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Villar SIPAG, BeamAndGo, CBCP Fired Up on Empowering Anak OFWs

Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) in partnership with BeamAndGo and the Episcopal Commission for the pastoral care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, has launched its new project entitled “Learn and Go: My Ticket to an Empowered Life.” The project is a seminar-workshop that addresses the needs and challenges faced by the children of OFWs. Villar SIPAG, which is known to be very dynamic in providing assistance to distressed OFWs, has extended its programs to the families left behind especially the children who are most affected by separations in the family.

A group photo of the Anak OFW with Sen. Cynthia Villar, Fr. Resty Ogsimer, Mr. Albert Christian Go and facilitators.

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar explained the irony of the OFW situation wherein a person leaves the country to be able to provide the finances of the family but such move tears them apart due to the distance between members. “The main problem is that the OFWs leave their children and the family has a hard time coping. It’s so ironic that they earn money for their children yet their families can end up broken. May pera pero wala yung guidance ng magulang.”

Sen. Cynthia Villar delivered an inspirational message to the Anak OFW, encouraged them to become good children because it will make their OFW parents happy and satisfied with their sacrifices and hard work abroad.

Realizing the complexity and immensity of the problem, Villar SIPAG has chosen to work with partners like BeamAndGo and CBCP with the belief that such partnerships are necessary since these partners have their own lines of expertise. Villar SIPAG is fortunate enough to meet companies and organizations that possess the same advocacies for the welfare and progress of OFWs and their families. “The foundation does not know everything and that’s why we’re happy with this partnership with BeamAndGo and CBCP. This is a worthy effort so that all the hard work of the OFWs will amount to something because their children were given a good life,” Senator Villar concluded.

Anak OFW participants coming from the Dioceses of Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Novaliches, Caloocan and Antipolo.

Fr. Resty Ogsimer, CS, of CBCP-ECMI, agreed on the high probability that the Anak OFWs can be led astray when a parent is not around. The situation becomes even worse when both parents work away from home and there is nobody else left to take care of the children except the aging grandparents who may not have the strength and patience to discipline a new batch of young people. Subsequently, Fr. Ogsimer emphasized the fact that the OFW sector is now considered vulnerable, thus needs guidance and assistance from the other sectors of the Christian community.

Fr. Resty Ogsimer, gave a glimpse at the situation of Filipino families with members working overseas, the challenges of separation and the vulnerability of the OFW sector.

The seminar laid discussions on the different issues concerning the Anak OFWs. Ms. Vanessa Cartera, whose father was an OFW, touched and shared on the Perks and Challenges of Being an Anak OFW. Mr. Albert Christian Go, former OFW and presently SVP of BeamAndGo, gave practical tips on saving, budgeting and wise spending. Agent Francis Senora of the NBI, presented the prevalence of cyber crime in the Philippines and gave tips on how the youth can be protected. Dr. Raymond Joseph Escalona talked about health and wellness, proving that Anak OFWs can take care of themselves in terms of proper nutrition even without their parents. Lastly, Ms. Marianne Madelaine Mencias, author of “What’s Your Life’s Masterpiece,” has inspired and motivated the children to continue to reach for their dreams and ambitions and lead an empowered life not only for their selves but also for their hardworking parents who sacrifice abroad for their bright future.

Learn & Go will be a series of seminar-workshops for the Anak OFWs that is intended to be implemented in every community of the country because there is no town in the Philippines that OFWs don’t exist. The program aims to equip the Anak OFW with a good sense of individuality, independence and maturity so that they may lead an empowered life and so that they can influence kids like them to live the same way. At the end of the activity, children shall be inspired to become better individuals, to give importance to the hard work of their parents and to fulfil their aspirations despite the challenges of being an Anak OFW.

Mr. Jonathan Chua, President of BeamAndGo, puts it, “What we’re trying to do in this event is we want to impart the skills and tools to the youth to understand how hard their parents abroad are working and it’s important to be wise with money. The hard work, the ability to overcome obstacles, their sacrifice and love for their families – those are the basic values, the basic ingredients to make a better person, a better family and a better society.”

The empowered looks of Anak OFW after the successful and fruitful seminar.

 
Eat, Learn & Play Summer with UFI

Summer class is more fun with Uygongco Foundation Inc.’s (UFI) Eat, Learn & Play activity that kicked off last April 11 and ran until May 6, 2016 in all of the foundation’s seven adopted elementary schools in Capiz, Iloilo and Guimaras.

Classes in Science, Math and English with supplementary activities on Sports and Art were conducted for the 411 elementary beneficiaries of UFI in Aranguel Elementary School, Andres Bonifacio Elementary School, Don Pedro Vasquez Memorial School, Hibao-an Elementary School, Jordan Central School, President Roxas East Elementary School and Rizal Elementary School.

The two-hour summer classes recognize the need to continuously boost the over-all health of a child throughout the year, despite the summer break, by primarily maintaining the child’s good nutritional status as it runs under the Feeding Program of UFI. To this, UFI Coordinator from Aranguel Elementary School Vivian Detaro explained, “Usually kalabanan sa mga public school [students], pigado nga ginatawag. Wala sila pagkaon. While sa Uygongco ya may lunch gid sila nga gina-serve. Pag-abot sa klase, maluya sila tapos pagtunga sang klase daw ga amat-amat mayo ila nutritional index unlike sa iban, dirediretso lang gid ya. Daw wala improvement sa ila nutrition,” (Most public school students are poor. They don’t have much food but, Uygongco beneficiaries are served with lunch so when they [beneficiaries] arrive in school, they’re weak but in the middle of the day, they gradually improve in terms of nutritional index. For others, the lack of nutrition continues and they don’t seem to improve.)

Eat, Learn & Play provides lunch to the beneficiaries every after the 2-hour classes.

Detaro added that children often go to school without their complete school supplies which affects the quality and efficiency of teaching. She shared, “Aga pa lang ma-writing activity ka, ipa-take out mo lapis nila, tapos dugay-dugay may mahambal, ‘Ma’am, wala ko lapis’ ukon ‘wala ko papel’. Kis-a gina pahulam ko lang sa ila lapis ko,” (Early on, you hold a writing activity and you’d ask them to take out their pencils, then later one would raise, ‘Ma’am, I don’t have a pencil’ or ‘I don’t have paper’. Sometimes I just lend my own pencil.)

UFI’s Eat, Learn & Play aims to develop the child’s learning capabilities by conducting classes with the necessary materials provided so that instruction becomes easier and the lessons become more interactive between the teacher and the student.

Detaro added that children often go to school without their complete school supplies which affects the quality and efficiency of teaching. She shared, “Aga pa lang ma-writing activity ka, ipa-take out mo lapis nila, tapos dugay-dugay may mahambal, ‘Ma’am, wala ko lapis’ ukon ‘wala ko papel’. Kis-a gina pahulam ko lang sa ila lapis ko,” (Early on, you hold a writing activity and you’d ask them to take out their pencils, then later one would raise, ‘Ma’am, I don’t have a pencil’ or ‘I don’t have paper’. Sometimes I just lend my own pencil.)

UFI’s Eat, Learn & Play aims to develop the child’s learning capabilities by conducting classes with the necessary materials provided so that instruction becomes easier and the lessons become more interactive between the teacher and the student.

Jordan Central School kids creating their own pinwheels during the art activity.

Some parents have also noticed the positive impact of the activity to their kids. “La-in gid ya sang waay siya ga-summer sang una kay ti hampang lang bal-an ya sa balay. Damo siya may nabal-an subong maski tunga lang na [sa adlaw ang klase]. Kung mag-abot siya sa balay, ginapakita ya gid na iya naubrahan,” shares Ruchyl Gabasa, mother of Jordan Central School 5thgrader Jocel who has been experiencing Eat, Learn & Play for the second year now. (It’s really different because before, without the summer classes, he just plays at home. Now, he knows a lot even though it’s just a half-day class. When he arrives at home, he shows me his works.)

Meanwhile, Andres Bonifacio Elementary School Coordinator Olivia Tabat observed an improvement on the personality of the beneficiaries. “Sang una gahuya-huya pa sila, mostly sa girls.Sang grade 3 sila, indi pa na sila close. Subong makita mo na gid ila closeness. Pero siyempre sa boys may ara gid ya nga mga masabad pero may dako gid ya nga improvement sa ilapersonality, kag sa pag keep-up sang cleanliness sang lawas nila. Parehos na abi, every time magkaon sila gapanghugas sila anay,” Tabat elaborated. (Before, they often hesitated, especially the girls. When they were in 3rd grade, they weren’t close. Now, you would see their closeness. Of course, there would be mischief from the boys every now and then but there’s still a big difference in their own personalities and in the way they maintain their cleanliness like before they eat, they would wash their hands first.)

Tabat further remarked how the relationship among parents also improved since they have been working together in preparing the meals of the children. She observed that they have turned into a family united in improving their children’s growth.

Eat, Learn & Play culminated on May 6 with the children viewing an educational, animated film and sharing their sentiments about the entire summer activity

 
Cementing Dreams: 250 Scholars Renew Hope to Improve their Lives

The opportunity to learn can take people further in life, despite the possible lack of financial means to finish education.

This is what CEMEX Philippines and its partners from the Province of Rizal and City of Antipolo had in mind when they joined hands to establish the CEMEX Information Technology (IT) Training Center at Barangay San Jose in Antipolo City, Rizal. Since its inauguration in 2015, out-of-school youth and unemployed community members of the country’s largest barangay have had a new source of hope to improve their lives.

In fact, 250 scholars just recently graduated from the CEMEX IT Center. They are now ready to realize their dreams and even aspire for higher ones.

During his speech, John Kenneth Padilla, the 26-year-old valedictorian of the batch, described the common aspiration that he shared with his classmates.

“Simple lang ang hinahangad na pangarap ng aming puso. Ito’y makapagdulot ng ligaya sa pamilya at magdala ng maliliit na pagbabago sa aming mundong ginagalawan (The desires of our heart are quite simple. It is to bring joy to our families and small changes in the world where we move in),” he said.

“Kasama rin kami sa mga batang nais iahon sa hirap ang pamilya. Di namin bibiguin ang mga taong nagtitiwala sa aming tagumpay (We are part of the youth who hope to raise our families from poverty. We promise not to fail the people who have faith in our success),” he added.

The Training Center offered its scholars the opportunity to learn from a one-year computer course taught by qualified Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) trainers and instructors. Through the management of the City of Antipolo and San Jose Barangay Council, the learning facility has been equipped with computers and other devices that helped the students learn essential skills that are in demand in the IT industry.

The participants of the program also received a TESDA certification after completing the course and passing the evaluation. This certificate will come in useful for the graduates especially when they apply for work.

Additionally, scholars were equipped with other technical skills like maintenance of IT network systems, computer repair, setting up of servers, and troubleshooting. Aside from IT courses, the Training Center also provided English classes that helped students enhance their communication skills.

Padilla expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all those who gave himself and his classmates the opportunity to open a new chapter in their lives. “Ang aming graduation ay isa sa pinakamakabuluhang saglit ng aming buhay. Ang araw na ito ang magbibigay daan sa katuparan ng aming iba’t-ibang pangarap (Our graduation is one of the most meaningful moments in our lives. This day will lead towards the fulfilment of our many dreams).”

The graduation ceremony was graced by Antipolo City Mayor Casimiro “Jun” Ynares III, together with San Jose Barangay Captain Felicito “Ito” Garcia, who is also the founding chairman of the IT program. Also with them are Dr. Jun Rey San Juan, representing Governor Rebecca “Nini” Ynares, and the other officials from the Antipolo City local government and barangay council.

“We put high importance to education because we believe that our future lies in the next generation who are composed of people possessing the right skills and attitude to help build the nation together,” said Normandy Chan, director of Solid Cement Plant, as he welcomed the graduates and visitors to the Solid Cement Plant Gymnasium where the graduation ceremony was held.

Pedro Palomino, country president of CEMEX Philippines, joined Mayor Ynares in congratulating and distributing the certificates to the graduates.

The CEMEX Training Center also houses the Rizal Quarry Academy where courses on mining engineering, responsible quarrying, and sustainability management are offered. Also nearby is the Solid Cement Corporation, a subsidiary of CEMEX Holdings Philippines.

CEMEX Philippines offers a broad product mix of building solutions to the Philippine market. Its subsidiaries, Apo Cement Corporation and Solid Cement Corporation, produce and market cement and other building materials in the country. These cement manufacturing subsidiaries carry the well established cement brands APO and Rizal. Visit www.cemexholdingsphilippines.com for news and updates or like and follow CEMEX Philippines on Facebook and Instagram. For partnerships, contact the Public Affairs Unit at (632) 849 3600.

 
Caltex Fuely School Bags 3rd Award for the Year, Adds IABC’s Quill to Rare Grand Slam Feat

Receiving the Philippine Quill merit award trophy are from left; Joel Gaviola assistant manager  Policy, Government and Public Affairs (PGPA) of Chevron Philippines, Inc. (CPI), Cherry Ramos coordinator PGPA CPI, and Jun Salipsip executive director American Chamber Foundation, Inc.

Makati City, Philippines -  For the third time in a row, Caltex Fuel Your School (Caltex FYS), the fuel-to-donate program of Caltex brand marketer Chevron Philippines, Inc. (CPI),is honored as among the country’s best corporate responsibility programs. The members of the prestigious International Association of Business Communications Philippine chapter bestowed the trophy to representatives of Caltex FYS project partners CPI and the American Chamber Foundation at the Philippine Quill Awards formal ceremony held recently at the Grand Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.

Caltex FYS received the Merit award in the communication management division of the prestigious Philippine Quill, which comes right on the heels of winning the grand prize in education category at the 5th Amcham CSR Excellence Award, and the Silver Award in Anvil for 2015.

Caltex Fuel Your School aims to promote learning  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects in public schools. Its pioneering efforts last year helped 103,000 students and fulfilled the wish for STEM learning materials and equipment of at least  600 educators from the most disadvantaged senior-ready public high schools in Metro Manila. Caltex FYS also exceeded expectations, generating during its one month campaign 6.1 million digital impressions, with Caltex Facebook page raking in an additional 18,198 page likes, while Caltex FYS project reaped an impressive 36,149 likes.

Encouraged by the results, CPI has committed to launch Caltex FYS cycle 2 in 2016, this time to help Davao City’s highest need senior high schools, particularly the Philippines’ first Grade 11 public school students.

Caltex FYS is in line with Chevron’s Energy for learning initiative which supports educational programs that help disadvantaged individuals acquire knowledge and gain new skills.

 

 
777 Automated Weather Stations, 124 deployed in Mindanao by WeatherPhilippines

Out of the 777 automated weather stations (AWS) deployed nationwide by WeatherPhilippines, 124 are located in Mindanao.

These are either installed at Davao Light and SM sites or priority meteorological sites under the care of our partner local government units (LGUs).

After three years of expanding our nationwide network of AWS, data shows that the country’s metropolitan cities and business districts in the National Capital Region are the biggest users of weather.com.ph.

However, one community in Mindanao went beyond visiting the website to check the local weather, and actually used their localized weather information for sustainable local development. This community is the coastal municipality of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat.

Lebak, Sultan Kudarat

Lebak gets its name from the Maguindanaon term “hollow”, because it sits between a mountain and the Celebes Sea. Its 27 barangays have the best views of the mountains and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze on a 22-kilometer coastline lined with mangroves.

However, perfect as Lebak’s best-of-both-worlds location might seem, this year’s El Niño did not spare the town from droughts and dry spells caused by below-average rainfall.

El Niño and Lebak’s Agriculture

“The severity of the drought was threatening the remaining crops serviced by the irrigation systems, as well the fruit trees, coconut and banana, and the high-value crops such as rubber, cacao, coffee, and other plants,” said Myla Cañete, Lebak’s  Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer.

Aside from indicating the agricultural activities affected by the drought, one of the most hard-hitting statistics she has shown the foundation was the P143-million damage in rice and corn brought by El Niño. Note that this amount is only a fraction of the estimated P4-billion agricultural loss recorded by the Department of Agriculture so far this year.

So how did an LGU empower its community to beat the odds against a natural phenomenon that dries up their community livelihood?

Optimizing Weather Data for Cloud-Seeding Initiatives

Through a weather-data-driven collaboration with the regional government, Lebak was able to mitigate the effects caused by El Niño.

“The Office of the Regional Agriculturist of Region XII has started a cloud-seeding operation in the region,” Myla said, sharing that a team of cloud spotters would pass on weather information for a particular time of day to their cloud-seeding team. The significant weather elements are: 1) visuals of seedable clouds, 2) wind direction, and 3) wind speed.

“The data generated by our AWS greatly enhanced our capacity to provide the cloud seeding team with an accurate forecast on wind direction and wind speed. The 5-day forecast enabled us to closely monitor our skies for seedable clouds, and to determine the  possibility of rain.
 The data of our AWS is vital for us to have rains,” she added.

The AWS has also helped the LGU evaluate the success of the project. Rain gauge data provided the estimated amount of rainfall produced by seeding, which is vital for the cloud seeding team to avoid wasting seeding agents.

After months of planning and preparation, the Department of Agriculture reported in February 2016 that the cloud-seeding initiative in Mindanao successfully induced light to moderate downpours in Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, and Sarangani provinces.

Weather Knowledge for Sustainable Development

In 2014, WeatherPhilippines deployed 3 AWS in Sultan Kudarat (Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat Capitol, and Lebak) in addition to 224 other priority meteorological sites in the Philippines. This helped LGUs use localized weather forecasts for typhoon preparations.

This year, Lebak’s El Niño experience are examples of how LGUs are going beyond using weather information for typhoon preparedness, and are now maximizing the tool for sustainable development.

 
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