Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Violence Preventing Education of Many Filipino Children

It is not only poverty that prevents Filipino children from going to school but also bullying, humiliation, physical maltreatment and sexual harassment perpetrated not only by fellow students but also by teachers. And violence against children proves to be prevalent with at least five out of 10 children in Grades 1 to 3, seven of 10 in Grades 4 to 6 and six of 10 in high school experiencing some kind of violence in school.

This was revealed by Plan Philippines, part of an international non-government organization (NGO) concentrating on the welfare and development of children, in the regional launch of its Learn Without Violence campaign on Feb. 20 at Hotel Alejandro in Tacloban City, the regional capital of Eastern Visayas. The launch was attended by academics, students, social workers, journalists, local government officials and representatives from the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) and Department of Education (DepEd).

Plan, which started operating in the Philippines in 1961, commissioned the Philippine School of Social Work (PSSW) of the Philippine Women’s University in 2005 to study violence against children in public schools, specifically in Masbate, Northern Samar and the Camotes Islands in Cebu, where Plan Philippines has programs. The study involved 2,442 children from 58 public schools, and adult stakeholders such as parents and other community representatives, school personnel and guidance counselors.

In Western Samar in particular, of 127 youths in various Western Samar towns 74 percent claimed they experienced some form of abuse, according to the Plan’s short documentary, Abuso.Among those who claimed they were abuse, 53 percent said they were pinched in the ear or cursed; and 32 percent were pinched. The remaining 15 percent experienced other forms of abuse including the physical and sexual kinds.

According to the study, titled “Towards a Child-Friendly School Environment: A Baseline Study on Violence Against Children in Public School,” verbal abuse―including being ridiculed and teased, being shouted at and being cursed or spoken to with harsh words―is the most prevalent form experienced by children in all school levels.

Fellow students like classmates and peers more than the adults are often the perpetrators in schools with male children more likely to experience physical violence than their female counterparts, the study says.

Furthermore, it also reveals that children accept physical and verbal forms of violence as part of the discipline and seen as appropriate when inflicted within parameters, but “generally prefer a more positive form of discipline such as being talked to and corrected or guided/counseled in response to offenses or violations made in school.”

The study also shows that experiences of violence usually result in low self-esteem, fear, anger and helplessness among children.

It cites some factors contributing to incidences of violence in schools, and these are “family background and personal circumstances; influence of peers and media; lack of awareness about children’s rights; fear; inability of authority figures to respond to cases; abuse of power relations; inadequate capacity to cope with student population and performance demands; and insufficient policies and mechanisms.”

Also according to the study the children and adult “recommend awareness raising and capacity building activities for parents, teachers and children, clear policies and collaborative measures that involve all stakeholders including community leaders as measures to address violence against children in schools.”

Rodel Bontoyan, Plan Philippines ’ area manager in Eastern Visayas , said that their organization prioritizes in reducing and eventually eradicating corporal punishment, bullying and sexual harassment. They are working with communities in increasing their awareness and changing their attitudes. They are also working with the government in helping draft laws concerning violence against children. And they are also working with the media to increase awareness. In fact, Plan Philippines have recruited famous personalities like Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski to act as ambassadors and have co-produced a series of short videos and documentaries about the issues concerning Filipino children.

One documentary shows a case in which a child was hit on the face with a shoe by his teacher. An empowering video shows a gay child standing up against those taunting him, and another one suggests an alternative punishment for misconduct.

We envision for all school-age children to enjoy the right to education without fear, threats or violence,” Bontoyan said.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I, Ipanema and the Earth

I must admit I am a Havaianas wearer. That imported and expensive tsinelas brand has become vogue in the country. Suddenly wearing tsinelas is chic. I was leery at the beginning and slowly became a fan, sort of. The rubber is soft but very durable, and the flip-flops come in different designs. There are other flip-flop brands from Brazil such as Ipanema. Their designs for men are limited, but the women’s are wide and interesting. Anyway, Ipanema recently launched their newest collection, and with it is their environmental campaign. Here is a release about the collection called GB Seeds:

Ipanema goes eco-chic with Gisele B√ľndchen Seeds Collection
Put your best foot forward and don fashion savvy flip-flops in funky and vibrant styles as the premiere Brazil based flip-flop brand, Ipanema takes on a new look this 2009 and introduces the GB Seeds Collection by famed Brazilian fashion icon, dubbed by Forbes magazine as “The World’s Top-Earning Model,” Gisele B√ľndchen!
Unique details adorn the latest GB Seeds Collection by Ipanema such as the forest-inspired print on its soles and the metal spiral button gracing the front sandal strap that symbolizes “the seed of life.” This metal emblem empowers each wearer to do their part and share in the campaign towards a lush Philippines by helping to spread the word.
With the vibrancy of Brazil’s people, life and most especially, the environment, the Ipanema GB Seeds Collection is actively working for a better environment through conscientious resource management.
Choose from a wide array of five diverse styles in eye-popping and vibrant hues.
The New Thong Fem, made with double straps, is perfect for casual strolls at the park or the beach!
Strut with ease with the classic thong-styled Thong Fem that adds that funky flattery on the go. Grab a pair in each color to match your every outfit whim!
Glamorize any outfit with eye-catching straps from Sand Fem. Up the ante and stylize your look when you adorn your feet with this style.
Thong Strap Ad combines the classic thong strap with a uniquely positioned horizontal strap, adding sophistication to one’s casual look.
Need a little height lift? Plataforma Fem is a wedged sandal that lets you look lean and tall. The three-strip strap detail also adds extra oomph to this style from the GB Seeds Collection.
As the summer season draws near, effortlessly transform your look from the beach to the bar with the Ipanema GB Seeds Collection. The ultimate flip-flop for the eco-chic and environment conscious, take a green stride by donning your favorite style from the GB Seeds Collection and joining in the movement towards a more lush Philippines today!
Ipanema is exclusively distributed in the country by ELRO Commercial and Industrial Corporation. Ipanema GB Seeds Collection for women are available in SM Department Store, Shoe Salon, Chocolate Clothing Company, Red Alert, Landmark, Freeway, Planet Sports, Crossings, Brent and Chloe in Pampanga, Stand and Stride in Cabanatuan, Chimes Davao, 25th Avenue Square Naga, Basix Bacolod and for other boutiques nationwide, kindly check the complete list at http://www.ipanemaphils.com.

The Walk the Green Mile event
Environmental group Haribon Foundation partners with ELRO Commercial and Industrial Corporation to organize a walkathon called Walk the Green Mile for the benefit of the Philippine rainforest. This is slated for March 21, 2009. Starting point is in front of Le Souffle restaurant in The Fort, Taguig City.
Those who purchased a pair of Ipanema flip-flops can join the walkathon. Moreover, part of the proceeds from purchase will go to the Road to 2020, the awareness campaign of Haribon, especially to its project of planting and growing native trees in one million hectares of rainforest until 2020.
You can register and grab prizes and freebies at the event. The first 30 persons to finish get a free pair of Ipanema GB Seeds flip-flops of their choice. The first 300 people to join and register on March 21 get a limited edition Ipanema Gisele Bundchen baller ID while the first 100 participants get shirts.
During the event, Ipanema GB Seeds flip-flops will be on sale with ten percent off. Three pairs, signed by Bundchen herself, will be raffled off. Registration starts at 3 P.M. while the walkathon starts at 5 P.M. For more information, contact Maricel Mabalot through number 7533647 to 48 local 103 or e-mail cel.mabalot@elrocom.com.