PIA News Service - Monday, April 12, 2010

“Healthy Park” launched in Surigao City Luneta
By: SUSIL D. RAGAS, PIA-Surigao del Norte

SURIGAO CITY - In line with the celebration of World Health Day, the City Gov’t of Surigao headed by the City Health Office successfully launched the “Healthy Park” campaign, last April 8, 2010 at the Luneta park this city.
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The campaign seeks to champion urban health initiatives such as a tobacco free city, drug free city, public transport friendly, providing car free zones, enforcement of anti- smoke belching, pedestrianization, opening of bike lanes, barrier free safe roads and safe walkways. 
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DOH Caraga Regional Director Leonita Gorgolon, who served as guest of honor, said the activity is also part of the “1000 Cities, 1000 Lives” campaign program of the Department of Health (DOH).
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The 1000 cities 1000 lives campaign according to Gorgolon encourages cities and individuals to work across multiple agencies with a wide range of partners to have the most lasting impact on health. The global goal is for 1000 cities to participate in the World Health Day campaign. 
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“The urbanization 1,000 program is a mitigating measure to act on any disease in urban areas and also incorporate health to policies related to urbanization,” she added.
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Gorgolon then congratulated the city government of Surigao for a very laudable effort and commitment to help combat urbanization health related problems.
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The activity ended with the commitment signing with various stakeholders from GO’s, NGO’s and the National Line agencies. 
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Feature: Young workers have spoken: Make decent work for youth a reality

Manila (12 April) - “Work without respect for trade union rights is never decent,” young workers stressed during the two-day TUCP/ITUC-AP-supported National Youth Conference/Workshop for Decent Work under Global Crisis in March 12-13, 2010 at Kimberly Hotel, Tagaytay City. 

The participants were referring to the government and inter-governmental youth employment/training-related programs and their impact and effectiveness on improving opportunities for youth empowerment and access to decent jobs. 

The conference reflected on participants’ experiences in these programs and highlighted many areas for improvement particularly on sustainability. “Some of our members are beneficiaries of the Department of Labor and Employment’s Youth Education-Youth Employability (YEYE) project. But since this is only a two-year project, we worry that they cannot finish schooling when the project ends,” shared Joel Centra, focal person of Youth for Empowerment and Solidarity (YES), a local organization of out-of-school youth. 

The participants insisted on a regular mechanism for engaging youth and their organizations in youth policy discussions, initiatives and activities. “We should not be treated as mere participants in discussions, but youth should be given opportunities to participate, contribute and benefit from these programs,” stressed Bro. Rey Reyes, union representative of the Associated Labor Unions (ALU).

On linkage between youth programs and decent work, the participants strongly emphasized regard for rights at work as a major component of any (youth) employment program. “We do not appreciate programs that violate our right to organize and collectively bargain. Our organizations have important roles and should be recognized as partners in the implementation of all youth employment programs,” noted Ann Dumaraog, Union Secretary for Education of Kilusan sa Jolibee. 

Other identified youth-related priorities include coordination between DOLE field offices and active working youth organizations for identification of (youth) beneficiaries; matching of skills and the inclusion of decent work (particularly rights at work) in youth employment/training programs particularly in DOLE’s YEYE and SPES modules; capacity and knowledge building programs particularly on gender sensitivity, reproductive health, HIV and AIDS prevention, leadership training, sexual harassment, among others; and increasing resources and funding for youth activities. 

“The TUCP welcomes these youth programs, and even if mostly temporary, they contribute to efforts in addressing the youth employment challenge. However, we insist that targeted, integrated and sustainable (youth) programs that reflect, understand and consider youth needs and realities and designed and carried out locally by youth themselves, with guidance and assistance from support groups and institutions are the ones needed,” concluded Rafael Mapalo, TUCP Youth Director.

Experts on youth employment issues from the International Labor Organization (ILO), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Japanese Embassy in Manila and the ITUC-AP provided information on government, intergovernmental and trade union responses to protecting and promoting youth employment and their rights. 

Some 25 motivated and dedicated youth representatives, leaders and youth advocates from TUCP’s 17 local unions and affiliates across industries including manufacturing, public sector, automotive, services, electronics, transportation, shipping, agriculture, media and informal sector in Luzon and selected areas in Visayas and Mindanao attended the program. (ALF/PIA-Surigao del Norte)