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    Policemen check a car boot of a resident fleeing from Marawi city, where gunmen who had declared allegiance to the Islamic State group rampaged through the city, at a checkpoint in Iligan City on May 24, 2017. Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

    MANILA, Philippines – Even as many evacuees from crisis-hit Marawi City sought refuge in the homes of their relatives in Lanao del Sur and Iligan City, the government's response agencies announced the opening of 10 more evacuation centers on Friday, May 26.

    On Thursday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) opened at least 3 evacuation centers in Iligan City.

    Thousands of residents fled to the nearby towns around Marawi City following the clash between government troops and the Maute Group on Tuesday, May 26. 

    In an interview with Rappler, DSWD Region X Director Nestor Ramos said around 30,000 to 40,000 families live in Marawi City.

    They are still monitoring the exodus of residents, but as of Thursday evening, May 25, at least 13 evacuation centers are now in place in and outside Marawi City. 

    #MarawiClash Open evacuation centers as of May 25, 2017, 8pm

    Evacuation Center

    Location

    Buruun School of Fisheries

    Iligan City

    Maria Cristina Gymnasium

    Iligan City

    Tomas Cabili Gymnasium

    Iligan City

    Iligan School of Fisheries Gymnasium

    Iligan City

    MSU-IIT CASS Building

    Iligan City

    Lanao del Sur Provincial Capitol

    Marawi City

    Gomampong Ali's Residents

    Baloi, Lanao del Sur

    Saguiaran Municipal Hall

    Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur

    People's Plaza

    Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur

    Old Madrasa

    Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur

    Old Masjid

    Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur

    BFP Office

    Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur

    DepEd Kinder Room

    Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur

    As of Friday morning, the DSWD-Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB) reported that the number of evacuees in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur has increased. Because of this, the LGUs of the provinces have set up additional evacuation centers to accommodate the displaced families.

    In Lanao Del Norte, two more evacuation centers were opened including the Gomampong Ali’s Residents in Baloi and the Gomampong Gymnasium, which currently house 37 families or 185 persons.

    On the other hand, 5 more evacuaton centers in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur were set up, including the People’s Plaza, which currently houses 89 families or 445 persons; Old Madrasa with 8 families or 40 persons; and Old Masjid, Bureau of Fire Protection Office; and, Department of Education Kinder Room, which houses 5 families or 25 people each.

    To date, there are 112 families or 560 persons staying at evacuation centers in Saguiran.

    Other earlier identified evacuation centers include the Lanao Del Sur Provincial Capitol, Iligan School of Fisheries Gymnasium, Saguiran Municipal Hall, and the MSU-IIT CASS Building.

    The DSWD is monitoring the number of evacuees staying in the evacuation centers.

    Relief goods 

    The DSWD and the Department of Health (DOH) ensured the availability of prepositioned family food packs, hygiene kits, medicines, and other necessary items and supplies intended for internally displaced persons (IDPs) or evacuees in affected areas.

    To respond to the needs of those affected by the clash, DSWD also made available a total stockpile and standby funds amounting to ₱1,341,300,199.05 ($ 26.9 million) for the following purposes:

    a.    Standby Funds

    There is a total of P1,035,496,954.09 ($20.7 million) standby funds at the Central Office and Field Offices. Of the said amount, P1,018,898,327.50 ($ 20.4 million) is the available Quick Response Fund at the Central Office.

    b.    Stockpiles

    There is also a total of 173,806 Family Food Packs (FFPs) amounting to P65,397,253.61 ($1.3 million) and available Food and Non-Food Items (FNFIs) amounting to P240,405,991.35 ($4.82 million) 

    The DSWD also activated its red alert status on Wednesday afternoon, May 24, amid the tense situation in Marawi City.

    The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed concerned local government units (LGUs) to ensure the safety and welfare of residents in their areas of responsibility. 

    Residents have been advised by security officials to stay vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities. 

    Humanitarian aid

    Meanwhile, international non-government organizations such as Oxfam appealed to the government to protect civilians caught in the crossfire and allow humanitarian groups safe entry to provide assistance. (READ: Groups call for donations for crisis-hit Marawi

    “We urge all parties to the conflict to allow providers of immediate humanitarian assistance safe and secure entry to the city and to provide adequate access to basic life saving assistance to all families affected by the conflict following reports that all entry and exit points in the city are now locked down,” said Oxfam Country Director Daniel Sinnathamby.

    “Along with our partners, we are closely coordinating with the national government, UN agencies and other humanitarian actors to assess needs on the ground and will be ready to support if needed and provided access," Sinnathamby added. – Rappler.com

    1$ = P49.86


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    MANILA, Philippines – With summer in full swing, would you dare use a Philippine flag as shade from the heat? If you answered yes, you wouldn’t be the first.

    A post that has caused outrage online depicts a Philippine flag used to shield a dog in the back of a pickup truck from the sun. The post was shared more than 48,000 times as of posting. It also garnered over 4,800 reactions from netizens.

    The original owner of the photo, Corazon del Mundo, says that it was taken on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at around 11:00 am along Coastal Road in the direction of Manila.

    {source}

    <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fphoto.php%3Ffbid%3D1743564328987371%26set%3Da.441419192535231.106487.100000014627305%26type%3D3&width=500" width="500" height="682" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>

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    Netizens have rallied to try and identify the owner of the truck, saying that the culprit should be reprimanded for his or her actions. Many people claim that the owner’s actions are disrespectful, with some pointing out that it violates the law.

    This is not the first time an incident involving disrespect for the flag has gone viral. In February 2016, a video of a student mopping the floor with the flag also went viral. This led to school officials reprimanding the student for his actions.

    Also in February 2016, Madonna got slammed by the historical commission for using the flag as a costume. Because of this, she faced the possibility of being banned from the country.

    Given these recent incidents and Philippine Flag Day fast approaching, this question comes to mind: are Filipinos familiar with flag etiquette?

    For those who aren’t familiar with the law regarding the proper display of the flag, here’s a quick list of some of the do’s and don’ts.

    Do:

    • Display the flag with the blue portion on top during times of peace and red on top in times of war
    • Display vertically with the sun and stars on top
    • Replace tattered or faded flags
    • Display the flag in a prominent place or commanding position

    Don’t:

    • Let the flag touch anything beneath it
    • Deface, mutilate, or ridicule the flag
    • Use the flag as a pennant or decoration on motor vehicles, covering, drapery, tablecloth, staff, whip, trademark for industrial, commercial or agricultural labels, and unveiling of monuments and the like
    • Display the flag under paintings, below a platform, in night clubs, casinos, places of vice, and the like
    • Wear the flag as part of a costume or uniform
    • Add anything to the flag
    • Use the flag in advertisements or infomercials

    – Rappler.com 







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    COMMUNITY. Balo-i residents band together to give out water and food to Marawi residents fleeing their homes for safety. All photos courtesy of Amer Riga

    MANILA, Philippines – It was late afternoon Tuesday, May 23, when Amer Riga and his family learned from close relatives in nearby Marawi City about the clashes between government troops and armed rebels. Later that night, he would learn from media that President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao.

    The Rigas lived in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte – a town between Marawi in Lanao del Sur and Iligan City. They knew it would only be a matter of time when fleeing Marawi residents would pass by Balo-i en route to Iligan.

    The Riga family did not think twice to help the evacues, and handed out  food and cold water to those who passed by. They knew what it was like to be in their shoes.

    In 2001, Amer and his family lost their home and source of livelihood due to the attacks of the faction of Nur Misuari in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in their area. (READ: List: MNLF’s 5 major attacks)

    “Kung anong pinagdaanan nila ngayon, ganoon din po sa amin year 2001 kung saan sinunog po ng mga bandido 'yung mga bahay po namin, sinira po lahat ng aming paninda. Nagmistulang abo po ang nangyari sa lugar namin,” Amer said.

    (We experienced what they're going through in 2001, when the bandits burned our homes and destroyed our goods. Our community was reduced to ashes.)

    News of the Maute terror group's attack on Marawi revived that 2001 "trauma," said the 28-year-old nurse, and he and his family could not bear not to do anyting to help  the evacuees, who were suffering from hunger and thirst.

    Nung makita po naming na umatake 'yung Maute group sa Marawi City, parang konsensiya na po namin pag 'di kame nakatulong. Nakakaawa din po kasi sila(When we learned about the attack of the Maute group in Marawi City, we thought that our conscience would haunt us if we don't help them. They're in a pitiful situation)," he said.

    'Heartbreaking'

    Amer cannot even begin to describe what they witnessed. Evacuees came in throngs with whatever they could bring with them from their crisis-hit hometown. Many of the Marawi residents, according to Riga, arrive in Balo-i on foot. (READ: Students walk 32 kilometers to flee Marawi)

    Marawi City is 18 kilometers from Balo-i – a 4-hour trek.  (READ: Timeline of Marawi clashes

    “Nakakaawa po – lalo na po 'yung matatanda at bata na naglalakad. Minsan po may nagko-collapse dahil sa sobrang uhaw at gutom (It's heartbreaking, especially in the case of the elderly and children who were walking. Some of them would suddenly collapse because of extreme thirst and hunger),” Amer said.

    HELP. Young and old, Balo-i residents mobilize the community to prepare and distribute food for those affected by the Marawi clash

    On day one of the Rigas' relief operations, they were only able to provide iced water due to lack of funds. But through social media, many netizens reached out to them and offered to donate other relief goods for their cause.

    “Galing lang po sa family ko po bali plano po talaga ipamigay iced water kase 'yun lang  po talaga 'yung kaya namin. So habang tumatagal po may dumaraan po nagbibigay ng konting donation 'yung mga neighbors po namin, 'yun po pinambibili namin ng tinapay pang-pair po doon sa tubig na binibigay," Amer said.

    (What our family gave was only iced water at first because that is all that we could afford. But later on, strangers and some of our neighbors gave small donations. We used the donations to buy bread to go along with the water.)

    It was like a silver lining amid the crisis. Many families from Balo-i chipped in. Young and old, town residents helped the Riga family in packing, preparing, and distributing food to be given out to the Marawi evacuees.

    RAIN OR SHINE. The rain did nothing to stop Balo-i residents from continuing their relief operations for civilians affected by the clash between government troops and the Maute group.

    Their work started 8 am and ended at 12 midnight every day starting Wednesday, May 24. The heavy rain on Friday and Saturday did not stop the family's relief operations.

    “Basang-basa po talaga po kami, even 'yung mga dumaraan po basa po talaga, wala po kaming choice kailangan po talaga nila ng tulong (We were soaked, as well as the evacuees, but we had no choice, we really had to help),” Amer recounted.

    Aside from the heavy rains, the Riga family also had to overcome the challenges brought by the strict security.

    In order to help more victims, they had to hike for an hour to reach the evacuees’ path to Iligan and meet them halfway. Riga even recalled how some of the evacuees would run towards them, competing with each other to get food and water.

    Marawi before tragedy

    Amer had known Marawi as a place full of hope and life. The Maute group, however, had snatched the light out of Marawi. (READ: Ahead of Ramadan, Marawi residents pray for lasting peace

    “Makulay, masaya, puno ng ligaya – makikita mo 'yung mga tao doon na nagtutulungan. Pero ngayon parang opposite na siya; parang biglang nabaliktad. Nakakalungkot, parang halos mawala na 'yung Marawi City dahil sa mga pangyayari,” he said. 

    (Marawi was full of life and happiness. You can see the people there helping each other. But now, it seems to be the opposite. It’s saddening. Marawi has nearly disappeared due to the developments.) 

    When will Mindanao experience peace? While Riga said he does not know the answer to the question, he would not stop hoping and praying for it. 

    “Tanging hiling lang po namin bilang isang Filipino Muslim, maging mapayapa at wala nang gulo sa Mindanao dahil baka hindi na po namin kayanin kung mauulit pa ito. Maraming buhay ang nawala ngunit kailangan namin manalig sa Diyos dahil ;yun lang ang meron kami,” Amer  said.

    (As a Filipino Muslim, we only wish for peace and an end to this chaos in Mindanao.. I am afraid we can no longer bear it if this continues. Many lives have been lost but we have to have faith in Got. That's the only thing we have left.)

    Amer said they need more help. They still need trucks to transport the supplies to the victims. According to him, it would be difficult to continue bringing the food and water on foot.

    The family is also looking for volunteers who can help them distribute relief goods. Rappler.com

    For donations and help, you can reach Amer Riga on Facebook or contact him at 09177740363.

    Khrizel Aira Coronel is a Communications student at the Far Eastern University and a Rappler intern. 



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    MOTHER FROM MARAWI. On Friday night, May 26, an evacuee from Marawi City gives birth to a baby boy in a public hospital in Iligan City. Photo courtesy of Ashie Matuan Malaco

    MANILA, Philippines – From a village in crisis-hit Marawi City, he called for help. 

    “From the mosque, take the narrow road going to our house. About 100 meters. There are no house numbers, and the road is dark and armed ISIS elements lurk in the distance,” 51-year-old Said Usop told Agos, powered by eBayanihan, in Filipino. His voice on the other line was cracking. 

    Agos, Rappler’s crowdsourcing platform during disasters and emergencies, has been monitoring the humanitarian situation on the ground since the clashes between the military and the ISIS-inspired members of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups broke out on Tuesday, May 23. Agos closely monitored and reported about the distressed social media post from the Cebu-based group of young volunteers named Tabang Sibilyan (Help Civilians).

    On day two of the crisis, Usop, a driver, desperately looked for ways to immediately leave his village. The military has already called on the residents to evacuate. 

    "Ang problema doon, Sir, lahat wala; zero. Kahit may pera ka, wala kang mabibilihan, wala kang mapapalitan. Walang lights, walang tubig, no contact. 'Yung mga tao doon napakahirap, Sir. Naglakas-loob akong umalis doon dahil yung misis ko manganganak. Ayun, putukan doon, putukan sa mga kalsada. Naglakbay kami dahil natakot ako, baka doon manganak yung misis ko,” he later told Rappler in a phone interview.

    (The problem we had there was that we feel helpless. There was nothing; zero. Even if you have money, you can’t buy anything. There’s no electricity, no water, no contact. People there are very poor. I had the courage to leave our village because my wife was in labor. We evacuated because I feared my wife might give birth in the middle of heavy fighting.)

    Agos reported Usop’s call for help to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which heads the Response Cluster group of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRRMC).

    Due to the urgency of the situation, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo personally asked Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial’s help to at least assist Usop’s pregnant wife in case she gives birth in Marawi City.

    However, Usop’s village was a restricted area, according to local authorities. The military augmented its presence there and responders could not reach the village due to security risks.

    Usop thought it would be safer to leave the next day with his wife who was due to give birth, and his 3 young chidren; one with a disability. With a lighter in his pocket and a cellphone in hand, he watched over his family in the dark and waited until sunrise.

    Fleeing Marawi 

    On Thursday morning, May 25, Usop and his family set off for Iligan City with 20 other families who swelled to thousands along the way. Most of them walked for almost 3 hours in the rain until they were able to ride a jeepney, Usop said. They arrived in Iligan City at around 2 pm. 

    His family’s journey to Iligan City was the longest and most most difficult one that they had ever experienced, Usop said. 

    "Yung sa daan, noong nag-abot kami doon, 'yung putukan, Sir, masyadong marami, tapos takot 'yung mga anak ko. Kinakarga ko pa 'yung panganay na anak ko na special child kasi di makakalakad,” Usop said. 

    (While on the road, we witnessed heavy gunfire. My children were very scared. I was carrying my eldest, a special child, who couldn’t walk.)

    They had to pass through several military checkpoints. At the time, President Rodrigo Duterte has already placed the entire Mindanao under martial law.

    "Masyadong mahigpit ang daan, Sir, dahil sa mga checkpoints. Mga bata naranasan nila na lahat ay umiiyak. Walang meryenda at nagugutom. Lahat kami gutom, eh, dahil walang pagkain,” Usop said.

    (The roads were heavily guarded by the military. There were many checkpoints. The children were crying because they had no snacks. We were all hungry because we had no food.)

    Clashes erupted on Tuesday as the military moved to hunt down Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was spotted in Marawi City. Hapilon, who reportedly has direct links to international terrorist group Islamic State (IS or ISIS), joined the Maute Group in Lanao del Sur supposedly as part of a bid to establish an Islamic caliphate in Central Mindanao.

    Face-to-face with the Maute Group

    Nothing could be more harrowing than encountering an armed group that has associated itself with an international terrorist network, according to Usop.

    The Maute group earlier attacked facilities in Marawi City, including a public hospital, holding up to 72 civilians captive. It also looted groceries.

    At one point during their 3-hour walk, the Usop family and other evacuees bumped into the Maute Group. They were wearing black headbands printed with the acronym “ISIS,” Usop recalled. 

    Usop begged to be allowed to proceed, citing his wife, who was about to give birth. The group of less than 10 heavily armed men in their 20s eventually allowed the evacuees to continue their trip.

    Born away from the battle ground

    On Friday night, May 26, Usop’s wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy in a public hospital in Iligan City. A kind woman in the hospital gave the baby a cloth diaper to wear because the Usop family only managed to bring a plastic bag with blankets.

    With DOH’s recommendation, Agos referred the Usop family to the hospital. The office of the governor of Lanao del Sur will shoulder the hospital bill, the chief nurse told Agos. The province will also provide financial assistance to other evacuees who seek medical help.

    Usop is thankful that his family is now safe. "Masayang-masaya sa tulong na natanggap. Masaya na walang nagyari sa aking pamilya. Sana malutas ang kaguluhan doon. Paano na ang bayan namin doon?” 

    (I’m grateful for the help that we received. I’m grateful that nothing happened to my family. I hope the conflict there will be resolved. What will happen to our community there?)

    As of Saturday morning, May 25, more than 9,000 families or about 44,000 people have been displaced in Northern Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). 

    "Mayroon kaming tutuluyan na mga kamag-anak namin dito sa Iligan City kasi mahirap na kapag nasa ibang lugar kami sa evacuation center dahil mas safe kami sa mga kababayan namin, mga kamag-anak namin na taga dito."

    (We will stay in the home of our relatives in Iligan City. This is better than in evacuation centers. We feel safer with our relatives.)

    Like the Usop family, most of the evacuees – at least 8,200 families or 41,000 people – are staying with their relatives or friends in Iligan City and in two towns in Lanao del Sur, according to the DSWD. More than 1,000 families or or about 2,800 people are in 13 evacuation centers. – Rappler.com

    If you want to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City or if you have reports about their humanitarian needs like temporary shelter, relief goods, water, and hygiene kits, post them on the Agos map, text to 2929 (SMART and SUN), or tag MovePH on Twitter or Facebook.


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    MOTHER OF THE YEAR. Filipina blogger and PWD advocate Michelle Ressa Aventejado, who is Best Buddies International's Mother of the Year, is all smiles with her daughters Gelli and Gia. Photo courtesy of Best Buddies Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines – When she was a young girl, Michelle Ressa Aventajado wished for two things: to be a teacher, and a mother.  

    Both of these dreams came true. Just in time for  this year's Mother’s Day celebration, the Filipino-American blogger was awarded Mother of the Year by non-profit organization Best Buddies International on May 13 in Malibu, California. 

    Best Buddies Global Ambassador Cindy Crawford and Anthony Shriver hosted the awards ceremony that paid homage to the gifts of love and friendship that mothers give to their children.

    Celebrity supporters like Pierce Brosnan, Vanessa Hudgens, Milla Jovovich, Maria Shriver, and the cast of A&E's Born This Way, attended the ceremony honoring Aventajado and two other mothers of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities — Sharon Carlson as Mother of the Year: California and Mona Coffield as Mother of the Year: USA

    Aventajado was with her daughters Gia and Gelli, who met the celebrities and other awardees.

    Test of motherhood

    The story of her motherhood is something worth telling.  

    She met the love of her life in the Philippines and flew to the United States to settle down. She went back to the country after 11 years with her husband, Niño, with 3 children in tow.

    Her motherhood was tested when their fourth child was born. Her youngest, Gelli, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

    “This is why when I was surprised with my daughter's diagnosis of Down Syndrome at the time of her birth. My first instinct was to go back home to NY where I knew I would have the support that I needed in raising her,” she said.

    This happened during a time when inclusive education in the country was still in its infancy.

    But according to her, she knew there was a purpose why their family was in the Philippines. She then started to be a volunteer at Best Buddies Philippines.

    Learning to be a mother on a whole new level  

    “What I didn't know is that when I would welcome our fourth child into the folds of our family, that I would become her student, and she would be my greatest teacher,” Aventajado said.

    Best Buddies International is a global volunteer movement “that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).” The non-profit organization is located in 50 countries including the Philippines.  

    Aventajado started her advocacy by bringing Best Buddies to the school of her children to raise awareness, and to foster friendships.

    “I do the work I'm doing now, because I really do believe that the small awareness campaigns and community events make a difference in the lives of all of my buddies.”

    When Best Buddies Philippines Director Anj Onrubia migrated to Canada, Aventajado was asked to take the position.

    “I knew this was the time for me to start walking the walk. I knew I needed to lead this grassroots group of volunteers, in the good fight that we are all here, in support of, today,” she said.

    She was talking about educational inclusion.

    'Moving disability forward' in the Philippines

    It was only in 2011 when the Department of Education (DepEd) organized the Advisory Council for the Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities (ACECYD) in pursuant to Article 24, 2.d of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Salamanca Statement on Inclusive Education, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Framework on Education for All (EFA).

    The Department Order says that this is made for all students to have access to basic education within the general educational system, to facilitate better education.

    In 2015, an implementing law on utilization of support funds for the Special Education Program (SPED) was signed by then Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

    It means that it was only two years ago when the DepEd issued the implementing rules and regulations on educational inclusion of PWDs.

    That is why advocates like Aventajado continue the fight until she sees Gelli graduate from college and gets hired for a job, she said.

    “I do the work that I do because I have high hopes that when Gelli turns 18 and graduates from an inclusive main stream high school, that she will have a choice of colleges to attend," she said. – Rappler.com

     


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    INSPIRING. Lucille Guiquin graduates cum laude from college despite juggling her studies and work as a household helper. Photo courtesy of Lucille Guiquin

    MANILA, Philippines – On Saturday, May 27, the photo of Lucille Guiquin graduating from college went viral on social media, inspiring many netizens for finishing college and graduating cum laude after juggling her studies and work as a household helper with the Benzon family. (The post has since been taken down) 

    Guiquin hails from Negros Occidental and came to work for the Benzons back in 2006. Her family works in a small hacienda in Talisay and after her high school graduation, she came with her aunt to Manila.

    She proved to be responsible and focused when it comes to work. 

    Roland Benzon, the head of the family said: “One of her admirable qualities is her ability to focus. She did not twiddle with her phone while caring for our son. Her attention was undivided.” He believed that Lucille’s success both as a yaya (nanny) and student came from her focus and good work ethics.

    More than deserving

    But what really proved to the Benzons that Ate Lucille, as they call her, deserved help to finish her education? 

    When Roland’s son Joshua was 6 years old and was preparing for the entrance exams, Guiquin took initiative to make a reviewer for him.

    “I looked at the reviewer and it was well-made – like a teacher made it. I was impressed that she had read the textbook and [made] a sample exam all on her own,” Benzon recounted. It was then that the family truly saw her potential.

    The Benzons later found out that Guiquin was actually the valedictorian of the public high school she attended in Bacolod. She had more than enough skills and knowledge to get into a good university, but had no means to finance it. So the Benzons made a promise.

    “After Josh turns 10, we will send you to college," they told her. 

    They kept their promise and sent Guiquin to college.

    She was worried, however, whether she had the capability to study again. Besides, it has been almost a decade since she finished high school. She was 25 by then when she entered college.

    Magre-review na lang ako bago ako mag-aral ulit,” she told herself before returning to college.  (I will just review before I enter school again).

    Ultimately, she was able to balance her duties as househelp while fulfilling her responsibilities in school. As a result, she graduated in May 2017 with flying colors, proving to the Benzons that they were right to believe in her.

    Challenges

    But her success did not come easy.

    "Noong una po, hindi naging madali ang pag-adjust ng aking schedule ng pagpasok sa school at oras ng trabaho,” she said. (At first, it wasn’t easy to adjust my schedule for going to school and work hours).

    She eventually formed a routine where she would wake up early, cook for Joshua, and get ready for school after the bus picks him up. When she gets home, she helps with the household chores then proceeds to do homework and reports.

    “Minsan po nagkakasabay ang aming exams ng alaga ko. Ginagawa po namin, siya muna rereview ko tapos ako naman," she added. (Sometimes, the exams of Joshua and I happen at the same time, so I review him first the he reviews me)

    She explains that she often gets only two to 3 hours of sleep due to school work since her colleagues would frequently depend on her as the leader of the group.

    There was a time when the Benzons' business was not doing so well and it was a test of promise whether they would continue to sustain Guiquin’s education or not.

    The Benzons did, and Guiquin was not short in showing her gratitude. She gave the Benzons a thank you card and letter after her first semester; and she studied well to become part of the Dean’s List to get a 25% discount on her tuition. For 4 semesters, she became a Dean’s Lister.

    She eventually graduated cum laude with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from STI College. As she marched to get her diploma, her aunt and the Benzons were there to support her.

    Despite the challenges, Guiquin succeeded and ended up as one of the topnotchers. She only dreamed of finishing college but she expresses her joy to be a part of the academic honors.

    She says, “proud din po ako sa sarili ko dahil nakaya ko lahat-lahat ng mga challenges sa aking buhay kahit na malayo po ako sa aking parents at mga kamag-anak, na nakaya ko pagsabayin ang pag-aaral ko at pagtatrabaho.” (I am also proud of myself for enduring all the challenges in my life even though I am far from my parents and relatives, that I was able to study and work at the same time).

    The Benzons did not see Guiquin as an outsider. They welcomed her into their family and paved the way for a better future for her. More than an act of generosity, it was discovering untapped potential for Roland Benzon.

    “I suppose most people deem our act as generous," he said. "But to me, it felt more like a calling; like a scout who spotted a talent, driven to make something out of it.” – Rappler.com 

    Patricia Dy is a Rappler intern and a feature writer at The Guidon, the official student publication of the the Ateneo de Manila University


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    DISPLACED. Residents of Marawi City fleeing the clashes between government forces and the Maute Group pass through a checkpoint in Iligan City on May 24, 2017. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – At least 55,095 people or 11,458 families have fled their homes in Marawi City since Tuesday, May 23, following clashes between government troops and the Maute Group.

    As of Sunday, May 28, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said 3,759 persons or 979 families are still staying in 13 evacuation centers, while 51,089 persons or 10,232 families have been staying in their neighbors' or relatives' houses in Northern Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

    According to DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, the agency will provide assistance to all internally displaced persons (IDPs) – both those in and outside evacuation centers.

    "As of now, they are mostly in Iligan City and they number more than the IDPs in evacuation centers. Assistance should be given to evacuees staying in their relatives' houses after undergoing validation as well," Taguiwalo said.

    AID. Humanitarian groups like the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) provide aid to thousands of evacuees affected by the armed conflict in Marawi City. Photo courtesy of PRC

    As the military offensive against the Maute Group shows no signs of slowing down, humanitarian groups like the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) have also stepped up relief efforts to help affected civilians.

    To respond to the needs of those who sought refuge in evacuation centers, the PRC has provided hot meals and clean water, as well as psychosocial support, first aid, blood supply for injured individuals, and tracing services.

    "During this time of crisis, our Red Cross staff and volunteers on the ground never waver in their humanitarian mission to deliver aid and assistance to affected families and individuals," said PRC chairman Richard Gordon.

    Seven welfare desks were also set up at the Iligan School of Fisheries, Maria Cristina Barangay Hall, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), Baloi Gym, Adventist Medical Center, Saguiaran Evacuation Center, and Kinasanghan Hi-Way-2.

    The PRC has also distributed 1,800 liters of water in evacuation centers. Some 1,000 families from Balo-i evacuation center and Lanao del Norte were also given 5,000 liters of water, while 1,900 families received 10,000 liters of water.

    "This is not the time to blame and to divide. We are all Filipinos. We are one people – one Philippines," said Gordon. – Rappler.com

    If you want to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City or if you have reports about their humanitarian needs like temporary shelter, relief goods, water, and hygiene kits, post them on the Agos map, text to 2929 (SMART and SUN), or tag MovePH on Twitter or Facebook. You may also link up with other organizations that called for donations.  


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    SYMBOLIC. The curator of Aguinaldo shrine says the Philippine flag symbolized our identity as Filipinos. All photos by Jonnel Gozo/Rappler

    CAVITE, Philippines – Respecting the national flag is a basic lesson taught during elementary days, but do we know why should we respect it?

    From May 28 to June 12, we celebrate the National Flag Days to instill in the minds and hearts of every Filipino the importance of giving respect, honor, and reverence to the Philippine flag.

    As part of the celebration, the Museo ni Emilio Aguinaldo (Aguinaldo Shrine) in Kawit, Cavite launched a flag exhibit entitled, “Sa Langit Mong Bughaw (In your blue skies).”

    The exhibit shows the history of our flag and the do’s and don’ts in displaying it. (READ:PH flag used as shade from summer heat)

    Respecting the flag

    In an interview with Rappler, Haidee Paulette Bedruz, curator of the Aguinaldo Shrine, said that the flag, more than anything, is a symbol.

    “It’s a symbol of who we are, of what happened in the past, and what it represents for us,” she said in a mix of Filipino and English. 

    Bedruz emphasized the importance of revisiting the history of the flag and be reminded of how our heroes fought for our independence. The flag reminds us that we must uphold their values and continue their legacy.

    She added that knowing the symbols of our flag will help us know how we obtained the freedom we are now enjoying. It is also a reminder of how we can be good and responsible Filipinos in the future. (READ:Philippine flag misconceptions and other trivia)

    EXHIBIT. Sa Langit Mong Bughaw: A Flag Exhibit, will be on until June 12 at the Aguinaldo Shrine

    She stressed that everyone, not only the youth, should be taught about respect for the flag. 

    “Hindi natin puwedeng sabihin na hindi nila alam, but to remind them lang na these are the rules and protocol kung paano mo irerespeto at paano mo gagamitin ang flag,” Bedruz said. (We cannot say that they do not know these rules, but to remind them that we have rules and protocol to follow to show respect for the flag.)

    She also recalled that in her generation, they would stop whenever they passed by a school that was having its flag ceremony. When they were watching a movie and the national anthem was played, they would stand and pause. These are just simple ways of showing respect for the flag.

    “These are basic rules and based on that you’ll just follow and respect the flag,” she said.

    Sa Langit Mong Bughaw: A Flag Exhibit will be on until June 12 at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite. The shrine is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 8 am to 4 pm, with no entrance fee. – Rappler.com 

    Jonnel Gozo is a Rappler intern. He is also taking up AB Communication-Broadcasting at the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Cavite.


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    MANILA, Philippines – When did you first start thinking about reproductive health (RH)? What was your experience like the first time you bought contraceptives?

    On International Women's Health Day, May 28, women from Rappler shared their personal experiences regarding contraception and RH in the Philippines as well as the issues surrounding the temporary restraining order (TRO) on contraceptive implants.

    A Supreme Court (SC) decision released last Friday, May 26, did not lift the TRO covering contraceptive implants. The SC pointed out that the ball is in the court of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (READ: TRO on implants to stay, SC blames DOH for delay)

    "After compliance with due process and upon promulgation of the decision of the Food and Drug Administration, the Temporary Restraining Order would be deemed lifted if the questioned drugs and devices are found not abortifacient," reads the SC decision.

    The SC TRO, issued in 2015, prohibited the DOH from "procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing or administering, advertising and promoting the hormonal contraceptive 'Implanon' and 'Implanon NXT.'"

    These implants, which can prevent pregnancies up to 3 years, are popular in the communities that Rappler columnist Ana Santos covers.

    "When they were given an option for birth control that will give them protection for 3 years, they loved it. That's why it became a preferred contraceptive method. It was a new reproductive technology that's why it was questioned," Santos said.

    "We shouldn't be complacent about any kind of restriction placed on the distribution of these implants," she added. (READ: Most contraceptives to run out by 2018 – PopCom)

    What does this mean for Filipinas?

    "It's 2017. We cannot have a country where birth control is being phased out right under our noses... It's incomprehensible and it's really an infringement on our right to access these medications... I think now we need to include the FDA because the ball has been passed to them. We need to knock on the doors of the FDA," Santos said.

    Rappler social media producer Marguerite de Leon echoed this call for action, saying: "There's this clear, solid clamor for reproductive health and you can't get it or it has been taken away from us. We really have to do something, we have to speak up, and talk about it."

    So, what can be done?

    Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler regional correspondent for Southeast Asia, thinks it's time to reach out to those who have misconceptions about the issue.

    "We have to rally and talk about this and really understand the [RH law] to be able to argue intelligently with people who are too lazy to read and to be able to explain to them exactly why this [implant] is not an abortifacient, and why this argument does not make any sense," she said.

    Aside from talking to your social circles, you can also reach out to the FDA, and join collective actions initiated by women's groups and organizations.  Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – To help Filipinos displaced by the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City, the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/ Caritas Philippines launched on Monday, May 29, a solidarity appeal to 85 dioceses nationwide.

    In a letter sent to bishops of the 85 dioceses, Caritas Philippines National Director Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona called for assistance to those affected by the clashes in Marawi City caused by the Maute group.

    "The national Caritas is now appealing to your generosity for any assistance to augment the needs of the internally displaced persons affected by the Marawi siege,” Tirona said.

    Caritas, the social action arm of the Catholic Church, initially released P300,000 ($6,000) to support the relief operations of the Diocese of Iligan social action center. Other dioceses in Mindanao have also started helping the Prelature of Marawi in assisting displaced families, Tirona added.

    The organization has already deployed an assessment team to Mindanao to check the needs of those affected.

    Thousands affected

    According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), more than 11,458 families or 55,000 people have fled their homes since the conflict started on Tuesday, May 23. (WATCH: How a father fled Marawi to save kids, wife in labor)

    Caritas said there are still no updates regarding the status of Marawi Vicar General Fr Chiro Suganod and 15 other civilians who were abducted by the Maute group from St Mary's Cathedral in Marawi last week.

    Catholic bishops in Mindanao have prayed and encouraged all sides to pursue peace, adding that the Martial Law in Mindanao "must be temporary."

    Those interested to help the Catholic Church's relief operations can deposit through the following bank account:

    Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands

    Branch: Intramuros, Manila

    Account Name: CBCP CARITAS FILIPINAS FOUNDATION, INC. NASSA

    Account Number: 4951-0071-08

    – Rappler.com 

    *$1 = P49.82

    If you want to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City or if you have reports about their humanitarian needs like temporary shelter, relief goods, water, and hygiene kits, post them on the Agos map, text to 2929 (SMART and SUN), or tag MovePH on Twitter or Facebook. You may also link up with other organizations that called for donations.


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    DISPLACED. A family from Marawi City rests at an evacuation center in Balo-i on May 29, 2017. Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

    MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The number of people displaced by the armed conflict in Marawi City has climbed to 71,115 or 14,313 families, said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday, May 30.

    As of 6 am Tuesday, around 10,809 people or 2,261 families were staying in 20 evacuation centers.

    Of the total displaced, around 60,306 people or 12,052 families are staying outside evacuation centers or with their relatives or friends mostly in Iligan City (3,620 persons or 724 families), Cagayan de Oro City (131 persons or 17 families), and Marawi City (56,555 persons or 11,311 families). (WATCH: How a father fled Marawi to save kids, wife in labor)

    The clashes in Marawi started with a military raid on May 23 in Barangay Basak Malutlut. Clashes erupted between soldiers and terrorists from the Maute Group, driving away most of the city's residents.

    Authorities said the terrorists have killed at least 19 civilians in Marawi, a mostly Muslim-populated city of 200,000 people. The dead include 3 women and a child whose bodies were found near a university. (LOOK: Marawi: Images from a ghost town)

    EVACUATION CENTER. Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo flies to Cagayan de Oro City on May 30 to check on the status of relief operations for families affected by the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City. Photo courtesy of DSWD

    The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the entire Mindanao to quell what he said was a fast-growing terror threat linked to the Islamic State (ISIS).

    Relief operations 

    The DSWD has already provided P30,228,710 ($606,454) worth of food and non-food items – family food packs, dignity kits, and hygiene kits among others – and P55,055,000 in funds ($1.1 million) for the evacuees. 

    Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo flew to Cagayan de Oro City on Tuesday morning, May 30, to check on the status of relief operations for families affected by the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City who evacuated to nearby provinces.

    Taguiwalo met with Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia together with DSWD Region Xl Director Nestor Ramos to discuss the provision of assistance to displaced families taking refuge in evacuation centers, staying with their relatives and friends, and those who were left stranded in Marawi City.

    The Secretary also visited the evacuation center set up in Barangay Maria Cristina Gym and in Buru-un, Iligan to check on the condition of evacuees and to lead in the distribution of non-food items such as basins, cooking pots, and water buckets. The command center of all government agencies operating on the ongoing armed conflict is located in the city. – Rappler.com

    P49.82 = $1

    If you want to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City or if you have reports about their humanitarian needs like temporary shelter, relief goods, water, and hygiene kits, post them on the Agos map, text to 2929 (SMART and SUN), or tag MovePH on Twitter or Facebook. You may also link up with other organizations that called for donations.


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    REVIEW. The Department of Transportation and other stakeholders review the implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. Photo from DOTr

    MANILA, Philippines – After the implementation of the anti-distracted driving law was suspended, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is now reviewing the law's implementing rules and regulations (IRR) following consultations with various stakeholders.

    Motoring groups, road safety advocates, transport agencies, and other stakeholders joined the technical working group (TWG) discussions on Tuesday, May 30, to discuss the coverage, prohibition, and exceptions in the IRR of Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act.

    This comes a week after the law was suspended due to confusion over the specific guidelines included in its implementation. (READ: Using cellphones while driving prohibited starting May 18)

    Motorists, in particular, questioned the DOTr's definition of "line of sight" in its guidelines specifying where gadgets may be placed inside a moving vehicle.

    "The IRR is faithful to the law. But we are here to clarify issues raised during the implementation stage, especially issues with regard to exceptions," said Leah Quiambao, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs.

    Among the topics the TWG discussed were the motorist's responsibilities once he gets behind the wheel, enforcement of the law, the use of built-in navigational devices as opposed to handheld devices, and the placement of mobile devices when used as a navigational tool.

    "We had a very healthy discussion. Some very important matters were raised and resolved. The key here is that we do not move away from the spirit of the law which is to keep our motorists and people around them safe," Quiambao said.

    The DOTr said a revised IRR will be drafted and will be submitted soon for publication. A public information campaign will also be held before the enforcement of the law.

    Among those who attended the TWG discussions were representatives from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI), Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), Philippine Global Road Safety Partnership (PGRSP), ImagineLaw, Uber Philippines, Grab Philippines, World Health Organization (WHO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). – Rappler.com


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    INSIDE C3. Pasig City responders monitor CCTV cameras in different barangays for emergency and disaster incidents. File photo by Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines – Which municipalities, cities, and provinces deserve to be recognized for their disaster risk reduction and management initiatives?

    On June 8, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) will hold the 18th Gawad Kalasag National Awarding Ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

    Gawad Kalasag is the country's premier annual awards for outstanding contributions in the fields of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and humanitarian assistance.

    A total of 58 awards will be given to individuals and groups from various sectors.

    Since its inception in 1998, the Gawad Kalasag award has been conferred on 199 local DRRM councils, 66 national government organizations, 31 individuals, and 211 groups or institutions.

    ALWAYS READY. In this file photo, OCD-CAR's Kapitan Alerto teaches Puguis Elementary School students about disaster preparedness. Photo courtesy of OCD-CAR

    For two straight years, South Cotabato has won the provincial level Gawad Kalasag award for helping mitigate the impacts of climate change by improving its irrigation system.

    About 30 awardees have been included in the Hall of Fame, such as the town of San Jose de Buenavista in Antique which bagged for 3 straight years the Best Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council for the 1st to 3rd Class Municipality Category.

    In 2012, Pasig City also entered the Hall of Fame as Best Government Emergency Response Managers. A year later, it was named the Best City Disaster Council.

    Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the chairperson of the NDRRMC, will lead the awarding ceremony. – Rappler.com 


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    HELP NEEDED. Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo gives relief goods to an evacuee from Marawi City. Photo from the Department of Social Welfare and Development

    MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it will work with local government units (LGUs) and other government agencies to better manage evacuation centers as well as provide improved services to families displaced by the Marawi City crisis.

    "We need to improve our camp management to incorporate child-friendly spaces, breastfeeding nooks, and prayer rooms, especially that most of the evacuees are Muslims who are observing the Ramadan," DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said on Wednesday, May 31.

    Taguiwalo had led the distribution of non-food items and cooking utensils on Tuesday, May 30, to enable evacuees to cook their own food.

    "The provision of cooking utensils is especially important because it is Ramadan and our Maranao kababayans (countrymen) are fasting and have their own ways of how and when to break their fast," the DSWD chief said.

    The crisis in Marawi City started with a military raid on May 23. Clashes erupted between soldiers and terrorists from the Maute Group, driving away thousands of families.

    "Maraming mga senior citizens at mga bata, kasama na ang mga sanggol, sa evacuation centers. Kaya naman laging nakatuon ang pansin ng DSWD sa mga kababayan nating evacuees at aalalayan sila hangga't kailangan nila ang ating tulong at hangga't hindi sila nakakabalik sa kanilang mga tirahan," Taguiwalo said.

    (There are many senior citizens, children, and infants in the evacuation centers. This is why we are continuously monitoring the condition of the evacuees and assisting them until they can finally return to their respective homes.)

    Assistance provided

    The DSWD has so far provided P36,377,610 worth of relief assistance to the evacuees.

    Each family food pack contains 6 kilos of rice, 4 cans of corned beef, 4 cans of sardines, and 6 sachets of coffee. Also being distributed are high-energy biscuits, bottled water, dignity kits, sleeping mats, blankets, malong, mosquito nets, and kitchen utensils.

    The DSWD Central Office has also provided a total of P60,055,000 to its field offices in Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and Caraga.

    According to the report of the DSWD-Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB) as of 6 am on Wednesday, the number of affected residents in Marawi City has increased to 92,628 people or 18,609 families. Of this number, 13,194 people or 2,722 families are staying in 22 evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.

    "Patuloy po nating inaabutan ng tulong ang mga kababayan nating naapektuhan ng armadong tunggalian na nasa evacuation centers at iyong tumutuloy sa kanilang mga kaibigan at kamag-anak. Ginagawa natin ang lahat upang maabot at mahatiran ng tulong ang lahat ng apektado lalo na iyong wala sa [evacuation centers]," Taguiwalo said.

    (We are continuously extending aid to our countrymen affected by the armed conflict, those in the evacuation centers and those staying with their friends and relatives. We are doing our best to reach and help all affected residents, especially those outside the evacuation centers.) – Rappler.com

    If you want to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City or if you have reports about their humanitarian needs like temporary shelter, relief goods, water, and hygiene kits, post them on the Agos map, text to 2929 (SMART and SUN), or tag MovePH on Twitter or Facebook. You may also link up with other organizations that called for donations.


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    CAGAYAN, Philippines – Do you feel safe while traveling along the roads of Cagayan Valley?

    In 2014, the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded a total of 682 deaths from motor vehicle crashes in the region – it has the most affected population in terms of road crash fatalities.

    In the Philippines, latest government data show, 8,666 people died from road injuries in 2014. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Road crashes in the Philippines)

    The country has a number of laws aimed at protecting road usersm, but the lack of proper implementation has been a persistent problem.

    How can we make our roads safer?

    Road safety awareness

    Rappler, together with the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids, launched a campaign on road safety at the Rappler newsroom in Pasig City on May 8. (LOOK: Road Safety Awareness microsite)

    The aim of the campaign is to promote the enactment and enforcement of better policies that will protect road users.

    On Wednesday, June 7, the second leg of the caravan will be held at the Bulwagang Teodoro Domingo at the University of St Louis in Tuguegarao City from 1 pm to 5 pm.

    Here is the program:

    TIME

    ACTIVITY

    12:00 - 1:00

    Registration

    1:00 - 1:05

    Opening ceremonies

    1:05 - 1:15

    Welcome Remarks

    Rupert Ambil II
    Executive Director
    Move PH

    1:15 - 1:35

    ROAD SAFETY IN THE PHILIPPINES

    PSUPT Oliver Sy Tanseco, Ph.D.
    Dep HRMDDD/C, DLOS
    Highway Patrol Group

    1:35 - 3:40

    PANEL DISCUSSION: How do we make Philippine roads safer?

    PANELISTS

    Engr. Joel Atilano
    Planning Office
    Department of Public Works and Highways Region II

    Nasrudin Talipasan
    Director
    Land Transportation Office Region II

    PCI Michael Bongtayon
    Provincial Chief
    Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group Cagayan

    MODERATORS

    Gemma Mendoza
    Head, Research and Content Strategy
    Rappler, Inc

    Voltaire Tupaz
    Editor
    Move PH

    3:40 - 3:50

    SYNTHESIS AND CLOSING REMARKS

    Gemma Mendoza
    Head, Research and Content Strategy
    Rappler, Inc

    3:50 - 4:00

    Photo taking

     4:00 - 5:00 Networking

    For those interested to attend, you can get your tickets here:

    {source}

    <div style="width:100%; text-align:left;"><iframe src="//eventbrite.com/tickets-external?eid=34967815678&ref=etckt" frameborder="0" height="275" width="100%" vspace="0" hspace="0" marginheight="5" marginwidth="5" scrolling="auto" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><div style="font-family:Helvetica, Arial; font-size:12px; padding:10px 0 5px; margin:2px; width:100%; text-align:left;" ><a class="powered-by-eb" style="color: #ADB0B6; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank" href="http://www.eventbrite.com/">Powered by Eventbrite</a></div></div>

    {/source}

    How can we help curb the alarming number of motor vehicle crash incidents? Let us know your thoughts by writing onX or by posting with the hashtag #SaferRoadsPH on Facebook or Twitter!

    Rappler.com

    Learn more about Filipinos' safety on the road by visiting the Road Safety Awareness microsite.


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    HELP FOR MARAWI. DSWD personnel prepare to load donations from students of the University of the Philippines for families affected by the Marawi crisis. Photo from DSWD

    MANILA, Philippines – As the Marawi crisis enters its 10th day, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it is willing to facilitate donations in cash and in kind for residents affected by the armed conflict.

    As of Wednesday, May 31, the number of affected residents in Marawi City has increased to 92,628 people or 18,609 families. Of this number, 13,194 people or 2,722 families are staying in 22 evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. (READ: DSWD: Improvements needed in shelters for Marawi evacuees)

    The crisis in Marawi City started with a military raid on May 23. Clashes erupted between soldiers and terrorists from the Maute Group, driving away thousands of families.

    The DSWD has provided P36,377,610 worth of relief assistance to the evacuees as of Wednesday. The department's Central Office has also provided a total of P60,055,000 to its field offices in Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and Caraga.

    More help needed

    The public can send in-kind donations to the DSWD National Resource Operations Center (NROC) along Chapel Road, Pasay City. Of priority are halal food (beef, chicken, or fish) such as instant noodles in chicken or beef flavors, as well as corned beef and sardines. Those interested to help are also encouraged to donate hijab, taqiyah, and other Muslim clothing, toiletries, and bottled water.

    Cash donations can be deposited to the following accounts:

    DSWD Dollar Saving Account for Foreign Donation

    Account Name:   DSWD FOREIGN DONATION

    Account Number: 3124-0055-81

    Swift Code: TLBPPHMMXXX

    Bank Address: Land Bank of the Philippines, Batasan Branch, Constitution Hills, Quezon City

    Peso Current Account

    Account Name: DSWD DONATION

    Account Number: 3122-1011-84

    Bank Address: Land Bank of the Philippines, Batasan Branch, Constitution Hills, Quezon City 

    Donors should notify the DSWD Finance Management Service (FMS) or Cash Division (CD) of their donation through phone or email. Kindly send the validated deposit slip together with your information (name, nationality, and address) to finance@dswd.gov.ph and cash@dswd.gov.ph or fax to 9318127. – Rappler.com 

    If you want to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City or if you have reports about their humanitarian needs like temporary shelter, relief goods, water, and hygiene kits, post them on the Agos map, text to 2929 (SMART and SUN), or tag MovePH on Twitter or Facebook. You may also link up with other organizations that called for donations.


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    MANILA, Philippines – The clashes between the military and local terrorists in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur are affecting elementary and high school students in Mindanao.

    About 5,000 learners fled the crisis-hit city with their families, the Department of Education (DepEd) said on Thursday, June 1, the 10th day of the clashes.

    To date, the number of affected residents in Marawi City has reached more than 92,000 people or about 18,700 families. They left their villages to seek refuge in nearby cities and provinces, according to the DSWD-Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB).

    President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, following clashes between the military and the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)

    How will the declaration of martial law affect the opening of classes in Mindanao? What is the situation of learners who evacuated Marawi City? What help do they need?

    Rappler will be talking to Education Secretary Leonor Briones soon. Send your questions on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #OplanBalikEskwela.

    MovePH, through the disaster and emergency platform Agos, powered by eBayanihan, is closely monitoring the humanitarian situation in areas affected by the ongoing conflict in Marawi City. – Rappler.com

     


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    This page will be updated with information on how the public can help, as details come in.

    MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Various groups are calling for donations after clashes erupted between the military and the Maute Group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

    Several hours into the clashes on Tuesday, May 23, the situation worsened as fires broke out and power was cut. Residents posted photos of Maute Group members with the flag of the international terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS).

    Before the day ended, President Rodrigo Duterte had declared martial law in Mindanao. (TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)

    As of 6 am on Friday, June 2, the Department of Social Welfare and Development said the ongoing armed conflict has affected a total of 100,289 people or 19,978 families. (READ: How a father fled Marawi to save kids, wife in labor) 

    Agos, powered by eBayanihan, a crowdsourcing platform during disasters and emergencies, has been monitoring the humanitarian situation on the ground since the clashes broke out.

    Here's how you can help:

    Chevening Alumni Foundation of the Philippines 

    On Sunday, May 28, the Chevening Alumni Foundation of the Philippines, Inc (CAFPI) responded to the call of BTC Commissioner Maisara Dandamun-Latiph, CAFPI trustee and member of the Young Muslim Professionals Northern Mindanao (YMPNM), to help evacuees from Marawi City. Evacuees need of food, water, and medicines.

    YMPNM is directly providing relief operations in Mindanao. CAFPI will collect pledges from its members until Monday, May 29, and advance the amount to YMPNM on May 30. All pledges should be deposited to the CAFPI bank account by June 16.

    A financial report will be shared to CAFPI members end of July.

    As seed fund, CAFPI pledges P5,000.

    Please go to bit.ly/cafpi4marawi to register your pledge.

    The CAFPI bank account details are as follows:

    Account Name : CHEVENING ALUMNI FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC
    Account Number : 3351-01126-6
    Bank: Philippine National Bank (PNB)
    Branch: Makati C. Palanca Branch

    We are one with Marawi

    The Creative and Learning Paths School, YGoal is a consulting agency,  and the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement Inc, are accepting donations for Relief Operations and Psychosocial Activities for Children. They are accepting the following in-kind donations: 

    • Stuffed Toys (except pig for religious sensitivity purposes for our Muslim children)
    • Art Supplies ( sketchpad, pencils and crayons)
    • Hygiene Kits (Soap, Shampoo, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Sanitary Napkins) 

    For cash donations, interested donors may deposit to: 

    • Account Number: 000040837270
    • Account Name: Teach Peace Build Peace Movement Inc.
    • Branch: SM Makati
    • Bank: BDO

    Here are the available drop off locations: 

    TPBPM PEACE HOME ( QUEZON CITY) 
    ADDRESS: 55 Esteban Abada St., Brgy. Loyola Hts. Quezon City
    Contact Person: Bernadette Fernandez
    Contact Number: 0915840230

    YGOAL OFFICE ( MAKATI CITY)
    ADDRESS: Unit 207 Robelle Hotel 877 JP Rizal St, Makati City
    Contact Person: JR Demecais
    Contact Number: 09954487661

    For details please contact Ate Badet at 09158480230 or email secretariat@teachpeacebuildpeace.com
     

    Tulong Kabataan

    Tulong Kabataan is calling for donations for those affected by the clashes. They are accepting the following items:

    • Halal food
      • Ready-to-eat, canned goods (no meatloaf, sausages)
    • Non-food items
      • Hijab, fully-covered clothes
      • Blankets
      • Toiletries, sanitary napkins
      • Medicine, first-aid kids
      • Cash

    Donations may be dropped off at the following areas: 

    • CASSC Office, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines (UP) Manila
    • Office of the Student Regent, Vinzons Hall, UP Diliman
    • Room 19E, One Burgundy Residences, Katipunan Avenue
    • UPLB USC Office, Room 10, Student Union Building, UP Los Baños

    For more details, contact the following:

    • Adrian Puse (KPL) – 09162266436
    • Pat Cierva (UPM) – 09352950875
    • Lee Jann Abes (UPM) – 09167220210 
    • Sam Vizcarra (UPD) – 09175420918
    • Marvin Santiago – 09177943055
    • Mackie Valenzuela (UPLB) – 09052084934

    Cash donations can also be sent to the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, through Philippine Postal Savings Bank account number 0001-003036-211.

    Ateneo Sanggunian

    Ateneo de Manila University's student council is organizing a relief operations drive on Wednesday, May 24, from 8 am onwards at the Manuel V. Pangilinan Center for Student Leadership Room 200.

    The Sanggunian is also accepting the following goods:

    • Blankets
    • Canned goods/non-perishables (halal)
    • Water
    • Clothes

    The drive is open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

    Student Council Alliance of the Philippines

    The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) will be launching a national donation drive.

    Interested groups and individuals may send an email to SCAP at scap.neb@gmail.com or contact Francis (09322284155) or Isaac (09083151257).

    Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership

    Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership is now working with the Office of Vice President Leni Robredo to help displaced families in Marawi.

    Donations needed:

    • Food packs
    • Hygiene kits
    • Medicine
    • Batteries

    Interested donors can send donations to their office at 21 Kaliraya St., Brgy. Dona Josefa, QC. For more inquiries, contact Bea at (02) 2561446 or send an email at knmovement@gmail.com

    Office of the Vice President 

    Vice President Leni Robredo has also directed her office to prepare relief operations for the residents of Marawi City. 

    Ateneo de Naga University 

    The Ateneo de Naga University student school government is calling for donations for those affected by the attacks in Marawi. They are accepting the following: 

    • Halal food
    • Non-food items (hijab, blankets, fully covered clothes, toiletries, sanitary napkins, medicine, first aid kits)

    They are setting up a  donation booth at AdNU-SSG Office, 2nd Floor of Xavier Hall. 

    For details and/or inquiries, you may contact the following:
    Bianca Melanie Medenilla Montero - 0977 200 2536
    Adnu-Ssg Kasurog - 0927 517 3369

    Tabang Sibilyan - Visayas 

    The Tabang Sibilyan - Visayas is now reactivated for the purpose of sending aid to the Marawi Clash. This is in a close coordination with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao - Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team.

    As of the moment, they are temporarily located at the Conference Room, Room 202, JRDC Building, Osmena Boulevard, Cebu City.  

    They are prioritizing the following donations: 

    • Water
    • Food Packs (Halal)
    • Raw Materials for Community Kitchen
    • Hygiene Kits
    • Clothing

    For questions and other concerns, reach them through 09089001678.

    Save The Children

    International NGO Save the Children (STC) said on Friday, June 2, that it will be providing education, child protection, and hygiene services for Marawi’s children. STC will be providing protective spaces where children can freely study, play, and go back to normalcy through psychological first aid.

    Those interested to help can visit this page to donate– Rappler.com

    If you want to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City or if you have reports about their humanitarian needs like temporary shelter, relief goods, water, and hygiene kits, post them on the Agos map, text to 2929 (SMART and SUN), tag MovePH on Twitter or Facebook, or email details to move.ph@rappler.com.


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    MANILA, Philippines – Non-governmental organizations are still hopeful about combating climate change even as US President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord on Thursday, June 1. 

    "It may be disturbing for the the United States to leave the Paris Agreement, but the rest of the world are standing up. Grassroots communities shall (link arms) arms together, and vulnerable countries like the Philippines shall continue demanding for climate justice," The Climate Reality Project Philippines Manager Rodne Galicha said in a statement on Friday, June 2.

    He added: "While urging our own governments to sustain our commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, our villages, local governments, and communities are beginning to take drastic actions to address climate crisis bottom-up."

    Trump's decision sent shockwaves among governments and climate change activists around the world. The Philippine government has urged the US president to reconsider its withdrawal from the agreement.

    "The US, as the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and more importantly, one of the world leaders, would have played a key role in creating the much needed global paradigm shift towards a more climate-resilient and climate-smart future," the Climate Change Commission (CCC) said in a statement.

    Hope remains

    The Climate Reality Project, a group founded by former US Vice President Al Gore, encouraged counties, cities, and states in the US to reject Trump's decision and continue the fight for the planet.

    "Let us unite our efforts together, learning from the errors of the past, addressing the needs of the present and face the challenges of the future, within the carrying capacity of nature, without compromising the capacity of the next generations to survive," Galicha said.

    US cities and states defied Trump's decision. Democratic-led states of California, New York, and Washington pledged to uphold the global accord's goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

    Holding polluters accountable

    Meanwhile, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Director Naderev Saño said this day should be remembered as the time when the US "turned its back on those who needed its leadership, ambition, and compassion."

    He added: “We in the Philippines are on the frontlines of climate change and will hold the polluters accountable for the suffering and injustice global warming is already inflicting upon our people. We are not alone though. Our global community will take action, and is already taking action, with or without the US government.” 

    The Paris Agreement on Climate Change is the first-ever legally-binding global deal on climate change signed by 194 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (FULL COVERAGE: Climate change)

    The agreement was adopted during the COP21 climate change conference in Paris, France, in December 2015. – Rappler.com


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    DISPLACED. Soldiers escort rescued civilians at a village on the outskirts of Marawi on May 31, 2017. Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

    MANILA, Philippines – Relief assistance has reached residents stranded inside the besieged Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced on Friday, June 2.

    "The Provincial Social Welfare Development Office (PSWDO) of Lanao del Sur reported that the residents were very happy to see them delivering the family food packs (on Thursday). They conducted relief distribution until the evening," Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said. 

    The crisis in Marawi City started with a military raid on May 23. Clashes erupted between soldiers and terrorists from the Maute Group, driving away thousands of families. 

    The DSWD has since provided more than P36.3 million worth of relief assistance to the evacuees as of Wednesday, May 31. The department's Central Office has also provided a total of P60,055,000 to its field offices in Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and Caraga. 

    The Central Office earlier sent 10,000 family food packs and non-food items to affected families in the city. (READ: How to help Marawi through DSWD)

    As of 6 am on Friday, the DSWD-Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB) said the ongoing armed conflict has affected more than 100,200 people or about 20,000 families.

    Of this number, about 14,000 people or 3,000 families are still taking refuge in 24 identified evacuation centers, while nearly 86,300 people or 17,000 families are staying with their relatives and friends in Lanao Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur, and Cotabato. (READ: DSWD: Improvements needed in shelters for Marawi evacuees)

    "The DSWD continues to assist the affected families both in the evacuation centers and those staying outside evacuation centers. Yesterday, our staff from Field Office XII distributed food packs, hygiene kits, and malong to Marawi residents who fled to their relatives and friends in Koronadal City, South Cotabato,” Taguiwalo said.

    She added: “We maintain our close coordination with the LGUs to reach and extend aid to all affected families. We will assist them until they can return to their respective homes and bounce back to their normal lives." (WATCH: How a father fled Marawi to save kids, wife in labor– Rappler.com

    If you want to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi City or if you have reports about their humanitarian needs like temporary shelter, relief goods, water, and hygiene kits, post them on the Agos map, text to 2929 (SMART and SUN), or tag MovePH on Twitter or Facebook. You may also link up with other organizations that called for donations.


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