Saturday, December 1, 2018

Duterte to weigh social costs of 2nd tranche of oil tax hike

By Azer Parrocha

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte will weigh the social costs of pushing through with the implementation of the second tranche of the oil excise tax increase scheduled for 2019, Malacañang said Friday. 
However, the President will also consider what is stipulated under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press statement.
“We note the sentiments of the Filipino consumers and the President will certainly weigh in the social costs involved,” Panelo said.
“Due regard, however, must also be given to the dictates stipulated under the law, which only the Congress can modify,” he added.
Panelo made the remark after the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) publicly announced that it would recommend the continued implementation of the oil excise tax’s second tranche.
He said the DBCC recommendation is still subject to discussion in the next Cabinet meeting on December 4.
The Palace official, meanwhile, advised the public to wait for the President’s decision, noting that national interest will always be put into consideration.
“The President's decision will, as always, be based on national interest and benefit to the people,” Panelo said.
The DBCC’s recent recommendation is a complete reversal from their recommendation earlier this year, when oil prices soared to more than USD80 per barrel, that the hike be put on hold until world crude prices have softened.
Since then, oil prices have rapidly retreated to less than USD70 per barrel.
Under the TRAIN law, the oil excise tax hike may be suspended if oil prices in the world market averaged USD80 per barrel in the last three months of 2018.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said economic managers want to implement the PHP2 per liter hike on oil prices next year because conditions in the world market have changed abruptly since their last recommendation.
Dominguez said that there are also projections that the price of oil will decline further to less than USD60 per barrel in 2019. (PNA)

Filipinos honor 'Father of Philippine Revolution'

By Jelly Musico

MANILA – Government officials led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Friday gathered around the monument of Gat Andres Bonifacio in Caloocan City as the Filipino nation celebrates his 155th birth anniversary.
Unlike other great heroes of the country including Jose Rizal, Bonifacio is being remembered on his birthday, Nov. 30, rather than the date of his death, May 10, 1897.
Bonifacio is considered the "Father of the Philippine Revolution" after he spearheaded the establishment of the secret revolutionary movement "Katipunan" to fight Spanish colonization in 1892.
The Bonifacio-led Katipuneros inspired many  Filipinos and groups to launch a nationwide campaign to overthrow the colonizers.
In 1895, Bonifacio emerged as the "Supremo" (Supreme Leader) of the Katipunan or Kataastaasang Kagalang-galangan Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan.
The struggle for freedom, however, hit snag after the fight for supremacy inside the Katipunan created tension and factions among members.
According to history, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo replaced Bonifacio as leader of the revolution in 1897.
On May 10, 1897, Bonifacio was executed not by the enemies but by men from the Katipunan which he himself founded.
Twenty-four years after Bonifacio's death, the Philippine Legislature enacted Act No. 2946, making November 30 of each year a national holiday to commemorate the birth of Bonifacio.
For starting the Philippine revolution against Spaniards, some historians considered Bonifacio the first president of the Philippine Republic.
Others called him "Father of the Filipino nation", national hero, great plebeian and self-taught orphan.
Bonifacio, eldest of six siblings, was forced not to pursue higher education after his mother, Catalina, died in 1881 and his father, Santiago, the following year.
He worked full-time in two international firms to support his five younger brothers and sisters.
Bonifacio married twice. His first wife, Monica, died of leprosy at a young age. He then married Gregoria de Jesus, with whom he had a child, who, however, died as an infant.  (PNA)

Legazpi City bags Regional Green Banner Award

By Emmanuel Solis

LEGAZPI CITY -- Legazpi City has been cited by the National Nutrition Council as Bicol region’s outstanding local government in carrying out nutrition programs in the community.
Mayor Noel E. Rosal, together with City Health Officer Dr. Fulbert Gillego, City Nutrition Officer Natividad Cardel and members of the City Nutrition Committee, received the Regional Green Banner award from Department of Health 5 (Bicol) Officer-in-Charge Director Ernie Vera IV and Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Arlene R. Reario at the Casablanca Hotel here Tuesday.
The Green Banner award is the highest recognition given to a municipality, city or province that has shown a very satisfactory performance in implementing a nutrition program, during the annual conduct of the Monitoring and Evaluation of the Local Level Plan Implementation by the inter-agency Regional Nutrition Evaluation team.
The recognition was based on a study conducted by the Regional Nutrition Evaluation team on the implementation of the city’s nutrition program, which includes the “Sagip Kalusugan” project for malnourished children.
Gillego said that under the “Sagip Kalusugan”, the city nutrition division has regularly conducted medical and dental check-ups, as well as laboratory examinations, chest X-Ray, deworming and vitamins supplementation to all six-month-old children with Pulmonary Tuberculosis (PTB).
The city nutrition division has also conducted a regular “Operation Timbang” as the best way of monitoring the weight of all the pre-school children, he said.
Gillego noted that the “Sagip Kalusugan” project has expanded its services not only to malnourished children but also to day-care pupils, giving them annual check-ups as well as vitamins to augment the daily supplemental feeding of the City Social Welfare and Development Office.
He said the successful implementation of the project has resulted in the reduction of the prevalence rate of malnutrition among 0-59-month-old children in Legazpi from 12.2 percent in 2006 and to only 2.8 percent in 2017.
The city nutrition division has also conducted a regular nutrition education program to all the mothers in the 70 villages of this city as part of the promotion of the Nutrition Guidelines. They inform and educate the women on proper breastfeeding, and Responsible Parenthood and Maternal and Child health care, Gillego said.
He said his office regularly monitors pregnant women and gives regular check-ups and medical treatment to sick mothers to protect them from infectious diseases and anemia that could result in the low weight of the babies.
Meanwhile, Rosie Manriza has been chosen as one of the outstanding Barangay Nutrition Scholars in Bicol.
Manriza, 30, a resident of Barangay Maslog Legazpi City, had worked as a Barangay Health Worker for three years before her appointment as Barangay Nutrition Scholar in January 2016. (PNA)

Outreach program benefits thousands of Albay townsfolk

By Mar Serrano

CAMALIG, Albay -- Thousands of residents of this town benefited from a two-day outreach program by a humanitarian group led by popular singer Gary Valenciano, who traces his roots in this town.
Valenciano, together with the Shining Light Foundation (SLF), partnered with Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines (OBFP) and conducted on Wednesday and Thursday an outreach mission where medical, dental and optical services were given to some 500 villagers for free.
Also held were wheelchair donation, a school feeding program, school supplies distribution, and Superbook film showing at the Camalig North Central School here.
OBFP provided the free medical, dental and optical consultations to villagers. Meanwhile, at least 34 wheelchairs were donated to as many persons with disabilities (PWDs).
"This town has a special place in His heart – the Lord loves Bicol,” Valenciano said.
While the outreach program was taking place, the dancer-singer mingled with villagers and school children at the Camalig North Central School, according to John Tan, chief operations officer of Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN Asia), producer of The 700 Club TV program.
Valenciano also gave a mini-concert at the school's covered court where he entertained hundreds of pupils by singing at least five songs from his new album, “Awit at Laro”.
Valenciano will also hold a concert at 6 p.m. Friday at a mall in the Legazpi City business district.
Tan added while conducting the medical mission, another group distributed school supplies to 700 elementary pupils’ courtesy of the Shining Light Foundation.
The school feeding program, on the other hand, benefited some 900 pupils. (PNA)

Mga tinampo sa Naga, isasarado katakod kan Kamundagan Festival Parade

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- Nagkapirang mga tinampo sa ciudad nin Naga an isasarado poon alas 3 y media nin hapon ngunyan na aldaw.

Ini nin huli sa gigibuhon na Kamundagan Festival Parade asin Kirikiti Street Dance Competition, na maagi sa mga tinampong minasunod:

 Panganiban Drive
 Blumentritt Street
 Elias Angeles Street
 Caceres Street
 General Luna Street
 Kinastilyohan Street
 P. Burgos Street

An mga tinampong nasambit tulos man na sa mga behikulo sa oras na maka-agi na an parada.

Segun sa LGU Naga, hinahagad ninda an pag-intindi kan publiko sa okasyon na ini.


Friday, November 30, 2018

Online selling kan marijuana, pigbabantayan kan Naga PNP

Stock photo hale sa Pixabay
NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – Pigbabantayan na kan Naga City PNP an online selling kan ilegal na droga, orog na an marijuana, sa ciudad na ini.

Segun ki SPO2 Toby Bongon, tagapagtaram kan Naga City Police Office, bako na sanang sa mga madiklom na kanto an paboritong lugar kun sain nangyayari an transaksyon kan marijuana.

Ini nakaabot na sa Internet, kun sain ginagamit an mga social network sa pakipag-olay sa mga customer.

Sabi ni Bongon, ini an modus operandi kan suspechado na si Ricky Chiu y Francia kan Zone 5, Filoville Subdivision, Jade Street, Barangay Caluag, sa ciudad na ini.

Si Chiu nadakop kan sarong aldaw kan magsagin-sagin na poseur buyer an pulis asin magbakal nin kantidad P600 na pinaalang na dahon nin marijuana.

Afuera ki Chiu, nahulog pa sa kamot kan mga autoridad an nagkapirang mga persona na nasa tahaw kan sarong pot session sa harong ni Chiu.

An mga ini iyo sinda: Christian Jay Rodriguez y Buenaflor kan Goa, Raymond Nacario y Carmona kan Pili, Henry Keith Amaro y Monge kan Naga City, asin Raymond Magallones y Alarte kan Naga City.

Maroromdoman na kan nakaaging semana, dakol an nadakop sa Bicol sa paggamit asin pagpabakal nin marijuana.

Mientrastanto, nagpatanid an Naga City Police Office na mas pinaisog pa an kampanya kontra sa gabos na klase nin ilegal na droga.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cam Norte ex-Gov. convicted of graft

MANILA (Bicol Standard) – The Second Division of the Sandiganbayan has imposed a penalty of six years and one month up to eight years of imprisonment against former Camarines Norte Governor Jesus O. Typoco, Jr. after he was convicted of graft.

Apart from the said penalty, Typoco is also perpetually disqualified from holding public office, the Decision promulgated on November 23, 2018 reads.

Typoco was found guilty of violating Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

This case stemmed from the issuance and approval of Purchase Orders amounting to Php14,999,980.00 for 7,219 pieces of school armchairs made of steel and wood, 180 sets of plant cultivation implements and fertilizer application, and 100 sets of garden site and soil preparation.

The Sandiganbayan said the purchases made by Typoco did not go through the prescribed competitive bidding as he issued the Purchase Order and Purchase Request directly in favor of Crown IBM Trading, owned by Ildefonso Macaraig.

Said company is neither a duly-licensed manufacturer nor an exclusive distributor, which meant that procurement steps needed to be taken, the Court said.

Meanwhile, due to insufficient evidence, Typoco was acquitted for the crime of Estafa.

The Decision was signed by Associate Justice Lorifel L. Pahimna, with Oscar C. Herrera, Jr. and Michael Frederick Musngi concurring.

Court junks Andaya-Eusebio’s petition to be voter of Libmanan


NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – Judge Juan Antonio G. Cereno of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Libmanan-Cabusao, Camarines Sur has dismissed the petition for the inclusion of Maria Belen Andaya-Eusebio in the list of voters of Barangay Puro Batia, Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

The Court added that Andaya-Eusebio remains registered under Republic Act 8189 in Pasig City, which is outside the Municipality of Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

The Court stressed that inclusion may only be availed of in either of two instances: (1) by one whose application for registration has been disapproved by the Board; or (2) when one’s name has been stricken out from the list of voters. Further, the petition should be supported by a certificate of disapproval of the application and proof of service of notice of the petition of inclusion to the Board.

The petition of Andaya-Eusebio, the Court said, does not fall into either of the two instances mentioned under the law. Neither was there any supporting document attached to the petition regarding the certification of disapproval of her registration, it added.

“The remedy taken is improper,” the Court further clarified.

The same decision says that the Court has limited jurisdiction in inclusion cases.

The trial court averred that it has no power to order the change or transfer of registration from one’s place of residence to another, which is the function of the Election Registration Board.

Andaya-Eusebio earlier filed a petition for transfer of registration as voter from Pasig City to Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

Last month, Andaya-Eusebio filed her Certificate of Candidacy for Representative of the 2nd District of Camarines Sur, against incumbent Cong. Luis Raymond “LRay” Villafuerte, Jr.

Andaya-Eusebio was formerly the Mayor of Pasig City.

She is married to incumbent Pasig City Mayor Bobby Eusebio, who is seeking reelection. She is also the sister of Majority Floor Leader and Camarines Sur 1st District Rep. Rolando Andaya.

As of this writing, she has not yet issued a statement on this matter.

Army, rebels clash in Iriga City

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – A ten-minute firefight ensued between government forces and alleged rebels at Barangay Sta. Isabel, Iriga City at around 6:20 a.m. Wednesday.

The members of the Philippine Army were conducting a strike operation when they encountered some twenty members of the Communist guerrilla group.

There were no reported casualties from the side of the Army, while there is no report on casualties on the rebel side.

Meantime, recovered from the place of the encounter were a hand grenade, back packs, bandoliers, steel magazines with ammunition, laptop, projector, New People’s Army flags, cell phones, charger, hammock, poncho tents, medical kit, toiletries, and clothes.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Solo Parents’ Welfare Act (R.A. 8972)

By Shirley E. Pasobillo

Are you familiar with R.A. 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000?

Who are considered Solo Parents? Are you a solo parent like me? Well, find time to read this article.

According to the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000 (Republic Act No. 8972), you are considered a single mom if:

You became pregnant as a result of rape or other crimes against chastity, provided that you keep and raise the child

You are parenting solo under these circumstances:

The death of a spouse

Your spouse is detained or serving a sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one year

Your spouse is deemed physically or mentally incapable of sharing the parenting responsibility, as certified by a public mental practitioner

Legal separation or de facto separation for at least one year, as long as you are entrusted with custody of the children

Declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or church, as long as you are entrusted with custody of the children

Abandonment from your spouse for at least one year

You are an unmarried mother rearing your child

You are any other person who is the sole provider of parental care to a child or children

You are a family member who has assumed the responsibility of head of the family as the result of death, disappearance, abandonment, or prolonged absence of a child’s parents.

As a single mom in the Philippines, you are entitled to certain benefits, as stated in the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000 (RA 8972).

You may then inquire regarding availment of the following services from the corresponding agencies:

-Health Services (DOH), Educational Services (CHED, TESDA), Housing (NHA) and Parental Leave (Employer, DOLE, CSC)

A single mom whose income is above the poverty threshold shall be entitled to limited benefits, such as:

Flexible work schedule – The right to vary your arrival and departure time at work, provided that this does not affect company and individual productivity, and does not affect the core work hours defined by your employer.

No work discrimination – Employers are prohibited from discriminating against single moms with respect to terms and conditions of employment in relation to her status.

Parental leave – A seven-day leave granted to solo parents, which may be availed of continuously or on a staggered basis, given the following circumstances:

To attend to personal milestones of children such as birthdays, graduation, and similar events

To perform parental obligations such as enrollment, attendance of school programs, PTA meetings, etc.

Attend to the medical, social, spiritual and recreational needs of children

Other relevant circumstances where the physical presence of a parent is required.

As stated in Solo Parents Welfare Act, you should apply for a Solo Parent I.D. in order to avail of the benefits.

What documents should be presented at the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development(C/MSWD) office?

Barangay certificate as proof of residency in your barangay for the last six months

Documents that prove you are a solo parent, such as the birth certificates of your children, death certificate of your spouse, declaration of nullity of marriage, medical certificate if your spouse is incapacitated

A certificate issued by your Barangay Captain indicating the circumstances of one’s being a solo parent, in the case of de facto separation

Your income Tax Return (ITR) or certification from the barangay/municipal treasurer to establish your income level.

The application for solo parent will be evaluated by a social worker and your ID should be issued within 30 days from the date of your application. The ID is renewable annually.

I am a solo parent for 19 years now and feel humbled and grateful to my present and former school heads, namely: Elvin B. Monroy and Benedik Warren R. Ubante (Cararayan NHS), Dante R. Santelices, Manny M. De Guzman, Marcelino B. Relayo and Nida L. Ebora (Sabang HS, now NCSAT- N.C.) and Pedro M. Illanza(+), (Sagrada HS-I.C.)

DILG brings Seal of Good Local Governance to barangays

Driving excellence in public service delivery at the community level, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) launches the Seal of Good Local Governance for Barangay (SGLGB) to assess and recognize outstanding barangays in the country.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that the SGLGB will be the gold standard in gauging the performance of barangay governments as they fulfill their mandate to deliver excellent service to the people who put them in their posts.

"The DILG is fully cognizant of the vital role of barangays in the overall development and transformation of the communities and the nation. SGLGB will encourage and challenge barangays to scale-up their performance and practices of good governance," Año says.

"We are very excited to roll this out in our barangays. Hangad natin na sa pamamagitan ng SGLGB ay lalo pang mapataas ang antas ng paglilingkod sa ating mga kababayan sa mga komunidad," he adds.

Año explains that it is time to take the success of the SGLG down to the grassroots level to emulate the best results it has produced for local government units (LGUs) for the past years.

He says that the SGLGB is an offshoot of the SGLG that will focus on assessing the performance of the barangays. He explains that it is the best platform to recognize barangay governments which are performing above and beyond their functions.

"SGLG is a proven mechanism that inspires LGUs towards innovation and improved governance which is why it's on its way to becoming a law. It's time that we have that in the barangays," he says.

He further shares that the assessment will commence with the data gathering where each barangay will provide the data to the City/Municipal Assessment Team followed by the data validation and certification.

The SGLGB online database shall then be utilized to process the data wherein the Provincial and Regional Offices shall ensure the correctness of the submitted data to be forwarded to the National Quality Committee (NQC).

Out of the recommendation of the NQC, the official list of SGLGB 2018 winners shall then be chosen in time for the announcement of passers in the last quarter of 2019.

"Gaya ng SGLG, magiging mahigpit din ang aming pagsala sa mga magkapapasa sa SGLGB 2019. We will maintain the same level of stringent assessment process," Año says.

3+1 principle of excellent barangay governance

According to Año, for its initial salvo, SGLGB will utilize the "3+1" principle wherein barangays must pass all three core areas namely Peace and Order, Financial Administration, and Disaster Preparedness and at least one of the three essential areas namely Social Protection, Business-Friendliness, and Competitiveness or Environmental Management.

Peace and Order shall tackle the implementation of activities and provision of support mechanisms to ensure the protection of barangay constituents from the threats to life security and ensuring drug-free communities.

The functionality of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council and Barangay Peace and Order Committee together with the performance rate in the Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentive Awards and maintenance of Registry of Barangay Inhabitants shall be considered as success indicators for Peace and Order.

The practice of accountability and transparency by adhering with accounting and auditing standards and compliance with the Barangay Full Disclosure Policy plus the percentage increase in local resources shall be the indicators for Financial Administration.

Assessment on Disaster Preparedness shall focus on the barangays' proactive stance before, during and after disaster with careful consideration of the functionality of the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee, extent of risk assessment and Early Warning System, extent of preparedness for effective response and recovery, and accomplishment rate of projects reflected in the BDRRM or similar plan.

Meanwhile, barangays must pass at least one of the essential areas to qualify for the SGLGB.

Social Protection seeks to gauge barangays' sensitivity to the needs of the disadvantaged sector while looking at the functionality of the Violence Against Women Desk and Barangay Development Council, access to health services in the barangay, and representation of CSOs in Barangay Based Institutions.

Business Friendliness and Competitiveness will look into the barangays' efforts in encouraging business and employment with the enactment of Barangay Tax Ordinance and issuance of barangay Clearance within seven working days as indicators.

Environmental Management will tackle barangays' compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 while looking into the presence of Materials Recovery Facility, the presence of a collection system to ensure Segregation of Wastes at Source, and functionality of the Barangay Ecological Solid Waste Management Committee.

Camsur PESO brings local, overseas jobs to Partido

By Kyna de Castro

The Department of Labor and Employment, in partnership the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur through Camsur PESO and Local Government Unit of Goa, conducted a one-day job fair last November 17 at Trillanes Function Hall in Goa, Camarines Sur.

The “Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan, Job and Business Fair” was participated by 29 local and overseas agencies, providing a total of 3,303 employment opportunities to job seekers residing in Partido area.

Over 300 registrants, seeking for a job, went to the said job fair.

Thirteen of these were fortunate to be hired on the spot by local agencies.

As a Tourism fresh graduate from Partido State University and currently seeking for a job fitting to his degree, Kim Formalejo shared, “Since this my first time applying for a job, I could say that my experience here is very good because I was able to apply to a lot of good companies present today like Asialink, SM, Resorts World and Tugawe Cove. Applying for a job was made easier for us. I really hope that the provincial government will continue this kind of project and will conduct more job fairs so that a lot more people will be given job opportunities.”

Moreover, government agencies also present at the job fair included the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), PAG-IBIG Fund, Philippine Statistic Authority, Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). These agencies conducted brief orientations of their programs and offered their services to the overseas Filipino workers (OFW), job seekers, applicants, and business aspirants in the job fair.

Emalyn Silvio Rubia, from Tigaon, Camarines Sur, is a former OFW in Riyahd and has 3 kids. Traveling to Goa, she made the most of the opportunity by applying to overseas agencies and enrolling for a English Language Proficiency program.

According to her, “I like the way the job fair was organized because it has different overseas and government agencies, too. After applying for jobs, I went to consult with POEA and OWWA too. I also enrolled for English Language Proficiency because I believe that it will help me in communicating with people from other country.”

The Camsur PESO has long been dedicated to conducting series of community-based job and business fairs around the province to develop human resources, deliver local and overseas employment opportunities closer to the people, and address unemployment and underemployment problems in Camarines Sur.

Monday, November 26, 2018

'Improper' use of Virac Cathedral earns bishop's ire

Bishop Manolo de los Santos
VIRAC, Catanduanes (Bicol Standard) – Diocese of Virac Bishop Manolo de los Santos called upon the Catholic community here to join a penitential procession at 3 a.m. on Wednesday. This after the Bishop condemned the use of the Virac Cathedral aisles as a catwalk for a teaser of the Mutya ng Virac pageant.

He said the improper use of the aisles was a “gross disrespect against the sacred Cathedral.”

Earlier today, the members of the Mutya ng Virac Committee, along with Virac Mayor Samuel Laynes extended apologies to Bishop de los Santos.

De los Santos, however, stood firm on his appeal for the procession, which according to him will serve as an Act of Reparation.

He added that until the Act of Reparation is done, no mass will be celebrated at the Virac Cathedral.

He also urged the members of the clergy in the entire province to participate in the procession.

Meantime, the masses previously scheduled at the Virac Cathedral may be celebrated in any barangay chapel. (With report from Ramil Soliveres)

The bane of illegal gambling

Photo via

Bicol PNP Regional Director Arnel B. Escobal’s recent directive to step up the efforts against illegal gambling in the region prompts a reflection on why gambling imperils the community, and what must be done about this enduring practice.

Calling it a “social menace,” Escobal emphasizes the dark side of gambling, which has been in practice since the time of the earliest civilizations.

On the surface, gambling attracts people because of the anticipation of earning money with little to no effort. There is excitement in what appears to be a low-risk venture, where the gambler has the chance to win a prize, if not earn a few moments of relaxation.

But RD Escobal urges Bicolanos not to get distracted by the thrill of the game. On a deeper level, he argues that gambling undermines “the value of dignified work, perseverance, and thrift.” It gives the impression that one does not have to toil hard in order to earn, but to simply wish for luck and leave everything to chance.

In Republic Act 9287, the Declaration of Policy says that illegal gambling activities are condemned because instant monetary gains from it are equated to success—a false and dangerous conclusion.

This goes starkly against the policy of the State to “ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.”

“It is likewise the policy of the State that the promotion of social justice shall include the commitment to create economic opportunities based on freedom of initiative and self-reliance,” the same law states.

In his directive, RD Escobal not only gives a nod to the wisdom behind the law, but also acknowledges the other ills that may stem from illegal gambling, such as addiction and other mental health problems, financial difficulties, and even the propensity to dabble in the use of illegal substances.

Indeed, the persistence of illegal gambling activities is a curse to Bicolano society, and a condemnation of it from the region’s top cop is most certainly welcome.

Even more welcome, however, would be for private individuals to genuinely and honestly denounce it—not out of mere compliance with the law, but out of an understanding that it is a bane to the community, that nothing good can come out of the prohibited act.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

BPI BanKo, BSP team up for exchange of unfit currencies

MANILA -- Ten branches of BPI Direct BanKo (BanKo) nationwide will start accepting unfit currencies starting December 3, 2018 as part of the bank's partnership with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), to jointly promote coins recirculation and the Clean Notes program.

These are its branches in Cubao, Quezon City; Balanga, Bataan; Dagupan, Pangasinan; Legazpi, Albay; Calapan, Mindoro; Puerto Princesa, Palawan; Dumaguete, Negros Oriental; Roxas City, Capiz; Valenzia, Bukidnon; and Digos, Davao del Sur branches.

Under this program, both the BPI BanKo account holders and non-account holders can exchange with the bank their BSP-issued coins and paper bills that are already already unfit for transactions or those that have been torn, drenched, crumpled or that have writings and spilled substances over the original prints.

Rod Mabiasen, BanKo Microenterprise Loans head, said they decided to introduce this program since they are regularly in touch with the people who normally use the actual currencies.

He is referring to owners of micro and small businesses who are the target market of the Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) subsidiary.

“We can participate in the awareness program of the BSP to also help in the behavioral change,” he said during the launch of the bank’s unfit currency exchange program called “Palitan ng Pera sa BanKo” in Quezon City Wednesday.

To further entice the public to swap their unfit coins and bills, BanKo will be handing out grocery items as incentives, such as spaghetti, fruit cocktail and spaghetti sauce, depending on the amount to be exchanged before the end of the year.

Mabiasen said the amount of the incentives should not exceed 10 percent of the amount of money to be swapped.

BPI BanKo is initially allocating PHP50,000 for each of the 10 banks for the currency exchange program, and Mabiasen said they will increase the amount as needed.

He added that all the transactions for this currency exchange program will only be made inside the bank branches’ premises for security purposes.

Relatively, BSP Metro Manila Currency Operations Sub-sector Managing Director Josefa Elvira E. Ditching-Lorico, during the same briefing, said Filipinos disregard the need to take care of the local currencies even as these are important in their everyday life.

She explained that around 40 percent of existing notes are unfit for circulation, primarily due to the people’s practice of folding it, among others.

Most of these unfit notes are observed in coastal areas like Navotas and Malabon in Metro Manila, she said.

Other areas were huge volume of unfit notes have been noticed include Quezon City and the cities of San Juan, Pasig , Mandaluyong and Marikina, as well as the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Calapan, Mindoro; Aurora; Laguna; Palawan; Isabela; Cavite; Batangas, and Davao.

Ditching-Lorico said the central bank replaces these unfit notes regularly with the help of the banks. (PNA)

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