Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III on Wednesday reminded government scholars to focus on their studies instead of joining protest rallies.

‘Wag maging tibak, baka kayo masibak! CHED worried most professors have biased political views

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Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III on Wednesday reminded government scholars to focus on their studies instead of joining protest rallies.

“If you’re a scholar under Republic Act 10931, please be a good student and finish your course on time. We appeal and ask the students to take the government subsidy seriously,” he told reporters at the launch of Shared Genomics Core Laboratory in Quezon City.

Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act mandates free tuition and miscellaneous fees in state and local universities and colleges.

De Vera said since the Philippines is the only developing country which took the risk of offering free college education, the agency wants to ensure that government subsidy is well-targeted and benefits everyone who wants to study.

“If you keep on doing nothing but criticize government and attend rallies and bumagsak ka sa subjects mo, you’ll be kicked out of your program and you’ll no longer be a scholar of the government because the law requires that you’re a student of good standing,” he said.

The higher education chief made the remark in response to National Youth Commission Chairman Ronald Cardema’s call to cancel government scholarships of all anti-government scholars, specifically students allied with the leftist Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front.

“Kailangan tandaan natin na bahagi iyon ng freedom of expression ng mga bata. Pangalawa, wala namang nakalagay sa batas na requirement doon na ang estudyante ay hindi pwedeng mag-express ng sentiments, hindi siya criteria for exclusion,” he added.

De Vera cited as example that overstaying in college programs strips students of their scholarships, de Vera said many engineering and education students in the University of the Philippines campuses are no longer covered by RA 10931 because they don’t take full loads.

Moreover, he urged university professors to present all information available so that students may develop a broader perspective on political and social issues.

“What I’m not comfortable is in many universities, a lot of the professors present one-sided viewpoint or take political positions which undermine their presentation in the classroom. I’ve taken the position that deans, presidents, vice presidents should not take political sides and their role is to ensure the development of critical thinking in the universities,” he said. (PNA)

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Malaki ambag! Envoy: US contribution to COVAX facility reaches $2B

The United States’ contribution to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) has reached USD2 billion (about PHP97.2 billion), by far the largest, the US Embassy in Manila said Friday.

“The United States already has provided an initial PHP97.2 billion (USD2 billion), and the Philippines is among the first countries in the region to have received Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccines through the COVAX facility,” it said.

The Embassy said Washington earmarked a total of USD4 billion or about PHP194.4 billion in contribution to the COVAX AMC.

US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law said the country would continue to support Manila in its vaccination rollout, including on mitigation efforts to help curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“The United States is proud to be the largest contributor to COVAX, and we welcome the successful arrival of the first tranche of AstraZeneca vaccines in the Philippines. As we fight the pandemic together, the United States will continue to support the Philippines’ vaccination and Covid-19 mitigation efforts,” he said.

The US contributions to COVAX, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), will support the purchase and delivery of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations in 92 low- and middle-income countries.

The Philippines welcomed Thursday night the first delivery of the much-needed AstraZeneca vaccines through COVAX Facility.

Aside from Law, COVAX’s other donor countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway welcomed the vaccine arrival in Manila. (PNA)

LOOK: Card for keeps: Duterte receives national ID

President Rodrigo Duterte has received his PhilID, the national identification card under the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys).

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua handed over the PhilID to Duterte at Malacañan Palace on Wednesday, based on the photo released by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) on Thursday.

“President Rodrigo Duterte receives his government-issued identification card from National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua at the Malacañan Palace on March 3, 2021,” the PCOO’s caption read.

On January 21, Duterte registered himself on the PhilSys and gave his biometric information to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for the PhilID.

Republic Act (RA) 11055 or the PhilSys Act mandates the issuance of a national ID that will serve as a valid proof of identity for all Filipino citizens and resident aliens.

The PhilID collates the ID holder’s full name, sex, date, and place of birth, blood type, and address.

It will indicate if a person is a Filipino or a resident alien and will also contain the holder’s front-facing photo, full set of fingerprints, and an iris scan.

The PhilID, which will be given for free, will eventually replace all other government-issued IDs, except the passport, driver’s license, and UMID ID.

The disclosure of one’s marital status, mobile number, and electronic mail address is optional.

The PhilSys Act designates PSA, which is under NEDA, as the implementing agency responsible for the overall planning, management, and administration of PhilSys, the government’s central platform for all citizen and resident aliens of the Philippines.

The PSA on January 18 opened the registration process for the PhilSys project to the public.

The government’s target is to have 50 million registrants by the end of 2021.

Signed into law by the President in August 2018, RA 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act, aims to establish a single national ID for Filipinos and resident aliens.

The national ID shall be a valid proof of identity and a means of simplifying public and private transactions, enrollment in schools, and opening of bank accounts.

It will also boost efficiency, especially in dealing with government services where people will only need to present one ID during transactions. (PNA)

Five surprising things about International Women’s Day

by Olivier THIBAULT

International Women’s Day marks the struggle for female participation in politics and in the workforce, from the right to vote to the right to equal pay.

Here are five things to know about the day when the world is reminded of the enduring power of the patriarchy.

– Who invented it? –
The Americans. Believe it or not, the United States once had a powerful socialist party and in 1909 they came up with International Women’s Day to commemorate a garment factory strike by women the previous year.

German Communist leader Clara Zetkin championed the idea in Europe at the International Conference of Socialist Women in 1910.

The following March 19 people marched for women’s rights in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland at Women’s Day rallies.

The first March 8 celebration took place in 1914 in Berlin, where women demonstrated to demand the right to vote.

– So is it communist? –
Note quite. Lenin supposedly designated March 8 as a celebration of women, the date chosen to mark the start of Russian workers’ protests in 1917 that eventually toppled the Tsar.

After World War II the day became a celebration of both women and communism.

But outside the Soviet Union it was more about pushing for female influence in areas traditionally dominated by men.

– Who’s to thank for that? –
The United Nations. In 1977 the UN and other international organisations officially declare March 8 International Women’s Day.

– So what happens? –
It’s pretty much just another one of those hard-won days at the office when half the world’s population toils under the glass ceiling.

But not if you live in Russia, Uganda, Mongolia, Georgia, Laos, Cambodia, Armenia, Belarus or Ukraine where March 8 is an official holiday.

– Mothers get a little love, too –
In Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan, International Women’s Day is also Mother’s Day.

In Albania the celebration of unpaid labour involves gifts of mimosa sprigs, while in Serbia children might give speeches celebrating their mums.

Agence France-Presse

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