Posts Tagged ‘pcso’

pop goes the world: it takes a village

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 25 October 2012, Thursday

It Takes A Village

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

Said to be an African proverb, and famously used as the title of Hillary Clinton’s 1996 book on her vision for the children of America, the phrase refers to how collective action in  behalf of the children of a community is required in order to raise them, indeed in some cases ensure their survival.

Anthropologists have described how some African cultures, such as the !Kung, bring up their children in a communal setting, sharing effort and resources to nurture them physically (by providing food, shelter, and protection) and mentally (through socialization, children learn their culture’s norms, values, and methods of survival).

The !Kung people, or Bushmen, of the Kalahari desert of Namibia, Angola, and Botswana. Image here.

There is an emotional component as well. In a culture where children are free to wander in and out of the homes in the community, where they are certain that they will be fed and given a bed in whatever home they end up at night, they will feel loved and safe.

In modern society and its emphasis on the nuclear family, this method is no longer practiced as such except in certain activities such as education (in general, children are schooled in groups) and charity work.

For charity work to be successful, volunteers are needed to get things done – kindhearted people who take an interest in the concerns of needy children and are moved to make a positive contribution to their lives.

We find many examples of volunteerism in the activities of charitable organizations and companies practicing CSR (corporate social responsibility).

One such initiative is the Tahan-Tahanan halfway home for pediatric cancer, chronic illness, and organ transplant patients who live outside of Metro Manila.

Located at the East Avenue Medical Center and funded in part by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the facility opened its doors on Valentine’s Day 2011.

The young patients are cared for by EAMC’s multi-disciplinary Pediatric Oncology team, headed by physician Ma. Victoria M. Abesamis and comprising pediatric oncologists, nurses, psychologists, teachers, parents, and volunteers.

Tahan-Tahanan patients with their caregivers and nurses. Also with them are PCSO general manager Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II and Dr. Marvie Abesamis (in floral print top).

Tahan-Tahanan patients and their caregivers receive free board and lodging in safe, clean, and home-like surroundings. The facility also has playground equipment and age-appropriate educational toys.

To encourage patients’ development and to make their stay pleasant, the children are engaged in a comprehensive enrichment program that provides play and study activities such as arts and crafts, sports, music, theater, dance, and home-study.

Skills training is also given to the family members and caregivers.

Since it was established, the PCSO-EAMC Tahan-Tahanan program has helped 638 patients. Much of its sustainability as a program is due to the selflessness of volunteers.

As part of the PCSO’s 78th anniversary celebration this month, the children of Tahan-Tahanan were treated yesterday to a party at the facility, where they were entertained by volunteer performers.

Garie Concepcion (who came with her mother, Grace Ibuna) sang “It’s a Wonderful World;” Brazilian model Lua (who is fluent in Tagalog), sang “Nandito Ako” and led the parlor games; Dayloe Ranario of the cast of “Teen St. Pedro Calungsod: The Musical” told the story of the Philippines’ newest saint; and Stauro Punongbayan of Rotary Midwest-Diliman gave a short talk on earthquake preparedness. 

Garie Concepcion (daughter of actor Gabby Concepcion) sings.

PCSO general manager lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II and jazz musician Boy Katindig spoke to the children about the value of courage in the face of adversity.

The situation was especially poignant for Katindig, who revealed their family’s fight with cancer – his father died of the disease, his sister is in remission, and his daughter is undergoing chemotherapy – hence his support for the mission of Tahan-Tahanan. 

Boy Katindig with the Jollibee mascot. In the background are Lua and “Teen St. Pedro” cast member Emer Greengon, the event’s program emcee.  

The children were bright and cheerful. They participated in the games, sang and danced with Lua and Garie, and correctly answered Stauro’s questions about the story he told them. They are children just like our own, except that they are suffering life-threatening illnesses.

They belong to our village, our community. They, and others like them, deserve our help.

* * * * *

Volunteers are always needed at Tahan-Tahanan. For more information on how to help, or on admission requirements, call PCSO’s Minette Fernandez of the Special Projects Department at (63-2) 846-8879, or EAMC’s Maggie at (63-2) 928-0611 loc. 711 or visit *** 

Tahan-Tahanan photos taken with an iPhone 4S.

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pop goes the world: paradise in mindanao

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  14 June 2012, Thursday

Paradise in Mindanao

Maayong buntag ka ninyong tanan. (Good day to all of you.)

I’m practicing my Visayan because I have fallen in love with Mindanao, after visiting Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, and Davao City last week.

In Cagayan de Oro City last Friday, I witnessed the turnover of an integrated health facility by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Employees Union (PCSO-SEU) to the residents of a typhoon Sendong settlement area built by Habitat for Humanity in Barangay Canitoan.

It was my second visit to the city; the first time was in January, a few weeks after Sendong devastated the area. We spent less than a day in both Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, not enough time to get to know the place.

This time around, I got to stay a couple of days.

The PCSO-SEU project is an advocacy of the PCSO employees, who have internalized the agency’s mission of charity. By contributing a portion of their bonuses to the SEU fund, they were able to put up a 54 square meter clinic on a 100 square meter lot donated by the city government under Mayor Vicente Emano, through a linkage of the SEU with Mater et Puer (Mother and Child) Foundation, a non-government organization whose members are women professionals, most of them from Davao City.

The PCSO-SEU Integrated Health Facility at Bgy. Canitoan, Cagayan de Oro. At the left are personnel from PCSO-Manila and Misamis Oriental who attended the inauguration.

The clinic includes a reception area, treatment room, birthing room, recovery room, and standby water tank, all donated by the SEU. The rest of the land will be planted with vegetables and herbs.

Mayor Emano attended the ceremony, along with personnel from the PCSO: physician Jose Bernardo Gochoco, special projects department manager, and SEU officers Chris Bautista, president; Andreo Nualda, first vice-president; Andrew Barcelona, second VP; Soledad Rasing, third VP; Jerusa Corpuz, secretary; Estela Divina, treasurer; Alex Asuit, auditor; Teddy Tomas, budget and accounting department representative; Archie Sopenasky, PR department representative; and lawyer Ravena Joy Rama, VisMin cluster representative.

PCSO will be donating medical supplies and equipment for the clinic, while the Cagayan de Oro government will provide the people to run it – doctors, nurses, dentists, and maintenance workers.

PCSO-SEU water tank in Bgy. Canitoan, Cagayan de Oro. A similar tank will be installed at a PCSO-SEU clinic in Iligan City.

The PCSO-SEU plans to put up a similar health facility in a settlement in nearby Iligan City, which we also visited. Details on its construction are being worked out with the project partners.

Among the other places we got to see were the Agus 4 and Agus 6/7 hydroelectric facilities in Iligan City, the City of Waterfalls. Unbeknownst to many are the vast catchment basin of Agus 4, covered with water plants on the surface, while underground tunnels honeycomb the earth beneath. Three giant turbines of shiny steel there are among those driving power to the region.

Underground tunnel at Agus 4 hydroelectric plant, Iligan City.

The cascading waters of Maria Cristina Falls power Agus 6/7. The foliage around the falls are lush and exotic; its waters rush down to a nature park which welcomes visitors who take pictures under the spray of the falls.

Maria Cristina Falls, Iligan City. It had rained the night before our visit, hence the muddy waters. Usually the waters are clear, say the locals. 

There’s a nature park in Davao, too. Nestled in the pine-covered hills of Toril is Eden Nature Park, which has a zipline facility, buffet dining hall, and activities for visitors such as hiking.

Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and Davao have highly urbanized centers with malls and shops. The ambiance is Quezon City or Las Piñas, but with more trees. Everything is so clean. The roads are well-paved. Many of the cars tooling about on the roads are late models. The area looks prosperous and developed, but still closer to nature than Manila.

So close, in fact, that the beaches on Samal Island are a mere half-hour away from Davao city proper, including a banca ride across a stretch of sea. At Chema’s by the Sea, a private garden resort on the island, a pocket white sand beach and saltwater infinity pool invite relaxation, as the wide-spreading branches of talisay trees provide shade.

Saltwater infinity pool at Chema’s By the Sea resort, Samal Island. 

SMART’s 3G signal is fairly strong; I can imagine myself filing my MST columns from there, toes in the sand and drink in hand, cackling evilly while my editors hunch over their keyboards in their cramped windowless offices in Makati.

I now know where I’m going to build my retirement cottage.

A cup of brewed mountain arabica coffee at Chema’s By the Sea.

Mag-amping kamo. (Take care.)  *** 

All photos taken with an iPhone 4S. Check out my Instagram feed: @jennydecember

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pop goes the world: bishops return vehicles

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  14 July 2011, Thursday

Bishops Return Vehicles

The Roman Catholic bishops called to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing today performed a grand gesture when they returned the vehicles given to them by the previous management of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

A day after their public apology on the matter, the bishops at the hearing surprised everyone present and those viewing the live broadcast when they said that the vehicles given to the Mindanao-based prelates were going to be shipped to the PCSO office while the Luzon-based bishops’ vehicles were already parked outside the Senate.

Bishops take their oath at the Senate hearing; inset, some of the vehicles. Image from Philippine Star.

After the hearing, representatives of the bishops went to the PCSO main office at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City and turned over the four “Luzon” vehicles to PCSO assistant general manager for marketing Benigno Aguas.

For the PCSO, chairperson Margarita P. Juico said in a statement “We, the PCSO Board, respect the decision of the good bishops to return the vehicles…The PCSO, I must state clearly, never sought the return of these vehicles…I wish to reiterate that the vehicles were sought and received by them in good faith in pursuit of their charity work.

“We can understand the sentiment and soul-searching done by the bishops and the consequent collective decision of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. The PCSO is going to coordinate with the Commission on Audit to find a way to monetize these vehicles with the proceeds being returned to the charity fund for the poor who are in need of health and medical assistance…

“By way of moving on and leaving behind the issues that had divided us, I wish to express my regrets if the events in the past few days had cast the bishops in a bad light…Again, there was never, and never will be any intention to shame the bishops. For whatever it may be worth, the media news stories were based on the COA audit report findings.”

* * * * *

Today’s “I Iz Dizapoint” award goes to SmartBro for their utter and complete fail in providing my broadband service. When I signed up with them years ago when they had just rolled out the service, they were prompt and helpful with their technical support, sending crews several times to physically fix and adjust whatever needed to be done.

Last June 26, I lost my signal. First SmartBro said it was a “base station” problem; later, it was a situation to be fixed remotely. None of their so-called remote adjustments worked. I requested many times for them to send a crew because after two weeks of no service, it was obviously a physical problem. SmartBro then scheduled a crew visit. On 1am of the day they were supposed to show up last week, they sent a text message cancelling the visit, saying their instruments showed the signal was strong and once again, it was to be fixed remotely.

That was the last straw. I immediately cancelled my SmartBro subscription and called Wi-Tribe. In a few hours, Wi-Tribe installed the necessary equipment at my home and I was up and blogging again.

SmartBro showed the typical trend of customer service – all gung-ho at the start when building up business, and lackadaisal complacency years later when they had a customer base. Wi-Tribe is starting well with the customer delight angle; I hope they don’t turn out to be like SmartBro later on.

* * * * *

For those who want to learn more about Jose Rizal’s life and works, the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) will hold the Rizal Sesquicentennial Literary Conference for Teachers on 25-27 August 2011 at the College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. The guest of honor is National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera.    

On August 25 and 26, the following scholars will deliver papers on the works of Jose Rizal: Dr. Soledad S. Reyes (Ateneo de Manila) will tackle the novels, Dr. Virgilio S. Almario (UP Diliman) the poems, Dr. Paul A. Dumol (University of Asia and the Pacific) the plays, and Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo (Ateneo de Manila and UP Diliman) the essays. Veteran educators will demo-teach on the novel and poetry (Prof. Danilo Francisco M. Reyes), plays (Dr. Jerry Respeto), and essays (Dr. Corazon Lalu-Santos).

On August 27, the annual UMPIL members’ convention features the Panayam Adrian Cristobal (public intellectual lecture series), a book launch, a literary forum, and the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas.

For details, call Eva Cadiz at the UP Institute of Creative Writing, 922-1830.

* * * * *

The UP-Diliman College of Mass Communication announced that the college’s 2011 Gawad Plaridel goes to veteran radio talent and host Eloisa Cruz Canlas.

Canlas has been in broadcasting since the 1960s. She was a voice talent on one of my favorite radio plays, “Gabi ng Lagim”, and has performed on many others. She is still active as a freelance voiceover talent, dubbing television commercials and anime shows, hosts two radio programs, and produces radio dramas.

On July 20 at the UP Film Institute’s Cine Adarna, UP officials will award Canlas a trophy designed by National Artist Napoleon Abueva. She will also deliver a lecture on important issues in the radio industry.

The award is named after Marcelo H. del Pilar. Under the penname “Plaridel”, he wrote for and steered the reformist newspaper La Solidaridad in the 1890s. The Gawad Plaridel recognizes Filipino media practitioners who have excelled in any of the mass media and have performed with the highest level of professional integrity in the interest of public service.

The previous honorees are Eugenia Duran-Apostol (print, 2004), Vilma Santos (film, 2005), Fidela Magpayo (radio, 2006), Cecilia L. Lazaro (television, 2007), Pachico A. Seares (community print media, 2008), and Kidlat Tahimik (independent filmmaking, 2009).  ***

UMPIL logo at their website here. Image of Ms. Canlas here. Image of Gawad Plaridel here.

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