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Vizcaya Gov Bans Tourists in Cave Attraction



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Governor Carlos Padilla here on Thursday has discouraged local and foreign tourists from visiting the world-class cave systems in Kasibu town following a recent bloody encounter between the New People’s Army (NPA) and government soldiers.

Padilla ordered the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRMMO) and the Provincial Tourism Office to make an advisory over the social media regarding the unstable peace and order situation in Kasibu town, home of the Capissaan Cave System.

“We are advising tourists planning to come to our province and visit our cave systems here to temporary suspend their itinerary until such time that their security and safety will be assured by our authorities concerned,” Padilla said.

He made the statement after Philippine National Police officials bared the on-going heightened military operations in the upland barangays of Kasibu town which also host the gold-copper project of OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. in barangay Didipio.

Padilla also asked the officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Provincial Engineering Office to advise the private contractors to suspend their works near the hotspot areas to prevent being affected by the military operations.

Government infrastructure projects are being implemented in barangays Muta and Papaya, among others in Kasibu towns.

The military’s heightened anti-insurgency combat operations was launched by the government forces after a recent encounter between the members of the Philippine Army and NPA rebels in sitios Upper Maglan and Tigue in barangay Pacquet and the neighboring barangays of Bilet and Dine in Kasibu town.

The encounter resulted in the death of four soldiers and injuring another.

Gladys Lunag, deputy Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer of Kasibu, said at least 1,553 evacuees from the conflict zones have sought refuge in the separate schools and barangay halls in neighboring barangays of Pacquet, Pao, Kakiduguen and Siguem.

“We were able to provide them iniitial relief goods but their number is increasing due to fear of being caught in the impending crossfire between government forces and NPA rebels,” Lunag said.

Ma. Theresa Iglesia, a staff of the Department of Education (DepEd) schools division office here, said at least 1,300 elementary schoolers and teachers have been affected after their classes were temporarily suspended.

Police Supt. Joseph Dela Cruz, Philippine National Police-Deputy Police Director for Operations, said members of the NPA are now scouring the Nueva Vizcaya’s upland boundaries with Nueva Ecija, Eastern Pangasinan, Aurora, Quirino, and Ifugao provinces.

Dela Cruz said a crisis management committee has been formed in Kasibu town chaired by Mayor Alberto Bumolo Jr. with members of the military and the police to contain and respond to the needs of the affected communities.

“We have also set up blocking forces in possible exit routes of NPA rebels including checkpoints to contain them,” the PNP official added. (ALM/Benjamin Moses Ebreo/PIA 2-Nueva Vizcaya)

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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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