PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

METRO ALL SET FOR SCHOOL OPENING


MAY 31 ---All public elementary and high schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) are ready for school opening tomorrow, an official of the Department of Education (DepEd) said.
“We are right on track. We have prepared for the opening of classes,” DepEd NCR regional director Luz Almeda said yesterday. “We have given instructions to principals to ensure that the school opening will be orderly,” she added. Earlier, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said around 23 million students are expected to return to different public elementary and high schools across the country. Almeda noted a dramatic decrease in the number of schools that are offering multiple shifts, but admitted that two grade levels in La Huerta Elementary School in Parañaque will still implement three shifts when classes start. She said this is only temporary as a new school building is being constructed to accommodate more students. Almeda said DepEd has constructed around 60 multi-story buildings, with around 18 classrooms each, in Metro Manila to address congestion. The DepEd official said that some schools, including the President Corazon C. Aquino Elementary School in Quezon City decided to divide classrooms to accommodate the high number of students. She said the main problem is the lack of space where the agency can build additional classrooms. “For as long as nobody donates a property, we cannot build additional buildings,” she said. “But we’re coping.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: It’s back to school for 23 M students; cops to be everywhere


Twenty-three million students are expected to return to school today. File photo 
SARANGANI, Philippines – Twenty-three million students are expected to return to school as classes in public elementary and high schools across the country begin today. Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro is scheduled to visit today schools on Sarangani island and nearby Balut island, a municipality of Davao Occidental. Luistro is expected to monitor the school opening situation in 18 public elementary and high schools in the two islands south of General Santos City. At the Glan Central Elementary School in Sarangani, assistant principal Jorge Lumampao said yesterday they are ready for the opening of classes. DepEd assistant secretary Jesus Mateo, who is in charge of Oplan Balik Eskwela, expressed confidence that public schools across the country are ready for the school opening. “We are ready. In fact, our school division superintendents are going around to ensure the preparedness of the schools,” Mateo said in an interview. There are over 38,000 public elementary and almost 8,000 public high schools across the country. DepEd data showed that around 21 million students were enrolled in public schools last year, while over 2 million are studying in private schools. Meanwhile, around 10 million students benefiting from the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will return to school today, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said. Of the 9.97 million beneficiaries, 1,244,358 are enrolled in pre-school; 6,159,721 are elementary students and 2,573,174 are high school students. Soliman said they expect the number to increase because of late enrollees. READ MORE...

ALSO: Catholic schools vow compliance with infrastructure standards


MAY 31 ---Associated Press Photo  
- As classes resume this June amid warnings that a strong earthquake could hit the metropolis, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) yesterday gave assurance that their 1,252 member schools are compliant to the safety standards for infrastructure. Anthony Coloma, CEAP’s advocacy and information management officer, said the safety of students is given priority by their member schools whether they are situated above a fault line or not. “Our schools are generally compliant with the accepted standards of safety in our infrastructure,” he said. “Our schools regularly organize fire and earthquake drills to ensure that our school communities are prepared for any unforeseen eventualities,” he added. Coloma said that as an added measure, CEAP members continue to “pray that no catastrophe would fall on or shake our land.”  The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recently identified areas in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan that are on top of the West Valley Fault Line, which can cause a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could kill thousands of people. International child welfare organization Save the Children urged the Senate to pass the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act as this measure will ensure the welfare of children in times of disasters. READ MORE....

ALSO: Rainy opening of classes tomorrow – Pagasa


MAY 31 ---A young boy shields himself from the rain. AP/Wally Santana
 Major parts of the country should expect a possible downpour during the opening of classes tomorrow due to thunderstorms. Based on the extended weather outlook released by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), major cities in the country were forecast to have partly cloudy skies with rain showers or thunderstorms tomorrow. A similar situation is expected across the country today, the weather bureau said. Meanwhile, several areas in the country experienced heavy downpour yesterday afternoon. PAGASA issued a thunderstorm advisory past 1 p.m. for Metro Manila, Quezon, Zambales, Bataan, Laguna, Batangas, Tarlac, Pampanga and Bulacan. The weather bureau likewise issued an advisory for residents in Zamboanga City, General Santos City, Lanao del Sur, Bohol, Leyte and nearby areas. “All are advised to take precautionary measures against heavy rains, strong winds, lightning and possible flash floods,” state weather forecasters said.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Ilocos Norte launches garlic ‘buy-back’ trading scheme


MAY 31 ---GARLIC GALORE IN ILOCANDIA – Farmers haul voluminous bundles of garlic during the launching of the garlic buy-back trading scheme in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte. The scheme was launched to provide farmers an ideal and stable market for their harvest. (Freddie G. Lazaro)
Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte – The provincial government of Ilocos Norte launched its buy-back trading scheme for locally produced garlic to assure its market with negotiable price during its harvest season here. Millennium Development Goals Office chief Edwin Cariño said the trading scheme was formally started in Pasuquin town. Forty five percent of the province’s garlic is harvested in the municipality. “This is the first time that we implemented a garlic buy-back scheme in Ilocos Norte where the provincial government will buy garlic produce from the local growers and sell them to the national market,” he explained. The formal launching of the program in the town was held on May 20, 2015 in time of the Manang Imee’s Capitol Express. During the launching of the program, the provincial government initially purchased a total of 38,860 kilograms of garlic in assorted classes worth of P3 million. Class 1 garlic was acquired at P84.00 per kilogram, Class II at P77.00 per kg and Class III at P70 per kg. HIGH QUALITY SEEDS It was reported that whatever gain earned by the provincial government from the new scheme will eventually be felt by garlic farmers through the procurement of high quality seeds stocks for distribution. READ MORE...

ALSO: Most Filipinos, Mindanao folk don’t want BBL


Happier times. Leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and members of the government panel meet in Malacanang Palace during the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro as President Aquino looks on approvingly in this photograph taken last March MAJORITY of Filipinos reject the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law and they include those who live in Mindanao and are supposed to be its beneficiaries, the results of the first Standard Poll showed.
The poll, conducted by resident pollster Junie Laylo from May 8 to 18, also found that 63 percent of the Filipinos surveyed do not believe the Moro Islamic Liberation Front truly represents the Bangsamoro people. At least 54 percent of the respondents said they disagreed with passing the BBL while 44 percent said they would still disagree with the measure even if it was amended to correct its unconstitutional provisions. Even the respondents from Mindanao, who are supposed to benefit directly from the Palace-backed measure, were against it, with 52 percent saying they did not want it passed. READ MORE...

ALSO: Crime lord paid BBL ‘payola’ to guarantee swift BBL passage? By Christine F. Herrera | Jun. 01, 2015 at 12:01am
[House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte immediately dismissed as “an absolute lie” that lawmakers were paid off to vote for the BBL. “I will resign if anybody can prove that PNoy (President Benigno Aquino III) promised even one centavo for a BBL vote,” Belmonte told the Manila Standard.]


Mug shot. This photo from the Chinese Embassy in Manila shows Wang Bo, the alleged crime lord who coughed up “millions” that supposedly ended up in the pockets of lawmakers to guarantee the swift approval of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. THE Aquino administration used funds from an alleged Chinese crime lord to raise campaign funds for the ruling Liberal Party and to guarantee the swift approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), The Standard learned Sunday.
Lawmakers received millions in hard cash from Monday to Wednesday last week, shortly after Wang Bo, who is wanted by Interpol and the Chinese government for allegedly embezzling $100 million, was ordered released by the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, highly reliable sources said. “Unknown to the lawmakers, the funds they are receiving from the Palace to change their votes and blindly pass the BBL came from the leader of a crime syndicate in China,” a high-ranking official at the BID, who requested anonymity, told the Manila Standard. “The BID officials... violated the deportation order issued on March 5 upon the request of China as they reversed themselves and issued a release order on May 21 to let Wang walk, instead of turning him over to the Chinese authorities,” the official added. But a protest by the Chinese Embassy in Manila stopped the release of Wang, who now remains in BID custody. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte immediately dismissed as “an absolute lie” that lawmakers were paid off to vote for the BBL. “I will resign if anybody can prove that PNoy (President Benigno Aquino III) promised even one centavo for a BBL vote,” Belmonte told the Manila Standard. READ MORE...

ALSO: Philippines remains poorest among Asean 5 economies - IMD World Yearbook


Philippine authorities boast that the Philippines is the fastest growing country in Asean-5. True, but the reality is that it is easier to grow rapidly when one is starting from a low base.
And the inconvenient truth is that the Philippines was, and remains to be, the poorest among its Asean-5 peers. The Philippines has a long way to go before it can catch up with its Asean-5 peers, according to the recently released results of the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook. The results show that the Philippines has the worst unemployment and underemployment problem among Asean-5 economies. In 2014, the Philippines’ unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, much higher than Indonesia’s 5.94 percent, Malaysia’s 2.9 percent, Singapore’s 2.0 percent and Thailand’s 0.84 percent. Compared to 2014, the 2015 IMD competitiveness survey results are mixed for Asean-5. Indonesia (37 to 42), Malaysia (12 to 14) and Thailand (29 to 30) moved down. Singapore at 3 was unchanged while the Philippines (42 to 41) inched up slightly in ranking. But from a medium-term perspective, from 2011 to 2015, the results give a different picture: Malaysia (16 to 14) moved up while there was no change in ranking for the Philippines (41) and Singapore (3). Thailand (27 to 30) moved down, but that was because of the series of civil disturbances in the country, which led to martial rule.
In any event, the Philippines remained the poorest performing Asean-5 country at 41 out of 144 economies.  Studies show that the quality of public infrastructure is a major constraint to long term, sustainable growth. In terms of overall public infrastructure and compared to 2014, the results are also mixed. Indonesia (54 to 56) and Malaysia (25 to 27) moved down. The rest – Philippines (59 to 57), Singapore (10 to 7) and Thailand improved slightly in ranking. But from a medium term perspective, from 2011 to 2015, the results give a different result: Indonesia (55 to 56) moved down; Malaysia (27) and the Philippines (57) were unchanged in rank; Singapore (10 to 7) and Thailand (47 to 46) moved up in ranking. READ MORE...

ALSO PHILSTAR EDITORIAL - Narrowing the knowledge gap


In several prosperous countries, when the economy slows down, part of the strategy for a rebound is greater investment in education. Giving a nation’s human resource the necessary knowledge and skills encourages innovation and boosts national competitiveness. These objectives underpin many national education programs; it’s no coincidence that advanced economies invest heavily in public education. In the Philippines, as mandated under the Constitution, education gets the highest funding appropriation among all the executive departments, although debt payments still get the lion’s share in annual budgeting. But wide income gaps are evident in the quality of education particularly in primary and secondary school. Children from affluent families enjoy early preparation for grade school and many begin playing with computers even before first grade. Children in households where English is widely spoken also enjoy an edge over those from low-income families who are introduced to the lingua franca of the Information Age much later in primary school. In the past years, efforts have been made to improve the quality of Philippine education. The public school curriculum was reworked to give emphasis to mathematics and the sciences. English teaching is constantly being upgraded, even as mother tongue education is promoted to make it easier for children to learn a foreign language. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Metro all set for school opening

MANILA, JUNE 1, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Janvic Mateo May 31, 2015 - 12:00am - All public elementary and high schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) are ready for school opening tomorrow, an official of the Department of Education (DepEd) said.

“We are right on track. We have prepared for the opening of classes,” DepEd NCR regional director Luz Almeda said yesterday.

“We have given instructions to principals to ensure that the school opening will be orderly,” she added.

Earlier, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said around 23 million students are expected to return to different public elementary and high schools across the country.

Almeda noted a dramatic decrease in the number of schools that are offering multiple shifts, but admitted that two grade levels in La Huerta Elementary School in Parañaque will still implement three shifts when classes start.

She said this is only temporary as a new school building is being constructed to accommodate more students.

Almeda said DepEd has constructed around 60 multi-story buildings, with around 18 classrooms each, in Metro Manila to address congestion.

The DepEd official said that some schools, including the President Corazon C. Aquino Elementary School in Quezon City decided to divide classrooms to accommodate the high number of students.

She said the main problem is the lack of space where the agency can build additional classrooms.

“For as long as nobody donates a property, we cannot build additional buildings,” she said. “But we’re coping.”

READ MORE...
Earlier, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista said they are looking for possible sites to construct additional school buildings in the city.

There are more than 770 public elementary and high schools in Metro Manila, with almost two million students enrolled last school year.

Luistro is set to lead school opening activities in Sarangani.

He said the reported classroom shortages are not backlogs, but rather part of the annual gaps caused by the movement of students.

On a national scale, Luistro said the number of reported gaps is minimal and that the principals and superintendents have marching orders to address these problems.

DepEd is conducting its Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) to address concerns with regard to school opening.

An information and action center at the DepEd head office in Pasig City is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.

Luistro ordered regional directors and superintendents to activate their respective information centers.

DepEd assistant secretary Jesus Mateo, who was tasked to head OBE, said usual complaints include issues regarding the transfer of students from private to public schools.

QC police on alert

Meanwhile, members of the Quezon City Police District were alerted for the opening of classes tomorrow, QCPD spokesman Senior Inspector Maricar Taqueban said.

“All QCPD personnel were alerted for the ‘Ligtas Balik Eskwela’ 2015. Sufficient number of policemen would be deployed for the school opening,” Taqueban told The STAR.

QCPD director Chief Superintendent Joel Pagdilao said 476 police trainees from the National Capital Regional Office would be deployed to 12 police stations in the city to beef up security and conduct foot patrols.

Pagdilao said police assistance desks would be established in different schools in Quezon City.

He added force multipliers were also tapped to ensure the safety of students, teachers and other school employees.

Pagdilao said any untoward incident may be reported to police hotline numbers: Patrol 117 or District Tactical Operations Center at 925-8417, 436-1173, 4743106 or 0917-9416955. – With Robertzon Ramirez


PHILSTAR

It’s back to school for 23 M students; cops to be everywhere By Janvic Mateo and Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 1, 2015 - 12:00am


Twenty-three million students are expected to return to school today. File photo

SARANGANI, Philippines – Twenty-three million students are expected to return to school as classes in public elementary and high schools across the country begin today.

Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro is scheduled to visit today schools on Sarangani island and nearby Balut island, a municipality of Davao Occidental.

Luistro is expected to monitor the school opening situation in 18 public elementary and high schools in the two islands south of General Santos City.

At the Glan Central Elementary School in Sarangani, assistant principal Jorge Lumampao said yesterday they are ready for the opening of classes.

DepEd assistant secretary Jesus Mateo, who is in charge of Oplan Balik Eskwela, expressed confidence that public schools across the country are ready for the school opening.

“We are ready. In fact, our school division superintendents are going around to ensure the preparedness of the schools,” Mateo said in an interview.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

There are over 38,000 public elementary and almost 8,000 public high schools across the country.

DepEd data showed that around 21 million students were enrolled in public schools last year, while over 2 million are studying in private schools.

Meanwhile, around 10 million students benefiting from the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will return to school today, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said.

Of the 9.97 million beneficiaries, 1,244,358 are enrolled in pre-school; 6,159,721 are elementary students and 2,573,174 are high school students.

Soliman said they expect the number to increase because of late enrollees.

READ MORE...
“There will be late enrollees and other enrollees for alternative learning systems are not yet included,” she said.

Mateo said they expect minimal problems today, and contingency measures are in place to address concerns such as students who did not register but would like to attend the classes.

NCRPO on alert

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Carmelo Valmoria warned criminals not to take advantage of the school opening today.

Valmoria said police officers would be deployed near schools in Metro Manila as early as 5 a.m. to thwart lawless elements.

“We have clustered the small schools while the big schools would be tightly secured,” he said.

“I’m warning criminal gangs against victimizing students as we are everywhere, especially in places of convergence, watching them,” he added.

Valmoria said the 18,000-strong NCRPO would remain on heightened alert until the opening of classes in private schools on June 8.

Disaster-ready

Meanwhile, amid concerns that some schools in Metro Manila are located near the West Valley Fault, DepEd said that it has laid out contingency plans to ensure the safety of students.

“If engineers determine that the school buildings are on top of the fault line, these will be demolished. If the school is near or within the buffer zone but still can be used, it will be retrofitted,” Luistro said.

DepEd earlier identified five public schools that are transected by the West Valley Fault. These are the Barangka National High School in Marikina; Alabang Elementary School, Pedro Diaz High School and Buli Elementary School in Muntinlupa and Karahume Elementary School in Bulacan.

Another private school, the Anne Claire Montessori in Taguig, has one building that is on top of the fault line. A representative of the school said they would no longer use the structure.

Last week, Luistro inspected some of the schools, which opted to use alternative buildings after some of their buildings were decommissioned due to their location.

DepEd said it has strengthened the preparedness and mitigation response of its schools and field offices nationwide.

“DepEd also has a partnership with Phivolcs (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) in reinforcing and updating existing learning materials that will include engagement of families on earthquake preparedness,” it said.

Congestion

Addressing the issue of congestion, Mateo said this a phenomenon in urban areas where there is big student population.

“What’s happening in Metro Manila is different from what’s happening in the provinces,” he said.

Earlier, DepEd-National Capital Region director Luz Almeda said the problem in some Metro Manila schools is the lack of space where new buildings may be constructed.

On criticisms over the delay in the construction of 67,000 classrooms that were funded in the 2014 and 2015 budget of DepEd, Mateo said these would be finished within the school year.

He added that most of the classrooms would be used for the additional Grades 11 and 12, which will start next year.

K to 12 modules

Mateo said the modules for the grade levels that will use a new curriculum in line with the implementation of the K to 12 program have been delivered to the division offices.

“The division personnel are the ones tasked to deliver the materials to the schools,” he said.

Earlier, Luistro said teachers can download a copy of the modules from the DepEd website in case these are not delivered to them on time.

He said the modules are for Grades 4 and 10, and that the previous materials for grade levels that have adopted the K to 12 curriculum should be available for the students this year.

Protests to greet school opening

Public school teachers will greet the school opening today with protests against the K to 12 program, which is expected to render tens of thousands of teachers jobless.

Benjo Basas, head of the Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC), maintained that the country is not yet prepared for the full implementation of the K to 12 program.

The TDC, along with other militant groups including the Coalition for K to 12 Suspension, will hold protest rallies in Manila today.

“We are making noise because the government has not considered the condition of the teachers (in the K to 12 program),” Basas said.

Militant groups said around 80,000 teachers are likely to lose their jobs once the K to 12 program has been fully implemented.

Basas said DepEd failed to address the issues facing public schools.

“We still lack teachers for kindergarten. We have one case in Pasig City wherein volunteer kindergarten teachers have not yet received their P3,000 monthly honorarium from January to March,” he said. – Helen Flores, Rainier Allan Ronda


PHILSTAR

Catholic schools vow compliance with infrastructure standards By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 31, 2015 - 12:00am


Associated Press Photo

MANILA, Philippines - As classes resume this June amid warnings that a strong earthquake could hit the metropolis, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) yesterday gave assurance that their 1,252 member schools are compliant to the safety standards for infrastructure.

Anthony Coloma, CEAP’s advocacy and information management officer, said the safety of students is given priority by their member schools whether they are situated above a fault line or not.

“Our schools are generally compliant with the accepted standards of safety in our infrastructure,” he said.

“Our schools regularly organize fire and earthquake drills to ensure that our school communities are prepared for any unforeseen eventualities,” he added.

Coloma said that as an added measure, CEAP members continue to “pray that no catastrophe would fall on or shake our land.”

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recently identified areas in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan that are on top of the West Valley Fault Line, which can cause a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could kill thousands of people.

International child welfare organization Save the Children urged the Senate to pass the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act as this measure will ensure the welfare of children in times of disasters.

READ MORE...
The House of Representatives passed on third and final reading the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, which mandates a comprehensive emergency program for children who are vulnerable to calamities. It calls for a structural approach to ensuring that children are well prepared, safe, and their voices are heard during emergencies.

Ned Olney, Save the Children country director for the Philippines, said among the important mechanisms to be put in place by the law are the special surveillance system for tracking children and a policy for the swift restoration of civil documents of children.

“If you got children without identification, it’s much easier to traffic children,” Olney pointed out.

Olney said the law would also set a policy on the use of schools as evacuation centers. Under the proposed legislation, within 90 days after a disaster the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Office of Civil Defense should develop a specific plan for children.

Olney noted even developed countries that have a sophisticated policy on disaster preparedness and child welfare protection like Japan do not have a specific emergency relief and protection law for children.

“We think (the Philippines) is the only country in Southeast Asia that has a specific children in emergencies law. This will be very groundbreaking. We think it’s the first country in all of Asia,” he added.

“(By coming up with such a law), you send a message that protecting children is a major priority for us,” he added. – With Rainier Allan Ronda


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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