purok in the barangays of San Francisco, Camotes has a purok
center that serves as a meeting hall of the purok officers and
the residents, as well as a place where records of the purok's
services and activities are kept.
Puroks drive town’s
ANN HINAYAS / Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
October 14, 2012
CEBU CITY –
Think big, start small.
This is what Vice Mayor
Alfredo Arquillano of San Francisco, Camotes Island, Cebu believes in
when he established the purok system in the town.
During the recent expanded
Green and Wholesome Environment that Nurtures (eGwen) Our Cebu Program
Partners’ Conference, he attributed the success and development of his
town on their focused efforts on grassroot level of governance – the
A purok is the smallest unit
of governance composed of a number of households with an average of 20
to 50 or more number of members, depending on a particular
geographical location or cluster of houses. Given the mandate through
local ordinances enacted by barangay or municipal/city sanggunian, a
purok can perform government functions with the coordination and
supervision of the local officials.
“Puroks are the basis for
community-based governance and empowerment. If all people will
cooperate and move towards a common aim, each one of us can make a big
difference in our towns,” Arquillano said.
He recalled how one incident
had inspired him to revive the purok system in 2004.
“There was a group of black
birds locally known as galansiang that caused a big branch of a
pine tree to fall in front our hall. It was an incident that was
impossible if only one bird made it. I know it was a message from
above to take immediate actions,” he recalled.
After the incident, the
creation of a purok system came to life. It started with a few willing
puroks in the town proper where the municipality office is located.
Only when the first one started to work and showed results that others
“Dream for your community
but start with those who are willing to cooperate. The involvement of
the community in local governance enables us to be organized and draw
out plans for the municipality,” he said.
Arquillano noted that the
strengthening of puroks in the town enabled the people to be equipped
with understanding and discipline on proper waste management and
“They are doing these things
because they are acknowledging ownership of their projects and they
feel proud. Now, we have cleaner and safer communities because people
are doing something with a common vision,” he shared.
The delivery of basic
services and implementation of programs and projects in the areas of
health, education, environment, social services, economic, and
disaster management of the Municipality of San Francisco are cascaded
down to the puroks.
He advised that the
municipality or city should have a ‘big picture’ on what they want to
achieve in their areas and what actions should be taken to realize
“Don’t give dole-outs. The
community should earn it. Development is not just about money.
Community participation has a lot to offer than that,” he said,
pointing out that environment and socio-economic problems cannot be
solved by one person alone. It is the community who runs and manages
their own places.
“Never stop thinking of good
things to happen. We can make our plans possible if we help one
another. Think big, start small. That is the concept behind the purok
system,” he added.
Arquillano is glad that
other municipalities in the province of Cebu have adapted the purok
system in the barangays.
“Hopefully, local government
units (LGUs) in Cebu will learn from our experience and be able to
replicate our best practice. It is indeed that development starts from
the smallest unit of governance. It is the community that builds the
nation,” he disclosed.
At present, San Francisco,
Camotes has 15 barangays and 120 puroks.
San Francisco, Camotes
Island, Cebu, a recipient of the 2011 United Nations Sasakawa Award
for Disaster Risk Reduction, highlighted the establishment of purok
systems in their town as their best approach to mitigate the
destructive effects of natural calamities.
The town also ranked first
for three straight consecutive years in the eGWEN Our Cebu Program, a
joint development program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI)
and the Cebu Provincial Government to make Cebu a liveable place.
with Leyte descent bags 2012 TOFA award for media in New York
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
October 8, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY –
Filipino-American reporter Ryan Songalia, 25, won the media award for
the prestigious Outstanding Filipino-Americans in New York (TOFA-NY).
Ryan, boxing reporter for RingTV who has Leyte descent, his father Jaime having come from
Tanauan, Leyte, will receive his award on October 27 at the Weill
Recital Hall of New York’s Carnegie Hall.
“I've won the media award
for the 2012 Outstanding Filipino Americans of NY! Thank you everyone
who took the time to vote, then asked their cousins and moms to vote
also. Without all of you I couldn't have done it,” Ryan said
acknowledging the Filipinos all over the world who rallied behind him.
“I greatly appreciate the
help, given me here and promise to make my father's hometown proud,”
Songalia told the Philippine Information Agency.
To recall, the Philippine
Information Agency made a feature story on Ryan on July 12, 2012,
urging Filipinos all over the world to vote for him online.
Ryan is currently a feature
writer for the boxing magazine Ring Magazine and have covered Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire and Brian Viloria fights from ringside.
He also worked as a reporter
for New York Daily News, one of the highest circulated newspapers in
the United States. He was the first Filipino admitted into the Boxing
Writers Association of America in the organization's 90 years of
existence and became the group's youngest full member at 21. He also
works as a freelance journalist for GMA News, covering a variety of
He studied journalism at
Bergen Community College, but left because he was offered a job at the
New York Daily News. He is finishing up a course on Digital Marketing
at New York University on Friday, then flying to Manila on Tuesday. He
lives between Manila and New Jersey.
TOFA-NY is an awards event
held annually in New York during Filipino American History Month
celebration in October.
It was created to give
recognition to individuals and organizations that have raised the
profile of the Filipino-American community in a unique and positive
way and to celebrate their achievements.
The organizers are a group
of multimedia professionals well plugged into the community. While
they know many of the personalities in traditional as well as
grassroots advocacy organizations, they are not associated with any
group in any way, which makes this recognition process very
independent. Pre-selection was based entirely on merit.
To make this year’s TOFA
truly a people’s award, voting will be conducted in all transparency
via Facebook. The organizers are trying this novel idea for the first
time. They believe social media is crucial in getting the word out
about the many personalities and organizations that have made
Filipinos one significant and dynamic community in this part of the
PRO8 equips men
with SAR capabilities
By RPCRD, Police Regional
October 2, 2012
CAMP SEC. RUPERTO K.
KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – Recognizing the need for better vigilance and
the establishment of precautionary measures against impending
disaster, not to mention the reputation of Eastern Visayas as
disaster-prone region, Police Regional Office 8 initiated a search and
rescue (SAR) training to its men aimed at equipping them with proper
competence on disaster management.
“The PNP, being at the
forefront in protecting and securing people against all forms of harm,
must take some precautionary measures to ensure that disaster pass
without undue loss of life, human suffering and damages to property”,
PCSupt Elmer Ragadio Soria, PRO8 Regional Director said during the
opening ceremony of the Disaster Search and Rescue Management Training
on Monday morning at PRO8 Grandstand.
“We cannot prevent or stop a
flashflood or an earthquake from happening but we can be prepared for
its onslaught and mitigate the damage”, Soria said, adding that PRO8
as far as disaster management is concerned, will focus on disaster
mitigation through training, simulation exercises, purchase of SAR
equipment and identification of disaster risk areas.
Forty eight participants
composed of 6 Police Commissioned Officers and 42 Police
Non-Commissioned Officers from the Regional Public Safety Battalion 8
(RPSB 8) were the participants in the training being held at the
Regional Special Training Unit 8 (RSTU 8) while two similar trainings
were recently conducted in Samar PPO.
Soria stressed that the
country is currently undergoing a shift from a rather reactive system
of disaster management, to more proactive disaster risk reduction and
management. Thus, this training will equip his men with better
capability to be more effective and systematic in times of emergencies
and calamity-related operations.
Lying on the northwestern
fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Eastern Visayas experiences
frequent seismic and volcanic activities and is frequently visited by
storms from the Pacific Ocean. The region receives heavy rainfall
throughout the year with no pronounced dry season making it prone to
On September 1 this year,
thousands of residents had been affected by the magnitude 7.6
earthquake that rattled Eastern Visayas and destroyed or damaged
several houses with more than P12.8 million worth of damages to public
On February 17, 2006, a
mudslide tragedy which pegged an official death toll of 1,126
transpired in Brgy. Ginsaugon, St. Bernard, Southern Leyte while on
November 5, 1991, the Ormoc River overflowed, bringing with it
numerous logs, resulting in a flashflood in the city’s lower areas and
took over 4,000 lives, 3,000 missing, 14,000 destroyed homes and more
than P600 million worth of damaged property.
Soria is confident that the
training will improve the disaster response capability of his men and
ensure their readiness in responding to emergency and disaster
situations that require swift response from public safety and
The SAR course includes
hypothetical and practical trainings on application of skills in first
aid, basic life support, boat-handling, knot-tying, deployment of
life-saving buoys and devices, and removal of debris in collapsed
The Regional Director added
that this kind of training is in line with the PNP’s Letter of
Instruction “Saklolo”, an updated and enhanced plan of action of the
PNP on disaster preparedness and response management in support to
other concerned agencies. LOI “Saklolo” prescribes the support
strategy, operational concept, and scheme of implementation to
accomplish the PNP’s support mission in times of disaster and calamity
Soria added that the PRO8
initiative to improve its own disaster response capability is in line
with Presidential Decree 1566 that calls for the strengthening of the
Philippine Disaster Control Capability and Establishing the National
Program on Community Disaster Preparedness; and Republic Act 10121 or
the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.
Watch to the Philippine Government: Spreading Lies at the United
Philippine UPR Watch
September 20, 2012
Philippine UPR Watch and other Human Rights NGO's slammed the glowing
report and statement of the Philippine Government during the
consideration of the working Group Report on the Philippines Universal
Periodic Review at the 21st session of the United Nations Human Rights
Council which runs September 10-28, 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland.
In her oral intervention,
Marie Hilao Enriquez Chair of KARAPATAN and Co-Head of Delegation of
the UPR Watch Philippines said that “extra-judicial executions,
disappearances, other human rights violations and impunity persist
under the so called democracy and even under the so called righteous
path taken by the new President Noynoy Aquino.” She said that under
the two-year administration of Aquino, KARAPATAN has documented 99
victims of extra-judicial executions. Enriquez delivered her statement
on behalf of the Civicus World Alliance for Citizen Participation.
"The Philippine Government
has shamelessly spread lies here at the United Nations. Just last
week, Genesis Ambason, a leader of the Matigsalog tribe in Agusan del
Sur, was brutally killed by paramilitary groups under the command of
the Philippine Military,” Hilao-Enriquez’s reaction to the statement
of the Philippine government delegation head, H.E. Teofilo S. Pilando,
Deputy Executive Secretary Vice Minister of the Office of the
President, who said that the Aquino government remains committed to
human rights and has, in fact, accepted 62 recommendations by the UN
Member States, including an end to end extra-judicial executions.
In a separate oral
intervention, Dr. Rommel Linatoc of the National Council of Churches
in the Philippines (NCCP), a member of the Philippine UPR Watch
delegation, said, “the Philippine Report was very selective in its
presentation of data. It intentionally left out the essential issues
such as the almost zero conviction rate of perpetrators of human
rights abuses; the failure of the government to press charges and
arrest suspects and the continuing effects of the the Oplan Bayanihan
a counterinsurgency program against the Filipino people.” Dr. Linatoc
read a joint statement of the World Council of Churches - Churches
Commission on International Affairs, the United Methodist Church
Global Board Global Ministry and the Indian Council of South America (CISA).
On May 29, 2012, the
Philippines was one of the first 16 countries examined under the
Universal Periodic Review; at that time, 69 countries quizzed the
Philippine Government on its human rights record and at least 22
countries expressed concern over the spate of extra-judicial killings
in the country. The UPR is a mechanism of the United Nations Human
Rights Council to review the human rights record of the UN Member
States every four year.
Other human rights NGO’s
like the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Save the Children
International, Asian Legal Resource Center, Forum Asia and others also
raised deep concern about the human rights situation in the
The members of the
Philippine UPR Watch for the 21st session of the Human Rights Council
are: Ms. Marie Hilao Enriquez of Karapatan; Dr. Rommel Linatoc of the
NCCP; Ms. Melona Daclan of Defend Job Philippines; Mr. Michael Yoshii
of the United Methodist Church of California-Nevada, USA and Ms.
Maribel Mapanao of the International Coordinating Committee for Human
Rights in the Philippines (ICCHRP) in Europe.
starts with awareness as participants of the education summit in
Liloan assessed the present status of their locality's
education, identifying the factors that affect the
teaching-learning process and governance in schools. (inset)
Students from Liloan schools are now engaged movers towards
achieving their schools' goals and their own dreams.
“It takes a village
to educate a child”
By CHRISLEY ANN HINAYAS /
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
September 19, 2012
CEBU CITY – With
the promise of good quality education, the dream of an eleven-year-old
girl of becoming a lawyer may be realized.
“We make our own dreams, but
it takes a village to make it come true,” Mary Shane Angtud, Supreme
Student Government president at Hubag Elementary School in Liloan,
Angtud, together with other
students, shared their hearts’ desires during a recent education
summit in Liloan that gathered stakeholders, including parents, for
one purpose – to mobilize the community to help students like Angtud
achieve their dreams for a good quality education.
The summit featured best
practices in good school governance among teachers, school
administrators, purok leaders, government officials, private sector,
“School governance is the
active engagement of all values-driven stakeholders working together
for a shared vision to achieve excellence in education. The community
is the co-designer and co-owner of education. It is time to reclaim
this ownership and get involved,” Anthony Dignadice, executive
director of the Education Development Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz
Foundation Inc. (RAFI), said.
Dignadice added that as
proactive members in the community, the community can draw out the
flaws in the education system, thus, giving sustainable solutions to
address these challenges.
School governance, he
pointed out, establishes a relationship among stakeholders to be
responsible in setting a new direction for investing resources and
support in education. It develops a transition to effectively
delivering the inputs and outputs of quality education.
“Learning will only be
effective through community participation in systemic reforms of
quality education. People who are involved in school operation are the
best people to improve the quality of education,” Dignadice said.
Angtud said that the
scarcity of physical resources like books and classrooms are highly
important, but community engagement can do a lot more to address this.
“I believe that teachers and
the students are not enough to run the school. Without the support
from the community especially from our parents, students will not be
able to get full good quality education they deserve,” she said.
The story of an 18-year-old
teenager who left school with no definite reason inspired the purok
leaders in Lataban, Liloan to take continuous actions to be involved
in encouraging out of school youth to go back to school.
“We went to his house and
asked him for the reason behind leaving the school. It took us how
many tries to convince him to go back. In the end, he went back to
school,” Virgilio Monterola, purok president of Sitio Tambis, Lataban,
Liloan recalled in Cebuano.
Monterola added that
children need encouragement and guidance from the people around them.
“We saved the boy from
becoming a drop-out all his life. If we want the best for our
children, we also need to give them our best. The value of cooperation
among the teachers and the community can make a lot of difference in
the education system,” he explained.
Low participation of parents
during school assemblies was one of the concerns of the teachers and
administrators. The presence of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA)
members answered the concerns of the teachers regarding the matter.
“If parents are called to
have school meetings, they turn our invitations down. They have this
notion that PTA meetings are a time to collect contributions. School
assemblies should have been the venue for parents to air their
concerns on their children’s education. This is one of the challenges
of PTA, how to bring back the trust of the parents,” Victor
Libot-libot, PTA president of Integrated Calero Liloan School, said.
Parents, as first educators
of their children, are responsible for knowing what their children’s
problems and needs in school. Libot-libot said that as parents, they
need to address these problems firsthand.
“It is not about money. This
goes back to the attitude of our parents to coordinate with the
association. If parents cannot do it alone, then the whole association
is ready to help,” he added.
“We should encourage broader
community participation. The mantra that says: ‘It takes a village to
educate a child’ should always be our guide,” Dignadice concluded.
The education summit is one
of the activities of the Educational QUality ImProvement through
Community Empowerment and Capacity Building (EQUIP-CEBU) program, an
initiative of RAFI under its Education Development Unit, in
partnership with the local government units and Department of
EQUIP-Cebu seeks to empower
teachers, parents, and communities to continuously improve their own
schools and encourage them to be actively involved in the education of
Rehab of Leyte Sab-a
Basin Peatlands, pilot site for ASEAN Peatland Forest Project,
Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 19, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – Now ongoing
in the province of Leyte is the implementation of community-led
demonstration projects on sustainable use and rehabilitation of the
peatland areas within the Leyte Sab-a Basin, a pilot site for the
ASEAN Peatland Forest Project in the Philippines.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Region 8
Regional Executive Director Manolito D. Ragub, recently, forged
agreements with the Municipal Mayors of Alang-alang and Santa Fe,
Leyte for the said project.
In said agreements, Mayor Loreto Yu of the municipality of Alang-alang
mobilized the constituents of Barangays Divisoria, Langit and
Tabangohay through the respective Barangay Chairmen, in establishing
one hectare demonstration projects and rehabilitation of two hectares
degraded peatland areas in their respective barangays.
On the other hand, Mayor Melchor Quemado of the municipality of Santa
Fe caused the constituents of barangay San Isidro through its barangay
chairman to implement the same demonstration project and
Ms. Purificacion Daloos, chief of the regional Public Affairs Office
of DENR-8 informed that the community-led demonstration projects and
rehabilitation areas will serve as learning sites for sustainable use
and conservation of peatlands at the same time providing livelihood to
Ms. Daloos said that this project also aims at creating awareness and
instituting measures in the protection and sustainable use of areas
surrounding the peatlands that allows cultivation for agricultural
Each Barangay shall receive P175,000 for the development of the one
hectare demonstration project and two hectares rehabilitation area.
This amount is part of the fund grant from the Global Environment
Facility (GEF) through the International Fund for Agricultural
Development (IFAD) which is helping the Philippines and other ASEAN
Peatland Forest Projects undertake activities for rehabilitation and
sustainable use of peatland forests in South East Asia.
The Leyte Sab-a Basin is one of the two pilot sites for the ASEAN
Peatland Forest Project in the Philippines. The other project is in
Agusan Del Sur.
The project is being implemented by the Government through the DENR’s
Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) with funding from the IFAD
and the GEF. It has two component activities for 2012: providing small
community-led demonstration project on sustainable use of peatlands as
well as rehabilitation of degraded peatlands for the hydrology and
conservation of biodiversity.
The project may seem small but once the sites will become operational,
it will create a multiplier effect especially on the proper use,
rehabilitation and conservation of this still lesser known peatlands
ecosystems, as important habitat of biodiversity and as carbon sinks,”
RED Ragub said.