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Return to your families, AFP urges rebels



ILOILO – The 3rd Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has asked members of New People’s Army (NPA) to spend time with their families and forget violence and armed struggle.

Major Gen. Aurelio Baladad told Panay News that this is the best time to spend a week of peace, freedom and tranquility.

“In the spirit of peace,” he said, “we call on the NPA to stop deliberate offensive operations against the people. Your Philippine Army in Western Visayas will continue to secure and protect the public, maintain its vigilance and intensify further its security operations in various parts of the region.”

Baladad has ordered all his ground commanders in the region to continuously conduct assessment of the security conditions in their respective localities and make the necessary security adjustments to ensure public safety.

On the other hand, the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) deployed maximum personnel to the field to provide proactive measures and secure vital economic facilities and populated areas.

“We are ready to provide additional security contingencies to support the other government forces. We have to protect the community from lawless elements,” PRO-6 director, Chief Supt. Josephus Angan said./PN


P212M allotted for TESDA trainings in WV



ILOILO City -- The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has a budget of P212 million for technical-vocational training programs in Western Visayas for the current year 2014.

It is a substantial part of the P1.02-billion budget for the entire country.

No less than TESDA’s Secretary-General Joel Villanueva broke the news yesterday in a breakfast forum with the local media at the Amigo Terrace Hotel on Tuesday.

The lion’s share of the Western Visayas budget, he enthused, would cover TESDA’s Special Training for Employment Program (STEP).

Its allocation of P99.4 million would cover 4,356 beneficiaries.

TESDA in Western Visayas is now under the leadership of a veteran marketing executive, Regional Director Toni June Tamayo.

Villanueva revealed that through STEP, even the out-of-school youths from far-flung areas, may enroll for free in a skill training of their choice.

“Our office will reach out to the communities to attract trainees,” Villanueva said. “The vocational courses we offer will assure them of job placements as soon as they pass assessment.”

Even women in men’s jobs such as welding, carpentry and masonry are in demand abroad.

Among the successful trainees who have trained and received their national certificates from TESDA, Villanueva revealed, are more than 100,000 sari-sari store owners. These store owners have studied basic accounting, bookkeeping and accountancy.

Other training programs offered by TESDA are Training for Work Scholarship Program, Private Educational Student Financial Assistance (PESFA) and TESDA Emergency Response Rehabilitation and Recovery./PN


230 students qualify for summer jobs


ILOILO City – A total of 230 students will take part in the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) which will start on Monday, April 21.

The SPES, a joint undertaking of the city government and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), will last for 30 days.

“We have been doing this since 2011, and this has been a very good venue for our students to earn extra income which can help in their schooling and family expenses,” Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said.

The students will receive a daily salary of P287, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

DOLE shares 60 percent of the salary while the city government contributes 40 percent.

Beneficiaries were endorsed by barangay captains.

The SPES aims to help poor but deserving students pay for their expenses during the opening of classes in the next school year.

The students will be assigned to the different offices in city hall and will be given tasks to enhance their abilities.

Others will be deployed to the barangays to do research work such as knowing how many skilled workers and baccalaureate degree graduates there are in a particular place. (RPSombero, Iloilo City PIO/PN)


‘RAY’ of hope for ‘Yolanda’ victims


ILOILO – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 6 rekindled hopes of more than 600 marginal farmers, fisherfolk and women from the northern part of the province to rebuild their lives and livelihood after the devastation caused by super typhoon “Yolanda” in November last year.

DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad assisted by DOLE Region 6 director Ponciano Ligutom turned over four checks amounting to P3,609,821 to affected local government units from the northern part of Iloilo under the Reconstruction Assistance for Yolanda (RAY), its convergence program with the Department of Science and Technology.

Lagunzad was in Iloilo City on April 11 to lead the launching / re-launching of the various programs and services of the department.

The first check worth P874,371,00 was awarded to Ajuy to fund the commercial native chicken production of its 117 marginal farmers and fisherfolk.

Another check amounting to P737,500 was handed in to Lemery to finance the proposed swine fattening project of its 110 women which was approved under the program.

Some P998,000 worth of check was also awarded to Brgy. Alipato, Sicogon Island in the municipality of Carles for the restoration of the livelihood of 253 fisherfolk through the provision of cargo vessels and small fishing boats.

San Dionisio received the fourth check worth P999,950,000 for the restocking of farm animals such as swine, native chicken and goat of its 150 marginal farmers.

RAY, formerly named as Rebuilding through Innovation, Sustainable Employment and Enterprise (RISE), aims to provide temporary means of livelihood to survivors of the super typhoon to rebuild their lives.

This is also implemented in partnership with Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Agriculture.

Also, former overseas Filipino workers, laborers, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries and other marginal farmers in the province received their checks for their approved livelihood projects under the DOLE’s programs such as the Reintegration program for OFWs, Grassroots Participatory Budgeting formerly called BUB, and DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program during the launching activity.

A total of P5,872,724.00 worth of checks was on April 11 to finance the implementation of the 13 approved projects that will provide employment and livelihood to some 1,001 beneficiaries in the city and province of Iloilo to ensure the attainment of inclusive growth. (PIA-6/PN)


French volunteers laud ‘bayanihan’ spirit

ILOILO – Student volunteers from France praised the Filipino bayanihan spirit demonstrated during the Bayani Challenge 2014 here.

Bayani Challenge 2014 was a five-day test of courage in volunteerism from April 11 to 15.

The event focused mainly on areas affected by super typhoon “Yolanda.”

Kassia Habarek, 24, a student from Paris, admired how Filipinos gathered together to show their solidarity as one community and render help to others in need.

She said this was her first time to take part in an activity like the Bayani Challenge where volunteers give the best of themselves for the care of the poor.

“In France, we are used to just thinking for ourselves and not for others so this activity opened my mind,” she said.

Habarek enjoyed the Bayani Challenge activities, including constructing the path walk in one of the Gawad Kalinga villages, helping build houses for the needy, health missions, and interacting with children.

When she returns to France, Habarek said she will share these experiences to her friends and think of similar activities they could do in their place.

“I will ask my friends to come with me to the Philippines and also experience the Bayani Challenge next year,” she said.

Meanwhile, Katarina Jevtic, 22, also from Paris, said Filipinos should continue to be united and to be of service to others.

She agreed with one of the slogans of the Bayani Challenge – “If you have a dream, just build it.”

Habarek and Jevtic were volunteers from Aide Mondiale (World Relief), a humanitarian association from the Institut Supérieur de Commerce (ISC) de Paris which operates in three different continents.

Each year, students from ISC Paris go on humanitarian missions in countries where the organization operates. providing moral, financial and material support to disadvantaged people.

Bayani Challenge is an annual volunteerism campaign.

This year, it focused on rebuilding homes and schools, planting trees, cleanup activities, health missions and investing time on the young.

The Bayani Challenge has become a phenomenon. Its number of volunteers has grown by leaps and bounds since it started five years ago. (PIA-Iloilo/PN)

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