Posts by :

    Rain or Shine, Shake Drill is a Go!

    July 17th, 2018

    Image ©

    THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said the scheduled Metro Manila Shake Drill this week will push through, rain or shine.

    In a news conference Monday, MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo “Jojo” Garcia said the Shake Drill will happen this week amid the continued inclement weather brought by the monsoon rain enhanced by tropical depression “Henry.”

    Rain or shine, the Shake Drill will proceed,” said Garcia.

    According to the MMDA official, staging the Shake Drill on a rainy day will give the agency and the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRC) a chance to prepare for worst-case scenarios.

    We can do the shake drill the easiest way possible but what if an earthquake happens on a critical time? This way we can prepare for the worst case possible,” he said.

    Garcia also warned that the shake drill could cause traffic gridlock in the metropolis.

    We are anticipating that the drill will affect the flow of traffic in the metropolis,” said Garcia.

    The shake drill will involve staging of different scenarios, conducted by local government units, private institutions, schools and establishments, in different parts of the metropolis.

    Once they hear the alarm, motorists who would like to participate in the drill can stop for a minute,” said Garcia.

    Amid the inconvenience that the activity may bring, Garcia stressed it aims to promote a culture of preparedness among the public for a major earthquake.

    We are doing this to prepare everyone to minimize damage that earthquake may cause. When the Big One happens, we must be prepared,” said Garcia.

    He also urged the public to use the hash tag #MMShakeDrill on the day of the drill.

    We are calling on the public to participate to prepare them for disasters,” said Garcia.

    The fourth Metro Manila Shake Drill aims to sustain and improve the public’s awareness and consciousness towards a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. (Read More:

    We want to do a shake drill in a more realistic environment,” said Garcia.

    Telecommunication networks will broadcast the drill through emergency cell broadcast and SMS messages to its subscribers on the actual day.

    Companies, churches, schools, and institutions are urged to sound their own alerts or bells while radio stations will air an alert to signal the start of the drill.

    The MMDA will come into play by mobilizing personnel to designated emergency operations centers in four quadrants of the metropolis.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story/opinion? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    Europe Captive… of America*

    July 17th, 2018

    By Sputnik News/Finian Cunningham, columnist

    US President Donald Trump © REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

    WHILE browbeating European leaders at the NATO summit this week, US President Donald Trump used a rather unfortunate metaphor. He described Germany and Europe as “captive of Russia”.

    Trump was erroneously referring to the huge and mutually beneficial trade in natural gas between Russia and Europe. He was implying that Germany and the rest of Europe are excessively dependent on Russian fuel, and thereby are “controlled” by Moscow’s geopolitical agenda.

    Sometimes garbled thinking, however, inadvertently brings attention to the truth. And the truth is, Europe is far more a captive of US objectives than it is ever of Russia. A captivity that continually damages Europe’s best interests in the service of American hegemonic power.

    What’s more, the European leaders seem to suffer from “Stockholm Syndrome”. This is the name of a curious condition which psychologists attribute to cases whereby victims of a hostage-taking situation bizarrely develop a trust or deference towards their evil-doing captors.

    Trump’s swaggering display of bullying and humiliation was apparently accepted by European leaders in a pathetically servile way. His petulant ultimatum for increased military spending on NATO was acquiesced to by the fawning Europeans.

    The American president then continued his “tirade tour” from Brussels to the United Kingdom where he made an extraordinary public attack on Prime Minister Theresa May, calling her Brexit plans a failure, in a high-profile media interview. The BBC headlined that Trump gave May’s Brexit plans “both barrels”. Such contempt for a political leader while being hosted in the country is shameful and mortifying.

    Despite Trump’s boorish behavior, European politicians gingerly shuffle their feet, mutter and grumble, but ultimately do nothing to stand up to him. It will be interesting to see the interaction when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

    On his “captive of Russia” remark, Moscow slammed Trump’s demeaning distortion of what it said are normal and mutual trading relations between Russia and Europe. Rightly, the Kremlin pointed out that the American president is resorting to bully tactics in order to blackmail Europeans into replacing economically and logistically convenient Russian gas with much more expensive US supplies.

    The brass neck of Trump dictating to European nations who they should conduct their international trade with is astounding. Is that not the behavior of a maniacal hostage-taker? Do as I say, or else.

    Admittedly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel politely rebuffed Trump’s remarks about her country’s alleged subservience to Moscow, and insisted that her nation is independent from undue Russian political influence.

    Nevertheless, the general response from European political leaders to Trump was one of meekness, when you consider the full-on assault he delivered during the two-day NATO summit in Brussels.

    Trump rolled into Brussels earlier this week and proceeded to verbally beat up the supposed European allies. He reportedly turned up late for meetings in a show of disrespect, and then demanded an emergency session during which he lambasted the others for not “paying enough towards NATO” and for free loading on “American protection”.

    It sounded more like a Mafia protection racket rather than a chivalrous virtue, as Trump was conceitedly presuming to claim.

    It’s not the first time an American president has admonished European members of the NATO alliance to stump up more on military budgets. The American haranguing over money into NATO has been going on for decades since the US-led military organization was formed back in 1949 following the Second World War. NATO has always been a US vehicle for thwarting Europe and Russia developing a natural strategic partnership. And then, to boot, the overweening American rulers want Europe to pay for that “privilege.”

    On the face of it, the US claims to be unfairly carrying the burden for the alliance. It currently spends some $700 billion a year on military — about 70 per cent of the total NATO outlay. That’s equivalent to 3.5 per cent of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    Germany, the bane of Trump’s gripes, spends about $43 billion a year on military, or 1.2 per cent of its GDP.

    Trump wants Germany and all the other 28 members of NATO to immediately increase their budgets to 2 per cent of GDP. In the longer term, he even wants that figure to double up to 4 per cent.

    There is no rational justification for this madcap militarism. It is simply American arbitrariness being imposed as a writ on other supposedly independent countries. If America wants to waste its resources on a voracious military-industrial complex that’s its business. But it also wants Europe to do likewise. Why? Because such expenditure feeds into the monstrous American military.

    What the American president is brazenly doing is shaking down the Europeans for hundreds of billions of dollars. NATO estimates that if the European members stick to their increased spending plans over the next seven years that will amount to at least $266 billion in additional military expenditure.

    Now, Trump and American planners, as well as European NATO cheerleaders, may claim that this is what’s required for proper defense and reimbursement of decades of US “protection”.

    But hold on a moment. Protection from what exactly? Russia? The whole scaremongering narrative about Russia allegedly preparing to invade Europe is the most ludicrous propaganda ploy. It belongs in a book of bedtime spooky stories for children.

    Possibly, Donald Trump doesn’t even believe this nonsense either, otherwise why would he be willing to seek friendlier relations with Putin?

    Just think of the vast improvement in European civil society if NATO profligacy was scaled back and instead invested in social development. New factories, transport systems, high-wage employment, modern housing, quality food production, hospitals, schools, universities, free education, sports facilities, art museums, music academies.

    All these benefits, and more, could be easily achieved if European economies were directed away from its militarism through NATO — a militarism that is intensifying tensions with Russia and, furthermore, inciting the danger of an eventual catastrophic war.

    Why this eminently reasonable political direction is not taken is because European politicians are dominated by Washington and its hegemonic interests. They are ideologically and politically under the sway akin to vassalage — or Stockholm Syndrome.

    The proof of this is seen from the way Trump was this week courted and fawned over by European politicians — even though he was rudely hectoring them to cough up money for NATO.

    Not only that. Washington under Trump has slapped damaging trade tariffs on European exports, and he is threatening to sabotage major European investments in Iran if they do not comply with US diktats over boycotting Iranian oil exports.

    Europe gets a very good deal from Russia on abundant natural gas supplies which heat European homes during winter and help fuel European industries to stay competitive in world markets.

    Yet a big-mouthed American leader comes over to Europe and berates its leaders as if they are flunkies to spend more money on a military organization that primarily serves US imperialist interests around the world (pace, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine), while also trying to blackmail the Europeans into ditching affordable Russian gas for exorbitant US supplies.

    And then — irony and arrogance reign supreme — when this same US president turns round and tells Europeans they are “captive of Russia”.


    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

    Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story/opinion? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    DOST Invitation

    July 16th, 2018
    THE DOST Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) Gender and Development Focal Point System (GFPS) is inviting all interested female college students to attend the  WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN Forum on July 20, 2018, 1:00 PM at the Meeting Room 2, Philippine International Convention Center.
    Join Ms. Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco, Geologist Charmaine Villamil, and 2017 Breakthrough Junior Challenge Challenge winner Hillary Diane Andales as they inspire women to pursue S&T careers.
    For inquiries and attendance confirmation, contact Ms. Czarina Wu through email or mobile 0915-9935124.  See you there!
    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story/opinion? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    PDEA sets sights on saving street children involved in drug use

    July 15th, 2018

    Image ©

    THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has set its sights on keeping children off the streets and away from the evil effects of drug use with the launching of Project: “Sagip Batang Solvent.”

    PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the program aims to rescue street children from the drug trade and drug abuse, with sniffers of solvent as primary targets. He noted that the sight of children sniffing solvent on our streets, and their involvement in illegal drug activities, have long been regarded as a perennial problem in the country’s busy streets and urban areas.

    What these children need is a sense of belonging. They belong to their homes under their parents’ care, and in schools where they are supposed to learn and grow, not in the streets where they are left to fend for themselves,” Aquino, who serves as the project proponent, said.

    PDEA emphasizes the important role of parents in keeping these kids off the streets. The parents, as head of the basic unit of society, must be responsible for starting anti-drug awareness and prevention in the family,” he added.

    Project: “Sagip Batang Solvent” will establish homey facilities to rehabilitate and reform rescued street children in the communities. General interventions, like education, talent and skills development, dual training system, in partnership with industries, counseling and values formation, volunteerism program, and livelihood and entrepreneurship training, are also provided under the program, Aquino explained.

    To develop the protocols of the program, a Technical Working Group (TWG) headed by the PDEA- Preventive Education and Community Involvement Service (PECIS) was created.

    PDEA is also set to hold a series of consultative meetings with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), local government units and local police, and other stakeholders, to thresh out issues and concerns prior to the project’s launching and implementation nationwide.

    The basic components of the rescue program will be anchored on the provisions of Republic Act 9165, or “The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002”; RA 9344, or “The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006”; Presidential Decree (PD) No.1619 or “Penalizing the use or possession or the unauthorized sale to minors of volatile substances for the purpose of inducing intoxication or in any manner changing, distorting or disturbing the auditory, visual or mental process”; United Nations on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) Plan of Action; and UN Children’s Rights.

    PDEA is appealing to big corporations and business owners to include Project: “Sagip Batang Solvent” as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and support the government’s drug demand reduction efforts by lending financial assistance.

    “Poor families and their children are easily lured into illegal drug activities for lack of any decent means of livelihood. This mirrors the prevailing sociological aspect of the drug problem. Poverty alleviation is a necessary component for success in the national anti-drug campaign, and this is one area where big corporations as benefactors can help the government,” Aquino said.

    Education and skills trainings are permanent solutions to the problem. It is about time we have a rescue program solely designed for children to keep them off the streets for good,” the PDEA chief said.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story/opinion? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    “COA report moot and academic,” PDEA

    July 14th, 2018

    THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said the Commission on Audit’s finding that the agency’s laboratory service lacks transparency, safety and security in handling seized drug evidence is “moot and academic.”

    PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino, reacting to Thursday’s news report on the COA’s finding concerning the agency’s alleged lack of transparency on the illegal drugs it confiscates and the firearms it issues on its personnel, said on Friday the COA report has no practical value since the laboratory service being referred to in the report was the one in the old annex building that was struck by fire in 2015.

    During the fire, the evidence room where confiscated illegal drugs are stored, was spared.

    Please bear in mind that these observations were from the old laboratory service. After the fire, no additional CCTV cameras were installed apart from the ones existing. Water sprinklers, as firefighting system, are not appropriate for laboratory protection as water may aggravate chemical fire. Illegal drugs, like shabu, are also water-soluble. Instead, foam fire extinguishers were mounted in the area,” Aquino explained.

    In order to show transparency, PDEA invited a three-man COA Audit Team last May 15, 2018 for an ocular inspection of the new evidence room.

    “I believed we were able to convinced them that the previous observations were properly addressed,” Aquino stressed.

    The PDEA Laboratory Service, which prides itself as the country’s premier drug forensic center, is now housed in a new three-storey building at the agency’s national headquarters in Quezon City where the laboratory and storage facilities for drug evidence are relocated. The PhP25 million worth building was inaugurated last June 1, 2018,” Aquino said.

    Moreover, Aquino also said the revitalized PDEA Laboratory Service is in the process of developing an on-line drug inventory system throughout all its Regional Offices to automate its inventory system through tagging and bar coding of evidence for speedy and accurate documentation and accounting of evidence.

    This is part of our continuing capability enhancement program for safekeeping of drug evidence. As the lead agency in the country’s anti-drug campaign, the integrity of PDEA in safekeeping of all pieces of drug evidence is of paramount importance,” the PDEA chief explained.

    Aquino assured the COA that “the new evidence room has an upgraded security system, making it inaccessible to unauthorized personnel. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras cover all angles leaving no blind areas in the premises, with fire extinguishers, with proper labels and instructions of use. Metal grills and double doors were also installed around the facility.”

    The doors of the evidence room are secured with three sets of locks under the custody of three authorized key holders such that the absence of one key holder makes access inside impossible. Biometrics is set to be installed outside the evidence room to control access to the facility.

    Aquino said preservation of the physical evidence is as important as its security. Thus, air conditioning units, exhaust fans and dehumidifiers were also installed for proper ventilation inside the facility.

    The new PDEA Laboratory Service is the first and only forensic laboratory in the country that specializes in impurity drug profiling. The facility is likewise the first of its kind to conduct research on new emerging drugs; and the only forensic laboratory to attain 100 percent accuracy in international proficiency testing.

    On March 19, 2018, the COA has released a compliance audit report concerning PDEA’s safekeeping, monitoring, and disposition of seized/confiscated dangerous drugs in its custody for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2017.

    According to the report, the safety and security controls of the PDEA forensic laboratory where seized illegal drugs are tested, and the evidence room where these are stored for safekeeping, needs improvement to curb possible risk of loss/destruction/pilferage that may compromise the evidentiary value.

    The auditors who inspected the storage facility at PDEA’s national headquarters in Quezon City found it to be “vulnerable to forced entry.” Behind the rear wall of the evidence room, for example, is a multilevel parking lot, the report said.

    In addition, the COA said, most of the accomplished/prepared documents to monitor the movement of drug evidence from confiscation to disposal though kept in strict confidence is questionable due to limited access to documents, as well as the evidence room for confiscated items.

    “The Audit Team cannot form a conclusion on the existence or effectiveness of controls as well as on the compliance of the agency with the guidelines on the safekeeping and monitoring of seized/confiscated dangerous drugs,” the report said.

    Based on the PDEA inventory obtained by COA, 1.11 million g and 1.17 million g of “shabu” were seized in 2016 and 2017, compared to 114,156.94 g in 2015. The volume of liquid shabu seized reached 68,429 ml in 2016 and 1.11 million ml in 2017, far exceeding the 141 ml recorded in 2015.

    Meanwhile, 45,445.07 g and 135,525.63 g of marijuana were added to the PDEA inventory in 2016 and 2017, respectively, up from the 12,753.96-g haul in 2015. Recovered ecstasy tablets totaled 9,556.25 g in 2016 and 669.05 g in 2017.

    PDEA intercepted cocaine amounting to 60,915.78 g in 2016 and 14,980.44 g in 2017.

    Meanwhile, the COA also noted in its report the lack of accountability concerning the issuance of firearms to PDEA agents, saying only 18.6 percent of the firearms had proper documentation that can help pinpoint their end users.

    Of the 1,403 firearms covered by the annual audit, 898 were not supported with property acknowledgment receipts (PARs)—which indicate the persons to whom the weapons were issued—or “any other accountability form,” according to the report.

    Even the holders of the 505 firearms with PARs were not all well-documented, it added. And of this number, 135 PARs were left unsigned, while 109 were signed by the property custodian instead of the end users.

    COA warned that poor documentation would make it “difficult to identify the agency personnel who would be liable in case of loss or theft.”

    This is part of the commission’s report which the PDEA failed to address in its statement sent to media.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story/opinion? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    Metro Manila ShakeDrill set for next week — MMDA

    July 14th, 2018

    THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on Friday asked the public to take next week’s ShakeDrill seriously as it urged them to take it as an opportunity to enhance their earthquake preparedness.

    “Preparations were well-coordinated during the three previous drills – there were actors, directors, scenarios. But this time, it would be different as no one can predict when earthquake can happen,” said MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo “Jojo’ Garcia.

    He also said the fourth Metro Manila ShakeDrill is set at 3 pm, but he refused to say the exact day when it will happen. (Read More:

    “We are urging everyone to participate in the drill, wherever you are, no matter what you are doing. We want to make actions more spontaneous as possible,” explained Garcia.

    Telecommunication companies have been tapped to provide text blast messages to its subscribers five minutes before the actual drill.

    “The trigger simulating the occurrence of a strong earthquake will be the cell broadcast of telcos and audible signals from sirens of emergency vehicles, building public address systems, church bells and others,” said Garcia.

    Radio stations will also be informing the public about the shake drill by sounding an alert.

    “This will be the signal for everyone to drop, cover and hold…. everybody can then practice their respective evacuation plans,” Garcia added.

    Government agencies, local government units, particularly disaster risk reduction and management council personnel, are urged to implement their contingency plans.

    Organizations are also given the chance to do response capacity demonstrations which are aligned with the activity.

    For its part, the MMDA said it will carry out its plan under the Oplan Metro Yakal Plus, the agency’s contingency plan in the event of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. It added that no personnel or equipment will be prepositioned at the designated emergency operation centers and evacuation camps at northern, southern, eastern and western quadrants.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story/opinion? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    Environmentalists seek a ban on plastic drinking straws and coffee stirrers

    July 13th, 2018

    Senator Risa Hontiveros Photo ©

    AN ENVIRONMENT and public health watchdog threw its support behind the move of Senator Risa Hontiveros seeking the ban of plastic drinking straws and coffee stirrers.

    “We support Senate Bill 1866 as its enactment will help in eliminating unnecessary plastic products that only add to the garbage plaguing our communities and the world’s oceans,” said EcoWaste Coalition Zero Waste Campaigner Daniel Alejandre.

    “Plastic straws are not necessary at all except for persons with disabilities or medical conditions and when non-plastic alternatives are not suitable to meet their special needs,” Alejandre said.

    “We urge our lawmakers to also work for a law banning single-use plastic bags that are thoughtlessly produced, used and disposed of, and often winding up in water bodies and wreaking havoc on aquatic life,” he added.

    Moreover, Alejandre said “the ban on single-use plastics will help in drawing attention to the global plastic pollution crisis, drive industries to find sustainable substitutes to disposables, and promote a shift to Eco-friendly lifestyle.”

    Senate Bill No. 1866, known as the proposed “Plastic Straw and Stirrer Ban of 2018,” aims to prohibit the use of plastic straws and stirrers by restaurants and other establishments, including sari-sari stores, that offer beverages.

    The bill allows food service establishments to provide a suitable beverage straw to a person requiring it due to a disability or medical condition.

    The bill penalizes food establishments caught providing plastic straws and stirrers with PhP50,000 for the first offense, PhP80,000 for the second offense, and a fine of PhP150,000 and one-year business permit suspension for the third offense.

    Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition called on the public to support Hontiveros’ bill.

    “As what is at stake is the health of the marine environment and the food chain, the public should back the passage of Senate Bill 1866, and further support a ban on single-use plastic bags that often end up in dumps, landfills, incinerators, and, yes, the oceans,” the Coalition said.

    Single-use plastics have to go to curb the waste and chemical pollution of the oceans and save aquatic animals from consuming plastics or from being entangled in them, the group added.

    The Coalition pointed out that such action is needed as the continuing spillage of plastics and chemicals into water bodies poses significant threats to food safety and security as well.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story/opinion? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.


    No Comments "

    4th Metro Manila Shake Drill Set in July — MMDA

    July 12th, 2018

    (File photo) MMDA GM Jose Arturo Garcia. Image © Rappler

    THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said as a mind-setting exercise for the public to always be alert for “The Big One,” the exact date of the Metro Manila Shake Drill this month will not be announced.

    “No one can predict when an earthquake will happen. We must be prepared at all times so we want the shake drill announced unannounced,” said MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo “Jojo” Garcia.

    On its fourth year, the MMDA, together with the Metro Manila Disaster Management Council will lead the conduct of the shake drill happening any day on the third week of July.

    “We will not be announcing the exact date of the shake drill. Public will only be informed on the day of the drill,” said Garcia.

    The shake drill, which will run for three days, aims to sustain and improve the public’s awareness and consciousness towards a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

    “We want to do a shake drill in a more realistic environment,” said Garcia.

    For his part, Michael Salalima, Metro Manila Shake Drill Secretariat head, said telecommunication networks will broadcast the drill through SMS messages to its subscribers on a specific day.

    Companies, churches, schools, and institutions are urged to sound their own alerts or bells while radio stations will air an alert to signal the start of the drill at 3 pm.

    Salalima expressed hope that the different stakeholders can take advantage of the activity to test their contingency plans during the three-day shake drill.

    “What we want to evaluate is the people’s level of awareness and discipline instilled during the past three years,” said Salalima.

    The MMDA will come into play by mobilizing personnel to designated emergency operation centers in four quadrants in the metropolis.

    The western quadrant, composed of Navotas, Malabon and Manila, will use the Intramuros Golf Course as evacuation area.

    The northern quadrant, composed of Quezon City, Caloocan, Valenzuela, San Juan, will use the Veterans Memorial Medical Center Golf Course and Quezon Memorial Circle as evacuation camps.

    The eastern quadrant, composed of Marikina and Pasig, will use the LRT 2 Santolan Depot.

    The southern quadrant, composed of Pasay, Makati, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Pateros, and Taguig, will use the Villamor Golf Course as evacuation center.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story/opinion? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.



    No Comments "

    Indie-Siyensya kicks off 3rd run with science communication, cinematography workshops

    July 11th, 2018

    Indie-Siyensya judges, speakers and organizers with Beyond Deadlines writer Seymour Barros Sanchez (sixth from the left)

    MORE than one hundred students, teachers, filmmakers, and science professionals flocked to the Cinematheque Centre Manila last Friday to witness the program launching and workshop of the 3rd Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition.

    Indie-Siyensya, the country’s first and only science filmmaking competition, is now open for submission of film concepts for short documentaries that capture science as it works to answer the needs of communities and the country.

    We are encouraging students to create more science films,” says Dr. Josette Biyo, Director of the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), the competition’s main organizer. “DOST-SEI aims to promote a culture of science in the country and film is no doubt a powerful medium to achieve this,” Biyo adds.

    This year, Indie-Siyensya strengthens the competition and its workshop offering by partnering with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). The free workshop is part of the competition’s series of activities and meant to arm interested participants with the skills needed to create credible and visually appealing science films.

    UP Los Baños Development Communication Professor Garry Montemayor, a member of Indie-Siyensya’s board of judges, delivered a workshop on science communication, while 2017 Breakthrough Junior Challenge grand prize winner, Hillary Diane Andales, facilitated the segment on scientific content.

    Cinematographer Joshua Reyles engaged the participants with training on camera and lighting. Montemayor also joined fellow judges, UP Film Institute Director Patrick F. Campos and FEU and Beyond Deadlines writer and DLS-CSB Professor Seymour Sanchez, in a Q&A session on the contest mechanics.

    Indie-Siyensya is inviting all interested students, out-of-school youth, teachers, filmmakers, and science professionals to submit their film concepts until August 3, 2018. For approved concepts, deadline of submission of film entries is on October 15, 2018.

    For details and inquiries, visit /.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.


    No Comments "

    Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Traffic Advisory 071118

    July 11th, 2018

    Traffic rerouting set for INC event

    Several roads in Manila City will be closed to vehicular traffic for the launching of Worldwide Aid to Fight Poverty organized by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on July 14 and 15.

    Starting at 6 pm on July 14, the stretch of Katigbak Drive, South Drive and Independence Road will be off-limits to passing vehicles.

    The following day, July 15, road closure will start at 12:01 am at the following areas:

    · Stretch of Road-10 from Moriones to Delpan Bridge

    · Stretch of Bonifacio Drive from Delpan Bridge to Katigbak Drive

    · Stretch of Roxas Blvd. from Katigbak Drive to P. Ocampo

    · East and Westbound lane from P. Burgos from Lagusnilad to Roxas Blvd.

    · Finance Road from Taft Ave. To P. Burgos

    · Westbound lane of TM Kalaw from M.H del Pilar to Roxas Blvd.

    · Westbound lane of Pres. Quirino from M.H del Pilar to Roxas Blvd.

    Motorists are advised to take the following alternative routes during the said period:

    · All vehicles utilizing southbound lane of R-10 shall turn left to Moriones St. to point of destination

    · All vehicles coming from Pasay area intending to utilize the northbound lane of Roxas blvd. shall turn right to P. Ocampo St. or use Roxas Blvd. service Road to point of destination

    · All vehicles coming from three bridges: Quezon, McArthur and Jones intending to utilize the southbound lane of Roxas Blvd. shall go straight to Taft Ave. to point of destination

    · All vehicles coming from Ayala Bridge shall turn left/right to Taft Avenue to point of destination

    · All vehicles utilizing westbound lane of Pres. Quirino shall turn left to Mabini St. To point of destination

    · Heavy vehicles/Cargo trucks shall take Pres. Osmeña, to Pres. Quirino going to Nagtahan via AH Lacson to Yuseco to Capulong to R-10 (vise versa)

    At least 200,000 INC members are expected to participate in the two-day event to be held at the Rizal Park, Manila City.

    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    Violators of QC Anti-junk Food and Sugary Drinks Ordinance of 2017 fined.

    July 11th, 2018

    THE Quezon City Health Department recently conducted a surprise inspection in selected school canteens to check their compliance with City Ordinance 2579 or the QC Anti-junk Food and Sugary Drinks Ordinance of 2017.

    Food categorized as junk foods and sugary drinks were found still being sold at Pasong Tamo Elementary School and Lagro High School. The school canteens were also caught violating the city’s sanitation standards.

    According to Dr. Verdades Linga, chief of QCHD, they are also checking the availability of drinking fountains in schools since water is the only allowed beverage for students, aside from 100 percent natural fruit juices.

    Kung ipinagbabawal po natin itong sugary drinks na ito, mayroon po dapat kaakibat na pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng mga bata pagdating po sa inumin,” Dr. Linga said.

    Canteen concessionaires were issued violation tickets by the QC Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) and fined PhP1,000.

    Dr. Linga stressed the need to intensify the information campaign on the ordinance because there are canteen owners who still sell junk food and sugary drinks to students.

    We still need to improve the information campaign especially for public schools on anti-sugary drinks because in spite of all the efforts, mayroon pa rin tayong nakikita na nagtitinda ng sugary drinks and junk food,” Linga stated.

    Inspectors from the Market Development and Administration Department (MDAD) also confiscated the carts of illegal vendors peddling within the 100-meter perimeter fence from the school.

    The QC Anti-junk Food and Sugary Drinks Ordinance states that all canteens in public and private elementary and high schools, as well as preparatory schools, and stores within its 100-meter premises should only sell nutritious foods included in the list of allowed food to be sold by QCHD.

    In 2013, the Department of Education issued Department Order No. 65 series of 2013, reiterating the prohibition on sale, distribution and bringing of junk foods and carbonated drinks at school canteens.

    Also, store owners within the 100-meter premises of the school should not sell junk foods and sugary drinks to children even after school hours.

    Ako po ay nananawagan ulit sa ating kinauukulan lalong lalo na sa school administrators, parents, daycare teachers, barangays na sana po sama-sama nating ipatupad ang ordinansa. Hindi masama ang idudulot ng isinasagawa ngayon kasi para rin naman ito sa ating school children para mapanatili ang kalusugan at makapag-aral sila nang mabuti na malusog,” Dr. Linga added.

    For further inquiries, please contact the Quezon City Health Department at 926-6848 or 988-4242 loc. 8039/7809/8004.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    QC gov’t to provide livelihood training for displaced Payatas landfill workers

    July 10th, 2018

    Photo © Cofi Nuguid via Flickr | Manila Bulletin

    THE Quezon City Council has directed the Quezon City Small Business Development and Promotion Office through a resolution to conduct livelihood and skills training, business and entrepreneurial seminars and workshops, including financial aid worth PhP5,000 per family, to displaced Payatas Sanitary Landfill workers.

    City Resolution 7448-2018 aims to promote self-reliance to indigent families and start-ups for small-scale entrepreneurs affected by the Payatas landfill closure.

    To avail of the trainings, workshops and seminar, landfill workers should be registered under the Payatas Alliance Recycling Exchange Multi-purpose Cooperative.

    The Payatas Alliance Recycling Exchange Multi-purpose Cooperative has more than 2000 members.

    Under City Ordinance 1607-2005, the QC Small Business Development and Promotion Office is tasked to provide entrepreneurship skills training and education to the city’s underprivileged residents.

    Small Business Development and Promotion Office (formerly known as Sikap Buhay) will provide entrepreneurship training and education, promoting self-reliance among the underprivileged constituents of Quezon City and facilitating the provision of start-up capital for small scale entrepreneurs,” the resolution read.

    The closure of the landfill last August left a thousand landfill workers jobless.

    The abrupt closure left a thousand of Barangay Payatas residents with no means of livelihood and there is a need to address the loss of livelihood of said constituents,” the resolution read.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.


    No Comments "

    QC Mayor to barangay officials: Make realistic plans for your community.

    July 8th, 2018

    Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista. Photo ©

    QUEZON City Mayor Herbert Bautista urged barangay officials to make realistic developmental plans for their community as he sworn them into office.

    Dapat galingan nila. Kailangan ang kagalingan nila dahil maikli lang ‘yung panahon nila, two years lang ‘yan, so dapat ‘yung kanilang plano, ‘yung akma lang doon sa dalawang taon na puwede nilang gawin,” Bautista told over 1,000 newly-elected barangay officials who took their oath of office at Quezon City Hall last June 30.

    Bautista emphasized that barangay officials they should also align their developmental plans with the vision of the city government.

    Full cooperation with the city government, learn the plans of the city so kung ano ‘yung plano ng city, ‘yun ang gagawin nila sa kanilang barangay at huwag lalayo roon. Kung mayroon silang ibang pananaw o vision na puwede nilang i-contribute para sa Quezon City, para sa kabuuan ng Quezon City, we’re very much open,” Bautista advised.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    Global peace network seeks continuation of GRP-NDF talks amidst escalating Duterte-Joma word war

    July 7th, 2018

    (File photo) CPP Founder Jose Ma. Sison and President Rodrigo Duterte Photo ©

    “We urge both the GRP and NDF to continue finding constructive ways to work together in order to renew official negotiations and find joint understanding of settling their differences at the table. To achieve this, creating a more positive enabling environment to further the process is essential. Negotiating parties must get over their differences through efficient and programmatic confidence building measures. Previously announced possible ceasefires by the respective parties and amnesty of NDF members are positive signals that need to be built upon.”

    Thus said, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), a worldwide network of global peace advocates after it noted with concern that the talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and National Democratic Front (NDF) have again been postponed.

    Established in 2003, GPPAC is a global civil society-led network which seeks to build an international consensus on peace building and the prevention of violent conflict. It is composed of fifteen regional networks, each of which has its own Regional Action Agenda and Work Plan and participates in activities at the global level.

    “As a global network of member organisations working on peace building and prevention, we know how conflicts rip apart the social, economic and cultural fabric of people. Our members have first-hand experience of tragedies in Syria, the war in Colombia, widespread violence in Mexico and the fifty year guerilla war in the Philippines. We therefore call on the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and National Democratic Front to return to the negotiating table. The national peace process is still the best option to move forward the quest for just and lasting peace in the Philippines. We were very much encouraged by the announcement of a new round of negotiations that were planned to take place end of June in Norway. Unfortunately those have been postponed again,” the GPPAC added.

    According to GPPAC Foundation Manager for Knowledge, Policy and Advocacy Pascal Richard, “In our experience inclusive peace talks bring about more sustainable outcomes as they are then able to consider the needs of a broad population. The input and potential participation of a wider civilian component in the talks could therefore be considered. But for us, as a global peace building network, the first and most important step right now, remains the resumption of the GRP-NDF peace process. To us it provides an essential avenue to build a sustainable future for the Philippines.”

    What is at stake?

    Commenting on the current impasse and the brewing tension between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Jose Maria Sison, the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), Gus Miclat, the regional initiator of GPPAC in Southeast Asia and the Executive Director of Mindanao-based Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) said, “What is at stake is a genuinely peaceful, just and democratic future we all desire as a nation. What is most at stake, again, are the lives and security of thousands of affected communities, most of them are non-combatants including thousands of vulnerable women and children.”

    Miclat stressed, “We urge both parties to live up to their common vision of ‘serving the people’; of “getting from the masses and giving back to the masses” by making this peace talks successful. We call upon them to settle their differences at the negotiating table. After all, peace is not exclusive to their respective interests. They are there to represent the best interests of the people and we don’t think this prolonged word war between them will help the peace negotiation succeed. Worse, it may jeopardize the previous gains of the talks.”

    According to GPPAC, instead of engaging in a ‘flimsy word war’, both panels must invest in “creating an enabling environment allowing all relevant actors, including women and youth, to participate in an unhindered manner including, among others, through the release of political prisoners, avoiding classifying or calling out other parties in a detrimental manner and the full commitment to and upholding of a ceasefire by both parties is needed.”

    ‘Invest in substantive agenda’

    Miclat emphasized, “We are all for principled and healthy debate and the clash of ideas that would make the peace negotiation progress and become more democratic. This can start with an open dialogue on the fundamental roots of the conflict, and how both parties can jointly address them. We note that both parties have started on a friendly, conducive and even intimate note at the start of this administration before the series of setbacks that led to this impasse. They can collectively seek a viable peace formula to address the conflict. Throwing accusations against each other is counter-productive.”

    The GPPAC-SEA initiator concluded, “The most substantive agenda such as the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) tackles the roots of this armed conflict. We believe that if all prior substantive agreements of the talks will be implemented, this will bring us closer to defeating the real enemy of this protracted war.”

    The GPPAC call was issued also amidst impending deliberations of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at the Congressional bicameral committee of the other peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Philippine GPPAC members have been actively engaging this process.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Traffic Advisory 070618

    July 6th, 2018

    DPWH to Conduct Weekend Road Reblocking

    The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will undertake road reblocking and repairs starting 11 p.m. tonight (July 6) until July 9, at the following areas:


    1.    EDSA from Arayat St. to Ignacio Diaz (4th lane from the sidewalk)

    2.    EDSA infront of Francesca Tower to after Sct. Borromeo (3rd lane from the center island)

    3.    Nagtahan Bridge Service Rd. from J.P Laurel to Ampil St.


    4.    EDSA Vertis North to Trinoma Mall (2nd lane from sidewalk)

    5.    Batasan Road, Commonwealth Ave., to Kalinisan St. (1st lane)

    6.    A.H Lacson Ave., near Aragon St.

    7.    Congressional Ave., before cor. Jupiter St. (1st lane)

    8.    Fairview Ave. from Mindanao Ave. Extn to Jordan Plains Subd. and Jordan Plains Subd. to Mindanao Ave. Extn (3rd lane)

    All affected roads will be fully passable by 5 a.m. on Monday, July 9.

    Meanwhile, Manila Water Co. Inc., will undertake pavement restoration (one lane closure) along C-5 Road (Southbound) after Lanuza Ave. intersection in front of Shell Gas Station 10pm today, July 06 (Friday) up to 4am of July 9 (Monday) and on 10pm of July 13 (Friday) until 4am of July 16 (Monday).

    Motorists are advised to avoid the said areas and use alternate routes instead.

    No Comments "

    QC releases ‘healthy menu’ for schools

    July 5th, 2018

    Image ©

    THE Quezon City Health Department has released a list of allowed and prohibited foods to be sold in public and private schools in accordance with City Ordinance 2579-2017, also known as the QC Anti-junk food and sugary drinks ordinance of 2017.

    The ordinance states that canteens in public and private elementary and high schools, as well as preparatory schools, and stores within 100 meters from school premises should only sell nutritious food that are included in the list.

    According to City Health Department chief Dr. Verdades P. Linga, studies say that junk food and sugary drinks cause non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

    Dumarami na ang datos na nagsasabing ang diabetes at hypertension ay nagsisimula na sa murang edad. Kung hindi natin ito gagawan ng aksyon, magkakaroon tayo ng siyudad na ang mga bata natin o mamamayan ay maagang magkakasakit at hindi maging productive,” Linga said.

    The following are allowed by the City Health Department to be sold in school canteens and stores:


    FRIED RICE (plain)

    CORN (boiled)



    BISCUITS (no filling)



    BREAD like pinaputok, monay, or any “unfilled bread”

    PLAIN CUPCAKES (no filling) CORNFLAKES (plain)



    PANCAKE (no syrup)


    • SANDWICHES (cheese, egg, tuna, chicken filling, peanut butter)

    • BOILED ROOT CROPS such as cassava (kamoteng kahoy), sweet potato (kamote), yam (gabi), taro, arrow root (uraro)






    PUTO (with cheese) BIBINGKA

    KAKANIN (kutsinta, sapin sapin, biko, palitaw, nilupak)


    MAJA BLANCA (cornstarch)


    GINATAANG MALAGKIT with/without corn/ munggo


    SOTANGHON with vegetables


    PANCIT CANTON/MIKI with vegetables



    MACARONI SOUP/ SOPAS with vegetables
















    On the other hand, school canteens are not allowed to sell the following:



    FORTIFIED FOOD such as “sitsirya”, instant noodles

    LOW NUTRITIONAL CONTENT, HIGH IN CALORIES (above 40 kcal per 100 g (solids), 20 kcal per 100 ml (liquid);

    HIGH SALT (above 120mg/100g);

    HIGH FAT (above 3 g per 100 g (solids), 1.5 g per 100 ml (liquids) BOILED QUAIL EGGS

    PRE-PACKAGED SNACK FOOD (chips, chicharon)

    PROCESSED FOOD (hotdogs, sausage, burger patties, chicken nuggets, tocino, tapa, corned beef bacon, longganisa)

























    Processed foods such as hotdog and meat loaf are not allowed to be used as ingredients in student meals. Condiments such as toyo and patis should not be made available on dining tables.

    Food with too much oil is also prohibited. Cooking methods should only require little or no fat oil such as steaming, boiling, sauteing, pan frying, and baking.

    Visible fat and skin of the meat should be removed before cooking the meal. Salt and other condiments in foods should be reduced. Using artificial flavors should also be avoided.

    The compliance in school canteens will be monitored daily by a focal person appointed by the school principal. The daily menu should always be posted in front of the canteen. Advertisements or promotions from junk foods and sugary drink products should not be allowed.

    Lahat po ng oras kahit naka-uniporme o hindi nakauniporme, bawal ho talaga kayong magtinda ng sugary drinks at junk food sa mga bata,” Linga stated.

    In 2013, the Department of Education issued Division Order No. 65 series of 2013, reiterating the prohibition on sale, distribution and bringing of junk foods and carbonated drinks at school canteens.

    Magkaagapay po tayo, magkatulong tayo ng mga magulang at lokal na pamahalaan ng Quezon City upang maitaguyod ang isang mamamayan na malusog kaya nananawagan ako na kung puwede po sana, wag na po nating bentahan ang mga bata ng sugary drinks at yung junkfoods,” Linga added.

    For further inquiries, please contact the Quezon City Health Department at 926-6848 or 988-4242 loc. 8039/ 7809/ 8004.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    QC to buy residential land for poor city residents

    July 4th, 2018

    Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista Photo ©

    THE Quezon City government is set to acquire residential land for poor city residents.

    This was learned shortly after the City Council authorized Mayor Herbert M. Bautista to acquire parcels of land through negotiated sale in Novaliches for the expansion and development of Bistekville 12 and 28.

    City Resolutions 7387-2018 and 7391-2018, introduced by Councilor Godofredo T. Liban II, states that the Task Force on Socialized Housing and Development of Blighted Areas (TF Housing) wants to expand the city’s socialized housing project to provide significant opportunities to a greater number of Quezon City informal settlers/ residents to own in-city affordable and decent housing.

    The 5,100 and 2,000 square meter lots in Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, owned by Aurora I. Ignacio and Generoso V. Jacinto respectively, are identified as suitable for development and expansion of housing development as these are vacant, relatively flat, and adjoins Bistekville 12 and 28.

    Further, after a series of meetings with TF Housing, Ignacio and Jacinto have expressed their willingness to sell their properties to the QC government through negotiated sale.

    Pursuant to Section 455 (b)(1)(vi) of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the “Local Government Code of 1991”, the City Mayor shall represent the City in all its business transactions and sign in its behalf all bonds, contracts and obligations, and such other documents upon the authority of the Sangguniang Panglungsod or pursuant to law or ordinance,” the resolutions read.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.


    No Comments "

    Ombudsman indicts former Secretary Abaya, 16 others over PhP4.2 billion MRT maintenance contract

    July 2nd, 2018

    Former transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya. Photo ©

    OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales found probable cause to charge former Department of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and 16 others over the alleged anomalous MRT3 maintenance contract.

    Specifically, Abaya, a grandson of Emilio Aguinaldo, and his co-accused will be charged with violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019), Morales said.

    Also facing charges for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 are DOTr Undersecretaries Edwin Lopez, Rene Limcaoco (Head of the Negotiating Team) and Catherine Jennifer Francis Gonzales (Vice-Head, Negotiating Team); MRT3 General Manager Roman Buenafe, Camille Alcaraz (Assistant Secretary for Procurement), Ofelia Astrera (Vice-Chairperson, MRT3 Bids and Awards Committee), Charissa Eloisa Julia Opulencia (Attorney V), Oscar Bongon (Chief, Engineering Division) and Jose Rodante Sabayle (Engineer III).

    Private respondents Eldonn Ferdinand Uy of Edison Development and Construction, Elizabeth Velasco of Tramat Mercantile Incorporated, Belinda Tan of TMI Corporation, Inc., Brian Velasco of Castan Corporation, and Antonio Borromeo, Jun Ho Hwang and Elpidio Uy from Busan Universal Rail, Inc. (BURI) were also included in the indictment.

    According to Morales, the Special Panel of Investigators found that in October 2014 and January 2015, the DOTr conducted two bidding for the three-year maintenance service contract for the MRT3. Both bidding failed due to non-submission of bids.

    On 28 January 2015, Abaya issued a Special Order creating the MRT3 Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) for the procurement of goods, infrastructure projects and consulting services of the MRT3 system.

    On March 2015, the MRT3 BAC issued Resolution No. 002, Series of 2015, recommending the resort to Negotiated Procurement through Emergency Cases under Section 53.2 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (RIRR) of the Government Procurement Reform Act (Republic Act No. 9184).

    Documents show that the contract was set to be awarded to a single maintenance service provider that would establish a Single Point Responsibility for all the following disciplines:

    Discipline Amount Duration
    Maintenance of the MRT3 system PhP2,270,400,000.00 3 years
    General Overhauling of 43 units of light rail vehicles (LRVs) PhP1,013,560,000.00 3 years
    Total replacement of the Signaling System PhP900,000,000.00 24 months
    Additional Maintenance Works PhP67,940,000.00 6 months
    Total Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) PhP4,251,900,000.00

    On 21 October 2015, the following firms submitted their proposals: (1) Busan Joint Venture (Busan JV); (2) Joint Venture of DM Consunji, Inc., Beta Electric Corporation, Baudis Bergmann Rosch Rail Automation GmbH, and Hamburg Consult GmbH; and the (3) Joint Venture of Schunk Bahn-Und Industrietechnik GmbH and Comm Builders and Technology Philippines Corporation.

    The Busan JV is composed of the following firms: (1) Edison Development and Construction; (2) Tramat Mercantile Incorporated; (3) TMI Corporation, Inc.; (4) Castan Corporation; and (5) BURI.

    During the evaluation process, all offers were found to be deficient in their eligibility and technical documents and were given the opportunity to cure the defect.

    On 28 October 2015, the Negotiating Team, declared the Busan JV as being the sole entity which passed the eligibility on technical and financial documents evaluation.

    As a result, the Negotiating Team recommended to the MRT3 BAC that the bid of Busan JV be declared as the Single Calculated Officer and that post-qualification proceedings be conducted.

    After post-qualification, the Negotiating Team recommended to the MRT3 BAC the award of the MRT3 long-term maintenance contract to the Busan JV in the amount of PhP3,809,128,888.00 as the legally, technically and financially eligible JV.

    On 21 December 2015, the MRT3 BAC issued Resolution No. 14 Series of 2015 recommending that the project be awarded to Busan JV.

    On 07 January 2016, the DOTr, the MRT3 and the Busan JV entered into a contract for the long-term maintenance contract.

    In its Consolidated Annual Audit Report (CAAR) for 2016, the Commission on Audit (COA) observed that the “DOTr still failed to provide the riding public with a safe and comfortable transport system even with the procurement and delivery from August 2015 to January 2017 of 48 new LRVs with a total cost of PhP3,759,382,400.00. Despite four years in the procurement process and total payments of PhP527,761,083.00 (equivalent to 14% of the contract price) to Dalian, the LRVs remain inoperational and unaccepted by the DOTr as of reporting date due to glitches in the power supply and signaling system. These resulted from the DOTr’s poor planning and other major procurement lapses.”

    The Special Panel of Investigators found that respondents extended unwarranted benefits, advantage and preference to the contractor when it awarded the project to Busan JV, an ineligible and unqualified entity.

    (File photo) MRT breaks down on EDSA prompting its passengers to walk. Photo ©

    In its 88-page Consolidated Resolution, it was explained that “as the Busan JV’s offer was still considered as successful, the potential JV partners must enter into a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) in accordance with its rules. But they did not. Still, the Busan JV was awarded the contract- yet another violation of the rules under R.A. No. 9184.”

    Procurement documents show that it was only Eldonn Uy of Edison Development and Construction that executed a “Statement to enter Into a Joint Venture” purportedly as the authorized representative of all the members of the Busan JV.

    Since only one potential partner of the Busan JV submitted the required statement, it should have been disqualified from participating further in the negotiated procurement since it lacked an eligibility requirement,” explained the Consolidated Resolution.

    The Special Panel also found irregularity in the award when the Busan JV was allowed to simply submit a Certificate of Registration of BURI as a Special Purpose Company (SPC) instead of a valid JVA.

    The action becomes even more suspect as it was respondent DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement Alcaraz who wrote the Securities and Exchange Commission to facilitate the registration of Busan JV as an SPC.

    This Office notes that [Alcaraz] was the DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement and the Chairperson of the MRT3 BAC. Her action thus reeks of impropriety as it gives the impression that she was acting in favor of the Busan JV,” stated the Consolidated Resolution.

    The Special Panel also mentioned irregularities in the amendment of the original net worth requirement and absence of Bill of Quantities (BOQ) which favored Busan JV.

    Based on their 2014 audited financial statements, the net worth of Tramat in 2014 was only PhP1.9 million while Edison’s was PhP383.5 million only, both below the PhP1billion requirement under the amended Instructions to Offerors.

    In its financial offer, Busan JV failed to include its BOQ as required in the Instructions to Offerors.

    There are no existing BOQs for the overhauling of the 43 LRVs and the total replacement signaling system components of the MRT3 long-term maintenance contract. Having failed to submit the required BOQ, the Busan JV should have been disqualified outright from the procurement process.”

    The Consolidated Resolution added that “as another favorable concession to the Busan JV, the Negotiating Team then decided that in lieu of the 20% equity requirement, the Busan JV should enter into a Management and Facility Maintenance Services Agreement with Busan to ensure that the MRT3 long-term maintenance contract will be undertaken by a company with the required track record and necessary expertise and experience on railway maintenance. Clearly, efforts were exerted to retain Busan in the JV to fulfill the minimum requirements under the Instructions to Offerors.”

    In sum, the Busan JV was not technically, legally and financially capable to undertake the MRT3 long-term maintenance contract. Despite its being unqualified, the contract was still awarded to it by the DOTr, in violation of Section 53 of the RIRR of R.A. No. 9184, which requires that in negotiated procurement, the procuring entity should negotiate with a technically, legally and financially capable supplier, contractor or consultant.

    That the Busan JV/BURI was not qualified for and is inept to undertake the implementation of the project is supported by the COA’s audit findings as contained in its 2016 CAAR.

    The Consolidated Resolution also pointed out that “as then DOTr Secretary, Abaya had supervision and control over the officials under him and was immediately and primarily responsible for all government funds and property pertaining to his agency at the time of the questioned transaction.”

    Occupying an executive position, Abaya is required to exercise diligence in the highest degree in the performance of his duties. There is a given authority and responsibility to Abaya as DOTr Secretary to regulate the acts of the DOTr officials responsible for the procurement of the MRT3 long-term maintenance contract and he cannot simply evade such responsibility by invoking reliance on his subordinates, especially considering that the subject contract is one with a scope and magnitude affecting a big portion of the commuting public in Metro Manila, with an accompanying financial impact on the coffers of the government amounting to more than PhP4billion. By allowing the award of the contract to the Busan JV despite the attendant glaring irregularities, Abaya deliberately ignored applicable laws, rules and regulations, and standard operating procedures, falling short of or disregarding the required competence expected of him in the performance of his official functions,” added the Consolidated Resolution.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.


    No Comments "

    WHO study shows new drug could save thousands of women’s lives

    July 1st, 2018

    Community members attend a social awareness meeting about maternal death, infant mortality, stillbirth and other health issues is conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh. Photo © UNICEF

    A NEW formulation of a drug to prevent excessive bleeding following childbirth could save thousands of women’s lives in low- and lower-middle-income countries, according to a study led by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with MSD for Mothers and Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

    Currently WHO recommends oxytocin as the first-choice drug for preventing excessive bleeding after childbirth.

    Oxytocin, however, must be stored and transported at 2–8 degrees Celsius, which is hard to do, in many countries, depriving many women of access to this lifesaving drug. When they can obtain it, the drug may be less effective because of heat exposure.

    The study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, has shown an alternative drug – heat-stable carbetocin – to be as safe and effective as oxytocin in preventing postpartum hemorrhage. This new formulation of carbetocin does not require refrigeration and retains its efficacy for at least 3 years stored at 30 degrees Celsius and 75% relative humidity.

    “This is a truly encouraging new development that can revolutionize our ability to keep mothers and babies alive,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

    Approximately 70 000 women die every year because of post-partum hemorrhage – increasing the risk that their babies also die within one month.

    The clinical trial, the largest of its kind, studied close to 30 000 women who gave birth vaginally in 10 countries: Argentina, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the United Kingdom.

    Each woman was randomly given a single injection of either heat-stable carbetocin or oxytocin immediately following the birth of her baby. The study found that both drugs were equally effective at preventing excessive bleeding after birth.

    Since both drugs in the study were kept in at the temperatures required to ensure maximum efficacy of oxytocin, the trial may underestimate the benefit expected with heat-stable carbetocin use in real-life settings where oxytocin may have degraded due to exposure to higher temperatures.

    “The development of a drug to prevent postpartum hemorrhage that continues to remain effective in hot and humid conditions is very good news for the millions of women who give birth in parts of the world without access to reliable refrigeration,” says Dr Metin Gülmezoglu, from the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO.

    The next step is regulatory review and approval by countries.

    WHO will ask its Guideline Development Group to consider whether heat-stable carbetocin should be a recommended drug for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage.

    About the study

    This WHO study, also referred to as the CHAMPION (Carbetocin HaeMorrhage PreventION) trial, was funded by MSD for Mothers. Heat-stable carbetocin was provided by Ferring Pharmaceuticals, the product innovator and oxytocin was provided by Novartis for the study.

    The study was conducted under a collaborative arrangement between WHO, MSD for Mothers and Ferring Pharmaceuticals. Following the positive results from the trial, the parties will now work to advance affordable access to this lifesaving drug in countries that have a high burden of maternal deaths.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    Renowned Fil-Am Artist Nilo Santiago Exhibits Paintings of PH Historic Churches, Women’s Fashion

    July 1st, 2018

    (L-R) Darell Artates, Public Diplomacy Officer of the Philippine Embassy and Sentro Rizal Washington DC Administrator; the artist Nilo M. Santiago; Dr. Bernardita Churchill, member of PALM Steering Committee and President of the Philippine National History Society; Ms. Mencie Hairston, community leader and artist, and founder of Mabuhay, Inc.; Ms. Rosalinda Yangas, member of PALM Steering Committee; and Mr. Jon Melegrito, community leader and one of PALM’s founders.

    SENTRO Rizal-Washington D.C. and the Philippine Arts, Letters and Media Council, Inc. (PALM)  recently collaborated to mount an exhibition of the recent artworks of renowned Filipino-American artist Nilo M. Santiago at the Philippine Chancery Building in Washington to commemorate the 157th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal.

    A graduate of the University of Santo Tomas Fine Arts School, Santiago has been working for the past twenty years as an artist in the metropolitan Washington area: as a creative designer, a commercial printer, and a painter in various media. He is a winner of numerous awards in national competitions in the United States and served as the official illustrator of the U.S. Air Force for many years.

    For this exhibition, which was inaugurated last June 20, Santiago showcases his works on “Philippine Historic Churches and Women’s Fashion at the Turn of the Century.”

    “I wanted to preserve the look of those old churches in my mind and in my paintings which led to my Series on Historic Churches,” Santiago explained during his presentation.

    “I am also glad to show the progression of women’s fashion through the ages in the Philippines. I am amazed by the materials like piña cloth and the incredible weaving and embroideries which took hours, days, or even weeks to accomplish,” he further said.

    The experience of appreciating Santiago’s drawings of women’s fashion at the turn of the century is enhanced by the “Hibla ng Lahing Filipino” (Textiles of the Filipino People) exhibition featuring piña-seda cloths, which debuted in the United States on 10 June 2018.

    The launch of Santiago’s exhibition is a result of the tireless efforts of PALM’s Steering Committee, which is composed of: history professor and culture enthusiast Dr. Bernardita Churchill; Ms. Lyta Sese; Ms. Arabella Harmon Horwitz, who turned over books to the Sentro Rizal Library; and Ms. Rosalinda Yangas, who introduced the artist at the exhibit launch.

    In her remarks, Philippine Embassy Public Diplomacy Officer and Sentro Rizal Washington D.C. Administrator Darell Ann R. Artates outlined the upcoming activities of the center, including a possible film-showing in August, and the launch of the book “The New Filipino Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Around the Globe” on 27 September 2018 at Kramerbooks and Afterwords in Washington, D.C.

    On behalf of Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, Artates also thanked the individuals and groups who continue to support Sentro Rizal Washington D.C. She cited Manila-based painter Celeste Lecaroz, and the youth-led advocacy group Project Saysay whose contributions of a portrait of Dr. Jose Rizal and ten portraits of great Filipinos, respectively, have considerably enriched the cultural resources of the center.

    The exhibition of Santiago’s recent works and the “Hibla ng Lahing Filipino” piña-seda displays are open for viewing at the Philippine Embassy Chancery Annex until 16 July 2018, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, except on weekends and holidays.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    PhP29.9 million food allowance for overcrowded jail

    June 29th, 2018

    (File photo) Inmates of the Quezon City Jail 2016. Photo ©

    THE Quezon City Council has authorized Mayor Herbert Bautista to allocate PhP29.9 million for the food provision of Quezon City Jail detainees.

    City Councilors Franz Pumaren and Raquel Malangen, through City Resolution 7163-2017, directs Mayor Bautista to appropriate funds to be dedicated for the food of detainees at the detention center.

    Immediately, Bautista has ordered the release of funds to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology upon the request of the Quezon City Jail management.

    The PhP29.9 million are broken down as follows: rice, 4,020 sacks (PhP10 million); pandesal (PhP11.2 million); pan de coco (PhP2.1 million); kalihim (PhP2.1 million); monay (PhP2.1 million) and Spanish bread (PhP2.1 million).

    The QCJ is one of the most over crowed jail in the country.


    BD Admin: You think your friends also gonna like this story? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "

    DENR exec to face graft charge for Canadian trash mess

    June 29th, 2018

    Imported Canadian trash. Photo ©

    THE Office of the Ombudsman today it will prosecute a Department of Environment and Natural Resources official for the screw up leading to the abandonment of Canadian trash in the country.

    Specifically, DENR Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be prosecuted for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) due to his mishandling of the shipment of container vans consigned to Chronic Plastics.

    The Ombudsman, in a statement, said it has found probable cause to prosecute Cuna.

    An Ombudsman investigation uncovered that in 2013, Chronic Inc., a Canadian-based company, exported several shipments of container vans declared as plastic scrap materials without securing import entries for its shipment, which arrived in July and August 2013.

    Consequently, the shipment was declared as abandoned and upon further inspection, it was discovered that the container vans were filled with garbage.

    The DENR Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) also found that the garbage can no longer be recycled and were thus declared illegal due to lack of importation clearance and subject to confiscation and seizure proceedings.

    DENR Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna. photo by

    Furthermore, upon closer scrutiny of documents, investigators found that Cuna, as then EMB Director, issued a Registry Certificate for the Importation of Recyclable Materials Containing Hazardous Substances dated 19 June 2013 despite the lack of details in the Importer’s Registry Sheet. (Read More:

    It was also found that Cuna issued six Importation Clearances to Chronic Plastics despite an existing Notice of Violation dated 05 September 2013 for importing heterogeneous and assorted plastic materials in violation of DENR Administrative Order No. 1994-28.

    In this case, “respondent Cuna acted with gross inexcusable negligence when he issued a Registry Certificate in favor of Chronic Plastics despite the insufficient details in its Importer Registry Sheet. x x x Its failure to comply with the rules is apparent on the face of the application. Without the necessary information, the EMB cannot sufficiently make a determination that Chronic Plastics is capable of recycling materials to be imported. However, despite this, respondent Cuna still approved Chronic Plastic’s application for registration,” stated the Ombudsman Resolution.

    It must be emphasized that it is the mission of the EMB to protect, restore and enhance environmental quality towards good public health, environmental integrity and economic viability. It is also mandated to strictly implement environmental laws and restrict or prohibit the importation, manufacture, processing, sale, distribution, use and disposal of chemical substances and mixtures that present unreasonable risk and/or injury to health or the environment,” added the Resolution.

    In the parallel administrative case, Cuna was found guilty of Simple Misconduct and ordered suspended without pay for three months.

    The DENR Secretary was directed to implement the suspension order.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.


    No Comments "

    Otis Bridge Closed Due to Damage

    June 29th, 2018

    The damaged portion of Otis Bridge. Photo by

    THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority closed Otis Bridge in Manila on Tuesday as the rehabilitation of its damaged portion, which is expected to take at least nine months, begins.

    In a press briefing Tuesday, MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo “Jojo” Garcia advised motorists to take the alternative routes as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) starts the bridge’s reconstruction.

    “We cannot compromise safety. Motorists and truckers have to take a detour for their safety,” said Garcia.

    DPWH South Manila District Engineer Mike Macud explained the 50-year-old bridge’s could no longer hold trucks and cargo trucks passing the bridge.

    “We consider this bridge an old infrastructure. The girder supporting the bridge already collapsed,” said Macud.

    Aside from old age, another factor that contributed to the damage was the number of trucks passing the area, particularly overloaded heavy vehicles.

    “There are at least 6,000 trucks passing the bridge daily,” he added.

    Macud said the bridge’s rehabilitation work will be done in phases and will be undertaken on a 24/7 schedule.

    MMDA Acting GM Jose Arturo Garcia. Image © Rappler

    Garcia said the bridge’s repair was given the necessary permit as early as 2016 but was put on hold to make way for the repair of Concordia Bridge and relocation of an electric post in the area.

    Garcia directed MMDA Task Force Special Operations head Bong Nebrija to intensify the removal of illegally parked vehicles and other obstructions along alternate routes to mitigate the expected traffic congestion that the reconstruction project would cause.

    Listed Alternative Routes:


    For light vehicles, take Nagtahan, turn right at Zamora Street, left to President Quirino Extension to destination.


    From South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), take President Quirino Avenue, turn left at Plaza Dilao, right to President Quirino Avenue Extension, straight to U.N. Avenue, right to Romualdez, right to Ayala Boulevard to destination.

    Meanwhile, cargo and trailer trucks are also advised to take R10, left to C-3 Road, 5th Avenue, left to A. Bonifacio Avenue Avenue, NLEX, right to Mindanao Avenue to destination.

    For the safety of motorists, the MMDA installed plastic barriers around the damaged portion of the bridge, particularly in the middle portion where cracks have developed. The authority also asked the DPWH to seek the help of barangay officials in managing traffic flow in the area.

    The MMDA will also deploy a number of traffic enforcers in the area to guide the affected motorists.

    Aside from Otis Bridge, Garcia said 40 other bridges in Metro Manila are undergoing inspection due to safety concerns. Four out of the 40 have been retrofitted.

    “We are asking the DPWH to give us a list of the bridges that need massive repairs,” Garcia concluded.


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.


    No Comments "

    PDEA awards over PhP7 million to 12 informants

    June 28th, 2018

    Image ©

    THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has continued its reward giving and this time 12 civilian informants were given cash reward totaling least PhP7.3 million under the agency’s “Operation: Private Eye(OPE),” a reward and incentive scheme designed to encourage private citizens to report any suspected illegal drug activities in their community.

    PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino personally handed the cash reward amounting to PhP7,389,508.52 to the informants who were identified only through their code names: Ador, Sakuragi, Jacpat, Kidlat, 24, Bungo, Mike, Kulas, Sandro, Ex-Boy, Abo, and Agila.

    I commend them for providing information that led to the arrest of 25 drug personalities, the dismantling of clandestine laboratory used in the manufacture of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, and the seizure of over PhP4 billion worth of shabu, ephedrine and marijuana,” Aquino said.

    The informants, who wore masks to hide their identity, received the reward money during a simple ceremony last Tuesday at the PDEA National Headquarters in Quezon City. Previously, the PDEA also rewarded four of its operating units with at least PhP 7 million cash for meritorious service, also under the agency’s OPLAN “Operation: Lawmen.”

    Informant “Ador” received PhP2,000,000. The information he provided resulted in the confiscation of 44,022.80 grams of shabu and the arrest of four drug personalities during the implementation of a search warrant along Banawe Street, Manresa, Quezon City on November 15, 2016.

    Sakuragi” also received PhP2,000,000 cash award after providing information that led to the seizure of 529 kilograms of shabu and the arrest of two drug personalities during a lawful search in Mangga Street, San Juan City on December 23, 2016.

    Mike” was rewarded with PhP1,647,233.88 after he supplied information which resulted in the dismantling of a large-scale clandestine shabu laboratory and the seizure of 1,665 grams of ephedrine during an authorized search in Prenza Maharlika Highway, District 1, Cauayan City, Isabela on October 23, 2016.

    On the other hand, PhP1,181,792.74 was awarded to “Jacpat” after he supplied information resulting in the seizure of 18,6729 grams of shabu during a recovery operation in Tangali Street, Barangay San Jose, Quezon City on February 9, 2017.

    While, PhP179,442.53 was awarded to “24” whose anti-drug information led to the seizure of 2,404.8498 grams of shabu and the arrest of one drug personality during a buy-bust operation along Estrada Drive, Tetuan, Zamboanga City on December 23, 2017.

    Bungo” was awarded PhP105,159.10 after supplying information which resulted in the confiscation of 1,461.8 grams of shabu and the arrest of two drug personalities following an entrapment operation in the vicinity of Commonwealth Hospital and Medical Center, Quezon City on January 27, 2018.

    A cash reward of PhP84,583.97 was given to “Agila” who provided information that led to the seizure of 996.8 grams of shabu and the arrest of four drug personalities during an entrapment operation inside Room 1004, 10th floor of Brickstone Residences, MH Del Pilar Street, Ermita, Manila on December 3, 2017.

    Kulas” received PhP72,000 after he supplied information that led to the arrest of two drug suspects and the seizure of 35,948.83 grams of marijuana during an interdiction operation along Provincial Road, Barangay Dalawa, Alilem, Ilocos Sur on March 16, 2017.

    Kidlat” was rewarded with PhP45,905.08 after he supplied information which resulted in the confiscation of 1,001.1 grams of shabu and the arrest of three drug personalities following a buy-bust operation along Valdez Street, Upper Bicutan, Taguig City on December 13, 2017.

    At least, PhP28,504.05 was awarded to “Ex-Boy” whose anti-drug information led to the confiscation of 3,076.80 grams of shabu and the arrest of two drug personalities during a buy-bust operation along Commonwealth Avenue, Tandang Sora, Quezon City on May 27, 2017.

    Abo” was awarded PhP22,767.57 after supplying information which led to the apprehension of one drug personality and the seizure of 506.70 grams of shabu following a buy-bust operation in SM City, Sta. Mesa on November 13, 2017.

    Sandro” received PhP22,119.60 after providing information resulting in the seizure of 5,485.2 grams of dried marijuana leaves, 7,750.8 grams of marijuana stalks and the arrest of two drug suspects during an interdiction operation in Sitio Lomon, Barangay Paykek, Kapangan, Benguet on April 15, 2017.

    The Private Eye Rewards Committee, composed of members from the academe, non-government organizations, law enforcement, religious and business sectors, approved the resolution granting monetary rewards to the informants after careful and thorough deliberation.

    Community vigilance is vital in the hope of winning the war against illegal drugs. Local folks need to be PDEA’s eyes and ears in barangays to see and hear if there is an illegal drug activity happening around their neighborhood,” Aquino said.

    The awarding ceremony of PDEA OPE is done on a quarterly basis. Tuesday’s ceremony is the third under Aquino.

    To report illegal drug activities and be eligible for Private Eye Rewards, simply follow the directions below:

    Legibly fill out the Information Report Form (IRF) and send report to PDEA by fastest means:

    a. Fax No. (02) 927-2899;

    b. By mail/messenger to: Operation: “Private Eye” c/o Room 207 PDEA Bldg., NIA Northside Road, National Government Center, Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City; Telephone No. (02) 920-0967;

    c. By email to:; and

    d. Visit the PDEA Regional Office near you.

    PDEA also has a round-the-clock message center known as the “PDEA 24/7 Text Hotlines” that provides another venue that is accessible to all to report to PDEA any suspected illegal drug activities in the communities.

    To send anti-drug reports to PDEA 24/7 Text Hotlines, simply follow the directions below:

    Text: Name of Drug Users/Pushers and Complete Information

    Send to: For SMART Subscribers – 0999-888 PDEA (7332)

    For Sun Subscribers – 0925-573 PDEA (7332)

    For Globe Subscribers- 0927-9150616


    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    1 Comment "

    Flores de Mayo @ San Lazaro

    June 28th, 2018

    Last week’s Anyong Pilipino Flores de Mayo at San Lazaro featured beauty title holders – a project of the Designers Circle Philippines and supported by Juenesse Napkins, Calcium Cee, Winford Manila Resort and Casino and the Manila Mayor’s Office.

    BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this story? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.

    No Comments "