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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm

Contents

PNP-HPG to deploy 300 personnel for traffic enforcement

By Aerol John Pateña (With reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)

MANILA -- The Philippine National Police- Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) will deploy some 300 personnel in Metro Manila and other nearby regions to support the operation of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) against illegally-franchised or “colorum” public utility vehicles (PUVs) and illegally parked vehicles.

This, as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) signed a commitment with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to designate the PNP-HPG as its enforcement arm on Monday.

The commitment, which was signed by DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, authorizes the PNP-HPG to enforce traffic rules and regulations in Metro Manila and surrounding regions in support of the operations of I-ACT.

“I am pleased to announce the signing of Memorandum of Agreement by and between the Philippine National Police, Department of Transportation, MMDA, Metro Manila Council, LTO, LTFRB and Coast Guard to further strengthen the enforcement capabilities of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic or I-ACT, through the support of the Department of the Interior and Local Government,” said PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde, in his address during the signing ceremony held at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

The PNP-HPG personnel will be deployed to the National Capital Region and Regional Units that will provide logistical mobility support to the enforcement operations of I-ACT.

The HPG will coordinate with the DOTr and its attached agencies, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), in ensuring the effective implementation of the agreement.

It will likewise provide 24 mobile cars and 82 motorcycle units, while personnel - as well as all mobile cars and motorcycle units of I-ACT's member agencies namely the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and its secretariat - will likewise be deployed.

PNP-HPG chief, Brig. Gen. Roberto Fajardo, warned that it will clear major thoroughfares of illegally parked vehicles in coordination with I-ACT and issue citation tickets to motorists for illegal parking.

"Ito kasi ang problema, this needs the help of the LGUs (local government units). Kasi kapag nag-operate kami with i-ACT pag-alis namin nandiyan yung barangay captain bumabalik kasi pinagkakakitaan ng LGUs (local government units). (The problem is, this needs the help of the LGUs. Because after we have conducted our operations with I-ACT there is the barangay captain they only come back because the LGUs are profiting from these)," said Fajardo in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the event.

"Now it's time to put a stop and we will do it together with your help. Pagtulungan natin, we need the report, we need your help," he added.

Meanwhile, Tugade said utilizing the resources of the PNP-HPG in traffic enforcement will help instill discipline on the roads.

"The President said: Give us a comfortable life. We are here today to serve the Filipino and ensure that they will have a comfortable life. And we will inculcate that comfortable life through enforcement and discipline on the road, and through proper compliance of the law," according to Tugade.

The DOTr will designate an I-ACT Task Force Chief who will be responsible for the deployment of PNP-HPG personnel and logistical support in their respective posts.

An Inter-Agency Technical Working Group shall be established within 30 days upon the effectivity of the Commitment to draft the implementing guidelines.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it will deploy 25 personnel to support the enforcement operations of I-ACT upon the directive of Tugade.

The PCG personnel graduated from their LTO training in preparation for their field assignment just this month while another batch of PCG personnel is set to undergo training within the next few weeks.

The I-ACT has apprehended more than 846 illegally operating PUVs and issued citation tickets to more than 8,346 motorists for various traffic violations last year.


QC exec inks pact for women's welfare

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte signed on Friday a covenant pledging to uphold women's rights and welfare in time for Women's Month.

“Maaasahan po ninyo ako na ako ang unang titindig para sa mga programang kailangan ng kababaihan sa ating lungsod (You can rely on me that I will be the first to stand for the programs needed by women in our city),” Belmonte said during the Quezon City Women Convention.

The vice mayor vowed to implement the programs listed on the Quezon City Community Women Leaders Federation’s 10-point agenda which includes district hospitals with specialty clinic for women illnesses and mental health; district colleges or technical vocational center with state-of-the-art facilities; and a livelihood training and showcase center for the women entrepreneurs.

Belmonte also pledged to create shelters and homes for abandoned senior citizens; special discount and privileges for solo parents and persons with disabilities; a health and wellness center; free maintenance medicines; scholarship and financial grants; child-minding centers; a 24-hour emergency hotline; and a holistic anti-drug education campaign.

She gave assurances to the members of the federation that the 10-point agenda signed are already in her platforms of governance while some are already included in the ordinances passed by the Quezon City Council.

“To all may fellow women, keep the faith and keep up the good work. Let’s maintain our being champion and spread even more our advocacy to our neighbors for as long as there are women being abused, women not provided with service, and their problems are not addressed. It’s all our right so let’s fight for it,” Belmonte said in her message to all the Filipino women struggling for their rights.

The Quezon City local government has lined up programs for the women’s month celebration, including a month-long free breast and cervical cancer screening and a dance competition for women with the theme: “We Can Make Change for Women.”

QC promotes early detection of breast, cervical cancer

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- The Quezon City local government launched on Wednesday a free breast and cervical cancer screening caravan, together with the Philippine Cancer Society, that will provide services in different barangays in the city as part of the celebration of National Women’s Month.

Quezon City has 142 barangays (villages) with some three million residents.

“The Quezon City local government has a partnership with the Philippine Cancer Society and they will help us to make sure that those who will be detected positive will receive the care and treatment they need until they are fully healed,” Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

“Take advantage of this program by our city, and have your selves checked and examined. And we assure you that if you show symptoms or if you have these illnesses, we will take care of you until you totally recover,” she added.

Belmonte said it is her personal advocacy to promote women health care, citing that, her late mother, Betty Go-Belmonte had breast cancer which led to various complications and her death in 1994.

“Alam ko maraming kababaihan na takot magpakonsulta sa doctor dahil baka positive sa cancer. Pero iyon nga ang importanteng diyan, malaman agad kung positive dahil almost 99 percent naman ang survival rate nito kung matutukoy lang kaagad (I know many women are afraid to consult with a doctor because they may be positive of cancer. But that’s what’s important there, to immediately know if they are positive because the survival rate is almost 99 percent if it’s immediately detected),” Belmonte said.

She also bared plans of founding a special center for women in the hospitals in the city that will specifically address different health concerns of women.

Democracy Museum opens in QC

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA InfoComm)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) — A new museum that emphasizes the ordinary Filipinos’ contribution in achieving freedom and democracy was recently opened in this city.

Aptly named ‘Museo ng Demokrasyang Pilipino’, the museum which is located at the Quezon Memorial Circle, focuses on the role of ordinary citizens in historic revolutions and wars that eventually led to the establishment of the Philippine republic.

It showcases the strength of “people power” over the last two centuries, including women and labor groups as well as indigenous movements.

“This museum is indeed the symbol of democracy that emanated in Quezon City,” Herbert Bautista, Quezon City mayor said.

The museum provides a timeline that begins with the Basi Revolt in 1807 to the ‘Million People March’ in 2013.

It also demonstrates the variety of people power uprisings in the last two centuries, including the beginning of women movements, labor unions, indigenous religion-driven rebellions, and events like the walk-out of Commission on Elections tabulators in protest of election manipulation in 1986.

The museum also exhibits collections of images, documents, and objects relevant to the Philippine democracy such as sets of wooden printing press equipment used by Katipunan revolutionaries and World War 2 guerillas, EDSA People Power memorabilia, documents of the Sakdal Movement, and the Philippine Independent Church’s early materials.

Bautista said, the Museo ng Demokrasyang Pilipino is envisioned as a multiple site museum to be developed in several locations within QC.

“There are various places in QC that we can’t just put marker on, but must be commemorated with community museums,” Bautista added, referring to several barangays in the city that took part in achieving freedom and democracy.

The museum structure is a replica of the home of Presidents Corazon Aquino and Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and their immediate family in Times Street, Quezon City.

DND, AFP, PEZA ink pact on reserve corps training

By Priam Nepomuceno (PNA)

MANILA -- Ranking defense and military officials on Tuesday inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) on the conduct of reserve corps training for the agency's personnel, in line with the ongoing efforts to beef up the country's reserve force.

The MOA was signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez and PEZA chair Charito Plaza, who is also a reservist brigadier general at the Social Hall, DND main building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The agreement provides that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will facilitate the conduct of Special Basic Citizen Military Training and allow the enlistment of PEZA employees into the Reserve Force, AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said.

It further states that future PEZA reservists will be utilized primarily for security and disaster response during calamities and for community services and development.

QC kicks off fire prevention caravan

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Amid the several fire incidents in Quezon City, including a huge fire that affected 450 families in Barangay San Antonio, the Quezon City local government launched Tuesday the community-based fire awareness program that aims to educate residents on basic fire prevention measures.

Together with the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Red Cross, Bureau of Fire Protection, Meralco, and Quezon City Social Services Development Department, the city government will hold weekly seminars on fire awareness and electrical safety tips in various barangays.

During the launching, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte expressed her frustration on the number of fire cases happening in Quezon City since January this year.

"Naisip nating isagawa ito dahil halos araw-araw simula Enero lagi tayong may sunog sa ating lungsod. Kakaiba ang dami ng sunog na nararanasan natin mula nang mga nagdaang buwan (We thought to conduct this because almost every day since January we always have fire incident in our city. The number of fires which we have been experiencing in the past months is different)," Belmonte said in an interview.

"Nagtataka ako bakit ganoon na sa isang maliit na pagkakamali tulad ng electrical connection, naiwang kalan, at kandila ang dami-dami nang naapektuhang buhay, damay-damay ang lahat. Nakakalungkot (I’m wondering why in such a small fault such as electrical connection, unattended gas stove and candle, the extent of damage is too much. It's just sad)," she said.

Belmonte stressed the importance of awareness on fire prevention measures, saying fire incidents could be avoided if the people know the danger of illegal electrical connections and the different fire hazards.

Meanwhile, Belmonte bared the internal administrative challenges of the city where the financial assistance for fire victims takes at least six months before it can be distributed.

"May nakarating sa akin na 16 na signatures daw ang kailangan bago makarating 'yung financial assistance sa mga nasunugan. Dapat alisin 'yung 15 doon nang sa gayon maibigay agad ang kailangang tulong (Information that reached me said 16 signatures are needed before the financial assistance reaches the fire victims. Those 15 signatures should be removed so that the needed assistance will be immediately given)," Belmonte said.

DMCI bets big on QC's real estate potential

(PR)

MANILA -- Convinced that Quezon City is still the next big thing in the real estate industry, DMCI Homes is poised invest even more in the former Philippine capital this year to expand its presence in the area.

Dennis Yap, DMCI Homes assistant vice president for project development, said the company is planning to launch at least two more residential condominium projects in Quezon City this year in anticipation of a robust housing demand spurred by upcoming government infrastructure projects.

“Strong reservation sales of our ongoing projects indicate immense interest in the Quezon City property market and we are optimistic that the trend will continue in the coming years,” Yap said.

One of DMCI Homes’ planned new developments is a single-tower resort-inspired development in Mapalad Street, Roosevelt Avenue called Cameron Residences.

Located right in the middle of Quezon City, the 45-story residential tower is intended to offer strategic takeoff point going to top universities, business districts, leisure zones, medical facilities, government institutions, and nature parks in the former Philippine capital.

“At present, we have three ongoing residential condominium projects in Quezon City, all of which are almost sold-out. All in all, we have 12 projects in the city which makes it the biggest host of our projects in Metro Manila,” Yap said.

Property consultancy firms have urged developers to explore the residential potential of Quezon City which is seen to be the biggest recipient of the potential opportunities arising from the “Build, Build, Build” program of the national government.

Colliers International, for one, named the Metro Manila Subway project as the undertaking that would benefit the city the most since it will host seven of the 13 proposed stations namely Mindanao Avenue, Tandang Sora, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, and Katipunan.

Aside from the subway project, also anticipated to improve foot traffic in the largest and most populated city in Metro Manila is the ongoing construction of the MRT-7 railway system which travels from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan to North Avenue in Quezon City as well as the Skyway extension project which is anticipated to cut travel time to Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati from two hours to less than 30 minutes.

Courtesy seats await PWDs, pregnant women, elderly in QC

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista on Tuesday approved an ordinance that orders courtesy seats for persons with disability (PWDs), pregnant women and senior citizens in all private and public establishments.

Authored by Councilors Donato Matias and Franz Pumaren, Ordinance 2804 series of 2018, states that courtesy seats in all establishments in Quezon City must be provided to give PWDs, pregnant women, and senior citizens more comfort and safety.

“Despite the existence of national laws and other ordinances establishing special lanes and other privileges for the said sectors, there is still a need to extend additional reasonable accommodation in all private and public establishments in keeping up with their special needs and concerns,” the measure said.

“All establishments will also have to provide courtesy seat signage,” it added. When the designated seats are occupied by other persons, they are to give up their seats, the new ordinance provides.

Owners, managers, and operators of private establishments who fail to implement the new policy shall receive a notice of warning for the first offense.

A PHP5,000 fine and/or a six-month suspension of business permit on the second offense and a PHP5,000 fine and/or revocation of business permit on the third offense shall be meted out to establishments found in violation of the ordinance.

All government institutions within the city shall also receive a warning from the Quezon City Office for Senior Citizens Affairs, Persons with Disability Affairs Office and the Social Services Development Department for the first offense and corresponding penalties for subsequent offenses.

SSS chief eyes members' contribution hike by Q2

By Joann Villanueva (PNA)

MANILA – Social Security System (SSS) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Emmanuel Dooc expects the increase in members contribution to be implemented by April or May, once the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) are put in place.

In an interview at the sidelines of the public consultation on the Social Security Act of 2018 at the SSS office along East Avenue in Quezon City Monday, Dooc explained that increase in the contribution rates “will require further discussion” as well as resolution of the Social Security Commission.

He said the next meeting of the Commission is scheduled on March 14, 2019.

The agenda for the said meeting has yet to be determined, he said, but expressed hope that the contribution rate increase will be taken up.

“I hope it will be within the first half of the year…maybe April or May,” he said when asked when he thinks the adjustment will transpire.

IRR of the Social Security Act is now in the final stage. It is required to be in place 90 days after the effectivity of the law, which falls on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

Under the said law, the SSS can increase the contribution by one percentage point every other year until it becomes 15 percent. To date, the contribution rate is 11 percent.

Seminar for MSMEs in QC on March 6

By Ma. Cristina Arayata (PNA)

MANILA -- The Department of Science and Technology-National Capital Region (DOST-NCR) will conduct a seminar for micro, small, medium enterprises (MSMEs) on Wednesday (March 6) in Quezon City, which is aimed at helping them have a more organized and efficient workplace.

The seminar, dubbed as the "Japanese 5S Workshop," seeks to address the MSMEs' needs in maintaining and sustaining an organized workplace for improved efficiency, a DOST-NCR staff told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) through email on Monday.

In this seminar, participants will be taught five organization methods that use five Japanese words namely seiri (sort), seiton (set in order), seiso (shine), seiketsu (standardize) and shitsuke (sustain).

This is not the first time that the DOST-NCR will conduct this kind of seminar.

Seminars are being facilitated by the DOST-NCR staff and trained in-house experts.

According to DOST-NCR, it would accommodate as many participants as it can.

This seminar is open to any interested MSMEs, although priority will be given to those from the NCR.

"DOST regional offices have similar activities and programs to cater to MSMEs in their respective regions," the staff explained.

Meanwhile, interested MSMEs may visit eventbrite.com to register for the seminar.

DILG now ISO 9001:2015, PRIME-HRM Bronze Awardee

By Jerome Carlo R. Paunan (PIA InfoComm)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been conferred the ISO 9001:2015 standard certification for its Quality Management System (QMS), as well as the Bronze Award for the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Program to Institutionalize Meritocracy and Excellence in Human Resource Management (PRIME-HRM).

“The ISO re-certification and the CSC Bronze Award are rewards for the DILG Central Office which have worked so hard to gain these recognitions. We remain committed to continuously raise the bar of quality services and to promote people excellence. My challenge to all of you as your SILG is to not let your excellence stop here. Be proactive, be bold, be dynamic, be patriotic,” DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said during an awarding ceremony held at the DILG-Napolcom Center recently.

Now ISO 9001:2015 certified, the Department’s ISO certification was conferred after having passed the passed the stage 2 audit carried out by third-party auditors AJA Registrars held recently.

“The ISO re-certification was a good way for DILG-CO to put into perspective not only the Quality Management System (QMS) that defines its services but also our very own values and our best practices. It has taken hard work and teamwork, to sync all the 80 QMS enrolled processes for success. The underlying dedication to our quality policy and to client satisfaction is a testament to how we are here in the DILG – matino, mahusay, at maaasahang kagawaran para sa mapagkalinga at maunlad na pamahalaang lokal,” Año said to the personnel and Top Officials present during the activity.

The DILG-CO was recommended for new certification, which covered 80 QMS enrolled processes composed of 19 core processes, 43 support processes, three management processes, 11 performance evaluation processes, three improvement processes, and 1 control of nonconforming output process, all of which were documented and implemented. The ISO 9001: 2015 standard is valid until 2021.

The DILG CO has established its Quality Management System (QMS) since 2015 and received its first ISO certification in August 2016. The initiative was in compliance with EO 605 directing all government offices to implement QMS that will institutionalize structures, mechanism, and standards in government to ensure quality in systems and processes in government operations.

The establishment, implementation, and certification of QMS is also a condition set for the Support to Operations by the Interagency Task Force on the Harmonization of National Government Performance Monitoring Information and Reporting Systems, for an agency to be eligible for the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) of government.

“The top management’s commitment to quality policy paved the way for the DILG CO’s effective preparation for the actual third-party certification audit. There are also ongoing efforts for individual ISO certification in all the Regional Offices of the DILG to ensure quality processes and programs within the DILG are documented and synchronized with the processes at the Central Office,” DILG Assistant Secretary Ester A. Aldana, the DILG-CO’s Deputy Quality Management Representative (DQMR) said.

A total of eight (8) DILG Regional Offices have also been conferred the ISO 9001:2015 certification, namely: Regional Offices 1, 2, 7, 9, 10, Calabarzon, MIMAROPA, and the National Capital Region (NCR).

DILG’s HRM has reached Bronze-level maturity

Another achievement is the DILG Central Office’s recent conferment of the CSC PRIME-HRM Maturity Level 2 or the Bronze Award. Aside from the award, a Certificate of Recognition for the human resource excellence from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) as a result of the Department’s efforts to promote human resource or people excellence within its agency.

“I am happy to note that we have also received the Bronze Award in the CSC’s PRIME-HRM Program, making the DILG one of only two national government agencies awarded the CSC Bronze Award Category,” says Secretary Año.

Año says the DILG-CO is grateful to the CSC for recognizing the DILG through its PRIME-HRM program. The DILG will continue to work towards efficient and effective public service delivery.

PRIME-HRM is a mechanism that empowers government agencies by developing and assessing their HR management competencies, systems, and practices towards HR excellence.

The DILG Central Office was recognized in the four pillars of HR, namely, Recruitment, Selection, and Placement; Learning and Development; Performance Management: Rewards and Recognition.

Aside from the Central Office, four (4) DILG Regional Offices namely; Regions 2, 3, 5 and 6, have fully met the PRIME-HRM Maturity Level II indicators in all four (4) HR systems, while Regions 7 & 8 have met two (2) of the 4 HR systems.

On the other hand, other regions have either fully met two (2) of the PRIME-HRM Maturity Level II indicators (regions 7 & 8), undergone the onsite assessment and validation (regions 1, 9 & CAR), submitted evidence requirements (regions Calabarzon, MIMAROPA, NCR & 11), and have conducted online and offline self-assessment (regions 10, 12 & CARAGA).

The DILG CO passed the CSC checklist for Level 2 criteria aside from notable points like availability of recruitment plan, staffing plan, the functionality of committees like Grievance and Merit, among others.

Based on CSC guidelines, PRIME-HRM Maturity level assessment includes competency level or the capabilities of the HRM Office using proficiency indicators, the systems level which involves evaluation of policies, processes, procedures, and tools used by the HRM, and the practices level, where the agency is assessed on the actual implementation of its HR systems.

PDEA to use barcoding system on seized drug evidence

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA InfoComm)

QUEZON CITY (PIA)--The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is set to implement an automated inventory system of confiscated pieces of drug evidence through the use of barcodes.

Known as PDEA Evidence Inventory and Information System, or PEIIS, the project is nationwide in scope and will be put in place in forensic laboratories of PDEA National and Regional Offices.

“The PEIIS aims to provide additional security features and preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of seized drug evidence received in its custody during legitimate anti-drug operations. The system also lays a framework in achieving an organized data collection program for speedy and accurate documentation and accounting of evidence,” said PDEA Director General Aaron N Aquino.

The PDEA Laboratory Service under Director Derrick Arnold Carreon and Information and Technology Management Division (ITMD) of the Plans and Operations Service (POS) under Director Maharani Gadaoni-Tosoc, are the driving forces behind the PEIIS project, which started in July 2017 and completed in January 31, 2019.

According to Aquino, chief chemists and evidence custodians of laboratory facilities in 17 PDEA Regional Offices across the country, are presently undergoing a three-day familiarization training under Filmetrics Corporation, the same company that developed the online drug inventory system.

“This is the first time in the history of the country that a system was developed to barcode confiscated drug evidence. This makes PDEA the first government agency to utilize such system of tagging of evidence,” he added.

The PEIIS, Aquino said, will address questions on the integrity of drug evidence, issues on recycling, and the manner of safekeeping, quantity and destruction of evidence.

“PEIIS is only a part of our continuing capability enhancement program for safekeeping of drug evidence. As the lead agency in the country’s anti-drug campaign, the integrity of

PDEA in safekeeping of all pieces of drug evidence is of paramount importance,” the PDEA chief said.

Globe, Smart, Mislatel back DICT’s common tower policy

By Ma. Alaine P. Allanigue (PIA)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- Two of the country's incumbent telecommunication companies and an incoming telco operator have expressed support to a market-driven common and shared passive infrastructure policy, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said.

This, following a recent consultation meeting with representatives from Smart, Globe, and Mislatel Consortium, and some interested tower providers, which already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DICT.

These are the ISOC Infrastructures, Singapore’s ISON ECP Tower, IHS Towers, Edotco Group, RT Telecom of Malaysia, China Energy Engineering Corp., Aboitiz InfraCapital, MGS Construction, American Tower Corp. (ATC), Frontier Tower Associates Management, Phil Tower Consortium (Global Networks Inc. and JTower Inc.), and the J.S. Cruz Construction and Development, Inc.

The tower firms are required to secure a business contract from the telcos before the government could provide assistance through facilitation of permits, right of way, and other government permits for infrastructure.

The common tower policy, targeted to be finalized within the second quarter of 2019, shall guide the government-led initiative of establishing around 50,000 additional towers across the country to improve the quality of communication services in the Philippines.

There are only 16,000 towers in the country in around 8000 location.

In his editorial piece titled, "Solusyon sa serbisyo ng telco maliwanag na" (The solution for the telco service is now clear), Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the number of existing towers built within the past 20 years is less than half of the estimated 50,000 towers the country needs to provide consumers with dependable telco services.

For his part, DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said our country has the smallest number of towers considering its land area and population compared to other countries in the region.

The DICT also said having common towers will be more cost-efficient for the telcos.

“We are now telling the telcos: We now have tower companies that are willing to put up the infrastructures for you. They will be the ones to invest in the capex; they will be operating and maintaining these towers. All you have to do is rent from them,” Rio said.

“Shared [passive] facilities through this policy would cut back unnecessary expenses from the telco operators and subscribers will benefit from this. The support of telco operators will be pivotal to the smooth implementation of the common tower policy, which is expected to improve telecommunication services while lowering down its cost,” he added.

Nograles said the goal of the Duterte administration has always been to encourage the construction of more telecommunications towers so that telco services are made more reliable and more secure.

The DICT, meanwhile, requested the telephone companies to submit a list of areas and number of cell sites that their respective operations will need as guide for the policy.

The DICT also notified Common Tower Providers (CTPs) and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to submit their comments, proposals and recommendations for the Common Tower Policy until March 5, 2019.

Aside from the upgrade in communication services, DICT estimates that the common tower initiative would also generate about USD 4.4 billion in new investments, and shall provide additional jobs in the country.

Full-blown, aggressive implementation of ‘Mental Health Act’ sought

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Alarmed by the increasing suicide deaths in the country, leaders of the House of Representatives batted Sunday for the full-blown and aggressive implementation of the “Mental Health Act.”

Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, principal author of Republic Act (RA) No. 11036 or the Mental Health Act, sought the full implementation of the law after Brian Velasco, drummer of the famous homegrown band Razorback, livestreamed his own death via social media.

“We have to act for the prevention of thousands of suicides that have been plaguing our country,” Quimbo, a former deputy speaker, said, even as he cited the high-profile celebrity suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, who also authored the law, said RA 11036 was designed to address the increasing mental health issues and concerns suffered by our people.

“There must be aggressive information dissemination about, and determined implementation of, the Philippine Mental Health Law in order to prevent senseless deaths, especially those by suicide,” he said.

He said the law provides that psychotherapeutic services, as well as other related or relevant medical services, will be made available in cities, municipalities, and even barangays.

For his part, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte sought the inclusion of “life education” and peer counseling programs in schools to foster positive mental health among elementary and high school students.

He called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to keep an eye on the surge in youth suicides and institutionalize the Youth Suicide Prevention program to ensure “that the mental health needs of our youth are taken care for.”

“It should include a peer counseling training course that teaches basic counseling skills as well as a Mentor-Mentee program to stimulate relationship and confidence building and skill and academic motivation,” Villafuerte said.

PDEA gets P79-M new firearms, protective gear

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan (PNA)

MANILA -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement (PDEA) on Friday distributed new high-powered firearms and protective gear to its regional units to boost their capability in leading the government's anti-illegal drugs drive.

“All in all, the firearms and protective equipment procured have a total value of PHP79,598,672, which will be distributed to PDEA operating units in the country, boosting their capability in the fight against illegal drugs,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said in his speech during the turnover ceremony at the agency's headquarters in Quezon City.

The equipment includes caliber .45 pistols, bulletproof “sando” vests, and tactical protective shields.

PDEA procured 838 bulletproof sando-type vests (Level III A) worth PHP50.28 million and 20 tactical protective/ballistic shields with a total value of PHP13.96 million.

Bulletproof sando vests are made of 100-percent Kevlar Aramid Ballistic Fabric capable of reducing degradation when submerged in water due to its waterproof ballistic panel sealing. It is a Level III-A vest designed to stop body penetration of firearm-fired projectiles and explosives shrapnel and can absorb the impact of caliber 9mm, caliber .45, and magnum .44.

Tactical protective shields are also Level III-A capable of defeating center fire caliber lead core projectile threats from caliber .45, magnum 44, and 7.62 bullets.

Meanwhile, the short firearms consist of 479 caliber .45 (Jericho 941 FS) pistols with a total value of PHP15.351 million. These are designed with advance technology features to be used by PDEA agents in anti-drug operations.

“These pieces of equipment are part of our operational capacity and capability enhancement program as we vow to intensify our fight against big time drug lords and high-value targets across the country,” Aquino said.

The PDEA chief, meanwhile, noted that the required specifications were met and the procedures for the procurement of these items were strictly followed.

While admitting that the illegal drug trade in the country remains prevalent despite their massive campaign, Aquino said they are continuously enhancing their operations nationwide to curb this menace.

"They are always one step ahead of us. If we do something, subsequently, they also have another modus to evade everything. They always find a way. So, we are also doing that now in PDEA, finding methods for us to be at least one step ahead," he added.

QC public school teachers, personnel get rice subsidy hike

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- All teaching and non-teaching personnel in Quezon City public schools will get a PHP500 increase in their quarterly rice allowance after Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista signed an ordinance increasing their previous PHP1,500 rice allowance to PHP2,000.

“The Quezon City government recognizes the efforts of our school personnel to nurture our students who we consider as the future of our city and our nation. This increase -- along with the other allowance increases we have made possible last year -- is to make sure our teachers are compensated justly,” Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said in an interview Thursday.

“We also understand that the price of rice has increased in the previous months, which is why we proposed an ordinance for the rice allowance hike. With its approval, I’m sure this will help our teachers and personnel in their daily expenses,” Belmonte added.

Ordinance 2754, authored by Councilor Aly Medalla, also mandated the inclusion of the rice allowance fund to the city’s 2019 budget to begin the distribution of the increased allowance this year.

“For our public-school teachers, we also increased their longevity pay from PHP100 to PHP400 for every five years of service. I think these increases just go to show that one of our highest priorities in Quezon City is really education and, since teachers are front and center in our drive to improve this service in the city, we will continue to implement reforms that benefit them and the students,” Belmonte said.

Just this January, Bautista signed Ordinance 2782 which increases teachers’ longevity pay for every five years of continuous service within public schools in the city.

On Oct. 2, 2018, Ordinance 2751 was also signed to raise the monthly supplemental allowance from PHP1,000 to PHP1,500 for national paid public-school teaching and non-teaching personnel in Quezon City.

Trike drivers, passengers now insured in Quezon City

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Tricycle drivers and passengers in Quezon City will now receive corresponding compensation if they figure in road crashes after Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista signed an ordinance that mandates the granting of personal accident insurance for tricycles.

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, the presiding officer of the Quezon City Council, on Tuesday said Ordinance 2768 is the product of the city's concern for tricycle drivers since numerous families in the city depend on tricycles as a livelihood and also as a practical mode of transportation.

"Tricycles are used for short-distance travels, but we cannot disregard the fact that these vehicles get into accidents as well. Mga ordinaryong manggagawa ang karaniwang sumasakay nito kaya iniisip namin, paano nila tutustusan ang kanilang sarili kung sila ay naaksidente? (Ordinary workers are its usual passengers. Hence, we were thinking, how can they spend cope if they met an accident),” Belmonte said interview with the media.

“Now that we have an ordinance for this, the city government can help fund the insurance for our tricycle drivers, including their passengers," she added.

If a tricycle driver or a passenger gets into an accident, the said insurance will provide compensation ranging from PHP7,500 to PHP50,000 to the victims depending on the severity of the damage/injury acquired such as death, disablement, limb amputations, loss of sight, hearing, and speech; including the loss of thumb or the index finger.

“The city government will subsidize 50 percent of the total amount of the insurance program for its first-year implementation, while the other 50 percent will be shouldered by the tricycle operators,” the measure read.

The city government allocated PHP20 million for the seed fund of said program.

QC senior citizens to get free anti-shingles shots

By Chito Chavez

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte called on the city’s registered senior citizens to themselves of the local government’s free anti-shingles vaccine as protection to infectious diseases and complications associated with these ailments.

“Since April 2018, we have recorded nearly 500,000 senior citizens in our city, and many of them are at risk of contracting the shingles virus. This is why we are now calling on all our senior citizens to avail of free anti-shingles vaccines in their respective barangay health centers,” said Belmonte.

Shingles or herpes zoster is a viral infection which can manifest as a painful skin rash. The infection is caused by the varicella zoster virus which is the same virus causing chicken pox.

People aged 60 years old and above are the most vulnerable to the disease because of their weakened immune system.This can lead to serious complications such as scarring, hearing problems, loss of sleep, depression, and necrotizing fasciitis.

“We have already coordinated with our Quezon City Health Department and our barangay health centers to provide this service to our elderlies who want to get vaccinated. They can get it anytime, and they will be given just once every three years,” Belmonte noted.

“This is just one of the projects for our senior citizens that we are providing for free. Of course, we value their contributions to the city, that’s why our city will continue to create these kinds of projects for their welfare,” she added.

Belmonte said the city government has already allocated P20 million for the funding of the said vaccine.

Tandang Sora gets flowers on 207th birth rites

By Severino Samonte (PNA)

MANILA --- A simple commemorative program and floral offerings highlighted the celebration on Sunday of the 207th birth anniversary of the revolutionary heroine, Melchora Aquino, otherwise known as Tandang Sora, at her national shrine in Sitio Banlat, Barangay Tandang Sora, Novaliches, Quezon City.

The office of President Rodrigo R. Duterte led the list of flower donors for the occasion.

Barangay Tandang Sora Chairman Marlou Ulanday led the wreath-laying rites, together with representatives of Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista, Vice Mayor Joy G. Belmonte and former Senator Santanina Tillah Rasul, recipient of the 2019 Tandang Sora Memorial Award.

Aside from Malacañang, the other flowers came from the Quezon City government, QC 6th District Rep. Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel Jr., the Knights of Columbus Assemblies of Tandang Sora, Katipunan, Melchora Aquino, and grandchildren of the heroine.

History shows that Melchora Aquino was born on Jan. 6, 1812 in Banlat, then a part of Greater Balintawak. Despite her being 84 years old when the revolution against Spain broke out in August 1896, she joined the revolutionaries led by Gat Andres Bonifacio and was called Mother of the Katipunan.

She used to go as far as Barrio Binugsok in Novaliches, about six kilometers away from her home, to treat the wounded and the sick Katipuneros under the shade of a large duhat tree in the area.

Due to her revolutionary activities, Tandang Sora was arrested by the Spanish authorities in Barrio Pasong Putik, near the present Barangay Greater Lagro, Novaliches.

After a few days’ incarceration at the Old Bilibid Prison in Manila, she was exiled to Guam. She was allowed by the Americans to return to the Philippines on Feb. 26, 1903. She died at the age of 107 in 1919 and was buried at the Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Revolution at the Manila North Cemetery.

On her 158th birthday on Jan. 6, 1970 and 51 years after her death, Tandang Sora’s remains were transferred to her new shrine at the Himlayang Pilipino Memorial Park in Pasong Tamo, Novaliches.

A final transfer of the heroine’s remains was made on Jan. 6, 2012, her 200th birth anniversary. This time, she returned to where she was born in 1812—in Banlat, Balintawak, which eventually became a part of Novaliches when it was created as a town in 1855.

Most history books showed that the so-called “First Cry” of the 1896 Revolution took place at Tandang Sora’s yard.

DPWH completes P46.5-M wall along Tullahan River

(PR)

MANILA — Residents living near the Tullahan River in SSS Village, Barangay North Fairview, Quezon City are safe from flooding with the recent completion of the multi-million worth of river wall.

According to DPWH-National Capital Region (NCR) Director Melvin Navarro, the newly-constructed revetment wall, measuring 9 meters tall, will serve as a protective barrier to flooding.

He noted that the 461-lineal meter structure was constructed under Rehabilitation and Improvement of Tullahan River Phase II. The project cost is PHP46.5 million.

“With the taller and sturdier concrete revetment along Tullahan River, residents near the area are assured that the inundation of flooding and soil erosion along the river banks will be avoided in case of heavy rains preventing damages of properties and loss of lives,” Navarro said in a statement.

The DPWH official added that the new wall has replaced an old, dilapidated, 3 meters in height grouted riprap serves as a defense against force of river especially during heavy rains in the area.

The undertaking was implemented from February to November 2018 by DPWH Quezon City First District Engineering Office headed by District Engineer Marlyn G. Inguillo.

The construction was funded under the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

QC adopts Davao’s emergency response practices

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- To improve the responsiveness to emergencies and accidents of barangays and the city disaster management council, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte is planning to adopt the disaster risk reduction scheme of its sister city, Davao.

In her speech before the members of Asosayon ng mga Barangay Captain (ABC) on Monday, Belmonte cited the recent fire incident in Barangay Manresa where almost 100 houses and 200 families were affected, saying she was dismayed with the inadequate number of personnel deployed during the blaze.

“The incident has made me realize that we have to do something about it. We have to improve our responses,” Belmonte said.

“I went to Davao last year, and I saw how advanced their emergency team is. They have this warehouse full of emergency vehicles like ambulances and buses for mass transport to hospitals. They are prepared for all kinds of accidents and I want Quezon City to have something like that,” she added.

Belmonte also admired the response team of Davao City which she thinks has deployed effective measures to provide better services during emergencies.

“They also have a complete team that is always ready to be dispatched anytime. It is composed of medics, social workers, fire-fighters, policemen, and others so in times of disasters, everything is easily covered. I am planning to adopt that that’s why I am sending our people to Davao for the seminar,” she said.

“No matter where you live, within 3-5 minutes, there is already a response team. I think that is something we should learn from the city of Davao,” she added.

Belmonte cited that she has made agreements with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for the trainings and seminars on disaster risk reduction for the barangay captains including the kagawads of the Sangguninang Kabataan (SK).

“I asked them to prepare a program that shows their best practices and now, it is already arranged for us, through Mayor Sara Duterte. Surely, our barangay captain and SK kagawads will learn something from them which we can adopt and apply in times of accidents,” she said.

QC Council named most outstanding

By Chito Chavez

For three consecutive terms, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday named the Quezon City Council as the Most Outstanding Sangguniang Panlunsod in Metro Manila for its “progressive performance on legislating measures responsive to the needs of the community.”

Quezon City Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte, head of the QC Sangguniang Panlungsod, said she was honored after receiving the 2018 Local Legislative Award for the Highly Urbanized Category at the regional level.

She praised the city councilors for their unwavering commitment to create ordinances in accordance with Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista’s executive agenda.

We would like to thank the DILG for honoring us with the Most Outstanding Sangguniang Panglunsod in the whole National Capital Region (NCR). The honor was bestowed due to the diligence of our city councilors and to the challenge posed by Mayor Herbert Bautista for the QC Council to work hard and prove that it can accomplish the programs of the city government, Belmonte said in Pilipino.

Belmonte cited that some of the ordinances passed by the city council which were recognized as being the first of its kind in the country. These are the Road Safety Code, Traffic Management Code, Dangerous Drugs Code, Responsible Gaming Ordinance, Comprehensive Socialized Housing Code, Revision of Fair Market Values, and Batas QC.

“We were able to get an overall score of 96.78 percent based on several criteria which shows the efficiency of our Sangguniang Panlungsod,” she added.

Conducted every three years, the award aims to recognize the significant accomplishments in local legislation that contributed to the attainment of a city’s socio-economic and environmental management outcomes.

Quezon City has been a recipient of the award since 2012 to 2015 for the regional level and also in 2015 for the national level.

Quezon City offers audit-free option to businesses

By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines — A new ordinance in Quezon City exempts businesses from audit and examination of their financial records provided that they voluntarily pay 30 percent higher than their previous year’s business taxes, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said yesterday.

Belmonte said the measure, which covers business operations from 2016 to 2018, aims to encourage traders to declare more taxable gross receipts, and at the same time simplify the procedures in the payment of business taxes.

“This ordinance will make Quezon City a premier business haven for investors because we are giving an option to them on whether they want their books of accounts to be reviewed or not. If they pay an additional 30 percent, they will be exempted from auditing,” she said.

“Their tax will depend on how much income they have earned. It can be bigger or smaller than the 30 percent of their previous tax. That’s why we are giving them an option if they want their income for a certain year to be waived. It’s up to them,” she added.

Belmonte clarified that the city government has not implemented a tax increase.

The vice mayor refuted claims that taxpayers are required to pay additional 30 percent.

“This is voluntary — we are giving them a choice whether they want to be audited or not,” she explained.

“We have not implemented any tax increase. In fact, the city gave amnesties for real property tax delinquencies. The real property tax increase was also suspended and recently, we provided an option for audit exemption. This shows that Quezon City is a taxpayer-friendly city,” Belmonte added.

The vice mayor said the ordinance is seen to cover revenue losses because of the suspension of the real property tax increase for two years.

Businesses with pending cases on their financial statements could not apply for exemption, according to Belmonte.

Quezon City gets perfect score for anti-drug drive

By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government was recently recognized as one of the most effective nationwide in addressing the problem of illegal drugs.

The city’s Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC), headed by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, was among the 21 local government units (LGUs) that obtained a perfect functionality score in the recently held National Anti-Drug Abuse Council Performance Awards organized by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

“I am very proud that we are, once again, recognized as one of the best ADACs among all LGUs nationwide. It’s because we have the most effective working framework and the political will to implement programs to lessen the city’s drug problem,” said Belmonte.

“We have almost 27,000 drug surrenderees and in December last year, we were able to produce 560 graduates of our community-based drug rehabilitation program,” she added.

She also noted that 23 of the city’s 144 barangays have been declared drug-free. She attributed this to community participation in the efforts to combat illegal drugs.

“The youth of our city continues to engage in our anti-illegal drugs campaign. It just shows that the city government and our people are working harmoniously because all of us want a drug-free city. This is the result of our collaborative effort,” said the vice mayor.

Since 2016, Belmonte initiated various programs in line with President Duterte’s commitment to eradicate the drug problem.

Among the programs initiated in Quezon City include the Barkada Kontra Droga program, wherein youth members are encouraged to join campaigns that counter the effects of illegal drug abuse.

Barangay anti-drug abuse councils were also established to works hand-in-hand with the ADAC and the Quezon City Police District in conducting barangay drug-clearing operations.

QC gov’t to upgrade data gathering records

By Chito Chavez

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte plans to upgrade the city government’s data gathering records on health, livelihood, education, and other major concerns in the locality this year to provide a much improved public service to local residents.

In an interview, Belmonte admitted the city’s lack of data concerning residents’ current status on various aspects, making it hard for local officials to formulate ordinances that would address the problems of the city.

“I have mentioned several times that we need more data on different areas for us to find out the issues that require more attention. I observe that it is what we lack as of the moment that’s why we can’t pinpoint which aspects should we prioritize,” Belmonte said.

Without accurate data, Belmonte has recognized the difficulty in creating projects that the public will truly benefit from.

Citing health as an example, Belmonte said city officials have no accurate facts to determine the usual causes of death and most common illnesses of their constituents.

Because of this inadequacies, Belmonte stressed the city government can’t provide programs that will “better promote the prevention of those illnesses.”

In December, Belmonte had allocated P20 million for the city’s data collection program that will commence in the first quarter of the year.

“I have already allocated P20 million for us to have a data gathering component so there will be some person who will ask the people about their health conditions and any other concern,” Belmonte said.

To be included in the data collection are livelihood, education, employment, performing groups, sports, health, among others.

Quezon City kicks off 2019 with tax relief

By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan

THE QUEZON CITY government kicked off the new year by announcing relief for real property and business tax payers.

Specifically, the local government suspended a real property fair market value (FMV) hike until after 2019, is offering an amnesty for real property tax delinquencies, as well as exemption from audit of 2016, 2017 and 2018 books of account for those that pay 2019 business taxes that are at least 30% more than their 2018 payment.

The move comes amid elevated headline inflation and four months ahead of the May 13 local elections.

REAL PROPERTY TAX HIKE SUSPENDED

Ordinance No. SP-2778 Series of 2018 — signed by Mayor Herbert M. Bautista on Dec. 6 — states that collection of real property taxes based on SP-2556 Series of 2016 that raised Quezon City FMVs is “hereby suspended for two years, from the periods of 2018 and 2019”, ordering continued use of the lower 1996 FMVs.

The city government said that the ordinance was issued “to temper the effect of the significant increase in the prices of commodities on residents of Quezon City…” noting that inflation reached nine-year highs in the latter part of 2018.

The 2016 ordinance increases the FMVs of residential, commercial and industrial real properties by 400-733.33%, consequently raising tax payable by real property owners by 39-131%. New assessment rates, however, were cut to five percent for residential and 14% for commercial and industrial lands in order to temper the impact of FMV increases.

The updating of real property FMVs was planned in 2016 but was left unimplemented after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order in favor of petitioners Alliance of Quezon City Homeowner’s Association, Inc. The high court lifted the injunction on Sept. 18 last year.

The city last adjusted FMVs in 1995, even as RA 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, requires adjustments every three years. This requirement is largely ignored, as local officials are elected very three years as well.

The city government projects an additional P700-million revenues in the first year of FMV hike implementation. Latest data from the Finance department’s Bureau of Local Government Finance showed that Quezon City contributed the most to total Metro Manila revenues in 2017, accounting for P15.161 billion of the National Capital Region’s P77.099-billion collections. Quezon City’s biggest tax source in 2017 was business tax with P9.204 billion followed by real property tax with P3.431 billion.

REALTY TAX AMNESTY

Ordinance No. SP-2779 Series of 2018, approved on Dec. 12, grants Quezon City residents condonation of payment of interest, surcharges, fines and other penalties on unpaid real property taxes on lands, buildings and machineries — except for those that have already been auctioned off, are being settled under compromise or similar agreements, and those with pending cases with the Quezon City Board of Assessment Appeal or in any regular court of law.

This amnesty, covering unpaid real property taxes up to 2018, runs from Jan. 1 to Oct. 30, 2019.

EXEMPTION FROM AUDIT

Ordinance SP-2780 Series of 2018, approved on Dec. 14, exempts those who have local business taxes payable in 2019 that are at least 30% more than the previous year from inspection and examination of their books of accounts “and other pertinent documents” covering calendar years 2016, 2017 and 2018.

This local business tax amnesty does not cover those with pending cases in courts of law or in administrative offices in relation to their business records.

The local law “shall make things easy, trouble-free, uncomplicated and simplify the procedure involved in payment of business taxes and… contribute to speedy, prompt facilitation of business permit and license renewal” and “will significantly… lessen the task of the employees of the Quezon City Treasurer’s Office whose invaluable time, effort and energy could be utilized and focused of other endeavors and activities geared towards revenue collection and mobilization.”

New Year revelry in Metro peaceful, safe: NCRPO

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan (PNA)

MANILA -- The celebration of New Year in Metro Manila was generally safe and peaceful, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said Wednesday.

NCRPO head Director Guillermo Eleazar said the peaceful celebration is because of intensified police visibility to ensure there will be peace, order, safety and joy during the Yuletide season.

Eleazar, who personally monitored the situation on Monday as he went to the areas were people converged and inspected the deployment of police personnel to ensure peace and order for the holidays.

“As the year 2019 rang the other night to unfurl a new year ahead, Team NCRPO’s full force made its presence felt and made Metro Manila a safer and more enjoyable place to celebrate the coming year. I was out checking the presence of our policemen in key areas and I felt good and proud seeing our men and women in their posts,” Eleazar said in a statement sent to Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“I saw families come out to spend their new year in and near entertainment areas, young men and women were partying on the streets in front of their homes, children ran free and happy in parks, and couples strolled hand in hand with nary a care in the world. Team NCRPO successfully saturated the New Year’s traditional "hot spots" to seal off unwanted elements,” he added.

To assist the revelers, Eleazar said the Team NCRPO also coordinated closely with the hardworking emergency service professionals, public transport staff, barangay personnel and other stakeholders involved in upholding the safety of the celebrators.

He also lauded the district directors of five districts, the Manila Police District (MPD), Quezon City Police District (QCPD), Northern Police District (NPD), Southern Police District (SPD), and Eastern Police District (EPD) for intensifying the campaign against illegal firecrackers, as well against indiscriminate discharge of firearms.

“I would like to thank all our men and women in Team NCRPO for making Yuletide 2018 a safe and Merry Christmas Season for all. Through your skills and sacrifice, we have successfully carried the torch that has been passed on to us by our superiors, former Chief PNP General (Ronald) dela Rosa and our current Chief PNP General (Oscar) Albayalde. There is much reason to also thank these two leaders of ours for the continued trust they are giving each and everyone here at Team NCRPO,” said Eleazar.

He noted that there were three isolated cases of policemen firing their guns during the recent Christmas season - two incidents in Caloocan and one in Taguig, but these shooting incidents days before New Year’s Eve were criminal in nature and not gestures or displays of revelry or celebrating the season.

Eleazar said the cops involved in the incident were immediately investigated and all three policemen have been administratively and criminally charged.

He also stressed that the public should remain vigilant and promptly report any indiscriminate firing incident to the nearest police station or precinct.

“A case of indiscriminate firing by a civilian was reported in Navotas City Police Station hours before the year ended - by a concerned citizen. Within few minutes, the said person was arrested and charged by our alert and vigilant policemen. No one was hurt. Congratulations to our arresting officers,” said Eleazar

In the case of stray bullets, the Metro Manila top cop announced that there was no stray bullet incident this past season and no one in Metro Manila has been injured or killed by stray bullets.

The NCRPO chief also vowed to continue the relentless campaign against all forms of criminalities to ensure the safety of the people.

QC hailed as top Manila Bay 'clean up' performer

By Jerome Carlo R. Paunan (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- Quezon City has been tagged as the Most Compliant LGU for 2018 in the implementation of the Supreme Court continuing mandamus for the clean-up and preservation of Manila Bay.

It garnered a score of 95.53 percent based on the Regional Inter-Agency Team Assessment conducted in recent months. The team, composed of representatives from national government agencies involved in the Manila Bay Clean up, Rehabilitation and Preservation Program (MBCRPP) visited the 17 LGUs and reviewed their performance in the outcome indicators in the four clusters set under the Supreme Court mandamus.

Quezon City was followed by Muntinlupa (91.63%), Valenzuela (91.30%), Makati (88.42%), Pasig (87.67%), Las Piñas (86.20%), and Parañaque (86.00%); the seven has been recognized as the highly compliant LGUs for the MBCRP.

Top performers in the four clusters were also recognized. Las Piñas was cited for its accomplishments in the Informal Settler Families (ISF) cluster; Pasig City for the Solid Waste Management (SWM) cluster; Muntinlupa on Information, Education, and Communication campaign and other institutional arrangement (IEC) cluster; and Quezon City for the Liquid Waste Management (LWM) cluster. Makati was also cited as the Most Improved LGU.

All NCR LGUs were able to pass the assessment for 2018. Caloocan, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Navotas, Pasay, San Juan, Taguig were also cited for their efforts in rehabilitating Manila Bay and its tributaries.

OIC Regional Director Juan Jovian E. Ingeniero, OIC Assistant Regional Director Gloria C. Aguhar and DILG Central Office Bureau of Local Government Supervision Director Atty. Odilon L. Pasaraba handed the awards to the key officials from the 17 LGUs. DILG-NCR Field Offices were also given recognition for their steadfast performance in achieving the region’s goals for the MBCRP.

During the ceremony, it was reported that all the LGUs have passed their respective no littering ordinances, while 94 percent have approved Solid Waste Management Plans. Eighty-two percent (82%) of the LGUs also have approved Local Shelter Plans, while 58 percent have approved Relocation and Resettlement Action Plans.

For 2019, MBCRP will conduct the following activity expected to further strengthen the program’s implementation: National Inter-Agency Committee Validation of LGU Compliance to MBCRP, National Environmental Compliance Audit Validation which will cover performance year 2018, the Manila Bay Database System (MBDS) Data Harmonization and GIS Training of NCR-LGUs, Seminar-Workshop on the Updating of NCR-LGUs’ Ten Year Solid Waste Management Plan and 2019 Assessment of LGU Compliance to the MBCRP.

Quezon City launched many ‘firsts in PH’ in 2018

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- The Quezon City local government has launched many “firsts in the Philippines” in 2018.

On Nov. 6, 2018, the Quezon City Council, headed by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, launched the “Batas QC”, the Philippines’ first mobile application or app on local ordinances, to spread awareness about the rules and penalties concerning local laws in order to reduce the high record of ordinance violations in the city.

“This is the first user-friendly, city-based database that everyone can easily access, and it aims to counter ordinance violations by educating residents on the penalties they will be incurring,” Belmonte said during the launching of the app at the Quezon City Hall.

Records from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) showed that from June 13 to Nov. 2, 2018, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) apprehended the highest number of ordinance violators at 262,847, which is 58.4 percent of all the arrests made for ordinance penalties in Metro Manila.

Belmonte said the high number of apprehensions has led the local government to implement Ordinance 2752-2018, which mandates law enforcers to issue ordinance violation receipts (OVR) instead of jailing ordinance violators in the city.

With an OVR, the violator can pay a fine within five days at the barangay hall or Quezon City Hall for offenses such as drinking, being half-naked and smoking in public places.

Belmonte noted that the launching of the app is “timely” since it will help residents understand ordinances as the OVR system is rolled out.

“One objective of the OVR is to mitigate the congestion in jails and detention centers, but we want to go one step further through 'Batas QC' by helping residents know our ordinances, so they will not have to violate the laws in the first place,” she said.

She added that aside from the city’s priority to maintain peace and order by reducing ordinance violators, “Batas QC” aims to educate residents about ordinances concerning roads, transportation, garbage, healthcare and other issues.

Copies of the ordinance are also downloadable through the app.

“Batas QC” was developed by Thinc Office Corporation which also created MyLegalWhiz, the pioneering online legal resource in the Philippines.

On Dec. 6, 2018, the local government of Quezon City also launched a campaign dubbed as “#healthierQC” at the Nicanor Reyes Jr. Hall, FEU-Diliman, Quezon City. Mayor Herbert Bautista was represented by City Health Officer Dr. Verdades P. Linga.

“#healthierQC” is the first of its kind and the newest health campaign by the city government in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and Vital Strategies.

In her speech, Linga said “the campaign is geared towards reducing the incidence of non-communicable diseases among children.”

Linga added “Quezon City is building a #healthierQC” in a commitment to fight non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which is now the leading cause of death in the world.” The NCDs, including stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases are on the rise and a leading cause of death in the Philippines.

In a statement, Bautista said “At Quezon City, we are committed to building capacities so that our residents can have longer, healthier, and happier lives. We encourage the community -- our parents, teachers, schools, and our youth -- to get behind “healthierQC.”

“We believe that, in the long run, being healthy is the best gift we could ever give to our loves ones. Nutritious diets are ultimately a better way of showing how much we care for our family and our children,” Bautista added.

The initiative was in collaboration with Partnership for Health Cities, a global network of cities led by Michael R. Bloomberg, World Health Organization Global Ambassador for NCDs and former New York City mayor.

On Nov. 13, 2018, Belmonte divulged plans to automate city hall transactions using technology.

The vice mayor cited how technology can help reduce corruption in government transactions, saying “Automation would also minimize face-to-face interaction that can help eliminate corruption, so we have to use technology to its utmost potential in our city.”

The Quezon City local government has also partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies in a pilot project that will allow new business registrants to apply for business permits on their mobile phones.

In line with the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s “Bantay Korapsyon” campaign, Belmonte has also committed to use technology to stamp out corruption and reward outstanding and honest public servants.

She has pledged to back the use of performance indicators in government transactions.

For instance, she said, through a new feedback system, constituents can digitally submit their feedback after completing a transaction. Good performers will then be given incentives by the city government.

On Nov. 7, 2018, Belmonte bared plans to put up a drug rehabilitation facility for women and a recovery clinic for voluntary surrenderers to more effectively treat drug-dependent patients from the city in line with Quezon City’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“We have been discussing with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and by next year, we will have a partnership to establish a facility just for women,” said Belmonte, who is also the chairperson of the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC).

Belmonte cited studies from the city showing that women are more hesitant to go to drug rehabilitation facilities since many of them could not leave their children behind.

She noted that the additional facilities will be welcome additions to Quezon City’s Tahanan rehabilitation center and will help address the influx of drug dependents who have surrendered after the launch of Oplan Tokhang.

Tahanan is the Philippines’ first treatment facility for drug dependents that is accredited by the Department of Health and is fully-funded and managed by a local government unit. It was first opened in 1993 and is being operated by the Office of the Vice Mayor.

Since 2016, around 16,000 have surrendered to QCADAAC and the Quezon City Police District.

After graduating from the community-based drug recovery treatment, the reformed drug users are provided with free skills and livelihood training and starter kits by the Office of the Vice Mayor, Quezon City Skills and Livelihood Foundation, Inc. and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

QC cops hailed for ‘zero-crime’ Christmas revelry

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte on Thursday hailed the city police’s efforts in ensuring the peace and order during the celebration of Christmas, saying the "zero-crime" rate in the city was due to the intensive police visibility among public places throughout the holiday.

Belmonte noted that the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) had applied proactive measures to secure the safety of the public which included the deployment of 2,287 policemen in malls, churches, transport terminals, and other massively visited places in the City.

“I want to recognize the efforts of our policemen, and of course our QCPD Director Joselito Esquivel for securing our people during the celebration of Christmas. They have been very hard-working despite the holiday that is why we should really commend them,” Belmonte said in a statement.

Esquivel announced on Wednesday that there were no crime reports on the eight major crimes -- homicide, murder, physical injury, robbery, theft, rape, carnapping and motorcycle robbery-- in the city.

He noted that this had been the 10th time the city recorded a zero-crime rate since he took over the post.

“They (QCPD policemen) were not able to get leaves and breaks during Christmas; they did not celebrate with their families because of the call of service, and for that, we should really admire their dedication to their duty,” Belmonte added.

The local official expressed her hope for a peaceful New Year celebration in the city, and that the same intensity of security measures will be maintained until the first few days of January 2019.

“I hope we can maintain this until the New Year’s Eve celebration na (which is) zero-crime rate din (also). I think it is possible, with our intensified police visibility, and now that our people are more vigilant,” Belmonte said.

Moms urged to be more open to early childhood education

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte has urged mothers to change their mindset and be more open to early childhood education, saying children aged five and below should be taught reading at least a few letters of the alphabet.

During the inauguration of the two Masaganang Bukas Learning Centers on Wednesday, Belmonte addressed the issue of some elementary graduates who still do not know how to read, which can be solved through teaching kids to read and write during their toddler years.

“Sa tingin ko, panahon na para baguhin natin ang pag-iisip natin dahil mayroong mga naniniwala na dapat naglalaro palang ang mga five years old pababa at dapat ang pagbabasa matutunan kapag six or seven years old na (In my view, it’s now time to change our mentality because there are those who believe that five years old should only play and the reading should be learned when they are six years old already),” Belmonte said.

“Sa akin naman, kahit tatlong taon palang ang bata pwede na natin silang turuan magbasa, magsulat, kahit paisa-isang titik lang. Kasi napapansin ko, maraming kabataang nasa elementary na, Grade 4, Grade 5 pero hindi pa rin marunong magbasa (For me, even if the child is only three years old, we can already teach them to read, write, even on a letter by letter. Because I’m noticing, many youth already in the elementary, Grade 4, Grade 5 but could not read),” she added.

Belmonte also called on the pre-school teachers to think out of the box and incorporate modern techniques in teaching to make the learning experience of the children more fun and effective.

“That's why at our day care [centers] let’s try the new way of teaching, maybe we can prepare the children the soonest possible time. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Let’s not remain in the box in trainings because our youth will also benefit from these),” Belmonte said.

The vice mayor also advised pre-school teachers to expand the minds of their students and bring them to their limits to help the children develop their talents.

She said she wanted to prioritize the founding of child-minding services, where single parents could entrust their child if they have any other things to do.

DSWD reports 2018 accomplishments

By Lucia F. Broño (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA)--Despite the various changes within the organization, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) officials and employees remained united and continued performing their tasks with the same commitment to quality service that they have demonstrated over the years.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista who took the helm of the Department in the last quarter of the year, jumpstarted his leadership role by spearheading the response efforts for families affected by disasters such as Typhoon Rosita and the landslide in Natonin, Mountain Province.

Bautista, with his own brand of leadership focused on the principle of unity and teamwork, steered the Department towards achieving its 2018 targets.

In their year ender accomplishment report on Friday, December 14, Undersecretary Florita Villar representing Bautista shared the highlights of the Department’s accomplishments in 2018.

PROMOTIVE PROGRAMS

The Promotive Programs are the strategic grouping of the flagship social protection programs of the Department that provide investment to human capital through conditional cash transfer, community-driven development, and sustainable livelihood.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program

Now on its 10th year of implementation, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) continues to invest in the health and education of poor and vulnerable households to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty in the country.

As of October, 4Ps is being implemented in 145 cities and 1,489 municipalities in 81 provinces.

A total of 4,178,985 are active household-beneficiaries. Of the 4.1 million active beneficiaries, 3,950,012 are covered by the regular Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program while 228,973 are covered by the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT).

The MCCT includes beneficiaries who are not covered by the regular CCT, such as homeless street families, victims of natural and man-made disasters who are rendered homeless and with no means of livelihood, and Indigenous People in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA).

Sustainable Livelihood Program

The DSWD also continues to provide indigent Filipinos with access to sustainable livelihood opportunities through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). It is the Department’s capacity-building program that provides opportunities to increase the productivity of the livelihood assets of the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized communities, helping them improve their socio-economic well-being.

Under the SLP, beneficiaries are given the option to take either the micro-enterprise development track, which supports microenterprises to become organizationally and economically viable, or the employment facilitation track, which assists Filipinos to access appropriate employment opportunities.

As of October, the program was able to serve a total of 82, 455 households nationwide. Of this number, 73,546 households or 89.20 percent were served under the micro-enterprise development track while 8,909 households or 10.80 percent were served under the employment facilitation track.

Out of the total number of households served by the SLP, 70,073 are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). Some 63,600 4Ps households were assisted under the micro-enterprise development track, while 6,473 were facilitated for employment.

Unconditional Cash Transfer

In continuation of the implementation of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) program, the largest tax reform mitigation program under the current administration’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, the Department has prepared and uploaded the payroll documents for the P2,400 UCT grants of some 8,603,905 beneficiaries to the Land Bank of the Philippines.

The remaining 2,600,000 beneficiaries are expected to have their scheduled payouts via over-the-counter or conduits this December.

Kalahi-CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Program

The DSWD continues to empower communities in targeted poor and disaster-affected municipalities to achieve improved access to social services through the implementation of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi CIDSS) National Community-Driven Development Program.

The program provides assistance by enhancing communities’ and local government units’ (LGU) capacity and by providing seed funding for community implementation of priority social infrastructure sub-projects that helps reduce poverty and improve sustainability. As of November, 412 municipalities have been implementing the program while a total of 4,558 sub-projects have been completed and have benefitted 1,536,100 households.

PROTECTIVE PROGRAMS

The protective programs serve the DSWD’s primary clients—the poor and vulnerable groups and communities – so that they are provided with the necessary safety nets and safeguards against social exclusion and further impoverishment and are given the opportunities to improve their resiliency and welfare.

Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations

The DSWD continues to support the recovery of individuals and families from unexpected crisis through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS). It is delivered through the various Crisis Intervention Units (CIU) at the DSWD Central Office, Field Offices, and satellite offices in the provinces, provides educational, medical, transportation, burial, and food and non-food assistance.

From January to October, the Department has released P2,794,260,205.28 to 671,192 clients of DSWD CIUs nationwide. Medical assistance remains the top aid with disbursement amounting to P1,926,892,425, followed by burial and educational assistance with P386,361,798 and P324,626,840, respectively.

Supplementary Feeding Program

As part of the DSWD’s contribution to the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) program of the government and Republic Act 11037 institutionalizing a National Feeding Program for Undernourished Children in Public Day Care, Kindergarten and Elementary Schools, the Department continues to implement its Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP), which is the provision of snacks and hot meals in addition to the regular meals to children currently enrolled in child development centers and supervised neighborhood play.

As of November, a total of 1,543,903 children in 52,949 day care centers from all regions have benefitted from SFP with a total budget of P3,153,931,755.95.

Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens and Implementation of Centenarians Act

In adherence to Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act which seeks to help augment the daily subsistence and medical needs of indigent senior citizens, the DSWD continues to implement the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens. The program provides P500 monthly stipend to poor seniors who are frail, sickly, and with disability; without regular income or support from family; and with no existing pension from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, and other organizations.

As of October, a total of 3,114,064 indigent seniors have benefitted from the program with the total pension amounting to P13,976,334,000.

Meanwhile, the Department has recognized and awarded a total of 977 centenarians in all regions for 2018 for a total of P97,700,00. Under Republic Act 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016, all Filipinos who have reached 100 years old and above, whether residing in the Philippines or abroad, will be given a Centenarian gift amounting to P100,000 and a Letter of Felicitation signed by the President. The highest number of centenarians came from Region NCR with 381.

Services for trafficked persons

The DSWD also provided assistance to trafficked persons under the Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons (RRPTP). It is a comprehensive program that ensures adequate recovery and reintegration services provided to trafficked persons. It utilizes a multi-sectoral approach and delivers a complete package of services to enhance the psychosocial, social, and economic needs of the clients.

The beneficiaries of the program include the victims-survivors of trafficking who are returning or have returned to the Philippines, families, and relatives of the victims-survivors, and communities with a high incidence of trafficking.

As of September, the DSWD has served a total of 1,984 trafficked persons in all regions under the RRPTP.

Field Office NCR served the highest number of new Trafficking in Persons (TIP) cases with a total number of 580 followed by FO IX and III with 338 and 235 cases, respectively.

Lingap at Gabay Para sa May Sakit (LinGAP sa MaSa)

In line with its mandate to provide accessible social welfare assistance, the DSWD, through the Lingap at Gabay Para sa May Sakit (LinGAP sa MaSa), continues to serve the medical needs of indigent Filipinos.

LinGAP sa MaSa is the P1billion medical program of President Rodrigo R. Duterte implemented by the DSWD which initially began as a free medicines program. The medical program is being implemented by the Department’s Field Offices in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Regions III, VI, VII, and XI in partnership with various government hospitals.

As of October, the LinGAP sa MaSa has already served a total of 69,805 indigent patients with a total amount of ₱712,588,740.40.

Issuance of Travel Certificate to Minors Travelling Abroad

To promote the rights and protect children from any form of abuse, the DSWD, through its Field Offices, issues Travel Clearance to children, 17 years old and below, who are traveling abroad alone or who are accompanied by a person other than their parents or legal guardian.

As of November 30, the Department has issued a total of 31,909 clearances to minors traveling abroad. Of this number, 15,109 were issued to males and 16,800 to females in 16 regions.

In July, the DSWD launched its DSWD eServices establishing the online application and processing for the issuance of travel clearance certificate for minors traveling abroad.

DISASTER RESPONSE

The DSWD continues to strengthen its commitment as the lead disaster response agency in the country through the provision of relief supplies and augmentation support to local government units (LGUs), mobilization of disaster response teams, monitoring and coordination with other concerned disaster response agencies, and setting up of Rapid Emergency Telecommunications Teams (RETT) in areas hit by disasters this year.

From January to December 2018, the country was hit by 20 tropical depressions in varying intensity, the most destructive of which were Typhoons Ompong in September and Rosita in October.

Typhoon Ompong displaced 931,892 families or 3,816,989 persons in 6,504 barangays in Regions NCR, I, II, III, CaLaBaRZon, MiMaRoPa, and CAR while Typhoon Rosita affected 136,273 families or 567,691 persons in 1,921 barangays in Regions I, II, III, VIII, and CAR.

These tropical depressions also intensified southwest monsoon rains affecting 532,066 families or 2,331,101 persons in 1,835 barangays in Regions I, III, VI, CAR, NCR, CALABARZON, and MIMAROPA.

The Department provided P72,437,893.68 worth of food aid to the affected families and non-food items including hygiene kits worth P36,095,131.00.

The Department also assisted communities affected by the eruption of the Mayon Volcano which displaced a total of 23,786 families or 91,055 persons from 61 barangays in the province of Albay. A total of P100,694,318.72 worth of food and non-food items was provided to the affected locals and some P61,973,000.00 was disbursed for the implementation of the cash-for-work program in the municipalities of Bacacay, Guinobatan, Malilipot, Santo Domingo, Daraga, and in City of Ligao, City of Tabaco, and Legazpi City.

Boracay Island rehabilitation

Apart from providing assistance to victims of natural calamities and hazards, the DSWD also extended aid to communities affected by the temporary closure of Boracay Island which started from April to Octobe4r.

As of November, the DSWD Field Office VI has provided financial assistance worth P43,967,347.58 to beneficiaries who availed of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS); P53,571,600 for the implementation of the cash-for-work program; P158,940,000.00 for the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP); and, 28,915 family food packs for 12,431 families amounting to P10,409,400.60.

Aid for IDPs of Marawi crisis

The DSWD also continues its provision of relief assistance for families affected by the Marawi crisis. To date, a total of P718,369,837.20 worth of relief assistance has been provided to the internally displaced persons (IDPs).

In a statement, Bautista said that in 2019, the Department will continue to be faithful to its mandate of empowering and serving the vulnerable sectors of society.

Bautista said the DSWD aims to improve its operations and program implementation to become more responsive to existing and emerging social welfare issues.

“Foremost in this goal of an improved DSWD are stronger disaster preparedness and response effort and intensified implementation of the policy on “ease of doing business” in all DSWD transactions, among others, Bautista said.

Bautista also vowed to put premium consideration on the welfare of personnel whom he considers instrumental to the overall success of the Department.

560 more surrenderers graduate from QC drug rehab

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- A total of 560 drug surrenderers from the Quezon City drug rehabilitation center have recently graduated after completing the rehabilitation modules and counseling.

During the commencement ceremony on Wednesday, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte congratulated the graduates for being able to finish the treatment.

“I want to congratulate all of you for staying committed and dedicated to change your lives and quit the use of illegal drugs. I am sure your families are very proud now that you are finally drug-free,” she said.

She also vowed to extend help to the graduates in acquiring jobs through the QC Public Employment Service Office (PESO), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which will provide services to ensure the hiring of the graduates.

“For those who do not have jobs yet, the city will help you through PESO, TESDA, and other private sectors to acquire skills and jobs so you will stay busy and productive now that you have finished the treatment. Don’t worry, because the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) of your own barangays and the city government have prepared opportunities for you,” she said.

“Because we have found out in our profiling that one of the major causes of drug abuse among our people is idleness -- wala lang silang pinagkakaabalahan, wala silang ibang ginagawa (they only do not have anything to be busy about, they are not doing other things). So we will do everything we can to provide jobs for you,” Belmonte said.

She noted that the city government's intervention to those who finished the drug rehabilitation does not stop, for they will still closely monitor and provide after-care services to ensure a low relapse rate.

“However, our aid doesn’t stop here because we will continue monitoring and ensuring that all of you will not be just drug-free, but drug-resistant as well. And it is another challenge for you because every day, you have to decide for yourselves to say 'no' to drugs,” she added.

To date, the city has a total of 2,300 persons, who undertook the drug rehabilitation program out of the 20,000 surrenderers since 2016.

First 1,000 Days Law to benefit kids' health, nutrition

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- A children's welfare advocacy group, Save the Children Philippines (SCP), on Thursday assured that the enactment of the “First 1,000 Days Law” gives children the chance to grow and develop through health and nutrition programs.

Republic Act 11148, or the “Kalusugan at Nutrition ng Mag-Nanay Act” (The First 1,000 Days Law), was signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Nov. 29, 2018, nine days after 29th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It was co-authored by Senator Risa Hontiveros, the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality chairperson and Quezon City (4th District) Rep. Angelina Tan.

In a press conference in Quezon City, SCP chief executive officer Alberto Muyot said the newly-signed measure will provide children of indigent families an "optimum growth and development through health and nutrition programs in their first 1,000 days.”

“The enactment of the law is a welcome Christmas gift to children of poor and marginalized families who can now access better health and nutrition services,” Muyot added.

Hontiveros, meanwhile, echoed Muyot's remark, saying it is “a perfect Christmas gift to mothers and infants”.

"The challenge now is to ensure that RA 11148 will be immediately and effectively implemented, and that ample funding will be provided by government to support the many reforms the law introduces,” she said.

The lawmaker also urged the government to provide funding and the resources that the law requires.

“The state must be true to its mandate and promise of protecting mothers and their young children, whose development will determine the future of our nation,” she added.

The measure was co-sponsored by Senate Preside Pro-Tempore Ralph Rector and Senators Sonny Angara, Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Bam Aquino IV, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Loren Legarda and Grace Poe, with inputs from Senator Cynthia Villar.

The new law ensures mothers are given proper nutrition and health care before, during and after giving birth. It also supports provision of health and nutrition services for children from conception up to two years old or known as the “window of opportunity” for every child.

It strengthens training for barangay health workers and support and training for mothers to ensure their health and their children's as well.

Even before the law was enacted, the cities of Malabon and Navotas have passed their respective ordinances pertaining to the “First 1,000 Days”.

Under the new law, the implementation of a comprehensive nutrition intervention program will be headed by the Department of Health, in coordination with the National Nutrition Council, Department of Agriculture, local government units, with other government agencies, for the benefit of infants during their first 1,000 days of life, as well as their mothers and other “nutritionally-at-risk” individuals like pregnant women, lactating women or teenage mothers.

Included under the program are nutrition, counseling, consultations on various health issues, psycho-social support for mothers, oral health and lactation management services to social-welfare support for economically-challenged families and home visits for families in far-flung places.

QC backs campaign to fight violence against women, kids

By Alexandria San Juan

The Quezon City local government has expressed its support to the “Respeto Naman” campaign, a nationwide advocacy against gender-based violence as it affirmed its commitment in upholding women’s rights and fighting violence against women and children (VAWC).

The campaign, led by Embassy of Sweden in Manila, Office of the Vice President, United Nations Women Safe Cities Metro Manila, SPARK Philippines, and Empower, is part of the 18-day activism on the fight against versus violence against women and children.

Apart from the “Respeto Naman” campaign, the UN Women Safe Cities Metro Manila also launched the “Don’t tell me how to dress” campaign which aims to stop victim blaming among women who experience sexual harassment and abuse.

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte boasted the city’s successful campaign on violence against women and children as well as the actions of the City in addressing these concerns.

“We have the most progressive Gender and Development Code in the country, including being the partner of UN Women Safe Cities advocacy project,” Belmonte said in her speech during the launching.

Based on the data from the Quezon City government, the reported cases of rape increased from 196 in 2017 to 259 in 2018, showing that more people are getting aware of sexual harassment and abuse.

Quezon City was cited as a model city when it comes to fighting violence against women and children through their policies such as the Anti-Catcalling Ordinance which penalizes street-level harassment on women.

In the “Don’t tell me how to dress” campaign, clothes worn by sexual harassment victims were shown in the exhibit, telling each of their stories.

According to a study conducted by the UN, three out of five women who were harassed were not wearing revealing clothes and most of the women wore school uniform or business attire.

The UN Women Safe Cities also emphasizes the four R’s, which stands for Realize, Respond, Report, and Reform in combating VAWC.

QC repulses Laguna at home for 3rd straight win

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Capitals won its third straight game in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup after subduing Laguna Heroes at home, 85-80, at the Blue Eagle Gym in Quezon City on Thursday night.

In a highly-physical clash that saw both squads putting up a total of 84 free throw attempts, 42 for each team, and even Jay Collado leaving the game due to an apparent elbow injury after a hard fall, the Capitals held on against the Heroes in a long showdown that ended just before the clock struck midnight despite actually struggling from the foul line.

QC actually had a chance to pull away early as the team opened a 26-16 lead with six and a half minutes left in the second quarter.

But Laguna caught fire later in the second with a 10-0 run to take a 34-33 lead and eventually stretched it to four, 40-36, at halftime.

The road team, however, could not pull away from the host squad, and the latter ended the third quarter ahead, 61-60.

However, the Capitals also had a tough time in finishing off the Heroes as they struggled from the free throw line, and the latter regained the lead, 76-75, on a Ralf Olivarez triple with 1:37 left.

QC, despite the free throw woes still haunting the team, finally stole the home win with the game-deciding 8-1 run for an 83-77 cushion capped by a 2-for-2 trip from the charity stripe by Jeff Morillo.

James Castañares still put a bit of a scare with a corner triple with eight seconds left, but Jomar Santos found a blitzing Peejay Barua for the insurance layup.

Barua finished with 20 points and six rebounds for the Capitals, who zoomed up to sixth place in the Northern Division at 6-8.

Collado and Hesed Gabo each added 14 markers.

Michael Mabulac put up 21 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and one steal for the Heroes, but he had to watch the final 80 seconds of the game at the bench as he and Raymond Ilagan fouled out at crunch time.

Denok Miranda added 20 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and one steal.

Olivarez had his own double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds with one steal and one block.

Catriona Gray visits orphanage in Quezon City

(ABS-CBN News)

MANILA – Work has officially begun for Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.

On Thursday, Gray took part in a charity event for Gentle Hands, an orphanage in Quezon City.

The event is a partnership between the Miss Universe Organization and Frontrow, a homegrown multi-level marketing company.

“We are giving gifts to the children today,” the beauty queen said during a press conference at a hotel in Taguig, shortly before heading to the Gentle Hands orphanage in Cubao.

“We hope this inspires each and every one of you… to open up your heart this Christmas and give – whether it be small, whether it be large, or anything to make someone’s Christmas season happy,” she added.

Gray said the charity event for Gentle Hands was planned for the new Miss Universe, and not specifically for her.

“The new Miss Universe of 2018 just so happened to be a Filipina,” she said with a huge smile.

She went on to explain why she always had a soft spot for children: “I’m drawn to working with children specifically because I’m an only child. Growing up, I always wished for siblings, so I guess when I became an adult and I reached out to charity, working with children just really touched my heart.”

“They’re so pure, and simple things make them happy.”

After giving gifts to children at Gentle Hands, Gray lent her Miss Universe sash to one of the girls at the orphanage and taught her how to turn and wave like a beauty queen.

Gray arrived in Manila via a private jet on Wednesday, two days after winning the Philippines’ fourth Miss Universe crown.

Her return will only be a short visit which includes private engagements.

The beauty queen’s official homecoming, which traditionally includes a motorcade and TV appearances, has yet to be arranged.

Gray is expected to be based in New York to fulfill her duties as Miss Universe just like her predecessors, which include her compatriot, Pia Wurtzbach.

400 AFP scholars get Xmas packs from PAGCOR

By Priam Nepomuceno (PNA)

MANILA -- With the Yuletide Season now in full swing, 400 scholars of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday received Christmas gift packs from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato said recipients are children of active, wounded, and deceased military personnel who are continuing their studies through the help of the AFP Educational Benefits System.

They came from various areas in National Capital Region and Luzon participating in the third “Pamaskong Handog ng PAGCOR” that started in 2016, he added.

AFP deputy chief-of-staff for personnel, Major Gen. Erickson Gloria, presided over the event held at the General Headquarters Canopy Area in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

He represented Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado Jr, AFP deputy chief-of-staff, who is also the chairman of the AFP Educational Benefit System.

“I express my appreciation to PAGCOR for being one of our partners in recognizing the gallantry of our soldiers. Our partnership is very instrumental in turning the lives of soldiers’ children towards the fulfilment of their dreams,” Gloria added.

Also present in the activity is Lt. Col. Antonio Dulunuan Jr, AFP Educational Benefits System Office (AFPEBSO) chief and Jimmy Bondoc, PAGCOR vice president for corporate social responsibility.

The AFP, through the AFPEBSO, continues to partner with other agencies and organizations as part of its mission to uplift the morale and welfare of its members. It also conducts fund-raising projects to further support its growing number of grantees.

Following the gift-giving activity, the AFPEBSO held the draw for its “P50 Mo, Aral Ko” raffle project.

Winners received up to PHP80,000 worth of prizes. The proceeds of the ticket sales will be used to boost financial assistance being given to current grantees.

As of December 2018, the AFPEBSO is serving more than 3,500 grantees nationwide. Most of which are dependents of soldiers who were either killed or wounded in battle.

Since its establishment in 2001, the office has already helped around 5,000 dependents to finish their studies through various law-mandated and partnership programs.

NPO boosts leadership dev’t efforts

By Filane Mikee Cervantes (PNA)

MANILA -- The National Printing Office (NPO) on Friday culminated its five-month management training program to boost the leadership of its executive ranks in support of its plans for organizational change and development.

NPO Director Francisco Vales Jr. led the recognition and pinning ceremony for around 60 participants of the “Leaders Capacity Building and Strategic Planning” at the agency’s headquarters at Edsa corner NIA North Road, Diliman in Quezon City.

In his speech, Vales highlighted the need to introduce necessary changes within the organization to remain relevant and responsive to the demand for quality printing products and client satisfaction.

“There is really a need for us to change for the betterment. To be efficient, productive and responsive to the printing needs of the public means to change our old ways of thinking and habits which compromises the results that we need to deliver,” Vales said.

The six-module leadership workshop is in line with the NPO’s Roadmap Vision 2020 aimed at propelling the agency to greater heights by expanding its services and strengthening its internal system even while continuing to uphold the integrity of public service.

The main objectives of the workshop is to present the NPO’s overall direction to employees and stakeholders; review and update its vision and mission, goals and core values; and power up its leaders.

The final output is the formulation of a three-year strategic plan for the different divisions of the NPO.

The following are the agenda of the NPO, which is geared toward organizational change and development: 1) to continue to promote NPO’s distinct brand of quality service with a professional and capable workforce that is fully committed towards change; 2) to continue to uphold the brand of the NPO as a reliable partner in development as it expands its market base and partnership with other printers; 3) to continue with the joint venture opportunity to reinforce NPO’s capability and enlarge its operations by infusing resources with the private printers; 4) to strengthen NPO’s own base -- its internal capability and capacity as an organization to respond with dynamism to change; 5) to work further in strengthening NPO’s operation to be more economical, efficient and effective; 6) to increase revenue growth and find ways to maintain an efficient internal control system to safeguard resources from wastage, ensure that information within the organization are reliable and uphold the value of participation and partnership among and within the people in the workplace.

QC bats for converging area for elderly, PWDs

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- The Quezon City local government is pushing for a converging area for senior citizens and persons with disability (PWDs).

The Quezon City Council has passed a resolution requesting barangays and homeowners’ associations in charge of city-built covered courts to prioritize senior citizens and PWDs in using these places as converging area for their physical, moral and social well-being.

Quezon City has 142 barangays and a population of about 3 million, 51,000 of whom are considered PWDs.

Authored by Councilor Melencio Castelo Jr., City Resolution 7487-2018 requests all barangays, homeowners’ associations (HOA) and other entities in-charge of the administration of city-built covered courts and areas in the city to give priority to senior citizens and PWDs in using these as points of convergence from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., Monday to Friday, free of charge.

“Napakahalaga na magkaroon ng converging area para sa mga senior citizens at PWDs dahil may mga barangay dito sa ating lungsod na salat sa mga areas na pagdarausan (It’s very important to have a converging area for the senior citizens and PWDs because there are barangays here in our city that have no sufficient areas to converge),” Quezon City Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) personnel officer Erlinda Bañego said in an interview on Thursday.

Based on OSCA statistics, 375,000 senior citizens live in Quezon City.

“Sa amin sa Barangay Tatalon, hindi kami nakakagamit ng facilities ng barangay hall. Kaya, sa kalsada kami nagpupulong at nagdaraos ng physical fitness activities (In our place in Barangay Tatalon, we could not use the facilities of the barangay hall. Hence, we hold our meetings on the street and conduct physical fitness activities),” Bañego added.

The resolution noted that it is the policy of the government to extend full support for the betterment of the physical, moral and social well-being of senior citizens and PWDs in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act Nos. 7432, or the “Senior Citizen Law”, as amended and 7277, or the “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons”, as amended.

"Senior citizens and PWDs should be provided an area in their barangay or community that will serve as their converging area in order to nurture and foster their capacity and ability to attain a more meaningful and productive life," the resolution added.

Women urged to speak up vs. violence

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte is urging women to speak up against violence, especially victims of any forms of harassment, violence, and abuse.

“Speak up. Do not be afraid nor be ashamed to report because the city government is here to provide any kind of assistance to punish the perpetrator and serve justice,” Belmonte said in an interview on Wednesday, during the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW), spearheaded by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).

The city official has been vocal on her stand to uphold women empowerment and cease violence against women in Quezon City, where she founded various programs for women protection.

One of those is the Quezon City Protection Center (QCPC) that provides free legal, medical, and psychological assistance to victims of gender-based violence. The QCPC has saved almost a thousand women, children, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people since its launch in 2011.

In April this year, Belmonte also pursued the use of the city's Gender and Development (GAD) budget to put up more women and children help desks and protection centers in several barangays, alongside those in the police stations to expand its services in the whole city.

“We hope that, through these measures, we can alleviate the cases of violence against women,” she added.

At the same time, Belmonte called for respect towards women for their significant role and immeasurable contribution to various aspects of society.

“Regardless of gender, women, men, and members of our LGBT community have to be respected. We must also all be made to feel safe in public places,” she said.

According to the PCW, one out of four women aged 15-49 has experienced physical, emotional, and sexual violence committed by their husband or partner in 2017.

In a statement, the PCW also called for compassion for women, especially for the victims of gender-based violence, and also for women to take courage and seek help to attain healing and justice.

QC Public Library holds ‘Storytelling at the Park’

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA)--The Quezon City Public Library (QCPL) recently hosted a storytelling activity to encourage love of reading especially among the youth.

Dubbed as ‘Storytelling at the Park’, the activity was held at the Quezon City Circle which was participated in by pupils of Pinyahan Elementary School as part of the city government's “Back To Reading” campaign.

Earlier, the QC government launched the “Back to Reading” campaign to encourage the publics to read more and visit libraries, especially the Quezon City Public Library that has been repeatedly adjudged as the best public library in the country.

Puppeteers from the QCPL Children’s Section performed a puppet show featuring several skits and songs to entertain the pupils.

Several guest storytellers were also invited in the event, including Councilor Roderick Paulate.

“We usually conduct storytelling activities in schools and libraries. This is the first time that we conducted the activity outdoors to promote it to people strolling at the park,” said Assistant City Librarian Mariza Chico.

The storytelling activity was also a part of QCPL’s Library and Information Services (LIS) Month, which is commemorated every November, pursuant to Proclamation No. 837 s. 1991.

“The proclamation is in recognition for the need to focus public awareness to the invaluable service that libraries and information centers render,” Chico said.

Activa to spur strong business growth in Quezon City

By Leony Garcia

CUBAO, one of the oldest business districts in the country, is set for a grand transformation soon with the rise of Activa, a mixed-use development seamlessly integrates a lifestyle mall, offices and BPOs, hotel and residential condominium.

Activa is one of Gotianun-led Filinvest projects, which offers a holistic live-work-play lifestyle. A dynamic, refreshing and chic concept, the development’s wide variety of components complement a slew of well-appointed amenities for both business and residential buildings—making Activa an ideal place where one can thrive.

The 1-hectare property is situated at the corner of Edsa and Aurora Boulevard in Cubao, Quezon City. Activa’s enviable location provides close proximity to various central business districts, commercial centers, health and wellness hubs, educational institutions, places of worship, and other office developments in the Metro.

Activa is also conveniently connected to the north and south of Metro Manila via Edsa, while the east and west is easily reachable via Aurora Boulevard. Aside from this, Activa also boasts of being a transit-oriented development, being accessible to various city and provincial bus stations and to the two main train lines—MRT and LRT. It is also commuter-friendly with the planned bus lay-by, taxi stands, vehicle pickup points and pedestrian link to the train stations.

Mixed-use lifestyle

Activa Flex, the development’s 24-story building, is comprised of 40 Compound Office units, 112± Regular Office units and 168± versatile SoHo units. With unit size ranging from 20± square meter to 240± sq m, Activa Flex provides the much-needed space for flexibility and functionality.

Ideal for start-ups to medium-sized firms, Activa Flex’s units with small office home office spaces grant forward-looking entrepreneurs the flexibility and convenience of living and working in one place, all within a master-planned cityscape. Each unit is equipped with fiber-optic cable and telecommunications backbone for high-speed connectivity. It also features six high-speed elevators, providing efficiency and convenience to its occupants.

Activa Office Tower is another key component in this development. It boasts of 14-story typical office floors ideal for BPOs and knowledge-based companies. Similar to Activa Flex, this office tower is also equipped with fiber-optic cable and telecommunications backbone for high-speed connectivity. It also boasts of acquiring a Gold LEED pre-certification, a rating system that aims to accelerate the development and implementation of “green” building practices. The office tower will likewise feature N+1 emergency back-up power and a rooftop garden that will offer a splendid view of the city’s skyline.

Other components of this mixed-use concept are the hotel, mall and residential condo—Activa Hotel will feature 11 premium floors with 200± well-appointed rooms, all-day dining, function rooms and rooftop amenities, such as an infinity pool, sunset bar, fitness center and a themed café.

Activa Mall, on the other hand, is a five-level shopping and leisure complex with a retail podium, specialty retail establishments, al-fresco area, food hall, cinema, supermarket, wellness hubs, fashion boutiques and digital establishments.

A residential component is also in the pipeline. It is envisioned to be a 32-story premium residential units that provide efficient and functional living spaces suited for young professionals, newly married couples, and start-up families, even for those looking for a sound and productive investment. It will also feature 4 high-speed elevators, infinity pool, sky terrace with barbeque deck and a fitness gym.

Now on its construction stage, buyers can enjoy investment growth until the project reaches completion.

Activa recognizes the need for everything to be within reach in this age of rapid advancement. For this purpose, Activa has put together the essentials that make a seamless mixed-use development—the convenience of condo living, the flexibility of being in a modern workplace set in an ideal location, and the revelry in its entertainment and leisure components.

Know more about Activa and other Filinvest projects by visiting www.filinvest.com.ph.

Youths told to look beyond Aguinaldo's sculpture

By Gladys Pino (PNA)

MANILA -- A bust monument of General Emilio Aguinaldo, the country's first President, was unveiled Monday inside Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo High School (CGEAHS) along Boni Serrano Avenue in Quezon City.

The bust will serve as a lifetime reminder of the great revolutionary leader's contribution in attaining the country's independence, officials said.

Speaking before scores of school teachers, alumni, and other guests including Aguinaldo’s descendants, Director Myrna De Persia-Medina, Acting Executive Officer of the National Police Commission (Napolcom), enjoined the youths to look beyond the sculpture and be inspired by Aguinaldo’s ideals.

Following Monday’s bust unveiling rites, Medina, the school’s Class of 1977 Salutatorian, spelled out these ideals, which include offering one’s self to the country by doing “ordinary things in extraordinary ways.”

Medina said that victory stems from “perseverance, discipline, being obedient, patient, and most importantly from having good manners.”

Aguinaldo’s examples during his historical life may serve as model to the youth – the future leaders – as they aim and work for positive changes in the country, much like other Filipino heroes who offered their lives for the country’s peace and prosperity.

The General, who became President at the young age of 29, maybe synonymous to a plethora of things – from his eventful and exciting life, his courageous and bold political actions, and the various accusations being thrown towards his name.

Aguinaldo’s most important role in history is his presidential proclamation of the Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite, which paved the way for the birth of the Philippine Republic on January 23, 1899.

The bust will help advocate his legacy and the family truly appreciates the honor, said the hero's great grandson and independent curator, Angelo Jarin Aguinaldo.

The occasion was also attended by school officials led by principal Dr. Zenaida U. Arao, Alumni Association President Edward Nel G. Beltran, Dr Emmanuel F. Calairo Cavite Historian and Vice Chancellor of Research of De La Salle University-Dasmariñas, Rhouz G. Camposanto from Kawit Tourism Office, and other descendants of Aguinaldo.

QC to promote talents via performers’ database

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte on Monday vowed to give opportunities to the city's student performers to showcase their talents through a database which aims to track and scout every performing arts group that could represent the city during various events in and out of the country.

During her speech at the Pistang Pinoy 2018 at Barangay Veterans Village, Belmonte said the city has numerous talented individuals and performing arts groups deprived of platforms where they can express their artistry.

Belmonte said that Filipinos are among the talented race in the world but lack programs to hone and further develop their talents.

“That’s why I plan to establish a database of all our school-based performing arts groups because I know, there are heaps of talents waiting to be discovered; we just need to give them the opportunity to showcase it,” Belmonte said.

At the same time, the vice mayor said there are plans to put up the city’s own performing arts school where students can learn and enhance their skills in dancing, singing, acting and theater play.

“We also have talked about founding the Quezon City School for the Arts, of course, with the help from the Philippine School for the Arts. We are starting to plan for this project to happen,” Belmonte said.

“Because it’s sad that we lack a real performing arts theater. Hopefully, through this, we can help the youth improve their talents whether it be dancing, singing, acting, and we can live up our name “The City of Stars,”” she added.

CHR opens Liwasang Diokno freedom park in Quezon City

By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) yesterday opened a freedom park in its central office in Quezon City, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Named after human rights champion and late senator Jose Diokno, the Liwasang Diokno features a 30-tier fountain representing the 30 articles of the UDHR.

“It is to commemorate the legacy of Pepe Diokno who, after being arrested and tortured, rather than keeping silent sought to defend the rights of others during the dark days of martial law,” CHR chairman Chito Gascon said.

“We want to introduce him to a new generation of human rights activists,” Gascon added.

The park also features a statue of Diokno, which was previously unveiled by the CHR.

The park and the statue were funded by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Quezon City declares tax amnesty

By JAIME PILAPIL (TMT)

The Quezon City council has passed an ordinance exempting business establishments from book audit for the years 2016 to 2018 provided they pay 30 percent more in taxes for 2019.

Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr., author of the ordinance, said the additional 30 percent intends to offset the revenue lost due to the suspension of 2019 fair market values on property.

“The ordinance was welcomed by my colleagues. Both Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and our acting city treasurer Ruby Guevarra are supporting this scheme. Our 70,000 business establishments will be happy with this program for sure,” the councilor told The Manila Times.

Ferrer said the basis of the new law is Section 192 of the Local Government Code of 1991.

About P1 billion will be collected from this tax scheme, which may fund allowances granted to public school teachers.

The tax amnesty, however, is not applicable to businesses who have pending cases in courts or any administrative office.

Estrella's historic triple-double lifts QC over Zambo

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno (PNA)

MANILA -- Andoy Estrella became the first player to achieve two triple-doubles in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) as his latest 10-10-10 output helped Quezon City maul Zamboanga City, 109-81, at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila on Saturday night.

Estrella tallied 19 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds to lead the Capitals, who banked on their run-and-gun game to waylay the struggling Valientes beginning late in the first quarter.

Jay Collado top scored for QC, which won back-to-back 100-point games and moved up to 5-8, with 21 markers alongside 13 rebounds for the double-double and four assists.

Hesed Gabo came close to his own double-double with 11 points and nine assists alongside three rebounds, five steals, and one block.

Overall, QC dished out 35 assists.

Reed Juntilla made 17 markers, nine boards, six dimes, and one block for Zamboanga, which slipped to 6-10.

Korean gov't, PAGASA inaugurate flood forecasting center in QC

By Ma. Cristina Arayata (PNA)

MANILA -- The Korean government, through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) inaugurated on Friday the Pasig-Marikina-Tullahan River Basin Flood Forecasting and Warning Center in Quezon City.

The center marks the completion of KOICA and PAGASA's Automation of Flood Early Warning System for Disaster Mitigation in Greater Metro Manila project.

"Among the priority areas of KOICA Philippine office is disaster preparation and preparedness. KOICA included this section in its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) from 2016 to 2020," Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday.

He added that PAGASA has been a strong partner of KOICA in bringing development projects since 2007.

The Automation of Flood Early Warning System for Disaster Mitigation in Greater Metro Manila project aims to improve responsiveness to natural disasters and mitigate damages to residents in Tullahan and Pasig-Marikina river basins.

The project will help minimize property damages and casualties since this will enable PAGASA to forecast way ahead of flooding incident.

"This project is our way of addressing the challenge on massive flooding. We will use our foresight to see all the possible dangers, and we will utilize the technology," the DOST Secretary said.

KOICA provided PAGASA with a USD5.2 million for the project. The grant will be used to establish a command center with state-of-the-art equipment, specifically, for the installation of automatic water level gauges, automatic rain gauges, warning posts, close-circuit camera television units (CCTVs); the development of 10 units of software; and setting up relay stations and wireless network for the CCTVs.

"The money was not given to us. KOICA disburses. The total cost spent for the past three years was PHP250 million," dela Peña said.

As part of this project, Korean experts will share their technical know-how, and enhance the capabilities of PAGASA personnel to respond to natural disasters.

Training programs in Korea for PAGASA officials and other stakeholders, and workshops for local government units and their residents are also included in the project, according to KOICA.

“The Korean government recognizes the urgent need to address and mitigate the devastation caused by floods, as it is considered to be one of the most damaging natural disasters in the country. We recognize the need to strengthen disaster response capacities to save and protect more lives,” Korean Ambassador Han Dong-man said in his speech during the launch.

Dela Peña, for his part, recognized the dedication of PAGASA team and their counterparts in KOICA for their continuous effort to improve the country's disaster mitigation system.

QC barangay health centers to be modernized

By Chito Chavez

The Quezon City government wants to modernize the city’s barangay health centers by adopting a scheme where doctors can make medical consultation even without being physically present with the patient.

Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said “there is a certain technology wherein a doctor is assigned to three to four health centers but he is not physically present in those health centers.

Through modern technology, Belmonte said the doctor just needs a big television screen, where nurses may secure relevant medical data about the patient.

These pieces of information include but not limited to the vital signs of the patient where the doctor may then give instructions on what the patient needs to do or to take.

“It is time to innovate the barangay health centers in the city to efficiently address various health problems and concerns,’’ Belmonte said.

She expressed her frustration over the lack of doctors in the Quezon City health centers prompting her to come up with a plan to modernize medical consultations through virtual checkup.

“That way, the doctors can give advice to several health centers to several patients all at the same time,” she added.

Belmonte said they are encouraged to consider the idea since the technology is now being used by other cities in the Philippines as well as in other neighboring countries.

“It’s time for a change. It’s time to think out of the box,” Belmonte said.

In the meantime, Belmonte said her team is still planning and studying the program carefully.

Belmonte also sees the need to address the lack of official data on the health status of residents which makes the city ill-equipped in providing programs for the people’s needs.

“I want the city to gather official data because as of the moment, we all know that there is none. And when it comes to health data—how many people are in need, how many people die every day, what are the usual causes of death, and statistics when it comes to mortality, morbidity, pregnancy rate—we will not know what programs we are supposed to give to our people without that data,” she added.

She also disclosed that data gathering will start in the first six months of 2019,

“I have already allocated P20 million for us to have a data gathering component so there will be some personnel who will ask the people about their health conditions and any other concern,” the vice mayor said.

Belmonte also stressed her vision of launching more Barangay Health Management Councils to provide adequate medical support to the wider range of population in the city..

“Dapat ngayon lahat ng barangay mayroon nang Barangay Health Management Council because after interacting a lot of the people of our city, nakita natin na ang pangunahing concern nila ay ang kalusugan kung kaya ang kailangan nating lahat ay paigtingin ang ating kampanya patungkol sa kalusugan sa antas ng komunidad (All of the city’s barangays should have a Barangay Health Management Council since after meeting a lot of the people I discovered that their primary concern is about health. So that is why I see the need to upgrade the delivery of public medical service),’’ Belmonte stressed.

“This institution, the Barangay Health Management Council, could address all the health concerns of our people,” she added.

Belmonte assured that “all of the city’s health concerns can get proper attention with proper planning, thinking out of the box, innovating ideas, and consulting the best practices of our LGUs (local government units) and our health management councils.”

Quezon City kicks off drive vs. obesity, diabetes

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- The local government of Quezon City on Thursday launched a campaign dubbed as “#healthierQC” at the Nicanor Reyes Jr. Hall, FEU-Diliman, Quezon City.

The “#healthierQC” drive is the first of its kind and the newest health campaign by the city government in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and Vital Strategies.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista was represented by City Health Officer III Dr. Verdades Linga.

In her speech, Linga said “the campaign is geared toward reducing the incidence of non-communicable diseases among children.”

Linga added “Quezon City is building a #healthierQC” in a commitment to fight non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which is now the leading cause of death in the world.”

He cited the NCDs, including stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, are on the rise and the leading cause of death in the Philippines.

“With the majority of the world’s population now living in urban settings, cities are uniquely positioned to transform the fight against diseases and injuries by implementing policies to significantly reduce exposure to risk factors,” Linga said.

To reduce deaths, illness and injuries related to NCDs, Linga said, Quezon City launched “healthierQC”, a campaign to encourage healthier diets among the youth.

“This means increasing the consumption of nutritious food and water, and avoiding consumption of junk food, processed food and sugary drinks,” she said.

“At Quezon City, we are committed to building capacities so that our residents can have longer, healthier, and happier lives. We encourage the community—our parents, teachers, schools, and our youth—to get behind “healthierQC,” Bautista’s message for the event read.

“We believe that, in the long run, being healthy is the best gift we could ever give to our loves ones. Nutritious diets are ultimately a better way of showing how much we care for our family and our children,” Bautista added.

Also present during the launch were the Quezon City Health Department officials and staff, Grade 3 students of FEU-Diliman, FEU-Diliman Executive Director Albert Cabasada III, representatives from the Bloomberg Philanthropies and implementing partner Vital Strategies.

The initiative was in collaboration with Partnership for Health Cities, a global network of cities led by Michael R. Bloomberg, World Health Organization Global Ambassador for NCDs.

It will enable cities around the world to deliver a high-impact policy or pragmatic intervention to reduce NCD risk factors in their communities.

DSWD chief cites children as drivers of dev't

By Lucia F. Broño (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA)—“Children are also drivers of development,” Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista said in a statement at the start of the 7th Pantawid Pamilya National Children’s Congress (NCC) held in the National Capital Region recently.

Bautista said through the conduct of NCC, children beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya are empowered to assert their right to voice their insights and experiences on what it takes to have a peaceful nation that can address their needs and protect them from different forms of abuse.

He added that as the lead agency that protects the rights and promotes the welfare of children, the Department works with other government agencies and policymakers toward achieving a ‘bayang mapagkalinga’ which Filipino children deserve

A total of 88 children beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program participated in the NCC which is part of the DSWD’s celebration of the National Children’s Month, in partnership with the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), with the theme “Bata, Magkaisa Tungo sa Bayang Mapagkalinga”.

The activity focused on the importance of making the country a nurturing and safe place where Filipino children can live and fulfill their dreams. It also informed the participants on the rights, roles, and responsibilities of a child.

NCC is a yearly gathering where provincial winners of the Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children nationwide discussed current issues that affect them and propose solutions to address them.

This year, the congress highlighted the Pantawid Pamilya children’s shared vision of a safe and nurturing society, how to achieve it through the help of the adults who surround them and the government that serves them, and how to influence other children to make this dream to fruition.

NCC uses the arts as development approach that employs singing, dancing, acting, visual arts, writing, and other activities that hone the participants’ creativity in expressing themselves, while instilling the value of leadership and volunteerism to help others and be part in the development of their own family and community. The children’s voices and hopes can be used as basis in reviewing the policies and procedures that can facilitate building a ‘bayang mapagkalinga’, through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

New book encourages grassroots to save PH forests

By Catherine Teves (PNA)

MANILA -- A new book jointly launched by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) seeks to mobilize more grassroots action on forest and biodiversity conservation nationwide.

Launched Monday (Dec. 3) in Quezon City, the book "In the Heart of the Forest" aims to promote such action by showcasing real-life stories of people working at the grassroots level, with assistance from the government.

Among conservation champions featured in the book are former rebel Mansueto Puerpas, who is helping monitor Negros Oriental province's forests, and Marisa Naputo, who lost her husband and two daughters when Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck Samar Island but is already helping educate communities about the importance of forest conservation.

"I support and encourage all of you to share our beautiful stories to others. Let's work hard to tell and spread narratives of commitment and service to the environment for our children and future generations of Filipinos," DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said in a message read by DENR Undersecretary Rod Garcia at the book launch.

Cimatu thanked the USAID for partnering with DENR on B+WISER, which sought to boost forest and biodiversity conservation in the country.

"We preserve our memories of success through the launch of 'In the Heart of the Forest,' a beautiful book that collects photos of Philippine forests and people dependent on them," the Secretary said.

USAID Philippines Environment Office Chief John Edgar praised the people featured in the book for their dedication to and resilience in saving Philippine forests and biodiversity.

"Their stories are all inspiring and collectively demonstrate the strength of Filipinos," Edgar said at the event.

DENR and USAID came up with B+WISER, as data showed that during the 20th century, the Philippines lost nearly 75 percent of its natural forests to illegal logging and other causes.

"The B+WISER program started six years ago amidst need to address deforestation and biodiversity decline in the country," DENR's Forest Management Bureau (FMB) Director Nonito Tamayo said at the launch.

He said the DENR, the local governments concerned, the private sector, and upland communities have received local capacity-building through science-based strategies, so these can conserve biodiversity in forest areas, protect remaining natural forests, and reduce disaster risk.

FMB noted B+WISER has helped improve management for 6.3 million hectares or over 90 percent of forest areas nationwide, as well as livelihood for more than 29,000 people in communities that depend on natural resources.

"Indeed, the book 'In the Heart of the Forest' acknowledges milestones of the program, but it also aims to inspire more Filipinos to engage in forest protection and biodiversity conservation through its beautiful pictures and captions," Tamayo said.

Aside from launching the book, the DENR and the USAID further celebrated their partnership by planting on Monday two seedlings of the native tree species called "kamagong."

Garcia, Edgar, and Tamayo planted the seedlings at the DENR's Heroes Park in Quezon City after the book launch.

The planting symbolized solidarity of the two agencies in protecting forests and biodiversity nationwide, Tamayo said.

Over 1K jobs available for PWDs in QC on Dec. 5

By Ferdinand Patinio (PNA)

MANILA -- Over 1,000 employment opportunities are available in a special jobs and opportunities fair for persons with disability (PWDs) on Wednesday (Dec. 5) in Quezon City.

In a statement Monday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said the job vacancies are in BPO, electronics, advertising, hotel, health and wellness, travel, media, logistics, manpower and security services, sales, property management, pharmaceutical, and memorial services, among others.

The one-day affair is spearheaded by the DOLE in partnership some 30 Rotary Clubs of District 3830, to be held at the covered walk of the Quezon City Hall.

Aside from jobs, the special activity will also provide skills and livelihood opportunities.

While DOLE conducts skills profiling of participants, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will provide livelihood and skills training for those interested during the event.

Applicants may pre-qualify for available positions or employers who wish to participate in the job fair may register at philjobnet.gov.ph.

The event is being held as a special offering of the Labor Department which celebrates its 85th founding anniversary this week, in partnership with the Rotary Club.

This is also the group’s contribution to the observance of the International Day for Persons with Disability, and part of the government’s awareness campaign encouraging private sector employers to allocate 1 percent of their workforce to persons with disability.

Republic Act 10524 mandates agencies of government to employ persons with disability to comprise at least 1 percent of their employees, while it provides incentives to private enterprises with more than 100 employees who take in disadvantaged persons into their workforce.

The Rotary Clubs from District 3830 mobilized more than 30 employers from various parts of Metro Manila to the activity, on top of a host of companies invited by DOLE.

The other offices collaborating in the activity are the Public Employment Service Offices, the National Council on Disability Affairs and the city government of Quezon City.

All local government units in Metro Manila were invited to participate by sending qualified persons with disability from their respective communities to the job fair.

PIA head talks media monitoring at nat’l conference

By Maverick Russel Flores (PIA)

QUEZON CITY, Dec. 2 (PIA) -- Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director-General Harold Clavite spoke on the essence and methods of media monitoring in government during the 6th National Communication Research Conference (NCRC), held at Cine Adarna, University of the Philippines-Diliman, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018.

Clavite’s speech played right into the event’s theme, “Examining Philippine Media: Texts and Contexts,” as he tackled how the PIA analyzes content from various media platforms in order to provide valuable information in aid of governance.

“Not only do we pick up news, we pick up issues—and we manage those issues,” Clavite said.

He introduced the PIA’s dedicated team for media monitoring—the PIA Monitoring Unit—and explained their process consisting of issue identification, strategy-making and evaluation.

“Of course, all of these [processes] won’t be valuable if no action will be taken,” Clavite said. “We help them more if we give them strategic messaging plans.”

He said the PIA formulates monitoring reports that will then be used by concerned government agencies to respond to issues, survey public opinion and as reference for policymaking.

“The PIA prides itself in studying and keeping up with the current trends in communication to serve the country better, especially the grassroots.” he said. “Developing more ways to connect their grievances to the government… will help build to a more united, more progressive nation.”

The NCRC, conducted by the UP College of Mass Communication – Department of Communication Research and the Philippines Communication Society, is a venue for communication students, alumni and professionals to present their research output under scrutiny of an esteemed panel of experts. Outstanding outputs are awarded at the end of the conference.

Novaliches marks Bonifacio’s 155th birth anniversary

By Severino Samonte (PNA)

MANILA -- Residents of Novaliches in Quezon City joined the rest of the country in the celebration on Friday of the 155th birth anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio, considered as the father of the 1896 revolution against the tyrannous Spanish rule in the Philippines.

The local celebration was held at the Bonifacio monument along Quirino Highway at Novaliches Poblacion under the joint auspices of the descendants of Bonifacio, Novaliches Proper Barangay Council, and officers and members of the different Knights of Columbus assemblies and councils in Novaliches District.

Among the features of the celebration were floral offerings and reading of the “Kartilya” or Decalogue of the KKK (Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Supreme and Venerable Society of the Children of the Nation) by Ms. Patricia P. Bonifacio, a descendant of the Great Plebeian.

Those who sent flowers included Quezon City 5th District Rep. Alfred Vargas, Councilor Jose Visaya, and Barangay Novaliches Proper Chairwoman Asuncion Visaya.

History shows that Bonifacio and his co-founders of the Katipunan led the uprising against Spain by tearing their “cedula” or residence certificate on Aug. 23, 1896.

DND, AFP hold cybersecurity conference

By Priam Nepomuceno (PNA)

MANILA -- In line with ongoing efforts to secure the country's cyber infrastructure, the Department of National Defense (DND) conducted its Cyber Bayanihan 2.0 with private and public stakeholders last November 7.

The event is in partnership with the Cyber Group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and private company Synetcom Philippines, Inc. and held at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

With the theme, “Securing the Philippines’ Critical Cybersecurity Infostructure”, Cyber Bayanihan 2.0 focused on securing the country’s information technology infrastructure – otherwise known as infostructure – by integrating, updating, strengthening, designing, and implementing cyber Security Operations Center (SOC) capabilities and programs.

“I would like to express my gratitude to everyone here who continues to support one of the most important, albeit new aspect of the defense mission – cyber security,” DND Undersecretary Cardozo M. Luna said in a statement over the weekend.

The thrust and advocacy of the conference involved educating government agencies, communities, and vertical markets on how critical new technologies in cyberspace are in defending and preventing cyber threats from acquiring information from the stakeholders.

“This conference, which followed through from the Cyber Bayanihan 1.0 in 2014, now aims to bridge the gap between stakeholders’ cyber awareness and the implementation stage of a viable and strengthened government Security Operations Center (SOC).

This likewise complements the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programs of the government to boost the country’s cyber defense capabilities,” he explained.

During the whole-day event, Director Nebuchadnezzar S. Alejandrino, chief of the Defense Situation Monitoring Center, tackled “Threats to Philippines Cybersecurity: A Defense Perspective” in his presentation, while other guest speakers from reputable IT companies such as Microsoft, Synetcom, Nexus, SES Networks, Nexus, AhnLab, ePLDT, Genians and Efficient IP shared their security solutions to help address the current cybersecurity threats and attacks on Cyber Space.

The participants who attended the conference were from the DND and its bureaus – the AFP, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, the Office of Civil Defense, and Government Arsenal; the Office of the Executive Secretary of the President; the House of Representatives; the Department of Finance; the Department of Justice; the National Bureau of Investigation; the Department of Public Works and Highways; the Department of Trade and Industry; the Department of Social Welfare and Development; the Department of Transportation; the Philippine National Police; the Department of Information and Communications Technology; the National Economic Development Authority; the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency; the National Security Council; and the Land Registration Authority.

Moreover, companies Synetcom Phil. Inc., Plexus Systems Inc., Easycall Communications Inc., One Delta, TDG, Easycall E-services, Inc., Transnational E-Business, Miescor Telecoms, Easynet, Microsoft, Transportify represented the private sector.

MPIC-led consortium partners with Quezon City on solid waste management project

(Manila Standard)

The local government of Quezon City recently linked up with a consortium led by the Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC), Covanta Energy, LLC and Macquarie Group Ltd. to build an integrated solid waste management facility (ISWM).

The facility will be capable of processing up to 3,000 metric tons per day of the city’s municipal solid waste, and convert this into some 42MWe of renewable energy, enough to power between 60,000 to 90,000 homes.

The project will be undertaken through a joint venture between city hall and the consortium in accordance with QC LGU ordinance SP-2336, s. 2014 (QC PPP code).

Shown in photo are Jose Ma. K. Lim, president and chief executive officer of MPIC, and QC Mayor Herbert Bautista, both of whom signed the joint certification of successful negotiations.

The project will undergo a competitive challenge, consistent with government regulations, wherein the original proponent of the project will have the right to match bids.

“The increased volume of solid waste as a result of economic growth, with a lack of sustainable options for managing waste, has become a major challenge for local governments”, explained Lim.

“Our proposed facility provides an environmentally beneficial solution to these challenges.”

Bistek re-launches 'BizTech'

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY -- Mayor Herbert “Bistek” M. Bautista on Monday, 05 November 2018, led the re-launching of Business Technology “BizTech” Center and Negosyo Center at the 4th level of Ali Mall in Cubao.

Biztech provides an avenue where the city and national governments as well as the private sector extend their services to micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs).

It will serve as the information center and “clearing house” for MSMEs.

The center will also assist small businesspersons and entrepreneurs in building linkages with the city government.

“This launching demonstrates the efficiency of private and public cooperation in sparking business growth and productivity,”Bautista said.

The center is in line with the city’s compliance with Republic Act 10644, or the Go Negosyo Act, signed by President Benigno Aquino III in 2014.

Even before the ratification of Go Negosyo Act, Quezon City already planned the establishment of Biztech, a statement from the the city government said.

“Matagal nang plano ito. Wala pa ‘yung Go Negosyo Law, maitatayo na natin ito. Lalo na nating alam gawin when Go Negosyo Law was enacted,” Bautista said.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Quezon City director Sarah Deloraya-Mateo said the center will greatly help in promoting business in QC.

“Four years in the making, finally nandito na rin. This will help in the promotions para maging united ‘yung mga negosyante, especially MSMEs. Halimbawa, kung ang isang industry ay may issues and concerns o mayroong gustong iparating sa government, madaling maipaparating yung concerns nila,” Mateo explained.

Department of Trade and Industry Negosyo Center Programme Management Unit (DTI-NCPMU) program manager Emma Asusano commended the city’s initiative in putting up a negosyo center in Cubao.

“This is another testimony kung bakit laging napipili ang QC as the most highly competitive city all over the country,” Asusano said.

Mayor Bautista, moreover, envisions the construction of two more Biztechs in La Loma and Novaliches.

“Dapat mayroon din nito sa Novaliches at sa La Loma kasi ang QC ay napakalaki. It is one-third the land area of Metro Manila. It is not enough that we have one like this in Cubao alone,” Mayor Baustista said.

Under the current administration of Bautista, the city has become the pilot city of the national government’s ease of doing business initiative. The city has established a business one-stop-shop, and has reduced the 15-step business permit renewal process into three steps.

AFPSLAI donates gym equipment to DND

By Priam Nepomuceno (PNA)

MANILA -- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday thanked the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loans Association, Inc. (AFPSLAI) for donating gym equipment which can be used by military and civilian personnel in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

“We are honored that you have chosen us as the beneficiary of your corporate philanthropic initiatives to support and promote the health of our soldiers and civilian community here at the DND and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” he said.

The gym equipment consists of leg curl machine, leg extension machine, leg press machine, abdominal machine, flat pro bench, incline fly bench, Olympic flat machine, shoulder press bench, Olympic incline bench, and Olympic decline bench.

Lorenzana said these items will beef up the fitness facility in Camp Aguinaldo and will greatly contribute to the culture of fitness within the "One Defense Team".

“It is a well-known fact that exercise contributes much to our overall health, physically, mentally, and emotionally. We hope that this equipment will help you keep fit and have a healthy lifestyle, give you the work -- life balance that you need and enhance your productivity” AFPSLAI chief executive officer, (retired) Maj. Gen. Emeraldo C. Magnaye said.

He added that the donation is their way of expressing gratitude to the DND for its support and cooperation.

Lorenzana encouraged all members of the "One Defense Team" to take advantage of the gym equipment and facility, citing the positive effects of exercise to one's physical and mental health.

“Fit bodies and minds allow us to withstand the rigors and stresses of our jobs, wherever and whenever we are called to serve," he added.

Metro Manila’s most climate-resilient communities to be rewarded

By Catherine Teves (PNA)

MANILA -- The government will launch this year the first Metro Manila-wide search for communities that are most climate- and disaster-resilient.

The formal recognition aims to promote resilience-building practices to protect life, limb, property, and the environment from climate change, the search's coordinator, Merva Arapo, said in an interview on Tuesday.

A joint project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the search is under a government program called "K5: Kilos sa Klima at Kalamidad tungo sa Kaligtasan at Kaunlaran."

"K5 is anchored on preparedness and resilience," Arapo said.

Under K5, marks of resilient communities include preparedness for extreme weather and other climate threats, having effective risk communication systems, and having networks for resource exchange, cohesion, response, and recovery.

Arapo said the formal recognition of the winning communities will be held on Nov. 23 at a venue that is yet to be determined.

The prize is PHP50,000 for the first place; PHP40,000 for the second; and PHP30,000 for the third. Seven consolation prize winners will get PHP10,000 each.

"The plan is to deposit those prizes in the winning communities' respective bank accounts," Arapo said.

Last year, the environment and interior departments signed a memorandum of agreement covering K5 to identify Metro Manila's best climate- and disaster-resilient communities.

Both agencies believe these communities can serve as models for educating other settlements on climate change, thereby empowering the communities in solving the environmental problem.

The DILG and the DENR came up with the K5 program, as experts warned the Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable to the changing climate.

Environment experts said the phenomenon's effects on the Philippines include the increasing onslaught of extreme weather and the rise in sea level and temperature.

"Communities must be able to deal with climate change," Arapo stressed.

She said 12 of 28 communities that joined the search are already in the shortlist for scoring high on certain resilience-building practices.

The shortlisted communities are in Parañaque, Pasig, Makati, Quezon City, Malabon, and Valenzuela, she noted.

She added these communities are in the running for the top three spots.

QC to put up drug rehab center for women, recovery clinic

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- In line with Quezon City’s campaign against illegal drugs, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte bared on Wednesday plans to put up a drug rehabilitation facility for women and a recovery clinic for voluntary surrenderers to treat more effectively drug-dependents in the city.

“We have been discussing with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and by next year, we will have a partnership to establish a facility just for women,” Belmonte said in an interview.

The vice mayor also serves as the chairperson of the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC).

Belmonte cited studies from the city showing that women were more hesitant to go to drug rehabilitation facilities since many of them could not leave their children behind.

“Kasi karamihan sa mga babae, kailangan mag-alaga ng anak. Kung may facility po tayo para sa mga kababaihan lamang, mabibigyan po sila ng karapat-dapat na atensyon at pwede silang magdala ng hanggang dalawang anak sa facility (Because majority of women, needed to take care of their children. If we have the facility for women only, they will be given appropriate attention and they can bring along with them up to two children in the facility),” she said.

Belmonte also proposed to establish a voluntary recovery clinic for drug surrenderers.

“Even if you’re not included on the police watchlist but you know you’re a user and you want attention, you can go to the clinic and you will be given help and support. We will do this starting next year,” the vice mayor said.

Belmonte noted that the additional facilities will be welcome additions to Quezon City’s TAHANAN rehabilitation center and will help address the influx of drug dependents who have surrendered after the launch of Oplan Tokhang.

TAHANAN is the Philippines’ first treatment facility for drug dependents that is accredited by the Department of Health, and is fully-funded and managed by a local government unit. It was first opened in 1993 and is being operated by the Office of the Vice Mayor.

Since 2016, around 16,000 have surrendered to QCADAAC and the Quezon City Police District.

Surrenders are referred to QCADAAC’s community-based drug recovery treatment, where drug users are provided with free skills and livelihood training.

After graduating from the community-based drug recovery treatment, the reformed drug users are provided with free skills and livelihood training and starter kits by the Office of the Vice Mayor, the Quezon City Skills and Livelihood Foundation, Inc. and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

QC hosts C40 Asian adaptation forum

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA)--This city hosted this year’s gathering of stakeholders and government agencies for the C40 Asian Adaptation Forum at Novotel in Araneta Center Cubao.

Local officials, international organizations, and stakeholders from the region will discuss measures in addressing climate change, adaptation, and resilience planning in global cities.

The three-day forum (Nov. 6-8) includes sessions on policy formulation and dialogue as well as a workshop for city officials on urban flooding, one of the main climate hazards affecting the region.

Among the topics that will be discussed are C40’s Adaptation Diplomacy, a project supported by Cities Alliance that aims to discuss the urgency of Climate Change Adaptation in Global South cities focusing on Asia; the impacts of climate change in cities and communities, and strategies to communicate these impacts; and the need for financing mechanisms for adaptation in cities.

C40 Cities is an international organization that connects 96 cities that try to address climate action.

Member cities are committed to delivering on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement such as increasing the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, and at making finance flows consistent with a low greenhouse-gas-emissions and climate-resilient pathway. .

The Quezon City local government has crafted and implemented an effective Environment Code addressing the city’s concerns on environment protection and waste management.

Aside from the QC Environment Code, the city has also invested its resources in waste-to-energy, establishment of a materials recovery facility, and urging the residents to use bicycles as a mode of alternative transportation.

QC launches PH’s 1st mobile app on city ordinances

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- To reduce the high record of ordinance violations, the Quezon City Council, led by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, on Tuesday launched the “Batas QC”, the country's first mobile application on local ordinances, to spread awareness about the rules and penalties concerning local laws.

“This is the first user-friendly, city-based database that everyone can easily access, and it aims to counter ordinance violations by educating residents on the penalties they will be incurring,” Belmonte said during the app's launching at the Quezon City Hall.

“Lack of awareness on fines and offenses will no longer be an excuse,” Belmonte added.

Records from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) showed that from June 13 to Nov. 2, 2018, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) apprehended the highest number of ordinance violators at 262,847, which is 58.4 percent of all the arrests made for ordinance penalties in Metro Manila.

Belmonte said the high number of apprehensions has led the local government to implement Ordinance 2752-2018, which mandates law enforcers to issue ordinance violation receipts (OVR) instead of jailing ordinance violators in the city.

With an OVR, the violator can pay a fine within five days at the barangay hall or Quezon City Hall for offenses such as drinking, being half-naked and smoking in public places.

Belmonte noted that the launching of the app is “timely” since it will help residents understand ordinances as the OVR system is rolled out.

“One objective of the OVR is to mitigate the congestion in jails and detention centers, but we want to go one step further through 'Batas QC' by helping residents know our ordinances, so they will not have to violate the laws in the first place,” she said.

She added that aside from the city’s priority to maintain peace and order by reducing ordinance violators, “Batas QC” aims to educate residents about ordinances concerning roads, transportation, garbage, healthcare and other issues.

“Many of our residents bring up concerns that are already being tackled by existing ordinances, pero dahil hindi pa nila alam, hindi sila nakakasunod sa batas o nagbebenepisyo sa mga serbisyong nandiyan na (but because they still don’t know, they are not following the law or benefitting from the services that are already there),” Belmonte said.

During the launch, Belmonte demonstrated the use of the mobile app which contains all city ordinances, announcements and search functions that categorize ordinances based on their topic.

The app, which is downloadable through the Google Playstore, can be used even when offline.

Copies of the ordinance are also downloadable through the app.

To ensure law enforcers will also have access to the app, gadgets containing the “Batas QC” were symbolically turned over to the QCPD, Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS), and Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD) during the launch.

Also present during the event were City Council Majority Floor Leader Franz Pumaren, QCPD Director Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel Jr., Liga ng mga Barangay President Alfredo Roxas, DPOS head Elmo San Diego and EPWMD head Frederiko Rentoy.

“Batas QC” was developed by Thinc Office Corporation which also created MyLegalWhiz, the pioneering online legal resource in the Philippines.

6,600 QC residents undergo training on urban farming

By Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Some 6,600 Quezon City residents underwent training on urban farming this year in a bid to reduce costs of food in the household and provide source of income amid increasing prices of commodities due to inflation.

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said that through the local government’s “Joy of Urban Farming” program, resident-participants were given orientations and trainings on backyard gardening, eco-waste management, and climate change.

“Because we are experiencing inflation, we are intensifying the implementation of our urban farming program because more residents are asking for the training,” Belmonte said

She added that with the increasing prices of food, especially Pinoy’s staple food which is rice, and other basic commodities, more people are thinking of venturing into backyard farming.

Participants were also given planting and harvesting demonstrations at the project’s demo farm at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

“The goal of the project is to show that, even with a small space, urban dwellers can still farm using vertical gardens, containers, and other farming techniques,” the vice mayor explained.

After the training, a free starter kit containing seeds, soil, and other needs for farming were distributed to the participants for them to start their own garden.

Belmonte explained that once the residents got engaged in urban farming, they can help reduce costs of food, and, provide healthy food choices for their family, as well as help address climate change.

Under the program, Belmonte added that households that have been selling their produce earn as much as P400 per day which can be a source of livelihood for backyard farmers.

Since its launch in September 2010, the project has attracted a total of 181,414 trainees who were given orientations in barangays, schools, communities and religious institutions.

With this, at least 166 urban farms have also been put up in different barangays in the city.

The project is being conducted in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, the Division of City Schools, the Quezon City Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department, Liga ng mga Barangay, Earthworm Sanctuary, Gawad Kalinga and other organizations.

The QC local government urged interested residents to join weekly urban farming trainings being offered at the “Joy of Urban Farming” site at the Quezon City Hall Compound from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Quezon City launches book promoting city food scene

By Rio N. Araja

The Quezon City government is promoting food tourism through a book entitled “Food City: A Journey Through Quezon City’s Food Icons.”

“This is a book we are doing in partnership with the Quezon City Tourism Council and a leading publisher on food. We want to make a book on food icons that includes restaurants and eating places that started here in Quezon City but are now known all over the country,” Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

Popular establishments such as Ma Mon Luk, Jollibee, Max’s Restaurant and Red Ribbon, started in Quezon City and have gone on to become household names.

“These are all part of our pamana or heritage in our city. They became part of the lives of every Filipino but they are from Quezon City,” Belmonte said.

The book is part of the city’s campaign to promote its history, culture, and arts to cement an identity that its residents can be proud of, she added.

“Promoting our tourist sites, facets of faith, food icons, and museums are what we do to show what’s unique about the city especially among millennials,” Belmonte said.

As presiding officer of the city council, the vice mayor backed the creation of the city culture and arts council bringing together local government officials, city planning and development officials, school representatives, and representatives from the arts, heritage conservation, indigenous people and non-government organizations to promote culture and the arts.

DPWH constructs new quarters for soldiers

By Jimmyley E. Guzman (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- Soon, enlisted personnel (EP) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will move into their new quarters, as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Quezon City Engineering Office started the construction of two (2) 5-storey multi-purpose buildings inside the AFP General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar said the new living quarters is being contructed to house AFP enlisted personnel and will ready for occupancy by January 2020.

“Consider this as our way of showing our appreciation to the selfless service and sacrifices our uniformed men and women make for our country,” said Villar.

The building construction, which was launched in July of this year, costs P233 million, with 88 units each or a total of 176 units with provision for garage at the ground floor.

According to DPWH, each unit will have a floor area of 35 square meters (5 meters x 7 meters) to ensure a comfortable and conducive living quarters of enlisted personnel and their families.

DPWH to conduct weekend road reblocking

By Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

MANILA -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will conduct road repairs in parts of Quezon City, Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (Edsa) and Circumferential Road 5 (C-5) this weekend.

In its traffic advisory Friday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said road reblocking and repairs will be conducted at the following areas from 11 p.m. Friday night until 5 a.m. of November 5:

SOUTHBOUND:

1. C-5 Road after Lanuza Ave. 2. C-5 Road near SM Aura (2nd outermost lane) 3. EDSA Sct. Albano – after Scout Borromeo (3rd lane from sidewalk)

NORTHBOUND:

4. EDSA before Oliveros Footbridge – before Globe Master 2nd lane before Times St. before UCCP 1st lane

Restoration and concreting work will likewise be done on the following areas:

1. Roosevelt Ave. (Northbound) cor. Baler St. (1st lane from sidewalk) 2. West Ave. (Southbound) Baler St. to Examiner St. (1st lane from sidewalk) 3. Visayas Ave. (Northbound) Road 1 intersection (half of 2nd to 3rd lane from sidewalk) 4. Commonwealth Ave. near pedestrian footbridge and near Jocfer Building and along Comm. near N. Zuzuaregui St.

Meanwhile, the Manila Water Company will conduct pavement restoration covering one lane enclosure in front of Solace along C-5 Southbound from 10 p.m. Friday until 4 a.m. of November 5.

Motorists are advised not to pass through affected roads and use alternative routes instead.

11th Jamboree Boy Scouts remembered

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor (PNA)

MANILA -- Sam Santos, 11, is one of the members of Roberto Castor Rover Scouts-Circle 11, who visited on All Saints' Day the Boy Scout Cenotaph inside the Manila North Cemetery to honor the 24 Boy Scouts, who died in a plane crash en route to the 11th World Scout Jamboree in Athens, Greece in 1963.

"We're here to commemorate their death kasi hindi naman po sila naging hero-scouts dahil bumagsak ang eroplano, dahil din po iyon sa serbisyong naibigay nila habang scouts pa sila (because they didn't become hero-scouts because of the plane crash, it is also due to the services they had given while they were scouts)," Santos told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Roberto Castor Rover Scouts-Circle 11 is a community-based scout group, established in memory of Roberto Castor, who was then a 14-year-old Boy Scout, when the plane crash claimed his life. The scout group's members hail from different schools in Quezon City.

The other scouts who died in the plane crash were Ramon Valdes Albano, Patricio Dulay Bayoran, Gabriel Nicolas Borromeo, Henry Cabrera Chuatoco, Victor Oteyza de Guia, Jose Antonio Chuidian Delgado, FCS Felix Palma Fuentebella, Pedro Hermano Gandia, Antonio Mariano Limbaga, Roberto del Prado Lozano, Paulo Cabrera Madriñan, Jose Fermin Magbanua, Romeo Rafael Rallos, Filamer Santos Reyes, Wilfredo Mendoza Santiago, Benecio Suarez Tobias, Antonio Rios Torillo, Ascario Ampil Tuason, and Rogelio Celis Ybardolaza.

Marc Zion Cresencio, president of the scout group, told the PNA that the story of these boy scouts and their scoutmasters inspired him to serve as a scout leader.

"I'm now 20 years old, graduate of Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education major in English, but I plan to serve as a scout because it gives me a lot of benefits and it helps me in helping or training those who are younger than me," he said.

Cresencio shared that he became a scout at the age of nine, after his mom encouraged him to join a jamboree, so he could cope with the sadness brought about by his father's sudden death.

"Naging introvert ako nang mamatay ang dad ko. Sa scouting, hindi lang natanggal ang sadness ko, na-encourage din ako maging displinado sa pag-aaral kasi sabi ng Scoutmaster ko, hindi ako makakasama sa jamboree kung mababa ang grades (I became an introvert after my father died. Through scouting, my sadness was gone, and I was encouraged to be disciplined in my studies because my Scoutmaster told me I could not join the jamboree if I had low grades)," he related.

Cresencio added scouting allows young people like him to break free from the harmful influence of mobile games, to which most students and young professionals are addicted nowadays.

"Nilalawakan kasi ng scouting ang mundo mo, hindi gaya sa mobile games na nakatutok ka lang sa cellphone sa loob ng bahay. Sa scouting may socialization at dumadami ang mga kaibigan mo (Scouting widens your world, unlike mobile games, which get you hooked on your cellphone inside your house. Scouting involves socialization and you get more friends)," he said.

He added scouting teaches him various ways to be helpful and become a good servant-leader.

"Sa scouting po, ang isang leader dapat marunong umintindi sa pangangailangan ng iba at dapat marunong din makisama (In scouting, a leader must understand others' needs and must be able to get along with others), he said.

Fe Castor Pangan, sister of the deceased scout Roberto Castor, manages the group's scouting activities, together with National Capital Region Commissioner for Community-Based Scouting Florencio Antonio.

Pangan told the PNA that their group has raised professional scouts, who are tasked to train younger scouts for the future.

"Mayroon na po kaming na-train na engineer, medical technician, seaman sa loob ng four years. Sila po ang magpapatuloy sa next generation ng scouts (We have trained an engineer, medical technician, seaman in a span of four years. They will continue the next generation of scouts)," she said.

Stressing that scouting is key in raising disciplined Filipino youths, Antonio said their group aims to provide the country dependable future leaders.

"We want scouting to be a source of manpower, when it comes to leadership. So, we send our scouts to different schools as instructors also, then we do projects in the community," he added.

Apart from saying their prayers for their predecessors, the young scouts took turns guarding the Boy Scout Cenotaph from morning to early evening Thursday.

QC urged to pass ordinances for senior citizens, PWDs

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Two groups on Wednesday called on the Quezon City government to pass three proposed ordinances that would benefit the city’s senior citizens and persons with disability (PWDs).

Records of the Quezon City Council show that 16 percent, or 485,414, of the city’s 2,970,562 population are senior citizens.

In a legislative forum, the participants, led by Rosita Lacson, president of the Quezon City Alliance of Health Advocates; Alex Mendoza, president of the PWD Federation Quezon City; and Asuncion dela Cruz, senior citizen focal person of Barangay Tatalon, urged the Quezon City Council to prioritize the passage of ordinances that would benefit their sectors.

The three proposed ordinances are those on the establishment of a Senior Citizen Outpatient Department and Diagnostic Medical Center; the profiling and registration of PWDs; and the appointment of Medical Health Officers in every barangay in Quezon City.

Mendoza noted that in Australia, senior citizens are only charged a fare of one Australian dollar for their trip to a distance similar to the distance from Quezon City to Baguio City or Batangas.

He wished that the city’s senior citizens would be accorded the same privilege.

Lacson said it is time for the city to profile its senior citizens and PWDs so that their respective concerns could be addressed by the city government.

Meanwhile, dela Cruz said only 35 doctors are attending to the health needs of residents of the city’s 142 barangays.

She added that it is about time that more doctors are sent to the barangays so that senior citizens and PWDs who need medical attention would be attended to properly.

At the same time, lawyer Jojo Conejero, legislative staff of Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, told the participants that there are 130 vacant positions for doctors in the city, but only 54 are plantilla positions.

An ordinance also mandates the barangays to allocate 1 percent of their budget for senior citizens and PWDs, he said, adding that non-compliance would lead to the non-approval of the barangay’s budget.

During the forum, the participants were also informed that the city has a PHP21.5-billion proposed budget, 1 percent of which, or PHP215 million, would benefit senior citizens and PWDs.

Of the PHP215 million, PHP82 million will be for senior citizens’ welfare services, PHP26 million for personnel and miscellaneous and other operating expenses of the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs, PHP16 million for the Persons with Disability Affairs Office, and the rest for various services and departments of the city government.

SSS branches abound in Novaliches

By Severino Samonte (PNA)

MANILA -- Until two decades and a half ago, or before the close of the past century, residents of the divided former town of Novaliches had to travel 10 to 20 kilometers and spend a sizeable length of time to transact business with the Social Security System (SSS) main office along East Ave. in Diliman, Quezon City.

Realizing the rapid population growth and economic progress taking place in Novaliches since the 1970s, the SSS has opened five branches in various sites in the former town. Three of these branches are in the Quezon City part of Novaliches while the two others in the Caloocan City section, also known as North Caloocan.

As a result, the Novaliches folk now just need to travel five to 10 kilometers at most and spend less time and fare to reach the SSS branch nearest to their residences or places of work or business.

The biggest among the three SSS branches in Novaliches, Quezon City is situated at the ground floor of Robinsons Place Novaliches on Quirino Highway in Barangay Pasong Putik Proper. The other two are located on Commonwealth Ave. in Barangay Greater Fairview and in Barangay Batasan Hills. These three branches are concentrated within a 10-kilometer distance from Quirino Highway to Commonwealth Ave. in Barangay Batasan Hills, site of the House of Representatives building.

The SSS branches situated in the Caloocan section of Novaliches are those at NC Jean Building in Celia Subdivision on Susano-Camarin Road in Barangay Deparo and at Bankers Village II on Quirino Highway leading to San Jose del Monte City, Norzagaray and Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

SSS-Robinsons Novaliches branch head Lydia C. Cereno told this writer in an interview that the opening of the five SSS branches in the Novaliches area is in accordance with the SSS policy of decentralization and bringing its social and economic services closer to the people.

She said the first SSS branch in Novaliches was opened in 1994 at the Alfred Building on Quirino Highway in Barangay Kaligayahan. It was transferred later to Robinsons Novaliches mall as the growing number of SSS clients could not be accommodated anymore at its old site.

The SSS branches receive applications for educational/policy/housing loans, sickness, maternity, death, disability, retirement, and Employees Compensation benefits, as well as issuance of SSS membership number and Unified Multipurpose Identification (UMID) card.

Cereno said there is another SSS branch on Congressional Avenue in Barangay Bahay Toro, but this is separate from those in the so-called Novaliches area.

The SSS branches in Novaliches cover the employers, employees, self-employed and voluntary members within the former town, now also known as Diocese of Novaliches which has jurisdiction over nearly half of Quezon City and more than half of Caloocan City.

Among the biggest business establishments in Novaliches today are SM City Fairview mall in Barangay Greater Lagro, Ayala Fairview Terraces mall and Robinsons Place Novaliches, both in Barangay Pasong Putik, and SM City Novaliches mall on Quirino Highway in Barangay San Bartolome.

There are also hundreds of banks, Save More and Pure Gold outlets, fastfood chains, Mercury Drug branches, National Book Stores and other commercial establishments in the area.

The biggest branch of the S&R membership shopping mall in Metro Manila is also near the junction of Commonwealth Ave. and Quirino Highway in Barangay Kaligayahan, Novaliches.

Pink Filmfest empowers LGBTQ+ community

(Manila Standard Showbitz)

After a three-year hiatus, the Quezon City government is set to unveil the screens for the Quezon City International Pink Film Festival (QCIPFF), which runs from Nov. 14 to 25.

Since the city council’s approval of its landmark ordinance protecting the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer (LGBTQ+) community against discrimination and harassment, the Pink Film Festival continues to be at the forefront of gender empowerment and awareness in the city and in the country.

This year’s edition commemorates the 79th founding anniversary of Quezon City and the centennial of Philippine cinema.

Featured in the festival are a total of 64 international and local feature and short films.

Filmmakers and actors from the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, Tonga, Spain, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Syria, Turkey, and the United Kingdom will participate in this year’s celebration.

The Philippines’ oldest film festival for the LGBTQ+ community features films on health and sexuality, as well as human rights. Seminars are to be held during the festival week with LGBTQ+ rights advocates leading the discussions.

Opening the festival on Nov. 14 is Jethro Patalinghug’s 50 Years of Fabulous, a documentary on the world’s oldest surviving LGBTQ+ charity organization, San Francisco’s Imperial Council.

Also featured in the international lineup are films celebrating gay pride and sexuality such as Brazil’s Liquid Truth, Japan’s Boys for Sale, and Turkey’s Mr. Gay Syria, Tonga’s Leitis in Waiting, and Thailand’s The Driver.

The Philippine lineup commemorates the life and contributions of former Quezon City Pride Council President and film director Soxie Topacio, his comedy film Ded na si Lolo leads the Philippine lineup.

The highlight of the local film program is PJ Raval’s documentary on the tragic life of Jennifer Laude titled Call Her ‘Ganda’” A special feature of the festival are 42 short films coming from various parts of the world and the archipelago.

Screenings are to be held at the Gateway Cinema Complex in Cubao, Nov. 19 to 21 at University of the Philippines Cine Adarna in Diliman, and Nov. 22 to 25 at Cinema Centenario in Maginhawa Street.

This year, the festival partners with Amnesty International Philippines to talk about the current health and human rights situation concerning the LGBTQ+ community. Project Red Ribbon Care Foundation will also conduct HIV awareness program and testing.

Without proper response, the number of Filipinos living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV AIDS) will tally around a quarter of a million by 2030. The Philippine National AIDS Council reports that in 2018, as many as 32 Filipinos were diagnosed with HIV-AIDS daily.

In relation to human rights record, a total of 164 cases of hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community were recorded from 1996 to 2012.

QC an anti-discriminatory, LGBTQ+-friendly city

The first pro-LGBTQ+ legislation—with implementing rules and regulations—in Metro Manila was enacted here in Quezon City (Ordinance No. SP-1309, s. 2003). The ordinance prohibits all acts of discrimination committed against members of the LGBTQ+ who are either looking for jobs or working in government offices and for the private sector in the city.

Furthermore, a comprehensive anti-discrimination ordinance was proposed in 2014, with an objective to end prejudicial treatment based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).

Overall, a 2017 report from Human Rights Watch shows that 19 cities and six provinces have enforced pro-LGBTQ+ ordinances—with a meager 15 percent of the whole Philippine population protected. The need for a national law on anti-discrimination is still pending, as the now 18-year-old Anti-Discrimination Bill awaits its fate at the Philippine Congress.

Home in the heart of QC

By Amy R. Remo (Reporter)

Finding the right home is all about location.

No matter your lifestyle and preferences, you cannot go wrong when you choose a home that would have everything you need within a comfortable distance—from schools, offices to commercial establishments and other key institutions—and which can provide potentially lucrative returns for your investment.

Whether you’re just starting a family or looking to enjoy your personal time after a decorated career, finding a home you can move into right away and located in a strategic, premium neighborhood can spell a huge difference in the kind of lifestyle you can expect.

Quezon City, for one, has been tagged as among the most ideal residential locations as it offers the casual, laidback flair of a suburb, but with the ease of modern comforts. Here in the largest city of Metro Manila, one can find a highly diverse mix of residential choices, locators and lifestyle establishments, that will allow you to lead a more holistic, well-balanced life.

It now all boils down to the question of which. Where within this residential haven can you find the most suitable home, a coveted, ready-for-occupancy address that will cater to your needs and those of your family? Here are some of the things you may want to consider

Proximity to schools, public institutions

There’s no quick solution to the exhausting tangled mess of Metro Manila’s infernal traffic. A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) showed that Philippine traffic may worsen and eventually cost the country as much as P5.4 billion in lost opportunities per day in 2035.

Thus, the need to have easy access to your commonly frequented institutions from where you live has increasingly become a necessity.

One such residence is Megaworld’s prime condominium development: Golfhill Gardens. Strategically located at Capitol Hills in Quezon City, Golfhill is less than 20 minutes away from BPO hubs as well as from the country’s top universities like University of the Philippines-Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University and Miriam College. It’s also a mere 15 to 30 minutes away from government offices, including the Quezon City Hall, SSS East Avenue, Land Transportation Office and The House of Representatives.

Access to green, open spaces

The fast-paced city life offers an adrenaline rush that people across different generations seem to crave. But it is equally important for one to unwind and commune with nature every once in a while, not only to break the monotony of city living but to also keep one’s mind and body invigorated.

Living in Golfhill Gardens means being less than 15 minutes away from patches of greens in the city, including the QC Memorial Circle, Balara Filters Park and the vast lush spaces of UP Diliman.

Exclusivity and security

With six clusters inside its premises, Golfhill Gardens offers an exclusive community where you can be assured of your family’s security and comfort. Here, you can simply relax and tick off your fitness goals at Golfhill Gardens’ pool, gym and jogging path—all of which can be your own private fitness sanctuary whenever you want to.

Knowing that medical institutions are a quick drive away can also ease your health and emergency concerns when it comes to you and your family’s safety. In less than 25 minutes, you can already reach the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, East Avenue Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines and Philippine Children’s Hospital.

Flexible payment schemes, ready-for-occupancy units

Aside from flexible monthly amortization payments, Golfhill Gardens also offers minimal downpayment for its ready-for-occupancy units, making it the best value-for-money investment in the area thus far. What’s even more comforting is the fact that you no longer have to wait for years to move in and see the fruit of your investment as the Golfhill Gardens community is already built and waiting to welcome you and your family.

Indeed, even the smallest of decisions count when it comes to making the decision on where to move, start building your life, or grow your passions. Make sure you start and end your day on a good note in a home best suited for your lifestyle.

Discover more about what makes Golfhill Gardens a perfect fit to you and your family’s needs by browsing through the “Ready-for-Occupancy” page on the official Megaworld Corporation website, www.megaworldcorp.com.

Novaliches, a burial center in northern Metro Manila

By Severino Samonte (PNA)

MANILA — Believe it or not, Novaliches—a former town removed from the country’s map over a century ago because of inadequate population and income—is now literally serving as a burial center in northern Metro Manila.

Five big memorial parks (a mild term for burying grounds) and six cemeteries—five public and one private—are serving as final resting places for the dead in Novaliches, divided between Quezon City and Caloocan City at present.

This is among the reasons why there have been perennial traffic snarls in all streets leading to Novaliches in the past four-and-a-half decades since the 1970s. The daily traffic problem becomes more acute during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, from the eve of Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.

For at least three days at this time of the year, practically all roads leading to Novaliches are clogged with vehicles of all types, bearing hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life, visiting the graves of their departed loved ones.

Of the five public cemeteries, three are in Novaliches, Quezon City, and the two others are in Caloocan.

The three memorial parks in the QC area are the Holy Cross Memorial Park along P. Dela Cruz St. in Barangay San Bartolome; the Himlayang Pilipino Memorial Park along Tandang Sora Ave. in Barangay Pasong Tamo; and the Eternal Gardens along Quirino Highway in Barangays Baesa and Balonbato, just off Balintawak.

Those in the Novaliches-Caloocan area are the Forest Memorial Park in Barangay Bagumbong and the Serenity Memorial Park in neighboring Barangay Deparo.

The oldest among these memorial parks is the Holy Cross Memorial Park, established in the early 1960s. Prior to the establishment of similar memorial parks in the nearby towns (now cities) of Valenzuela, Meycauayan, and San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, affluent families in these areas were burying their dead relatives at the Holy Cross Memorial Park.

On the other hand, public cemeteries in Novaliches, QC are the Novaliches Catholic Cemetery along Gen. Luis St. in Novaliches Poblacion; the Bagbag Public Cemetery along Quirino Highway in Barangay Bagbag; and the Baesa-Sangandaan Cemetery, also along Quirino Highway. The oldest among these three is the Novaliches Catholic Cemetery, established in 1856.

The two public cemeteries in the Caloocan portion are the Bagbaguin Cemetery along Gen. Luis St. in Barangay Bagbaguin and the Tala Cemetery in Barangay Bagong Silang, considered as the biggest barangay in the country today in terms of population and land area.

The lone private cemetery in Novaliches is the Jesuits Cemetery at the compound of the Sacred Heart Novitiate and Seminary along Quirino Highway in Barangay Pasong Putik Proper, just off the Quezon City-Caloocan boundary near the La Mesa Dam. Among those buried in the Jesuits cemetery were three noted priests--historian Fr. Horacio dela Costa, 1989 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Journalism; Fr. James Reuters; and activist doctor-priest Fr. Romeo “Archie” Intengan.

There is no exact figure for the number of people buried in these memorial parks and cemeteries in Novaliches, but it could easily exceed the million mark.

One thing sure is that the presence of these burial grounds in the area is creating grave traffic problems in Novaliches every time All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are observed on Nov. 1 and 2.

Most of the people visiting their dead relatives in the five memorial parks on Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and 2 are car owners who drive their vehicles bumper-to-bumper along the roads leading to Novaliches, particularly along Quirino Highway from Balintawak, Susano Road leading to North Caloocan, Tandang Sora Avenue, C5 Road-Mindanao Avenue, Gen. Luis St., and Commonwealth Avenue.

As a backgrounder, Novaliches was created as a municipality during the Spanish regime in 1855. After the two succeeding Filipino-Spanish and Filipino-American wars (1896-1901), the town’s population was reduced drastically to just 1,556 as of 1902. As a result, Novaliches was reduced to a barrio and annexed to the then town of Caloocan, Rizal in 1903.

When Quezon City was declared as the capital of the country in place of Manila in 1948, Novaliches was divided between QC and Caloocan, which became a city in February 1962. Although Quezon City ceased to be the Philippine capital under a presidential decree issued in 1976 by then President Ferdinand Marcos, the divisive state of Novaliches remains to this day.

Human milk bank in Quezon City draws mothers

By Rio N. Araja

MORE mothers have become aware of the Quezon City government’s human milk bank and its role in saving the lives of sick and premature babies.

A total of 630 lactating mothers have donated to the human milk bank in the fourth quarter of 2018 from July to September.

In the third quarter from April to June, there have been 560 donors in the third quarter.

On March 23, 2015, Mayor Herbert Bautista ordered the creation of the human milk bank in compliance with the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 requiring government and private health-care institutions to set up milk banks.

The mayor has recognized the significant contribution of the social media to popularize the city’s human milk bank program.

“We were able to reach out to donors through our Facebook at Instagram platforms,” human milk bank director Dr. Shahani Duque said.

“There are more walk-in donors, plus the scheduled milk-letting activities by local health of the city and barangays, too. We have a very effective information dissemination this time,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism has commended Bautista for the city government’s vision to be the center of film tourism in the Philippines through its annual QCinema International Film Festival.

Filmmakers commend QC's gender fair advocacy

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA)--Filmmakers from the Quezon City International Pink Film Festival (QCIPFF) 2018 expressed gratitude to Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista for providing a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Ang Quezon City ang nangunguna sa lahat ng LGUs natin in terms of anti-discrimination advocacy at nakikita natin na effective ito sa Quezon City sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng film festival, kahit magamit man lamang ito na plataporma para sa pagpapalawak ng kamalayan tungkol sa ating LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community,” QCIPFF director Nick Deocampo said.

Quezon City provides an avenue for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community filmmakers to showcase their craft through the QCIPFF.

Filmmakers also emphasized the significant impact of supporting LGBTQ-themed films as platforms to increase awareness of the public on social and health issues the members of the LGBTQ are facing today.

“Kapag naipalabas kasi ito lalo na kapag napanood ng madla, hindi lang ng mahihilig ng mga pelikula parang mararamdaman na rin nila ang nararamdaman ng mga LGBTQ para lalo nilang maintindihan ang mga ito, lalo na sa mga may anak na lesbian or gay,” Filmmaker Nixs Bernal said.

This year’s festival features the free-showing of 64 award-winning local and international films and will host seminars on LGBTQ rights and health issues.

Festival entries include 'Call Her Ganda' by PJ Raval as the opening film in UP Cine Adarna, and Filipino cult classics 'Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros' and Soxie Topacio's 'Ded na si Lolo'.

The Quezon City International Pink Film Festival will run November 14 to 25, 2018 at the Gateway Cineplex, University of the Philippines Film Center, and Cinema Centenario.

The QC government continues to comply to protect and enhance the right of the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities under the Section 1 (a), Article XIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

The Quezon City Pride Council spearheads cultural, arts, film, sports and other related events including education campaigns on LGBT issues and concerns under the QC Gender-Fair Ordinance.

DSWD to assist implementation of PMOC program

By Lucia F. Broño (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA)--The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) vowed its full support to assist national government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to streamline the process and effectively execute the Pre-Marriage Orientation and Counseling (PMOC) Program as one of the members of the technical working group for the implementation of the program.

Based on the revised guidelines on the conduct of the PMOC Program, the DSWD is tasked to accredit Pre-Marriage (PM) Counselors and to provide technical assistance to LGUs and PMOC teams which includes the provision of relevant training to accredited PMOC counselors.

The contacting parties or would-be-married couples, who will apply for a marriage license at the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO), are required to undergo a Pre-Marriage Orientation and Pre-Marriage Counseling as pre-requisite in securing a marriage license. Prior to the PMOC sessions, the contracting parties must accomplish a Marriage Expectation Inventory Form (MEIF) at the PMOC Secretariat.

Applicants who are 18-25 years old, except those marriages that are exempted from license requirement as provided for in the Family Code of the Philippines, are obligated to personally attend the PM orientation that will be conducted by the PMOC Secretariat and PM counseling session that will be facilitated by an accredited PM counselor who is a member of the local PMOC.

Meanwhile, contracting parties 18-25 years old who have certificates issued by a priest, minister, or imam (Muslim priest) to formalize their marriage are no longer required to undergo PM counseling.

The topics that will be discussed in the PMO session include information on responsible parenthood, family planning, marriage and relationship, and breastfeeding and infant nutrition.

The DSWD is committed to ensuring that appropriate training will be provided to PM counselors to ensure that couples are provided with extensive information to strengthen the foundation of the Filipino family and the practice of responsible parenthood.

The PMOC-TWG is chaired by the Commission on Population (POPCOM) with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as its vice-chair. Other members of the PMOC include the DSWD, Department of Health (DOH), and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

DENR-BMB holds consultations on IP-based biodiversity policies

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA)--The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) conducted a National Stakeholders’ Consultation on its proposed policies as part of its continuing efforts to expand the country’s protected area system.

The consultation, which aims to institutionalize “Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCAs)” in the Philippines, took place at B Hotel, Quezon City from October 17-19, 2018, and has drawn more than a hundred participants from indigenous peoples (IPs) groups, concerned national and regional government agencies, and civil society organizations.

ICCA Policies and Platforms

Four proposed policies are being deliberated during the three-day event. First is a policy guideline addressing gaps and inconsistencies towards ICCA recognition; second is a set of guidelines interfacing the ICCAs into the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and the Community Development Plan (CDP); third is a guideline on ICCAs overlapping with protected areas; and last is the National ICCA Registry and Policy envisioned to be a centralized information management system on ICCAs.

The policies and platform are the culmination of months of sub-consultations, interviews, and fieldworks by the consultants of the Project.

ICCA Relevance

Falling under the category of Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Methods (OECMs), ICCAs offer government agencies an alternative outlook for biodiversity conservation.

According to Mr. Samson Pedragosa, Project Manager of the Philippine ICCA Project, it is estimated that 75% of areas with remaining forest cover are within ancestral domains, which indicates that the governance by IP communities has been instrumental in conserving what little natural forest cover is left in the Philippines.

Ms. Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez, Director of DENR-BMB, emphasized the need to promulgate government policies on ICCAs by saying, “The recognition of ICCAs is in line with the country’s targets to the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Aichi targets and the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP). Passage of the ICCA policies will ensure that we will hit these targets.”

Mr. Titon Mitra, Country Director of United Nations Development Programme Philippines, also noted ICCA’s role in reducing inequality alongside boosting safeguards to the environment. “With the huge overlaps between the country’s protected areas, key biodiversity areas, and ancestral domains, there is great value in supporting IPs’ conservation efforts, thereby producing multiple benefits such as protecting their rights to ancestral lands, poverty reduction, and enhancing ecosystem resilience,” Mr Mitra said.

The Philippine ICCA Project

Implemented by the DENR-BMB and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through UNDP, the Philippine ICCA Project aims to strengthen the conservation, protection, and management of biodiversity sites in the Philippines by institutionalizing ICCAs as a sustainable addition to the national protected areas (PA) estate.

Grab boosts app’s safety features

By Alexandria San Juan

In a bid to raise transport safety standards in the country, dominant ride-sharing firm Grab Philippines launched on Monday at an event in Libis, Quezon City the “Safer Everyday Tech Roadmap” that aims to intensify its safety measures for both drivers and passengers on their platform.

Grab unveiled its enhanced in-app safety features, including passenger and driver validation, the emergency SOS features for drivers, a driver fatigue monitoring system, and data protection.

“I am glad to say we’ve raised the bar for safety standards of the overall transport industry in the region. The Safer Everyday Tech Roadmap represents the next phase in strengthening the safety of the Grab platform,” Tan Hooi Ling, Grab co-founder said.

Through passenger and driver validation, authentication will be made available for more transparency as well as more rigorous driver background checks that include criminal records and inspections on dormant driver accounts.

Grab’s emergency SOS features, which is currently available on the passenger app, will also be extended to drivers where they can share their live location with loved ones.

The driver fatigue monitoring and telematics reports aimed at changing user safety habits through letting the drivers learn their driving patterns and identify how to drive more safely.

Grab wiLl also be enhancing its in-app data privacy center enabling passengers to have more control over personal information for their safety and protection.

QC approves 20-pct discount at restaurants for solo parents

By Apples Jalandoni (Reporter, ABS-CBN News)

MANILA—The Quezon City council has approved on final reading an ordinance granting a 20-percent discount to solo parents at all food establishments in the city.

The discount, according to the council, will be given every first and last Sundays of the month with a maximum restaurant bill of P2,000.

It added that the discount will be tax deductible for the establishments.

The discount aims to help ease expenses of single parents when dining at restaurants, particularly during special occasions of their children.

To avail of the discount, parents should present their "Solo Parent ID," which they can apply for at the city's social services department.

Nat’l teachers’ org turns 50, to hold convention in QC

By Hazel P. Villa and Hilda C. Montaño (Panay News)

MANILA – One of the country’s major organizations for teachers and educators that seeks to promote professional development and competency among Filipino teachers turns 50 this year.

To celebrate the milestone, the Philippine Association for Teachers and Educators, Inc. (PAFTE), will hold its 47th National and 8th International Convention on October 22 to 24, 2018 at Novotel Hotel in Cubao, Quezon City.

The theme of this year’s convention is “PAFTE @50 and Beyond: Celebrating Years of Service to Continuing Empowerment of Professional Teachers and Educators”.

This event will be participated in by administrators, educators and teachers from teacher education and basic education institutions nationwide, guests, and partner agencies and organizations

Registration is from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. of Oct. 22, 2018 with the convention formally starting at 2 pm on October 22 and ending at noon of Oct. 24, 2018.

Highlights of the event include four research presentations – one each from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and the National Capital Region in line with the conference theme.

The research presentations that have undergone review by and evaluation by the PAFTE Research Committee would have to revolve around any of the following: PAFTE impact as a professional organization; quality teacher and basic education; continuing professional development; the teaching profession; teacher transformation; as well as innovations and development in teacher education. The others are teacher education curriculum; and educational trends and issues.

“Research works must have been conducted for the last three years, but still relevant to the present and not been widely disseminated,” said the conference organizers.

Those interested in joining the convention may contact Dr. Imelda E. Cuartel at 09273431962; Dr. Milagros L. Borabo at 09176311102; and Dr. Felina P. Espique at 09465418018.

6th annual QCinema announces 2018 roster of films

(INQUIRER.net BrandRoom)

QCinema International Film Festival (QCinema) feature over 40 films ranging from award-winning features to fresh stories from budding storytellers.

QCinema spreads its roster of films through nine categories which will run from October 21 to 30, 2018, at Gateway Mall (Cineplex 10); Robinsons Galleria (Robinsons Movieworld); and Ayala Malls Cinema in Trinoma and U.P. Town Center. Local screenings will also run from October 24 to 30, 2018 at SM Fairview, SM Megamall, SM Manila, and SM Southmall.

Molding Talents

On its sixth year, QCinema has selected seven filmmakers to be given production grants for its “Circle Competition” and “DocQC” section.

The “Circle Competition,” for independent features of new and seasoned homegrown storytellers, have been given production grants of one and a half million pesos each while the “DocQC,” for documentaries, have been given seed grants of 300,000 pesos.

This year’s “Circle Competition” lineup includes Samantha Lee’s “Billie & Emma,” Timmy Harn’s “DOG DAYS,” Dan Villegas’ “Hintayan ng Langit,” Gutierrez Mangansakan II’s “Masla A Papanok,” and Dwein Baltazar’s “Oda sa Wala.”

Documentary films “All Grown Up” from Wena Sanchez and “Pag-ukit sa Paniniwala” from Hiyas Baldemor Bagabaldo will comprise the “DocQC” section.

Film selections

In addition to “Circle Competition” and “DocQC,” QCinema will feature seven more categories to showcase its wide range of local and international films.

The new films to be showcased at the “Asian Next Wave” section are Yeo Siew Hua’s “A Land Imagined,” which won the Golden Leopard Award for best film at the Locarno International Film Festival; Bi Gan’s “Long Day Journey Into Night,” which won the ICS Cannes Award and will be shown in 3D in select establishments; Anoocha Boonyawatana’s “Malila: The Farewell Flower,” Huang Hsin-yao’s “The Great Buddha+,” Ashleigh Mayfair’s “The Third Wife,” and Kamila Andini’s “The Seen and Unseen” which won the Tokyo Filmex Grand Prize.

In sponsorship with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), QCinema also gives visibility to noteworthy cinematic craftsmanship with a wide array of LGBT international films for its “RainbowQC” section. Among the featured films are Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon’s “Tinta Bruta,” John Tengrove’s “The Wound,” Marcelo Martinessi’s “The Heiresses,” Christophe Honoré’s “Sorry Angel,” Yann Gonzales’ “Knife + Heart,” and Yen Tan’s “1985.”

Several critically acclaimed films worldwide will be showcased in the “Screen International” section of the festival. The lineup includes Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning,” which won the 2018 FIPRESCI Award at Cannes; Agnés Varda and JR’s “Faces Places”; Gaspar Noé’s “Climax,” where Noé won the biggest prize at Cannes’ 2018 Directors’ Fortnight, the C.I.C.A.E. Award; Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War,” where Pawlikowski won 2018 Best Director at Cannes; and Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s “Manta Ray,” which won the 2018 Best Film at Venice Horizons.

Iconic films of the 70s and 80s which roused moviegoers with dance music and which have been digitally restored are shown in the “Digitally Remastered” section of the festival. Among the highlights are Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz,” Herbert Ross’ “Footloose,” and John Badham’s “Saturday Night Fever.”

QCinema pays tribute to the richness of French cinema with memorable titles in the “French Classics” section. Among the films in the section are Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “Diabolique,” Roger Vadim’s “And God Created Woman,” and Pierre Rissient’s “Five and the Skin.”

Five films from China, Austria, France, and Denmark, and Japan will take a spotlight at the “Special Screenings” section of QCinema. The five films featured are “Elephant Lying Still” by Hu Bo, “Ala Changso” by Sonthar Gyal, “Tomcat” by Klaus Händl, “La Priére” by Cédric Kahn, and “Come On, Irene” by Keisuka Yoshida.

The festival has a free screening that will feature children’s films from Denmark. They will include Ask Hasselbach’s “Antboy,” Renée Simonsen’s “Karla’s World,” and Esben Toft Jacobsen’s “The Great Bear.”

Opening and closing films

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” which won the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the 71st Cannes Film Festival, takes the spotlight on the opening day of QCinema. Kore-eda tells the story of a family of criminals scraping a living in downtown Tokyo that takes an interesting turn when they adopt a little girl.

Cinephiles can join in the Halloween festivities with the screening of “Piercing” by Nicolas Pesce, the closing film to end the ten-day festival. It tells of a man who checks himself into a hotel room to accomplish his long-time dream – executing a perfect murder.

About QCinema

QCinema is the official film festival of Quezon City, touted as the “City of the Stars.” It was established in 2013 by the Quezon City Film Development Commission (QCFDC) helmed by Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.

Since its humble beginnings in 2013, QCinema has grown bigger, gaining traction in local and international film circuits for its film entries. In 2017, it was recognized as one of the best film festivals in the country.

For more information, visit qcinema.ph.

Quezon City moves to become ‘smart city’

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA – Quezon City has adapted to the innovations of technology especially in disaster response, community health information tracking system, and cashless government transactions as it moves toward becoming a "smart city", Mayor Herbert Bautista said on Wednesday.

“It cannot be denied that technology is a critical component of government efficiency. In the modern world, it is the fastest means to engage to thousands, and even millions of stakeholders quickly,” Bautista said in his speech during the opening of the 2018 Philippine Smart City Summit at the ABS-CBN Tent in Vertis North, North Avenue.

The Smart City Summit gathered government executives from Russia, South Korea, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Belgium, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Sudan, Nepal, Kenya, Tunisia, Mongolia, and stakeholders in public administration to discuss and share smart city concepts, theories and best practices that will advance digital capacity and social innovation.

During the plenary sessions, representatives from the member nations discussed smart city initiatives in their country.

International leaders and Quezon City’s executives expressed their support to the Smart City Initiative by signing on a digital declaration of support.

A Smart City Urban Agenda will be created during the two-day summit.

Quezon City was chosen to host this year’s summit for its exemplary performance in governance, competitiveness, infrastructure development and economic dynamism.

The Philippine National Competitiveness Council has bestowed on Quezon City the distinction of being the most competitive highly-urbanized city in the country for three straight years.

The World Bank has cited Quezon City’s transformation from a debt-ridden, disintegrating urban center into the richest and most dynamic highly-urbanized city in the Philippines.

Since 2010, Quezon City has been recognized worldwide for its best practice in local government administration and for promoting the use of information and communications technology as a tool for governance.

Urban farming competition unfolds in Quezon City

By Rio N. Araja

To cushion the impact of inflation on families in the city, the Philippine Horticulture Society Inc., in partnership with Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, has launched a grow-your-own-vegetables competition entitled “Oh My Gulay, Mag Horti Pa More!” to encourage backyard farming among urban dwellers.

“We want to encourage our constituents to plant vegetables in their homes and backyard gardens not just for food security but also for healthy eating,” the vice mayor said.

“This competition should show that, even with a few materials and limited space, city residents can already start their own urban farm,” she added.

At the launch of “Oh My Gulay, Mag Horti Pa More!,” participants were given an instructional lecture as well as growing kits consisting of seeds and growing pots.

Each participant was tasked to sow their vegetable seeds on Oct. 15 and track the growth of their plant until the harvesting date on Jan. 15, 2019.

Participants must also post photos of their entries on social media as part of the competition’s online campaign to promote vegetable growing in urban homes.

“I’m thankful to the Philippine Horticulture Society for being our city’s partner in promoting urban farming. We want to show our citizens that these small pots, containers, and spaces are all we need to start growing our own greens, whether to reduce grocery costs, increase intake of healthy food, or as a form of livelihood,” Belmonte said. Rio N. Araja

The vice mayor earlier spearheaded the city’s own urban farming initiative entitled “Joy of Urban Farming.”

Film directors laud QCinema int’l film fest

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Film directors on Wednesday (October 10) lauded the Quezon City local government for organizing the QCinema International Film Festival to give Filipino filmmakers greater opportunities to produce and show more independent movies.

The QCinema, the official film festival of Quezon City, was established in 2013 by Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte under the Quezon City Film Development Commission.

“Naalala ko before, years ago, wala pa talagang chance to make a film. Ang Cinemalaya noon palabas pa lang, the same with CinemaOne Originals. Ang hirap makahanap ng producer (I remember before, years ago, there was really no chance to make a film. There was Cinemalaya and CinemaOne Originals. It was difficult to look for a producer),” QCinema 2018 film entry “Hintayan ng Langit” director Dan Villegas said in an interview.

“Ang hirap makahanap ng chance for you to show your stuff. Dahil sa mga film festivals like QCinema, nagkakaroon ng chance, maraming magagaling, magagaling tayong mga Pilipino. Mas nagkakaroon tayo ng (It was difficult to look for a chance for you to show your stuff. But because of film festivals like QCinema, we get a chance. We Filipinos are good. We will have more) chance to show or to tell our stories,” Villegas added.

Residents of Quezon City may enjoy five movie entries under QCinema 2018’s “Circle Competition”, as well as those under non-competition categories: RainbowQC for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) international films; DocQC for documentary films; Screen International for critically acclaimed films worldwide; Digitally Remastered for the iconic films during the 70s and 80s; French Classics; Special Screenings that will showcase five films from China, Austria, France, and Denmark; and Children’s Films, which will be screened for free.

The film director noted that QCinema also provides a venue for the new breed of directors to showcase their craft without the usual restrictions.

“Para sa mga (new directors), ‘yung mga grant-giving bodies lang talaga ang nagtitiwala sa kanila. So malaking bagay talaga ang mga grant-giving festivals like this QCinema. Nag-start din ako sa grants (Grant-giving bodies are the only ones who trust new directors. Grant-giving festivals, like QCinema, are thus a big thing. I also started in grants),” Dwein Baltazar, director of QCinema 2018 film entry “Oda sa Wala”, said in a separate interview.

“Yun ang nagbigay-tiwala sa akin para makagawa ako ng pelikula. Yung mga made naman na directors, I think ‘yung QCinema ang naging playground nila para makapaglaro sila na walang nagsasabi sa kanila on what to do (Its trust enabled me to make a film. For self-made directors, I think QCinema is their playground so they could make films according to their wish, without anyone telling them what to do),” Baltazar said.

The QCinema 2018 “Circle Competition” entries are Samantha Lee’s “Billie & Emma”; Timmy Harn’s “Dog Days”; Villegas’ “Hintayan ng Langit”; Gutierrez Mangansakan’s “Masla A Papanok”; and Baltazar’s “Oda sa Wala”.

The QCinema International Film Festival is celebrated every year during the founding anniversary of Quezon City in the month of October. In line with the city’s 79th founding anniversary, QCinema 2018 will run on October 21-30.

Its opening film is “Shoplifters” by Hirokazu Kore-eda and closing the festival is the film “Piercing”, starring Christopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska.

The festival will be held at Gateway Mall, Robinsons Galleria, SM City North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Manila, SM Mall of Asia, Ayala Malls Cinemas in Trinoma, and UP Town Center.

The admission fee is PHP150 for each film.

QC, Humane Society International, tie-up for mass anti-rabies vaccination

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY, Sept. 26 (PIA) — To implement its massive anti-rabies program, the Quezon City Government through the City Veterinary department has entered into a partnership with a global animal protection organization that will assist them in program implementation.

Dr. Marie Cabel, the city veterinarian and Humane Society International Director Rahul Sehgal, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday, September 24, 2018, for collaboration on the mass anti-rabies vaccination drive that will be conducted at the second district of Quezon City.

The partnership enabled the City Government to implement its massive anti-rabies program using a Global Positioning System guided tracking tool of Humane Society International. The smartphone app records vaccinations and geo-tags locations where vaccination has been conducted.

According to Cabel, the mass vaccination has started three weeks ago and they have already vaccinated about 12,000 dogs, out of the 100,000 in the district. Districts 2 and 5 have the highest number of dog population in the city as well as rabies cases.

Cabel added that this year, rabies cases have dropped by 60 percent due to the mass vaccination campaign.

Last year, Quezon City received recognition from the Bureau of Animal Industry and the National Rabies Prevention and Control Committee for implementing the Best Rabies Program among LGUs in the National Capital Region.

Inmates, personnel of Quezon City jail undergo drug tests

By JOVE MOYA

INMATES and personnel of the Quezon City jail were tested for drugs on Tuesday as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ongoing war on drugs.

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the city government conducted the tests initially on 914 inmates and 159 jail personnel. The Quezon City jail has 4,751 inmates.

Supt. Ermilito Moral, jail warden, stressed the importance of having “both the detainees and the city jail officials comply with PDEA.

“Conducting a regular drug test program here in Quezon City jail will let everyone know that the President is very firm on his program on war against drugs,” Moral told The Manila Times

Detainees and police officials who test positive for illegal drug use will be sent to the Quezon City Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center or “Tahanan”. Officials will automatically be removed from their positions.

“If a personnel turns out to be an illegal drug user, he or she will be subjected for confirmation, the personnel may also be subjected to administrative cases and will be asked to undergo rehabilitation sessions in ‘Tahanan’,” Moral said.

The tests started at 9 a.m. with 10 PDEA representatives present during the activity.

The results may be released in October, Moral said.

Low-cost produce markets set to open in Manila, Quezon City, Taguig City

By Reiclene Joy N. Ignacio

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is scheduled to open stores selling low-cost produce in some of Metro Manila’s poorer neighborhoods, including Payatas in Quezon City and Baseco in Manila, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said Sunday.

The stores, known as TienDA Malasakit outlets, will be op[erated by women’s groups, supported by Local Government Units (LGUs) and will sell vegetables, fruit, rice, sugar and other basic food items.

The DA also plans to open three or four such outlets in Taguig by the first week of October.

“With the establishment of the Malasakit Stores in Metro Manila and other major population centers of the country later, it is expected that the stranglehold of traders and middlemen of the food supply in the country will finally loosen up,” Mr. Piñol said in a statement.

The system works on the basis of LGU-issued passbooks to verify that residents are from the intended areas and prevent middlemen from buying and reselling the goods, according to Mr. Piñol.

The DA staged a two-day vegetable festival last week at the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) compound in San Andres, Manila, selling goods from Bukidnon at below-market prices.

At last week’s market, carrots were sold at P95 per kilo, cabbage at P70, chili peppers, or sili, at P80, refined sugar at P49 per kilo, and cardava banana, or saba, at P17.

“There’s no need to import, we have a lot of vegetables,” Mr. Piñol said during the event.

He also said acknowledged reports that some buyers left the San Andres market without paying, noting that the event “was marred by reports from farmers that some buyers walked off with vegetables and fruits in plastic bags without paying for the items.”

“The farmers, many of them first-timers in Metro Manila, were obviously overwhelmed by the waves of people who swarmed their booths. Since it was their first experience to sell their produce directly, they were not able to cope with the weighing and the payment,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Piñol said that he will present to the National Food Authority (NFA) Council on Monday a proposal to ban private importers from importing higher-grade varieties of rice, and limit them to grades that the NFA will buy.

“On Monday, I will present to the NFA Council my proposal that private importers should not be allowed to import fancy rice, which is expensive. It doesn’t bring down the price,” according to Mr. Piñol, noting that premium grades of rice sell for about P58 per kilo.

He said that premium rice tends to set the trend for the rest of the market, driving domestic rice prices higher as well,” Mr. Piñol said.

Mr. Piñol is the new chairman of the NFA Council after the NFA, along with the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority, was returned to the supervision of the DA on Sept. 19, after an executive order issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

QC to model education system from Singapore

By Chito Chavez

Quezon City wants to use Singapore as the model for its educational system, citing the country’s ASEAN neighbor of generally having one of the most elite students in the world.

Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte said the move is geared at improving the city’s global competitiveness of its students as the locality has further collaborated with Singapore and other countries in the Southeast Asian region with high standards of education.

“The Singaporean government has been very supportive of Quezon City and other cities as well with regard to education,” Belmonte said.

Early this month, Quezon City hosted the 1stInternational Education Summit.

Belmonte has highlighted the country’s investments on education as a benchmark, stressing “Singapore invested tremendous amounts of capital on the education of their children to the point that they have reached the stage where the children of Singapore are considered one of the highest educated in the whole world.”

Belmonte maintained that Quezon City could learn from Singapore’s willingness to experiment with educational methods.

“Whenever there is a new pedagogy, new teaching style, there is an assessment that goes on. They consistently check whether these styles are appropriate or helpful and they are open to changing their modules of teaching,” she added.

The vice mayor added that the country also chooses the “best teachers” by hiring from among top graduates and giving high salaries.

Belmonte has looked forward to continuing to partner with Singapore and other countries as the city had already collaborated with the nation-state through Singapore’s Temasek Foundation, the Center for Livable Cities, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

With about 1.9 million students enrolled in the city, Quezon City has the largest school-age population in the country.

For this reason, Belmonte has referred to education as one of her top priorities to bring inclusive development to the people.

Only last year, the Office of the Vice Mayor donated computer sets to five schools for its computer literacy program and provided books and also computers to the Novaliches Public Library and in six other public elementary schools in Quezon City.

Aside from school supplies, Belmonte also distributed oral hygiene kits to 1,800 schoolchildren, 460 umbrellas to school-age children in District 3 and graduation leis to 69,811 students. In partnership with the Commission on Higher Education, Belmonte also gave special study grants to 1,066 beneficiaries.

She also implemented the “Gabay Guro” Program for 250 teachers to enhance their English proficiency and computer literacy; and special education training for daycare workers, with 50 participants trained on early detection and intervention approaches in teaching children with special needs.

Quezon City dads allow kids to help in disaster work

By Rio N. Araja

The 37-member Quezon City council has passed a measure tapping the youth and even children to help in disaster risk reduction and management program.

“Beyond the usual fire or earthquake drill, it is time we equip the youth with the knowledge, skills, and readiness that will help them reduce disaster risk in their homes, school and among classmates, friends, loved ones,” Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

“This is especially necessary for a young city where the average age of our citizen is 24,” she added.

City Ordinance No. 2711 or the “Children and Youth Emergency and Risk Reduction Management Program of Quezon City” aims to teach young people that they serve “an important role in saving lives and protecting the members of the community in times of disaster.”

The city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office shall provide training, drills, and workshops for children and youth in schools, barangays and various youth clubs.

The ordinance would also mentor young people on how they can help during rehabilitation and relief operation.

Meanwhile, police nabbed two female suspects in Quezon City in violation of the Anti-Fencing Law for selling a stolen laptop belonging to a teaching personnel of the Department of Education.

Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel Jr, Quezon City Police District chief, identified the suspects as Salvacion Marco, 27, and Jellyn Gabito, 30, both from Caloocan City.

Three DepEd employees assigned at the Pasig City main office personally appeared to the QCPD’s District Special Operations Unit to report that the suspects were selling through online media a Coby laptop for only P11,000.

They said the gadget’s original price was at P39,976.95.

Upon verification, the laptop with a DepEd logo was confirmed by the employees as the same laptop that was reportedly stolen from a teacher in Tabuk, Kalinga on Aug. 2.

Last Sept. 7 at around 6:30 p.m., police operatives set up an entrapment operation as one of the three DepEd workers acted as poseur-buyer and met with the suspects at the Robinsons Place in Novaliches.

The suspects were immediately arrested after receiving a marked money of P11,000. Three other suspects remained at large.

Quezon Ave, Cebu BRT projects to push through - DOTr

By Dharel Placido (ABS-CBN News)

MANILA - The bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Quezon City and Cebu will push through, the Department of Transportation said Wednesday, months after the government halted its implementation due to several issues.

Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark De Leon said studies showed that implementing the BRT system along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City and in Cebu was still possible.

“Together with the World Bank and NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority), we inspected and evaluated the accommodation of the corridors of Cebu and Quezon Avenue. We found that it is still possible to have BRT systems in these corridors,” De Leon said in a Palace press briefing.

“We have sent letter to DOF (Department of Finance) that we will push through with the program ASAP. In three year’s time we will have a BRT.”

The 12.3-km Metro Manila BRT- Line 1 is worth P4.8 billion and will run from Quezon Memorial Circle to Manila City Hall via the Elliptical road, Quezon Avenue and España Boulevard.

The 23-kilometer Cebu BRT project, on the other hand, will ply the Bulacao-Ayala-Talamban route and is estimated to cost P16 billion.

De Leon said the EDSA BRT Line 2 is still undergoing evaluation.

Mayor “Bistek’ signs city ordinance making the installation of motion sensor alarms in pawnshops mandatory

By Chito Chavez

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has signed the city ordinance, in concurrence with the city council, that requires the installation of motion sensor alarms in pawnshops in the city to deter all forms of criminality.

The approved City Ordinance 2721-2018, introduced by Councilor Jose Mario Don S. de Leon, states that the installation of motion sensor alarms, in addition to the existing alarm system in the vaults of all pawnshops in Quezon City is a mandatory requirement.

Bautista noted the ordinance is pursuant to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Circular No. 91, Series of 1995.

The measure came after the rise in cases of break-in robberies where the vaults of banks as well as of pawnshops were penetrated by digging a hole underground to gain access to the vaults.

City Ordinance 2721-2018, Section 3 also states that “Upon the approval of this Ordinance, the Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) shall notify all pawnshops in this City of such requirement for the purpose of renewing business permits /licenses.”

In Section 4, the penalties for violation of the ordinance include a fine of P5,000 to be imposed for non-compliance as well as the cancellation or revocation of business permits of the pawnshops.

De Leon said the installation of motion sensor alarms in pawnshops will help secure the premises.

QC gov’t orders mandatory structural integrity audit of all buildings

By Chito Chavez

Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista has ordered a mandatory structural integrity audit of all buildings in the city, private and government, to assess potentially hazardous structures.

Bautista signed City Ordinance 2724-2018 compelling the city’s Engineering Department (QCED), Department of Building Official (DBO), and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (QCDRRMO) to conduct the audit, particularly on structures that are built 30 years ago and those that are located in fault line or danger zones.

Introduced by Councilor Ramon Medalla, the ordinance states that the audit aims to evaluate and assess potentially hazardous structures and buildings within the territorial jurisdiction of the city that are vulnerable to severe damage in the event of an earthquake.

“The Quezon City Government mandates the promotion and development of an earthquake risk reduction and management program in order to mitigate, if not to eliminate, the effects of major natural and man-made disasters as well as to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of Quezon City residents,” the ordinance said.

The Engineering Department will be in-charge of the structural integrity audit of buildings built and owned by local and national government while the DBO will look at the privately-owned buildings’ structural integrity.

On the other hand, QCDRRMO will be responsible for identifying whether the site is located along the west valley fault and danger zones.

Before the inspection, a notice of structural audit will be sent to the owner.

Upon receiving the said notice, a structural audit must be conducted within 30 days and and a “structural audit report” submitted to DBO.

The owner’s Occupancy Certificate will be revoked if he or she fails to carry out the needed repairs and restorations. Refusal to carry out these reforms will result in the filing of criminal charges against the building owner.

“The city government desires to strengthen the city’s resiliency against human induced or natural disaster by recognizing the vision, policy framework, and strategies capitalized on disaster risk reduction and management in QC,” the ordinance read.

Barangay Greater Lagro hosts the Novaliches watershed

By Severino Samonte (PNA)

MANILA -– Do you know what makes the 21-year-old Barangay Greater Lagro in Novaliches, Quezon City very much different from the other barangays (villages) in Metro Manila, which is composed of 16 cities and a municipality at present?

It has the distinction of being host to the La Mesa watershed reservation, the only major watershed and forest covering the entire Metropolitan Manila area composed of 16 cities and one municipality. The watershed reservation is a protected area that surrounds the 89-year-old La Mesa dam which stores water coming from the Ipo dam in Barangay Bigte, Norzagaray, Bulacan.

The La Mesa watershed is under the joint administration, supervision and control of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

The La Mesa dam, constructed in 1929, is the primary source of potable drinking water of the residents in the metropolitan Manila area and nearby provinces of Rizal and Cavite.

From Ipo dam, water is funneled to La Mesa dam where it is stored prior to channeling to the MWSS filtration plant in Balara, Diliman, Quezon City for distribution to customers of private concessionaires Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Company Inc.

The Tullahan River, which comes from La Mesa watershed and reservation in Barangay Greater Lagro, passes through North Caloocan City, Valenzuela City, Malabon City, and Navotas City before emptying into the vast Manila Bay.

According to the book “Ang Kasaysayan ng Novaliches” (History of Novaliches), the former Metropolitan Water District, predecessor of the MWSS, conceived the construction of the La Mesa dam between 1920 and 1926 to replace the old Wawa dam in Montalban, Rizal, the first source of water supply for the Manila area during the American regime in the Philippines.

The book, written in 1997 by historian Dr. Emmanuel Franco Calairo and his mother, Prof. Rosalina Morales Franco-Calairo, said the former town of Novaliches was chosen by the government as the site of the new dam in 1929 because of the sloping topography of the Novaliches forests from the neighboring Bulacan province.

Meanwhile, the La Mesa watershed was originally under the jurisdiction of Barangay Pasong Putik in Novaliches.

Owing to the big size of Barangay Pasong Putik, the Quezon City Council passed City Ordinance No. 439 dividing it into three barangays – North Fairview, Greater Lagro and the mother Barangay Pasong Putik Proper. The ordinance was authored by Quezon City Second District Councilor Godie T. Liban.

The division was approved by the residents in a plebiscite held on Dec. 8, 1996. The first barangay election was held on May 12, 1997.

Barangay Greater Lagro has a population of 35,000 and income of PHP35 million as of Dec. 31, 2017. Its land area is 307,853 hectares, including the whole La Mesa dam and reservation

Its present officials are: Punong Barangay Leo B. Garra Jr., Kagawad Romeo S. Buenafe Jr., Dr. Abelard T. Langcay, Crisente Albert B. Pedro, Arnold M. Sobremisana, Vladimir M. Torres, Annaliza T. Fellone, and Vicente A. Elefante; Dr. Rowena A. Cacanindin, barangay secretary; Brigida P. Aniban, treasurer; and Alessandra B. Fajardo, administrative officer.

Quezon City councilors pass landmark anti-drug code

By Rio N. Araja

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte on Monday said the 37-member city council has pioneered an anti-drug code to become the benchmark for other local government units to replicate.

“This will be the first drug code in the country, and we are happy to work with different national government agencies and the Quezon City Police District on this. We want to make sure that this drug code is consistent with the national laws and policies,” she said.

As the presiding officer of the city council and chairperson of the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council, Belmonte expressed her pride in the comprehensive approach the council and the city have taken in the war against drugs.

The code consolidates the programs and procedures already in place to implement community-based efforts to rid the city of drugs.

This includes the comprehensive program to rehabilitate drug offenders who have surrendered, educate young people through schools, and enact sustainable partnerships with the police force, the church, non-government sector, and private sector, she said.

“This is such a huge success for us. So now we would like to move our accomplishments further by creating a local ordinance which contains all of the programs, the policies that we already developed,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Herbert M. Bautista has signed an ordinance reinforcing the organizational structure of the QC Protection Center to provide a more comprehensive service to the victims or survivors of gender-based violence and abuse.

City Ordinance 2701-2018, introduced by Councilors Irene Belmonte, Lena Marie Juico, Julienne Alyson Rae Medalla, and Diorella Maria Sotto, amends City Ordinance 2191-2012 that created the QC Protection Center for Victim-Survivors of Gender-based Violence and Abuse.

In the amendment, the QC Committee on Gender-based Violence is created to oversee the management of the protection center and to ensure that the ordinance is effectively implemented.

“To better adhere to the QC Protection Center’s objectives, there is a need to reinforce its organizational structure to further provide comprehensive service to the victim-survivors of gender-based violence,” the ordinance read.

CSC to hold Job Fair on September 26 & 27

By Jimmyley E. Guzman (CSC/PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) – In celebration of the 118th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) will hold a Government Job Fair at the SM City North EDSA Skydome in Quezon City on September 26 & 27, 2018.

Interested applicants must bring the following documents: Fully accomplished Personal Data Sheet (PDS) with recent passport-sized picture with name and signature (This link open in new tab) (CS Form No. 212, Series of 2017) which can be downloaded at (This link open in new tab) www.csc.gov.ph; Performance rating in the present position for one (1) year, if applicable; Photocopy of the certificate of eligibility/rating/license; and Photocopy of Transcript of Records.

Blank PDS Forms (CS Form No. 212, Series of 2017) are also available at the Registration Area of the Job Fair.

CSC highly encourages qualified person with disabilities (PWDs), members of indigenous communities, and those from any sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) to apply for numerous vacancies that will be offered during the event.

The job fair is part of this year's month-long celebration of the Philippine Civil Service Anniversary the theme “Lingkod Bayani: Maka-Diyos, Makatao, Makabayan.” It kicked-off with a fun run dubbed Race to Serve, joined by hundreds of participants who sprinted, jogged, and walked from the starting point at the Quirino Grandstand last September 2, 2018.

Meanwhile, government workers also get special treats from participating companies like, Ideal Vision, Inkrite, Manila Ocean Park, Ramada Manila, Star City, Western Appliances, SM Department Store, SM Appliance Center, Enchanted Kingdom, Ace Hotel & Suites, Hotel H2O, RCC Amazing Touch. For details of offers and promo, visit the CSC official Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/PhilippineCivilServiceCommission

For more inquiries, please call CSC Central Office at (02) 951-2578 or 931-8163; or CSC NCR at 740-8412, 749-0980, 781-5864, or visit the Government Job Fair webpage: http://www.csc.gov.ph/slider/1598-government-job-fair-2018.html.

DSWD strengthens preparations for ‘Ompong’

By Lucia F. Broño (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- The Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD) strengthened its ongoing preparations to immediately assist those who may be adversely affected by Typhoon Ompong.

The DSWD through its Field Offices (FOs) continuously preposition relief goods particularly in regions that will be directly hit by the typhoon.

“We continue to strengthen our preparation for ‘Ompong’ to ensure the prompt provision of assistance to those who will be affected,” DSWD Secretary Virginia N. Orogo said.

Orogo urged the public to heed the warnings that will be issued by their barangays and local governments, especially when it comes to pre-emptive evacuations, to ensure their safety.

Orogo said the DSWD Field Office in Region II has already delivered 21,700 family food packs as prepositioned goods to the local government units (LGUs) in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, and Nueva Vizcaya.

Four hundred thirty two (432) sacks of rice prepositioned in the province of Batanes, 72 of which are in the provincial office, while 60 sacks were distributed to the six municipalities of the province.

Aside from prepositioning of relief goods, the FO also inspected the evacuations centers in the province to ensure safety of possible evacuees.

Currently, the FO has 5,000 available DSWD Family Food Packs (FFPs), 1,000 hygiene kits, 2,500 collapsible water carrier with purification water tablet, and 1,000 sleeping kits in its warehouse, ready for distribution to local government units if the need arises.

Meanwhile, DSWD Field Office in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has already delivered 600 FFPs, 60 hygiene kits, and 60 sleeping kits in six municipalities in the province of Abra on Wednesday.

It has also provided 1,000 food packs to Mountain Province as relief augmentation in preparation for the typhoon.

The Department’s Field Office in Region I has a total of 4,230 prepositioned goods in the Ilocos Region. Of this number, 650 food packs are prepositioned in the Municipality of Burgos, Ilocos Norte; 1,000 in San Nicolas, also in Ilocos Norte; 1,000 in Vigan, Ilocos Sur; while 580 food packs are prepositioned in the City of San Fernando, La Union. There are also 200 relief goods that are prepositioned in the Municipality of Bolinao, Pangasinan, while 800 are in Manaoag, Pangasinan.

For Central Luzon, DSWD Field Office in Region III has already prepositioned a total of 8,000 FFPs in various local government units in the region, mostly in the province of Aurora.

The Department’s Field Office in CALABARZON will augment a total of 5,000 food packs to FO III, as some of the resources of the field office have already been

Orogo said that apart from prepositioning goods at the provincial and local levels, DSWD field offices have also activated their respective Quick Response Teams (QRTs) and Provincial and Municipal Action Teams (P/MATs) to provide assistance on the ground.

QC deploys rescue teams, boats in flood-prone areas

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- Mayor Herbert Bautista has ordered the advance deployment of Quezon City’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team in critical areas in view of the expected onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.

Following the pre-disaster risk assessment meeting of the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (QC DRRMC), Bautista included Barangay Apolonio Samson as well as barangays traversed by G. Araneta Avenue among the areas where the USAR will be prepositioned beginning Thursday, 13 September 2018.

The QC DRRMC directed the pre-deployment of its rescue teams in perennial flood prone areas, specifically Barangays Roxas and Silangan.

Classes in all levels, both public and private, will be suspended on Friday and Saturday as a pre-emptive public safety measure.

In the same meeting, Parks Development and Administration Department (PDAD) was directed to trim trees along major thoroughfares.

The Department of Building Official also directed building administrators to roll-up billboards and tarpaulin signs installed in buildings.

Construction companies were also ordered to secure construction sites and heavy equipment and tower cranes.

The Social Services Development Department will also pre-deploy social workers including the soup kitchen and other items, such as relief goods for the evacuees in the flood-prone barangays of QC.

There are a total of 84 evacuation centers in the six districts of Quezon City.

For rescue and other emergency concerns in Quezon City, residents may dial 122.

57 Quezon City junk shops closed

By Rio N. Araja

The Quezon City government has ordered the closure of 57 junk shops found illegally operating near the closed landfills in barangays Payatas and Commonwealth.

The closure order came from the Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department, and Business Permits and Licensing Office.

Frederika Rentoy, EPWMD chief, recommended the closure of the junk shops after a series of dialogues with the affected parties and consultations among environmental management partners and other stakeholders.

The city government found illegally stored and dumped garbage with an estimated volume of at least 12,000 cubic meters, or an equivalent of 800 trips of 10-wheeler trucks, and ordered them to be taken away in the clearing operations within two months.

Remelito Hirang, chief of the EPWMD’s monitoring, inspection and enforcement section, said the shops operated beyond the limits set in their business permit.

Several of the junk shops failed to present business permits and clearances from the authorities.

Meanwhile, the 37-member city council gave Mayor Herbert Bautista the green light to purchase 12 units of motor vehicles in a bid to improve the services, productivity, and efficiency of projects and programs of various barangays in District 6.

“The local government of Quezon City is committed to provide valuable basic services to the residents,” the resolution read.

City Resolution 7446-2018, introduced by Councilor Donato C. Matias, states that the barangays in District 6 are in need of vehicles that will allow them to bring their services closer to the people.

“The Local Government of Quezon City is committed to provide valuable basic services to the residents of QC,” the resolution read.

The 12 units cost P16.2 million total, as each vehicle costs P1.35 million. The vehicle can accommodate up to 11 people.

Pursuant to Administrative Order No. 1, amending Administrative Order No. 233 series of 2008, Bautista has already sought permission and authorization from the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

He wrote to DILG Assistant Regional Director and concurrently QC Director Juan Jovian Inginiero, CESO IV, for the acquisition of the motor vehicles, which amount is included in the 2018 annual budget of the city government.

“A deed of donation will be given to the beneficiaries transferring the ownership, encumbrances, and dues of the said vehicles and in so doing authorizing them to appropriate funds from their respective budgets for the maintenance and registration of the said vehicles,” the resolution reads.

Regional youth leaders to gather in Quezon City for intercultural convention

(INQUIRER.net BrandRoom)

In addressing the country’s most pressing issues – peace and conflict, indigenous rights, quality education, federalism, among others – comes a crossroad for building the Philippines’ path towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It is in this crucial time that youth leaders should play a key role in defining what it means to be a ‘Filipino,’ and more importantly, how the youth could contribute in this definition.

Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition together with the Rotary Satellite Club of Fort BGC Titans, and many other Rotary Clubs and partner agencies, will provide an active venue for the youth’s exchanges on these issues through the Philippine Intercultural Youth Convention (PIYC) 2018, with the theme “Breaking Cultural Barriers, Empowering Young Leaders,” on September 22-23, 2018 in Quezon City.

PIYC 2018 aims to provide the Philippine Cultural experience through segments such as the Cultural Festival, an exhibition of cultures, a cultural networking night, and many other cultural presentations. At the same time, PIYC 2018 also creates a platform for exchanges between the youth and the Philippine government leaders on developmental issues that not only concern the country but also the generation’s future through the Sustainable Development Goals.

Gathering youth leaders from different parts of the Philippines, the conduct of PIYC 2018 will provide young people to personally learn and appreciate the different tribes and ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines while providing a dynamic platform for Filipino youth leaders to engage and discuss valuable solutions to the country’s issues. The themes of breakout sessions for this discussion are divided in line with the SDGs – Peace in Diversity: Youth as catalyst for peace; Health and Social Welfare: Healthy youth for a healthy tomorrow; Quality and Accessible Education for all: Education as a powerful tool for the youth’s future; Climate & Environmental Action: Greener Pasture in the Philippines; Poverty Reduction & Access to Adequate Food: Hungry for change; Decent Jobs and Sustainable Livelihood: What awaits for young people in the world of work?

With culture and sustainable development at the center of discussion, PIYC 2018 unifies the Filipino youth to define its role in building a better future while being rooted in Philippine heritage.

New QC Jail will have skills center, power station, cafeteria

By Jhesset O. Enano (Reporter, Philippine Daily Inquirer With a report from Cedrix Perez)

At daytime, inmates at the Quezon City jail can move around in a courtyard, which also serves as a basketball court, at the male detention facility’s ground floor.

It is a different story, however, by nightfall when prisoners fight for every inch of sleeping space at the courtyard, on stairways and inside their cramped cells.

Located in Kamuning district, the facility for male detainees occupies a measly 3,000 square meters, or 0.3 hectare, of land.

The jail, which houses 4,247 detainees, is ideally meant to hold only 600 to 800 inmates.

The female dormitory, which has 950 detainees, is housed at Camp Karingal in Barangay Sikatuna, where it shares space with the headquarters of the Quezon City Police District.

The Quezon City Jail once gave the problem of prison congestion in the country a human face, with images of shirtless, sweaty inmates, sleeping a few inches apart on concrete floors and steps, captured in photographs.

Better conditions

But inmates at the Quezon City Jail may begin looking forward to better living conditions while in detention, as the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) begins the construction of a new facility to house its rapidly swelling population.

Envisioned to function as its own community — equipped with health centers and livelihood areas — the new city jail will rise on a 2.4-hectare lot on Payatas Road at Barangay Bagong Silangan. Once completed in 2020, it will be BJMP’s biggest facility for its detainees.

For both BJMP and local government officials, the construction of the new jail was a “realization” of a dream for more humane surroundings for both detainees and jail personnel.

During the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Jail Director Deogracias Tapayan, BJMP chief, said the new facility would “lessen the clamor about scarcity in space and ventilation.”

“It gives hope to all … The end goal is to secure the citizens of Quezon City by transforming lives inside jails,” Tapayan said, noting the importance of the detainees’ reintegration to society.

BJMP records showed that 35,967 detainees were in its facilities in Metro Manila, for a congestion rate of 587 percent.

Quezon City Jail’s female and male dormitories were the fifth and sixth most congested jails in the National Capital Region, respectively.

Supt. Ermilito Moral, Quezon City Jail warden, pegged the congestion rate at the male dormitory at 1,373 percent.

Topping the list was Navotas City Jail, with a congestion rate of 3,979 percent, followed by Caloocan City jail, with 2,225-percent rate.

As of June, a total of 143,972 suspects were crammed inside 486 jails nationwide, for a congestion rate of 578 percent. Despite the whopping figure, this was already slightly lower than the 612 percent recorded at the end of 2017.

P1.4-B facility

Once completed, the P1.4-billion facility in Payatas can accommodate over 4,400 detainees, both men and women. It will also house a clinic, a multipurpose area, basketball courts, and a livelihood and training area.

Also to be built are facilities for power generation, garbage collection and waste management, as well as a cafeteria.

Aside from the complex itself, the city government will also build a police station, a fire station and a barangay health center on at least a hectare of land.

In 2015, a 3.4-ha, tree-filled property was acquired by the Quezon City government from private landowners for P120 million. A portion of this property was later donated to the BJMP.

Mayor Herbert Bautista said he had ordered a tree inventory prior to the construction. He said trees that would be cut would be used to build chairs and tables for establishments in the jail complex.

Moral said the facility would be beneficial to the 150 personnel of the Quezon City Jail, where the low number allows a ratio of only one jail officer to at least 28 detainees.

Security

“With the new facility, the security of our personnel will not be compromised and we can exercise more control,” he said. “Riots can also be avoided since we can now provide more livelihood activities and recreation programs for them, given the wider space.”

At the Quezon City jail, gang riots, sparked by lack of decent space, have become more common. Jail officials had attributed the violence to the inmates’ “more irritable” attitudes.

In February, nine inmates were injured after they launched makeshift arrows and used their plywood beds as shields in a five-minute riot at the jail’s courtyard. The “weapons” they used were made from materials taken from their crumbling building.

In November last year, two inmates died following another riot, this time after dirty water was accidentally splashed on sleeping inmates on the ground floor.

Quezon City forms public transport service board

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- The Quezon City local government has created a public transport service board to rationalize public transport in the city.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista on Monday approved an ordinance creating a Public Transport Service Board that is tasked to formulate a comprehensive and rationalized local public transport service plan.

Authored by Councilors Ramon Medalla and Oliviere Belmonte, City Ordinance 2726-2018 said the QC Public Transport Service Board is expected to address the growing transport problem in Quezon City.

“The assistance of the Quezon City local government should be utilized to become a pro-active partner of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and private sectors in creating a long-term effective solution to traffic,” Medalla said in an interview Monday.

The members of the Quezon City Public Transport Service Board, to be headed by the Mayor, are the chiefs of City Planning and Development Office, Engineering Department, and Department of Public Order and Safety.

The City Council Committee on Transportation chairman will also be part of the Board, as well as representatives from DOTr, LTFRB, transport sectors, private sectors, and the Liga ng mga Barangay President.

The Board will be responsible to conduct research on transportation studies, guidelines, plans, and policies within the city and its adjoining cities; coordinate with other agencies such as DOTr, LTFRB and also private sectors; initiate public consultations with various sectors; and collect data and identify which routes were under-served or over-served.

“It is timely that the Quezon City local government, through its different departments, create/determine a comprehensive and rationalized public transport plan because they are knowledgeable in the formulation of policies not only within their territory but also to its adjoining cities, monitor the volume of motor vehicles in main throughfares and gather information through public consultation for the benefit of the riding public,” Belmonte said.

Belmonte urges local residents to resort to urban farming in their backyard

By Chito Chavez

With the soaring inflation rate, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte urged local residents to resort to urban farming in their backyard to provide them with an alternative food source.

Through a city-wide program, local residents are provided with free training and tools for people to grow their own food.

“Vegetables and other food are getting more expensive, but we still want to promote organic and healthy eating through greens and fruits. So how do you make it sustainable? We want urban settlers to grow them within their backyard or near areas where they live,” Belmonte said in an interview.

In 2010, Belmonte launched a program called “Joy of Urban Farming” which helps residents from the city put up backyard farms to mitigate hunger and provide nutritious sources of food, especially for low-income families.

So far, the program has created 166 urban farms found in different barangays in the city. The main farm is currently located at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

“Even if you have a small space, we can develop it into a farm using, let’s say, containers or vertical gardens. There are a lot of farming techniques that can be taught which are useful for urban settlers,” Belmonte said.

The “Joy of Urban Farming” also provides a source of livelihood for backyard farmers.

Under the program, households that have been selling their produce earn as much as P400 per day, according to Belmonte.

“We are encouraging our citizens to grow their own food. We are really solving a lot of problems – the hunger problem, the livelihood problem, the climate problem and more. so maganda talaga siyang program (The program is really good),” she said.

In partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the local government is also planning to put up an organic farming school in the city to provide hands-on training on backyard gardening, eco-waste management, production of organic fertilizer from kitchen waste, postharvest techniques and more.

For interested households and organizations, Belmonte said her office provides free training, tools, and seedlings.

In response to rising food prices and the rice crisis in the southern region of the country, the DA has called on local government units to craft their own food security plans to ensure food sufficiency.

Possible interventions include plans to induce localized food production to mitigate the negative impact of production crises in other regions of the country.

Quezon City to ink deal with PLM for study program

By Rio N. Araja

The 37-member Quezon City council has approved a resolution giving Mayor Herbert Bautista the green light to implement an off-campus program for city hall employees at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

Under City Resolution 7501, PLM shall offer degrees in Bachelor of Government Management, Master of Government Management, and/or Doctor of Government Management under the off-campus program.

Under Book V of Executive Order No. 292 and Omnibus Rules of the Civil Service Commission, Rules VIII, Career and Personal Development, specifically Sections 1 and 7, every department or agency shall establish a continuing program for every career and personnel development for all agencies at all levels.

The same office “shall create an environment or work climate conducive to the development of personnel skills, talents and values for better public service,” the CSC rules add.

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte on Thursday called on solo parents suffering from symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders to take advantage of the city government’s medication and counseling.

In observing World Suicide Prevention Day, she told an association of solo parents and mothers: “Recently, it came to my knowledge that many of you are suffering from depression. I know the difficulty you are going through as single mothers.”

Belmonte lamented that many parents feel embarrassed to report mental health problems due to stigma.

“A mental health problem is just like having a heart ailment or any health problem that you do not have to be ashamed of,” she said.

This month, the vice mayor is spearheading programs to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention to citizens of Quezon City who may be at risk. She vowed to coordinate with psychologists to provide mental health awareness seminars this month.

In another development, the city council also passed a resolution strongly supporting the establishment of a senior high school in Barangay Tandang Sora.

City Resolution 7435 shall pave the way for the establishment of school for grades 11 and 12 to known as Tandang Sora Senior High School.

“The local government of Quezon City deems it necessary to create more public senior high schools in the City, including Barangay Tandang Sora, to be able to fulfill its constitutional mandate of providing access to basic education for all,” the resolution read.

QC govt provides mental health awareness, medical help for solo parents

By Chito Chavez

The Quezon City government encouraged solo parents suffering from symptoms of depression and other mental health issues to seek help and counseling to help them navigate their difficulties.

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte met with an association of solo parents and mothers and told them that she recognizes the hardships and adversities that they face. She asked them to avail themselves of the city government’s expert assistance, citing that some of them have already shown signs of mental problems due to extreme depression.

Belmonte said the city government’s program is in line with the observance of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10. she said data from a 2014 study conducted in Singapore shows that single parents – moms in particular – are at greater risk for mental health disorders compared to married parents.

However, due to the stigma surrounding depression and mental health disorders in the country, many parents feel embarrassed to report problems concerning mental health, she said.

Belmonte asked the concerned individuals to draw inner courage in seeking professional help, explaining that mental health issues are similar to other ailments like heart disease.

This month, Belmonte is spearheading programs to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention to citizens of Quezon City who may be at risk. She said one of the projects being implemented in the city this month is to have links with psychologists who will lead in providing mental health seminars to the city’s solo parents association.

In the event a solo parent is diagnosed with symptoms of depression, the local government will be on hand to provide them with counseling and other appropriate medications.

Approved in 2015, the Community Based Mental Health Program of Quezon City mandates the integration of mental health services in the general health care delivery system and the provision of comprehensive mental health care and treatment for citizens.

As presiding officer of the city council, Belmonte has also pushed for expanded benefits to solo parents through local laws implemented under the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000.

The amended ordinance covers additional benefits on education, housing, medical assistance, micro-credit loans, employment, legal assistance and other social services for solo parents.

According to a 2015 report from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are about 3 million single parents in the country, with two million of them female.

You can now ride P2P buses from Araneta Cubao to NAIA

By Aika Rey (Rappler.com)

A premium point-to-point bus route from Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City to Ninoy Aquino International Airport is now operational, only for P100

MANILA, Philippines – Airport-bound passengers from Quezon City now have another hassle-free option in commuting.

Premium point-to-point (P2P) buses from Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City to all Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals in Pasay City are now operational, only for P100. Each trip is estimated to last from one to two hours.

Ube Express officially launched the Araneta Cubao-NAIA route on Monday, September 3.

P2P buses will be dispatched every two hours, with the first trip leaving Cubao at 7 am, and the last trip leaving at 9 pm.

SCHEDULE. This photo shows the schedule of trips from Araneta Center to and from NAIA. Photo from Araneta Center's FB page

Meanwhile, trips coming from NAIA will leave at 5:30 am, with the last trip going to Cubao at 9 am.

All premium P2P buses are equipped with a global positioning system technology, WiFi connection, and closed circuit television cameras.

To track the buses, real-time routes can be seen within the Ube Express app.

The Araneta Cubao-NAIA route is the 5th route launched by Ube Express. Its P2P buses also bring passengers from NAIA around Entertainment City and Grand Prix Hotel in Pasay, along the Robinsons route in Manila, and Ayala Center in Makati.

Maynilad aims to plant 100K trees in 2018 under 'Plant for Life'

(PR)

MANILA -- As part of its efforts to help reforest vital watersheds and prevent calamities like land erosion and flooding, water distributor Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) recently kicked off its “Plant for Life” tree-planting program for 2018.

For this year, Maynilad has committed to plant 100,000 tree saplings and mangrove propagules over a land area of about 47 hectares. Since the program’s inception in 2007, Maynilad has planted more than 630,000 trees and mangroves at the Ipo Dam, Laguna Lake, and Malabon watersheds, as well as along coastal areas of Manila Bay.

These initiatives are also being done in support of the “Annual Million Trees Challenge” of the state-owned Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), which aims to plant one million trees yearly for five years to protect six critical watersheds.

“One of the best steps we can take to protect our water sources is to plant trees on denuded lands. Trees help with the soil’s water retention, thus preventing the soil erosion that causes high turbidity levels in our raw water supply,” Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito S. Fernandez said in a statement on Wednesday.

Maynilad’s “Plant for Life” is being held in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the local government of Norzagaray, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Volunteers are welcome to join Maynilad’s series of tree-planting activities, which is held every year between the months of June and November.

Interested parties may call the company’s Environmental Management Department at 981-3484 to inquire about the schedule and requirements.

Maynilad is the largest private water concessionaire in the Philippines in terms of customer base. It is the agent and contractor of the MWSS for the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area, which is composed of the cities of Manila (certain portions), Quezon City (certain portions), Makati (west of South Super Highway), Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon in Metro Manila; and the cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario, in Cavite province.

Quezon City: Home to beautifully-named barangays

By Severino Samonte (PNA)

MANILA -- Among the 16 cities and one municipality of Metro Manila, 79-year-old Quezon City can very well lay valid claim to the title of being home to the most beautiful and inspiringly-named barangays and villages.

Here’s why: Of its 142 barangays in six congressional districts, more than one-third carry the names of either former presidents, saints, and other blessed persons or appellations, signifying inspiration, success or victory, unity, and holiness.

Quezon City has 37 barangays in the first district, five in the second district, 37 in the third district, 38 in the fourth district, 14 in the fifth district, and 11 in the sixth district.

At least five barangays have been named after former Philippine presidents --Barangays Ramon Magsaysay in the first district, Quirino and Aguinaldo in the third district, and Roxas and Don Manuel in the fourth district.

Barangay Aguinaldo is named in honor of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, first president of the Philippine Republic (1898-1901); while Barangay Don Manuel perpetuates the memory of the first president of the Philippine commonwealth, Manuel L. Quezon (1935-1944). Quezon City itself was named after the latter.

Located near the junction of Quezon and G. Araneta Avenues just off the famed Sto. Domingo Church, Barangay Roxas honors the late President Manuel A. Roxas (1946-1948). Barangay Quirino is named in memory of the late President Elpidio Quirino (1948-1953).

Situated in the city’s first district, Barangay Magsaysay is named after the country’s most loved Philippine president and idol of the masses, Ramon Magsaysay who died in a plane crash on Mt. Manunggal in Cebu on Mar. 17, 1957.

Two neighboring barangays in the fourth district bear the names of two former first ladies of the land. These are Barangays Doña Aurora, named after the wife of President Quezon, and Doña Imelda, wife of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos (1965-1986).

Also located in the fourth district is Barangay Doña Josefa, which has been named after Doña Josefa Edralin Marcos, mother of President Marcos.

In the city’s first district, adjacent to Barangay Magsaysay is Barangay Alicia, wife of the late President Quirino.

Quezon City’s longest-reigning mayor, the late Norberto Amoranto (1954-1976), has been honored with the renaming of a portion of La Loma district near the city’s southwestern boundary with Manila as Barangay N.S. Amoranto.

In the third district, the name of the late Senate President Eulogio “Amang” Rodrguez Sr. has been perpetuated with the christening of a barangay adjacent to Cubao, the city’s prime commercial area, as Barangay E. Rodriguez.

Coincidentally, both Rodriguez and Amoranto have also been remembered with the renaming of two major streets in Quezon City after them. The former España Extension from the Welcome Rotunda at the Manila-Quezon City boundary to E. delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) in Cubao has been renamed E. Rodriguez Blvd.

On the other hand, the former Retiro Street from Blumentritt Extension in Manila to Barangay Talayan is now known as N.S. Amoranto Avenue.

The barangays carrying names of saints or holy appellations are San Antonio, San Isidro Labrador, Sta. Monica, San Roque, Sta. Teresita, St. Peter, Sto. Domingo, San Jose, San Bartolome, Sta. Lucia, San Agustin, St. Ignatius, San Martin, San Isidro, Kristong Hari (Christ the King), Santo Nino (Holy Child), Sacred Heart, Immaculate Conception, Holy Spirit, Sto. Cristo, Sta. Cruz (Holy Cross), and Lourdes.

There are at least eight barangays that signify or seek to perpetuate love of country and spirit of heroism, nationalism and valor. These are Barangays Katipunan, Veterans Village, Tandang Sora, Unang Sigaw, Pasong Tamo, Apolonio Samson, Matandang Balara, and Pasong Putik.

Barangay Katipunan commemorates the name of the revolutionary society founded by Gat Andres Bonifacio and other patriots on July 7, 1892, which eventually launched the uprising against tyrannous Spanish rule in the Philippines four years later.

Veterans Village is named to honor the country’s numerous veterans, known and unknown, who sacrificed their lives to defend the country from invading foreigners and other lawless elements.

Barangay Tandang Sora, located in the historic former town of Novaliches, perpetuates the memory of the revered Grand Old Lady of the Revolution, Melchora Aquino.

More popularly known as Balintawak, Barangay Unang Sigaw, as its name implies, is among the disputable places where Bonifacio and his fellow Katipuneros were said to have raised the first “cry” of the 1896 Revolution.

Aside from Balintawak, the other places being debated upon as the site of the initial Cry for Independence from Spain or tearing of “cedulas” (residence certificates) include Pugad Lawin, Kangkong (now Barangay Apolonio Samson), and Banlat, which was the birthplace of the heroine Tandang Sora.

Barangay Pasong Tamo, an immediate neighbor of Barangay Tandang Sora, is the site of the first-ever armed encounter between the Katipuneros and the Spanish civil guards on Aug. 26, 1896 (some history books say August 24 or 25).

Also located in Novaliches, Barangay Pasong Putik was where Tandang Sora was arrested by the Spaniards prior to her exile to Guam on Sept. 2, 1896.

Meanwhile, at least two dozen other barangays have names that connote inspiration, hope, unity, progress, cooperation, and love, among other virtues. These are Barangays Kalusugan (health); Paraiso (paradise); Salvacion (salvation); Maharlika (noble); Damayan (cooperation); Bagong Pagasa (new hope); Pag-ibig sa Nayon (love of barrio); Kaligayahan (happiness);

Nagkaisang Nayon (united barrios); New Era; Socorro (aid or succor); Tagumpay (victory); Bayanihan (community brotherhood); Bagumbayan (new town); Masagana (bountiful); Milagrosa (miraculous); Marilag (pretty or beautiful); Bagong Lipunan (new society); Kaunlaran (progress); Laging Handa (always prepared); Paligsahan (competition); Damayang Lagi (perpetual help); Pinagkaisahan (unanimous decision); and Malaya (free).

QC council to launch ‘Batas QC’ mobile app program this month

By Chito Chavez

The Quezon City Council will launch the “Batas QC’’ mobile application program this month in a bid to lessen various violations of city ordinances and other laws in the city.

Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said the scheme will allow the city government to spread awareness on the penalties and rules pertaining to local ordinances.

Through this, Belmonte said “this is our way of empowering the people of Quezon City to be aware of their rights and the ordinances of the city that will deter abusive acts against them.

According to data from National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Guillermo Eleazar, the Quezon City police arrested 99,040 city ordinance violators from June 13 to September 2 posting the highest number of persons arrested for ordinance violations in Metro Manila.

For this reason, the city council is set to launch “Batas QC” app that will be available for download for all smartphone users of the city.

“Kung hindi kayo sigurado kung ano ba yung penalty ng naturang batas ay ita-type niyo lang ang keyword upang makita ang lahat ng batas at mga detalye na may kinalaman doon (If you are unsure what the penalty for the violation of a certain law one can just type the keyword to determine relevant details about it),” Belmonte said.

Citing as an example, Belmonte said one only needs to type the word garbage to verify details pertaining to improper garbage disposal including the implementing agent.

The city will also be distributing digital tablets containing the mobile app to barangay officials and city law enforcement units.

For the first batch, Belmonte said tablets will be provided to barangay chairmen, police station commanders and traffic enforcers.

According to the latest report from the NCRPO, some 209,959 arrests were made in Metro Manila for violation of local laws from June 13 to September 2.

The persons arrested violated ban on drinking and smoking, going shirtless in public and the curfew for minors.

QC seniors to get free anti-pneumonia shots

By Jimmyley E. Guzman (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA)--All senior citizen-residents registered with the Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affairs (OSCA), including those who will turn 60 this year, are automatically entitled to the free anti-pneumonia shots.

This, as Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista signed an ordinance approving a budget allocation for free pneumococcal vaccination to all registered Senior Citizens of Quezon City.

City Ordinance 2699, S-2018, introduced by Councilor Rogelio “Roger” P. Juan, amending Ordinance 2381-2015, provides for free pneumococcal vaccination to all registered senior citizens which will be administered by the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD) subject to the availability of 23-valent Polysaccharide vaccine.

The vaccines help prevent pneumococcal disease, described to be any type of infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria that may include pneumonia, infection of the blood (bacteremia/sepsis), middle-ear infection (otitis media), or bacterial meningitis

The ordinance states that there is a need to amend the earlier measure to provide a definite budget allocation for the purchase and acquisition of 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine to sufficiently supply the needs of the senior citizens who are not yet vaccinated.

Section 8 of City Ordinance No. SP- 2381-2015 provides that: an initial budget allocation of at least P12,000,000 will be divided among the city’s six districts, equally appropriating P2,000,000 for each, subject to existing auditing rules and procedures.

Under the ordinance, the city government ensures proper budget allocation of the annual funds to augment the Pneumococcal vaccination of seniors that shall be included in the Next Annual Budget of Quezon City.

Quezon City okays funding for PRC, Scouts

By Rio N. Araja

The 37-member Quezon City council has approved a resolution giving Mayor Herbert Bautista the green light to extend P6.3 million in aid to the Philippine Red Cross to defray the accident and health insurance for members of the city’s Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the Philippines.

District 2 Councilor Godofredo Liban II authored City Resolution 7462 in response to a Department of Interior and Local Government circular that would form part of Bautista’s capability to build a program to ensure health benefits and priority to blood donors in case of emergency.

Under the agreement, the Philippine Red Cross will provide accidental and medical assistance benefits to members and insurance coverage for one year, and build up Red Cross youth councils in each school and district of Quezon City.

“It is a form of good governance to utilize the resources and funds of the City as efficiently and as effectively as possible to finance the delivery of basic services, and the enhancement of various social and economic activities for the prosperity and progress of the people of the City,” the resolution read.

Meanwhile, councilors also passed a resolution urging Bautista to allocate an office space within the city hall compound for the Parents-Teachers Association of Quezon City.

“The creation of division office within the compound of Quezon City hall shall foster a streamlined communication and cooperation between the city government, the parents and teachers of Quezon City for the best interest of our students and their future,” City Resolution 7474 read.

Quezon City grants special permit for e-games ops

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- The Quezon City Council on Wednesday granted a special permit to a company for the operation of its e-games (electronic-games) in the city’s territorial jurisdiction.

The City Council, via a resolution, granted a special permit to a private gaming corporation, allowing it to operate an “Electronic Bingo” in Barangay Manresa.

Councilor Ivy Xenia Lagman authored City Resolution 7458-2018, which states that “the Total Gamezone Extreme, Inc., represented by Samuel Jardin, is being issued a special permit to operate an e-games establishment at the corner of Banawe Avenue and Panultaran Street.”

The issuance of the special permit was in accordance to Ordinance 2285-2014, pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7160, or the “Local Government Code of 1991”.

“The aforesaid business activities will provide employment to the residents and additional revenue to the city government, thereby boosting the city’s economy for the welfare of its inhabitants,” the resolution said.

The issuance of the permit was subjected to the rules and regulations promulgated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

The authority to operate was granted the Total Gamezone Extreme, Inc. subject to the following conditions: the establishment should only be for the playing of e-games; minors should be prohibited from playing e-games; and the operator should remit to the City Treasurer a franchise fee of three percent of their gross revenue.

Quezon City exempts fastfood firm from zoning rules

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- The Quezon City local government on Tuesday granted a fastfood company an exemption from the city’s zoning rules, allowing it to renovate its own building.

The Quezon City Council granted the Savory Fastfood, Incorporated (Savory) a certificate of exemption from zoning ordinance for the renovation of their two-storey building located in Barangay San Antonio.

Councilors Hero Clarence Bautista and Allan Butch Francisco authored the City Resolution 7419-2018, authorizing the exemption of Savory from zoning rules.

The resolution states that “the city council is authorizing the issuance of an exemption certificate to Savory Fastfood, Inc., represented by Kristoferson Davy Ting, as it plans to renovate its two-storey building at San Antonio Street.”

Ting, the owner of Savory, wrote a letter to Bautista and Francisco on Dec. 30, 2017, requesting for the issuance by the Quezon City local government of a certificate of exemption pursuant to the provisions of the Quezon City Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of 2016.

The firm has already complied with the necessary requirements prescribed by the law, ordinance and administrative issuance.

“The applicant has complied with the documentary and mandatory requirements as provided in the checklist of requirements under the project evaluation mandatory requirement request form for certificate of exemption issued by the City Planning and Development Office,” the resolution said.

The Savory building is specifically located in Lot 36, Block 105, San Antonio Street, Barangay San Antonio, Quezon City.

Quezon City taps volunteers to aid in disaster ops

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte on Monday mobilized volunteers to assist in disaster relief operations in the city, in coordination with local government officials.

Together with the vice mayor, members of the Joy Belmonte Volunteers’ Movement (JBVM) distributed food, sacks of rice, blankets, and beddings to families and individuals forced to evacuate from their homes in barangays Roxas, Bagumbayan, Damayan, Masambong, Manresa, Tatalon and Matandang Balara, among others.

“Dito po, ang atin po kasing kalakasan ay magmumula sa ating pagkakaroon ng kusang-loob at pagkukusa maglingkod (Here, our strength comes from our having willingness and our volunteerism to serve),” Belmonte said in gratitude to the newly-inducted volunteers.

Launched in 2008, the vice mayor convened the JBVM to respond to the needs of the city. To date, the movement has about 20,000 members.

Due to the succeeding onslaught of natural disasters, Belmonte urged volunteers of the movement to work with the local government to become “force multipliers.”

“Kapag masama ang weather, mayroon pong mga sakuna, mayroong mga disaster, kulang po ang mga tao ko pong bumababa po mula sa (local government) offices (When the weather is bad, when there are accidents and other disasters, there is lack of manpower from the local government),” Belmonte said.

“Humihingi po ako ng tulong sa inyo na pwede nating tulungan yung mga kapatid natin, kapwa natin mga mamamayan na siguro nasalanta o nahirapan (I’m asking for help from you to help our brothers and sisters, our fellow citizens who might have been hit by disaster or are in difficulty),” she added.

In Quezon City, the massive flooding and heavy downpour caused by the southwest monsoon intensified by storms have forced the evacuation of at least 1,623 families or 6,455 individuals. Two persons who had drowned were also identified in the city.

As presiding officer of the City Council, Belmonte also led the passage of Ordinance No. 2578 that aims to establish multi-purpose permanent evacuation centers in every district in Quezon City.

The ordinance was approved on April 10 last year.

The Quezon City local government is already studying possible sites for evacuation centers.

Saint Padre Pio's relic up for veneration until Sept. 8

By Ben Cal (PNA)

MANILA -- Filipino Catholics will again have the chance to venerate the relic of St. Pio of Pietrelcina which arrived in Manila on July 31.

Fr. Gian Maria Di Giorgio, an Italian priest, Sister Veronica and Sister Lea are accompanying the sacred relic during the visits to various parishes in the country starting Aug. 3 until Sept. 8, said Miriam Felipe of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Chapel (SPPC) in Libis, Quezon City on Sunday.

Escorting them during their more than a month tour are Angie de Castro and Archie Rodriguez of SPPC.

The last time St. Pio’s relic was brought to the Philippines was in 2015.

During his lifetime, Padre Pio became famous worldwide for his stigmata boring the wounds of Christ which he endured for 50 long years without complaint but joy in his heart for being given the rare opportunity to feel the suffering of Christ when He was crucified on the Cross more than 2,000 years ago.

In fact, Padre Pio’s stigmata generated much interest and controversy around the world.

Born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887, he was given the name of Pius or Pio in Italian when he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

When he was still alive, there were reports that Padre Pio was said to "have had the gift of reading souls, the ability to bilocate, among other supernatural phenomena,” communicated with angels, and healed those who were sick.

Padre Pio died on Sept. 23, 1968. He was beatified in 1999 and canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II.

As he predicted himself when he was alive, St. Pio’s name continued to reverberate across the globe to date. “I will make more noise after I’m dead than when I’m alive. My true mission will begin after my death,” Padre Pio once said.

When he was still alive, he would levitate while attending mass; and all the wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ when He was crucified would appear in the same parts of Padre Pio’s body. He made miracles during his lifetime.

Manoling Morato, a devout Catholic and former chairman of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), in his opinion column in the People’s Journal dated Aug. 7, 2018, said “Now St. Padre Pio continues to give miracles. Just ask for help for good and honest cause. Don’t ask for anything wrong for he won’t give it to you. Ask only for what is right.”

Here are the schedules of St. Pio’s relic display while in the Philippines:

Aug. 9-12 -- Pampanga, Tarlac, Baguio

Aug. 14-23 -- Bacolod, Iloilo, Cebu, Bohol

Aug. 25 (6 p.m.) -- Santuario de San Antonio

Aug. 29 (12 noon) -- St. John Bosco Parish; (5 p.m.) -- Greenbelt Chapel

Aug. 31 (11 a.m.) -- Santuario de San Jose Parish, Greenhills

Sept. 1 (10 a.m.) -- Our Lady of Beautiful Love Parish Merville; (4 p.m.) -- Sacred Heart Parish Alabang Hills

Sept. 5 (10 a.m.) -- St. Augustine Parish Church, Baliuag, Bulacan

Sept. 5-7 (4:30 p.m.) – St. Pio of Pietrelcina Chapel, Libis, Quezon City

Sept. 7 (7 p.m.) -- Main Church, Christ the King Parish Church

Sept. 8 (12 noon and 5 p.m.) -- St. Pio Pietrelcina Chapel, Libis, Quezon City

For further information, call 0977-097-7048.

Quezon City links up with Rotary for disaster management

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, supported by the Liga ng mga Barangay, on Friday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Rotary International (RI) District 3780 to assist and respond in times of disasters and emergencies.

During the MOA signing, Bautista said the partnership will strengthen both parties’ drive in providing services to city residents.

“We are looking forward that this partnership, aside from making it institutional, is talagang mas ma-tighten pa nang husto (really tightened up even more),” Bautista said.

The Quezon City government has already entered into a partnership with the RI District 3780 with only a few selected barangays (villages) last year.

“Dati, kaunti lang ang barangays na partners ng Rotary. Ngayon ay sasakupin na ‘yung mga hindi nakasali. Bawat isang club ay baka may tatlong hahawakang barangay (Formerly, only a couple of villages were partners with Rotary. Those excluded will now be covered. Each club may handle three villages). We are improving on the achievements of the past so that mas maging maganda at mas malawak pa ‘yung pagkakataon na makapagsilbi tayo (the opportunity for us to serve will be even better and wider),” Bautista said.

Under the MOA, the RI 3780 will be the first civil society organization to be tapped by the Quezon City local government to strengthen its DRRM (Disaster Risk Reduction and Management) capability.

It will help respond to calls for rescue operations, provide the communities and the city logistical support for its DRRM efforts; assist in relief goods provisions; and coordinate with the city and barangays in advocating disaster resilience.

“It is nice to see that the Rotary International 3780 is pursuing unity and trust that concern each and everyone of us, especially our brothers and sisters who will need emergency services in various parts of the city,” Bautista said.

Quezon City will also undertake humanitarian projects based on “Rotary’s Six Causes” such as fighting diseases, saving mothers and children, promoting peace, supporting education, providing clean water and sanitation, and helping local economies grow.

Meanwhile, RI District 3780 Gov. Pastor Mar Reyes lauded the city government for its continuing support to their organization.

“Mayor Herbert understands the needed support of the private sector. Rotary cannot do what they vowed to do, which is to serve the community, without the help of the barangays. That is the best partnership,” Reyes said.

RAMP for LIFE brings back life

(PARM)

QUEZON CITY, Aug 10 -- For the past 13 years, the Philippine Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine (PARM), a group of Rehabilitation Medicine specialists from all over the country, have been supporting indigent persons with disabilities (PWDs) in various ways through their PARM FUND.

They have assisted many PWDs in various regions with their medical and rehabilitative care, provided orthoses, prostheses and adaptive devices, helped athletes with disabilities participate in sports events here and abroad, supported community activities to increase disability prevention and awareness, and given assistance in livelihood programs.

This year, PARM partners with Amp for Life, Adaptive Climbers, and designers for a benefit fashion show, “RAMP for LIFE”, happening this Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Seda Vertis North, Quezon City.

Amputees, celebrities, and rehab doctors will walk the ramp during this unique and worthwhile event. Ramp for Life aims to heighten the sensitivity and increase awareness on the power of assistive technology and rehabilitation through inclusion of PWDs, amputees in particular. In addition, the project aims to raise funds to help procure prostheses for indigent amputees. The cost of each prosthesis ranges from P25,000 to P100,000, depending on need.

We invite everyone to support Ramp for Life! Everyone can help bring back life to persons with disabilities. Together, we can make this happen.

For further inquiries, you may contact the PARM Secretariat at +63 2 4159048 or email at parm_ph@yahoo.com.

DAR issues administrative order requiring public consultations in land use conversion applications

(DAR)

QUEZON CITY -- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently issued Administrative Order No. 5, Series of 2018 requiring the conduct of a public consultation to solicit public sentiments and ensure transparency in the approval or disapproval of certain applications for the conversion of lands from agricultural into other purposes.

Secretary John R. Castriciones said “the conversion of agricultural lands may affect the public and the future generations of the Filipino people. Thus, the concerned Regional Director should call for a public consultation before acting on an application for land conversion”.

Castriciones disclosed that the holding of public consultations are necessary to ensure that any interested person may be given the opportunity to present comments or sentiments about the certain applications for land conversion.

“Such views, comments, or sentiments may be utilized as a guide in the processing of the application for conversion. However, the inputs derived from such public consultations do not necessarily bind or has no effect being the Secretary or the Regional Director in the action on the pending application for land conversion,” he added.

Castriciones emphasized that the contents of notice of public consultations should include: the case title and name of applicant/developer and oppositor, the nature of conversion or project to be undertaken, the location, area and the title of the land, the name of the registered owner, the date, time and venue of the public consultation and the advice that any person may submit any written position paper regarding the application.

“The Notice of Public Consultation shall be in English or the local dialect in the area where the property is located. The Notice should be posted conspicuously at least ten days prior to the conduct of the public consultation in the barangay hall, municipal or city hall, DAR Provincial and Municipal Offices and other conspicuous areas where the property is located,” he added.

Castriciones disclosed that the Regional Land Use Conversion Committee (RLUCC) is responsible for applications for conversion falling within the jurisdiction of the Regional Director. The Land Use Cases Division of the Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance (LUCD-BALA), on the other hand, is responsible for conversion applications falling within the jurisdiction of the Secretary.

Castriciones said that the proceedings of the public consultations shall be documented and recorded by video. There shall be a written record of the minutes of the public consultations. Both the video recording and the minutes shall be undertaken by the DAR Land Use Cases Division and the Public Assistance and Media Relations Service.

Agricultural land use conversion is the process of changing the use of agricultural land to non-agricultural land uses.

DAR Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2002 (2002 Comprehensive Rules on Land Use Conversion) specifically states that it is the responsibility of the applicants to prove that they have complied with the legal substantive and procedural requirements, wherein public posting of billboards and notices in conspicuous places of the municipalities where the property is found is the sole procedural requirement which ensures that persons affected by the proposed land use conversion may file a protest.

SSS to work closely with DFA, DOLE to ensure OFW coverage

(SSS)

QUEZON CITY -- The state-run Social Security System (SSS) is expected to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in ensuring the compulsory social security coverage of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) under the proposed Senate Bill that will amend the Social Security Law with Senator Richard Gordon as principal author.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said that one of the proposed measures under Senate Bill 1753, which seeks to amend the 21-year old charter of the pension fund, is the mandatory coverage of OFWs over the world to protect them from hazards of contingencies.

“Based on the latest statistics, there are more than two million OFWs around the world but only more than 583,000 are actively paying their SSS monthly contributions. With the help of Sen. Richard Gordon, our SS champion in the Senate, our goal is to make sure that all Filipinos in and out of the country are protected under the SSS,” Dooc said.

“And we are also aware that this goal of ours is not as simple as it seems. This means tremendous work for us and partner agencies like DFA and DOLE, which oversee OFWs. We will be working closely with them to deliver the SSS mandate and to make sure that we will make the hopefully soon-to-be-law implemented,” Dooc added.

Senator Gordon ensured other lawmakers during the interpellation on the Senate floor that the mandatory coverage of OFWs will be properly implemented by the SSS as they work hand-in-hand with other government agencies.

Gordon, together with officials of the pension fund, said one of the ways to implement this is through strengthened bilateral agreements with different countries in the world.

"There are only 13 states that have agreed to have a treaty with us to cover all workers but that should not stop us. Today, we have 13, tomorrow, well 15, your honor. Next year, we may have 17 and of course, that should not stop the Department of Foreign Affairs and our DOLE. And all of us should always bring this advocacy that we should protect all workers of the world," Gordon said.

To date, the Philippines thru the SSS as lead negotiator, has already forged into 13 bilateral social security agreements with Austria, UK and Northern Ireland, Spain, France, Canada, Quebec, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Germany and Japan.

Gordon deemed the proposed measure a landmark bill as it will enable the SSS to fulfill its objective of universal coverage.

“It is our constitutional duty to afford full protection to labor, whether local or overseas, and fundamental to this is the provision of social security protection to all Filipinos, including OFWs. It is likewise provided in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that everyone has the right to social security," the senator said.

Dooc, meanwhile, said that the main purpose is to provide OFWs the mechanism to save in order to secure their retirement through entitlement to lifetime SSS pension benefits, the value of which is at least P5.00 per peso amount of what they contributed.

He explained that an OFW paying the maximum monthly SSS contribution of P1,760 (or about USD35) for at least 10 years will be entitled to a wide range of SSS benefits and privileges such as: basic monthly pension amounting to at least P6,400 upon retirement, disability or death, with an additional monthly benefit of P1,000; other benefits for pensioners like 13th month pension, dependents pension, and supplemental monthly allowance of P500 for disability pensioners; short-term benefits in the form of cash allowances for sickness (up to P57,600 per year; and maternity for female members (up to P32,000 for normal delivery/miscarriage and P41,600 for caesarian delivery); funeral grant amounting to at least P20,000; salary loan of up to P32,000, and direct housing loan of up to P2-million.

In the event of death, 100% of their pension will be transferred to their spouse and dependent children as primary beneficiaries. The least that they can get if unable to complete 10 years of contributions upon retirement is a refund of all their contributions plus interest.

A provident fund scheme, called the SSS Flexi-fund, is also being offered exclusively to OFWs to allow them to set aside an additional portion of their earnings abroad and maximize their returns.

“SSS contributions are OFWs’ long-term savings for the future, especially when they eventually decide to return home and stay for good to retire,” Dooc said.

Senator Gordon stressed that every Filipino worker during his productive years should follow a sure-fire formula to become self-reliant and financially independent: “WORK, SAVE, INVEST, PROSPER.”

QC to hold Filipino film festival for 'Buwan ng Wika'

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- Quezon City will host the 2nd Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), a film festival featuring all Filipino films organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) in celebration of the ‘Buwan ng Wika’.

Among the activities to be organized by the QC government and FDCP is the Grand Fans Day on Saturday, August 11 at Liwasang Aurora in Quezon Memorial Circle which will include an ‘all-star’ motorcade that will start from Amoranto Sports Complex and will pass through Timog, Maginhawa, and end up at Quezon Memorial Circle.

“Ang Quezon City po ang may pinakamaraming sinehan sa buong Metro Manila. Sixty percent of cinemas in Metro Manila are all in Quezon City, and the 80 percent of the gross box office receipts actually come from Quezon City. This will be a big step for us to work together towards naming Quezon City as one of UNESCO’s creative cities. Lalo pang mapapayabong ang kultura ng pelikula and the economic contributions of what film can do,” Liza Diño-Seguerra, chaiman and CEO of FDCP, said.

There will be an opening night for the PPP on August 14 and Film Industry Conference on August 17-18 at Novotel Manila in Araneta Center, Cubao.

Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte mentioned the plan of Quezon City Council to craft an ordinance that will require a one-week screening of Filipino films in Quezon City to all cinemas to celebrate ‘Buwan ng Wika’.

“May balak ang Sangguniang Panlungsod na magpasa ng isang ordinansa kung saan merong isang linggo sa Buwan ng Wika na puro Filipino films lamang ang pinapalabas sa lahat ng sinehan sa buong Lungsod Quezon,” Belmonte said.

Vice Mayor Belmonte also emphasized the vision of the city government to be the center for the culture and arts in the Philippines.

“Ang atin pong pangarap ay ang Lungsod Quezon ay maging permanenteng kilala bilang sentro ng sining at kultura sa buong Pilipinas lalo na sa larangan ng pelikula sapagkat tayo ay kinilala bilang ‘City of Stars’ by ordinance and entertainment capital of the Philippines. Gusto po talaga nating patunayan sa lahat na we are deserving of these titles that have been bestowed upon us,” Belmonte said.

Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino features eight films that will be shown in all theaters nationwide from August 15 to 21, 2018. The eight films are: Ang Babaeng Allergic sa Wifi directed by Jun Lana; Bakwit Boys directed by Jason Paul Laxamana; Madilim ang Gabi directed by Adolfo B. Alix, Jr.; Pinay Beauty directed by Jay Abello; Signal Rock directed by Chito S. Roño; The Day after Valentine’s directed by Jason Paul Laxamana; Unli Life directed by Miko Livelo; and We Will Not Die Tonight directed by Richard Somes.

Ticket prices for movies included in the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino will depend on the cinema, and will offer a 20 percent discount for students with valid IDs during weekdays.

LTFRB resumes Pantawid Pasada fuel cards' distribution

By Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

MANILA -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will resume the distribution of Pantawid Pasada fuel cards to jeepney drivers and operators starting Tuesday, August 7.

In a statement Monday, the Board said the distribution will resume on Tuesday, August 7 until Saturday, August 11 at the central office of the Land Transportation Office in Quezon City.

“The distribution will be done regularly thereafter,” according to the LTFRB, calling on legitimate franchise holders to avail of the fuel cards.

Drivers and operators should bring any valid government-issued ID and its photocopy, and a 1 x 1 ID photo in claiming their fuel cards.

The LTFRB suspended the distribution of the fuel subsidy cards due to technical issues encountered by Landbank of the Philippines.

The government's Pantawid Pasada is a fuel subsidy program for jeepney operators and drivers that seek to mitigate the impact of the recent oil price hikes and higher excise taxes due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

The government targets to distribute around 10,000 cards for the initial implementation of the program, which started last July 17.

A lump sum subsidy of PHP5,000 will be provided to 179,852 legitimate PUJ franchise holders.

A PHP977 million budget will be allocated to the fuel subsidy program for the succeeding months of 2018.

3,000 in Quezon City donate blood

By Rio N. Araja

Over 3,000 residents of Quezon City have again donated blood in an award-winning bloodletting drive to provide indigent or poor patients with free blood unit assistance.

“Blood-letting is one way in which we can show our love for our country and for countrymen. And I would like to thank everybody who is part of this,” Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

Launched in 2010, the bloodletting drive organized by the Office of the Vice Mayor attracts thousands of donors yearly.

This year, the donors came from the city’s 142 barangays.

Due to the high volume of blood donors, the annual endeavor has reaped multiple recognitions from the Dugong Bayani Awards organized by the Philippine Blood Center under the Department of Health.

In 2017, the initiative was given the highest honor for institutions donating blood—the Jose Rizal Award.

The bloodletting drive was also recognized twice with the Andres Bonifacio Award, the second highest award under Dugong Bayani.

Belmonte said after the election of Sangguniang Kabataan last May, young people have also started to become active in the annual drive.

Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista on Thursday cited the need to encourage organizations and institutions to aspire for excellence in disaster risk reduction and management, and climate change adaptation.

He recently spearheaded the launch of the HB Search for Resilience: Huwaran sa Kahandaan Para sa Ligtas na Bayan or also known as the Search for Tatak Kyusi Excellence in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and Climate Change Adaptation toward a sturdy and resilient city.

The search covers 14 categories to be participated in by the Sangguniang Kabataan, early learning centers, private and public elementary and high schools, local government unit hospital, national government hospital, higher educational institution, civil society organization, volunteer organization, people organization, and businesses.

QC launches Search for Resilience

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY (PIA)--The Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (QCDRRMO) launched the HB Search for Resilience: Huwaran sa Kahandaan para sa Ligtas na Bayan during the DRRM fair on Saturday, July 28.

The competition, also known as the Search for Tatak Kyusi Excellence in DRRM and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), seeks to encourage all QC organizations and institutions to aspire for excellence in the fields of DRRM and CCA and to improve interventions and innovations aimed at building the city residents’ resiliency to disasters.

Mayor Herbert Bautista said the competition is a way to establishing a sturdy and resilient city.

“Sa paglulunsad natin nito, mas marami pang tao ang mahihikayat, matuturuan ng mga kaalaman pangkaligtasan kung mayroong kalamidad at sakuna,” Bautista said.

The search covers 14 categories, which will be participated in by members of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), early learning centers, private and public elementary and high schools, city government hospitals, national government hospitals, higher educational institutions, civil society organizations, volunteer organizations, people organization, and businesses.

Each entry will be reviewed and validated by selected members of the QCDRRM Council.

Three winners per category shall receive plaques of recognition and cash awards that will be used for their respective DRRM and CCA-related activities. Winners will receive P100,000, P50,000 and P30,000 for the first, second and third placers, respectively.

Since 2016, QC has consistently placed first in the regional and second in the national Gawad Kalasag competitions.

“Ang ating siyudad ay nanalo ng Gawad Kalasag award for the last three years sa National Capital Region. Kaya nais ni Mayor, dapat itong mga good practices na ginagawa ng siyudad ay mai-baba hanggang sa antas ng barangay,” QCDRRMO chief Mike Marasigan explained.

Quezon City urges small businesses to go digital

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte is urging more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the city to go digital to attain higher profits and improve customer experience.

Speaking at the Globe myBusiness Day held Tuesday evening at Trinoma Mall in Quezon City, Belmonte addressed an audience of entrepreneurs and cited the importance of digital solutions for thousands of MSMEs contributing to the economic growth of the city.

"We have over 75,000 MSMEs here in Quezon City, at marami pang hindi nagrerehistro, kaya sa tingin ko aabot sila ng isang daang libo (and still many more have yet to register. I think they're around 100,000)," she said.

"Kailangan na kailangan talaga natin matutunan itong mga bagong teknolohiya sapagkat, ayon sa aking (We really need to learn these new technology because, according to my) research, digitally-mature companies are businesses that are more profitable, have higher revenues, and have higher market valuations," Belmonte added.

She particularly discussed the importance of customer service through social media for MSMEs.

"One of the tips na pinakamahalaga sa inyong mga small and medium enterprise owners, is kapag may komento sa website ninyo, kailangan agad-agad ninyong sinasagot (which is very important to you small and medium enterprise owners, is when there’s a comment on your website, you should immediately respond) because 1/3, I believe, of customers will post an experience," Belmonte said.

She cited insights from her own experience as a partner in Linea Etnika, a social enterprise for comfortable Filipiniana clothing that sells merchandise online.

"If you don’t listen to your customers and you neglect them, they will never go back to your website and purchase your products again," Belmonte said.

"It’s the importance that you give them. That is one thing that you should bear in mind as a user now of digital technology," she added.

In her speech, Belmonte thanked Globe myBusiness for partnering with the Quezon City local government.

She said it is the city's mandate to work with private organizations to ensure that "business enterprises in Quezon City continue to evolve and continue to improve so that they can better serve our nation and our country."

As presiding officer of the City Council, Belmonte led the passing of Ordinance SP-2364, which created the Small Business Development and Promotion Office; and Ordinance SP-2360, which sought the adoption of a Magna Carta for Micro and Small Business Enterprises in Quezon City, to support the operation of small businesses in the city.

QC vice mayor dreams of creating science, tech university

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte on Tuesday expressed her hope to create a science and technology-focused higher education institution to place the city on the map of technology hotspots, such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

"One day, it is my dream to establish a Quezon City Science and Technology University in our city," Belmonte said after delivering the keynote address at the opening of this year's Science, Technology, Research in Innovative Venture (STRIVE) at Don Alejandro Roces High School in Quezon City.

The university would be a pioneering institution run by the Quezon City local government that intends not only to build up expertise in science and technology but also to promote entrepreneurship and innovation within the city.

"My dream is to hone and develop the interest and skills of our children in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) so that they can be inventors, innovators, creators, tech-preneurs, engineers, scientists in the future," Belmonte said, believing that the "future is in technology".

In an earlier statement, Belmonte said she hoped young people would dream of "becoming not just ordinary employees or businessmen, but innovators".

Along with advocating for STEM education in the city, the Vice Mayor has been active in institutionalizing support from the local government for the city's small businesses.

A believer in the capacity of small businesses to innovate, Belmonte said, "Pinapangarap ng isang innovator gumawa ng mga bagay na makabuluhan (An innovator is dreaming to make things that are meaningful).

“We don't need to invent something new. We can improve on something already existing. We can be improvers,” she added.

QC has new police precinct building at city hall

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. (PNA)

MANILA -- The Quezon City government has provided the city police with a new building, with the aim of serving and protecting the public better.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista led the inauguration of the new two-storey Quezon City Hall Police Precinct inside the Quezon City Hall compound along Kalayaan Ave. on Monday.

The new precinct houses a total of six offices -- the investigation room, evidence room, conference area with television (TV) monitor, holding area for children in conflict with the law, and two lockups for male and female detainees that can accommodate up to 20 persons.

The Quezon City Police District expressed gratitude to Bautista and the City Council for the new precinct building and its more spacious and convenient location.

“Makikita naman natin kung gaano ito ka-conducive para magtrabaho at tumanggap ng mga complaints at mga nangangailangan ng tulong (We see how conducive it is to work in and receive complaints and those needing help),” Quezon City Hall precinct commander Chief Insp. Rolando Lorenzo Jr. said.

“Mas makakapagtrabaho kami ng maayos kumpara doon sa dating opisina namin na maliit, at siksikan. Ngayon, halos lahat ng tao ay may kanya-kanya nang opisina (We would be able to work better now compared to our former office, which was small and overcrowded. Now, almost all personnel have their respective offices),” Lorenzo added.

National Police Commissioner Zenonida Brosas also commended the continuous support of the Quezon City government to its police force.

“Napakalaking pasasalamat ng kapulisan sa suporta ng Mayor ng Quezon City para maging disente at maayos ang kinalalagyan ng ating pulisya. Maliban doon, may iba pang suporta si Mayor Herbert Bautista para maging masigasig at masipag ang ating mga pulis (The police is expressing its utmost gratitude for the support of the Mayor of Quezon City to make the working condition of our police decent and conducive to working efficiently. Aside from that, Mayor Herbert Bautista has other forms of support to make our policemen persevering and industrious),” Brosas said.

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