Barangay Baclaran Youth Council plus Partners at Work (Community Quarantine and COVID-19 Crisis)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced by means of interviewing a top official of the Barangay Baclaran Sangguniang Kabataan. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Barangay Baclaran Youth Council plus Partners at Work (Community Quarantine and COVID-19 Crisis)

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Barangay Baclaran Sangguniang Kabataan chairwoman Rachel Garcia (left, wearing black t-shirt) and her companions hand out free items to local residents to help them protect themselves from coronavirus disease (COVID-19). (photo approved for publishing by Barangay Baclaran Sangguniang Kabataan chairwoman Rachel Garcia)

With the enhanced community quarantine in effect here in the Philippines as a result of the ongoing corona virus disease (COVID-19) crisis, life is now much different. Most businesses have been halted, people are required to stay at home and others have no choice but to make hard adjustments just as the national authorities work on preventing an outbreak of COVID-19.

When it comes to the authorities of each city, the local government unit (LGU) as well as the barangay units are mandated to govern and manage their respective communities. This includes enforcing curfew, the ban on liquor, traffic management, implementing awareness campaigns about COVID-19 and distributing useful items to the constituents.

Two days ago, I wrote about the community assistance and information campaign done by the Barangay BF Homes Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan ng Barangay BF Homes) in . This time, the focus shifts to the Barangay Baclaran Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan ng Baclaran) which performed community service (partnered with the Katipunan ng Kabataan) of the same nature.

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A man assisted by Baclaran’s SK chairwoman herself. (photo approved for publishing by Barangay Baclaran Sangguniang Kabataan chairwoman Rachel Garcia)

According to Baclaran SK chairwoman Rachel Garcia, her team and the KK prepared a total of 3,000 units of alcohol (with free refilling), 3,000 units of hand sanitizer and 2,000 units of soap. Those said items, which are meant for prevention of COVID-19 from spreading, were distributed by the Baclaran SK and the KK around the local community for free. Garcia and her companions endured the heat of the day visiting residents in Barangay Baclaran from one house to another house.

In addition, the group also organized an awareness campaign so that Baclaran residents will know what they can do to avoid infection, how to avoid infecting others and why they should follow the quarantine by staying at home.

Like their counterparts in BF Homes, the Baclaran SK has a tough task and a huge responsibility to fulfill with regards to the COVID-19 crisis. If you think about it very carefully, it’s just mind-boggling that very tiny microbes like COVID-19 could cause a tremendous, negative impact on the whole world. Look at the many people getting infected as well as those who died.

Overseas, several teams of scientists are working hard to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. In the United Kingdom, clinical testing for a vaccine will start soon. In Israel, biopharmaceutical company Kamada announced that it is working on a blood-plasma treatment for coronavirus. Until medical breakthroughs against COVID-19 materialize, local authorities will have to keep performing with their current duties.

Going back to the publicly elected officials of Barangay Baclaran and its youth council, Garcia and her SK kagawads have more than two years of service left before the next barangay and SK elections will take place. Previously the barangay-SK elections were scheduled to happen this coming May but that all changed when President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act Number 11462 (titled “Postponement of the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections Act”).

To learn more about the Baclaran SK, read my January 1 article and visit their Facebook page.


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My Observations: Crime Incidents in Parañaque Involving Chinese Nationals to Continue Even More?

A few weeks ago, I called Parañaque City a hot spot for criminal incidents involving foreigners from China. As far as South Metro Manila is concerned, Parañaque registered 140 crime incidents involving Chinese nationals versus 54 in Las Piñas City and 19 in Muntinlupa City as per the findings of Southern Police District (SPD).

Think about it. There were 213 crime incidents involving Chinese nationals in South Metro Manila and Parañaque (the city of BF Homes subdivision, Manila Memorial Park and those lavish casinos and hotels by the bay) got almost two-thirds of that.

The trend of such crime continues to happen in the said city as confirmed by the January 20, 2020 news report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The report was about a police raid on a sex den inside a budget hotel that resulted the apprehension of a Chinese national who allegedly managed the place and the rescue of several Chinese women who allegedly were forced into prostitution.

Below are notable excerpts from the report.

Excerpt 1: The alleged manager of the sex den, Cai Ye Gui, also from China, was arrested. He now faces charges for violation of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.

Excerpt 2: A tip from one of the victims’ clients led to the rescue of 11 Chinese women allegedly forced into prostitution inside one of the branches of a budget hotel chain in Parañaque City on Sunday.

Excerpt 3: The victims claimed they were promised jobs in the country, but ended up being forced into prostitution.

Excerpt 4: Similar to other sex dens raided by authorities, the business catered exclusively to Chinese nationals, especially to men working in Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) companies and their service providers. Bookings could be made through the WeChat app or in person.

So the prostitution joint was handled by a male Chinese national to cater to foreigners from China and their workers were ladies also from China who were promised jobs in the Philippines only to end up working as prostitutes against their will.

As for the app called WeChat, that is the most popular messaging app in China (according to CNBC) owned by Tencent (full corporate name Tencent Holdings Limited) which is a Chinese multinational conglomerate.

Based on the details of the Inquirer report, it seems that WeChat is used for communication and business for the raided sex den. This brings me to an excerpt from CNBC’s article…

Excerpt 1: One of the primary uses of WeChat is messaging. Just like WhatsApp, you have a list of conversations that you’re engaged in.

You can add people in a variety of ways.

When people exchange contact details in China, you often see one person scanning the other person’s phone. Each WeChat user has a unique barcode known as a QR code. One person can scan the other user’s QR code to add them to WeChat. You can also use a phone number or ID to add a person and search for people nearby.

WeChat is one of the main ways people communicate in China. Even when doing business, people prefer WeChat to email. It’s even more prevalent because services like Facebook are blocked here.

And here is a look at the commercial side of WeChat.

Excerpt 2: If you’re buying something online in China, there will be an option to purchase with WeChat Pay. You will need to put in a passcode or use a biometric authentication tool to authorize the transaction.

Instant money transfers to your WeChat contacts can also be made via the messaging function, which makes it easy to split bills or just move money around China. It is possible to be nearly cashless in China and actually go out for the day without a wallet.

If WeChat was actually used for payments (in addition to booking) for services at the sex den by Chinese users who are physically present here in the Philippine, how were they able to make it work locally? WeChat’s financial transaction feature was supposed to work only in China.

To say the least, the app made bookings convenient for Chinese nationals before visiting the illegal joint in Parañaque City. The name of the budget hotel (which had the sex den inside) was not revealed in the Inquirer report but it was described to be located near the corner of Quirino Avenue and NAIA Road.

As for the legal aspect of the latest Parañaque sex den raid involving Chinese nationals, the law enforcers and lawyers will have to figure out how to effectively apply the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 on the suspects and other violators.

If found guilty, the suspects will be penalized for twenty years imprisonment and a fine of P1 million to 2P million for the act of trafficking, 15 years imprisonment and a fine of P500,000 to P1 million for attempted trafficking, and life imprisonment and a fine of P2 million to P5 million for qualified trafficking.

This latest crime makes Parañaque look bad and it is a fact that there are lots of Chinese nationals living and working in the said city.

Also let me add here the December 23, 2019 the city sisterhood agreement between Parañaque and the Chinese city of Anshan. On face value, the agreement looks like a pretty and promising way of the two cities becoming closer together. According to a Manila Standard report, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Parañaque and Anshan should “create opportunities for mutual growth, since both cities share similar environmental protection and tourism endeavors.”

There were other objectives that include “providing for better cooperation in conducting reciprocally planned and sanctioned programs geared towards the improvement of government administration, tourism, cultural preservation, environmental protection, education, technology, arts, and the holding of various endeavors mutually beneficial to both parties.”

What needs examining here is how many tourists from Anshan (a city of more than 3 million people) will come to Parañaque for tourism, how many of those same tourists will be setting up businesses locally, how many of them will take residence in the city, and are they all willing to follow the local and nationals laws at all.

What guarantee is there that Anshan tourists will not commit any crimes in Parañaque or anywhere else in the Philippines?

If there is anything that will prevent a city or a nation from prospering and becoming more competitive with others, it is crime. Other factors that will do the same include corruption, sinister propaganda, misuse of taxpayers’ money, sub-par public service and lack of financial discipline.

It is a sad truth that Parañaque is not too competitive with other Philippine cities and was not heralded for local governance. Now the city has a crime wave involving foreigners from China.

For those of you reading this who have genuine love for the country, start praying to the Lord that the crime wave will not harm Filipino families living inside the villages. Start reading the Holy Bible and apply its lessons on your life by heart.

A Creative, Eco-Friendly Project by the Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) of Barangay Baclaran

A Creative, Eco-Friendly Project by the Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) of Barangay Baclaran

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Barangay Baclaran Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) chairwoman Rachel Garcia in front of their Eco-Friendly Plastic Bottle Cage.

During my recent visit in Barangay Baclaran in Parañaque City. I was fortunate to meet the chairwoman of the Barangay Baclaran Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council)Rachel Garcia.

She generously showed one of their special projects called the Eco-Friendly Plastic Bottle Cage which is publicly accessible to anyone who wants to dispose of their respective used plastic bottles.

“This project serves as a container where people can place used plastic bottles. All the collected materials will be sold to the local junk shops and the money we raise from the transactions enable us to buy rice grain for the local youth,” Barangay Baclaran SK chairwoman Garcia explained.

Visually the Eco-Friendly is a cage with a creative, fun-oriented touch. On top of the cage is a makeshift basketball board with a small rim that is supposed to encourage people to shoot their plastic bottles and watch it fall into the cage. This is the meaning behind the line “Shoot for a Change” written on the board.

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The Eco-Friendly Plastic Bottle Cage from another angle.
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Once filled up, all of these plastic materials will be sold to local junk shops by the Barangay Baclaran SK. The money raised will be used to purchase rice grain for the benefit of the local youth.

One clear advantage of the Eco-Friendly Plastic Bottle Cage is that it can compel people to refrain from throwing their plastic bottles into other trash containers (which contain other forms of waste like paper, plastic bags, etc.).

This is why if ever you (with your plastic bottle at hand) pass by one of those Eco-Friendly Plastic Bottle Cages of the Baclaran SK during your next trip in Barangay Baclaran, take time out to put your plastic bottle into the cage.

Speaking of being eco-friendly, the Barangay Baclaran SK has been active with not only protecting the natural environment but also with participating in clean-up drive activities.

SKBaclaranEnviro

For more information, visit the Barangay Baclaran SK’s FB page here.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Parañaque City a Hot Spot for Crimes Involving Chinese Nationals

If there is anything that defined the City of Parañaque lately, it’s not about city competitiveness (Parañaque failed again), not about economic breakthroughs and not even about achieving excellence on local governance (Parañaque was not declared a winner of the DILG’s 2019 Sea of Good Local Governance award).

Rather, it’s about crime turning rampant within the jurisdiction of Parañaque, more specifically the high number of crimes involving Chinese nationals.

According to a December 27, 2019 Philippine Star report, Parañaque has the 3rd highest number of crimes involving Chinese nationals among the southern cities of Metro Manila. The number is 140 crime incidents recorded as per the statistics of the Southern Police District (SPD) as of December 25, 2019. Ahead of Parañaque were Pasay City (201 crime incidents) and Makati City (163 crime incidents).

Specifically on South Metro Manila, Las Piñas City had 54 crime incidents while Muntinlupa City had 19 crime incidents. Combine those numbers with Parañaque’s 140 crime incidents, then that’s a total of 213 crime incidents for South Metro Manila.

You must be wondering why is it that the city that is home to a significant portion of BF Homes subdivision attracted a great majority of of the 213 crime incidents involving Chinese nationals for South Metro Manila?

For one thing, there is a high number of Chinese nationals who took residence in Parañaque and got involved in the local commerce. Speaking of commerce, a lot of these POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) opened up and operated within the city. The City Government recently considered filing charges against the owners of buildings housing Chinese nationals who are working at these POGOs. The housing of many Chinese nationals caused a social disruption in the community of Multinational Village  for the past two years. This caused Multinational residents to write letters of complaints regarding diminishing water supply, power transformer blowouts, eroded roads and rising security risks that allegedly were connected with the Chinese nationals residing in their local community as well as the construction of new POGO housing facilities.

By the way, there are casinos and hotels operating in the Entertainment City which is within the jurisdiction of Parañaque. Those facilities are known to attract a lot of Chinese nationals along with other foreigners.

Focusing more on crimes involving foreigners from China, there was a prostitution raid in Parañaque this past September.

Here’s an excerpt from the CNN Philippines report:

The raid in Diamond Tower in Baclaran also led to the arrest of 13 alleged den maintainers or recruiters of sex workers, nine of whom are male and four who are women, plus 18 male Chinese customers.

And then there was the Chinese affair involving kidnapping that also took place in Parañaque. Here’s an excerpt from the report of Business Mirror:

The Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) rescued a Chinese national and arrested two kidnapping suspects during a police operation in Parañaque City.

PNP-AKG Director Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo identified the victim as tourist Wang Hong, alias Lee, 29, married, native of Chongqing, China, and who is temporarily residing at Strata Gold Condominium, Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila.

The suspects, on the other hand, were identified as Wan Rehong, 32, native of Qingshanhu District, Nanchang City, China, and Wan Liang, 36, native of Jiangxi, China. Both suspects are tourists.

Estomo said that in the sworn statement of Wang, the victim went to Solaire Resort and Casino on December 4 and gambled. When he lost all his money, a group of Chinese men offered him a loan of P1 million, which he accepted.

The group lent him another P1 million as capital, but he lost again, prompting the group to take the key of the car that he borrowed from a friend and asked him to go with the suspects.

The two suspects took him to Okada Hotel and Casino, and while inside a room, they forced him to make a letter stating that he borrowed from them P2 million and forced him to sign the letter.

On December 8, at around 2 p.m., Wang and the two suspects boarded a taxi wherein he managed to send a message to a friend that they are billeted at Room 505 of Baymont Hotel in Parañaque City.

While inside the room, the kidnappers instructed him to ask money from his family or friends for him to pay the P2 million because, if not, “they will kill him and be thrown at cemetery.”

The victim’s friend notified the PNP-AKG about the incident that prompted operatives to launch a rescue operation which resulted in the arrest the two suspects.

As mentioned earlier, Parañaque City is a hot spot of crime incidents involving Chinese nationals and clearly this is bad. Nobody wants to live in a city with rampant crime (kidnapping, extortion, prostitution and the like) nor does anyone want to see their community turn bad because a lot of foreigners from China working in POGOs were allowed to take residence.

The hot questions to ask here:

1) Is the City Government really tough against crime in general?

2) Are POGOs and other businesses that target Chinese nationals as employees and consumers too tempting for the City Government to reject and were allowed to be part of the local economy and communities?

3) Were the business permit applications of those POGOs and businesses targeting Chinese nationals carefully reviewed by the Parañaque Business Permit & Licensing Office (BPLO) before being approved?

4) Are there any police officers in Parañaque who accepted bribes from Chinese nationals and the POGOs to look the other way and let them do their illegal activities?

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.