Intramuros to become pedestrian-friendly, underground cabling stalled

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(Photo by Pamela Ann Bangayan) Picturesque Manila Cathedral. The view of Manila Cathedral after the overhead cables in front of those were decluttered.
Inset: (Photo courtesy of Intramuros Administration) Inset photo shows utility cables being decluttered.

By Pamela Ann C. Bangayan

Almost a year after Intramuros Administration (IA) kicked-off its underground cabling project in Plaza Roma, the next phase is to bury all utility cables in Calle Aduana underground, as well as other tourist spots inside the historic district of Manila, with the hope to make the walled city more picturesque.

IA Architect Ramil Tibayan said that the said project is actually part of the 1991 Urban Development plan of the administration. However, it was only last year that underground cabling embarked and it was Manila Cathedral that was prioritized in line with the preparation for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2015 in the country.

When started, the end-goal of IA, as an attached agency of Department of Tourism (DOT), is to attract more tourists in visiting Intramuros and to make them further appreciate the historic place by removing the eye soring overhead cables. Moreover, the administration eyes to make the district pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, hence, develop a less-polluted Intramuros.

Although not yet started the rehabilitation of A. Soriano Avenue or Calle Aduana is already being handled by Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, another agency under DOT, and is estimated to consume one or two years of construction.

On the other hand, Tibayan said in an interview with The Millennials’ Guild that this is not a kind of project where we can expect immediate results for this is a big task that requires a huge budget and a lot of factors are stalling the project, one of those is the latter.

“There may be a problem on the procurement process. Hindi ko talaga masabi kung ano ba yung nakakapag stall sa project na ito. Mahirap pagplanuhan dahil maraming involve. Hindi lang naman ito kuryente kundi pati ang drainage, telephone companies, and water supply since we are also planning to renew the streetscapes,” Tibayan said when asked about what he thinks are the factors stalling the project.

Another reason, according to an Inquirer interview with IA Chief Marco Antonio Luisito Sardillo III, is that the project is a “nightmare” since Intramuros already has existing development compared to the case of Bonifacio Global City which started “completely blank.”

Aside from Plaza Roma and Calle Aduana, other priority areas for development include Magallanes Drive, General Luna, Padre Burgos and other main thoroughfares of Intramuros.

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Execution of justice for Marcos still pending by Angelica Cruz

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Former party-list Representative Neri Colmenares leads petitioners against FM burial

Photo from Inquirer.net

To settle the petitions filed against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the Supreme Court announced to conduct an oral argument on Thursday, August 24.

“The issue has been sparking debates among Filipinos for many years now,” observed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who stands by President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision of issuing a memorandum allowing the remains of Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

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 Late President Marcos remains at Batac, Ilocos Norte

Photo from Manila Bulletin

“The main reason of the President for doing such is because Marcos was a war veteran and believes that he deserves it much like the guerillas who fought valiantly for his country,” Lorenzana said.

He also pointed out that Marcos was present during the Death March together with the American and Filipino soldiers.

Furthermore, the criminal rate in the country during his regime was relatively low. Drugs were controlled and regulations enjoining the withdrawal of juveniles and civilians from the streets at night were ordered.

“We cannot deny the fact that the late President also made a lot of contributions for the country,” Lorenzana said. Many infrastructures that were being used up to now such as Folk Arts Theater, National Arts Center, Nayong Pilipino, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Lung Center of the Philippines and San Juanico Bridge were established during his term.

Upon learning this, former party-list Representatives Satur Ocampo and Neri Colmenares along with other individuals filed a petition that seeks to nullify the memorandum issued by Lorenzana ordering the Armed Forced of the Philippines to transfer the corpse of Marcos to the Libingan.

This is in the belief of the petitioners that the late dictator has violated human rights during the martial law implementation.

As stated in their petition, Marcos is not qualified under any law or guideline. According to them, it goes against the constitutional precept that corruption will never be forgotten as it made the load heavier for the Filipinos who were left with billions of debt in the International Bank.

As per the guidelines of the Libingan ng mga Bayani, burials must be construed to entitle only for former presidents whose lives serve as inspiration and worthy of emulation by the generations of Filipinos.

“Now, this appears questionable to other people as how could a nation who fought dictatorship would consider the dictator a hero,” petitioner Ocampo remarked.

DOH opened the ‘Hopeline project’

 

By Valerie Anne Pascual

The Department of Health (DOH) officially opened the “Hopeline Project,” a phone-based counseling service available 24/7 for those people who are struggling from devastating experiences and/or depression.The launching of the said project was conducted at the DOH Media Relations Unit in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila where DOH is located.

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WHO Country Representative Dr. Gundo Weiler (left) and DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial (right) officially announces the opening of “Hopeline Project”

Photo from Manila Bulletin

According to DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, the launching of the project was in partnership with Globe Communications and Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF). The Hopeline project began in Cebu, and with the partnership of NGF and Globe, it will be more beneficial to those people who are having thoughts of suiciding from their life’s problems.

With this project, they are expecting that the suicidal rates will be lower than the previous years. Trained psychiatrists and psychologist are the ones who will be counseling the struggling person via phone call. Those who are answering the phone calls will explain to the caller that suicide is never an option and instead, there are other ways to get over their problems.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimate of 800,000 people commit suicide every year, and that’s one person every 40 seconds. Aside from that, gender issues are one of the top problems, as well as bullying, cyberbullying, broken relationships, emotional and family issues, identity, and so on.

As of 2015, suicide is the 9th leading cause of deaths for Filipinos in citizens around 20-24 years old.

This year, the World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) has the theme “3 Cs,” namely – Connect, Communicate, and Care.

The numbers that are now used in the Hopeline project are the following: (02) 805-HOPE (4673); 0917 558 HOPE (4673) and 2919. These numbers are toll-fee for GLOBE and TM mobile subscribers.

Dialers can also connect through the national assistance number, 8888 which leads the calls to Hopeline.

Erap allocates P300M to put up more street lights in city next year

by Jamie Rosseditt Garcesa

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Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada shares plans to make Manila the ‘City of Light’
(Photo from GMA News)

Envisioning Manila as the country’s “City of Light” like Paris, Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada will set aside P300 million in funds to continue his ongoing street lighting project in the city next year.

Estrada said he wants the entire city lighted up, from major thoroughfares to barangay streets, as an anti-crime measure during nighttime and in continuance of his urban renewal and beautification program for the capital city.

“I would like to see Manila as the ‘Paris of Asia,’ our own ‘City of Lights’ while at the same time ensuring the safety of our constituents at nighttime,” the mayor said as he assured continuous funding for the street lighting project. “No single street or alley will be left unlighted.”

Well-lighted roads, Estrada pointed out, also help promote trade in commercial and tourist areas such as Malate and Ermita.

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Highly developed city of Manila
(Photo from Rappler)

Since 2015, the city government has installed new lampposts along a total of 91.1 kilometers of streets worth over P100 million, according to engineer Lorenzo Alconera, city electrical division chief.

These include major roads such as Dapitan, Moriones, M. H. del Pilar, Mabini, Pedro Gil, Onyx, Oroquieta and portions of Roxas Boulevard, Taft Avenue, Vito Cruz, United Nations Avenue and Quirino Avenue, among other places.

The city government recently inaugurated 51 new street lights from Pedro Gil to Quirino Avenue, part of Manila’s tourist belt area. This was followed by 56 more units from Quirino Avenue to Sta. Ana Church.

For 2017, the city official said at least P300 million will be allocated to put up an estimated 800 more new street lights.

“Next year, we’ll be concentrating on District 1, the area of Tondo. Then the entire city target natin na mapailawan na lahat,” Alconera said. “There will be no let-up. The mayor doesn’t like the dark.”

In 2015, Estrada allocated P61 million for the project and P128 million more in 2016; close to 2,000 LED lampposts have so far been installed throughout Manila.

The installation of street lights has drastically reduced street crimes throughout the city, particularly at nighttime, barangay officials confirmed.

The project is also in line with the city government’s urban renewal program — which is aimed at reviving Manila’s old glory — that included improved landscaping, renovation of historic parks and monuments, and more convenient facilities.

Ballot printing for barangay elections pushed despite issues of postponement

by Pamela Ann Bangayan

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Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista orders printing of ballots
(Photo from Philnews.ph)

      Commission on Elections (Comelec), through the National Printing Office (NPO), started on August 21 the printing of ballots for the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections although the legislative body proposed to postpone it.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said in an interview with GMA News that for as long as there is no law yet postponing the said elections, they are left with no choice but to start printing the ballots, especially that it is only 68 days away.

“The long and short of it is we must follow the law, whatever it may be. Right now, the law says we must have an election on October 31. As long as there is no law that postpones it, we have no choice but to implement the law,” Bautista said.

Comelec and NPO eyes to finish the printing of 85 million ballots on October 21, 57 million of which is for barangay elections while the remaining 28 million is for SK elections that were postponed in 2013. However, due to the issue of deferment, NPO was instructed not to “go full swing” on printing to prevent millions of ballots being tossed in the bin.Postponement vexes SK candidates

SK candidates worry that the elections will face yet another postponement and their voice in politics be permanently removed.

“Doubting the capabilities of the youth in handling responsibilities like this is tantamount to doubting Jose Rizal’s famous quote that the youth is the hope of the future. Baka sa susunod eh, alisan na nila kami ng boses sa pulitika,” Patricia Anievas, an SK candidate of Barangay 773 in Manila, said.

Anievas added that this election will serve as the training ground of the youth in nation building and in developing patriotism.

SK elections were first postponed in 2013 when the Aquino administration signed into law Republic Act 10632 due to the allegations of lost and mismanaged funds.

Bills filed in the congress and another by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano seek to move both elections in October 2018.

Cayetano said the upcoming elections may affect the anti-drug campaign of the current administration for people might link it with politics.

Kapag may captain o mayor na napangalanan [sa drugs], [baka] sabihin nila politically motivated yan,” Cayetano told GMA News Online when he filed the bill on August 17.

However, as of press time, there’s still no official statement and law postponing the said elections.

Cayetano slams “extrajudicial killings” branding

by Carlo Angelo Suñga

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Senator Alan Peter Cayetano shrugs off critics
(Photo from Concept News Central)

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano reacted on Monday with criticism over the “extrajudicial killings” branding of the drug-related operations under Duterte administration.

Cayetano claims that the drug-related casualties and killings are wrongfully branded as extrajudicial.

“Are we [therefore] using the term ‘extrajudicial killings’ loosely to discredit the PNP (Philippine National Police) and Duterte administration?” the Senator said during his opening statement at the Senate hearing.

Cayetano also referred to Administrative Order No. 35, under the previous administration of former President Benigno Aquino III, as the definition of extrajudicial killings. Based on his argument, classified under the order says that the killing of common criminals are not labeled extrajudicial.

Sa kanila [Aquino administration], ang common criminals, hindi kasama sa extrajudicial killings,” Cayetano said. “During the Aquino administration, of the 1,400 people killed, 395 were labeled as extrajudicial,” he added.

The senator stated how the brandings and labels of the killings are attempts to discredit the administration’s continuous campaign in preventing the nation’s main problem with illegal drugs.

“[The Filipino] people support the anti-drug war, criminals don’t. Ang mga kriminal at drug pusher ay gumagastos ngayonsa kahit ano para i-discredit ang administrasyon na ito, para matuloy ang kanilang multi-billion na negosyo,” Cayetano said.

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Senator Leila De Lima showing statistics of EJK
(Photo from Inquirer.net)

More so, Sen. Cayetano boasted how the country has fared well against crime under Duterte’s governance of the nation, citing data from the Philippine National Police that the crime volume has dropped to 5,522 incidents after 31 days under the new administration.

“The old norm was that drug lords and their cohorts acted in impunity,” he said. “Ngayon po, the respect and fear of the law have been restored. Drug lords and their supporters are on the run. People are beginning to feel safe. [There’s a] renewed trust in the government under President Duterte.”

The senator also criticized the media, saying that they could give the public audience more insight about the term extrajudicial killings. “I was hoping that we could educate the people more, para hindi sila ma-mislead na lahat ng patayan [ngayon] ay extrajudicial killings,” Cayetano said.

Contrary to Cayetano’s statements, Senator Leila de Lima emphasized how the anti-drug campaign is an effort to excuse the killings as extrajudicial.

“What is particularly worrisome is that the campaign against drugs seems to be an excuse for some law enforcers and other elements like vigilantes to commit murder with impunity,” she said at the Senate panel hearing on the killings.

CBAA launches STELLAR 2016

By Jamie Rosseditt P. Garcesa

Letran – Manila’s College of Business Administration and Accountancy (CBAA) presents its first major event for this academic year by inaugurating its partner institutions.

Last 4th of August at the Blessed Antonio Varona Gymnasium, STELLAR 2016: The CBAA Partnership Recognition Night was hailed by Rev. Fr. Juan V. Ponce, O.P., CBAA chaplain; Rev. Fr. Boyd R. Sulpico, O.P., executive vice president; Asst. Prof. Eunice Mareth Q. Areola, CBAA dean; and Asst. Prof. Kenji M. Asano Jr., CBAA asst. dean.

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CBAA partner institutions

The partner institutions for the program Business Administration are the following: Entrepreneurship Educators Association of the Philippines, JA Philippines, Department of Trade and Industry-Center for International Trade Exposition and Mission, Robinsons Corporation, Enactus, Philippine Marketing Association Inc., Philippine Association of National Advertising Foundation, Chartered Financial Analysts Society of the Philippines Inc., and Cardno.

Asst. Prof. Christine Cruz introduced the partner institutions for the program Food Technology: Jamba Juice, Fresh Healthy Juice Boosters Inc., CBY Foods, Universal Robina Corporation, Connell Brothers, Dalisay Sweets, Silver Swan, CDO Foodsphere Inc., Leslie’s Corporation, Goldilock’s Bakeshop, Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, and SL Agritech.

For the program Nutrition and Dietetics; Nutrition Foundation of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Nutrition Inc., Lung Center of the Philippines, and Jolly Food Line were acknowledged.

The program Hotel and Restaurant Management was spearheaded by its program coordinator Asst. Prof. Fernando Trinidad III. The following were then lauded: Career Opportunities Consulting International Corporation at Manila City Food Service Inc. (Hap Chan Tea House).

Next in line was the Accountancy at Accounting Technology with the following partner institutions: The City Auditor’s Office, Quezon City, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and LBP Resources & Development Corporation.

The last program to hand their certificates was the Tourism Management led by Inst. Jame Monren T. Mercado: Queenspoint Travel and Tours, Sans Travel and Tours, Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc., DLC Travel and Tours, Kairos Travel and Tours, World Trade Center Management Inc., Infinity Travel and Tours, Transglobal Travel and Tours, Victory World Sphere and Travel Inc., Travel Specialist Ventures, Horizon Travel and Tours Inc., Amadeus Philippines, BCP Philscan Travel, Intramuros Administration, Macarmik Travel Center Inc., Philippine Airlines, Korea Tourism Organization, Korea Culture Center, Tours Avenue, The Art of Travel, Miascor Ground Handling Corporation, Blue Cross Medical and Travel Insurance Inc., Far Travel Inc., Rajah Travel Corporation, Reidan Travel Services, Skynet Travel Corporation, Adam’s Express Travel Corporation, True North Travel and Tours, Tradewings Tours and Travel Corp., Bay Area Travel and Tours, Blue Horizons, Cookie Café Franchise System Inc., Dive Coron Link Resort, and Pan Euro Travel.

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A night of glitz and glam

“STELLAR 2016 is organized and planned by TM4A students for their course subject, Events Management,” Godfrey Siochi said, senator of the program Tourism Management.

“Inumpisahan naming magplano nung April kasi sinabihan na kami ng professor namin na si Inst. Mercado na mag-isip na ng concept, and ang pumasok na sa isip namin will be awards night.”

“Ang focus talaga ng event na ito is to give appreciation for the partner industries of each program under CBAA. We’re also hoping that it will be celebrated every year,” Siochi added.

The audio-visual presentation of the 2nd Metro Manila Tourism Convention titled “Tuklas: Sustainability as a Pathway for Tourism Development” was also presented that night and will be shown on the 7th of November to be led by the TM4 students.

“This event could really attract more external linkages. These linkages could really help our college continuously improve,” John Deric Vitobina remarked, Young Entrepreneurs Society of Letran president. “All in all, the event was great and perfectly successful.”