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

Friday, August 27, 2010

Albayanos, Fil-Chi Communities to offer Holy Mass, Prayers for hostage victims

LEGAZPI CITY— The province of Albay has enjoined all sectors to support and pray for the victims of Monday’s bloody hostage crisis.

“In response to the hostage crisis, the Provincial Government of Albay, local Catholic Church, Filipino-Chinese community, Catholic schools, city government here and other local government units will hold simultaneous Mass Offering with special intentions for the Hong Kong nationals hostage victims, both for those who perished and survived,” Albay Governor Joey Salceda said.

This special mass will be on Sunday, 9:30 am in 54 churches across Albay, including St. Gregory the Great Cathedral in Albay district here, Our Lady of the Gate Church in Daraga town, St. Jude Chapel, Our Lady of Fatima in this city and all other parishes in the province.

“Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Maria O. Ravanilla started the idea and the provincial government of Albay fully supports it,” Salceda added.

Salceda furthered that the Albay masses will also give special intention to the Filipinos, who are at this moment still at grief because of the tragic event that unfold last Monday where nine Hong Kong nationals died including the Police Capt. Rolando Mendoza the hostage taker,

Salceda said “Albayanos will also pray for Pinoys and PNoy in response to the hostage crisis.”

Filipino and Chinese residents here will also join hands to offer special prayers for the Hong Kong victims who perished and survived during the masses. (MALoterte, PIA V)


SORSOGON CITY — Three zones in the Philippines including the Bicol region were finally certified by the Organization Mondiale de la Sante Animale (World Organization for Animal Health or WOAH) as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Free Areas.

This was bared by Sorsogon Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Enrique Espiritu following receipt of certification corroborating the declaration of the WOAH that ten areas in the Philippines are finally free of FMD.

These areas include Cordillera, Region I, Region II and Mindoro (Zone 1), Calabarzon, Region III, National Capital Region (NCR) and Pangasinan (Zone 2), and the regions of Bicol and Mimaropa (Zone 3), , all in Luzon.

Espiritu said that the certification states that following a recommendation of the Office International Des Epizootes (OIE) Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases, the World Assembly of Delegates of the OIE approved on May 25, 2010 that three zones designated by the delegates of the Philippines in the documentation submitted to the OIE headquarters on December 4, 2009 are recognized by the OIE as free from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

“In addition, the organization also certified that vaccination in these areas is no longer practiced in accordance with the provisions of Article 8.5.4 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code,” Espiritu said.

He also bared that the recognition is likewise based on the documentation submitted to the OIE by the Official Veterinary Services of the Philippines.

“Though granted of the certification, the Delegate of Philippines to the OIE has still the obligation to notify the OIE immediately of any significant epidemiological event relating to FMD in Philippines and to confirm annually that the epidemiological situation has remained unchanged, according to the requirements set by the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code,” he added.

In this province, it can be recalled that in December 22, 1999, Sorsogon Governor Raul Lee issued a memorandum banning the selling/shipment of FMD susceptible animals from Irosin town after a case has been recorded here.

However, subsequent to the laboratory findings of the Philippine Animal Health Center and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI-DA) declaring that no new FMD case was recorded from December 31, 1999 in the said town and the rest of the towns across the province, the governor immediately lifted said ban on May 9, 2000. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


MASBATE CITY—Police have filed criminal charges against the son of a former mayor of Monreal who was arrested on Tuesday last week (Aug. 16) for allegedly selling methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu” to a police informant.

Senior Inspector Lope E. Badillo of Masbate City Police Station identified the suspect as Benigno C. Cantela, said to be a son of former Mayor Sotero Cantela who reportedly operates nightspots in Legazpi City.

Sources who were involved in the operation said operatives of Masbate City Police Station and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency first apprehended a person in front of Pausok Bar & Grills along the coastal road in Barangay Ibingay, Masbate City, at around 5:20 p.m. after he sold a packet of shabu to a secret agent posing as a buyer.

The sources said that under questioning, the suspect (whose name was concealed in the meantime ostensibly because he was collaborating with the authorities in subsequent operations) pointed to the younger Cantela as the alleged owner of the drugs and said that he was waiting for him to remit the money.

The suspect afterward knocked on the hotel room of Benigno for the payoff. Cantela was arrested as he received the money inside Room 3 of Rendezvous Resort and Restaurant along the coastal road in Barangay Nursery.

Badillo said that when frisked, Benigno put up a futile attempt to keep 11 sachets of shabu—weighing around 1.3 grams and worth about P16,500 in the streets—which the lawmen seized from the pockets of his shorts.

Also seized were paraphernalia for sniffing shabu including aluminum foil and totter, in which the residues indicated they were used in the past few minutes, according to a source who was involved in the operation.

The younger Cantela, listed as No. 7 in the top 10 targets of PNP’s anti-drug campaign in Masbate, was under surveillance before his arrest, police said. (EADelgado/PIA Masbate)


DARAGA, Albay — More than 10 local and overseas establishments have signified to join the jobs fair to cater to many Daragueños on September 2-3, 2010 from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, as part of the week-long town fiesta celebration here.

The activity will be held at the Daraga Disaster Emergency Center at the 3rd floor of Building 3 of the Daraga Public Market here.

The Public Employment Service Office (PESO) of the local government of Daraga will spearhead the said jobs fair together with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region V and the Rotaract of Legazpi Central.

Allied government services will also be present like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the National Statistics Office (NSO).

Mr. Rey Josef R. Lawenko, Municipal PESO Officer said, “this jobs fair is a venue where applicants could decide on jobs suited to their qualifications where they could reduce cost, time and effort.”

Lawenko also said that all applications will be part of the data base for job matching and that all qualified applicants will be informed through call or text messages.

He furthered that there is an on-going pre-registration for applicants who don’t want to wait in line on the day of the jobs fair itself, adding that to pre-register, just go to the PESO Daraga during office hours and fill-up the pre-registration form. (LGU Daraga/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) in Bicol calls on youth organizations to join the extended search for the 8th Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) awards.

EMB is in one with the TAYO awards in encouraging pro-active youth organizations to showcase their contributions to the community.

TAYO 2010 is open to all youth organizations with projects conducted between mid 2009 and before the TAYO extended deadline on September 15, 2010.

TAO Awards Foundation stressed that youth groups don’t have to be a school organization or affiliated with a national organization to join the contest. In the past years, TAYO have received entries from various youth groups, student councils, barkadas, religious groups, volunteer groups, cause-oriented groups, etc.

TAYO 2010 mechanics and entry forms can be downloaded from www.taoawards.net and www.youth.net.ph. Also, interested organizations may contact the TAYO Secretariat through telephone no. 781-1406 or send e-mail at tayo.secretariat@gmail.com. (DENR-EMB V /PIA)


DAET, Camarines Norte — The Provincial Sagip Batang Mangagawa-Quick Action Team (SBM-QAT) will intensify its anti-child labor program in this province to transform the lives of child laborers, their families and communities towards their sense of self-worth, empowerment and development.

In a meeting held here Tuesday (August 21), Camarines Norte Provincial Field Officer Ruben Romanillos of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that they will reactivate the SBM-QAT to fully support the programs and projects of the Provincial Council for the Welfare of Children (PCWC).

He said that the move is also in line with the Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL) strategic framework for 2007-2015 vision to make this country a child labor free.

Romanillos explained that SBM-QAT has started in 2004 and since then a total of 904 minors have been rescued and administrative cases were filed concerning violation of labor standards by requiring the erring employers to restitute the unpaid monetary claims due to the child victims.

He said that most of the rescued child laborers have been reintegrated with their respective families and communities with the help of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and some were provided with educational assistance, skills training and livelihood assistance.

He cited that since the passage of RA 9231 in 2003, 15 establishments mostly KTV bars have been permanently closed by the DOLE for employing minors in lewd or obscene shows and criminal cases have been filed.

Romanillos said that their office project “Angel Tree” launched in 2006 provided food, clothes, shoes, bags, and school supplies and scholarships/educational assistance to child laborers and livelihood assistance to their parents.

The DOLE also has Kabuhayan para sa Magulang ng Batang Manggawa (KaSaMa Project) launched in 2008 which aims to contribute to the prevention and elimination of child laborers access to decent livelihood opportunities for enhanced income.

The KaSaMa Project was able to provide some 4 million livelihood assistance to 296 parents of child laborers for the first semester of 2009, he added

On the other hand, Purita Briñas CAO IV of the CAO, provincial government also discussed the RA 9208, the anti-trafficking in persons act and RA 9231 “An act providing for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor and affording stronger protection for the working child amending RA 7610” to stakeholders for their use in implementation of anti-child labor program especially during rescue operations. (RBManlangit, PIA CamNorte)


LEGAZPI CITY — The search is on for the 2010 Model OFW Family of the Year Award (MOFYA).

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Bicol welcomes nominations from various NGOs, POs, religious organizations/associations, community-based organizations/associations, and LGUs for OFW families who meet the following criteria: a) wholesome family; b) civic/community involvement of OFW and family; c) success in OFW and family’s education and/or profession; and d) success in managing family finances.

All seventeen (17) regions of the country shall have 2 MOFYA winners each, one from the land-based category and the other from the sea-based. From these regional MOFYA winners, two (2) will emerged as national winners during the national awarding on December 2010. Two more special awards shall be conferred namely, Outstanding Achievement in Community Projects and in Entrepreneurship, respectively.

For last year’s MOFYA National Search, OFW Emilio Belo and family of Baleno, Masbate emerged as winner in the sea-based category.

MOFYA is an annual search undertaken by OWWA to give due recognition to the outstanding achievements of the OFWs and their families and promote best practices in managing family challenges. Specifically it aims to serve as role models for the whole OFW population, promote success stories about OFW families’ endurance over the challenges on their family relations and uplift the image of OFW families in the community, and highlight the role of OFW family acting as a group/unit in the attainment of socio-civic, educational, professional and material success.

For more inquiries on the 2010 MOFYA nationwide search, kindly visit OWWA Regional Welfare Office No. 5 at the 3rd Floor of ANST Building, Washington Drive, Legazpi City. Or contact the office at (052) 481-4503/4562 or thru email at owwarwo5@yahoo.com and rwo5@owwa.gov.ph. (KTRamirez, OWWA V/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY –- The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) Family Circles Confederation, Inc. in Bicol has sought the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) here to take the necessary steps to protect OFWs based in Hong Kong from possible harassment and maltreatment as an offshoot of the tragic hostage-taking incident in front of Quirino grandstand last Monday.

Elsie Atienza, president of Bicol OFW Family Circle Confederation, Inc., said that organization and the families of OFWs in Hong Kong have expressed fears because of possible retaliation of some Chinese nationals following the bloody hostage drama.

"Actually some families of our OFWs based in Hong Kong and in mainland China are worried after the incident, that is why we are now coordinating with the OWWA to ensure the safety of our OFWs," Atienza said.

She also urged OWWA regional office in Bicol to put up a free overseas telephone line so that families of OFWs can easily communicate with their families and loved ones.

OWWA Bicol regional director Jocelyn Hapal, on the other hand, said that there are still unconfirmed reports that Bicolano OFWs based in Hong Kong are allegedly bearing the brunt as a consequence of the hostage incident. (MDRama, PNA Bicol)

By Danny O. Calleja

MATNOG, Sorsogon — Local public officials have joined residents and the Catholic Church here in calls for the stoppage of the operations of a mining project extracting iron ore in a watershed area of this small fourth class town.

The calls are directed to incumbent Sorsogon Gov. Raul Lee whose office issued the small-scale mining permit (SSMP) to the project and the regional office for Bicol of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that provided an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) to it.

EMB regional director Gilbert Gonzales issued the ECC to Antonio Ocampo, Jr. of Ligao City on Aug. 19, 2009 while the SSMP was obtained on September 23 of the same year from then Gov. Sally Lee, the incumbent governor’s wife.

The ECC allows Ocampo to extract 50,000 metric tons of iron ore per year for two years from a 19.5-hectare area in Barangay Balocawe here. The SSMP which is binding for the period of one year but renewable for another year affirms the provisions of the ECC.

Ocampo was also able to secure a permit for his mining activities in the same village from the office of then mayor Guillermo So last February 2. A certification issued by the Office of the Municipal Treasurer last July 5 however said Ocampo has not applied for any business permit for mining operations in the municipality.

“From the very beginning, Mr. Ocampo has already been in bad faith in making us believe that he was only a contractor for the construction of a barangay road in the area. He had already gone far with his operations when we found out that what he was doing was actually mining,” town councilor Cristopher

Hadap, the chairman of the committee on agriculture, natural resources and environmental protection of the municipal legislative council on Tuesday said.

The mining operations was formally brought to the attention of the council last July by residents of Barangay Balocawe and neighboring villages who observed ruthless destruction of the environment, Hadap said.

Following a hearing conducted last July 27, Hadap said his committee has “strongly recommended that the DENR-EMB revoke the ECC granted to Ocampo and that in the meantime, a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) be issued to stop further operation”.

The recommendation was based on findings that Ocampo violated his ECC and SSMP that allow him only small-scale mining operations referred to by Republic Act No. 7076 or the People’s Small-scale Mining Act of 1991 as “mining activities which rely heavily on manual labor using simple implement and methods and do not use explosives or heavy mining equipment”, he said.

Upon ocular inspection, Hadap said “it was established that the operation of Mr. Ocampo is no longer small-scale mining considering the use of sophisticated heavy equipment making the same a large-scale mining”.

A team of the EMB that inspected the mining site last May 8 reported a similar finding and noted that the operations involved 11 dump trucks, a bulldozer, two backhoes, a rock breaker and a compactor which was “contrary to the provision of DENR Memorandum Order 2007-07 which restricts the use of sophisticated mining/heavy equipment.”

In a letter-report dated May 12, 2010 to then Gov. Sally Lee, the EMB team said it was observed that Ocampo’s mining activities have been encroaching on vast territories outside the 19.4840-hectare covered by his SSMP and ECC.

The EMB team also sought clarification on discrepancies with the ECC issued to Ocampo that states in the project description to cover “a Small-Scale Iron Mining Project but in the succeeding paragraph, it covers extraction of sand and gravel. Iron ore extraction and sand/ gravel extraction are different activities.”

It was also established according to the report of Hadap’s committee that “the river system of Barangay Balocawe and neighboring areas that is particularly used in irrigation purposes is now depleted or running shallow aside from the fact that it is no longer clear and clean as before”.

All those findings warrant the suspension of the mining operations and yet, both the EMB and the Office of the Governor that have authority to void its permits based on those deliberate violations appear to be playing deaf and blind amidst popular uprising against it, provincial board member Vladimir Frivaldo told the PNA on Tuesday.

“We at the provincial board are now in the process of passing a resolution condemning the mining operations and urging for its termination,” he added.

Fr. Aleander Jeruz, the town’s Parish priest, said the entire municipality particularly farmers and environmentalists have gone restless over this mining operation that they see as very destructive to the environment and threatening the source of irrigation water for the farms.

Chairman Rogelio Gamis of Barangay Gadgaron, a village seven kilometers down the mining site said his people are strongly opposed to Ocampo’s activities that they see would later redound to miseries of their lives in the community.

“The people of Matnog and all Sorsogueños who care for the environment and the future of the next generations have all the reasons to rally against this mining venture but our problem is our governor who had the authority to void the SSMP yet ‘lawyering’ for Ocampo,” Frivaldo said.

During a recent committee hearing of the Matnog municipal legislative council, Gov. Lee openly spoke in favor of Ocampo’s mining activities and downgraded the sectors composed of the local hierarchy of the Catholic Church and villagers opposing it, Frivaldo said.

“Lee’s position is a 10-million question to us as we take a look at the governor’s mandate of protecting the province’s environment, natural resources and constituents,” he added. (PNA Bicol)

P-Noy calls for special Cabinet meeting on Friday -- Coloma

MANILA —- President Benigno Simeon Aquino III will convene this Friday afternoon (August 27) a special Cabinet meeting that will discuss the Monday’s hostage-taking incident.

Presidential Communications for Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma said in a radio interview, President Aquino called a special Cabinet meeting at 1:00 p.m. on Friday at the Heroes Hall conference room in Malacanang. Main agenda of the meeting, he added is the hostage drama in Quirino Grandstand last Monday.

Among the Cabinet members expected to attend the special Cabinet meeting are Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo.

Coloma added Philippine National Police director-general Jesus Versoza is also expected to attend.

”There will be no other topic, the only topic to be discussed during the special Cabinet meeting will be regarding the hostage incident that took place last Monday,” Coloma told Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.

According to Coloma, President Aquino ordered the creation of a 400-man elite strike force that will handle hostage crisis.

The elite force to be composed of police and military officers and personnel who will undergo a special training and will be equipped with modern equipment to counter hostage-takers and terrorists.

Also on Friday, President Aquino is scheduled to receice at 3 p.m. the Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yu Myung Hwan of the Republic of Korea at the Music room for a courtesy call. (PIA V Release)

Foreign investor confidence in RP remains high – P-Noy

MANILA — Foreign investor confidence in the Philippines remains at an all-time high despite the bungled rescue attempt of Hong Kong nationals held hostage by a disgruntled former Manila policeman, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday (August 26).

In his speech keynoting the groundbreaking ceremonies for the construction of the Rizal Technological University’s Teacher Education and Law Center Building in Mandaluyong City, President Aquino said officials of a multi-national bank based in the United States have already signified their intent to invest in the country.

The President said his forthcoming trip to the US would solidify the prospective investor’s plans which he said would generate jobs for the Filipino people.

“By the end of September, we will be going to America and upon our return, I believe that we will be bringing gifts for the Filipino people in the form of additional jobs,” the President said.

He said Deutsche Bank officials met with him in Malacañang after the Luneta Grandstand hostage-taking incident to express their collective confidence on the country as an investment venue.

“I met with bank officials in Malacañang a day after the Luneta Grandstand hostage-taking incident and they told me that what we are going through right now is only temporary,” the President said.

“Our confidence in the Philippines is still complete, in fact we plan to increase our exposure here over three times because we believe that the Philippines is on the path to progress,” the President quoted the bank officials as saying.

The President said that with the increase in investments, the country’s economy would also grow and with a growing economy, the search of funding sources to bankroll various infrastructure projects would become easier.

He cited the RTU’s dream of finishing the construction of its Teacher Education and Law Center Building and other buildings of learning would certainly be within reach because funds would be readily available to finish construction of such.

“The building that we are going to build will help nurture talent that we need to generate jobs and opportunities,” the President said.

“If jobs are generated, our economy will expand, while our economy is expanding, the state will have the capability to address the needs of the people,” he added.

In closing, the President called on all Filipinos: “If we help each other, if we focus on our responsibility to others, nothing can impede the growth of the Filipino people.” (PIA V Release)

Government austerity starts with Malacanang household

MANILA — Malacanang household under President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino has set the example for austerity, spending only 40% of what the previous tenant at the Palace, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was spending since he took over.

President Aquino himself revealed the savings of 60% in a press briefing Wednesday last week, August 18, saying the Internal House Affairs Office (IHAO), which handles the upkeep of Malacanang household, had informed him the previous week that its expenses today under the new administration amounted to only 40% of what was spent for the past occupants covering the same period in previous years.

The President made the disclosure when he was asked by a reporter how he was leading by example on government austerity in the light of the move of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to adopt austerity measures to contain the budget deficit this year. The budget deficit is expected to hit P325 this year, up from about P298 billion last year.

Among the austerity measures outlined by the DBM were a freeze on the government purchase of new vehicles and the construction of new buildings, except the building of classrooms.

The government is forced to adopt austerity measures after the new administration of President Aquino found that the government is left with only 10% of the budget to spend for the second half of the year.

Last Friday, President Aquino confirmed government’s move toward austerity even next year by telling an All Leaders’ Forum with volunteer groups during his presidential campaign about a hiring freeze next year in most agencies of the government, except the hiring of teachers by the Department of Education.

The President said DBM Secretary Florencio Abad had advised him against hiring more people in government due to budgetary constraints.

Abad had cited to the President that next year’s national budget has no allocation for salaries if the government hires additional employees.

In line with this move, the government also won’t be hiring many advisers and consultants to keep a lean bureaucracy and save money.

Austerity measures will also be adopted on President Aquino’s travels abroad, including his trip to the United States next month and his visits to Indonesia and Vietnam before that.

President Aquino will be traveling abroad with a small delegation compared with the big groups being brought by President Arroyo when she would travel abroad. (PIA V Release)

Secretary Coloma’s statement clarifying Inquirer story

MANILA — Presidential Communications Operations Chief Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Thursday (August 26) clarified an Inquirer online report headline “Palace Exec Doubts Hongkong Chief called Aquino during (Monday’s) Hostage Crisis.”

“The headline is not correct,” Coloma said.

The transcript of the TV interview reads: “Di kapanipaniwala yan dahil accessible siya (President Aquino) sa lahat ng oras, (That is unbelievable as he was accessible at all time),” Coloma said.

“What I meant by ‘di kapanipaniwala iyan’ is the allegation that the President was inaccessible during the hostage crisis,” Coloma explained.

In his TV interview Thursday over “Umagang Kay Ganda,” Coloma noted:

“Kung lumabas man siya ng panandali ay tiyak naming mare-reach din siya dahil dala dala ng kanyang mga aides iyong mga teleponong maaring magamit para makontak siya,” (If he did leave his office, he could still be reached through the mobile phones held by his aides) Coloma said. (PIA V Release)

P-Noy vows justice to those accountable in the hostage-taking incident

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III vowed that justice will be served to those found accountable for the Luneta Grandstand hostage-taking incident and subsequent botched rescue attempt by security forces last Monday that led to the death of eight Hong Kong nationals.

The Chief Executive made this statement in his speech on Thursday (August 26) at the ground breaking and time-capsule laying ceremonies for the construction of the Teacher Education and Law Center Building of the Rizal Technological University in Mandaluyong City.

The President, however, said that due process will be maintained and the results of the investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation into the case will be the basis for bringing the perpetrators to justice.

“Ginagarantiya ko sa inyo: winawasto na nung gabi pa lang noon yung pagkakamali na nangyari at yan po ay ilalabas natin sa nalalapit na imbestigasyong pangungunahan ng DoJ at ng NBI (I assure you, we started to rectify whatever mistakes had been committed Monday evening, and you will be informed of the outcome of the investigation to be conducted by DOJ and the NBI),” the President said.

“May mga nagkulang, may mga magbabayad (There were shortcomings, but there will be justice),” he declared. (PIA V Release)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

RDC FULL COUNCIL MEETING – RDC Chairman Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda briefing the full council on the performance of the GRDP 2009, during the August 25, RDC Full Council Meeting. Other photo shows (L-R) Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine Rosal, OCD Dir. Bernardo Alejandro IV, NEDA Dir. Romeo C. Escandor and RDC Secretary Luis Banua, (Alex Cal/PIA)
Undersecretary for Local Government Hon. Austere A. Panadero (right) awards the 2009 Excellence in Local Governance to Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda, for outstanding performance and significant contribution in strengthening LGU capacities and civil society, also in photo are DILG-5 Dir. Blandino M. Maceda, held at DILG Regional Office No. 5, last August 25. (Alex Cal/PIA)
HIV STAKEHOLDERS’ SUMMIT -- Albay Aids Council Chairman Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda delivers his message and Policy Statement & Challenge to the Community the negative impact of HIV/AIDS on Human Development , held at La Roca Veranda Suites & Restaurant, Legazpi City last August 25. 2010. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY — Melody Adelaide Gersbach, Bb. Pilipinas-International 2009, along with two others died Saturday (August 21) in a road mishap in Camarines Sur, a police report said.

“She is so young and full of potentials aside from the oozing beauty, talent and intelligence that serves as role model for this generation and the generations to come, but life is very unpredictable and only God can answer all this mysteries,” Albay governor Joey Salceda who was struck upon knowing the fate of the beloved ‘daughter’ of Albay.

Salceda said Melody has brought Albay tourism at the forefront together with other Bicolanas who reign in their respective beauty titles which collectively contributes to making the region and the province of Albay one of the centers of tourism in the country.

“Melody has done her part and could have done so much more. The entire province deeply feels the loss and shares the sadness of her family. I just hope the tragedy will not affect Venus in Las Vegas and instead use this event as a challenge and to uplift the plight of Bicol,” Salceda said.

Gersbach and three other companions were heading towards Naga City when their red Toyota Innova (with plate number NTQ 364) collided with a passenger bus along the Maharlika highway in Pawili village of Bula town at around 11:45am.

Gersbach, 24, and two other companions identified as Alden “Owen” Orense, her make-up artist, and Santos “Dodong” Ramos, the vehicle driver, were declared ‘dead-on-the-spot’ by responding policemen who rushed to the scene of the accident.

The Innova van was a ‘total wreck’ as described by onlookers. No one was reported injured among the bus passengers.

The lone survivor, identified as a certain Ronald Lita, was immediately brought to Bicol Medical Center in Naga City. He is reported to be in critical condition as of press time.

Gersbach was supposed to attend the Ms Bicolandia Executive Committee meeting held in Avenue Plaza hotel in Naga City.

Her remains was brought to her hometown in Daraga, Albay where she is residing.

The cadavers of Orense and Ramos were initially brought to Funeraria Del Carmen in Naga City.

Wilson Pontillas, the driver of the Guevarra bus (with plate number EVG 121) which figured in the accident, voluntarily surrendered to the municipal police station in Pili town.

Pontillas was said to be trying to avoid a tricycle along the highway when it rammed into the Toyota Innova van from the opposite direction. (PNA Bicol/PIA)


SORSOGON CITY — Clients of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) district office here express relief with the prompt delivery of frontline services of the agency through the Taxpayers Service Area (TSA), the main component of the BIR’s institutionalized ‘Handang Maglingkod Project’ (HMP).

“With the BIR’s Taxpayers Service Area provided for us, we were able to make our transactions faster saving more of our time from waiting just to process our documents,” observed one local BIR client.

According to BIR Sorsogon Revenue District Officer Arturo Abenoja, Jr., just like other BIR offices in the country rendering frontline services to taxpayers, they have provided a specific reception area at their office’s main entrance for taxpayers transacting with the BIR.

“It serves as a one-stop-shop to address taxpayer’s needs without the necessity of a follow-up or referral to other offices,” he added.

Abenoja also said that the TSA is open from eight o’clock in the morning to past 5 o’clock in the afternoon with no break as per compliance with the republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red tape Act of 2007.

Institutionalized last year, the program aims at promoting fast, efficient and courteous delivery of services to taxpayers as well as institutes a system for measuring the level of taxpayer satisfaction with the bureau’s services.

Abenoja also added that the key feature of the TSA is their administration of a taxpayer service satisfaction survey which will give them an idea of the kind of service they render to their clients.

“Through a logbook which we provide for them, our clients can ventilate their complaints and make their comments and suggestions,” he said.

“And to keep our visiting clients informed and updated, information materials are also made available for them,” he further said.

With the HMP now being strengthened and institutionalized, BIR will no doubt provide better, faster, and more efficient service to their clients thus will promote greater voluntary compliance among the taxpayers. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


LEGAZPI CITY — More capital investments are needed to stimulate the country’s economic growth, a top economic analyst here said today.

Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda has urged the Aquino administration to draw up a national policy that would persuade local and foreign businesses here to reinvestment in order to stimulate the country’s economic climate.

“The national policy should be: firms must invest! whether here or abroad but preferably here,” Salceda stressed.

Citing economic ratings of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Top 1000 companies, Salceda said these companies have accumulated profits of P3 trillion plus non-cash of P1 trillion dividends over the past ten years but only reinvested P1.1 trillion.

If local firms invest at home, it would have similar effect on the peso since investments in the Philippines require massive importation of capital equipment and raw material and therefore would use up foreign exchange, he said.

With investment rate at only 14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), way below its neighbors and the required rate of 23% to grow 8-10% GDP, there are enough domestic opportunities in modernization of existing inventory of infrastructure and industrial plant and equipment and in the expansion of capacities in tourism, transportation, housing, IT and IT-enable services, Salceda explained.

The first wave of investments under the Aquino watch is likely to focus on items that reduce costs of doing business or enhance ease of doing business.

He claims that the government is targeting 18% investment rate in 2011 basically from private domestic sector given fiscal constraints capping public infrastructure.

To meet this investment goal it would require a total private investment of P940 billion while the import content would at least account for 50% of investment costs or $10.4 billion, Salceda said..

He said this policy once carried out would expect the government to reduce its own foreign borrowing program, so its capital outlay of 4% of GDP and its import content would likely draw down on the regular forex flows. (PNA Bicol/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — Establishments in the Bicol region with 200 or more workers are urged by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to set up in-house programs on health and family welfare.

“The reason why we look for a job is because of our family. Bicol is a family-oriented region. So companies here should have a specific program for family welfare…It is a must!” DOLE Bicol Regional Director Atty. Alvin M. Villamor said yesterday during the general assembly of the Bicol Federation of Family Welfare Committees, Incorporated (BFFWCI) held here.

DOLE Bicol aims to revive and strengthen the BFFWCI in response to the call of Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz to streamline several advocacy trainings and other activities for implementation of the agency’s Family Welfare Program (FWP).

“Perhaps we’ll start by requiring malls across the region to put-up a breastfeeding area after we re-organize the BFFWCI,” Villamor stressed.

Specifically, DOLE Bicol eyes to tie up with the Department of Health (DOH) in its nutrition campaign for would-be mothers by pressing establishments, more particularly, malls to create a breastfeeding area.

“The idea was welcomed by the participants. In fact they said that it should not only be concentrated to malls,” Villamor said.

Another area that DOLE Bicol wants to pursue in its FWP is to have a massive inter-establishment advocacy on dengue and the sharing of existing family welfare programs. The representatives of the 19 companies present at the affair agreed in unison.

“One reason why we wanted to reorganize the BFFWCI is for the members to interact with each other and share their best practices. I think I saw it happening already in this meeting,” Villamor commented.

Aside from the general assembly, a Technical Learning Session on Department Order (DO) 56-03, Family Health Program Services, and the launching of the Search for the Best Family Welfare Program were conducted during the one-day affair.

“Good family foundation means better workers condition and better workers condition means more work output and less margin of errors. A company with a strong family welfare program would mean high-output and very competitive company,” Villamor ended. (RPEscalante, DOLE V/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — “We are very proud of this work we are doing on behalf of the community,” Avelino Arcello, one of the community volunteers from Barangay Panan-awan in Cawayan, Masbate enthused during the conduct of KALAHI-CIDSS training on procurement for community volunteers last August 12-13, 2010.

More than 200 community volunteers gathered in Cawayan Sports Complex and participate to the training on procurement for community volunteers, one of the organized capability building activities of the project that will ensure that community projects are designed and developed in an appropriate and responsive manner.

In this regard, the KALAHI-CIDSS invests heavily in building local capacities to engage in effective project design and development.

The activity was facilitated by the members of the DSWD Regional Project Management Team (RPMT) and discussed topics on procurement policy and process, packaging, procedures, filling up of forms and procurement red flags.

Arcello is in-charge of preparing and packaging of materials that they will use for their proposed school building.

“Our participation in this KALAHI-CIDSS training had led to a better understanding of the work that we do and how important the Project can be. I am proud to be a volunteer in providing support to the community,” Arcello said.

Although this is the first time that Arcello is carrying out the procurement work, he said that it has taught them just how much can be achieved when everyone participates in the barangay.

“As a volunteer, I have personally awakened by the needs of our community. We need to work hard to attain our goal of having a school building project,” added Arcello.

The hard work and dedication of the participants from the first day till the end of the training was highly commendable.

Cawayan Mayor Edgar S. Condor praised the efforts of the community volunteers who literally sweated over the various stages of the training workshop.

Condor said that the people will surely feel ownership of the Project since they are involved in project identification and preparation. “KALAHI-CIDSS is the Project that involves the people right from the start,” he added.

The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) project is a revolutionary approach to poverty alleviation being implemented by the DSWD.

Cawayan is the only municipality in Bicol for additional 16 municipalities to implement KALAHI-CIDSS nationwide. (CLMartinez, DSWD V/PIA)


CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – At least a hundred members of the Philippine Army donated blood, some provide medical and dental mission , as part of the humanitarian mission in Naga City Saturday (August 21), a military official said.

LtCol Erwin De Asis, Civil-Military Operations officer of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (PA), said at least 100 CAFGU personnel from the 22nd Infantry Battalion came to donate blood that will benefit people who need blood transfusion during emergency medical procedures.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, commander of the 9ID PA sent the medical and dental personnel of the Philippine Army to provide services to the target beneficiaries.

More that 200 locals came to the University of Sta Isabel gym and availed of the free medical and dentals services.

Amelia Borres, 50, said that she is very thankful that the Philippine Army has constantly helped the people in Camarines Sur. She said that she came to have her tooth extracted.

“The free dental services provided by the Army are a big help to ordinary Bicolanos like me. I am also thankful to the ABS-CBN for providing free medicines in coordination with the Philippine Army,” said Borres.

Captain Warlito Chee, 9ID PA dental officer, narrated that he had participated in the numerous civic-action missions requested by various agencies and local government units.

“I had practically roamed around Camarines Sur to carry out dental missions even in remote barangays which are categorized as ‘rebel-influenced’,” said Chee.

Amy Villafuerte, manager of ABS-CBN Bicol personally came to supervise the event. She said that her group is very eager to help the people in various capacities.

“I would like to thank the Philippine Army for being our reliable partner in this undertaking. We look forward to having more partnerships in the future,” said Villafuerte. (HMCabunoc, DPAO 9ID PA/PIA)

HK appreciates RP efforts in hostage aftermath

MANILA — The Hong Kong government has expressed appreciation for the assistance and swift response provided by the Philippine government in addressing their requests including the repatriation of the remains of the victims in the hostage-taking incident on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Edwin Lacierda said the message of appreciation was personally relayed by Guo Shao Chuen of Hong Kong’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo during their meeting on Tuesday night in Manila.

In a press briefing on Wednesday (August 25), Lacierda said that Chuen asked Robredo to convey to President Benigno S. Aquino III the Hong Kong government’s appreciation of the swift processing of documents and other requirements of the relatives of victims of the tragic incident.

Lacierda said Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman led the send off for the Hong Kong nationals on Wednesday afternoon.

Lacierda welcomed the magnanimous pronouncement of action star Jackie Chan on his Twitter account saying that incidents like the tragic hostage taking in Manila do happen around the world and that “humans should be united and not kill or hate each other.”

“We thank Mr. Jackie Chan for extending his hand of friendship. We hope that our friends in Hong Kong will also extend their hands of friendship again to us. It is an isolated incident, it is an unfortunate incident. We grieved over the tragedy that had happened. We are not taking this lightly. We thank Mr. Jackie Chan and we hope the people of Hong Kong will also understand our situation,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said the President has already called for a full investigation of the incident to be led by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and DILG Secretary Robredo.

He said the Philippines will send a high-level delegation to Hong Kong and Beijing to be led by Vice President Jejomar Binay and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo to reiterate the country’s deepest regret and submit an official report on the incident. (PIA V Release)

Aquino sending high level delegation to China

MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III has designated a high level delegation to the People’s Republic of China to officially explain what transpired during Monday’s hostage taking incident which resulted in the death of eight Hongkong nationals.

The delegation is composed of Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and foreign affairs secretary Alberto Romulo.

In a press briefing Wednesday (August 25) in Malacanang, the President said the delegation is making the necessary arrangements with the Chinese embassy and will proceed to Beijing to officially send a report to President Hu Jintao.

The delegation according to the President, will then proceed to Hong Kong to have a dialogue with the Chief Executive of the Special Administrative Region, Donald Tsang.
In a phone conversation with Tsang Tuesday, the President explained the chronology of events that transpired during the bloody incident.

The President said he understands the anger of the people of Hong Kong because of the incident and asked for their understanding.

He assured that the government is already correcting the deficiencies in the implementation of operating procedures during the hostage taking.

“None of us wanted this outcome and we’d like to emphasize the fact that the primary consideration was to secure all of the hostages” the President said. (PIA V Release)

Gov’t launches nationwide dengue info drive

MANILA — The government has embarked on a nationwide information campaign in the wake of the rising incidence of dengue cases in the country.

In a news briefing, President Benigno S. Aquino III said the drive is focused on cleanliness particularly in the light of a Department of Health report of a 50 percent increase in the incidence of the killer disease this year.

“During our meeting on Monday, Dr. Enrique Ona (DOH Secretary) mentioned there was a 50 percent increase in the incidence of dengue cases. He is now going around for an education campaign dealing with the cleanliness drive,” the President said.

The President said the educational drive involves public awareness and participation in cleaning the common breeding grounds of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes such as unattended old tires, empty cans and bottles, gutters and the like.

“We would rather have the prevention rather than the curing aspect of it. There was also a study being done whether or not there is an effect already of the global climate change that has increased the population of this dengue-bearing mosquitoes,” the President said.

The DOH earlier attributed the increase in dengue cases to the El Niño phenomenon.
From January to July this year alone, the DOH reported 40,648 cases with a total of 328 deaths.

Most of the dengue cases were reported in Central Mindanao, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon (Calabarzon) area, Southern Mindanao, Northern Mindanao and Metro Manila.

At present, the DOH is intensifying its dengue fever awareness and prevention program in schools and communities nationwide and advising the public to be aware of the flu-like symptoms of the disease like prolonged fever and rashes. (PIA V Release)

SK, Barangay polls to proceed as scheduled

MANILA — The Sangguniang Kabataan and Barangay elections will go on as scheduled, after all.

This, after Congress has acceded to President Benigno S. Aquino’s request to pursue the conduct of the said polls in October this year.

President Aquino announced the development in a news briefing with Malacanang reporters Wednesday.

The confirmation came after the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms on Wednesday had dismissed and ‘archived’ all bills and resolutions of the minority bloc to suspend the Barangay and SK polls.

“I appealed to members of the ruling coalition in both chambers to support us in our drive to continue with what has already been scheduled by the pertinent law and that is the conduct of Barangay and SK elections by October of this year. And that was again a primary appeal that they have acceded to,” the President said.

During his meeting with members of Congress, the President explained that ‘a renewal of mandate’ and the conduct of Barangay and SK elections this coming October is necessary in governance as being ‘the primary instrumentality in carrying out any and all programs of the state.’

He stressed that “without the renewed mandate the support of the populace essential in attaining success of this objectives will be severely put to the test.” (PIA V Release)

Palace thanks HK actor Jacky Chan for showing gesture of goodwill

MANILA— Malacanang on Wednesday (August 25) thanked Hong Kong's action film star Jacky Chan for showing a gesture of goodwill towards Filipinos in light of the bloody hostage crisis last Monday and hoped that other Hong Kong residents would do the same.

The actor, in his twitter account, said he is "extending a hand of friendship" to the Filipinos amid the bloody hostage incident on Monday that killed seven Hong Kong nationals.

Chan said: "If they killed the guy sooner, they will say, why not negotiate first? If they negotiate first, they ask: why not kill the guy sooner? So sad!"

"HK is a nation built by a lot of different people. Don’t worry! We do not hate!" he said.

"I remember the days before in Korea when we talked about how people should love each other. We already have so many natural disasters... typhoon, tsunami, everything! Humans should be united and not kill or hate each other."

"Thank you Mr. Jacky Chan for extending a hand of friendship. We hope the people in Hong Kong will also extend their hand of friendship to us," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said at a press briefing.

Lacierda also appealed to Hong Kong nationals for sobriety and assured them that the government is doing its best to attend to the needs of the victims' families.

"We grieve the tragedy that has happened. We hope the Hong Kong people will also understand our situation," he said.

The Palace made the call amid reports that Filipinos in Hong Kong are feeling the brunt of anger of residents there.

"We ask the people of Hong Kong for some understanding and I hope they won't take it against our Filipino brothers and sisters in Hong Kong," Lacierda said. (PIA V Release)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY WEEK--DOST-V Regional Director Tomas B. Briñas (right) assisted by OIC Deputy Director, DOST-FNRI, Dr. Zenaida Narciso lead the ceremonial ribbon cutting during the blessing and inauguration of DOST amenities, and opening of S&T exhibits, with the theme: “Filipinnovation: The Way Forward” held at DOST V Compound, Regional Center Site, Rawis, Legazpi City, August 24, 2010. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Friday, August 20, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY --- The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will soon get hold of 18 light planes and eight helicopters as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program, a ranking Air Force officer said on Wednesday.

Maj. General Artemio Orozco, PAF 1st Air Division commander said the command expects the aircrafts to be delivered before the end of this year and the rest by next year.

He said four of the 18 planes and eight helicopters are to be delivered any time this year.

The multi purpose helicopters can be mobilized either in times of disaster or military operations.

The aircraft procurement procedures have been carried out, it had been bided and the command is just waiting for the deliveries.

Orozco at a press conference held at the PAF Tactical Operation Group 5 (TOG5) office here said the brand new light training planes and multi purpose helicopters would replace the old once that have been declared as no longer functional by the command.

According to Orozco the command as a standard practice regularly identifies all assets that need repairs and replacement; this would ensure that the PAF assets would be properly maintained.

He said ”we see to it that our air assets are kept in good condition so these aircrafts maintains their airworthiness and reliability.”

He said despite the sheer lack of air assets, the command is addressing this problem though it would take some time.

Aside from the acquisition of air assets, Orozco said the PAF has created an Air Education Training Command aimed to sustain and upgrade its training program on the aspect of asset maintenance and pilot capability building.

Orozco arrived here on Wednesday as guest of honor during opening and blessing of the TOG5 Taxiway, Ramp and “Balay na Azul.”

Air Force Col. Guillermo Molina, TOG5 commander said the three projects costing P40 million would spur the commands operation in the region.

Molina said the fund spent for the three infra projects came from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol.

He said the construction of the aircraft taxiway and ramp would enable air assets to manoeuvre with ease in times of disaster or military operations.

While the “Balay na Azul” is a two storey edifice which contains an office cum conference hall and three fully furnished air conditioned rooms for guests and visitors.

Molina at the program presented to Orozco the newly trained TOG5 Search and Rescue (SAR) 12 member team that were trained in various aspects search, retrieval and rescue operations.

Orozco commended the TOG5 for organizing the SAR and the innovation made by Molina in transforming the empty gasoline drums to colorful “banca” dresser, comfort room, and water containers that are useful during disaster operation. (PNA Bicol/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY— The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Bicol held a simultaneous On-Demand Application (ODA) for the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) for the province of Albay, Camarines Norte and Sur, and Catanduanes on August 16-22..

DSWD Bicol Regional Director Remia Tapispisan explained that the ODA is in line with the issuance of Executive Order No. 687 on March 2010 directing all government agencies to adapt the NHTS-PR.

Tapispisan furthered that the scheme is a mechanism in identifying who and where the poor households who shall be the recipients of the social protection programs nationwide.

The ODA provides an opportunity for those who were not included or assessed during the regular enumeration conducted from April 2009 to March 2010 but whose residence was identified as within the target area to be included in the project’s data base.

About 2,078 barangays from the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes were covered by this activity.

It is along this line that DSWD is calling all the residents in the provinces as mentioned ad were not visited or included in the household enumeration conducted by the DSWD to visit the nearest Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) and file an application for their inclusion in the household assessment to be done. (DSWD V/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Bicol has officially launched the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte last August 10 and August 11, 2010 respectively.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program also known as 4Ps is a poverty reduction strategy of the government that provides cash grants to extremely poor households intended for their health, nutrition and education especially of their children aged o to 4 years old.

Some 484 families of Minalabac, Camarines Sur benefited from the program covering the barangays of Tariric, Malitbog, Sagrada, and Salinggugon. Meanwhile for Camarines Norte 465 families of San Lorenzo Ruiz benefited from the program covering the Barangays of Daculang Bolo, Matacong, Sa Isidro ad Mampurog.

The beneficiaries received their first 4Ps cash grant through over-the-counter payment in the LandBank of Naga City for Camarines Sur beneficiaries and LandBank Daet Branch for Camarines Norte beneficiaries. A beneficiary received a maximum of P7,000 or P1,400 a month covering the months of November to December 2009 and January to March 2010.

“Magtarabang-tabang po kita,” said Mayor Leovegildo Basmayor of Minalabac, Camarines Sur. In his message, he urged the beneficiaries not just to help each other but also to give importance to the projects granted to them by the government.

DSWD Regional Director Remia T. Tapispisan on the other hand reminded the beneficiaries to comply with the program’s conditionalities so as to continue receiving the cash grants. Non-compliance would result to delistment or termination from the program.

The beneficiaries positively responded and committed support to the program. (AMayor, DSWD V/PIA)


SORSOGON Province — If there is one thing that successful good people would wish for, it would be to serve as an inspiration for others.

Two Sorsoganons had aim for it and has proven anew their excellence in their own field of chosen interests following the honors and inspiration both of them has brought to the province and the country as well.

One of them is Engr. Murry Demdam who hailed from Brgy. Gatbo, Bacon District, Sorsogon City. He is the chief operating officer of Al-Khawari Establishment and heads the Phillippine Professionals Organization, an umbrella group of professional organizations composed of mechanical, civil, electrical and communications engineers, architects, certified public accountants as well as community leaders in the Eastern province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Demdam is an inspiration to many because of his exemplary performance in his engineering field bringing him various recognition and awards.

Most recently, Demdam become the recipient of the Bagong Bayani Award 2009, Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers 2009 Fellow Award and was also chosen as the 2010 Outstanding Professional of the Year for Mechanical Engineering from the Philippine Regulatory Commission (PRC) in recognition of his professional excellence and confirmation of his professional integrity.

Currently, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of Al-Aldalus International School of Al-Khobar and officer/director of various businesses in Saudi Arabia and still looks forward to how he could further help Filipinos in Saudi.

Meanwhile, another outstanding Sorsoganon, Ana Gotladera, 45, from Matnog, Sorsogon also brought prestige to the province following her recognition as the 2010 Halyao Awardee during the 6th Annual Halyao Awards held last month in Naga City.

Gotladera finished Community Health Service course and a midwife by profession, but ventured and became more productive as micro entrepreneur.

A model of a successful entrepreneur, Gotladera started out producing organic soaps in 2002 in Matnog and later on expanded to subcontracting handicrafts and eventually became an exporter.

Her Analobel Enterprises, a handicraft production business, benefits 620 people and 150 families in seven barangays not only in Sorsogon but in Albay province as well, based from the data submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry Sorsogon.

Analobel Enterprises also contributes approximately 9.55% of the provincial export performance of Sorsogon province.

Said enterprise practices corporate social responsibility through worker loan assistance, skills trainings and annual outings to boost the workers’ morale.

The Halyao Awards is an annual event organized by the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry which recognizes five outstanding Bicolano businesspersons yearly. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


LEGAZPI CITY — With the promulgation of the implementing rules and regulations of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act or RA 9994, a great equalizer in providing benefits to senior citizens across the country, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office here held a series of Senior Citizens Congress in the six provinces across Bicol.

The interfacings, held within the period of July 27 until August 26, were attended by the heads of the Office of Senior Citizens Affair, the Municipal and Provincial Federation Presidents, representative of business establishments, duty bearers and the members of the Regional Coordinating and Monitoring Board (RCMB) for Senior Citizens.

Social Welfare Officer IV Arwin Razo presented and explained the salient features of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Law.

Meanwhile, DSWD regional director Remia T. Tapispisan in her message urged the local government units to give priority services for the older persons especially in the planning ad budgeting in their respective locality.

She also expressed her appreciation for the overwhelming response and participation of the senior citizens and the duty bearers who are tasked by law to implement the mandate under RA 9994.

Tapispisan also explained that the purpose of the activity is to have a detailed and comprehensive discussion of the law, draw out support from the government, non-government and private sector in the compliance of the law. She likewise said that the Congress is a venue to discuss issues and concerns of the senior citizens group in relation to their welfare.

Among the major issues raised were: a) status of implementation of the proposed social pension for senior citizens as provided in RA 9994; b) level of compliance of the Local Government Units in terms of allocating 1% of the total annual budget for the senior citizens and the persons with disability sectors; and c) discussion on the compliance of the different establishments and institutions on the adherence of the law ad the compliance to the full 20% discount and the total VAT exemption.

In response to the issues raised the Regional Coordinating and Monitoring Board will strengthen and will have a close monitoring on the compliance of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act. (DSWD V/PIA)


CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur — Combined elements of the 901st Brigade and Albay police arrested a ranking NPA terrorist leader in Albay in the evening of August 20, Friday, a ranking military official said.

Alvin Orpiada alias Bong, commander of Sentro De Grabidad, under the Larangan 77 guerilla front operating in Albay was arrested by combined elements of the Army and police at barangay Libas, Guinobatan town in Albay on Friday evening.

Brigadier General Marlou Salazar, Commander of the 901st Brigade, said that a crack team from his unit, supported by policemen from Albay, collared the drunk Orpiada at around 9:45pm Friday.

“Orpiada was heavily drunk when arrested by soldiers and policemen in the presence of his friends who shared a drink with him in a secluded house in the village. My soldiers followed all the legal procedures in effecting the arrest and the suspect was treated humanely,” said Salazar.

Orpiada has a string of criminal cases with at least 4 warrants of arrest were issued against him. He was facing 2 murder cases in a local court in Guinobatan town and a P500,000.00 bounty was placed on his head.

Salazar said that a local ‘sari-sari’ store owner complained about Orpiada’s demand to take cases of beer without paying for them.

NPA leader’s name had earlier surfaced in numerous reports of extortions on small-time businesses in the towns in the third district of Albay.

Orpiada was brought to the military camp in Daraga town for custodial debriefing. Close coordination with the PNP had been made for the safe transfer of Orpiada to the PNP’s custody.

Due to the cooperation of the local populace, the military has reported the increasing number of rebels being arrested in the past weeks.

Earlier, two rebels were also captured with 4 firearms in an upland village in Lupi, Camarines Sur when a local tipster pointed to their exact location.

One of the captured rebels by help soldiers unearth 8 high-powered firearms that they buried for safekeeping. (HMCabunoc, DPAO 9ID PA/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY— The City Health Office here, in partnership with Department of Health Regional (DOH) Bicol), spearheaded an orientation seminar to all the Botika sa Barangay operators held at the Ibalong Conference Room last August 18, 2010.

Mayor Geraldine Rosal averred that one of the foremost agenda of her administration is to implement an effective health program to strengthen the health services to her constituents.

Rosal likewise said that the village pharmacy project is one of the answers to provide a universal health services to all the Legazpeños and promote good health in the society.

Furthermore, during the said activity, the chief executive told to the participants that they are very fortunate first and foremost because they are authorized to manage the Botika sa Barangay.

She also urged all the operators to deliver an honest and square health services at their own respective places.

On the other hand, Lilibeh Guazon, DOH Bicol representative, said that the establishment of Botika sa Barangay was started in 1982 as one of the strategies of primary health care to make drugs and medicines available, affordable and accessible to the community, the implementation of this program was intensified in support to the government’s effort to lower the price of commonly bought drugs by 50% of its cost.

This initiative comes in line with the National Government’s call to make reforms in the health sector so that health goods and services are truly accessed and enjoyed by the majority of the people, she added.

Guanzon however said, that this orientation seminar is very important to all the pharmacy operators to know them about the rules and regulations of the said government program.

She labeled that one of the requirements of DOH to the operators is the certificate and attendance of the orientation seminar.

She likewise said that DOH will give P25,000 worth of medicines to every identified operators that will serve them as an initial capital of the said botika sa barangay. (MPSolis, LGU Legazpi City/PIA)


MANILA — As one who wakes up daily to the view of the dismal state of the Pasig River, President Benigno S. Aquino III shares the hope of many for the strict implementation of the law against those who abuse waterways.

In a speech at the 10th Bayer Young Environment Envoys awards at the Dusit hotel in Makati Thursday night (August 19), the President said he is looking forward not only for a heavier fine on polluters but also to the 15 days of community service for those who violate the law.

“Everyday when I wake up I face the Pasig River and I know how bad the Pasig River is and I look forward to the implementation of the law that says, who will pollute our rivers will be given a fine,” he explained, adding that he would also like the enforcement of a 15 days of community service for those who have abused the waterways.

The President led the awarding of 12 young Filipinos named as Bayer Young Environmental Envoys for successfully completing their respective environmental projects.

The Pasig River, which stretches for 25 kilometers from Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay and serves as a major transport route has been declared a critical water body because of the tons of waste dumped into it daily by households and industries.

The President, who lives alongside its bank at the Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang enjoined the 27.8 million young Filipinos to be the government’s partner not only in the protection of the environment but also in poverty alleviation and nation building.

“The challenges confronting our nation today are large – they can be intimidating because no single individual or organization can overcome them on their own,” he said. “But together, we can make a difference. You have to stand up and be counted, and then the power of one can become People Power.”

The President noted several ongoing environmental projects of the government in which the youth can participate.

One of these, he said is the administration’s solid waste management program, which promotes recycling, proper collection and disposal of garbage. The youth, he said, can post in the internet information on cleaning up esteros, or the next schedule of the waste segregation day.

“We encourage you to join us, in whatever way possible, in these worthwhile projects. Your youth is your greatest resource. You have the ability to respond quickly to problems and find creative ways to solve them. You have the ability to access and understand different kinds of information,” the President said.

The Chief Executive expressed his gratitude to Bayer for initiating a program such as the Young Environmental Envoys that gives young Filipinos the opportunity to be “agents of change.”

The Bayer Young Environmental Envoy program is a global environment education program for the youth organized by Bayer and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). (PIA V Release)


MANILA — Malacañang said there is a need to increase the tax base to increase collection and fund vital government projects and programs.

In a media briefing in Malacañang, Secretary Ramon “Ricky” Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) said additional collection from an expanded tax base will help fund the government’s infrastructure and social services programs.

Carandang is urging the public ’s sense of nationalism by paying the right amount of taxes which, he said, will surely be spent to improving the economy and improving the lives of the less fortunate.

Carandang said there is a need to increase the tax base after the Bureau of internal Revenue (BIR) discovered that only three million Filipinos regularly pay their income taxes out of the country’s estimated population of 90 million.

With more people paying the proper taxes, Carandang said there is no need for government to increase taxes.

“We have a policy of not raising taxes and yet we need to increase spending on so many things like infrastructure and social spending. And we do not want to do it by raising taxes. We have to be able to collect the proper taxes from the public,” Carandang said.

To date, Carandang said the BIR and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) are continuing their intensified campaign against big-time tax evaders and smugglers to attain the 2010 revenue goal of P830 billion this year.

The Department of Finance (DOF) has tasked the two revenue agencies to sustain their no-nonsense campaign in filing weekly cases against big-time tax evaders and smugglers. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III has instructed Presidential Management Staff Secretary Julia Abad to schedule a Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting to forge a common agenda with Congress and discuss the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

It will be the first time President Aquino is convening the council since assuming the presidency on June 30.

In a news briefing, Presidential Communications Development Strategic and Planning Secretary Ramon “Ricky” Carandang said no exact date for the LEDAC meeting was mentioned.

“Definitely, pag-uusapan yan,” Carandang said referring to the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in October.

The Barangay and SK elections are the possible main agenda for the LEDAC meeting after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced preference for its abolition.

President Aquino, according to Carandang, also wants to discuss with the lawmakers the proposed P1.75 trillion national budget for 2011. The proposed budget is scheduled for submission to Congress next week, he said.

The proposed 2011 budget is concentrated on social programs meant to uplift the living conditions of the marginalized sector such as improving social safety nets, spending on education and expansion of health care to the poorest of the poor.

“There’ll be significant increases in social services spending. So, it will also be included in the discussion at the LEDAC meeting,” Carandang said. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Sonny Coloma Friday (August 20) defended the possible implementation of a partial open skies policy should the Philippine Airlines labor dispute remains unresolved.

In an interview over Radyo ng Bayan this morning, Coloma said the major road block to tourism growth is the restrictive civil aviation policy and that “it is time for us to review and adopt a more flexible policy for the development of our country.”

Coloma cited the example made by President Benigno S. Aquino III that before Bali, Indonesia opened its skies, its visitor arrivals reached only 30,000. This leapt to 3 million as soon as Indonesia opened its skies to foreign airlines.

He said that if the country fully develops its tourism industry, through partial open skies, there will be substantial growths in jobs available for local people and more industries are expected to flourish.

He also said what impedes tourism growth is not high crime rates, or lack of infrastructure but more on a highly restrictive civil aviation policy. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III has assured that his administration will continue its partnership with citizen volunteers in the common desire to end corruption and ensure the transparent implementation of government reform policies and programs.

The President made the commitment and lauded the civil society’s spirit of volunteerism during the summit of the leaders of the Volunteer Partners for Reforms at the Heroes Hall of Malacañang on Friday afternoon (August 20).

The President said his administration fully supports the proposition of the citizen volunteers to tie up with government agencies and its advocacy for citizen participation in the implementation and formulation of government policy reforms and programs.

The citizen volunteer groups also committed to support the Aquino administration’s resolve to realize social transformation under the slogan, “Kung Walang Corrupt Walang Mahirap.”

The President said his administration has already opened up a two-way feedback mechanism with the public so that government can immediately attend to issues and provide solutions to problems affecting the needs of the citizenry.

“These citizen volunteers will act as watchdog and help ensure the transparent implementation of government programs and projects. They will become the bridge between government and the ordinary citizens in our effort to uplift the lives of the poor,” the President said.

The President said the continuing partnership between the government, civil society and the private sector can immediately provide clear cut solutions in the implementation of environmental, education, health and other social services programs including those in conflict-affected communities.

The President said the volunteers, including its partners in government and the private sector, will spearhead the implementation of these kinds of projects to ensure that they really go to the intended beneficiaries.

“We have already opened a new path and planted the seed of reforms that will benefit the next generation of Filipinos,” the President said.

With the development of a feedback mechanism, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said citizen groups can now tie-up with the different government agencies to thresh out issues and problems which can be coursed through the Office of Regional Concerns (ORC) of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).

Aside from Soliman, present during the event were Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

Also present were volunteer groups organizing committee chairmen, Karina David, Dr. Mario Taguiwalo, and some 200 leaders of other volunteer groups nationwide. (PIA V Release)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

SRNH INVESTORS' FORUM --Atty. Fernando Claveria, delivers his message during the Strong Republic Nautical Highway Ports Investors' Forum held at Bicol University College of Nursing Amphitheater, Legazpi City, aimed to promote the ten SRNH ports identified as potential commercial hubs to prop-up the central and eastern seaboards of the Philippine archipelago, the forum is attended by LGUs and NGAs concerned and potential investors from shipping, arrastre and other port-related business sectors, last Wednesday, August 18. (Alex Cal/PIA)
CUTTING THE RIBBON -- MGen Artemio Garcia Orozco, AFP (left) assisted by OCD Dir. Raffy Alejandro, cut the ribbon for the blessing and inaugural of the Bahay na Azul building, located at Tactical Operation Group-5, Airport Site, Legazpi City, lat Wednesday, August 18. (Alex Cal/PIA)
Commander, 1st Air Division MGen Artemio Garcia Orozco, AFP (upper photo) gave his message during the soft opening of Tactical Operation Group-5, Taxiway Ramp and Bahay na Azul, held at TOG -5, Airport Site, Legazpi City, last Wednesday, August 18. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY — Errol John Suarez of the Bicol University Integrated Laboratory School (BU-ILS)has notched one of the gold of the 136 medals and merit awards haul of the Philippine team to the just concluded 2010 Singapore International Mathematics Competition (SIMC).

In an e-mail to PIA News Service, Dr. Simon Chua, president of the Mathematics Trainers' Guild (MTG) Philippines and head of the country's delegation, said Suarez joined the team young Filipino mathematicians who placed second overall, edged by China which won a total of 282 medals, in the 10-nation contest held August 6-10, 2010.

Suarez, a Grade 4 pupil of the BU-ILS), has been earlier chosen from hundreds of qualifier from different schools nationwide, to represent the country in the said international math competitions.

The BU-ILS pupil is also the lone Bicolano named to the elite group of young Pinoy math wizards.

Suarez, at his age of nine, also made it to the national limelight in February last year following his fete as the youngest Kumon Math completer in the country.

The entire Philippine team has tallied 12 gold, 26 silver, 54 bronze medals and 44 merit awards or runner-up certificates in the competition.

MTG, an organization of math experts, trains Filipinos for math competitions abroad.

China bagged 39 gold medals in the SIMC. South Korea was third with eight, followed by Hong Kong (7), Taiwan (6), Indonesia (5), Malaysia (4), Thailand (3), host Singapore (2), and India, which failed to get any medal, said Chua.

A total of 92 elementary and 44 high school students represented the country in the SIMC.

Chua and other MTG officials commended the Filipino math wizards for "another job well done." "They're among the world's best. No doubt about it," said Chua.

This year, MTG wards have so far won 91 medals, including four golds, in four international math competitions - the 13th Hong Kong Primary Math World Contest, 2010 Korea International Math Competition, 51st Math Olympiad in Kazakhstan, and the 2010 Canadian Math Competition.

Chua noted that this year's medal harvest increased compared to last year's contest where the Filipino math wizards won 102 medals. (MALoterte, PIA V)


PILI, Camarines Sur — Gen. Ricardo David Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, on Saturday said the government armed forces will be open to peace talks with the communist movement and Muslim secessionist but continue with its military offensives to protect the people and the duly constituted government.

David said this was President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino's marching order to the AFP to ensure that peace and tranquility roles in the countryside and continue to fulfill its combat roles to protect communities from terrorist and lawless elements.

"The policy of the President is to talk with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the New People's Army (NPA) to put an end to the decades long arms struggle," he said.

He said the AFP under his stewardship, will always abide to whatever policies are laid down by President Aquino saying they are ready to talk and hold a ceasefire with the NPA's and MILF's.

David, however, said that if the peace talks with the insurgents fail, the AFP is prepared for any contingency.

He said "we are very ready to launch any offensive once the talks fail."

Quoting military intelligence, the AFP chief said the military offensive launch against the NPA's had bring down the communist movement to 5,000 armed regulars from the 25,000 strong rebel movement across the country.

Asked if the talks and military offensive are included in the AFP's three years deadline to end the war versus insurgency, David said, there is no three years deadline it is a self imposed timetable.

"Our President did not give us any deadline neither our Secretary of National Defense, what they like is to make good with our mandated functions and targets in the AFP to possibly see that the insurgency must end within three years," David pointed out.

He claimed that military offensive is not a solution to the insurgency problem what it needs is the support of local government officials to also workout measure in addressing the problem.

"To fight insurgency we need to end poverty with effective governance," Davis said

David flew in yesterday and had a command conference with the officers and men of the 9th Army Infantry Division in Camp Elias Angeles. (PNA Bicol/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — The Albay Center for Initiatives and Research on Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), in cooperation with the Joint Program for Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), has since Monday until August 21 conducting a five-day Trainors’ Training to finally integrate climate change concepts in higher education institutions in the province.

CIRCA Executive Director Manuel "Nong" Rangasa said the training of educators focuses on Albay institutions to awaken the students’ awareness of the importance of adaptation to the unavoidable as well as avoidance of the unthinkable impacts of climate change.

“Unthinkable refers to total disregard, lack of knowledge, lack of preparedness, and complacency while unavoidable is the natural phenomena,” Rangasa said.

Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda, United Nation’s senior champion for Climate Change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR), said “climate change is not purely a governmental matter."

"It is equally a concern of education, the school, business sectors, religious, public intellectuals, tri-media, non-government organizations, civil society and individuals with a heart for fellowmen. It is practical and philosophical to admit that integration was a better start for climate change education than none at all,” he said.

Salceda noted that “many scientists, experts, media practitioners and teachers still ask: "What is Climate Change education?’ Isn’t it taught in science?”

Dr. Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon, dean of the School of Environmental Science and Management of UPLB, said the integration being pioneered by Albay is very useful and now forms part of the schools curriculum not only in the basic education but up to the college level.

Participants, most of them science teachers and especially devoted faculty members, shared their potential role in zero-casualty plans of Salceda. They admitted the need to cope up with climate change issues and disseminate them to their students.

The training program includes discussion by experts on general meteorology and climatology concepts that explain climate change occurrences as well as the impacts of weather and climate variability on agriculture and food security, on health and population and mechanisms to mitigate climate change impacts on the global, national and local economy.

Meanwhile, Rangasa shared the provincial government’s initiatives on disaster risk reduction, its success stories, inspirations and challenges.

Rangasa added that the climate change integration will enter the fields of Arts, Sciences, History and even physical education subjects. (PNA Bicol/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY – The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) management office here of Legazpi has slated today (Wednesday, August 18) the Strong Republic Nautical Highway Ports Investors’ Forum to promote the 10 SRNH ports identified as potential commercial hubs to prop-up the central and eastern seaboards of the Philippine Archipelago.

Atty. Francisquiel Mancile, PPA Legazpi City port manager, cited the 10 ports include Pantao and Pio Duran in Albay; Aroroy, Cataingan, Cawayan, Claveria, Esperanza, and San Pascual, all in Masbate province; Caramoan in Camarines Sur, and Castilla in Sorsogon.

Mancile furthered that these ports were built from the corporate funds of the PPA in the amount of P833.79 million to harbor maiden and regular voyages of vessels.

“Definitely, they will serve as intermediaries of inter-island ad international trading,” he added.

He also noted that these ports will also serve as potential tourism destinations with emphasis to some very significant but untapped/unfamiliar historical landmarks; provide the host towns the needed access to larger markets ad future identification of bigger agribusiness ventures that will boost the local economy.

Likewise, with the roll-on-roll-of (RoRo) features already established in most of these ports, the PPA management looks forward to moving people and goods through a seamless and integrated transport infrastructure system to link the country’s many islands.

The interfacing was participated in officials of local government units (LGUs) and national government line agencies concerned, potential investors from shipping, arrastre and other port-related business sectors. (PPA Bicol/PIA)


NAGA CITY — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Camarines Sur Chapter leads the launching over the week end at Plaza Quezon here of the month-long awareness and advocacy drives in communities to popularize the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

Nanette Rodrigazo, PRC Camarines Sur chapter administrator, elucidated the significance of raising the community’s awareness on the law of war or the law of armed conflict, noting that IHL seeks to ensure the full protection of non-combatants, respect for the use of the Red Cross protective emblems and guarantee that all principles stipulated in the Geneva Convention will be implemented, thus explained

“This is the essence of our celebration of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL),” she stressed.

Clamrence Racquel S. Abada, PRC IHL and Red Cross Youth (RCY) coordinator, said that the organization has also invited PRC volunteers and youth members from various universities in the region to participate in the observance of the IHL month.

“We are happy that our youth, especially RCY members, are very enthusiastic in being a part of this momentous occasion - and this is what we really need, believing in the context that our students can help us in effectively disseminating the importance of IHL and other services that Red Cross is offering.”

Lt. Col. Erwin De Asis, G7 CMO of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, reiterated in gracing the launching rites that the AFP’ support to the endeavors of the PRC has been attested by army’s constant participation during blood letting activities, medical missions and other community services.

Atty. Gilbert Morandarte, PRC IHL Committee chairman, also emphasized that medical and religious military personnel, wounded, shipwrecked and sick combatant, prisoners of wars, and most specifically the civilians are being given full protection under this law.

“The law also states that women and children are given additional protection since they are the most vulnerable members of our society,” he stressed.

IHL is “a set of rules which place restrictions on the use of weapons and methods of warfare. “ It also protects those innocent persons or civilians who are not, and who are no longer participating in an armed conflict or hostilities as a result of armed struggles.

IHL also seeks to protect human dignity and to limit sufferings during times of war.

Also present during the occasion were members of PRC Camarines Sur Chapter Board of Directors, including PIA Camarines Sur ICM Lizel Macatangay, Secretary; Eudeza Racagad, Treasurer; Mely De Guzman, Auditor; and Eng. Cornelio Abesa, chair of the Committee on Disaster Management Service (DMS). (LSMacatangay, PIA CamSur)