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Passing the art of weaving through generations

April 17, 2019

MALAYBALAY City -- At the strike of dawn, around 80 Tagolwanen women in Barangay Can-ayan here roused from their beds to make mattresses and baskets for the markets in Manila and the United States.      They would worked feverishly before the sun would rise over the mountains and before the “sodsod” grass, the main material for the mattresses and bags, would welt in humidity making it difficult to weave.      Each of the mattresses they make is distinct to the creative style of each of the weaver. Not one mattress is similar.      “Each one of us learned the art of weaving from our mothers. They too learned the art from our grandmothers,” 56-year-old Eileen Sumala said.      Sumala said the weaving of the banig, baskets, nets and containers is always part of the traditional art of the Bukidnon-Tagolwanen tribe.      “Weaving is always part of me and now I am teaching my daughter how to weave,” said Sumala, who learned the craft from her mother when she was still 12 years old.     Sumala said as she weaves each of the sodsod grasses into a banig, she would always think about the relationship of their tribe to nature.     She said the mountain, land, star and flower designs they weave are part of the nature they have experienced.     Sumala said weaving has been a tradition of the Bukidnon-Tagolwanen tribe but was nearly forgotten when prices of the mats dropped to almost nothing.     “I used to walk seven kilometers to Malaybalay to sell my banigs and they only buy it cheap,” Sumala narrated.     City folks, she lamented, buy their banigs as low as P300 or, worse, exchange them for a couple of sardine cans.     With no clear incentive, many of the Tagolwanen women stopped making banigs and baskets, Sumala said.     This was the situation that Lorielinda Bella Marte, a community organizer, found more than seven years ago.     She said she was impressed by the mattress that was given to her as a wedding gift that she went looking who wove the beautiful banig.     “I found Nang Eileen to be the only Tagolwanen weaver left. The rest have stopped to practice the tradecraft,” Marte said.     She said she found from Sumala that the other weavers stopped because of low prices of their products.     She thus designed a scheme so buyers would have to pay a higher price for the products made by the Tagolwanen women.     “What the buyers do not understand is that each of the product is unique and each has individual imprints of the weaver,” Marte said.     Marte said she was able to convince the other weavers to go back working – from Sumala to now 80 weavers working.     She said the women have organized themselves into an association – the Tagolwanen Women Weavers Association – to avail of government assistance.     Marte said the women have wisely used social media to reach out to potential clients.     “They now have a website, Facebook and Instagram accounts,” said Marte, who now chairs the association.     Sumala said she is happy with how things turned out for them.     She said from her earnings, she was able to send a son to school. The boy graduated as a new teacher last March.

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Sports complex government-run, Cagayan de Oro mayor maintains

April 17, 2019

THE local government-run sports facility, Misamis Oriental Integrated Sports Complex (Moisc), located here, can never be considered a private property, Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno said Saturday.     Moreno was responding to the recent decision from the Office of the Ombudsman that cleared two public officials from nepotism and graft charges.     These officials were Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano and his brother-in-law and incumbent provincial board member President Elipe.     The mayor argued that Moisc could not be a private enterprise because it has not been incorporated and “it has no separate personality.”     “It (Moisc) is not a corporation. It’s very basic: a corporation has its own separate identity distinct from the personalities of its owners. But this sports council is not a corporation,” Moreno said.     He said the provincial government is the one running Moisc given that a good portion of the sports facility is owned by it.     “Although there is a council, which includes the city government and the Department of Education, that does not make it private,” he added.     The mayor, who is also a lawyer, has questioned the Ombudsman’s six-page ruling issued July 27, 2018 and signed by graft investigation and prosecution officers Rosemil Bañaga and Hilde dela Cruz-Likit and deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman.     “The charge of nepotism or unlawful appointment against respondents hinged on whether the subject sports center is public in character. The evidence on record, however, do not satisfactorily establish this fact,” a part of the Ombudsman’s decision reads.     While the land on which the complex stands belongs to the government, “the records do not point with clear certainty whether it is a government-ran (sic) enterprise,” anti-graft court added.     Moreno was tagged by Emano and Elipe as the brains behind the charges against them, although the case was filed by a certain Ernesto Molina on Sept. 29, 2017, a few months after Emano appointed Elipe as general manager of the Misamis Oriental Integrated Sports Complex (Moisc), sometime in 2016.     The sports complex, located along Velez Street, was jointly managed and operated by the provincial government, city government, and the Department of Education.     Molina, who used to work at city hall, accused Emano and Elipe of committing nepotism since they are relatives by affinity within the second civil degree.     Elipe, former city councilor of Cagayan de Oro, was married to Emano’s sister Nadya Emano-Elipe, a current member of the city council.     Aside from nepotism, the two officials were also charged for violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code (Unlawful Appointments), malversation, grave misconduct, and grave abuse of authority.     In his counter-affidavit, Emano denied committing any of the offenses saying Moisc operates as a private enterprise since 1976, “as such, it has no government accountable forms, not subject to audit by the Commission on Audit, and does not receive funding of any form from the national or local governments.”     Elipe, in his counter-affidavit, echoed Emano’s defense that the sports center is a private entity as it “has no obligation to remit any of its collections to the government nor are its procurements subject to RA 9184.”     Republic Act 9184 refers to the Government Procurement Reform Act.     “This is the plan of the Moreno camp to get even with his more than 100 graft cases which they blamed and accused me as the mastermind, where in fact his cases are the results of his own actions," Emano said in a statement.     Moreno is facing numerous graft cases during his terms as former Misamis Oriental governor and his present position as city mayor. He is now on his last term.     “How can it be a privately-owned entity? The land is owned by the government, and it is elementary in land ownership that the owner of the land is also the owner of all the improvements thereon,” Moreno said, referring to the sports complex. (PNA)

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PCC approves Ayala -PHINMA energy deal

April 17, 2019

THE Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has approved the acquisition of the majority stake in PHINMA Energy by Ayala Corporation’s power branch, AC Energy.     In its decision dated April 11, the PCC said the transaction between AC Energy and PHINMA Corp. will not likely result in substantial lessening of competition.     “PCC found no competition issues arising from the transaction since the competitive constraints remain from other players in the markets for power generation for bilateral contracts and the provision of retail electricity supply services in Luzon and Visayas,” stated the PCC decision, which was released to the media on Monday.     “The transaction does not significantly strengthen the ability or incentive of the merged firm to engage in customer or input foreclosure,” it added.     The competition watchdog further stated that the transaction will not increase substantially the likelihood of these power companies to engage in anti-competitive behavior with other power generators.     PHINMA has announced last January that it was selling P3.42 billion worth of its shares to AC Energy.     AC Energy also eyes to subscribe to approximately P2.63 billion worth of PHINMA Energy primary shares.     The transaction would result in AC Energy’s ownership of 68.45 percent of PHINMA’s outstanding capital stock.     AC Energy expects that the acquisition will enable it to achieve its goal of developing 5 gigawatt capacity of renewable energy by 2025.     PHINMA Energy has a total generation capacity of 472 megawatts. AC Energy, on the other hand, has generation capacity of 1.7 gigawatts, both in operation and under construction. (PNA)

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Car sales recover in March

April 17, 2019

SALES of car manufacturers bounced back in March, recording a double-digit growth year-on-year, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) reported on Monday.     CAMPI sales increased by 14 percent last month to 32,173 units from 28,216 units sold in March 2018.     “The double-digit growth during the month of March compared to the same month last year is a strong indication that the automotive industry is well on its way to recovery. We are optimistic that this trend will be sustained in the coming months,” CAMPI President Rommel Gutierrez said.     The 32.8-percent improvement in sales of commercial vehicle segment supported the overall sales in March, offsetting the 15.7 percent decrement in passenger cars’ sales.     Passenger car segment sold a total of 9,214 units in March, still lower than the 10,925 unit sales in the same month in 2018.     But month-on-month sales of this segment already improved by 8.77 percent from 8,471 units sold in February this year.     On the other hand, commercial vehicle sales accelerated to 22,959 units last month from 17,291 units a year ago.     Light commercial vehicles sold 18,793 units last month, up by 54.4 percent from 12,171 units in March 2018.     Asian Utility Vehicle (AUV) sales, however, declined by 29.4 percent, to 2,753 units this year from 3,899 units last year.     Among truck sub-segments, only trucks and buses category four recorded a decrease in sales, down by 36.4 percent, while the category three and light trucks were both up by 24 percent.     The double-digit growth in March has narrowed the sales decline for the first quarter of 2019.     Total CAMPI sales from January to March this year slipped by 0.8 percent to 85,388 units from 86,037 units in the same period last year.     Passenger cars sold a total of 26,172 units in Q1 2019, down by 9.5 percent from 28,907 units in Q1 2018.     Commercial vehicle sales went up by 3.7 percent to 59,216 units this year from 57,130 units in the same period of the previous year.     Market leaders in the Philippines for Q1 2018 were Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda, and Ford. (PNA)

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PAL issues travel advisory this Holy Week

April 17, 2019

DUE to a huge volume of passengers and heavy traffic around Ninony Aquino International Airport (NAIA)’s four terminals this Holy Week, Philippine Airlines (PAL) yesterday advised travelers to the provinces and out of the country between April 15-21, 2019 to allocate more time in going to the airport.     Passengers bound for domestic destinations should arrive at the airport at least 2.5 hours before their flight while those bound for international destinations must be at the airport at least 3.5 hours before their flight, according to the PAL advisory.     They should also check their updated flight status and terminal assignment before heading to the airport.     For this, they could visit www.philippineairlines.com/#PALflightstatus, or they could click the Flight Status Tab in the PAL website. They can also call (02) 855-8888 then press 2 for Arrival and Departure Information.     The flight information from Flight Status Tab is available two days before and until two days after the flight departure.     Passengers can also check-in via the PAL website, www.philippineairlines.com, or through myPALapp within 24 hours to one hour before your flight.     Those going abroad should ensure that their passports are at least 6 months valid from date of travel and that they have the required visa and other travel documents. Those traveling within the country should bring a valid government IDs, company, or school IDs.

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DOF cites efficiency rise in gov't projects

April 17, 2019

THE overall efficiency of Philippine government projects has increased due to stringent evaluation, transparent procurement and implementation-ready requirement.     In an economic bulletin penned by Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran, the Department of Finance (DOF) said rise of the government's investments came with improved rates of return.     Citing Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data, Beltran said share of government investments on gross domestic product (GDP) has risen from 2.58 percent in 2011 to 5.40 percent in 2018.     In 2018, investments of the national government amounted to P940.4 billion, nearly four times the P250.1 billion in 2011.     Using regression analysis on 2010 to 2018 data, Beltran said "NG investment has been very efficient, with rates of return exceeding borrowing costs, currently at 5.9 percent p.a. based on the 25-year Treasury bond rate."     He attributed this improvement to stringent evaluation of projects by the 7-man Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) that include representatives from the DOF, DBM, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), office of the Executive Secretary, Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).     Other factors are the transparent bidding process wherein terms of reference are published in the Philippine Government E-Procurement System (Philgeps), requirements that projects are implementation-ready before the DBM provides an allocation and includes it in the proposed national budget and that these projects should have been implemented in the past.     "Investment expansion has been the driving force of the economy in recent years---pushing up the country’s competitiveness and making up for previous decades of underinvestment," the bulletin said. (PNA)

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