Philippines, Japan ink deal for 6 new projects

admin   •   March 27, 2015   •   3627

OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario and H.E. Kazuhide Ishikawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Philippines, signed and exchanged notes at the Deparment of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City, March 25, 2015 on 2 ODA grant projects amounting to 2.789 billion Yen that is approximately 1.2 billion pesos. (Willie Sy / Photoville International)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan have signed a deal for six new projects that will be implemented in the country.

Two of the projects were signed under the Official Development Assistance (ODA) that amount to P1.9 billion; while the other two were signed under the Yen Loan Program amounting to P8 billion.

Among the ODA projects are the grant aid program for the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao that will be implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the grant agreement for the hydro power development projects in Ifugao Province that will be implemented by the Department of Energy (DOE).

Also part of these are the non-grant project aid for Japanese SMEs products that will be implemented by the DPWH and PAGASA-DOST, and the non-project grant aid for disaster risk reduction equipment and facilities that will be implemented by the DepED, DSWD and PNP.

Two Yen Loan Programs will also be carried out in Metro Manila and Cagayan De Oro.  These are the Metro Manila interchange project phase 6, which amounts to more than P3 billion, and the flood risk management project for the Cagayan De Oro River.

The interchange project aims to resolve the heavy traffic in Metro Manila through building of interchange and flyovers.

The flood risk project meanwhile aims to mitigate flood risk in Cagayan De Oro River by building dikes and improving existing bridges.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa hopes the said projects would help in the socio-economic development of the Philippines, and to further strengthen the bilateral ties of the two countries.

“I believe these projects will strengthen friendship between the people of Japan and the Philippines as well as the strategic partnership between our two countries,” he said. (Darlene Basingan / UNTV News)

Global workforce face 305-M job losses in Q2; service sectors in PH to bear brunt

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The International Labor Organization (ILO) has recorded a 4.8 percent decline in the number of working hours worldwide which is equivalent to 135 million full-time jobs in the first quarter of 2020 as an impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

It is estimated to reach 305 million equivalent jobs by the end of the second-quarter which would add to the number of unemployed individuals around the world.

Specifically, the regions that will bear the brunt of largest losses in hours worked worldwide would be the Americas, Europe and Central Asia.

According to the ILO, the hardest hit are young workers, of which 1 out of 6 are now jobless since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Those who remain employed have faced cuts in their working hours by 23 percent,  the ILO said.

In the Philippines, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III estimates that around 4 million to 5 million Filipinos could become jobless this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The numbers may even reach 10 million if the crisis worsens further.

“Right now, your Honor, we already lost 2.6-M workers resulting from business establishments going into temporary closure and another group of business establishments resorting to flexible work arrangement,” Bello reported during a May 20 Senate hearing.

The most affected is the service sector which includes tourism, hotels, and restaurants.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, in the same hearing, reported a decline in tourist arrivals in the Philippines by 54 percent from January to April this year compared with the same period in 2019.

This resulted in a reduction of 55 percent in tourist arrival revenues during the same period.

“With both international and domestic travel restriction in effect for the entirety of April, there have been no visiting tourists and therefore no revenue for the industry for this month,” Romulo-Puyat said.

To address the issue, the Labor and Tourism Departments are asking Congress for P40-billion and P70-billion budgets, respectively, to assist workers and related sectors in coping with the effects of the pandemic. MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

Tokyo residents welcome end of state of emergency

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020

People in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday (May 26) woke up to their first day with loosened social distancing curbs, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency for all areas in the country on Monday (May 25).

Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures, as well as Hokkaido were the last remaining areas under emergency.

Many residents welcomed the government’s decision to end the emergency, though most said they are still alert for the virus since more people are out on the streets.

“I’m still a bit worried. There may be a second wave of an epidemic so we still need to be alert,” said 45-year-old Naoto Furuki who said the trains were a lot more crowded with commuters this morning.

With the emergency order lifted, Tokyo will move into “stage one” of loosening restrictions, allowing libraries and museums to reopen, and restaurants to stay open until later in the evening. Subsequent stages would see theatres, cinemas and fairgrounds reopen.

Company employee Daisuke Tominaga is happy that the emergency state is over, saying that the Japanese economy will collapse if businesses and people have to continue to live under restrictions.

“I want to go out drinking and attend concerts,” he said enthusiastically.

Many shops and restaurants have restarted operations since the government began lifting the emergency in rural and suburban areas earlier this month, but some stores remain closed. (Reuters)

(Production: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Akiko Okamoto, Travis Teo)

Duque: Philippines now on second wave of COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 20, 2020

The Philippines is now on the second wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, according to the Department of Heath (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday (May 20).

“Actually, nasa second wave tayo (we are already on the second wave),” according to Duque in response to a question of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. regarding preparations for the second wave.

Based on reports by epidemiologists, Duque said, the first wave of the COVID-19 infection in the country was in January when the three Chinese nationals from Wuhan tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. John Wong, who is working with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) sub-technical working group, had previously reported last May 7 that the second wave of COVID-19 is already happening in the country.

Meanwhile, the DOH Secretary said the government is “doing everything to flatten the epidemic curve.”

Duque said they are already enforcing minimum health standards to prevent a third wave of the COVID-19 infection. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel) 

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