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Quezon City News September 2014

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

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

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

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


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

QC approves landmark city ordinance protecting LGBT persons


In what advocates describe as gift to the city, the Quezon City Council on Monday approved a city ordinance banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

“This is very special and better than other ordinances, kasi di lang pine-penalize yung actions, but there is also affirmative action. Maagang regalo ito ahead of the QC pride march in December,” said Ging Cristobal, project coordinator for the Asia Pacific region of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and vice chairperson of the Quezon City Pride Council.

The ordinance, principally authored by First District Councilor Mayen Juico, was passed unanimously after a marathon eight-hour session attended by more than 30 city councilors, Cristobal said in an interview with GMA News Online.

Cristobal’s group is among those who lobbied for the passage of the ordinance, which includes sections that prohibit discrimination in terms of employment, education, delivery of goods or services, insurance and access to accommodations, among others.

It expands a 2003 resolution that centered on discrimination of homosexuals in terms of employment only.

Meanwhile, other than sanctions for those who violate the ordinance, the new city-wide ordinance also provides venues to educate employers and educators on the rights of LGBT individuals.

“Sa employment, ang gusto nila, ma-inform ang employees na merong karapatan ang LGBT persons. In fact, isa sa pinakamaganda dito, yung dapat yung mga establishments, ay magkaroon ng rest room for transpeople,” Cristobal said.

Under the new ordinance, establishments will be directed to designate a comfort room that can be used by all genders, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE).

In the same interview, Cristobal revealed that the landmark city ordinance, the first of its kind in Metro Manila, was passed, thanks in part to the support of QC Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.

In an earlier interview with Outrage magazine, the only LGBT magazine in the country, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte highlighted the importance of an ordinance that will protect the rights of the LGBT.

“There are many LGBT [people] in our city, and I believe they are such a strong and important force in our city’s progress and development,” Belmonte said, adding that their empowerment will pave the way for increased productivity.

“Sa tingin ko, kapag mas ma-empower pa natin sila, mas maipapakita pa natin sa kanila na sila ay ating minamahal, mas magiging productive sila. There’s so much they can do for the city if we help them,” she added.

Meanwhile, Cristobal also clarified that while the ordinance was formulated with the rights of the LGBT community in mind, it is useful to everyone in the community, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

“Ang maganda dito is the inclusion of gender expression, and this can apply to any person, even heterosexuals, pwede nila magamit itong ordinansa. Halimbawa yung isang babae na medyo masculine ang presentation niya, nadidiscriminate din sila [whether or not they identify as part of the LGBT community.] Kasi sabi daw pang LGBT lang, sabi namin hindi, pasok din ang heterosexual, ang lahat ng tao,” she said.

The ordinance will be implemented after Implementing Rules and Regulations are drafted by the city, in coordination with its pride council.

PDEA receives new vehicles from PCSO


QUEZON CITY, 29 September (PIA) – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) recently received four brand new vehicles from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

“We are truly fortunate to have organizations like PCSO for their support extended to us. Rest assured that these motor vehicles will be instruments in motion towards achieving the strategic objectives and enhancing intelligence build-up of PDEA operations,” PDEA chief Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr. said.

According to PDEA, the brand new vehicles worth P2.6 million were subsidized from the approved budget under the PCSO Trust Fund through the auspices of PCSO Officer-In-Charge and General Manager Hon. Jose Ferdinand Rojas II.

Meanwhile, Cacdac also led the blessing of the new vehicles at the PDEA National Headquarters in Quezon City.

25,000 jobs at stake in QC job fair tomorrow

By Chito A. Chavez

The Quezon City government urged local residents to take advantage of the mega job fair tomorrow (September 30) at the city hall grounds where some 20,000 to 25,000 job vacancies are at stake.

Of the total posted job vacancies, the city’s Public Employment Services Office (PESO) noted a high demand for call center agents, office and clerical positions, store crew and sales personnel, for local manpower pooling.

For overseas employment, the most in demand applicants are registered nurses, domestic helpers and skilled workers such as welders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, engineers, forklift operators, painters, drivers, masons, and factory workers.

Mayor Herbert Bautista encouraged jobseekers to visit the job fair where 60 to 70 participating establishments and firms will be looking to fill up vacancies.

Retail giant SM, which operates ACE Hardware, Watson’s, Our Home, Surplus Shop, Kultura Store and SM Supermarket, are offering a large number of local job vacancies.

Participants in the city’s mega job fair also include McDonalds, So-En garments and EEI Corporation.

QC-PESO has partnered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council, for the hosting of the September 30 jobs fair at QC Hall.

Carlo Magno Abella, PESO chief announced that the city government will be hosting simultaneous job fairs in each of the city’s six districts on October 11, the eve of the city’s celebration of its 75th diamond jubilee year.

SM malls in Quezon City and barangay halls have been designated as venues for the district-hosted jobs fair.

First District Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr. meantime appealed to prospective employers to likewise find vacancies for middle aged and senior citizens who are still capable of working.

“There are age requirements that sometimes are road blocks for applicants in the middle and senior age brackets. Many of them have a lot more left in their tanks. I just hope that they be given the chance to be employed again,’’ Ferrer said.

Philips to help modernize PH Orthopedic Center


MANILA, Philippines - Philips on announced that it has partnered with World Citi Inc. for the new, modern Philippine Orthopedic Center.

The P5.7-billion build-operate-transfer Philippine Orthopedic Center project was awarded to Megawide-World Citi consortium through a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

The project involves the construction of a 700-bed capacity super-specialty tertiary orthopedic hospital. The Philippines' primary center for musculoskeletal diseases will be transferred from its current site along Banawe Avenue in Quezon City to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute compound along East Avenue, also in Quezon City.

“The Philippine Orthopedic Center has been serving Filipinos with quality orthopedic care for over 60 years. We are honored to complement their steadfast dedication with advanced facilities to provide comfort to their patients for decades to come. This further exemplifies Philips’ commitment to help bring meaningful innovations to the lives of Filipinos," said Fabia Tetteroo-Bueno, Country Manager of Philips Philippines.

In 2013 alone, the Philippine Orthopedic Center serviced over 100,000 cases through medical treatment and consultation services (operating room, out-patient department, emergency room, and wards).

"World Citi, with its over 43 years of experience in hospital operations, aims to bring the state-of-the-art equipment and modern facilities to enhance POC’s operational efficiency and provide better health care services to the Filipino public. This partnership with Philips is one major step towards the attainment of these goals," WCI President and CEO Dr. Arlyn Grace V. Guico said.

Philips will bring in medical facilities to the new Philippine Orthopedic Center. The company is globally established as a provider and manufacturer of medical equipment and healthcare solutions.

‘Comet’ e-jeeps debut in Quezon City

By Jaymee T. Gamil (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines—A pollution-free commuter vehicle unveiled during the Manila visit of US President Barack Obama in April—and touted as the earth-friendly successor of the gas-guzzling jeepney—will formally make its debut on Quezon City streets on Saturday.

For the next two weeks and for only P20, commuters can enjoy unlimited rides in the “Comet” or the City-Optimized Managed Electric Transport, whose operations went on a dry run Tuesday and will be officially launched at the SM North Edsa mall Saturday.

An initial fleet of 20 Comets will be rolled out to take passengers on a 22-kilometer route covering Mindanao Avenue, Congressional Road, Luzon Avenue, and Katipunan, according to Global Electric Transport (GET) Philippines, the Comet’s local distributor. End to end, the route will have 30 stops, with depots at SM North and LRT-Katipunan station.

With a 20-passenger capacity, the Comet relies on lithium ion batteries, which can be fully charged in five hours. It can travel up to 80 km on a full charge.

A first in the jeepney sector, Comet fares will be collected through a cash-less payment system using stored-value cards, called GET Passes, which passengers swipe on electronic readers on the shuttle when boarding and alighting.

The Comets will follow the current jeepney fare matrix since they are also regulated by the Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

For the initial run, GET Philippines is offering unlimited rides for holders of P20 GET Passes until Oct. 9, according to the company’s media relations officer, Maria Ana Santos.

In one of the side events of his April 29 visit, Obama was presented the Comet just outside the Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel—where he had stayed overnight— and briefly boarded the zero-emission vehicle.

Its developers, led by former Taguig Representative and now GET Ltd. president Sigfrido Tinga, then cited Comet’s potential as the earth-friendly replacement of the old-fashioned, smoke-belching jeepney on Metro Manila’s roads.

Some 15,000 Comets were envisioned to take the place of 30,000 jeepneys in the metropolis over the next three years, they said.

SSS to launch OFW contact center on October


QUEZON CITY, 25 Sept. (PIA)--The Social Security System (SSS) will launch on October this year a newly created OFW Contact Center Unit (OFW-CSU) to bring their services faster to the overseas Filipino workers.

In a news release, SSS Senior Vice President and International Operations Division Head Judy Frances A. See said the new unit will handle direct contact points for OFWs to allow for a more differentiated servicing and faster resolution of their SSS concerns.

For its initial operations, the OFW-CSU will provide dedicated e-mail support and local call services from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm on weekdays.

In addition, a special assistance desk will be available at the SSS main office in Diliman, Quezon City for walk-in transactions of OFWs, such as registration and issuance of SS numbers, enrollment in Flexi-fund Program, and verification of SSS records. It will also provide OFW members assistance in filing their loans, benefit claims and other SSS applications.

“We understand the unique circumstances of our Kababayan abroad, and so we continue to find ways to make the SSS more accessible to them. The creation of a specialized contact unit for OFWs will enable us to identify their distinct needs and address them accordingly. It will also help us manage the level of transactions with other member service facilities more effectively,” See explained.

OFWs and their families in the Philippines can reach the OFW-CSU by e-mail at ofw.relations@sss.gov.ph or through their service hotlines, (02) 364-7796 and (02) 374-7798.

See added that additional channels and service facilities have been lined up for implementation to fully complement the unit's operations.

“We will open international toll-free numbers so OFWs across the globe can call us without having charges on their end. OFW-CSU's operating hours will also be extended to 24/7 once the required systems are in place,” See said.

Other services that will be rolled out soon include online contact points that utilize VoIP and instant messaging platforms.

“This is still part of our campaign to reach out to Filipino workers here and abroad and ensure their continuing coverage under the SSS. We want not only to increase SSS membership of OFWs but also to ensure active membership. Considering the voluntary nature of their coverage, we can only achieve both by giving them a consistent good experience with our services,” See said.

The SSS reported a total of 983,262 OFW members as of June 2014. Based on the 2013 POEA Compendium of OFW Statistics, more than 1.8-million OFWs were deployed in 2013, of which 464,888 were new hires.

First Maginhawa Street Food Festival on Oct. 11 to celebrate QC’s 75th anniversary

By Dolly Dy-Zulueta (InterAksyon.com)

THE Quezon City government is getting ready for its grand 75th anniversary celebration this October. Having transformed into a thriving metropolis with multifaceted attractions from its creation on October 12, 1939, Quezon City marks its Diamond Jubilee with a series of events that looks back at the city’s rich heritage and pays tribute to accomplished personalities and important events that have helped shape its future.

This series of events includes a Miss Quezon City search, Novena Masses, unveiling of the Mural of History, launch of a commemorative coin and stamp, citywide medical missions and job fairs, Grand Parade of Our Lady of La Naval, Quezon City Float Parade, a Q.C. Dance to Guinness record attempt, international marathon, and Gawad Parangal Grand Night.

A major part of Quezon City’s 75th anniversary celebration will be the first ever Quezon City Food Festival to be held along the two-kilometer stretch of Maginhawa Street, which has emerged as the new food hub in the city. Maginhawa Street is replete with restaurants, mostly hole-in-the-wall and one-of-a-kind dining places that offer unique gastronomic treats.

These are restaurants that can only be found along Maginhawa Street and its peripheral streets. That the once quiet residential neighbourhood has transformed into a lovely food destination is a recent phenomenon. Cafés, desserts places, bakeshops, milk tea salons, burger joints and themed restaurants have mushroomed in the area and have earned rave reviews from people who have dined there.

The Quezon City Food Festival, scheduled on October 11, will have most of the restaurants in the Maginhawa food district participating. The street will be closed to traffic, and the restaurants will be setting up stalls out in the street so diners can “hop” from one place to another to sample what they like at affordable prices. Entrance is free, and the Quezon City government will be giving out P150 worth of gift certificates to a certain number of people which will allow them to redeem plated dishes from any of the participating restaurants.

There will also be free samples from sponsoring companies, such as San Miguel and Oishi, cooking demonstrations to be conducted by the Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS) chefs and students, plus free WiFi courtesy of Smart Communications.

The Quezon City Food Festival is a conscious effort of the Quezon City government to promote Maginhawa Street as a tourist destination and food hub and give businesses in the area a good boost and catapult it into a full-fledged restaurant row.

Some of the dining places along Maginhawa Street are Hillcrest Wellness Café, Roasterrific, Jek’s Ku-bo, RBy’s Steaks and Shakes, Snow Crème and The Daily Jusa.

Hillcrest Wellness Café along Malingap Street, a peripheral street to Maginhawa, is owned by Pastor Reuel Tica of the Hillcrest Baptist Church and a lot of church members are actively involved in its operations. It serves pastas, sandwiches, coffee, healthy fruit and vegetable juices, with lots of Bible verses and inspiring quotations from popular personalities such as Steve Jobs on the walls, and a book shelf as divider.

Roasterrific offers an all-time favorite food, Lechon, in a healthier roast form. Its main product is called Herb-a-licious Lechon, which is a combination of Cebu Lechon and Bagnt and is roasted to perfection. It comes with homemade special sauce, and the roast lechon is sprinkled with a lemongrass-based herb topping.

Jek’s Ku-bo Bulalo at Ulo-ulo is owned by barangay councillor Jessica ‘Jek’ Frayco and offers lutong-bahay (home-cooked) meals in ready-to-eat turo-turo style. The cooked dishes are displayed in a glass counter, and all diners have to do is pick what they want. Jek’s Ku-bo’s specialties are Bulalo and Sinigang na Ulo ng Salmon, plus Salpicao and Adobo Flakes.

RBy’s Steaks and Shakes serves burgers and steak sandwiches as well as rich and thick milkshakes. It’s owned by two sisters, Rowena Zapata-Vera and Bernadette Zapata-Acuña, and since Vera is based in Pennsylvania, U.S.A., they thought of serving Pennsylvania’s popular Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches at RBy’s. The place also offers delicious milkshakes in rich and indulgent flavors such as Banoffee Shake and Choco Hazelnut Shake.

Snow Crème, which can be found at the corner of Maginhawa and Makadios streets, is the place to go for refreshing Snow Ice desserts, smoothies, milk tea, flavored ice tea and light snacks. Its signature product is Snow Ice desserts, which are very smooth and finely shaved flavored ice served in bowls with toppings of diced fruits, chewy taro and sweet potato balls, mocha balls, grass jelly, rainbow crystals and coffee jelly, among others, and then drizzled with a choice of purees or sauces. It also offers light snacks like Chicklets (chicken chops) and French Fries to go with the drinks and desserts.

Giving the newest trend, juicing, a boost is The Daily Jusa, which makes a number of all-natural fruit and vegetable juices conveniently available to those who want to do body cleansing. Customers can order on a per bottle basis at Php150 per bottle, or order for one-, three- and five-day cleanse juices. Jusa delivers within Metro Manila. It also offers ready-to-eat salads complete with dressings.

You may now board Quezon City e-shuttles

By Pia Ranada (Rappler.com)

The electric shuttles meant to render conventional Philippine jeepneys obsolete have hit the road. What do its first passengers think?

MANILA, Philippines – Third year college student John Domingo waits at the first electric shuttle terminal station in SM North EDSA mall, Quezon City, on Tuesday, September 23.

He is one of the first to avail of the free, unlimited rides on e-shuttles traveling between SM North EDSA to LRT Katipunan Station. The free rides, part of a soft launch and route testing of the new e-shuttles, will last until Friday, September 26.

On September 27, the route will be officially launched and the first real rides will be offered to paying passengers starting September 28.

During the soft launch, only 3 e-shuttles – called COMETs (City Optimized Managed Electric Transport) – will be plying the route. But come Sunday, 30 COMETs will be on the road.

Domingo has already purchased his GET (Global Electric Transport) card, the blue and white plastic card that passengers load with credits in order to pay for a ride. It’s P20 ($0.45) to buy the reloadable card that comes with a unique card number registered to you.

Thirty minutes after, the distinctly turquoise and white COMET emerges from the North Avenue mid-day traffic to park neatly inside the mall parking area, in front of the terminal station.

Domingo tucks his tablet in his bag, takes out his GET card and waits in line to swipe his card by the vehicle entrance.

A male voice quips, “Welcome to the COMET!” once the card is properly swiped. Domingo takes his seat and looks at his watch, anxious to make it to his 10:30 am class at the Ateneo de Manila University.

New features

The COMET boasts some key features never before seen in Philippine jeepneys. These include:

• Cashless, tap-in, tap-out payment system
• Powered by lithium ion batteries sealed in a waterproof case
• Set stops located 100 meters from each other along the route
• GPS and Wifi connection for passengers and drivers to use
• Flat screen TV that flashes advertisements and news
• CCTV camera that takes photos of passengers as they tap in their card and is supposed to be a deterrent against robbers
• Connection of the e-shuttle to a command center that communicates with the driver and manages e-shuttle congestion along the route
• Hydraulic wheels that can rise by one foot to enable the e-shuttle to drive through floods
• Side entrance allowing passengers to board from sidewalks instead of having to go in between cars on the road
• Drivers who receive monthly salaries and benefits

During the soft launch period, passengers like Domingo had to wait around 30 minutes for the next COMET to arrive in the station. According to COMET passenger assistance officer JP Nicolas, the maximum waiting time will be 15 minutes.

“In every stop, the COMET will wait 30 seconds. It will leave even if there are no passengers on board. In the two terminal stations, the COMET will wait for one minute,” he told Rappler in Filipino.

The cost of riding the entire route one way is P13 ($0.29), he added. But the first 4 kilometers ridden by a passenger costs only P8.50 ($0.19), just like the fare of traditional jeepneys. Every one kilometer after that costs an additional P1.50 ($0.03).

Passengers can check their card’s balance online in the account created for them right after they buy a card. When the card is out of credits, passengers can reload in various amounts from the terminal stations.

If they lose their card, they must report the loss through their online accounts within one day. The load in the lost card will then be transferred to the new card they buy.

Passenger experience

“Maluwag siya, hindi pipilitin pagkasyahin 'yung mga pasahero. Ang priority talaga niya 'yung comfort ng pasahero,” said Domingo while riding the COMET through Congressional Avenue. (It’s spacious. Drivers won’t force passengers to ride if it’s already full. Passenger comfort is the priority.)

He was commenting on the e-shuttle policy of not taking in more than 20 passengers. Some drivers or conductors of conventional jeepneys tend to fill their vehicles to overcapacity in order to make as much money as they can from one ride. SPACIOUS. Large windows and lots of head room make riding the COMETs similar to riding the LRT 2

SPACIOUS. Large windows and lots of head room make riding the COMETs similar to riding the LRT 2

Jake Guevarra, a pharmaceutical employee on his way to Cherry Fooderama, also appreciated the e-shuttle's novel features.

“Mas comfortable. Maluwag eh. Nakakapanood ka ng TV. 'Tsaka mas mahangin,” Guevarra told Rappler. (It’s comfortable because it’s spacious. I can watch TV.)

True enough, the COMET is much larger than traditional jeepneys giving passengers inside as much as 3 feet in head space. It is even possible to stand inside without hitting your head on the ceiling.

The ample space addresses not only comfort but gender-sensitive issues, said Tess Carlos, a GET card agent.

“In the old jeepneys, women have to bend their backs to get to their seat so they need to cover their chests. With the COMET, they don’t need to bend. And because the floor is low, they don’t need to raise their legs so high to get on board which is awkward when they’re wearing skirts,” she told Rappler in Filipino.

Windows, much larger than those in conventional jeepneys, let lots of air in and allows passengers to get a good grasp of where they are in the city. In comparison, a full-to-the-bursting jeepney requires passengers to turn their heads to see outside their small portion of the window.

But unless the air pollution level in Metro Manila is lowered, the e-shuttle’s large windows will also bring in more smog.

The COMET is also much more quiet, moving through the city without the usual chug and engine-revving of typical jeepneys. Aside from contributing zero noise pollution, the battery-powered shuttles do not spew smog like gasoline-fuelled jeepneys.

Domingo said the COMET’s route saves him money. He usually has to ride a jeep from SM North EDSA to the University of the Philippines Diliman campus and then take another jeep to Katipunan Avenue, costing him P17.

With the COMET, he takes only one ride that goes all the way to Katipunan Avenue and which costs him just P13.

Comfortable for drivers too

The COMET drivers also seem to find the system convenient.

“Hindi na ako mag-iintindi ng bayad nila. Tsaka may tama po akong babaan. Para hindi ako nakakasagabal sa daanan. Alam ko po kung saan ako hihinto,” said COMET driver Reggie Mercado who used to drive conventional jeepneys.

(I don’t have to deal with their payments. And there is a designated stop for me so I don’t get in the way of traffic. I know where to stop.)

The driver’s seat area of all COMETs has two screens: one that shows the e-shuttle’s battery life and another that reminds the driver of the next stop.

Drivers are also required to wear uniforms, which Mercado jokingly said adds “pogi (handsome) points” both to the driver and the COMET.

The convenient, comfortable features of the COMET may very well bump off old jeepneys from the road in the near future. But will Domingo miss the colorful, noisy jeepneys that have become a Philippine cultural icon?

“Probably. Riding the old jeepney is another experience, because of my memories with friends and the struggles with it that have become part of normal life. Maybe they can fuse some old features with the COMET,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

But a few minutes later, Domingo says he has a better answer.

“The COMET will never really replace the jeepney. But it can become a new symbol for the Philippines, a symbol of progress.”

SSS to launch new contact center for OFWs

(KBK, GMA News)

Starting October this year, close to one million overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will have easier means to benefit from the programs and services of the Social Security System (SSS).

In a statement Monday, the SSS said it will launch a newly created OFW Contact Center Unit (OFW-CSU) that will handle direct contact points for OFWs to allow for a more differentiated servicing and faster resolution of their SSS concerns.

For its initial operations, the OFW-CSU will provide dedicated e-mail support and local call services from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays.

In addition, a special assistance desk will be available at the SSS main office in Diliman, Quezon City, for walk-in transactions of OFWs, such as registration and issuance of SS numbers, enrolment in Flexi-fund Program, and verification of SSS records.

It will also provide OFW members assistance in filing their loans, benefit claims and other SSS applications.

“The creation of a specialized contact unit for OFWs will enable us to identify their distinct needs and address them accordingly,” said SSS senior vice president and international operations division head Judy Frances A. See in a statement Monday.

“It will also help us manage the level of transactions with other member service facilities more effectively,” she added.

OFWs and their families in the Philippines can reach the OFW-CSU by e-mail at ofw.relations@sss.gov.ph or through their service hotlines, (02) 364-7796 and (02) 374-7798.

See said additional channels and service facilities have been lined up for implementation to fully complement the unit's operations.

“We will open international toll-free numbers so OFWs across the globe can call us without having charges on their end,” she said. “OFW-CSU's operating hours will also be extended to 24/7 once the required systems are in place.”

Other services that will be rolled out soon include online contact points that utilize VoIP and instant messaging platforms.

The SSS reported a total of 983,262 OFW members as of June 2014. Based on the 2013 POEA Compendium of OFW Statistics, more than 1.8-million OFWs were deployed in 2013, of which 464,888 were new hires.

Night run set in QC


More than 9,000 professional and amateur runners are expected to gather at the Quezon Memorial Circle on Nov. 29 to participate in the much-awaited 4th Quezon City International Marathon (QCIM).

Started in 2010 by the QC local government, it is the first time that global marathon will be held at night. “We’ve decided to bring it back, bigger and better by having a special category for Quezon City residents,” Quezon City Councilors Vincente Belmonte and Dorothy Delarmente during the event’s launching ceremony held recently in QC. Among those who were also present during the ceremony were City Administrator Aldrin Cuna and Maria Cecilia Annonuevo of the AIDS Society of the Philippines.

The two councilors, who are both avid marathoners, represented QC Mayor Herbert Bautista for the event.

Jay Em, race director, said the run shall cover only four categories – 3K, 5K, 10K and 21K. “We decided not to pursue a full marathon (42 kilometers) because we want to encourage people to experience the event, have fun and celebrate the 75th anniversary of Quezon City.

“This year, the tried and tested public support for the QCIM will make the race an effective platform for informing people about climate change and how they can best adapt to it,” Belmonte said.

Delarmene said QC has been declared by the United Nations as one of the cities with “measurable, reportable, and verifiable actions on climate change” being one of the signatories of the Mexico Pact in line with the Global Cities Covenant on Climate Change.

“It is our vision to further improve and be able to preserve the environmental and social landscape of the city for the future generations,” the two QC officials added.

Quezon City to mark 75th anniversary with parades, food festivals, and more


A home for many, Quezon City is multifaceted: it is an entertainment capital, a shopping destination, a health and wellness center, a locus of government operations—and it will be celebrating its Diamond Jubilee starting next month. The city-wide birthday bash will celebrate 75 years of growth, and toast to more ahead.

However, you must look back before you can move forward.

The city is rich with heritage, but the memories are reduced to faded photographs and unopened textbooks. For its 75th anniversary this year, the QC government prepared a set of activities designed to pay tribute to the monumental figures and events that served as its foundation.

“Maraming mga historical places in Quezon City na siguro ay maganda rin na malaman ng mga mamamayan... lalo na ang kabataan,” former Councilor Bert Galarpe says.

He cites as an example the Quezon Memorial Circle, the city’s most famous landmark. At the center is the Quezon Memorial Shrine, a 66-meter mausoleum that houses the remains of President Manuel Quezon and his wife. The length represents the age at which the former president died.

Also found inside the Circle is the Quezon Heritage House, QC Shrine, and the Urban Farming project of Joy Belmonte. However, the list of notable landmarks doesn’t stop there—the Tandang Sora Shrine and the Santuario de San Pedro Bautista Church are always open to visitors.

And of course, Maginhawa Street is always worth visiting.

One of the highlights of the upcoming celebration is the food festival in Maginhawa, held on the night of the Grand Welcome, October 11. The whole street will be closed down to accommodate the fest and all the restaurants will be serving food for everyone.

This event aims to promote Maginhawa as the main food hub of the city. If all turns out well, there is a chance of a repeat performance in the coming years.

Besides the food festival, there will also be street parties in all six districts of Quezon City. Everyone will be treated to a night of music, performances, food, and fireworks as they countdown to the city’s anniversary. Simultaneously, there will be a city-wide medical mission, job fairs, fun run, Senior Citizens' Program, Sports Exhibition by the PSC, Skateboard Competition, Volleyball Tournament, Rock Concert, Martsa ng Musiko, among others.

The Diamond Celebrations will be held the day after, October 12. The city will launch the Quezon City Airship (a 60-foot long, helium-powered balloon that will ascend the city skies at approximately 400 feet high) and the Zumba Fitness Outdoor Party (a high-energy celebration of fitness and fun community camaraderie with a goal to make a new Guinness world record for the largest Zumba party) at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

The events will not be limited to the month of October. There will be parades, concerts, games, sales, fairs, marathons, and marches to last until 2015.

It is clearer now that Mayor Herbert Bautista aims to realize the dream of the city’s founder, Manuel Quezon - the dream of city that is rich in spirit and culture and achievements.

“The 75th-year celebration of cityhood gives us the perfect opportunity to show off what Quezon City has to offer,” said Mayor Bautista. “This is why we are inviting everyone to become part of our city’s many celebrations as we collectively show our support and pride as residents of this premier city.”

A unique technology museum at the NCC

By Alexander Villafania

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – As mobile phones, television sets and other devices get “smarter”, it would be nice for today’s generation of users to see how these gadgets have evolved.

Interestingly, there is a museum for this. At the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) headquarters at the University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman campus, a small space in the first floor was provided to become a sort-of tech museum.

As with technology, the agency has had several changes in official names – from the National Computer Institute, to the National Computer Center (NCC) and now ICTO, a sub-agency of the Department of Science and Technology.

The museum houses some of the ‘vintage’ hardware that the NCC used. A few years ago, the NCC administration decided to put up a small museum to highlight decades-old hardware instead of discarding these.

Good thing, officials have the decided to keep these around as these would provide insight into the world when there were no mobile phones, tablet PCs, and even the Internet.

Actually, visiting the NCC IT Museum is like visiting an old warehouse; the displayed items are all stacked together.

Because the NCC building itself is quite old, it actually feels like being at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Like dinosaur bones on display, these relics of technology are more than anything curios that can draw out surprising gasp to visitors. “We had something like that before?” one would exclaim.

While there are only a few antiques being displayed at the NCC IT Museum, most of them are quite interesting to look at. Some of the best ones are a bunch of slide projectors and cameras circa the 1960s to 1980s, including a Kodak Ektagraphic III slide projector (1971), a Bell Howell Filmsound 16mm film (1960) camera, and a Sony Trinicon Color Camera (1972).

There are also several vintage computers at the IT Museum. At the time, Intel-based PCs were coming about, there were other computers manufacturers competing for the relatively growing personal computer market.

One of these was Radio Shack, which released the Tandy Radio Shack (TRS) 80 Model 4 in 1983. Using a Zilog Z80A processor running at 4 megahertz, this was among the fastest computers at that time. It had a 12 inch monochrome display and two floppy drives with each having 48 kilobytes.

It also had a unique Expansion Interface (E/I) that allowed it to connect to external devices such as another 48 kb floppy drive and a cassette tape port. The E/I is among the predecessors of today’s USB port.

The legendary Apple II computer is also on display at the museum. The Apple II is easily the most successful mass produced personal computer during its time. It was launched in 1977 and it had a 1 MHz processor, 4 Kb of memory and two floppy drives. It is displayed alongside a PerkinElmer 550 terminal, introduced in 1978.

The museum also had at least a dozen Internet modems that were mostly built before units that were 14 kilobits per second (actually, one of the models on display, the MultiTech MultiModem V32 provided 9.6 kbps).

There are also a number of huge servers (Compaq Proliant Server ML 530) and storage devices (antique floppy discs and a ZIP Drive). It’s actually funny because these became extinct only around 15 years ago – by today’s technology standards, that’s already equivalent to 15 million years ago.

It would have been nice, though, if the ICTO would make a bigger and a better-maintained IT museum so that people can remember how the evolution of technology took place.

Quezon City mounts first QCIM night run

(advt, INQUIRER.net)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Around 9,000 professional and amateur runners will gather at the Quezon Memorial Circle on November 29 to participate in the much-awaited 4th Quezon City International Marathon (QCIM).

Started in 2010 by the QC local government, this year will be the first time the global marathon event will be held at night. “We’ve decided to bring it back, bigger and better by having a special category for Quezon City residents,” said Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista in a press conference held at Annabel’s Restaurant on Tuesday (Sept. 16).

Jay Em, the race director of the 4th QCIM said the run shall cover only four categories; 3K, 5K, 10K and 21K.

“We decided not to pursue a full marathon because we want to encourage people to experience the event, have fun and celebrate the 75th anniversary of Quezon City,” he said. A full marathon is 42 kilometers long.

“Consistent with tradition, the race will be held at the Quezon Memorial Circle, the shrine of our city’s founding father, Manuel Luis Quezon, President of the Philippine Commonwealth. From there, it will proceed to Quezon Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue before going back to the Quezon Memorial Circle,” Bautista said.

He added “the QCIM shall engage the participation of both QC and non-QC residents across ages. In the process, we hope to raise their awareness and level of involvement on urgent social concerns.”

“This year, the tried and tested public support for the QCIM will make the race an effective platform for informing people about climate change and how they can best adapt to it,” Bautista said.

“Our efforts to tackle climate change adaptation have not been in vain,” he added. In 2011, Quezon City was declared by the United Nations as one of the cities with measurable, reportable, and verifiable actions on climate change.

Quezon City is also one the signatories of the Mexico Pact, which is the Global Cities Covenant on Climate. “This covenant establishes a monitoring and verification mechanism for cities to address climate change,” Bautista said. The covenant was presented to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico.

“Through the QCIM Night Run, we are also hoping to get more volunteers for the AIDS Society of the Philippines. The HIV epidemic is rapidly increasing with NCR as the region with the most number of cases. We need to address it the soonest,” Bautista said.

The Department of Health reported that there were 585 new HIV-positive individuals confirmed and recorded for the month of July 2014. This was 30 percent higher compared to the same period last year, the highest number of cases ever reported in a month. This puts the total number of HIV cases to 3,399 from January to July 2014 and 19,915 since 1984.

“It is my vision to further improve and be able to preserve the environmental and social landscape of the city for the future generations. Thus, the 75th Anniversary theme ‘Future Perfect,’ I believe that these two factors (Human and Environment) are key to a more sustainable Quezon City,” Bautista said.

LWUA marks 41st year; P30-B loans granted, 2,171 projects completed

(Manila Bulletin)

The Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) marks its 41st anniversary today (Sept, 18) in a simple celebration at its head office in Balara, Quezon City.

Since its establishment in 1973, LWUA has organized a total of 844 water districts covering 966 provincial cities and municipalities and granted close to P30 billion in financial assistance to these water districts which translates to a total of 2,171 completed water supply projects directly benefiting 19.3 million Filipinos in the countryside.

LWUA Administrator Andres F. Ibarra announced that the LWUA is focusing on housecleaning and institutional reforms. LWUA identified and implemented corrective measures to ensure adherence to sound financial and internal control principles. Losses from unsound investments in the past are being recovered gradually.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) recently confirmed a $60 million loan package for LWUA from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) a portion of which is allocated to fund septage management projects of water districts as well as to assist Bulacan water districts in conjunction with MWSS’ Bulacan Bulk Water Project. LWUA has also been selected by NEDA as one of the 3 recipients of a grant under the General Appropriations Act to conduct feasibility studies for sanitation /septage plans as well as non-revenue water reduction and control programs.

Ibarra added that LWUA now has the full trust and confidence of the national leadership. In his recent State of the Nation address, President Benigno Aquino III underscored the need to continuously develop water supply systems in order for the country to sustain its growing population and economic growth

The ceremonies will be led by the LWUA Board of Trustees headed by its ex-officio vice-chairman and administrator Andres F. Ibarra. The other members of the LWUA Board are Trustees Eduardo Santos, Maria Catalina E. Cabral and Soledad Emilia J. Cruz.

QCinema 2014 Circle Competition Launched


MANILA, Philippines - The Quezon City Film Development Commission (QCFDC) is now accepting entries for theQCinema 2014 Circle Competition.

The competition is one of the features of the upcoming QCinema International Film Festival, slated from November 5 to 11, 2014 at the Ayala Trinoma Mall.

It was launched recently to highlight Quezon City’s contribution to the Philippine film industry in the past and in the future as the country’s "City of the Stars." It thus carries tthe theme “From Flashback to Fast Forward.”

The contest is open to local films and documentaries produced this year with large cash prizes to be awarded to the winning filmmakers.

The Pylon Awards Best Picture winner will be given P300,000. The Jury Prize winner will be given P200,000, Audience Choice winner will be given P100,000, and the Gender Sensitivity winner will be given P100,000.

It is open to all Filipino filmmakers who own rights to their films. Minimum running time for fiction is 70 minutes and 45 minutes for the documentary.

The film must not have competed in any local competition. However, films screened in foreign festivals will be accepted.

Aside from the competition entries, the international film festival will also feature various films funded by the Quezon City Film Development Commission (QCFDC) and an exhibition of foreign films from recent A-list festivals abroad.

Deadline for submission is September 26, 2014, 5:00 PM. Entries will be received at VPF Creative Productions Office, PM Bldg., Unit 207, 
#24 Matalino St., Central, Quezon City. Entries must be in a DVD format with English subtitles, if necessary.

Max's Group to open hotel in Quezon City


MANILA, Philippines – The Max's Group of Companies will be venturing into the hotel business with its first project expected to open next year.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Monday, the Max’s Group confirmed that is preparing to launch its first hotel, the Meranti, in Quezon City.

The 59-room hotel, which will operate under Max’s subsidiary RooM Ventures Corp., is located along Scout Tuazon.

“We confirm that the Company is preparing to launch its first hotel, through subsidiary RooM Ventures, Corp. Situated along Scout Tuazon Street and across the Company’s heritage store in Quezon City, the Meranti will be featuring 59 rooms complemented by recreational and dining facilities,” the company said.

The Meranti is set to open by early 2015.

The Max’s Group and Pancake House Inc. recently merged through a P4.05 billion share-swap deal to create the country's largest restaurant group.

The combined entity now operates Max's Restaurant, Max's Corner Bakery, Krispy Kreme, and Jamba Juice, Pancake House, Yellow Cab, Le Coeur De France, Dencio's, Teriyaki Boy, Singkit, Sizzling Pepper Steak, Kabisera, the Chicken Rice Shop, and Maple.

'Last mile' truck route eases traffic from NLEX to QC --MMDA


MANILA, Sept. 14 (PNA) -- The implementation of the "last mile" truck route has resulted to smoother traffic situation along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to A. Bonifacio Ave. in Quezon City, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Sunday.

Emerson Carlos, MMDA assistant general manager for operations, said traffic became light from NLEX to main roads leading to the Manila port since Sept. 8 due to the “last mile” truck routes.

The MMDA implemented the “last mile” truck routes after a traffic gridlock occurred last Sept. 5 at the southbound lane of NLEX and roads leading to the Port of Manila.

Designated truck routes are A. Bonifacio Ave. coming from NLEX, passing through C-3 Road in Caloocan City, straight to Road 10 to the Manila port.

Trucks coming from Cavite Expressway may take Roxas Blvd. to the port area, while trucks from Southern Luzon may pass through Osmeña Highway-Quirino to Roxas Blvd.

Carlos said 1,003 trucks were tagged with “lasmayl” stickers last week, which are valid until Sunday.

According to Carlos, the last mile route has special privilege to the truckers who are allowed to travel on the main roads of Metro Manila to their respective warehouses on a 24-hour basis.

The 24-hour scheme would allow trucks coming from the Manila port to get to their warehouses in the metropolis even during truck-ban hours as long as they carry cargo for shipment to their designated end-points.

However, Carlos said the 24-hour “last mile routes” shall not be applicable along Epifanio Delos Santos Ave. (EDSA) where a total truck ban is strictly observed; España (from Quezon Blvd. to Rotonda); Ortigas (from Santolan to Legarda); and Taft Ave. where the 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. truck ban is implemented.

The last mile truck routes will be implemented from Sept. 8 to 22.

Carlos said the agency will leave it to the Metro Manila Council (MMC) to decide whether to extend the “last mile” routes scheme.

The MMC, which is composed of 17 Metro Manila mayors, is the policy-making body of the MMDA.

The MMDA explained that in transportation, the "last mile" refers to the movement of people and goods from a transport hub to its final destination. From the point of view of truckers, this refers to the movement of cargo trucks from the port to their warehouses inside and outside Metro Manila.

QCPU to accept senior high students in 2016


MANILA, Sept. 13 (PNA)--The Quezon City government’s QC Polytechnic University (QCPU) said Saturday that it will be offering senior high school education beginning school year 2016 – 2017 to help manage the initial implementation of the enhanced basic education program or the K – 12 education curriculum

In an ordinance principally authored by Councilor Julienne Alyson Rae Medalla, signed recently by Mayor Herbert Bautista, QCPU’s resources shall be utilized for the purpose of offering senior high school education to QC students who will be enrolling in Grades 11 and 12 in June 2016.

Aside from managing the effect of the initial implementation of the K - 12 education curriculum, the ordinance also seeks to mitigate the expected low multi-year low enrolment turnout for higher educational institutions starting 2016.

Under the ordinance, general policies and regulations on admissions, fees, government subsidies, curricula, class schedule, faculty qualifications, training, compensation and other matters relevant to the implementation of the senior high school education shall be established by the QCPU Board of Regents in close coordination with the division of city schools.

As provided also under the newly-approved measure, QC will be offering the program until the end of school year 2020 – 2021, which has been considered by the Department of Education (DepEd) as the transition period provided under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10533, otherwise known as the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.

The ordinance also provides for the expansion of the charter of the QCPU, which is being developed by the QC government as a premiere educational institution that will provide responsive education, especially to poor but deserving students in the city.

Funding requirements necessary to implement the senior high school education program at QCPU shall be made available from the city’s general fund.

It was reported that over 40,000 QC students are projected to enroll in Grade 11 in 2016. The figure, however, still excludes possible enrollees from private schools

Senior high school education, under RA 10533, is a specialized upper secondary education composed of two grade levels, specifically, Grades 11 and 12 where students may choose to enroll in four different tracks, namely, academic, technical-vocational, sports or the arts, with each having core subjects and specialization.

MMDA set to implement one-truck lane policy along Katipunan starting Saturday

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

MANILA, Sept. 12 (PNA) -- To help address traffic congestion caused by the big volume of trucks traversing the metropolis' thoroughfares, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will implement another one-truck lane policy along Katipunan Avenue starting on Saturday.

In an interview on Friday, MMDA Assistant General Manager Emerson Carlos said they will implement the "truck discipline lane" to address the traffic congestion along the entire stretch of Katipunan Avenue from White Plains to Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City.

Carlos said trucks shall only use the third lane along the entire stretch of Katipunan, same with the policy earlier implemented along the Circumferential 5 Road or C5.

The one-truck lane in Katipunan will complement the same policy in C5 as most cargo trucks coming from the latter are also expected to ply Katipunan to reach their destinations in the city or other nearby areas.

The MMDA initially implemented the one-truck lane policy along C-5 starting Sept. 1 and is expected to be observed until Jan. 31, 2015.

Trucks may use the road during the truck hours from Monday to Saturday, including Sundays and holidays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The measure is aimed to address traffic congestion in the whole stretch of Katipunan Road, caused by a huge increase in the volume of trucks coming from C5 Road.

Along with the implementation of this one-truck lane policy, four U-turn slots between Aurora flyover and C.P. Garcia will be closed.

Traffic Engineering Center head Noemie Recio said that to replace these closed U-Turn slots, traffic lights will be operational near Ateneo Gate 3 and Miriam College Gate 1.

She said additional traffic enforcers will also be deployed to monitor the implementation of the policy which will fine violators with P2,000 and recommend the possible blacklisting of erring trucking companies.

Earlier, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said that there was an 80-percent increase in the total volume of trucks taking C-5 during the granting of provisional permits to the applicants and the no-apprehension policy of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) prompting the agency to come up with this solution.

PCS, PMA extend free surgery to 150 indigents with cysts


MANILA, Sept. 11 (PNA) -- About 150 indigents who are suffering from sebaceous cysts or "bukol" in the body had availed free surgical procedure Thursday at the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) Auditorium in North Avenue, Quezon City.

According to Dr. Dennis H. Littaua, Philippines College of Surgeons (PCS) Foundation chairman, the free surgery is done in cooperation with PMA, PCS Metro Manila Chapter and Quezon City Medical Society.

Dr. Littaua cited that the free operation is a part of the free medical services that they extend every year as part of the celebration of the founding anniversary of PMA.

For its 10th year anniversary, they chose “Operation Bukol” and Lay Forum on "Bukol sa Apdo" activities to kick-off their celebration.

“We usually conduct this kind of activity every second week of September, or before the annual PMA Medicine Week Celebration and foundation week of PMA,” said Littaua in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.

He added that about 50 fellow doctors had joined them in the advocacy and they are welcoming other similar organizations who wants to complement the assistance that they are extending to indigents needing medical surgery for their cysts.

He said that they just limit the surgery to some usual forms of sebaceous cysts in some parts of the patient’s body such as those found in the hand, forehead, arms, feet and back.

Sebaceous cysts are common noncancerous cysts of the skin. Cysts are abnormalities in the body that may contain liquid or semi-liquid materials.

“We refer other complicated and more complex cysts cases to the nearby big hospitals like Veterans Memorial Hospital, QMMC and others,” he added.

He also said that through a lay forum about awareness on gallstones, the public were given the opportunity to listen to free lectures to find out what is the difference between gallstones and kidney stones, the symptoms, importance of treatment and the ways to treat it.

The lecture was given by Dr. Anthony R. Perez, a surgeon of gallstones in Philippine General Hospital, St. Lukes Global and Asian Hospital.

PSA celebrates 1st Anniversary

By Czarina Nicole Ong (Manila Bulletin)

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will celebrate its first year anniversary on Friday at the PSA Complex, East Avenue, Quezon City.

With the theme, “PSA: Working Together as One,” the statistics agency will be holding several meaningful activities that will honor its first year of operation.

Among the scheduled activities are the hanging of streamers and tarpaulins in PSA buildings, tree-planting activity, and thanksgiving program with earth-saving awareness, which will be done via a video presentation.

PSA National Statistician Dr. Lisa Grace S. Bersales called for participation for the tree-planting activity and thanksgiving program, which will be the highlights of their anniversary.

The PSA was formed in connection to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No.10625, otherwise known as the Philippine Statistical Act of 2013.

As the primary statistical arm of the government, the National Statistics Office (NSO), together with three other major statistical agencies engaged in the collection and compilation data for planning and policy purposes, have joined forces to become the PSA.

The three other agencies are the National Statistical Coordination Board, Bureau of Agricultural Statistics of the Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics of the Department of Labor.

Free TB testing, treatment for QC students

By Jaymee T. Gamil (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines–Around 23,000 children in Quezon City between the ages of three and four will be tested for tuberculosis under a worldwide program aimed at eradicating the disease by 2015.

The “End TB” program, which is a partnership between the city government and the Rotary International (RI) group, will see students of the city’s 289 daycare centers being screened for the disease free of charge. Should any of them test positive, they will also receive free treatment.

In a forum held last week by the Philippine College of Physicians, Quezon City Anti-Tuberculosis program head Rochelle Paulino said that TB was one of the most common diseases among the city’s three million residents.

“It’s the sixth cause of morbidity in Quezon City. The health department and the local government have long had programs for it but the problem is that logistics are limited when it comes to children,” she added.

RI District 3780 “End TB” project coordinator Baby Allado said that they were expecting around 6,000 to test positive for the disease.

AFP Reserve Command to play a more aggressive role in climate change efforts


MANILA, Sept. 6 (PNA) -- With climate change now a growing concern worldwide, the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) Reserve Command is now taking a more active role in helping the country contain threat of global warning.

In line with this, AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang on Saturday said that the Reserve Command will be one of the strong pillars of the military in addressing the challenges of the 21st century.

He added that he will do everything he can to develop the AFP Reserve Force so that it can be the first responders in the aftermath of any natural calamities and disaster.

“The call that we have in the AFP as protectors of our nation now encompasses a greater mission of safeguarding our fellow Filipinos from the devastating effects of climate change and various natural disasters,” Catapang said.

“Reservists are partners towards unity and nation-building with the high sense of compassion and dedication to our pledged commitment. They whole-heartedly rendered their services without anything in return. We commend all of the efforts they have done to our stakeholders, the Filipino people,” AFP Reserve Command chief Brig. Gen. Alex C. Capiña said.

Incidentally, the nation on Saturday is celebrating the opening ceremony of the 35th AFP National Reservist Week.

“You now have in your hands the bigger responsibility of taking part of the disaster risk reduction endeavors of our nation. I urge every one of you to take this objective in much dedication. You have proven to be truly an indispensable force in our organization,” the AFP chief told reservists present during Saturday's ceremonies.

In line with this, the AFP Reservist and Retiree Affairs and AFP Reserve Command launched the annual tree growing program earlier in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

In coordination with the military camp commanders, a total of 700 seedlings of Bukidnon Gold Cherry Blossom trees will be planted and nurtured in Camp Aguinaldo, Fort Bonifacio and Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.

This will be followed by the simultaneous tree growing activities in selected areas in various parts of the country from October onwards.

The program is aimed at growing one million trees in 10 years through a sustained tree growing program in order to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

The growing of at least one tree per year for every reservist and administrator would result to the production of more than 100,000 trees per year.

In 10 years’ time of implementation, the AFP Reserve Force can produce more than one million trees. At present, the AFP has a total of 106,376 ready reserve force and reservist administrators.

To ensure the success of this program, the AFP has called on the assistance of other government agencies and stakeholders particularly the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Commission on Indigenous People, and local government units across the country.

QC-based PCOO personnel conduct earthquake reaction and evacuation drill

By Leilani S. Junio & Angelica A. Abuan [(PNA) SCS/LSJ and AAA (OJT)]

MANILA, Sept. 5 (PNA) -- An earthquake reaction and evacuation drill was conducted Friday afternoon as a preparatory measure to ensure the safety of hundreds of government employees working at the National Media Center along Visayas Ave. in Quezon City in case of a strong temblor.

The participants in the drill were officials and employees of government media agencies under the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), namely Philippine Information Agency (PIA); News and Information Bureau-Philippines News Agency (NIB-PNA); Philippine Broadcasting Service-Radyo ng Bayan (PBS-DZRB); and People's Television Network (PTV-4).

According to Francis M. Martin, PIA Administrative Assistant and Team Leader for Building Preparedness and Response Team, the earthquake drill was designed for the whole family of Quezon City-based employees working under the PCOO headed by Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr.

“We conduct this to increase awareness on the things that should be done in case of earthquake to avoid casualties or achieve a zero casualty in case a strong earthquake happens,” said Martin in an interview with the PNA.

He explained that they earlier conducted a meeting Thursday among representatives of the QC-headquartered PCOO family to map out the plan for the earthquake drill.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Friday, more than 200 employees went out of various exit points after they did a duck, cover and hold scenario inside the four-story PIA Building. They gathered at the flagpole area in front of the building.

Martin said he noticed that the target of less than three minutes for the employees to come out safely from the building was not quite achieved as there were some who came out more than the allotted time.

“I noticed also that some participants did not place a cover on their head as they went to the exit points,” he added.

“We will evaluate the results so that we will enhance more our forthcoming drills to ensure that the target for zero or less casualties will be achieved in case an anticipated earthquake happens,” he said.

He also said that they will be inviting other experts in disaster management to help them come out with better precautionary measures.

As one of the preparations in case of occurrence of an earthquake, he said they advised the employees to put a strap on cabinet that have the tendency to fall during tremors.

Another action plan that they will be using is by giving the employees whistles and flashlights so that the response and rescue team can immediately locate an employee who may get hurt during an intense quake.

They also listed the total number of senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and those with hypertension and illness in the building so that emergency response teams can immediately assist them before a rescue team comes as instructed by Secretary Coloma last year.

“It is very important to be prepared since we never know when earthquake can happen. We hope that we have learned from this drill can also be practiced inside your homes and communities as well,” Martin told the employees after the conduct of the drill.

LTFRB to meet GPS providers, suppliers to discuss installation of system in PUBs


MANILA, Sept. 4 (PNA) -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is set to meet with Global Positioning System (GPS) providers and suppliers in a consultative meeting next week.

In a statement on Thursday, the LTFRB said the topics to be discussed in the meeting will include the requirement of GPS in all public utility bus (PUB) units and implementing guidelines in the accreditation of GPS suppliers or providers.

The meeting is scheduled on Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. at the LTFRB Central Office in Quezon City.

According to the LTFRB, requiring operators of PUBs to install GPS is aimed at promoting safety, protection, comfort and convenience to the commuting public.

GPS will be used for speed-tracking buses, the LTFRB said.

Mass wedding for District 5 residents set Sept.7


MANILA, Sept. 3 (PNA)--A mass wedding ceremony for couples in District 5, Quezon City will be held at the Activity Center of Fairview Terraces, Fairview, Quezon City on Saturday, (September 7) at 1:00 in the afternoon.

According to Joel Domopoy, a staff from the office of 5th District Councilor Godofredo T. Liban, the mass wedding ceremony is targeting at least 180 couples.

“The mass wedding ceremony is a joint project of Councilor Liban together with Councilors Jose Visaya, Julienne Allyson Rae V. Medalla (all from the 5th District of QC) and Congressman Alfred Vargas for the QC’s 5th district residents,” said Domopoy in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.

He added that the councilors and Rep. Vargas shouldered the fees for the venue, ceremony, photo coverage and registration of marriage contracts.

He added that those who still wish to avail the free marriage ceremony may still register on the venue on the same day, a few hours before the beginning of the ceremony.

The mass wedding ceremony is conducted every month by the said councilors and Vargas as they see the need to fullfill the dream of a "wedded love" for many of their majority constituents who cannot afford the high cost of a wedding ceremony.

It is highly recommended for couples who want to reduce the expenses of getting married.

QC gov't links with Rotary Int'l District 3780 in END TB Program


MANILA, Sept. 2 (PNA) -- The Quezon City government has linked up with the Rotary International (RI) District 3780 in boosting the National Anti-TB Program to end tuberculosis, especially among children, in day care centers in the city.

Dr. Rochelle Paulino, head of the QC Anti-TB Program, said the city government and RI, through D3780, have launched the END TB Program which aims to help reduce the prevalence of tuberculosis in the city, especially among children 3 to 4 years old.

During the health forum held Tuesday at the Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City, Paulino said that under the agreement, RI-D3780 will conduct the screening to detect possible TB infection among 23,000 pupils in the 289 day care centers of Quezon City.

RI-D3780 will provide medicines, as necessary and within its resources, for the treatment of children with TB.

RI-D3780 launched the END TB Program as an initiative to start a nationwide campaign to involve all 10 Rotary Districts in the Philippines.

END TB, as a health program, has an acrostic such as: E stands for Education involving lay forum on proper hygiene and distribution of anti-TB materials; N stands for Nutrition involving feeding and vitamin supplementation; and D stands for Detection involving screening, diagnosis, referral and treatment.

Baby Allado, project coordinator of RI-D3780 End TB project, said they target children, realizing that anti-TB program for children is very limited as compared to the more focused program of free treatment of tuberculosis among adults.

A recent Department of Health (DOH) Tuberculosis Study revealed that approximately two million children (aged 0-13 years) in the Philippines are infected with TB or primary complex and 40,000 develop the disease each year, Allado said.

This prompted them to focus the provision of free screening and anti-TB medicines for the full course of treatment of afflicted children aged 3 to 4 years (most vulnerable population) in the 289 day care centers of Quezon City.

Army to participate in 2014 AFP-PNP Olympics


MANILA, Sept. 1 (PNA) -- The Philippine Army will participate in the 2014 AFP-PNP Olympics which will open on Tuesday at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Men and women in uniform from the major services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police will compete in different sporting events such as volleyball, football, boxing, karatedo, taekwondo, badminton, softball, chess, marathon, basketball, triathlon, shooting, arnis, table tennis, lawn tennis, swimming, and fun games (Officers' relay and tug-of-war).

The AFP-PNP Olympics is a yearly event that cultivates the spirit of active involvement of military and police personnel in competitive sports, thereby promoting physical fitness, moral values and sports development.

Likewise, the cooperation and camaraderie among members of the AFP and the PNP are strengthened through this sports competition.

The Army, who is always aiming for excellent performance whether in military operation or in the performance of other non-traditional roles, is expected to showcase their excellence in sports during the Olympics which is scheduled to culminate on Sept. 23.

Meanwhile, in line with the vision of the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR), the Philippine Army continues to pursue sports development, which prepares and equips soldier-athletes to become world-class.