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

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2019   •   1930

(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

Bello tells micro, small biz:  Apply for a 13th-month pay loan

Maris Federez   •   November 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced that micro and small enterprises that are having difficulty in financing the 13th-month pay of their employees can apply for a government loan.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the call on Friday during the ceremonial launch of the loan program with the Department of Trade and Industry and its financing arm, the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), reminding employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandatory.

The labor chief, however, assured establishments that are still struggling amid the re-opening of the economy of the government’s support through SBCorp.

“Let me remind the employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandatory. We issued a Labor Advisory where we maintained that no exemption and no deferment will be allowed on the payment of the 13th-month pay,” Bello said.

“So, with this loan facility from SB Corporation, there is no more reason to not give the 13th-month pay,” he added.

As of November 12, a total of 25 loan applications amounting to P5.052 million were already approved by SBCorp.

DOLE said qualified borrowers are the micro and small enterprises that have implemented flexible work arrangements and registered under the agency’s Establishment Reporting System as of October 15, 2021.

The zero-interest rate, no collateral loan program can cover up to 40 employees per establishment.

The loanable amount is at P12,000 per current employee which is payable in 12 months, inclusive of the three-month grace period.

“I encourage our employers, especially yung mga nahihirapan pa, to avail of this facility so that they can comply with the mandate to pay our workers with what is due them, especially this Christmas season,” said Bello.

The labor chief invites interested micro and small enterprises to apply at www.bayanihancares.ph. —/mbmf

No bonus for unvaccinated Cebu City Hall employees

Maris Federez   •   November 11, 2021

More than 5,000 Cebu City hall employees will be affected should Acting Mayor Michael Rama push through with the plan not to give bonuses to unvaccinated personnel.

Mayor Rama said city hall employees must set an example to the people in following government initiatives to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

While giving 13th-month pay to all employees is mandatory, Rama explained that offering bonuses is a prerogative of the city government.

As of November 8, around 300,000 of the city’s target of 700,000 individuals are now fully vaccinated.

The city government will also hold inoculation activities this coming weekend at the city hall grounds for employees who are still unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, Mayor Rama also announced the lifting of mandatory use of face shields in Cebu City.

“The mandatory wearing of face shields is hereby lifted, except while inside the following: hospitals, clinics, diagnostic laboratories, other medical facilities, public utility vehicles, except traditional public utility jeepneys with open windows and ventilation,” Rama said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Irish Madelo)

No exemptions, deferment: DOLE tells firms to give workers 13th-month pay

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday said it will neither defer nor give exemptions to any company from releasing the 13th month pay for their workers even amid the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will not postpone, we will not defer and we will not give an exemption to the payment of the 13th month pay,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said during a Laging Handa public briefing.

“The law says, pay the workers their 13th month pay on or before December 24. ‘Yan po ang ipatutupad ng Department of Labor,” he added.

Bello said a department order to companies will be released on Friday.

The Labor chief earlier said they are considering a proposal to help micro and small enterprises that were badly hit by the pandemic to give their workers 13th month pay through government subsidy.

Bello said they are seeking approval from the Department of Finance (DOF) for the proposed subsidy or loan program for small firms.

“Nag-request kami kay (Finance) Sec. (Carlos) Dominguez na kung maaari bigyan ng subsidy yung mga employers that are categorized as micro and small enterprises para mabigyan sila ng subsidy o kaya mabigyan sila ng opportunity to make loans sa ating banks, lahat ng mga banks,” he said.

Dominguez, for his part, said his agency has yet to determine the budget for the said proposal.

“I have asked Sec. Bello for the details of his proposal so we can determine if we have the budget cover for it,” the finance chief said in a message to reporters. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mirasol Abogadil)

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