Morgan (second from left) and Canadian Ambassador to the
Philippines Neil Reeder (first from right) visited the students
of Balangiga Central Elementary School in Eastern Samar.
witnesses resilience of Haiyan-hit communities in Eastern Samar
By RIZZA J. SACRA
August 10, 2015
GUIUAN, Eastern Samar
– Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder recently visited
Eastern Samar, a province devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (local name:
Yolanda) nearly two years ago. The Canadian government was among the
first countries to pledge and support the Philippines after the super
typhoon hit the country.
Ambassador Reeder visited
Lawaan and Balangiga, two of the five municipalities in Eastern Samar
which received the Canadian government-supported Sanitation Repair Kit
Project which helped repair toilets of households in the communities.
In Balangiga, Reeder met with the “hygiene ambassadors” of Balangiga
Central Elementary School, who regularly teach the students the
importance of proper hygiene by leading them in regular hand-washing
and tooth-brushing activities in the school and in the community.
Portion of the Canadian funding aid received by the Balangiga Central
Elementary School also went to the rehabilitation of its jetmatic pump
that was destroyed during the typhoon. These projects provided the
school with good water connection. It also supported the construction
of communal latrine in several barangays.
Reeder also visited the
declared Zero Open Defecation and G1 (households that already have
individual latrines) communities in the municipality of Lawaan as well
as the beneficiaries of the cash for asset recovery program, an
unconditional cash grant to inject cash into the market for their
immediate recovery. During the visit, Reeder met Larry Gacho, one of
the recipients of the program. Larry is a proud member of the LGBT
community who started a parlor home service after Yolanda.
“With the P3,000, I bought
my own parlor kits and essentials, and started offering home service
such as haircuts and hair coloring to my neighbors. And now, I am
proud to show to all people who are helping Yolanda victims like me
that the assistance they provided was not put to nothing,” said Gacho.
“The building back better of
Yolanda-affected communities lies in the support and cooperation of
different sectors, whether government and INGOs. We are hoping to
continue this good partnership with our donors like the Canadian
Government so that we can reach more people and create lasting impact
in their lives even after emergencies, towards economic justice,” said
Justin Morgan, Country Director of Oxfam in the Philippines.
The Canadian Government,
through the International Humanitarian Assistance and the Department
of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, supported Oxfam’s Water,
Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) programme in Eastern Samar, ensuring
8,500 of the most vulnerable families have access to safe water,
sanitation, and hygiene. The funding support enabled Haiyan-affected
families, most especially women and children, to protect themselves
from public health risks and received life-saving needs related to
WaSH in the aftermath of the typhoon.
Chiz says DOTC
plans to spend P15.7-B in 2016 to solve MRT, rail sector woes
By Office of Senator Chiz
August 9, 2015
PASAY CITY – Sen.
Chiz Escudero said the Department of Transportation and
Communications’ (DOTC) P43.5-billion budget request for 2016 should
allow it to field more trains, end long queues at MRT stations and
start the long-delayed line extension projects, since almost 41
percent of the agency’s proposed spending plan is earmarked for the
Escudero, who was former
chair of the Senate Committee on Finance until he resigned on July 28
out of “delicadeza,” said that based on the DOTC request, it plans to
spend some P15.7 billion to address the problems plaguing not just the
MRT, but the Philippine National Railways (PNR) and the LRT, as well.
According to Escudero, it is
only right to attach “measurable performance” to every peso that the
DOTC is asking in taxpayers’ money to subsidize the rail operations.
“The DOTC says it will speed up transfer time in stations from 10
minutes this year to 5 minutes next year. Ang una ngang dapat itanong
10 minutes nga lang ba ang waiting time sa MRT ngayon?“ Escudero said.
The DOTC also vowed that overloading in MRT trains would go down to
157 percent from to 171 percent. “Is this decrease in load factor
doable or drawing lang? Ilang bagong train ba ang parating para masabi
natin na maiibsan na ang siksikan?“ the senator added.
These pledges are among the MRT-related performance indicators the
DOTC has spelled out in the national budget.
With these deliverables, the DOTC is asking Congress to appropriate
P7.09 billion in MRT-related expenses broken down as follows: P1.96
billion for operation and maintenance; P1.5 billion for rehabilitation
and capacity expansion; and P3.63 billion as subsidy for “mass
The latter would cover deficiencies in “settling prior and current
years’ obligations for equity rental, maintenance fees and others
obligations” in case “farebox revenues” are insufficient to cover
those, Escudero said, explaining the special budget provision the DOTC
wants to govern its use.
Escudero said the “Senate’s strict scrutiny of rail-related
appropriations should extend to other lines kasi hindi lang naman sa
MRT mahaba ang pila at may aberya ang mga tren.”
One such firm is the Philippine National Railways (PNR), whose
performance guarantee is to provide “safe and reliable rail services
for the Metro South Commuter Services,” the line running from Tutuban,
Manila to Calamba, Laguna.
The government is asking P1.32 billion in operating subsidy for the
PNR for 2016.
Another budgetary subsidy – to the tune of P1.42 billion – is being
set aside for the Light Rail Transportation Authority (LRTA), with the
promise that the agency will field one train every 3 to 4 minutes
during peak hours in its Roosevelt-Baclaran Line 1 and one every 5 to
6 minutes in its Pasig-Recto Line.
“Kaya dapat itong mga pangakong ito ilagay sa tarpaulin sa bawat
istasyon. Because these promises are not just made to Congress but to
taxpayers who, by their payments, fund the national budget,” Escudero
The amount requested for LRTA is on top of the P6.75 billion
“construction budget” the DOTC is requesting for various LRT extension
projects, such as P1.62 billion for the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension
Project and P2.9 billion for the LRT Line 2 Extension Project.
The DOTC is seeking P43.5 billion for its 2016 spending plan. This
does not include, however, budget subsidies to state corporations.
Jet Velarmino AFP, Commander 8ID, with Most Rev. Leopoldo
Tumulak, Military Bishop, and the 3 brigade commanders in a
wreath laying at Stormtroopers Warrior monument ICOW during the
8ID's 27th Founding Anniversary celebration on August 4, 2015.
8ID celebrates its
27th Founding Anniversary
By DPAO, 8ID PA
August 7, 2015
CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN,
Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division,
Philippine Army marked its 27th Founding Anniversary with the theme
“8ID at Sambayanan, Dalawampu’t PitongTaong Nagkakaisa Tungo sa
Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran” at Headquarters in Camp Lukban, Brgy Maulong,
Catbalogan City, Samar on August 4, 2015.
The event was highlighted by
a wreath-laying ceremony led by Most Rev. Leopoldo S. Tumulak D.D,
Bishop, Military Ordinariate of the Philippines and Major General Jet
B. Velarmino, Commander 8ID, for the Stormtroopers who passed away for
the past year. The wreath-laying was in honor and recognition of the
soldiers’ heroism and ultimate sacrifice for in pursuit of peace in
Region VIII. The ceremony was attended and witnessed by the soldiers’
love ones, as well as officers, soldiers and civilian employees of the
Another highlight was the
recognition of officers and soldiers who made significant contribution
to the accomplishments of their assigned tasks in combat operations
and in administration that significantly contributed to the overall
success of the Command’s mission. In addition, civilian stakeholders
who worked with the Command were also given due recognition during the
Later in the evening, the
celebration was capped by the “Stormtroopers’ Cultural Night”, an
activity that showcased the rich culture of Filipinos through a
cultural dance competition which was participated by different units
of the Command.
Gracing the 27th Founding
Anniversary of 8ID was the presence of Bishop Tumulak, Bishop of
Military Diocese as the Guest of Honor and Speaker; Major General Jet
B. Velarmino, Commander 8ID; Hon. Stephanie Uy-Tan, Mayor of
Catbalogan City; Christine C. Caidic, 8ID MSAB Chairperson; Brigadier
General Herminigildo C. Aquino, 803rd Brigade Commander; Brigadier
General Leoncio A. Cirunay, Commander 801st Infantry Brigade, Col
Dinoh A. Dolina, Commander 802nd Infantry Brigade and media
Looking ahead to the
challenges that 8ID hurdled for the past year, Major General Velarmino
said that the Command has accomplished much in performing its mandated
task of protecting the people because of the unity and dedication of
the troops in performing their duties. In his remarks, he challenged
his officers and men and said that as long as we have faith to
accomplish our just cause, coupled with unconquerable will to win,
victory will not be denied us of any undertaking we have at hand and
in the future.
On the other hand, Most Rev.
Bishop Tumulak said, “It is my prayer that our Armed Forces and other
stakeholders will unite all of us not only here but all around the
world as the soldiers’ main priority is serve God and Country and
protect the people.”
league announces violence against women policy
"We are doing our part to
educate for change, and support behaviour change." - Commissioner
August 7, 2015
TORONTO, ON – The
Canadian Football League's first policy on violence against women
seeks to prevent violence in the first place, respond quickly on
behalf of those harmed when it does occur, provide help to those
affected by it and seek behaviour change from anyone found to be
"The CFL condemns violence
against women in all its forms: domestic violence, sexual assault,
verbal abuse and the disrespectful and damaging attitudes that can
form the foundation for violence," said Jeffrey L. Orridge,
Commissioner of the Canadian Football League.
"This policy is designed to
ensure all of us in the CFL do our part to educate for change, and
support behaviour change when we do encounter violence or the
attitudes that can lead to it."
The policy was developed in
partnership with the Ending Violence Association of Canada and
following consultations with multiple women who are experts in the
field of responding to violence against women. These experts work
regularly with CFL teams to deliver outreach and public education
"We will work to ensure all
of our workplaces are safe from violence against women, and that the
attitudes that allow violence to occur are not tolerated," Orridge
"In the face of a report of
violence against a woman perpetrated by any CFL employee, we will
always take it seriously. Doing nothing will never be an option."
Key elements of the policy:
- The policy applies to
everyone who works for the CFL – not just players, but coaches,
officials, executives and staff.
- Everyone in the CFL will
receive mandatory training on violence against women and the issues
surrounding it on an annual basis.
- The CFL will support,
endorse and participate in efforts to increase awareness of violence
against women and ways to prevent it throughout society, and in
particular among Canadian youth.
- When any CFL workplace,
including a CFL football club or one of its corporate offices,
receives a report of violence against women involving a CFL employee,
we will act.
- We will assess the
situation and future risk to the women in question, and engage when
necessary local experts who will make up violence against women
response teams (VAWR teams). These VAWR teams will be made up of
social workers and other professionals with extensive experience in
dealing with violence against women.
- These VAWR teams will
provide the best possible support and referrals to the women affected,
ensure counselling is provided where it is deemed helpful to the men
involved, and will strive to act always in the best interests of any
- We will always err on the
side of safety, respect for the sanctity of human life, and every
person's inherent right to security from harm.
- We will not act as
criminal investigators, fact finders, judges or juries: our focus is
on providing access to experts who can intervene in a situation,
assess the risk to the woman, mitigate any harm in the best way
possible, seek behaviour change on the part of perpetrators and
contribute to positive outcomes for individuals, families and
- In cases where there are
clear and documented cases of violence against women -- determined by
the police, the courts, or confirmed by the perpetrator -- the CFL
will impose sanctions.
- The CFL will also impose
sanctions when there has been a clear violation of protection orders
or other directives put in place by the courts or police, as such
violations are clear indications of higher risks of violence.
- These sanctions will range
from suspension for single or multiple games to a lifetime ban from
the CFL, depending on the severity and number of incidences.
- In determining sanctions,
the Commissioner will consult a list of offences, including sexual
assault, domestic violence, and violation of protection orders or
other directives provided by the courts or police, as well as
guidelines prepared in consultation with experts on violence against
- These sanctions will be
subject to the provisions and processes of the league's collective
bargaining agreement with the CFL Players Association, and in the case
of other employees, their employment agreements and employment law.
"The leadership being shown
today by the entire CFL is to be applauded profoundly," said Tracy
Porteous, the Chair of Ending Violence Association of Canada.
"Violence against women has
long thrived in the shadows so when organizations, especially those
led by men, step forward to ask, 'what can we do to break the
silence?' it shines an important light on a subject most people don't
know what to do with. Through this policy the CFL is changing
The policy announcement
followed news that the BC government is renewing funding for Be More
Than a Bystander, the very successful anti-violence against women
program that is a partnership between the CFL's BC Lions and EVA BC.
Be More Than a Bystander is
just one of the many such programs led by several CFL teams who are
working in their communities to raise awareness of violence against
"Our players are truly
leaders when it comes to generating awareness on this very important
issue," said Scott Flory, President of the CFL Players Association.
"Several of our players, on a league wide basis, are out in the
community changing mindsets about violence of all kinds, especially
violence against women. They are reaching out to all ages and
demographics with special attention paid to youth in schools."
Domestic and sexual violence
most often take place out of the public eye and are deemed the most
underreported of all violent crimes in Canada. The main intent of the
policy, in all circumstances where abuse or violence has been alleged,
is to assess the risk, reduce or eliminate that risk, mitigate harm
and promote positive change.
"In talking with women's
groups, we were struck by the fact that they put the emphasis on
protection and support for a woman at risk, and supporting behaviour
change on the part of perpetrators, while others can tend to measure a
policy purely by how tough or punitive it is," Orridge said.
"For example, the women we
worked with on the policy spoke to us more about whether a woman's
life could be at risk, than whether her spouse was going to be
punished. In fact, some said that removing an employee's ability to
make a living could affect his ability to provide child support, which
would negatively affect his former partner and their kids."
Under the policy, sanctions
that involve suspensions and loss of income will only be an option if
or when allegations are substantiated and the safety of a victim
and/or community members has been compromised.
But whether there is 'proof'
of an allegation or not, no report will be ignored. Every situation
will be assessed, with experts called in when necessary, and help will
always be offered.
With the policy now endorsed
by the CFL Board of Governors, the league's teams will work with the
league office and the Ending Violence Association of Canada to
identify the right regional experts to provide training, assessment
and counselling services.
"Any policy evolves with
time, and this one will. But this represents an important step forward
for the CFL," Orridge said.
To view the Canadian
Football League's policy on Violence Against Women, please visit the
following link: http://media.marketwire.com/attachments/201508/341247_Policy_VAW.pdf
Greenpeace and nutrition
experts weigh in on the country’s ‘food emergency’ situation
August 5, 2015
QUEZON CITY – Today,
environmental group Greenpeace, along with various stakeholders from
the food and nutrition research sector, the agriculture industry, the
academe, religious groups and other civil society organizations
convened to discuss and address the country’s food and nutrition gaps
that, if left unattended, could lead to a ‘food emergency situation’.
In recent weeks, the country
has witnessed several food scandals – with alarming news of fake rice
and fake noodles out in the market, to various food poisoning
incidents in different parts of the country. There is also the latest
poll from the Social Weather Stations that revealed how 37% of
families (or an estimated 8.1 million) consider themselves as
food-poor, while 12.7% of families (or an estimated 2.8 million, have
experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months.
“When we talk of food and
nutrition issues in the Philippines, many factors come into play, such
as poverty, agriculture, access to food, consumption and our existing
food systems, said Virginia Benosa-Llorin, Greenpeace Philippines Food
and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner. “There is a need to examine and
evaluate the nation’s views on food and nutrition. More than just
being ‘foodies’, we should be discerning when it comes to our food and
ask if what we eat and feed our families with is safe and nutritious,
even ask who produces it and how.”
Greenpeace recently launched
an online survey on what Filipinos normally eat everyday. Dubbed #AnongFoodMo,
the crowd-sourcing initiative was aimed at social-media savvy folks
who are unaware of the role they play in shaping the country’s food
and agriculture systems which are vital in solving the country’s
hunger and food insecurity.
Results from the 2013
National Nutrition Survey show that the Philippines is faced with a
double-burden of malnutrition: under nutrition among children and over
nutrition among adults.
“Sad to say, but this is a
result of Filipinos not having equal access to healthy and nutritious
food,” said Dr. Cecilia Cristina Santos-Acuin, Chief Science Research
Specialist of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute.
“Even those with access to
nutritious food are not eating healthy and smart. They are not eating
a lot of fruits and vegetables than they should. Instead, adults are
eating a lot of high calorie food and are not exercising enough.”
Greenpeace and other
stakeholders believe that the government and society have a huge role
to play in transforming the Philippines into a nation of healthy
eaters and discerning consumers to help avert a food emergency
“A good way to start is by
modifying our patterns of food production, consumption and
distribution. Most importantly, there should be emphasis on diet
diversification which encourages people to eat sufficient amounts of
nutrient-rich food such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, legumes, fruits and
vegetables”, said Wilhelmina Pelegrina, Greenpeace Food and Ecological
Agriculture Regional Coordinator. “Philippine agriculture – the source
of our nutrient-rich food – must be strengthened through the promotion
and practice of ecological agriculture, a farming method that works
with nature and does not use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides
which pose risks to people and the environment.”
Congress urged to
hold hearing on the condition of breastfeeding political prisoner -
August 5, 2015
QUEZON CITY –
Karapatan and Breastfeeding Philippines, a program of Nurturers of the
Earth, urged both houses of Congress to conduct a congressional
hearing in aid of legislation on Republic Act 10028 (The Act Expanding
the Promotion of Breastfeeding) in relation to the condition of
political prisoner Miradel Torres, a breastfeeding mother, and his son
Karl. Torres and son are both detained at the Taguig City Jail (TCJ)
In a letter to Senators
Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano, and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Karapatan
urged the amendment of RA 10028 so that “the right to breastfeed of
mothers and babies like Miradel and Karl would be guaranteed under the
law.” The same request was submitted by the Breastfeeding Philippines
to the House of Representatives through the Gabriela Partylist.
Both groups emphasized that
while it is “critical that Karl be taken out of prison with his
breastfeeding mother,” it is also necessary “to put breastfeeding
mothers and babies like Miradel and Karl under protective custody of
any government or non-government institution is willing to take them
under their wings,” while in detention. “They should also be given
additional food provision needed to nourish a breastfeeding mother and
for Karl’s complementary feeding,” the letter stated.
An International Board
Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) from the Nurturers of the Earth
advised Miradel not to allow Karl to be separated from her to avoid
the increased chances of acquiring any infectious disease that he was
exposed to once the immunological properties of breastmilk would not
be available to him anymore. Two months ago, three inmates at the TCJ
were diagnosed with tuberculosis. This situation puts both Karl and
her mother at risk of being infected. “While they are still in prison,
both of them should be provided with the space that can decrease their
exposure from tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.”
The Nurturers of the Earth
said “breastfeeding is part of fundamental human right: the right to
food and health.” The organization asked Congress to “help us protect
this right so that every Filipino woman can nurture her child
including political prisoners like Miradel.”
Miradel Torres was three
months pregnant when arrested in June 2014 and gave birth to baby Karl
in November 2014. Karl is now eight months old.
chief MGen. Jet Velarmino and Catbalogan City mayor Stephany Uy-Tan
with 8ID troops during the tree planting held on July 30, 2015
at Diversion Road in Catbalogan.
8ID troops plant
trees and donate blood
By DPAO, 8ID PA
August 3, 2015
CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN,
Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army held
a tree planting activity near the newly-constructed Diversion Road at
Barangay Maulong, Catbalogan City on July 30, 2015.
The tree planting activity
was led by Maj. Gen. Jet B. Velarmino AFP, Commander of 8ID and Hon.
Stephany Uy Tan, Mayor of Catbalogan City. Aside from soldiers and the
entourage of the Hon. Uy-Tan, the activity was also participated by
members of Kabalikat CIVICOM, Catbalogan City Chapter.
A total of 1,250 assorted
fruit-bearing and non-fruit bearing trees were planted by the
participants and it brought the total of trees planted by the Division
to 3,388 trees since January 2015.
Meanwhile, 8ID in
partnership with the Philippine National Red Cross-Leyte Chapter
headed by Ms. Leonel Maderazo held a bloodletting activity dubbed as
“Dugong Alay, Pansagip Buhay” on July 29, 2015 at 8ID Multi-Purpose
A total of 21,150cc of blood
was donated by 47 donor soldiers coming from different units of 8ID.
The Tree Planting and
Bloodletting activities were part of the planned series of activities
in relation to the 27th Founding Anniversary of 8ID on August 4, 2015.