Tag Archives: National News

Pass FOI bill now, Palace urges Congress

This post was originally published on pna.gov.ph

MANILA – Malacañang has renewed its call on Congress to heed the Duterte administration’s request for the immediate passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill.


Acting Deputy Presidential Spokesperson and Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Michel Kristian Ablan (File photo)

Acting Deputy Presidential Spokesperson and Communications Undersecretary Michel Kristian Ablan appealed anew, as he admitted the “most challenging” part of implementing FOI is “convincing legislators to pass the [proposed] FOI law.”

“Pass the FOI law now,” Ablan, who concurrently serves as FOI program director, said in his “Just So You Know” vlog uploaded on the FOI Philippines’ official Facebook page, when asked about his message to Congress.

Quizzed as to why the long-overdue FOI bill needs to be passed into law, Ablan said the measure would promote transparency in government transactions and help gain public trust.

“Transparency has to be sustained. Transparency is important in building trust and trust promotes efficiency in government,” Ablan said.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Executive Order (EO) 2 on July 23, 2016 gives the public access to official documents and transactions in all state departments and offices under the Executive Branch.

Under EO 2, a Filipino citizen can request any information about government transactions and operations by presenting proof of education to the concerned state office or lodging queries online through the official website www.foi.gov.ph.

An FOI request can be made before all government offices under the Executive Branch, including government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs), and state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Requesting parties can have access to information, official records, public records, and documents and papers on official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as government research data used as the basis for policy development.

The landmark policy mandates the Presidential Communications Operations Office as the designated lead government agency to operationalize the FOI program that aims to promote public transparency, accountability, and citizen participation.

Ablan said the “best thing” he learned as FOI program director is that government offices under the Executive Department are willing to share information about their transactions involving public interest.

“FOI was able to open the doors and windows of government offices to the Filipino people,” he said.

Considering that the proposed measure remains pending before Congress, Ablan reminded the voters to make sure that their preferred candidates for the upcoming elections “will support and pass the FOI bill.”

The FOI bill seeks to expand the scope of open governance by directing agencies to disclose information on projects and other matters that involve public interest.

The bill’s salient features include the crafting of a mechanism that will refer and transfer requests to appropriate agencies, as well as the creation of a records management system.

The bill mandates the government agencies to respond to an FOI request within 15 days from the receipt thereof.

An oversight body or the FOI Commission will also be established, along with the creation of a central appeals and review committee for all FOI compliant agencies in the three major branches of the government –Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary. (PNA)

Duterte appoints new CHED Commissioners

This post was originally published on ched.gov.ph

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has appointed two new Commissioners to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Dr. Jo Mark Libre and Dr. Marita Canapi were named as new CHED Commissioners. They will serve a three-year term until July 21, 2025.

The appointment papers were signed by the President on February 9, 2022.

“The Commission thanks our outgoing Commissioners Perfecto Alibin and Lilian De Las Llagas for showing outstanding leadership and for contributing to the effective governance of the governing boards of their respective State Universities and Colleges (SUCs),” said CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera.

“I now welcome our two new Commissioners and I am confident that we all continue to learn and educate as one,” he added.

Dr. Jo Mark Libre

Libre will replace outgoing commissioner Perfecto Alibin while Canapi is set to replace Lilian de las Llagas, whose terms were initially set to end on July 21 last year.

He formerly served as the Vice President for Communications and External Affairs at the Jose Maria College Foundation, Inc. in Davao City.

He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) and was awarded a scholarship from CHED to pursue his Master of Arts in Political Science with a major in Global Politics at Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU).

Libre also took Master of Public Administration from the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) and received his Doctor of Public Administration from Ateneo de Cagayan-Xavier University.

Libre’s areas of specialization encompass Political Science, International Politics, Global Governance, International Relations, Comparative Politics, Conflict Resolution, Political Methodologies, Public Administration, Public Policy Analysis, Public Administration, Public Administrative System, Political Parties and Interest Groups, and Philippine Administrative System.

Dr. Marita Canapi

Canapi was the second president of the University Of Rizal System (URS) and also served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Makati. She briefly served as Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina.

Canapi holds a doctorate degree and a master’s degree in Education with specialization in Educational Management. She was a recipient of a National Scholarship from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for the Baccalaureate Program in Physics for Teachers from the Philippine Normal University (PNU) in consortium with De La Salle University (DLSU) where she graduated Cum Laude.

Libre and Canapi will both join De Vera and Commissioners Ronald Adamat and Aldrin Darilag in CHED.

CHED Chief is Alingag, adopted son of Kalinga

This post was originally published on ched.gov.ph

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Popoy De Vera was adopted as son of the Province of Kalinga and was dubbed as “Alingag” which means “to re-echo,” in recognition of his works and contributions in the Philippine higher education.

Adopted son of Kalinga

The adoption of De Vera, through SP Resolution No. 2022-046, was recently conferred by Provincial Governor Ferdinand B. Tubban in the presence of members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Kalinga State University (KSU) President Eduardo T. Bagtang and other guests at KSU.

De Vera’s visit in Kalinga is part of his Padyak: Claiming Victory for Philippine Higher Education, wherein he travels across regions to report on the achievements of the Duterte administration on higher education. Part of the Padyak is to meet the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) grantees under Republic Act (RA) 10931 or the Free Higher Education (FHE) law and listen to their success stories.

Adopted son of Kalinga

*Event photo credits: KSU*

To date, there are 40,195 student-beneficiaries of the FHE law in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), including 4,177 students receiving the TES. In Kalinga province, 6,782 students no longer pay tuition and miscellaneous fees and 829 students get the P40,000-P60,000 TES per year in public and private colleges and universities.

“I am deeply honored and humbled by the recognition given to me by the Province of Kalinga through Governor Tubban. It is a recognition that makes me now commit to continue implementing RA 10931 and to look for ways so more students in Kalinga can go to college. I also commit to assist KSU in its efforts to provide access to quality education to the communities they serve,” De Vera said.

According to the resolution, being an adopted son of Kalinga is a time-honored tradition of the province and in consonance with customary indigenous ethnic practices and personages and is conferred to individuals who have singularly endeared themselves and contributed outstanding services to the people.

The resolution further stated that “De Vera serves as an academician whose technical expertise helped policy-makers for the passage of legislative measures in educational development and other public services.”

Sons and daughters of the province are granted certain privileges including protection under the auspices of the Kalinga Peace Pact institution of the Bodong Justice System through the Pagta, the law of the Bodong.

CHED Commissioner bags “Mahatma MK Gandhi Prize for Non-Violent Peace”

This post was originally published on ched.gov.ph

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Commissioner Ronald L. Adamat was awarded with the “Mahatma MK Gandhi Prize for Non-Violent Peace” on March 27, 2022 in an online ceremony attended by peace advocates and renowned personalities from all over the world.

Mahatma MK Gandhi Prize for Non-Violent Peace

The peace prize was supposed to have been awarded in 2020 but was delayed because of the pandemic.

The award was conferred on Adamat by Dr. Prasana Kumar Patsani, Chairman of Mahatma M.K. Gandhi Foundation for Nonviolent Peace and Secretary-General Dr. Jyoti Mohapatra.

In his acceptance speech, Adamat said that Mahatma Gandhi’s “be the change you wish to see in the world” became the inspiration and guiding light in his advocacy to bring peace to the Filipino people.

Adamat also says that he is honored to accept the Mahatma MK Gandhi Prize for Non-Violent Peace Award and he will use it to challenge the Filipino youth to never forget the value of peace in nation-building.

CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera also expressed his gratitude for the efforts of Adamat in advocating for peace in higher education.

“I thank you, Comm. Ronald for your efforts and commitment in advocating for peace and excellence in the field of education. More than an award that is given to you as an advocate of peace, this award is also an award given to the Commission on Higher Education and to the Philippines as you join the prestigious list of dignitaries that have been recognized for pushing and continuing their quest for peace all over the world,” De Vera said.

Mahatma MK Gandhi Prize for Non-Violent Peace

In receiving the prestigious award, Adamat feels proud because he was chosen among 258 nominees from around the world and is the first Filipino recipient of the said peace prize.

His name is now among those few great men and women who were conferred the peace prize like Jimmy Carter (USA), Margaret Thatcher (Britain), Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Mikhail Gorbachev (USSR), S.D. Sharma (India), K.R. Naray anan (India), R Venkataraman Sheikh Hasina (Bangladesh), former United Nations Secretaries-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, Boutros Boutros Ghali, Kurt Waldheim, former United Nations Undersecretary-General Joseph Verner Reed, Chairman Man Hee Lee (HWPL), Chairwoman Nam Hee Kim of the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), Dr. Young Seek Choue, and Alexander Kim who all believe that non-violent peace throughout the world can be achieved.

Adamat admits that being a member of the Indigenous Peoples belonging to the Tedurays of Upi, Maguindanao, he has personally seen his people suffer as a result of greed, politics, and ideology.

“We suffered injustice. We suffered from violence. We were discriminated. We were a people who were without voice, and we wanted change,” Adamat laments.

According to Adamat, he pursued his Ph.D. in Peace and Development to show his deepest honor and respect for Mahatma Gandhi.

As CHED Commissioner, he took the initiative to integrate into the higher education curricula both Peace Studies and Indigenous Peoples Studies in 2019 that mandated state universities and colleges, local universities and colleges, including private higher education institutions to include in their respective curricula these very important subjects.

In his desire to promote the culture of peace and non-violence, Adamat established the Volunteer Individuals for Peace, Inc. (VIP), a non-government organization dedicated to peace works.

He also composed its theme song “We Are One,” a song that encapsulates the significance and relevance of living together as one humanity, later adopted by HWPL from the Philippines and now performed across the globe in different languages.

Adamat discloses that he is gathering support from Filipino peace advocates to convince the Duterte government to declare January 24 as National Peace Day and at the same time he is promoting peace projects such as the establishment of peace monuments inside university and college campuses nationwide.

He said that it is high time now that peoples and governments around the globe should work together to bring peace to the world through education.

Adamat has also composed a new song entitled “Education Builds The Future,” where it talks about the role of education in bringing change.

The song describes education to be everyone’s concern, “that all peoples should acquire as a weapon to change the world, for us all to live in peace with prosperity.”

“Being an educator, I am thankful of this award and I feel so much inspired to pour out my energy, resources, time, and talent toward peace-building,” Adamat claims.

Adamat concludes that the Mahatma MK Gandhi Prize for Non-Violent Peace Award shall remind him of his responsibility to promote non-violent peace through education, and that never in his wildest dream that one day an award named after the man he admired so much will be conferred on him. (AAAnosa)

Participation to the National COVID-19 Vaccination Days on March 10-12, 2022

This post was originally published on ched.gov.ph

In an effort to fast-track the COVID-19 vaccination nationwide, the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) has again devoted three (3) days for vaccination activities around the country by launching the Bayanihan, Bakunahan National COVID-19 Vaccination Days Part IV on March 10-12, 2022. In particular, vaccination activities for individuals due to be given second doses and booster doses, Priority Group A2: Senior Citizens, and individuals between 12-17 years old, are to be given priority in the said National Vaccination Days.

In this light, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease: National Task Force Against COVID-19 has directed the CHED to assist the National Government in the following:

  1. Ensure the administration of primary dose series and booster doses to all higher education sector employees and family members;
  2. Allow the usage of universities and facilities as vaccination sites;
  3. Advocate, conduct information drives, and disseminate communication materials to faculty members, family members of faculty members, school children, especially 12-17 years old children; and,
  4. Encourage school children to be vaccinated.

In view of the foregoing, the CHED and the Department of Health (DOH) has since issued its Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-003, or the Interim Guidelines on the Voluntary Participation of Postgraduate / Undergraduate Interns, Clinical Clerks, and Fourth-Year Nursing Students in the COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment and Vaccination Program, on October 12, 2021. Furthermore, HEIs have since been enjoined to maximize the use of their campuses as vaccination sites for the said event, pursuant to the DOH Department Memorandum (DM) 2021-0116, or the Interim Guidelines on the Identification and Utilization of COVID-19 Vaccination Sites.

As such, Regional Offices are hereby directed to inform our Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) of the aforementioned JMC and DOH DM, as well as the National COVID-19 Vaccination Days set on March 10-12, 2022. As the participation of HEI personnel and students as volunteers and vaccinators will play an important role in the three-day event, HEIs are expected to communicate the same to their students and personnel.

Moreover, students and staff of HEIs, as well as our CHED personnel, who have not yet received their full dose or booster dose against COVID-19, are highly encouraged to get vaccinated on the said event.