— Oscar M. Lopez
Chairman, Lopez Group Foundation, Inc.
Committed to the cause of the environment and the socio-economic upliftment of communities through eco-tourism and agriculture, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Tourism (DOT), Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU), ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation and ABS-CBN Foundation’s (AFI) Bantay Kalikasan launched the GREEN INITIATIVE.
The GREEN INITIATIVE is a collaboration between the National Government, media and the academe with the goal of protecting Philippine biodiversity and eradicating poverty.
Under the partnership, AFI, DENR, DA, DOT and ADMU will carry individual key strategic capabilities, that, when joined together in a chosen area, will result in a significant improvement in the quality of life in the community. The selected areas this year and next are Romblon and Bicol.
DENR, through Secretary Ramon Paje, commits to the necessary infrastructure needed to protect the project sites. “The GREEN INITIATIVE is more than just an initiative. Eco-tourism is the only activity that can generate income for the country without exploiting the natural resources,” says Secretary Paje. He also announced during the launch that DENR will release PhP10M for Mt. Mantalingahan in Southern Palawan and another PhP10M for Mt. Guiting-guiting in Sibuyan Island, Romblon. The funds will be used for maintaining the forest guards that will protect the forest. Educational Forest trails will be put up which will provide the sustainability of the project.
DOT, through Secretary Ramon Jimenez, commits to facilitate the investment of tourism infrastructure and complementary facilities through the Department of Public Works and Highways. “Our role is to create positive awareness for these eco-tourism sites. We make positive awareness to local and international tourists and most importantly, we create awareness within the government itself. Sec. Paje and I are putting just enough pressure so that infrastructure is built to make travel to these very precious areas seamless”, shares DOT Secretary Jimenez. “Poverty alleviation is giving people livelihood and tourism is the fastest way to do that.”
DA, through Secretary Proceso Alcala, commits to provide the agricultural infrastructure needed to uplift the projects’ agricultural production; while ADMU, through Fr. Jett Villarin will handle the academic community which will get baseline data and monitor and evaluate the projects.
Another supporter of GREEN INITIATIVE present at the event was the Philippine Medical Association (PMA). Through its president, Dr. Leo Olarte, PMA committed to conduct medical and dental missions for the indigenous people at the chosen ecotourism sites. They will provide health assessment and give seminars to the community.
Miss Earth Foundation will support the public relations and marketing aspects of the GREEN INITIATIVE while ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation will manage and facilitate the media exposure of the projects.
“It is projects such as this that makes us feel that the Philippines is definitely going somewhere within the next few years“, says Dr. Evangeline Bautista, ADMU’s Dean of School of Science and Engineering and Acting Vice-President of Loyola schools.
As Gina Lopez, Managing Director of ABS-CBN Foundation rightfully said, “there is no single person or institution that can bring this country forward but if there are many key institutions and people that believe in their heart that this is the way to go and commit to it — in truth, in service and the common good — I have no doubt in my mind that our country is going to see a brilliant future ahead.”
Last week to catch BEAT exhibit by Nikki Luna and Ernest Concepcion ongoing until January 19! Curated by Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez with the artistic direction by Claro Ramirez Jr., Beat explores the wordplay that comes with the summoning of dual meanings. Beat can be interpreted as defeat or surrender, as shown in Danilo Dalena’s Talo, Jerry Elizalde Navarro’s Flying Machine for Icarus, or La Barca de Aqueronte by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. It can also indicate rhythm and movement as revealed in Juvenal Sanso’s Carnival, La Fete, Mardi Gras, and Beat also occasions the commissioning of new work from two contemporary artists - Nikki Luna and Ernest Concepcion Luna’s installation Precious and Fertile is inspired by her concern for the farmers of Hacienda Luisita and the various issues of the indigenous people in their ancestral lands. For the installation, she hung a number of bone china pipes in different attitudes atop soil poured on the floor. Along with these elements, a portion of a documentary about the Hacienda Luisita is projected over the bone china installation. For the Azucera installation, she took sugar –the main harvest of the farmers in the hacienda –and mixed this into resin to shape these into diamonds to suggest the value of sugar as produce among farmers. New York-based Concepcion’s Hidalgo, the super multi-dimensional time bandit features the caricatured head of Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo surrounded by artifacts of war and destruction. Concepcion's drawings spill out unto other parts of the museum including the main hallway and unto walls upon which hang objects from the permanent collection of the museum. The Lopez Memorial Museum is at the ground floor of Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue, Pasig City. Museum days and hours are Mondays to Saturdays, except holidays, 8am-5pm.
Banking on the principle starting young, First Philippine Industrial Park embarks on the re-introduction of traditional games to re-integrate traditional Filipino Values.
Playing games is an important part of growing up and in the learning process. It enhances the social skills of every child and it also involves educational influence of games on the physical, mental, emotional, social and moral vitality of a child.
In cooperation with the Department of Education-Division of Tanauan City, reinforced with the energetic manpower from Hands-On Tanauan Youth Organization, FPIP bannered Palarong Pinoy in its Corporate Social Reponsibility via a day of fun and playing of patintero, piko, luksong baka, luksong lubid, luksong tinik, sipa, batuhang bata, habulang sako, kadang-kadang and sundot hipon. This was held on September 22, 2012 in Tanauan City North Central School.
A total of 343 elementary pupils, grades 1 to 3, and 38 teachers participated in the event coming from public elementary schools namely; Laurel Elementary School, Ulango Elementary School, Pantay Bata Elementary School, Pantay Elementary School, Sala Elementary School, Pagaspas Elementary School, Tapia Elementary School, Sambat Elementary School, Trapiche Elementary School and Tanauan North Central School. Their respective school heads and District Supervisor were also present to grace the event and support their players.
Ms. Marieta Perez, of Sambat Elementary School verbally thanked the organizers for the opportunity to play given to her pupils saying ”Nakita ko pong napakasaya ng mga bata, tuwang-tuwa po sila ngayong araw na ito at madami daw po silang naging kaibigan”(I saw my pupils so happy today that they met many new friends). Another child was quoted saying “ganito pala kasarap mag-represent ng school sa palaro. Mag-aaral ako mabuti para makasama ulit” (it is nice to represent our school in competitions. I will study hard to be able to join again next time).
LARONG PINOY is more than a game. It is a great vehicle to instill patriotism, pave the way for family bonding, and a way to enliven neighborhood communities. Larong Pinoy will teach the youth to love our country, to take pride in being Filipinos. The lessons they learn through play will be a part of them for the rest of their lives.
Marco Antonio M. Amurao
Christmas is a season meant for all. Celebrations happen all across the world as families gather, feasts are diligently put together, and children eagerly await the joy the holiday promises. The season is felt nowhere else as fervently as it is in the Philippines, with lights and carols emanating as early as September. However, in the last few years the true essence of a Filipino Christmas has been put to the test. Through overcoming numerous calamities and incessant poverty, Filipinos all over the world have redefined bayanihan, most especially during the Christmas season.
Last December 13, my cousin and I joined LGFI in their gift giving for 220 families in Calauan, Laguna. Upon arriving in their activities center we were greeted by numerous excited faces and heartfelt welcomes. The program entitled Pasko sa Calauan was intended for those families who had experienced the most difficult of struggles such as Ondoy and various other circumstances which had left them with so little. Yet despite all the strife I knew these people encounter day-to-day, I felt the Christmas spirit emanating all around. From the make shift Christmas tree of empty bottles to the different HOAs cheering on their representatives in the singing contest, I couldn’t help but capture all these humbling moments in my mind (as well as with the help of my camera phone). Out of all the people in the crowd I gravitated towards the girl behind me, who did not look more than a few years older than me, and her three children. I could hear her daughter singing along with the Oscar Lopez Elemantary School choir that performed for us and her two little boys squabbling over the simple pancit we had prepared for them. Just watching their family and all the other families around I began to realize that it is so easy to get caught up with all the “what”, “when”, and “where” of Christmas that we can sometimes forget that what matters most are the “who”.
Christmas. Through the Noche Buena packages LGFI and AFI, as well as myself, hope that we were able to bring families together even with the simplest of celebrations. It was truly a beautiful thing to see people come together for a common purpose of expressing love, kindness and appreciation. As the New Year begins, I hope to always remember what Pasko sa Calauan reminded me, always keeping my kapamilya, close to my heart.
December 13, 2012
Louise D. Suamen or Loyz to her family and close friends graduated from the Siliman University in Dumaguete with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. One afternoon her sister’s friend invited her to attend the recruitment talks of the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines Foundation (JVP) little did Loyz know that her attending the recruitment talks would be the start of an incredible journey where she would discover the wonderful and painful world of being a Jesuit Volunteer.
Loyz was assigned at the Tambayan Center for Children’s Rights Inc., to work with the Girl Gangs of Davao City. There in the Tambayan with 4 other volunteers Loyz became a Psychosocial Worker, under the Psychosocial Program (PSP) of Tambayan Center .
“The Tambayan Center refer to the girls as AGS (Adolescent Girls in the Streets). These girl gangs are like an eclectic mix of cliques in high school, but they’re a bit more dangerous than a typical clique. They’re like a street version of sororities.
“ To be a gang member has to endure a painful initiation (hazing). These girls are beaten up or burnt with cigarettes on the wrist. There also exists a rivalry against other girl gangs and oftentimes, they engaged in riots. If one girl had been ganged up and beaten by other gang members, the rest of the group will not rest until they are able to beat up the girls of the opposing gang.” Explains Loyz.
The goal is to remove these girls from their violent environment and bring them back to school.. Loyz tutors and assists the girls with their assignments and projects. She also provides them with counseling and meet with the parents of these girls. Loyz also visits the schools and dialogues with their Teachers, Curriculum Heads, Guidance Counselors and even Security Guards.
Living in poverty-stricken areas is one of the biggest challenges that Loyz sees, “ I’ve seen that the big challenge these children face is getting and finishing an education—and that’s just the tip of an iceberg. Every AGS’ story requires understanding and taking action on what can be done to help these girls. Behind their easy smiles and smart mouth, the get-back stares they throw at rival group/gang members, their stubbornness and acting out, hide heartbreaking stories of violence and abuse. These girls have been through a lot experiencing different forms of violence, psychological and sexual abuse, discrimination, neglect and abandonment.
A really big challenge to the JVP’s in the Tambayan is for these girls to not fall back to their bad habits, “We try to always work for the best interest of the child. We offer sports programs such as soccer so that the girls will refrain from vices and late night outs. We also developed IDOL (I Dream of Light), a theater group program that is a venue for the girls’ talents in theater arts and as form of advocacy of their rights. Both soccer and theater programs require that the AGS to be in-school.
Despite all these heart breaking experiences the life as a Jesuit Volunteer has it’s rewards. For Loyz what she treasures most is the bonds and friendships she has developed with the girl, “These girls are also one of the sweetest and caring people I’ve ever met. They wouldn’t hold back in embracing you, and telling you that they like you. And during hang-outs with them, they’re not just accommodating but are also very protective”
The Lopez Group Foundation, Inc. (LGFI) helped sponsor Loyz stay at the Tambayan Center for Children’s Rights Inc., in Davao City. “The Lopez Group Foundation, Inc. had been more than generous to be my sponsor for my JVP year of service—assisting in my financial needs for my food, accommodation, transportation, and other personal needs—so as I would be a functional JVP, assigned as a psychosocial worker in Tambayan Center for Children’s Rights, Inc from June 2011 to March 2012.”
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