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Quezon City News May 2014

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Quezon City - Archived News

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

Contents

Quezon City solon praises DOST for winning prestigious GWEPI Award for 2014

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

MANILA, May 31 (PNA) -- Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo on Saturday praised the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for winning the prestigious Geospatial World Excellence in Policy Implementation Award for 2014 for its early warning system about storm surges and disaster risk assessment.

Castelo specifically referred to the “exposure and mitigation-light ranging and detection technology (dream-lidar) 3d mapping project” as necessary to detect storm surges.

“The Disaster Risk Assessment, Exposure and Mitigation-Light Ranging and Detection technology (DREAM-LiDAR) 3D mapping project of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) won the prestigious Geospatial World Excellence in Policy Implementation Award for 2014,” Castelo said.

The veteran solon said Science and Technology secretary Mario G. Montejo and DREAM program leader Dr. Enrico Paringit received the award on May 8 in Geneva, Switzerland.

“DREAM is one of the nine components of the Nationwide Operational Assessment for Hazards (Project NOAH), which is the state-of-the-art flood and storm surge early warning system developed by Filipino scientists and engineers under the aegis of DOST and implemented by the University of the Philippines,” Castelo explained.

“On the Geospatial Media website, it was learned that the geospatial magazine has been conferring the awards and recognition for exemplary innovations and practices in the global geospatial industry,” Castelo pointed out.

According to Castelo, DREAM program leader Dr. Paringit cited the Philippines’ effort towards disaster mitigation using science and technology saying, “the award goes to show that the international community acknowledges our local capability-building efforts to attain self-sufficiency when it comes to dealing with natural hazards and disasters.”

In his resolution, Castelo urged the House of Representatives to congratulate the DOST for winning the prestigious Geospatial World Excellence in Policy Implementation Award for 2014 for its Disaster Risk Assessment, Exposure and Mitigation-Light Ranging and Detection technology (DREAM-LiDAR) 3D mapping project.

QCPD ready for school opening

By Francis T. Wakefield

Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Chief Supt. Richard Albano said on Friday said they are now ready for the opening of classes in the city this Monday.

He assured the public that they are “very much ready” to secure the safety of the people in their area of responsibility most especially students, teachers, parents and school personnel as classes start on June 2.

Albano said the QCPD has been coordinating with the Quezon City Peace and Order Council, Department of Education (DepEd), school officials, and other concerned local units of Quezon City to ensure that everything will run smoothly not only during the opening of classes but all throughout the school year.

“We will see to it that traffic woes, illegal vendors, petty crimes like pickpocket, cellphone or jewelry robbery and other similar street crimes will be addressed,” Albano said.

Albano also said that the QCPD will also establish Police Assistance Centers (PACs) in schools and bus and jeepney stops to enable the public to report any incidents.

Albano said the QCPD through its 12 police stations and other operating units will maximize the deployment of its policemen and traffic enforcers especially near schools, jeep and bus stops and public utility transport terminals to thwart criminals.

Tactical Motorcycle Riders (TMRs) and mobile patrol crew will also be strategically deployed especially in identified crime-prone areas to respond to reports for police assistance.

Base on the data provided by the QCPD’s Public Information Office (PIO), there are 300 public and private elementary, high schools and colleges in Quezon City.

Franz Pumaran proposes anti-bullying month in Quezon City

By Jeannette I. Andrade (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines—The Quezon City Council is reviewing a draft ordinance that would declare October, its birth month, a period during which to campaign against bullying in all its forms.

The measure has been included on the agenda for Monday’s regular session for further study by the committees on public affairs, mass media, information and people’s participation; children’s affairs; and laws, rules and internal government.

Proposed by Minority Floorleader Franz Pumaren of District 3, the draft ordinance cites the necessity of increasing the community’s awareness of the impact of bullying among children.

He cited Quezon City’s 2012 anti-bullying ordinance which “aims to put an end to the alarming problem of bullying among students” and said that local projects protecting the rights of children help them become productive citizens.

According to the proposed ordinance, declaring October anti-bullying month would entail activities to raise the awareness among elementary and high school students that bullying is not tolerated in Quezon City.

Among activities to be conducted in the annual observance are psychological services, including one-on-one, peer group, and family counseling as well as the organization of the group Students against Bullying; and legal services.

The measure mandates the local social services and development department to coordinate these activities with public and private schools.

In 2012 Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista signed an ordinance penalizing officials and personnel who fail to act on incidents or encourage an atmosphere of bullying in the local schools.

The Anti-Bullying ordinance, citing the high number of schools, colleges, and universities located in the city, declares unlawful “all forms of bullying perpetrated not only in the school but done within its immediate vicinities.”

It also calls for the creation of committees in all primary and secondary schools in the city to set policies and address the existence of bullying within their educational institutions, including a protection mechanism for informants and the victims.

The 2012 measure states: “Bullying is committed by any severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal, or electronic expression or a physical gesture or any combination thereof that may cause physical injury, emotional distress and psychological fear of physical or emotional harm to his limb, family, and property.” The acts, it pointed out, could be physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual.


CSC announces registration sked for computerized exams

(CSC)

QUEZON CITY, May 28 -- Individuals interested for Career Service Eligibility may opt to take the Civil Service Commission (CSC) exams through the new computerized system.

The CSC Computerized Examination System (COMEX) is designed and developed to unite all previous stand-alone examination processes into a single, automated examination system.

The CSC Central Office will hold the COMEX on June 3, 10, 17, and 24, slot reservations of which are scheduled on May 28, June 4, 11, and 18, respectively.

On the other hand, selected regional testing centers will hold the exams on June 5, 19, and 26, with reservation dates on May 30, June 13, and 20, respectively.

COMEX is available at the following regional testing centers: Regions 1 (San Fernando City), 2 (Tuguegarao City), 4 (Panay Ave., Quezon City), 5 (Legazpi City), 7 (Cebu City), 10 (Cagayan de Oro City), 11 (Davao City), and Cordillera Administrative Region (Baguio City). Testing centers in the other regions will open within the year.

An applicant may only reserve a slot on the scheduled reservation date of his or her preferred exam date. He or she must not have taken the same level of exam within the last three months.

Application through COMEX is made easy.

First, applicant shall create a user account in the COMEX website www.comex.csc.gov.ph/user. After creating a user account, applicant may then pick an exam schedule from the online offerings. A list of exam schedules with the types of exams, number of slots, date, time, and venue of personal appearance and examination may be viewed. Applicant shall receive an email confirming the slot reservation.

Once slot is confirmed, applicant makes his or her personal appearance at the CSC COMEX testing center to verify his or her identity, pay the exam fee of P600, and have his or her photo, biometrics, and digital signature captured.

Applicant is then ushered to the computer room where he or she would take the test. The Career Service Examination is a general ability test that lasts 3 hours for the Professional level and 2.5 hours for the Subprofessional level.

Test results shall be released within two weeks after the date of examination.

For further queries, contact the CSC COMEX Administrator at telephone numbers (02) 931-8163 or (02) 931-7935 local 712, 714, and 716.

Forest management project meeting held in Quezon City

(MST News)

The National Irrigation Administration and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources held a coordination meeting on the forest land management of the Upper Pampanga River Basin last May 22 at the NIA Central Office in Diliman, Quezon City. The National Power Corporation is also tapped for the project.

NIA Chief Claro Maranan and other managers met with Forest Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon and other officials who gave a presentation on the project to rehabilitate degraded forest in Pantabangan-Carranglan watershed; improve forest conservation to improve social and economic conditions of communities; contribute to disaster risk mitigation efforts in vulnerable areas; among other goals.

The project involves survey, mapping and planning; community organizing; site development; policy Initiative; and project management.

Of four watershed areas with a total area of 44,613 hectares, the project will cover 14,133 hectares in Barat: Barangays Salazar, Burgos, (So Awayan and So Barat); Seguim: Brgys. Bunga, R.A. Padilla, Burgos (Sitio Animoy) San Agustin (Sitio Ovito); Pinagloriahan: Brgys. Gen. Luna, San Agustin, Burgos (Sitio Sawmill and Caloocan) and Diaman: Brgy. Conversion, Nueva Vizcaya (Brgy. Lukidnon, Dupax del Sur).

A draft Memorandum of Agreement among the three agencies has been presented where the NIA will support the FMP implementation on the rehabilitation and development of the 14,133 hectares under LOI 1002 and continuously implement the biodiversity conservation programs.

The DENR will implement, monitor and supervise the FMP with stakeholders following the NIPAS Act including biodiversity conservation and the issuance of a tenurial instrument needed in the project implementation.

Napocor shall support NIA, maintain and develop the designated 1,000 hectares for reforestation, agro-plantation establishments located between Pinagloriahan and Diaman Subwatersheds and assist communities after termination of the forest management project.

The draft MOA is being reviewed by NIA’s Legal Department and will be passed to the NIA Board for evaluation and approval.

Barangay officials qualify for special CSC eligibility

(CSC)

QUEZON CITY, May 26 -- Elected and appointed barangay officials may apply for the Barangay Official Eligibility (BOE) issued by the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

BOE is a privilege granted to barangay officials, including Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairpersons, who have rendered at least one term of office in one barangay. Said eligibility is equivalent to a Career Service Subprofessional eligibility suitable for first level positions in government or job positions which involve clerical, trades, crafts, and custodial service.

The grant of BOE shall be based strictly on the completion of term of office. If the services rendered by the elected or appointed barangay official fall short of the completed term, he or she may be considered the grant only if the deficiency is not more than 15 days.

Barangay officials who completed their term of office before Aug. 1, 2012 may file their application for the BOE until Aug. 1, 2014, after which the CSC shall stop issuing BOEs to barangay officials with completed terms before Aug. 1, 2012.

Barangay officials who completed their term of office on or after Aug. 1, 2012 may still apply for the BOE beyond Aug. 1, 2014.

Appointive barangay officials such as the Barangay Treasurer and Barangay Secretary who were appointed by the Punong Barangay and are related to the latter up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity shall not qualify for the BOE. The applicant shall submit a notarized affidavit stating that he or she is not related up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity to the appointing Punong Barangay.

Application may be filed at the CSC Regional or Field Office with jurisdiction over the barangay concerned. Application fee is P500.

Policies on the grant of BOE are stated in CSC Memorandum Circular No. 13, s. 2012. Form and requirements for application are available at the CSC website www.csc.gov.ph.

For more information on the Barangay Official Eligibility, please contact any CSC Regional or Field Office.

QC embarks on 'Entertainment Boulevard' project in Brgy. South Triangle

(PNA), SCS/LSJ

MANILA, May 25 (PNA) -- The Quezon City government announced over the weekend a plan for the development of Sgt. Esguerra Ave., formerly Bohol Ave., in Barangay South Triangle as a major tourist destination.

According to Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, head of the technical working group tasked to oversea the project, they are now undertaking efforts to transform the said avenue -- which stretches from Timog Ave. to Quezon Ave. -- into a movie and television-themed street to be dubbed as “Quezon City Entertainment Boulevard.”

She said that under the city government’s Community Development Fund for 2014, a Php 100-million budget has been set aside for the project.

Sgt. Esguerra Ave. is home to GMA 7 and ABS-CBN television-radio networks.

The vice mayor said that at present, they are doing an inventory of vacant lots and properties along the avenue that can be utilized for movie- or TV-themed projects.

“At least seven underutilized properties along the area have been included in the inventory conducted by the City Planning and Development Office which can be transformed into screening rooms, museums and mixed-use developments,” she noted.

She also said that the city government will engage in a public-private-partnership to promote the development of the project.

These will include development of specially designed sidewalks, intersections and pedestrian crossings; pocket parks, and the construction of entrance archway and signs promoting QC as the "City of Stars."

Summer camp fuels bid for more environmental collaboration

By Catherine J. Teves [(PNA), CTB/CJT/NOD]

MANILA, May 24 (PNA) -- The May 22-23 high school summer camp Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) held in Metro Manila this year elevated prospects for more environmental protection-related collaboration between the agency and education department.

BMB director Theresa Mundita Lim assured this agency's openness to further collaboration on the matter, encouraged by support Department of Education (DepEd) conducted the biodiversity-oriented youth activity at Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.

DepEd helped facilitate Metro Manila-based public high schools' participation in the summer camp which BMB held as part of activities for its 2014 celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity.

"We appreciate DepEd's help in the activity," Lim said.

BMB said about 80 students and teachers from San Francisco High School, Rondon High School, Commonwealth High School, Judge Feliciano Belmonte Sr. High School, Quirino High School, Jose P. Laurel High School, Maligaya High School, Ramon Magsaysay high School (RMHS-Cubao), Don A. Roces Sr. Science and Technology High School, North Fairview High School, Culiat High School and New Era High School joined the summer camp.

Among activities at the camp were lectures on the country's natural resources, a biodiversity skit and crafting of participating schools' respective action plans for the environment.

"The camp offered an opportunity for the students to widen their knowledge about the environment," noted Lim.

She raised urgency for increasing public knowledge, awareness and action on biodiversity, noting the Philippines is rich in natural resources but these continue facing threats from habitat destruction, invasive alien species, over-exploitation, pollution and climate change.

Self-confessed nature lover and DepEd National Capital Region (NCR) Regional director Dr. Luz Almeda said the education department is prepared to continue its collaboration with BMB on environmental protection concerns.

"We're open to all possibilities," she assured, hopeful partnership between the two agencies can progress further.

Almeda offered NCR-based elementary schools and high schools as grounds for BMB's biodiversity information campaign.

"I believe increasing awareness on environmental protection must start early on," she said.

RMHS teacher Lailani Navarez is looking forward to conduct of more environment-oriented summer camps.

"Such camps are effective modes for learning about theenvironment," she said.

She noted several of her students who attended previous camps, where they learned about natural resources, retain their concern for the environment even after moving on to other pursuits.

"One of them is studying organizational leadership at University of the Philippines and continues pursuing the environmental protection advocacy," she said.

Among Navarez' students at present is 15 year-old John Mark Bautista, one of the 2014 BMB summer camp's participants and a member of RMHS' Youth for the Environment in Schools Organization.

He recalled attending other summer camps in the past after flood waters during storm 'Ondoy' nearly submerged his family's house in Quezon City.

"That incident fueled my interest in the environment and in what can be done to prevent similar occurrences in the future," he said.

Bautista said BMB's summer camp this year offered a fresh learning environment for him and other participants.

"The country has many species and its good to learn how I can help preserve these - the camp provided an opportunity to increase my knowledge on this," he said.

He hopes environment-oriented camps can be held even during non-summer months to help enhance students' learning experience.

Comelec to conduct satellite registration in Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City on May 25-30

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

MANILA, May 23 (PNA) -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Quezon City announced Friday the conduct of a six-day satellite registration in Barangay Commonwealth from May 25 until May 30.

Rosalinda Albia-Radin, QC-Comelec Acting Election Officer IV, said the satellite registration aims to ensure wider voter participation in the on-going registration process that started since May 6.

After Barangay Commonwealth, Radin said the satellite registration will continue in the other 141 barangays of Quezon City.

Radin said the satellite registration begins in Barangay Commonwealth which is among those having a big number of voters and one that made the earliest request.

“We are encouraging early registration and validations to avoid any inconvenience and hassles on their part,” she explained.

She also stressed that it is very important that voter’s biometrics be taken during the registration process.

Biometrics refers to the mandatory taking of photograph, fingerprints and signature of the voters.

The voter’s data are encoded along with these biometrics for easier double checking of voters that are registered in a certain city or municipality.

If the voters biometrics is not taken, Radin said the voter will not be allowed to vote in May 2016 elections.

“So for those that do not have biometrics yet, go out and register and take advantage of the early and long period of registration,” she stressed.

The regular registration is open Friday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm in Quezon City's six (6) districts.

“Saturday is the rest day of the employees so there is no registration on that day,” Radin said.

The registration process already started May 6 and will end by October 31, 2015.

Under Section 5 of the Comelec Resolution No. 9853 released by Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes, it provides that satellite registration can be conducted either in barangay hall, public/private schools, commercial establishments and other public places within the city/municipality to ensure wider voter participation in the electoral process.

Any interested party may request for the conduct of satellite registration which will then be assessed, evaluated and approved by the EOs (Election Officers) upon compliance with certain conditions.

PNP, UNICEF, CPNFI intensify campaign against women and child abuse

(PNP-PIO/RJB/JEG/PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY, 22 (PIA) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Child Protection Network Foundation Inc. (CPNFI) to further strengthen the campaign against women and child abuse.

PNP chief Alan Purisima, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist Patrick Halton and CPNFI Executive Director Dr. Bernadette Madrid signed the MOU witnessed by PNP and UNICEF officials.

The agreement states that the PNP, UNICEF and CPNFI will pursue the mission of protecting all children from all forms of abuse, neglect, discrimination and exploitation.

Also, the group agreed to improve the module on the Specialized Course for officers in the PNP’s Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) to enhance officers’ investigative capability in handling women and children cases and to re-echo the said training program nationwide.

The MOU also emphasized the updating of the existing 10-day Standard Training Package (STP) on the Specialized Course on the Investigation of Crimes Involving Women and Children for PNP-WCPD officers to update its content on new laws on women and children, Child Protection in Emergency (CPiE) and Gender-Based Violence in Emergency (GBViE) and protecting the rights of the vulnerable including Persons With Disabilities (PWD).

Likewise, the PNP is tasked to coordinate all police units to work together to contribute to the development of the updated Program of Instruction (POI) and STP.

The PNP shall also ensure that the STP will be used in all trainings to be conducted nationwide by providing necessary venue for the conduct of the said training.

For over a decade, the PNP, UNICEF and CPNFI have been implementing the Training for Women and Children Protection Desk Officers nationwide.

DENR to lead celebration of International Day for Biodiversity

(PNA), FPV/DENR-PR/UTB

MANILA, May 21 (PNA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will lead on Thursday the local celebration of the International Day of Biological Diversity (IDBD) with a call to protect and preserve island ecosystems in the Philippines.

The Philippines is considered as one of the world’s hotspots for biodiversity.

With the theme, Island Biodiversity, the celebration seeks to promote awareness on the rich natural resources that island ecosystems harbor.

Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Mundita Lim said that islands are known to contain unique assemblage of life. She also said that the isolation of islands brought about by evolution has resulted in the emergence of unique species with distinct genetic characteristics. This explains why the Philippines as an archipelago is very rich in biodiversity and endemic species of wild flora and fauna.

Relatedly, the BMB (formerly known as the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau) will hold a program to mark the celebration at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center Amphitheater in Quezon City.

Expected to grace the occasion are BMB Director Lim, Department of Education-National Capital Region Director Luz Almeda, Mr. Berthold Schirm of GIZ, Mr. Joseph Foltz of US Agency for International Development and other officials from DENR and Quezon City government.

The program will begin with the launch of the BMB’s coffee table book titled, “Treasures of the Philippine Wild,” featuring the country’s known but threatened wildlife species such as the Philippine eagle, Golden-crowned flying fox, Philippine cockatoo, Philippine crocodile, Philippine tamaraw and marine sea turtles or pawikan.

Another highlight of the program will be the awarding of winners of the biodiversity photo contest themed “Protecting the Reservoir of Life, Selfie for Biodiversity”.

The contest, which was open to the public from April 15 to May 15, was organized by the BMB, together with the German International Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Each of the grand prize winners for the digital camera and mobile phone categories will be awarded with all-expense paid trips to Palawan and Mt. Pulag, respectively.

The bureau will also kickoff the Philippine Biodiversity Festival at the NAPWC grounds. The month-long activity will exhibit the various eco-friendly products from various regions and provinces, and educational materials on their biodiversity.

About 80 high school students and teachers from 12 public schools in Quezon City will participate in the two-day Youth Summer Camp, also at the NAPWC from May 22-23, 2014.

The participants will be educated on the values, benefits and importance of biodiversity, familiarize themselves with various wild plants and animals around the NAPWC, and commit to biodiversity protection and conservation.

The summer camp is jointly organized by BMB, the DENR’s Youth Desk and the Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society, with support from Universal Robina, Gardenia, Human Nature and Maynilad Water Corp.

The IDB is celebrated every May 22 of the year to commemorate the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.


JobStart to roll out in Quezon City, Taguig

(DOLE/RJB/SDL/PIA-NCR)

MANILA, May 20, (PIA)--The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to roll out a 'full-cycle' employment facilitation service called JobStart Philippines in Quezon City & Taguig this year.

According to Labor & Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, full-cycle employment facilitation includes enhanced career assessment and guidance, life skills training, technical skills training, and internship, which are the major building blocks in preparing young people for productive employment.

The JobStart Philippines Program is an employment facilitation initiative of the DOLE, Asian Development Bank, and the Government of Canada for the Filipino youth to address unemployment in the country.

“JobStart boosts DOLE's strategy of facilitating job matching and placement of workers which seeks to help the Department realize the outcome of enhanced employability of workers and competitiveness of enterprises. The DOLE works to make it easy and fast for jobseekers to find jobs that fits their qualifications, interests, and career inclinations," she added.

The program is to be piloted in the Public Employment Service Offices of four local government units (LGUs), namely, San Fernando, Pampanga; Gen. Trias, Cavite; and Taguig City and Quezon City in the National Capital Region.

Under the program, a total of 1,600 young people at-risk will be benefited, 900 of them from Quezon City; 360 from San Fernando, Pampanga; 240 from Taguig City; and 100 from Gen. Trias.

"These youth will have access to technical and life skills training required or recommended by employers; knowledge on conducting job searches; holistic employability through multi-faceted skills training; career guidance and employment coaching; labor market information system and infrastructure; and referral.

"Most importantly, they will receive stipends of between P200 to P300 during their training and 75 percent of minimum wage during a six-month internship," said Baldoz.

The program also involves employers as partners, who will have the opportunity to hire interns with life skills and with employer-determined vocational training paid by JobStart; and reduced cost of internship (they will pay the interns only 75 percent of the minimum wage).

"Employers who will participate in the program will receive P9,000 training fee per intern. They will also have the opportunity to demonstrate corporate social responsibility in the communities where they operate," Baldoz said.

On the other hand, the PESOs which will be the front-line implementers of the program will acquire new knowledge and develop capabilities ranging from assessment of jobseekers; career guidance and employment coaching; life skills and technical training; job matching to internship; and case tracking and management.

Baldoz said the PESOs will assess the job search period and placement of youth to employment after the pilot of the program, with the use of a built-in monitoring and evaluation of impact.

"Registration for employers, as well as for prospective beneficiaries who would like to participate is ongoing in the four pilot areas," said Baldoz.

For employers, they must be legitimate businesses operating in the catchment areas of the pilot PESOs, and must have the capacity and interest to offer internships; identify and oversee training; and provide up to six-month internships with pay of at least 75 percent of the minimum wage.

For prospective youth beneficiaries, they must be at least 18 but not more than 24 years old; high school graduate; must not have more than one-year work experience; and not currently working, enrolled in a study or training, and not seeking work.

More outstanding students avail free tuition in QC

(PNA), LAM/LSJANDLBB-OJT

MANILA, May 19 (PNA) -- As the school opening is fast approaching more deserving youths continue to avail free tuition and allowance from the Quezon City government’s Scholarship and Youth Development Program (SYDP).

According to SYDP head Rogelio R. Reyes, more high school graduates from the city’s 46 public high schools are beginning to file application for scholarship while existing scholars begin renewal application for continuous scholarship.

Reyes said that under the program every year, the valedictorian, salutatorian and 1st to the 8th honorable mention of the graduating class from public high school of QC are qualified to apply for the program.

These scholars who are valedictorian and salutatorian can get as much as P40,000 for tuition and P10,000 allowance per semester for the course that they choose.

The 1st to 8th honorable mention on the other hand can receive a free tuition fee as much as P15,000 and P5,000 allowance per semester.

The tuition payment is directly paid to the school of their choice through a check.

The allowance, on the other hand, can be continuously received by the SYDP scholars through renewal step where they will provide the SYDP office with the computation of their grades through class cards, presentation of statement of accounts and others.

The scholars of SYDP will continue to receive the free tuition and allowance until they finish their selected four- or five-year course.

In addition, Reyes said that high school graduates who got 85% and above average grade can apply as regular scholar also.

“They can get a total of P5,500 per semester. The P4,000 will be for the tuition fee while P1,500 will be for the allowance.

The scholars availing from this program are required to maintain high grades.

However, it does not right-away terminate the scholarship.

“The scholarship can be terminated also but before we do we give first warning to the scholars especially during the renewal of their scholarships,” the SYDP chief added.

Last year a total of 2,342 SYDP scholars were added to the existing list of its scholars benefiting from the program.

“This is a great help for students like us especially if we enter a university of our choice. The amount of 5,000 allowance lessens the burden of my parents,” said Anamie Bagnol, a 2nd year Human Resource Development Management course at Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Manila.

“It serves as a form of discipline on my part because I learned to value the scholarship I enjoyed and it trained me to persevere more,” shared Michelle Ramos, a 2nd Year student of B.S. Accountancy from National University who availed of the scholarship because she graduated valedictorian from a public high school.

QC seeks more programs for kids

By Astrid Santos

The Quezon City Council urged the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council to make the disaster preparedness measures they are planning to be ‘child-friendly’ in reaction to cases of child deaths and malnutrition in evacuation centers across the country.

Councilor Alyson Medalla, author of the resolution, said the measure aims to lessen the vulnerability of children to diseases as well as prevent cases of death and malnutrition of children in evacuation centers which are currently happening in evacuation centers in Tacloban, Zamboanga and Davao.

“In light of the persistent and emerging disaster concerns involving the country, the city recognizes the vulnerability of children and the need for specific measures to ensure a child’ survival, development, protection and participation. This is the reason why QC government particularly the QCDRRMC should include the safety and wellness of children in all its measures,” said Medalla.

The resolution calls for the safety and wellness measures which will make the lives of children in evacuation centers healthier to make them less vulnerable to diseases.

Medalla said the QCDRRMC should be able to ‘provide safe drinking water in a child-friendly and gender segregated evacuation center to protect them from the threat of diarrhea and malnutrition’.

The councilor also asked QCDRRMC to set-up breastfeeding stations to enable mothers in evacuation centers to properly nurture their babies.

Army to help in DepEd's 'Brigada Eskwela'

(PNA), JBP/PFN

MANILA, May 17 (PNA) -- The Philippine Army (PA) announced that its troopers will be helping in the Department of Education (DepEd)'s National Schools Maintenance Week which will start this coming May 19.

Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, Army spokesperson, said that this activity is also known as the "Brigada Eskwela".

In the spirit of "Bayanihan", various groups and organizations, including the PA, will join hands to make this year's "Brigada Eskwela" a success and ensure that the schools all over the archipelago will be "Disaster Friendly and Resilient School-Communities".

Around 500 soldiers from the Army's Civil Military Operations Group, Civil Military Operations Battalion, and Headquarters Support Group will be deployed to 33 schools in Muntinlupa City, Taguig City, Makati City, Marikina City, Caloocan City, Pasay City, Quezon City, Pateros, and Tondo.

Detoyato said participating soldiers will engage in the school maintenance program, particularly in electrical, carpentry and construction works.

"Brigada Eskwela" is a week-long activity of the DepEd which brings together teachers, parents, and other community members to work together in repairing and preparing public schools for the school opening in June.

This is one of the civilian-orchestrated projects that the Army supports as part of its "Bayanihan" activities.

"Brigada Eskwela" is a nationwide endeavor of the PA.

Army units all over the country are mobilized to help in doing minor repairs, painting and cleaning of the school premises.

Detoyato said the PA believes that more than making the school facilities presentable and adequately prepared to accommodate thousands of enrollees this school year, this initiative also addresses the basic rights of children to education by providing an institution that is child-friendly and conducive to learning.

This annual activity is also in line to communicate the direction of the Army Transformation Roadmap -- an Army that is more capable, responsive, reliable and professional organization committed to its mandate of serving the people and securing the land.

DOLE gives PWDs opportunity to have decent employment, explore livelihood options and showcase their talents, skills

(PNA), SCS/SDT/UTB

MANILA, May 16 (PNA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) vows to continue giving persons with disabilities (PWDs) an opportunity to find employment, explore livelihood options, and showcase their talents and skills.

This as Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz reported on Friday the success of the one-day PWD job, trade and scholarship fair held last May 2 in Quezon City which gathered 14 employers and 235 PWD job applicants.

This is part of the DOLE implementation of the Tulong Alalay para sa Taong may Kapansanan (TULAY), giving PWDs access to achieve decent employment in order to improve their lives.

DOLE-National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) Regional Director Alex Avila has reported the support of several multi-sectoral partners, namely: Bigay Buhay Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BBMC); Office of Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP);

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Philippine Association of Local Service Contractors (PALSCON); Diocese of Novaliches; SM City CARES; Department of Education; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; Department of Science and Technology; Social Security System; and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

“On May 2, DOLE-NCR, through the Quezon City Field Office, had gathered 14 employers in the job fair and 235 PWD job applicants. This was a bright note in the 2014 Labor Day celebration," Avila reported.

He said this gave the PWDs the opportunity to find employment, explore livelihood options, and showcase their talents and skills.

The event's trade and scholarship component allowed PWDs with existing small businesses to display and sell their crafts, and others to continue their education through the DepEd's Alternative Learning System and TESDA's vocational and technical courses.

For his part, Rep. Alfred Vargas of the 5th District of Quezon City pledged continuous livelihood opportunities to help PWDs through his PWD Office.

Vargas has filed a bill in Congress entitled "PWD Economic Independence Act" that seeks to strengthen the economic rights of PWDs.

Mobile training bus soon to roll in Quezon City

(TESDA/RJB/SDL/PIA-NCR)

TAGUIG CITY, May 15 (PIA)--The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) together with the Office of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte recently launched the Mobile Training Bus Plus in the Fourth District of Quezon City.

Two buses turned into mobile classrooms filled with computers, training equipment and learning materials would soon roll along the streets of Quezon City to serve as learning centers for young people.

"We pitched this initiative as a way to bring technical vocational training to Quezon City's youth, especially to those who could not attend formal schooling," said TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva, who joined Speaker Belmonte in the launching activity.

"All they have to do is to hop on the mobile classroom and earn a lifetime experience that would prepare them for employment or teach them to start a business," Villanueva added.

Out-of-school youth, unemployed adults, incoming college students or even workers can enroll in the programs that will be offered by the Mobile Training Bus Plus. After finishing the course undergo assessment to be certified graduates.

"We urge our youth not to blow away the chance of learning something new this summer. It will cultivate their skills as future employees or entrepreneurs," Villanueva said.

The mobile classrooms are among the novel programs intended to reach out to poor families who could not send their children to school.

"We thank Speaker Belmonte for this initiative. With these new mobile training buses, we are sure that more youth would benefit from the training programs," Villanueva said.

In early 2012, TESDA launched the mobile training plus in partnership with other agencies to promote tech-voc education and training. A number of mobile buses have been launched in various parts of the country.

Initial program offerings include Automotive Servicing NC I, Motorcycle and Small Engine Servicing NC II, Electrical installation and Maintenance, Mechatronics Servicing NC II, and Computer Hardware Servicing NC II. Training duration of these programs ranges from 80 to 356 training hours or about two months.

In some areas, the facility also offers Community Disaster Management modules designed to equip participants with skills in performing basic life support, coordinating emergency resources, managing the emergency scene, transporting emergency and non-emergency patients, and delivering pre-hospital patient care in times of calamities.

Other programs that are offered in the facility are Building/House Repair and Maintenance Services, Beauty Care and Wellness Services, and Appliance Repair Services.

QC to conduct 3rd QC Micro-entrepreneurship Day May 17

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

MANILA, May 14 (PNA)--The Quezon City government will be holding its 3rd year "QC Micro-entrepreneurs' Day" on May 17, 2014 at the Amoranto Multi-Purpose Hall and Amphitheater in Scout Chuatoco, Barangay Paligsahan, Quezon City from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

The SikapBuhay Entrepreneurship and Cooperative Office (SBECO) which is handling the event adopted the theme for this year, “Handog na Pasasalamat sa mga Masisikap na Entreprenyur ng Lungsod Quezon”.

“This is our way of honoring the city’s micro-credit program clients in celebration of the “Labor Month in the Informal Sector of QC,” said Eduardo Laresma, SBECO marketing promotion and unit head.

Laresma cited that the event will focus on giving “a day off “to hardworking micro-entrepreneurs of the city’s Puhunang Pangkaunlaran ng Sikap Buhay (PPSB), also called as "nanay-entrepreneurs" (because most of them were mothers or women).

PPSB is QC’s entrepreneurship micro-finance program implemented by QC-SBECO for small or micro-entrepreneurs who wants to uplift their lives by engaging in small productive business that needs capitalization.

“The event is a one 'day treat' of pampering for our hard-working micro-entrepreneurs through free beauty, health and wellness services offered to them where they can relax and enjoy,” he added.

Raffles will also be drawn from time to time with surprise items for the lucky winners.

QC launches Seal of Good Housekeeping Awards for Barangays

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

QUEZON CITY, May 13 (PIA) - The Quezon City (QC) government has officially launched the Seal of Good Housekeeping awards for the city’s 142 barangays as City Ordinance No. 2273 was signed into law, adopting its implementation starting this year.

QC Mayor Herbert M. Bautista officially launched the awards with the signing of the memorandum of agreement with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The program is expected to encourage the city’s barangays to aspire for excellence and the practice of good government.

QC Seal of Good Housekeeping (QCSGH) is the city’s version of the DILG program Seal of Good Housekeeping that aims to advance primacy of performance, accountability, transparency and participation among local government units.

QCSGH will have two levels of seal – the Gawad Huwarang Pamamahala Award as the second level of seal and the Dangal ng Lungsod Award being the highest level of the seal.

Among the criteria of the QCSGH search are full compliance with the barangays full disclosure policy on the local budget and finances, posting of bids and public offering in three conspicuous places as well as the localized full disclosure policy portal, at least 8 percent average rating in DILG Barangay Governance Performance Management System (BGPMS), at least 80 percent average rating in QC Barangay Legislative Services Assessment; compliance to Republic Act No. 9485 or the Anti-Red tape Act, and the opinion rendered by the Commission on Audit (COA) regarding the barangay financial statements for the immediately preceding year.

Cash rewards await the barangays that will be chosen as winners in the two levels of the QCSGH.

The ordinance seeks to institutionalize and teach the fundamentals of good governance essential to QC barangays, especially on public administration and development.

La Loma Lechon Festival set on May 18

(PNA), SCS/LSJ

MANILA, May 11 (PNA) -- Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte will lead other city officials in the celebration of the La Loma Lechon Festival on May 18.

Belmonte, who also sits as officer-in-charge of QC's tourism department, said the Lechon Festival highlights the city government’s vigorous drive to transform the La Loma area as a major tourism attraction.

It is also part of the city’s celebration of its 75th founding anniversary in October this year.

The festival will be featuring colorful parade of roasted pigs or “lechon” dressed in costumes on especially- designed floats.

More than 20 roasted pigs sponsored by the La Loma Lechoneros Association Inc., neighborhood associations, non-governmental organizations, barangays and other sectoral groups will be paraded during the event to delight local residents and visitors alike.

Barangays Paang Bundok, Salvacion, Lourdes, San Isidro Labrador and N.S. Amoranto in the city's first district are among the barangays that will participate in the festival.

The two-kilometer parade will kick off at Calavite St., which is home to some of the country's famous lechon makers, like PingPing’s Lechon, Mila's and Lydia's, to name a few.

As a treat to spectators, all roasted pigs displayed during the parade shall be served during a grand “salu-salo.”

Street dance competition, culinary competition, dragon-lion dance exhibition and a grand fireworks display will also be among the highlights of the festival.

For its part, the QC government will be providing cash prizes to the winners of all the competitions during the celebration, including the best float.

La Loma was declared as the country’s Lechon Capital in 2004, during the incumbency of then QC Mayor and now House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

QC council eyes permanent body for micro and small enterprises

By Fernando dela Cruz /LBG (GMA News)

To address what it considers "jobless growth," the Quezon City council presses for the approval of a local law that would create a permanent body to assist micro and small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Many economists see the problem of jobless growth as a national challenge, Councilor Donnie Matias told GMA News Online on Sunday.

Thus, the Quezon city council is seeking a permanent body to address that problem of jobless growth, he said.

He said nine city councilors, including himself, have submitted to the committee on laws a measure seeking to create a department dedicated to help micro and small enterprises, including cooperatives.

He said they are confident the measure will have an easy passage in the second half of 2014.

If the measure is enacted into law, a budget will be allocated to a group of permanent personnel who will pursue strategic measures to support micro and small enterprises and cooperatives.

At present, he said, the city government is still employing a 55 people, collectively called "Sikap Buhay" group, 95 % of whom are casuals, performing a tough job of stimulating micro and small businesses.

Meanwhile, Cris Laresma, the marketing unit head of Sikap Buhay, said that if passed, the measure will be a big boost in their work in stimulating business in the city and in creating jobs.

Activities being pursued by Sikap Buhay so far includes helping enterprises to develop markets and clients.

Based on 2012 records, Quezon City has some 62,702 enterprises. All these stand to benefit from the proposed measure.

4P’s help shape ‘good’ and ‘empowered’ mothers of families -- DSWD (Feature)

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

MANILA, May 10 (PNA)--Not all mothers are the same.

Some are considered to be best, caring and loving but there are some who, because of different circumstances affecting them like lack of enough education, and being mentally ill or sick, have failed to become a ‘good’ or be in superb category like those who abandoned their children or those who even contributed to devastation of the future of their siblings.

While we see a lot of images of good mothers who continue to sacrifice their own lives for their children or willing to suffer any pain just to provide their children a better future, it is sad to note that there are some mothers who have yet to realize how it is to be a “good” one.

Recently, we hear news about children falling prey to prostitution and even cybersex in the internet because of their very own parents or mothers that pushed them into the trade instead of providing the protection badly needed by their children.

In addition to this, there were also news about rising number of child and teen pregnancy which pin points lack of effective parental guidance as one contributing factor.

For these reasons, some groups are calling for the conduct of parental educational seminars for parents who appear lacking necessary orientation and knowledge about the role of a family and parents, especially mothers in the proper rearing of their kids.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that Family Development Sessions (FDS) conducted for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P’s) beneficiaries is one way of shaping not only ‘good’ but “empowered” Filipino mothers of poor families.

According to Marie Grace Ponce, 4P’s Information Officer at the DSWD Central office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City said through FDS, the women beneficiaries are acquiring knowledge, skills and values that help shape many mothers to have positive behavioral changes.

“The FDS, which is conducted at least once a month serves as a venue where topics on effective parenting, husband and wife relationships and similar topics are discussed. Likewise child development, home management and gender and development are also tackled to promote closer family ties and family relationships,” Ponce explained in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.

She added that through FDS, which are often attended by many mothers and fathers also serves as a venue where they are informed of their rights as individuals as well as their obligations they need to fulfill as parents to their children and as husband and wife of the family.

According to Brenda S. Vigo, Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) chairperson, DSWD’s FDS for 4P’s is one good example of a program that promotes proper parental education.

Vigo cited that an educated family with healthy and good relationship, and where the parents especially the mother have positive outlook and know the roles that she needs to fulfill help in producing educated, healthy and productive citizens of the country which is the ultimate goal of the program.

She also praised 4P’s FDS as effective method in creating responsible parents and children whom she said was even praised by World Bank, citing that it is a tool that keeps the children either in school or studying.

According to DSWD, under FDS, the leadership quality of some women are also being developed as some who gained knowledge through the topics they learned emerged to be good or “empowered” leaders among other women beneficiaries.

These women even act as parent leaders, also teach and share to other beneficiaries some good advices and practical knowledge they applied to their respective families that help improved their home life.

As mothers gather together they talked about topics on how they can improve their life or make both ends meet. Through sharing of ideas, they are inspired to apply the knowledge they gained and believe in their capability to cope up poverty as what others are doing.

Since many of the parent-women beneficiaries of 4P’s have not receive formal education or were born from poor parents and thus, were unable to finish their studies, it is important to break that cycle by instilling in them the correct values and positive attitudes as partners for inclusive development.

“As beneficiaries of the programs, these mothers get familiar with the value of education and good health and how these can help shape their child’s destiny and let their family get out from inter-generational cycle of poverty that haunted them for so long,” DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman earlier explained.

Since women are considered to be ‘drivers of changes’, these 4P’s mothers who also learned financial literacy, livelihood skills and other knowledge, will therefore influence greatly their children in valuing education and good health which some of them had not experienced because of poverty that haunted them in the past.

4P’s or CCT is human development program of the Aquino government aimed primarily at alleviating poverty by investing on the health and education of children 0-18.

The beneficiaries of these program are given cash grants up to P1,400 a month.

In receiving the cash grant, the beneficiary is required to comply with the condition of regular attendance to school and receiving good health by regular consultation in government health centers.

Another condition is attending FDS so that they will develop learning on proper family management, financial and livelihood skills and others.

The program believes that letting children finish their studies will give them ample opportunity to find more profitable jobs or be employable in the future, and become part of productive workforce of the society and contribute to the country's economic development.

PIA, DENR in NCR jointly hold Climate Change Advocacy Forum

(AKG/RJB-PIA-NCR)

QUEZON CITY, May 9 (PIA) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-NCR) and the Philippine Information Agency-National Capital Region (PIA-NCR) jointly conducted a forum in response to the growing threat of climate change which affects the world today.

The forum tackles Project Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH), Earthquake Preparedness and the National Greening Program (NGP) was held Thursday at the Ecology Center Compound in Diliman, Quezon City.

Participated by city environment and natural resources officers (CENRO) as well as disaster management unit officers in Metro Manila’s local government units (lgus), the forum aims to educate city officials on earthquake preparedness given the existence of the West Valley Fault traversing certain areas in Metro Manila; as well as teach them the use of the DOST-created application/ website named Project NOAH as an early warning tool for typhoon preparedness which aims to assist the public in disaster prevention.

The forum also aims to give a background to the participants on the government’s National Greening Program or the Executive Order 26 which aims to plant some 1.5 Billion trees for a period of six years (2011-2016), and the harmonizing of this initiative in Metro Manila.

Invited resource speakers include Mr. Jeffrey Perez, Supervising Science Research Specialist of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PhiVolcs), who discussed the possibility of a strong earthquake in Metro Manila with the existence of the West Valley Fault, as well as other calamities caused by the country’s geographic and geologic setting.

He said that certain areas in Metro Manila such as Quezon City, Marikina, Makati, Pasig, Taguig, and Muntinlupa would be directly affected with the West Valley Fault traversing the said areas.

Mr. Oscar Victor Lizardo, Chief Science Research Specialist from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), gave an overview of the tool Project NOAH which provides an accurate, integrated, and responsive disaster prevention and mitigation system, especially in high-risk areas in the Philippines.

He discussed the different warning signals that could be seen in the tool, that could serve as guide to the public in identifying disaster-prone and/or calamity-affected areas.

Regional Technical Director Antonio C. Manila presented implementing activities of the various LGUs in the National Capital Region (NCR) in compliance of the National Greening Program.

DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Lourdes Wagan in her welcome remarks said that the activities (including the said forum) that would be implemented by PIA and NCR are all climate change mitigation and adaptation activities that would help the public prepare for disasters brought about by climate change.

PIA-NCR Regional Director Riza J. Baldoria in her message said the forum is among the series of activities to be implemented by DENR and PIA as part of the national and regional campaign for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The project is in compliance with the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO)- PIA Secretary Sonny Coloma which provides for a partnership between the two agencies in the campaign on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

RD Baldoria also bareds the different activities lined up throughout the year which include various fora, mural painting, AVP launch, Puppet Theater presentation, social mobilization activities such as “Happy birthday, Tree, Youth Camp, among others, would provide for the necessary information to shed light on climate change as a product of human activities.

She said that while these activities would educate the public, these are also aimed at making the people realize the role they have to play to address climate change, as they are guided by the campaign’s battlecry “Pabago-bago na ang panahon, panahon na para magbago.”

Baldoria ended her message by leaving a quote which aptly summarizes the reality about the man and the environment: “The earth doesn’t belong to man; Man belongs to Earth. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.”

SSS pilots collection agreement to reach workers in “unbanked” island province

(SSS)

QUEZON CITY, May 8 -- After expanding its network of tie-ups with informal sector groups, microfinance institutions and cooperatives, the Social Security System (SSS) has now rolled out new linkages with local government units (LGUs) in “unbanked” island provinces that do not have accessible banking systems and payment facilities.

SSS in a statement said this is an alternative means to sustain active SSS membership by making regular payment of contributions and loans convenient and within reach.

“SSS partnerships with LGUs, especially those in island provinces and far-flung areas, strengthen our campaign to provide social protection to workers and their beneficiaries regardless of geographic location and economic status,” noted Josie Magana, SSS Vice President for Luzon Operations Group.

The LGUs in Alabat, Perez and Quezon – which are fifth-class municipalities comprising Alabat Island in Quezon province – have started collecting payments for SSS contributions and loans within the first quarter of 2014 as part of their respective Collection Agency Agreements (CAA) with SSS.

Alabat Island, SSS' pilot area for its CAA with LGUs, has an estimated labor force of 24,500, with fishing and farming as common sources of livelihood. It also has a flourishing cottage industry producing native bags, rice cakes, camote chips, cashew polvoron and espasol, among others.

“In the past, Alabat residents had to take a 50-minute RORO ride to Atimonan, Quezon to remit their SSS payments. One-way trip costs P95, and the RORO is scheduled to depart for Alabat only at 10 a.m. and go back to Atimonan at 12 noon,” Magana explained. “Although small boats are available an hour ahead of RORO schedule, Alabat residents are taking risks riding them due to the water current.”

“Alabat residents who miss the scheduled return trips are forced to stay overnight in Atimonan, incurring additional costs for food and lodging. But with an SSS payment facility right at their LGU, the money they can save may be used instead to augment their SSS contributions,” she added.

Employers, self-employed and voluntary members can now pay at the Municipal Treasurer's Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. As part of the CAA, the LGU will report their transactions to the nearest SSS branch on a daily basis via email to facilitate the quick posting of members' payments.

“By accrediting LGUs as SSS collecting agents, we help these workers from previously overlooked areas become covered – and more importantly, become active SSS members – so that they and their loved ones can avail themselves of SSS benefits in times of financial need,” Magana said.

Apart from bringing social protection closer to their constituents, accredited LGUs also benefit from the P6.00 service fee per successful transaction to be paid to them by SSS under the CAA.

The SSS has also incorporated security measures in the new LGU-based payment system to protect the remitted contributions and loan amortizations of members, Magana noted.

DSWD says convergence strategy helped alleviate poverty in 2013

(PIA)

QUEZON CITY, May 7 -- Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary (DSWD) Corazon Juliano-Soliman is pleased that the Convergence Strategy the Department has adopted in 2012 played a significant role in reducing poverty incidence in the country in the first half of 2013.

“Even in so short a time, we are happy that economic experts have recognized the impact made by our three core poverty alleviation programs. We are on the right track when we pushed to intensify greater convergence of our services. Our efforts are paying off,” Sec. Soliman said.

Earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the 2013 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) conducted in July 2013 found that the percentage of Filipinos considered poor based on their average income dropped to 24.9 percent in the first semester of 2013 from 27.9 percent in the same period in 2012.

The Convergence Strategy addresses poverty through the harmonized implementation of three of its major programs, namely; Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid Pamilya), and the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

KALAHI-CIDSS provides funding for community-driven infrastructure projects such as school buildings, health centers, farm-to-market roads, foot bridges, and water systems, among others. In 2013, KALAHI-CIDSS expanded its coverage to reach up to 50 percent of the poorest municipalities in targeted provinces, utilizing the Additional Financing (AF) of the World Bank (WB) and a grant from the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). To date, the project covers a total of 328 municipalities in 48 poorest provinces in the country.

Pantawid Pamilya gives cash grants to poor families to ensure their education, health and nutritional needs. As of March 26, 2014, Pantawid Pamilya has 4,004,795 household-beneficiaries from 1,410 cities and municipalities in 79 provinces nationwide.

SLP extends capital assistance and capability building to beneficiaries to start their own income generating projects. To date, 378,074 households continue to generate income through the employment and business opportunities under SLP.

To illustrate further, Sec. Soliman explained that Pantawid Pamilya families can avail of basic services such as education and health through the facilities built through KALAHI-CIDSS right in their communities.

As part of the Convergence Strategy, Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who are graduating from the program may avail of the SLP to generate income to sustain their daily needs.

Greater convergence Sec. Soliman explained that aside from its three core programs, the Department has also intensified the implementation of the Social Pension Program for Indigent Seniors and Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) for Children to ensure a more wholistic response to the needs of the poor.

This year, the Social Pension Program is benefitting 479,080 older persons who are 77 years old and above.

For 2015, DSWD is proposing P4.62 billion to accommodate 770,804 seniors including some 291,724 who are 65- 76 years old.

On the other hand, the SFP for this year is serving over 2 million day care children nationwide.

The Secretary also said that the Expanded Pantawid Pamilya will start this year and will now cover beneficiaries who are 15-18 years old or until they finish high school.

The expansion of CCT to cover high school education is necessary to increase the beneficiaries’ employability in the future.

The expanded program will benefit about 10 million children nationwide.

“We hope to sustain our gains in poverty alleviation by further engaging partners in social development,” Sec. Soliman ended.

Metro Rail 3 to pilot express trains

By Joel E. Zurbano

The Department of Transportation and Communication it will pilot the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) express train on Wednesday.

“Experimental Express Trains scheme will be implemented initially for the morning rush hours from May 07-13 (Southbound) 7am to 9am,” the DOTC posted on its Twitter account @dotcmrt-3.

Michael Sagcal, DOTC spokesman, told GMA News that northbound trips will be added May 14 to 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The MRT-3 along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue has 13 stations but under the experimental express train scheme, the 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. trains will have stops on North Avenue, Quezon Avenue-Kamuning-Cubao (alternating), Buendia, Ayala, Magallanes, and Taft.

Sagcal said the 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. trains will serve stations at Taft, Magallanes-Ayala-Buendia (alternating), Cubao, Kamuning, Quezon Avenue and North Avenue.

MRT-3 connects North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City via EDSA.

Also serving commuters are the Light Rail Transit 1 traversing Pasay City, Manila and Caloocan City; and LRT-2, across Manila, Quezon City and Pasig City.

The Metro Rail Transit Corp., a private company operating in partnership with the DOTC under a Build-Operate-Transfer agreement, started operating the MRT-3 in 1999.

DPWH set to implement 5 major road projects in Edsa

By Jerry E. Esplanada (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Aside from the P3.74-billion major rehabilitation of the 23-kilometer Efipanio de los Santos Avenue, or Edsa, and the construction of the P3.03-billion Edsa-Taft Avenue flyover, five other Metro Manila road projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways are expected to test further the patience of motorists and commuters in Metro Manila when they finally get the go-ahead of Malacañang and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

The infrastructure projects are worth at least P8.21 billion, according to a DPWH report, a copy of which was obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The agency named the planned infrastructure projects as Phase 1 of the P1.7-billion Liwasang Bonifacio-Sta. Monica bridge and the P700-million Gov. Forbes-Espana Street underpass, both in Manila; P1.5-billion widening of the C-5-Bagong Ilog flyover in Pasig City; P793-million Sen. Gil Puyat Ave.-Makati Ave.-Pase de Roxas vehicle underpass in Makati City; and P481-million widening of Gen. Luis Street in Novaliches, Quezon City.

The department said that it “shall be consulting and securing the necessary approvals prior to project implementation of various agencies, including the Office of the President and the MMDA,” which has the final say in the issuance of permits to road projects in Metro Manila.

The DPWH noted that as early as last year, it had completed the Detailed Engineering Designs, or DEDs of the five projects, as well as the Edsa major rehabilitation and EDSA-Taft Ave. flyover projects.

The DEDs of at least two projects — Edsa rehabilitation and the Liwasang Bonifacio-Sta. Monica bridge – had been finished as early as April 2013. The rest were completed between May and December last year.

Last month, Reynaldo Tagudando, director of the DPWH office in the National Capital Region, said they would push for the much-delayed major rehabilitation of Edsa after the P230-million concrete reblocking of about 80,000 square meters of road space in the busiest thoroughfare in the metropolis.

He asserted that “asphalt overlay is the next best thing to the weekend concrete reblocking and piecemeal repairs on Edsa.”

After the ongoing reblocking of Edsa, Tagudando said that “the road’s quality is expected to improve to a 6 or 7.” That is, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson earlier said that transforming Edsa into a road as “smooth” as the North Luzon and South Luzon Expressways could be achieved in one or two years.

He pointed out that the highway’s deterioration over the decades showed that “our road standards have really gone down…We are settling for roads full of potholes.”

The DPWH head also stressed the need to complete the improvements on Edsa, noting that the thoroughfare, which was completed in 1954 (and previously named Highway 54) had practically been neglected by previous administrations.

“Only piecemeal repairs are being done there. Yet, we can equal that of both NLEx and SLEx,” he asserted.

With a 2014 budget allocation of more than P130 billion, the DPWH also plans to rehabilitate the last 15,872 kilometers of gravel and unpaved arterial roads nationwide.

The amount is 67.7 percent of the agency’s total infrastructure program fund of P190.91 billion. The remaining P61.5 billion in capital outlays will go to major flood-control and other infrastructure projects in Metro Manila and the rest of the country.

This year’s budget for the rehabilitation of national roads and bridges is P28.48 billion more than last year’s, which amounted to P110.93 billion.

In another report, Singson disclosed that “asset preservation on national roads shall be done with priority on rehabilitation over preventive maintenance, as well as widening of critical intersections and junctions and paving of shoulders to improve road safety.”

“To ensure a longer life span of road pavements, there is a need to implement better drainage on primary roads,” he said.

Likewise, “climate change adaptation initiatives, such as slope protection works and road and bridges designed to cope with higher rainfall and rising sea levels, shall be prioritized.”

On national bridges, Singson said “public investments shall focus on major maintenance works and replacement of those that can can no longer be rehabilitated to improve their overall conditions, as well as the replacement of timber and bailey bridges with concrete or steel structures.”

QC Council backs green energy promotion

(PNA), SCS/PR/LSJ

MANILA, May 4 (PNA) -- The Quezon City Council said over the weekend that it is supporting the national government's program to tap renewable energy resources and encourage green transport initiatives as a long-term solution to oil price hikes.

Through a resolution introduced by Councilor Gian Carlo G. Sotto, the City Council expressed the opinion that there is no need for a fuel subsidy plan for public transport operators in spite of the rising fuel costs due to the ongoing political crisis in the Middle East.

“The City Council considers such a plan as a stop-gap measure that will only have short-term effects,” Councilor Sotto said.

He pointed out in the resolution that there have been studies revealing that renewable energy alternatives and development of electric and hybrid vehicles will bring long-term solutions to rising prices of oil products and at the same time help stimulate the growth of new industries.

He noted that using renewable energy resources and green transport initiatives will also be helpful to the country’s economy, particularly in "developing new industries as we lessen our dependence on imported oil."

For over a decade now, QC has always promoted energy conservation by encouraging the use of vehicles not using fossil fuel.

He recalled that even President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed his support to this long-term solution to oil price hike during the e-tricycle launching in Mstro Manila.

According to Councilor Sotto, Mayor Herbert Bautista has also expressed support to the promotion of e-jeepneys in Quezon City.

Ocean Month celebration highlights importance of mangroves

(DENR)

QUEZON CITY, May 3 -- As the nation celebrates Month of the Ocean (MOO) this May, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has lined up activities designed to draw attention to the important role that mangroves play in protecting the country’s coastlines and their inhabitants.

DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said this year’s theme, “Mangroves protect. Protect mangroves,” is extremely timely and significant in light of the magnitude of the destruction wrought by Yolanda, which is said to be the strongest tropical typhoon ever recorded.

“Unfortunate the disaster may have been, Yolanda undoubtedly was an instant education for Filipino people on what storm surges are, and was a rude awakening of sort on the state of our coastal communities and their lack of protection from these natural events,” Paje pointed out.

The environment chief said that sadly, Yolanda and other extreme weather events before it are part of the so-called “new normal” as impacts of climate change increase.

But the good news is, he said, mangroves can help coastal communities adapt to climate change.

“We hope everyone now appreciates and understands, more than ever, the importance of protecting and rehabilitating our mangrove forests,” Paje said.

“Mangroves protect us not only from strong waves and storm surges, but also help clean the air and water along our coastal zones, and provide food security and livelihood to the communities,” he added.

The DENR, together with its partners from both the private and government sectors and environmental groups, will kick off the MOO celebration at the DENR grounds in Quezon City on May 5 with Director Theresa Mundita Lim of the Biodiversity Management Bureau giving a talk about the festivity and the unveiling of the MOO 2014 logo.

The new logo features elements that incorporate the role of mangroves in protecting communities and other benefits it provide, and conversely, the need for humans to be responsible stewards of nature.

Prior to the kick off, Shore It Up – a project of Metro Pacific Investments – will launch Mangrove Protection Information Centers in Pangasinan and Bohol provinces from May 1 to 4. It will also conduct cleanup activities along the shorelines of Bohol.

From May 5-10, the DENR will take part in the 6th National Scout Venture Camp in Lingayen town in Pangasinan, administering lecture, environmental games and chants, and interactive exhibit to some 4,500 scouts from all over the country.

A bike tour, which has a theme “Padyakan: Sagip Bakawan,” will be held on May 18 from the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center (NAPWC) in Quezon City to the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA).

The tour will culminate in a mangrove cleanup at the LPPCHEA to be led by Firefly Brigade, a volunteer group of cyclists advocating for cycling as a cleaner mode of transportation.

From May 1 to 21, environmental partners World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), Conservation International (CI)-Philippines, and Conserve and Protect Oceans, Inc. will hold the “Bayani ng Bakawan” short video essay event.

This will allow the public, using phone cameras and other video-recording devices, to record videos of how ordinary people commit to care and protect mangroves in their communities. Videos may then be shared through social media pages such as the MOO pages on Facebook, Instagram and Google+, or uploaded on popular websites such as Youtube and Vimeo.

On May 22, the country will join the global community in celebrating the International Day of Biological Diversity (IDBD) with a theme, “Island Biodiversity.” This will be highlighted by a Youth Summer Camp to be held at the NAPWC from May 22 to June 22; a biodiversity photo contest themed “Protecting the Reservoir of Life, Selfie for Biodiversity”; and the launching of a coffee table book entitled, “Treasures of the Philippine Wild.”

During the month-long MOO celebration, the DENR will also conduct trainings on mangrove and coastal and marine ecosystems, youth camps, coral reef and mangrove damage assessment, among others.

Presidential Proclamation No. 57 issued in 1999 declared May as the Month of the Ocean. It mandates the DENR and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to spearhead the observance of MOO and highlight the need to conserve and protect the country’s coastal and ocean resources.

The Philippines is home to 47 true mangrove and mangrove associate species.

SSS expanding its 'AlkanSSSya' program to reach all informal sectors in the country (Special Report)

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

MANILA, May 2 (PNA Feature) -- The Social Security System (SSS), the state-run pension fund for private employees or workers, said on Thursday it is intensifying the extension of social protection for a wider number of Filipinos, particularly those in the informal sectors.

According to Maria Cecilia F. Mercado, senior communication analyst at the SSS main office in Quezon City, the agency wants the informal sectors, like those working in transportation groups (drivers of jeepneys and tricycles), market vendors and other small entrepreneurs, garbage pickers and even those who are in jails and other groups who are earning at least P3,000 a month, to become active members of SSS and avail themselves of its social protection programs as covered members.

“Our goal is to include them among those that can avail of the benefits provided for SSS members like housing, sickness, maternity, disability, retirement, death and even funeral benefit for a member of SSS as well as loans like salary loan, educational loan, business loans and others,” Mercado told the Philippines News Agency in an interview.

Mercado said there is a need for informal sectors to have an access to SSS programs and projects so that these groups of people will have a sense of security in times of great needs since they have a reliable institution where they can depend on, especially after long years of working hard to earn a living while saving some for their future through the innovative "AlkanSSSya" program.

She explained that to be a member of AlkanSSSya program is very easy since the interested informal workers will just need to organize themselves into a group and decide to actively save a part of their earnings.

“They can organize themselves as a group. Then each member will make it a regular habit to save at least P11 a day for a period of 30 days which will be equivalent to P330 a month that they can use as their monthly premium,” she said.

Mercado said membership in the program is very easy since the P11 daily contribution is just equivalent to four sticks of cigarette.

She advised the interested groups to inquire about the details of the program from the nearest SSS office.

Mercado said the program is called "AlkanSSSya" because the idea of “saving” from a portion of their income for their own benefits and protection is being emphasized while there is an assurance or form of insurance or coverage in case that something unexpected happen to them which the immediate family members can avail of.

“This micro-saving scheme is the cheapest premium that guarantees them social protection or insurance that will work best for their interest,” she stressed.

She said the program has been launched in several parts of the country since 2012, where the usual procedure is to set up a piggy bank like a cabinet or a box for the dropping of the members' contribution or premium under the safekeeping of an association. The contribution is turned over to the nearest SSS office or is collected by an authorized or assigned SSS staff for the convenience of members.

SSS records show that nearly 600 groups representing more than 53,000 members nationwide joined the program in 2013 alone.

Among these informal group members are garbage pickers in Barangay Payatas, Quezon City and tricycle drivers in key cities like Las Pinas, Paranaque, Marikina, Malabon and Pasig in Metro Manila and a number of provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Even prisoners who are engaged in a livelihood program in a jail in Palawan have also been encouraged to save a part of their earnings for the AlkanSSSya program and be active members of SSS

Recently, more government offices provided SSS coverage for their job order and contractual workers who are not covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) such as Barangay Pulang Lupa Dos in Las Pinas City.

To further strengthen its coverage campaign for the informal sectors, SSS has signed agreements with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Under the agreement, job order or contractual employees of local government units (LGUs) can be covered by SSS by contributing a monthly premium based on the monthly salary stated in their service contract/s.

The DSWD and the DILG have no obligation to pay half of the premium of the contractual workers. However, the two agencies are obliged to report and remit the deducted monthly premium to the SSS.

The SSS plans to forge similar agreements with other agencies for the coming months in order to bring social protection to a larger number of the poor people who need it most.

The term "informal sector" was coined by the International Labor Organization (ILO) about 30 years ago to describe the activities of the working poor to survive and be weaned from poverty.

DENR classifies 206 additional caves

(DENR)

QUEZON CITY, May 1 -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has classified an additional 206 caves, bringing to 364 the total number of caverns considered as part of the nation’s natural wealth and therefore require sustainable management and conservation.

The classification, according to DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, was pursuant to Republic Act No. 9072, or the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act, which mandates the agency to formulate, develop and implement a national program to conserve, protect and manage caves and cave resources.

“Caves are non-renewable resources with unique, natural features that offer significant scientific, educational, economic and aesthetic value and form part of our historical and cultural heritage,” Paje pointed out.

He added: “Caves can also be used for our enjoyment, but only to a certain extent. Classifying caves accordingly will thus help define which human activities are allowed within these areas so that we can preserve them in their pristine state, or improve them if necessary.”

Under DENR Memorandum Circular 2014-03, the newly classified caves are found in 11 regions, with Region 2 having the most number of caves at 101, followed by Region 11 with 30 caves.

Among the provinces, Cagayan has the most number of caves with 83, while Davao del Norte was far second with 18 caves.

Caves are classified into three categories or classes. “Class I” caves are characterized with delicate and fragile geological formations, may be habitats of threatened species, provide archaeological values and possess extremely hazardous conditions. As such, activities allowed in these caves are limited to mapping, photography, educational and scientific purposes.

The DENR circular has listed 21 Class I caves, including the Masi Cave in Adams, Ilocos Norte, the Pagulayan Cave within the Peñablanca Protected Landscape in Cagayan, and the Santol Cave in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte.

“Class II” caves have sensitive geologic values or high quality ecosystems, as well as portions with hazardous conditions. As such, they may be closed seasonally or permanently, or may be open only to experienced cavers or guided educational tours. The famous Sohoton Cave in Samar Island Natural Park is one of 154 Class II caves identified in the circular.

“Class III” caves are safe for inexperienced yet guide-accompanied visitors, as these do not contain known threatened species or geological or historical values. These caves may also be utilized when appropriate for economic purposes such as extraction of guano (bat waste) and collection of edible bird nests.

There are 30 such caves under the new list, among them the Aglipay Cave 5 in the Quirino Protected Landscape, and the Mat-i Cave 2 in Baganga, Davao Oriental.

Classification of caves is continuously being undertaken by the DENR. The new list, however, contains 86 caves, mostly located in Cagayan province, assessed and classified by the National Museum for their archaeological or historical value, and 15 in Palawan province by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development.

Upon classification, the DENR field offices oversee the preparation of a management plan on related ecotourism, scientific, educational and economic activities.

The approved plan is implemented by the Protected Area Management Board for caves within protected areas (PAs), or in coordination with the concerned local government unit and land owner for those outside PAs.