Lunes, Marso 24, 2014

“Death March” opens yearly commemoration of Veterans’ Week

The country is observing Philippine Veterans’ Week on April 5-11, 2014, simultaneous with the 72nd “Araw ng Kagitingan” (Day of Valor).

With the theme “Balik-tanaw sa Sakripisyo ng Beterano, Gabay sa Landas ng Pagbabago,” the commemoration aims to present our country’s veterans as among our national treasures, and to revive the “culture of heroism” by looking at our veterans’ valor and selfless sacrifices to oppose foreign colonizers in the country.

Pre-commemoration of Philippine Veterans’ Week kicked off yesterday (March 24) with a showing of “Death March”—a critically-acclaimed film directed by Adolfo Alix, Jr.-- which showcases poignant moments during the World War 2 Bataan Death March where some 70,000 prisoners of war were forced to march by Japanese guards 65 miles from Bataan to Capas, Tarlac.

The film, which was shown at the AFP Theater, tackled war veterans’ personal experiences of the war, through their individual vantage point—with others experiencing hallucination, reverie, illnesses, great discomfort, atrocity, and death in the hands of Japanese forces. In the end, the movie carries with it themes of valor, courage, and hope amidst hardships brought by war, and the fall of Filipino soldiers in Bataan.

Director Alix said that the film is a “recreation of the early 1900s, where the death march experience could be treated as either a nightmare or liberation.”

War veteran Dr. Edmundo Nolasco, a survivor of the death march, gave his own accounts, through a poem, of the grueling march.

Through verse, he said that while the war veterans had been mocked by the Japanese soldiers, they (veterans) remained strong and intent in their dream of Philippine liberation.

He also said that it has always been the goal of the veterans to establish a society that is God-fearing, humane, and just (“Maka-Diyos, makatao, at makatarungan”), and it is through their firm resolve to achieve this that the country was able to set free from the shackles of Japanese regime.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP Public Affairs Office Chief, urged the public to “remember the veterans who were living regular lives, but sacrificed their lives in defense of the country.”

Zagala said that through the featured film, “Death March”, the younger generations are reminded of those who have valiantly fought in Bataan, and that our veterans, with their discipline and patriotism, should be emulated by the youth of the present times.

He also added that the film “should inspire the youth to understand the importance of remembering the past so as not to commit the same mistakes in the future.”

The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), headed by Lt. General Ernesto Carolina, has lined up a series of activities in observance of Philippine Veterans’ Week.

Activities vary from photo exhibits, golf tournament, fun run, medical and surgical mission, and the “Sunrise, Wreath-laying, and Sunset” ceremonies to be held on April 5-11, all in memoriam of all our Filipino Veterans—the living and those who have laid to rest already.

The commemoration is also a way of promoting, preserving, and memorializing the principles, ideals and heroic deeds of the Filipino veterans as a means to enhance patriotism and love for country, especially among the youth.

Huwebes, Marso 20, 2014

PIA receives PQA recognition for performance excellence

The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) is among this year’s recipients of the 16th Philippine Quality Award (PQA)- Recognition for Commitment to Quality Management.

Conferment of the award was held earlier today at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang Palace, where four other institutions, namely the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Region XI; Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU)-Manila; Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA); and Zamboanga Polymedic Hospital, Inc. were also bestowed the same recognition.

President Benigno S. Aquino III presented the trophy to the recipients, assisted by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) President Antonio D. Kalaw, and Philippine Society for Quality, Inc. President Florendo Maranan, among others.

In his keynote speech, President Aquino (PNoy) commended PIA for its steadfast dissemination of relevant and useful information especially in times of calamities, which in turn has saved lives of many Filipinos caught in disasters.

PNoy also lauded all PQA awardees for their pursuit of quality in their processes, services, and organizational management as it would greatly contribute to the improvement of the quality of lives of Filipinos.

The President challenged this year’s recipients to “continue to uphold a culture of quality and competence, and shun mediocrity, as this would help Filipinos achieve empowerment, progress, and prosperity, in a society of inclusiveness and opportunity.”

Meanwhile PIA Director General Jose Mari Oquiñena, in an interview, said that the award is a recognition of PIA’s excellence in providing the Filipino people with the right information that they need in decision-making and in becoming empowered citizens. “The PQA is a recognition of this (PIA’s) core value”, he said.

DG Oquiñena cited the task of the agency during super typhoon Yolanda where PIA, through its Text Blast facility, website, and social media accounts such as the Weather Watch, provided advance information to the public about the incoming typhoon.

The aftermath of the typhoon was also a crucial time for the agency, he explained, as it served as information hub for inquiries on lost relatives, instructions on how to avail of government services, and for inquiries on other government services as well.

Oquiñena also mentioned the vital role of the Media Center formed by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma as the convergence of all of PCOO’s attached agencies such as PIA, PTV4, PBS, and PNA, among others, strengthened the government’s communication among its task force for search, rescue, and relief operations; as well as in the information dissemination for victims of typhoon Yolanda, as well as to the public all throughout the country.

Government media, according to him, “bridged the information gap between the government and the Filipinos,” and this will continue in the years to come as “PIA will widen its information reach by engaging the barangay level information officers, and by conducting more dialogues through “Kapihan” and similar media outlets to intensify its information campaign,” he added.

The PQA, which was created through Executive Order 448 on Oct. 3, 1997 and was institutionalized in 2001 through Republic Act 9013, provides for a standard of excellence to help Filipino organizations achieve world-class performance in quality management and overall organizational performance and industry competitiveness.

The PQA Committee is composed of leaders from respected government agencies and private entities, with the Department of Trade and Industry as the Award Implementing Agency. 

Martes, Marso 4, 2014

“I’m a LifeLine” and universal health for Filipinos

The Philippines witnessed yet another event of national importance last February 28 as the country attempted to enter the Guinness World Record for Most Organ Donor Registrants in one site and multiple sites, within one and eight hours, respectively.

Under the branding “I’m a LifeLine”, the activity sought to gather as many Filipinos to pledge as organ donors through a simultaneous registration activity. The project aimed at promoting organ donation among Filipinos as a noble act of helping their fellow Filipinos in need of body organ.

This advocacy campaign is part of educating the people on facts about organ donation as well as the help it could give to the life of the recipient.

The campaign is a project of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Network for Organ Sharing (PhilNos), in partnership with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
There were a total of six sites nationwide for the mass organ donation sign-up, of which include Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Manila, Quezon City Memorial Circle, Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in La Union, Jesse M. Robredo Coliseum in Naga City, L. Mamba Gym in Tuguegarao, and Almendras Gym in Davao City.

The target: to beat the record set by Prakash Gurjar & Madadgar Parivar in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India in September 2013 for the one (1) hour-single site; as well as the eight (8)-hour single site record achieved by Indian National Students Organisation – INSO (India), at the Sir Chhotu Ram Stadium, Haryana, India, on December 1, 2013. The following recorded a total of 2,755; and 10,450 organ donor registrants for the one-hour and eight-hour –duration, respectively. Another goal is to set a new record for the most number of organ donor registrants in multiple sites for one and eight hours.

On February 28, 10AM, PUP-Manila was able to gather a total 3,548 registrants in one hour, while La Union had a total 2,978 signees – both sites beating the set record in India.

Other sites were able to enlist 1,134 donors (for Tuguegarao); 944 (Davao); and 788 (QC) in one hour. Naga has yet to finalize their final tally.

DOH Undersecretary Dr. Teodoro Herbosa said the campaign aims to intensify public awareness on the importance and benefits of the medical procedure. According to him, the ongoing campaign welcomes everyone who wants to make a pledge by registering at the established registration site. He also said that once listed, a lifeline identification card will be given to the potential organ donor.

He also said the campaign is meant to “institutionalize a registry for potential donors amid the rising demand for organ donors in the country.”

In a statement, Usec. Herbosa said, “Organ donation saves lives, and it is very important that every person has the power to save a life by becoming an organ, tissue or eye donor. It is a noble gift because you can give someone a second life. Organ transplant offers a better quality of life to chronic renal disease patients and I encourage everyone to register and become an organ donor and help save many lives. By having more organ donors in the country life-saving transplantations will be made possible for more patients every year.”

The successful conduct of the “I’m a LifeLine” project is evidence of the openness of the minds of Filipinos to organ sharing. For months, the lead government agency, DOH, has been strongly pushing for this project, with the assistance of partner agency, PIA in providing advocacy and information campaign to make sure that  Filipinos understand the wisdom of this activity that would ultimately change mindset among Filipinos as far as organ donation is concerned.

PhilNOS Program Manager Dr. Antonio Paraiso said that being a LifeLine is leaving a legacy to the Filipinos who are given another chance in life. “By donating your organ, you extend life; you give life— and what is supposed to be of no use when one dies becomes something useful to others”, Paraiso said.

The “I’m a LifeLine” is among the projects of the government that seeks to actively engage Filipinos in the pursuit of better health conditions and services available to all. This is also in support of the Health Agenda of the Aquino administration which aims to improve the health of Filipinos through a universal health program implemented by the DOH. Among these programs are Kalusugan Pangkalahatan (KP) through a refocused Philhealth; construction and rehabilitation of, and support for public health facilities; and the attainment of Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6 (reduction of maternal, neonatal and infant mortality; eradication of public health diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and dengue). The program also aims to raise health standards through the upgrading and modernization of the facilities through public-private partnership (PPP).