Saturday, December 4, 2010

League of Cities adopt 
Sustainability roadmap

HOW indeed do you assure sustainability of projects in a league that is churning off its members at least every three years? 

For the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), only a binding agreement to adopt a system to assure that change of political leaders does not alter the league directions should work. 

Now serious in further strengthening the league’s policy development and advocacy capacity, the LCS has adopted a roadmap during its National Executive Board Meeting at the Peacock Garden resort last week. 

The roadmap now identifies the league’s priorities and program and crafts ways to get it done in relation to the league’s mandates, explains San Fernando City Mayor and League President Oscar Rodriguez. 

At the recent National Executive Board Meeting hosted by LCP Visayas Vice President and City Mayor Dan Neri Lim, the NEB has showed that unlike other government meetings masked as junkets, the adoption of the roadmap shows the real intent of the league which has showed that governance is running their cities like a business. 

According to Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza, the roadmap serves as a proof that the LCP is serious in its resolve to effectively lobby for the best interest of its members to enable the cities to become effective engines of growth and significant contributors to nation building. 

Part of the LCP adopted measures is systematizing an exchange of good practices among cities, said Dagupan City Mayor Benjamin Lim in a prepared press material. 

Not going far from the Aquino Administration’s agenda of improving quality of life, promoting good governance and fostering unity, the LCP’s roadmap intends to rationalize performance-based initiatives of the league, which has earlier eyed denting on the poverty incidence in the country’s bottom 30%, the material stated. 

On this, LCP President and San Fernando City in Pampanga Mayor Oscar Rodriguez has offered to host the experience sharing in the adoption of the Performance Governance System (PGS) and the Balanced Scorecard System he implemented in his city. 

Rodriguez boasted that his PGS and the BSC system has allowed his city to read at least six national and international recognitions in governance within the year. 

He enumerated such accolades as PGS Hall of Fame handed by PGS program proponent Dr. Norton, Future Governance Award, One of the country’s Best Business Friendly Cities, Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence Award and the country’s Best Public Employment and Service Office Manager. (rac/PIABOhol)

Social mobilization: most 
practical arm against HIV 

SOCIAL mobilization against the dreaded Human Immune Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome remains to be the most practicable way prevent its spread, agree members of the Provincial HIV AIDS Multi-sectoral Council (PHAMC) at the universal commemoration of the Word AIDS Day December 1. 

The day is what the United Nations World Health Organization designated to commemorate those people who have been wasted by the disease and to advocate for those affected by the HIV who are not yet given the access to all support they can get. 

Carrying this years theme: Universal Access and Human Rights, the PHAMC which spearheads along with Philippine Red Cross Youth (PRCY) also agree that many things need to be done to elevate people’s awareness on the dangers of HIV and other forms of sexually transmitted infections than can lead to the disease. 

Among the many things, social mobilization against the disease would seem to be the most immediate and is where most people in the community can get involved. 

In his message, PRCY master trainer in HIV AIDS education and volunteer Stephen Bryan Yu Bongcaras pointed out that since HIV AIDS became a global phenomenon, some 1.8 million people have died, most of them coming from poor and developing countries like the Philippines. 

Of this, some 33.3 million people are still living with HIV, and 2.3 million of them are children who may gave inherited the virus from birth, he said during a message he gave at the commemorative program held at the ICM Activity Center. 

The bigger concern however is that the disease continues to prowl on the unsuspecting would be victims. 

While the disease has been noted since late 1980’s, the search for cure has been a failure, and the only medical management has been mainly on the anti-retro-viral therapy, said Dr. Wilnilia Causing, HIV AIDS Core Team Leader at Governor Celestino Gallares Hospital, during the open forum. 

Anti retroviral therapy only slows the affectation and retards the infection from HIV to the most dreaded AIDS. 

While governments have been focusing on the disease lately, Dr. Fruserma Mary Uy said the management is not that accessible to the patients, thus the universal call. 

The Bohol commemoration started off with a 9:00 am motorcade from the plaza Rizal to Island City Mall where the program was set. 

An open forum on HIV AIDS moderated by PIA ensued where people attending the activity shot questions and points of clarifications from PHAMC member panelists. (racPIABohol)

4Ps not dole out 
-welfare workers 

WELFARE workers tasked to implement the government’s flagship anti-poverty and social service program defended the conditional cash transfer (CCT) and quashes the word “dole out” to describe the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4PS) 

At a press conference at the Jjs Seafoods Village November 30, Angelita Genir, 4Ps Bohol Focal person argued that 4Ps is never a dole out pointing out that the 4Ps have conditions to be met. 

“4Ps, the national government’s prime poverty reduction strategy, which provides cash grants to extremely poor households.” 

“This is to allow them to meet certain human development goals in exchange of conformity to the programs’ conditions,” a 4Ps brochure shared to the media states. 

While a dole out is senseless giving of money, the 4Ps investment in human capital focuses primarily on health improvement through nutrition and children’s education. 

A basic requirement for the 4Ps to be granted is for the household to have children aged 0-14 or a pregnant woman, adds Aileen Lariba, 4Ps Information Officer at the Department of Social Welfare and Development –7. 

On the other hand, while a dole out does not discriminate on household beneficiaries, the 4Ps refer to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) 2003 Small area Estimates to find its beneficiaries, Lariba explains through Powerpoint presentation. 

Target beneficiaries, she added would be families whose economic conditions are below provincial poverty thresholds, with children aged between 0-14 years old or a pregnant woman and that these households agree to meet the conditions specified in the program or co-responsibilities. 

For co-responsibilities, pregnant beneficiaries must religiously avail of pre-to-post natal care and would be attended by a skilled medical professional, while parents must regularly attend responsible parenthood sessions. 

Young children are given regular preventive health check-ups and vaccines while school age kids and secondary schoolers must attend school classes at least 85% of the time. 

Deworming pills are also given at least twice a year to kids aged 6-14. 

In Bohol, 4Ps set 1 had 518 households in Danao town benefiting a total of P2.97 million which was directly given to the beneficiaries through cash cards, Lariba said. 

Now on its set 3, thousands of Bohol’s poor households from 13 towns get similar benefits: monthly P500 nutrition allowance and P300 per school kid of three; or a sum of P1400 per month. 

In fact, the government has assisted about a million households through the 4Ps, one that could go as high as 2.3 miilion households as soon as the additional P21 billion budget requested is passed, sources at DSWD said. (racPIABohol) 

AIDS “info video” to be 
Shown in public places 

INFORMATION about the dreaded human immune deficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome neatly packed in a five video music television would soon be shown at public places in Bohol. 

This as the Provincial HIV AIDS Multi-sectoral Council (PHAMC) has launched for public viewing Wednesday December 1, the MTV which is hoped to elevate awareness of the disease that has since killed some 1.8 million across the globe, most of the victims from lower and middle income countries. 

December 1 is also the World AIDS Day, a day instituted by the World Health Organization to commemorate those who died of the disease as well as to drum up information and awareness on the fatal disease, which effective cure has not been discovered. 

According to the Provincial HIV AIDS Campaign Coordinator Dr. Fruserma Mary Uy, the PHAMC has lobbied for the information material to be played during movie screening breaks, but there has to be a reformatting of the disk into reel form for it to be shown in between movie breaks. 

At the launching of the HIV AIDS Video material, Dr. Uy urged people to give about five minutes of attention to the video which will soon be seen at port, airport and bus terminals, mall televisions and public viewing venues to engender people to be more cautious about HIV and AIDS. 

In he message before the video showing at the launching, Dr. Uy reiterates the ABCs against AIDS to keep people protected from the virus that has become a global threat since late 1980s. 

Dr. Uy explained that by far, the most effective HIV AIDS prevention is to abstain from any sexual activity, the primary source of the virus transmission. 

Association of Municipal Health Officers of the Philippines (AMHOP) president Dr. Jude Doblas also shares this idea although he may have courted the ire of some sectors when he proposed self-gratification as one that lets people vent their biological needs. 

Fr. Ramon Jose Oncog, a canon lawyer and the representative of the church during the program at the launch advocated faithfulness to the marital vows as he presses that love-making should be the fulfillment of love. 

An AIDS prevention tip as Dr Uy pointed out, specifically on condom use did not fail to elicit reactions, even from medical practitioners. 

Nevertheless, health practitioners, especially anti AIDS advocates said the AIDS virus may logically get through the invisible holes in condoms but the inter-molecular bonds in the latex prevents them from fully penetrating the rubber sheath. 

As research shows more and more transmission come from intra-venal drug use, Dr Uy also cautions against the use of unsterilized needles and contaminated blood in transfusions. 

Finally, she also called for early treatment of sexually transmitted infections. (racPIABohol)

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