Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


SORSOGON CITY — The city council here has endorsed the operations of th Rangas–Tanawon Geothermal Project, an expansion of the Bacon-Manito Geothermal Production Project of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC).

EDC’s production field here supplies at least 80% of power needed for the Luzon Grid.

With the endorsement of the Sangguniang Panlungsod on the request of the EDC to continue with the operations of the expansion project, the city government thinks likely investors will be coming in to venture in business not only in this city but also in different business centers across the province.

Mayor Leovic Dioneda said after thorough deliberations with series of committee hearings conducted among members the city council and the community, the productive side of the project in terms of investment, employment and increase in royalty has ruled over.

“I am convinced that this project will certainly improve the lives of the Sorsoganons, that is why I am optimistic in pursuing this kind of developmental effort,” Dioneda assures.

Moreover, he also said that the opening of Rangas – Tanawon Geothermal Project also promises sufficient power supply for the region that is clean, renewable and sustainable.

Governor Sally A. Lee meanwhile has stated that the project can be one of the reasons of pushing through charter change, which is one idea for a new kind of governance that can better propel the economy of Sorsogon.

“Whatever economic gains this project has for investment, it can be used in the operations and development of the province,” Lee also said. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


MASBATE CITY – Because of its coal deposits, a town in Masbate is one of the sites in the country being sought out for exploration and development by mining companies.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said Cataingan, 80 kilometers from the capital city of Masbate, is among 18 areas in the country which are subjects of 25 contract proposals to explore and develop prospective coal sites.

Energy Undersecretary Ramon Allan Oca said the proposals were submitted under the fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR) 2009 for coal.

At least 13 local companies submitted the proposals, Oca said in a statement quoted by the energy department website www.doe.gov.ph.

It was reported that the DOE intended to finish the technical, legal and financial evaluation of the proposal within a month.

“I don’t want to take this long to avoid any doubts as to what we’re doing,” Oca added.
PECR is a public bidding round aimed at encouraging companies to invest in the country’s energy sector. These contracting rounds, which showcase the country’s potential areas for exploration and development, are expected to spur investments and help cut costly oil imports as well.

Coal block system that was offered under PECR 2009 was in the municipality of Cataingan. Five other areas in Bicol that were offered under the same PECR were Caramoran, Panganiban and Viga, all in Catanduanes; Gubat in Sorsogon and Rapu-Rapu in Albay.

The DOE had earlier assured prospective investors that the government had “undertaken a thorough process of resource evaluation to yield high exploration success that is in line with our shared goal of efficient development and production of the coal area.” (EADelgado, PIA Masbate)


PILI, Camarines Sur — Governor LRay Villafuerte joined the “prime movers and shakers” who graced the unveiling of the Gawad Kalinga’s 2024 vision held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, last June 12, in time for the celebration of the Philippine 111th Philippine Independence Day.

The vision presented by GK founder Tony Meloto at the Boston summit focused on putting an end to poverty some 5 million poorest Filipino families are going through, furthermore, building a First World Philippines.

“Our target is to take the Philippines out of the third world status by 2024. We want to share the GK way with like-minded global citizens to help expand our work,” Meloto explained.

Gawad Kalinga (“to give care”), organized in 1995 by Meloto with the help of Couples For Christ (CFC) volunteers initially to make life better for slum dwellers and now diversified into education, livelihood and other development ventures, is conceded to be the biggest nation-building volunteer movement in the Philippines nowadays.

Meloto said GK selected Camarines Sur way back October 2008 as the country’s first “designer province’ and cited Villafuerte recognizing the broad-based community development activities initiated by the province’s chief executive among GK communities.

He added there is at least one GK village in every town of the province.

During the Boston summit, Meloto urged everyone not only to put their stakes in reducing poverty incidence among Filipinos but also to build a first-world Philippines

In a related development, GK earned another world recognition as a genuine model of poverty alleviation vehicle when an article about GK and Meloto published by Jeepney magazine recently won the Best Interview category at the 2nd Annual International Street Paper awards in Bergen, Norway.

The International Network of Street Papers is a global network addressing poverty, unemployment and homelessness by connecting 101 street papers from 37 countries worldwide.

“We will showcase the best practices of GK in the Philippines and abroad recognizing partners from the government, business and civil society. Outstanding governors and mayors will present their development plans to build trust, attract grants and investments, and encourage tourism in their respective areas,” Meloto said. (DCAbad, PIA CamSur)


DAET, Camarines Norte – A total of 150 student-beneficiaries were awarded with the Pangulong Gloria Scholarship Program (PGSP) during the 111th Independence Day, (June 12) here.

Technical Education Skills Development and Authority (TESDA) awarded the certificates to 100 scholars at the provincial capitol compound, while the 50 others were distributed in a similar ceremony in Labo town.

Elizabeth L. Bornas, TESDA Camariens Norte provincial director, said the 100 scholars are now enrolled in different TESDA accredited schools across the province and the 50 others signed up at TESDA Training Center in Labo

She noted the scholarship program is being distributed to all barangays in the province.
She said the PGSP has since started in 2006, and for this year’s programs or courses included those in demand not only for employment locally but also for job overseas.

She added after finishing the technical-vocational courses, scholars will go through skills assessment. If they passed, the will be given the National Certificate Level II making them eligible to work in the Asia Pacific region.

The Provincial Government meanwhile lead several activities marking the celebration of the Freedom Day more productive and meaningful, commencing with a Holy Mass, flag raising ceremony, civic parade, and poster-making contest, among others.

The PIA provincial office here, led by ICM Rose Manlangit, also spearheaded a series of radio guestings and radio program dubbed “Ugnayang Camarines Norte” expounding on the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the wake of the present global economic meltdown.

DTI Provincial Director Ernesto Pardo, Engr. Rodrigo Z. Jalimao and Engr. Efren Regondola of DPWH District Office and Eliseo O. Gabalfin of TESDA also joined the media promotion activities. (RBManlangit/PIA CamNorte)


LEGAZPI CITY — The City Disaster Coordinating Council (CDCC) here has qualified among the top three nominees for the 2009 Gawad Kalasag Best CDCC category, sponsored by the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC)

Mayor Noel Rosal said that he was informed last June 15 through a letter by Office of the Civil Defense Regional Director Bernardo R. Alejandro on the inclusion of Legazpi City to the top three CDCCs vying for the Gawad Kalasag awards program.

He said that a validating team from the NDCC arrived last Friday assessing the programs, projects and activities related to disaster risk reduction and mitigation, preparedness and response of the city government.

Rosal said that the disaster councils of Makati City and Olongapo City are the two other competing CDCCs for the top spot.

He said being nominated to the top three contenders is already a great honor for the city government and winning the top place in the Gawag Kalasag-Best CDCC is now our main goal. (EAdeLeon, PIA V)


LEGAZPI CITY— Twenty seven (27) workers received last Tuesday (June 16) their job certificates and are now employed at the Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NAVFORSOL) Headquarters here

Commodore Joel E Babas, NAVFORSOL commander, said the job generation program is part of the Navy’s commitment to help displaced OFW’s and unemployed workers who were affected by present global financial crisis.

Babas said NAVFORSOL hired 1 Computer Maintenance Technologist, 2 Bookkeepers, 4 Utility Foremen, 4 Electricians, 4 Mechanics, 4 Mason, 4 Carpenters, and 4 Plumber

A total of eight hundred twenty nine (829) identified positions were offered consistent to the navy’s nationwide hiring program under the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Director Bihis said CLEEP focuses on jobs creation to address the immediate concerns of workers who lost their jobs or who remain unemployed because of the global economic meltdown.

“Additional jobs means enhance spending which is desirable for the economy,” he added.

More than 9,000 employment contracts in addition to livelihood funding checks and certificates of training were awarded during the launching of the said program which was the integral component of the of this year’s Independence Day commemoration.

Barely two months ago, two hundred (200) young Bicolanos were also sworn in to the Philippine Marines as part of the Navy’s recruitment in the region. (DFNieva NAVFORSOL/PIA)


SORSOGON CITY__ Two NPA rebels were killed following an encounter on Saturday, June 20, around 7:00AM barangay Sugud, Bacon District here.

According to Pfc. Vince Mercado, 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion PIO, his team was conducting patrol operations when they chanced upon some 15 rebels resulting to exchange of gun fires which lasted for 30 minutes.

No casualty was reported on the side of the government but two rebels were killed from the enemy’s side, where one believed to be an NPA commander.

Mercado identified the fatalities on the rebel side as Raul Halum, aka “Ka Reboy”, an NPA commander, 35 years old and resident of barangay Sangat, Gubat town, while one Amado Gabat aka “Ka Tomas” and “Ka Jepoy”, 25 years old and resident of barangay Carohayon, Juban town.

Recovered on the scene were personal belongings and subversive documents with high intelligence value, 1 M-635 rifle with serial number 193613, 1 cal 45 pistol with serial number 136312, 3 civilian backpacks and one CD containing document of NPA’s brutality which the government troops are still reviewing by now.

Meanwhile, in a monitored report, the corpses of the two fatalities were already claimed by their families from one funeral home here. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)

PGMA's four-day state visit to Brazil focuses on deepening bilateral relations

RECIFE CITY, Pernambuco, Brazil---President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is scheduled to arrive tonight (7p.m. Brazil time) in this northeastern city of Brazil, on the first leg of her four-day, three-city visit to the world’s 10th largest economy.

The President will also visit Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro.

The President’s state visit is expected to deepen further 49 years of diplomatic and bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and Brazil. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1960.

Before she left the Philippines for Japan en route to Brazil last Wednesday (June 17), the President expressed hopes that her visit here will “provide impetus for enhanced relations with Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America and an emerging major global player.”

The President said that her mission to Brazil -- one of the four new economic giants after Russia, India and China -- “represents the full breadth of our nation’s interests in the world.”

“Brazil is a developing nation that has burst onto the international scene the last decade. Brazil has become a voice for the special challenges of a developing nation as well as an innovator in biofuels. Brazil also faces many of the same challenges experienced by the Philippines, so developing a closer relationship with this South American powerhouse affords our two nations a chance to learn from each other’s experiences,” the President said.

The President hopes to establish greater alliances with Brazil in the areas of bio-fuel production and agri-business during her visit.

“I am confident we will return with new alliances that will benefit both our public and private sectors and support our efforts to promote food and fuel self-sufficiency,” the President added.

Pernambuco Governor Eduardo Henrique Accioly Campos will host a dinner for the President at the Governor’s Palace upon her arrival. (PIA V Release)

PGMA's foreign trips are in search of solutions to RP problems – Remonde

MANILA — Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said today President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s foreign travels are all part of her search for solutions to the country’s problems such as unemployment, enhance trade and encourage foreign investments to grow the economy.

In a radio interview this morning in Manila (7:45 p.m. in North America), Remonde said the President’s travels are not meant to avoid or escape from the problems in the country as her detractors claim, but rather to search for solutions to those problems.

“Ang pagbibiyahe niya ay pag-aasikaso pa rin sa mga pangangailangan ng bayan, pagtugon pa rin ng mga problema ng ating bayan. (Her trips are in search of solutions to problems nagging our country),” Remonde explained.

He said the President’s foreign trips are all documented and audited by the Commission on Audit (COA).

He pointed out that all heads of state, not only President Arroyo, travel frequently to meet the leaders of other countries.

“This is the reality. Its not only President Arroyo who frequently travels. Other heads of states, even in ASEAN do the same -- all in search of solutions to domestic and global problems,” he said.

Remonde said the President’s travels are meant to create trade and development opportunities and perk up the labor market, and she has accomplished a lot to help our country survive the global crisis.

He said the benefits that President Arroyo brings home from her travels more than compensate for the cost of her trips. For instance, in Japan, she was able to obtain $500 million worth of official development assistance aside from several other private-sector investment agreements.

“We were able to secure jobs for our nurses, caregivers and other professionals in Japan. These are just examples. I can assure our countrymen that all the travels of our President are official and working visits, not junkets or vacations,” he stressed. (PIA V Release)

DOH maps out plans for A H1N1 strain

MANILA — With 445 cases, including the 17 new ones and 84 percent of them recovered and discharged from hospitals, the Department of Health (DOH) today said it is preparing for an expected “second wave” of the influenza A (H1N1) mutant virus which can be “more virulent and more fatal.”

“We are not headed for a second wave yet but we have to be prepared,” DOH Director Yolanda Oliveros said.

Oliveros added that the threat of a second wave of A H1N1 virus may not really be serious and DOH does not see the need to suspend classes at response levels 1 and 2 but only at level 3 where there are confirmed case in the school.

“In the revised DOH guidelines for schools, there would be some characterization and evaluation of schools (to determine) whether we need to suspend only a class, a building or a department, if it is a college or university,” she explained.

There will be some evaluation by the local health authorities and the regional health officials . . . . so they (school officials) may be guided accordingly,” Oliveros told Palace reporters.

The DOH official said the increasing number of schools reporting flu cases is due to the heightened awareness of the virus. “They report the cases to us and we examine the students,” she said.

On whether the DoH will support the bill filed by Sen. Rodolfo Biazon proposing a public health emergency, she said there are now scheduled public hearings on the bill.

She explained, however that declaring public health emergency requires a thorough study of the implications of such declaration. “The DOH will support anything that will strengthen the response of the country to public health emergency,” she said.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo pointed out that even without a public health emergency declaration, LGUs can use their calamity funds for such purpose based on approved resolutions by their Sanggunians or legislative councils.

“So as of now, if the LGU thinks it is necessary to declare a state of calamity or emergency, they may do so as long as mandated by a Sanggunian Resolution,” explained Fajardo, a former city mayor of Palayan City in Nueva Ecija.

The Department of Education, meanwhile, has come up with measures to ensure that students are able to catch up with their lessons, if classes are suspended due to health emergencies.

Schools are allowed to use “modified planner,” in or out-of-school modules, extension of the hours that student can stay at school when classes resume, and they can hold classes during Saturdays, Fajardo added.

Oliveros said the DOH is now preparing its health facilities and conducting simulation exercises in preparation for any second wave of the virus.

“Our most important response, however, is risk communication to reduce panic, and sound health infrastructure to make sure all hospitals and health facilities will be prepared to address the severely-ill cases that will be brought to hospitals,” she said. (PIA V Release)

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