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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DPWH in Bicol saves P130 million for 2011 projects

by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, December 20 (PIA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office here reported that the agency was able to generate a savings of more than P130 million in the implementation of its 2011 infrastructure projects in Bicol.

DPWH regional director Danilo E. Dequito said the savings were generated from the more than P4.044 billion released to the region as of the end of September for this year’s regular infrastructure program.

He said that the savings was generated as a result of competitive and transparent bidding of all the 160 projects for implementation by the regional and the 15 DPWH districts engineering offices in the six provinces of Bicol.

Dequito said that competitive bidding was one of the major policy reforms of DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, in line with the “Tuwid na Daan” policy of the Aquino administration.

He added that because of the greater transparency in the bidding process, the cost of the projects went down by 4.23 percent.

Dequito said that P80.925 million pesos of the savings was generated by the regional office while P49.836 million was saved by the district offices.

The DPWH regional director said that out of 160 projects, 33 are being implemented by the regional office with the cost of P1.997 billion pesos while 127 is being implemented by the district offices with a total cost of P2.047 billion pesos.

He said 84 of the projects have been completed while 63 is still on-going while 13 has not yet been started with an over-all 45.05 percent accomplishment or 1.64 positive slippage.(MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Local health office launches Iwas-Paputok campaign

by Lizel S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, December 20 (PIA) -- Instead of the usual banner ads being endorsed to signify prohibition of the use of firecrackers like, “bawal”, “kontra” or “iwas”, the Department of Health (DOH) decided to launched a campaign simply reiterating the word “ingat”, which will serve as a reminder to every firecracker user to be responsible for their own safety.

This is in line with the “AKSYON: Paputok Inquiry Reduction” or APIR campaign recently launched by the Camarines Sur Health Office, a drive to lessen if not totally eradicate the alarming number of firecracker incidents being recorded every year.

APIR decided to have an alternative approach in pursuing its campaign against the precarious use of firecrackers especially during the Christmas and New Year revelry. The notable increase of almost 195 percent in firecracker-related injuries has particularly prompted the health authorities to shift its gear in raising the awareness of the community on the adverse effect of unsafe firecracker use.

The said campaign will strengthen its resolve to convey the following messages: the use of firecrackers is dangerous, all kinds of firecrackers or similar entities are not allowed to be used by kids, keep safe from people who are using firecrackers, do not pick firecrackers that failed to blast off and go to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment if you suffered from any injury caused by firecrackers.

Last year, the province of Camarines Sur recorded the highest share of injuries resulting from the use of the said pyrotechnics, most of them are children aged 10 years and below. Of the total 62 reported cases from different provinces, Camarines Sur recorded 54 cases or an equivalent of 92 percent.

Local authorities are now bent on reducing this number by encouraging each member of the community to be responsible in their handling of different firecrackers, not only for themselves but as also for the welfare of those innocent victims.

Republic Act No. 7183 or the act regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices states that baby rockets, bawang, small trianggulo, pulling of strings, el Diablo, watusi, judah's belt, sky rocket or kwitis and other types equivalent to the aforementioned firecrackers are allowed by law but reminded the consumers to use them with utmost care. (MAL/LSM, PIA Camarines Sur)

DOH encourages Bicolanos to celebrate safer holiday season

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, December 20 (PIA) -- The Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) Bicol has intensified its campaign for a safer and fun-filled holiday season as Christmas and New Year draw near.

Engr. William Sabater announced at PIA Bicol radio program Aramon Ta Daw that as of late November, the department has already coordinated with local government units (LGUs) and concerned government agencies including the Philippine National Police to shore up the firework injury campaign hailed as APIR or Akyson: Paputok Injury Reduction.

Also dubbed as Give me five campaign, the department has called on LGUs to designate firecrackers zones and if possible, pass an ordinance prohibiting banned firecrackers.

Three days from today or by December 21, surveillance and monitoring of firecracker injuries start until January 7.

Sabater said that as of December 9, a meeting with focal persons of eight sentinel or reporting hospitals has been conducted to clarify roles.

These hospitals are the retained government hospitals, the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City, Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City and Bicol Sanitarium in Cabusao, Camarines sur. The provincial hospitals of Camarines Norte, Sorsogon and Masbate along with the Eastern Bicol Medical Center in Catanduanes and the Naga City Hospital were also named as sentinel hospitals.

DOH Bicol hopes, according to Sabater to reduce the number of 62 firecracker-injury cases reported in 2010, which was more than double than 2009’s 28 cases. Also, five cases of gunshot wounds two of which were from stray bullets were treated last year.

Last year casualties were mostly children below 10 years old and the rest were nearly all males.

No watusi ingestion cases were reported in 2010 as this has been banned and removed from the market. However, harm caused by piccolo registered a high number among children, most of which were eye injuries. The health department called on parents and adults not to let youngster play with piccolo.

The APIR campaign emphasizes five reminders that the community must remember to prevent harm and injury. These are 1. fireworks cause injuries and endanger health, 2. children should not use any fireworks, 3. keep away from exploding fireworks, 4. never pick used nor unspent fireworks, and 5. for all fireworks injuries seek immediate medical treatment.

To complement these reminders, DOH advocates five simple happy, complete and stress-free holiday celebration by way of 1. promoting and participating in community fireworks display in respective areas, 2. celebrate safe holiday with family and loved ones, 3. use alternative noise-makers to welcome the new year like torotot, car horns, cans, pots and pans, loud radio or stereo music, 4. join merry-making activities such as street parties, concerts, games and 5. reflect on the lessons of the past year and make resolutions for a better 2012.

According to Sabater, community fireworks display must be in a safe designated area in the barangay. It must have an adequate buffer zone to avoid injury to individuals, fire hazards and other accidents. Through this strategy the community can pool resources for a fireworks display, a better way than individual purchases.

Sabater also said that DoH Bicol frown on tire burning as such triggers attacks among asthmatic individuals aside from the damage such act bring to the environment.

Aside from the firecracker injury surveillance, December 21 is also the start of the code white alert in all DoH offices and retained hospitals. The alert will run until Jan. 5, 2012. The emergency rooms of these hospitals are ready for patients, as manpower is ready and medicines are available on 24/7 basis. All health personnel at DOH are on call, too. (MAL/AAN, PIA V)

Camarines Norte's coconut production up by 25%

by Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, December 20 (PIA) – The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has recorded some 25 percent increase in the production of coconut in the past 3 years in Camarines Norte, owing the uptrend to the salt fertilization project of the agency.

PCA Camarines Norte officer in charge Editha P. Idnani said that farmers were encouraged and trained to use salt as fertilizer for coconut trees and the technology for better results.

Idnani said that the agency has also distributed salt fertilizer for free to the coconut farmers in the province every year since the start of the program under the National Coconut Productivity Program.

Idnani said PCA also targets 40 coconut fruits per tree next year and also encourage other farmers to use salt fertilizer.

It can be recalled that before using salt fertilization, only 32 coconut fruits per tree can be harvested.

She said that the agency will continue to distribute salt fertilizers to other coconut farmers next year.

Further, some coconut farmers here are also focusing on product diversification where they can produce other coconut products aside from selling coconut copra. (MAL/RBM, PIA Camarines Norte)

Albay, Ako Bikol send aid to 'Sendong' victims

LEGAZPI CITY, December 20 (PIA) -- The provincial government of Albay has donated P1 million for assistance to the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in Misamis Oriental province in Northern Mindanao

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the cash assistance of P500,000 to each of the two cities, the areas hardest hit by tropical storm Sendong on Friday, was sourced from the province’s calamity fund.

Salceda said the financial aid is an expression of gratitude of Albay to the local government units and the national government for the assistance they also gave to Albay when it was hit by past disasters.

He said the cash assistance was decided as a better option in lieu of a “Wash Mercy Mission” (water, sanitation and health) and considering the local circumstances, specifically the distance of the province to the Mindanao area.

Salceda in a text message said “more than the amount which is modest, the Albay Sendong Aid Mission brings with them the spirit of solidarity and sense of kinship between our peoples,” a form of support which he said is “so critical to help them overcome the distressing period.”

A six-man team from the provincial legislative board and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) will leave for the two cities today to also consult with local officials and communities affected on how Albay could further help in the early recovery and rehabilitation period.

Meanwhile, the Ako Bicol (AKB)partylist based here will also donate P250,000 to the victims of Sendong in Cagayan de Oro.

AKB Representatives Rodel Batocabe and Christopher Co will personally go to Cagayan de Oro also today to personally deliver the financial aid.

Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi) today has already claimed 957 lives, 49 missing and thousands injured, according to reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). (MALoterte, PIA V)

Friday, December 16, 2011


Hats off to "Sombrero Island"
... emerging top tourist destination in Masbate

by Connie B. Destura

SOMBRERO Island, Masbate, Dec. 16 (PIA)— Nothing in the local tourism circle had been said yet about this quaint, hat-shaped (thus the name) islet at the middle of Burias Pass that belongs to the political jurisdiction of the town of San Pascual, Masbate.

But San Pascual town Mayor Job Willard Rivera is hopeful and optimistic that the initiative over the weekend of the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office based at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola in Legazpi City in introducing the place to tourists would reveal its exotic secret.

The RPSB First Maneuver Company, led by its company commander Senior Inspector Ebuenga Dipad Jr,. with over a dozen of tourists from Manila and several local journalists in tow, explored the islet comprised with a land area of about 10 hectares enclosed by a coastline of glittering white sand and crystal clear beach water.

Sombrero Island belongs to a six group of islets at the western tip of the Burias Island covering San Pascual and Claveria towns is one of the three major islands of Masbate province.
The nearby islets of Arena, Templo, Taguingui, Tinalisayan and Busing that bare fantastic rock formations are exciting places for island hopping.

Sombrero Island, with a latitude of 13.14 (13° 8' 32 N) and a longitude of 122.85 (122° 50' 43 E), is a hypsographic (island) situated 93 kilometers west of Legazpi City, Bicol’s regional government center and and 259 kilometers south east of Manila.

San Pascual is a 4th class municipality of over 8,000 households representing a population of nearly 40,000 residents that rely mainly on farming and fishing for their livelihood.

The exploration expedition started with an over two hour boat trip from Pasacao, Camarines Sur. From San Pascual town, another one-hour boat ride took the group to Sombrero Island.

The exhaustive boat ride vanished to the sumptuous meal of heavy seafood for lunch—grilled tuna, kilawing posit squid), calamares, stewed vegetables and fresh fruits. A fullfilling feeling after heavy meal drew everyone to a nap under a relaxing wind blowing mildly from the surrounding waters of Alimang Bay.

At near dusk, the group frolicked around the fine white sand around the island while watching the beautiful view of the sun setting and being sent off by skin soothing cool wind that at the same time welcomed the rising of the full moon whose bright glare illuminated the clear and meekly tamed sea water.

At nighttime, the fishing lanterns used by fishermen off the island’s coast provided the sea with flickering lights. The tourist group joined by Dipad’s security group set a bonfire and music from group singing accompanied by guitars broke the silence of the night.

“The biggest lure of the island is the fact that it is quaint. It remains uncongested, affordable, very private and secluded,” Police Inspector Domingo Tapel, Assistant company commander of the RPSB’s First Manuever Company said.

“You should visit Sombrero because its rich biodiversity of marine ecosystem offers a once in a lifetime experience to those who love to commune with nature. The secrets Sombrero and its neighboring islets are exciting to discover,” he added.

Tapel said that aside public safety and eco-tourism makes Sombrero Island a stand out. He also assures travelers that a trip here will not burn a hole in the pocket.

Mayor Rivera said the municipal government is mulling on offering tour packages to tourist that could as low as P3,000 to P5,000 for them to be able to visit the islet.

“The food is fresh and affordable, the area is clean and crime is almost non-existent. It is very safe and convenient for tourists,” Tapel added. (MAL/CBD, PIA V)

Disaster managers on assessment of plans of action due to Bulusan volcano's restiveness

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, Dec. 17 (PIA) -- A joint year-end assessment/workshop on measures in the wake of Bulusan volcano's restiveness, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) and the Sorsogon Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (SPDRRMC) convened Thursday (December 15) to thresh out the current state and threat of the volcano and people dwelling within and outside the danger zone of Mt. Bulusan.

Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) V regional director Bernardo Raffy Alejandro has assisted facilitate and present the tools to be used for assessment, while resident volcanologist of the Phivolcs RO V, regional director Ed Laguerta will input the needed data of the explosion for assessment.

Sorsogon Governor Raul R. Lee meanwhile said that the provincial government, with the participation of all the concerned agencies, have prepared already an action plan way back in 2006 and said action plan was appraised, updated and emerged as the new 2010 Bulusan Volcano Action Plan/ contingency plan.

Lee stressed the need for local government units especially the six municipalities that has been affected for the past several explosions to evaluate and institute an enhanced capability mechanisms specially in the effective and efficient implementation of the contingency plans that has been reviewed.

According to Vhon Andre Labalan, Sorsogon provincial information officer, the workshop is similarly to recapitulate the steps which the six municipalities near the Bulusan Volcano made to forward and stimulate the DRRM plans established to make out interconnecting issues, gaps and other efforts with reference to the volcano's restive condition.

Expected in the activity will be the enhancement of initiatives of each municipality together with support agencies and how this will be harmonized for a whole provincial plan that will form part of the Bulusan Volcano Annual Operation Plan for 2012.

It can be recalled that the Bulusan Volcano in disaster Risk Reduction Management, the OCD/RDRRMC spearheaded the Bulusan Summit in March 2011 and LGU coaching session for the establishment of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction management Office. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

NGCP announces scheduled temporary shutdown in Iriga

by Lizel S. Macatangay

IRIGA CITY, Dec. 16 (PIA)-- To improve its operations and ensure utmost utilization of its service lines, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has scheduled the shutdown of some of its transmission facilities in areas covered by Camarines Sur Electric Cooperative (CASURECO) 3 today.

In a press statement, NGCP Communications Office bared that the temporary stoppage of operation will be devoted in the replacement of crossarms, insulators, and hardware along the Naga-Iriga 69KV lines and is scheduled to take place December 16, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Nelson Bautista, NGCP Regional Corporate Communication Officer South Luzon Region said that this part of their office’s program to ensure that all their service lines are passing routine check up for the efficient use of its consumers. Affected populace will be end-users from the Rinconada area or the households comprising the 5th District of Camarines Sur.

This is also in line with the NGCP’s concern to upgrade and strengthen its transmission facilities using the latest innovations in technology.

“We are committed in ensuring that we follow the strict guidelines in our maintenance practice and guarantee the safety and satisfaction of our customers,“ Bautista said in an interview.

Recently, NGCP spearheaded a comprehensive lineman’s training to its distribution utilities (DUs). The activity endeavors to bring unswerving service to power consumers.

The training modules were given free of charge to private DUs and electric cooperative nationwide. One of its recipients were linemen from CASURECO II who took the opportunity to further their knowledge and skills in maintenance activities, among others.

NGCP president and CEO Henry T. Sy Jr reiterated NGCP’s commitment to provide its consumers with a sustainable and environment-friendly energy system pursuant to its battle cry: “Stronger transmission for a stronger nation."

Since its incorporation in 2008, NGCP has taken the lead in the safe and reliable distribution of electricity in various parts of the country and has dedicated its service to its power-customers immediately after it won the franchise to operate and maintain the country’s transmission network. (MAL/LSM-PIA Camarines Sur)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DPWH Secretary warns against impostors

by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, December 15 (PIA) -- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio L. Singson has warned officials and employees of his agency against dealing with unscrupulous persons claiming to be close to him to be able to get favorable action in their transaction with the agency.

In his Memorandum dated December 8, 2011, Singson said that he has not authorized any person nor any member of his family, friends, associates or any body to use his name in transacting business with the DPWH and its attached agencies.

He said that reports reached him that there are unscrupulous individuals and DPWH officials and employees reportedly using his name promising contracts or awarding contracts for projects funded under the 2012 DPWH infrastructure program to brokers or contractors in exchange of 15 percent “commission” or kickback.

Singson also said that reports has also reached him regarding unscrupulous individuals or DPWH officials and employees allegedly facilitating approval of projects funded under the Motor Vehicle User's Charge Fund (MVUCF) from the road board in exchange of advance commissions or kickbacks.

The DPWH secretary sternly warned officials and employees of the agency that any verified report regarding these illegal activities will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.

He also urged everybody to report to him directly these illegal acts through his email address at singson.rogelio@dpwh.gov.ph. and promised quick action on their reports. .(MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Studes hone skills in public administration in Camarines Norte

by Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Dec 14 (PIA) -- Some 80 students from secondary level from public and private schools here joined the week long celebration of the Boys and Girls Week from December 10-16 in the province honing their skills in public administration .

The province aims to mold the youth to be a responsible citizen in order to instill their involvement by exposing them in early participation and experience in the government administration.

The program was spearheaded by the provincial government and the Kiwanis Club of Daet, in cooperation with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Sanguniang Kabataan Provincial Federation.

The observance of the Boys and Girls Week include the election of the counterpart of all elective and appointive officials in the local government unit concerned from among in-school youth ages 16-17.

A seminar/workshop on parliamentary rules and procedures, leadership in action and appointment of officials, group dynamics with special emphasis on the New Local Government Code, with the end and view to instill honest election attitude in the moral of fibers of the youth was conducted December 10.

Last December 12 was the opening ceremonies, flag raising, parade and turn-over ceremonies, dialogue-conference with participants counterparts on the structures, roles, functions, duties and responsibilities of each government officials and their assumption to office.

From December 13 to 16 are the continuation of assume of office, visit to provincial jail, courtesy to DepEd, dialogue with the Sanguniang Panlalawigan/Pambayan for a joint session, visit to infrastructure projects of the government, courtesy call to judges, joint session with the Sanguniang Bayan of Daet and Basud, christmas party and fellowship with the Kiwanis, joint session with the Sanguniang Panlalawigan, with the boys and girls officials, luncheon conference, closing program and awarding ceremonies. (MAL/RBM, PIA Camarines Norte)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Naga City BNS wins Regional Nutri Quiz for second straight year

by Aida Alcazar-Naz

LEGAZPI CITY, Dec 13 (PIA) —- The Nutrition Communication Network (NUTRICOMNET) Bicol once again sponsored a competition among grassroots workers to ascertain the skills of barangay nutrition scholars (BNS); this is now on its third year.

Eleven finalists representing the provinces and cities of the region competed in a two-hour, two-level rounds of the Nutricomnet Regional Nutri Quiz held at the Pacific Mall Legazpi City last December 5.

For two straight years, the finalist from Naga City was declared winner. Marilou Jimenez of Barangay Carolina won a microwave oven as the champion; Mary Jane Macapagal of Brgy. Tugos West District, Sorsogon City got a turbo broiler as first runner-up while Eugenia Paa of Brgy. Lupi, San Fernando, Camarines Sur earned a rice cooker as second-runner up.

All finalists gained P1,000 each as finalists to the annual nutria-quiz. They were Karen Ortega Cortez, Brgy. Poblacion, Guinobatan Albay; Babelyn de Luna Ibias, Bgy. San Antonio, Labo, Camarines Norte; Ederlina L. Avila, Bgy. Ibong Sapa, Virac, Catanduanes; Rey Lofamia, Brgy. Abucay, Pilar, Sorsogon; Edvit G. Balang, Brgy. La Anunciacion, Iriga City; Aura Jane Toledo, Brgy. Pigcale, Legazpi City; Emily Atienza, Brgy. Bay, Ligao City; and Marsha Boqueo Bondoy, Brgy. Visita, San Miguel Island, Tabaco City.

Finalists from Masbate province and Masbate City failed to attend the contest due to inclement weather in their area.

The contest was a battle of wits among provincial and city winners who currently served as BNS. The questions asked, centered on the important role they play in the delivery of health and nutrition services at the grassroot level. These services are intended to improve the living conditions of family members especially infants and children.

The conduct of the Nutricomnet Bicol Regional Nutri-Quiz year 3 was a collaborative effort of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) Bicol, National Nutrition Council (NNC), Commission on Population (POPCOM), and the inter-agency Nutricomnet.

Philippine Information Agency regional director Eduardo A. de Leon, who chairs the network, said that the annual event is a friendly competition designed to test the current skills of BNS. Questions asked in the quiz were related to their jobs.

Dr. Alejo S. Aralar, head of the family cluster of the DOH, announced that the department will continue in collaborating with the endeavor as it is beneficial to the barangay workers.

The members of the board of judges in said event was chaired by Dr. Aralar, with HBC-DWZR Managing Director Czechs Baldo, KBP Albay chair Edgar Barrameda, S&T private sector representative Purita Balean, Ph.D., and FBN-DZRC production Manager Jess Magayanes as members. (AAN-PIA 5)

Army's 903rd Infantry Brigade celebrates 2nd founding anniversary, honors civilian and military personnel

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, December 13 (PIA) -- A colorful celebration which started with a thanksgiving mass officiated by Fr. Benny Furo , parish priest of the Parish of San Juan Bautista, marked the 2nd founding anniversary of the 903rd Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Batallion Philippine Army (PA) based in Barangay Poblacion, Castilla, Saturday, December 8

Deputy Brigade Commander, Col. Audie Delizo GSC (INF) PA welcomed the participants, guests and awardees during the opening program.

The occasion according to him was a celebration of the brigade for the attainment of peace and development along the countryside and a gesture to extend honor to the awardees, the people who supported the brigade attain its mandate.

Col. Felix J. Castro ,Jr. INF (GSC) PA Brigade Commander assisted by Col Deliso presented and awarded the plaque of appreciation to the 15 civilian awardees comprising of Governor Raul R. Lee of the province of Sorsogon; Gov. Rizalina Seachon Lanete of Masbate ; Ms. Tina Monzon-Palma of ABS-CBN Foundation Inc., Sagip Kapamilya; Mayor Olivia Bermillo of Castilla ; Mayor Enrico Z. Capinig of Aroroy , Masbate ; PSSupt. John Cornelius A. Jambora, Philippione National Police provincial director of Sorsogon; PSSupt. Heriberto O. Olitoquit, PNP provincial director of Masbate; Municipal Councilors Jesus M. Agarap and Joey Bitancur and Barangay Captain Antoino Ortiz, all of the local government of Castilla.

Other awardees included Dir. Maria Eileen A. Jose, PAMANA Coordinating Unit for Luzon and Visayas, Vince Nato, chief of staff, Office of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Ms Irma A. Guhit, information center manager, Philippine Information Agency; Mr.Andy Espinar, president, Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters sa Pilipinas , Sorsogon Chapter and Mrs. Cristina J. Racelis, provincial tourism officer, province of Sorsogon.

Col Castro expressed his gratitutde to the awardees who he said were instrumental in supporting the brigade become the 2nd top troop in the country last year and for this year based on their community involvement and overall performance specially in promoting peace and development in their area of assignment.

He also presented the military awardees with Sgt. Gerardo A. Timple as this year's recipient of the Sagisag ng Ulirang Kawal with eight others ; TSG Luisito C. Rodriguez and 80 others receiving the Military Merit Medal (MMM) and SSg. Jose Sincua and 41 others together with SSg Rico S. Guban of the 74 6606 (Inf) PA and 7 others of the 96 MICO receiving the Military Commendation Medal (MCM).

In his inspirational message Col. Castro said the brigade intends to pursue the peace and development goals of the government under the "bayanihan spirit" enjoining everyone especially the community to become relentless in the pursuit of attaining peace and extending peace through development programs and projects.

He thanked all partner agencies, local governments and the community in the realization of several programs and projects which were implemented and now providing the community the benefits of a better quality of life from schools, roads, scholarships and medical missions that he said will help secure the future of the people in the community.

He also stressed the importance of shared partnership and the support of the local government of Castilla through Mayor Bermillo for the lot donation given to the brigade.

The celebration was also graced by the Himig Kapitolyo who provided the Christmas serenade during lunch entertaining, guests and the people in the community.

A Christmas party was also held in the evening for the brigade which was graced by members of the media community here and people from the nearby barangays of Castilla town. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Rotary Club sponsors 'Search for 10 Outstanding Students of Sorsogon'
by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, Dec 13 (PIA)-- Twenty students in the secondary and six students in the tertiary level vied yesterday here at the Sorsogon City Social Hall(SCFH) in the biennial "Search for the Ten Outstanding Students of Sorsogon (TOSS)."

The students were recommended by their corresponding schools based on their academic accomplishments, competitions won (provincial, regional, national, and international ), and the personal profile of each student. These were submitted to the RCMS for final screening, validation, and shortlisting.

Twenty students from the secondary emerged as finalists while six students from the tertiary were qualified for the final interview.

The final selection process for the 10 outstanding students was based on the 70 percent academic/ and extra-curricular school accomplishments while 30 percent was based on the personal interview conducted individually by the five members of the panel of judges.

The criteria for the interview was more on the communication skills, fluency, articulateness, manner of presentation or introduction of the finalist, their potentials, and visions as expressed in their answers.

Members of the board were made to question the finalists and the students were to answer each question within a specified number of minutes.

Seven winners from the secondary emerged as winners with the corresponding ranking: first, Yves Tracy S. Calleja of the Sorsogon National High School; 2nd, Eiza May B. Balaguer of the Holy Spirit Academy of Irosin; 3rd, Megan Joy A. Guela of Bulan National High School; 4th, Julliene L. Valenzuela of St. Louise De Marillac College of Sorsogon; 5th, Franco Avelino Hilotin A. of Magallanes National Vocational High School; 6th Jade Nicholas Fabella of of AG Villaroya Technological Foundation Institute Inc.; and 7th Ruby Jean C. Diaz of the latter school.

The first two top positions in the tertiary level were bagged by the Computer communication Development Institute (CCDI) Melvin John N. Frivaldo and Jason L. Castillo, while and the third place went to Juvylyn I. Giga of Sorsogon State College, Bulan Campus.

RCMS president, Anthony Bravo said that this search for the outstanding students of Sorsogon started two years ago and in support of the month - long celebration of the Sosogon Festival, the founding anniversary of the city of Sorsogon, this search is a fitting gesture to honor students who will lead the way to be emulated as the word "sosogon" connotes.

Members of the board of judges were composed of Gen. Ireneo Manaois, city administrator, Sorsogon City ; Msgr. Gerry del Prado, parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima Parish; Dr. Danilo L. Despi , Sorsogon City Schools Division, Assistant Schools Division Superintendent; Irma A. Guhit; Information Center manager, Philippine Information Agency; and Dr. Jean Paullete Salilima-Go, CHED-RO V Education supervisor II for Communication and Humanities, who served as chair of the panel.

The competition was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Metro Sorsogon (RCMS) in cooperation with four endorsing agencies, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Education (DepEd), National Youth Commission (NYC), and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) office here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

DENR says moratorium on mining permits still in force

LEGAZPI CITY, December 9 (PIA) -- The moratorium on the issuance of new mining permits remains in force until such time that planned reforms in the mining sector are put in place, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office here.

Engr. Luis Loyola of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of DENR V said Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje made the clarification following news reports stating that the DENR has already lifted the mining moratorium it has imposed early this year as it moved to cleanse the mines bureau of ageing mining applications using the “use it or lose it” policy.

The cleansing, using the “use it or lose it” policy means cancellation of mining applications that were unable to comply with all the requirements set by the government through the MGB.

Loyola, relaying Paje's instruction, explained that the DENR has not lifted the moratorium on the processing and issuance of new mining permits and no new mining permit has been issued as the DENR is committed to address first the increasing concerns aired by various sectors, including local government units, on the environmental and social impacts of mining.

The processing of industrial sand and gravel permit applications, however, has been resumed pursuant to Memorandum Circular No. 14 dated October 11, 2011 when the Department of Public Works and Highways brought to the attention of the DENR that sand and gravel are basic items/ materials for construction activities.

It will be recalled that earlier this year, the DENR ordered all the MGB regional offices nationwide to cleanse 50 percent of their pending and inactive mining applications by February 20, 2011 and June 30, 2011 for the remaining 50 percent.

Before the end of June 30, the MGB had successfully completed its drive to cleanse its records and its accomplishment reached over the targeted number or 195 mining applications out of the 194 actual target applications regionwide.

Nationwide, MGB V, together with MGB regional offices in regions I, VII, VIII, X, and XII were able to meet their targets in terms of physical 100 percent accomplishment. (MAL-DENR/MGB V)

Fisherfolk’s kids in Bicol receive scholarship from BFAR

PILI, Camarines Sur, December 9 (PIA) -- Ten lucky and deserving students from different localities in Bicol region passed the Fisherfolk Children Examination given by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) last September 17, 2011 held at the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture in here.

Passers include Regine C. Oco of Minalabac, Camarines Sur; Danica B. Casabueno of Tabaco City; Cybel L. Dialogo of Cabusao, Camarines Sur; Maritoni C. Borromio of Tabaco City; Jennelyn S. Vargas of Nabua, Camarines Sur; Shiela Mae R. Abarientos of Cabusao, Camarines Sur; Maoelyn L. Aguilar of Cabusao, Camarines Sur; Naisy B. Balingbing of Malilipot, Albay; John Rex C. Balino of Caramoran, Catanduanes and; Salvador S.A. Taduran Jr. of Buhi, Camarines Sur.

Regional director Dennis del Socorro of BFAR V said the awardees will enjoy a full scholarship grant for college studies leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Fisheries or other related course with free matriculation and other school fees, monthly stipend, semestral book allowance, thesis support and graduation support from the BFAR-Fisheries Industry Development Support Division.

They may enroll in the nearest fishery school in their area and must maintain a scholastic standing of a general weighted average not lower than 2.75 until completion of the 4-year course.

Since 1994, BFAR conducts a biennial qualifying exam under its Fisherfolk Children Educational Grant. This program aims to assist talented and deserving children of poor small-scale fisherfolk in the pursuit of higher education for their socio-economic improvement.

Qualified to the grant is a high school graduate or 4th year graduating student who is a son/daughter of bonafide small-scale fisherfolk, of not more than 20 years old, not presently enrolled in any course and has a general weighted average of not lower than 80 percent. The family’s annual gross income must not be more than P 25,000. Parents must be a member of a fishing association/cooperative duly attested by the chairman and secretary of the association. And he or she must be a resident of the municipality for at least four years.

The passers of the 2011 Fisherfolk Scholarship Grant Competitive Examination are the 6th batch of BFAR-Bicol’s scholars. (MAL/KHilotin, BFAR V)

Virac, Bato sign sisterhood pact with Makati City

by Edna A Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, December 9(PIA)-- The towns of Virac and Bato here signed sisterhood agreements last November 23, 2011 at the Makati City Hall with Makati.

Present during the signing of the separate memorandum of agreement (MOA) were Bato Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez and Virac Mayor Jose Alberto II with the members of their respective Sangguniang Bayan and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay Jr.

The MOA will strengthen the friendship ties and mutual understanding of the local government units through exchanges in Science and Technology, Culture and Arts, Tourism, Planning and Urban Development, Commerce and Trade and Industry, Education and Sports Development, Environmental Protection, Public Health and Social Services, and other concerns.

The said towns will also benefit from the sisterhood with regards to the expected assistance from Binay which includes donation of books and multicab, scholarship grants at the University of Makati for the indigent students, calamity assistance, training programs for local officials, and on-the-job observation tours of best practices at the city of Makati to share he best practices.(MAL/EAB, PIACatanduanes)

Training/workshop on integrated coastal management in Camarines Norte

by Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, December 9 (PIA) –- For the effective planning, development, and implementation of programs to protect the natural resources especially in the coastal areas, a two- day training/workshop on integrated coastal management (ICM) for the 12 municipalities was conducted December 8-9 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here.

The training aims to discuss and build consensus on the organizational arrangement for the development and implementation of ICM plan and the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources officer Elpidio Orata said that the outcome of the ICM should be implemented by the local government units being the frontliners in the municipalities.

He also said that there are already existing laws and ordinances to protect the coastal areas especially the mangrove areas in the locality.

Governor Edgardo Tallado, represented by Roma Ilustre said that he supports the program on ICM and he is aware on the abuse of the environment not only here but also in other parts of the country.

The provincial government is continuous in its advocacy not only on illegal fishing but also on education, illegal mining, and illegal drugs in the province, Ilustre stated.

One of the topics discussed during the training is the Executive Order 533 adopting the integrated coastal management as a national strategy to ensure the sustainable development of the country’s coastal and marine environment and resources and establishing supporting mechanisms.

The activity was attended by the municipal agriculture officer (MAO), municipal environment national resources officer (MENRO), or the councilor committee on Environment of the 12 municipalites of the province, together with the provincial government counterparts, representatives, and heads of the Coastguard, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Philippine Information Agency(PIA). (MAL/RBM, PIA Camarines Norte).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DPWH Bicol gets P5.265 billion for 2012

by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, December 7 (PIA)– The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Bicol regional office was allocated a total of P5.265 billion to fund the agency’s various infrastructure projects in the six provinces of the region next year.

According to DPWH regional director Danilo Dequito, the 2012 funds allocation is 30 percent more than the P3.9 billion allocated for this year or P1.3 billion over the 2011 budget.

The DPWH regional chief said that the amount will be used to fund 156 infrastructure projects that includes roads, bridges, flood control and other projects that are urgently needed in line with the Aquino administration’s thrust to attain inclusive growth , alleviate poverty, generate jobs and spur economic growth of Bicol as contained in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

Dequito said that 132 of the total projects worth P2.4 billion will be implemented by the DPWH District Engineering Offices (DEOs) .

He said that 33 of the projects to be implemented by the District Engineering Offices cost some P20 million and below or with a total cost of P655 million, while 99 projects cost of P20 million to P50 million with a total cost of P1.76 billion.

He added that the DPWH regional office will be implementing a total of 20 projects worth P2.84 billion pesos whose budget per project is above P50 million to P150 million

Dequito said that DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson has earlier directed the DPWH regional office and the DEOs to fast track the pre-construction activities meaning that all this projects should undergo bidding by the end of this year and construction should start by January.

He said that Secretary Singson has reminded them that the process should always adhere to the Three Rs policy of the secretary, that is, right project, the right cost and the right quality.(MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Govt., private sector step up protection, conservation measures for whalesharks
by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, Dec 7 (PIA) -- Protection and conservation efforts for the whalesharks or butanding in Sorsogon got another boost from the government and private sector following the gathering of all national government agencies, allied organizations, and other concerned stakeholders. The plan is to draw out plans of action to ensure the protection of the gentle giants of the sea being "vulnerable to extinction" as declared by the International Conservation of Nature.

Department of Tourism (DOT) V regional director, Maria Nini O. Ravanilla, said a three-day National Technical Conference on the Protection and Conservation of WhaleSharks in the Philippines will be held December 6-8 at Villa Isabel here that will primarily draw out the standard of operating protocol (SOP) on responding to stranded or beached whalesharks.

Nonie Enolva, team leader of Fisheries Regional Emergency Stranding Response Team under the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) V will also present the latest researches on whalesharks conducted by non-governmental organizations.

Raul B. Burce of the WWF-Philippines based in Donsol will zero in on the Introduction to WhaleSharks in the Philippines.

Photo identification of whalesharks; genetic/DNA testing ; tagging; reconnaissance of physio-chemical characteristics of the waters in Donsol; and IEC on whalesharks Bantay Butanding (The Butanding Network: A Database System) will also be expounded by the agency.

A visit to the Sorsogon Provincial Museum and Heritage Center Inc. to view the replica of the whale shark vertebrae will end the first day activity.

The second day will provide the participants knowledge on the Philippine and International laws and agreements on the protection and conservation of the whalesharks; the economic impact of whalesharks eco-tourism; Whale Shark Code of Conduct; the whalesharks eco-tourism; roles of the local governments on the protection and conservation of the whalesharks; and roles of the MFARMC .

Meanwhile the Regional Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council will present the Regional Whalesharks Stranding Response Activities and Initiatives to provide the participants the proper handling of stranded whalesharks.

Ravanilla explained that the third day will focus on the formulation of the action plan for the protection and conservation of the whaleshark in the Philippines drafted by the national agencies concerned and other participants and this will be observed as SOP in the implementation on responding to stranded and beached whale sharks. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Govt., private sector step up protection, conservation measures for whalesharks
by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, Dec 6 (PIA) -- Protection and conservation efforts for the whalesharks or butanding in Sorsogon got another boost from the government and private sector following the gathering of all national government agencies, allied organizations, and other concerned stakeholders. The plan is to draw out plans of action to ensure the protection of the gentle giants of the sea being "vulnerable to extinction" as declared by the International Conservation of Nature.

Department of Tourism (DOT) V regional director, Maria Nini O. Ravanilla, said a three-day National Technical Conference on the Protection and Conservation of WhaleSharks in the Philippines will be held December 6-8 at Villa Isabel here that will primarily draw out the standard of operating protocol (SOP) on responding to stranded or beached whalesharks.

Nonie Enolva, team leader of Fisheries Regional Emergency Stranding Response Team under the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) V will also present the latest researches on whalesharks conducted by non-governmental organizations.

Raul B. Burce of the WWF-Philippines based in Donsol will zero in on the Introduction to WhaleSharks in the Philippines.

Photo identification of whalesharks; genetic/DNA testing ; tagging; reconnaissance of physio-chemical characteristics of the waters in Donsol; and IEC on whalesharks Bantay Butanding (The Butanding Network: A Database System) will also be expounded by the agency.

A visit to the Sorsogon Provincial Museum and Heritage Center Inc. to view the replica of the whale shark vertebrae will end the first day activity.

The second day will provide the participants knowledge on the Philippine and International laws and agreements on the protection and conservation of the whalesharks; the economic impact of whalesharks eco-tourism; Whale Shark Code of Conduct; the whalesharks eco-tourism; roles of the local governments on the protection and conservation of the whalesharks; and roles of the MFARMC .

Meanwhile the Regional Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council will present the Regional Whalesharks Stranding Response Activities and Initiatives to provide the participants the proper handling of stranded whalesharks.

Ravanilla explained that the third day will focus on the formulation of the action plan for the protection and conservation of the whaleshark in the Philippines drafted by the national agencies concerned and other participants and this will be observed as SOP in the implementation on responding to stranded and beached whale sharks. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)

'Asoge' video to detail danger of Mercury

Legazpi City, Dec 6 (PIA) –- Much has been said about mercury (asoge) but only a few have a clear knowledge of its origins, properties and presence in everyday items.

Dan Abril, media coordinator of the "Ban Toxics," said the environmental organization has since been devoted to environmental justice and removing the presence of mercury in artisanal small-scale gold mining and other sectors.

The advocacy program, according to Abril, has received support from the Swiss government and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) has produced a 16-minute documentary film on mercury.

Ban Toxic will launch a video December 8 that will detail the toxicity of the heavy metal and how it can seriously affect the environment and communities.

"Biyaheng Asoge" will also show the dangers posed by mercury to our health and the environment.

The video ends with a number of recommendations on how to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of mercury.

Abril stressed that at a time when stakeholders are realizing the dangers and risks posed by mercury, this video is a significant addition to the growing wealth of information on mercury.

This video launching will also formally open a forum on the proper handling and storage of the element. (MAL/DAAbril)

PRC conducts Mobile Outreach Program in Catanduanes
by Edna A Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Dec 6 (PIA)-- The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) conducted a Mobile Outreach Program at the provincial capitol of Catanduanes on November 25-26.

It is the first time for PRC to conduct such service in Catanduanes. According to regional director, Elenita Tan of PRC, the said program aims to make it easy for applicants in the renewal of licenses, registration of new passers, and application for those who would like to take the examination on December 29.

She also said that their program will continue and their agency is also considering the establishment of an extension office in the province.

Repeaters, she added, will have to take the examination on January 30, 2012; while on March 11, 2012 it will be the turn for those taking the Licensure Examination for Teachers (2012).

Those benefited by the program were thankful since it helped them save a lot in terms of convenience, time, money, and effort. MAL/EAB,PIA Catanduanes)

Monday, December 5, 2011

DTI V launches pili nut menu fare

LEGAZPI CITY, Dec 5 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the icol region has launched pili nut recipes in the "Pili Kulinarya" last week in Naga City in a concerted effort by stakeholders to promote pili as Bicol’s regional brand.

Pili Kulinarya is a component of DTI’s continuing Food Business Development (BizDev) Program wherein pili is cited as Bicol’s flagship commodity and recognizes its potential as a main ingredient in various culinary applications.

The event is unprecedented and intended to mainstream pili nut as a culinary fare.

Bicolanos were privileged to have Glenda Barretto, president and chief executive officer of Via Mare Corporation, keynote the event; she shared her cooking expertise to selected hotel and restaurant chefs, promoting pili as their main dish and special ingredient.

Barretto also taught coach master chefs of selected local hotels and restaurants on how to develop and present the pili recipes highlighting pili as an ingredient in various preparations for snack and luncheon events.

After the launch, it is expected that mid-to-high-end hotels and restaurants in Bicol would include pili nut recipes in their regular menus. (MAL/JB-DTI V)

Buy and use commodities with safety clearance - DTI

LEGAZPI CITY, Dec 5 (PIA) -- At on the onset of the Christmas season, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regional office here and the provincial field offices in Bicol reminded anew consumers to buy decorative lights and other electronic gadgets that bear the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) to ensure a safer holiday celebrations.

DTI in Bicol alerted the public to be vigilant and extra cautious in choosing Christmas lights they buy and adorn in their homes with so as not to put the lives of their loved ones in danger.

DTI Bicol regional director Jocelyn Blanco stated, “only those sets of Christmas lights with the ICC sticker have passed DTI’s mandatory safety tests, thus these products are safe and reliable to use.”

DTI regulates the sale of Christmas lights in the local market to protect consumers from the hazards posed by substandard products such as electric shock and overheating that often lead to fire, property damages, and even loss of lives.

Under DTI Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) Product Certification Scheme that is based on the Department Administrative Order (DAO) 05:2008, all importers of Christmas lights shall secure an ICC certificate, prior to the sale, and distribution of their products in the local market.

Only those whose products have complied with the requirements based on the Philippine National Standard on Christmas lights (PNS 189:2000) are appropriately issued with the ICC certificate and are allowed to affix the ICC stickers on their products or product packages.

Blanco emphasized, “The ICC mark is in sticker form and comes with a unique serial number. Those sets of Christmas lights with pre-printed ICC mark on its package are definitely uncertified and did not undergo proper tests and inspections of the Department.”

Consumers may report stores selling Christmas lights without ICC marks to DTI regional office at Tel. No. 4805721 or to the nearest DTI provincial office. (MAL/JB-DTI V)

Red Cross in CamSur joins nationwide “Million Volunteer Run”

by Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA City, Dec 5 (PIA) -- Throngs of health buffs and ordinary locales, Red Cross chapter officials and volunteers led the pack of runners Sunday (December 4) in support of the historic nationwide “Million Volunteer Run (MVR)” held along the main thoroughfares of this city.

Clamrence Racquel Abada, Red Cross Camarines Sur OIC chapter administrator said the 3K and 5K running events highlighted the celebration of the “International Year of Volunteers” in 2011 as declared by the United Nations.

Abada also said that the event aims to empower countless volunteers in preparing for any unforeseen dangers brought about by both man-made calamities and natural disasters.

“We recognized the vulnerability of our community every time we are being hit by a disaster. We at the Red Cross believe that in times like these, preparedness is still the key to lessen, if not totally eradicate the number of casualties and limit the scope of damages that a particular catastrophe can do in a community,” she explained.

Abada furthered that the “Million Volunteer Run” will help the Red Cross in the country and abroad in raising the awareness of the community while empowering the Red Cross 143 Volunteer Work.

The fund, which will be generated from MVR, will be used to train and equip the Red Cross 143 Volunteers by way of Disaster Risk Prevention activities and will be utilized to procure life saving equipment, moreover, incite the spirit of volunteerism in every Filipino.

The project had its soft launch early this year on May 19 and officially unveiled September this year.

Organizers believe that raising the number of its volunteers will ensure a network of capable volunteers who will serve as first responders and blood donors, during the occurrence of any catastrophic event.

Registered runners received an official Volunteer Kit which includes Volunteer Fun Run Shirt, Disaster Preparedness Guide, Red Cross 143 ID Card and whistle.

Red Cross Camarines Sur will continue to live to its mission, answering every disaster call and ensuring that the most vulnerable communities in the province are being served according to their needs.

Camarines Sur is one of the earliest Red Cross chapters organized when the Philippine Red Cross was recognized as an independent National Society. It has already earned various national awards as Outstanding Chapter of the Year for its exemplary performance. (MAL/LSM-PIA Camarines Sur)

Search for Best Barangay Solid Waste Management Practices kicks-off

by Edna A Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Dec 5 (PIA)-- The preliminary judging for the Search for Barangay Solid Waste Management Practices kicked-off last November 21 spearheaded by the local government unit of Virac under Mayor Jose U. Alberto II.

The activity aims to ensure solid waste is managed in such a way that protects both public health and the environment.

Republic Act No. 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act” provides the legal framework for the country’s systematic, comprehensive, and ecological solid waste management program that ensures protection of public health and the environment.

It underscores, among other things, the need to create the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives; it also imposes penalties on violators.

The criteria for judging is as follows: Awareness (10 percent), Governance (25 percent), Waste Segregation and Composting (30 percent), SWM Support System (20 percent) and General Cleanliness (15 percent). Bonus points will be given to any barangay which has shown exemplary waste management practices and has developed innovative ideas/system which is worth emulating by other LGUs.

The said activity is in line with the 1st Virac Inter-Barangay Competition. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

World Vision, media partner to reduce TB stigma

by Irma A. Guhit

SORSOGON CITY, Dec 5 (PIA) -- A two-day training for the members of the broadcast media from Sorsogon dubbed "Accelerating Media's Role in reducing TB Stigma" was held last week at Hotel Venezia, Legaspi City to beef up media’s role in helping reduce the stigma of persons afflicted with tuberculosis by providing them right information on air.

Andy Espinar, KBP Sorsogon chapter president and station manager of DZMS-AM here, said the training is primarily focused to equip media practitioners an in-depth understanding on how the sector can help eradicate the stigma and fear of this dreaded disease as perceived by the public

According to Espinar the training they have undergone will make them responsible and well-informed broadcasters specially in explaining that a person afflicted with the disease should develop health-seeking behavior and avoid such incident as the “case of Clarita.”

“Media has a major role to play in reducing the stigma of TB by creating informed awareness on tuberculosis. As broadcasters, let us partner with agencies like World Vision to improve the health situation here in our province," Espinar also said.

The training program is a partnership project of the World Vision and KBP Sorsogon Chapter.

Meanwhile, World Vision, which has a project of TB case detection and control here said that despite the long fight against TB in Sorsogon City, there remains a stigma that is an obstacle to improve the health seeking behavior of the populace specially people afflicted with this disease based on their findings.

“Clarita Detera, 54, from Brgy. San Pascual here died of TB last June 2011. Her death reminds us that tuberculosis stigma is still rampant despite the absence of research about facts and impact of discrimination and TB stigma in Sorsogon City,” according to Leo Legaspi, Wold Vision Community Development officer.

“Before she was diagnosed, Clarita showed symptoms of TB for more than a year already, according to the midwife who noticed her condition.

The midwife encouraged her to visit the health center but Clarita dismissed the suggestion and said, “ubo lang ito (this is only colds/coughs),” “wala akong TB (I don't have TB),” “bigyan mo ako ng anti-biotics (just give me antibiotics).”

Over the years, this was how Aling Clarita made excuses to hide her disease until she can no longer bear the pain. That was when she finally submitted her sputum for examination.But it was too late. She died soon after.

Legaspi explained that stigma can be experienced internally (self-stigma) or externally (discrimination). Internal stigma can lead to a person’s unwillingness to seek help or access resources.

He said that external stigma can lead to discrimination based on one’s perception. It can be seen through negative reactions that prejudices seriously to the sick person.

Stigma according to Legaspi as scientifically defined, is the process by which the reaction of others spoil normal identity and this is the usual behavior displayed by persons afflicted by tuberculosis as in the case of Clarita.

Legaspi said that with this challenge, they have to seek the strong assistance of media and their role is to campaign and articulate to the community that TB is a sickness that is curable and reducing stigma of persons afflicted with this disease should be well understood by the person him/her self and develop a health seeking behavior for its cure.

Legaspi said that the two - day training for media have provided them the needed skills and information in their crucial function in reducing TB stigma by creating informed awareness on tuberculosis to the public through broadcast.

"The question that the media asked World Vision on how they can help in our program, is through this training that will enable them to be partners with WV, and by accelerating their role in reducing the stigma of TB.

A total of 18 participants coming from different broadcast outlets attended the said training and committed to start providing the public the right awareness in eradicating the stigma of tuberculosis. (MAL/IAG-PIA Sorsogon)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Task Force arrests 42 for human trafficking in Bicol from Jan-Nov

by Ed de Leon

LEGAZPI CITY, December 2 (PIA) -- At least 42 persons were arrested for human trafficking in Bicol during the period from January to November this year, according to the Regional Anti-Trafficking in Persons Task Force (RATTF) 5.

In a joint meeting of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (RLECC) Sub-Committees on Human Trafficking and Sub-Committee on Crimes Against Public Morals of the RATTF 5 held last November 29, Atty. Remiel O. Nibungco, operations officer of the task force, reported that Camarines Sur has the highest number of arrested persons with 17 cases and 33 victims, while Sorsogon has the second highest number with seven persons arrested.

He also reported that the cities of Tabaco and Legazpi had four each while Iriga City, Camarines Norte, and Catanduanes had two each and Albay with one.

Nibungco said that cases were already filed against the arrested persons and they are in the various stages of prosecution.

Meanwhile, Police Senior Supt Michel Amos Filart, regional officer of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) and Sub-Committee on Crimes Against Public Morals head, reported that a 155 persons were arrested by his men for illegal gambling during 31 operations were 22 cases were filed during the same period under review .

He said that on human trafficking the unit spearheaded 20 operations which resulted in the arrest of 15 persons and filed four cases.

While their campaign on pornography they were able to arrest two persons and filed two cases while on child abuse they were able to arrest six persons.

RLECC Human Trafficking Sub-Committee chair and Bicol Regional State Prosecutor Atty. May De Ledoz who also presided the joint meeting said that the committee intends to conduct an intensified advocacy campaign among local government officials and other stake holders to be able to further reduce if not eliminate human trafficking in Bicol. (MAL/EDL, PIA V)

Dev't council pushes for tourism development

by Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, December 2 (PIA) -- Members of the Metro Naga Development Council (MNDC) convened Tuesday to come up with strategic development plans as part of their ongoing preparation for their upcoming “Tooling Up for Tourism” Project.

This is part of the Local Economic Development (LED) Strategy of MNDC geared to promote local tourism of its member-local government units (LGUs) and partner agencies.

Stakeholders were tasked to participate in the Strategic Planning Workshop, specifically the group who were involved in coming up with enabling mechanisms that will aid the Council in identifying short and long term LED initiatives by its alliance.

Before proceeding to the workshop proper, Sieg Bulaong, MNDC Executive Director, identified various concerns hampering the growth and promotion of tourism in Naga City and also to the other fourteen (14) municipalities which include Bula, Calabanga, Camaligan, Canaman, Gainza, Magarao, Milaor, Minalabac, Ocampo, Pamplona and Pasacao.

Some of the identified impediments hampering the total promotion of the desired tourism development within the MNDC areas include the lack of cultural activities beyond Naga City ’s annual and historic Pe├▒afrancia celebration, underdeveloped ecotourism and heritage sites, and lack of accredited or qualified local guides who will accompany foreign and domestic tourists.

Metro Naga, based on the previous discussions, was not actively sold as a destination emerging from poor linkage with travel agencies outside Bicol, few inbound travel agents and tour operators and weak tourism-related competence of front liners.

The team has also identified lack of market diversity where most of the local and foreign tourists flock at the Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex (CWC) being one of the limited places where they spend their spare times and recreation.

Seeing these impediments, the team came up with various suggestions on how to raise the competitiveness of Metro Naga in terms of Eco-Cultural Tourism. One of the identified solutions is to strengthen the Metro Naga Integrated Tourism Value Chain which would include, among others, product development of member-LGUs, human resource development and institutional strengthening, destination marketing and infrastructure development.

The team also focused on the stimulation of investments and entrepreneurship among its members; organizing and mobilization of business groups and entrepreneurs; expanding the scope of availability of financing and technical support from the national government agencies (NGAs) and private sector; and the promotion of women’s participation in entrepreneurship which has already taken root in some local government units.

MNDC will continue to lead the pursuit of development and contribute in spearheading progress initiatives to alleviate poverty in the province. (MAL/LSM, PIA Camarines Sur)

Media declares support to implementation of CCA National Framework

LEGAZPI CITY, December 2 (PIA)-- Various national media organizations reaffirmed their commitment of support Friday last week to the government's pursuit of mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation programs and strategies in the country.

Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, Jr. Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) read and subsequently turned over the four page Philippine Media Declaration on Climate Change to President Benigno C. Aquino III pledging concerted action to effect public awareness and pursue a nationwide advocacy for Climate Change Adaptation and mitigation.

The statement emphasizes that access to relevant information on climate change is vital to sustain a living planet and for the survival of human beings

Vital information concerning climate change would significantly acknowledge social, economic and environmental benefits in taking action to combat the effects of climate change phenomemon.

He said media institutions recognizes that the information provided by media plays a critical role in stimulating policy debate and in mobilizing knowledge to empower societies to make informed decisions on options for mitigation and adaptation.

The media declaration was signed by officials of the National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) Publishers Association of the Philippines (PAPI), Foreign Correspondent Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) and the Philippine Network of Environmental Journalist (PNEJ)at the First National Media Conference on Climate Change Adaptation held at the Bicol University Amphi-theater where hundreds of media representatives from across the country attended the three day conference.

At the conference, print and broadcast journalist agreed to share and disseminate climate change information and hold training sessions on Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for media.

Promotion of regional and international collaboration among all media organizations for the enrichment of climate change reporting and skills enhancement of media practitioners through training, exchange of knowledge, best practices. (MAL, PIA V/Albay)

PDRRMO conducts five-day training on Water Search and Rescue

by Edna A Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, December 2(PIA)-- The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) here conducted a five-day training on Water Search and Rescue from November 21-25, 2011 at Twin Rock Beach Resort, Virac, Catanduanes.

The said training was organized by PDRRMO pursuant to the memorandum agreement between the provincial government and the Coast Guard in view of the growing number of local fishermen lost at sea during typhoons and bad weather conditions.

Around 57 individuals from five towns of the province participated the said training where only 54 finished the rigorous training conducted by six instructors under the command of LTJG. Jimmy Naisod of the Philippine Coast Guard Bicol Special Operations UNit.

Municipalities of Pandan, Panganiban, Gigmoto and Baras have nine (9) participants each and twelve (12) trainees from the town of Viga.

The fund for the said activity came from Governor Joseph C. Cua's administration with counterpart funding of the participating LGUs. (MAL/EAB, PIA Catanduanes)

Pili Kulinarya showcases Pili as premium nut

by Lizel S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, December 2 ( PIA) --- Recognizing Pili as Bicol’s flagship commodity, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regional office V recently launched Pili nut recipes at Villa Caceres Hotel here in “Pili Kulinarya”.

The launching of Pili Kulinarya, attended by local chefs, patron, local entrepreneurs, food services owners, caterers and members of the local media, aims to promote Pili as Bicolandia’s prime regional brand in both the medium market and high-end consumers as main dish ingredient and not just a sweet delicacy.

Glenda Barreto, president and chief executive officer of Via Mare Corporation, keynoted the event sharing her cooking expertise to selected hotel and restaurant chiefs, introducing Pili Nut as their menu’s special ingredient.

The Pili tree, which easily propagates itself under tropical temperature and well drained soil, can be mostly found in various parts of the Bicol Region. Its fruit contains essential amino acids responsible for the development of the muscles, provides healthy bones and skin and support healthy blood sugar levels.

The Pili nut has also a rich concentration of magnesium which is responsible for the development of healthy nerves, muscles and bones.

Seeing its market and health potential, various promotional projects have already been spearheaded by local DTI branches in the region. The program is also widely supported by local government units.

In Naga City, Mayor John Bongat has also launched PiliMania to push for a collective planting of Pili trees in the main thoroughfare of the city.

Naga also earned its name as the pasalubong center due to the influx of foreign and domestic tourists buying various Pili Sweet delicacies as “pasalubong”.

During the recently concluded 22nd Advertsing Congress held at the Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex (CWC) in Pili, Camarines Sur, a double-decker pili nut cookies was a scene-stealer and became the crowd’s favorite. It was created by J. Emmanuel Pastries, Bicol’s top exporter of Pili nut products.

DTI Camarines Sur information officer Jay Ablan said that the event will serve as a great push for food experts to come up with new innovations in food preparation using Pili Nut as the chief ingredient in their main dish. Provincial Director Edna Tejada said, he is also been very supportive of various endeavors promoting Pili Nut as Bicol’s premium commodity.

Pili Kulinarya is under the agency’s continuing Food Business Development (BizDev) program which aims to create a business focus network and jumpstart long-term promotional program for the emerging market in the food industry. (MAL/LSM, PIA CamSur)