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    LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines  – On Thursday, October 5, the country's education community honored the invaluable contribution of teachers in everybody's life and to the nation in general. 

    With society divided by the current political situation, Filipino netizens came out united to convey a single message: Thank you, teacher. 

    On Facebook, several students posted pictures of their teachers with a message telling how the mentors touched their lives.  

    According to Facebook user Michelle Ulanday, the common thing between a soldier and a teacher is the willingness to sacrifice their lives for others, further noting that not every person can do that easily and they're also a major part of our country. (READ: Teachers making a difference in a 21st century way)

    {source}

    <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmitsui.707%2Fposts%2F1440476256036526&width=500" width="500" height="395" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>

    {/source}

    John Paul Lozarito Hablado described teachers as educational brokers, capable communicators, motivators, loco parents, and servant leaders with outstretched arms to hone their students.

    "Teachers are some of the most selfless, giving and caring creatures of this planet," he said in a Facebook post  (READ: LOOK: UST students pay tribute to teachers the grandest way)

    {source}

    <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjphablado%2Fposts%2F1552834688117852&width=500" width="500" height="269" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>

    {/source}

    On Twitter, the hashtag #ThankYouTeacher trended around 10:00 am on Thursday.

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThankYouTeacher?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThankYouTeacher</a> is trending! Keep your messages coming and let our teachers feel our gratitude :) <a href="https://t.co/VQEAubR7X1">pic.twitter.com/VQEAubR7X1</a></p>&mdash; Raisa Serafica (@raisaserafica) <a href="https://twitter.com/raisaserafica/status/915750558861950976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 5, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    Maria Exandra, on Twitter, thanked her teachers who stood as her second parents despite being a stubborn student then. (READ: To Teachers)

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="tl" dir="ltr">Sa lahat ng naging teachers ko, alam kong sobrang pasaway ako noon pero sobrang salamat dahil tumayo kayong magulang ko. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/thankyouteacher?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#thankyouteacher</a></p>&mdash; Maria Exandra (@mawiaexandwa) <a href="https://twitter.com/mawiaexandwa/status/915775402647232512?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 5, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    Another Twitter user attributed his success in life to all his teachers. 

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you Ma&#39;ams and Sirs for helping me in becoming the person I am today. I&#39;ll be forever grateful. Happy Teacher&#39;s Day! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThankYouTeacher?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThankYouTeacher</a></p>&mdash; Harold (@iam_hrldkm) <a href="https://twitter.com/iam_hrldkm/status/915756349220204545?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 5, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    Many netizens also brought to social media their message of thanks and grattude to their mentors. Here are some of the tweets collated by MovePH. 

    {source}

    <a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/915603372056616965?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThankYouTeacher 2017 - Curated tweets by MovePH</a> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    About 5,000 teachers from all over the country gathered in Legazpi City in Albay to celebrate the National Teachers’ Day today.

    The theme for this year’s Teachers’ Day – "Gurong Pilipino, Ka-akbay sa Progreso" – recognized the role of teachers in honing the full potential of student towards nation-building

    Then President Benigno Aquino signed Republic Act 10743 declaring every 5th day of October as National Teachers' Day in line with the celebration of International Teachers' Day happening on the same day. (READ: I am a Teacher) –Rappler.com

     


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    SUMMA CUM LAUDE. Jay Nelson Corbita is one of the brightest in Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. Photo from XU

    CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The son of a janitor and a snacks vendor who graduated summa cum laude from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan topped the 2017 mechanical engineering board exams.

    Jay Nelson Corbita may have always excelled academically but the biggest lessons in life – like the value of hard work and simple living – he learned from his parents. 

    Corbita's father was a janitor in a private school near their home, while his mother sold ice candies, hotcakes, and banana cue. 

    Love your family

    He was raised to never have an idle moment and to study hard, especially when it came to preparing for exams.

    It was because of his parents' persistence and guidance that Corbita graduated from elementary as class valedictorian and was able to get a scholarship at Holy Cross High School in Bukidnon.

    His two brothers influenced his choice for college course. (READ: 5 valedictorians in the family)

    "My brothers influenced me to take mechanical engineering. During the time when I had to choose a program, one of them was already a licensed mechanical engineer and another was a graduating mechanical engineering student. Aside from the free books I can get from them as references, they could also give me pieces of advice in one way or another as I take my course," Corbita said.

    "Ever since we were little, our parents always taught us to help each other in times of problems and to share what we have with each other. My parents were the ones who disciplined me to work hard in school, especially when it comes to studying. Besides being disciplinarians, they always found time to bond with me and my siblings," he added.

    His parents would often joke around with them, the children, especially when they had nothing to do after work. (READ: 15 hard lessons fresh grads learn from first jobs out of college)

    When it comes to his siblings, Corbita said: “We treat each other more like a barkada (friends). We often have petty fights but after those, we end up bonding with each other. We usually spend our bonding time through playing basketball."

    But as Corbita entered college those bonding moments as a complete family became rare and far apart. 

    "This was due to the demands of my brothers' jobs. Currently, my eldest brother works as a sales agent based in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, and usually, he can only come home at least twice a month. My other brother has his own family already. But in spite of the distance, we always see to it that we regularly communicate with each other. We always see to it that we maintain that close family ties that we always had."

    Pressure and success

    Corbita described his student life as "a life in pursuit of academic excellence and quality learning."

    "As a valedictorian back in high school, a lot of things were really expected of me, especially by my high school teachers. When I entered college, I really had that big dream of graduating a summa cum laude. At first, I had a lot of doubts. But when I received my final grades in my first semester in college, I realized that I could make that dream come true."

    With a boost of confidence and "pressure" from almost everyone he knew, he thought of that dream all the time. 

    "At the start of every semester, I always have that personal vision of getting an A in the subjects I will take. I would spend nights without sleep just to keep up with that vision. But aside from the academic excellence, I also have that passion for learning."

    When he became his batch's summa cum laude, Corbita next visualized topping the mechanical engineering board exam. That too, came true. – Rappler.com

    This story was first published on the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan website.


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    LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – "Kaligayahan namin kapag bumabalik sila [mga estudyante] na successful na (We're elated when our students come back successful)."

    These are the words of Paterno Fadrilan, a Math and social studies elementary school teacher for 25 years now. He was one of the few who agreed to be interviewed and have his picture taken during the National Teacher's Day celebration on Thusday, October 5, at the Ibalong Centrum in this city.

    Fadrilan said a teacher or mentor derives the greatest sense of fulfillment when a pupil becomes successful. (READ: #ThankYouTeacher: Netizens praise second parents, mentors)

    He said chose the profession because he wants to impart his knowledge to the youth who will be the future leaders of the country.

    "Binibigyan namin sila ng magandang kinabukasan (We are giving them a good future)," Fadrilan added.  

    Fadrilan was among the thousands of teachers honored on October 5 which, under Republic Act No. 10743, is National Teachers' Day. The Department of Education (DepEd) led the celebration to thank Filipino teachers for their passion and sacrifice in honing the youth. (IN PHOTOS: A daylong tribute to the country's teachers)

    Why teachers teach 

    NATIONAL TEACHER'S DAY. Paterno Fadrilan has been a teacher for 25 years. Photo by Rappler

    "Bakit tayo nagtuturo (Why do we teach)?" Education Secretary Leonor Briones asked this question in the middle of her speech on National Teachers' Day.  (READ: DepEd hosts National Teachers’ Day celebration in Legazpi City)

    Briones, a former teacher herself, noted the hard life of teachers but their hard work and love are being reciprocated as well.

    "Ang ginagawa ng teachers ay hindi nasusukat ng pera. Ito ay expression ng pagmamahal (The work of teachers cannot be measured by money. It is an expression of love)," she said.

    Addressing parents, this time, Briones said, "The best way to teach our children values, good morals, citizenship, human rights, is to exercise them." 

    She said that world leaders are all products of teachers.   

    "I congratulate you all...for what you have produced – the greatest pride of a teacher. When you see a senator, a congressman, or a mayor, or a great man and you can claim you taught him or her, then the country owes you," Briones said in a mix of English and Filipino. 

    According to Briones, there are 687,225 teachers attending to the needs of the 26,629,845 learners in the country.

    Day of celebration 

    Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali echoed Briones' message.

    Ang uri ng bansa na mayroon tayo ngayon ay dahil po sa mga guro natin na siyang naghubog ng kaisipan ng ating kabataan kahapon. Kung kaya’t ang ating bansa natin bukas ay dahil po sa uri ng mga guro – mahuhusay, magagaling, may malasakit – na katulad po ninyo ngayon,” Umali told the teachers.

     TRIBUTE. The Department of Education honors teachers on National Teachers' Day

    (The kind of country we have now is because of our teachers ,who mold the minds of the youth. That is why our country, in the future, would also be based on teachers  who are excellent, caring – just like you.) 

    Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, who was at the celebration, welcomed the teachers to the province known for its good ecological waste management and disaster risk reduction and management practices.

    Salceda shared that both his parents were teachers.

    “I was born to two teachers. So I owe my whole life to teachers. I am here to thank you. In doing so, I thank my father and mother,” Salceda said.

    On Thursday morning, October 5,  teachers were also serenaded by various local talents in Legazpi City.

    They also showcased their talents in singing and dancing in "Teachers’ Got Talent." – with reports from Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com


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    LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – On Thursday, October 5, thousands of teachers were freed from their usual schedule of lectures and were treated to a day of celebration filled with music, performances, meaningful tributes, and inspiring stories. 

    Over 6,000 teachers from all over the Philippines trooped to the City of Fun and Adventure in Legazpi City, for the annual celebration of National Teachers’ Day. The Department of Education (DepEd) led the celebration to pay tribute to the country's teachers.  (READ: #ThankYouTeacher: Netizens praise second parents, mentors

    During the celebration, the DepEd recognized the important role teachers play in honing the potential of the next generation towards positive change and nationbuilding. 

    "I congratulate you all...for what you have produced – the greatest pride of a teacher. When you see a senator, a congressman, or a mayor, or a great man and you can claim you taught him or her, then the country owes you," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in mix of English and Filipino.

    Under Republic Act Number 10743, October 5 is National Teachers' Day, in line with with World Teachers' Day observed on the same day.  (READ: DepEd hosts National Teachers’ Day celebration in Legazpi City)

    Here are photos from the daylong celebration:

    TRIBUTE. Students from Legazpi City showcase the region's festivities through dance and music. All photos by Vee Salazar/Rappler

     

    TALENT. Teachers showcase their talent as they serenade fellow teachers during the National Teachers' Day celebration at Ibalong Centrum in Legazpi City

    WELCOME. Congressman Joey Salceda of the 2nd District of Albay welcomes teachers to Legazpi City during the celebration of the National Teachers' Day. He says he is a product of two teachers.

    TRIBUTE. A teacher takes a photo of a rose handed to him by the Department of Education at the celebration

    EDUCATION CHIEF. Education Secretary Leonor Briones recognizes the role teachers play in the positive change the country aspires to achieve

    BREATHER FROM THE CLASSROOM. Teachers watch the program at the sidelines of the National Teachers' Day celebration in Legazpi City

    STAMPS. PhilPost turns over special commemorative stamps to the Department of Education, through Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali (L) and Secretary Leonor Briones (center) during the National Teachers' Day celebration

    FLOWERS. The Department of Education distributes flowers to over 6,000 teachers who attended the National Teachers' Day celebration in Legazpi City.

    How did your teacher contribute to the person you are today? What is your message for your teachers? Share them on X, Rappler's self-publishing platform. – Rappler.com 


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     DYNASTY OF TEACHERS. In her speech during the National Teachers' Day celebration in Legazpi City, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones shares that she came from a dynasty of teachers. All photos by Vee Salazar/Rappler

    LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – On Thursday evening, October 5, Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones stood on the podium at Ibalong Centrum in Legazpi City. Like always, maybe out of habit, she delivered her speech during the celebration of National Teachers’ Day as if she was giving a lecture in class with the audience of 6,000 teachers as her students.

    Briones, after all, boasts of a wealth of teaching experience and engagements at different educational institutions on her resume. 

    In 2013, she was conferred the status of Professor Emeritus at the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) in UP Diliman after teaching at the state university for decades. She also served as a regent at the Universidad de Manila and as Chairman at the Silliman University Board of Trustees from 2001 until 2016. 

    But, of course, Briones was wearing a different hat on that Thursday night – that of the secretary at the helm of the education department. 

    A dynasty of teachers 

    In a way, the National Teachers’ Day, established in January 2016 through the signing of RA 10473, felt like a tribute to the education secretary’s whole clan – something which she described as a “dynasty of teachers.” 

    For one, her mother served as a Grade 2 teacher all her life. During the war, teaching did not stop for Briones' mother who used banana leaves as paper and bamboo sticks as pen in teaching kids who evacuated to the mountains. It was around this time, in an early age of 3 years old, when Briones learned how to write. 

    “By the time I entered school at 4 years old, I was accelerated twice. I already knew how to read and write,” Briones said.

    Her father, on the other hand, taught Science in a public high school. 

    It was through this upbringing that Briones earned a deep respect for teachers. So it came as no surprise that she eventually pursued the same career path and, in 2016, eventually led the whole department in charge of public education. (READ: We owe our country's success to teachers – Briones

    ‘Always learn something new’

    The 77-year old education secretary highlighted the role of 687,225 teachers play towards nation-building and in honing the potential of more than 26 million learners across the archipelago.

    This is why Briones urged teachers to strive and continue to learn. (READ: #ThankYouTeacher: Netizens praise second parents, mentors)

    “Kung gusto natin na matuto ang ating mga learners, kailangan maglearn din tayo. Walang katapusan ang learning para sa learners, so wala ring katapusan sa mga teachers,” Briones said. 

    LEARNERS. DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones urges teachers to continue learning every day.

    According to Briones, the challenge for teachers is to instill critical thinking among their students. Teachers can only learn along their learners, she added, through constant education. At age 77, Briones shared that she still learns something new every day. 

    She cited the DepEd circular memo that they released in June 2017, mandating DepEd field offices to study and teach gender issues.

    This reminder to continue learning comes on the heels of a recent study released by non-governmental organization Philippine Business for Education (PBEd).

    According to the study, around half of the teacher education institutions (TEIs), or schools which offer education courses for aspiring teachers in the country, have been performing poorly in the licensure examinations from 2009 to 2017, with a “dismal” 31% passing rate. 

    The study showed that 497 out of 1,024 TEIs who had graduates take the elementary examination under LET performed below the national passing rate. The same goes for 637 out of 1,258 TEIs for the secondary examination. 

    Teacher to education secretary

    According to Briones being a teacher helped her in her management of the Department of Education.

    "Malaking tulong kasi, una, alam ko how they think and how they behave. Pangalawa, bilang isang guro, ako ang pagtuturo ko ay research based. Kaya pinagaaralan ko, yung behavior ng mga teachers," Briones said. 

    (It was of great help because, first, I know how they think and behave. Second, as a teacher, my strategy is research-based. That is why I am studying about the behavior of teachers)

    Yung pinagikutan kong mundo ay mundo ng teacher. Naririnig ko yung istorya, yung hirap nila, yung pangungutang, yung paggawa ng teaching aides noon,” Briones added.  

    (My world revolved around teachers. I hear their stories, the challenges they face, the poor circumstance, and the difficulty in creating teaching aides)

    But things are different, nowadays. Bck in the day, Briones' mother would earn only up to P120 per month. Teachers were often always buried in debts. 

    At present, the starting salary of public school teachers is pegged at around P19,000 per month. If benefits and allowances are included, their monthly take-home pay may total up to P23,000.  

    Briones cited a study conducted by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) which showed that the salary of a public school teacher was higher than the average salary of private school teachers.

    "Starting ng isang salary sa maliit ng eksuwelahan na pribado can be as low as P6,000," Briones shared. 

    (The starting salary of a small private school can be as low as P6,000)

    Early in August 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte promised "incremental" salary increases for teachers. 

    The teachers deserved this, and more, according to the education secretary. After all, they were responsible for gearing up young children to become better citizens of the country. 

     "I congratulate you all...for what you have produced – the greatest pride of a teacher. When you see a senator, a congressman, or a mayor, or a great man and you can claim you taught him or her, then the country owes you (a great debt)," Briones said in a mix of English and Filipino. – Rappler.com 


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    FREE PAINT. A businessman from Manila initiated painting of 9 areas in Tuguegarao City for free after watching an experiment by the local highway patrol group on Rappler. Photo by Raymon Dullana/Rappler

    TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines – If you've been to Tuguegarao before, you were probably surpised that there weren't as many pedestrian lanes in the city.

    Now, almost every school has crosswalks for everyone to use.

    In June, the Cagayan Highway Patrol Group (HPG) drew pedestrian lanes using chalk as an experiment after a road safety forum held by Rappler. (WATCH: Cagayan police draw pedestrian lane made of chalk)

    Gary Ramirez, a businessman from Metro Manila, saw it on Rappler and decided to help in putting them up across schools, this time, as permanent ones.

    "We found out that Tuguegarao was one of the dangerous places when it comes to road safety. In fact, I heard that two students got ran over about a year ago or this year," he said.

    With 482 motor vehicle crash incidents in 2016, Tuguegarao City has the most number of recorded incidents in Cagayan province.

    Ramirez reached out to Boysen Paints to have the crosswalks painted for free. Late September, Ramirez and his group went to Tuguegarao to help make its roads safer.

    Students are vulnerable

    According to government data, the Cagayan Valley region has the most traffic-related deaths in terms of population with 682 recorded fatalities in 2014.

    However, many road mishaps remain unrecorded in the city, especially, across schools, authorities said.

    Clifford Macababbad, the village chief of Linao East in Tuguegarao, said one elementary student had been ran over by a tricycle in 2015.

    Macababbad said the incident happened just as the students were coming out of their school. (READ: Deadly highways: What makes Cagayan Valley roads crash-prone?)

    He also said that one elementary student was also hit by an approaching vehicle in Barangay Pallua.

    One probable cause is the lack of pedestrian lanes in the area, he said.

    Permanent crosswalks

    AFTER WORK. Juan Carlos Ramirez, Gary Ramirez, a volunteer painter in Tuguegarao, and Boysen Paints marketing executive Michael Barretto pose for a photo in front of Bigay Elementary School in Tuguegarao. Photo by Raymon Dullana/Rappler

    On September 28 and 29, Ramirez and his son were in Tuguegarao to paint the pedestrian lanes.

    With the help of Boysen Paints and the Tuguegarao city government, Ramirez and his group were able to paint 9 areas:

    • Annafunan East Elementary School
    • Linao Elementary School
    • Bagay Elementary School
    • Buntun Elementary School
    • Pallua Elementary School
    • Tuguegarao City West High School
    • Balzain road
    • Road across Cagayan Valley Medical Center
    • Road across Tuguegarao City Hall.

    "This is a preventive measure that we are doing. We hope that in a small way, this would be of help," said Ramirez.

    He added that putting up pedestrian lanes will make motorists more cautious – it sets a warning that there could be young students who are crossing the roads.

    Boysen Paints' marketing executive Michael Barretto said the project is part of their social responsibility to public schools in ensuring that they provided with the "right and safe” crossing lanes.

    Barretto said Boysen Paints donated a special type of reflective paint. He said the paint used will be more visible to approaching motorists both in day and night.

    Safer roads

    Within three months since the forum in Tuguegarao, interventions have been made to ensure pedestrian safety in the city. (HIGHLIGHTS: #SaferRoadsPH forum on making Cagayan roads safer)

    Prior to Ramirez's initiative, the city government has been planning to paint pedestrian lanes around Tuguegarao. A month after the local HPG did the experiment, the local government painted the lanes across Tuguegarao East Central School permanently.

    The crosswalks have been painted but more work has to be done.

    Tuguegarao City Councilor Claire Callangan said that the forum in June helped push for stringent measures on road safety.

    "The forum cemented the plan of the city government on providing road safety schemes such as the painting of pedestrian lanes and even the provision of more traffic signs for motorists and the public," she said.

    Callangan also said that she will push for a legislation at the city council to conduct information dissemination on the different measures for road safety.

    Government data show that the number of deaths due to traffic incidents has been increasing since 2006. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Road crash incidents in the Philippines)

    According to the latest available data, 8,666 people died due to road crashes in 2014 – 1,797 more deaths compared to the 6,869 deaths recorded in 2006. – with Aika Rey/Rappler.com

    Get updates and learn more about road safety issues through our #SaferRoadsPH microsite.


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    PRODUCTS OF TEACHERS. During the National Teachers' Day, Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Representative Joey Salceda share that they are both children of teachers. Photos by Vee Salazar/Rappler

    LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – If there is one thing that Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda have in common, both of them are children of teachers.

    The officials pointed this out on Thursday, October 5, during the observance of National Teachers’ Day in Legazpi City, Albay.  (READ: #ThankYouTeacher: Netizens praise second parents, mentors)

    So it came as no surprise that the Department of Education (DepEd) and Albay, led by Briones and Salceda, respectively, partnered to mount the day-long celebration paying tribute to Filipino teachers around the world.

    According to Salceda, his mother served as a public grade school teacher while his father taught high school. 

    "I am here to thank you and in so doing do, I also thank my father and my mother," Salceda said before the 6,000 teachers who joined the celebration at the Ibalong Centrum in Legazpi City. 

    Watch the full speech of Congressman Joey Salceda here: 

     {source}

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/C8zpH9xIex0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    {/source}

    DepEd secretary

    Briones, on the other hand, said that she came from a "dynasty" of teachers. In fact, it was her mother who taught her how to write as early at the age of 3 years old.

    "By the time I entered school at 4 years old, I was accelerated twice. I already knew how to read and write," Briones said.  Her father is also a public school teacher. (READ: The education secretary who came from a 'dynasty of teachers'

    A former teacher herself, Briones urged teachers to continue learning something new every day in her speech. (READ: We owe our country's success to teachers – Briones

    Watch the full speech of the education secretary here: 

     

    Inspiring story

    Aside from Salceda and Briones, Ryan Homan, a teacher based in Sorsogon, also delivered an inspiring speech during the celebration.

    He shared how he helped foster a love for reading among kids living in a far-flung Sorsogon village. He made this possible through a floating library called "Balsa Basa." 

    A state scholar when he graduated, Homan thought of creating the project as a way of giving back to the country who funded his education throughout high school and college. 

    "Nabigyan ako ng pagkakataon na makapasok sa Bicol University bilang isang iskolar ng bayan. Ang gobyerno po ang nagpaaral sa akin. Hindi ko po sinayang ang pagkakataon na binigay sa akin... Ginawa ko po ito kasi gusto ko po mag-give back," Homan said. 

    (I was granted the opportunity to study at Bicol University as a state scholar. The government funded my education. I did not waste the opportunity. I am doing this as a way of giving back.)

    Watch his full speech here: 

     {source}

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/E0vOts86mOE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    {/source}

    Other speakers 

    DepEd, the agency mandated to lead the celebration, also came in full force for the event. Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali graced the event to express his gratitude to all Filipino teachers.

     Watch his speech below: 

    {source}

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ybToYkrIstA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    {/source} 

    On the other hand, Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal opened the program proper of the celebration by welcoming teachers from across the country to Legazpi City. 

    Watch his speech below. 

     {source}

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z0IiYjy1BOU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    {/source} 

    More than 6,000 teachers from all over the country gathered in the City of Fun and Adventure on Thursday to mark their day. (IN PHOTOS: A daylong tribute to the country's teachers– Rappler.com 


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    SAFE KIDS. Children celebrate the International Walk to School Week by conducting various activities to promote road safety. Photo by Heinz Orais/Safe Kids Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines - Road safety advocates, parents, and hundreds of children gathered on Friday, October 6, to spread awareness on the serious issue of road safety, as they marked International Walk to School Week.

    Organized by Safe Kids Philippines and FedEx Philippines in partnership with schools, the event aimed to raise awareness about dangers on the road.

    "We want to make more people aware of the need for safety of children. Before, I wasn't aware that 500 children at least die every day in the world. When I realized that in two weeks' time, more people would have died than Haiyan. I realized that we have to do something," said Jesus dela Fuente, executive director of Safe Kids Philippines. 

    In the Philippines alone, more than 500 children died every year from 2006 to 2014 due to road traffic crashes.

    Road traffic injuries have also been among the top causes of deaths among 5 to 24 years old, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

    The effort to raise awareness on children's safety has been an annual activity since 2004 in 5 cities: Pasay, Paranaque, Angeles, Cebu, and Quezon City. However, this is the first year that the event was organized not by the organization, but by the schools. 

    According to dela Fuente, he decided to hold a contest among the various school beneficiaries of Safe Kids to empower and motivate them to come up with creative ideas on promoting road safety in their communities. The best idea will win a cash prize of P15,000.

    The culminating event was held at Timoteo Paez Elementary school where an estimate of 400 Grade 4 to 6 students participated. 

    Road safety advocates and barangay officials also gave safety tips to the children. These include basic signs on the road, traffic hand signals, responsible road use and driver's perspective.

    Here are some of the student's ideas during the culminating event:

    PEDESTRIAN. Road safety advocates and school officials of the T. Paez Elementary School repainted the pedestrian lane outside their school. Photo by Heinz Reimann Orais

    ADVOCACY WALK. The event started with an advocacy walk to raise awareness about the importance of pedestrian safety especially among children. Photo by Heinz Reimann Orais   INSTALLATION OF SIGNS. Aside from raising awareness, the school partnered with the local barangay to install signages for better road safety conditions in the area. Photo by Heinz Reimann Orais

    MURAL DESIGN. A student paints road safety-related art on the walls outside the school to raise more awareness for road users passing by the area. Photo by Heinz Reimann Orais

     ART. Part of the contest is to ask children representatives to participate in a mural activity that aims to remind cyclists and bikers on the use of helmets. Photo by Kimiko Sy/Rappler

     PARADE. An elementary student holds a sign that lists the things children must do and avoid to remain safe. Photo by Heinz Reimann Orais

    According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among 10- to 19-year-olds. Without proper measures to address the issue, it is predicted that it will the 5th leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. – Rappler.com


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    HEROIC DRIVER. Taxi driver Winifredo Maquindang is praised for helping save lives after the Las Vegas shooting incident. Photo from Maquindang's Facebook page

    BOHOL, Philippines - A taxi driver from Bohol who helped save lives during the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been widely praised by Filipinos for his heroic act.

    Winifredo Maquindang, a native of Loboc town in Bohol, transported wounded passengers using his taxi on Sunday evening, October 1 (Monday in the Philippines), after a mass shooting in an open-air concert on a Las Vegas strip. 

    "I am proud of what he did. He makes every Filipino and Boholano proud of his action," local journalist Alan Nalzaro Dalagan, a resident of Loboc, told Rappler in a phone interview.

    "Good work! Boholanos are proud of you. All Filipinos too," commented Marcosita Bernaldez Jabaybay on Facebook.

    Reacting to another post about the taxi driver, Jean Timbal wrote of Maquindang: "Boy and I are so proud of you, a Boholano native, God bless you, Wen! We always ask Pari Eloy about you. So glad to hear the good deed you've done for others."

    On Thursday, October 5, Maquindang guested in a Facebook Live interview hosted by broadcast journalist Ted Ayeng and aired over radio station dyTR.

    In Thursday's interview, Maquindang revealed that he was able to bring to the hospital 6 wounded strangers, who got shot after 64-year-old gambler Stephen Paddock did the mass shooting.

    Maquindang narrated that around 10 pm, while he was inside his taxi car which he parked near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, he heard loud shots, which, initially, he thought to be fireworks.

    "Primero nagtuo ko nga fireworks ra to. Pagka hagbong sa mga basiyo sa bala, didto ko naka-realize nga tinuod armas diay to. Mao to nga nipaduol ko sa crowd, ug didto akong nakita ang daghan patay ug samaran (At first I thought it was just fireworks. But when empty shells of gun bullets fell nearby, I realized these must be gunshots. So I drove closer to the crowd, and there I saw many dead and wounded people)," Maquindang recounted.

    Beating the red light

    Immediately, he said, he came out of his cab and asked anyone who was wounded to get into his vehicle. 

    At least 6 bloodied persons were packed inside Maquindang's taxi.

    Maquindang said he never stopped, despite occasional red traffic lights, when he drove the victims to the nearest hospital.

    Jojo Balili, a Loboc resident and childhood friend of the Boholano hero, said on Ayeng's Facebook post that Maquindang relocated to Las Vegas only a few years ago.

    Before this, the Boholano driver had worked as a taxi driver in Los Angeles, California, for more than 40 years.

    Balili said Maquindang called him on the phone after the incident and recalled to him the harrowing moment when his friend saw bloodied people running – and many of them lying helpless on the pavement.

    At least 58 persons were killed and more than 500 were wounded in the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

    Meanwhile, Balili said Maquindang will soon visit Bohol, where he is expected to receive a hero's welcome in his hometown of Loboc, famous for its relaxing river tour. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com


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    BOOKS. The Philippine Business for Social Progress donated books and school kits to students in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur. Photo by Rey Laguda

    MANILA, Philippines – Corporate foundation Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) donated 4,300 school kits to students affected by the Marawi seige on Saturday, October 7.

    According to PBSP executive director Rey Laguda, the group is preparing for the recovery and rehabilitation phase.

    Laguda, a former education undersecretary, said they are working with the Department of Education (DepEd), local civil society partners, and suppliers to help rebuild Marawi.

    "PBSP is working with its members as well as with other private sector partners and networks to better understand how we can effectively help and support the road to recovery and rehabilitation," Laguda said.

    On Saturday, the foundation went to Sultan Conding Elementary School in Marawi City and the neighboring city's elementary school in Saguiaran town in Lanao del Sur province. (READ: Duterte creates task force in charge of Marawi rehab)

    In celebration of National Teachers' Day, the group also prepared a small surprise for the teachers and the principals who were at the event. Laguda said apart from the two schools, 12 other schools were represented by their principals and teachers.

    "We also surprised the teachers with letters of greetings as part of Teachers’ Day celebrations coming from students and fellow teachers from Metro Manila," he said. (READ: We owe our country's success to teachers – Briones)

    Student needs

    Former education secretary Brother Armin Luistro, the PBSP president, and Laguda turned over the books and the student kits. Each bag has two white shirts, a towel, and a pair of slippers.

    PBSP also went to Butig town in Lanao del Sur on Friday, October 7, to donate school books in Butig Elementary School and National High School.

    "This is the 4th mission, part of PBSP’s response to the Marawi crisis and as an act of solidarity with the affected people of Marawi and Lanao del Sur," he said.  (READ: Marawi children need our help)

    PBSP previously distributed non-food items to families, medicines to health centers, and held a drive for lipstick and make-up for government staff and volunteers on the frontlines.

    Laguda said the kits were sponsored by Jollibee Group Foundation, AAI Worldwide Logistics Incorporated, and the Makati Business Club. He said Cebu Pacific also provided logistical support.

    The books  included story books, reference books, and learning materials donated during the Manila International Book Fair by companies and private individuals.

    Rebuild Marawi

    The group also donated 50 sewing machines on Friday to Defense  Undersecretary Cesar Yano, Task Force Bangon Marawi's executive director; and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officials.

    The DTI already trained the recipients of the sewing machines. "This will greatly help in reviving the family income stream towards recovery," said Laguda.

    The group is also distributing 1,047 non-food items and health kits in Baloi and Pantar towns in Lanao del Norte on Saturday and Sunday, October 8.

    Fighting  started between government troops and local terrorists in Marawi City on May 23, displacing hundred thousands of individuals, and prompting the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

    The education department estimates that over 20,000 learners have been displaced since the clashes began. Some 2,000 students already returned to school mid-June.

    On Thursday, October 5, the Senate finance committee allotted P10 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi City in 2018.– Rappler.com


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    MONDAY RUSH HOUR. Commuters endure long lines at the LRT2 Santolan Station on October 9, 2017. Photo courtesy of Isabelle Yu

    MANILA, Philippines – Commuters who endured long lines at the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT2) on Monday morning, October 9, posted photos of their stressful commuting experience online.

    The photos showed several long lines snaking from the entrance of the LRT2's Santolan Station.

    In a phone interview, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) public relations head Lyn Paragas-Janeo said long queues remain the norm during rush hour.

    "It is Monday, expected na mahaba ang pila. It is also because of the inspection since matagal dahil very strict talaga ngayon," she said. 

    (It is Monday so the long lines are expected. The inspection is also taking a while because we have strict security.)

    {source}

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-cards="hidden" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here&#39;s another photo of the long lines along LRT 2 Santolan station. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CommuterWatch?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CommuterWatch</a> photo by <a href="https://twitter.com/dyordspawlo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dyordspawlo</a> <a href="https://t.co/7JPG6Ui9Cp">pic.twitter.com/7JPG6Ui9Cp</a></p>&mdash; MovePH (@MovePH) <a href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/status/917218297111654400?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 9, 2017</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

     

    Janeo added that airconditioning units of one of the trains malfunctioned in the morning, but she clarified that this was fixed immediately.

    As of posting, all 10 trains of the LRT2 are operating.

    Commuters emphasized, however, that authorities should address the long lines once and for all.

    {source}

    <a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/917224881065926657?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CommuterWatch Oct 10 - Curated tweets by MovePH</a> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

     

    Last July, the LRTA extended the operating hours of the LRT2, starting at 4:30 am until 10 pm. – Rappler.com  


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    SPECIAL EDUCATION. Teacher Hilarion handles kindergarten pupils with hearing deficiencies. All photos courtesy of the Rawis Elementary School

    LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Aside from the typical lessons in class, two teachers from Rawis Elementary School in Legazpi City impart an important lesson to their students every day: there are no limits to learning and dreaming. 

    Special Education (SPED) teachers Hilarion Daen Jr. and Edna Blacer teach children with hearing and visual difficulties for a living. But that is not the only thing that makes their story unique and inspiring.

    Teachers Hilarion and Edna wake up early every day to teach their students despite their own difficulties – Hilarion is hearing-impaired, while Edna is nearly blind. At their line work, the two teachers have learned to harness their hearing and visual impairments to help young persons with disability find hope and continue learning. 

    Beyond limits

    Teacher Hilarion handles kindergarten pupils with hearing deficiencies. According to the 56-year-old teacher, early childhood education is one of the most crucial parts of child development especially for children with impairments. 

    "Other than making them understand that they are part of the society despite their impairment, it is also important to make them realize that they are not just accepted, but they can also do something for the community, and I, being a hearing-impaired teacher, am the best example," he said through a sign language interpreter. 

    A teacher for 24 years already, Hilarion said what he was doing was more than just profession, but more of a devotion.

    "Seeing each of my students learn new things every day satisfies me and makes me motivated to stay in this profession," he added. (READ: Robredo wants SPED centers in all public schools)

    NO LIMITS. Teacher Edna Blacer, 45, is a partially blind teacher at the Rawis Elementary School.

    The same is true for Teacher Edna, 45, a partially blind teacher at the same public school. 

    "I think, as a SPED teacher, it's important how you make an impact on your students," she said.

    Teacher Edna started teaching with a normal vision. But after a decade, her vision started to regress until she can only just recognize letters in relatively large sizes. 

    Serving for almost 2 decades now, Teacher Edna witnessed how the special education in the Philippines improved to address the needs of SPED students.

    "The current inclusive learning strategy paves the way for these visually-impaired students to see the world in a different perspective, enabling them to take part in community development regardless of their visual disability," she said in Filipino.

    She also believed that the support of the government and community stakeholders make it possible for educators like her to further enhance the quality of special education. (READ: 3 things the private sector can do for basic education)

    Support for SPED

    As of February 2017, the Department of Education (DepEd) has recognized a total of 648 SPED centers and regular schools offering the program—471 of which cater to elementary students and 177 provide for secondary education to students. The Rawis Public Elementary School is one of them. 

    During school year 2015-2016, DepEd recorded around 250,000 enrollees with certain exceptionalities at the elementary level and around 100,000 at the high school level.

    In a previous press release, the DepEd has committed to provide a holistic approach in catering to the needs of learners with various exceptionalities by ensuring "that learners with exceptionalities will have access to quality education."

    Under this program, DepEd said parents or guardians of learners with certain exceptionalities may reach out to principals or guidance counselors of schools where they wish to enroll their children to determine the necessary instructional program that their children need best. Available instructional programs for SPED learners include the following: 

    • Self-contained/Special Class
    • Itinerant Teaching
    • Resource Room
    • Pull-out
    • Integration/Mainstreaming
    • Inclusion

    SPED program. Rawis Elementary School Principal Phoebe Santiago (center) says having the two teachers at Rawis Public Elementary School makes their special education institution ahead of others.

    Despite these government commitments, teaching SPED education still has its own sets of challenges. (READ: A long way to go for special education

    For example, at Rawis Elementary School where they have integrated SPED learners in regular classes, parents and teachers were initially apprehensive with the the move while some even outright rejected it, said Phoebe Santiago, the principal of the elementary school.

    Challenges of SPED teachers

    Santiago explained that the reaction was a result of the initial lack of trainings for teachers who will be handling the mainstreamed classes. 

    Fortunately, Santiago, who was a SPED teacher herself, was able to provide teachers with little to no background on SPED education the necessary training and support. 

    "Nabibigyan ko sila ng trainings, support, at technical assistance sa paghawak ng mga children with special needs na naka-mainstream sa kanila," she said in an interview with Rappler. (I was able to provide trainings, support, and technical assistance in handling children with special needs who are mainstreamed in their classes) 

    The challenges cited by Santiago, however, are only from the perspective of managing and implementing the SPED program. Inside the classrooms, the challenges faced by Teachers Hilarion and Edna were different, albeit equally difficult. 

    MORE THAN A JOB. For Teacher Hilarion, being a teacher is more than just a profession – it is a devotion.

    For Teacher Hilarion, having a hearing-impaired class leaves him no choice but to develop their skills through colorful visual presentations. This required more work beyond class hours.  

    Teacher Edna, on the other hand, said that the biggest challenge for her is to craft special teaching techniques for her students with individual needs. 

    Moving forward 

    While these may be meticulous, Teachers Hilarion and Edna said the challenges they experienced made teaching rewarding at the end of the day. (READ: The real cost of education in the Philippines)

    "Teacher Edna and Teacher Hilarion are the living examples for kids with special needs that they can contribute to the community," Santiago told Rappler. (READ: Storytelling sessions held for children with special needs)

    Santiago said that having the two teachers at Rawis Public Elementary School made their special education institution ahead of others.

    If any, the challenges pushed the two teachers to do more and help their students with special needs. After all, they said they were teaching at the public elementary school to debunk the stereotype that people with disabilities like them were incapable of great feats – a lesson they also want to share to their students. 

    "I want to tell the kids that even though their situation is difficult, because of their visual impairment, they should not lose hope. They need to persevere. They need the determination to pursue what they want to be and achieve in their life," Teacher Edna said. — Rappler.com

     


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    MANILA, Philippines – On Tuesday, October 10, the Commission on Appointments rejected the ad interim appointment of Paulyn Ubial to lead the Department of Health (DOH).

    The Internet was relatively silent, however, unlike during the rejection of other appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte, when online rage was immediately sparked.  

    Senator Gregorio Honasan II, CA health committee chair, said before the CA plenary that with 13 members voting against Ubial’s confirmation, the panel decided to "withhold its consent to the ad interim appointment" of Ubial.

    Previously, the CA rejected the appointment of Perfecto Yasay Jr as foreign affairs secretary, Gina Lopez as environment secretary, Judy Taguiwalo as social welfare secretary, and Rafael Mariano as agrarian reform secretary.

    In the case of Ubial, there were a few netizens who disagreed with the vote of the Commission on Appointments, but the reactions certainly did not create enough buzz online.

    Controversies

    Controversies marked Ubial’s short-lived term as DOH secretary.

    Four oppositions were filed against her appointment, with one complainant citing her supposed record of "flip-flopping." Ubial has been caught changing her stance on major health issues, such as the dengue vaccine, the status of the Zika virus in the country, and recently, the number of evacuees who died of health-related causes in Marawi City.

    Last week, Senator Vicente Sotto III questioned Ubial about her frequent travels abroad in just a year.

    The last opposition was filed by Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) employee Marie Fe Francisco, who claimed that Ubial was exercising "grave abuse of power and usurpation of authority."

    Perhaps due to these controversies, Ubial did not enjoy the same mass support received by Lopez, Taguiwalo, and Mariano.

    Before being appointed as secretary, Ubial was DOH assistant secretary for health regulations.

    Ubial’s son

    Ubial's son, Karl, caught attention after Senator Manny Pacquiao raised during the hearing the social media posts made by the young man. 

    "Siguro pagsabihan natin si Karl na you’re doing your job in the DOH, tapos may mga comment na masama doon sa ibang lider ng bansa, especially sa administration. Pangit naman," said Pacquiao. 

    (Maybe you should tell Karl that it is not okay that you're doing your job in the DOH and yet he's commenting negatively on other leaders of the country, especially those allied with the administration. That's not good.)

    Several netizens said Karl does not have to apologize to the senator.

    Ubial said she had spoken to her son, who was willing to make a public apology. 

    Here’s what netizens had to say about the issue:

    {source}

    <a class="twitter-timeline" data-partner="tweetdeck" href="https://twitter.com/MovePH/timelines/917690185181159425?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">Karl Ubial - Curated tweets by MovePH</a> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    {/source}

    What do you think of the Commission on Appointments' vote? Share your thoughts on X! Rappler.com

     


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    VOLUNTEER. Tatay Eduardo, 79 years old, is a volunteer at a shelter for elderly women. Photo by Iona Mendoza

    MANILA, Philippines – For 79-year-old Eduardo Albonia, age does not stop him from helping others – especially his fellow elderly. 

    In 2003, Albonia entered Group Home not to seek shelter but to help the organization tend and care for the elderly women who have called the place their second home. A shelter for the elderly ran by the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE), Group Home hosts senior-aged women seeking love and affection outside the circle of their family.

    Tatay Eduardo, the nickname he goes by at the shelter, was then 65 years old. 

    Fast forward 14 years later, Tatay Eduardo continued to deliver tasks for the various activites at the shelter for the elderly. 

    Helping never stops

    There are up to 7 to 8 million senior citizens in the country according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Unfortunately, a fraction of this figure are either forgotten or abandoned by their families. 

    With few to no daily visitors, the atmosphere at Group Home can be really sad and lonely according to Tatay Eduardo. This is why he strives to provide a fun company for the women at the shelter. 

    “Tuwang-tuwa sila kapag may dumadalaw,” Tatay Eduardo said. (They are happy when they get visitors.)

    Tatay Eduardo makes sure to tend to all of their concerns whenever he visits.  

    Aside from tending to their needs, the tasks he does at Group Home are mostly menial. These include doing household chores, giving the holy communion and fixing sinks and faucets. At times, he also does heavy labor. 

    “Ang pag tulong namin doon, hanggang sa pag tatapon ng basura, nag tatapon ako ng basura. Yung mga pag bubuhat doon sa mga bed ridden, nilalagay ko sila sa wheelchair,” he said.  (As a volunteer, I throw the trash, I help lift those who are bed-ridden onto their wheelchairs.)

    Tatay Eduardo said he does all of these out of his pure interest to help fellow elderlies like him.

    Nakikita ko 'yung pangangailangan nila. Kaming mag asawa na lang, wala akong ginagawa, makatulong na lang ako sa kanila. Yung pag tulong na walang hinihintay na kapalit," he said. (I saw their need. I am alone with my wife. I am not doing anything. So I decided to help others instead, without expecting anything in return.)

    Having contributed 14 years of his life to volunteering, Tatay Eduardo has no plans of stopping. “Walang hangganan yung pagtulong ko, basta kaya ko, tumutulong ako sa kanila.” (My life as a volunteer has no end. As long as I am able, I will help at the shelter.)

    SUN Awardee

    His efforts at Group Home did not go unnoticed. 

    On Sunday, October 8, Tatay Eduardo became a recipient of the Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda award,  an annual award-giving program that honors the continuous efforts of the elders for the community. He was one of the 10 awardees.  

    “Marahil, nakita na yung ginagawa ko, talagang pag tulong. Yung ginagawa ko, marahil, talagang kailangan na makatanggap ako nito dahil walang limitasyon yung pag tulong ko doon,” Tatay Eduardo said.  (Maybe they saw the way I help others. Maybe what I have been doing was worth this award.)

    The other awardees were 79-year-old Bandayan Danwat, 72-year-old Angelina Ipong, 76-year-old Erlinda Libor, 80-year-old Cecilia Ruiz, 64-year-old Anita Castor, 72-year old Esperanza Escoton, 71-year-old Josef Feliciano, 64-year-old Salvacion Garcia, and 73-year-old Leonita Labitag. 

    One of his many efforts that made him qualify for a SUN award is ensuring that senior citizens are aware of their rights in the society.  (READ: FAST FACTS: What benefits are senior citizens entitled to?)

    Once in a while, when Group Home accepts new members into their abode, Tatay Eduardo and other volunteers would organize an orientation that aims to discuss the benefits of senior citizens from government agencies, organizations, and other services.

    Many seniors are ignorant of heir rights, according to Tatay Eduardo, because they have no idea that these rights exist.  (READ: Without pension, senior citizens forced to continue working)

    “Marami ngayong matatanda na hindi alam yung kanilang karapatan bilang senior citizens, iyon ang tinutulungan namin," Tatay Eduardo said. (Many of the elderlies do not know their rights as senior citizens. They are the ones whom we help) 

    Leaving a mark

    Tatay Eduardo's dream for his fellow senior citizens is simple: He wants an effective social pension system for the elderly. 

    “[Sana] mabago yung sistema ng pagbibigay ng social pension. Huwag haluan ng politika." (I hope they change the system for releasing social pension so that it does not get messed up with politics) 

    The 2017 budget of the government for the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens, or SPISC, has increased from P8.7 billion to P17.9 billion.

    According to the DSWD, the 2017 budget means SPISC can increase their beneficiaries from last year's 1.3 million to their  2.8 million target for this year. The social pension is still at P1,500 per quarter, or P500 per month for every senior enrolled in the SPISC.

    During the awarding, Senator Risa Hontiveros paid tribute to Tatay Eduardo and the other awardees. 

    "The chance to serve our country and our communities does not know age. It is from older persons whom we learn good values, history of our family, and lessons from the past. It will be a shame and great loss to ourselves, to our children, and to our nation if we cannot take care of and preserve their stories, wisdoms and examples," Hontiveros said. 

    Now that Tatay Eduardo has left a mark by being bringing home a Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda award, he also urged other senior citizens to keep contributing to the community.  – with reports from Iona Mendoza/Rappler.com 

     

     


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    Bookmark this page to watch Rappler's interview with transportation expert Primitivo Cal on Thursday, October 12

    MANILA, Philippines – Traffic has been one of the major issues that people living and working in Metro Manila face every day. According to a study, being stuck in traffic and the extra cost of operating vehicles in gridlock in metropolitan Manila and nearby areas amounted to P2.4 billion ($51 million) a day in 2014.

    Not only this, Metro Manila alone recorded 109,322 road crash incidents in 2016. According to the data, motorcycle riders and pedestrians are the most vulnerable to such incidents, while human error is the identified cause for these crashes. 

    Public transportation has not improved as well. Recently, there were viral photos that showed several long lines snaking from the entrance of the LRT2's Santolan Station. The same long lines can also be seen at the other train lines in Metro Manila.

    What are the possible causes and solutions for this growing problem? Are our laws comprehensive enough?

    On Thursday, October 12, Rappler researcher Aika Rey and Primitivo Cal, a transportation expert and University of the Philippines professor, will discuss the best possible solutions to these issues.

    Cal served as an undersecretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications from 1993 to 1998. 

    Participate in the conversation by posting on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #SaferRoadsPH or by joining the Facebook group– Rappler.com


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    MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be providing early recovery interventions to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and families in Batangas City due to the Batangas clash that erupted on September 24. 

    An Inquirer report said hundreds of families had to leave their homes because of the skirmishes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People's Army (NPA) in the area. 

    According to the DSWD field office in Calabarzon, the Batangas City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council already conducted an assessment with concerned agencies to know which specific early recovery interventions were needed by the families in the 4 affected barangays. 

    At present, one evacuation center is willing to serve 113 displaced families or 490 persons in Batangas City. Another 14 families, or 52 persons, are staying outside the evacuation center.

    Meanwhile, the DSWD field office in Calabarzon already responded by sending non-food items amounting to P275,212.06. These were made up of of 500 pieces of malong, sleeping mats, and kitchen utensils for the displaced locals.

    The City Social Welfare and Development (CSWDO) of Batangas and the Philippine Red Cross-Batangas chapter also gave away family food packs. – Rappler.com  


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    ROAD SAFETY. One of the key features of the new Quezon City Road Safety Code is the specific speed limits for the roads in the city. File photo

    MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City Road Safety Code is now awaiting the signature of Mayor Herbert Bautista, after the Quezon City Council approved it on 3rd and final reading on Tuesday, October 10.

    Spearheaded by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and transportation committee chairman Councilor Oliviere Belmonte, the road safety ordinance seeks to "ensure the safety of all road users within the territorial jurisdiction of Quezon City and to promote public health, safety, and convenience."

    Since 2010, Quezon City has had the most number of road crashes in Metro Manila. In 2016 alone, there were 33,717 road crashes that resulted in 116 fatalities and 4,755 injuries.

    The new Quezon City Road Safety Code is patterned after the 5 pillars of the United Nations' Road Safety Action Plan: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash care.

    One of the key features of the ordinance is that it sets speed limits for specific roads in the city:

    Roads Cars / motorcycles and similar motor vehicles Trucks / buses / tricycles and similar motor vehicles
    Aurora Boulevard  50 kph 30 kph
    (From Madison St to 
    Marcos Highway)
    E. Rodriguez Sr Avenue 50 kph 30 kph
    Kamuning Road to  50 kph 30 kph
    Kamias Road
    Quezon Avenue 50 kph 30 kph
    East Avenue 40 kph 30 kph
    Timog Avenue 40 kph 30 kph
    North Avenue 40 kph 30 kph
    West Avenue 50 kph 30 kph
    Central Avenue 40 kph 30 kph
    Kalayaan Avenue 40 kph 30 kph
    Commonwealth Avenue 50 kph 30 kph
    Visayas Avenue 40 kph 30 kph
    Tomas Morato Avenue 40 kph 30 kph
    Tandang Sora Avenue 40 kph 30 kph
    Fairview Avenue 50 kph 30 kph
    Mindanao Avenue 50 kph 30 kph
    Congressional Avenue 40 kph 30 kph
    Regalado Highway 50 kph 30 kph
    Quirino Highway 50 kph 30 kph
    Batasan Road 50 kph 30 kph
    Katipunan Avenue 40 kph 30 kph

    Other provisions of the ordinance include the following:

    • There will be random sobriety checkpoints to prevent drunk and drugged driving.
    • Authorities must establish a convenient and standardized system of reporting where citizens may directly file their complaints and/or requests regarding any concern related to road safety.
    • The Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS), as the lead agency, should ensure that at least 10 kilometers of bicycle lanes are installed every year for 5 years.

    • Motorcycles using sidewalks will be penalized P2,000 for the first offense, P3,500 for the second offense, and P5,000 for the third offense.

    • Construction projects, roadworks, and other similar activities should undergo Road Safety Impact Assessment to ensure alternative solutions for affected pedestrian lanes or sidewalks. Roadworks in private streets are exempted from the assessment.
    • Prohibition of the use of motorcycles to carry passengers for a fee.
    • A victim of a road crash or his/her family may avail of assistance from the City Social Services Development Department.

    Prior to this ordinance, Quezon City already had 8 road safety-related ordinances:

    • Traffic Management Code and its amendments
    • Tricycle Management Code of 2014
    • Children on Board Motorcycles
    • Maximum Load on Motorcycles
    • Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving
    • Speed limit on Commonwealth Avenue
    • Side Mirrors on Motor Vehicles
    • Removal of Junk and Construction Materials on Road

    According to Vice Mayor Belmonte, she felt the need for a more comprehensive road safety measure after seeing the number of road crash incidents in the city during a Rappler Road Safety forum held last May 8.

    "I'm hoping that the [implementing agents] will buy into it, see its value [and] be excited about implementing it. I'm also hoping [that] when the measure goes up to the mayor, he [will see] the merit of the measure [and sign it]," the vice mayor told Rappler.

    Councilor Belmonte, meanwhile, said he is hoping for safer Quezon City roads.

    "I am hopeful that the number of injuries and fatalities will likewise drop as a result of this ordinance," he said. – Rappler.com


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    SUCCESS STORIES. All of the top 10 performing examinees of the Naval Architect and Marine Engineer Licensure Examinations came from the University of Cebu.

    MANILA, Philippines – The University of Cebu (UC) dominated the recent 2017 Naval Architect and Marine Engineer Licensure Examinations, producing all the top 10 examinees. 

    In the results released Monday, October 9, the 12 names that landed in the top 10 were all products of UC with Jayvie Orbeso Albarando emerging as the No. 1 placer with a rating of 89.80%.

    No. 2 was Randolph Diez Tabernero with a score of 89.60%, while Reanne Pil Mangubat and Lyndon Hanz Pitogo Pernites were joint third placers with identical 89.40% ratings.

    Only 51 examinees out of 117 takers passed the naval architect and marine engineer licensure examinations. 

    “One of our core values is excellence and we drill excellence in our students. This is evident in the results of the board exam," said UC chancellor Candice Gotianuy 

    She said that they had no knowledge of what was the content of the exam and, according to her, their students had a hard time especially in the mathematics portion. 

    But their students still managed to rise above the others. 

    Despite excellence being practiced by the students, Gotianuy admitted that they did not expect all the top 10 spots to be occupied by their graduates. 

    “We’re overjoyed and overwhelmed by this because we did not expect this," she added in a phone interview. 

    The university consistently produced the topnotchers in the said board examinations. As a reward, the university gives away cash incentives to the topnotchers and their mentors. 

    In the past, UC gave a car to topnotchers. Meanwhile, they handed out P50,000-P100,000 cash incentives to the other top placers. The mentors, on the other hand, received P100,000. 

    Gotianuy also said that there was no single formula for success but one of the key factors that helped their students was the mentorship their teachers offered. 

    You can view the list of passers this year here– Rappler.com  

     


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    BAKWIT SCHOOL. During the classes, the Lumad children who were at their senior high school teach their parents about basic literacy and numbers

    MANILA, Philippines – On Monday morning, October 9, students confidently stood outside as they sang the national anthem with pride during the flag raising ceremony. Later, they trooped to their classrooms to start their day at school.

    It was a typical scene in a school setting, but the circumstances behind it were nothing ordinary. 

    More than a hundred Lumad students, along with their teachers, attended class at the makeshift classroom opened for them in the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman). Their parents were camped at university.

    The Lakbayanis were supposed to cap off the annual Lakbayan in late September during the commemoration of declaration of Martial Law. Some 3 months since they came to Metro Manila, however, the Lumad have still not gone home.

    Most of them have no houses to go back to. 

    "Kahit pa no'ng July, naka gear na sana umuwi 'yong mga Lumad. Hindi makauwi 'yong mga Lumad students dahil sa threat na pag bomba ng kanilang mga schools. Kung uuwi sila, ma s-suspend din 'yong pag-aaral nila," said Save Our Schools Network Mindanao spokesperson Rius Valle. 

    (The Lumad were supposed to go home in July, but they couldn't go home due to the threat of bombing their schools. If they go home, their classes will be suspended.) 

    According to Valle, they came all the way to Manila to personally tell the president about their concerns. They hoped President Rodrigo Duterte would lift martial law in Mindanao soon.  (WATCH: The love-hate relationship between Duterte and the Lumad)

    'Continued harassment' 

    "During Lakbayan, hindi humihinto 'yong pag atake. Actually after immediately ng Lakbayan, nakabalita kami sa mga Lumad communities sa North Cotabato at Compostella Valley province na may aerial bombings na nangyari," he added. 

    (The attacks did not stop during the Lakbayan. Immediately after Lakbayan, we heard news from Lumad communities in North Cotabato and Compostella Valley province that there were aerial bombings.)

    The group also reported two teachers along with 7 community leaders were harassed by soldiers in Sarangani and South Cotabato in two separate incidents. (INFOGRAPHIC: Who are the Lumad?)

    Around 300 individuals from Talaingod, Davao del Norte also evacuated their homes due to reported military and paramilitary attacks in their villages. (READ: What the Lumad are fighting for)

    Bakwit school 

    The 'bakwit' school that was built for the Lumad in UP Diliman was something distinct according to Valle. 

    The Lumad students are not the only ones who learn but also the people from Metro Manila. They aim to teach their culture to the volunteers who immerse with the children and the community. 

    Some education majors also visit their site in Diliman to do practice teaching with the Lumad children. The community has been very welcoming and the volunteers often have positive feedback about their experiences, especially with the children. 

    During the classes, the Lumad children who were at their senior high school also taught their parents about basic literacy and numbers. 

    A call to end martial law 

    "Pangunahing panawagan namin ay ang pagtigil sa martial law. Dahil pina-igting nito ang militarisasyon." (Our primary call is to stop martial law because it heightens militarization.) 

    Cases of attacks have heightened due to the proclamation of martial law in the region of Mindanao, says Valle. 

    They are calling out, asking their fellow Filipinos to help them campaign for the lifting of martial law in their areas. – with reports from Danielle Nakpil/Rappler.com 


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    GLITCH. The MRT-3 experienced another malfunction on Thursday morning, October 12. Rappler file photo

    MANILA, Philippines – The Metro Rail Transit Line 3, which cuts through Edsa, experienced another "technical problem" and was forced to unload passengers at its Ortigas Station 8:26 am, Thursday, October 12. 

    The Department of Transportation (DOTr)-MRT Yellow website said that the train was "removed without replacement or experienced cancellation of loops and insertion."

    According to DOTr,  there are only 15 trains running as of 12 pm, October 12. 

    A report for GMA News showed a video of passengers disembarking the train:

    Just Wednesday, October 11, passengers were also forced to unload in Ortigas, Kamuning and Shaw Boulevard station.

    In less than a week, the MRT-3 has experienced 20 glitches, mostly during the rush hours. – Rappler.com


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