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Angara Wants Scholarship Program for Medical Students to Become a Law

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Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the passage of a bill that seeks to establish a medical scholarship program in the country to ensure the availability of doctors in every province nationwide.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has recently announced that it has allocated P317 million from its 2017 budget to provide free tuition for medical students in eight state universities and colleges (SUCs) for academic year 2017-2018.

We commend the CHED for giving priority to the education of our med students. To sustain this, I urge my colleagues to support the passage of the bill establishing a medical scholarship program in the country so that the budget for their free tuition will be assured every year,” Angara said.

According to CHED, new and continuing Filipino medical students can avail themselves of a full tuition subsidy from the following schools: University of Northern Philippines, Mariano Marcos State University, Cagayan State University, Bicol University, West Visayas State University, University of the Philippines (UP) Leyte, Mindanao State University, and UP Manila.

Beneficiaries of the tuition subsidy will be required to render one year of return service in the Philippines for every year of cash grant received. They can serve as doctors in government or private hospitals, local government health facilities or become doctors to the barrios.

Under Angara’s Senate Bill 1157, the medical scholarship program will not only include free tuition, but also allowance for prescribed books, supplies and equipment, clothing and uniform, housing accommodation, transportation and other related miscellaneous living allowances.

The proposed scholarship program shall accept at least one beneficiary from every province in the country. The number of beneficiaries per province shall depend on the number of medical doctors needed for each province as determined by the Department of Health (DOH).

The lack or the maldistribution of doctors and healthcare professionals in the country is truly alarming. Most doctors and medical specialists are concentrated in urban centers and larger municipalities, leaving far-flung communities largely unserved,” the senator said.

At present, based on DOH data, there is one doctor for every 33,000 Filipinos–a far cry from the World Health Organization standard which is one doctor for every 20,000 population.

Recent data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that three out of five Filipinos die without seeing a doctor, nurse or any other allied health professional.

Angara’s bill further requires beneficiaries to serve their provincial hospital for at least five years upon passing the medical board examination.

Data from the UP College of Medicine showed that about 80 percent of its graduates leave the country to practice medicine abroad.

The high cost of med school prompts new doctors to join private hospitals which offer higher pay. More lucrative opportunities abroad also lead to an exodus of medical professionals. This bill seeks to reverse these trends and address the continuing need for doctors in our provincial public hospitals,” the lawmaker said.

Angara also urged President Duterte to sign into law the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education bill to provide free education to all students enrolled in SUCs.

Source: senate.gov.ph

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Be Wary of Phishing, Spoofing – BSP

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The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reminded the public anew to be cautious of phishing and spoofing scams.

BSP advises the public to watch out for these scams and be cautious of emails that ask for details like personal information such as username, password, account number, card number, CVV code, PIN, birthday. According to BSP, banks would not request these details thru email.

The public is also advised to watch for emails with generic greeting, misspelling or bad grammar, unexpected or not typically received. Also, a link to another website which is possibly a fake website, and emails that does not give you full contact details of the sender.

Phishing is an act wherein fraudsters get your personal information thru legitimate-looking email and use it to illegally access your account. Meanwhile, spoofing is an act wherein fraudsters fool you to click a link to a website that looks legitimate to get your account details.

BSP reminded the public to immediately verify or report to your bank if you receive this kind of email and to copy furnish and / or report to BSP or call at (02) 708-7087. (bsp/epc/jeg/pia-ncr)

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Globe Telecom Looks at Global Best Practices in Fight vs. Illegal Sites, Child Pornography

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Globe Telecom looks at global best practices in Singapore and other countries in its fight against illegal sites and child pornography in order to protect the rights of young Filipino boys and girls who are most susceptible to exploitation and abuse.

The island-state currently regulates the presence of objectionable content and conduct online through its Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as enabled by the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act and carried out by Singapore’s Media Development Authority. A list of 100 websites are banned including a site that allegedly recruited underage boys for sex and nude photography.

In the Philippines, the Anti-child Pornography Act of 2009, Intellectual Property Code, and the Anti-Camcording Law were previously placed to combat child pornography and other illegal sites. In 2014, the Cyber Crime Law took effect that made any crime under the Revised Penal Code, which is a list of general punishable acts, be considered a cybercrime if done using a computer or the internet. Thus, prior laws pertaining to intellectual rights and piracy are given more support for enforcement.

With enabling laws, regulatory agencies such as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Intellectual Property Office (IPO), and the Optical Media Board (OMB) among others can learn from the practice of other countries if the Philippines is really serious at combating piracy and child pornography.

Yoly Crisanto, Globe SVP for Corporate Communications, said: “This advocacy is important especially as we contribute greatly to the development of a digital nation. We want to provide our customers with safe and quality content and ensure that our products and services are not used for illegal activities. At the same time, we want to protect intellectual property rights including our own original content and the licensed content of our global and local partners so that we can give the people who create content what’s rightfully due them.”

In 2017, Globe invested 2.7 million dollars to improve its Domain Name System (DNS) with several blocking capabilities that enabled the company to block close to 2,500 domains or sites found to have lewd and child pornography-related content and will continue to actively look out for such illegal sites.

Although the Philippines has Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 to protect every child from all forms of exploitation and abuse, sadly the country continue to top the list of global sources of child pornography based on the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) The State of The World’s Children 2017 report entitled “Children in a Digital World. The situation, however, is expected to improve with the signing into law of the child online protection provision in RA 10929 or the Free Internet in Public Places Act.

The Unicef report noted that the pervasiveness of the Internet, mobile apps and online payment methods further aided in the proliferation of child pornography and sex trafficking.

It was collaborated by another report from the International Justice Mission, a human rights group handling cases of online exploitation of children in the Philippines which noted that 8 out of 10 victims that they have rescued are 12 years old and below, some even as young babies.

Under Philippine law, “child pornography” refers to ”any representation, whether visual, audio, or written combination thereof, by electronic, mechanical, digital, optical, magnetic or any other means, of child engaged or involved in real or simulated explicit sexual activities”.

The fight against child pornography and illegal sites is part of Globe Telecom’s #PlayItRight advocacy campaign to ensure that its products and services are not used in illegal activities and to protect the copyrighted content of its global partners.

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Duterte Wants Gov’t Workers Strictly Banned from Entering Casinos

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In line with his call to all government workers to avoid lavish lifestyles, President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the strict implementation of a law prohibiting public servants from entering gambling casinos.

During the launch of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank) last Thursday, President Duterte said he made his directive to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa.

“I just issued an order to Bato last night. Sabi ko, Bato, halika, maglagay ka sa casino prohibiting all workers of government from entering,” Duterte said.

“May PD niyan eh. There’s a law. At that time, it was a law. It’s still the law. It was never modified or repealed. Sabi pa ni Bato, ‘Lagay mo diyan ‘all government employees’,” he added.

When asked by Dela Rosa if he would include government officials, President Duterte said: “Lahat kami workers.”

“That’s why I’d like to remind everybody: We are all workers of government and we serve the people,” the President said.

Former President Ferdinand Marcos had issued Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1067-B granting the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation a franchise to establish, operate, and maintain gambling casinos.

Both PD 1067-B and its amended version PD 1869 prohibit government officials, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and persons under 21 years of age or students from entering and playing in casinos.

In September 2016, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued Memorandum Circular No. 6 ordering all public officials and employees, including military and police, to strictly observe all laws banning them from entering, staying, or playing in the casinos.

Recently, Medialdea issued a separate memorandum providing guidelines to all government officials and personnel in the executive department applying for foreign travels.

The memorandum was made in line with Pres. Duterte’s campaign to cut down extravagant and lavish foreign trips.

Duterte, a popular graft buster during his 23 years of service as mayor of Davao City, is also known for his very simple and frugal lifestyle.

“That’s all my message. Very simple. Not so good to hear but at least, at least, at the very least, it comes from the heart,” the President said in closing his OFBank launching speech.

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Pres. Duterte Considers ‘Total Ban’ on OFW Deployment to Kuwait

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President Rodrigo Duterte has described the death of four Filipino women in Kuwait unacceptable, mulling a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the oil-rich country.

“We have lost about four Filipino women in the last few months. It’s always in Kuwait,” Duterte said in his speech at the launching of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank) on Thursday in Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila.

Duterte said he discussed the issue with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, advising the latter to talk to government officials of Kuwait.

“So usap kami ni Alan, it’s either — my advice is, we talk to them, state the truth and just tell them that it’s not acceptable anymore. Either we impose a total ban or you can have the correction,” he said.

“I do not want a quarrel with Kuwait. I respect their leaders, but they have to do something about this,” he added.

Asked for comment, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they will investigate first the real cause of death of the four women.

Bello said if reports are true that the cause of death was maltreatment, then the government will not hesitate to impose a deployment ban in Kuwait.

“He (President Duterte) is considering it because of recent incidents. If the death is a result of maltreatment of their employers, that’s another thing. I will not hesitate to impose a total ban,” Bello said in a chance media interview after the OFBank launching.

Kuwait is one of the top destinations of Filipino household workers.

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