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

Saturday, May 30, 2009


ALBAY Province — Officials and employees of the national and local government line organizations rekindled respect for the Philippine Flag, the symbol of Philippine Independence, with the traditional flag-raising ceremony in observance of the National Flag Day on Thursday (May 28) held at the Peñaranda Park in Legazpi City.

DENR Regional Executive Director Joselin Marcus Fragada, designated chair of this year’s celebration, enjoined everyone who attended the joint flag raising ceremony to practice by heart the Flag Day theme which is "Igalang ang Watawat, sa Isip, Sa Salita at sa Gawa."

He said there is a need to promote public awareness of good citizenship values such as love and respect for the country, for the National Flag and National Anthem, and other national symbols which embody national pride.

He also noted that some people do not give due respect to the flag, reminding everyone then to respect and follow key considerations in displaying the flag.

“During flag-raising, all persons present must stand at attention and place their right palm over the heart. When displayed with other flags, it should always be on the left of the observer,” he said.

Fragada stressed that using it as a costume or as a cover for tables or curtain is a big show of disrespect to the Filipino nation.

He also said DENR Bicol has issued prescribed templates for the relevant event tarpaulins and other materials to celebrate the event and that they have displayed the Philippine flag, event tarpaulins and buntings at government offices.

Another huge flag is displayed at the Provincial Capitol Building with the inscription of this year’s Flag Day theme and 'Pilipinas kong Mahal'

Mayor Noel Rosal here meanwhile shared to the government employees in attendance the history of the flag since it was first used during the proclamation of independence in Kawit, Cavite.

"Today the Philippines is a free and democratic nation and the flag remains as the symbol of the country," said Rosal.

He also stressed that the same Philippine Flag strengthened the Filipinos to defend the republic government from 1899 until 1901 from the hands of the Americans.

"We only know a few of those who died for our independence. Many of them remain unknown and unnamed, this makes the flag and the National Anthem as a lasting valedictory for every drop of blood they shed for the country," he said.

The flag symbolizes thousands of Filipinos who offered their lives just to get the freedom of the Philippines.

On March 6, 1965, President Diosdado Macapagal issued Proclamation No. 374 “Declaring the Twenty-Eighth Day of May Each Year as Flag Day.” The display of the Philippine Flag from May 28 to June 12 of each year was done by virtue of Executive Order No. 179 signed by President Fidel V. Ramos on May 24, 1994, for Filipinos “to collectively reflect on the significance of the National Flag.

On February 12, 1998, Republic Act 8491, otherwise known as Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines was signed into law. (MALoterte, PIA V Release)


SORSOGON Province — A total of 1,341 farmers from Sorsogon City and 12 other municipalities here have completed the five-month training course on Palay Check System, a dynamic rice crop management system that is projected to increase production and profitability by 50 per cent.

The Provincial Agriculture Office, in cooperation with the different local government units (LGUs) here has facilitated the field study, technology transfer and demonstration that form part of the training course.

Provincial Agriculturist David Gillego said through lectures, participatory discussions, field practicum and field tours, farmers learned to understand, apply and adopt technologies embedded in the Palay Check System.

He explained that as an integrated crop management system for rice, Palay Check recognizes that rice growing is a production system consisting of a range of factors that are interdependent and interrelated in their impact on the growth, yield and rice grain quality, and on the sustainability of the environment.

He elaborated that Palay check covers the principal areas of crop management such as seed quality, land preparation, crop establishment, nutrient management, water management, pest management and harvest management.

He added that the technology encourages farmers to manage their rice crop according to targets by measuring crop performance and analyzing results, providers standards in the form of key check that guide farmers on what to achieve, recommend on how to achieve the key checks and guide on how to assess the key checks.

Data from the PAO reveal that palay production in the province is insufficient, meeting only 80 per cent of the total rice requirement.

Governor Sally Lee, meanwhile, stated “the adoption of new technologies, such as the Palay Check System, is crucial in meeting our production shortfall.”

“In light of increasing occurrence of disasters that further affects our agricultural output, we really must encourage farmers to apply these technologies,” she added.

PAO hopes to establish more field schools on Palay Check for more farmers to adopt the technology. There are an estimated 18,500 rice farmers in the master list of the PAO.

In Bicol region, Sorsogon province has the most number of sites devoted to the Palay Check System.

The program is funded by the Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI), PhilRice, Provincial Government of Sorsogon and local government units. (MFDeniega, MAIB Sorsogon/PIA)


SORSOGON Province — The Provincial Health Office (PHO) here has incessantly intensified its public awareness campaigns on the prevention and control of Influenza A (H1N1) following the growing number of cases recorded in the country.

Dr. Liduvina Dorion, assistant provincial health officer of PHO Sorsogon, said that after the Orientation on Influenza A-H1N1 Preparedness given to local health officials and stakeholders all over the province, the PHO and DOH Provincial Health Team have since conducted orientations among physicians and health workers in the municipal and barangay levels.

“We already met as well with officials of DepEd Division offices, their medical personnel were given orientation on awareness drive and handling situations least they would encounter students, parents and school personnel who manifest symptoms of Influenza A,” she added.

She stressed the Provincial Integrated Disease and Response Unit (PIDRU) of the PHO is now actively conducting a weekly surveillance on influenza-like illnesses in which updated reports is regularly monitored by the PHO.

Joel Babasa, PHO administrative officer, meanwhile, said tents from the Provincial Engineering Office have been readied to serve as triads and a certain area in front of the provincial hospital has been designated as holding area of patients in case the infection would reach the province.

“Some personnel were also identified by PHO to man the holding area,” he added.

Along this line, Dorion advises the public not to panic since there is no community level outbreak and that those found positive are now on their way to recovery.

She, however, also cautioned the public to take extra care by following the Influenza A Advisory released by the DOH.

In a related development, DepEd Sorsogon Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Danilo Despi said that the school opening will push through as scheduled

He assured the parents and students DepEd has been closely coordinating with the PHO in implementing precautionary measures to ensure 100% safety among children as they report to school on June 1. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


DAET, Camarines Norte – The Provincial Health Office (PHO) has conducted an orientation and created a task force for the Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases particularly now the Influenza A (H1N1) virus that scare people all over the world, held Monday at the Provincial Hospital here.

Dr. Arnulfo Salagoste, Camarines Norte provincial health officer, said that the province should be ready at all times from the threat of AH1N1.

“PHO preparations are already underway, setting up the quarantine and isolation areas for suspected Influenza A victims as well as training of health personnel that will respond to reported cases and provide medical attention,” he explained.

Dr. Jocelyn Iraola MD, MPH of the Department of Health (DOH) explained that AH1N1 is caused by a novel strain that resulted from the re-assortment of 4 viruses from pigs, human and birds.

She elaborated the signs and symptoms is similar to regular flu such as fever, headache, fatigue, lack of appetite, runny nose, sore throat, cough, vomiting or nausea and diarrhea.

“Usually, the persons infected by AH1N1 are those who traveled in countries affected by the said virus and locals who had contact with the infected individuals,” she noted.

She said that AH1N1 now is pandemic in progress and in Phase 6 according to the World Health Organizations (WHO).

She also urged the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to activate the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTS) in the province to monitor persons who came from other countries.

Iraola stressed that they are prepared on what to do in case there will be suspected case here wherein their Provincial Epidemiology Unit will refer the case to the Bicol Medical Center for initial detection and in turn will refer case to the Research for Tropical Medicine (RITM) or to the San Lazaro Hospital for proper actions. (RBManlangit, PIA Cam. Nor.)


MASBATE CITY—After the gun battle, came the word war.

A ranking aide of PNP Provincial Director Reuben Theodore Sindac has denied a New People’s Army report that communist rebels killed eight policemen during the March 12 gun battle on the highway of Mandaon.

Chief Inspector Rodolfo C. Abella, head of police community relations (PCR) branch of Provincial Police Office, described the NPA report as a “farce” and called the NPA’s Jose Rapsing Command spokesperson, Luz del Mar who released the report, as a “lie.”

“(S)inungaling ang NPA,” Abella said in a press statement.

Del Mar had claimed that the ambush staged by NPA cadres on the barangay Pinamangcaan segment of the highway resulted in the death of eight members of 506th Police Provincial Mobile Group and the wounding of several others.

“Ang katotohanan, walang namatay na kasapi ng 506th PPMG at tatlo lamang ang wounded in action,” Abella said.

Abella laughed off the NPA spokesperson’s allegation that even the news media did not see the lifeless bodies of PPMG troopers because the police provincial command deliberately did a cover up of its battle losses.

“(K)ailanman hindi p’wedeng itago ang pagkamatay ng isang alagad ng batas,” he said said adding that “maghahanap at maglalahad ng katotohanan mismo ang pamilya ng pulis.”

He cited another NPA report which he said did not happen. He said Del Mar reported that a team led by Senior Inspector Eduardo Regalario of Mandaon Police Station lost one trooper in the firefight with another rebel squad on the highway of Barangay Panguiranan in Balud also last March 12.

Claiming victory in those gun battles, Abella said that government troopers and civilian witnesses described seeing NPA rebels flee with two fatally wounded cadres.

“(K)ung saan-saang kagubatan na lang inihukay ang pobreng nasawing mga NPA,” he said.

…name names in illegal fishing payoff

Abella also dared the NPA to name names so that the police leadership could investigate the rebels’ allegation that a former barangay captain, Fernando Aninang of Panguiranan, Balud, had Camp Bonny Serrano and Balud Municipal Police Station on his monthly payroll to protect his illegal fishing activities.

The NPA accused the rebels of sowing fear among the households of Aninang’s fishing workers, including women and children, when the insurgents raided their houses.

“Kung tunay na makamasa ang NPA, bakit hindi siya (Aninang) hinuli at isinuko sa kasalukuyang pamunuan ng Barangay Panguiranan o Bantay Dagat ng Balud upang makasuhan?” (EADelegado, PIA Masbate)


PILI, Camarines Sur — Some 300 leaders of the different sects and denominations across Bicol attended the formal signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) forging partnership in pursuit for peace and development in the region held Thursday (May 28) at the Camarines Sur State Agricultural College (CSSAC) here.

The MOA manifests the cooperation between the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process-Social Integration Program (OPAPP-SIP) and the Bicol Ministerial Fellowship Committee (BMFC), a regional fellowship of evangelical, Baptist, Pentecostal and Independent Christ-centered and scripture based churches in the region.

Pastor Eduardo P. Pilapil, Sr., chair of the BFMC, and OPAPP Sec. Avelino Razon led the signing of the said MOA.

With the theme “Forging Partnership for Peace”, the MOA signing marked the start of promoting cooperation not only between the OPPAP-SIP and BMFC but also among community leaders and citizenry to work hand in hand in pursuit for genuine and lasting peace and development in Bicol region and in the country as a whole.

Present during the occasion were Asec. Tomasito B. Monson of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Bicol; Maj. Gen. Ruperto R. Pabustan, commander of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army; C/Supt Reynaldo Osia, provincial director of Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office; Bishop Ephraim Tendero of PCEC; Bishop Cesar Punzalan; Atty. Danny Azaña, vice chair of the BMFC; and, other invited guests. (DCAbad, PIA CamSur)


MANILA — There is nothing worry about the new A/H1N1 infections, ranking palace officials said Thursday (May 28).

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita assured that the prevention and surveillance systems are in place to contain the spread of the new virus.

Ermita said the new cases are not enough reason to postpone the opening of class on Monday.
For his part, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Anthony Golez said the situation in the Philippines in far from the situation in Mexico where community level outbreaks took place.

The Department of Health reported four more A/H1N1 cases raising the number of infections to 10.

The new cases, a 24-year-old mother, her one-year-old daughter; a 47-year-old male and a 13-year-old male, are the people who attended a wedding in Zambales, the same occasion where the infected Taiwanese nationals were also present.

“Three are Filipinos, and one is a foreign national. All are taking Oseltamivir and only have mild acute respiratory illness,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said in a statement.

On how the Taiwanese nationals caught A/H1N1 remains a mystery to health authorities.
DOH is waiting for the results of laboratory tests of some 50 people who also attended the Zambales wedding. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — Malacañang on Thursday (May 28) cited the expansion of the Philippine economy by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of the year.

”A growth is still a growth as we have heard and seen the report but we should try to reflect the gross national product (GNP) which includes the number of remittances by the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) which contributes greatly to the Philippine economy,” said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Dr. Anthony Golez in an interview with reporters at the New Executive Building (NEB) in San Miguel, Manila.

Golez, however said, this is not yet a time to celebrate because it’s common knowledge that the global economic situation will improve by the second half of the year.

He said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will continue to focus, among others, in job generation.

Malacañang officials as well as Golez were reacting to earlier reports that the Philippine economy expanded by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of the year from 3.9 percent in the same period last year.

It was the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) which released the report.
Romulo Virola, secretary-general of NSCB attributed the growth in the economy to the positive contributions of construction, agriculture, transportation, communication and storage, mining and quarrying, and private Services.

On the expenditure side, Virola said little growth drivers were construction, import of non factor services, personal consumption expenditure (PCE), export of non factor services, and government consumption expenditure.

For the first three months of the year, Virola said the total OFW compensation amounted to P302.16 billion, up by 38.5 percent from P218.11 billion in the same period last year.
During the period, the total OFW deployment rose 44.7 percent to 367,931 from 254,123 from January to March last year.

The NSCB official said the economy also boosted by the disbursement of government funds for infrastructure projects, which rebounded to 3.8 percent from negative 0.3 percent recorded last year.

He added that private construction rebounded from negative 4.1 percent the previous year to 9.9 percent while infrastructure investments by the government managed to improve public construction to a lower negative 4.4 percent from negative 10.9 percent.

Virola said agriculture, fishery and forestry sector contracted by 1 percent in the first quarter after expanding by 0.9 in the last quarter with the declines of other crops, corn and sugarcane.

Industry registered its lowest growth for the last twenty years as it sank by 6.6 percent from 0.1 percent gain in the last quarter.

The substantial weakening of the manufacturing sector contributed immensely to the contraction of industry. Services sector posted no growth for the first quarter of 2009 compared to 0.2 percent recorded the previous quarter, as trade declined while other sub sectors slowed down.

Virola, however, said a big challenge to the economic managers during the remaining month of the second quarter is the fact that the economy is now teetering into recession as seasonally adjusted GDP sank by 2.3 percent, the lowest for the past 20 years. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has extended her heartfelt congratulations to Brillante Mendoza for having won the best Director Award at the 62nd Cannes Film Festivals for his movie “Kinatay.”

“Being the first Filipino to have won such an award obviously makes Director Mendoza one of the best filmmakers of our time,” the President said.

“Director Mendoza’s winning movie depicts social realities and serves as an eye-opener for moral recovery and social transformation which my Administration has been pursuing even early on my Presidency,” she said.

The President stressed that Director Mendoza’s extraordinary feat brings pride to every Filipino and will be an inspiration to our filmmakers to strive harder for global recognition.

“His accomplishment and those of our other artists in the various disciplines who have been raking in honors for the country attest to the our people’s wealth of talents that enable us to withstand and overcome the challenges of our times,” the President added. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. has praised the Armed Forces of the Philippines for its accomplishment during the past five months against the communist New People’s Army (NPA), which President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wants defeated before the end of her term next year.

Teodoro said that no less than the President, the military’s commander-in-chief, expressed satisfaction over what the military had done in the fight against the NPA rebels from January to May, this year.

Last Monday, the military reported that the strength of the four-decade-old NPA has been reduced to about 4,800 in May from about 5,200 as of the end of last year. The NPA’s current number is the lowest since the group had the peak membership of about 25,000 men in the 1980s.

“No one is more satisfied than the President and me. They (AFP) have done so much with so little. You go and ask every expert in the Armed Forces and they will tell you how amazed they are on how we are accomplishing our mission,” said Teodoro.

He said the military is scoring feats against the communists while addressing the rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Central Mindanao; the Abu Sayyaf Group in Western Mindanao and at the same time engaging in disaster response.

“We are attending four fronts -– the CPP/NPA, rogue MILF and the Abu Sayyaf and natural disasters and calamities. We are addressing these at the same time. The mere fact that the country’s security situation is still stable, this is already a big accomplishment by our military and the police,” said Teodoro.

On whether it is still wise to revive the negotiations with the communists, Teodoro said he is in favor of resuming the talks with them for as long as the issue that would be discussed would be their surrender to government.

Peace talks between the government and the communist rebels bogged down in 2004 after the United States included the CPP and the NPA in its list of foreign terrorist organizations. Efforts by both sides are underway to revive the formal talks.

“To me, let's see what the things that would be discussed are and if it's their surrender to government and laying down their arms, let's see the condition. I am not averse to the talks, but if we are going to be compelled to stop our efforts against criminality in the country, we can't agree to that,” said Teodoro. (PIA V Release)

Thursday, May 28, 2009


CAMARINEES SUR Province — Some 6,000 locals benefited from the 3-day Caravan under the People’s Government Mobile Action (PGMA) program of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo held in the towns of Minalabac, Pasacao and Libmanan here last May 21-23.

Representative Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo of the 1st congressional district of this province said the People’s Caravan manifests the government’s desire in bringing the government closer to the people through delivery of basic social services.

Services offered during the caravan were medical and dental services, free medicines, on-site renewal of NBI clearance; NTC’s Libreng Tawag for long distance and overseas; distribution of tilapia fingerlings from BFAR; and distribution of seeds and seedling from DENR and DA

Residents were also able to apply to and/or query on matters concerning the, Pag-Ibig, PhilHealth, PNP, PA, NHA, NSO, SSS, TESDA, DTI, DA, DOLE, DepEd, CDA and LGUs

Arroyo said the People’s Caravan, in partnership with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), is very timely in providing medial services and medicines to the residents amidst the escalating fees and prices in the private clinics or hospitals.

Minalabac Mayor Gil Basmayor expressed his gratitude for the chance to have his constituents availed of the free medical check-up and free medications.

“The People’s Caravan really gave our constituents a big relief in the wake of the present global economic crisis,” he stated.

Arroyo expressed elation and thanked the chief executives of the three beneficiary-towns for their all out support and cooperation in staging the series of caravans that evidently has liven up the day of the residents

The solon also distributed 25 units of personal computers to all barangays of Minalabac town, uniforms to barangay police personnel. (MALoterte/DCAbad, PIA Bikol)


LEGAZPI CITY — With a second confirmed case in the country on Influenza A (H1N1), the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Bicol here convened Tuesday (May 26) members of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) and the media to intensify information campaign and preparedness efforts to prevent the spread of the dreaded disease.

OCD Bicol regional director Raffy Alejandro said part of the plan is staging an Awareness Caravan on June 1, in time for the opening of classes, to commence the massive awareness campaign in Albay province which in no time is also expected to be replicated in five other provinces of Bicol through the different local government units (LGUs).

Among other activities the OCD intends to adopt include distribution of information materials, conduct of information campaign through radio and school hopping, putting up of streamers, staging concert and radio/TV advisory placement.

Daniel Garcia, chair of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), said the simultaneous airing of a 15-minute advocacy campaign in all local radio stations at a particular time of the day would also be most helpful and effective to reach even the remotest areas.

“This will enhance the impact of the information among the people and correct misconceptions and start to alert all the people down the barangay (village) levels to take the necessary precautionary measures before the virus reaches Bicol, in case it would,” Lieutenant Darwin Nieva of the Philippine Navy here also stressed during the meeting.
Member agencies, including the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Bicol, were given flyers on Influenza A (H1N1) that includes information about the signs and symptoms, mode of transmission, prevention and referral centers in case of suspected cases.
The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol, the designated crisis manager for this concern, has identified the Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital (BRTTH) here (Hotline: 52 4830014 or 4830017) and the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City (Hotline: 54 4734367) as referral centers for emerging AH1N1 cases. Hotlines for these centers

Influenza A is a new virus causing illness in people which is fatal if not treated promptly. The virus spreads from person-to-person much in the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses are spread while the virus was first detected last month in Mexico, the epicenter of the illness.

Health officials are asking the public to immediately consult a doctor in case symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, muscle or joint pains, lack of appetite, runny nose, sore throat, cough, vomiting or nausea and diarrhea persist as these are the same manifestations of Influenza A.

People do not get the virus by eating thoroughly cooked pork, according to the DOH.
Susceptible to getting the virus is through exposure to droplets form the cough and sneeze of an infected person, this is, learned.

The DOH flyer stated prevention tips such as covering one’s nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing; frequent hand washing; using alcohol-based sanitizers; avoiding close contact with sick people; and increasing body resistance including getting at least eight hours of sleep, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious foods. (MALoterte, PIA V Release)


SORSOGON Province — The Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO), here has distributed 16 units of flatbed dryers to irrigators associations and cooperatives under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Fertilizer, Irrigation, Extension, Loans, Dryers, Seeds (FIELDS) Program.

Governor Sally A. Lee has earlier made arrangements for the province to be a recipient of the post harvest equipment.

Lee said her move is in recognition of the pressing needs of farmers for dryers, especially when the weather has become so unpredictable and rains have become more frequent, preventing farmers from drying their crops through natural methods. The program is also aimed at improving the quality of palay throughout the province.

She bared that five units have already been installed for farmers’ cooperatives in Baribag, Sorsogon City; Bancal, Bacon District; Juban; Gubat; and Irosin while another is being installed in Barcelona.

“Ten more units will be installed for farmer cooperatives in other parts of the province,” she added.

Recipients were chosen from a list submitted by municipal agricultural offices, irrigators associations and cooperatives. Qualified beneficiaries must have passed the requirements of the DA.

Farmers’ cooperative must cover at least 100 hectares of rice land among its members, certification from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and a minimum lot of 300 square meters on which the dryer is to be installed.

Each flatbed dryer has the capacity to dry 120 cavans of palay for a period of eight hours.
It is also economical as it uses rice hull as fuel for the furnace and a 12.5 horse power diesel engine for the blower.

Recipients are also trained on proper operation of the flatbed dryer and given a meter for gauging palay moisture content. The flatbed dryers are also equipped with a shed. Each unit is estimated at over P600,000. (MFDeniega, MAIB Sorsogon/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — PhilHealth Bicol director Orlando Iñigo noted that in availing PhilHealth benefits, one of the conditions that affect the amount of benefit that a member or his/her dependent is entitled to is the classification of illness or more commonly referred to as Case Type.

Iñigo announced that with the corporation’s goal to make benefits more responsive to the members’ needs, PhilHealth Circular No. 18, s. 2009 was issued pursuant to the approved PhilHealth Board Resolution No. 1208, s. 2009 that aimed to update and rationalize the current case type classification.

Hence, the following clarification and guidelines on the revised case type classification are issued:

• Case type is an assessment of complexity of illness assigned to a case after discharge. It is measured on a four scale system, from A to D, with case type A being the least complex and case type D as the most severe.

Case Type Severity Example

A Simple Upper respiratory tract infection (J06.9)
B Moderate Status asthmaticus (J46)
C Severe End stage renal disease (N18.0)
D Extremely Severe Deep intracerebral haemorrhage (I61.0)

• All ICD-10 (International Coding of Diseases ver. 10) codes are assigned with corresponding fixed case types. Hence, all claims submitted to PhilHealth, except those paid through case payment shall be paid based on the case type of primary illness.

• For coding and reimbursement of medical claims, case type will be based on the ICD-10 of the primary illness or main condition. The primary illness or main condition is the condition identified at the time of discharge as being the main reason for the patient’s confinement, whether it is for receiving care or for investigation of a current illness or injury.

• In cases wherein the hospital claimed for a lower reimbursement, PhilHealth shall reimburse to the member within the amount of the remaining benefit, provided the claim is supported by an Official Receipt (OR) and Statement of Account (SoA) issued by the hospital.

• For claims with surgical procedure/s and other services, the case type shall be based on the corresponding Relative Value Unit (RVU) assigned to the procedure.

Case Type Severity Example

A 80 and below Simple repair of wound (RVU 10)
B 81 up to 200 Appendectomy (RVU 100
C 201 up to 500 Whipple-type procedures (RVU 450)
D 501 and above Surgery intracranial aneurysm (RVU 600)

• It is reiterated that benefits for case type D can only be paid for patients admitted in Level 3 and 4 (tertiary) hospitals. Case type D in Level 1 (primary) and 2 (secondary) hospitals shall be paid as case type B and C, respectively.

The provisions on the above stated circular shall be applicable to all admissions effective July 1, 2009. (PhilHealth Release/PIA)


SORSOGON CITY — The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) here has slated inspection of all boarding houses and schools in this city in preparation for the opening of classes on June 1.

C/Ins. Renato Marcial, Sorsogon City fire marshal said this is part of the BFP’s mandate to ensure the safety of our students especially that we are expecting a great number of them who will troop to the said place this school year 2009-2010.

Marcial has directed his fire safety inspectors to inspect all the schools and dormitories in order to abate hazards.

“There are at least four schools that were inspected and have been issued notice to correct violations, most of these have nor or insufficient firefighting apparatus, such as fire extinguisher, no evacuation plan, padlocked fire exits and no emergency lights,” he bared.

“Administrators or owners of these schools as well as boarding houses should comply with the fire safety standards being required to them, since this is for their own as well as for the students’ safety,” he added, as he appealed to those operators of dormitories to secure necessary permits before they should operate their own business.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Ronaldo Puno earlier ordered all fire bureau offices in the country to intensify fire safety inspection of all schools and dormitories frequented by the students.

He also reminded the BFP officials to be serious in the implementation of the Fire Code of the Philippines.

Since fire safety can not be compromised, Puno issued an order directing all City and Municipal Fire Marshals to issue notice to correct violations to those who are negligent or blatantly violating the provisions of the law. (BFP Sorsogon/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — Refusing to be confined to his own district, a solon has extended his time and effort in spreading the advocacy on cervical cancer prevention among women.

Muntinlupa lone district Representative Ruffy Biazon, in a breakfast conference at the Nipa Hut Resto here, said he is joining once again this year’s Tour of Hope, entitled “XXX-Dare to be Bold” to spread his advocacy of cervical cancer prevention to women in Southern Luzon.

The Tour of Hope kicked off in Muntinlupa on May 24, 2009 and will end in Camarines Sur on May 30, 2009. Scheduled stops will happen in Cavite, Tagaytay, Batangas and Quezon.

In Camarines Sur sorties, Biazon will be joined by his father, Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, in attending the Cervical Cancer Forum at the CWC in Pili town tomorrow (May 28).

A joint project of Bravehearts, CECAP for the Cancer Institute Foundation, GlaxoSmithLine Philippines, Creative Juice, Campaigns PR Inc., and strategic partnership with Team David’s Salon, the Philippine’s first all-women multisport team, this year’s tour will cover approximately 500 kilometers of the Southern Luzon and the Metro Manila area.

In each stop, doctors from the Cervical Cancer Prevention (CECAP) Network Program of the Philippines will be holding lay for a on cervical cancer and its prevention spreading the advocacy of cervical cancer prevention to women in these areas. The activity will also aid in promoting tourism and in providing much needed awareness that the Philippines has a lot of scenic biking destinations.

Biazon first partnered with CECAP to raise cervical cancer awareness in his own district. He allocated his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for the purchase of a creyotherapy unit and the training of local health providers in the “Single Visit Approach” for the screening, detection and treatment of the disease.

Through his initiative, the City Health Office of Muntinlupa earned the “Best Practices Award” in the year 2008.

Earlier this year, Biazon was awarded the “Honorary Woman” by CECAP and SM Women’s Committee for his commitment to the anti-cervical cancer program, recognizing his efforts in consistency implementing health programs for the welfare of the women in his district. Aside from the program with CECAP he consistently conducts free medical missions with pre-natal check-up with ultrasound, CBC, blood typing and hepatitis B screening for expectant mothers.

He joined last year’s Tour of Hope where more than 200 bikers covered 500 kilometers stretching from the province of Vigan down to Olongapo City. Lay lectures were conducted on cervical cancer prevention and it was attended by over a thousand people spreading the advocacy up north.

“Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. Still, records show that it is the second most common cancer afflicting Filipino women. My involvement in the Tour of Hope is a commitment to the mission of cervical cancer awareness and prevention through an information and education campaign,” he stressed. (MALoterte, PIA V Release)

by: Carminda R. Arevalo, Supervising History Researcher, National Historical Institute

The Philippine Flag is the country’s most cherished symbol. It is the nation’s emblem for freedom. It symbolizes patriotism, love of country and sense of nationhood; it embodies the aspirations and sentiments of the Filipino people.

Prior to the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the Filipinos had no national flag of their own. When the Filipinos rose in revolt against Spain, each revolutionary group had its own banner. General Mariano Llanera’s troops, for instance, used the “skull flag” in Nueva Ecija. Bonifacio, himself, had a personal standard.

It was during the preparation of the second phase of the Philippine Revolution (1898-1902) that the idea of coming up with a Philippine Flag was conceived by General Emilio Aguinaldo and other revolutionary leaders, then exiled in Hong Kong. The flag was handsewn by Marcela Mariño Agoncillo, wife of Don Felipe Agoncillo, with the help of her daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa Natividad, niece of Dr. Jose Rizal and wife of Gen. Salvador Natividad.

Made of silk, the flag had a white equilateral triangle at the left containing a sunburst of eight rays at the center, a five-pointed star at each angle of the triangle, an upper stripe of blue and a lower stripe of red. The sun stands for liberty; the sunburst of eight rays for the first eight provinces to take up arms against Spain (Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Cavite and Batangas); and the three stars for the three island groups of the Philippines – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The white triangle signifies Filipino hope for equality; the upper blue stripe stands for peace, truth and justice; while the lower red stripe stands for patriotism and valor.

General Aguinaldo brought the flag with him when he returned to the Philippines from Hong Kong on May 19, 1898. On May 28, 1898, in Barrio Alapan, Imus, Cavite, Filipino revolutionaries, with newly acquired arms brought in by General Aguinaldo, engaged a Spanish infantry in a battle. In this encounter known as the Battle of Alapan, the Spaniards were defeated. This battle which resulted in the triumph of Filipino forces was taken as a glorious occasion for General Emilio Aguinaldo to display the Philippine flag for the first time. The event, which marked the baptism of fire and glory of the Philippine Flag, was the beginning of the successful struggle to overthrow Spanish rule and the establishment of the Philippine Republic.

On June 12, 1898, in Kawit, Cavite the Philippine Flag was officially hoisted during the proclamation of Philippine Independence by General Aguinaldo. During the unfurling, the music band of San Francisco de Malabon played for the first time the Marcha Nacional Filipina, composed by Julian Felipe, a Filipino music teacher and composer from Cavite. Later, the poem “Filipinas” by th young poet soldier Jose Palma became the lyrics of the anthem. The same flag was flown with dignity during the inauguration of the Malolos Congress on September 15, 1898.

At the onset of the American occupation, the display of the Philippine Flag was prohibited. Act No. 1696 of 1907 banned the display of the Philippine flag and other revolutionary flags. The ban was lifted in 1920. However, when the Japanese came in 1942, the use of the Philippine Flag was again forbidden.

On July 4, 1946, at the inauguration of the Third Philippine Republic at the Luneta, an historic drama unfolded before the eyes of about 300,000 people. The American flag was lowered and the Philippine Flag was raised, marking the official decolonization of the Philippines.

The Philippine Flag stood as witness to the glorious events of our history. It encountered the most significant events in the Filipinos’ struggle for freedom. Flying alone in the wind, it brings back the glory of our struggle, not only against invaders, but our quest for a just and free society.

In the earlier 1950’s and 1960’s, former Katipuneros and revolutionaries would march in front of the Luneta grandstand carrying the Philippine flag every Independence Day. During the parade, they marched proudly with tears welling up in their eyes, vowing to fight again if there be a need to protect our country’s freedom. Let us rekindle the same idealism and patriotism. Let us rally to the flag – the symbol of our continued struggle, of our ideals and sentiments as a nation. Therefore, reverence and respect should at all times be accorded to the flag. It deserves to be treated with solemnity and dignity.

On March 6, 1965, President Diosdado Macapagal issued Proclamation No. 374 “Declaring the Twenty-Eighth Day of May Each Year as Flag Day.” The display of the Philippine Flag from May 28 to June 12 of each year was done by virtue of Executive Order No. 179 signed by President Fidel V. Ramos on May 24, 1994, for Filipinos “to collectively reflect on the significance of the National Flag.

On February 12, 1998, Republic Act 8491, otherwise known as Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines was signed into law. (NHI/PIA)


MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday (May 26) expressed happiness over the release of three teachers who were kidnapped by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan.

Based on a Philippine News Agency report, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo conveyed President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s gratitude to all those who participated and worked hard for the freedom of Freirez Quizon, Raphael Mayonado and Janet delos Reyes.

Through the efforts by Senior Supt. Manuel Barcena and former mayor Hajarun Jamiri, the teachers were released in Sitio Birahin, Barangay Candiis, Ajul town.

Last January 23, the teachers were on their way home from school in Barangay Landang Gua on Sacol Island when the abduction took place.

Meanwhile, authorities are still working for the recovery of Sri Lankan volunteer Umar Jaleel and microfinance collector Leah Patriz who were also kidnapped by suspected bandits in the province. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — There are no compelling reasons for foreigners to skip the Philippines, the Department of Health said Tuesday (May 26).

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III was surprised over the travel advisories issued by Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom which he said have no bases.

As far as A/H1N1 is concerned, Duque said the Philippines has lower number of cases than other countries.

“Why will they do that when they have more cases (of AH1N1) than us? It defies logic,” said Duque who promised to take up the matter with the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Although the Philippines has two confirmed cases of A/H1N1, the DOH reported that the patients have recovered.

“They are asymptomatic. They are not manifesting any fever, headache, body weakness, cough, nor runny nose—none of the influenza-like symptoms,” Duque assured.

He said all those who have been in contact with the two patients have been identified.

In the case of those who came in contact with the mother and daughter who both exhibited flu symptoms after returning to Taiwan, at least eight of them have been traced and advised by DOH to go on self quarantine.

The Taiwanese mother and daughter have attended a wedding Zambales last May 17.

Duque said three of those identified have been tested negative for A/H1N1.

As part of the country’s over-all preparation for A/H1N1, Duque said they have identified referral centers for suspected AH1N1 cases such as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the Lung Center of the Philippines, the Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital in Cebu City, and the Davao Medical Center.

He said DOH is now reinforcing the abilities of state hospitals all over the country in dealing the new virus. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — The country’s A/H1N1 cases will not cause the Department of Education to postpone the opening of classes on June 1.

Apart from the absence of other compelling reasons, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said preventive measures have been in place in 43,000 schools nationwide for some time now.

“The Anti-Influenza campaign in schools has been issued since May 14. Principals, doctors and nurses were given specific guidelines on their roles in this campaign,” said Lapus who said DepEd will take the cue from the Department of Health as far as suspension of classes due to A/H1N1.

“Those who have gone abroad must impose on themselves self-quarantine,” said Lapus

What’s more important, Lapus said, is that school authorities will act immediately when suspected infections would occur.

Last Monday, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo instructed DepEd and the Department of Health to ensure that school administrators, teachers and students will get their hands on the guidelines on the prevention and control of A/H1N1 in schools.

Citing the guidelines, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said “closing schools would be an option to be considered particularly if students and faculty at a given time reaches levels of which schools could not function.”

“If big numbers of students are not coming to schools or big numbers of faculty members not coming to schools, (due to confirmed A/H1N1 infections) then there is no point. We might as well close it,” Duque explained.

Simultaneous or series absences, clustering of reported flu-like symptoms and manifestation of severe or unusual illness are among the indicators that schools should look for when dealing with cases of possible A/H1N1 infections.

On another vein, Duque said, closing schools (where there are A/H1N1 infections) has merits because it’s one way of containing the virus.

But as Lapus have said earlier, there are no reasons for delaying the opening of classes. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas sees inflation to slow down between 3.3 percent and 4.2 percent in May from 4.8 percent in April due to lower electricity rates and stronger peso.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., in a text message to reporters Tuesday, said the two factors “bodes well for the inflation outlook.”

The central bank said inflation outlook and expectations in the country remained positive and would continued improve due to decelerating rate of price increases nationwide.

Inflation peaked in August 2008, reaching 12.5 percent due to the uncertainties in the global economy that resulted to high prices of oil and food products.

The high inflation prompted the central bank to tighten its policy rates in line with its inflation-targeting framework.

Inflation started to ease at 11.9 percent in September last year.

BSP started cutting its policy rates since last December, reaching 150 basis points off to date.

Its overnight borrowing or reverse repurchase (RRP) facility rate is now at 4.5 percent while its overnight lending or repurchase (RP) facility rate is 6.5 percent.

The Monetary Board, the central bank's policy making body, is expected to implement another cut during its scheduled rate-setting meet on Thursday.

Tetangco, however, said that “even as we continue to witness well-anchored inflation expectations, we will monitor developments in global demand to see if any of the recent positive releases will finally move global economies to recovery.”

“We will be watchful of the impact of such on inflation going forward to ensure that our policy stance remains appropriate,” he also said. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — The chief of the National Economic and Development Authority once again dared oil firms to justify their prices by opening their books to scrutiny.

“We have shown our computations; it’s their turn to show theirs,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto on Tuesday.

Since petroleum products are still overpriced as high as Php 8 per liter; Recto thinks that “oil companies are not transparent in their pricing,”

Furthermore, he said the prices are still based in Metro Manila pricing and the average of prices of petroleum products nationwide has not been properly recorded.

“Now all the formula that I have seen, based on what the papers have reported, based on our methodology in NEDA, based on the certain articles written, the difference is one peso from our Php 32 – 33 (per liter). I think we’re closer to the truth. If the average price in Manila is Php 40, then you can do the math,” Recto said, “what’s taken me by surprise is that in Cebu it is much, much higher. That’s why the governor was complaining. It is higher in Cebu than it is in Metro Manila. It is not even considered in our computations.”

Recto said the oil firms should allow their books be seen by the Commission on Audit, the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue as ordered by a Manila court to settle the issue of price manipulations and other allegations of Oil Deregulation Law violations.

Another way of determining oil prices, Recto said, is through examining the oil firms’ sales receipts.

Despite the absence of a common formula in pricing petroleum products between NEDA and the Department of Energy, Recto said technical staffs from both departments are continuously working together to resolve the issue.

NEDA and DOE are scheduling a meeting with major oil players this coming Friday. (PIA V Release)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


NAGA CITY — The 13th batch of SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmer’s Training Program was launched Friday (May 22) at the Bicol Integrated Agricultural Research Center , Department of Agriculture RO- 5 compound, San Agustin, Pili, Camarines Sur.

SM Foundation's Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmer's Training Program is the social responsibility arm of SM Group of Companies, in cooperation with Harbest Agribusiness Corporation (HAC) and the Department of Agriculture (DA)

Launched in 2007, the program's conceptual approach is that of the Farmer's Field School, integrating theories and methods of agro-technology, experiential education and community development.

The three-month training course consists of a once-a-week lecture module and actual field practice. One feature is the “Training the Trainers” component ensuring the program's sustainability by giving farmers-turned-trainers extensive daily practice.

It also equips farmers with the technology to produce vegetables ready for commercial use as it covers a wide array of topics including site selection, land preparation, seed handling and seed culture, crop management, fertilization, irrigation, pest and disease control, fruit selection, harvesting, post-harvest handling, and marketing.

By enhancing backyard farming, it encourages the unemployed to venture into farming and provides marginal farmers better livelihood opportunities.

Upon completion of the training program, SM Foundation organizes a harvest festival with the aim of distributing the produce in SM Supermalls where SM suppliers participate in purchasing the products. Prime fruits and vegetables include cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, papaya, cherry tomato, eggplant and squash, among others.

The training has since produced a total of 814 graduates in various KSK sites including Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, Sta Rita in Pampanga, Marilog in Davao City, Pagbilao in Quezon, Sta. Rosa in Laguna, and Rosales in Pangasinan.

This year, the KSK Farmer's Training program will also be conducted in Cavite, Batangas, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Pampanga and Laguna. (DCAbad, PIA Cam. Sur)


DAET, Camarines Norte — The Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) here has increased its monthly budget to P 700,000 for financial assistance to indigent patients in the province.

Estrella Abasolo, officer in charge and chief Lottery Operations Officer, said that the budget has since April this year increased to P700,000 from P 400,000 in the preceding months.

She said that this is due to the income up trend which in turn PCSO intends to give it back to the people who are in need.

She explained that qualified patients can avail of a maximum of P10,000 financial assistance for hospitalization expenses and other health needs within a period of one year.

On the other hand, she stressed that PCSO will schedule a charity caravan this coming June during the Pinyasan Festival, providing free medical and dental services as well as free concert.

It can be recalled that similar caravan had been staged in the province and in other Bicol provinces. (RBManlangit, PIA Cam Norte)


DAET, Camarines Norte – The Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol regional office has already lined up programs on agricultural development for the province of Camarines Norte under the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP).

Dr. Jose V. Dayao, DA regional director, said during the Information Campaign on the Economic Crisis held here that DA will carry out corn and seeds distribution among local farmers, series of trainings on goat and swine raising, livelihood assistance to displaced worked and even hire additional laborers for several DA projects in the province.

“The projects form part of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s program to ensure food sufficiency, agricultural productivity and development, and job generation in the countryside,” he noted.

Among other projects up for implementation in the province include farm-to-market roads (FMR), rehabilitation of irrigation systems, and subsidies to farm inputs.

“DA also pursues the mainstreaming of the “Ginintuang Masaganang Ani” (GMA) program and the F.I.E.L.D.S. (F for fertilizer, micronutrients, use of the leaf color chart and minus-one element technique; I is for irrigation facilities rehabilitation and restoration; E is for extension, education, and training; L is for loans for inputs, shallow tube wells and surface water pumps; D is for dryers and other post harvest facilities provision; and S is for seed subsidy on quality genetic materials” he stressed.

Dayao recalled some 9, 814 bags of seeds were distributed to farmers in Bicol in 2008 while the National Food Authority had procured 16, 763 bags of play from rice farmers.

He added that rice sufficiency for last year reached 71.88% compared to 67.09% in 2007 and 61.63% in 2006

He also mentioned that DA Bicol has completed a total of 25 FMRs from 2007 up to present in different municipalities of Camarines Norte. (RBManlangit, PIA Cam. Norte)


LEGAZPI CITY— Socio-civic activities, humanitarian mission, and environmental protections drives have marked the commemoration of the 111th Philippine Navy Foundation Anniversary in Southern Luzon on May 16-22 2009.

Commodore Joel Babas AFP, commander of Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NAVFORSOL) led Sunday (May 16) the kick-off of the commemoration activities stressing in his message that the Fleet Marine Team remains and will continue to be capable and ever ready to respond to its duties or any contingencies any time and any place within its territory.

This year’s anniversary celebration anchored on the theme: “Team Navy: A Vital Partner for Lasting Peace, Progress and Development of a Maritime Nation”.

Babas said the core of the Navy’s competence lies in its Fleet Marine warriors and sailors who act with professionalism at all times, loyal and obedient to our oath, and humble in dealing with our people.

NAVFORSOL spearheaded events that benefited not only its men and women in uniform, but also the communities in the different parts of the Bicol region.

The week-long commemoration activities commenced with a “Walk for a Cause” last May 16 participated in by navy officials and personnel, civilian staff, benefactors and stakeholders

“This is our advocacy, one way of promoting a healthy lifestyle matched with environmental awareness campaign, through a fun-filled brisk walk at the same time plucking waste/garbage along the way from the navy headquarters en route to the summit of Lignon Hill,” the commodore said.

The naval command has also launched its Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) project in the NAVFORSOL headquarters, one with the Philippine Navy’s nationwide launching of the ESWM in all its bases, stations, and detachments all over the country.

Environmental concerns are among the advocacies of NAVFORSOL pursuing awareness and development initiatives that “do no harm” the environment. The naval command believes that the negative impacts should be avoided, and if these impacts are unavoidable, they should be reduced, mitigated or compensated for appropriately.

On May 18, NAVFORSOL personnel joined “Brigada Eskwela” assisting DepEd and school officials in the repair and repainting of school building and other facilities, ground works, and clean up drive in preparation for the opening of classes on June 1. Medical and dental mission livelihood seminars (for parents) were held in selected schools in Sorsogon City and Tabaco City.

Several medical and dental missions, blood letting activities were also conducted in several areas in the region catering most especially to the indigent families who are in dire need of these services.

Divers from the naval command Special Operating Unit 3, meanwhile, assisted the municipal government of Daet, Camarines Norte in conducting a Hydrographic Survey in Bagasbas Beach to determine the shore features and sea bed in order to come up with safety measures and contingency plan that will ensure the safety of surfers and beachgoers.

Bagasbas Beach is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the country, listed as the 61st surfing destination in the world and attracts considerable number of both local and international surfers.

In the wake of the Influenza A H1N1 inexorably spreading to different parts of the world, NAVFORSOL also slates June1-5, in time for the opening of classes, an Awareness Caravan to inform and educate the populace, especially the students, on precautionary measures, prevention and control of the dreaded disease. (Lt. DFNieva, NAVFORSOL/PIA)


PhilHealth has since May 1 this year commenced its case payment basis for cataract operations as provided on PhilHealth Circular 16, s. 2009, pursuant to Board Resolution No. 1110 series of 2008.

With this new package, PhilHealth shall pay the cataract extraction procedures under the following:

• This benefit uses a case payment scheme wherein cataract extraction procedure/s shall be paid P16,000 regardless whether the procedure was done in one or both eyes in one operative session.
• The case rate of P16,000 is divided, with half of it, which is P8,000 for the accredited facility which includes the fees for Room and Board, drugs and medicines used during confinement, supplies including intraocular lens, x-ray, laboratory and ancillary procedures done during confinement, and use of operating room complex and use of machines; while the remaining P8,000 is for thee professional fee of the doctor who performed the procedure.

To be able to avail of the benefits, facilities are required to submit the following:

1) PhilHealth Form 1; 2) PhilHealth Form 2; 3) Operating Room Record/Operative Technique; 4) Official Receipts (hospital, doctor, or pharma); 5) Other documents required by PhilHealth such as member data record (MDR), proof of premium payment (MI-5), PhilHealth ID. However, claims for cataract package are exempted from submission of statement of account, Parts III, IV and V of PhilHealth Claim Forms 2 need not to be filled-up.

In cases where members are required by hospitals to buy drugs, medicines and supplies or requested to seek out other necessary services (laboratory procedures) from other facilities, reimbursement to members is allowed, provided that:

a) the facility cannot provided the necessary items and services covered by the benefit;
b) these items and services are used during confinement;
c) official receipts and/or other purchase documents are submitted;
d) the reimbursement to members depends on the actual cost of the receipts submitted but
not more than the difference between the maximum benefit and the facility
e) the facility acknowledges that the cost of benefits and services it provided is less than
the maximum benefit by appropriately filling-up item 12 of Part I of Form 2; and
f) in such cases, facility is required to fill up Parts III, IV and V of PhilHealth Claim form 2
and submit a copy of statement of account.

To avail the package, a member from the employed sector and individually paying members (IPM) enrolled by organized groups through the KASAPI must have paid at least 3 months of contribution within the immediate six months prior to the month of availment.

However, Individually Paying Members, including IPMs under the group enrollment scheme, availing of these surgeries and procedures are required to comply with the rule on sufficient regularity of premium contributions (a member should have at least nine months of premium payment within the immediate 12 months prior to surgery or procedure; for claims with two or more procedures wherein at least one surgery is cataract surgery with codes RVS codes 66983, 66984 and 66987, the rule on sufficient regularity of premium contributions still applies.

Sponsored and Overseas Workers Program members are entitled to the package if the date of availment falls within the validity period of their membership as stated in the ID Cards/enhanced Member Data Record. Besides, non-paying (retirees and pensioners) members shall be entitled to avail of the package upon presentation of PhilHealth ID.

Processing of claim applications from any healthcare provide who furnishes false or incorrect information for the purpose of filing for reimbursement from PhilHealth shall be suspended pending legal investigation. (PhilHealth Release/PIA)



Do you often hear from your toddler the statements: “I don’t want to eat” or “I don’t like the food”. From parents, the most common questions that you would hear are: “How will I deal with my child who is picky-eater?” or “How will I encourage my child to eat a variety of foods especially fruits and vegetables?”

First and foremost, parents need to realize that a child’s reluctance to try new food is completely normal during development. It is important to understand that a child tastes foods differently from an adult. Toddlers are sensitive to color, flavor, texture and temperature of food, size of servings and the attitude and atmosphere in which food is served.

Food habits are formed very early in life. Children should learn to eat a variety of foods while they are still young. Parents should set the example by doing what they preach in so far as eating habits are concerned. They should set a good example by eating a variety of foods. Remember, children are great imitators and observers.

Typically, a child who is a picky eater is exhibiting the personal desire to exert control. His eating behaviors can be very unpredictable and tend to fluctuate without any reason. At one moment, a child may eat without any struggle and instantly finished the meal. At other times, he may be picky about his food or may not eat at all.

Here are simple tips that parents, particularly mothers, can follow to break the habit of picky-eaters:

• Good food habits should start while children are still young. Serve family meals that include foods from the Nutritional Guide Pyramid to familiarize the child with a variety of foods needed throughout life.
• Eating regularly helps develop a child’s appetite and prevents meal skipping.
• Limit snacking. Make sure that there is no eating of big snacks after school or filling-up on juice, soda, or even milk before dinner.
• If your kid dislikes a certain type of food, cut this into bite-size pieces and combine with the child’s favorite food.
• Never force a kid to eat. This will only increase dislike for the food.
• If the kid dislikes veggies, serve them at the early part of the meal when he or she is hungriest.
• Be artistic. Make dishes enticing. Colorful foods presented in different shapes are more appealing to kids.
• Involve the child in planning and preparing meals. This will encourage kids to taste the food they helped prepare.
• Use new recipes every now and then. Kids get bored when they eat the same food prepared the same way every time.
• Food is needed for nutritional health and should not be given as a reward or kept from the child as punishment.
• A relaxed and sociable atmosphere helps make mealtime pleasant and enjoyable besides helping one to digest food better.

According to the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos developed by the Technical Workin Group headed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), you should eat a variety of foods everyday to ensure that all nutrients are provided in proper amounts and represent a balance diet.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, FNRI-DOST, DOST Compound, Gen. Santos Avenue., Bicutan, Taguid City, Direct Lines and Fax: (02) 837-2934 & 837-3164; Trunklines: 837-2071 locals 2296 ^ 2284, 837-9113, locals 318 & 319; Website: www.fnri.dost.gov.ph; E-mail: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph, mar_v_c@yahoo.com. (MIGGlorioso, FNRI-DOST/PIA)


MANILA — The holding company for the Aboitiz Group’s investments in power generation and distribution takes over two geothermal facilities today..

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has turned-over to the Aboitiz Power Renewables (APR), the ceremonial keys of Tiwi and Makban Geothermal Plants, after the APR won the bid for the 20-year old facilities of the National Power Corp. (NPC). The ceremony will be held at the Makati office of the Power Sector Assets & Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) which is mandated by law to dispose NPC's assets and liabilities. The APR's total bid price for these assets is $446.9 million.

The Tiwi Geothermal plant in Tiwi, Albay, north of Mayon volcano, has 289 megawatts (MW) capacity while Makban (which stands for Makiling and Banahaw) based in Laguna and Batangas provinces supplies 458.53 megawatts (MW) to the main grid of NPC, said PSALM Chief of Staff Atty. Conrad Tolentino.

Represented by Luis Miguel Aboitiz, president of APR, the company presented to the President a large facsimile check for P8 billion (as downpayment) for the two plants that are now operating at their rated capacities. The Aboitizes bought the plants to become a dominant renewable energy supplier of the country, Tolentino said.

A ceremonial awarding of the geothermal plants to the Aboitiz was earlier held, wherein the power firm has signed P8 billion wire transfer to PSALM, representing the 40 percent down payment for the plant. The PSALM in turn gave the papers of the plants to APR.

PSALM was created in 2001 to dispose the assets and liabilities of NPC. This is the twelfth plant that PSALM has sold even as it also works on the trimming down of NPC's foreign obligations through either bond flotation, power rate increases and other mechanisms, Tolentino said.

Only last week, PSALM was able to generate $1 billion of bond floats the part of which will be used to pay off the debts of NPC (totalling $17 billion) plus interests on these obligations so that consumers will not be burdened with power rate adjustments, Tolentino added.

Under the assets and liabilities management program of PSALM, part of the obligations are being passed to the consumers through either the ICERA (international currency exchange rate adjustments) or the basic fuel GRAM (generation rate adjustment mechanism).

The bidding for these plants began in September 2005 with 15 prospective bidders participating. The bidding date was set for the second semester of 2006, which, however, was delayed because of the non resolution of the issue on the effectivity of the Geothermal Resources Sales Contract (GRSC) between PSALM and Philippine Geothermal Inc. (now Chevron Geothermal Philippines Holdings Inc.). (PIA V Release)


MANILA— Aimed to create awareness campaign against AH1N1 virus, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday demonstrated the proper way of hand washing as part of the personal preventive measures against the deadly virus.

The President, together with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus and some local officials, led the A(H1N1) awareness campaign at the Geronimo Santiago Elementary School in San Miguel district near Malacanang.

“Ang dahilan kung bakit nagpa-practice tayo na maghugas ng kamay kasi ang no. 1 na pag-proteksyon sa ating sarili kontra sa mga sakit, gaya ng flu na nakakahawa, ay malinis parati ang kamay (The reason why we are practicing handwashing is because the no. 1 protection against sickness, like the contagious flu, is to have clean hands always),” the President said.

The Chief Executive demonstrated the proper way of washing hands through the use of soap and water.

While washing hands, the President, together with some pupils, sung the “Happy Birthday” song twice as advised by the Department of Health.

“Umawit tayo ng “Happy Birthday” dalawang beses para sa ganun ay matagal tayong maghugas ng kamay (Let us sing Happy Birthday song two times to thoroughly wash our hands),” she said.

Likewise, the President distributed some vitamins and medicines to boost the children’s immune system against diseases.

The campaign came a day after the DOH confirmed two A(H1N1) cases in the country.
So far, a total 113 individuals are being monitored by the DOH, including a 10-year old girl who traveled to the US and Canada and a 50-year-old woman from Chicago were tested positive for the dreaded virus.

Based on World Health Organization (WHO) report, a total of 86 people --75 in Mexico, nine in the US, and one each in Canada and Costa Rica were killed due to the dreaded A(H1N1) virus. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — Malacanang today called for greater vigilance against the spread of the A (H1N1) influenza as Filipinos come to grips with the reality that the dreaded virus has already reached the country.

At his regular press briefing this afternoon in Malacanang, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said, however, that “we believe that public health considerations will still allow us to proceed with the opening of the new schoolyear on schedule” in June 1.

He said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has reiterated her directive to the Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Immigration and other concerned government agencies to “stay on top of this issue and keep her always updated.”

Health Secretary Francisco Duque has confirmed the first recorded case of the swine flu infection in the country – a 10-year-old girl who arrived on May 18 from the United States with her parents.

“I am happy to report that the patient, a ten-year-old girl, has already recovered and is now completely healthy,” Remonde said.

He said health authorities were already retracing the “girl’s tracks in order to identify and contain the possible path of infection” to stop the virus from spreading.

He pointed out that the government had undertaken a “comprehensive range of immigration precautions and public health measures to protect our country against this possible new medical crisis.”

These measures, he added, helped delay the spread of the virus to Philippine shores.

“Unfortunately, the global village is getting smaller every day, and so it was just a matter of time before the virus caught up with us. Now that it is here, we must become even more vigilant and continue to observe common sense-precautions to avoid catching the disease or spreading it to others.” (PIA V Release)


MANILA — Philippine exports in March 2009 increased by 15.9 percent over that of February with majority of commodity groups posting month-on-month growth, indicating an easing of the recession in the country’s foreign markets.

Merchandise exports in March 2009 amounted to $2.9 billion compared to $4.2 billion for the same period last year, but better than last February’s $2.5 billion.

The figure represents the sixth consecutive month of export contraction as all major commodity groups, except for forest products, posted significant year-on-year declines.

On a cumulative basis, export revenues for the first quarter of 2009 amounted to $7.9 billion, 36.8 percent lower that the same period in 2008.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said in a memorandum to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that the Philippines’ Asian neighbors likewise experienced slowing down of their exports decline in March.

Malaysia’s export decline eased to 15.6 percent in March (from 15.9 percent in February); Hong Kong, 20.5 percent in March (from 22.4 percent in February); Singapore, 21 percent (from 24 percent in February) and China, 17.1 percent (from 25.7percent in February).

Exports of electronics and machinery/transport equipment, two of the country’s major manufactured products grew by 19.9 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively even as garments exports declined by 7.6 percent from Feb. 2009.

The slight rebound in electronics exports for March compared to February followed global trends where global sales of semiconductors grew by 3.3 percent with demand stabilizing somewhat as reported by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

Sales in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific grew by 5.1 percent, 3.1 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively. Sales in Japan, however, were sharply lower by 9.4 percent from Feb. 2009.

On the bright side, the “global semiconductor manufacturing industry is expected to take a breather in the second quarter, as utilization rises by 60 percent as reported by iSupply Inc., a market research company.

Majority of the country’s electronics exports for March went to China, the Netherlands, United States, Japan and Hong Kong.

Agro-based products exports grew by 8.1 percent in March; mineral products, 5.7 percent, and petroleum products, 7.8 percent. Growth rates of these commodity groups, however, are still in negative territory compared to March 2008.

Export receipts from forest products increased by 22.4 percent and 48.8 percent, for month-on-month and year-on-year, respectively.

The United States remained the biggest market for Philippine goods with 17.3 percent share of total revenues for March 2009, followed by Japan with 15.4 percent share. Other major export markets were China, 106 percent; Hong Kong, 9.4 percent and the Netherlands, 9.2 percent. The aggregated shipments to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan reached 23.3 percent of merchandise exports in March 2009.

Leading exports were semiconductors, electronics data processing (EDP) machines and garments which made up 65 percent of the total shipments to the five biggest export markets in March 2009. (PIA V Release)

Saturday, May 23, 2009


DAET, Camarines Norte — Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. said over the weekend that the implementation of the economic resiliency projects (ERP) of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is gaining headway as major economic and infrastructure agencies have frontloaded at least 60 percent of their budget during the first semester of this year.

He said as part of the economic resiliency plan (ERP) of the government, in terms of allotment releases, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has received P68.8 billion of which P62.5 billion shall be implemented in the first semester of this year.

Followed by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) with P13.0 billion; Department of Agriculture (DA) with P16.1 billion, and the Department of Education (DepEd) School Building Program with P2.8 billion for a total of P100.7 billion.

Andaya said this front loaded program constitutes 68.3 percent of the total infrastructure program for 2009.

This is over 200 percent higher than the frontloaded amount in 2008 which is only P33.0 billion, he said.
As of March 25, 2009, some P78.3 billion were already released to these departments. This is 77.7 percent of the total program.

During an Economic Resiliency Plan Forum here, Andaya told participants that the budget is a powerful tool in achieving development objectives including that of the economic resiliency plan this year.

Under the economic stimulus package the government will have to spend “to create growth and demand that would enhance competitiveness and boost investments,” he explained.

For 2009, the budgets for the Economic and Infrastructure agencies have grown from 14.7 percent last year to 67.3 percent while the budgets of Social Services agencies have increased between 14.9 percent to 118.2 percent.

The DPWH having the largest budget in its sector have increased by 34.3 percent to P137.5 billion that is allocated for construction, repair and maintenance of all roads across the country.

Andaya said DA has the largest increase under the sector and is allocated 67.3 percent more or P42.6 billion more than 90 percent of which is allocated to the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Program (AFMP) which supports the Rice Self Sufficiency Program (RSSP) through more irrigation projects and post-harvest systems.

Meanwhile, the growth in DOTC from P22.8 billion in 2008 increased to P26.1 billion in 2009 is mostly due to higher allocation for the LRT 1 North Extension Project to fast track its implementation.

The increase in the DSWD budget will enable the implementation of the conditional cash transfers (CCT) under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

The Program focuses on chronic poor families whose education and health and nutrition indicators are the worst of the Filipino population.

It will rationalize the subsidies we provide the poor through better targeting and a more substantive kind of assistance. For 2009, the provision of P5.0 billion will target 320,000 households at an average cost of P15,625 per households.

The budgets of DepEd and DOH are increasing significantly compared to past years to enable greater access and better quality services.

For the first quarter of 2009, total disbursements amounted to P355.0 billion, P50.0 billion or 16.4 percent more than the comparable disbursements in 2008. The expansion over 2008 is due to fast tracking of expenditure releases consistent with the government’s economic resiliency plan to stimulate the economy.

Transfers to local government units (Allotment to LGUs and Capital Transfers to LGUs) amounted to P62.5 billion, increasing by P9.8 billion or 18.6 percent given the higher share in internal revenues in accordance with the Local Government Code.

He said the present administration fiscal policy on Debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate Arroyo posted a 56.3 percent in 2008; compared to previous administrations the Aquino administration with 67.6 percent in 1992; Ramos administration with 58.8 percent in 1997; and Estrada administration with 59.7 percent in 2000.

For foreign debt to GDP the ratio was down at .07 percent during Arroyo's administration in 2008; Aquino with .08 percent in 1992; Ramos with .11 percent in 1997 and Estrada with .14 percent in 2000.

The slide in foreign debt to ratio under the Arroyo administration has enabled the government to spend more on the delivery of vital public goods such as education, infrastructure, agriculture and health.

Interest payment as a percentage of the national budget is on the decline :2005 with 31.6 percent; 2006- 29.7 percent; 2007 - 23 percent; and 2008 - 22 percent. (MSArguelles, PNA/PIA)


SORSOGON CITY — At least 80 participants took part in the a one-day consultation forum on Integrated Climatic and Geological Risks spearheaded by the Provincial Government of Sorsogon held Monday (May 18) at the Training Center of the provincial capitol building here.

Governor Sally Lee said that the activity intends to facilitate the integration of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the planning and budgeting process of local government units (LGUs), especially in the province.

All 15 local chief executives of Sorsogon City and 14 towns, along with their respective action officers of local disaster coordinating councils, non-government organizations and emergency response volunteer groups participated to the one-day activity.

“With the recent challenges that we had encountered from changing climate, especially its implications to agriculture and food production sector, the local governments will be able to acquire effective strategies and crafts measures to mitigate the damages brought about by natural disasters,” Lee said.

In the said activity, Tony Yulo-Loyzaga, executive director of the Manila Observatory, presented the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Reduction; May Celine Vicente, program manager of Geomatics for Environment and Development, delved on the concepts on disaster risks at hazards; and, Dr. Rosa Perez, senior climate specialist of Manila Observatory, expound on the Hydro-Meteorological Hazards in Sorsogon.

Dr. Fernando Siringan of the UP Marine Science Institute shared insights on the Geomorphological at Geological Hazards in Sorsogon.

Program Officer Jessica Dator-Bercilla of the Christian Aid imparted experiences and best practices on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), focusing on the formulation and implementation of a master plan and budgetary requirement among LGUs.

The consultation forum was made possible with the support of Coastal Community Resources and Livelihood, Inc. (Coastal CORE) and Christian Aid as part of their program to inform, educate, and empower LGUs in terms of disaster risk reduction.

Lee meanwhile said that the Manila Observatory has initially conducted scientific risk assessment for Sorsogon which, upon completion, will be one of the bases for the local disaster preparedness and management plan.

Manila Observatory is a private non-stock, non-profit, scientific research institution that was established in 1865 by the Jesuit mission in the Philippines. It engages in the systematic observation in the Philippine weather, giving typhoon warnings since 1879, doing earthquake observations since 1880 and still continuing it’s seismic, geomagnetic and radio physics research until now.

It also currently implements projects on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction and has been partner of Coastal CORE and Christian Aid since 2006 under the DRR and CCA. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


SAGÑAY, Camarines Sur — The first global millennium school in Camarines Sur achieved another first with the choice of Nato High School here as the site of the first ever global millennium school of the country.

The millennium school is an offshoot of the Global Millennium School Design competition initiated by the advocates of the “Be Better Build Better” Program which main objective is to devise a school structural design that utilizes indigenous materials like bamboo that could withstand typhoons and rough monsoon weather.

Ground breaking ceremonies for the model school were held last Friday (May 15) at the Nato High School.

Officials of the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur officials and municipal government here joined the representatives from the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), Private Sector Disaster Management Network (PSDMN), Petron Foundation, ABS CBN Bayan Foundation, Department of Education (DepEd) and various stakeholders attended the milestone event

In his remarks during the ceremony, PSDMN chair Alex Escaño said that the support and cooperation of Governor LRay Villafuerte and the officials of the local government of Sagñay in pursuing the project set a good example to show the world that working together can achieve better result.

Taking the lead for the “Be Better Build Better” Program for the Millennium School are the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC/DND), DepEd, DSWD, DPWH, My Shelter Foundation, UAP and the PSDMN.

ABS-CBN Foundation and Sagip Kapamilya will sponsor the construction of the model school within the compound of Nato High School.

Present during the occasion were former board member Ernie Verdadero, architects Amado Tandoc, Jr. and Francisco Mañosa of UAP, Allan Victorino and Dani Bayani of Petron Foundation, Dr. Orfelina Tuy, ARD of DepEd Bicol and Dr. Emma I. Cornejo of DepEd Camarinees Sur; Aldwin S. Gonzales of ABS CBN Foundation; director Bernardo Alejandro IV, OCD R5; Engr. Nathaniel Mendoza, DepEd; municipal councilor Mariano San Felipe Jr. (DCAbad, PIA Cam. Sur)


LEGAZPI CITY -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office here is appealing for support from all concerned sectors relative to the ongoing cadastral survey project in Lagonoy, Camarines Sur.

In the inauguration of the project held last week, DENR Bicol Regional Executive Director Joselin Marcus Fragada said the survey project is part of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s initiative to develop at least 1 million up to 2 million hectares of land for agricultural business in the country.

Regional Technical Director for Lands Pedro Noble meanwhile said that the cadastral survey project, known as Lagonoy Cadastre Cad-1222-D, covers the entire municipality of Lagonoy.

Lagonoy has an estimated land area of 40,700 hectares, including the 15,000 hectares alienable and disposable (A&D) areas with some 8,472 hectares ready for distribution.

Cadastral survey has been carried out by the government for the purpose of identifying and delineating the individual claims of all landowners and claimants which will be the bases of the issuance of titles or patents”.

The Lagonoy cadastral survey project is expected to be completed within 450 days. (ASAraya, DENR/PIA)


SORSOGON CITY -- The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) city office here, led by Chief Inspector Renato Marcial, has lauded his personnel and volunteers for demonstrating exemplary performance in discharging their mandated tasks as firefighters.

In a simple awarding ceremony held at the City Fire Station, Marcial, assisted by city councilors Roque Divina, committee chair of Public Safety and Ma. Charo Dichoso, conferred the certificates of commendation to some 30 personnel who took part in the rescue operations on the height of tropical storm “Dante”, specifically in providing assistance to stranded motorists and passengers following the collapse of Madarag bridge in barangay Guinlajon.

Some 25 members of Filipino-Chinese Volunteer Fire Brigade, headed by Joseph Jao, were also given due recognition for successfully completing the firefighting techniques and training program conducted by the bureau.

Divina said in his message “It is but fitting to give due recognition to our unsung heroes whose selfless deeds sometimes get unnoticed by ordinary citizen.”

He further encouraged the Filipino-Chinese Volunteer Fire Brigade to support the BFP in its mission of saving lives and properties.

Dichoso, meanwhile, vowed to help the BFP in their fire safety advocacy as she reminded those present to be vigilant since fire may occur anytime of the day.

The Fire Chief also thanked the awardees and encouraged everyone to do their share in serving the community, especially those who are in need in times of distress.

“BFP is not only an agency for fire suppression and prevention. During typhoons, my men were out of their fire stations rescuing people and giving assistance to those in need,” he said.

“In fact, the BFP provided the extension ladder when Rawis bridge in Bacon district, also in this city, was damaged. Such courageous feat is indeed worthy of emulation,” he noted.

Also awarded with certificates of citation were two civilian volunteers of BFP, participants in the blood-letting program, personnel who assisted the Free and Accepted Masons of Bulusan Lodge No. 38 in the medical mission, and BFP personnel who responded in the vehicular accident involving a ten-wheeler truck loaded with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in barangay Tublijon.

Marcial also cited BFP personnel, who responded and saved the life of one Nestor Chavez from explosion, conferred with the “Medalya ng Papuri” and the “Medalya ng Kadakilaan” by BFP national head CSupt. Rolando Bandila during the culminating activity of the Fire Prevention Month 2009 last March. (BFP Sorsogon/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is happy to announce that some 366 Bicolano youth have qualified as DOST-SEI undergraduate scholars for SY 2009-2010, according to Regional Director Tomas B. Briñas.

Briñas said out the 366 incoming freshmen, 68 will be awarded with Merit Scholarships and 298 with undergraduate scholarships under RA 7687.

“The scholars already underwent an orientation on and signed their contract for the 2009-2010 DOST-SEI Scholarship in their respective residence-provinces and according to scholarship programs,” he added.

Awardees are advised to pursue BS degrees in Science and Technology (Basic and Applied Sciences) and Technician Courses in authorized public and private higher education institutions in the country. (POLucena/CLGillego, DOST V/PIA)



Do you often hear from your toddler the statements: “I don’t want to eat” or “I don’t like the food”. From parents, the most common questions that you would hear are: “How will I deal with my child who is picky-eater?” or “How will I encourage my child to eat a variety of foods especially fruits and vegetables?”

First and foremost, parents need to realize that a child’s reluctance to try new food is completely normal during development. It is important to understand that a child tastes foods differently from an adult. Toddlers are sensitive to color, flavor, texture and temperature of food, size of servings and the attitude and atmosphere in which food is served.

Food habits are formed very early in life. Children should learn to eat a variety of foods while they are still young. Parents should set the example by doing what they preach in so far as eating habits are concerned. They should set a good example by eating a variety of foods. Remember, children are great imitators and observers.

Typically, a child who is a picky eater is exhibiting the personal desire to exert control. His eating behaviors can be very unpredictable and tend to fluctuate without any reason. At one moment, a child may eat without any struggle and instantly finished the meal. At other times, he may be picky about his food or may not eat at all.

Here are simple tips that parents, particularly mothers, can follow to break the habit of picky-eaters:

• Good food habits should start while children are still young. Serve family meals that include foods from the Nutritional Guide Pyramid to familiarize the child with a variety of foods needed throughout life.

• Eating regularly helps develop a child’s appetite and prevents meal skipping.

• Limit snacking. Make sure that there is no eating of big snacks after school or filling-up on juice, soda, or even milk before dinner.

• If your kid dislikes a certain type of food, cut this into bite-size pieces and combine with the child’s favorite food.

• Never force a kid to eat. This will only increase dislike for the food.

• If the kid dislikes veggies, serve them at the early part of the meal when he or she is hungriest.

• Be artistic. Make dishes enticing. Colorful foods presented in different shapes are more appealing to kids.

• Involve the child in planning and preparing meals. This will encourage kids to taste the food they helped prepare.

• Use new recipes every now and then. Kids get bored when they eat the same food prepared the same way every time.

• Food is needed for nutritional health and should not be given as a reward or kept from the child as punishment.

• A relaxed and sociable atmosphere helps make mealtime pleasant and enjoyable besides helping one to digest food better.

According to the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos developed by the Technical Working Group headed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), you should eat a variety of foods everyday to ensure that all nutrients are provided in proper amounts and represent a balance diet.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, FNRI-DOST, DOST Compound, Gen. Santos Avenue., Bicutan, Taguid City, Direct Lines and Fax: (02) 837-2934 & 837-3164; Trunklines: 837-2071 locals 2296 ^ 2284, 837-9113, locals 318 & 319; Website: www.fnri.dost.gov.ph; E-mail: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph, mar_v_c@yahoo.com. (MIGGlorioso, FNRI-DOST/PIA)

As Typhoon ‘Dante’ Leaves Bicol in Disarray

PILI, Camarines Sur – Army engineers from the 565th Engineer Construction Battalion rushed to Magallanes, Sorsogon and provided immediate assistance to worst hit communities devastated by tropical storm ‘Dante’ last May 3.

In no time, military engineers equipped with manual tools and sheer determination took off along with Medical, Rescue, Search and Security Teams from the 9th Infantry (Spear) Division last May 5 to the coastal barangay of Hubo, about 7 km. northeast of the Magallanes town.

Landslides isolated the place and left 22 dead, almost a thousand homeless and without medical aid, communication, food and water and appropriate shelter.

While the civilian government is still rallying its resources to provide support, the “Team ARMY” in its modest capability has already started its job. Medical teams provided immediate health care while Security Teams assisted in search and retrieval operations.

As events unfolded, the Army engineers, with a proven record being the most reliable organization that could be immediately respond to relief operations, ground clearing and expedient construction were put into action.

The 565th ECB, under the guidance of 51st Engineer Brigade Commander BGen. Felizardo A. Simoy, AFP, pioneered the gathering of local and salvaged materials, barely a day upon their arrival at the area and started the construction of a 105 sq. m. evacuation center for the temporary shelter of the affected populace.

The shelter made of coco lumber and laminated sacks could accommodate 60 senior citizens, women and children that were displaced by the typhoon. The facility will later be utilized as a temporary classroom for 120 elementary school pupils enrolled in the barangay.

Backbreaking manual labor did not dampen the spirit of the engineer-soldiers as they work hand-in-hand with the local populace, local government units (LGUs) and personnel of the Office of Civil Defense 5 (OCD-5) that completed the evacuation shelter on May 13, 2009.

Typhoons and natural disasters arrive without warning … but as always, the “Team ARMY” is ready, willing and capable of doing its job in service and welfare of the people. (LJSollesta, PA/PIA)


MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lauded Thursday (May 21) the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) for helping government disseminate crucial information on the dreaded AH1N1 virus.

“I understand that PHAP has started to print Influenza A H1N1 information materials from the DOH (Department of Health), and that these materials are on their way to the provinces. Thank you,” the President said.

She also cited PHAP for promoting the spirit of community and volunteerism during its general membership meeting this morning at the Philam Tower in Makati City.

“This is a timely meeting. The world is once again on high alert with the emergence of the deadly Influenza A H1N1 virus. We thank the providence of the Lord Almighty and cooperation of the government and the people for the continued resilience of the Philippines against the swine flu,” the President said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that AH1NI cases have reached 8,000 in 36 countries.

While the Philippines is still free from Influenza A H1N1, the President has instructed the DOH to continue to intensify surveillance in ports, airports and the community in order to detect influenza cases early and to follow up appropriate control measures including the regular vaccination of animals against swine flu.

The President added that she has instructed the DOH to stock up more than a million capsules of Tamiflu as a precautionary measure.

“Let us continue to pray and work hand-in-hand, as we did during the SARS and bird flu outbreaks in order to keep the Philippines free from swine flu. I thank all the people for their prayers to our God and your trust in your government,” the President said. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has reported that the P1-billion Export Support Fund (ESF) is now in place, and that the government and private sectors are jointly in the process of identifying the priority areas where the ESF would be allotted.

“I was informed by the DBM that the ESF is there -- coming from the stimulus fund -- and we are now asking the private sector to identify the priority exports to be funded by ESF,” Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila said.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and top officials of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) and Export Development Council (EDC) held a three-hour meeting yesterday (May 21) in Malacanang to assess the country’s competitiveness amid the ongoing global financial crisis that has dampened the country’s export performance.

Favila said both Industry Competitiveness Fund (ICF) and ESF are now in place and it is just a question of identifying the priorities.

Favila discussed the status of the P1-billion ESF with Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, EDC co-Chair Donald Dee and NCC co-Chair Cesar Bautista at a press briefing in Malacanang.

As to how the President reacted to the IMD (Geneva) survey that the Philippines slid three notches in its competitiveness rating (or to number 40), Bautista said “she received it very well considering that we are in a crisis and many other countries like Ireland and Spain have slid even more. Ireland slid 10 points and so with Spain.”

Bautista said that the stress test on competitiveness of countries conducted by IMD showed that the Philippines came out number 32 out of 57.

“We are better than UK (United Kingdom), Belgium, Italy, France, Mexico and Indonesia in terms of stress competitiveness, which shows how robust our fundamentals are and that is why we are not suffering so much from this crisis situation,” Bautista added.

Remonde said that after yesterday’s meeting in Malacanang, the President ordered the Department of Energy (DOE) to furnish the DBM with identified sectors whose competitiveness were greatly hampered by high billings and power rates and for which government will pay the bills through the ICF.

He added that the President ordered a more aggressive export promotion effort targeted at China and other markets.

Favila revealed that before the Malacanang meeting, he had lunch with officials of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) who offered to assist the Philippines in all its priority programs especially in the area of investment promotion.

In response to the concerns raised by the private sector, the President directed officials of the Bureau of Customs to streamline BOC’s operations and enhance efficiencies as part of government-wide efforts to raise the level of the country’s competitiveness. She also ordered immediate improvements in the transport and supply systems. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s visit today (May 22) to Sta. Rita, Pampanga focused on education, development and environment concerns.

The President’s visit to Sta. Rita, which has earned its popularity from its native “turones de casoy” confectionery, coincides with the town’s fiesta celebration in honor of its patron saint, Sta. Rita de Casia.

Upon her arrival here, the Chief Executive attended the concelebrated Holy Mass at the town’s parish church, after which she had a lunch meeting with the town’s local officials at the Old Convent of the Sta. Rita parish church.

The President also inaugurated the newly-rehabilitated Diosdado Macapagal covered court at the town plaza and unveiled the statue there of former President Diosdado Macapagal, her late father.

Environment Secretary Lito Atienza and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes took their turn in briefing the President at the Sta. Rita Multi-purpose Hall on recent efforts to fight climate change.

With school opening on June 1 just a few days away, the President graced the culminating activities of the Department of Education’s “Brigada Eskwela” program at the San Isidro Elementary School.

She also inaugurated the Bicuran High School Multi-Purpose covered court and subsequently interacted with the beneficiaries of her various projects in the province.

She culminated her visit with an inspection tour of several farm-to-market road projects in this fourth class town.

The Municipality of Sta. Rita covers 10 barangays – Becuran, Dila-Dila, San Agustin, San Basilio, San Isidro, San Jose, San Juan, San Matias, San Vicente, and Santa Monica. (PIA V Release)


MANILA -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has done her uneasy job of turning the country's economy around very well despite adversities, according to a businessman.

“We never had seven years of continuous growth, it’s only during her term,” said Donald Dee, Special Envoy for International Trade.

“If you look at the data, President Arroyo, economically, has done very, very well,” he added.
Dee expressed this view in the light of recent findings of economists from the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) showing that Mrs. Arroyo is the most likely president to have her economic legacy recognized by future generations.

They particularly credited the country’s resiliency against the global recession to the reforms undertaken by the Arroyo administration in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The relatively good health of businesses in northern Luzon has been cited as one basis of significant contributions to the economy of President Arroyo, whom they tagged as the “cute economist.”

Dee stressed that the greater financial discipline of the public sector has been crucial to boosting economic growth.

He also pointed out the significant increase in revenue collections under the reformed value-added tax (VAT) law, which despite its being a very unpopular measure, has improved the country’s revenue generation.

VAT revenues are used to finance key projects on infrastructure and educational services, he said.
However, Dee admitted that investments in these sectors are not enough to meet the needs of the country’s growing population.

“We have to improve tax collection, we have to minimize tax avoidance and better implement tax laws and really make your tax regime more competitive, or closer to what the other countries (have achieved),” he suggested.

Dee also urged every one to reduce politicking in the country.

“We should help the government by reducing all these politicking… They do not do their homework, and if they did their homework, what is their agenda? That is unfair to the country,” he said. (PIA V Release)