‘PWD Got Talent’ highlights NDPR week celebration

By Leandria Pagunsan

In observance of National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) week celebration on July 17-23, the Provincial Federation of Persons with Disabilities (PFPD) in Negros Oriental will showcase talents of persons with disabilities (PWD) through the “PWD Got Talent” at the Robinsons Mall, Dumaguete City on July 20, 2018.

In a recent meeting of Provincial Council for Disability Affairs (PCDA), Benemerita Badon of the Provincial Social Welfare Office (PSWDO) and focal for PFPD urged municipal social welfare officers to conduct NDPR activities at their level and discover talented PWDs for the provincial competition.

A cash prize of P3,000 will be awarded to the winner of the competition, according to Badon.

In a related development, Cathy Sedillo, Special Education (SPED) coordinator of Department of Education (DepEd), Negros Oriental Division reported that the department is fully implementing the inclusive education for special children.

According to Sedillo, teachers are well trained in handling basic intervention emphasizing lip reading for deaf and mute children and make them sit at the front rows so they can follow while the teacher is talking.

DepEd will also observe NDPR week celebration to recognize talents of special children.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through Bless De Padua disclosed that there is a livelihood assistance for PWDs.

PWDs who wish to avail of the program must register with DOLE as an organization for proper accreditation.

A representative from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported that in line with the government’s implementation of accessibility law or Republic Act 7277 known as Magna Carta of Disabled Persons, they are strictly monitoring the compliance of ramps, grab bars, and hand rails in business establishments, hospitals and schools.

Badon also informed that on August 29-31, trainers from the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) will conduct sign language training for police stakeholders as they are the primary responders to crimes involving PWD victims and to testify through sign language in court.


Concom sees progressive Philippines with Federalism

By Rizalie Calibo


PressConferenceOnProposedFederalConstitution (8)
Members of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution (from left) Retired Navy Commodore Rex Robles, Atty. Ferdinand Bocobo, Prof. Eddie Alih, and Prof. Edmund Tayao during the press conference on the proposed Federal Constitution on held on June 17 to 18, 2018 at Southview Hotel, Dumaguete City. (PIA7-NegOr)

Members of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) to Review the 1987 Constitution assert that federalism brings progress to the country as it gives power to the people, and to the regions.

In a press conference on Proposed Federal Constitution at the Southview Hotel in Dumaguete City on June 17, 2018, ConCom member, Prof. Eddie Alih said that under the federal form of government, powers are downloaded to the regions, and that will make a “Progressive Philippines.”

“Federalism is the answer to effective governance of archipelagic country like the Philippines,” he said citing that in the current unitary centralized form of government, powers are concentrated in what he calls imperialist Manila.

“We are all witness to the highly centralized form of the government,” Prof. Alih said citing the little power given to the local government units and the regions.

“Matagal na ang paghihirap (we have long been suffering). This is the chance. Ayoko na ang more than 50% or 26 million na Filipino ay laging maghihirap (I don’t want the 50% plus or 26 million Filipinos to suffer in poverty). Federalism may not be a miracle, but it is the beginning,” he said.

In the current configuration, according to Prof. Edmund Tayao, regions have only the Regional Development Councils (RDCs), that are administrative in character.

“All they do are to exchange notes of what their priorities are and try to coordinate with line agencies. ” adds Prof. Edmund Tayao.

He said RDCs cannot decide on their own and they do not have resources, or even if they have, they cannot decide what they do with the resources.

With the proposed constitution, federated regions do not only have the resources, they will control these resources, and they have the authority to decide [what to do with it], he said.

Full federalization, Tayao admitted, cannot happen overnight.

“What the constitution can provide is only the benchmark for the start off point, that is to start with what is existing right now,” he said.

“We cannot radically change the configuration right away without disrupting the current operation of government. So less disruption, the better, kasi pag ginulo natin yan, baka maputol pati yong mga serbisyo na inaasahan ng mga tao,” Tayao added.

The strategy should be to work with the existing configuration without prejudice to possible reconfiguration later, he pointed out.

“We have to learn from what it was, and restructure according to how we intend ourselves to be in the near future, and look at what it needs to be done so that current problems can be addressed,” he also said.

Currently, the technical working group has made substantial configuration with understanding of what is the ideal number of regions.

We start with the existing, we start with what we have right now and give incentives for convergence, Tayao said expecting Mindanao to eventually revolve to three federated regions: Bangsamoro, Northern, and the Eastern Mindanao.

While admitting yet the need to have “a better grasp of the Visayas,” Tayao said Negros Island can probably consider Siquijor to be part of the region.

To know more about the Proposed Constitution, Tayao, with the three other ConCom members guesting the presscon, urged the public to read the draft and understand entirely what this constitution is all about.

ConCom is created through an Executive Order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on December 7, 2016 but was formed only on February 19 , 2018.

Crafting of the new constitution was started on February 19 led by chief Justice Reynato Puno.


Siliman, US university collab for bioinformatics course workshop

By Jennifer C. Tilos

Silliman University, (SU) through its Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management together with Old Dominion University (ODU) in the United States collaborate anew to provide bioinformatics course-workshop from June 18 to July 3 at Mariano and Lina Lao Activity Center.

SU Office of Information and Publication Director Mark Raygan Garcia said the workshop on ‘omics and bioinformatics’ runs for 12 days which gathers around 30 students, researchers and scholars from different institutions in the Philippines and the US.

It is designed to give participants an introduction to the skills and knowledge needed to develop a project using genomics or transcriptomics, Garcia said.

Topics clustered into three weeks are progressing in level from beginner, intermediate to advanced, with each week’s discussions being a foundation to the next, he added.

Garcia said the topic will range from overview of molecular ecology, application of ‘omics in answering biological questions, computer sessions dealing with processing next-generation sequencing data in a mostly command line environment, molecular theory in properly handling data during processing and analysis to advanced analysis with SNP data.

Workshop participants are expected to gain experience running analyses via high performance computing (HPC) resources through ODU’s Turing Community Cluster.

Supported by ODU’s Information Technology Services, the Turing cluster contains more than 190 multi-core compute nodes each containing between 16 and 32 cores and 128Gb of RAM, allowing researchers to use parallel programming applications for quick processing of the large amounts of data generated by the latest genomics methodologies.

Lecturers are professors Chris Bird (Texas A&M University Corpus Christi), Malin Pinsky and Rene Clark (Rutgers University) and Dave Gauthier, Dan Barshis, John Whalen and Maddy Kenton (ODU).

Garcia said the upcoming workshop runs under a bigger five-year (2018-2022) project collaboration between Silliman and ODU known as Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE): Centennial Genetic and Species Transformations in the Epicenter of Marine Biodiversity.

This is funded by the US National Science Foundation and is administered under the supervision of ODU professor of biological sciences Dr. Kent E. Carpenter as principal investigator.

National Scientist and Silliman Professor Emeritus Dr. Angel C. Alcala heads the team in the Philippines as project leader.

Accordingly, the collaboration is Silliman and ODU link-up under the PIRE project.

In 2011, the partnership was involving the broader Coral Triangle region where, among others, researchers and graduate students at the University’s Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences (IEMS) were trained in molecular ecology and larval distribution techniques and laboratory methods.

Heading the Coral Triangle-PIRE project for the University that time was IEMS Director Dr. Hilconida P. Calumpong, Garcia added.

Participants in the ‘omics and bioinformatics workshop have already been identified.

They include the undergraduate and graduate students from the US (ODU, TAMUCC and RU) and the Philippines, faculty and researchers from the Silliman’s IEMS, Biology Department and College of Computer Studies, and researchers and scholars from the Mindanao State University-Tawi-Tawi, De La Salle University, University of the Philippines Mindanao, University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute and the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.