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Nat'l, local interventions underway to address IPs educational disparities in Mindanao

October 12, 2019

THE improve the access of ethnic groups to education, especially those who are in Mindanao, said Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) President Celia Reyes.   According to Reyes, it is important to reexamine the inequality of education among indigenous peoples (IPs) across the country, especially those in Mindanao, to identify their needs and help government come up with appropriate interventions that will equip them with the skill set required in the era of the New Globalization.   “One of the drivers of the New Globalization is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For us to be able to take advantage of the advances of modern technologies, we need to have a well-educated workforce—those who can easily adjust to new technologies,” Reyes stressed.   Reyes presented her study on ‘Inequality of Opportunities among Ethnic Groups’ during the Fifth Mindanao Policy Research Forum (MPRF) held recently in General Santos.   “Mindanao ranks low in terms of enrolment rates in basic education, literacy, and school completion (from grades 1 to 6), while it ranks high in terms of school dropouts. Regions 9, 12, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) exhibited the lowest net enrolment rates in elementary and secondary education in 2017. The net enrolment rates in Region 9 is 90.3 percent, 91.9 percent in Region 12, and 72.6 percent in BARMM,” she explained.   The study also showed that the net enrolment in elementary is higher than that of the secondary level. According to Reyes, one possible reason for this is because secondary education is costlier both in terms of direct costs, such as fees and transportation cost, and opportunity costs as older children can already be sent to work to help augment household income. She also noted that Regions 9, 10, and BARMM have the lowest completion rates in basic education and the highest dropout levels compared to other non-IPs across the country.   The completion rate for elementary education is 78.2 percent in Region 9, 79 percent in Region 10, and 62.1 percent in BARMM. For secondary education, Region 9 has 89.7 percent, 90.1 percent in Region 10, and 54.2 percent in BARMM.   In terms of dropout levels in elementary education, Region 10 has 1.8 percent, Region 9 has 2.4 percent, and BARMM has 11.5 percent. As to dropouts in secondary education, Region 10 has 7 percent, Region 9 has 7.4 percent, and BARMM has 14.1 percent.   Simple and functional literacy rates are also generally lower in Mindanao, particularly in BARMM, compared to other regions in the country. BARMM has 86.1 percent and 72.1 percent in terms of simple and functional literacies, respectively. Simple literacy refers to the ability to read and write simple sentence while functional literacy involves computational skills, among others.   The expansion of the coverage of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to include children in secondary education is one of the government interventions that addresses the inequality in education among IPs.   “We were happy when the Department of Social Welfare and Development took note of our recommendation to expand the coverage of the 4Ps. Dati kasi naka-focus lang siya to children in elementary but we pointed out that the problem really is in accessing education in the secondary level especially now that we have senior high school under the K to 12 program,” Reyes explained.   Another government initiative to improve IP education is the Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) Program Support Fund (PSF) of the Department of Education. This program aims to address learning needs of IPs who lack access to basic education services, as well as make school curricula culturally responsive to the specific community context of IP learners, and capacitate teachers, school heads, and other concerned players in implementing culture-based education for IPs.   Local actions to improve access to, quality of educ   Meanwhile, Dr. Anshari Ali, Chancellor of the Mindanao State University-General Santos (MSU-GenSan), said their university is intensifying its efforts to help Muslim and other indigenous communities pursue education.   “We usually invite young people, including children of [those who are members] of revolutionary movements to join the university and study in order to become professionals so that they can help their parents in [improving] their economic conditions and in developing their cultural communities,” Ali said.   Ali also shared that MSU is enhancing its fundamental educational system by reintroducing Eastern tradition and teaching universal moral values and good moral characters based on religious injunction in order to produce young generations of wise, responsible, and upright professionals.   The local government of General Santos City is also doing its share to ensure that its constituents are given the opportunity to access quality education.   “As we are transitioning into a new phase of globalization, what local actions are being done by our local government? First and foremost, we prepare our people through adequate education. The city has focused on providing free early childhood education and scholarships for deserving and qualified college students”, said City Councilor and former Mayor Rosalita Nunez, who represented City Mayor Ronnel Rivera during the forum.   Nunez said the city’s Local School Board has developed a strong partnership with DepEd to continuously improve the quality of education to make it responsive to the demands of the New Globalization.   The MPRF is a regular event jointly undertaken by PIDS and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), in partnership with a local university. This year, PIDS and MinDA collaborated with MSU-GenSan. Launched in 2015, the MPRF is part of a series of activities organized every September to celebrate the Development Policy Research Month.

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Embrace innovation to adjust to the new globalization

October 12, 2019

“THE Philippines must be prepared to newness not only in globalization but also in everything.”   This, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship, underscored in his message during the fifth Annual Public Policy Conference (APPC) held in Pasay City recently.     Directing his remark to the country’s planners and policymakers, Pimentel said they “must always be open to change” as “the increasingly integrated global economy is here to stay,” hence, they “must have not only the attitude but also the aptitude to anticipate the future and prepare for change”.     The future he is referring to is the New Globalization, also known as Globalization 4.0, an era characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.   A paper published by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) titled “Understanding the New Globalization: Implications for the Philippines”, written by PIDS Research Fellows Roehlano Briones, Connie Dacuycuy, Michael Abrigo, and Francis Mark Quimba, explains that the new globalization has four key features, namely, economic trade restructuring, worsening global inequality, threats to international cooperation in providing global public goods, and weakening of social cohesion and trust.   One of the initiatives of the Philippine Senate to prepare the country for these challenges, said Pimentel, is the newly organized Committee on Sustainable Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking. Said committee, to be chaired by Senator Pia Cayetano, will help the Senate “anticipate, keep up, and properly react to our fast-changing world, which is caused by the rapidly changing preferences and behaviors of people”.   New work world order Rapid change resulting from automation and digitization is particularly affecting the labor sector, giving rise to job displacements, especially in manufacturing.     “The main task at hand is to craft policies to make us adaptive to the changing world,” explained Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III of the Department of Labor and Employment.   Although Philippine businesses trail behind those in neighboring countries like Singapore and Malaysia, Dr. Alfredo Pascual, president of the Institute of Corporate Directors, noted that “with technology access and the right tools, they can gain traction and stay competitive.”   Under the new globalization, “more aggressive and robust competition policy” is needed, said Arsenio Balisacan, chair of the Philippine Competition Commission. Currently, competition is quite restrictive in the Philippines.   Going into digitization is one of the strategies of businesses to cope with the technological advancement and remain competitive. “The growing and expanding community of start-up companies, whose basic business models are dependent on digital technology, is proof that digital transformation is critical in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Pascual said.   Digitization, particularly in the financial sector, however, can pose risks to consumers. Concerns in “consumer protection, loss of funds, improper use of personal data, and possible use for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes” are some of those risks, according to Francisco Dakila Jr., deputy governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).   As such, the BSP has put in place a strong regulatory framework to safeguard the country’s financial sector. Dakila stressed that, “striking the right balance is important [in the financial sector] to allow innovation to flourish and at the same time manage risks properly.”   Enhance innovation Innovation is a key to increase the productivity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which comprise 99.56 percent of the total business enterprises in the country as of 2017, according to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data.   However, MSMEs are usually hindered by high innovation cost as well as other barriers such as knowledge and market factors.   The innovation activity in the country is mostly concentrated among large firms. The 2015 Survey of Innovation Activities (SIA) conducted by PIDS showed that less than half of the firms in the Philippines were innovators.   Moreover, the country remains weak in the areas of ease of starting a business, ease of getting credit, expenditure on education, global research and development companies, scientific and technical articles, and new businesses. This was revealed in the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) 2019, which reported the Philippines ranking 54th out of 129 economies.     Create a culture of science, invest in education Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Lourdes Yparraguirre highlighted the importance of investing in human resources to cope with the rapid technological change.   Lagunzad echoed the same sentiment by explaining the role of education. By investing in education, the country can capacitate its people to properly respond to the changes and challenges brought by the new globalization. “Education is important in laying the foundation of global skills,” he said.   Education will enable the lower-income bracket of society to obtain better jobs and transition to a higher income level. Higher income results in greater market power which can decrease wealth inequality.   As of 2015, about 2.2 million Filipinos still live below the poverty according to PSA data.   Pimentel believes that the country “must develop a culture of science if it wants to succeed as a nation in the new world order”.   Because science drives most of the changes in the society today, it is important that “the human resource enhancement must be complemented by science and technology (S&T) to ensure that the skills that are developed match the demand of businesses,” Yparraguirre explained.   “How can we live in a highly scientific and technological world if we do not have a culture of science?,” Pimentel asked.   Pimentel called on PIDS to help in preparing the country for the new world arrangement and to help fight corruption as it is a socioeconomic issue that remains to be one of the many challenges of a modern society.   “Our primary goal must be fair progress,” he concluded. The APPC is the main and culminating activity of the Development Policy Research Month (DPRM), an annual celebration held every September in view of Proclamation 247 issued in 2002 to promote public awareness and appreciation of the importance of policy research in the formulation of evidence-based public policies, programs, and projects. This year’s DPRM celebration carried the theme “Navigating the New Globalization: Local Actions for Global Challenges”, which was also the theme of the fifth APPC.

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Newsphoto: 3 Miss Earth 2019 candidates in a mood to fight?

October 9, 2019

Posing as if engaged in a martial arts fight, Ms. Vietnam Hoang Thi Hanh (left) faces Ms. China Hu Wentian (right) while Ms. Austria Melanie Gassner joins in during the visit of Miss Earth 2019 candidates to the Tubajon Aquamarine Park in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental, last Tuesday. The Miss Earth beauties visited Misamis Oriental for a 2-day tour. Photo by Gerry Lee Gorit

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73 percent of millennials in 15 countries say mental health is as important as water, food, shelter

October 8, 2019

GENEVA (ICRC)--Nearly three in four millennials – 73 percent – surveyed across 15 countries said that mental health needs are as important as water, food and shelter for victims of wars and armed violence. The data, taken from an Ipsos survey commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) of more than 15,000 people aged 20 to 35, shows growing awareness of the importance of mental health in conflict situations. Of the 15 countries surveyed, the highest support for mental health among millennials came from Syria, where 87 percent of roughly 1,000 respondents said mental health needs are as important as water, food and shelter for victims of armed conflicts. The next highest countries were Indonesia (82 percent), Ukraine (81 percent) and Switzerland (80 percent). “Mental health services have for too long been an after-thought in conflict settings. When traumas are invisible, they can be easily overlooked or deprioritized. Yet war has a devastating impact on the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of millions. New mental health problems can appear, and pre-existing conditions may resurface. For some the effects will be life-threatening,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer. More than one out of five people in in conflict-affected areas live with some form of mental health condition, from mild depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder. That is three times more than the general population worldwide suffering from these conditions. The mental health and psychosocial needs of people caught up in conflict must be a part of the growing attention given to mental health around the world. “Supporting people’s mental health can be lifesaving in times of war and violence, just as much as stemming a bleeding wound or having clean water. Hidden wounds are no less dangerous,” said Mr. Maurer. This week, coinciding with World Mental Health Day, the ICRC is calling on all States to prioritize mental health and psychosocial support in situations of violence and armed conflict, as critical to the first wave of humanitarian assistance, and as an integral component in domestic and international emergency response systems.

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Gunmen abduct British, Filipina wife

October 5, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Unidentified gunmen abducted a British national and his Filipino wife in Zamboanga del Sur early Friday evening. Capt. Clint Antipala, Army 1st Division public information officer said Allan Hyrons and his wife Wilma Paglinawan were taken by the gunmen at their beach resort in Barangay Alindahaw, Tukuran town in Zamboanga del Sur at around 6:50 p.m. Friday. Antipala said it was not immediately known where the gunmen took the couple or who the suspects are. He said the Army is coordinating with local police in the investigation of the latest kidnapping. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

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Xavier Ateneo first batch from diploma program in human resources management

October 1, 2019

THE Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan has joined hands with the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) to graduate the first batch of its  professional Diploma in Human Resources Management (DHRM) program  in collaboration with the Asian Institute of Human Resource Management (AIHRM). The diploma program aims to develop greater knowledge and expertise in managing people across industries in Northern Mindanao, and complement the hands-on experience of current office administrators, business owners, and HR practitioners and to provide a more professional understanding into the technical and operational matters associated with managing people and complying with labor laws. “The DHRM is being taught by industry professionals who have a lot of knowledge and experience,” explained former PMAP-CDO president Maria Soledad dela-Fuente Amir.   “It is an exciting time for us and an excellent opportunity for those who are currently working full-time in Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, Camiguin, and Misamis Occidental," Amir noted. "The approach will afford the students a deeper insight into their profession, allowing them to make better decisions in their work while giving them a competitive advantage in their career."   Those who seek to develop and strengthen their career path can take the five certificate courses under this diploma program. Designed for working professionals, the program is held Saturdays. It  started on June 16, 2018, and ended September 21, 2019 to complete the five Certificate Courses in HR Development, HR Planning and Acquisition, Compensation Management, Labor Relations, and Organization Development. Five experts in the field of human resources served as facilitators for the various courses: Dr Aster Daan (HR Development), Dr Marilu Dizon (HR Planning and Acquisition), Napoleon Trillanes Jr (Compensation Management), Dr Dulce Corazon Esperon (Labor Relations), and Aida May Bergado-De Guzman (Organization Development). The program provided students with an excellent balance between theoretical understanding and practical insights about the current HR environment. For the first cycle, the program successfully produced five graduates who completed the said five certificate courses: Liezl A Deloso, Ferdinand Basilio E Esguerra, Gina Maris M Libot, and Grace C Maniquiz (HR Officer) and Rogelio A Lee Jr (DHRM Coordinator and Psychology Faculty Member) from Xavier Ateneo. They will attend the graduation ceremony of the Diploma in Human Resource Management program at Shangri-La Makati during the PMAP 650th General Membership Meeting on October 23, 2019. “DHRM builds on the technical and operational aspects of HR and addresses the demand and identified gaps in the market with the academic rigor of a higher diploma,” Lee shared. Students have gained three credit units from each certificate so they can continue their studies to a degree level by applying credits earned.

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