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News Briefs: Aug. 26, 2019

05:14 AM August 26, 2019

S. Leyte, S. Cotabato election period starts

MANILA, Philippines — The election period for the first regular elections for members of House of Representatives of the first and second legislative districts of Southern Leyte, and of the first and third (lone) legislative districts of South Cotabato begins on Monday, along with prohibition on various activities.

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The Commission on Elections will enforce these bans during various periods before, during and after the elections to ensure the orderly conduct of the polls on Oct. 26.

The prohibitions include gun ban during the entire election period.

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The period to file certificates of candidacy for congressmen in the first and second legislative districts of Southern Leyte and in the first and third legislative districts of South Cotabato will be from Aug. 26 to Aug. 28. —Tina G. Santos

Replacement of HK Polo online system probed

MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has ordered the investigation of officials of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in Hong Kong following the replacement of an online system for processing, credentialing, welfare protection and data storage for overseas placement.

Bello has created a fact-finding team to look into allegations of improprieties in the selection of a new service provider said to be done without public bidding.

The new online system will replace one that has been in place for 11 years.

The Polo in Hong Kong terminated on Dec. 5, 2018, the service agreement with EmployEasy Ltd., now Employeasy Group Ltd., the provider of the current online system.

Polo Hong Kong Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre informed Employeasy that the Polo “intends to accept applications for the improvement of the current system.”

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The contract for the new system showed it was signed on March 7 between the Polo represented by Dela Torre and Polaris Tools Ltd., represented by Jaime Deverall, chief executive officer and a certain Lindsay Ernst. Tina G. Santos

Solon files bill to limit conversion of farmlands

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Francis Pangilinan has filed a measure putting a lid on the unrestricted conversion of farmlands to nonagricultural use in a bid to crank up the country’s food production.

Through Senate Bill No. 256, Pangilinan emphasized the need to protect prime agricultural communities to ensure food security.

He lamented that farm areas the size of Metro Manila and Cebu, with a combined land area of 100,000 hectares, had ceased agricultural activities from 1988 to 2016 after these were converted into commercial, residential and industrial complexes.

“Studies show that agriculture takes a backseat among other land development projects as it has the smallest return on investment,” Pangilinan said in a statement on Sunday.

Of the country’s converted farmlands, Pangilinan said that more than 80 percent were in Luzon, 7.8 percent in Visayas and 11.6 percent were in Mindanao. Marlon Ramos

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