Regional Updates (11/26/20)

PCIC releases P347-M indemnification funds to calamity-affected farmers, fishers

THE PHILIPPINE Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) has so far released P347 million worth of indemnification funds to insured farmers and fisherfolk affected by the onslaught of recent typhoons and other calamities. PCIC said this current amount represents the initial payment on the P1.5 billion worth of damages reported by its clients across seven regions. “The balances are in various stages of processing, and will be released within 10 days following the completion of required documents,” the agency said in a statement on Thursday. About 121,000 farmers and fisherfolk reported losses on various crops as well as agricultural assets.

Meanwile, rice farmers have been advised to use high-quality inbred seeds to increase output after the damage sustained by the agriculture sector. “Crops from high-quality seeds are resistant against pests and diseases. They also grow, mature, and ripe uniformly, which leads to more efficient harvesting activities,” Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Agriculturist Fredierick M. Saludez said in a recent webinar. He stressed that farmers should use rice seeds that are of recommended varieties, which can increase yield by 10% to 15%, as well as ensure that these are certified by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI). “If there are no accredited seed growers in the locality, high-quality seeds may be sourced from farmers who can produce their own high-quality seeds. Farmer-produced seeds should pass germination re-test to determine their quality. The re-test may be done by the farmer or BPI,” Mr. Saludez said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Duterte commits support to Bangsamoro transition period extension

THE Palace on Thursday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte will support the proposal to extend the transition period of the Bangsomoro government. “He will help in amending the law but there really is a need for the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao government) to communicate with the congressmen and senators),” Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque said in Filipino in a briefing on Thursday. The Bangsomoro Parliament earlier this month recommended extending the transition period of its new government by three years to 2025. The Bangsamoro Organic Law provides that an election be held in the region in 2022 alongside the scheduled national and local elections. Mr. Duterte met with top BARMM officials in Davao City earlier this week. — Gillian M. Cortez

Labor department finds violations in Skyway Extension project

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said it found occupational and safety violations in the ongoing Skyway Extension project that led to an accident where one motorist was killed and six others injured. “There were quite a number of non-compliances on occupational safety and health standards,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said in a briefing on Thursday. Among the violations found were the absence of warning signs in the area and operators of the equipment did not have proper license. On Monday, the department issued a work stoppage order on the project. Mr. Bello said they met with the project’s owner, contractors, and subcontractors on Nov. 24.

The stoppage order has been lifted in consideration of the impact on 900 workers involved in the construction. — Gillian M. Cortez

Makati reiterates call for businesses to avail of cash grant; almost 5,000 so far apply for P2.5-B stimulus package

MAKATI Mayor Abigail Binay-Campos on Thursday again called on business owners to avail of the financial assistance being offered by the city government, with cash grants ranging from P10,000 to P100,000 depending on the business type and number of Makati residents employed. The local government has allocated P2.5 billion for its Makati Assistance and Support for Businesses (MASB) program, wherein the aid will be paid directly to the establishment’s suppliers and workers. “The MASB Program aims to provide recovery funds to businesses, boost the local economy, and promote the employment of Makatizens, especially those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the mayor said in a statement on Thursday. The stimulus program, which will be open until December 31, has so far received around 5,000 applications, the city government said.

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