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CAP speakers to tackle education as vehicle to peace

True to form, College Assurance Plan has launched this year’s series of symposia on peace, ethics and values. In August, former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga lectured on President Quezon’s vision of the Senate at the fifth annual President Quezon Symposium on Ethics in Lucena, and Dr. Alejandro Roces on the theme "Freedom from Ignorance," in Dumaguete City.

Last month, Sen. Rodolfo G. Biazon spoke on "Sustaining Values in the Age of Terrorism" in Cebu City, and Sen. Juan M. Flavier, on "People’s Participation in Social Reform" in Angeles City.

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On Saturday, the 19th of October, Dr. Eliezer Mapanao, former United Nations consultant on development, and Saeed A. Daof, director general of the Center for the Promotion of Peace and Development in Mindanao, will speak on the theme, "Education: The Road to Peace and Development" in Tacloban City. The symposium will be held as CAP’s contribution this year to the city’s celebration of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s landing in Leyte in 1945.

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The Leyte symposium theme is very timely in view of the invigorated interest of government bodies and non-governmental organizations in the development of strife-torn Mindanao, particularly in its Muslim areas. The speakers know whereof they will speak. Dr. Mapanao was president of the Southern Christian College in Cotabato for more than two decades. He served as consultant for ESCAP-United Nations and has been in the forefront of the peace movement in Mindanao.

Daof, on the other hand, is a strong advocate of Filipino Muslim empowerment through peaceful and non-violent means. He has been active in the promotion of peace and progress in Mindanao for many years, and he is now director general of the Center for the Promotion of Peace and Development of Mindanao which is based in Los Baños, Laguna.

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A panel of discussants has been invited to express their views on the symposium theme. They are Dr. Edilberto Alegre, Ph.D., a columnist of Business World; Ms. Paulina Lawsin-Nayra, executive director of the Runggiyan Social Development Foundation, and Dr. Portia R. Mapanao, former executive director of the Cotabato Rural Uplift Movement.

Participating in the Oct. 19th program are city and provincial officials led by Gov. Remedios Petillo, who will deliver the response.

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Since we are on the topic of values, a group of women lawmakers will ask, if they have not already, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board to review two competing noontime shows for gross "entertainment" and exploiting women as sex objects. Although they did not mention the shows, it is believed that these are ABS-CBN’s Magandang Tanghali Bayan, which features the Kendeng Girls, and Channel 7, which primes up Eat Bulaga, which shows off sensual dancing by the Sex Bomb Dancers. These entertainers perform suggestive poses and one of the shows has contestant wallowing in mud, crawling with snakes, eating earthworms, etc.

The offended congresswomen who issued the resolution are Rep. Loretta Ann Rosales, author, and Reps. Cynthia Villar of Las Piñas, Darlene Antonio Custodio of South Cotabato, and Krisel Lagman-Luistro of Albay, as co-authors.

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Talking about promoting education as the road to peace and development, we’re pleased to learn that the food chain McDonald’s, has launched Bright Minds Read, a campaign that hopes to encourage young children to develop a love for reading. The company says this is its response to a problem increasingly concerning elementary educators. The educators note that a growing number of children are now beginning to read only at a later age, and that children who do know how to read, no longer read as much as in previous years. I say that the computer has a lot to do with children’s lack of interest in reading these days!

Bright Minds Read will offer training for those teaching reading, and providing workbooks for their students. It will be implemented in selected schools under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education-National Capital Region. McDonald’s has entered into a partnership with the Department of Education by way of its signing up as a donor in the Adopt-A-School program, via the Bright Minds Read campaign. Fourteen schools, representing each of the divisions of the Department of Education-National Capital Region, are the beneficiaries of the campaign.

McDonald’s involvement in the program is in keeping with its long-standing commitment to supporting causes that benefit children. In 1996, it established its supporting several similar-minded institutions such as the Tuloy Foundation, which gives scholarships to streetchildren, the Leukemic Indigent Fund Endowment (LIFE) which raises funds for the chemotherapy treatments of indigent leukemics and St. Luke’s Expanded Program of Immunization, which provides primary health care to St. Luke’s pediatric social service patients. It also gives assistance to the Welcome Home Foundation, which gives scholarships to deaf children; Resources for the Blind, which produces Braille textbooks, and Operation Smile and Interplast, both of which offer free facial reconstructive surgery to children.

Dr. Corazon Santiago, regional director for DepEd-NCR has high praises for McDonald’s focus on reading. "This is the first time a company is helping kids get back to the reading habit by going a step beyond just donating books," she says.

Joseph Lau, managing director of McDonald’s Philippines is likewise optimistic. He says, "We cannot solve the problems of education all at once but we aim to help where we can."

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My e-mail address: dominimt2000@yahoo.com

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