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National newsbits for March 15, 2014

Santa Luisa De Marillac Feast

The Catholic Church observes today the Feast of Saint Louise (Santa Luisa) de Marillac, the venerated patron of social workers, and co-founder with Saint Vincent de Paul, of the Daughters of Charity. The Church encourages the faithful to include in their Lenten meditation the guiding principle of St. Louise, “Love the poor and honor them as you would honor Christ Himself.” Born in France in 1591, St. Louise was known as a compassionate, pious, and deeply religious woman. A great devotee of the Blessed Mother, she took her religious vows at the age of 43. Together with her spiritual mentor, St. Vincent de Paul, they founded the Daughters of Charity, which gained papal approval in 1655. The order has since spread all over the world caring for the sick, the poor and neglected in hospitals, orphanages, elderly hospices, battlefield, prisons, schools, institutions for the mentally ill, and relief centers. St. Louise died 1660 and was canonized by Pope Pius XI on March 11, 1934. In 1960, Pope John XXIII declared her as the patron of social workers. (Christina I. Hermoso)


BI Issues Stricter Airport Guidelines

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has issued strict guidelines and procedure to prevent the exodus of undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The BI said that more than 40 suspected illegal workers disguised as tourists pass daily through the Ninoy Aquino Internal Airport (NAIA). Mison said that from now on no tourist will be allowed to leave the country without showing proof of financial capability to travel, proof of work and financial support from benefactors. The BI chief said the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) assisted the bureau in the formulation of the new procedure. He said the bureau adopted the policy to fight the nefarious activities of human trafficking syndicates. “Undocumented OFWs are prone to abuses by their employers,” he said. Mison appealed to Filipino travelers for understanding as they would be inconvenienced by the new procedure. (Jun Ramirez)


MMDA Nixes Daily Road Repair

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will not allow the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to conduct road re-blocking work every day during summer. “We will not allow it. That would create horrendous traffic,” said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino. Apart from taking advantage of the school vacation, the DPWH said they want to speed the completion of their pending repairs as the MMDA only allows them to do repair work on weekends. Meanwhile, Tolentino urged the DPWH to create an annual road re-blocking and repair plan with a more efficient schedule. “I urged them to submit their road re-blocking list for the rest of the year so we can balance them in one assessment. Not just piece meal,” he said. (Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren)


Use Of More RxBox Sets Eyed

After seeing how the RxBox, a device that helped monitor health status of patients in remote location and send the data to doctors electronically in other places, worked effectively in areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda last year, the Department of Science and Technology plans to help deploy 200 RxBox sets nationwide in 2014. PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya cited the RxBox’s usefulness in providing medical care in times of crises. “We deployed an RxBox in one of the areas (affected by Yolanda), a device that gives access to people in remote areas quality (health) care with specialists who are in other areas. So, we were able to use it during the time of the Yolanda crisis. We were able to maintain connectivity even with Yolanda’s (hitting Eastern Visayas),” said Montoya. “Within the year, we plan to deploy 200 RxBox sets to bring health care more accessible to the far-flung areas of the country, especially the geographically isolated and disadvantaged ones.” (Edd K. Usman)