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Made possible : The amazing ASEC Ameenah Fajardo’s life of service

June 18, 2021

To end the second longest war in the world – the Mindanao war – has been described before as “mission impossible.”  And why not? That war began in the 16th century when the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao particularly the Moslems waged a revolution against the Spanish Colonial rule when the Spaniards “discovered” the Philippines and forcibly colonized the archipelago through sword and cross except the “Bangsa Moro.” The struggle to free the Bangsa Moro from colonial rule continued during the American Occupation and the brave Moros battled the American Colonizers with their “bolos” in suicidal attacks, the reason why the Americans invented a more powerful weapon -the 45 caliber- because the 38-caliber then could not stop a determined Moro warrior to kill one or two soldiers before the suicidal attacker succumb to death. No way would the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao succumb to the power of the colonizers then, the amazing reason why Mindanao has been described as the “land of the brave and the free.”      After the foreign colonizers left, a new breed of colonizers came – the Trans-National Corporations - that have transformed some two hundred thousands of hectares in Mindanao – the choicest of land – into massive plantations to supply the consumerist needs of the people in advanced  countries while the Philippines cannot even produce basic staples like rice and milk for its hungry people. Where have all the forest and mineral gone, the richest in the world? Gone to loggers and miners every one!       Thus, the struggle of liberation continued initiated in the 70s by no less than Nur Missuari, a brilliant UP professor then who formed the Moro National Liberation Front.  The armed struggle of liberation broadened in the late 20th century with the formation of the  Moro Islamic Liberation Front led, among others, by Abdullah Macapaar known as Kumander Bravo who is now an honorable Member of the Parliament of the Bangsa Moro Autonomous Region of Mindanao.       Will the struggle of liberation through protracted war continue without let-up in this rich but poverty stricken island of Mindanao? NOT ANYMORE because of the following analysis. Poverty. Social Injustice. Gross inequities. Political patronage. These are the roots of the war in Mindanao that must be uprooted not through bloodshed but by the strength of the human spirit in cooperation, love and service to one another irrespective of creed, race, class, gender, ideology and color. No less than Pope Francis said that “it bids us all to break the bonds of social injustice and oppression that give rise to glaring and scandalous inequities.” How do we then break these bonds of social injustice and oppression?  That is what  Asec Amenaah Fajardo has been doing all these years to uproot the root causes of the Mindanao War!        Prior to becoming an Assistant Secretary, Ameenah A. Fajardo – a chemical engineer and part of the academe by profession – she has managed to gather extensive experience both in government and business sectors.       Assistant Secretary Fajardo was once a Chief of Staff at the House of Representatives. She also became an Executive Assistant to the Rizal Provincial Government, where she served as the head of the livelihood activities of the Ynares Eco System (YES). She is also responsible for the “Fidel Iodized Salt for the Barangay Health Workers (BHW) Livelihood Program,” which has been throughout the entire country.       She has been actively participating and a volunteer for Disaster Rescue Programs in coordination with Foreign Investors and counterparts, notably for Tropical Storms Ondoy and Yolanda. Recently, their team conducted a medical mission in Marawi.      Asec. Fajardo is being lauded with her accomplishments; she received the Gintong Ina Award for Socio-Economic Community Service in 2001 and the Alay Sa Pamilya Award in 2003, for her dedication to public service pertaining to Livelihood Training and Programs for the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) whereby, she has successfully launched and joined Trade Fairs for our OFW Sector in coordination with different Governmental Offices. In 2021, Asec. Fajardo was recognized by the Guardians Magistrate Advocation’s for Democracy International Inc. (GMADII) and the LuzViMinda International Foundation as Outstanding Public Servant in the Community, Outstanding Women of the Year, and Outstanding Mother of the Year.      Currently, as the Assistant Secretary of DTI, she handles Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW),  Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster, Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, Comprehensive Social Benefits Program for the Wounded in Action – Killed in Action (WIA-KIA) AFP-PNP Personnel, Task Force Balik Loob of DND for Former Rebels, and Strike Team for Indigenous Peoples. In addition, Asec. Fajardo joined DTI Undersecretary for Special Concerns Abdulgani Macatoman at the launching of DTI’s Waste Processing Livelihood in Butig, Lanao del Sur and at the launching of Mobile Rice Mill project at Camp Bilal, Munai, Lanao Del Norte.      Be they persons with disabilities, OFWs, IPs, Moslems or the marginalized sectors, Asec. Ameenah has been capacitating and empowering them to be drawn into the mainstream of development processes, It is her contention that social injustices that consign the Mindanawons in the quagmire of poverty is rooted in the powerlessness or the disempowerment of the people and as a countervailing measure, they must be empowered to have access and control over their resources.       Look at the life of the Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao.  They are now the poorest of the poor as their lands have been land grabbed. And when they will stand up for their rights, they are being killed.  In fact, in the last five years, 63 IP leaders have been killed. As a countervailing measure, Asec. Ameenah has now come up with amazing projects so that the IPs can now transform their denuded lands into Abacca Plantation as she is mobilizing assistance from the DA, DTI and DOLE. The Abaca Plantation Project will indeed be a liberating force against poverty, climate change and violent extremism.      Asec  Ameenah is also advocating for much needed paradigm shift in promoting Filipino products  to help the OFWs.  Indeed, during the pre-COVID 19 period, some 6,000 Filipinos are going abroad every day, leaving their families behind to find jobs in other countries.  Why is this so?  Because the Philippines has become the dumping ground of finished products coming from different countries in the world. Don’t you know that buying is like casting a vote, choosing from different economic alternatives? Foreign vs, local.  Because of the gospel of lies, false information and advertisement, the Filipinos have been brainwashed to buy foreign products. Look at our malls.  Ninety-five (95) percent of the products sold are coming from other countries.  Thus, if you buy foreign products, you support the economy and job generation from where the products are coming from. It is time to awaken the Filipino People. When you buy local, you support the livelihood and the job generation of the Filipinos so that the OFWs will just stay in the country caring for their love ones.        Asec. Ameenah Fajardo, you are indeed a new revolutionary to free Mindanao from the quagmire of poverty, from neo-colonial rule.  When you went to Kora-kora, Munai, Lanao Sur where you met the commanders of the 75,000 MILF combatants who have ceased fire to now peacefully fight hunger and poverty through cooperativism, you have heard them shouting, “MGA PAGARI AKON, SAMA-SAMA NA TANU KOOPERATIBA! ISA LANG ANG ARMAS NAMIN NGAYON  AT YAN AY KOOPERTIBA LABAN SA KAHIRAPAN! What has been impossible, is now becoming possible – TO END THE MINDANAO WAR -the second longest war in the world!      Indeed, for those who have sacrificed, advocated and even died for it, social change has been so elusive all these years despite 14 years of Martial Law and two people-powered revolutions.  The ingredients, systems and structures breeding poverty are still as formidable as ever BUT NOT ANYMORE.  Indeed, there is no greater grandeur sight in the world than a great leader like you, fired with a great unwavering aim – to empower the IPs especially the Moro people – as a liberating force to end the Mindanao War and to end the leaving of the OFWs to work in foreign lands!

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Come to me, all you who are weary

June 18, 2021

What wonderful and consoling words of Christ! We have to keep these words always in mind especially when we encounter overwhelming problems and difficulties that would leave us with the sensation that we sinking and drowning. Christ reassures us he will take care of everything.      “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” (Mt 11,28) Christ said, fulfilling what was prefigured in Psalm 55,22: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.” The same idea is echoed by St. Peter when he said: “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Pt 5,7)      We cannot deny that everyday we can be burdened with so many things. We first of all have our own share of weaknesses and miseries, and some of them can be of the permanent type for which no human solutions seem not to be found anymore. We cannot help but feel depressed and wilted.      Then we can be shared with the problems and difficulties of the others. If we happen to be parents, friends, or especially priests who hear the confidences of people, we should be ready to be dumped with all sorts of problems that can truly weigh us down.      There are times when we encounter surprises, and our conscience would tell us to play the role of a Good Samaritan. But we find it hard and feel helpless about it. We can also be subjected to all kinds of pressures. That’s when we should just go to God and show the real state of our soul in distress.      It would be nice to be reminded of the reassuring words of Christ. We should be quick to have recourse to these words rather than to let ourselves to be led simply by our emotions and our other human powers and resources. We have to activate our faith that is clearly expressed by these words of Christ.      Christ takes care of everything. But we also have to learn to suffer which is unavoidable in our life, no matter how much we try to avoid it. We have to learn how to unite our pain and suffering, our annoyance, irritation and distress with the passion and death of Christ. That way, they become meaningful and more bearable, since we know it would be Christ more than us who would bear them.      We have to be wary of the subtle grip of pride when these difficulties and problems assault us. When we lose peace, when we feel at a total loss as to what to do, these can be signs that our pride is preventing us from going to Christ, from believing that Christ takes care of everything.      If we are humble enough to allow our faith to animate our reactions to our problems and difficulties in life, we would have no problem in finding consolation in these reassuring words of Christ: “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.”      Humility also enables us to be tough so as to know how to suffer with Christ. It would leave us in peace and even with joy when we suffer. We need to bring these reassuring words of Christ in our prayer so that they become deeply embedded in our consciousness and serve to animate our reactions when we find difficulties in life.

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2GO Makes Traveling to Cebu Easier, Affordable, And Convenient For Tourists

June 18, 2021

MANILA, 17 June 2021 – The province of Cebu, which is open for travel and tourism, heartily welcomes tourists from the National Capital Region. “The Gateway to a Thousand Journeys” makes it easier,more affordable, and convenient for travelers to set foot in the island once they secure their travelrequirementsin advance, such as their confirmed hotel bookings, S-PaSS registrations, and 2GO Traveltickets. “With Cebu’s less stringent community quarantine, visitors can enjoy luxurious island resorts in Mactan; stroll the unspoiled white sand beach of Bantayan; go on a canyoneering adventure in Kawasan Falls; dive and see the rich marine life in Malapascua; watch dolphins and whale sharks in Oslob; and have a unique sardine run experience in Moalboal. They can book their voyages to Cebu, and immediately start their vacation onboard 2GO Travel,” 2GO Assistant Vice President for Marketing Blessie Cruz said. For as low as ₱399, the Philippines’ premiere sea travel provider, can take their passengers from Manila all the way to the historical Queen City of the South aboard its newest ship, MV 2GO Maligaya. The traveling public can start booking their promo tickets today until June 20, 2021 to travel from July 15 to December 15, 2021. The discounted rate also applies to Cebuanos who are planning to sail from their hometown to the nation’s capital, including passengers from Manila to Bacolod, Coron, Iloilo, Dumaguete, Puerto Princesa and vice versa. “It’s fun and it’s safe with 2GO Travel. We amplify the passenger experience by upgrading our fleet, our terminals, and our onboard accommodations and amenities. At 2GO, we strictly implement and comply to health and safety protocols imposed by the government, while aiding our passengers to adhere to travel advisories,” Cruz added. In addition, tourists from Batangas and Caticlan and Roxas (and vice versa) can avail tickets for only ₱299, while routes from Manila to Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Ozamiz, Zamboanga and vice versa are for ₱499. All tickets are inclusive of accommodations and 50 kg baggage allowance, exclusive of meals and other fees, and subject to free unlimited rebooking. To book and rebook your tickets, please visit 2GO Travel’s website, https://travel.2go.com.ph/, call our hotline (02) 8 528 7000, email us at travel@2GO.com.ph, or visit any 2GO outlet, authorized agent, and SM Business Center near you!     ABOUT 2GO TRAVEL 2GO Travel is one of the largest premier sea travel providers in the Philippines. It constantly strives to push boundaries in providing travelers a wide selection of reasonably-priced hotel accommodations, tours, and event packages to make for unforgettable trips. 2GO Travel is backed by over 148 years' worth of combined history in the travel industry, making it a local leader in setting sea travel standards and trends. The company is present in more than 2,000 outlets nationwide, operating in 18 ports of call in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to bring you easy, comfortable, and economical travel-whether you are bound for the sunny beaches of Boracay, the gastronomic wonderland that is Cebu, or the alluring pockets of paradise in Palawan. By integrating its fleet with top-notch tours and accommodations, breathtaking destinations, and warm hospitality from an experienced and dedicated crew, 2GO Travel continues to redefine sea travel in the best ways possible so you can be rest assured that for every trip you plan with us, you are always #Ready2GO. ABOUT 2GO GROUP, INC. 2GO Group, Inc. is the Philippines’ largest integrated transportation and logistics provider, at its core has five business units, namely, 2GO Sea Solutions, 2GO Special Containers, 2GO Logistics, 2GO Distribution, and 2GO Express.  

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HIGH JAB HESITANCY IS THE PROBLEM, NOT VACCINE BUDGET

June 18, 2021

Senator Imee Marcos has called on the government for clearer strategies that will increase vaccine acceptance and immunity against Covid-19 to speed up the country’s economic recovery. “We have the money for vaccines. But vaccination hesitancy remains a challenge and may lead to a greater wastage of vaccines and government funds than the incidence of poor cold storage. Without herd immunity, economic recovery will be choppy,” Marcos said. “To solve this, the government needs to determine where it should conduct more aggressive information campaigns which are tailored to the language, unique customs and belief systems of the local government unit concerned. For instance, an emphasis that vaccines are halal may be needed in the BARMM, or that a certain vaccine has already been administered in Muslim countries,” Marcos explained. The Senate economic affairs committee chairman said more Filipinos still need to be convinced to take the jab, citing that the last national survey showed little improvement in the vaccination hesitancy rate of close to 50 percent. Marcos also urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to “draw up a Plan B, in case vaccine suppliers renege on their commitments to the Philippines this year.” The IATF has faced delays in its scheduled procurement of vaccines from global pharmaceutical firms and the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility due to hoarding and delivery disputes among vaccine-manufacturing nations. A recent pledge by seven of the world’s richest democracies to supply at least a billion Covid-19 vaccine doses to poor countries next year is a ray of light amid the staggered arrival of more vaccines, Marcos said. “Many Western nations are playing catch-up after China’s headstart in vaccine diplomacy,” Marcos said of the G7 comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. “The G7 pledge for 2022 implies that vaccines we are buying this year can be produced and delivered. But the IATF must constantly follow up on foreign commitments to preempt and remedy any more delays in the original timeline to fully vaccinate 70% of Filipinos,” Marcos explained. Marcos, who also chairs the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, added that increasing vaccination acceptance and immunity could help voter registration pick up its pace, “so that next year’s elections truly reflect who we want to lead us through this health crisis towards economic recovery.” (30)

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Sharp AQUOS - Two Decades of Excellence, Quality, and Innovation

June 18, 2021

Sharp AQUOS - Two Decades of Excellence, Quality, and Innovation   Sharp Philippines’ AQUOS LCD TV has entered its 20th anniversary. And what a better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than to launch a new series of 4K TVs? These upcoming LCD TVs remind us how much Sharp has innovated their products over two decades of providing quality entertainment products.   It felt just like yesterday, but 2001 was the pivoting point of Sharp when it turned its tube TVs into LCD TVs. Gone are the days when we had to hit the tube to get a clearer image; with the newest line-up from Sharp, all you have to do is power the device, sit back, and relax.   Sharp PH officially unveils a 70-inch 4K Smart Android TV with Google voice assistant and Google Duo for video call!   Since cinemas and theaters are still closed, it is a wise thing to invest in your home entertainment. A TV upgrade will definitely come in handy when you want to unwind with your loved ones after a tiring day at work. Who needs to go out for movies if you feast your eyes and ears on an immersive experience?     What are the top features of Sharp 4K SMART ANDROID TV 4T-C70CK3X? Hunting for the best TV to buy this year? Look no further as Sharp is bringing a new 4K TV in the Philippines with a 70-inch display, Dolby Audio, Chromecast built-in, and more! It's one of the company's innovative televisions that are equipped with tons of features. Let's look at the highlights below: Sleek and modern design When it comes to TV sizes, we just have one tip for you: Go big or go home. This TV boasts 70-inch screen goodness so it's like watching your favorite series and movies in your mini-cinema. Aside from that, it sports a minimalist design built with a super narrow bezel, making eyes focus more on the display. Richer in details The most obvious benefit of TVs with 4K resolutions is that their pictures have more detail and sharpness. After all, their 3840 x 2160 pixel counts equate to four times the resolution of the full HD pictures most of us are used to. Every hair on people’s heads, every leaf on every tree, every blade of grass on a football pitch, every star in the sky. Coupled with Sharp's AQUOS processor, viewing quality is enhanced to the optimal level. The manufacturer also emphasizes it can deliver outstanding picture quality because of X4 Master Engine Pro II. Basically, you’ve got an experience many describe as more like looking through a window than watching a TV. Dual speakers with Dolby Audio support Sound is important because of many things. It engages the audience, evokes emotional responses, emphasizes what’s on the screen, and is used to indicate mood. Thankfully, this 70-inch 4K Smart Android TV from Sharp is equipped with speakers with Dolby audio on both sides. As a result, you get crystal-clear sound effects with a surround-sound quality   Thousands of useful apps from Google Play Downloading all your favorite apps and games would be a smart way to maximize your television. By doing this, you can enjoy them on the big screen with easy access from your custom Android TV home screen. In addition to this, you can conveniently use this Sharp TV for video conferencing with teammates, family, or friends due to the inclusion of Google Duo.   Remote control with built-in voice assistant How does Google Assistant provide you a smarter viewing experience? One way is by giving you quick access to your shows and other media. In searching for content, this feature is handy since you don’t need to look through all your streaming apps yourself. Moreover, you can easily get answers on screen if you're performing a search on Google. You can also control other smart devices inside your home with this voice assistant. These are just a few features that the Sharp 4K Smart Android TV 4T-C70CK3X boasts. Stay tuned for its local pricing and availability. For updates, you may follow Sharp Philippines on Facebook and Instagram.   Father’s Day Exclusive Promo In celebration of Father’s Day, Sharp offered an exclusive promo for all fathers. For every purchase of selected products, you’ll get a wide variety of freebies. Visit and follow Sharp’s official Facebook page for more details.

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Doctors and scientists warn Indians from using cow dung to ward off covid attacks

June 17, 2021

Cow's dung vs covid? AHMEDABAD, India - Believe it or not. A group in India believe that the use of cow dung can help ward off the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19). This, despite several warnings made by health authorities in said country. India was recently devastated by the deadly attacks of covid-19, with 27 million cases and 246,116 deaths reported by the international media. In fact, health experts say the actual figures of devastation could go higher five to 10 times. In western India, more particularly the state of Gujarat, some believers of faith have frequented to cow shelters to bath cow dungs and even urine. They believe that doing so could boost their immunity against the killer virus. In Hinduism faith, it is being said that the cow is a sacred symbol of life and the earth. Hindus have been using cow dung for centuries, purposely to clean their homes and also for their prayer rituals.   Gautam Manilal Borisa, an associate manager at a pharmaceuticals company reported that even doctors come to use cow dung. "We see ... even doctors come here. Their belief is that this therapy improves their immunity and they can go and tend to patients with no fear," Borisa said. He said he's been frequenting the Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul Vishwavidya Pratishthanam, a school owned by Hindu monks just across the road leading to the Indian headquarters of Zydus Cadila, which is currently developing a covid-19 vaccine. Doctors and scientists in India and also across the world, according to a Reuter report, have repeatedly warned practising alternative treatments for the deadly virus. Doctors said this can lead to false sense of security and this could only complicate health problems. Dr JA Jayalal, national president at the Indian Medical Association warned that this practice have no scientific evidence. "There is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine work to boost immunity against COVID-19, it is based entirely on belief, Dr Jayalal warned. - credit to Reuters.com

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