Ilocos Norte mango growers get steady income after rehab program

Cherry Joy Discaya-Garma

LAOAG CITY – Mango growers in Ilocos Norte are beginning to recover from a glum production with fresh rehabilitation funds from the provincial government.

Businessman Ricardo Tolentio, president of the Mango Growers’ Association in Ilocos Norte, said mango production has increased to 36 percent after growers made use of the P5 million funding support.

He said mango farmers used to harvest 1,000 kilos but high farm costs have caused production to drop to 400 kilos in previous years.

“Our production has again increased to about 36 percent, thanks to the provincial government,” Tolentino said.

Farmers also ascribed low mango production to erratic weather patterns due to climate change.

The provincial government intervened and implemented a rehabilitation program which included free seminars, farm management and growing techniques.

A 200 hectare-mango farm in Dungon-dungon estate in Burgos town served as the pilot beneficiary of the program.

“The mango industry is becoming better,” Tolentino said.

Farmers have been supplying mangoes locally and outside the province like Talisay, Batangas.

To fully rehabilitate the industry, the provincial government will again infuse some P1.7 million with a counterpart fund of 3 million from the Department of Agriculture this year. (MCA/CJDG, PIA-1, Ilocos Norte) 




Higher SSS contributions mean more benefits

Miriam P. Aquino

SAN FERNANDO CITY  – Members of the state pension fund for private employees will start paying a higher contribution this month to guarantee better benefits.

Assistant Manager Francis Pentecostes of Social Security System (SSS) La Union, said the additional .06 percent of premium rates that members will pay this January would mean more benefits for them.

He said the SSS also needs fresh funds to prolong the pension fund’s lifespan and cover liabilities.

 “The longer the life span for SSS, the more benefits they could provide for the existing members and future generations,” Pentecostes added.

He said that the minimal increase would just be added to the existing 10.4 percent interest that members are now paying equally by the employer and employee and in full by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), voluntary members and self-employed.

The adjusted contribution also resulted in maximum salary credit from P15,000 to P16,000. 

“The more stable the institution is, the better and more effective service the SSS could bring,” Pentecostes  added.  (MCA/MPA/PIA1 La Union)

DOLE holds 1st Araw ng mga Kasambahay

April M. Montes 


ROSALES, Pangasinan – Sunday was no ordinary day for house helpers as they enjoyed collectively their time off from house work in the first Araw ng Kasambahay (Domestic Workers’ Day).



In eastern Pangasinan, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has calendared events for house helpers at the SM City Rosales.


Director Grace Ursua of DOLE Ilocos said the celebration is in support to the Republic Act 10361, otherwise known as the Domestic Workers Act or ‘Batas Kasambahay,’ which mandates January 18 as the “Araw ng mga Kasambahay.”


She said the agency opted to conduct the event on January 26 as most domestic workers have their day-off on Sunday.


“The celebration is a fitting opportunity to herald the Kasambahay Law which strengthens respect for domestic workers and makes decent work a reality for them,” said Ursua.


Around 50 domestic workers were given free orientation on the salient provisions of the law, including relevant matters falling under the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG. 


Ursua added that skills training opportunities were presented to the domestic workers by representatives of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).


Domestic helpers also availed of free haircut, manicure, pedicure, and massage courtesy of TESDA.



The Kasambahay Law is touted as a landmark piece of labor and social legislation that recognizes for the first time domestic workers as similar to those in the formal sector.


Essentially, it provides for certain mandatory benefits for domestic workers such as minimum wage; service incentive leave; 13th month pay; SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG benefits; daily and weekly rest periods, including measures to ensure the promotion of their welfare.


The DOLE leads the implementation of the Kasambahay Law in cooperation with the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, law enforcement agencies, local government units, SSS, Pag-IBIG, PhilHealth, and other agencies. (MCA/AMM PIA-Pangasinan with reports from DOLE)


Patimpalak para sa mga natatanging guro, muling inilunsad

Ni Venus May H. Sarmiento

SIYUDAD NG DAGUPAN – Inilunsad muli ng Metrobank Foundation, sa pakikipagtulungan ng Department of Education (DepEd) at ng Commission on Higher Education (CHED) ang patimpalak para sa natatanging guro o ‘Search for Outstanding Teachers.’


Ayon kay Nicanor Torres, executive director ng Metrobank Foundation, ang patimpalak ay naglalayong parangalan ang mga guro na may dedikasyon upang maturuan at mapaunlad ang karunungan ng mga kabataan.


Upang makasali, ang mga guro ay kailangang magsumite ng dalawang pahinang  Basic Information Sheet (BIS) sa pinakamalapit na Metrobank branch hanggang  Enero 27, 2014.

Ang patimpalak, na nasa ika-tatlumpung taon na, ay bukas sa lahat ng mga guro sa elementarya, sekondarya, at kolehiyo sa pampubliko at pribadong paaralan sa Pilipinas.


Ang mga kandidato ay dapat Filipino citizen na aktibong nagtuturo sa nakaraang sampung taon at may lisensya mula sa Philippine Regulatory Commission.


Para sa elementary competition, ang mga paaralan ay maaring magnomina ng dalawang nominado, isa para sa primary (Kinder hanggang Grade III) at isa sa intermediate (Grade IV hanggang Grade VI) habang ang mga paaralang para sa sekondarya at kolehiyo ay maaring magnomina ng isa.

Sampung guro ang mananalo ng limandaang libong  piso o kalahating milyon. Mayroon ding medalya, tropeo at plake para sa paaralan. 


Mula ng ito ay umpisahan noong taong 1984, ang patimpalak ay nakapagbigay parangal na sa tatlong daan at dalawampu’t anim (326) na mga educators sa buong Pilipinas. (VHS/PIA-Pangasinan)

“Listahanan” to reach more poor households in Ilocos

Joanne Namnama G. Parrocha


SAN FERNANDO CITY  – The Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Ilocos eyes more poor households for enlistment this year under its new database system.

Formerly known as the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), the project has been renamed Listahanan which remains a source of accurate, complete, and reliable data on the poorest households nationwide.

Marlene Febes Peralta, DSWD Assistant Regional Director for Ilocos, said at least 928,633 households are targeted for assessment in Region 1 this year.

The assessment will be conducted simultaneously in 16 regions.

Peralta said some 2,294 field support staff will be deployed in both rural and urban villages as enumerators, area coordinators and area supervisors to conduct the data collection and assessment.

“They will be provided with an intense training to gather all the complete, true and accurate vital information of these households,” she said.

Peralta said the first round of household assessment was conducted in 2009 where 500,000 families in region 1 were evaluated as poor or non-poor and at least 182,740 families were served under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

For 2014, the DSWD has allocated 112M for the Listahanan project.

“Listahanan makes sure that all poor families are included in the database, so in the end they become potential beneficiaries of various social protection programs leading them to an improved quality of life,” said Peralta.

At present, DSWD utilizes the database as a reference on its beneficiaries for programs, projects and services like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Social Pension Program for indigent senior citizens, Cash/Food for Work and Sustainable Livelihood Program.

Other government agencies that use data from Listahanan are Departments of Agriculture, and Health, local government units and the PhilHealth.

Updating of the Listahanan database is done every four years. (MCA/JNP/PIA-1 La Union)



DOST: no more “Filipino Time”

Elsha Marie Soriano


DAGUPAN CITY – The government has stepped up its campaign to switch from “Filipino Time” to “Juan Time,” a call for punctuality in all transactions.


The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Filipinos can do away with the notorious “Filipino Time,” which has been associated with tardiness by synchronizing with the Philippine Standard Time (PhST).


Arnold Santos, science research specialist of DOST-Pangasinan, said the campaign for PhST dubbed “Juan Time: Pinoy Ako, On Time Ako” aims to synchronize all timepieces in the country and to promote punctuality, discipline and value of time of others.


“Pursuant to Republic Act No. 10535, all government offices, schools, public and private television and radio stations in the country shall display the PhST on their official time devices and observe the value of time and respect the time of others,” Santos said during the ‘Pantongtongan Tayo’ radio program of PIA-Pangasinan aired live over DZMQ Radyo ng Bayan-Dagupan recently.


The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in coordination with DOST, will monitor, maintain and disseminate the PhST throughout the country from which all national and local government offices shall coordinate at least once  a month to synchronize their official time devices.


Santos said, difference for error allows only 5 seconds, from which anything below and above the 5 seconds is already a violation to PhST.


The National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) requires the participation of all government and private television and radio stations in order to ensure the synchronization of timekeeping devices can be undertaken even in the most remote parts of the country.


“If a station was found out violating the PhST, DOST will send them a letter within 24 hours regarding their violation with the date and time when their violation occurred and the penalties incurred thereof,” Santos said.


Failure to calibrate and synchronize their time devices with the PhST shall be penalized with a fine of not less than 30, 000 but not more than 50, 000 in their first offense and revocation and cancellation of their franchise to operate in their second offense.


He said the television and radio stations are playing a big role in the implementation of the government’s campaign to promote punctuality in the country because most of the people use to adjust and synchronize their time devices with them.


DOST believes that the campaign will soon reverse the negative connotation of “Filipino Time” of tardiness to punctuality and discipline, Santos said.

Along with the campaign, a simultaneous flag raising ceremony was held in provinces during the celebration of the National Time Consciousness Week from

January 1 to 7. (MCA/EMS/PIA-1, Pangasinan)