01 Apr 2016

President Aquino hails Center for Community Transformation for contributions to nation-building
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday hailed the 10,000-strongmembers of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) Group of Ministries for their vast contribution to nation-building.

In his speech during the center’s 25th anniversary celebration at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City, the President assured the Group of Ministries that the government will continue to help assure the continued flow of basic services to the needy.

“I really want to say that you have done so much and again, perhaps we in government are obligated to do so. You obviously are just obligated by your sense of volunteerism and community — and of being of service. And for that again, I offer you my most sincere thanks,” President Aquino told the attendees.

The CCT operates in 96 cities and 54 municipalities across the Philippines, reaching out to street families, children and youth at risk, fisher folk, landless agricultural workers, indigenous people, factory workers, informal workers, micro-entrepreneurs, and the community at large. The center reaches out to more than 500,000 people in various parts of the country.

“I am well aware that the impact you have had on Filipino society goes far beyond mere figures. There are the fathers and mothers you empower through microfinance to operate their own small businesses and provide for their families’ needs; the communities to whom you give free education and health services; the families whose spiritual lives you have strengthened through your ministry,” the President said.

“In reaching out to our brethren in the margins, you yourselves have become pathways to the Lord; you have helped them to renew their faith in others and in Him and in themselves. We remember Matthew 25:35: ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me,’” he added.

The CCT’s programs and services are designed to be holistic, integrated, community-based, family-focused, sustainable and transformational. It offers economic empowerment programs, such as savings and credit; technical and vocational education; business training and enterprise development; social services and education; community mobilization and social infrastructure building. All these are integrated into the spiritual development of the people the CCT serves.

President Aquino noted that under the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program, household beneficiaries receive cash assistance in exchange for fulfilling the conditions of sending their children to school, and for ensuring that the children receive the necessary vaccinations and attend medical check-ups.

“In 2013, you — your CCT —partnered with the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) to implement the Program for Livelihood and Transformation (PRO-LIT), giving participants access to credit, savings, and micro-insurance for MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) development,” he said.

“Apart from that, as an extension of your own project, you have also partnered with a TESDA-accredited institute to provide training in carpentry, plumbing, masonry, and electrical installation and maintenance. All of these things, by the way, I’m told, are so full of vacancies that a lot of our very well established construction companies have urgent hiring needs for the categories we just mentioned,” he said.

President Aquino expressed hope that the CCT would extend its partnerships to reach more beneficiaries.

“Should you need further convincing, which I highly doubt, let me relate to you an especially significant achievement: preliminary findings from an assessment of households conducted by the DSWD show that more than 1.5 million households or around 7.7 million Filipinos, have already breached or have been lifted above the poverty line. Thanks to the Conditional Cash Transfer Program,” he noted.

The President further lauded the accreditation of the CCT’s boarding schools in Puypuy and Magdalena, Laguna, which serve as homes to street children as their parents transition away from life on the streets and get back on their feet through livelihood opportunities provided by the center’s Kaibigan Ministry.

He went on to say that he attended the event “simply because I want to thank you for the work that you have done and continue to do; I join you because I want to celebrate twenty-five years of the meaningful transformation you have wrought in so many Filipino communities”.

“In the moments when the burden of my office weighs heavily on me, it is being and praying with people like you that refresh me and renew my strength and hope. I always promised to leave the Philippines in a far better state than the one in which I found it, and I believe that I will do just that when I step down in 91 days,” he said. PND (sm)

President Aquino leads turnover of school building built under PAGCOR project
(CARMONA, Cavite) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday led the turnover of a P43-million classroom project by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) here, which was constructed with the assistance of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Education.

The school building project, built under PAGCOR’s Matuwid na Daan sa Silid Aralan, is a four-storey, 20-classroom structure, which is expected to benefit 1,000 students in Carmona Elementary School.

Carmona school officials said the new school building will reduce the number of class shifts from two classes to just one shift per day. Carmona Elementary School currently has 48 instructional rooms and five non-instructional rooms, and a total population of 2,195 students. With the completion of the new school building, school officials also hope to accommodate enrollees from nearby communities.

Launched in June 2011, the Matuwid na Daan sa Silid Aralan aims to address the acute deficiency in classrooms in public schools, both in elementary and high school.

Under the project, PAGCOR provides the funding while the Education Department identifies the location where the classrooms will be constructed and the DPWH builds the structures.

As of February this year, PAGCOR has been able to build a total of 2,221 classrooms in 448 sites nationwide.

Some 1,845 classrooms are still under construction in 279 sites while 1,196 are undergoing procurement in 106 sites.

The Matuwid Na Daan sa Silid Aralan has also reached far-flung communities across the country, such as those in the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato, Catanduanes, Palawan, Bukidnon, Masbate, Compostela Valley, Maguindanao, Apayao, Ifugao, Mountain Province, and Benguet.

According to PAGCOR, it has so far turned over P12 billion to the DPWH and the Department of Education to construct new classrooms for state-subsidized schools.

Of the amount, P2 billion is being utilized solely to construct some 2,000 classrooms in public schools damaged by Typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas. PND (as)

President Aquino witnesses handover of SSF certificate to a Cavite cooperative
(CARMONA, Cavite) President Aquino attended the awarding Friday of the Shared Service Facility (SSF) certificate of turnover of modern machines to a garment cooperative here in Cavite.

The Covenant Community Service Cooperative (CCSC) received modern sewing machines from the government worth P6 million, that will improve the production of its employees.

Dr. Ruth Callanta, the president and CEO of CCSC, said during the event held at Carmona Elementary School that the use of modern sewing machines has improved the production of their employees, reduced the number of rejected products and made the local garment industry at par with imported products.

The Philippine garment industry has more than 200,000 workers, she said, adding that with the adoption of modern sewing machines, CCSC could create 150 new jobs in its factory.

CCSC Carmona produces ladies’ wear, denim and trousers. Founded in March 2010, it is one of the satellite branches of the CCSC, which is a Christian organization that provides local communities with trainings to develop the skills needed in construction and site development projects.

Its core programs include professional staff services, workers’ guild development, enterprise development and consultancy services.

It is under the supervision of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) Group of Ministries founded in 1992. Currently, the CCSC Carmona employs 3,161 workers.

With the equipment installed and operational, it is projected that the total annual production of CCSC Carmona and Dasmariñas could increase to 9.1 percent from 6.7 million pieces before the project to 7.3 million pieces after project implementation.

The cooperative could also expand its market to Europe, that entails increase in export sales from $65.6 million before the project implementation to $71.5 million after project adoption.

Launched by the Department of Trade and Industry in 2013, SSF sets up common service facilities or production centers to increase MSMEs’ productivity, accelerate their competitiveness, and encourage them to expand their businesses.

Under the program, the DTI provides the equipment to a project partner known as the cooperator such as an NGO, cooperative, industry association or state university.

As of December 2015, a total of 1,681 SSFs have been provided nationwide, worth P765.7 million. These SSFs benefits a total of 16,192 MSMEs and 72,864 potential entrepreneurs.

The DTI targets to provide 200 additional SSFs until June 2016 or before President Aquino steps down from power. PND (as)