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Quezon City News March 2015

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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
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Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm

Contents

Five QC health centers to provide affordable dialysis

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

QUEZON CITY, 31 March (PIA)--Mayor Herbert M. Bautista and other city officials are fine tuning some provisions in the implementation of dialysis service in five City health centers.

Bautista said patients can avail of dialysis service at a discounted price at the health centers in Toro Hills in District 1, Donya Nicasia in District 2, Escopa in District 3, Kamuning in District 4 and Novaliches in District 5.

Once all-set, city residents who are suffering from cancer and have to undergo dialysis will only shell out PhP 1,000, compared to PhP 5,000 or more that are normally charged by private hospitals or dialysis centers.

Bautista said that charging PhP 1,000 per session to dialysis patients is reasonable enough to defray the cost of the dialysis operation and utilities. The city government will subsidize the remaining expenses for the said procedure as health assistance to the city’s cancer patients.

Senior citizens who will avail themselves of the service will still enjoy the 20 percent discount apart from the PhP 1,000 standard charge.

The Mayor had already instructed that Quezon City official website post the price of dialysis service to properly inform the public who may be in need.

Bautista also ordered the web posting of various health services or procedure in the city-owned and operated Quezon City General Hospital (QCGH) and Novaliches District Hospital and health centers.

15 OSYs graduate under REAP program

By Juliet B. Saley (JDP/JBS-PIA CAR, Mt. Province)

BONTOC, Mountain Province, March 30 (PIA) - - Fifteen out of school youth graduated on March 26 at the Angelicum College in Quezon City after they have successfully completed their secondary education free under the Re-entry Education Agenda for the Poor (REAP) program.

This program is a formal distance education approved by the Department of Education which aims to provide quality education for learners who are in situations that prevent them from attending school everyday.

The REAP program is a flexible learning system which utilizes formal education curriculum. It is conducted outside traditional school structure and does not require cards, grades but set of competencies to be mastered.

The learners study at home, in the workplace, in the farm or wherever they are at their preferred time, at their own pace and not required to be physically present in school.

In the province, this is implemented by the Angelicum College in partnership with Santa Rita Parish in this town.

According to Matilde Fanusan, one of the volunteer coordinators of the program, there are already 49 OSYs in the province who have successfully completed secondary education under the REAP program.

Fanusan said only one graduated in 2011,eight in 2012, seven in 2013, 18 in 2014 and 15 this year.

She said the REAP program did not benefit only OSYs in the province but also some OSYs from Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Kalinga and Benguet who are working in the municipality.

The Santa Rita Parish provides an office space, classrooms where most of the classes are conducted during night time. Some active and retired teachers offer their services free as volunteer coordinators while some private individuals provide equipment which the volunteers use in teaching.

OSYs who are interested to enroll under the REAP program are required to take the placement test to determine the initial learning module level of each enrollee. Those who are qualified will be provided with a set of printed learning modules in all subjects.

The volunteer coordinators assist the learners review/study their modules, check if the learners were able answer the modular activities correctly, set time and place for them to conduct tutorial sessions needed by the learners, and monitor the learning progress of each learner.

QC gov’t reminds taxpayers to beat Monday deadline, avail of tax reliefs

By Chito A. Chavez

Quezon City officials asked the public to pay their real property tax (RPT) before the deadline tomorrow to avail of the tax reliefs offered by the city government.

First District Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr., who is the ways and means committee chairman of the city council, also cautioned the taxpayers on being negligent in the payment of appropriate taxes that can lead to distractions like disruptions in daily routines, payment of penalties and possible jail terms.

“You will get into trouble if you do not pay your taxes on time. We do not want you to pay interests or face unfavorable consequence just because you disregard or got careless in meeting the deadline of your tax obligations,’’ Ferrer said.

As responsible citizens, Ferrer said everybody should settle their tax obligations honestly, promptly and accurately as trying to shortchange the government through tax fraud would not only be unpatriotic but may hamper the improvement and development projects that cause degeneration of the country’s economy.

Having a sound economy will entice foreign and local businessmen to invest in the country opening more job opportunities locally and alleviating the people’s economic status, he said.

Negligent taxpayers will now enjoy tax payment reprieves as the Quezon City government has allowed qualified beneficiaries to fully settle their real property tax (RPT) liabilities from 2010 to 2014 without paying their obligations incurred prior to 2010.

The tax reprieve covers RPT deficiencies which include land improvements and machineries whose owners were unable to settle their tax obligations for more than five years.

QC to award winners for most gender-sensitive office

(PNA), RMA/LSJ/SSC

MANILA, March 28 (PNA) -- Quezon City’s Gender and Development Resource and Coordinating Office (GADRCO) will award the winners for the most gender sensitive QC hall departments/offices during the flag-raising ceremonies on Monday (March 30) as part of the city’s celebration of Women’s Month.

Award recipients include QC’s Administrative Management Office (AMO), City Assessor’s Office, City General Services Department (CGSD) and the Engineering Department.

This year’s winners were chosen by the screening committee based on the programs, projects, and activities being implemented to promote equal opportunities to all.

The Gender Mainstreaming Award for the Best Department forms part of GADRCO’s gender advocacy and mainstreaming program.

It was initiated by the city government to ensure that gender equality is observed by city hall employees as they perform their duties as public servants.

A cash reward amounting to Php 50,000 will be shared by this year’s winners.

Constituting the screening committee are assistant city administrator Marcial V. Flores; Prof. Yolanda G. Ealdama, Deputy Director of the Center for Women Studies, UP Diliman; and Virginia S. Clavel, from the Department of Interior and Local Government.

During the occasion, the city government will also present certificates and cash awards to the winners of the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) essay writing contest, for both teacher and student categories.

Winners for the Teacher Category are: 1st Prize; Nerissa G. Vitug of Novaliches High School, 2nd Prize; Roland P. del Rosario from JudgeFeliciano Belmonte Sr. High School and 3rd Prize; Cesario G. Britanico ofMaligaya High School.

For the Student Category: 1st Prize; Mapuri T. Sularte of Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School, 2nd Prize; Florence Nelita Anne Afable of Judge Feliciano Belmonte Sr. High School and 3rd Prize; Christine Joy O. Valenzuela of Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School.

QC gov't employs 350 students this summer

(PNA), SCS/LSJ

MANILA, March 27 (PNA) -- The Quezon City government is employing 350 students this summer vacation to provide them an opportunity to earn money to finance part of their school needs.

QC Mayor Herbert M. Bautista said the employment of poor but deserving youth under the local program dubbed as "Hanapbuhay 2015" is part of the city government’s goal of curbing joblessness in the city.

“Under the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) or the Summer Job Program 2015, student-trainees will be tapped by the city government and deployed in different offices in city hall and barangays to do clerical, field, monitoring and survey work,” the mayor said.

Through the SPES, a student-trainee will receive PhP9,320 as salary for 20 days of work based on the prevailing minimum wage of PhP466 per day.

Sixty percent or PhP5,592 at PhP279.60/day of the salary will come from the QC government fund, while 40 percent or PhP3,728 at PhP186.40/day will be funded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Education is a priority program of the Bautista administration.

The SPES, which started in 1993, is one of the QC government vehicles in ensuring that even the poor but deserving youth will have access to good education.

CHED and elite partner universities in the US launch PCARI Project

By Leilani S. Junio [(PNA), SCS/LSJ/EDS]

MANILA, March 26 (PNA) -- The Commission on Higher Education (CHED), together with two leading universities in the United States, led the launching on Thursday of the Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes (PCARI) Project.

CHED Chairperson Patricia B. Licuanan said the PCARI Project is a capacity-building technology-generating collaborative initiative designed to upgrade to global standards the research, development and innovation capabilities and competencies of the faculty, students and staff of Philippine Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

The launching ceremony was held at the CHED Auditorium in Diliman, Quezon City and attended by officials from the University of California-Berkeley (UCB) and University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

CHED Chairperson Licuanan said the project proposals were developed jointly by the Philippines and California experts.

She recalled that during the 2013 Philippine Budget hearing, the CHED presented the PCARI Project Portfolio of 25 selected project proposals.

“After going to the review process of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), seven projects were approved -- four for Information Infrastructure Development (IID) and three for Health Innovation and Translational Medicine (HITM),” Licuanan said.

She added that two Philippine universities -- the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University -- are participating in the initial phase of the PCARI projects.

The CHED chairperson thanked Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad and Congresswoman Thelma Almario of Davao, vice chairperson of the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, for the much-needed support and final push throughout the budget deliberations.

About PhP 1.763 billion was allocated by the DBM for the implementation of the PCARI projects.

Licuanan said she is hopeful that other agencies also involved in the PCARI projects such as the DOST and the Department of Health (DOH) can continue to work positively for a more competitive Philippines.

According to Dr. Shankar Sastry from UCB, there is a potential for doing great things in the Philippines that interested them to participate and contribute in the growing economic activities in the country.

“The projects that we are bringing forward are the best projects,” Dr. Sastry assured as he cited his perception of the Philippines' vast potential for innovations in terms of technologies and development.

UP Prof. Ernelea Cao, a consultant of the PCARI-HITM, said the projects will bring together the experts in the different areas of health to address pressing health problems in the country.

Cao said the projects include improvement of delivery of health care; research and development capacity; and health- related innovation.

Manila Water, Petron say PH companies have advantage in Asia

By Coco Alcuaz (ANC)

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Water Co. and Petron Corp.'s chief finance officers said Philippine companies have an advantage competing in other Asian countries because of their experience from early moves to open the economy to competition.

Petron, which bought Esso Malaysia two years ago, said its edge is knowing how to compete in a deregulated environment at a time when other countries are just beginning to do so.

The Philippines deregulated its oil industry in the 1990s, removing price controls and a subsidy fund. Petron was and remains the biggest player in the industry. Malaysia and Indonesia removed oil subsidies in December and January.

"There are still countries in the region that are heavily regulated," Petron CFO Emmanuel Erana said at an event in Makati. "Competition is still dull."

Manila Water, which has interests in Vietnam, said the Philippines' advantage is early experience with public-private partnership and build-operate-transfer projects.

Manila Water owns one of the two water supply franchises in the capital, which was privatized in 1997.

"Many countries underestimate our ability to work in the PPP scenario," CFO Luis Juan Oreta said at the same corporate finance event organised by U.S. law firm Latham & Watkins. "Other countries want to know how to harness private capital. We have the advantage of working with BOT for the past 20 years."

Philippine privatizations aren't without their problems. They have faced delays and legal challenges, including those of the current government.

Manila Water is in arbitration after the regulator decided to cut its rates last year.

The other franchisee, Maynilad Water, which went through arbitration on the same issue, was re-privatized in 2004 after the government blocked rate increases, contributing to financial problems that led to the original owner walking away.

Speaker Belmonte commends socio-civic programs of Congressional Spouses Foundation

(PNA), LAM/PR/EBP

MANILA, March 24 (PNA) -- Speaker Feliciano Belmonte has commended the Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc. (CSFI) for complementing the legislative initiatives of the members of the House of Representatives through its various socio-civic programs and services.

During the CSFI’s 7th General Assembly held at the Speaker’s Social Hall, Belmonte said the organization helps not only the congressional districts but the entire institution as well.

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, CSFI President and Chairperson, welcomed her father’s recognition and thanked the congressional spouses for continuously supporting the various activities and projects of the organization.

“Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you active spouses who have made our foundation successful,” said Belmonte, who also celebrated her birthday during the General Assembly.

“We have touched many lives. Marami naman ang naging masaya, but more importantly, naging magkaibigan tayo. Sabi ko nga sa simula pa lang the most important thing for this organization is to build friendships, to maintain friendships and to make these friendships grow,” Belmonte said.

Among the CSFI’s achievements in 2014 mentioned by Belmonte are the successful Kabuhayan 2014 National Livelihood Trade Fair, the launching of their book dubbed as “Salu-Salo: A Celebration of Philippine Culinary Treasure,” the printing of the CSFI calendar and note cards and the registration of their Coffee Table Book / Recipe Book at buqo, a Filipino digital bookstore, newsstand and reader in a single app at http://bit.ly/buqoSaluSaloSaKongreso.

Belmonte also cited the several Lakbay-Arals conducted by the CSFI in Bacolod City, Surigao City and Baguio City, which aimed to generate awareness of the country’s beauty, and the continued support for the CSFI scholars through its CSFI fund.

Belmonte said the CSFI has scheduled numerous activities this year to further bring Congress closer to the people. Among the activities are the KABUHAYAN 2015 National Livelihood Trade Fair to be held on October 15, 16, 17, 18, the Art Exhibit (Sining sa Kongreso) also in October, and the scheduled Lakbay-Aral to be held in May (Catanduanes), July (Dumaguete/Siquijor), September (Region 3) and November (Quezon City).

Gov't asks Filipinos to join Earth Hour

(philstar.com)

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The Philippine government urged on Sunday the Filipinos to participate in "Earth Hour 2015" slated for next Saturday night, March 28.

Presidential Communications Operations office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that under Earth Hour, the public are encouraged to switch off all lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9: 30 in the evening.

"In so doing, Filipinos will be showing their solidarity with the rest of the world in efforts to combat climate change, thereby promoting a cleaner, healthier and greener world," he said in an interview over a state-run radio station.

Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement of the World Wide Fund to unite people to take action for the planet.

This year's global tagline is "Use Your Power to Change Climate Change."

For the Philippines, the main switch-off will be held at the Quezon City Memorial Circle, according to Earth Hour Philippines.

From 2009 to 2013, the Philippines has earned the title of " Earth Hour Hero Country" as the country topped the participation records.

Earth Hour Philippines will be donating portable solar lamps to off-grid communities to help them safely and economically light up their homes, Coloma said.

422 QC youths listed in 2nd JobStart Philippine program

(PNA), SCS/QC-PAISO-PR/LSJ

MANILA, March 22 (PNA) -- The Quezon City government, in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), hosted a seven-day registration program for qualified QC youths who will undergo career development services and a series of training as the city government beefs up efforts to expand the employment market of the city’s youth under the JobStart Philippine program.

A total of 422 QC youths participated in the registration. Of the total, 150 shall be randomly selected to proceed to life skills, technical and on-the-job trainings.

On orders of Mayor Herbert Bautista, the city’s Public Employment Services Office (PESO) was tasked to oversee the registration process, which was held from March 2 to 5, at Farmers Plaza in Cubao and from March 9 to 11 at the QC Hall.

Under the Jobstart Philippines program, youths who are 18-24 years old, unemployed and no longer studying and with no more than year of job experience, are given full-cycle employment facilitation service to increase their level of competency and competitiveness in the labor market.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bautista underscored the vital role that employers play in the program since they will be the one to recommend and develop the appropriate technical training for every beneficiary and subsequently provide the on-the-job training in their workplaces.

QC hosted the first wave of registration in April 2014 that resulted in the selection of 1,519 youth beneficiaries. Of the total, 1,226 underwent life skills training and 469 progressed to internship.

During the internship, program beneficiaries were provided with a daily allowance of PhP 300.

Under the program, stipend equivalent to at least 75 percent of the prevailing minimum wage shall be given during the on-the-job training or internship, which can run for at least six months.

Employers, once engaged by Jobstart, will also be receiving subsidy of up to PhP 9,000 per intern for their participation in the program while given the chance to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility by helping young people become job ready.

Aside from Quezon City, JobStart, which is being funded by the Canadian Government and administered through the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has already been pilot-tested in San Fernando City, Pampanga; Taguig City in Metro Manila, and General Trias, Cavite.

Interested QC employers may contact the QC-PESO at qcpeso@gmail.com or at telephone number 988-42-42 local 8436 for more details.

QC boosts security measures in subdivision

(PNA), RMA/QC-PAISO-PR/LSJ

MANILA, March 21 (PNA)--The Quezon City government said that city’s subdivisions will now require motorcycle drivers and passengers to remove their helmets upon reaching their gate.

The QC Hall has directed, through a city council resolution, authored by Councilor Roderick Paulate the city’s subdivision homeowners associations to enforce this measure.

Resolution SP-6221, S2014, intends to protect city residents from any harm or injuries from criminal acts and accidents involving motorcycles.

“Nowadays, motorcycles are used by criminals in perpetrating crime in the city, thus a careful and vigilant move to prevent unlawful use of these motorcycles should be given attention,” Paulate said.

Paulate cited as an example the criminals’ style of riding in tandem, which is causing big problems in the incidents of holdups and robberies and other crimes in the city.

He added that although some subdivisions in the city have CCTV cameras installed at their gates, the criminals using motorcycles could not be recognized due to the safety helmets they wore.

“Criminals are taking advantage of wearing helmets to commit crimes and to conceal their identities, to easily escape from criminal liability in case of doubt,” the councilor said.

Paulate believes that subdivisions in the city can prevent crimes in their own place by strictly enforcing the requirement on removing the helmets of motorcycle drivers and passengers at the subdivision’s gate.

Quezon City holds Women’s Month Mega Job Fair

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

QUEZON CITY, 20 MARCH (PIA)--In celebration of Women’s Month, the Quezon City Government through the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will hold a mega job fair.

The Job Fair will be held Friday,March 20, 2015, at the Quezon City Hall Grounds from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Various companies will be participating in the mega job fair, offering jobseekers a chance to work in local and overseas jobs.

The local jobs available include service crew, sales clerk/associate, cashier, office staff, accounting clerk/accountant, call center agent, engineer, production worker, room attendant, housekeeping and driver, among others.

The overseas jobs offered include domestic helper, factory worker, skilled workers, housekeeping, bartender, waiter/waitresses, bell men, and sales clerk, among others.

Interested job seekers are advised to bring pertinent documents and requirements during the application such as: bio-data, resume with recent ID picture (bring extra copies); school records; Social Security System (SSS) ID, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and barangay clearance.

For more information you may call the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) at 9884242 locals 8435, 8435 and 8437.

NCR workers to receive P15 increase in wages starting April 15

By Susan G. de Leon(DOLE/RJB/SDL/PIA-NCR)

MANILA, 19 March (PIA)--Starting April 15, minimum wage earners in the National Capital Region (NCR) will receive P15 increase in their salary following the approval of wage hike by the regional wage board.

During the announcement made by Department of Labor and Employment communications director Nicon Fameronag on Wednesday, March 18, at the DOLE office in Manila, NCR workers in the non-agricultural sector will receive a minimum wage of P481, while workers in the agricultural sector will have a minimum wage of P444.

For workers who receive their salaries twice a month every 15 days, the increase will reflect in their April 30 pay slips.

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) approved the resolution on the P15 increase, which is on top of the P15 Cost of Living Allowance in effect since January 2014,

DOLE NCR Director Alex Avila said the hike is set to benefit some 587,000 workers in Metro Manila.

He added that the hike is consistent with government policy that takes into account workers' and their families' needs, as well as business stability.

“The take-home pay of our minimum wage earners will increase to P492.57 per day, or by 3.2%, because of the wage hike, compared to the current P477.03 per day. They will also enjoy a higher 13th month pay and increased social security coverage,” Avila said.

A workers' take-home pay includes the amount he will get from the law-mandated 13th month pay.

Avila explained that minimum wage earners are exempt from paying income tax on their wage. No taxes are imposed on their hazard pay, holiday pay, night shift differential, and overtime pay either.

He added that NCR businesses will be able to bear the cost and still sustain employment creation.

March for ‘Fallen 44’ set

By Aaron B. Recuenco

Hundreds of people are expected to join in the nationwide march to mark the 44-day period of mourning for the 44 commandos of the Special Action Force (SAF) who died after killing an international terrorist in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao.

Dubbed as “Walk with the Widows, Run for our Heroes”, relatives of the fallen SAF commandos are expected to be joined by representatives of the civic groups and other organizations, according to a statement released by the Philippine National Police Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (PNPAAAI).

“The marches are open to the public. The activity is aimed at marking the culmination of the 44-day Period of Mourning for the SAF heroes earlier declared by the association,” the statement read. “These marches will be simultaneously be conducted at the regional, provincial, and city and municipal levels,” it added.

In Metro Manila, the activity will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will be a 44-kilometer jog-walk from Salitran, Dasmariñas City, Cavite to Camp Crame, Quezon City.

The Phase 2 will be the march from Camp Crame to the Quezon City Memorial Circle (QCMC) where an ecumenical mass will be celebrated. The runners in Phase I will link up with participants of Phase II assembled in Camp Crame and join the walk to QCMC. Father Robert Reyes, popularly known as the Running Priest, will lead the joggers composed of PNPA cadets, alumni and members of various sports clubs.

DSWD celebrates World Social Work Day

(DSWD)

QUEZON CITY, March 17 -- As the main social welfare and development arm of the government, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) joins the international social work community as it celebrates World Social Work Day today.

The event is an opportune time for social workers around the world to highlight their work and invaluable contribution to society. This year’s theme is “Promoting Dignity and Worth of Peoples.”

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman who is a social worker herself commends all her fellow social workers nationwide for their continued selflessness in serving the poor.

“I recognize all my fellow social workers both in the public and private sectors for being instrumental in empowering communities and transforming lives. As we celebrate this year’s World Social Work Day, let us strengthen our commitment to public service to further make a difference in the lives of our countrymen,” Sec. Soliman said.

The Secretary also urged DSWD social workers to walk the extra mile and intensify the implementation of all programs and services to achieve the Department’s goal of improving the well-being of the vulnerable.

DENR: Water at core of sustainable development

(PNA/Xinhua), RMA/PR/EBP

MANILA, March 16 (PNA) -- The Philippines will celebrate this year’s World Water Day (WWD) with a focus on the vital role of water in achieving sustainable development.

Organizers, led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), have planned a series of activities leading up to the WWD 2015 on March 22.

This year’s theme, “Water and Sustainable Development,” seeks to emphasize the importance of water in relation to health, ecosystems, urbanization, industrial processes, energy, food and equality.

The annual celebration kicks off with the 2015 Water and Sustainable Awards, which will recognize “water champions” consisting of organizations and individuals who are helping out their communities in addressing water issues and promoting sustainable development. It is co-presented by the DENR and water concessionaire Maynilad and will be held Monday at the UP Bahay ng Alumni in Diliman, Quezon City.

For March 17, the Laguna Lake Development Authority will hold a tour of Lake Pandin in San Pablo; the DENR-Region 3 will conduct simultaneous river cleanup in the provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan and Bataan, as well as portions of the Manila Bay; and the DENR-National Capital Region (NCR) and Manila Water will begin a two-day lecture series on the importance of water.

Employees of the local governments of Kawit and Noveleta towns in Cavite will join the DENR and Maynilad in a two-day tree planting activity under the “Plant for Life: Save Bacoor-Cañaco-Manila Bay” program, starting March 17.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) will hold a symposium on “Water Security towards Sustainable Development” in Quezon City on March 18.

Three activities are lined up for March 19. These are the water education seminar for elementary and high school teachers to be held at the Air Quality Management Training Center of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB); the “Scubasurero” underwater cleanup activity in Masinloc, Zambales, organized by the DENR-Region 3; and a roundtable discussion on possible amendments to the Water Code of the Philippines arranged by the National Water Resources Board and the Philippine Water Partnership.

Other activities are as follows:

On March 19-20, the DENR-NCR and Maynilad will hold interactive educational activities under the “WWD 2015 Daloy Dunong: Water Education Drive” for elementary pupils in the cities of Muntinlupa and Manila. The Local Water Utilities Administration will also conduct the two-day Buhay KYUT (health, hygiene and water conservation) program in Iloilo City.

March 22: The EMB and the River Basin Control Office will be joined by various local government units in a river cleanup in Malabon City. The WWD 2015 Run for Water and Sustainable Development, sponsored by Maynilad, will be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex in Pasay City.

March 23 and 26: The ERDB and the Department of Education will lead the National Conference on Climate Change and Water Safety for Health, and the “Gising Diwa: Likas Kayang Gamit ng Yamang Tubig” for participants from Laguna, and Tayabas and Pagbilao towns in Quezon.

March 25-27: Water Philippines 2015 Expo and Conference and the Pipes and Tubing Philippines 2015 Expo, both sponsored by UBM Water Philippines, will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

WWD was first celebrated in 1993 when the United Nations declared March 22 of every year as World Day for Water. In the Philippines, the celebration lasts for at least one week by virtue of Executive Order No. 258 issued in 1996, adopting the Philippine Water Week.

EcoWaste Coalition Alerts Consumers vs. Toy-Like Accessories Containing Toxic Lead

(PNA), CTB/PR/SSC

Quezon City, March 15 (PNA) -- The nice-looking magnets on your refrigerator and the cord holders for your e-gadgets may pose hazards to health and safety.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental watchdog group, made this precautionary warning after finding brightly painted animal fridge magnets and cartoon-embellished cord holders positive for lead, a toxic chemical added to some paints and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics.

The group’s advisory coincided with the global observance of World Consumer Rights Day today, March 15 and was issued to promote public awareness on the rights of consumers to product information and safety.

The group on March 11 purchased six samples of refrigerator magnets worth P10 each and 15 samples of cord holders worth P35 each from street vendors in Divisoria, Manila and had them screened for toxic metals.

As per chemicals screening using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, the group found all six samples of paint-coated animal magnets positive for lead up to 18,100 ppm, way above the 90 ppm limit for lead in decorative paints.

The group also detected lead up to 5,616 in all but one of the 15 samples of PVC cord holders.

“The colorful animal figures attached to round magnets are individually packed in clear plastic and carried no labelling details, depriving consumers of their right to basic product information,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect

“The cord holders designed with iconic cartoon characters are incompletely labeled,” he added.

None of the products indicated lead as an active ingredient. Lead is a chemical poison that can harm the brain and the central nervous system and damage other body organs, with children under six most at risk.

“The absence of such essential information about the product and their chemical composition goes against the consumer interest as guaranteed under Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines. Consumers should and must insist on their right to know,” Dizon emphasized.

“While the refrigerator magnets and the cord holders are not meant to be used as toys, they could easily pass as toys to imaginative and playful children,” he said.

“Kids will find these items very attractive and innocently play, bite and chew on them, directly exposing them to lead hazard via ingestion,” he warned.

Even so, the most common way for children to ingest lead is still through lead-containing dust and soil that gets onto their hands and mouths, he clarified.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “the most critical consequence of low level lead toxicity in utero and during childhood is damage to the developing brain and nervous system.”

Some of the consequences of brain injury from exposure to lead in early life, according to the WHO, are loss of intelligence, shortening of attention span and disruption of behavior.”

Aside from lead exposure hazard, the sampled refrigerator magnets and cord holders may also pose choking hazard. The magnets, for example, are not securely attached and can be easily swallowed by children, the EcoWaste Coalition warned.

To prevent lead exposure and choking hazard, “we advise those who have already bought such items to keep them out of children’s sight and reach,” the group said.

Free app to help expand air quality monitoring

By Catherine J. Teves [(PNA), RMA/CJT/SSC]

MANILA, March 14 (PNA) -- The environment department's Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) plans to come up with an app which people can use to monitor quality of air in their areas by June this year.

"We'll develop that app and make this available to the public for free," said EMB Director Jonas Leones.

Leones said such move aimed to help further open up public access to EMB's real-time data on air pollutants and other air quality indicators.

"The information will help raise, among people and localgovernments, awareness and action on air pollution," he said.

Development of the app is among EMB's measures for improving air quality.

EMB also stepped up its anti-smoke belching campaign in Metro Manila as latest available data show motor vehicles still account for some 80 percent of air pollution in this megalopolis, Leones said.

He likewise said EMB already informed managers of construction sites in Metro Manila to cover cement and other materials that could be carried by the wind, noting 20 percent of air pollution in this urban center was from stationary and area sources.

According to Leones, the air quality data, which people will be able to access through the app, will be the same as information in EMB's website.

"Before launching the app, therefore, we have to conclude work on the website first," he said.

EMB is about to conclude such work, he said.

At a briefing this week, EMB announced uploading air quality data daily on the website beginning March 16.

Leones said EMB would be able to do so as this agency already installed air quality monitoring stations (AQMSs) in all LGUs of Metro Manila.

EMB installed an AQMS in each Metro Manila LGU except Quezon City where the agency located two of such stations.

The agency plans to install 36 additional AQMSs nationwide and seven of these will be in Metro Manila, said Leones.

From actual conditions in areas covered, the AQMSs generate real-time air pollution-related data which EMB receives and processes to come up with hourly averages that indicate air quality there.

"Data from such AQMSs will show which LGUs have the worst air pollution," noted Leones.

He said studies showed particulate matter (PM) 10 and 2.5 were among pollutants which the AQMSs were capable of monitoring.

Studies also show both pollutants are threats to people's health.

"Air pollution is a serious problem needing short-, medium- and long-term interventions," he said.

To help further disseminate information on air quality, Leones said various media outfits earlier agreed to report on the matter.

He said air quality information from EMB would be included in the outfits' respective daily weather reports.

"We aim to reach as many sectors as possible," he said.

ALI unveils new residential tower in QC

By Doris C. Dumlao (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines–Property giant Ayala Land Inc. has rolled out, under its urban development Alveo brand, a new residential tower in mixed-use hub Vertis North in Quezon City, bringing to the market P7.5 billion worth of new inventory.

Alveo has unveiled the 49-story tower 2 of High Park, which offers 803 residential units targeted for turnover by 2020. This is the first Alveo project that seeks to bring the park experience from the ground to a vertical living experience, Alveo group head for project development Jennylle Tupaz said in a briefing on Thursday.

Residential units in High Park Tower 2 are up for sale at P140,000 per square meter, higher than the P125,000/sqm selling price when Tower 1 of High Park was launched in April last year.

With Tower 1 now 70 percent sold, Tupaz said it was a good time to launch the second tower.

“As we keep on launching new towers, we expect values to go up,” Tupaz said, noting that the Ayala group was still in the early stages of developing the 46-hectare Vertis North, envisioned to be a key central business district in Quezon City.

While Tower 1 will have distinct sky gardens every three floors, Tower 2 will feature a roofdeck skypark and sky lounge that offer spectacular views of the surrounding Quezon City landscape.

For Tower 2, High Park will have studio units sized 32 sqm, one-bedroom units with floor areas of between 61 and 62 sqm, two-bedroom units at 87-105 sqm and three-bedroom units at 123 sqm. Urban villas and penthouse units will also be available for the high-end market. Unit prices for tower 2 range from P4.2 million to P23.2 million.

With the two towers combined, High Park will have a total of 1,402 residential units.

About 65 percent of the buyers of tower 1 consisted of real estate investors, mostly local.

“We see local investors in Quezon City and Northern Luzon, with some foreign investors mostly coming from the US and the Asia-Pacific region,” Tupaz said.

Alveo also targets end users such as families, entrepreneurs and professionals for High Park. As of the end of 2014, High Park captured 78 percent of the upscale Quezon City market, averaging sales of 50 units per month. About 80 percent of Tower 1 buyers are from Metro Manila. About 53 percent are based in Quezon City.

Pink taxis for women, kids, PWDs launched

By Katerina Francisco (Rappler.com)

Sixty pink taxis of LBR Transport are the newest addition to the fleet of jeeps and buses that will give priority rides to women, children, senior citizens, and PWDs.

MANILA, Philippines – After launching pink jeepneys and buses, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced the latest addition to its Pink4 project: a fleet of taxis that will exclusively pick up women, children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities (PWDs) during rush hours.

During the launch on Wednesday, March 11, the pink taxis of LBR Transport Incorporated, owned and operated by actor Luis Manzano, joined a motorcade from the LTFRB central office to the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

The 60 pink taxis are part of the "Para sa Interes Ng Kababaihan, Kabataan, Katandaan at may Kapansanan" (In the Interest of Women, Youth, and Persons With Disabilities) project, which will give priority rides to women, children, senior citizens, and PWDs.

The LBR taxis participating in the project will have double pink stripes on the units' bodies and pink ribbons on the top lights. The taxi drivers will wear pink collared shirts.

The taxi fleet is the latest addition to the Pink4 project, which the LTFRB said aims to provide a convenient commute for these group of passengers who often have difficulty getting a ride especially during rush hour.

LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez lauded LBR Transport for joining the project.

"We thank LBR Transport Incorporated for their participation in our project that aims to provide a convenient and comfortable ride to women, children, senior citizens and PWDs during rush hour," Ginez said.

Earlier this week, the LTFRB and bus company RRCG deployed pink buses plying the Quiapo-Cainta route to provide rides to these sectors from 4-10 am and 4-10 pm.

In February, public transport operators kicked off the project by deploying 14 pink public utility jeepneys plying the Pateros-Guadalupe route and 16 UV express vehicles plying the Trinoma-Tandang Sora route exclusively for the use of these sectors.

“We are glad that more PUV operators are joining hands with us to ease the burden of finding a convenient commute for these special groups which often had difficulty getting a ride home or to reach their destinations during rush hours. We hope to see more public transport services to participate in the program for a good cause,” Ginez said.

Enjoying the Beauty of Landscaped Plants and Flowers at the 4th Flora Filipina Expo

By Norby Bautista

The 4th Flora Filipina Expo opened last February 25, 2015 at the Hardin ng mga Bulaklak in Quezon Memorial Circle. It showcased the beauty of Philippine plants and flowers. The event was made possible through the efforts of the Philippine Orchid Society in partnership with the Quezon City government , the Quezon Memorial Circle, Department of Tourism, Department of Agriculture, Del Monte-Philippines, KFC, Allied Botanical Corporation , Ramgo International , the Philippine Bonsai Society, the Philippine Horticultural Society, The Los Banos Horticultural Society, the Orchid Society of Davao and other major garden clubs in different parts of the country.

Philippine Orchid SocietyThe ribbon cutting was participated by guest of honor Ms. Camille Villar, daughter of Congresswoman Cynthia and Senator Manny Villar, Mrs. Evangeline Go, President of the Philippine Orchid Society, Mrs. Cora Purificacion, Flora’s honorary chair, Mrs. Dorene Dofitas, Flora’s chairperson, officers of the Philippine Orchid Society and from the various garden clubs, representatives from the Quezon City government and various plant aficionados.

Guests were first toured around the colorful and magnificent array of landscaped exhibits before settling in the shaded opening stage area. The opening ceremony was later joined by guest of honor Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte-Alimurung and Dra. Elenita Binay, wife of Vice President Jejomar Binay and Flora’s honorary chair..

With these event, the site was transformed into a garden paradise, with colorful pocket gardens of orchids, bromeliads, tillandsias, ferns, annuals, aroids, bonsai and cacti. It was a wonderful site for taking pictures or for strolling and admiring the beauty of plants around.

The expo was also a venue to determine the best plants and also for landscapers to compete on their skill in arranging plants. Winners of the best landscape exhibits and the best orchids and ornamental plants were also announced and awarded with trophies and ribbons.

The opening ceremonies were attended by more than 200 people who viewed the 15 landscaped garden exhibits. There were numerous commercial garden booths selling various plants and garden accessories like orchids, bromeliads, tillandsias, fruit tree seedlings, ferns, annual flowering plants, bonsai, aroids, pots, potting mix, fertilizers, pesticides, garden tools, and a lot more. The festive atmosphere at the Hardin ng mga Bulaklak area was further enhanced by music courtesy of the Band of Quezon City. Cultural performers from the Commonwealth High School presented Filipiniana and Muslim dances after the opening rites as well.

The Flora Filipina Expo was intended to promote and highlight the country’s ornamental and floriculture industry to the world. With this, we hope that our Asian, European and American neighbors will recognize our potential in growing quality and beautiful plants and flowers.

With its theme: “Enriching Lives and Building Opportunities through Floriculture ”, the expo aims to promote the use of Philippine plants in indoor and outdoor gardening, especially in landscaping.

There was also a two-day conference at the Great Eastern Hotel at Quezon Avenue held last February 26-27 which was attended by our very own plant enthusiasts, gardeners and researchers from around the country. Topics on various new innovations in horticulture and the new plant cultivars developed were presented in the conference.

Through the expo, the Philippine Orchid Society has continued its mandate of promoting not just orchids, but also gardening to our fellow Filipinos. Hopefully, the passion and skill in floriculture, and ornamental horticulture will continue to be passed on to our younger generation for a brighter and progressive future.


Mar wants police cars with CCTV cameras for PNP

By Dennis Carcamo (philstar.com)

To respond to crimes more quickly, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas wants the police force to acquire more CCTV cameras. MANILA, Philippines - Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to procure mobile units with closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to secure big annual events in the country.

Roxas said that the mobile CCTV cameras should transmit images to the mobile command posts, which will then send the images to either the district police offices or the National Headquarters of the PNP in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

He said this will enable the PNP to immediately address problems commonly encountered during crowd-drawer events in the country such as the President’s State of the National Address, which is delivered every fourth Monday of July; the EDSA People Power Revolution every February 25; and the Feast of the Black Nazarene every January 9.

Roxas also ordered the installation of additional CCTVs in all 38 police stations in Metro Manila.

He earlier tasked PNP officials to meet with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority officials to maximize the use of their 210 CCTVs installed in different areas in the metropolis.

He said the coordinated efforts by the MMDA and the PNP can make for better and more effective customized police operations in high crime areas.

QC gives new tax break to seniors

By Rima Granali (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines – Senior citizens no longer have to pay transfer tax when they sell their house and lot in Quezon City to buy a new one in the country.

Mayor Herbert Bautista recently signed the ordinance exempting seniors from paying the 75 percent of the one percent selling price of the property as required by the city revenue code.

This represents new benefits for senior citizens in the city.

BACK STORY: Cash gifts set for QC seniors who’ll turn 75 during city anniversary

To avail of the exemption, senior citizens or residents at least 60 years old must register with the city’s Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (QC OSCA) and secure a certification from their barangay captain that they have been living in the village for at least 10 years.

If the property is co-owned with a non-senior citizen, the owners would get a tax discount based on the share of the senior citizen, a staff member of Councilor Raquel Malañgen, author of the ordinance, explained.

The tax exemption could only be availed if the senior citizen acquires or constructs a new residential property 18 months after selling his old home, Coryell Palarca, a member of Malañgen’s legal staff, stressed.

If the senior citizen plans to migrate abroad, selling his property in the city would not be tax free, Palarca said.

Under the ordinance, the tax exemption can only be availed once every 10 years and the amount of the residential property should not exceed P5 million based on the zonal value or the selling price.

The ordinance was passed on third and final reading on January 26 and signed into law by the mayor on February 28.

2015 National Women’s Month celebration kicks off at QMC

By Leilani S. Junio [(PNA), SCS/LSJ]

MANILA, March 8 (PNA) -- More than 10,000 officials and working women and men from the different national government agencies and representatives of local government unit (LGUs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) participated in the celebration of the National Women's Day and kick-off activities of the 2015 National Women’s Month on Sunday morning.

The participants, most of them wearing purple T-shirts, assembled at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City where they held a parade around the one-kilometer Elliptical Road starting at 6 a.m.

The parade was organized by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) in coordination with different men and women officials and representatives of national government agencies.

Among the participating agencies were the Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Health (DOH), Agrarian Reform (DAR), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Agriculture (DA), Foreign Affairs (DFA), Budget and Management (DBM), National Defense (DND) and Metropolitan Manila Department Authority (MMDA).

PCW Chairperson Remedios I. Rikken was joined by DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman, MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez, Philippine Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo and Quezon City Administrator Aldrin C. Cuña in imparting messages for the attendees.

DOH National Epidemiology Center (NEC) Director Dr. Eric Tayag was also present in the occasion and led the dance moves based on the celebration theme: "Juana, Desisyon Mo ay Mahalaga sa Kinabukasan ng Bawat Isa, Ikaw Na!"

In her key message, PCW Chairperson Rikken emphasized the timeliness for women to aspire for 50 percent leadership in different levels -- civil society organizations, academe, bureaucracy and even in electoral politics -- to ensure that more equality between men and women can be crafted and protected.

Special awards were given during the event to recognize the support of contingents who tirelessly walked around the circle before heading to the QMC's Liwasang Aurora where the program proper was held.

The awards were for "early bird" (those who came early) which was given to the contingent of the Philippine Navy; "most creative delegation" given to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) personnel who put painting in their faces; and "most organized delegation" which was given to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Region 7.

QC mulls new livelihood training facilities

(PNA), LAM/SDT-PR/PJN

MANILA, March 7 (PNA) -- Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista is seriously considering putting into good use QC-based properties confiscated by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) during its anti-drug operations.

In a recent meeting with members of the peace and order council, Bautista said the city government is studying the possibility of utilizing these confiscated properties as livelihood training facilities for victims of drug trafficking.

He asked PDEA regional director Erwin Ogario to carefully study the city’s proposal while taking into consideration the provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

While Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2003, prohibits the disposition, alienation and transfer of the confiscated properties, the mayor noted that these properties could be used for legitimate purposes during the pendency in court of the cases involving the said properties.

Among the most notable PDEA seizures identified by Mayor Bautista are properties located at Barangay Salvacion and Calavite Street in La Loma which were reportedly used as drug dens.

Meanwhile, the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC) authorized Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte to enter into an agreement with the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) for the drug testing services of QC Hall and barangay personnel as the city moves towards implementing a drug-free workplace program.

Vice Mayor Belmonte, who sits as QCADAAC chairperson, signed a memorandum of agreement with officials of National Reference Laboratory for Environmental and Occupational Health, Toxicology and Micro-Nutrient Assay of EAMC during a QCADAAC meeting last week at QC Hall.

EAMC was represented during the occasion by Dr. Roland Cortez, Medical Center Chief II; Dr. Alfonso Nunez, head of the ER-Trauma Department; Dr. Socorro Yanez, head of the National Reference Laboratory and Leonard Cadiente, a chemist from the National Reference Laboratory.

Aside from the agreement with EAMC, the QCADAAC, during its council meeting, also passed a resolution authorizing Vice Mayor Belmonte to enter into a memorandum of agreement with colleges and universities operating within the city for the conduct of drug preventive education seminars for students taking the National Service Training Program (NSTP).

The partnership has been described by the QCADAAC as vital in the city government’s continuing effort to enhance the consciousness and anti-drug awareness of the city’s youth.

Muslims, Christians in Metro Manila join in the observance of the “National Day Towards Healing for Justice, Unity, and Peace”

By Jerome Carlo R. Paunan (RJB/JCP/PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY, 6 March (PIA) -- Muslims and Christians in Metro Manila on Friday observed the “National Day Towards Healing for Justice, Unity, and Peace” in front of the Peace Bell and at the Planas Gardens of the Quezon Memorial Circle.

“All-out-war is never a solution to address the problems in Mindanao,” the organizers said,expressing support for “All-Out-Peace” in Mindanao.

“The all-out-peace campaign aims to take a stand for peace by rejecting war and any form of armed violence. It is also a way of showing dislike to conflicts in Mindanao including the much-publicized Mamasapano incident last January 25 resulting in the deaths of 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force, 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and scores of innocent civilians,” they added.

Residents collectively participate in various peace-centered activities, including the ‘Fajr’ or Muslim dawn prayer, 'Dhuhr' or midday prayer, ringing of the Peace Bell, and caravan to the EDSA People Power Monument.

Likewise, there were performances that showed solidarity by various artists, photo exhibit, video showing, art activities, boodle fight, and messages shared by public officials and personalities supporting the peace efforts.

QC PESO calls on youth to register at JobStart Ph

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

QUEZON CITY, 05 March (PIA)--The Quezon City Government, through its Public Employment Service Office (PESO) is calling on all QC youth age 18-24 years old, with no or limited job experience to participate in the ‘2nd wave’ of JobStart Philippines registration.

JobStart Philippines is a training and internship program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Bureau of Local Employment and the Quezon City PESO funded by the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Canada.

It aims to assist young Filipinos start their careers by improving technical skills and develop life skills necessary to succeed in today’s competitive workplace.

The registration is being held at the Farmers Plaza, QC, March 2-5, 2015, 10 am-5 pm and QC PESO, 4th Floor, Civic Center Bldg A, City Hall Compound on March 9-11, 2015, 8 am-4 pm.

To qualify, applicants need to be between 18-24 years old, at least high school graduates,no job experience or have no more than one (1) year of experience.

They should also be not working yet, not enrolled in school or in any training, and actively seeking work.

Previously registered with JobStart (1st wave of registration) need not apply.

JobStart will accept up to a total of 400 registrants for the 2nd wave of registration in Quezon City, all of whom will be given career guidance and employment coaching (CGEC) by QC City Public Service Employment Office (PESO).

A total of 150 applicants will be randomly selected as JobStart beneficiaries who will proceed to life skills training, referral to employers, technical training and internship—all with free daily allowance amounting to P300.

As a JobStart beneficiary, an applicant is entitled to the following opportunities: knowledge on conducting job searches; access to career guidance and employment coaching.

They will also be given access to relevant Labor Market Information (LMI) and infrastructure of PESOs, referral to potential employers, holistic employability through multi-faceted training: Life Skills Training and Technical Training as required or recommended by employers (for those selected as beneficiaries) and up to six (6) months of on-the-job training with an employer.

DENR starts adding air quality monitoring stations

By Trisha Macas / DVM (GMA News)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has started to add air quality monitoring stations as part of the implementation of the Clean Air Act of 1999.

In a report on "24 Oras" on Tuesday, DENR-Environmental Management Bureau's Air Quality Management Section chief Engr. Jean Rosete explained the importance of having monitoring stations.

"Para malaman natin kung itong lugar na ito is healthy or unhealthy ang level ng air quality," Rosete said.

There are four air quality monitoring stations in Metro Manila: Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, De La Salle University-Manila in Taft Avenue, Manila; Department of Public Works and Highways office in EDSA-Timong Avenue, Quezon City, and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela in Valenzuela City.

The DENR also has a website where the public can monitor the air quality in areas were monitors were set up. The website shows an Air Quality Index, which ranges from Green, signifying "good", to dark red means "emergency" when "everyone should remain indoors, (keeping windows and doors closed, unless heat stress is possible)."

However, the website has not been updated since October 9, 2014 and suffers from technical issues. The site is supposed to show real-time monitoring, but the internet connection the agency is using for the system is intermittent.

Meanwhile, according to the Air Quality Management Section, there are indications that the air pollution in the country is not getting worse.

For example, data on total suspended particulates in Metro Manila shows a downward trend since 2004. But the measurement is still over the total suspended particulates indicated in the Clean Air Act, DENR said.

To this, Rosete stressed the importance for the public to get involved in taking care of the environment., "Cleaning the air is not only the responsibility of the government agencies, but lahat especially," she said.

Fire Prevention Month marked with unity walk, new fire trucks

By Rose-An Jessica Dioquino / KG (GMA News)

The Bureau of Fire Protection conducted a unity walk on Tuesday as part of its activities for public awareness in line with Fire Prevention Month, a TV report said.

A report on News To Go said Interior Sec. Mar Roxas led the program at the Quezon City Memorial Circle, the end point of the unity walk attended by fire volunteers from various sectors and regions, as well as students.

In his speech, Roxas announced that the government got 469 new fire trucks for all over the country. These included fire trucks and ambulances from Japan, which will go to provinces hit by supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013.

The News To Go report added that "fire motorcycles," or motorcycles with water tanks attached to them, would now also be used by firefighters, especially since a lot of fire incidents have happened in areas where they have to go through narrow alleyways to reach them.

Roxas also said in his speech that that they are seeking for a long-term solution on corruption in fire inspection.

"Pangmatagalan na programa para itong taun-taunang reklamo sa fire inspection ay matugunan," he said.

This year's Fire Prevention Month kicked off on Sunday with a caravan reminding the public to take precautions against fires.

However, the beginning of the month-long campaign was marked with a fire destroying 13 houses in Cubao, Quezon City before dawn Sunday.

On Monday evening, the second day of Fire Prevention Month, a fire razed a residential area in Parola Compound in Tondo, Manila, while another fire was reported on Juan Luna Street in the same area.

A fire also hit Barangay Payatas in Quezon City and had reached the fourth alarm.

The fire at Parola Compound was put out early Tuesday after some 12 hours.

However, a new fire broke out Tuesday in the same area shortly after noon.

SAF widows, families set 'walk' for justice

By Noel Alamar(ABS-CBNnews.com, dzMM)

MANILA - A nationwide march has been set for March 8, this time to be joined by the widows and relatives of the fallen 44 Special Action Force (SAF) men.

The Philippine National Police Academy Alumni Association, Inc. will lead the “Walk with the Widows, Run for our Heroes” that is expected to take place in different parts of the country.

In the National Capital Region, a 44-kilometer walk has been scheduled to start at 2:00 a.m. in Salitran, Dasmarinas City, Cavite up to Camp Crame in Quezon City.

From Camp Crame, the organizers and supporters will proceed to Quezon City Memorial Circle for an ecumenical mass at 10:00 a.m.

PNPA Alumni board chairman Tomas Rentoy III said March 8 coincides with the 44th day since the Mamasapano clash.

He said other civil society organizations are expected to join the march.

Different protest actions have taken place across the country ever since the Mamasapano aftermath came to light. Some groups have called for the resignation of President Aquino.

Meatless Mondays in Quezon City

By JING VILLAMENTE

Cut your meat intake and add years to your life.

This is the message that Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista wants to impart to three million residents as he threw his support behind a city council resolution urging restaurant owners to adopt “Meatless Mondays” and help promote the consumption of vegetables and other healthy food at least once a week.

The council resolution calls for a “Luntiang Lunes (Green Monday),” QC’s version of a Meatless Monday, patterned after a similar advocacy in the United States, in a bid to improve the nutritional intake of city residents.

Meatless Monday is an idea pioneered by the US Food Administration during World War I.

Reintroduced as a public health awareness campaign in the US in 2003, Meatless Monday addresses the prevalence of preventable illnesses associated with excessive meat consumption.

Councilor Jessica Castelo Daza, author of the resolution, noted that there is a need to strengthen food security and minimize environmental problems attributed to livestock production.

If every QC resident would leave out meat for one day every week for one whole year, this would translate to a significant reduction in one’s carbon footprint and would help save precious resources like trees, water and fossil fuel, according to Daza.

“It is like taking 12,800 cars off the road or having 107 million trees planted and grown for 10 years,” she said.

The QC government started its Meatless Monday advocacy with the approval of Resolution SP-5596 in 2012, which enjoins all City Hall employees, public schools and all barangay (villages) to consume vegetables and other non-meat food every Monday.

Daza, a medical doctor by profession, said studies have shown that Filipinos are one of the world’s lowest per capita consumers of vegetables, with only 39 kilos per year.

Based on a report by the American Dietetic Association, reduced meat consumption decreases the risk of various health problems.

Thus, going meatless even for just one day per week may reduce one’s risk of chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes and some types of cancer.