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Quezon City News January 2014

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Quezon City - Archived News

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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

NFA boosts rice stocks in Metro Manila markets

(PNA), JBP/ABP

MANILA, Jan. 31 (PNA) -- The National Food Authority (NFA) has assured the public that there is affordable rice available in the market.

The agency said in a statement that it has boosted the volume of rice allocation for accredited outlets in Manila, Quezon City and San Juan particularly in Kamuning, Frisco and Munoz markets.

It has increased the allocation of NFA-accredited outlets inside markets from 25 to 50 bags of rice.

On the other hand, the NFA has augmented the rice allocation to 20 from 10 bags each for outlets outside markets.

Monitoring of markets is conducted regularly nationwide to ensure that consumers will have access to good quality but affordable government rice.

The NFA, in an earlier statement, slammed its critics for allegedly launching a disinformation campaign to project a scenario of artificial rice shortage in the country through distributing thousands of rice stocks not suitable for human consumption.

According to NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez, the plan intends to divert public attention from a recently exposed rice smuggling operation.

An initial shipment of 450,000 bags or 22,500 metrics tons (MT) of rice from Vietnam arrived in the country last month to boost the country’s buffer stock which was severely depleted due to recent calamities that struck the country .

The stocks are part of 500,000 MT that was bought from Vietnam under the government-to-government agreement last November.

The rest of the shipment is expected to be delivered within the first quarter of this year.

Maynilad completes 168 kilometer pipe replacement in 2013

(MAYNILAD/EPC/RJB/PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY, January 30 (PIA) – The West Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Incorporated (Maynilad) replaced 168 kilometers of old, leaky pipes in various areas of Metro Manila in 2013.

Maynilad President and Chief Executive Officer Ricky P. Vargas said the pipe replacement project took place in Caloocan, Malabon and Quezon City.

“Since our re-privatization in 2007, we have replaced around 1,108 km of damaged pipes. Investing in the modernization of our water distribution system has not only made our services more efficient, it has also resulted in more jobs for our countrymen,” Vargas said.

For 2013, Maynilad was able to generate more than 3, 000 jobs from its pipe replacement projects. These jobs include those generated by the contractors and suppliers of the company.

Maynilad is a concessionaire of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Severage System (MWSS) for the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area, which is composed of the cities in Manila, Quezon City, Makati, Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon and several cities in Cavite.

Newest shopping, lifestyle mall opens in Quezon City

(PNA), LAM/CMR

MANILA, Jan. 29 (PNA) -- The newest shopping and lifestyle mall in Metro Manila – Fisher Mall - formally opened its doors late Tuesday with a promise to bring more shopping, dining, gaming, entertainment and other more choices for people who would visit the place.

Owned by the Mallers Management Corp. of the Del Rosario family headed by fishing magnate Roberto Simeon "Bobby" del Rosario, Fisher Mall is located at the corner of Quezon Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City.

Del Rosario said the mall offers good quality products and services at affordable prices while also providing world-class facilities and amenities to the ordinary people.

"We want everyone to enjoy the kind of things that rich people enjoy," he said.

The mall boasts of the Fisher Supermarket, which sells fresh fish and seafood cheaper compared to wet markets and bigger supermarket chains.

Opened last December 10 ahead of the main mall, Del Rosario said its fish is more than 20 percent cheaper than other markets because the products come directly from their fishing boats, thus eliminating the need for middlemen.

The mall also highlights its four-storey Fisher Fashion Store, which is complemented by the mall's centerpiece, the Fashion Ramp.

Other features of the mall are the PlayLand, which is said to be the biggest arcade and entertainment place in the metropolis so far with different play zones for kids of all ages; and the CrossFit Halcyon, the first mall-based family-oriented gym in the Philippines.

The Fisher Mall also features the Fisher Box Office, which has five full-digital cinemas with one 3D-capable cinema; and the Fisher Mall Food Hall.

Completing this mix are the various anchor establishments found in any other mall – bookstores, banks, appliance centers, beauty and personal care stores, hardware store, fast food chains and many other service shops.

Del Rosario said that as the first green building in Quezon City, Fisher Mall brings security, safety, beauty and practicality together.

Situated in an area of high elevation and built on adobe rock, the building is virtually flood-free and earthquake proof.

Its impressive fish scale design creates a sculptural effect at different times of the day and at night, its façade’s LED light wall changes color.

The mall's high efficient air conditioning system - coupled with the building’s exterior insulation and finishing system as well as its thicker than industry standards glass panes – assures of a constant 22-degree interior temperature all year round, even during summer.

Meanwhile, its brand new generator sets boasts of a capacity of generating 140 percent of power demand – compared to the industry average of 50 to 80 percent capacity – assuring uninterrupted power supply to tenants and visitors alike.

Fisher Mall also offers various amenities which include a VIP lounge, a baby care facility, parking and ramps for persons with disabilities and a drivers’ lounge among others.

In coming out with these concepts in creating Fisher Mall, Del Rosario said that return on investment was not their main priority.

"For us, our main goal is to bring happiness, comfort, safety and fun to people who would come into our place," he said.

While he admitted that business-wise, profit does matter, he noted that one can not bring his or her riches into the next world.

“But the smiles, the joy and all the happiness that Fisher Mall would bring to the people; that is what I hope that I can bring with me to the next world,” Del Rosario said.

Napolcom okays prescribed jacket for PNP tourist police

By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan [(PNA), SCS/CLTC]

MANILA, Jan. 28 (PNA) -- The National Police Commission (Napolcom) on Tuesday issued Resolution No. 2013-674 approving the standard specifications for the new tourist police jacket and the guidelines on its proper wearing by the uniformed members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) assigned as tourist policemen.

In a statement, Napolcom Vice Chairman and Executive Officer Eduardo U. Escueta said that all tourist police personnel are required to wear the dark blue long sleeves jacket with “TOURIST POLICE” markings and the name of the police personnel at its upper back portion.

“The PNP tourist police jacket shall be worn by police officers while performing field duties and functions as tourist police, particularly in cold areas,” Escueta added.

He said that the jacket should be worn with the prescribed tourist police uniform which is composed of two types. For commercial/urban areas, tourist police are required to wear the bull cap, patrol shirt, PNP GOA pants, blue belt, leather pistol belt and patrol shoes with black socks.

Tourist policemen assigned in beach and nature parks should wear the bull cap, patrol shirt, short pants (same fabric and design with PNP GOA pants) with “TOURIST POLICE” markings, blue belt, nylon pistol belt with first aid kit and patrol shoes with black socks.

“To distinguish the tourist police personnel from other patrol police personnel, the 'POLICE' markings at the back of the PNP patrol shirt was replaced by the 'TOURIST POLICE' markings,” Escueta said.

The Napolcom official stressed that all tourist police personnel are prohibited from using the tourist police jacket when they are not on duty and when they are inside night clubs, cockpits and other prohibited areas.

“It shall not also be worn by PNP personnel not assigned as tourist police and by those who are performing administrative duties,” Escueta added.

On Nov. 8, 2005, the Napolcom approved the proposal of the PNP to activate the Boracay Special Tourist Police Office (BSTPO), the very first tourist police office in the country, to maintain peace and order and ensure public safety in Boracay.

The Boracay Island Special Tourism Zone was created under Executive Order No. 377 dated Oct. 22, 2004 in line with the government’s program of promoting the country as a tourist destination.

The Commission also issued Resolution No. 2012-001 approving the activation of additional 25 Tourist Police Units (TPUs) nationwide in conformity with the provisions of Republic Act No. 9593 (The Tourism Act of 2009).

Aside from the BSTPO, which was renamed as Boracay Tourist Assistance Center, and the Bohol Tourist Police Unit, the additional 25 TPUs are as follows: Ilocos Norte PPO TPU (Region 1), Cagayan PPO TPU (Region 2), Zambales PPO TPU (Region 3), Cavite PPO TPU (Region 4A), Laguna PPO TPU (Region 4A), Puerto Princesa CPO TPU (Region 4B), Palawan PPO TPU (Region 4B), Oriental Mindoro PPO TPU (Region 4B), Camarines Sur PPO TPU (Region 5), Aklan PPO TPU (Region 6), Cebu CPO TPU (Region 7), Cebu PPO TPU (Region 7), Negros Oriental PPO TPU (Region 7), Tacloban CPO TPU (Region 8), Camiguin PPO TPU (Region 10), Cagayan de Oro CPO TPU (Region 10), Davao CPO TPU (Region 11), General Santos City TPU (Region 12), Surigao del Norte PPO TPU (Region 13), Baguio CPO TPU (CAR), Manila Police District TPU (NCRPO), Quezon City Police District TPU (NCRPO), Eastern Police District TPU (NCRPO), Northern Police District TPU (NCRPO) and Southern Police District TPU (NCRPO).

Escueta said the Tourist Police Units shall implement measures aimed at ensuring the safety and protection of both foreign and domestic tourists/travelers in high tourism traffic areas in the country.

Ban on sale of e-cigarettes to minors in Quezon City pushed

By Jeannette I. Andrade (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines—A Quezon City councilor is seeking the inclusion of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, among tobacco and related products banned for sale to minors, amending a 16-year-old ordinance that imposes negligible penalties, including minimal fines, on violators.

In her draft amendment to the 1998 ordinance, fifth district councilor Julienne Alyson Rae Medina proposed to include e-cigarettes among such items as cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products whose sale to minors is currently prohibited.

Medina also asked her peers to support the measure, which punishes violators with imprisonment for up to one month, a fine of P5,000 and possible revocation of one’s business permit. The penalties provided by the existing ordinance include fines ranging from P200 to P700 and suspensions of a violator’s business license.

In her proposed ordinance, the councilor cited studies indicating the potential dangers that e-cigarettes pose to both users and non-users who inhale chemical vapors emanating from the devices.

Medina pointed out that it was in the best interest and welfare of the city’s children for the e-cigarettes, along with cigarettes and other tobacco products, to be banned for sale to minors.

Her draft ordinance defines an e-cigarette as any electronic device that emits a vapor of liquid nicotine or other substances so a user can simulate smoking. It includes other devices with a similar mechanism manufactured as “e-cigar,” “e-pipe,” or any other product name.

Under the draft measure a person, business entity or establishment distributing or selling e-cigarettes or any other tobacco products to minors are to be fined P5,000 or imprisoned for not more than a month. For a violator’s subsequent offenses he is to be penalized with both penalties as well as the revocation of his business permit.

The 1998 ordinance only slapped a P200 fine or at most 10 days of imprisonment for a first offense; P500 fine or 11 to 20 days of imprisonment for a second offense and suspension of a violator’s business permit for 11 to 20 days; and a P700 fine or imprisonment of 21 to 30 days or both as well as the revocation of the business permit for a year.

QC approves P13.5B 2014 budget

By Chito A. Chavez

The Quezon City government has approved a P13.476 billion budget for 2014 which is P1.476 billion more than the city’s P12 billion operating budget in 2013.

The lion’s share of the 2014 budget will be allotted for social services (P4.816 billion) followed closely by general services (P4.387 billion) and economic services (P3.158 billion). In 2013, general services got the biggest slice of the city’s budget.

The city’s legislative branch will have a budget allocation of P1.145 billion this year.

QC Mayor Herbert Bautista said the city’s expenditure program for 2014 witll be used for programs and projects that will care for the poor, marginalized sectors, environment and ecology.

“As our fair city prepares to commemorate its diamond jubilee year in 2014, we shall be unrelenting in our efforts in providing the needed mechanisms to sustain QC’s unbridled march towards the future, where we shall assure ourselves and our posterity with a more stable and progressive community that we can truly be proud of,” Bautista said.

For 2014, Bautista also wants the city budget to finance increased public infrastructure development; implementation of mid-term socio-economic development plans geared at eradicating poverty; rationalization and improvement of frontline business and tax services and provision of quality and up-to-date education and health care and decent human settlements.

Bautista also vowed to make the city safe and friendly.

The city likewise aims to prioritize the application of “home grown” information technology and systems that shall increase productivity and efficiency of city government executives and employees, and improvement in the reliability and quality of city government services.

Metro Manila records coldest temperature at 16.9 degrees

(PNA), JBP/CLTC

MANILA, Jan. 25 (PNA) -- The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) this morning (Jan. 25) recorded the coldest morning so far in Metro Manila with the mercury dropping to 16.9 degrees Celsius.

Weather forecaster Manny Mendoza said the temperature dropped to below 17 degrees Celsius at around 6:20 a.m. near the Science Garden in Quezon City Saturday (January 25).

The coldest morning so far in Metro Manila was recorded last Saturday (Jan. 18) at 17.5 degrees Celsius.

He said both “readings” were specifically recorded in the vicinity of the PAGASA Science Garden in Diliman, Quezon City between 5 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.

PAGASA said the all-time lowest temperature that was recorded in Metro Manila was at 15.1 degrees Celsius on February 4, 1987 and December 30, 1988.

Meanwhile, in Baguio City the temperature recorded was at 9.5 degrees Celsius recorded around 6:10 a.m. Saturday, Mendoza said.

Friday's temperature in Baguio City was at 8.5 degrees Celsius lower than Thursday's 9.2 degrees Celsius, Wednesday's 11.4 degrees Celsius and Tuesday's 12.5 degrees Celsius. Monday's reading was at 8.4 degrees Celsius.

Baguio City recorded its lowest temperature this season last Jan. 19 at 8.1 degrees Celsius.

According to the PAGASA’s climatological record, Baguio’s coldest temperature ever recorded was at 6.3 degrees on January 18, 1961.

Mendoza said the country will continue to experience cooler days until the end of February, when the northeast monsoon or “hanging amihan” ends.

The northeast monsoon or seasonal winds from the northeast is the cold air from China that starts blowing into the country every mid-October.

It usually peaks from early January to mid-February.

PAGASA said Mindanao will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers due to localized thunderstorms while the rest of the country including Metro Manila will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains.

It added that moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast will prevail over Luzon and Visayas and coming from the northeast to north over Mindanao.

The coastal waters throughout the archipelago will be moderate to rough.

PAGASA also issued gale warning as strong to gale-force winds associated with the northeast monsoon, will affect the northern seaboard of Northern Luzon and the eastern seaboard of Luzon, of Visayas and of Mindanao.

"Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves," it warned.

MRT looking for a ‘mouthpiece’

(PNA), CTB/RTA

MANILA, Jan. 24 (PNA) -- The Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) is looking for a public relations officer who will act as the train system’s mouthpiece once its general manager, Al Vitangcol, is not available.

Rita Caraan, chief of MTRC’s administrative division, said the candidate must be a holder of Bachelor’s Degree related to Mass or Public Communication, with one year relevant experience, four hours of relevant training, and with a good command of the English language, both written and oral.

The chosen applicant will receive a monthly salary of equivalent to Salary Grade 15 in the government service or about P 25,000. He or she will have the position of Public Relations Officer III.

Applicants are requested to personally appear before the MRTC office for initial screening. The MRTC office is located at MRT depot, EDSA corner North Avenue, North Triangle area, Quezon City not later than Feb. 11, 2014.

He or she must submit a comprehensive resume, a copy of the diploma, transcript of records, certificates of training or seminars attended, certificate of employment, and other relevant documents.

QC offers financial aid to help new grads find jobs

(RJB/AKG-PIA-NCR/QC-PAISO)

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 23 (PIA) - The Quezon City (QC) government is now ready to extend financial assistance to indigent city college graduates and first-time job seekers as as mandated by SP 2246, an ordinance providing financial support and services to QC working constituents and job seekers.

Under the measure, also known as the “Hanap na, Bayad Later” program, the city government will provide a maximum cash loan of P2,000 to qualified beneficiaries, who can use the money for the processing of pre-employment documents and requirements such as working permits, medical certificates, National Bureau of Investigation clearance and other important papers.

The program, which has been allocated an initial budget of Php 1 million, will focus on graduate placement and network and profiling of job opportunities to help underprivileged QC residents find better job opportunities after graduating from college.

To qualify for the program, an applicant must be a resident of Quezon City, including fresh graduates, and must belong to the indigent sector of their community as certified by the barangay or the Social Services Development Department (SSDD).

Those willing to enroll in the program are expected to abide by its rules and regulations.

Eligible QC residents can register with the QC Public Employment Service Office (QC-PESO) and will be issued access cards which will be used as identification card as well as to access the program services.

After getting a job, a beneficiary can pay back his loan through several options such as salary deduction, tagging in their renewal of mayor’s permit or by installment basis (from four months, six months or up to a year).

The new measure also tasked the QC PESO to formulate the rules and regulation to implement the program, in coordination with other relevant city agencies and offices.

PNP opens one-stop-shops in NCR malls to fast track services

(PNA), CTB/MM/UTB

MANILA, Jan. 22 (PNA) -– As part of its 23rd founding anniversary celebration, the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday opened one-stop-shops in selected malls in Metro Manila to fast-track issuance of police clearances and licenses.

Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, chief of the PNP-Public Information Office (PIO), said that the one-stop-shops will operate for three days and will be complemented by Photo Static Display.

Sindac said that the shops will be opened from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. under the supervision of the Police Community Relations Group (PCRG).

”Different PNP units will be participating in the said event for the frontline services,” said Sindac.

Under the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management (DPRM) is the recruitment of uniformed and non-uniformed personnel; Directorate for Intelligence (DI) for DI clearance, Highway Patrol Group (HPG) for motor vehicle clearance, Crime Laboratory Group (CLG) for forensic laboratory service, Firearms and Explosives Office for firearms renewal and licensing, Permit To Carry Firearms Outside Residence (PTCFOR) for issuance of PTCFOR, and PCRG for complaint and referral desk.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) will also be there for Cadet and Cadette admission.

The one-stop-shop at the Trinoma, Quezon City opened Wednesday, while another at the Ever Gotesco, Commonwealth, Quezon City will open on Friday and last day will be on Sunday at Farmers Plaza, Cubao, Quezon City.

PCRG director Chief Supt. Sonny David said the front line services will fast track transactions.

“These services provided by the PNP personnel will only require ministerial actions and fast track transactions for the citizens. It is also promoting transparency with regard to the manner of transacting with the public,” said David.

Republic Act No. 9485, otherwise known as the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, was enacted into law to improve efficiency in the delivery of government services to the public by reducing bureaucratic red tape, preventing graft and corruption.

RA 9485 mandates the PNP to be accountable to the public in rendering fast, efficient, convenient, reliable services and has adopted various modifications and revisited its frontline services for the convenience of the transacting public minus the unnecessary voluminous documents.

St. Luke's among the 'Best Hospitals Worldwide'

(PNA), FFC/PR/UTB

MANILA, Jan. 21 (PNA) -- St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City and Quezon City have been cited as two of only 20 “Best Hospitals Worldwide for 2014” by the Diplomatic Council, a non-governmental Think Tank organization that adheres to the principles of the charter of the United Nations.

The “Best Hospital of the World” title is considered the highest qualification standard any healthcare provider can attain based on the Diplomatic Council’s experts’ evaluation.

This certification signifies that St. Luke’s will be recommended by the Diplomatic Council, TEMOS and also by hospitalscout.com and is the preferred hospital for the various Diplomatic Corps members of the Council.

St. Luke’s joins 18 other highly-regarded international tertiary care hospitals from Turkey, Thailand, Greece, Brazil, Jordan and Slovenia.

The Diplomatic Council is one of the biggest proponents of worldwide cooperation and diplomacy for peace. It is composed of more than 5,000 personalities from diplomats to frontrunners of various sectors from economy, policy, society, culture and sports.

NCRPO to observe QC police motorcycle proposal

By Gerg Cahiles

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) supports the Quezon City police's campaign requiring motorcycle riders to wear vests marked with license plate numbers.

The NCRPO says that, if the QCPD will be successful in its campaign, the same campaign may just be recommended to other police districts.

The NCRPO says the wearing of vests with the license plate markings will help distinguish "good" from "bad" motorcycle riders especially now that motorcycle-riding criminals are hitting the metro again.

In Quezon City alone, 12 crimes involving motorcycle-riding criminals have been reported since the opening of the year.

Police Director Carmelo Valmoria, NCRPO Chief, says the NCRPO will also train more police officers in tactical motorcycle handling to crack down on motorcycle riding criminals.

So far, the NCRPO has trained 193 personnel for tactical motorcycle operations and 48 more will be trained next month.

Valmoria says the NCRPO is somewhat short on resources, which is why it is depending on local government units for assistance in strengthening its motorcycle mounted force.

The PNP has also placed more checkpoints all over the metro to intensify its Oplan Siyasat.

A motorcycle riders' group supports the PNP's decision, saying that it is really important to have more motorcycle-riding policemen on the streets.

Atoy Sta. Cruz of the Motorcycle Philippines Federation says the measure will benefit everyone, adding that police programs against motorcycle-riding criminals will be useless without community support.

The NCRPO says the public can help in curbing crimes by reporting suspicious-looking men on motorcycles, motorcycles with no license plates, and riders moving in pairs or more, as well as riders wearing ski masks to conceal their identity.

Public vigilance may just help turn the tide against street crimes.

Biodiversity conservation still among DENR's top priorities in 2014

(DENR)

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 19 -- Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said biodiversity conservation through efficient and effective management of the country's protected areas (PA) will remain as one of the top priorities for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2014.

In a statement, DENR said, Paje, during the unveiling of the National Management Effectiveness and Capacity Assessment (NMECA) report in Pasig City recently, said the Department will continue to implement programs like the total log ban, the National Greening Program (NGP) and the new mining policy, which greatly contribute to the protection and preservation of the nation's floral and faunal species and their habitats.

He said these programs, along with effective PA management, help to reduce biodiversity loss and provides significant contributions to national and global conservation efforts.

The environment chief emphasized the importance of the logging ban and the NGP in improving forest conditions and forest-related biodiversity.

"We can now treat the entire forest cover of this country as a protected area because we have declared a total logging ban in our forests," he explained, adding that massive reforestation would reduce open, denuded and degraded forestlands.

Paje said that in imposing a new mining policy that seeks to balance development and environmental protection, the government was keen on "getting its true share, so that we can pay for the environmental damages particularly to biodiversity loss caused by mining."

On top of these continuing programs, Paje said the DENR's biodiversity team is also undergoing structural reforms to meet the changing needs of the sector.

Paje noted the threefold increase in the 2014 budget of the department's Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), formerly the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB), compared to its budget last year.

The bureau is also currently going through manpower rationalization to ensure a more efficient and effective implementation of its programs.

Paje likewise cited last year's enactment of Republic Act No. 10629, which allows every management board of PAs all over the country to utilize 75 percent of its revenues generated under the Integrated Protected Areas Fund for its operations.

This, he said, would enable the PAMB to improve PA management, such as through installation of better facilities for ecotourism purposes.

The DENR chief said that these reforms are necessary to address the challenges in PA management, while pointing out that managing these areas well and conserving all biodiversity within them are necessary to ensure that people will continue to enjoy the "natural services" that PAs offer like providing raw materials for various human uses and protecting communities from extreme weather disturbances.

Pres. Aquino congratulates DSWD on its 63rd anniversary, encourages staff to continue doing good job

(PNA), SCS/DSWD-PR/RSM

MANILA, Jan. 18 (PNA) -- "I hope you do not get tired of working with me, so the Filipino people can trust us again. Because you do your jobs well here, I feel that our services will have broader coverage, faster delivery and more long-term effect. All this for our countrymen – our bosses – no matter how difficult the task may be."

This was the gist of the message of President Benigno S. Aquino III who was the guest of honor during the celebration of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s 63rd on Jan. 16 at the DSWD Central Office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City

Speaking in the vernacular, the President commended Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman and the employees of DSWD, saying that “not everyone can do the work that [they] do.”

“During times of disasters, many of you cannot even find the time to sit down because of the myriad things that have to be done,” he said.

He continued to mention not only how DSWD is critical on what services are rendered, but also when they are given out.

“You know that you cannot forgive yourselves even for just a few seconds of delay in the delivery of relief goods and medicine because so many are hungry, thirsty, sick, scared and lonely,” the President highlighted.

Mentioning DSWD’s role in development, President Aquino stated that the Department’s mandate focuses not only on the welfare of the disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens but also on developing and empowering the capabilities of these sectors.

The President cited that with the help of DSWD staff and through the programs being implemented by the Department, the government is “able to achieve the mandate given by the people.”

Enumerating the pro-poor programs being implemented by DSWD, President Aquino said that almost four million poor households were provided with the opportunity for a brighter future under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which widened its coverage in 2013, while some 334,158 households benefitted from the Sustainable Livelihood Program.

“Sustainable means long-term, not just for photo ops,” the President emphasized.

Some P1.53 billion was given to indigent senior citizens, while P2.85 million was spent for the Supplemental Feeding Program benefitting 1.45 million children.

He also mentioned other pro-poor programs such as the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) which implemented 3,541 projects chosen by the communities themselves, benefitting 841,000 households.

“Since it’s the beneficiaries themselves which identified the projects they need, we know that they will ensure the success of each project,” the President expounded.

“In the end, a person or an institution is not seen in their number of years here on earth, but on how many people they were able to help; how many lives they changed; how deep their positive contribution to society; and how many were given hope,” he added.

President Aquino ended by encouraging the DSWD employees to continue doing a great job.

“I invite all of you here at DSWD, let us continue to give our all, our best in helping those in need. We have travelled far, and I know that with your continued contribution, we will achieve even more.”

AFP making significant headway in internal peace and security operations

By Priam F. Nepomuceno [(PNA), SCS/PFN]

MANILA, Jan. 17 (PNA) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is making significant gains in its ongoing Internal Peace and Security Operations (IPSO) and Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) "Bayanihan."

This was disclosed during Friday's command conference conducted by AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista with senior military leaders in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

During the meeting, the AFP disclosed that the New People's Army (NPA) miserably failed in achieving its goals bound on its "5-Year Central Plan," which was supposed to end in 2013.

The rebels' unsuccessful plan of expanding their mass base support during the five-year period was shown by the fact that the AFP was able to normalize 16 more provinces last year from the NPA influence.

This brought the latest overall success to 43 provinces, including Pampanga, out of the 64 NPA-affected provinces nationwide (56 percent of the total).

Also, a total of 824 NPA personalities were neutralized and 425 firearms were seized by the military in 2013.

Concerning the Rogue Moro National Liberation Front Elements (RMEs), the AFP was able to neutralize 502 RMEs, with 208 killed, 24 surrendered, and 270 captured/apprehended during the defense of Zamboanga last September.

A total of 324 firearms were also recovered.

On the government side, the AFP suffered 197 casualties -- 20 killed in action and 177 wounded in action, while 195 hostages were safely rescued.

The RMEs do not represent the whole MNLF, which is supportive of the peace process in Mindanao, therefore the AFP is ensuring that the peace process is not hampered or disrupted by these rogue elements, the AFP chief said.

During the incident in Lahad Datu, Sabah last February 2013, Bautista said the AFP deployed ground, air and naval assets against armed followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram to prevent spillover and assist displaced persons.

Against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the AFP continued the conduct of its focused military operations to contain the threat in few areas. The AFP was able to effectively limit the BIFF's capability to sabotage or derail the ongoing GPH-MILF Peace Process.

The AFP chief added that efforts against spoilers of the peace process are being done in line with the AFP’s continued commitment to support the ongoing peace process between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

"Currently, peace talks with the MILF are progressing well as we are in near realization of forging a final peace agreement with the group," he said.

Bautista added that the two parties have already signed three Annexes (Transition Modalities; Wealth Sharing; Power Sharing) while the last Annex on Normalization is still being negotiated.

Proving the success of supporting the peace process is the government’s gains from the Closure Agreement with the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA).

Last year, the military was able to integrate 168 CPLA members in the AFP. In the process, 403 firearms were also turned over to the armed forces while the government’s livelihood assistance project "PAMANA" was launched in the Cordilleras.

One of the essential factors of the AFP’s success is the military’s continued adherence to Human Rights, the International Humanitarian Law, and the Rule of Law. Alleged human rights violations went down by 88 percent, with only 11 cases in 2013 from 96 in 2010.

Among the significant humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations conducted by the AFP in coordination with other National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) member agencies were: the active HADR response as part of the "first responders" in the Zamboanga crisis, Bohol earthquake, and typhoon "Yolanda."

The AFP’s participation in the disaster relief operations in "Yolanda"-affected areas reached as high as 25,526 personnel who were directly involved in the HADR operations.

In addition, all available strategic lift and mobility assets from the major services were utilized. AFP units were organized under the Central Command for HADR mission in coordination with the NDRRMC and foreign military contingents.

As this developed, the Civil Society Organization-led "Bantay Bayanihan" says the AFP is gaining ground and can potentially gain more ground if the IPSP "Bayanihan" is sustained.

Further, the AFP has generally enhanced trust among peace and security stakeholders, especially in the provinces.

Perception of security in communities is notably enhanced when there is increased transparency; accountability; communication lines being opened; openness to cultural sensitivity; adherence and respect for human rights, international humanitarian law, rule of law; and multi-stakeholder engagement.

They also recognize that IPSP is planting seeds. Seeds do not grow to trees and bear fruit overnight. They have to be nurtured and sustained to flourish.

Despite the election period and the calamities and disasters that struck the country last year, the AFP was able to accomplish much.

For this year, the AFP is fully poised to vigorously conduct internal peace and security operations to meet the objectives of IPSP "Bayanihan."

“We must consolidate our gains and sustain our momentum. In the face of any challenge, the cohesiveness of the entire AFP will always be our best assurance,” Bautista said.

New ordinance sets speed limits within Q.C. subdivisions

By Jeannette I. Andrade (PNA), FFC/SCS

MANILA, Philippines—Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has signed an ordinance setting the maximum speed for motor vehicles within residential subdivisions in Quezon City at 20 kilometers per hour.

The new ordinance, titled “Subdivision Speed Limit Ordinance of Quezon City” which Bautista signed into law last Thursday, is to take effect on January 24. The measure was passed by the city council on December 16.

The ordinance penalizes violators with community service and fines ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 but provides stiffer penalties of a P5,000 fine and a week’s community service as well as the possible revocation of the driver’s license and criminal charges for motorists who damage property and cause injury or death due to reckless driving.

The measure cites the urgency of strictly enforcing maximum speed limits on roads inside the city’s subdivisions to avoid loss of life and damage to property due to reckless driving.

Under the measure, “No person shall drive at a speed exceeding the limit imposed by this ordinance, which is hereby set at 20 kilometers per hour, on crowded streets, approaching intersections at ‘blind corners,’ passing churches and school zones in all subdivisions in Quezon City.”

The speed limit, however, will not apply to emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks.

Violation of the ordinance would mean a day’s community service and a P1,000 fine for the erring driver while a second offense would entail two days of community service and a P2,000 fine. For subsequent offenses, a motorist will be slapped with a week’s community service and a P5,000 fine.

A violation resulting in damage to property worth more than P10,000 or death would merit a driver a week of community service and a P5,000 fine as well as an endorsement to the Land Transportation Office for the suspension or cancellation of his driver’s license. Likewise an endorsement for the filing of a criminal charge will also be submitted to the office of the city prosecutor.

DSWD to recognize most supportive media partners in providing service to the people

(PNA), FFC/SCS

MANILA, Jan. 15 (PNA) -- As the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) marks its 63rd anniversary on Thursday, it is giving out awards to its media partners in providing service to the people, especially the disadvantaged ones.

According to the DSWD, it has initiated the "Gawad Ulat" to give recognition to the Most Supportive DSWD Beat Reporter, Most Supportive Newspaper, Most Supportive Radio Station, and Most Supportive Television Station.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said the "Gawad Ulat" is part of the "PaNata Ko sa Bayan" or the "Pagkilala sa Natatanging Kontribusyon sa Bayan" awards which acknowledge the efforts of individuals, groups or organizations whose "panata" or vow is "to share their resources and time in providing a better opportunity for the disadvantaged sectors."

Secretary Soliman said the DSWD Awards Committee has unanimously chosen Leilani S. Junio of the State-run Philippines News Agency (PNA) as the "Most Supportive DSWD Beat Reporter" for having written "the most number of positive and balanced stories on DSWD programs, projects and services."

The other awardees -- Most supportive Newspaper, Most Supportive Radio Station, and Most Supportive Television Station -- were not mentioned by the DSWD in its letter informing PNA Executive Editor Faye P. Velasco about the award.

The awarding ceremony will be held on Thursday, 3:00-4:30 p.m., at the DSWD Auditorium, Central Office, Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

QC celebrates Melchora Aquino's birth anniversary with Tandang Sora Awards

(RJB/AKG-PIA-NCR/QC-PAISO)

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 14 (PIA) - Ushering in Quezon City’s (QC) Diamond Jubilee Year, the Quezon City government honored the 202nd birth anniversary of Melchora Aquino last January 6, 2014 with simple rites held at the National Shrine in Banlat.

The ceremony opened with a wreath offering led by QC Mayor Herbert M. Bautista, together with other city officials, descendants of Melchora Aquino, barangay officials, QC public school teachers, QC police officials, community leaders and students.

Executive Director Ludovico Badoy of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines represented the Office of the President in the ceremony.

The highlight of the event was the conferment of the Tandang Sora Awards to this year’s recipient - noted journalist and TV personality, Ms. Maria Cristina Monzon-Palma.

According to Dr. Manuel S. Alba, head of the selection committee of the Tandang Sora Awards, the honor is bestowed on outstanding women in the country who exemplify the seven virtues of Melchora Aquino: katapatan (honesty), kasipagan (industry), paglilingkod (service), palabra de honor (word of honor), kagandahang loob (kindness), mapagmalasakit (caring), and pagkalinga (protectiveness).

In her keynote address, Ms. Palma extolled the efforts made by the QC government to instil patriotism among the youth by remembering the deeds of our national heroes and heroines such as Melchora Aquino.

She said Filipinos are kind-hearted, helpful and caring by nature and we must extend our hand to help our neighbors, our community and those who are in need. She urged ordinary people to contribute to society, not only by heroic deeds, but also by small contributions and deeds of goodwill to their fellowmen.

Aside from the award, Ms. Palma also received a plaque of appreciation, and a collection of books from the QC government and the National Historical Institute as token.

Resurgent NLEX five takes on Cafe France

By Cedelf P. Tupas (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion NLEX shoots for a fourth straight victory when it tangles with Cafe France Monday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at JCSGO Gym in Cubao, Quezon City.

Sporting a 6-1 record, the Road Warriors hope to strengthen their bid for an outright semifinal berth in the 2 p.m. encounter with the Bakers, who also won all their previous four games before the Christmas break.

Wangs Basketball, outside playoff position at 10th spot with a 4-7 slate, clashes with National U-Banco de Oro in the 12 noon encounter, before Cebuana Lhuillier squares off with slumping Arellano U-Air21 at 4 p.m.

Only six from the field of 14 teams will advance to the playoffs with the top two teams clinching outright semifinal berths.

The next four teams will advance to the quarterfinals with both the third and fourth-seeded teams earning twice-to-beat advantage against the No. 5 and 6 teams.

The Road Warriors, with Garvo Lanete firing 27 points, are coming off an 89-70 demolition of the Jumbo Plastic Giants last Thursday. Although an automatic semifinal berth is within reach, NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez wants his team to focus on the Bakers.

“We’re not thinking about the playoffs yet,” said Fernandez. “We still have a long way to go. Our goal is to win as many game as we could and see what happens.”

The multititled mentor is wary of the threat posed by the Bakers, who are among the league’s top defensive teams.

Cafe France coach Egay Macaraya said his team is in for a tough outing against NLEX.

“I saw them play (against Jumbo Plastic) and I must admit they have the advantage over us all the way,” Macaraya said.

A library in every barangay? Let’s do it in QC, says councilor

By Jeannette I. Andrade (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Whatever happened to the 19-year-old law requiring the establishment of reading centers in every barangay?

A Quezon City councilor said it was about time the local government—which recently enacted two major revenue-generating measures in the form of an annual garbage fee and a 10-percent increase in business taxes—gave enough attention and funding to the promotion of literacy in the grassroots.

Councilor Franz Pumaren of the city’s 3rd District noted that although there was already an existing law for the establishment of municipal or city libraries and barangay reading centers nationwide, not every village in Quezon City had complied.

Local level

Pumaren cited Republic Act No. 7743 or “An Act Providing for the Establishment of Congressional, City and Municipal Libraries and Barangay Reading Centers throughout the Philippines,” which mandates national agencies, specifically the National Library and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, to establish more public libraries in the local level.

It was signed into law in June 1994 and was supposed to have been completely implemented within five years after its approval.

Having a library in every barangay would help promote the reading habit among Quezon City residents, Pumaren stressed in a draft ordinance seeking the setup of reading centers in all of the city’s 142 barangays.

P300K budget

The ordinance allots a P300,000 budget per barangay and requires a reading center to offer a wide range of books and audio-visual learning materials prescribed by the Department of Education.

For its continued operation, a barangay reading center should be given a share of the collected fees for barangay permits and other local government revenues, it added.

Pumaren also proposed that the city government forge an agreement with the National Library for a fresh supply of books each year.

According to 2013 data from the Quezon City government website, the city of 3.1 million has a literacy rate of 98.32 percent.

Quezon City treasury offices open on weekends

By Rio N. Araja

QUEZON City Mayor Herbert Bautista on Friday announced extended working hours for revenue and licensing offices attending to tax assessment and payment on Saturdays and Sundays this January to accommodate business permit renewals and first-quarter transactions.

The weekend work will enable taxpayers to settle their unpaid tax obligations on time, he said.

The first-quarter deadline for the payment of business taxes and fees without penalty under the Local Government Code is Jan. 20.

The city government also reminded taxpayers that treasury branches outside of city hall are also open to accept tax payment.

According to city administrator Aldrin Cuña, low-risk establishments with gross sales value of P500,000 and below, particularly retailers of goods (variety stores) and apartment lessors, excluding partnerships and corporations, may pay their business taxes at treasury branches located in Novaliches, La Loma, Cubao, Talipapa and Galas.“Hopefully, we can maintain just a single line for those who will be settling their tax obligations with the city government,” he told Manila Standard.

All five treasury branches are also open to handle tax assessments, including those for real estate, during the weekends.

On record, Quezon City has 65,000 registered business establishments.

Meanwhile, Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr. of District 1 urged private lot owners to take advantage of the 20 percent discount to early annual real-property taxpayers.

“What we need is to lessen the financial burden of our taxpayers and at the same time encourage them to pay their real property taxes not only on time but in advance,” he said.


PNP revitalizes physical fitness program

(PNA), FPV/MM/UTB

MANILA, Jan. 10 (PNA) –- As part of its program to keep its personnel physically fit, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will re-launch its Pulis “Hataw Na” Program Saturday by conducting various physical activities in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

The physical fitness and sports development programs will start at 6 a.m. Included in the activities are 30-minute Zumba, three-kilometer walk, five-kilometer Fun Run, and 10-kilometer Biking.

Director Lina Sarmiento, PNP-Director for Police Community Relations, said that the revitalized fitness and sports development programs of the PNP is also aimed at instilling discipline to its 140,000 personnel.

The said activity will be carried out simultaneously at the PNP National Headquarters, different National Support Units, and Police Regional Offices, down to Municipal Police Stations that seeks to improve and set the general physical well-being of the police personnel at par with the standards of other police officers in the world and to instill discipline to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“The program will eventually bring about physically and mentally fit personnel who can render quality police service to the community” said Sarmiento.

“To effectively maintain peace and ensure the safety of the public we should always be prepared and fit to run after criminals and violators of the law. Also, being in optimum health enables us to be ready to defend ourselves and our families from any danger that could come our way,” she added.

GSIS earns more than Php500 M from property auction;reflects renewed market confidence on bid process

(PNA), CTB/JS/PR/UTB

MANILA, Jan. 9 (PNA) -- The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) stands to earn more than Php566 million following the unprecedented sale of two of its prime Metro Manila properties last December 2013.

The Philcomcen building in Ortigas with a book value of only Php234 million was sold to the Filinvest Land Inc. with a bid of Php771.5 million while Cul Transit in Quezon City, with a book value of only Php50 million, was sold to Global 360 Development Corporation who bidded Php78 million for the 2,076 square meter property.

“The results are overwhelming. We were able to sell them at rates way beyond our asking price through a transparent bidding process,” GSIS President and General Manager Robert G. Vergara said.

Along with Philcomcen and Cul Transit, other GSIS acquired assets that were put on the sale block in November 2013, included Polymedic 1 and 2 in Mandaluyong City as well as LA’O and the former Jai Alai in Manila.

Nine bidders, including real estate developers submitted offers for the six properties.

Vergara said it was the perfect time to dispose the assets given the real estate property boom in the country.

“Our efforts to level the playing field for buyers of our properties have paid off,” the President and General Manager of GSIS said as he assessed the public auction.

“This milestone bodes well for auctions that we will be holding in the future,” Vergara said, adding “this will positively impact on the financial standing of the institution.”

Based on unaudited figures, the total assets of GSIS for the first 11 months of 2013, stood at Php784.1 billion, up by 8% from the Php726 billion posted in 2012.

DFA to open new satellite office in QC by Feb.

By Matikas Santos (INQURER.net)

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is set to open a new satellite office in Quezon City by February 2014.

A memorandum of agreement was signed between Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Jorge Araneta, Chairman and President of Araneta Center, Inc., for the opening a satellite office at Ali Mall, Araneta Center, DFA said in a statement Wednesday.

The new satellite office, to be designated as DFA NCR-Northeast, will open sometime February at the Ali Mall Government Center on the second level of the mall.

DFA said that the opening of the new satellite office “is in line with the Department’s objective of decongesting the DFA main passport processing facility at the ASEANA Business Park in Parañaque.”

“[It] will complement the four other DFA satellite offices serving the residents of Metro Manila and nearby cities and municipalities,” it said.

DFA’s other offices are the DFA NCR-East satellite office located at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong city, DFA NCR-Central at Robinsons Galleria, and DFA NCR-West at SM City Manila.

DOH to MM mayors: Include non-resident children in measles vaccination drive

(PNA), PDS/SDT/PJN

MANILA, Jan. 7 (PNA) --The Department of Health on Tuesday called on all Metro Manila mayors to include in their measles vaccination program the transient or non-resident children, particularly those coming from the "Yolanda"-battered provinces.

Assistant Secretary and DOH spokesperson, Dr. Eric Tayag made the call during a health forum held in Quezon City in the wake of reported measles outbreak in several areas in Metro Manila.

He also reiterated the importance of being immunized against the very infectious viral disease as he noted that the department has intensified the free measles vaccination of children aged nine up to 59 months in the metropolis.

In view of the outbreak, health workers have embarked on a house-to-house campaign to make sure every eligible child will be inoculated.

Tayag also announced a massive immunization campaign to be carried out in September this year to meet the goal of measles-free Philippines by 2017.

Tayag said September campaign would be conducted in schools, bus stations, malls, health centers on top of the door-to-door vaccination.

He said the door-to-door measles vaccination has been practiced prior to the outbreak in the metropolis. However, some children may have been missed out, especially those non-residents.

To cover this loophole, he called on the support of all the Metro Manila mayors to include the non-resident children in their local measles immunization campaign.

Tayag mentioned of the need to include in the vaccination those children from other provinces who transferred to the metropolis in the wake of typhoon "Yolanda."

Tayag said that parents should be alarmed of the possible complications which even resulted to children’s death, and that measles should not be taken for granted considering that it is highly infectious.

Most children with measles easily recover, but the illness can kill because of pneumonia, acute diarrhea with severe dehydration or acute encephalitis.

MMDA bares traffic rerouting scheme in Manila for Black Nazarene Feast on Thursday

(PNA) / CLTC with trainees Sharmaine Anne G. Samson (SGS) and Pearl Anne M. Nolasco (PMN)

MANILA, Jan. 6 (PNA) -- Motorists passing through parts of Manila this Thursday may have to follow a rerouting scheme due to the yearly procession marking the Feast of the Black Nazarene, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said on Monday.

The procession, which highlights the yearly event, is to take place at the Quirino Grandstand from 7 a.m. onwards.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said 2,000 agency personnel will be deployed to the Quiapo area in Manila to man traffic and provide assistance in case of emergencies and clear the roads of garbage after the event.

As such, Tolentino said that motorists and commuters must brace for heavy traffic in areas near the procession route.

In its advisory, a traffic rerouting scheme was released to guide motorists on January 9, 2014:

All vehicles coming from the northern part of Manila intending to utilize the stretch of Bonifacio Drive southbound (Manila Hotel & other Offices at Port Area) shall turn right at Roberto S. Oca St., left Delgado, left Bonifacio Drive, right A. Soriano to Magallanes Drive, right to P. Burgos, go straight to Lagusnilad to Taft Avenue. Likewise, other vehicles for southbound shall turn left A. Soriano to point of destination.

All vehicles using Taft Avenue northbound shall turn right at A. Villegas (Arroceros) right Quezon Bridge to point of destination. (Note: northbound of Quezon Blvd. is open to traffic)

All vehicles coming from southern part of Manila intending to utilize the northbound of Roxas Blvd. from TM Kalaw to P. Burgos shall turn right TM Kalaw to point of destination.

All vehicles coming from Quezon City using the stretch of Espana shall turn right to P. Campa, left to Andalucia, right to Fuguso, left T. Mapua to point of destination.

All PUJs/light vehicles coming from Espana intending to proceed to South Pier Zone turn left Nicanor Reyes, right Rector straight to JAS, left Reina Regente take Jones Bridge to point of destination.

All vehicles coming from Divisoria intending to utilize stretch of Recto shall turn left T. Alonzo, right Furguso, left Andalucia to point of destination.

All vehicles coming from Legarda shall turn right to Recto or left Mendiola to point of destination.

All heavy vehicles/cargo trucks coming from the south shall take Pres. Osmena, right Pres. Quirino to Nagtahan via AH Lacson to Capulong (vice-versa).

All motorists intending to proceed to North of Manila or South of Manila shall utilize the stretch of Lacson to Nagtahan (vice-versa) or to utilize stretch of Road-10 to Roxas Blvd. (Vice-versa) to point of destination.

All buses coming southern part of Manila utilizing Taft Avenue are not allowed to enter from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and allowed only up to Pres. Quirino as their turning point.

For his part, MMDA Metro Parkway Clearing Group Chief Francis Martinez said that they will expect truckloads of garbage left by devotees on Thursday's Feast.

With this, Martinez urged vendors to help authorities collect garbage.

Monday simultaneous flag ceremony to kick off first-ever National Time Consciousness Week

(PNA), LAM/DOST-PR/PJN

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 5 (PNA) -- As kick off activity for the first ever observance of the National Time Consciousness Week from January 1 to 7, government offices, led by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), will hold their first flag ceremony of the year simultaneously on Monday, January 6, at exactly 8:00 a.m., Philippine Standard Time (PhST).

Along with the simultaneous flag ceremony, all government offices will display the PhST in prominent areas, per Civil Service Commission announcement No. 1, series of 2014.

PhST is provided by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the country’s official timekeeper.

The activity is part of the government’s campaign for the usage of PhST, which was enacted through Republic Act 10535 or the Philippine Standard Time Act of 2013, signed into law by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III on May 15, 2013. The newly-enacted law assigns every first week of the year as the National Time Consciousness Week.

DOST’s PhST campaign, dubbed as Juan Time (Pinoy Ako On Time Ako) aims to synchronize all timepieces in the country and promote the new definition of “Filipino Time” which is on time. The highlight of the campaign was the New Year countdown using PhST, which was adopted by major television networks and telecommunication giants.

“Our Juan Time campaign seeks to reverse the negative connotations of ‘Filipino Time’ from tardiness to punctuality, discipline, and utmost regard for other people’s time. Lateness often leads to missed opportunities. What we want is for Filipinos to arrive on time as the new norm,” DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said.

QC gov't accepts weekend tax payments this January

(PNA), SCS/LSJ

MANILA, Jan. 4 (PNA) -- The Quezon City government said over the weekend that its City Hall offices involved in tax assessments and collections are open on Saturdays and Sundays for the month of January to accommodate taxpayersrenewing their business permits and making first quarter tax payments for their businesses.

“The extended working hours (during the four weekends) will enable taxpayers to settle their tax obligations on time,” Mayor Herbert M. Bautista said.

The first quarter deadline for the payment of business taxes and fees without penalty, as provided under the Local Government Code, is Jan. 20.

Aside from the extended working hours, Bautista also reminded taxpayers that all treasury branches outside of QC Hall are also open to accept tax payments.

“All low-risk establishments with gross sales value of P500,000 and below, particularly retailers of goods (sari-sari stores) and apartment lessors, excluding partnerships and corporations, may pay their business taxes at the different QC treasury branches, which are located at Novaliches, La Loma, Cubao, Talipapa and Galas,” he added.

“Hopefully, with this reminder, we can maintain just a single line for those who will be settling their tax obligations with the city government,” said newly-appointed City Administrator Aldrin C. Cuña.

He also said that all of the five QC treasury branches are also open to handle tax assessments, including those for real property taxes (RPTs).

To date, QC has over 60,000 registered business establishments.

Taxpayers can also take advantage of the 20 percent discount given by City Hall to real property owners paying their annual RPTs in full before the March 31 deadline.

The grant of the incentive is contained in an ordinance principally authored by first district Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr. that was passed by the City Council in 2001.

The discount aims to lessen the financial burden of the city’s taxpayers and at the same time encourage them to pay their real property taxes not only on time but in advance.

MMDA to host int'l meet on infectious diseases prevention in February

By C. Lloyd T. Caliwan (PNA), SCS/CLTC

MANILA, Jan. 1 (PNA) -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will host another international forum this coming February to discuss current developments in the prevention of infectious diseases in Asia.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the three-day annual conference will be held starting Feb. 4 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria Hotel in Ortigas Ave., Quezon City.

It will gather health professionals, various medical associations, medical researchers, and city officials of the 13-member-cities of Asian Network of Major Cities (ANMC) 21

He said the forum, with the theme “Meeting City-Level Challenges to Achieve Millennium Development Goals on Infectious Diseases,” is the 9th Annual Conference of the ANMC 21 on Counter-measures to Combat Infectious Diseases in Asia.

"Once again, we at the MMDA are honored to lead this international conference. We are hoping to learn and contribute in ANMC 21’s continuous efforts to stop the spread of diseases in the Asian region,” Tolentino said.

The MMDA recently hosted the 11th Asian Crisis Management Conference (ACMC).

Now on its 9th year, the 2014 Counter-measures to Combat Infectious Diseases in Asia forum will focus on relevant programs to control five infectious diseases in the region that seemed to be on the outbreak in recent years – the Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), HIV/AIDS, Dengue, Leptospirosis, and Pandemic Influenza.

The MMDA chief said each member-city of ANMC 21 will present recent medical updates and current policies to combat the further outbreak of infectious diseases and discuss possible joint researches and surveys.

“To foster learning and exchange of ideas, we will also invite selected guests with knowledge and expertise on the topics to provide additional insights into the trends, policies, challenges, and innovative actions against infectious diseases,” Tolentino said.

ANMC 21, which organizes the annual ACMC and the Counter-measures to Combat Infectious Diseases in Asia, is an organization of Asia's largest capital cities working together on issues such as urban planning, sustainability, and crisis management.

It was advocated in August 2000 by then Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara.

ANMC21 member-cities are Bangkok, Delhi, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Metropolitan Manila, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, Tomsk, Ulaanbaatar, and Yangon.