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Customs-NAIA destroys 20 tons of unsafe forfeited goods

Customs officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on November 21, 2019, destroyed 20 tons of goods in Trece Martires, Cavite.

In a statement, Port of NAIA district collector Carmelita Talusan said the condemnation proceeding is part of the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) efforts to decongest their storage facilities.

It is also in line with the directive of Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to clear storage facilities of abandoned and illegally shipped items to better facilitate trade within the port.

She added that the goods were destroyed using the thermal decomposer (pyrolysis) facility of the Integrated Waste Management Inc. (IWMI).

Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of substance and materials without any trace of molecular oxygen in the destruction chamber.

The activity was in coordination with the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Optical Media Board (OMB) National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) and the Commission on Audit (COA).

The condemnation is in accordance with the provisions of Section 1145 (Disposition of Goods Injurious to Public Health) and 1148 (Disposition of Regulated Goods) of the Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)

Top photo: DESTROYED. Customs officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport destroyed 20 tons of forfeited goods in Trece Martires, Cavite on Thursday (Nov. 21, 2019). The goods were destroyed using the thermal decomposer (pyrolysis) facility of the Integrated Waste Management Inc. (IWMI). (Photo courtesy of BOC-NAIA)

Jobseekers urged to apply for gov’t vacancies in online fair

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) is inviting jobseekers and interested applicants to join in the first-ever Government Online Career Fair (GOCF), an online event where government agencies and jobseekers meet in a virtual environment to exchange information about job openings.

In a press release on October 15, 2019, the CSC said in the program, which is in partnership with JobStreet Philippines, jobseekers can apply in the offers by various government agencies that will be available online for one week.

Interested applicants, the CSC said, are advised to create an account with JobStreet.com.ph to apply, and can file applications online through GOCF from October 21 to 25.

CSC said in the JobStreet webpage, jobseekers can click the “Free Sign Up” icon flashed on the screen and follow the instructions provided by the system.

Applicants should also download the Personal Data Sheet (PDS) in Excel format from the same page, accomplish the data required in the PDS, and upload it to the e-resume’ (one time).

After creating an account with JobStreet Philippines, applicants can now choose the preferred job vacancies to apply.

“Once job listings have been accessed and preferred positions are chosen, applicants should submit the application by clicking the “Apply” button located at the bottom page of the agency posting,” the CSC said.

The CSC listed 16 agencies will participate in the online career fair including the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue, City Government of Malabon, Department of Education-National Capital Region, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Transportation, Development Bank of the Philippines, Metro Manila Development Authority, National Center for Mental Health, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the University of the Philippines System.

CSC added that participating agencies will conduct an initial assessment of job applicants online.

Job applicants will also receive additional instructions or requirements to comply and will be notified through email or text message regarding the status of the application.

“Application from qualified interested persons, including persons with disabilities, members of indigenous communities, and those from any sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression are highly encouraged,” it said.

The program is part of the CSC’s 119th celebration of Philippine Civil Service Anniversary, which seeks to provide opportunities for every individual to work in the government. (Lady Jean Kabagani, PNA)

HOW TO APPLY

1. The job applicant must have an account with the JobStreet.com. If the applicant has no account, the applicant must create an account by visiting JobStreet.com.ph. Simply click the “Free Sign Up” icon flashed on the screen and follow the instructions provided by the system;

2. Download the Personal Data Sheet (PDS) (Excel format) on the same page and accomplish the data required in the PDS and upload to your e-resume’ (one time);

3. Applicants may start applying on October 21 – 25, 2019. In the web browser, key in http://www.csc.gov.ph/. Click the icon/banner/slider 2019 Government Online Career Fair (GOCF) to be redirected to the GOCF Landing Page (Note: Landing Page will be activated only at the start of the event or on October 21 – 25, 2019);

4. View participating agencies and access their job listings to choose preferred positions to apply; and

5. Submit the application through Apply Button located at the bottom page of the agency posting.

(Note: The agency shall conduct the initial assessment and notify the job applicants through email or text message the status of the application and/or additional instructions or requirements to be complied by the applicant.)

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT PRINCIPLE (EOP)

The CSC highly encourages application from qualified interested persons, including persons with disabilities (PWD), members of indigenous communities, and those from any sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).

OWWA assures assistance to OFWs in sea tragedy

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is ready to extend assistance to an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who perished in the maritime incident off Iloilo Strait over the weekend.

This was the assurance given by Regional Director Wilfreda L. Misterio of OWWA Western Visayas when she visited the wake of Claire Faith Segovia at the Guimaras provincial gym in Brgy. San Miguel, Jordan on Wednesday.

“Just now we found out that there’s another one who was supposed to process her papers back to Oman. We found out she’s an OWWA member so she is entitled to benefits,” she said.

As an OWWA member, Segovia’s legal beneficiaries shall be getting PHP200,000 death benefits plus PHP20,000 burial assistance.

“On top of that there will also be livelihood assistance for their beneficiaries worth PHP15,000,” the regional director added.

Segovia, who hails from Brgy. San Roque, Nueva Valencia, decided to cross to Guimaras onboard MB Chi Chi to visit her mother Alma who is recuperating after a motorcycle accident.

Her mother texted her not to proceed because the weather was not good. The victim’s last text message was that she was already on board the said motor banca.

Segovia worked as a supervisor in a restaurant in Oman for about five years.

Aside from Segovia, three other fatalities: Jaquelyn Alferez, Andrew Valenzuela, and Eden Perales are also OFWs working as teachers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“They were all teachers so I think it’s vacation time for them but they are not from here,” Misterio said. Their legal beneficiaries are advised to coordinate with the nearest OWWA office to process their benefits.

Meantime, the regional director said that if there are OFW survivors who sustained major injuries out of the accident, then they also can get assistance under OWWA’s Welfare Assistance Program for Disability.

“It will be our doctor who is assessing the level of disability,” she said.

Meanwhile, apart from receiving assistance, Segovia’s mother hoped that the death of her daughter will be given justice.

“Concerned agencies must be given a lesson,” she said.

She added that motor banca operators should have life jackets for passengers.

On the other hand, as efforts are focused on helping the families of the fatalities, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will also be extending emergency cash-for-work to those who were affected by the suspension of motor banca trips.

Engineer Cyril Ticao, DOLE Western Visayas Regional Director, in an interview Wednesday, said they will start with the emergency employment under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) and later on proceed with the provision of livelihood support.

“We will be profiling to identify the beneficiaries,” he said. They target to extend the program to the crew of motor bancas and immediate family members of the casualties and survivors.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VI as of Wednesday already released PHP1.88 million in aid to affected individuals and families.

The amount covers the PHP620,000 burial assistance at PHP20,000 each for casualties; PHP650,000 financial assistance at PHP10,000 each for survivors; and PHP17,356 worth of non-food items such as blankets, towels, “malong” (traditional tube skirt), plastic mats and used clothing.

DSWD Regional Director Ma. Evelyn B. Macapobre said that the agency is having an “ongoing needs assessment of pump boat crew for possible livelihood aid.”

She said that those who will be eligible can be granted the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) assistance. (Perla Lena, PNA)

DSWD extends assistance to victims of capsized boats in Guimaras

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through its Field Office VI, continues to reach out to the survivors and bereaved families of casualties of the three boats that capsized at the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait on August 3, 2019.

The FO, in coordination with the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), immediately assisted the survivors by providing blankets, towels, malong, and clothing. It also facilitated the provision of medical assistance to those who were taken to hospitals for treatment through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).

In addition, FO VI distributed 504 family food packs (FFPs) to the crew of stranded vessels in Iloilo and Guimaras whose trips were cancelled due to the accident and inclement weather. They are from four pump boat associations composed of Jordan Motor Banca Cooperative (JMDC), Buenavista Motorbanca Owner’s Association (BAMOSA), Association of Buenavista Ferry Service provider (ABFSP), and Buenavista Development Cooperative.

On the other hand, burial assistance of P20,000 will be extended to each bereaved family. As per latest report of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) of Western Visayas, there are 31 confirmed casualties.

FO VI also deployed social workers to assist the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) of Guimaras and the Department of Health (DOH) in further assessing the needs of the victims and in conducting psychosocial intervention, respectively.

The Department is saddened by the incident and offers its condolences to the families of those who passed on.

Immigration blacklists 2 South Korean illegal recruiters

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported on August 7, 2019, the arrest of two South Korean nationals for attempting to facilitate the departure of 13 undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) they illegally recruited to work in Malaysia.

BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina recommended to Commissioner Jaime Morente to include the South Koreans, identified as Lee Jeong Seop and Pyun Jung Su, in the BI blacklist to prevent them from returning to the Philippines and recruit more victims.

Medina said the foreigners were reportedly identified by the victims as responsible for arranging and shouldering their expenses after they were intercepted at the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Angeles City, Pampanga on different occasions last month.

It was learned that Lee supposedly arranged the travel of eight of the victims who were stopped at the Clark airport last July 16 as they were about to board a flight of Jetstar Airways to Singapore en route to their final destination in Kuala Lumpur.

The passengers, who were disguised as tourists, admitted that they were hired to work as English instructors for Korean students in Malaysia.

On the other hand, the five other victims were intercepted last July 22 as they were being accompanied by Pyun in boarding a Cebu Pacific flight to Hong Kong.

The passengers said they were supposed to proceed to Korea where they were recruited by Pyun to work as nightclub entertainers.

Verification of their travel records revealed that three of the women were also previously stopped from leaving the country for failure to explain their purpose of travel.

“We are sending a stern warning to foreigners that they should not abuse their privilege and violate the conditions of their stay here by engaging in illegal activities such as recruitment and human trafficking,” Medina said in a statement.

The BI official added that the tactic employed by the aliens in facilitating their victims’ departure will not work as “it will not escape the attention of our immigration officers who are adept in detecting schemes to spirit human trafficking victims out of the country.”

The 13 individuals were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for further investigation. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)

PH considers overhauling of visa-on-arrival policy for Chinese travelers

Logistical considerations are among the factors being taken up by the Philippine government over the proposal on whether to refine or scrap outright the visa upon arrival (VUA) policy for Chinese travelers, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“China is a very big country. There are many people who come from remote provinces of China, so the question is do we have enough consular offices to handle. If the DFA says we can do that, we have been doing that before, well and good, no problem with us, we will consider reviewing the mechanism of visa upon arrival with the coordination of Bureau of Immigration and DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs),” Guevarra said.

Justice Undersecretary Mark Perete, meanwhile, said any refinement of the VUA, if adopted, would include safeguards to prevent abuse.

“Definitely the requirements on who may be able to avail visa upon arrival would have to be reviewed as well if the option is to refine the system to avoid abuses,” he explained.

Perete also said the final decision on whether to scrap the VUA policy will come after balancing a number of concerns.

“At the moment, the informal proposal ng BI is to refine the system, but the proposal came before (DFA) secretary (Teodoro) Locsin came up with the proposal to scrap it, we will have to see, we will have to balance the differing interests, and differing demands from the sectors. The visas upon arrival were the demand of the Department of Tourism before, so probably, its now put in place,” Perete added.

Guevarra said they will also consider the issue of security raised by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, among others.

“Meron ding (There is also a) concern on undocumented Chinese nationals are coming over, or documented but doing something else, so that is something we should also take into account,” he said.

The DOJ chief said one of the concerns of the BI is that the usual three-month visa, which is renewable for another three months, is being abused by foreigners who then go to work without acquiring the required work permits. (Benjamin Pulta, PNA)

DFA chief wants visa-on-arrival privilege for foreigners removed

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. recently recommended the removal of visa upon arrival privileges for foreigners.

Locsin’s proposal came following the remarks of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. that the influx of undocumented foreigners to Manila pose a possible security threat to the country.

“We need to put an end to visas upon arrival; all visas should be issued by consular offices after vetting,” Locsin said on his official Twitter account, in reaction to the headline carrying Esperon’s remarks.

“We must take extra care in outsourcing any part of the visa application process, picking only the most reputable worldwide,” Locsin added.

In an earlier news forum, Esperon said he remains on the “cautious side” when looking at the issue of the volume of foreigners in the country, particularly when they are undocumented and when their intent is not clear.

“On the matter of Chinese coming in, are we surprised about that? Of course,” Esperon said.

“What’s really happening is that there are businesses, offshore gaming, coming into the Philippines– these are regulated by the PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation). But there are illegal players, illegal operators, that’s our problem because some of these Chinese could come in as tourists and they could end up for the period that they are allowed here to be workers,” he added in Filipino.

Meanwhile, he dismissed as “wild imagination” the speculation that Chinese nationals coming in are part of the Chinese army. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora, PNA)

PH government lifts suspension of Lotto games

President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted the suspension of Lotto operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Malacañang said on July 30, 2019.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte lifted the suspension as per advice of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“As per the advice of Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, the suspension of Lotto operations has been ordered lifted by the President,” Panelo said in a statement.

“Franchise holders and operators of lotto outlets may now resume with their operations. The lifting of the suspension of lotto operations takes effect immediately,” Panelo said.

However, Panelo said the rest of all gaming operations with franchises, licenses or permits granted by PCSO such as Small-Town Lottery (STL), Keno and Peryahan ng Bayan (PNB), shall remain suspended pending the investigation on corrupt practices.

In his statement, Medialdea said investigators “found no anomalies in the conduct of its operation, its sanctity remained untainted and proper regulatory rules followed”.

Last week, Duterte ordered all gaming activities of the PCSO, including Lotto, STL, and Peryahan ng Bayan, to stop due to alleged “massive corruption”.

Panelo said the Chief Executive would reveal the names of officials or employees involved in corruption in due time.

“We’ll have to wait for the President. He is thoroughly investigating the corruption and as he said, in due time, we’ll name them. Do not be impatient,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

The Palace assured that those in need of medical assistance and social services may, for the meantime, approach the Office of the President (OP), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). (Azer Parrocha, PNA)

New Manila International Airport in Bulacan construction to start this year

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) recently announced that the construction works for the New Manila International Airport (NMIA) in Bulacan will begin this year.

The PHP735.6 billion project’s construction, operation, and maintenance are set to be awarded to San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMHC), after no other company challenged the original proponent during a bidding by the DOTr’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) at the DOTr office in Clark, Pampanga.

DOTr Assistant Secretary for Communications Goddes Hope Libiran said the next step in the process would be the issuance of a notice of award (NOA) to SMHC within the next five days followed by a notice to proceed (NTP).

“Yung NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) board approval, tapos na yun (that’s done). That was given before the Swiss Challenge. Next step is the issuance of an NOA (within 5 days) and then issuance of the NTP,” Libiran said.

DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation Giovanni Lopez, who also leads the BAC, said once the SMHC has received their NOA, they have 20 days to comply with certain requirements.

“On the notice of award, there are some conditions that should be complied with. These include post-performance security, proof of commitment, among others as stated in the law. They (SMHC) have 20 days to do so,” Lopez said.

The performance security to be required from the SMHC will vary between one or a combination of cash, irrevocable letter of credit and surety bond.

“Cash – a minimum of 2% of the project cost; irrevocable letter of credit – a minimum of 5% of project cost; surety bond – a minimum of 10%,” Libiran said.

Meanwhile, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the NMIA will only be part of a “basket of solutions” introduced by the Duterte administration.

“This new international airport is important in helping ease the congestion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Together with the expansion of Clark Airport and the construction of additional facilities at Sangley Airport, Bulacan Airport is part of ‘baskets of solutions’ to bring further connectivity to the Filipino people,” Tugade said.

The new international gateway is expected to be operational within four to six years from the start of construction this year.

The NMIA is designed to have a capacity of 100 million passengers per year which can later be expanded to 200 million.

With its four parallel runways planned, the airport targets 240 aircraft movements per hour.

An 8.4-kilometer tollway connecting the airport to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Marilao, Bulacan is also planned to be constructed as part of the project. (Raymond Carl Dela Cruz, PNA)

Ban on deployment of OFWs to Libya stays — DFA

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on July 21, 2019, reminded Filipinos that the suspension of job recruitment to Libya is still in place following the ongoing conflict in the outskirts of Tripoli.

“The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli is warning Filipino jobseekers against individuals and agencies in the Philippines and Libya who have been recruiting workers for jobs in Libya,” the DFA through Assistant Secretary Emmanuel Fernandez said in a bulletin.

Only Filipinos who have existing work contracts and certificates of exemption from the Embassy and those who are on vacation in the Philippines are allowed to return to Libya.

According to DFA, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has not issued approval to any individual or agency in the Philippines and in Libya to recruit and deploy nurses, engineers, and other workers to Libya.

The agency reiterated that the suspension in the recruitment, processing, and deployment of Filipinos in the Philippines or abroad for jobs in the medical, oil and gas, and other sectors in Libya remains in effect and has not been lifted.

“The Embassy reminds Filipinos who are bringing Filipino workers to Libya from the Philippines and other countries that they are liable for violating Republic Act 9208 as amended by Republic Act 10364 otherwise known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and Republic Act 10022 otherwise known as the Migrant Workers Act,” it warned.

“The public is encouraged to report these illegal activities to the Embassy here in Tripoli or the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or other concerned agencies of the government in the Philippines,” it added.

Despite the conflict near the Libyan capital, the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli assured it is working with Libyan authorities to ensure the safety and security of Filipino workers in the country and address other concerns that have been brought to its attention. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora, PNA)