PIA-7 cancels regular fora amid COVID-19 threat

By Fayette Riñen, PIA-7

The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Region 7 has canceled its regular on-ground activities amid the COVID-19 threat and will resort to other modes of information dissemination to perform its mandate to communicate government information, especially in these abnormal times.

Starting this week, the weekly Kapihan sa PIA and the AGIO-PIA7 forum in Cebu, as well as the bi-monthly multi-sectoral engagement in Negros Oriental, have been suspended until the public health emergency has been lifted.

The weekly Kapihan in Bohol, however, will continue as the set up only requires the guest and the PIA host with the discussion carried live over a local radio station.

Also suspended are the monthly meetings with the different information association networks in all the four provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, Bohol, and Siquijor as well as the conduct of the quarterly “Kukabildo sa Barangay,” a grassroots engagement with the people in the barangay level.

PIA personnel, based on the directive from PIA Central Office, are also advised to limit their attendance to meetings except on concerns related to COVID-19, disaster, peace and order, and other emergency meetings.

Canceling the activities that require more than 10 people in attendance is necessary to protect and limit the possible exposure of PIA-7 staff and the attendees, as well, amid the rising cases daily with Metro Manila, which has been the hardest hit.

With the limited platforms, the PIA-7 will go high in the use of social media to massively communicate timely, relevant, and accurate information and the usual distribution of news stories to the tri-media.

In Central Visayas, there are already three reported confirmed COVID-19 cases, with two coming from Negros Oriental and one in Cebu.

Out of the three cases, only one succumbed to the disease.

2 NegOr food MSMEs now globally certified

By Jennifer C. Tilos

Food producers in Negros Island, industry partners, and the international food certification personnel during the event in Bacolod City. (Photo courtesy of DOST-NegOr/PIA Negros Oriental)

Two food manufacturing companies in Negros Oriental – NBF Homemade Food Products and Zigmund Enterprises – received international food safety certifications on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) earlier in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

Global food safety certifications open wider trade opportunities for micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) especially for export, said Engr. Joel Legaspi of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) here.

Legaspi said the certifications were given after the guidance and evaluation by SIGNAsia and TUV-Nord Ltd. Philippines under the develoPPP.de Project, a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program that aims to assist MSMEs with the improvement of food safety standards and auditing techniques.

Some of the benefits of acquiring the HACCP certification include gaining control over hygienic risks and hazards, improved food safety, mitigating the risk of product liability claims and earning international recognition.

The program is primarily funded by German firm, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Certificates of participation were also given to Negros Oriental food processors for joining in the preliminary assistance and evaluation to SGH Coconut Product Manufacturing based in Valencia, Chef Tobz Cakes and Pastries in Dumaguete City, and Grand Muscovado Milling Corp. in Pamplona, Negros Oriental.

Partners of the initiative were the Department of Science and Technology (Regions 6 and 7), Negros Oriental Food Safety Team (NOFST), Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Association of Negros Producers – Foundation for Enterprise Development Inc. (ANP-FEDI) and Davao Food Safety Team, Inc.

PCOO chief lays out projects for 2020

By PIA-7

PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar (R) sits down with Cherry Ann Lim (L) of SunStar Cebu. During the interview, Andanar discussed PCOO’s campaign to promote the “Duterte Legacy” in 2020. (Screenshot from Tell It To SunStar live interview/PIA-7)

Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) in his recent visit in Cebu City shared the rollout of the campaign to promote the “Duterte Legacy” in the next few months.

“It is very important for us to do the legacy project,” said Andanar.

The Duterte Legacy communications campaign is one of the primary projects that PCOO is working on as 2020 kicks off in a bid to inform the public of the achievements of the administration in the past three years.

According to Andanar, these projects include the free tuition for students in state universities and colleges, the establishment of Malasakit Centers, expanded maternity leaves, and the additional benefits for Social Security System (SSS) members, to name a few.

The PCOO chief said it is their mandate as government communicators to let the people know of the administration’s achievements.

The legacy project is also a strategy to keep Cabinet members “up on their toes.”

“If you are not included in the legacy, then you must be underachieving,” said Andanar.

PCOO will go to the regions this year to bring the “Duterte Legacy” to the grassroots and to interact with the people around the country.

“The public gave the President a 72 percent satisfaction rate. We are going to remind the public why this is so,” said Andanar.

PCOO is also set to unveil the Mindanao media hub, and Andanar is looking forward to plan for the Visayas media hub.

The government communications office is also preparing for the groundbreaking of the first government communications academy in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

This academy, according to Andanar, will develop the communication skills of information officers from the barangay level up to national government agencies across the country.