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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Dec. 30 (PIA) – Governor Joey Salceda declared a state of calamity in this province and suspended office work in all government and private offices this afternoon as floodwaters continue to rise due to incessant rainfall since December 24.

Salceda said today’s rainfall reached more than 50mm as of 12 noon, prompting him to order the mandatory evacuation of some 7,000 families or about 35,000 persons threatened by lahar flows from Mayon Volcano and those living near riverbanks and low lying areas.

Since yesterday, a total of 914 families consisting of 3,915 persons were already evacuated from the towns of Malilipot. Sto. Domingo, Bacacay, Manito and Jovellar.

Salceda also reported that that an 80-year-old lady identified as Lolita Dapdap was swept away by floodwaters together with his 50-year old son Antonio while crossing a spillway on their way to an evacuation center in Barangay Inang Maarang in Manito, Albay .

Rescuers have recovered Lolita’s remains while her son remains missing.

Salceda also ordered the closure of traffic between Legazpi and the first district of Albay to Tabaco City because floodwaters have risen to waist deep in some portions of the highways ,making land travel dangerous.

The Albay chief executive also activated all rescue teams in the province to assist in the mandatory evacuation efforts. (EDL PIA V)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY — Albay Governor Joey Salceda has ordered Tuesday the reactivation of evacuation plans for landslide and flood prone areas and residents in six towns following the continuous and heavy rains almost all throughout the Bicol region, and most heavily Albay for the past five days.

In an interview at Ugnayan sa Bicol radio program of PIA Wednesday (December 29), Salceda reiterated that “Advisory number 1 issued on December 24 remains in effect for landslide prone areas and evacuation, especially in the town of Manito, should be strictly implemented.”

“For flood prone areas, local governments should be on alert and monitor eventualities in their areas. Rubber boats should also be ready,” he added.

Salceda furthered that “local disaster managers in the towns of Oas and Libon as well as Ligao City should monitor river conditions and take precautionary measures. Authorities have also readied rubber boats and six army trucks are also on standby at all times.”

Albay PDRRMC has enforced mandatory evacuation of 568 families or more than 3,000 residents in 12 landslide-prone barangays in six towns to maintain zero casualty amidst threat of disasters.

Evacuated residents who returned to their homes on Sunday and were ordered anews to be taken out of harm’s way were residents from Barangay Salvacion, Sto. Domingo town; Barangays Nagotgot, Malobago, Tinapian and Buyo in Manito town; Barangay Morera, Guinobatan; Barangays Mataas and Mapulang Daga, Bacacay; Barangays Sta. Teresa, Calbayog, San Jose and San Roque in Malilipot.

Added to the landslide prone areas were some parts of the villages in Jovellar town along the Donsol River towards the neighboring province of Sorsogon.

“Families in Jovellar, especially those along Donsol River, were told to be on extra alert and monitor for possible flood.”

Salceda has also directed the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) to release some 10 kilos of rice allocation per family evacuated.

He said Manito would not yet decamp its evacuees.

Salceda meanwhile said though the continuous and heavy rains had caused the evacuation of some Albayanos, it should not dampen the spirit of the celebration of the Christmas season and New Year rather “we should be grateful that the province had not encountered any major calamity in 2010.

On the lighter side, the prolonged downpour has also prevented both noise pollution and wastes as these reduced the number of firecrackers being lighted on the eve of Christmas. (MALoterte, PIA V)

By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY – Bicol based exporters sold some $696,401,447.44 worth of products to foreign buyers from January to December this year indicating 925 percent increase compared to last year ‘s exports, according to the Bureau of Customs (BoC) district office here.

Salvador Ruivivar, Customs District V officer-in-charge, said that crude coconut oil and copra pellets contributed significantly to the export contributing some $487,855,322.36 to the total exports or 70 percent of the total exports receipts for 2010.

He said the export was generated by Legazpi Oil Company, a Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) subsidiary based in Barangay Arimbay in this city, and Globe Coco in Barangay Lidong , Sto Domingo, Albay.

Ruivivar added that it was only this year that the coconut industry has started export anew as it started to bounce back from its devastation during the aftermath of super typhoon Milenyo and Reming in 2006.

He said that the mining industry has contributed a total of 28 percent of the total exports with gold ore leading with $113,961,528.99 exported by Fil Gold processing and refining company based in Aroroy, Masbate while the Rapu-Rapu Mining Inc. contributing $82,739,445.06 worth of Zinc and Copper concentrate products.

He said that the gold export was 86 percent more than the $16,467,887.88 exported last year while Zinc and copper exports was 45 percent over the 2009 exports or $36,832,770.87 more than the $$ 45,906,674.19 2009 figure.

The Custom Bicol chief said that other export products that contributed to the total exports were river sand, hair pieces and abaca. (EDL, PIA V/mal))

By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY – The Bureau Of Custom (BoC) Bicol regional office here reported a total collection of P86,157,802.50 in customs duties and taxes from various Bicol based importers covering the period January 1 to December 20, 2010.

Salvador D. Ruivivar, officer-in-charge of the BoC Bicol collection district, said that the collection was P8,663,802.50 over the goal of P77,494,000.00 set by the central office or an increase of 11.18 percent.

He also said that this year’s collection was 29 percent over the 2009 collection goal of only

He said that the bulk of their collection came from the import duties paid by the Good Found Cement Corporation amounting to P72,234,860.00 for the import of their raw materials like gypsum, klinker, iron pyrite and coal and various spared parts.

While the Sr-5 Trading paid P5,557,148.00 for the importation of used replacement parts for cars and trucks.

Ruivivar said that a ship owner from Catanduanes paid P1,387,587.00 in taxes for the importation from Japan of a used a vessel for conversion to a passenger ship. While the Misibis Aviation Development Corporation paid P1.309,315.00 for the importation of a helicopter.

He said the rest of the collections were from various small Bicol based importers. (EDL, PIA V/mal)


SORSOGON CITY – Army soldiers visited the captured NPA rebels to render Christmas songs and share some gifts to them on Christmas Eve here, a military official said.

LtCol Rodolfo Batang, Civil Military Operations officer of the 9th Infantry Division said that he was directed by Major General Ruperto "Raffy" Pabustan, the Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, to bring some Christmas gifts for the three captured rebels.

Batang and 10 other soldiers trooped to the hospital bed of Elmer Escobido a.k.a. Ka Alvin 24, who is still recuperating from his wounds in a local hospital here.

Escobido can barely talk but smiled when soldiers, together with the local media and hospital personnel sang "Ang Pasko ay Sumapit" for him. He was given a cash gift of P5,000.00 as part of the Army's medical assistance.

"This is our humble way of showing to you the true essence of Christmas which is sharing the blessings from God. As promised, we will help you return to the mainstream society," said Batang.

Minutes later, the soldiers proceeded to the nearby jail where Escobido's comrades are incarcerated.

Initially hesitant to face his soldier visitors, Jason Brul aka Ka Butch, was finally convinced by one of the officers who went inside his prison cell.

As he walked outside with Nelson Punilas, his comrade, soldiers greeted him with their rendition of the Taglish version of the birthday song as he sat in a wooden stool beside Punilas.

"I am very thankful for my friends who took time to visit me here again," said the beaming Brul, who has just turned 34 on the same day.

The three red rebels are facing raps of illegal possession of firearms and explosives before a local court in Bulusan and Gubat town.

He also expressed his Christmas wishes to his comrades who are still in the boondocks.

"I wish you all good health and happiness this Christmas," said Brul.

Though hesitant to fully express his intention to finally cooperate with the peace efforts of the government, he declared that he now wants a peaceful life after spending 7 long years away from his growing family of 4 children.

As soldiers started to bade goodbye, Brul returned to his cell with his goodies and birthday cake, smiling at his cellmates who were all green with envy for his day's blessings from his 'former enemies'. (HMCabunoc, DPAO 9ID PA/PIA)


DAET, Camarines Norte — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has distributed carpentry tools as part of their Kabuhayan Starter Kit program to some 20 beneficiaries in the town of Paracale this province last week.

DOLE Camarines Norte Provincial Field Officer Ruben Romanillos said that this was the second time they distributed the same kit to members of the community that have no permanent jobs.

Said tools worth P130,740 were given to those skilled carpenters chosen by the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) of the said town, those who graduated from the TESDA and those who were certified by the barangay.

The Kabuhayan starter kit or carpentry tools include electric plainer, chisel set, saw, hammer, electric grinder and other tools for carpentry.

It will be recalled that last year they also distributed same Kabuhayan Starter Kit to 20 beneficiaries in the town of Labo.

He added that next year on January 2011 they will distribute cosmetology kits, automotive and masonry tolls and auto mechanic tools to selected beneficiaries in the town of Jose Panganiban. (RBManlangit/PIA CamNorte)


DAET, CAMARINES NORTE – The municipal government of Labo will be conducting a Skills Training for Municipal Emergency Volunteers for disaster preparedness.

Dr. Carlos Galvez, Municipal Information Officer and Deputized Coordinator of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) of the said town said that this will be attended by some 40 emergency volunteers.

He said that the volunteers will start to work on January next year to augment the capability of the Bureau of Firec Protection and the Philippine National Police for traffic management.

The volunteers will be given an insurance, free PhilHealth cards, honorarium, free uniform and paraphernalia and other supplies during calamities and disasters.

The said training was spearheaded by the local government of Labo in cooperation with the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police and the Municipal Risk Reduction Management Council. (RBManlangit/PIA CamNorte)


NAGA CITY — With only a few days left before the New Year revelry, the Philippine National Police (PNP) here is monitoring various firecracker stalls in compliance with the directive earlier issued by Naga City Mayor John Bongat.

SPO4 Elmer Petalliano, Naga City PNP spokesman, said in an interview that their men were also given stringent instruction by Naga Police Director Sr. Supt. Vert Chavez to be especially watchful for illegal firecrackers which could proliferate in the market place on the eve of the celebration.

Republic Act (RA) 7183, an act regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices particularly cited firecracker, including pyrotechnic devices which are prohibited by law. These includes baby rocket, bawang, small triangulo,, el Diablo, watusi, Judah’s belt, sky rocket or kwitis, luces, special roman candle, and trompillo.

Aside from their monitoring, Chavez has also issued specific guidelines to one hundred eighty-five (185) stall owners who were given permission to sell their merchandise in designated places in the city.

“For every 10 stalls, there should be a pail of sand, a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher. This is one of the safety measures that we have implemented that the stall owner should also comply with.”

Petalliano added that they have also prohibited firecrackers stalls inside and within the vicinity of the Naga City Public Market. “All of these stalls are located at Plaza Quezon and Plaza Rizal. These are the only designated areas where they can sell their firecrackers and like merchandise.”

Also in support of the campaign dubbed as “Kontra Paputok” launched here in Naga recently, Chavez aimed his appeal to the parents to guide their children and keep a close eye on them during the revelry.

“We oftentimes neglect the fact that we are also responsible for our kids who perhaps doesn’t have a full grasp of the danger they are facing when they lit up a firecracker strand. So we are calling the attention of our parents, to be especially watchful to what our kids are doing. More importantly, let us not allow them to buy firecrackers.” (LSMacatangay, PIA CamSur)

SMOKE-FREE ALBAY Network Core Grooup visit the office of the Boy Scout of the Phillippines-Mayon Council in Ligao City to discussed the SFAN Merit Badge to ASEAN Neighborhood Invitational Jamboree this coming January 17, 2011 at Kawa-Kawa California Village, Tuburan, Ligao, Albay to BSP-Mayon Council Chairman Beinvenido Canlapan (center) held last Dec. 21, 2010 . (Alex Cal/PIA)

Thursday, December 23, 2010


NAGA CITY —A movie depicting faith, hope, and love commemorating the tercentenary (300th) of devotion to our Lady of Peñafrancia in Bicol will soon find its way in big theaters nationwide and worldwide.

Entitled “Ikaw ang Pag-Ibig”, veteran writer and director Marilou Diaz-Abaya has produced a film in her aspiration to bring the devotion to our Blessed Mother and her child Jesus to the hearts of the Virgen’s devotees not just here in the Philippines but also in different nooks and corners of the world.

Fr. Louie Occiano, chairman of Caceres Commission on Communications (CCCom), said that the movie will offer a fresh perspective of the Roman Catholic church’s teachings to a lot of Marian devotees.

The story will portray a young professional, Vangie (Ina Feleo) whose faith will be put to test upon learning that his brother, a newly ordained priest in the person of Fr. Johnny (Marvin Agustin) is diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Being the nearest relative and sibling, she is asked to be a donor for her brother’s bone marrow transplant.

Because of an abortion she went through when she was still young, she is traumatized by any medical procedure hence her dilemma as to go through with the transplant or not.

The story centers on the family’s struggle to cope with a family member’s illness and how they are drawn to INA (Mother) to beg for her intercession. Expectedly, their unwavering faith creates a miracle.

The movie does not only highlight Fr. Johnny’s healing but also the process of miraculous cure made possible through the grace of conversion, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope.

The movie’s world gala premier was held on December 17 at the Universidad de Santa Isabel Auditorium, Naga City. (LSMacatangay, PIA CamSur/mal)


LEGAZPI CITY — The reported P880M cut from the alleged “budget” for condoms is both a cruel mirage and a gross misconception equating reproductive health solely to condoms and pills, according to Albay I District Rep. Edcel Lagman.

Lagman, author of Reproductive Health Bill, tolf PIA News Service in an e-mail that the amount of P880M supposedly cut by the Senate upon the initiative of Sen. Vicente Sotto III was neither originally included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted by the President to the Congress nor subsequently incorporated in the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) approved by the House of Representatives and referred to the Senate.

Lagman explained that there is no specific amount for the purchase and distribution of condoms and pills which was deleted from the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) as documented in the Bicameral Conference Committee Report.

“Sotto gloats over the cut of a non-existent fund which Health Secretary Ona explained in a letter to Sen. Franklin Drilon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, as a mere “alternative budgetary allocation” to answer the unmet contraceptive needs of currently married women of reproductive age based on the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey, which was never funded,” he said.

He also said that Sotto is exorcising from the budget of the DOH a phantom fund.

“If he can only tone down his self-righteousness he would realize that the supposed budget for condoms and other contraceptives in the amount of P880M does not exist,” the solon said.

Lagman furthered that reproductive health covers a wide range of priority concerns including breastfeeding; maternal and infant health; treatment and prevention of infertility and sexual dysfunction, HIV-AIDS and breast and reproductive tract cancers; youth sexuality education; and voluntary family planning, including the use of both natural and modern family planning methods, among others.

“It is myopic to reduce the import of the RH bill to pills and condoms,” he said.

“A “condomized” mentality may be good for orthodoxy but is precarious for the reproductive health of our citizens,” Lagman concluded. (MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)


DAET, Camarines Norte — Barangay Guinatungan of the town of Basud bagged the first place in the 2010 Search for Child Friendly Barangay with the cash prize of P60,000 awarded here recently.

Barangay Cayucyucan of Mercedes was the second placer with P40,000 cash prize, third placer was the Barangay Gahonon of Daet with P30,000 cash prize while Barangay Canapawan of Labo and Barangay Pag-asa of Jose Panganiban were the 4th and 5th placers received a cash prizes of P20,000 and P10,000 respectively. All winners received a plaque of commendation.

Barangay San Ramon of San Lorenzo Ruiz, Barangay III of Vinzons and Barangay Calintaan of Talisay who participated were given certificate of recognition and a cash of P5,000.

For the hall of fame award, a plaque of commendation was given to Barangay IV of Daet for maintaining programs and projects for children while plaque of recognition to Barangay Camambugan of Daet for continuing programs for children.

The said awards were given by Governor Edgardo Tallado where he announced that he will increase to 100,000 the cash prize for the first place for the next search.

It will be recalled that the said search were being undertaken every year since 2004 under Sixth Country Programme for Children (CPC 6) by the provincial government funded by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) supported by the Provincial Technical Working Group (PTWG) from the PIA, DepEd, PSWDO, PHO, PNP, NCIP, PPDO, DILG and CAO. (RBManlangit/PIA CamNorte/mal)


LEGAZPI CITY — Using the resurgence of running as a booming sport nowadays, runners and environmentalists alike campaigned for the conservation of wetlands in Camarines Sur pooling several hundreds of advocates Sunday (December 19) at SM Mall in Naga City.

Mario Maglinao ruled the Jingle Bell Run - Run to Save Our Wetlands 13 K event with a time of 40 minutes, trailing behind him was Martin Balaybo both of Albay Runners Club. Local duathlon athlete Franklin Peñalosa managed to outrun other runners which earned him the third place.

“It’s good to run and promote healthy lifestyle as well campaign for environmental conservation,” Maglinao said in the local dialect. Maglinao accompanied by his team mates, urged every runner to hit the road and compete, and if it would permit, join every fund raising events for the environment.

Race director Andreco Primero said Sunday’s run sought to raise fund and heighten awareness of the public on the conservation of the region’s wetlands specifically Cagsao in Calabanga, Camarines Sur.

Gail Cea, chief of the protected areas wildlife and coastal zone management section of the DENR - Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Office in Naga City was deeply appreciative of the Jingle Bell Run organized by Junior Chamber International Cariñosa chapter’s effort to adopt the Cagsao Wetland.

“This will complement the DENR and municipal government of Calabanga’s thrust to protect, rehabilitate and expand the mangrove reforestation project along the town’s coastal barangays,” Cea said. She said the JCI Naga Cariñosa will conduct a mangrove-planting project at identified areas fringing San Miguel Bay soon as they acquire propagules.

Cagsao wetland is now expanding its area with at least 10,000 hectares of mangrove reforestation site, planted with 170, 000 of propagules last year through Smart Communications. Smart Communications estimated the mangrove survival rate at 80-90 per cent.

Under the Ramsar International Wetland Conservation Treaty, wetlands are defined as “areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres... also it may incorporate riparian and coastal zones adjacent to the wetlands, and islands or bodies of marine water deeper than six metres at low tide lying within the wetlands". (ASAraya, RPAO DENR V/PIA/mal)


LEGZPI CITY— The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and natural Resources (DENR) in Bicol has intensified drive against the use of firecrackers and encourages the use of eco-friendly methods to celebrate Christmas and welcome 2011.

EMB Bicol urges locals to use nontoxic materials in the two upcoming events, noting that Christmas and New Year can likewise be celebrated in ways that are both environment-and health-friendly.

EMB Bicol Director Fernando Quililan observed that residents commonly use firecrackers during important occasions.

“The use of firecrackers is aesthetically pleasing; however its use also poses danger to the environment. Smoke emissions from firecrackers contribute to air pollution and affect the ozone layer, thus add up to the warming of the earth. Moreover, firecrackers contribute to the noise pollution in a community, which may cause anxiety and stress to susceptible persons,” he explained.

He added that chemicals that compose firecrackers are harmful, especially towards sensitive groups such as people with asthma. The use of firecrackers also causes some of the usual accidents during Christmas and New Year, which include amputation of fingers, cuts, burns, blindness or even death.

The agency does not intend to stop people from using firecrackers as well as plant guilt to those who plan to use these in the said celebrations.

The use of firecrackers undoubtedly contributes to the merrymaking during these events; nonetheless, the agency suggests that people should take into account the environment as well. After all, celebrating Christmas and New Year can be just as merry even with the traditional use of “torotot” and the like. (EMB V /PIA/mal)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III said the release of Senator Antonio Trillanes by the Makati Regional Trial Court on Monday night was “something that we fought for.”

In an ambush interview after distributing cash gifts to the wounded soldiers confined at the V. Luna Hospital in Quezon City , the Chief Executive said the release of Trillanes’ will allow him to fulfill his duties as senator with the mandate given him by the people who voted for him

The President expressed hope that Trillanes would use his freedom to catch up on his responsibilities and the opportunities to improve society, through legislation, which he missed for the past three years while in detention.

Shortly after his releases Trillanes, immediately thanked President Aquino for issuing Proclamation No. 75 last Nov. 24, 2010 granting him amnesty, which was readily approved by the Senate.

Trillanes was elected senator in May 2007 while in detention in Camp Crame . A Philippine Navy lieutenant, Trillanes served as the spokesman of the Magdalo group that seized the Oakwood Premiere Hotel (now Ascott) in Makati City on July 27, 2003 along with more than 300 soldiers who demanded the resignation of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for alleged corruption.

During the hearing in November 2003 on the Oakwood Mutiny, Trillanes walked out of the court along with some Magdalo group members and triggered a standoff at the Peninsula Manila Hotel also in Makati. (PIA V)


MANILA — In recognition of their sacrifices, President Benigno S. Aquino III has increased the combat pay of soldiers who, most of the times, willingly offer their lives for the peace and security of the country.

The Chief Executive announced this good news during the 75th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday (December 21) at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

The President told the soldiers present that he already signed an Executive Order on Monday amending Executive Order 658 increasing the combat pay of soldiers to P500 from the current P240.

The President said the soldiers in the field will start receiving the new rate effective January next year.

“Pagdating po ng Enero, hindi lamang po Bagong Taon ang ipagdiriwang ng mga sundalong rumeresponde sa mga lugar na balot pa rin ng tensyon. Sasalubong din po sa kanila ang karagdagang combat allowance na nagkakahalaga ng 260 pesos,” the President stressed.

Since the establishment of the AFP under Commonwealth Act No. 1, or the National Defense Act of 1935, the President said the soldiers have been at the forefront in protecting the country’s sovereignty in times of peace, war and calamities.

Under his administration, the President said reforms continue to upgrade the capability of the AFP which, he said, include reforms in the procurement process under the AFP Modernization Program (AFPMP) resulting to the acquisition of additional requirements for the AFP.

“In just a few months, we were able to provide an additional eight Basic Trainer Aircrafts to the Philippine Air Force (PAF), aside from the four watercraft units for the Philippine Army,” the President said.

To date, the President noted that the AFP is closely coordinating with the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and Department of National Defense (DND), to provide more requirements and benefits for soldiers.

During the event, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo David Jr. presented the AFP Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) which the President said will start a new paradigm shift in managing peace and security towards achieving peace and prosperity using the “bayanihan spirit.”

According to the President the primary focus of the IPSP is winning peace from a predominantly militaristic solution to one that is founded on broad-based consultations and cooperation among the key stakeholders that include the soldiers, policemen and the community.

“Sa ating kasundaluhan, sampu ng bawat mamamayang Pilipino, sama-sama nating buhayin ang diwa ng bayanihan. Sama-sama nating tahakin ang landas tungo sa kapayapaan at kaunlaran. Maaasahan ninyong ako mismo ang mamumuno sa adhikaing ito. Kapit-kamay nating buhayin ang diwa ng bayanihan; sama-sama nating ihatid ang ating bayan sa liwanag na matagal nating hindi nasilayan,” the President said.

The anniversary rites was highlighted by the President’s distribution of awards and recognition to the following:

Rear Admiral Alexander Pama (Distinguished Service Star); cpat Marlou Parugrug, Sgt. Celso Llena and Sgt. Louie Lagrama (Gold Cross Medal); Maj. Jeffrey Alan Pizarro (Outstanding Achievement Medal); Sgt. Delfin Olotio (AFP Enlisted Personnel of the Year); Cadet Col. Neil Brian casem (ROTC Cadet of the Year); Lydia Cabajar (Model Civilian Supervisor of the Year); and Barangay Balayangon Chairman Francisco Llagao of Pinukpuk, Kalinga for his support to the AFP internal security operations in Kalinga. (PIA V)


MANILA — President Benigno Simeon Aquino III led the distribution of cash grants and gift packs as part of the “Pamaskong Handog ng PAGCOR – 12 Days of Christmas” in efforts to boost the morale and speedy recovery of patients at the AFP Medical Center in Quezon City.

Some 300 soldiers from different units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), some were victims of gun battles against rebel armed groups in Mindanao, benefited from the gift-giving program spearheaded by the Commander-In-Chief, President Aquino.

Thirty patients confined at the Heroes Ward of the hospital received one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000) as part of the special financial assistance from the Chief Executive.

Also turned over was eight hundred sixty four thousand pesos (P864,000) in donation or thirty six thousand pesos (P36,000) each to 24 children with hydrocephalus that will cover the pre and post-operation treatments. Jojo Mitra, president of the Hydrocephalus Foundation received the cash grant from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

One of the first to benefit from the donation is Ma. Prinze Cid, a one-year-old baby from Cagayan de Oro, who will soon undergo free operation at the AFP Medical Center. Ma. Prinze is also suffering from meningocele, a condition characterized by the protrusion of the spinal cord due to meningococal infection that occurred during infancy.

Private First Class Rodelito Daasco, 47, one of the 300 Pamaskong Handog beneficiaries at AFP Medical Center said soldiers like him are happy to know that institutions like PAGCOR remember them, especially in this season of sharing.

As a soldier, Daasco spent most of his life at the battlefields and army camps in Catbalogan, Samar. After several years in service, he now suffers from heart ailment and may undergo coronary angioplasty, a procedure used to open blocked heart arteries. He has been confined at the AFP Medical Center since October.

Hospital equipment amounting to one million pesos, which include 20 nebulizers, automatic hospital beds, operating tables, ultraviolet sterilizers, laryngoscopes and heavy duty suction machines were also donated to the AFP Medical Center on top of the one million pesos cash donation to the hospital. (PIA V)


MANILA — Prudent spending and belt tightening measures helped the Aquino administration meet its deficit target for 2010.

In an interview after giving cash awards to the wounded soldiers confined at the V. Luna Hospital, President Benigno S. Aquino III said the country will experience a budget surplus, “the third and probably the best this year.”

The President disclosed that the National Economic Development Authority board met Monday (December 20) to review projects proposed for implementation in the coming months.

“I asked for the specifics of two or three projects to determine if some have to be changed,” he said.

The President proposed programs under the Department of Agriculture headed by Secretary Proceso Alcala are evaluated on the basis of cost-benefit analyses and whether they meet the economic targets. If they do not match the goals and expected outcomes, then Alcala does not push through with them,” he said.

According to the President, the right way of using public funds enabled the government to fix the fiscal position of the country.

The President said he was told that the 2010 deficit will actually be below what has been projected and this is because of the savings obtained from belt tightening and prudent spending.

“I always question the need for undertaking any foreign trip. I always ask what would be the return on investment of the trips to the Filipino people. If we can’t fully justify the cost of a certain travel abroad, I forgo it,” he said.

His training in the private sector, according to the President scrutinize investments versus returns. “Kung walang return sa taumbayan, hindi okay,” he said. (PIA V)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday (December 21) called on media practitioners to allot more space to “good news,” focusing on people who have done so much to effect change in society.

The President made the call during the annual Christmas party of the Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel media forum at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.

In his speech, the President acknowledged the importance of critical and hard-nosed reporting to expose flaws and fallacies in the system but underscored the importance of talking also about the good especially if it would help uplift the Filipinos’ spirit.

“I hope sometimes, maybe we can focus our attention to help those who have done so much for the country by showing others how they helped in changing society,” he said in the vernacular.

The President lauded members of the Bulung Pulungan for their “journalistic ethics” which he said had made them become “agents of change.”

He said that with their help, he would be able to withstand the rigors of the Presidency.

“While there remain the difficulties, I can say with certainty that the prospects of our future is getting brighter,” the President said. (PIA V)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY — Educators and students who have shown exemplary performance in their respective fields manifesting the advancement of the education system in the province were cited in Albay’s Gawad Edukasyon awarding ceremonies Friday (December 17) held at the Albay Astrodome here

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, who pioneered the education enhancement program in the province in 2008 under the program Education Quality for Albayanos (EQUAL), said that over 70 awardees and qualifiers were nominated to this year’s awards program making it with the most number of participants since the program inception.

Salceda bared that some 27 awardees and 49 qualifiers received each a certificate and plaque of recognition as well as cash incentives ranging from P3,000 to P200,000 each, depending on the categories, totaling to P2.1 million cash incentives.

"With these numbers, both of educators and students, our main objective of providing Albayanos with quality education is gradually gaining more support from the various sectors of our society," Salceda observed.

Dr. Rowena Ondiz, chief of Albay's Research and Planning Division and Awards Committee in-charge, said the awards program has four categories, including Student Excellence in Academics and Leadership (SEAL); Ten Outstanding Teachers of Albay (TOTAL); Three Outstanding Principals in the Countryside of Albay (TROPICAL); and Kadunong LGU, for LGUs with best practices in education development.

Albay’s Gawad Edukasyon has cited Rhod Jeran Sabater, of Polangui Comprehensive High School(PGCHS); John Eulo Bas, of Tabaco National High School(TNHS); Jessa Marie Monzon, of Marcial O. Rañola Memorial School (MORMS); Micah Madrelejos, PGCHS; Andre Nico Belen, of Ligao National High School (LNHS); Kimberly Rapirap, of St. Michael Academy; Roland Francis Dacillo, TNHS; Antonette Reburiano, PGCHS; Shaira Orogo, MORMS; and Aaron Castillo, of Legazpi City Science High School LCSHS), in the student category wherein each received P20,000 and plaque of recognition.

Michelle M. Damiel, LCSHS; Diana L. Desuyo, of Bicol Regional Science High School (BRSHS); Sixto O. Orzales, of Albay Central School (ACS); Leopoldo C. Brizuela Jr., LNHS; Nora J. Laguda, MORMS; Shirley M. Rustria, of Oas North Central School (ONCS); Hazel C. Asejo, of Aquinas University of Legazpi Science High School (AUL-LSHS; Ruben B. Cenita, AUL-LSHS; Roger B. Bañal, TNHS; and Nancy M. Aguda, ACS composed the list of TOTAL who each received P100,000.

Three school principals namely Dr. Norma B. Orozco, of Pagasa National High School (PNHS); Rhodie H. Quirab, of Ligao East Central Elementary School (LECES); and Carmen J. Beldad, ACS topped the list in the TROPICAL awardees each also receiving some P100,000.

Most outstanding LGU cited was Tiwi, lead by Mayor Jaime C. Villanueva; Outstanding LGU was Libon, under the headship of Mayor Agnes Dycoco and Tabaco City Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro. Manito Mayor Caesar Daep was conferred with a special mention award. Kadunong LGU's most outstanding bagged P200,000; outstanding, P100,000; and special recognition, P75,000.

Ondiz furthered that aside from the major awards, at finalists also received P5,000 to P10,000 each; and qualifiers P3,000 to P5,000 each, depending on the categories they were nominees.

"Gov. Salceda wants that all those who signified interest in joining the education enhancement contests receive prize," Ondiz said.

With its expanded education programs and activities, Albay has created the Provincial Education Department (PET) and initially funded it with some P170-million. (MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)

By Ed De Leon

LEGAZPI CITY – Newly installed Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said here yesterday that the agency will be forced to file a case against local government units (LGUs) who failed to close their open dumpsite in violation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law also otherwise known as Republic Act No. 9003.

In a media briefing conducted at the EMB regional office Tuesday (December 14), Director Fernando Quililan said that there are still about 60 LGUs or 55 per cent who have not close their open dumps as required by law.

He said that Section 37 of the law requires that no open dumpsite shall be operated by LGUs after five years following the affectivity of the law in 2001.

Quililan said that under the three-strike policy contained in the National Solid Waste Management Commission Resolution (NSWMC) No. 17 series of 2009, the Council issued the first notice of strike to 69 LGUs in the Bicol Region in August 27, 2008 who were still operating an open or controlled dumpsite despite the lapse of time for them to close the dumpsite.

While the second notice of strike according to the EMB director was issued by the NSWMC last January 26, 2010 to LGUs concerned who still failed to close their open dumpsite and failed to set up a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).

Meanwhile three LGUs from Masbate were issued the 3rd and final strike notice middle of this year because of the failure to these concerned LGUs to comply with the law and a case will be filed against these LGU officials for failing to comply with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law.

Quililan said that the penalties imposed by the law for still operating an open dumpsite is P500,000 plus 5 percent of net annual income of the LGU found guilty and 1 to 3 years imprisonment for the LGU official involved.

The EMB director stressed the importance for the LGUs to seriously give importance to the setting up of sanitary landfills in their area of jurisdiction considering that in the Bicol region alone a total of 1,532 metric tons of garbage is generated every day which is equivalent to at least 255 truck loads of waste.

He praised Legazpi City government for being the first LGU to establish a Sanitary landfill facility located in Barangay Banquerohan. (PIA/mal)

By Bennie A. Recebido

SORSOGON Province — Officials of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Philippines have recently visited and cited this province’s preparedness and disaster management system carried out by the Provincial Disaster Risk Management Office (PDRRMO) in the wake of Mt. Bulusan’s restiveness since Nov. 6, this year.

PDRRMO Head Jose Lopez said that USAID representatives came to his office to assess and conduct initial exploration of concerned municipal LGUs and the province as well in terms of disaster preparedness, management and response.

“For the meantime now, they have not committed any specific support but assured us that they are ready to provide the province any assistance should the condition of Mt. Bulusan worsens,” said Lopez.

Allan Dwyer of USAID, meanwhile, said that the protocols and system implemented by the PDRRMC in the management of Bulusan volcano’s activities and its impact to residents and livelihood, as well as the capability of concerned agencies in responding to said natural disaster, were commendable according to the agency’s mandates.

“I have heard a lot about Bulusan Volcano that is why from Indonesia, where Mt. Merapi also devastated hundreds of local residents there, I decided to fly to the Philippines so I could personally visit Sorsogon and find out where our agency could come in,” Dwyer said.

Justin Sherman, also from USAID, said that they have visited the affected areas particularly Brgy. Cogon in Irosin town, the nearest barangay to Mt. Bulusan, to find out the condition of residents directly affected by the volcano’s series of ash ejections as well as the evacuation centers used by the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

“We likewise met Dir. Ed Laguerta of Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) to get updates of the present condition of Mt. Bulusan and learned that Alert level 1 remains hoisted since Mt. Bulusan’s restiveness is not yet over based from the signs they see at the volcano’s crater,” he added.

USAID is an agency known for its active support to victims of various calamities and internally-displaced persons in armed conflict affected areas. It provides United States’ economic and humanitarian assistance for more than 40 years now. It is also popular because of their disaster preparedness and mitigation programs using their civilian and humanitarian resources to strengthen disaster preparedness and response capability efforts in calamity-stricken areas worldwide.

Together with the USAID in visiting here were representatives from World Vision, a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization that has long been a partner of the local government in providing relief assistance to victims of both man-made and natural calamities that hit the province of Sorsogon. (with reports from VLabalan, PIO LGU Sorsogon/PIA/mal)


LEGAZPI CITY — Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio L. Singson urged Wednesday (December 15) employees of the department to continue improving the quality of life and future of Bicolanos by constructing the right projects at the right price with the right quality.

In his Christmas message read for him by DPWH regional director Danilo E. Dequito during the Christmas program of the regional office, Singson said “As we celebrate this season of hope, let us seriously reflect on what we have done in the past years, and ponder on what we must change to restore integrity and dignity in public service.”

“We must collectively continue to respond to commit ourselves to the call of President Benigno Aquino III to walk the straight path or “Tuwid na Landas!” program.” Singson added.

The DPWH Secretary also challenge the DPWH work force to look beyond their current methods and practices and adopt better standards and methodologies, thus producing well-defined proactive role in the implementation of President Aquino’s vision of full transparency and accountability to the people.

“There will be difficult challenges as well as opportunities ahead for all of us. Indeed the dawning of “daylight” has begun.” Singson stressed.

Secretary Singson according to director Dequito was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments yesterday. (Ed de Leon/PIA)


NAGA CITY — The Philippine Red Cross local chapter here, in cooperation with the Agencia Española Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID), Spanish Red Cross and Australian Red Cross, has recently launched a new project in the province of Camarines Sur to reduce the vulnerabilities of communities to health risks and natural disasters

The project, dubbed as Convenio 10-C01-033 is a community-based health development and disaster risk reduction project will soon be implemented in selected communities in the province to reinforce the capacity of the communities and local structures to improve their basic health management. Aside from the project’s health component, it also aspires to strengthen the community’s capacity in disaster preparedness.

Target areas for project implementation are the municipalities of Siruma, Lagonoy and Garchitorena. The municipalities of Buhi and Iriga were also added but the direct beneficiaries would be the Indigenous People in its respective selected barangays.

IPs in the two aforementioned municipalities are considered the most vulnerable and tagged as marginalized communities as they live along the slopes of Mount Asog and its many tributaries.

Nanette Rodrigazo, PRC Camarines Sur chapter administrator, said that the province is indeed lucky for having been chosen as recipients of several projects funded by AECID, particularly the Spanish Red Cross.

“The Spanish Red Cross in particular , and of course AECID and now the Australian Red Cross have been our constant ally in alleviating and uplifting the condition of our constituents here in Camarines Sur, particularly those communities which we consider vulnerable and prone to natural disasters. We are indeed thankful that they never grow tired in supporting our chapter’s endeavors.”

The project will have the following components: capacity building for the staff, volunteers and local special bodies, organization, training and mobilization of volunteers on Health, disaster, water and sanitation , provision of equipment and supplies to health and disaster volunteers, repair and rehabilitation of health and water facilities including the provision of basic medical equipment to BEMONC (Basic Emergency Maternal, Obstetric and Neonatal Care) including establishment of Botika ng Barangay.

Information-education-communication campaigns, drills and collaboration meetings with key stakeholders and other project partners and the development of mechanisms for project monitoring, evaluation, and reporting will also be undertaken.

The project is a partnership between the Provincial Government, the LGUs of the municipalities aforementioned, the Philippine Red Cross-Camarines Sur Chapter, Spanish Red Cross and Australian Red Cross. (LSMacatangay, PIA CamSur/MAL)

DAET, Camarines Norte — The local government of Labo spearheaded a series of trainings on Strengthening of Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Committee (BDRRC) on December 14-15 and 17-18.

Dr. Carlos Galvez, Municipal Information Officer and Deputized Coordinator of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC), said that the activity aimed to orient the participants on R.A. 10121 or Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

He said that topics discussed were: R.A. 10121, risk assessment, Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (BDRRMC) contingency planning for emergency and damaged assessment and needs analysis.

Dr. Galvez said that there were 152 attended coming from the 52 barangays of Labo which include the barangay captains, Sanguniang Bayan Committee on Peace and Order and secretaries.

He explained that starting January the new set up will be the Barangay Development Council and will create BDRRMC to make policies in disaster management. (RBManlangit/PIA CamNorte)


LEGAZPI CITY — Chief executives of towns hit by the series of ash explosions of Bulusan Volcano in Sorsogon province expressed their appreciative and were thankful of the measures carried out by the Department of Public Works Highways (DPWH) in Bicol that somehow eased the hardship the populace had been into.

“I am grateful for the fast action of the DPWH on the removal of volcanic debris from Cogon gully that could have overflowed to the barangays at the foot of Mount Bulusan,” said Municipal Mayor Eduardo Ong, Jr. of Irosin, Sorsogon.

Ong has confided his appreciation and gratefulness to DPWH Undersecretary for Regional Operations Romeo Momo, following the latter’s a field inspection of areas affected by Mt. Bulusan. Momo was joined by Assistant Secretary Roy Manao, Bicol Regional Director Danilo Dequito and Assistant Regional Director Jesus Salmo, Sorsogon District Engineer Edgar Curativo and other key officials of the DPWH Bicol last December 14, 2010.

It will be recalled that the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvocs) hoisted Alert Level 1 over Mt. Bulusan when a minor eruption transpired last November 6, 2010. Since then, intermittent explosions were observed resulting to a large volume of volcanic materials deposited along its slopes.

“Continuous and heavy downpours in this area will likely cause flashfloods that would endanger the lives and properties of the residents in the nearby Barangays of the Municipalities of Irosin and Juban,” said Salmo.

Pre-emptive measures were recommended by DPWH Bicol to its Central Office to immediately mitigate the effects of lahar and other debris cascading down the slopes of the volcano.

“A total of P122 M was requested for the dredging and construction of flood control facilities for Cogon gully and Rangas River in Juban,” said RD Dequito.

“Inasmuch as our agency is now geared towards solutions to water related problems, I am confident that our project proposal related to Mt. Bulusan will be funded,” he concluded. (LVCastañeda, PIO DPWH V/PIA/mal)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

DPWH Secretary challenges RO5-5 employees to build quality infrastructures

By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY -- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio L. Singson urged yesterday employees of the department to continue improving the quality of life and future of Bicolanos by constructing the right projects at the right price with the right quality.

In his Christmas message read for him by DPWH regional director Danilo E. Dequito during the Christmas program of the regional office, Singson said “As we celebrate this season of hope, let us seriously reflect on what we have done in the past years, and ponder on what we must change to restore integrity and dignity in public service.”

“We must collectively continue to respond to commit ourselves to the call of President Benigno Aquino III to walk the straight path or “Tuwid na Landas!” program.” Singson added.

The DPWH Secretary also challenge the DPWH work force to look beyond their current methods and practices and adopt better standards and methodologies, thus producing well-defined proactive role in the implementation of President Aquino’s vision of full transparency and accountability to the people.

“There will be difficult challenges as well as opportunities ahead for all of us. Indeed the dawning of “daylight” has begun.” Singson stressed.

Secretary Singson according to director Dequito was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments yesterday. (Ed de Leon/PIA)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vice President Jejomar Binay keynotes CCA LGU Summit+3i Visayas Leg in Iloilo City on December 15, 2010. (MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)

CCA LGU SUMMIT +3i Visayas Leg... Albay Governor and UN Global Senior Champion for CCA/DRR Joey Salceda delivers his message, while (from left) Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, CCC Com. Heherson Alvarez, VP Jejomar Binay, and NEDA VI Dir. Ro-Ann Bacal lend ears, during the CCA LGU Summit +3i Visayas Leg held in Iloilo City, Dec. 15-16, 2010. (MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)

... VP Jejomar Binay and Gov. Salceda confide with each other on CCA concerns at LGU Summit+3i Visayas Leg. (MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)

... Iloilo province local chief executive-participants to the CCA LGU Summit+3i Visayas Leg photo opportunity with CCC Com. Alvarez, VP Binay, NEDA VI Dir. Bacal and Albay Gov. Salceda. (MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)

Monday, December 13, 2010

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY — Local governments are set to gather anew in an interfacing in Visayas in an unrelenting pursuit and strengthen commitment to mainstream Climate Change Adaptation to address climate variability and extremes, moreover, direct adaptation measures among localities in the country.

Manuel “Nong” Rangasa, executive director of Center for Initiative Research for Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), told PIA News Service that the Visayas summit is the second leg of the series of LGU Summit+3i on Mainstreaming of CCA in different parts of the country and evidently manifests that the implementation of direct adaptation measures remains local or lies on the hands of LGUs and residents.

Rangasa explained that this demonstrates the critical role of local governments in shaping and implementing successful adaptation measures that would ensure continuity of development and provide safety nets for highly vulnerable groups that are very dependent on natural resources.

Along the way, according to Rangasa, local governments will be able to determine priority adaptation measures in line with the National Strategic Framework on CCA that would protect and facilitate MDG achievement by target year 2015.

Albay province, acclaimed a key front liner in CCA advocacy in the country and abroad, takes the lead anew in staging the LGU Summit+3i – Visayas Leg in Iloilo City set on December 15-16, this year.

First introduced by the provincial government of Albay through CIRCA, the CCA interfacing among LGUs intends to provide a venue for local leaders to recognize that adaptation is a critical developmental concern that needs to be addressed to pursue and meet country’s commitment towards Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2015.

Rangasa said that the event is a continuing advocacy for LGUs given their critical responsibility in shaping and implementing measures that would ensure continuity of development and provide safety nets for highly vulnerable groups at the local level.

He furthered that LGUs across the country must have a concerted effort to fast track achievement of MDGs, especially at the local level, to meet the 2015 target and share experiences in tracking their MDGs’ progress.

LGU Summit+3i – Visayas Leg is a joint project of the Millennium Development Goals Fund 1656 Climate Change Commission, League of Cities of the Philippines, in cooperation with the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Planning managers, scientists and academe sector, civic society and community leaders, legislators, and development partners from across the country are expected to participate in the interfacing to broaden collective actions to develop the resilience and adaptive capacities of local communities to cope and address the implications and challenges of climate change.

Vice President Jejomar Binay is expected to keynote the summit.

Other resource persons expected to grace the event include acclaimed UN Senior Global Champion for CCA/Disaster Risk Reduction and Albay Governor Joey Salceda, along with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director Renaud Meyer is set to expound on the UN’s Support for Climate Change Adaptation & Disaster Risk Reduction in the Philippines. (PIA V)
By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY – Mayor Krisel Lagman Luistro of Tabaco City said Thursday (December 9) that the Reproductive Health Bill or RH bill is pro life contrary to opinions of some sectors opposed to the passage of the bill.

In her keynote address at the Regional Population Congress held here, Luistro emphasized that if one reads the provisions of the Bill, most of the provisions are pro life and no single provision is anti life or pro abortion.

She cited as an example the provisions that promotes maternal and child health care and the spacing of child birth which is very pro life and in accordance with the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) pursued by the country.

Luistro also cited during the congress the important role of population workers to promote responsible parenthood and give couples the right information for them to make an informed choice on what safe family planning methods are available to them.

She advised family planning advocates to simplify their communication messages and techniques so that it could easily be understood by their target audiences mostly the poor sector of our society.

She said that based on their experience in Tabaco City down to earth family planning communication messages was very effective in their engagement with the ‘padyak’ drivers and their wives who easily understood them.

Luistro is also optimistic that the Reproductive Health Bill will be passed soon considering that a recent SWS survey showed that some 69 percent of the respondents favors the passage into law of the Bill. (PIA V/mal)


MASBATE CITY—Yes, Virginia, Naga isn’t the only city in Bicol that can tell about good governance.

In the last four years, this Masbate capital has been doing a quiet kind of transformation similar to what Naga City had treaded on the way to its present stature as premier model of good governance.

Their common tool comes in the Performance Governance System or PGS, which crafts local government into efficient service institution.

Mayor Socrates M. Tuason explained that in PGS, everything such as vision, mission, goals and objectives of Masbate City is measured using the “balanced scorecard.”

He said the scorecards record how department heads and employees perform their roles using the baseline data, targets and “strategies for changes that we want to make.”

With the scorecard, he said “I don’t have to tell department heads and employees what to do over and over again because they’re guided by the scorecards.”

Top officials as well as civil society and community leaders come in to bring in political will in such efforts as licking corruption to restore the people’s trust in government.

He said the Institute for Solidarity in Asia introduced the practice of PGS initially to eight cities, including Naga City, which has been inducted to the “Palladium Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy.”

Following Naga’s lead, Masbate City became a PGS partner in 2007.

Tuason said ISA officers are now in Masbate for this year’s evaluation of the city government’s scorecards.

“We want to be a proud city like Naga so we’re having the same process that Naga went through,” he added. (EADelgado, PIA Masbate)


LEGAZPI CITY — In consonance with the 22-point agenda of the Aquino Administration and through the initiatives of Naga City Mayor John G. Bongat, the Overseas Workers Employment Administration (OWWA) in Bicol will open its Satellite Office in Naga City on December 15, this year to directly serve more than 25,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families in Camarines provinces.

OWWA Bicol Director Jocelyn Hapal said the agency will field three personnel at the new office Mondays thru Thursdays at 9am-5pm and provide the whole range of OWWA programs, in time for the peak season of OFW arrivals for the holidays.

Naga City has the highest number of OFWs in the Bicol region.

“We are more than happy to host the OWWA operation. It is our way of recognizing the contributions of the Filipino workers abroad to the development not only of the City of Naga but of the whole Region as well.”, Mayor John Bongat of naga City said.

OWWA Administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon said that she hopes to make the satellite office in the immediate future a one-stop shop by inviting in PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig and SSS, and make their programs and services therefore accessible to most OFWs and their families.

She said that particularly for OFWs who are on vacation, they can now secure the Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC) or exit permit at the Satellite Office, instead of going to OWWA in Legazpi City or to POEA in Manila.

According to Hapal, the satellite office will bring about the following benefits: immediate action on complaints and request for assistance of OFWs and their families, including monitoring of illegal recruitment and trafficking incidences; increased and faster processing of program availment;

Faster and less costly processing of OECs and OWWA membership for vacationing OFWs and name hires; continuity and holistic benefit from integrated community and LGU-based support; and more active participation in organized OFW Family Circles/Associations.

The OWWA Naga Satellite Office is located at the 3rd floor of the R.S. Roco Library in Naga City Hall Complex. (KTRamirez-Villamor, OWWA Bicol/PIA/mal)


MANILA — Senator Chiz Escudero added his voice to growing calls seeking the release of the “Morong 43” who were arrested 10 months ago on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and violation of the gun ban.

Escudero, who chairs the Senate committee on justice and human rights, explained the release should be done not through an amnesty program being offered by the government, but by virtue of technicalities surrounding their arrest.

“The Morong 43 may be freed without availing the amnesty program extended by the administration. There is no admittance from the health workers that they are indeed members of the New People’s Army as alleged by the military. They cannot therefore avail of the program because of the imposed impossible condition: admittance of guilt,” Escudero said.

Citing an opinion rendered by Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima that the warrant served to the group seemed to be defective, Escudero said there were three options that could be explored to free the detained health workers.

He said the Morong 43 could be released through the following options:

The DOJ may file a motion in court withdrawing information on the ground of technicalities on the arrest.

The defense team may file a motion for reinvestigation and for the release on bail and recognizance pending reinvestigation without the need for technicalities.

The DOJ and the defense team may jointly file a motion for judicial determination of probable cause to resolve the issue once and for all.

“These three options are faster and simpler routes to take than the amnesty program in seeking for the Morong 43 release because it relieves everyone of the burden other than the rightful entity to rule on the matter. All options would now be left to the judge’s sole discretion,” Escudero said. (Office of Sen. Francis Escudero/PIA/mal)


DAET, Camarines Norte — The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) has approved the plan and the budget for the implementation of programs for disaster preparedness and mitigation in the province.

PDRRMC chairperson Governor Edgardo Tallado said that the council should implement the 10121 known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

He said that the province should anticipate calamities that might affect before the year ends and for preparation for next year.

The plan includes: capability building like trainings in Water Safety and Rescue (WASAR), high angle rescue, road emergency response, outbreak response, search and rescue on collapse structure, basic and advance first aid, fire fighting and salvaging, orientation/seminar on DRR community based information drive and others.

There will be fire and earthquake drill, tsunami drill and bombing and hostage taking drill while competition on disaster and related skills and first aid and basc life support skills as well as the search for the local Kalasag award.

PDRRMC members also agreed for the purchase of equipments, supplies and other related facilities for disaster preparedness and necessary medicines for disaster victims.

The plan also included the construction of warehouse for stocking and pre-positioning, disaster resilient infrastructures and standard evacuation center.

They will also provide financial assistance to accredited community disaster volunteers, insurance and incentive for emergency responders and financial assistance to disaster victims.

The meetings, maintenance and operation as well as the data gathering and profiling included in the plan.

The Council approved the allotted more than 55 million from the 5% Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Funds for the implementation of the said plan. (RBManlangit/PIA CamNorte/mal)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday (December 13) said it is time for the Filipino child to dream again as he vowed to work hard in giving them a bright future.

In his extemporaneous speech at the 20th anniversary of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the President said the children today are luckier compared to the children during the Martial Law years when he was barely 12 years old and aware that there was no promising future for them.

Speaking in the verncular to some 500 children who attended the event at the Malacanang’s Heroes Hall, the President vowed that his administration will work hard to give the youth of today better lives.

“It is our obligation to give you a bright future,” he stressed as he asked the youth to be government’s partner in realizing a progressive Philippines.

He said it is important that the youth guide their guardians to take the righteous path to progress.

“Let us all work together for change,” he said.

The President said it is his government’s priority to give the youth quality healthcare, education and shelter.

Se said he will make sure that the 40 percent of Filipinos who can’t afford to see a health professional will be able to access quality healthcare through the use of modern technology such as the internet.

Moreover, he stressed that education is the key to a better life thus the increase in the 2011 budget of the Department of Education.

“Education gives you the opportunity to improve your lives. The government is giving you the opportunity so I hope you use this opportunity wisely,” he said.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of children.

The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention and opened it for signature on Nov. 20, 1989 and came into force on Sept. 1990, after it was ratified by the required number of nations. As of Nov. 2009, 194 countries have ratified it, including every member of the United Nations except Somalia and the United States of America.

The Philippines ratified the Convention in Sept. 1990. (PIA V)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed optimism on Monday (December 13) that his administration will be able to attain its goal of progress and development for the country at the end of his term.

In his message at the awarding ceremonies for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in Malacañang Monday morning, President Aquino expressed confidence of achieving reforms at a faster pace as he enjoined the awardees to continue sharing their strengths and expertise in nation building.

“We would like to be able, at the end of our term… when we step down, to hold our heads up high and say when we look back that definitely we left something a lot better than what we found”, the President said.

“With all of your help and guidance…with your continued aspirations and strength that you share with us, undoubtedly we will reach it and hopefully at a faster clip than what we have managed to do these past six months”, he added.

The Chief Executive noted the awardees’ exemplary deeds which made a difference in uplifting other people’s lives.

This year’s TOYM Awards was anchored on the theme “Heroes Create Heroes”, inspired by the noble deeds of the late former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., father of President Aquino, who himself was conferred the TOYM Award for Public Service 50 years ago.

Ninoy’s heroism and love for country has inspired countless Filipinos to be heroes as well. This highlights the importance of role models, heroes in serving as inspiration for the younger generation to emulate.

The TOYM Awards recognizes outstanding individuals who, not only excel in their profession, but also in making a difference in the lives of the people in their community or to the country, as a whole.

The awards also aim to inspire many more young people, between the ages of 18 to 40, to become heroes for the Filipino youth.

This year’s TOYM Awardees are: Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara for Government Service (Legislative); Paolo Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino IV for Social Enterprise and Community Development, Therese “Gang” Badoy, Alternative Education and Youth Leadership; Alan Peter S. Cayetano, Government and Public Service (Public Accountability and Transparency), Maria Rochelle R. Gerodias for Arts and Music (Classical); Harvey S. Keh, Public Education and Good Governance; Efren G. Peñaflorida, Jr., Grassroots Education and Community Service; Edsel Maurice T. Salvana, Medicine and Social Activism; Beatrice “Bea” P. Valdes for Fashion Design and Entrepreneurship, and Jun S. Yupitin, Entrepreneurship in Pioneer Industries.

For more than half a century, the TOYM has become an institution, having honored countless young leaders who have accomplished considerable, tangible results in the pursuit of excellence. The award per se has become a veritable representation of what is best in man, celebrated through his indomitable spirit of service to others. (PIA V)


MANILA — Malacañang announced it was retaining the holiday schedule provided for under Proclamation No. 1841 of 2009 “Declaring the Regular Holidays, Special (Non-working) Days, and Special Holiday (for all Schools) for the Year 2010, saying the law was “relevant” for the occasion.

In an interview aired over dzRB on Sunday (December 12), Presidential Communication and Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said the government concurred with the law also known as the “holiday economics” law which provides that non-religious holidays be moved to the nearest Monday.

The rationale behind this law is to give Filipinos a longer weekend with which they can use to bond and strengthen family relationships as well as spur domestic tourism.

Under Proclamation No. 1841, December 24 (Friday) and December 31 (Friday) have been declared as “additional special (non-working) days” while December 27 has been declared a non-working holiday as it falls on the Monday nearest Rizal Day, a regular holiday every December 30.

With this holiday schedule, a pocket of three working days from December 28 (Tuesday) to December 30 (Thursday) remains for the remainder of the year after Christmas.

Herewith is the holiday schedule for December 2010:

Friday, December 24 – Additional Special (Non-Working) Day*; Saturday, December 25 – Christmas day; Regular Holiday; non-working day*; Sunday, December 26 – non-working day; Monday, December 27 – Monday nearest Rizal Day, December 30; Tuesday, December 28 – working day; Wednesday, December 29 – working day; Thursday, December 30 – working day; Friday, December 31 – Last Day of the Year; Special non-working day*; Saturday, January 1 – non-working day; Sunday, January 2 – non-working day
Monday, January 3 – working day. (PIA V)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III joins community leaders in the country’s estimated 42,000 barangays in their commitment to promote good governance at the grassroots level as part of the 2010 Barangay Assembly Day nationwide.

The President led Barangay Chairman Edgardo Aguas and the councilmen of Barangay Central Plaza in Tarlac City in reciting the Panunumpa Para sa Mabuting Pamamahala Tungo sa Tuwid na Landas, the commitment of newly elected barangay officials to promote and uphold the principles of good governance in the barangays.

Last month, the President issued Proclamation No. 74 declaring December 11, 2010 as Barangay Assembly Day throughout the country pursuant to the 1991 Local Government Code which requires the conduct of a barangay assembly every first Saturday of March and the third Saturday of October.

However, the scheduled barangay assembly last October 16 was postponed due to its proximity to the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections last October 25.

The President said he is happy in joining all the barangay leaders nationwide in the first barangay assembly under his administration which provides opportunities for the newly elected community leaders to sit down with their constituents to discuss issues and lay down their plans and programs for the next three years.

“Ang mandato ng mabuting pamamahala ay nagsisismula sa pamayanan. itinulak nain ang eleksyon dahil naniniwala tayo sa kahalagahan ng isang barangay lalo na sa kakayahan nitong gabayan ang kanyang nasasakupan,” the President said.

As part of good governance, the President said barangay leaders must lead by example and transparently present to their constituents their planned programs and projects including the financial status of the barangay.

The President said barangay leaders must also quickly respond and provide efficient public service particularly for their needy constituents.

Among those present were Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo who earlier issued a memorandum circular entitled “Guideposts in Promoting and Sustaining Barangay Good Governance” aimed at making the barangays an active partner of the national government in addressing poverty and eradicating graft and corruption.

Chairman Aguas also presented to the President his barangay agenda such as the planned provision of livelihood, rehabilitation of barangay roads, and jobs generation, among others.

The President broke the good news that he will be meeting with an investor who is keen on putting up a garments factory in Tarlac which is expected to generate some 3,500 jobs when the venture opens hopefully in the second quarter of 2011.

Among those present were some 1,000 residents and local officials led by Tarlac Governor Victor Yap, 2nd District Rep. Susan Yap-Sulit and City Mayor Gelacio Manalang. (PIA V)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Saturday (December 11) said his government is sincere about releasing the 43 medical workers who were detained on suspicion of coddling Communist rebels in Morong last February by ordering the Department of Justice to drop the charges against the detainees.

In an ambush interview at the sidelines of the nationwide Barangay Assembly Day in Tarlac City, the President said his gesture was meant to show “that this government is operating under a set of laws and that we follow the laws of the land.

He said he has also directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police “to avoid shortcuts because once we trample upon the rights of others, in effect, we set the conditions for greater dissatisfaction in the system thereby fuelling insurgency.”

“People must be confident that their rights will be properly observed under my administration,” the President said.

He said when the Morong 43 issue was brought to his attention, “immediately, I ordered a review by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and she gave me the facts.”

On reports that the release of the Morong detainees is meant to save the forthcoming peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines, the President said there was no relation between the two.

He clarified that two of the 43 detainees were confirmed to have pending arrest warrants for other violations previously but the others simply had namesakes of other people wanted for other crimes. (PIA V)