Monday, February 13, 2017

6.7 EARTHQUAKE Strikes SURIGAO CITY in Philippines

The “Ring of Fire” is the ominous nickname for the area in the Pacific Ocean basin wherein the boundaries of several major tectonic plates are located. This general area, filled with fault-lines and volcanoes, is almost continuously beset by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Among the nations located in the Ring of Fire and thus a big target of those calamities is the archipelago country of the Philippines, and it has had its own share of trials and tribulations from being in this disaster-prone location. In the 1990’s a killer quake and a volcano eruption visited devastation upon the country, with occasional big tremors over the years following. Now another powerful earthquake has visited the Philippines in an area that hasn’t quite felt it before.
CNN Philippines reports that on the evening of Friday February 10, a 6.7 magnitude temblor hit Surigao City and its surrounding area in the Caraga Region located at northeastern Mindanao. In addition to serious structural and property damage, eight people were killed in the quake and 202 wounded according the latest count. According to spokesperson Mina Marasigan of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, they have been able to confirm the identities of four of the fatalities and are waiting on the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for information on the other four. This however conflicts with the official bulletin released Monday February 13 by Surigao Del Norte Governor Sol Matugas, who counted only six killed in his capital city.
With regards to infrastructural damage, Marasigan reports that the tremors left 1,034 residential buildings damaged, with 155 of them total losses. Surigao City’s domestic airport had its runway partially ruined and will be inoperable up until March. Initial estimates of the cost of the devastation is somewhere around 108.45 million Pesos (roughly $2.17 million). Saturday February 11 saw a state of calamity being officially declared in Surigao City, with the NDRRMC remaining alert on the area due to a large frequency of aftershocks. By Monday 152 individual aftershocks have been recorded following the main earthquake by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

Despite the temblor knocking out power to the city, emergency services were quick to respond and report that of Surigao City’s 211 barangays, 195 have electricity once more, followed by a majority of the province of Surigao Del Norte itself. Furthermore, the city’s water supply is back to 90 percent service, after damage to two main pipes has been repaired. However, Governor Matugas announced that the city needs building materials and potable water for areas where service has not been restored, a call echoed by the NDRRMC.


One of the greatest challenges for parents in raising a family is the chance of having special children with very particular needs. The developmental pace of these little ones’ growth may be different from that of other children, to the point where they may be figuratively “left behind”, slower in learning the basic skills of communication like speaking, reading and writing. While parents could mean well, at times they might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of attention needed to see their special children prosper and get along in society.
This is where the concept of special education (SPED) comes in, from both public and private institutions with custom learning programs for each child. Here in General Santos City, one of the new rising stars of private SPED institutes looking to give the best service for those wonderfully unique young ones is the J.A. Bernal Center for Exceptional Children.
The JABCEC was established on October 24, 2014 by its Director Jaybee Bernal, one of GSC’s foremost experts in SPED. This is interesting as Mr. Bernal didn’t initially decide to make a career of helping exceptional children as he does now. Originally planning to become a doctor, a choice of Psychology as a requisite course in Premed, followed by a visit to a SPED school in Dumaguete, opened to him a new path. Finishing with an Education Master’s Degree Majoring in SPED at UP Diliman, along with 12 years’ practical experience as a special educator in Manila, Mr. Bernal now regularly commutes between there and General Santos City for an alternating two weeks as he consults on new cases of special children being brought to his attention.

Now well past their second year and operating from a new address, the JA Bernal Center continues its push to see through its vision to become the leading SPED center not just in GenSan but in Mindanao by means of providing the best practice to give the best service to developmentally challenged children and their families. Their “students” are mostly referred to them by the families’ doctors for “intervention”. In addition to special education the center provides other services in speech and occupational therapy, language courses, and psychiatric help. Their child development program encompasses the formation of work behavior, encouraging receptive and expressive language, cognition, and the honing of motor and fine motor skills. Not only the children but their parents receive instruction in the SPED program, the better for the young one’s families to continue their development at home.
Sessions at the center last anywhere from one to two hours, with days of attendance being anywhere from once to twice a week, and scheduled from Monday to Saturday. Mr. Bernal is ably assisted in the task of intervention and education by a “faculty” of five special education experts, all bold, engaging, resilient, nurturing, accepting, and loving of their duties, responsibilities and their many various charges throughout the week. Intervention usually ends when Mr. Bernal and his fellow instructors deem a child ready to take an assessment test to gauge their improvement in their various fields of development. Promising results are then forwarded to the children’s physician, who may then discuss the child’s future in the wider world with his family.
Even with the JA Bernal Center already having a full plate of special children that rely on their aid and guidance, Mr. Bernal sees even more room for growth in the Center. He plans in the coming years to expand their purview from school-aged special children to older teens and grown adults. In their case, it’s hoped that the center can also provide them with enough training to qualify them for basic employment. They can be taught to work handicrafts for instance, and certain foreign companies for example have also found gainful work for developmentally challenged grown-ups at assembly line jobs where they might excel at routine and repetitive actions. The future looks bright and full of possibilities for Mr. Bernal and his labor of love, something that many special people and their folks would most certainly appreciate.

For more inquiries on what the JA Bernal Center for Exceptional Children can do for any special child you know, come visit them at their institute at the third floor of the Santanna Medical Plaza next to St. Elizabeth Hospital, along Santiago Boulevard, General Santos City.

Photos grabbed from JB Bernal's Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


PHILIPPINES – February proves to be an extremely exciting month for FOX Philippines as the channel announces the premiere of several hit US television series. Several FOX shows are returning to the channel in February, including The Walking Dead, Billions, and WWE’s wrestling programs, while new shows Legion and 24: Legacy are set to bring more prestige to an already strong lineup. To promote this huge boost in programming, FOX is teaming up with Philippine escape room game Breakout to host an experience called FOXtreme Breakout, which will bring elements of these shows closer to viewers in a unique escape room challenge that will run from February 9 to 12 at Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City.

The new and returning television shows that will be premiering this month on FOX all have day & date telecasts and are based on exciting, adrenaline-pumping content. Legion is based on a Marvel comic book that follows the life of David Haller, who is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and soon discovers that he’s a powerful mutant—probably one of the most powerful that’s ever lived. Starring Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, Downton Abbey), this 10-episode limited series premieres in the US on February 8 and in the Philippines on FOX on February 9 at 8 PM.

Another exciting release on FOX is 24: Legacy, a spin-off of the hit TV show 24. The series stars Corey Hawkins and Miranda Otto and follows the story of Eric Carter, an ex-Army Ranger who is being sought by a terrorist group and tries to stop one of the largest attacks to potentially happen in the US. This heart-stopping 12-episode series will show exclusively on FOX and premiere in the US on February 5, with a Philippine premiere on February 6 at 8 PM.
Meanwhile, the highly successful series The Walking Dead returns to FOX on February 13 in the Philippines at 11:35 AM simultaneously with the US, with an 8:55 PM replay for viewers in the evening. This mid-season premiere continues the explosive Season 7 of the zombie apocalypse-based show. Billions is also returning to FOX for its 13-episode second season, premiering on February 20 at 9:50 PM exclusively on the channel.

FOX is also the Philippines’ Home of Wrestling, with its wide roster of WWE titles such as Raw, SmackDown, and Royal Rumble. On February 14, FOX’s local production Wrestling Gods adds to the channel’s testosterone-fueled wrestling mania when it premieres at 9:50 PM.
Viewers can also experience all these great shows on FOX up close by joining the FOXtreme Breakout challenge at the Ground Floor of Uptown Mall in Bonifacio Global City from February 9 to 12. The channel teamed up with premier escape room game Breakout to create a series of interconnected rooms that each emulate the look and feel of the shows premiering in February on the channel. Teams of four will have about 20 minutes to finish going through the experience, in which they’ll have to fish a key off a “walker” in The Walking Dead room; take on shooting challenges in the 24: Legacy room; play a tough game of rock-paper-scissors with five big wrestlers in the WWE room; test their sanity while going through a mirror maze in the Legion room; and claim their prizes in the Billions room. FOXtreme Breakout is a fun way for viewers to immerse themselves in FOX’s newest and most-loved shows as well as win prizes. Participants can form teams of four and register online at to reserve a slot and enjoy the game for free.

Charo Espedido, Director and Head of Content & Marketing at FOX Networks Group Philippines, said, “The addition of new shows like Legion and 24: Legacy along with the return of hit shows like The Walking Dead, Billions, and our favorite WWE programs to FOX make it clear that we are determined to deliver the most exciting, action-packed US entertainment content to our viewers. We’re excited to share these sho
ws and engage with FOX’s viewers at the FOXtreme Breakout game in Uptown Mall this month so that we can whet their appetites for the amazing shows they’ll see on their TV screens soon.”

THE FOXtreme Breakout will run in Uptown BGC from February 9 to 12, 2017. 
To register, visit

Legion premieres on February 9 at 8:00 PM (same day as US)
exclusively on FOX

The Walking Dead Season 7 premieres on February 13 at 11.35 AM & 8.55 PM

24: Legacy airs exclusively on FOX on February 6 at 8:00 PM

Billions Season 2 returns exclusively to FOX on February 20 at 9:50 PM

Premier WWE titles will air on FOX on February 14 at 9:50PM

Follow FOX TV on social media for more on The Walking Dead and the best of TV entertainment:

Intstagram and
Fox TV Asia
#TWDonFOX, #TheWalkingDead, #TheRidingDead


FOX is FOX Networks Group’s global flagship general entertainment basic cable channel, promising international audiences “The Best. First” in entertainment programming. The brand is synonymous with groundbreaking Hollywood entertainment and delivers a varied programing schedule that includes comedy, drama, science fiction, action and animation. FOX’s exclusive, original and breakthrough series include The Simpsons, The Walking Dead, Outcast and others. FOX is available as a linear channel and through authenticated FOX Play apps in 31 local languages in over 255 million homes across 127 countries outside the U.S. As a result of its scale and global synergies, FOX was able to pioneer a global day-and-date release strategy for key series, and remains the only international network able to release TV series worldwide at the same time as the U.S. Launched in August of 1993.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Charo Espedido | Director – Head of Marketing & Programming | FOX Networks Group Philippines |
Email: | Tel: +632 8698746 loc 4002