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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Rice supply in Bicol sufficient, stockpile to last more than 5 months
By Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) – The National Food Authority (NFA) Bicol assured the consumers that there is enough supply of rice that will last more than 5 months equivalent to 161 days as of February 15.

This announcement was made by NFA’s Regional Information Officer Nelsie Alcantara during Wednesday’s episode of PIA radio program Ugnayan sa Bicol.

Alcantara said that a total 1,589,894 sacks of 50 kilogram bags are safely positioned in the warehouses of said grains office.

Sixty-five per cent of the stock corresponding to 854,861 was acquired through the rice procurement program of the agency while the remaining 735,033 are imported rice.

Other than the 2,000 bags of damaged rice during the January floods in this city, all NFA stocks are fit for human consumption. No case of spoiled rice is reported in Bicol unlike what turned up in Zambales, recently.

The estimate on rice supply is based on the sales pattern of said staple food of Bicolanos, where the daily average sales are 9,924 sacks of 50 kg. rice.

Camarines Sur being the biggest province in terms of population and land area has the highest number of daily sales equal to 3,896 bags, followed by Albay province with 2,462 sacks.

The island province of Masbate and Catanduanes have almost similar daily sales at 1,060 and 1,039 bags, respectively. Sorsogon everyday rice trading is 976 bags while Camarines Norte is 491 sacks.

NFA sells rice at P26 per kilo to wholesalers who in turn sell to consumers at P27 per kilo.

Alcantara encouraged consumers to contact the nearest NFA office if they meet problems regarding sales of government rice.

With the coming harvest season, NFA will continue to undertake its procurement scheme from farmers said Alcantara. Its 70 buying stations scattered across the region are ready to buy palay from farmers at P17 per kilo or P17.70 for farmer organizations as incentive. They are reminded to bring their passbook.

Meantime, NFA continue to help farmers especially those hit by the early 2011 flooding. The agency goes on selling certified seeds at 50 per cent subsidized price.

The certified seeds are sold to farmers at P600 per bag. These planters are encouraged to see the Municipal Agricultural Officer found in their area for speedy purchase of seeds. (PIA V/Albay)

Search for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees 2011 on

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has announced the start of the Search for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees for 2011

CSC Bicol Regional Director Cecilia Nieto said the honor awards program is being implemented as mandated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Executive Order Nos. 292 and 508, and as amended by Executive Order No. 77 and Republic Act No. 6713.

Nieto said the awards program is an annual undertaking of the commission that recognizes government officials and employees who have displayed outstanding work performance.

She added that at stake for the awards program include the Presidential or Lingkod Bayan Award, the Outstanding Public Official and Employee or the Dangal ng Bayan Award and the CSC Pagasa Award.

The program, according to the director, aims to motivate or inspire government employees to improve the quality of their performance and instill deeper involvement in public service.

The search culminates with the recognition and conferment of awards to deserving public servants during the celebration of the anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service in September 2011.

Popularizing the program, Nieto said all agencies are enjoined to set up the event promotional streamers and CSC regional and provincial offices have since commenced visiting different agencies to encourage nominations of public servants and organizations.

“While in 2009 Bicol had a handful of nominees and even became national finalist and awardees, but last year we failed to nominate even a single government worker wherein I believe that there are scores of Bicolano government workers or institutions deserving the recognition,” Nieto noted.

Nomination forms and the required documentation may be secured at any Field/Regional Offices or may be downloaded at www.csc.gov.ph. For inquiries you may call the CSCRO5’s Public Assistance and Liaison Division (PALD) at 482-0699, or you may add our Facebook account, cscregion5pald@yahoon.com. for more updates as regards the program. (MALoterte, PIA Albay)

DENR Bicol wants confiscated lumbers utilizaed for building classrooms and production of school facilities

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will donate some 25,000 board feet of wood products to the Department of Education (DepEd) in Bicol to build classrooms, make desks, chairs and tables, according to the agency’s regional chief.

DENR Bicol Regional Executive Director Joselin Marcus Fragada has already ordered the immediate transfer of confiscated lumber and other forest products for the said purpose.

The move of DENR Bicol came after the issuance of a directive from DENR Sec. Ramon Paje that all confiscated logs and lumbers should be donated to the DepEd instead of public auctioning.

“This, according to the Secretary, to curb shadowy practices wherein unscrupulous financiers benefitted,” Fragada said.

Fragada furthered the donation of confiscated logs and lumbers is one of the priority programs of the DENR this year, adding that field officers are preparing all legal instruments for the handover.

Fragada said that out of the total volume, 17,000 board feet of confiscated logs and lumbers will be initially donated to DepEd Camarines Norte Division Office.

Camarines Norte Provincial Environmental and Natural Resources (PENR) Officer Elpidio Orata meanwhile reported that these logs shall be made available at any time the memorandum of agreement is signed by DENR, DepEd and the Provincial Government of Camarines Norte.

“The logs and lumbers were apprehended by a joint task force of DENR, Phil. Army and Phil. National Police operatives abandoned in Bicol National Park in Camarines Norte” Orata said.

“At present, these confiscated lumbers are under the safekeeping of the Provincial Government impounded in their motor pool at Vinzon, Camarines Norte”, he added.

The reported wood products donations across the country toted up 1,273,685.67 board feet, with output results equivalent to 2,474 arm chairs, 124 pieces desks, 3 table set, 7 cabinets, 42 units of buildings repaired, a city hall renovation and a low-cost housing in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental. (MALOterte, PIA Albay/DENR V)

CWC kicks-off 2011 Presidential Award for friendly LGUS

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — The Bicol Regional Council for the Welfare of Children (RCWC) is encouraging anew local government units (LGUs) in the region to join the 2011 Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities.

Taking the lead in the implementation of the program, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Bicol has since been coordinating with local governments and promoting the awards program in various media to get the most number of nominations from LGUs.

DSWD Bicol Director Remia Tapispisan said that the Presidential Award will be conferred to deserving local government units in recognition of their vital role in promoting children’s rights to survival, development, protection and participation as well as in ensuring child-friendly governance.

The council, according to the director, has also sent entry forms to the Local Chief Executives. Entry forms are also available at CWC and DSWD Field Offices and downloadable through their websites.

Guided by an Award timetable, CWC shall give the Awards in October this year.

Validation visits are scheduled in June to July at the regional level and August to September by the National Award Committee to select the Presidential Awardees.

Interested municipalities/cities may submit the duly filled-up Entry Forms and corresponding documents to the Provincial Award Committee (PAC) or to their Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office on or before March 12, 2011.
Highly Urbanized and Independent Component Cities shall directly submit to their respective Regional Award Committees (RAC) care of their DSWD Field Office on or before April 30, 2011. (MALoterte, PIA Albay)

Fun run concludes NSO civil registration month celebration
By Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, (PIA) — The National Statistics Office (NSO)– Camarines Sur, in cooperation with the Camarines Sur Civil Registrar’s Association concluded the Civil Registration Month celebration through its first ever Fun Run activity dubbed as “Lakad Takbo Para sa de Kalidad na Rehistro” held February 27.

Participated in by more than 400 government employees coming from partner agencies and health buffs in the province, the fun run aimed to promote public awareness on the importance of complying with the registration that NSO is implementing.

Clemente Manaog, NSO Camarines Sur provincial statistics officer, said that the activity also served as a reminder to the public that they have the legal obligation to register acts and events concerning the status of persons, and enhance nationwide awareness and appreciation of the legal, administrative and statistical values of civil registry documents.

“We are happy with the positive turn out of the event and we hope to sustain this activity along with other stakeholders in the years to come given the encouraging response from our participants.”

The 5-km fun run started before 6 a.m. in front of the NSO Ooice. The route covered the road along Panganiban Drive, Naga City Subdivision, St. Joseph , Mayon Avenue then back to Panganiban Drive where the NSO office is situated. The first finisher arrived at 6:18 a.m.

Under the theme “Quality Civil Registration in Support of National Development Goals,” the said endeavor is also pursuant to Proclamation No. 682 which was issued on January 18, 1991, declaring the month of February as Civil Registration Month. (PIA Camarines Sur)

DIPECHO team monitors PRC project sites
By Lizel S. Macatangay

SAN FERNANDO, Camarines Sur, (PIA)— With the Integrated Community Disaster Preparedness Project now in full blast at Barangays Marangi, Cotmo, Pinamasagan, Gnaran, and Bical here, members of the monitoring team are also carefully monitoring the venture’s implementation to ensure that the program components are being properly carried out.

Last weekend, the DIPECHO monitoring team, headed by Thearat Touch, DIPECHO assistant director for Southeast Asia; together with Emilio Terejeira, German Red Cross delegate; Patricia Escudero Renedo, Spanish Red Cross delegate; and Victor de Leon, national project coordinator, visited the project sites for their mid year monitoring and evaluation activity.

Nanette Rodrigazo, Philippine Red Cross Camarines Sur Chapter administrator in an interview said that the project is simultaneously being implemented in 10 barangays of San Fernando and Garchitorena.

“These barangays were chosen as recipients of the Disaster Preparedness Program attached and funded by the Department of the European Community Humanitarian Office or DIPECHO through the consortium of the German Red Cross and the Spanish Red Cross.”

The 15-month project aims to reduce the risks of natural disasters like typhoon and flood and help the constituents of the affected barangays to be resilient in dealing with the results of these catastrophes.

The project also aims to strengthen the capacity of local communities to manage and reduce the risks caused by natural disasters, increase the awareness of the schools on hazards and advocate the integration of DRR in the school curriculum; and strengthen coordination and cooperation between local communities, LGUs, and Philippine Red Cross by strengthening local disaster management (DM) structures.

The project intervention includes organization, training, provision of equipment, and mobilization of Barangay Disaster Action Team (BDATs); hazard, vulnerability, and capacity assessment; support to small-scale mitigation project; hazard mapping and information-education-communication campaign.

Providing support to the project aside from the main donor which is DIPECHO are the provincial government of Camarines Sur, the local governemnt units of San Fernando and Garchitorena , the German Red Cross, and the Spanish Red Cross. (PIA Camarines Sur)

Sorsogon to host WOW Go Negosyo Caravan
By Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, (PIA) — Sorsogon province will be hosting this May 19-20, 2011 the Department of Trade and Industry's national program for countryside development Work on Wheels (WOW) Go Negosyo Caravan.

In the meeting of the Sorsogon Provincial Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council (SPSMEDC) conducted last week here at Ouas Restaurant, Sorsogon Department Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial director Leah Pagao said that the DTI national office has identified the province of Sorsogon as host to the WOW Go Negosyo Caravan primarily to provide hands on knowledge to those who are willing to start small and medium enterprise business and to those who are now in their 2-3 years business implementation to be globally competitive.

The SMED council is targeting 500 participants coming from various sectors specially those who are now graduating from business courses and would like to have their own business, participants from women's organizations, cooperatives and from the Provincial Employment Services Office (PESO).

"We are now referring this activity to the SMEDC so that we will be able to come up with the needed plan to undertake this program." Pagao said.

Through the meeting the council was able to identify the participants as suggested by member agencies.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has committed 50 participants coming from the beneficiaries of their kabuhayan assistance project. Marilyn Luzuriaga said that it will be beneficial to the beneficiaries of their program to have a working knowledge on the several modules that will be provided by the speakers.

The menu package of topics that will be given during the two-day training on Go Negosyo, will focus on three modules: Access to Finance, Productivity and Efficiency and Green Manufacturing.

"We will try to share the benefits of this program to our people and the SMED council will assist them access capitalization." Mrs.Cita "Baby" Hababag president of the SMED council said.

"I started my business through hard work and networking with DTI our government banks and true enough today I would like to share my success to women in the grassroots who are willing to venture in business"

The hosting of the province in the WOW Go Negosyo Caravan will open opportunities to SMEs in accessing national government initiated programs and promote the 3PS which is public- private- partnership, improve productivity and efficiency in the rural communities.

The caravan is PNoy's enabling mechanism to inspire local and countryside development through SMEs. (PIA Sorsogon)

Fire prevention month celebration kicks-off March 1
By Bennie A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, (PIA) – The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is all set for the official kick off of activities for this year’s Fire Prevention Month to be held tomorrow, March 1.

In his coordination with the Philippine Information Agency Sorsogon Information Office, Sorsogon City Fire Marshall CInsp Renato B. Marcial laid down the month-long activities the city BFP plans to do.

With the theme “Kahandaan sa Sunog… Tungo sa Kaunlaran”, a motorcade along the city’s main thoroughfare will open the Fire Prevention Month activities to stimulate the public’s awareness on fire prevention.

Other activities lined up include information drive and fire truck visibility in different barangays here, a feeding program in Brgy. Sampaloc and first aid training in a private school in Sorsogon City.

City fire personnel will also conduct company and school inspections particularly in elementary schools as well as Ugnayan sa Komunidad in at least four barangays of Sorsogon City. An open house is also scheduled on March 11 at the Sorsogon East Central School in Brgy. Burabod.

On March 26, a Clean-up drive is also set in Bacon District and a Tree Planting activity in Barangay. Abuyog.

A bloodletting activity will culminate this year’s Fire Prevention Month Celebration.

“Firefighters always come when there is already a fire, so we should always be cautious and follow at all times the guidelines set by the BFP. Let us make everyday a fire safety and fire prevention day”, Marcial stressed out. (PIA Sorsogon)

Buy RTBs, treasury exec urges Masbatenos
By Ernie Delgado

MASBATE CITY, (PIA) —The office here of the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) is urging Masbateños to buy retail treasury bonds (RTBs), saying it is a safe, high-yielding investment for their money.
Raul A. Berja, BTr’s chief operations officer here, said the five-year RTBs fetched a coupon rate of 6 percent while the 10-year RTBs got 7.375 percent.

Interest is paid every quarter, but the amount is subject to a 20-percent withholding tax, Berja added.
Berja said the current issue of RTBs is aimed at small investors who can put out a minimum investment of P5,000.

Reports filtering from the BTr main office showed authorized banks had already sold a combined P44.888 billion on Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday, the first three days of the offer period that will end on March 1, Tuesday.

Berja said those interested should visit the local branches of the selling agents, namely, Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, Metrobank, China Bank, United Coconut Planters Bank, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.

Secure details by calling the BTr local office in these numbers: 333-2258. (PIA Masbate)

3,560 pili seedlings given to agrarian reform beneficiaries
By Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, (PIA) - A total of 3,560 pili seedlings from the Daet seed farm were distributed to some 40 agrarian reform beneficiaires (ARBs) and landowners in this province.
The pili seedlings were distributed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Senior Trade Industry Development specialist Ricky A. Eboña, engineer, said that this will help ARBs and landowners to produce more and will develop the pili industry in the province.

He said that pili production will become an additional source of income of the ARBs and landowners.
Eboña said that this is in connection with the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed last year, that the DA will provide pili seedlings to ARBs beneficiaries/land owners and will conduct site validation and help them in the planting of pili.

It is also stipulated in the MOA that the DTI will give the listings to the DA and will assists them in site validation and the distribution of pili seedlings.

He added that they will also conduct trainings for the farmer beneficiaries/land owners of the program (PIA Camarines Norte)

Physical fitness and sports development council created in CamNor
By Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, (PIA) – The provincial government has created the Provincial Physical Fitness and Sports Development Council (PPFSDC) for their sports for all program in this province.

Earlier an Executive Order No. 2011-07, was issued by Governor Edgardo Tallado for the creation of the PPFSDC which shall act as the provincewide organization and network to assist him in the planning, information, dissemination, and actual implementation and monitoring of the sports for all program in the province.

The PPFSDC was created in connection with Articles XIV, Section 19 (1) of the constitution that, “The state shall promote physical education and encourage sports program, league competitions, and amateur sports including training for international competition to foster self-discipline, teamwork and excellence for the development of a healthy and alert citizenry.”

Also, it is stipulated in the Section VII of RA No. 6847 that it, “provides that the Philippine Sports Commission shall encourage, promote and sustain the creation and establishment of regional, provincial, municipal, and barangay or school district sports promotion and development councils.”

The PSFSDC shall be composed of the Governor; DepEd Division Superintendent; DILG Provincial Director; LGU, PNP, AFP, NGO, and GO representatives; and SK provincial federation president. (PIA Camarines Norte)

CSC prof wins best paper award in Int'l Research Confab

VIRAC, Catanduanes, (PIA) — For her pioneering documentation of a folk knowledge as benchmark for disaster mitigation, Dr. Minerva I. Morales, professor VI of the Catanduanes State Colleges Graduate School, bagged the Best Paper Award in the International Conference and Scientific Meeting on Environmental Education.

Prof. Morales’ research focused on Ethno-meteorological Knowledge (EMK) as Anchorage of Disaster Risk Mitigation of Fishers in Parongpong Island, Caramoran, Catanduanes, Philippines. It identified and documented indigenous knowledge of fishers in the island which are used in charting typhoons and associated atmospheric disturbances.

Seventy researches from 31 research institutions, universities, and colleges participated in event that was conducted by the Environmental Education Network of the Philippines on February 16-18, 2011 at Central Bicol State University of Agriculture.

According to the study, the recorded EMK’s help the fishers survive from the dangers associated with high seas fishing. It also pointed out EMK as a potential springboard for teaching disaster awareness and mitigation since people in the communities can easily relate to their local knowledge.

The research documented 21 ethno-meteorological knowledge—six observed changes in the behavior of organisms, 10 observed environmental and atmospheric phenomena, three activated sensory perception of the fishers and two specific months and dates with consistently experienced disastrous events in high seas.

Observed changes in the behavior of organisms which signals an approaching storm include: coiling of a sea snake (amberan); appearance of luminous organisms (gara-gara) which are more active and visible at night and make the underwater bright and well lighted; fishes sporadically caught by hook and line (gasubad) and which do not follow a pattern (paudlot-odlot) and appearance and eventual desertion of cuttlefish; seaweed (labod) washed ashore; flying of duck (pato) higher than the roof of a house and the sprouting of numerous bamboo shoots.

Approaching storm on the other hand could also be observed in environmental and atmospheric phenomena such as the kabud-kabud or the row of stars (or as described by the fishers, when it ascends from the east, then descend to the west); westerly winds (dumagsa and amihan) that prevail in October to December; surf zone (disi-disian) is excavated, appears like a canal or river bank (gakari, ga pangpang) caused by strong lashing of waves; a short rainbow (burarangaw) that is not in full arc (putol) appearing close to the sea before sunset.

Other signs of impending storms are cloud (panganud) formation and movement; rising sea (nag-alsa), higher wave crest (nagturon) and eventually appearance of white caps and foams during a fine, calm day; simmering sand bottom (ga arimbukad); stronger than normal currents (surog nin dagat); stars appear to twinkle very fast; and occurrence of single roar of thunder (bogtong na darogdog).

Fishers can also sense an approaching typhoon when the smell of the sea, especially the continental shelf (hunasan), is too fishy; an explosion is heard from the nearby-uninhabited island of Kalabagyo; and a defeaning sounds like the breaking of plates and glasses is heard underwater.

Meanwhile, lessons from fatal accidents and bad experiences of fishers in the island are also included in their EMK.

Parongpong fishers consider the last quarter of the year as period of wrecking winds, gigantic waves, and torrential rains. They have also indigenously recorded the fatal fishing trips to Kalipungawan, a renowned rich fishing ground, which all occurred on the first week of March in 1976, 1986 and 1996.
These incidents, which happened in a span of 30 years, served as a grim lesson to the fishers of the island not to venture fishing from March 2-10 of each year. These dates were declared by the community as fishing holidays.

The extent of accuracy of EMK documented by the study was found to be highly accurate based on the results obtained and the extent of influence of this knowledge to fishing trips.

“The unpredictability and climactic turbulence besetting Catanduanes is a given phenomenon that its people have to live with. Through time, the people in the island have profoundly learned to predict weather by means of signs, symbols, indicators, or phenomena for mitigating risks caused by typhoons. This is the evolution of indigenous knowledge system on weather forecasting that served as the bedrock of the islanders to ingeniously develop various coping mechanisms for survival,” the study emphasized. (GSR/CSC/PIA Catanduanes)

Catanduanes State Colleges has 14 new nurses

VIRAC, Catanduanes, (PIA) — Fourteen graduates of the Catanduanes State Colleges passed the recent Nurses Licensure Examination given by the Professional Regulations Commission last December 2010 in 18 testing centers nationwide.

The initial 13 passers identified by the CSC College of Health Sciences as of press time are Regina Salve Balin, Ma. Cinderella R. Ifurung, Carrol Gay F. Jacob, Ignatius Ll. Jordan, Exequiel U. Mariano V, Jayzzon B. Pereyra, Paula Bianca S. Salameña, Nelrose G. Sarmiento, Rosa Aurea A. Tabirara, Salve Tresmanio, Coolen J. Torrecampo, Gayle T. Tuboro, and Jennifer D. Uchi.

PRC announced that 29,711 out of 84,287 or 35.25 percent passed the licensure examination.
CSC had 14 passers out of 38 takers or with 36.84 percent passing rate. Its first takers, however, all passed in the said examination.

PRC also announced that the oathtaking of the new nurses as well as the previous ones who have not taken their Oath of Professional will be held before the Board on March 14 and 15, with morning and afternoon sessions at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City. (EABagadiong, PIA Catanduanes)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Representative 2nd District Camarines Norte Hon. Elmer E. Panotes
Catanduanes Lone District Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento
Camarines Norte Rep. Renato Unico, Jr. asked Department of Agriculture (DA) to fast track the validation of all proposed agricultural related projects to include in the next budget preparation in the House of Representatives.
Masbate 1st District Rep. Narciso R. Bravo (in microphone) gave some queries to the council.
RDC FULL COUNCIL MEETING – RDC Chairman Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda presides over the RDC Full Council meeting held at NEDA Regional Office 5, Arimbay, Legazpi City, last Feb. 25, 2011. The council approved and endorsed two major projects for funding to the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the GUICADALE and Albay West Coast Road. Photo shows (L-R) Catanduanes Lone District Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento, Albay 3rd Dist. Rep. Fernando V. Gonzalez, Sorsogon 3rd Dist. Rep. Diogracias Ramos. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Congress asked to pass P750M emergency supplemental budget for OFW repatriation: Salceda

LEGAZPI CITY --- Albay Gov. Joey Salceda on Thursday urged Congress to pass a P750 million emergency supplemental budget to be used in repatriating Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) caught in the armed conflict in four countries in the Middle East.

Salceda expressed dismay over the blame throwing antics displayed by Congressmen during Wednesday Congressional inquiry on the status of OFWs working in countries of Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt.

At the Congressional inquiry members of the committee allowed the Departments of Labor and Foreign Affairs to exchange tirades and blaming each other for the inaction of government in the repatriation of thousands of OFW in the countries of Libya, Baharain, Yemen and Egypt, these countries are in the state of political turmoil.

He asked Congress to put a stop on the blame throwing antics and instead worked out a national solidarity that in a common front achieve a “Zero Casualty” goal on the OFWs undergoing crisis situation in the Middle East.

“What the country needs is a common front to address the problem and achieve a “Zero Casualty” target for OFW’s in the Middle East,” Salceda stressed.

He asked Congress to immediately act on passing an emergency supplemental budget amounting to P750 million to finance repatriation for the 28,000 OFWs in Libya, Eygpt, Bahrain, and Yemen.

The congressional supplemental fund would authorize President Benigno Aquino III to use the fund to negotiate and engage the services of international plane carriers to fly OFWs back to the country and other manpower services needed to facilitate the mass rescue of Filipino workers abroad.

In facilitating the repatriation of OFWs Salceda said the government could tap the services of former House Speaker Jose De Venecia who is known for his experience in foreign relations and a wide network in foreign countries.

As for the chartering of airplanes the government may start negotiating with the countries of Spain, Italy and other developed countries who have a fleet of aircrafts at their disposal.

Salceda citing the use of the Calamity Fund under the General Appropriation Act, the President may use the funds during crisis resulting from armed conflict.

Salceda claimed that the DOLE said has P50 million available fund this year for OFW repatriation which according to him is not enough to finance the repatriation process.

Salceda even claimed that during the Lebanon crisis in 2005, as house appropriation chair he funded P750 million for the repatriation of over 15,000 OFWs working in Lebanon.

Aside from the supplemental budget, Salceda proposed for the creation of a National Solidarity Fund for OFW, this would be in a form of a special thrust fund amounting to P750 million (initial amount) this would be included on a yearly and in cumulative basis in the GAA budget.

The fund would be used solely for repatriation and reintegration of OFWs caught in armed conflict abroad.

Statistics show that there are 669,042 OFW in the Middle East of which 28,000 Filipinos are working in Libya with 10,383; Bahrain – 15,001; Yemen – 1.417 and Egypt with only 483 filipino workers, these countries are currently under volatile political situation.

With the repatriation of 28,000 OFW in the Middle East the country would loss $112 million in yearly remittances this would show a negative impact to the country’s economy in the future. (LGU Albay/PIA Albay/mal)

Mercedes Disaster Mgm't office conducts RA 10121 orientation
By Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Feb. 25(PIA) - A three day orientation seminar on Republic Act. No. 10121 or “An act strengthening the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System” was conducted by the Mercedes Disaster Risk Reduction Office (MDRRO) here on Feb 23-25.

The training was spearheaded by the local government of Mercedes through the MDRRMO and attended by the Sangguniang Bayan, Mercedes Disaster Risk Reduction Council (MDRRC), Chief of Offices and representatives of the different offices in Mercedes.

Dr. Carlos C. Galves, the new Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer of the Provincial Government said that the activity was very important for the local government of Mercedes to formulate plans for disaster management and mitigation.

He said that plans and programs will also help the local disaster council at the barangay level.

The training aims to inform the participants regarding the risk assessment for them to formulate plans in order to use their risk reduction management fund and also to make contingency plans for the different kinds of calamities.

The topics discussed during the training were: Republic Act 10121, risk assessment and vulnerability, disaster risk reduction planning and damage assessment and needs analysis. (PIA Camarines Norte)

BFAR recommends strict implementation of fishery laws in Lake Buhi
By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Bicol has recommended the strict implementation of fishery laws to the local government of Buhi town in Camarines Sur to save Lake Buhi from further degradation.

In a position paper submitted to the municipal mayor and the Sangguniang Bayan of the said town, BFAR Bicol has reiterated that only 10 percent of the total surface area of a lake can be utilized for aquaculture activities such as fish cage farming of tilapia, as provided by the provisions of Section 51 of the Philippine Fisheries Code.

BFAR Bicol Regional Director Dennis del Socorro said that the bureau’s study shows that unregulated aquaculture activities in Lake Buhi such as illegal construction of fish cages, overstocking of fish and overfeeding produce high amounts of aquaculture wastes in the lake resulting to a series of massive fish kill incidents in the lake since October 29 last year.

Del Socorro also said that personnel has presented to local officials of Buhi the recent research result of the Stocking and Feeding Experiment of the bureau and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) on the operation of fish cage in the lakes of Buhi and Bato from 2007 to 2009 .

The research study has revealed that overstocking of cages is one of the key practices of the fish farmers that need to be modified.

Del Socorro explained that the study has conducted “stocking density trials on both lakes using 5, 10 and 15 tilapia fingerlings per cubic meter (m3). Stocks at 5 pcs/m3 were not given any commercial feed and relied solely on natural food in the lake while the 10 and 15 pcs/m3 had feeding. Results showed that the optimum stocking density for the two lakes is 10 pcs/m3. This is in terms of growth, survival, total yield and feed conversion ratio,” the study cited.

It also stated that fish reared at 5 pcs/m3 grew poorly and were not harvestable within the four months culture period indicating that natural food available in the two lakes could not sustain growth even at this stocking density within the prescribed culture period.

The same research discovered that in the feeding trials, four different feeding management schemes were employed in the two lakes with two feeding rates and two feeding schedules, namely: HD (high feeding rate, daily), HS (high feeding rate, skip), LD (low feeding rate, daily), and LS (low feeding rate, skip).

In the skip feeding strategy, fish were fed only four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. From the results, LS is the recommended feeding strategy in terms of being the most economically viable and ecologically sound.

BFAR Bicol meanwhile has also assisted the local government in capacity building , including the re-organization of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC) in 10 barangays and the Lakeside FARMC last month.

LFARMC is mandated by law to become the recommendatory-policy making body and adviser to the LGU on fishery-related matters based on Fisheries Administrative Order 196.

Moreover, the bureau has provided resource persons on the Training on Lake Resource Management and Fishery Law Enforcement.

Socorro said that Lake Buhi’s rehabilitation will depend on the strict and full implementation of fishery laws coupled with the full support of the people of Buhi and other stakeholders. (PIA V/Albay)

PNoy leads Nat'l. Greening Program in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) -- With President Aquino's Kamagong seedling firmly rooted to the ground in the El Verde ceremonial tree planting, the Bicol leg of National Greening Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also kicked-off Feb. 22 at a 17-hectare clearing area in San Antonio, Ocampo, Camarines sur.

Thronged by 3,000 volunteers who hiked to the foot hills of Mt. Isarog before day break, the President showed every Bicolano that through leadership by example by way of the NGP, the country could keep at bay global warming and climate change.

The President lauded the massive tree planting effort of El Verde Movement spearheaded by Camarines Sur Governor Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Jr., which intends to carve a niche globally, as well as raising public awareness on the important of trees to fight off global warming and climate change.

“Through this concerted effort by our citizens, socio-civic groups, government agencies our triumph will be insurmountable”. He underscored that to arrest the impact of global warming and climate change the contribution of every Filipino is needed.

“Five hundred thousand seedlings could signify five hundred thousand opportunities for our people. Not just in terms of saving the environment, but in terms of a meaningful future as well,” Aquino added.

The El Verde Movement is aiming to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the most trees planted in one hour. In yesterday’s activity alone, an estimated 35,000 seedlings were planted.

Meanwhile, DENR Sec. Ramon Paje said the environment department strongly supports the EL Verde Movement and its noble goal of planting 12 million trees in 2012.

Paje reiterated yesterday in the DENR executive committee conference that the NGP is all systems go. With a marching order for all the regional offices which are expected to accomplish the national target of 125 million trees planted in 1.5 million hectares. (ASAraya, DENR V/PIA Albay/mal)

65 OSY and adults pass DepEd accreditation and equivalency exam
By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, (PIA) – Sixty five out-of-school-youths (OSY) and adults who passed the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) examination can now enrol as high school freshman for elementary level passers and in post secondary courses of the Commission on Higher Education and State Universities and Colleges.

The A and E is a test designed to measure competencies of those who have not finished either the formal elementary and secondary education. The registration, administration, and certification are free.

DepED Catanduanes ALS Division Program supervisor Mesalina T. Gonzales said that the A&E Program is a certification of learning for OSYs and adults aged 15 years old and above, who are unable to avail of the formal school system, or who have dropped out of formal elementary and secondary education.

The A and E passers in Catanduanes now have an opportunity to acquire eligibility to government employment positions under Civil Service Commission Resolution No. 499.

Gonzales also urged local officials to continue their support in ALS programs and projects in their locality which addresses the learning needs of school drop-outs and adults. (PIA Catanduanes)

Investigate extraction of petrified logs from Sula Channel - AKO Bicol Party

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) -- AKO Bicol Party list (AKB) recently filed House Resolution 992, directing the Committee on Ecology to conduct an investigation on the extraction of petrified logs in Sula Channel, Sitio Pecadero, Barangay Sula, Albay, for the protection of cultural treasures due to its historical, environmental, and tourism values.

Atty. Rodel Batocabe, one of AKB 's representatives, said that the purpose of the resolution is to find out whether the extraction and selling of a cultural treasure is legal. He has also sought the help of the National Historical Institute to identify those who are accountable.

Last November 23, 2010, a forest ranger of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) impounded a twenty-two wheeler truck carrying ancient logs that were extracted from the Sula Channel. The driver, Eamon Valera, did not have a permit to transport the said logs.

Both the truck and logs are still impounded in Barangay San Roque, Bacacay, Albay after an administrative confiscation proceeding has been filed before the office of Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENR).

According to Sula Barangay captain Benjamin Belbes, there were already reports that some 100,000 board feet of petrified wood which were remnants in the construction of the Spanish galleon were already looted and hauled by an international ship for export. (Office of Ako Bicol/PIA Albay/mal)

Chiz asks DOJ, NBI, BID for full report on Taiwanese deportation

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — The senate chairman on justice and human rights committee has summoned the agencies requested by Senator Chiz Escudero who are involved in the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals to China for full factual reports following strong protests by Taiwan that could harm economic ties and employment of more than 100,000 Filipinos there.
Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, has asked officials of the Department of Justice, Bureau of Immigration, and the National Bureau of Investigation to submit to his office a comprehensive report on the events and proceedings surrounding the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals on February 2.

Last December, the 14 were arrested along with 10 Chinese nationals by Philippine authorities and the Interpol for allegedly operating an international fraud syndicate that has swindled mainlanders from China of some $20 million.

“As chairman of the justice committee, I am requiring these agencies to explain why Taiwan has lividly raised those three issues surrounding the deportation snafu. I will summon them to an inquiry at the Senate if I find their explanations unsatisfactory," Escudero said.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou has strongly condemned the deportation of their nationals to China, citing what he called grave mistakes the Philippines has committed in handling the deportation issue.

First, Ma said the Philippine government violated international law and time-honored international practices when it deported the Taiwanese nationals to China instead of repatriating them to their home country.

Second, the Taiwanese legally entered the country with valid passports, contrary to the claim of concerned authorities that they were undocumented.

Third reason cited by Ma was the complete disregard of the Philippine government’s own law on the writ of habeas corpus obtained by the suspects’ lawyer from the Philippine Court of Appeals. Escudero said he wanted to closely look into this matter not to get involved with the decade-long rift between China and Taiwan, but to ensure the employment status and future of the Filipino workers there.

“There are more than 100,00 Filipino workers whose livelihood depends on employment in Taiwan. We must address the issue because I worry for our workers who are already there as well as the lost opportunity to our people who already incurred expenses and were expecting employment already in Taiwan," Escudero said.

Following the deportation and strong protest by Taipei, Taiwan decided to extend visa processing for Filipino workers to four months from 14 days, a move that could delay the deployment of almost 5,000 Taiwan-bound overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“We leave the foreign policy within the realm of the chief executive and the executive branch, but I am hopeful that we can still exhaust all means available to repair our cultural and economic ties with Taiwan as this affect the lives of many Filipino families," Escudero said. (Office of Sen. Escudero/PIA Albay/mal)

Do prisoner swap with other countries with OFWs- Chiz

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 25 (PIA) — As the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warms up for negotiation with China for the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement (TSPA), Senator Chiz Escudero urged the department to do the same with other countries where there are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Escudero, who earlier called for the Philippine government to initiate TSPA with countries hosting OFWs, thanked and commended the DFA for heeding the call, adding that such move indicates the government’s sensitivity to the plight and welfare of our people.

The TSPA is an agreement which provides individuals who have been tried and convicted in a signatory country the option to serve the remaining portion of their sentences in their home country. At present, the Philippines has TSPA with Thailand, Hong Kong, and Spain.

“The issue of prisoner swap is highly emotional and delicate. We have to carefully tread within the ambit of a particular country’s laws, which we would also like other countries to respect ours. But as a government, it behooves us to do everything within our capacity to give our people what the government should – to protect its people in and out of the country," Escudero said.

The senator reiterated that pursuing the prisoner-swap agreement does not and should not be considered as condoning or even clearing a convicted OFW of crime.

“Again, it is not for us to decide whether a person is guilty or innocent. Let us leave that to the courts. But let us not leave our fellow Filipinos without the benefit of rights and dignities upheld. If they must pay for their crimes, let them pay for it but let us bring them closer to their families and loved ones. Death has already come to a person who knows he would not see or talk to any of his loved ones anymore forever," Escudero explained.

As of February this year, there are 209 Filipinos involved in drug-trafficking cases in China based on the records of the DFA. Six have been sentenced to die with no reprieve, 74 others are facing death penalty with two-year reprieve, 38 with life imprisonment, 76 are currently serving fixed jail terms, and 15 are in custody pending issuance of sentence. (Office of Sen. Escudero/PIA Albay/mal)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spirit of EDSA in Bicol Run
By Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) – Bicol celebrates the 25th EDSA I People Power anniversary through the Bicol Run in the same time that similar commemoration will be held in EDSA and nine more provinces nationwide.

The fundraiser run to be held on February 27 in this city has accepted the early registration of 3,300 participants from the different sectors of society said Pinoy Power Bicol Coalition of Volunteers, Inc. (PPBCV) president Ofelia Samar-Sy, M.D.

In yesterday’s meeting, the confirmation of initial “runners” was endorsed by those in assembly that converged in a big group representing the government sector, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, local government units, academe, transport, banking community, civic organizations, business, young professionals, even “gay” organization.

Government agencies based in Camarines Sur like Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and the National Commission on Indigenous People stationed in Iriga City attended the late afternoon meeting held at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) regional office.

Sy announced that the Bicol Run will be joined by guests from Manila that will include the new chairman of the Youth Commission Leon Flores III who will give a message and an intermission number from Mae Panet, a.k.a. Juana Change at the opening program and a message at the closing activity.

Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda will deliver an inspirational message while Department of Education (DepEd) Bicol acting regional director Orfelina O. Tuy will convey the words of thanks as the education department will be beneficiary of the fund accrued from the run.
The EDSA Run is spearheaded by the Ninoy and Cory Foundation (NCAF) I am Ninoy, I am Cory Runners in observance of the 1986 People Power Revolution.

The 25th EDSA anniversary as far as the February 27 activity is a new form of people power that will build classrooms to ease the public schools classroom shortage, said NCAF president Rafael Lopa.

The Bicol Run is a joint undertaking of the civil society PPBCV, provincial government of Albay, city government of Legazpi, Jaycees, and the Regional Directors Association in coordination with NCAF.

Said fun run hopes to raise funds from the donations of institutions and runners themselves via contributions and the purchase of t-shirts and ballers. So far, some P35,000 donations have been received.

Sy said in yesterday’s meeting that a target of 8,000 participants may be feasible with the early commitment of would-be participants and based on the attendance during the February 8 light-a-candle ceremony for peace which drew a motley crowd of 6,752.

Pre-registration is extended until February 24 especially for those ordering the specially designed T-shirt, the official garb of the fun run. Inscribed in said t-shirt aside from proclaiming the Bicol Run is the caption, I am a classroom donor.

Walk-in participants are likewise encouraged to register early on the day of the run, February 27 starting 3 a.m. at the Peñaranda Park where the jog will commence up to Embarcadero in Legazpi City.

Bicol Run will begin 4:45 in the morning with an opening program. The jog starts at 5:30 a.m. at the same time that Edsa Run and other provincial runs will commence.

A runner can select whether to take on 3 kilometers or the longer 5 kilometers.

Albay provincial police officer Director Supt. William Macavinta announced that starting 4:30 on Sunday, February 27, the whole stretch of Rizal St. from Peñaranda Park to Lapu-Lapu St. then to Embarcadero will be closed for traffic until all runners have cross the finish line.
Motorists are to take Washington Drive then Tahao Road, Rizal St. route or vice-versa during the duration of the run.

As this is a fun run, the organizers will start with a warm-up exercise, set up three to five water stations with bands to encourage them to finish the course.

Prizes await the fastest runners while all finishers will receive certificates of completion, Sy added.

Other provincial run will be held in Vigan, Ilocos Sur; Clark, Pampanga; the cities of Cebu, Davao, Dipolog, Zambaonga; and the provinces of Zambales, Sultan Kudarat and Zamboanga Sibugay.

Interested groups or individuals desiring to join the Bicol Run can visit the PPBCV office at Bicol Medical Plaza, Rizal St., Legazpi City or call (052) 481-5087 (052) 481-5087, 820-5087 or CP#0920-96000760920-9600076. (PIA V/Albay)

Bicol holds Kabikolan conference on language education
…To promote awareness of linguistics, multilingualism
By Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) – At least some 500 stakeholders in education sector will meet in a three-day Kabikolan Conference on Language and Education starting today to boost instruction of the young through the use of local language.

This morning’s opening program will be attended by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo.
Said conference is being held at La Piazza Hotel and Convention Center, Tahao Road, Legazpi City from February 24-26.

Teachers and non-teacher participants will be divided into clusters as parallel session will be held on topics such as orthography development, writing Bicol songs, family literacy, teaching math in the mother tongue, cultural math, retrieving folklores, the art of storytelling, production of materials among others.

Likewise, all participants will join the discussion on K+12 curriculum and the early childhood care development.

Speakers from the University of the Philippines Diliman and Los Baños along with those from the Department of Education and the non-profit private organization Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) are on hand to steer the sessions.

SIL has set up activities in the country since 1953. Its services include linguistic research, documentation of Philippine indigenous languages, and translation.

Display booths will be set up at the venue whose opening is set in the afternoon of February 24.

In the evening of the first day a cultural night will take place with the Bangladeshi Ambassador H.E. Munir-Uz-Zaman of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh as guest of honor.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) consider languages as a factor in development, ensures cultural diversity, and an important part in attaining quality education for all.

It also believes that mother language like Bicol is an important toll for identify, communication and social integration. (PIA V/Albay)

CamSur enters Guinness record for massive simultaneous tree planting
By Lizel S. Macatangay

CADLAN, Pili, Camarines Sur, (PIA) --- Camarines Sur Governor Luis Raymund Villafuerte was in high spirits after Seyda Gemici, Guinness Book of World Record adjudicator announced in front of foreign and local correspondents and El Verde participants that the province was able to beat India’s record of simultaneous planting yesterday, February 23.

At around 4 p.m. yesterday, Seyda handed a Certificate of Guinness Book of World Records to Governor Villafuerte signifying Camarines Sur’s triumph to beat India for the most number of trees planted in just a matter of 15 minutes.

India, the former holder of the title, recorded a total of 50,000 trees which were planted by more than 10,000 people in a span of one hour. The activity happened on October 10, 2010, giving India the Guinness slot during that time.

In Camarines Sur had planted, 64, 096 trees all together by more than 6,000 planters in the town of Siruma within the duration of 15 minutes.

Seyda said that the total number was derived from their tagging activity where a bar code or tag is placed for every seedling planted during the event. This, she said is Guinness way of getting the actual number of trees to avoid doubts on the figures that they are going to proclaim.

The El Verde 12 Million Trees by 2012 project initiated by the province of Camarines Sur aims to help save the environment by planting more trees that would help curb the effects of global warming.

On the eve of the main activity, President Benigno Aquino III spearheaded the formal launching of the event at Barangay Sto. Nino, Pili, Camarines Sur signifying his strong support in this endeavor.

The El Verde movement was launched as the whole world celebrates International Year of Forests (IYF)this year. This also runs in concurrence to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ National Greening program which aims to help save the environment for the future generation.

One of the most flood-prone areas and often visited by strong typhoons in the past, Camarines Sur has seen the project as a seamless way to avoid, if not totally eradicate, severe damages caused by these catastrophes. (PIA Camarines Sur)

Alleged members of LTO nabbed for extortion
By Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY (PIA) -- The long months of surveillance and tailing finally paid off for members of Task Force Marshall after finally capturing the suspects in the act of extortion.

The entrapment operation headed by Wiljur Urmaza, vice chairman of Task Force Marshall together with operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation and office of the Ombudsman finally captured Jonnel Agapor, Manolito Dimaano, Victor Delos Santos, and Ronnie Albis , all residents of Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

Found under the suspects' belongings were four professional driver’s license, logbook, a plate card bearing the initials XEB 905, identification card of LTO deputized agent, white envelope which contains P2,500 believed to be part of the day’s collection and the P50 marked money used by the operatives during the operation.

The suspects upon questioning denied any involvement in the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and even denied that they were extorting from truck drivers plying the route of the Maharlika highway. Yet earlier video recording revealed otherwise.

The suspects were caught red handed while accepting the marked money from the task force operative member who posed as one of the truck’s helpers at the LTO checkpoint area at Barangay Mabolo, Naga City.

The suspects are now facing robbery and extortion cases and usurpation of authority which will soon be filed by the task force once they complete the inquest proceedings. (PIA Camarines Sur)

Lake Bulusan spared from ashfall says AGAP Bulusan
By Bennie A. Recebido

Sorsogon City, (PIA) – Philip Bartilet, president of the Aggrupation of Advocates for Environment Protection (AGAP) Bulusan, Inc., the officially designated organization to manage tourism activities inside the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park (BVNP) and its surrounding environment, says business goes on in Bulusan Lake and other tourism destinations in Bulusan town and was not affected by the recent restiveness of Mt. Bulusan.

Bartilet said the announcement was issued, since foreign and local tourists are now afraid to visit the town thinking that Bulusan Lake was affected by ashfalls.

Nestled high on the slope of Bulusan, with its surface waters 2,084 feet above sea level, Bulusan Lake is a place frequently visited by nature lovers and visitors seeking an escape from the bustle of modern life. It has also an eco-park that is perfect for kayaking, hiking, sailing, and aqua biking.

“We did not suspend any tourism activity in Bulusan because the lake and the rest of the tourism destinations here are already outside the 4-km radius Permanent Danger Zone declared by Phivolcs,” he said.

“And since the wind moves in the southwest direction, it has not affected any part of the municipality of Bulusan,” Bartilet said.

It can be noted that Mt. Bulusan after barely three months of being quiet emitted ashes anew on Monday, February 21, reaching as high as 3-km from the summit’s crater affecting the towns of Irosin, Bulan and parts of Casiguran, Juban, and Masbate City.

Town mayor Michael Guysayko, meanwhile, shows optimism that Sorsoganon will continue to support the tourism activities in Bulusan.

“In fact we kept developing more potential tourism destinations here like Dancalan Beach Resort, Miliga-biga Beach, Bayugin Falls, Crystal Spring and Palogtok and Masacrot Mineral Springs, among others,” he added. (PIA Sorsogon)

Tiwi MFARMC wins Natl Gawad Saka search

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — Bicol Region has another milestone achieved in the fisheries sector, as the Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (MFARMC) of Tiwi, Albay bagged the 2010 National Gawad Saka Search for Outstanding FARMC by the Department of Agriculture.

BFAR Bicol regional director Dennis del Socorro said that Tiwi MFARMC bested five other finalists from other regions by being the most complete council in terms of accomplishments since its inception in 1999.

Tiwi MFARMC was an achiever on Coastal Resource Management (CRM), law enforcement, livelihood projects for the fisherfolk associations, information dissemination and advocacy activities, fund sourcing and filing of resolutions on fisheries which they recommend for enactment by the Sanguniang Bayan such as the Municipal Fishery Code and consolidated CRM Plans.

The town’s fishery council has received a cash prize of P300,000 and a Presidential plaque of recognition during the awarding rites in Malacañang.

The same council also won the Best Scrapbook award given by the National Technical Evaluation Committee.

Tiwi MFARMC also boasts of having its own funding from the local government unit (LGU) and a FARMC Resource Center in Barangay Bolo.

In 2006, Tiwi MFARMC received US$40,000 or P2.4 million from United Nations Development Project – GEF-SGP as project grant winner in the Panibagong Paraan 2006 (Marketplace of Ideas) Likas Yaman Kabuhayan Project for its CRM activities.

The FARMC is organized in every coastal, lakeside, or riverside municipalities or cities nationwide by virtue of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 and Fisheries Administrative Order 196. It is composed of municipal and commercial fisherfolk, LGU officials and representatives from the private, non-government organization, women and youth sectors.

The 2010 Gawad Saka Search for Outstanding City or Municipal FARMC is the maiden year for this category, making Tiwi MFARMC its first national winner.

Moreover, the MFARMC in partnership with Chevron Geothermal Philippines Holdings, Inc. also won an award of excellence in the 46th Anvil Awards competition given by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines and the 46th Anvil Awards Committee for the Coastal and Fishery Resources Management Program in Tiwi. Awarding ceremonies is on February 18, 2011. (RCAnabe, BFAR V/PIA Albay/mal)

AKO Bicol party list urges PSALM to return Php 2.1 billion to consumers

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — Ako Bicol (AKB) Party-List solon has strongly urge the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) to immediately pay back the Php 2.1 billion pesos collected from 8 million member-consumers of electric cooperatives between 2001 and 2004.

AKB Rep. Rodel Batocabe, vice-chairman of the House on Committee on Cooperative Development said that prior to the effectivity of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA)on June 26, 2001, amortization payments of the loans incurred by electric cooperatives from the National Electric Administration (NEA) as a result of their rural electrification programs were passed on to consumers through their monthly electric bills.

However, with the passage of EPIRA on June 26, 2001, the financial obligations of electric cooperatives which amounted to Php17.9 billion pesos were written off and said obligations were assumed by PSALM.

Batocabe, in an interview, pointed out that technically, since the financial obligations of electric cooperatives were already condoned and there was no more obligations to be passed on to consumers, this in effect would bring down the electric rates of electricity consumers across the country.

At the Joint Hearing of the Committees Cooperative Development and Energy chaired by Coop-Natco Rep. Jose Ping-ay and Rep. Henedina Abad (LP, Batanes) , respectively, PSALM and NEA were pointing at each other as to which agency would shoulder the overcharges imposed on the consumers.

PSALM and NEA at the joint committees said that they will submit the issue to arbitration before the Office of the Solicitor-General.

Batocabe, however, urged both committees to exercise their respective oversight functions to ensure a speedy and impartial arbitration process for the benefit of the consumers.

However, it took some time after June 26, 2001 for PSALM and NEA told the committee that their agency took some time to validate the amount of actual loans due by various electric cooperatives and the corresponding decrease in the monthly charges of consumers.

Moreover, the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) has also to approve the decrease in the rates charged, as a result most electric cooperatives started only to decrease their rates sometime in 2003 and 2004.

Meantime, electric cooperatives continued to pass on to the consumers the amortization payments for the loans it incurred with NEA, Batocabe said.

“Under the EPIRA, the financial obligations of electric cooperatives incurred in their rural electrification program as of June 26, 2001 were supposed to be assumed by PSALM.

In effect, the EPIRA law writes off all financial obligations the cooperatives incurred thus relieving consumers of additional charges passed on to them by the cooperative.

However various electric cooperatives continued to impose additional charges which they remitted to NEA even up to 2004.

“This unwarranted payment of consumers estimated to have reached P2.1 billion, this amount should have been the obligations of PSALM to NEA and not of our consumers .” stressed Batocabe.

Ako Bicol Party List is especially concerned on the additional burden such overcharges caused its constituents in Bicol.

Bicol's electric cooperatives, particularly Aleco, have long been considered as problematic cooperative because of mismanagement and alleged graft and corruption. (Office of Ako Bicol Partylist/PIA Albay/mal)
Rep. Magtanggol Guinigundo of Valenzuela City, Metro Manila—author of House Bill 162 or the Multilingual Bill--keynotes the Kabikolan Conference on Language and Education for the promotion of a linguistics and multilingualism in instruction methods in the classroom exercising the right of children to learn in their first language to promote literacy as it facilitates the learning process, held at La Piazza Convention Center in Legazpi City, Feb 24, 2011. (Alex Cal/PIA)
Plenary Speaker Rep. Magtanggol Guinigundo of Valenzuela City, District 2, received plaque of appreciation from Dr. Orfelina Tuy, OIC Dir. DepEd Region V, assisted by Dr. Angela E. Lorenzana, Director, BU Language Center, during the 2011 Kabikolan Conference on Language and Education, held at La Piazza Hotel and Convention Center, Tahao Road, Legazpi City, Feb. 24, 2011. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

COMMUNITY OF HOPE – Camarines Sur Governor L-Ray Villafuerte delivers his message during the launching of Gawad Kalinga Housing project for rebel returnees a Community of Hope at Sitio St. Therese, San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur, last Feb. 23, 2011. Other photo shows (L-R) Pili Mayor Tomas Bongalonta and Antonio P. Meloto, Founder, Gawad Kalinga. (Alex Cal/PIA)
PNoy visits Naga, graces launch of Freedom Obelisque
by Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, (PIA)- Visiting Naga for the first time as President of the Republic of the Philippines, President Benigno S. Aquino was in the city for the groundbreaking ceremony of a symbolic figure signifying Naga’s continuous pursuit for peace, freedom and justice.

Dubbed as the “Freedom Obelisk,” the structure will serve as multi purpose structure that will address the educational needs of the community, specifically by serving as guide for the young generation to have a glimpse of our forefather’s heroism that have placed Naga in the annals of history.

Alec Francis Santos, executive assistant at the city mayor’s office relayed that the short notice and limited preparation did not stop the city engineering team in securing the approval of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) to have President Aquino as the groundbreaking Huespe de Honor.

The “Freedom Obelisk” is located at the former site of a billboard structure beside the Plaza Quezon, a strategic place where Naguenos and visitors alike can take a glimpse of the three historical events that it aims to depict: 1) the struggle of the Arejola brothers during the Philippine-American War, 2) the successful yet short-lived liberation of Naga by Tancong Vaca guerrilla forces during World War II, and 3) the strong political opposition of Naga to Martial Law and the strong participation of its people during the EDSA Revolution.

Mayor Bongat, who is currently in Australia as an official delegate of the Philippine Center for Young Leaders in Government, also thanked the President thru a communication, for his visit in Naga and assured him of the presence of People Power in the heart of every Nagueños.

After his message of thanks, the President, accompanied by DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, Sec. Proceso Alcala of the Department of Agriculture, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, and Regional and Provincial Directors of the Region, went straight to Brgy. Sto. Nino, Pili, Camarines Sur to grace the launching of the El Verde Movement spearheaded by the local government of Camarines Sur. (PIA Camarines Sur)

Massive Ash fall in Irosin and Juban alarms farmers and residents
by Irma A. Guhit

Sorsogon City- Feb.23 : The aftermath of the Mt. Bulusan volcano ash explosion last Monday, February 21 has created not only fear from the local residents of Irosin, Bulan and Juban but the more pressing concern on the effect of the ashes on the agricultural and health issues.

Reports coming from farmers and farm owners forwarded to the Department of Agrarian Reform Municipal Office(DARMO) in Irosin the coverage of the ash fall has greatly affected the ricefields and if no rainfall will be observed within this week the ashes will just stick on the palay plants and this will have an effect on the harvest this season.

The assessment and report coming from the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) here on the impact of the ashfall and are still to be validated, on the physical side and looking at the volume of ashes that covered the ricefields in Irosin,Juban and some parts of Bulan this is visually seen even from afar.

Residents are also fearful that if there will also be heavy rains it will also trigger an induced lahar flow in the different areas in their place and will also affect those low lying areas and their river systems.

Meanwhile the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)- LGU Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Engr. Maribeth L. Fruto said that proper coordination with DENR -Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has been done to find out the water quality and air quality in the area within Irosin , Juban and Bulan.

"We are now conducting water sampling ang air quality monitoring." ,Engr. Fruto said." We are also coordinating with the local government executives, the water districts and the health officer of all the affected municipalities to inform the residents to take the necessary precautions and boil their drinking water."

"The local government of Irosin and Bulan will be conducting this afternoon at 1:00 PM a massive clean up activity together with the Bureau of Fire Protection in the schools, public buildings and the road of the national highway.Proper coordination with respective agencies are also being done to facilitate initiatives to address the problem.", Irosin Mayor Jun Ong said.

"The BFP will conduct flashing and we are also requesting local residents to do the same in cleaning their homes to avoid some diseases brought about by this event especially asthma and pneumonia. Hopefully with this concerted effort we will be really doing our share as participative citizens." (PIA-Sorsogon)

By Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) – The National Food Authority (NFA) Bicol assured the consumers that there is enough supply of rice that will last more than 5 months equivalent to 161 days as of February 15.

This announcement was made by NFA’s Regional Information Officer Nelsie Alcantara during Wednesday’s episode of PIA radio program Ugnayan sa Bicol.

Alcantara said that a total 1,589,894 sacks of 50 kilogram bags are safely positioned in the warehouses of said grains office.

Sixty-five per cent of the stock corresponding to 854,861 was acquired through the rice procurement program of the agency while the remaining 735,033 are imported rice.

Other than the 2,000 bags of damaged rice during the January floods in this city, all NFA stocks are fit for human consumption. No case of spoiled rice is reported in Bicol unlike what turned up in Zambales, recently.

The estimate on rice supply is based on the sales pattern of said staple food of Bicolanos, where the daily average sales are 9,924 sacks of 50 kg. rice.

Camarines Sur being the biggest province in terms of population and land area has the highest number of daily sales equal to 3,896 bags, followed by Albay province with 2,462 sacks.

The island province of Masbate and Catanduanes have almost similar daily sales at 1,060 and 1,039 bags, respectively. Sorsogon everyday rice trading is 976 bags while Camarines Norte is 491 sacks.

NFA sells rice at P26 per kilo to wholesalers who in turn sell to consumers at P27 per kilo.

Alcantara encouraged consumers to contact the nearest NFA office if they meet problems regarding sales of government rice.

With the coming harvest season, NFA will continue to undertake its procurement scheme from farmers said Alcantara. Its 70 buying stations scattered across the region are ready to buy palay from farmers at P17 per kilo or P17.70 for farmer organizations as incentive. They are reminded to bring their passbook.

Meantime, NFA continue to help farmers especially those hit by the early 2011 flooding. The agency goes on selling certified seeds at 50 per cent subsidized price.

The certified seeds are sold to farmers at P600 per bag. These planters are encouraged to see the Municipal Agricultural Officer found in their area for speedy purchase of seeds. (PIA V/Albay)

Chiz wants prisoner-exchange treaties with other countries

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) -- Senator Chiz Escudero is urging the Philippine government to initiate a prisoner exchange treaties with countries hosting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, reiterated this call in the light of the case of Ramon Credo, Sally Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain – Filipinos condemned to die for drug trafficking in China. Their executions were temporarily suspended after China’s Supreme Court extended a “special arrangement” regarding their cases.

The senator said the government could work out a prisoner-exchange arrangement with other countries similar to the RP-Spain Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement, which aims to ensure the effective reformation and rehabilitation of Filipinos serving sentences in Spain since they will be afforded the opportunity to serve their sentences in the Philippines.

“We have OFWs serving long sentences and are awaiting death sentences in countries where no family can visit them. This is already a scourge to both the convicted and their families. The anguish of not being able to talk to or see their families forever is already a sentence that amounts to death,” Escudero said.

Escudero said the prisoner-exchange agreement should be pursued through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) by way of a bilateral treaty.

The senator also said that the agreement should not be on a quid-pro-quo-basis, which means that all prisoners should be transferred to their country of origin regardless of the number of foreign nationals in Philippine prisons.

“We should pursue this treaty especially since we have more citizens in foreign jails rather than the other way around. We pursue this move not because we condone their deeds but because it is the government’s duty to look after the welfare of its citizens no matter if they are guilty or not,” Escudero said. “Let all available remedies and steps be exhausted to afford our fellows the services of their government.”

Records from the DFA show that there are more than 3,000 Filipinos abroad who are either in detention or facing criminal prosecution. Of these, 70 percent are embroiled in immigration-related offenses and will be deported after serving brief sentences. The rest are in custody for crimes such as theft and drug trafficking.

In China, 78 Filipinos are convicted for drug charges and awaiting death sentences.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has recorded 630 Filipinos currently serving jail sentences worldwide for transporting drugs, mostly as mules for drug lords. Sixty-two percent of this number are female. (Office of Sen. Francis Escudero/PIA Albay/mal)

Training for out-of-school youths begins

DAET, Camarines Norte, (PIA) – The training courses under the Educational Program for deserving Out-Of-School Youth in this province has started Monday (Feb. 21).

The training courses were under the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) of the provincial government.

PESO Manager Nida Tusoc said that 25 students are now undergoing the training for the shielded metal arch welding while 25 for the electrical installation and maintenance that will last for three months.

The tuition fees and the materials for the trainings are being provided by the provincial government and the training is being conducted by the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) at their training center in Iberica, Labo this province.

On the following months 25 students again will undergo training in automotive servicing, 25 for consumer electronics servicing, 20 for driving NCII, 15 for carpentry NC II, 25 for computer hardware servicing, 20 for baking and pastry production and 20 for mansory.

The deserving OSY qualifications include: high school graduate, 18-30 years old, parent’s income must not exceed P72,000 and must not be a graduate of any four year course. (RBManlangit, PIA Camarines Norte)

New ruling set for nepotism in local governments

MASBATE CITY (PIA) — Provincial Director Andronico D. Lanuza of the Civil Service Commission said Friday the CSC has issued a new ruling on nepotism following the occurrence of legal quandary in some local governments.

Lanuza said that in response to a query from Flosie F. Tayag of the Bureau of Local Government Finance, the CSC said the rule on “nepotic” appointment under Section 79, Title III of the Local Government Code of 1991 should apply on local governments.

The section states that “no person shall be appointed in the career service of the local government if he is related within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity of the appointing or recommending authority.” (EADelgado, Masbate)

CSC enforcing ‘no smoking’ rules in Masbate

MASBATE CITY (PIA)—The office here of the Civil Service Commission warned government workers of sanction if they were caught smoking in government premises.

Andronico D. Lanuza, CSC director for Masbate , said his office will start monitoring compliance with a CSC policy which penalizes smoking in buildings and gro-unds that belong to the state.

Lanuza said the CSC in a recent directive decreed absolute prohibition of smoking in government premises, particularly those providing health, education and social welfare services.

Heads of agencies should put up “no smoking” signs in their premises, he said.

Lanuza said other government agencies ought to designate “open spaces” in their premises as “smoking area” where smokers can light their cigarettes.

“Open space” means it is not located within 10 meters of entrances, exits or any place where people pass or congregate, has no permanent roof and walls and not more than 10 square meters.

Lanuza said the anti-smoking policy in the civil service is an offshoot of the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 and the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

It seeks to compel government personnel to quit smoking and protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke, he said.

“Even small amount of secondhand exposure can be harmful to people’s health,” Lanuza said. “It causes lung cancer, increases the risk of heart attack, triggers asthma attack and acute respiratory ailments. (EADelgado, PIA Masbate)

3 dead, 1 wounded in Caramoran hacking incident

VIRAC, Catanduanes, (PIA) — Three were killed and one was seriously injured in a hacking incident at around 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday (Feb 22) at the residence of Ma. Ana Opancia in Barangay Bulalacao, Caramoran, Catanduanes,

Police identified the fatalities as Ma. Ana Opancia y Brizo and her sons Alan San Opancia y Brizo, 10, Sam Opancia y Brizo, 3, while Shena Opancia y Brizo, 2, was wounded and rushed to Caramoran District Hospital for treatment.

Police investigation revealed that the victims were hacked to death and injured by a certain Daniel Dizon y Tapia, live-in partner of Shena.

Investigation conducted by the Caramoran Municipal Police Station after the incident showed the incident was due to a heated argument between the suspect and Ma. Ana.

Elements of Caramoran and San Andres Municipal Police Stations, together with the 83rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, conducted hot pursuit operations and set-up checkpoints which resulted to the arrest of the suspect at around 8:00 this morning at Barangay Lubas, San Andres, Catanduanes.

Appropriate charges are now being readied against the suspect. (EA Bagadiong PIA/Catanduanes)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bulusan belches 3-km high ash columns Monday
…Phivolcs warns restiveness to continue

LEGAZPI CITY(PIA) — Bulusan has spewed an ash column reaching some three kilometers high from the crater summit today around 9:12 am sending anew residents from their home to safer grounds.
Resident Volcanologist Ed Laguerta of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the ash explosion indicates that steam driven pressure is building up anew at the volcano’s vent.

Laguerta said that the agency recorded a explosion type earthquake lasting for about 19 minutes with rumbling sound heard up to 10 kilometers away in the town of Juban in Sorsogon.

The ash column that shoot up into the air drifted to the southwest of the volcano flank as preliminary filed investigation by the agency traced the presence of ash deposits in barangay (village) Monbon and Irosin town proper.

In Irosin town, at least 75 families or 319 individuals were evacuated from three barangays that are now housed in Gallanosa National High School in Barangay San Pedro, also in the said town.

Irosin Mayor Eduardo Ong, Jr said the evacuees are from Barangays Tinampo, Monbon, and Cogon located just down the slopes of the volcano that are most affected by the ash falls.

At least 17 barangays in Irosin town encountered from light to heavy ash falls.

The municipal government of Irosin has also mobilized response teams and dispatched vehicles to survey other areas and evacuate residents if necessary.

“We have also distributed face masks and conduct close monitoring of the evacuees for their immediate needs,” adding that, ”we need additional medicines for respiratory ailments, relief assistance,” he said.

“The Department of Public Works and Highways and Bureau of Fire Protection, and other groups already helped out for the clearing of national highways and other major roads from volcanic ash,” he added.

Lt. Col Santiago Enginco, commanding officer of the 49th Infantry Battalion, meanwhile said that the army unit has immediately deployed 5 military vehicles and were able to transport some 50 families or 150 individuals people from Puting Sapa village in Juban town to the evacuation center in Cogon Elementary School in the same town.

In Bulan town, initial reports show that at least 18 students suffered suffocation due to the thick ash falls, including 10 in Bulan National High School and 8 in Alcova Elementary School.

Mayor Helen Rose De Castro said the municipal government has already distributed facemasks this morning, especially to school children, adding that “we need additional of these masks as ashes from the volcano still pose danger to my constituents.

Classes in the affected areas in Juban, Irosin and Bulan towns were already suspended by the DepEd, with the presence of evacuees who took shelter in the elementary school grounds and facilities.

Meanwhile, reports from PIA Masbate said the ash falls from Mt. Bulusan recent eruption reached as far as Masbate City, as traces were evident on the roofs of houses and buildings, vehicles and main thoroughfares of the city.

PIA Masbate chief Ernie Delgado said the disaster management office has observed much heavier ash fall in Ticao Island perhaps because of the prevailing wind direction and the proximity of the area to Sorsogon province.

Masbate City Health Office has also distributed dust mask to prevent suffocation among the locals in the wake of the ash fall that until press time is noted in the area.

Phivolcs, furthermore, warned that Alert Level 1 remains hoisted over Bulusan Volcano and entry to the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited, since the area is at risk to sudden steam and ash explosions.

Furthermore, people living near valleys and river/stream channels should be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows and lahars in the event of heavy and prolonged rainfall.

Civil aviation authorities here advised pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano's summit as ejected ash and volcanic fragments from sudden explosions may be hazardous to aircraft.

Senator Francis Escudero, who hails from Casiguran town, has asked concerned government agencies through the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) to coordinate efforts to mitigate the effects of the eruption. (MALoterte, BARecebido, EADelgado, PIA V)

PNoy leads in massive tree planting
By Lizel S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur , (PIA) — President Benigno Simeon Aquino III joined thousands of Camarines Sur folks in a momentous attempt to defy the effects of climate change by spearheading the ceremonial tree planting of seedlings at the hilly portion of Barangay Sto. Nino, here as the province aims a place at the prestigious Guinness World Record list.

Before the dawn breaks this morning, members of the academe, LGU officials, representatives from socio and civic organizations and private individuals were already in full planting gear, as they prepared to plant an approximate 35,000 seedlings in a 17-hectare planting site.

The President’s arrival further boosted the participant’s enthusiasm to partake of the chance to be active stewards of environment by joining their community in the simultaneous planting.

In his speech, President Aquino lauded the initiative of the local government of Camarines Sur thru Governor Luis Raymond Villafuerte in spearheading a gargantuan project of creating not just a name in history but also of launching public awareness on how important trees are in our fight against climate change.

“The government is now addressing our war against poverty, but we are still facing a lot of battles and one of them is our struggle to fight off global warming. Our country has gone through typhoons and widespread flooding that did not only damage our infrastructure and properties but also have lost the lives of many.”

President Aquino said that his administration thru the national government’s greening program strongly supports environment endeavors like the EL Verde Movement to address the declining situation of our environment.

“Five hundred thousand seedlings could transform to five hundred opportunities for our people. Not just in terms of shade, but in terms of livelihood as well,” Aquino added.

In support of this, Aquino also reiterated several government efforts like the issuance of Executive Order 23 which specifically orders logging ban all over the country. (PIA Camarines Sur)

PNoy to strengthen social reintegration program for ex rebels
By Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, (PIA) — "It is one of the main thrusts in the six-year term of President Benigno Simeon 'Noynoy' Aquino III to leave a lasting imprint of simple but effective local based-approach and nationally-led programs; this is especially true in the case of former rebels who will be mainstreamed in society.

It is also his desire to give local chief executives more room to analyse, review government policies, recommend solutions, draw programs and projects so that the social reintegration program will be the government's legacy in the call for peace," Rolly B. Asuncion, director, Peace and Development Office under the Office of the Presidential Peace Process (OPPAP) said during the meeting held here last week at the training hall of the Office of the Governor.

In attendance during the meeting were representatives from different offices and agencies involved in the program.

The legal basis of the reintegration program is Executive Order No. 03, which is the implementation of the Social Integration Program (SIP) to address the legal status and security of former rebels.It provides community-based programs that will address their economic, social, psychological, and rehabilitation needs.

Under Sec. 17 (b) (3) of the Local Government Code of 1991 which is the basic services and facilities component, the province is tasked to provide social welfare service which also includes programs and projects on rebel returnes and evacuees relief operation and population development services of rebel returnees.

Director Asuncion explained that under OPPAP, three guiding principles are recommended for implementation in the social reintegration program. First, that program be locally-driven but nationally-led; second, that these programs be based on broad partnerships; and third, that these programs be time-bounded with clear exit strategy.

Sorsogon is one of the provinces in the Philippines that had provided rebel returnees with the SIP package and are now successfully mainstreamed in society.

"With the new scheme of the social reintegration program after it has been thoroughly reviewed and enhanced under the PNoy administration where society and government will play their best in the healing process , OPPAP is hopeful that all these efforts will find significant meaning in our pursuit to lasting peace." Director Asuncion stressed. (PIA Sorsogon)

NGO urges PNoy to convert watershed forest into a natural park

VIRAC, Catanduanes, (PIA) — The Catanduanes Sustainable Development Inc., a non-government environment petition letter recently petitioned President Noynoy Quino His Excellency President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to convert a watershed reservation in the province of Catanduanes intoa Natural Park.
The petition paper states the alarming scenario affecting the vast flora and fauna, the life support system which are now in degenerative state due to uncontrolled human activities to the gradual decline in the quality and quantity of the ground water, surface water, and other essential ecosystem services.
The group also appealed to Gov. Joseph C. Cua and Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento, for the immediate establishment of a natural park in the Island province.

The members of the ECODEVI advocates the establishment of the Catanduanes Natural Park through the expansion of the Catanduanes Watershed Forest Reserve (CWFR) under Presidential Proclamation 123 date June 23, 1997, to include large portion of Catanduanes Wilderness area with the ultimate goal of preserving vast habitats for biodiversity conservation in accordance with the National Integrated Protected Areas (NIPAS) and therefore ensuring human survival.

They also commit to keep the spirit of environmentalism alive as they intend to consistently be at the forefront in the crusade for biodiversity protection. The likewise commit to promote good governance as their gesture of support to Pres. Aquino. The chairman of the Board of ECODEVI is Luis L. Surtida, provincial administrator, Province of Catanduanes. (EABagadiong, PIA Catanduanes)

Coconut farmers are now enjoying good price for their products-PCA
By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY- Coconut farmers in Bicol produced a total of 430,054 metric tons of Copra in 2010 valued at P11.9 billion and are enjoying a good price for their produce because of the effect of climate change in other countries producing substitute products according the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) regional office.

PCA regional director Eduardo Allorde said that the farm gate price of copra last year averaged at P46.75 per kilogram up from P18.00 for the same period in 2009 or a price differential of P28.25/per kilogram.

Moreover he said that price of matured coconut (Niyog) used for cooking vegetable has reached P25 pesos each and young coconut or Buko also at P25 pesos each.

He said that the province of Camarines Sur produced the highest volume of Copra in 2010 with 93,833 metric tons harvested from 119,045 hectares of land planted to coconut while Sorsogon is second with 97,738 metric tons from harvested from 97,692 hectares, third is Masbate with 87,478 metric tons harvested from 91,076 hectares and fourth is Camarines Norte with 82,002 metric tons harvested from 85,375 hectares, fifth is Albay with 38,593 metric tons harevested from 40,180 hectares and sixth is is the island province of Catanduanes with 13,807 metric tons harvested from 14,375 hectares for total of 447,764 hectares.

Allorde said that there are a more than 300,000 coconut farmers in Bicol dependent on the coconut farming while 2.1 million Bicolanos are directly or indirectly dependent on the Coconut industry.
The PCA regional director explained that the rise in the price of coconut products is due to the climate change pervading in the World today like the snows and blizzard in the United States and Europe and flooding in other areas because of La Nina.

He said that because of this abnormal weather condition brought about by climate change the supply of competing product like soya bean oil, sunflower and kernel oil has been reduced making our coconut based products more in demand in the world market forcing the price to shoot up.

He added that last year some $1.5 billion dollar worth of coconut products were exported to the world market.

He disclosed that the agency is now implementing for this year several projects to increase the production of coconut farmers to take advantage of the good prevailing price in the world market.
He disclosed that these projects are under the National Coconut Productivity Program (NCCP) which includes the Participatory Planting Project (PCPP), The Salt Fertilization Project (SFP) and the Coconut intercropping Project (CIP). (PIA V/Albay)

Enhanced Tax Revenue Assessment and Collection Training held

VIRAC, Catanduanes, (PIA) — A Province-wide Real Property Tax Administration Computerization Training is being conducted in the province of Catanduanes which started last February 14 until February 25, 2011 at the Office of the Provincial Assessor, Capitol Building, Virac, Catanduanes.

The activity is a ten-day training attended by Municipal Assessors, Municipal Treasurers and Information Technology Administrators of the 11 municipalities in the province.

This is one of the Policy Reform Agenda of the Administration of Governor Joseph C. Cua with the following objectives: To provide a consistent and accurate computation of real property assessment for land, plants and trees, building and machineries; To provide better delivery of service through fast and efficient processing of real property transactions and efficient decision-making and problem solving through accurate, timely and relevant real property information and to increase collection through updated tax payer records.

Included in the program description are the following: The Real Property Tax Enhanced Program shall install a computerized system for assessment and treasury; it shall consist of the computerization of real property assessment and tax records through the establishment of IT system; it shall consists of the acquisition of servers and terminal stations for assessment and treasury at the provincial and municipal level; the project shall designate personnel both at the provincial and municipal level; it shall conduct trainers of personnel involved in the said project and the project shall establish a link through a Local Area Network (LAN).

All the 11 municipalities in the province will be given free network server for interconnectivity between the assessors and treasurers. In short, the program's service is revenue generation through real property tax administration, real property tax appraisal and assessment and real property tax collection. ### (EABagadiong, PIA Catanduanes)

By Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, FEB. 22 (PIA) – The Office of Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) regional office here and its satellite office located in Naga City continue to assist relatives of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who wish to know how their loved ones are coping with the unrest in their adopted countries of workplaces.

Regional Director Jocelyn Hapal disclosed in yesterday’s Aramon Ta Daw radio program of PIA that said offices are becoming intermediaries by accepting calls from kins of OFWs, while they in turn contact their offices in concerned countries to determine how Filipino workers fare.

The system has worked out since the turmoil in Egypt started.

Today, according to Hapal, they are ready to do the same arrangement for relatives of OFWs working in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen in close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Hapal said that there are scores of Filipinos working in Malama, Bahrain and Bengzali, Libya.

Likewise, she announced that voluntary repatriation from Egypt is still open after a three wave of groups went home at their own accord. So far of the 97 individuals who came home, no Bicolano was among those who turned up because they want to hang on to their jobs.

Interested relatives are advised to visit the OWWA offices or call 473-4341 in Naga City or 481-4503, this city during office hours. They can also call CP#09277962223 anytime of the day.

Meantime, OWWA Bicol will partake of the P1 billion livelihood fund for returning OFWs who went home starting August 2010 due to unpleasant causes like unfinished contract, illness, objectionable workplace or cases of maltreatment.

A grant of P15,000 await returning OFW as a start-up capital.

Groups or organizations will likewise, be given a grant of P150,000 to P250,000 depending on the proposal submitted.

Unlike before, where livelihood assistance program was in the form of loan, this time according to Hapal the assistance is an endowment because OFWs are hard-up in paying loans.

OWWA will provide orientation on how to start a business and related information including preparation of documents for submission to accredited banks. The new livelihood assistance scheme will be coursed through Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines, added Hapal. (PIA V/Albay)

PNP Bicol hiring 340 new cops in the region

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA) — The Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office here has commenced accepting applications for Police Officer 1 (PO1) Attrition Recruitment Program Phase 1 for 2011, according to the agency’s Public Information Office.

Police Sr. Insp. Ayn Espinas Natuel of the regional police PIO said this year’s recruitment intends to fill up the regional and provincial offices with the lacking number of police personnel to be more responsive to the demands of an efficient and effective police office in the region.

Espinas said the applicants will undergo the rigid six months Public Safety Basic Recruit Course (PSBRC) training upon passing all the mandatory processing requirements for appointment.

Espinas elaborated that qualifications include applicants must be a natural born citizen, of good moral character, must possess a formal Baccalaureate Degree from a recognized learning institution, must be eligible in accordance with the standards set by the Commission, must have passed the psychiatric/psychological, physical, medical, dental and drug test to be administered by the PNP Health Service and Crime Laboratory or any NAPOLCOM accredited government hospital for the purpose of determining the appointee’s physical and mental health.

He or she must have no pending criminal case in any court, including the Office of the Ombudsman or administrative case if he/she is already an employee of the government, must not be dishonorably discharged from military employment or on AWOL or Dropped from Rolls from the PNP service, or dismissed for cause from any civilian position in the government, must not have been convicted by final judgment of an offense or crime involving moral turpitude

The applicant must also be at least 1 meter and 62 centimeters (1.62cm) in height for male and 1 meter and 57 centimeters (1.52cm) for female, must weight not more or less than 5 kilograms (5.0 kg) from the standard weight corresponding to his/her height, age and se, and must not be less than 21 nor more than 30 years of age

The applicant shall be considered to be 21 years of age on his/her 21 birth date and shall be considered more than 30 years of age on his/her 31st birth date.

The should also submit the following requirements in a white folder with white tabbing, duly accomplished CSC Form 212 (Revise 205) Handwritten (Black Ball Pen), birth certificate authenticated by the NSO, eligibility authenticated by the issuing authority (NAPOLCOM, PRC RA 65060), 2 pcs 2”x2” black and white picture indicating applicant’s name, 1piece bust picture, 1 piece whole body picture, Transcript of Records and Diploma (authenticated by the school registrar), clearances from Barangay, Local Police Station, RTC/MTC/NBI, medical certificate issued by local health office and ECG result fingerprints and handwriting specimen from NAPOLCOM.

The applicants must directly submit their application folders to their respective Police Provincial Offices, who in turn will endorse the same to the Regional Selection Board/Committee at the regional office in Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola here.

For inquiries and more details, interested applicants may visit RPHRDD, (R1) of Bicol PRO or call
this office at 481-1449, 820-0537.

Applicants will be carefully screened and subjected to battery of tests, purposely to determine their physical, mental and psychological fitness to undergo the PSBRC training, and ensure that only those best qualified are accepted to the PNP service.(MALoterte, PIA V/Albay)