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Gatchalian Seeks Solution to Frequent Palawan Brownouts



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Senator Win Gatchalian has ordered the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to look into the liability of stakeholders in the spate of prolonged power outages that have plagued Palawan since the beginning of this year.

Gatchalian, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, gave the NEA until Friday, August 11, to conduct its investigation and submit its findings and recommendations to the Committee.

“Being the over-all regulator of electric cooperatives, NEA must help identify the root cause of the power interruptions and determine the liability of the PALECO (Palawan Electric Cooperative) for not being able to immediately address the issue,” Gatchalian said during a formal dialogue with Palawan energy stakeholders, which was recently held at the Senate.

The Senate Committee on Energy initiated the dialogue in the midst of growing complaints of frequent and long power interruptions from consumers in the PALECO franchise areas, which includes Puerto Princes City, the mainland municipalities of Dumaran, El Nido (Bacuit), Roxas, San Vicente, Taytay, Bataraza, Brooke’s Point, Narra, Quezon, Rizal (Marcos), Sofrono Espanola and Aborlan, and the island municipalities of Agutaya, Araceli, Cagayancillo, Cuyo, Magsaysay and Balabac.

Data gathered by the Committee showed a maximum of 18 hours of System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), or the length of power interruption experienced by consumers, in the PALECO-covered areas, with a frequency of at least nine (9) times a month since January this year.

“It is the responsibility of the NEA to ensure that all covered areas of electric cooperatives get reliable power. In this case, PALECO’s customers are experiencing serious problems of power outages. NEA needs to step in now, huwag na natin itong lalo pang patagalin,” Gatchalian appealed.

The senator said the Committee’s internal investigation indicated that the power shortage mess was prompted by the failure of independent power producer DMCI Power to deliver the 25 megawatt Guaranteed Dependable Capacity in its Power Supply Agreement with the PALECO, and the electric cooperative’s seeming inaction on the violation of the agreement.

Gatchalian chided DMCI Power for the breach of its contractual obligation and gave it until August 11 to submit a detailed action plan and timetable on how it will fulfil the 25 MW power supply requirement under its interim PSA.

Also, Gatchalian urged the PALECO leadership to review all of its existing PSAs with its IPPs, which include DMCI Power, Palawan Power Generation Inc. and Delta Power, to check if they comply with their power supply commitments.

“Since you guys are in the front line, I strongly suggest that you review your PSAs, bring them to the Board and to your legal counsel. In our own analysis, you have the right to rescind contracts for non-fulfillment,” he said, giving the PALECO until the end of August to submit its report.

“As the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, I want to help Palawan as much as I can. We called for this dialogue to find a solution to this compounding problem in Palawan, especially in Puerto Princesa. Let’s find a solution and narrow it down to a timetable. Kasi hindi lang po importante na makahanap tayo ng solution, dapat may timetable rin tayo. If we don’t put timetables and we are not firm with our decisions, we will not be able to solve this, magpa-paikot-ikot lang tayo,” Gatchalian said.

The dialogue was attended by Palawan Rep. Gil P. Acosta, officials from the Department of Energy, the Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Power Corporation, the NEA and the PALECO, and representatives from private power generators Palawan Power Generation Inc. (PPGI), Delta Power and DMCI Power. Another meeting is tentatively set by the end of the month.

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Regional News

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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Regional News

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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Regional News

6 Barangay in Basud Town Declared Drug Free in Camarines Norte




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Six barangays in Basud were declared drug free in this province by the Provincial Oversight Committee according to Police Chief Diana R. de Vera of the Municipal Police Station of the town.

Among the barangays are Mampili, Pinagwarasan, San Pascual, Hinampacan, Tuaca and Mantugawe.

The Provincial Oversight Committee has passed a resolution declaring the six barangay and this will be elevated at the Regional Oversight Committee for validations she said.

She said that members of the Provincial Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug Clearing Operation are Provincial Officer Joyiann Ivy H. Cedo of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Provincial Administrator Alvin Tallado of the provincial government of Camarines Norte, Dra. Jocelyn Iraola, Provincial DOH Officer and Provincial Director Cerilo D. Trilles Jr. of Camarines Norte Police Provincial Office (CNPPO).

PSI de Vera said that this was announced last February 9, 2018 during the Pulong-Pulong Kontra Droga convened by Governor Edgardo Tallado participated in by municipal mayors, punong barangay and stakeholders.

De Vera said that next on the line are barangays of Mangcamagong, Binatagan and Langga.

She said that they will conduct continuous monitoring of the said barangay and programs will be in partnership with the barangay officials, local government unit and national government agencies.

Chief de Vera cited among the activities to be undertaken to ensure the sustainability of the anti- drug campaign especially in the drug free areas are the conduct of the symposium, seminar, fora, community based and livelihood programs.

The crime volume in the town which has decreased from 167 in 2016 to 131 in 2017 was attributed to the anti-drug campaign of the government.

A total of 983 persons surrendered in the town under the “Oplan Tokhang” since the start of the anti-drug campaign of the government.

With the new strategies in the implementation of Project Double Barrel through the “Oplan Tokhang” changes are being observed by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Among these are policeman who will conduct the operation should have no administrative or criminal case and stakeholders should be briefed and represented by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), media and religious sector.

She urged constituents to cooperate by giving information to help curb criminality at the locality.

Meanwhile, Municipal Mayor Adrian Davoco congratulated Punong Barangay of said areas and cited that 23 barangays more to go to become a drug free municipality.

He also assured the support of the local government unit of Basud by providing community based and livelihood programs especially for those persons who surrendered.

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Business News

Bright Prospects for Bohol Investments in 2018 – BIPC




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Investment authorities in Bohol see a shining 2018 as they foresee an investment capitalization soaring well above the predicted figures.

No less than the authorities at the Bohol Investment Promotion Center (BIPC), an attached office of the Office of the Governor, bared this bright prospect at the weekly radio forum Kapihan sa PIA.

This, too, as the BIPC tracked the investment capitalization of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in Bohol topping the P1.5 billion in 2017.

While the rise in capitalization has not surpassed the 2011 reported investments capitalization which  zoomed from P800,000 to P1.7 billion, BIPC Bohol head Maria Fe Dominese said investments have spiked again in 2016 on to nearing a full recovery surge in 2017.

Speaking at the Kapihan on February 1, Dominese however believe that 2018 would be a huge spike with the completion of the Panglao Airport and the brood of businesses it carries.

The BIPC also pointed out that the Philippine Chamber of Commerce (PCC) granted citation in 2017, would be an edge in attracting more and more investments, according to Imma Mylie Alo during the hour-long radio forum aired live over DyTR.

The PCC has handed to Bohol, which was then among the 14 provincial finalists in the search for Most Business Friendly LGU in 2017,  the Most Business Friendly LGU citation for Class 1 provinces, an acknowledgement of the ease of doing businesses here.


Dominese added that the office has pegged the annual investment capitalization target of P1 billion for 2017, which has been surpassed.

BIPC pointed to the devastating 2013 earthquake which was a low point in MSME growth with everyone scampering for a way to rebound and get Bohol back on its feet.

The BIPC, which has set up its Business One Stop Shop (BOSS) and its outreach program with partner agencies called Asenso Negosyo Caravans to the towns, also noted that from 2,545 new business registrants in 2014 or after the earthquake, they tracked 4,583 new business name registrants in 2017.

Along this, the BIPC, an office under the office of the governor, noted an increasing trend in the number of registered MSMEs as well as the employment these generated.

In the past five, years, while the office notes an increasing trend in the number of registered MSMEs, employment generation subsequently increased.

In 2017, for example, BIPC tracked some 5,372 registered MSMEs and nailed 11,962 new hires, the job generation now filling up the job slots that could also help circulate the capital infusing it into the economy.

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