Implementing anti- illegal drugs strategy

>> Monday, June 24, 2019


Executive Order No. 66 of President Rodrigo Duterte has institutionalized the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS).
The order directed all government offices, departments, bureaus, agencies and offices, including government-owned or controlled corporations and state universities and colleges to implement the PADS in accordance with their respective mandates. 
Non-government organizations, civil society organizations and private institutions were urged to actively support projects and programs under the PADS.
The Dangerous Drugs Board shall be the lead agency in the implementation of the PADS.
It directs all government entities and local government units to formulate and adapt their respective drug-free workplace programs and conduct authorized drug testing among their respective officials and personnel in a manner consistent with the Constitution, law and applicable DDB issuances and other implementing government agencies.
The order encourages all LGUs to support and implement the PADS through the following initiatives:  to formulate and submit their own implementing and operational plans to the DDB; establish and/or strengthen their anti-drug abuse councils; work in partnership with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Philippine National Police in implementing the PADS, and barangay drug clearing operations in their respective localities.
It urges LGUs to coordinate with the Dept. of Health relative to the assessment and management of those found using or abusing dangerous drugs in their respective localities and to appropriate a portion of their respective annual appropriations for anti-illegal drugs programs, projects and activities. The PADS shall be continuously reviewed and studied by the DDB.
The order directs all government entities to submit to the DDB every month of February of each year, an annual report outlining or detailing accomplishments relative to their respective tasks, undertakings, programs and projects under the PADS.

Probing slay of activists

The international Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for an independent investigation into the recent killings of activists in the country. 
The HRW noted that five members of militant groups were killed this month. It called on United Nations member states to raise the issue during the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva next week.
“UN member states should ensure an international investigation into the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines, including the thousands of unlawful killings under the Duterte administration’s... war on drugs, the killing of activists and other serious human rights violations,” the HRW said.
On Monday, Neptali Morada, 40, a member of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan was shot dead in Naga City, Camarines Sur.
A day earlier, motorcycle-riding gunmen killed Nonoy Palma, 57, a member of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in Bukidnon.
On June 15, Ryan Hubilla, 22, and Nelly Bagasala, 69, volunteers for human rights group Karapatan were killed in Sorsogon also by unidentified gunmen.
Dennis Sequeña, 48, of the Partido Manggagawa ng Pilipinas was killed by motorcycle-riding assailants in Cavite on June 2.
“UN member states should not let another session of the Human Rights Council go by without adopting measures that will put serious human rights violations in the Philippines under scrutiny,” HRW Philippines researcher Carlos Conde said. 
The HRW lamented that only a few murder of activists have been seriously investigated and hardly resulted in convictions.
“Often, the military and police accuse the victims of being either members or sympathizers of the Communist Party of the Philippines or its armed wing, the New People’s Army,” the group said.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra created special teams composed of prosecutors and agents of the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the killing of members of militant groups in Bicol.
Guevarra issued Administrative Order 35 directing teams to determine if the incidents are politically motivated and to assist in build-up of cases.


Domogan joins briefing of mayor-elect Magalong

Alfred P. Dizon

BAGUIO CITY – During the campaign period before the May 13 polls, a mayoral candidate of this summer capital was asked in a media forum at the Baguio Country Club: If you are disqualified from running, who would you endorse to run for mayor?
This candidate, a lawyer answered: Well, it could be Leandro Yangot as he had been a councilor for quite sometime or Ed Bilog, since he is stepping out as vice mayor. But I will not endorse an OJT (on the job training) candidate.
There was silence. People were squirming in their seats. The “OJT” just shook his head (nagwingiwing).
People who attended the forum said what this candidate, a former appointed legislative official during the Ramos administration uttered was out of bounds in tradition of Baguio politics wherein candidates don’t belittle others in a personal manner during electoral campaigns.
Anyhow, the “OJT” emerged as mayor by a wide margin over his rivals. The lawyer-candidate only got a parcel of the votes. Moral of the story: Never demean people.
The gentleman that he is, mayor-elect Benjamin Magalong, a “Baguio boy” never talked about the incident or lashed back at his accuser.
A bemedalled police officer, Magalong graduated from the Philippine Military Academy, rose from the ranks and held different positions in the Philippine National Police like regional police chief of Cordillera.
I met him as a newsman when he was still the Cordillera regional police operations chief some 18 years ago. When he got out as regional police chief and later headed the Criminal Investigation Detection Group, I haven’t seen him since then until I met him during the wake of former councilor-newsman Nars Padilla at city hall just before the elections.
Despite pressure from Malacanang during the Aquino administration for him to change the report of the panel which investigated the Mamasapano massacre, he didn’t and that may have cost him the post as PNP director general.
Baguio folks may have remembered what he did for not backing down from the hotshots at Malacanang and looked at him as a man of principle – main reason why he won by a landslide. 
As former PNP operations chief who plans, executes and concludes missions, people said Magalong, as a results-oriented officer, can do an efficient job as city mayor.
For one, he had been cited for putting a stop to the bloody and violent politics of Abra during his term as Cordillera police chief. 
Even before and after the campaign, Magalong had reportedly been doing the rounds in barangays to listen to folks’ concerns and formulate solutions.
As a member of the media said during the BCC forum: OJT he isn’t. As starters, reports have it that the mayor-elect will infuse scientific methods in solving problems of the city like heavy traffic.
Anyway, department heads under the city government and the mayor-elect with his staff sat down on Tuesday for a one-day briefing to assure smooth transition of administration, a PNA report said.
“Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular 2019-39 mandates the local chief executive to prepare for an effective turnover of responsibility to assure continuity in governance,” Edith Dawaten, assistant human resource management officer (HRMO) of Baguio, said in her opening statements.
The 15 city departments, which included the HRMO, planning office, treasury, budget, accounting, assessor, engineering, buildings and architects office, parks management, general services, health, social welfare, local civil registry, and veterinary including the legal, administrator’s and mayor’s offices, reportedly prepared a briefing about functions, programs and directions of each office.
Lawyer Leticia Clemente, city budget officer and president of the Association of City Executives (ACEx), said the briefing "will give [incoming] mayor Magalong a bird’s eye view of what we do in the local government and will make certain that governance processes will continue efficiently from the outgoing to the new leadership.”
Clemente said the briefing was also an opportunity to know the career officers who implement programs of the city government.
Before the start of the briefing, Clemente asked Magalong and his staff to “empty our caps so we can accommodate and put in more” ideas, which will be material in the smooth flow of things when the new administration officially starts work noontime of June 30.
She said the circular mandated creation of a transition team that will make sure everything is set in place for implementation of development programs of the city government.
Outgoing Mayor Mauricio Domogan, who was present at the start of the briefing, said: “This is necessary to avoid groping in the dark just like what happened to us in 1992 when we sat as appointed mayor after having been elected a vice-mayor.”
Domogan won the 1992 election as vice mayor. However, it did not take a day after taking oath for the said post when the Commission on Elections appointed him as acting mayor following the disqualification order against elected Mayor Ramon “Jun” Labo on questions of his citizenship.
Domogan was quoted as saying in the PNA report they started an initiative having a weekly executive-legislative breakfast meeting to informally discuss in front of the members of both branches issues and matters needing each sector’s attention. He also reportedly shared some issues that continue to be faced by the city.
In creating the transition team, Administrative Order 049-2019, issued April 16, prepared an inventory of all properties, documents and records for the incoming administration to know and be guided on. 
By June 30, the new set of Baguio officials will take office including Magalong, mayor-elect Faustino Olowan and members of the city council. The media and local folks are watching, but for now, Godspeed!


A story of culture and science: Bauko’s ceramic water filter


BAUKO, Mountain Province -- Old and new, traditional and modern — these pair of words contradict each other but just as east meets west, one barangay in Bauko has found a way to bring culture and science together to benefit communities.
Looking back at tradition, pottery in Bila, Bauko traces way back before the Spanish came looking for the Igorot gold.
“Bila is one of the early villages in the Cordillera that the Spanish recorded and pottery was already an economic activity,” said Bauko Tourism Officer Arsenia Addon.
Through the barter system, pottery products from Bila have reached the lowlands in exchange of tobacco and salt.
Addon added the pots originally used as “pananuman” (water storage) and “panengdengan” (for cooking), are  in some ways, a reflection of the way of life of the Kankanaey in Bila during the olden times.
Responding to modern-day challenges
Climate change, water shortage, and various health concerns – these are some realities of the modern world that the innovation inspired by the traditional pottery of Bila addresses.
Engr. Namar Gawaban of the Municipal Planning Development Office explained that waterborne diseases are among the top morbidities in the municipality.
Tests done in the 22 barangays of Bauko showed “water sources already contain coliform and is positive of E. coli bacteria,” Local Economic and Investment Promotion Officer Jake Oyang-o said.
The presence of E.coli bacteria in the town’s water sources poses risks especially on the health of residents.
Recognizing the issue, the Bauko local government and Dept. of Science and Technology (DOST) came up with the ceramic water filter in 2013.
Minirva Songaben of DOST Mountain Province said the project was in line with DOST’s thrust on water sanitation, one of the five entry points of science and technology.
Having been tested before, Bila’s clay passed the requirements for the Ceramic Water Filter technology patented by the Industrial Development Institution of DOST.
The ceramic water filtration system is made up of six parts – the cover, ceramic water filter, upper bucket, plastic hook, and the lower bucket.
Tap water is first put into the upper bucket. The water then trickles down and passes through the ceramic water filter which is infused with Nanosilver.
Nanosilveris an antibacterial technology that kills microorganisms making the water safe for drinking.
With a capacity of two liters and filtration rate at two liters per hour, the ceramic water filter is easy to carry especially for those who work in gardens and farms.
The portable ceramic water filter is also useful during emergencies.
“This is very good for LGUs during disasters because our community will have potable water to drink,” Oyang-o recommended.
Towards healthier and wealthier communities
Not only bringing healthier options for the community, the Ceramic Water Filter technology also provides livelihood for the locals.
 “Uray haan kami mapan nga agbirok ti trabaho mi iti sabali nga ili ket adda met ditoy Bila mismo,” said Maribeth Popoten who is an employee of the ceramic water filter project.
A fourth class municipality, Bauko sees great potential in the project which is receiving orders not only around the region but from other parts of the country as well.
Oyang-o said DOST has recently purchased and distributed 990 pieces of ceramic water filter for their Empowering Communities Through Science and Technology Program in Paracelis, Mountain Province.
With orders in the pipeline, the municipality hopes for the sustainability of the ceramic water filter which helps create healthier and wealthier communities. (JDP/JJM-PIA CAR)



Reckless imprudence leads to man’s arrest

BAGUIO CITY – Police arrested a certain Erwin Gloria Cabe, 40, resident of INC Compound, Betag, La Trinidad, Benguet here Wednesday at Woodsgate, Camp 7 for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property.
The arrest was made by virtue of warrant issued by Judge Maria Clarita Casuga-Tabin of MTCC Branch 4, Baguio City who set bail of P120, 000 for Cabe’s temporary liberty.

 Lasciviousness lands man in Jail 

PENARRUBIA, Abra – A man was arrested here Wednesday for acts of lasciviousness. Nabbed was George C. Tacanay of So Ducam, Barangay Mudiit, Dolores town after warrant was issued against hm by Elizabeth G. Bringas, Acting Presiding Judge of RTC Branch 58 Bucay town.
The judge set bail of P180,000 for Tacanay’s temporary liberty.

P2.9-M marijuana  burned in Kalinga

TINGLAYAN, Kalinga -- Over 2.9 million worth of marijuana plants was destroyed by lawmen during a 3-day operation here at a plantation in Barangay Locong last week.
A regional police office report said the 14,600 plants were burned at the site by elements of Kalinga Police Provincial Office, PDEA-CAR and 1503rd Maneuver Company, Regional Mobile Force Battalion 15.
Last month, P. 5.7 million worth of marijuana plants was destroyed and burned in Barangay Butbut Proper.
Police Brig. Gen. Israel Ephraim T. Dickson, regional police director cited lawmen for the successful eradication operations.

Lagawe house burned

LAGAWE, Ifugao -- Fire burned a residential house owned by a certain Victor Hangdaan here at Dullagan, Poblacion West, around 3 p.m. Tuesday.
SSg. Jeffrey Halupe said police and fire personnel including private water delivery trucks stopped the fire around 3:45 p.m.
The cost of damages and cause of the incident was yet to be determined by fire personnel.

Building, 5 houses burned in Abra

BANGUED, Abra – A building and five residential houses were razed here around 5:10 a.m. Wednesday at Pratt St, Zone 4.
Police and fire personnel responded and declared the fire out by 6:35 a.m. No person was injured during the incident. Cause of fire and cost of damages have yet to be determined.

 Man shoots younger brother; flees

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A certain Weiser S. Robillos, 26, was shot once by his elder brother Harry, 30 on his leg after having a heated argument here Tuesday.
A police report said the incident happened around 11:50 p.m. of June 18 at Sitio Mansanita, Barangay Ipil. The victim was brought to Kalinga Provincial Hospital for treatment and now in stable condition while the suspect fled after the incident.

 Itogon miner arrested

ITOGON, Benguet – A small scale miner was arrested here Tuesday at Ucab for violation of Republic Act 7610 (child abuse). Nabbed was Tristan Bantiding Diblo a.k.a Christian Diblo, 40, married, resident of the area.
This, after Judge Marietta S. Brawner Cualing of RTC Branch 9, La Trinidad Benguet issued warrant against Diblo and set bail of P80, 000 for his temporary liberty. 

 Woman cornered for bouncing checks

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A woman was nabbed here Tuesday at Barangay Tawang for violation of bouncing checks law. Arrested was Geltrudes M. Aquino after warrant was isxsued against her by Judge Melita Amylesha G. Delson-Macaraeg of MTC, La Trinidad, Benguet.
The judge set bail of P10, 000 for Aquino’s temporary liberty.

Minor nabbed for robbery with intimidation in Itogon 

ITOGON, Benguet – A minor was arrested here Tuesday at Bobon, Virac for robbery with intimidation. Police nabbed Jhunior C. Dagson, 16 after warrant was issued against him by Judge Mia Joy C Oallares-Cawed of MTC Branch 4, Baguio City. Cawed set bail of P200,000 for temporary liberty of the suspect.

Man arrested for robbery, violence

BAGUIO CITY – A man was nabbed hereTuesday at Crystal Dale, Bakakeng Central for robbery with violence. Suspect Noel B. Gallaman was arrested after Judge Cecilia Corazon D. Archog of RTC Branch 5, Baguio issued warrant against him setting bail of P200,000 for his temporary liberty.

Jueteng kubrador nabbed in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY – A jueteng “kubrador” was arrested here Tuesday at Barangay Upper Atok Trail for collecting bet money. Arrested was Dexter Emong Esteban, 33, married of No. 117 Upper Atok Trail. Confiscated items were cash of P375, two pieces “ligaho” and notebooks where winning number combinations were listed and ballpen.

Man jailed for abuse of Tabuk bocap

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A man was arrested here last week for abusing a barangay captain here around 9:50 p.m. of June 15.
Master Sgts. Jackson S. Apil and Noreen Valdez in a report identified the victim as Enriqur Quenyo Sagayo, 51 of Barangay Magsaysay while the suspect was named as Jake B. Rirao, 29, single, and resident of same place.
Cops led by Lt. Nicasion Sacliwan nabbed Rirao at Ubbog, Magsaysay. Sagayo was talking at his residence with some of his neighbors when the victim came in uninvited and uttered invectives against the chairman in the presence of their neighbors.
Rirao then punched Sagayo on his forehead. The suspect was pacified by barangay tanods who were called then by the chairman. Tanods placed the suspect under arrest and later turned him over to responding police.
Rirao was incarcerated at the city jail while a case against him was readied for filing at the City Prosecutor’s Office. 

 Judge sets bail of P72, for man in frustrated homicide 

ALFONSO LISTA, Ifugao – A man was nabbed here June 14 at Barangay Sta. Maria for frustrated homicide. Police arrested Raymond M. Sambrano by virtue of warrant of arrest was issued against him by Judge Romeo U. Habilling of RTC, Branch. 14, Lagawe, Ifugao.
The judge set bail of P72,000 for Sambrano’s temporary liberty.

 2 woman nabbed in Baguio for estafa

BAGUIO CITY – Two women were arrested here last week for estafa.
A certain Fely Madarang Felix was arrested here for the offense June 14 at Barangay Guisad Surong.
This, after Judge Maria Ligaya V. Itliong-Rivera of RTC, Branch 5 issued warrant for her arrest and setting bail of P60, 000 for her temporary liberty.
Also on June 14 at No. 9 Purok 10, Barangay. Pinget a certain Beverly P. Abrera was nabbed after warrant was issued against her by Judge Leody M. Opolinto of MTCC, Branch 3. The judge set bail of P80, 000 for her temporary liberty.

Rape lands man in jail

SAN JUAN, Abra – Police arrested here June 14 a certain Rick B. Timbreza for rape after Judge Ricardo T.  Domingo of RTC, Branch 1, issued warrant against him.
The judge denied bail to the suspect who is now incarcerated at the town jail.

Man jailed for lasciviousness

BAGUIO CITY – A judge ordered the arrest of a man here last week for acts of lasciviousness.
Nabbed June 14 here at Barangay Irisan was Franco F. Valle after Judge Ivan Kim B. Morales of RTC, Branch. 59 ordered his arrest setting bail of P36, 000 for his temporary liberty.

P2.9-M marijuana burned in Kalinga

TINGLAYAN, Kalinga – Police burned over P2.9 million worth of marijuana plants during a 3-day eradication operation by lawmen here last week.
Three plantation sites with a total land area of 1,950 square meters were discovered by the combined operatives of Kalinga Police Provincial Office, PDEA-CAR and members of the 503rd IB, Philippine Army at Barangay Loccong.
Some 14,600 fully grown marijuana plants were uprooted and burned at the site.
Last month, P5.7 million worth of marijuana was destroyed and burned in Barangay Butbut Proper, Tinglayan.
Brig. Gen. Israel Ephraim T Dickson, regional police chief commended lawmen for the operation.

8 drug-affected Baguio barangays cleared

BAGUIO CITY – The Regional Oversight Committee recently declared eight drug affected barangays of the city cleared from proliferation of illegal drugs pursuant to the parameters set by concerned government agencies for the said purpose.
The approved resolution declaring the 8 barangays as drug cleared were turned over by the members of the oversight committee to the barangay officials last week.
The “drug cleared” barangays are Aurora Hill and Lopez Jaena within the jurisdiction of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Station No. 6, barangays Cabinet Hill and Engineer’s Hill under BCPO Station No. 3, Burnham-Legarda and BGH Compound under BCPO Station No. 5 and Upper Market Subdivision and New Lucban under BCPO Station No. 7.
The committee is chaired by the regional director of the Cordillera office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency with the regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government as vice chairman.
The members are the regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health, regional director of the Police Regional Office – Cordillera and the City Mayor.
Aurora Hill and Lopez Jaena barangays were declared drug-cleared during the first quarter meeting of the oversight committee while Cabinet Hill, Engineer’s Hill, Burnham-Legarda, BGH Compound, Upper Market Subdivision and New Lucban were declared as drug-cleared during the committee’s second quarter meeting.
Last year, the number of drug affected barangays significantly increased following the alleged resurgence of new drug personalities in the barangays previously cleared prompting the committee to revert the same as drug-affected barangays based on the parameters crafted by the concerned government agencies in assessing the state of barangays in the different localities around the country. -- Dexter A. See


A world of bullies ever since

March L. Fianza

It’s history repeating itself. Don’t get me wrong but China and the big nations such as the United States and Russia had been all time bullies to developing nations ever since.
Bullying is a normal animalistic trait inherent in individuals whether they be persons or nations who expect to benefit from the act. Looking back, remember how Spain came to our archipelago and continuously bullied us for 400 years with the use of the sword and the cross.
Bullying is part of the survival instinct of humans, animals and in a larger scale, the big nations. The applications, however, differ depending on the needs. For animals, they attack their subjects based on size and strength while humans bully co-humans by calculation and devious planning.
For a country such as China, it bullies its smaller neighbors by acting like a half animal-half human that attacks its opponents by using its size, military might and by deceitful planning.
Bullying is an act by big nations over their smaller neighbors and that includes the Unites States of America that has been bullying its neighbor Mexico and the other countries in Central and South America.
In Europe, news about Russia bullying smaller independent countries around it does not stop. It bullies its neighbors on all fronts, either militarily or physically, as well as psychologically.
There is power imbalance in that part of the earth, but we read about it then move on with our lives as if we do not care. Maybe Europeans and Americans feel the same way too towards the problems encountered by small nations in Asia such as the Philippines, in relation to giant China.
Comes now the question, “how long can the Philippines take China’s bullying?” This, following the ramming and sinking of a Filipino-owned fishing boat anchored at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, allegedly by a Chinese vessel last June 9, 2019.
Worst, the crew of the ship that rammed the Filipino-owned ship abandoned the 22 fishermen in the high seas, putting their lives at risk. Vietnamese fishermen came to their rescue.
The unfortunate incident should be a wakeup call. Instead, politics raised its ugly head as this administration’s political opponents took advantage of the situation and President Duterte’s unusual silence by trying to egg him into confronting his Chinese friends, to the extent that circumstances could lead to a shooting war.   
I suspect that is the reason behind President Duterte’s silence – the Philippines and the Filipinos will be sitting ducks in a shooting war which nobody wants to happen. Any statement from his mouth will provoke hundreds of interpretations and criticism.
By weighing the situation, it looks like the President preferred to make a sacrifice by absorbing the tirades and attacks by his critics than give in to the egging and make careless statements that could worsen things as it is now. Consider that as prize for being President.
In a confrontation at the Recto Bank that will explode into a shooting war that even our American allies do not want to be involved in, the Chinese will certainly win in three days and the Philippines can be under Chinese control.
In Asia, banks and manufacturing companies of construction material, big landholdings are already in the control of Chinese businessmen even before any shooting war, so that it is not farfetched that trade, commerce and industry will be controlled by them after a quick war.
History repeats itself. Highland vegetable farming and mining that was introduced by the Chinese in Benguet even before the arrival of the Spaniards, may again be controlled by the Chinese. Even Duterte’s political enemies do not want this to happen.
Before I am misunderstood, what I am pointing out is that we have not learned enough from history. We have seen how the Chinese have become successful businessmen from being dirty gold miners in Lepanto, Mankayan and vegetable gardeners in Atok and Buguias.
For centuries, they lived with us and showed us their talents on how to become prosperous entrepreneurs. I once read that Filipinos send their children to school so that they can get employment, while the Chinese children go to school to put up their own businesses and provide employment to people.
With that employee-employer relationship, certainly we are open to bullying. Just look at the department stores, restaurants and hardware. The employers are Chinese and the workers are Filipinos.
We have not learned from our past about what we should do to improve our lot. What we have been perfecting instead is the art of dirty politics, which is indeed an acknowledged Filipino past time.
But unwittingly, that is what the Chinese really want us to do – Filipinos fighting Filipinos. By studying the political tirades waged against each other, the Chinese simply rams a Filipino fishing vessel and we become a weaker nation.
The Filipinos have been bullied by the Chinese for the longest time. And so, the answer to the question, “how long can the Philippines take China’s bullying,” is for Filipinos to simply keep fighting each other.
By the way, I have not heard for a long time since politics was invented, the song that used to go “united we stand, divided we fall; and if our backs should ever be against the wall, we’ll be together.”
Oddly, the British pop group that performed the song in the early 70s was called “The Brotherhood of Man”.


The media monster

Jun Malazo

Technology is a wonderful thing.  The advancement of technology today allows us to accomplish things more quickly and more easily than ever before.  Technology also makes the world a great deal smaller.  We can communicate at lightning speeds.  We can view world events live before our very eyes thanks to high-speed networks.  My grandparents never would have imagined it would be possible to “see” the person you are talking to on the other side of the world.  Commerce and banking has become more convenient for consumers as most transactions can be done with our mobile devices.  I could go on and on about how today’s technology is changing our lives for the better. 
But sadly, the story does not end here.  Technology has its downside.  Improper use of technology has devastating results.  Technology, if misused, can infringe upon our privacy.  We hear so many times of people falling victim to identity theft.  This has left people with devastating personal consequences.  There are many more examples of cybercrime that could be addressed; however, for the purpose of the topic, I specifically want to address the effects of media technologies such as social media, gaming, on-demand movies, and video sharing platforms on the most vulnerable—our children. 
Imagine a picture-perfect dinner date setting.  Once in a while my wife and I will take a break from the busyness of ministry and home-life by going on a date without the kids.  We use this time to discuss issues of life and home.  I remember one time while on one of our dinner dates an event took place that left  a permanent mark in my memory.  We were already seated and the waiter had already taken our orders when a family entered the restaurant.  They were seated adjacent to our table.   I thought to myself, “It is so refreshing to see a family taking the time to be together for a special dinner.”
But to my surprise and awe, just as soon as they took their seats, each and every member of that family took out their individual mobile devices—even the two year old had his own iPad encased in a special protective rubber exterior!  I am not exactly sure what they were doing with each of their mobile devices.  I just know whatever they were doing, it kept them captivated and away from the rest of the world as their eyes were transfixed on the displays of their digital devices.  I noticed that there was no communication between the members of the family.  No eye contact—nothing!   Once in awhile when the two year old’s iPad would get stuck on a video then mom would pay attention and help until the video started playing again.
What is wrong with this picture?  Sadly, this scenario is not uncommon.  Technology has robbed us of our quality time with family.  Technology has also become children’s electronic “babysitter”.   These “babysitters” have become a poor replacement for what parents need to give to their children—quality time and loving care.  Instead of properly mentoring and disciplining children, parents nowadays just put children in front of a mobile device.  With this, parents hope that their children will be distracted enough not to misbehave or cause any interruptions.  This has serious implications for the integrity and unity of families. 
With the help of the internet you can find the latest statistics of media-technology usage.  The results are astounding, especially among the younger generation.  According to an independent research company in 2017, the Philippines has the highest number of users of media in Southeast Asia with an average of 4 hours and 17 minutes per day.  The unbridled use of technology has, to a large extent, actually been more harmful to children than helpful.Even qualified experts warn us of the danger of the unbridled use of media and technology.  Notice the following excerpt from a book entitled, Making Home Work by Dr. Paul Chappell found on page 159;
“Steve Jobs—founder of Apple and creator of the iPhone and iPad—limited how much technology his children used at home.  A New York Times article reported that as the original iPad was hitting the market, Job’s kids hasn’t used it. Rather, as Jobs’ biographer explained, “Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things,” he said.  “No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer.  These kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”
“Chris Anderson…has instituted time limits and parental controls on every device in his home.  “My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they said that none of their friends have the same rules,” he said of his five children, 6 to 17.  “That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand.  I’ve seen it myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”
“The dangers he is referring to include exposure to harmful content like pornography, bullying from other kids, and perhaps worse of all becoming addicted to their devices, just like their parents.”
The unbridled use of media technology is not only dangerous mentally and spiritually, it can also compromise the physical safety of our children.  Children are vulnerable, making them easy targets to online predators.  This was sadly clearly proven in the early months of 2019 when a 16-year-old girl in Cebu was found brutally murdered in an open field.  Her killer was a middle-aged man who used a Facebook account containing falsified information as he posed as a teenaged boy.  After a few months of online exchanges, he lured her to meet together.  The result of the meeting eventually led to the gruesome murder of an innocent young lady, shocking the entire nation.  This is obviously a rare case.  But as a parent, the safety of my children is not something that I am willing to compromise.
How do we as parents protect our children from developing such harmful habits?  You see, not all of technology usage is harmful, at least when under control.  Children are growing up with technology, and for us to pretend that its not there is equally as foolish.  They do need to know some functional aspects of technology, but they must learn how to have self-control and moderation.  This is only possible if we, as parents, will take an active role in their lives.  We must set the boundaries for them.  I am keenly aware that there are many parents who boast of the fact that their children as young as 5 years old are “independent”.  Since they are “independent” the parents leave them to wander all over town to places like the internet cafes and to the houses of their friends with unrestricted access to the internet and without any adult supervision.  Notice the following verse:
"The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."  (Proverbs 29:15)
As a parent, you do not need to know how to use all the media technology available today or be aware of the latest trend in technology in order to protect your children.  You must simply be engaged with your children and know what they are involved in.  My wife and I have counseled parents who were completely shocked when they found out what their children were doing on the internet.  Parents need God’s grace for strength and the principles found in the Bible for direction.  With these, we can guide and direct our children in the way that will be safe for them.  Notice what the Bible promises to parents;
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  (Proverbs 22:6)
God’s Word, the Bible, is powerful.  It contains the principles we need to live by.  The Bible is timeless and has the answers even for 21st-century issues.  The Bible tells us that we need to be discerning in all areas of life, which includes media technology.  Notice the Apostle Paul’s admonishment to Titus:
"Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,    righteously, and godly, in    this present world;"  (Titus 2:12)
This verse sets important guidelines for us as parents.  As you observe your children’s media usage, you must find out if it promotes Godliness and repudiates worldly philosophies.  If it does not, there are biblical guidelines to follow.  Knowing that there is a problem is not enough.  We must take action. 
The first principle we must apply is to know and control our own media usage.  Just as in the scenario I described earlier, many times children are addicted to media technology because that is what they see from their parents.  Do you as a parent practice moderation and self-control?  There are parents that are equally as addicted as their children.  If you, as a parent, cannot control your own usage it will be hard for you to insist that your children control their usage.  My challenge to you as parents is to take charge first of your own life.  The Bible commands us to walk circumspectly.  The word circumspect, found in Ephesians 5:15, is a combination of two words that mean circle and vision.  It literally means looking on all sides.  In other words, to be circumspect means to be alert to danger and careful in our spiritual walk.  We need to encourage our children to walk circumspectly, but it starts in our own lives first.
Next, we as parents must take time to dialogue with our children about the dangers that lurk in the media-technology world.  Our most basic job as parents is the protection of our children.  They have been given to us by God to raise in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  Notice this key verse:
"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (Psalms 127:3)
Communication is key to any successful relationship.  Parents often encounter problems because they fail to communicate.  Your children may be too young to have the discernment to know what is good or bad.  Children are naturally very curious and are very trusting.  Therefore, we must be proactive and take charge of our children.  Far too often, we as parents do more damage control than necessary.  If we just take the time to communicate with our children, we can prevent many problems.  Communication takes time and effort and we must be willing to invest this in our children.
Lastly, another important principle is to set some boundaries for our children.  Overuse of media technology often happens because there are no set rules or boundaries in place.  Children must know the consequences of overstepping their boundaries.  I am aware that if parents start confiscating devices from their children that they will be labelled as “public enemy number 1.”    When the rules are set, parents must be firm and consistent.  Love is gentle but sometimes it’s tough.  We must be willing to give tough love to our children. 
In closing, I want to encourage you, as a parent, to put your family first.  Do not let media technology steal precious time and memories you could be making with your children.  Do not let it steal your children’s precious innocence.  We need God’s grace to take charge with a passion to nurture and protect our children. --  (Jun Malazo  is a Pastor of  Central Sagada Baptist Church . His email:


Baguio pilot area for universal health care


By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The summer capital has started preparations for the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, the city being chosen as one of the pilot areas to enforce the UHC for a better public health system. 
Outgoing Mayor Mauricio Domogan last week ordered the creation of the UHC-Advance Implementation Site (AIS) Management Team (MT) and Technical Unit (TU) which will manage the implementation of the UHC-AIS plans in the city.
The management team will be headed by the mayor and City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo with the city council committee on health and sanitation, city accountant, city budget officer, city treasurer, city planning and development officer, the directors of the city Dept. of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Dept. of Health Center for Health Development Cordillera, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center and the PHilHealth regional office as members along with the private partners Baguio-Benguet Medical Society president, private hospital chiefs, laboratories and diagnostic centers and private pharmacies representatives.
The team will direct, oversee the operations and performance of the UHC-AIS, formulate policies and plans, facilitation technical, managerial and financial actions as well as the monitoring and evaluation of results.
The technical unit will be led by Dr. Galpo with the following as members: Health Care Services Providers Network (HCSPN) Coordinator Dr. Celia Flore Brillantes, Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator Dr. Maria Alice Torres, Health Management Information System and City Epidemiology and Surveillance Coordinator Dr. Donnabel Panes, Health Education Promotion and Advocacy Coordinator Marieta Hoven and Philhealth concerns coordinator Dr. Dandeo Galog.
The TU will organize and oversee the day-to-day operations of the HCSPN and provide update to the MT, prepare plans including the communication and advocacy plan, advocate for UHC among stakeholder, manage information integration, data management and analysis and provide assistance and information on Philhealth-related concerns.
The teams will be supported by the secretariat composed of Benny Abenoja, Josephine Bay-ed and Brigette Angway of the City Health Services Office.
The UHC Act or Republic Act No. 11223 entitled “An Act Instituting (UHC) for All Filipinos prescribing reforms in the Health Care System…”  aims to “address health system fragmentation and reorient the same towards primary health care, through network-based contracting of health care providers and reorganization of the public health system into a city-wide system.”
The mayor said that in line with the UHC, the city “must undergo necessary reforms in its health system with the direction and assistance of the DOH toward better health outcomes, responsive health system and financial risk protection.”
  “Our aim is to successfully implement the Universal Health Care Act in the city,” the mayor said.
Dengue cases in this summer capital are going down.
The HSO under Dr. Rowena Galpo reported that a total of 99 cases were recorded in the city from January 1 to June 3 which is 18.18 percent decrease from last year’s figure of 121 cases.
“Age of cases range from 4 months to 82 years old (median+22 years).  Majority of the cases are males (55 percent).  There were no clustering and fatalities reported,” the report from City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) Head and Dengue Program Coordinator Dr. Donnabel Tubera noted.
Galpo urged the public to observe anti-dengue measures particularly those contained in city’s Ordinance No. 66 series of 2016 or the “Anti-Dengue Ordinance of the City of Baguio” and the Dept. of Health’s ”Mag 4S Kontra Dengue (4 S: Search and destroy breeding places; Self-protection measures; Seek early consultation; Support spraying to prevent impending diseases).”
“If you are experiencing fever for two days, please have yourself checked at the nearest health center because early detection is necessary to prevent worse symptoms or even death,” Galpo said.
The city’s anti-dengue ordinance mandates the adoption of the following measures: 
For households and business owners, they will be required to properly and tightly cover all water containers such as water drums, pails, and water gallons at all times; properly collect, store, dispose or recycle if possible, all unused tin cans, jars, bottles including covers or caps, pots and the like; check and drain water in all plant vases and pots, open bamboo poles or pipe posts, coconut shells, other natural or artificial containers that may accumulate water as these are potential breeding places of mosquitoes; properly dispose broken appliances and other bulky materials which may accumulate rain water; puncture or cut else properly dispose all old or discarded tires; conduct search and destroy activities inside and outside the buildings/homes by doing proper solid waste management, elimination of breeding sites; seek early consultation when experiencing fever of at least two days;
To wear protective clothing and apply mosquito repellant during the day; maintain all gutters of roof free from stagnant rain water; ensure that uninhabited buildings/structures must be free from all kinds of waste; ensure that buildings/structures under construction or repair must not accumulate stagnant water and solid wastes; treat abandoned swimming pools, water fountains, ponds, and the like with larvicides or other means of controlling vectors as allowed by the Health Services Office; and mix salt water or used oil with the stagnant water particularly in areas which are difficult to clean or areas which frequently accumulates stagnant rain water.
Residents and businesses are also required to secure clearance from the HSO prior to the use of chemicals for use of killing mosquitoes; to only allow accredited pest control operators to render services with the jurisdiction of the city; to report to hospitals or the nearest health center if any member of a family has any of the symptoms of dengue; implement other preventive and control measures that the DOH or the HSO may provide and introduce in the future; and to inform water authorities of broken water pipelines.


Beneco to provide internet to Baguio City by yearend

By Pamela Mariz Geminiano

BAGUIO CITY -- The Benguet Electric Coop. (Beneco) will provide a high-speed internet connection to around 35,000 households in Baguio by the end of 2019, an official said on Thursday.
                Eric de Guzman, Consumer Welfare officer of Beneco, said they are targeting to install the backbone lines in all the 128 barangays (villages) of the city by yearend.
This will allow residents to be connected to a minimum of 25Mbps (megabits per second) up to a maximum of 100Mbps speed of internet connection provided by Converge ICT.
In 2018, Beneco and Converge signed a memorandum of agreement to provide internet service to the franchise area — Baguio and Benguet — in line with the Duterte administration's thrust of providing fast internet service even in far-flung areas.
Beneco is the sole electric distributor in Baguio and Benguet and maintains its mark of high quality and efficient service to its more than 100,000 consumer-members. Its franchise area covers Baguio and the 13 Benguet towns.
De Guzman said the backbone or mainline installation is continuing with service already available to residents along Marcos Highway all the way to Baguio General Hospital area including Camp 7, Loakan Road, Scout Barrio, Dagsian, Camp 8, DPS compound, South Drive going to Pacdal, Mines View, Teachers Camp, Holy Ghost area and in the Central Business District.
Currently, there are 8,000 available connections in the city of Baguio, he said.
"The partnership between Benceco and Converge ICT will be beneficial for the people of Baguio as they can finally enjoy the pure end-to-end fiber internet that Converge ICT is known for," he said.
As of June 5, a total of 407 applications have been approved and activated. There is an average of 30 applications received daily which are approved in two weeks time and connected if the area is already “active."
As provided by the agreement, Beneco will maintain the service line while Converge ICT will maintain the backbone lines.
Beneco also will assure the reliability of the secondary lines that connect to the electric posts that will distribute the internet connection to the households.
De Guzman pointed out that to maintain the reliability of the connection in the individual internet consumers, each line from the backbone will only be used by eight consumers.
He said to date, Converge provides internet connection in some parts of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Tarlac, Pangasinan, and Baguio. -- PNA 


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