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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Sulu Experience...

My first stop was Patikul. The town I’ve always heard about in the news. We joined the Seventh Day Prayer but we never got to that part. We all just sat at the table and who could blame us?

The doctors and RHU employees had their hands full. They were treating children from common colds and cough but a few weeks after I left, they were treating the wounded. There was a military assault on suspected Abusayaf in Indanan and Ed General informed us that there were civilians caught in the crossfire…

I met local officials, young leaders, NGO colleagues and our hard working media team. All are doing their part to help Sulu… Tanks rolled the streets and my escorts were heavily armed… it was a strange feeling when you’re used to riding a tricycle or habal-habal when monitoring.

Photos by: Ed General and Chi Laigo Vallido

Information shared by: Chi Laigo Vallido

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Breaktime... Meet the PNGOC gals and guys...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Theater Workshop at Paracelis


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Paracelis, Mt. Province: Service Begins where the Road Ends...

This is how a typical road in Paracelis, Mt. Province looks like...

Though there are few cemented portions such as this, majority of them are rough roads and a little rain makes them all muddy. And we have only been at the Poblacion... Imagine what it's like in the inner barangays of the municipality. Some of the participants in the workshop we conducted literally walked mountains to reach the poblacion; travelling all night and arriving in the venue at daybreak... Obviously, access is never easy. Information do not often reach them and so do basic health services. The MHO, true to its commitment that "service begins, where the road ends", bring health services to communities that cannot reach them. With support from the UNFPA, series of outreach activities inclusive of RH care are conducted within far flung barangays and we were privileged to join them in one...

The question is, will these RH services and outreach activities continue even beyond the programme? We could only surmise... and the challenge to our advocacy continue....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fr. John Maxwell:

Media Partners, just want to share with you these words of wisdom I find relevant as we do advocacy initiatives in your respective areas:

Great Leaders understand
that the right attitude
will set the right atmosphere
that enables the right response
from others.

IEC/Advocacy Messages for TAWI-TAWI

Message Reads as:
Family Planning

Translations using Tausug and Sama dialect.

Shared by Cecil Abuy, Broadcaster,RPN– DXXX – TV5

Basic Training of Media on RH, Gender and PopDev

In line with PNGOC's commitment to strengthen and broaden The Alliance of RH Media Advocates working to improve the quality of lives of Filipinos, particularly in the ten (10) priority areas under the UNFPA 6th Country Programme, a Media Practitioners' Workshop on RH, Gender and Population Reporting will be held on August 28-31, 2006, at The Lotus Garden Hotel, Malate, Manila. Three (3) participants from each of the pilot area (Mountain Province, Ifugao, Bohol, Masbate, Eastern Samar, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Lanao Del Sur, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu) are expected to attend.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ours for awhile, God's forever...

The Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare, Inc. and The Alliance of RH Media Advocates would like to extend its deepest condolences to Ms. Rina Jimenez David, columnist from the Philippine Daily Inquirer and a staunch advocate of RH and women's rights, and to her family, whose brother Mr. Nono Jimenez passed away this afternoon, August 18, 2006. His remains lie at Christ The King, Green Meadows.
We call on everyone to take a moment and offer a prayer for him.

Another Birthday!

Happy Happy Birthday Boy P. !!!
August 17, 2006
(Coordinator, Bohol RH Media Advocates)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Strengthening Teatro Kabbule

Pursuant to our commitment in tapping alternative media for advocacy, Area Media Coordinator EV Espiritu conducted another workshop for Teatro Kabbule last July 13-16, 2006 at Kiangan Youth Hostel. Part of the workshop's objectives is to further enhance the group's capabilities, learn the history, philosophy and new concepts regarding theater and develop new materials for their future performances in advocating RH, Gender and Population Development.

New members have been recruited to ensure the group's viability. The following were forms of play developed during the workshop:

  • Dulaang Pangperyodiko
  • Dulaang Kampanya
  • Dulaang "Chanting"

Teatro Kabbule recently performed during the WPD '06 celebration in the Province of Ifugao.

Information and Photos shared by: EV Espiritu, PDI-Northern Luzon

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The RH Media Advocates in Action

***on the right portion, second to the last: Media Coordinator for Lanao/Maguindanao
last picture on the right side: Media Coordinator for Sulu [with the Mayor of Jolo, Sulu]
last picture on the left side: Media Coordinator for Tawi-Tawi

Tapping the Power of Alternative Media

When we hear the word media, three (3) things automatically come to mind – TV, radio and print (newspapers, magazines, and the like). All other forms are usually considered part of alternative media.

Much hype is given to the power and overwhelming, at times even uncanny influence the "media" has over the general public. In this regard, considering media as a sector to reckon with in matters of any advocacy is as evident as the heat of summer or the wind chills of December. Nonetheless, media is not limited to these three (3) forms as one medium almost forgotten and neglected, and yet as powerful and captivating is the so-called "alternative media", particularly indigenous theater.

Accordingly, in the CAR areas such as Mt. Province and Ifugao classified to be among the poorest provinces in the country; where electricity remains unstable and some people still unable to read and write, utilizing "indigenous theater" for advocacy becomes a necessity. With sustainability as a consideration as we try to avoid interventions that produce little or no effect at all at the end of the project, the Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare, Inc. (PNGOC) held a Theater Workshop for Play Development on RH, Gender, and Population in Summer Place Hotel, Baguio City last March 20-23, 2006. Ten (10) participants from Teatro Kabbule (Ifugao) and ten (10) participants from Teatro Paracelis (Mt. Province) attended the said training. It aimed to harness the theatrical abilities of the locals vis-à-vis the integration of RH, Gender and Population issues and concerns in their performances and plays. Resultantly, it empowers these local trained people to initiate, continue, and mount in turn, their gained knowledge through their work and in their art as they try to get the message across to the rest of the members of their respective communities.

To this date, watching theater performances is a form of entertainment widely practiced in these communities. Festivities and celebrations are seemingly void if no Theater Festival or Performances are showcased. Needless to state, this is primarily the medium to tap in indigenous communities in order to ensure that these people gain access to any information such as their sexual and reproductive health rights.

Trust, developed through time and genuine concern, is vital for continuing conversations in which people's lives and discussions radically change over time as they begin to feel comfortable speaking about their reality. Participatory narrative and performing arts activities such as theater performances, image theater and forum theater among others, generally referred to as alternative media, are deemed more effective and produce greater impact in getting people to listen, reflect and open themselves to unconventional truths. Resistance is lessened, if not altogether avoided, that acceptance and awareness to reproductive choices and rights are realized. It turns a sense of passivity and/or denial into a more active sense of entitlement, and from there, it enables people to collectively demand what is rightfully theirs. This strategy, which allowed free thinking in processing information and messages that surfaces because of these performances would most likely yield positive results. At this point it makes one wonder, is alternative media really just an alternative?

As the process evolves, the power of alternative media ultimately becomes more valuable and helpful; that linking local issues to advocacy for national and global changes, principally through this method, may likely be achieved.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Time out: It's their birthday!!!


Friday, August 04, 2006

No Kill Bill 2 for HB3773

House Speaker Jose de Venecia vowed there would be no Kill Bill 2 for the controversial bill on population management, which is expected to galvanize not only the Congress but the whole nation as well. "We will not kill this bill," said De Venecia to an audience of provincial media last May 22, 2006 at the Office of the House Speaker. "At the end of the day, the bill would have to be debated," he said. House Bill3773, also known as the Responsible Parenthood and population Management Act of 2005, is up for plenary. A bill similar to it has not seen the light of day during the past Congress. "Both sides are strong and powerful. On one side, the population explosion is a reality and we can no longer support our people and our resources are dwindling. On the other hand, we have to contend with the encyclicals and opposition from the Church," De Venecia said. Majority House Leader Nograles said that they have to tackle tackling bills certified urgent by the Office of the President like the abolition of the death penalty and the electoral reform bill. "We know this is a controversial bill (HB 3773) and we have a powerful lobby against this but we are determined to take this up," said Nograles. He also said that the bill had been calendared before their July 8 recess. "Previously, whenever the bill is up for discussion, a lawmaker opposed to the bill would question the quorum and that means we have to call everybody downstairs," Nograles said. "I have to be very frank, it would not be smooth sailing," he said. "I propose that each and every lawmaker in the House would vote on the basis of their conscience and not on political parties," De Venecia said. "We will have a full debate for and against the bill and we will have full transparency," he said. "There should be no biases and prejudices," he added.

"I see the population explosion as a problem and I see no solution. But personally, I have only one vote,' De Venecia said. According to the political mapping made by the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD), there are 100 representatives who are authors of HB 3773 and there are 53 who are against it. There are nine authors who are wavering and seven non-authors who are supportive. PLCPD said the battle would be on the 66 who are neutral. According to the political map, De Venecia and Nograles are listed as neutral. The PLCPD is an NGO established in 1989, whose 62 members are legislators advocating population and development concerns. Majority of the undecided said that they still need to know more about the bill. A few said that they have been approached by their bishops. "Vote for what's good for the country," De Venecia said.

HB 3773 calls for age-appropriate mandatory reproductive health and sexuality education from Grade 5 up to 4th year high school; retraining of barangay health workers on the delivery of RH services with a 10 percent increase in honoraria; provision of a mobile health care service van for each congressional district and implementation of RH in the workplace. Two children per family shall be encouraged but not mandatory or compulsory and no punitive action would be made on those having more than two children, the bill said.

Article by: Frank Cimatu
Media Coordinator, Mt. Province
Photos by: EV Espiritu
Media Coordinator, Ifugao

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

LINK: Partnerships for Better Lives

LINK is a newsletter that we, provincial media practitioners developed and published through the assistance of the Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare, Inc. (PNGOC), an umbrella organization of 95 NGOs working all over the Philippines. Through their support and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), we will regularly come out with this publication that shows the realities our “kababayans” face in their day to day lives. We come from the poorest provinces of the country and as we document and report about the various issues that our provinces face, we took it upon ourselves to come together and be part of the solution. While our stories highlight health and development issues, it also reflects the many triumphs of people in trying to overcome the odds. It is our hope that through our stories in LINK, we will be able to draw your support in helping us address our provinces’ many concerns.
We are here to work with you.

Calling all RH Media Advocates


Location: TBC Language: English Dates: November / 2006

Eligible Journalists: Participants should be full time reporters and feature writers on mainstream media who cover HIV/AIDS issues (not necessarily as specialists). Must have a minimum of 2 years experience in journalism and come from developing countries in Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean.

Shared by: Frank Cimatu,
Correspondent, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Northern Luzon Bureau
Media Coordinator, Mt. Province

A Sneak Peek during the Workshop with The Probe Team

Effective Reporting on RH, Gender and PopDev” in partnership with PROBE Media Foundation, Inc. – May 21-24, 2006; The Heritage Hotel
  • 27 Local Media Practitioners working for the ten (10) project sites were trained in this workshop;
  • Provided a venue for the local media from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to meet and collaborate, thereby strengthening the alliance of RH Media Advocates working under the UNFPA 6th CP;
  • The workshop included presentations by experts on the issues to provide information, and clarify any misconceptions on gender, population and RH. It was then followed by presentations by media professionals to give the participants’ ideas and suggestions on how to better present their reports. The presentations were backed by field trips and writing/reporting exercises to put the learned principles to practice. Their works were presented and evaluated for feedback and improvement.

NGO Visit and Local Media Dialogue with JDV and Cong. Nograles (May 22, 2006)

In maximizing the local media's presence in Manila and intensify the advocacy campaign for the passage of HB 3773 in Congress, the RH Media Advocates engaged House Speaker Jose De Venecia and Majority Floor Leader Prospero Nograles in a dialogue re: HB 3773. Both congressmen signified support for the bill if it reaches the plenary, however, other pending bills deemed urgent by Malacanang remain the priority in the HOR sessions. (Read: RH and PopDev not urgent in the present government!) This took place on the day the media had field visits to NGOs engaged in RH care and services. As a result of said dialogue, articles were published in PDI, Baguio Midland Courier, Publiko Express and radio discussions took place in Radyo ng Bayan-Eastern Samar and Jolo, Sulu; Radyo Natin-Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, dxMS in Cotabato City; dxGD in Zamboanga.