Category Archives: Press release

A Night for Voices of Healing


The University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Fund, Inc. (UPMAF) will hold a concert called “Ang SOAP Opera ng Buhay Ko” (The Concert: Voices of Healing) at the new Marriott Grand Ballroom on August 26, 2015 to riase funds towards the creation of the New UP College of Medicine Academic Center, a 7-story multi-million peso undertaking.

The dinner concert will feature several of the biggest names in the international and local concert scene, including the 50-piece ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga, this special night will bring together Lea Salonga, Ryan Cayabyab, Jed Madela, Vice Ganda, Mark Bautista, Cris Villonco, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Bituin Escalante, Pinky Marquez, Franco Laurel, The Tux, Caisa Borromeo, Baihana, Catherine Fisher, among others, as they join the community in a collective voice of healing. A 70-strong chorus composed of The Mass Appeal, Ateneo Chamber Singers and UP Medicine Choir will also fill the grandiose ballroom.

This will be Lea Salonga’s last concert before she flies to New York to star in a show called “Allegiance,” which previews in Broadway on October 20!

For ticket and sponsorship inquiries please contact, Dr. Melfred L. Hernandez (0917) 815-2029), Overall Chair, Dr. Karin Estepa (0922) 825-3146, Chair, Business Committee, or Ms Kareen Tapia (0923) 8568043 of UPMAF (02) 5264255,

Og Iskwela Puron (To School I wish)


​​Some 13 Manobo children whose schools were forced to close due to intense military operations in Talaingod, Davao del Norte today launched a month-long “Cultural Caravan” in Metro Manila.

Og Iskwela Puron (To School I wish), a cultural caravan of students of Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Centers in Talaingod, Davao del Norte will run until the commemoration of International Human Rights Day on December 10. The caravan features performances by the students that depict their plight as indigenous peoples and their recent experiences of human rights violations.

Karapatan (a human rights organization) scored the continuing attacks against schools and children’s rights violations, especially with the Armed Forces of the Philippines guidelines 25 and the Department of Education Memorandum 221. Both issuances legitimize the attacks against children by allowing the use of schools/educational institutions for military purposes.

Just this year, Karapatan-Southern Mindanao reported the AFP’s take-over of at least five schools in Southern Mindanao alone:

  • Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Learning Center Inc. (STTILCI) in Talaingod and Compostela Valley;
  • Monkayo Vocational School in Compostela Valley where the 25th IB parked its armored personnel carrier (APC) in the school compound;
  • Tugbok Elementary and High School in Tugbok District, Davao City where the 84th IB usually park its 6-by-6 truck in the school gym;
  • Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato where 10th Special Forces and 57th IB troops, in full uniform and carrying firearms, freely went in and out of the school, some even played basketball, and used the school’s Internet;
  • Kalasagan Elementary School in San Isidro, Lupon, Davao Oriental which is occupied by the 28th IB and 2nd Scout Rangers unit, they also occupied the barangay hall, health center, chapel, basketball courts, and some residences.

“We want to reiterate that these schools are initiated by people’s organizations with the support of church and other advocacy groups as a response to the government’s inability to provide basic education to children in remote places,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said.

On October 27, the STTILC Executive Director Lolita Muya and Basic Education Head Ronnie Garcia filed a complaint letter to the Department of Education Region 11 Director Nenita Lumaad. The letter enumerated the violations committed by 68th IB in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. It also stated the indiscriminate firing of soldiers for six consecutive days in a high school in Sitio Laslasakal, Palma Gil, Talaingod. The soldiers also intimidated the faculty members.

“It is our obligation as a nation to provide safe and peaceful schools for the next generation. Yet, the Aquino government not only failed to provide this to our children, it is even endangering their lives and future because of Oplan Bayanihan’s operations that has transformed these schools into military camps, storage of weapon and even outposts,” Palabay said.

“These are clear violations of the right of children to education,” Palabay added. “With the disruption of their schooling because of military operations and physical attacks on schools and its students and teachers, the children are left traumatized,” Palabay said.

“Karapatan supports Og Iskwela Puron with the demand to the Aquino government to respect the children’s right to education. Children should be protected from any harm that military operations bring,” Palabay said.


First National Summit on Ebola Virus Disease

Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona today declared that the Philippines is prepared with a multi-sectoral response plan for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), a health emergency of international concern.

Ona made this declaration during the first national EVD Summit held with participants coming from different sectors, such as government, private sector, academe, business, medical community, international partners and civil society.

In August this year, the World Health Organization declared the EVD outbreak in West Africa as a public health emergency of international concern. From Guinea’s first reported case in March 21, 2014, the outbreak spread to neighboring countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal. There are now cases in Spain and the United States.

“Because of these developments, the Philippines needs to take action to prepare and respond to cases of EVD in the event that Ebola reaches our shores,” Secretary Ona explained.

To date, the Department of Health (DOH) has developed interim guidelines for disease surveillance, notification and reporting of suspected EVD cases, clinical management, including laboratory testing of specimens from suspected EVD cases, and infection control.

One of the key elements in these guidelines is the critical role of health facilities in preparing and identifying isolation procedures for suspect EVD cases, case management of probable and confirmed cases, and implementation of infection control from triage to waste management.

The DOH has a preparedness plan, which covers case detection and reporting, outbreak management and response, surveillance at points of entry, case management, inter-agency coordination, planning, and resource allocation.

“Right now, in the drafting of the preparedness plan, all stakeholders, including the private sector, are being consulted on the roles that they can take on in the event of an EVD outbreak in the Philippines,” Ona said.

Meanwhile, the DOH reported that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is the designated National Referral Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases and is prepared to respond to suspected cases of EVD in the country. It has the capacity to test EVD in its acute and convalescent stages, using detection methods from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To date, RITM has tested 18 samples from suspected EVD cases, all of which tested negative. Laboratory personnel at RITM are also trained on bio-safety and bio-security. Presently, RITM has an adequate stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for handling patients and testing of samples.

Press Release