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

Friday, July 30, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY- The National Food Authority (NFA) Bicol regional office here avers firmly that there is no over-stocking or over- importation of rice in Bicol for the current year.

Director Edgar S. Bentulan of NFA Bicol said the region’s annual rice production is 13,111,387 bags and its annual consumption requirement based on the latest inter-agency survey is 17,052,800 bags, resulting in a deficit by 3,941,413 bags.

This year, NFA’s import arrivals totaled 3,300,000 bags. From these figures, Bicol is still short by 641,413 bags, Bentulan said.

He said this shortage should have been absorbed by the private sector. Recently, however, local rice traders have not been so active in buying palay from farmers as can be seen in the unprecedented high palay procurement intake of NFA of 865,000 bags from January to July.

But miller-traders from other nearby regions came to Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay and Sorsogon to buy palay during the harvest season.

“If there is so much rice in the market owing to inflows from outside sources, even from private importation vis-à-vis strong NFA inventory, we should even welcome this as a no letting-up preparation of the government against typhoons, heavy rains, floods and volcanic eruptions,” the NFA official explained.

Our region is critically in the road map of natural disasters, hence, we cannot leave the food security of our people weak and in limbo, Bentulan said, as he pointed out that rice importation is not a handiwork of NFA.

The decision to buy rice from other countries is coursed through an inter-agency committee composed of DA, PAG-ASA, DTI, NEDA, BAS, PAFP, DBM and NFA. Then thus is further evaluated by the NFA Council headed by DA as chairman, and members NFA, DOF, Bangko Central, DBP, LBP, PNB and Office of the President.

Final approval is done by the concurrence of the Economic Managers composed of cabinet secretaries. (NEAlcantara, NFA V/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — Mayor Geraldyn Rosal averred the National Housing Authority (NHA) has approved the P8.4 million funding for the secondary line electrification of the eleven hectares resettlement site in Barangay Taysan, this city.

In a recent dialogue with the Taysan United Home Owners Association, Rosal said her husband, former Mayor Noel Rosal and now the City Administrator, relayed the information to her office recently, adding that the local government is to waiting for NHA for implement the projects because this will take a slim leeway for the preparation and installation of the said project.

Rosal also labeled that this electrification project is precisely advantageous to the residents of the village.

In the same dialogue, Ramon Diesta, president of COPE Taysan United Home Owners Association (THUOA) requested Rosal to fast track the installation of the electrification at the village.

Diesta likewise said that the village has only one electric mother meter for all the households, adding that the association was authorized to collect monthly payment from individual household and remit then to Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO).

The members furthered requested the city government to facilitate installation of meter for every household

Rosal, on the other hand, responded that the local government will act on the request of the residents yet also urged villagers to promptly pay their obligations to ALECO to avoid any problem on the electrification project in the future.

Rosal noted that the project is part of the electrification program of carried out during the administration of Mayor Noel Rosal. (MPSolis, LGU Legazpi Ciyt/PIA))


LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is pleased to announce the “2010 Search for Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation in Advanced Science and Technology”.

The competition is open to all Master of Sciences (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) graduates in the following disciplines; biology and related fields (molecular biology, biotechnology, biochemistry), chemistry/biochemistry, physics, mathematics, statistics, computer science/information technology, earth sciences/space technology applications, material science, microelectronics and mechatronics.

The awards are given in recognition of scholarly works that contribute significantly to the body of knowledge and development of S & T in the country.

Cash prizes for Outstanding Thesis winner per Discipline include P60,000 cash prize, P15,000 for the adviser, while P10,000 each for the two finalists. In the Outstanding Dissertation category, winner receives P75,000, adviser P25,000.00, and P20,000 each for the two finalists.

Criteria/guidelines for the selection of winners and nomination forms may be downloaded at the
PCASTRD website at http://www/pcastrd.dost.gov.ph

Deadline for submission of entries is on August 31, 2010.

DOST V encourages eligible candidates from R&D agencies and higher education institutions to participate in this activity. (POLucena, DOST V)


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

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

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

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

MOFYA is an annual search undertaken by OWWA to give due recognition to the outstanding achievements of the OFWs and their families and promote best practices in managing family challenges.

Specifically it aims to serve as role models for the whole OFW population, promote success stories about OFW families’ endurance over the challenges on their family relations and uplift the image of OFW families in the community, and highlight the role of OFW family acting as a group/unit in the attainment of socio-civic, educational, professional and material success.

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

LEGAZPI CITY — Bicol regional director Remia Tapispisan of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) cited day care workers in the region for their continued commitment to serve and provide substitute mothering, responsive nurturing stimulating alternative care very vital for the young children.
In the recent Regional Day Care Workers’ Convention, Tapispisan remarked that “day care workers are the unsung heroes of the present times.”
Some 2,000 day care workers took part in the regional confab sponsored by the Regional Federation of Day Care Workers (RFDCW) in coordination with DSWD Bicol regional office.

With the theme “Day Care Worker: Salamin ng Katatagan, Mula Noon Hanggang Ngayon”, the one-day activity provided day care workers updates on the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) program particularly on the World Health Organization’s Children Growth Standard; and data on results of the State of the Art Review of the Day Care Workers.
Day care workers were also able to discuss and share among themselves experiences, issues and concerns relative to the programs implementation.
Marilyn Manuel, executive director of the ECCD Council, explained that the state of the art review of the day care service, the survey research, is the first comprehensive survey of the day care workers, the day care worker supervisors and the day care centers.
Manuel furthered that the results of the survey will help in the formulation, crafting of legislative agenda designing focused strategies and improvement of day care service delivery in the country.
The regional convention was culminated with the giving of loyalty award to the day care workers who were in the service from 25 years up.
Tapispisan, meanwhile, inducted the new set of officers of RFDCW in Bicol wherein Maureen S. Brizo from Camarines Sur was elected president; Abundancio A. Ramos, Jr. from Albay, vice president; Corazon Abias from Naga City, secretary; Emma Cabautan from Masbate City, assistant secretary; Angelina B. Bron from Tabaco City, treasurer; Gemila C. Langcawon from Iriga City, assistant treasurer; . Loida R. Bardinas from Camarines Norte, auditor. (DSWD V/PIA)

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur — Suspected NPA rebels burned down yesterday (Thursday, July 29) heavy equipment used for road construction and maintenance project in Catanduanes, a military report said.

Lt. Col. Danilo Aquino, commander of the 83rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in San Andres town, averred that more or less 5 rebels from the Islacom Pusa command, under one Ka James, torched down a backhoe owned by Sunwest Corporation Thursday afternoon.

“The local terrorist group burned the construction equipment in Barihay village of San Andres town, blaming private contractor’s refusal to pay the extortion demand. They have also attempted, but failed, to burn some other heavy equipment used in Solong Hydroelectric plant last year,” bared Aquino.

Aquino said that his unit was not informed about the start of the ‘preventive maintenance’ work carried out by Sunwest in the 80-kilometer stretch of the San Andres-Virac-Viga road, which is part of the 200 kilometer Catanduanes circumferential road project.

“We have an agreement with the private contractors to inform us prior to the actual conduct of their operations. Unfortunately, the coordinator of Sunwest failed to tell us despite the fact that they had resumed their work last July 27, Tuesday,” added Aquino.

Barely two months ago, were two motor graders owned by Sunwest Corporation also torched down by armed rebels in Bula, Camarines Sur. During that incident, two militiamen, who only passed by the area, were also murdered by the fleeing rebels.

The burning of construction equipment was staged by NPA terrorists whenever their extortion demand is not granted.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, has already directed the 83rdIB to hunt down the perpetrators and conduct security patrols to prevent similar incidents from happening again. (HMCabunoc, DPA 9ID PA/PIA)

P-Noy extends services of non-CESO, contractual employees in gov't until Oct. 31, 2010

MANILA — President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has issued Memorandum Circular No. 2 extending up to Oct. 31, 2010 the tour of duty of non-Career Executive Service Officials (CESO) and contractual employees occupying CESO positions in government.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa signed on Thursday, July 29 Memorandum Circular No. 2, amending MC No. 1 which is expiring on Saturday, July 31, 2010.

MC No. 2 states that in the exigency of the service and to ensure continuity of government operations, official processes and transactions as well as the delivery of services to the people, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Memorandum Circular No. 1 are amended to read as follows:

”2. All non-Career Executive Service Officials (non-CESO) occupying Career Executive Service (CES) positions in all agencies of the Executive Branch shall remain in office and continue to perform their duties and discharge their responsibilities until October 31, 2010, or until their resignations have been accepted and/or until their respective replacements have been appointed or designated, whichever comes first, unless they are reappointed in the meantime.

”3. In cases where the head of agency or office has resigned and whose resignation has been accepted or is deemed separated on June 30, 2010, and no replacement has been appointed or designated, the next-in-rank and most senior official of the agency or a senior official of the Department to which said agency is attached, shall be designated by the Department Secretary concerned as officer-in-charge, to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of the position until October 31, 2010 or until a replacement has been appointed or designated, whichever comes first, unless his designation is extended in the meantime."

MC No. 2 also states that any official whose service has been terminated or whose resignation has been accepted on/or before July 31, 2010, but whose replacement has not yet been appointed or designated shall be deemed separated from the service as of the date of termination or acceptance of resignation.
Secretary Ochoa said MC No. 2 further states that any provision of Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series 2010, and its implementing guidelines dated July 16, 2010, inconsistent with MC No. 2, is hereby deemed repealed or modified accordingly. (PIA V Release)

Gov't to check ITR of rice importers, gov’t contractors

MANILA — The government’s bid against tax evasion will also check on government-accredited rice importers and contractors to check if these are paying correct taxes.

Thus, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima has ordered the National Food Authority (NFA) to submit its list of rice importers and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) its list of top contractors.

He said income tax return (ITR) of these importers and contractors will be reviewed by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) .

“We will leave no stone unturned in fight against tax evasion,” he said.

Purisima explained that “given the volume of importation, there are substantial volume that should be subject to tax.”

He said they will check the ITR of officials involved in rice importation.

“We’ll do lifestyle check,” he said.

Meanwhile, Purisima reiterated their plan to “revisit functions of the NFA.”

“Regulatory function should stay, warehousing and price stability functions should be limited,” he said.

NFA has been among the government agencies mentioned by President Benigno Aquino III in his state of the nation address (SONA) last Monday as among those putting burden on the government’s fiscal health.

As of end-2009, NFA’s deficit reached around P171 billion, which Purisima said is way to high after only registering P45 billion deficit at end-2004.

Purisima said “subsidy should be consolidated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).”

He earlier disclosed their plan to cut NFA resources because of the agency’s ballooning deficit.

Abolition of NFA needs Congress’ approval, he said “but we can implement some of the changes by limiting the resources available and by doing directional management.”

Purisima said they will vie for the cut in subsidies for NFA but this will not happen this year since the rest of the year will be a transition period for the new administration.

Instead of subsidies to NFA, the Finance chief said the budget will be allocated to the conditional cash transfer being implemented by the DSWD. (PIA V Release)

Palace to study proposal to give excess NFA rice to RP’s poor

MANILA — Malacañang on Thursday (July 29) said it will study the suggestion to President Benigno S. Aquino III to allow the distribution of surplus imported rice to poor families instead of leaving the grains to rot in warehouses.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing that the proposal was certainly "a good suggestion, but we will study it."

Lacierda said National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Lito Banayo has hinted the possibility of dispensing the excess supply of rice to the poor.

A farmer’s group, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, concurred with the NFA chief’s suggestion and urged President Aquino to distribute the surplus rice to the more than four million impoverished Filipinos.

Lacierda said Banayo is currently assessing the condition of the rice stocks stored in NFA warehouses.
He also said Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman would also be consulted regarding Banayo’s recommendation.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, President Aquino revealed that due to the over-importation of rice during the Arroyo administration, the excess supply was left to rot in warehouses.
The NFA incurred P171.6 billion debt with that rice importation made last May 2010, according to the President.

Banayo has said that the NFA, with the help of the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of investigation would conduct a system and management audit on the reported over-importation of rice and determine the possible accountability of parties involved. (PIA V Release)

DOLE gears up for expanded OFW protection; issues rules implementing R. A. 10022

MANILA — The Department of Labor and Employment, together with the Department of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies with overseas Filipino workers-related mandates, issued on Wednesday (July 28) the rules and regulations on the implementation of Republic Act No. 10022, shifting up to a higher gear President Benigno S. Aquino III's agenda to expand the protection of the welfare and interest of eight million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

R.A. 10022 is officially titled "The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, As Amended, Further Improving the Standard of Protection and Promotion of the Welfare of Migrant Workers, Their Families and Overseas Filipinos in Distress, and For Other Purposes."

The implementing rules and regulations will take effect 15 days after publication in two national newspapers on Wednesday.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, brushing aside comments that OFWs had been “forgotten” when President Aquino did not mention them in his maiden State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, said, “The implementation of R. A. 10022 is a challenge that puts the DOLE at an even bigger forefront of OFW social protection.”

“This is the government’s answer to those comments,” she said, noting that with R.A. 10022, the groundwork has been laid for the expanded protection of the country’s “modern-day heroes” in pursuit of the President’s 22-point agenda for labor and employment.

Baldoz emphasized that 11 of the 22 items in the agenda are OFW-related and that the 11 agenda items are for the protection of OFWs and for enhancing their competitiveness.

The rules and regulations spell out in details the salient protective measures of the new law, among which are:

1. Emphasis on stronger bilateral and multilateral relations with receiving countries for protection, interpreting provision of free skills and livelihood programs as expanding free access to such programs.

2. Criteria for host countries (guaranteeing protection), subject to concurrence to “take positive and concrete measures” to protect the rights of migrant workers; and clarifying a three-step process that involves: a) DFA certifications on compliance by host countries; b) POEA resolution allowing deployment to complying host countries; and c) POEA processing of workers’ documents to countries identified in POEA resolutions.

3. Inclusion of amendments to prohibited acts that may constitute illegal recruitment by licensed and unlicensed agencies, as well as other prohibited acts, such as loans, decking practice in OFW medical examinations; and recruitment by suspended agencies.

4. Anti-illegal recruitment programs that include institutionalizing the role of local government units (LGUs); added capability of POEA lawyers; prosecution; and operation and surveillance to apprehend illegal recruiters.

5. Money claims. Inclusion of voluntary arbitration.

6. Repatriation and mechanism for repatriation. Responsibility for repatriation with principal/employer and licensed recruitment agency; 48-hour notice rule and 15-day period for countries with exit visa requirements; provisions on repatriation of underage workers and asserting penalties and liabilities for recruiters who recruit underage migrant workers.

7. Overseas Filipino Resource Centers will now have additional required personnel, such as psychologists, etc. and be under direct POLO supervision.

8. Institutionalizing the National Reintegration Center for OFWs.

9. Protection from abusive medical clinics.

10. Ensuring the use of the legal assistance fund for foreign lawyers and attorneys’ fees and for filing of cases against erring or abusive employers.

11. Compulsory insurance to cover agency-hired workers for accidental death, natural death, permanent total disablement, repatriation costs, subsistence allowance benefit, money claims, compassionate visit, medical evaluation, and medical repatriation.
“With the publication of the implementing rules and regulations, I now direct the family of agencies under the DOLE that have OFW-related mandates to craft their own internal rules and regulations for the smooth operationalization and implementation of the provisions of the law,” Baldoz said. (PIA V Release)

Palace to promote fair media treatment through Communications Group

MANILA — Malacanang will develop a system that will give journalists equal access to information materials it releases, including possible advance copies of President Benigno Aquino III's speeches.

"There must be a level playing field in the communication process," said communications group Secretary Herminio Coloma.

Coloma gave the assurance following an incident wherein a media outfit was able to secure, ahead of other similar entities, an advanced copy of Mr. Aquino's first State of the Nation Address.

Coloma said he is heading the Presidential Communication Operations Office, the communication group's message dissemination arm composed of government media entities, and would not tolerate unfair treatment of journalists.

"There will be a means to promote fairness," he said.

Malacanang is boosting the government's communication capability so that the messages of President Aquino and his administration can be conveyed clearly to the greater mass of the people, particularly at the grassroots level.

Aside from its dissemination arm, the communications group has a messaging unit that will handle messages from the Office of the President to be conveyed.

Coloma said this unit is called the Presidential Communications Strategy and Development Office.
Journalist Ricky Carandang is heading this office.

"Our tasks are complementary," Coloma noted. (PIA V Release)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

PEACE AND ORDER MEETING – Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine B. Rosal (center, upper photo) presides over the City Peace and Order Council Meeting at the City mayor’s Office, City Hall Compound, Legazpi City today July 29. Upper Photo shows Vice-Mayor Vittorio C. Roces (left) and Elmer Picson. PNP, BJMP, BFP, PDEA, PHIL. ARMY and Public Safety Order (PSO) council members presents their accomplishment reports for the 1st Semester of 2010 and the Presentation of Plans and Projects for the 2nd Semester of 2010. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY — Albay is emerging as the economic hub in the region as it continuously leads and surpasses its internal revenue collection goal among the six Bicol provinces, the local Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) office said.

BIR report claimed that of the P2.4-billion tax collected for the first semester of this year, P901 million or 37 percent came from Albay, followed by Camarines Sur with P787 million; Camarines Norte – P257 million; Masbate – P197 million; Sorsogon – P180 million and Catanduanes with P103 million.

Lawyer Diosdado Mendoza, BIR Bicol regional director, said over the weekend the P2.4-billion tax revenue collected during the first six months of the year was P468 million or 23 percent above the target goal of P1.9 billion.

He said the tax revenues were derived mostly from withholding taxes from fixed income earners, business, professions, and value added tax (VAT).

Mendoza said P1.8 billion in taxes was collected last year, surpassing with P548 million or 29 percent against the 2009 target.

Mendoza said his agency is expected to raise some P4.4 billion this year, and half of the goal had been already achieved by the first half of this year.

Based on tax collection efficiency, Albay was consistent for several years as the leading in tax collection because of the industries and business centers set up here, making the province the rising business and economic center in the region.

Albay Governor Salceda said the province's economy is gaining grounds because of investors' confidence on the province's socio-economic platform that would firmly position the province in the country's economic road map for investment and tourism.

Salceda said the platform has 5 Es which stand for Economy, Education, Environment, Equity and Health. This, he added, would place Albay in the map of the country as trade, investment and tourist center.

“This should carry us into the next sequel of the Albay Saga to be called Albay Boom which should commence once the international airport is completed," the governor said.

Salceda, has committed to "attain development through low-carb, low-energy intensity, low-rise strategies compatible with the regeneration capacity of our environment so that future Albayanos will benefit not pay for the current entitlements."

The notable projects of 5 Es include, among others: the Southern Luzon International Airport (SLIA), Guicadale Business Platform, National Renewable Energy Program, Barangay Capacity enhancement, 4Pcs, Higher Education Contribution Scheme, Education Quality for Albayano (EQUAL), Albay Higher Education Contribution Scheme (AHECS), Bicol University and the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital modernization and the Universal PhilHealth coverage.

Meanwhile, the BIR would intensify tax collection target in Bicol by launching tax campaigns that would run after tax evaders and cheats. Mendoza said they are in pursuit of P320-million worth tax evasion cases involving persons and companies with businesses in the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco, Masbate and in Camarines Sur.

To further improve tax revenue generation and monitoring and prosecution of tax cheats, the bureau also launched campaigns such as “Txt-Tax Brigade”; Tax me Not campaign (Knowing the Limitation of Tax Exemption) and “Be inspired with Reward”.


LEGAZPI CITY — The city government here, strengthening its position as a haven for business and investments, was recently cited for honesty and transparency.

The local government took home the Entrepreneurs’ Award for Most Honest and Transparent in its Dealings at the 2009 Philippine Cities Competitiveness Ranking Project (PCCRP) held last July 19, 2010 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

The city was also cited as one of the most competitive emergent cities in the Philippines.

The PCCRP is a a flagship research project of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Center that aims to measure the competitiveness of Philippine Cities. Twenty nine cities were ranked according to six criteria: dynamism of local economy, responsiveness of the LGUs to business, infrastructure, quality of life, cost of doing business and human resource and training.

The ranking is based on official government data, perception survey among businessmen, and interviews with local chief executives and local business group’s representative The PCCRP also classified the cities into three groups: metropolitan growth centers, growth centers and emergent cities. Legazpi is classified as an emergent city.

Aside from winning the award, Legazpi was also cited as one of the most competitive emergent cities in the country together with Dagupan, San Fernando, Santiago, Tuguegarao, Angeles, Lucena, Puerto Princesa, Legaspi, Tacloban, Ormoc, Pagadian, Iligan, Tagum, Cotabato, Butuan and Surigao.

Cebu City bested Davao in the metro growth center category. Cagayan de Oro, meanwhile, topped in the growth centers category, which included the cities of General Santos, Baguio, Lapu-Lapu, Zamboanga, Olongapo, Batangas, Iloilo, Bacolod, and Mandaue.

Legazpi City was also cited as the Most Business Friendly Local Government Unit in Southern Luzon by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2007. (LGU Legazpi City/PIA)


SORSOGON CITY— The 2010 National Literacy Awards evaluation committee visited Sorsogon City on July 15-16 assessing and validating the city’s Literacy Program for this year’s search as it has ranked among the five hot finalists for this year’s Outstanding LGU – component city category.

The four other city contenders are Tagum in Davao Del Norte, Malaybalay in Bukidnon, Balanga in Bataan and Cadiz in Negros Occidental.

The evaluators, composed of Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Program Development Director Emilyn Libunao who is also the 2010 national chair of the board of judges, and Dr. Norma Salcedo, secretariat head of the Literacy Coordinating Council, said that they are giving on three criteria for judging which focuses on project planning and development (15 %), project management and implementation (40%) and impact of the project (45%).

Locally dubbed as “Linang Dunong” Program, the city’s literacy program highlights the Computer Van Aralan, Bacon Community Learning Center, Kiddie Toy Center and Library, Bibincahan Nursery, Maharlika Development Cooperative, “Sa Aton Ini” project, Senior Citizen Affairs Office, Sorsogon City Teen Center and the Pangpang Community Learning Center wherein each component were validated on-site by the jurors.

The judges were particularly impressed by the city’s waste water treatment facility that ensures cleanliness of the used water from the city’s public market before it is finally disposed.

“Our desire to be considered as one of the cleanest city in the country follows a big responsibility to the community and environment. Consequently, this facility will be one of the city’s contributions to the conservation of Sorsogon Bay that is presently being plagued by red tide toxic contamination affecting shellfish,” Sorsogon City Mayor Leovic Dioneda said.

With the city’s inclusion again this year in the National Literacy Awards, Dioneda believes that win or lose, the program has already built a greater impact on the development of the literacy status in Sorsogon City making the local populace more productive in their daily living.

Dioneda added that his administration’s literacy program also targets at least one member in each family to have finished a college degree.

He has also vowed to sustain and even improve further the program during his entire term as the chief executive of Sorsogon City. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Science High School (DOST-PSHS) National Competitive Examination (NCE) is set on November 6, 2010 in designated testing centers in the region.

The NCE is a scholastic aptitude test designed to measure Scientific Ability, Quantitative Ability, Abstract Reasoning and Verbal Aptitude of applicants. Sample test questions to familiarize the possible examinees are attached in the application form.

To qualify for the examination, a grade 6 or 7 elementary pupil from a duly recognized school by the Department of Education (DepEd) should meet the following criteria:

• Belongs to the upper 10% of current class and without a grade below 80 as certified by school principal; if applicant is not in the upper 10%, he/she should have special aptitude in Science and Math as supported by the report card, with at least a grade of 85 in Science and Math and 80 in all other subjects;
• A Filipino citizen without pending application as immigrant to any foreign country;
• Born on or after June 1, 1996;
• In good health and fit to undergo a rigorous academic program;
• Possesses good conduct and behavior; and
• Have not taken the previous PSHS NCE
Duly accomplished application forms must be filed in two copies together with two recent
identical 1x1 ID pictures; non-refundable test fee of One Hundred Pesos (P100.00) for private schools (free for public schools); a copy of report card if applicant does not belong to the upper 10% of current class to any of the following: PSHS-Bicol Campus, DOST Region V or Provincial Science and Technology Office (PSTO) nearest to applicant. In case the test permit is not received before the examination, the applicant may check with said offices.

Application forms may also be downloaded from the PSHS website, www.pshs.edu.ph.
Deadline for filing of application is August 27, 2010.

Qualified applicants are reminded of the following requirements on the day of examination:

Be at designated testing center one hour before the scheduled examination (either a.m. or p.m. as indicated in the exam permit)

Present the Examination Permit and school ID to the Proctor

Bring at least two sharpened soft lead pencils (Mongol #2), a good eraser and snacks.

Only one test, a scholastic aptitude test shall be administered in designated centers to be indicated in the test permits. Successful examinees shall be notified either by mail or through the PSHS website. (POLucena/CLGillego, DOST V)


LEGAZPI CITY— In view of OWWA’s continuing thrust to expand its educational scholarship program and make it accessible to the intended beneficiaries all over the country, OWWA offers a new scholarship program - the OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (OFWDSP).

OFWDSP offers financial assistance to qualified dependents of OFWs who receive a monthly salary of not more than US$ 400.00 and who shall enroll in a four-year or five-year baccalaureate course or associate course leading to a baccalaureate degree or associate degree in state or CHED accredited college or university.

Qualified scholars shall be entitled a financial assistance of Php 20,000.00 per year or Php 10,000.00 per semester that shall cover tuition fees and other academic-related expenses, and a health and accident insurance of Php 100,000.00.

Applicants must be: legal dependent of active OWWA member OFW whose monthly salary is not more than US$400.00; single, not more than 21 years old; and interested to enroll or already enrolled in the following DOLE recommended courses - all courses in BS Engineering and BS Sciences, BS Information Technology and related courses, BS Food Technology, BS Agriculture and related courses, BS Medical Technology, BS Midwifery, BS Nutrition, BS Physical Therapy, BS Pharmacy, BS Health Services and/or Medical Tourism, BS Aviation and related courses, BS Marine Engineering, Transportation and related courses, BS Hotel and Restaurant Management and related courses, and associate course leading to a baccalaureate degree.

For this school year 2010-2011, OWWA Bicol allocates a total of 88 scholarship slots- 20 slots for Masbate, 20 for Camarines Norte and 12 for each of the provinces of Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes and Sorsogon.

Interested applicants may contact at the following: landline numbers - (052) 481-4503 / 481-4562; CP No. 09277962223; email add – owwarwo5@yahoo.com, or visit OWWA Regional Office 5 at the 3rd Floor of ANST Building, Washington Drive, Legazpi City. (KTRamirez, OWWA V/PIA)


DAET, Camarines Norte — Some 22 units of shredder for small scale composting facilities were distributed for free to different organizations in the province during the Training on Promotion and Development of Organic Agriculture cum “Organic Fertilizer Production Project (OFPP)” Tuesday (July 27) at the Agro Sports Center, provincial capitol here.

This was the project of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management of the Department of Agriculture in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Camarines Norte, through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg).

Helen Abordo, OPAg chief, said that the 22 units of shredder were given for free to farmers, irrigators, cooperatives, seed growers, school, barangay councils and other associations and organizations in the province.

This was the second batch of the distribution of the shredder machine, the first batch were given last year also to some 22 qualified beneficiaries in the province.

She said that together with the 22 shredder, 44 compost growers were also given to beneficiaries. The same will be given 15 kilos of vermin or worms if they can make a vermin bed in their areas.

She said that they have conducted the said training to orient beneficiaries for the proper use of the composting machine and the production of organic fertilizer. (RBManlangit/PIA Camarines Norte)


LEGAZPI CITY — The 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) of Philippine Army will stage a Medical and Dental Mission on Saturday, July 31, in the City of Ligao as part of preparations for the Army’s 40th Foundation Anniversary on August 1.

In an interview, Lt. Col. John Oberio, commanding officer of 2IB PA, said that an estimated 200 residents from four barangays nearby the Army Headquarters are seen to benefit from the humanitarian mission.

Three medical doctors from the Army's 9th Infantry Division and four volunteers from Ligao City, nurses and other community-based volunteers committed their time to provide medical and dental services for free, including medical consultation, tooth extraction, free medicines for adults and children, anti-rabies vaccination and feeding program for malnourished children.

The Army’s 2IB was activated in 1970 headed by its first Commander Col. Medardo A. Malabanan who undertook the initial task of organizing and equipping the battalion which was then still based in Camp Capinpin, Tanay Rizal.

On July 1, 1971, elements of Bravo Company were sent to Mindanao for combat operations against the Bangsamoro Army (Blackshirts) and elements of an organized crime syndicate (Baracuda). On February 29, 1972, Bravo Company was pulled out from Mindanao and brought back to Luzon.

After the “February People Power Revolution and upon guidance from higher headquarters, the battalion was immediately moved to Bicol region on March 4, 1986 by air and by land transportation and its last elements arrived in Bicol region on March 7, 1986 and established its Tactical Command Post (TCP) in Barangay Matacon, Polangui, Albay on March 10, 1986.

The unit was given as area of responsibility the 3rd District of Albay covering the municipalities of Polangui, Libon and Oas and Nabua, Bato, and Balatan, all of Camarines Sur to include portion of Iriga City.

The current leadership of Lt. Col John V. Oberio on the Army’s 2IB has maintained the effectiveness of personnel bringing it to another round of victorious events in terms of triad operations and asserting the credibility of the AFP. (CBDestura, PNA Bicol/PIA)


MANILA — The incoming communications men of President Benigno S. Aquino III today said they see no need for contriving a new public image for him as he will be projected simply as who he is and on the basis of his announced visions for the Filipino people.

Recently resigned television news anchor Ricky Carandang who is likely to assume the messaging functions of the new Palace communications group said that even with the complex nature of the presidential communications and the growing sophistication of the media, they will not employ deliberate means to unduly enhance the President and his administration.

“No spin, no manufacture and no fabrication,” said Carandang on the kind of information the media will expect from Malacañang and the executive arm of government.

Newspaper columnist Herminio ‘Sonny’ Coloma, who will handle dissemination functions, including the supervision of all government-run media entities, shared Carandang’s views, adding that the President Is one person whose image needs no more embellishments.

Coloma said the President will be projected with authenticity and with genuineness, taking into account the spontaneity of the people’s awareness and reactions to him.

Coloma cited as an example President Aquino’s recent visit to Romblon province where crowds came out to greet him even if the visit was unannounced. He said that upon hearing that the President was in town, people from all over went to see him, picking up along the way an assortment of items colored yellow.

Coloma said there is no need to spin stories or flood the media with “praise” releases about the President and Malacañang. “Sa totoo lang (to tell you the truth)”, said Coloma, this is what the President prefers. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III met with the United Nations Country Team in the Philippines who paid him a courtesy call in Malacañang Wednesday (July 28) .

The Chief Executive welcomed Dr. Jacqueline Badcock, Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme, and members of the team, namely; Lawrence Jeff Johnson of the International Labor Organization, Suneeta Mukherjee of the UN Population Fund, Vanessa Tobin of the United Nations Children’s Fund, Soe Nyunt-U of the World Health Organization, Teresita Bagaso of the Joint UN Programme for HIV/AIDS, Yolanda Arban of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Brenda Pimentel of the International Maritime Organization and Rico Salcedo of the UN High Commission for Refugees.

Welcoming the UN group at Malacanang’s Premiere Guest House, the President said he looked forward to the meeting, which provides a venue to “improve Philippine commitments to the United Nations.”

For her part, Badcock congratulated the President for his victory during the elections and for the delivery of his first State of the Nation Address last Monday

Also present during the meeting were Presidential Management Staff Head Julia Abad, Secretary Enrique Ona of the Department of Health, Secretary Armin Luistro of the Department of Education and Undersecretary Alicia Bala of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — The National Food Authority (NFA) will conduct an intensive inquiry into the reported over-importation of rice as divulged by President Benigno S. Aquino III in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday.

In a news briefing in Malacañang, NFA administrator Lito Banayo said the probe will involve a system and management audit meant to identify the problems inherited by the food agency from the previous administration.

Banayo said he has requested Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima for assistance upon the advice of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Magtanggol Gatdula for the audit.

Apart from the Justice department and the NBI, Banayo is also tapping some lawyers, financial experts and other professionals to help in the investigation.

Banayo has also asked Jesus Posadas, former vice president for purchasing of San Miguel Corp. and a commodities trading expert, to head the probe.

”I am minded to institute a systems and management audit of my agency to ensure that both systems and personnel are functioning properly according to our mandate,” Banayo told reporters.

In his SONA, President Aquino said the NFA imported 900,000 metric tons (MT) of rice in 2004, even as the shortage was estimated at only 117,000 MT. In 2007, the NFA again over-imported, buying 1.827 MT to address a shortfall of only 589,000 MT.

The President said the excess supply was left to rot in warehouses, while the government had to deal with a debt of P171.6 billion in rice importation costs as of May 2010.

Banayo identified specific areas of concern for the probers. These are:

• Overstocked warehouses;
• P177 billion debt as of June 30, 2010;
• Spoilage of the imported rice and the possibility of corruption;
• Government inability to help the farmers;
• Allegations of irregularities; and
• Reports of Smuggling.

The probers were also tasked to look into the purchase and importation protocol insofar as timing and volume are concerned; inventory system to prevent waste and spoilage of stocks; and methods and procedure of selling the stocks to ensure they are sold efficiently. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — Malacanang will develop a system that'll give journalists equal access to information materials it releases, including possible advance copies of President Benigno Aquino III's speeches.

"There must be a level playing field in the communication process," said communications group Sec. Herminio Coloma.

He gave this assurance following concern a media outfit was able to secure, ahead of other similar entities, an advanced copy of Mr. Aquino's first State of the Nation Address.

Coloma said he's heading the Presidential Communication Operations Office, the communication group's message dissemination arm composed of government media entities, and won't tolerate unfair treatment of journalists.

"There'll be a means to promote fairness," he said.

Malacanang is boosting government's communication capability so messages of President Aquino and his administration can be conveyed clearly to people.

Aside from its dissemination arm, the communication group has a messaging unit that'll come up with messages to be conveyed.

Coloma said this unit is called the Presidential Communications Strategy and Development Office.
Journalist Ricky Carandang is heading this office.

"Our tasks are complementary," Coloma noted. (PIA V Release)

Monday, July 26, 2010


LEGAZPI CITY — President Benigno Aquino III's effective governance would set the phase in achieving the national vision in addressing debt reliefs, balance budget, corruption, poverty and economic growth.
This was the expectation laid down by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda in PNoy’s first State of the Nation Address at the opening of the 15th Congress this Monday.

Salceda views Aquino’s SONA to set benchmarks for his national vision, goals and strategic thrusts by setting certain record straight on the country’s national debt, budget balance. This should provide the basis for the “shock-and-awe truth-telling exercises.”

“Before you ask the people to follow where PNoy will lead the nation, he must tell them he knows where they are right now,” he said.

Aquino is expected to increase state capacity through efficient governance especially in revenue collection and administrative reforms. However, in pursuing the goal, no new taxes would be introduced except on sin products.

PNoy should bring back investors' confidence to attain a higher track of growth of 7-8% in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through higher domestic private investments and quality public capital outlays and some foreign investments.


Job creation, and the full implementation of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) coverage would lift the current 4.6 million poor families he inherited in 2010.

Salceda said this program would bring down poverty incidence from the current 29.7% to 14.8% by 2016.


Substantial increase in the education budget is likely to eliminate education backlogs in teachers, textbooks and classrooms in the first three years thus achieving Education for All (EFA).

The Aquino administration should set aside P1.5 billion per year for teacher training for the 598,782 teachers (405,558 ES an 193,224 HS) whose skills, knowledge and values surely need enhancement.


Automatic Philhealth coverage to 4.6 million poor families, and a P10 billion budget for ther Department of Health (DOH) to maintain and upgrade provincial hospitals and rural health stations across the country.

Agrarian reform

Consummate the asset reform program by converting the 74% Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) into full titles; condonation of the P42 billion agrarian liabilities and lift the Landbank liens; full subsidy to farmer acquisition of the remaining 1.4 million hectares and full resolution of the Hacienda Luisita Inc. within PNoy's first year term.


Review the implementation of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and lower cost of electricity by increasing new investments and heightening competition in the energy sector.


This should be targeted to support the growth of tourism and countryside development such as transportation infra and rural access roads.

Civic duty and local governance

With Robredo at DILG helm, P-Noy would seek the collaboration of local government units as well as communities in enforcing governance and in participating in his socioeconomic initiatives.


Consider DENR's position on alternative mining. Strictly enforce measures on Clean Air and Clean Water provisions.


Aquino inherited a population of 94 million and this would grow to 104 million by 2016 that would still be 15.42 million poor people or 3.0252 million families by 2016.

P-Noy has still to clarify his position on reproductive health. But a statement on the nexus between big family size and chronic poverty should at least be considered. (PNA Bicol/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY — Representatives of the Ako Bicol political party can now buckle up for work at the Congress following the proclamation of the Commission of Election (Comelec) shortly before President Benigno Aquino III delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, (July 26).

Comelec has issued the Certificate of Proclamation declaring the Ako Bicol to have obtained the required percentage of votes under the party-list system of representation to the House of Representatives and will serve until June 30, 2013. The Bicolano regional political party representatives include Christopher Co, Atty. Rodel Batocabe and Atty. Alfredo Garbin Jr.

Batocabe averred the Comelec decision came five hours before P-Noy’s SONA.

It can be recalled that the proclamation of Ako Bicol had been put in abeyance for a couple of months after militant organizations in the region, led by Bayan Muna, petitioned Comelec to disenfranchise the former since the political party does not represent marginalized sector.

Batocabe furthered “Ako Bicol would like to expressed its utmost gratitude to all supporters, Bicolanos most especially, who never vacillate their support and continue to pray for the Bicolano home grown political party.”

“The decision came unexpected on this date (Monday) and we were no longer able to attend P-Noy’s SONA, yet with this development we can now commence with our job to serve the people and our pursuit for the betterment of all Bicolanos,” he added.

Among those who upheld the decision favoring Ako Bicol include Comelec Chair Jose Melo and Commissioners Rene Sarmiento, Lucenito Tagle, Nicodemo Ferrer, Armando Velasco, Elias Yusop and Gregorio Larrazabal

Ako Bicol topped the elections in the party-list with more than 1.5 million votes nationwide, almost 1.1 million in the Bicol region alone. (MALoterte, PIA V)


LEGAZPI CITY — Another Albayana is set to make her mark in an international beauty pageant.

Yvethe Marie A. Santiago, a 17-year old BS Accountancy student from Bicol University, will represent the Philippines in the upcoming 22nd World Miss University 2010 to be held in Seoul, South Korea on August 8, 2010.

Santiago, who stands at a statuesque 5’8″, was selected by Lamberto Ricalde of Mega Star Production, local franchise-holder of World Miss University from winners of the Binibini at Ginoong Pamantasan 2010 of CHED. At 17, the BU stude has already collected several beauty titles including Miss Bicol University, Bb. Pamantasan 2nd runner-up and 2009 Mutya ng Magayon 1st Princess.

World Miss University was established in 1986 by the International Association of University Presidents to help spread the message of peace around the world through smart and beautiful women.

This year’s pageant, the 22nd edition, will have 59 contestants from all over the world vying for the title. Santiago

A total of 59 contestants from around the world are expected to converge in Seoul for the World Miss University Pageant that was initiated in 1986 in order to spread its message of peace around the world through smart and beautiful women. Ms. Santiago will be the first Filipina World Miss University if ever she wins.

The grand coronation night of World Miss University 2010 is on August 8, 2010 at the Sheraton Walker Hill Theater in Seoul, South Korea. (BU/PIA)


SORSOGON Province — Eight Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that established One Town, One Product (OTOP) Pasalubong Shops/Stores received the OTOP Signage from the Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) on Thursday, July 22, during the culminating activity of the MSME Development Week celebration.

“As an emblem of OTOP development, we have provided the signage that says “OTOP KO, ORGULLO KO” to our MSMEs who are the true implementers of the OTOP program,” says DTI Provincial Director Leah A. Pagao.

Also tagged as ‘Mga Bida ng OTOP’, the eight MSMEs who received the signages were OTOP Pasalubong Shop c/o Ermino’s Handicraft, Tia Berning’s Pili Candies and Edgieline’s Pasalubong Store, all situated in Rizal St. , Sorsogon City; Tony Co Handicraft in Manook St., Gubat, Sorsogon; Barcelona Multi-purpose Cooperative, Inc. (BMPCI) in Poblacion Norte, Barcelona, Sorsogon; Jasternes Handicraft in Brgy. Abas, Pilar, Sorsogon; Eva G. Odono’s Pilinut Products in Brgy. San Rafael, Bulusan, Sorsogon and Vicky’s Pili and Food Products in Brgy. San Julian, Irosin, Sorsogon.

“Since the signage’s primary objective is to promote and drumbeat our province’s OTOP products, this should be displayed/hanged in a conspicuous place of the company’s establishment/store or in their respective showrooms or in their production area,” Pagao said.

She also said that with the four years of OTOP implementation in the province and with the Local Government Units (LGUs) taking the lead in developing various OTOP industries across the province, the program has already stirred and stimulated Sorsogon’s OTOP MSMEs.

“The convergence efforts of LGAs, NGAs and other non-government organizations and the MSMEs themselves have substantially improved our MSMEs competitiveness. This inspires the DTI to continuously provide developmental activities such as product development, training, marketing, access to financing and business consultancy to the Sorsoganons who would like to venture in the enterprising industry,” she elaborated.

With the assistance that the DTI is extending to the MSMEs, Pagao expresses high hopes that more and more Sorsoganons will be encouraged to enter into business enterprise in order to contribute in the economic development in the countryside. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)


LEGAZPI CITY— The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Bicol said they would review the legality and operation of the Meriedien Vista Gaming Corp. (MVGC) a franchise holder of a Small Town Lottery (STL) of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) operating the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte.

The review was prompted by DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo marching order to stump out illegal gambling activities in the countryside specifically “Jueteng”, an illegal number games that has been in operations for so many decades.

Blandino Maceda, DILG Bicol regional director, said his agency will look into the legal operation of the Meriedien following reports that the gaming outfit is reportedly operating as a Jueteng front disguise as an STL gaming outlet.

Maceda said that the agency would enforce legal and administrative sanctions once proven that the MVG C are operating under the disguise of Jueteng and violating PCSO established policies and standards.

The DILG will recommend to PNP to use its power to put an end to this illegal number games, he said.

Reports gathered revealed the Sanguniang Panalawigan of Albay, Camarines Sur and Norte and other cities, and towns has endorsed and approved the operation of Meriedien Vista Gaming Corp an online betting game with a jai-alai type of game.

Meriedien registers and operates under the rules and regulations, standards set by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and the Local Government Code of the Phils including the PCSO.

But reports said the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has cancelled the permit of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation (MVGC), a gaming company operating within the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Free Port (CSEZFP), after the Department of Justice issued an opinion against the gaming firm’s holding on-line by means of a jai-alai type of gaming operation.

CEZA, a Philippines government-owned and -controlled corporation established in 1995 by virtue of Republic Act No. 7922, is in charge of developing and managing the 54,000-hectare CSEZFP, an economic and tourism hub in Sta. Ana, Cagayan province. It has powers to grant licenses for casino and gaming operations within the economic zone.

At a press conference, Dondy Bilason President of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Press Corps Bicol, told the DiLG that unlike the legitimate STL operation it draws bet collection directly from their outlets but in the case of MVGC they employ collectors popularly know as “cobrador” soliciting bets in the streets and goes house to house collecting bets.

Bilason said STL outlets issues bet receipts while MVGC collectors does not issue receipts, it only writes the bettors choice number bets in their list, saying that the procedure is similar to that of “Jueteng” operation.

He said that if indeed the game is really legal there is no need for bet collectors as the bettors will have to go to the betting stations since it is an online game.

Under the STL operation bettors have to pick two lucky numbers from numbers 1 to 38 while the Jueteng disguise as STL operates the same.

For this reason policemen are helpless in combating the illegal numbers game because they could no longer differentiate which of gaming operation is the legal one.

Maceda said that they will also review the revenue share that local government receives from the gaming firm following reports the MVGC no longer remits its rightful dividends arising from the gaming directly to the local governments.

The MVGC claims that they are directly remitting the dividends in Manila.

Reports have it that the gaming firm gives a big share directly to city and town chief executives, at the expense of the city and town coffers.

Reports said MVGC is raking tens of millions in daily draws in Bicol while hundreds of thousands in dividends are given to each local chief executive in weekly payoff.

In Albay, members of the SP are moving for the cancellation of MVGC permit to operate for the firm’s failure to comply with the remittance condition as stated in the agreement.

MVGC had been operating in Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte for the past two years. (PNA Bicol/PIA)


CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – Army soldiers confiscated illegally-cut logs in landslide-prone Catanduanes Sunday (July 25), a military report said.

Lt. Col. Danilo Aquino, commander of the 83rd Infantry Battalion of Philippine Army based in Catanduanes, said that he sent a platoon of his soldiers to conduct checkpoint operations in three different villages following text messages from concerned residents of about to be transported illegal logs from the upland villages of Hicming, Bigaa and San Isidro, all of Virac town.

Aquino, however, said that the illegal loggers were able to evade arrest, yet the soldiers were only able to recover the contraband left behind along the road.

The troop was able to account 876 board feet of timber, 1 motorcycle and 5 bicycles which were hastily abandoned by the fleeing perpetrators.

Ben Medel, chief of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resource Office here, also came and inspected the confiscated illegal logs.

Medel has asked the assistance of the army battalion in carrying out checkpoint operations and arrests of illegal loggers in the hinterlands of the island province.

Aquino, in response, has committed to support the anti-illegal logging campaign by PENRO-Catanduanes.

“I had been briefed about the past landslides in the province attributed to the rampant cutting of trees. Soldiers must become part of the solution to this problem to ensure that unnecessary casualties will be incurred among the residents in low-lying areas in this province”, he said.

In December 2008, massive landslides, brought about by continuous heavy rains, blocked the Virac-Vega Road section in San Miguel town, stranding the residents of the town for many days. (HMCabunoc, DPAO 9ID PA/PIA)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III’s first ever State of the Nation Address (SONA) today before the joint opening session of the 15th Congress drew mixed reactions from lawmakers, a number of them optimistic he will be able to push through his programs, and others including from the opposition complementing him and offering help.

"That was a good speech. But I hope it will unfold in the future, maybe within the next 100 days," said former President Fidel Ramos, who attended the SONA together with former President Joseph Estrada.

“We are all waiting for the roadmap, for the long term plan, para umangat na tayo, “ added Ramos."

"Hopefully during the budget deliberations we will be able to uncover and see for ourselves para mas maging malinaw sa Kongreso at kung saan me pagkakamali” said the former President of the detailed enumeration by President Aquino of cases of fiscal abuse by the Arroyo administration.

Rep. Edcel Lagman, the new minority leader in the House of Representatives said he will support the government's national agenda particularly with regard to House measures which will benefit the majority of the Filipino people.

Lagman said these include measures to strengthen healthcare, employment and more economic opportunities, and environmental protection, among others. Lagman said he will support President Aquino’s campaign to improve collection efficiency by stopping smuggling, tax evasion and curbing graft and corruption.

Earlier before the SONA and after losing the House speakership, Lagman said the proposed P1.7 trillion budget for 2010-2011 should include measures to increase taxes and the national government "improve collection efficiency particularly with the Philippines having the lowest collection efficiency among the members of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)."

Former congresswoman Rissa Hontiveros-Baraquel expressed optimism that the SONA gave “concrete steps” on how to stamp out corruption in government.
She said the President’s SONA enumerated measures for specific government agencies to eradicate corruption such as amending the national procurement law and the passing of the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, which will provide funding for laws that have already identified its sources of funding.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, for his part, said that the SONA was an “eye-opener” for the people to see the “difficulties that we are in, the sacrifices that we are supposed (to take) to help the President with.”

Meanwhile Senator Loren Legarda expressed dismay that the Aquino SONA “left out” several issues. She said the President failed to touch on topics such as agrarian reform, alleviating hunger and addressing climate change.

Legarda however was quick to add that she was pleased with Aquino’s plans were for Philhealth, the national health card.

The President said that an actual program to identify the correct number of Filipinos who sorely need Philhealth coverage will be undertaken as “current date is conflicting on this matter.”

He added that Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman “are moving to implement the National Household Targeting System that will identify the families that most urgently need assistance.”

“An estimated P9-billion is needed in order to provide coverage for five million poor Filipinos,” P-Noy said. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — In his first state of the nation (SONA) delivered today before the joint opening session of the 15th Congress, President Benigno S. Aquino III bared in detail some cases of fund misuse during the Arroyo administration which in part have worsened the country’s budget deficit problems.

He said that in the first six months of 2010, the previous administration spent more than what it earned. Its target collection was shot by P23.8 billion and its projected expenditure is P45.1 billion, he added.

The President specified the following fund misappropriations:

Calamity Funds

Of the P2 billion Calamity fund for 2010, which on its own is already very small, only P1.4 billion or 60 percent is left for use for the remainder of the year, when typhoons are just coming in.

Of the P108 million Calamity Fund allotted for Pampanga, P105 million of this went to one district alone. These funds were released during the election period, seven months after Ondoy and Pepeng struck. Pangasinan, which was hardest hit by Pepeng, received only P5 million for the damage wrought by typhoon Cosme in 2008.


Members of the board of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) were given fat rewards even if retired government employees failed to get their pension funds due them. In 2009 alone, the payroll of MWSS amounted to P51.4 million, excluding the additional allowances and benefits amounting to P160.1 million.

Regular employees got only 13th month pay plus cash gift but MWSS board members got an equivalent of 30 months pay including bonuses and allowances. The Board of trustees also received P14,000 per meeting, reaching P98,000 each month, excluding grocery incentive of P80,000 a year; mid year bonus, productivity bonus, anniversary bonus, year-end bonus, financial assistance, Christmas bonus and additional Christmas package, all worth P98,000.

The President said the MWSS spent P2.5 million each year for each board member, excluding car incentive, technical assistance and loans.

La Mesa Watershed was not spared. Homes were built for the top officials of MWSS, who couldn’t readily be removed from their posts because they are among the Midnight Appointees of the former president.


Infrastructure funds of the Department of Public Works and Highways for 246 priority safety projects funded by the Motor Vehicle Users Charge requiring P425 million budget but what was funded was only 28 projects and the rest were abandoned. The requested P425 million became P480 million, bigger because the additional funds went to select beneficiaries.


P3.5 billion that was ordered released for the victims of Pepeng and Ondoy involving 86 projects for public bidding. But 19 projects alone already got P981 million allotments. Fortunately their release was held even with the signed Special Allotment Release orders.

• P3.5 billion of current DPWH projects will now go through proper bidding for the real victims of storms Ondoy and Pepeng.


• The National Power Corp. from 2001 to 2004 was forced to sell power at a loss to forestall any electric power adjustments before the elections. Because of this, in 2004, the agency sank in debts forcing the national government to honor its P200 billion foreign obligations.


• The Metro Rail Transit was also used as a political tool by keeping the fares low, which disabled the operator from recouping its investments. As a result, the Land Bank and Development Bank of the Philippines were forced to buy the MRT.


• The National Food Authority over-imported rice in 2004. The shortage was 117,000 metric tons but it bought 900,000 mt. In 2007 the shortage was only 589,000 mt but it bought 1.827 million mt.

Because of the over-importation, the excess supply was left to rot in bodegas even if total debts for these imports reached P171.6 billion as of May 2010, which could have funded the justice department’s budget of P12.7 billion; the conditional cash transfers of the following years amounting to P29.6 billion; all the classrooms needed in the country worth P130 billion. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III, delivering his first State of the Nation Address, today said that misuse of the national budget and funds abuse by state-run firms and agencies during the Arroyo administration will weigh heavily against his fledgling administration, but he vowed to reverse the situation while opening windows of opportunity for all.

“I could almost feel the weight of my responsibility” said the President, as he lamented over initial findings that only about P100 billion or 6.5 percent of the P1.54 trillion national budget for 2010 has been left for the remaining six months of the year. This means, he said, that roughly one (l) percent is left for each remaining month.

He said that in the first half of this year, government expenditures have already exceeded the revenues boosting the first semester national deficit to Pl96.7 billion. Earlier projections placed the yearend figure to reach about P319 billion.

The President also rued over the abuse of funds by certain government-owned and-controlled corporations (GOCCs), which his people have unearthed barely a month into his six-year term.

The President said billions have been lost in still unexplained and questionable deals entered into by many GOCCs whose incumbent officials are mostly last-hour or midnight appointees of former President Arroyo.

Among state agencies he mentioned were the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), National Food Authority (NFA), National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Department of Public Works and Highways to include its use of the road users tax, and the calamity funds.

The President said it was revolting to know that money was there only to be wasted.

“Your have heard how the public coffers were squandered, this is what is clear to me now: change can only come from our determination to stamp out this extravagance and corruption.

The President singled out the MWSS as an example of how state funds are misused with top officials themselves enjoying millions in cash perks and even housing privileges in MWSS properties.

He also cited the misuse of the P2 billion calamity funds where 70 percent has now been spent even as the country enters into the critical typhoon season of the year. He said distribution was found uneven, with bigger funds going into the one district of Pampanga, home-province of former President Gloria Arroyo, now congresswoman in the province’s second district.

The President also cited the critical funding situation of the National Food Authority, now debt-ridden by about Pl77 billion due to over-importation.

But as he gave the public a glimpse of the initial fiscal situation uncovered early in his term, the President said “ we will open windows of opportunities.”

He said: “If we change all this, if we prioritize enabling others we will open windows of opportunities not just for ourselves but for those who direly need it.”

“We have already begun the process of change and we are now able to dream of better things for our country. Let us not forget that there are those who wish us to fail so that they will once again reclaim power to do as they please at the expense of our people,” he said.

Among the legislative proposals he laid out in his first SONA at the joint opening session of the 15th Congress at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City are:

a. Fiscal Responsibility bill
b. Amendment to the Procurement Law
c. Anti-trust bill
d. National Land Use bill
e. Amendment to the National Defense Act, and
f. Whistleblower’s bill.
g. Strengthening the witness protection program

The President bared that he would convene the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) at the soonest possible time to discuss the bills that need to be addressed He assured legislators that he would keep an open mind and treat the legislators honorably.

The fiscal responsibility bill, he said, would limit spending bills only for appropriations that have identified funding sources. The government, according to him, needs P104.1 billion to fund laws that have been passed but have yet to be implemented.

“We will re-evaluate fiscal incentives given in the past,” President Aquino said in the vernacular. “Now that we are tightening our purse strings, we need to identify those incentives that will remain and those that need to be done away with.”

Emphasizing that his administration will not allow another NBN-ZTE scandal to happen again, the President asked help from legislators to amend the country’s Procurement law. He pointed out that all proposed contracts, whether from local or foreign sources must undergo the scrutiny of correct procedures.

Stressing that it is the government’s duty to ensure that the market is fair for all, President Aquino said his administration will not tolerate monopolies nor cartels that kill competition.

“We need an Anti-Trust Law that will give life to these principles, to afford small- and medium-scale enterprises the opportunity to participate in the growth of our economy,” he said.

While asking for the passage of the National Land Use bill, the President also cited the need to amend the National Defense Act to make it more responsive to the current needs of national security. He mentioned that the law was passed during the Commonwealth period in 1935.

He appealed to legislators to pass the Whistleblower’s bill “to eradicate the prevalent culture of fear and silence that has hounded our system.”

“We will strengthen the Witness Protection program,” he said. “We must remember that from 2009 to 2010 alone, cases which involve the participation of witnesses under the program resulted in a ninety-five percent conviction.”

Pointing out that there is a need to review the country’s laws, President Aquino called on lawmakers to begin a re-codification of such laws “to ensure harmony in legislation and eliminate contradictions.”

Earlier in his speech, the President also appealed to lawmakers to go easy on the confirmation of his chosen cabinet men as he said they are all competent and have proven up to their task.

“It is but just that they not be forced to go through the eye of a needle to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments,” he said. “Should this happen, competent Filipinos will be encouraged to help our country by becoming public servants.” (PIA V Release)


MANILA — Senator Juan Ponce Enrile has been re-elected by super majority vote as president of the Senate during the formal opening of the first regular session of the 15th Congress on Monday at the Philippine Senate building in Pasay City.

A total of 17 senators voted for Enrile, including Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan who made a last-minute withdrawal from the race and Manny Villar whose supporters did not push his candidacy due to lack of required 13 votes.

The ascension of Enrile to the Senate presidency was the result of a series of talks over the weekend where the feuding factions set aside partisan politics and almost unanimously agreed to make Enrile, the most senior member of the Senate, president for the second straight time.

Enrile expressed gratitude to his colleagues for electing him, urging his colleagues to unite and work together for the good of the Filipino people.

”What happened here today is unique in the long political history of our country. We set aside the partisan political divide that separates us to arrive at the consensus to elect the head of this house. This noble act portrays your patriotism as responsible leaders of the country and your devotion to the interest and welfare our people,” Enrile said in his response message.

Enrile expressed optimism that the Senate will be strengthened by what he described as "singular act and unity" which has been shown by his colleagues.

”In accord with your mandate and trust, I shall discharge my duties and responsibilities with honor, with total devotion to our institution and fairness to all members of this house,” Enrile said.

Former Senate president Franklin Drilon administered Enrile’s oath taking witnessed by Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) partymates former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and wife, former senator Loi Estrada, and Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Senator Joker Arroyo nominated Alan Peter Cayetano for Senate presidency but the young lawmaker got only through three votes from Enrile, Arroyo and his sister Pia Cayetano.

With this, Cayetano accepted the challenge to be minority leader, hoping that senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who was not present, would join him, Arroyo and Pia Cayetano in the group which will serve as "fiscalizer" in the senate.

”In a democratic set up that whatever good the administration that we have, there has to be people that will play the role of constructively criticizing,” Cayetano said.

Though he accepted the role of minority leader, Cayetano described Enrile as the most qualified to lead the Senate due to the latter’s long experience as lawmaker who was actually the minority leader during the time of former President Corazon Aquino.

”He (Enrile) is the right person for the right season being the right person at the right time, at the right place. I find him much more than a compromise candidate,” Cayetano said.

Like Enrile, senator Jinggoy Estrada has been retained as Senate President Pro-Tempore, winning the post unopposed through the nomination of fellow actor senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr.

Sotto has been chosen new Majority Floor Leader, replacing Juan Miguel Zubiri while Ema Lirio Reyes and Jose Balajadia Jr. have been retained as Senate secretary and sergeant at arms, respectively.

Sotto said the chairmanship of the different committees will be decided in the next few days.

The Senate regular session started at 10:20 a.m. with senate secretary-general Ema Lirio Reyes presiding the opening of the session.

Later, Drilon has been designated as temporary Senate president and as temporary majority floor leader. Sotto nominated Drilon and Zubiri. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — As the 15th Congress formally opened 10 a.m. Monday, members of the House of Representatives have elected 4th District Rep. Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr. as Speaker.

Belmonte garnered 227 votes against lone opponent Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who got 29 votes.
Of the 262 total congressmen, some 258 were recorded present at the opening this Monday morning.
In his speech, Belmonte, who was House speaker in 2001, thanked his colleagues at the Lower Chamber for their support.

"Be assured that I will work hard to earn this confidence. I am confident that you will help me succeed since you have as much stake as I have in my success," he said. p>Being a Speaker, Belmonte said, "comes with it my commitment to strengthen the House of Representatives, resolute as a co-equal branch of our government, but also accountable."

"Let us be judicious and prudent in crafting the national budget. We should relate agency performance and results obtained in promoting the welfare of the people to their share of public funds. Let us use our powers of the purse to prod government agencies to meet their performance targets. Let us clearly delineate the duties and responsibilities of government officials to prevent abuses and minimize opportunities for graft and corruption," he said.

Belmonte said that the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) "should engender no suspicion, but general agreement that they are used wisely to give each district a socio-economic lift through greater transparency and focus on our projects."

He assured that the 15th Congress will be a "strong, independent and accountable arm of the government - able to overcome self-interest to raise the Filipinos and the Philippines to a proud stature in the global ranking of nations."

"I am convinced that we, the members of the 15th Congress, shall be the ardent movers of the Philippines' social and economic transformation," he said. (PIA V Release)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

BICOL REVENUE -- BIR Regional Director Atty. Diosdado R. Mendoza, CEO VI (upper photo) presents the 1st Semester of 2010 accomplishment report during the 7th Regional Staff Conference held at 2nd Flr., BIR Annex Building, Legazpi City, last July 23. Lower photo shows memebrs of the media headed by PIA Regional director Eduardo A. de Leon supports the program undertaken by the Revenue Region No. 10, Legazpi City. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Friday, July 23, 2010

APSEMO chief. Cedric D. Daep presents to the media the research study on Albay's DRR best practices entitled "Innovative Humanitarian Response within a Disaster Risk Reduction Approach: Learning from the 2009 Mayon Volcano Eruption" held at the College of Sciences Auditorium of Bicol University in Legazpi City, July 21.(Alex Cal/PIA)


LEGAZPI CITY— Albay’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) is an ideal model in building a resilient, safe community during times of disaster events, a research study said.

In a research study by Oxfam, Bicol University and Albay province showed that Albay’s DRRM model played a significant role in protecting lives of people and at the same time making communities strong and safe from and catastrophic event that may take place.

The research paper titled: Innovative Humanitarian Response within a Disaster Risk Reduction Approach: “Learning from the 2009 Mayon volcano Eruption, presented how Albay province attained a “Zero Casualty” target for one and half decade.

The research paper was presented on Wednesday by the BU research team in cooperation with Oxfam, Albay province, APSEMO.

Donna Mitzi Lagdameo, Oxfam, Programme Manager for DRR, said the research paper would be out of the press next month while it is in the process of fine tuning, editing the document for publication in book form.

The study reveal that with the institutionalization of the Albay Public Safety, Emergency and Management Office (APSEMO) the province has achieved the “Zero Casualty” goal during Mt. Mayon eruptions in 2001, 2006 and 2009.

The province DRRM had an effective and efficient system in monitoring and evaluation in implementing disaster operation, back up with adequate logistical and legislative policy support.

The study also credited the APSEMO’s DRM model for making the province become a landmark of and a voice in the international discourse of DRM.

With the DRRM the province was able to institutionalize disaster responses within the risk management framework designed to build a resilient and safe community towards sustainable development.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said DRR model institutionalized by the province is an innovation where in stakeholders where put together working for a common cause.

Salceda likened the DRRM as an orchestra playing different tones that blends into one beautiful music.

Snehal Soneji, Oxfam Country Director, has commended the BU research paper, in putting together the lessons learned, the good practices by various stakeholders during last years Mt. Mayon eruption.

Soneji was impressed of Albay’s DRRM model saying “this is a unique model where you can see how partnership played a great role in disaster operation.”

“I have seen other models but the uniqueness of Albay’s DRRM is the partnership and innovation made in performing its respective task,” Soneji said.

Cedric Daep, APSEMO director said the research study was a follow up of the first DRR study made and subsequently published last year entitled “Building a resilient DRR.”

The BU research study would reinforce and enhance the first document which would highlight the lessons learned and documentation process. (PNA Bicol)


LEGAZPI CITY—The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol has declared a malaria epidemic in Camarines Norte after 182 residents of one town in the province were stricken by the mosquito-borne disease.

Camilo Aquino, DOH Bicol Malaria Prevention and Control Program coordinator, bared Malaria cases were recorded in Jose Panganiban town, though the agency has declared an epidemic in the entire province to alert all local officials on the need to take immediate steps to prevent the spread of the disease.

Aquino said that the DOH team dispatched to Jose Panganiban has found out that most victims were children, elderly, and at least 20 percent were members of a tribal community.

Health officials lamented more victims barely recovered or treated totally as health workers had difficulty in administering treatment because patients would refuse to follow procedures, like the schedule of taking medicines.

Aquino explained that Malaria is caused by a parasite called plasmodium, usually transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The parasites multiply in the liver and infect red blood cells. Symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting. They usually appear 10 to 15 days after infection.

DOH Bicol is now closely monitoring Malaria cases in areas near the boarder of Camarines Norte and the neighboring province of Camarines Sur, specifically in the towns of Sipocot and Lupi, to prevent further spread of the disease.

It can be noted DOH and World Health Organization (WHO) have already declared the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate as Malaria-free areas, while further assessment and validation in Camarines Sur to also declare the province free from the dreaded disease. (MALoterte, PIA V/NIMediavillo, RNB)


NAGA CITY — The Parole and Probation Administration (PPA) field office here, under the headship of Nelia Rivero, spearheaded various activities held in this city in line with the celebration of the agency’s 34 years of existence.

One of the highlights of the activity was the agency’s participation in the city’s clean up drive along the banks of the Naga River here, dubbed as “Salvar Salog”, aimed at rousing the community’s awareness as active partners in maintaining a clean environment.

Rivero has stated that the provision of these services is also in line with their agency’s thrust to rehabilitate probationers, paroles and pardonees.

“We see to it that even our parolees are also being integrated in our community as an essential part of our society. We also want to promote their development by involving them in various endeavors that would somehow uplift their morale and rebuild their personal confidence,” she said.

Aside from community services the officials and employees of PPA rendered, the agency also took part in various information drives inside the Naga City District Jail and in Barangay Tabuco, this time aimed at raising the community’s awareness on the programs and services being offered by PPA.

With this year’s theme “34 years of redeeming Valuable Human Material: An Affirmation for Non Custodial Measures,” PPA in Naga City seeks to realize its vision of being a model component of the country’s correctional system “that shall enhance the quality of life of its clients, thru multi disciplinary programs and resources.”

“We want to give credence to our mission of being an efficient organization with a highly professional workforce that will help our government in the promotion of social justice and development.” (LSMacatangay, PIA CamSur)


LEGAZPI CITY — The Philippine Navy Officers’ Wives Association Inc. (PNOWA) spearheads a Seminar on Breast Cancer Prevention cum Medical Mission in Barangay Rawis here starting today (Friday, July 23), announce the Public Affairs Office of the Naval Forces Southern Luzon (Navforsol).

Commodore Joel Babas, commander of the Navforsol told PIA News Service that the activity is a parallel endeavor of the PNOWA to complement the continuing programs of the Philippine Navy across the country to uplift the morale and enhance the well-being not only of the Navy officers and personnel but also their family, relatives and dependents, much as the community the Navy serves..

Babas added that similar activities will also be conducted at the Navforsol Fleet-Marine Quarterdeck in Julahasan Arasain Headquarters in Barangay Rawis to be manned by the naval station’s organic and Opcon units’ personnel the next day starting at 9:00 am .

PNOWA is an association of all wives of officers of the Navy, led by the wife of the Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy.

PNOWA has tapped the Gift2Life (G2L), a non-government organization with health and medical fields of work, to provide for the doctors to hold lectures on breast cancer prevention, thereafter render clinical services to the community.

One breast cancer survivor, a member of the contingent, will share testimonials on coping up and pursuing one’s dreams and aspirations despite stricken by the disease.

Babas remarked that this initiative is indeed a great opportunity that should be taken advantage of every resident to learn as cancer is the third leading cause of death in the country following communicable diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

He shared that breast cancer is second to lung cancer among the six leading causing-death cancers. In spite of the stark reality, there is at present a low cancer prevention consciousness in the entire country. Most Filipino cancer patients seek medical advice only when symptomatic or at advanced stage. As a result, for every two new cancer cases diagnosed annually, one dies within a year.
(Ens. DPRamon, PAO NFSL/PIA)


NAGA CITY — They shall be emulated for the good deed they extended, not for the traffic violation they have committed.

Thru City Ordinance 2007-021, traffic violators may settle their administrative fine for violation of traffic rules and regulations by donating blood and thus help in saving the lives of others.

Also dubbed as “Blood for Fine” ordinance, the measure has been on its third year of implementation now and is being cited as one of the city’s effective approaches to meet the objectives of the Naga City Blood Program and Republic Act 7719, otherwise known as the National Blood Services Act of 1994, while helping to bring order in the streets.

The city’s “Blood for Fine” ordinance, which was authored by City Councilor Nathan Sergio, seeks to facilitate voluntary blood donation as alternative mode of settlement of administrative fine for violation of traffic rules and regulations that range from P500 up to P1, 000.

Public Safety Office Executive Officer Joselito SA Del Rosario said an average of 15 traffic violators every month have been submitting for voluntary blood donation under said ordinance. He said the ordinance has been regarded by the local motorists and residents as a welcome development because “they are given the opportunity to save life by way of voluntary blood donation.”

Section 3 of the ordinance provides that the apprehended traffic violator or blood donor, however, should be determined as medically qualified and physically fit by a physician at the City Health Office or the Naga City Hospital.

The flow of transaction for the voluntary blood donation under this ordinance:

Upon apprehension, the traffic violator shall be informed by the law enforcer of the option to donate blood voluntarily or to pay the corresponding fine.

If the traffic violator elects to pay in cash the stipulated fine, he has only three working days after the apprehension to do so. However, if the traffic violator opts to donate blood, he has seven days to do so. Otherwise, his traffic violation case shall be forwarded to a local court for appropriate judicial hearing and penal sanction.

If the traffic violator elects to donate blood, he shall be advised by the apprehending officer to proceed either to the City Health Office or to the Naga City Hospital, for purposes of determining whether he is medically qualified or physically fit.

There, the City Health Officer or the Chief of Hospital, acting in person or through authorized representatives, shall ask the violator to execute or sign a document, in duplicate, stating that he opted to donate blood in lieu of paying in cash the administrative fine for traffic violation and that he fully understands that this blood donation will not entitle him to claim blood in the future from the Blood Bank at the Naga City Hospital, unless separate voluntary blood donation not in consonance with this ordinance.

The blood donation shall not exceed 500 cc per person. Blood letting and blood examination under this Ordinances shall only be conducted every Friday morning at the Naga City Hospital.

After the blood donation, the violator shall be issued a Certification by the Naga City Hospital, stating among others that the blood donation is made in lieu of, or as a settlement of, an administrative fine for traffic violation.

The Certification is then presented by the apprehended violator to the PSO for purposes of offsetting the administrative fine.

The Naga City Hospital, according to the Ordinance, shall keep and maintain a Register of Blood Donors which must be held within three years after the last entry is made therein.

The Registry must contain the full name and address of the apprehended violator, his age, and blood type, the date/time of blood donation, the quantity of blood donated the result of his blood examination, and the signature of the traffic violator/blood donor. (JBNeola, PNA Bicol)


CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – As if competing with typhoon “Basyang’s” death toll, an off-duty militiaman was shot and killed by suspected Special Partisan Unit (SPARU) of the CPP-NPA-NDF in Camarines Norte at 2:00 am yesterday (July 22), a military report said.

Colonel Leoncio Cirunay, commander of the 22nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, has identified the fatality as CAA Jehn Villones, assigned with the 5th CAA Camarines Norte based in Labo town.

He said that many of his CAFGUS have reported about the death threats against them.

“I have received reports in the past that Villones complained about the death threats that he received from the CPP-NPA through text messages. The terrorist bandits have not stopped their practice of killing our people once they go home for vacations,” said Cirunay.

Cirunay said that the victim was on a 15-day off duty status in his residence in Jose Panganiban town when he was shot and killed by the NPA rebels at around 2:00am in a bushy area in Luklukan village.

“I really hope the Commission on Human Rights and other human rights groups will look into these series of extra-judicial killings against our personnel. While we busied ourselves in saving lives during the typhoon ‘Basyang’ here comes the NPA rebels who are continuously killing our people”.

Villones is the eighth victim of the extra-judicial killing among CAFGU personnel of the 9th Infantry Division in CY 2010. He is the second militiaman executed by the NPA rebels in Camarines Norte after the killing of CAA Pedro Beguiras last February 25.

One Floro Gata, 46 and a resident of Barangay Luklukan, Jose Panganiban town, said that he heard loud screams followed by burst of gunfire near his house at early dawn esterday, adding that “I roused from my sleep when I heard countless gunfire, I became scared because I know someone may have died in the incident.”.

Sgt. Ronnie Sustal, commander of the Army Detachment where the dead militiaman was assigned, said that the victim sustained multiple gun shot wounds which led to his instantaneous death.

“We found Cal 5.56 mm empty shells near the crime scene,” said Sustal.

Responding villagers immediately brought the victim to a funeral parlor as police investigators conducted autopsy.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, commander of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, has condemned the series of murders perpetrated by the communist terrorist rebels. He likewise said that he has already initiated a move to lodge formal complaint against the NPA rebels before the Commission of Human Rights.

“I have directed the Army’s legal officer to help the victims’ relatives file criminal cases as well as complaints of human rights violations against the members of the CPP-NPA-NDF who are behind the series of killings”, Pabustan said. (HMCabunoc, DPAO 9ID PA/PIA)


MANILA — President Benigno Simeon "noynoy" Aquino III revealed Friday (July 23) there is about P100 billion left in the national coffers which is not enough to cover all government expenditures.
At a press briefing after the turnover ceremonies at the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, President Aquino said the previous administration had used up a big chunk of the P1.5 trillion budget, with only about 33 percent left to spend.

"Magugulat talaga kayo dun sa natira. May thirty-three percent na iniwan pero yung iniwan na pangtustos, P300 billion mahigit yung automatic appropriations [It was surprising to find out that only 33 per cent was left, P300 billion of which is earmarked for automatic appropriations]," President Aquino said at a press briefing after the ceremonies.

With the depleted budget, he said it would also be difficult for authorities to respond to calamities.

"Hindi magiging madali ang ating trabaho sa mga susunod na panahon. Nilimas na ang pondo na magagamit sana natin sa mga susunod na buwan. Kung tatawagin kayo sa mga search and rescue efforts, puso at tapang ang inyong magiging kasangkapan [Our wherewithals for calamity and disaster management has been depleted to cover the next few months]," President Aquino told military and civilian personnel of the AFP in his speech.

Earlier, Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad said only P600 million is left of the calamity funds. The Arroyo administration has spent almost P1.5 million of the calamity fund in the first half of 2010.
President Aquino's necessary measures are in place to address the issue, with renewed efforts to go after tax evaders and usage of government savings. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s first State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) at the opening of the 15th Congress on Monday will only last from 15 to 20 minutes, according to Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

Secretary Lacierda said in a radio interview on Friday (July 23) that the President’s maiden SONA will focus on his legislative agenda for the next six years, including the government’s plan to combat corruption, campaign against poverty and the state of the economy.

Lacierda also said that 70 percent of President Aquino’s SONA will be in Filipino.

The last draft of the President's speech comprises 30 pages, the Presidential spokesman said, adding that the writers include himself (Lacierda), Mai Mislang, Presidential Management Staff chief Secretary Julia Abad, Ricky Carandang and Manolo Quezon III of the Communications Group.

According to Lacierda, the Chief Executive could rehearse the delivery of his maiden SONA either in Malacanang or in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Lacierda said that the President will also include in his SONA the alleged anomalies committed during the previous administration.

The Presidential spokesman added that President Aquino will also mention in his speech the problems he has inherited as well as the budget left by the past administration and how much more will be needed.

Meanwhile, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad will discuss in a media briefing Friday afternoon at Malacanang the present budget deficit and other DBM-related concerns. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — In a bid to meet its target of Php860 billion, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) vowed to intensify its tax collection by running after tax cheats.

“We are strengthening our enforcement activities, and it is highlighted by filing tax evasion cases,” BIR Commissioner Kim Henares told reporters in a press briefing in Malacañang. “We started last Thursday and we intend to keep on filing every other week.”

“I have confidence in my people and confidence in the attitude of the Filipino people, that they want to help their government; and that we will able to reach the Php860-billion goal,” she said.

Henares clarified however that people who deliberately cheated on their tax payments may still make the necessary restitution by submitting amended income tax returns.

“It is the time for everyone to pay their right taxes. If they had not paid their right taxes before, what they can do is amend their return and put the right amount and pay these taxes before we even file a case against them, because once we file a case, it will be a no-compromise situation. It will continue until the case is resolved,” Henares said.

According to Henares, about 40 percent of the income earners belonged to the so-called “underground economy,” making it difficult for the BIR to go after them.

“There is more than P4 million that we are collecting from the fixed earners, but for sole proprietors, for individuals doing business and professionals, there is only less than a million from 800,000 people,” Henares said.

To encourage more income earners to pay their taxes, Henares hinted that the BIR would simplify and streamline the tax payment system.

The BIR chief also said that the reforms are meant to ensure “that our people will realize the new way of doing business is to make sure that every single centavo collected goes to the national treasury.”

She stressed that the BIR’s intensified tax collection campaign would cover all sectors, adding that no sector is 100-percent compliant.

Henares urged the public to pay their correct taxes while they still have the chance to do so. Furthermore, she advised consumers to demand a receipt for every commodity or service rendered to them to aid the agency’s campaign against tax evaders. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III received a courtesy call Wednesday morning (July 21) from the new Minister of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom, Jeremy Browne.

The meeting was held at the Music Room of Malacañan Palace, and increased trade and investment between the Philippines and the UK topped the agenda. They likewise discussed ways to improve the capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as possible assistance from the British government in Mindanao peace efforts.

Browne also took the opportunity to extend Britain’s appreciation of the role of Filipino workers, especially nurses and caregivers, in British society. In the past six years, more than 20,000 Filipinos were recruited into the UK health service.

“We recognize the massive contribution of the Filipino workers to our society,” Browne said. “They are hardworking and caring.”

Browne, who was appointed Minister of State of the FCO on 14 May this year, will be in the Philippines from July 20 to 22 as part of his South East Asian trip aimed at actively promoting the business relationship between the Philippines and the rest of South East Asia. This is his first trip to Asia since the assumption of his post.

The courtesy call was an opportune meeting between representatives of two newly installed governments. While the Aquino administration was installed on June 30, the new British coalition government was formed on 12 May 2010, with Tory leader David Cameron as Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg as his Deputy Prime Minister.

The last UK Foreign Secretary to visit the Philippines was Robin Cook in August 1997.

The UK has always been a major European bilateral partner of the Philippines, which is currently attracting serious interest throughout Europe due to what are deemed to be positive developments brought about by the Aquino administration’s policies in fostering political stability, economic growth, and social security. The total bilateral trade between the Philippines and the UK in 2008 was recorded at US$791 million, in favor of the Philippines.

The UK is cumulatively the biggest European investor in the country, with British investment amounting to US$18 billion in the past decade. There are around 200 British companies active in the Philippines, ranging from multi-national to small and medium enterprises. (PIA V Release)


MANILA — The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Thursday said it plans to reduce by 50 percent the rice importations for next year.

"We're trying to wrap up discussions on rice production and importation. It will surely be lesser than what we have imported this year. We'll have more solid figures next week," said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

If the need arises, Alcala said the government is willing to import as much as 50 percent less than this year's rice importation "as long as we have the capability to support this technically and financially."
For 2010, the Philippines has bought as much as 2.47 million metric tons (MT) of the commodity to fill in its requirements for the year.

According to the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), the January-June 2010 palay production may decrease by 10.5 percent -- from 7.38 million MT in 2009, production may drop to 6.60 million MT.

This was largely attributed to the production losses resulting from the El Nino phenomenon in the first and second quarters of the year.

BAS said the January-March palay output was recorded at 3.49 million MT, which is 11.4 percent lower than last year’s 3.94 million MT.

The major sources of the decline were attributed to the production losses incurred in Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas, SOCCSKSARGEN and Northern Mindanao.

BAS said the volume of losses in these regions summed up to 421,000 MT or 93.6 percent of the total production loss in the country during the quarter.

Heavily affected by the El Nino was Cagayan Valley province where some 182,000 MT of palay were lost during the first quarter of 2010. This was 40.6 percent of the country’s total production loss.

The administration of President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III has vowed to cut rice imports with a view of attaining sufficiency status by 2013. (PIA V Release)