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Ex-Bucor Acting Chief Ragos surrenders to NBI | https://t.co/sDo55hwVGt https://t.co/kIXzff0eWf

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Ex-BuCor Acting Chief Ragos surrenders to NBI | https://t.co/sDo55hwVGt https://t.co/OCdAkXOTPa

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Ex-BuCor Acting Chief Ragos surrenders to NBI | https://t.co/sDo55hwVGt https://t.co/006iv98lgC

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BREAKING NEWS: Former Bureau of Corrections Officer-in-Charge Rafael Ragos surrenders at NBI in relation to drug charges.

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CNN Philippines:
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Remembering history through art
Inquirer Business

14 hours ago

The formidable power of fine art to stir memories and prompt deep reflection is not lost on the Araneta Group of companies.

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New menu alert: A Japanese restaurant expands to world cuisine flavors https://t.co/Lb0m7rTKgN https://t.co/IaluNM58gm

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P7-B hotel-casino rises in Greater Chinatown
Inquirer Business

14 hours ago

This year of the Fire Rooster is said to be an auspicious year for gaming. To take advantage of this, publicly listed MJC Investments Corp. (MJIC)—a partnership between Asia’s oldest horse racing club Manila Jockey Club Inc. (MJC) and a Hong Kong-based investor group—will enter the tourism-gaming action, holding fort in Greater Chinatown.

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Thousands hold vigil vs drugs, corruption
The Manila Times Online

14 hours ago

Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte showed that they were also a force to reckon with when they held a vigil at Rizal Park on Saturday to prove that they are behind the government’s campaign against illegal drugs which suffered a snag with the recent involvement of some police officers in the abduction and killing of a Korean businessman.

Organizers of the event had hoped that a million people would show up, but the police estimated the crowd at 200,000. Organizers however put the number at 400,000.

SHOW OF FORCE Thousands of supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte gather at the Luneta grandstand. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

Members of various groups and sectors from various regions held the prayer rally to prove that Filipinos are one with the President in his desire to stamp out the drug menace, criminality and corruption.

Organized by the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC), PDP-Laban, Kilusan Pagbabago, Friends of Rody Duterte (FORD) and Hugpong Federalismo, the prayer vigil and rock concert started at around 5 p.m. and will end Sunday morning.

Supporters of the President arrive at the Luneta. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

MRRD-NECC chairman Gene Mamondiong said corruption must be stopped from the smallest government unit to national government agencies.

Bobby Brillante, a member of the group, said the Luneta vigil “complementes” the commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA people power revolt.

“We want to make sure that freedom and democracy will continue to stay,” he said.

Undersecretary John Castriciones of the Department of the Interior and Local Government said the public should support the President’s initiatives and advocacies, particularly the campaign against illegal drugs and corruption.

“These advocacies must be supported by everyone. This is not colored by any political affiliations, but rather it is an advocacy that can be supported even by ordinary citizens,” Castriciones said.

Top government officials who are members of the MRRD-NECC had defended the chief executive from a supposed ouster plot and urged the people to support the president’s advocacies.

The group, which claims to have convinced Duterte to run for President, launched the ‘People’s Support on Duterte’s War Against Illegal Drugs, Corruption, Criminality and Poverty’.

Participants lighted candles and listened to the stories and testimonies of victims of illegal drugs.
Castriciones earlier said the vigil does not aim to counter the 31st anniversary celebration of the EDSA Revolution.

“This is not a political activity. We also believe in the advocacy of the EDSA revolution. The EDSA revolution caused for change, and this time change we would like to advocate to fight the evils of the community – the evils that are destroying the fabric of our society, families that had been destroyed because of the illegal drugs, and those people who had been victimized by heinous crimes being committed by the so-called drug users. That is our purpose: the corruption, the poverty, which is the bottom line of all these problems,” he said.

“We are not competing with everyone. What we are trying to do is we would like to unite with them, unite with everyone that there must be a genuine effort from all Filipino citizens to really advocate for change so that we will be able to promote good. What we want is genuine peace, we want people to be united, and we want people to really coordinate to show for our love of our country,” the government official added.

WITH NEIL A. ALCOBER

The post Thousands hold vigil vs drugs, corruption appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


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Lawmakers, millennials mark EDSA revolt
The Manila Times Online

14 hours ago

AT least 10,000 people gathered at the People Power monument in White Plains, Quezon City on Saturday to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the peaceful uprising that toppled the Marcos administration.

Government officials and ordinary citizens said the EDSA people power revolt should not be forgotten because it marked the return of democracy.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, one of those who showed up for the program, said the event should be celebrated.
“Thirty one years ago, we got our freedom of speech and democracy. We claimed democracy back, we ousted the dictatorship [of Marcos],” Pangilinan said.

“That is why there is a need for us to celebrate this,” he added.

Former President Benigno Aquino 3rd said the People Power revolution should remind the people that they have the power to “protect the rights of everyone.”

The former chief executive shrugged off allegations that the Liberal Party is behind moves to destabilize the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We actually offered him a helping hand if ever he need assistance. With the so-called destabilization, that’s not true. We’re actually offering help,” he told reporters.

Also at the event were Senators Franklin Drilon, Paolo Aquino 4th and Risa Hontiveros.

Hontiveros said she was not surprised that President Rodrigo Duterte opted to skip the event.

“It’s just sad that the current administration ignored this celebration with the President not being able to attend it,” she said.

Apo Hiking Society member Jim Paredes said Filipinos “should not give up” the freedom that was regained at EDSA.

“We are not giving up. We should not give up the freedom that we have,” Paredes said.

“EDSA [People Power] is an inspiration for everyone. Just like when we go back to Rizal and Bonifacio, these moves are inspirational,” he added.

The veteran singer said unless the people will learn their lessons, “history will repeat itself.”

Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said the large crowd that gathered proves that the people’s uprising has not been forgotten.

“I am thankful for those who participated in the event. This shows that even if it was 31 years ago, we still cannot forget what EDSA really is,” she told reporters.

A group of millennials joined the celebration.

Millennials Against Dictators (MAD) member Rachel Contreras, 25, said that EDSA is being commemorated with “nameless” and “faceless” people from all walks of life.

“The people who gathered in here, they do not know each other. This is a sign of democracy that we are enjoying right now because of those who fought for it back then by people who are also from all walks of life,” she said.

“We cannot say that events [right now]are happening the same way just like during Martial Law. But I think there are elements of dictatorship that are now making an appearance,” she added.

“EDSA is about the Filipino people, and as a millennial, I recognize this belief,” she said.

Contreras’ group, MAD, was one of the main organizers of the 31st celebration of the anniversary of the People Power.

Another millennial, Nicolai Parlan, 20, said he joined the event “to stand up for democracy.”

“For me, my age is not a matter since I believe that though I am young, I should participate in these kinds of actions,” Parlan said.

The post Lawmakers, millennials mark EDSA revolt appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


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‘Thousands killed in Davao drug war’
The Manila Times Online

14 hours ago

President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that “thousands” were killed in the anti-illegal drugs campaign of Davao City that lasted two decades.

The former Davao City mayor however clarified that those who died were killed in legitimate police operations.
He made the admission amid allegations by an alleged member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) that he masterminded the killings.

“According to the witness, killed by the hundreds. That’s right, that’s true! Twenty three years I am a mayor chasing drugs. It should have reached a thousand, he said only by the hundreds only. Why would I deny that?” Duterte said in a mix of Bisaya, Tagalog, and English.

The President said he ordered the police to kill but only if a drug suspect turned violent and put the lives of authorities at risk.

“I gave the orders in the first place. But my order was, to the police that, look for them, hunt them. And then ask them to surrender. If they won’t surrender then seriously, resist and attack you with arms, thereby your life being a police, a soldier is in danger, kill him/her. That is my order, and I will assume full legal responsibility for that. If there’s someone who is going to jail, it’s true, it’s me. Why the police?” Duterte said.

“I am not denying my liability if there is any, for those military and police who went out to arrest criminals and in the process, kill the criminal because they had to defend their lives. I assume full responsibility for their actions,” he added.

Critics say the anti-crime drive he implemented in his city is being adopted throughout the country. The bloody campaign against illegal drugs that was implemented by the National Police resulted in the killing of at least 7,000 people by policemen and unidentified gunmen.

Retired police officer Arturo Lascañas earlier claimed that Duterte ordered members of the DDS, including him to kill drug suspects. Edgar Matobato, who admitted to being a DDS hitman, testified at the Senate that Duterte ordered the killings of criminals and even his political rivals.

Both Lascañas and Matobato claimed that Duterte also ordered the bombing of a mosque in Davao City. They accused Duterte of ordering the killing of Jun Pala, a hard-hitting critic of the former Davao City mayor.

But Duterte reiterated his claim that extrajudicial killings, even in Davao City when he was mayor, were due to “rivalries” among criminal and drug syndicates.

The President said he will not mind going to jail for the killing of criminals during legitimate police operations.
“I will assume (responsibility). I never said that I will deny. I am not Judas… San Pedro who denies. All mine. Correct! No problem, send me to jail,” Duterte said.

“But as long as they (criminals) exist, I will really tell the police: ‘Police kill that because if you won’t, it’s you whom I will kill,’” he added.

The post ‘Thousands killed in Davao drug war’ appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


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Filipinos do not need De Lima’s voice – Palace
The Manila Times Online

14 hours ago

Malacañang on Saturday downplayed the statement of detained Sen. Leila de Lima who urged Filipinos to keep the spirit of the EDSA People Power Revolt “alive” amid what she called efforts of a few to weaken it.

In a radio interview, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said De Lima’s voice is not what the Filipinos need right now.

“I would say that her call to keep the Spirit of EDSA, of nation building and freedom alive is very worthwhile. However, I doubt if she is the kind of… if hers is the kind of voice that the people need at this stage,” Abella told government-run dzRB radio.

“We need people who are truly and sincerely [nationalist], [patriotic], nation builder and not… somebody who takes advantage of political position for their own advancement,” he added.

In a statement, De Lima said some people were trying to “dilute” the spirit of EDSA while trying to repress democracy.

“At present, a few are trying to dilute the spirit of EDSA while repressing our democracy,” De Lima said in Filipino.

“In the face of looming darkness, let’s inflame the spirit of EDSA. Let us all stand up against the oppressive regime and dictatorship, and link arms to fight for truth and justice in our country,” she added.

The senator issued the statement a day after she surrendered following the release of her arrest warrant by a Muntinlupa City court. She was accused of being involved in the illicit drugs trade in the New Bilibid Prison when she was Justice Secretary.

De Lima, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

Ahead of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, Duterte reminded Filipinos that no single “party, ideology, religion, or individual” can claim credit for the bloodless EDSA revolt.

Abella also shrugged off Vice President Leni Robredo’s statement that the President should focus on the war against poverty.

“I think it’s just a question of opening our eyes and listening and looking at things and listening to things that truly matter, that are beyond our own political interests,” he said.

On accusations that De Lima is being persecuted, Abella maintained that the senator was brought to court because of a criminal case.

“I think they should face the fact and realize that Ms. De Lima is being brought to court for criminal reasons and not for political reasons,” he said.

“I think they misunderstand the fact that she is being accused of certain crimes and I think they should very well just say it’s up to [the court],” Abella said.

The post Filipinos do not need De Lima’s voice – Palace appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


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Chart road to peace, Duterte urges BTC
The Manila Times Online

14 hours ago

President Rodrigo Duterte asked the new Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to clear all obstructions to peace in Mindanao.

“I am urging the BTC to navigate the hindrances and obstructions and find the way to peace. That is difficult,” the President told the expanded 21-member BTC during its launch in Davao City Friday night.

While there is a solution acceptable to everybody, the road to peace is a long journey, Duterte said, assuring the commission that he will always be there to support them.

“Maybe in front of the Filipino nation, I will ask every Filipino to vote for it because it will make us a great nation, so I leave it up to you,” he said.

The BTC will craft the new Bangsamoro enabling law for the implementation of the peace accords the government signed with Muslim groups.

The event was attended by more than a thousand people representing the Senate and House of Representatives committees on peace, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), government agencies and stakeholders. Among them were Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, Irene Santiago, chairperson of the Government Panel Implementing the Bangsamoro Accords, MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar.

The BTC was formally created by virtue of an Executive Order signed by the President. Its members are Jose Lorena, Maisara Dandamun-Latiph, Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, Datu Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan, Dr. Susana Salvador-Anayatin, Atty. Hussin Amin, Romeo Saliga, Hatimil Hassan, Firdausi Ismail Abbas, Omar Yasser Sema, Ghadzali Jaafar, Mohagher Iqbal, Abdulraof Abdul Macacua, Ibrahim Ali, Haron Abas, Atty. Raissa Jajurie, Said Shiek, Hussein Muñoz, Melanio Ulama, Gafur Kanain, and Ammal Solaiman.

The EO was one of the agreements reached during the August meeting between the implementing panels of the government and the MILF in Malaysia, where they discussed the new Peace and Development Roadmap for the implementation of all signed peace agreements.

Dureza said the signing of the agreement signals the start of efforts by both panels to come up with an inclusive Bangsamoro law that will truly reflect and address the clamor for genuine political autonomy.

He said it is another milestone under the Duterte administration that provides the golden opportunity of fulfilling a promise for peace in Mindanao.

Dureza urged all members and stakeholders to come together and support the BTC members, who have the competence to craft the law.

“There is a bigger table where stakeholders are waiting to be heard,” he said, encouraging everybody to “stay the course because the road to peace is not a smooth road.”

The post Chart road to peace, Duterte urges BTC appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


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Pichay pleads not guilty to graft, breach raps
The Manila Times Online

14 hours ago

Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. of Surigao del Sur, a former official of the Local Water Utilities Administration, entered a plea of “not guilty” to the graft charge filed against him and several others in connection with the alleged release of P1.5 million to the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) despite LWUA’s austerity measures in 2010.

He also pleaded not guilty to the related breach of conduct charge where he was named sole respondent.

In an interview after the arraignment, he told reporters, “I believe that we did not violate any law because even the Constitution promotes sports. National Chess Federation is a national sports association being supported by the government. In fact, we are encouraged not only in all government agencies but including government corporations…to support sports.”

“With regards to that, I find it very peculiar that the Ombudsman had to file a case against me when we are supporting sports. In fact, because of my leadership in NCFP, a Filipino is now number two in the world in chess…We should be proud of that achievement,” he added.

The arraignment on Thursday proceeded after the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division denied his and Wilfredo Feleo’s plea for case dismissal.

Feleo, former LWUA acting deputy administrator for investment and financial services, is a respondent in the graft case. He and another respondent, former Senior Deputy Administrator and Acting Administrator Emmanuel Malicdem, were arraigned on the graft charge last November.

Pichay and Feleo earlier filed a motion arguing that the Information (charge sheet) should be nullified on the ground of violation of their right to speedy case disposition.

But the anti-graft court said in its resolution that they “failed to fully explain why the cited cases in their motion to quash are applicable to the cases at bar.”

“Secondly, accused Pichay and Feleo rely solely on a pure mathematical reckoning of the period covered from the time the complaint affidavit was filed up to the time of the filing of the information with this Court. There is nothing in the accused’s quashal motion discussing the other factors material and relevant in resolving cases involving the right to speedy disposition of cases. The other factors covering the reasons for delay, assertion or failure to assert by the accused of this right and possible prejudice caused by the delay, were never touched upon by the instant motion,” it added.

The Office of the Ombudsman alleged the NCFP’s request for financial sponsorship for the “2nd Chairman Prospero Pichay Jr. Cup International Chess Championship” was approved despite LWUA’s austerity measures that prohibited the release of funds for sports and cultural activities.

It also alleged that Pichay had financial or material interest in the transaction that required his office’s approval.
Bu Pichay told reporters that he “did not have any personal benefits at all because the money went to the tournament.”

He added he did not mind being arraigned on Thursday “so that the proper hearing will now proceed and that we will be able to ferret out the truth.”

The post Pichay pleads not guilty to graft, breach raps appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


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Watchdog: TRO to benefit consumers
The Manila Times Online

15 hours ago

POWER sector watchdog Bantay Kuryente lauded the Supreme Court (SC) for issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the Department of Energy (DOE) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) from implementing new policies regarding the retail competition and open access.

The group said the petition benefits not only the petitioners, commercial and industrial establishments, but ultimately and more importantly, consumers in general.

“If implemented, the policy will only result in higher electricity prices for consumers and businesses alike,” Pet Climaco, the group’s secretary general, said in an earlier statement.

Bantay Kuryente said the implementation of mandatory contestability effectively forces consumers to abandon existing arrangements and enter into unfavorable contracts just to meet the unrealistic deadline of February 26, 2017 set by the ERC.

The petition that led to the issuance of the TRO was filed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ateneo De Manila University, San Beda College-Alabang and Riverbanks Development Corporation.
“This shows that there is multi-sectoral opposition to the ERC’s new policy. Faced with unrealistic and anti-consumer policies, business groups, academic institutions, consumers and civil society must continue to rally together and have their voices heard,” Climaco said.

“Reforms in the industry should be undertaken to afford electricity end users the opportunity to choose their own suppliers of electricity. The consumers, as the central parties-in-interest, should be made aware if there really is no basis for the mandatory migration being ordered by the DOE and the ERC through the questioned issuances,” Climaco added.

The group said it will remain vigilant and steadfast in its advocacy to protect consumers.

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The wine that will make President Duterte curse
Inquirer Business

15 hours ago

Wondering what wine to give the President of the Philippines? Try Chateau Du Tertre, a Margaux grand cru classe from Bordeaux.

The post The wine that will make President Duterte curse appeared first on Inquirer Business.


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Hemophiliacs push bleeding disorders bill
The Manila Times Online

15 hours ago

Hemophilia patients have urged the Senate to pass a measure that will grant treatment fund for about million Filipinos affected with bleeding disorders.

Many of those who suffer from bleeding disorders cannot afford treatment and are appealing to have the bill filed by Senator Joel Villanueva to be passed.

At least four died in the past few months including a four-year-old boy in Cagayan De Oro from lack of access of treatment, said Andrea Trinidad-Echavez, president of Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines.

Bleeding disorders occur when one of the 13 factors in blood is missing.

Based on the data from World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH), one in ten thousand has hemophilia. Hemophilia is one of the bleeding disorders that hinders normal blood clotting.

“There is no cure yet for bleeding disorders,” Echavez said.

However, bleeding can be managed either by blood transfusion or infusion of the medicines called anti-hemophilic factor concentrates.

Transfusion is not ideal because of the possible infections in blood stored for transfusion while concentrates infused in the body are “imported and very costly,” said Echaez.

She said thousands suffer from bleeding disorders who cannot afford treatment.

Philippines rely to two organizations, WFH based in Canada and Project SHARE, a US-based humanitarian organization, for donations.

“We are grateful to these two organizations but donations are not sustainable as they also help so many other countries,” said Echavez.

Meanwhile, many governments provide free treatment to hemophilia patients including India and Malaysia.

Senate Bill No. 1335 or the “Bleeding Disorder Standards of Care Act of 2017” filed on February 17 by Villanueva aims to include the Philippines in the list of governments providing government-funded treatment to bleeding disorders patients.

The post Hemophiliacs push bleeding disorders bill appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


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Over 600 schools cater to children with special needs –DepEd
The Manila Times Online

15 hours ago

A total of 648 schools nationwide have been allowed by the Department of Education (DepEd) to offer the Special Education (SPED) program that provides the necessary educational interventions for students with certain exceptionalities.

Of these schools, both SPED centers and regular schools or DepEd schools, 471 are catering to elementary students and 177 are catering to high school students.

The Education department has recorded around 250,000 enrollees with certain exceptionalities at the elementary level and around 100,000 at the high school level in school year 2015-2016.

The SPED program provides a holistic approach in catering to the needs of learners with various exceptionalities. This program ensures learners with exceptionalities will have access to quality education by providing their individual and unique learning needs.

This initiative caters to learners with visual impairment, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, learning disability, autism spectrum disorder, communication disorder, physical disability, emotional and behavioral disorder, multiple disabilities with visual impairment, and to those who are orthopedically handicapped, chronically ill, and gifted and talented.

The parents or guardians of learners with certain exceptionalities may reach out to principals or guidance counselors of schools where they wish to enroll their children to determine the necessary instructional program that their children need best.

The instructional programs that the SPED teachers shall implement are the following:

1. Self-contained/Special Class – a separate class for only one type of exceptionality that serves moderate to severe types of disabilities;

2. Itinerant Teaching – a traveling teacher reaches out to children with special needs in other schools or at home to provide direct and consultative services;

3. Resource Room – a designated place where the child with special needs enrolled in the regular school program, goes to in order to make use of the specialized equipment, either in a tutorial situation or in a small group session handled by a SPED teacher;

4. Pull-out – a kind of program where the child enrolled in the regular class reports to the resource room for a period of time for special instructions by the SPED teacher;

5. Integration/Mainstreaming – refers to the enrolment of a child with special needs in a regular class with support services. There are two degrees of integration: Partial Integration and Full Integration. In Partial Integration/Mainstreaming, a child with special needs enrolled in a special class is integrated with regular children in non-academic activities like work education, physical education, arts, school programs, among othgers, then gradually integrated in the academic subjects if qualified. Meanwhile, in Full Integration/Mainstreaming, a child with special needs sits in the regular class in all academic and non-academic subjects; and

6. Inclusion – all children with disabilities, regardless of the nature and severity of their disability and need for related services, receive their total education within the regular education classroom.

In school year 2015-2016, DepEd provided capability trainings to 345 teachers, and 45 administrators and supervisors involved in delivering quality education to learners with certain exceptionalities.

Among the partners of DepEd in enhancing the capabilities of teachers handling learners with exceptionalities and in promoting the SPED advocacy are the Resources for the Blind Inc., Autism Society of the Philippines, Leonard Cheshire for the Disabled Foundation, and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Society.

Moreover, the other partner organizations of DepEd for the SPED program are the Learning Disabilities Association, Philippine Association for the Intellectually Disabled, National Association for the Gifted, Philippine Federation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Parents Advocate for the Visually Impaired Children, and National Council on Disability Affairs.

The post Over 600 schools cater to children with special needs –DepEd appeared first on The Manila Times Online.


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