PSC expects resolution of row with world anti-doping body

MANILA: – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is extremely confident the brewing issue with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which has placed the country under threat of suspension from international competitions, will be resolved sooner than expected.

PSC chair Richard Bachmann and executive director Paulo Tatad, together with Philippine National Anti-Doping Organization (Phi-Nado) officer Nathan Vasquez, made the assurance during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

‘We are working with MalacaƱang with the legislative requirements of WADA. The help of Malacanang is greatly appreciated,’ Bachmann said during the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation, PSC and Philippine Olympic Committee.

To make sure the country complies with all the WADA requirements, Bachmann called for the need to empower Phi-Nado into a fully independent and operational group with enough manpower that could cater to thousands of athletes in the national pool.

‘Right n
ow ang trato namin sa Phi-Nado is like an NSA (national sport association). We just fund them. Siguro dapat independent na sila (Perhaps they should be independent),’ Bachmann said, citing the importance of Malacanang’s full support, particularly in funding.

‘A perfect example is Indonesia which was non-compliant in 2021. They were forced to establish their own organization,’ Vasquez said.

The issue came to a boil when WADA informed the PSC in January, following a previous notice in September last year, of its alleged failure to comply with the WADA code.

PSC’s four outstanding non-conformities with the WADA code are the development and implementation of a Test Distribution Plan; inclusion of all Registered Testing Pool (RTP) athletes from sports or disciplines with an EPOs (endurance hormone) Minimum Level of Analysis (MLA) of 30 percent or greater in their ABP (hematological module) and that a minimum of three blood ABP tests be planned (as well as collected and analyzed); sharing and maintainance of lis
t of athletes in the RTP through WADA’s management system; and prosecution of cases in a timely manner and notification of the parties, including WADA and the national anti-doping organization, about the decision.

Failure to respond positively in 21 days could lead to a suspension of the Philippines from international events, like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and even the Paris Olympics in July.

The Philippines appealed the WADA action and the issue was elevated to the Court of Arbitration in Sports.

Bachmann said the PSC and Phi-Nado, in charge of anti-doping education, and all the stakeholders are doing everything they could to make sure the issue is ironed out even before WADA representatives pay the country a visit next month.

‘Other countries within Southeast Asia are also experiencing it right now. That’s why we would look at this as an opportunity. Now we have the stakeholders that are more conscious on what needs to be done,’ Tatad said.

‘The Office of the President is helping us and th
e POC and the NSAs are more collaborative. If we have that in place, rest assured we will not have these administrative issues moving forward,’ he added.

Tatad said Filipino athletes hoping to qualify for the Paris Olympics are moving on with their bids.

‘Nothing is jeopardized. And we are confident that this will be resolved. But we need to prove ourselves,’ Tatad said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Cadiz City scholarship program to expand with own college institution

BACOLOD CITY: The City of Cadiz in northern Negros Occidental will establish its own tertiary educational institution to keep up its advocacy of providing scholarships.

Every year for more than two decades now, the local government allocates PHP32 million for the Cadiz City Education Assistance Program (CCEAP).

The CCEAP funds the education of some 5,000 students enrolled in private and state colleges and universities each year.

‘Our CCEAP allocation per year is more than enough to run a city/community college. We are now in the stage of finalizing the plan,’ Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. said in a statement on Tuesday.

Considered for course offerings by the planned institution are information technology and tourism.

While other educational scholarship programs only accept academically excellent students or poor but deserving ones, the CCEAP is open to everyone.

‘It is not biased against those who are only average students. As long as the city government can afford it, we will not be choosy,’ Escalante s
aid.

A brainchild of the mayor himself, the CCEAP is inspired by the life stories of Filipino-Chinese tycoons who were average students during their college days.

‘They eventually excelled in business. Who knows? Some Cadiz students may be mediocre now, but could also be the best in their chosen endeavors in the future,’ Escalante said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

NEDA raises concern on wage hike

MANILA: The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) may not be able to afford the proposed PHP100 minimum wage increase.

NEDA was asked to provide inputs about the proposed wage hike, Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said on the sidelines of an economic forum late Monday.

“Ang isa na tinitingan din namin (One of the things we’re looking at) is the affordability levels, especially for the MSMEs. We looked at let’s say for instance, savings from CREATE. Kasi isa yan sa pwedeng windfall. (That’s one of the windfall). But we saw there for the micro small and medium, hindi nila kakayanin (they will not be able to afford it),” Edillon said.

“The savings from CREATE will not be enough to cover ‘yung (the) additional wage increase,” she added.

The Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE), which was enacted in 2021, cut MSMEs’ corporate income tax to 20 percent from the previous 33 percent.

“For the large, pwede, but only if it cove
rs the minimum wage. The problem is if you increase minimum wage…magkakaroon ng (there might be a) distortion,” Edillon said.

Senators on Monday approved Senate Bill 2534, which seeks to hike the salary of workers in the private sector by PHP100.

Under the bill, all minimum wage earners in the private sector nationwide, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, are entitled to the PHP100 increase.

Once passed, any employer found violating the law, will be fined between PHP25,000 and PHP100,000, or imprisonment between two and four years, as well as awarding of back pay.

Source: Philippines News Agency

CIAC targets PHP1-B revenues in 2 years

MANILA: The Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) targets to breach the PHP1-billion mark in revenues within the next two years, president and chief executive officer Arrey Perez said.

CIAC eyes its revenues to hit PHP750 million this year, increasing by 10 percent from PHP680 million in 2023, Perez told reporters during a press conference on Monday.

‘Our target is about PHP750 million in revenues from our own existing projects, our existing contracts. But hopefully, we’ll hit the PHP1-billion mark by 2025 or 2026,’ Perez said.

Currently, the CIAC has 53 locators and 55 sublessees.

Perez said the CIAC has seven flagship projects within its 1,441-hectare property in Pampanga province, amounting to more than PHP34 billion with implementation period between 2026 and 2028.

The. projects are expected to boost CIAC revenues beyond the end of the Marcos administration in 2028.

‘The challenge with these joint venture projects is they have incubation period before we can earn money,’ Perez added.

The CIAC ch
ief is currently participating in the 2024 Singapore Airshow to pitch its flagship projects to potential foreign investors.

Source: Philippines News Agency

VP Sara unfazed by new allegations, will focus on work instead

MANILA: Vice President Sara Z. Duterte expressed her commitment to continue working amid new allegations from a former Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) member who testified before the Senate.

In a video statement Tuesday, Duterte said attacks and allegations against her are expected, being the second highest ranking government official of the country.

“Sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, naging kagawian na ang pag-atake at pagbato ng sari-saring isyu laban sa Bise Presidente. Marahil, sapagkat ang Bise Presidente ang tumatayong pangunahing hadlang sa mga nangangarap maging pangulo (In the history of the Philippines, attacks and issues thrown against the vice president became customary. Maybe, because the Vice President is the primary obstacle for those who dream to be President),” she said.

Former KOJC member “Rene” claimed before the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality on Monday that the Vice President and her father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, received “bags of guns” fr
om Quiboloy.

Duterte said she expects more allegations like this in the future.

“Naniniwala ako na may tamang panahon para sa lahat. Panahon ngayon ng aking pagtatrabaho. Tutuparin ko ang sinumpaang tungkulin (I believe that there is a time for everything. This is the time for me to work. I will fulfill my sworn duty),” she said, saying real problems and the Filipinos are her priority.

The previous accusation against the Vice President was from retired police officer Arturo LascaƱas, who linked her to the alleged Davao Death Squad and alleged she formulated “Oplan Tokhang,” the anti-drug campaign of the Philippine National Police in the previous administration.

Duterte cited the accusation as “scripted,” saying the allegation came up only when she was elected Vice President.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Economic team to integrate gov’t efforts to attract more investments

MANILA: The country’s Economic Development Group (EDG) continues to harmonize efforts to further attract foreign investors to the Philippines, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

In a statement Monday, NEDA, which is the EDG secretariat, said the commitment was made following the EDG’s fifth meeting held on Feb. 19.

During the high-level meeting, member agencies of the EDG aligned their efforts to facilitate foreign investments in the sectors of renewable energy, critical minerals and agriculture.

The agencies also agreed on the ways forward to address identified bottlenecks and expedite processes to realize the renewable energy projects in the government’s pipeline.

The high-level discussions also addressed how investor interest in critical minerals can be translated into tangible investments in mineral processing, particularly in green technologies within strategic value chains.

During the meeting, Secretary Frederick Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President f
or Investment and Economic Affairs and chairperson of the EDG cited the EDG’s crucial role in coordinating initiatives to prevent redundancies and ensure alignment among all relevant agencies.

The Department of Agriculture and Department of Agrarian Reform also informed the group of their efforts to encourage clustering and consolidation to support higher agricultural productivity and improve farmers’ welfare.

Source: Philippines News Agency