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

Saturday, July 25, 2009


MASBATE CITY — For every 10 Filipino youths aged 15-24, only five are employed, and those who find employment are mostly working overseas.

These facts from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and United Nations International Children’s Fund (Unicef) have prompted the Spanish government to approved a P35.7-million worth of youth employment program for Masbate province and three other Philippine provinces.

Together with the provincial governments of Masbate, Antique, Agusan del Sur and Maguindanao, various agencies of national government and the private sector have partnered to implement the “Joint Programme on Alternatives to Migration: Decent Jobs for Filipino Youth.”

Amy B. Danao, provincial social welfare and development officer, said the approval of the assistance was announced by ILO officials during the launching of the program in Manila last June 22.

Danao said the program aims to improve policy coherence and implementation on youth, employment and migration through full stakeholder participation.

She added it also seeks to increase access to decent work for poor, young women and men, which is part of the Millennium Development Goals.

Other partners in the program are Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Education, Department of Trade and Industry, National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, National Youth Commission, Technical Education and skills Development Authority, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, organizations of employers and business and commerce, workers’ organizations, and youth organizations. (EADelgado, PIA Masbate)


SORSOGON CITY — The Kapisanan ng mga Taong may Kapansanan sa Sorsogon (KAPITAKS) calls on all differently-abled persons age 18 and above from all across Sorsogon province to come out and register for the 2010 local and national elections.

Carlo Bustamante, KAPITAKS public information officer, said though persons with physical disabilities, given the right age and proper sanity, the truth remains that they have the right to participate and exercise sovereignty in the upcoming elections.

Bustamante stressed “this is why, we encourage all persons with disabilities (PWDs) to register with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) as qualified voters.”

He lamented that given the big number of population of differently-abled persons in the country, they cannot even obtain a party-list representation in the House of Representatives.

“This can be attributed to the minimal participation of this sector in the electoral activities in the country,” he observed.

A sector is entitled to a seat in the House if it gets two percent of the votes cast for party-list groups, two seats if it gets four percent and a maximum of three seats if it gets at least six percent.

Bustamante also noted that aside from the minimal participation, most PWDs have also the lack of proper knowledge and information of their rights, low self-esteem, as well as, lack of further support coming from their respective communities.

“In time for the observance of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week this month, we highlighted activities that dealt mainly on the rights of PWDs stimulating awareness on their part regarding issues and concerns that will strengthen their involvement in various community activities,” he said.

Anent to this, Bustamante appeals to PWDs to exercise their rights to choose the leader that they like and even encourage qualified PWDs to file for candidacy.

“The Comelec along with the Commission on Human Rights and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting has also assured us that they will help and craft PWD assisted programs to give us more opportunities to participate actively in the coming elections,” he averred.

“We are also hopeful that the Comelec’s plan of providing a special lane or special voting centers for PWD voters come 2010 elections will materialize,” he added.

Meanwhile, he also said that KAPITAKS is grateful particularly that the Department of Education (DepEd) through its School Improvement Plan (SIP) has ordered public school officials to identify children with disabilities in their areas and convince their parents to bring them to school.

Bustamante stressed “it will certainly strengthen the pro-active role of the DepEd in the promotion of programs for the welfare of children with special needs,”.

In Sorsogon, some 4,000 PWDs are registered members of KAPITAKS. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


STO. DOMINGO, Albay — Some P7.5 million funding for various livelihood programs will be released by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Bicol before the end of 2009, according to DOLE Bicol regional director Ernesto Bihis.

Bihis said during the agency’s Mid-Year Planning and Assessment Workshop done late last week that the livelihood programs will be awarded to organized groups as well as individuals who will pass the qualifications set by the DOLE

“Bicol is gradually recovering from the effects of the global financial crisis. Now, in order to totally combat this, we need to establish local businesses including individual small-scale livelihood programs. This will create more jobs,” he noted.

It can be recalled that sometime last year, DOLE Bicol has been more strict in giving livelihood grants.

“Well as I always say, this is the people’s money so we have to take good care of it,” he said.

In 2008, DOLE Bicol released a total of some P12.5 million for various livelihood programs in the region. (RPEscalante, DOLE/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — Members and dependents of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) who contracted Dengue fever and confined in a hospital can now readily avail of the agency’s medical benefits package.

Orlando Iñigo Jr., PhilHealth Bicol regional director, said the incidence of Dengue fever is usually in an uptrend on the onset of the rainy season and the agency just wants to ensure the patients can avail of the social health insurance for their hospitalization, professional feees, laboratory and medicine expenses.

Iñigo said Dengue Fever is classified as Case Type A illness, hence, if confined in a Level 3 or 4 hospital, a member or his/her dependent/s can avail of the following amounts which could be deducted from their hospital bill: room and board –P500/day; drugs and medicines – P4,200; X-ray, laboratory and others – P3,200; professional fees of doctors for the daily visit during the whole duration of confinement – P300/day or maximum of P1,200 for general practitioners, while P500/day or maximum of P2,000 for Specialists.

He added if the dengue fever develops into a Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, which is a severe, often fatal, complication of dengue fever, the classification of illness is upgraded to Case Type B.

“As the disease becomes more severe, PhilHealth provides higher benefits to its members and their dependents,” he said.

He explained for this particular Case Type, and patient is confined in a Level 3 or 4 hospital, a member or his/her dependent/s can avail of the following amounts which could be deducted from their hospital bill: room and board – P500/day; Drugs and medicines – P14,000; X-ray, Laboratory and others – P10,500; Professional Fees of doctors for the daily visit during the whole duration of confinement – P400/day or maximum of P2,400 for general practitioners, while P600/day or maximum of P3,600 for Specialists.

Iñigo stressed in availing of these benefits, a member should have at least paid three months of contribution or at least one quarter within the six months prior to the confinement period.

“If a dependent is confined, ensure that your Member Data Record is updated to ease the processing of your claim,” he esaid.

Meanwhile, PhilHealth Bicol has encouraged the populace to observe the following precautionary measures to prevent infection and spread of the dreaded disease:

Avoid mosquito bites when traveling in tropical areas:

• Use mosquito repellents on skin and clothing,
• When outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks,
• Avoid heavily populated residential areas,
• When indoors, stay in air-conditioned or screened areas. Use bednets if sleeping areas are not screened or air-conditioned,
• If you have symptoms of dengue, report your travel history to your doctor.

Eliminate mosquito breeding sites in areas where dengue might occur:

• Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around homes. Discard items that can collect rain or run-off water, especially old tires,
• Regularly change the water in outdoor bird baths and pet and animal water containers.

“An ounce of prevention is still better than a pound of cure. Therefore, before we get stuck with the complications that could arise in having dengue fever, let us observe these Dengue Fever prevention tips,” the regional chief stressed. (PhilHealth V/PIA))


PILI, Camarines Sur – The Department of Agriculture (DA) regional field unit here takes pride in honoring the seven winners in this year’s Regional Gawad Saka Awards among Bicolanos whose achievements have contributed in agricultural development and food security.

This year's regional winners are the Provincial Agriculture and Fishery Council (PAFC) of Catanduanes for the Outstanding PAFC category; Countryside Multi Line Cooperative of Gubat, Daet, Camarines Norte as an Outstanding Small Farmer Organization; Municipal Agriculture and Fishery Council (MAFC) of Lupi, Camarines Sur being the Outstanding MAFC; Engr. Raul T. Carreras of Panagan, Tigaon, Camarines Sur as Outstanding Corn Farmer; Jose T. Quimpo of Abucayan, Goa, Camarines Sur as Outstanding Coconut Farmer; Linda Rebosura-Corsiga cited as Outstanding Agri-Entrepreneur; and, Luz Marcelino, DA Bicol Experiment Station superintendent – for being an Outstanding Agri-Scientist.

PAFC Catanduanes and Countryside Multi Line Cooperative will receive P15,000 cash prize, while the other awardees will each receive P10,000.

The winners will also be Bicol region’s entry to the National Search for the Gawad Saka Awards

Dr. Jose Dayao, DA Bicol regional executive director, said the agency hopes that the honor Gawad Saka Awards bestows on them shall inspire the honorees into even greater heights in enriching agricultural development in Bicol region, as the same successes should encourage others to walk the same path they are treading.

Special Citations were also awarded to Archie Ellama of Sto. Domingo, Vinzons, Camarines Norte (Young Farmer category); Benedicto A. Palmares of Matnog, Basud, Camarines Norte (HVCC farmer); Mr. and Mrs. Purisima of Tigaon, Camarines Sur (Family Farm); RIC Bagacay (Rural Improvement Club category).

RIC Bagacay will receive cash prize of 7,500 while the three other will each receive P5,000.

The GAWAD SAKA is a yearly undertaking of the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with other government institutions, non-government offices and the private sector.

This project aims to give due recognition and pay tribute to dedicated individuals ad institutions whose exemplary accomplishments in their respective fields of endeavor and contribution to the country's agricultural development are deemed worthy of emulation.

It is a tribute to farmers, fisherfolk, and institutions in recognition of their significant contributions towards a modernized and equitable agriculture. (DCAbad, PIA CamSur)


LEGAZPI CITY — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III gave Albay province various types of medicines to be used for medical missions in areas considered as high risk zone once the 2,760 meters high volcano erupts.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda expressed his gratitude to Secretary Duque for the medicines to be used in medical missions in five towns and three cities surrounding Mayon volcano.

Salceda said the medical mission is a preemptive health care measure, a new strategy adopted by his administration designed to reduce potential spread of disease in times of mass evacuation once a full blown eruption occurs anytime.

“We have to prevent spread of diseases inside the evacuation centers by holding medical missions to determine the residents’ health conditions and make curative or preventive medical measures to curb potential disease outbreak to take place in evacuation camps,” Salceda said.

The medical mission will be held in 56 villages at risk to eruption covering 127,000 residents in Malilipot, Sto Domingo, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan towns and the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao.

He said the medicines would be of great help as this will mean conservation of the limited calamity funds not only for Mayon but also for upcoming typhoons.

Meanwhile, Mayon volcano continue to manifest intense seismic abnormality signified by low intensity volcanic quakes, crater glow and moderate steaming.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the agency instrument monitoring the volcano seismic activity for the past 24 hours recorded 12 low frequency earthquakes.

Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident volcanologist said that the quakes are manifestation that magma is building up inside the volcano.

Alert level 2 remains hoisted meaning the volcano is still on a state of unrest which could lead to ash explosions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruption.

Police and military authorities are still manning their respective check points to prevent any human activity inside the 6-km Permanent Danger Zone including the 7-km extended danger zone at the southeast quadrant of the volcano. (MSA, PNA/PIA)

PGMA to highlight her legacy in final SONA

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is expected to talk about her outstanding legacy since she took over the presidency in 2001 until her current administration as one of the highlights in the forthcoming state of the nation address (SONA) on July 27.

In a press conference at Malacanang, Deputy Spokesperson Anthony Golez said that President Arroyo’s SONA will not only focus on the previous year’s accomplishments but the entire eight years since she assumed office.

Golez noted that the Chief Executive will talk about “what she feels are her unfinished legacy that she wants the next president to take on.”

He cited that part of Monday’s SONA is to remind the Filipino people about her vision for the country. She may also tackle, he said, the issues close to her heart including volunteerism and climate change.

Presidential Economic Spokesperson Gary Olivar, however, clarified that President Arroyo will not address the issue of term extension which the opposition continues to throw at the administration.

“I am not sure a formal and official address to the Congress of the Philippines is a proper forum to respond to speculations especially speculations (that are) neither backed by facts nor even by intended good faith or good will,” Olivar stressed.

Instead, Olivar added that what the President may include in her SONA is her political visions –on the “need to continue to strengthen the political institution and what she has done on those issues during her watch.”

“It is time to have a deeper discussion on how politics have conducted in this country including the level of political dialogue. And the SONA is a proper venue to do that –not to answer baseless speculations but to talk about issues that matter,” he added.

The Palace officials added that President Arroyo will inform the Filipino people about the accomplishments of her administration and the status of the projects and programs that she initiated for the welfare of the citizens. (PIA V Release)

Palace lauds Enrile’s positive appraisal of PGMA’s legacy

MANILA — Malacanang thanked Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for his positive assessment of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s performance particularly the country’s sustained growth despite the global financial crisis.

Presidential Economic Spokesperson Gary Olivar said Enrile’s appraisal “would be appreciated by the Palace.”

“I think Senator Enrile’s political memory goes back a long, long way even before many of us here were born. Mang Johnny knows what he is talking about especially when he talks about things like that,” he added.

Enrile said in a news report that President Arroyo has done better as compared to her predecessors noting the economic programs of the administration that cushioned the country from the impact of the global financial crisis.

Olivar was visibly surprised but thankful for the remarks of Enrile, who is also the president of the opposition’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

Enrile has earlier pointed out that despite the global economic crunch, its impact in the Philippines is hardly felt. He cited as an example the country’s low inflation rate.

He likewise praised the administration for establishing the nautical highway through the Roll-On, Roll-Off (RORO) program, the construction of new airports and upgrading of existing ones to international standards, as well as efforts to modernize agriculture in the Philippines, among others. (PIA V Release)

PGMA envisions RP to join first world countries in 20 years

MANILA — With less than a year before she bows out of office, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stressed anew today her vision for the Philippines: A republic ready to join the first world countries in 20 years.

“To work and to lead, to protect and to preserve our country and our people, that is why I became President,” thus said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her message at the induction of the new set of officers of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) Thursday morning at Malacanang’s Rizal Hall.

“When my father left the Presidency, the Philippines was second to Japan. I share his vision. If not second to the best, then a republic ready to join the first world in 20 years,” the President stressed.

Thus, in achieving this vision, the President said she made key reforms--tough and painful decisions, including the so-called “bitter pill”—the expanded Value Added Tax Law.

The President noted that the past 12 months have been a year of financial meltdown and the Philippines was not insulated from it.

“Financial systems in the West shattered. Even conservative financial systems in the East were shaken to their foundations. Grand names in international finance fell into disrepute and vanished overnight. Tens of millions have lost their jobs; billions across the globe have been hurt—the poor always harder than the rich,” she said.

However, due key economic reforms already in place before the financial crash, “the headline story of the Philippines in 2008 is that the country decently survived a succession of global crises in fuel, then food, then financial and finally economic, keeping economic fundamentals and not losing focus.” (PIA V Release)

CLEEP employs 237,601 Pinoys

MANILA — National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Secretary Domingo F. Panganiban revealed that at least 237,601 Filipinos have earned employment during the last six months under the Arroyo government’s Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP).

In a statement, Secretary Panganiban said the generated jobs are in public works and services with more than P7 billion already committed of the P13.58 billion as pledged by various agencies to the CLEEP.

Panganiban reported that DPWH has hired some 46,604 workers; DA provided emergency jobs for 37,524 workers; DSWD 27,127; DTI hired some 29,545; DepEd employed 19,356 workers for its herbal soap-making project and as utility workers; and 13 other government agencies provided jobs to 77,445 Filipinos across the country.

The Secretary hinted that the figure is yet to grow as agencies are still in the process of tallying its CLEEP reports.

Accordingly, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is closely watching the implementation of the project to ease the burden of the people amidst the challenges of the global economic slowdown.

In a related development, the Arroyo administration, in its relentless effort to open new and better job opportunities here and abroad, has already generated more than 6.3 million jobs since 2001 for wage employment alone in sectors like the ICT and BPO and through jobs facilitation program.

To better the workers condition, the daily minimum wage in the private sector were increased from P265 in 2001 to P382 to date, while in the government, salaries of state employees were raised four times, including this year with the first of the four tranches of the Salary Standardization Law 3 after being signed by President Arroyo. (PIA V Release)

PGMA, VP Noli lead groundbreaking of new housing project for state workers

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman and Vice President Noli de Castro have graced the groundbreaking of a new socialized housing project that will benefit less than 3,000 state employees.

The housing project, located within the New Bilibid Prison Reservation Property in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, will be developed on a 41-hectare property which will be offered to employees of the Office of the President (OP), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Bureau of Correctional, and the City of Muntinlupa.

HUDCC chairman and Vice President de Castro said the houses and lots will also be offered to other government employees after four months that the priority agencies’ employees were not able to buy the units through their Pagibig Fund contributions.

Project developer R-II Builders was also present through its chairman Reghis Romero III and president/CEO Pol T. Sanchez. Romero said they have one year to finish the first phase of development in 16.76 hectares covering 1,495 units which involves the construction and selling of the housing units.

Close to 3,000 government workers stand to benefit from the government housing project within the New Bilibid Prison reservation in Muntinlupa following its groundbreaking this morning by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro.

The new socialized housing project on the 41-hectare gently rolling property will be offered to employees of Office of the President, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Justice and its attached agency the Bureau of Correctional and the City of Muntinlupa.

In the same event, President Arroyo signed into law the Home Mutual Development Fund (HMDF) Bill with Vice President Noli de Castro, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Representatives Edcel Lagman & Amelita Villarosa as witnesses. (PIA V Release)

DOH: Anti-H1N1 vaccine possibly available in October

MANILA — Dr. Eric Tayag, chief epidemiologist of the Department of Health (DOH), hinted that A(H1N1) flu vaccine might be available in the market by October this year.

In a television interview, Dr. Tayag said the production of the vaccine is now being fast-tracked and this may be available first in the United States of America (USA).

The DOH chief revealed that the development of the anti-swine flu vaccine was not subjected to the usual rigorous step-by-step process in order to be approved due to its immediate necessity.

While the vaccine is still being developed in Australia and the United Kingdom, the DOH is reminding the public to continue practicing the following health tips:

a.) to keep your three feet distance
b.) wash your hands regularly
c.) cover your mouth when coughing
d.) stay at home if not feeling well

He warned also the public that the high risk individuals – such as people with respiratory problems, of old age, and pregnant women – should be more extra careful so as to avoid infection.

In the same interview, Dr. Tayag performed a sample of the ‘Jai Ho H1N1 campaign’ dance steps which will be launched to make the health tips on anti-influenza be more retentive in the public’s mindset.

The DOH official likewise announced that the recovery rate from A(H1N1) infection in the country is very positive saying, “halos lahat gumagaling kasi mild lang ang virus at hindi parin nagbabago”. (PIA V Release)

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