Price hike of prime commodities to take effect this month – DA

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2019   •   824

(FILE) A Filipino vendor bags vegetables for a customer at a public market in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – With the spike in the prices of fish and vegetables in the market due to the low supply caused by the onslaught of Typhoon Tisoy in Luzon, the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday announced an impending price hike of prime commodities this holiday season.

The department said it is currently processing the importation of 45,000 metric tons of small variety of fish such as galunggong and mackerel.

This is seen as a way to increase the supply of galunggong and help decrease its price in the next two weeks.

The department also expects the lowering of the price of vegetables as the harvest season has started and will go on until February 2020.

Despite this, the DA said it expects that prices of other price commodities will take a spike this month.

Agriculture secretary William Dar explained that the consumers’ buying power gets stronger with the release of their 13th-month pay and bonuses in preparation for the holiday season.

This, the department said, affects the movement of the prices of goods in the market.

“Number one, again, demand. Number two, supply always has to be a factor. Number three, yung (the) weather. So, it’s a confluence of events,” Dar said.

Secretary Dar, meanwhile, urged consumers to buy pork and other pork products to help hog raisers cope with the season and ensure a price cut on these commodities.

The DA said that although there is an over-supply of pork meat in the market, its price is still relatively high as sale of these products is still low.

The DA official also allayed consumer fears on the threats of African Swine Fever (ASF) as this is not contagious to humans, especially when the pork meat products go through the correct process. (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

Typhoon Tisoy-hit members, pensioners can now avail of calamity loan – SSS

Robie de Guzman   •   December 27, 2019

Children frolic in floodwater in Naga city, Camarines Sur province, Philippines, 03 December 2019. EPA-EFE/JONNEL MARIBOJOC

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Social Security System (SSS) who were affected by typhoon Tisoy may now apply for the Calamity Assistance Package (CAP) loan.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora Ignacio said members and pensioners in Southern Luzon and Visayas hit by Tisoy may now avail of the calamity loan, direct house repair and improvement loan as well the advanced three-month pension program.

She added that the CAP program, which has a total fund allocation of more than P614 million, covers members and pensioners residing in areas declared under state of calamity by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

These areas include Batangas City; Mabitac, Laguna; Provinces of Quezon, Cavite, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque; Corcuera, Romblon and San Fernando in Romblon; and Province of Northern Samar.

“The CAP includes a loan assistance program which is a separate loan window from the regular salary loan,” Ignacio said in a statement Monday.

“Members can borrow up to P40,000 in calamity loan depending on their average last 12 monthly salary credit. The financial assistance is also open to pensioners who can avail three months advance of their monthly pension. Moreover, members can also apply for direct housing repair and improvement loan,” she added.

Loan application for Tisoy-hit SSS members is open from December 20, 2019 to March 19, 2020.

“Members who would like to avail of the Calamity Assistance Package are required to be registered in the My.SSS application to facilitate their billing requirements in the future,” Ignacio said.

The SSS Chief, however, clarified that members who still have outstanding loans under the Loan Restructuring Program (LRP) and previous CAPs, as well as those receiving pensions for total permanent disability and retirement, and those who have availed of the Pension Loan Program (PLP) are not qualified to avail of the calamity loan.

The SSS said the calamity loan is payable in two years in equal monthly installments with an annual interest rate of 10 percent and one percent monthly penalty for late payments.

To eliminate additional expenses on the part of member-borrowers, SSS waived the one percent service fee, it added.

Aside from the calamity loan, the SSS said that members with damaged properties can also avail of the direct house repair and improvement loan with six months moratorium in amortization and interest payments.

“Members can borrow up to a maximum of P1 million under this program which will run for one year or until 20 December 2020,” Ignacio said.

“To qualify, the applicant must not be more than 60 years old and with at least 24 monthly contributions, of which three contributions were remitted within the last 12-month period prior to the month of filing,” she added.

Diesel, kerosene prices to go up on Dec. 24

Robie de Guzman   •   December 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Local prices of petroleum products will increase this week.

In separate advisories, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and SEAOIL Philippines announced that the price of their diesel will go up by P1.15 per liter, and kerosene by P1.05.

Gasoline prices will remain unchanged.

Petro Gazz also said it will implement the same amount of adjustment except for kerosene which it does not carry.

The oil price hike is effective 6 a.m. on Tuesday, December 24.

Other oil companies have yet to announce any price movement for this week.

This marks the second consecutive week of price hikes for diesel and kerosene.

Manila Water, Maynilad will no longer push for water rate hike in January

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 10, 2019

Water concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water, will no longer push for their rate increase in January 2020.

During the hearing of the House Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability on Tuesday (December 10), President & CEO of Manila Water Jose Almendras said they will suspend the water rate increase in January.

“Ipina-retain po namin sa MWSS [Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System] sa aming sulat noong ikatlo ng Disyembre ang aming hangarin para magkasundo kung paano maaayos na maipatutupad ang pagpaliban sa nasabing naaprubahang taas singil ng tubig, (We asked the MWSS to retain our letter last December 3 regarding our aim to negotiate and implement the suspension of the approved water rate increase)” he said.

This is amid the alleged onerous contracts between the government and the water concessionaires. Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra has disclosed that several provisions in the 1997 water concession agreements have been found to be onerous and disadvantageous to the government.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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