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Zamboanga City News November 2011

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Zamboanga City - Archived News

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Zambo rice production up by 32.6%

By Bong Garcia

THE Zamboanga Peninsula rice production for the third quarter of this year is higher by 32.6 percent, representing an increase of 54,447 metric tons (MT) compared to the same period of last year.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) regional office data showed that this year's third quarter rice production has reached 221,552 MT compared to the same period of last year's yield of 167,105 MT.

This came about as the areas harvested for rice have expanded by 27 percent, representing an expansion of 12,246 hectares during the third quarter this year compared to that of last year, the NSCB explained.

This year's third quarter areas harvested have reached 56,157 hectares compared to 43,911 hectares of the same period in 2010, the NSCB added.

“The significant increases in production and area harvested were due to sufficient rainfall resulting to more plantings in both rain-fed and irrigated areas,” the NSCB said.

The NSCB said the rice yield has also increased from 3.8 MT per hectare during the third quarter of the previous year to 3.9 MT per hectare in the third quarter this year.

The provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte are considered as the rice granaries of the region since vast track of lands are plated to rice.

‘Juego Na Zamboanga’ kicks off

By Monch L. Follosco

The Division of Zamboanga City Athletic Association (DZCAA) games dubbed as "Juego Na Zamboanga" formally opened from November 27 to December 2, 2011, at the Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex (JFEMSC).

Thousands of athletes in the elementary and secondary levels joined the opening ceremony with this year’s theme: “Live the dream: Compete, achieve, succeed!,”

A total of eight participating clusters from east to west coasts will see action in the games, this includes the cluster areas of ALAA, ZAMBAWESAA, SMPAA, MASTTAA, MMAA, CVAA, SCUAA and PSZCAU.

Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) Pedro Melchor Natividad gave the welcome remarks and challenged the athletes to practice sportsmanship and win more friends.

“Enjoy and have fun while trying to perform your best,” Natividad said.

“Continue to uplift the sports program of the city,” District 1 Congresswoman Beng Climaco said before a crowd of participants and guests.

Climaco also led the raising of DZCAA banner together with DepEd Regional Chief of School Sports Abdurajik Kani, SDS Pete Natividad and different cluster heads with their respective cluster banners.

Mayor Celso Lobregat delivered the inspirational message. “Parents should always support their children not only in academics but also in extra-curricular activities,” Lobregat said.

Palarong Pambansa 2011 gold medalist Jemy Columbres led the declaration of Athletes’ Oath and Tournament Director Jane Dela Torre led the oath for Officiating officials while SDS Pedro Melchor Natividad led the formal opening of the DZCAA Games – Juego Na Zamboanga 2011.

DOST-IX to conduct training on peanut & banana processing

by Thelma Diego(JPA/ TD/DOST/PIA9-ZBST)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 28 (PIA) -- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) IX is set to conduct a Technology Training on Food Processing scheduled on December 1 – 2 here.

Some thirty (30) worker- members of SAMAHANG MANGGAGAWA SA PERMEX (SMP) of Ayala Industrial District are expected to attend the two-day workshop.

Specifically, the technology training is aimed at providing the participants with scientific knowledge and techniques on processing four food technologies / products such as Greaseless Peanuts, Peanut Brittle, Sugar-Coated Peanuts, and Banana Chips.

Greaseless peanuts, Peanut Brittle and Sugar-coated peanut are widely known appetizers in the country. While Banana chips are deep-fried and/or dried slices of bananas.

The DOST-IX food processing experts, Ms. Sonora L. Buñag and Ms. Jovita A. Amparo will serve as the resource speakers / trainers in the said event. Participants who are interested to go into business may request for a follow-thru hands-on training.

The conduct of this technology training is DOST’s response to provide livelihood program to canned sardines workers who will be displaced during the closed fishing season from December to March.

DTI alerts public to buy only ICC marked Christmas lights

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez(JPA/DTI/PIA9-ZBST)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 27 (PIA) -- The Trade and Industry department alerts the public to be vigilant in choosing Christmas lights to decorate their homes and advises people to buy only those that bear the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) mark sticker to ensure a hazard and accident- free Christmas festivity.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 9 in a press statement said only sets of Christmas lights with ICC mark sticker have passed the department’s mandatory tests and are therefore, safe and reliable to use.

DTI said substandard Christmas lights products pose hazards such as electric shock and overheating that often lead to fire, property damages and even loss of lives.

The press statement further cautions the public that there are Christmas lights with bogus pre-printed ICC mark on its package. “Those sets of Christmas lights with pre-printed ICC mark on its package are definitely uncertified and did not undergo tests and inspections of DTI,” the statement reads.

DTI said the genuine ICC mark is in sticker form and comes with a unique serial number.

DTI regulates the sale of Christmas lights in the local market to protect consumers. “Under the DTI-Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) Product Certification Scheme, all importers of Christmas lights shall secure an ICC certificate prior to the sale and distribution to local market,” the press statement said.

Zambo hosts 28th Area Assembly of Mindanao Geodetic Engineers

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez(JPA/DTI/PIA9-ZBST)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 26 (PIA) -- Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines Inc. (GEPI) has chosen Zamboanga as the host-city for the conduct of its 28th Mindanao Area Assembly held Nov. 24-25.

The two-day assembly attended by over 200 geodetic engineers all over Mindanao, anchored on the theme “Promoting Public-Private Partnership for effective Land Governance in Mindanao,” discussed current issues, trends and best practices in the geodetic engineering profession.

City Mayor Celso Lobregat during the opening program called the geodetic engineer-participants as ambassadors of goodwill as he urged them to help in promoting the good, the best and beautiful about Zamboanga City.

“Without question, land is increasingly becoming an important governance issue especially in the light of many complex challenges like climate change, rising population, rapid urbanization, food security and peace and order,” Lobregat in his message said, as he cited the various efforts of his administration to ensure sound land governance.

The mayor affirmed that to ensure sound outcomes in land governance, both public and private individuals and institutions “must work together to ensure land use policies and such are implemented and rights are protected.”

The Mayor also extended his gratitude to GEPI for holding its 28th Area Assembly here saying “I am very thankful for your decision to hold your convention in Zamboanga City for it provides us the opportunity to show you what Zamboanga truly is.”

DTI sets activities for the local Pangasius fish industry

by Lowell Vallecer (JPA/LV/DTI/PIA9-ZBST)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 25 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is spearheading a series of activities this month meant to strengthen the budding Pangasius industry in Region 9.

The activities are also also meant to heighten the awareness and appreciation of the Pangasius fish (also known as Cream Dory) among consumers in this part of the country.

DTI Regional Director Nazrullah Manzur saidthe activities will kick off on November 27, 2011 with the scheduled visit to the three Pangasius farms based in Zamboanga City.

First to be visited is the sprawling fish farm of the Southern Philippine Development Authority in Barangay Vitali in the morning of November 27, 2011. Next to be visited is the Pangasius pond of Ricardo Marmoleño at his Ram Agro Industries Compound in Suterville, and finally, the Zamboanga Pangasius Farm situated in Barangay Calarian.

The farm visits, according to Manzur, is intended to gather firsthand information and assess the operations of the Pangasius farms in the City.

The second activity will be the regional Pangasius stakeholders meeting the following day, November 28 at Zamboanga City’s Grand Astoria Hotel.

Expected to attend the meeting are the Pangasius farmers, processors, restaurant operators and caterers, as well as buyers of Pangasius fish in the city and from the other provinces in Region 9.

Invited resource speakers to the consultative meeting are Dr. Aida Palma of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and DTI-12 Assistant Regional Director Dorecita Delima, who is also DTI’s national champion for the Pangasius industry.

Palma will present the industry clustering and value chain approach of Pangasius while Delima will facilitate the setting of the development directions from 2012 to 2016 and to identify strategic projects for 2012 based on the SWOT analysis of the industry.

Finally, there will be a Pangasius culinary event to be conducted on November 29, still at the Grand Astoria Hotel. It will feature several food preparations using Pangasius fish by participating schools in the city.

Pangasius, according to Manzur, belongs to the catfish family. It is farmed extensively in other ASEAN countries, particularly Vietnam for their domestic and export markets.

Here in the Philippines, Pangasius farming was first piloted in Regions 4 and 12. It has since taken inroads into the domestic market all over the Philippines, including Zamboanga City because of the exquisite texture, white color and taste of the said fish.

Zambo cooperative posts P10-M income


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) has recovered during the first nine months of 2011 a total of 1,731,693 kilowatt-hours (KWHs) with an estimated value of at least P10,320,890.28 from its system loss (SL) caused by power pilferage perpetrated by some unscrupulous member-consumers.

Electrical Engineer Jesus Y. Castro, the National Electrification Administration (NEA)-designated Zamcelco acting general manager and concurrent project supervisor, said that when he first assumed office in January, this year, he immediately noticed the cooperative’s unusual huge system loss due to pilferage, which consequently weakened the company’s financial strength.

Losing no time, Castro – with the all-out support of the new Zamcelco Board of Directors – formed the “Task Force System Loss Reduction” composed of 12 members – four each coming from the Zamcelco, Pagadian City-based Zamboanga del Sur Electric Cooperative (Zamsureco) I, and Zamboanga del Sur Electric Cooperative (Zamsureco) II based in Zamboanga Sibugay’s capital town of Ipil.

Castro, a former NEA multi-awarded general manager of Zamsureco II, soon fielded throughout Zamboanga the members of the task force whom he divided into three technical groups each having a team leader and directed them to physically inspect the electric meter connections of all residential and commercial buildings in the city’s commercial center, urban and suburban barangays (villages) and rural areas.

A few weeks later, the task force reported to Castro its initial findings which, among other things, revealed rampant pilferage of electric current by not a few individual household and establishment member-consumers through unlawful means, including the use of “jumpers,” use of power reduction devices, direct connections to cable lines, and illegal extension of lines from residential buildings to owners’ adjacent business shops like Internet cafés.

Castro said the task force initially identified at least eight urban villages where it discovered rampant electricity pilferage.

These included Rio Hondo, Mariki, Mampang, Talon-Talon, Santa Catalina, Baliwasan, Suterville, and Baliwasan Chico.

Consequently, the Zamcelco acting general manager sought the assistance of the local National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and City Police Office to have the suspected pilferers be investigated so that appropriate charges can be filed by the cooperative against them.

Castro bewailed that rampant pilferage has caused the cooperative’s debt to soar to about P800 million, prompting the National Power Corporation’s (NPC’s) Power Sector Asset and Liability Management (PSALM), and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), to nearly cut off power to Zamcelco early this year.

Castro noted that during this year’s first nine-month period, the company –through various cost-saving steps and anti-pilferage measures – recorded its biggest power recovery in April when it regained 598,355 KWHs worth some P3,596,130 – based on one KWH costing P6 – followed by May with 397,684 KWHs valued at P2,384,104; June – 252,539 KWHs at P1,5125,234, July – 110,177 KWHs at P661,062, and September with 102,570 KWHs at P657,420.

Mindanao Week of Peace launched in Zamboanga City

By Berlie Gamaliel Yap and Arwald Candido

The Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) has launched the Mindanao Week of Peace in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines.

Spearheaded by the Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP), the event was participated by various organizations across the region – Ahlul Bayt Philippine Islamic Assembly, Young Moro Professionals Network-Western Mindanao, Zamboanga AMORES Interfaith Association, Department of Education-School Division of Zamboanga City, Young Peace Weavers of Zamboanga City and the Youth Solidarity for Peace.

This year’s theme, “Common Word between Us and You: Love of God, Love of Neighbor,” strengthened more the grip between Muslims, Christians, and Indigenous People in peace advocacy, organizers said.

“Celebrating peace is like the birthday when we assembled PAZ in Zamboanga City,” said Fr. Angel Calvo, IRSMP lead convener.

“The future of the world depends on peace among Muslims and Christians,” he added.

Civil society launches rights probe

By Amilbahar S. Mawallil

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- A civil society coalition that seeks to document human rights violations launched yesterday independent probes on clashes in Western Mindanao which have displaced several thousands of residents, an official of the group said.

The group called Coalition for Peace based on Justice (CPJ) said that the mission, called “Maghambuuk pa Kasanyangan” (unite for peace), will determine the effects of the conflict on civilians in Al Barka, Basilan and Payao, Zamboanga.

“CPJ was formed to give immediate response to those affected by the recent conflicts, particularly the Oct. 18 incident in Basilan province,” said Bai Ali Indayla of the group Kawagib, referring to the attack of Moro rebels that resulted in the death of 19 soldiers who were part of a group that went after the bandits.

Kawagib groups human rights advocates, the Church and the academe, she said.

Ms. Indayla noted that the encounters have affected nearly 20,000 residents in the two towns.

“We are targeting to record how many of these affected individuals are women and how many are children,” said Jacquiline Ruiz, executive director of Children’s Rehabilitation Center, an institution providing psychosocial aid to child victims of violence.

Fr. Diony Cabillas of Karapatan warned the government against sweeping accusations in the incidents.

“We have to expose human rights violations,” Mr. Cabillas said, adding that the charges filed by the military against 300 individuals in Basilan should be reviewed.

He then recalled the 2001 declaration of state of lawlessness in Basilan wherein innocent civilians were arrested.

For his part, former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur C. Ocampo has cited possible US intervention in the security situation in Mindanao.

“We have to evaluate whether the United States has contributed in solving the problem in Mindanao and ever since we are calling for their troops to pull out from the country,” he said.

Kawagib’s Ms. Indayla called on the government to lessen military presence in the provinces of Basilan and Sulu.

“When you ask the people in the ground, most of them would say that they do not want their areas to be occupied by military troops,” she said.

Aside from the concentration of troops in the Zamboanga Peninsula, the military presence is augmented by US soldiers assisting in anti-terrorism activities.

Meanwhile, Claretian priest Angel A. Calvo of the Peace Advocates Zamboanga called for a halt to military operations in line with the observance of Mindanao Week of Peace on Nov. 24-Dec. 3. The celebration is supported by two presidential proclamations.

ZCMC has new TB identifying machine

By: R.G. Antonet Go

The Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) now has a new diagnostic machine, GeneXpert MTB/RIF, capable of identifying bacteria causing Tuberculosis or TB.

PMDT Head, Dr. Marcelino Medina said the machine was acquired through Global Fund worth P13.5 Million. The machine is the first and the only one in Zamboanga Peninsula.

The machine is not only capable of identifying bacteria causing Tuberculosis but it can also tell whether the bacteria is resistant to the first line of anti-tb drug, Rifampicin.

The machine can screen the sputum in a matter of two hours and the new machine can give fast and accurate result.

Patients who are found to have Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) TB or those resistant to Rifampicin will immediately be given the second line of TB drugs.

Patients who are referred to the Programmatic Management Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (PMDT) Treatment Center of ZCMC will be screened then requested to submit their sputum specimen for testing. They will then be enrolled either in the PMDT or TB Direct Observation Treatment with Short Chemotherapy depending on the result of the test.

The doctor stressed that information dissemination, early detection, and early treatment is needed to combat TB.

According to Medina, the government spends P6,000 to P7,000 for ordinary TB patients where the treatment lasts for six months while P300,000 to P500,000 for MDR TB per patient for one and a half year.

He assured that ZCMC has complete anti-TBb drugs and it is being given to patients for free.

The Department of Health had earlier implemented the TB Direct Observation Treatment with Short Chemotherapy or TB DOTs to make sure that the patients are taking their medications properly. In the said program, the patients are not allowed to take the medicines home, instead they are taking the medicine in front of health personnel or at the barangay health centers.

If a patient who has TB will not take his medications there is a possibility that his TB could elevate to MDR.

City prepares for “Pascua na Zamboanga 2011”

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez (JPA/PIA-ZBST)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 20 (PIA) -- It’s “all systems go” for the city initiated festivity dubbed “Pascua na Zamboanga 2011” (Christmas in Zamboanga), a two week festival aimed to spread Christmas cheers and spirit in the merry month of December.

City Information Officer (IO) Sheila Covarrubias said “the festival will kick off December 2 with the traditional lantern parade and the opening program that will be highlighted by the ceremonial switch on of lights in City Hall and Plaza Pershing and the Paseo del Mar Christmas landmarks.”

Covarrubias shared, “City Mayor Celso Lobregat will spearhead the over 2000 city officials and employees in the lantern parade that will reel off 5:30 pm of Dec. 2.”

The active lady IO said other activities during the two-week festivity include the best dressed santa caluse competition set on Dec. 8; Canciones de Zamboanga , a chorale competition set on December 9; while December 15-17 is set for Christmas Food Festival, an exhibit of all specialties and delicacies saved during Christmas season .

Covarrubias added “the entry evaluation of the best Christmas landmark competition will be held Dec. 12-16.”

“The Pascua na Zamboanga is one of the most celebrated festivals and celebrations in the city that makes the celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ even more meaningful,” Covarrubias was quoted as saying.

Pinoy math whiz kids bag 16 medals

By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines’ math whiz kids harvested a crop of 16 medals, including 5 golds, in the Asia Inter-Cities Teenagers Mathematics Olympiad (AITMO) held in Kavre, Nepal this week.

All the 16 Filipino contestants managed to win a medal each that they brought home when the delegation arrived in Manila yesterday afternoon.

They bagged five gold, seven silver and four bronze medals, enabling the Philippines to wind up second in the individual medal tally.

“Filipino students once again showed their outstanding performance in an international math competition,” said Simon Chua, president of the Mathematics Trainers Guild-Philippines.

Chua said in addition to the individual medals, the three Philippine teams fielded in the tournament also got second place while another placed third in the team contest.

Gold medalists for the Philippines are Deany Hendrick Cheng and Sean Timothy Cheng of Grace Christian College, Reine Jiana Reynoso of Philippine Science High School-Main, Julius Vincent Sy of St. Stephen’s High School and Timothy James Tan of Trinity Christian School-Bacolod.

Garnering silver medals are Nathaniel Ryan Ang of Xavier School, Brandon Chan of Philippine Cultural College-Annex, Sherralyn Bernice Chan of Saint Jude Catholic School, Ethan Riley Chan of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School, Rachel Rojo of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School, Mikaela Angelina Uy of Saint Jude Catholic School and Keefe Collin Tan of Saint Jude Catholic School.

Bronze medalists are Audrey Celine Lao of Saint Jude Catholic School, Georemie Arrianne Concepcion of Philippine Science High School-Main, Shawn Gabriele Cabanes of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School and Kennichi Tan of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School.

Chua said 32 teams from 13 countries competed in the contest. They were from South Korea, China, Thailand, Bulgaria, Indonesia, India, Iran, South Africa, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Philippines and host country Nepal.

City strengthens support for breastfeeding in workplace

By R.G. A A. Go

The City Government of Zamboanga with other stakeholders signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on exclusive breastfeeding in workplace yesterday morning at a local hotel in this city.

The MOA states that the City Government and the local working group on Exclusive Breastfeeding agrees to collaborate in setting up lactation stations for women workers in the informal economy and support other efforts to promote exclusive breastfeeding in the workplace in Zamboanga City.

The city will ensure the enforcement of Ordinance 377 that requires the promotion of breastfeeding in all workplace, provide the infrastructure and location appropriate for setting up of the public lactation station for women in the informal sector and cooperate, participate and support all efforts to promote exclusive breastfeeding.

The local working group on Exclusive Breastfeeding in the Workplace (EBFW) shall provide technical assistance to the city in providing comfortable seats and a refrigerator to be used and placed in public lactation stations in Zamboanga City, provide capacity building in city government focal points and service providers constituents to enhance their knowledge and skills in providing services and programs on EBFW, and provide assistance on advocacy and communication to further enhance the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding.

The said program is supported by the City Government of Zamboanga, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) Zamboanga, Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi (ZAMBASULTA) Chapter, Philippine Integrated Industries Labor Union, Inc., National Nutrition Council, Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industries, and City Health Office.

The MOA was signed by Mayor Celso Lobregat, DOLE IX Regional Director, Ponciano Ligutom, ECOP Zambasulta President, Crisanto Dela Cruz, Philippine Integrated Industries Labor Union, Inc. President, Jose Suan, Regional Program Coordinator of the National Nutrition Council Ma. Del Pilar Pamela Tarroza and others.

ECOP ZAMBASULTA Secretary General Roberto Valerio said ECOP will fully support the said program and they are in the promotional stage since the mandate is new.

“Hinde lang debe they have to comply but el debe quiere quita ayuda na maga lactating mothers.” Valerio said.

In time, all workplace will have a place where the lactating mothers can breastfeed their babies.

LTO nets over P3Million on traffic violations

By Nonong Santiago

The Land Transportation Office has collected over P3 million from motorists for violations of LTO rules for the month of January to present.

LTO Operations Chief Oloy Jalaluddin disclosed the campaign against colorum vehicles, no registration, no helmet, no seat belts, driving without license, traffic obstructions and other violations has been going on without letup.

Jalaluddin said the apprehension against violators is not only being conducted by personnel from LTO but also in coordination with the police, lady enforcers and highway patrol who are deputized by their office.

The operations chief said last year, the LTO netted more than P4 million in collection, but expressed optimism they will surpass the collection by three percent at the end of the year.

“We have to do away with “Ningas Cogon” our campaign should be continuous without letup,” the operations chief said.

Meanwhile, he expressed hope the lady law enforcers who are working as volunteers will become regular employees of the agency next year.

“We have at least 18 lady law enforcers in Pagadian and Zamboanga City they are working as volunteers. We are waiting for the funding from our central office hopefully they will be given the corresponding honorarium,” Jalaluddin said.

He said it was the program of Assistant Secretary (Asec) Virginia Torres to field lady enforcers throughout the country to help the LTO implement the law as they lack manpower.

Jalaluddin also emphasized the lady law enforcers have contributed a lot in the arrest of motorists and increasing the collection efficiency of the LTO.

He disclosed the huge collection goes to the coffers of the national government.

SRPI conducts outreach mission

(Zamboanga Today News Article)

In line with its social responsibility to the community, the San Ramon Power, Inc. (SRPI) will conduct today a medical outreach mission in Sinubong, a barangay in the west coast.

The SRPI said that government doctors and dentists will take part in the mission that is expected to generate about 700 to 800 patients. Involved in the undertaking are Task Force Zamboanga, Western Mindanao Command, City Health Office, Philippine National Police and the Philippine Air Force.

Patients will be treated from eight o”clock in the morning until noon at the premises of the Divine Mercy Church in Sinubong.

On Nov. 25, a similar undertaking will be done at the Anuling Elementary School in Pamucutan, the SRPI said.

OWWA 9 Beefs up scholarship applicants

(JPA/ Mary Jane R. Amarado/OWWA/PIA-ZBST)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 15 (PIA) -- The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Region 9 recently conducted a primer review to Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) applicants last Friday, November 11 at the OWWA Training room participated by 44 high school students from various schools in Zamboanga City.

According OWWA 9 Authorized Representative Fauzia Amilasan, the primer review was conducted to help the scholarship aspirants to familiarize themselves with Aptitude Test Battery so that the students can give their optimum performance in the examination and qualify for the scholarship.

Through the various scholarship programs, one of the eligibility requirements under the EDSP is that an applicant should pass the highly competitive examination annually conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

“All qualified applicants shall be selected and ranked according to their performance in the qualifying examination on November 20. Only the top 150 scholars from the entire country shall be selected and recommended as EDSP scholars..” Leonilo Daymiel, OWWA Scholarship Focal Person reiterated.

Nicole Anne Abrera, a graduating high school student form the Claret School said, “we gladly thank the OWWA for making this opportunity for us scholarship aspirants to attend this kind of review, now we already know what to expect and to familiarize with the type of test items we will be subjected to.”

OWWA continues its thrust to expand its educational scholarship program and making it accessible to the intended beneficiaries all over the country.

Red Cross Zamboanga to have bigger building

By R.G. Antonet Go

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) - Zamboanga City Chapter is set to conduct a major renovation of its building costing P6.9 Million.

PRC Zamboanga City Chapter Administrator, Victor Liozo Jr. said, “This is to pave way for the conversion of the PRC Blood Bank into a Regional Blood Center for Zamboanga Peninsula.” The conversion will take effect within the year or early next year.

He said City funds is used for the said purpose and the project is undertaken by the City Engineers Office.

The project is on-going and expected to end after 120 days. The office is targeting to inaugurate the new building by March in time for the PRC Chapter Assembly.

The administration office and the blood bank were temporarily transferred to the Red Cross Youth Hostel within the same compound.

According Liozo, the new two-storey office will be bigger. There are also some new amenities to include a conference room, male and female quarters, disaster operation center, refreshment center and a bigger blood bank.

He stressed that the on-going major repair of the PRC will not affect their services to their clients.

The blood service is one of the important functions of the office since there are only two authorized agencies where blood can be availed, the PRC and the Zamboanga City Medical Center Blood Bank.

The PRC Zamboanga City Chapter Blood Bank was already conferred by the Department of Health (DOH) earlier as the Regional Blood Center for Zamboanga Peninsula.

The PRC is spending P8 Million a year for the operation of the blood bank and the city is giving an aid of P1.8 Million.

The PRC is anchored on its seven fundamental principles which are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.

The six major Red Cross services include blood program, Red Cross Youth, community health and nursing services, disaster management services, safety services and social services.

Gov't cites mentor's heroic act


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – For the first time in the history of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the agency bestowed this year’s prestigious “Dangal ng Bayan” award on, together with nine others, a lowly local female village public school teacher for performing an “unprecedented heroic act.”

The teacher, 22-year-old Lorna I. Pulalon, gave up her life just to save her Grade 3 pupils from a bolo-wielding ex-convict amok who had barged into her classroom early last October at the Talisayan Elementary School, some 25 kilometers away west of the city proper.

Pulalon’s parents received the posthumous award on November 9, on the occasion of the 111th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary, in appropriate ceremonies at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall in Malacañang from President Aquino who was represented by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa.

They were accompanied by CSC Region-9 Director Macybel Alfaro-Sahi whose office earlier recommended the heroic act of Pulalon to the CSC Awards Committee.

Sahi described the “Dangal ng Bayan” as the agency’s “highest award given to a government official or employee who has upheld the ideals of extraordinary excellence, professionalism, and integrity in public service.”

CSC Region-9 liaison division chief Ma. Asuncion Tan noted that the death of the young Muslim mentor, who was barely three years in the teaching service, was “a clear show of exceptional heroism” as she gave up her young life in her obvious attempt to protect her pupils from the suspect, a certain Felix Mateo, who intruded unnoticed into Pulalon’s classroom while she was in front of her class.

Pulalon – who started as Local School Board-paid tutor at a mountain school before she was given a regular teacher item by the Department of Education (DepEd) and eventually transferred to the Talisayan Elementary School – suffered multiple hack wounds as she bravely tried to ward off the attacker amidst the crying and screaming of her pupils, where she died on the spot.

One of her pupils, Ces Orpiano, was also slain while two other co-teachers and five young learners were seriously wounded by the amok, an ex-convict from the San Ramon Penal Colony, who was later stoned to death by responding angry villagers.

The Talisayan Elementary School tragedy caught the attention of Education Secretary Armin A. Luistro who, together with Undersecretary Rizalino Rivera, personally flew to Zamboanga, and accompanied by City Mayor Celso Lobregat and DepEd Region-9 Director Walter O. Albos, motored to the scene of the incident to personally console the bereaved families of the fatalities and later visited the wounded teachers and pupils at the local Brent Hospital.

Back at the DepEd Central Office, Luistro pronounced to officials and employees the unusual heroism displayed by Pulalon, even as he called on all teachers and non-teaching personnel to be similarly “heroic” by performing their work religiously and dedicatedly.

Zambo remembers Cesar Climaco


The local government has lined up a series of activities to commemorate the 27th death anniversary of the late Mayor Cesar C. Climaco on Monday, November 14.

The commemoration kicked off Thursday with the Ben Cervantes lecture series at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) and on Friday, Nov. 11 at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU).

The lecture is being participated by high school and college students.

From Nov. 12 to 13, there will be an assembly of members of the Sangguniang Kabataan dubbed “3rd Cesar Climaco Young Leaders Assembly-SK Leadership Camp at the Zamboanga Economic Zone in Barangay Talisayan, west of this city.

On Sunday, Nov. 13, Boy Scouts of the Philippines from the Zamboanga (BSP) Council will converge at the Climaco Freedom Park in Abong-abong at 6 p.m. for the vigil at the tomb of the late mayor.

An on-the-spot painting competition among special education students at the Climaco Freedom park will start the activities on 7;00 a.m. Monday, Nov. 14. A mass will be held at the Our Lady of Purificacion Parish in Sta. Maria at 8 a.m.

A memorial motorcade will follow after the mass.

The route will be the Sta. Maria Church to the assassination site at Gov. Alvarez Street where Mayor Celso Lobregat will lead city officials and various agencies and organization representatives in the wreath laying activity.

From assassination site, the motorcade will proceed to the Climaco Freedom Park where the commemorative program will be held.

The yearly commemoration of “Dia de Cesar” (Cesar's Day) is pursuant to Ordinance 156.

Climaco was assassinated by a lone gunman while he was inspecting the site of a fire incident in Gov. Alvarez early morning of Nov. 14, 1984.

NFA-Zambo city to go I-Rice exclusive by 2012

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez (JPA/PIA-ZBST)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 11(PIA) -- In compliance with the Food Fortification Law or Republic (RA) Act 8976, the National Food Authority (NFA) here plans to go Iron Fortified Rice (I-rice)- exclusive next year.

NFA Provincial Manager Remigio Samson said, the food authority targets to sell only Iron Fortified Rice (IFR) by 2012.

“May time table kame, na dapat by 2012, Iron Fortified Rice na lahat nasa market,” (we have a time table that by 2012, Iron Fortified Rice should be available in all markets)

“But we are afraid we cannot meet this target,” Samson added.

Samson said NFA has been advocating in the entire Region IX to patronize I-rice and that the food authority has till December to do the I-rice advocacy.

Samson assured that I-rice is the same price with the ordinary NFA rice which is P27.00 per kilo.

“The cost of the IFR should be higher because of the iron fortification, however, the government is subsidizing the extra cost,” Samson shared.

RA 8976 known as the "Philippine Food Fortification Act of 2000."

It mandates the iron fortification of food products like oil, flour, sugar, salt and rice.

RMN leads nationwide tree planting activity

By R.G. A A. Go

Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) - Zamboanga gears for the conduct of a nationwide simultaneous tree planting activity dubbed as “Reverde” on November 11, 2011 at Barangay Mampang, Zamboanga City.

RMN Station Manager Joel Sanson said, “this is one of the Corporate Social Responsibility of RMN. We will be doing a simultaneous tree planting to recognize the heroic service of RMN founder, Henry Canoy.”

The objective of the said nationwide activity is to plant a total of 111,111 trees for the future generation.

A total of 60 RMN Radio Stations nationwide are expected to participate in the said activity.

According to Sanson, they are expecting 300 participants coming from Zamboanga City and Basilan Province who will plant a total of 3,500 “bakawans”. RMN Zamboanga also tied up with DXNO Radyo Komunidad in Basilan Province whose employees and other participants will also do their planting in Barangay Tabiawan, Isabela City, Basilan Province.

Sanson said, bakawan was chosen because they are easy to plant and has greater chances of survival.

The simultaneous tree planting activity is made possible by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer-West (CENRO-West), Zamboanga Today, 530th Air Base Wing of the Philippine Air Force, SOPHIL, Philippine Red Cross Zamboanga City Chapter, Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology, Philippine Coast Guard, Zamboanga State Polytechnic College, Kabalikat Civicom 182 Chapter, Zamboanga City Police Office, Mampang Barangay Council, DXNO Radyo Komunidad.

Climaco reiterates call for VFA review

By Hader Glang

Congresswoman Maria Isabelle "Beng" Climaco reiterated her call on Monday to review the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), stressing that Zamboanga City had suffered due to the landing of US military planes and helicopters at the local airport.

Climaco's reiteration came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make a one-day visit to Manila on November 15 and is expected to meet with President Benigno Aquino III to discuss a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues including VFA.

"I think there should be a review of the Visiting Forces Agreement. We feel that the City of Zamboanga had suffered because of the landing of the huge US military aircraft and the airport was sacrificed," Climaco told Zamboanga Today in an ambush interview.

Climaco, also deputy speaker for Mindanao and a close political ally of President Aquino, raised an issue about the US military planes and helicopters that land at the Zamboanga City airport that should be made to share in the cost of repair of the runway and other facilities.

US aircraft bringing in troops and supplies have been flying in and out of the airport since 2002 for military exercises and humanitarian missions, it was learned from Climaco who also said the airport is too small to accommodate some of the aircraft, and its runway is too thin to withstand the frequent landings of huge aircrafts like the C-17 transport plane.

"They can't take the big aircraft. However, because of the VFA, they do not allow a landing our constituents want to know, although they are aware that US forces presence here are for they want all to know the benifits then let us review and evaluate," said the congresswoman of the District II.

The upcoming visit of Clinton to the country will be the second as US State Secretary under the Obama administration but her first one under the Aquino presidency.

Congresswoman Climaco also revealed a vehicular accident involving US military personnel based in Zamboanga City, where a resident of Barangay Rio Hondo was the victim.

"There is this case, a resident in Rio Hondo, he was bumped by US personnel based here in the city. We have written JSOTFP to give justice to this victim. I think he had to stop working and he is asking for a just compensation," she said.

Climaco appealed to the officials of Joint Special Operation Task Force-Philippines to give justice on the victim "because at this very moment he has not received any compensation although there was medical attention for him, but he is asking for a just compensation."

Earlier, Clinton said the VFA between the Philippines and the United States is an important expression of the two countries' partnership "based on mutual respect and interest.

Clinton said the US would continue helping the Philippines in its fight against terrorism. She also pointed out the humanitarian component of the treaty that was useful during the floods in Metro Manila.

The US has been criticized for the almost permanent presence of its troops in the country.

Japanese IMT member calls on Zambo city mayor

(JPA/Sheila Covarrubias/PIA9-Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 8 (PIA) -- One of the two Japanese members in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) met with Mayor Celso Lobregat recently in City Hall to apprise the chief executive about his government’s initiatives and contributions to the peace process and development in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

Mayor Lobregat warmly greeted Naoyuki Ochiai, 1st Secretary and Member of the IMT but stressed that Zamboanga City is not part of the conflict area, thus, there is nothing to monitor in the city.

The mayor briefed Mr. Ochiai about the city’s firm stand on the peace process and even handed to the visitor a copy of his compact disc (CD) entitled “In Defense of Zamboanga, Mindanao, the Constitution and the Republic” that chronicles the city’s past and future actions concerning the peace process.

He pointed out that Zamboanga City is supportive of the reconstruction and development programs being undertaken in conflict areas for the benefit of the poor and innocent families.

In an interview with City Hall reporters, Mayor Lobregat said the Japanese IMT member emphasized about the implementation of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development or J-BIRD, designed to contribute to the peace process and development in conflict areas in Mindanao and the surrounding areas in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Under the J-BIRD, the government of Japan is providing grant aid for socio-economic development in the target areas. The program was launched in 2006 and based on reports, the amount of assistance is estimated to have reached billions of pesos.

Ochiai and Kei Fukunaga are the two IMT members representing Japan and are monitoring socio-economic development projects in the conflict areas.

Meanwhile, Mayor Lobregat stressed anew that an all out war against elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as called for by numerous sectors, will not redound to the benefit of anybody. “There will be no end to this (war), what is really needed is selective activities in going against lawless elements”.

Nevertheless, he said, justice should be given to the families of the slain soldiers, policemen and civilians during MILF-led attacks in Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay and other parts of the country.

“We are all for peace, we’ve always said that, but it should not be appeasement. So if talks are supposed to continue, it should be done, but with the right persons”, the mayor added.

DA holds dental outreach

by Bong Garcia

The Philippine Dental Association (PDA) in the region yesterday held a free dental outreach and oral education on estimated 300 indigents of Barangay Tugbungan, this city.

Dr. Mary Joy Feliciano, President of the Philippine Dental Society (PDS), Zamboanga chapter, said their objective was to inculcate oral hygiene and proper care to maintain healthy and strong teeth.

Feliciano said the dental outreach program has become the group’s commitment in serving the poor people and teach them correct tooth brushing techniques.

Present during the activity were Dental Doctors Mary Joy Feliciano; Sharon Santos; Shelvie Manzo; Olivia Villaruel; Jane Senarlo and Romulus Vir Uy. The PDA local chapter has already conducted about 10 outreach programs in various indigenous areas where the last activity was held in Badjao village, Barangay Maasin, this city.

Aside from the oral education, the group has also distributed toothbrush and toothpaste to all attendees plus oral dental check-up.

“We are projecting series of outreach programs in 2012 and hoping to attend larger groups and more local barangays,” Feliciano said.

Felicano extends her warm gratitude to all the barangay officials of Tugbungan for their assistance and accommodation.

DPWH IX to hire 9 4Ps members for 'Trabahong Lansangan'

By R.G. A A. Go

The Department of Public Works and Highways-IX (DPWH-IX) Zamboanga City District Office is set to hire nine individuals as the office supports the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program 4Ps of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) anytime soon.

DPWH District Engineer Merham Acas said that the nine individuals to be hired by the office are member beneficiaries of the 4Ps coming from the East and West Coast of this city.

The program has a funding of P137,470,000 coming from DPWH Manila Office and that the DSWD selected the workers while the DPWH will provide the employment, according to Acas.

The 9 will serve as augmentation force to the District Engineering Office’s regular work force, especially in the maintenance of national roads.

The national roads under the jurisdiction of the DPWH District Office includes San Jose Gusu, Governor Lim Avenue , Veterans Avenue , Licomo Sta Cruz road, San Jose Cawa Cawa and the Zamboanga City Labuan to Limpapa Road.

Earlier, the DPWH and DSWD had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate and hire 4P’s beneficiaries.

The said documents were signed by DPWH Secretary, Rogelio Singson and DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman.

Both agencies recognized the need to establish an approach converging their effort towards a sustainable livelihood.

In Zamboanga, there are more than 20,000 4Ps beneficiaries. 7,000 under District 1 and 13,000 in District 2, covering a total of 52 barangays in the city.

Under the 4P’s program, the beneficiaries will receive more or less P1,000 a month through ATM, or over the counter collection at the nearest Land Bank depending on the number of children they have who are below 14 years old.

The breakdown is P500 for health and medical services and P300 for the education of each schooling age children.

The money given must be spent properly especially for the health of family members and the education of the children.

DBP inaugurates renovated offices in Zamboanga City

(Zamboanga Today Top Stories)

State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) recently inaugurated here the newly renovated offices of its regional marketing center in western Mindanao and Zamboanga branch as part of efforts to provide a more convenient banking experience for the public.

Zamboanga City representative Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and Zamboanga City mayor Celso Lobregat joined DBP officials and representatives from other government agencies in inaugurating the newly renovated DBP offices located at Don P. Lorenzo Street, Zamboanga City.

DBP Zamboanga branch supports key developmental projects in the province such as micro, small and medium enterprises, health care, urban water and sanitation, housing and livelihood. Pipeline projects include a hospital expansion and a poultry business. The branch also provides various deposit and investment products and services to its clients.

YSP-PAZ emerges Peace Champions in TAYO 9

By Aldrin Bucoy-Abdurahim

In the recently concluded Search for the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Year 9, Youth Solidarity for Peace- Peace Advocates Zamboanga (YSP-PAZ), the youth arm of PAZ and Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace situated in Zamboanga City victoriously had been awarded as one of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations of the Philippines.

Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III awarded YSP-PAZ who represented Zamboanga City with the prestigious TAYO Trophy at Malaca?ang Palace, Metro Manila last October 27, 2011 together with other dignitaries to include Se. Francis Pangilinan, Hon. Bambam Aquino, sponsors, celebrities, organizers and members of the Panel of Judges.

Robert N. Basco, Official Representative of the organization received the prestigious award after the wonderful journey of depending from the panel the peace efforts that the organization had been doing in continuously promoting peace education through the culture of peace that Zamboanga City is facing.

He recalled saying “Zamboanga City had been the melting pot of many cultures and perceptions of conflict in the Southern Philippines”. Amidst the many atrocities and negative labels, the city had remained to be one of the best cities that synergize its efforts for peace and development.

YSP-PAZ submitted the entry project entitled “Peace Education through Summer Peace Camps”. It had been one of the focal point of interest especially from the representatives of the Department of Education. It had been the campaign of the organization for the past ten years especially its institutionalization of peace education in basic education and teacher education.

Evidently, the impact it brought was the involvement of the secondary schools in various peace activities and formation of peace clubs and the appointment of peace educators and peace clubs in respective schools. Moreover, peace campers, leaders of the city had been very active in the various campaigns for peace in schools, communities and other activities.

Zamboanga City is now at its limelight to sustain peace education efforts. The YSP-PAZ envisions that the city will be the leading and model city in the strengthened implementation of peace education across all levels of the basic education-elementary to tertiary as well as the alternative learning system. These cannot be done alone by the organization, through the power of involving stakeholders; everything will come to its desired vision.

It had been noted that the organization is a two-time National Finalist of the TAYO since last year which makes it as one of the powerful contenders from among the twenty organizations all over the country vying for the top ten positions. Last year, it submitted its PAZ for SMILE program for the community.

Being a recognized TAYO Awardee, joining El Consejo Atenista of Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Two-time National Finalist and 2011 TAYO Awardee, YSP-PAZ’s flourishing 2011, moving its peace frontiers will spearhead the involvement of youth organizations in the city in the incoming celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace.

Fr. Angel C. Calvo, CMF, Lead Convener of IRSMP expressed great honour among the youth people which have carried the inspiration of peace advocacy in the city to Mindanao and now the entire country. The youth served as the strong force in the conduct of various efforts to sustain peace and development in Mindanao assisting the members of the IRSMP and PAZ in sustaining its other programs.

Cong. Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, 1st District Representative of Zamboanga City expressed admiration to the group’s efforts especially putting Zamboanga City in the roasters of honouring great leaders for peace and development. The YSP-PAZ looks forward to have an audience with Hon. Mayor Celso L. Lobregat and members of the City Council and will conduct more programs for the youth.

“The organization is very honoured of the commendation and all the support that Zamboanguenos and friends from all over the country shared especially in the online voting for the Coke Barkada Award, indeed, the support gave us more reason to inspire more young people through the power of volunteerism” disclosed organizations adviser Aldrin B. Abdurahim.

The spirit of volunteerism integrating the culture of peace and bridging leadership served as the ingredients in the developed peace roadmap of the organization. Being inspired of the support, the YSP Volunteers will walk together in heightening its campaign for peace in the communities and other marginalized sectors.

The honor of being a peace champion organization sets more inspiration for the organization to bring out the best of other organizations and together will empower Zamboanga City to be at its pedestal for peace.

Thank you so much for the prayers and support. Indeed, peace is the only way. Congratulations to the organization.

400 scholars receive 1st sem allowance

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez(JPA/ PIA9-Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 3 (PIA) -- Some 400 student-scholars will be able to pay their tuition fees to the schools where they are respectively enrolled in, as House Deputy Speaker and 1st District Representative Beng Climaco-Salazar distributed this morning checks for their first semester allowances.

Climaco, personally handed over the checks to the 400 District I scholars under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The simple “hand-over” rites were held at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU) covered court.

“Even with the meager amount, I hope that we are helping these young people reach their dreams through helping them finish their school,” the lady solon said in a press statement.

The scholarship program is being implemented in partnership with CHED and is being funded under the congresswoman’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). The scholars are poor but deserving bachelor degree students.

Greek envoy admires Zambo spots

(PNA Article, Goldstar Daily News post)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Greece Ambassador to the Philippines Polyxeni Stefanidou has expressed admiration for Zamboanga City as she toured the different city attractions the whole day Tuesday. Stefanidou, along with her husband Constantinus, arrived here from the province of Tawi-Tawi Tuesday morning and made a courtesy call on Mayor Celso Lobregat.

"It is a very beautiful City," Stefanidou said in an interview with reporters at City Hall. "As we were coming from the airport, my husband and I were positively impressed, this city keeps a very positive impression and it looks beautiful," she added. Stefanidou specifi cally cited the architectural beauty of the Metropolitan Cathedral and the historic City Hall, which she said she could only imagine in the movies. "I really liked this City Hall it is very, very impressive. You think it was made just for a movie, it is very impressive and very well preserved," she added.

From City Hall, Stefanidou and her husband visited Plaza del Pilar, National Museum, the Fort Pilar Shrine, Paseo del Mar, the Sta. Cruz IsLand, the Vista del Mar and various tourist attractions. The envoy and her husband came from Tawi-Tawi where they graced the province's 38th Kamahardikaan celebration.

Parents, mentors join education dev't


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – More than 1,000 parents who are members of various Parents-Teachers Associations (PTAs) and other concerned groups participated in the training on education improvement planning and implementation conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Education Quality and Access for Learning and Livelihood Skills 2 (EQuALLS2) Communications Director Beng Anago said the participants came from the poorest and most conflict-affected communities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and Central and Western Mindanao.

According to Anago, the training is aimed at supporting DepEd’s execution of its school-based management strategy for achieving its “Education For All” goal by year 2015, through empowering schools and communities to identify their own education needs, and plan and implement projects to address them.

The community members were trained to assess their education status, set goals and plans, and organize themselves effectively to achieve the objectives of the program, tap funding and other support sources, and manage their finances, she said.

She also reported that the USAID also gave each community a $1,000 grant with which to implement its planned project as part of the training, which the communities matched mostly with local government funds and their own in-kind resources.

Most of the implemented projects include construction of school facilities, such as toilets, potable water systems, libraries, and laboratories, and provision of books and other learning resources, which are extremely lacking in such areas.

Some communities also launched campaigns to reduce student absenteeism, raise their National Achievement Test scores, and provide more teachers, EQuALLS2 officers said.

Anago also explained that in order to facilitate planning, some communities were trained to use Barangay Education Report Cards, which, like school report cards, track education progress through key community-identified measures such as classroom-to-pupil ratio, pupil-to-textbook ratio, student enrollment and completion rates, and out-of-school youth programs.

Parents were also encouraged to read with their children at home to improve their children’s reading and comprehension skills, she said.

With the end of the project training, a number of municipal governments, particularly in the Zamboanga Peninsula, have passed ordinances institutionalizing yearly community and municipal education planning and allocation of funds for priority PTA projects.

Aside from community training, EQuALLS2 also built and repaired close to 2,000 classrooms, 600 of which were through USAID’s partnership with Petron Foundation, trained more than 3,000 teachers and school administrators, distributed some 2.2 million books, and gave alternative basic education and livelihood skills training to more than 100,000 out-of-school youth.