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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NEDA Chief says strong remittances will help maintain 2009 DBCC growth assumption

         Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Augusto B. Santos said today in his presentation during the Cabinet meeting said that overseas Filipino remittances which have been stronger than forecast will help maintain the 2009 gross domestic product target of 0.8 to 1.8 percent for 2009.

        Santos thus said that despite the impact of Typhoon Ondoy, "it is best not to move for now the target of 0.8 to 1.8 percent for 2009."

        He noted that "using the latest available figures from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and the NEDA Regional Offices and Office of Civil Defense on the impact of damages caused by typhoon Ondoy, our preliminary estimate shows that the recent storm could reduce the real GDP growth rate in full year 2009 by at least 0.043 percentage points," Santos said. He added that given this, the DBCC growth assumption of 0.8 -1.8 percent for 2009 could decline to 0.7 -1.7 percent.

        In his presentation, Santos said Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana) damaged PhP108.9 million worth of infrastructure and crops and affected about 90,000 families as it brought a 40-year record-breaking, 41.6-centimeters total rainfall in a single day (the previous record was 33.4 centimeters in July 1967).

Santos also reported that the government is undertaking continuous search and rescue operations in affected areas and has ordered for temporary 24-hour operations of and a flat rate of Php10 for fare in LRT and MRT, as well as temporary price controls on basic commodities such as canned goods, candles, batteries, etc.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DOLE urges employers to assist calamity-stricken workers; activates communication teams to bridge up OFWs and their families at home


 In view of the need to extend humanitarian assistance to the victims of Typhoon Ondoy, Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque today encouraged employers in the country to assist workers in coping with the emergency.


Roque appealed to the employers, particularly in the country's private industries, to exercise compassion and flexibility to affected workers under their employ.


In particular, the Labor and Employment Secretary urged them, as necessary, to allow affected workers to avail of pertinent emergency leaves, or be granted leave with pay especially those whose families have been stricken by the calamity.


He said that extending or reinforcing the necessary relief and rescue assistance to such workers would also be in order, and complement the ongoing government and other humanitarian efforts to assist the victims.


Roque added that employers may also extend or facilitate the necessary financial, loan or livelihood assistance to the  calamity-affected workers and their families.


He stressed that such would go a long way in eventually assisting them to recover from the adverse effects and regain their productive footing as workers of their companies.      


As this developed, the Labor and Employment Chief has directed the DOLE's Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, complemented by the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs),  to immediately activate communication teams that would complement the government's evacuation centers established in the calamity stricken areas.


Roque indicated that as soon as the teams are formed, they will be deployed to the designated evacuation centers with communications equipment so that they can facilitate link up and long distance communication bridges with the families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the affected areas.


"Through such communication lines facilitated by the OWWA and the POLOs, the worries and concerns of OFWs about their families and loved ones back in the Philippines would be assuaged."


Roque emphasized that the centers would be begin to facilitate free communication links and facilitate responses to any OFW families as necessary.


He added that the OWWA Operations Center's 24/7 communications facilities, in tandem with those of the POLOs in more than 30 strategic locations worldwide, have also been opened up to accommodate the calls of OFWs to their families and loved ones at home, and vice-versa.





Google Responding to Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines


Hope you and your family were not affected by Typhoon Ondoy. Please check out for the latest news, donation sites, emergency hotlines, maps, that that might help you in getting up-to-date information.

Here's the Googlegram


Responding to Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines

We are very saddened by the loss of life and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people in Metro Manila and nearby areas caused by Typhoon Ondoy. To increase awareness of how Filipinos at home and overseas can stay up to date and aid in relief efforts, dozens of Google volunteers around the world have been working throughout the weekend and today to compile information about the disaster on this site:

The site contains a volunteer-maintained map of flood updates and persons needing rescue, the latest news from local media sources, a list of verified donation sites and emergency hotlines. It is also linked from to give easy access to the 25 million Internet users in the Philippines and many more around the world.

Our effort is but one of many being organized by countless individuals and organizations across the country in the spirit of bayanihan, to help those affected by this disaster as quickly and as comprehensively as possible.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Complete DPWH Report on "Ondoy" Damage

Complete DPWH Report on "Ondoy" Damage

Additional "Ondoy" Disater Pics 092809 (Flood in de Castro, Pasig)

Additional "Ondoy" disater pictures  taken on September 28, 2009 in De Castro, Pasig City.

If you have pictures or videos of Ondoy's aftermath, please email it to us. Thanks to Alberto Liberato for his submission of these pictures.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Promotion and protection of labor, human rights a nat’l policy in RP


The government upholds its policy to promote and protect the Filipino workers' rights including their right to organize as evidenced by 362 new labor unions and workers' associations with 15,774 members that have registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) from January to April this year.

This developed as Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque exhorted militant groups to refrain from muddling the issue on the objective of the mission of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in the country.  The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), in particular, has been raising issues that are outside the ILO review of matters relating to the application in law and practice of the right to freedom of association and the workers' right to organize.

Roque also said that based on a report from the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), the newly organized labor organizations bring to 34,320 the total number of existing unions/collective bargaining agreements which have registered with the DOLE.  These unions, he said, have members totaling to 2.6 million.

He said the DOLE relentlessly conducts labor education seminars to educate labor and management on their rights and responsibilities as the government under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo remains committed to promote and protect labor rights which are essentially human rights.

He said the promotion and protection of human rights is a matter of national policy, adding the government has fulfilled its international obligations to protect human rights with its abolition of the death penalty and the ratification of 12 human rights treaties.

Undersecretary Romeo C. Lagman, in a statement, also said that The Philippines adopts and adheres to th principles of freedom of association and respects the rights of workers to organize. In fact, the Philippines joined the first 11 countries that ratified ILO Convention No. 87 in 1953, just three years after the Convention came into force in 1950.

He said the Philippine Constitution is explicit in declaring the State policy to guarantee the right of all workers to self-organization as embodied in Convention 87.  The Labor Code breathes life into this State policy.

Lagman, thus, vehemently denied that there pervades in the country a grand design to suppress freedom of association and the right to organize.

He cited the KMU which lodged a complaint before the ILO's Committee of Freedom of Association on allegations of violations of Convention 87.  In its complaint, it claims it has expanded and raised its membership to 300,000 workers since its foundation in 1980.  

The Undersecretary said the KMU membership would not have risen had there been an active design to suppress it and its legitimate activities. 

The complaint indicated that it is couched in both generalized and unsubstantiated allegations.  For instance, of the 39 reported killings, 26 are clearly not labor-related because circumstances attendant to the killings show these to be common crimes.  The complaint also contains no allegation that the victims were killed for specific trade union activities or related to a labor dispute.

"There is no climate of impunity that pervades in the country allegedly affecting the free exercise of trade union rights," Lagman said.

He said the government has accepted the request of ILO for it to conduct a mission to identify gaps in law and practice in the country's application of Convention 87 as a demonstration of its earnestness to uphold workers rights. 

He said the government is prepared to engage the Mission in a constructive spirit for the formulation of a joint action aimed at improving the Convention's application in the country.


ILO looks into RP's labor reform agenda

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said the three-member
mission from the International Labor Organization (ILO) will meet with
members of the Lower and Upper Houses of Congress to look into labor laws
and policies particularly relating to the country's application of
international standards on the right of Filipino workers to organize.

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque confirmed that the ILO
mission is scheduled to meet with members of the labor and human resources
development committees of both Houses of Congress during its visit in the
country to identify gaps and provide assistance in addressing these gaps in
the existing Labor Code, as amended, in relation to the country's
application of ILO Convention No. 87.

The Convention provides for the right of the workers and employers without
any distinction, to establish and join organizations of their own choosing,
with a view to further and defend their interest, without prior

Roque said the ILO mission composed of Director of International Standards
Department Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry and her deputy and a labor standards
specialists will also consult with labor and employers.

The Labor and Employment Secretary revealed that for a number of years, the
ILO has proposed for the introduction of amendments to eight Articles in the
country's Labor Code to strengthen the right of Filipino workers to
organize. The most important and highly contentious among the eight
provisions is Article 263(g) which allows the Secretary of Labor to assume
jurisdiction over national interest cases and in effect impose a strike ban.

So far, Roque said the country has already passed into law Republic Act.
9481, or "An Act Strengthening the Workers' Right to Self-Organization,
Amending for the Purpose Presidential Decree No. 442, otherwise known as the
Labor Code of the Philippines, which expands the capacity of federations and
national unions to organize local chapters and acquire representative status
for purposes of collective bargaining.

He also said the DOLE has included legislative reforms in the country's
decent work common agenda adding that tripartite consultations had been
going on for sometime to forge consensus on the proposed amendments. The
common agenda represents areas of consensus to be pursued by the tripartite
partners aimed at achieving decent work in the country. The Philippines is
one of the seven countries (along with Bahrain, Bangladesh, Denmark, Ghana,
Morroco, and Panama) that have piloted the decent work program based on the
ILO framework.

Meantime, the DOLE Chief said there are pending bills in the House and
Senate that seek to introduce amendments to the eight articles in the Labor
Code particularly Article 263 (g). Except for House Bill 5095 which seeks
to repeal Article 263 (g), the other seven bills seek to replace the phrase
'indispensable to the national interest" criterion with the concept of
"essential services," as suggested by the ILO and, thus, limiting national
interest cases to hospital, electrical services, water supply services,
medical institutions, communication and transportation, and transportation
Roque said the executive branch will respect the principle of separation of
powers and subsequently leave to Congress the matter of calendaring the
bills for deliberation and appropriate hearings.