Abella, DepEd Cebu Province Division Physical Facilities
coordinator; Iris Mae Echavez, RAFI audit head; Anthony
Dignadice, RAFI Education Development Unit executive director;
Eliseo Leones, Agtugop Elementary School and Agbanga Primary
School head; Etan Rallos, Asturias councilor; and Jovelyn Leones,
Agtugop Elementary School head teacher lead the turnover
ceremony of repaired classrooms of Agtugop Elementary School in
Asturias, Cebu last Nov. 10.
New rooms for
By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation
December 21, 2012
CEBU CITY –
The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) through its School
Rehabilitation Program (SRP), turned over 15 classrooms to the
teachers and school administrators of four public elementary schools
in Asturias last Nov. 10.
Four school buildings of
Asturias Central School, Agbanga Elementary School, Agtugop Elementary
School, and Tag-amakan Elementary School were repaired, benefiting
over 700 pupils.
While RAFI shouldered the
material cost, the local government unit of Asturias and the
Provincial Government of Cebu shouldered the labor cost. The teachers,
parents, and the community served as custodians of the construction
materials throughout the repair period.
Part of the repair is the
installation of a two-piece concave-type blackboard and a toilet and
lavatory in each classroom.
“RAFI is doing its best to
help provide enabling conditions by improving physical structures,“
Anthony Dignadice, RAFI Education Development Unit executive director,
“We wish to emphasize the
need for effective learning and this would require change in the
culture of classroom management,” Dignadice, added.
The completion of the 15
classrooms in the four schools of Asturias now brings the coverage of
the School Rehabilitation Program to a total of 507 classrooms in 151
schools in 34 towns in Cebu since its inception in 2004.
“The most difficult part of
the implementation was the transport of construction materials to
schools in far-flung areas. Despite this challenge, what truly
encouraged me was seeing the need for a better school for the
community,” Eliseo Leones Jr., school head of Agtugop and Agbanga
Elementary Schools, said.
Asturias is one of the
municipality-beneficiaries of RAFI's SRP.
“We’ve been dreaming to have
a beautiful school building for so long, and now that we have it, we
are so happy,” Leones, added.
The SRP is a program under
the Education focus area of RAFI, which creates conducive and engaging
learning environment to nurture the love for learning. Its other focus
areas are Integrated Development, Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship,
Culture & Heritage, and Leadership & Citizenship.
For more information about
the School Rehabilitation Program, please contact 418-7234 loc. 205
and look for Jicel Reve Gabriel, or visit www.rafi.org.ph or
www.facebook.com/rafi.org.ph or http://schoolrehab.rafi.org.ph.
PLDT, PBSP build
schools with used batteries
By Philippine Business for
December 12, 2012
CEBU CITY – Used
batteries can build classrooms, and Philippine Long Distance Telephone
Company (PLDT) proves this to be true when it recently turned over
classrooms in the far-off schools of Northern Samar, which were built
through the donation of its used lead acid batteries (ULABs).
By donating their ULABs to
Motolite, which buys them at a higher price, PLDT was able to generate
P3.4 million for the construction of four classrooms, benefiting 513
pupils in Bangkerohan Elementary School and Nenita Central School.
This is the winning formula
of the Balik-Baterya Program by Motolite and Philippine Business for
Social Progress (PBSP), an initiative that has helped companies
properly recycle their ULABs so they could be converted to useful
materials. The funds raised from the donated ULABs are then used for
various projects that help improve the state of education in the
“We in the private sector
recognize the role of our children and youth in shaping the future of
our country and our planet, hence we help our government reach its
goal of providing better education by building classrooms and helping
improve our public schools and communities,” PLDT Community Relations
Senior Manager Evelyn del Rosario shared during the turnover events
with PBSP, Department of Education and the provincial government of
Northern Samar Governor Paul
Daza, on the other hand, urged the pupils and teachers to show their
appreciation of PLDT’s donation by making good use of the classrooms.
“You are lucky that out of
24 towns and 569 barangays, you were chosen to receive these
classrooms because the barangay officials, teachers, principals and
parents are active, which will assure our donors that the classrooms
will be used properly,” he said.
Early Christmas present
For sixth grader Steven Elad
Francisco, PLDT's visit to their school is the best early Christmas
present he has ever received.
His classroom, located to
the farthest corner of Bangkerohan Elementary School, is the most
affected when storms upset their regular classes. When flooding is
really strong, he reveals, the water level reaches up to their upper
knees, preventing them from even sitting on their desks.
“With the new classrooms, I
know the pupils before me will not experience what we have to endure
almost every month,” Francisco shared, who is expected graduate this
In Nenita Central School,
teachers had to handle 21 classes in 17 classrooms, which them to
conduct classes in makeshift rooms that are not conducive to learning.
“We are so grateful to have
these classrooms that will help us reach our vision, which is to cater
basic quality education to our pupils who will become productive
citizens of our nation,” Nenita Central School Principal Brenda
The four classrooms donated
to Northern Samar will be used by 383 first and second graders of
Bangkerohan Elementary School and 139 grade three pupils of Nenita
Central School. Each classroom is provided with arm chairs, teacher’s
tables and a comfort room. Aside from the classroom, the project also
includes a training component to help build the capacities of the
parents and teachers’ associations so they could easily perform their
roles and function.
“May your new classrooms
encourage you to study harder so that someday you would become good
citizens of Northern Samar and our country,” del Rosario told the
“If we really wanted to help
our people, especially those in the impoverished areas, the best way
is through education. By giving them education, we help them easily
uplift their lives,” Governor Daza added.
Always on top
Launched in 2006, the
Balik-Baterya Program aims to protect the environment through proper
disposal and recycling of ULABs as well as improve the learning of
PLDT joined the program in
2008 and has then become its top donor with the company’s donations
comprising 77% of the program’s total ULAB contributions. Through its
donations, the company has already provided 22 mini-libraries and two
computer laboratories to various schools in the Visayas.
PLDT is also the first
company under the Balik-Baterya program that chose to use its funds to
“We in PLDT contribute to
national development by strengthening our country’s telecommunications
as an important foundation for a progressive country. In line with our
business of bridging people and communities here and abroad, we chose
education as a major corporate social responsibility program because
we acknowledge that more opportunities can be accessed by children and
youth who have completed their basic education,” del Rosario said.
She also hopes that the
classrooms donated will help address the country’s need for 66,800 new
“With PBSP, we are able to
build classrooms in far flung communities where help is most needed,”
del Rosario added.
“The classrooms that we are
turning over today may be quite few if we look at the thousands of
classrooms that need to be constructed for our public schools.
However, this is already a big step here in your community and we in
PBSP express our gratitude to PLDT, most especially to its chairman,
Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan and its community relations head, Ms. Evelyn
del Rosario, for your continuing partnership with PBSP in your
corporate social responsibility initiatives,” PBSP Visayas Regional
Center Director Jessie Cubijano stated.
troops supervised the basic survival and search and rescue
techniques during the Boy Scout Provincial Jamboree in Barangay
Cabacungan, Allen, Northern Samar from 17-21 November 2012.
participate in the 16th provincial Boy Scout jamboree in Northern
Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
December 3, 2012
BRGY MAGSAYSAY, Lope de
Vega, Northern Samar – The troops of 20th Infantry (We
Lead) Battalion, together with personnel from 803rd Brigade and from
8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, the PNP and Local Government
of Allen, Northern Samar participated in the just concluded 16th BSP
Council Scout Jamborette with a theme: “Be Prepared: Leadership for
life” held from November 17-21, 2012 at Camp Talaboy, Sitio Imaga,
Bgry. Cabacungan, Allen, Northern Samar.
The series of activities
started with a parade on November 17, 2012 in which more or less one
thousand two hundred (1200) scouts and scoutmasters from the 24 towns
in 36 school districts all over the province paraded at Bgry.
Cabacungan. Then a program was held at the Camp Site at Camp Talaboy.
During the Program, Hon. Rod
Laurean Suan, welcomed the participants to the Camp and stressed how
important the Boy Scout program is to the development of the students
in honing their skills as future leaders and citizens of this country.
The program was capped by the Boy Scout pledge of all Boy Scouts.
Among the highlights of the
jamboree was the conduct of six training packages, aimed to develop
among the Boy scouts the value of self-confidence, preparedness,
service and team-work. The training packages include Back to Basic
Skills in self reliance through the conduct of different rope courses
in mountain climbing; first aid and Water rescue operations training
wherein the troops taught the boy scouts about basic first aid and
Water Rescue techniques utilizing rubber boats; Waste
Management/community Service training to improve the scouts’ community
awareness; Self-confidence training wherein the Boy scouts underwent
obstacle course around the camp; and Team building Games to develop
the sense of cooperation and team-work among the scouts.
During the evening Affairs,
the Boy Scout council also held special activities each night for the
scouts such as the hip-hop and ethnic dance contests, the Choral
singing Contest, and the “Combo Lata” contest. Hon. Mayor Rod Lauren
Suan together with 2LT Joter M. Lobo II and other members of the Boy
Scout Executive council served as judges for these activities.
Aside from the conduct of
the training package, the Army troops also took the opportunity to
inform the scouts about the current programs of the Philippine Army
through film showings during the scouts’ free time.
The series of activities was
culminated by a Fancy drill and troop formations competition between
the participating schools. Mayor Rod Suan together with the Philippine
Army Personnel served as judges for the event.
According to LTC Noel
Vestuir, 20IB’s commanding officer, “the participation of Philippine
Army personnel is a good opportunity to impart to these young men the
necessary skills, knowledge and attitude as boy scouts that would mold
them into responsible, service-oriented and productive citizens of our
country in the future.”
Mr. Joel Orendain,
Provincial Council Scout Executive, expressed his deepest gratitude to
the Philippine Army and its troops for their active involvement and
participation, in providing security assistance, the conduct of
training packages, information awareness activities and team building
activities that contributed to the success of the entire event.
Dirty energy, dirty weather lead to
demand climate justice
By The Climate Reality
November 19, 2012
In a press briefing today, lawyer climate leaders and activists demand
real path to genuine and serious climate change action framework
towards climate and environmental justice.
Joining the week-long
National Climate Change Consciousness Week initiated by the Climate
Change Commission, the Public Attorney's Office partnered with
Filipino members of The Climate Reality Project (TCRP), a global
climate movement founded by Nobel laureate and former United States
vice president Al Gore.
Together, they called for a
system change towards a responsive global community addressing the
challenges of climate crisis through a strategic switch from dirty
sources of energy to a clean one.
“Last week, 16.2 million
online viewers witnessed the 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather
Report which exposed the realities of and solutions to the climate
crisis through Internet broadcast by featuring news, voices, and
multimedia content across all 24 time zones around the globe,” said
climate leader Rodne Galicha, Philippine district manager of TCRP and
adaptation cluster member of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas.
The 24-hour global event
declared that dirty energy has created a world of Dirty Weather,
“Today, climate disruption affects us all and it will take all of us
together to solve it – when together we will stand up and demand real
solutions to the climate crisis.”
“We must admit that we have
been experiencing unusual and extreme weather conditions due to our
careless and uncontrollable utilization of dirty energy like coal, oil
and gas which in effect produces a lot of greenhouse gases trapping a
lot of extra heat rising up the temperature of our planet,” said human
ecologist and TCRP climate leader Floro Francisco, former assistant
general manager of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA).
Francisco explained that
extreme heat accelerates evaporation and warm air holds more moisture
increasing more water vapor in the atmosphere resulting to an increase
“Extreme weather conditions
means longer and deeper droughts killing crops and livelihoods, even
people; more intense typhoons, heavy rainfall resulting to flooding
and mudslides,” disaster risk reduction specialist and TCRP climate
leader Miguel Magalang said in a previous statement. Magalang is
executive director of Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC),
affiliate of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Boac.
"The solution for climate
crisis should start from ourselves, however, leaders' political will
is also a need - it is a moral imperative above all else," continued
For Magalang, disaster risk
reduction and climate change adaptation initiatives should not be
standalone ones but should form integral part of an integrated and
sustainable development framework.
Coming up with a convergent
institutional framework in the local governments that would push for
the whole sustainable development platform is necessary. Further, the
challenge of choosing industries that induce climate-related disasters
must be faced – prioritizing extractive industries such as mining must
be thought first a thousand times.
“Filipinos cannot solve the
climate crisis alone – it must be a global action, together. Countries
with high-level carbon emissions like the United States must lead in
this global change through deeper emission cuts and we hope that the
newly elected US President Barack Obama would be able to take the
strongest step to help solve the climate crisis,” said lawyer and TCRP
climate leader Persida Rueda-Acosta, chief of the Public Attorney’s
In behalf of the Filipino
lawyer members of the global movement, Acosta made it clear that
climate justice was sought in the 24-hour event: "Whatever adaptation
and mitigation poor, developing or smaller states are doing if larger
and overly-consuming countries continue to exploit the natural
resources of the powerless using more dirty energy, continuously
polluting our water and air, heating up our climate – this crisis will
still continue until it becomes too late to save the only planet we
Following the directives of
President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III on the observance of the
National Climate Change Consciousness Week, Acosta revealed the Public
Attorney's Office environmental plan by walking the talk: "By next
year, most of our transactions will be paperless. We have already
started integrating climate and environment related issues in some of
our employee capacity building and development programs."
“Dirty energy means dirty
weather, and dirty weather leads to disasters. We need legally binding
agreements which all of humanity is treated equally in the principles
of climate justice – top emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) like
China, the United States, the European Union, India and Russia. We
fully support the position of our national government in the upcoming
COP-18 in Doha, Qatar,” explained Acosta.
Lawyer members include
Acosta herself, environmentalists Atty. Mario Maderazo and Atty.
Galicha said that the newly
signed law called People’s Survival Fund may not be enough to address
the financial needs of the Philippines for adaptation and mitigation.
Aids which may flow from the newly approved United Nations Green
Climate Fund will not be able to address the present climate crisis
unless greenhouse gas emission is cut.
While least GHG emitting
nations such as the archipelagic Philippines do their best to adapt
and mitigate, they are still exposed and vulnerable to hazards and
disasters: “A legally binding treaty for deeper greenhouse gas
emission cut must be agreed upon or else climate-smart aid like GCF is
all but hypocrisy, so do with the Philippines – the way forward is to
be serious in climate policies: stop implementing disaster-inducing
industries and take a vital step towards clean energy.”
The Climate Reality Project
helps citizens around the world discover the truth about the climate
crisis and take meaningful steps to bring about change. Our mission is
to reveal the complete truth about the climate crisis in a way that
ignites the moral courage in each of us.
The Climate Reality Project
employs cutting-edge communications and grassroots engagement tools to
break the dam of inaction and raise the profile of the climate crisis
to its proper state of urgency. With a global movement more than 2
million strong and a grassroots network of Climate Leaders trained by
Chairman Al Gore, we stand up to denial, press for solutions, and
spread the truth about climate change to empower our leaders to solve
the climate crisis.
improved building facilities, Bantayan's Kabac Elementary School
now stands as a proud venue of knowledge and learning.
Better schools for
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
November 13, 2012
CEBU CITY – From
being old and dilapidated, nineteen classrooms in five public
elementary schools in Bantayan are now good as new after the Ramon
Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), through its School Rehabilitation
Program (SRP), and volunteers conducted school repairs and clean-ups.
Last Oct. 12, RAFI turned
over these classrooms to Tamiao Elementary School, Vito Elementary
School, Sillon Elementary School, Baod Elementary School, and Kabac
Elementary School. A total of 896 pupils benefited from the program.
RAFI provided a total of
P4.37 million to cover for the material cost of the repair and
rehabilitation of the four Marcos-type and Bagong Lipunan school
buildings while the local government unit of Bantayan shouldered the
P1.5 million labor cost.
As beneficiaries and
proponents of the project, the school administrators, teachers,
parents, and the local community of the five schools mentioned ensured
the safekeeping of the construction materials for the duration of the
The SRP of RAFI aims not
just to improve the physical condition of public schools but also
encourage participation among the stakeholders.
“We enjoin the parents, the
school community, and the private sector to take on the responsibility
of actively participating as owners of the public school system. Our
children’s future depends on the improvement of the public schools,
and this improvement depends on our participation,” Amaya Aboitiz,
deputy director for operations of RAFI, said.
Bantayan Mayor Ian
Christopher Escario expressed his appreciation to the community for
“I commend the teachers and
parents for their active participation in the entire project as
volunteers and property custodians. Together, we are opening more
doors for our children to become successful individuals in the
future,” Escario said.
Bantayan has been one of the
municipality beneficiaries of RAFI’s SRP since 2009. So far, 39
classrooms in 11 schools were already turned over and completed
through the program.
“The lack of funds has made
it difficult for the town to address the classroom shortages, and
other social services as well.
That is why we are very
happy with the presence of non-government organizations like RAFI who
are willing to help address our problems in education,” Escario added.
Bantayan is still part of
the program’s second batch of schools, and has 14 classrooms in five
schools that are presently undergoing major repair.
Since 2004, SRP has repaired
a total of 498 classrooms in 148 schools in 34 towns in Cebu.
SRP is a program under the
Education focus area of RAFI, creating a conducive and engaging
learning environment to nurture the love for learning. RAFI's other
focus areas are Integrated Development, Micro-finance &
Entrepreneurship, Culture & Heritage, and Leadership & Citizenship.
For more information about
the School Rehabilitation Program, please contact 418-7234 loc. 205
and look for Jicel Reve Gabriel, or visit www.rafi.org.ph or
www.facebook.com/rafi.org.ph or http://schoolrehab.rafi.org.ph.
Two young Eastern
Samarnons’ encounter with Indonesian President, Queen
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
October 26, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY –
Two children from Eastern Samar had the rare chance of discussing
disaster risk reduction and climate change with the Indonesian
President and Queen in Yogyakarta, Indonesia during the 5th Asian
Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Yogya Expo Center
on October 23-25 at Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
The two children, Mark,
14-years old from Oras, Eastern Samar and Thania, 16 years old from
Llorente, Eastern Samar were among the 18 children representatives
from Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Japan who attended the
Conference and the Side Event on Children’s Participation in Safe
school and Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) on October 24.
Mark presented the Child-centred
Disaster Risk Reduction activities he actively engaged in at their
town with the help of Plan International, a development organization
with programs for children.
The young Mark is the leader
of the so called “texter clan.” He maximizes the use of text messaging
in sending disaster-related information and typhoon updates to his
Indonesian President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono asked Mark about his personal experiences during
disasters and the activities undertaken by the community to increase
Mark also underscored that
disaster is aggravating the problem related to trafficking to the
affected areas. He handed the president a copy of the Children’s
Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The sharing took place after
the President graced the formal opening of the Conference on October
23, at a booth set up by Plan International and other international
At the Side Event on
Children’s Participation in Safe school and Inclusive Disaster Risk
Reduction (DRR) on October 24, Mark emphasized to Margareta Walstrom,
head of the Geneva-based United Nations International Strategy for
Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the principle of child protection in
schools and that education must not be interrupted as a result of
“The important message I am
hearing from you today is that you are ready to participate not just
in planning disaster risk reduction activity but also in
implementation and you have many concrete ideas. I thank you all for
your contribution,” Wahlstrom said.
Meanwhile, Thania, Mark and
the other 16 other children from the Asia-Pacific countries who
attended the conference were very happy to meet the Queen of
Yogyakarta Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hemas.
“It’s important to change
information and share knowledge among children and between children
and adults so we as adult will continuously listen to and respect
children’s voice in DRR,” GKR Hemas told the children.
Thania shared her
experiences as a child leader to the Queen. Thania is actively
involved in facilitating children’ sessions in the barangays on DRR
and climate change concepts.
“Children have the capacity
and potential to adapt with their environment, to learn faster about
information technology and to manage information and use it for their
benefit to be more resilient in coping with disaster,” GKR Hemas
Mark and Thania successfully
blended with other Asian child leaders in order to get the attention
of the conference delegates who were composed of ministers, government
officials and representatives from the Asia-Pacific region.
The young Eastern Samarnons
had an advantage as they are the only children participants who can
speak English, Plan’s Sandee Saavedra and Baltz Tribunalo disclosed.
The Children’s Charter on
DRR they handed to the guests is a five-point action agenda for DRR
for children by children, and has been developed through consultations
with more than 600 children in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin
These five actions points
are: Schools must be safe and education must not be interrupted; Child
protection must be a priority before, during and after a disaster;
Children have the right to participate and to access the information
they need; Community infrastructure must be safe, and relief and
reconstruction must help reduce future risk; and that Disaster risk
reduction much reach the most vulnerable.
As of this writing, the
children are still in Indonesia, Mr. Tootch dela Cruz of Plan
Philippines in the Visayas, informed.
The travel of the children
to Indonesia was made possible by Plan Philippines in the Visayas
under the stewardship of Mr. Rodel Bontuyan. Plan is a development
organization with programs for children and with programs being
implemented in Eastern Samar.
With funding from Plan USA
and technical support from the Technical Education and Skills
Development Authority, Plan helped build the Llorente Training Centre
in Llorente, Eastern Samar (where Thania came from) in 2006. The
vocational and technical training centre is especially helpful to
young people without a college education as it provides them with
opportunities to acquire skills for gainful employment. To date, 300
students have graduated from the center.
Continuous rains for 4 days
almost submerged the villages on the riverside in the districts of
Oras in Eastern Samar (where Mark came from). The floods destroyed all
the standing crops in the affected areas. Government estimates showed
that the cost of damage was at least US$100,000, representing 220
hectares of rice fields.
Rampaging floodwaters also
intruded into water wells and destroyed irrigation canals. Affected
families sought temporary shelter in schools, churches and undamaged
houses in elevated areas.
Plan responded by providing
basic food items, water disinfectant, water treatment, school supplies
and furniture. Plan engaged children and village council officials in
discussions and planning to reduce the risk of future disasters.
Children were also trained to produce videos on disasters in
partnership with the Force of Nature Foundation.