of Tag-amakan, Asturias, Cebu enjoy their new indigenous
playground that came along with their new day care center.
RAFI turns over 13
day care centers in Cebu
By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation
August 31, 2015
CEBU CITY – In
partnership with the concerned local government units, the Ramon
Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) turned over 13 day care centers and
child-friendly indigenous playgrounds in several Cebu towns July and
August this year.
Through the Dolores Aboitiz
Children’s Fund (DACF), RAFI handed new day care centers to officials
of Barangays Owak, Manguiao, San Isidro, Tag-amakan, and Lunas in
Asturias town last July 1 and 2; Barangays Punay, Tampaan, Saksak, and
Zaragosa in Aloguinsan town last July 22 and 23; Barangay Cansojong in
Talisay City last July 24; and Barangays Bulasa, Talaga, and Usmad in
Argao town last August 24.
“RAFI donated only a portion
in this project. The bulk of the expenses was shouldered by your town
and your barangay. I hope that before 2016 we are already done with
all these projects,” said RAFI Chief Operating Officer Chua during one
of the turnover ceremonies in Asturias.
DACF supports early
childhood care and development, as 80 percent of the child’s brain
development happens between ages three to six.
Maria Iris Andrino,
RAFI-DACF executive director, also thanked the town and barangay
officials for spending time and effort to realize the partnership.
“I am glad nga nagtinabangay
ang tanan (all did their part to help)”, she said.
The classrooms were painted
with light colors and the wall outside showed different cartoon
characters and flower designs. Always, after every turn over, the
children would rush inside their classroom and sit on their little
chairs, a smile painted on their faces.
But what pupil Ma. Khyshagen
B. Adlawan of Brgy. Talaga loved about her new classroom is that there
is a playground where she could spend time with her friends after
“It is not a case of giving
money but how to give it. It’s really a great feeling seeing the big
happy smiles in children’s faces,” also said Romy Ronquillo, RAFI
Board of Trustees member.
President Roberto “Bobby” Aboitiz (seated, center) signs the
agreement for the donation of P1.6 M to the Emergency Rescue
Unit Foundation. To his right is Dr. Pek Eng Lim, ERUF BOT
chairman; and to his left is Dr. Kenneth Chan, ERUF BOT vice
chairman. (Standing, L-R) RAFI Chief Operating Officer Dominica
Chua, ERUF BOT Treasurer Mona Li, ERUF BOT member Dr. Jesus
Ravanes, and ERUF’s Brenda Salvaña witnessed the agreement
RAFI donates P1.5M
for ERUF’s training center
By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation
August 30, 2015
CEBU CITY – To help
train emergency responders, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. donated
P1.58 million to the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF) for the
construction of its five-room training center at the North Reclamation
Area, Cebu City.
Calling the people of ERUF
“angels,” RAFI President Roberto “Bobby” Aboitiz said RAFI would
gladly help the foundation, which “has been making miracles for the
last 29 years.”
“This is another one of the
steps towards creating a better community. This (donation) is not the
only time. Whenever we can (donate to ERUF), we will,” he told ERUF
officials who accepted the check last August 11.
ERUF said the center would
provide “training for emergency medical and pre-hospital care and
rescue and rehabilitation services to the needs of the community.”
RAFI Chief Operating Officer
Dominica B. Chua said RAFI is also outfitting a Hino truck to serve as
ERUF’s mobile triage costing P1.91 million. She praised the foundation
for being a “reliable intervener in terms of emergency.”
She also said that with
climate change now being the new normal, everyone should help equip
Dr. Pek Eng Lim, ERUF Board
of Trustees chairman, assured that they “will continue at what we do
best,” adding that theirs is the only group in the Philippines
accredited by the US and HongKong as emergency responders.
ERUF was also among those
that responded and went to Tacloban City in the aftermath of
super-typhoon Yolanda in November 8, 2013.
According to the Memorandum
of Agreement that the two foundations signed, the training center
“will develop, professionalize and standardize the provision of
pre-hospital emergency care for patients needing treatment.”
“After Yolanda, everybody
has ambulances. We support by training them,” said Mona Li, ERUF BOT
contractors on occupational safety
By DONNA C. DEBUTON
August 27, 2015
CALBAYOG CITY – In
order to promote safety construction and health to attain a high
quality of safe occupation and health of the workers, the Department
of Labor and Employment conducts Construction Safety and Health
Training, August 10-14.
The four-day training by
DOLE trainers has Mr. Lito L. Brizuela, Occupational Safety and Health
Consultant and Mr. Jose N. Baroc, Jr., Occupational Safety and Health
Practitioner, held at the DPWH Conference Room.
The Department of Public
Works and Highways’ contractors request for the holding of said
training guide OSH Program is the requirement of contractors in the
implementation of projects in the department in compliance of DOLE’s
Department Order No. 13 Series of 1998, or the DOLE Guidelines
Governing the Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction
Industry, and Department Order No. 19, Series of 1993, or the DOLE
Guidelines Governing the Employment of Workers in the Construction
Topics concerning basic
safety concept, unsafe act and condition, construction site premises
assessment, construction machineries, and industrial hygiene safety
are discussed extensively to the participants.
The BOSH Trainers are warmly
welcomed by the District Engineer Virgilio C. Eduarte and Assistant
District Engineer Alvin A. Ignacio who also joined the participants in
the training to apprise them of the OSH program being the approving
authority for concurrence of DOLE.
political party accuses COMELEC and Customs of corruption, perfect
instruments for cheating and raising funds for the 2016 elections
By Partido Lakas ng Masa
August 27, 2015
QUEZON CITY –
Successive protest actions were held today at the offices of the
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC)
under what protestors dubbed as the start of a series of “Tour to
Expose Corruption” in line with the 2016 elections. The said agencies
were accused of being “institutionally corrupt and are perfect
instruments for cheating and raising funds for the coming elections.”
The protest action was
initiated by Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), a political party of the
marginalized sectors. Among its affiliates are the Bukluran ng
Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), the Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang
Lungsod and the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon.
“As the campaign fever rises
by the day, we fear that the probability of holding clean and honest
elections also fades by the day,” said Sonny Melencio, chairperson of
Highly Probable Collusion
Melencio explained that,
“The P300-million midnight deal between Smartmatic and the COMELEC for
the diagnostics and repair of 82,000 PCOS machines that was declared
void by the Supreme Court was already a red flag, and yet no reforms
were implemented and no transparent and upgraded mechanisms were put
in place to ensure the COMELEC deals were in the best interest of the
“Negotiators of Smartmatic
must be the luckiest people on earth for monopolizing
billions-of-pesos worth of contracts from the COMELEC in the past
three months,” he said.
Smartmatic was recently
awarded a P7.86-billion lease contract by the COMELEC for 90,977
optical mark reader machines (OMRs), on top of the 23,000 OMRs already
awarded to it early this year at the cost of P1.72 billion.
Melencio noted that after
the voiding of the P300-million refurbishment deal, the COMELEC’s
budget for the refurbishment of the PCOS machines, including
consumables and the official ballots, was adjusted twice from P2.88
billion to P3.13 billion. Smartmatic refused to re-bid. Surprisingly,
COMELEC nullified the remaining bid by the Dermalog, Avante & Stone of
David group, leaving no takers for the refurbishment contract. There
was an alarming change of mind by the Commissioners who dropped the
idea of refurbishing the 82,000 warehoused PCOS machines in favor of
leasing a new set of 93,977 OMRs. All these seemed ridiculously
tailor-fitted for the interests of Smartmatic.
Melencio demanded that the
COMELEC explain thoroughly to the public the sudden change of plans
and explain why it was more beneficial and cost effective to the
tax-paying public to lease new machines instead of using the old ones.
He also lobbied for a holistic review of all Comelec decisions since
2010, as well as the inclusion of representatives of civil society and
peoples’ organizations in the entire electoral process being
undertaken by COMELEC to ensure transparency and people’s trust in the
“The COMELEC has failed in
extinguishing doubts on the reliability of the PCOS machines since the
2010 elections, and the lack of transparency in its operations has
fueled the suspicion of many, experts and skeptics alike, that
something was wrong with the machines,” he lamented.
Motive behind the Balikbayan
The PLM likewise held a
demonstration at the BoC office in Port Area calling for Customs Chief
Bert Lina’s resignation. They accused Lina of using his position to
influence tariff and custom measures to gain undue advantage over his
competition in the forwarding and freight business. On top of that,
Lina treated OFWs as “mere collateral damage” in the competition
between these companies in the logistics industry.
“Lina is misleading the
public by declaring that he is just out to implement and upgrade the
Customs rules, when his only intention is to give his previously owned
companies advantage over competition,” Melencio declared.
“The processing of cargoes
is already stiff, but his order for mandatory inspections will further
impede the forwarders’ operations. This in turn will force its clients
to find more reliable, prudent and punctual forwarding services. And
Lina’s companies would be it. This is plain and simple harassment of
Lina’s business rivals,” he averred.
Lina, together with his wife
Sylvia, is chairman and major stockholder of 19 companies under the
Lina Group of Companies which spans from logistics to solar energy and
waste management. Among them are Airfreight 2100 Inc., Air2100 Inc.,
Cargohaus Inc., U-Freight Philippines Inc., and U-Ocean Inc., all
doing business with the BoC.
Upon accepting the
appointment as Customs chief last April, Lina declared that he would
divest himself of all business interests as they are in obvious
conflict with his public office. But up to now, no public announcement
by concerned agencies has been made on the status of his divestments.
The group believes that
Lina’s companies were sold to lesser know associates or even to
dummies so that he may buy them back after Aquino’s term ends in 2016,
similar to what he did in 2005 when he resigned as Customs chief from
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Cabinet and joined the Hyatt 10.
Despite Lina’s lion share of
the market, the PLM deems that he is “going in for the kill – a move
to monopolize the entire forwarding industry before President Noynoy
Aquino steps down from office”.
Lina is believed to be one
of the major contributors in the campaign of Aquino when he ran in
2010. PLM fears that Lina will most likely contribute to the campaign
kitty of the Aquino-endorsed candidacy of Mar Roxas in the 2016
elections for as long as the Palace supports the scheme of the Customs
The group likewise concluded
that the BoC has always been suspected as fund-raiser for
administration parties. The previous Customs commissioner himself,
John Philip Sevilla, had resigned from his post after accusing the
supporters, allies and loyalists of President Aquino of pressuring him
to make Customs a milking cow for 2016. Sevilla later on retracted his
statement. “It is however an open secret that Customs posts are
generally awarded to campaign financiers and supporters,” Melencio
“Not unless the bata-bata
system is completely quashed that we will have a Customs free of graft
and bureaucratic wranglings,” Melencio added.
Meanwhile Leody de Guzman of
the militant BMP scoffed at the recent announcement of the Palace to
no longer subject Balikbayan boxes to random inspection when their
scheme was to support Lina’s plan to subject all shipments to
“Is this how the Aquino
government treats its “Bagong Bayani”? Malacanang’s support for Lina
is a testament of how this government treats the OFWs, as collateral
damage in Lina’s pursuit to monopolize the freight forwarding
industry,” he said.
The BMP laments that Aquino
not only failed to attribute and express gratitude to more than ten
million Filipinos abroad for their remittances in his last SONA but
also treats them as mere “collateral damage”.
By DONNA C. DEBUTON
August 26, 2015
CALBAYOG CITY – Danao
I Elementary School, one of the recipients of 2-storey, 4 classrooms
school building under DepED’s BEEF CY 2014 implemented by Department
of Public Works and Highways SFDEO, holds inauguration of the newly
completed school building project.
Invited are the DPWH SFDEO
key officials headed by District Engineer Virgilio C. Eduarte, Asst.
District Engineer Alvin A. Ignacio, engineers and chiefs of sections
of the district.
The program starts with
thanksgiving mass presided by Fr. Renato D. Maliwat, wherein the DPWH
key officials, the entire teaching staff of Danao I Elementary School
and the GPTA officers attended. The holy mass is followed by the
blessing of the two-storey building and the cutting of ribbon lead by
the DE Eduarte, Principal II, Mr. Ongcal, and the representatives from
the Calbayog City Division Office.
The program proper starts
with the singing of the Philippine Anthem and the address of thanks
coming from the Danao I Elementary School Principal II Mr. Elbert
Ongcal, where he expresses his sincere gratitude to the implementers
of the said project. The Asst. Schools Division Superintendent Mr.
Raul D. Agban intimates his strong support to the school in making it
a realization. And of course, the one who makes the project possible,
DE Eduarte gives his message in response to the continuous expression
of thanks he and the DPWH are receiving regarding the success of the
school building project. DE Eduarte’s message breaks the ice as he
delivers his message to the audience through his jokes.
As a finale, the
inauguration program ends by the concluding message coming from the
Brgy. Captain of Danao, Hon. Merlita L. Florida who abruptly finishes
her part to give way to a sumptuous dinner.
Chiz dares DSWD:
Charge people exploiting Yolanda victims
By Office of Senator Chiz
August 26, 2015
PASAY CITY – Senator
Francis Escudero challenged the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) to investigate and file appropriate charges against
unscrupulous individuals who prey on victims of Super Typhoon
“Yolanda” who are supposed to receive the government’s Emergency
Shelter Assistance (ESA) program.
Escudero said the DSWD
should seriously look into reports that some Yolanda survivors who
have yet to receive housing aid were forced to sign documents
indicating that they have availed of the shelter assistance, while
others were victimized by loan sharks who connive with dishonest
employees of the agency.
“If you are to ask these
Yolanda survivors how they feel, they will surely say they’ve been
victimized twice: first by the super typhoon and later by opportunists
who take advantage of their situation,” Escudero said.
“These immoral and corrupt
opportunists, who take advantage of a natural disaster to fill their
pockets with money meant for victims, should be thrown in jail,” he
ESA provides cash assistance
of P30,000 and P10,000 to families whose houses were partially or
totally damaged, respectively. The money is used for the purchase of
construction materials to repair or reconstruct their homes.
The program, which had an
initial funding of P1.9 billion, was intended for families who have
not received any shelter assistance from the government or the private
However, there were
complaints from beneficiaries themselves that they only received
P10,000 even if their homes were totally damaged, and that some of
funds went to “fake” or “ghost” beneficiaries.
A number of ESA
beneficiaries also complained how loan sharks, in cahoots with
unscrupulous DSWD employees, took advantage of them.
These loan sharks would lend
cash with 16 percent interest to a potential ESA recipient. The DSWD
would then release the shelter assistance not to the beneficiary, but
directly to the “financier,” according to reports.