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

Friday, October 28, 2011

Road Map to Kalusugang Pangkalahatan (KP), gears off in Camarines Sur

by Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA City, Oct. 28 (PIA) -- Embarking on a vision where the poorest of the poor can have an easy access to public health services and be given indispensable preventive health care, President Benigno Aqjuino III had put on top of his health agenda a clear roadmap towards the achievement of the Universal Health Care Program, especially for the members of the marginalized sector of the society.

This was the main agenda during the Kalusugang Pangkalahatan (KP) Technical Working Group meeting held at the Phil Health Office here this morning which endeavors to seek avenues on how to effectively deliver the basic health services to the less fortunate families through the collaboration of various stakeholders and partner agencies.

Dr. Arnie Carandang, Department of Health (DOH) Representative for Districts IV and V in Camarines Sur emphasized the urgent need to address primordial issues concerning maternal and child health, delivery of basic health services, current healthcare financing mechanisms which have not been able to adequately provide financial risk protection for the poor and other quandaries surrounding the achievement of the Philippine’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) commitment by 2015.

Kalusugang Pangkalahatan or Universal Health Care sits on three phases of implementation; the Launch Phase which started last August 2011 until December this year, the preparation for the Scale-Up Phase in 2012 and the Scale-Up Phase from 2012 to 2013.

The launch phase includes three (3) strategic thrusts: Financial Risk Protection which endeavors to enroll 4.89 Million of the poorest National Household Targetting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) households, including those 4Ps to the National Health Insurance Sponsored Program NHIP. Under this direction, 10,000 RNHeals s will also be trained as trainers and supervisors to capacitate community volunteers.

The enhancement of heath facilities, contained in the second strategic thrust covers the upgrading of 20% of DOH retained hospitals, 46 percent of provincial hospitals and 51% of Rural Health Units. This is well within the premise that well-equipped hospitals will deliver quality health service to its patients. 4Ps beneficiaries will also be given treatment packs for hypertension and diabetes to lessen their burden on where to find money to sustain the said medications.

Also posing a great challenge to the health providers is the attainment of the health-related MDGs before 2015.

In the upcoming months, the TWG composed of representatives from the Philippine Information Agency-Camarines Sur, Provincial Health Office, Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and PhilHealth will convene to realize the realization of Kalusugang Pangkalahatan – a comprehensive health coverage enjoyed by all Filipinos. (LSM, PIA Camarines Sur)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sec. Robredo graces blessing, unveiling of historical marker

by Edna A Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, October 27 (PIA) -- Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse M. Robredo led the blessing and unveiling of the historical marker in Catanduanes yesterday morning, October 26, 2011 at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall, Capitol Building, Virac, Catanduanes.

The Secretary's official visit to the province was in line with the 66th Catandungan Foundation Festival where he was one of the Guests of Honor of the "Ugnayan" with the barangay, municipal and provincial officials.

Important issues concerning the department were tackled including the proposal of the League of Barangays on their term extension from three to five years which according to Sec. Robredo will be a decision of congress.

Robredo also conducted meeting with Provincial DILG, BJMP, Bureau of Fire and PNP. He also held a press conference with the local media.

Moreover, Sec. Robredo gave an opening statement followed by the question and answer portion between the local media and the secretary. The Sec. likewise gave a closing statement.

The DILG chief awarded the Seal of Good Governance Award to the municipal mayors of the municipalities of San Andres, Viga, Pandan, San Miguel, and Virac and Governor Joseph C. Cua for Catanduanes.(MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Protection council holds forum on Managing Children’s Concerns

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, October 27 (PIA) -- Mayor Liecel Seville of Lucena City will share the success story of the Lucena City’s program of the Council for the Protection of Children (CPC), in today’s provincial forum to be held at Paradise Hotel , it being one of those nationally recognized implementer of the Most Child Friendly Municipality for 2011.

Her topic 'Building Child Friendly Communities: Sharing of Best Practices' will be one of the highlights of shared knowledge to members of the Sorsogon Provincial Council for the Protection of Children (SPCPC).

The SPCPC is the organizing body of this one day provincial forum on Managing Children’s Concern: Investment for the Future, another Kasanggayahan Festival 2011 activity that brings to the front the theme of “Going Beyond”

Myra Relativo, assistant department head of the Sorsogon Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), focal person for the activity said, that Sorsogon has been also one of those provinces who had been nationally acclaimed as best implementer of the Most Child Friendly Municipalities, Irosin town being the first national winner in this category for two successive years followed by the municipality of Casiguran.

Today’s forum will include the topic of Child Friendly Governance to be shared by Ms Remia Tapispisan, regional director, of the Department of Social Welfare and Development RO V.

Regional Director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), ROV, Blandino Maceda will discuss on the topic Strengthening Local Councils for the Protection of Children: Institutionalizing Children’s Program.

The topic on Seeing the Best Interest of the Child: Laws on Children will be explained by Atty. O. Nibungco, Associate Prosecution Attorney, Chief Operating Officer, Regional Anti-Trafficking Task Force.

Meanwhile , Irma S. Valiente, assistant regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ROV will also talk on the topic Philippine Program Against Child Labor Implementation at all LGU Levels.

In the previous meeting of the SPCPC, during its deliberations, these concerns were the pressing issues surfaced by the council that needs to be clarified and to be learned in particular as part of the strengthening and enhancing of the knowledge skills and attitudes of members working in the municipal, city and provincial councils as it will aid them in the fast and easy facilitation of providing interventions for children’s concern.

Expected to attend in this forum are local chief executives, women organization , participants from the academe and in particular the members of the SCPC. (IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Brgy V in Daet notches top spot in 2011 Search for Most Child Friendly Barangay in Camarines Norte

by Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, October 27 (PIA) -- Barangay V in this municipality has notched first place in this year’s Search for mMost Child Friendly Barangay in this province with the cash prize of P100,000 and plaque of commendation during the culmination activity of the Children’s Month Celebration held at the Little Theater, provincial capitol here Tuesday, October 25.

The month-long celebration evolves with the theme “ Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) para sa Bright Child: Pakilusin, Palakasin, Pagtulungan Natin”.

Barangay Guinatungan in Basud town placed second while Cayucyucan in Mercedes was adjudged third, receiving P50,000 and P30,000 respectively. Barangay Canapawan, Labo and Barangay Pag-asa, Jose Panganiban placed fourth and fifth receiving P20,000 and P10,000 respectively. All top 5 placers also received plaque of commendation.

The sixth to eighth placer were Barangay III, Vinzons; Barangay San Ramon, San Lorenzo Ruiz and Barangay Kabuluan, Sta. Elena with a cash prize of P5,000 and plaque of recognition.

The Special Awards were given certificate of citation and P3,000 to include: Barangays Canapawan, Labo for LGU-NGO partnership for the promotion of cooperation for economic development; Pag-Asa, Jose Panganiban for espousing the principles of Katarungang Pambarangay in Handling Children; Barangay III of Vinzons for valued quality family practices in the community; San Ramon, San Lorenzo Ruiz for institutionalized resource generation strategies and Kabuluan, Sta. Elena for innovative protective and peace programs.

The Municipal Council for the Protection of Children (MCPC) of Daet also received plaque of commendation.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Communication Chief Angela Travies lauded all the barangays for exemplary implementing programs and projects for children.

LGOO V Maria Cecilia del Puerto of DILG Region V discussed “Mobilizing strengthening and working together for LCPC stressed that they take the lead in the organization of LCPC in order to create an enabling environment for children.

She added that they are moving forward for the regular and intensified conduct of LCPC activities, inclusion of LCPC in the local development plan, meaningful engagement to programs for children, recognizing LCPC practices and transforming local chief executives to LCPC champions.

The search is in its 8th year which aims to encouraged barangays to institutionalized programs on service delivery specifically in child health, maternal health, education, child protection, child participation and family practices; and institution building (MAL/RBM/PIA Camarines Norte)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Solons grace First Katribo Ka Festival in CamSur

by Lizel S. Macatangay

BAAO, Camarines Sur, October 26 (PIA) -- With seven (7) tribal communities accounting to more than 300 individuals, the local government of Baao, Camarines Sur, together with House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada and Congressman Teddy Baguilat, House Committee Chairman on National Cultural Minorities welcomed the first ever celebration of Katribo Ka Festival, here.

Kaburunyugan nin mga Tribong Agta-Tabangnon para sa Kauswagan kan Baao (KATRIBO Ka) is a federation of indigenous peoples in Baao, Camarines Sur comprised of the tribal communities from barangays Antipolo, Caranday, Sta. Teresa, Nababarera, CristoRey, Tapol and Iyagan. The festival aims to recognize the rights and privileges of the IPs and ensure their participation in the affairs of the local government.

Tañada said that indigenous peoples (IPs) should also be recognized as an important facet of local governance. “We will push for the recognition of these indigenous groups and we would like them to feel that the government is also doing something to address their appeals, particularly their needs in terms of education, livelihood and their need for a safe sanctuary, “ Tanada said in an interview.

Tanada also said that the festival can serve as a venue where lawmakers can evaluate whether the existing state rules are still appropriate to the IPs’ present condition.

“This celebration can lead us in reviewing some mechanisms to ensure that the rights of indigenous people are respected and fulfilled. We want to check various legislations that will justify their participation in governance and fine tune problems that will lead the creation of better and appropriate programs for them.”

Baguilat on the other hand, lamented on the poor state of the IPs nationwide. He said that the IPs played a significant role in addressing problems of the country concerning the environment and peace process, yet these concerns are still in the fringes of the government’s attention.

The said celebration is the culminating activity of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PPRM) and Unity for the Advancement of Sustainable Development and Good Governance (USWAG)- Camarines Sur Project, in partnership with the European Commission . USWAG cam Sur is a local Citizen’s Movement for Good Governance organized by PRRM. It works with different social institutions and government bodies which aim, among others to push people’s agenda on human development and ecological sustainability.

PRRM President Isagani Serrano expressed his full support in addressing the plights of the IPs. “ Our support for the rights of the indigenous people will continue with our programs and advocacies at the local and national level. We, along with other stakeholders are working hard together in order to increase their participation in elections and governance for sustainable development.”

With the strong expression of support coming from the two solons, including a push from the local government unit of Baao, Camarines Sur, PRRM, KATRIBO KA and other stakeholders, this year’s theme: Karapatan, Kapayapaan at Kasarinlan ng Katutubong Pilipino,” will just be within the reach of our dear IPs. (MAL/LSM, PIA Ca,Sur)

Kasanggayahan Business Forum zeroes in on agri-tourism in Sorsogon

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, October 26 (PIA) -- Synchronizing with the theme of this year’s festivity ‘Going Beyond”, the Kasanggayahan Business Forum will zero in to the potentials of the province, looking beyond not just with the beautiful tourism destinations but as a prime agri-tourism place, Sorsogon being an agricultural province.

Leah A. Pagao, provincial director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial office here, said that the idea of opening the agri-tourism potential of the province was brought out as suggested by the Department of Tourism Region V director Maria ‘Nini” Ravanilla, hence this one day forum was conceived.

The forum is held at Paradise Hotel today, Oct. 26, with invited participants comprising of owners of developed farm lots , local officials and spearheaded by the Sorsogon Provincial Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Development Council through DTI.

This one day activity will provide opportunity to farm lot owners who can open their area as a tourism destination providing students, local and international tourists how local farm animals are raised, how farm foods and other agri-products are grown which will include the simple daily farm life away from the city life.

The forum hopes to achieve opportunities to learn how people in the farm thou not so visually seen but are very significant contributors to the country’s development.

This forum will also open doors to more public and public partnership as government will provide the trainings, technical know -how and how agri-tourism can be marketed online to private owners of farms whose farm potential for tourism will also propel local communities’ development.

Expected to grace the occasion are Reps. Salvador H. Escudero III and Diogracias B. Ramos of the first and second congressional district respectively.

A formal turn-over of the One Town One Product DBR Production Tool /Equipment will be done by Congressman Ramos.

Narciso H. Cayetano, supervising agriculturist of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist together with Nilo Consuelo, aquaculturist of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will share in the Agri-Marine Industry Situationer of the province of Sorsogon,

The bright prospects of the coconut industry, its contribution to agri-tourism potentials and opportunities will be discussed by Mr. Alejandro O. Olaguera , provincial manager of the Philippine Coconut Authority here.

Meanwhile Mr. Danilo Intong, Tourism Consultant of the Department of Tourism RO V will be the resource speaker to disscuss the Agri-Tourism Industry Challenges and Awareness.

An Open Forum will follow after the discussion of the topics shared and a video presentation on successful tourism related stakeholders/ operators will be shown to add more insight on the topics presented.

The Business Permits and Licensing System (BPLS) implementation updates will be discussed by Mr. Rico Guarino of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), a tie up program with DTI.

The highlight of the forum will be the awarding of BPLS implementers and to give the award will be Governor Raul R. Lee, PD Leah Pagao and PD Ruben Esq. Baldeo. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Sorsogon hosts 2011 Regional Cooperative Congress

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, October 26 (PIA) -- Sorsogon province hosts and kicks off today the three-day Regional Cooperative Congress at the Sorsogon State College here

Senator Francis Joseph ”Chiz” G. Escudero will deliver an inspirational message in support to the activity while Congressman Jose R. Ping-ay, Coop-National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) Partylist representative will discuss on the topic , Coop Governance and Ethical Standards.

Provincial Board Member Eric C. Dioneda, chairman of the Sorsogon Provincial Cooperative Development Council said that this activity is an enhancement to the celebration of the Kasanggayahan Festival 2011 particularly to highlight the role of the cooperatives in the development of the nation specifically along the countryside, a fitting tribute to the theme of this year’s festival on the role of the public private partnership or 3 Ps.

Cooperative Development Administrator, Nelon B. Alindogan will deliver the solidarity message, a call for cooperatives to unite and forge a bond to strongly make the cooperative spirit a mainstreamed strategy for both national and local mechanism for development.

Cooperative Development Authority Chairman, Emmanuel M. Santiaguel, Ph.D. will be the keynote speaker in this occasion according to Antonio Dionela, department head of the Sorsogon Provincial Development Cooperative Authority.

Several topics to provide knowledge sharing to the participants will also be discussed like Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation ; Electronic Consumers Rights; CLIMBS, the grassroots insurance and the Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperative (PFCCO) program and services.

On the evening of the 1st day, the presentation of candidates for Ms Cooperative will be conducted before dinner hand in hand with the awarding and recognition of the Most Outstanding Coops, Community Development Cooperatives and Cooperative Development Offices.

To end the evening’s activity will be the canvassing of votes of the Ms Cooperative 2011.

On the second day, participants will be provided with high caliber speakers delving on sessions topics such as Food Supply Chain (Financing and Linkaging) ; Enhancing Financial Intermediation; Local Government Units Coop, Investing in Cooperative Education: A Must!; Government Program on Product Development and Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

The NATCCO programs and Services will be presented by Ms Sylvia O. Paraguya, Chief Executive Officer of NATCCO, while the Cooperative Insurance System of the Philippines Programs and Services will be discussed by Mr. Benedicto C. Torres, Area Manager of the CISP.

Mr. Anthony M. Bravo, chairman, Bicol Region Cooperative Development Council will preside the plenary session to give way to the congress’ resolutions while the last topic, International Year of Cooperatives will be explained by CDA Executive Director Orlando R. Ravanera.

A solidarity night on the second day will provide participants the chance to hobnob with each other to be followed by a raffle bonanza.

To take center stage will be the coronation of the Ms Cooperative 2011.

According to Dioneda,and the third day will usher a tour of the city of Sorsogon, the participants to be treated to its scenic and historical spots to include its native delicious dishes. (IAG, PIA SORSOGON)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Albay network continues year-round smoke-free promotion

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, October 25 (PIA) -- In step with the health department’s goal of a smoke free environment, the Smoke Free Albay Network (SFAN) continues with its campaign for the program in the province.

In its last meeting held October 14 at the Sangguniang Panglalawigan session Hall, board member Herbert Borja, SFAN chairman, reported that legislation of the Smoke-Free Albay ordinance is being set up for committee hearing as soon as the legal office of the province is through with the review.

Atty. Rodolfo Bonafe Jr., according to Borja, is almost through with the appraisal of the proposed ordinance.

The drive for smoke-free province, also include appeal to towns and cities in Albay province to pass similar ordinances. In same meeting Tabaco City and Daraga town reported to have passed their respective local laws.

Tabaco’s youthful councilor and chairperson, Committee on Health Sheina Onrubia reported that the smoke-free ordinance in Tabaco City has been approved on third reading Oct 10 and expects a smooth sailing of Sangguniang Panglungsod approval on October 17.

Daraga town on the other hand has passed the same ordinance per report of Councilor Salvador Llamanzares’ representative Ramon Llona. Llona disclosed that the smoke-free law was adopted minus the controversial provision of allowing cigarette selling and vending within 100 meters of public places.

A component of SFAN promotion is training for its members to equip them with knowledge and capacity to deal with the program’s implementation. SFAN secretariat led by Rose Olarte-Orbita reported that some 23 members attended a meeting cum seminar on effective smoke-free implementation with the University (UP) College of Law Development Foundation (UPCLDF), Diliman, Quezon City last September 26.

Said forum expected the participants to possess enhanced capability of SFAN with the “teeth” and tools of smoke-free advocacy and created a venue to discuss effective means of dealing with tobacco industry interference especially in the passage of ordinances by local government units.

UPCLDF founding member and UP Law Prof. Rowena Daroy Morales and Atty. Cyril Alfred S. Castro discussed important issues on tobacco industry issues on RA 9211, DOH smoke-free model ordinance and other Smoke Free policies, how to deal with tobacco industry interference and the use of UPCLDF tools/materials for effective implementation in the local level.

Both discussed the G7 model on how seven cities in Metro Manila are making inroads in the implementation of tobacco ordinances in respective cities. G7 stands for the cities of the National Capital Region composed of Quezon, Makati, Manila, Marikina, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Calooocan which spearhead the campaign for smoke-free Philippines.

Participants to the seminar considered the activity as enhancement of smoke free advocacy to LGUs and government offices in implementing tobacco control laws. It will support enforcers raise peoples’ awareness of tobacco related laws and put into effect initiatives for law enforcement.

Pastor Deodato Quintela, head of the Smoke-Free Legazpi enforcement unit said he found the UPCLDF encounter a valuable and helpful experience.

SFAN whose set-up includes membership of government and non-government organizations is led by Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda as its honorary chairman. Salceda has signed an executive order creating the SFAN in October last year. (MAL/AAN, PIA V)

Feature: 'Kasanggayahan Inmates Break', an entertainment with a humane message

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY , October 25 ( PIA) -- Inmates of the Sorsogon Provincial Jail here strutted their stuff during the first "Kasanggayahan Inmates Break 2011" in time for the celebration of the provincial foundation anniversary and cultural festivity last week.

Provincial jail warden Josefina Lacdang of the SPJ, who has been always controversial in her ways more than one especially in trying to institute reforms inside the jail, once more proved to those critics who watched the selected 70 inmates performed several entertainment numbers from songs, dances, acrobats and synchronized body calisthenics the other day giving those spectators a glimpse that inmates are never short of talent and skills.

Lacdang said that she was inspired by the performance of inmates in Cebu City who now are famous in the Utube because of what they have shown in a mass dance and calisthenics presentation and should serve as a motivation to those in charge of prisons in the Philippines.

Lacdang also explained that the SPJ has now a library where these inmates can read and find time to hone their skills academically aside from the skills for livelihood development provided to them by the SPJ through the assistance of the provincial government and other non-governmental organizations providing them training.

"Inmates should also be given the chance to enjoy life even in incarceration. and the reforms I instituted is with a humane policy especially in treating women inmates and those who are a bit young," according to Lacdang.

The activity according to Lacdang was also suggested to her by no less than Governor Raul R. Lee that started from a choral group within the prison so that whenever mass is officiated the inmates'choir will be the one to sing in the mass.

She has also instituted inside the SPJ a "Lupon" where certain problems within can be easily settled by inmates within themselves and that more understanding can be achieved and jailbreaks be avoided.

"The"Kasanggayahan Inmates Break" is the first activity thought of the inmates to also show people that they can be part of the Kasanggayahan activity and that inmates should not be treated as if they no longer are part of society ," Rommel Lanuza one of the inmates said in an interview.

"The stigma of being inmates has been so deep that sometimes seeing them is being feared ," according to Lanuza.

"Major Lacdang and the governor have provided the inmates here the chance to redeem themselves. In fact here in the SPJ we are visited by priests and pastors and we accord 5 hours praying time each week together," Lanuza expressed.

"We have really practiced almost everyday and have chosen well those who would like to perform,"Lanuza,said when interviewed after their performance.

"This first Kasanggayahan Inmates Break was thought of by the inmates themselves so that they would feel appreciated too," Lacdang said.

"Here the inmates are provided the opportunity of developing themselves and they are made to realize that the prison is not a confinement but a rehabilitation where they should realize what they have committed against society and redeem themselves so that when given the chance after serving their term they are ready to be mainstreamed", according to Lacdang. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Law Enforcement Coordinating Council reconvened in Sorsogon

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, October 25 (PIA) -– The Police provincial office here has reconvened the Sorsogon Provincial Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (LECC) to synergize anew efforts of agencies in government to ensure unified direction and integration of efforts throughout the country in suppressing criminal activities on a day to day basis, particularly in the operating levels.

Police Senior Superintendent John CA Jambora, Police provincial director of Sorsogon, said the reactivation of the council is pursuant to the Executive Order No. 727 series of 1981 for the implementation of an effective law enforcement functions.

In a conference held here recently, Jambora said that the LECC will be part of the Provincial Peace and Order Council initiatives in the proper coordination and integration for the implementation and enforcement of general and special laws in particular.

The reconvening of the LECC provided the member agencies a reorientation of the authority, mission, functions, organizational relationships, and sub-committee tasks of the LECC.

Jambora furthered that provincial law enforcement council will continuously coordinate with member agencies in the procedures and policies as stipulated within the guidelines to facilitate cooperation and integration of efforts in the suppression of criminal activities.

PNP Sorsogon, according to him, has provided and will regularly provide provincial situationer on the peace and order situation identifying priority areas for coordination particularly in joint law enforcement activities.

The member agencies were also requested to submit to the chairman of the PPOC their respective strategies for consideration that may help in the suppression of criminal acts given the culture and location of the province and other law enforcement facet that could provide facility for easy coordination.

With province’s peace and order situation, member- agencies suggested that every meeting members shall tender a sharing of information for updates on certain policies, issues and concern to better the organizational knowledge of situations in the province so that right recommendations can be provided. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Government convergence initiatives gaining grounds in Catanduanes

VIRAC, Catanduanes, October 25 (PIA) -- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has recently convened its third leg of convergence initiative forums in the province of Catanduanes.

Since its launching on February 23, 2011 by the national offices of Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and DAR, the National Convergence Initiative has gained grounds all over the country since then.

Provincial chief Alexander T. Teves of DAR Catanduanes presided over at least three meetings since April 12, 2011, the latest of which was held at the DAR provincial office in Constantino, Virac last October 7, 2011. PARO Teves has been designated Chairperson of the Provincial Technical Working Group (TWG) of the convergence

initiative in Catanduanes, while the Gov. Joseph C. Cuaserves as co-chairperson.

Members of the CI include the DAR, DENR, DA, PPDO (PLGU), and other provincial partners institutions as maybe designated. Also present in its meeting last October 7 were Ms Juliet Araojo representing DENR /CENRO, Mr. Salvador Gianan of PASO, Mr. Edgar Olet of DA, CARPO Nelia Tadoy, SARPOs Socorro Facundo, and Sarah Tito, and Ms Nerissa Balin of DAR-BDCD.

“The convergence initiative in Catanduanes is a step in the right direction, considering the full support of all stakeholders and partner agencies,” PARO Teves noted when pressed for comment after the meeting. He emphasized that the CI is not necessarily showcasing each other’s mandate, but it stands to complement resources of the government for common clients in the target areas.

PARO Teves also made it clear that the convergence initiative under President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s dispensation is committed to ensure countryside development as strategy for poverty reduction. He said that the secretaries of DAR, DA DENR after assuming office in mid-2010 immediately launched the Enhanced the National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development.

The Enhanced NCI operational framework integrates the people, their economy and their environment, optimize resources, create substantial effect in the short-term, and make possible model-building across ecosystems, production systems, and rural poverty sectors/small, producers in the long-term.

It can be recalled that sometime in 1999, a similar initiative was also forged among DA-DAR-DENR that was aimed to facilitate the convergence of resources of the three agencies to maximize the impact on countryside development.

Under Pres. Aquino’s term when the NCI has been revived, it aims to address the weaknesses and gaps that were experienced before, while taking advantage of the agribusiness investment that have been initiated and engage the beneficiaries of the three departments on these investments. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Time to review AFP strength and recruitment – Chiz

LEGAZPI CITY, October 24 (PIA) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should conduct an immediate and total review of its actual troop strength versus its troop ceiling in the wake of the separate deadly clashes between government troops and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay this week, Senator Chiz Escudero said.

The Basilan bloodbath last Tuesday claimed the lives of 19 soldiers and six more in the latest encounter in Zamboanga.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said it is high time for the AFP to review its present number of warm bodies and the vacancies for new recruits that need to be filled to strengthen the military.

“While we commend the gallantry and bravery of our troops for going head on in the battle field, we bewail the fact that they were outnumbered and outsmarted in a terrain most familiar to the enemies. Without adding anymore pain to our troops, we now beg the question what is our military's optimal force? Are we also filling in the yearly quota for military recruitment?” Escudero said.

The senator underscored the importance of this assessment to maximize the strength and potential of the troops in the frontline and readjust it to meet certain existing standard operating procedures in terms of troop augmentation and recruitment.

“We need to fill in the yearly quota for recruits so that yearly our forces get stronger and that our soldiers are not left out there like mice caught in a mouse trap, outnumbered by its enemies. As the country's guardians of democracy and Constitution, we need to give them enough physical, material and arsenal support to keep and improve their morale and efficiency,” Escudero stressed.

Escudero said that the AFP is in a better position to know the situation in the battlefield need and should be able to refine its protocols given the blatant and bold moves by rogue elements against government troops, particularly in Mindanao.

“I urge the AFP and also the PNP to aggressively go out there and fill the yearly quotas for new recruits. Spend the budget intended for hiring new personnel. Don't let the old system prevail again where the allocation for hiring new personnel is scrimped on so that the amount can be converted into savings and diverted to line the pockets of some unscrupulous individuals. This has already cost so many lives and has orphaned thousands of wives and children,” Escudero said. (MAL/Office of Sen. Escudero)

Multi-Agency task force to curb illegal fishing organized

by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, October 24 (PIA) – In the wake of a mounting clamor for the government to more seriously go after illegal fishers in the Bicol region, the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (RLECC), Sub-committee on Fishing and Marine Environment Protection, has organized a multi-agency task force to go after commercial and small fishers who persist in pursuing their illegal fishing practices in the rich fishing grounds of Bicol.

The task force is to be headed by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional office and its members will be drawn from the personnel from the Police regional office, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Maritime Police, the Philippine Army, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Interior and Local government (DILG) and from the concerned local government units.

It may be recalled that nine Bicol based bishops wrote a letter of appeal to President Benigno S. Aquino dated last Septmber 5, 2011 appealing to President Aquino to immediately order the enforcement of the law banning commercial fishers from operating within the 15 kilometers of the shoreline of Ragay Gulf in Camarines Sur and Burias Pass in Masbate.

The Bishops also asked the President to compel and enable marine and coastal resources authorities to go after and prosecute commercials fishers who violate the law covering municipal waters, as well as, small fishers who practice illegal fishing activities.

The Bishops also ask the President to order the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and BFAR to expedite the formal demarcation of municipal water boundaries as stipulated by the Fishery Code of the Philippines (R 8550).

Chief Supt. Cecilio B. Calleja, Bicol Police regional director, said that the task force will pool together available resources and assets of member agencies of the task force to be able to conduct a successful operations against the illegal fishers.

He said the newly created multi-agency task force is currently preparing its operational plan on how best to operate to blunt the operations of illegal fishers.

Police Senior Supt. Eduardo G. Chavez, police regional intelligence chief reported that from the period January to September 2011, a total of 665 persons were arrested for illegal fishing which resulted in the confiscation of seven fishing vessels, 44 fishing boats, 29 motor boats, nine bancas, 17 compressors and 1,846 kilos of assorted fish and the filing of 70 cases. (MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Kasanggayahan Children’s Day highlights storytelling, visual art workshop

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, October 24 (PIA) -- Tomas Leonor, advocate for cancer stricken children through his famous one-man walk all over the country, was one of the key storytellers in the Read Along Program for kids here, an advocacy program for literacy awareness through reading of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

With Leonor was Councilor Rosalia Laganzo Enerio from Sorsogon as main story tellers.

The children’s day activity included the Doodle Earth Visual Arts Workshop where children were exposed to the opportunity of creativity using water color and and water soluble paints for mask making, face painting, environmental art and basic painting for kids know-how.

The read-along event formed part of the Kasanggayahan Festival 2011 Children’s Day (KFCD) Visual Arts Fair which held at the Aemilianum Gymnasium here last Saturday, Oct. 22, according to Sorsogon Arts Council spokesperson Joseph John Perez .

Isabel Gile, events coordinator of the KFCD explained that the facilitators in the activity were Sorsoganon Fine Arts students of the University of the Philippines together with the Sorsogon State College architecture students.

Gile said that these students would also like to share their talents to the children to signify the enhancement of visual arts appreciation for children.

Performances from pre-school pupils were also shown while food chain mascots here performed magical tricks for children.

Gile and Perez said that this year’s KFCD will promote the literacy campaign of PDI, Eugenia Duran-Apostol, founder of PDI being a true blue Sorsoganon and would like to make Sorsogon a province that will spearhead this advocacy.

Meanwhile, the Red Roots Artist Cooperative’s Doodle Earth Workshop according to Perez is more on the enhancement of environmental awareness for children expressed through visual art.

Hundreds of children from the province participated in the activity. Parents lauded the organizers while observing the transfer of knowledge the children gained from the fun activities presented. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Friday, October 21, 2011


OKB-Gayon Bicol 2011
Promoting Green Trade and Creating Markets

LEGAZPI CITY, October 21 (PIA) -- On its 15th year, OKB-Gayon Bicol, the longest running regional trade fair in the entire country, joined the world in promoting green trade.

With the theme, "GREEN! Naturally, Responsibly, Sustainably," it showcased distinct products which were naturally pro-environment; responsibly using indigenous and organic materials for sustainable industry.

Products include wearables, processed food, houseware, furniture and health and wellness.

"Orgullo Kan Bikol" has since evolved into "OKB" - a fitting name to a project which has transformed Bicolano MSMEs into direct and indirect exporters, contributing significantly to the region's socio-economic growth.

The OKB-Gayon Bicol Regional Trade Fair indeed has gone a long, long way. And every step of the way it has made its over-reaching goal to market the distinct products of our homegrown entrepreneurs in the national and international market.

Reaping the fruits

OKB-Gayon Bicol is now reaping its fruits.

In terms of sales, some P131.2 million pesos were generated since its inception which in many ways perked up the business transactions in the region. This figure only includes the sales generated during the staging of the fair. It has also contributed much to job generation in the countryside.

For this year alone, OKB-Gayon Bicol earned total sales of P17M, the highest sales so far in the history of OKB. This is considered to be remarkable since sales jumped up by 70% of our target, first time that happened, also in the history of OKB.

It is worth mentioning that we have developed a world-class packaging of our processed food products which are now more competitive and thus, reached as far as the United States of America for its market. DTI also endeavors to support MSMEs in areas of product development by tapping the services of local designers to assist OKB participants in developing new designs for their handcrafted products.

OKB partners and sponsors

To keep pace with the changing times, DTI Region V had been tapping both the private and public sector as its partners. The fair, being an example of a public-private partnership had the OKB Association for its private sector partner. Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last September 15, 2006, this association will eventually become the frontrunners of OKB Regional Trade Fair in the next years, although DTI will still be very much around to support this activity.

The officers and members of the organization together with DTI are working synergistically to continually improve Bicol products despite difficult times. The organization is still open to other MSMEs who are willing to be members and avail of the benefits derived from the association.

From 2007 to 2009, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has become a partner of the DTI. It was just last year that DOT was not able to partner with DTI due to lack of funds. This year, the tandem is back and it showed that the tandem really works considering the sales which the fair earned. Tourist destinations and the rich cultural heritage of Bicolandia were highlighted which indeed brought to the fore the beauty and bounty of the region. With this tandem, "OKB back to back with Gayon Bikol" has drawn a lot of people to the fair and brought in excellent sales.

We also mention the ever undying support of our sponsors, the PhilExport, the Local Government Units (LGUs) other Line Departments and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and the Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Program (RuMEPP). Albay Governor and RDC Chair Joey Salceda who was present during the opening program and in his speech, he suggested to expand DTI-DOT partnership to include DOLE, TESDA and DOST.

Much remains to be done

Much still has to be done for Bicol to move steadily forward on the road to progress. A continuing partnership of all concerned sectors is much needed. It is heartening to note that our partners in development have taken worthy steps to strengthen the collaboration. As the partnership moves toward more substantial outcomes, we remain optimistic that the gains of our Orgullo will remain to be our pride, the tradition continues and our heritage goes on.

Mabuhay an OKB! (PIA Bicol)

Feature: Kasanggayahan Festival 2011: There are more reasons to celebrate

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, October 21 (PIA) -- "People should celebrate when we can see that in governance, we envision ourselves as a people working together to achieve a common goal, specially through the leaders that we have given our trust to run our government --providing what the constituency expect of them in terms of development and provisions of right services."

In a keynote message in his native dialect, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary, Jessie Robredo stressed reasons why people should celebrate specially in an occasion like the Kasanggayahan Festival 2011, the event that commemorates the separation of the province of Sorsogon to become independent from the province of Albay 117 years ago.

"Nata ta kinakaipuhan kita mag selebrar kan fiesta kapareho kan Kasanggayahan Festival 2011? Ano an dapat na ipagselebrar sa saro na fiesta?

(Why do we have to celebrate in a fiesta like Kasanggayahan Festival 2011? What is there about to celebrate in a fiesta?," the secretary stressed in his plain Bicol words.

He said that the good reason to celebrate a fiesta like this festival is when these effective good leaders can institute the right mechanisms in governance thereby making the people happy because they are well served and people in the same manner become responsible citizens.

Robredo said, "An kinakaipuhan kan satuyang pag gogobyerno sa Pilipinas iyo so mga lideres na matitibay. Mga lideres na mga tultul.Ta may mga lideres na matitibay pero bako tultul asin may mga lideres man na mga tultul pero bako man na matitibay. An kinakaipuhan ta su mga lideres na mga matitibay asin tultul, na nag seserbisyo para sa ikaka asenso kan lugar asin mga tawo."

(What we need in government are leaders who are efficient. Leaders who are righteous. Because there are leaders who are efficient but are not righteous and leaders who are righteous but not efficient. What we really need are public servants who are righteous and effective, who serve for the development of the place and its people.)

He also underscored the need to unify and work towards what the current administration of President Aquino hopes to achieve and that all should do their share for the country.

The significance of a celebration is also a form of thanksgiving, according to Robredo, and hopefully all festivals should really show the right reasons to celebrate. It should not just be for entertainment but an avenue where development can be showcased as achieved and felt and where leadership is better valued, and where these leaders can provide the right reasons to celebrate. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Air in areas affected by coal barge’s emission probed

LEGAZPI CITY, October 21 (PIA/EMB) -- The air in the areas affected by the foul odor from a barge that stayed near Barangays San Roque and Baybay are currently being examined, said Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Deparment of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The bureau had a team investigate last October 17-18 the complaint of residents in said barangays regarding the foul odor noted in their areas, described as similar to burning asphalt.

The odor was found to be coming from smoke emitted from a barge in the Albay Gulf, about a mile from the shore of Baybay. However, it was not able to dock at this city’s port due to alleged lack of documents.

The barge contained Indonesian steam coal to be delivered to Goodfound Cement Corporation in Palanog, Camalig, Albay.

Another barge which contained similar material, however, was already docked at the port as of the date of investigation and was examined as well. The team found that this other barge had no foul-smelling emission.

According to the Philippine Ports Authority 5 (PPA 5), the foul odor in the barge was due to a burning caused by spontaneous combustion which occurred in the piles of moist coal where heat was generated. Oxygen from the air combined with the coal stocks, raising the coal’s temperature. The moisture of the coal then evaporated while other matter with distinct odor was released.

On October 19, the odor-emitting barge was already docked at the port and the unloading of its coal stocks was completed. As of date, the foul odor is diminished.

On the date of investigation, EMB 5 got air samples in the affected areas to determine the levels of total suspended particulates (TSP) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). To ensure that the air in said areas is within the permissible ambient air quality for TSP and SO2, another sampling is scheduled tomorrow, October 21.

The material involved is coal, which is not considered a regulated substance under RA 6969 otherwise known as the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act.

However, under the requirements of Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is also known as Presidential Decree No. 1586, the company will be called for a technical conference to fully determine the appropriate and necessary sanctions against the company. (MAL/EMB-DENR)

Seed growers ask gov’t subsidy to rice farmers

by Edna A Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, October 21 (PIA)-- A group of seed growers in Catanduanes asked the provincial government to grant subsidy to rice farmers who want to use certified seeds amid fears that local rice harvests would drop next year.

According to the Eastern Island Seed Growers Association, rice farmers would find it difficult to use certified seeds for the next cropping season that would start this November, 2011 since the national government already removed the P600 subsidy from ach bag of certified seed that farmers used to purchase under the Rapid Seed Supply Financing Program (RASSFIP).

Under the RASSFIP, farmers were given a total subsidy of P600 per bag and they only pay P600 as equity for each 40-kilogram bag of certified seeds sold by the Department of Agriculture through the National Food Authority.

The association added that if local farmers do not buy certified seeds due to financial restrictions, they would be forced to use old seeds or the palay seeds from their previous harvest resulting in lower harvests.

While his administration may be able to accommodate the request, Governor Joseph C. Cua in response advised the seed growers to consult Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento if he would be amenable for the same proposal. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Catanduanes exhibitor bags best dressed booth at trade fair

by Edna A Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, October 21 (PIA) -- An exhibitor from Catanduanes, Sudsea Products Company Limited won the Best Dressed Booth award in the recent Orgullo Kan Bikol (OKB) 2011 Regional Trade Fair held at SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City last October 6-9, 2011.

The said company is based in Valencia Virac owned and managed by Mrs. Nena Schwalb. It produces fashion accessories made from recycled paper, carabao horn and coco shells.

The distinction was on top of the P1.7 million in combined gross sales recorded by the nine participating exhibitors from Catanduanes: Belen’s Pinahamis na Pili, Virac Pili Processors Association, Fiberart Handicraft Enterprises, Glow Arts and Crafts, JERDLMS, Nizacch Crafts, Terestian Craft, ETBal Enterprises, DTI-CARP, RuMEPP and Sudsea Products Co., Ltd.

In line with the said activity, officials from the province have provided financial assistance for the participating exhibitors.

The theme of this year’s OKB fair was: “Naturally, Responsibly, Sustainably.” (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CamSur pushes community-based livelihood projects

by Lizel S. Macatangay

OCAMPO, Camarines Sur, October 20 (PIA) -- The provincial government of Camarines Sur launched recently community livelihood projects in various towns aimed at eradicating poverty and providing its constituents with sustainable means of livelihood.

Project recipients are selected members of the community-based organizations or CBOs coming from the towns of Ocampo, Buhi, Sangay and Tigaon. Under the project, selected barangay folks will be given native chickens to be raised, grown and bred in their backyards as future sources of income.

Barangay residents from Del Rosario, New Moriones, San Antonio and Gatbo of Ocampo town, will implement the first phase of the project with the first batch of native chickens, while CBOs from the towns of Buhi, Sangay and Tigaon will receive their share before the end of October.

The endeavor is part of the projects which were lined up by the provincial government of Camarines Sur led by Gov. LRay Villafuerte, in close coordination with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture or SEARCA.

SEARCA was tapped by the province as an active partner in promoting programs that will enhance the economic lives of its constituents, particularly those from the rural areas.

The livelihood project is a component of the European Union-Focused Food Production Assistance to Vulnerable Sectors (EU-PFAVAS) program. (MAL/LSM, PIA Camarines Sur)

Two young Bicolanos in top ten accountancy board exam

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, October 20 (PIA) -- Two newly graduated students from universities in the Bicol region placed in the top ten of the Certified Public Accountant Board Exams administered by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) last October 8 and 9.

The Bicol academe, including the administration of Ateneo de Naga University (AdeNU), a Jesuit-run institution in Naga City, Camarines Sur are jubilant of Jerome Mariscal Austria’s topping the board exams.

In the same mood is the College of Business, Economics and Management (BUCBEM) of the Bicol University as Ronnel Ajero Nuñez ranked fourth along with a University of St. La Salle graduate with a grade of 93.00.

Both Austria and Ajero joined 19 others who landed in the top ten of the board exams, 12 of whom were graduates of Metro Manila universities while the remaining 9 placers were from other areas of the country.

According to Dr. Devi Adriano, dean College of Business and Accountancy of AdeNU, Mariscal bested all the 8,525 examinees and as topnotcher in the exams got a grade of 94.00. He hails from Sagñay, Camarines Sur and graduated cum laude for his Bachelor of Science and Accountancy course last March this year. Mariscal finished his secondary education with honors at the St. Andrew Academy, a Dominican school in Sagñay town in 2007.

Dean Adriano also disclosed that Ateneo de Naga’s passing rate for the board exams is 53.30 percent which is higher than the national passing rate of 47.69.

Meantime, Mark Ng, department chair for accountancy of BUCBEM said that the feat of Ajero is the fifth for the university since the creation of the program in the 90’s.

Ajero, who is currently in Manila from calls of accountancy firms for possible employment was the President of the BU Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants. A resident of Tagas, Daraga, Albay, he finished his high school at St. Agnes Academy of Legazpi City.

Ng stated that Ajero is the fifth from BU who were placers in past board exams since 1996. Last year, 2010 Andrei Nico Laguna who now works at the Isla, Lipana and Company placed fifth in the board exams; the 2009 board exams had Ivan Macadeo in number 1 plus Caiser Ballaercer who took the fifth slot. Both are now connected with the SGV accounting firm. Hazel Abenoja who is currently enrolled at the UP College of Law was also fifth placer in the 2008 board while Janelle Mujar was topnotcher in the 1996 exams. She is now the Vice President of the Abenson Company.

Per the PRC record for the October CPA board exams, some 4,066 successfully passed the board from 8,525 examinees or 47.70 passing rate. The examinations were administered seven testing centers in located in Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Legazpi.

The next CPA board test is on May 2012. Per the policy of the agency, filing of application with necessary documents is not later than 20 days before the first day of examination at the central and regional PRC offices. (MAL/AAN, PIA V)

Provincial government to spearhead unveiling and blessing of historical marker

by Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, October 20 (PIA) -- The provincial government of Catanduanes will lead the unveiling and blessing of a historical marker commemorating the foundation of the province of Catanduanes on October 26, 2011, 8:00 a.m. at the provincial capitol grounds.

The historical marker was erected by virtue of Resolution No. 007-2011/ Provincial Ordinance No. 001-2011 sponsored by Hon. PBM Jose Romeo R. Francisco, passed and approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on its 3rd Regular Session held on January 18, 2011 to commemorate the proclamation of independence of Catanduanes.

Catanduanes became a separate and independent province from Albay, during the First Congress of the Philippines- Second Special Session through House Bill No. 301 sponsored by Congressman Francisco Perfecto on OCtober 26, 1945, the thirtieth day after President Sergio Osmena signed into law Commonwealth Act No. 687 on September 26, 1945.

In line with the said activity, a short program will be held with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)) Secretary Jesse M. Robredo expected to grace the ceremony together with Bishop Manolo A. Delos Santos of the Diocese of Virac, Provincial Governor Joseph C. Cua, Vice-Governor Jose J. Teves Jr. and all Provincial Board Members. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Public urged to join Project 11-11-11

VIRAC, Catanduanes, October 20 (PIA) -- Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento of the lone district of Catanduanes is asking the support of the public for his "Project 11-11-11".

Project 11-11-11 is a tree-planting activity which aims to plant 111,111 trees on November 11, 2011 in the 11 towns of the province.

The solon has started the same project last January 11, 2011 which targeted 11 thousand trees in the 11 towns of Catanduanes. The province-wide activity resulted in the planting of about 34,000 trees.

"We have done that before, we can make things happen again this time" said Sarmiento as he asked for support from his constituents to make the event successful.

"Paging all Catandunganons, let's get together writing HISTORY in the field of environmental protection" he added. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PRESSCON -- Philippine Vice President and HUDCC Chair Jejomar C. Binay answer queries during the media conference titled "Strengthening LGU's in Housing delivery and Local Development Planning," The conference brought together media representatives from Bicol region, held at La Piazza Hotel and Convention Center, Legazpi City, last October 18. (Alex Cal/PIA)
Government’s housing program targets ‘a home for every family’…launches Pabahay Caravan in Bicol
by Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, October 19 (PIA) -- The government remains relentless in pursuing its goal to provide decent and affordable houses for millions of Filipino families across the nation with still none to call their own.

Vice President and housing czar Jejomar Binay, in his visit here during the interfacing with the stakeholders and local media, said the government under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III has already initially spent some P4 billion for the construction of around 21,800 units for members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Binay, chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating council (HUDCC), another P4 billion is earmarked next year for the construction of houses for thousands of homeless military and police personnel, he said.

Housing development studies, according to him, are still on the drawing board for the construction of medium rise buildings in Southern Luzon to accommodate 100,000 informal settlers.

Binay was in this city October 17-18 and led the launching in Bicol of the “Pabahay Caravan”, a program that would provide Filipino families a decent and affordable housing.

With the battle cry, “Sa Pabahay Gaganda ang Buhay” Binay said that HUDCC is committed to give Filipino families not just with the infrastructure of a house, but a framework of a home; building not just a neighborhood, but a real harmonious community.

During the caravan, Binay also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between Ligao City and Pag-Ibig Fund to finance the construction of Ligao Socialized Housing project to benefit some 388 families of LGU employees, public school teachers and other government employees.

He also awarded Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) to 20 housing beneficiaries from two community associations in Daet, Camarines Norte under the SHFC Community Mortgage Program.

He also distributed TCTs to seven housing loan borrowers who have fully-paid their accounts under the NHMFC Unified Home Lending Program.

Meanwhile, Binay noted that the government needs to infuse P1.7 trillion to address the housing needs of millions of people across the country with an estimated 3.7 million housing backlog that is currently drawing back the government housing program.

He said the problem on housing backlog still persist as funds available for this sector is still not sufficient to meet the current housing demands.

In Bicol alone, the housing backlog is placed at 320,000 units spread over the six provinces.

Asked how the housing sector contributes to the country’s economic growth, Binay said the housing sector had infuse billions of investment funds that fairly pushed the economy.

He said the sector has also gave its share in jobs generation citing statistics that eighth jobs are created in every housing unit developed.

Agencies under Binay’s turf are the HUDCC, Housing and Land Use Regulatoy Board (HLURB), Pag-ibig Fund, Social Housing Finance Corp., (SHFC), National Housing Authority (NHA), Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC) and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation. (MAL, PIA V)

VP Binay inaugurates Sorsogon City housing units; to join Kasanggayahan Festival 2011 Fun Run tomorrow

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY ,October 19 (PIA) -- Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, Sr. will be the guest of honor in the inauguration of several housing units in Barangay Talisay, here in Sorsogon City today upon his arrival , this is in line with the celebration of this year's Kasanggayahan Festival (KF) 2011 with the theme : Going Beyond and an inspiration to local chief executives to go beyond in rendering service to the people, especially on the issue of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (CCMA)." Sorsogon City Mayor Leovic R. Dioneda said in a briefing to the city officials and employees yesterday.

The Vice President's presence here is part of his role as the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC)

to implement and oversee the government's thrust to coordinate activities of government housing agencies specially in line with the standards to be instituted as a CCMA mechanisms across the country according to Dioneda.

In a press statement this morning, he said that as the local chief executive of the the city of Sorsogon he has seen the need to seek for the assistance and support of the vice president, he being appointed as the Housing Czar by no less than President Aquino and that the thrusts of the city government is to make their housing units more resistant to the adverse effects of bad weather conditions and at the same time serve as housing models for CCAM.

It can be recalled that Barangay Talisay is one of the areas usually severely affected during typhoons and storm surge aside from several other barangays here due to its proximity to Sorsogon Bay.

Mayor Dioneda said that the housing units to be inaugurated in barangay Talisay will also be replicated in other barangays here also considered highly vulnerable to natural calamities.

During today's visit, the vice president is also expected to inspect the five school mitigating, adapting and resilient to typhoons (SMART) here in the city , a project of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Water Treatment Facility and several housing units initiated by other local governments in the province.

VP Binay will also meet with other local chief executives here whose areas are usually affected by natural calamities and to discuss some concerns regarding ways to institute a quality housing provisions for those who are usually affected by severe weather disturbance, identify relocation areas and provide housing that can withstand such adverse effects of the change in weather conditions.

Mayor Dioneda also said that he will be visiting the "All Weather Station" of the city that has been installed to help in the 24 hour monitoring activity of the weather condition here and a mitigating measure in creating a resilient community.

The vice president will also meet with other agencies that work in disaster management to discuss concerns how to improve the housing situation in the province become a CCMA houses.

His presence today and tomorrow will be an added attraction also to the celebration of the KF 2011 as he will spearhead tomorrow's fun run as organized by his fraternity brothers in the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Workers, employers to attend orientation on labor laws/relations

by Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, October 19 (PIA) -– Some 60 workers and employers are expected to attend an Orientation Seminar on Labor Standards and Labor Relations Law aimed to promote and maintain industrial peace in the workplace by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) here tomorrow October 20.

Chief Labor and Employment Officer Ruben L. Romanillos said that labor standards laws or rights and obligations of workers and management prerogatives will be discussed to include wages , holiday and overtime pay, service and incentive pay; and retirement and separation pay.

He said that they will also tackle labor relations laws or house rules and regulations, rules and suspensions, abandonment and terminations/resignations as basis for discipline in the workplace.

They will also explain Single Entry Approach (SENA), an strategy to solve labor dispute between workers and employers within 30 days at DOLE Office.

A technical assistance and advisory visit will be part of the half day orientation of the DOLE.

Romanillos added that they will organize the Industry Tripartite Council (ITC) – for retail/service establishments here which will serve as a consultative body on various labor issues affecting the industry.

It will be recalled that almost the same orientation was conducted by the DOLE to workers and videoke bars owners in Daet last September 29 with additional topic on the Provincial Ordinance 71-2010 and Republic Act 9231 on Children’s Rights and Welfare.

The DOLE also organized Industry Tripartite Council (ITC) for Videoke Bars in Daet that will serve as a consultative body for the said group. (RBM, PIA Camarines Norte)

3 students to represent Catanduanes in the 20th PSQ Regional Finals
VIRAC, Catanduanes, October 19 (PIA) -- Three freshmen students from Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC) and Catanduanes College will represent the province in the 20th Philippine Statistical Quiz (PSQ) Regional finals on November 17 in Legazpi City.

William Angelo Gonzales and Acer Villanueva of CSC got the first and second place during the provincial elimination held by the NSO Catanduanes Provincial Office last October 10, while Eunice Isuela of Catanduanes College took the last spot after finishing third.

The contestants will be accompanied by their coaches Vicente Padilla of CSC and Nieva Vega of Catanduanes College for the regional finals.

The winner of the regional elimination will be the representative to the PSQ National Finals on December 6.

The PSQ seeks to assess the competency and skills of students in statistics as acquired from the secondary curriculum; promote, enhance and instill awareness and appreciation of the importance and value of science, statistics in particular, among studentry; and, generate public awareness on the important uses of statistics and win overall support for all government statistical activities. (MAL/EAB/NSO Catanduanes)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mayon Trail Run 2011

by Albay Tourism on Tuesday,
October 18, 2011 at 1:21pm

LEGAZPI CITY, (PIA/ALbay Tourism Office) -- If Japan, Wyoming, France, and other European countries have a ski run that would give you an “icy” experience while San Diego’s Camp Pendleton has the world famous mud run that would make you as mud-covered as humanly possible… the Province of Albay boasts a run that will take you to one of the most scenic places in the Philippines.

If you want a rough terrain to conquer, a trail that will lead you to one of the most beautiful and active volcanoes in the world, there is only one adventure for you to take – the Mayon Trail Run.

The Mayon Trail Run, which started year 2009, is an exhilarating and challenging sports escapade that will take you to several tourism spots in Albay while giving you a glimpse of the stunning Mayon Volcano. This event, exclusive only to four hundred (400) 22K participants, has three (3) categories: Kids (3K; for 10 to 15 years old only); Regular (11k); and Extreme (22K).

This run is organized by the government of Legazpi together with the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Legazpi Chapter, provincial government of Albay, Philippine Daily Inquirer, The North Face, and 100 Plus Drink. This will take place on October 22, 2011. There will be a 5 AM assembly at Lignon Hill, Legazpi City. The Extreme (22K) MTR will start at 6:00 AM with a cut off time of 11:30 AM; Regular (11K) MTR will start at 6:10 AM; and the Kids (3K) MTR will start at 6:20 AM. Awards will be distributed at 10:30 AM.

Interested participants can register at selected The North Face (TNF) stores nationwide and Albay Bicycle Center in Legazpi City. Those who are in Manila can also visit the following registration areas: A Runner’s Circle (Roxas Boulevard); Steak Escape (Gateway Mall); Steak Escape (Landmark); and Starting Line (Alabang). They can also contact Yves Eli Yu at yves188@gmail.com or reach him at 0917-558-8929. The registration fees for the said categories are as follows: P300 for Kids; P500 for Regular; and P750 for the Extreme Category.

For those who have already reserved via email and received a confirmation, you only need to pay and claim your race kits when you arrive at Legazpi. Race kits can only be claimed at Legazpi City on October 21, 2011. Participants for the MTR Kids and 11K can get their kits at the MTR Booth, Pacific Mall Lobby from 10 AM till 8 PM. As for the Extreme 22K runners, kits can be claimed during a 4 PM Pre-Race Briefing at Pacific Mall’s Activity Center (located outside the mall beside PS Bank). Food will be provided to the runners of the Extreme (22K) category. For those who have special requests for early race kit pick up, they can send their emails at yves188@gmail.com.

It is also suggested that runners prepare hydration belts, socks and trail shoes capable of withstanding rocks, water, and sand because this year’s run has a more improved trail route. The Extreme (22K) category will

1. Start at the top of Lignon Hill where they have to traverse 800 meters of steep downhill running paved road elevated 155 meters
2. Turn around at foot of Lignon Hill on to steep uphill of mixed paved and Kapit Tuko trails
3. Wisdom trail at the back of Lignon Hill very steep and slippery single track trail to YAWA River
4. KM 1.5 Crossing Yawa River about 30 meters wide knee deep waters
5. Mayon Lava rocks and Sandy soil Bonga Gulley trails
6. KM 6.5 climbing of 5 storey high Lava rocks Wall from 2006 Mt. Mayon Eruption about 6 km from Mt Mayon Volcano Crater Elev 275 meters
7. Turn Around at the top of Lava Wall
8. Back to Lava rocks and Sandy soil of Bonga Gulley trails
9. KM 11.5 River Crossing at Yawa River
10. Turn Around at back of Lignon Hill
11. River crossing at Yawa River
12. Back to Lava Rocks and Sandy Soil of Bonga Gulley trails
13. Km 16.5 Turn around at foot of Lava Wall Elev 255
14. Bonga Gulley trails
15. KM 21.5 River crossing at Yawa River
16. Steep Uphill single track through the back of Lignon with knee high steps
17. Surprise bonus trail at the top of Lignon, the Cherry on top of a great run
18. KM 22 Finish Line Elev 155

Aside from getting an unforgettable trail run experience, this event also offers a total of P300,000 cash to winners. Runners who will accomplish the Extreme MTR category will receive a medal and a certificate while those who will finish the Kids MTR category will only be given certificates. (MAL/ATO)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Community Reading and Research Center... a remote village's wish for Christmas

by Joyce M. Mejillano

DARAGA, Albay, October 17 (PIA) -- "Great things come from small beginnings."

This is one of the inspirational quotes that marked the heart of some concerned residents and officials of this humble Barangay of Gapo, located at the highlands of the municipality of Daraga in Albay province.

It is in this belief that they are now on cue to make a difference. With the existence of the R.A 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, which urged barangays to be self-reliant communities and become partners in attaining national goals, concerned citizens and officials forged an alliance to bring out the best for their community.

This Christmas season, the barangay will launch a project dubbed as "PASKO PARA SA KARUNUNGAN: Adopt A Parol Project," wherein the proceed will be used for establishing a Community Reading and Research Center.

The project aims to put up several Christmas lanterns along the shoulders of the road and a giant Christmas tree filled with star lanterns. Each lantern will have corresponding sponsor. Lanterns that will be put along the road can be adopted at P500 each and lanterns for the Christmas tree will be at P250 each.

Donors can adopt as many lanterns as they want. They can also send in used books, magazines and other study materials that might be useful in the reading center.

Aside from its very purpose, the "Adopt A Parol project" will also help local lantern makers in the barrio to generate income this Christmas season.

The project is a brainchild of former Sk Chairman Rey Mallorca and journalist Joyce Mejillano.

"The reading center will help especially students, who travel to town proper for their researches. They spend more than an hour just by traveling back and forth and also spend more than P25 for fare. For students, that's quite a burden," said Mejillano.

The project is being adopted by the Barangay Council, Sangguniang Kabataan, Gapo Elementary School and Gapo Online Community, a community of professionals and OFWs who hailed from the barrio.

"We are very thankful for this project and we hope this will become the gateway to further enrich the learning experience of our constituents," said barangay captian Jesus Magdaong Jr.

He added that there are young professionals and college students in the barangay who are willing to volunteer their time and share their knowledge to the community by making weekly activities like storytelling for kids, sharing their skills to whoever is interested and several activities that will make the community even more productive.

The reading center will be managed, hand in hand, by the Sangguniang Kabataan headed by John Paul Millena, the Barangay Council and the volunteer professionals and college students.

"It's their way of giving back what they have learned to the community where they came from," said Magdaong.

Mejillano and Mallorca, on the other hand appeal for support on said project.

"We appeal for help on our humble undertakings. Together, please help us make a difference," Mejillano said.

Mallorca added that all the sponsors will be put in a ''thank you'' marker on the reading center's wall as a way of expressing gratitude for the big help.

Those who are willing to help may contact Rey Mallorca, Joyce Mejillano or SK chairman Jp Padilla-Millena Joaquin-Navarro at 09077072217, 09484576017, 09294089966 or can visit Gapo Daraga Albay on facebook at Gapo Daraga Albay or thru email at gapo.daraga@gmail.com. (MAL/JMMejillano)

DOLE V to strictly enforce “Oplan Sikyu”

LEGAZPI CITY, October 17 (PIA) -- Employers, business owners and government offices in Bicol have reacted in contrasting sentiments to the supposed ‘strict enforcement’ of labor laws on payment of correct wages and added benefits of security guards in the coming pay days after Bicol regional director Atty. Alvin M. Villamor of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) V ordered the full implementation of Operation Security Guards or “Oplan Sikyu” in the region.

Villamor said that Oplan Sikyu will be fully and strictly implemented following the series and the latest interfacing on September 29 with the security agency’s ‘principals’ or who availed of the security services, including government and private, through contracting arrangements and the security agencies, who are directly hiring the security guards.

The director stressed that the public consultation with the principals paved the way to determine the level of awareness of these principals on matters like sub-contracting and hours of work.

"The agency has now provided the principals the first hand information and actual computation of the monetary benefits of a security guard to prevent future labor problems, adding that “DOLE V is actually projecting this will happen as most of the principals don’t know that they are jointly and severally liable in case of underpayment of wages and other money claims filed by the guards. Few principals know this law which put them in hot waters later.” Villamor said.

Earlier, contracting parties were on a stalemate on the issue of contract privacy, solitary liability and labor clearances as security agencies and their organization (PADPAO) were suggesting that job or service contract signing be witnessed by the DOLE to ensure that the terms and conditions of the contract to be signed by the parties conforms with labor laws.

DOLE Albay provincial chief Arturo Corbe, meanwhile, noted that that the principals were wary and worried about privacy when DOLE Bicol pushed for a seat during security services bidding.

“Ayaw nila kase daw dapat sikreto yung contrata. Eh kako pag nag inspection naman ang DOLE e ilalabas at ilalabas naman yun. Actualy yung iba nga e first time nila naintindihan yung solidary liability” Corbe added.

The principals, especially those of government agencies, do not agree with the proposition that a third party, like DOLE, should witness contract execution, but rather strict enforcement of government laws including the labor standards law will suffice. They are agreeable however, to comply with the formula for payment of wages and related benefits of security guards as prescribed by DOLE V.

The principals were also briefed by on the rights and obligations of workers and employers, emphasizing that the principals are liable in the event that a guard files a labor complaint as part of the law on solidary liability prescribed under Department Order Number (DO No.) 18-02. The law on solidary liability on sub-contracting dictates that the principal is also liable and answerable in the event the agency falls to pay the wages and other benefits due the guards whether or not the principal has knowledge of commission or non-commission of the labor offense. This law was crafted to protect the workers and at the same time to encourage the principals to be vigilant in choosing an agency.

“Actually the principals should not be worried about this solidary liability law if and only if they have full confidence with the agency they hired. Dapat talaga e-check nila yung agency kung may problema sa labor o wala bago pumirma ng contrata.” Villamor explained.

It can be recalled that on June 28, this year, DOLE V was pushing to implement activities like computing and publishing a ‘Standardized Wage Ceiling’ (SWC) a ‘Suggested Minimum Bid Contract’ (SMBC) and the presence of a DOLE representative in every contract signing. These activities, DOLE said, are the answer to the towering labor cases in the security and janitorial services sector. (MALoterte, PIA V/RPE, DOLE V)

2011 Bicol Regional Invention Fair to feature Bicolano inventions, researches

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

Legazpi City, October 17 (PIA) -- Relevant science and technology inventions, innovations and researches of Bicolanos will be featured in the 2011 Bicol Regional Invention Contest and Exhibits (BRICE) on October 18-20 at the Pacific Mall this city.

The three-day event, organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Bicol, will feature local inventors, makers, designers and creative researchers; selection of regional winners in the invention contest; recognition of Bicolano winners in the 2010 National Invention Contest and Exhibits (NICE); plus trivia contests.

DOST Bicol regional director Tomas B. Briñas said the regional invention competition will promote the potentials of inventions and researches for commercialization.

He explained that inventions and innovations continuously provide answers and solutions to technological demands and requirements by firms, industries, academe and other sectors in the country.

According to Pilita O. Lucena, PhD., DOST regional public information officer, there are 18 qualified entries in the regional level competition in this year’s regional invention contest.

The entries will vie in five categories such as Utility Model, Industrial Design, Creative Research or Likha Award, and Student Creative Research called Sibol Award for College and High School students.

Winners will be announced on the third day, October 20. These regional winners from each category aside from receiving cash prizes and plaques will represent Bicol Region in the 2012 NICE.

Meantime, Bicolano 2010 NICE winners will be acknowledged for their feat during the opening ceremonies. These awardees from Bicol University bagged first place in the outstanding invention category called Tuklas Award.

The winning entry was the Pili Depulping Machine by inventors Engineers Arnulfo P. Malinis, Eleanor Ll. Balute, Herminigildo Lizano and Dr. Floria P. Tagarino.

The theme for this year’s BRICE is "Imbensyon at Inobasyon: Kabalikat sa Pag-unlad.” It will be the focus of the S&T exhibits by DOST V and its attached agencies like the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), Philippine Science High School (PSHS), Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the S&T consortia of Bicol Consortium for Agriculture Resources Research and Development (BCARRD) and Bicol Consortium for Industry Energy Research and Development(BCIERD), Bicol Inventors’ Society (BIS).

At least nine higher educational institutions and 10 secondary schools have already arranged to view the exhibits. These are Bicol University Colleges of Science, Engineering, Agriculture and Forestry, Industrial Technology and BU Polangui Campus; Computer Systems Institute, Legazpi City; Camarines Norte State Colleges, Daet, Camarines Norte; Partido State University, Goa, Camarines Sur; Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, Nabua, Camarines Sur; Central Bicol State University of Agriculture, Pili, Camarines Sur; Legazpi Hope Christian School, Aquinas University of Legazpi Science High School, St. Raphael Academy, Legazpi City Science High School, Pag-Asa National High School, Banquerohan National High School all of Legazpi City; Polangui General Comprehensive High School, Polangui, Albay; Tabaco National High School, Tabaco City; Bicol Regional Science High School, Ligao City, Daraga National High School, Daraga, Albay.

Expected to grace the opening ceremonies of 2011 BRICE in the morning of October 18 are Albay Governor and Regional Development Council Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda and Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine Rosal with Engr. Edgar Garcia, director of DOST-API as guest of honor. (MAL/AAN, PIA V)

Skills Registry System launched in Camarines Norte's 3 towns

by Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, October 17 (PIA) -- The Skills Registry System (SRS) was launched in the towns of Daet, Labo and Talisay to implement the project of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

DOLE V assistant regional director Irma Valiente said that one of their major program is the 'project jobs fit.' It is the DOLE 2020 vision of addressing the high unemployment rate and the job and skills mismatch.

She said the project will run from 2010 until 2020 to educate job seekers, employers, local government units, and barangay officials.

Valiente explained that project jobs fit also engages stakeholders in a labor market signalling activity and updates the labor market information in aid of effective employment facilitation.

She said that the key employment generators include: agri-business, cyber, hotel/restaurant/tourism, health and wellness, mining, construction, banking and finance, manufacturing, real state, transport/logistics and overseas employment.

She said that the three issues in jobs fair include lack of experienced and highly skilled workers, school curriculum is not responsive to industry needs, and poor dissemination of labor market information.

Valiente cited some of the recommendations of the jobs fit program. He suggested to refocus on agri-business and revise standards, intensify career guidance dissemination of labor under information of in- demand courses, improve language competency, establish / convene industry councils regular labor market signaling industry, build a national qualification system that is aligned with the international standars, make the best talents stay in the country, create employment for nurses to avoid oversupply and others.

Regional Focal Person Eric Fetalcorin, on the other hand, explained that SRS is a system of registration of the unemployed who are in need of a job. This aimed to strengthen the present list of skills of DOLE Phil.Job.Net and will served as guide on identifying job seekers in a certain place.

He said that to register in SRS, a job seeker must visit their barangay or PESO in their municipality to register and the record will be included in the Phil-JobNet System.

The said activity was attended by the Executive Assistant Jose Boma representing Governor Edgardo Tallado, local chief executives, councilors and barangay officials of the said three towns. (RBM/PIA Camarines Norte)

The malunggay story: How a teacher's love for science benefited society

LEGAZPI CITY, October 17 (PIA/DOST) -- As an educator, Ms. Tomasa Camu taught science and technology by having her students experience the scientific method.

She has demonstrated in the classroom, for example, that malunggay leaf can be analyzed for its nutritional properties, and can be transformed in powder form--while retaining its natural flavor, color and nutritive value.

An indigenous vegetable, called “kalunggay” in Bicol, it is usually found in backyard gardens.

As part of a research subject, Camu--a public school teacher at Tabaco National High School in Albay--and her students conducted experiments on malunggay. After analyzing the results, they found that the cheap vegetable can address malnutrition and other health concerns.

In 2008, Camu established Moringa Health Products and Pastries, which offered a variety of malunggay products ranging from powder, tea, capsule, polvoron, coffee and cream and nutrient enhancer.

In 2009, Ms. Camu availed assistance from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through its Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SET UP) for product development.

The DOST-SET UP provided funding assistance for the project called “Scaling Up the Production, Packaging and Marketing of Malunggay Powder and By-Products.”

DOST V also provided equipment such as roasting machine, grinding machine, digital weighing scale and stainless working table, and appropriate packaging and labeling materials and nutrition facts analyses.

Now called a miracle vegetable, Malunggay (scientific name: Moringa oleifira) has countless benefits for both young and old.

Malunggay as food nutrient enhancer resulted in improved student wellness. This positive result came from a study of TNHS students with symptoms of iron deficiency anemia and Vitamin C deficiency.

Ms. Camu said that the first year of business operation was devoted to compliance/registration to DTI, BFAD and BIR. Intensive promotional activities were undertaken to introduce her products and be able to penetrate the market despite the presence of competing health product. She actively participated in Regional Trade Fairs/Exhibits and gained more popularity when featured in ABS-CBN’s Bandila and Umagang Kay Ganda.

More orders were realized, she said, as more people appreciated malunggay’s health benefits. In addition to local outlets and walk-in customers, she aims to increase her market share thru marketing network. For the moment, only buyers with friends and relatives abroad would place order as “pasalubong.”

This year, Ms. Camu’s “Commercial Production of Malungay Moringa Oleifira Powder and By-Products Using Scientific and Technical Advances” is Bicol’s entry to the Search for 2nd Filipinnovation Award for Start-Up Companies.

At the national level, the award will recognize five most promising and innovative companies operating for less than three years to be awarded on October 25, 2011.

“There is still a lot of hard work to do,” according to Ms. Camu.

But Ms Camu is used to hard work, and knows where to get her inspiration in times of difficulty. Afterall, she has promoted love for science, good health and nutrition and livelihood opportunities to improve quality of life of Bicolanos--especially the farmers who now receive a monthly income of P8,000. (MAL/POLucena/DAPeña, DOST V/PIA)

Friday, October 14, 2011

VP Binay leads Pabahay Caravan in Bicol

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

Legazpi City, October 14 (PIA) -- To hasten the shelter program of the government, a partnership with the local government units (LGUs) will be firmed up in a two-day Pabahay Caravan set today until tomorrow at the La Piazza Hotel and Convention Center, Legazpi City led by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay who is the chairman of HUDCC will lead shelter agencies in the country in presenting the government’s housing plans and projects.

HUDCC’s regional office Bicol head Engr. Cristina B. Abaño said that the Pabahay Caravan will launch the granting of financial support to LGUs so that they will be able to implement their own housing projects.

Aside from VP Binay, other top officials of shelter agencies like Maria Ana R. Oliveros, president Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC); Joseph Peter S. Sison, president National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC); Atty. Antonio M. Bernardo, CEO and commissioner Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB); Atty. Darlene Marie B. Berberabe, chief executive officer Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) and Atty. Chito M. Cruz, general manager, National Housing Authority (NHA) will discuss the respective agencies housing programs and services.

Among important issues for discussion include comprehensive land use plan, inventory of lands, housing regulation and land use planning, national drive against professional squatters and squatting syndicates, group housing loan program, community mortgage program, and disposition of acquired assets.

Expected to attend in the two-day event are 114 city and municipal mayors including their sangguniang chair of committee on housing and planning and development officer.

At the end of this housing caravan, participants, particularly the LGUs, will be able to prepare a shelter plan for their respective cities or towns.

Under Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, LGUs have important roles in pursuing housing programs for their constituents.

Abaño said that the Pabahay Caravan is expected to ease the housing backlog in the region which is about 46,000 per year. According to Abaño, Juaning alone has caused total and partial damages to 10,000 homes.

Based on the HUDCC inventory, the housing backlog in the country is estimated to 3.7 million units. The Bicol leg of the Pabahay caravan is the second to the last of the series of forum in all 17 regions in the country. (MAL/AAN, PIA Albay)

Youth commission invites college students to Japan Student Exchange Program

LEGAZPI CITY, October 14 (PIA) -– The National Youth Commission (NYC) invites college and university students, who are preferably first time travellers to Japan, to grab the opportunity of joining the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange Students and Youths (JENESYS) program.

NYC Chairman Leon Flores III says this program would be a great learning opportunity for the Filipino participants.

“This will be a chance for them to learn everything about Philippine-Japan relations; Japanese culture; and issues on technology, environment, tourism, and health. They will interact with experts and will have a chance to live with a Japanese family. So anyone who’s interested in the Japanese culture is most welcome to apply,” Flores added.

A total of 100 slots are available to Filipino students from all over the country who have good moral character and a grade weight average of 2.25 or 85 percent equivalent.

Aside from the completed application form, interested applicants must submit a short essay which details his/her reasons for applying, what he/she can contribute to the recovery of a community after environmental disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis, and his/her plan of actions after returning from Japan.

The JENESYS program is an annual exchange program carried out by the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) with the active participation of the Japan Information and Cultural Center (JICC) of the Embassy of Japan in Manila and NYC.

For more information about the JENESYS Program and for a complete list of the application requirements, log on to www.nyc.gov.ph or the NYC Fan Page on Facebook.

For inquiries, please call the Social Marketing Division at 4162833 and look for Mr. Mark Z. Fernandez or the Naga Office at 8115804/4730435 and look for Khian Jamer and Mercy Palenda. (MAL/NPDelfin, NYC)

NYC dismayed over COCOPEA statement on “No permit, No exam” policy

LEGAZPI CITY, October 14 (PIA/NYC) -- The National Youth Commission expressed its dismay on the statement issued by the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) on the implications of prohibiting students of post secondary and higher education from taking their midterm or final examinations due to unpaid tuition and other school fees.

According to NYC Chairman Leon G. Flores III, the COCOPEA’s statement clearly manifests the priorities of the private educational institutions.

“The educational institutions should be more considerate and humane especially in these trying times. While we are aware of the costs of upgrading school facilities and adhering to labor requirements for their employees, it is recommended that students should be spared from undue stress by allowing them to take their examinations and just withhold their clearances until they are able to settle their outstanding obligations,” he said.

Flores added that the parents are already burdened with the escalating costs of education and even if it will entail so much sacrifice on their part, they are willing to pay the price to be able to live up to their dream of seeing their children finish their secondary or tertiary education.

On the part of the students, their inability to pay their school fees in time for the midterm or final exams should not be sanctioned by preventing them from taking their examinations. In most cases, delays in tuition fee payments are usually caused by certain economic and humanitarian factors that impact on the educational requisites of students.

Commissioner Gio Tingson, NYC Committee on Education head, said that under current proposed legislation, if it’s security of tuition and fees payment the schools want, it’s that very same security they can get. There are courses of action that private colleges and universities can invoke in ensuring that their students pay for the education they provide. Particularly, schools can withhold the release of grades, deny admission or enrollment for the succeeding semester, and refuse issuance of school clearance to students with delinquent accounts.

Tingson added that, students label the closing weeks of a semester as “hell weeks” due to the impending exams and multiple deadlines. Schools that enforce a no permit no exam policy put, not only their students, but also their parents under a different kind of hell week, pestering them to scramble for tuition payment during the time on which the students should be attending to their academic obligations, he said.

The Commission advances the notion of Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW) that guards against certain prerogatives and discretion exercised by schools that infringe on fundamental rights of students. The policy of exacting financial obligations at the winding weeks of a semester impinges on student welfare as it causes undue distress to students and their families.

NYC as the voice and advocate of the youth, is ready to engage COCOPEA and other parties concerned with the intention of fostering educational environments that do not distract our students from learning.(NPDelfin, NYC/PIA)

Palawan river text promo to give away P30 million in cash prizes

LEGAZPI CITY, October 14 (PIA/DENR) -- A lucky texter stands to win the biggest prize money in text messaging with the launching of the “Pera sa Kweba” text raffle promo for the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in Palawan.

The promo, which runs for 90 days from September 30 to December 28 of this year, will give away more than P30million worth of cash prizes, with the grand prize set at P25 million and five consolation prizes of one million pesos each to be drawn on December 30, 2011.

Texters can also win P10,000 in daily draws, P100,000 in bi-weekly draws, and P250,000 in monthly draws throughout the promo period. All winning numbers will be drawn electronically.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said that the promo is an initiative of the private sector to promote Puerto Princesa City as an important ecotourism destination, particularly the PPUR which is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

He added that the promo would educate the public more on the PPUR and “show everyone why it is a deserving finalist in the New Seven Wonders of Nature global competition.”

The text raffle promo is open to all postpaid and prepaid subscribers of Globe, TM, Sun, Smart or Talk N’ Text at P2.50 per SMS. There is no need for registration.

Raffle entries are automatically earned each time a subscriber votes for the PPUR as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature by texting PPUR, or when downloading trivia by texting PPUR ON also to 2861. Winners will be notified via text, call or registered mail.

Each trivia downloaded or text sent will earn two raffle entries from October 1, 2010 to November 10, 2011, and one raffle entry for the period November 11-December 28, 2011. The “Pera sa Kweba” promo is retroactive for all those who were able to register in the SMS voting for the PPUR since last year.

“Among others, this text promo will generate excitement and pride among Filipinos here and abroad in recognizing the PPUR as a true wonder of nature as proven by La Venta,” said Paje, referring to Italian geographical association La Venta Esplorazioni Gegrafiche, whose members had earlier unearthed mineral and fossil findings in the PPUR cave. (MAL/DENR V)

Water district to supply water 24/7 beginning October 15

SORSOGON CITY, October 14 (PIA/SCWD) -- Locales in this city have something to smile about and enjoy before the semestral vacation and Christmas season.

Truthful to its commitment to provide 24-hour water supply for consumers, Sorsogon City Water District (SCWD) will begin round–the-clock water production operation starting October 15 this year.

The directive was issued in a Memorandum dated October 10, 2011 by Engr. Ronaldo G. Barboño, SCWD general manager to Engr. Jonathan G. Fortades, Production Division head to schedule the said 24-hour water supply operation this coming Sunday to promote good water quality and services for the consuming public.

Prior to the memorandum, a meeting with the Division Heads was held to know the status of the District’s operations especially along the intensive leak detection and repair, pipeline replacements and water meter replacements in some areas.

Three months after the 24-hour water production test-run last June this year, it has been reported that old and deteriorating pipelines have already been replaced in Barangay Sirangan and in the Subdivisions of Pang-Pang and BLISS Macabog. Water meter replacement is almost complete in Sea-brezee Homes Subdivision in Cabid-An. These identified areas showed a remarkable drop in water usage as reflected in the billed water data during the said test-run.

Leak detection and repair has been made more intensive with the commissioning of a team headed by a newly-hired engineer. And this will be made more effective with the use of high-end leak detection equipment with its procurement now already in process.

These updates and the installation of a variable frequency drive (VFD) in Bibincahan Pumping Station are just good reasons to finally go into a 24-hour water supply operation. The Bibincahan Pumping station is the fourth pumping facility to be installed with a VFD this year.

Meanwhile, Fortades stated that water production will be to the fullest, from 18 hours to 24 hours operation. He further added that aside from the continuous supply of water, added benefits are quality water with sand pumping minimized, air gush when water supply resumes eliminated and possible intrusion of water contaminants prevented.

As the prayer of Sorsogueños is answered for the need of water with the round-the clock water supply, the District also hopes that its maximum production shall also be put into good use while the wet season has not yet left the region. (MAL/MJumamil, SCWD)