RECAP: Rehabinasyon Town Hall Meeting in Dumaguete City

By Roi Lomotan


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PCOO Asec. Ramon Cualoping addresses hundreds of Dumagueteños during the Rehabinasyon Town Hall Meeting held in the city on March 17, 2018.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), and the City Government of Dumaguete engage local officials, representatives from the barangays, law enforcement agencies and officers of line agencies, youth, academe, and other sectors in a Rehabinasyon Town Hall Meeting held on March 17, 2018 at Negros Oriental Convention Center, Dumaguete City.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Ramon Cualoping led a team of officials representing various national government agencies comprising ICAD to explain in detail the government programs, debunk alternative facts, and showcase the results and benefits of the government’s efforts to fight the drug menace.

Rehabinasyon, a portmanteau of rehabilitation and nation, aims to take a holistic approach in eliminating the country’s drug problem by putting a premium on the rehabilitation of drug surrenderers.

Here are some highlights of the event.


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Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Remollo delivered the welcome address.  Seated next to him are the officials of government agencies comprising the ICAD (l-r): Bureau of Corrections Assistant Director Omar Buenafe, Director Derrick Carreon, Usec. Benjamin Reyes of Dangerous Drugs Board, and Asec. Aurora Ignacio representing the Office of the President. Later on, Mayor Remollo joined the panel of resource speakers in addressing the questions arising at the open forum part of the town meeting.


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Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Asec. Ramon Cualoping III discuss the objectives of Rehabinasyon to Dumagueteños attending the Rehabinasyon Town Hall Meeting.

During the open forum segment, Asec. Cualoping also stressed the important role of the youth in ensuring a drug-free society.

“It all starts with us. As the future bearers of this country, it starts with our discipline. I think it starts with you.  If there’s temptation to use drugs, if there’s temptation to veer away from straight from the path, then you must have discipline and self-control,” Cualoping said.


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Officials of national government agencies comprising the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) present updates and programs of their agencies in relation to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs during the Rehabinasyon Town Hall Meeting (starting at top photo) PDEA Director Derrick Carreon, DILG-Negros Oriental Officer Farah Gentuya, and Dr. Ivanhoe Escartin, Program Manager of Dangerous Drugs Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program of DOH. Rehabinasyon is the Philippine government’s all-encompassing campaign against illegal drugs — from enforcement, justice, rehabilitation and reintegration, and advocacy.

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The event concluded with the residents of Dumaguete City expressing their support to Rehabinasyon.  

REHABINASYON envisions to make the country drug-free to ensure a better future for Filipino families, especially the youth.

Watch the full video of Rehabinasyon Town Hall in Dumaguete City at Rehabinasyon’s Official Facebook Page:






Silliman University announces fellows for 2018 National Writers Workshop

By Roi Lomotan

Silliman University (SU) announced the names of 10 individuals accepted as fellows for the 57th Silliman University National Writers Workshop this year.

The ten fellows are Romalyn Ante of Lipa City, Batangas and Catherine Cando of Quezon City for English for Poetry in English; Wilfreda Cabusas of Talisay City, Cebu and Herminigildo Sanchez of Catbalogan City, Samar for Poetry in Bisaya (Balak); Sigrid Gayangos of Zamboanga City, Zamboanga and Reil Benedict Obinque of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur for Short Fiction; Jade Baylon of Digos City, Davao del Sur, Rhounee Ron Kevin Frany of Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, and Joel Donato Ching Jacob of Manila for creative non-fiction; and Manuel Tinio of Mandaluyong City for One-Act Drama.

SU – Office of Information and Publications Director Mark Garcia said this year, the workshop accepted manuscripts for Balak with corresponding English translation which will enrich workshop discussion regarding the craft of poetry rendered in different languages and the cultural nuances that underpin such expression.

The workshop will be held from May 7 to 18 at the Rose Lamb Sobrepeña Writers Village in Camp Look-out, Valencia, Negros Oriental and at the SU Campus.

The Silliman University National Writers Workshop is the oldest creative writing workshop in Asia founded in 1962 by S.E.A. Write Awardee Edilberto K. Tiempo and National Artist Edith L. Tiempo.

Garcia added that the workshop continues the legacy of the Tiempos in giving value to literature and creative writing in the country.

The workshop is conducted in partnership with the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

NegOr firms up commitment to address health issues on women

By Roi Lomotan

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The panel of resource persons for the Kapihan sa PIA forum in observance of National Women’s Month in the province held March 7, 2018 at Visionaire’s Lounge, Negros Oriental Convention Hotel, Dumaguete City: (l-r) PIA Information Officer Roi Lomotan, GAD Focal Person of the Provincial Government Josefina Columna, DILG GAD Focal Person Lovely Absin, Provincial Council for Women Deputy Chair Phoebe Tan. (ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

The Provincial Government of Negros Oriental strengthened its commitment to address health-related issues on women by appropriating a huge amount of its Gender and Development (GAD) funds for health services.

“In our budget for 2018, we have allocated a bigger slice of the budget to health concerns because all over the province, it has been observed that majority of our women do not have sufficient access to health care services,” Provincial GAD Focal Person Josefina Columna disclosed in a Kapihan sa PIA forum held recently at Visionaire’s Lounge, Capitol Area, this city.

This year, the Provincial Government has set aside a total budget of P125,123,998 for GAD programs and P48,595,000, and 38.84 percent of said fund is intended for health services for women.

Some of the programs lined up for this year are trainings on adolescent health and youth development which aim to address teenage pregnancies.

Aside from this, there is also a provision under the GAD budget to conduct trainings on responsible parenthood and family planning and provide family planning commodities to women.

On the other hand, a portion of the budget will be utilized for the provision of breastfeeding rooms in all community and district hospitals in the province.

Another program to be implemented this year under the health services thrust of GAD is the advocacy on the prevention of HIV/AIDs and also provision of drugs and medicines for HIV/AIDs victims.

The Provincial Government has also apportioned a budget for scholarships for indigent but deserving high school students who are interested to take up the course of medicine in college.

“This is because kung kulang ta ug mga doktor, ang atong mga mama ug mga bata mo-suffer pod. Kinahanglan na naa ta’y mga doktor kanuna na moatubang nila. Kung makapa-eskwela ta, kaning mga doktor na mo-graduate ato ma-disperse sa mga community hospitals (Mothers and their children will suffer if we don’t have enough doctors. We need doctors to look after them. Once these doctors graduate, we will be able to disperse them in our community hospitals),” Columna said.

Columna underscored that these efforts all lead to the Provincial Government’s goal to address all issues and concerns on women.

Apart from appropriating funds for health services, other major programs to be funded and implemented under the GAD budget also include infrastructure programs.

“Sa infrastructure component, daghan pod ta ug ubay-ubay na pondo para pag-minimize sa sexual harassment (and) rape sa mga lugar na ngit-ngit. We have appropriated resources for street lighting (We also have funds for infrastructure component to minimize sexual harassment and rape in areas with no light. We have appropriated resources for street lighting),” Columna noted.

A portion of the fund will also be used for the cementing of roads in difficult terrains in the hinterlands.

Another project in the pipeline is the provision of hand or jetmatic pumps to address the problem on poor access to potable water supply in far-flung areas.

Columna said this project can be considered an issue related to women since it this is a major concern raised by women in some areas in the province.

Meanwhile, aside from health services and infrastructure, other appropriations under the GAD fund include livelihood (P11,461,310), education (P15,450,000), agriculture (P15,999,980), and advocacy (P4,998,575).