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National newsbits for June 1, 2014

ASCENSION SUNDAY

Bishop Jesse Mercado will celebrate a high mass at 4 p.m. today at the Ascension of Our Lord Parish in Sucat, Paranaque City, in observance of Ascension Sunday, which commemorates the bodily ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, 40 days after His Resurrection.The blessing of the Adoration Chapel and a solemn procession will be held after the Eucharistic celebration. In masses today, church rites will include the traditional blessing of candles, the extinction of the Paschal candle, a triumphal procession, and the reenactment of the Ascension of our Lord, traditionally done by elevating the image of Jesus above the church altar. A vigil and a novena in preparation for Pentecost Sunday, which will be observed next Sunday, June 8, will also be held. “The Feast of the Ascension celebrates the completion of the work of our salvation, the pledge of our glorification with Jesus, and His entry into heaven with our human nature glorified. It is the greatest triumph of the human race,” Church officials said. (Christina I. Hermoso)

GRADE 7 SUBSIDY

The Department of Education (DepEd) announced yesterday an additional subsidy of P1,000.00 to incoming Grade 7 students covered by the Education Service Contracting (ESC) program. However, only to those who enrolled in private schools outside Metro Manila are covered. DepEd Undersecretary for Finance and Administration Francis Varela said effective this School Year 2014-2015, the subsidy of freshmen students outside Metro Manila covered by the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) will be increased from P6,500 in 2013 to P7,500 this 2014. Despite the lack of increase in subsidy for Metro Manila students this school year, Varela assured that DepEd will “definitely look at the NCR subsidy also for future adjustments.” (Ina Hernando-Malipot)

DANCE-PROTEST

On the eve of the resumption of classes, a group of public school teachers will stage a “symbolic dance-protest” today to express their readiness to go back to work despite the challenges they face in their profession. Members of Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), a 30,000-strong group, will start their classes with dance-protests in Manila and Tacloban. “We will not disrupt the first day of classes on Monday, instead, we want to express our readiness to be back to work despite the many issues and concerns of our sector,” said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas. He said that TDC will stage two organized dance exercises – one in Rajah Sulayman Park in Malate, Manila, and another in Tacloban City Hall grounds in Tacloban City, Leyte.  (Ina Hernando-Malipot)

PETILLA QUESTION

If the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) confirms three members of the Aquino Cabinet before it adjourns sine die on June 14, only Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jericho Petilla will be left out in the cold. This is because the CA energy committee chaired by Sen. Sergio Osmeña III has not issued a request for Petilla to appear before his committee simply because he felt the DOE chief is not the right man for the job as the country faces more brownouts next year. In fact, Osmeña, a political ally of President Aquino, recently asked the President to fire Petilla, a former Leyte governor. But Osmeña conceded the President can just re-appoint Petilla immediately after Congress has adjourned because there is no law that prevents the President from re-appointing anyone bypassed by the CA. The chairmen of the appropriate CA committees have called the three other Cabinet members to appear before them next week. (Mario B. Casayuran)