Archive for January, 2012

Witness the Higantes. It’s more fun in the Art Capital of the Philippines!


MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has allocated P193.1-million worth of endowment for at least 86 government hospitals nationwide to finance the healthcare costs of indigent Filipinos needing medical attention.

The PCSO board of directors last week authorized its chair Margarita Juico and general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II to enter into memorandums of agreement with hospitals to immediately accommodate people requiring assistance.  “The more partners we have and the stronger the partnership gets, the better for the indigent Filipinos who need medical and health care,” Rojas said in a statement.  Upon the recommendation of Dr. Larry Cedro, manager of the agency’s fund and allocation department, the PCSO identified 86 government hospitals which it would be partnering with in 2012.  The endowment would be coming from the agency’s charity fund, according to the resolution.

Juico said any hospital-beneficiary in the program could request for additional funds should the initial endowment to their facility dry up within the year.  Hospital officials must submit to the PCSO its midyear accounting on how the funds were spent to be eligible for another tranche of the financial grant, she explained.

Making funds available for the use of government hospitals, particularly in the provinces, was the PCSO’s response to President Aquino’s call to expand healthcare for all Filipinos, Juico pointed out.  Aside from the endowment, the PCSO was in the process of expanding its reach through establishing more extension offices in the provinces so people seeking assistance from the agency need not to fly all the way to Manila to make requests.

Some 24 branches have been identified by the agency and it would be rolling out its offices in the coming months.


ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO, GMA News January 27, 2012 5:00pm

In the Middle East, extra caution is needed when posting seemingly harmless photos or videos on the Internet.

On Thursday, the news site Emirates 24|7 said an Asian household service worker in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) faced the court not only for allegedly stealing her employer’s camera but also for posting the family’s photos on Facebook, which they considered as a violation of their privacy.

The employer’s daughter “was surfing her Facebook account when she stumbled across her family’s picture,” which led to the mother reporting the incident to the police.

The report did not identify the maid or her employer in Abu Dhabi. The case is adjourned until February 5.

‘Dancing nurses’

About two weeks before this incident, Emirates 24|7 reported that in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), health officials started conducting an investigation on several videos posted on YouTube, which show Asian nurses—including those believed to be Filipinos—dancing at a “mixed gender birthday party” in a government hospital there.

The news site said the nurses, believed to be from the Philippines and Indonesia, were “involved in the concert that included music and dances” at a birthday party in King Fahd Hospital in the eastern town of Hofouf.

Gatherings such as that birthday party are “strictly banned at Saudi hospitals and other public facilities,” the report added.

The videos, all posted on January 9, were titled and commented on in Arabic.

One of the videos was titled “Scandal, King Fahd Hospital in Hofuf – NEW 2012,” where a female nurse wearing a white knitted bonnet is briefly carried by a man before she walks to the door, dancing.

Another one, posted by user najmksa111, was tagged “Lack of control at King Fahd Hofuf.” It shows two pairs of female nurses dancing with their party hats on to the tune of “Mambo No. 5.”

Toward the end of the video, one of the dancing nurses was heard saying: “Nawawala na ako.”

Saudi Health Department information director Ibrahim Al Hajji confirmed that they have started a probe, but he did not disclose “what measures would be taken against those involved in the party,” Emirates 24|7 said.

Internet usage in Arab countries

According to the website, “Arab countries lagged behind most of the world in adopting the Internet” because of its cost and the difficulty of using Arabic in computer systems.

However, the site added that “having accepted the inevitability of the Internet, the first instinct of Arab regimes was to look for ways to control it.”

“This was based partly on their fears of political subversion but also on the fears of conservative and religious elements that would undermine ‘traditional’ values—fears that in both cases were well-founded,” it said.

Governments of the UAE and KSA have issued their own sets of rules on Internet usage, mostly rooted on grounds of religion and conservatism.

On its website, the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation–Etisalat provided a list of “Prohibited Content Categories” in the UAE, which include:

  • online dating or matchmaking sites;
  • gambling sites, including those with sports picks and horse, car, or boat racing;
  • sites with hacking codes; and
  • sites providing unlicensed Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service (which, in turn, blocks Skype).

A separate post from the OpenNet Initiative—which investigates and analyzes Internet filtering and surveillance practices “in a credible and non-partisan fashion”—said that the government of UAE “censors political and religious content and pervasively filters sites that contain pornography or content relating to alcohol and drug use, gay and lesbian issues…”

“Additionally, legal controls limit free expression and behavior, restricting political discourse and dissent online,” it said.

Etisalat, however, noted that among the exemptions are chatting services and social networking sites.

Last year, Emirates 24|7 said that majority of Internet users in the UAE go online to access their Facebook profiles.

In KSA’s case, said Internet users are prohibited from “publishing or accessing” the following:

  • Anything contravening a fundamental principle or legislation, or infringing the sanctity of Islam, or breaching public decency;
  • Anything contrary to the state or its system;
  • Reports of news damaging to the Saudi Arabia armed forces, without the approval of competent authorities;
  • Anything damaging to the dignity of heads of states or heads of credited diplomatic missions in the kingdom, or that harms relations with those countries;
  • Any false information ascribed to state officials or those of private or public domestic institutions and bodies that may damage their integrity;
  • Subversive ideas or the disruption of public order or disputes among citizens; and
  • Any slanderous or libelous material against individuals.

‘Respect their culture’

When GMA News Online solicited advice from OFW rights advocates based in the KSA regarding the case of the “dancing nurses,” they said that Filipino workers there must learn to respect the culture of their host country and be wary of posting their “memories” online.

Joseph Espiritu, who is currently based in Riyadh, said there might have been a few violations in the nurses’ case because of the following:

  • While one is free to celebrate his or her birthday with friends, he or she cannot do so in the workplace and with liquor, illegal drugs, or gambling.
  • Women can dance too, but not in public and not in mixed gender crowds, especially if they’re dancing with men who are not their husbands.

Espiritu said he believes this case would be “tolerable” if the hospital’s manager or head knows about the party.

“Hindi naman maaaring hulihin at ikulong ang lahat ng nandoon. Pinakaunang hanapin diyan ay kung sino ang organizer or kung kanino nakapangalan ang bahay kung saan nagkaroon ng party, or ang head at manager kung sa work place man ito nangyari. Hindi rin makakapayag ang ospital na mawalan nang ganoong karaming nurses dahil sa pagkakamali na ‘yan,” he said.

However, he added: “Bansa nila ito at dapat lang na respetuhin natin ang kanilang batas, tradisyon, at kultura. Kung hindi n’yo kayang sundin at talagang hilig n’yo ang pagsasayaw, then mag-ingat na lang kayo, lalo na ngayon na lahat ay may video camera at napakadaling ilagay sa YouTube.” – VVP, GMA News

Tour the Art Capital. It's more fun in the Philippines!

Experience the Higantes Festival. It's more fun in the Art Capital of the Philippines!

Nais ng Commission on Elections (Comelec) na amyendahan ng Kongreso ang ilang batas tungkol sa pagdaraos ng eleksiyon para mabigyan-daan ang on-line registration at voting na pakikinabangan ng mga Pinoy lalo na ang mga nasa ibang bansa.

Sa pagdinig na isinagawa ng Senate committee on electoral reforms na pinamunuan ni Sen. Aqujilino “Koko” Pimentel III, hiniling ng Comelec na repasuhin ng Kongreso ang Absentee Voting Act, Automated Election Law at Fair Election Act.

Sa panayam ng media nitong Huwebes, sinabi ni Comelec Commissioner Rene Velasco, na inaasahan ng komisyon na aabot sa isang milyon ang new registrants para sa 2013 elections.

“We will study the possibility of amending existing laws in order to accommodate not only internet registration but also internet voting,” ayon kay Velasco.

Sinabi ng opisyal na bumababa ang bilang ng Pinoy na nasa abroad na nakikilahok sa eleksiyon sa Pilipinas dahil sa kulang ang mga embahada at konsulado ng Pilipinas na puwede nilang puntahan upang magrehistro at bumoto.

Dahil dito, hindi umano nagagamit ng mga Pinoy na nasa ibang bansa ang kanilang karapatan na maghalal ng opisyal na pinoprotektahan sa ilalim ng Saligang Batas.

“The problem is there are not enough embassies and consular offices to accommodate voting. Because of these (problems) OFWs need to travel to the nearest country or embassy to register, and/or vote,” paliwanag niya..

Ang naturang problema ay maaari umanong malutas sa pamamagitan ng internet registration at voting.

Tiniyak naman ni Pimentel na kokonsultahin niya ang mga kapwa senador para makuha ang kanilang opinyon tungkol sa mungkahi ng Comelec.

Bagaman nakikita ni Pimentel na kaya namang ipatupad ang programa, kailangan pa rin umanong masuri ang mga umiiral na batas tungkol sa halalan para tiyaking legal at naaayon sa batas ang planong Internet registration at voting.

Bukod dito, inaasahan din ng senador na posibleng may kumuwestiyon sa integridad at seguridad ng sistema kaya kailangan umano itong pag-aralan na mabuti. – ER/FRJ, GMA News | Angono Dream news | Manda Icasiano

Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo Jr., younger brother of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, has passed away, a lawyer of the Arroyos confirmed in a radio interview Thursday noon.

In an interview Thursday on dzBB, Atty. Romulo Macalintal said Iggy Arroyo died in the United Kingdom due to an ailment.

“It was confirmed to me by former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo that Rep. Iggy Arroyo passed away in London,” he said.
Meanwhile, a report on Radyo Mo Nationwide (RMN) quoted Mike Arroyo as saying that Iggy Arroyo succumbed to cardiac arrest.
The RMN report said there was no clear detail on when Iggy Arroyo’s remains would be brought back to the Philippines, or when his funeral and burial will be.
Earlier reports indicated Iggy Arroyo went to London for treatment of his liver ailment— LBG/KBK, GMA News | Angono Dream News | Manda Icasiano

Consistent with Angono’s vision as the Art Capital of the Philippines, characterized by a clean, healthy, peaceful and orderly community, and as a prosperous, just and humane society with the blessings of God Almighty, Mayor Gerry Calderon recently signed the Executive Order No. 2012-01, implementing and observing the proper dress code in all public places in Angono, Rizal.

This is in line with the municipality’s drive towards orderliness, propriety and discipline to bring about an atmosphere of decency, and uphold the highest morals among Angonians.

By virtue of the local chief executive’s power vested by law, Mayor Gerry outlined the following order, as follows:

  1. All person must be properly and decently attired while moving about in public places within the Municipality of Angono;
  2. No person shall move about (i.e., walk, jog, run, or the like) in public places and outside his/her private residence in topless attire;
  3. Market vendors/sellers, whether in government-owned or privately owned markets, must be attired as follows:
    1. T-Shirt, Blouse or any top apparel with sleeves;
    2. Pants or Skirt;
    3. Shoes, sandals or step-in or slippers; and
    4. Apron, for vendors in the wet section and carinderia.

Thus, the following dressing/manner of dressing by vendors/sellers in the market sites are STRICTLY PROHIBITED:

  1. Going topless or half-naked;
  2. Wearing shorts / short shorts;
  3. Wearing sando or any sleeveless shirt/blouse;
  4. Wearing dirty or tattered clothes.

The said Executive Order was signed last January 16, 2012 and implemented and took effect immediately.

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