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FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

HOMETOWN: 14,000 CHA-CHA DANCERS JOIN KIDAPAWAN'S ATTEMPT TO SET WORLD RECORD


AUGUST 30 -KIDAPAWAN CITY – Some 14,000 dancers on Tuesday participated in Kidapawan City's attempt to make it to the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest cha-cha-cha dance. Leading the dancers were City Mayor Joseph Evangelista and Cotabato Governor Lala Mendoza. Most of the cha-cha-cha dancers were elementary pupils and high school students from private and public schools. Joey Recemilla, city tourism and investment promotions officer, said at least three professional dancers, one of them a British national, witnessed the presentation, which happened at exactly 9 a.m. Witnesses were Julie Plummer, a Latin and standard professional from England who has been living in the Philippines since 2011; Lowell Basa Tan of the United Kingdom Alliance (UKA) Professional Teachers of Dancing; and Crisaldo Rendon, head coach and principal teacher of the Dancesport Team in Cebu City and fellow Latin American and modern standard professional from the UKA. READ MORE...

ALSO: Catholic bishops oppose Cagayan de Oro college’s ‘love ban’


AUGUST 30 -The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Tuesday said it is against a school policy in Cagayan de Oro City that prohibits students from having a "love affair" with fellow students. "We are not in favor of this policy," said Bishop Roberto Mallari, chairman of the CBCP's Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education. Instead of a "love ban," Mallari suggested a program for "values formation and responsible relationships," which the CBCP implements. The Golden Heritage Polytechnic College in Cagayan de Oro City prohibits students from falling in love. In a streamer at the school, it warned that a "love affair will surely destroy the life of a young lady student." The school management's main goal in implementing the "love ban" is to avoid unwanted pregnancy among its students. It said that parents were consulted and have agreed to the policy. The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), meanwhile, said that schools can better prepare students for romantic relationships. "This is a critical context, wherein we build friendships and relationships that cut across time. These are important series of moments when we nurture loving and life-giving relationships," said Anthony Coloma, CEAP Advocacy and Information Management Officer. "We should not deny these opportunities to them (the students)," he said. He said the students' ability to build "lifelong and intimate relationships" as adults may be adversely affected by the "love ban." —ALG, GMA News  THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: SPECIAL MULTIMEDIA REPORT - Late response, clunky policies leave Saudi OFWs, kin in misery


SEPTEMBER 2016 -A few weeks before Father's Day in 2015, Noli Cagayan called home to say that he's going back to the Philippines, permanently. "Uuwi na ako ng 30, bibili na ‘ko ng ticket kinabukasan," he told his wife. Noli had spent nearly three decades working in Saudi Arabia, but things had taken a downturn after the sudden drop in world oil prices rocked the kingdom. Two months had passed since Saudi Oger Ltd. had paid his salary. The 50-year-old was primed for retirement even without the urgency imposed by Oger's financial collapse. With the youngest of his four children nearly finished with school, he figured he no longer had much reason to work abroad. To prepare for his trip home, he sold his van, which he had used to ferry himself and other workers — some of whom he personally recruited during his vacations in the Philippines — to two different job sites. Days before his flight home, Noli suffered a heart attack. “Papasok na siya. Bigla na lang siyang, ‘yun, inatake. ‘Di na natuloy. Kaya namatay siya nung Father’s Day," his widow Charito told GMA News Online at their home in Valenzuela. The house, a small one-story rental, has gone unpaid for five months. Their children Dincy Joseph, Daisy Jane, and Charles Cagayan are doing their best to fix their home and pay the bills. But a significant chunk of their family income has gone into paying for the education of their youngest sibling Charmaine and for claiming benefits from the Overseas Worker's Welfare Association (OWWA). Charito estimates that the family has spent some P70,000 in the past year trying to claim her husband’s unpaid salary of two months from Saudi Oger and benefits worth P400,000 from the OWWA. READ MORE...WATCH VIDEO...


AUGUST 2016 -Noli Cagayan was just one of the more than 800,000 estimated OFWs in the kingdom as of last year. In a report submitted to the Senate this month, OWWA described Saudi Arabia as “admittedly one of the oldest markets for OFWs” as Filipinos began “trooping en masse” to the country in the early '70s. In his book “Saudi Arabia,” Dr. Sherifa Zuhur wrote that Filipinos began migrating to Saudi Arabia for work in 1973 in various fields such as the health, oil and manufacturing, and service sectors. But the economy of the oil-rich kingdom took a massive hit after world crude oil prices began to drop in 2014 due to a glut in supply. From $100 per barrel in 2014, prices dropped to as low as $26 in February, before rebounding to $50 in June this year. Because 73 percent of the government's budget is dependent on oil revenue, Saudi Arabia's estimated budget deficit rose from 3.4 percent of its Gross Domestic Product in 2014 to 16.3 percent in 2015. This, in turn, led to massive retrenchment among workers. As early as 2014, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had been in contact with companies such as the Mohammad Al-Moji Group (MMG), one of the first companies to reduce the number of its Filipino workers. OWWA has identified some 22,338 Filipino workers from nine major companies affected by the oil crisis. Of these, 8,772 have been repatriated while 5,098 have been transferred to other companies and 8,619 have decided to remain in company camps. For some, the situation has been truly dire. Workers have been reduced to sleeping on cardboard boxes and rummaging trash cans for food. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has received reports that some retrenched OFWs have tried to commit suicide out of frustration. READ MORE...WATCH VIDEO...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

14,000 chacha dancers join Kidapawan’s attempt to set world record

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 5, 2016 (GMA NEWS ONLINE)  Published August 30, 2016 11:44am By MALU CADELINA MANAR KIDAPAWAN CITY – Some 14,000 dancers on Tuesday participated in Kidapawan City's attempt to make it to the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest cha-cha-cha dance.

Leading the dancers were City Mayor Joseph Evangelista and Cotabato Governor Lala Mendoza.

Most of the cha-cha-cha dancers were elementary pupils and high school students from private and public schools.

Joey Recemilla, city tourism and investment promotions officer, said at least three professional dancers, one of them a British national, witnessed the presentation, which happened at exactly 9 a.m.

Witnesses were Julie Plummer, a Latin and standard professional from England who has been living in the Philippines since 2011; Lowell Basa Tan of the United Kingdom Alliance (UKA) Professional Teachers of Dancing; and Crisaldo Rendon, head coach and principal teacher of the Dancesport Team in Cebu City and fellow Latin American and modern standard professional from the UKA.

READ MORE...


Thousands of young and adult residents, mostly public school students, start converging on a busy portion of the national highway in Kidapawan City yesterday morning to stage a mass cha-cha dance number to a new Guinness record for such event. (Ali G. Macabalang)

The city’s attempt to set a world record was aimed at changing a negative image which was created after the bloody dispersal of farmers who held a picket along the national highway when El Niño hit the country in April this year. The dispersal killed two individuals, one of them a farmer from a hinterland town in Cotabato.

“We already achieved our goal. We already have changed the landscape of our city,” said Recemilla.

Diodilito Laniton, also known by his radio name as ‘Idol Manoy, said he presented the idea to the local government unit in August last year. But due to lack of funds, the LGU scheduled it in February 2016. It was reset in time for the city’s fruit fests in August.

Laniton, disc jock of Happy FM of the Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation, is a member of the Kidapawan City Dance Sport Team.

Evangelista, overwhelmed by the huge support of his constituents, wants another record next year.

“We will again try to break our own record in 2017,” he said.

Since 2011, Singapore holds the record for the world’s largest cha-cha-cha, with 3,379 participants.

For this year's attempt, Kidapawan City gathered 14,127 cha-cha-cha dancers, based on the records from the city’s tourism and investment promotions office.

The participants started doing the practice three months before the event. —KG, GMA News


Catholic bishops oppose Cagayan de Oro college’s ‘love ban’ Published August 30, 2016 10:16am

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Tuesday said it is against a school policy in Cagayan de Oro City that prohibits students from having a "love affair" with fellow students.

"We are not in favor of this policy," said Bishop Roberto Mallari, chairman of the CBCP's Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education.

Instead of a "love ban," Mallari suggested a program for "values formation and responsible relationships," which the CBCP implements.

The Golden Heritage Polytechnic College in Cagayan de Oro City prohibits students from falling in love.

In a streamer at the school, it warned that a "love affair will surely destroy the life of a young lady student."

The school management's main goal in implementing the "love ban" is to avoid unwanted pregnancy among its students.

It said that parents were consulted and have agreed to the policy.

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), meanwhile, said that schools can better prepare students for romantic relationships.

"This is a critical context, wherein we build friendships and relationships that cut across time. These are important series of moments when we nurture loving and life-giving relationships," said Anthony Coloma, CEAP Advocacy and Information Management Officer.

"We should not deny these opportunities to them (the students)," he said.

He said the students' ability to build "lifelong and intimate relationships" as adults may be adversely affected by the "love ban." —ALG, GMA News


SPECIAL MULTIMEDIA REPORT Late response, clunky policies leave Saudi OFWs, kin in misery Published September 1, 2016 9:42pm By RIE TAKUMI and JESSICA BARTOLOME, GMA News

A few weeks before Father's Day in 2015, Noli Cagayan called home to say that he's going back to the Philippines, permanently.

"Uuwi na ako ng 30, bibili na ‘ko ng ticket kinabukasan," he told his wife.

Noli had spent nearly three decades working in Saudi Arabia, but things had taken a downturn after the sudden drop in world oil prices rocked the kingdom. Two months had passed since Saudi Oger Ltd. had paid his salary.

The 50-year-old was primed for retirement even without the urgency imposed by Oger's financial collapse. With the youngest of his four children nearly finished with school, he figured he no longer had much reason to work abroad.

To prepare for his trip home, he sold his van, which he had used to ferry himself and other workers — some of whom he personally recruited during his vacations in the Philippines — to two different job sites.

Days before his flight home, Noli suffered a heart attack.

“Papasok na siya. Bigla na lang siyang, ‘yun, inatake. ‘Di na natuloy. Kaya namatay siya nung Father’s Day," his widow Charito told GMA News Online at their home in Valenzuela.

The house, a small one-story rental, has gone unpaid for five months. Their children Dincy Joseph, Daisy Jane, and Charles Cagayan are doing their best to fix their home and pay the bills.

But a significant chunk of their family income has gone into paying for the education of their youngest sibling Charmaine and for claiming benefits from the Overseas Worker's Welfare Association (OWWA).

Charito estimates that the family has spent some P70,000 in the past year trying to claim her husband’s unpaid salary of two months from Saudi Oger and benefits worth P400,000 from the OWWA.

READ MORE...


RIYADH: A Saudi Oger source has said 31,000 Saudi and foreign employees have lodged complaints with the Labor Office about delayed wages.

“Bagsak ang Saudi Oger ngayon,” Charito said.

“Lahat ng mga nagtatrabaho dun stranded, wala na silang makain, namumulot na lang ng kakainin. Ilang buwan na silang naka-stuck, lahat ng mga kasamahan niya wala nang trabaho, nandun na lang sa bahay, nasa kampo na lang sila," she added.

Before Noli's sudden death, Charito had applied to claim his OWWA benefits. The money they would have gotten from the government's various programs for OFWs would have paid off their debts, transferred a land title from Noli’s parents to their name, and funded their own business.

They got back his remains from Saudi Arabia 45 days after his death, but since then, the family has had little to show for their efforts. Last April, the got P15,000 from the Livelihood Component of OWWA’s Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP) for deceased OFWs.

“Nasa 28 years siya sa Saudi, sa iba-ibang company. Inabot siya nun ah, kulang 30 years,” Charito said.

“Alam naman nila na every time na uuwi siya yearly, meron siyang, may binabayad siya dun. Kaya kumbaga, bakit naman yun lang ang nakuha ko?” she added.

OWWA Deputy Administrator Josefino Torres said the problems plaguing the Cagayan family was not necessarily due to the government’s neglect, but a misunderstanding among OFW families on how claiming benefits work.

“Hindi porke namatay ay pwede nang ano kasi our system here, as far as the death benefit is concerned, is like an insurance coverage. Ang insurance coverage, you only get when you are active,” Torres said.

“If the death occurs two months after effectivity of membership, pwede pang mag-claim ang heirs mo ng death benefit. Ang problema, most of these people in camps, nag-expire na ang membership nila with OWWA, so their heirs are no longer entitled to claim their death benefit," he added.

Torres said OWWA could not simply give out benefits to OFWs, because in the end, they could also end up in hot water.

“'Di naman kami pwedeng bigay ng bigay kasi ano kami talaga, accountable kami dito," Torres said.

"We need also to buttress ourselves from blame. ‘Pag hindi naming ginawa ito, according to our set of accounting rules and regulations, patay kami ,” he added.

 
https://youtu.be/cKKzk0YS1X0


Noli Cagayan was just one of the more than 800,000 estimated OFWs in the kingdom as of last year.

In a report submitted to the Senate this month, OWWA described Saudi Arabia as “admittedly one of the oldest markets for OFWs” as Filipinos began “trooping en masse” to the country in the early '70s.

In his book “Saudi Arabia,” Dr. Sherifa Zuhur wrote that Filipinos began migrating to Saudi Arabia for work in 1973 in various fields such as the health, oil and manufacturing, and service sectors. But the economy of the oil-rich kingdom took a massive hit after world crude oil prices began to drop in 2014 due to a glut in supply.

 From $100 per barrel in 2014, prices dropped to as low as $26 in February, before rebounding to $50 in June this year. Because 73 percent of the government's budget is dependent on oil revenue, Saudi Arabia's estimated budget deficit rose from 3.4 percent of its Gross Domestic Product in 2014 to 16.3 percent in 2015.

This, in turn, led to massive retrenchment among workers. As early as 2014, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had been in contact with companies such as the Mohammad Al-Moji Group (MMG), one of the first companies to reduce the number of its Filipino workers. OWWA has identified some 22,338 Filipino workers from nine major companies affected by the oil crisis.

Of these, 8,772 have been repatriated while 5,098 have been transferred to other companies and 8,619 have decided to remain in company camps. For some, the situation has been truly dire. Workers have been reduced to sleeping on cardboard boxes and rummaging trash cans for food. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has received reports that some retrenched OFWs have tried to commit suicide out of frustration.

READ MORE...

Among those who have chosen to stay in the camps is Edelberto Araja, who took a job in Saudi Arabia 10 years ago to provide for his family after his cocolumber business fell apart.

“Nagpunta siya ng abroad kahit ayaw niya para mapagpatuloy lang ng mga kapatid ko yung pag-aaral,” Mark Arvin, Edelberto's eldest child, told GMA News Online.

“Kahit wala siyang experience sa pag-aasikaso ng kahit anong papel. Lakas lang ng loob," he added. Sharing his father's dream for his siblings, Mark dropped out of school years after his father left. Instead of wasting resources, he said, he would rather help his father make sure that his younger siblings make it. But for the past six months, he carried a secret of his father’s that would derail their plans: Edelberto, like Noli Cagayan, had not seen a paycheck in months.

Leftover savings allowed Edelberto to keep up the ruse, until news of widespread joblessness in Saudi Arabia reached the Philippines. Edelberto considered the government's offer of repatriation and application into its Relief Assistance Program (RAP) for stranded OFWs worth P20,000.

In the end, he decided to stay in a camp to pursue a case against his employer for his end of service benefits, and so that his family could claim an additional P6,000 from OWWA. Workers are no longer entitled to receive the additional P6,000 meant for their families if they apply for assistance after their repatriation.

“Pwede naman dapat talaga siya umuwi kasi pagtutulung-tulungan namin yun,” Mark said. “(Pero) inaantay talaga niya yun kasi yun yung ipagsisimula niya dito pag umuwi siya. Yun yung parang gagawin niyang puhunan para hindi na lang ulit siya babalik sa abroad,” he added.

 
https://youtu.be/ZynFse0hZ8c


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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