Friday, March 8, 2024

Five Films For Freedom: British Council celebrates a decade of LGBTQIA+ Stories

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Five Films For Freedom, the world’s widest-reaching LGBTQIA+ digital campaign, returns on 13 March bringing five new films from the Philippines, India, Spain, the UK and USA to audiences across the world.

Over two weeks (13 to 24 March 2024) audiences worldwide are invited to dive into the world of LGBTQIA+ cinema from the comfort of their own homes and watch the films online for free.

The film programme continues the British Council’s partnership with BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival, with the short films promoted across the British Council’s global digital networks and BFI Player for free. 

Our tenth anniversary edition will showcase global LGBTQIA+ stories that resonate with strength and spirit, from the historic defiance of Compton's 22 in San Francisco to the heartfelt journey of love and understanding in Halfway. This year's selection, including Little One, Cursive, and The First Kiss, dives deep into themes of family, identity, and the universal quest for acceptance. 

"We are immensely proud to mark the tenth anniversary of Five Films for Freedom," said British Council Director of Film, Briony Hanson. 

"This platform has not only provided a vital space for LGBTQIA+ stories to be heard but has also fostered a global movement for equality and acceptance. As we celebrate this milestone, we invite audiences everywhere to join us in championing love in all its forms."

Audiences in Philippines are encouraged to watch the films online for free from 13 to 24 March 2024, and share their experiences using the hashtag #FiveFilmsForFreedom. For more information and to access the films, visit our British Arts YouTube channel. "It is a privilege to showcase the exceptional work of these immensely talented filmmakers to audiences worldwide and we are truly proud to have a Filipino film included in this year's selection," said Lotus Postrado, British Council in the Philippines Country Director.

"Throughout the ten-year journey of Five Films For Freedom, we've been able to reach over 23 million viewers globally with these remarkable films. We take pride in our ongoing commitment to supporting this initiative, which not only sheds light on new narratives but also fosters new connections and understanding."

About Five Films For Freedom 

Five Films For Freedom is an annual online celebration of global LGBTQIA+ stories, presented in partnership with BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival. Launched in 2014 by the British Council and the British Film Institute, the initiative aims to amplify LGBTQIA+ voices and advocate for love as a human right.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021–22 we reached 650 million people. 

Watch this year's five films online for free on our British Arts YouTube channel.

2024 Film Selection

Little One

Directed by Clister Santos (Philippines – 9 mins)

A pregnant mother, unsure of how to raise a child, arranges an interview with her two gay dads but fate intervenes when his dad suffers a heart attack. Her dad reflects on their family's history, captured on an old camcorder.


Directed by Kumar Chheda (India – 14 mins)

A turbulent couple ends up at different entrances of Juhu Beach, forcing them to walk towards each other and meet halfway.


Directed by Isabel Steubel Johnson (UK – 9 mins)

When a woman on the verge of a breakup gets help from a mysterious stranger to improve her handwriting, she finds the inner voice she longed for all along.

The First Kiss

Directed by Miguel Lafuente (Spain – 9 mins)

Today is a special day for Andi, he is going to Madrid to have his first date with a boy he's met online.

Compton's 22 

Directed by Drew de Pinto (USA – 18 mins)

Three years prior to Stonewall, transgender sex workers and drag queens revolted against police violence at Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco's Tenderloin district.

Retirement benefit remains the most availed SSS benefit reaching P156.7 B in 2023

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Social Security System (SSS) said it released P156.7 billion retirement benefits to 2.2 million members in 2023 making it the most availed SSS benefit last year.

SSS Vice President for Benefits Administration Division Joy A. Villacorta said that of the 4.7 million benefits disbursed to pensioners, members and their beneficiaries in 2023, nearly half, or 47 percent, received retirement benefits.

Villacorta said SSS released about P156.7 billion in retirement benefits to 2.2 million payees in 2023, up by 10.7 percent from the P141.5 billion retirement benefits given to over 2 million payees in the previous year. The majority of these payees, at around 87.46 percent of the total, are pensioners.

“Retirement benefit is a cash benefit being granted by SSS to a member who can no longer work due to old age. Members who paid at least 120 monthly contributions will get a lifetime monthly pension while those with less than 120 monthly contributions will receive a one-time lump sum amount,” Villacorta explained.

She said that death benefit came in second with a total release of P70.1 billion to 1.4 million beneficiaries last year, slightly lower than the P70.2 billion death benefits to 1.3 million beneficiaries in 2022.

“SSS grants cash benefit to beneficiaries of a deceased member. Deceased SSS members with 36 monthly contributions will entitle their beneficiaries to a monthly pension. In comparison, beneficiaries of those with less than 36 monthly contributions will get a one-time lump sum amount,” she added.

Maternity benefit follows with a disbursement of P14.1 billion to 357,000 members in 2023, which rose by 9.6 percent from about P12.9 billion recorded in 2022.

Villacorta said that female members who have paid at least three monthly contributions in the last 12 months before the semester of childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy can avail of the maternity benefit. As provided in the Expanded Maternity Leave Law (EMLL), the SSS maternity benefit is paid to an eligible member at every instance of her pregnancy since March 2019.

Meanwhile, Villacorta noted that disability benefit came in fourth, with P7.5 billion released to over 130,000 members last year, a 16.3 percent increase from the P6.4 billion released in 2022.

“Members who become disabled either partially or totally can receive a monthly pension or lump sum amount under the disability benefit. Members who have paid at least 36 monthly contributions are qualified to get a monthly disability pension while those with less than 36 monthly contributions will be granted a lump sum amount,” she added.

She said that funeral benefit follows with P4.8 billion reimbursed to 211,000 payees, and sickness benefit with P3.2 billion provided to 376,000 members.

“We grant SS funeral benefits to whoever paid the funeral expenses of the deceased member. Claimants of deceased members with 36 or more monthly contributions may receive a variable amount from P20,000 to P60,000 depending on the number and amount of contributions paid by the member. The funeral benefit arising from the death of a member who paid less than 36 monthly contributions is fixed at P12,000,” she continued.

Further, Villacorta said that sickness benefit is a daily cash allowance paid for the number of days a member cannot work due to sickness or injury.

“Unemployment benefit is the least availed benefit in 2023 with a total disbursement of P914.1 million to 64,000 members, down by 4.9 percent from the P961.4 million released to 75,000 members in 2022. This is also a reflection of the continuing improvement in the Philippine labor market with the unemployment rate reaching its lowest levels last year,” she said.

Villacorta noted that benefit payments in 2023 amounted to P257.4 billion, up by 6.9 percent from the P240.6 billion disbursed in 2022.

Liza Diño Makes History as First Filipina French Knight in Cinema and Sole Southeast Asian Producer Selected for EAVE Producers Workshop

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Multiawarded actress, public servant, turned producer Liza Diño has achieved yet another groundbreaking milestone in her career. The former head of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has been selected as the first Filipina to participate in the prestigious EAVE Producers Workshop, where she will also be the sole representative from Southeast Asia for the year-long programme in 2024. Diño was awarded one of France’s most distinguished titles, the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, last year.

The EAVE Producers Workshop, in partnership with Film Fund Luxembourg and supported by Creative Europe, is a premier training lab based in Europe aimed at fostering professional development and international collaboration for global producers in the film industry. The year-long program includes a series of three week-long intensive workshops focused on the development of fiction, documentary, and TV series projects, providing participants with invaluable networking opportunities and the chance to work alongside esteemed industry professionals.

Mentored by top-notch industry leaders, including EAVE Head of Studies Lise Lense-Møller from Magic Hour Films (DK), the workshop offers participants a transformative training journey spanning over 3 residential workshops in Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden. In addition to the core curriculum, participants will have the unique opportunity to develop 28 selected documentary, feature film, and series projects, as well as focus on their careers, company structures, and entrepreneurial skills over the course of the year.

Liza Dino, known for her outstanding contributions to the Philippine cinema, has emerged as a trailblazer and a formidable force in the global film landscape. As an accomplished actress, government official and producer, Liza has continuously championed the development and promotion of Southeast Asian cinema on the world stage.

Throughout her career, Liza has amassed an impressive array of accomplishments, including her noteworthy role as the Chairperson of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), where she spearheaded various initiatives to elevate the local film industry. Her visionary leadership has led to the implementation of groundbreaking programs and policies aimed at enhancing the competitiveness and global presence of Filipino cinema.

“I am thrilled to further my mission of shining a spotlight on Southeast Asian cinema and drawing global attention to our talented regional filmmakers. We are already witnessing the significant impact of our efforts, with Southeast Asian films triumphing at top-tier festivals and beginning to establish a foothold in the market. However, the work is far from over. It is crucial to sustain this momentum and strive for continuous improvement in the quality of films we create. I am grateful to EAVE for enabling me to persist in the work I have initiated.” Liza Shared.

Liza Diño's participation in the EAVE Producers Workshop not only serves as a testament to the exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the craft but also underscores her commitment to advancing the interests of Southeast Asian filmmakers on an international scale. Through her involvement in this prestigious programme, Liza aims to further her advocacy for the development and promotion of diverse and authentic narratives from the region, thereby solidifying Southeast Asian cinema's position in the global cinematic landscape.

As the first Filipina French Knight in Cinema, Liza Diño continues to break barriers and inspirefuture generations of filmmakers with her pioneering spirit and unwavering passion for the art ofcinema. Her participation in the EAVE Producers Workshop represents a significant opportunityto further her vision and advocacy, ultimately contributing to the enrichment and advancementof Southeast Asian cinema on the world stage.

Diño is currently in Luxembourg for the first leg of the EAVE Producers Workshop.

Animal Town: Play Your Way to a Greener and Bluer Planet!

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Videogames can positively influence how people view the world.

Since the very first videogame, Bertie the Brain, was unveiled in 1950, developers have conjured a bewildering array of worlds for us to explore.

From Nintendo’s iconic 1985 Family Computer hit Super Mario to Nokia’s addictive 1997 Snake phone app, videogames have moulded millions of players, ranging from pre-schoolers to senior citizens.

To foster love for Philippine wildlife and biodiversity, the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (DENR-UNDP BIOFIN) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) together with the Forest Foundation Philippines (FFP) recently launched a new mobile game application called Animal Town.


“Animal Town is a chill-paced simulation game where you build and manage a tiny town of animals. You can gather resources, develop various characters and complete a host of quests,” explains Animal Town App Developer Lord Gosingtian. “The game also serves as an educational tool to learn about the challenges and solutions to protect Philippine biodiversity.”

“In development since 2019, Animal Town is also a real-world test to gauge if free-to-pay mobile games with in-app purchases can be a viable source for conservation funds,” says DENR-UNDP BIOFIN Philippines Country Manager Anabelle Plantilla. There are about 30 million gamers in the Philippines, with roughly 12 million annually spending around PHP700 (USD13) each on their beloved apps and PC games via game downloads and in-app purchases.

“There are 46 million registered mobile app users in the Philippines, so even a tiny percentage of paying gamers can do a lot to support our country’s conservation initiatives,” says DENR Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and concurrent OIC BMB Director Marcial Amaro, Jr.

Funds generated by the new app will be managed by conservation partner FFP while DENR-BMB will identify conservation programmes to be supported by Animal Town.

“We will exercise prudent stewardship over the funds generated by Animal Town. We will ensure that the funds are utilized in accordance with the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP) and are directed towards the conservation of our natural resources. We also commit to maintain transparency in reporting the utilization of the funds to our valued players and partners,” says Forest Foundation Philippines Executive Director Atty. Jose Andres Canivel.

“People rarely care about what they don’t understand. And biodiversity is something which still requires awareness raising among the wider population,” adds British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils. “The use of technology, specifically mobile applications, could be a game changer here. Animal Town can play a unique role in softly building that understanding in a fun, non-intrusive way. It’s a readymade supplement for educators to teach environmental science and biology.”

Animal Town hopes to inspire a new generation of gamers to learn about Philippine wildlife. “Children learn so fast and positively attributing animals from the onset might just inspire today’s tiny tykes to ‘Level Up’ and do bigger things for a greener and bluer planet,” concludes UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran.

Animal Town can be downloaded now at the Google Play Store for Android Phones or the Apple App Store for iOS Phones

Thursday, March 7, 2024

A Tour of Italian Wines in the Heart of Manila

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Indulge in an extraordinary evening touring Italy at Sheraton Manila Bay's Italian Wine Dinner Buffet and Wine Tasting. Partnering with Sommelier Selection, a distinguished importer and distributor of estate wines in the Philippines since 2002, we promise a journey through Italy's finest flavors. This exclusive event at Manila Bay Kitchen offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich flavors of Italian cuisine paired perfectly with a selection of exquisite wines.
We start this gastronomic journey in Southern Italy featuring Liboll Spumante and Cantine San Marzano then we sail to Abruzzo, Marche, Sicily, and Fruili Italy to experience a selection of red and white wines from Brunori Azienda and Azienda Agricola Occhipinti. We end our journey in Puglia, where we enjoy the Edda Lei Bianco to end the night of discovering a wide array of dishes where every bite has transported you to the heart of Italy's vibrant culinary scene.
Whether you are a wine enthusiast or simply looking for a memorable evening of indulgence, this event is not to be missed. Join us at Sheraton Manila Bay for an unforgettable night celebrating the art of Italian winemaking and culinary mastery. Allow your senses to be captivated by the beauty and elegance of Sheraton Manila Bay as we celebrate Italy –in art, literature, food, and wine. Viva La Vino!

Book the Italian Wine Dinner and Wine Tasting for only Php 3,800 nett per person. For more information and to make reservations, please call +632 5318 0788 or email Stay updated on the latest news and promotions by following Sheraton Manila Bay on Facebook and Instagram @sheratonmanilabay.


Sheraton Manila Bay is a renowned hotel located at M. Adriatico corner Gen. Malvar Streets, Malate, Manila. The hotel offers luxurious accommodations, exceptional dining experiences, and state-of-the-art facilities. With its commitment to providing exceptional service and creating unforgettable moments, Sheraton Manila Bay is the perfect destination for both leisure and business travelers.To reserve your FAM at the Bay experience, visit or go to

Sheraton Manila Bay is conveniently located at M. Adriatico corner Gen. Malvar Streets, Malate, Manila. Like us on Facebook and Instagram @sheratonmanilabay and follow us on Twitter at @sheratonmnlbay.

NGA 911 briefs Metro Manila Council on advanced, next-gen emergency response and disaster preparedness in LA

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Next Generation Advanced (NGA) 911 -- an IP-based emergency communications system that transforms crisis response through technology, integration and real-time reporting -- presented the future of public safety and emergency response to a delegation of the Metro Manila Council and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) at an educational tour in Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles California recently.

NGA’s Chief Executive Officer Don Ferguson and Chief Financial Officer Ishka Villacisneros welcomed the local government executives in LA and briefed them on NGA’s mission to enhance public safety and emergency response, letting them know that NGA, their technology and systems are already available, and infrastructure built in the Philippines.

The presentation included a demonstration of how the advanced system performs in various emergency response situations. Simulations of actual crisis situations where NGA 911’s next generation technology developed by the company in LA were highlighted.

“NGA 911 provides cities and communities in the US and other countries with peace of mind through our advanced and next generation emergency response systems. We are happy to announce that this next-generation 911 technology is now in the Philippines and we are looking to save more lives and empower more communities by unifying all systems in the future,” said Ferguson.

NGA 911 has ongoing deployments in Rizal, Pangasinan and Cagayan De Oro regions. These LGUs are now ready to provide the next-generation digital technology for emergency communication and public safety services that is used in the United States.

“We are partnering with NGA 911 to equip our public safety officers with a system that will enable them to provide immediate emergency assistance and help us adapt to the ever changing landscape of public safety,” Morong Mayor Sidney Soriano had said at the announcement of their LGU’s partnership with NGA 911 in April 2023.

Among the Metro Manila mayors present in the event were San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, Mayor Jeannie Sandoval of Malabon, Mayor Ruffy Biazon of Muntinlupa, Navotas Mayor John Rey Tiangco, Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano, Mayor Ike Ponce of Pateros, Vice Mayor April Aguilar Nery of Las Piñas, together with CDRRMMO officers and MMDA official led by Usec. Frisco San Juan, Atty. Vic Trinidad, and Atty. Cris Saruca.

The NGA presentation was part of the educational tour of the Philippine delegation on Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Response in the US that also coincided with the Manila International Film Festival itinerary organized by the MMDA in Los Angeles, California.

As part of the educational trip, NGA facilitated a Los Angeles City Hall tour for the Metro Manila mayors who had the opportunity to interact and talk with the City of Los Angeles Deputy Mayors and city officials.

PHLPost continues to send and receive mails in 192 countries worldwide

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) continues to accept and regularly sends letters and parcel post items in 192 countries around the world, which is relatively affordable when it comes to shipping costs.

A member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) since 1922, the UPU is a specialized agency of the United Nations which has a membership of 192 postal administration countries providing international mail exchanges and a primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players.

PHLPost membership with the UPU helps ensure a universal network of up-to-date products and services of member postal countries in keeping pace with the changing communication market.

PHLPost continues to serve every city and municipalities in the country through post offices as well as postal stations in commercial and rural areas of the country.

The Postal Service is now coordinating with Local Government Units (LGU’s) in establishing Barangay Postal Stations nationwide for more efficient delivery, reaching out even to far-flung areas of the country; the implementation of the new seven (7) digit alphanumeric new Zip Code PH from the old four (4) digit that will standardize addreskasing system in the country; and, the “Kartero APP” or K-APP, a Real Time Visibility system to modernize the delivery and efficiency of its mail operations”.

To keep pace with the changing communication market, PHLPost is emphasizing the use of new communication and information technologies to shift from what is traditionally regarded as its core services.

PHLPost will expand its capabilities to take advantage of the fast growing e-commerce sector and enable SMEs in rural areas (not served by private logistics providers) to access new markets through e-commerce.

As a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), PHLPost is mandated to adopt continuous innovations and integration of its domestic and global networks, to be the primary development partner in providing postal services, especially in missionary areas.

E-commerce has driven major growth in the parcel delivery business using the Express Mail Service (EMS) as a competitive international express product to meet the growing needs of customers. MS is the postal service’s fastest means of sending time-sensitive items to addressees abroad.

Any articles such as documents, merchandise and goods, not specifically prohibited by regulations, can be sent via EMS. Currently, PHLPost offers both Domestic (DEMS) and International Express Mails (IEMS). International Express Mail Service (IEMS) has bilateral agreements with over 45 countries with reciprocal exchange of EMS items.

This strategic approach ensures improvement in mail operations and creates wider accessibility to postal services even in far flung areas of the country.

Instituto Cervantes opens an exhibit on Nebrija, the grammarian who helped to preserve the Filipino vernacular languages

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Did you know that Tagalog had its first grammar published before English did? The linguistic milestone can be greatly credited to the Spaniard known as Nebrija, who played a pivotal role in that development. On March 12, Instituto Cervantes will unveil at its Intramuros branch the exhibition Nebrija en Filipinas, dedicated to celebrating the cultural contributions of Spanish grammarian Elio Antonio de Nebrija (1444-1522). Nebrija's impactful legacy extends to languages like Tagalog and Cebuano, which possessed grammars ahead of many European languages.

Nebrija en Filipinas, tailored for Filipino audiences, is an adaptation of the Nebrija exhibition organized by the National Library of Spain in 2022, commemorating the 500th anniversary of Nebrija's death. Through informative panels and displays of books, the exhibition will highlight Nebrija’s cultural contributions and seek to contextualize them within the publication of the first grammars of the Philippine vernacular languages. These linguistic endeavours were directly shaped by Nebrija's teachings.

Nebrija was a highly reputed scholar during the Renaissance period in Europe. His book Introductiones Latinae, a groundbreaking manual for teaching Latin, not only earned him recognition in Spain but also garnered international fame. He also wrote bilingual dictionaries in Latin-Spanish and a Gramática de la lengua castellana, published in 1492, which is recognized as the first grammar of modern European languages. It became the model for Spanish friars who attempted analyzing the grammars of the new world, both in America and the Philippines. These missionaries, who had learned Latin from Nebrija’s methods, applied the model, with its theoretical considerations and bilingual translations, in their description of these languages. As a result, Tagalog saw its first grammar book published in 1610 with Francisco Blancas de San José's Arte y reglas de la lengua tagala. It was followed by similar initiatives with other vernacular languages, among them the Arte de la lengua iloca, composed by the Agustinian Francisco López in 1627, and the Arte de la lengua bisaya de la provincia de Leyte, written by the jesuist Domingo Ezguerra in 1663.

Proud, intelligent, and audacious, Nebrija was a stalwart fighter for pure Latin and always wanted to go down in posterity with the nickname grammaticus (grammarian). When he presented a preview of what would later become his Grammar of the Castilian Language to Queen Isabel la Católica, the sovereign was initially surprised, unable to grasp the utility of a treatise teaching the rules of a language acquired naturally. However, Nebrija successfully persuaded her that languages benefit from both descriptive and normative grammars to prevent them from running amok. The paradoxes of fate have made his Castilian grammar his most renowned work today. Nevertheless, Nebrija deserves to be remembered for many other reasons.

For Nebrija, the revival of Latin was an incentive for other scholarly pursuits. The voyages of the discoverers aroused his curiosity, leading to a fascination with cosmography and a desire to learn about developments from across the Atlantic. In these and other scholarly ventures, Nebrija revealed himself as a full-fledged humanist.

Even after his death, Nebrija’s fame did not diminish. His grammars and lexicons were not only published in Spain but also gained recognition in France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Latin manual he had written for his students in Salamanca attained exclusive authorization for teaching the discipline, a decree made by King Philip III in 1598. Nebrija's Latin grammar manual continued to be esteemed, annotated, and adapted based on location and circumstances until the 19th century.

The exhibit Nebrija en Filipinas, which will run from 12 March to 12 June, 2024, is organized by Instituto Cervantes in collaboration with Fundación Antonio Nebrija (Madrid), the Embassy of Spain and AECID, Biblioteca Nacional de España, and the University of Sto. Tomas (Manila). Nebrija en Filipinas is an adaptation of the original exhibit Nebrija, curated by Dr. Teresa Jiménez Calvente, with addition of panels focused on the Philippines composed by Marlon James Sales, of UP Diliman. The exhibit will have a second leg from August to October in the Miguel Benavides Library of UST.

For further information about the cultural program of Instituto Cervantes de Manila, please visit their website (, or follow Instituto Cervantes on the following social media pages: (Facebook: InstitutoCervantesManila; Instagram: institutocervantesmanila).

PUP RCon reveals roster of speakers, marks a decade themed on A.I.

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Few days before the 11th edition of PUP Radio Conference, DZMC - Young Communicators' Guild, the host organization, revealed Danilo Arao and DJ Renzmark Ricafrente or “Papa Dudut” as the resource speakers for the forthcoming symposium.

On March 8, Arao, Associate Editor at Bulatlat Multimedia and Associate Professor from the Department of Journalism at the University of the Philippines - Diliman, will tackle the current state of artificial intelligence in the newsroom, followed by Papa Dudut of GMA’s Barangay Love Story 97.1 FM, who will discuss the state of radio amid A.I. applications.

Alongside the roster of speakers, the conference will also feature Denice Dinsay, a news anchor from ABS-CBN as its keynote speaker.

PUP Radio Conference is an annual symposium with this year’s theme, R-BOT: Decoding Media’s Fate in the Age of A.I., which centers on the effects of artificial intelligence on the radio industry. Moreover, this is the 11th edition of the conference in its 10th year since 2014.

Hannah Grace Tamayo, Project Co-Head for Externals, shared that the preparation for RCon started three months ago in early December of last year, “Indeed, the experience comes with great responsibility as every action and decision requires careful analysis because all that we wish and root for is the collective success of this conference,” Tamayo said.

Furthermore, Denisse Ann Orda, Project Co-Head for Internals, stated that the conference serves as an avenue to discuss the challenges in media,

“It is very important for aspiring media practitioners like us to know the right formula of artificial intelligence’s usage in media without replacing human broadcasters with A.I. anchors, hence the goal of this year’s RCon is to decode that formula for the better future of media with A.I.,” she said.

With more than 600 participants nationwide, RCon attendees must arrive at the Tanghalang PUP on or before 11 AM on March 8, and present their identification cards or IDs for verification purposes.

Registrants may contact for queries or message the event’s Facebook page through this link.

This year’s PUP RCon is co-presented by, Midoko, Hello Quickfx, Red Images Photography, Outside The Box Co-Working and Study Lounge, Motivo, EON Group, and Caronia PH.

#PUPRCon2024 #PUPRFest2024 #PUPRBOT

Article by Piper Legaspi

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Daniel Padilla and Dominic Roque tagged as the mysterious "D" behind viral billboard begging not to break up

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

A billboard along C5 Southbound pleading against a breakup has captured the public's attention and sparked widespread speculation on social media.

The billboard, which bears the message "Wag na tayo mag-break, please" alongside a sad emoticon, is signed only with the initial "D."

A video capturing the billboard, posted by Gifer Fernandez, quickly went viral, amassing 17 million views, 382,000 reactions, 10,000 comments, and 41,000 shares on Facebook. The intriguing message led netizens to speculate about the identity of "D," with actors Dominic Roque and Daniel Padilla emerging as the primary suspects.

Both actors have recently experienced public breakups with their famous partners, Bea Alonzo and Kathryn Bernardo, respectively, fueling rumors about their possible connection to the billboard's heartfelt plea.

As the speculation continues to swirl, neither Roque nor Padilla has come forward to confirm or deny their involvement with the viral billboard campaign.

Meanwhile, netizens were quick to tag Darren Espanto, to which the actor reacted, “Ako talaga ‘to. ‘Di ko lang sinasabi kasi private love life ko HAHHAHAHA Kainis.”

The absence of a clear admission keeps the mystery alive, leaving fans and the general public guessing about the story behind the billboard's public appeal not to end a relationship.

Monday, March 4, 2024

DZMC-YCG gears up for the 10th anniversary of PUP Radio Conference

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

DZMC - Young Communicators’ Guild, the official radio and news arm of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines—College of Communication, proudly announces the tenth-year milestone of its flagship event, the PUP Radio Conference, with this year's theme, “R-BOT: Decoding Media’s Fate in the Age of A.I.” 

The conference is set to commence at 11 AM on March 8, 2024, at the Tanghalang PUP, College of Communication building. With over 600 expected attendees from various senior high schools and universities across the country, this year’s conference aims to be a transformative exploration into the future of media amidst the presence of artificial intelligence.

Through the symposium, the organization intends to ascertain if these technological advancements could help solidify the radio sector in the industry, as renowned media personalities who will serve as speakers offer valuable insights on AI's presence and its repercussions. 

Gefriene Manabat, the Project Head of PUP Radio Conference 2024, expresses her enthusiasm for the event stating, 

“As future radio practitioners and members of the PUP-COC’s official radio organization, it is only right and just that we use this event to give our participants an insightful learning experience about the future of the media in AI applications with the help of our guest speakers from the radio industry.” 

Manabat also imparted that this year’s symposium shall offer an array of entertaining and interactive activities both around the venue and throughout the event proper, enhancing the participants’ experience. 

Interested attendees can still register for PUP RCon 2024 through this link until March 6, 2024. 

Additionally, the PUP Radio Festival, a sub-event of PUP RCon, is still open for entries until March 12, 2024. Categories for both High School and College Division this year are Radio News Production, Podcasting, and Radio Jingle Making. Participants can register through this link. For inquiries on event registration, you may contact via email or send a message on the event’s Facebook page for the latest news and announcements.

#PUPRCon2024 #PUPRFest2024 #PUPRBOT

Article by Czarina Piscasio

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Newly published global report features BAN Toxics’ successful women empowerment initiatives in the small-scale mining sector

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

"Despite women holding up half the sky, they remain invisible in the mining sector. As we celebrate Women’s Month, it is crucial to recognize the value and significance of women miners and workers in small-scale gold mining, an already marginalized sector," environmental NGO BAN Toxics said as the Philippine case made its way into a newly released global report.

The recent report by the World Bank on the status of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector highlights a case study conducted by BAN Toxics, focusing on its women empowerment initiatives within the Compassionate Gold program.

The report titled “2023 State of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector” focuses on the contributions of the ASM to the Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5): Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls.

Featuring 14 case studies contributed by 23 other organizations from Latin America, Africa and Mongolia, the report examines whether and how legal frameworks impede or promote women’s equality and empowerment in ASM. It also analyzes several other key barriers to women’s participation and empowerment in the sector, including social protections and access to occupational health and safety.

Challenges Faced by Women in ASM Sector

The country's ASM sector plays a vital role in providing livelihoods, employing approximately 500,000 miners, and supporting millions of individuals. According to estimates from the International Labour Organization, between 18,000 to 20,000 women and children are engaged in ASGM-related employment in the Philippines.

“Patriarchal perspectives prevail in small-scale mining where women are relegated to auxiliary roles with unequal access to job opportunities and income. They engage in flexible and seasonal work in the sector, such as panning, sluicing, and cleaning, to earn supplemental income for their families. Women’s community management roles, such as processing of papers and attending meetings and dialogues are usually unpaid,” Arleen Honrade, co-writer of the study and BAN Toxics Community Development Officer, laments.

“Moreover, as women are often responsible for chemical processing, they conduct the mercury amalgamation, such as cooking the amalgam, disproportionately impacting them to the toxic effects of mercury,” Honrade elaborates.

The Delve report confirms that this societal experience of women in ASM permeates even at the institutional level through prejudicial and gender-blind legislation favoring mining as a male occupation where women's issues are left out. Additionally, women's limited involvement in project development exacerbates gender disparities within ASGM communities.

“The Philippine case is not far off from other countries. The 2023 State of the Sector study underscores the critical role of women in the ASM sector with an estimated 13.4 million women working in ASM worldwide, comprising 30% of the global 44.67 million ASM workforce. Women in the ASM face persistent legal, social, and economic challenges, aggravated by the gender-blind nature of mining laws, leading to discrimination and impeding their access to resources, education, and economic opportunities, placing their safety and well-being at risk,” said Jam Lorenzo, author of the study and BAN Toxics Research and Policy Officer.

The group stated that as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is poised to amend Republic Act 7076, also known as the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991, there is the need of incorporating a gender perspective in the amendment process to account for differences in roles assigned to women, as well as biological, environmental, and other factors, for effective solutions. They also highlighted the importance of integrating a gender dimension into occupational safety and health laws in the country.

Empowering Women in Philippine ASM Communities Through Compassionate Gold

The case study presented by BAN Toxics shares the outcomes of its efforts to address gender inequity in the ASM sector through the Compassionate Gold program. Launched in 2018, Compassionate Gold serves as a flagship project by BAN Toxics aimed at contributing to the formalization of the artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector in the Philippines and the elimination of mercury use. It follows national and international standards such as the Minamata Convention on Mercury, that of the Organization for Economic Cooperation, and international labor Standards and ILO Conventions and Recommendations.

“The Compassionate Gold program identified gender issues in the ASGM sector by utilizing a certification tool developed by BAN Toxics, aligned with international standards. Key issues include women balancing work and home responsibilities, their earnings being perceived as only “augmentative" rather than substantial contributors to family income, and the prevalence of gender-based violence,” Lorenzo said.

BAN Toxics addressed these issues through various activities with special focus on community organizing, gender sensitivity training, regular gender mapping, and linking communities with government partners for livelihood development.

“Livelihood development projects were provided for women mining groups with individual complementary livelihood starter kits and financial assistance worth more than Php 800,000 from the Department of Labor and Employment. Skills and business training were conducted with the assistance of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Cooperative Development Authority, as well as the provision of seedlings, farm tools, and equipment from the Department of Agriculture for families seeking to shift away from mining-related work,” Andrade added.

“Gender is a cross-cutting issue and should be addressed from a multi-stakeholder perspective. There is a continuing need to educate both women and men about gender perspectives within the context of ASGM. Similarly, government stakeholders should be made aware of these issues,” Lorenzo said, highlighting some of the key learnings in the report.

For the recommendations, Lorenzo said that “There is a need to emphasize the importance of conducting social research on the status of women in ASM and ensuring that gender is integrated into data collection and analysis. Affirmative action programs need to be developed and implemented to address gender inequalities and enable women to progress. Moreover, institutions must ensure that women participate in key community processes and train them to become independent skilled workers.”

BAN Toxics meanwhile further affirms its commitment to working with small-scale mining communities through Compassionate Gold and other programs, to achieve gender equality, empower women, and ensure the safety, prosperity, and dignity of all individuals involved in the ASM sector.


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