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City of Balanga and SPARC Philippines Inc. to Build Showcase eCommunityCenter

City of Balanga and SPARC Philippines Inc. to Build Showcase eCommunityCenter The City of Balanga, represented by its Mayor, Jose Enrique Garcia III, and SPARC Philippines Inc., represented by its Chairman & CEO, George Delmas, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build the first SPARC eCommunityCenter (eCC) in the city, which will serve as model for all local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines.

SPARC’s eCC is a single point of presence within the community that offers access to all digital inclusion services under one roof including, but not limited to, e-government, e-health, e-education and e-commerce services. The idea of placing everything in one location is for the LGU to be proactive and have greater control over its social ICT infrastructure.

“Digital inclusion is part and parcel of the city’s vision - Balanga University Town 2020: The Emerging Hub for Knowledge-Based Businesses in the Philippines,” said Mayor Garcia. “Providing our citizens’ ICT needs today and having the infrastructure that is at par with international standards indeed meets Balanga’s 2020 vision; and so we’re pleased to work with SPARC who seem to have an innovative, modular & sustainable platform for various eServices”, added the Mayor.

Mr. Delmas, for his part, said, “We’re happy and excited that our synergies for this project have converged. We chose Balanga because because of its ideal location, high concentration of students & professionals and excellent working environment. SPARC has assembled a global team of industry veterans and leading ICT suppliers and integrators to make this showcase eCC in Balanga a success.”

SPARC, which stands for Sustainable Progressive Action for the Revitalization of Communities, is an initiative of SPARC Asia Holdings Ltd., a Vancouver, Canada-based company that was formed to address this digital inclusion challenge. SPARC Philippines Inc. was set up primarily for this purpose.

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DENR, City Gov’t Give Livelihood To Coastal Villagers

DENR, City Gov’t Give Livelihood To Coastal Villagers One hundred sixty residents coming from coastal villages of Bagumbayan, Tortugas, Pto. Rivas Ibaba and Pto. Rivas Itaas have just recently undergone formal training on “cocomat” weaving. The training was given by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the City Government as an alternative livelihoood source for the residents.

“This project is part of the government’s Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project to prepare informal settlers living along riverbanks to convert coconut husks into a viable source of income after they are relocated,” Mila Ramirez of DENR-Bataan office said. “Bahagi rin ito ng pangangalaga sa ating kalikasan at upang mabigyan ng silbi ang inaakala nating basura na magamit sa makabuluhang bagay na pwedeng pagkakitaan,” she added.

She also said that aside from raw materials, beneficiaries were also given fabricated weaving machines, twinning machines and strainer. Nerissa Mateo, chief of the City Agriculture Office, told newsmen here that aside from “cocomat”, the materials given to trainees were also used to create other products like dishwashing pads, lanterns and lamp shades.

“The products will be brought to Makati City for the LIKHA- Central Luzon on September 29 through the help of DTI-Bataan,” Mateo added.

Meanwhile, Raul Mamac, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO)- Bataan, urged all sectors to help his agency maintain the project for the beneficiaries to derive greater benefit and become self-sustaining residents of their communities.

Mhike R. Cigaral

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Balanga: Champion in National Literacy

Balanga: Champion in National Literacy BAGUIO CITY - For the second time, Balanga City won the 2014 National Literacy Awards (for component city category) during the selection held in this city over the weekend.

The award was witnessed by department heads led by City Administrator Rodolfo H. de Mesa and barangay officials of Balanga City who motored all the way to the City of Pines.

Elated by the win, Mayor Joet S. Garcia congratulated all the finalists who, he said, “believe in prioritizing education to bring about inclusive progress and development.”

In his acceptance speech, Mayor Garcia said, “this award means so much to our city because our vision is to be a city that is known for excellent education & strong learning atmosphere (both formal & informal)... by fostering the culture of learning.”

Mayor Garcia also took cognizance of the dedication of barangay officials in implementing the Learning Barangay Week where seniors citizens, women’s groups, out-of-school youth and fishermen/farmers continuously undergo various skills & livelihood trainings and assessment programs as well as get to know and participate in barangay affairs. “All our 300 officials completed the barangay executive management program- a short course designed by the Bataan Peninsula State University,” Garcia said.

He also lauded the more than 5,000 parents who took time to attend the city's ‘EduChild’ parenting program to become even more responsible, saying this has led to 100% promotion rate. 20% of their children are honor students in the elementary level.

He also cited the efforts of the more than 2,500 teachers from daycare, elementary, high school and college, for their dedication in sharing their knowledge with students, making Balanga City Schools Division to consistently top NAT rankings and ALS passing rates in Central Luzon.

“We've dedicated a wall at City Hall called “University Town Wall of Fame” to recognize our college graduates who have landed in the top 10 of board/licensure exams in engineering, architecture, accounting, education, nursing & other fields,” Garcia proudly reported.

Balanga City won its first award in 2012.


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Vaccinations against polio and measles kick off in Bataan

Vaccinations against polio and measles kick off in Bataan BALANGA City - The Bataan Provincial and Balanga City health offices on Monday’s flag-raising ceremonies launched the “Tigdas – German Measles – and Oral Polio Vaccine Mass Immunization” program in separate ceremonies.

Gov. Albert Raymond Garcia and brother City Mayor Jose Enrique S. Garcia, III administered oral polio vaccines to some infants at the Bataan Capitol and Balanga City Hall, respectively.

Health workers in the two health offices, on the other hand, administered measles rubella vaccine to selected babies.

The mass immunization was held simultaneously in all health centers in 11 towns and one city in the province. This will continue until September 30, 2014.

Dr. Rosanna Buccahan, provincial health officer, said there are 101,127 infants to be vaccinated with oral polio vaccine and 86,145 babies with measles rubella in Bataan.

She asked all parents to bring their children to the health centers.

Oral polio vaccine is given to children from birth to five years old while measles rubella to those aged nine months to five years.

The mass vaccination is a project of the Department of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

In Bataan some non-government organizations like Rotary Club assist the health offices in implementing the program.

Perla Esconde
Provincial Information Office

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3 PHL ‘smoke-free champions’ feel proud of achievement

3 PHL ‘smoke-free champions’ feel proud of achievement BALANGA City - Three city mayors in the country considered as “smoke-free champions” on Thursday expressed elation over their achievement, saying a big majority of their constituents support their program of attaining a 100 percent smoke-free environment.

Mayors Maloney Samaco of Maasin City, Leyte; Jose Enrique Garcia, III of Balanga City, Bataan and Bentham dela Cruz of Amlan City, Negros Occidental are last termers but vowed to continue with their advocacy.

All three city chief executives considered educating people and good information as major key in the success of their campaign. “People have to support the program to succeed,” they said.

The three cities are among the few cities in the Hall of Fame of the Department of Health after receiving Red Orchid Awards for three consecutive years in the anti-smoking campaign.

Samaco said selling of cigarettes in 70 barangays of Maasin is banned. He said that he no longer issues Mayor’s Permit to stores and wholesalers selling cigarettes after getting the Red Orchid Award.

“Why give a permit for selling a product that kills, gives sickness? I want my people to stay healthy,” Samaco said. Maasin has a population of 88,000.

Garcia foresees not only Bataan but the Philippines as smoke-free by 2025 beginning with the cities.

He announced that in Tuesday’s executive meeting of the League of Cities of the Philippines, Red Orchid Hall of Famers urged members to pass smoke-free ordinances to be presented to the General Assembly in October this year.

“We are happy to host a workshop for smoke-free champions in Southeast Asia and partners,” Garcia told delegates and participants in the Second Regional Workshop of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance.

Dela Cruz said Amlan City and Negros Occidental are already smoke-free but not tobacco-free. “We use tobacco as pesticides for our organic farming,” the mayor said.

He said that public places in their area are smoke-free, extending even to private residences.

Rommel Ariola of the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines, said many cities and municipalities in the Philippines are already Red Orchid awardees. He said that Davao City and Maasin City were in the first batch of Hall of Famers, followed by some cities, among them Balanga and the municipality of Amlan.

Perla Esconde
Provincial Information Office

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