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National newsbits for March 13, 2014

President Lauds Archbishop

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III joined thousands of Catholic devotees in thanksgiving ceremonies in Cotabato City in honor of Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, whom the Vatican appointed last month as the fifth Filipino cardinal.  Becoming the first Philippine President to make a speech in Catholic mass, Aquino was flanked by dozens of bishops and archbishops from different parts of the country inside the city cathedral here where he spoke for about five minutes in tribute to the exploits of Cardinal Quevedo. Speaking in Pilipino, the President cited Cardinal Quevedo’s protection of ordinary Filipinos from abuses under the Martial Law regime, with his setting up of an ecclesiastical group in Mindanao where military rule peaked in early 1970s. Aquino also praised the Cardinal’s steadfast campaign for peace advocacy, which he said is dawning with his administration’s upcoming signing of a final compact agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to end decades of armed uprising in Mindanao. (Ali G. Macabalang)


Church Joins Fight Vs Trafficking

The local Church has strengthened its campaign against human trafficking as it adapts measures to address the problem which mostly affects women and children.  The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines- National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA) said it will implement the 4Ps (prevention, prosecution, protection and partnership) approach to intensify its campaign against human trafficking. In an article posted in the CBCP website, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, NASSA national director, said the 4Ps approach “will strengthen the campaign against trafficking of persons especially women and children.  The 4Ps are equally important and for total success, each link has to be strong. It is also in support of the UN protocol to fight the problem,” he said. “We partner with all these initiatives so that all these small streams can become a river that can sweep away this evil, as all evil, human trafficking thrives in darkness. As long as the problem is not recognized, the evil doers can continue and expand their activities. Truth is our powerful weapon,” Pabillo said. (Christina I. Hermoso)


Moving Toward Malaria-Free PH

The Philippines is moving toward being certified as malaria-free by 2020, health authorities said yesterday. The Department of Health (DOH) said malaria cases in the country have been decreasing since the year 2000. DOH Secretary Enrique T. Ona said there was an 83 percent reduction in cases from 2005 to 2013 and 92 percent reduction in deaths. Ona made the announcement at the 6th annual meeting of the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) in Makati which was participated in by representatives of 14 countries who shared success stories in eliminating the disease caused by the female Anopheles mosquito. From 46,342 cases and 150 deaths in 2005, malaria cases were reduced to 7,720 and 12 deaths in 2013. Due to this, Ona said the Philippines has achieved the Millennium Development Goal target for malaria for 2015 as early as 2008. The Anopheles mosquito transmits a parasite called Plasmodiun that causes malaria. (Jenny F. Manongdo)


Filipino Student Wins NSW Award

A Filipino international student who graduated from Year 12 at the Casula High School in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, won over 23 other international students who were nominated by their teachers for the 2014 NSW School Service Award.  The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Cherry Bo Fernandez received a certificate and AU$1,000 cash prize from NSW Governor Marie Bashir during an awards ceremony held at the NSW Parliament House. Organized by the NSW Department of Education and Communities, the Award is given in recognition of an international student’s outstanding participation in school activities as well as volunteer work for the school and the local community. During the ceremony, Fernandez’s achievements were recognized including her contributions as school vice captain. She ran school assemblies and organized and presented the school’s ANZAC Day ceremonies. She was also involved in a leadership program and conference, a mentoring workshop, and an International Women’s Day celebration.  (Roy C. Mabasa)