nation

President Duterte Attends PSG’S 122ND ANNIVERSARY, Commends Elite Group For Service To Nation

June 27, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday joined the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in its 122nd anniversary celebration expressing his gratitude to the elite unit for securing him and his family as well as for serving the nation.   “I extend my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Presidential Security Group. Rest assured that this administration will remain committed to the continuing improvement and modernization of the PSG so you may perform your mandate more effectively and efficiently,” President Duterte said in his speech during the celebration held at the PSG Grandstand in Malacañang Park.   "Together, let us safeguard our nation, defend our people and march towards a brighter future for all,” he added.   President Duterte also recognized PSG’s unwavering commitment to defend the presidency and the country’s democratic institutions by going beyond its mandate of providing protection to the President and the First Family.   "The organization’s notable contributions, not only to the Office of the President, but also to the communities around Malacañang Complex, will be written in the annals of this institution’s long history," he said.   PSG troopers, who have demonstrated excellence in the fulfillment of their respective duties within the organization, was honored by the President.   He also acknowledged agencies, corporations, and individuals who have served as the PSG's reliable partners in its various undertakings.    President Duterte said he believes in PSG’s steadfast commitment to protect the presidency to the best of its abilities. "I am confident that through your professionalism, integrity, and courage, we can further serve our people during the remaining half of my Presidency."    The PSG is a combined elite unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) complemented by the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and civilian workforce.    Meeting with Misuari   President Duterte also discussed several domestic issues Wednesday, particularly the Mindanao peace process, the country’s financial standing, and the administration’s crackdown on graft and corruption.   With regards to Mindanao peace initiatives, he said he would organize a meeting with Moro National Liberation Front founder and leader Nur Misuari to put an end to MNLF rebellion, expressing his willingness to present Misuari’s group similar concessions offered by the government to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).   "Central Mindanao medyo nagkalma na. We were able to really convince those guys. Sila Murad. And I'm trying to set up a meeting with Nur Misuari. I would conceive the same arrangement,” President Duterte said.   The President also reiterated his plan to open up barter trade in the Sulu archipelago to prop up economic activity and uplift the living conditions of the Moros there.   He said, however, that he would exclude Zamboanga since unscrupulous individuals and groups might use the system for smuggling. The navy has to intervene to fend off such activity.   During the 13th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines - East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit in Thailand last weekend, President Duterte asked his Malaysian counterpart to speed up the negotiations on the barter trade system between the Philippines and Malaysia in time for the Philippine government’s implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) aimed at ending decades-long conflict in Mindanao.   The President believes that the institutionalization of the barter trade system in the area will help address poverty, conflict, and instability.  

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EcoWaste Coalition Raises the Alarm over Dangerous Weapon Toys

June 24, 2019

The EcoWaste Coalition sounded the alarm bell after buying toy weapons with sharp points and edges, including imitation “balisong” (fan knife), hunting knife and Naruto weapons such as “kunai” (dagger), “shuriken” (hand blade ) and “tanto” (sword).   The group bought the weapon toys yesterday, June 23, from toy retailers and wholesalers at M. de Santos and Tabora Sts., Binondo, Manila outside the Divisoria Mall.  These are sold for P55 to P120 per pack of 20 or 30 pieces. These weapon toys are often sold to children for P5 to P10 each by ambulant vendors or toy shops near public elementary schools and in some neighborhood sari-sari stores, the group said While very affordable, the use of such toys could result to injuries requiring first aid treatment or medical attention and should therefore be kept out of children’s reach, the group pointed out.   “Toys with sharp points and edges are potentially dangerous as these could tear a child’s sensitive skin or cause injury to a child eyes,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. “Ninja weapon toys inspired by Naruto, a Japanese manga series, are attractive to young children who are fascinated by action heroes.  However, some of these toys have pointed parts and sharp edges that can harm an unsuspecting child or his playmates,” he added. Aside from the accidental cuts, stabbing, and eye injuries, the EcoWaste Coalition is also concerned with the impact of such toys on the development of aggressive and violent behavior among children. “For example, we find it totally inappropriate for young children to play with ‘balisong,' which is often used in street altercations and crimes,” Dizon said. “We strongly suggest to both parents and kids to pick safe toys that do not invite aggression or violence such as toy weapons,” he emphasized.   To keep children safe and to discourage aggressive and violent behaviors, the EcoWaste Coalition advises parents to consider these tips: 1. Carefully read product labels and shun toys lacking the required labeling requirements such as age grading, cautionary warnings and usage instructions.  2. Select age and developmentally-appropriate toys. 3. Shun toys with sharp edges or points, small parts, long strings, small and loosely attached batteries, and toxic components such as lead-containing paint. 4.  Read the instructional literature and teach your child how to safely play with purchased toys. 5.  Supervise children under your care when they engage in indoor or outdoor play. The group also drew attention to the importance of choosing toys and childcare articles that are notified or registered with the Food and Drug Administration, which have undergone quality and safety verification procedures. Next month, the EcoWaste Coalition will conduct test buys of toys being sold outside public elementary schools to check on toy industry compliance to the newly-promulgated Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Act.

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EMC simulates SRR role in Eastern Mindanao during NSED

June 24, 2019

The readiness of Eastern Mindanao Command's (EMC) fortified its disaster preparedness after simulating its role as lead agency in Search, Rescue, and Retrieval (SRR) cluster in the whole Eastern Mindanao during disasters of great magnitude, during the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED), held nationwide on June 20, 2019.   The Command executed the drill in two phases: the first phase was focused on Duck, Cover and Hold evacuation procedure while the second phase was the simulation of the Command's role of overseeing the SRR operations in Eastern Mindanao.    It also covered communication exercises among its subordinate units, battle staff action, and Rapid Damage Assessment Survey.     During the drill, the Command likewise simulated a crisis management action via video teleconference with the National Command Post at Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur.   Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., Commander of Eastmincom reiterated the importance of the drill to the Command, being the lead agency in SRR Operations.   "Being the lead agency in SRR cluster, our exercise must go beyond duck, cover and hold to ensure our readiness and preparedness in carrying out our role in the wide range of disaster risk reduction management," Lt. Gen. Santos Jr. said.   The event here was evaluated by an Inter-Agency Team from the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) XI while the video teleconference in the National Command Post in Bayugan City was supervised and evaluated by the members of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. 

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LGU tapping divers to maintain Camiguin’s marine life

June 24, 2019

To preserve its flourishing marine flora and fauna, the provincial government of this island has urged divers and tourists to help them in preventing the destruction of its coral reefs.   Outgoing Gov. Maria Luisa Romualdo said visitorsto the province, especially sea divers, also play a role in the protection and preservation of Camiguin’s marine life.   “We hope we can get more divers, responsible tourists, like you who would help us in the maintenance, in the preservation of our dive spots,” Romualdo told the crowd of divers, tourists and locals during the opening ceremony of the 1st Camiguin Dive Festival held at the Lagundi Beach in this town on Sunday, June 23.   The two-month festival runs from June 23 to August 31 and will showcase various activities such as Scubasurero, fun dive, dive classes, underwater photography contest, among others.   She said they are taking care of their marine-protected areas, even organizing the residents and fisherfolk to safeguard the dive sites and fish sanctuaries around the island.   “So anything you see in the marine-protected areas, in the dive spots, which you think can destroy our coral reefs, our fish, please feel free to remove it. I will give you that authority,” the governor added, referring to fish traps that are placed on corals and have proven to be destructive.   Camigun has around 30 dive sites scattered throughout the island’s provincial waters.   According to Department of Tourism-10 (DOT-10) regional director Marie Elaine Unchuan, the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving has already accredited six dive shops in Camiguin, owing to the increasing number of divers who visit the province.   Unchuan noted that operators are investing in dive shops, which would mean more local and international divers are coming over to Camiguin.   “We’ve talked to the stakeholders to really up their game to develop dive facilities and dive shops that are DOT-accredited and worthy of international visitors,” she said, adding that more foreigners are visiting the island’s dive spots.   “You can see we have a good percentage of foreigners. We’re tapping the European market,” the regional director added, referring to the influx of divers.   Veteran diver and underwater photographer and videographer Bo Mancao, who documented the festival, said Camiguin has always been unique because it’s one of the volcanic reef islands in the country.   “I keep coming back here and I keep finding new stuff, be it coral, be it fish, be it invertebrate. There’s always something new in Camiguin,” Mancao said.   He said he was impressed by how clean the coral reefs are. “I think this goes to show how the leadership in Camiguin works. They are very good in organizing their trash management. Even if there are wastes that float from the mainland to Camiguin, they have a way of collecting and disposing it.”   Diver and blogger Gian Carlo Jubela said he was surprised that Black Forest, a part of the coral reef near the White Island is free of garbage considering that the sand bar is one of most visited tourist destinations in Camiguin.   “We do hope that it can be maintained; the ocean is life, and if the oceans die, the planet dies, we all perish,” Jubela said.   Mambajao mayor and governor-elect Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said he cannot understand why people still throw their trash in the sea despite the existence of laws and ordinances prohibiting it.   Romualdo said they want to preserve the reputation of Camiguin’s coral reefs as pristine and dive-worthy, with the help of divers.   “I’m really banking on the dive resorts and all the divers that come here. Help me preserve this beautiful island. I cannot do this alone,” he said.   What makes Camiguin’s corals and other underwater life still intact after the occurrence of volcanic eruptions in the past is in itself a cause for wonder and amazement, he said.   “Divers have been telling that it’s more beautiful under the water than on top,” Romualdo said. Camiguin provincial tourism officer Candice Naome Dael said they expect the volume of tourists to further increase because of the Dive Festival and other regular annual activities in the island, which include the Lanzones Festival and the Panaad, a yearly activity involving Roman Catholic devotees who walk around the island as form of penance during the Holy Week.   The Manila-Camiguin flights recently offered by an airline company would also help boost the number of foreign and local visitors to visit the province, she said.   “We are projecting a million or more tourists for this year,” Dael said, adding that the establishment of new multi-room hotels and resorts will help address the growing number of vacationers to the island.

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25 teacher-scholars complete Graduate Diploma in Cultural Education

June 24, 2019

A special ceremony was held in their honor last May 19 at Casa Real of the VIP Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City. The Graduate Diploma in Cultural Education is a flagship project of the Philippine Cultural Education Program (PCEP) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan (through its Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts, School of Education Graduate School Program, and as facilitated by the Department of Education - Region X) acts as one of the delivering institutions in the country.  The diploma course has a total of 53 graduates since it started in 2015 at Xavier Ateneo. In his message to the graduates during the ceremony, Dr Arturo Bayucot, OIC regional director of DepEd-X, highlighted the significance of strengthening the teachers’ capacity to “radiate goodness” and not just to transform the lives of the students in our country. The graduation exercise was attended by the family and friends of the graduates and guests Dr Bienvenido U Tagolimot Jr, education program supervisor of DepEd-X; Irene Grace A Guitarte, XU's VP for mission and ministry; Dr Junefel Macagba, faculty member XU School of Education; and Hobart P Savior, XCCA director. “This is the positioning where our dear graduates are equipped and trained with, not just as scholars or teachers but also as enablers on cultural education and cultural work," Savior shared during the event. "We need more of them so we are able to strengthen a community of artists, leaders, and teachers who have high regard on developing greater awareness and appreciation on our very own arts and culture," he added. The said program has definitely inspired the “cultural warriors,” with their deeper understanding and appreciation of culture and the arts and they all have become “cultural champions” in their respective areas, having been able to gain local, national, and even international acclaim in their works.  The president of their batch, Cheryl Pontillas, particularly acknowledged some achievements of the graduates like awards in research competitions, Araling Panlipunan Regional Research Summits, and even for outstanding performances as educators; recognition for cultural mapping and establishing a strong link with Talaandig tribe to name a few. Dan Ralph Subla from Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, one of the graduates, who delivered a message on behalf of their batch said: “Evidently, the point at hand is to materialize each of our potentials into its actuality. Not only ours but to who makes us purposeful – our learners who will then become cultural educators in their respective time frames and circumstances.” The scholars turned "cultural enablers" have realized that they will leave a legacy already with what they have accomplished. Last May 29, another group of scholars completed their 42-unit master’s program of the same graduate diploma program and will have their own graduation exercise next year. This will once again produce compelling contributions to culture-based education. The people behind this program consider this a significant transformation brought about by PCEP-NCCA and Xavier Ateneo which by itself will leave a mark not just in the academe but also in our country.

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Habitat for Humanity Philippines mobilize 2000 youth volunteers in 20 sites for Young Leaders Build 2019

June 24, 2019

Michael Ng a Grade 12 student of British School Manila was one of the youth volunteers at the May 18 HYLB event in Bistekville 1, Quezon City, he shares “I learned that it is important for all of us to be our own little leader, doing our best to inspire others to help other people, especially the less fortunate.” “We would like to thank the communities, sponsors and youth volunteers for participating in HYLB2019. Your enthusiasm and dedication is inspirational. We do hope for your support in HYLB 2020 and beyond,” says Lili Fuentes, Chief Operating Officer of Habitat Philippines. HYLB is Habitat’s flagship youth program in Asia Pacific which started in 2012 and has happened every year since. It aims to engage youth to take the lead in helping communities have safe, decent and affordable housing. Volunteer sites for HYLB 2019 include: Brgy. Tanza-Navotas City; Brgy. Pinagbuhatan- Pasig City; Bistekvilles 1, 4, 5-Quezon City; Kaakbay Community-Caloocan City; FTI Complex-Taguig City;  Brgy. Bignay-Valenzuela City; Katuwang Village-Silay City; and a dozen sites in Leyte, Cebu and Davao

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