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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY -- Albay Governor Joey Salceda on Monday (November 29) expressed dismay over the recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling dismissing for lack of merit his petition questioning the authority of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to approve the 250-percent toll rate increase in the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx).

In an emailed message, Salceda said the SC ruling "junking my petition over the SLEx toll rate increase would indeed affect in general the economic growth of Bicol particularly Albay whose economic momentum has already started to gain headway".

“My major concern is the P480 million annual net resource outflow siphoned from the Albay economy with annual amount of P82 billion in 2009 which would disrupt our economic growth thus our ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) especially the reduction of poverty” he stressed.

Salceda, in raising his concern, said he would urge the SC to compel the national government to find ways to cushion the adverse economic impact of its decision specifically on the welfare of small “viajeros” who depend on Divisoria trade, or fish dealers that rely on Navotas, and the ordinary motorists including students studying in Metro Manila or families visiting their relatives working in Manila.

“I am asking the Supreme Court to direct the National Government to offset such outflows by commensurately increasing its annual flows to Albay by way of higher Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) coverage, tertiary scholarships and support to our only SUC - Bicol University and capital investments in relocation sites and permanent evacuation centers.”

He said “If the justice system is able to compel that, then, the Supreme Court has spoken."

The high court in its November 23 resolution stated “Wherefore, the petition … is hereby dismissed for lack of merit. Accordingly, the TRO (temporary restraining order) issued by the court … with respect to this petition is hereby ordered lifted.”

While dismissing the Salceda petition, the high court did not rule on the immediate implementation of the toll increase.

Instead, the magistrates reiterated their position in the previous ruling on four similar petitions remanding to the TRB the issue of “propriety and reasonableness” of the toll increase in SLEx.

Salceda last June asked the SC to stop the SLEX planned toll fee hike, saying “toll fees should not be increased by mere contract between the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) and its contracting parties through the Supplemental Toll Operation Agreement (STOA). Without notice and hearing, which are mandatory twin requisites of Section 3(d), P.D. 1112 (Toll Operation Decree), the increase in toll fees is null and void for the reason that such action violates a mandatory provision of law.”

With the 250-percent increase, private passenger vehicles would be paying P2.73 per kilometer over the current 82 centavos per kilometer.

Salceda said under PD 1112, the authority of the TRB to enter into contracts, in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, extends only to construction, operation and maintenance of toll facilities.

“Clearly, the TRB has committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it entered into a contract which includes, as part of its contractual provisions, the determination and fixing of toll rates, including its increase, in clear violation of its express and limited authority under PD 1112,” he explained.

Salceda added that such massive increase “will prompt substantial negative consequences in the lives of ordinary citizens of the Bicol region.” (PNA Bicol/PIA/mal)

Friday, November 26, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY — Adding another feather to UNEP's cap is Anthony Cuba Vista's feat of making it as Regional Topnotcher and garnering one of the top five posts at the recently concluded Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) held in 15 testing centers all over the Philippines on September 26, 2010.

Vista, garnering 84.40 percent, two (2) points short from the topnotcher's score, was among the successful examinees who made it on the top ten. Vista landed 5th place.

Other UNEP Education graduates who made it on the list as new elementary teachers include Dahlia R. Galvan, Rechel M. Gulpe, Melanie O. Mamano, Jovie R. Prades, Lilian C. Rosalinas and Anthony C. Vista while Jecel L. Jesoro and Amado L. Niebres Jr. were added to the list of new secondary teachers.

Vista, together with other UNEP LET Passers were among the 7, 737 elementary teachers out of 39, 508 examinees, barely 19.58%, of those who passed the recent LET Examinations. Their names were released by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) on November 16, 2010.

Twenty-five percent of secondary school teachers who went through the examinations made it too, representing 9, 493 passers out of 36, 714 examinees who tried their luck as new breeds of educator.
UNEP President Atty. Remelisa Alfelor-Moraleda congratulated the triumphant examinees, citing their sacrifice and perseverance to emerge as passers after the grilling examinations.

"UNEP takes pride in every passer that our university is producing and will continue to produce. We look forward for more victorious feat that would give our students their rightful place as global achievers."

The Board of Professional Teachers is composed of Dr. Faith M. Bachiller as Chairman and Reynaldo T. Peña and Dr. Jesus L. Nieves as members.

Tentative schedule for the oath taking of passers who took their examinations at Legaspi testing center is set on December 2, 1010. (LSMacatangay, PIA CamSur, with reports from UNEP/mal)


DAET, Camarines Norte — An International Day Against Human Trafficking will be celebrated through different activities in this province on December 12, 2010.

The activities to be conducted include the hanging of streamers, advocacy parade, poster making contest, essay-writing contest, oratorical contest, symposium, slogan contest and awarding ceremony for the winners of the different contests.

Earlier Governor Edgardo Tallado has issued an Executive Order No. 2010-39 mandating the provincewide celebration through appropriate activities and enjoining all local government units, government agencies and instrumentalities, NGOs, academe, socio-civic and religious organizations and the citizens to extend their maximum support and cooperation to ensure the success of the celebration.

The celebration is pursuant to the Palermo Protocol, the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially in Women and Children which was adopted in Palermo, Italy where the Philippines is one of the countries that ratified.

This is against the selling of women and children for purpose of slavery under disgraceful conditions, prostitution, pornography and other worst forms of exploitation.

The US State Department placed the Philippines again in the Tier 2 Watch List in 2009 for the latter's failutre to meet the standards in making reports.

This year, in an effort to identify the barriers to the full and effective implementation of the law, a research on "Acess to Justice for Victims of Child Trafficking" has been going on to float up the difficulties and challenges encountered by service providers in the performance of their work despite the adoption of the Philippine Guidelines for the Protection of Traficked Children. (RBManlangit, PIA CamNorte/mal)


CALABANGA, Camarines Sur — A suspected hog cholera case in Calabanga, Camarines Sur has yet to be verified due to the inability of farmers to present proofs that would verify their claim.

This was disclosed by Calabanga Municipal Agriculturist Gabriel Bordado III who immediately dispatched a team of agriculture technicians to affected barangays after receiving reports that Barangays Sogod, Belen, Binanuanan Grande, Paolbo and Kilometro 17, all of the said town, recorded hog casualty in their respective areas.

Calabanga is a first class municipality in the province of Camarines Sur and is one of the biggest municipalities in terms of population and land area.

“While their caretakers claimed that they allegedly found their hogs dead after experiencing fever, lesions and convulsions, said to be symptoms of the dreaded hog cholera also known as swine fever, we still cannot declare it as hog cholera unless we have a proof where we can base our findings,” Bordado said.

Bordado in an interview said that they need a piece of evidence which would be used to test whether the hogs died from swine fever. Yet since the farmers have already eaten and sold the pig’s meat after butchering them, there is no way that they can do the test and declare what actually caused their death.

Hog Cholera, also known as classical swine fever and pig plague is a highly contagious disease affecting pigs and wild boar.

Bordado further said that if indeed the hog’s death is caused by the virus, the community should also take caution in eating the meats coming from them.

“I would like to encourage our farmer, particularly our hog raisers to please report any untoward symptoms that your hogs are exhibiting. While we don’t have a municipal veterinary who could officially diagnose its causes, we can always look and seek for assistance from other agencies. “

Pending investigation of the case, Bordado said that they will work on validating the claim and will immediately inform the public of the result of their investigation.

“Meanwhile, let us all be vigilant, inform the proper authorities and suspend any premature speculation that might raise public alarm,” Bordado said in closing. (LSMacatangay, PIA CamSur/mal)


LEGAZPI CITY — Another Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) municipality was officially launched in Masbate on November 11, 2010 at Bituon Beach Resort.

After Cawayan, the municipality of Mobo was included to implement the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD’s) poverty reduction program, the KALAHI-CIDSS: KKB.

Considered for inclusion are towns that are currently covered by the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) with no previous arrangement with KALAHI-CIDSS and those that have a poverty incidence of 50 percent and above.

After the assessment from the DSWD Regional Project Management Team and from the central office, the KALAHI-CIDSS project was launched in this 4th class municipality.

The launching and orientation was attended by more than 100 officials and representatives from 29 barangays, municipal officials and representatives from the provincial government and NGOs.

DSWD Assistant Regional Director Evelyn Lontok was joined by the Municipal Mayor, Atty. Percival D. Castillo; Vice Mayor Julios T. Aban; Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer (PSWDO) Amy Danao and officials from the provincial government of Masbate.

Castillo expressed gratitude for selecting Mobo as one of the recipients of the KALAHI-CIDSS: KKB. Mobo will receive P14.5 million grant fund from KALAHI this year.

Castillo affirmed his commitment to support and implement the process of KALAHI. “I am confident that with the support of the barangay officials and commitment from the community, we will pursue the goals of KALAHI-CIDSS which are to reduce poverty, improve local governance and empower communities,” Castillo said.

Castillo also allocated seven staffs as counterpart of the Area Coordinating Team (ACT) that will help for the smooth implementation of KALAHI-CIDSS.

Highlight of the program was the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DSWD, local government of Mobo and the provincial government of Masbate.

In another development, the DSWD conducted a 5-day capability building course for the KALAHI-CIDSS ACT and the MCT in Legazpi City. The training conducted on November 15-19 deals with an overview of the KALAHI-CIDSS project, covering a brief background, the project’s development framework, objectives and strategies, and the various implementation arrangements and roles of stakeholders. The training will further help the ACT and MCT field staff on their engagement in the municipality and in the community in which they are assigned.

KALAHI-CIDSS is the largest poverty alleviation portfolio of the World Bank in the Philippines and is being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development or the DSWD.

…PRC cites CSC as best school nationwide

VIRAC, Catanduanes — Three graduates from the Catanduanes State Colleges College of Health Sciences topped the November 13-14, 2010 Midwife Licensure Examination (MLE) given by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

The Catanduanes State Colleges was likewise declared by PRC as the top performing school in the said examination for posting the highest passing percentage at 91.84 percent.

The topnotchers from CSC are Kathleen Shiela Balbin Ramirez, second place, (87.60%); Roselyn Opre Abines, seventh place (86.65%), and Cheyserr Kate Reyes Villegas (86.35%).

The newest CSC MLE placers are all March 2010 graduates. Abines is from Panique, Caramoran, Catanduanes; Ramirez hails from Palta Big, Virac, Catanduanes, and Villegas is a native of Sta. Theresa, Bagamanoc, Catanduanes.

Dr. Asuncion V. Asetre, CSC president said the three topnotchers will each receive P15,000 monetary incentive and a plaque of recognition from CSC administration.

Forty-five out of 49 examinees from CSC passed the licensure examination, according to PRC report. However, the Office of the CHS Dean identified two more passers from CSC, thus increasing the number of passers to 47.

The complete list of passers are: Abines, Roselyn Opre; Banzuela, Melisa Sales; Benavidez, Nimfa; Bibon, Lane Aguilar; Clavano, Mary Grace Bas; Del Valle, Jonafil Dela Cruz; Delos Santos, Aileen Saliling; Delos Santos, Marvie Teaño; Dofredo, Maria Hazel Asuncion;

Evangelista, Jenny Cabrera; Faustino, Gretchen Tevac; Inciso, Maria Jezebel Campanero; Isip, Estela Gianan; Isidoro, Liza Benavides; Itallo, Jerlyn Lopez; Magno, Eva Canaria; Masagca, Donna Isidoro; Otilla, Maridel Bellen; Publico, Jenalyn Babon, Publico, Marilyn Babon;

Ramirez, Kathleen Shiela Balbin; Reforsado, Susie Joy Teves; Rodriguez, Haymie Joy Bernal; Sales, Vanessa De Quiroz; Santos, Maria Theresa Diaz; Sarmiento, Joyce Anne Samonte; Soliveres, Marites Lumabi; Soquerata, Ellaine Lumabi; Tablate, Mary Grace Rodriguez; Tanael, Mary Jane Morales; Tapel, Mary Cris Ralla;

Tapel, Shiela Rose Bonion; Tarnate, Janet Gonzales; Tejada, Jinky Tomagan; Tesorero, Rechiell Bernal; Torio, Aileen Garcia; Torregoza, Jessa Manlangit; Tresvalles, Arlyn Bernal; Trijo, Grace Taño;

Tubeo, Kristine Olanan; Tulay, Rebekah Obang; Tulay, Shiela Mae Taule; Vargas, Cristy Socito; Vega, Deby Jee Taperla; Villegas, Cheyserr Kate Reyes; Villegas, Jenalyn Caballero; Zafe, Jeniffer Benavidez.

The MLE examination national passing percentage is 39.99% or 1,605 passers out of 4,013 takers.

Prof. Jocelyn Ll. Jordan, dean of the CSC College of Health Sciences thanked CSC administration for its continued support and highly commended the performance of the topnotchers and passers as well as the faculty and staff of CHS.

Ramirez, Abines and Villegas and Quintal bring to 13 the number of Midwife Licensure Examination topnotchers produced by the CSC College of Health Sciences (formerly College of Nursing and School of Midwifery).

Previous topnotchers were Marilyn Idanan Lucero, 7th place (1979); Erlinda Frondozo Tabor, 4th (1990); Maria Rosario T. Rodriguez, 2nd (2006); Kristel Mae V. Cervantes, 4th; Chiquie S. Santos, 6th; Agnes F. Trinidad, 9th; Janessa M. Medrana, 10th (2006) Jacqueline Laroya, 8th place, (2008), Erica Bocala Obogne, 2nd place (2009) and Jonna Mae Aquino Quintal, 7th Place, (2009).

This is also the fourth time that the CSC has been awarded by PRC as the best performing school nationwide. It previously gained the recognition in the 2005, 2007 and 2008 midwife licensure examinations. (GSR/CSC/EABagadion, PIA Catanduanes/mal)


MANILA — Senator Chiz Escudero supported calls to open to live media coverage the Maguindanao massacre trial, stressing that this will test if justice is indeed working in this country.

“For me, this case, and all other hearings where public interests lie, should be fully covered and aired live so that our citizens can see proof that justice is working in our country and that we can see what direction it is leading to,” Escudero said.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said he is backing President Noynoy Aquino’s appeal to the Supreme Court to allow the live coverage of the ongoing mass murder trial involving the powerful Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao.

He said the Chief Executive has all the right to ask the Supreme to reconsider its earlier decision disallowing live coverage of the trial, but added that “it is left solely to the sound discretion of the court to decide whether or not to grant it.”

He recalled that there were already precedents where the court had barred open coverage of trials especially in cases where privacy rights were involved. However, the senator said that decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis.

“We want a live coverage of the Maguindanao trial so that the public can witness how our justice system works,” Escudero explained. “Unlike in other countries where they have a jury system, we only have one entity to decide on the case on trial, and that is the judge hearing it. A full coverage will allow for a better public understanding of any decision that will be arrived at by the judge. He doesn’t have to justify his decision all the time, whether guilty or not.”

Escudero said that while it is the President’s wish for the high tribunal to reconsider its previous ruling on the issue, he should not be the one personally asking for it but his concerned officials.

“The President has been taking cudgels for most of his Cabinet members these past few months. I hope his officials will take the cue sometime in the future and hopefully be the ones to give the President deniability and not let him be the one to keep on talking about these things and in the process defending his Cabinet men to the public,” he said. (Office of Sen, Francis Escudero/mal)


MANILA — In line with President Benigno S. Aquino III’s efforts to ensure the country’s peace and stability, the Department of National Defense (DND) will sustain efforts to strengthen its institutional capacity to effectively carry out its role in addressing internal security, disaster management and response; humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping; international defense and security cooperation; and support to national development.

The DND recently came out with its defense policy paper entitled, “The Department of National Defense: Meeting the Challenges to Philippines Defense and Security,” which will provide the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the civilian bureaus of the DND the direction on which to anchor their programs.

At the same time, the policy paper aims to communicate to the public the various thrusts of the department; how the DND intends to engage in regional and global affairs, and utilize their resources in a judicious and accountable manner.

Under its major policy thrusts, the DND said it needs to further enhance the capability of the AFP; modernize the government arsenal; strengthen the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD); further develop the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP); utilize the reserve force to complement the AFP and OCD particularly in relief and rescue operation; ensure the welfare of veterans; and work closely with local government units (LGUs) and cultivate partnership with the private sector.

Aside from its policy thrusts, the DND will also actively engage with the regional and global defense establishments to further develop its capability, pursue greater cooperation with regional states and other strategic partners, contribute to the strengthening of regional and global institutions, and address terrorism and other transnational security challenges.

Defense budget proposals under the DND-issued Defense Planning Guidance will also provide a rational and coherent framework for defense spending through a judicious and optimal allocation of resources for priority areas such as maintenance, training and operations.

Last Oct. 12, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin presented the DND defense policy paper during the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus held in Hanoi, Vietnam where Defense Ministers shared their views on pressing regional security concerns and discussed the direction of future practical cooperation.

The ADMM-Plus summit was held to enhance cooperation between ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners -- Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States -- in the areas of maritime security, terrorism, peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and military medicine.

“Through this Defense Policy Paper, the DND hopes to contribute in building confidence and trust among countries in the region. Most importantly, it could contribute in cultivating partnership with other stakeholders in the Philippines. After all, the security and defense of the Philippines is not simply a concern of the Department of National Defense but of the entire Filipino nation,” Gazmin said. (PIA V)


MANILA — The urgency of reverting the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office back to the Office of the President, where it was meant to be under the charter creating it, is because of the nature and scope of the numerous health assistance and social services, charities and local governments that PCSO must fund from its revenue generating activities.

In an interview, PCSO Chairman Margarita Juico said for many years since the PCSO was created in 1954, it had always been under the Office of the President, until the Arroyo administration transferred it from the OP to the Department of Health then to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and then back to the DOH.

“For what reason the agency was being moved from one department to another, I could never understand,” Juico said on Thursday.

PCSO has two vital functions namely: a) to raise funds through the regular Sunday Sweepstakes draws and the daily lotteries such as 6/42, 6/45, 6/49 and 6/55 aside from the three digit daily lottos and b) to allocate resources for social services and charities of national character.

Juico said the PCSO’s resource allocation is covered by two sets of laws: 10 Republic Acts and four executive orders.

Recipients under the RAs are the Philippine Sports Commission Program (for six sweepstakes draws); Commission on Higher Education; documentary stamp tax (10% of gross sales); National Shelter Program (10% of charity fund); the Shared Government Information System on Migration under the Department of Foreign Affairs (P10 million) and P150 million of lotto draws from the Charity Fund for the Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Fund; crop insurance program (10% of net income); P100 million from lotto agents for the upgrading of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center; P50 million for the indigenous peoples for the ancestral domain fund; P250 million from annual net earnings from lotto for the Museum Endowment Fund and Dangerous Drugs Board (10% of forfeited or unclaimed prizes after one year).

Recipients under the EOs are: P1 billion standby fund for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS); P250 million standby fund for avian influenza or bird flu and 5% lotto share of local government unit

Juico, meanwhile, said it would be unfair to put a cap to the prize winnings in lotteries as the money belong to the bettors and no one can just limit what they ought to get. She was reacting to a proposed measure by Rep. Ben Evardone of Samar.

Juico said the winners normally get a lump sum check of the Land Bank of the Philippines, which they must withdraw at the right branch. “It is up to the winner if she/he decides to keep part or most of the winnings with the bank or allow the bank to invest it in high yielding instruments and even trust funds,” Juico said. (PIA V)


MANILA — Malacañang is confident that the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) will resume before the end of this year.

In a media briefing in Malacanang on Friday (November 26), Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles has bared “that there is a planned meeting this December with the MILF and NDF.”

A month ago, President Benigno S. Aquino III reconstituted the government panel led by human rights lawyer Alexander Padilla for the resumption of talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

To finally put an end to the 41-year-old insurgency, the President directed the panel to pursue time-bound and agenda-bound peace negotiations with the communist rebels anchored on the principles of peace, justice and human rights.

Lacierda said peace talks with the MILF will also resume once stakeholders settle on the Philippine request for a new facilitator on the talks.

“With respect to the peace process with the MILF, we are prepared to sit down with them. The only problem is the issue on facilitator. So that is the problem that we are trying to address right now between us, the MILF and Malaysia,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said a World Bank study estimated that some $2 billion to $3 billion worth of investment opportunities were lost between 1979 and 2000 as a result of the conflict in some provinces of Mindanao. (PIA V)


MANILA — The government is not taking education for granted. Nor it is neglecting the needs of students in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

This, President Benigno S. Aquino III emphasized Friday (November 26) in answer to allegations by student protesters here that state colleges and universities are being left out due to cuts in next year’s budget.

Aquino, who is here as guest in the opening of the 700th store of local fast food chain Jollibee pointed out in an ambush interview that the proposed P23.4-billion budget for SUCs for 2011 is even higher than the P21 billion the previous administration proposed for the year 2010.

Some complain that the budget should have been higher. Some say we do not give value to education. My answer is this: do not forget that the tertiary level is not the only thing we should give attention to when it comes to education,” he said.

The Chief Executive said the proposed overall 2011 budget for education – including the budget for basic education that includes elementary and high school – rose by 12.92 percent, or to P271.67 billion from the P240.58 billion allotted for this year.

“We are merely focusing on who needs help the most. Basic education should be free for all, that is why we had a huge increase for the budget of the Department of Education. Through this, we can give children the opportunity to go to school,” he said.

The President said the budget for the University of the Philippines went down from P6.9 billion in 2010 to the proposed P5.5 billion for 2011 because it has other means to source funds such as from the UP-Ayala Technohub, students’ tuition fees and state subsidies.

In a related development, Malacanang on Friday advised students holding protest actions against the cut in government spending for state universities and colleges (SUCs) to talk to their respective university officials.

We have emphasized that in the past, the income of SUCs were reverted back to the national treasury. But it is not being done now. In fact, we allow SUCs to retain their own income,”

The President, in his budget message said: “We are gradually reducing the subsidy to SUCs to push them toward becoming self-sufficient and financially independent, given their ability to raise their income and to utilize it for their programs and projects.” (PIA V)


MANILA — The Philippines has joined other nations in condemning North Korea’s artillery attack on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island, urging the two nations to resolve their difficulties in a peaceful manner.

In a statement read by Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Abigail Valte during a media briefing this Friday afternoon (November 26), she stated that “the Philippine government is gravely concerned over the resulting rise in tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the recent attack by North Korea constitutes a clear and flagrant violation of international law.”

The statement came out two days after President Benigno S. Aquino III urged the two countries to end provocative actions and called for sobriety following their exchange of artillery attacks last Wednesday.

Valte said the assault would adversely affect peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the Pacific region.

“The Philippines commends the Republic of Korea for having demonstrated extraordinary restraint in the wake of the attack on the corvette ROKS Cheonan on 26 March this year, and again in the wake of this unprovoked and overt attack. We call for the continued exercise of restraint,” the statement said.

“The Philippines strongly urges the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abide by its obligations under international law and the UN Charter, and to adhere to the Armistice Agreement of 1953, the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement of 1991, and the Declaration on the Advancement of South-North Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity of October 4, 2007,” it added.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda meantime reassured relatives and families of the overseas Filipino workers in South Korea that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Embassy in Seoul are closely monitoring the situation.

He said the President had already directed Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Philippine Ambassador to Seoul Luis Cruz to review the existing contingency plan to test its current validity.

“We have to prepare for any eventuality,” Lacierda said adding that the President also tapped Special Envoy retired general Roy Cimatu to facilitate the evacuation process of some 50,000 Filipino nationals in Korea in case the situation worsen.

Lacierda divulged that the President had ordered the Philippine Embassy in Seoul to start constant communication with the leaders of some 15,000 Filipinos residing in the northern part of Korea and coordinate with key agencies such as DFA, DND, DOLE, DSWD and DOTC to ensure the safety of Filipinos in South Korea and the DPRK.

“The Philippines calls for peace and seeks an end to the instability in the region,” Lacierda said. (PIA V)

SALCEDA IN MEXICO FOR CCA SUMMIT... Albay Governor Jose Sarte Salceda (on the screen monitor) addressing local government chief executives during the the World Mayors’ Summit on Climate Change in Mexico City on November 21, 2010 citing that despite the challenges of climate change, Albay province has achieved zero casualty in disasters in the past 16 years except 2006 and has attained most of the MDGs (malnutrition, maternal mortality, infant mortality, under 5 child mortality) in 2009 ahead of schedule.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

RDC FULL COUNCIL MEETING – RDC Vice Chair & NEDA Dir. Romeo C. Escandor presides over the 4th Quarter RDC Full Council Meeting. Discussion focus the Bicol Development Plan (2011-2016) and the Regional Development Investment Program, held at NEDA Regional Office V, Arimbay, Legazpi City. (Alex Cal/PIA)
JUSTICE! Albay Tri-Media and PNP Press Corps hold a candle lighting and prayer service at the Albay Freedom Park in Legazpi City to commemorate the first anniversary (Nov. 23) of the Maguindanao massacre in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, where 58 were killed including 32 media workers. (Alex Cal/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — The country’s top economist expressed astonishment with East Timor one of the world’s poorest country rescued its former colonizer Portugal from its debt ridden financial situation.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, presidential economic adviser of former President and now House Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said he was impressed on how East Timor financially rescued Portugal by buying $700 million of Portuguese debt.

He said “the former colony - East Timor, still one of the world's poorest - now financially rescuing its troubled imperial master – Portugal, certainly, Timor Leste government fund managers must have calculated it to be a good investment.”

Salceda a known economist said financial markets and investment analysts worldwide have expressed admiration for Timor Leste.

"In this global stage, no other news can beat the release of Aung San Suu Kyi than this. And it should probably set the tone for the climate talks in Cancun,” he pointed out.

PHL, also a former colony of the United States, has some $48.4 billion of the country’s $56.8 billion government international reserve (GIR) already invested in US treasuries for the longest time.

Salceda however said the PH still have not earned any positive economic impact simply because the US may be less cash-strapped than Portugal but its stature as reserve currency and investment grade remains strong so there is no such appreciation of our gesture.

Salceda claims that while Filipinos even if most feel poor have per capita income of $2,000 versus Timorese $600- so it must have been either bravery or genuine goodwill for Timorese government to gamble their sovereign wealth fund on risky Portuguese debt. (PNA/PIA/mal)


LEGAZPI CITY — After a cycle of phreatic explosions of Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon, resulting to heavy ash falls in adjacent areas, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has conducted a series of ambient air samplings to assess if air quality conforms with the agency’s standards.

EMB Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales has dispatched a technical team on last Monday (November 22) to evaluate the current status of air quality in affected areas of the province.

The team headed by Rommel Gapayao, officer-in-charge of the EMB Air Quality Management Section, has tested ambient air quality based on the parameters of total suspended particulates (TSP) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). TSP refers to the estimated level of dust, while SO2 indicates the total amount of sulfuric compounds in the air.

Sampling stations were set up at Inlagadian, Casiguran; Añog, Juban and Gulang-gulang, Irosin.

“Laboratory result of the ambient air sampling is expected to be released the soonest possible time,” Gapayao said.

For several weeks, Mt. Bulusan showed signs of restiveness and spewed on several occasions columns of volcanic ashes that resulted to heavy ash fall. Locales fear adverse environment and health effects that the continuing eruption will wrought. (ASAraya, RPAO DENR/PIA/mal)


NAGA CITY — Thirty (30) malnourished children in Grades I and II coming from selected schools from the North, South and West Districts of the City Division will be the recipients and beneficiaries of PEP –Feeding Hope Milk Program for the next six months.

PEP, which stands for “Pasiglahin ang Estudyanteng Pinoy” is a supplemental feeding program for school children under the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), Kabisig ng Kalahi and the Department of Education (DepEd). Working closely with this endeavor is the local government of Naga City under the headship of Mayor John Bongat.

NCC will serve as the over-all coordinator of the program and will be the central receiving station for the reports coming from the school.

According to Dr.Agnes Rubio, NCC Nutrition Coordinator, a student’s health condition can be crucial to his performance in school. “Poverty and its many related issues, lack of knowledge about nutrition and inadequate parenting skills can result in sickness, malnutrition and often times drop out from school.”

In order to avoid high incidence of drop out cases, NCC designed PEP Feeding Hope Milk Program to raise the health awareness and nutritional level of pre selected school children enrolled on the First and Second Grades, particularly those who are nutritionally deprived.

“This will also provide opportunity and venue to various sectors of the society, corporate or private to build a bridge of understanding, solve poverty issue in our little way, and work together as our contribution in nation-building,” Rubio added.

The program will conduct pre-implementation activities like health and nutrition assessment and deworming. DepEd Health and Nutrition personnel in coordination with LGU Naga will also conduct social preparation to the beneficiaries for them to better appreciate the importance of good nutrition.

Regular weighing and monitoring of each beneficiary’s progress will be done by the school officials or assigned mothers and will be supervised by the school nutrition coordinators. The school principal is in charge of supervision, monitoring and documentation of the program.

Pasiglahin ang Estudyanteng Pinoy (PEP) Feeding HOPE Milk Program is the brainchild of the Kabisig ng Kalahi. They sourced the milk sponsors and interagency clearance for the program. (LSMacatangay, PIA CamSur/mal)


DAET, Camarines Norte- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial office here has apprehended various sorts of sub standards products, especially electronic products, to protect consumers from unscrupulous traders in time for the holiday season.

Beth Parro, senior specialist of the Consumer Welfare Division of DTI, warned that these products should have an ICC mark with control number the same with the ICC certificate of an establishment located near the shelves where the products were displayed.

Parro bared that the agency has already inspected some 11 establishments, and fortunately, none seems selling sub standards products like Christmas lights.

Parro explained that products with factory defects can be returned to the establishments, repaired and can be replaced.

Another enforcement activity will be conducted on December also to check said products being sold in the market.

Meanwhile the DTI also started this week the monitoring of noche buena products based on the price updates.

The monitoring of said products is their regular work during holiday season. (RBManlangit, PIA CamNorte/mal)


DAET, Camarines Norte — A total of 6,000 bags of salt used as fertilizer for coconut tree were distributed to farmers for the period May – October this year by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Bicol.

Provincial Development Manager Matias E. Clacio said that this is a salt fertilization project of the the PCA and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

He noted that a total of 14, 400 were already distributed since 2008 to October this year.

The salts were distributed to coconut farmer beneficiaries in the province and they will continue distribution for those who did not availed of the project.

Clacio explained that they are conducting weekly monitoring for those who were given the said salt.

He explained that salt is a cheaper fertilizer and very easy to apply in coconut trees.

Salt helps a coconut tree to produce more fruits and help repels pests both during dry season and onset of rainy season.

It can only be used for the coconut tree and not in other trees, he added. (RBManlangit, PIA Cam Norte)

Monday, November 22, 2010

PIA Information Officer IV and NUTRICOMNET member Ms. Aida A. Naz, was the emcee and quiz master during the Nutri Quiz Regional Level Competition (Level II) last Friday (Nov. 19) held at LCC Event Center, LCC Mall, Legazpi City. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Chair, NUTRICOMNET Bicol & PIA Regional Dir. Eduardo A. de Leon delivers his message during the Nutri Quiz, Regional Level Competition (Year II) last Friday (Nov. 29) with the Theme: “Sa Pagkaing Tama at Sapat, Wastong Timbang ni Baby ang Katapat”. Also in photo are (from right) Ms. Marilyn C. Valeza, Nutrition Officer III, NNC Region V, Ms. Shirley B. Borja, Nutritionist-Dietitian II, DepEd Region V and Ms. Marilou R. Galang, FNRI Representative Chair, Board of Judges, held at LCC Event Center, LCC Mall, Legazpi City. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Bicol said tourist arrivals in Albay posted a remarkable surge by 109 percent with 62,280 local and foreign visitors making the province the third fastest growing tourist hub in the country.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, quoting on Tuesday a DOT report, said tourist arrivals in Albay posted from July to September 62, 280, of whom 27,290 were foreign and 34,990 domestic tourists, a surge that boosts Bicol’s new title as the “third fastest growing tourist destination” of the Philippines .

Salceda said “Albay is finally actualizing its tourism potential both for hosting iconic endowments’ and for its role as gateway to Bicol’s emerging tourist destinations- witness: arrivals leaping to record high of +109% during the last three months. “

Tourism Secretary Albert A. Lim, during a recent visit here, referred to Albay as the third fastest growing tourist destinations in the country second only to Cebu and Boracay with new and diversified tourism come-ons.

Such standing, according to Lim, necessitated recommending the speedy completion of Southern Luzon International Airport (SLIA), to make Bicol a top tourist destination as well as support DOT’s target of doubling the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country.

Lim at a with tourist stakeholders forum said “I will strongly recommend SLIA to Department of Transportation and Communication as one of the top priority airports in the country.”

Also a recent come for tourist – among others – was the province of Sorsogon due to Mt. Bulusan’s restive character, according to Governor Salceda. Mount Bulusan spewed ash about three weeks ago, but volcanologists said there's no threat of an explosive eruption.

“There is something truly amazing – and disturbing – in the way danger attracts humans. We saw similar display of predisposition for danger in the Mayon eruption only last year. In 2009, Mayon eruption induced arrivals in the month of December what it would take a majestic yet slumbering volcano a year to attract’, Salceda said.

He added that this gave rise to a perverse mode of tourist movement- disaster tourism. Thus, disaster response strategy had be to significantly reconfigured to secure our zero casualty goal since a dead tourist is al so a violation of zero casualty.

But he said recent developments, such that of Bulusan Volcano eruption, were a bit different; Albay is getting tourists without incurring the risks clearly establishing the geostrategic position of Legazpi as the gateway to Bicol destinations.

He said Albay is more comfortable with tourists due to Donsol encounters than to Bulusan eruption.

Also boosting tourist arrivals in Albay is the six–times a day flight of three big airlines by way of the Legazpi City Domestic airport; PAL, Cebu Pacific, and most recently Air Philippines, which helps establish Albay’s role as gateway to the Bicol Region, Salceda added. (LGU Albay/PIA/mal)


LEGAZPI CITY — The provincial government of Albay will launch the Green Christmas Initiative: Christmas without risk, an environmental protection and climate change adaptation measure in the advent of the Yuletide season.

Albay Gov.Joey Salceda said the Green Christmas Initiative: Christmas without risks in line with our overarching provincial governance goal- environmental protection and climate change adaptation.

He said the initiative is to set the tone for the Christmas celebration in the entire province, the scheme must begin in the capitol before we publicly unveil the major components of the project.

Green Christmas Initiative will essentially include: social marketing of “zero casualty” sa paputok, reduced use of plastic bags in shopping, and low-carbon celebration, he said.

He explained that generally the goals are to Celebrate Christmas safely through prevention of use of firecrackers, minimize pollution through proper use of plastic shopping bags and promote low-carbon modes of celebration.

Salceda, setting the phase for the Green Christmas Initiative, has directed provincial government employees to celebrate Christmas by either undertaking activities such as tree planting, beach or river clean-up, holding social activities in resettlement areas and disaster risk reduction (DRR) through games and magic in children’s homes or among children of informal settlers.

He also directed bans all departments from procuring Christmas Trees and other plastic ornaments and decors and are, therefore, encouraged to decorate existing trees at the Park and spruce up ornamental plants inside your offices with recyclable or biodegrable decorative materials.

During parties the serving of food by plastic or Styrofoam plates and cups should be banned and their procurement is prohibited; instead banana leaves, banana bark, coconut shell and/or “bilaos” shall be used.

He said the use of more earth-friendly and, given current trends, more fashionable and “going native”, more patriotic.

Another feature during the Green Christmas Celebration shall be an inter-department contest in the making of a Christmas Tree out of trash. (LGU Albay/PIA/mal)


TIGAON, Camarines Sur— Patrolling Army soldiers clashed with NPA bandits in a remote village in Camarines Sur, a military official said here today.

LtCol Ernesto Cruz, Commanding Officer of the 42nd Infantry Battalion which has jurisdiction over Camarines Sur said that a 9-man squad of his unit led by 2nd Lieutenant Mariel Bonilla clashed with more or less 10 bandits in San Ramon village, Pamplona town at around 2:30pm yesterday.

"My soldiers were conducting security patrols in the hinterlands of Pamplona town when a'walk-in' informant told them about the presence of a band of NPA rebels. The 5-minute clash erupted when the troops were fired upon by the rebels as they were approaching the said location," said Cruz.

The rebels immediately fled after the brief clash, carrying with them their casualties. The soldiers promptly pursued the rebels following the blood trails along the route of withdrawal.

Bonilla and his men confiscated a 9mm KG9 Submachinegun and a laptop computer in the encounter site.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, has directed Colonel Teodoro Cirilo Torralba, Commander of the 902nd Infantry Brigade, to intensify its security operations in CamSur Province.

Small bands of NPA rebels have kept their presence felt in the upland villages but they have lost the support of the local people who are now fed up by their oppressive extortion activities. (HMCabunoc, DPAO 9ID PA/PIA/mal)


PILI,Camarines Sur — The Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office here in tandem with the National Food Authority (NFA) is now implementing the Extension Phase of the Rapid Seed Supply Financing Project (RaSSFIP) under the Rapid Food Production Enhancement Program (RaFPEP) to support the Rice Self-Sufficiency Plan nationwide effort to regain self-sufficiency in rice production and to respond to the rice price crisis in 2008.

Marilyn V. Sta. Catalina, acting regional technical director for Operations and Extension and Regional Rice Program, said that it is an urgent response to prevent an emergency by providing seeds rapidly to increase rice production immediately.

Catalina added that the program funded through a loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and grant assistance from the European Commission provides funds for the procurement of certified seeds for distribution to eligible farmers on a subsidized scheme.

Eligible farmers are those who are landowners, farm tenants, leaseholders and administrators who are actually tilling the land and whose farms are located in rainfed areas and lowland irrigated areas with an average yield of less than 3.8 metric tons per hectare.

Catalina explained that eligible farmers will be entitled to one bag (40 kg) of certified inbred rice seeds per hectare. The DA through the NFA will provide seed subsidy of P600, while the other half (P600) shall be borne by the farmers as their equity.

The LGUs through DA, according to her, shall also provide the NFA the volume and variety of palay seeds to be procured and distributed and the latter implements the procurement and distribution based on the masterlist of farmers provided by the Municipal/City Agriculturists’ Office.

She explained that the certified seeds to be procured by the NFA should have passed the testing by the Regional Seed Quality Control Service which requires that the seed should not be more than two months old at the time of purchase and with a germination rate of not less than 85%, free from pests and with tags as proof that the seeds passed the standards.

The RaSSFIP was launched dry season in 2009 to support the government’s Rice Self-Sufficiency Plan but due to some problems in the implementation the guidelines were reviewed and the program is again implemented in its extension phase starting last September 16 till March 15, 2011.

Catalina furthered that icol Region is among the 10 regions included in this special program. She encourages Bicol farmers to seize the opportunity and avail of the certified seed subsidy as there are no more similar scheme under DA’s regular programs. (EBBordado, DA RFU V/PIA/mal)

Aquino's rating performance, trust still high, says Coloma

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino continues to enjoy high trust and performance ratings, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma in a radio interview Tuesday morning.

In a Pulse Asia survey conducted Oct. 20-29, Coloma said Aquino’s performance rating was recorded at 79 percent, while his trust rating remained at 80 percent.

The President’s performance rating according to Coloma was highest in the Visayas at 86 percent, followed by Mindanao, 79 percent; Metro Manila, 78 percent and Luzon, 65 percent. The President rated highest in Class E (83 percent), followed by Class D (77 percent) and Class ABC (74 percent).

Coloma said 23 percent of those surveyed came from the poorest of the poor which he said will benefit greatly from the Millennium Challenge Development Corp. grant.

The bulk of this grant will be used for the construction of a highway linking Samar to Eastern Samar provinces and the others will fund the Poverty Reduction Program of the Aquino administration to address the needs of the poorest of the poor.

The grant, Coloma said, showed the trust and confidence of the US government in the current administration in terms of good governance and the decisiveness of the President to eradicate poverty.

Even the 2011 General Appropriations Act or the national budget reflects the steadfastness of the Aquino administration to lick poverty by reducing government operations expenditures and channeling the savings to poverty alleviation and social welfare programs, he added.

“Understandably, we encounter a lot of criticisms and many people are dismayed by such moves that displaces them from their usual comfort zones,” said Coloma.

The removal of midnight appointees, according to him had not gone as fast as desired because the midnight appointees refuse to vacate their positions and contest government’s actions in the courts.

Coloma who has served during the terms of President Cory, Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada, said the transition of appointees then was smooth and fast because the appointees immediately vacated their posts upon assumption of the new administration. (PIA V)

Aquino welcomes manufacturing plant’s P2.5-B expansion in Cabuyao

MANILA — Having just brought home good news of over $5 billion in fresh investments from his foreign callers during his attendance of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders summit in Japan, President Benigno S. Aquino III was delighted anew last night when Procter & Gamble Philippines announced it would be expanding its Cabuyao plant soon worth P2.5 billion or $60 million.

In his speech marking the 75th anniversary of P & G in the country, the Chief Executive said the company’s Cabuyao plant expansion will not just bring more jobs and improve the lives of Filipinos in the years to come but also demonstrates its continued trust and confidence in the capacities of the Filipino as well as its commitment to improve the quality of its products in the Philippines.

The company’s expansion plan was announced by P & G Global president and chief executive officer Robert McDonald in a report before introducing the President for the latter’s keynote speech.

McDonald, who headed the Philippine operation in 1991 to 1995, said P & G Philippines is the oldest subsidiary in Asia and the second oldest in the world, beginning as the Manila Refining Company in 1908 and incorporated as Philippine Manufacturing Company in 1913.

“Today we distribute 20 leading brands across product categories. From just 10 employees when we started we are now 1,300 strong nationwide,” he said.

P & G Asia head, Deb Henretta said 1/3 of the company’s global revenues of $15 billion come from the Philippines. The total consumer base of P & G in Asia is 2 billion.

“Your P2.5-billion expansion is a testimony of your commitment to the Philippines and in your past 75 years of operations, P & G has had significant contributions to the Filipinos for several generations,” the President said.

In a lighter mode, the President said one of his greatest critics, younger sister Kris, complimented him for his skin, which he said is due to his use of Safeguard (which brought loud laughter from the jampacked Hotel Sofitel function room) and he went on to say that “in 5 or 6 years I might be using your Downy also.”

The manufacturing sector, he said, contributed P83 billion as of the second quarter of 2010, or 12 percent over that in the same period last year.

And, as of July this year, 8 percent of the 3 million of the total labor force came from the manufacturing sector, the President said.

The President noted that P & G has created jobs, nurtured the Filipino families and generated revenues for the government. “We look forward to more increased investments from your company in the years to come,” the President added.

He also invited the P & G and its foreign partners to take a look at the private public partnerships that will be launched tomorrow (Thursday, November 18) initially involving the first 10 infrastructure projects to be rolled out in 2011 and will eventually cover projects in a broader spectrum of the Philippine economy.

The President reiterated his administration’s efforts to curb corruption through transparency (with the Department of Budget and Management posting online its fund disbursements for projects) and running after smugglers and tax evaders (by the Department of Finance).

The President thanked the company for being one of the most responsible corporate citizens of the country by turning over 200 houses to the Gawad Kalinga and its numerous and quick interventions to victims of calamities and natural disasters. All told, he said, P & G gave P20 million of such relief goods to victims of calamities.

He pointed out that his administration’s strategy is to get the private sector to collaborate with the government in its vital programs and projects “so that together we can bring more benefits to the people.” (PIA V)

Aquino inducts 3 new members of U.P. Board of Regents

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III inducted three new members of the 11-man Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines, of which 5 to 6 are appointed by the Office of the President. The term of regents is two years until reappointed.

Inducted at the lobby of the Premier Guest House by the President were former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Elizabeth Siguion-Reyna and Magdaleno Albaraccin Jr.

The President according to Puno reminded the new UP Board of Regents members of the many things he wanted done in UP given the resources of the government to restore the state university into its premier status.

Siguion-Reyna took her Imaginative Writing Program at the English Department (now called the Creative Writing program) at the UP from 1970 to 1975. She is currently a director of a parenting show at QTV, gag shows and writer for film and television.

Puno, who took his two-year associate in arts course and finished law at UP in 1962, said the President also asked him to go over the UP development plan which would help the university attain its academic and non-academic objectives.

Puno, as the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, became the 2008 Most Distinguished Alumnus of UP in its centennial celebration.

Albaraccin, whose uncle Narciso served as Deputy Minister for Education of the late strongman, President Marcos, finished his engineering course at UP in 1956. He continues to be active in the College of Engineering. (PIA V)

Aquino to launch electronic payments processing center

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III will launch and keynote the country’s first Global Payments Processing Center Inc. (GPPC) at the Robinsons Cybergate Plaza in Mandaluyong on Thursday (Nov. 18).

GPPC is a leading provider of electronic payments transaction processing services with clients in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Asia Pacific region, Czech Republic and Russia.

Aquino will be welcomed at Robinson’s by Lance Gokongwei, chairman of the Robinsons Land Corp. and Claire Ann Yap, senior vice president and head of the Global Service Center.

At the Global Payments’ office, the President will be received by Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Paul Garcia, chairman/CEO of the Global Payments; Morgan Schuessler, chief administrative and operations officer of Global Center, Vincent Perrell Jr., credit and operations officer, Global Center and Ian Courtnage, president Global Payments Asia-Pacific.

The President will lead the “torch lighting” ceremony assisted by four Global Payments Inc. officials. He will then unveil the company emblem to signal the formal launching of GPPC. On his way to the program venue, the President will have the chance to tour and inspect the work stations and other facilities of the company.

Yap will deliver the welcome remarks followed by an overview by Garcia of the company’s global operations and the President’s message.

GPPC serves as an intermediary in facilitating payment transactions. Its registered revenues for the fiscal year ending May 2010 was at $1.6 billion.

The company operates in two business segments namely North America and International Merchant Services and employs 3,600 people worldwide. (PIA V)

Aquino optimistic of PPP support

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III today (November 17) expressed confidence in getting support from major stakeholders for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects that will be launched tomorrow in Pasay City.

In a press briefing the President said various private entities have shown interest on the first 10 projects that will be launched tomorrow.

The President said that the travel advisories previously issued by other countries may not affect the launching and implementation of the PPP projects.

“There really seems to be a lot of interest, hopefully, the travel advisory brouhaha last week will not seriously dampen it. At this point we’re really optimistic that there will be a lot of interest at least the first 10 that will be rolled out by tomorrow”, the Chief Executive said.

The government, in cooperation with the private sector, launched “Infrastructure Philippines”, that will run until Friday, Nov. 19 at the Manila Mariott Hotel.

The event is part of President Aquino’s socio-economic agenda which aims to achieve a high and sustained economic growth needed to generate jobs and to examine investment opportunities, profiles of public-private partnership (PPP) projects in the country, as well as policy, regulatory, and legal concerns in developing the infrastructure sector in the country.

The government has committed to channel the gains from the PPP into essential social services, such as those in education, health, and its centerpiece program on poverty alleviation.

Implementing agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways and Department of Transportation and Communications will present their pipeline of infrastructure projects for possible private-public partnership as well as their planned timelines for bidding out such projects. (PIA V)

Monday, November 15, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY -- Military personnel can now look forward to a better combat pay under a report submitted by the Senate committee on national defense to the upper chamber for approval.

Senator Chiz Escudero, defense committee chairman, said the committee has recommended a combat duty pay raise for personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) according to the danger they are exposed to.

Senate Committee Report No. 8 increases the combat duty pay of officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP from a minimum of five percent to a maximum of 25 percent of their base pay.

At present, each soldier assigned to combat zones receives a measly sum of P240 per month.

In the proposed measure, soldiers assigned to tactical brigades and its combat compliments will receive an increase based on the category of danger they are in. Those assigned to the most hazardous areas shall receive 25 percent of a private’s base pay, 15 percent for the more hazardous areas and 15 percent for the hazardous areas.

The current private base pay is P12,150.

“It has been 22 years since the AFP increased its combat pay for our soldiers. This is most timely given the increasingly hazardous duties our soldiers are facing in the service of our country coupled with inflation rates and higher cost of commodities and services. This will surely augment the salaries of those in the field whose one foot is already in the grave,” Escudero explained.

At present, there are 88,075 soldiers receiving combat duty pay. The AFP currently allocates a total of P253 million for the combat duty of its eligible soldiers.

Once the measure is approved, the AFP needs a total of P2.5 billion to fund the proposed increase.

The defense committee is joined by the finance committee in pushing for the approval of the measure in the Senate.(Office of Sen. Francis Escudero/PIA/mal)


LEGAZPI CITY— To celebrate national pride and savor the positive economic repercussions, Albay Governor Joey Salceda has declared Monday as Pacquiao Day though with work and with classes still going on between the weekend and the Al Adha holiday tomorrow.

But this new call awaits the feel of the nation if only to declare a no-work, no classes in the future.

Salceda said that very timely with a day that is between the weekend and the Al Adha holiday, Monday should be declared a special no-work, no-class holiday in the whole province of Albay.

“But, since there are already several holidays in November and several more in December, I balked at the unilateral move that may be perceived to be frivolous and would rather wait for the national leadership to set the feel of the nation. The idea of a Pacquiao day should blossom into a National OFW Day as a legislated national holiday,” Salceda explained.

“The heroism of Manny Pacquiao partakes of the day-to-day "living" heroism of our ordinary OFWs. And, without doubt, he has stacked up by far the biggest export by a single individual in our country's economic history- in National Income Accounts- he would visibly stand out in the NFIA or Net Foreign Income from Abroad- the item added to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to get Gross National Production (GNP),” Salceda furthered.

According to Salceda, with Michael Jordan now retired and Tiger Woods now in decline, Pacquiao is now possibly the most important brand franchise in the whole world of global sporting market- a significant investment class that would assure recurring inflows (eg sponsorships, events) to our economy in the medium term.

“But more than the forex resources, he brings honor to our nation. Pacquiao plays what economists call "a binding force" even quite briefly and fleeting- by enabling stubbornly disparate forces in Philippine society to come together and overcome our differences to celebrate our national pride,” he said.

“That would have been sufficient fundamental basis for us to succumb to the pervasive suggestion of declaring tomorrow as Pacquiao Day in Albay as a no-work, no-class holiday (also practical since it is sandwiched by Nov 16's Al Adha holiday) so our people could celebrate pride in being Filipino and discern the spirit of the possible that is enlarged by Pacquiao's achievements,” Salceda concluded. LGU Albay/PIA/mal)


PARACALE, Camarines Norte -- The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Bicol has allayed fears of an incident fish kill in Malaguit River here reportedly due to small scale gold processing operations.

EMB Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales reported that the Bureau’s investigators found no fish kill in the areas traversed by Malaguit River on October 17, 2010.

“However minimal fish kill was noted at the mouth of Matanlang river, a tributary upstream of Malaguit River,” Engr. Henry Lopez, Provincial Environmental Management Officer (PEMO) of Camarines Norte clarified in his report.

EMB Bicol investigators observed floating dead fish (2 species Midyad & Butete) along Matanlang stream believed to be in decaying stage due to its foul stench.

"The dead fish observed in the upstream of Malaguit River were either remains of poisoned fishes by fishermen or from the remains of fishponds clearing after harvest,” Lopez added.

He cited Malaguit Punong Barangay Zaldy Moya’s account on local fishermen’s practices wherein they apply “sosa” or “bayate” (poison) in fishing. According to Moya, the practice involves installing a net at the mouth of the river during high tide and when low tide occurs they gather the catch utilizing poison to hasten their work.

To verify allegations of mine tailings overflow, EMB Bicol investigators inspected the tailings pond of small scale gold processing plants in Barangay Tugos, Paracale for seepage, but no leaks were discovered. The Bureau assured a close monitoring of the tailings pond and the sources of chemicals which might have been used by some fishermen in illegal fishing.

Earlier, Governor Edgardo Tallado requested the bureau to check reports of fish kill in Malaguit River allegedly caused by mine tailings seepage. Tallado said despite compliance by small scale gold processing plants with environmental permits, it is the provincial government’s utmost priority to determine the possible cause and who will be held responsible in the incident.(ASAraya, RPAO DENR V/PIA/mal)


CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, PILI, Camarines Sur – More than a thousand locals has benefited from a medical and dental mission participated in by the Army unit in Bicol held in Naga City last week.

Captain Raul Sasuca, medical officer of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division said that a total of 1,555 residents availed of the free medical and dental services during the medical and dental mission participated by the Philippine Army in the past two days (10-11 November 2010) held in SM City Naga City.

Sasuca said that his team has also visited several communities in Camarines Sur providing free medical and medical assistance to poor people.

“We are very glad to be part of this medical mission because this is part of the 9th ID’s community service here in the Bicol Region. We have communities in far-flung areas which do not have ready access to health facilities and through this medical mission they can avail of free medical checkup and medicines which many of them cannot afford,” said Sasuca.

Ms Tina Sumayao, the Public Relations Officer of the SM City Naga, said that the project was part of the corporate social responsibility of the SM Foundation Inc.

“Aware about the health needs of the poor people in the countryside, we coordinated with various agencies and NGOs to make this project a reality,” Sumayao said.

The other partners during the medical mission include the Philippine National Red Cross, Provincial Health Office of Camarines Sur, Bicol Medical Center, DSWD Naga City and the 9th ID Press Corps. (HMCabunoc, DPAO 9ID PA/PIA/mal)


LEGAZPI CITY---After the weeklong sports activities involving at least 128 game matches, Bicol University based in Albay emerged as the overall champion, besting six other Bicol-based tertiary schools, in the 2010 State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association (SCUAA) competition.

Dominating in the swimming and athletic events, and clinching most of the ball and racket games, BU garnered a total of 134 gold, 61 silver, and 42 bronze medals, tailed far second by Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA), based in Camarines Sur, with 45 gold, 46 silver and 30 bronze medals; while ranked third was the Camarines Norte State College (CNSC) with medal haul of 14 gold, 40 silver, and 40 bronze.

The SCUAA 2010 was participated by at least 1,600 athletes coming from BU; CBSUA (formerly Camarines Sur State Agricultural College-CSSAC); Partido State University (PSU); Camarines Norte State College (CNSC); Camarines Sur Polytechnic College (CSPC); Catanduanes State Colleges CSC); Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa, Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT) based in Masbate; and Sorsogon State College (SSC).

This year’s competition is geared on the theme “Strengthening Regional Solidarity through Sports”. Bicol University (BU) as the host school utilized all of its facilities and resources offering superb and well-prepared services to the participating delegations as spearheaded by its Institute of Physical Education, Sports and Recreation (IPESR).

BU President Dr. Fay Lauraya said that though she was very pleased by the result, she offers their victory to all the participating state universities for their full support and very high display of their athletes’ sportsmanship in the
weeklong competition.

“BU’s victory is ignited by the sports challenges offered by our equally prepared state university and college athletes. This is a triumph for all of us SCUAA
participants,” Lauraya said.

On Monday’s opening ceremony, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda inspired the athletes and challenged them to observe the highest level of sportsmanship, as he also rendered then sumptuous dinner during the “Governor’s Night.”

“Albay is always supportive to activities promoting sportsmanship and camaraderie believing that they help shape goodness inside every athlete who turns to be a responsible member of the society,” Salceda said.

SCUAA’s yearly competition is highly competitive sports challenge due to the active participation of the seven state-run tertiary schools serving the 4.5 million Bicolanos, with BU on the top in terms of population with 22,000 students and employees. (CEDematera, BUCAL/PIA/mal)

Remittance of OFWs in Japan will be simplified and cheaper, says Aquino

YOKOHAMA, Japan (via PLDT/Smart): President Benigno S. Aquino III said it will now be easier and more affordable for Filipinos in Japan to send money back home following the signing of an agreement between the Land Bank of the Philippines and Japan Post Bank.

Speaking before some 1,000 members of the Filipino community here on Sunday at the Yokohama Futaba High School, the President said he learned that many Filipinos were lamenting the high fees their remittances were being charged.

“To help bring down the remittance cost, the Land Bank of the Philippines and Japan Post Bank have agreed to simplify the process and make sending money back home faster, safer and more affordable for overseas Filipino workers so their families can receive their hard-earned income,” said the President.

The agreement between Land Bank and the Japan Post Bank, according to the President, will take effect middle of January next year.

“We expect this simplified procedure to be available for workers here by January 17, 2011,” continued the Chief Executive, adding that Filipino workers can send their remittances through the nearest Japan Post Bank and their relatives can pick up the money from any Land Bank branch in the Philippines.

The President also said that during the APEC Leaders’ Summit here, the Philippines worked closely with other countries in dealing with the erratic appreciation of regional currencies, including the peso, to make sure that dollars being remitted by OFWs will enjoy a favorable exchange rate. (PIA V)

APEC leaders vow to pursue closer integrated regional economy

YOKOHAMA, Japan (via PLDT/Smart): President Benigno S. Aquino III and the 20 other leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) reiterated their commitment to pursue an even more closely integrated regional economy and strong sustainable and balanced growth in the region.

This would include taking steps toward the realization of the Free Trade Area for Asia and the Pacific (FTAAP) to meet new opportunities and challenges in the 21st century through the implementation of the APEC Leader’s Growth Strategy.

In the APEC Declaration aptly called the “Yokohama Vision – Bogor and Beyond,” which was presented by Japanase Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the conclusion of the 3-day APEC Leaders’ Meeting here, the 21 APEC leaders also committed to take necessary and concrete steps toward making this vision a reality.

They expressed confidence that this will bring about greater prosperity and well-being for all in the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

“We will implement the Growth Strategy to 2015, focusing on the five desired attributes of balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure growth,” they said.

According to the APEC leaders the Growth Strategy includes an Action Plan that encompasses work elements on structural reform; human resource and entrepreneurship development; green growth; a knowledge-based economy; and human security.

“The Action Plan will be supported and promoted through specific work programs that draw in all aspects of APEC ‘s work, including sectoral Ministerial meetings, extensive regional networks of experts, and close cooperation with the business community.

The APEC leaders agreed that their respective ministers and senior officials will accelerate work on strengthening and deepening regional economic integration in the coming year, which is consistent with the vision articulated in the document.

“They will design and implement specific initiatives to address barriers to trade and investment, and to ensure high-quality, sustainable growth in the future,” the leaders said, stressing that they look forward to ambitious progress on APEC’s agenda under the leadership of the United States. (PIA V)

APEC leaders reaffirms commitment to Doha Development Agenda

YOKOHAMA, Japan (via PLDT/SMART): President Benigno S. Aquino III and the 20 other leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) reaffirmed their strong commitment to bring the Doha Development Agenda to a prompt and successful conclusion.

“Bearing in mind that 2011 will be a critically important ‘window of opportunity,’ we direct our Ministers to empower our representatives to engage in comprehensive negotiations with a sense of urgency in the end game, built on the progress achieved, including with regard to modalities, consistent with the Doha mandate,” the 21 APEC leaders said in the APEC Declaration aptly called “Yokohama Vision – Bogor And Beyond,” which was presented by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the conclusion of the 3-day APEC Leaders’ Meeting on Sunday here.

“We affirm our commitment to win domestic support in our respective systems for a strong engagement,” the APEC leaders said.

In their continued efforts to resist protectionism, the APEC leaders agreed to “extend their commitment on standstill made in 2008 to the end of 2013 to refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures in all areas, including those that stimulate exports.”

The APEC leaders likewise committed themselves “to take steps to rollback trade distorting measures introduced during the crisis.”

Furthermore, the APEC leaders pledged to continue to exercise “maximum restraint in implementing measures that may be considered to be consistent with WTO provisions if they have a significant protectionist effect and promptly rectify such measures where implemented.” (PIA V)

APEC leaders reiterate commitment to UN climate change negotiations

YOKOHAMA, Japan (via PLDT/SMART): President Benigno S. Aquino III and the 20 other leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) reiterated their commitment to “take strong and action-oriented measures and remain fully dedicated to the United Nations climate change negotiations.”

“Addressing the threat of global climate change is an urgent priority for all nations. “the 21 APEC leaders said in the APEC Declaration aptly called “Yokohama Vision – Bogor and Beyond,” which was presented by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the conclusion of the 3-day APEC Leaders Meeting here on Sunday.

“We reaffirm the objective, provisions and the Principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,” the 21 APEC leaders said.

“Those of us who have associated with the Copenhagen Accord reaffirm our support for it and its implementation. We are all committed to achieving a successful, balanced result that includes the core issues of mitigation, transparency, finance, technology, adaptation, and forest preservation,” the APEC Declaration stated.

The APEC leaders likewise expressed their appreciation for Mexico’s hard work in preparing for and hosting COP16 or the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties’16th Summit. (PIA V)

Aquino mulls creation of Philippine Center in Japan

YOKOHAMA, Japan (via PLDT/Smart): President Benigno S. Aquino III has asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to study the proposal of the members of the Filipino community to set up a Philippine center that will help promote the Filipino culture as well as cater to the welfare of the next generation of children of Filipino and Japanese descent.

The President made the statement at the gathering of some 1,000 members of the Filipino community at the Yokohama Futaba High School late Sunday afternoon, during which he instructed Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo to look into the proposal to establish the center to be called “Tahanan”.

“We are here with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and I have directed him to study at the soonest possible time the creation of a Philippine center here,” said the President.

Aside from promoting Filipino culture, members of the Filipino community said the center could also help foster trade and investments between the Philippines and Japan, provide legal assistance to distressed overseas Filipino workers, and care for a number of illegitimate and abandoned “Japinos,” or children of Filipino and Japanese parents, among others. (PIA V)