launch Year 2 of educational assistance to Olango SHS scholars
December 5, 2018
CEBU CITY – As the
youngest of seven children, 18-year-old April Mae Siton wanted to
finish her senior high school (SHS) education without relying too
much on her aging parents.
For years, her father, a
fisherman, and her mother who works as a shell accessories worker,
have been trying to make ends meet so her siblings can finish their
studies and have a better life. To help lessen the cost of her
studies, she took up a Senior High School (SHS) strand that had the
least expenses, Food and Beverage Services (FBS). She also worked
part-time jobs to be able to help her parents pay for school
“My original dream was to
become a police officer or a seaman. But I no longer wanted to
burden to my parents and siblings for my expenses even if they
wanted to support me. My parents are already old and my older
siblings have their own families already so I do not want to depend
too much on them, especially with my plan to pursue college. FBS was
the most ideal choice,” Siton added.
Luckily, Siton’s plans
were answered when she was selected as one of the scholars of a
one-year scholarship assistance from PBSP and corporate sponsors
through the Olango Challenge, an open-water swimming event held
every May that raises funds for education programs on Olango island.
PBSP, Olango Challenge
corporate donors, and DepEd officially launched a one-year
educational assistance project that will support 100 junior and
senior high school scholars of Sta. Rosa National High School. The
event also witnessed the ceremonial turnover of laboratory equipment
for the Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) course in the school.
“This is a dream come true
for me to become a scholar because I really tried my best to be
chosen. Now, I can fulfill my future dreams because of this
financial assistance without burdening my parents,” Siton added.
Aid for a Hundred Students
Sta. Rosa NHS is one of
the three senior high schools located within the island. Most of its
students face financial difficulties that prevent them from
continuing their SHS education, especially that Technical-Vocational
Livelihood track (TVL) mostly requires students to purchase
materials for their school projects. The school’s effective
implementation of its TVL curriculum is also hampered by the
shortage of facilities and equipment.
“We chose to continue our
assistance to Sta. Rosa NHS because it focuses on providing
Technical Vocational Livelihood (TVL). If we want our students to
gain holistic understanding and appreciation in their chosen
strands, its shortages need to be addressed. We also want the
students to learn skills that match most of the industry
requirements in Mactan and the rest of Cebu,” PBSP trustee and
Visayas Executive Committee Chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz said.
The scholarship assistance
includes the monthly transportation and project allowances,
registration fees for National Certification assessments, and
employment assistance for students wanting to find jobs after
graduation. The provision of tools and equipment for the SMAW
laboratory, on the other hand, aims to contribute to the improved
curriculum delivery of the school and strengthen the students’
competencies. Tools and equipment include coveralls and uniforms,
leather gloves, respiratory masks, welding rods and shields, work
suits and gloves, angle grinders, and cutting and grinding disks.
“Some of you will choose
to work immediately after you graduate. Some of you will go on to
further studies. We hope that the assistance that we provide you
helps to lighten your load and lets you concentrate on the skills
that you are learning and the education that you are getting from
the school,” Aboitiz added.
Present during the program
launch were Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation (OPASCOR)
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tomas Riveral, GMR Megawide
Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) Junior Manager for Corporate
Communications and CSR Avigael Maningo, and Aboitiz who distributed
certificates and allowance vouchers to the scholars.
Building Schools through
the Olango Challenge
This is the 11th year that
PBSP has continuously poured in support for Olango island schools
through the Olango Challenge. Since the event’s launch in 2008, it
has built nine classrooms for Olango’s elementary schools and
provided educational assistance to 190 SHS students.
This is the second year
that PBSP provided educational assistance to the SHS students
through the Olango Challenge proceeds. Major sponsors for this
year’s Olango Challenge include the Aboitiz & Company, Dow Chemicals
Philippines, Inc., GMCAC, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., and
“We hope that by providing
them with these interventions, the students will successfully pass
their subjects, perform well, and access better job opportunities
after graduating from senior high school,” Aboitiz added.
ACT to Duterte:
Equal benefits for all, stop playing favorites!
December 4, 2018
QUEZON CITY – The
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) called on President Duterte "to
put into consideration the whole government bureaucracy, not to play
favorites in giving out benefits and bonuses” after news of P50K
Christmas bonus for staff of the Office of the President (OP). The
President’s decision was reportedly inspired by Mayor Sara
Duterte-Carpio’s granting of P50K bonus to city hall employees in
“It seems Duterte often
forgets that he’s no longer merely a Mayor anymore, but the
President of the Philippines. He cannot continue practicing
'patronage politics' while the rest of the country hardly make ends
meet, with our belts incessantly tightening as the holiday season
fast approaches,” says Joselyn Martinez, ACT National Chairperson.
Martinez also cited the
doubling of the salaries of the military and police as another
instance where Pres. Duterte has practiced partiality in favor of
those ‘whose loyalty he needs.’
“His still-heavy reliance
on patronage politics exposes his weakness as a leader,” continued
She reminded that the
money being used ‘in his bid to win over loyalty and allegiances
within the bureaucracy’ is the people’s money and not his own.
“The President must
responsibly and justly utilize the people’s money by providing
substantial economic relief and by delivering free and quality
social services to the people. All of us hardworking employees
deserve a decent and dignified life,” demanded Martinez.
The group is calling for a
minimum wage of P16,000, P30,000 salary for Teacher I, and P31,000
for Instructor I. Additionally, ACT urges the Duterte administration
to immediately effect an upgrade from P2,000 to P5,000 on the
Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA).
“We challenge him to
uphold the principle of equal pay for equal work. Especially that
the government's current salary scheme is already distorted in favor
of uniformed personnel and high officials, the least he can do is to
provide equal benefits and bonuses for all to enable the
low-salaried government workers to cope with the crisis,” pressed
from Internal Audit Service, DPWH Central Office conducts an
entrance meeting with DPWH- Biliran District Engineering
Office prior to their management audit.
undergone regular and Internal Quality Audit (IQA)
December 3, 2018
NAVAL, Biliran –
The Internal Audit Service of the Department of Public Works and
Highways (DPWH), Central Office conducts a management audit at
Biliran District Engineering Office (BDEO) in conformance with the
requirements of ISO 9001:2015.
In 2017, DPWH-Biliran DEO
has been certified with International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 under David P. Adongay Jr., District
The main objective of the
audit system is to ensure continuous improvement of the district
office in terms of quality management system (QMS) according to ISO
The audit was conducted on
November 12-21, 2018 with the auditors from Internal Audit Service,
DPWH Central Office led by Ms. Remedios R. Arellano with team
members, Engr. Marina A. Leoparte and Ms. Cristina S. Perlas.
Biliran DEO has been
scrutinized according to the availability of information in the
different areas of processes including the district’s management
process, infrastructure development process from planning and
design, construction, maintenance, and support processes to
financial management, physical resources management, human resources
management, information management, and procurement management.
According to DE Adongay,
through assessment has led to clearer understanding of what is
needed to achieve development goal and has eliminated the “hit and
miss” approach often present in government development goal
setting,” said DE Adongay.
“These best assessment
performance practices when benchmarked properly can yield excellent
result which is a less waste in human resources and funding. This
has some implications to infrastructure/ service delivery –
resources are often wasted in the improper delivery of services to
the people.” DE Adongay added.
During the exit meeting,
DE Adongay stressed that Management Audit is one of the current
practices in assessing performance of the office.
performance practices, we are able to pinpoint the best delivery
services by the government and reduce or eliminate wastage often
found in the delivery of services where no assessment has been
undertaken,” DE Adongay said.
ISO 9001:2008 Quality
Management System (QMS) Certification demonstrates the Department’s
continued dedication to delivering on its commitment to quality and
excellence in public service.
PHILIPPINE ENTRIES WIN AT 2018 G-STAR. The “Brawl Quest”
developed by ThinkBit Solutions, led by director Lord
Christian Gosingtian (front row, second from left), wins
first prize under the mobile game category, while the
“Bayani Game” of Ranida Games, headed by Walter Manalo
(front row, fourth from left), gets the second prize in the
PC game category.
PH game dev’t
industry shows competitive edge at G-STAR South Korea
December 3, 2018
MAKATI CITY –
Filipino independent game developers have once again showcased the
industry’s competitive advantage on a global platform through their
participation in the ASEAN Services Exhibition: Global Game
Exhibition G-Star 2018 held from November 13-18, 2018 in Busan,
Two entries from the
Philippine delegation won at the Big Indie Awards competition, which
was held on November 17, 2018. The mobile game “Brawl Quest” by
ThinkBit and the PC game “Bayani” of Ranida Games won first and
second prizes, respectively. Brawl Quest takes inspiration from old
arcade “beat ‘em ups” such as the “Double Dragon,” “Streets of
Rage,” and “Golden Axe.” Its setting and characters are heavily
inspired by the modern Philippines pop-culture. On the other hand,
Bayani Fighting Game is an indie fighting game drawn from the
Philippines’ rich and colorful history and culture. Its characters
are based on real Philippine heroes, landmarks, and events.
Recognized globally for
their work in game development segments, Filipino developers
presented homegrown mobile and PC games at this year’s G-Star. They
were assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry-Export
Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)
in Korea, Game Development Association of the Philippines, and
ASEAN-Korea Center, which provided their inland transfers,
accommodation, and booth at the event’s ASEAN pavilion.
G-Star 2018 included
activities like the ASEAN-Korea cooperation workshop for game
development services in Seoul, Korea, as well as exhibitions,
business matching activities and meetings, and market sensing of
companies in Busan at BEXCO. Ten Philippine companies including the
Audacity Studio, Indigo Entertainment, Synergy 88, Gumi Games,
Komikasi, Monstronauts, Ranida Games, Redbana, Red Trident, and
ThinkBit also participated in the event.
During the mission, the
EMB facilitated 175 business matching meetings for the Philippines
and its foreign counterparts. The bureau sought to further establish
partnerships between Philippine companies and other game developers
from South Korea. The mission started with a courtesy call to Consul
General Christian De Jesus of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, Korea
and a meeting with Commercial Counsellor Jose Ma. Dinsay of PTIC-Seoul.
The Philippine delegation
also participated in the “ASEAN-Korea Business Seminar on Game
Industry” at Ibis Styles Ambassador Seoul Yongsan, in Seoul, South
Korea, where they presented their company expertise and unique
surrender of CNTs and supporters in Eastern Samar
14th Infantry Battalion
December 2, 2018
BRGY DAO, Oras –
Two regular members of Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs), 18 Milisyang
Bayan (MB) of Underground Mass Organization of Brgy. Pandol,
Can-avid, Eastern Samar surrendered to the 14th Infantry (Avenger)
Battalion, Philippine Army last December 02, 2018.
Honorable Gil Norman P
Germino, Municipal Mayor, Can-avid, Eastern Samar together with
Florita B Macoro, MLGOO, Mrs Verina P Amoyo, MSWDO and Brgy
Officials of Brgy Pandol were present to witness the mass surrender.
Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy
V. Jimenez INF (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer, 14th Infantry
Battalion, said that the surrender is a result of the unit’s
effective Community Support Program (CSP) operation, aggressive
civil military operations and intelligence operations coupled with
other Lines of Operations and Efforts to further pressure the CNTs
and their supporters in Eastern Samar. This development will surely
destroy if not, cut-off the support system of the CNTs and their
mass base in the far-flung and isolated villages of the province.
Mayor Germino stated, “For
the past years, the CNTs frequently roam around the barangays of
Pandol, Boco and Balagon conducting organizing and extortion
activities as reported by the barangay officials. The surrender will
further improve the peace and order situation in the municipality of
“Barangay Pandol form part
of the Guerilla Base of Front 3, Sub-Regional Committee (SRC),
“ARCTIC”, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) unit of
the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) operating in the area of
Can-avid and its nearby municipalities in Eastern Samar. The
barangay is categorized as influenced and a stronghold of the NPAs
since early 90’s. The clearing of the influenced barangays in our
area of operation has been the priority of the 14IB in its
operational campaign to degrade and further defeat our confronted
threat,” Lt. Col. Jimenez added.
After a series of
negotiation and dialogue conducted by CSP elements of Bravo Company
of 14IB led by 1Lt Dennis S. Carig (INF) PA immersed in the said
barangay to educate and deepen the awareness of the community, the
CNTs and its organization within the barangay were convinced to end
their support to the armed struggle and surrender.
Rogelio O. Cebrero, aka “Pater”,
Chairman of the Underground Mass Organization of Brgy Pandol, said,
“We were hopeless and frustrated over unfulfilled promises of the
CNTs that organized us. Now, we understand how the CNTs deceived and
exploited our community. Our resources and even food for our family
were handed to them as support to the armed struggle but we gain
nothing. We also take this opportunity to clear our names and join
the folds of law to live a normal and productive life with our love
The community in Brgy
Pandol conducted peace rally to expressed their stand against the
CNTs, condemned the abuses and deceitful activity of the CNTs and
call-out to stop using their Barangay as lair of insurgents as they
pursue just and lasting peace for the future of their children.
Lastly, Lt. Col Jimenez
added, “What we collectively achieved today is only the beginning,
the 14th Infantry (Avenger) Battalion will be needing the support of
the people as we continue to perform our mission to end insurgency
in the province of Eastern Samar. Rest assured that the Battalion
will be unyielding and even more motivated to serve the people to
ensure peace and development in our area of operation”.
concerned over 'lagging' RE policy amid climate talks
underperforming in clean energy shift
Center for Energy,
Ecology and Development
December 2, 2018
QUEZON CITY – Civil
society organizations show concern over the underperforming status
of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations in keeping up
with the global shift to renewable energy.
With the opening of
Conference of Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Katowice, the Center for
Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) expressed disappointment
over the lack of significant policy support from the part of the
government to do its fair share in shifting from carbon-intensive
coal energy to more renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
"While there has been a
global shift towards renewables this year, the Philippines and other
ASEAN countries do not seem to be onboard, considering their energy
policies and projections," said Gerry Arances, CEED Executive
Director. "If we are to abide by the targets of the Paris Climate
Agreement, global emissions must reach their highest peak in 2020,
but the recent UN Environment report indicates that this may not be
possible by 2030," he noted.
Arances cited the
International Energy Agency (IEA) report that in 2017, 70% of global
energy demand was met by oil and gas which corresponds to the 1.2%
increase in emissions in the same year. "It is alarming that two
years after the Paris Accord is when we reached a record high in
global emissions. This means that developing countries like the
Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia can no longer use
development to opt out of doing their fair share in cutting
emissions," he emphasized.
"With 53% of its energy
needs sourced from coal, it is unfortunate that the Philippines –
the third most vulnerable country when it comes to climate disasters
– is not doing enough to cut carbon emissions," Arances continued.
"This is ten years after we passed the Renewable Energy Act of 2008,
which aimed to increase the share of renewables in our country and
decrease our dependence on imported coal," he added. "An evidence of
this lagging commitment is the implementing rules of the Renewable
Portfolio Standards which have only been released this year: a
decade after we enacted the RE Law," Arances noted.
Meanwhile, the Mindanao
Working Group for Clean, Affordable Renewable Energy (CARE), raised
concerns over the pending power supply agreements (PSAs) between
distribution utilities and generation companies which lock in the
power grids in the Philippines to relying on coal for at least two
"Not only will this go
against the drive to increase renewable energy in our power mix, it
will also ensure that we keep paying to operate coal-fired power
plants way after they have become cheaper than renewable energy
sources," said Mr. Clint Pacana, co-convenor for the Mindanao
Working Group. "Such agreements only to serve to secure the return
of investments for coal companies, at the expense of fair
competition among market players and consumers," Pacana added.
Pacana cited the
experience of Mindanao, where "prices shot up after an influx of
coal projects." "Under the guise of responding to growing power
demand, several coal projects were constructed without proper
planning and consideration, which resulted in a number of these
projects to become stranded," he added. "From 2014 to 2016 alone,
stranded costs were conservatively equivalent to P3 billion (US$60
million), all to be shouldered by Mindanao consumers," concluded
This was echoed by the
consumer group Kampanya para sa Malinis at Murang Kuryente (KMMK),
which expressed concern over Meralco and seven generation companies
which would "tie the Philippines to 3.5 GW of dirty, costly energy
for at least twenty years. "Significant changes must be introduced
to the energy sector if we are to keep our energy policies
consistent with our climate commitments and the people's energy
needs," stressed Atty. Anton Paredes of KMMK. "As evidenced by other
countries who have shifted to more renewables, falling prices alone
cannot displace coal. Support policies and the will to implement
them figure in abandoning dirty and costly energy," he concluded.
slams ‘shameless admission of congressional pork’ by Deputy Speaker
November 30, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Veteran labor leader Ka Leody De Guzman of Bukluran ng Manggagawang
Pilipino (BMP) in a statement condemned what he called a “shameless
admission of congressional pork” by Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya,
who disclosed that each member of the House of Representatives and
Senate received budgetary allocations of P80 million and P200
The representative from
the first district of Camarines Sur however denied that the said
funds could be deemed as “pork barrel”.
Ka Leody asserted that the
legislators were skirting from the unanimous 2013 Supreme Court
ruling, which declared the unconstitutionality of congressional pork
at the height of controversies involving Janet Lim-Napoles.
In his defense, Rep.
Andaya claims to the allotments were in line with line item
budgeting of the Budget department and was authorized by House
Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“These legislators are
making a fool out of the tax-burdened public. We know all too well
that legislators intervene in the budgetary processes to finance
their pet projects, which allegedly caters to the needs of their
constituents but also, as is obvious, to consolidate their control
over political power via patronage politics. They help each other
out in maintaining their anomalous habit like an inner circle of
crazed drug addicts,” said de Guzman, also a senatorial aspirant
under Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM).
“The sight of lawmakers
brazenly defying a lawful order by the Supreme Court and openly
defending their illegal acts is sickening, if not troubling. By
remaining in power through the trickle down of pork to their
constituents, they are not doing their job as legislators that enact
laws for the welfare of the people,” the labor leader added.
Ka Leody emphasized that
the “deafening silence” of the 292-member Lower House on the issue
of congressional pork, especially the Minority bloc points to a
“besmirched institution that is teeming with defects”. He noted that
only Sen. Ping Lacson spoke publicly against the discretionary funds
of the members of the Senate.
“The silence is deafening.
Nary a peep was heard from the Minority. Everybody are in cahoots as
congressmen and senators are all perpetrators and accomplices to
perpetuating the outlawed pork barrel system,” he adds.
De Guzman pointed out that
the High Court, in its landmark decision, broadly defined as
illegal, “...congressional insertions which confer or conferred
personal, lump sum allocations to legislators from which they are
able to fund specific projects which they themselves determined”.
Among those deemed prohibited under the ruling are “all informal
practices of similar import and effect...”
He explains that the
budgetary insertions made by the legislative branch, and shameless
and shamefully defended by Rep. Andaya would fall under the
definition of ‘pork barrel’ by the high court.
“This callous disregard to
the SC decision bolsters the public perception that Batasan is a
house of representa-thieves. They do not care if the taxpayers are
seething in anger against the pork barrel. All they care about is
how to advance their interests, even if they have to bend and break
the spirit and the letters of the law. For this, they may already be
liable of grave abuse of discretion,” de Guzman estimated.
Meanwhile, Benjo Basas,
first nominee of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) partylist and a public
school teacher stressed that the budget should have no room for
discretionary funds by lawmakers and must be aligned with the needs
and priorities of departments and agencies, particularly those that
badly requires modernization and salary upgrading.
The BMP and PLM vowed that
it would campaign against candidates who are involved or are in
favor of congressional pork in next year’s midterm elections.
“Lintik lang ang walang ganti,” De Guzman concluded.
Regaining dignity and livelihood lost in conflict
November 29, 2018
MANILA – Over
12,000 people in Central Mindanao and Lanao del Sur have been
deprived of stable income due to continued displacement caused by
protracted armed conflict. These affected families received cash
grants from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
with support of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), in order to regain
their livelihood and become less dependent on aid.
In Shariff Saydona
Mustapha and Datu Saudi Ampatuan municipalities, Maguindanao
Province, 959 families (4,795 people) received P10,000 each (around
200 US dollars), likewise 1,453 families (7,265 people) from Marawi
who fled to eight neighboring municipalities in Lanao del Sur.
These families will be
able to purchase tools or equipment, start small businesses, and
meet their other basic needs, during displacement or when they
Since 2015, thousands of
families in Maguindanao Province have been recurrently displaced by
the fighting between the government forces and the Bangsamoro
Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Following the end of the Marawi
crisis in October 2017, clashes intensified between the AFP and BIFF
and other non-state armed groups, causing repeated displacement and
damage to livelihoods and property.
“Our beneficiaries told us
they had fled their homes more than seven times between March and
November 2018 due to the fighting,” explains Kaisa Kruuse, head of
the ICRC office in Cotabato City. She continued, “This constant
movement disrupts their access to basic necessities such as food and
water, livelihood and even education. The displaced people wish to
restore stability and dignity, but at the moment many still depend
on humanitarian assistance.”
At the same time in Lanao
del Sur, over 65,000 former residents of the Marawi’s most affected
area still reside with relatives or in evacuation centers, over a
year since the conflict ended between the government forces and IS-Ranao
(Maute Group) and Abu Sayyaf. The ICRC and PRC regularly monitor the
situation and respond with most appropriate interventions. In 2018,
the ICRC cash grants reached about 2,000 families (8,000 people)
displaced to six municipalities in Lanao del Sur. The total cash
grants have now reached 39 million pesos (around 745,000 US
dollars). The aim is to help the most vulnerable, including
displaced people, those with low income, those with multiple
dependents especially children, pregnant women, the elderly and the
"This support means a lot
for evacuees like us from the main affected area in Marawi. We don't
know when we will be able to return home, but nevertheless, life has
to move on here in our current place of living, especially for my
small children,” said one beneficiary in Bacolod Kalawi, sharing her
business idea, ”I will use this grant to put up a 'piso net' (small
internet shop) and I’m hoping to change my situation for the
The ICRC is a neutral,
impartial and independent humanitarian organization working to
prevent and alleviate suffering during armed conflict and other
situations of violence. It also visits people detained in relation
to the conflict to monitor their treatment and living conditions,
and facilitates visits from their families.