seem a lot at first, but since we are living beings, we use a huge fraction of it to tend to our basic needs, and it leaves us with little time to perform our other duties. On the other hand, some individuals would overwork themselves, setting aside more time for work-related tasks and spending less time to take care of themselves. This makes a huge imbalance in our lives.
However, this is not the only way to live our lives. There is a way to restore the balance in our lives – there are many ways, in fact!
Time management is the key to achieving this. Stopping and trying to manage your time may seem like a “waste of time” at first, but it actually helps to save your time and be able to fit more tasks into one day. There are so many ways to manage time that everyone is sure to find something that will work well with them.
Here are some tips that will help you successfully manage your time:
1. Stop complaining and start doing. We often take a lot of time to contemplate on how long something will take, and how difficult it will be, that we are left with less time to actually complete it. By beginning without much complaint, you can spend more time on thinking about how to do the task, and you will be able to finish it on time. You will also notice that it wasn’t really as hard as you thought it would be!
2. Create a schedule – and stick to it! Having a schedule is one thing that can help you manage your time, but following it is another. Schedule your tasks so that you will become more organized. This will help you avoid forgetting what you have to do, and it also saves time on you trying to remember them. Also, be sure to follow your schedule as best as you can, otherwise all your scheduling will be for nothing!
3. Prioritize. As human beings, we cannot really do everything, so it is important to prioritize. By deciding which tasks are more important, it will be easier for you to get your main duties done.
4. Focus. When doing a task, stay on that task. You might think that multi-tasking helps you to do things faster, but it actually slows you down, and in the end you’ll get nothing done. Also, block distractions, and don’t procrastinate.
5. Say “No”. It’s okay not to accept tasks which you think you can’t handle, especially if you are still in the middle of doing something else. It saves time, in fact, because the task can be delegated to someone who can start on it right away.
6. Take breaks. We all need to rest and recharge once in a while. Working continuously without breaks will just make you tired and inefficient. Therefore, make sure to arrange breaks in between work shifts. A cup of coffee and some snacks would be nice too.
7. Set aside time for yourself. You should not spend all of your time working, otherwise you might get sick. Take care of your body, because through it you are able to function and work. Also find time to enjoy leisure activities to keep your life balanced.
8. Imagine an earlier deadline. In your mind, set the deadline to a date or time earlier than the real one. Even if you know the real deadline, this will trick your body into working faster. People who practice this are known to actually be on time, rather than those who prepare for the real deadline, and end up running late.
9. Have a clock. This is a must-have for you to be able to track the time. Even if you don’t have a clock hanging on your wall, sitting on your desk, or clamped to your wrist, cellphones and computers have clocks as well, so there is no reason for you to lose track of time.
10. Be consistent. You might be able to manage your time very well for half an hour, and you might have already done so much that you choose to be idle just because your next meeting doesn’t start in another half hour. This is not a good way to manage your time. Your time should always be spent doing something worthwhile. With your free time, you get started on your next assignment, take a break, plan your next day, etc.
Time management is a real jewel. When practiced, it gives you so much more time to actually live your life, not just to work, but also to enjoy. It reduces pressure and stress that one experiences at work, and helps you have a healthier lifestyle, which as a bonus lengthens your life. Also, when you learn the art of managing your time, you have a better shot at success. It gives you the power to control your life in relevance to your abilities and limits. We can all live our lives the way we want to live it and use our time for the more important things, and through these simple tips, we can learn how to control it.


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