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



Friday, October 29, 2010

ALBAY TO HOST LGU+3i CLIMATE CHANGE NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON NOV. 4-6

LEGAZPI CITY— Local chief executives, planning managers, scientists and academe sector, civic society and community leaders, legislators, and development partners from across the country are set to meet here on November 4-6, this year, for the LGU Summit+3i in pursuit of mainstreaming the climate change adaptation program in the country.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda told PIA News Service that the summit intends to to provide a venue for critical actors to agree that adaptation is a critical developmental concern that needs to be addressed to pursue and meet country’s commitment towards Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2015.

Salceda furthered that local government units, as front liners in meeting the commitment towards achieving MDGs, must recognize that “development as usual” approach without considering climate variability and extremes, may pose as threat in meeting these development goals.

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

The governor, acclaimed “Senior Global Champion of Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction” by the United Nations (UN), also stressed that the powerful role of LGUs to trail blaze an aggressive and proactive climate and disaster resilient development plans/programs is enshrined in the Local Government Code of 1991.

The summit, according to Salceda, is designed to demonstrate and translate effective and efficient implementation of science-based analyses for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures and build consensus towards a way forward for climate change adaptation action.

The Philippines continues to intensify its efforts to keep track with its commitments in the various Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

For target year 2015, commitments in reducing poverty, increasing food security, improving health and ensuring environmental sustainability are progressing on a slow pace. According to the recent 2010 MDG Progress Report, some challenges include inadequate investment, ineffective government policies, and lack of commitment.

The same report also identified impacts that apart from the global financial crisis and price shocks, climate change (both climate variability and extreme) was identified as an eminent threat to achieving our poverty, education, health, gender equality and environmental sustainability commitments. Moreover, attainment of MDGs will be more difficult for a developing country, especially for a climate hotspot country, like Philippines.

Development as usual may not be enough to address these emerging threats. Non action may bring about short term (loss of lives, property and environmental integrity) and long term (reversal of development gains) impacts. Thus, increasing the Philippines’ capacity to implement adaptation measures is vital for meeting its 2015 MDG target.

In a interview at PIA’s Ugnayan sa Bikol radio program recently, Executive Director Manuel Rangasa of the Center for Initiatives and Research on Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), also the conference director of the LGU Summit 3+i, said that the interfacing will also showcase Albay’s best working practices on disaster risk reduction citing “pre-emptive evacuation” of communities-at-risk resulting to “zero casualty” in times of disasters and emergencies as adopted models in the country and recognized by the UN.

Rangasa also emphasized that this year’s title of summit carries along the “+3i” to signify that climate change adaption program must radiate in all three main islands of the country, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

In the end, according to Rangasa, local governments will be able to determine priority adaptation measures that would protect and facilitate MDG achievement by target year 2015.

“We also expect utmost support among local chief executives on the National Strategic Framework, signifying their commitment to assess their respective localities’ vulnerability to climate change, identify possible adaptation measures and summarize in a vulnerability assessment matrix (VAM) by January 2011 as input to the drafting of the national and local CCAP,” he said.

The Climate Change Commission (CCC), under the headship of Sec. Heherson Alvarez, cited that the country’s strategic framework on climate change takes serious cognizance of the high vulnerability of the Philippine archipelago to climate-related hazards.

The commission noted that over 90 million people, now face threats from more intense tropical cyclones, drastic changes in rainfall patterns, sea level rise, and increasing temperatures.

“Indeed it is unequivocal that climate change will have serious implications on the country’s efforts to address poverty and realize sustainable development for current and future generations-ultimately making climate change an issue of intergenerational equity,” it also stated.

CCC stressed that implementation of direct adaptation measures to address climate variability and extreme is highly local, wherein the critical role of local governments in shaping and implementing successful adaptation measures that would ensure continuity of development and provide safety nets for highly vulnerable groups that are very dependent on natural resources. (MALoterte/PIA V)

SALCEDA NAMED UN SENIOR GLOBAL CHAMPION OF DISASTER RISK REDUCTION

LEGAZPI CITY --- Albay Gov. Joey Saceda was named on Tuesday the Senior Global Champion of Disaster Risk Reduction at the opening of the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR at Convenzia, Songdo, Incheon Metropolitan City, in South Korea.

United Nations (un) Assistant Secretary General Margareta Wahstrom representing UN Sec Gen Ban Ki Moon handed the award to Salceda as Senior Global Champion of DRR during the opening ceremonies of the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR on Tuesday.

Salceda in an emailed acceptance speech he said the people of Albay is honored by the award from the United Nations as a recognition of our zero casualty performance for the past 16 years.

He said,“ The people of Albay thanked the UN ISDR for this award, and we accept the award as a challenge to sustain our disaster risk reduction program in pursuit of Millennium Development Goal.”

He claims that given the rising climate risks, no development is possible without adaptation, however it is development that gives meaning to adaptation.

“ Adaptation is the duty of the state simply because it is the poor that bears the brunt of climate impacts and natural disasters- those who are most vulnerable are also the least capable of protection, those who have more in risks also have less in resources,” Salceda noted.

Giving emphasis to CCA he said “this duty can not be outsourced, it can not be offshored, it can not be delegated. But it must do so by capacitating local communities and reinforcing local governance - by making cities and provinces resilient.”

Similarly, in May this year, The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN ISDR) has named Salceda as ‘Senior Champion’ of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, in Bonn, Germany.

Albay, a calamity prone province that faces the Pacific Ocean where most typhoons of the year originate, joined the conference dubbed as Asia First World Congress on Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change ‘Resilient Cities 2010’, as a global model.

The UN ISDR aims to build disaster resilient communities by promoting increased awareness of the importance of disaster reduction as a component of sustainable development.

Salceda, pioneered the ‘zero casualty’ policy through preemptive evacuation during disasters, and hosted the National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation in two successive settings; first at the Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City Albay in 2007, and the second at the Diamond Hotel in Manila in 2009. Both were well acclaimed and attended by international crisis managers, scientists, businessmen and students.

Salceda was recognized as an outstanding campaigner and implementor of Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster risk Reduction (DRR) in a global gathering of that size since it puts the Philippines in the forefront of noble objectives.

“I joined the ISDR campaign for resilient cities as global role model for Asia for two reasons: first, Albay wants to learn from the best practices in the rest of the world; second, we want to push ourselves higher on standard to drive ourselves harder on this effort and to push the envelope on development through DRR and CCA,” Salceda said.

He said adaptation is an investment, not a cost: “It reduces risks, thus increases business returns. Albay has seen a surge in investments even after typhoons Reming and Milenyo, Mayon eruption and a spate of recent disasters. CCA and DRR allow development to proceed amid disasters”, since they don’t disrupt people’s lives since the provincial government takes charge of the disaster. (LGU Albay/PIA/mal)

DPWH LAUNCHES LAKBAY ALALAY FOR UNDAS

LEGAZPI CITY — In line with the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) thrust of assisting all motorists in the forthcoming observance of All Saints’ Day on November 1, 2010, Secretary Rogelio Singson has directed all regional directors and district engineers to activate a composite team who will aide the traveling public.

In Bicol, DPWH Regional Director Danilo Dequito has ordered the deployment of Motorists’ Assistance Centers on strategic locations of the national highway of Bicol. Each District Engineering Office in the region has an existing organized team ready to give free roadside emergency repair assistance to motorists during long holidays. These teams are composed of engineers, car mechanics, equipment operators and other service crews.

This program, dubbed as “Lakbay Alalay” will start at 6:00 a.m. on October 30, 2010 until 12:00 noon of November 3, 2010. This is in coordination with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Local Government Unit (LGU) officials.

These centers will be installed in Albay province in Barangay Basud, Sto. Domingo (DM Jct.-Legazpi-Sto. Domingo-Tabaco-Camarines Sur Bdry. Road); Busay, Daraga, Albay (Daang Maharlika); Paulog, Ligao City (in front of Albay 2nd DEO);

In Camarines Norte at Barangay Tabugon, Sta. Elena (Km 244+313, Daang Maharlika) (with roving unit); Camarines Sur: Tambo, Pamplona (Daang Maharlika); Concepcion Grande, Naga City (fronting TMG Hqtrs); Tigaon Station (DPWH Junction); Buluang, Baao (Daang Maharlika); Bato Resthouse, Agos (Daang Maharlika); and DPWH Sub-Office, Agrupacion, Ragay;

In the island province of Catanduanes at Barangay Manambrag, San Andres (Catanduanes Circ. Road); Pagsangahan, Sa Miguel (km 24+780); Bato, Catanduanes (km. 7=760); ad Sicmil, Gigmoto (kn. 64+800); while in Masbate at Jct. Milagros-Baleno-Lagta Road; Jct. Tawad-Balud Road; Masbate-Milagros/Masbate-Cataingan Road; Junction Buenabista (jct. Buenavista-Cawayan Road); Barangay Del Carmen (Jct. Buenavista-Cawaya Road); Barangay Balocawe, Dimasalag (Jct. Balatucan-Cataingan Rd.); Jct. Cataingan (Jct. Balatucan-Cataingan Road); Brug. Katipunan (Jct. Cataingan-Placer Road); San Fernando South Road (Batuan Section); San Fernando North Road (San Fernando Section); San Fernando North Road (San Jacinto Section); Sa Fernando North Road (Monreal Section); San Fernando North Road (San Pascual Side); and San Pascual-Claveria Road (Claveria Section);

In Sorsogon at Pepita Park, Bucalbucalan (Daang Maharlika) and San Pedro Multi-Purpose Brgy. Hall, Irosin (Km. 621+800)

At the DPWH, Rawis, Legazpi City, a skeletal workforce from Maintenance Division (Tel. #482-0429) will man the office to receive reports from field offices and to render emergency services that may be required during the said holidays. (LVCastañeda, DPWH V/PIA/mal)

BE ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE THIS ‘UNDAS’ - EMB

LEGAZPI CITY – The DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) amplifies the agency’s call for an environment friendly celebration of All Saints’ Day on November 1.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje has expressed his sentiments on the fast-approaching All Saints’ Day. He said that as Filipinos commemorate All Saints’ Day, they should also consider the interests of the living by restraining from environmentally harmful practices.

Paje brings forth the issue of solid waste by stating the result of a study that reveals an estimated 30,000 tons of litters are being generated in the Philippines on a regular basis.

Paje is also advising the local government units and cemetery supervisors to provide systematic waste disposal facilities.

The DENR chief encourages citizens to follow the seven guidelines below in order to lessen harmful environmental impacts this ‘Undas’:

1. Bring separate trash bags for biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes.
2. Minimize trash by using re-usable utensils
3. Bring only sufficient amount of food and drinks placed in reusable or recyclable containers. Bring home ay leftovers for reheating, pet food, or compost material.
4. Place candles in glass containers which are reusable and to avoid risk of fire. Collect melted candle wax to make new candles or to sell to traders.
5. Use fresh flowers, if possible without plastic wrapping or potted plants as these help purify the air and are biodegradable.
6. Clean up before leaving, and make sure that containers do not contain stagnant water that could be a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes.
7. Do not burn the garbage as it will contribute to air pollution.

Likewise, EMB 5 Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales strengthens the DENR’s reminder in his
statement saying that “As we pay respect to our departed ones this All Saints’ Day, I ask for the Bicolanos’ cooperation by observing practices that are beneficial to the environment. Observe proper waste management and try your best to minimize trash. Try taking public transport or carpooling in going to the cemetery instead of using our own vehicles, in that way we can avoid heavy traffic and excessive vehicle emissions which contributes to air pollution”. (DENR-EMB V/PIA)

CAMNORTE SP BARES ACCOMPLISHMENT ON FIRST 100 DAYS

DAET, CAMARINES NORTE – The Sanguniang Panlalawigan here has reported their accomplishments for the first 100 days during the 14th regular session.

Vice Governor Jonah Pimentel said that they have conducted 15 sessions and 15 committee meetings with committee and individual referrals.

He said that they have conducted 33 en banc sessions, 7 site visitations, 180 resolutions passed, 3 provincial ordinance and 22 appropriations enacted.

The site visitations include the energization project at Barangays San Antonio and Exciban in Labo; Barangays Bibirao and Dogongan of Daet and Barangay Aguit-it of Vinzons.

They also visited the gold processing plants in Jose Panganiban and Paracale to monitor the implementation of the cease and desist order of Governor Edgardo Tallado.

The SP also conducted special events/activities and public hearings and some of these include: public hearing on the Unified Fishery Ordinance and the 570 million omnibus term loan facility.

He said that some of legislations enacted were resolutions on health, education, ecology, legal and women and family.

It will be recalled that the SP organized the SP press corps for transparency and accountability of the SP and for the information of the general public. (RBManlangit, PIA CamNorte)

GEOHAZARD ASSESSMENT TO BE COMPLETED THIS OCTOBER

LEGAZPI CITY — The government’s geohazard mapping project will be completed by within this month, with some 1,567 municipalities or 97 per cent of the total target of 1,618 already assessed, according to a top regional official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office here.

DENR Bicol Regional Executive Director Jocelin Marcus Fragada said that DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje had already issued directive to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to prioritize the assessment of the remaining municipalities this October.

In Bicol, the geohazard mapping project was completed since June 2009 and the production of geohazard maps at the scale of 1:50,000 is 92 per cent completed with the remaining 8 per cent to be completed by the end of the year.

The Geohazard Mapping and Assessment Program of the DENR-MGB is an important component of the government’s disaster management and mitigation program in order to reduce the loss of lives and properties brought about by natural disaster.

It involves both the identification of areas of the country that are prone or susceptible to various geologic hazards like rain-induced landslides, floods, flash floods, storm surge, coastal erosion, sea level rise and other natural events, and information dissemination to increase public awareness. The output of the program is equally important for land use planning, land development and the emerging concern on climate change adaptation.

Fragada, citing contents of the directives, explained the delay in the Geohazard assessment of the remaining 51 municipalities was due to accessibility and security problems.

These municipalities are located in the province of Abara, Kalinga and Apayao in the Cordillera Administrative Region and in Lanao del Sur and Basilan in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

“After completion the generated maps will be digitized,” he said.

He said the process of digitizing the maps at the scale of 1:50,000 and 1:10,000 takes time to complete and which shall be based on the topographic maps produced by the National Mapping and Resources Information Authority (NAMRIA).

“The MGB geologists will have to draw the images and contours of these maps in the computer to produce the digital copies of the maps in the JPEG format,” he furthered, “also the digitized maps are uploaded in the NAMRIA website.”

Fragada said the production of the geohazard maps at the scale of 1:50,000 will also be completed this October, while the production of the detailed maps at the scale of 1:10,000 will start next year. (DENR-MGB V/PIA/mal)

SUMMIT ADOPTS MASTER PLAN FOR ASEAN COMMUNITY

HANOI (via PLDT-SMART): The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted on Thursday a master plan on connectivity that aims to realize an ASEAN Community by 2015.
The document was adopted during the Leaders Retreat at the 17th ASEAN Summit being held at the National Convention Center here.

A fact sheet released by the ASEAN Secretariat stated that the Master Plan identifies key strategies and actions to enhance the connection of the region in three dimensions: physical, institutional, and people-to-people connectivity. Priority projects to be carried out were also detailed.

A better connected region, the document noted, is key to achieve the ASEAN Community, as it reinforces the centrality of ASEAN, accelerates the community building process and integration efforts, and intensifies its relations with external partners.

The concept of ASEAN Connectivity was initially debated on by the ASEAN Leaders at the 15th ASEAN Summit in October 2009 in Thailand.

It was observed then that ASEAN had great potential to physically anchor itself as the transportation, information and communications technology, and tourism hub of this region.

The Leaders noted that enhanced connectivity between ASEAN Member States will encourage competitive growth; facilitate economies of integrated production networks; enhance intra-regional trade; and attract investments.

The improved linkages will promote deeper ties among ASEAN peoples, foster a sense of shared cultural and historical bonds, and as a result, intensify and strengthen ASEAN Community building efforts.

ASEAN Connectivity will also benefit the country when improved domestic linkages generate economic development that is supported by infrastructure and communications networks as well as the movement of people, goods, and services.

Strategies in enhancing physical connectivity include the completion of hard infrastructure projects such as the ASEAN Highway Network and the Singapore Kunming Rail Link.

Institutional connectivity, meanwhile, comprises improvements to soft infrastructure such as strengthening institutional arrangements to liberalize the movements of goods, services and skilled professionals across the borders.

Strategies to intensify people-to-people interactions will be implemented through culture, education, and tourism initiatives.

The participation and support of ASEAN Dialogue Partners, multilateral development banks and the private sector in achieving ASEAN Connectivity is crucial as the Leaders recognized that significant financial resources and human capital will be required to implement the Master Plan.

According to a 2009 ADB and Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) paper, “Between 2010 and 2020, Asia needs approximately$ 8 trillion in overall national infrastructure in addition to $290 billion that Asia needs to spend on specific regional infrastructure projects in transport and energy that are in the pipeline.”

In another working paper, ADBI said that ASEAN countries will require infrastructure investments amounting to $ 596 billion for the period 2006-2015, with an average investment of $60 billion per year. (PIA V)

AQUINO INVITES BRUNEI TO INVEST IN RP

HANOI (via PLDT and Smart): President Benigno S. Aquino III has invited the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam through its Sultan Yang Dipertuan Negara Hassanal Bolkiah to invest in the Philippines under the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership program (PPP).

In an interview, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang said President Aquino issued the invite during the two leader’s bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit being held here Thursday.

Carandang said the meeting, which he described as “a very casual discussion” was held at one of the numerous conference halls of the Melia Hotel here.

“The President invited Sultan Bolkiah and the Brunei Investment Agency to attend the public-private partnership conference in Manila next month,” Carandang said, adding the sultanate expressed its willingness to participate by sending a representative to the conference.

The PPP program was created through President Aquino’s issuance of Executive Order Number 8 transferring the Build-Operate-Transfer Center under the helm of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in a bid to hasten the implementation of public-private partnership programs.

The center, which was named Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines, aims to accelerate the financing, construction and operation of key government infrastructure projects.

The center is expected to extend assistance to all local government units and other government instrumentalities in the implementation of projects, provide advisory services in project preparation and development, recommend policies with regard to program implementation, monitor all projects and programs, and manage and administer the revolving fund to be called the Project Development and Monitoring Facility. (PIA V)

AQUINO CALLS FOR DIPLOMACY IN RESOLVING TERRITORIAL DISPUTES

HANOI (via PLDT and Smart): President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday called for diplomacy in resolving territorial disputes in the South China sea, saying maintaining peace and stability in the area was of paramount concern to the Philippines.

The President issued his call during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leader’s Retreat Thursday.

“Maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea is of paramount concern to the Philippines,” the President said.

“Let us focus on collaborative diplomatic processes to resolve territorial disputes through sustained consultations and dialogue amongst ourselves and with China,” he added.

He said the country is renewing its commitment to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by ASEAN states and China “as a basic fundamental pillar of cooperation in the South China Sea.”

“We aspire to transform this area into a zone of peace, cooperation, friendship and freedom,” he added. (PIA V)

AQUINO ORDERS CRAFTING OF NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY FOR 2010-2016

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III has ordered the crafting of a national security policy (NSP) and national security strategy (NSS) for 2010-2016 to guide all national security efforts on both public and private sectors towards the attainment of national security goals and objectives.

In issuing Memorandum Order No. 6, the President cited the need to translate the vision of the Aquino administration towards a more secure and progressive Filipino nation.

He said there is a need to ensure that the country’s national security policy and strategy for 2010-2016 is responsive and complementary to the country’s development goals and objectives.

The President tasked the National Security Adviser and the National Security Council Director General to spearhead the formulation of the NSP and NSS for 2010-2016 to coordinate with all concerned departments, agencies and instrumentalities of the government including government owned and controlled corporations and regional offices.

The NSP, according to him, must focus on: governance; delivery of basic services; economic reconstruction and sustainable development and security sector reform.

The NSP must be submitted to the National Security Cabinet group for coordination and integration at the national and regional levels and subsequently to the cabinet on or before Nov. 30 this year and the NSS on or before April 30 next year.

All department agencies and GOCCs shall consider the said documents for their respective plans and programs with national security dimension and draw inputs from their regional offices considering development strategies and local security needs.

To make the security agenda complimentary to their development objectives, all agencies, government corporations and their regional development bodies shall henceforth prepare and formulate their respective security-related programs closely linked to their development plans.

“All sectors of society, both government and non government, are enjoined to participate in these national endeavor in order to arrive at a national consensus on our development objectives and national security priorities,” the President said.

The NSA/NSC-Director General shall issue guidelines necessary to ensure effective compliance of this directive. (PIA V)

COLOMA URGES WOMEN TO JOIN DRIVE ON GENDER EQUALITY



MANILA — The Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) today urged all women from academe, mass media, civil society and government agencies to join in the forthcoming launch of the 18-day campaign on gender equality and a call to eliminate violence against women.

In a radio interview this morning, Presidential Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma said that from Nov. 25 to Dec. 12, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), which is under the Office of the President, will launch the drive to promote women’s rights.

The objective of the campaign, he said is to expand the awareness of all women in the academe, members of the fourth estate, government and private employees, and non-governmental organizations on the protection of their legitimate rights, and prevent violence against women in all parts of the country.

The campaign, according to Coloma, is in line with the directives of President Benigno S. Aquino III for PCOO and the PCW to spearhead in the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women and the promotion of gender equality.

He added that on Nov. 25, the gender equality campaign will start at the University Belt and neighboring schools, colleges and universities at the vicinity of Malacanang.

Also Friday morning, the PCOO sponsored a gender equality training and seminar to the women members of the Malacanang Press Corps.

Coloma pointed out that the training is aimed at educating women members of the MPC on their legitimate rights and their capability disseminate information on how to respect the rights of the women.

Recently, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had urged all nations to unite in order to end violence on women. He also tasked all UN agencies and offices to galvanize action across the UN system to prevent and punish violence of all forms against women. (PIA V)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DPWH BICOL LAUNCHES LAKBAY ALALAY PROGRAM FOR UNDAS

LEGAZPI CITY — In line with the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) thrust of assisting all motorists in the forthcoming observance of All Saints’ Day on November 1, 2010, Secretary Rogelio Singson has directed all regional directors and district engineers to activate a composite team who will aide the traveling public.

In Bicol, DPWH Regional Director Danilo Dequito has ordered the deployment of Motorists’ Assistance Centers on strategic locations of the national highway of Bicol. Each District Engineering Office in the region has an existing organized team ready to give free roadside emergency repair assistance to motorists during long holidays. These teams are composed of engineers, car mechanics, equipment operators and other service crews.

This program, dubbed as “Lakbay Alalay” will start at 6:00 a.m. on October 30, 2010 until 12:00 noon of November 3, 2010. This is in coordination with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Local Government Unit (LGU) officials. These Centers will be installed at the following locations:

Albay province : Basud, Sto. Domingo (DM Jct.-Legazpi-Sto. Domingo-Tabaco-Camarines Sur Bdry. Road); Busay, Daraga, Albay (Daang Maharlika); Paulog, Ligao City (in front of Albay 2nd DEO);

Camarines Norte: Tabugon, Sta. Elena (Km 244+313, Daang Maharlika) (with roving unit);

Camarines Sur: Tambo, Pamplona (Daang Maharlika); Concepcion Grande, Naga City (fronting TMG Hqtrs); Tigaon Station (DPWH Junction); Buluang, Baao (Daang Maharlika); Bato Resthouse, Agos (Daang Maharlika); and DPWH Sub-Office, Agrupacion, Ragay;

Catanduanes: Manambrag, San Andres (Catanduanes Circ. Road); Pagsangahan, Sa Miguel (km 24+780); Bato, Catanduanes (km. 7=760); ad Sicmil, Gigmoto (kn. 64+800);

Masbate: Jct. Milagros-Baleno-Lagta Road; Jct. Tawad-Balud Road; Masbate-Milagros/Masbate-Cataingan Road; Junction Buenabista (jct. Buenavista-Cawayan Road); Barangay Del Carmen (Jct. Buenavista-Cawaya Road); Barangay Balocawe, Dimasalag (Jct. Balatucan-Cataingan Rd.); Jct. Cataingan (Jct. Balatucan-Cataingan Road); Brug. Katipunan (Jct. Cataingan-Placer Road); San Fernando South Road (Batuan Section); San Fernando North Road (San Fernando Section); San Fernando North Road (San Jacinto Section); Sa Fernando North Road (Monreal Section); San Fernando North Road (San Pascual Side); and San Pascual-Claveria Road (Claveria Section);

Sorsogon: Pepita Park, Bucalbucalan (Daang Maharlika) and San Pedro Multi-Purpose Brgy. Hall, Irosin (Km. 621+800)

At the DPWH, Rawis, Legazpi City, a skeletal workforce from Maintenance Division (Tel. #482-0429) will man the office to receive reports from field offices and to render emergency services that may be required during the said holidays. (LVCastañeda, DPWH V/PIA/mal)

BIR BICOL FILES CHARGES AGAINST PDIC EXEC

LEGAZPI CITY— The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in Bicol has filed a criminal case against the chief liquidator of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) for failure to present for examination the books of accounts and other accounting records of a foreclosed bank, a top regional official of the bureau disclosed.

BIR Revenue Region 10 Director Atty. Diosdado R. Mendoza told PIA News Service that BIR has filed criminal charges against PDIC’s official for failure to obey summons, under Section 5 in relation to Section 266 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.

Mendoza said the tax bureau has filed the charges last week at the Iriga City Prosecutor’s Office following the failure of the PDIC chief liquidator to comply with BIR’s Subpoena Duces Tecum (SDT), received by the PDIC last December 8, 2009, and despite several follow ups and appeal from the bureau for an audit investigation of the 2007 and 2008 to determine the tax liabilities of the foreclosed G7 Bank.

G7 Bank (also Rural Bank of Nabua, Inc.) was closed for business by PDIC in 2008 due to problems in the banks cash outflow, despite being the biggest rural bank in Bicol with seven branches spread throughout the region and two other branches in the Metro Manila.

The bank was placed first under receivership by the PDIC which took charge of all its assets, records and affairs, subsequently, went through a liquidation process under the supervision of the PDIC to dispose all of its assets and properties.

Mendoza furthered the filing of charges is in line with the directive of BIR Commissioner Kim Henares not only to run after tax evaders but also to file charges against persons obstructing the tax bureau’s effort to collect the right taxes.

Meanwhile, the tax bureau chief said that BIR Bicol’s seven revenue district offices collected a total of P3.2 billion from January to August or 29.29 percent over the same period last. The tax bureau in Bicol has set a tax collection goal of P4.7 billion for 2010.

Mendoza added that BIR Bicol has continually surpassed its tax collection target for the past three consecutive years. (EDLeon, PIA V/mal)

AKO BICOL FILES MOTORCYCLE ANTI-OVERLOADING BILL

LEGAZPI CITY— Ako Bikol (AKB) partylist has filed House Bill No. 3360 that will prohibit overloading of motorcycles and limits passengers to those above 12 years old.

The increasing prices of petroleum and traffic congestion led to the increase in the number of motorcycle purchases. Use of motorcycles is found to be a convenient, efficient, and cheaper means to evade traffic.

Admirably, Congress responded to this concern when it passed Republic Act No. 10054 or the “Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009”, which mandates the use of helmets for drivers and passengers.

However, AKB reps also recognize the need to act on the uncontrolled overloading of motorcycles, which, according to the Metro Manila Development Authority, is one of the major causes of motorcycle accidents.

Motorcycles are made to accommodate only two (2) persons – the driver and one passenger. It has become a habit to accommodate more than two persons as in the case of the habal-habal, a popular public utility in the rural areas, which can accommodate around six (6) people.

They also observed the dangerous habit of including infants and children as passengers. Alarming also is the fact that the use of helmets for toddlers and infants is not imposed. This presents a very dangerous situation that endangers the lives of children who ride motorcycles unprotected, usually snuggled between parents or tucked in the arms of a parent.

The bill is aimed at lessening, if not eradicating, the dangers imposed by motorcycle-overloading and safeguarding the interests of children. (AKB PAO/PIA/mal)

HEALTH AND MEDICAL SERVICES FOR KABIHUG TRIBE ON IP WEEK

DAET, Camarines Norte – The Indigenous People (IP) here locally known ‘kabihug’ in sitio Kalibighu, Barangay, Osmeña, Jose Panganiban this province joins the IP week celebration last week.

Atty. Nydia A. Hebrio, OIC of the National Commission on Indigenous People said that activities conducted include: basic hygiene training, malaria and tuberculosis awareness last October 13 and 15 respectively.

A medical mission, civil wedding, civil registration, tribal wedding and cultural night presentation with songs and dances were held October 15.

The Kabihug also participated in tribal games, IP forum with partners and stakeholders, and awarding of prizes and surprise gifts last Oct. 16.

Earlier the kabihug attended the training in cultural mural painting and benefited in the alternative supplemental feeding for the IP children.

The activity was sponsored by the Diocese of Daet, SFACFI, Caritas Australia and the Indigenous People Empowerment and Development Project (IP-EDP).

This year’s theme “ Kabihug tagapagpayabong ng lupaing katutubo”. (RBManlangit, PIA CamNorte)

BFAR TRAINS INSPECTORS, STAKEHOLDERS ON HYGIENE PRACTICES IN FISH TRADING

PILI, Camarines Sur — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Bicol has conducted a three-day training on the Sanitary Code of the Philippines and Requirements of Export Chain on October 7-9, 2010 at the Avenue Plaza Hotel, Naga City.

A total of 30 sanitary inspectors from Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon and Catanduanes and fish traders of fresh/frozen fishery products, talangka and crab meat from Camarines Sur and Sorsogon were trained on Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) as required by the Sanitary Code and Export chains.

The Technical Related Training Assistance (TRTA) Project of the European Union (EU) sponsored the event.

Dr. Christopher Oates, a consultant of the TRTA shared a comprehensive lecture on the first day. He discussed the Food Safety Requirements for Export Markets and Technical Requirements of Inspection.
To apply the knowledge gained, the participants had a mock inspection in the fish processing facilities in Camaligan and Gainza, Camarines Sur on the second day.

The participants also attended a campaign on good hygiene practice on sanitation at Barangay Cagbunga in Gainza which was participated by BFAR Assistant Regional Director Marjurie Grutas, Mayor William Abilay, Barangay Chairman Eriberto Pablo, and the talangka gatherers and pre-processors as well. A press conference followed the campaign to further disseminate the importance of abiding with the sanitary code in the preparation of fishery products. (RACanabe, BFAR V/PIA/mal))

DA PROVIDES BICOL FARMERS SEEDS TO BOOST RICE PRODUCTION
By Danny O. Calleja

PILI, Camarines Sur — Farmers in Bicol are now being provided by the Department of Agriculture (DA) with planting seeds in support to the government’s Rice Sufficiency Plan (RSP), a nationwide effort for the country to regain self-sufficiency in the staple grain.

This initiative is part of the implementation of the Rapid Seed Supply Financing Project (RaSSFiP) of the DA in tandem with the National Food Authority (NFA) under the Rapid Food Production Enhancement Program (RaFPEP) designed to avert rice price crisis similar to what was experienced by local consumers in 2008.

“This remains an urgent response to prevent an emergency by providing seeds rapidly to increase rice production immediately,” Jose Dayao, the regional executive director of the DA for Bicol based at its Regional Field Unit (RFU) in Barangay San Agustin here said on Tuesday.

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

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

About 2,000 farmers tilling some 5,000 hectares of rice fields in all the six provinces of Bicol are qualified to the program and Dayao said all they have to do is coordinate with their respective Municipal or City Agriculturist Offices (MAOs/CAO)s) for more details on how to avail of it.

Each of the qualified farmer is entitled to one bag (40 kg) of certified inbred rice seeds per hectare. The DA through the NFA provides seed subsidy amounting to a maximum of P600 and since the subsidy ceiling is P1,200, the other half (P600) is borne by the farmer as equity.

Under the program, the local government units (LGUs) through their Municipal Agriculturist Offices (MAOs) provide the master list of farmers that are qualified to the subsidy.

The MAOs also provide the NFA listings of the farmers who are potential sources of certified seeds that could be procured for distribution to beneficiaries of the subsidy scheme.

The certified seeds that the NFA acquires should pass the testing by the Regional Seed Quality Control Service which requires that the seed should not be more than two months old at the time of purchase and with a germination rate of not less than 85 percent, free from pests.

The RaSSFiP was launched during the dry season in 2009 to support the government's Rice Self -Sufficiency Plan but due to some hitches in its implementing guidelines, it was reviewed and following some fine-tuning and the program pushed through its extension phase starting last September 16 to last until March 15, next year.

According to Marilyn Sta. Catalina, acting regional technical director for Operations and Extension and Regional Rice Program Coordinator, Bicol is among the 10 regions included in this special program.

She said Bicol farmers should take advantage of this opportunity and avail of the certified seed subsidy given that it is the only program of similar benefits under DA's regular programs.

“We wanted to maintain the reputation won by Bicol that ranked it as first among the regions in the entire country in palay production growth rate last year as reported by Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) that is why we wanted the most number of farmers to avail of this program,” Sta. Catalina said.

According to the BAS, the region posted a 17.3 percent palay production growth rate in the first semester of 2009 compared to the first semester of last year, the highest among the rice producing regions.

Camarines Sur, a consistent surplus rice producer, stood out among the provinces of Bicol in terms of volume in palay production which is an immense factor in the region’s number one ranking during the period.

Ilocos region ranks second with 13.08 percent growth rate for the same period, followed by Central Luzon which is known as the rice granary of the Philippines which registered a 9.23 percent net production growth.

Rice output in Bicol rose to 1.02 million metric tons in 2009, up 2.56 percent from the 997,581 metric tons in 2008, a separate DA report said adding that 313, 762 hectares were planted to rice in 2009 which represented an increase of 23,044 hectares over 2008.

Local leaders specifically Camarines Sur Governor LRay Villafuerte has placed high premium on agricultural productivity, especially on palay production, because of his firm commitment that it is vital to the economic acceleration of the province.

The BAS report attributes the remarkable performance of Bicol to the use of quality seeds by the farmers, the additional use of inputs and better irrigation system. (PNA Bicol/PIA/mal)

BFAR-BICOL JOINS “FISH IS LIFE” FESTIVAL, FISH CONSERVATION WEEK

PILI, Camarines Sur — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Bicol joined the Fish is Life Festival in nationwide celebration of the Fish Conservation Week or FISHCON (October 17-23) at the Megatrade Hall 1 in SM Mega Mall B on October 18-20, 2010.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala graced the observance of the 47th Fish Conservation Week as he opens the 3-day Fish is Life Festival. The festival featured a 3-in-1 show where all the key players of the fishery sector come together to provide the public relevant information and technical know-how about the fisheries industry and to promote quality seafood products at factory prices.

With the theme “Asenso sa pangisdaan makakamit sa sama-samang pagtutulungan," government agencies such as the BFAR including its regional offices and national centers, DTI, DOTC-PCG, DOST-PCAMRD, SEAFDEC-AQD, DA-PFDA, DA-PhilMech, DA-ACPC, NGOs for Fisheries Reform, PAMPANO and other fisherfolk organizations showcased their banner programs under the KAUGNAY AKO agency exhibits.

BFAR-Bicol showcased the capiz shells handicraft of Sorsogon City, which is becoming a profitable livelihood for the red tide-affected fisherfolk and their families, in its booth along with other fishery products from Bicol such as Tiwi, Albay’s seaweed noodles.
At least 30 producers of various kinds of fish and fishery products offered their products for sale at reduced prices under the KABALIKAT KAMI Producers Show. There were taste testing, free product samples and other promos for the early birds.

Moreover, the festival also featured lectures and techno-demos on various livelihood opportunities in fisheries including strategies on how to conserve and protect the aquatic resources in the KAYA NATIN Techno-Livelihood Seminar Series.

BFAR Director Malcolm I. Sarmiento Jr. said that the festival aims to provide a one-stop shop that would enable the public to understand the intricacies of the sector as well as to provide them livelihood opportunities that they could venture in especially in their hometown provinces.

Sarmiento stressed that the show was very informative, interactive and fun-filled as the BFAR regional offices showcased their banner programs in fishery production as well as in conservation, while its national training and development featured various technologies in the fishing, farming and processing of fish and fishery products.

Meanwhile, BFAR-Bicol Regional Director Dennis del Socorro has called on the active participation of the Local Government Units (LGUs) to hold their own activities in the celebration of the weeklong event with installation of streamers and media plugging regionwide.

Likewise, the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (RLECC) Sub Committee on Fishing and Marine Environment Protection composed of various law enforcement and regulatory agencies in Bicol (headed by BFAR) also put up tarpaulins in their respective offices to support the FISHCON.

In Camarines Sur, the LGU of San Fernando will strengthen its CRM Program with the significant participation of BAR and NGO-Bicol Convergence for Development Institution as partners; Inland Fisheries Resource Management; awarding of fishing gears to fisherfolk as livelihood project and tilapia fingerlings dispersal.

In the municipality of Cabusao, the activities are coastal clean-up, tree planting along the shoreline, registration of fisherfolk and fingerlings dispersal to fishpond operators and communal waters. In Barcelonita Fisheries School in Cabusao, the Fish Con Week Celebration will hold skills contest on fish feed formulation, bangus deboning, gill net construction and fishpond lay-outing.

Coastal clean-up activities are scheduled in Ragay and San Jose while tilapia fingerling dispersal is slated in Canaman. The source of fingerlings is the Regional Freshwater Fisheries Center of BFAR-5.

In Catanduanes, the BFAR Provincial Fisheries Office will conduct information dissemination drives to the community and schools.

In Sorsogon City, the LGU conducted a participatory coastal resources assessment, coastal clean-up and created an on-call, 24-hour dive team for the immediate response action for manta rays protection and conservation during its breeding and migration.

Meanwhile, a fish health management and sustainability of the naturally produced native fish and fingerlings dispersal for upland and coastal barangays will be held in Tabaco City. (RACanabe, BFAR V/PIA/mal)

DTI SHORTENS BUSINESS NAME REGISTRATION PERIOD

LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Bicol regional office here has since October 6 implementing the Enhanced Business Name Registration System (EBNRS) based on Department Administrative Order 10-08 series of 2010to further shorten the processing period to only fifteen (15) minutes.

DTI Bicol Regional Director Jocelyn L. B. Blanco said “the new system is one of the government’s commitments to facilitate faster and easier registration of single-owned businesses in the country. We, in the department make our clients feel important and needed.

“By doing so, we build a friendly environment and thereby attracting more businessmen to invest in our local communities, “ the director added.

The new system has the following salient features:

• Reduced required information in the application form – only seven (7) required fields
• Single Registration per BN, regardless on the number of branches
• Territorial coverage of business name (whether within a barangay, city/municipality, region or national in scope) specified
• Relaxed rules on the prohibition of identical and confusingly similar BNs
• Registration at any DTI Field Office
• No need to personally file your application; if online

Blanco explained that the National Economic Research and Business Assistance Center (NERBAC) places under one roof all government agencies giving permits and licenses. Businessmen need not go around the different offices in getting licenses.

“This way they save on time and transport expenses, thus lessening the cost of doing business in the country,” she furthered.

The department is also working on the Philippine Business Registry (PBR), a one-stop-shop facility for businesses that want to get mayor’s permit, registrations and licenses from the DTI, SEC and other agencies.

For further details about the EBNRS and other DTI programs, feel free to call DTI-5 with telephone numbers 480-5721/4805720. (JRBerango, DTI V/PIA/mal)

Aquino, Triet witness signing of 4 agreements between RP and Vietnam

HANOI (via PLDT and Smart) — The Philippines and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam signed four agreements which aim to further strengthen and enhance bilateral relations between the two countries specifically in the fields of Education, Defense, Environmental Concern and Search and Rescue at Sea.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and President Nguyen Minh Triet of Vietnam witnessed the signing of said four memoranda on Tuesday in Hanoi during the expanded bilateral meeting of the two heads of state.

The meeting took place shortly after President Aquino arrived at the Noi Bai International Airport Tuesday morning for a two-day state visit and to attend the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits.

The agreements signed include Academic Cooperation, Defense Cooperation, Oil Spill Preparedness and Response and Search and Rescue Operations at Sea.

Higher Education Commissioner Patricia Licuanan signed the MOA on Academic Cooperation in behalf of the Philippines. The agreement aims to promote cooperation on higher education and professional training, provide a framework within which detailed proposals for programs of education cooperation are to be jointly considered.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin signed the agreement on Defense Cooperation that intends to create a framework for boosting bilateral cooperation between the defense agencies and armed forces of both countries. Such cooperation specifically covers defense and military, equipment and technology, and defense industries.

Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo signed for the Philippine Government the MOA on Oil Spill Preparedness and Response. It will undertake Philippines-Vietnam cooperation in oil spill preparedness and response, particularly in the areas of human resources development, mutual assistance, information exchange, research and development, and other areas of cooperation.

Apart from these, Admiral Tamayo also signed the MOA on Search and Rescue at Sea that further aims to enhance the efficiency of search and rescue operations for ships and aircrafts and persons in distress.

“These agreements will improve the lives of the poor”, President Aquino said.

After the signing ceremonies, the Chief Executive met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The President congratulated the Vietnamese leader for Hanoi’s 1000th Founding Anniversary.

In turn, the Vietnamese Prime Minister congratulated the President for his success in the May 2010 polls.

In the evening, President Aquino attended a State Banquet hosted by the Vietnamese President in his honor at the Presidential Palace.

Philippine Ambassador to Hanoi Jerril Santos said the state visit and the President’s attendance to the ASEAN Summit is a good start citing the importance of the Chief Executive’s meeting with the leaders of ASEAN and Dialogue partners that will benefit the people.

The President’s state visit was upon the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart during their meeting last month in New York at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Before the bilateral talks, the President had a 15-minute tete-a-tete with President Nguyen Minh Triet at the yellow room of the Presidential Palace where he expressed profound thanks and gratitude for the warm welcome. (PIA V)

Aquino's state visit makes front page of Vietnam News

HANOI (via PLDT and Smart) — President Benigno S. Aquino III’s state visit here and his attendance at the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit from October 26 to 30 has reached fever-pitch prompting the Vietnam News, the national English daily of Vietnam, to feature the Chief Executive on the front page of its Tuesday edition.

In its article entitled “Philippine leader begins Vietnam visit,” Vietnam News cited the “friendship and comprehensive cooperative relation between the two countries” which it said “has been continuously developing and consolidating.”

“The two sides regularly exchange delegations at all levels and maintain close cooperation at international and regional forums,” the Vietnam News said.

It further cited that trade between the Philippines and Vietnam reached $1.87-billion in the first eight months of the year. These included import and export of rice, electronic components, agricultural products, fertilizer, machines, liquid gas, pharmaceutical products and building materials.

The President’s visit, which is his first to an ASEAN member-country since he assumed office in June this year, aims to further strengthen diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries which first established ties in 1976. (PIA V)

Aquino offers aid to tsunami-ravaged Indonesia

HANOI (via PLDT and Smart) — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday expressed sorrow and concern for the people of Indonesia devastated by the recent earthquake and tsunami.

The President, who is here for a two-day state visit and to attend the three-day 17th ASEAN Leaders Summit, also ordered Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to send search and rescue teams to Indonesia.

The Chief Executive expressed confidence that the country’s southern neighbor will be able to ”meet this challenge with the resolve compassion, and unity that has marked their response to national calamities in the past.”

The President disclosed that Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is also here for a state visit and to attend the ASEAN Summit will have to travel back to Indonesia to lead his people in the rescue, recovery and rebuilding efforts.

His scheduled bilateral meeting with the Indonesian President on the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Summit may no longer push through.

At least 108 people were killed, and hundreds remained missing Wednesday, after a tsunami smashed into a remote Indonesian island chain while in central Java a volcanic eruption left 13 people dead.

The 7.7-magnitude quake struck in the Mentawai Islands area west of Sumatra late Monday, generating waves as high as three meters (10 feet) that swept away 10 villages.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity due to its location on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire — a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

The country's most volatile volcano, Mount Merapi, 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) to the east, started to erupt at dusk Tuesday as scientists warned that pressure building beneath its lava dome could trigger one of the most powerful blasts in years.

The 7.7-magnitude quake that struck late Monday just 13 miles (20 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor was followed by at least 14 aftershocks, the largest measuring 6.2, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. (PIA V)

RP improvement in corruption index attributed to good governance

HANOI (via PLDT and Smart) — President Benigno S. Aquino III said that the recent upgrade of Transparency International’s corruption perception index of the Philippines showed his administration’s seriousness in ending corruption and that this drive would gain momentum in the coming years.

In a press conference Wednesday morning here, the President said that his group’s battlecry against corruption during the Presidential campaign has been carried over now that he is President of the Philippines and that he intends to achieve this advocacy until the end of his term in 2016.

“As I maintained during my presidential campaign, we will need to eliminate corruption if we want our country to move forward,” the President said, adding that our resolve to eliminate corruption will eventually gain momentum as we move towards a corrupt-free governance.”

In a media briefing in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda expressed hope the President’s policy on good governance could result in a further improvement in the country’s rating in the coming years.

Early in his term, the President directed the implementation of tough anti-corruption measures in an effort to improve the country’s economy and reduce poverty.

In its 2010 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), the Transparency International survey showed the Philippines was ranked 134th among 178 countries with a score of 2.4, better than its 139th ranking last year.

The 2010 CPI measures the degree to which public-sector corruption is perceived using the scale from 10 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt).

Despite the improvement in overall ranking, the Philippines still lags behind most of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, among them Malaysia which is ranked 56th; Thailand, 78th; Indonesia, 110th; and Vietnam, 116th.

Transparency International (TI) is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, which is a comparative listing of corruption worldwide. (PIA V)

Aquino allays concerns of Filipinos in Vietnam

HANOI (via PLDT & Smart) — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday met with some 150 Filipinos working in Vietnam and gave solutions to two of their concerns at the Grand Plaza Hotel here.

The concerns, as mentioned by Jun Torres of the Samahang Pinoy in Vietnam, were the recent closure of the Philippine consulate in Ho Chi Minh and the strengthening of the peso.

Torres stressed the need to reopen the Philippine Consulate in Ho Chi Minh so it can attend to the needs of Filipinos residing or working in the southern part of Vietnam.

“If there is reason, why not?,” the President said adding that the reopening will not happen overnight and that a study will have to be conducted.

There are around 3,500 to 4,000 Filipinos in Vietnam, the bulk of which are in Ho Chi Minh. Most of them are professionals and are held in high esteem by the locals, according to Philippine Ambassador to Vietnam Jerill Santos.

As to the further strengthening of the peso, the President made an assurance that the peso may stabilize within the present level.

Recognizing the fact that overseas Filipino workers are affected by the strong peso, the President stressed that one of the priorities of his administration is to create more jobs, so that working abroad will no longer be a matter of necessity but rather a career choice.

“What we want is a stable peso. The intervention of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in the market is needed to preserve the value of the peso,” the Chief Executive said adding that the government is in a position to do such because of high gross national reserves.

The President also informed the Filipinos here of the achievements of his new administration particularly in eradicating corruption.

He assured them that the Aquino Administration will work hard to improve the lives of the people.

“Ang focus natin ay para sa bansa hindi para sa bulsa. We will do what we have to do.” he said.

The President thus enjoined the Filipinos in Vietnam to unite and support his administration.

“We are at your beck and call. Tell us what you need and we will answer your call,” he assured. (PIA V)

Coloma convenes gov’t info officers

MANILA — Anchored on disseminating the “gospel of good governance” as its main thrust, Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma convened some 26 chief public information officers (CPIOs) from various government entities under the Office of the President (OP) on Tuesday at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City.

Communications officers from Cabinet-level departments, Social Security System, Landbank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the major branches of the military, among others participated in the forum.

Coloma urged the information officers to promote the Aquino administration’s efforts in pursuing good governance through transparency, accountability and moral ascendancy.

The event also served as a venue in shaking off from the PCOO (formerly the Office of the Press Secretary), the government’s official communications arm, the traditional propaganda machinery image that has been attached to it for the longest time.

Coloma also presented PCOO’s directions in optimizing the use of New Media as an additional platform for reaching out to the people particularly in getting the people’s feedback on certain issues.

“One story told well. Spread the word”, said Secretary Coloma is how he summed up the government’s gospel of good governance.

He explained that every government officer and employee is an alter ego of the President and how their work and words represent the Chief Executive’s own efforts and commitment to good governance.

Coloma further said that every achievement gained by a government worker, or every Filipino for that matter, not only reflects the effectiveness of the particular agency where he is attached to, but more importantly, the leadership of President Benigno S. Aquino III who is the ultimate in-charge of the whole bureaucracy.

“Communication on behalf of the President is not the duty solely ascribed to PCOO. It is the duty of every government communication officer”, Coloma said.

He also revealed to the information officers various strategies how to deliver the “good news.”

Coloma challenged the information officers to go beyond the press releases as a tool in image building. He likewise encouraged them to look into their own agencies’ inspiring success stories that will make Filipinos feel good and confident not only about the nation’s leadership but more importantly about themselves.

The forum was followed by a workshop on how the CPIOs could contribute to the achievement of the PCOO’s new thrust.

The event, participated in by DEVCOMNET, a development communication network composed of CPIOs, was hosted by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) under the leadership of its new Director General, lawyer Jose Fabia. (PIA V)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DENR SET TO DECLARE MORE MINERAL RESERVATIONS

LEGAZPI CITY — Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has directed the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to identify more mineralized areas throughout the country for possible declaration into mineral reservations.

Paje said the move to declare additional mineral reservations is to provide equitable access to mineral resources and to generate additional non-tax revenue for the government.

“Currently, the government gets only 2% share of gross sale from mining operations in areas covered by mining agreements in the form of the excise tax. The government, however, will get additional 5% in royalties if the mining operations are held in declared mineral reservation areas, for a total of 7%,” Paje said.

Section 5 of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 or R.A. 7942 provides that “when national interest so requires, such as when there is a need to preserve strategic raw material for industries critical to national development, or certain minerals for scientific, cultural ecological value, the President may establish mineral reservations upon the recommendation of the Director of the MGB through the DENR Secretary.”

Paje said there are currently nine mineral reservations throughout the country located in Ilocos Norte, Zambales, Bulacan, Camarines Sur, Samar Island, Surigao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Zamboanga del Norte, and all offshore areas throughout the country. (DENR V/PIA/mal)
Tagalog News

COMELEC, DAPAT NA MAGPALIWANAG SA POSTPONEMENT NG ELEKSYON SA ILANG BAHAGI NG BANSA – AKB PARTYLIST

LEGAZPI CITY - Nanawagan ngayon ang AKB Partylist sa Commission on Elections (Comelec) na magpaliwanag kaugnay ng pagkakaantala ng SK at Barangay elections sa ilang bahagi ng bansa kabilang na ang Bicol region.

Inihayag ni AKB Partylist Rep. Atty. Rodel Batocabe na dahil sa nangyari ay labis na naapektuhan ang ekonomiya sa mga lugar na hindi natuloy ang halalan.

Liban dito ay labis rin umanong nagastusan ang mga kandidato ngayong eleksyon.

Aniya, dapat lamang na ayusin ng Comelec ang kahandaan tuwing nagkakaroon ng halalan sa bansa upang ‘di na maulit pa ang ganitong pangyayari dahil pangunahing naapektuhan umano dito ay ang simpleng mamamayan. (AKB/PIA/mal)


TAGALOG VERSION

‘COMELEC, DAPAT BAYARAN ANG ORAS NG MGA BEIS’ – AKB PARTYLIST


LEGAZPI CITY - DahilAN sa pumalpak na SK at Barangay elections sa ilang bahagi ng bansa kabilang na ang Bicol, nanawagan ngayon ang AKB Partylist sa Commission on Elections (Comelec) na bayaran ang oras ng mga Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs).

Ito’y dahil maging ang mga guro na nagsilbi ay apektado rin ng pumalyang proseso ng halalan pambarangay.

Ayon kay AKB Partylist Rep. Atty. Rodel Batocabe, ‘di aniya sapat na magpaliwanag lang ang Comelec sa nangyari, kundi higit pa dun ang nararapat gawin ng komisyon.

Labis aniyang nakakadismaya ang nangyari dahil una ng tiniyak ng Comelec na handa na ang lahat at wala ng magiging problema pa sa oras ng halalan, subalit hindi ito natupad. (AKB/PIA/mal)
BIR overshoots collection goal anew for the first nine months of 2010

LEGAZPI CITY- The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Bicol regional office here has overshoot its collection goal for the first nine months of 2010 by P339,591,646.52 or 10 percent of the collection goal of P3,307,396.000.00.

BIR Bicol Regional Director Diosdado Mendoza said that the government tax collection agency seven revenue district offices collected ten percent more or P339,591.646.52 over their goal for the period.

Mendoza said that the collection was P724,344,719.43 over the same period last year or 24 percent over the 2009 collection.

He added that during the last three years BIR Bicol has continually surpassed its tax collection goal and he remains optimistic that this year’s P4.7 billion tax collection goal will again be met.

The BIR regional director also disclosed that they have recently filed a criminal case against an official e of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC), the chief liquidator of the recently closed G7 bank for his failure to submit books of accounts and other accounting records it required to be submitted to be able to determine the tax liabilities of the closed bank for the year 2007 to 2008.

He averred that they are currently studying the filing cases against some large tax payers in Bicol who failed to pay their correct taxes for the previous years in line with the directive of BIR Commissioner Kim Henares.

Mendoza said that the tax agency is now allowing tax payers who failed to pay their correct taxes can amend their tax return without penalties and surcharges and pay the right amount through the new abatement program of the BIR under the Revenue Regulation 9-2 of 2010.

He said that the deadline for the filing an amended return is on Friday October 29.2010.
He warned that after the deadline they will go after the tax cheats. (Ed de Leon)
8 BAYAN SA CAMARINES SUR, TULOY ANG ELEKSYON NGAYONG ARAW

CMARINES SUR Province -- Matapos na hindi matuloy ang eleksyon kahapon sa ilang munisipyo ditto sa camarines sur dahil sa pagkaka abala ng pagdating ng mga election paraphernalia ay inaasahan na tuloy na tuloy na ang botohan ngayong araw.

Kabilang sa mga bayang ito ang Calabanga, Buhi, Minalabac, Pasacao, Tinambac, Caramoan, Garchitorena at Lagonoy. Sa kalahatan ay dalawang daan at walumput apat na mga barangays pa ang nakatakdang magkaroon ng special elections ngayong araw..


Maliban sa mga bayang nabanggit ay may mangilan ngilan ding mga barangay sa ilang bayan na hindi nagawang magpa boto kahapon. Sa bayan ng Sipocot , Camarines Sur sa total na 46 barangays ay dalawampu sa mga ito ang hindi nagkaroon ng eleksyon kahapon. Sa Iriga City, out of 36 barangays, ay may anim na barangay na ngayong araw pa lamang itutuloy ang election, kasali rito ang mga barangay ng San Nicolas, San Vicente, Santa Cruz Sur, Sta. Elena, Sta. Teresita, at santo Domingo.

Sa bayan naman ng San Jose , ay ang barangay Adiangao na lamang ang magkakaroon ng special elections dahil tapos na ang beinte nwebe pang mga barangay ng San Jose kahapon.

Sa lunsod ng Naga ay nagging tahimik naman ang pagdaraos ng election kahapon kahit na nga gaya ng ilang bayan ay na abala din ang pag sisimula ng botohan.

Halos syento porsyento na ring tapos ang bilangaan bago sumapit ang alas dose kagabi.

Hinihintay na lamang ang opisyal na anunsyo ng comelec upang pormal ng matawag na mga bagong elected officials ang mga nanalo. (LSMacatangay, PIA CamSur/mal)
SitRep on BGY/SK Elections

SORSOGON... Reports bared that in some areas in Matnog and Sta. Magdalena towns as well as in Cabid-an Elementary School in Sorsogon City has no power supply since 9:00PM up to this time. Brgy. Tanods who are patrolling in their respective areas of concerns have helped the canvassers by utilizing their flashlights as so as not to impede the counting.
SitRep on BGY/SK Elections

Vote-buying in SK elections

LEGAZPI CITY... Residents in this city, who even called a radio announcer while on board a radio program, claimed on air that candidates for SK elections in Barangay Arimbay here and even in some other villages in the city are offering up to P3,000 just to solicit votes from the youth electorates.

The caller further asserted that rampant vote buying is evident right in front of polling precincts.

The concerned citizens, along with the media, are now urging concerned agencies, particularly Comelec and police authorities, to look into the situation and put a stop to this practice especially among the youth.

2 patay sa ambush sa pamilya ng incumbent barangay chairman sa Masbate

MASBATE CITY... Dead on the spot ang dalawang kapatid ng incumbent barangay chairman ng Barangay Ginutungan Island, bayan ng Cauayan sa lalawigan ng Masbate, matapos na tambangan dakong alas 4:00 kahapon.

Kinilala ang mga biktima na sina Bienvinido at Tranquiline Malanad, habang sugatan naman ang pinsan ng mga ito na si Jeckil Malanad.

Ayon sa imbestigasyon ng mga otoridad, sakay umano ng motorsiklo ang magpipinsan papunta sa bahay ng kapatid na kapitan na si Jeffrey Malanad nang paulanan ng bala ng 'di pa tukoy na mga suspek.

Nagpapagaling na ngayon sa Masbate City Hospital ang sugatang biktima na tinamaan ng bala sa kanang tuhod.

Pulitika ang tinitingnan motibo sa naturang krimen.

Napag-alaman na 531 pang mga barangay sa lalawigan ng Masbate ang nagsasagawa pa lamang ng halalan ngayong araw makaraang ipagpaliban kahapon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

NPO released election ballots on time – Coloma

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma on Saturday said the National Printing Office (NPO) completed the release of all election ballots three days before the elections to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“The NPO chief, Emmanuel Andaya, reported that the last batch of the election materials were received by the Comelec on Oct. 22,” Secretary Coloma said in a statement. The NPO is one of the agencies supervised by the PCOO.

Coloma also clarified that the NPO’s mandate was limited to the printing of the ballots, and was not tasked with distributing them.

Last Sunday, the Comelec issued resolution No. 9078 ordering the postponement of elections to Oct. 26 or 27 in areas where “official ballots, accountable forms and other election paraphernalia will arrive at its designated polling center after 12:00noon of Oct. 25.”

The Comelec was acting on reports indicating that “there will be delays in the arrival” of the election materials in some areas.

As of 3 p.m. today, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) election watch quoted Police Director Benjamin Belarmino as reporting that elections were suspended in 1,599 barangays, less than four percent of the 42,025 barangays nationwide.

The polls were suspended mostly in barangays in four provinces in the Bicol region, including the island provinces of Masbate and Catanduanes, Belarmino said. (PIA Release)
IN LEGAZPI CITY – Upper photo shows instead of going to the polling precincts for their respective voting centers people are gathered in front of Legazpi City Hall to be knowledgeable about the delay of the conduct of Brgy & SK election, today October 25.
Lower picture shows schools that are commonly used for a meeting place for election are bare of voters due to COMELEC announcement of postponement of Brgy & SK Election, that caused by late delivery of election materials. (Alex Cal/PIA)
A luncheon meeting with Secretary Alberto A. Lim of Department of Tourism, with media interaction at Hotel St. Ellis, Legazpi City last October 23. (Alex Cal/PIA)

NEW ROAD OPENING –Department of Tourism Secretary Hon. Alberto A. Lim (2nd from right upper photo) lead the ceremonial ribbon cutting to signal the formal inauguration and blessing of the newly constructed eight (8) kilometers road opening to Brgy. Rizal, Dap-dap to Puro-Lamba Coastal road a new investment area of the City of Legazpi. Assisted by Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine B. Rosal (left upper photo), DOT-5 Regional Director Maria Ong-Ravanilla and other government officials. (Alex Cal/PIA)
Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine B. Rosal give his message during the blessing and inauguration of the new road opening from Rizal, Dap-dap to Puro-Lamba Coastal road, the new investment area of the City of Legazpi. (APC/PIA)
St. Raphael Parish Priest Most Rev. Crispin Bernarte delivers his invocation during the blessing and inauguration of the newly opened road of Rizal, Dap-dap to Puro-Lamba Coastal road in Legazpi City.
Legazpi City, 7 Albay towns elections postpone for tomorrow


LEGAZPI CITY — Elections in 1 city and 7 towns in Albay have been postponed due to delay in the arrival of election materials.

City Election Registrar Atty. Jasmin Banzuela announced 7:30 a.m. that elections in the city is postponed for tomorrow.

Meantime, the Election registrars in the town of Daraga and Polangui, Atty. Ma. Sonia Mabilin, Atty. Wenceslao Reyes announced, too that elections in their municipalities are suspended and will be held tomorrow. Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda hails from Polangui town.

Per coordination with the Albay COMELEC office, Ramon Casulla reported that elections is postponed in the Libon, Camalig, Guiniobatan, Bacacay, Oas, and Legazpi City, Daraga, Polangui as earlier reported.

Elections is ongoing 2 cities and 6 towns. These are the cities of Ligao and Tabaco, and the towns of Tiwi, Malinao, Malilipot, Sto. Domingo, Rapu-Rapu, Jovellar and Manito. (PIA V)

Arrival of election materials delayed

LEGAZPI CITY — Elections in Sorsogon province may be delayed as election materials have not yet arrived.

Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Ryan Fulgeras is hopeful these materials may have been sent through air cargo and will arrive this morning.

Atty. Fulgeras said that elections will go on but will be delayed.

Teachers have stayed the whole night waiting for the materials. After a quick breakfast, they have returned to the Provincial Treasurer’s Office to wait for the election paraphernalia.

In Camarines Sur, per visit of PIA ICM at the Provincial Election Registrar, nobody can be interviewed but the utility man informed the PIA officer that the election materials have arrived 2 a.m. this morning and has been turned-over to the Provincial Treasurer.

PIA also learned that materials for the coastal municipalities of the province have not arrived.

The Provincial Election Supervisor of Camarines Sur is Atty. Noriel Badiola.

Meantime, COMELEC Regional Director Atty. Zacarias Zaragoza said in a radio interview that the office assumed that the election ballots should have been received a day before.

Atty. Zaragoza announced in same interview that elections in Ligao City in Albay will go on.

People in the Bicol region are asking if tomorrow will be declared a holiday since most areas will hold its election tomorrow, Oct 26.

In Camarines Norte, arrival of election materials was delayed, too

Arrival of election paraphernalia in the 12 towns of Camarines Norte were delayed, according to Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Annie Romero.

In the capital town of Daet the materials arrived 4 a.m., while nearby Labo town 3:30 a.m. These towns are still distributing the election materials until reporting time. In Daet, conduct of elections has not yet started.

Romero said that the materials has just arrived the town hall of Capalonga, the farthest town from the Daet. (PIA V/Sorsogon/CamSur/CamNorte)

PNP Legazpi pulls out security personnel as elections postponed for tomorrow

LEGAZPI CITY — With the postponement of elections in Legazpi City, Philippine National Police security personnel were pulled out 8 a.m.

Legazpi City Chief of Police PCI Abelardo Borromeo said that the pull-out has the consent of higher authorities, that of PNP Albay.

The 188 police force are now assigned for police visibility patrol and maintenance of checkpoints.

COP Borromeo added that the case of gun ban violator remains to 1 incident while as of reporting time only 1 case of liquor ban infringement recorded.

Combined election security group for Legazpi remains on alert in the city.

According to Borromeo PNP Legazpi is beefed up by the Charlie Company 2IB Philippine Army whose assignment is the upland barangays of the city, the Philippine Navy at the coastal barangays, the Philippine Air Force in barangay Bonga. Police personnel of the Albay Public Safety, likewise, assists the city police force. (PIA V)

Many areas in Bicol may not go on with the conduct of elections

LEGAZPI CITY — Many areas in Albay and Masbate have not received its election paraphernalia, which means election may be conducted tomorrow.

Teachers are still hanging around waiting at the office of treasurers for the arrival of said documents.

According to Albay Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Romeo Serrano only the municipalities of Camalig, Malilipot and Pioduran and the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao will go on with the elections.

Atty. Serrano said Tabaco City lacks 14,000 ballots.

Meantime, in Legazpi City, voters instead of going to polling places are milling around in front of the city hall waiting for reports if election will go on. At 7:15 a.m. today, Atty. Jasmin Banzuela announced that elections in Legazpi City is postponed due to incomplete arrival of ballots.

Legazpi City Chief of Police Borromeo said that he will pull out the assigned security personnel.

In the island province of Masbate, only three of 21 barangays have received today said election paraphernalia. These are the towns of Milagros, Palanas, Placer. Even Masbate City has not received the materials.

Atty. Alberto Cañares, provincial election supervisor, said that not all areas will have election today if the ballots will not be received by 12 noon today.

Over in another island province of Catanduanes, Provincial Election Registrar Atty. Ma. Aurea Bunao said that only the capital town of Virac will have its elections but will start at 10 a.m. today. Other polling places in the 10 more towns will have its elections if the ballots will arrive 12 noon today. (PIA V/Mabate/Catanduanes)

Friday, October 22, 2010

BIR BICOL FILES CHARGES AGAINST PDIC EXEC

LEGAZPI CITY— The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in Bicol has filed a criminal case against the chief liquidator of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) for failure to present for examination the books of accounts and other accounting records of a foreclosed bank, a top regional official of the bureau disclosed.

BIR Revenue Region 10 Director Atty. Diosdado R. Mendoza told PIA News Service that BIR has filed criminal charges against PDIC’s official for failure to obey summons, under Section 5 in relation to Section 266 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.

Mendoza said the tax bureau has filed the charges last week at the Iriga City Prosecutor’s Office following the failure of the PDIC chief liquidator to comply with BIR’s Subpoena Duces Tecum (SDT), received by the PDIC last December 8, 2009, and despite several follow ups and appeal from the bureau for an audit investigation of the 2007 and 2008 to determine the tax liabilities of the foreclosed G7 Bank.

G7 Bank (also Rural Bank of Nabua, Inc.) was closed for business by PDIC in 2008 due to problems in the banks cash outflow, despite being the biggest rural bank in Bicol with seven branches spread throughout the region and two other branches in the Metro Manila.

The bank was placed first under receivership by the PDIC which took charge of all its assets, records and affairs, subsequently, went through a liquidation process under the supervision of the PDIC to dispose all of its assets and properties.

Mendoza furthered the filing of charges is in line with the directive of BIR Commissioner Kim Henares not only to run after tax evaders but also to file charges against persons obstructing the tax bureau’s effort to collect the right taxes.

Meanwhile, the tax bureau chief said that BIR Bicol’s seven revenue district offices collected a total of P3.2 billion from January to August or 29.29 percent over the same period last. The tax bureau in Bicol has set a tax collection goal of P4.7 billion for 2010.

Mendoza added that BIR Bicol has continually surpassed its tax collection target for the past three consecutive years. (EDLeon, PIA V/mal)
AKO BICOL FILES MOTORCYCLE ANTI-OVERLOADING BILL

LEGAZPI CITY— Ako Bikol (AKB) partylist has filed House Bill No. 3360 that will prohibit overloading of motorcycles and limits passengers to those above 12 years old.

The increasing prices of petroleum and traffic congestion led to the increase in the number of motorcycle purchases. Use of motorcycles is found to be a convenient, efficient, and cheaper means to evade traffic.

Admirably, Congress responded to this concern when it passed Republic Act No. 10054 or the “Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009”, which mandates the use of helmets for drivers and passengers.

However, AKB reps also recognize the need to act on the uncontrolled overloading of motorcycles, which, according to the Metro Manila Development Authority, is one of the major causes of motorcycle accidents.

Motorcycles are made to accommodate only two (2) persons – the driver and one passenger. It has become a habit to accommodate more than two persons as in the case of the habal-habal, a popular public utility in the rural areas, which can accommodate around six (6) people.

They also observed the dangerous habit of including infants and children as passengers. Alarming also is the fact that the use of helmets for toddlers and infants is not imposed. This presents a very dangerous situation that endangers the lives of children who ride motorcycles unprotected, usually snuggled between parents or tucked in the arms of a parent.

The bill is aimed at lessening, if not eradicating, the dangers imposed by motorcycle-overloading and safeguarding the interests of children. (AKB PAO/PIA/mal)

HEALTH AND MEDICAL SERVICES FOR KABIHUG TRIBE ON IP WEEK

DAET, Camarines Norte – The Indigenous People (IP) here locally known ‘kabihug’ in sitio Kalibighu, Barangay, Osmeña, Jose Panganiban this province joins the IP week celebration last week.

Atty. Nydia A. Hebrio, OIC of the National Commission on Indigenous People said that activities conducted include: basic hygiene training, malaria and tuberculosis awareness last October 13 and 15 respectively.

A medical mission, civil wedding, civil registration, tribal wedding and cultural night presentation with songs and dances were held October 15.

The Kabihug also participated in tribal games, IP forum with partners and stakeholders, and awarding of prizes and surprise gifts last Oct. 16.

Earlier the kabihug attended the training in cultural mural painting and benefited in the alternative supplemental feeding for the IP children.

The activity was sponsored by the Diocese of Daet, SFACFI, Caritas Australia and the Indigenous People Empowerment and Development Project (IP-EDP).

This year’s theme “ Kabihug tagapagpayabong ng lupaing katutubo”. (RBManlangit, PIA CamNorte)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

PIA Regional Director Eduardo A. de Leon (upper right photo) presides over the Regional Information Advocacy Committee of the RDC meeting at NEDA Conference room last October 20. Photo shows PIA Information Officer-IV Aida Alcazar-Naz (left upper photo) read the Constitution and By Laws of the BicolComNet, Inc., Information Officer of government entities in the Bicol Region, are present to discuss their plans & programs.
MAY PLANO AKO – Albay Provincial Health Officer Dr. Luis Domingo B. Mendoza, discuss the Maternal and Child Health situation in the province of Albay, during the MEDIA Kapihan with CHD 5 & Albay Province held at Pepperland Hotel, Legazpi City, last October 18, 2010. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ALBAY INVESTS P67.4M TO BOOST EDUCATION

LEGAZPI CITY — The investment of the Provincial Government of Albay for this year’s education sector has reached P67.4 million, the highest budgetary allocation of the provincial government next to health, which it has properly divided among different projects.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda’s thrust in education is to ensure that there is a college graduate in every family and to give recognition to outstanding teachers, principals, and students as well as providing cash incentives to local government units implementing new innovation in education projects.

“Education is the only investment that guarantees a return, the moment a child is born, parents are thinking about education. When employees come to work, a vast majority is working to pay for education in one form or another, this is why the provincial government is investing more to education sector,” Salceda said.

Every year, the provincial government through the Provincial Education Department (PED) is appropriating P6 million for Gawad Albay sa Edukasyon. This program aims to give recognition to the Outstanding Principal in the province; Ten Outstanding Teachers in Albay (TOTAL), Student Excellence in Academic Leadership (SEAL) and Kadunong Award for Best Practices in Education program being implemented by the local government unit.

The awarding ceremony for all categories of Gawad Sa Edukasyon is set every 17th of December.

As of October 18, 2010, there are 16 finalists for SEAL; 15 finalists for TOTAL; eight qualifiers for outstanding principals; and four LGU finalists for Kadunong Award.

Governor Salceda said that winners for TOTAL and Outstanding Principals will receive P100,000 each plus a plaque of recognition while SEAL winners will receive P20,000 each, a plaque of recognition and a Lakbay Aral Program sponsored by private partner.

The best local government unit with best education practices will receive P200,000 and a plaque or medal of recognition.

Aside from giving recognition to individuals with excellence performance in the sector of education, the provincial government has maintained its Education Assistance for the past four to five years with a total amount of P38.8 million fund for calendar year 2009 to 2010.

“This amount is being utilized as financial assistance to some 7,000 college students enrolled in 12 indentified educational institutions in the province including 3 Bicol University Local Campuses,” Salceda said.

Since last year the province is implementing the Graduate Study Subsidy Program (GRASSP) for teachers taking master's degree. This program has a total budget allocation amounting to P2 million.

Governor Salceda emphasized that GASSP’s main objective is to promote highly competitive, intellectual standards and teaching competencies through quality research and this program is available to all graduate students.

For thesis writing, each student will receive a minimum of P30,000 and a maximum of P60,000 subsidy while for dissertation writing, a student is entitled to a minimum of P50,000 and maximum of P100,000.00 subsidy.

Meanwhile, the Albay Higher Education Contribution Scheme (AHECS) is now is now on the 2nd semester of implementation. This is a newly introduced education program in the province with a total budget appropriation amounting to P16 million to cover at least 1,600 target student beneficiaries for school year 2009-2010.”

AHECS is a study now pay later scheme for poor but deserving students in the province. “Because of the increasing number of scholars and high school graduates every year, the provincial government has decided to provide a new program to help students decide what course they wish to enroll to in college,” Salceda said.

AHECS beneficiaries are given free hand to choose their courses and schools. (MDRama, PNA Bicol/PIA/mal)

FAMILIES IN POVERTY THRESHOLD, MORE VUILNERABLE TO MAN-MADE, NATURAL RISKS

NAGA CITY — Among the sectors of the government, families living beyond the poverty threshold are more vulnerable to risks such as illness, death of a family member and catastrophic disasters, whether it is man-made or a natural calamity, disclosed by Joel Campipi, Department of Finance –National Credit Council (DOF-NCC) Technical Staff during a consultation meeting held at Starview Hotel here over the week end.

The event, spearheaded by DOF-NCC in cooperation with the Insurance Commission (IC), was attended by various stakeholders coming from different parts of the region. Most of the attendees are either head of their cooperatives or officers or members of lending institutions.

During the said interfacing, a run through of the road map to literacy on micro insurance was conducted. The result presented was taken from various regional consultations on financial literacy conducted by the aforementioned agencies.

The study revealed that while insurance seems like a good option to prepare oneself from any calamity, it is most often than not neglected either due to lack of awareness and understanding of its nature; low financial literacy level especially among the low-income sector and the negative perception of insurance due to bad experience with other companies or tales of dismay regarding its services.

DOF records show that only 13.92% of the Philippine population has life insurance while insurance penetration of the proportion of the premiums to GDP was only 1.05% in 2008. The result of the study further showed that of the 27.6m poor Filipinos, only about 2.9 have some kind of risk protection, almost half of which is normally provided by various entities.

Campipi said that with the effort that the government is doing, particularly with the national strategy for micro-finance , more and more people will change their opinion on insurance and eventually see its importance in protecting their lives and properties.

“We would like to enhance the awareness and at the same time increase access of the low-income sector to insurance and this is strongly manifested in our vision to have an adequate risk protection for them through a strong insurance culture among the Filipinos.”

Some of the stakeholders that the National Strategy for Microfinance have identified are the legislators, for the formulation of laws; government regulatory agencies who shall issue rules, regulations, and guidelines for the mainstreaming of micro-insurance; the national agencies who shall effectively link micro-insurance providers and clients; local government units who shall take the lead in promoting financial literacy and insurance providers who shall take the lead in directly providing micro insurance products and services to the low-income sectors.

The agency is also encouraging private entities such as the brokers and agents or intermediaries who shall facilitate the provision of micro insurance products and services to clients, support institutions, donors and other developmental partners and existing and potential clients or consumers. (LSMacatangay, PIA CamSur/mal)

TWO COPS KILLED IN MASBATE AMBUSH

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur -- Two policemen were ambushed and killed on Monday (October 18) by unidentified gunmen in a village in Pio V. Corpuz town in Masbate, a police official said.

Police Senior Superintendent Thomas Seminiano, Masbate Provincial Director identified the fatalities as PO3 Nonilon Agbones and SPO1 Nilo Abejuela, both members of the Pio V Corpuz town police force.

Semeniano said the fatalities were on board a motorcycle to report for duty at the town police station around about 8:30 am when they were waylaid by 10 heavily-armed men at Sitio Cabintay, Barangay Buenasuerte in Pio V.Corpuz.

The volley of fire instantly killed the victims that suffered multiple gunshot wounds in various parts of their body.

The victims’ bodies were immediately brought to the local police station for autopsy.

Joint police and military operatives of Task Force Masbate (TFM) that responded to the ambush cite recovered spent casings for M 16 and M14 rifles.

Seminiano said that the police are still determining the identities of the attackers who may be either members of a private armed group or New People’s Army (NPA) rebels operating in the area.

TFM operatives, led by 1st Lieutenant Ronnie Garchitorena, and elements from the Masbate PNP led by Police Inspector Moratala are on hot pursuit against the attackers.

“The crime scene was an ambush site where in 2003 a town police chief was slain that same area when ambushed by NPA rebels,” Semeniano said.

Investigators said the attackers seemed to have stayed for a while to spot for the victims as indicated by the food traces in their position,” said Seminiano .

The ambush killing of two policemen was the first election related incident to occurred in said town Semeniiano said.

Earlier operatives of Special Task Force Masbate recently arrested at least 6 suspected PAGs members and the confiscation of 8 highpowered firearms last month in Masbate. (HMCabunoc, DPAO 9ID PA/PIA/mal)

70,000 TILAPIA FINGERLINGS, SUPPORT SERVICES
GIVEN TO FISHERFOLKS ON FISHCON WEEK


DAET, Camarines Norte — Some 70,000 tilapia fingerlings were distributed to the fish farmers and local government units (LGUs) of coastal towns during the opening of the 47th Nationwide Fish Congress Week Celebration last week.

The activity was sponsored by the Provincial Government of Camarines Norte Fisher folks Council of Leaders, Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council and Socio- Pastoral Action Center Foundation.

Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Helen Abordo said that the distribution of tilapia fingerlings to fisherman-beneficiaries and LGUs is part of the livelihood support program of the provincial government.

An opening of ‘tiangge’ sa FishCon and ribbon cutting marked the opening day led by Governor Edgardo Tallado at the Inner Court Yard of the Provincial Capitol.

A radio program entitled “FARMC on Air” will be held October 20 at the DWCN-FM Radyo ng Bayan.

On October 21-23 will be the Proficiency Training on the Use of GPS, reading and plotting on Nautical Chart, distribution of certificates/token and closing program.

This year’s theme of the nationwide 47th FishCon Week Celebration is “ Asenso sa Pangisdaan, makakamit sa sama-samang pagtutulungan” (RBManlangit, PIA CamNorte/mal)

OWWA BICOL, HOSPITALS FORGE PARTNERSHIP FOR OFW MEDICAL PROGRAMS

LEGAZPI CITY — The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Bicol has tied-up with major hospitals in the region for its newly introduced medical programs for OFWs, according to the agency’s top regional official.

OWWA Bicol Director Jocelyn Hapal disclosed that the agency has recently entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital (OLLH) and Santissima Trinidad Hospital of Daet (STHD), both in Camarines Norte, and with Sta. Maria Josefa Hospital Foundation (SMJHF) in Iriga City, Camarines Sur for the initial implementation of the program

Hapal explained that OWWA’s new medical programs consist of HEALTHPRO and REHABPRO, established in response to the medical and rehabilitation assistance needs of OFWs. HEATHPRO covers hospitalization of OFWs whose illnesses are either classified intensive, dreaded and catastrophic cases; while REHABPRO consists of rehabilitation services to OFWs with physical disability and/or mental illness contracted overseas.

She furthered that a maximum of 100,000 pesos financial assistance will cover hospital bills, medicines, laboratory tests and similar expenses for active-OWWA member OFWs.

“Meanwhile, rehabilitation services may include physical therapy and assistive devices for OFWs with physically disability, and for mentally ill OFWs, institutional care and special medicines. Other special diagnostic procedures shall also be extended to cover CT-scan guided thoracentesis, angiography and others,” she said.

Hapal noted that with these tie-ups with hospitals, qualified OFWs will be assured medical treatment. Payments will be made directly by OWWA to the hospital to ease the problem of the OFWs particularly in deposit requirements and further treatment.

OWWA Bicol will soon reach other hospitals in Masbate, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon and Albay, to reach the entire OFW population in the region needing medical assistance. (KTVillamor, OWWA V/PIA/mal)

DOST–TAPI SETS INVENTION CONTEST AND EXHIBITS ON NOV. 25-27 IN CEBU CITY

LEGAZPI CITY— the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), thru the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), will conduct this year’s National Invention Contest and Exhibits (NICE) on 25–27 November 2010 at SM Cebu Trade Hall, SM City, Cebu City.

DOST Bicol Director Tomas Briñas said that pursuant to Article II of RA No.7459, NICE aims to select and grant cash rewards to Outstanding Inventions (TUKLAS AWARD), Outstanding Utility Models, Outstanding Industrial Designs, Outstanding Creative Researches (LIKHA AWARD) and Outstanding Student Creative Research (SIBOL AWARD) for high school and college students.

This year’s entries comprise the qualifiers/finalists from three hundred seventy six (376) competing entries during the Regional Cluster Invention Contests in Mindanao, Visayas, Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Central Luzon, and the National Capital Region.

With the theme, “Filipino Inventions and Innovations: The Way Forward”, this S&T event underscores the invaluable contributions of Filipino inventions and innovations in helping the country move forward by coping with diverse challenges brought about by global economic uncertainties.

NICE 2010 provides support to Filipino Inventors by bringing their inventions to public and potential investors and commercialization partners. It is also a venue to stimulate and encourage inventiveness and ingenuity of Filipino youth and the technically-oriented sectors in the country.

2010 NICE will also feature Non-Contest Invention Exhibits and Inventors’ Fair and Seminars/Fora. The Opening Ceremonies will be held on Thursday, 25 November 2010 (Thursday), 10:00 a.m. Viewing of Exhibits is scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ADMISSION IS FREE!!!

Inventors, makers, designers, researchers, entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs, students and S&T enthusiasts are enjoined to participate and celebrate in this year’s NICE.

It is an important gathering of Filipino inventors and innovators supported by the Federation of Filipino – Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCII), Chemrez Technologies, Inc., and Philippine Development Alternatives Foundation (PDAF). (TAPI/POLucena, DOST V/PIA/mal)

TWO BICOL TOWNS GET DILG “GOOD HOUSEKEEPING SEAL” AWARD

LEGAZPI CITY --- Two Bicol towns were among the 15 towns across the country that were awarded on Monday (October 18) the “good housekeeping seal” for their exemplary performance in governance, including promotion of transparency and accountability, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Bicol said.

Blandino Maceda, DILG regional director, said the towns of Sto Domingo in Albay and Mobo in Masbate were among the top awardees of the good housekeeping seal among other 4th-5th class municipalities in the country.

The awarding rites held at Malacanang, Palace, highlighted the Launching of New Initiatives with President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in celebration of the 20th year of Local Autonomy.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, who accompanied Sto Domingo Mayor Herbie Aguas in Malacanang, commended the political leadership of Aguas for being the recipient of the house keeping seal.

Salceda said “We congratulate the people of Sto. Domingo and its political leadership under Mayor Herbie Aguas.”

In the statement Salceda goes on to explain that in a recent comparative analysis on Human Development Index (HDI) of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) performance, Sto. Domingo also came out on top followed by Polangui, Albay among our 18 LGUs.

The two Bicol towns that belong to the 4th and 5th class municipalities that were bestowed the seal received P2 million each.

Maceda said Sto Dominog and Mobo towns were picked based on their performance in governance particularly in the areas of planning, fiscal management, transparency and accountability.

The awardees would also be qualified to avail of the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) where they can acquire necessary funds for the development of their respective municipalities.

The PCF is part of the DILG’s proposed P86.9 billion budget for 2011. (PNA Bicol/PIA/mal)

POWER COOP IN GEOTHERMAL-RICE SORSOGON IN SEARCH FOR ENERGY SUPPLIER
By Danny O. Calleja


SORSOGON CITY — Sorsogon Electric Cooperative (SORECO) II covering the first district of Sorsogon province that plays host to a giant geothermal energy production project is looking for a power supplier vice the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

WESM is a creation of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 that opened a venue where electricity from power-producing companies are centrally coordinated and traded like any other commodity in a market of goods in a level playing field with prices driven by the law of supply and demand.

The WESM in its web site said its role in the country's overall energy reform is to create a fair, transparent and reliable trading environment that will attract investments and encourage healthy competition leading to the ultimate objective of cheaper electricity for all consumers.

SORECO II wants another supplier to dispel the exorbitant power rates of the WESM that trigger considerable amount of increases owing to its higher generation and system loss charges, among others, Isagani Mendoza, a member of the cooperative’s Board of Directors, on Tuesday said.

“We have been under the mercy of WESM since last month when the government-owned National Power Corporation and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corporation did not renew our supply contract,” Mendoza said.

No explanation could be had as to why the NPC/PSALM declined to renew its supply contract with the cooperative and Mendoza said they themselves at the Board do not have the exact idea to answer the question correctly.

A flier of notice being distributed by the cooperative to its member-consumers says that “since last August 26 and until a new supplier is found, SORECO II had no choice but derive its power supply from the WESM and pay whatever amount it would charge.”

Similar to the stock market, power rates of WESM are not permanent. They may increase or decrease based on the Time of Use (TOU) and prevailing cost, it explained.

Immediately affected, the flier said the generation charge and whatever the amount billed upon the cooperative will also be the amount it would collect from the end users.

The rise or fall of the generation charge will also affect the system loss charge being collected by the cooperative from its member-consumers and that explains why the same charge along with the generation charge also increased during the latest statements of account received by each of them, it said.

The other items in the bill like the distribution, supply and meter reading charges remain at their original rates and will not be moved unless ordered by the Energy Regulatory Board (ERC), the flier added.

Percival Alvarez, the SORECO II general manager said “we are doing our best to find a new supplier that can be of help to the cooperative and could provide unwavering power service to all its nearly 500,000 member-consumers”.

“And until we find one, Alvarez said, “our situation will be similar to the fate of most of the cooperatives and power distribution utilities in the Bicol region or elsewhere in the country whose supply contracts were not renewed by the NPC/PSALM: enduring the higher cost of power supply from the WESM”.

Power bills covering consumption between August 26 and September 30 issued by SORECO II to its consumers over the weekend carries with it the additional burden: generation and system loss charges up by a total of over P2 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) of consumption compared to the July-August billing when the cooperative’s supply contract with the NPC was still in effect.

From P4.8514 per kwh in July-August, the generation charge rose to P5.9429 in August-September.

As a result, a household that consumed 100 kwh between August and September had to pay about P1,400, some P400 more that what was charged for the same amount of consumption in the previous months when the supply was still from the NPC. Rate of electricity in the province reaches over P10 per kwh.

Mendoza said, the situation is very unfortunate for the first district of Sorsogon that covers this city where the Bacon-Manito (BacMan) geothermal energy complex of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) sits at an expansive reservation covering Mt. Inang Maharang at the boundaries of Bacon area and Manito, Albay.

BacMan, from where the Luzon Grid draws 110 megawatts of energy is also where the geothermal power plants of the NPC that converts the geothermal steam into electricity are situated.

Meanwhile, the SORECO II over the weekend announced that it is already accepting applications for the five percent discount in power consumption of senior citizens.

The privilege is in connection with the implementation of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, according to Alvarez.

Qualified for the rebate, he said are senior citizens whose electricity consumptions do not exceed 100 kwh per month.

Under the new law, senior citizen centers or residential care institutions like group homes are also entitled to discounts in power bill payments as much as 50 percent, Alvarez added. (PNA Bicol/PIA/mal)


LA NIÑA UPDATE:


ONSET OF LA NIÑA 2010

Early stages of cold conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that started in July 2010 continue to persist and further strengthened reaching the La Niña threshold level as shown by the recent oceanic and atmospheric indicators. The weak to moderate La Niña event is likely to continue at least until early 2011, as suggested by the dynamical and statistical model forecasts.

La Niña periods are usually associated with above normal rainfall across most areas of the country during the last quarter of the year and early months (Jan-Mar) of the following year. Climate pattern in the country during the months of August and September (Northern Hemisphere summer) was generally influenced by the moderate to strong easterlies, one of the key indicators of typical La Niña event. Impact of this was below normal rainfall in most areas of Luzon during August and most areas of the country during September indicated weak southwest monsoon activity.

With the persistent anomalous strengthen of the easterlies over the central and western tropical Pacific, enhanced rainfall during October-December season is likely, coinciding with the start of the northeast monsoon period. Near normal to above normal rainfall condition is expected over most areas of Luzon and generally, near normal over the rest of the country.

The present La Niña episode may adversely impact on domestic, water supply, agriculture and the health sector. This may also cause flood, flashflood and rain-induced landslides in hazard-prone areas.

PAGASA will continue to closely monitor these conditions and regular updates/advisories shall be issued as appropriate. Meanwhile, all government agencies and the public are advised to take precautionary measures to mitigate the potential impacts of this event. (PAGASA /PIA/mal)

LA NIÑA ADVISORY NO. 1

Persistent cooling of the sea surface temperature (SST) in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean reached the La Niña threshold level last July 2010 as shown by the key atmospheric and oceanic indicators. This further strengthened and is now a weak to moderate La Niña event and likely to continue at least until early 2011, as suggested by the dynamical and statistical model forecasts.

The climatic condition in the country during the least two months was generally influenced by the moderate to strong easterlies, one of the key indicators of typical La Niña event impact of this was below
normal rainfall in most areas of Luzon during August and most areas of the country during September, which indicate a weak southwest monsoon activity. The other weather systems that affected the country during September were the ridge of high pressure area (HPA), intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), low pressure area (LPA) and two tropical cyclones namely: Tropical Storm “Henry” (September 3-4) and Typhoon ‘Inday’ (September 18-19). These tropical cyclones have no significant effect on the rainfall distribution of the country during the month.

Rainfall assessment for September was below normal in most parts of Luzon, Leyte province and Eastern Mindanao. Near to above normal rainfall was observed over most areas of the Bicol region, Central Visayas, Western and Central Mindanao.

Average air temperature observed during September were slightly warmer than normal in most parts of the country. The actual ranges were as follows: 23 degrees C to 34 degrees C over the lowlands of Luzon, 16 degrees C to 24 degrees C for the mountainous areas of Luzon, 24 degrees C to 33 degrees C for Visayas, 22 degrees C to 34 degrees C over the lowlands of Mindanao, and 17 degrees C to 31 degrees C over the mountainous areas of Mindanao.

Gradual shift of the wind from the southwest to the northeast flow is generally experienced during the later part of September up to October. However, due to the present La Niña event, prevalence of the NE wind flow was already observed.

The northeast (NE) monsoon, ITCZ, the tail end of the cold front, ridge of HPA and three or four tropical cyclones are the weather systems likely to affect the country in October. There is a probability of above normal rainfall condition to be experienced over some areas of Central Luzon, Bicol region, Mindoro provinces and the northern portion of Panay Island and generally near normal over the rest of the country. Predicted ranges or temperature for October are: for Luzon, 22 degrees C to 32 degrees C, the mountainous areas of Luzon from 16 degrees C to 24 degrees C, the Visayas from 23 degrees C to 32 degrees C, Mindanao from 22 degrees C to 32 degrees C, and the mountainous areas of Mindanao from 18 degrees C to 25 degrees C.

PAGASA will continue to monitor the day-to-day weather condition and the large scale climatic patterns that will affect the country. Updates/advisories on the on-going La Niña shall be issued as appropriate. (PAGASA/PIA/mal)

Aquino welcomes UAE Foreign Minister

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed the United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan who called on the Chief Executive in Malacañang on Wednesday (October 20).

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan was accompanied to Malacanang by His Excellency Assistant Minister Khalid Al Ghaith and UAE Ambassador to the Philippines Moosa Al Khajah.

Joining the President in welcoming Sheikh Abdullah at Malacañang’s Music Room were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Office of Middle East and African Affairs (OMEAA) Assistant Secretary Virgilio Reyes, Jr and Chief of Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Miguel Perez-Rubio.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the one-day visit of Sheikh marks the 30th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the UAE.

Because of this, the DFA said, “the Philippines will take the visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of ties between the two countries, advance the well-being and welfare of Filipino workers in the UAE, invite the UAE to do business in the Philippines, and seek development assistance for the southern Philippines.”

The DFA added that aside from a government delegation, Sheikh Abdullah was accompanied by “business leaders, including officials of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Investment Corporation, among others.”

“The UAE business delegation will be meeting and networking with Philippine businessmen and government officials from the energy, trade, development and investments sectors at the sidelines of Sheikh Abdullah's meetings,” the DFA said.

Upon his arrival at the palace grounds, Sheikh Abdullah was accorded military honors by members of the Presidential Security Group Honor Guards.

He was then ushered to the second floor of Malacañang where he signed the Palace Guest Book before a closed-door meeting with the President in the Music Room.

The UAE is the Philippines' second largest trading partner in the Middle East and the second top destination of overseas Filipino workers in the region. (PIA V/mal)

Aquino wants comprehensive plan for poverty reduction

MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday (October 19) urged the Poverty Reduction Cluster to come up with a comprehensive plan that will help alleviate poverty in the country.

In a press briefing in Malacanang, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said President Aquino convened the anti-poverty group on Monday to discuss the ongoing plans and measures towards poverty alleviation.

Secretary Lacierda said the President directed the multi-agency cluster to formulate a master plan that will be implemented in the next five years.

He added that the Chief Executive wanted to have a speedier benchmark system that will gauge the success of the program.

Poverty reduction is one of the centerpiece programs of the government which aims to uplift the living standard of the people.

The cabinet secretaries involved presented their framework for poverty reduction based on the previous discussions amongst themselves.

Present during the meeting are representatives from member-agencies including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Health (DOH), among others.

Also present is Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles who discussed issues on the peace process affecting poverty reduction.

Recently, the United Nations observed the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which aims to promote awareness of the necessity to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries. It has become a development priority among nations. (PIA V/mal)

Aquino satisfied over efficient handling of super-typhoon “Juan”

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed satisfaction over the excellent handling by the national government and local government units (LGUs) of the super-typhoon “Juan” (international codename Megi).

“I am very happy to report to the public that everyone has delivered. The thorough preparations of all concerned agencies are in marked contrast to the official helplessness of the past, and at present, we haven’t had to ask the public to contribute outside resources,” the Chief Executive said in a statement read by Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on Tuesday (October 19) at the Briefing Room in Malacanang.

According to the President, the excellent handling of the storm allowed him to focus on other equally important matters such as presiding over the Anti-Poverty Cabinet Cluster Meeting and meeting with the Mindanao governors on Monday.

The President noted that Typhoon Juan, the strongest typhoon the world experienced this year with gustly winds of 260 kilometers per hour, left significant damages but minimal loss of life.

He cited the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) through the leadership of Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo and Undersecretary Graciano Yumul, for its accurate and timely weather forecasts that prompted other agencies to prepare for Typhoon “Juan.”

The President also commended Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, and National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council Executive Director Benito Ramos “for their effective management of their respective mandates” and that the needs of affected communities were promptly delivered.

At the same time, the President extended his deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of those who have lost their loved ones.

Initial reports said Typhoon Juan killed at least 10 people as it generated waves as big as houses and destroyed thousands of hectares of crops.

As the super typhoon is moving away from the Philippines area of responsibility, the President said that work of bringing life back to normal in the soonest possible time is underway.

The President likewise said authorities are now geared up to restore power in areas where power supply was shut down as a precautionary measure while the DSWD is attending to the needs of 8,042 evacuees (as of 6:00AM, October 19, 2010).

He added that affected LGUs were advised to inform concerned agencies if they need any additional assistance.
The President also issued today Memorandum Circular No. 4 suspending office work in Regions I and II and the Cordillera Administrative Region for all non-essential personnel, to allow affected communities to attend to clean up and do rehabilitation work.

He said that the minimal damage and loss of life due to Typhoon Juan can be credited to the cooperation of both the government and the people.

“This should serve as a timely reminder to all to depart ourselves from the notion that government resides or depends on one person. It is the sum of all parts, the product of group effort and individual initiative and responsiveness…we proved that, together, we can mitigate risk; and that Filipinos working together, minimized of the costs of natural disasters,” the President stressed.

He also asked every Filipino to remain vigilant and be prepared for any eventuality until the weather condition improves. (PIA V/mal)