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Quezon City News March 2016

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Quezon City - Archived News

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The Founder Manuel Quezon
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A Barangay Clearance is NEEDED in order to get a Business License.
So why is the barangay name not in most business addresses?
Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.
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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm


DSWD calls for boosting of support and services for women with disabilities

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

MANILA, March 31 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is urging every sector of society to unite together to provide the much-needed support in addressing the needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs), especially women encountering gender abuses, disaster risks and barriers in accessing the necessary reproductive health programs, including stigma and discrimination.

The call was made during the conduct of a forum on Reproductive Health Law and Action Research on Gender and Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and Management held at the Occupational Safety and Health Center Building in North Avenue, Quezon City on Wednesday.

“A lot still needs to be done and this forum is one of those which will help step up the advocacy,” said DSWD Undersecretary Vilma B. Cabrera, who represented DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman.

Cabrera, head of DSWD Operations and Group-Protective Programs, said that through the forum, she is looking forward that fruitful output/s will come out that will inspire more positive actions and support for women and other persons with disabilities.

The forum was organized and spearheaded by the National Anti-Poverty Council (NAPC) which was represented by PWD Sectoral Rep. Jocelyn Rosemarie Cris C. Garcia.

In the forum, Dr. Jesusa M. Marco and Jerome Zayas from the Social Development Research Center of De La Salle University in Manila presented the studies made by W-DARE (Women with Disability taking Action on Reproductive and sexual health).

Together, they presented some studies taken in the pilot areas which reflected some common problems encountered by women with disabilities such as accessing reproductive health programs, becoming prone to abuses and violence both in their homes and in communities.

The studies were done on women with disabilities as samples in District II of Quezon City and Leyte in cooperation with Australian Agency for International Development, United Nations Population Fund, and local government units of QC and Leyte.

Results of the studies will be turned over to the DSWD and the Department of Health (DOH) to encourage them to initiate the conduct of similar studies in the different regions of the country in order to come out with recommended programs and address the mentioned “barriers” affecting women with disabilities effectively.

Some identified barriers include: problems in attitude; knowledge and gender for service providers; physical barriers, including access to facilities, policies, equipment; economic barriers (transportation, cost of services and interpreters); lack of awareness of services, mental health, fear of domestic responsibilities, violence, prejudice and discrimination.

Cabrera said that the DSWD, as the chairperson of the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), has taken the lead in terms of providing the programs and services to ensure that women with disabilities are included in social protection, policies, programs, projects, and are always consulted in planning, implementation, and monitoring of development from the national level down to local department/unit.

“Girls and women of all ages with any form of disability are generally among the more vulnerable and marginalized sectors of society,” the DSWD official said.

She added that in a World Bank report, it was observed that every minute, more than 30 women are seriously injured or disabled during labor.

“This just proved that discrimination exists in multiple layers cutting across ages, class and race. Hence, there is a need to take into account and address the concerns in all policy making and programming domains,” she said.

Also present during the event were representatives from different government agencies and different PWD sectors in different local government units in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Ms. Marian Rivera-Dantes, ambassador of Women and Children With Disabilities, also showed up in the event and delivered inspiring thoughts to women with disabilities and their children, aside from distributing gifts to show her love for them. It was the third time that she joined them in the “12th Women with Disabilities Day" celebration.

The theme for the celebration was “Kapakanan ni Juanang May Kapansanan, Isama sa Plano ng Bayan!”

The theme was reflective of the thrust of the government for inclusive and caring form of governance and service delivery.

Metrobank awards Math Challenge winners


QUEZON CITY, 30 March (PIA) - The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI), the Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines (MTAP), and the Department of Education (DepEd) recently awarded the winners of the 2016 Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd March Challenge (MMC) National Finals winners.

Out of more than 1,200 students who competed in the regional finals nationwide, 50 students from 16 public and 13 private schools successfully met the “hurdle rate” in their scores leading them to advance in the final leg of the MMC.

MBFI president Aniceto M. Sobrepeña congratulated the winners for daring to do better and succeeding in defying expectations.

“Looking back at the last 15 years of the Metrobank Math Challenge, we are proud to note that indeed, it has raised the bar of mathematical competence among elementary and high school students,” he added.

The national finals showcased the mathematical competence of Grades 6 and 10 students who competed in individual and team categories, respectively.

The challenge consisted of solving complex mathematical problems within 15 seconds through mental calculation and another round of 30-second and one-minute questions using pen and paper calculation. The questionnaires were also posted real-time on MMC’s Facebook page to engage online users during the conduct of the competition.

Out of the 29 competing schools, 11 have produced their 1st ever national finalist. They are Kalalake Elementary School – Center of Excellence (Olongapo City); College of the Holy Spirit of Tarlac (Tarlac City); Calamba Elementary School (Calamba, Laguna); Guinobatan West Central School (Guinobatan, Albay); Infant Jesus Academy (Kalibo, Aklan); Sisters of Mary School-Boystown, Inc. (Minglanilla, Cebu); Gabaldon Central School (Abuyog, Leyte); Polomolok Central Elementary School (Polomolok, South Cotabato); Bayugan Central Elementary School SPED Center (Bayugan City, Agusan Del Sur); Bangkal Elementary School Main (Makati City); Pamplona Elementary School (Las Piñas City); and Philadelphia High School (Quezon City).

National winners received trophies, medals and cash prizes. Half of the cash prize received by the winners has allowed them to open an account through the Metrobank Fun Savers Club, a special savings account designed for kids 17 years and below.

Meanwhile, all national finalists also received Mathew Plush Toy, a doll inspired by the official mascot of MMC, as well as other giveaways sponsored by Casio Philippines, Manila Tytana Colleges, GSIS, and Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Now on its 15th year, the annual Math Challenge produces national winners who get to compete and eventually win in international competitions.

DSWD reiterates need to secure travel clearance for minors

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

MANILA, March 29 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reiterated Tuesday the need to secure a travel clearance for children aged 17 years old and below who will be traveling to other countries alone or with companions other than their parents.

DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman made the statement during a press briefing held at DSWD Central Office in Barangay Batasan Hills, Quezon City in anticipation of the increase in the number of requests for travel clearance for children who are now enjoying their summer vacation.

“Most parents working overseas want their children to stay with them during this time, and they are usually accompanied by grandparents or relatives. Hence, they need a travel clearance to ensure their protection,” DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman said.

Soliman said that the huge number of applications for travel clearance can also be attributed to cheaper air fares offered through promos by various airline companies.

The DSWD chief said that the usual destination of the minor applicants are countries like Hong Kong and Japan.

The issuance of a travel clearance is specified under the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and the Philippine Passport Act of 1996.

“The issuance of a travel clearance is also a measure against trafficking of children and other forms of abuse that the child might encounter while traveling abroad. It is a proof that the travel of the child is legal and is accompanied by authorized persons,” Sec. Soliman emphasized.

The DSWD shall issue a travel clearance to a Filipino minor traveling to a foreign country unaccompanied by his/her parents and to an illegitimate child traveling with his/her father. Personal appearance of the minor is not necessary.

The agency can issue the clearance within the day of application provided all necessary requirements, particularly the social worker's assessment, are submitted.

The application for travel clearance together with the required supporting documents shall be submitted by the parent/s or legal guardian or a duly authorized representative at the nearest DSWD Regional Office. The application forms and list of requirements may also be downloaded from the DSWD website (

The processing fee of travel clearance for minors vary according to length of validity: PHP300 for a clearance with a validity of one year and PHP600 for a clearance with a validity of two years.

She said that they have learned that travel agencies collect a fee of PHP1,000-PHP2,000 for the processing of the travel clearance.

"That is their processing fee, not the government's," Soliman said.

Last year, the DSWD issued a total of 11,182 travel clearances nationwide, with the highest number issued during the months of March, April, May and June, coinciding with the summer vacation of students.

For this year alone, a total of 2,760 travel clearances has already been issued, with around half of these figures issued in March alone.

Ateneo Art Gallery revives film screenings with Mike Alcazaren’s ‘Puti’ on April 7


Mike Alcazeren’s notable film, Puti, will be shown on Thursday, April 7, 5 p.m., at the Ateneo Art Gallery of the Ateneo de Manila University on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.

Puti, the prominent commercial director’s first feature film, had its international premiere in Belgium on April 2014 as part of the 7th Orbit Competition of the 32nd Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Film. The film was also part of the maiden edition of CineFilipino Film Festival in 2013. It was awarded for Best Cinematography, Production Design and Sound Design. “Puti” was also cited by the Young Critics Circle as “Best Debut Film.”

Puti stars Ian Veneracion, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Lauren Young, Leo Rialp, and introduces Bryan Pagala.

The film showing brings back AAG’s film screening program that was launched in the 1960s by its first curator Emmanuel Torres. The regular screenings of foreign art films complemented art appreciation classes and other art related activities in campus.

This time, however, AAG’s film screenings will feature material from the bounty of young and independent film makers in the country today, many of whom are leading Ateneo alumni.

An open forum with the Director and members of the cast will follow after the screening.

The screening is free admission but limited seats are available. For reservations: Ferdie Serrano, (+632) 426-6488 or (+632) 426-6001 local 4160.

NBA Store treks north of the metro

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo (Reporter)

INDICATIVE of how well the venture has been received in such short a time, the NBA Store Philippines officially opened its third shop up north of the metropolis at the TriNoma Mall in Quezon City.

Located at the North Avenue wing of the mall, NBA Store TriNoma, like the first two at Glorietta 3 in Makati City and Mega Fashion Hall in Mandaluyong City, offers a comprehensive selection of authentic NBA products from all 30 NBA teams, including official jerseys, footwear, performance gear, lifestyle apparel, basketballs, toys and collectibles.

Autographed NBA memorabilia and a personalized jersey service are also on offer in the latest store.

“Here in the Philippines the following of the NBA and demand for its products have been huge. And the strategy for the NBA Store is to go where the fans are and now we are here,” said Carlo Singson, NBA Philippines Managing Director, during the NBA Store TriNoma’s official opening on March 14.

“When we opened our flagship store in Glorietta in 2014 it was really our first retail foray in the Philippines and it proved to be successful. And then we opened another one in Megamall and that’s done really well. And now we have moved north and targeting a market -- northern Quezon City -- which we think has not been served yet,” the NBA official said in an interview with reporters.

BASKETBALL CRAZY For the International Athletic Trading Company (IATC), the firm that manages NBA Store Philippines, the stores have had tremendous success because of the fact that the country is “basketball crazy.”

“Being a basketball-crazy country, the NBA is really fit here in the Philippines, and so is the NBA Store, which is why a third store is up,” said IATC President and Chief Executive Officer Melvin Lloyd Lim in a separate interview.

To complement their thrust of being in synch with Philippine buyers, IATC, Mr. Lim said, makes it a point to give them what they need and has partnered with the top sports and lifestyle brands.

The NBA Store carries products from brands such as 2K Sports, adidas, Mitchell & Ness, New Era, Nike, Panini, Spalding, Stance and Under Armour as well as NBA-branded lifestyle apparel exclusive to the store.

STRATEGIC Mr. Lim further said that the choice of TriNoma as a store location was strategic, seeing how much foot traffic the mall attracts.

“This area is packed with people. I’m very positive of this store doing well, too. TriNoma is one of the very successful Ayala malls in the country, so it’s a match for us,” Mr. Lim said.

With the success the NBA Store Philippines is experiencing, both Messrs. Lim and Singson said bigger plans are still in store for the venture even as they highlighted the good business relationship their groups have.

“It’s like really a joint venture that no decision is made unless both parties have signed off. We work together very closely with IATC. They know retail here in the Philippines but we are the NBA and we manage and control the brand. We take learnings from other markets and share those with IATC to help guide them in planning,” Mr. Singson said.

While he refused to divulge detailed plans, Mr. Lim said opening more stores is a priority for them, particularly in the Alabang area as well as in big cities in the south of the country like Cebu and Davao.

“Bigger opportunities for the NBA Store are still there and we would like to explore them,” the IATC boss said.

The NBA Store at TriNoma is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (Monday-Thursday) and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (Friday-Saturday).

Bill seeks to penalize criminal neglect of elderly, PWDs


MANILA, March 16 (PNA) -- Hundreds of neglected elderly and disabled persons will never be abandoned and will get enough care once a bill penalizing criminal neglect of the elderly and persons with disabilities (PWDs) becomes a law.

Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City) filed House Bill 6460, to be known as the “Care for the Elderly and the Disabled Act,” which seeks to ensure that no one will be abandoned among vulnerable elderly persons and persons with disability.

Those who shall be found guilty of criminal neglect of the elderly and PWDs will face a jail term of not less than one year but not exceeding five years and a fine not less than PHP10,000 but not exceeding PHP100, 000.

Vargas, a vice chairman of the Committees on Health and on Social Services, said the State values the dignity of every person and guarantees full respect for human rights so it is unjust to abandon and neglect elderly persons and persons with disability.

Under the bill, a person is guilty of criminal neglect of a vulnerable elderly person or a person with a disability when he or she is a caregiver and knowingly acts in a manner likely to cause the vulnerable elderly person or the person with a disability’s life to be endangered, health to be injured, or pre-existing physical or mental condition to deteriorate.

Also, if the caregiver fails to perform acts which he or she knows or reasonably should know are necessary to maintain or preserve the life or health of the vulnerable elderly person or the person with a disability and such failure causes said person’s life to be endangered, health to be injured or pre-existing physical or mental condition to deteriorate; or if he or she abandons the vulnerable elderly person or the person with a disability.

Vargas said no provision of this Act shall be deemed to impose criminal liability upon any person who has made an effort in good faith to provide for the health and personal care of the vulnerable elderly person or the person with a disability but through no fault of his or her own has been unable to provide such care.

In addition, Vargas said no provision of the bill shall be construed as prohibiting a person from providing treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone and care consistent therewith in lieu of medical care and treatment in accordance with the tenets and practices of any church or religious denomination of which the vulnerable elderly person or the person with a disability is a member.

Under the bill, “caregiver” refers to a person who provides for the health, welfare, and personal care of a vulnerable elderly person or a person with disability, at such person’s place of residence, including but not limited to, food and nutrition, shelter, hygiene, prescribed medication and medical care or treatment.

A caregiver can be a parent, spouse, adult, child or other relative by blood or marriage who resides with or resides in the same building with and who regularly visits the vulnerable elderly person or the person with disability, and who knows or reasonably should know that such person is unable to adequately provide for his or her own health and personal care.

Also, a caregiver can be someone who has been appointed by a private or a public agency or by a court of competent jurisdiction to provide for the health and personal care of the vulnerable elderly person or the person with a disability.

The measure defines a “person with a disability” as someone who is suffering from restriction of different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.

While a “vulnerable elderly person” refers to any resident of the Philippines at least sixty (60) years old who is suffering from a disease or infirmity associated with advanced age.

Maynilad repairs over 27K pipe leaks in 2015


QUEZON CITY, 25 March (PIA) – The Maynilad Water Services, Inc. has repaired or plugged 27,628 pipe leaks in 2015.

Maynilad has set aside some P260 million for its leak operations this year, further bring down water losses or Non-Revenue Water (NRW). As of December 2015, average NRW in the West Zone has reached an all-time low of 31 percent, compared to 66 percent in 2007.

“We still have a long way to go before we reach the internationally accepted optimal NRW level of 20 percent. Nevertheless, a reduction of 35 percent points from 2007 is a huge accomplishment—one that we intend to sustain through our aggressive investments in pipe rehabilitation,” said Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito S. Fernandez.

Maynilad recently repaired leaks located mostly in Caloocan, Quezon City, Valenzuela, Parañaque, Muntinlupa, Las Piňas and Cavite.

Also a major component of Maynilad’s NRW Reduction Program is the replacement of old pipelines. From 2007, Maynilad already replaced a total of 1,520 kilometers of pipes in different areas of the West Zone. The company inherited the oldest pipes in Asia, some dating back to Spanish times.

For 2016, Maynilad is investing over ₱2 billion for its NRW management program, which includes selective pipe replacement, leak detection and repair, network diagnostics, and replacement of old water meters.

DSWD cites participation of women-beneficiaries in poverty reduction schemes

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

MANILA (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Monday it fully recognizes the active participation of women-beneficiaries and volunteers in the implementation of poverty reduction projects.

“We are encouraged by the positive feedback and success stories that we receive on how our women-beneficiaries have managed to turn their lives around, regained their dignity and self-worth, and achieved economic independence,” DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman said.

She noted that more than half of the volunteers who are helping monitor the implementation of DSWD’s social protection programs are women.

The DSWD, being the lead agency in social protection, has been at the forefront in the delivery of programs and services geared towards women empowerment.

Likewise, it also spearheads the celebration of the National Women’s Month highlighting inclusion of women’s concern in the agenda or programs of the government for inclusive development and in the focus of the next administration.

Different forms of support for women are all evident in the agency's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), and Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS).

In these three programs implemented by DSWD, it can be seen that all touch on improving the lives of women-beneficiaries.

“They take care of their fellow beneficiaries,” Soliman said.

She explained that while many women benefiting from the programs have gone far in improving the welfare of their families, much remains to be done.

“All of us have the capacity to improve ourselves, and to help others and our country,” she said.

At present, there are 290,856 women-volunteers nationwide working in the community projects of Kalahi-CIDSS.

Secretary Soliman said that among them is Zenaida Cleope, a 50-year-old widow from Barangay Mataas na Kahoy, Gen. M. Natividad town, Nueva Ecija.

According to the DSWD chief, Cleofe has narrated to her how proud she is to be a volunteer of Kalahi-CIDSS, helping in the construction of their barangay project despite her age.

Soliman said the woman is also elated to be a part in the achievement of their community dream project -- a classroom that will benefit a lot of young boys and girls, including her grandchildren.

On the part of 4Ps, the DSWD head said that a lot of women-beneficiaries attested that they have learned a lot from the family development sessions (FDS), like tips and knowledge on communicating with their children, proper family budgeting, and active citizenship.

As an example, she cited Celyn Morales, a 4PS beneficiary since 2009, who has four children and is working as a babysitter and doing part-time job as laundry woman during weekends.

Celyn's husband is a shoe vendor at Commonwealth Market in Quezon City.

Through the FDS, she is able to motivate her children and her husband to work together or in unity in their struggle to be able to improve their lives.

Celyn shares that her eldest daughter, who is in Grade 9, belongs to the top 10 of her class.

Aside from being a parent leader, Celyn is also an active volunteer of "Oplan Balik Bahay Sagip Buhay" (OBBSB) which aims to comprehensively address the prevalence of children, unattached individuals, and families at risk on the streets.

She is also able to avail of the SLP’s livelihood trainings and employment through Cash-for-Work, as well as trainings for parent leaders on financial literacy and urban and vertical gardening.

Japan supports rehab of Metro Manila flood control system


QUEZON CITY (PIA)--The Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has supported the rehabilitation of the Metro Manila Effective Flood Control Operation System (EFCOS) to help enhance disaster resiliency in the country.

In a statement, Noriaki Niwa, JICA Chief Representative in the Philippines said by restoring the EFCOS’ telemetry equipment, they hope to contribute to the country’s build back better strategies in disaster management, ensure safety of communities, and minimize economic losses from disasters.

Together with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), JICA helped rehabilitate the telemetry equipment of EFCOS to enhance flood alert monitoring. JICA also helped replace the EFCOS radio system to help convey advanced flood data.

Under the cooperation, nine flood warning posts located along Manggahan Floodway has been rehabilitated to help issue timely flood warnings.

As of January 2015 JICA survey showed the immediate need to restore the functions of the country’s observation and telecommunication equipment for timely transmission of flood data, particularly during heavy rainfalls in the Pasig-Marikina river basin.

Niwa said JICA supports the Philippines’ disaster management efforts not only in terms of flood control infrastructure but also by sharing Japanese technology through dispatch of experts in flood management.

Once rehabilitated, EFCOS will be able to utilize rainfall and water level data better.

Fourteen (14) observation stations are currently transmitting data to the system and four flood monitoring stations are receiving the data (Department of Public Works and High Ways Central Office, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA, Napindan, and Rosario).

Metro Manila’s flood forecasting system facilities are vulnerable to repeated onslaught of typhoons and tropical storms. Typhoons Ondoy in 2009 and Milenyo in 2006 heavily damaged the city’s flood infrastructure, including monitoring equipment and telecommunications system and rendered huge economic and social losses.

The project, also aims to support earlier flood control measures implemented by JICA for Metro Manila particularly in the Pasig-Marikina River Basin, under Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the 1970s. Other JICA flood control projects include the Pasig River Flood Control Project (including construction of Manggahan Floodway and Rosario weir), and the ongoing Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project Phase III.

QC calls on ‘Alliance of Nine’ cooperation for disaster preparedness


QUEZON CITY, 22 March (PIA)--Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has requested members of the ‘Alliance of Nine’, which was primarily organized to improve inter-local cooperation for the protection of the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape, to conduct an inventory of their assets and resources for the purpose of capacity building and updating of technical expertise.

The Alliance of Nine is composed of nine geographically adjacent LGUs, namely, Quezon City, Antipolo, Marikina, Pasig, Cainta, Rodriguez, San Mateo, Baras and Tanay. Member cities and municipalities of the LGU alliance also have areas, considered danger zones, along the West Valley Fault Line.

At the recent organizational meeting of the alliance hosted by the QC government, Bautista underscored the importance of sharing of best practices by local government units on disaster preparedness in an effort to strengthen coping capabilities and resiliency in times of calamities, be it natural or man-made.

Bautista also requested the city’s 142 barangays to conduct an inventory of their assets and resources and update their emergency directories.

“What the city is doing is to make sure that the city’s disaster preparedness programs are already pre-positioned in bid to provide a more proactive response in times of calamities, especially during typhoons and flooding,” Bautista said.

The QC government will be conducting its first quarter earthquake drill on April 1 at the city hall grounds as part of a continuing effort to raise public awareness on disaster preparedness.

The city government has already institutionalized the conduct of synchronized emergency and disaster drills in all schools, shopping malls, hospitals, office buildings and residential condominiums by virtue of Resolution 6111 adopted by the QC Council on September 2014.

DENR, PhilCCAP partner to enhance country’s climate change adaptability


QUEZON CITY (PIA)--The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through the Philippines Climate Change Adaptation Project (PhilCCAP) recently launched products that were developed to improve the country’s ability to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Dubbed as the “PhilCCAP Products Launching Day,” the event was held March 1, at the Grand Ballroom of the Century Park Hotel, Manila.

PhilCCAP Project Manager Wilbur Dee said the event brought together policymakers, researchers, technical experts, academicians, advocates, and key officials of the DENR, DA, CCC, and DOST to discuss and create future actions of scaling the project’s gains in a national level.

PhilCCAP is a foreign-funded program jointly implemented by a consortium of national government agencies, including the environment and agriculture executive departments and the state weather bureau.

Dee identified the knowledge products to include the Community of Practice online knowledge management system; manuals on the retrofitting of irrigation systems and on climate-smart farming; a feasibility study on the weather index-based crop insurance scheme; a climate smart, web-based and SMS advisory system for rice and corn farmers; and a report on climate scenarios and updated management plans for protected areas.

Dee said the Climate Change Commission (CCC) will launch the Community of Practice, or CoP, an online knowledge management system. It is intended to become the government’s official repository of all climate-related information and practices, from forecasts to general research. It is also expected to facilitate the exchange of climate information and related ones, which will be guided by a protocol, also developed by the CCC.

Two manuals on the redesign and retrofitting of river irrigation systems and on climate-smart farming will also be launched during the event. Developed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the improved operations manual was based on the lessons learned in the redesigning for retrofitting of two river irrigation systems in Cagayan and Iloilo, which were completed last year. The retrofitting works will enable both facilities to improve their water distribution mechanisms, reducing the effects of seasonal climate change to water supply.

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) and the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), on the other hand, will showcase an enhanced climate-smart farming manual which is based on a compilation of lessons derived from the practical courses on climate change taught to the project’s farmer-beneficiaries.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) will also launch its products and interim report on the weather index-based crop insurance. The insurance products make use of a weather index, particularly rainfall, as a basis for payouts. This ensures the rapid delivery of funds to rice and corn farmers in the pilot areas affected by abnormal rainfall, regardless of the actual damages sustained.

Another product that will be featured during the event is the Climate-Smart Decision Support Tool (CS-DSS). Developed in close collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), it is a web- and mobile phone-based application that integrates climate information into crop management practices. The tool also provides recommendations to enhance the ability of rice and corn farmers in the pilot sites to adapt to climate variations and consequently increase their yield.

For its part, the DENR presented the updated management plans for two protected areas – the Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape in Cagayan province and the Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape in Surigao del Norte. The improved plans have taken into account climate change adaptation measures, including a monitoring and evaluation system that empowers the protected areas’ respective management bodies.

PAGASA, the state weather bureau, also released its Climate Change Report, which includes long-term rainfall and temperature forecasts and climate scenarios. Information derived from PAGASA’s forecasting activities was also used in the project’s other activities, such as the agricultural extension program.

Value of sleep cited on World Sleep Day

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

MANILA (PNA)--The Philippine Society of Sleep Medicine (PSSM) highlighted the importance of sleep in line with the celebration of ‘World Sleep Day 2016’ with a theme “Good Sleep is a Reachable Dream” on Friday at the EMG Auditorium of Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City.

In this year’s celebration, specialist from the PSSM gathered the support of Multiflex, RNC Philippines, makers of uratex foams and mattress products to help promote good, healthful and restful sleep.

Together, they spearheaded symposium that started from March 17 to 19, 2016 wherein they gave lectures on many sleep-related concerns for adults and even for children.

They also entertained several queries in discussing some health concerns that can arise or be triggered with lack of proper sleep.

“Various studies have shown that lack of restful sleep because of irregular work and lifestyle may lead to health problems,” said Dr. Keith Aguilera, EENT specialist, one of the speakers and member of the PSSM group.

Dr. Aguilera added that among the health problems that can be triggered by sleep deprivation were diabetes, hypertension, cardiac arrest-heart attack stroke, risk of cancer (breast cancer and colon cancer), reproduction and even depression and psychiatric illnesses.

Aguilera further said that there were also studies that even pregnant women and her baby might be affected by lack of sleep as well as to drivers leading to problems on road safety.

“For workaholics, we advised them to have rest with good sleep,” the specialist added as he cited the elements of good sleep which include duration, continuity and depth.

Duration or sufficiency of sleep is needed to become well-rested and alert the following day.

Continuity means sleep time should be continuous and unbroken while depth suggests that sleep should be deep enough to be restorative or invigorating.

“Quality of sleep is very crucial to one’s good health and quality life,” he said.

He also said that since sleep was important in day to day functioning, the same was also a contributing factor for the over-all wellness and development of children.

Moreover, they shared that having good sleep reduces temperamental attitudes.

Other speakers in the event shared the 10 commandments of sleep hygiene according to the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM).

Among these are having a fixed bedtime and waking time, do daytime sleeping in excess of 45 minutes, avoiding excessive alcohol intake 4 hours before bedtime or smoking, avoiding intake of caffeine such as those in coffee, tea, most soda, including chocolate six hours before bedtime.

He said that sleeping in a comfortable room with controlled temperature (not too hot) with cool ambiance such carpeted floors, with comfortable bed linens, pillows and thick bed sheet somehow helps in getting good sleep such as hotels especially if lightings are properly mixed or a bit darker.

“The reason why you wake up in the morning is the temperature goes up. Once it goes up it signals your body to wake up. So if you have a good controlled and compressed room temperature, you sleep probably better,” he explained

Dindo Medina, corporate sales director of multiflex, RNC Philippines said that as uratex had always been humbly supporting good sleep, a much needed body activity that unfortunately many people do not pay attention to or perhaps do not achieved it for various reasons.

Medina said that healthy and less-stressed lifestyle, positive mindset toward life and choosing the correct mattress depending on the body’s shape and contours could help a lot.

“You have to find the right mattress for you,’ he advised the attendees of symposium as he added that investing in good mattress would be a good step.

He also said that a good mattress does not necessarily be expensive and the important is it matches the needs of the individual as he assured that Uratex compared to foreign counterpart brands is a lot cheaper.

In addition, he also shared some tips on the symposium how to make the mattress more durable and some cleansing maintenance tips after years of having it.

Sleep is an essential part in everyone’s existence.

It is a necessity wherein we should normally spend one third of our life in sleep.

We need this to repair our body and spending less time in it, will lead to many consequences.

JICA helps benefit street children


MANILA, March 18 (PNA) -- An alternative livelihood project called "Kalye Café" was launched in Quezon City recently as part of livelihood support to some 80 street children in vulnerable communities.

In Kalye Café, children are trained on how to bake bread as well as manage and operate the Café.

Profits from the café’s operation will support their education or respective households.

The initiative is among the activities of the project 'Project to Protect Children’s Rights by Children on/off Streets,' implemented by International Children’s Action Network (ICAN) Foundation in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through its Technical Cooperation for Grassroots Projects.

Through ICAN’s efforts, street children along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City organized the Producer Kalye Cooperative focused on fostering an environment that respects the rights of children by engaging them in community activities including livelihood.

In the Philippines, about one-fourth of 25 million street children reside in Metro Manila.

Majority of them are exposed to many risks including violence, abuse, drugs, crime and gang wars.

They are likewise vulnerable to accidents and illnesses.

“For many years, we’ve partnered with JICA to engage vulnerable local communities in addressing issues on poverty and livelihood opportunities - Kalye Café hopes to answer the need to support rights of children to grow, participate and live better,” said ICAN ProjectManager Ms. Nami Iwashita.

ICAN is one of the 24 Japanese organizations working with JICA on various cross-border issues in local communities.

In the Philippines, ICAN has been involved in several projects in poor urban areas including Payatas.

DPWH to conduct road reblocking, repair in QC starting Friday night


MANILA, March 17 (PNA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways-National Capital Region (DPWH-NCR) will undertake reblocking and road repair on three roads in Quezon City, effective 10 p.m. of March 18 to 5 a.m. of March 21.

The road re-blocking and repair will be undertaken along Commonwealth Avenue from Don Antonio Drive to after Zuzuaregui Street (South bound); along C.P. Garcia Street from E. Roces Avenue to F. Florentino (3rd lane from sidewalk, South bound); and along EDSA from Mother Ignacia Street to Scout Borromeo Street (1st lane from sidewalk, South bound).

Affected motorists are advised to take alternative routes.

PHA conducts CPR and drowning first aid demonstrations among media practitioners

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

MANILA (PNA) -- The Philippine Heart Association (PHA) conducted on Tuesday a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and drowning first aid lecture and demonstrations among media practitioners at Annabel’s Restaurant along Tomas Morato Ave. in Quezon City.

According to Dr. Francis Lavapie, chair of the PHA Council on CPR-Ready Philippine Status, they want to cascade their advocacy in terms of propagating the importance of CPR for drowning and sudden cardiac arrest victims.

Dr. Lavapie said they believe that the media will be a perfect avenue to tackle the circumstances where CPR is mandatorily needed.

He added that knowledge on CPR will be of great help to those who may suffer sudden cardiac arrest and in saving drowning victims when the need to resuscitate or save them happens on the ground.

“It's very important, especially where summertime is now around and many people are going to beaches to swim... Because it is hot and usually lots of people want to stay in bodies of water. Really, this is very timely. We should know somehow some basics in handling patients in drowning,” the doctor said.

Lapavie recalled his experience in saving a fellow doctor from drowning as he applied his knowledge on CPR.

“You don’t have to be a doctor or health professional to do CPR on a drowning or a sudden cardiac arrest victim,” he said.

He explained that having basic knowledge on life-saving techniques gives a lay person the confidence to rescue or resuscitate a drowning or a heart attack patient who lost consciousness.

He said that element of time is essential on that part.

“Prompt and proper actions are crucial to emergency situations,” he added, stressing that late response can lead to death.

As part of the lecture and training, the PHA official demonstrated the step-by-step guide in doing the CPR for the lay (untrained) rescuers and also the new step-by-step guide for trained rescuers.

He highlighted in both guides the need to conduct a survey first on the scene to find out if it is safe to do CPR.

Other reminders include checking the victim’s unresponsiveness and calling for help before doing the chest compressions, etc.

“For lay or untrained rescuers, continue the hands only CPR -- do continuous chest compressions until help arrives, or the automated external defibrillator (AED) is available or emergency personnel arrives, or the victim is revived back to life," Dr. Lapavie said.

Dr. Helen Grace Ong, treasurer of PHA ,said that CPR is a skill that everyone should learn.

QC, UN Women joined hands to protect women’s rights


QUEZON CITY, 15 March (PIA)--The Quezon City Government has joined hands with national government agencies and civic groups, for a wider network of partners to protect women's rights, particularly in the fight against human trafficking.

In a statement, Mayor Herbert Bautista said the city government has undertaken many programs to keep Quezon City safe for the general population.

“These address a wide scale of concerns, from social and economic programs that empower women and encourage them to be self-reliant, to psycho social and legal assistance and interventions for women and children and their families, to security and safety programs, as well as infrastructure projects that improve street illumination, promote accessibility and safety in moving around the city,” Bautista said.

UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment recently launched the results of the study, "How Safe are Women in our Streets? – A Baseline Study on Street Harassment and Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Public Spaces" at the QCX Museum.

The study was conducted in Barangays Bagong Silangan and the Payatas, where the most indigent neighborhoods are located.

During the forum, Katherine Belen, programme head for UN Women Safe Cities in Metro Manila, together with Safe Cities spokesperson, celebrity Glaiza de Castro, stressed that harassers face penalties under the law, which range from Php 1000 to Php 5,000, depending on the severity of action –from catcalling and stalking, to sexual advances. Participants also took turns sharing their experiences and input.

Belen said that harassed women, including members of the LGBT, can seek help by calling the QCPD's Women and Child Protection hotline: 436-72-11.

Two videos for the advocacy campaign were also unveiled during the activity, followed by the opening of the photo exhibit on women.

With more than 1.5 million females in its population, slightly dominating the males 51 to 49, Quezon City is aware of the extent and massive breadth of the challenge, noting that women and children in some of its depressed communities are more vulnerable to crime and harassment.

To implement the city's measures on women and child protection in the community level, the city government has operationalize Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children, and Violence against Women (VAW) desks.

Mayor Bautista said the city government these studies because they provide reliable information and analysis of realities the communities as they are experienced by specific people.

“We need to do to protect our women and children, whether in terms of policies, programs, security arrangements and/or infrastructure interventions", the mayor said.

"We are determined to set an example of developing and implementing effective and responsive programs that assure our women and children that they can live in our city without fear", he added.

The Quezon City Government in cooperation with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women or UN Women also led the call to put an end to harassment and sexual violence against women in public places.

It started with the lighting of 1000 sky lanterns in "Lighting the Way to Safe Cities" at the Liwasang Aurora in Quezon Memorial Circle on March 7 (eve of International Women's Day), an event that aims to drum up support for the advocacy campaign of UN Women and Quezon City, as the pilot city for its Safe Cities program.

More than 1,000 participants from various nongovernment organizations (NGOs), gender equality advocates, women groups, LGBT advocates, barangay representatives and city officials and employees joined the lighting of the sky lanterns.

Passage of proposed Tricycle Driver Safety Act sought


MANILA, March 14 (PNA) -- A Quezon City lawmaker is proposing a statute establishing Tricycle Driver Training and Motorist Awareness Programs at the national level to ensure public safety and clean environment.

Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III is author of House Bill No. 6273 or the proposed “Tricycle Driver Safety Act” aimed at protecting properties and the lives of tricycle drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

“Since most of Filipino commuters rely heavily on tricycles as their means of transportation, sufficient measures must be implemented to ensure driver safety skills and awareness,” Vargas said.

The proposed legislation also directs the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to develop the needed programs.

Vargas pointed out that the tricycle sector represents the biggest mode of public transportation in the Philippines, noting that as of 2012, there are over 650,000 public tricycles operating in the country, or nearly 68% of the total for-hire vehicle population.

Citing a paper by the National Center for Transportation Studies of the University of the Philippines, Vargas said tricycle organizations play an important role in developing intermodal transportation that are intended to be “reliable, responsive, complementary and viable service to the commuting public.”

“However, the continuously increasing number of tricycles in the country has contributed to worsening problems, one of which is environmental degradation,” Vargas said, adding that “tricycles and motorcycles are responsible for 45% of all volatile organic compound emissions which destroy the ozone layer and worsen the greenhouse effect.”

Another challenge or issue facing the tricycle sector is safety. The lawmaker noted that tricycles are perceived to be more accident-prone than four-wheeled vehicles.

“This is due to the instability of the sidecar attached to the motorcycles, which serves as passengers’ seat. In Metro Manila, passenger tricycle injury ranks fourth in causing motor vehicle injuries,” Vargas explained.

Under HB 6237, the LTO, with the assistance of the TESDA, shall be the implementing agency with the following mandates:

• Develop and implement a nationwide Tricycle Drivers Safety Program in coordination with tricycle regulation offices of local government units.
• Develop and implement a nationwide Motorist Awareness Program in coordination with the tricycle regulation offices of local government units.
• Collect and analyze data on tricycle accidents and other information that can be used to monitor the effectivity of the program and for research, technical assistance, and policy development.
• Provide continuous information and awareness campaigns to the target drivers and the general public on transportation safety issues.

Likewise, the office of each local government unit that is in-charge of regulating the tricycle sector in their jurisdiction shall ensure that tricycle drivers shall not operate without first undergoing the Tricycle Drivers Safety Program. A franchise shall not be granted until a certificate issued by the LTO to the driver/applicant has been presented.

The amount needed to implement the proposed law is authorized to be appropriated from the National Treasury. Thereafter, the amount necessary for the continuous operation of the program shall be included in the annual appropriations of the Land Transportation Office.

Young Filipino engineer remodels farm financing

(The Standard Business)

Rachel de Villa, a platform engineer at Voyager Innovations Inc., the digital innovations unit of the PLDT Group, has been chosen by Forbes Magazine to be part of its Signature List 30 Under 30, a select group of millennial venture capitalists and financial technology entrepreneurs in Asia.

De Villa, who graduated from Quezon City Science High School in 2009 and obtained a Computer Science degree from the University of the Philippines in 2013, was chosen for her pioneering work on agritech startup Cropital, which she founded and serves as chief technology officer. Cropital is a platform that gives farmers access to scalable and sustainable financing through the crowd. It enables the public to help finance local Filipino farmers and gain returns at the same time.

The farmers get to develop their operations with the aim of increasing their margins, while investors get a nominal return and the satisfaction of helping an often marginalized group.

Cropital is thus not your usual startup - it is a fintech startup that aims to serve a greater good. It is this social element that de Villa is most proud of when reflecting upon her selection for Forbes 30 Under 30.

“Being chosen as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 is a huge honor and one of the proudest moments in my young career. But I am ultimately most grateful for the selection because it brings more attention to Cropital and our mission to serve farmers in the Philippines and around the world through sustainable financing,” said de Villa, who has won several awards over the course of her career as a Voyager Innovations engineer in recognition of both her entrepreneurial as well as engineering skills.

De Villa has been with Voyager for almost three years - she was one of its earliest platform engineers - and during this time, she has placed or won many hackathons, including WebGeek DevCup Hackathon 2015, where her team was a top 4 winner, and Talk ‘N Text Mobile Web Developer Challenge, where her team won the grand prize.

Voyager Innovations is known in the industry for its perks, workplace, and benefits. But beyond the free morning treats, flexible working hours and cool office, what has made the company into an innovation factory is its people. Each employee is encouraged to be entrepreneurial and to work effectively as individuals and teams.

“We are proud of Rachel and all our young talents who are getting recognition for their achievements not just in the workplace but also in their personal lives. Our aim is to develop young talents who will settle for nothing less than changing the world through technology and entrepreneurship,” said Voyager first vice president and people group head Carla Lanza.

Voyager Innovations is fast gaining a name in the global tech industry. Under the leadership of Orlando Vea, who also founded Smart and Cignal, Voyager Innovations has so far produced over-the-top products and platforms for emerging markets including fintech services LockByMobile and Lendr, data in sachets network platform PowerApp, sponsored data platform SafeZone, shopping discovery platform Takatack, overseas communication app Talk2, and with PayMaya Philippines, the digital payments app, PayMaya.

Vea said that de Villa’s selection for Forbes 30 Under 30 made him think back to his own beginnings as a tech entrepreneur.

“We congratulate Rachel on being part of the Forbes 30 Under 30. It brings honor not only to Voyager but to all Filipinos. We are here to support her remarkable passion for inclusive innovation,” said Vea.

Cropital is among the first batch of start-ups that have been accelerated by maGIC, the largest acceleration program in Southeast Asia.

Quezon City celebrates National Women’s Month

(The Standard Lifestyle)

Campaign makes cities safe for women

United Nations Women organization is a global champion for women and girls, created for the purpose of promoting gender equality and empowering women all over the world, in the process also accelerating progress as the needs of women are met. The organization’s dedication in upholding women’s rights and women-focused advocacies gave birth to the Safe Cities Global Initiative covering 24 cities globally. In the Philippines, Quezon City is the pilot city for the implementation of the program.

Women are usually subjected to cat calling, abuse, and sexual harassment, and part of the UN Women’s Safe Cities Global Initiative is a study that would aid in the organization’s goal to develop a comprehensive approach to decreasing the risk of sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women and girls in public spaces.

Last February, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted the study and worked with 800 respondents in Barangays Payatas and Bagong Silangan in Quezon City.

The results of the study indicate the prevalence of sexual harassment, with three out of five women respondents saying they experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lifetime. According to respondents aged 18 to 24, the most prevalent type of sexual harassment is verbal in nature such as wolf whistling, catcalling or lascivious language, while 34 percent of the women respondents experienced the worst forms of sexual harassment such as flashing, public masturbation and groping. Of these incidents of sexual harassment, 70 percent was actually exhibited by strangers. What’s also disturbing is the revelation that one out of two women didn’t say anything about it, nor did they report to authorities or do anything after the incident of harassment. According to these women, keeping quiet was motivated by fear.

In celebration of Women’s month for the entire March, UN Women and the Quezon City Government kicked off a month-long campaign on Safe Cities. During the eve of the celebration of International Women’s Day, the sky lit up with floating lanterns as a symbolic gesture to raise national awareness on the issue of sexual harassment and sexual violence against women and girls in public spaces. Activities for the month-long celebration will also include trainings against sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence against women in public spaces by male advocates of gender equality, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) grassroots organizations, and women with disabilities. Celebrity Glaiza De Castro supports the cause as an ambassador for the campaign and is active in communicating the messages of the organization, with posters and images also displayed all over Quezon City to raise more awareness about the campaign.

Through this initiative, UN Women and the QC government hope that more women will learn how to respond and protect themselves should incidents of sexual harassment occur. Hopefully, even the other sectors of society will get the message and have their eyes opened regarding this issue, in the process creating ripples of change that would make cities safer for women.

For more information on UN Women and its activities, log on to or follow UN Women Safe Cities Metro Manila on Facebook and @UNWSafeCitiesMM on Twitter.

DOLE job fair offers 130,000 overseas jobs

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

QUEZON CITY (PIA)--Some 130,000 job opportunities have been offered to qualified applicants during a job fair organized by the Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE) held Thursday at the Occupational Safety & Health Center located in North Avenue, Quezon City.

Labor & Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said the job fair is a preview of the bigger job fairs that they are conducting this year to open up employment opportunities to jobseekers- the unemployed, skilled and unskilled workers, fresh graduates, graduates of technical-vocational institutions, returning OFWs, displaced workers, and employees seeking advancement.

Twenty-four (24) recruitment agencies licensed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) participated in the job fair that offered overseas job opportunities in Algeria, Nigeria, Australia, New Zealand, British Virgin island, Brazil, China, Brunei Darussalam, Cote D’Ivoire, Curacao, Guam, Georgia, japan, Indonesia, Morocco, Malaysia, Saipan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Taiwan, Bahamas, Zambia, South Korea, Mozambique, United States, Botswana, Singapore, Macau, Maldives, Jordan, Russia, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Vietnam, and Papua New Guinea.

The labor chief said the 24 recruitment agencies are regular participants at DOE job fairs and have been carefully chosen by the POEA.

Baldoz ordered the conduct of the job fair that coincided with the launching of the enhanced PhilJobNet, the government’s official job search, job matching, and labor market information portal.

As of this writing, eighteen (18) job applicants have already been hired on the spot in the job fair.

DPWH to conduct weekend road reblocking in QC -- MMDA


MANILA, March 10 (PNA) -- Road re-blocking and repair activities will be conducted by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) this weekend along the areas of Quezon City.

In its advisory, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Thursday the DPWH will be doing road repairs and reblocking on the following areas from March 11 (Friday) 10 p.m. until March 14 (Monday) 5 a.m.


-- Alog Commonwealth Avenue from Don Antonio drive to before Luzon Avenue, 3rd lane

-- Along C.P. Garcia Street corner Magiting Street, 2nd lane from sidewalk


-- Along Edsa corner NIA road, 1st and 2nd lane from sidewalk

MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos said DPWH-National Capital Region Director Melvin Navarro recommended the areas to undergo reblocking and repair this weekend for maintenance purposes.

All affected roads will be fully passable by 5 a.m. on Monday.

Motorists are advised to avoid the said areas and use alternate routes instead.

President Aquino attends launch of Novotel Manila Araneta Center


MANILA, March 9 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday led the grand launch of the Novotel Manila Araneta Center located in the heart of Quezon City's premier business and leisure district.

The Novotel Manila Araneta Center is the first and only Novotel hotel in the country. It is operated by the AccorHotels Group, which also runs the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.

"It gives me great pleasure to witness the beginning of endeavors like this. It is a concrete manifestation of your confidence in our country; it tells me that, like us, you took a long, hard look at our prospects and decided that the best is yet to come -- that the years ahead hold even greater progress for the Philippines," he said in his speech during the event.

The President said the construction of more hotels "have helped to maximize the potential of our tourism sector".

He recalled that back in June 2012, there were only 162,403 rooms nationwide and the government saw the need to build 37,352 new rooms by 2016.

"The good news is that, by end-2014, we had already surpassed that target, with a total of 221,486 rooms across the entire country. That well-known names in the hotel industry continue to set up operations on our shores is a sign of our collective optimism. In fact, I am told that AccorHotels alone is set to open another five more properties in the future. Hopefully, in the very near future," said President Aquino.

The President said the opening of Novotel Manila Araneta Center came just in time as the country is expecting an influx of visitors after the successful "It's more fun in the Philippines" campaign.

"You could not have timed it more perfectly. More and more people every year are realizing just how much more fun it is in the Philippines. Our own countrymen have been traveling more and rediscovering the attractions of home," said the President.

"In 2014 alone, we recorded 54.6 million domestic travelers -- far higher than the 51.7 million target we had set for 2015. International tourist arrivals have likewise grown, from 3.52 million tourists in 2010 to 5.36 million in 2015. Within that same timeframe, international tourism receipts more than doubled: from PhP112.55 billion in 2010 to PhP227.62 billion in 2015. These aren’t empty figures alone: they have a direct impact on the incomes of our countrymen -- from local tour guides and handicrafts vendors, to the men and women employed in hotels like this one," the Chief Executive added.

President Aquino also expressed optimism on the number of tourist arrivals in the future.

"We will likely see even better numbers over the next few years, as we begin to reap the fruits of our development strategy. The Pocket Open Skies policy and reforms in civil aviation have already increased the number of flights to various locations in the Philippines. To handle greater demand, we have likewise pursued the upgrading and rehabilitation of 63 airports and 18 tourism ports; not to mention the development of nine new airports. Integrated transport systems, including the extension of our Light Rail Transit system in Metro Manila and surrounding areas, are likewise on the way," said the President.

Also present at the launch were Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal, Jr., Araneta Group Chairman and President Jorge Araneta, Novotel Manila Chief Operating Officer Patrick Basset, Vice President for Operations Midscale and Economy Paul Stevens, and General Manager Bernard Schneider.

QC mulls new technologies for waste disposal


QUEZON CITY March (PIA)—Should the sanitary landfill in Payatas be closed, the Quezon City government may use other intervening technologies for waste disposal.

QC environmental protection and waste management department head Frederika Rentoy said among the technologies being considered are the use of the biogas digester and refuse derived fuel facility, which if put in place, could reduce the volume of wastes that will be transported and dumped by the city in sanitary landfills outside QC.

Rentoy said the Payatas sanitary landfill can only be used for two more years.

Aside from these technologies, the QC government, through the EPWMD, is also eyeing the expansion of the Payatas biogas emission reduction facility, which serves as the city’s contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

To date, captured power is being sold to the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to provide electricity to surrounding areas.

QC’s biogas emission reduction project, the first registered Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project under the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in solid waste management in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, has already provided QC with additional revenue source in the form of carbon credit equivalents since its operationalization.

Rentoy said the city government is also exploring the possibility of using the joint credit mechanism implemented by the Japanese government to fund the setting up of a resource recovery facility using technology-based processes.

P2P operator to launch Ortigas-QC bus service on March 14

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

MANILA, March 7 (PNA) -- Operator of the Premium Point-to-Point (P2P) Bus Service Froehlich Tours Inc. will soon be serving the route between SM Megamall in Ortigas and Trinoma and SM North EDSA in Quezon City on March 14.

Froehlich made the announcement on its official page noting that the bus route will operate Mondays to Sundays from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. with a specific schedule for weekends and public holidays.

Fares will be PHP35.00 per way for regular tickets and PHP25.00 for persons with disabilities (PWDs), wheelchair riders, senior citizens, pregnant women and students.

Meanwhile, infants up to five years will be free while children from six years to 12 years accompanied will be charged with the discounted rate of PHP20.00 while traveling with an adult.

There will also be free carriage of strollers, bikes, skateboards, hoverboards and E-Scooters.

The company said that final schedule will be announced within the next week.

To recall, Froehlich last month announced the transfer the operation of Ortigas–Ayala Center another selected operator HM Transport.

Last month, the company was given the go signal by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to operate two additional P2P routes.

Aside from Froehlich, HM Transport, Inc. is the only other operator with the authority to operate routes.

There are currently four 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 and North EDSA to Makati and North EDSA to Ortigas (Package 4).

This 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 and encourage private car-owners to commute to alleviate traffic.

Celebrating the Good Life with a feast of Asian culinary flavors

(The Standard Lifestyle)

For the last 16 years, leading food brand Good Life has been continuously bringing authentic Asian flavors closer to Filipino palates, and celebrated this milestone with a grand Chinese New Year festival entitled “Good Life Flavors of Fortune: A Celebration of Good Life” at the TriNoma Activity Center that attracted a huge crowd. The successful four-day affair also marked the brand relaunch of Good Life products in the Philippines.

“Good Life is honored to become instrumental in keeping Chinese culture and celebrations alive and now, part of the lives of many Filipinos. No matter what the occasion, from a regular weekday meal with the family, a grand celebration, to catering large crowds via one’s food business, customers are assured that Good Life will deliver on its promise to make every meal authentic, best-tasting and wonderfully special, all the time,” said Karen Saguiped, product manager of Fly Ace Corporation.

Spectators were treated to an array of traditional Chinese performances, among them the dragon and lion dance exhibition by Philippine Sen Hua. Present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Fly Ace Corporation executives and Good Life brand team led with members of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Confucius Institute at the Ateneo de Manila University and ChinoyTV.

According to Fly Ace VP for Marketing Abraham Cipriano, Good Life patrons can look forward to more marketing activities and exciting new products. “Good Life is all about food and Asian celebrations, and it believes in celebrating everyday occasions with family. Just like the Chinese, Filipinos are very family-centered. Simple things in our home like sotanghon, pancit canton, bihon, siomai, all these come from the Chinese history and these have influenced and become ingrained in the Filipino culture,” he said.

The event also featured the Good Life Chinese Food Fair which had food sampling featuring the different Good Life products in partnership with Center for Culinary Arts, Manila (CCA Manila). Live Chinese cooking demos by CCA chefs Michael Cheng and Lionel O’Hari Go, and food stylist chef Sharlene Tan.

Offering a complete selection of Asian food products that bring out the genuine taste and flavor of favorite Asian dishes since year 2000, Good Life – whose name is inspired by the common association of longevity with noodles – carries a variety of top grade products.

The highlight of the event is the first ever Good Life Chinese Culinary Cook Off with students putting their culinary skills to the test in coming up with their own modernized interpretation of a traditional Chinese Lauriat. Using Good Life as the main ingredients and after nearly five hours of heated combat, emerging as the Good Life Chinese Culinary Cook Off grand winners are the Culinary Champions team of CCA, while the special award for Best Overall Dish went to the Vermicelli Taro Snapper by Michelle Lim.

Good Life food products are available in all major supermarkets and grocery stores nationwide. Learn more at or like Good Life on Facebook (goodtastegoodlife).

PHP5,000 COLA for government workers sought


MANILA (PNA) -- A lawmaker has filed a measure providing for a PHP5,000 cost of living allowance (COLA) for government workers to address the impact of the increasing cost of basic commodities.

In House Bill 6409, Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City) said the present income of the government employees is not enough to cope up with the accelerating prices, as reflected in the annual increase in the consumer price index.

Vargas said the government should provide just and reasonable compensation to every worker in the government workforce, allowing them to have decent personal and or family life and to be able to meet the basic needs of their families for shelter, daily sustenance, education and medical attendance.

Vargas said the government has an obligation to ensure that these workers can afford decent lives and must be given a helping hand to deal with the spiraling prices of basic commodities and goods.

Under the measure, a special economic assistance to be known as the cost of living allowance (COLA) amounting to PHP5,000 shall be granted across-the-board to all government workers.

COLA shall be given to all government employees on top of the existing Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA) they are receiving.

The measure shall cover all civilian government employees whether employed by the national or local governments, appointive or elective, and whether occupying a regular, contractual or casual position, positions covered by RA6758, otherwise known as the “Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.”

Likewise, the proposed act will also cover the military and police personnel.

The bill mandates the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Department of National Defense (DND), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Governance Commission on Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCC) to issue the Implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

QC signs MOA to empower women entrepreneurs


QUEZON CITY (PIA)--The Quezon City government signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority – National Capital Region (TESDA-NCR) and the Coca-Cola Far East, Limited (CCFEL) on Local Convergence Partnership on Empowering Women Retailers under the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) program to train women entrepreneurs and give them access to business capital.

Mayor Herbert M. Bautista, representing the QC-LGU, signed the MOA with TESDA regional director Nenuca Tangonan, and representatives from Coca-Cola Far East Limited, Adel Tamano (Public Affairs and Communications Director) and Eduardo Rearte, finance director.

The program will consists of interventions for small sari-sari stores, which is focused mainly on providing formal basic entrepreneurship training and facilitate access to business resources such as microfinance and merchandising support.

It will be managed at the local level by the Local Convergence Team (LCT), composed of representatives from the three signatories of the MOA. The LCT will form an LCT Working Committee, comprised of officers designated by TESDA and CCFEL, the community training and employment coordinator (CTEC) officer of the LGU and designated officers of other community.

The LCT, through the LCT Working Committee, will be responsible for implementing the program at the community level.

Under the program, the QC Government will provide the resource person as well as the training venues and equipment for the 12-week training on cooperative development, micro insurance, and access to loans.

The cost of training will shouldered both by CCFEL and TESDA.

DENR unveils elephant monument at World Wildlife Day rites


MANILA, March 3 (PNA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) marked on Thursday the celebration of the World Wildlife Day with the unveiling of a life-sized statue of an elephant made partly from the ashes of seized tusks it destroyed in a landmark action against ivory trade more than two years ago.

At the same time, the agency gave recognition to 97 individuals with Wildlife Law Enforcement Awards, for having supported the DENR’s campaign against illegal wildlife trade that resulted in the rescue or confiscation of about 2,270 head of different species, other biodiversity byproducts, and the filing of charges against wildlife law violators.

“The actual value of this sculpture is priceless, because we cannot put a value to the thousands of elephants that were killed for their tusks,” said DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje.

Paje also said the sculpture will “remind everyone of the country’s strong support to the global efforts against elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade.”

The sculpture contains figures of a mother elephant and her calf, clinging to tusks that are crucial to their survival. It is located at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center (NAPWC) in Quezon City, which serves as the headquarters of the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau.

In June 2013, the DENR destroyed at least five tons of smuggled elephant tusks using a road roller, making the Philippines the first country in Asia to conduct physical destruction of massive ivory stockpile in support of global efforts to stamp out illegal wildlife trade.

The pulverized tusks were later on cremated at a government animal incinerator to ensure complete destruction. The tusks were reduced to more than two tons of ashes after burning.

A few days after that historic event, Paje vowed to build a life-sized sculpture of an elephant made from the ashes dedicated to the thousands of elephants killed for their tusks.

He also said the statue aims to enhance public awareness and support for worldwide efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade, as part of the country’s commitment to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

The Geneva-based CITES is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate commercial trade in certain wildlife species, including the critically endangered elephants.

In 1997, the Conference of Parties of CITES has included the Philippines as one of eight countries of priority of concerns as regards illegal ivory trade, particularly its role as a trade route and transit country for elephant tusks.

The other seven are Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, which are considered as major sources of ivory in illicit trade; China (including Hong Kong) and Thailand as destinations of illegal ivory; and Malaysia and Vietnam as trade routes and transit countries.

The country’s decision to destroy its ivory stockpile earned commendations from former U.S. Secretary of State and now presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton, and the United Nations Environment Programme.

The elephant monument at the NAPWC depicts figures of a mother elephant and her calf, clinging to tusks which are crucial to an elephant’s survival. It was conceptualized by University of the Philippines Fine Arts graduate Janus Nuñez.

The unveiling of the statue of the elephant supports this year’s WWD celebration theme, “The future of wildlife is in our hands,” with global campaigns focusing mainly on the protection of African and Asian elephants.

The celebration of WWD commemorates the adoption of CITES as a multilateral treaty to protect endangered species of plants and animals.

'Heneral Luna' special screening set on March 9


MANILA, March 2 (PNA) --- As a prelude to this year's observance of Philippine Veterans Week and 74th Araw Ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor), a free special screening of the historical film, “Heneral Luna” is set on March 9.

This will take place at the will be held at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Theater, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, 2:00 p.m.

The event will be sponsored by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).

"Heneral Luna" depicts General Antonio Luna’s leadership of the Filipino Revolutionary Army during the Philippine-American War.

The was directed by Jerrold Tarog, produced by Artikulo Uno Productions, and starred John Arcilla, Mon Confiado, Epi Quezon, Nonie Buencamino, among others.

It received critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike and was selected as the Philippine entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.

With a production budget of PHP80 million, it is considered as one of the most expensive Filipino epic historical films ever produced.

Prior to the film screening, a program will be held where PVAO administrator Ernesto G. Carolina, who is also the head of the Secretariat of the Technical Working Committee (TWC) on the 2016 Philippine Veterans Week and 74th Araw ng Kagitingan, will formally welcome the audience and announce the official line-up of activities for this year’s observance of the occasion.

The observance of the Philippine Veterans Week and Araw ng Kagitingan is pursuant to Proclamation No. 499 series of 1989 and Executive Order No. 23, series of 1987 that aim to promote, preserve, and memorialize the principles, ideas, and deeds of Filipino veterans and consequently deepen the citizen’s love for country and strengthen a collective sense of national pride, especially among the youth.

The week-long observance is an occasion to honor not only the Filipino veterans who had served or died for the nation but also those who render honorable military service in defending the country in times of war or peace, to gratefully acknowledge their contributions in preserving our sovereignty and defending national security.

Watchdog urges poll candidates not to hang 'happy graduation' tarpaulins


QUEZON CITY, Mar. 1 (PNA) -- The EcoWaste Coalition, a group campaigning for basura-free elections, asked candidates for the upcoming polls not to take advantage of the graduation ceremonies this month to score political gains.

As per DepEd Order No. 7, series of 2016 issued by Secretary Armin Luistro, all graduation rites should be conducted on or before April 1 and should “not be used as a political forum.”

“Let the graduates and their parents be the stars of March, the graduation month. ‘Epal’ politicians should, out of delicadeza, stay away from graduation sites,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Political hopefuls should not to steal the thunder from the graduates by hanging tarpaulin posters with their names and faces near schools,” she said.

“These ‘happy graduation’ tarps on cables, posts and trees are not only annoying and worthless. They also add to the tons of illegally placed campaign materials that ‘Operation Baklas’ workers are tasked to dismantle,” she pointed out.

The group cited data from the Metro Manila Development Authority indicating that some eight tons of illegal campaign paraphernalia have been removed by the agency since the “Operation Baklas” kicked off last Feb. 9.

“The volume of seized propaganda materials is expected to soar as the start of the official campaign period for local candidates on March 26 nears,” Lucero said.

To encourage national and local candidates and their supporters to follow campaign rules, the group urged the public to take photos of illegal campaign materials and to report campaign infractions to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) via #SumbongKo.

“Let us support the Comelec’s online shame campaign and push all aspiring public servants from all sides of the political spectrum to conform to the rules and care for the environment,” Lucero said.

Throughout the month of March, EcoWaste Coalition will monitor surrounding areas of public and private schools in Metro Manila for “happy graduation” tarps from “epal” politicians.