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14th June 2016
Rebuilding Lumads Dismantled Rights
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on June 14, 2016, 7:42 am

For decades, indigenous peoples (IP), or lumad, in the country have endured systemic neglect and discrimination. Some of the physical structures that are meant to serve their collective needs such as education are a testament to this sad reality.

Imagine a school that looks more like a shed, with only a roof over it and an unpaved ground that easily turns murky when rain pours.

Despite these constraints — emblematic of what is widely perceived as state neglect, compounded by societal apathy — the school is used simultaneously by primary and secondary students belonging to seven tribes. Only a makeshift wall divides them while learning lessons that are in keeping with their culture, alongside government-mandated subjects.

The Bukidnon-based Mindanao Tribal School, Inc. (MTSI), a private school measuring only 8 by 20 meters and located on a four-hectare piece of property, reflects both the aspirations and struggles of the IP communities in the country to preserve their collective identity while fighting various forms of discrimination.

Right beside this facility is the administration office that also functions as a library, made from recycled wood and nipa shingles. 
MTSI seeks to impart to its students the lumad traditions, belief system, and other forms of traditional knowledge and wisdom handed down through many generations.

The school, in its current form, is borne of “the social neglect (suffered by the Manobo and other indigenous groups whose children go to the school),” said Amelia Bojo, president of the MTSI and one of the volunteer teachers in the school.

Yet the communities involved, notably the Manobo, have learned to “harness our own initiative and ingenuity to acquire building materials,’’ which included salvaged tin sheets and other construction materials, she said.

“You can’t talk about inclusive infrastructure when the social structures are exclusive (or discriminatory), said Easterluna Luz Canoy, executive director of Kitanglad Integrated NGOS, which seeks to promote the rights and well-being of IPs.

The social exclusion of indigenous communities in the country has resulted in inadequate access to basic services like housing, health, and education, said Canoy, who has at least three decades of working among IPs tucked under the belt.

Bojo, who also teaches at the Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon, admitted that the school, as it stands today, is “not reflective of who they (the lumad) are but who they have become” in the face of historical neglect.

Still, the IPs hope to see a school building rise that truly conforms to their own design, with a tree plantation, garden, dormitory and other facilities that should comprise what is called a School Living Traditions, which transmits indigenous skills and techniques to the young.

Participants to the seminar-workshop on sustainable construction reporting organized by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) recently, in partnership with Holcim Philippines, in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, witnessed the situation confronting the lumad and gained insights into their dedication to building structures that truly reflect their identity and aspirations as a people.

A visit to the MTSI in Panadtalan, Maramag town — about an hour and a half drive away from the provincial capital — afforded the journalists such an opportunity. They soon found that the school had little to show by way of modern amenities. Yet, here, said Bojo, students “find their identity, a sense of belonging.” She added that it is “a source of pride, so the students endure the difficulties.”

The Japan International Cooperation Agency once offered to build a school for the indigenous peoples on this side of Mindanao, but required the use of its own design, prompting the lumad to turn down the offer, said Bojo.

The seminar-workshop brought into focus infrastructure reporting through the lens of sustainable and inclusive development. Stories, for instance, that bring to the fore the aspirations of the lumad even as they build their own facilities should impress on the readers that physical structures are more than just facilities but are expressions of who they are as indigenous communities.

The visit to MITSI was one of the highlights of the Mindanao leg of the seminar-workshop, themed “Taking the High Road to Constructing Reporting” organized by PPI and Holcim, a major cement and aggregates company.

Some 20 participants from different provinces within the island region got a deeper glimpse into the plight of some of the indigenous tribes, including the the Manobo, in Mindanao. They learned how the latter’s culture intersects even with the designs of their facilities including those for their communal use.

The media seminar was previously held in Bulacan, where the Luzon-based participants looked into issues surrounding resettlement facilities being provided by the government for informal settler families. The final leg of the training was conducted in Tagbilaran, Bohol, where the Visayas participants looked into the situation of the disaster-affected parts of the province almost three years since it was hit by an earthquake.

The seminar stressed that media coverage of the construction industry has largely focused on the physical and technical aspects, often citing details such as the magnitude of a project, its target cost, date of completion, and the technology used, among others.

It was hoped that journalists would explore more interesting stories, such as those that highlight how a planned infrastructure project could impact a community, for good or ill. Such an approach forms the essence of civic journalism, PPI’s flagship program.

“In civic journalism, we give voice to the people. We owe it to the public to present stories that resonate with them — stories that would be useful for them even if their subjects, such as construction, may not be deemed ‘sexy’,” said PPI training director Tess Bacalla.

The seminar therefore sought to challenge the media to explore unreported or underreported issues revolving around the construction industry through the prism of inclusive growth.



3rd August 2014
Out of Tacloban, survivor tops CPA board exams
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on August 3, 2014, 3:27 am

(By Joey A. Gabieta | Inquirer Visayas | 3:27 am | Sunday, August 3rd, 2014)

Rommel Rhino Edusma from Asian Development Foundation College, topped the Certified Public Accountant Board Examination 2014.  NIYO JESUS ORBETA

TACLOBAN CITY—It was his harrowing experience during the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” that strengthened his resolve to do well at the licensure exams for certified public accountants (CPA).

And Rommel Rhino Edusma, 25, did not only pass the exams, he aced it.

Edusma topped the 2014 CPA Licensure Exams with a rating of 94.57 percent, the first topnotcher produced by the widely unheard of 19-year-old Asian Development Foundation College (ADFC) here.


31st May 2013
DepEd approves SJC proposed 51% increase on tuition, other fees
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 31, 2013, 7:23 am

By Jani Arnaiz
May 31, 2013

MAASIN CITY – It’s no can do for now for the petitioners against tuition fee increase and commercialization implemented by catholic church ran Saint Joseph College here in the city.

The Department of Education regional office has already approved the school’s proposed 51 percent and the 20 percent increase on tuition and other fees in high school and its elementary school respectively.

In her “2nd indorsement” dated May 8, obtained by Inquirer, DepEd regional director Luisa Bautista-Yu stated that the DepEd is “interposing no objection to the 10 percent increase on tuition fee and an average of 41 percent on other fees for school year 2013-2014 for grade 7 to 4th year.”


27th May 2013
Bishop hit over tuition, "arrogance"
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 27, 2013, 6:07 pm

Online petition accuses Maasin prelate of ignoring law on consultation

By Jani Arnaiz, Inquirer Visayas

MAASIN CITY—Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas of the Diocese of Maasin, president of St. Joseph College (SJC), is facing criticisms in an online petition posted on Change.org over several issues including the alleged illegal collection of tuition and other fee increases.

The petition, entitled “The Josephinians speak out against Bishop Precioso Cantillas,” started on May 3 when the school demolished the high school open stage and announced the plan to increase tuition and miscellaneous fees by 50 percent.

Roma Demeterio, a parent-teacher association (PTA) member, said the adjustment would mean that she would be paying P24,000 in tuition for her four children instead of P16,000.


30th January 2013
Marcos Sins, Victims' Woes to be Taught in Schools
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on January 30, 2013, 1:40 am

(By Leila B. Salaverria, 1:40 am Wed 30 Jan 2013)

JAILED TWICE One of the victims of martial law abuses, Carmencita Florentino, 64, is shown peering through the screen door of her home in a poor area of Tatalon, Quezon City. More than 9,000 victims stand to receive compensation from the $246-million fund the government recovered from the Marcos wealth. Florentino was jailed twice, in 1977 and 1978. Bullit Marquez/AP

Never again.

So the nation will remember not to forget, a bill that recognizes for the first time that the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship committed atrocities against Filipinos also mandates the teaching in schools of the abuses inflicted on its opponents and the heroism of those who fought the regime.

The bill, ratified by the two chambers of Congress on Monday and awaits the signing into law by President Aquino, creates the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission and lays down guidelines for monetary reparations to the victims from a P10-billion fund out of the ill-gotten wealth recovered from Marcos.

The memorial commission is tasked with collaborating with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) “to ensure that the teaching of martial law atrocities, the lives and sacrifices of [victims of human rights violations] in our history are included in the basic, secondary, and tertiary education curricula.”


29th July 2012
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on July 29, 2012, 8:19 pm

(By Erna S. Gorne, PIA-8 So. Leyte, 28 July 2012)

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte (PIA) -- In observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month celebration, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) - Southern Leyte led the series of disaster risk reduction drills and fora in the province.
“The OCD provincial office zealously urged the local government units (LGUs) to support the Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) in the prevention stage to avoid the loss of lives and properties,” Marichu Tan of the Provincial Civil Defense Office said in an interview.
With the theme this year, “Ligtas na Bayan, Maunlad na Mamayanan,” OCD Southern Leyte is undertaking a series of disaster –preparedness activities that will make the people aware and be prepared for all types of disasters, Tan said.


Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on July 29, 2012, 7:53 pm

(By Marcelino M. Pedalino, PIA-8 So. Leyte, 28 July 2012)

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte (PIA)  --  Interested and qualified youths in this city can avail of a scholarship training program for three vocational-technical courses at a private learning school here in partnership with the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
In a phone interview with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) this morning, TESDA provincial director Rolando Juanillo said the three voch-tech courses due to open at the Saint Joseph College (SJC) Vocational Training Center include Metal Arc Welding, Plumbing, and Electrical Wiring.
Juanillo said he already communicated this opportunity to the 70 barangays all over this city which is the priority area for this TESDA-initiated training, and many have already responded.


Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on July 29, 2012, 7:46 pm

(By Erna S. Gorne, PIA-8 So. Leyte, 28 July 2012)

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte (PIA) -- The provincial government of Southern Leyte is equipping its constituents with skills through trainings; these trainings would eventually prod them towards self employment.

According to Cristina Aguelo of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), their office already conducted the first skills training on haircutting to 30 residents at Hinunangan Municipal Covered Court. This was followed by manicure and pedicure training in Silago; massage therapy and facial make-up training in Barangay Asuncion, Maasin City.

Last year, the Barangay Asuncion in Maasin City provided skills trainings in partnership with the provincial government where manicure, pedicure, haircutting, and massage therapy skills trainings were held at the barangay hall, Aguelo said.

Also last year, the provincial government was able to gainfully equip about 689 local constituents with varied skills such as massage theraphy, haircutting, manicure and pedicure, facial make-up, motorcyle repair and maintenance, food processing, among others, she added. (PIA8 / SoLeyte)

5th June 2012
The secret of economic power is education - Professional Regulation Commission
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on June 5, 2012, 10:24 am

(By Rebecca S. Cadavos, PIA-8/So. Leyte, 5 Jun 2012)

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte (PIA) -- "It is in knowledge that one will be successful,” Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) 8 Director German Palayab said during a Memorandum of Agreement signing ceremony, recently, with the provincial government.

Director Palayab revealed that the secret of economic success is an education-related activity. “With the MOA signing between PRC and the province of Southern Leyte, economic activities in the province will improve,” he said.

The PRC 8 director agreed with the local government to establish a PRC satellite office at the provincial capitol to be manned by trained desk officer. “It will be open as soon as the office staff finishes the two-day training required by the commission."


1st June 2012
Schools to adopt 12-year basic education
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on June 1, 2012, 5:21 pm

(By Ronald O. Reyes, ucanews.com, 1 June 2012)

Manila--When the academic year begins on Monday, new students will embark on a journey that will see them spend 12 years in compulsory education, instead of the previous 10.

The new K-12 education program is urgently needed to improve basic education and prepare graduates for the world of work, Education Secretary Armin Luistro says.
It covers mandatory kindergarten, six years of primary or elementary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.
The Philippines is the only country in Asia and one of the three in the world that follow a 10-year compulsory education cycle, Luistro said yesterday.
He said most graduates under the previous system were not adequately prepared to enter labor force and usually failed to find gainful employment.
Those who could not afford a college education ended up either unemployed or were exploited by employers, he said.
The 10-year system falls well below international standards and is therefore detrimental to Filipino professionals abroad, he added.
The new system applies to all incoming grade 1 students and incoming junior high school students.
Senior high school will then start from 2016 when junior high school students finish the first four years.
By 2018, the country will have its first graduates of the new system.
Luistro also said 30 model schools are being prepared to test an experimental senior high school curriculum in coordination with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, a government agency in charge of manpower development in the country.
Senior high school graduates are also expected to master one foreign language other than English, be it German, Japanese, Mandarin, French or Spanish.

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