Sabado, Nobyembre 30, 2013

Manila commemorates Bonifacio@150, launches “Pondohan” project

MANILA CITY, Nov. 30 (PIA) – Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay led the simultaneous flag-raising and wreath-laying activity at the Gat Andres Bonifacio Shrine, Taft Avenue in Manila City in commemoration of national hero Gat Andres Bonifacio’s 150th birth anniversary.

With the theme “Bonifacio: Dangal at Kabayanihan”, the ceremony started at 8:00 in the morning and was followed by the raising of the Bonifacio-era flag which was known as the symbol of the “Haring-Bayang Katagalugan” (Sovereign Tagalog Nation).

On the second part of the program, Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada in his speech said that Gat Andres Bonifacio should inspire the Filipinos to unleash the hero in us.

He said that the commemoration of our national hero’s sesquicentennial is not only to recall Bonifacio’s love for country, but to encourage us to “emulate Bonifacio’s patriotism and heroism as he fought, struggled, and died to liberate the Philippines from the forces of Spanish colonizers.

Estrada said that by being like Bonifacio, the Filipino person could build better future for himself or herself, and for his or her fellow Filipinos.

On another note, the mayor articulated his vision for the city of Manila where national hero Bonifacio was born (in Tondo).

He said that he aims to revive and add more vigor to the city which was once the country’s premier trade and financial center, but over the years has been reduced into a basket of criminality, poverty, and unemployment.

Through the city’s “Urban Renewal”, the mayor said that it would be possible to bring back the city’s glorious past which it enjoyed 40-50 years ago.

Among the rehabilitation projects sought to be undertaken by the Manila City government is the cleaning of the name of the Police force and changing its image as Metro Manila’s finest.

Another activity of the urban renewal is the massive clean-up of Manila which consists of the implementation of effective Solid Waste Management, as well as the cleaning of esteros and waterways in the city to mitigate flooding.

The restoration of the city’s peace and order, and cleanliness is one way to attract investments to the city.
The urban renewal project is a fitting project to give importance and due recognition to the historic city of Manila which during the time of colonialism served as the cradle of Philippine revolution which in the end led in the country’s attainment of liberty and independence from the Spanish regime.

Mayor Estrada also launched the “Pondohan ng mga Anak ng Bayan”--- a discussion area (pook pulungan) at the back of the Gat Andres Bonifacio Shrine in Manila City where government members, groups from the different sectors of the society, youth, women and other organizations could hold discussions which are aimed at national, personal, and local development and progress.

Similar to the olden days during Bonifacio’s time, a Pondohan was also used as venue for discussions, brainstorming, and planning of Filipino leaders spearheaded by Bonifacio for the country’s attainment of freedom from foreign forces.

At the latter part of his speech, Mayor Estrada urged the young to give importance to education.

He said that lacking formal education shouldn’t be a barrier to one’s development and enlightenment.

One should always widen his horizon through self-study and discovery—something that he and Bonifacio were able to do as they quest for further learning.

The Mayor ended his speech by underscoring Manila City government’s urban renewal project which will transform Manila into a much-improved city, guided by its battlecry “Manila Forward Ever, Backward Never.” (AKG)

Miyerkules, Hunyo 12, 2013

PVAO official calls for collective action towards national progress

Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) Administrator (PVAO) and retired Lieutenant General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Ernesto G. Carolina led the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies at the Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion in the Manila North Cemetery as part of today's commemoration of the country's 115th Independence Day. 

In his speech, Lt. Gen. Carolina said that independence, being the link of the past to the future, is the key for the Philippines to achieve national progress. 

He said that in order for the country to be truly progressive, every Filipino should work not only for his or her own personal growth, but for the collective growth of the nation. 

Carolina called for renewed patriotism especially among the youth in order to continue the legacy of the country’s forefathers and national heroes who have fought hard to regain independence from foreign forces. 

Carolina said that Filipinos should be duty-bound to give back to the country the efforts and sacrifices our heroes who offered their lives to liberate the country from the hands of the colonizers. 

Acknowledging the presence of surviving Filipino veterans and the wives of veterans and members of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines present, Carolina encouraged the younger generation to emulate the heroism, valor, and patriotism of the national heroes who were instrumental in the country’s triumph to regain its independence. 

Meanwhile, Manila Councilor Nino dela Cruz said “every Filipino should give one’s self to his or her own fellowmen.” 

He also recalled the Filipino values that have been slowly forgotten such as respect for the elders (paggalang sa nakakatanda), obedience to forefathers (pagiging masunurin), and being prayerful (pagiging madasalin). 

Cruz said Filipinos should live by the values written in the “Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat” (Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine Flag)—that is, being one Nation for God, for the People, for Nature, and for the Country (“Na pinakikilos ng sambayanang Maka-Diyos, Maka-tao, Makakalikasan at , Makabansa). 

The ceremony is part of the simultaneous flag-raising activities held in key historical areas in the country and a symbolic way of remembering the day when the Philippines declared its independence from foreign forces which colonized the country for hundreds of years. 

This year’s Independence Day celebration has the theme, “Kalayaan 2013: Ambagan tungo sa Malawakang Kaunlaran.”

Martes, Mayo 28, 2013

MMDA, DENR lead tree-planting activity in San Mateo, Rizal

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) led a tree-planting activity Sunday, May 26 at the San Mateo Landfill Facility in Brgy. Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal. 

The activity was participated in by volunteer groups from the MMDA Emergency Volunteer Core, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission-Public Information and Advocacy Committee, other government offices, and various sectors from civil society. 

These volunteers planted almost 3,000 tree samplings of premium hardwood and other types belonging from the Dipterocarp family. 

The saplings varied from molave to yakal, narra, palusapis, lauan, and other high quality trees. 

The objecive of the tree-planting activity is to plant 100,000 indigenous trees within the 73-hectare landfill facility until December 2013. 

Presently, the group has already planted 10,000 samplings since the start of the project. 

MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez said that the activity is a volunteerism activity gathering members from the government and civil society to work together for a cause. 

She said that the project is in response to climate change and is part of its mitigation and adaptation. 

Such activity would also help in disaster prevention and preparedness, she added. 

DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Neria A. Andin said that the activity is also part of the government’s ongoing National Greening Program which aims to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of Philippine land in five years. 

The San Mateo tree-planting activity also aims to rehabilitate and restore trees that were cut during the creation of the said landfill facility, Director Andin added. 

She also said that species of tree saplings donated by the DENR for this project include premium hardwood such as molave and palusapis, and those from the dipterocarp family such as the lauan, bagtikan, and yakal—all of which were quality woods exported by the country during the 60s. 

The planting of quality hardwood would definitely be beneficial not only for the environment but also to the economy of the country, Dir. Andin added. 

During the activity, a memorandum of agreement was signed by GM Jimenez (MMDA) and Dir. Andin (DENR) that would enjoin the two agencies in the sustained conduct of the tree-planting activity until the end of the year.

Sabado, Abril 13, 2013

News feature: William 'Billy' Esposo: A man larger than life itself

Words have the power to cut through even the most impenetrable force. When aired through media, even the most benign-looking words could influence people and change a whole nation. 

Former Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director-General William “Billy” Macgregor Esposo used the power of words and the influence of media to steer the country to oppose dictatorship, oppression, and communism; and to put a mother figure, a nurturer of an abused country at the helm of government. 

Esposo was instrumental, although not generally known, in the turnaround of a country which was in a dark period of Martial Law during the Marcos regime. 

He was the man behind powerful posters exposing the country’s dire situation, and he was also the brains behind that single yet very potent word “Laban (fight)” which gave hope and firm resolve to the Filipinos to unite against dictatorship. 

Laban denoted with the finger gesture “L” became the battlecry of those who resisted Marcos during the historic EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986. 

Esposo was the figure that prophesied and worked for the instatement of President Corazon Aquino as the country’s champion of democracy, thwarting Ferdinand Marcos after the election and the revolution. 

The passing away of columnist, broadcaster, advertising expert, academician, civil servant, and staunch promoter of democracy Esposo on April 7 brought sadness among those who loved and respected him--- family members, friends, colleagues, media people, government figures, and President Benigno S. Aquino III himself—a close family friend, a political advisor, and a confidante. 

Esposo died of kidney ailment at the Makati Medical Center at age 64. 

During the necrological service on April 10 held at the Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park the night before his burial, testimonials by close friends and colleagues showed how special and great a man he was. 

Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros recalled how Esposo, despite his recurring illness, was a man of strength and conviction; a man who hungered for life and acted towards his goals. “He was a man who never let his afflictions get in the way of his celebrations, that he was too busy with life to worry about death,” de Quiros said. 

Wilson Tieng, Esposo's colleague at RPN-9 who would later be the network’s chairman and president, attested that Esposo would always give words of encouragement to live a healthy life and to exercise despite the illness both were suffering. Tieng described him as a confidante, a health advisor, and an example whom he looked up to. 

Former Presidential Management Staff chief Elfren Cruz described the courage and unwavering resolve of Esposo in promoting the ideals of democracy, and how he devised media to promote ex-President Cory Aquino as the mother of the country’s democracy. 

Cruz said that he had, “Clear memories of Billy in his younger days when life was full of passion, when courage and conviction were his daily staple, and he had this firm belief that he could truly help shape the future of our country for the greater good of the Filipino people.” He added that till the end of his life, Esposo was an idealist. 

Maria Montelibano, former head of the Radio Television Malacañang during the Cory Aquino presidency, said that Esposo, during the country’s difficult times of armed conflicts in the post-Marcos era, “Fueled her own resolve to put responsibility over fear, put performance over panic, and place her fate in the hands of the President (Mrs. Aquino) she served. She attested that Esposo was a person who “could never be bought and compromised.” 

During the funeral mass on the day of Esposo’s burial (April 11), more tributes were given to him mostly by his family members who described him as a selfless, generous, and loving person. 

President Aquino said during the funeral mass, “He always had a great presence, a presence that was a combination of fearlessness, intelligence, professional skill, and a loud, jovial personality which brought him success in almost every field he was involved in: from advertising and marketing, to media and communications, to politics, and to writing.” 

He added, “Billy was one of those talented writers who was always aware of just how much power the written word and media hold. 

This is why he used his columns to render a different kind of public service throughout many years -- in his columns, one finds a reasonable, well-thought out views of the most controversial and relevant issues in the country. His role was that of a concerned citizen, wanting to bring clarity to others, shed light on what was important, and help where he could. He was honest about what he saw, both good and bad.” 

The President also recalled how Esposo who he called “Prophet” urged him to start the change the country needs. 

PNoy, during the funeral ceremonies, also conferred on Esposo the Order of Lakandula Award with the rank “Grand Officer- Maringal na Pinuno” for his invaluable contribution to the restoration of the country’s democracy during the Marcos regime; for providing information and education to the Filipino people during the times of misinformation and propaganda; for the reorientation of the Ministry of Information; and for stopping the spread of communism through participatory democracy; among others. 

Billy Esposo truly was a man of passion and ideals and for this, he was awarded last February 2011 by President Aquino himself the Presidential Legion of Honor Award, Commander Rank, for his contributions during People Power when he helped in the restoration of democracy. 

Esposo’s legacy will always remain in the hearts and minds of the Filipinos. He was an example of a responsible and patriotic media person, a model civil servant. His memories and his fight for democracy will live in the spirit of the country and of the Filipino people. 

Martes, Abril 2, 2013

PIA gears towards performance excellence

Reasserting itself as the country’s primary provider of accurate, relevant, timely, and empowering information to the Filipinos, the Agency took gigantic steps in reviewing and improving its work and management processes. This is with the use of tools that the Agency sees would enhance its overall performance as the government’s main communication and information arm.

Last year, PIA jumpstarted its application for two of the most sought after organizational certifications in the country: the Quality Management System (ISO 9001:2008) and the Philippine Quality Awards (PQA). These are two different and separate entities that are used by both public and private organizations to improve their business processes to enhance productivity and market performance.

Technically speaking, the ISO 9001 is a standard used in implementing a compliance and improvement system and assessing conformity in organization-selected operations; while the PQA provides an integrated, results-oriented framework for designing, implementing, and assessing all operations of an organization. Overall, these two are tools that if properly adopted, could improve the overall performance of an organization.

In the case of PIA, it could provide for a more efficient and systematic mechanism for the Agency’s mandate as stipulated in Executive Order 100, the law which created the Agency: “to provide for a free flow of accurate, timely and relevant information; to assist people in decision-making and identification of opportunities to improve their quality of life and to enable citizens to participate meaningfully in the democratic processes.”

A core team of PIA personnel, headed by Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma and HRDD Head Belina SB. Capul, was tasked to review, document, and assess the Agency’s overall processes in line with the application to ISO and PQA.

Staff Director Belina SB. Capul said that “by participating in both programs, we would see how organized and effective our systems are and how the principles in both ISO and PQA could become become ingrained in our operations on a daily basis.”

SD Capul said that the Agency is ready to put the management and organizational principles to the test by participating in the rigorous application process for ISO and PQA.

Since the application process in the ISO, the Agency has seen changes in some of its systems. Some of these are the observance of the 5-S in the workplace namely:  Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set in order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain).  The 5S Program which is based on the Japanese model in workplace environment defines the steps that are used to make all work spaces efficient and productive, help people share work stations, reduce time looking for needed tools and improve the work environment. ISO focal persons have been regularly visiting the Agency’s different division to check if each division strictly observes the 5S.

Another of the visible changes in the Agency’s processes is the use of a more comprehensive and organized records management tool that would make it easier for each division to track office documents.

PIA’s rest rooms are also seeing renovations using innovative waste and water resource management infrastructure that would help the Agency in lowering its water consumption as well as promote environment-safe waste disposal practices.

For the PQA, the PQA Steering Committee has been reviewing and reevaluating the seven areas that comprise the Agency’s overall functions, namely (1) Leadership, (2) Strategic Planning, (3) Measurement and Analysis of Services, (4) Customers, (5) Workforce, and (6) Operations which should work in harmony and in synergy with one another to get the desired organization (7) Results. PIA, with the appropriate approach and deployment these areas would provide for an integrated approach in delivering its services to its customers—who are identified as the President of the country, and the Executive Department.

This would then lead to a dynamic provision of information service to the true beneficiaries of PIA’s services—the Filipino people.

With the assistance of ISO consultants Conrad Favorito and Anna Marcelo, and PQA consultant Raymond Tan, the Agency would be able to gain external  perspectives on corporate strengths and areas of
improvement for PIA’s processes.

The PIA ISO and PQA teams are working hand in hand for this endeavor which the Agency hopes would pave the way for the realization of the Agency’s quest for excellence.

Gov't agencies forge partnership for litter-free elections

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) launched today the “Basura Free Elections 2013” at the DENR Social Hall in Quezon City. 

The launch also saw the signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular of the three government agencies-- namely the DENR, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Commission on Elections (Comelec)-- that will lead in the implementation of the said campaign. 

The Basura Free Elections 2013 is in preparation for the coming midterm election when the volume of solid waste is expected to increase due to the proliferation of campaign materials such as posters, flyers, and other campaign paraphernalia. 

In the past elections, campaign periods have been particularly problematic because of the improper management of trash. Campaign materials were also posted anywhere, even on trees. 

With the joint memorandum, the national government, local government units, the youth sector, and election candidates will be enjoined to work together to ensure that the coming elections will be environment-friendly—adhering to solid waste management practices. 

The project seeks to achieve the following objectives: effective waste reduction through segregation and disposal; sensible use of resources by election candidates; and proper management of campaign materials by political candidates and parties. 

This campaign will also ensure that political parties and candidates will adhere to RA 3571 which prohibits the cutting, destroying or injuring of trees, flowering plants and shrubs or plants of scenic value along public roads, in plazas, parks, school premises or in any other public ground. 

The posting of election materials in plants/trees will be prohibited during the campaign period. 

Comelec Commissioner Lucenito Tagle said that even during elections, Filipinos should be more conscious of their environment; thus, observing cleanliness and proper waste disposal is an imperative. 

To strengthen their commitment and participation, the lead agencies together with other partners such as the MMDA, NSWMC, and PIA,as well as representatives from political parties, party lists, candidates, Sangguniang Kabataan and youth leaders, as well as members of civil society signed the manifesto of commitment. 

The theme for the Basura-Free Elections 2013 campaign is “Kalat Ko, Sisinupin Ko,” and it commits to properly manage solid waste during the election period from January 13 to June 12. 

Miyerkules, Marso 27, 2013

Feature: Bayani Challenge: A picture of involvement, with stories of giving back

“Helping build and improve communities is my way of giving back after others have helped me rebuild my life.” 

These words were from single mother Tess Malazarte, 46, who is one of the volunteers of the Bayani Challenge 2013— a five-day volunteerism event to showcase the Filipino bayanihan spirit community-building activities. 

Aling Tess, who lost her house in a fire, has been active in outreach projects, especially those conducted by Gawad Kalinga (GK) after she had witnessed the goodness of people who helped her in rebuilding her home and her life. 

After the massive fire in 2010 which destroyed 75 houses in Brgy. 185 in Malaria, Caloocan City, Aling Tess and other affected families were left devastated, unsure of how they would recover from the tragedy. 

It was when the Gawad Kalinga went to them and helped them build their lives again through the framework of volunteerism. 

“The Gawad Kalinga and their volunteers helped us build new homes for ourselves. We, of course, helped the way we could. We were their beneficiaries, but we became volunteers too, helping in rebuilding our community, and helping other communities, as well,” Aling Tess said. 

She added that she is just paying back the help that she received by helping out other people and communities through outreach activities. 

“It feels so good to be of service to others after they have been of service to us,” she added. 

That is why together with her daughter, they have volunteered in the Bayani Challenge at the Intramuros site where they would help in the beautification of the area by repainting the alleys, sidewalks, and walls. 

Aside from reviving the old Filipino practice of bayanihan, Aling Tess said the activity teaches her daughter to engage in meaningful activities rather than engage in vices or other unproductive activities. 

Eda Berriber, 50 years old and a mother of four, is also a volunteer in the Bayani Challenge 2013. 

She is also one of the beneficiaries of GK and among the 75 families from Brgy. 185. 

Now, she is an officer of GK- Silver Heights where they spearhead in the activities conducted by their group. 

“One thing about the Bayani Challenge is that it unites people of different age and economic status to work towards one goal. Here, you could meet a lot of people. The event is not just pure work; there is a fun side, too,” she said. 

Aside from the painting activity, they also get some entertainment with concerts staged in the area at night. 

Aling Eda added that though they provide their own food and other needs, and given the erratic weather of late, they do not mind because what they are doing is meaningful and gives them a sense of fulfillment. 

For her, volunteering in community-building activities has been part of her life after the fire that destroyed their homes. “When we saw the goodness of other people in helping us rebuild our homes, we realized that kindness shouldn’t end with the beneficiary; one should learn to give as well,” she said. 

Now, they have already completed 40 houses in Brgy. 185. In two years time, they project that all the 75 houses will have been constructed. 

“One of the pacts that our community in Brgy. 185 made is that we wouldn’t move to any of the new houses yet unless all houses have been completed,” she said. 

“This is to observe fairness and oneness or “sama-sama” in that endeavor. We want to let each other know that we are together in this project, and no one would be comfortable while the other is still suffering,” she said. 

“That for us is true bayanihan,” she added. “And the Bayani Challenge is just among the many activities we have joined in to further spread bayanihan.” 

The Bayani Challenge is a five-day outreach activity where volunteers build communities for their fellowmen by building and repairing schools, and conducting health missions and climate change mitigation activities. It started last March 23 and will end March 27. 

Under the theme, “Isang Bayan, Isang Bayanihan,” this year’s challenge enjoins around 80,000 participants from all sectors of society to put up to 783 houses in 37 sites, 34 provinces across the country. 

It is an activity under the Pilipinas Natin—the government’s campaign to build a volunteerism movement among Filipinos to effect positive change to the country. 

The Bayani Challenge is among the activities of the government’s Pilipinas Natin launched in 2011 as a response to President Benigno Aquino’s (PNoy) call for the Filipinos to work together in empowering the nation through patriotism and the Filipino concept of “Bayanihan” or working with each other.

Biyernes, Marso 22, 2013

Comelec vouches for security and accuracy of the PCOS system

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesperson, and Information and Education Division Director James Jimenez assured that the PCOS system to be used in the coming elections is secure, fast, and accurate. 

He said this during the Forum of the Association of Information Officers in Metro Manila (AIMM) held Thursday at the San Juan City Government Multi-Purpose Hall. 

In his presentation, Jimenez explained the features of the PCOS or the Precinct Count Optical Scan—the configuration to be used in the midterm automated election set in May this year. 

He explained that the PCOS is made of ultraviolet (UV) sensors which detect security marks. The said sensors will be able to check the authenticity of the ballots, forcing it to eject the ballot if it sensed it to be fake. 

He also added that the PCOS has a dual back-up system which records the image of the ballot fed in the machine. It has a sort of a camera which takes snapshots of the ballots fed in the machine. 

This back-up could be used in verifying, counterchecking, or recounting of the ballots. 

Given these features, Jimenez reaffirmed that the PCOS is much safer, faster, and more accurate as compared to the traditional manual system, which could be easily tampered. 

It also takes more time to get the results in the manual voting compared to the PCOS which could take as fast as 15 minutes to get the total number of votes per precinct. 

To ensure the security of the PCOS machines, these are checked thrice prior to the actual election: at the Comelec before deployment to election precincts, upon deployment, and on election day. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Science of Technology (DOST) is planning to develop a locally-made election machine that could be used in the next elections. 

The forum was participated by information officers of various local government units and national government agencies in the Nation Capital Region who are members of the AIMM. 

Also present during the event was Undersecretary Fortunato dela Pena of the DOST. 

Lunes, Marso 18, 2013

Anti-vote buying mass held at Q.C. church to promote electoral honesty and integrity

The St. Peter’s Parish Church in Commonwealth, Quezon City held an Anti-Vote Buying Mass Sunday, March 17. 

Organized by the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership in partnership with the Diocese of Novaliches, Diocese of Cubao, Ateneo School of Government, and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV); the mass is in promotion of transparency, accountability, and good governance in the coming May election by shunning vote buying. 

The mass, which was held at 12 noon, was officiated by Most Reverend Bishop Antonio Tobias of the diocese of Novaliches and Most Reverend Honesto Ongtiangco of the diocese of Cubao. 

In his homily, Bishop Tobias challenged the candidates not to resort to vote buying just to hold position in government. He said that such act is a sign of hunger for power, and a candidate who buys vote can never lead his/her constituency to progress. 

He further said that any official who spends money or any form of service just to be voted to office is a person with questionable intent because once voted to office, this official might “Just try to redeem all their expenses during the elections, one way or another.” 

Tobias reiterated that people are just waiting for candidates who will pay or shoulder various services (education, health, etc.) in exchange of their votes. 

Instead of vote buying, candidates should communicate with the people and discuss their real needs. Once elected, the officials should give their all and do what they could to provide for long-term solutions to the problems of their community. 

In support of the advocacy against vote-buying, Tobias assured the mass attenders the church is in full support of the campaigns for honest and ethical elections. 

Election candidates present during the mass also pledged their commitment to reject vote buying. The candidate’s pledge was led by QC Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte. 

After the pledge, the candidates signed the Anti-Vote Buying Covenant, which binds them to observe the values of integrity, honesty, and justice in the coming elections. 

After the candidate’s pledge, the mass goers and the church officials also took their pledge in shunning vote buying and other forms of dishonesty. 

Harvey Keh of the Kaya Natin Movement and the Ateneo School of Government said that similar masses will be conducted in different parishes to further spread the message of subscribing to good governance and electoral integrity. 

Martes, Pebrero 26, 2013

PNoy calls for stronger resolve for change

President Benigno S. Aquino III urged Filipinos to continue to fight for the country’s goal of national progress, “to finally reap the rewards of the sacrifices of our fellow Filipinos who stood against the dictatorial government during the historic EDSA People Power in 1986.” 

In his speech during the celebration of the 27th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power (EPP) held Monday at the People Power Monument along EDSA, PNoy reminded the people that EPP brought out unity and camaraderie among Filipinos in a time of greed and selfishness during the Marcos regime. 

The EDSA People Power was a testament of the collective aim of Filipinos to regain democracy as they stood arm in arm against the Martial Law government. 

The President said that the EDSA Revolution, which serves as model for other countries also clamoring for a bloodless change in their government, should serve as mind opener to the next generations as they continue to safeguard the country’s democracy. 

He added that EDSA Revolution shouldn’t end that fateful February 25 of 1986. Instead, it should be a “continuous fight for change that would lead to national progress.” 

A significant part of the commemoration of People Power was the signing into law by the President of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 which will give assistance to the victims of Martial Law through monetary and non-monetary compensation. 

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales said, “The thousands and thousands of survivors of the injustice during Martial Law made the ‘necessary sacrifice’ to see through the darkness.” This eventually led to the revolt that was EDSA Revolution. 

The said law, according to Rosales, will serve three purposes: to assert the truth that government is the protector of the people; to put an end to a culture of impunity; and to serve as symbol of solidarity. 

Meanwhile, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director General Jose Mari Oquiñena said during the EDSA commemoration rites that the Philippines is on its way to be a Tiger economy with the concerted efforts of the government, particularly the Aquino administration, and the Filipinos in achieving inclusive growth for the country. 

He said that the EDSA People Power is a reminder that the country needs action and unity among the people to achieve progress, and for the country to finally be the “Crown Jewel of Asia.” 

The theme of the 27th anniversary celebration of EDSA People Power is, “Pilipinas Natin, Abot-Tanaw Na!” 

Martes, Pebrero 19, 2013

Information officers, called to inspire and involve people in nation-building

Information officers in Metro Manila were urged to involve people in nation building by being their source not only of information but also of inspiration. 

This was what Philippine Information Agency’s (PIA) newly-installed Director-General Jose Mari Oquiñena said during the First Meeting of the Association of Information Officers in Metro Manila (AIMM). 

He said that information officers must be able to encourage the participation of the Filipino people in nation-building by providing them with timely, relevant, and truthful information, as well as engage them in activities that will help improve the lives of our fellow men. 

The director-general also called for the active involvement of the AIMM through AIMM founder and PIA-NCR Regional Director Riza J. Baldoria in building stronger alliance with other information officers in the country. 

One of the proposals of the DG is to hold a nation-wide Information Summit tentatively scheduled in July 2013 which aims to gather all information officers in the country and reaffirm their role as responsible conveyors of information and establish a network with other information officers. 

AIMM members were also encouraged to participate in the upcoming “Bayani Challenge,” an activity under the Pilipinas Natin—the government’s campaign to build a volunteerism movement among Filipinos to effect positive change to the country. 

The Bayani Challenge is a five-day outreach activity where volunteers will build communities for their fellowmen by building and repairing schools, and conducting health missions and climate change mitigation activities, among others. 

To take place from March 23-27, “the Bayani Challenge is an action-oriented activity which hopes to develop ‘involvement’ and ‘physical presence’ among the people—a shift from being a passive audience in the country’s daily activities,” the DG Oquiñena said. 

Bayani Challenge is expected to be the biggest volunteerism event of the country as it targets to serve 35 provinces in the country. 

The Bayani Challenge is among the activities of the government’s Pilipinas Natin launched in 2011 as a response to President Benigno Aquino’s (PNoy) call for the Filipinos to work together in empowering the nation through patriotism and the Filipino concept of “Bayanihan” or working with each other. 

Pilipinas Natin aims to inculcate an “inclusive mindset” in Filipinos, the kind of thinking that includes fellow Filipinos. 

The AIMM is composed of public information officers of the 17 local government units in Metro Manila as well as NCR regional information officers of national government units whose primary tasks are to disseminate information on development programs and projects of the government, and plan and implement communication campaigns in support of development plans of NCR.