unsung heroes of Yolanda
By MYLES JOSEPH E. COLASITO
November 3, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY – The
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region 8 on
November 5, 2014 will honor persons who showed uncommon bravery and
selfless commitment to others during and after Super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)
The Yolanda Heroism Awards
will be held at 1:30 PM on November 5, 2014 at the Ritz Tower de Leyte,
Tacloban City. According to DILG-8 Regional Director Pedro A. Noval
Jr., this seeks to acknowledge people who risked their lives for
others and to glorify exemplars of courage and selflessness.
To be recognized for Acts of
Valor are security guard Dionesio Bagon, a resident of Palo, Leyte;
Christopher Caspe from Magallanes, Tacloban City; Armando Corillo from
V&G Subdivision, Tacloban City; Benjoe Mercenes of Taguiktic San Jose,
Tacloban City; and Isagani Sabalza of Brgy, Magay, Tanauan, Leyte.
For Acts of Good Samaritan
the honorees are Nilda Quiero of Philippine Red Cross, C/insp. Adel
Bautista of the Bureau of Fire Protection, and Ranel Repasa from
The honorees were screened
and validated by DILG and agency partners from the Department of
Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH),
Department of Education (DepEd) and Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng
Pilipinas (KBP) Eastern Visayas Chapter.
They were originally
nominated by people whom they rescued or who witnessed their deeds,
and endorsed by parish priests and municipal/city mayors where the
Agency representatives will
introduce the honorees, and present the award together with Dir. Noval
and UNDP Yolanda Response Team Project Manager Eden P. Garde, who will
give the Inspirational Message. Short videos featuring each honoree
will also be shown.
DILG-8 plans to open a
social media page that will allow others to share similar stories of
heroism and sacrifice during Typhoon Yolanda to help inspire more
Winners will receive both
plaques of citations and a cash reward. “The storm which was the
strongest ever to hit land, tested the resolve and character of the
people. The award is a fitting tribute to the individuals who
performed extreme acts of selflessness and sacrifice during and after
Yolanda,” said Dir. Noval.
desaparecidos write letters to Pope Francis
November 2, 2014
MANILA – “Your
Holiness, please intercede for us in seeking justice for our
disappeared loved ones,” wrote families of desaparecidos to Pope
Francis as they gathered at Plaza Miranda on All Souls Day.
As a renewal of vows to seek
justice, they lighted candles and offered flowers to remember those
who were forcibly abducted and disappeared by state security forces
since martial law up to the present.
“It has been the practice of
families and relatives of victims of enforced and involuntary
disappearances to gather every November 2. Beyond remembering, we come
together as a reminder that our loved ones have yet to be surfaced and
the state’s policy of enforced disappearances be stopped,” said
Desaparecidos secretary general Aya Santos.
It has become more
significant as families of desaparecidos gathered to join the nation
in awaiting the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines in January
Santos explained they have
followed and listened to series of statements Pope Francis on justice
and human rights. For the families, his visit is an opportune time to
voice out the injustice and rights violations in the Philippines.
“Hope springs when on
several occasions he made clear his firm stands to defend human rights
and in seeking social justice. We turn to the Pope for support because
under the current regime of Noynoy Aquino, human rights violations
against the people intensify without let up. We stand as testimonies
to the gross situation of human rights here,” Santos said.
Santos said there have been
21 victims of abduction under Pres. Aquino and has since added up to
the number of desaparecidos since the Marcos dictatorship.
Despite the passage of the
Anti-Enforced Disappearance Law, the crime of enforced disappearance
continues as a state policy under Oplan Bayanihan, Aquino’s
counter-insurgency program. Also, as a DAP recipient program, it uses
public funds to abduct, torture and disappear persons. It also uses
funds to coddle the likes of butcher Jovito Palparan who is a ‘free
man’ at Fort Bonifacio.
“We pray that the good Pope
will listen to our plea and stand one with us in calling to stop
enforced disappearances in the Philippines. Dear Pope, please heed our
call for justice. We cry out to surface all the disappeared, in the
Philippines and other parts of the world, such as in Latin America and
Argentina, the Pope’s homeland,” said Santos.
Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio,
Pope Francis is from Argentina, a nation that also suffered the worst
kind of human rights violations under a dictatorial rule in the 1970s.
took over Paris the phenomenal success of Jessica Minh Anh’s Autumn
Fashion Show atop the Eiffel Tower
November 1, 2014
PARIS – Model and
entrepreneur Jessica Minh Anh officially transformed the symbol of the
fashion capital, the Eiffel Tower, into the world’s newest catwalk on
31 October 2014. J Autumn Fashion Show marked Jessica’s 8th history
making showcase around the globe and promoted the rise of a new
generation of creative leaders.
With a vision that goes beyond imagination, the innovative show
producer presented a two-tiered outdoor catwalk, which spanned over
150 metres across the first floor of the symbolic tower. Models led by
Jessica Minh Anh catwalked through the iconic corridor surrounding the
tower before appearing in front of 150 exclusive guests. To enhance
the experience, Jessica Minh Anh made full use of the tower’s brand
new feature as models stepped on the thrilling glass floor at the end
of the catwalk. The panoramic views of Trocadero, Champs de Mars, and
over 100 exquisite designs from Europe, Asia, and America were
strategically captured for live audiences worldwide. “It was
definitely a historic moment. Another flawless presentation by Miss
Anh” said Alan Williams, UPS’ front man, who also attended Jessica’s
famous Tower Bridge catwalk in London in 2011.
Jessica’s previous unconventional catwalks, J Autumn Fashion Show 2014
combined art, culture, architecture, and fashion. Participating brands
embrace tradition, yet experiment various techniques of modern
Bahraini powerhouse Dar Naseem AlAndalos opened J Autumn Fashion Show
2014 with a French fusion collection. Emphasizing on fashion-forward
detailing, the mother-daughter team told the story of luxurious
Parisian women through their fifteen elegant long tailed dresses. The
show continued with another representative from the Middle East, Saudi
Arabian brand OM Fiore, who blended Arab embroidery threads into
European fabrics. Thanks to the artistic touch by designer Omaymah
Azzouz, the brand successfully premiered a modern Abaya collection,
which mixed warm summery colours with darker tones of autumn and
Next in line was Indian talent Shilpa Reddy, who brought edge
to the grand catwalk with bold colours, well-formed structure, and
distinctive cuts. The most significant look inside the collection,
worn by Jessica Minh Anh, combined a fitted military inspired blazer
with sharply padded shoulders and royal-styled trousers. It stood out
as a statement for strong independent women in the ever-evolving
today’s world. Going back to classic, Danish brand Soul Made Faroe
Islands presented an authentic knitwear collection inspired by Nordic
heritage. Debaj from Qatar further beautified the catwalk with
Parisian floral art embroidered on finest organza and chic velvet.
the way from Canada, Sho Sho Esquiro added Native American vibe to the
catwalk with interesting elements such as gold beading, abalone, seal,
carp, and beaver tail. The vibrant 8-piece collection truly reflected
the deep connection between the designer and her land. The surprise
addition to Jessica Minh Anh’s catwalk was the 17-year-old American
talent Kate Walz, whose fabric manipulation techniques sealed her
place in the show. Kate’s collection focused on handcrafted sculpture,
draping, and whimsical detailing, which were highlighted when the
gowns were in motion. “Kate represents the daring new generation who
choose to experiment” said Jessica Minh Anh.
Haute couture designer Hoang Hai closed the show with class and
extravagance. Pushing the creative envelope, the Vietnamese talent
presented a smooth transition from cloud-like elegant dresses with
lace, chiffon, and floral motif, to floor length hand beaded gowns
with transparency and architectural elements. The final masterpiece,
which embodies femininity and radiates modern beauty, was designed
with Jessica Minh Anh as the inspiration. Wearing her Eiffel Tower
inspired hairstyle, the model appeared like a vision in Hoang Hai’s
dream-like white dress and Montblanc’s signature white diamond
bracelet and ring ending the historic catwalk.
The red carpet event welcomed country ambassadors, luxury buyers,
global 2000 company directors, international fashion designers, and
the press. Guests were treated with freshly made Italian breakfast by
Pozzetto before taking their seats at Dyson-heated VIP area. The show
was also supported by Before Beauty Bar, Acanthe-Sol, Lyric Hotel, and
Unexpected from Paris as well as Fridja, Intricate Creations, and
Elite Marking in London.
On her decision to host J Autumn Fashion Show 2014 on the Eiffel
Tower, Jessica Minh Anh said “I see a strong connection between
fashion and the best of locations. The most exquisite designs should
be displayed at architectural masterpieces” She added “Eiffel Tower
represents an artist’s dreams, and inspires their many creations. I
wanted to make those dreams attainable”. She definitely did.
At the incredible speed of three-month preparation per show, Jessica
Minh Anh is set to continue to reach new heights and claim the sky.
Prior to hosting the world’s highest fashion show on the Grand Canyon
Skywalk and America’s most iconic catwalk atop One World Trade Center,
Jessica Minh Anh produced fashion phenomena’s on London’s Tower
Bridge, PETRONAS Twin Towers’ Skybridge, Gardens by the Bay’s Skyway,
and Costa Atlantica’s sundeck among others.
To find out more about Jessica Minh Anh’s previous and upcoming
catwalks, visit www.jmodelmanagement.co.uk and www.facebook.com/jmodelmanagement
scientific community to amplify support for climate resilient
October 31, 2014
MANILA – Greenpeace
today called on the scientific community to step up its support for
ecological food production to build resilient agriculture that can
meet the threat posed by climate change and ensure food diversity and
nutrition security. The call was made on the final day of the 4th
International Rice Congress (IRC) held this week.
Highlighting the role of
non-genetically modified plant breeding technologies in producing new
rice strains that can adapt to extreme and changing climate
conditions, Dr. Janet Cotter, Senior Scientist at Greenpeace
International’s Science Unit said:
“The International Rice
Congress, a regular scientific meeting that gathers rice industry
players, is tremendously important for the future of rice. It’s
amazing to see so many rice traits, such as drought-tolerant and
increased yield varieties, being developed through marker-assisted
conventional breeding. What’s needed now is to put these traits into
varieties suitable for low-input, ecological agriculture to ensure the
sustainability of rice farming, and to increase its resilience to
Cotter said that in times of
extreme weather events like droughts, floods, and typhoons,
communities need resilient agriculture that will continue to provide
food and meet their nutritional needs.
It remains difficult,
however, to predict when droughts or floods will occur and while plant
breeding can provide climate tolerant varieties, farmers do not always
know which variety to plant. “Diversity holds the key to climate
change resilient farming by providing an insurance policy against the
impacts of extreme weather,” Cotter added.
In Thailand, the debate on
genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was sparked again on October 21,
just a few days prior to the IRC, when the country’s Supreme
Administrative Court dismissed a case filed by Greenpeace against the
Department of Agriculture for negligence in the management of the
department’s genetically engineered papaya field trials in Khon Kaen
province in 2004.
While in the Philippines,
there is growing resistance among local scientists, farmers and
consumers on GMOs like ‘Golden’ Rice, created and marketed to
developing countries like the Philippines as a quick-fix solution to
eradicate Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) among children and solve world
hunger. Despite the hype and decades of research and development,
there is still no scientific proof that ‘Golden’ Rice will indeed
Kasarian-Kalayaan, Inc. (Sarilaya),
an NGO working with women farmers, is strongly against GMOs such as
‘Golden’ Rice because they encroach upon peoples’ rights to healthy
food and a healthy environment.
GMOs will only worsen, not
solve the country’s food and nutrition issues. “We, at Sarilaya is for
the promotion of sustainable production and consumption. We want to
ensure that the next generation will live in an environment that is
healthy and safe, giving importance to environmental stewardship,”
said Margie Lacanilao of Sarilaya.
“Solutions to food
insecurity and nutritional deficiencies are already available;
including the fortification of food, Vitamin A supplementation, and
diet diversification sourced from ecological agriculture. These
solutions should be supported through policies that will enable
farmers and the industry to pursue ecological agriculture instead of
the illusion of GMOs, which will only divert resources away from
solutions already available,” said Daniel Ocampo, Greenpeace
Philippines Ecological Agriculture Campaigner. “Aside from resilience
to climate change, ecological agriculture ensures ecological diversity
and can be a source of diverse diets that assures a healthier source
of nutrients for people,” Ocampo added.
Despite the interests of
some industry members in producing new genetically engineered rice
strains, Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) is by far ahead of any
genetically engineered rice being developed. Several rice varieties
developed through MAS are already helping farmers cope with abiotic
stresses such as drought and salinity.
Unlike genetic engineering,
crops produced through MAS do not present risks to farmers or traders
resulting from GMO contamination.
Youth Instructor Gabriel Lamparas (background, sixth from left)
facilitates the introduction of camp names to participants of
the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu personal leadership
Sacred Heart School
- Ateneo de Cebu students learn leadership skills at Kool Adventure
By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
October 27, 2014
CEBU CITY – More than
300 high school students from the Sacred Heart School - Ateneo de Cebu
underwent a personal leadership training facilitated by Ramon Aboitiz
Foundation Inc - Kool Adventure Camp (RAFI-KAC), with the last batch
finishing theirs last October 21 to 23.
The program aimed to develop
the participants’ leadership and decision-making skills.
The first two batches of
students underwent the program last August and September,
respectively, while the third and final batch did so this October.
“I have learned to be more
supportive to my peers and to myself. I also learned to take risks and
trust in my capabilities. I can apply my KAC learning in all aspects
of my life by stepping up and being more responsible and considerate
to others,” said Jose Joaquin Baronta, one of the participants.
The program is an
introductory course for SHS-AdC high school students. Having partnered
with the school, KAC is considering a higher level course for these
participants in the coming year.
KAC is one of the programs
under the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated (RAFI) Leadership &
Citizenship focus area, where future leaders are nurtured to prepare
them to take an active role in affecting change. RAFI’s other focus
areas are Integrated Development, Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship,
Culture and Heritage, and Education.
KAC has been offering
adventure education programs for leadership and team development for
youth and professionals for the last decade. It has recently opened
the Philippines’ first fully dedicated adventure education center last
Like the Sacred Heart School
- Ateneo de Cebu students, those from other schools, both public and
private, could also avail of KAC’s services. For more information on
KAC and its services, contact 260-9000 local 1001 and look for Althea
Santillan, or visit www.kac.rafi.org.ph or www.facebook.com/kooladventurecamp,
or follow @rafiorgph on Twitter.
of Customs employees have their photo taken with their
facilitators after completing their synergy program facilitated
by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc - Kool Adventure Camp (KAC)
Professional Development Program last September 9 at the
Balamban facility of KAC, the first fully-dedicated adventure
education center in the Philippines.
Carlo M. Centinaje, Acting Chief, RPCRD and PSupt. Edilberto V.
Aban, chief, RCEO attended the Coordinating Meeting with EV-ICON
and other Radio Groups in Tacloban City on October 18, 2014 at
EVSU, Tacloban City as preparation for the Pope’s Visit next
PRO8 meets with
stakeholders, radio groups as preparation for pope’s visit next year
By RPCRD, Police Regional
October 23, 2014
CAMP RUPERTO K KANGLEON,
Palo, Leyte – Police Regional Office 8 is initiating meetings with
stakeholders, Brgy. officials, radio groups and set security plans for
the coming of Pope Francis next year from January 15-19 to ensure the
peace and order of the momentous event.
PRO8 Regional Director,
PCSupt. Henry P. Losañes expresses his optimism that Pope’s Visit on
January will be very peaceful and orderly one. He said that
augmentation forces which are approximately three thousand PNP
personnel to include personnel who are handling administrative
functions will be deployed to secure the safety of the Pope and other
visitors, both domestic and international. Aside from PNP personnel,
force multipliers, radio groups, stakeholders and Brgy. officials are
expected to help in the security preparations thru communication.
The PNP is helping in the
mobilization of government resources to ensure the smooth and orderly
visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines early next year. Series of
coordinating meeting with stakeholders, radio groups, force
multipliers and other Brgy. officials were initiated by the PNP for
them to be mobilized during the Pope’s visit.
Prior to this, the National
Government issued a Memorandum Circular 72 creating the Papal Visit
2015-National Organizing Committee (PV-NOC) for the state visit of the
Roman Pontiff on January 15-19, 2015.
As instructed, all heads of
the different government departments, local governments as well as the
private sectors are encouraged to participate and coordinate all
efforts to make sure that the visit of His Holiness in our country
next year will be well organized and peaceful.
The PNP is tasked to take up
all sectors participation and responses in connection with the visit
of the Pope, and ensure efficient coordination among public and
private sectors, particularly with peace and order; and the traffic
management plan for the transportation of persons and goods during the
The Central Committee of the
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is at the helm
of managing and coordinating all religious and civil plans and
activities of the Papal Visit.
There are two local
Executive Committees – Execom-Manila and Execom-Leyte – in the areas
of engagement of His Holiness Pope Francis. The Execoms will serve as
the on-site full-time, day-to-day operations arms of the PV-NOC.
The Execom-Manila will be
led by an Undersecretary in the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES).
Its members will include the Undersecretaries of the DFA, DND, DILG,
DPWH, DOH, DOTC, DOT, and PCOO; Chief of the Presidential Protocol
Office; representatives from the OP, the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and MMDA;
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager;
Presidential Security Group (PSG) Commander; and head of the
The Execom-Leyte, on the
other hand, will be led by an Undersecretary in the OES with members
including the Regional Director of the PNP, Commander of the AFP
Central Command, Regional Directors of the DOTC and DPWH, PSG Security
Task Action Group Commander-Leyte, and a representative from the
PCSupt. Losañes said that
continues coordinating meeting with other stakeholders will be ongoing
to ensure the peace and order during Pope’s Visit.
Chiz: Senate finance
panel to review budget for monitoring of government spending
By Office of Senator Chiz
October 23, 2014
PASAY CITY – The Senate
Committee on Finance will scrutinize the multibillion proposed
allocation for monitoring and evaluation of government spending, which
eats up a big chunk of the proposed spending package of the
Sen. Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Senate finance panel, said he
finds most of the monitoring budgets and cost of service of many
agencies too steep, like in the case of the Department of Social
Welfare and Development (DSWD) which allocated P4.2 billion to
implement, monitor and evaluate its project under the conditional cash
transfer (CCT) program.
The welfare department is seeking a P108-billion spending package for
2015, of which P64.7 billion is for CCT. Of this amount, P57.1 billion
will go to actual cash transfer, P3.3 billion to personnel services
and P4.2 billion to implement and monitor the DSWD’s cash dole out
Escudero, however, said money set aside for “monitoring and
evaluation” is too expensive.
“I totally agree that there is an implementation cost needed to
actuate a program. And yes, we need to monitor the implementation of
our programs and projects to ensure accountability and judicious use
of public funds, but it should not be that expensive.” Escudero
pointed out. “Our government already has an existing machinery and
mechanism to precisely do that. We have the Commission on Audit, why
do we need this redundancy of functions?”
The senator said the P4 billion proposed allocation for monitoring
budget can be used for other serviceable purposes that have actual and
direct benefits. “I see it as a lost fiscal space. This amount can be
put to better use. We can reduce it and add the amount to major
According to Escudero, the funds can be used instead to finance
disaster preparedness and relief operations, and to purchase relief
goods with longer shelf life.
Last month, Escudero also quizzed the Department of the Interior and
Local Government (DILG) for the P840 million it plans to earmark for
monitoring and evaluation of its program under grassroots
participatory budgeting process or the GPBP amounting to P5.7 billion,
and sought a detailed breakdown of its projects and programs in all
1,600 local government units across the country.
“The finance committee is seriously looking into these items in the
budget and we are carefully studying initiatives to introduce sensible
spending in all levels. We want to allocate our scarce resources and
equitably and fairly utilize these for significant purposes,” the