Tag Archives: Central Philippine University

Ilonggo social workers to celebrate 10th Social Work week

Sworn to keep the rich tradition alive, social workers in Western Visayas are preparing for the celebration of the 10th Social Work Week on June 13-19, 2014. The theme for this year’s celebration is Advocacy amidst adversity: The Social Work distinction. It will highlight the peculiar role and capability of social workers to make the best or most even out of the worst condition/situation in life.

Social Work Week 2014

The event will kick off with a motorcade on June 13 simultaneously in respective provinces/cities to culminate with a launching program. The following day, Social Work students from five schools of Social Work in Panay and Negros will hold their respective Social Work Camps to include forum, sharing, literary and musical contests and sports. This will be participated in by Central Philippine University, Capiz State University, Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, Iloilo Doctors College, University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos. Other activities include photo exhibit, forum, symposium, and advocacies/promotion of the Social Work profession.

The annual celebration has been institutionalized by respective ordinances/ resolutions of city and provincial councils in Western Visayas to recognize of the role of social workers in nation building.

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It will  be recalled that in 2005, social workers, mostly from the National Association for Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI)-Western Visayas met in Central Philippine University to discuss and plan out activities to promote the social work profession. The context of the meeting was the preparation for the Ruby Anniversary of the Social Work Law at that year.

The Social Work Law (R.A. 4373) was passed on June 19, 1965 to regulate the practice of social work in the Philippines. However, it was noticed that the significance of the date of the passage of the Social Work Law had not been officially observed unlike other social welfare legislations which were passed even later.

Prof. DZ Patriarca-Lariza, 2005 PASWI-Iloilo President, leads the Social Work Forum during the celebration of the 1st Social Work Week in Iloilo

Prof. DZ Patriarca-Lariza, 2005 PASWI-Iloilo President, leads the Social Work Forum during the celebration of the 1st Social Work Week in Iloilo

The consultation sparked the move to advocate for the declaration of June 13-19 as Social Work Week. It gained strong support from the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) in Western Visayas. At that time, the national association encouraged and recognized regional aggrupations of provincial chapters. Hence, the close and quick coordination of regional activities. Other social work-led organizations and alliances in the region, as well as government officials and NGO leaders in the Regional Development Council (RDC) provided support. The resolution was endorsed by RDC and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Soon, the move gained nationwide support.

The week-long celebration is spearhead by Social Workers Organizations Regional Network (SWORN). Launched in 2013, SWORN will keep the rich heritage and tradition alive by strengthening the social work organizations/ groups in Western Visayas. It will serve as coordinating body of all social work organizations affiliated with recognized national bodies, as well as other independent ones.

SWORN will also act as support system to the regular activities of various organizations, and advocacy network to support the cause of Ilonggo social workers when needed. The network will spearhead the celebration of Social Work Week in Region VI. Moreover, it will be responsible for research-documentation and publication of the history, heritage and future development of social work endeavors in Western Visayas.

The regional network is governed by a Regional Council of Leaders composed of representatives from Philippine Association of Social Workers (PASWI), National Association for Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI), Association of Local Social Welfare and Development Officers of the Philippine, Inc. (ALSWDOPI), Association of Medical Social Workers in the Philippines (AMSWP), Alliance of Social Workers in NGOs (ASIN) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

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Bloom even where you’re not planted

Bloom where you're not planted

Taken beside the Swimming Pool of Central Philippine University, Iloilo City

When I saw this flower yesterday, while doing my early morning walking exercise, the first thing that came into my mind was the popular quote “bloom where you’r e planted.”

Impressed by the way the flower struggled to sprout and bloom in an unlikely situation, I thought of making an amendment to the quotation. So, I requested my daughter to take a photo of the flower before it withers or somebody plucks it.

Surfing the net, I found out that while Mary Engelbreit popularized the phrase, others give the credit to the Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622). Hence, my apologies to them for this amendment which, hopefully, does not distort their intention.

But isn’t life sometimes like that? We are compelled to live and  give our best even in unlikely situation, condition, fields, places or circumstances.

Organic agriculture: Manifestation of nationalism

I would like to congratulate the Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) for being consistent with its name i.e. being hardworking in advocacy to promote organic agriculture and for initiating today the interaction between the academic community and the real world where people live and move. For today until tomorrow, there will be a market not only of your organic products but also of ideas in a forum to follow the opening of organic festival. All in the name of holistic development as gleaned from the vision mission statement of your organization.

This is one reason why the Department of Social Work, Central Philippine University and the Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs that I head have been supportive of the endeavors of MASIPAG. For your vision-mission statement is in line with our direction. We believe and aim for a holistic development . One that does not only promote economic growth but the equitable distribution of the fruits of development that would change the socio economic and political landscape or even spiritual ones.

For holistic development covers multi dimensional aspects of human life in line with the belief that humans are bio-psycho-social and spiritual beings. Holistic development does not isolate any other aspects in preference to a particular area. For there are times, when development in infrastructure, golf courses and other edifice has caused aggression and dislocation, depriving people of their dwellings. Hence, we find development sans the people who should benefit from it and are supposed to be the subject and not just the object of development.

Holistic development is akin to sustainable development. One that brings progress which does not harm the people’s health and the environment. A development that satisfies the needs of today but does not compromise or threaten the needs of future generation. It is for this reason that I consider the endeavors of MASIPAG in focusing on organic agriculture a manifestation of nationalism. For being an agricultural country, Filipinos must value the God given resources suited for our particular land and environment.

The richness of our natural resources no longer need foreign pesticides and chemicals in order to grow and produce our local products. But at times the sophisticated advancement in technology and industry which many used as standard of progress has enticed our people to take the easy and quick route to development and later suffer its detrimental consequence. As such many have been fooled or misled in the name of development. Just like us what the traditional politics has done to our people before and during the election: buying votes, fooling the people and thereafter enjoy the fruits of development without the people.

On the contrary, holistic development is a development that does not buy the people, fool the people and later off the people. But a development ( to borrow Lincoln’s line) of the people, by the people and for the people.

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Message delivered during the Opening Program of the Organic Food Festival 2013 held at the Alumni Promenade, Central Philippine University on October 3-4, 2013. The festival is sponsored by the MASIPAG in partnership with Central Philippine University thru the College of Agriculture, Resources and Environmental Sciences, Department of Social Work and College of Hospitality Management

Indeed, our labor will never be in vain

Today is Labor Day as celebrated in many countries worldwide. In the Philippines, this year’s celebration has the following theme: Manggagawang Pilipino: Handa sa Hamon ng Makabagong Panahon implying the readiness of Pilipino workers to respond to the challenges of the changing times. In my other blog, I shared the historical significance of this day to commemorate the economic and social achievements of workers.

Rev. Job Santiago addresses the MSPM graduates and their respective families and church members

Rev. Job Santiago addresses the MSPM graduates and their respective families and church members

However, it is not only the historical significance of the Labor Day that reminds me of today’s celebration. Equally worth remembering is the 1st Conferral Ceremony for Master of Socio Pastoral Ministries (MSPM) graduates held three years ago at Ajuy Christian Development Academy, Iloilo, Philippines. It was graced by no other than the General Secretary of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), Rev. Job A. Santiago, who was the conferral speaker.

The occasion could have been a day of rejoicing for me as it would be a culmination of my pioneering and voluntary work. I was supposed to give my message for the pioneer graduates. Unfortunately, seven months before the event, I was seriously ill caused by chronic heart ailment, compounded by unusual nerve disorder.

Worse, my vulnerable condition was taken advantage by the group who had an axe to grind against me for leading the move  to frustrate their scheme  to railroad the selection process for top post in the CPBC. Even to the extent of manipulating circumstances to shame me including an attempt to derail the graduation of the pioneering MSPM students. While I have long forgiven the perpetrators, recollection of the event continues to add significance to the successful endeavors which are manifestations of God’s grace and strength over our weaknesses.

Dazen Dawn delivers my message for the MSPM pioneer graduates

Dazen Dawn delivers my message for the MSPM pioneer graduates

Anyway, though bedridden and unable to join the event, my message still reached the target audience. It was delivered by my daughter Dazen Dawn.
Entitled MSPM: Another story of endless possibilities, it was published on PADAYON: Our Life journey. I decided to reblog my post in two installments to commemorate the Labor Day.

“Today, we are witnesses to another story of endless possibilities. Overcoming the tests of times and circumstances, our pastors in North Iloilo and Negros will receive with joy and pride, without necessarily being boastful, their hard- earned certificates in today’s Conferral Ceremony. The choice of the date for this event, which happened to be Labor Day, was more circumstantial than intentional.

However, viewed in the context of the long winding road trod by students and faculty to sustain the MSPM program, the date has become doubly significant. With gladness, we can shout on this Labor Day that our labour is not in vain, after all.

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The biblical account of the feeding of the 5,000+ serves as inspiration to the MSPM story. Aware of the needs of the time, a boy offered whatever he has to respond to the call for service. He was not disturbed by overwhelming discrepancies and limitations, even criticisms. His voluntary spirit made a difference. Amidst reservations, if not downgrading of the modest offering, Jesus made use of what was available and another miracle happened.

An inspiring story to remind us that our labor, no matter how small and simple, will never be in vain in the Lord. Let me stress this point because it appears that our past experiences of difficulties or disappointments have made us callous and apathetic for change, especially as far as organizational or institutional life is concerned. Sometimes, we cannot even start any good project or movement because we are already overpowered by the difficulties and perceived problems or impossibilities, even before we give it a try.

MSPM students taking up the examinations

The MSPM Program has a foretaste of this experience. Since its start in 2007, some downgraded the voluntary effort while others already expressed skepticism of its sustainability, even before it is tested. Worse, there were those who consistently campaign against it when the program was well accepted by pastors, even to the extent of recruiting those already participating in the MSPM program to join the program they promote.

In our response, we dared the critics to a debate whoever they are and wherever they want. We argue that MSPM has been designed with quality not inferior to what Central Philippine University offered in Master of Social Work program which was patterned to that of the University of the Philippines- Diliman, yet friendly and affordable for pastors. The faculty are more than qualified. The only difference is compensation because in MSPM, we teach voluntarily, gaining the love and respect of pastors, not monetary profit.

Favorable conditions

Conglomeration of events have been favorable for the design of the MSPM program. A couple of us tried the distance education program of a state college in Iloilo for our doctoral degree which met once a month. Some were also teaching, once a week, in Korean seminary in Iloilo City which offered Master of Arts in Missiology. Moreover, we were inspired by the successful revival of the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program in CPU which produced the first graduate, after 30 years. We even opened an extension class with weekly meetings at Convention Baptist Bible College for Negros students.

Those aforementioned favorable trends served as signals for us to entertain the questions: Why can’t we design similar approach for a graduate studies program for pastors? If it was successfully implemented in professional social work courses, why can’t we do the same for pastors? But, how?

MSPM graduates pose for posterity together with Rev. Santiago after the Conferral Ceremony

MSPM graduates pose for posterity together with Rev. Santiago after the Conferral Ceremony

My previous sad experience has also served its purpose. When elected as president of Convention Baptist Ministers Association, I continued the term of my predecessor in the committee which was tasked to study and recommend to the CPBC Board cases of pastors undergoing graduate programs from other theological institutions. The arguments were overwhelming against recognizing the degrees from other schools not affiliated with the CPBC and related affiliations. The most that I could do at that time was raised the question: Can CPBC provide alternatives?”

(To be continued)

We need more politics to sustain our network

Now that we have reached the 13th year of celebration, we are certain to sustain the activity in the coming years. For number 13 has been considered both unlucky and lucky number. Countries around the world associated the number 13 with either luck or disaster. Let the debates go on. Regardless of the result, the fact remains that we have survived the 13th year which, for me, assures us of a bright future.

Slide1For the past 12 years we have experienced both worlds – the peak and the lowest condition of the Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs (ICON) advocacy work particularly in spearheading the NGO PO Week celebration. To quote the wedding vow, we were together in “times of plenty and times of want, sickness and health, joy and sorrow, failure and triumph.” There was a time we had two full time staff, at other times, none.

ICON is a story of struggles – from the lobbying stage for the institutionalization of the non-government organization s and people’s organizations (NGO PO) Week to the subsequent pioneering days in organizing the network. We also struggled to sustain both the coalition and politics in the government.

A review of the history will help us understand the state of our coalition, learn lessons from the past to guide us in another decade of development. Circumstances, indeed, had determined the nature of the organization. Looking back, I realized that what sustains us for years is POLITICS. It has been defined in various ways to capture the complexities of relations of people in the society involving authority or power. Some even thought of politics as sort of “intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or group in order to gain control or power.”

ICON 1

While we might have experienced these elements in our 12 years of struggle, I want to qualify what I mean by politics that sustains our network. It is an acrostic/acronym which capsulizes the sustaining elements in our organization, as follows: Participation, Optimism, Lobbying, Integrity, Tact, Interdependence, Coordination, and Spirituality.

Participation

Historically, the NGO PO Week, which gave birth to ICON was a by product of participation. When seemingly moderate organizations decided to take an active role in the mainstream of politics in the development council, which was dominated by veteran leaders, and subsequently captured the slot for the civil society organizations representative.

Thereafter, we have sustained our activities throughout the years, as well as our relationship, because of your participation. As development workers and empowerment advocates, we share common understanding of participatory approach and apply such in our network.

Optimism

Our existence as network has been characterized by ups and downs. The task to convince veteran organizers of various persuasions to form the coalition and sustain it had been taxing and wearisome. We also struggled to sustain both the coalition and politics in the government. We even had the foretaste of tug-of-war of politicians at Capitol during elections.But we succeeded against all odds because of our optimism. Such optimism will continue to guide us for another decade of struggle.

Lobbying

An effective tool but less applied by NGOs because of its association with traditional politics, lobbying sustains our relationship with government partners. The provision of the local government code for our participation in the development councils and local special bodies become a sort of leverage in our lobbying. Having represented the NGOs in the Executive Committee of the provincial development council for many years, I have learned how to maximize such privilege in lobbying.

Integrity

ICONWith pride I can say that, as a whole, ICON has maintained its integrity. Of course, there were tensions and even skirmishes among officers in the past but as a network our integrity remains intact as far as relationship with the government and the public is concerned. We were never accused of using others for our own needs or advantage. Neither did we allow our network to be used by others, much more the politicians. We always work in partnership with others for mutual advantage.

Tact

Our delicate condition as loose organization and task in coalition building has developed in us the skill to handle or deal with difficult or delicate situations. We have experienced crises but handled it with tact. I can still recall an instance when some of the member organizations protested against an electric company related to power supply and used our office for mobilization which created friction from other members who were supportive of the company. More important than citing other cases is the fact we were able to handle all these with tact and further developed our skills in handling more issues.

Interdependence

I always relate our relationship in the network to the beauty of the rainbow which is an excellent representation of systems theory. While there are only three primary colors (red, yellow, blue) there is a multiplication of colors when these link, interact, and overlap. Try to separate one from the other, and the beauty of rainbow is gone. Yes, it is our interdependence that gives color to our relationship, no mater how fragile it may be.

Coordination

The nature of our network is ambivalent. Since we are not implementor of projects we do not have much fund. On the other hand, we are not a threat to other organizations as we just facilitate and coordinate the welfare and development activities of NGOs and POs, as well as the government agencies in order to maximize resources.

Spirituality

By spirituality, I do not necessarily mean religiosity. Although we have religious sectors in our network since its founding. In fact, their presence have been instrumental in sustaining our integrity. However, spirituality is meant here as relationship among people, the non human environment and God. Thus, spirituality is eclectic and inclusive than religion. It encourages diversity and encompasses other relationship and beliefs. It is spirituality that serves as the well spring of our voluntary endeavors.

Yes, it’s  politics (participation, optimism,lobbying, integrity, tact, interdependence, coordination, and spirituality) that sustained our network for a dozen of years. We need more of these  politics  to sustain us in the next decades of networking towards development.
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Message delivered during the ICON Assembly of Leaders on December 6, 2012 at  the Conference Room, University Research Center, Central Philippine University to culminate the 13th NGO PO Week celebration in Iloilo.

Learnings in managing an outreach project: The Case of CPU Katin-aran Center

By Edwin I. Lariza and DZ Patriarca-Lariza

At long last, we made it.  The final editing is done. I cannot help  but blog the abstract and acknowledgment of our research study, out of joy. Sooner, I will post the highlights of the study. Actually, we have successfully defended our research last October 2012. However, there were some technicalities involved including editing which was taken cared of  by the University Outreach Center.

This study was conducted  to describe the  growth and development of Katin-aran Center and its contribution to the community, as well as the University. It used the exploratory and descriptive design. A focus group discussion with pioneers and key players validated both primary and secondary data.

Katin-aran Center emerged as a response to the needs of the Department of Social Work for more field placement for practicum students. Soon it grew with established development concepts, framework and effective methods in organizing communities. Because of its track record,  the Center  earned recognition and respect locally, nationally, and internationally. It has reached its peak when it became a separate foundation implementing multi-million empowerment projects.  The impacts of the programs and services to personal lives of the Katin-aran members have been translated into community involvement in various forms and services.

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The following administrative factors are responsible for the development of the Center:   institutional support provided by the University;  participatory and integrated/ holistic development approach; and the charismatic qualities and management style of the pioneer director combined with highly committed staff. However, the same factors that sustained the operation of the Katin-aran Center created some organizational problems and issues, namely: ill defined structure, lack of a more definite framework for strategies, learning disability, and role confusion. Despite the problems it encountered and whatever negative experiences it has, there is no question that the Katin-aran Center has given us learnings on how to manage outreach projects.

This is so far the longest study we ever conducted, longer than our thesis requirements to finish respective masteral degrees. Like its  subject matter,  the study  has survived critical interludes including flood and my own illness. And just like the case of Katin-aran Center, all circumstances and crises have eventually contributed to  the intended result.  As the biblical passage explicitly describes: “All thing work together for good…” Indeed, it’s worth the wait.

CPUKCI

However, this study could not have reached its final stage, had it not been for the support of people to whom we express our sincere gratitude:

Dr. Reynaldo N. Dusaran, University Research Center Director, for his patience, untiring reminders and encouragement to continue;

Dr. Teodoro C. Robles, University President,  for his kindness to  assign me in his office for a semester to compensate my load units due to volatile health condition. The special assignment he gave me to assist  in data gathering for the Volume 2 of The Story of Central Philippine University has given me time and  opportunity for in-depth study of the history of Katin-aran Center;

Dr. Ida G. Borlongan and Dr. Margen A. Java, panelists, for  enlightening  comments and suggestions to improve the paper;

Dr. Anita  U. Illenberger, Dean College of Arts and Sciences, who might not  know it that her comment on the first draft presented has inspired me;

Professors Carol Kay C. Blando,  Kareen Jay D. Lozada  and Sarah M. Barayuga, our colleagues in the Department,  who have been supportive of this  study;

Rev. Melvin M. Mangana, former Director, University Outreach Center, for his undying support to the Katin-aran communities including this study;

Lastly, but most especially, the Katin-aran family for their whole hearted support in the process of data gathering including interviews and focus group discussion without them this study will never be completed. Led by  Ma’am  Ruth C.  Corvera, pioneer director of Katin-aran, the following former staff  and leaders are worth mentioning:  Freddie  Salvania, Jocelyn Funtecha, Mercy Bedona,  Emcy Sanchez,  Joan Militar, Trinidad Sorongon, Aida Soberano, Annabelle Martinez; Madeline, Jorge,  Josephine, Rey, Jimmy, Julie, Rubegilio, Elena, X Barrera, all the PO leaders and volunteers who shared with us their insights.

Lest we forget, our kids: Dazen Dawn, Edzil Ven and Krislenn Edz,  our joy, strength and motivation.

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

On Placards and Strained Voices

Guest blog post by Dazen Dawn P. Lariza*

Article first published  on Central Echo, October 2012 edition.

Under the striking heat of the burning sun they stand clothed in sweat-drenched fabric and glistening faces that speak of courage and anger. With fists held high, they fight oppression, not with grenades and bombs and nuclear weapons but with their right to be loud, their right to be heard, their right to be free etched in placards and streamers that cry “CHANGE” and “JUSTICE.”

Activism has become the reason for enlightenment in many dark periods in our history such as Martial Law. As the government resulted to all sorts of actions in order to suppress their freedom, a new revolution was created through groups of Filipinos, especially students, who fought for their rights. The death of thousands created a ripple of events that brought forth a peaceful war of words and prayers which ended the dictator’s reign, hence, the reason why student activism still prevails in our present society.

Some may wonder why students choose to become activists and do things that may be considered “acts of rebellion.” Well, you’d have to think like an activist and learn to sympathize with what they fight for in order to understand what they do. Oikos Ecological Movement and League of Filipino Students (LFS) member Jan Pachoco didn’t understand the reason why student activists resulted to such actions until he got to know them and the reason behind their actions and eventually decided to join in the crowd.

Actually at first, when I see activists on the streets I wonder why they do such things and why they question and blame the government for all the crises faced by our society. But when I got to know them, my mind was opened to the sad realities they see,” he said.

The life of being a student activist is not an easy road. People misjudge you; your time has to be divided, and you have to keep secrets from people close to you if they turn against you and your beliefs. Student activists have far greater issues than picking an outfit for College Night of leveling up your character on League of Legends.

According to Jan, being a student activist has its demands. One of which is sacrificing time to study the different issues which confront the present generation. “We cannot make a concrete analysis and solution to the problems if we do not know the issue,” he said, adding that such a sacrifice is not a big deal because “if we were truly committed to the principles we would not hesitate to sacrifice a little for the good of every Filipino.”

Aside from that comes the pressure of some parents on their children to stop involving themselves in student activism. Jan said it is the greatest issue most of his colleagues have to face. They have to make their parents and families understand that such actions are note merely for their own good but also for the family. With this, Jan quoted a line from Renato Constantino saying, “If parents of today do not march with the youth, they will be left behind and will deserve only the censure of history. If the youth fail to enlist the active participation of other sectors of society, their movement will suffer from a fatal distortion.

Other than those stated above, student activists have to face the watchful eyes of their own Universities’ administrations especially on those coming from the LFS who oppose tuition fee increases and the likes. Various administrations such as those in the University of the Philippines take extra effort in trying to get rid of them.

In a statement posted on LFS.ph in December 7, 2010 by then UP Aterisk member Dino Pineda, he had said “We thought we were dying. We thought student activism had gone down the slope, and had become irreconcilably ‘uncool’ for the generation.” Dino stated actions which their administration did to silence them and their efforts in fighting against this. He ended his statement with this line, “More and more, we are seeing how this Administration is trying to kill us. Yes, we are dying. But we are not dying without a fight.”

Contrary to what others believe in, their efforts in fighting for social change are not useless. From rallies, State of the Youth Addresses, writing in print to spray painting stencils of a hangman tied to a yellow noose and more, these student activists may not always get what they want but their voices and opinions do get heard a lot. Through thousands of students marching against budget cuts on Education, a raise on budget happened. According to Jan, the Anti-No Permit, No Exam Policy bill is already being recognized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the latest protest against the Cybercrime Law has been issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). So who’s to say that their screams of rage go to waste?

Yes. They are often a common sight. You find them in clusters on streets, government centers, and business firms screaming out their rebellion, fighting for what they believe is right in an unjust society. Whether they be frowned upon by society or be understood by those who sympathize with what they feel, they wouldn’t really care, because activism is not meant to be understood by people who remain ignorant to what they believe in. Activism is meant for those who feel the need to be heard by a society that remains deaf to those who cry for freedom and equality. Activism is for those who believe that freedom is not an option.

Freedom is a gift. Fight for it.

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*Dazen Dawn is News Editor of Central Echo. She is 2nd year BS Psychology student of Central Philippine University, Iloilo City, Philippines.