La Verdad Christian College – Quality Education at No Cost

The man in front of the computer was whistling a happy tune, but Brandon’s heart wasn’t pumping a rhythmic beat. As the man handed him his printed papers, Brandon felt his heart drop as he looked at the amount printed in bold, black ink at the bottom of the page. It was enrolment day; he had just got his subjects assessed and validated by his college. The paper handed to him was the form for payment which displayed his total tuition fees for the semester.

What an amount to pay for just a couple of units, he muttered to himself. He was studying in a public school were tuition was subsidized by the government but the fees he pay were still too high for what he can afford.

He makes his way to the cashier’s office, counting and recounting his recently withdrawn money to make sure they were enough and exact for payment. Upon reaching the office and finding a stream of students, his eyes wandered to a huge plastered sign sprawled to his side, directing students like him to the miscellaneous queue. Underneath the bold print were words like dorm fees, lab and library fees and more, screaming at him and making his heart sink even lower. His mind were occupied with thoughts about daily transportation fares he’s going to have to pay, the food he’s going to eat, the school supplies he’s going to provide. And buying a uniform too, he thought.

As he takes his spot on the long line to pay his tuition, he looks back at the miscellaneous fees queue and thinks to himself with a resigned look, “Is education now a privilege?”


Brandon’s experiences are something unrare. These situations and stories happen more often than we believe, prompting the debate as to whether education in our country is a right or a privilege.

It’s June once again, the month of weddings, of Father’s days and beginnings of school. School commencing would mean enrolment and enrolment would also mean money.

High Cost of Education = Out of School Youths?

According to recent figures by the National Statistics Office (NSO) and Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS), a steady growth of percentage of out-of-school youths was listed from 2000-2011, with over 6.24 million youths out of school, or 16% of the country’s 39 million Filipinos in the age bracket between six and 24.

Aside from geographical and temporal reasons, one of the most cited reasons for this increase was the high cost of education. Moreover, the NSO’s 2014 Report of the Country’s Figures listed more than 23 million of the population as no more than elementary undergraduates, with 3 million having no education at all.

That is why in these times, government bodies and non-governmental organizations have conducted programs to help. Various scholarships are now made able to deserving youth, offering several chances for qualification. But there is one non-governmental organization that has taken steps higher than the others.

Free Education through LVCC

The Members Church of God International, through UNTV 37, the country’s public service channel, has established a college wherein free education is one of its services.

With campuses in Pampanga and Caloocan, La Verdad Christian College (LVCC) leads as the country’s first private institution wherein aside from free tuition, other expenses such as uniform, food and lodging fees are shouldered entirely by the school. This is inspired by Bro. Eli Soriano and Kuya Daniel Razon’s advocacy of helping poor but deserving students to earn their college degrees.

La Verdad Christian College is the first private institution in the country that offers free education along with free meals, uniforms, books and even lodging.
Video Courtesy: youtube.com/untvweb

“It’s a very good feeling to know that God has given us instruments in doing good — those who help the youth like me to be able to study. That is wy I thank God for Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel for giving us the chance to go to college despite the lack of our financial ability,” says Kim Santiago, a Second Year AB Broadcasting student from LVCC Caloocan Branch.

“Here in La Verdad, aside from availing of the free services the school offers, we are being taught to excel academically and spiritually,” says Maryjane Largueza, a recent graduate of AB-Broadcasting in LVCC Caloocan Campus. “LVCC not only aims to produce capable students but also good citizens of the country. I am proud to be a LaVerdarian, and I am grateful to God and Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel, because without them, this will not be possible.”

Aside from offering kindergarten until secondary schooling, LVCC also offers Bachelor degrees in nursing, computer technology, mass communications, culinary and many more. Moreover, extensive training and career opportunities are also given to students during their stay at the college with help of partner groups such as UNTV.

LVCCA shot of one of the main buildings of La Verdad
Christian College in Apalit, Pampanga.
Photo Courtesy: Rovic Balunsay of Photoville International

First established in 2009, the two campuses are always being improved and maintained by its administration. Citing Bro. Soriano in a speech during the inauguration of the LVCC Branch in Caloocan, he says, “We have spent much to establish this school, and much is to be spent still to sustain it. But we do not look at the amount, just as it is written in the Bible,” adding that, “This is our mandate from knowing the truth in the Bible. Students do not owe this to us. They owe it to God.”

Netizens in Outrage Over Media Discrimination, #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH Trends

Netizens took to Twitter and Social Media the hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH after UNTV CEO, Daniel Razon announced a sustained boycott of the luxury hotel in his morning show, Good Morning Kuya.

In its July 14 episode, Razon pointed out Sofitel’s biased move of delisting UNTV in its hotel programming.

In an official statement released by the Sofitel management, their removal of the country’s Public Service Channel was allegedly brought about by guest feedback and demand.

Netizens however, react negatively to the said statement and call for a reasonable explanation and a public apology, noting that it is not just about UNTV, but the act of media discrimination committed by the hotel’s management.

The hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH made it to the 1st and 3rd spots of Philippines trends yesterday and have tallied more than a hundred thousands tweets registering the #NotoSofitel hashtag.

The hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH landed in the top 1 and 3 spots of Philippines trends, respectively.

The hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH landed in the top 1 and 3 spots of Philippines trends, respectively.

 

A Station with a Heart

For ten years, UNTV has made its name in the Philippines as a television network geared solely towards public service.

Home to many advocacies such as the Tulong Muna, Bago Balita (Rescue First, Report Later), Isang Araw Lang (Just One Day), free medical, legal services and free education, UNTV promotes doing good to everyone, especially to the marginalized members of the community.

To single out UNTV is not only an act of media discrimination but also an act of opposition to its public service efforts, its followers and its beneficiaries.

It is only but rightful for UNTV’s adherents to voice out their opinions regarding a matter where they are greatly affected.

“There are times when you need to speak up, you need to voice out your rights. You do not need to always let things go especially when there are people who are already being affected. – Kuya Daniel Razon”

Never Again: Commemorating the Fourth Year Anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre

It was year 2009, the 23rd of November to be exact. I remember fairly well because it was a day before my birthday, and of course, because of the dreadful events that transpired. 58 people, including lawyers, journalists and pregnant women, were brutally murdered and buried in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Philippines.

Esmael Mangudadatu, along with his wife and two sisters, media men and people were on their way to the provincial office of Shariff Aguak to submit his Certificate of Candidacy for the 2010 elections, going up against the then mayor, Andal Ampatuan Jr., when they were stopped by over a 100 armed men who abducted and killed almost all of the convoy.

The details the news were giving were extremely horrifying. There were evidence showing that the abducted women were first raped before being shot in the genitals and killed. The men were also beheaded.

I was only in my first year of high school then. I was only fourteen.

Last Friday night, me and a couple of friends joined the Bible Readers Society or BREAD Choir as they performed in UP College of Mass Communication for an event entitled: Pangalay, Isang Gabi ng Pagtatanghal at Pag-alala.

ImageThe official poster of the said event.
Photo Courtesy: UP CMC Student Council Official FB Page

Hosted by the Graduate Students’ Association of UP CMC, it was a night filled with solidarity speeches and cultural performances aimed to raise awareness about the Maguindanao Massacre, and as to how justice is still not being served, and how we must always commemorate that day when lives did not simply got took away, but were brutally taken.

It’s been four years, and some people have already forgotten. But for the families and friends of the victims in those killings, four years will only seem like a week. The hurt and pain will come back every November, like a fresh, bleeding wound.

UNTV-37, known in the Philippines as the country’s Public Service Channel, is a part of those grieving families, having lost four media men in the event.

Three years ago, last May 17, 2010, UNTV, through its chairman and CEO, Daniel Razon, spearheaded a fund-raising for the families of the victims of the massacre. Some of the country’s greatest musical artists graced the event to pay tribute and lend a hand to the bereaved families.

ImageDaniel Razon, Chairman and CEO of UNTV, spearheads the Protest Broadcast 3: Cry for Justice held at the Big Dome last 2010, to help raise funds for the families of the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre.
Photo Courtesy: Flickr account of Eldon Tenorio

Aside from tribute concerts, UNTV also consistently commemorates the days that have gone by since the bloodshed, usually every after its news reports segment at night.

In accordance to what Kuya Daniel Razon always says, “Walang gawang mabuti na magbubunga ng masama” (Nothing evil will come out of doing good), UNTV will remain steadfast in their campaign to serve the public and do good to others, despite the tragedy that transpired amongst its co-workers and friends. UNTV journalists and media men are trained to prioritize and value rescue first before their news reports, promoting that lives are far much more important.

ImageViewers of UNTV’s popular morning show, Good Morning Kuya, request that supporters wear white on
November 21 and black on November 22 in commemoration of the Maguindanao Massacre.
Photo Courtesy: Good Morning Kuya’s Official FB Page

This coming November 21, 22 and 23, let us all be one in commemorating the Maguindanao Massacre, and together, let us all say never again to impunity.

Kuya Daniel Razon, Always Doing More In 30 Years of Public Service

As November 28 comes along the corner, Kuya Daniel Razon celebrates his 30th year in service to God and humanity by Doing More.

Daniel Razon or Mr. Public Service, more fondly called as “Kuya” (Big Brother), is the man behind revolutionary public service innovations like the Tulong Muna, Bago Balita (Rescue First, News Later) advocacy, wherein media personnel are trained to prioritize lives more than their news reports.

His principle of “Service First” as a media personnel earned him his nomination and current leading votes as an Ultimate Luminary in Rappler’s Do More Awards.

ImageKuya Daniel leads the voting as Ultimate Luminary in Rappler’s Do More Awards 2013.
Photo Courtesy: Rappler.com

In Rappler’s interview for the Do More Awards, Kuya Daniel is quoted, saying “Doing more is like grabbing every opportunity that you have and not letting it pass. Every opportunity that you have to do good, you grab it.”

In his upcoming 30th year of public service, he has indeed grabbed every opportunity to touch the lives of our countrymen and to become a well of inspiration to those who hear his words and see his actions. Truly, he has done more and is doing more with his innovations to public service through his company, UNTV – Your Public Service Channel and the charity arm of Members Church of God International.

The free Clinic ni Kuya sites across the country as well as the maintenance of free college education through La Verdad Christian College are just some of his works to name a few.

Leading by example, Kuya Daniel Razon encourages everyone to DO MORE as well, as we are all “capable of doing something good to other people”.

Kuya Daniel Razon
Photo Courtesy: Marvin Pongos of Photoville International

So to our Dearest Kuya, cheers for 30 years in service to God and humanity!

The 1st UNTV Cup: Shooting Hoops for a Cause

Who would’ve thought that a sport like basketball, commonly thought to be just a leisurely activity, can be means of promoting “unity, camaraderie and healthy living among public servants”?

These are the words of CEO and Chairman of Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International (BMPI) Inc. Kuya Daniel Razon, in a press conference held in the Mall of Asia as he talks about the up and coming, first UNTV Cup.

Celebrating its 9th Anniversary of genuine public service, UNTV continues to launch its massive public service programs which may be considered firsts in Philippine television history. UNTV, under Kuya Daniel and through partnerships with the Members Church of God International (MCGI) and Brother Eli Soriano, will hold its first ever UNTV Cup come Monday, July 29 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The UNTV Cup is a basketball sports event wherein players are local government officials and celebrities vying it out to win a 1 Million Peso grant to their charities of choice. This is not the first in UNTV’s history of sports-initiated charity work, Kuya Daniel is also the brainchild of the successful Takbo Para sa Libreng Kolehiyo (Run for Free College Education), a fun run held in the MOA Grounds aimed at raising funds for the construction of La Verdad Christian College, wherein education, meals and books are all for free. Not to mention the full-housed Big Dome during the Sing and Shoot 1 & 2, a concert-type event and basketball game, which aimed also to raise funds and support for the free education given to poor yet deserving students wanting to study in La Verdad.


There had already been press conferences and official signings with regards to the UNTV Cup participants and these are just some of the government officials that confirmed to take part in the said event: Col. Agane Adriatico of AFP, Reynaldo Agoncillo of PNP and Isagani Obispo Jr. of Department of Justice. There also these ‘news’ flying around about the boxing legend and Sarangani representative, Manny Pacquiao’s attendance and participation in the said charity work, but it’s still not yet confirmed by official sources.

Whether the country’s kamao will indeed come to shoot some hoops for a cause this coming Monday, we hope all our kasambahays and everyone else out there will support this wonderful initiative from our very own public service channel, UNTV. Until then, let’s all continue to watch and support UNTV through its 9th Anniversary celebration and live up to its theme of Inspiring Change and Building Better Communities, starting with ourselves.

Have a blessed day!

Happy 9th, UNTV!

In a country where resources are scarce and good intentions are tinted with political agenda, what happens when you put together a man with ideals to serve the public and a television network? You come up with UNTV.

UNTV  is spearheaded by Mr. Public Service, Kuya Daniel Razon, along with continuous partnerships with the charity arm of Members Church of God International (MCGI) and Brother Eli Soriano.  It is the country’s first and true home of public service, evident by the numerous advocacies it had launched and is launching such as the Tulong Muna, Bago Balita, Dunong Gulong: Mobile School, Clinic ni Kuya, and the latest, Tulong Muna, Bago Pasada.

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Screenshot from UNTV’s coverage of its advocacy, Tulong Muna, Bago Pasada
Video Link here.

Known for the popular programs, “Itanong Mo Kay Soriano: Biblia ang Sasagot” and “Ang Dating Daan“, UNTV is so much more than a religious channel. It caters to a wide-variety of shows that are both educational and inspirational, such as Kuya Daniel Razon’s very own show, Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, wherein prolific members of the political community are being put to the hot-seat to give ‘straight’ answers to questions they wouldn’t dare entertain in normal circumstances. They also have A Song of Praise Music Festival, wherein amateur composers could send in their praise song entries and be evaluated on the spot by veteran people from the music industry, such as the likes of Mr. Noel Cabangon and Mr. Vehnee Saturno. Not only does it encourages the creation of more praise songs to God, (in which I babbled on about here), but also the promotion of more Original Pinoy Music or OPM. Then there are shows that cater to the youth too like Klasrum and Bread ‘n Butter.

ImageOne of UNTV’s signature shows: Good Morning Kuya
Photo taken: UNTV’s Official Site

All in all, UNTV is not your regular television channel brimming with mucky, overrated soap-operas or foreign-based gameshows. UNTV is all about genuine public service without hidden motives. True public service, which in consideration, is actually hard to do because of the scarce resource condition of our country. Yet, UNTV pushes on, armed with God’s guidance and a chock full of talented people, as well as those avid watchers who never fail to support.

So kudos to UNTV for celebrating its 9th Anniversary this July! Kudos to Our Public Service Channel!

You can watch UNTV via live streaming here.

From Cab Drivers to Superheroes, with Help from UNTV’s “Tulong Muna, Bago Pasada” Public Service Campaign

I’ve never been one who frequently uses a taxi. From what my very little experience offered me was that taxis (and the cab drivers) are your quicker modes of travelling, especially when running late. But as my daily allowance would only consist of lunch money and some jeepney fare, riding taxis are just out of my options. To be honest, I’ve only ridden a taxi once (on my own, with me shouldering all the flag rates and the additional costs) and that was when I was going to be late for an extremely important major exam (and yes, I was still late).

Basically, my knowledge and appreciation of taxis are those of your average and regular commuter. But thanks to a brilliant initiative by one of the country’s first public service-oriented TV Stations, UNTV, my opinion on taxis has drastically changed.

Owing to its name, UNTV – Your Public Service Channel recently launched its latest advocacy, “Tulong Muna, Bago Pasada” (Rescue First, Drive Later). Like its predecessor, “Tulong Muna, Bago Balita” (Rescue First, News Later), it aims to invoke the habit of putting lives first before anything else. As taxis are indeed knowledgeable with all the possible routes, of city roads, and also almost always available at any time of day, they can become our extra patrol for the streets to prevent crimes and accidents. When they do happen to come across accidents on the road, they can help carry out emergency responses, thanks to the training provided to them.

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“Tulong Muna, Bago Pasada” had now started its first batch of training sessions for taxi drivers willing to be part of this advocacy. The sessions include series of first-aid training and basic life support technicals useful for real-life scenarios like hit and runs and collisions. After undergoing several days of free training, our taxi drivers are given certificates, proving that they are well-equipped to give out the knowledge they learned in emergency situations.

This one-of-a-kind public service campaign is spearheaded by the country’s Mr. Public Service, Kuya Daniel Razon, with goals to make our roads safer for motorists and involving as many Filipino people to become public servants.

Thanks to this endeavours, I now see our Manong Taxi Drivers as not just road magicians, being able to transport you in one place to another with the least possible time, but also as the next line of dedicated and disciplined superheroes who do their part in serving the country and our fellowmen.

So the next time you ride a taxi, try to tell the Manong Driver about this public service campaign, and how he can help by contacting the following UNTV hotlines : 0938 803 0777 (Smart), 0926 633 5744 (Globe), 0923 416 1377 (Sun) and 441 8688 (PLDT).

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