04 MAY 2016

Statement by the Department of Budget and Management on the release of mid-year bonus of LGU employees
DBM: Local Gov't Operations Officer positions to get salary upgrade and RATA
DBM releases P842M to augment quick response funds of DSWD
Better position for gov’t achieved in peace process under PNoy — Deles
Early voting for PWDs and Senior citizens pushed
House leader moves to end labor contractualization
Former seafarer turns into entrepreneur after bagging top prize in DOLE-ISP BizPlan competition
Baldoz to returning OFWs: Register, avail of free ‘Assist W.E.L.L.’ services in any of 24 processing centers
DPWH-NCR May 6-9 road repair schedule
OECD launches book on PH investment policy review
PHL Consulate General in Los Angeles Conducts Consular Outreach in Bakersfield, CA
Environmental Ombudsman Team closes illegal dumpsites
January 2016 Approved applicants for registration without examination as Psychologists/Psychometricians
PDIC to continue processing claims of Rural Bank of Basay (Negros Oriental), Inc. depositors
GSIS allots Php539M in emergency loan for 3 VisMin areas
New SSS partnerships for the direct release of sickness, maternity and EC benefits to members? bank accounts
Locally developed knee surgical technique puts patient back to LIFE mode

Statement by the Department of Budget and Management on the release of mid-year bonus of LGU employees
Source: http://www.dbm.gov.ph
“The Department of Budget and Management wishes to clarify that the mid-year bonus authorized under Executive Order no. 201, s. 2016 authorized by the President shall also be given to LGU personnel pursuant to Budget Circular 2016-3. As stated in the circular, the release of the mid-year bonus to all government employees shall not be earlier than May 15, 2016.

“In line with Executive Order 201, s. 2016, (Modifying the Salary Schedule for Civilian Government Personnel and Authorizing the Grant of Additional Benefits for both Civilian and Military and Uniformed Personnel), the sanggunian is authorized to release the mid-year bonus on the said date.

“The Department encourages the timely release of funds so that all government employees, national and local, can benefit from the bonus to which they are entitled.”

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DBM: Local Gov't Operations Officer positions to get salary upgrade and RATA
Source: http://www.dbm.gov.ph
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced today that certain Local Government Operations Officer (LGOO) positions will be reclassified starting 2017 to give LGOOs a salary upgrade. The salary upgrade is in view of the intensified program management work of LGOOs arising from the expansion of performance-based programs that releases funds directly to local government units (LGUs).

“Essentially, this is part of the national government’s overall investment in strengthening LGUs. We are supporting the oversight agencies and personnel who will be working with LGUs for the almost P100 billion funds intended for performance-based, direct download programs,” said DBM Secretary Florencio B. Abad.

Abad said LGOO VI items, whose incumbents act as Cluster Head, will be reclassified to LGOO VII positions and the concomitant change in the salary grade (SG) of these positions will be from SG-22 to SG-24.

A Cluster Head assists the DILG provincial office in operations management, planning, and supervision over an average of 7 to 15 City/Municipal LGOOs.

In addition, LGOO V items, whose incumbents are assigned in the municipalities, will be reclassified to LGOO VI positions and the corresponding change in the salary grade of these positions will be from SG-20 to SG-22.

Cluster Heads shall continue to receive Representation and Transportation Allowances (RATA) equivalent to that being received by a Division Chief. Meanwhile, it is proposed that LGOO VI personnel who are assigned to the municipalities will be provided with RATA equivalent to that being received by LGOO VI items in independent component and component cities.

Abad said LGOOs play a vital role in shepherding LGUs in the drive for inclusive growth, as the frontliners of the DILG in the exercise of supervision and coordination on national policies and priorities. LGOOs are involved in ensuring the functionality of important committees at the local level, such as the Local Risk Reduction Management Council, Local Development Council, Peace and Order Council, Local School Board, among others.

Expansion of BuB, KALSADA intensified LGOO work

With the implementation and the eventual expansion of performance-based, direct download programs for LGUs, such as the Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB) Program and the Konkreto at Ayos na Lansangan at Daan Tungo sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran (KALSADA) Program, the job of LGOOs has become more complex and their workload heavier, explained Abad.

“The performance management part of their job has become more complex. They now have to manage executive-legislative collaboration, and their monitoring and reporting requirements have multiplied, such as inter-agency requirements, program performance, and risk management. In addition, they now also ensure that CSO assemblies and forums for BuB are convened,” he said.

The expansion of BuB alone has expanded the volume of program management work of LGOOs. In 2012, LGOOs provided technical assistance on project development and monitoring to only 573 DILG projects. Last year, the number of projects has ballooned to 17,623, of which 3,274 are under DILG and 14,349 are under national government agencies, which they also have to monitor.

With the expansion of BuB to include all barangays nationwide next year, Abad said, LGOOs are expected to generate baseline conditions in the first-wave barangays, assist in project development, initiate monitoring and risk management, and complete four visits per project for no less than 30% of barangays per municipality.

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DBM releases P842M to augment quick response funds of DSWD
Source: http://www.dbm.gov.ph
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced today that it has released P842,500,000 to augment the Quick Response Funds (QRF) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The funds will be used for the implementation of programs for El Niño, including the purchase of family food packs for prepositioning and disaster augmentation, cash or food for work programs, shelter assistance, and additional relief supplies.

The QRF is a built -in budgetary allocation that represent pre-disaster or standby funds for agencies in order to immediately assist areas stricken by disasters and calamities. Aside from DSWD, the agencies that have built-in QRFs include the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of National Defense (DND) – Office of the Secretary and Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), Department of Education (DepEd), and Department of Agriculture (DA).

When the QRF gets depleted, the agency may request for augmentation subject to the approval of the DBM.

The budget department said the funds were charged against the FY 2016 National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Funds in the national budget. The General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2016 appropriated the amount of P19 billion as NDRRM Funds, which may be used as an additional funding source for the QRF of agencies when the QRF balance has reached a critical level.

Status of DSWD’s QRF

This is the second augmentation of DSWD’s QRF for 2016, according to the DBM. Last April 1, DBM augmented the QRF of DSWD in the amount of P662,500,000.

DSWD has P1,325,000,000 built-in appropriation for QRF under the FY 2016 GAA. Of the total P1,987,500,000 allotment it received this year, P1,515,558,746.33 has been obligated by the agency. Its QRF balance as of April 19 is P471,941,253.67.

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Better position for gov’t achieved in peace process under PNoy — Deles
Source: http://www.opapp.gov.ph
QUEZON CITY—The Administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III will turn over to the next President a peace process that is better-positioned than it was six years ago, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles declared last week.

In her speech at the UP Public Lectures on Philippine Presidency and Administration held in UP Diliman last Thursday, April 28, Deles noted that despite the difficulties it encountered in the past six years in its efforts to forge peace with rebel groups, the Aquino Administration, through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the different government peace negotiating panels, scored major successes including the conclusion and signing of a major peace agreement to settle decades of conflict in Mindanao.

The Aquino government was also able to provide convergence under the Bangsamoro peace agreement for the two Moro peace tables, and provided closure to the peace table in the Cordilleras while it is close to completing another closure process to a Visayas-based peace table, Deles added.

“There will still be major unfinished business that we will have to pass on,” said Deles, “but we” will be able to turn over fewer and better-positioned peace tables to the next administration.”

Deles noted that the peace process “was in disarray” when President Aquino III took over from the previous administration in 2010.

The Aquino Administration had inherited a seven-year impasse with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF); a failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); and a number of agreements pending further implementation, including the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)’s 1996 Final Peace Agreement; the sipat or ceasefire agreement with Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA) in 1986; and the interim agreement with the Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPM-P/RPA/ABB) signed in 2000.

Most of these challenges were hurdled in this administration’s six-year run, Deles stressed.

Closure processes for two peace tables

For instance, Deles cited the signing of the Closure Agreement with the CBA-CPLA last July 2012, which “as an armed group, no longer exists” as it has transformed itself into a legal, socio-economic group called the Cordillera Forum for Peace and Development.

The OPAPP secretary noted that it was the first agreement under a peace table signed under the Aquino administration and the first such agreement completed in the entire history of the Philippine peace process, marking “one unfinished business that will not be passed on to the next administration.”

Under this closure agreement, the CPLA turned over 337 firearms while 27 explosives have been detonated; 69 of 81 projects committed by the government have been completed; 168 CPLA members have been integrated into the AFP; and the government has provided social protection services in the form of 885 PhilHealth membership and 227 CHED scholarship grants.

Similarly, the Visayas-based RPM-P/RPA/ABB converted itself into the Kapatiran para sa Progresong Panlipunan (Brotherhood for Social Progress), a legitimate socio-economic and political organization pursuing social justice as a key to lasting peace and genuine progress.

While signing a closure agreement with the RPM-P/RPA/ABB, “has taken a bit more time,” Deles stressed this was because the government was determined to undertake due diligence in the terms of the agreement to avoid mistakes in previous peace agreements.

Some components of the agreement have, however, already proceeded, particularly putting in place implementing guidelines, mechanisms, and structures that will support the agreement with RPM-P/RPA/ABB once signed, she added.

Deles stressed the importance of the “closure process” with the CBA-CPLA and the RPM-P/RPA/ABB as these show that the “government can be trusted to do fulfil its pledge or commitment.”

“[The] government does not play around with peace agreements,” she declared. “It will hold these sacred and deliver on their promises.”

Difficult to handle

The peace adviser admitted that the most difficult table remains to be the one with the CPP/NPA/NDF.

She recalled that when the Aquino administration was able to break the impasse it inherited in 2010, the negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF “started off as well as the MILF peace process.”

Deles lamented that this early optimism in the peace table with the CPP/NPA/NDF was a “short-lived period, and by the middle of 2011, they (CPP/NPA/NDF) had suspended talks.”

Success in the Bangsamoro

The OPAPP Secretary said the Aquino Administration is proud of its achievements in the negotiations to end the conflict in the Bangsamoro, as it pursued a “framework of convergence” in the peace tables with the MILF and the MNLF.

She pointed out that the completion of the Tripartite Review of the implementation of the 1996 FPA with the MNLF early this year allowed the two peace tables to share a roadmap laid out under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the government with the MILF in March 2014.

This convergence framework allowed the Aquino Administration to address the challenge brought by the fact that the two peace tables covered “the same core territory and the same people that are already the subject of a peace agreement.”

The government also achieved notable success in other aspects of the Bangsamoro peace process, particularly in the normalization process, which has been commended by the United Nations peace office in New York as “probably the most comprehensive normalization plan they have seen worldwide.”

Despite the “enormous challenges” faced by the Bangsamoro peace process in the past six years, Deles noted that “no one (in any of the negotiating panels) ever threatened to walk out on the process,” and “in the face of the direst difficulties, the parties always ended up saying: let’s fix this together, let’s find a solution,” attesting to the strength of the peace process and its architecture which “draws in the participation and engagement of so many, within the two parties to the conflict and beyond.”

“That is why, despite Mamasapano, despite the non-passage of the [Bangsamoro Basic Law], the peace process continues to stand, and those who invested so much in this process in the last three years, will be there standing and rooting when the next Congress convenes,” she stressed.

“Deep and strong foundations for a just and durable peace have been put into place,” Deles added. “We will continue to work and pray hard so that this moment will come sooner rather than later.”

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Early voting for PWDs and Senior citizens pushed
Source: http://www.congress.gov.ph
A Cebu lawmaker has stressed the need for a law mandating early voting of Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) during national and local elections.

"Because of their physical conditions, PWDs and Senior citizens are being deprived of their right of suffrage on election day," Rep. Gabriel Luis R. Quisumbing lamented, stressing that "suffrage is the lifeblood of a democracy."

He is author of the following bills under consideration by the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms chaired by Capiz Rep. Fredenil H. Castro:

1) HB 4545 - "An Act providing for early voting of Senior citizens and appropriating funds therefor" or "The Early Voting for Senior Citizens Act of 2014," and

2) HB 4546 - "An Act providing for early voting of Persons with disabilities (PWDs) and appropriating funds therefor" or "The Early Voting of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) Act of 2014."

Quisumbing is hoping that, if not the current 16th Congress which is vowing out on June 10, 2016, the 17th Congress would give due course to his initiative, which are expected to be re-filed, for the sake of the millions of Senior Citizens and PWDs.

"During the 2013 national elections, news programs showed footages of people with disabilities and senior citizens leaving polling centers because their physical conditions cannot endure the long line and lengthy procedure they had to undergo in order to cast their votes," Quisumbing recalled.

The author cited a constitutional provision (Article 5, Section 1) which states: "Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place where they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage."

Section 3 of HB No. 4545 provides:

"Section 3. Requirements. - Thirty (30) days before the election, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) shall implement the following:

-- COMELEC shall keep a record of Senior Citizens who are registered as voters.
-- COMELEC shall coordinate with the Local Government Units (LGUs), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in designing systems and assistance to be accorded to Senior Citizens.
-- COMELEC shall designate accessible polling places where Senior Citizens may be able to cast their vote, ensuring that such polling places are provided with the necessary mobility, communications, visual and other forms of assistance for concerned voters.

Section 3 of HB 4546 is similar to that provided for under HB 4545, except that the words Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) are used instead of Senior Citizens, and that the COMELEC has to coordinate with the LGUs, the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the DOH and the DILG in designing systems and assistance for concerned voters.

Both House bills provide: "Those herein qualified to vote early may cast his/her vote in the Office of the Municipal/City Election Registrar where he/she is registered during office hours within one (1) working day before the day of the election. He/she will be allowed to vote for as many positions available, as any other qualified voter."

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House leader moves to end labor contractualization
Source: http://www.congress.gov.ph
The chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment has called for support on pending bills designed to put an end to the practice of "endo" or labor contractualization in the country.

Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (1st District, Davao City) said at least three bills were filed to address the gaps in Presidential Decree 442, or the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended, and provide an alternative approach to the political gridlock of workers and employers on the issue of contractualization, better known as "endo" or end of contract.

"These bills seek to institutionalize the multiple approach adopted by the Department of Labor and Employment in addressing the issue of 'endo' or contractualization, which is synonymous to circumvention of labor laws on labor standards and occupational safety and health standards, security of tenure, and right to self-organization and collective bargaining," Nograles said.

Nograles said one of the pending measures is House Bill 5415, which clearly defines legitimate contractor or subcontractor as an employer engaged in providing job, work or services to another business.

"The measure enumerates the requirements and elements of legitimate contracting or subcontracting and allows industry-based contracting and subcontracting arrangement through tripartite consultation," Nograles said.

Nograles said one of the amendments to Article 106 to 109 of Presidential Decree 442, as amended, shifts from registration to licensing of contractor or subcontractor, but retains the solidary liability of the principal employer with the contractor or subcontractor for unpaid wages, labor standards, and other welfare benefits of the workers.

"The measure recognizes trilateral relationship and includes provisions on liabilities of the parties, and rights of workers including the right to self-organization," Nograles said.

Under the measure, which was authored by Nograles, legitimate contractor or subcontractor must be licensed with the DOLE; have substantial capitalization of at least P3 million or as maybe determined through tripartite consultation; have equipment, machineries and tools necessary to perform or complete the job, or service contracted out; and exercise control over the performance or completion of the job, work or service contracted out.

The measure prohibits labor-only contracting. Unlicensed contractors or subcontractors shall be deemed engaged in labor-only contracting. The principal employer, on the other hand, shall be considered the direct employer of all employees under the contracting or subcontracting agreement.

The measure requires the Secretary of DOLE to determine functions that can be subcontracted based on the recommendation by appropriate Industry Tripartite Council, of which in the absence of Industry-Specific Tripartite Standards on Contracting or Subcontracting, the Secretary of DOLE shall determine standards and issue appropriate regulations after consultations with the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council.

Co-authors of House Bill 5415 are Reps. Florencio T. Flores, Jr. (2nd District, Bukidnon) and Deogracias B. Ramos, Jr. (2nd District, Sorsogon).

Another bill authored by Nograles is House Bill 5416. It defines the causes of termination of employment of workers, amending Articles 282 and 283 of PD 442, as amended. It was also co-authored by Flores and Ramos.

A component bill, which Nograles and Ramos introduced, is House Bill 5806, to be known as "Employment Relations Bill."

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Former seafarer turns into entrepreneur after bagging top prize in DOLE-ISP BizPlan competition
Source: http://www.dole.gov.ph
For seafarer William Gaspay, the DOLE’s and the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines’ Business Plan Competition is a big opportunity for a Filipino seafarer like him who intended to venture into social entrepreneurship.

The 58-year old seafarer from Novaliches, Quezon City, is now an entrepreneur who has made his seaweeds farming business plan a reality, after bagging the 2015 National Reintegration Center for OFWs-ISP Business Plan of the Year plum.

“From Seafarers to Enterpreneurs: The 2015 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition (Harnessing Seafarers’ Capacities for Business Enterprises Development)” is a convergence project of the Department of Labor and Employment and its attached agency, the NRCO, and ISP.

Early this year, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz congratulated Gaspay for his successful stint in the competition, which resulted to the establishment of his new-found venture in the Philippines.

“I hope that these enterprises could help improve not just the lives of their families, but also support the growth of jobs in their respective communities, as what the program envisions,” said Baldoz.

Gaspay said that joining the competition was not easy, since he has to hurdle a lot of challenges.

“Marami po kaming pinagdaanang challenges sa competition na ito. Laking pasasalamat po talaga naming sa Panginoon at pinahintulutan po kaming makasali dito,” he narrated.

Gaspay added he felt elated after his Seaweeds Farming business proposal was chosen as the Business Plan of the Year winner in the 2015 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition.

“Kung ano po ang kalooban ng Diyos, iyon po ay mangyayari,” he said after bagging the grand prize.

Aside from being awarded as the Business Plan of 2015, Gaspay has also received a cash prize worth P500,000, given to him in three tranches.

The first tranche, amounting to P50,000 was awarded on the final round of the Competition; while the second tranche in the amount of P300,000 was given to Gaspay on 20 January 2016, after securing proper requirements and documents stated in the competition’s guidelines.

Meanwhile, the last tranche of prize amounting to P150,000, was received by Gaspay’s son, Leyzam, on 29 March 2016.

“Malaking tulong po ‘yung napalunan naming prize sa business plan competition na ‘to. ‘Yung prize po ay naging start-up business capital po namin,” said Mr. Leyzam after claiming the prize.

Leyzam expressed further his gratitude, especially to the NRCO and ISP, for the opportunity they provided to their family after winning the competition.

“Kami po ay nagpapasalamat sa Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines, ang nag-sponsor ng premyo ng competition, at sa National Reintegration Center for OFWs sa ilalim ng Department of Labor and Employment. Malaking tulong po sila sa amin na maitayo ang business na ito at sana po ay marami pa po kayong matulungan na katulad naming nagsisimula pa lang sa ganitong negosyo,”

Executive Director Chona Mantilla, said that aside from the awarding of the last tranche, the NRCO and ISP has also visited Gaspay’s seaweeds farm in Masinloc, Zambales.

“It is good to note that from a one-fourth hectare farm since the project started on the first quarter of 2016, the farm has already expanded to one hectare by March 2016,” said Mantilla.

“The first batch of seaweeds planted in January was harvested while some were used as propagules, and by April 2016, another batch of seaweeds will be harvested,” she added.

Assisting the Gaspays in putting up their seaweeds farms is the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region III.

The 2015 Business Plan Competition is a pilot project of the NRCO and ISP.
It primarily aims to encourage and handhold seafarers intending to venture into social entrepreneurship and support the growth of jobs in their hometowns.

The NRCO is mandated to develop, promote and implement a national agenda on sustainable return and reintegration to address the multi-faceted reintegration needs of returning Overseas Filipino Workers and their families, including the development of their hometowns or communities.

The Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines is a non-stock and non-profit organization formed and established for the welfare of Filipino seafarers and their families. It aims to create avenues where the seafarers' families can improve their lives while the seafarers are on active duty; and to provide ways for their easier social reintegration after the culmination of their overseas jobs.

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Baldoz to returning OFWs: Register, avail of free ‘Assist W.E.L.L.’ services in any of 24 processing centers
Source: http://www.dole.gov.ph
Returning and repatriated Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can now conveniently avail of a free and more accessible welfare, employment, legal and livelihood assistance, or ‘W.E.L.L.’, as the Department of Labor and Employment’s Assist W.E.L.L. Processing Centers have been extensively set up in different regions across the country and in four countries in Asia.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said this yesterday as she expressed optimism over the setting up of 24 Assist W.E.L.L. Processing Centers housed in three DOLE attached agencies in National Capital Region, 17 DOLE regional offices and in four Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) that operates during both emergency and normal situations.

“The Center in the regions are managed by designated technical and administrative personnel of each Regional Coordinating Council (RCCs) member agencies composed of DOLE Regional Office, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Regional Office, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Office, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Regional Office, National Reintegration Center for OFWs Regional Office and other RCC members, as may be necessary,” said Baldoz.

Returning OFWs may avail the free services offered in the following established Assist W.E.L.L. Processing Centers:

POEA–4th Floor, PST Hall, Blas F. Ople Bldg., Ortigas Avenue corner Edsa, Mandaluyong City. Tel. No.: (02) 722-1189 Email: assistwell@mancomsec@gmail.com; OWWA – Ground Floor, Room 101, OWWA Center, 7th St. corner F.B. Harrison St., Pasay City. Tel. No.: (02) 891-7601; Email: owwa_opcenter247@yahoo.com; NRCO – Ground Floor, Blas F. Ople Development Center corner Solana and Victoria Sts., Intramuros, Manila. Tel. No.: (02) 527-6184 Email:nrcoreintegration@gmail.com

Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) – Cabinet Hill, Baguio City.Tel.No.: (074) 443-5338 Email: car.nrco@gmail.com; Region I – POEA Regional Center for La Union 3rd and 4th Floors, Shania Tower, Quezon Avenue, San Fernando, La Union. Tel. No.: (072) 242-5608 Email: assistwell.ro1@gmail.com; Region II – Turingan Bldg., Caritan Centro, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. Tel. No.: (078) 844-6265 Email: ro2.nrco@gmail.com; Region III –SWLC Bldg., Diosdado Macapagal Regional Government Center, Brgy. Maimpis, San Fernando, Pampanga. Tel. No.: (045) 455-1617 Email: ro3.nrco@gmail.com/ tssd2.dolero3@gmail.com; Region IV-A – 3rd Floor, OWWA Regional Office, Hectan Bldg., Halang, Calamba, Laguna. Tel. No.: (049) 545-7357 Email: poea_calamba@yahoo.com; Region IV-B – 3rd Floor, CONFIL Bldg., Roxas Drive corner Sampaguita St., Bgy. Lumangbayan, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro Cel. No.: (0921-7975647) Email: ro4b.nrco@gmail.com; Region V–Doña Aurora St., Old Albay, Legazpi City. Tel. No.: (052) 480-0984 Email: ro5.nrco@gmail.com

Region VI-Iloilo – Swan Rose Bldg., Commission Civil St., Jaro, Iloilo City. Tel. No.: (033) 503-4610 Email: ro6.nrco@gmail.com; Region VI–Bacolod – Sugar workers Development Center, Cottage Road, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. Cel. No.: 0908-4459238 Email: ro6.nrco@gmail.com; Region VII–2nd Floor, Gorordo Avenue corner General Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City. Tel. No.: (032) 254-3199 Email: owwa.region7@gmail.com/owwa.region7@yahoo.com; Region VIII –Tacloban– Trece Martires St., Tacloban City. Tel. No.: (053) 321-3308 Email: ro8.nrco@gmail.com; Region VIII –Northern Samar – Jacinto 3, Brgy. Ipil-ipil, Catarman, Northern Samar. Tel. No.: (055) 500-9722 Email: dolero8_nsso@yahoo.com

Region IX – OWWA Regional Office, 3rd Floor, Goodwill Center, Mayor Jaldon St., Canelar, Zamboanga City. Tel. No.: (062) 991-2785 Email: dole9record@yahoo.com/ro9.nrco@gmail.com; Region X – Ground Floor, Monte Carlo Bldg., RER Phase I, Kauswagan National Highway, Cagayan de Oro City. Tel. No.: (088) 857-2583 Email: ro10.nrco@gmail.com; Region XI – 4TH Floor, AMQ Bldg., Dacudao Avenue corner Lakandula St., Agdao, Davao City. Tel. No.: (082) 226-2671 Email: dole11regionaloffice@gmail.com/ro11.nrco@gmail.com; Region XII – 102 Acepal Bldg., Mabini Extension, Koronadal City. Tel. No.: (083) 520-0545 Email: ro12.nrco@gmail.com; Region XIII –CARAGA –Nimfa Tiu Bldg., J.P. Rosales Avenue, Butuan City. Tel. No.: (085) 815-0468 Email: dolecaraga13@gmail.com/ro13.nrco@gmail.com

POLO Dubai – Villa No.2 Beirut Street No.35-A Al Qusais 3, P.O. Box 4960, Dubai UAE. Tel. No.: (9714) 220-7011; POLO Abu Dhabi – Villa No. 32, Al Dhafra St., Corner 8th Street, Mushriff Area, Abu Dhabi, UAE P.O. Box 3215; POLO Kuala Lumpur – No. 1 Changkat Kia Peng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 50450. Tel. No.: (603) 2148-4233/Fax: (603) 2143-3051; POLO Seoul – No. 5-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Tel. No.: (822) 3785-3634/35/Fax: (822) 3785-3624

“The setting up of these Centers is part of the strengthened convergence of DOLE agencies to ensure a more synchronized and systematic delivery of free assistance to returning OFW clients in a more accessible and convenient location,” said Baldoz.

“The Assist W.E.L.L. Processing Center is led by a management committee composed of heads of the POEA, OWWA, TESDA, NRCO, Bureau of Local Employment , Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns, International Labor Affairs Bureau and DOLE Regional Directors, as members,” she added.

At the National Capital Region, the Processing Centers are stationed in the main offices of POEA, OWWA and NRCO.

“The Centers are managed by designated regional and attached agencies personnel. However, deployment of more personnel shall be done should there be mass repatriation of OFWs,” said Baldoz.

“In case of an emergency or crisis, a composite team will be added composed of designated representatives of TESDA, BLE, BWSC, ILAB, DOLE Planning Service and DOLE National Capital Region to provide technical and administrative support,” she added.

Meanwhile, other Assist W.E.L.L. Processing Centers are housed at each of the DOLE Regional Offices and are overseen by the DOLE Regional Directors.

As for POLOs, its respective Labor Attachés and Administrative Staffs have been manning the program using the e-Assist W.E.L.L. database to monitor and coordinate with DOLE-attached agencies and other offices on the applications filed by the OFWs concerning assistance they need.

Among the free services that returning and repatriated OFWs may avail of are airport assistance; temporary shelter and accommodation; transport assistance to residence; emergency medical assistance; and stress debriefing/counselling by OWWA; local employment referral or placement by BLE, PESOs and DOLE Regional Offices; overseas employment referral or placement by POEA and its Regional Centers and Extension Offices, and PESOs; livelihood assistance by OWWA and NRCO; legal assistance and conciliation services; preparation and filing of complaints; and counselling during preliminary investigation and hearings by POEA, DOLE Regional Offices, RCCs, NLRC and NCMB; kabuhayan formation and enhancement; and community enterprise by BWSC and DOLE Regional Offices; and competency assistance and certification by TESDA.

The ‘Assist W.E.L.L.’, stands for ‘Welfare, Employment, Legal and Livelihood”, which is a package of government reintegration assistance and services adopted for implementation by DOLE concerned agencies by virtue of the Department Order No. 139-14 s.2014, to address the needs of migrant workers who have returned or were repatriated due to crisis or emergency situations.

To further implement its provisions, A.O. 21-16 s. 2016 was then issued early this year mandating the setting up of an Assist W.E.L.L. Processing Center in DOLE offices and agencies to ensure a more systematic and comprehensive delivery of assistance to intended OFW clients.

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DPWH-NCR May 6-9 road repair schedule
Source: http://www.bsp.gov.ph
The Department of Public Works and Highways-National Capital Region (DPWH-NCR) will undertake reblocking and road repair on the following roads in Quezon City, effective 10 PM of May 6, Friday to 5 AM of May 9, Monday:

1.Along Commonwealth Avenue Riverside to opposite Sandigan (2nd lane from center island, Southbound);

2.Along Quirino Highway in front of Chowking and Fatima (2nd lane, Southbound);

3.Along A. Bonifacio beside North Cemetery near Calavite Street (3rd lane, Southbound); and

4.Along Congressional Avenue Extension from Visayas Avenue Extension to Tandang Sora Ave. (Eastbound).

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OECD launches book on PH investment policy review
Source: http://www.dti.gov.ph
DTI Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. spoke before members of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and dignitaries from various countries at the book launching of “Investment Policy Review of the Philippines,” in Paris, France yesterday (April 26, 2016). Cristobal said “This first OECD Investment Policy Review of the Philippines presents to the world the reforms our country has instituted since 2010 to achieve a better investment climate.

The Philippine investment climate should benefit not only firms –whether foreign or domestic, large or small – but also society at large.” Cristobal assured the international community that these reforms which have been initiated will continue “not because of administrations but because it makes for good economics.” The “Investment Policy Review of the Philippines” provides a comprehensive approach in strengthening policies and institutions in the Philippines. The review is aligned with the recently updated OECD Policy Framework for Investment (PFI). The OECD is an international policy think tank composed of 34 member countries. OECD aims to promote policies that would support governments’ work to foster prosperity and fight poverty through economic growth and financial stability while taking into account environmental implications of economic and social development.

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PHL Consulate General in Los Angeles Conducts Consular Outreach in Bakersfield, CA
Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph
 

04 May 2016 – The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, led by Consul Rainier Casis conducted a one-day consular outreach program at Bakersfield, California on April 30.

The consular outreach program was undertaken in cooperation with the Filipino Community of Bakersfield & Vicinity, Inc. under the leadership of its President Mr. Jun Rivera.

A total of 92 consular services were rendered during the consular outreach program, breakdown of which are as follows:

CONSULAR SERVICES BAKERSFIELD, CA
Passport Renewal 66
Civil Registry 1
Legalization of Documents 9
Dual Citizenship with derivatives 16
TOTAL 92

Consul Casis was accompanied by Ms. Rossette Taruc, Mr. Miguel Belen, Mr. Cesar Cruz and Mr. Jay Perez.

The Consular Outreach Program is a regular activity of the Consulate to bring its various services closer to its constituents residing in areas within its jurisdiction. 

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Environmental Ombudsman Team closes illegal dumpsites
Source: http://www.ombudsman.gov.ph
The Ombudsman Environmental Team of Investigators and Prosecutors, in an open public hearing held at the Leyte Normal University in Tacloban City last week, successfully caused the closure of three open dumpsites in municipalities of Hindang and Bato in Leyte, and the municipality of Catarman in the Northern Samar. Close to 40 officials from Leyte and Catarman attended the investigation for violation of the National Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act No. 9003).

The public hearing highlighted the weeklong activities of the Environmental Ombudsman Team capped by the public forum to assess the compliance of local governments with the Solid Waste Management law. The event was spearheaded by the Office of the Ombudsman, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and civil society organizations, with Senator Loren Legarda as keynote speaker. The team also participated in an experiential training for environmental action organized by Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and world-renowned environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr. in Bantayan Island, Cebu.

Participants included officials from the Ombudsman, DENR, international environmental lawyers, NGO workers, green architects, environmental planners and student interns under the auspices of Sea and Earth Advocates of Culture, Arts and Music for the Planet (SEA CAMP) headed by Oposa.

Coinciding with the celebration of Earth Day, participants witnessed the filing of a petition proposing to divide all roads in Sta. Fe town in Bantayan by half – one half for motor vehicles and the other half for walkways and bike lanes. Officials also assisted in installing “fish condominiums” made of used fish nets and cement into the sea to provide shelter for fish and other marine life and replace the corals that were damaged by cyanide fishing and explosives, aggravated by Typhoon Yolanda. Attendees also closed-off from all human entry a freshwater wetland dedicated as a strictly protected bird sanctuary.

The Environmental Ombudsman Team will monitor post-closure activities of the LGUs concerned and ensure that the provisions of Republic Act No. 9003 and other environmental laws are fully implemented.

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January 2016 Approved applicants for registration without examination as Psychologists/Psychometricians
Source: http://www.prc.gov.ph

Manila, April 25, 2016 --- The Professional Regulation Commission announces the approved list of applicants who have qualified for registration without examination as Psychologists/Psychometricians pursuant to Sections 16 and 17 of R.A. No. 10029, known as the “Philippine Psychology Act of 2009”, and Board of Psychology Resolution No. 03 series of 2012, as follows: 

RESOLUTION NO.
2016-01;  2016-02;  2016-03

After they have registered and taken their respective Oaths of Professional, their Certificates of Registration and Professional Identification Cards will be issued accordingly.

The date and venue of the oath taking of the new psychologists and psychometricians shall be announced later by the Board of Psychology and the Commission.

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PDIC to continue processing claims of Rural Bank of Basay (Negros Oriental), Inc. depositors
Source: http://www.pdic.gov.ph
The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) announced that it will continue to receive and process deposit insurance claims from depositors of the closed Rural Bank of Basay (Negros Oriental), Inc. at the PDIC Public Assistance Center, 3rd Floor, SSS Bldg., 6782 Ayala Avenue corner V.A. Rufino Street, Makati City until March 5, 2018. Claims may also be filed by mail.

Rural Bank of Basay, which was ordered closed on March 3, 2016, has PHP156,671.47 in total estimated insured deposits involving 83 accounts. A total of PHP45,226.69 in insured deposits covering 14 accounts was paid during the onsite claim settlement operations (CSO). Another PHP41,832.70 was settled thru postal money orders sent via registered mail to 20 accounts of depositors with balances of PHP100,000 and below where filing of claims was waived by PDIC.

As of March 16, 2016, PDIC has yet to receive deposit insurance claims for PHP67,042.76 covering 47 accounts. In accordance with the provisions of the PDIC Charter, the last day for filing deposit insurance claims in the said bank is on March 5, 2018. After said date, PDIC shall no longer accept any deposit insurance claim.

When filing deposit insurance claims at the PDIC Public Assistance Center, depositors are advised to present an original evidence of deposit and two (2) valid photo-bearing IDs with signature. When filing claims through mail, the same set of documents, including a duly accomplished Claim Form, must be enclosed. The Claim Form may be downloaded for free from the PDIC website, www.pdic.gov.ph.

Depositors who are below 18 years old should submit either a photocopy of their Birth Certificate issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) or a duly certified copy issued by the Local Civil Registrar as an additional requirement, with the Claim Form signed by the parent. Claimants who are not the signatories in the bank records are required to submit an original copy of a notarized Special Power of Attorney. In the case of a minor depositor, the Special Power of Attorney must be executed by the parent. The format of the Special Power of Attorney may be downloaded from the PDIC website.

The procedures and requirements for filing deposit insurance claims are likewise posted in the PDIC website.

For more information, depositors may contact the Public Assistance Department at telephone numbers (02) 841-4630 to 31, or e-mail at pad@pdic.gov.ph. Depositors outside Metro Manila may call the PDIC Toll Free Hotline at 1-800-1-888-PDIC (7342).

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GSIS allots Php539M in emergency loan for 3 VisMin areas
Source: http://www.gsis.gov.ph
The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) allotted Php539 million in emergency loan to active members and old-age pensioners in the El Niño-affected General Santos City in South Cotabato and the provinces of Guimaras and Sarangani.

The loan is open to 17,235 active members who are who are working or residing in the calamity-declared areas, are not on leave of absence without pay, have updated premium contributions, and have no unpaid loan amortization in the last six months. The 2,052 old-age pensioners in the said areas may also apply for the loan.

Active members borrowing for the first time may apply for a Php20,000 loan. Those with an existing emergency loan may borrow up to Php40,000, from which the outstanding balance will be deducted.

The loan is payable in 36 equal monthly instalments with an interest rate of six percent per annum computed in advance. It is covered by a loan redemption insurance, which deems the loan fully paid in case of the borrower’s demise, provided the loan repayment is up to date.

Active members may apply through any GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) kiosk located in all GSIS branch and extension offices; provincial capitols; city halls; selected municipal offices; large government agencies such as the Department of Education; 27 Robinsons Malls; and SM City branches in North EDSA, Manila, Pampanga, Cebu, and SM Aura in Taguig.

Old-age pensioners must file their loan application over the counter. If they are also active GSIS members (when they reentered government service), they may avail of this emergency loan only once.

The deadline of application for the loan is May 4, 2016 in Guimaras, May 5 in General Santos City, and May 7 in Sarangani.

Loan proceeds are electronically credited to the borrower’s GSIS eCard or unified multipurpose identification (UMID) card.

For inquiries, qualified borrowers may email gsiscares@gsis.gov.ph; visit the GSIS website, www.gsis.gov.ph; or call the GSIS Contact Center at 847-4747.

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New SSS partnerships for the direct release of sickness, maternity and EC benefits to members? bank accounts
Source: http://www.bsp.gov.ph
Top officials from the Social Security System (SSS) and 25 partner banks participated in the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the expanded coverage of the Sickness, Maternity and Employees? Compensation Payment thru the Bank (SMEC-PB) Program during ceremonies held at the Ramon Magsaysay Hall of the SSS main office in Diliman, Quezon City on April 19.

SMEC-PB provides for the direct release of sickness, maternity and Employees Compensation (EC) benefit payments to the members? automated teller machine (ATM), current or savings accounts. It offers a faster, easier, safer and more convenient means of releasing cash benefits to SSS self-employed and voluntary members, non-working spouses, overseas Filipino workers and employee-members separated from employment.

For the agreement signatories, the new payment scheme helps SSS reduce its operational procedures and expenses from check printing and mailing, while the accredited banks can further expand their clientele through new bank accounts. Previously, SSS made it mandatory to employers to enroll in the sickness and maternity benefit payment thru-the-bank (SMB-PB) program to receive SSS reimbursements for their employees? sickness and maternity benefits.

Photo shows SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. de Quiros, Jr. (seated, 4th from right) together with (seated, from left) General Accounting Department Manager II Belinda B. Ella; Assistant Vice President for Sickness, Maternity and Disability Benefits Administration Department Jocelyn M. Evangelista; Vice President for Benefits Administration Division Agnes E. San Jose, and Commissioner for General Public Michael Victor N. Alimurung.

Also in photo are the representatives of SSS partner banks, namely Asia United Bank, Bank of Commerce, China Banking Corporation, CityState Savings Bank Inc., Country Builders Bank Inc., CTBC Bank Corporation, Development Bank of the Philippines, East West Bank, First Consolidated Bank, Innovative Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines, Merchant Savings Bank, One Network Bank, Phil Bank of Communications, Philippine Business Bank, Philippine Savings Bank, Philippine National Bank, PNB Savings Bank, Philippine Veterans Bank, Postbank Savings Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Security Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Union Bank of the Philippines and United Coconut Planters Bank. Century Savings Bank, Guagua Rural Bank and Philippine Trust Company will also participate in the SMEC-PB Program.

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Locally developed knee surgical technique puts patient back to LIFE mode
Source: http://www.dost.gov.ph
Editha de Guzman had, for about seven years, struggled with knee arthritis which limited her mobility and caused her excruciating pain in the last year. When she was in Canada where one of her daughters lives, she wouldn’t go out with her friends and instead, just stayed home watching TV. Mornings were especially trying as she struggled to get up from bed with difficulty. In the middle of the night, she would wake up to answer nature’s call but had to crawl all the way to the bathroom, as she didn’t want to wake up any of her children.

But a trip back to the Philippines to have her knees checked changed everything. She learned she had to undergo knee replacement operation for both her knees. The cost, however, was too expensive.

World-class technology developed by Filipinos

Until she learned of another option: the Axis Knee Replacement System, the only one of its kind in Southeast Asia, and which has been in the Philippine market since July 2015.

With funding by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council on Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), the Axis Knee Replacement System was developed by a team spearheaded by internationally renowned surgeon Dr. Ramon B. Gustilo from Negros Occidental. The team is composed of Filipino, American, Japanese, and Chinese specialists.

A knee implant basically has three components: the femoral (thigh) component made of a highly polished metal alloy, the tibial (shin) component made of polymer sometimes held in a metal tray, and the patellar (knee cap) component which is also made of polymer. A well-designed knee implant can last up to 20 years.

During surgery, the surgeon cuts off damaged cartilage and bone from the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee and replaces them with these artificial parts. They should be well aligned with the mechanical axis of the leg.

“Axis means that the system achieves correct positioning of the implant components in relation to the mechanical axis which is the line from the center of the hip joint to the center of the knee to the center of the ankle,” explained Dr. Gustilo.

The Axis Knee Replacement System is made of similar materials as other knee systems sold in different countries around the world. Yet, it has many features that make it unique from existing systems, which Dr. Gustilo and his team believe will give better patient satisfaction and outcome.

Among these is the instrumentation. “These refer to a set of instruments used to guide the surgeon to make the proper cuts in the bone, so that the knee implant components would fit over these cut surfaces of the bone and at the same time, they would be properly aligned with respect to the mechanical axis,” said Engr. Jude L. Sasing, a member of Dr. Gustilo’s team.

The system consists of three trays of instruments – more than 50 instruments all in all – in contrast to imported knee systems which consist of six to nine trays of instruments. “They’re like hand tools – one of them looks like a hammer, another looks like a pair of pliers, while another looks like a cutting block with slots where you insert the saw blade used for cutting the bone,” said Engr. Sasing as he described the Axis Knee System instrumentation.

Among these instruments is the Mechanical Axis Finder, a portable, cost-efficient, and reusable device which locates this imaginary line called the mechanical axis. In many hospitals around the world, a computerized navigation technology is used to locate the mechanical axis. Only a few hospitals in the Philippines have this equipment. Computerized navigation systems also cost more than P20M and add at least P20,000 to the total cost of surgery.

Another feature of the Axis Knee System is a novel surgical technique called “Soft Tissue First Technique” that takes full advantage of the unique instruments. This new technique involves ligament balancing before cutting bone. The instruments and technique guide the surgeon to achieve optimal implant alignment for each patient.

Meanwhile, knee implants imported from the United States and Europe cost between P100,000 to P120,000. While the materials are the same, their local counterpart costs about P60,000 in government hospitals and P70,000 in private hospitals.

“The salaries of our engineers is one reason [for the cost efficiency],” explained Dr. Gustilo. “In the States, aside from the fact that you can manufacture knee implants, the cost in hospitals is too expensive.”

The product is manufactured by Gustilo’s Orthopaedic International, Inc. (OII) with Engr. Sasing himself as its President. Based in Cabuyao, Laguna, OII is an ISO 13485-certified facility which has been designing, developing, and manufacturing orthopedic products including trauma, spine and joint replacement systems, for the past 20 years. ISO 13485 represents the requirements for a comprehensive quality management system for the design and manufacture of medical devices.

“The market right now is global,” stressed Dr. Ilustre I. Guloy, Jr., chairman of Asian Hospital and Medical Center’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery. “So it doesn’t matter whether it is made in the Philippines or in Vietnam or in China because manufacturing is really made globally. What’s important is whether you comply with standards and are ISO certified.” Dr. Guloy is also a member of Dr. Gustilo’s team of surgeons and engineers who conceptualized and developed the knee system.

“We are proud to say that the conceptualization is all Filipino engineers, doctors, with consultants from US, China, and Japan,” added Dr. Guloy, “but this is a Filipino venture.”

Successful operation

Thus last February 17, 2016, de Guzman, 68, underwent operation for both knees performed by Dr. Guloy.

“Pag gising ko, walang sakit (When I woke up, there was no pain),” she recalled. It stayed painless the next morning. After one week, she was already climbing the stairs at the hospital and shortly after, she went malling with her daughters the whole day.

She can now do the things she used to do like cooking, doing the laundry, and going to the market, among other things. She can even go to the beach now.

“Hindi mo maramdaman na may bakal sa loob. Parang normal lang. (It doesn’t feel that there’s something inside. I just feel normal).”

The only problem is she still finds it a little difficult to stand up by herself which, Dr. Guloy said, is natural. He assured her that with therapy, the problem will go away in due time. She receives therapy three times a week, aside from the medications for the first two weeks after the operation.

Leap of faith for de Guzman family

As of April 2016, there have been 61 cases of Axis Knee Replacement surgeries in the Philippines.

Editha de Guzman is one of Dr. Guloy’s latest patients. Initially, she and her children Tess, Jojo, Mavic, Cesar Jr., and Cecil had misgivings about it, considering that it is a new surgical technique and is a lot more cost-efficient than imported knee implants.

“Nangayayat ako sa kakaisip. Minsan nga hindi ako nakakatulog. Sabi ko, ‘Bilhan niyo nalang ako ng wheelchair kasi natatakot ako. O kaya pa-injection-an niyo na lang ako (I thought about it a lot, I grew thin. Sometimes, I couldn’t even sleep. I said, ‘Just buy me a wheelchair because I’m scared. Or let me have the injection),’” she told her children who started researching about the Axis Knee System on the Internet.

Their initial apprehension then turned into approval upon learning that the Axis Knee System uses the same materials as knee implants made abroad and the people who developed it are from UP and are acclaimed doctors. As a last push of encouragement, Cecil told her mom, “Sige na Nanay. Yung pera napapalitan. Yung Nanay, hindi. (C’mon mom, money can be replaced, but not you.)”

Thus, they turned to Dr. Guloy for the knee replacement procedure. It was “a leap of faith,” as Cecil termed it.

Achieving goals

Editha de Guzman’s goal and that of her children and seven grandchildren has been achieved.

“Napakalaking ginhawa itong pagkaka-opera sa akin talaga (The knee operation has given me such a huge relief really),” de Guzman said.

She plans to go back to Canada this June and be ready to go out with her friends in Winnipeg once again. She’s also planning a trip to the Holy Land before the end of the year.

“This is really life changing. What we were trying to avoid is when her mobility becomes very limited and then she will get depressed,” Cecil revealed. “So now she’s no longer irritable. The old Nanay is back.

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