Christendom

VOICE FROM THE SOUTH

Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ

The collapse of the Roman Empire left the Church to try to survive after the invasion of the barbarians and the other vandals from the north. The Roman Empire extended from the English islands down to Africa to the plains of Syria in the second century when the invasions from the north started. Some of these invaders of Rome were Arians who also persecuted the Catholics. What saved the papacy were the invaders of Gaul in Clovis the heathen who converted to Catholicism. Pepin the successor of the clan and Charlemagne his son acknowledged the popes. They made the donation of Central Italy to the Papacy which lasted till 1870. It was also at this time that there appeared a succession of great popes – Leo and Gregory took over the administration of the devastated Rome. From the fourth century to the beginning of the ninth century were the years of transition and the beginning of a new empire under Charlemagne to succeed the Roman Empire in the West.

Most of these invaders from the north were Arians who did not believe that Jesus was divine.  So that up to now in every Sunday Mass we celebrate we profess the Nicene Creed against Arius. We pray: “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ the only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father from all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, through Him all things were made.” Clovis and his successors accepted the Catholic faith which was the basic faith of the new empire.

For two centuries in the Roman Empire Church was accepted the Catholic faith and then came the invasions.  This constituted the new Christendom of the northern invaders that lasted till the 11th century with the problems with the Muslims and the schism of the eastern Kingdoms. They also started the crusades that disrupted the peace and life of the new Christendom. The break with the Eastern Empire occurred gradually at this time.

Going back to the demise of the Roman Empire of the West, we have Leo the Great who persuaded Attila not to sack Rome and a second time he persuaded Gaiseric the Vandal, coming from conquest of North Africa, not to invade Rome but to have a peaceful sack of the imperial city. It was also Leo who clarified the primacy of Rome over the universal Church. He established that Rome was the court of last resort. The theological question of the humanity of Christ in relation to His divinity was the great controversy of the time. It was the Antiochine church against the Alexandrian theologians.  In the end the Alexandrian school prevailed. Included in this controversy was the title of “mother of God” theotokos.

With the demise of the Roman economy, the economy was then centered on agriculture and it was the monasteries that took up the instruction of the people instead of the bishops. A couple of centuries later, Gregory of Roman nobility became the prefect of Rome but then he gave up everything, including his vast wealth, to become a monk.  But the acclamation of the people forced him to accept becoming bishop of Rome. The Lombards made incursions across Italy and it was Gregory who persuaded their king from invading Rome and its environs. This was at the end of the sixth century. Till about the twelfth century with its problems with the eastern Schism and the Muslims, we had a Christendom of the northern invader who have became Catholics largely through the work of the monks and their monasteries. Exceptional was the work of the Celtic monks and later on the work of the Benedictine monks.

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Incentives eyed for businesses listed in Investment Priorities Plan

The government is inclined to grant incentives to potential investments related to advancing the coronavirus response efforts as well as the Balik Probinsya program in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The two categories are included in the 2020 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), a list of preferred business activities approved by President Duterte.

“Upon effectivity of the IPP, all government agencies and entities are enjoined to issue the necessary regulations to ensure its implementation in a synchronized and integrated manner,” Memorandum Order No. 50 read.

“In the grant of incentives, it is understood that the Board of Investments shall ensure the attainment of and consistency with the State policies under EO No. 226 and the national goals under Republic Act No. 11469 or the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,’ and RA No. 11494 or the ‘Bayanihan to Recover as One Act,’” it added.

The investment priorities plan, which included preferred economic activities entitled to incentives such as income tax holiday, was submitted to the Palace early this year.

In MO 50, the President has included COVID-related projects such as manufacturing of medicines, medical equipment, personal protective equipment as well as hospitals, testing and quarantine facilities in the list of 12 preferred activities for investments.

Investments in job-generating programs outside congested urban areas such as the Balik Probinsya Program are also preferred by the government. 

The MO stated the Board of Investments (BOI) may provide “up to six years of income tax holiday to qualified activities” under these two categories once it is determined that it  would promote public health and safety as well as address impact on livelihood and economic activities.

Other preferred activities for investment are manufacturing including agri-processing; agriculture, fishery and forestry; strategic services such as telecommunications and creative industries/knowledge-based services; healthcare and disaster risk reduction management services, mass housing; infrastructure and logistics; innovation drivers; inclusive business models; environment and climate change-related projects; and energy.

Along deemed priorities are export activities, activities based on special laws that grant incentives such mining, renewable energy, and tourism.

The IPP also included the preferred business activities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Among the investment areas are export, agriculture and fishery, basic industries, infrastructure and services, industrial service facilities, engineering industries, logistics, BIMP-EAGA related investment enterprises, tourism, health and education services, Halal industry, and energy.

Kings surprise ‘The Spark’ with mini birthday celeb at Quest Hotel

Photos from respective Instagram accounts

Ginebra players showed some love to their most senior teammate by surprising him at his hotel room in Clark, Pampanga.

No less than Mark Caguioa, who just turned 41 inside the PBA bubble, was caught off guard by his teammates as they all sneakily lined up at the corridor of Quest Hotel in Mimosa.

LA Tenorio did the honors to present the birthday cake to Caguioa while Joe Devance, Scottie Thompson, Stanley Pringle, Aljon Mariano, Jeff Chan, among others, started chanting “Happy Birthday” while holding their cameras up to capture the light moment.

Before getting the cake, Caguioa took his turn to pull out his phone to record his fellow Kings sing loud in unison.

“Continue to inspire young players like [me]!” Love you brother!” Tenorio wrote on Instagram.

Former Ginebra teammates Jayjay Helterbrand, Sol Mercardo, Paolo Taha and Rico Maierhofer also greeted the PBA veteran on Instagram, reminiscing some of their moments together.

Caguioa, the man known as “The Spark,” is now on his 18th season in the PBA since being drafted by Ginebra as third overall pick in 2001.

He remained loyal to the Kings and became the longest-tenured player in a single franchise, surpassing Alvin Patrimonio (Purefoods) and Harvey Carey (TNT) in the process.

Before the surprise visit to Caguioa, Ginebra took its first win in the semifinals after routing the Meralco Bolts, 96-79, in Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

Gilas Youth stalwart Panopio commits to Cal State Bakersfield — report

Photo from FIBA

Gilas Youth stalwart Dalph Panopio has reportedly committed to the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners in the US NCAA.

The Fil-Italian guard, who currently plays for South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, opted to stay in the United States to take his talents in the NCAA Division I next year.

Per Eurohopes, the 6-foot-2 Panopio had a breakout year in 2018 where he averaged 17.8 points on a 50% shooting clip from beyond the arc and 5.5 assists in the ANGT (Euroleague Basketball Next Generation Tournament) Finals with Italian team Stella Azzura.

“I just wanna thank the people that always believed in me,” Panopio wrote on Instagram.

Stella Azzura also extended its greetings to their former prized recruit.

As a Batang Gilas, Panopio averaged 7.3 points, four rebounds and four assists during the 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championship in Thailand, helping the national team to place 4th out of eight countries.

In the FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece last year, Panopio posted five points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists as the Philippines ranked in 14th place

Module of a grade three pupil showing a family of a farmer in torn clothes received criticisms from the public

From face-to-face to blended distance learning, students are still adjusting to the sudden change of the education system, needing the help of their parents or guardians in finishing academic tasks at home. For this reason, more parents are getting involved, focusing their attention to their children’s modules and other learning resources. 

A mother of a grade three pupil in Marinduque named Jenice Ramiro got disappointed upon seeing an illustration of a farmer’s family in her son’s English module. 

She posted her sentiments on Facebook saying, “Napansin ko lang ‘to habang nagbabasa ng module ng anak ko sa English grade three. Bakit kaya ganito ang larawan ng pamilya ng farmer? Gula-gulanit ang mga damit, madungis, at may hubad pa na bata. Napakababa naman po ng pagkakalarawan nila sa magsasaka. Paano naman po natin maengganyo ang mga bagong henerasyon na magsaka kung ganyan? Nakakasakit ng loob.” (I noticed this while I was reading my son’s English module who is in grade three. Why is this the picture of the peasant family? Clothes were ragged, dirty, and there’s even a naked child. Their description of farmers is very demeaning. How can we entice the new generation to do farming? It hurts.)

In our interview with Ramiro, she shares that she is a graduate of Agriculture Technology who runs a nursery in Marinduque. According to her, she aims to train her only child to be a farmer, too. Seeing the photo of a farming family in her son’s English module upsets her due to the low representation of farmers. 

In her opinion, they could have shown that the farmer’s family were not wearing ragged clothes and that it’s better if there’s a house next to a farm with abundant crops and healthy animals. She adds, “Kahit hindi maganda ang damit basta hindi naman po hubad at gula-gulanit, wala pang tsinelas,” (Even if the clothing is not elegant, as long as it is not naked and torn or moreso, without slippers.)

Netizens’ reactions to the DepEd’s module depicting a farmer’s family

Ramiro’s post, which she eventually deleted, caught the attention of thousands of netizens and some even reposted the photos on their respective accounts. This has been circulating on the web and has been receiving criticisms and analysis. 

On a Facebook post, Honorio Santos Cruz, a farmer, wrote his opinion regarding this issue, “Maraming nagalit sa illustration ng pamilya daw ng farmer sa MODULE ng DepEd. Nakakagalit naman talaga. Nakakagalit dahil totoo naman na karamihan ng magsasaka ay mahirap.” (Many were angry at the illustration of the farmer ‘s family in DepEd’s module. It’s really maddening. It is enraging because it is true that most farmers are poor.)

He adds that farmers are abused and that the support and financial aid that are supposedly for them are being kept by the ones in the higher posts. There are successful farmers, but only at a small percentage. Many of the farmers’ population are more on the fringes of society, said Cruz. For him, the photo shown in the module is wrong. “It is wrong that the farmers are poor, they are the main reason why we have food on our tables. And this will be corrected if the government will help them to rise, especially that the [Rice Tariffication Law] RTL continues to bring them down.”

Screen captured from a Facebook post of Honorio “Noi” Cruz.

Kit Ian Mausisa, a farmer who left the corporate world to farm, shared his point of view on this via his Facebook account, too. 

On his Facebook post, he commented, “Farmers are one of the most exploited sectors here in the Philippines. While it is true that a lot of farmers are poor here in the Philippines due to several factors, that’s no excuse for the DepEd to depict them as such and to stereotype them. A lot of them stayed poor due to the lack of education and training. Yet, they work hard to provide us with food.” 

For Mausisa, remodeling the educational system is needed because it holds an important role that contributes not only to the success of current and future farmers, but also for every Filipino. 

Screen captured from Kit Ian Mausisa’s comment on his own Facebook post.

“Masakit na makita na ganon lang tingin ng DepEd sa aming mga farmers. [We] find it challenging to encourage young people to go into farming pero [we] have been able to successfully do so. Then this happened.” (It hurts to see that DepEd views our farmers as something like that. [We] find it challenging to encourage young people to go into farming, but [we] have been able to successfully do so. Then this happened.) 

Still, Mausisa hopes for the government sectors to unite in making the Philippine agriculture flourish. 

Ponchit Ponce Enrile, also a farmer, commented on a repost saying, “Merong katotohanan. 90 percent ng mga magsasaka ay mahirap. Ang dapat baguhin ay hindi ang litrato na ’yan kung hindi ang kalagayan  ng mga magsasaka.” (There is truth. 90 percent of farmers are poor. What needs to be changed is not that picture but the plight of the farmers.)

Screen captured from Ponchit Ponce Enrile’s Facebook comment.

Enrile says that the family in the photo are not farmers, but beggars. According to him, farmers tend to wear clothes with holes sometimes because they use old clothes while out in the fields. “Nevertheless, I still think that the average farmer is poor, but not pulubi (beggar). Kasi may kinakain araw-araw ang magsasaka. (because the farmers have something to eat every day.)” 

The depiction of farmers makes him think that it was created by an uninformed person. Although he believes that many farmers in the country are poor, these farmers do not deserve such a situation. 

Amid everything, Jonalyn Ajeda, an undergraduate student of Science and Agriculture and a daughter of farmers, takes pride in her farming family. She wrote in the comment section of the reposted photos of the module, “My parents are farmers and we’re nine siblings. Hindi ako nagmamayabang, proud lang ako sa parents ko, proud ako sa mga kapatid ko, proud ako sa pamilya ko dahil produkto kami ng magsasaka o farmers.” (I am not bragging, I am just proud of my parents, I am proud of my siblings, I am proud of my family because we are the product of farmers.)

Screen captured from Jonalyn Cabral Ajeda’s Facebook comment.

As of now, the DepEd has not released their official statement regarding this matter. 

DepEd welcomes donations for students, personnel affected by typhoons

The Department of Education (DepEd) welcomes the in-kind donations for its students, teaching, and non-teaching personnel who were adversely affected by the recent string of calamities that hit the country.

(MANILA BULLETIN)

“We are encouraging private individuals and our partners that want to donate to the victims of the typhoons to donate in-kind, [since] we are refraining from receiving monetary donations,” said DepEd Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships, and Project Management Service Tonisito M.C. Umali.

Umali also advised interested donors not to bring the items to be donated to the Central Office. “It is also better to directly drop off your donations at our regional or division offices for convenience,” he added.

The onslaught of typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses” early this month left hundreds of schools damaged and displaced thousands of students, teachers and other DepEd personnel.

As of Nov. 18, DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) reported that classes in 20,649 schools remain suspended, affecting 11,273,091 enrollees due to “Ulysses.” Likewise, classes in 3,813 schools are still suspended affecting 1,616,670 learners due to “Rolly.”

DepEd also reported that 352 schools the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), National Capital Region (NCR), Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Eastern Visayas are being used as evacuation centers due to “Ulysses.” A total of 286 schools are also used by the evacuees in Region IV-A and V.

Based on the latest data, DepEd said that “Ulysses” damaged 1,581 schools while 1,982 school were damaged by “Rolly.”

The combined estimated cost for repair, reconstruction or rehabilitation of these schools is more than P10 billion or P3.5 billion for “Ulysses” and P6.6 billion for “Rolly.”

Earlier, DepEd Region IV-A (Calabarzon) Regional Director Wilfredo Cabral also encouraged schools division offices (SDOs) to initiate in-kind donation drive to “generate goods” such as mats, blankets, towels, pillows, clothes, toiletries, detergents, soaps, and other food items that can be sent to the affected students and personnel – especially those located in the province of Rizal. 

This week, DepEd also met with representatives of various external partners and partners such as World Vision, PLDT-SMART Foundation, Globe Telecom, Ayala Foundation, GMA Kapuso Foundation, China Bank Savings, Aboitiz, City Savings Bank, Metrobank Foundation, Fundacion Educacion Y Cooperacion – EDUCO, Knowledge Channel Foundation, UNILAB, Security Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Colgate-Palmolive, REBISCO, Nestle Philippines, Mariwasa, and GAKKEN Philippines – among others – who attended the coordination meeting to extend their support for the education sector during these difficult times.

NAIA Customs will conduct webinar on importation policies and operations

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will conduct a conference-webinar on Customs Policies and Operations from 2 to 4 p.m. on November 23.

(FLICKR / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The webinar is open to all stakeholders.

Julius Herald B. Altiche, head of Customer Care Center (CCC), will discuss importation policies of the BOC. His lecture will cover pre-importation requirements up to arrival of the goods. It includes the limitations in bringing in foreign currencies and commodities under free, prohibited, and regulated importations.

For the second part of the webinar, Mark Jhon O. Almase, Subport Collector of Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC), will talk on how to clear goods at NAIA. He will tackle clearances,  payment and release of goods. He will also explain the procedures on claiming the parcels in the Port of NAIA and importation of various products.

BOC-NAIA headed by District Collector Carmelita M. Talusan fully supports Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero’s 10-point Priority Program to ensure that stakeholders are provided with accurate and updated information on Customs policies and reforms amidst the pandemic.

Loyalty questioned, Rep. Duterte distances self from majority

Presidential son Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte has said that he would distance himself from the majority bloc in the House of Representatives after he felt that some of his colleagues questioned his loyalty, presumably to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

Davao City 1st district Rep. Paolo Duterte (KEITH BACONGCO / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was learned from circulating screenshots of supposed Viber messages sent by Rep. Duterte — one to the National Unity Party (NUP) thread and one to the Viber thread involving all congressmen in the 18th Congress.

“Maraming salamat po for taking care of me dito sa pulitika ng Metro Manila. Sana po hindi niyo i-QUESTION loyalty ko. Kasi ‘yun nalang natitira sa pagkatao ko pagkatapos ako siniraan ng mga kalaban ng tatay ko nung tumakbo siyang Presidente. Maraming Salamat po (Thank you for taking care of me within the politics of Metro Manila. I hope you wouldn’t question my loyalty. That’s all I have after the attacks launched by my father’s foes agaisnt me when he ran for President. Thank you very much),” said “Pulong.”

He continued: “Sorry to say but I have to distance myself napo pati sa ruling majority ng HOR pinahiya at na-question na po loyalty ko. Sa bunganga po ni Cong. Mangudadatu at Congw. Sharon Garin mababalitaan niya po ‘yan mamaya agad (Sorry to say but I have to distance myself even to the ruling majority of the HOR I was shamed and my loyalty was questioned. You will know about that later from the mouths of Cong. Mangudadatu at Congw. Sharon Garin).”

Rep. Duterte was referring to Maguindanao Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu and AAMBIS-OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin.

While the screenshots were undated, a source said that Rep. Duterte was referring to events that transpired during the birth anniversary  celebration of Velasco last Nov. 9 at the Rizal Park Hotel in Manila. This was mere hours after Velasco was sworn in by no less than President Duterte in Malacañang.

The source said Garin, who was at the same table as Pulong, inadvertently offended him when she made a remark on his recent designation as chairman of the Committee on Accounts — one of the plum posts in the House of Representatives.

A “shouting match” ensued between the two, prompting Mangudadatu to intervene in behalf of the lady lawmaker. But the Davao congressman took Mangudadatu’s gesture the wrong way as well, causing things to “escalate,” the source said.

Rep. Duterte confirmed in his viber message that some sort of commotion did happen, but he gave no specifics as to what or when.

“Yes po nagkagulo sabihin ko na dati at lumuhod po ako humingi ng tawad kay Speaker. Maraming salamat po (Yes there was a commotion…I was on bended knees and asked forgiveness from Speaker. Thank you very much),” he said.Garin is known to be a close ally of Velasco, who represents Marinduque in the 301-member chamber. Mangudadatu, on the other hand, is a friend of the Duterte family.Garin and Mangudadatu neither responded to Rep. Duterte’s Viber posts nor did they answer queries from House reporters.

Rep. Duterte previously refused to support either Velasco or his erstwhile rival, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, during the height of the Speakership skirmish nearly a month ago. He described both Velasco and Cayetano as his friends.

Pulong went as far as resigning from his post as deputy speaker during this phase. But Velasco, in one of his first acts as House head honcho, gave him the coveted Accounts panel chairmanship afterward. 
President Duterte and Velasco both belong to Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Miss Universe Colombia national director apologizes to Catriona Gray

Miss Colombia Universe National Director Natalie Ackermann (left) and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray

Natalie Ackermann, national director of Miss Universe Colombia, has apologized to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray for the mistakes committed when she sat as one of the judges in the Miss Universe Colombia 2020 beauty pageant last Tuesday.  

Ackermann’s full post: 

“To MISS UNIVERSE 2018 CATRIONA GRAY and her management

“Miss Universe Colombia’s quintessential essence is to promote and value  UNITY, PEACE, COMPASSION, HUMILITY and KINDNESS and we would like to express our utmost gratitude to Catriona Gray as being one  of the esteemed judges for Miss Universe Colombia, for supporting Smile Train and for spreading the positivity and kindness which is the paragon of the values that we also believe.

“We also would like to express our apologies for the mistake of her last name due to some language barrier and the announcement that she was born in Australia – the translated language that was sent for introduction is ‘Born in Australia, from the Philippines who is Miss Universe 2018” it is honestly part of the cultural differences as here in Colombia, we regard the value of unity across cultural importance.

“We assure that there is no malice intended as we invited Catriona Gray in the first place because we believe in Filipinos and having a personal Dubai-based Filipino friend who is like a brother to me, I have always admired the Filipino culture and the kindness of the people from the Philippines.

“I hope that Catriona Gray will not take this matter against us and forgive us and our management. We are also absolutely thrilled to visit the beautiful country of the Philippines soon.

“Mahal ko kayong lahat and Mabuhay!”

More infra projects in Marawi City under way — Villar

Three road projects aimed at improving the road network in war-torn Marawi City in Lanao del Sur are now in progress, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said Thursday.

(Photo via DPWH / MANILA BULLETIN)

A 2.85-kilometer section of the previously unmaintained Maul Lumbaca Ingud – Ranao Ranao Alternate Bypass Road in Maul, Marantao, Lanao del Sur is being repaired and rehabilitated.

It is now 89.16 percent completed, Villar said.

The road project, which transverses Jct. Barangay Maul, Marantao to Marawi-Cotabato Road, will be connected to Marawi City Diversion Road in Sagonsongan via Marawi Transcentral Road.

A 5.2-kilometer road is also under construction in Pantar, Lanao del Norte to Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. It is a two-lane road project which includes a 16-linear meter Lilod Guimba Bridge along Kurmatan-Matampay Road.

Moreover, the Agus Pumping Bridge is also under reconstruction, repair, and widening. It is at 52.3 percent completion rate as of November 2020.

According to the secretary, “construction of the Pumping Bridge has been challenging due to right-of-way issues but has gained support from the city government of Marawi.”

“The Department has been doubling our efforts to deliver necessary infrastructure projects for the revitalization of Marawi and its surrounding areas from man-made disaster of acts of terrorism in 2017,” Villar added.

Meanwhile, a four-storey school building with 20 classrooms in the Integrated School of Barangay Moncado Kadingilian is under construction. It is now at 30.4 percent progress rate and is set to be completed in April 2021, in time for the opening of the next school year.

USAID signs 5-year ‘Safe Water’ deal with Palawan, Negros Occ., and Sarangani LGUs

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has signed a five-year, P869-million Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Palawan, Negros Occidental, and Sarangani to address water security challenges faced by communities in those provinces.

Through the “Safe Water” project, USAID will provide technical assistance to help communities in these provinces gain reliable access to clean water.

(MARK BALMORES / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Palawan, Negros Occidental, and Sarangani all face recurring water shortages amid rising water demand, degraded watersheds, and inadequate access to water supply and sanitation services.

In his remarks at the signing ceremony, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson hailed the partnership as “a milestone and a significant step towards a more serious and in-depth water governance for more inclusive and sustainable development in the province of Negros Occidental.”

USAID Acting Mission Director Patrick Wesner led the signing ceremony together with representatives from the Philippine government and private sector, including National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Assistant Director General Roderick Planta, Palawan Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez, and Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon.

In a statement on Thursday, Nov. 19, the USAID said its assistance will focus on increasing access to resilient water and sanitation services, improving water resource management to ensure sustainable supply, and strengthening water sector governance.

USAID will also scale up successful approaches and models by utilizing best practices from policymakers and other sector players.

“The U.S. government is proud to support the efforts of Palawan, Negros Occidental, and Sarangani to achieve water security. USAID will work with partners to maximize the use of data and sound analytics to guide informed decision making, identify lasting solutions, and prioritize investments,” Wesner said.

The MOU signing event  highlighted Safe Water’s partnership with private sector and non-government organizations.

Safe Water project’s implementing partner DAI Global LLC, will work with local groups Philippine Business for Social Progress, Water.org, Mahintana Foundation Inc, Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation Inc., and the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. to empower communities to become better environmental stewards, build local capacity to deliver clean drinking water and improved sanitation services, and strengthen stakeholder engagement toward long-term water security.

BTS’ Jungkook voted Sexiest International Man in People’s Sexiest Man Alive 2020 poll

BTS’ Jungkook (Big Hit Entertainment)

K-pop group BTS member Jungkook has been voted Sexiest International Man in People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive 2020: Readers’ Choice Poll.

People has come out with its annual edition with actor Michael B. Jordan being named as Sexiest Man Alive 2020. In addition, it ran a poll to allow readers to vote for their own favorites.

Readers voted Jungkook, who is 23, as Sexiest International Man with People noting, “We may not have had the Olympics this year, but international competition was fierce among Jungkook (South Korea), Dan Levy (Canada) Keith Urban (Australia), Matthew Rhys (Wales) and Paul Mescal (Ireland) – with the BTS star taking home the win.”

BTS became a finalist in the Sexiest Chart-Topper with Harry Styles winning in the category. Other finalists were Bad Bunny, Roddy Ricch and The Weeknd.

Other Sexiest Man Alive 2020: Readers’ Choice Poll winners are Brad Pitt, Sexy Emeritus; Prince Harry, Sexiest Royal; Liam, Chris and Luke Hemsworth, Sexiest Brothers; Jensen Ackles, Sexiest Small-Screen Star; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Sexiest Sports Guy; Shawn Mendes, Sexiest Content in Quarantine; Ryan Reynolds, Sexiest Happily Settled Guy; and Armie Hammer, Sexiest Newly-Single Guy.

Also winning in the poll are Joe Jonas, Sexiest New Dad; John Krasinski, Sexiest Guy Who Entertained US in Lockdown; Nick Jonas, Sexiest Reality Show Judge; Jacob Elordi, Sexiest Man in a Mask; John Stamos, Sexiest ‘Zaddy’; Noah Centineo, Sexiest Netflix Heartthrob; Lawrence Jackson, Sexiest Guy Who Had a Big 2020; Cole Sprouse, Sexiest Glow-Up; David Dobrik, Sexiest YouTube Star; and Chris Olsen, Sexiest Guy on Tiktok.

On the other hand, BTS will be releasing their new album “BE” on Nov. 20 fronted by the main track “Life Goes On.”