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Target Date to Restore Power in Quake-Hit Visayas Moved to July 19



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The restoration of power in Leyte, Samar and Bohol islands may take longer than initially projected, the spokesperson of the Department of Energy (DOE) said Wednesday.

In a press briefing held during the “E-Power Mo” Conference at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella cited a report from the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) stating that during the testing of the Tongonan geothermal power plant, a mechanical problem was discovered and the company decided to postpone its operation from July 16 to July 19.

Once operational, the Tongonan power plant will be able to supply 40 megawatts (MW) to quake-affected areas without going through the Ormoc substation.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) also discovered that Transformers 2 and 5, which were initially assessed as intact, were damaged internally and would not be able to handle the 40 MW coming from the Tongonan power plant, said Fuentebella.

The NGCP is currently dismantling its transformers in Cebu to be transported to the Ormoc substation to enable it to transmit an additional 120 MW that would be generated from either Luzon or Cebu and other power plants.

Fuentebella said the NGCP has estimated the process to take until the end of July or Aug. 1 to complete.

The 120 MW that will pass through the Ormoc substation, combined with the 40 MW from the Tongonan power plant, will amount to 160 MW or 55 percent of the 291 MW required by the affected provinces.

“This recent disaster is another good reason for us to hold dialogues, like the ‘E-Power Mo’ Conference, together with partner agencies, stakeholders and industry players for us to build up our energy resiliency,” Fuentebella said.

We were prepared for a major storm but instead, we were struck by a strong earthquake, which we were not quite prepared for.(AAA/PNA)

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DSWD-7 Honors Partner CSOs



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Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), media organizations, a parish and a hospital were among the partner institutions who received special awards from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII during its recently concluded 67th founding anniversary.

DSWD Undersecretary Florita R. Villar and DSWD-7 Regional Director Ma. Evelyn B. Macapobre presented the plaques of recognition to Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation Integrated Development Center (JPIC-IDC) and to Pagtambayayong Foundation Incorporated (FPI) for their invaluable support to the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) by providing assistance to the homeless street families, families in need of special protection and indigenous families. Partner CSOs who helped and supported DSWD-run centers and institutions like the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC II), Regional Haven, Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC) and Home for Girls (HFG) were also honored through the ‘Salamat Po’ award.

Salamat Po awardees were Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation Cebu, Cebu Doctor’s University (CDU), GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation, Juanito I. King Foundation (JIKF), Oasis of Love, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Rotary Club of Cebu West, Verbum Dei Catholic Missionary and Virgen Delos Remedios Parish.

The Social Welfare and Development Learning Network (SWDL-NET) was also given a plaque of recognition for their support in providing accessible, relevant quality social welfare and capacity building program. For the Gawad Ulat award, three media outfits were given the highest recognition for their advancement in the advocacy, promotion, and publicity of the Department’s programs and services.

The awardees were Cebu Daily News (CDN) – Most Supportive Newspaper, DYAB 1512 – Most Supportive Radio Station and Cebu Catholic Television Network (CCTN) Channel 47 – Most Supportive Television Station. Other media partners were also given the ‘Salamat Po’ award namely ABS-CBN, DYHP 612, Sunstar Cebu and The Freeman.

Also awarded during the anniversary celebration were outstanding and long-time DSWD employees through the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence or ‘PRAISE Awards’.


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Phase 1 of P4.8-B of Bacolod Economic Highway Kicks Off




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Construction of the two-kilometer portion of Phase 1 of the PHP4.8 billion Bacolod Economic Highway (BEH) funded by the national government through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) started on Friday.

This portion of the project will cost PHP200 million, and spans the road from Barangay Mansilingan towards Barangay Felisa.

The budget includes the allocation for the right-of-way of landowners affected by the road project.

Bacolod City Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, who facilitated the project implementation, said the two-kilometer portion is part of the economic highway that spans 21 kilometers.

Contractor Supreme ABF was given 280 days to finish the construction, he added.

“We prioritized this area because the property of the Province of Negros Occidental is also located here and we expect more development (in this site),” he added.

The latest project followed the construction of the Phase 1’s three-kilometer Section 2 of the economic highway which started in April last year with a budget of PHP300 million.

This portion, from Barangay Sum-ag to Barangay Cabug, is expected to be completed in May this year.

Gasataya added that the construction of the six-kilometer Phase 2 will begin in April, covering areas from Barangay Vista Alegre to Barangay Estefania, with the budget of PHP400 million, including payment for the right-of-way.

The 21-kilometer BEH will cover areas across Barangays Sum-ag, Cabug, Felisa, Handumanan, Mansilingan, Estefania, Granada, Mandalagan, and Bata.

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DOH6 Enjoins Lgus to Create Local Aids Councils




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The Department of Health (DOH)-6 called on local government units in Western Visayas to establish or reactivate local AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) councils to strengthen local responses against HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS.

Dr. Elvie Villalobos, DOH-6 Infectious Disease Cluster Head, said there is a need to have functional local AIDS councils in the provincial, city, and municipal levels and tap involvement of multi-sectoral partners.

“Based on our data, the cases of HIV are increasing. Every 10 hours, a person is diagnosed with HIV in Western Visayas,” he said.

According to the DOH-6 Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU), a total of 606 cases were reported in Western Visayas for the period January to November 2017.

Of the figure, 495 of the HIV cases were asymptomatic while 111 were full-blown AIDS.

Data from DOH-6 revealed that majority of the cases were males registering 586 while the remaining 20 were females.

Most of the HIV and AIDS cases were transmitted through “male having sex with male” (MSM).

In an effort to address this concern, the Population, Health and Nutrition (PHN) Sub-Committee in Region 6 crafted a resolution enjoining all provinces, cities, and municipalities in the region to reactivate their local AIDS councils (LAC) and establish their corresponding service delivery network for HIV, and ensure functionality by providing funds.

The PHN Sub-committee said that DOH has identified HIV and AIDS as among the top health priorities of the current administration and has affirmed its leadership of the country’s AIDS response in partnership with various sectors.

Likewise, DILG Memorandum Circular 2013-29 mandates for strengthening local responses toward more effective and sustained responses to HIV and AIDS through functional LAC.

The LGUs shall enact an ordinance defining the functions of the LAC, and provide financial assistance, identify multi-sectoral plans, strategies, programs, projects, and activities for the prevention of HIV, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections.

DOH-6 through the PHN Sub-Committee shall endorse the resolution to the Social Development Council (SDC) for approval and the SDC shall facilitate endorsement to the Regional Development Council (RDC)-6.

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DTI-Siquijor Resolves Consumer Complaint on Fraudulent, Deceptive Products Sold Online




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With the growing number of Filipino consumers engaging in online shopping, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here urged the public to be wary and stay away from unscrupulous businesses and to exercise their right against fraud and deceptive products.

“The advent of technology has given consumers the capacity to instantly purchase their goods online and have them delivered at their doorstep,” the DTI said as it reminds the buying public to be vigilant especially when engaging in an online transaction.

In a press release, the DTI-Siquijor Provincial Office (DTI-SPO) cited complaints on fraudulent and deceptive products online filed by a consumer, Joy Dominie “Bambi” Chan, the executive director of the Siquijor Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCII) and chair of the Siquijor Tourism Council.

Chan filed a complaint against Lazada online shopping for delivering a non-authentic product of “JBL” speaker, said Information Officer designate Jebe Magusara in that press release.

The complaint was officially addressed with the DTI scheduling a mediation where Lazada failed to show up on the first schedule, so another notice of mediation was sent.

Following the notice, Lazada agreed to change the alleged “fake” with the authentic product.

The replacement of the authentic “JBL” speaker arrived and was picked up by Chan at the LBC Larena branch on February 7, 2018.

The DTI then issued a certification of settlement between Lazada and Bambi Chan, Magusara said.

“Indeed, freedom to shop online is at our fingertips. However, with freedom comes with responsibility,” DTI said.

Consumers who have access to the internet and own a smartphone, iPad, or laptop, resort to this method because of convenience.

For safety, the DTI urged consumers to always check the website if it has a Secured Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate.

This protects information (such as credit card number, addresses, and password) sent to the website.

One red flag of a fraudulent online selling store is that the website that requires your personal information starts with http:// instead of https://.

Another warning sign is that the seller urges the customer to deposit the payment immediately before sending the products, DTI said.

With this, DTI advised consumers to pay “Cash on Delivery (COD)” as mode of payment and always keep a documentation of online purchases through print copies/screenshots for reference until receipt of the product.

Pursuant to the Protection Against Deceptive, Unfair and Unconscionable Sales Acts or Practices under Republic Act (RA) 7394, also known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines, a sales promotion activity/campaign is deemed deceptive when it promises a consumer product or service the sponsorship, approval, performance, characteristics, ingredients, accessories, uses, or benefits it does not actually have.

Based on the DTI– National Telecommunications Commission (DTI-NTC), the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed in May 2015, DTI is mandated to act upon complaints on false or deceptive sales promotion, deceitful advertisement, unserved warranty, defective gadgets, and any other complaints within the clause of the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

Here are some tips for online shoppers before completing online transactions:

  • Secure yourself. Use a computer that is not for public use, preferably a personal computer/laptop. Ensure that the computer has an updated anti-virus and anti-malware software program, and an enabled personal firewall. Use a strong password (combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols) upon registration with the online merchant.
  • Transact with a reputable website/merchant/seller. Use trusted websites rather than using search engines for shopping. Determine the legitimacy/authenticity of the website.
  • Trust your instincts. When in doubt, don’t.
  • Conduct research: do comparison shopping and ask around. Visit several websites and do comparison shopping not only of the products and services, but the prices, customer service/after sales service, shipping/delivery, payment options, etc.
  • Read and understand the fine print. Check that the following information and policies are posted on the merchant’s website: About Us, Contact Us/Feedback, Privacy Policy, Shipping Policy, Customer Service/After Sales Service, Terms and Conditions, Dispute Resolution/Complaints Handling, FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)/Help.
  • Validate promotional tie-ups. Contact the establishment directly and verify the validity of the tie-up/offer with the website (e.g., group buying sites).
  • Ensure that online payment is secure and reliable. Check that the shipping information page and payment information page are secure (i.e., the website address should show a closed padlock icon; https and not only http).
  • Proceed with your transaction if you feel confident, safe and secure.
  • Online shopping need not be a struggle, it should be enjoyed – as long you feel confident, safe and secure.

There is much to explore on the internet, DTI said as it encourages the consumers to be wiser and more alert in order not be taken advantage of by unscrupulous online sellers.

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