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Quezon City News January 2016

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Quezon City - Archived News

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The Founder Manuel Quezon
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Wars of ancient history were about territory, power, family or lover's quarrel, politics and sometimes religion.

But we are in the Modern era and supposedly more educated and enlightened .

Think about this. Don't just brush off these questions.

  • Why is RELIGION still involved in WARS? Isn't religion supposed to be about PEACE?
  • Ask yourself; What religion is always involved in wars and consistently causing WARS, yet insists that it's a religion of peace?


Herbal remedies for diabetes.JPG
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

Flower, garden exhibit Feb. 4-15 in QC

(Philippine Daily Inquirer)

A flower and Garden Show Extravaganza will be held on Feb. 4-15 at Hardin ng Mga Bulaklak and Tropical Gardens, Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City to mark the 40th anniversary of the Philippine Horticultural Society Inc.

Club president Dorie Bernabe said the main focus of the show is to let the public know there is money in gardening.

Ornamental gardening is a big dollar-earner in Holland, Thailand, Hawaii, China, Japan, England and many other countries.

Apart from landscape exhibits and an individual plant competition, there will be a flower arrangement show, an on-the-spot painting contest, bonsai and fauna exhibit, daily lecture-demonstrations on the various aspects of gardening, raffles and a floral float parade on Feb. 12.

Any individual or company, local or foreign, may participate in the commercial exhibits, but the flower arrangement competition is open only to 40 club members.

Quezon City Cited for Child-Friendly Local Governance Initiatives


QUEZON CITY, 30 Jan. (PIA)--The Quezon City Government was among 15 LGUs in Metro Manila recently conferred with the Seal of Child-friendly Local Governance award.

The Regional Committee for the Welfare of Children (RCWC) conferred the award in the annual event spearheaded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) held at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City on January 22.

Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, who represented the QC government in the event, received the plaque of recognition from Vincent Andrew Leyson, regional director of DSWD-NCR and chair of RCWC-NCR and Jovian Ingeniero, assistant to the regional director of DILG-NCR.

The recognition was based on the results of the child-friendly local governance audit conducted on Metro Manila's cities and municipalities by the Inter-Agency Monitoring Task Force as validated and endorsed by the RCWC, which is being chaired by the DSWD-NCR.

The RCWC is composed of national government agencies and NGOs involved in implementing the programs and services for the survival, development, protection and participation of children.

According to RCWC, LGUs were rated as child-friendly based on the following criteria: reduction in deaths among children below five years old or under-five mortality rate; reduction in the number of children under-six with below normal weights; completion rate for elementary schooling; absence of child labor or percentage reduction in child labor cases; reduction in the number of children victims of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation; and safety measures for children in community and schools.

Mainstreaming of children's rights to survival, development, protection and participation in the core development agenda of LGUs, an ordinance establishing Barangay Violence Against Women and their Children (VAW/C) desks, PhilHealth accreditation in its maintained health facility or rural health unit for the Maternal Care Services and Primary case; and Local School Board (LSB) Plan aligned with the School Improvement Plan (SIP) and completion of at least 70 percent of its LSB Plan were also considered.

Korean company donates digital pianos, metallic blackboards to DepEd


MANILA, Jan. 29 (PNA) -- Korean construction and property company Booyoung Group on Friday handed over 5,000 digital pianos and 50,000 metallic blackboards to the Department of Education (DepEd) at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Quezon City.

During the turnover ceremony, Booyoung Chairman Dr. Lee Joong-Keun said that the donation was part of the company's efforts in aiding the educational sector to provide a better educational environment for children.

"Booyoung Group donated digital pianos and blackboards for the educational purpose, hoping this could contribute to the development of the educational infrastructure of Philippines and to help the children grow to be the leader of national economic development," said Lee.

Aside from improving the educational landscape, Lee also hoped this project will contribute to the mutual understanding and cultural exchange between the two countries.

Korean Ambassador Kim Jae-Shin, who also graced the event, commended the company's efforts, noting that they serve as a good example of private sectors endeavoring to improve young people's lives.

"Even though the Booyoung group does not have any business in the Philippines, it promised to unconditionally offer educational equipment to Filipino students and hopefully it will draw Filipinos closer to Koreans more than ever," said Kim.

The Korean ambassador added that the donation would provide opportunities to make a better future of young Filipino students' education, as it would develop the school's environment and foster the learner's creativity.

For his part, Education Secretary Armin Luistro hoped that the music started through the generosity of Booyoung company would be an inspiration to the Filipino learners and allow them to pursue their dreams.

"As we continue to distribute the digital pianos to many other schools, at least 5,000 elementary schools, and at least 50,000 metallic boards to our learners, we are certain that the music of both Filipinos and Koreans will resound so much better in the world, allowing us to create a whole new global community where we are all brothers and sisters," Luistro said.

He also hoped that the music showcased through the event would allow two cultures to come together and ensure that the friendship between the Filipinos and the Koreans continue to be vibrant in the coming years.

The famous Korean Graduation Song translated into Tagalog and Korean folk songs "Arirang" and "Spring in the Hometown" are stored in the digital pianos together with the Philippine National Anthem and other Philippine folk songs.

Lee, with a firm belief that education is the best investment for the better future, has been donating in the educational sector domestically and globally. He has donated 60,000 digital pianos and 600,000 blackboards in 14 Southeast Asian countries and is trying to expand donation activities to African countries.

Maynilad launches online billing


QUEZON CITY (PIA) – Maynilad Water customers can now check their water consumption online with the launching of its “My Water Bill” program.

“This new program taps technology to facilitate the delivery of billing information to our customers. Through it, we hope to further enhance customer experience and make their transactions with our company more convenient,” said Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito S. Fernandez.

According to Maynilad, the program will provide payment convenience to customers and enable them to receive their Statement of Account (SOA) or water bill via electronic means through SMS, email or web portal.

Although hard copies of the SOA will still be delivered to all customers, those who opt to register with the “My Water Bill” program can receive notifications of their current and outstanding water bills through their mobile phones and email the day after the meter reading. Hence, customers can already post payments with Maynilad-accredited payment facilities just by presenting the electronic notification on their mobile phones.

In addition, Maynilad customers registered with the “My Water Bill” program can pay their water bills online via Web Portal, which provides links to the online payment facilities of Maynilad-accredited banks and payment centers.

To avail of the service, Maynilad customers have three options: self-enrolment via Maynilad website www.mayniladwater.com.ph and follow the prescribed steps; self-enrolment via SMS (P1.00/one-time registration). Just key in: WATERbill <space> ON <space> <Maynilad Contract Account No.> <space> <Account Name> and send it to 0908-8968278, or call Maynilad Hotline 1626 and request the Contact Center agent to enroll on customer’s behalf.

CSC to young citizens: Be part of the fight against red tape in government


MANILA (PNA) -- The Civil Service Commission (CSC) enjoined the students of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman in Quezon City on Monday to join the fight against red tape in the government.

According to CSC Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala, they chose to launch a three-day Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) Caravan in the UP Campus so that more students can help in the fight against corrupt practices and ensure that the people receive the ideal of quality public service delivery.

“The youth is the most untapped sector that can help us drive innovative solutions for reducing red tape in the government,” Chairperson Bala said.

Through a “Talastasan sa Diliman,” the CSC chair answered queries of the students and informed them of CSC programs in promoting ARTA Law or Republic Act No. 9845.

She also encouraged the students and other citizens who went to the caravan to participate actively in the reporting of complaints/unpleasant encounters with public servants or service offices not complying with the provisions of ARTA.

Meanwhile, more than 30 frontline services from 18 participating government agencies rendered services and were made accessible to the students during the caravan.

Among them were the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Pag-IBIG Fund, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

CSC, for its part, put up booths where applications for career service examinations and other queries were entertained.

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), on the other hand, provided services in terms of online registration, member data record application and inquiries, ID and UMID application, and updates on membership.

Philhealth coverage for expectant mothers and newborn children pushed


MANILA, Jan. 26 (PNA) -- A lawmaker filed a measure granting automatic PhilHealth coverage for all women about to give birth and their newborn children to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health.

Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City) said House Bill 6373 seeks to provide automatic health insurance coverage to all women about to give birth who are not yet enrolled under any existing categories of the PhilHealth and their newborn children.

“As part of the country’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Philippines aims to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health,” Vargas said.

Vargas cited the 5th Philippine Progress Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Philippines has a high probability of achieving the target of reducing the mortality rate of children.

He said in 2011, the Philippines recorded a child mortality rate of 30 out of 1,000 live births, which is not far from the 2015 target of 26.7. Infant mortality rate also decreased from 57 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 22 per 1,000 live births in 2011. The 2015 target is 19, he added.

“However, it is feared that the Philippines will not meet its MDG target on maternal health as the maternal mortality ratio increased from 209 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 221 deaths in 2011, a far cry from the 2015 target of 52,” Vargas said.

“The State must exhaust all efforts to ensure that the country will meet the targets set forth by the United Nations,” Vargas stressed.

Under the measure, all Filipino women about to give birth and their newborn children who are not currently covered under any existing category of PhilHealth need not pay the monthly contributions to be entitled to the Program’s benefits.

The measure, also known as the “PhilHealth Para sa Buntis at Kanyang Sanggol Act of 2015”, shall amend Republic Act 10606, otherwise known as the “National Health Insurance Act of 2013”, to provide expectant mothers and newborn children with proper pre and post natal care and adequate health care services.

The premium for the coverage of unenrolled women who are about to give birth and their newborn children shall be fully borne by the national government to be sourced from the National health Insurance Fund of Philhealth earmarked from the proceeds of sin tax collections in accordance with Republic Act 10351, otherwise known as “An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax and Tobacco Products.”

Councilors ask QC gov’t to help displaced vendors

By Chito A. Chavez

Members of the Quezon City Council are asking the city government to ensure that vendors, displaced from three wet markets in Balintawak that were closed down earlier for various violations, will be transferred to other markets.

First District Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr. made the call as some of the affected vendors trooped to his district office and conveyed their fear of ending up without a source of living with the closure of the markets.

Ferrer raised this issue in a recent meeting with Councilors Jesus Manuel Suntay, Jaime Borres, Eufemio Lagumbay, Ranulfo Ludovica and Allan Benedict Reyes.

“Their fears are not unfounded. So the city government has to act on it at the soonest time possible,’’ Ferrer said.

However, the Quezon City government assured it will assist the legal vendors find other marketplaces to ply their trade amid protests over the issuance of the cease and desist order on three private markets in the Balintawak area.

The city government had issued the cease and desist order to Cloverleaf Market, MC Market and Riverview Market 11 for various violations despite numerous notices issued in the past.

Despite the cease and desist order the markets continued to operate.

Rodolfo de Guzman, owner of Cloverleaf Market, vowed to transfer some 300 displaced market vendors in the private markets in the Novaliches area.

Despite calls for the continued operation of the three markets, city government yesterday maintained that it will proceed with the closure of three public markets in Balintawak area.

City market administrator Noel Soliven said they will not give any extension and maintained that the order was issued after the city followed strict due process.

Soliven said Cloverleaf Market, MC Market and Riverview Market 11 have persistently violated local and government permits and requirements despite renewed calls from the city government.

But he said the local government would allow these markets to re-open once its owners comply with existing requirements.

9 trending local cities this year

By Tessa R. Salazar (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Property analysts and experts forecast that developers will continue to pursue township developments in and outside Metro Manila in 2016. Now, where could these, and other types of developments be? Here are the nine likeliest urban locations:

1. Cavite. Colliers International Philippines cites three reasons Cavite is on developers’ maps:

• Cavite has been known as a suburban support area to Metro Manila. With its relatively cheaper housing costs, Cavite has drawn within its boundaries hundreds of thousands, who still commute daily to their workplaces within Metro Manila.
• Numerous infrastructure projects recently launched will allow Cavite to flourish. The LRT-1 extension project will end in Bacoor; the government has now started the bid for LRT-6 which will further extend the LRT line from Bacoor to Dasmariñas City. Furthermore, the 44-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax) project will provide necessary access to growth areas in Cavite.
• With the completion of the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX), a toll road which connects the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) to Daang Hari, property values in the area are foreseen to escalate rapidly. The new toll road will spur rapid development in emerging master-planned communities such as Vista Land’s Vista City and Ayala Land’s Vermosa Estate, which have the potential to establish themselves as full-blown central business districts (CBDs).

Property portal Lamudi Philippines, in its 2016 top cities list, shares eight more locations that will benefit from real estate investments.

2. Quezon City. The population of Metro Manila’s largest city is projected to grow to more than 3.5 million by 2020, with many looking into relocating there. Quezon City properties are relatively more affordable compared to Makati and Taguig, and offers plenty of options to homebuyers.

3. Makati. The country’s foremost financial and business district won’t be outdone, even if the average rental rate in its CBD is expected to decrease 3.39 percent year-on-year by the third quarter of 2016, vacancies to increase to 10.19 percent across all condo grades. Fringe areas, however, are starting to see an uptick in real estate activity, particularly Barangay San Antonio, near Ayala Avenue. “Worsening traffic conditions in Metro Manila are making these areas attractive to renters and homebuyers,” said Lamudi.

4. Taguig. “Taguig’s population is projected to reach almost one million by 2020, which will make it the National Capital Region’s fourth more populous (after Quezon City, Caloocan and Manila) and the country’s 9th. The city’s real estate sector has been on an upswing ever since Fort Bonifacio was privatized,” noted Lamudi. It added that several projects now are underway: Megaworld’s McKinley West and Ayala Land’s Arca South. Access to and from the airport (particularly Terminals 1 and 2) and to Coastal Road will also improve when the flyover connecting CP Garcia Avenue to the Moonwalk Access Road and West Service Road is finally completed.

5 Pasay. This city is gaining prominence because of: 1) Bay City—the reclamation area along Manila Bay housing the Mall of Asia Complex, Entertainment City—and Aseana City; 2) The SM group has already incorporated office and residential components in the MOA complex; 3) Federal Land is set to complete its Six Senses Residences in 2016 and its first tower in the Palm Beach project in 2017; 4) Improved infrastructure when the Naia Expressway connecting the Metro Manila Skyway to the Manila-Cavite Expressway and Entertainment City, is finally completed.

6. Bacolod. In mid-2015, Lamudi data showed that Bacolod had become among the most popular cities among online property hunters. In fact, real estate giant Megaworld announced in late 2015 that it was building two integrated townships in the city (the 50-hectare Northill Gateway and the 34-hectare The Upper East), while Ayala Land has sealed an agreement with the provincial government of Negros Occidental to build the mixed-use Capitol Central.

7. Davao. Davao remains southern Philippines’ economic and business center, and one of the most searched cities in the Lamudi website in 2015. Its population is projected to balloon to 1.83 million by 2020. Davao is also consistently among the most searched by online property hunters, and the sixth and third most searched city by property hunters based in the United States and Saudi Arabia, respectively, according to Lamudi data.

8. Cebu. Cebu City is one of Tholons’ top 10 outsourcing destinations in the world (and second in the Philippines behind Metro Manila). According to CB Richard Ellis Philippines, exciting expansions and new developments are coming in over the next few years. In 2015 alone, two new large malls opened in the city, SM Seaside City Cebu and Robinsons Galleria Cebu. SM Seaside alone has an area of 10-15 hectares devoted to commercial development, similar to the E-com office towers in the MOA complex, while Robinsons Galleria will have entire floors dedicated to BPO offices.

9. Muntinlupa. The south of Metro Manila, specifically Muntinlupa, is also projected to perform well this year, with the launch of several high-profile projects from the country’s biggest developers, one of which is Avida’s South Park District, a mixed-use development sitting on the former Nestlé plant in Alabang, in addition to the established Filinvest and Madrigal business districts. Further, in anticipation of infrastructure projects expected to ease travel to the south, property developers, including Rockwell subsidiary Rockwell Primaries, and Vista Land are now eyeing Muntinlupa as their next focus area.

DENR engages support of transport sector in improving air quality


MANILA, Jan. 23 (PNA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has reached out to the transport sector and made it an active partner in government efforts to improve air quality in the country.

Through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), the DENR met Friday (January 22) with major transport groups at the agency’s central office in Quezon City to consult with them in coming up with an internationally acceptable air quality level in Metro Manila by June this year.

The EMB has stated that 80 percent of air pollution comes from motor vehicles, while the rest come from stationary sources such as factory smoke stacks and open burning.

DENR Assistant Secretary and concurrent EMB Director Juan Miguel T. Cuna said the consultative meeting has brought together the transport sector, especially PUJ operators, and other stakeholders to discuss strategies to improve air quality in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DENR and the transport leaders for the conduct of free emission testing of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) at their respective garages or terminals was also signed during the forum.

The transport groups that signed the MOA included the Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas (LTOP), Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO), Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEDJODAP), and Pangkalahatang Sanggunian Manila and Suburbs Drivers Association Nationwide (PASANG-MASDA).

Cuna said the results of garage emission testing would be used to assess the current emission compliance of PUJs in the national capital region (NCR).

“The purpose is not to apprehend public utility vehicles but to help our transport groups address their emissions and ensure that their vehicles comply with the law before they drive around major thoroughfares,” Cuna explained.

Under the agreement, the transport groups are to submit their PUJs for voluntary testing jointly conducted by the DENR, LTFRB, LTO and CCAAP.

The DENR, for its part, will provide the LTFRB and LTO technical assistance on the possible establishment of their own anti-smoke belching operations (ASBO); monitor and evaluate the progress of the testing; and make the test results available to all participating parties and the general public.

The LTFRB and LTO will ensure the smooth conduct of the emission testing and assist the DENR as needed.

Conducting ASBO along the roadside and terminal emission testing nationwide are among the strategies of the government to ensure that vehicles comply with the in-use emission standards set forth in the DENR Administrative Order No. 2000-81, also known as the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Philippine Clean Air Act.

Air pollution coming from vehicular emissions are believed to be the major cause of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and a major contributor to global warming and climate change.

“Strengthening the enforcement of air quality management as stipulated in the Clean Air Act is more crucial now more than ever and we need the full cooperation of the LTO and the LTFRB, as well as the transport sector,” Cuna said.

The consultative meeting also saw the signing of a resolution supporting the establishment and operation of appropriate air quality information systems in the NCR; non-contact apprehension of smoke belchers; closure of “non-appearance” emission testing centers; and carbon sequestration through the government’s National Greening Program.

Meanwhile, LTOP President Orlando Marquez acknowledged the critical role of the transport sector. “We fully recognizes the role we need to play in the fight against air pollution and we are ready to do their part,” Marquez said.

LTO Chief Roberto Cabrera, on the other hand, stressed that clean air remains among the top priorities of his office, as LTFRB Chairman Atty. Winston Ginez expressed commitment to support efforts to address air pollution.

“We at the LTFRB support any move to address the air pollution problem, particularly in the NCR,” Ginez said.

CCAAP Chairman Dr. Leo O. Olarte said,“If the government will truly cooperate with the private sector and genuinely address the clear and present danger of air pollution in Metro Manila, then together we can achieve an internationally acceptable level of air quality in the metropolis by June 30, 2016.”

The EMB-National Capital Region hosted the NCR AIRSHED Consultative Meeting with the theme, “Towards an Internationally Acceptable Air Quality Level in Metro Manila by June 30, 2016.”

QC gov’t gets settlement from bank

By Erika Sauler (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The Quezon City government has received P172.8 million from the Land Bank of the Philippines as settlement for the three-decade-old civil case that stemmed from a loan granted by the bank to Wilmag Iron Mines Inc. (Ramawil) using the city’s trust fund.

The check was handed by Landbank vice president Rosemarie Osoteo and assistant vice president Ma. Belma Turla to Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista on Wednesday, the city government said in a statement.

The payment was part of the compromise agreement signed in May last year by Bautista and Landbank president Gilda Pico, which also enabled the city to assign to the bank the disposal and sale of the Ramawil property near Payatas.

The Ramawil property was levied by the bank to satisfy the judgment of the Pasig Regional Trial Court in 1981, which ruled in favor of the city government to recover the money it had invested in Landbank.

More than 2,000 families are presently occupying the seven-hectare property, according to the city’s Housing and Community Development and Resettlement Department.

The compromise agreement requiring Landbank to return the P30 million investment plus P142.8 million in interest was approved by Judge Aurora Hernandez-Calledo of the Pasig Regional Trial Court.

Gov’t offices to open 'pop-up offices' in UP Diliman


QUEZON CITY, Jan. 21 -- In a bid to bring their services closer to citizens, particularly the youth, government agencies will open "pop-up offices" at the Palma Hall, University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Quezon City for the three-day Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) Caravan on January 25-27, 2016.

More than 30 frontline services from 18 participating government agencies will be available at the ARTA Caravan, including:

•Civil Service Commission (CSC) – application for career service exam and honor graduate eligibility (P.D. 907);
•Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – Labor Education for Graduate Students, Labor Employment Education Services, Jobs Fits, Career Guidance, Special Program for Employment of Students, PhilJobnet, kiosk, job recruitment;
•Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – business name registration, SME counseling;
•Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) – e-services through GWAPS kiosk;
•Pag-IBIG Fund – online membership registration, verification of membership savings and loan entitlement, Loyalty Card application;
•Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) – job recruitment;
•Land Transportation Office (LTO) – issuance of student permit and car registration through e-Patrol;
•Philippine Statistics Authority-National Statistics Office (PSA-NSO) – copy of birth certificate, CENOMAR;
•Social Security System (SSS) – issuance of SSS number, online verification of contributions and loan status, screening and receiving of loans and benefit applications, info kiosk;
•Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) – online registration, Member Data Record application and inquiries, ID and UMID application, updates on membership;
•National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) – clearance application and issuance;
•Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – scholarship referrals, certificate of services, trainings;
•Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) – passport appointment system.

Students from UP Diliman as well as other colleges and universities in Metro Manila are expected to participate in the event.

With the theme, “#KontraRedTape: Kabataan, Kaakibat sa Mahusay na Pamamahala,” the ARTA Caravan aims to increase awareness on the anti-red tape campaign and on citizens’ rights and responsibilities as clients or consumers of government services.

The event is organized by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the lead implementing agency of the ARTA law, in partnership with UP and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

At the ARTA Caravan, students can get a first-hand experience at availing themselves of government frontline services. “Through this, we hope that young citizens can better understand how the government works for them, and in turn, become willing partners for improving public service delivery,” the CSC said.

Aside from offering key frontline services, the ARTA Caravan will feature “Talastasan sa Diliman” between the students and CSC Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala, integrity sessions facilitated by Bantay.ph, and good governance practices forum by the UP Diliman University Student Council and UP Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants.

There will be a second stop of the ARTA Caravan at Leyte Normal University in Tacloban City on February 2, followed by a third stop at Mindanao University of Science and Technology in Cagayan de Oro City on February 10.

PHA and Watsons promote Healthy Heart Fair


MANILA, Jan. 20 (PNA) -- Watsons, a health and wellness store providing a range of personal beauty care products, takes part in the promotion of a truly healthy body in partnership with the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) by coming out with Healthy Heart Fair this month of January until the middle of February 2016.

The Healthy Heart Fair will be a series of events that aim to help typical Filipino or mall shoppers with ways to manage and have a healthy heart.

The collaborative project will be rolled out across three SM Malls in Metro Manila with the objective of educating more people on proper care for the vascular system of the body.

The first event will be held in Watsons SM Fairview in Novaliches, Quezon City from Jan. 26 to 31.

The next fair will be in SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City on Feb. 4-9 and the third one will be in SM North EDSA, Quezon City on Feb. 11-17.

The fair is open to shoppers wherein they can have the chance to see if their hearts are at risk by availing of free check-up on their Blood Pressure (BP) and participating in the “Risk Profiling Digital App” wherein they can also check their possible health status.

Aside from profiling that will be done, shoppers will also be getting a chance to avail of free doctors consultation and advice on medicines, participate in educational games and activities, learn from the demonstrations of cardiovascular devices, etc.

Free products from participating brands will also be provided to lucky participants/shoppers as they get free talks and advice from participating doctors who are members of PHA.

The PHA-Watsons collaboration was made in time for the Valentine’s season wherein Watsons wants to express its act of love for its shoppers by reminding them on the essence of caring for the "heart because it is not just only one but a vital part in the normal life functioning."

DPWH reopens all lanes of Dario bridge in EDSA


QUEZON CITY, Jan 19 (PNA) -- The Dario Bridge along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Quezon City is now fully open to motorists after a seven-month partial closure for its rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) National Capital Region Director Melvin B. Navarro said that all lanes of the bridge in both northbound and southbound directions are now passable.

“Our scheduled completion for Dario Bridge is on February 13, 2016 but we are able to facilitate opening of all lanes inasmuch as remaining finishing activities will not affect vehicular traffic, said Navarro.

DPWH-Quezon City First District Engineering Office is implementing remaining works on the bridge such as expansion joints, asphalt overlay and lane marking.

The bridge’s closure took effect on June 19, 2015, to make way for the replacement of the existing three barrel reinforced concrete box culvert built in 1964 into a standard bridge.

Its rehabilitation came after investigations showed there are visible signs of deterioration like water leakage, rebar exposure, and cracking at different areas of the five-decade old box culvert.

DPWH allocated P44.6 million for the project which was awarded to LMG Construction / E.L. Anolin Construction (J.V.) with contract cost of PHP38.7 million.

This translates to a total about PHP5.8 million worth of government savings through competitive public bidding.

300 new classrooms, 61 school labs built in QC

By Chito A. Chavez

Over 300 new classrooms and 61 additional laboratories were constructed in Quezon City’s public schools as the city government’s investment for education infrastructure has reached P1.52 billion under the term of Mayor Herbert Bautista.

Bautista said that the city government has focused on the construction of new classrooms in the highly populated and low-income areas of the city.

These areas where classroom congestion is particularly high include Payatas where seven new buildings where built and Batasan Hills where four new buildings were constructed.

Other areas where there are congested classrooms include Barangays Fairview, Talipapa, San Bartolome, Sangandaan, New Era, and Santo Cristo.

Bautista has also created a task force to look for available properties where the city government can establish more schools.

He noted that one of the biggest hurdles encountered by the city government is property availability in areas suitable for schools and at land values reasonable for this use.

Being eyed particularly are properties forfeited in favor of the city government because of unpaid real property taxes and idle national government lands.

Bautista admitted that the classroom challenge for Quezon City was huge with its more than 400,000 public school population that continues to grow each year.

Seeking as well to institutionalize and depoliticize the look of the city’s schools, Bautista has pushed for the enactment of an ordinance standardizing the color of all public elementary and high schools in Quezon City.

This was Ordinance Number SP-2384, series of 2015, principally authored by Councilor Franz Pumaren, of the city’s third district.

DENR, UP unveil training program on environmental governance


MANILA (PNA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the University of the Philippines (UP) have forged a partnership to launch a unique training program focusing on environmental governance.

DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje and UP President Alfredo Pascual will lead the unveiling of the UP Program for Environmental Governance or UPPEG at the Ang Bahay ng Alumni in UP Diliman on Jan. 18.

UPPEG is the newest training program being offered by the country’s premier university. It harnesses the “multi-disciplinary expertise” of the DENR and the UP System -- through its Center for Integrative and Development Studies -- in the field of environmental governance.

The training program is open to all government and private organizations that have a stake in effective environmental governance like the Department of the Interior and Local Government and peoples organizations.

UPPEG taps the expertise of 22 high ranking UP professors as trainers. They are expected to promote the program’s primary objective of strengthening the competence of environmental authorities, especially those who are at the forefront of implementing the government’s policies on natural resource conservation and protection.

The trainers will discuss issues ranging from policy formulation and analysis, transformational leadership, conflict resolution, effective communication skills, resource mobilization for business development and networking, environmental management planning, and managing environmental risks and resiliency.

Thirty provincial environment and natural resources officers or PENROS comprise the first batch of trainees under a six-module program consisting of 19 sessions to be conducted from Jan. 18 to Feb. 20 at five different venues, namely: UP Diliman, UP Los Baños, UP Visayas, DENR’s Environment and Natural Resources Academy in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, and DENR central office in Quezon City.

QC sets up convenient scheme for taxpayers


QUEZON CITY (PIA)--The Quezon City government has set up additional lines for city taxpayers for fast and convenient payment of dues.

Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) chief Garry Domingo said, in the past the city only implemented a single line for taxpayers. However, the scheme has resulted to long queues and inconvenience to taxpayers.

In a news release, Domingo said for this year, the city government has designated separate lines for senior citizens/single transactions; persons with disabilities/millionaire’s group; multiple transactions and for banks/cooperatives and rebilling, to minimize long queues during the processing of business applications and renewal, tax collection and payments.

The BPLO is coordinating closely with the treasurer’s office in the process.

Domingo also said that the city government has already extended the working hours of all city hall offices involved in tax assessment and payments to accommodate QC taxpayers, even on weekends.

Aside from the extended working hours, the city government treasury branches in Novaliches, La Loma, Cubao, Talipapa and Galas are also open to accept tax payments.

Domingo reminded Quezon City taxpayers to settle their dues on or before January 20 to avoid penalty.

DPWH-NCR Jan. 15-18 road repair schedule


MANILA, Jan. 15 (PNA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways-National Capital Region (DPWH-NCR) will undertake reblocking and road repair of EDSA and C-5 effective 11p.m. of January 15, Friday to 5a.m. of January 18, Monday on the following roads in the cities of Quezon and Pasig:

Quezon City

1. Along EDSA from Aurora Blvd. to P. Tuazon St., Service Road (1st lane from sidewalk, South bound); and

2. Along EDSA fronting DPWH-Quezon City Second Engineering District Office (1st lane from sidewalk, North bound).

Pasig City

- Along C-5 Road in front of SM Warehouse Gate 2 (2nd outermost lane, North bound).

Manila Water signs deal to serve Ayala projects

By Jenniffer B. Austria
Manila Water Co. Inc. signed an agreement to provide water and used water services to all real estate developments of Ayala Land Inc. as well as its subsidiaries and affiliates.

Manila Water said in a disclosure to the stock exchange wholly-owned unit Manila Water Philippine Ventures signed the agreement with Ayala Land’s 24 other subsidiaries and affiliates, including Cebu Holdings Inc., Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. and Ayalaland Hotel and Resorts Corp.

MWPV under the agreement will provide water and used water services to all ALI Group projects nationwide.

“The objective of the MoA is to leverage on the respective expertise of the parties in order to provide optimum services and facilities to their customers and clients,” Manila Water said.

The Ayala Land Group earlier provided in-house water and used water services and facilities in it property development projects.

Ayala Land and Manila Water are both majority-owned by conglomerate Ayala Corp.

Ayala Land is one of the biggest integrated property developers in the Philippines with several projects nationwide. It is primarily engaged in development of residential, commercial and leasing businesses.

The company recently focused on developing several integrated mixed-use developments in various parts of the country, including Cavite, Pampanga, Alabang, Bacolod, Iloilo, Quezon City, Cagayan de Oro, Bulacan, Cebu, Laguna, and Taguig.

Ayala Land earlier unveiled a new business plan that would boost the company’s net income by 20 percent annually to as high as P40 billion by 2020.

The company aims to achieve the goal by aggressively rolling out residential projects while increasing investments in recurring businesses and optimizing the utilization of its landbank.

The property firm also remains positive on key economic drivers, especially consumer spending, overseas remittances, strong revenues business process outsourcing industry and bigger tourist arrivals.

CSC brings gov’t services closer to the public through ARTA Caravan


MANILA (PNA) -- Public service delivery made more accessible to clients.

This is the objective of the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) Caravan organized by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) with the theme, “#KontraRedTape: Kabataan, Kaakibat sa Mahusay na Pamamahala.”

The event is scheduled Jan. on 25-27, 2016 at the Palma Hall, University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City.

The caravan targets the involvement of government agencies which provide key frontline services, such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for the application of Tax Identification Number; the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for passport applications; and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for requests for IDs and member data record.

“If you want to avail of the services provided or simply want to get information on the programs of these government agencies, then the caravan is an opportune time to hit multiple offices in one venue,” said CSC Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala.

In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the ARTA Caravan will also showcase innovations of government offices which resulted in service delivery improvements.

Other participating government agencies are the: Commission on Higher Education, Department of Trade and Industry, Government Service Insurance System, Land Registration Administration, Land Transportation Office, National Statistics Office, Social Security System, Professional Regulation Commission, Land Bank of the Philippines, Light Rail Transit Authority, National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Labor and Employment, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, University of the Philippines, and the CSC’s UP Field Office.

Aside from offering key frontline services, a forum on good governance and good citizenship will also be held through the initiative of Bantay.ph, students, civil society organizations and agency representatives to serve as a venue to interact in a knowledge sharing and shared accountability.

The winners of the ARTA logo and poster making, and short video production contests will also be awarded during the ARTA Caravan.

The contests were held to instill consciousness and a sense of involvement of the public on good governance and anti-corruption initiatives of the government.

NIA approves PHP336.8-M irrigation rehab, improvement projects


MANILA, Jan. 12 (PNA) -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) on Tuesday approved three irrigation projects worth more than PHP336 million that aims to rehabilitate and improve irrigation systems as well as to construct Irrigators’ Association (IA) support facilities in Ilocos Norte, Bukidnon and Davao del Sur.

NIA Administrator Florencio Padernal signed the three contracts under the National Irrigation Sector Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (NISRIP) at the NIA Conference Room, Quezon City.

Under the NISRIP projects are the Solsona River Irrigation System located in Solsona-Dingras Ilocos Norte; Muleta River Irrigation System in Maramag-Don Carlos Bukidnon Province; and Mal River Irrigation System in Matanao-Hagonoy Davao Del Sur.

A joint venture between PHESCO INC. and North Tech Builders and Construction Supply got the rehabilitation and improvement as well as the construction of IA support facilities of Solsona River Irrigation System amounting to PHP139,759,327.76.

Tribu Design and Construction will push through the Muleta River Irrigation System improvement and rehabilitation project with a budget amounting to PHP92,791,582.14.

Meanwhile, Monolithic Construction and Concrete Products Inc. will work on Mal River Irrigation System with a budget allocation of PHP104,294,595.83.

“The projects are in line with our commitment to provide improved irrigation services throughout the country,” Padernal said.

Green groups bat for law phasing out plastic microbeads in beauty products


QUEZON CITY, Jan. 11 (PNA) -- Two environmental groups today urged lawmakers to enact a law that will prohibit the manufacture of beauty products containing plastic microbeads that pollute the oceans, harm marine life and threaten public health.

Buoyed up by US President Barack Obama’s signing of the Microbead-Free Waters Act last December 28, the EcoWaste Coalition and Oceana Philippines urged Congress to consider enacting a similar law that will ban plastic microbeads incleansing products such as facial wash, shampoo and toothpaste.

According to the International Campaign against Microbeads in Cosmetics, “the microbeads used in personal care products are mainly made of polyethylene (PE), but can also be made of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyly methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon.”

“Our Congress should follow US regulatory action on plastic microbeads and pass our own Microbead-Free Waters Act,” said Sonia Mendoza, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Plastic microbeads in personal care products go straight to the drainage system and into water bodies and subsequently polluting the oceans with minuscule, non-biodegradable particles that are then eaten by aquatic organisms who mistake them for eggs or plankton,” sheexplained.

“These microbeads, which are often smaller than 1 millimeter, attract and absorb hazardous substances and can be up to a million times more toxic than the water around them according to aquatic health researchers,” she pointed out.

“Phasing out plastic microbeads in personal care products will help reduce alarming microplastic pollution of our oceanic waters. We hope that Congress will craft the necessary legislation and boost the growing movement against microbeads in cosmetics and for healthy fisheries and oceans,” said lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos,Vice-President, Oceana Philippines.

The groups noted that presidential candidate Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed Senate Bill 2135 that aims to “prohibit the production, manufacture, distribution and sale of any beauty product, cosmetic or other personal care product containing plastic particles less than 5 millimeters in size.”

The groups urged lawmakers to look into the said bill and see how it can be adopted by the current Congress.

“Once in the water, microbeads, like other plastics, can attract and accumulate certain toxic chemicals commonly found in waters,” the bill’s explanatory note said.

“Environmental pollution found in waters, such as PCBs (the industrial pollutants polychlorinated biphenyls), gravitate and attach to the surface of plastic. If fish and wildlife species low on the food chain eat these contaminated plastics, the chemicals might be passed on to larger birds, fish and other animals that people eat,” it explained.

The bill stipulates that “no person shall produce, manufacture, sell, or offer 17 for sale any personal cosmetic product which contains intentionally-added microbeads.”

As proposed, any person or corporation who violates the prohibition shall be civilly liable for penalty not to exceed fifty thousand pesos (PHP50,000) for each day during which such violation continues.

“These plastic microbeads are an unnecessary and harmful product that do not belong in our waterways, and should be phased out of use as quickly as possible thus urgent passage of this bill is earnestly sought,” Santiago said.

Maynilad allocates P13.6-billion capex this year

(V. V. Saulon)

WEST ZONE concessionaire Maynilad Water Services, Inc. on Sunday said it is setting aside P13.6 billion in capital expenditures, mainly for water and wastewater infrastructure projects, this year.

In a statement, the company said funding for its infrastructure projects will be sourced from local and international bank loans, and from internally generated funds.

”We start the year right by providing the necessary investments to continue meeting our service obligations and contributing to the job generation efforts of the government,” Maynilad President and Chief Executive Officer Ramoncito S. Fernandez was quoted in the statement as saying.

Maynilad, the largest private water concessionaire in the Philippines in terms of customer base, said P7.5 billion will go to water infrastructure projects that will ensure sufficient water supply and pressure in the west zone of Metro Manila.

Of this amount, P3.9 billion has been earmarked for operation support programs such as the construction, rehabilitation and upgrade of treatment plants, pumping stations and reservoirs, and the laying of primary pipelines for water service expansion.

About P2 billion has been set aside for non-revenue water reduction program, which covers meter management, leak repairs, pipe replacements, and district metered area management.

The remaining amount will go to the modernization of data management and information systems, improvement of existing facilities, development of new water sources, and refurbishment of facilities in the Bicti basins and Ipo dam.

At the same time, wastewater management projects will get around P6 billion or 45% of the year’s capital expenditures.

Of the amount, around P4.6 billion will fund the construction of sewage treatment plants in central Manila and Cavite, and improvement of existing sewage treatment plants in Quezon City and central Manila.

Maynilad said up to P1.2 billion will be set aside to build conveyance systems for the new plants, and the development of sewerage systems in Quezon City and Valenzuela.

The rest of the capex will fund the automation of facilities, lot acquisitions, maintenance and sanitation programs.

Maynilad said it expects to create around 41,243 jobs from its spending program this year.

Maynilad is the agent and contractor of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System for certain portions of the cities of Manila and Quezon City. It also serves west of the south super highway in Makati City as well as Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon.

Outside the metro, it reaches cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario, all in Cavite province.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and DMCI Holdings, Inc. hold 52.8% and 25.24% interests, respectively, in Maynilad.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT). Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld.

Seniors want QC govt to give their IRA share


SENIOR citizens in Quezon City will formally seek from the local government their share of the annual 1-percent internal-revenue allotment (IRA) as soon as city officials become ready for a discussion.

The seniors will use their part of the city IRA to purchase their own transport vehicle, as well as medical goods, Elpidio A. Suniega, Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (Osca) technical consultant, noted in a recent interview.

“We observed seniors in Quezon City are left behind by their counterparts in other cities in Metro Manila in terms of services,” Suniega said.

Quezon City seniors based their observation on the preparedness and logistics of seniors from other cities who attended a seminar on active aging sponsored by Unilab in Mandaluyong last November 18, he said.

Their counterparts in other cities showcased products in that event, while Quezon City seniors were not aware of the product exhibit component of the seminar, Suniega added.

Seniors from other cities were transported to and from the seminar in comfortable vehicles while the Quezon City contingent took public-utility transport to the venue, he said.

Their service vehicles are very nice, Suniega said. All those things would not be possible if they are not supported by their local governments.

Suniega said senior citizens in the city’s six congressional districts, especially the poor, need free pneumonia and flu vaccines.

Rosita A. Lacson, Southeast District 2 senior citizens president, said free flu vaccines should be received by seniors yearly, and pneumonia vaccine every five years.

“It has to be consistent to be effective,” she said.

“We do not blame the Mayor’s office since its budget is for the same office only,” Suniega said.

Mayor Herbert Bautista, however, complained of disunity among seniors in Quezon City, Suniega said.

Lacson denied it, saying they are generally organized, except for a small number.

In an interview last year, Rene Altuna, Osca Quezon City legal officer, admitted conflict of interests between two factions of seniors in Barangay Tatalon.

Barangay officials failed to encourage both parties to come to terms, he said.

Osca-Quezon City saw the root cause of the misunderstanding to be a political one, Altuna said.

The Quezon City seniors should demonstrate unity, through which their shared aspirations may be heard and achieved, Suniega said.

Although seniors are receiving 1 percent of the barangay IRA, they are yet to receive the 1-percent city IRA, Lacson said.

They will purchase their own bus and get medical goods and services once they start receiving the 1-percent city IRA, she said.

Lacson said much of the IRA will go to senior citizens since they greatly outnumber persons with disabilities in the city.

Quezon City received an IRA amounting to P2.8 billion, the largest among Metro Manila cities, for 2013, the Pinoy Governance web site shows.

Under Republic Act 9994, otherwise known as The Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, seniors are entitled to a part of the 1 percent of the local government IRA.

DILG awards QC for helping clean-up Manila Bay, waterways


QUEZON CITY, 08 Jan. (PIA)--The Quezon City Local Government was recently bestowed the national award for MANILA BAYanihan Award (City Category) for its comprehensive efforts in helping clean-up Manila Bay and the city waterways.

Earlier, at the regional level, Quezon City had bested other cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) to win the Regional Environmental Compliance Audit (ECA) award and receive two hundred thousand pesos (PhP 200,000).

As the regional winner, Quezon City was thus nominated to the central level assessment and eventually won the national award, besting two other LGU contenders: the entries from Region 3 and Region 4A.

Quezon City will receive one-million peso cash incentive to be used as seed fund for future environmental projects.

According to Department of Interior & Local Government (DILG), the project proponent, the ECA was developed to measure the compliance of local government units to the six key legal provisions of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, which include: creation and functionality of the local Solid Waste Management (SWM) board and plan; mandatory segregation of waste at source; segregated collection; functionality of Material Recovery Facilities (MRF); and implementation of no littering and related ordinances.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista welcomed the recognition as he expressed his appreciation for the award.

“I thank the organizers for the recognition they gave to Quezon City. I also recognize the efforts of various city departments that help put up the comprehensive program and joined in the clean-up of Manila Bay, which is based on the mandate from our national agencies, the Supreme Court and our local ordinances,” the mayor said.

QC Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (QC EPWMD) head Frederika Rentoy said that the award validated the best practices initiated by the QC government as well as highlighted the city’s high compliance to the provisions of R.A. 9003 and the Supreme Court mandamus, which are the basis for the award.

The writ of continuing mandamus was issued by the Supreme Court on Dec. 18, 2008, directing government agencies and giving them 10 years to “clean up, rehabilitate and preserve Manila Bay”.

Rentoy said that the city has constantly complied with the law as they conduct regular monitoring, assessment and report levels of pollution in waterways and waste management and submit their reports quarterly and annually, taking note of key performance indicators.

She added that the city’s unique environmental program, which enjoins the participation of various stakeholders that included the city departments, the law enforcers, and other sectors of society, has resulted in the efficient and more effective use of city resources, especially in logistics and manpower.

The joint efforts of the various city departments, in partnership with the barangay, the private sectors and other stakeholders that worked as a team have enabled the successful enforcement and implementation of this comprehensive program.

As part of the initiative, Bautista also established the Manila Bay Task Force headed by Secretary to the Mayor Tadeo Palma, with the EPWMD as secretariat, and other city departments as members.

The task force served as a monitoring and reporting platform of all departments, whose reports were, in turn, submitted to the DILG.

In addition, the city’s comprehensive environmental program has also the largest involvement of law enforcers as the QCPD has assigned a green desk officer to help enforce environmental laws and assist in cases.

Quezon City also led the way in the creation of the Environment Policy Management Council (EPMC), an inter-department agency headed by the Mayor, which further enhanced the city’s capacity to implement sustainable programs and projects, such as the Quezon City Sustainable Transport, Solar Power Facility Project for Selected Public Schools, Quezon City Carbon Bank, Biogas Facility Expansion and Waste-to-Energy Facility, among others.

Last year, QC also received recognition from the DILG for its Manila Bay Conservation, Rehabilitation and Preservation (MBCRP) Program as the Most Compliant Local Government Unit for having submitted the required reports which included Key Performance Indicators (KPI) Quarterly Reports, Executive Order creating Manila Bay Task Force, Septage and Sewarage Ordinance, Notice of Violation (issued to non-compliant establishments), Proof of Compliance (submitted by business establishments), LGU 5-Year Action Plan and Catch-up Plan.

P2P double-decker bus garners ‘positive response’ -- LTFRB

By Azer N. Parrocha (PNA),BNB/ANP)

MANILA, Jan. 7 (PNA) -- Passengers who rode Premium Point-to-Point (P2P) double-decker buses during its dry run Thursday morning were generally satisfied by the bus system's service quality, a transport official said.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman lawyer Winston Ginez said that the dry run went well despite the inevitable traffic in some areas in Cubao and Ortigas.

The double-decker bus tested from SM North EDSA in Quezon City to Glorietta 5 in Makati City left at exactly 8:00 a.m. and reached its destination at 9:15 am, about an hour and 15-minute trip.

Some passengers on social media said that taking P2P buses were more spacious and comfortable than regular buses. The double-decker bus tested is operated by bus charter company Froehlich Tours.

“We are happy with the positive response of our commuters who rode the Premium double-decker bus as well as encourage commentaries in social media,” Ginez told the Philippines News Agency via text message.

“We will definitely expand the Premium Point-to-Point Bus routes and roll out more high quality and premium buses in major thoroughfares in Metro Manila,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ginez encouraged more passengers to give the P2P buses a try.

Launched in December 2015, the Premium P2P bus service is meant to shorten travel time since buses depart on a fixed schedule and travel directly from the terminal to the drop-off point.

It also encourages private car-owners to commute to alleviate traffic. Before being given an extension of its permit, it was formerly called Christmas Non-Stop Premium Bus Service.

The service initially operated in one package with three routes namely Trinoma to Glorietta 5; SM North EDSA to Glorietta 5 and SM Megamall to Glorietta 5.

These routes will be included as an addition to the Board’s three P2P packages namely Fairview to Makati CBD and Ortigas CBD to Makati CBD (Package 1); Katipunan to Makati CBD and Eastwood to Makati CBD (Package 2); and Alabang to Ortigas CBD and Alabang to Makati CBD (Package 3).

CBD stands for Central Business District.

At present, the Board is in the process of selecting bus operators for several premium P2P routes starting in June.

LTFRB to hold dry run on premium P2P double-decker bus Thursday


MANILA, Jan 6 (PNA) -- Transport officials will hold on Thursday morning a dry run of Premium Point-to-Point (P2P) double-decker buses following the recent success of its Christmas Non-Stop Premium Bus Services in December 2015.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on its official Twitter account said that the dry run will be held from SM North EDSA in Quezon City to Glorietta 5 in Makati City at 7:30 a.m.

LTFRB also shared a photo of the double-decker buses which is also operated by bus charter company Froehlich Tours.

Earlier this month, the LTFRB renamed Christmas Non-Stop Premium Bus Service as P2P after its run was extended until January 31.

The service initially operated in one package with three routes namely Trinoma to Glorietta 5; SM North EDSA to Glorietta 5 and SM Megamall to Glorietta 5.

These routes will be included as an addition to the Board’s three P2P packages namely Fairview to Makati CBD and Ortigas CBD to Makati CBD (Package 1); Katipunan to Makati CBD and Eastwood to Makati CBD (Package 2); and Alabang to Ortigas CBD and Alabang to Makati CBD (Package 3). CBD stands for Central Business District.

LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez previously said that the bus service is meant to “alleviate” many commuters’ plight especially during peak hours.

At present, Froehlich Tours was given until Jan. 31 to operate before the Board selects a permanent operator for the bus service.

The Board is accepting applications until January 15. As of Wednesday, three companies have already expressed interest to join the P2P bus system.

Travelers scramble to go home after holiday break

By Rex Remitio and Ivy Saunar (Contributors, CNN Philippines Staff)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Some travelers are still catching their trips at the Araneta Central bus terminal in Quezon City and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to head back to their hometowns on Monday (January 4) after the holiday break.

As early as 5 a.m., commuters in Cubao, Quezon City experienced traffic build up mainly due to people crowding the Araneta Central bus terminal as they make their way home to their respective provinces.

January 4 is the first working day of the year and many travelers are still booking trips to the Bicol and Visayas regions, with some even staying overnight to make sure they get the seats they have reserved.

Terminal officials expect more travelers to go back to their hometowns in the coming days.

They also expect more buses to return to Manila from the south, which could mean more seats for passengers.

Officials reported that there is currently no problem with the ticket supply. NAIA crowd back to normal

Meanwhile, at the NAIA, the January 4 (Monday) crowd is now more manageable compared to the past few days.

There are fewer passengers and there are no more long lines outside the departure area. Check-in counters are also not as crowded.

Airport authorities say that most of the passengers have already left over the weekend.

About 50,000 departures and another 50,000 arrivals are expected on Monday in all four NAIA terminals, which is the number of passengers on a normal day.

Over the holidays, airport authorities saw an increase in departures and arrivals with the number of passengers ranging from 100,000 to 120,000.

Help desks are still in place at the airport for those still leaving today (January 4).

QC solon pushes for monetary support for PPAs of elderly and PWDs

By Sammy F. Martin [(PNA), SCS/SFM/EDS]

MANILA. Jan. 4 (PNA) -- A final push in a measure mandating local government units (LGUs) to allocate one percent of their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for programs, projects and activities (PPAs) of senior citizens is being done in the House of Representatives.

House Bill No. 6250 authored by Quezon City Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III also seeks to allocate one percent of LGUs’ IRA for PPAs of persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Vargas said it is the policy of the State to provide senior citizens and PWDs with programs, projects and activities that will effectively address their needs.

“The State recognizes the roles of senior citizens and persons with disabilities in nation-building and community development,” Vargas said.

The bill defines senior citizens or elderly as any resident of the Philippines who are at least 60 years old.

On the other hand, persons with disabilities refer to those suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered for a normal human being.

The Quezon City lawmaker said that in his consultation with the senior citizens sector in his district, one of the issues that emerged was the inadequate funding for PPAs that will benefit the sector.

“These projects, programs and activities include medical and dental services, fitness and wellness, social services, livelihood and employment, legal assistance, and recreation,” Vargas elaborated.

Vargas said through the one percent allocation of the IRA, the problem of inadequate funding would be addressed.

“The State will be able to provide sufficient monetary support for the PPAs that shall address the necessities of senior citizens and PWDs,” he said.

Vargas, vice chair of the House Committees on Health and on Social Services, said approximately 6.263 million senior citizens and 1.442 million PWDs are expected to benefit from this proposed legislation.

The bill is still with the House Committee on Local Government chaired by South Cotabato Rep. Pedro B. Acharon Jr.

Creation of Senior Citizens Hospital in Novaliches sought


MANILA, Jan. 3 (PNA) -- A lawmaker is seeking to establish a public hospital for the senior citizens of the 5th District of Quezon City to effectively deliver health services to the elderly in the area.

Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City) said the local government of Quezon City has implemented measures to provide quality health services for the senior citizens but more steps may be taken to ensure that the elderly are provided with the needed medical attention.

“Quezon City is home to over 330,000 senior citizens of the country. At present, the local government has mandated the city’s 15 public hospitals to set up a ward exclusively for the elderly so they won’t be inconvenienced being crammed with other sick patients. But more needs to be done,” Vargas said.

In pushing for his proposal contained in House Bill No. 6276, Vargas cited the right of every citizen to health as provided in Article XIII, Section 7 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

“The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost. It is therefore a policy of the State to make quality health services accessible to everyone, especially to the underprivileged senior citizens,” Vargas said.

Under Vargas’ proposal, a senior citizens hospital in Novaliches shall be established under the supervision of the Department of Health (DOH).

The measure requires a 50-bed-capacity hospital for the primary benefit of senior citizens in the 5th District of Quezon City, to be known as the Novaliches Senior Citizens Hospital.

The Novaliches Senior Citizens Hospital shall provide professional medical services with particular concentration on diseases and health problems of the elderly and shall likewise provide regular counseling and therapy for the total recovery of elderly parents.

The DOH shall promulgate rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the effectiveness of the proposed Act.

The amount necessary to carry out the provision of the proposed Act shall be included in the General Appropriations Act of the year following the enactment into law and every year thereafter.

INC holds medical mission for Muslims in QC

By Mara Cepeda (Rappler.com)

The Iglesia ni Cristo says it wants to promote 'understanding among different faith groups'

MANILA, Philippines – Marking the New Year, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) held a medical and dental mission on Saturday, January 2, for the Muslim community in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City.

INC spokesman Edwil Zabala told Rappler that the 101-year-old church has been conducting medical and dental missions called “Lingap sa Mamamayan (International Aid to Humanity)” for the past 20 years.

“It’s part of the biblical doctrine that we uphold to love our fellow men, and the Iglesia has been fulfilling that,” Zabala said in a phone interview.

He said that the INC has been holding other medical and dental missions for other communities in the country.

On Saturday, 89 health personnel from the INC-owned New Era General Hospital helped in the medical and dental mission.

They provided free medicines and medical services, including urinalysis and blood pressure and sugar check-up, to 1,997 barangay residents. They also gave free dental extraction services to 308 patients.

Zabala said: “We are now currently holding a distribution of relief goods for members of the community who need it. They’re not necessarily victims of a calamity, but it was part of the need identified by the community leaders.” He added that about 2,000 bags of relief goods would be distributed to the Culiat Muslim community on Saturday.

The INC provides other assistance to communities who request aid from the church. Zabala cited an eco-farming community it started for Kabihug families in Barangay Bakal, Paracale, Camarines Norte, in November 2015.

“We purchased about 300 hectares [of land] and built 300 houses for the Kabihug community in Camarines Norte. We built a school house for them [and] a training center for livelihood skills,” he said.

To promote understanding

Zabala also said the INC has started extending help to several Lumad communities in Mindanao and the church is hoping to build a similar eco-farm for them.

At the same time, he explained how this medical mission is important given issues faced by the INC in 2015.

That year, the church's former ministers, including its leader's brother, surfaced to expose the alleged corruption in the INC. The INC has denied these claims.

He said: "Through this we are able to teach first of all the members of the church itself to abide by that biblical doctrine that we must extend assistance to our fellow men in need. Second, it promotes understanding among different faith groups."

Zabala also said the Lingap sa Mamamayan activity in Quezon City is a “good way” to start 2016.

This comes after the INC also broke 3 Guinness World Records during its celebration of the New Year.

With at least 100,000 INC members gathering at the Philippine Arena to welcome the new year on December 31, 2015, the church broke world records for largest fireworks display, longest line of sparklers lit in a relay, and the most number of sparklers lit simultaneously.

Maynilad, Manila Water to reduce rate starting today


QUEZON CITY, 1 January (PIA) – Water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water will reduce their rates starting today, January 1, 2016.

In an advisory, Maynilad and Manila Water said that the decrease in the water rates is due to the implementation of a reduction in its Foreign Currency Differential Adjustment (FCDA).

Maynilad's residential customers consuming an average of 10 cu.m. per month or less, the adjustment will translate to a reduction of P0.64 in their monthly water bill. Those consuming 20 cu.m. per month will see a monthly bill reduction of P2.43, while those consuming 30 cu.m. per month will have P5.04 less in their monthly bill.

Likewise, Manila Water announced that total basic water charge went down from P25.25 to P24.89 per cubic meter, while all-in weighted average tariff decreased from P34 to P33.65.

Once the new rates take effect, Manila Water’s residential customers consuming 30 cubic meters per month will experience a decrease of about P6 in their monthly bills from P603.40 to P597.04, while those consuming 20 cubic meters per month will experience a decrease of around P3 from P296.32 to P293.26. Non-lifeline or regular residential customers consuming 10 cubic meters monthly shall pay P133.06 in their monthly bill versus P134.44 in the last quarter of 2015.

Its lifeline customers from the low-income residential bracket with a monthly consumption of 10 cubic meters or less will also experience a slight reduction of P1.11 from P81.16 to P80.05 in their monthly billing.