Hanoi announces Public Administration Reform Index 2023


Hanoi: Hanoi on February 20 announced the 2023 Public Administration Reform (PAR) Index of its departments, department-level agencies, and People’s Committees of districts and Son Tay township, with the Department of Home Affairs and Dong Da district taking the lead.

Specifically, the 2023 PAR Index of departments and department-level agencies averaged at 88.4%, up 2.7% against the previous year.

With 94%, the Department of Home Affairs ranked first, followed by the Department of Finance (93.89%) and the Department of Science and Technology (93%). The city Inspectorate reported the lowest index, at 63.9%.

Meanwhile, the average index of localities was 94%, up 1.26% year-on-year.

Dong Da district came first with 96.3%, followed by Nam Tu Liem and Hoan Kiem, both 95.7%, and Cau Giay (95.22%). Phu Xuyen district had the lowest index, at 91.61%./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

DA eyes US experts’ help to curb mango fly infestation

MANILA: The Department of Agriculture (DA) said Wednesday it is eyeing to consult experts from the United States (US) to combat pest infestation affecting local mango production.

In a news release, the DA said it is willing to try products of a US-based biotechnology firm.

‘The Department of Agriculture will invite experts from Sun and Earth Microbiology LLC, a Florida-headquartered biotechnology company, to help eliminate Cecid fly infestation that undermines Philippine mango production and export,’ it said.

The agency said mango production in around 100,000 hectares of orchard has been affected in Palawan.

‘The flies destroy up to 80 percent of mango fruits, with those affected showing brown scab-like spots. These pests usually start infesting mango trees shortly after flowering,’ it added.

The Sun and Earth Microbiology LLC biotech company, meanwhile, plans to utilize ‘biological microbes’ and ‘biological control agents’ against the Cecid flies.

DA Undersecretary for Operations Roger Navarro, however
, assured to discuss clearance concerns with the Food and Drug Administration for the needed products.

These products were reported to have successful test results in various countries including Venezuela, Colombia, and Vietnam.

Avian influenza-free

The DA, meanwhile, declared the Benguet province free from avian influenza or H5N1 strain infections.

In a separate statement, the DA attributed the event to immediate depopulation, cleaning, disinfection, biosecurity restrictions, and monitoring.

The DA earlier reported avian influenza cases in Baguio City, as well as in Atok, Buguias, Itogon, La Trinidad, Sablan, and Tublay in Benguet starting in February 2022.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Owner yields smuggled blue Bugatti sports car to BOC

MANILA: The search for the second Bugatti Chiron sports car which was smuggled into the country ended on Wednesday after it was surrendered by its owner.

In a statement, Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said the vehicle was surrendered to the officers of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Muntinlupa City.

‘The fact that the mission took barely three weeks speaks of the hard work and commitment we put into this since we appealed to the public to help us find these motor vehicles,’ he said.

The BOC earlier issued a warning against a certain Thu Trang Nguyen, the registered owner of the blue sports car with plate number NIM 5448.

BOC-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service Director Verne Enciso said the team coordinated with the village officials and its security officers before proceeding to the location of the smuggled vehicle.

The owner’s representative, lawyer Michael Mosquite, received the warrant of seizure and d
etention from the BOC before the luxury car was loaded onto a low-bed truck.

The vehicle was taken to the BOC-Port of Manila.

‘We warned the owner of this blue sports car that we will find him and make him accountable. We’re glad he came to his senses and surrendered willingly to the bureau because we don’t plan on letting up anytime soon or ever,’ he added.

On Feb. 9, the first vehicle – a red Bugatti Chiron with plate number NIM 5450 – was surrendered by its owner to authorities inside the Ayala Alabang village in Muntinlupa City.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier directed the chamber’s Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate the alleged smuggling of the two vehicles worth PHP165 million each, excluding customs duties and taxes.

Reports said these vehicles were seen plying the cities of Pasay, Pasig, Muntinlupa, and Cavite province.

Despite surrendering the car, the owners will still face charges for violating Section 1401 in relation to Section 1113 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act
(CMTA).

Source: Philippines News Agency

P200-M rehab of Surigao City wharf starts

BUTUAN CITY: A groundbreaking Wednesday signaled the start of the repair and rehabilitation of Surigao City’s boulevard and wharf, which was severely damaged by Typhoon Odette in 2021.

Surigao City Vice Mayor Alfonso Casurra and Regional Director Liza Mazo of the Office of Civil Defense in the Caraga Region led the groundbreaking for the waterfront infrastructure, which has a total length of more than 1,000 square meters.

Expected to be completed this year, the project is funded by various government agencies, including the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, the Department of National Defense, the Department of Budget and Management, and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

‘The project aims to address the damages inflicted by Typhoon Odette and uplift the city’s coastal infrastructure and initiated under the leadership of Mayor Pablo Yves Dumlao II,’ the Surigao City Public Information Office said in a statement Wednesday.

It added that the repair and rehabilitation is a signifi
cant step towards revitalizing the waterfront infrastructure of Surigao City and a testament to proactive governance and strategic collaboration.

Surigao City was among the devastated areas in Surigao del Norte during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in December 2021 destroyed infrastructures, agriculture products and fisheries.

Source: Philippines News Agency

FEU nails second win in UAAP men’s volleyball

MANILA: Far Eastern University registered its second straight win at the expense of De La Salle University in the UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball tournament at the SMART Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

Dryx Saavedra struck 20 attacks and foiled two attempts while Martin Bugaoan and Andrei Delicana chipped in 16 and 13 points, respectively, as the Tamaraws triumphed, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, 25-17.

Saavedra joined hands with Martin Bugaoan, Jayjay Javelona and Lirick Mendoza in the fourth quarter where FEU posted a 17-10 advantage on the way to victory.

“Nung second set, ready kami na kukunin talaga ng La Salle yung set na yun eh, ang adjustment namin ay tinanggap lang yung error na nangyayari, ang kailangan lang matono ulit yung mind ng bawat isa, maibalik yung composure (In the second set, we were ready that La Salle would really take that set. Our adjustment was just accepting the error that was happening, we just needed to get everyone’s minds back in tune, to regain composure),” FEU head coach Eddieson Orcu
llo said.

La Salle put up a gallant stand in the third set, closing in at 22-23 before Vince Maglinao made a service error. FEU wrapped up the set with Bugaoan’s powerful spike.

“Magandang simula po sa amin ito kasi dalawang panalo kaagad kaya mas magkakakumpyansa yung team, sana mas gumanda pa yung performance namin sa mga susunod na games (This is a good start for us because we won two straight away so the team will be more confident. I hope our performance will be better in the next games,” said Ariel Cacao, who made 24 excellent sets and five digs.

Maglinao finished with 20 points, 18 excellent receptions, and five digs for the Green Spikers, who absorbed their first loss in two outings.

JM Ronquillo added 19 points while Noel Kampton had 12 attacks, two aces to go with 21 receptions and four digs.

FEU will face University of the East at 9 a.m. while De La Salle will battle University of Santo Tomas at 11 a.m. on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena

Source: Philippines News Agency

P20 hike in BARMM minimum wage takes effect Feb. 28

MANILA: Minimum wage earners in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will get an additional PHP20 in their salaries effective Feb. 28.

In a social media post on Wednesday, the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) reported that the minimum wage rates in BARMM will range from PHP316 to PHP361 in different sectors and industries.

The Bangsamoro Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board approved Wage Order No. BARMM-03 mandating the pay hike on Feb. 7.

The order covers non-agricultural workers employed in industry, manufacturing, construction, commerce, mining, and the academe while the agriculture sector also covers those working in non-plantation and retail.

The new wage order raises the minimum daily wage to PHP326 for agriculture workers and PHP336 for non-agriculture workers in the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.

On the other hand, the minimum wage for workers in Cotabato Cit
y will be PHP336 for the agriculture sector and PHP361 for the non-agriculture sector.

Meanwhile, the non-agricultural and agricultural sector employees in Special Geographic Area (SGA) are not covered by the wage hike as their salaries will remain at PHP341 and PHP316, respectively.

The SGA is the territory of the BARMM scattered in different municipalities of Cotabato province established through a plebiscite in 2019, carving out 63 barangays from the municipalities of Carmen, Kabacan, Pikit, Midsayap and Pigcawayan.

The last wage order in the region took effect on July 21, 2022.

Source: Philippines News Agency