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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)
FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

EDITORIAL -
5 YEARS AFTER BIN LADEN, AL-QAEDA DOWN BUT FAR FROM OUT


MAY 1 -COURTESY OF INUSANEWS.COM Five years after the killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, the network he founded is far from dead even if it has suffered a series of setbacks. Replaced as the preeminent global jihadist power by the Islamic State group, Al-Qaeda nonetheless remains a potent force and dangerous threat, experts say. With last year's Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris and a wave of shootings in West Africa, Al-Qaeda has shown it can still carry out its trademark spectacular attacks. And in Syria and Yemen its militants have seized on chaos to take control of significant territory, even presenting themselves as an alternative to the brutality of IS rule. By the time US special forces killed bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, the group he founded in the late 1980s had been badly damaged, with many of its militants and leaders killed or captured in the US "War on Terror". Dissention grew in the jihadist ranks as new Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri struggled in bin Laden's place, until one of its branches, originally Al-Qaeda in Iraq, broke away to form the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). After seizing large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014, the group declared an Islamic "caliphate" in areas under its control, calling itself simply the Islamic State. IS has since eclipsed its former partner, drawing thousands of jihadists to its cause and claiming responsibility for attacks that have left hundreds dead in Brussels, Paris, Tunisia, Turkey, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and on a Russian airliner over Egypt. - 'Media war machine' -Its self-declared "emir" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has won pledges of allegiance from extremist groups across the Middle East and beyond, with especially powerful IS affiliates operating in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and in Libya. Jean-Pierre Filiu, a Paris-based expert on Islam and jihadist groups, said IS has been especially effective at using new technology to surpass its less tech-savvy rival. READ MORE...

ALSO: Keynote speech at the National Conference for Social Studies Teachers in the Philippines


APRIL 26 -It’s an exciting time for the word “social.” It’s the age of social media – by some metrics, we’re the world’s leading users of Facebook. Not because we’re so internet savvy (we suffer, after all, from one of the slowest internet speeds in the world), but because we’re oh so sociable, and we need to be connected all the time with family members and friends all over the world. And what could be more social than elections, the ultimate networking event. We love elections so much we turn out in great numbers to vote; in fact, we have much higher voter turnouts than America, that great teacher of democracy. Yet we do elections so poorly, if you judge by election-related killings, cheating, and campaign violations. Elections are supposed to be a time of promise and renewal, yet elections also reveal the worst versions of ourselves. Democracy was invented to lessen conflict in society, so power could be transferred without bloodshed. Yet we all know what happens during elections in our country. We all know what happens but few of us understand why so many are willing to kill for public office. The violence of our democracy is almost unique in the world. In the weeks and months before Election Day, when the public’s focus is on the fate of our civic life, social studies and its teachers should be shining a light – not necessarily towards the direction we should be taking, but at the questions we should be asking and at all the places where the answers could be hidden in plain sight. If there is one thing that teachers of social studies or sibika should be telling the nation to do, it is this: Know thyself. We cannot solve our myriad national problems if we do not know ourselves, if we do not look at ourselves as Filipinos in the mirror, ask ourselves tough questions, and then be relentless in pursuing the answers. This entire political campaign season has provided social studies teachers with a gold mine of material for reflection, research, and lessons. It’s like a national strip tease where both candidates and voters unveil naked truths about themselves, presenting to you an accidental buffet of teaching and learning moments. The past week or so in particular has been full of news about a leading presidential candidate’s joke about rape. We debate what that may or may not reveal about the candidate. But how the public reacts – and how it affects their vote – will also reflect the nation’s current mood and personality. It’s another teaching moment: What does this incident say not only about our politics, but the state of political language, attitudes towards women, gender relations, and the leadership qualities people are looking for and what they’re willing to tolerate in exchange. READ MORE...

ALSO: GMA NEWS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS’ ELEKSYON 2016
[THE MOST TRUSTED, MOST INNOVATIVE AND MOST IN-DEPTH MULTI-PLATFORM COVERAGE OF THE PHILIPPINE ELECTIONS]


MAY 6 -GMA News and Public Affairs promises to bring the most trusted, most innovative and most in-depth coverage of Eleksyon 2016, tapping all of its platforms to deliver a blow by blow account of one of the most hotly contested Presidential elections in Philippine history. GMA’s special coverage on May 9 and 10 will utilize the latest technology in broadcast news reportage today, including immersive graphics, 360-degree video cameras, and live drone footage. GMA News pillars Mel Tiangco, Mike Enriquez, Vicky Morales, Arnold Clavio, Howie Severino, and Jessica Soho – as well as anchors Pia Arcangel, Jiggy Manicad, Kara David, Ivan Mayrina, Rhea Santos and Connie Sison -- will lead the Eleksyon 2016 coverage, providing insights and analysis in the spirit of Serbisyong Totoo. Joining them in covering this much anticipated event are more than 100 GMA News reporters and stringers, DZBB reporters, as well as more than 300 members of the RGMA provincial coverage teams from various strategic points throughout Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Meanwhile, GMA News Online will deliver real-time Eleksyon 2016 updates, including up-to-the-minute partial and unofficial results for all positions in the national and local elections up to the clustered precinct level, accessible in all platforms and devices. Using enabling technologies developed by GMA New Media, Inc., GMA News Online also offers “Smart Search,” which will make it faster and easier for site visitors to find results by candidate, place or position. A 360-degree stream coverage of the GMA Eleksyon 2016 Headquarters is also made available for netizens who want to have a virtual tour of the Kapuso election hub. READ MORE...

ALSO: GMA’s Kapuso Villages develop resilient communities


APRIL 17 -GMAKF EVP and COO Mel C. Tiangco lowers a time capsule containing project plans and wish notes during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kapuso Village in Tacloban.
Broadcast giant GMA Network’s socio-civic GMA Kapuso Foundation (GMAKF) has endeavored to create a long-lasting impact in the lives of countless Filipinos across the country, anchored on the credo of Serbisyong Totoo. Among its numerous projects, GMAKF has been building houses in what it calls Kapuso villages over the last 10 years to provide indigent victims of natural and man-made disasters with sustainable permanent shelter that could withstand future calamities. “Our Kapuso Villages are more than just about putting a roof over the heads of our fellow Filipinos in need,” said GMAKF Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mel C. Tiangco who added that “these are essentially stories of hope and of how these homes can help build a new life for those who lost everything.”  Indeed, more than providing shelter to residents displaced by calamities, the Kapuso Villages are also instrumental in forming stronger ties and greater social consciousness within the community. Back in 2006, tragedy struck the small village of St. Bernard in Southern Leyte as a landslide buried the whole village, along with many of its residents. GMAKF responded swiftly to the tragedy through rescue and relief operations, but soon saw a more pressing need for long-term rehabilitation efforts. In what would become an enduring legacy of the Foundation nationwide, the first of GMAKF’s five housing projects materialized from the outpour of support and donations from all over the world. The renewal of hope and the rebuilding of lives were concretized into 100 new, sturdy homes in Barangay New Malanza in Lilo-an, Southern Leyte for the victims of the landslide. Each home was built with a floor area of 24 square meters and a provision for a mezzanine. A Kapuso School Building, comprised of four units with two classrooms each, was soon added. In the wake of typhoon Sendong, the Foundation took on its next housing project, with Phase I and Phase II of the 180-unit Kapuso Village in Iligan composed of composite type row houses for displaced victims of the typhoon. The housing project, which was done in partnership with the City Government of Iligan, was completed in February 2014 following the turnover of the first 120 units of the project in April 2013. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

5 years after bin Laden, Al-Qaeda down but far from out


COURTESY OF INUSANEWS.COM

MANILA, MAY 9, 2016 (GMA NEWS ) Published May 1, 2016 10:42am By RENE SLAM,  AFP - Five years after the killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, the network he founded is far from dead even if it has suffered a series of setbacks.

Replaced as the preeminent global jihadist power by the Islamic State group, Al-Qaeda nonetheless remains a potent force and dangerous threat, experts say.

With last year's Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris and a wave of shootings in West Africa, Al-Qaeda has shown it can still carry out its trademark spectacular attacks.

And in Syria and Yemen its militants have seized on chaos to take control of significant territory, even presenting themselves as an alternative to the brutality of IS rule.

By the time US special forces killed bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, the group he founded in the late 1980s had been badly damaged, with many of its militants and leaders killed or captured in the US "War on Terror".

Dissention grew in the jihadist ranks as new Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri struggled in bin Laden's place, until one of its branches, originally Al-Qaeda in Iraq, broke away to form the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

After seizing large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014, the group declared an Islamic "caliphate" in areas under its control, calling itself simply the Islamic State.

IS has since eclipsed its former partner, drawing thousands of jihadists to its cause and claiming responsibility for attacks that have left hundreds dead in Brussels, Paris, Tunisia, Turkey, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and on a Russian airliner over Egypt.

- 'Media war machine' -Its self-declared "emir" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has won pledges of allegiance from extremist groups across the Middle East and beyond, with especially powerful IS affiliates operating in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and in Libya.

Jean-Pierre Filiu, a Paris-based expert on Islam and jihadist groups, said IS has been especially effective at using new technology to surpass its less tech-savvy rival.

READ MORE...

"Al-Qaeda propaganda has become invisible on social networks thanks to the media war machine that Daesh has managed to successfully create," Filiu said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

"Al-Qaeda has lost everywhere to Daesh, except in the Sahel" desert region of northern Africa, he said.

William McCants, of the Brookings Institution in Washington, agreed that Al-Qaeda had lost some ground to IS, but said the organization has recovered.

"Al-Qaeda has a strong showing in Syria and in Yemen," he said.

In Syria the group's local affiliate, Al-Nusra Front, is one of the strongest forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime, holding large parts of the northern province of Idlib.

The local branch in Yemen, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has meanwhile seized significant territory in the south and southeast as the government struggles against Iran-backed Shiite insurgents who have taken the capital Sanaa and other areas.

AQAP suffered a setback last week when Yemeni troops recaptured the key port city of Mukalla it occupied for more than a year.

- Attacks in Paris, west Africa -But AQAP remains the key jihadist force in Yemen with thousands of members compared with only several hundred affiliated with IS, McCants said.

AQAP, considered by Washington to be Al-Qaeda's most well-established and dangerous branch, has also claimed responsibility for one of the group's most important attacks abroad in recent years.

In January 2015 gunmen stormed the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo with assault rifles and other weapons, killing 12 people in an attack claimed by AQAP.

Another branch, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has carried out assaults on hotels and restaurants in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast since November that have left dozens dead, including many foreigners.

The attacks in west Africa "have reasserted the regional presence of AQIM and shown its expanding reach," New York-based intelligence consultancy The Soufan Group said in March.

"AQIM has used the attacks to challenge the influence of the Islamic State, to demonstrate and build its local support and to show that it is united after earlier damaging divisions," it said.

The International Crisis Group also argues that although IS has reshaped the jihadist landscape, Al-Qaeda "has evolved" and its branches in North Africa, Somalia, Syria and Yemen "remain potent, some stronger than ever".

"Some have grafted themselves onto local insurrections, displaying a degree of pragmatism, caution about killing Muslims and sensitivity to local norms," said the Brussels-based think-tank.

Al-Qaeda chiefs in Yemen and elsewhere have condemned IS for some of its actions, including bombings of Shiite mosques.

- 'Jihad will last decades' -The United States clearly still sees Al-Qaeda as a key threat, pursuing a vigorous drone war against the group in Yemen.

The strikes have killed many senior operatives, including Al-Qaeda's second-in-command Nasir al-Wuhayshi in June 2015. In March a US strike on an AQAP training camp in Yemen killed at least 71 recruits.

Writing for French news website Atlantico in early April, former intelligence officer Alain Rodier said that while IS may have stolen the spotlight, Al-Qaeda may be in a better long-term position.

By rushing to declare its caliphate and establish its rule, IS has made itself an easier target, with thousands of its supporters killed in air strikes launched by a US-led coalition and by Russia.

Its harsh rule has also alienated potential supporters, while groups like Al-Nusra have instead sought to work with local forces in areas under their control.

"The death of Al-Qaeda's founding father in no way meant the end of his progeny," Rodier wrote. "This jihad will last for decades." —Agence France-Presse


Keynote speech at the National Conference for Social Studies Teachers in the Philippines University of the Philippines, Diliman April 21, 2016

It’s an exciting time for the word “social.” It’s the age of social media – by some metrics, we’re the world’s leading users of Facebook. Not because we’re so internet savvy (we suffer, after all, from one of the slowest internet speeds in the world), but because we’re oh so sociable, and we need to be connected all the time with family members and friends all over the world.

And what could be more social than elections, the ultimate networking event. We love elections so much we turn out in great numbers to vote; in fact, we have much higher voter turnouts than America, that great teacher of democracy. Yet we do elections so poorly, if you judge by election-related killings, cheating, and campaign violations. Elections are supposed to be a time of promise and renewal, yet elections also reveal the worst versions of ourselves.

Democracy was invented to lessen conflict in society, so power could be transferred without bloodshed. Yet we all know what happens during elections in our country. We all know what happens but few of us understand why so many are willing to kill for public office.

The violence of our democracy is almost unique in the world. In the weeks and months before Election Day, when the public’s focus is on the fate of our civic life, social studies and its teachers should be shining a light – not necessarily towards the direction we should be taking, but at the questions we should be asking and at all the places where the answers could be hidden in plain sight.

If there is one thing that teachers of social studies or sibika should be telling the nation to do, it is this: Know thyself. We cannot solve our myriad national problems if we do not know ourselves, if we do not look at ourselves as Filipinos in the mirror, ask ourselves tough questions, and then be relentless in pursuing the answers.

This entire political campaign season has provided social studies teachers with a gold mine of material for reflection, research, and lessons. It’s like a national strip tease where both candidates and voters unveil naked truths about themselves, presenting to you an accidental buffet of teaching and learning moments.

The past week or so in particular has been full of news about a leading presidential candidate’s joke about rape. We debate what that may or may not reveal about the candidate. But how the public reacts – and how it affects their vote – will also reflect the nation’s current mood and personality.

It’s another teaching moment: What does this incident say not only about our politics, but the state of political language, attitudes towards women, gender relations, and the leadership qualities people are looking for and what they’re willing to tolerate in exchange.

READ MORE...

The past few months have also witnessed clashing opinions about martial law and the meaning of political events 30 and more years ago.

Another civic lesson and teaching moment. Was martial law really a golden age, or are defenders of martial law just looking at distorted snapshots from a hazy era? In a recent interview I did with a relatively young senatorial candidate, I was surprised when he described charges of human rights violations during martial law as an “elitist” issue, as if only well-to-do people complained about them.

During the Marcos regime, I was a political detainee charged with sedition and I cannot recall anyone I met in prison whom I would call elite. They were mostly students, jeepney drivers and subsistence wage earners when they were not in the streets protesting human rights violations by the Marcos regime.

I myself was a teacher like most of you. My curiosity about how martial law is recalled and taught brought me to the pages of a grade-five textbook on Kasaysayang Pilipino used in public schools.

In its nine pages on martial law, barely anything negative was said; instead, it was described as an effective tool by former president Marcos to restore peace and order, exactly how he himself described it when he declared martial law. No mention of human rights, or the greed that eventually engulfed the martial law regime.

Then I realized why the son of the martial law dictator could be on the brink of being elected vice president on the strength of illusory notions of what life was like during his father’s time.

How do we complete the picture of our past so that history comes alive and kicks us once in a while in the right direction? Write better and more truthful textbooks, for one.

That’s obvious. But here’s another suggestion: Make oral history an essential part of your curricula.

Supplement lifeless texts in the classroom with the memories of living people in the homes and communities of your students. Give your students guide questions about significant years of our nation’s recent history – pretty soon, the PNoy era will be history as well – and then send them home to find the oldest members of their families and sit them down for interviews.

Your pupils may realize it’s the first serious conversation they’ve ever had with that member of their family. It’s a learning moment, but also a bonding experience, bridging generations as well as adding to our repository of knowledge. History then moves beyond the textbooks and into the realm of the personal. I have been producing video and television for nearly 20 years.

But among my most memorable shooting experiences was even before I turned professional when I accidentally interviewed my grandmother on video.

It was the early 1990s, and I had only intended to learn how to use my new video camera, then a basic analog VHS camera, by practicing on my lola, then over 80 years old. As soon as I aimed the camera at her, she started talking and I began to ask her questions – about her wartime experiences, what it was like to raise 11 children in Ilocos Sur, how she met my grandfather, what my mother was like as a little girl.

And so on until I used up all of my tape. It wasn’t until I visited my relatives in America and showed them my video of my lola that I realized what a family treasure I had recorded. Many of my US-born cousins had never heard my lola’s voice before, much less seen her animated facial expressions and heard her laughter as she shared her memories. My titos and titas had never heard many of my lola’s stories and recollections.

I have come to believe that nations are built on the tapestry of such stories, the stories of millions of ordinary people who have lived life on these islands, who have seen how life has changed and how much has stayed the same. That is why I do what I do. Out of such interactions between generations come a deepening of relationships and even wisdom. Out of these extended conversations civilization is passed on, especially family history.

Tell your students to find out the origins of their families, what their different ethnic roots are, how they came to live where they do, who the most interesting members of their clans are, who in their families fought in wars, ran for public office, ran away to get married, and who have not been seen in a long time and may be eager to be in touch again. There are family stories, Filipino stories, out there waiting to be discovered, shared and stored for posterity.

This is why when students come to me asking for advice about choosing their thesis or documentary topic, I tell them there is no need to go further than their own families – choose among the oldest members, interview them, and you are almost sure to find a fascinating and even unique subject or experience that only you can develop. The student may end up not only with a worthy school project, but a family treasure for which your loved ones will appreciate you forever.

You may even become known, like me, as the family chronicler. I also like to think that deep interactions between lola or lolo and apo, such as what happens when you talk to them for a long time, is how compassion is formed. For serious conversations with people outside your peer group requires patience, concentration, and most of all, kindness.

And God knows we need more kindness in our society.

Our concept of kindness must extend beyond our families, to those we do not even know. That is the only way we will see ourselves as a democratic nation, held together not with the grip of government but with the bond of compassion.

This is the only country we’ve got, so we have to share whatever wealth and resources we have.

Part of social studies is making young people learn that they are part of societies and communities where they may not know everyone, but everyone has rights that need to be respected. That includes performing tasks and courtesies that may not yet be part of normal civic behavior.

Do we always fall in line? Do we let others have their turn? How many of us clean as you go in a public space, and how many just leave our trash for the next person to deal with? How many of us experience being bullied daily when motorists refuse to stop as we try to cross a street? Would we stop for pedestrians when we’re the ones behind the wheel of a vehicle?

Rude behavior is so common and so thoughtless that we can call it the banality of rudeness – it’s just so normal. Why not make a goal of social studies the development of social beings who are kind not just to their mothers but even to strangers.

The value that we give to our private space and private selves must extend to the public space – we must also value streets, sidewalks, parks and all other places deemed public. We do not litter or desecrate these places because we use them, and these belong to all of us. We do not park on sidewalks because these are not meant for cars. We must act on these truths instinctively, instead of automatically setting aside the common good for private advantage.

A concern for strangers, a respect for their rights, and a respect for the public spaces that belong to all of us – these are goals that will make us a kinder society, where the banality of rudeness is replaced by the banality of virtue, where a concern for what is public and a compassion towards strangers are the most normal things in the world.

But these traits do not come naturally for most; they are taught, and taught by people like you. More than most professions, social studies teachers can define what kind of society we want to be, then devise the strategies for producing the citizens that will make that vision come true.

It’s a big burden. But it’s an even bigger burden to continue on a path where we care less and less for one another.

You can reverse that course by constantly reminding your students that social is not just Facebook feeds and timelines, but interactions and relationships with real human beings, most of whom don’t want to leave this earth without leaving behind their stories.


GMA NEWS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS’ ELEKSYON 2016:

THE MOST TRUSTED, MOST INNOVATIVE AND MOST IN-DEPTH MULTI-PLATFORM COVERAGE OF THE PHILIPPINE ELECTIONS


GMA News and Public Affairs promises to bring the most trusted, most innovative and most in-depth coverage of Eleksyon 2016, tapping all of its platforms to deliver a blow by blow account of one of the most hotly contested Presidential elections in Philippine history.

GMA’s special coverage on May 9 and 10 will utilize the latest technology in broadcast news reportage today, including immersive graphics, 360-degree video cameras, and live drone footage.

GMA News pillars Mel Tiangco, Mike Enriquez, Vicky Morales, Arnold Clavio, Howie Severino, and Jessica Soho – as well as anchors Pia Arcangel, Jiggy Manicad, Kara David, Ivan Mayrina, Rhea Santos and Connie Sison -- will lead the Eleksyon 2016 coverage, providing insights and analysis in the spirit of Serbisyong Totoo.

Joining them in covering this much anticipated event are more than 100 GMA News reporters and stringers, DZBB reporters, as well as more than 300 members of the RGMA provincial coverage teams from various strategic points throughout Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Meanwhile, GMA News Online will deliver real-time Eleksyon 2016 updates, including up-to-the-minute partial and unofficial results for all positions in the national and local elections up to the clustered precinct level, accessible in all platforms and devices.

Using enabling technologies developed by GMA New Media, Inc., GMA News Online also offers “Smart Search,” which will make it faster and easier for site visitors to find results by candidate, place or position. A 360-degree stream coverage of the GMA Eleksyon 2016 Headquarters is also made available for netizens who want to have a virtual tour of the Kapuso election hub.

READ MORE...

Both the GMA News and Public Affairs social media teams will be in full force on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Viber, FireChat and Snapchat.

The GMA-Facebook “Para po sa Bayan” Jeepney goes back on the road as well. Voters are invited to board this jeep to voice out their opinions, questions, and express their aspirations for the next administration.

Overseas, the Eleksyon 2016 coverage will be simulcast via GMA Pinoy TV, GMA Life and GMA News TV International.

The Eleksyon 2016 coverage is backed by GMA’s election partners from various sectors—Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Smart Communications, Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Inquirer.net, Catholic Media Network (CMN), Parish Pastoral Council For Responsible Voting (PPCRV), National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, AMA Education System, Waze, Viber
Philippines, Youth Vote Philippines, Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP), Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands (CCPI) and the Philippine Bar Association.

On television, radio, online, social media and via mobile, expect GMA to be the Philippines’ undisputed news authority this election. This is how the leading broadcast network reaffirms its “Dapat Tama” advocacy once again—helping the nation make the right choices for a better future by mounting the most credible election coverage possible.


GMA’s Kapuso Villages develop resilient communities by James Loyola April 17, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share4


GMAKF EVP and COO Mel C. Tiangco lowers a time capsule containing project plans and wish notes during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kapuso Village in Tacloban.

Broadcast giant GMA Network’s socio-civic GMA Kapuso Foundation (GMAKF) has endeavored to create a long-lasting impact in the lives of countless Filipinos across the country, anchored on the credo of Serbisyong Totoo.

Among its numerous projects, GMAKF has been building houses in what it calls Kapuso villages over the last 10 years to provide indigent victims of natural and man-made disasters with sustainable permanent shelter that could withstand future calamities.

“Our Kapuso Villages are more than just about putting a roof over the heads of our fellow Filipinos in need,” said GMAKF Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mel C. Tiangco who added that “these are essentially stories of hope and of how these homes can help build a new life for those who lost everything.”

 Indeed, more than providing shelter to residents displaced by calamities, the Kapuso Villages are also instrumental in forming stronger ties and greater social consciousness within the community.

Back in 2006, tragedy struck the small village of St. Bernard in Southern Leyte as a landslide buried the whole village, along with many of its residents. GMAKF responded swiftly to the tragedy through rescue and relief operations, but soon saw a more pressing need for long-term rehabilitation efforts.

In what would become an enduring legacy of the Foundation nationwide, the first of GMAKF’s five housing projects materialized from the outpour of support and donations from all over the world.

The renewal of hope and the rebuilding of lives were concretized into 100 new, sturdy homes in Barangay New Malanza in Lilo-an, Southern Leyte for the victims of the landslide. Each home was built with a floor area of 24 square meters and a provision for a mezzanine.

A Kapuso School Building, comprised of four units with two classrooms each, was soon added.

In the wake of typhoon Sendong, the Foundation took on its next housing project, with Phase I and Phase II of the 180-unit Kapuso Village in Iligan composed of composite type row houses for displaced victims of the typhoon.

The housing project, which was done in partnership with the City Government of Iligan, was completed in February 2014 following the turnover of the first 120 units of the project in April 2013.

READ MORE...

The Kapuso Village in Iligan set the benchmark for the succeeding Kapuso Villages with each unit typically designed with a fiber-cement board ceiling, a paved front deck and laundry area, toilet and bath, and provisions for a living, dining and bedroom, and kitchen facilities. The units were also supplied by partners with home appliances.

Aside from the housing project, GMAKF also completed numerous rehabilitation projects in the city to address the devastation left by typhoon Sendong. Among these are the construction of three Kapuso school buildings, and the drilling and installation of a deepwell water facility and a Jet-matic handpump.

The Foundation has always taken great strides in providing Serbisyong Totoo but redoubled efforts when it decided to embark on its most remarkable project to date – a 403-unit Kapuso Village in Tacloban for the victims of typhoon Yolanda.


The 169-unit Kapuso Village in Palo, Leyte is the fifth housing project of GMAKF.

The 169-unit Kapuso Village in Palo, Leyte is the fifth housing project of GMAKF. In May, 2015, the Foundation – in partnership with the local government of Tacloban and the National Housing Authority (NHA) – finally completed what is sof far the biggest and most comprehensive of all Kapuso Villages.

The project also includes the construction of the Kapuso Village Integrated School, which will be composed of three school buildings, and a multi-purpose center for the use of the residents.

Realizing the need to provide the residents with added means for sustainability, GMAKF requested the local government for more space. This became the venue for the construction of an office for the homeowners association, a function hall, and a multi-purpose center, where residents can set up different establishments.

Currently, there are at least 403 families or more than 3,000 individuals residing at the Kapuso Village Tacloban, who are now proud home owners. GMAKF is the first NGO to turn over permanent concrete houses to Yolanda survivors in Tacloban City.

In October, 2015, the Foundation went on to inaugurate another Kapuso Village in Palo, Leyte composed of 169 units. The inauguration coincided with the second anniversary of Yolanda and transpired alongside the inauguration of the 36 new Kapuso classrooms in Eastern Samar and Leyte.

The Kapuso Village, located in Sitio Caloogan, Barangay San Jose, Palo, Leyte, is the latest in the country.

GMAKF also includes in the inauguration of the Kapuso Villages a tree-planting activity as a way of promoting awareness and nurturing compassion for the environment. They also form groups of volunteers to aid in fostering a sense of community among the beneficiaries of the Kapuso Villages.

Embracing the value of learning, the construction of Kapuso classrooms in schools within the vicinity of the Kapuso Village in line with its Kapuso School Development Project gives residents easier access to education.

Indeed, the success of these projects is a testament not only to GMAKF’s fulfilment of its long-standing commitment to public service, but also to the trust and generosity bestowed by the many donors and partners, who share the same passion and goodwill as them.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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