Significant Updates

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ROTC No Longer A Problem in Graduation
Here is a piece of good news to those who were not able to graduate because of a missing requirement in Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). Under a new law which was approved in February 2002, all male students who were not allowed to graduate from college despite completing all their academic units in 2001 or earlier could now apply for graduation.

Republic Act No. 9163 or the law creating the National Service Training Program (NSTP) suspends ROTC requirement "for those students who despite completing all their academic units as of the effectivity of this Act have not been allowed to graduate."  The law took effect in February 2002.

Male students who have completed their academic units by 2001 or earlier could now follow up their application for graduation.  The law is already being implemented by the Commission on Higher Education (CHR).  Philippine Trivia

ASEAN Free Trade Starts January 2003
Do you know that starting January 1, 2003, the Philippines and the nine other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with a combined population of about 600 million people, would transform the region into a common market where products and services freely flow?

Aside from the Philippines, the other members of ASEAN are Brunei Darrusalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.  The common market of the region is called ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).

By January 2003, these countries would begin implementing the so-called Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT), a gradual tariff reduction mechanism by which "tariffs on goods traded within the ASEAN region, which meet a 40 percent ASEAN content requirement, will be reduced to 0 to 5 percent by the year 2003 (2006 for Vietnam, and 2008 for Laos and Myanmar)". Excluded from these products are those under each country's sensitive list.

This would mean that most products from Thailand, Singapore or Malaysia would enter the country duty free.  Imported items that are duty free are of course cheaper.  If cheap imported products swarm across the country, local entrepreneurs would be forced to lower the prices of their products, to the benefit of the Filipino consumers. 

The Philippines has to learn lessons from AFTA before it should stick to its commitments to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and World Trade Organization (WTO), which are larger market blocs.   

Help the Children!
In the love of God, let us help the poor and sick children. Three out of 10 Filipino pre-schoolers are malnourished or underweight.  In actual number, there are at least 3.7 million malnourished pre-school children in the Philippines.

In the love of God, let us help the poor and sick children. As of 1996, the Philippines had 1.5 million children living or working in the street of 65 cities. Metro Manila alone had at least 100,000 street children. Many of these children have been working as pickpockets, beggars and prostitutes.

In the love of God, let us help the poor and sick children. Many sick children die at the Philippine General Hospital each day.  One physician said that they die, not because the doctors are unskilled or incompetent but "because these children are poor." 

In the love of God, let us help the poor and sick children.  We can do these by sharing our love with and contributing our support to at least two highly regarded institutions, namely: the Philippine General Hospital Department of Pediatrics and the Alay Pag-asa Foundation.

Send a text message to Dr. Philip Cruz of the Department of Pediatrics, Philippine General Hospital at Mobile Phone No. 63917 - 5304437 or deposit donations at Banco de Oro (Give a Life Account No. 043-0071418). Contact Numbers appeared at Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 6 issue.

Contact Alay Pag-Asa Christian Foundation Inc., No. 32 Arayat Street corner Road 1, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila or call Tel. No. (632) 532-3250; 532-6433 or write to Alay Pag-Asa P.O. Box 12911, Ortigas Center P.O. Pasig City 1605, Metro Manila, Philippines or email apacf@i-manila.com.ph.  

In the love of God, let us help the children!

Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God, like a little child will never enter it." And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.

Bible verses were quoted from the New International Version.

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