pioneering batch of creative writing fellows participated in
the two-day creative writing workshop facilitated by
Filipino novelist Gina Apostol. (Photo by Stacy Garcia)
facilitates first Southeast Asian creative writing workshop in the
January 9, 2019
Award-winning Waray novelist Gina Apostol facilitated the first
Creative Writing Workshop under SULAT, a platform launched by the
School of Oriental and African Studies University of London (SOAS)
aimed at fostering an active and engaged creative writing community
for Southeast Asian literature.
The workshop focused on
discussions about the place of history and the ‘silent voices’ in
writing post-colonial fiction. It was followed by a round of
critiques on the works of SULAT’s first batch of creative writing
fellows and concluded with readings from the award-winning
masterpieces of Apostol and Reine Arcache Melvin.
“SULAT is committed to
discovering and supporting emerging writers of Southeast Asian
descent in the UK,” said Dr. Cristina Martinez-Juan, who currently
heads SOAS’ Philippine Studies Programme. “It’s meant to be a space
where writers can come together, learn from each other, and support
each other, particularly in terms of Southeast Asian literature.”
According to Juan,
Southeast Asia is replete with brilliant writers but in order to
increase the works’ readership, it needs wider distribution, more
media coverage, and more people talking about the stories being
written by Southeast Asian writers.
“Writers are some of the
most important purveyors of culture,” said Ambassador Antonio M.
Lagdameo. “Works of literature, whether prose or poetry, have the
power to provide people a glimpse into the soul of a nation and the
essence of a country’s culture. Specific to Philippine literature,
the Filipinos’ strong command of the English language make us some
of the most compelling storytellers in the English speaking world.”
SULAT aims to follow-up on
the workshop by continuously engaging the pioneering batch of
creative writing fellows and by initiating other activities that
aimed at igniting interest in Southeast Asian literature in the
United Kingdom (UK).
Arcache Melvin explains the historical backdrop of her
latest book, The Betrayed. (Photo by Stacy Garcia)
necessitates teachers to organize - TDC
January 9, 2019
QUEZON CITY – “An
attack on one of us is an attack against all of us”. This was the
statement made by Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) national
chairperson and Benjo Basas upon hearing of the profiling of members
of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) by the national police
with the consent and endorsement of certain Education department
The group condemned the
malicious profiling of teachers by the PNP as well as the connivance
of certain DepEd officials who endorsed the surveillance of
PNP Director General Oscar
Albayalde admitted in press conference Monday that their
intelligence gathering was not limited to members of ACT.
Basas strongly demanded
the DepEd to stand firm against all intrusions and transgressions of
their rights and well being as state employees and hold accountable
officials who conspired with the national police without providing
The group says that the
revocation of the endorsement letter is insufficient to guarantee
the full protection of their rights.
“The DepEd cannot expect
teachers to be as effective stewards of the next generation if we
are being subjected to harassment and intimidation for merely
joining an organization to seek what we rightfully deserve,” Basas
He adds, “it is
distressing for us to find out that an institution with such noble
goals be a willing tool to the fascist machinations of this
He pointed out that public
school teachers are overworked, undercompensated and continuously
deprived of our economic and political rights, and are now being
maliciously red-tagged for merely asserting what is granted to them
Basas, first nominee of
partylist group Partido Lakas ng Masa cited that among the issues
they have long lobbied for is the full implementation of the
provisions of Republic Act 4670 or the Magna Carta of Public School
Teachers which includes the freedom to organize.
In last year’s National
Teachers Month, the more than 30,000-strong TDC held protests
demanding the implementation of the six hour work day under DepEd
Memorandum 291 of 2008 and DepEd Order 16 of 2009, following three
suicide cases last year attributed to heavy workloads.
This culminated in a
campout outside the DepEd Central office in Pasig City from
September 24 to October 5.
Meanwhile, TDC chairman
for the National Capital Region Nono Esguerra of Roxas High School
called on the DepEd to uphold the confidentiality & privacy of
records of its employees and protect them from possible harm and
He reminds the DepEd that
it is within its mandate to implement the right and freedom to
organize and non-discrimination enshrined in Magna Carta for Public
Basas indicated that they
are willing to march side-by-side with ACT members. “Unity is
required to derail whatever sinister plans the PNP have up their
sleeve. We will do whatever is required for teachers to be treated
as dignified professionals and not what the police are painting us
TDC, a rival organization
of ACT, was founded in 2006 with the purpose of advancing the
interests and general welfare of all public school teachers.
He warned that the
continued neglect and persecution of teachers under the present
administration will give rise to a unified teachers’ movement that
may launch bolder actions to advance their interests, similar to the
wave of teachers’ strikes that hit the United States last year.
“Hindi ba kapag napuno na
ang salop, dapat na itong kalusin,” Basas averred.
Save the Children
Philippines pushes vaccination vs. measles to prevent rising deaths
January 8, 2019
MAKATI CITY – Save
the Children Philippines called on parents and health workers to
intensify measles vaccination due to the steady rise of deaths among
children caused by complications from the preventable disease.
Lawyer Albert Muyot, chief
executive officer of Save the Children Philippines said there is a
need to dispel the public scare against vaccination in general as it
has prevented mothers from having their children immunized.
A scare against
vaccination spread in the Philippines because of the Dengvaxia
vaccine against dengue.
“Parents and community
health workers must be at the forefront of the campaign to dispel
the public scare against measles vaccination to make sure children
do not die from the preventable disease,” said Muyot.
The number of deaths from
measles, mostly children climbed five times to 17,289 between
January to November 2018, compared to 3,706 cases recorded during
the same period in 2017, according to the Department of Health.
The recently passed First
1,000 Days law highlights the need for complete immunization of
babies including measles vaccines before they reach one year old. It
also ensures children’s health and nutrition and better performance
Dr. Amado Parawan, health
and nutrition advisor of Save the Children Philippines said
immunization is important to ensure herd immunity of children from
the airborne virus of measles.
He said measles vaccine
has been used in the country for four decades and has prevented
deaths and diseases among children since then.
“We cannot compare measles
vaccines which have been proven to be effective in saving the lives
of children from the life threatening disease to the newly developed
Dengvaxia, which is the subject of the public scare,” said Parawan.
He said measles virus is
airborne and easily transferred among infants and children who have
not been vaccinated.
measles are pneumonia and diarrhea, which are also the top two
leading causes of deaths among children,” said Parawan.
Save the Children
Philippines has been implementing maternal and child health and
nutrition programs among poor families in Navotas, Malabon, Caloocan
through access to immunization, prenatal check-ups for pregnant
mothers and training of community health workers.
Under Project NURTURE, the
group is implementing nutrition-sensitive measures in eight poor
barangays in Navotas with focus on the first 1,000 days of the child
to prevent stunting and improve the health of pregnant and lactating
mothers. The program includes prenatal check-up, food vouchers for
pregnant and lactating mothers as well as health and nutrition
services for undernourished children.
Save the Children
Philippines pushed for the enactment of the First 1,000 Days law
that scales up the nutrition support for mothers and children in the
first 1,000 days of a child’s life, which is the crucial window of
opportunity to ensure that mothers and children in Philippines
achieve optimum development.
Rogelio J. Espina (in red polo shirt) and Ms. Leah Lim,
School Principal lead the ribbon cutting rites of the newly
completed school buildings in Maurang Elementary School in
Caibiran, Biliran. The ribbon cutting was assisted by
District Engineer David P. Adongay Jr., (in white longsleeve)
and Engr. Warlito Alagao Sr. (in green shirt) of WB Alagao
Construction on December 10, 2018.
completed school buildings turn over to recipient schools
December 28, 2018
NAVAL, Biliran –
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Biliran District
Engineering Office (DEO) turns-over the newly completed school
buildings to two recipient schools in the town of Culaba and
The Pinamihagan Elementary
School in Culaba town and Maurang Elementary School in Caibiran town
are among the beneficiary schools of the newly completed P32.7M
In Pinamihagan Elementary
School, P13M three school buildings with a total of nine classrooms
is now operational after being turned-over on December 14, 2018 This
school building can accommodate at least 360 students of the said
Meanwhile, P19.7M four new
school buildings now also rise in Maurang Elementary School with a
total of 14 classrooms. The school building that can accommodate at
least 560 students was turned-over on December 10, 2018.
David P. Adongay Jr.,
District Engineer said that the newly completed school buildings
were equipped with better toilets and ceiling fans to provide the
students a conducive place for learning.
“With good school
environment, our students will be motivated to learn as well as our
teachers to teach,” said Adongay.
“This school buildings can
also be used by the residents as an evacuation just in times of
calamities,” added Adongay.
According to Adongay, the
design of the school buildings were based on DPWH design standards
which emanates from DPWH Central Office.
“As far as the design is
concerned, the school buildings are sturdy,” said Adongay.
DPWH-Biliran DEO is
currently implementing a total of 71 school building projects under
FY 2017 Department of Education (DepEd) - Basic Educational
Facilities Fund (BEFF) amounting to P329.2M.
Out of 71, 61 were already
completed, nine are on-going and one is Not-Yet-Started (NYS) with
an accomplishment of 97.45%.
Manila Water bags
December 27, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Ayala-led Manila Water Co., Inc. has been awarded the contract to
provide water and wastewater services in Calbayog City.
In a regulatory filing
early today, Manila Water disclosed that it had received the Notice
of Award from the Calbayog City Water District (CCWD) for the
implementation of an integrated water supply and sanitation project,
to be carried out under a joint venture framework.
The contract covers the
design, construction, rehabilitation, operation, maintenance,
financing, expansion, and management of water and wastewater systems
in the city of Calbayog, as well as other areas which may eventually
form part of the service coverage of CCWD in the Province of Samar.
Manila Water intends to
form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with its local partner,
TubigPilipinas Group, Inc., to implement the project with an
estimated CAPEX of P1.2B under a contractual joint venture with CCWD.
The joint venture
agreement will grant the SPV the exclusive right to manage, operate,
maintain, repair, refurbish and improve, expand and as appropriate,
decommission, the facilities of CCWD. The SPV shall also be given
the right to bill and collect tariff for the provision of water
supply and sanitation services in the service area.
Calbayog City serves as
the commercial and industrial center of the province of Western
Samar. It has a total estimated population of 194,000. As of 2017,
CCWD has 13,097 water service connections, with a service coverage
of only 32% and an effective water tariff of P39.4/cum. The project
has a potential billed volume of about 30 million liters per day.
Soldier pays the
ultimate sacrifice to protect the community
DPAO, 8ID PA
December 23, 2018
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – Community Support Program (CSP) Team of 20th Infantry (We
Lead) Battalion, 8ID, PA while conducting security patrol was fired
upon by more or less 30 Communist NPA Terrorist (CNTs) at vicinity
Brgy Caputo-an, Las Navas, Northern Samar on December 22, 2018 at
about 6: 20 A.M.
Firefight between the
soldiers and the terrorists lasted for an hour and twenty minutes
that resulted to the loss of Private First Class Alvin B. Avila (Inf)
PA and wounding of Private Ivan Anthony P. Ignao (Inf) PA and
Private Michael S. Ocasla (Inf) PA.
Recovered after the
encounter were the following: 60 meters drop wire; one bag of
assorted empty shells of (M60 machine gun, M14 and M16 rifles, Cal.
45 and 9mm pistol); two cooking pots; detonating cords and one empty
box with Armscor trademark.
The fatality, PFC Avila is
24 years old and is a resident of Aguadas St. District 4, Burauen,
Leyte who had a great passion to serve his fellow Visayans in
The CSP Team was deployed
at Brgy Caputo-an to assist the community to facilitate the needed
basic services to be addressed by the local government unit.
Major General Raul M.
Farnacio, Commander of the 8th Infantry Division, instructed the
troops to be more aggressive to put an end to the terroristic
activities of the CNTs against our people within our area of
“We extend our deepest
sympathies to the family and friends of Private First Class Avila.
He died protecting the people of Northern Samar in pursuit of peace
and development,” Farnacio added.
96.1% employment rate in October 2018
December 19, 2018
TACLOBAN CITY –
Eastern Visayas registered 96.1% Employment Rate (ER) in October
2018, ranking sixth among the regions with high employment rates in
the country, and at par with Zamboanga Peninsula. This figure is
slightly lower than the 96.3% ER recorded in October 2017.
Employment rate is the proportion of employed persons to total labor
Out of the estimated 3.2
million population 15 years old and over in October 2018, about 1.8
million were economically active or in the labor force. This number
translates to a Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) of 58.4%. This
figure is 1.8 percentage points lower compared with the 60.2% LFPR
in the same period a year ago. Among the regions, Eastern Visayas
recorded the fourth lowest LFPR.
The underemployed persons
or those employed persons who express the desire to have additional
hours of work in their present job or to have additional job, or to
have a new job with longer working hours was estimated at 265
thousand. This is equal to an underemployment rate of 14.9%, 5.7
percentage points lower than the 20.6% recorded in the same period
Meanwhile, about 72
thousand persons in the labor force were unemployed. This translates
to an unemployment rate of 3.9%, slightly higher than the 3.7%
unemployment rate recorded in the same period in 2017. Considered
unemployed persons are persons in the labor force who are reported
as without work; and currently available for work; and seeking work
or not seeking work due to the following reasons: a) belief that no
work is available, or b) awaiting results of previous job
application, or c) because of temporary illness or disability, or d)
weather, or e) waiting for rehire or job call.
Data were based on the
preliminary estimates released by the Philippine Statistics
Authority from the Labor Force Survey (LFS) conducted in
and son, and four soldiers blast with anti-personnel mine by CNTs in
Catarman, Northern Samar
Battalion, 8ID PA
December 18, 2018
LOPE DE VEGA, Northern
Samar – Troops of 43IB, 8ID, PA who delivered food intended for
the soldiers of Charlie Company 43IB at Brgy. Mckinley, Northern
Samar who are conducting Community Support Program (CSP) operations
in the said barangay, while riding on one light ace civilian vehicle
of the said unit traversing the road towards Catarman proper were
hit by an anti-personnel mine and fired upon by more or less 15
Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) at vicinity in-between
Brgy Hinatad and Brgy Mckinley of same municipality at around 11:35
in the morning yesterday.
Anti-personnel mine were
detonated first followed by volumes of fire of different caliber,
forcing them to retaliate, the firefight lasted for about five
minutes, which resulted to the wounding of four soldiers and two
innocent civilians passing on that area, after which the CNTs
withdrew towards different direction.
The victims were
identified as Pvt Rolly B Dizon (Inf) PA, Pfc Rorey O Montopar (Inf)
PA, Pvt Joel Lacabe (Inf) PA, and Cpl Jose Jerome L Ballano (Inf)
PA, all endured minor wounds. Furthermore, the identified mother and
son, Sherly Robenacio, 35 years old and Christian Robenacio, 17
years old, of Brgy. Hinatad, Catarman, Northern Samar were
reportedly wounded in the incident.
The injured soldiers were
brought to the nearest hospital for immediate medical treatment and
already recovering. Moreover, the wounded civilians were already in
the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital and were assisted by 43IB
From the point of Cornillo
Robenacio, husband and father of the wounded civilians, there were
no good things that CNTs may bring to the people; they are just
giving problems and headaches to the innocent.
According to LTC Apollo B
Herrera INF (GSC) PA Commanding Officer of 43rd IB, the incident
that transpired in the area was brought not only misery but also
caused panic to the innocent civilians particularly the use of
violence and enemy atrocities distorting the lives of the local
folks. Moreover, the unit will not observe Christmas break to ensure
the safety of its area of operation and to prepare for other
possible violent move of the CNTs. The unit will plan different and
massive tactical operations, and will file both human rights
violation and criminal cases against the CNTs.
The 43rd IB call the
attention of Nortehanons to condemn the barbaric act done by the
Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) particularly in using anti-personnel
mines and other terroristic atrocities actions in Northern Samar.
These illegal activities
of the CNTs that affect innocent civilians are a clear violation of
the International Humanitarian Law and Comprehensive Agreement for
Respect on Human Rights and International Law (CARHIL), affecting
the peace effort of the government particularly in attaining the
long-lasting peace and development in Northern Samar respectively
and despite of commemorating National Human Rights Consciousness
week last December 04-10, 2018 this case happened. Moreover, this
incident shows that Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs)
are not sincere from their offered unilateral truce this Christmas
season because their plan is contrast with what is happening.
the photo are (L-R) African Risk Capacity (ARC) Chief of
Operational Planning Mr. Papa Zoumana Diarra, Deutsche Welle
TV Global Broadcaster Monica Jones, Dr. Alip who also a
member of the board of International Co-operative and Mutual
Insurance Federation (ICMIF), and InsuResilience Head Dr.
Paving the way to
effective risk financing solutions
December 18, 2018
SAN PABLO CITY –
CARD Mutual Benefit Association’s (CARD MBA) experiences and
strategies in delivering affordable and efficient microinsurance
products for the socioeconomically challenged communities in the
Philippines is one of the featured talks at the Global Partnership
Forum of InsuResilience Global Partnership on December 10, 2018 in
Katowice, Poland (COP24).
Dr. Jaime Aristotle B.
Alip, the founder and chair emeritus of CARD Mutually Reinforcing
Institutions (CARD MRI) where CARD MBA is a member institution,
highlighted in his talk the business model and strategic direction
of CARD MBA, the 1-3-5 claims settlement.
The said scheme ensures
that the claim of every policy holder must be given within one day
to a maximum of five days.
Moreover, CARD MBA offers
life insurance at P15 (USD 0.3) per week to more than six million
clients of CARD financial institutions insuring more than 23 million
CARD MRI is a group of 21
development-oriented institutions that aims to eradicate poverty
through microfinance, social protection, and community development.
The 2nd Partnership Forum
serves as a platform to exchange experience and knowledge in
exploring successful ways to promote climate and disaster risk
finance and insurance solutions.
At least 200 participants
from governments to representatives of international organizations,
civil society, private sector, and academia attended the forum.
company to construct P500M plant in Batangas - DTI
December 14, 2018
MAKATI – The
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez and
Puyat Steel Corporation Chairman Edgardo Reyes discussed the plan of
expand the steel manufacturing base in the Philippines as a way to
answer the country’s growing demand for steel products and reduce
the trade deficit through import substitution.
During their meeting on 11
December with the DTI, Chairman Reyes reported that Puyat Steel is
constructing a Php 500-million pipe manufacturing plant in Batangas
that will produce steel pipes of up to 3 meters in diameter and to
create 350 new jobs. It will be located beside the company’s
existing plant in Batangas, and will begin operation in the first
quarter of 2019.
Lopez is pushing for local
manufacturing companies to expand operations amidst a fast-growing
economy under the Duterte administration. Boosting the manufacturing
sector creates jobs, increases the production capacity to support
the rapidly expanding domestic demand and export requirements, and
helps reduce the trade deficit, said Sec. Lopez.
DTI pushing for fair trade
practices and a level playing field for domestic industries and is
therefore studying the inclusion of steel pipes and roofing
materials in the list of products requiring mandatory certification
to ensure that only quality standard materials are sold in the local
market, for the protection of consumers and users.
of industry standards, he further noted, will prevent substandard
imports and smuggled goods from entering the country. Undersecretary
Ruth Castelo, who heads the Consumer Protection Group, said that the
DTI advocates for the use of international standards for all local
and imported steel products.
Mr. Reyes said that while
they are facing challenges in maintaining its market share against
imported products, they are willing to invest to expand more as they
have the technology and know-how.
Puyat Steel Corporation is
a 62-year old company that established the first galvanizing plant
in the Philippines. They produce galvanized iron sheets for
construction, building, and roofing materials.