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

Monday, January 31, 2011

PNoy’s sis, Assisi Foundation, PPBCV conduct medical mission in Albay town
By Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) – More than 700 residents from the town of Bacacay who were affected by the 20-day torrential rains in Albay were recipients of the medical mission conducted by the Assisi Foundation and the Pinoy Power Bicol Coalition of Volunteers (PPBCV) held last Saturday, Jan. 22.

Dr. Ofelia Samar-Sy, PPBCV president disclosed in a radio interview over PIA Bicol’s Aramon ta Daw, Tuesday that said medical mission was initiated by the Assisi Foundation led by Presidential Sister Viel Aquino-Dee whose purpose is to help persons affected by the calamity that befell the province.

The Assisi Foundation sent medicines while PPBCV and volunteers carried out the medical activity.

Dr. Sy said that Bacacay was selected because until last week, said town and nearby Malilipot have not decamped its evacuation centers. Since party list Ako Bicol was set to visit the latter, PPBCV went to Bacacay.

The medical mission, which, was held at San Pedro Elementary School served the residents of the barangay plus six more villages some of which are coastal areas. As8ide from the more than 700 persons treated by physicians, more than a hundred families were recipients of relief goods distribution.

According to Sy, 20 Bicolano doctors who are members of the Philippine College of Physicians lend a hand during the affair. These doctors composed of cardiologists, surgeons, internits and pediatricians also donated mats and bed sheets (kumot).

Other health practitioners on hand during the medical mission were the Albay Medical Society led by its President Dr. Eric Raburar, Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), the provincial government’s Albay Health Emergency Medical team, Ibalong Medical Center and Estevez Memorial Hospital.

Said medical mission was likewise facilitated by the Akbayan Bacacay, a member of the PPBCV and the municipal government led by Mayor Tobias Betito.

In addition, the Office of Civil Defense assisted in the affair while the Philippine Army ferried the medicines and relief goods.

Sy announced that intravenous medicines which are antibiotics are available for indigents. Such will be given out free to those in need. Already, a poor patient confined at BRTTH was provided with the antibiotics.

The PPBCV president said that the medical mission was held three days before the 78th birth anniversary of President Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino.

Meantime, Sy gave an update on the Aklat, Gabay at Aruga sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa (AGAPP) project whose turn-over of pre-school buildings in Legazpi and Daraga last January 14 with Presidential Sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada at the helm, said that Daraga North Central School will be the next beneficiary of the project.

Finishing touches, particularly painting of the Anislag Resettlement Site pre-school building is almost through. Grade 1 pupils are expected to use one of the two-classrooms since there are only two pre-school classes. Pupils who are enrolled in grades 1-3 can likewise utilize the library services.

Taysan Resettlement Site is being considered as another location for the construction of the AGAPP building program in order to assist relocated evacuees displaced by Mt. Mayon eruption, Sy announced. PPBCV requests the local government of Legazpi City to help in providing electricity and water system so that the school will be constructed.

Another activity which PPBCV is looking forward to is the Nationwide EDSA 1 Fun Run set next month which hopes to raise funds for 25,000 classrooms for the Department of Education. She emphasized that would roughly mean 280 new classrooms for every province in the country. She calls on organizations and groups to join this noble undertaking. (PIA V/Albay)

DSWD screens LGUs for “Makamasang Tugon” expansion

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has developed an innovative process to sustain the implementation of KALAHI-CIDSS through Community-Driven and Development (CDD) approach otherwise known as the Makamasang Tugon.

The KALAHI-CIDSS Makamasang Tugon or MT is the integration of CDD principles and processes in the local planning by way of a local government unit-led implementation scheme.

DSWD Assistant Regional Director Evelyn M. Lontok and the Regional Project Management Team (RPMT) are in the process of enrolment and negotiating for the further expansion of KALAHI-CIDSS or the Makamasang Tugon in the next three years.

The DSWD Field Office V initiated screening of additional municipalities, adding more additional areas, which are being assessed by the RPMT.

Makamasang Tugon will be implemented in the municipalities of Aroroy, San Pascual and Claveria in the province of Masbate; Juban and Pilar in Sorsogon.

The municipalities earlier assessed in December 2010 were Caramoran and Bagamanoc in Catanduanes; Sta. Elena and Capalonga in Camarines Norte. The municipalities of Garchitorena, Presentacion, Siruma, Minalabac, Pasacao, Balatan, Sangay and Del Gallego in Camarines Sur.

Design using the KALAHI-CIDSS’ CDD technology, the municipalities are expected to: implement the project through Municipal Steering Committees (MSC) and Municipal Coordinating Team (MCT), engage strategies to encourage citizens’ participation, enhance transparency, promote accountability, establish local governance structures and mobilization of community volunteers.

Considered for inclusion are towns that are “currently covered by the DSWD’s 4Ps program” with “no previous arrangement with KALAHI-CIDSS” and those that have a “poverty incidence of 50 percent and above,” said Lontok.

The percentage of poverty incidence of municipalities is based on the 2003 Small Area Poverty Estimates released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

KALAHI-CIDSS project in Bicol region has funded a total of 667 community infrastructures. Projects that responded to the people’s prioritized problems from 2003 to 2009 in the amount of P779,668,600.26. Over 160,065 household beneficiaries presently reap benefits from the project.

KALAHI-CIDSS is the largest poverty alleviation portfolio of the World Bank in the Philippines. (CLMartinez, DSWD V/PIA Albay/mal)

Local Soya processing firm upgrade thru dost v intervention

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — “Had it not for the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Bicol with sincere and unselfish effort, I would remain crippled and struggling if not groping in the dark how to go on with my small business,” stated Fae B. Carranza, proprietor, Fabcarr Food Products, Panicuason, Naga City in a letter to DOST Bicol dated January 17, 2011.

DOST’s intervention consisted of technical assistance, equipment design and specifications and the provision of basic cooking equipment such as soya grinder with separator, industrial oven, freezer, chiller, multipurpose mixer/pulverizer, dough roller, tofu molder, heavy duty burner and cooking utensils (kettle/casserole/baking pans) amounting to P157,900 through DOST SETUP-assisted project “Upgrading Soya Processing and Utilization of Soya By-Products through Acquisition of Appropriate Equipment”.

Recently, the City Government of Naga through Mayor John Bongat approved Mrs. Carranza’s proposal to supply soya milk and soya bread to different public elementary schools in Naga City as part of the city’s feeding program. The daily feeding will involve P2,000 schoolchildren for a period of sixty days.

Carranza’s business started in 2004 when she was still a resident of Legazpi City. Prior to the technology intervention and typical of home-based enterprises, Carranza experienced low sales and decided for its temporary stop. Soya products (taho and tokwa) were sold in a stall at the Legazpi City Market in 2007, the family moved to Naga City and continued the business and added soya tea and milk sold in schools and households nearby.

After joining a women’s organization, the Naga City Women’s Council and encouraged by government agencies like DOST, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and others. Fabcarr Food Products was registered with DTI and issued a business permit by LGU-Naga City in March 2009.

With DOST’s assistance, the firm has hired two additional workers to handle grinding and pressing aside from family members engaged in production. Soya products now include chilled taho, tofu, soya milk, soya coffee, soya nutria-meat and soya nutribread. Carranza plans to construct a new production area that is Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) compliant. (POLucena /PNFelizmenio, DOST V/CamSur/PIA Albay/mal)

DTI V applies new fees for business name registration

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Bicol now implements a four-tiered registration fee system for business name (BN) registration, original and renewal, based on the geographical scope of their business effective January 2011.

The system is based on Department Administrative Order 10-10 series of 2010; Territorial Scheme of Business Name Registration is established based on the following geographical division: Barangay, City/Municipality, Regional and National. Under this new scheme, Business Name registrants shall indicate whether their business name would be applicable only within a particular barangay, city/municipality, region or nationwide.

The new Business Name (BN) Registration fees are as follows:

• Barangay - P 200.00
• City/Municipality - 500.00
• Regional - 1,000.00
• National - 2,000.00

DTI Bicol Regional Director Jocelyn L.B. Blanco said “the new system allows an enterprise to use
its business name in all the branches or outlets that would be put up within the territory where it is registered without additional cost”.

For instance, if an applicant opts to register a business name that is nationwide in scope, he would not have to pay for the registrations of each branch, thereby helping entrepreneurs cut costs.

For further details about the new BNR fees, feel free to call DTI-5 with telephone numbers 480-5721 / 480-5720. (JRBerango, DTI V/PIA Albay/mal)

Barangay Newly Elected Program 2011 training set

VIRAC, Catanduanes (PIA) — Series of trainings of the second component of the Barangay Newly Elected Program 2011 dubbed as “Laying the Foundation” was scheduled this February, 2011 at the different municipalities of the province.

This serves as the best starting point in preparing the newly elected officials of the barangay to the challenges of administering the smallest political unit of the country.

This component will pave way for a general orientation of barangay officials on barangay governance and administration. As barangay officials, they will be able to situate the state of their barangay governance as an important tool or measurement on crafting their own Barangay Agenda for Governance and Development (Barangay AGAD).

Generally, this component aims to enhance the competence of barangay officials on the basics of Barangay Governance and Administration, specifically, it aims to define their roles and functions as provided for under the Local Government Code of 1991; Discuss the importance of Barangay Planning; Legislation and Finance; Identify Basic Principle on Community Mobilization; Enhance Performance of Barangay through the Barangay Governance Performance Management System and Identify basic elements that will guide them in crafting their aim Barangay Agenda for Governance and Development.

The training is composed of four (4) parts namely; General Orientation on Barangay Governance and Administration; Improving Transparency and Participation; Enhancing Performance through Accountability and the Laying of the Grounds for Development .

Speakers for the training are staff of the Department of Interior and local Government (DILG) Provincial Office and the local counterparts in the eleven municipalities of the province. (EABagadiong, PIA Catanduanes)

A birthday bash with the firefighters
By Bennie A. Recebido

Sorsogon City, (PIA) — It was a dream come true for a child who visualizes himself as a firefighter when Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Sorsogon City gave him a chance to celebrate his birthday at the BFP office in this city.

Joshua Tyler Gamboa, a nine-year old boy, shows great passion for the works of men in uniform but notably has a greater respect for firefighters that he looks forward to be one with them in the future.

On January 28, 2011 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, his special birthday was celebrated and held at the firehouse of the BFP Sorsogon City.

Since this was the first time that a kid requested to have a party in a firehouse, the city’s legitimate firefighters, just like the kids, were also very excited to be part of the unique birthday celebration.

Sets of programs were prepared to further promote among the kids and even to the visitors fire safety awareness by introducing to them some fire safety tips.

Sorsogon City Fire Marshal Renato B. Marcial also shared to them the advocacy of the Bureau and imparted to kids the firefighter’s tough job in saving lives and properties.

The treat to one of a kind experience of a firetruck ride within the vicinity of Sorsogon City has added more color, fun and excitement for the kids.

“We in BFP are very happy to know that children as young as Joshua look at us with high respect and even dream of becoming one with us someday,” Chief Inspector Marcial said.

“That’s why I did not have second thoughts approving Joshua’s request that his dream of becoming a firefighter will come true early on his 9th birthday,” he added.

“This is the most memorable birthday I ever had. And I am deeply grateful to Sir Marcial and to the people of BFP Sorsogon City,” says Joshua with a big smile in his face. (PIA Sorsogon)

Masbate City mayor to crack down on inept, corrupt personnel
By Ernie Delgado

MASBATE CITY, (PIA) — Improving the quality of City Hall personnel is a top priority of Mayor Socrates Tuason in 2011 and this entails firing the inept and crooks.

Tuason enjoins the employees of perhaps the second largest local bureaucracy to kick bad practices as the city government pursues transformation similar to what Iloilo and Naga cities had started on the way to their present stature as models of good governance.

At yesterday’s flag raising rites, Tuason said he would make some changes in the City Hall to deliver better services to the public.

Tuason said he would turn the city government into a more efficient service organization by cracking the whip on remiss and corrupt personnel.

Those who had poor understanding of what it means to serve the public should shape up, he added.

Tuason later called his department heads to a conference where he reportedly took to task officials at the accounting office for allowing an in-house retail business there.

Critics within the City Hall described the accounting office as the “usual bottleneck” of transactions after the retail of goods was introduced there.

Sought for comment on who or what triggered the mayor’s crackdown on red tape and corruption in some offices, insiders and observers were one in theorizing that it was the dismal scorecards of the rogues in the City Hall.

The flunks reportedly surfaced when the Institute for Solidarity in Asia conducted the city’s 2010 performance evaluation. A source said those hooked in grease and carrots were the most conspicuous in ISA’s purported roster of flunks. (PIA Masbate)

Rapid seed supply financing project, still on-going

VIRAC, Catanduanes (PIA) — Over 200 farmers from this municipality and San Andres, San Miguel towns were able to avail the cheapest price of certified seeds yesterday (Jan. 30) through the collective support of Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento, National Food Authority (NFA) and municipal governments to the Rapid Seed Supply Financing Project (RaSSFiP) under the Rapid Food Production Enhancement Program (RaFPEP).

At present, Cong Sarmiento is persistently working and requesting for an immediate intervention from the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) Administrator to augment the budget for rehabilitation and construction of irrigation facilities in the province. (PIA Catanduanes w/ reports from Joriza Dela Rosa)

Chiz summons MRT, LRT for full audit report on non-rail revenues

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) -- Amid plans to raise metro rail fares, Senator Chiz Escudero wants the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) to submit to the Senate the full details and accounting of their revenue sharing from the advertisements and lease operations of the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA).

Escudero, chairman of the Senate justice and human rights committee, said these non-rail revenues can be tapped to subsidize the fare increases the government was planning to implement.

“If only the government gets its full collectibles from non-rail revenues, pressure to raise fare levels would be unloaded off its shoulder. From the way it looks now, there is a dismal proportion in terms of revenue sharing realized from non-rail revenues between the government and the MRTC,” Escudero said.

The MRTC, which operates the MRT, has been collecting and receiving income from ads and lease operations through its subsidiary, the MRT Development Corporation (MRTDevCo).

The MRTC, however, failed to settle its outstanding debt to the government, which now runs to more than P1 billion.

“While it is true that the government needs to look for viable measures to address the huge subsidy, it continuously shoulders the costs of our rail transport system, and raising fares should not be the first option,” Escudero said. “We have existing options that are just waiting to be explored. In this case, non-rail revenues should be maximized and utilized for fare subsidies.

Based on a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, the government at present subsidizes the fare of each commuter at P95.00 per day, or an annual subsidy of P23, 850 per rider.
The senator said the country should already be implementing what all rails in the world are doing: using non-rail revenues to subsidize fares.

A Japan Bank for International Cooperation study conducted in 2007 showed that non-rail revenues of MRT and LRT can still be improved by increasing the advertising rates and the retail tenant leased areas to deflect the fare hikes.

LRT’s non-rail revenue share is only 2.6 percent of the total earnings. Whereas in neighboring countries, their light rail systems get more than 20 percent of the non-rail revenues.

Escudero has been pushing for a congressional inquiry to determine ownership and full operational control of MRT 3 so that proper steps could be taken on how to deal with fare subsidies, among others. (Office of Sen. Escudero/PIA Albay/mal)

Friday, January 28, 2011

CamSur execs avail training in Good Governance
by Lizel S. Macatangay

IRIGA City, (PIA) ---- The University of Philippines Institute for Small Scale Industries (UPISSI), Small Enterprise Research and Development Foundation, Inc. (SERDEF) in coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) conducted a three-day seminar for local executives in the province at the Iriga Plaza Convention Center here.

Now on its last day, the confab dubbed as TAGGED-LGU or Training on Good Governance, Gender and Enterprise Development for Local Government Units, was also made possible by the University of Northeastern Philippines (UNEP) under the headship of UNEP President, Atty. Remelisa Alfelor-Moraleda.

The gathering was attended by municipal and city mayors, DILG provincial directors, municipal government operations officers, barangay officials, provincial, municipal and city administrators, department heads, planning officers, development coordinators and other local executives personnel who are exercising administrative functions.

The confab aims to provide local government officials, elected or appointed, with an alternative learning experience that they can use to enhance their managerial skills and expertise, particularly in implementing various programs and services being pushed by the government. Moreover, the discussions are expected to boost the attendees’ proficiency as crucial part of their community’s economic growth.

Invited presenters were Professor O. Raneses Ms. Cecilia R. Pascual and Ms. Crispina B. Almonte both of UP ISSI Project Team and UNEP Team headed by Atty. Moraleda.

Significant topics discussed during the said gathering includes Local and foreign scenarios and Entrepreneurial Challenges under the Philippine Business Environment; Small and Medium Enterprise Development Plan which includes discussion of agenda and prospects, specifically for Region V and Entrepreneurship as an Economic Process.

Gender Mainstreaming in the local government units (LGUs) , including its issues and concerns, were also discussed by Ms. Almonte of the UP ISSI.

Aside from the discussions, the participants also conducted plenary presentations and integration process where they discussed the development concerns of Camarines Sur. (PIA Camarines Sur)

Int’l humanitarian organizations tender support to Sorsoganons
By Bennie A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, (PIA) — Amidst test of patience and faith due to loss of livelihoods, angels are born to give hope so that one can start anew.

Just recently, two international humanitarian organizations visited Sorsogon to conduct assessment of the extent of damages brought by various calamities that hit the province, and identify what assistance can be extended to heavily affected areas.

These organizations were the Action Against Hunger (globally known as Action Contre la Faim or ACF International) – Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (ACF-AECID), an organization that develops a comprehensive strategy to put an end to hunger in countries directly affected by war and calamities; and the World Food Programme (WFP), the food aide branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization also addressing hunger worldwide.

Jose Lopez, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Management Office (PDRMO) said that representatives of ACF-AECID visited Juban town specifically Barangay Binanuahan to personally see the affected community and find out what assistance can be offered to them by their organization.

Binanuahan is the hardly flooded barangay in the province which records thousands of evacuees every time torrential rains occur.

Sorsogon Provincial Management Office (SPDMO) Executive Director Sally A. Lee in an interview with the “Sa Kapitolyo Week-end Report” radio program on Saturday said that the World Food Programme has immediately coordinated with her following the requested assistance from them by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Lee said that the WFP’s program is currently focused on the condition of lives and livelihood of families affected not only by the recent flooding but also by the restiveness of Mt. Bulusan.

“They said they are more than willing to give help particularly food assistance to affected residents especially in Juban and Magallanes towns as recommended by the DSWD,” she added.

Juban was declared under the state of calamity on January 10, this year, as it was at all times affected by lahar flows since Mt. Bulusan’s activities since November last year and was likewise heavily flooded due to torrential rains the past weeks.

Magallanes town, on the other hand, was identified because of its high vulnerability to landslides.

Both organizations assured affected LGUs that they will provide assistance to the flooded residents based from the result of their assessment. (PIA Sorsogon)

DepEd declares January 29 as ‘Early Registration Day’

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — The Department of Education (DepEd) has set January 29, 2011 as early registration day in public schools to ensure that all school-aged children are enrolled for school year 2011-2012 and achieve universal participation in basic education.

According to DepEd Bicol regional office here, the agency’s Department Order No. 2, the early registration targets all five-year old to be enrolled in kindergarten and all six year-old in Grade 1.

The DO 2 provides that early registration is also mandated in public secondary schools to guarantee the enrolment of incoming first year students in their preferred high school.

With early registration, the department will also have enough time to come up with education interventions and prevent students from dropping out of school, the order stated, the directive stated.

It further cited that the early registration has a special emphasis on Kindergarten because DepEd wants to ensure that every child gets all the support needed to create a head start in education.

As the Order requires, children who are born on October 31, 2006 or earlier shall be eligible for early enrolment in Kindergarten. Those who are born on October 31, 2005 or earlier, with or without Kindergarten experience, shall be eligible for early enrolment. The birth certificate of the child shall be the documentary basis. This document can be submitted either in June or within the school year.

Students who are not presently enrolled in Grade Six but have completed this grade level and who want to be enrolled in first Year High School shall present their Grade six card to the teacher-in-charge of the registration.

The directive stressed that if the report card is not available, a signed Certification Report by the parent/guardian could be presented.

While high school principals and staff shall work with barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan chairpersons to locate elementary graduates who have not enrolled in high school or those who dropped out from first year high school and make sure they register early so that appropriate program interventions could be planned. (MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)

Rep. Gonzales II assists anew Bato town, home of wife’s family
By Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) – House of Representatives Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II of Mandaluyong personally attended the ground-breaking of the P12.5 million multi-purpose building in Bato, Catanduanes, the hometown of the congressman’s wife.

Funds for the structure which will be erected at the public school Bato Rural Development High School was obtained through the efforts of Representative Gonzales.

Said ground-breaking that marks the construction of the building was attended in full force by Catanduanes officials. Joining Representative Gonzales, aside from his wife, were co-member of Congress, Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, Gov. Joseph Cua, Vice Governor Jose Teves, Jr., Bato Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez and Department of Education Division Superintendent Artemio Rivera, among others.

In an interview via PIA Bikol’s radio program Ugnayan sa |Bicol, Thursday, January 13, Representative Gonzales said that his assistance to Bato town is mainly because his wife is from the place.

“Pinalad po tayo na makpangasawa mula sa baying ito, kaya ako po ay naririto,” Gonzales said.

He added that there is no political stance as he is not planning to run for a post in the Senate come election time.

Other than the ground-breaking rites, the congressman donated a sound system, who according to him is similar to those he is distributing in Mandaluyong and five computers for use of the local government unit amounting to P250,000.

In past year, Gonzales donated a fire truck and a patrol car for the town which he said cost some P750,000.

Representative Gonzales also promised Bato townsfolk that he will look for funding for a ten-classroom building badly needed by the BRDHS. (PIA V/Albay)

DOH Cam Sur speeds up distribution of Philhealth cards
By Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA City, (PIA) -- In compliance to the directive of President Benigno Aquino III to buoy up programs that will alleviate poverty, the Department of Health (DOH) here, together with PhilHealth personnel has dispatched its members in various municipalities in Camarines Sur to speed up the distribution of PhilHealth Cards to eligible beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program otherwise known as 4Ps Program.

4Ps is a poverty reduction program of the national government covering the poor sector of the society.
It principally aims to provide conditional cash grants to its recipients. The amount will be used to augment the beneficiaries’ immediate needs on health, nutrition and education, specifically children whose ages range from 0 to 14. The program also seeks to break the intergenerational poverty cycle by investing in human capital.

Here in Camarines Sur, there is a total of 24, 653 recipients selected thru the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) spearheaded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development or DSWD.

As of January 2011, , DOH has already distributed a total of 5, 142 cards to recipients coming from the municipalities of Cabusao, Libmanan, Goa, Buhi and Calabanga.

Scheduled for Philhealth card distribution for the last quarter of this month are the municipalities of Tigaon, Balatan, San Jose and Siruma.

Dr. Arnulfo Carandang, DOH Medical Specialist IV and currently the Team Head of the PhilHealth Task Force said that he has already assigned various teams to simultaneously work on the distribution.

“ We are fast tracking the coordination and subsequently the distribution of PhilHealth Cards to our target beneficiaries and hopefully we can cover all of them before the end of February. We have already scheduled the towns of San Jose, Baao, Bula,Tinambac, Ragay, Bato , Del Gallego and the rest of the municipalities for the upcoming weeks. “

Under the sponsored program, registered families will be given cards valid for one year. Each beneficiary will receive Php 1,400.00 per month to cover the health and education needs of their children.
Compliance to the guidelines issued by DSWD is a must for the family to continue receiving the said cash grant for the next five years.

Compliance of the said program is also in line with the country’s commitment to meet the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) specifically in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achievement of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality, reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health. (PIA Camarines Sur)

Provincial rabies control committee reorganized

VIRAC, Catanduanes (PIA)- The Provincial Rabies Control Committee (PRCC) was reorganized recently pursuant to Memorandum of Agreement signed by the different department Secretaries concerned and representatives from non-govenrment organizations; and in effort to prevent and control Rabies in the province of Catanduanes.

The PRCC shall be composed of the following:

Chairman: Hon. Joseph C. Cua- Provincial Governor’s Office
Co Chairman: Dr. Jane C. Rubio – Provincial Veterinary’s Office
Dr. Lubella M. Sanchez- Provincial Health Office.

Dr. Artemio Q. Rivera- Department of Education
Atty. Arnaldo E. Escober Jr. – Department of Interior and Local Government
Pol. Sr. Supt. Lito B. Pitallano- Philippine National police
Ms. Edna A. Bagadiong- Philippine Information Agency
Hon. Wilfredo P. Snatelices- SP, Committee, Chairman on Health SP
Hon. Nel B. Asanza- SP, Committee, Chairman on Agriculture SP
Hon. Gregorio E. Angeles- SP, Ex. Officio Liga ng Barangay
Dr. Asuncion V. Astere- Catanduanes State Colleges
Mr. Benjamin J. Medel- Provincial Environment and Natural Resources
Engr. Fernan A. Gianan- Catanduanes Press Radio Club
Dr. Danilo Silva- Rotary Club of Virac
Ms. Soledad S. Eugenio- PHT, Department of Health
Mr. Edgar V. Ollet- Department of Agriculture
Ms. Zeny S. Vargas- People’s Organization
Ms. Arlene O. Bagadiong- Radyo ng Bayan

The PRCC shall exercise the following function to wit: provide a forum for inter-agency coordination on rabies control and prevention program, to provide mechanism for linkages with the different Rabies Control Consultative Committees;

to provide a medium of involvement of all Local Government Units in the control of rabies in the province, to collate, consolidate and submit all necessary reports as required by higher authorities and to perform such other functions as may be necessary in the prevention and control of rabies in the whole province. (EABagadiong, PIA Catanduanes)

Aquino assures GOCC dividends will be given back to the people
MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III assured on Friday (Jan. 28) that the P29.25 billion dividends and other remittances turned over by 19 government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) will be given back to the people in the form of social services, including anti-poverty programs.

“As you can see, we are working overtime to bolster our abilities to give back to the Filipino people what they have given us, the President said. “Uulitin ko po: Sila ang boss natin. We will do this, not only because this is what we are mandated to do, but more importantly, because this is the right thing to do.”

In his message at the ceremonial turnover of GOCCs check dividends and remittances at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang, the Chief Executive said dividends and other remittances from GOCCs will allow the government to frontload its expenditures and speed up the implementation of anti-poverty programs, among others.

He reminded the GOCCs that the money belongs to the Filipino people, who he said are the government’s shareholders, and not to the Board of Directors of GOCCs nor to officials of his administration

“The people are our shareholders. It is their interest that we have been tasked to protect. We give them what they own, and we give them the government they rightfully deserve: one that works for the public interest. It is in their trust that we hold our respective offices. Sila ang boss ko. Sila ang boss ninyo. We must always remember that,” he said.

Stressing that good governance is the cornerstone of his administration, the President said he is working on achieving a transparent and accountable government, worthy of the people’s trust thus the need to undertake reforms to enhance the ability of GOCCs to act as stewards of the people’s resources.

These reforms, according to the President, will be implemented with the help of Congress.

He noted that GOCCs have weak board governance, lack of transparency and disclosure practices, poor oversight and multiple and conflicting mandates.

Early on in his administration, the President, having discovered that GOCC board of directors receive exorbitant allowances, issued Executive Order No. 7 directing the rationalization of the compensation and position classification system in GOCCs and Government Financial Institutions.

“GOCCs will no longer be milking cows for politicians and their wards,” he said, adding that competent CEOs and Directors were chosen and they are expected to deliver improved services and finances in the GOCCs.”

The President said GOCC directors will soon be required to sign a performance contract with the Office of the President and their supervising secretaries so there will be basis to remove non-performing board members.

Moreover, the Department of Finance is developing an IT-based reporting system that will require full disclosure of several aspects of GOCC operations so the public will have access to the financial and operational results, renumeration policies, related party transactions, governance structures and policies, among others.

“Make no mistake about it: our positions are not our privilege, but an obligation placed by the people upon us. We promised to do, not only everything we can, but that we do it with honesty and with only the people’s welfare in mind. We pledged to serve them with commitment to professionalism and integrity, and they expect no less than this. We must not fail them,” he said.

A thorough review of GOCCs will be conducted during the first quarter of this year with the Department of Finance convening a strategic planning workshop with key GOCCs to strengthen coordination, and improve the oversight capabilities of the Government, and to draft a roadmap for the entire system of GOCCs.

The President added that in line with government’s zero-based budgeting, the continued operation of a GOCC has to be justified once the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, introduced by Senator Drilon, has been enacted into law.

“The time for patronage is over; now is the age of professionalism, meritocracy, and government institutions that are committed to the people… We will leave a country less poor, easier to invest in, and where people trust their government and all of its entities to work for their interests,” the President added. (PIA V Release)
Aquino offers P1 million for arrest of bus bombers
MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III has offered P1 million for the arrest of the perpetrators of the Jan. 25 bus blast that killed 5 passengers and wounded 13 others on EDSA in Makati City.

In an ambush interview in Malacañang after the ceremonial turnover of dividends from the Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC), the President said the reward will be increased if necessary to show government resolve to solve the case.

He said his decision to put up a bounty was made during a meeting with various intelligence services Thursday afternoon. He added that the money will be sourced from the Office of the President contingency and intelligence fund.

During the security cluster meeting, he ordered a review of all plans, travel advisories and potential threats to make sure that every detail of the potential area of concern would not be missed.

The President said the security cluster approved the maximization of security guards, barangay tanod, barangay chairmen and other community-based peace and order personnel in helping and coordinating with the Philippine National Police.

These community-based personnel he said will be tapped to provide a monitoring arm for the government in its fight against terrorists.

GOCCs turn over P29.25 B in remittances
MANILA — A total of P29.25 billion were remitted by 19 government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) to the national government (NG) on Friday (Jan. 28).

The checks, representing prior year dividends, the balance of the 2009 cash dividends following the completion of the Commission on Audit reports, and 2010 partial dividends pursuant to President Benigno S. Aquino III in ceremonies held at the Ceremonial Hall of Malacanang.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas topped the list with a total of P14.23 billion in remittances representing prior year dividends of P9.31 billion and the balance of 2009 cash dividends of P4.92 billion.

The Land Bank of the Philippines remitted P4 billion representing the balance of 2009 dividends and partial dividends of 2010.

The Development Bank of the Philippines, turned over P2.8 billion while the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. handed P2 billion representing payments for guarantee fees due and other payables.

The Bases Conversion Development Authority turned in P1.8 billion representing the government’s share in the sale of assets, and the Manila International Airport remitted P1.49 billion, representing P1.21 billion dividends and P292 million representing government share.

The other GOCCs that turned over their dividends included the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (P2 million); National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (P3 million); National Electrification Administration ((P14.5 million); Cebu Ports Authority (P40 million); National Development Company (P49.4 million); Clark Development Corporation (P100 million); Philippine Leisure and Retirement Authority (P140.6 million); Trade Investment and Development Corporation (P150 million); Philippine Economic Zone Authority (P221 million);

Philippine National Oil Company (P452.9 million); Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (P500 million); Philippine Reclamation Authority (P335 million); and Philippine Ports Authority (P650 million).

“This is a good start for the government but I believe this can be further improved,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, in a press briefing in Malacanang, said.

He added that beginning this year, GOCCs will give their performance report to the President every January. This is similar to a stockholders meeting in private corporations.

He added that a good governance agenda for GOCCs will soon be implemented to further improve their performances and be at par with private companies.

He noted that GOCCs hold a total of $141 billion in government assets while equity amount to more than $41 billion or more than P6 trillion.

According to the records from the Commission on Audit (COA), there are 89 existing GOCCS.
Under the Dividends Law of 1994, GOCCs and GFIs are required to remit to the national government half of the income earned in each fiscal year. The remittance should be in the form of cash or in unencumbered or real estate properties with clean titles. (PIA V Release)
GOCC governance act among gov’t priority bills
MANILA — Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima on Friday (Jan. 28) said the Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC)Governance Act of 2011, a bill that will reform the structure and operations of GOCCs, is among the priority bills the Aquino Administration will ask Congress to pass.

In a press briefing in Malacanang, Purisima said the Aquino Administration wants to imitate Singapore 's and Malaysia's utilization of their GOCCs in the creation of opportunities for the people.

Senator Franklin Drilon, principal author of Senate Bill 2640 or the proposed GOCC Governance Act of 2011, said that there is a need for much-needed reforms in the government corporate sector to make it an effective vehicle in achieving social and economic progress.

“The days when the GOCC boards can act independently of the national government are over. We are confident that once this bill becomes a law, the excesses and abuses we saw in the operation of the GOCCs will be a thing of the past," Drilon said.

The bill proposes the creation of the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) whose main task will be to conduct regular assessments and evaluations of the state firm's performance.

The GCG will also recommend to the President whether a GOCC should be reorganized, merged, streamlined, abolished or privatized.

The GCG will develop a new compensation and position classification system for all officers and employees of the GOCC. It will put a limit on the compensation of directors who had enjoyed excessive bonuses in the past, he added.

The bill makes it clear that directors are not entitled to compensation as directors but may be entitled to reasonable per diems only and emphasizes that directors are not entitled to retirement pay as seen in other GOCCs.

The GCG will also review the qualifications of individuals appointed as directors or elected as chief executive officer of the GOCC and disqualify those found unfit. (PIA V Release)
Ochoa: Gov’t coordinating efforts in the war against terror

MANILA — Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Thursday (Jan. 28) assured that the government was doing every effort to keep the public safe and urged the people to do their share by staying vigilant.

“While we are seriously concerned about the bombing, which definitely by design or not is terrifying, the Philippine National Police together with other agencies concerned like the intelligence community and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are already on top of the situation as they have been in the past,” Ochoa said.

“Rest assured that these will be resolved with reasonable dispatch and expediency. No cause for panic. Our citizens should be more vigilant though in assisting in every way the government in these efforts,” Ochoa added.

Ochoa said the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), which he chairs, had been updating policies since the Aquino Administration took over last year to better address the current terror threats, as well as the historical facts that prompted these activities.

The Executive Secretary also disclosed that he had started the reorganization and reengineering of ATC offices to conform to a program-based approach and enhance the performance of the agency’s mandate under the Human Security Act.

Under the new setup, ATC will be managed by a program management center headed by an executive director, whose primary task is to focus on “enhanced intelligence fusion, target hardening and consequence management,” Ochoa said.

The council will have a lean structure and will be composed of key program offices, where specific government agencies shall coordinate all government efforts in the war against terror, he said. (PIA V Release)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

DPWH to implement P3.9 billion worth of projects for 2011
By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office here has disclosed the other day that they will be implementing a total of P3,906,607,000.00 worth of infrastructure projects in the six provinces of Bicol this year.

DPWH Regional Director Danilo E. Dequito said that the projects will be implemented in accordance with the 3-Rs criteria formulated by DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to be adopted strictly by the department field engineers in the execution of the projects to ensure its durability and at the right cost.

Dequito explained that the 3-Rs refer to first, it should be the right project, second, at the right price and third, it should be constructed with the right quality to ensure its durability.

He said the projects are composed of P3.8 billion worth of locally funded projects and P36 million worth of foreign assisted projects.

Dequito said the province of Camarines Sur has been allocated a total of P1.2 billion worth of projects to be implemented in the five districts of the province — P500 million are for critical road and bridges to address critical bottlenecks,P334.6 million for rehabilitation of damaged national roads,P353.3 million for the upgrading from gravel to paved roads, P55.3 million for preventive maintenance.

Masbate, Dequito said, was earmarked a total of P784.5 million worth for various projects; Catanduanes P682 million; Camarines Norte P195.4 million; Sorsogon P154.3 million; Albay with P142.7 million; and P703 million worth of projects classified as region wide. (PIA V/Albay/mal)

Albay Food Security Program to benefit 300 poor families in 3 towns, 2 cities

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) – Some 300 families from three towns and two cities in Albay province will benefit from a joint project of government and private institutions aimed at improving the lives of locals displaced by calamities brought about by typhoons, floods, landslides, and Mayon volcano eruption.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the project will deploy the strategies developed by National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and Farmers Community Development Foundation International (FCDF), with funding from UNDP.

The project has been initiated by the Provincial Government of Albay, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National anti- Poverty Commission (NAPC).

Salceda explained that the project will focus on agricultural development to ensure food security and improve nutrition among identified displaced families in Sto Domingo, Guinobatan and Daraga towns, Legazpi City and Ligao City.

The project components, according to the governor, include planting of carbohydrate-rich root and tuber crops, corn and vitamin/mineral-rich native vegetables; establishment of a native vegetable garden in every school and day care center to support feeding program; planting of fruit bearing tree in every home; organic fertilizer production; poultry (native chicken) raising in every home; and food security garden in every barangay.

He said that the project also can generate income and employment through a banner vegetable and fruit plantation in every barangay; an organic fertilizer factory in selected barangays; and establishment of 200-head native chicken breeding project.

Meanwhile, Jeresha San Jose, program coordinator of the Albay Millennium Development Goals Office (AMDGO) said the project dubbed “Developing a Model to Promote Food Security and Nutrition in the Province” will cost some P5 million.

San Jose said Albay will develop a climate change preparedness model to promote sustainable food security, nutrition, generate income and employment.

“Such will also provide for other needs and build capacities of food and income deficient people to make the model sustainable,” she added.

San Jose furthered, 100 beneficiaries in every pilot town or city will be selected to participate the project, adding that the number will increase as loan repayments are collected and re-loaned until almost all or all interested residents are served.

“This will also enable economically displaced families to produce their food in the shortest possible time when natural calamities strike,” she also said.

San Jose, however, stressed that the project will not be in the form of dole-outs.

“Nothing will be provided for free, except the trainings and capacity building. Farmers have to pay for all inputs they will use and repayment can be re-loaned to other farmers until all target beneficiaries are served.

San Jose said for beneficiaries to access the capital, a micro-credit in-kind will be established in which it would be easy for participants to borrow and even easier for them. (MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)

Bicol youths back realization of MDG 7
By Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) – Some 165 youth organizations from different areas in Bicol participated in the BYEEnihan: Every Juan for the Environment through the Lakad at Pedal para sa Kalikasan to contribute in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7.

MDG 7 of the United Nations aims to ensure environmental sustainability.

BYEE, which stands for Bayer Young Environmental Envoy, Communications head Jovic Maurice Yee of Bicol University College of Arts and Letters said that the project is intended to be an on-going activity. It is spearheaded by the alumni of BYEE.

Yee said that the 165 organizations which conducted similar activities last January 15 in separate places in the region brought in a participation of 1,500.

In Legazpi City, the walk and biking activities started 5:30 in the morning followed by a luntiang almusalan (green breakfast) for participants who upon registration presented used plastic bottles.

At the opening program both Bicol University President Fay Lea Patria M. Lauraya and BYEE Program Officer Reynaldo Cutanda commended the efforts of the youth in changing the local environment landscape and mindsets.

The Legazpi City event dubbed the activity as Araw ng BYEEnihan with different endeavors form which the participants chose to join. Among these were the painting competition sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), photo competition, storytelling and the Forum on the Effects of Smoking to Health and the Environment facilitated by the Smoke-Free Albay Network (SFAN).

Future activities lined up by BYEE alumni include various tree-planting activities as 2011 has been declared International Year of the Forest.

The MDGs is a set of goals set by the United Nations where member-countries like the Philippines is expected to adhere to the implementation and achievement of the targets come 2015.

BYEE Bicol has observed that goal no. 7 has not been met fully if not halfway due to lack of local and individual participation. These young environmentalists also believe that environmental protection is a shared responsibility. Thus, they spearheaded activities towards this end.

Yee, who last year was among the four Bayer Young Environmental Envoys who represented the country in Germany said that interested youth organizations can still join and register by sending in their action plans to fulfill MDG 7. Interested groups can contact Yee via e-mail at iamjovic@gmail.com or CP No. 09279099383. (PIA V/Albay)

ALS confers award to outstanding barangays
By Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA City, Jan. 25 ---- The barangays of Concepcion Pequena, San Felipe and Sta. Curz, all from this city, were hailed as Outstanding Functional Learning Center in Naga City Division during a simple awarding rites held last January 21, 2011 at the ALS Pilot Center here.

The search was part of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) collaborative project aimed at providing a venue especially for out-of –school youths, children and adults where they can harness their learning and indulge in some discussions geared towards developing their reading and writing skills.

Moreover, these simple edifices are not only for literacy and informal classes but also serve as venue for meetings and conferences.

Mrs. Felomina L. Cecilio , ALS Head cited that the search was also conducted to measure the effectiveness and quality of the implementation of the project in the development of literacy for their target beneficiaries.

“Uplifting an individual’s literacy goes beyond the books that they read. These functional learning centers also provide our out-of-school youths, adults and even these out-of- school children, a venue where they can feel the collaborative efforts from their teachers and from their peers, which we think is a great tool in developing their personality.”

Barangay Concepcion Pequena headed by its Barangay Captain, Elmer Baldemoro was adjudged as first place, Brgy. San Felipe under the stewardship of their Punong Barangay Emerita Castillo ranked second while Barangay Sta. Cruz headed by Barangay Captain Lorenzo Narvaez was named third placer out of the six (6) finalists.

Barangay Concepcion Pequena will represent Naga City Division in the Regional Search for Most Outstanding Functional Learning Center this year.

In an interview, Ms. Adelaida A. Bables, Naga North ALS District Coordinator said that cash prizes were awarded to major winners while the finalists also received consolation prizes courtesy of the Naga City Government thru the School Board Fund.

The Search for Most Outstanding Functional Learning Center will be done every year to encourage stakeholders to partake of this program and help in uplifting literacy rate in their respective communities. All barangays are encourage to join and be adjudged as the next Outstanding barangay with a Functional Learning Center . (PIA Camarines Sur)

Construction of Land Bank ATM booth at CSC underway

VIRAC, Catanduanes, (PIA) — Here’s a good news to Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) Automated Teller Machine (ATM) clients from CSC.

Long bank queues will be at least minimized especially during paydays, as ATM transactions will soon be within reach to CSC community.

The construction of one unit LBP ATM booth for CSC has started on January 19, 2011, following the completion of the Memorandum of Agreement between CSC and LBP.

The off-site ATM booth will be conveniently located at the left wing of the CSC main campus main gate's waiting shed.

With this development, ease and accessibility is now within reach of CSC employees. This is one of the projects worked out by CSC President Asuncion V. Asetre.

The CSC Main Campus, which has around 400-strong employees, maintains an ATM payroll account with LBP Virac Branch.

LBP Virac Branch Manager Lorna P. Rojas and President Asetre signed the MOA which paved way for the installation of ATM booth.

While the CSC is the main client of the ATM booth, ‘uptown’ depositors (CSC belt and adjacent communities) will also benefit from this development. (CSC/EAB, PIA Catandunanes/mal)
Barangay heads tapped to check Masbate public buildings
By Ernie A. Delgado

MASBATE CITY—Mayor Socrates Tuason has asked barangay chairmen to inspect all buildings in their respective area to determine if these complied with local regulations, including safety standards.

Tuason ordered the inspection as applications of individuals and companies to operate business here await review by his office.

The mayor said he will issue closure order to business establishments that would lack absolute compliance with city government’s safety regulations. (PIA Masbate)
COLLECTION GOAL – BIR Bicol Regional Dir. Atty. Diosdado R. Mendoza, CEO VI, (left) presented the collection strategies and initiatives for CY 2011 during the press conference on the collection performance for Calendar Year 2010. The bureau was able to collect last year a total of P4.842,955.992.53 in various taxes. Also in photo PIA-5 Regional Dir. Eduardo A. de Leon and other media practitioners in Bicol region, held at BIR Regional Office, Legazpi City today, Jan. 27. (Alex Cal/PIA)
REPUBLIC ACT 9003 -- Legazpi City Mayor Carmen GeraldineB. Rosal officially launch the “Search for ESWM-Compliant School in Legazpi City”. In order to successfully implement the program all sectors schools/academe need to actively support and enforce the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Program of the city in their respective areas, held at the Legazpi TESDA Training center, Airport Road, Legazpi City, last Wednesday (Jan. 26). (Alex Cal/PIA)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

27th METROBANK Foundation Search for Outstanding Teachers on
by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) – Metrobank Foundation has started accepting nomination for the 2011 Search for Outstanding Teachers, now on its 27th year of honoring teacher-heroes.

Bicolano mentors who wish to join the ranks of outstanding teachers like last year’s winner, Conchita A. Ibarondo of San Antonio Elementary School in Iriga City has three weeks to be nominated by his/her school as February 14 is set as the deadline for submission of nomination of entries.

The ten 2011 winners will each receive a cash prize of P350,000 higher than last year’s P300,000 plus a specially-designed trophy and medal to be awarded by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III in Malacañang.

National finalists will receive P20,000 each while regional finalists will get P10,000 cash incentive and certificate of recognition.

This year’s search theme is “Sharing Knowledge, Inspiring Change” as the sponsoring foundation believes that teachers are everyday heroes in education that change the lives of their students.

As in past year, the search is open to teachers who are Filipino citizens teaching in the elementary, secondary or tertiary levels including those mentors of the alternative learning system.

The nominee must be actively teaching in the country for at least 10 years, actually teaching at the time of the nomination, possesses a PRC license, has a full-time appointment and with full load.

Winners of other searches for outstanding teachers conducted by reputable organizations like the Ten Outstanding Teachers of Albay (TOTAL) will automatically become provincial finalist. The nominees, however, are expected to meet the basic eligibility requirements of tenure, performance and teaching load and must undergo the usual nomination process.

The Search bestows recognition to teachers who manifest deep commitment to the development of the youth through exemplary competence, remarkable dedication to their work and effective educational leadership. Particularly, the quest seeks out for exceptional teachers who have made significant contribution to national development by raising the quality of education through effective, innovative and creative teaching strategies, materials and devices in addition to their commendable effort of brining the school closer to the community and vice-versa.

Elementary schools are entitled to nominate two nominees, one each from primary (kinder to grade III) and intermediate (Grade IV to Grade VII) while high schools and higher institutions are allowed to nominate only one per category.

Nomination forms are available in all Metrobank branches, Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education offices.

Bicol, one of top-producing regions outside NCR

In the 26-year history of the search, Bicol region has produced 18 winners with the National Capital Region garnering a total of 107, followed by Western Visayas 44, Northern Mindanao 23, and Bicol.

The 18 winners from Bicol were working in Camarines Sur, 10 (4 from Naga City, Iriga City 2, the towns of Nabua 3, Calabanga 1); Albay 3 (Legazpi City 1, Ligao City 1, Guinobatan 1); Camarines Norte, 2 (all from Daet); Sorsogon, 2 (from Sorsogon City); Catanduanes, 1 (from Virac).

The provinces of Masbate and Sorsogon and 39 others nationwide and the cities of Masbate and Tabaco along with 69 others have yet to win an award.

Until 2010, 296 teachers have been accorded honors since 1984 where 119 or 40 per cent were elementary grades teacher followed by secondary, 98 (33.11%); higher education 73, (24.66%); and technical/vocational educators, 3 (2.03%). Seven of every 10 winners were female teachers. (PIA V/Albay)

BIR Bicol overshoots 2010 collection goal by 5.55 percent
By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY- The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Bicol regional office again overshoot its yearly collection goal, now on four consecutive years, when it was able to collect P254,,681,992.53 more than the 2010 goal of P4,588,274,000.00.

BIR Bicol Regional Director Diosdado Mendoza in his report to Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said that the bureau was able to collect last year a total of P4,842,955,992.53 in various taxes or 5.55 percent more than the goal.

The 2010 collection was also P882,006,247.21 higher than the 2009 collection of only P3,960,949,745.32 or 22.27 percent more according to Mendoza.

Mendoza said that despite the slow down in government projects in the region, and the lack of personnel, the seven revenue district offices (RDOs) and the regional office were able to make good its collection performance because of several innovative approaches it implemented to increase collection from Income tax, Value added tax, Percentage Tax, Excise and other taxes.

He cited among them the intensified tax information campaign, collection of delinquent accounts, the regular tax compliance verification drive , the close monitoring of withholding agents of National and Local Government offices, Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC) projects and the voluntary compliance of top tax payers in the region.

Mendoza said that RDO district office in Masbate posted the best collection performance among the seven RDOs in the region when it exceeded its collection of P295,507,000.00 by P75,268,794.90 or 25.47 percent more, while the Daet, Camarines Norte RDO was second which posted a collection of more than P83,218,276.93 over the goal of P410,445,000.00 or 20.28 percent over.

This year Mendoza said that they have lined up several innovations to be able to again overshoot its collection goal for 2011 counting on the strong support and cooperation of Bicolano taxpayers. (PIA V/Albay/mal)

Bangko Sentral implements revised check clearing and settlement process

LEGAZPI CITY — The Bangko Sentral ng Pililpinas (BSP) has commenced Monday (Jan. 24) the implementation of Circular No. 68 or the Revised Check Clearing and Settlement Processes.

The circular mandates all banks to return checks drawn against uncollected deposits, insufficient funds, and checks with stop payment orders to the Philippine Clearing House Corp. by 7:30 in the morning of the following day after its presentation for clearing.

Thus, all unfunded checks shall automatically returned with service charge of P2,000 plus P200 per day for every P40,000 and fraction thereof.

This new process, according to the circular, means that checking account holders will not have the chance to fund incoming checks on the 2nd banking day after the check is presented for clearing.

The circular also provides that all checking account holders are advised to manage their account prudently and ensure that their checking account has already sufficient cleared balance on the day of issuance in order to prevent any inconvenience and penalty charges.

Also effective January 24, individual depositors enrolled at the Land Bank Phone Access or iAccess, or a corporate account holder enrolled in the weAccess, checks may be funded via ATM and electronic fund transfer until 10:00 o’clock in the evening on the day it was negotiated in Land Bank or in another bank.

ATM and Electronic banking transactions performed from 10:00 in the evening to 12:00 o’clock midnight will form part of the next banking day’s transactions.

Depositors may call on their respective banks for further clarifications. (MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)

UNDP to hold Intensive Community-based Disaster Mgt. training, pilots Barcelona town
By: Bennie A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, (PIA) — the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has chosen Barcelona town as pilot municipality in its forthcoming intensive community based disaster management training to be held here in March this year.

“We are grateful that Barcelona was chosen by the UNDP to be the pilot municipality,” said town Mayor Manuel Fortes.

“The town of Barcelona is currently in the process of reorganizing its Municipal Disasater Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), and UNDP’s decision of choosing our town as the pilot municipality for their disaster management training is very timely,” he added.

The chief executive in turn, has also chosen San Ramon to be the pilot barangay in Barcelona where said UNDP activity will be conducted. “Barangay San Ramon is a multi-hazard area not only because its main road is constantly flooded, but since it is also within the danger zone being located at the foot of Mt. Bulusan. “The area is also prone to possible landslides during heavy rains,” said Fortes.

During the conference held recently at the Sorsogon Provincial Management Office (SPMO), stakeholders here principally discussed the capacity building procedures to be undertaken by the UNDP focusing on various calamities that hit Bicol region since the last quarter of 2010.

Former Sorsogon Governor Sally A. Lee said that Mayor Fortes has wide experience in terms of disaster management. “In fact, before he was elected as the chief executive of Barcelona, he was the action officer of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) in Sorsogon,” she also said.

“His active participation and support in the climate change program of the provincial government was also very evident during the time he was the provincial administrator,” said Lee.

Fortes is also the current president of the Provincial Mayor’s League of Sorsogon.

“Climate change adaptation and mitigation has been the priority thrust of the local government of Sorsogon. Our tie-up with the UNDP is also a response to President Aquino’s concept of the public-private partnerships in pushing public service not only in terms of economic development but also especially if it would mean public safety,” Lee added.

Lee also said that aside from Barcelona and those towns who have been provided with the same trainings when she was still the governor of Sorsogon, the provincial government also prioritizes the remaining towns that have not yet benefited similar trainings from private agencies.

The Philippines was included among the 166 countries assisted by the UNDP, particularly in its development projects with vulnerable groups as their main target.

UNDP’s significant campaigns dwell on poverty alleviation and improving the quality of life of the community by promoting good governance, environmental sustainability, taking action on the issue on climate change and peace agenda. (PIA Sorsogon)

CSC-CHS Holds 1st Grand Alumni Homecoming
By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, (PIA) — The College of Health Sciences (CHS), formerly College of Nursing and School of Midwifery held its 1st Grand Alumni Homecoming (Batch 1975-201) last January 13- 15, 2011 at the campus grounds.

A thanksgiving mass officiate by Fr. Paul Isorena at the Virac, Cathedral, a parade at downtown Virac and book sale/signing at the CSC-CHS grounds highlighted the opening day celebration.

During the opening program held in the afternoon at the CSC gymnasium, Dean Jocelyn Ll. Jordan delivered the welcome address while former Dean Aida S. Bonafe and former principal, Prof. Lina Vargas of the School of Midwifery sent their respective messages and utmost felicitations as mentors.

After Ms. Rebecca-Gloria S. Alasko of Class 1979 gave an inspirational talk, former Dean Rebecca S. Sarmiento-Bala delivered her message as guest speaker. Ms. Melanie Mariano, president of the graduating class (2011) also gave her message. CSC President, Dr. Asuncion V. Asetre, also addressed the alumni who responded to the Alma Mater’s homecoming invitation.

An organizational meeting of the homecoming alumni and open house followed the opening program at the CSC-CHS grounds.

On the second day, Jan. 14, 2011, a symposium featuring series of lectures on ER nursing, precutaneous coronary intervention in MI, telemetry nursing, and diabetic nursing were given, respectively, by the homecoming US-based nurses.

After the open forum held in connection with said lectures-series, Prof. Marilou R. Lopez, chairman, Level IV (BSN), delivered the closing remarks, the alumni night was held later that evening.

An excursion was held at Twin Rock Beach Resort, Igang, Virac, Catanduanes on the third day, Jan. 15,2011 courtesy of the CSC-CHS administration, faculty and staff. (PIA Catanduanes)

8RD IB PA, awarded as best battalion for 2010
By Edna A. Bagadiong

Virac, Catanduanes- A Plaque of Recognition was presented to Col. Danilo P. Aquino, Commanding Officer of the 8rd Infantry Achiever Battalion of the Philippine Army based at Lictin, San Andres, Catanduanes for the laudable performance being adjudged as the number one Best Battalion of the Philippines for calendar year 2010.

Same award was also presented to Col. Aquino for being the Best Commanding Officer for the same year and significantly contributing in the overall mission and accomplishment of the 9th Infantry (SPEAR Division, PA which also made it as the best Division of the PA). The award was presented during the first command meeting last January 13, 2011 at Camp Elias Angeles, Pili, Camarines Sur.

Aquino thanked the local officials, other government agencies, non-government organizations, local media and the Catandunganons for the support to his battalion specially in maintaining internal security operation in the province.

The civil military and combat operation, intelligence gathering and other programs made his battalion number one in the country. (PIA Catanduanes)

Malacañang acts on woes of Masbate slum dwellers
By Ernie A. Delgado

MASBATE CITY—The Presidential Management Staff has asked the National Housing Authority to coordinate with officials here in coming up with an action plan to alleviate the plight of informal settlers in a coastal village here.

Albert Perfecto, NHA regional director for Bicol, told Mayor Socrates Tuason that he came over to draw inputs from Tuason and the chairman of Barangay Kinamaligan, which hosts a slum where people have complained about lack of potable water, among others.

Perfecto said the action plan should be ready by the end of January.

Perfecto said a reporter for ‘Biyaheng Totoo,’ which was aired by GMA Network shortly before the May 2010 presidential elections, acted as the sounding board for the woes of Kinamaligan slum dwellers. (PIA Masbate)

Aquino visits victims of EDSA bus blast, vows to bring perpetrators to justice

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III assured the victims of a bus bomb explosion at Edsa Buendia in Makati that authorities will get to the bottom of the incident and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Chief Executive made the assurance on Tuesday night (Jan. 25) when he visited the victims at the St. Luke’s Medical Center at The Fort in Taguig City and at the Ospital ng Makati.

The President also said the government will shoulder the medical expenses of all the victims and ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct a stress debriefing of the victims before they are discharged from hospital.

“The President was able to talk to the survivors and they related what they have experienced. They are still in trauma and cannot remember everything that happened,” said Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, who accompanied the President.

Soliman said the youngest victim is 19 while the oldest is 76.

From The Fort, the President proceeded to the Southern Police District (SPD) headquarters, also in Taguig, to personally check the damaged bus, where the bomb explosion took place.

He was with Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Raul Bacalzo, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, National Capital Region Police Director Nicanor Bartolome and Southern Police District Director, chief Supt. Jose Arne de los Santos.

The President, in a chance interview at the SPD, appealed to the public not to jump to conclusions yet as authorities are still investigating the incident.

He stressed that it is unfair to link the blast to the spate of car-jacking cases with murder and then paint them as reflections of a peace and order breakdown in the country.

The bus was moved to the SPD headquarters Tuesday evening to allow investigators from the crime laboratory to conduct further technical investigation. (PIA V Release)

Aquino cites business foundation’s role in uplifting lives of the poor

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III thanked all the officers and members of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) for their social commitment and active participation in creating a meaningful social change and embracing the idea of true corporate social responsibility in uplifting the lives of the marginalized sectors.

Addressing the 40th annual membership meeting and foundation day celebrations of the PBSP with the theme: “Celebrating 40 Years of the Great Philippine Merger for Social Development,” the President hailed its officers and members for their continued assistance to provide relief and seek solutions to reduce, if not eliminate, the long-decade problem of poverty.

“To the Philippine Business for Social Progress, thank you for proving me right. Thank you for your social commitment and for actively participating in uplifting the lives of the vulnerable sectors of our society,” the Chief Executive said in his speech at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

The President noted that the PBSP is very important for him because he worked in the organization after the assassination of his late father, Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

“PBSP was not naive. PBSP took a realistic view of what needed to be done to accomplish its goal. It took the discipline that you need to run a corporation and to apply that discipline to the projects to various disadvantage communities,” he said.

The President pointed out that PBSP responded without hesitation when he called upon all Filipinos in his first State of the Nation Address in July last year to make a commitment and participate in the fight to reduce poverty in the country.

As a private sector, he said, PBSP plays a vital role on his call not just as an economic driver but also as catalyst for positive changes in the lives of the Filipinos.

In exchange for their continued partnership to the government, the President assured them that his administration “will continue to operate under the banner of transparency and accountability, under daylight, under the guidance of his parents that gave birth to the freedom and democracy that our people currently enjoy.”

Meanwhile, Manny Pangilinan, PLDT chair and PBSP chairman of the board of trustees, presented to the President the organization’s symbolic renewal of commitment and support to the administration’s development agenda.

Afterwards, the President presented the plaques of recognition to the pioneer members of PBSP, namely: Washington Sycip of the accounting firm SGV, Sixto Roxas III, Jose M. Soriano Jr. of Atlas Consolidated Mining, and Don Emilio Abello (posthumous) of Meralco.

The President also presented plaques of recognition for active service to Ambassador Bienvenido Tan Jr. of Philippine Tobacco and Modern Glass, and Ma. Luisa Perez-Rubio, respectively.

The recognition in creating impact to uplift the lives of the Filipinos was given to Angelo King Foundation for the 200th building they built.

PBSP, the country’s oldest and largest business group into social development, is a pioneer in Asia as a corporate-driven development foundation. Since its establishment in 1970, PBSP has been involved in corporate citizenship and social responsibility practices.

In the past 40 years of existence, PBSP has raised P5.2 billion, benefited 6.4 million Filipinos, and assisted over 6,500 social development projects such as in education, health, sustainable livelihood and micro, small and medium enterprise development, farmland area resource and coastal resource management, disaster coordination and risk reduction and caring for the rainforests and watersheds. (PIA V Release)

PNP intensifies intelligence, security operations nationwide

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Raul Bacalzo has ordered intensified intelligence and security operations throughout the country with the declaration of full alert status nationwide following the Makati City bus bombing on Tuesday that killed five people while 13 others were wounded.

Bacalzo placed the entire 137,000-strong police organization under full alert status effective 5 p.m. Tuesday, hours after an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded inside a Newman Goldliner air-conditioned bus (TXJ-710) while traversing along the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue.

”All Police Regional Offices have been placed under full alert and all PNP units were ordered to intensify checkpoints and security operations specifically in soft targets such as vital installations, commercial centers, economic key points, mass transportation systems such as bus stations, railways and seaports and airports using special units such as K-9 and EOD (Explosive and Ordnance Division)Teams,” said Bacalzo.

Four passengers of the ill-fated bus died on the spot while another expired while being treated at a nearby hospital. Thirteen others were injured.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Nicanor Bartolome said initial investigation by the EOD showed that the IED used in the attack was composed of an 81mm mortar shell triggered by a cellphone device.

”We mobilized all available investigative and intelligence units to assist in the investigation of this bus explosion,” said Bacalzo.

Bacalzo also ordered the creation of a special investigation task group (SITG), headed by Southern Police District (SPD) director Chief Supt. Arnie delos Santos, to conduct thorough probe of the explosion.

A Crisis Management Committee, headed by Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, was also created.
Bacalzo ordered the SITG to coordinate closely with the committee.

”The SITG is composed of investigators from the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group), Intelligence Group, Crime Laboratory and Philippine Bomb Data Center supported by the AFP-NCRCOM, NBI and MMDA,” said Bacalzo. (PIA V Release)

CA confirms appointments of Almendras, Domingo

MANILA – The powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) finally confirmed on Wednesday (Jan. 26) the ad interim appointment of Secretaries Jose Rene Almendras of the Department of Energy and Gregory Domingo of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Almendras and Domingo easily hurdled the powerful commission after nobody opposed for the confirmation of their appointment as recommended by the committees on energy and trade and industry at the plenary session.

CA committee on trade and industry chairman Rep. Ferjenel Biron of Iloilo said in his report that he is “unanimously convinced of the unquestionable qualifications” of Domingo, a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University with a master degree in business administration.

It was Domingo’s second tour of duty in government service as he also served as DTI undersecretary and vice chairman of the Board of Investments from 2001 to 2004 during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

According to Biron’s report, Domingo was instrumental in initiating the promotion of business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, leading to the creation of more than 38,000 jobs in the country.

Despite the sworn opposition filed by some individuals, Almendras survived three committee hearings with committee on energy chairman Senator Serge Osmena III calling the official as ‘highly-qualified’ for the top post of the energy department.

”In seven months of his tour of duty at the energy department, the committee was impressed with the deep and wide understanding of the complex issues besetting the energy sector,” Osmena said in his committee report.

With the confirmation of Almendras and Domingo, the CA-confirmed Cabinet members of President Benigno Aquino III now increased to six with the early approval of the appointments of Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim and Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

Meanwhile, the CA committee on national defense failed to decide on the ad interim appointment of Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin after Senator Alan Peter Cayetano requested for another hearing to clarify some issues. (PIA V Release)

China backs int'l cooperation on prosecution and imprisonment of Somali pirates

UNITED NATIONS — China backed the international community to enhance their cooperation on prosecution and imprisonment of Somali pirates and called for more assistance to address the humanitarian needs in the eastern African country, a senior Chinese diplomat said here on Tuesday (Jan. 25).

Addressing an open meeting of the UN Security Council on piracy in Somalia, Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, said effective prosecution of the criminal act of piracy and imprisonment of perpetrators of pirate act is an important link in combating piracy in Somalia.

"Based on the current international legal framework and the relevant Security Council resolutions, China supported the international community to enhance cooperation on prosecution and imprisonment of Somali pirates, " Wang said.

To tackle the piracy in Somali needs to address both the symptoms and root causes of the problem, he noted.

A comprehensive strategy should be adopted in order to promote such issues as politics, economics, security and humanity in balance, Wang added.

Wang stressed that the international community should positively respond to the appeal of Somalia and provide more assistance to the country.

Somalia has been in crisis for some 20 years and is currently threatened by acute drought conditions. The eastern African country has some of the worst humanitarian conditions that exist and has the world's largest displaced population. (PNA/Xinhua/(PIA V Release)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY- The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Bicol regional office again overshoot its yearly collection goal, now on four consecutive years, when it was able to collect P254,,681,992.53 more than the 2010 goal of P4,588,274,000.00.

BIR Bicol Regional Director Diosdado Mendoza in his report to Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said that the bureau was able to collect last year a total of P4,842,955,992.53 in various taxes or 5.55 percent more than the goal.

The 2010 collection was also P882,006,247.21 higher than the 2009 collection of only P3,960,949,745.32 or 22.27 percent more according to Mendoza.

Mendoza said that despite the slow down in government projects in the region, and the lack of personnel, the seven revenue district offices (RDOs) and the regional office were able to make good its collection performance because of several innovative approaches it implemented to increase collection from Income tax, Value added tax, Percentage Tax, Excise and other taxes.

He cited among them the intensified tax information campaign, collection of delinquent accounts, the regular tax compliance verification drive , the close monitoring of withholding agents of National and Local Government offices, Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC) projects and the voluntary compliance of top tax payers in the region.

Mendoza said that RDO district office in Masbate posted the best collection performance among the seven RDOs in the region when it exceeded its collection of P295,507,000.00 by P75,268,794.90 or 25.47 percent more, while the Daet, Camarines Norte RDO was second which posted a collection of more than P83,218,276.93 over the goal of P410,445,000.00 or 20.28 percent over.

This year Mendoza said that they have lined up several innovations to be able to again overshoot its collection goal for 2011 counting on the strong support and cooperation of Bicolano taxpayers. (PIA V/Albay/mal)

DPWH to implement P3.9 billion worth of projects for 2011
By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office here has disclosed the other day that they will be implementing a total of P3,906,607,000.00 worth of infrastructure projects in the six provinces of Bicol this year.

DPWH Regional Director Danilo E. Dequito said that the projects will be implemented in accordance with the 3-Rs criteria formulated by DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to be adopted strictly by the department field engineers in the execution of the projects to ensure its durability and at the right cost.

Dequito explained that the 3-Rs refer to first, it should be the right project, second, at the right price and third, it should be constructed with the right quality to ensure its durability.

He said the projects are composed of P3.8 billion worth of locally funded projects and P36 million worth of foreign assisted projects.

Dequito said the province of Camarines Sur has been allocated a total of P1.2 billion worth of projects to be implemented in the five districts of the province — P500 million are for critical road and bridges to address critical bottlenecks,P334.6 million for rehabilitation of damaged national roads,P353.3 million for the upgrading from gravel to paved roads, P55.3 million for preventive maintenance.

Masbate, Dequito said, was earmarked a total of P784.5 million worth for various projects; Catanduanes P682 million; Camarines Norte P195.4 million; Sorsogon P154.3 million; Albay with P142.7 million; and P703 million worth of projects classified as region wide. (PIA V/Albay/mal)

…0.6% slower than 2009

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — The National Statistics Office (NSO) in Bicol has noted an average annual inflation rate in Bicol Region for the year 2010 was 4.0 percent, slower by 0.6 percentage point than the 4.6 percent average in 2009.

NSO Bicol chief Cynthia Perdiz said that the increment in the annual inflation rate was due to the higher rates recorded in the food, beverages and tobacco (2.5 percent from 2.4 percent); fuel, light and water (11.8 percent from 8.0 percent) and miscellaneous items (2.1 percent from 2.0 percent).

Perdiz said that at the regional level, the year-on-year inflation rate increased to 3.0 percent in December 2010 from 2.7 percent in November 2010, wherein rates were maintained in the indices of clothing (1.3 percent) and housing & repairs (1.7 percent) while the annual price hike was slower in the services index at 2.3 percent from 2.5 percent.

She added that across provinces, annual price movements were slower in Catanduanes at 2.3 percent from 2.8 percent and Masbate at 1.5 percent from 1.9 percent. In contrast, higher annual inflation rates were registered in Albay (3.9 percent from 2.7 percent), Camarines Norte (3.6 percent from 3.4 percent), Camarines Sur (3.1 percent from 2.9 percent) and Sorsogon (3.6 percent from 3.5 percent).

On price situation

NSO Bicol data, meanwhile, show that the consumer price index (CPI) for all income households in the region was registered at 169.3 in December 2010, higher by 1.3 index points from the recorded CPI of 168.0 in November 2010.

“In terms of rate, the all items month-on-month inflation rate was registered at 0.8 percent in December from 0.3 percent growth in November,” Perdiz noted.

The same data also show that the over-all month-on-month rate of food, beverages and tobacco (FBT) index increased to 0.5 percent in December 2010 from 0.1 percent in November 2010.

“This could be attributed to the higher rates observed in the indices of fish (0.2 percent from -0.1 percent), meat (0.1 percent from -0.6 percent), miscellaneous foods (1.5 percent from 0.6 percent), beverages (0.3 percent from 0.0 percent) and tobacco (0.3 percent from 0.1 percent),” she explained.

However, according to the NSO Bicol director, these increases were counterbalanced by the negative rate continuously posted in the cereal and cereal preparations (-0.1 percent from -0.3 percent) due to the enough supply of rice and corn in the markets.

Meanwhile, the data also show that dairy products index and fruits & vegetables index maintained the previous month’s rate of 0.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

In the same report, zero percent growth was still observed in the housing & repairs index while slower price increment was noted in the miscellaneous items index at 0.1 percent from 0.2 percent.

On the other hand, a notable increase was recorded in fuel, light and water index from 3.1 percent in November 2010 to 5.9 percent in December 2010 due to the upward adjustments in the charges for electricity rates and add-ons in the prices of LPG and kerosene. The general price increments in gasoline and diesel nationwide raised the services index in the region by 0.4 percent from 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the clothing index maintained its November rate of 0.1 percent. The overall rate of the non-food index was recorded at 1.2 percent from 0.7 percent.

With such prices of the commodities and services, the Bicol Region’s purchasing power of peso (PPP) declined by one centavo from P0.60 to P0.59.

Likewise, PPP declined by one centavo in the provinces of Albay (P0.57 from P0.58) and Sorsogon (P0.58 from P0.59). On the other hand, the November 2010 PPP was maintained in Camarines Norte (P0.58), Camarines Sur (P0.62), Catanduanes (P0.55) and Masbate (P0.60). (MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)


LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is now accepting applications for the 2011 Foreign Service Officer Examination.

DFA Bicol Regional Director Helen Grace Cuisia has announced that the examination is open to all Filipinos aged 34 years old and below who are holders of a bachelor’s degree.

Cuisia sais the FSO exam is composed of five parts that is set on the following dates, Qualifying Test - March 20; Preliminary Interview - June 4 and 5; Written Test - June 8 to 10; Oral Test - October 12 to 14; and, Psychological Test - November 21 to 25.

The Qualifying test covers a) English grammar and correct usage b) reading comprehension c) logical reasoning d) quantitative reasoning/data interpretation e) leadership/knowledge of management concepts.

It will be held simultaneously in the cities of Legazpi, Quezon, Cebu, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iloilo, Zamboanga and San Fernando, Pampanga.

An applicant must obtain a passing grade of at least 80% in order to qualify for the preliminary interview.
The requirements as well as the application form may be downloaded in the agency’s official website- www.dfa.gov.ph.

For more inquiries, applicants may DFA’s Regional Consular Office here at (52) 4801773 or (52) 8203396.

Application forms should be personally submitted by the applicants not later than February 4 to any RCO or not later than February 11 to the DFA Main Office. (MALoterte/PIA V/Albay)


By: Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY (PIA) – Launched in 2007, the “Go Organic Agriculture Farming Movement”, advocated by the provincial government of Sorsogon, and spearheaded by the Paraalang Sa Masa Program is now a successful venture showcased in a one-hectare lot demo-farm named Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Sorsogon Provincial Organic Farm located along the National Highway in Brgy. Abuyog, Sorsogon city.

In 2008, during the time of then Sorsogon Governor Sally Ante Lee, through her networking initiatives, she submitted a proposal to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to pilot the organic farming in the province. True enough, the KOICA heeded the call to fund the program. The acquisition of the one-hectare lot was funded by the provincial government while the technology transfer of organic farming was provided by the Korean government with the inclusion of building construction, farm equipment, and a consultant, Mr. Kim Sun il, who helps operationalize the project in the span of two years.

Now on its third year of implementation, the Go Organic Agriculture Farming Demo Farm is a hub for educational tours, a visible-accessible one stop-shop where one can readily purchase organically grown vegetables freshly harvested from the garden beds, the right food for advocates of clean living and healthy lifestyle.

“We hold here now in our KOICA Farm regular basic orientation seminars in organic farming where farmers, students, individual cooperators and housewives learn the basic skills of composting using household and farm wastes. We also provide herbal seedlings & cuttings for planting,” Pat Guevarra, the overseer and at the same time coordinator of the Para Sa Masa program, explained.

Intervida Philippines Foundation has partnered also with the provincial government in popularizing organic farming by exposing the Intervida communities in the demo-farm. Last August 19, 2010, it has partnered in the organic fertilizer production through their implementation of a functional Solid Waste Management System and compost production program.

Now, the KOICA organic farming demo farm has been supplying organic fertilizer to home-based organic gardens within the vicinity of Abuyog, to school-based gardens and individual farmer cooperators.

To mainstream the knowledge of organic farming, a radio program at DZRS entitled “Mula Noon Hanggang Ngayon, Organikong Pagsasaka Isulong!” is aired every Saturday from 7:00-8:00 AM hosted by Ms. Pat Guevarra

The program is hosted by Pat Guevarra with co-anchor Mr. Romeo Lleona, also providing information in the use of alternative medicine through herbal plants, also organically grown with the assistance of Dr. Ramon Halum, consultant on Alternative Medicine/Herbal Medicine.

“I have tied up the programs of the Sorsogon Provincial Nutrition Council by opening new initiatives to our barangay scholars in-charge of the nutrition program in our municipalities so that clean and organically grown vegetable be used in their feeding program. Exposure to the KOICA farm gave them the experiential learning and actual interfacing to the farm workers doing organic farming,” Sorsogon Provincial Nutrition Council coordinator Grace Jardin also stressed.

Series of tours to the KOICA demo farm from July 2010 to September 2010 were noted. A total of 380 students coming from Abuyog Elementary School, St. Michael Academy of Albay and Zamora Memorial College gained firsthand knowledge and exposure on the importance and benefits of organic farming.

“The continuous assistance and information sharing we provide to farmers on vermin-culture production aside from supplying them vermicast has made them accept organic farming more readily. In fact, last September 2010, we have conducted a theoretical and hands on composting and foliar fertilizer production training to some twenty five (25) rice farmers of Ponong, Casiguran,” Guevarra further stated.

“This 2011, our optimism in this project has been extended to the propagation of endangered species of fruit trees found in the province and the add-on propagation of durian and marang which I believe is adaptable to our climate. I have also instructed Pat to continue our linkage with Nanaywatch, the Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF), Green pearl, Coastal CORE and MASIPAG, a non-government organization advocating traditional palay seeds for planting,” Sorsogon Governor Raul R. Lee said.

Today, the organic farming in the province of Sorsogon is adapted in almost all local government units establishing organic demo-farm near their dump sites like Irosin, Bulan and the city of Sorsogon. It is also an effective approach for climate change adaptation and mitigation since waste is properly managed productively.

“I am also hopeful that through the KOICA demo-farm in our province, we will be able to share the technology to other provinces and become a resource-province in organic farming sharing,” Lee finally quipped with a chinky smile. (PIA Sorsogon)


LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) —Senator Chiz Escudero disagreed with plans to abolish the National Food Authority (NFA) as a way of addressing anomalies in the agency stemming from the excessive rice importation by the previous administration.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said they were weighing the possibility of shutting down the NFA and transfer three of its key functions after the agency disclosed that it was saddled with P177 billion debt due to the excessive rice importation.

“That the present administrators of the NFA found malfeasance in rice importation from the previous does not deserve a knee-jerk reaction,” Escudero said. “The NFA still serves a purpose and should not be abolished although I agree that its mandate and processes should be reviewed at the very least.”

While the senator believes that the NFA’s system has long been plagued with inefficiency and corruption, he explained that this was not yet the proper time to abolish it.

“The NFA needs a policy overhaul and it must be made more relevant and in tune with the times and its flaws and shortcomings corrected,” Escudero explained.

To address the flaws in the system, Escudero proposed to economic managers to prioritize this, tap resources that could help stabilize market prices and aid the agricultural sector to make it self-sufficient.

“Every people’s need right now is food on their table. The poorest of the Filipino families belong to the agricultural sector. Forty percent of our labor force is directly dependent on agriculture. Boosting agricultural sufficiency will lower the cost of doing business in the country and will create a more stable business climate,” he said. (Office of Sen, Escudero/PIA Albay/mal)

By Lizel S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, (PIA) — The local government of Camarines Sur, after its pioneering effort to establish an information hub in the province and employing its constituents, now opens its door to qualified IT students and professionals for a five-month intensive training in Makati.

The good news was announced by the Camarines Sur Employment Center (CSEC) after successfully getting the nod of the Advance World Systems (AWS) for a scholarship grant to qualified partakers. Fortunate trainees will be selected thru a recruitment activity which will be conducted on January 26 at the Camarines Sur Trade and Investment Center, BMC Road, Panganiban Drive , Naga City .

The said opportunity is open to all graduating IT students or graduates of a 4 or 5 –year related courses such as CS, CoE, MIS, IT and ECE. Engineering graduates and those who were able to complete their science courses like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and related courses are also encouraged to try their luck.

Applicants who have a basic know how on C/C++ or Java Programming, Open Source Technologies, Web Programming, MS Net, Visual Basic, Assembly or TCP/IP programming will have better edge to pass the screening.

All qualified scholars will have their intensive training at AWS Center for Technology Incubation (ACTION) where general IT Concepts will be discussed by experienced IT instructors, including the latest technologies and innovations in information technology, business basic , including Japanese language.

This opportunity was designed by the provincial government of Camarines Sur to enhance the skills of IT students and Professionals and groom them to become AWS engineers. The training will also balance the IT enthusiast’s learning and help them adapt to the current trend in the information industry.

Interested participants may call the CSEC at telephone numbers (054) 477-5858 or (054) 477-7468. They may personally visit the CSEC office located at the 2nd floor of the Capitol Main Building , Capitol Complex, at Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur. (PIA CamSur)

By: Lizel S. Macatangay

CADLAN, Pili, Camarines Sur, (PIA) — After showcasing their best jumps and ramps under the grilling heat of the sun for the past three days, the names of the lucky competitors who edged their opponents during the finals of the World Wake Association World Series’ Ultimate Wake Championship were finally bared.

Wakeboarder Tom Fooshee from the United States of America emerged as the over-all winner of the WWA 2011 dominating the Men’s Pro 2011 WWA World Series Boat category while Reed Hansen, also from the USA, garnered the highest score under the Pro Wakeskate Boat Category.

Under the Professional WakeSkate Category, Andrew Pastura, also from the USA , topped the other contenders with the score of 96.67 while Jennifer Gilanfarr also representing the United States of America bagged the over-all win with a score of 86.67 points in the Women’s Wake Skate final competition.

Samantha Bermudez from the Philippines proudly got her place after topping the Women’s Professional Category, vesting other female contenders from other nations. Other Filipina contenders, Tynna Rosero, Jenette Beltran and Diana De Castro took the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place respectively during the Women’s WakeSkate finals.

The World Wake Association World Series’ Ultimate Wake Championship is one of Governor LRay’s endeavors to keep Camarines Sur’s turf as the ultimate sports destination in the country. For the past years, the Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex (CWC) has been the venue of grand sports activities and international competitions, significantly giving the province the nod of sports enthusiasts from all over the world.

Governor Villafuerte personally witnessed the competition and was awed by the new moves and innovations on stunts showcased by competing individuals from different countries in Asia, Europe and United States of America among others.

The competition was done at the spacious Lago Del Rey and at the Wake Park within the CWC. (PIA Camarines Sur)

Beneficiaries to receive additional capital for enterprising program of TLDC

DAET, Camarines Norte, (PIA) – 11 beneficiaries will receive additional capital for the Micro Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) program of the Technology and Livelihood Development Center (TLDC).

TLDC Manager Lilia P. Avellana said that beneficiaries will receive an additional capital of P5,000- P25,000 for their small business with very minimal interest.

She said that the funds will come from the 20% development fund of the local government of Daet.

She said that beneficiaries were trained on how to make business plan last January 18, 2011 conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here.

Manager Avellana cited that beneficiaries has already started their business based on the One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) of their barangay like meat processing and by products of pineapple.

The beneficiaries include: Josephine Aguilar, Nora Lubos, Yolly Mabeza, Mar Luis Briñas, Teresita D’Ortuna, Henry Peñaflor, Malou Lopez, Lerma Magana, Sally Encinas, Evelyn Asis at Arnel Borromeo from the barangays of Daet. (RBManlangit, PIA CamNorte/mal)