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

Saturday, November 28, 2009


LEGAZPI CITY — Albay province, known for Governor Joey Sarte Salceda administration’s thrust to have at least one college graduate in each Albayano family has lauded Efren Peñaflorida, the Cable News Network (CNN) hero of the year, for extending exemplary help to poor and eager students off the streets.

His reward though, does not end there as the province confers Peñaflorida the highest provincial honor possible and a cash gift of P250,000.

Salceda said that Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed a provincial resolution on Tuesday (November 24) giving the highest honor possible to Peñaflorida, including the cash gift and making him honorary son of Albay.

AS chair of the Regional Development Council (RDC), Salceda also said the council will make similar commendation and circulate the success stories so his person and his good work will be emulated.

The Education Quality for the Albayanos (EQUAL), a duly institutionalized educational department under the office of the governor was tasked to give the special award to Peñaflorida and hold testimonials and invite him to the annual teachers’ night to inspire teachers in Albay.

“His sense of civic duty should inspire citizens, reignite hope for our nation but remind public servants to bring services closer to the people and more importantly to employ political will and local leadership and to increase resource commitments to basic education system so that there would be no need for ‘Kariton Klasrums’ (classrooms on push carts),” Salceda said.

“Albay needs Peñaflorida especially among the teachers but his ‘Karitons’ do challenge the province to step up efforts to increase participation rate, cohort survival and achievement rates in elementary and high school with 14 local government units should rise up to Peñaflorida’s challenge that won’t need to take the street push carts just to provide education to the marginalized child sector,” Salceda added.

“Peñaflorida’s unique ingenuity has resounded the Filipino people’s need for practicality in providing basic education even without the need for buildings for as long as the heroism is there,” observed several school teachers here.

Experts in the academe said that the basic education is so important that it lays down foundations for learning and further development into useful citizens. (MALoterte, PIA V)


SORSOGON CITY — 40 leaders and representatives from the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) here took part in the Participatory Orientation and Planning Workshop on the Joint Memorandum Circular #1, enjoining participatory planning system and guidelines on citizen’s participation in governance.

The activity was made possible through the initiative of the Provincial Alliance for NGOs and POs for Development (PANGOPOD), in partnership with The Asia Foundation and The British Embassy represented by Joseph Imperial, Angel Belaquel and Jing Lopez.

“The gathering provided an opportunity for the participants to understand the important features of the said memorandum and for CSOs to see opportunities for participation in local planning, budgeting, investment programming and implementation of the plan,” said Jayson Calamdag, PANGOPOD project coordinator.

The circular, signed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Finance (DOF) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM), has urged the civil society to participate in the local planning as part of the new governance system.

In the workshops, participants defined the ideal conditions in the areas that will maximize the objectives of the joint memorandum translated in terms of a minimum set of indicators and recognized the perceived gaps based on CSOs assessment of the situation in their areas of concern.

“They were also given the chance to exchange sharing on the exemplary practices on harmonized planning and effective budget advocacy in their respective localities,” said Calamdag.

As an over-all output, the participants have identified the critical steps to undertake and prepared a short-term action plan applicable in six months to one year implementation focusing on activities which the CSOs believed are necessary in creating a more enabling environment for their subsequent involvement in the special local body processes.

Calamdag said he is confident that the CSOs now have a clearer outlook regarding the importance of civil society groups’ participation in the planning and budget appropriations systems of local government units. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


SORSOGON CITY — Some 35 uniformed personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) office here, including firefighters from the central station and sub-stations in Bacon District and barangay Abuyog, participated in Monday last week the First Media Relations Seminar to understand and appreciate the rudiments and work of a media practitioner.

“As public servants as well as advocators of fire safety, it is incumbent upon us to develop good working relationship with the media practitioners,” Chief Inspector Renato Marcial, head of the city fire department, said.

Joseph John Perez, a professional lecturer of the Bicol University, Journalism Department, shared his time and ideas on journalism to include basic news writing, crisis management and becoming effective and responsible fire safety advocates.

The seminar, conducted for the first time at the Sorsogon City Central Fire Station in Burgos Street, Talisay, Sorsogon City, was conceptualized by Marcial, who was once the PIO and spokesperson of the BFP’s national headquarters.

Marcial hopes that with the seminar his men will now be able to appreciate the rudiments of Journalism as well as understand the work of a media practitioner.
(LFuntanares, BFP Sorsogon City/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — The Alalay at Gabay sa Pag-unlad ng Pamayanan (AAGAPAY) in Bicol, a civic organization involved in various community developments and environmental conservation, has slated on December 12, 2009 a simultaneous tree planting in the different provinces across the region.

The activity will be held in pre designated sites, including fish sanctuaries, denuded forests/mountain or mangrove areas, namely:

• Barangays Banao and Bariw in Bacacay, Albay;
• Camarines Norte Bicol National Park in barangay Tuaca of Basud, Camarines Norte;
• Hill of So Pequaria, barangay. Banasi of Bula, Camarines Sur along the Maharlika Highway;
• Barangay Macabog, Sorsogon City;
• Barangay Hikming, Virac, Catanduanes;
• Barangay Buyo, Virac, Catanduanes;
• Barangay Balongbong, San Miguel, Catanduanes; and,
• Along national road of barangay Tawad of Milagros going to Mandaon, Masbate

This activity, which coincides with the formal launching of AAGAPAY Bicol, will be participated in by multi-sectoral groups: aligned NGOs, NGAs, POs; and other organizations associated to AAGAPAY under its principle of being Makadiyos, Makatao, Maka-kalikasan and Makabansa.

AAGAPAY Bicol, a non-government organization registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, focuses on community development and environmental improvement is a nationwide and broad alliance of organizations combining the efforts of individual members, NGAs, NGOs, cooperatives, business sector, religious sector, political groups, civil society and other possible entrants to the cause bounded by a shared vision and common understanding to commit itself in service to our country and people.

The organization strongly believes with the ideas, principles, pillars and advocacy of the group that would contribute much on our desire for strong economy through people’s empowerment addressed at community levels.

Some 5,000 participants are expected to participate in the said activity across the region to plant more or less 6,600 seedlings of narra, acasia, mahogany, gemelina, mangrove, propagules, and Manila palm. (AAGAPAY Bicol/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — On the onset of the political season, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in Bicol has reminded anew all government officials and employees holding non-political offices or positions to refrain from directly or indirectly engaging in any partisan political activities.

Cecilia Nieto, CSC Bicol regional director, stressed that Administrative Code of 1987 provides that employees who engage in partisan political activities are liable and may be dismissed from the service.

“As the election is fast approaching, the Commission deems it necessary to remind all public servants not to engage in partisan political activities,” Nieto added.

“Not too often, public officials and employees have been found guilty of engaging in such, and penalized with dismissal from the service,” she said

As early as 1998, the CSC already issued a memorandum circular defining “partisan political activity” as “an act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates to a public office.”

These include specific activities done for or against any candidate, such as forming groups for the purpose of soliciting votes, holding political meetings or rallies, making speeches or holding interviews, publishing or distributing campaign materials, and directly or indirectly soliciting votes.

The circular adds that being a delegate to any political convention or member of political committees, clubs and organizations are also considered partisan political activity, as well as soliciting or receiving contributions for political purposes or becoming publicly identified with any candidate. (CSC V/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY— Pursuing an aggressive health service program that is in line with the country’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG), Albay had recently launched "Kalusugan para sa Albayanos" (KASAMA) an agendum that would improve the delivery of health services to poor communities in the province.

In KASAMA program, the provincial government, in cooperation with a multinational drug firm, would issue to thousands of poor families in the province with “Sulit Cards”, a medicine discounts coupons that would give lower rates ranging from 30 to 50 percent discounts on prescription drugs issued by doctors.

KASAMA program is part of the commitment of the province to the MDG, an international agreement among members of the United Nations during a series of conferences in the 1990s, and represent commitments to reduce poverty and hunger, and to tackle ill-health, gender inequality, lack of education, lack of access to clean water and environmental degradation.

MDGs are framed as a compact program, recognizing the contribution that developed countries can make through trade, development assistance, debt relief, access to essential medicines and technology transfer.

Based on MDG records in the country, of the 79 provinces across the country only Albay has attained three MDG targets such as: 100 percent PhilHealth Coverage, the decrease in infant (0-six years) and maternal mortality rates last year, and malaria free province.

By the end of the year, "we are focusing on making Albay a rabies, leprosy, dengue and measles free province," Albay Governor Joey Salceda said

Salceda said by 2015 most of the MDG target would be accomplished making Albay a healthy place to live in.

Salceda had recently entered into an agreement with Pfizer Phils., a known multinational drug company in the country launching the KASAMA program a health program aimed to provide some 237,000 families with “Sulit Cards” medicine discount cards.

He said “the program will be of great help to poor families in terms of savings for their medicines especially those that are under drug maintenance course for illnesses, since the cards will give its holders with discounts on medicines purchased.”

“The discounts would only apply to prescription drugs manufactured by Pfizer,” Salceda said.

According to Salceda, this venture is first of its kind to be implemented in the country, and piloted in Albay.

The Sulit Cards will be distributed to the some 1,500 barangay health workers across the province who will then give these cards to poor families in their respective areas. (MSArguelles, PNA Bicol/PIA)

PGMA receives German, Austrian journalists

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received this Friday morning (November 27) in the Palace 53 German and Austrian writers and editors who come from the lifestyle, travel, and opinion sections of various newspapers and television stations.

The president hoped they had a great time and had great memories of the Philippines to share with their readers and television viewers back home.

The journalists called on the president following two weeks of travel to the different islands of the country as part of their immersion program, a subject they are expected to write about when they return to their respective countries.

This is the second batch of tourism-related communication and travel specialists and agents invited by the Department of Tourism to see and experience first-hand tourist destinations in the country.

The first batch, consisting of 250 travel agents and travel writers, came last May and are now helping promote the Philippines to European travelers, said Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque.

The journalists were divided into six groups. Group 1 toured the Visayas Enchanted Islands of Dumaguete (Atmosphere Resort), Sipalay (Artistic Diving Resort) and Bacolod (Planta Centro Hotel); Group 2 for the Aktiv Island Tour in Coron and Busuanga, Palawan (at Club Paradise); Group 3 – Island Hopping in Bohol (Ananyana), Boracay
(Boracay Regency); Group 4—Culture and Nature of Vigan/Laoag, Ilocos (Sitio Remedios), El Nido (El Nido Resort-Lagen) ; Group 5—Spa and Traditional Wellness in Batangas (The Farm at San Benito), Cebu (Shangri-la Mactan) and Boracay (Mandala) and Group 6—South Sea Peals and Paradise Tour of Taytay, Palawan (Flower Island and Terramar Pearl Farms) and El Nido, Palawan (El Nido Resort-Lagen). (PIA V Release)

RP impresses German TV director

MANILA — “We are overwhelmed by the Philippines. There is such a variety of different impressions you can have here. We didn’t know that there are so many islands that you will find one (to love).”

Jurgen Drensek, director/author of AIXPRESS, travel-TV-Productions ARD/ZDF, made the remark after his stay in Coron and Busuanga in Palawan Nov. 22-27 at the invitation of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

He was among 11 German and one Austrian media men who took the Aktiv Island Tour that highlighted scuba diving, surfing and other active outdoor activities.

“I loved it so much. The diving is so enormous The Apo Reef is one of the best diving spots in the world,” he said.

He and 52 other travel writers and editors, lifestyle, and opinion writers called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo prior to leaving for their respective countries tonight.

He regrets, however, that the “Philippines is so far away from Europe, and that’s a problem because you have a lot competitors on the way to the Philippines like Thailand which are very well known in Europe,” Drensek said.

He said the key to attracting European tourists is to have a very good connecting flight to the Philippines. . He is the president of the German Association of Travel Journalists.

He said the recent Maguindanao massacre will not likely affect European travel to the Philippines as “it is very far but it will directly affect your local tourism.” (PIA V Release)

BIR Launches SanTAX Claus Project

MANILA — The Bureau of Internal Revenue on Thursday (November 26) launched its SanTAX Claus Project at the Center Mall Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City, Metro Manila, with Department of Finance Secretary Margarito B. Teves gracing the event commencing the monitoring of small retail establishments r bazaars during the Christmas shopping season, to check on their compliance with the Tax Code requirements.

The launch was spearheaded byBIR Senior Deputy Commissioer Joel L. Tan-Torres ho also held a dialogue later on with invited tiangge or bazaar operators, commercial event organizers, and vendors where the project was discussed especially on tax compliance requirements.

Simultaneous SanTAX Claus launches were also held in Pasay, Taguig, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Makati and Quezon City, where revenue officers wearing SanTAX Claus outfits were deployed to check on said privileged stores’ compliance with the requirements of BIR such as registration and issuance of receipts and invoices.

The SanTAX Claus teams distributed flyers to the participating vendors, posted tarpaulins and observed whether vendors are properly issuing receipts or invoices. They also collected certain information on the vendors to make sure they issue registered receipts/invoices.

In the event that the organizers and vendors are found to have committed any violations, the same team will hand out Application for Registration Forms with pre-generated TIN to assist said businesses in registering with BIR. They were also asked to pay the annual registration fee and submit the application form on-the-spot.

The SanTAX Claus Project according to Senior Deputy Commissioner Tan-Torres is not an enforcement activity of BIR, but rather to promote voluntary compliance for taxpayers that will result in the generation of taxes.

Tan-Torres stressed that the primary objective of this Project is to improve tax awareness by encouraging the general public to demand habitually invoices for goods purchased and official receipts for services procured.

He said that the BIR will not impose additional taxes on said bazaars as misunderstood by many.

He added that this Project intends to educate the public on the importance o asking for receipts and voluntary compliance of taxpayers, which records reveal, is the most efficient and effective approach to collecting revenues. (PIA V Release)

CNN Hero wants more volunteer teachers

MANILA — CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida proposed Friday morning (November 27) that colleges and universities urge their students to volunteer as tutors to out-of-school youths.

Fresh from Hollywood, Ca., where he received the CNN award, Penaflorida told President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the need to rescue vulnerable young people from a life of crime.

He related how his pushcart (kariton) classroom had grown from 20 to 200 volunteer teachers. Today, he added, the program teaches more than 2,500 students every Saturday.

“We are not governed by a curriculum. We are not an alternative teaching program. We teach primary children,ages 4 to teens, who have lost interest in school for one reason or another,” Penaflorida explained to the president.

He said that the success of the program depends on the number of student volunteers it can get. “The more volunteers the more young people we can reach. We need to impart to them good moral values,” he said.

The president was so excited that she ordered the replication of the kariton school, initially in Metro Manila and then all over the country.

The president congratulated Penaflorida’s parents, Lucila and Efren Sr., “for raising your child so well.”

It turned out that Penaflorida was a PGMA Leadership awardee from Cavite in the early part of her term. (PIA V Release)

PGMA orders MRFs set up

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo urged Friday ((November 27) barangay officials of San Miguel, Pandacan, and Sta. Mesa to find locations for the establishment of materials recovery facilities (MRFs) before the year ends.

Malacanang is located in barangay San Miguel.

The president said the establishment of MRFs in all local government units is in compliance with Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001, and Republic Act 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009 which she signed into law last October.

At the climate change briefing this morning in Malacanang, the president told barangay officials from areas surrounding Malacanang that establishing MRFs will reduce the harmful methane emissions from rotting garbage. Methane is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, the leading contributor to climate change.

The president also said barangays with MRFs generate income from recyclables, composting, and making charcoal briquettes which the Department of Environment and Natural resources will help fund.

Meanwhile, Presidential Adviser on Global Warming and Climate Change Heherson Alvarez reported MRF compliance of Luzon at 12.61 percent; Visayas at 11.14 percent; and Mindanao at 16.37 percent.

Alvarez said these figures represent a national compliance rate of 13.2 percent, up by seven percent from the recorded 6.2 percent compliance rate last year. (PIA V Release)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sorsogon 2nd District Cong. Jose G. Solis, (center, upper photo) Chairman, Bicol Recovery and Economic Development as guest of honor delivers his message during the Bicol Maritime Security Forum, with him from (L-R) VADM Ferdinand S. Golez, AFP, and Commo Joel E. Babas, AFP, held at Casablanca Hotel, Legazpi City last Nov. 23. (Alex Cal/PIA)
MARITIME SECURITY FORUM – VADM Ferdinand S. Golez, AFP, (upper photo) keynote speaker on Monday (Nov. 23) during the Bicol Maritime Security Forum “ A Channel for Inter-Operability and Cooperation” at Casablanca Hotel, Legazpi City. (Alex Cal/PIA)

LEGAZPI CITY — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Governor Joey Salceda of Albay will sign the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) tomorrow (November 24) in Malacañang.

Salceda disclosed that President Arroyo has approved some P977.3 million to fund the implementation of 4Ps for Albay, which will be carried out through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Salceda said that from Libon town as the sole beneficiary since the inception of the program, 4ps will expand its coverage to other 11 municipalities including Polangui, Daraga, Libon, Jovellar, Pioduran, Rapurapu, Manito, Sto. Domingo, Malilipot, Bacacay, Malinao and three cities namely Tabaco, Legazpi and Ligao.

He added that every identified family-beneficiary will receive P1,400 monthly financial subsidy for five years.

The provincial government of Albay targets 180,370 households, however, some 69,803 of which have been identified and qualified based from the criteria set by DSWD.

4Ps is a poverty reduction strategy of the government providing cash grants to extremely poor households to improve health, nutrition, and education in the family, particularly of children aged 0-14 years old.

Salceda noted that a total of P977.3 million is the annual budgetary requirement of 4Ps in the province per year, adding that the amount is much higher than the annual budget of the provincial government.

Cash grants will only be released to the most responsible adult member of every household, usually the mother, through electronic card banking system of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

Program beneficiaries will be identified based on a scoring system, utilizing the socio-economic characteristics of the household, such as non-ownership of assets/appliances, type of housing unit, level of educational attainment of household head and non-access to water and sanitation facilities.

Salceda stressed that parents or heads of the family must see to it that their children will go to school regularly, avail of the necessary health services and come up with a livelihood in order for them to receive regular cash grant

“Failure to comply with these conditions means the grant will be automatically suspended,” he said.

4Ps aims to pursue the country’s commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), such as eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achievement of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality, reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health.

The program also intends to provide social assistance, providing cash grants to poorest families for their immediate needs (short term poverty alleviation); and pursues social development, breaking the intergenerational poverty cycle through investments in human capital.

4Ps has since been carried out in the provinces of Sorsogon, Masbate and in Libon town in Albay.

Salceda is optimistic that the expanded 4Ps will be implemented by June 2010.
(MALoterte, PIA V/NIMediavillo, RnB)


LEGAZPI CITY— Albay Gov. Joey Salceda turned over to the Diocese of Legazpi some 50 units of portable public address systems (PAS) for distribution to and use of the different parish churches across the province in times of calamities.

During the turn-over at the St. Gregory the Great Cathedral here, Salceda said the PAS could be used by parishes in times of calamities such as typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions and other disasters that might occur in their respective areas.

He said the distribution of said equipment was part of the disaster preparedness and risk reduction program of the province where in Albay was noted for attaining a “Zero Casualty” goal every time disaster strikes the province.

Salceda turned over the PAS units to Auxiliary Bishop Lucilo Quiambao, acting administrator of the Diocese of Legazpi, during a general assembly meeting with parish priests of parishes and quasi parishes across the province.

“Parishes, by experience are inevitable partners of local government units during calamities because both sectors have the capability to mobilize the people and are equally capable of providing emergency shelters aside from the school buildings and the institutionalized evacuation camps donated by the government of Spain,” he said.

Quiambao was elated and thanked Salceda for his gesture of involving the parishes in disaster preparedness program and equipping the same with the necessary PAS for use in times of emergencies, including religious events.

Diocese of Legazpi is composed of 44 parishes and quasi parishes in 15 towns and three cities of the province with over a million parishioners.

Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (ASEMO) has procured 1,000 portable Public Address Systems at P6,000 each for distribution and use of some 720 barangays, 50 parishes, NGOs and CSOS, colleges and universities and other critical institutions for mass mobilization during disasters.

Disaster authorities said Bicol, specifically Albay, is geographically situated in a location constantly vulnerable to typhoons, heavy rains and volcanic eruptions since it is located at the Pacific Ring of Fire where cyclones, extreme weather conditions prevail. (MALoterte, PIA V)


LEGAZPI CITY — The Provincial Government of Albay, through the office of education coordinator, is set to recognize and award exemplary performance of students, teachers, principals and local government units on December 22, 2009.

The “Gawad sa Edukasyon” is a province-wide search for principals, teachers and students who exceed the average standards and soar high in the chosen field.

Categories for Gawad sa Edukasyon are:

1. Students Excellence Award for Leadership (SEAL) to student achievers in academics and leadership in both public and private elementary and secondary schools in the province;

2. Search for Outstanding Teachers of Albay (TOTAL) – a continuing search for outstanding teachers in elementary and secondary;

3. Three Outstanding Principals in the Countryside of Albay (TROPICAL) – a similar search as the TOTAL to identify and reward three principals in the province whose leadership resulted to academic excellence, social relevance, organizational efficiency and recognition of their school; and,

4. LGUs (local government units) Best practices in Education (Kadunong) – this category will encourage other LGUs to infuse education as the finest program that produces a lifetime return of investment in the locality.

The successful 10 outstanding teachers as well as three outstanding principals will receive plaque and P100,000 cash each. While an LGU with best practices in education will receive P200,000 and P20,000 each for 10 students with excellent leadership.

Governor Joel Salceda has allocated an amount of P5 million for the Gawad sa Edukasyon which was introduced in 2008 as an effective motivating factor to better performance.

The provincial government of Albay awards cash certificates, trophies, plaques, medals to achievers and high performers.

These extrinsic rewards are reinforcing motivation that clearly recognizes outstanding achievements.

During the same occasion the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay is also set to give the highest provincial honor and P250,000 cash gift to Efren Penaflorida. He bested nine other nominees from different countries for the Hero of the Year award initiated by CNN.

The nominees were initially selected by a panel of 14 "Blue Panel" luminaries but the Hero of the Year award is given to the one with the most number of online votes in the CNN Heroes website.
For his innovative "Kariton Klasrum" (pushcart classroom) Filipino educator Peñaflorida has been awarded by CNN as "2009 Hero of the Year."

Governor Salceda said Albay will make Penaflorida an honorary son of the province. “Regional Development Council chairman we will make similar commendation.”

“His sense of civic duty should inspire citizens, reignite hope for our nation but remind public servants to bring service closer to the people and more importantly employ political will and local leadership,” Salceda said. (MDRama, PNA Bicol/PIA)


VIRAC, Catanduanes — Joanna N. Sarmiento, a second year student of Bachelor in Secondary Education (BSE) English major of the Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC), was declared champion in the Bicol Regional ROTC Speech Contest held November 9 at the Bicol College Gymnasium in Daraga, Albay.

Sarmiento’s piece centered on competition’s theme ROTC: Preparing the Youth to become Better Citizens and Future Leaders.

She was coached by Dr. Yolanda M. Tariman, chairperson of the CSC English Department.
Six higher education institutions representing six provinces in the Bicol region joined in the speech tilt.

Garnering the second and third places were the students from Masbate Colleges and Partido State University (Camarines Sur). Other participating schools were Bicol College (Albay), Camarines Norte State College and Sorsogon State College.

Mrs. Aida Alcazar-Naz, chief of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Bicol Planning Services Division chaired the speech tilt’s panel of judges.

CSC ROTC coordinator Jose F. Tabligan, Staff Sergeant Agapito E. Llanes and Dr. Tariman accompanied Sarmiento in the said regional competition.

Sarmiento will represent the region in the national competition on December 5, 2009 at University of Sto. Tomas. (PIA Catanduanes/CSC)


MANILA — Filipino journalist, including publishers, broadcasters, writers, authors, editors, columnists, reporters, who are currently working abroad are invited to attend the 14th National Press Congress on Dec. 10-12, this year, in Subic Freeport Zone.

The Filipino journalists who have been residing abroad for many years now particularly in the United States, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and some parts of Asia, Are working as publisher, editors, authors, writers and photographers.

Johnny C. Nuñez, executive director of the Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI), the organizer of the biggest annual media gathering, said: “Hundreds of Filipino journalists are operating their craft in almost all states in the U.S. and Canada .

“They are especially serving the Filipino communities in Guam , Hawaii , California , Alaska , New York and other states. In Canada, the Filipino newspapers are quite strong in Vancouver and Toronto”The Filipino craftsmen are also seen in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and other parts of Asia.

The press congress will have “The Challenges of the Information-Driven Age” for its theme, around which the various topics of discussion will revolve.

Among the topics are 1) Media Freedom and Responsibility; 2) The Responsibility of Media in the 2010 Elections; 3) Culture and Media; 4) A Critical Look into the Philippine Political Culture; 5) Career Options for the Youth and students in Cross Media; 6) Media and the Moral Force Movement; 7) Global Trends in Media; 8)Future of the Publishing Industry; 9) The Gravity and Threats of Global Warming and Climate Change; and, 10)Good Governance and Sustainable Economic Development, among others.

Aside from its regular participants that usually include publishers, editors, reporters, broadcasters, corporate public affairs officer and executives, government information officers, campus writers, mass communication instructors and students, are also expected to attend the event which has some foreign experts invited as resource speakers.

Parties interested to participate in this year’s strategic convergence in Subic may contact the PAPI Secretariat at Unit 206 Cityland Condominium8, No.98, Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City, telephones (02) 892-9278; (02) 501-3118; Cellphone Numbers 0920-9094379 and 0917-8498730 or e-mail inquiries to papi_secretariat@yahoo.com. (PAPI/PIA)

Remonde bares agenda of Cabinet meeting in Boracay

MANILA — Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said Monday (November 23) the Cabinet meeting this Tuesday in Boracay will discuss the status of her State of the Nation projects, the report on the global resiliency impact news (GRIN), and an update from Secretary Ricardo Saludo, executive director of the Philippine Private Public Reconstruction Commission. PPPCC is the clearinghouse for all international assistance to rebuild Luzon after four consecutive destructive typhoons.

In a radio interview from Dumaguete, where the President launched the road link between Cebu and Northern Mindanao via the RORO (roll on-roll off) project, Remonde said the President has been “busying herself in her last few months in office attending to the completion of her vital infrastructure projects and those projects falling under her 3E priorities (education, economy and environment).

On why Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo rejected the offer to replace Anthony Golez as Press Undersecretary, Remonde said “she is a candidate as replacement in another department.”

Fajardo earlier thanked Remonde for the offer and for giving his full trust and confidence in her.

“We can’t deny the vital contribution that Reli has given us,” Remonde said. (PIAV Release)

Palace sees deeper US-RP relations with new American ambassador

MANILA — Malacañang said Monday (November 23) it sees a further strengthening of American-Philippine relations with the appointment of US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr.

In a radio interview today from Dumaguete City, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said since the incoming ambassador is the personal choice of US President Barack Obama that “could only mean that this could augur well for a friendlier, warmer and better US-Philippine relations.”

He cited the very warm relations between the two presidents, citing that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was the first Asian leader to be invited to the White House by Obama and the very warm personal rapport between the two.

The Philippine government also thanked outgoing Ambassador Kristie Kenney, one of the most popular ambassadors to the Philippines. ”We are sad and will miss her departure.”

Remonde said the newly appointed US envoys to Singapore and the Philippines shows that President Obama is walking the talk about giving new importance to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In an earlier TV interview, Kenney said she and Thomas had worked together for 15 years and that Obama is tapping someone with a very broad background to carry out US foreign policy goals in the Philippines.

“The Philippines is such a global nation. He (Obama) wants someone here to deal with issues that go around the world,” she said.

In a statement, Obama said Thomas and other White House nominees to various US diplomatic posts abroad “will represent our nation well and work to fulfill the important goal of strengthening our relationships abroad.” (PIAV Release)

Calls to extend Ibrado’s term a good sign—Palace

MANILA — Malacañang said Monday (November 23) it was happy that three presidential aspirants have asked for the extension of Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado since “they are agreeing to the choice of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.”

In a radio interview from Dumaguete City, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the Palace is also happy “with the level of confidence they are giving to our Chief of Staff, which means that our armed forces have become independent, apolitical and professional.”

Three senators-turned-presidential aspirants have asked for the extension of Ibrado until after the 2010 elections. These are Senators Manuel Villar, Benigno Aquino III and Francis Escudero who have signed a manifesto urging the President to extend Ibrado’s term to ensure stability and continuity in the leadership of the Armed Forces during the crucial May 2010 elections, which will determine her successor.

Ibrado earlier said the matter of his extension rests on his Commander in Chief, Mrs. Arroyo.

Ibrado is the 39th chief of staff of the 120,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Magilas” Class 1976. He replaced his classmate, Gen. Alexander Yano, who was named Ambassador to Brunei. (PIAV Release)

PGMA fetes Gusi Peace Prize awardees

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hosted Monday (November 23) a luncheon for the awardees and representatives of this year’s Gusi Peace Prize at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of Malacañang.

Four Filipinos joined 20 other individuals from different countries as this year’s winners of the prestigious award known as the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Filipinos are: boxing champ Manny Pacquiao for sports, Lea Salonga for performing arts, Preciosa Soliven for the academe, and Most Rev. Fr. Joseph Faller for divine healing and assistance to the sick and the needy.

The Gusi Peace Prize awards recognize distinguished individuals who promote peace and respect for human life and dignity.

The awards aim to promote human rights and good governance, democracy, equality, international peace and goodwill. It is also committed to working for people’s amelioration through medical missions, outreach programs and counseling, especially for the benefit of the deprived, the abused, the humiliated, and the sick.

The foreign awardees include US Rep. Bob Filner for legislation, Madam Timi Bakatselos (Greece) for philantrophy on children’s healthcare (cancer advocacy), Her Royal Highness Princess Fuziah Rajah Uda (Malaysia) for cultural heritage, Dr. Alice Chiu (Hong Kong) for social services and philanthropy,

Emil Silvio Cobota (Romania) for performing arts, Massimo Romagnoli (Italy) for international politics and human civil rights, Charalambos Lambrou (Cyprus) for philanthropy on adult cancer patients, Dr. Ho Son Fat (Macau) for medicine and scientific invention in the field of neurology,

Judge Natividad Meza (Paraguay) for social justice and humanitarian law, Alexey Steele (Russia) for visual arts, Dr. Liu Chi Chun (Taiwan) for international humanitarianism, Sylvia Scherer (Switzerland) for biotechnology industry, Dr. Rudiger Losch (Germany) for medicine, Ali Nasuh Mahruki (Turkey) for sports and humanitarianism, Madam Surapee Rojanavongse (Thailand) for economics and cultural heritage and Christine Warnke, Ph.D. (USA) for economics and humanitarianism. (PIA V Release)

PGMA to confer Order of Lakandula on Peñaflorida

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will confer the Order of Lakandula on Efren Peñaflorida, known for his “pushcart education,” upon his return to the country after he was hailed Hero of the Year by international news network CNN.

The Order of Lakandula is one of the highest honors given by the Philippine government. It is awarded to an individual who displayed leadership, prudence, fortitude, courage and resolve in the service of his people.

"Efren has indeed proven that any individual can help make a difference in the world. He has also shown the world the best in the Filipino. Let each one of us unleash the hero within us by helping the next person as Efren said," the president said in a statement Sunday night.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo, in a press briefing in Malacanang today, said arrangements are now underway for a hero’s welcome for Penaflorida.

Fajardo said Penaflorida is a valued partner of the Arroyo administration in education especially for the poor.

Peñaflorida won over nine other "CNN heroes" seven of whom were American, for his innovative mobile education called “Kariton Klassrum” or “Pushcart Classroom” for the poor.

Peñaflorida conducts weekly visits to poor and underserved areas in Cavite, north of Luzon, to teach young people basic lessons in mathematics, English, and science using only a pushcart.

He was chosen to receive the award during the CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. He received his award from American actress Eva Mendes.

The nominees were initially selected by a panel of 14 “Blue Panel” luminaries. The Hero of the Year award was given to the one with the most number of online votes on the CNN Heroes’ website.

Peñaflorida received $100,000, an amount he will use to fund his work in the Dynamic Teen Company (DTC), a volunteer organization that he put up to conduct his “Kariton Klassrum” program. (PIAV Release)

PGMA orders Philhealth to expand program for poor

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lauded Monday (November 23) the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) for reaching an expanded membership coverage of 80 million, among other milestones.

In her visit to the Rizal Medical Center (RMC) on Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City this afternoon, the President directed Philhealth president Dr. Rey Aquino to continue expanding its program particularly for the less privileged Filipinos to attain her administration’s goal of achieving universal coverage next year.

One of the Philhealth program beneficiaries, 53-year-old widow Lilia Tunac, one of the 12 patients at the fourth floor of the hospital, thanked the President for the Philhealth medical insurance program.

The President told Tunac and the other patients that the government will shoulder their P100 monthly premium payments for at least a year. She urged them however to shoulder the succeeding year’s premium so that other needy Filipinos can be insured under the Philhealth program.

Tunac, along with eight other patients at the hospital’s non-infectious ward in Room 2 are insured under the Philhealth program.

The President then directed Aquino to include the four other patients, who were not yet insured, under the Philhealth insurance coverage.

Aquino assured the President that it will be immediately implemented. He announced Philhealth’s income in the first three quarters this year reached P20 billion, P3 billion more than last year.

The President was welcomed at the Rizal Medical Center by more than 200 staff and employees led by hospital director Dr. Relito Saguilayan.

Aside from achieving wider insurance coverage, Philhealth’s extension work that saw mobile officers serve the various needs of member overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong will be replicated in other OFW-dense countries such as Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.

Aside from its dramatic improvement in benefits, Philhealth has presently provided insurance coverage to some 80 million Filipinos from a membership count of only 37.4 million in 2001. . (PIAV Release)

Saturday, November 21, 2009


LEGAZPI CITY— Administration party presidential candidate Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro accompanied re-electionist Albay Governor Joey Salceda in filing his certificate of candidacy on the first day of the filing of COCs here Friday.

Teodoro promised to support Salceda's programs for the benefit of Albay residents. “Rest assured that there will be a continuity of support from the national government if elected as president,” he said.

Salceda, after filing his COC at the office of the Provincial Election Supervisor here, told local newsmen, “Serving the people of Albay is such a great honor – so I thank our people for the thrust and for the unity of support that allowed me to lead the people to achieve so much in only three years.”

He said that in his 12 years in public service and having ran unopposed twice, he has not cultivated any political enemy. “Because my only enemy is poverty, and poverty is our common enemy,” he said.

To defeat poverty, Salceda urged the Albayanos to help his administration. “I can’t do it alone that is why you need to help me,” he said.

Salceda clarified that he is running under the administration Lakas-KAMPI-CMD, "the party of the established and the party of president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.”

He stressed that in the history of Albay, no other administration has so generously supported the struggle to achieve social posperity and economic progress. “Thus, I must repay our collective debt of gratitude by staying with the administration and support its candidate for president in 2010, former Secretary Toedoro.

Among the many major projects showered by the Arroyo administration to Albayanos are as follows: the Daraga International Airport with a budget of P3.4 billion; typhoon "Reming" reconstruction (with relocation program) with 10,076 lots and almost 5,000 classrooms built/repaired at P478 million and repair of public infrastructure worth P776 million.

The installation of a modern Doppler Radar worth P560 million even if it's in Virac, Catanduanes but principally benefiting Albay; 4Ps (Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program) for all three cities and 11 municipalities that benefits 70,000 poor families at P1,400 per month for five years with annual expenditures of P977.3 million which is larger than the Albay provincial government's budget and would total P5 billion in five years.

“Let me stress that there was no plan at all to run for congressman of the 3rd district or second district of this province. I decided not to pursue doctorate studies in Harvard University, to instead run for reelection so we can sustain the hard earned gains of our people and further accelerate the development initiatives we started in 2007,” Salceda said.

For his next term, the provincial government will launch a new, more advanced and forward-moving socioeconomic strategy designed to polevault Albay to become a California in 30 years.

He explained that this is in terms of per capita income sustained by a modern agriculture and services sector, advanced education, green energy, competitive infrastructure and a modest industrial base.

“Our new program Albay Rising would firmly put Albay in the map of the country and attract the attention of investors, tourists and traders,” Salceda said.

He noted Albay Rising has five Es: Economy, Education, Environment, Equity and Health.

Aside from former Defense Secretary Teodoro, Albay first district's Rep. Edcel Lagman witnessed the filing of Salceda’s COC. (MDRama, PNA Bicol/PIA)


PILI, Camarines Sur — Through the leadership of Governor LRay Villafuerte, Camarines Sur has earned another distinction as the first and only local government unit (LGU) to establish and operate a tourism park in the country.

This developed with the recent issuance of Presidential Proclamation No. 1932 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo designating several parcels of public land totaling 73-hectares right within the provincial capitol complex, covering barangays Cadlan, Pili and Maycatmon, Milaor, as a special economic zone primarily for tourism development.

The approval by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) of the application of CamSur to build and operate a special tourism estate is expected to further boost the local economy by encouraging tourism-related investments and generating more employment that will have very positive impact on local growth and development.

Camarines Sur presently enjoys another similar distinction as the first LGU to establish and operate an Information Technology Park (ITP), also at the confine of the extensive provincial capitol complex and likewise approved by PEZA as a special economic zone.

Sutherland Global Services, one of the country’s biggest business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, has already set up a center in the ITP with an initial 750-seat capacity and will be expanded to 2,000 before the year ends.

The 73 hectare tourism estate, which already boasts of the CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC)—considered the best wake park in the world—, 300 room cabins and cabanas, a convention center, the 18 hectare Lago Del Rey Aqua Park, a skate park and other existing facilities, is also expected to further fortify the province stature as the country’s number one tourism destination in 2009 as cited by the Department of Tourism. (GBClaveria/MMEC)


MASBATE CITY— Few residents of the island province of Masbate may have noticed, but one of the deadly effects of climate change has quietly imperiled their lives.

The cousin of red tide that caused the illness of 56 people in Cataingan town (77 kilometers south of this capital) who fell sick after eating banded barracuda late last year is a sign of climate change, according to authorities.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said ciguatera toxin found in the barracuda uncharacteristically bloomed because of climate change.

Citing international studies, Malcolm Sarmiento Jr., BFAR chief, explained in a published article that as the seas warmed up, coral bleaching became more pronounced and harmful algal blooms would increase.

The former directly affects coral reefs and the latter may lead in the increase in incidence of red tide and ciguatera poisoning.

Ciguatera is a food-borne illness in humans caused by eating marine species whose flesh is contaminated with a toxin called ciguatoxin, present in some algae. (EADelgado, PIA Masbate)


SORSOGON CITY — The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) office here, led by C/Insp. Renato Marcial, has ordered fire safety inspectors to inspect for fire safety all business establishments frequented by the public as Christmas season approaches.

“I have also directed the fire safety enforcement section to intensify inspection of all business establishments in anticipation for the influx of shoppers and to ensure fire safety,” Marcial said, as he reminded the business owners not to block their respective fire exits during business operation since it pose danger to the occupants in case emergency will occur.

It can be recalled that there were some shoppers somewhere in the Visayas that were trapped when a fire gutted down a business establishment because the fire exits were padlocked.

“We cannot compromise the safety of the public, owners will face criminal liability,” he added.

Marcial also warned the public of sub-standard Christmas lights that may cause fire, stressing that consumers should only buy products approved by DTI bearing the Product Standard (PS) and Import Commodity Certificate (ICC) markings.

In case of emergency or for further inquiry, residents can contact BFP Sorsogon City at telephone no. 421-6320 or hotline 160. (LGFuntanares, BFP Sorsogon City/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY— Rona Atutubo Despabiladeras, a graduate of Bicol University College of Education (BUCE), has placed 6th place in the nationwide Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) held October, this year.

Despabiladeras, a Physics major, has earned a rating of 89.40 percent in the secondary level category of the examination.

In said recent exam, BUCE has achieved a passing rate of 42 percent, compared to the 18 percent national passing rate in the elementary category, 46 percent in the secondary category, and against the national rate of 23%.

Meanwhile, BU Gubat Campus in Gubat, Sorsogon, has also acquired a passing rate of 26 percent in the elementary level, and 22 percent in the secondary level.

BU Polangui Campus in Polangui, Albay, has obtained an 8 percent passing rate in the elementary level, 32 in the secondary level.

BU Tabaco Campus in Tabaco City, also in Albay, and the BU College of Agriculture have achieved the passing rates of 45 percent and 10 percent, respectively, both in the secondary level.

It can be recalled that, four other BU graduates notched spots in the Top 10 of the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Mechanical Engineer (ME) board examinations also in October.

Ivan Rhett Macabeo, bagged the top place in the CPA exams, while Kaiser Ballecer placed 7th. Marcelo Santillan, meanwhile, placed 3rd in the ME exam, and Christopher Sanchez earned the 7th spot. (CGMeneses, Bicol University/PIA)

PGMA tells Chinese entrepreneurs to help prevent repeat of global crisis

MANILA — Chinese entrepreneurs should help prevent another global financial crisis from ever happening again.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made the call in her keynote speech to the 10th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention held this Friday morning (November 20) at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

She said everybody should learn from past mistakes, whether of government policy or of business and financial practices, to make sure the crisis does not happen again.

The president counseled that to avoid a repeat of the global economic downturn, which began in the latter part of 2007, countries must diversify their economies and reform the world financial system.

She pointed out that the Philippines, along with other countries with a strong Chinese business community, was able to weather the global financial storm by implementing hard and unpopular but necessary economic and fiscal reforms several years ago.

The country did so with “the support of the Filipino-Chinese business community,” the President said.

Mrs. Arroyo lauded the Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs, whose sharp business sense, hard work, and willingness to take risks have become indispensable to the development of their adopted country.

Filipino-Chinese, she noted, have contributed so much “to the country’s unprecedented growth in 34 successive quarters during my administration.”

According to the president the local Chinese’ sterling qualities are on display not only in business and wealth creation but also in socio-civic activities. She cited the fact that Filipino-Chinese build classrooms and volunteer as firefighters.

Chinese entrepreneurs, the President said, could lead the way to prosperity on a global scale.

“I am confident that the more than 3,000 overseas Chinese entrepreneurs gathered here, who come from 20 countries, can help breathe new life into the world economy,” she said.

The four-day convention, scheduled Nov. 19 to 22, carries the theme World Prosperity through Chinese Entrepreneurship: Addressing the Challenges of the Global Crisis.

Organized by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) in August 1991, it provides a forum for overseas Chinese entrepreneurs. (PIA V Release)

Communications plan seeks to educate people on Climate Change

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received Friday afternoon (November 20) the Multi Media Cultural Communications Framework Action Plan on Climate Change, which aims to enlist the participation of people in the fight against climate change.

After receiving the action plan, the President held several photo ops with the various participants that included students, professors, media practitioners, out-of-school youths, foreign and local government and non government officials, multilateral funding agencies.

The communication plans seeks to involve the media, the academe, and other stakeholders in keeping with the Paris Declaration on Broadcast Media and Climate Change of September 2009.

It also hews closely to the Declaration of the United Nations Leadership Forum on Climate Change. It highlights the need for governments “to take collective action now to address climate change.“

The declaration adds that failure to do so “will result in catastrophic damage to the planet, people and the global marketplace.”

Among the crucial messages that the communication framework seeks to bring out are: a) climate change is the test of leadership in the 21st century; b) the future of the global marketplace hangs in the balance; c) effective climate action can trigger an era of sustainable prosperity; d) transformation is possible and viable and e) climate action is integral to human security.

The framework comes on the heels of the Philippines’ participation in the coming Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, to be headed by President Arroyo.

The action plan says:

“We in the Philippines shall endeavor to apply an inter-sectoral inter-disciplinary approach that expands the scope of media beyond print and broadcast to include webcast and other digital online communications technology techniques and other forms of cultural media like performance, literary and visual arts and cinemas, indigenous rituals and traditions.” (PIA V Release)

RP to position itself as ‘victim’ of climate change in Copenhagen

MANILA — The Philippines, along with G-77 and China, will position itself as a victim, not a culprit of climate change during the United Nations-sponsored negotiations in Copenhagen next month.

“Victims are compensated, not penalized with high interest rates and conditionalities,” said Agriculture Undersecretary for Planning Segredo Serrano, a member of the Philippine delegation, at the Multi Media Summit on Climate Change held at the Heroes Hall in Malacanang Palace.

The Philippines is taking its cue from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who earlier said, “We are not a culprit of climate change. We are a victim.”

The Philippines accounts for less than one percent of the world’s carbon emissions annually.

Serrano said the Philippines will push for enhanced action on adaptation guided by the following principles:

• Equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities under the Convention;
• Adhere to the “polluter pays principle”;
• Sufficiency and comprehensiveness in scope;
• Enabled by adequate, practicable and timely flow of commitments in financial resources, appropriate technology, and capability building;
• That national adaptation actions be country-driven and nationally-determined rather than being prescribed;
• Consistency with the principles under the Convention and its commitments;
• Be based on and guided and informed by the best available science and appropriate traditional knowledge; and
• Involve all relevant stakeholders through a participatory approach to ensure transparency, ownership, and inclusiveness.

Crucial in next month’s negotiations will be a funding mechanism that will support the necessary adaptation actions in developing countries and institutional arrangements that will coordinate and channel such support together with technology transfer and capacity building.

Meanwhile, Serrano said the Department of Agriculture will shift more money to the research and development of more climate-resilient genetic materials and technologies.

Serrano said R&D will focus on creating crops more resilient crops to sudden shifts in temperature, solar radiation, wind velocities, water levels and precipitation, and new pests and diseases.

In collaboration with other agencies and stakeholders, the DA is now using more modern remote sensing technology for more precise planning, monitoring, and verification.

“We also target the immediate provision of more precise and localized meteorological information services to farmers, fisherfolk, and other stakeholders to better enable and empower them to undertake appropriate individual adaptation decisions and actions,” Serrano said. (PIA V Release)

Gov’t reiterates commitment to Science & Technology

MANILA — Malacańang reiterated Friday (November 20) its commitment to science and technology (S&T) in the country. S&T is part of the country’s human capital, which together with natural resources, are drivers of growth.

In the closing ceremonies of the National Inventions Contest and Exhibits 2009 (NICE 2009) at the Philippine Trade and Training Center in Pasay City, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the strong partnership between government and the private sector in promoting technology is the foundation of future economic development.

“Inventions are the Filipinos’ best response to the constantly changing environment. This is why President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is all-out in its support for this special and all-important field of endeavor,” he noted.

He added the President has allocated billions of pesos in strengthening basic education, particularly in science and mathematics, since 2001 when she assumed the presidency.

Remonde said the Arroyo administration is committed to building the Filipinos’ capacity not only to harness the tremendous knowledge and technology available globally, but also ”to make the most of the country’s rich indigenous knowledge and its blending with foreign technologies to produce inventions that would benefit the Filipino people.”

“We need to develop a critical mass of Filipino inventors who will build competitive industries and services to help address pressing national concerns, such as breaking the cycle of our energy dependence and environmental degradation, and climate change, ” he noted.

With the government’s strong commitment to help promote S&T, duly confirmed inventors are now entitled to tax incentives and exemptions from the payment of license fees, permit fees, and other business taxes in the development of their particular invention.

There is also an invention development assistance fund for assisting inventors in their initial experiments and prototype development. (PIA V Release)

Palace unfazed by deficit

MANILA — Malacañang expressed confidence today that the yearend deficit will not reach the P300-billion mark, saying it is not unduly alarmed despite the government exceeding the deficit target by P16-billion at the end of October.

In a media briefing, Deputy Spokesperson for Economic Affairs Gary Olivar said the situation is primarily because of the “dampening effects of the global recession on the tax base as well as unforeseen calamity-related expenditures added to earlier government spending for economic stimulus.”

“The deficit was necessary to avoid recession and finance post calamity rehabilitation and reconstruction,” he said.

According to Olivar, overcoming the worst case deficit scenario would entail redoubling tax collections and streamlining tax administration.

“We call on Congress to pass pending revenue enhancing measures and defer revenue eroding measures for the long term fiscal stability,” he said.

Olivar said that government asset sales efforts will proceed, while on the spending side, “we will continue to disburse prudently and look for the first chance to start easing up on fiscal stimulus spending.”

He said that as the global recovery takes deeper root and economic expansion becomes self sustainable, “we will gradually reduce our deficit ratios over time.”

Olivar said that the spreading global recovery is good news for the country’s manufacturers, exporters, tourist businesses and overseas workers.

“Other macroeconomic fundamentals remain sound and on the uptrend,” he said adding that the good Balance of Payment (BOP) turnout has beefed up the international reserves and stabilized the peso, restoring market confidence and reducing funding costs for both government and private borrowers.

“OFW remittances, foreign investments and domestic liquidity, debt capacity and capital markets activity remain healthy,” he added.

The unexpected large fiscal deficit remains manageable as a percentage of Gross National Product and Gross Domestic Product, which have not stopped growing despite global recession, Olivar added.

The bottom line: “We continue to be able to pay our way in the world, look after our citizens and invest in our future,” he stressed. (PIA V Release)

PGMA confers Order of Sikatuna to Pacquiao, calls him ‘Pangmundong Kamao’

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led Friday afternoon (November 20) a proud nation in honoring Manny Pacquiao, conferring on the iconic Filipino boxer the prestigious Order of Sikatuna, Rank of Datu (Katangiang Ginto) for his latest ring exploit – that of winning an unprecedented seventh title in as many weight divisions.

The short but simple rites was held at the Quirino Grandstand at the Luneta, hours after the reigning pound for pound king came home to a hero’s welcome earlier in the morning from Los Angeles after a masterful demolition of Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto Sunday for the World Boxing Organization welterweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Sunday.

It was the highest accolade ever conferred on the multi-titled Pacquiao, widely regarded as the best boxer in the world today. Previously, President Arroyo has named him special envoy for peace and unity in Mindanao following his crushing victory over England’s Ricky Hatton that gave him the light welterweight crown.

The President arrived with Pacquiao at the Quirno Grandstand at around 5 p.m. after the latter’s attendance at a concert tribute at the SM Mall of Asia early in the afternoon.

It took only 10 minutes for the President and Pacquiao to finish their question and answer repartee.

Pacquiao thanked the President and the Filipino people for all the support. He also asked the President why the hero’s welcome, erstwhile held in Malacañang after his previous bouts, is being held at the historic grandstand.

“Unang una, kakaiba kasi ito ngayon dahil sa record mong pitong titulo. Buong mundo na ang iyong fans kaya kailangan special din ang parangal. Kaya ngayong araw na ito Champion for Life ka na.” the President explained.

The award, according to the President, is provided by law, and is actually being given by a grateful nation. The last time she conferred the same honor was when visiting US State Secretary Hilary Clinton came over last week prior to the Singapore APEC summit.

“Taong bayan ang nagbibigay nito sa yo. Ang parangal ay galing sa sambayanang Pilipino, dahil isa ka na nagayong Pangmundong Kamao” she said.

Pacquiao then raised the two championship belts he won in the aftermath of the Cotto fight, and profusely thanked the people for the accolade.

“Maraming maraming salamat po sa inyo. Para sa inyo ang lahat ng ito mga kababayan ko,” he said as the crowd that gathered chanted “Manny, Manny!”

The President and Pacquiao then came down the stage to meet the people for the President’s weekly Day of the Common Tao. (PIA V Release)

Friday, November 20, 2009

PRESS CONFERENCE – LAKAS-KAMPI-CMD presidential candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro (center) present before the media his platform of government. Also in attendance are : Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda (left) and 1st District Congressman Edcel Lagman. Held at Albay Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, Nov. 20. (Alex Cal/PIA)
FILING OF CANDIDACY – Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda (center) files and present’s his Certificate of Candidacy for re-election as governor of Albay even as Lakas-KAMPI-CMD presidential candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro (left) and 1st District Congressman Edcel Lagman witness the event at the Capitol Building here, Nov. 20. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


SORSOGON CITY — The Provincial Environmental Management Office (PEMO) here of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) has ruled out oil spill following investigations conducted in the wake of complaints of one barangay official and a resident of barangay Gimaloto, this city.

DENR-EMB has already released the results of the investigation arising from the complaint of reported oil spill in barangays Gimaloto, Barayong and Basud, all in this city, concluding that the incidence is isolated and limited in nature.

In a recent emergency meeting of the sectoral heads of the Bacon-Manito Multi-Partite Monitoring Team (BMGMMT), Leonisa Madeloso said that while it is true that there were traces of grease or used oil seen in the area, only a single farm area adjacent to the bank of Cawayan River in Gimaloto was affected.

The farm is owned by a one Iyoy Jazareno, who filed the complaints, along with Hon. Arles Caubang, punong barangay of Gimaloto.

Madeloso explained, “If the reported oil spill is massive in its scope, traces can be observed practically along the stretch of the river and surrounding areas, and not only on a single farm area.”

She also noted out that no traces were noted within nearby farm, houses or even on the river bank.

“Likewise, there is no hard evidence that would point responsibility to the Energy Development Corporation – Bacon Geothermal Production Field (EDC-BGPF) considering that the firm already stopped its operation in Cawayan area since 2005 after the National Power Corporation (NPC) shut down the power plant,” she added.

Investigating team attempted to meet Jazareno but he was nowhere to find that time. While interfacing some key officials of barangays Basud and Barayong revealed that no incidence of oil spill was even heard of.

Meanwhile, sectoral heads of the BMGMMT immediately conducted ocular monitoring and verification of EMB’s report noting that

The reported oil spill is not really oil spill in the truest sense of the word but an ordinary spill that may have been caused by improper storage of used oil from residential units adjacent to the farm area and flooding in recent days may have resulted to its spillage.

“The absence of traces during the ocular inspection showed that the affected area is limited only to some portions of Jazareno’s farm in Gimaloto downstream and not in Basud and Barayong upstream and therefore cannot be possibly caused by EDC-BGPF,” said Oscar Dominguez, BMGMMT leader and DENR- Provincial Environment and Natural Resources officer.

The team has further recommended that residents and local officials must follow proper channeling and coordination with concerned agencies, like the Sorsogon City Agriculture Office and National Irrigation Administration (NIA) office here once they observe changes or unfamiliar occurrences in their farmlands in order to identify possible causes and immediately employ appropriate action on them.

BMGMMT has also encouraged local residents to continuously keep an eye and be more analytical of whatever incidence that occurs in their community.

BMGMMT has recommended holding of community clean-ups and strict implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management program to prevent and control the spread of water-borne illnesses and diseases such as itching, allergies and athlete’s foot, among others.

The EMB investigating team was composed of two PEMO assistants and representatives from the PENRO-LGU and Provincial Agriculture Office while the BMGMMT were represented by the sectoral heads from DENR-PENRO, DENR-CENRO EDC, NPC, PIA and City ENRO. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


LEGAZPI CITY — The Nutrition Communication Network (NUTRICOMNET) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has slated the Regional Nutri Quiz on
November 25, 2009, 3:00– 5:00 pm at the SM City Activity Center in Naga City.

The Nutri Quiz will highlight the 2nd Southern Luzon Cluster Science and Technology Fair (SLCSTF) in time for the Bicol Regional Science and Technology Week (RSTW) with the theme “Responding to Global Challenges thru Science and Technology”.

The competition will test the knowledge and proficiency of Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS), along with their Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) on basic nutrition as in line with the theme this year’s Nutrition Month celebration, that is, “Wastong Nutrisyon Kailangan, Lifestyle Diseases Iwasan”.

Every province will be represented by a contestant endorsed by the provincial or city nutrition council to the National Nutrition Council (NNC).

The regional quiz bee is comprised of two levels, including the elimination and championships. Elimination round will be consist of 15 questions which varies from easy to difficult. The top five contestants will qualify for the championship round, which will be consist of 10 questions, from easy to difficult.

Winners will be announced and prizes will be awarded during the closing/ awarding ceremonies on same date.

Among the cooperators for the Regional Nutri Quiz are the regional offices of NNC, Commission on Population (POPCOM) and the Department of Health (DOH).

Other activities for the SLCSTF include the visual and interactive exhibits, stakeholders/scientific fora, S&T trivia, techno demo on nutritious snack foods, seminars for MSMEs on food safety, GMP, HACCP and packaging for MSMEs. (ROLucena, DOST V/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — Local government units, non-government organizations, building contractors, housing and subdivisions developers applying for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) are now required to secure a Geo-hazard Identification Survey (GIS) from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

Engr. Renaldo Juan, MGB Bicol chief, said that the bureau has required applicants to submit documentary requirements whenever they are requesting for GIS, including a written letter request addressed to the regional director, site development plan, topographic map, lot plan and site grading plan—an optional requirement especially for projects located in sloping terrains.

Juan added that applicants are required a fee of P2,000.00 for every surveyor/day but not less than P6,000.00. They can avail of the GIS service from Monday to Friday, 8:00 am–12:00 noon and 1:00-5:00 pm.

The GIS can be completed or issued to the applicants 10 days after completion of the field survey.

“However, if further Engineering Geological and Geo-hazard Assessment (EGGA) is required, as recommended in the GIS report, the proponent needs to have a private practicing geologist to undertake the required EGGA,” he stressed.

Juan also said MGB may undertake an EGGA whenever a government project is involved subject to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). (MGB V/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — The city government here, in cooperation with Avon Cosmetic Inc. Legazpi and the Legazpi City Women’s Federation (LCWF), has launched November 8 a simultaneous 3-km “Walk as One” for breast cancer awareness and prevention program.

Geraldine “Gie” Rosal, wife of Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal and LCWF president, said the activity formed part of the various awareness program on breast cancer prevention and control as well as show and inspire of social concerns for patients with breast cancer.

Rosal, who also serves as honorary chair for the fun walk, cited the women of Legazpi City, as well as other participating sectors, for taking part in such initiative and concern for women inflicted with the disease, furthermore, on preventing the spread breast cancer.

Chris Fertejo, Avon Legazpi City branch manager, averred similar activities were also staged in the cities of Malolos and Vigan, and Metro Manila. While the cities of Cebu, Cgayan de Oro and Bacolod lauched similar fun walk on October 5, this year.

“The activity is a non-competitive event and aimed at raising awareness against breast cancer,” Festejo added.

She likewise noted that anyone can be a victim of breast cancer— women and recent cases were also noted even among men, regardless of age, race, social and economic status.

She said that through Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer (KGBC), launched in 2002, Avon helped establish the Breast Care Center (BCC) at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and has successfully funded the treatment of indigents, initiated support groups, conducted regular gatherings for sufferers and survivors and provide much needed equipment to selected provincial government hospitals.

Festejo also stated that Avon has available KGBC T-shirt limited edition sold for only P149 from Avon representative or any Avon branch, adding that P20 of the amount will proceed to various Lying-in Clinic in barangay Banquerohan and donated to breast cancer victims in the city.

Also present during the fun walk representative from Avon branches across Bicol, Philippine National Trainees, professionals, senior citizens, city government employees and Kabalikat Civicom. (MPSolis, LGU Legazpi City/PIA)


DAET, Camarines Norte — The National Food Authority (NFA) provincial office here will distribute a total of 5,600 bags of palay certified seeds to farmers in Camarines Norte starting this week.

Engr. Jose Danilo Nieves, NFA Camarines Norte provincial manager, said the agency will be distributing an initial of 1,000 bags of certified seeds this week to qualified farmers.

Nieves said that this is part of the Rapid Seeds Supply Financing Project (RSSFP) f the Department of Agriculture (DA), funded by the International Fund for Agriculture (IFA).

He explained that farmers who are recommended by the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) can avail of the farm input subsidy.

The farmers will only pay 50% of the total amount of the palay certified seeds.

Nieves also said that farmers will have to buy the certified seeds from the Camarines Norte Seed Growers Association (CNSGA).

Meanwhile, Nieves also assured the public that the province has enough supply of rice until the first quarter of next year.

“A buffer stock of 100,000 bags of rice and 100,000 bags of palay are available in their warehouses,” he said. (RBManlangit/PIA CamNorte)

Ermita says RP making headway in fight against corruption

MANILA — The Philippines is qualified for monetary grants under the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC), and that means the Arroyo administration has made some headway in the fight against graft and corruption.

In a media briefing Wednesday (November 18), Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said government agencies such as the Bureau of Customs. Philippine National Police, Bureau of Internal Revenue, among others, have shown improvements in their operating procedures.

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), an annual publication ranking countries by the perceived corruption among public officials and politicians, ranks the Philippines 141st out of 180 countries last year.

The MCC is an independent US agency that seeks to reduce global poverty by prodding developing countries to commit themselves to good governance and economic freedom. It does so by offering monetary grants to fund projects focused on achieving sustainable economic growth.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said that on the Control of Corruption indicator, the Philippines’ ranking has actually improved by six notches, from 39th to 33rd, above the 37th rank of the median country out of the 73 countries in the MCC list.

Comparing the results with last year’s MCC scorecard, the DFA pointed out that the country would have showed improved performances had it not been elevated to a higher income category. The failing marks, it stressed, resulted chiefly from the country’s transition from a low-income country (LIC) in 2008 to lower middle-income (LMIC) in 2009, based on its improved income per capita.

Higher income countries are measured using more stringent standards.

The improvement in the country’s income category is a clear reflection of the government’s sustained commitment to economic and governance reforms amidst the global financial crisis, the DFA added.

The DFA also said the World Bank increased the Philippines scores in governance report. In the 2009 World Governance Indicators (WGI) report published by the World Bank Institute, the Philippines demonstrated significant improvements in four out of six governance dimensions namely, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption. In fact, the biggest jump was recorded in the control of corruption where the country’s score increased from 22.2 percent to 26.1 percent.”

The WGI report, together with its third party sources of information, represents the largest publicly available data resource on governance in the world. It is also used by the MCC, in combination with other indicator reports, in making its allocation decisions.

The MCC scorecard showed the country received passing marks for Political Rights (53%), Civil Liberties (62%), Government Effectiveness (79%), and Voice and Accountability (59%), Regulatory Quality (74%), Land Rights and Access (58%), Trade Policy (65%), Inflation (48%), and Fiscal Policy (56%), but failed in Business Start-Up (34%).

Under the second broad category “Investing in People,” the country showed a passing mark for Natural Resource Management (84%) but failed under Immunization Rates (41%), Girls’ Primary Education Completion (44%), Health Expenditures (19%), and Primary Education Expenditures (32%).

Ermita expressed hope the World Bank report on the improved income status of the Philippines will not derail the bid for an MCC full Compact grant in 2010.

The country’s compact proposal for 2010-2014 is currently under technical review.

The Compact proposal, which is in the final stages of development, focuses on three high-impact projects: Secondary National Roads Development (SNRD); Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), and Integrated Revenue Information System (IRIS).

The Philippines’ plan of action under MCC’s Policy Improvement Process (PIP) to strategically address policy performance issues such as Control of Corruption is also being reviewed by the MCC.

The MCC has recognized the high degree of political commitment the Philippine government has demonstrated to this process which is a product of a multi-stakeholder effort.

The Philippines’ PIP will monitor progress in preventive measures against corruption such as improving transparency in budget delivery, institutionalization of a balanced scorecard system on improved frontline public services in specific national agencies, and development of selected local government units (LGUs) as sparkplugs for economic development.

The MCC will provide $5.57 million to help the Philippines complete beneficiary analysis, engineering designs, and environmental and social impact assessments for the Compact proposal. (PIA V Release)

Peace process remains government’s top priority

MANILA — Malacañang reiterated Wednesday (November 18) that peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) remains a huge priority of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and that her administration will try to resolve the peace conflict before she steps down next year.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said that President Arroyo is genuinely concerned over the peace situation in Mindanao and wants a lasting solution by way of an accord with the MILF and the Communist Party of the Philippines-National People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

“The peace process is on top of the agenda of President Arroyo from day one. When she took the helm in January 21, 2001, we have a national security briefing and she made her initial guidance and reaction and that is to pursue peace process in all groups fighting the government,” Ermita said.

He added that development can only happen “if there’s peace and order and security in an area.”

“Call it whatever it is, but the successful agreement coming out of the negotiations definitely will be a legacy to any president as the 1996 GRP-MNLF (Government of the Republic of the Philippines-Moro National Liberation Front) agreement, you might say, was a legacy of Ramos administration. But of course, all presidents would like full efforts at maintaining peace and order especially in achieving an agreement where there is trouble is a legacy. Of course, not just for legacy, but that is what’s needed,” he explained.

He also noted the MILF’s sincerity in the ongoing peace talks as demonstrated in their cooperation to rescue and free the abducted Irish priest Michael Sinnott.

Ermita, however, added that MILF as a group cannot control all their people on the ground due to the presence of its rogue elements.

The government would continue with its peace paradigm of using both soft and hard power, interfaith dialogue, authentic consultations with communities, and the principles of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration for all armed rebel groups.

Malacanang has earlier reiterated that terrorism and criminality could not be solved by force alone but by development as well.

Aside from pursuing a final peace pact with the MILF, the government is also hopeful that peace talks between the government peace panel and the CPP-NPA-NDF would soon resume as back channel negotiations continue.

Last August, both the government and the MILF peace panels expressed a desire to resume the stalled negotiations, following the July 29 meeting between government peace panel chairman Ambassador Rafael Seguis and MILF Chairman Mohagher Iqbal.

Both panels are now working on the terms of references.
The government, upon the President’s instruction, issued a Suspension of Military Operation (SOMO) on July 23. The MILF reciprocated with its own Suspension of Military Activities (SOMA) two days later. (PIA V Release)

PGMA inducts 67 government employees, 27 NGO members

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led Wednesday (November 18) the mass oath taking of 67 government employees and 27 members of non-government organizations at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang.

President Arroyo administered the oath of office of Supreme Court Associate Justice Martin Villarama, Jr. He is the 166th magistrate to be appointed to the High Court.

The 63-year old SC Associate Justice was a perennial nominee by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) having nominated for nine times. He previously received recognition as one of the justices with zero or least pending cases during the 71st Anniversary of the Court of Appeals in 2007.

The nine Court of Appeals Associate Justices who took their oath of office include Justices Socorro Inting, Angelita Gacutan, Edwin Sorongon, Ramon Cruz, Agnes Carpio, Amy Lazaro Javier, Franchito Diamante, Rodil Zalameda and Edgardo Delos Santos.

The Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Enrique Manalo also took his oath of office. He previously served as the Foreign Affairs Undersecretary and the Philippines Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

The other envoys inducted were Philippine Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Jesus Yabes, Philippine Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa Mario De Leon, Jr., and Philippine Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Jerril Santos.

The other oath-takers were from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Office of the President, Presidential Management Staff, National Labor Relations, Legal Education Board, Federation of Aviation Organizations of the Philippines, Inc., and Lopez (Quezon) Greater Manila Residents Asociation Inc. (PIA V Release)

Japanese firm donates rice to Oplan Sagip Bayan

MANILA — Asahi Glass Company (AGC) of Japan donated 300 sacks of rice to Malacanang’s Oplan Sagip Bayan, in support of government efforts to provide relief to victims of tropical storms “Ondoy “and “Pepeng.”

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita received the letter of donation this Wednesday (November 18) afternoon from Naoki Arai, general manager of AGC Ltd., in simple rites held at the Oplan Sagip Bayan headquarters in Malacanang.

Witnessing the turnover of the two truckloads of Sinandomeng and Angelica rice were AGC Flat Glass Philippines Inc. chairman Renato Ermita, and AGC Phils. President Emmanuel Go.

Also present were Presidential Management Staff director general Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and Social Welfare Undersecretary for operations and capacity building group Cecilia Capadocia-Yangco.

Secretary Ermita AGC officials that the donation will be brought to the task force headquarters for repacking and after that the volunteers of Oplan Sagip Bayan will deliver the goods to the victims of calamities.

Records from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) showed that as of Nov. 2, the donations (both in cash and in kind) have reached P75.5 million. (PIA V Release)

PGMA to attend Lakas-Kampi CMD national convention

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will attend tomorrow the Lakas-Kampi CMD national convention at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The convention will formally ratify the nominations of former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro and showbiz personality Edu Manzano for president and vice president, respectively.

In the same convention, the President is expected to hand over the party leadership to former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro before some 1,000 delegates from all over the country.

The President and six top party officials, namely House Speaker Prospero Nograles, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, the President’s Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio, and the incoming president and secretary general of the party will be asked to go up the stage.

The President will call the session to order. She is expected to continue serving the party as president emeritus. (PIA V Release)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DRUG PREVENTION WEEK – Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal, delivers his message during the kick-off ceremonies for the observance of National Drug Prevention and Control Week with the theme: “Kilos Pamayanan: Sa Droga Patuloy na Lumaban”, held at the Peñaranda Park, Old Albay District, Legazpi City, November 16, 2009. (Alex Cal/PIA)