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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Salceda urges GSIS to restudy suspension of housing loans to members

by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, June 30 (PIA) -- Governor Joey Salceda of Albay has strongly urged the new management the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to review its policy on suspension of housing loans to its members seen not beneficial to its more than 1.4 million members.

Salceda, chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC), pointed out during the full council meeting last Friday that transferring the housing loan from GSIS to Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) will increase the cost of the loans because of the add on administrative cost and the expected higher interest rates due to higher cost of money transferred to it.

“Why should GSIS transfer funds to HDMF or Pagibig when GSIS members are already members of Pagibig and are already entitled to borrow from the fund?” Salceda asked.

GSIS funds are taken from the 9 percent deducted from the gross salaries of government employees as its member and 12 percent government share.

During the same conference, RDC Bicol has approved a resolution expressing its strong objection to GSIS top management’s recent decision suspending housing loans to its members and transferring funds to the Pagbig fund, further urging the same to review its negative implication to its members as expressed by chairman Salceda. (MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Demand up for pili products in the local, international market -- DTI V

by Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, June 30 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regional office here has been pursuing the massive pili planting and farming in Bicol not only for environmental purposes, but more importantly, to boost the already booming industry in the local market and abroad.

Jocelyn Berango, information officer of DTI V, said demands for pili (Canarium ovatum) products continue to increase both in the local and international market with a competitive edge at par with food garnishing nuts, extracted oil, resin, among others in the world.

She said that under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and through the farmer-beneficiaries, the agency has since planted at least 10,000 pili seedlings this year in different parts of the region.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) regional field office here has provided the seedlings, conducted site validation and made available its technical people to assist in the implementation of the project as stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), entered into by and between the DTI and DA.

Pili, described as the “majestic tree” and fast emerging as another “tree of life” next to coconut is now Bicol’s “flagship crop and industry.”

The Philippines had been exporting pili nuts to Hawaii, Germany, France, Great Britain, Japan,and China since before World War II, according to the Plant Industry Digest published in 1970.

A study conducted by a team of biotechnologists has also urged the national government to support the pili industry in Bicol and improve the tree as a source of resin but also of oil and other micronutrients.

The agency, Berango said, continues to pursue industry development in its desire to boost pili commercialization as a source of livelihood among beneficiaries and provide significant employment to farmers, traders, processors and private entrepreneurs industry in Bicol.

“The planting of Pili trees not only helped the farmer beneficiaries but more so, it would even help in reducing air pollution because of their high carbon absorption ability,” she added.

In recent development, pili plantation in Bicol has increased in hectarage and improved the quality of the processed products

Berango furthered that “not to mention the sturdiness of the trees that makes them more resistant to strong winds and super typhoons. “ (MAL, PIA V/with reports from JRB, DTI V)

July is 16th Police Community Relations Month

by Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, June 30 (PIA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Office will be celebrating its 16th Police-Community Relations Month from July 1-31, 2011 with the theme: “Matatag na Ugnayan ng Mamamayan at Kapulisan Tungo sa Mapayapa at Ligtas na Pamayanan”.

The month-long observance is mandated by Presidential Proclamation No. 764 which declares the month of July every year as Police Community Relations Month, with the National Police Commission as the lead agency.

In this connection, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Catanduanes Information Center Manager, Edna A. Bagadiong being one of PNP’s partners in the overall scheme of crime prevention with the province of Catanduanes will be one of the awardees this year.

A certificate of Recognition will be awarded during the 2011 Police-Community Relations Month Kick-Off Activity/ Distinguished Visitors Program on July 5, 011 at the Catanduanes Provincial Police Office, Camp Francisco Camacho, Virac, Catanduanes.

The program will coincide with a flag raising ceremony to be held on the said day. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)`

No Chinese 'cloudy agent' contamination case in Bicol—DOH

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, June 30 (PIA) -- Despite the quieting down of the Di Ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) scare that gripped the nation early this June, the Department of Health-Center for Health and Development (DOH-CHD) in Bicol continues with its monitoring activity.

To date, the DOH disclosed that no DEHP contamination has been noted in the 233 establishments checked by the Food and Drug Administration office.

Health Director Nestor F. Santiago said that special regional monitoring teams were deployed throughout the region to monitor food products which whose results revealed negative contamination of the DEHP.

Of the 233 establishments screened, 6 are located in Albay, 108 in Camarines Norte, 43 in Camarines Sur, 20 in Catanduanes, 4 in Masbate and 52 in Sorsogon.

A total of 2,131 Taiwan-manufactured food items from these establishments were verified and found out that said items were not in the list of contaminated products.

Also, 96 per cent or 2,048 Taiwanese food items of the 2,131 examined were voluntary pulled out by store owners.

High-risk products from Taiwan monitored by DOH-FDA included sports drinks, fruit juices and soft drinks.

The DEHP scare started when Taiwanese authorities have discovered that DEHP was illegally added to a food product raw material called cloudy agent that improves the emulsification of a product. The Taiwan government has informed the Philippine government particularly the health department that involved material or products may have been exported to the country.

DEHP is widely used as a plasticizer in the manufacturing of articles including medical devices like intravenous bags and tubings, blood bags and infusion tubings and nasogastric tubes. Health authorizes said that low doses of DEHP is generally safe but with high doses or prolonged and repeated exposure is harmful especially to children. It could lead to testicular defects, fertility problems and toxicity to kidneys.

Efforts to trace the products in question are still in progress in the country and in Bicol in particular to ensure that products are safe for consumers.

Aside from the continuous monitoring, the DOH-CHD Bicol has coordinated and requested for personnel augmentation from local government units in the monitoring of DEHP contamination.

DOH, too, cautions consumers to be vigilant and suggested that in case they have purchased questionable products or those recalled throwing them away in a manner that will prevent others from consuming them. If they become ill for consuming such food products to immediately consult health care providers.

Most of all, when buying imported products to always check the food registration. If these are Taiwan- made they are advised to verify from the FDA through the website www.bfad.gov.ph or call DOH FDA at 02-8425606 or 02-8078275. (MAL/AAN, PIAV)

BIR Camarines Norte exceeds P5.1M collections in first 5 months of 2011

by Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, June 30 (PIA) -- Taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) district office here exceeds P5.1 million from January to May this year due to intensified tax campaign of the agency.

Assistant Revenue District Officer Modesto Avila Jr. said that the district office has collected almost P196 million exceeding the target goal for the said period of P190,802,000.

He said that due to their appeal, more tax payers have filed and paid their income taxes, particularly businessmen in the province.

Avila also said that they have also intensified their tax mapping, reading of cash registered machines in big stores and supermarkets and reading of meters in gasoline stations here.

He also urged consumers to always ask for receipts in their purchases and services transactions wherein they can also win instant prizes in the Papremyo sa Resibo contest .

He explained thar "PSR" offers instant cash prizes through text in the said promo of the BIR. To join text PSR(space)TIN No.of O.R.(space)O.R. No.(space) O.R. Amount and send to 9777 (for single entry) or 9778 (for multiple entries). P100.00 reflected in the official receipt per entry and P2.50 will be deducted from the load per entry.

He added that the RDO here target goal for this year is 457.17 million wherein they will have to collect 37.2 million in order to reach the said goal at the end of the year. (MAL/RBM, PIA Camarines Norte)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Presidential Sis Pinky to lead turn-over of 3 AGAPP schools in Camarines Sur on Friday
by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, June 29 (PIA)-- Presidential Sister Pinky-Aquino Abellada will be the main guest during the blessing and the turn-over of three Aklat, Gabay, at Aruga Tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa (AGAPP) pre-school buildings in Camarines Sur on Friday, July 1.

Dr. Ofelia Samar-Sy, president of Pinoy Power Bicol Coalition of Volunteers Inc. (PPBCV) told PIA during Monday’s Aramon Ta Daw radio interview that the new two-room pre-school buildings are situated in Bato North Central School located in the municipality of Bato; Nabua East Central Pilot School in Nabua town and Romero Elementary School in Bula, Camarines Sur.

The turn-over rites in Bato is scheduled at 10 in the morning after which Ms. Aquino-Abelleda will motor to Nabua for similar ceremonies. In the afternoon, the Presidential Sister will preside over akin activity in disadvantaged community where Romero Elementary School is situated.

Each of the typhoon-proof school building cum library costs P260,000 financed by the AGAPP Foundation led by Ms. Aquino-Abellada. Every classroom has a comfort room and is furnished with tables and chairs and other furnitures. These structures are aptly called silid-pangarap.

With the completion of the three school buildings in Camarines Sur there are now six pre-school AGGAP buildings in Bicol.

The other schools earlier relinquished are located in Albay. These are situated in Taysan Elementary School, Legazpi City and Anislag Resettlement Site in Daraga, Albay turned-over last January 14 to the DepEd and local governments of Legazpi City and Daraga by Ms. Aquino-Abellada. A little less than two months later an additional pre-school building was completed in Daraga North Central School in Daraga town turned-over March 8 by another Presidential Sister Viel Aquino-Dee.

AGAPP school buildings are admirable exemplars of public-private partnership pushed by the Aquino administration. DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said the resources needed to achieve education department’s goal can be attained with help from the private sector and the civil society.

In this regard DepEd Memo No. 488 signed by Secretary Luistro urged public school officials to participate in said the AGAPP classroom project of AGAPP foundation.

The AGAPP foundation, according to Luistro, has taken the lead to respond to DepEd’s call by designing a project that actively promotes the mobilization of the private sector resources and talents.

AGAPP provides for the school-buildings and its furnishings while DepEd employs the pre-school teachers.

Meantime Dr. Sy also announced that two more buildings are its final phase of construction in Sorsogon province.

PPBCV is AGAPP Foundation conduit in Bicol. Communities interested to become recipients of similar pre-school projects may contact PPBCV. (MAL/AAN, PIA V)

More Bicolanos enlist with PhilHealth
by Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, June 29 (PIA) -– The government has assured the poorest of the poor among Filipinos of social protection through health and medical care benefits under the Universal Health Care Program in consonance with President Benigno Aquino III health agenda.

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth has been in the forefront and tasked to cover all Filipinos with social insurance within a time frame of three years enlisting all qualified to become members, especially the indigent members of the community.

In Bicol region, some 359,903 head of households identified through NHTS are to receive their PhilHealth membership identification cards

Philhealth V regional director Veronica Mateum said that “with the issuance of PhilHealth Board Resolution 1417 s. 2010, the corporation has adopted the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) in determining indigent families to be enrolled under the Sponsored Program of the National Health Insurance Program.”

Mateum said that the Philhealth IDs were turned over to their respective local government units to facilitate distribution to their respective resident.

“The city or towns’ Social Welfare Development Office shall be working in close coordination with village chiefs for the immediate distribution of the said cards with validity dates April 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011,” she explained.

Philhealth V records show that IDs will be distributed to some 52,051 in Albay; 117,652 in Camarines Sur; 28,641 in Camarines Norte; 11,252 in Catanduanes; 91,894 in Masbate; and 58,413 in Sorsogon.

Mateum furthered that the enrollment of the NHTS listed indigents under the sponsored program is fully subsidized by the national government that entitles members to in-patient benefits which can be availed during confinements in PhilHealth accredited hospitals. Members and dependents’ benefits include allowances for room and board, drugs and medicines, X-ray, laboratory, operating room and professional fees.

In addition, she said, sponsored members also have out-patient benefits which can be availed at accredited Rural Health Units (RHUs) which delivers preventive and diagnostic care for these members. They can avail for free primary consultation, blood pressure monitoring, breast examination and rectal exam for preventive care.

Body measurement, counseling for the cessation of smoking, and counseling for lifestyle change for diagnostic; chest x-ray, sputum microscopy, and visual acetic acid screening for cervical cancer and laboratory – urinalysis, fecalysis, and complete blood count.

Members and their dependents can avail of their PhilHealth benefits anytime within the validity period as indicated in their PhilHealth IDs.

“The automatic enrollment of the NHTS identified indigents in the sponsored program is a bold step of the government to give financial risk protection to Filipinos who need it most,” noted Mateum

Philhealth in Bicol has some 3,365,968 Bicolanos, both principal members and dependents, or 57 per cent of the 5,864,592 population of the region insured under the NHIP. (MAL, PIA V/Albay)

Sorsogon City water utility firm tests run new equipment

SORSOGON CITY, June 29 (PIA) -- Sorsogon City Water District (SCWD) begins middle of this month the 24-hour water supply test run for the resident-consumers in this city, according to an official of the utility service firm.

Engr. Jonathan G. Fortades, senior engineer and Officer-in-Charge of SCWD’s Production Division, said that pump operations in the Imperial Pumping Station in Barangay Pangpang and Cabid-An Pumping Station along the Diversion Road in Barangay Cabid-an will be round the clock.

Fortades said “These are the two main pumping stations supplying the main lines in the City.”

Fortades added that the said 24-hour test run operation will try the full capacity of the pump motors, the newly-installed Variable frequency Drives (VFDs) at the same time taking advantage of the current abundant supply of water from the spring sources.

“The test run is also put into operation to answer the need for more water in time of the opening of classes and other local celebrations in the month of June,” he said.

It can be recalled that at the start of the year, SCWD has installed VFDs in its major pumping stations to regulate the water pressure and energy consumption during pumping operations.

Sudden water pressure and high energy consumption are two main concerns of the District during water production operations. The former causing sediments to be pumped out in the distribution lines and the latter causing increase in water production cost.

The test run will continue until tomorrow (June 30) when the Engineering Division will look into the technical capacities of the pump station and the electricity consumption relative to the 24-hour water supply operations.

It is hoped that the test run will prove positive for a continuous water supply operation for the concessionaires of SCWD. (MAL/MLJumamil, SCWD)

1,916 Catanduanes state students benefit from scholarship program
by Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, June 29 (PIA)-- The College Education Scholarship Assistance and Reward (CESAR) program covered 1,916 recipients at Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC) Campuses in Virac and Panganiban this first semester of school year 2011-2012.

The said program has covered around 300 barangays from the 11 municipalities of the province, as follows: Bagamanoc- 97, Baras-114, Bato-187, Caramoran-178, Gigmoto-76, Pandan-54, Panganiban-66, San Andres-134, San Miguel- 87, Viga- 125, and Virac, -798.

Under the CESAR program, the annual family income of every applicant is assessed through the presentation of a certification from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Applicants with an annual family income of under P10, 000 to P100,000 are in bracket 1, those earning P100,001 to P200,000 are in bracket 2, while those with incomes P200,000 and above are in bracket 3.

Free tuition and miscellaneous fees are granted to bracket 1 scholars, while those in bracket 2 and bracket 3 are given 75% and 50%.

Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento has alloted P9 million per year in scholarship grants for Catanduanes State Colleges in his aim to provide accessible quality education for all.

The solon is also looking forward to expanding the twin scholarship program in his desire of producing a college graduate in every Catandunganon family. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

BJMP- Naga City cites accomplishments
by Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA City, June 29 (PIA) -- Working on a paltry financial setting did not stop the management of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) here to come up with significant accomplishments in line with its intent to provide a compassionate safekeeping of its inmates while assuring the safety of the community around it.

Jail Chief Inspector Wilmor Ploponio, City/ Dictrict Jail Warden Office-In-Charge during the regular gathering of Naga City City Peace and Order Council yesterday, cited some of the significant achievements that they have attained during the 2nd quarter of this year, covering the months of April until June 2011.

One of which is the bureau’s jail decongestion program. BJMP Naga City District Jail was able to release a total of 115 prisoners; 35 in April, 41 in May and 39 inmates in June 2011. Most of these detainees were either released thru a bailbond or their cases were acquitted.

The bureau’s rehabilitation program has also benefited 32 inmates; 25 of them went through a medical check up while 7 undergo mental or psychological examinations.

Plopinio said that they are also offering religious services to the inmates thru the regular mass every Sunday officiated by various religious groups. They are also scheduling a regular confession session for those inmates who would like to seek reparation for whatever misgivings they have committed.

“We are doing these to enhance the spiritual side of their personality which, I surmised have momentarily been set aside during the omission of a crime. With ninety- five (95%) of our inmates attending the mass every Sunday, is a proof that they want to be enlightened and seek for the atonement of their sins,” Plopinio added.

The jail management also encouraged the regular holding of a bible study, which is being conducted every Monday from 1:00 until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. There are also counseling sessions for Seventh Day Adventist members every Sunday being regularly held from 3:00 to 4:00pm every Saturday.

Various livelihood projects have also find a way inside the prison walls. BJMP Naga continuously promotes hog raising, carpentry, tailoring/ rug making, vegetable planting , beadery, coin bank making, pugon making and t-shirt printing among the inmates.

Sports and recreational activities also forms part of their Oplan-Balik Sigla Katawan Program were inmates are given educational activities to engage in various physical activities like playing basketball, volleyball and other engaging games.

Plopinio said that they will try their best to retain these programs despite the shortage of fund coming from the bureau yet looks forward for assistance from the local government units, non government organizations and other agencies to help them create more project and rehabilitation activities for their inmates. (LSM, PIA Camarines Sur)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Singson asks DPWH officials, employees who act as contractors to quit

LEGAZPI CITY, June 28 (PIA/DPWH) -- “Your time is up. You have already almost a year benefiting from what you’re doing,” Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio L. Singson told DPWH officials and employees who are also reportedly acting as project contractors or middlemen and collectors for contractors of the department.

Secretary Singson issued this warning to stubborn officials and employees of the department who are not in favor of his transparency and transformation reform program.

He said that in his nearly one year of service as DPWH Secretary, there are still enemies of his reform program within DPWH.

“These people who want to stay in their comfort zones should look for other jobs outside the department. They should not wait for me to make the first move to have them taken out of the DPWH,” Secretary Singson said.

Secretary Singson reiterated his call to support his reform and good governance program after the DPWH has celebrated its 113th anniversary on June 23.

He thanked and at the same time appealed to all upright officials and employees to do what is right, and only for the good and interest of the general public as people expect a big change in DPWH.

“We want to restore public trust in DPWH,” he added. As reported earlier, the government through DPWH was able to save about P2 Billion in taxpayers’ money through open, competitive and transparent bidding nationwide since July 2010 and about P7 Billion more funds will be saved for this year as the agency further institutionalizes reforms in the bidding process and also pursues the transformation program.

Secretary Singson also mentioned that with the establishment of the DPWH call center 165-02, he expects addressing more complaints and grievances received by the department. The call center is aimed at promoting transparency and improving complaints and feedback mechanism of the department. (DPWH V)
Phil Health Sabado II gains ground in Camarines Sur
by Lizel S. Macatangay

SAN JOSE, Camarines Sur, June 28 (PIA) -- Focusing this time to financially capable but still unlisted PhilHealth members, the government under President Benigno Aquino’s National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) aspires to enlist new members who have the financial capability to personally pay for their premium contributions but remains unlisted under the said government program.

With this key intention, the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and Department of Education (DepEd) spearheaded the simultaneous kick off of the second Nationwide Philhealth Registration Day (NPRD) on June 25.

Dubbed as "PhilHealth Sabado: Magseguro. Magparehistro," the event was held in four key schools here in the province of Camarines Sur : San Jose Central School , in San Jose ; Ocampo National High School in the town of Ocampo ,; Rinconada National Technical Vocational School in Iriga City and Sipocot Central School in Sipocot, Camarines Sur.

The one-day event, organized by the inter-agency committee, has addressed the need to educate the attendees on the benefits of being a PhilHealth member.

The advocacy was personally reinforced by the presence and words of DOH Regional Director Nestor F. Santiago, Jr. who graced the occasion at San Jose Central School and at Ocampo National High School .

Setting its sight on coming up with actual registrants, PhilHealth personnel here opened an on-site registration, resulting to P34, 400 collected premiums.

After the event, the organizers announced that a total of 2,757 parents attended the orientation, 89 of them were self-employed but already paying their premiums while 177 are non-paying members. The rest are now being targeted to enroll as new members under the NHIP.

Meanwhile, Dra. Vicky Mateum, Phil Heath Bicol Regional Director, together with Ms. Lorena Rubis, Chief of PhilHealth Management Services Division and Mr.David Escandor, Chief of the Field Operations Divisions also visited the PhilHealth Service office here in Camarines Sur under the headship of Ms. Evelyn Logoc, Camarines Sur Service Office Chief Social Insurance Officer.

Logoc said that their office has already turned over a total of 117, 707 PhilHealth cards for indigents and will be released by the respective local government units here in the province after last Saturday’s event. (MAL/LSM, PIA Camarines Sur)

Saringaya Award, 21st Eagle Quiz to cap Environment Month Celebration

LEGAZPI CITY, June 28 (PIA) -- As part of the culmination program of the Environment Month Celebration this month of June, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Region V will be holding the 11th Saringaya Awards and the 21st Eagle Quiz “Battle of Champions.”

DENR-Bicol Regional Director Joselin Marcus Fragada said that the Saringaya Awards “will recognize the efforts of various groups like Local Government Units, Academe, People’s Organization/Non-Government Organization, Industry and Individual for their outstanding contributions in environmental protection and conservation.”

The Eagle Quiz, on the other hand will heighten environmental consciousness among the youth through education and worthwhile field actions. The contestants for the Eagle Quiz are chosen through elimination at the provincial level.

The culmination program will be held on June 30, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. at the Casablanca Convention Center in this City.

This year’s theme for the Environment Month Celebration is “Forest: Nature at your Service.” (MAL/JMM, PIA V)

Four drug pushers arrested in Legazpi
by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, June 28 (PIA) -- Four suspected drug pushers were arrested during a recent raid conducted by joint elements of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Legazpi City Police Office, Regional Public Safety Battalion, and Highway Patrol Group in a coastal barangay here.

Archie A. Grande, PDEA regional director, said that the raiding team swoop down on residences of spouses Jose and Elizabeth Ordinario and Eufemia Vargas in Barangay Sabang this city armed with search warrants issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC)Executive Judge Edgar Armes and Judge Pedro Soriao that yielded 13.880 grams of Shabu contained in 21 sachets.

Recovered from the house of spouses Jose Ordinario,52, a retired Philippine Navy Petty Officer 1, and his wife Elizabeth, 44, vendor, were 15 sachets of shabu with a combined weight of 4.771 grams .

While in the house of Eufemia Vargas, 50, the raiding team recovered eight sachets of shabu with a combined weight of 4.85grams and three bundles of one thousand peso bills amounting to P300,000.00.

Also recovered during the raid were eight sachets of shabu with a combined weight of 4.259 grams from Lilet Atondo, 33, a fruit vendor.

Grande said that four arrested suspects will be charged for violations of RA 9165 for drug pushing.

He said the four were under surveillance for several weeks before the raid was made. (MAL/EDL, PIA V)

NE Manila consortium to conduct outreach program in Catanduanes
by Edna A Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, June 28 (PIA) -- The North East Manila ENT-HNS Training Consortium (NEMEC) will have an outreach program on July 15, 2011 at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC).

The Consortium was established in the early part of 1999 by the Department of Otorhinolarynology -Head and Surgery of Veterans Memorial Medical Center, together with the Departments of ENT-HNS of Manila Central University (MCU) and Quirino Memorial Medical Center, to strengthen the ENT-HNS training program of its’ different member institutions.

In line with the said activity, the ENT doctors will conduct Out-Patient Clinics for all diseases involving the Head and Neck.

Patients with the following complaints may come and avail for the free services: Ear (ear discharge, ear pain, hearing loss); Nose (recurrent colds, nasal obstruction, patients with allergic rhinitis); throat (hoarseness of voice); Head and Neck Mass (thyroid, mouth or salivary gland tumors, and other tumors involving the head and neck).

Patients treated medically will be given available free medicines.

Those with tumors or other head and neck mass can also avail of free Fine Needle Biopsy with readings of results. Screening of patients for surgery will be done, to be scheduled for operation at a later date.

NEMEC hopes that this program would benefit many Catandunganons. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)
RPOC-V MEETING -- Camarines Norte Governor and RPOC Chairman Edgardo Tallado (top photo 3rd from left) presides over the Regional Peace and Order Council meeting at the Ibalong Conference Hall, Legazpi City, last June 28, 2011. In attendance (R-L) PNP Reg. Dir. PCSupt. Cecilio B. Calleja; DILG Reg. Dir. Blandino M. Maceda; M/Gen. Josue Gaverza, 9th ID Commanding General. (Alex Cal/PIA)
Regional Peace and Order Council meeting . . . (R-L) Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine Rosal, PNP Reg. Dir. PCSupt. Cecilio B. Calleja; RPOC chairman & CamNorte Gov. Edgardo Tallado, DILG Reg. Dir. Blandino M. Maceda; M/Gen. Josue Gaverza, 9th ID Commanding General.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Magseguro; Magparehistro ito ang ginawa ng mag-asawang ito sa nagdaang PhilHealth Sabado noong June 25 na ginanap sa Albay Central School.

PhilHealth Information dissemination. . . .

Bicolanos urged to plant more pili trees
…industry continues to boom in the local market and abroad

LEGAZPI CITY, June 27 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regional office here has been pursuing massive pili planting and farming in Bicol not only for environmental purpose but more importantly to boost the already booming industry in the local market and abroad.

Jocelyn Berango, information officer of DTI V, said demands for pili (Canarium ovatum) products continue to increase both in the local and international market with a competitive edge at par with food garnishing nuts, extracted oil, resin, among others in the world.

She said that under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and through the farmer-beneficiaries, the agency has since planted at least 10,000 pili seedlings this year in different parts of the region.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) regional field office here has provided the seedlings, conducted site validation and made available its technical people to assist in the implementation of the project as stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), entered into by and between the DTI and DA.

Pili, described as the “majestic tree” and fast emerging as another “tree of life” next to coconut is now Bicol’s “flagship crop and industry.”

The Philippines had been exporting pili nuts to Hawaii, Germany, France, Great Britain, Japan,and China since before World War II, according to the Plant Industry Digest published in 1970.

A study conducted by a team of biotechnologists has also urged the national government to support the pili industry in Bicol and improve the tree as a source of resin but also of oil and other micronutrients.

The agency, Berango said, continues to pursue industry development in its desire to boost pili commercialization as a source of livelihood among beneficiaries and provide significant employment to farmers, traders, processors and private entrepreneurs industry in Bicol.

“The planting of Pili trees not only helped the farmer beneficiaries but more so, it would even help in reducing air pollution because of their high carbon absorption ability,” she added.

In recent development, pili plantation in Bicol has increased in hectarage and improved the quality of the processed products

Berango furthered that “not to mention the sturdiness of the trees that makes them more resistant to strong winds and super typhoons. “ (MAL, PIA V/JRB, DTI V)

Status quo policy on contributions for Philhealth benefits

by Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, June 27 (PIA) -- The existing requirements for members to avail of claims and benefits from the government health insurance provider remains with the three months within the six month period for regular and non-surgical cases and nine months within the twelve-months prior to availment of certain surgical cases, according to regional office of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or Philhealth here.

Philhealth V has announced that the corporation recently released Circular No. 9, s. 2011 which officially deferred the implementation of Circular No. 25, 2. 2010 issued September last year.

PhilHealth V regional director Veronica Mateum said that Circular No. 25, which is supposed to take effect on effective July 4, 2011, provides that the new requirement in availing PhilHealth benefits in all confinements including Out-Patient Benefits is nine months of contribution within the twelve month period prior to the availment to prove sufficient regularity payment of premiums.

“However, this has been suspended with the issuance of Circular No. 9, thus PhilHealth Circulars No. 28, s. 2009 and No. 36, s. 2006 are still in effect providing that contribution should be three months within the six month period for regular and non-surgical cases and nine months within the twelve-months prior to availment of certain surgical cases,” she explained.

The new requirement was to be observed in all members except for those enrolled under the sponsored program, overseas workers program and the lifetime member program.

However, after conducting dialogues with stakeholders and review of the corporation’s policies, the said directives is held in abeyance subject to further evaluation of the concerned operational units relative to the proper definition and application of the requirement on sufficient regularity.

Members under the sponsored program and the overseas workers program may avail of their benefits within the validity period of their membership while lifetime members may avail of PhilHealth benefits any time at accredited facilities. (MAL, PIA V/Philhealth V)

Prayer service cum breakfast to kick off observance of disaster awareness month

by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, June 27 (PIA) -- The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) of Bicol will hold an Ecumenical prayer service cum breakfast on top of the Lignon Hill Nature Park here on Friday (July 1) to kick off the observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month (NDCM) activities for this year.

The activity was agreed upon during a series of conferences of the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Bicol RDRRMC presided by its chairman and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director Raffy Alejandro.

This year’s theme for the NDCM is “Makialam, makiisa. Sa pagsugpo sa panganib may maitutulong ka.”

Alejandro said that this year’s kick-off ceremony is a departure from the usual earthquake drills and display of search and rescue capabilities of the different response teams in the region.

“This year we have decided to hold an ecumenical prayer service to continually call for divine intervention and recitation of the "Oratio Emperata" to spare Bicol anew from being hit by typhoons and other natural calamities,” Alejandro said.

He said that "we expect some 500 persons from the different member agencies to participate in the kick-off activities, also to include high school and college students from several schools and contingents from the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, Coast Guard Bicol, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protect and some from invited NGOs.

Alejandro said the participants will assemble at the Philippine Air Force (TOG 5) headquarters, just across Lignon Hill, at 4:00 am, followed by a warm up exercise, then the group will trek up Lignon Hill at 5:00 am, and Ecumenical Prayer Service starts at 6:00 am.

Participants from member agencies are encouraged to wear orange colored T-shirts which is recognized internationally as the color of distress at sea and visible even during fogs and bad weather.

After the religious service, a simple breakfast will be served to participants, courtesy of GSIS, SSS and Philhealth.

A press conference will also be held to appraise the media of the various activities that will be undertaken by various disaster councils and member agencies during the month long disaster consciousness month celebration. (MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Aquino cites improving PHL-Korea partnership

NAGA CITY, Cebu (PIA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the strengthening relations between the Philippines and Korea during the inauguration of the 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant of Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) here Monday saying the formal opening of the power plant was “another step toward improving our partnership.”

He added that with this new power generating facility, 11 percent of the country’s electric generation requirements have been met.

“The Korean Electric Power Company has long been a strong partner of the Philippine government. To date, they have already provided, and continue to provide, around 11 percent of our country’s generation capacity, and I assume that with the lever I pulled just moments ago, that percentage will continue to rise in the coming months,” the President told the audience composed of KEPCO officials led by its president Ssang Su Kim, Cebu officials led by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, employees and members of media.

The President added that this inaugural was a clear testament of the international community’s confidence for the “capabilities and talent of the Filipino people.”

“I am glad to be here with you today in taking another step toward improving our partnership. On behalf of the Filipino people, I extend my gratitude to KEPCO for their continued confidence in us—in our administration, and, more importantly, in the capabilities and talents of the Filipino people,” the President said.

The President likewise lauded the implementation of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market in the Visayas region which he said “paved the way for the timely commissioning of new power plants as investors are now provided with opportunities to sell power at reasonable profits.”

“More importantly, the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market has played a significant role in stabilizing electricity supply and has eliminated the manual load dropping (or rotational brownouts) of customers,” the President said.

“We now have 180 market players in the integrated Luzon and Visayas market, and the selling price in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market for both Luzon and Visayas has reached a low 3.8 pesos per kilowatt hour in April of this year as opposed to the National Power Corporation regulated price of 4.67 pesos per kilowatt hour. This measure has likewise increased investor interest in the region, and perhaps this is proven even further by today’s inauguration,” he added.

The President pointed out that with this renewed stability in electricity distribution, industries in the region can continue to flourish and expand as it meets the demands of its customers and clientele.

“This power plant we are inaugurating today will make certain that the energy needs of our citizens in this part of the country are met. In Cebu, for example, where the economy continues to grow, this power plant willhelp keep up with increasing demand,” the President said.

“As more people around the world buy Cebu made furniture, and as more and more of them come to join the Sinulog festivities or to eat the unparalleled Cebu lechon, production capacities for your businesses will have to increase, and the available accommodations for visitors will have to increase as well; and none of this is possible if you do not have enough electricity,” he added.

Aquino announces proposal for new nautical highway

NAGA CITY, Cebu (PIA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III announced that a proposal to construct a new nautical highway traversing the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao is being studied to assess its viability and impact on the environment.

The Chief Executive made the announcement in his speech keynoting the inauguration of the 200-megawatt coal fired power plant of the Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) on Monday here.

“There are ongoing studies that will make the nautical highway even more efficient. They will practically cut by a third the travel time it would take to travel from Luzon to Mindanao once it is accomplished,” the President said.

He added that instead of traversing the “outer perimeter” of the country, the proposed nautical highway will pass through the country’s middle area or “spine” to cut travel time.

“And of course Cebu will be at the lynch pin of this nautical highway which will traverse the inner portion of the country as opposed to the current outside perimeter that has to be travelled,” the President stressed.

Aquino condoles with former President and Mrs. Ramos on the untimely death of their daughter

MANILA (PIA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III extended his deepest sympathies to former President and Mrs. Fidel V. Ramos on the untimely passing of daughter, Josephine Martinez Ramos, who succumbed to cancer today.

“Ms. Ramos’ love for, and accomplishments, in music, was testimony to the musical passion she shared with her mother; and in athletics, she participated in the national team that gained distinction for the country in the SEA Games in the 1970s,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement issued on Monday in Malacanang.

“The loss of any loved one is grave, indeed; the demise of a child is particularly painful for parents,” he said.

Lacierda said the President assured former President and Mrs. Ramos that he will “keep their entire family in his thoughts and prayers at this time of deep loss.”

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Minalabac: DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilya program, a journey worth traveled

by Lizel S. Macatangay

MINALABAC, Camarines Sur, June 24 (PIA) -- After the formal launching of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, also popularly known as 4Ps, sometime in August last year here, Mayor Leovegildo Basmayor had already envisioned an improved community, a healthier populace and a better life for a great number of hisconstituents.

As one of the priority projects of President Benigno Aquino III, this poverty reduction and social development program for the less privileged is being implemented, first and foremost, to alleviate poverty, improve the health conditions of children, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and achieve universal primary education, among others.

As a third-class municipality, Minalabac has been in dire need of these services, having to look after the welfare of more or less 45,000 households of its 25 barangays, with most of them living in the coastlines and far flung outskirts of the town.

Intervention of DSWD Poverty Programs

Basmayor’s prayers for solutions that will answer the need of his constituents were answered when his town was chosen to be among the three priority areas of the 4Ps program based on the 2003 Small area estimates, poverty incidence and pockets of poverty of the municipality.

As of the 2nd quarter of 2011, Minalabac has registered 2,141 total beneficiaries from its 25 barangays, 2,079 of whom have already received grants as of May 3, 2011. With the cash grants now easily available thru Globe Telecom’s GCASH remit, beneficiaries now enjoy a faster and more convenient way to access the government’s help.

Total amount disbursed to the town’s 4Ps recipients thru G-Cash remit stands at P1.2 M.

Never stopping from his desire to look for more avenues to assuage the current state of his constituents, Basmayor represented his town in an LGU forum last March 2011, along with other mayors in the province. The event, dubbed as

People Powered Development: A forum on

Integrating Community-Driven Development (CCD) in local governance practice,” became a venue for sharing notes, particularly on the importance of citizen’s participation and cooperation in the programs being spearheaded by the government.

Minalabac again became an active partner of the government in pursuing another poverty alleviation program by vigorously effecting various endeavors in line with the KALAHI CIDDS Project or Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services while envisioning a more empowered citizenry participating hands-on in the realization of P-Noy’s development agenda in their locality.

Reaping the fruits

With the help from the government continuously pouring into the town of Minalabac , a total of 40 more sub projects were realized.

Focusing on the upliftment of its constituents’ health conditions, six health stations were constructed in Barangays Bagolatao, Baliuag Nuevo,Baliuag Viejo, Catanusan , Magadap and Taban. A water system was also put in place in Barangays Del Socorro, Hamoraon and Salingogon to give its residents safe and potable water to drink.

Also giving utmost attention in achieving the set vision for universal primary education, day care centers were constructed in Barangays Hobo, Sagrada Familia, and two units at San Jose . A high school and elementary building were also erected at Barangay Antipolo and Bagongbong respectively.

Farm to market roads were improved in Barangays Baliuag Viejo and Sagrada Familia while a foot bridge was also constructed in Barangay Antipolo.

All these were achieved, along with the construction of solar dryer facilities in barangays Bagongbong, Baliuag Nuevo, Hobo and Magadap were assistance was given by the national government thru Minalabac to help farmers improve and market their produce.

Various road projects were also carried out --construction of barrel box culvert in Barangays Catanusan and Timbang, concreting of pathway in barangay Catanusan and, San Juan and construction of a sea wall in barangay San Antonio.

These projects cost P34,774,884.75.

“Magtarabang tabang Kita”

Mayor Basmayor, with the members of Sangguniang Bayan (SB) and cooperation from his constituents and other stakeholders, will continue to support all the programs of the government geared towards the realization of a well-lived life, communities free from poverty and a well-educated constituents. (MAL/LSM, PIA Camarines Sur)

84 schools in Bicol to receive computer sets, IT equipment from DTI

LEGAZPI CITY, June 24 (PIA) -- A total of 924 desktop computer sets, 84 printers and wireless broadband routers will be distributed to 84 public high schools throughout the Bicol region under the Personal Computer for Public Schools (PCPS) of the Department of Trade and Industry.

DTI V information officer Jocelyn Berango said the computer equipment will be distributed to public schools in Albay, with 12 beneficiaires; Camarines Norte, 5; Camarines Sur, 38; Catanduanes, 6; Masbate, 10; and Sorsogon, 13.

She related that each recipient school will be provided with 11 personal computers, one printer and a wireless broadband router.

“The recipient schools were identified by the Department of Education (DepEd) and were validated by DTI to determine the readiness of the schools,” Br\erango noted.

Berango furthered that the PCPS is a DTI’s initiative, which started in 2001 through a grant provided by the Government of Japan under its Non-Project Grant Assistance Counter-value Funds (DTI-5/NPGA-CVF).

The project is the agency’s response to the compelling challenges posed by the fast emerging Knowledge Economy, aiming to enhance the public high school students in information technology (IT) skills, as they are the country’s future knowledge workers.

Also, it promotes IT culture in Philippine classrooms as an avenue to develop students’ skills to be at par with global standards. DTI promotes the need to incorporate IT in the basic levels of education through the provision of computers in public high schools. (MAL/JEB, DTI V)

PNP warns public vs. power-saving gadgets

by Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, June 24 (PIA) -- Police authorities here has warned the public against distributors of alleged power-saving gadgets in the province.

According to the Philippine National Police (PNP) provincial office here, an increasing number of reports against peddlers who introduce themselves as agents of gadgets and swindling customers has been noted recently.

Last week, Lyn Flor Soleybar, 39, informed the police that last May 25, four persons came to her shop with the two introducing themselves as Jean Magbanua and Wilson Huarde.

They said that they were agents of Mini Sun Marketing with office at Suite 408, FMSG Bldg., E. Rodriguez Ave., Cubao, Quezon City and that they were selling a gadget called "Newtech Power Factor Connector" which is intended to reduce electricity consumption.

The said peddlers convinced her to buy one at Php 8, 500 and paid a deposit of P400 but she could not contact them anymore when she called to refer them to other customers.

In Pandan town, Juan Manuel Noceda, 70 complained to the police early this month that on June 1, a group of peddlers on board a light blue L300 van arrived at his residence and introduced themselves as agents of Mini Sun. They convinced him to purchase one Power Factor at Php8,500 but he later found out that it was not working.

According to PNP, Mini Sun Marketing has been the target of complaints from those who bought the alleged power saver that reduces electricity consumption and prolongs the life of an equipment by 1.5 times. According to experts, no such device has been invented.

PNP has called the attention of the public to be more keen and observant in buying such things especially when it involves a certain amount of money. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

16 benefit from Band of Mercy surgical mission

by Edna A Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, June 24 (PIA) -- A total of 16 patients benefited from the surgical mission conducted by the Philippine Band of Mercy last June 10-11, 2011 held at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC).

The Philippine Band of Mercy (PBM) has taken on the mission of providing thousands of indigent Filipinos physically disfigured at birth, with opportunity to avail of medical help and support for reconstruction, rehabilitation and medical treatment.

According to Dr. Greg Macero, acting chief of EBMC, of the 16 accommodated patients, 11 were operated on for palate disorders while the remaining five were treated for lip disorders.

Macero added that the medicines and medical supplies were given free by the Phil. Band of Mercy which estimated its expense for the mission at over P1.1 million.

The provincial government paid for the airfare, shuttle bus and accommodation of the five-person team while EBMC provided pre-operative laboratory requirements, cost of hospitalization and meals for the team and EBMC operating room personnel.

Originally, the mission targeted 43 patients but was able to operate only 16 after its original schedule was disrupted by typhoon Chedeng. (EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Malacanang suspends work in government agencies in the National Capital Region

MANILA (PIA) -- Malacanang announced on Friday the suspension of work in government agencies in the National Capital Region due to tropical storm “Falcon.”

The announcement was made by Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, following the signing of Memorandum Circular No. 14 by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., declaring the suspension of work.

“We have received word from the Office of the Executive Secretary that Memorandum Circular No. 14 has been signed by Executive Secretary Ochoa suspending work in government agencies in the National Capital Region from 1p.m. (Friday) onwards except in those involved in essential health and emergency duties and delivery of basic services,” Valte said.

Typhoon Falcon caused flash floods in many areas in Metro Manila.

‘Have bigger dreams, aim for higher goals’ --- President Aquino

MANILA (PIA) --President Benigno S. Aquino III urged the Filipinos, especially the youth, to dream bigger and aim higher as he assured full support from the government that would bring them to greater heights.

In his speech during the launching of the Gawad Kalinga Center for Social Innovation (GKCSI) Social Entrepreneurship at the GK Enchanted Farm, Barangay Encanto, Angat, Bulacan on Friday, the President said his administration is pushing for more legislative measures that will help the underprivileged people to have a better quality and higher standard of living.

“Hinihikayat ko ang mga kababayan natin, lalo na ang mga kabataan, na taasan pa ang kanilang mga pangarap — pangarap na hindi nalilimitahan sa pagkakaroon lang ng trabaho paglaki nila; at sa pangarap na di hamak na mas mababa kaysa kaya talagang marating ng husay at talento ng mga Pilipino,” President Aquino said.

“Nandito ang ating administrasyon para tiyakin na sulit ang pagod ng masisipag na negosyante at hindi mababangkarote ang mga Pilipino. Gaya ng pagsuporta ng gobyerno sa social entrepreneurs na tutulong sa pag-asenso ng kanilang komunidad, sinusuportahan din ng ating administrasyon ang mga batas para sa pag-unlad ng maralita nating kababayan,” he added.

The Chief Executive said that gone are the days of hardships in securing permits and other necessary documents required in starting a business. He underscored the full support from the government that could help budding entrepreneurs to achieve and sustain progress in their ventures.

“Nang maupo tayo, agad nating nirepaso ang bulok na sistema. Pinabilis natin ang proseso; pinaikli ang kailangang kumpletuhin na dokumento, at hinikayat natin ang pamumuhunan sa ating bayan,” the Chief Executive said.

“Habang pinapalago ninyo ang punla ng inyong pagsisikap, makakaasa kayong nasa likod ninyo ang gobyerno: handang umalalay sa inyo anumang oras, at gagabayan kayo sa liwanag patungo sa magandang bukas,” he added.

Present during the event were cabinet officials led by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo. Also in attendance were local government executives that include Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, Congresman JonJon Mendoza, Congresman Arthur Robes, Angat Mayor Gilberto Santos, and Gawad Kalinga Founder and Chairman Antonio Meloto.

The Gawad Kalinga CSI project is a business ecosystem development initiative that aims to build a culture of entrepreneurship in Filipino by engaging the GK network of supporters and partners and by leveraging on the GK community platform.

Its main business is to build socially-relevant and high impact business that will create conducive environments for business to thrive.

CSI started in Ateneo de Manila University’s school of management which was eventually followed in De La Salle University, University of the Philippines and other prominent learning institutions.

There were at least 50enterprises in its pioneer batch and aims to create 500 thousand social entrepreneurs in the near future.

Malacanang welcomes Fitch Ratings upgrade

MANILA (PIA) -- Malacanang welcomed the announcement by Fitch Ratings upgrading the country’s credit rating by just one notch away from its goal of investment grade.

“We welcome the announcement by Fitch Ratings that it has upgraded the rating of the Philippines from BB to BB+. This upgrade by Fitch comes after Standard and Poor’s November upgrade and the upgrade by Moody’s Investors Service in June,” said Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in his statement issued late Thursday.

“This is added recognition for the prudence, zero-based budgeting, and targeted spending efforts of the administration to achieve lasting and inclusive growth,” Lacierda said.

Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the Fitch upgrade is the 4th positive ratings action in the 11 months of the Aquino administration noting that it is unprecedented in Philippine history.

“We are now just one notch away from our goal of investment grade and we will strive to attain it at the soonest possible time,” Purisima said.

Purisima explained that the Aquino administration’s goal is to get an investment grade status that will further lure investments into the Philippines and lower its borrowing costs.

“This is another affirmation of President Aquino’s agenda and leadership, a concrete and objective vote of confidence that the Philippines is headed in the right direction,” Purisima continued.

The Finance Secretary said the Aquino administration will continue to push for more reforms that promote fiscal sustainability and translate this to inclusive growth toward the fulfillment of President Aquino’s Social Contract to the Filipino people.

Malacanang welcomed last June 15 the move of Moody’s Investors Service in upgrading the Philippines sovereign rating to Ba2 from Ba3 stable outlook saying that President Benigno S. Aquino III had successfully implemented its fiscal sustainability program.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Salceda cites gains of PNoy administration, gives 81% rating

by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, June 24 (PIA) -- Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC) chair and Albay Governor Joey Salceda gives President Benigno Aquino III a passing grade of 81 percent for his performance during his first year of governance, citing five important gains of the PNoy's administration to back up his rating.

Salceda made this statement during today’s 2nd RDC full council meeting underscoring several achievements of the Aquino administration during the first 11 months, including the increase by $20 billion in Gross Internation Reserve (GIR) from June 30, 2010 to May 31, 2011.

He also cited the Moody’scredit upgrade, one notch below investment grade, the first in nine years, adding that just recently the Fitch Ratings upgraded the country’s credit rating to just below investment grade that entails another boost to the country’s international credit image as an investment destination.

Salceda furthered that also part of the gains made by the PNoy administration is the speedy fiscal consolidation through prudent spending that still resulted to growth of 4.9 percent.

Salceda also cited the P21 billion expanded Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, popularly known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, of the present administration to benefit some 2 million more families that is aligned with achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Salceda also noted that some 1.4 million jobs were created by April 2011, pointing out that about 400,000 were generated by the government sector while about 1 million were created by the private sector, showing a strong confidence by the business sector on the government due to a transparent President.

The governot said that the reforms now being put in place by President Aquino will see bountiful harvest by 2012. (MAL/EDL, PIA V)

FAITH IN GOVERNMENT AND HONEST PRESIDENT – Albay governor and RDC Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda presents the Economic Gains in 1st year of government of President Aquino, which 2012 is the first full year of bountiful harvest of PNoy reforms, held at NEDA Regional Office V, Arimbay, Legazpi City, Friday June 24, 2011. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

DOE starts distribution of Pantawid Pasada smart cards in Albay

by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, June 23 (PIA)-- The Department of Energy (DOE) has started distributing the Pantawid Pasada smart cards yesterday (June 22) to jeepney operators at the Albay Astrodome here.

Director Zenaida Y. Monsada of the Oil Industry Management Bureau of the DOE was on hand during the distribution assisted by Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) regional director Porfirio D. Clavel and Land transportation Office (LTO) regional officer-In-Charge Neil D. Sadia.

Sadia said that some 4,500 jeepney operators from the six provinces of Bicol will benefit from the Pantawid Pasada program of the Aquino administration for jeepney operators .

Monsada explained that the card will be loaded with P1,050.00 worth of fuel subsidy that can be used five days after it is received by jeepney operator or driver to buy diesel fuel in participating designated gasoline stations in the region.

She said that the card contains the plate number of the passenger jeepney so that only that jeepney with the plate number that corresponds with the card will be allowed to draw diesel fuel from the participating gasoline stations.

Sadia meanwhile said that jeepney operators can now claim their smart cards daily with the LTO regional office here , adding that DOE has already delivered to them the 4,500 cards for distribution.

He advised jeepney operators to bring with them when getting their cards the following requirements: 1. Original and photo copy of current Confirmation Certificate from LTFRB 2. If not available bring Original at photocopy of Certificate of Public Convinience, (Decision/ Order) and 3. Photocopyof OR (From April 2010 to March 2011) 4. Original at photocopy of A valid Identification Card with photo. (MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bicol’s disaster plans and strategies vie for Gawad Kalasag 2011

by Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, June 22 (PIA) -- Local governments, other government agencies and private entities in the Bicol region vie anew for this year’s highly competitive selection in disaster risk reduction program implementation, the Gawad Kalasag 2011.

Gawad “Kalasag”, which stands for “KAlamidad at Sakuna LAban, SAriling Galing ang Kaligtasan” is a recognition program of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) for excellence in disaster risk management and humanitarian assistance.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Bicol director Raffy Alejandro, also head of the Bicol Regional DRRMC, said the agency has since been coordinating with all prospective government and private organizations across the region to submit their respective entries to the awards program stressing confidence that awardees last year will make it anew to the national limelight of the Gawad Kalasag 2011.

Regional winners will represent the region in the national contest.

“Certainly, we are aiming for Hall of Fame citation for at least two entries namely Albay Provincial DRRMC in the provincial category and Child Sponsorship for Community Development Incorporated (CSCDI) in the non-government organization on humanitarian assistance category,” Alejandro announced.

Last year, seven awards were notched by government and private organizations in Bicol including five (5) other Albay-based entities secured awards in various categories: (a) Legazpi City – 2nd in component city category (it was first last year) (b) Child Sponsorship for Community Development Incorporated – 1st in NGO category (c) Simon of Cyrene Children’s Rehabilitation and Development Inc. – 2nd in NGO category (d) Daraga National High – 3rd in Best School Category and (e) BRTTH – 3rd in Best Hospital Category.

The municipality of Calabanga, Camarines Sur was named 2nd Best Municipal DRRMC in 1st-3rd class category and Barangay Cagsao, Calabanga town bagged 3rd Best Barangay DRRMC in rural barangay category.

Meanwhile, Albay Governor Joey Salceda said that the province, vying for the Hall of Fame citation is stepping up strategies to the next level of preparedness and resources committed to the efforts of attaining a higher goal - that development can proceed in the midst of disaster risks.

Salceda noted that the six awards to Albay proves that the DRR ethos or culture of preparedness has become a pervasive character of the province that is confronted with multiple hazards- from19-21 typhoons, volcanic eruption, floods, landslides, storm surges.

Meanwhile, the regional selection committee of Gawad Kalasag 2011 in Bicol, co-chaired by the OCD and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), has recently convened in preparation for this year’s assessment of entries and get the most number of participants to the awards program in all categories.

The goal of Bicol Regional DRRMC, according to Alejandro, transcends mere garnering the awards but rather encourage all communities, from provinces to cities and towns, down to the barangays and puroks as well as organizations mainstream disaster risk reduction strategies and measure in their day to day living.

The mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction in local communities communes with the priority agenda of the administration of President Benigno Aquino III on disaster risk reduction, preparedness and mitigation. (MAL, PIA V/Albay)

Local entrepreneurs’ successes highlighted in 'Go Negosyo' Caravan

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, June 22 (PIA) -- Sorsogon entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs will grace the grand opening and hosting of the Department of Trade and Industry-Region V’s "Work on Wheels (WOW) and Diskwento Caravan" here in Sorsogon today and tomorrow, June 22-23, at the Aemilianum College Inc.,

DTI Sorsogon provincial director Leah Pagao said that every Saturday, successful entrepreneurs in the province will share the limelight with Ann Margarett Antonio in the "Go Negosyo" episodes aired at GMA 7 for two successive Saturdays from 8:00- 8:30 AM and with a replay every Tuesday at 8:00 PM at the National Broadcasting Network (NBN).

To be featured in DTI's Go Negosyo Tagumpay portion of the show are successful entrepreneurs who will be sharing with the public the significant impact of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council's (SMED) support in the success of their business.

"Here in the province of Sorsogon, the Go Negosyo "Tagumpay" Forum will be more inspiring with the affirmation of successful business entrepreneurs like Ms. Linda Corciga of the Sorsogon Foods Enterprises, and Mr. Ryan D. Detera of Tia Berning's Pili Candies, both now are more on the export industry of their businesses", Pagao said.

"A Kapihan type of ‘Q and A’ will be provided where participants will be given the chance to know the rudiments of doing business", Marinella Hernandez, chief, trade and industry development specialist explained.

Through DTI’s Go Negosyo Tagumpay Forum, living testimonies that grassroots development can be achieved and people who desire to make things happen, are given more chance to make it big in business.

According to Hernandez, there will also be 13-school recipients of computers through their Personal Computer Programming School (PCPS4) now on its 4th year of implementation.

Dr. Marilyn Dimaano, Sorsogon provincial schools division superintendent and Dr. Virgilio Real, Sorsogon City schools division superintendent, will receive the personal computers for their schools.

To grace the occasion is the managing director of the Certification International Philippines (CIP), Mr. Renato V. Navarette who will award DTI-RO 5 with ISO-9001:2008 certification.

Engr. Merly M. Cruz, undersecretary of DTI-ROG will deliver her message to underscore the PNoys administration trusts in the development of the SMEs in the countryside through the Caravan. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

DA's AKBay program to benefit 209 farmers, fisherfolk

VIRAC, Catanduanes, June 22 (PIA) -- A total of 209 farmers and fisherfolk in the province qualified for the "Agrikultura: Kaagapay ng Bayang Pinoy" (AKBay) program of the Department of Agriculture.

A ceremonial launching of the program was held at the Provincial Capitol Dome last June 15, 2011 attended bgriculture Undersecretary for Field Operations Joel Rudinas, DA Bicol Regional Director Jose Dayao, OIC-executive Director of the National Agriculture and Fishery Council (NAFC) and provincial officials of the province.

Recepients are five (5) from Bato; 21 from Gigmoto; 25 from Baras; 25 from San Miguel and 26 from Panganiban, Viga, Bagamanoc and Pandan.

The program aims to assist the targeted marginalized farm households to have a hands-on training in managing entrepreneurial projects. It also seeks to provide a valuable experience for farmers to establish track records and enable them to avail loans from financing institutions.

A maximum of P10, 000 in financial assistance is being given for short-gestating micro-livelihood projects like vegetable raising, poultry, piggery and backyard fishponds with the recipients providing counterpart in the form of land, materials, labor and other facilities.

76 of the 209 qualified farmers and fisherfolk in Catanduanes received their checks last week. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Aquino maintains near historical high results from survey firms

MANILA (PIA) -- Malacanang expressed President Benigno S. Aquino III’s gratefulness to the Filipino people over the latest survey results that reflect a wide-ranging support for the administration’s efforts to curb corruption, pursue inclusive growth, and deliver basic services.

In a media interview at the Palace Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the President’s performance and trust ratings remained at near-historical highs as shown in the recent Pulse Asia “Ulat sa Bayan Survey” both recorded at 71 percentage points for the survey period of May 21 to June 4, 2011.

Lacierda said that the results from surveys conducted by the two different firms, Social Weather Station (SWS) and Pulse Asia, merely shows almost the same results which disprove attempts by some opposition groups to convince the public on the eroding support of the people to the Aquino administration.

“There is a difference in the way survey results are being handled by both survey firms… SWS would report on the net satisfaction rating but if you look at the gross satisfaction rating or the gross approval, they are almost near the same… SWS says 64 while Pulse Asia has 71… so we believe that this would disprove the opposition’s attempts to convince the public that the people are no longer behind the President, this just proves otherwise,” Lacierda said.

“Sa Pulse Asia 71, which is near historical high… his highest was I think 80 or 79? So mataas pa rin so hindi nag-iiba masyado sa SWS gross satisfaction numbers…” he added.

In a recent study, the Pulse Asia said that based on its face-to-face interviews with 1,200 people, 71 percent or seven in 10 Filipinos trust and approve of the performance of President Aquino.

Pulse Asia said that the difference from the President's ratings compared to the March 2011 survey "do not vary significantly."

In a separate survey released by the SWS, the President’s net rating slipped from a record high of 64 in November last year to 46 this month, with 64 percent of Filipinos saying they were satisfied with his performance and 18 percent dissatisfied.

The survey was conducted from June 3 to 6 among 1,200 respondents.

SWS said the Chief Executive’s new scores, despite the drop, were all in the “good” and “very good” ranges across all areas, social classes and sex.

The President assured that he will remain committed to leading the nation to the straight and righteous path towards equitable progress.

Aquino says China must follow international law

MANILA (PIA) -- China must adhere to international law in resolving the dispute in the South China Sea, President Aquino III said on Wednesday in a press conference in Cotabato City.

The President was reacting to a question from the media regarding the call of US Republican Sen. John McCain who said the US government must help Southeast Asian countries build up naval defenses to counter aggressive Chinese actions in the South China Sea.

The US should aid the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to build their maritime defense and detection capabilities and to develop and deploy basic systems such as early- warning radar and coastal security vessels, according to McCain in his speech in Washington.

The President said claimant countries must adhere to international law by using the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to settle the dispute in the South China Sea.

UNCLOS which was promulgated in 1982, says that an exclusive economic zone of a country is defined as 200 miles from its continental shelf, he said.

The President noted that Reed Bank, which is not part of the dispute until China came up with its 9 dash theory, is 80 miles from Palawan and about 570 miles from Hainan Island in China, the closest point from Chinese territory.

“So pag sinabi nating adhere to international law and we expect China to adhere to that and with America backing us up and other Asean claimants we expect that the UN, America and other interested parties who have to traverse this body of water will insist their freedom of navigation and adherence to UNCLOS,” he said.

But the President stressed that the Philippines’s actions shouldn’t be interpreted as aggressive posturing towards other claimant countries in the South China Sea.

“I don’t think that I would be doing my duty to the people and to the state if you agree na ‘sige lahat ng gusto n’yo sa inyo na lang dahil ang laki nyo sa amin.’ Mukha hong maling prinsipyo iyun. Our basis for our claim is well-founded especially under this treaty ratified by so many countries including China,” the President added.

McCain, a ranking member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said China’s aggressive behavior and its unsubstantiated territorial claims in the South China Sea are exacerbating tensions.

Tensions have been high in the area as the Philippines and Vietnam claim Chinese ships had harassed their oil and gas survey vessels.

Good economic management pushes overall investments up, says Coloma

MANILA (PIA) -- The increase in the country’s overall investment is a result of good stewardship of the economic managers of the Aquino administration, Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communication Operations Office said.

During the Barangay PBS program aired over government run radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Wedesday, Coloma said there are many aspects of knowing the economic status of a country and one of these is the rating being undertaken by investment rating agencies.

He noted that almost all of the leading rating agencies have adjusted their ratings for the Philippines obviously as a result of good economic management of the Aquino administration and the continuing confidence of investors for the Philippines.

“Lahat naman nitong mga rating agencies ay binago na iyung ratings nila pataas at ngayon lamang natamo ang kasing-taas na rating na nagpapahiwatig lamang na malaki ang kumpiyansa ng mga mamumuhunan, mga mangangalakal at ng finance and investment communities dahil bilib sila sa kalidad ng economic management at political leadership dito sa ating bansa,” Coloma said.

In an article, former Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ceilito Habito said that despite the significant drop in foreign direct investment in the country, its foreign investment approval increased as well as other aspects like public investment with the overall investments reaching 37 percent because of the growth in private and domestic investments.