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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Classes in all levels suspended in some areas in Albay due to transport strike

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 31 (PIA) -- Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) has declared suspension of classes in all levels today in two cities and nine other municipalities in the wake of the transport strike staged by organized transport groups in the province.

Albay PDRRMC chair Gov. Joey Salceda has issued advisory noting that following the assessment of the situation of their respective chief executives, many mayors specifically in this city, Tabaco City, and municipalities of Daraga, Malinao, Pioduran, Manito, Jovellar, Polangui, Camalig, Bacacay, Sto Domingo, have decided or recommended to suspend classes.

Based on our assessment made together with each and all mayors, according to Salceda, the main impact of a mass transport strike on public welfare is that it would compromise the mobility of teachers in both rural and urban areas and students in urban areas in going to school, especially given a very low private vehicle ownership with only 54,000 out of 247,000 families own vehicles including motorcycles.

Classes in the elementary, high school and college for both public and private schools are hereby suspended except in the Ligao City and municipalities of Libon, Tiwi and Rapu-rapu.

In Libon, Tiwi and Rapurapu and Ligao City and in such other areas with classes still not suspended by local governments, their respective local chief executives as chairmen of local DRRMCs and DepEd authorities have assured that they have their local contingency plans ready.

The Albay PDRRMC and its partner-military and police forces have limited capacity to institute systematic countermeasures like “libreng sakay” to mitigate such inconvenience to normal way of life and the risks to public welfare.

The same advisory directed in order not to impede the access to health services during the transport strike, that maybe undermined by the transport strike, ambulances of local government, are on stand-by pre-positioned for disposition by the chief executive.

Residents are also advised to make household requirements ready this afternoon to avoid unnecessary movement by tomorrow.

Government offices and private companies’ operations are not suspended, however, employees who cannot report being affected are considered excused but must file leave within reasonable time.

Police, fire fighters and other offices involved in emergency response are also directed to be on alert, on action in the interest of public safety. (MAL, PIA V/LGU Albay)

Thrill on a trail:Dalagan sa Kadlagan 2011, a success
by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, Aug. 29 (PIA) -- A total of 187 runners joined the fun and adventure, thrill on a trail in the just concluded National Bulusan Eco Trail Running Cup 2011 dubbed locally, "Dalagan sa Kadlagan 2011" held at the municipality of Bulusan last Sunday, August 28.

This locally initiated activity was in support of the celebration of the International Year of the Forest back to back with the National Greening Program of the government.

The activity offered sports enthusiasts with walking, running, climbing, river crossing and planting trees to save lives and save the forest as its goal.

Mayor Michael Guysayco was overwhelmed by the turn out of events and the participation of runners coming from different places in the Philippines including two runners from the country of Kenya and two very young male and female runners both 11 years old for the 21 km run.

As early as August 25, some of the participants to the said event were already billeted by the local government of Bulusan in several lodging places in their area. Those who came earlier from other places for ocular inspection of the route were also provided proper accommodation.

"The participants who made some ocular inspection of the area of the run were very thrilled of this event,” Gusayco said.

"They were awed by the very scenic places we have here in Bulusan aside from the trail that they have to pass. We have welcomed them with an explanation that this event will usher now more incoming events and other tourism activities that the local government has planned yearly to boost our tourism industry,” he added.

Meanwhile Tourism Officer and president of AGAP BULUSAN, Philip Bartilet, who spearheaded the event with the full participation of their organization said the cooperation of the different sponsors and other entities like the provincial government, Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Education, Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army, Land Transportation Commission, Bicol University, communication sponsors and media partners made the event successful.

He said facilitation of the event was made easy through their assistance and support.

"The local government of Bulusan will now be well known not only because of its tourism attractions but this reality activity which is more thrilling, adventurous and environmentally focused as the run is a call to save our forest by the culmination of tree planting by the heads of the different invited guests, the Girl Scout of the Philippines, the DepEd and other local government representatives,” Bartilet expressed.

Former governor Sally Ante Lee participated in the 5 km fun walk with members of the local media here while Department of Tourism RO V regional director, Maria Nini Ravanilla was also present together with Cristina Racelis, provincial tourism officer of the province to provide support for the activity.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council headed by Manuel Ramon Jayco assisted in the safe conduct of the run providing posts for some risk areas where runners have to tread and hurdle.

Winners for the male and female individual categories were Fritz Handig and Luisa Raterta, respectively. Both bagged the 15, 000 first prize for the 21 km run.

The group category first prize was awarded to the Runners Circles; composed of Ram Lacson, Rolan Anonuevo and Susan Jemutai. They received P50,000.

Eugene Pastrado emerged victorious for the 5 km run and bagged the P8,000 cash prize.

Second and third runner ups also received cash incentives while all winners received gift certificates from Toby's, one of their major sponsors.

The two very young runners for the 21km Threshia Reginaldo and Mark were awarded as the youngest runners and finishers and were given gift packages from Toby’s as well. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Naga City policeman, NGO lead 19 awardees in PNP Bicol 110th Police Service Anniversary celebration
by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 31 (PIA) -- A national police awardee from Naga City and a peace group in Masbate will lead today’s 110th Police Service Anniversary celebration at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola headquarters of the Philippine National Police in Bicol.

Similarly, the Police Regional Office 5 will pay tribute to the heroic deeds of policemen who died during duty through the blessing of a memorial shrine in their honor.

Police Chief Inspector Benigno F. Albao Sr., chief of Naga City Police Station 2, winner of the 2010 Lead PNP Award and the Masbate Advocates for Peace are at the forefront of the roster of six special awardees, six individual honorees and seven unit awardees.

Supt. Renato Battaler, chief of the PNP Bicol community relations department, announced in yesterday’s PIA radio program Aramon Ta Daw, the recognition of outstanding police and units is the highlight of the 110th Police Servce Anniversary in Bicol. The award-giving activity is an annual undertaking of PNP Bicol since 1978.

Awards will be bestowed to different units who excelled in their performance. Sorsogon police units will receive three awards: best police provincial police office, best provincial public safety company and best city police station.

Meanwhile, Daraga Municipal Police station was named vest MPS, the 5th Regional Public Safety Batallion as best RPSB, the Regional Finance Service Office 5 as best regional administrative support unit and the Regional Intelligence Unit 5 as best regional operations support unit.

Individual awardees, on the other hand, are PSupt Oscar R. Regala as best senior police commissioned officer (PCO) for operations; P/SInsp Dennis B. Balla, best junior PCO; SP04 Elmer B. Antang, best senior police non-commissioned officer (PNCO); P02 Michelle H. Morales, best junior PNCO; Josephine A. Oliquino, best non-uniformed personnel (NUP) supervisory level; and Charwen B. Buenafe, best NUP non-supervisory level.

Special awardees include Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine B. Rosal, P/CSupt Victor P. Deona, P/SSupt Henry S. Rañola Jr., and SP01 Asuncion C. San Juan.

Before the awarding ceremony, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo will head the blessing of PRO 5 Memorial Shrine and female quarters.

This year’s 110th police anniversary is being commemorated with the theme Sandaang Taon at Sandekadang Paglilingkod ng Kapulisan Kaagapay ang Sambayanan Tungo sa Matuwid na Daan.(MAL/AAN, PIA V)
110th Police Service Anniversary Celebration – Guest of Honor and Speaker DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo delivers his message during the celebration of 110th Police Service Anniversary with this year’s theme: “Sandaang Taon at Sandekadang Paglilingkod ng Kapulisan Kaagapay ang Sambayanan Tungo sa Matuwid na Daan.” Held atPRO5 Multi-Purpose Building last August 30, 2011. Other photo shows (R-L) PCSupt Cecilio B. Calleja, Jr, PRO5 Regional Director; DILG Regional Dir. Blandino Maceda and M/Gen Josue Gaverza, Commanding General, 9th Infantry Division, PA. (Alex Cal/PIA)

110th Police Service Anniversary Celebration-(R-L) PSupt Samuel A. Erandio, PRO5 Chaplain, Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine B. Rosal, Hon. Jesse M. Robredo, Secretary,DILG and PCSupt. Cecilio B. Calleja Jr., Regional Director, PRO5.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sorsogon water district to go after illegal water connections, replacement of low-end water meters
by May L. Jumamil

LEGAZPI CITY, August 30 (PIA) -- Pursuing its goal to provide round-the-clock water supply for the City, Sorsogon City Water District (SCWD) will intensify its action to minimize if not eradicate leakages, illegal water connections and under registering low-end water meters.

This was after the 24-hour water production test-run provided clues that the water firm should take immediate steps to lower the cases of leakages in some areas within the city where old pipelines are still being utilized, strengthen campaigns against water pilferage and step-up replacement of low-end water meters with more efficient ones.

The said test-run was conducted in the last two weeks of June this year which showed that although there was a marked increase in power consumption by pumping stations, billed water actually decreased specially in housing areas.

Engr. Ronaldo G. Barboño, SCWD general manager, said that the test-run may have provided 24-hour water supply, yet, its usage was not fully maximized by the concessionaires. While the District is eagerly working to achieve its goal of providing continuous water supply, it can only do so if the water distribution system follows the prescribed technical standards and the Non-Revenue Water (NRW) of the District is reduced to at least 25% or less against the total water production.

“What contribute to NRW are the leakages in the distribution system and water pilferage."

Some areas in this city, mostly subdivisions and housing projects, have been installed with old pipelines and may have already deteriorated causing the leakages. Illegal water connections and illegal use of water can still be observed in some areas. Cases of under registering of water consumption, due to inefficient water meters, resulted to under billing.

These conditions will have a negative economic impact to the District’s operations. Where else will we get our operating funds to sustain all our services considering that we are a self-liquidating agency?” Barboño added.

Meanwhile, SCWD has already taken remedial steps to lower the incidence of leakages and water pilferage by deploying teams to constantly monitor the pipeline and distribution systems and conduct immediate repairs of detected and reported leakages likewise verifying illegal use of water.

The district has been vigilant in encouraging the concessionaires to report violations of RA 8041, otherwise known as National Water Crisis Act of 1995 by providing monetary reward to persons who have reported illegal connections. Strict implementation of Classification and Re-classification of water service connections is also being implemented.

SCWD Management has also recommended to the Board the employment of a “Leak Detection and Repair Team” to be headed by a competent engineer under the Maintenance Division and acquisition of leak detection equipment.

While immediate actions are implemented and future projects are being developed SCWD is hopeful that Sorsogon City will enjoy round the clock water supply as soon as the areas of concerns are remedied. (MAL/MLJumamil, SCWD)

Robredo keynotes 110th Police Service Anniversary Celebration
by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 30 (PIA) -- Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse M Robredo encouraged cops to follow the straight path in serving their constituents during the celebration of the 110th Police Service Anniversary Celebration at Camp General Simeon A. Ola, this city.

He disclosed that after a year as secretary, he has seen marked improvement in the image of policemen because statistics show a downtrend in crime incidence and an increase in crime solution efficiency.

Robredo, however, lamented that only misdeeds of the few police were given prominence in both print and broadcast media while the good deeds were left out.

According to him, under the present administration far flung police stations are given importance by providing them the means to become more effective in the performance of their duty.

To the ordinary Filipino, what is important is not the improving statistics on the peace and order situation but the lowly policeman that he deals with in his everyday life, Robredo pointed out.

The Interior Secretary also said that one out of four policemen does not have firearms and they are doing something about this.

According to him, gone were the days that funds were wasted due to anomalies that could have been spent in procuring proper equipment the police organization need. (MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Belgium, UNDP-assisted core shelter community project completed in Albay

LEGAZPI CITY, August 29 (PIA) -- Two separate sites for the core shelter community project, funded by Belgian government, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the United Nations Development Programme have been completed in the province of Albay.

The provision of low cost housing and installation of electric and water facilities has benefited 70 households located in Barangay Joroan, Tiwi and 80 households in Barangay Caratagan, Pioduran, all of Albay.

Tiwi Mayor Jaime Villanueva said these beneficiaries were moved from their respective dwellings due to the hazards that they face in their previous houses.

“Since then, we had been thinking ways to make their stay in this resettlement area easy or much better than their previous status. It will make their household chores easy and simple,” the mayor said.

Villanueva said that it is the policy of Albay governor Joey Salceda to resettle those families who are at risk, adding that "human capital is very important to us – to invest for the safety of our people.”

During the visit of Belgian ambassador Christian Meerschmar and UNDP country director Renaud Meyer to Tiwi last August 25, Villanueva said that the water and electric facilities is a symbol of the flowing of assistance from various development stakeholders of the municipality.

“May these blessings continue to inspire the recipients to be productive citizens of our locality,” she said.

“This is the only way that we wanted them to pay us back from these assistance that we had been extending to them,” Villanueva added.

He also reported that a new site for core shelter project for 60 family beneficiaries at Mayong is being developed by the National Housing Authority and the local government unit.

The purchase of the site is the responsibility of the local government unit while the NHA will take care of the development.

On the other hand, Pioduran Mayor Dante Arandia has assured the UNDP and the Belgian government that, together with the beneficiaries, they will cherish all assistance extended to the displaced families.

“Rest assured that we will make it a better community,” he said.

In Pioduran town, 80 households have benefited from the Core Shelter Assistance Project by the Belgian government, the DSWD and the UNDP under the Bicol Recovery Program.(MAL/MDR/LGU Albay)

Sorsogon dengue cases remain low, thanks to authorities' campaign,residents' awareness and support
by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, August 29 (PIA) -- The number of dengue cases in Sorsogon remain low as health authorities credited intesified campaign and residents' high awareness and full support yo prevent and control the dreaded disease from spreading among communities.

Cleanliness of surroundings and following the 4 S against dengue has helped a lot." Dr Maricel Fajardo explained in an interview conducted by the Philippine Information Agency office here Friday.

Fajardo explained that the "advocacy of fear" has become a very significant strategy of the Department of Health (DOH) V and Provincial Health Office (PHO), barangay officials and health workers

"People have been very afraid of what dengue can cause to a one's health that can even claim one's life. With the very high incidence of dengue last year, we have really intensified our efforts to inform the public on how to combat collaboratively this incidence" she said.

She also thanked the support provided by the media community in heightening the awareness of the public against dengue through the constant messages or reminders provided to them.

She said the information dissemination campaign provided to the public through radio and print has created in them the right attitude to do what is needed specially in locating and destroying breeding places of mosquitoes

For the past seven months, PHO has recorded only 12 dengue cases as against the recorded 101 cases last 2010 which also reported one death.

"It is very significant that the awareness of the public in the campaign against dengue has been very high.In fact, our medical team and barangay health workers have started the awareness campaign, monitoring and surveillance since the start of the rainy season since dengue is a water borne based illness caused by a mosquito identified as "aedis egypti".

"The dramatic drop in dengue cases is very commendable and hopefully no more cases be added to the current record " she said.

"There is no let up still in our campaign against dengue since we are still on the rainy months. What we would really hope to achieve is that the public should have a change in behaviour which is self protection and cleanliness, these are what we hope the public should really do: Fajardo stressed.

"Proper coordination with the Philippine Red Cross has also been done so that the public can also be assured of blood supply in case patients need blood transfusion", she said.

"We have also intensified our coordination with the Department of Education, the barangay officials and almost all stakeholders in the communities so that all efforts to combat dengue be well implemented", she said.

"With the collaborative effort of all agencies and all stakeholders, hopefully we can really minimize the incidence of dengue cases here in the province", Fajardo expressed. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

100 tribal children benefit from mining firm's educational assistance program

RAPU-RAPU, Albay, August 29 (PIA) -- A red backpack that contains a complete set of school supplies with a matching pencil case according to grade level—all that 53 elementary and high school students from the Taboy tribe of Lagsingan, received on Thursday, August 25, from the mining firm based here.

As beneficiaries of the CDAP-REACH (Rapu-Rapu Educational Assistance for Children’s Hopes), a major program line of the Community Development Assistance Program (CDAP), they will also be fitted for a pair of slippers and a set of school uniform with matching pair of shoes, which will be distributed early next month.

CDAP-REACH of the Rapu-Rapu Minerals and Rapu-Rapu Processing, Inc., the two companies that manage and operate the copper-zinc mining project, the Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project (RRPP), on the island of Rapu-Rapu in the town of Rapu-Rapu, Albay.

Part of RRPP’s social responsibility is to assist the youth of Rapu-Rapu for a better future through education.

RRMI President, Rogelio E. Corpus, led the distribution of the school bags and supplies, together with CDAP-REACH Coordinator, Rosalie Mendioro. Tribal Chieftain Ruben Sorro and the principal of Rapu-Rapu Central Elementary School (RRCES), Mrs. Erlinda Arao or “Ate Inday”.

The Taboy tribe of Lagsingan in Poblacion, Rapu-Rapu is an indigenous people who settled on the island of Rapu-Rapu many years go. Many of them have intermarried with the locals although most retain features that show their ancestry such as dark-brown complexion, curly hair, small-frame physique, fine facial features, and shorter than the average Filipino in height.

This local tribe lives at the outskirts of Barangay Poblacion, beyond the cemetery, by the shorelines and mangroves. Their main livelihood is fishing and scavenging recyclable trash. Considered the poorest of the poor, they exist at the fringes of society and seldom avail of government programs and assistance. Most children do not attend school regularly and very few attain higher education. They are registered with the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) and are usually represented by their own tribal council headed by the tribal chieftain.

Earlier this month, CDAP-REACH provided the same benefits to all 47 Taboy school children from Nagcalsot, Batan Island, Rapu-Rapu, Albay. Distribution of footwear, school uniform, and school supplies was facilitated through their tribal chieftain Salome Barrameda. (MAL/RRMI/RRPI/PRCA)

PRESS BRIEFING -- New PhilHealth Case Rates for selected Medical Cases and Surgical Procedures and the No Balance Billing Policy were discussed by PhilHealth Officials (R-L) Dr. Ronald E. Santelices, Chief Benefit Admin Section; Romeo R. Relao, OIC Collection Section; Atty. Dean S. Salvosa, Head Legal Unit; Marcia V. Simsiman, OIC Membership Section; Dr. Veronica T. Mateum, OIC-RVP,PH RO-V and PIA Reg. Director Eduardo A. de Leon as modertaor during the press briefing last August 25 (Thursday) at Kim’s Bowl, Alternate Road, Legazpi City. (Alex Cal/PIA)
A GREEN RUN. DENR runners lodge Narra seedlings on a clearing area at Brgy. Puro, Legazpi City after darting 5 kilometers in the course of Run Green, Run Clean Event last Saturday (August 20). The race led by the City Government of Legazpi is supported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Bicol under the National Greening Program (NGP).
Department of Health Regional Office V, Dir. Nestor F. Santiago Jr. (upper photo) delivers his message during the Signing of Memorandum of Agreement of Waterless Municipalities of the Bicol Region which they called “Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig sa Lahat” held last August 25, 2011 at RC Daguinsin Hall, DOH-CHD Bicol, Legazpi City. (Alex Cal/PIA)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Escudero pushes for BuCor’s modernization

LEGAZPI CITY, August 26 (PIA) -- With its day-to-day operations still based on the Prison Law of 1917, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) is in dire need of an overhaul to cope with the modern demands of penology.

Senator Francis Escudero thus filed Senate Bill No. 2933, seeking for the modernization and professionalization of the country’s national correction facility to make it compliant with the United Nations (UN) standards.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said the present state of BuCor is in subhuman conditions and rather than being reformatory, Philippine jails have become more punitive, which runs contrary to penology standards set by the UN.

“BuCor has been running in obsolescence. Its laws, facilities and equipment, and organizational structures are all outdated and outmoded. It needs to be restructured so it can be as efficient and as effective to implement its mandate on day-to-day operations,” Escudero said.

BuCor has not seen a major legislative updating since 1905, except for a change in its name –formerly called the Bureau of Prisons – pursuant to the Revised Administrative Code of 1987.

In 2009, the inmate population was at 35,400 and manned by 2, 632 employees, or a prison-guard to inmate ratio of 1:81. The international standard of guard-inmate ratio is 1:6.

The agency has the same number of employees it had since 1989. The ratio is continuously increasing at an average rate of five percent annually.

“The BuCor was created specifically to be in charge of safekeeping and instituting reformation programs to national inmates sentenced to more than three years. Reform isn’t anywhere with its dilapidated facilities, congested prisons and archaic operational system and structure,” the senator explained.

In his bill, Escudero is pushing for the safekeeping of inmates that shall include decent provisions of quarters, food, water and clothing in compliance with established UN standards.

Likewise, BuCor’s custodial force consisting of corrections officers will be undertaken with a ranking system and salary grades similar to its counterpart in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

BuCor lags miserably behind BJMP in terms of personnel remuneration. Entry level for a jail officer at BJMP is Salary Grade (SG) 10, while its counterpart at BuCor receives a salary equivalent to the pay of SG 5. Unlike BJMP, BuCor custodial personnel are not considered uniformed and therefore are not entitled to salary increases, bonuses and other standard benefits.

“Promotion system in this agency has also been subjective. There are prison guards who are retiring after 40 years or more in service without having a taste of promotion,” Escudero said.

Escudero added that BuCor can only achieve modernization and professionalization if its facilities are upgraded, the number of its personnel increased, the level of qualifications of their personnel upgraded and its base pay, retirement and other benefits are standardized. (MAL/Office of Sen. Escudero)

KALAHI-CIDDS Stakeholders convene In Camarines Sur
by Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA City, August 26 (PIA) -- In support of the poverty alleviation program being pushed by President Benigno Aquino III, member-agencies and stakeholders of the Provincial Inter Agency Committee (PIAC) convened at Regent Hotel yesterday to discuss various strategies on how to strengthen their implementation of pro-poor projects in the countryside.

Using the community-driven development (CDD) approach, the Kapit Bisig Laban Sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDDS) provides its beneficiaries with the necessary skills while empowering them to be self-reliant. Small-scale infrastructures which were identified based on the need of the community were also constructed to compliment the development needs of a particular barangay.

Some of the developmental ventures that have already been implemented include construction of farm to market roads, water systems, school buildings, day-care centers, drainage systems, multipurpose hall and seawalls, among others.

Mr. Arwin Razo, Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Officer IV said that the programs encapsulated in KALAHI-CIDDS is geared towards the empowerment of the community, making them as partners in development and not as mere passive recipients.

“DSWD, as the leading government agency entrusted with the obligation to carry out pro-poor programs is also directed to specifically prioritize far-flung areas, including upland and island barangays which have been deprived of government assistance. Upon identification, we then put into action and instigate the principles of localized decision making, transparency, simplicity and sustainability among others,” Razo stated.

The KALAHI-CIDDs, which started in 2002, has already funded 666 community infrastructure interventions from 2003 to 2009 amounting to P779, 668,600.26. Seventy (70%) percent of this were grants were allocated and downloaded to the community accounts.

The poverty alleviation program of PNoy was further given a lift when the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) allotted a 434M US Dollar grant for the implementation of KALAHI-CIDDS in selected areas in the Bicol Region. The locale covered by the said funding includes barangays Bagamanoc and Caramoran in Catanduanes and the towns of Capalonga and Sta, Elena in the province of Camarines Norte .

In Camarines Sur, KALAHI-CIDDS / Makamasang Tugon (MT) programs will have its full implementation in eight (8) of its municipalities. It include 17 barangays in Balatan, 32 barangays in Del Gallego, 18 barangays in Presentacion, 23 barangays in Garchitorena, 25 in Minalabac, 19 in Sangay, 22 in Siruma and 19 barangays in Pasacao.

The said programs, once fully realize are expected to promote sustainable growth and will help reduce poverty across the nation. (LSM, PIA Casmarines Sur)

30 farmers train on organic vegetable, seed production
by Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, August 26 (PIA) -- Some 30 farmers trained on organic vegetable and seed production to improve farm yield and income for sustainable development of the agricultural sector in the province.

The training was spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) of the provincial government attended by the said farmers and also municipal coordinators and technicians of the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) in the province.

Acting provincial agriculturist Francia Pajares said that the training will give farmers knowledge on how to plant vegetables using organic fertilizers and how to produce seeds to be use in their next cropping.

The topics discussed for the first day include: organic vegetable farming, integrated pest management and organic seed production while for the second day topics are: natural farming system and vermi composting or using vermi worms waste for composting.

The training aimed farmers to have knowledge on how to make organic fertilizer and organic chemicals to be used in planting vegetables so that they will not buy commercial chemical fertilizers which are bad to health.

She added that organic vegetable farming will have more harvest and in return additional income for farmers.

Resource persons were: Ligaya C.Tria, Regional Farmers Association Coordinator and Gloria B. Salazar, Regional Vegetable Focal Person of the DA; and Arlene Dayo, Municipal HVCDP Coordinator ng Goa, Camarines Sur. (MAL/RBM/PIA Camarines Norte).

Albay Media on DRR Reportage... Albay Gov. Joey Salceda joins local media during the Seminar on Reportage on Disaster Risk Reduction, Preparedness and Mitigation, spearheaded by DOST, PIA and KBP, held in Legazpi City, August 26, 2011.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Albay spends P500 M for health services
LEGAZPI CITY, August 25 (PIA/LGU Albay) -- Albay has spent over half a billion pesos for health services for the past four years, making the province a top performer in the country’s universal health program in pursuit of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on health care.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the province invested in health care services since 2007 with P533 million making health services available to some 472,372 poor residents across the province.

Of the P533 million health expenditures, P101.6 million was spent in 2007; P122.6 million in 2008; P158 million in 2009 and P173.2 million last year.

Salceda said 24 percent of the province's yearly Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) is earmarked for health services.

Salceda said with this health investment, the province was certified by the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) as among the top performers in the implementation of the universal health coverage in the country.

In 2010, Albay province paid the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) P60 million for PhilHealth coverage but PhilHealth reimbursement to the Bicol Teaching and Training Hospital (BRTTH) reached P127 million. Of these, P67 million were for hospital income, P17 million for drugs and medicines and P42 million for professional fees. (MAL/MSA/LGU Albay)

Bicol Medical Center to spearhead blood letting activity
by Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA City, August 25 (PIA) -- With 78.26 per cent increase in dengue cases this year in most of this city’s barangays, including dengue’s upward trend in adjoining municipalities in the province, Bicol Medical Center (BMC), in a well-timed response, will spearhead a mass blood-letting activity from September 2-3.

Mar Chavez, program coordinator of the National Voluntary Blood Services Program of BMC, said that the activity is part of the hospital’s commitment in strengthening its blood services program and make blood readily available to those who are in dire need of transfusion or related purposes.

Aside from their usual information drive campaign, BMC personnel are also regularly visiting various municipalities in the province to facilitate the Mobile Blood Donation (MBD).

“We are regularly conducting MBD in different parts of the province, particularly in municipalities almost everyday. Just this week, we have already visited two (2) barangays in San Fernando , Camarines Sur and also in Barangay Mabolo here where we conducted MBD. The next day, August 23, we also visited barangays San Isidro and Del Rosario, both in Pili , Camarines Sur, ” Chavez said.

In the upcoming days, BMC personnel will continue conducting MBD’s in the municipalities of Libmanan, Caramoan, Pili, Magarao, Canaman, Nabua, San Jose and in the cities of Iriga and Naga.

Meanwhile, Dr. Vito Borja, Naga City Health Officer, assured the public that they are doing all possible means to address the rising incidence of dengue, which has affected most of the barangays in this city. Aside from their continuous drive in disseminating facts to barangay folks, the Naga City Health Office is also engaging the assistance of barangay officials in implementing cleanliness drive in their respective areas.

Borja said that they are using Gokilaht, a chemical solution which they distribute to the barangays. The said solution when diluted in water can be used to restrain mosquitoes from getting near its victim.

“We are already discouraging fogging, also pursuant to the directive of the Department of Health. In replacement, we are providing this chemical where residents can soak their mosquito nets. The remaining solution can be used as spray to kills dengue causing mosquitoes,” Borja said in an interview.

Aside from these endeavors, the City Health Office is also closely working with various schools to ensure strict compliance of the 4 o’clock habit. Borja likewise emphasized that cleanliness is still the best way to drive dengue-causing mosquitoes away from our habitat. He likewise reminded the residents to follow the 4-S: Search and destroy mosquito breeding sites, self-protection measures, seek early treatment and say no to indiscriminate fogging. (MAL/LSM, PIA Camarines Sur)

OWWA Bicol activates ‘libreng tawag’ for families of OFWs in troubled countries
by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, August 25 (PIA) -- With the escalating strife in countries like Syria and Libya, the Office of Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Bicol has opened its regional office as well as its satellite office to assist families of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in locating their whereabouts.

OWWA Bicol Regional Director Jocelyn Hapal disclosed to PIA through its regional radio program Aramon ta Daw last Monday that the free call or libreng tawag was opened starting August 17 available during office hours, including week-ends and night time. Families of OFWs working in said conflict areas can visit their regional office at Legazpi City or its satellite office in Naga City so they can avail of the free call direct to Damascus, capital of Syria.

If they can not come personally to the offices, they can call telephone numbers 4814562 or 4814503 in Legazpi or 4734341 in Naga or cell phone number 09277996223 for similar assistance.

As the call for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step down continues, alert level 3 was raised by the Department of Foreign Affairs which means voluntary repatriation is in placed for Filipinos. Hapal said that a team is already in Damascus and is ready to assist in the tracing the whereabouts of OFWs.

Per data base of OWWA, Hapal disclosed there are 688 documented OFWs, 20 of whom are Bicolanos. However, she stated that DFA has placed the number of Filipinos in Syria to 17,000. Most of the Filipinos are in the cities of Damascus, Latakia and Homs.

Hapal stated that majority of the OFWs in Syria are domestic helpers and fears that these workers may not have capacity or the guts to come out to the embassy. In many instances their passports are being withheld by their employers.

OWWA dispelled that fear explaining that with or without a passport any OFW can be send home. A travel document will be provided for those without passports similar to what was put into practice during the repatriation of OFWs in Libya early this year.

Meantime, Hapal said that repatriation for Libyan workers is still on as there are still OFWs working in the troubled country either as nurses or at oil drilling sites. Alert level 4 is still enforced by the DFA in Libya.

With the 215 documented Bicolano OFWS in Libya only 129 has returned home. They were part of the 8,000 repatriated workers from that country early this year.

A reintegration program awaits repatriated OFWs. This include a loan assistance from the government to as high as P300,000 as starter capital for livelihood business, and skills to be provided by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Hapal has cautioned all OFWs from Syria and Libya who are currently on vacation in the Philippines not to attempt to return back for work. She, likewise, encouraged families and relatives of OFWs in conflict countries to call their kinfolk to be able to establish their location or addresses. (MAL/AAN, PIA V)

DPWH District I Office bares programs and projects in Sorsogon
by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON, August 25 (PIA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) first engineering district office here has reported the earmarked programs and projects for this 3rd and 4th quarter based on the approved plans and funding released by the agency's central office.

Engr.Romeo Doloiras, DPWH Sorsogon I district engineer, said the national thrusts of the agency now are based on the instructions received from Sec. Rogelio S.Singson to upgrade all national roads with "A" standards..

Doloiras also explained that according to Singson, the country has yet to improve its road component since it has been left out by other Asian countries.

"Roads are the best infrastructure face of a developed country where people can travel safe, fast and comfortable and where all areas should be made accessible to propel economic development," Doloiras also expressed.

He said that a total of P323 M was already released to their office to rehabilitate, upgrade and standardize the 183 km road here in the 1st district based on the guidelines issued by DPWH for class A roads.

According to Doloiras, all national roads should be 9 inches thick as that of the previously constructed roads with only 6.7 inches thick. which is below down the standard quality of A 1 roads.

"Some P30 M was earmarked for the province to repair the public market of Bacon district and will be released through the office of Senator Francis Joseph G. Escudero" Doloiras said.

DPWH has also released P100 M for the Sawanga Road in Bacon district. and P10 M for the repair of the district hospital in Magallanes.

Doloiras also explained that the new process of applications for bidders who would like to subcontract or contractors who would like to contract out projects will be done now through online applications since the DPWH system has been so much improved.

The new guidelines in accessing projects from DPWH has also been standardized.

It will show the actual unit cost of materials, standard output and manpower output, approved unit costs and the policies and standardized basis per province where the Commission on Audit (COA) will follow in their auditing procedures..

According to Doloiras this standard guideline by province and programming of projects have also clearly provided the necessary procedures.

"Under the PNoy administration DPWH will show how transparent their institution will be in implementing programs and projects .It will also provide the public an assurance of quality and timely program implementation", he said.(MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

PhilHealth bares new case rate packages for members
by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, August 25 (PIA) -- Here’s good news to members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The government's health insurance agency has disclosed today that a new case rate packages on selected medical cases and surgical procedures will be implemented starting next week or September 1, 2011 that will be beneficial to both the members and the health care providers.

In a press briefing conducted this morning Dr. Ronald E. Santelices, chief of the Benefit Administration Section of the PhilHealth regional office here, said that the shift to the new case rate payment mechanism from the fee-for-service on selected cases is an internationally accepted payment mechanism and much simpler to administer, more transparent and members will be able to predict how much the health insurance agency would be paying for each of the services.

He said the new system will result to faster reimbursement of fees to both health care providers and to its members.

Santelices said that the new case rate packages are available for all member-types admitted in any of the PhilHealth accredited institutional health care providers nationwide.

He pointed out that members under the sponsorship program and their dependents who are admitted in government hospitals are covered under the “No Balance Billing”(NBB) policy, meaning no other fees nor expenses shall be charged to or paid for by the patient-member above and beyond the package rate when he is discharged from accredited hospitals and non hospital facility.

Among the medical cases and the corresponding package rates are Dengue I (P8,000.00), Dengue II (P16,000.00), Pneumonia I (P15,000.00), Pneumonia II (P32,000.00), Essential Hypertension (P9,000.00), Cerebral Infarction (CVA I, P28,000.00), Cerebro-vascular Accident with Hemorrhage (CVA II, P38,000.00), Acute Gastroenteritis (P6,000.00), Asthma (P9,000.00), Typhoid Fever (P14,000.00), and Newborn Care Package in hospitals and lying-in clinics (P1,750.00).

On the other hand, the surgical procedures include Radiotherapy (P3,000.00 per session), Hemodialysis (P4,000.00 per session), Maternity Care Package (MCP, P8,000.00) coupled with the Normal Spontaneous Delivery (NSD) Package in Level I (P8,000.00) and Levels 2-4 hospitals (P6,500.00), Caesarian Section (P19,000.00), Appendectomy (P24,000.00), Cholecystectomy (P31,000.00), Dilatation and Curettage (P11,000.00), Thyroidectomy (P31,000.00), Herniorrhaphy (P21,000.00), Mastectomy (P22,000.00), Hysterectomy (P30,000.00) and Cataract Surgery (P16,000.00).

Dr. Veronica T. Mateum, officer-in-Charge of PhilHealth r V, meanwhile said that the selected conditions and procedures were based on the 49 percent of total claims paid by Philhealth during the previous years and will help further reduce the turnaround payment for reimbursement to medical care providers and members from the current 22 days to a lesser days. (MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

UNDP-Phil chief leads switch on of water, electricity service connection in Albay relocation site

DARAGA, Albay, Aug. 24 (PIA/LGU Albay) -- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director Renaud Meyer led Wednesday (Aug. 24) the ceremonial switching of water and electricity service connection in Barangay Anislag Resettlement Site Phase l project here.

“ The project worth P1.2 million forms part of the Bicol Recovery and Rehabilitation Project funded by the UNDP, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government here and residents,” Meyer said.

The project now covers 80 houses now enjoying the water and electricity service connection.

Meyer stressed during the simple ceremony that participation of local residents in pursuing and sustaining the projects is very important to get the most benefit out of which.

Emma Lindio, municipal social welfare officer here, on the other hand said that the beneficiary-relocation site is composed of 1,057 housing units .

“As of August this year, some 678 housing units have been completed and energized while 678 are yet to be completely provided with facilities,” Lindio said.

However, she said the municipal government here has targeted a total of 4,679 housing units to be constructed in different resettlement sites.

“Our over all shelter gaps remain 1,067, including those in the phase 1,” she added.

Aside from water and electricity service connection, UNDP has also supported and funded various projects and programs in the province of Albay the likes of climate change adaptation, recovery and rehabilitation from calamities, and HIV/AIDS prevention and control. (MAL/MDR/LGU Albay)

Chiz: overhaul of national data system key to Philippine development

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 24 (PIA) -- Senator Chiz Escudero lauded the Palace endorsement of the bill reorganizing the Philippine Statistical System (PSS) as priority legislation, saying this will help policymakers to map out a national development program.

Senate Bill No. 103 (SBN 103), principally authored by Escudero, aims to overhaul the outdated data collection and storage system of the country to make it at par with the country’s neighbors in the region. No less than President Benigno Aquino III has endorsed it for congressional action.

Escudero praised the President for recognizing the importance of establishing a state organization, which will be primarily responsible for all national surveys and act as a central data bank for national accounts.

“Statistics and information has become the lifeline in policy-making the world over. We must be at par with our neighboring countries, if not the world, to be equipped with vital and current information on world trade, events and trends,” Escudero said.

“More than that of course, the country must fully know itself, its demographics, resources, capabilities, skills and potentials as a state to aid our policymakers in deciding for our development as a nation and as a race. The country has to arm itself with the ability to know its necessities at present and options for the future,” Escudero explained.

The PSS is currently a decentralized, government-wide system of providing statistical information and services to the public.

Its present system bears a very tall structure with majority of its resources performing administrative functions. With the overhauled system, the PSS shall be independent, efficient and competent agency, the senator said.

In the government, the only agencies that produce statistics as their primary functions are the National Statistics Office (NSO), Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) and Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLAS).

The proposed Statistics Philippines (STATPHIL) will be attached to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for easy policy coordination and collaboration. A national statistician will be in charge of the administration of the office.

The development of a comprehensive and integrated research and training program for the newly overhauled system will be the responsibility of the statistical research and training institute, which will be established simultaneously with STATPHIL. (MAL/Office of Sen. Escudero)

Dengue cases surge in Naga City and Camarines Sur

by Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA City, Aug. 24 (PIA) -- The intermittent rainfall coupled with the varying weather condition proved to be the most auspicious breeding time for dengue-causing mosquitoes, particularly the Aedes Aegypti. This was disclosed by Naga City Health Officer Dr. Vito Borja amid the escalating increase of dengue cases here over the past few months.

In an interview, Borja acknowledged that dengue re-emergence is admittedly one of the major health problems that need to be urgently addressed not just by the local health authorities but also of the members of the community. He said that dengue threatens survival while and endangers the most vulnerable member of the family, the children.

Naga City posted a total of 287 dengue cases from January to August 22, 2011. This is 78.28 per cent higher as compared to the cases recorded last year covering the same period. Seventy-nine (79) cases, the highest number of dengue occurrence were registered during the month of July, followed by 54 cases listed on the month of June. It was also during these months where two (2) casualties, emanated.

Barangays Trianggulo, Calauag, Concepcion Pequeña, Sabang and Tinago all of Naga City indexed a considerable increase in dengue cases during the last two (2) quarters.

While the number of dengue cases continues to ascend, Borja said that everything is still under control.

”We have enough blood to sustain the need of our patients like blood transfusion or the provision of platelets. The local government is also doing its part in giving assistance, especially to the indigents. We just need to sustain our effort in strengthening the clean up drive and intensify the level of awareness of the members of the community that cleanliness is still the best solution to get rid of these dengue-carrying mosquitoes,” Borja said in closing.

The province of Camarines Sur on the other hand, reported a total of 210 dengue cases, with male as the most affected gender. This was the collated report coming from various provincial sentinel sites from January to August 13, 2011. Most of the cases were from Bula, with 17 cases, Pamplona – 13; Camaligan -12 and Calabanga and Pili, both with 11 cases. (LSM, PIA Camarines Sur)

UNICEF program anchors review on pathways to change strategy and towards equity for children

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, Aug. 24 (PIA) -- Using the methodology of backwards mapping or the Theory of Change, a total of almost 200 participants implementing the Countrywide Program for Children (CPC) 4, 5 and 6 through the funding of the United Nations International Childrens Fund (UNICEF) from Regions 5 and 8, culminated the 3-day thematic consultation held at St. Ellis Hotel, Legaspi City, Friday of last week.

Participants from regions 5 and 8 reviewed the inputs of the 3- day national workshop conducted in Manila early last month and compared it to the strategy used by local implementers particularly in regions 5 and 8 to draw the localized pathway of change strategy for implementation towards equity for children.

The newly drafted CPC 7 national program was presented and participants where consulted on which pathway should be strengthened and improved viewing it on a local implementation outlook and perspective given also their local pre-conditioned situations with regional cultural implications and differences.

The results of the inputs of these two regions were laterally compared with the inputs drafted by 100 participants from Manila earlier prepared and considered as preconditioned situations.

In cooperation with the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office Region V , UNICEF provided the legal, structural and process framework focusing on the basic early childhood and development. nine key programs.

Significant issues on inequity, marginalization and opportunities for a balanced implementation of the rights of children, the program review also provided sharing of experiences from program implementers from the two regions.

Basic Education; Maternal ; Neonatal and Child Health; Nutrition (2) ; Child Protection (2) ;Conflict Risk Mitigation and Peace Building;Water Sanitation and Hygiene; HIV and Aids; Social Protection Policy and Disaster Risk Reduction were the nine program areas given emphasis of the review..

Regions 5 and 8 key implementers' of CPC 4, 5 and 6 drew their inputs through knowledge sharing from their community based experiences, views and the working arrangement and current resources both financial and human.

One of the conditions that surfaced was on strengthening the assistance and support group interventions and its logistics componenet.for workers in the program..

According to the inputs presented, Barangay Health Workers (BHWs). provide voluntarily services. While these services were given , there is a need to look at their financial capability and status as it revealed that they are given very low renumeration.

Barangay Health Workers aside from medical workers who implement the CPC are usually not provided the enough logistics as they are considered volunteers .

They have to walk to far flung areas and are exposed to bad weather conditions and other elements.in the implementation of the program.

"This pre-conditioned situations are the real scenario in rural communities and such issue has to be resolved. It should be acted upon to at least successfully strengthen and assure the success of the CPC implementation " , this is one of the indicators in the review that surfaced.

The assumptions also surfaced that while volunteerism is a strategy for program implementation, these volunteers (BHWs) are themselves part of the issue to be provided interventions as most of them are mothers / women who should be receiving interventions from the program.

Providing children a voice on the program to be implemented with proper consultation on what they need should also be seen as a major linkage to successfully implement the program.

This was significantly highlighted especially during the synthesis on the last day with emphasis on the proper monitoring and evaluation of the program, its impact on the target clients and the indicators of success.

The three day activity also surfaced certain social policies on education issues that has to be reviewed thoroughly and be brought to government's attention like provisions for safe and mitigating risk threat school buildings that can withstand certain calamities if these will be used as evacuation centers.

The program review of the nationally drafted CPC 7 drew new inputs of suggestions of indicators,assumptions and interventions in the pathway to change strategy as local thematic consultation was implemented taking into consideration regional issues and differences yet still focused towards equity for children. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

CENRO urges public not to capture marine turtles

by Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Aug. 24 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Community Environment and Natural Resource Office (CENRO) is asking the public not to capture marine turtles (pawikan) released to the sea by neighboring countires.

According to CENRO OIC Officer Luvimindo F. Chioco, our partners in Saipan had installed satellite transmitter on the back of three (3) green sea turtles last summer and released them to the ocean.

Based from the satellite tracking, one of the turtles named Kumiko was said to have been detected between Catanduanes and Guinahoan or Refugio island north of Caramoan, Camarines Sur.

There is a possibility that the turtle will also reach south Catanduanes waters.

CENRO moreover advised the public especially those living in coastal communities not to capture the said turtles if ever they encounter such animal.

The turtles have transmitter on their back. It is advised that it would be better to just leave the sea turtle swim freely and do not remove the transmitter.

The said transmitter monitors the migration tracking of the turtle wherein data collected and gathered are essential for the conservation and protection of marine turtles.

Marine turtles have lived in the oceans for over 100 million years. They are an integral part of the traditional culture of many coastal indigenous peoples throughout the world.

Marine turtles migrate long distances between their feeding grounds and nesting sites. They have a large shell called a carapace, four strong, paddle-like flippers and like all reptiles, lungs for breathing air. The characteristic beak-like mouth is used to shear or crush food.

All marine turtle species are experiencing serious threats to their survival. The main threats are pollution and changes to important turtle habitats, especially coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests and nesting beaches. Other threats include accidental drowning in fishing gear, over-harvesting of turtles and eggs, and predation of eggs and hatchlings by foxes, feral pigs, dogs and goannas. (MAL/EAB,PIA Catanduanes)

Solid Waste Management Board highlights 2nd Q accomplishments

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, Aug. 24 (PIA) -- The Provincial Solid Waste Management Board (PSWMB) through its secretariat, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources, local government unit (PENRO-LGU) has forwarded to the Philippine Information Agency office here a copy of the highlights of the accomplishments undertaken during the second quarter meeting of the body last week of June.

Engr. Maribeth L. Fruto acting as presiding officer during its second quarter meeting spelled out certain issues regarding the actions steps to be undertaken specially on the issue of safe disposal of hospital wastes that has to be monitored by the PSWMB in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources , Region V- Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

The report says that, the DENR-EMB RO 5 issued already the guidelines to hospitals here in the province including clinics and other medical institutions whereby hazardous wastes that may affect public health if not properly and safely disposed will pause a problem to the helath of the public..

The recommendation based on the report stated that hazardous wastes generated from hospitals should be closely monitored , where and how these are being disposed.

EMB RO5 through Engr. Leonisa S. Madeloso reported that they conduct regular evaluation and monitoring of the proper disposal of these wastes and that Pollution Control Officers (PCO) of hospitals should have a recorded report of when and where these wastes are disposed.

According to Madeloso the management and disposal of hazardous wastes is the responsibility of the establishment as provided in RA 6969.

Engr. Madeloso also explained during the meeting that the DENR-EMB RO 5 had requested all LGUs in the province with hospitals for a final Hospital Waste Disposal Plan.

According to her Notice of Violation (NOV) are issued through their office through their legal department LGUs who are not complying with RA 6969.

The municipality of Irosin according to the report since catering to disposal of hazardous wastes coming from public hospitals should have to comply with the provisions of RA 6969. It should also secure a transport and disposal permit.

Mr. Noli Dellomas, Sanitary Inspector / PCO of the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital (PHO) here reported that the disposal of hospital wastes is mandated in the Joint Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Department of Health (DENR-DOH) Administrative Order 02, series of 2006, the Policies and Guidelines on the effective and proper handling, collection, transport, treatment, storage and disposal of health care wastes.

The AO categorizes hospital wastes as general wastes, infectious wastes, pathological wastes, sharps etc. and these are all provided the measures on how it will be properly and safely disposed,

Meanwhile Mayor Alejandro B. Gamos of Sta Magdalena informed the body of the support given by Congressman Deogracias B. Ramos, representative of the 2nd district of Sorsogon in the amount of P500,000.00 for the implementation of their SWMP. The amount was used for the purchase of a pulverizer.

It was also noted in the report that the municipalities of Sta Magdalena, Barcelona,Magallanes,Bulusan, Casiguran, Bulan, Donsol and Juban submitted their reports on the updates of the SWMP implementation.

The report also provided information on the requiring of all LGUs to submit their ESWM plan and a training on the preparation of the plan will be scheduled following also the new mandated guidelines and policies in the program.

Schedule of the 3rd quarter PSWMB meeting to be held at Tats Function Hall at the local government of Pilar is scheduled September 6 ,2011. (IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Civil Service Commission to celebrate 111th year

by Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Aug. 24 (PIA)-- The Civil Service Comission (CSC) will celebrate its 111th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary (PCSA) on September, 2011 with the theme: "Championing R.A.C.E.: Publc Service Excellence at Full Speed."

CSC MC. No. 17, s. 2011 states that the year's celebration is ancored on President Benigno S. Aquino III's call for reform, daang matuwid and on his pledge to implement change in government.

The year's theme invites everyone to review and focus on the performances of every individual as they respond to the call for change int he government bureaucracy by embracing R.A.C.E.

The said celebration will be lead by the Catanduanes Council of Personnel Officers (CCPO) and the Catanduanes Association of Chiefs of Government Offices (CACGO) in coordination with the Provincial Government and the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Catanduanes Field Office.

Several activities will be held during the celebration including a "Walk for Fun", Hataw, Beach Clean-Up, Family Day, Orientation on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and Government Workers Fellowship Night.

A contest for Chorale groups, Digital Book Cover Designing, Photography, and Essay will also be held. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Legazpi City mayor cancels business permit of water supplier

By Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 23 (PIA)-- Mayor Geraldine B. Rosal of this city revoked the mayors permit issued to Philippine Hydro, Inc. (Phil Hydro), the bulk water supplier of the Legazpi City Water District (LCWD), for its failure to secure an Operational Permit from the Department of Health (DOH) in violation of the provisions of Presidential Decree 856 otherwise known as the Sanitation Code of the Philippines.

Mayor Rosal issued the revocation order per request of the Dr. Nestor F. Santiago, DOH Bicol regional director, in his August 19, 2011 letter requesting the mayor for the suspension or revocation of the business permit of Phil Hydro for violation Section 3.2 of the Supplemental Rules and Regulations of Chapter II “Water Supply” of Presidential Decree 856 for its failure to secure an Initial and Operational permit when it started construction and operations of its Bulk water supply to LCWD starting in 2006.

Phil Hydro was earlier given 60 days by the city government to secure the required permits but after the period expired last August 21, 2011, the company again was seeking another six months to comply which was turned down by the DOH regional office and recommended instead the revocation of the business permit of Phil Hydro.

City Administrator Noel Rosal said that they were constrained to follow the recommendation of the DOH considering that potable water supply is very important to every Legazpeno and that a series of test made by a multi sectoral group headed by the city health officer showed that water being supplied by Phil Hydro did not pass the test of potability.

Legazpi city residents have been complaining about the poor quality of water being delivered by Phil Hydro to LCWD consumers contrary to their earlier promo during the construction of their water treatment plant at Barangay Bogtong this city in 2006 that the water they will extract from the Yawa River will be processed to meet the potability standards of Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water.

Because of this failure, Legazpi residents have been urging the city government to look into the deteriorating quality of water being supplied by Phil Hydro.

After a series of Committee hearings conducted by the City Council chaired by Councilor Rolly Rosal, the committee recommended the revocation of the Mayors Permit issued to Phil Hydro after finding that aside from the poor quality of water they did not have the required permit from the DOH as pointed out by Engr. William Sabater, Sanitary Engineer of DOH regional office. (MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Albay’s dengue cases down by 78%

by Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 23 (PIA) -- Amidst upswing of dengue cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other areas, Albay noted a significant decline anew in the number of dengue cases from the month of January to July this year, as compared to the same period last year.

In a data released by the provincial government, Albay registered a 78 per cent decline wherein from January to July this year, there are a total of 148 cases, compared to 685 of same period last year.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda, chair of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said, “in July this year, the province has 89 percent decline in dengue cases, and we have enough basis and a good fight towards “zero-dengue” Albay by the end of this year.

Among the municipalities with zero dengue prevalence this year are Malilipot, Malinao, Rapu-Rapu and Tiwi compared to last year’s 1, 3, 6 and 15 cases respectively.

Tabaco City’s dengue case plunged from 101 last year to 2 cases this year, Ligao has 18 cases in 2010 and 2 this year, Daraga also has a significant drop in the number of cases from 180 to 26. Legazpi likewise registered a huge decline from 287 to 50 cases.

In Manito, 5 cases were registered last year and 1 this year. Pioduran has 4 cases in 2010 and 1 this year, Camalig’s dengue occurrence also drop from 24 to 12, Bacacay from 8 to 4 and Polangui 7 tying its record last year.

Meanwhile, Guinobatan registered an increase to 22 from 13, while Oas now tied last year’s 2 cases, Santo Domingo increases cases from 9 last year to 11, Jovellar from 1 to 2 and Libon has 6 cases this year compare to 1 last year.

Albay Provincial Health Officer Dr. Luis Mendoza said that the decline in number of cases was a result of robust public health collaboration of all sectors, including local governments, Rural Health Units (RHUs) officials and health workers, Department of Health (DOH), and the communities.

“This was achieved through the province-wide community based integrated vector control program called CHLEM or Community participation, Health education, Legislation, Environmental sanitation and Mosquito control measures,” Mendoza explained. (MAL, PIA V/Albay)

4 Bicolano nursing graduates land in top ten of nursing licensure exam

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 23 (PIA)-- The Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) Bicol has announced that four Bicolanos landed in the top ten of the Nursing Licensure Examinations held July 2011 with only 48 percent passing rate.

Dr. Elenita Tan, PhD., PRC regional director identified the topnotchers in yesterday’s PIA radio program Aramon Ta Daw as 4th placer Ameera Sarah Niebres Baylon of Camarines Sur Polytechnic College—Nabua, 87.00; 9th placer Jann Marvin Posada, Catanduanes State Colleges, Virac, 86.00; two 10th placers, Ma. Aileen Bianca Real Bose, Bicol University, Legazpi City, 85.80; and Iris Mae Belgado Relles, Bicol University, Tabaco City, 85.80.

Of the 78,135 examinees only 37,513 examinees did well in the examinations conducted July 2-3, 2011. Legazpi City was one of the 16 testing centers across the country.

There were 115 examinees in Bicol according to Tan.

She, however, cannot disclosed the passing rate in Bicol as the regional results have not been forwarded by the PRC, however she believes that this batch have a higher passing percentage than last December 2010 which was placed at 33 per cent passing rate.

The next Nursing Licensure Exams will be held on December 18-19. Deadline for submission of application is September 16 for repeaters and October 21 for first time examinees.

Meantime, Dean Emerlinda Alcala of Bicol University Legazpi said that only four of last year’s graduates of the college did not pass the examinations equivalent to 97 per cent passing rate. Incorporating other graduates who took the exams with the new graduates, BU’s passing rate is placed at 93 per cent.

Tan also revealed that Masbate has been declared for the first time as testing center for the forthcoming Licensure Examinations for Teachers other than Legazpi City. Of the 6,300 examinees there are 948 applicants from Masbate province. She advised the Masbate residents not to come to Legazpi on September 25 anymore since they can take the examinations in Masbate to a specific address to be announced prior to the test.

Other forthcoming examinations where Legazpi is a testing center are licensure examinations for electrical engineering on September 9 and 10; accountancy on October 8, 9, and 15; criminology on October 22,23,24; midwifery, civil engineering and librarians on November.

The PRC Legazpi Office is also accepting applications for licensure examinations not held in the region such as interior design, electronic communications engineer, marine deck, dentist, etc.. (MAL/AAN, PIA V)

Albay braces for floods and landslides on the onset of TD ‘Mina’

by Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 23 (PIA) -- The Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council (PDRRMC) remains on heightened alert since Sunday this week in the wake of tropical depression Mina expected to bring widespread rains that may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, also chair of the PDRRMC, on Monday had already issued advisory putting the province under alert status and directing all three cities and 15 towns on 24-hour watch and be ready to carry out flood and landslide evacuation plans.

Salceda also directed disaster preparedness and response units of Polangui, Oas, Libon and Malinao to set up sand bag dikes in low lying areas frequently affected by flood during heavy rainfall.

The same advisory also warned and directed residents of villages not to cross rivers and other water ways, as well as communities down the slopes of Mayon volcano to keep watch on possible mud or lahar flows.

Meanwhile, Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) V regional director Raffy Alejandro, chair of Bicol Regional DRRMC, has assured that disaster preparedness and response units are immediately activated in all six provinces of the region.

Alejandro said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are already directed to preposition trucks, rubber boats and other equipment for use in times of evacuation, rescue and relief operations.

The Philippine Atmospheric and Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) has reported Tuesday that tropical depression “Mina” has slowed down as it changed course and was now moving North Northeastward.

In its latest weather forecast, Pagasa said that as of 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, Mina was seen 350 kilometer East Northeast of Virac, Catanduanes and has maintained its strength with maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center. Mina was moving seven kilometers per hour North Northeastward.

No storm signal warning was hoisted.

However, Pagasa said that Mina is expected to enhance the Southwest Monsoon and will bring scattered to widespread rains over Southern Luzon and Visayas. Estimated rainfall amount is from 10-20 mm per hour within the 300 km diameter of the tropical depression. (MAL, PIA V/Albay)

Dengue cases in Bicol down by 74%--DOH

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, August 23 (PIA)-- If other areas in the country including Metro Manila are experiencing upsurge in dengue cases, Bicol is an exception with the decrease by 74 percent of confirmed cases.

Camilo Aquino, dengue coordinator of DOH Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) Bicol disclosed to PIA today that from January 1 to August 20 this year there were 375 verified cases of dengue as against 1,466 last year of same period.

The same report showed that all the six provinces in the region showed a downward trend for dengue cases. Camarines Norte accounted for a 96 per cent decline this year with only eight cases against last year’s 211. Masbate, too, reported a decrease by 91 per cent with eight cases this 2011 versus 85 cases in 2010.

Sorsogon reduced its dengue cases by 88 percent, 18 cases this 2011 as against 153 in 2010. Catanduanes shrinked the number of cases to 13 this year from last year’s incidence of 87 or 85 per cent.

Albay had a drop in cases by 74 per cent with 99 cases for this year against 378 cases last year. Camarines Sur, the province with the biggest population and land area and veritably topping for some time a high number of dengue cases registered a cut in dengue cases to 58 per cent with 229 cases this year in comparison to last year’s 552.

Despite this drop in dengue incidence, Aquino said that people should still continue to watch out for dengue especially that six casualties for the period were reported, the same number as last year. The deaths occurred in Albay with four cases and one each for the provinces of Camarines Sur and Catanduanes.

For this occurrence the DOH-CHD Bicol has provided the Albay provincial health office with ovicidal/larvicidal (OL) traps for mosquitoes developed by the Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology and Development Institute. OL traps will also be provided to Camarines Sur.

These OL mosquito traps are addition to those distributed to 20 localities in Bicol during the launching of said traps last July this year.

Aquino attributed the reduction of dengue cases in the region to multi-factorial aspects. These include local government units’ dengue campaign, community participation, information and advocacy campaign, distribution of olyset mosquito nets in schools regionwide particularly in high risk areas.

The chemical olyset mosquito net uses the latest research and technology with end in view of achieving breakthrough in the global fight against mosquito borne illnesses like dengue and malaria. It is widely used in Africa, like Tanzania, Ethiopia and Malawi.

Permethrin is incorporated inside the olyset fibers to create a bed net guaranteed to last at least five years. It is tear-proof, wash-proof, and never requires treatment. The pyrethroid insecticide permethrin is a synthetic molecule similar to natural pyrethrin, which comes from a species of plant. It poses minimal toxic risk to humans particularly to babies and small children.

Aquino cautions the populace of their mobility. Those travelling to dengue infested areas to be vigilant, same with visitors from areas with cases of dengue. He likewise, warn plant enthusiasts particularly those raising bromeliad to water the soil not the plant as water tend to be stored in the axial of plants veritable breeding ground for mosquitoes.

In addition, DOH-CHD Bicol regional director Dr. Nestor F. Santiago, Jr. admonished everyone to follow the 4S strategy in the fight against dengue. These are Search and destroy, Self-protection, Seek early consultation and Say not to indiscriminate fogging.

Search and destroy means seeking out breeding places of dengue mosquitoes like old tires, coconut husks, roof gutters, discarded bottle, flower vases and other containers that can hold clean, stagnant water.

Self-protection measures include wearing of long-sleeve shirts and long pants and using mosquito repellants during daytime. Desist if possible wearing dark clothes.

Except during dengue outbreaks, say not to indiscriminate fogging as this only kills adult mosquitoes but not the breeding places. (MAL/AAN, PIA V)

UNICEF CPC 7 program anchors review on pathways to change strategy and towards equity for children

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, August 23 (PIA) -- Using the methodology of backwards mapping or the Theory of Change, a total of almost 200 participants implementing the Countrywide Program for Children (CPC) 4, 5 and 6 through the funding of the United Nations International Childrens Fund (UNICEF) from Regions 5 and 8, culminated the 3-day thematic consultation held at St. Ellis Hotel, Legaspi City, Friday of last week.

Participants from regions 5 and 8 reviewed the inputs of the 3- day national workshop conducted in Manila early last month and compared it to the strategy used by local implementers particularly in regions 5 and 8 to draw the localized pathway of change strategy for implementation towards equity for children.

The newly drafted CPC 7 national program was presented and participants where consulted on which pathway should be strengthened and improved viewing it on a local implementation outlook and perspective given also their local pre-conditioned situations with regional cultural implications and differences.

The results of the inputs of these two regions were laterally compared with the inputs drafted by 100 participants from Manila earlier prepared and considered as preconditioned situations.

In cooperation with the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office Region V , UNICEF provided the legal, structural and process framework focusing on the basic early childhood and development. nine key programs.

Significant issues on inequity, marginalization and opportunities for a balanced implementation of the rights of children, the program review also provided sharing of experiences from program implementers from the two regions.

Basic Education; Maternal ; Neonatal and Child Health; Nutrition (2) ; Child Protection (2) ;Conflict Risk Mitigation and Peace Building;Water Sanitation and Hygiene; HIV and Aids; Social Protection Policy and Disaster Risk Reduction were the nine program areas given emphasis of the review..

Regions 5 and 8 key implementers' of CPC 4, 5 and 6 drew their inputs through knowledge sharing from their community based experiences, views and the working arrangement and current resources both financial and human.

One of the conditions that surfaced was on strengthening the assistance and support group interventions and its logistics componenet.for workers in the program..

According to the inputs presented, Barangay Health Workers (BHWs). provide voluntarily services. While these services were given , there is a need to look at their financial capability and status as it revealed that they are given very low renumeration.

Barangay Health Workers aside from medical workers who implement the CPC are usually not provided the enough logistics as they are considered volunteers .

They have to walk to far flung areas and are exposed to bad weather conditions and other elements.in the implementation of the program.

"This pre-conditioned situations are the real scenario in rural communities and such issue has to be resolved. It should be acted upon to at least successfully strengthen and assure the success of the CPC implementation " , this is one of the indicators in the review that surfaced.

The assumptions also surfaced that while volunteerism is a strategy for program implementation, these volunteers (BHWs) are themselves part of the issue to be provided interventions as most of them are mothers / women who should be receiving interventions from the program.

Providing children a voice on the program to be implemented with proper consultation on what they need should also be seen as a major linkage to successfully implement the program.

This was significantly highlighted especially during the synthesis on the last day with emphasis on the proper monitoring and evaluation of the program, its impact on the target clients and the indicators of success.

The three day activity also surfaced certain social policies on education issues that has to be reviewed thoroughly and be brought to government's attention like provisions for safe and mitigating risk threat school buildings that can withstand certain calamities if these will be used as evacuation centers.

The program review of the nationally drafted CPC 7 drew new inputs of suggestions of indicators,assumptions and interventions in the pathway to change strategy as local thematic consultation was implemented taking into consideration regional issues and differences yet still focused towards equity for children. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Camarines Norte joins the 111th civil service month celebration

by Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, August 23 (PIA) -- The provincial government here has lined up several activities in connection with the 111th civil service month celebration this September.

Earlier Governor Edgardo Tallado has issued an Executive Order No. 2011-25 approving and ordering the said celebration starting September 5 to October 5 this year.

He urged local government units, national government agencies including government owned and controlled corporations, college and state universities to join, support and participate for the success of the month long celebration of the 111th civil service month.

The opening activities on September 5, 2011 will include the flag raising ceremony, cheer dance competition, opening of the inter-agency sportsfest competition, thanksgiving mass and parade to be participated in by the different employees of all local and national government agencies.

The sportsfest competition will start on September 5 to 30 to be participated in by the different employees of the branches of the government.

The activities for the month long celebration include training seminar on 5 “S” (Sourting Up, Systematic Arrangement, Sweeping or cleaning, Standardizing and Self Discipline) ;Strengthening Organization through Aligning Resources (SOAR); Multi-Services Caravan; Camarines Norte Council of Personnel Officers (CNCPO) Outreach Program and Civil Service Commission Updates; Healthy Lifestyle; Tree Planting Activity and; Closing and Awarding Ceremonies.

This year’s theme “Championing Responsive, Accessible, Courteous and Effective Public Service Excellence and Full Speed” (MAL/RBM/PIA Camarines Norte)

DOLE launches Community Enterprise Development Program in Catanduanes

by Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, August 23, (PIA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) provincial office here will launch of the Community Enterprise Development (CED) Program "AbaCatanduanes" this afternoon at the Technical Educational Skills Development Authority - Cabugao School of Handicraft and Cottage Industry in Bato, Catanduanes.

The DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program towards Community Enterprise Development aims to transform livelihoods into sustainable community enterprise.

In Catanduanes, cooperating agencies recognize the willingness, commitment, and capability of TESDA-CSHI in ensuring success of the project entitled: "Establishing Community-Based Enterprise on Abaca, Mat, Wearable and non-wearable.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among the cooperating agencies will be signed alongside among cooperating agencies DOLE, Municipal Govenrment of Bato, Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC), DOST, TESDA, DTI, FIDA, Cabugao Parish, ARDCI, CARPER Trading and Solid Future Foundation Inc.

Expected to grace the launching are Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento, Gov. Joseph C. Cua, Bato Mayor Eulogio R. Rodriguez, DOLE Regional Director Atty. Alvin M. Villamor, Heads of National and Provinvial Agencies and NGUs in the province. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Philippine Army to establish a Bayanihan Eco Park in Donsol

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, August 23 (PIA) -- Twelve entities have pledged support and commitment to the 903rd Infantry Brigade Philippine Army's initiative to establish a Bayahihan Eco Park at Sitio Magaragad, Barangay Sibago in Donsol. town

In a phone conversation this afternoon, Col. Felix J. Castro Jr. Inf (GSC) Commanding Officer of the 903rd IB PA, said that the tree planting activities to be conducted today is in keeping with President Aquino's National Greening Program (NGP) and an integrated approach to implement the ridge to reef complementary greening activity here in the province for a sustainable coastal resource management.

"This eco park will also serve as a buffer zone in case of typhoons and sea level rise as the PA will also provide soft engineering measures to mitigate negative effects brought about by climate change" he said.

'"It is named Bayanihan Eco Park since the establishment of this park is done through the spirit of "bayanihan", a Filipino culture that the PA would like to bring back to the communities", he explained.

A total of one thousand mangrove propagules will be planted by participants comprising of the Philippine Army, PADABAKA, the local government of Donsol, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office , Provincial Tourism Council Office , Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine Information Agency, World Wildlife Fund,World Vision, media community and other environmental organizations.

"Donsol as a prime ecotourism destination should be provided sound environmental initiatives especially in the development and conservation of its coastal areas as the famous whale shark is found here" according to Castro.

"With the presence of the PA here , we are initiating peace and developmental initiatives especially in assisting the municipalities of Pilar, Donsol and Castilla in programs that will promote tourism, disaster risk reduction management, engineering assistance through the building of schools and now in spearheading the national government's call to plant trees as part of the NGP" Castro explained.

The activity will start with a short program , with messages of support from heads of agencies and a pledge of commitment through a streamer signing followed by the blessings of seedlings for planting.

After the tree planting, the participants will be welcomed to the usual military treat of boodle fight. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dengue included in Philhealth's new case rates

by Gideon M Gapayao

QUEZON CITY, August 22 (PIA) -- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) has included dengue in their new case rate packages to be implemented on September 1.

Philhealth President Rey B. Aquino revealed during the Communication and News Exchange (CNEX) Forum at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) that the agency will shift from the fee-for-service to case rates for common medical and surgical cases including dengue.

According to Aquino, the cases included by Philhealth comprise 50 percent of all claims from recent years.

The case rate system will be implemented to give sponsored members an idea on the amount needed for the medical and surgical treatment they require. Dengue I or grades 1 and 2 and Dengue II or grades 3 and 4 treatments under the new Philhealth case rates are worth P 8,000 and P16,000, respectively.

Dengue I is characterized as early and milder cases of dengue with initial symptoms such as whereas Dengue II cases include patients experiencing severe symptoms such as shock, hemorrhage and organ failure.

Philhealth caters to all members for public and private hospitals. However, sponsored members who receive treatment from government hospitals will not be charged, through the new No Balance Billing policy. On the other hand, patients treated in private hospitals will be obliged to pay for expenses exceeding the amount of the Philhealth case rates.

Department of Health Assistant Secretary Enrique Tayag, who was also present at the forum, lauded Philhealth for its effort in alleviating dengue treatment nationwide. Tayag also discourages reliance on home- remedies for the disease and urges the public to consult medical help immediately.

“Dahil po sa ginawa ng Philhealth, inaasahan ng mga kababayan natin na hindi na kayo magsasagawa ng pagtitinda ng mga halaman at ugat. Ang kailangan niyo po ay Philhealth card, pumunta na po kayo sa ospital." he said

(Because of what PhilHealth did, we are expecting that our fellow countrymen will stop selling herbs. You just need a PhilHealth card and you can go straight to the hospital)

In relation to the campaigns and programs against dengue, DOH, together with PIA and the Philippine National Red Cross will be conducting bloodletting programs nationwide starting August 26 and every Friday onwards. (PND GGPIA-GHQ)
RH and national budget bills deserve equal priority -- Lagman

LEGAZPI CITY, August 22 (PIA) -- The Reproductive Health Bill (RHB) and the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) must enjoy equal billing as priority measures because the RHB complements the GAB.

Minority Leader and Albay Representative Edcel C. Lagman, the principal author of the RHB, made this call as he underscored that “no amount of trillions of appropriations will be adequate if the increase in the national budget is eroded by an inordinate population growth because parents, couples and women are not fully afforded the right to responsibly and freely determine the number and spacing of their children.”

The priority enactment of the RHB was recently given presidential imprimatur and has been included as one of the additional priority bills of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

Lagman, who was the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations during the First Session of the 14th Congress, said that the complementarity of the RHB and the GAB are clear in the following major instances:

(1) Quality education will always be hampered by huge backlogs in classrooms, teachers and textbooks as the annual escalation of school enrollment outpaces the budget for education.

(2) Healthcare expenditures will continue to rise if maternal and infant morbidity and mortality are not reduced because reproductive health information and services are not accessible to the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors. Empirical studies conducted by the Guttmacher Institute and Likhaan Center for Women’s Health have consistently shown that effective RH services reduce the prevalence of fatal high-risk pregnancies and result in millions of savings for the government.

(3) Despite budgetary allocations and incentives for job generation, the problems of unemployment and underemployment will defy solution if the huge number of annual entrants to the manpower pool remains unchecked. Worldwide studies also show that excessive population growth bloats the unemployment rate and debases wage rates.

(4) The appropriation for the protection of the environment and the containment of climate change is rendered deficient as the environment becomes the casualty of population influx and the country’s carrying capacity is impaired by unbridled population growth.

A 2009 study from the London School of Economics on the interconnectedness of family planning and environmental degradation concluded that “each $7 spent on basic family planning would reduce CO2 emissions by more than one ton.” By comparison, the use of low-carbon technologies will cost a minimum of $32 to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the same amount.

It determined that family planning is more cost-effective than most low-carbon technologies and recommended that “family planning methods should be a primary tool in the optimum strategy for reducing carbon emissions.” (MAL/Office of Rep. Lagman, I District of Albay)

Phivolcs warns barangays near Mt. Mayon of possible lahar flows

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, August 22 (PIA) -- If Albay experiences heavy rainfall similar to tropical storm Juaning last month, lahar flows may occur endangering barangays in the slopes of Mayon volcano, warned Eduardo Laguerta, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) resident volcanologist during Philippine Information Agency’s (PIA) radio program Aramon ta Daw last week.

Laguerta’s report was based on the aerial survey conducted by the Philvocs, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) last week per request by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.

The appraisal of river channels at the slopes of Mayon Volcano revealed major observations such as blockade of the Padang River Channel due to breached earth dike. With the rupture of the river channel, areas in danger for possible lahar flows are the upper portion of Barangay Padang this city, the Legazpi golf course and part of Sto. Domingo town.

At the western side of the volcano, a spillway in Guinobatan town is heavily silted so that heavy rain may cause landslide in barangays Maipon, Masarawag and Mauraro.

The Nabonton Channel in Ligao City may block the road side and the road network available is the Nasisi road to Tabaco City. If not, a circuitous route from Polangui may be utilized if people will travel to Tabaco.

Laguerta added that Phivolcs will further check other areas like barangay Tandadrora in Guinobatan and Camalig villages. An assessment of the siltation in barangay Quirangay will be conducted as other communities of Camalig like Tumpa and Salugan including the poblacion may be affected by landslides if heavy rains occur.

The Phivolc s also reported that the heavy rains brought about by Juaning has mobilized the pyroclastic materials of past Mayon eruptions.

Laguerta called on the residents of affected areas and local disaster councils to be on the alert at all times especially during heavy rains.

The findings of the aerial survey were forwarded to the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) for information. (MAL/AAN, PIA V)

Japan-RP ink P404-M grant for Albay emergency evacuation centers

LEGAZPI CITY, August 22 (PIA/LGU Albay) -- The Philippine Government through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed the grant agreement for emergency shelter assistance in the province of Albay.

Mr. Abundio Nuñez Jr., of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) said the signing of the grant agreement for the construction of emergency evacuation centers was held in Manila, August 18.

“The project was conceptualized by the provincial government, through the Albay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, to establish a permanent evacuation center in every town and city in Albay.”

The emergency evacuation centers will be constructed starting next year in the municipalities of Manito, Sto domingo, Libon, Oas, Polangui and in Legazpi City.

The evacuation centers will have dual purposes. Aside from being an evacuation center during emergencies or disasters it will be used as a class rooms on ordinary days.

“Aside from a multi hazard evacuation center it is a gender sensitive facility,” Nuñez said.

Aside from being a gender sensitive, the evacuation center adhere to the principle of universal right-based facility for emergency. This means that the structural design has complied with the needs of vulnerable groups like for people with disabilities, children, elders and women.

The evacuation center is complete with basic facility including an emergency power supply.

Albay governor Joey Salceda on the other hand explained that emergency shelters are places for people to live temporarily when they can't live in their previous residence, similar to homeless shelters due to disasters.

“The main difference is that an emergency shelter typically specializes in people fleeing a specific type of situation, such as natural or man-made disasters, domestic violence, or victims of sexual abuse.”

A more minor difference is that people staying in emergency shelters are more likely to stay all day, except for work, school, or errands, while homeless shelters usually expect people to stay elsewhere during the day, returning only to sleep or eat. Emergency shelters sometimes facilitate support groups, and/or provide meals.

“Providing emergency shelter during disasters and emergencies is a basic way of carrying out this duty,” Salceda said

According to him the emergency evacuation center will ensure safety, food, services, comfort, information, a place to sleep until it is safe to return home, and the support and assistance of family, friends, and neighbors. (MAL, PIA V/MDR/LGU Albay)

Rice supply, sufficient in Camarines Norte -- NFA

by Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, August 22 (PIA) -- “We have enough supply of rice in this province,” assured provincial manager Jose Nieves of the National Food Authority (NFA) in response to reports that there will be an increase of rice importation next year.

He said that there are buffer stocks of 137,400 bags of palay, 38,800 bags of rice and another 25,000 bags of rice for shipment here making the supply sufficient until the end of this year.

Nieves said that this coming harvest season to start on September the agency will again purchase palay and will be the reserve for next year.

He explained that NFA rice at a price of P27.00 per kilo is available in any of their outlets in eight Tindahan sa Parokya, 212 bigasang bayan, 58 tindahan sa palengke and 5 in bagsakan centers across the province.

He said that they have ample amount of palay during the last harvest season because of the good harvest of farmers due to the programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to enhanced the rice production and other support of the government.

He explained that one of the support was the Rapid Seed Supply Financing Project wherein they have subsidy in the certified seeds for farmers and of the P1,200 per bag of certified seed, P600 was charge to the project, P200 was charge to the provincial government, P100 to the local government concerned and only P300 was charge to a farmer beneficiary.

He added that they have distributed some 5,000 bags of certified seeds last May 16 to July 31 this year and 5,600 last September last year to March 15 this year. (MAL/RBM/PIA Camarines Norte)

Bicolana named one of the ten outstanding students for 2011

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, August 22 (PIA) -- An unassuming young teacher, Arleen delos Reyes, who graduated cum laude at University of Caceres in Naga City, Camarines Sur, was named one of the 2011 Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP).

The pleasant news was relayed to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) by Commission on Higher Education (CHED) TOSP Bicol focal person Dr. Manuel Mendoza, Ph.D.

TOSP recognizes recently graduated college students who are exemplars in academics, co-curricular activities and community involvement during their college years.

Completing the magic circle from 32 finalists are Geminn Louis Apostol of Ateneo de Manila University, Christopher Millora, West Visayas State University and Kendrick Nigel C. Tan, Centro Escolar University of the medicine and health related profession learning discipline; Sean Vincent Aquilino, University of the Philippines-Diliman; Julius Paul Juen, University of St. La Salle and Jonathan Andro Tan, Siliman University for the agriculture, science, and math education field; Sittie Norhane Lao, Mindanao State University and Maria Angelica Reyes, De La Salle University-Lipa City for humanities, communications, and social sciences specialization; Athena Plaza of the University of San Carlos for business, entrepreneurship, economics, industry, criminology, law discipline.

Delos Reyes bested five other finalists in the teacher education discipline.

No finalist from the engineering, architecture, maritime, and information technology and accountancy field of learning were named in the TOSP 2011.

CHED and RFM Foundation the lead entities in the TOSP awards have not announced the date of the awarding ceremony that usually has the President of the Republic of the Philippines as the guest of honor.

De los Reyes was graduated cum laude, Bachelor of Secondary Education of UNC, was an awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of Bicol by a non-government organization, a university leadership and outstanding education student awardee of her school and a delegate to the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey.

The awardees including Delos Reyes road to the TOSP honors started from their respective universities and colleges nomination to the regional TOSP search to representing respective regions to the national search. All the achievers are bona fide Filipino citizen with no criminal record and are not over thirty years old.

The TOSP was established by businessman Jose Concepcion Jr., chairman of RFM Corp and RFM Foundation on June 19, 1961, Jose Rizal’s 100th birth date. Concepcion believes that the youth should take inspiration from Rizal and that the key to a nation's prosperity, peace and harmony is for the youth to be aware of the values of high integrity, good morals and education.

Bicol has had its share of TOSP winners in the past --UNC has now two awardees, Delos Reyes and Butch Saulon of TOSP 2005. Four more were from Ateneo de Naga University, Ira Sheena Howard in 2008, Julie Lucille del Valle and Ben Secretario in 2007 and Jose Bas, Jr. in 2004. From 1994, Bicol had finalists to the TOSP search.

For 2011 two finalists came from Bicol, Delos Reyes and Domar Nicolas Sara, a graduate of Ateneo de Naga University. (MAL/AAN, PIA V)

Philhealth E-Claims Phase 1 in Bicol underway

LEGAZPI CITY, August 22 (PIA) -- With the major thrust of improving operational efficiency through information and communication technology, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) will venture into an online or electronic processing of claims.

Dr. Veronica Mateum, regional director of Philhealth V, said the agency recognizes the role of technology to better serve PhilHealth members and will continue to strengthen its partnership and linkages with health care services providers utilizing on-line transactions.

“It is on this mount that PhilHealth has embarked on an undertaking dubbed as “E-Claims Project” directed towards on-line submission of claims.

Earlier this month, Philhealth V spearheaded an orientation on the implementation of phase 1 of the E-Claims Projects to health care services providers which were already given the green light for the said project.

Phase 1 of the E-Claims Project, according to Mateum, is the Claims Eligibility Web Service (CEWS) which aims to reduce the number of Return-to-Hospital (RTH) claims, adding that with this utility in place, the participating hospitals can verify in real time the eligibility of a member to avail of his benefits, as they link with the PhilHealth database.

The parameters for eligibility which can be verified through the CEWS are the following: 1) Member’s name and date of birth, 2) Declared Dependents, 3) Contribution Eligibility, and the 4) Forty-five days limit for room and board allowance for members and dependents.

Already set to carry out the system are Estevez Memorial Hospital and Tanchuling Hospital in this city and the St. John Hospital in Naga City and Goa, Camarines Sur.

Said hospitals have the technology capability and were able to meet the requirements for the CEWS to be functional.

Other hospitals which have applied for the implementation of the project also include Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital, Albay Doctors Hospital, Dr. Amando D. Cope Memorial Hospital, Inc. in Albay province; Bicol Medical Center, USI-Mother Seton Hospital, Sta. Maria Josefa Hospital Foundation Inc. in Camarines Sur: Sorsogon MMG Hospital and Health Service Cooperative in Sorsogon; and Sto. Niño Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camarines Norte.

“With the availability of the CEWS, and eventually the phase II which is Electronic Claims Submission (ECS), our members are assured that the processing time for PhilHealth claims would certainly be shorter as long as there are no deficiencies with the prescribed documents and his eligibility to claim is established,” Mateum said.

“For the record, Philhealth V is one of the few regions that has no backlog in claims processing. We have an average of 22 days turn-around-time for the processing of claims, a period much shorter than the 30-45 days prescribed by the law. We give the credit for this to the hardworking staff of the Benefit Administration Section headed by Dr. Ronald Santelices and also to all the personnel of PhilHealth Region V who have their commitment to deliver with efficiency and effectiveness,” she concluded. (MALoterte, PIA V/ Philhealth)