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Bacolod City, PhilippinesSaturday, September 3, 2011
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Driving without seatbelts
tops violations, LTO says

Driving without using seat belts is the top violation committed by jeepney drivers with 1,930 apprehensions from January to July 2010, a report from the Law Enforcement Division of the Land Transportation Office-Bacolod showed yesterday.

Joseph Danoy Jr. of LED-LTO said non-use of seat belt was also the top violation by PUJ drivers in 2010 with 2,728 apprehensions, followed by obstruction with 1,939 arrests, operating units without plate numbers with 1,376 arrests, no plate light and wearing of slippers by single motorists with 635 and 557 apprehensions respectively.

He said LTO has been reminding PUJ drivers to comply with traffic rules and driving regulations to avoid penalties and to ensure safety, but some drivers fail to do so and this results in apprehensions and penalties.

Drivers caught not using seat belts are fined P327.63 for the first offense, P577.63 for second offense, and P1,077.63 for third offense, he also said.

Other common violations of PUJ drivers are non-installation of plate lights, defective stop lights, and smoke-belching. Some are fined for not bringing their official receipts and certificates of registrations, he added.

Meanwhile, Danoy said LTO has an average of 98 apprehensions daily involving all violations.*LTG

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Child-friendly search
visit calendared

The National Award Committee of the Council for the Welfare of Children will conduct an evaluation visit in Bacolod City from September 20 to 23 for the Highly Urbanized Category, of the search for the “2011 Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities,” a City Hall press release said.

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia was informed of the activity by Brenda Vigo, executive director of the Council for the Welfare of Children.

Activities for the evaluation will include a meeting with the Local Council for the Protection of Children headed by the mayor to discuss the purpose/mechanics of validation; a random selection of barangays to be validated; on-site validation and an exit conference with the LCPC and barangay representations, it said.

Bacolod was awarded as the Most Child-Friendly LGU in Western Visayas and was 1st runner up nationwide for the same category in 2006. Again, in 2007 Bacolod was Most Child-Friendly City (Highly Urbanized Category) awardee. In 2008, the DSWD pronounced Bacolod as exemplary in the implementation of the Day Care Service Program in the region (the 1st in Region 6).

Again, in 2008, Bacolod won as Most Child-Friendly City in the Region by the Council for the Welfare of Children – award given in 2009, the release added.*

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Home for 57 kids
needs saving

BACOLOD CITY --The US recession has taken its toll on ahome for abandoned, malnourished, andphysically and sexually abusedchildren in Bago City almostcausing it to closedown this year, if not for afoundation run by Negrensevolunteers.

Recovered Treasures Children’s Home, which wasrun by the Christ Central Ministries of the Philippines Inc., was recently turned over to Kalipay Negrense Foundation, AnnaBalcells, founder and president of KNF, said.

Theturnover of the operations of Recovered Treasures which currently takes care of 57 disadvantaged children from all over Negros,included the donation of a 4.5 hectare complexinBarangay Busay, Bago City, she said.

The recentturnover ceremonyat the KNFI office in Bacolod City was attended byBalcells,KNFI’s Board of Trustees, and Threasa Hysell, president of Christ Central Ministries Philippines and executive director of Partners of HopeInternational based in Florida,Karen Blanton of Christ Central Ministries and Mary Grace Plomeda of Recovered Treasures.

Balcells, in behalf of its Board of Trustees, signed the Deed of Donation and Deed of Turnover of Operations, together withHysell.

The transition has been difficult for the children who had two parents leave them since the home was started, and we are being very sensitive to their emotional state as we take over, Balcells said.

Recovered Treasures Children’s Home began in January of 2000 operating as Manna House Children’s Home. It was founded by Reverend Jon Clemons and his wife, Shirley, the first parents of the home.

The Home was first located in Bago City but the accommodations soon became too small for the number of children being served.By October 2000 a total of 14 children were residing in the Home.As a result, the Home was relocated to Bacolod City in December 2000 where a larger facility was obtained.

Since that time the number of residents has steadily increased and in 2005 the Home was moved to a permanent location in Barangay Busay, Bago City, Bacells said.

In January 2008, Trevor and Karen Blanton were sent to the Philippine to take over running the home and the children residing at Recovered Treasures reached a high of 75, Balcells said.

The home that was fully funded by the US-based Partners of Hope, but in early 2010 the funds were cut down by more than half and Kalipay shouldered the rest of the expenses, Balcells said.

Last year is when they lost funding and Kalipay came to their rescue, sadly we had to close the school and the infants quarters, she said.

By early 2011 the US funds were downto zero and the responsibility of running the home was left to Kalipay,Balcells added.

“This will be a great challenge for Kalipay that wehappily accept, but we will really need all the help from government and most especially from fellow Negrenses”, Balcells said.

It cost the s P250,000 a month to run the home,she said.

The home originally had 75 children but they are down to 57 because of cost-cutting measures, she said. The others had to be returned to their families because the home could no longer afford to keep them, and has been unable to take in more children in need of help, she said.

“Kalipaydoes not have the money to run the home but we could not turn out backs on helpless children, we just have to keep on, we cannot give up on them,” Balcells said.

“We are crying out for help andweIeave it in the hands of God to touch the hearts of those who can,” she said.

Recovered Treasurers is the second home fully supported by KNFI.The other home is Haven, which is a children’s residence located in Bacolod City with30 children, Balcells said.

Both Haven and Recovered Treasures are run by full-time house parents and staff dedicated to the care of abandoned, malnourished, physically and sexually abused children – the helpless victims of society, she said.

One of the objectives of Kalipay is to re-activate the school at Recovered Treasures that used tooffer a complete curriculum for elementary and high school levels, but it will cost another P100,000 a month to do so, she said.

“We at Kalipay Negrense Foundation do not believe in institutions. We believe in homes… homes that encourage love, laughter, security and joy” for the children”, John Gayoso, KNF vice president,said.

“Kalipay” means happiness or joy in the Ilonggo language.

Other KNF board officers are Belinda Tanpinco – treasurer, SylviaCampos – corporate secretary and Catherine Caplinger – assistant corporate secretary. Its members are EmilioAbello VI, ElizabethCabuguas,LyndonCaña and Elaine Eleazer.

OFF TO SPAIN

Balcells, armed with a powerful documentary of the children and homes her foundation helps and brochures translated into Spanish, is leaving for Barcelona, Spain for two months on September 14 to raise more funds for the homes Kalipay is running.

Balcells said with the help of friends and relatives she intends to establish Kalipay Spain with the intention of raising funds. She has also been invited to give lectures in schools in Spain to open the eyes of students on the harsh realities of life in the third world.

A relative in Canada, Daryl Lacson-Wilson has already established Kalipay Canada m which also raises funds for the Kalipay children.

Balcells, who was born and raised in Negros Occidental, at the age of 16, left for Barcelona, Spain to continue her studies and eventually work.

While in Barcelona, she got very involved in helping raise funds and finding “parent sponsors” for children in need of help in the Philippines.

Balcells had worked in the corporate world in Barcelona where she lived for 20 years and in Manila for eight years before returning to Negros. She worked as an executive in sales and marketing for KLM and the Ritz-Carlton and for Thomas Cook and Executive Travel in Manila.

A rich experience that has prepared her for the rough task of raising funds for the children she is now helping.

Balcells returned to Negros in 1998 and eventually got involved in the work of Gawad Kalinga. She wrote letters to her relatives and friends in Spain for funds to build 22 houses at the GK-Alberto Balcells Hope Village in a portion of her family owned farm in Cabatangan, Talisay. A kinder school and a 2-room building for grades 1 and 2 have also been put-up.

Soon after starting this project with Gawad Kalinga, a close friend, Elaine Eleazar, led her to meet Phil and Cecilia Seckler, founders of Haven Children’s Home.

She eventually met Rick and Suzette Sutcliffe, founders of Joyland Children’s Village; Joe and Billie Rosmarino, founders of Calvary Kids Home; and John Clemmens with Trevor and Karen Blanton of Recovered Treasures.

All of them are involved in social work, most especially in helping the disadavantaged children - orphans, street kids, the malnourished, abused children -- in Negros by providing them homes, security, proper nourishment, education and above all, rebuilding the children’s broken lives through spiritual and emotional healing, she said.

By June 2007 she started Kalipay Negrense Foundation aims to bring joy to disadvantaged children, she said.

Balcells describes her having gotten involved with Haven’s Home and starting Kalipay Negrense Foundation a “story of miracles.”

A year before she got involved in Haven’s Home a man prayed over her in Manila and told her she would be putting up a foundation dedicated to helping special children from the poorest of the poor.

“I said me work with children? It was not the type of thing I would be involved in having no children of my own and no experience dealing with children,” she said.

“And the man said God will use you as a conduit between the rich and the poor,” she said.

“And never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would be fully taking over two homes for children. I must be crazy because we do not have the money, but I leave it all to faith that God will provide,” she said.

Those interested in moredetails about KNF maysearch its Facebook pages or visit its website atwww.kalipaynegrense.org,which showcases profiles, news and updates, and ways how one can help these children in need, Balcells said.

One may also call them at 034-7091215 or email that atkalipaynegrensefoundation@yahoo.com, she added.*

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‘Food for work’ project launched

A Food For Work project in Magsungay, Brgy. Singcang-Airport and in Brgy. 35 was conducted by the Office of Councilor Caesar Distrito, recently.

The project is one of the supplemental feeding programs of Distrito that aims to support the out-of-school youth of every barangay in Bacolod by giving them food packs, composed of three kilos of rice and four canned goods, after they help in cleaning their communities, a press release from Distrito’s office said.

The project was initiated by Distrito together with the Department of Social Services and Development-Bacolod City headed by Sally Abelarde, with the support of Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Vice Mayor Thaddy Sayson.

Most of the participants of the project are children of the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the DSWD, the press release added.*

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People & Events
Child-friendly search visit calendared
Home for 57 kids needs saving
‘Food for work’ project launched

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