Tuesday, 2 September 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, September 1, 2014

President Aquino launches nationwide anti-measles, Polio mass vaccination campaign

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday led the launch of the Ligtas sa Tigdas at Polio mass immunization campaign at the San Lazaro Compound in Manila, encouraging the public to participate in the program.

Some 11 million to 13 million people in the country are at risk from measles, polio and rubella (German measles), he said, asking the public to cooperate in eradicating the preventable diseases.

He said he is glad that the Department of Health (DOH) is carrying out the initiative aimed at preventing outbreaks.

"Ito na nga ho ay mga pagbabakuna para mailayo sa kapahamakang madudulot kung tatamaan ng polio o pati na ng measles, lalo na ang kanyang mga komplikasyon," the President said in his speech.

"Ngayon, ang Department of Health po ay talagang nakagayak na at binigyan ng sapat na pondo para maipaitupad ‘yung hinahabol nga nating 95 percent na vaccination."

The DOH will try its best to reach remote communities to carry out the vaccination program, he said, emphasizing the importance of coordinating with local government units throughout the country to ensure the program’s success.

He however called on parents to take it upon themselves to have their children vaccinated.

"Pakiusap po sa lahat, itong ‘Ligtas sa Tigdas’ na programa natin ay ating suportahan. Doon sa mga hindi pa nakakarinig nitong programang ito, makidamay na po tayong ipaalala sa kanila ang obligasyon natin sa kabataang ito," he said.

The nationwide vaccination campaign, which targets 9- to 59-month old children, is a follow-up to the 2011 Measles Rubella Supplemental Immunization.

It aims to eliminate the threat of measles and rubella, protect communities against the poliovirus, and identify high-risk communities for routine immunization through the ‘Reaching Every Purok’ strategy.

The government’s goal is to vaccinate 95 percent of all children who are at risk of contracting these diseases.

Although there has been no reported case of polio in the country based on government monitoring, the DOH is implementing the anti-polio campaign in compliance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulation on polio as a public health emergency.

The campaign intends to maintain the county's polio-free status.

The mass vaccination campaign started Monday (September 1) and will run until September 30, according to health officials. All health centers throughout the country will serve as vaccination posts. PND (as)

Government forms task force to boost Anti-Hazing Law

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. has signed a memorandum circular for the creation of an interagency task force in order to step up government’s response to fraternity violence and strengthen the implementation of the Anti-Hazing Law.

“President Aquino shares the concern of many parents and educators over the violations of the Anti-Hazing Law,” Ochoa said.

“The task force seeks to address the need to ensure that there is justice for hazing fatalities and their families. At the same time, we have to look at whether the law can be improved so that its objectives are met.”

Under Memorandum Circular No. 68 which Ochoa signed on August 28, the Secretary of Justice will lead the task force and will be given the full executive authority within the law to carry out the functions of the interagency body.

The task force chair may also give direct operational instructions to any member agencies, which include the Departments of National Defense and the Interior and Local Government, the Commission on Higher Education, the Philippine National Police, the National Youth Commission and the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs.

One of the key functions of the interagency task force is to review the Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act No. 8049, which was put in place in 1995, in order to prevent fraternity violence similar to the back-to-back incidents involving students from two prominent universities last July.

The interagency body is also tasked to formulate policies and develop modes of coordinating and monitoring of the implementation of programs, projects and guidelines to prevent hazing fatalities, according to the memorandum circular which takes effect immediately.

The task force is ordered to submit a periodic report to the Office of the President. PND

President Aquino hails 2014 Ramon Magsaysay awardees

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Sunday hailed the recipients of the 2014 Ramon Magsaysay Award during a ceremony at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City.

“This year’s roster (of awardees) … is composed of individuals imbued with the missionary zeal to promote social justice, and each one of them has taken a personal stand to contribute to the improvement of the communities in which they live,” the President said during his speech.

He said each of them has confronted longstanding problems and has found innovative ways to address them.

“In other words, they have not been content to complain, but have been inspired to act, with solutions that are relevant and replicable,” he noted.

“I am hopeful that more men and women will follow the footsteps of Ramon Magsaysay and our awardees today, so that we may work together and rise up to the challenge of our times, fulfill the collective promise of our world, and bequeath future generations a global community that is, without doubt, better than we found it,” he added.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation this year recognized the efforts of Chinese journalist Hu Shuli; Indonesian anthropologist Saur Marlina Manurung; National Museum of Afghanistan deputy director Omara Khan Masoudi; Chinese environmental lawyer Wang Canfa; The Citizen Foundation from Pakistan; and Filipino teacher Randy Halasan.

Chinese journalist Hu Shuli was recognized for her “unrelenting commitment to truthful, relevant and unassailable journalism, and her leadership in blazing the way for a more professional and independent-minded media practices in China”. In 1988, Hu established and edited the business magazine Caijing, which published investigative reports that led to the ousting of high public officials, the prosecution of corporate leaders, and reforms in China’s stock market. This earned her the reputation of being “the most dangerous woman in China."

Indonesian anthropologist Saur Marlina Manurung was commended for her “ennobling passion to protect and improve the lives of Indonesia’s forest people." Together with four other colleagues, Saur Marlina established the Sokola Rimba or ‘Jungle School’. They customized their teaching, focusing on life skills rather than academic knowledge, basic literacy for children, and practical skills to cope with the changing forest environment. She also broke cultural taboos that discourage girls from getting an education.

When the Taliban were destroying what they considered “non-Muslim” heritage amid the civil strife in Afghanistan, Omara Khan Massoudi and his colleagues moved artifacts from the National Museum of Afghanistan to safer locations and hid them in secret vaults under Kabul’s streets. When Taliban rule ended in 2002, he was able to retrieve the collections, restore historical monuments and negotiate the return of cultural treasures moved or smuggled to other countries. For this, he was honored for his “courage, labor, and leadership in protecting Afghan cultural heritage."

Pakistan’s nonprofit organization, The Citizen Foundation, endeavored to remove barriers of class and privilege by building schools that offered affordable, quality education in poor districts. For this, it was recognized for “the social vision and high-level professionalism of its founders and those who run its schools in successfully pursuing their conviction that quality education made available to all is the key to Pakistan’s brighter future."

Lawyer Wang Canfa was commended for “his discerning and forceful leadership in ensuring that the enlightened and competent practice of environmental law in China protects the rights and lives of victims of environmental abuse." Wang founded the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims, which is composed of a pool of pro bono volunteer lawyers who give free legal assistance to victims of pollution. He and his team filed more than 550 cases, including class action suits involving as many as 1,721 plaintiffs.

Randy Halasan, 31, a grade shool teacher in Pegalongan, one of the remotest villages in the mountainous hinterland of Davao City and home to the indigenous Matigsalug tribe, successfully lobbied for the expansion of a two-room, two-teacher school into a nine-room, eight-teacher school and the establishment of a high school for all tribe members. He is currently establishing food-sufficient communities in far-flung regions of Davao. For this, he was honored for “his purposeful dedication in nurturing his Matigsalug students and their community to transform their lives through quality education and sustainable livelihoods."

The Ramon Magsaysay Award was established in 1957 to honor individuals and organizations whose contributions have enhanced selfless service to the peoples of Asia. It is Asia’s highest honor and is considered as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. PND (ag)

President Aquino administers oath of office to various government officials

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday administered the oath of office to various government officials in a ceremony held at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace.

Inducted into office as undersecretary were Emmanuel Bautista of the Office of the President; Jose Lius Alano of the Office of the Executive Secretary; Prudencio Reyes, Jr. and Nora Terrado of the Department of Trade and Industry; Donato Marcos of the Department of Energy; and Jan Co Chua of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

Sworn in as assistant secretary were Victor Batac of the Office of the President; Jose Ernesto Gaviola of the Department of Transportation and Communications; Virgilio Nadal, Jr. of the PCOO; Myrna Chau and Maxine Tanya Hamada of the Department of Budget and Management.

Also inducted were officials of the National Youth Commission: Chairman Gregorio Ramon Tingson; Commissioner Jose Rafael Cruz; Commissioner-at-Large Jose Sixto Gonzales “Dingdong” Dantes III; Commissioner representing Luzon Percival Cendaña; Commissioner representing Visayas Jo Jan Paul Peñol; and Commissioner representing Mindanao Earl Saavedra.

Other government officials who were sworn in were Acting Administrator Alexander Pama of the Office of Civil Defense, Department of National Defense; Commissioner Blas James Viterbo of the Security and Exchange Commission, Department of Finance; Commissioner Jose Fabia of the Commission on Audit; Jose Gabriel La Viña as member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine International Trading Corporation; and Andres Ibarra as member of the Board of Trustees of the Local Water Utilities Administration.

Also inducted were the Chairpersons for the National Peace and Order Council for different regions in the country: Pasay Mayor Antonino Calixto representing the National Capital Region; Dagupan Mayor Belen Fernandez for Region I; Quirino Province Governor Junie Cua for Region II; Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali for Region III; Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez for Region IV-B; Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. for Region VI; Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III for Region VII; Zamboanga del Norte Governor Roberto Uy for Region IX; Catanduanes Governor Aracelli Wong for Region X; South Cotobato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes for Region XII; Calbayog City of Western Samar Mayor Ronaldo Aquino for Region VIII; and Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr. for the CARAGA Region.

Sworn in as Chairpersons for the Regional Peace and Order Council under the National Economic and Development Authority were Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado for Region III; Albay Governor Jose Ma. Clemente “Joey” Salceda for Region V; Bohol Governor Edgardo Chatto for Region VII; and Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas for Region XIII (CARAGA). PND (ag)