Argao, Balamban, Dalaguete given Seal of Good Education Governance

Three towns in Cebu are among the 24 local government units recognized for their outstanding efforts in delivering basic education to their constituents.

The inaugural batch of recipients of the Synergia Foundation’s Seal of Good Education Governance will get incentive packages from PLDT and Smart Communications worth up to P1.5 million each.

The winners from Cebu include Argao, Balamban, and Dalaguete.

The 24 local government units (LGUs) are, in alphabetical order:

  1. Alimodan, Iloilo
  2. Argao, Cebu
  3. Bacnotan, La Union
  4. Balamban, Cebu
  5. Bongao, Tawi-Tawi
  6. Cabatuan, Iloilo
  7. Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental
  8. Concepcion, Iloilo
  9. Dalaguete, Cebu
  10. Dao, Capiz
  11. Datu Paglas, Maguindanao
  12. Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya
  13. Diffun, Quirino
  14. Ivisan, Capiz
  15. Lambunao, Iloilo
  16. Miagao, Iloilo
  17. Mina, Iloilo
  18. North Upi, Maguindanao
  19. Santol, La Union
  20. Simunul, Tawi-Tawi
  21. Solano, Nueva Vizcaya
  22. Valenzuela, Metro Manila
  23. Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya
  24. Tuba, Benguet

Established in 2002, Synergeia is a coalition of individuals and organizations working closely with about 400 LGUs to improve the delivery of basic education to Filipino children. The foundation intends to award the Seal of Good Education Governance to deserving LGUs every year. It received 250 LGU nominations through its website this year.

Synergeia Awardees
AWARDEES. Synergia Foundation’s Seal of Good Education Governance awardees with PLDT and Smart executives.


Criteria for judging

Determining the list of seal recipients was a board of judges composed of representatives from Synergeia and the Department of Education. To receive the seal, LGUs must have broadened the membership and functions of their Local School Board. Most of their schools should have functional School Governing Councils.

As an indicator of performance, the average National Achievement Test score of elementary school children must be higher than the national average of 66%, or must have increased by at least two percentage points. Alternatively, the LGUs must have reduced the number of poor readers by at least 15%.

Moreover, their cohort survival rate (the percentage of first graders who go on to complete sixth grade) must be higher than the national average of 70%, or must have increased by at least two percentage points.

Education governance scorecard

Finally, the LGUs must have recorded a decrease in non-readers and frustrated readers by at least 15 percentage points.

“We put together an education governance scorecard to focus on the results of their work. While anecdotes and feel-good stories about education initiatives are helpful, the scorecard enables us to objectively evaluate the performance of LGUs,” said Synergeia chief executive officer Milwida Guevara.

“We are happy to recognize these outstanding LGUs, and hope that the Seal of Good Education Governance would inspire them to keep making children’s education a priority in their governance agenda,” she said.

Incentives for seal recipients

To boost the capability of seal recipients to improve education in their localities, PLDT and Smart will provide technology packages suited to the LGUs’ respective circumstances and needs. Among the incentives are the installation and maintenance of Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas, and the provision of InfoCast, a web-based solution that will allow the LGUs to broadcast announcements and receive feedback via text message.

LGUs in remote areas will get a satellite-based communication solution that provides voice and SMS services.

Another incentive for LGUs in far-flung areas is the Smart School-in-a-Bag, which contains a solar panel to serve schools without electricity, mobile devices, curriculum-based educational content, teacher training, monitoring, and evaluation.

Also included in the incentive package are personal development trainings for LGUs.

“We strongly support Synergeia’s efforts to encourage local governments to efficiently and effectively deliver basic education to Filipino children. Through the technology tools and digital educational content included in the incentive packages, these LGUs can further enhance learning among their young constituents,” said PLDT and Smart chief revenue officer Eric Alberto.

“The PLDT Group will continue to work hand-in-hand with organizations like Synergeia and local governments to achieve our goal of building a smart nation,” he added.


Cebu News Digest: April 10, 2015: Alleged police extortion in Minglanilla, Talisay; PB requests gov’t agencies to prioritize hiring teachers affected by K to 12

Some policemen allegedly flag down trucks carrying vegetables from Dalaguete and collect a “tong” of P200 from the drivers in exchange for road passage.

Meanwhile, the Cebu Provincial Board is requesting concerned government agencies to prioritize and facilitate the employment of teachers and non-teaching staff who will be ‘displaced’ during the implementation of the K to 12 program.

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Here are the top stories for today, April 10, 2015:

P200 per truck for ‘road passage’

According to barangay captains from Dalaguete town, especially those who operate hauling trucks, alleged that some policemen threaten to issue their drivers a citation ticket when they deliver vegetables to Carbon Market in Cebu City.

Cebu vegetable market
Truckers carrying vegetables from Dalaguete complain about alleged extortion in Talisay and Minglanilla. (Creative Commons photo by Storm Crypt)

The policemen collect P200 from every truck driver about thrice a week. If drivers do not pay up, the cops slap them with some violations, such as overloading with a penalty of P1,500, confiscate their driver’s license, and issue them with a temporary operator’s permit that is valid for 72 hours.

At least 10 trucks get victimized each day.

The truck drivers and truck boys are forced to use their meal money to pay.

The police chiefs of Talisay City and Minglanilla challenged the concerned barangay chiefs to formalize their complaints and identify the policemen involved.

Prioritization of ‘displaced’ educators urged

PB is concerned with teachers of first year college and non-teaching staff having no work due to the fact that there will be no incoming first year college students for the next two years.

According to its resolution, “The only solution to this upcoming problem is to give them priority in the hiring of new teachers for Grade 11 and Grade 12 and it is only the DepEd and the Dole that can help them land in such jobs, so there is a need for commitment on the part of both Departments for such undertaking.”

The K to 12 program provides one year in the kindergarten level, six years in elementary and six years in the secondary level, which include four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school education.

Other top Cebu News stories:

Cebu Daily News: SM bus network to operate in Metro Cebu ahead of BRT
Sun.Star Cebu: Carcar has 3T ha. for devt.
The Freeman: HIV infection feared: Men pricking random people with syringe alarms netizens

Cebu Business headlines:

The Freeman: Asia’s top cabinet maker opens showroom in Cebu
The Freeman: DOT launches ESL tour program
The Freeman: Bank deposits in CV up 17% in Dec 2014


Maria’s in Dalaguete serves delicious pancit

On our way to Santander, Cebu, we looked for and dropped by Maria’s Batchoy in the town of Dalaguete after hearing from friends and acquaintances that it serves exceptional pancit canton.

We found it easily enough in the town center, and what we heard about the pancit canton was true. The dish – which you can order in its regular or special version – has exactly the right balance of noodles, vegetables, and meat ingredients mixed with a special sauce.

Another thing that sets the dish apart is the noodles or pancit used by the eatery. It’s flat and thin and not rounded like most noodles.

Maria's Batchoy pancit canton
PANCIT CANTON SPECIALTY. Maria’s Batchoy in Dalaguete is known for its delicious pancit canton. It makes its own noodles.

Pancit canton specialty

Gesilieta M. Besin, who started working at Maria’s Batchoy less than a year after it opened on May 8, 1997, said they make their own noodles for the canton dishes.

The cooks, brothers Undo and Dodong Beduya, are responsible for this special ingredient. Undo has been the cook since Maria’s Batchoy opened in 1997, and his brother Dodong was recruited when the clientele grew, said Ara Sanoy, another eatery staff.

In the Maria’s Batchoy menu, there’s the regular Pancit Canton and special servings like the Sun Yat Sen Canton. The difference is there are additional ingredients in Sun Yat Sen, such as ham. There’s also Chicken Shrimp Canton, which uses the same noodles as the other pancit canton dishes.

Batchoy is another bestseller of the eatery, as customers who come in the wee hours of morning usually order this, added Sanoy.

Maria's Batchoy adobo
CRUNCHY DISH. Among the eatery’s bestsellers is this crunchy pinakupusang adobo.

Maria’s Batchoy menu

Other things in the menu include soups, such as bird’s nest, noodle soups other than batchoy like lomi and mami, and chopsuey. Maria’s Batchoy also serves typical Filipino, specifically Cebuano, fare, from pinakupsang baboy, bistek Bisaya (local beef steak), to crispy pata.

Maria’s Batchoy is open 24 hours so if you ever find yourself in the southern part of Cebu, you know there is a place in Dalaguete where you can get something to eat no matter what time it is.

Another plus: it is airconditioned and spotlessly clean. In our southern Cebu trips, I have yet to find a similar establishment with a cleaner washroom. Maria’s Batchoy is owned by the Barola family in Dalaguete, Cebu.

Maria's Batchoy Dalaguete
OPEN 25 HOURS. Maria’s Batchoy, which is located at the town center, is open 24 hours and has Wi-Fi connectivity.

More photos

Maria's Batchoy chopsuey
They also serve chopsuey
Maria's Batchoy crispy pata
Crispy pata
Maria's Batchoy menu
Their menu
Feature Heritage

Centuries-old churches in southern Cebu

Santa Catalina de Alejandria Parish Church in Carcar. Construction of this structure started in 1860 and was finished in 1875.

Centuries-old churches of various architectural influences that were built during the Spanish occupation of Cebu can be found along the entire stretch of the mainland and even in satellite islands. A trip down Cebu’s southern part is a glimpse into the religious aspect of Spain’s influence on Cebuano heritage.

Spanish period churches in souther towns and cities:

Sta. Teresa de Avila Parish Church in Talisay City

• Church construction started in 1836 and was completed in 1848, roof was replaced in 1877 after it was destroyed by a typhoon
• Located at the city center, near the old City Hall

The structure bears influences of Greek and Roman architectural styles in the use of Doric columns to support a second floor balcony that serves as an awning shielding the entrance and in the arches used on the massive domed-roof belfries flanking a recessed facade.