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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Feature: Keeping children and mothers healthy in the community

By Jesseshan Banayo Marbella

Emily appreciates the presence of the clinic located in the mountainous terrain of the southern district of Legazpi City.

Emily gave birth in Banquerohan Maternity Lying-in Clinic, a health facility funded by the government of Spain through a Poder y Prosperidad de la Comunidad (PODER), a project under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“Mapagal talaga kung mababa pa kami pasentro lalo na pag may emergency. Mas madali na digdi ta pwede na lang ngani lakawon tapos may tigtatao pang libreng bulong (It was very difficult for us to have to go to the [Legazpi] city, especially during emergencies. It is easier now; you can even just walk to the clinic. Plus, they provide free medicines),” Emily said.

Since the lying-in clinic was established in May 15, 2009, Emily regularly visits it because she knows how important her children’s health are.

“Digdi na man ako nangaki kang pangtulo kong aki tapos digdi na man nagpapa-check-up ang mga aki ko (I also delivered my third child here, and I bring them here for checkups),” Emily added.

Emily also shared that she went to a “hilot” when she gave birth to her first child, while she delivered her second child with the help of a midwife from the nearby barangay.

Emily is only one of the women who has benefited from the maternity package provided by the Banquerohan Maternity Lying-in Clinic, which includes prenatal services, delivery services, and postnatal services.

The clinic also offers newborn care, newborn screening, immunization, and medical consultations, all of which Emily has availed of for free.

“Immediately after she has given birth, we immediately referred her to our population officer, where she received proper health examination and counsel about natural family planning and birth spacing. We encourage mothers who had several children to undergo the same process,” Dr. Fulbert Gillego, Legazpi City health officer, said.

The health facility has been accredited by PhilHealth since August 2011, allowing Emily to get free access to all its delivery services. She saved P2,500, the same amount she paid to the midwife for her second delivery, allowing her to use for the money for medicines for her baby instead.

The Baquerohan Maternity Lying-In Clinic caters to 12 southern barangays of Legazpi City. The facility operates 24 hours a day and is staffed with licensed and skilled midwives and supervised by nurses and on-call doctors.

“We hired contractual nurses and midwives to provide 24-hour clinic services as part of their committed work in the community,” Dr. Gillego said.

The number of deliveries increases each year. For 2012, deliveries reached 189 in August. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, the recorded deliveries respectively reached 81, 121, and 181. With the Poder project in Banquerohan, the people get an easy access to the health services they need especially to maternal and newborn care, Dr. Gillego said.

“For both maternal care and newborn services, the health facility funded by Poder has definitely improved the access of the people to health services. We are looking forward to another phase of the project to build it into a community hospital someday,” Dr. Gillego added.

The local government unit has infused a lot of innovations in the original Poder project. As a result, it is now growing beyond structures to bring better services to communities.

After Typhoon Reming in 2006, the people of Banquerohan clamored for the construction of a better clinic since it was damaged by a typhoon. Even before the typhoon hit, the clinic already lacked equipment and barely had enough space to accommodate several patients at once, said Dr. Gillego. As such, the villagers proposed the construction of a maternal lying-in clinic to provide health care for children and pregnant women.

The city health budget includes allocation for the wages of staff, supplies, drugs and medicines needed. The fees collected by the clinic is used for maintenance.

Adjacent to the lying-in clinic is the Banquerohan Early Intervention and Rehabilitation Clinic, a Poder project for children with special needs. Services include early intervention, mobility training, speech therapy, physical rehabilitation services, and provision of medications.

Corazon, a housewife, discovered that her son Leonard Lloyd Bartolo cannot walk when he was nine months old, and she brought Leonard to the doctor. After running some tests, the physician explained to her that her son has developmental delay and needs physical therapy.

Through a referral from the city health office, Corazon was able to avail of free therapy for her son from the clinic. Since November 2011, Leonard has been regularly attending therapy sessions.

“Ngunyan, nakakatukaw na siyang solo, nakakatindog na man siya basta may kaputan. Dakolaon na tabang ta nagigibo ko digdi sa harong su tigaturo ninda ta mas dakol ang oras ko sa aki ko (He can walk now),” she said.

Corazon saved a lot because the services in the facility are free. She would have spent about P500 for each therapy session had they gone to a private hospital. She also receives complimentary milk and medicines for Leonard.

The Banquerohan Early Intervention and Rehabilitation Clinic is staffed by the city physical therapist and volunteer workers from Simon of Cyrene, an organization focused in community-based rehabilitation.

Dr. Gillego said the clinic has scheduled days for therapy sessions during the week, wherein mothers who have children with disabilities are taught simple practices they can do with their children at home to aid their therapy.

Through these health facility projects by the DSWD, mothers and children in poor communities are given access to health services they need. (MAL/JBMarberlla-DSWD5/PIA 5)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Catanduanes State Colleges has 86 new nurses

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Aug 30 (PIA) -- Eighty six nursing students from the Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC) passed the 2012 Nursing Licensure Examination (NLE).

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced that 27,823 out of 60,895 passed the NLE given by the Board of Nursing in the cities of Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Dagupan, Davao, Iloilo, Laoag, Legazpi, Lucena, Nueva Ecija, Pagadian, Pampanga, Tacloban, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga last June 2012.

Even though not a single examinee landed in the top 10, CSC performed well with an 88.66 percent passing rate for its 97 first-timers.

However, none of the 10 repeaters passed, lowering the school’s total passing rate to 80.37 which is nearly double the national passing percentage of 45.6 percent.

The new nurses of CSC are: Alberto, Kirk Kevin B,; Aldave, Kevin Asmer I.; Aldea Angelica T.; Aldea, Jennifer R.; Aldea, Rachel E.; Apil, Marisol R.; Aquino, Gabriel V.; Bagadiong, Rosal T.; Balmadrid, Joy Caroline M.;Bernal Katrina T.; Bernardo Khoffel Rose R.; Bogabil, Lucille C.; Bonavente, Hanelie A.; Buena, Michael Gordon M.;

Cabrera, Mary Anne V.; Calisin, Jeannebeth S.; Camacho, Harold Bennedick A.; Camacho, Ma. Cristina A.; Casuyon, Remar Q.; Catacutan, Mary Grace C.; Cervantes, Kristel Mae V.; Dasigan, Honelie T.; Delluza, Sheryl Anne B.; Dominguez, Claudia C.; Escaño, Kenneth A.;
Flores, Babylyn S.; Flores, Mark Anthony S.; Garcia, Gilaine M.; Gianan, Laarni Ma. R.; Gonzales, Karmel Dolor T.; Gonzales, Marianne E.; Gribialde, Sheene Laarne D.; Guerrero, Robert Dan P.; Jose, Mherjie G.; Lavapie, Madel G.; Lavapie, Maridel G.; Lazaro, Karl Felix P.; Lee, Lon Vincent Angelo T.;

Magistrado, Melvin T.; Mariano, Geraldine J; Matienzo, Raymart M.; Molina, Elaine Gay R.; Molina, Francis B.; Osido, Angelica Mae J.; Palero, Ma. Rodelyn D.; Panti, Raquel S.; Peña, Katrina A.; Ponce, Daniel T.; Renecolla, Della Joie T.; Rima, Adelle Monique C.; Rodriguez, Ryan Aster T.; Ros, Sean Emerson C.;

San Miguel, Jerlyn S.; Sanchez, Jejomar M.; Secorata, Dave T.; Somido, Oryza L.; Suarez, Ma. Monette M.; Sumalde, Maria Luvly S.; Sumalde, Maria Rona C.; Sumalde, Melanie R.; Surban, Jay Robin R.;Sy Rachelle Mae V.;

Tabirara, Ma. Audrey A.; Talan, Joyce T.; Tapel, Joseph Peter D.; Taule, Cesar Jr. V.; Teope, Joy Hazel T.; Tevar, Elmer Jr. R.; Teves, Winston V.;Toledo, Judith G.; Tolentino, Evangelii B.;Tonio, Leslie Joy T.; Torrente, Jethro M.; Tribiana, Michael Arvie T.; Trijo, Clarrisa P.; Turado, Johnson M.

Valenzuela, Arbelle B.; Valeza, Robert Jr. C.; Valeza, Ross Aurea S.; Vargas, Praise R.; Velchez, Ma. Fatima G.; Vergado, Ched B.; Vergara, Shiella Mae S.; Villamartin, John Paul V.; Villanueva, Nikki Rose T.; and, Zuniega, Mariel S.

Pursuant to Section 16, of Republic Act No. 9173, “all successful candidates in the examination shall be required to take an oath of professional before the Board or any government official authorized to administer oaths prior to entering upon the nursing practice.”

Registration for new nurses require the following: duly accomplished Oath Form or Panunumpa ng Propesyonal, current Community Tax Certificate (cedula), two pieces passport size picture (colored with white background and complete name tag), 1 piece 1” x 1” picture (colored with white background and complete name tag), two sets of metered documentary stamps and one short brown envelope with name and profession.

They are also required to pay the initial registration fee of P600 and annual registration fee of P450 for 2012-2015.

Successful examinees should personally register and sign in the roster of registered professionals. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

112th Civil Service Anniversary to highlight heroism in public service

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Aug 30 (PIA) -- The 112th Philippine Civil Service (PCS) anniversary this September 2012 will highlight heroism in public service.

The month-long anniversary celebration, with the theme “Kawani, Ikaw ay Isang Lingkod Bayani,” aims to promote, showcase and celebrate stories of triumph and sacrifice among men and women in government.

In connection with this, all government offices and agencies in the province are enjoined to participate in the celebration commemorating the birth of Philippine Civil Service.

The activity will formally begin with a kickoff program on September 3, where a mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral will be held as a way of thanksgiving for God’s goodness to government workers.

Right after the mass, a civic military parade will follow, which will start at Plaza Rizal to the Provincial Capitol Grounds. Said parade will showcase the different offices and agencies and the bulk of government workers in the province.

Floats of Mutya at Lakan ng Serbisyo Sibil will be put up by LGU-Panganiban and LGU-Bato. The PCS float expresses the inspiration, gratitude and nobility of government workers.

There shall also be a banner-raising per agency who are required to put up their own pole with pulley with the standard height of 14ft above the ground in front of the Provincial Capitol.

On September 7, a bloodletting activity will be spearheaded by the Provincial Health Office at the Provincial Capitol Lobby from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the theme “Giving Life for a New Life.”

An ‘Environment Awareness and Protection’ activity, a coastal and river clean-up at Virac and San Andres Coast and Sto. Domingo River will be conducted on September 21 at 6 a.m. as a commitment of the whole citizenry to protect the environment. A Family Day, a day of fun and relaxation for each office and agency as one family, will precede.

On September 26, the Catanduanes Association of Chiefs of Government Office (CACGO) will spearhead an outreach program to this year’s recipient, Brgy. Suchan, Bagamanoc.

The culminating activity of the celebration, Government Workers Fellowship Night, will be held on September 28, 7 p.m. at Virac Sports Center.

It is a way for every worker to relax and be merry as a prize he owes himself for his dedication to work.

An awarding of certificates to CACGO and Catanduanes Council of Human Resource Management Practitioners (CCHRMP) retirees and transferees will also be featured.

This year’s celebration will be spearheaded by CACGO and the CCHRMP in coordination with the Provincial Government and Civil Service Commission Provincial Field Office. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eulogy of President Aquino in honor of Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, August 28, 2012

Papuring Binigkas
Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Para sa yumaong Kalihim ng Interyor at Lokal na Pamahalaan Jesse Robredo
[Inihayag sa Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, Lungsod ng Naga, noong ika-28 ng Agosto 2012]

Salamat po, maupo ho tayong lahat. Tinuruan po tayo ni Kasamang Jess ng kaunting Bicol: Marhay ba udto sa indo gabos … Mali na naman ho yata. [Applause]

Atty. Leni Robredo, Aika, Tricia, Julian; Mr. Butch Robredo; Dr. Jocelyn Austria; Mr. Penny Bondoc; Ms. Jeanne Tang; relatives and friends of Secretary Robredo; Fr. Ambrose; members of the Clergy; members of the Cabinet; members of the Senate and the House of Representatives; officials and staff of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and its attached agencies; fellow workers in government; mga minamahal ko pong kababayan:

Bilang kawani ng gobyerno, tanggap na po dapat natin: Darating ang araw na bababa rin tayo sa puwesto—sa madaling salita, magreretiro. Ngayon pa lang po, nai-imagine ko nang magkikita-kita kami, ng ating Gabinete at iba pang mga kasamahan, sa isang restaurant, ‘pag nagretiro na, nang may kanikaniyang senior citizen card na nakasilid sa pitaka. Magkakainan kami, magtatawanan, at pagkukuwentuhan kung ano ang mga pinagdaanan namin. Kung ano ang mga nagawa namin.

Hindi na po makakasama si Jesse sa mga kuwentuhang iyon. Hindi na po natin makakabiruan si Jesse tungkol sa pagkilatis sa mga manliligaw ng anak niya, at sa mga susunod pong taon, wala na rin siya para makipaglaro sa magiging apo niya.

Hindi madaling tanggapin ang biglaang pagkawala ni Jesse. Hindi po natin inasahan ang pangyayaring ito, ngunit sa kabila ng ating kaba at pagkabigla nang unang marinig ang balita, ginawa natin ang lahat ng ating magagawa upang mailigtas siya kung papalarin, at kung hindi man, upang mabigyan ng angkop at marangal na pagwawakas ang trahedyang sinapit natin. Habang humahaba po ang panahon, umasa tayo na isang minuto ay darating siya at sasabihing, “Pasensya na kayo, naabala ko kayong lahat sa tagal ng pagdating ko.”

Ngayon po, kaisa ako sa pagluluksa ng sambayanang napagkaitan ng isang tunay na lingkod-bayan. Kung mayroon pong Diyos na nagmamahal sa atin at bukal ng katarungan, sigurado akong kapiling na niya ngayon si Kalihim Jesse Robredo. Nawalan po ng asawa at ama ang kanyang pamilya; nawalan po ang bayan ng isang tapat at mahusay na pinuno. Nawalan po ako ng isang kapatid sa opisyal na pamilya sa Gabinete, ng kasangga sa mga ipinaglalaban, at ng kapartido. Nawalan po ako ng isang mabuting kaibigan.

Sino po ba si Jesse Robredo? Talaga pong huwarang lingkod-bayan si Jesse: nakatuon palagi sa kapwa at handang magsakripisyo. Sa lahat ng mga nakakausap ko, siya ang taong walang kapasepasensya sa bola. Kay Jesse, what you see is what you get. Tahimik at masipag siyang nagtatrabaho. Hindi siya nagpapadala sa kapangyarihan. Sa kabila ng naabot niya, nanatiling simple ang kanyang pamumuhay, hindi nalalayo sa karaniwang taong napakalapit sa kanyang puso.

Si Jesse po ang tipo ng tao na batid ang kanyang mga kakayahan at limitasyon. Halimbawa po: sa kantahan. Kadalasan, kung may kasiyahan, kami-kami lang din ang nag-e-entertain sa sarili namin para makatipid. Si Jesse po, hahanap ng mga kasangga para may kasabay siyang kakanta ng chorus, at hindi na siya mag-i-individual performance. Pinakabuo ang kanyang ngiti kapag pasampa na siya sa entablado; tawa po siya nang tawa. Sa dami po ng mga talentadong nagkukumpol-kumpol, nakakapagtaka na halos wala kaming marinig sa mga boses nila bagama’t may mikroponong tangan at kinakantahan.

Dalawa raw po sa paborito niyang kanta ay “My Way” at “Impossible Dream.” Tatak nga po siguro ito ng mga paniniwala niya. Hindi siya naging kuntento sa status quo; pinatunayan niya sa Naga na posible ang pagbabago. Posibleng madaig ang sistemang matagal nang nangingibabaw; posibleng madaig ang mga pulitikong napakatagal namayagpag at kinasangkapan ang pusisyon para sa pansariling interes. Trailblazer po si Jesse sa tuwid na daan. Pinatunayan niyang puwede palang magtagumpay sa pulitika nang hindi nagiging trapo.

Hindi po madali ang pagtahak sa landas na ito, lalo na noong nagsisimula pa lamang siya sa serbisyong pampubliko. Malawak at malalim ang mga pagbabagong inasam niya, at sinimulan niya ito ng hindi nakakatiyak kung may patutunguhan nga bang tagumpay. Katambal ng kanyang mga pangarap ang napakaraming mga praktikal na konsiderasyon, ngunit pinili niyang lumihis sa mga nakasanayang pormula sa pulitika. Alam po ito ng mga taong malapit sa kanya. Mas pipiliin pa niyang makulong kaysa bumitaw sa mga causa na aming pinaniniwalaan. Nang nasa oposisyon po kami, hindi naman puwedeng suspendihin ganoon lang ang mga nasa lehislatura, pero sa katulad niyang Mayor, laging nakabinbin ang banta ng pang-aapi o dineretso ngang inapi na. Mas marami at mas mabigat ang pagtatayang ginawa niya sa kanyang buhay pulitika. Ito pong isyu ukol sa kanyang citizenship, alam naman natin ang motibasyon. Pero hindi siya nagtanim ng galit sa mga nagsampa ng mga paulit-ulit na walang katuturang  kasong ito.

Alam po natin ang katotohanan sa pulitika; may ibang nakangiti kapag kaharap mo, pero kung tumalikod ka, pakiramdam mo sasaksakin ka. Napahanga talaga ako ni Jesse, dahil miski ang nagpakita sa kanya ng di-kagandahang ugali, kaya niyang harapin nang walang bahid ng galit at pagkayamot.

Bukod sa mabait, matino, at mahusay si Jesse, mabilis din siyang umaksyon. Lahat, ASAP sa kanya; hindi niya ugaling patagalin sa mesa ang mga magagawa naman ngayon. Kung kayang simulan, sinisimulan agad niya. Naalala ko nga po, minsan may mga informal settler na kailangang ilipat dahil nakatira sa danger zone sila kapag bumabaha. Nag-text po sa atin na humihingi ng tulong at saklolo; kinakabahan sila sa paglilipat, at nagtatanong kung may kabuhayan ba silang daratnan. Kinausap po sila ni Jesse. Matapos ang dalawang oras na meeting, ang mga SOS text, naging thank you text na po. Salamat muli Jesse!

Iba po talaga si Jesse. Kapag mayroon tayong matinding problemang kinakaharap, palagi naman pong nandiyan ang mga taong sumosuporta at magsasabing, “Nasa likod mo kami.” Pero si Jesse po, kabilang sa mga bibihirang tao na ang sasabihin, “Sir, ako na lang ang haharap, ako na lang po ang pu-pronta.” Hindi po nasa likod; handang-handa pong nasa harapan. Talagang kasama sa pilosopiya niya sa buhay ang hindi maging pabigat sa kapwa; ang palaging mag-ambag ng pinakamalaki niyang maiaambag, o lagpas pa, para makahanap ng solusyon.

Kay Leni, at kina Aika, Tricia, at Jillian: Sa totoo lang, medyo nahihiya ako sa inyo. Kayo ang pamilya; sigurado akong pinakamabigat ang kalungkutang nararamdaman ninyo ngayon. Pero talagang pinapahanga n’yo kami, dahil kayo pa ang nagbibigay ng lakas sa amin, kayo pa ang nagbibitbit sa amin.

Leni, alam mo naman, hindi tayo masyadong nagkakakilala, dahil na rin pinilit ni Jesse na magkaroon siya palagi ng private time kasama ang kanyang pamilya. Alam ng Gabinete ito: Sa hirap ng aming mga pinagdadaanan, ang pinakagantimpala ko po sa kanila ay paminsan-minsan magpakain ng isang kaaya-ayang hapunan. Pero ‘pag weekend ako nagyaya ng kainan, siguradong magpapaumanhin na si Jesse. Sagrado sa kanya ang oras kasama ang pamilya. Palagi siyang nagmamadaling makauwi sa Naga.

Hindi lang ang mag-anak na Robredo ang nawalan ng Padre de Familia. Pati ang buong DILG, ang mga nagtatrabaho sa field, ang lahat ng natulungan niya, ang buong Naga, parang nawalan ng ama. Kaya nga po bukod sa kalungkutan, matinding panghihinayang din ang nararamdaman ko ngayon. Ang dami niyang mga plano, at talagang kitang-kita na po ang direksyon ng mga reporma. Namuno siya sa pagpapa-totoo ng mga teorya sa pamamahala na pinag-uusapan lang sa mga libro. Ginawa po niya iyan sa Naga, at iyan din po ang nasimulan na niyang gawin sa pambansang antas. Kayo na po ang mamili—sa Bureau of Fire Protection, kung saan nakakuha siya ng mga fire trucks na mas mura pero mas maganda ang kaledad at mas marami ang kakayahan; o sa BJMP; sa PNP; pati na ang mga informal settlers. Maraming mga lumang problema na, sa tulong ni Jesse, sa wakas, ay nakikitaan na natin ng solusyon. Sayang po talaga.

Ngunit wala naman sigurong magsasabing may kulang pa sa mga inambag ni Jesse. Dapat po yata, tayong mga nakinabang sa kanyang buhay at pagsusumikap ang tumumbas sa kanyang mga nagawa at mag-ambag naman ng parte natin.

Naalala ko pa po ang mga agam-agam namin nang biglaan ding pumanaw ang aking ama noong taong 1983. Marami po sa amin ang nagtanong: Paano na tayo? Sino ang magtutuloy? Parang ligaw na ligaw po kami; nawala ang aming pinuno.

Pero sabi nga po ng aking ina, “If cowardice is infectious, then bravery is all the more infectious.” Ang nag-iisa, dumami nang dumami hanggang nakamit na nga ng buong bayan ang pagbabago. Hindi mauubusan ng mga bayani ang lahing Pilipino. At kung si Jesse ay isa sa mga naging bunga ng sakripisyo ng aking ama, sigurado po akong may ibubunga ring mga bagong bayani ang pagpanaw ni Jesse.

Sa ipinapakitang pagpupugay at pagmamahal ng taumbayan ngayon, sigurado ako, may isang henerasyon na naman ng mga Pilipinong mabibigyang-inspirasyon, at mahihimok na maglingkod sa ngalan ni Jesse. Sila po ang magdadala ng katiyakan: Katiyakang makikita natin ang plano ng Diyos sa likod ng pagkawala ni Jesse. Katiyakang makukuha natin ang gantimpala ng katarungang nagbubukal sa pagmamahal ng Diyos: Na lahat ng kagandahan at kabutihang naidulot at naipunla ni Jesse, ay tunay at buong-buong mapipitas dahil sa dulot niyang inspirasyon.

Ang sabi po sa pangalawang liham ni Paul to Timothy, Chapter 4, Verses 6 to 7: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…” Angkop na angkop po ito kay Jesse; mission accomplished na siya sa mundong ito. 

Marapat lang na matamasa na niya ang mga gantimpala ng isang buo at mabuting buhay, sa piling ng Diyos Ama. Nasa hanay na po si Jesse ng mga bayaning sumusubaybay sa atin mula sa kalangitan, at nagbibigay-lakas sa atin upang ipagpatuloy ang kanilang mga mabuting gawain. Kaya’t huwag na po tayong lumuha. Sa halip, magpasalamat tayo. Sa maikling panahong narito siya sa mundo, tayo pa ang nabiyayaan ng pagkakataong makapiling si Jesse Manalastas Robredo.

Paalam, Jesse. Sa ngalan ng sambayanan, maraming, maraming salamat.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Robredo's remains at the Basilica Minore for final day viewing

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY , Aug. 27 (PIA) -- The remains of Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse M. Robredo were transferred this morning from the City Hall to the Basilica Minore for the final day viewing of those who still wish to pay their last respect to the late Secretary.

Robredo will be brought to his final resting place tomorrow at Eternal Gardens after the cremation.

On his way to the Basilica Minore following the traditional departure honors, Robredo’s remains circled in the main thoroughfares of the city where hundreds of residents lined up to have a glimpse of the cortege. Placards bearing words of endearments, posters and banners and people wearing Jesse shirts dotted the main streets of this city.

Yellow and black ribbons were tied in various trees and establishments, in motorcycles, private cars and even in public utility vehicles as a testimony of their endearing love for one great Bicolano leader. Yellow and white confetti’s were showered on the lanes leading to the Basilica Minore.

Adorned with fresh white flowers, Robredo’s casket was placed in an open truck, still draped with the Philippine flag and accompanied by four (4) honor guards- a reminiscence of the historic funeral of then President Cory Aquino when she was also sent to her final destination.

Today, from 10 am to 5pm and from 6pm to 8am of the following day is open for public viewing. For thousands of mourners and sympathizers who still would want to touch the coffin of the late secretary, this will be their chance to pay their final homage to one great Nagueno who lived in simplicity in spite of the prestige and perks brought by his position.

On Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino will deliver his eulogy to Secretary Robredo and will personally confer the Philippine Legion of Honor with the rank of Chief Commander, the country’s highest awards conferred upon a Filipino citizen or leader in recognition of significant and meritorious service it has rendered to the nation.

After the funeral mass, the casket will be brought out of the Basilica Minore by pallbearers accompanied by the Honorary pall bearers to the crematorium with a military band accompanying the funeral cortege.

In the crematorium, a company of soldiers will render the 19-gun salute which will be followed by the playing of Taps otherwise known as Butterfields’s lullaby.

Afterwhich, the national flag draped around Secretary Robredo’s coffin will be taken off and folded and will be presented to Atty. Leni Robredo, the wife of the late Secretary –this will signify the formal conclusion of the state funeral. (MAL/LSM-PI5/Camarines Sur)

Palace declares special non-working day in Naga City for Robredo’s burial

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Aug. 27 (PIA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has issued Proclamation No. 461, declaring Tuesday, August 28 as a special, non working day in this city in view of the internment of the late DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo.

Last week, members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod in Naga passed resolution No. 2012-338 requesting His Excellency to grant their request of making Robredo’s interment a non working holiday to give all Naguenos the opportunity to attend the internment of their beloved leader who served his city for an unprecedented 19 years.

Malacanang responded with the issuance of Proclamation 461, citing among others the aptness of the said decree in this time of mourning.

Earlier, President Aquino issued Proclamation No. 460, series of 2012 directing all government offices to lower flags at half-mast in line with the declaration of the National Day of Mourning over the passing of Robredo. The decree took effect on August 21, when the remains of Robredo was retrieved by sea divers until the time of his internment on August 28.

In line with this is the granting of a state funeral offered by the government which the family has accepted. Full military honors including the conferment of the highest award to Robredo will be part of the ceremony.

Meanwhile, various government agencies, particularly those under the roof of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will also give their respective salutation to their Chief.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) personnel for one, conducted their traditional water salute when the funeral truck carrying the secretary’s remains passed by the Rotonda area this morning as part of the cortege. Twenty (20) firetrucks coming from various municipalities in the province simultaneously spurted out plumes of water to the vehicles included in the convoy.

The PNP since day one took part in rendering arrival and departure honors to the remains of the late Secretary. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

Dispute resolution seminar for employers held

By: Sally A. Atento

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 27(PIA) -- The National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) regional office here, under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), conducted a one-day free seminar on Conciliation-Mediation and other Alternative Modes in Dispute Resolution (ADR) recently here.

DOLE 5 regional director Nathaniel V. Lacambra said the activity will be an opportunity to help companies in responding to labor disputes and problems.

“Perhaps, after the training they will be able to resolve any labor issue on their companies on a win-win situation to preserve industrial peace,” Lacambra said.

Aside from the ADR, other dispute-prevention mechanisms including Labor-Management Cooperation (LMC) and enterprise-based dispute resolutions systems were discussed.

ADR involves non-confrontational dispute resolution processes and techniques that can be used to prevent and settle workplace conflicts.

NCMB regional director said, “These mechanisms are otherwise known as the voluntary modes in dispute prevention and settlement. Meaning, both the labor and management would have to agree to settle any problem by themselves voluntarily.”

Among the speakers for the said seminar are DOLE V Atty. Karina Trayvilla and Engr. Arturo Corbe together with NCMB regional director and technical officers. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

CSV 5 reminds Sept 6 deadline for prof, sub-prof exam

By: Sally A. Atento

LEGAZPI CITY, August 26 (PIA) -- The Civil Service Commission (CSC) here reminded applicants for the Career Service Professional and sub-professional paper and pencil test on October 21, 2012 to submit their application form and specified requirements before the September 6 deadline.

Marilou Baduria of the CSC V Examination Services Division said in the “Ugnayan sa Bicol” radio program of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) here that applicants can personally submit their properly answered application forms at their nearest CSC provincial office.

The Career Service Examination (CSE), said Baduria, is open to Filipino citizens who are at least 18 years old at the time of filing off application regardless of educational attainment and have not taken the same level of examination in less than three months.

Among the requirements together with the Application Form that can be downloaded from the CSC website are four pieces of passport size (4.5cm x 3.5cm) colored pictures with white background and hand-held nametag taken not more than three months. The name tag must be in the format: First name, Middle name, Last name and Extension name if any, with signature over the printed name.

“The original and photocopy of any valid ID must have a clear picture, date of birth and signature of the owner and the head of the issuing agency,” Baduria added.

Examination fee for both levels of examination is still P500.00.

The testing centers for Bicol region examinees are in Legazpi, Naga and Masbate.

Furthermore, to assure the authenticity of the CSE result, confirmation of eligibility will not be sent through mails but will be given instead through the Awarding ceremony.

“In case the passers failed to attend the ceremony, they can go to their regional and provincial offices to personally claim their certificate,” Baduria said. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/ALbay)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nepali pilot’s body recovered, retrieval ops end

By Ernesto A. Delgado

MASBATE CITY, Aug 24 (PIA) -- Retrieval operations have ended Thursday morning after the recovery of the body of Nepali flight student Kshitiz Chand, whose body was found floating not far from the site where his light plane crashed with Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and two others on board five days ago.

“With the recovery of Nepalese student pilot Kshitiz Chand, we now conclude the search and retrieval (SAR) operations,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told journalists in the final briefing of Task Force Kalihim.

Chand’s remains were spotted by skipper Pambitoy delos Santos of MBca Cooperative, a passenger boat sailing to Masbate Port from Ticao Island at 7:45 a.m. Thursday, Gazmin said.

The flight student’s father, Theck, identified his son through his shirt and watch at La Funeria Eternas here, Lt. Col. Julian Pacatan, Army commander in Masbate, said.

The remains of Capt. Jessup Bahinting, the chief pilot of the ill-starred plane, were recovered from the right side of the Piper Seneca’s cockpit just hours before the recovery of Chand’s body. Robredo’s body was found on Tuesday and are now lying in state at his hometown in Naga City.

The lone survivor, Senior Insp. June Paolo Abrasado, was brought to Manila for treatment of injuries that he suffered from the crash.

Gazmin said the Philippine government will help the Chand family transport the body to Nepal.

Gazmin said that with the conclusion of retrieval operations, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) would start its investigation of the cause of the tragedy. (MAL/EAD-PIA5 Masbate)

Robredo prepared to face the Lord --- Atty. Leni Robredo

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Aug. 24 (PIA) -- Two days after the remains of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo was brought to the St. Therese’s Chapel at the Archbishop’s Palace for public viewing, Atty. Leni, the secretary's wife, faced local and national media in a press briefing held after the 9 a.m. mass.

Atty. Leni said, "He lived a full life, he fulfilled all his dreams. Just last Sunday, while we are waiting in the car, his flight was delayed and he mentioned that he had reached his quota, more even. He said he had no more dreams for himself, just for the children. His cup kasi is already overflowing,” Atty Leni said.

Secretary Robredo has given his all in as far as his duties and obligations to his countrymen were concerned. He had made himself available to all, lending his ear to complaints and problems and offered solutions and possibilities.

Mrs. Robredo also told members of media that her husband has always been ready and prepared to meet his Creator.

“He is prepared to face the Lord. He went to confession often, sometimes two or three times a month. He has prepared himself for this moment, so I didn’t even question why he had to go this early,” Atty. Leni added.

Mrs. Robredo also said that during that fateful day, she was exchanging texts and calls with her husband, updating each other of the ongoing swimming competition of their youngest daughter Jillian and the secretary’s activities during the day. But it was not the usual 10 to 20 text exchanges for the day. It was more than double that time but she said the Secretary was in a happy mood.

When she heard of the plane crash, she asked her daughter to pray.

“Jillian was beside me at that time so I told her - let us pray, something might have happened to your Papa’s plane, she was already crying. I called up Aika who was in Manila at that time to also pray together with her sister Trisha,” Atty Leni said.

“Everyone was hoping he will be okey, but after the first night, I knew he was gone.”

Atty. Leni said that they didn’t realize that her husband have done so much for his countrymen. What she knows of is that Sec. Jess is assured Naguenos love. They were not prepared for the overwhelming support and all the accolades generously pouring in after they have heard of the Secretary’s fate.

While Robredo had some frustrations at DILG, Atty. Leni believes that he was still hopeful that something good will come out of these sacrifices. She recalled her husband saying that it is important that we have a good President who will make his vision of having transparent governance, a reality. Robredo knew he was on his way to making his dreams come true.

“He was always telling me that it was important to have a no nonsense President and because of this, things will fall into place. He was a bit impatient but he knew all will be well.”

Atty. Leni called on everyone to continue supporting what her husband has started - his fight for corruption, his stand on good governance and call for transparency and vital reforms in the bureaucracy, among others – for only through these that we will keep the memory of a good man alive. (LSM- PIA 5, Camarines Sur)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Organizers dedicate CCA Conference for Tourism to Robredo 

LEGAZPI CITY, August 23 (PIA) --- Amid the grief and pain now being felt throughout the country over the tragic death of Secretary Jesse Robredo of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, organizers of the First Philippine Tourism Conference on Climate Change Adaptation deemed it proper to dedicate the national event to the Secretary as an expression of gratitude for his staunch support to the cause of climate change adaptation.

Earlier at the onset of preparations for this historic conference, Robredo issued Memorandum Circular No. 2012-108 “enjoining all concerned local government officials and functionaries to participate” in the PTCCCA.

Robredo said, “With their participation to this activity, we move one step closer to our goals of building awareness, engaging action, advancing legislation and education as well as supporting scientific advancement in the study of climate change and the environment and their impacts.”

Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine B. Rosal and Department of Tourism Regional Director Maria “Nini” Ong Ravanilla disclosed that the Opening Prayer on Day 1 of the three-day conference will also be offered for the repose of the soul of Secretary Robredo.

Former Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, a bosom friend of the Secretary will lead the prayer while the participants will be holding lighted candles.

LCCAD President and Chairman Nong Rangasa who is also the PTCCCA conference director said it is to be expected that the PTCCCA will be tinged with mourning as almost all the participants will come from offices under the umbrella of the DILG.

"An epitome of a good and honest government official, Jesse Robredo will be remembered not as a politician but as a compassionate person, an influential and extraordinary leader, and a good family man among many other qualities that made him beloved by the rich and poor alike," Rangasa said.

"Soon his name will be a lingering tune in the heart of every caring Filipino, but one thing is for sure right now: he will be treading the “Daang Matuwid” towards “ home” to those “whose deeds are blameless and whose hearts are pure,” he added. (MAL/CMVicuna-LCCAD/PIA5)

Senator supports water sourcing project

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug 23 (PIA) –- The Sorsogon City Water District (SCWD) and the Casiguran Water District (CWD) are expecting assistance from the office of Sen. Francis Escudero, after he spoke with the management and board of the two water districts.

In the meeting, Escudero inquired on how the two are going through with the proposed water supply sourcing of SCWD from the Orok Spring in Inlagadian, Casiguran.

He also asked on the options that can be considered to pursue the project at the soonest possible time.

Engineer Eduardo Tejada, general manager of CWD, said that while Orok Springs has more than enough water to offer SCWD, they need to set up transmission facilities from the source to Trece Martinez down to Abuyog, which will be separately installed for SCWD.

Six-inch and a four-inch diameter pipelines, including a control valve and other fittings will be installed.

Tejada added that applying for a loan for the purpose may be considered provided the cost of water, monthly consumption and billing should be fixed at a rate, which would fairly compensate their loan amortization.

Jesus F. Fumera, SCWD board of directors chair, and Nelson Doloirason, SCWD director, said the management’s intention of installing a bigger storage tank or reservoir in Brgy. Abuyog is to ensure adequate water storage for concessionaires in the eastern area of the city and probably replace old pipelines.

While the possibilities are high for the pursuit of the project, both parties are open for mutual coordination and development of an appropriate program of work (POW).

Escudero advised both parties that they may consider applying for a loan based on the POW and he would lobby for its approval at the Local Water Utilities Administration.

He added that he will also try to look for ways to backup the project by any means possible.

A follow-up meeting and consultation is scheduled by the Senator on September 15 this year.

The meeting, which was held during the wake of the late Congressman Sonny Escudero III in their residence in Buhatan, Sorsogon was also attended by SCWD Vice Chair Sylvia R. Lao, Secretary Teresita N. Borromeo, Budget Division Manager Orlando Gacias, Maintenance Division OIC Andy Fercia; and CWD board of directors chair Ruiz. (MAL/MMLJ-SCWD/PIA5)

Daet City mayor cites Robredo as his idol, mentor and friend

By Rosalita Base-Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, August 23 (PIA) -- “Secretary Jesse Robredo was my idol, mentor and friend,” said Mayor Tito Sarion of Daet yesterday during the Daet Press Corps meeting.

As a youth leader, Sarion said he wanted to emulate Robredo and other leaders like former Sen. Raul Roco and Cong. Marcial Pimental.

He said many of his advocacies and ideas in governance and politics are inspired by the successes of Robredo in Naga City.

The mayor said he also advocated independence from national subsidies and even established a political force in his own, doing away with traditional political power.

“To a mayor like me, to become a Robredo is a dream – to be given such recognition like the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM), Kondrad Adenuaer and Ramon Magsaysay Awards,” Sarion said.

Mayor Sarion said as a mentor, Robredo coached them to become manager and champions.

The late secretary, he said, was deeply committed in making the country great again by way of changing the core values of good government and the values of local leaders as vanguards of the local development.

Sarion said that was not learned from the books.

He cited that Jesse was a friend – a friend so special that they listen to him.

“He was reliable and a man of word. Even how busy and far he was, he see to it that he will come and meet up to a commitment. When he say Yes, it’s 100 percent yes,” Sarion said.

“Jesse, wherever you are, your character as a person will continue to inspire us. In behalf of the people of Daet, thank you very much,” he added. (MAL/RBM-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

DOTC Sec. Roxas all praises for Sec. Robredo's daughters

By Aida A. Naz

Naga City, Aug 23 (PIA) -- Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas was all praises on the three daughters of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Secretary Robredo left behind three daughters Jessica Marie, 25; Tricia, 18 and Jillian, 11.

“Nakakabilib ang katatagan nila sa panahong mula pa ng hinanahap si Jesse (Their fortitude that they showed, from the time Jesse was reported missing, was truly remarkable)," Roxas said.

He added that the search and rescue operations, the two elder daughters would ask about the blow by blow operations, the plane’s skid marks, where the documents were found, including the safety of the divers.

Roxas also said that in the words of his generation, the girls have class, dignity and grace under pressure. This only shows that they were brought up well by parents Jesse and Leni, he said.

Jessica Marie, nicknamed Aika, works at Chevron. Her sister Tricia is currently a student of Ateneo de Manila University while youngest Jillian is an elementary pupil at Universidad de Sta. Isabel here.

Jillian is also medalist in national swimming and international math competitions. (MAL/AAN-PIA5)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Task Force Robredo formed for ongoing wake of Robredo

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Aug 22 (PIA) -- An incident command center to oversee the activities in line with the wake of the late DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo has been set up here.

The Secretary’s wake is open to the public at the Archbishop’s Palace since yesterday evening until Friday morning.

Dubbed Task Force Robredo, the group will facilitate inter-agency efforts to man the peace and security situations in and around the wake area, ensure the proper flow of vehicles through the imposition of a re-routing scheme to assist the motorists and provide the necessary logistics during the entire wake period.

The task force is headed by Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang and Naga City Mayor John Bongat.

Carandang, who is also heading the committee on funeral arrangements, earlier issued Bulletin No.1 containing the public viewing schedules of the remains of the late Secretary Robredo.

On Friday, the remains will be transported from Naga City to Malacanang Palace. Initially, it is scheduled to be sent back at the city hall on Sunday.

Since last night, thousands of mourning Bicolanos and supporters coming from different parts of the region, lined up at the Archbishop’s palace to have a last glimpse of SILG Robredo inside his close coffin.

To ensure that mourners are out of harm’s way, the Philippine National Police has deployed 254 policemen to man three strategic areas – the vicinity within the Archbishop’s palace, the residence of Secretary Robredo and all roads where visitors and some activities during the entire duration of the wake and vigil will take place.

Last night during the wake, Robredo’s eldest daughter Jessica Marie also fondly called “Aika,” thanked everyone for their prayers and support in this difficult times that their family is going through.

A few years back, Aika wrote an essay about her father being the source of her inspiration during the 2003 Ramon Magsaysay Student Essay Competition. It won the grand prize for the High School Category.

"His decision to continue serving his native city and resist the lure of national prominence, which a higher elective post could have brought him, had the deepest impact on me and imparted to me life-long lessons: that no deed is too small nor too big if it makes other people’s burden lighter and their lives better; that greatness of spirit can be achieved not through wealth, power or popularity, but by living your life with quiet dignity and by becoming a man for others. By his example, I have been truly inspired to dare to make a difference, break ground, stand up for my own convictions and serve others selflessly and with integrity in whatever field I will find myself in," Aika wrote. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

College, university teams vie for Ibalong Fest nat’l beach volleyball champ

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Aug 22 (PIA) -- Eight teams from various colleges and universities in the country spiked their way under the scorching heat of sun refreshed by the soothing freshness of the Pacific wind into the first Ibalong Festival National Women’s Beach Volleyball Invitational Championship here during the weekend.

One of the teams came from University of Santo Tomas (UST) while Far Eastern University (FEU) and National University (NU) fielded two teams each. The other teams are from La Salle University-Dasmariñas (Cavite), University of Perpetual Help System-Laguna and Aquinas University of Legazpi.

Sanctioned by the Philippine Volleyball Federation, the only national governing body of volleyball in the country, the games open on Saturday and will go through Sunday where the champion will be determined through a point system of judging, said Roy Dimaculangan, the event organizer.

“We have included women’s beach volleyball in the sports events of the Ibalong Festival as the city government introduces new innovations for more fun and adventure during the celebration this year,” said Dimaculangan on Friday.

Ibalong is a yearly jubilee in colorful celebration of the city’s mythical past instituted by the city government here into its promotion of local tourism and investment.

Dimaculangan said volleyball is a sport that has now achieved global popularity and played not only by men as it is also taken up by the women enthusiastically across the world.

The reason for the game’s popularity and the speed of success lie with the fact that it has simple rules and does not require a lot of preparation to play. All that is needed are a ball, a net and players.

Beach volleyball is a variation of the game that is also becoming very popular and standardized featuring two players on a team instead of the usual six. However, beach volleyball is also a sport in which both the men and the women take part.

“Beach volleyball especially of women is one of the most glorious sports of them all being a sport played by a team of glistening, athletic girls in bikinis. Certainly, it will add more fun to Ibalong Festival,” Dimaculangan said.

Beach volleyball aficionados will surely be delighted with the game to be held at the beach along the Legazpi City Boulevard that stretches along the fine black sand beach of the city bordering the Albay Albay Gulf.

Dimaculangan said playing beach volleyball is not just fun but provides a total workout that is good for the health. Anyone could play beach volleyball wherever there's a sand or net. The good thing about this sport is that anyone could play it: men and women, teenager and adult.

In this event, he said, having powerful legs is important although jumping and falling skills are more important. Well-tuned beach volleyball players know how it is more difficult to run and jump on sand rather than usual off-beach courts.

The rules for beach volleyball are just like the usual volleyball game. The only difference is that it is played on sand, usually by the beach where movements while basking at the heat of the sun when playing is excessively challenging.

“This challenge makes it a fun sport,” Dimaculangan added. (MAL/LGU Legazpi City)

Climate sensitive talks boost tourism amidst Ibalong Festival

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, August 22 (PIA) -- The First Philippine Tourism Conference on Climate Change Adaptation (PTCCCA) on Aug. 23-25 to be held at the Oriental Hotel, Legazpi, is a big boost to the city’s tourism activity.

City Mayor Geraldine B. Rosal said this as the event with an expected 1,000 participants will be held side by side the Ibalong Festival which depicts local legendary heroes Handyong, Baltog and Bantong of the Bicol epic who fought man-made and natural calamities during the ancient Bicolandia.

The modern ‘heroes’ that ought to be molded within the premises of the conference will be the expected outcome of this historic and first of a kind Climate Change Adaptation strategy focusing on the tourism industry as a significant growth area for countryside to national economic development played by resilient stakeholders policy makers, key government agencies, planners, scientists, business entities and communities, among others.

The PTCCCA coincides with the Street Carnival of the annual Ibalong Festival will perk up investment ventures in the city as the twin events will be highlighted by the inauguration of the Boulevard de Legazpi, a new road opening going to the South Luzon International Airport

The Ibalong Festival that would keep everyone in the city animated during the whole of this month, kicked off on August 10 and closes on the 31st with the mayor rendering her “Ulat sa Bayan,” a report on the state of the city that would tackle her administration’s achievement for the whole year starting in August 2011.

It will be staged in an open ground at the newly developed Legazpi City Boulevard, a multi-billion-peso urban development site that opens a multidimensional facet of urbanization.

This development is giving way to the phenomenal growth the city has been achieving in the fields of tourism, commerce, industry, agriculture, information technology (IT), business process outsourcing (BPO), infrastructure, housing and transportation, among other aspects of local economy.

The Ibalong Festival will be highlighted by the Street Party that will see the participation of every man on the street in a night-long celebration through music, dances and other fanfares. The Ibalong Beer Plaza at the Boulevard which will run up to the last night of the month-long festival will also open on the same occasion.

City Mayor Geraldine Rosal, Tourism-Bicol Regional Director Maria “Nini” Ravanilla and Local Climate Change Adaptation for Development (LCCAD) Inc. President and PTCCCA Conference Director Nong Rangasa are the prime movers in this national conference.

Meanwhile, Aside from the walk-in confirmations to PTCCCA, the on-line registration of participants continues to pour in from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

President Benigno S. Aquino III is invited to keynote this remarkable conference to find solutions to the disastrous effects of extreme weather events like the recent floods that hit Metro Manila and the nearby provinces.

Senator Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change hopes to include the result of the PTCCCA deliberations in the framework plans to address the massive flooding in Metro Manila and the Camanava area following the revelation of Dr. Fernando Siringan, an expert of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute that Metro Manila has started to “sink” and why there is massive flooding even in the absence of a typhoon.

While the major partners are all excited in this event, local executives, development and planning officials, tourism officers, and other major stakeholders who have signified their attendance to the PTCCCA have already reached the maximum number of expected participants, still more are placing reservations and hotel accommodations.

Rangasa disclosed that flood-damaged areas like Pampanga, Bataan, Alaminos and Nueva Vizcaya are sending more participants than the expected number. (MAL/LCCAD-PIA5)

DOT expects Legazpi’s Ibalong Fest to boost Albay’s tourism growth

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Aug 22 (PIA) -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) is confident that this year's Ibalong Festival will improve the performance of the local tourism industry in Albay.

Now on its 21st year, the festival which celebrates the city’s mythical past, opened on Friday with a grand merrymaking that saw local officials, government employees, barangay leaders, students, various groups of young professionals and businessmen, visitors and tourists partying around the city.

“We are counting not only the arrivals during the month-long duration of the festival but within the whole year as Ibalong is a tourism promotion whose positive effect on the industry is long ranged,” DOT Regional Director Maria Ong-Ravanilla said on Tuesday.

Last year’s tourist arrivals here and throughout Albay was counted at over 350,000, posting a 17 percent increase over its 2010 performance. This increase surpassed the 2011 national tourism growth rate of 15 percent.

This year, early figures indicate a positive trend owing to various tourism-related activities like the provincial government-sponsored Magayon Festival and similar events initiated by several local government units like Tabak Festival in Tabaco City, Coron Festival in Tiwi, Baybayon Festival in Bacacay, Daragang Magayon in Daraga and Paroy Festival in Libon, among others.

The rise of this city as among the country’s top convention centers is also contributing significantly to the province’s phenomenal tourism industry growth as this draws thousands of visitors in any given occasion, Ravanilla said.

This month, 3,000 participants from all over the country are expected to attend the Conference on Climate Change Adaptation here on August 23 to 25 while the 64th national convention of the Junior Chamber International Philippine (Jaycees) is slated in the city on October.

In November, the national convention of the Municipal Mayors League of the Philippines will be held in this city as well.

Ibalong Festival is part of tourism program of the city that is proving very effective in promoting the place as a major tourist destination not only because of the majestic Mt. Mayon but because it is packed with fun, adventure and business opportunities, Ravanilla said.

“Anyway, it is always more fun in Legazpi because people here are known for their hospitality and its distinct tourism features with its people, great history, fascinating culture and enchanting arts. Mayon Volcano on the other hand serves not only as an attraction but rather a destination,” she added.

Noel Rosal, the city’s former mayor now the city administrator, said scaling the 2,463-meter elevation of the summit of Mayon, the Philippines’ most active volcano is truly an experience of a lifetime.

Climbing up to the level close to the summit or an area commonly referred to as the knife’s edge is for the intermediate-expert climber or for one who is very fit. It normally takes two days and one night to reach the summit and it is essential that one have a competent and knowledgeable local guide, he said.

To plan a climb to Mt. Mayon, one must register and log at the Mayon Volcano National Park (MVNP) and Ecological Campsite and Ecopark located at foot slope of the volcano specifically at Brgy. Lidong, Sto. Domingo, Albay.

It is recommended that climbers visit the DOT regional office at the Government Regional Center in Barangay Rawis to arrange for logistical requirements and safety precautions.

For the outdoor enthusiasts interested in day treks, one highly recommended trek is the Camp One site which is a four-hour climb going up under a normal pace from the Dona Pepita Golf Course and Ecopark or the MVNP.

This trail takes climbers to Camp One which is a base camp used by mountaineers before their final ascent to the summit of the volcano.

Located roughly 780 meters above sea level and situated beside a relatively dry waterfall bed, this site offers spectacular views of the countryside and ocean below.

“The journey to the site will take you through some intensely varying and beautiful terrain including a lahar flow gulley, light Agoho Pine forests, heavily covered giant fern forests and cogon grassland,” Rosal said.

As part of the Ibalong Festival’s adventure events, Tukad sa Mayon (Climb to Mayon), an organized mountain climbing tour up to the Mayon summit which will be participated in by both amateur and veteran climbers has been scheduled on August 24 and 25. (MAL/DOC-LGU Legazpi City/PIA5)

DOH V holds Tobacco Control Strategy forum

By: Sally A. Atento

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug 22 (PIA) -- The National Center for Health Promotion (NCHP) and the Center for Health Development of the Department of Health (DOH) in the region spearheaded a forum on the National Tobacco Control Strategy (NTCS) for media and tobacco-control stakeholders on August 16, this city.

Nestor F. Santiago, DOH-Center for Health Development Bicol regional director, said the event is in line with the goals set by the Bloomberg Initiative Project to consolidate the country’s effort in protecting public health from the devastating effect of tobacco use through sector-wide participation and involvement in tobacco control and implementation of the NTCS.

“The NTCS reflects the government’s political commitment to effective tobacco control for healthier Filipinos, building on the premise that Filipinos will be given the right to be protected from tobacco-related diseases and relieved from the burden of tobacco use in the years to come,” Santiago said.

Tasked to carry out the said goals is the National Tobacco Control Coordinating Office.

The Bloomberg Initiative Project is the framework used by the World Health Organization for tobacco control, which provides funds to government agencies and civil society organizations in different countries including the Philippines.

“Tobacco contributes to, or aggravates, eight of the top ten causes of deaths in the country. Thus, the present government is determined to continue in strengthening its tobacco control efforts to face the many challenges that tobacco use poses for public health,” Santiago said.

Together with the presentation of the NTCS by Dr. Ivanhoe Escartin, NCHP OIC, are discussions on salient issues on tobacco control such as the best practices on tobacco control among LGUs by Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine Rosal.

Legazpi City has been a Red Orchid Hall of Fame Awardee for three consecutive years of outstanding performance in the enforcement of smoke-free programs and policies together with the different sectors of society. (Sally Atento/MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Robredo’s remains finally home

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Aug. 21 (PIA) -- President Benigno Aquino personally sent home Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo’s remains to his family today aboard C130.

He was met by Atty. Leni Robredo, their three daughters- Aika, Trisha and Jillian, together with friends, colleagues and political supporters at the Pili Airport at around 12:40 noon today.

After DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas’ teary-eyed announcement on the television this morning that Robredo’s remains was already found by foreign technical divers at around 7:15am today, President Aquino immediately flew in to Masbate where he personally oversee the retrieval of Robredo’s body until it was placed in a metal casket.

From the airport, the convoy carrying the secretary’s body was showered with yellow confetti and flowers. Individuals lined up along the main thoroughfares , some with placards etched with the words “We love you Secretary Jesse”.

The party proceeded at Funeraria Imperial at Penafrancia Avenue, Naga City to transfer Robredo’s remains from the metal casket to a coffin of his family’s choice. The President was still with the family, personally consoling and making sure that Robredo’s remains is decently laid to rest before he left for Manila.

The family has yet to decide where the vigil will be held.

Yesterday, President was also here in Naga to personally brief Atty. Leni of the status of the ongoing search and rescue off Masbate Coast. The private conversation took place at the Pili Airport lounge for almost an hour.

With the President to console the family of Robredo are DSWD Sec Dinky Soliman, DBM Secretary Butch Abad, DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang and other national government officials. (LSMacatangay/PIA-Camarines Sur)

Naga Chamber searches for best Breastfeedinhg Center

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Aug. 21 (PIA) -- The Naga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCC) launched on August 14 the Search for the Best Breastfeeding Company in Naga City.

The said endeavor is in support of the existing city ordinance authored by City Councilor Cecilia De Asis requiring all government agencies or offices, including private establishments in Naga to have in their workplace a breastfeeding corner or space for lactating mothers. This was enacted in 2011.

The occasion was attended by representatives from various business sectors, government line agencies and members of non-government organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders in line with their own campaign to promote programs for lactating mothers.

NCCC Director Charlie Sy Chong, said that they want to reinforce the government’s campaign to encourage institutions in the city to put up lactating or breastfeeding center in their establishments.

She said that this would allow not just the lactating mothers to breastfeed their infants while at work but would also allow mothers who are transacting at the establishment to carry their young with them while doing business.

NCCI seeks to encourage, protect and support the practice of breastfeeding through the practice of rooming in, in adherence to the national policy.

The National Statistics Office (NSO)-Camarines Sur already heeded this call when it inaugurated its breastfeeding center at their provincial office at Panganiban Drive here in March, to allow clients breastfeed babies while completing their transactions. Two other malls here in the city have also complied with the same ordinance.

Aside from the existing national and local ordinance on breastfeeding, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) together with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), local government units, and other government and private agencies are also in full support of the breastfeeding program.

Also in line with the breastfeeding program is the promotion of the infant and young child policies, including the Department of Health’s monitoring of the implementing rules and regulations of laws that protect breastfeeding and Presidential Proclamation No. 1113 mandating government agencies, local government units, schools and health facilities to observe international standard of ethics prohibiting milk company sponsorship. (LSM-PIA 5, Camarines Sur)

Remains of Robredo brought to Naga

By By MALoterte, EADelgado

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug 21 (PIA) -- Remains of Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse Robredo were placed in a metal casket and will be brought in a CI30 plane to Naga.

Accompanying the body are the President and some Cabinet members.

Transportation and Communication Sec. Mar Roxas stated during the media briefing immediately after the find said that divers found the body of Robredo underwater still inside the plane wreckage around 7:45 a.m. and brought to surface 30 minutes later.

"The body was pulled from some 800 meters off shore Masbate City and at sea depth of roughly 180 feet," he said.

Robredo's body will be directly brought to his hometown Naga City anytime soon.

“The President was informed of the developments who personally called Atty. Leni Robredo to relay the sad news,” Roxas said as he tried to fight off tears.

In Naga City following announcement of Roxas of the developments, Robredo’s family privately shared their grief for the loss while relatives, friends, colleagues, constituents and the media stayed nearby the residence to continue their continuing support.

Roxas meanwhile said retrieval operations for two pilots, Captain Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese flight student Kshitiz Chand, are still in progress.

The retrieval, according to him, of the remaining body is difficult as the fuselage had overturned but operations continue.

Roxas also has already conferred at the operation center the developments with the family members of the two others killed in the crash. (MAL/EAD-PIA5)

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's still search and rescue ops to look for Robredo, companions off Masbate waters

by MALoterte, EADelgado

LEGAZPI CITY, August 20 (PIA) – Even as President Aquino left Masbate this afternoon, several key officials have stayed behind taking the reins of the search and rescue operation to find Interior and Local Government Sec. Jesse Robredo and two others who have since been missing after the plane carrying them crashed off Masbate waters Saturday afternoon.

President Aquino left the officials with a directive that remains a search and rescue operation for the missing.

The President has been since early morning yesterday until this afternoon in Masbate City overseeing the massive aerial, surface, and underwater search and rescue operations conducted kilometers within the vicinity of the crash site off Masbate waters.

Before returning to Manila, President Aquino met with Atty. Lenny Robredo, wife of the secretary, and other members of the family this afternoon at the airport lounge in Naga Airport and briefed the same on the status of the operation in Masbate.

The President left Naga Airport around 5:45 pm now heading toward Manila.

Meanwhile, staying put in Masbate City search and rescue operation center include Transportation and Communication Sec. Mar Roxas, Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin, Budget Sec. Butch Abad, Presidential Communication Development and Strategic Planning Office Sec. Ricky Carandang, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Jessie Dellosa to take the lead and work hand in hand with the local officials and response units.

In a briefing this afternoon, Roxas said that still more aerial, surface and underwater search will be conducted.

Roxas said that sea crafts are continuously combing the surface within kilometers off Masbate shore while specialized technical deep diving group, including volunteer foreign divers, from  Cebu with special equipment have since 1:00 pm entered the water and intend to dive down to 250 meters depth.

“We have also yet to pick up ELT emergency locator signal from the plane that is being usually transmitted if plane equipped with which when it crashes to help us speed up the search,” he added.

Earlier today in Naga City, Aika Robredo, eldest daughter of Sec. Robredo, said during the press conference that “our family remains hopeful that our father and the two other missing will be found alive and hopes for more definitive news as we have also prepared ourselves and braced for the worst”.

Robredo’s daughter furthered that the family is very satisfied of and very grateful to the government’s relentless effort, especially to President Aquino and his Cabinet, to find the still missing passengers of the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane off Masbate waters.

"We are just overwhelmed by the unbelievable outpouring of support and prayers for our father and our family," she said.

Jun Lavadia, a close friend of the DILG chief and serving as spokesperson for the Robredos, said in an interview that they remain optimistic that the secretary is alive and may perhaps be able to escape from the plane, along with his companions, prior or after the crash and swam to shore noting that he is a good swimmer.  (MAL/EAD-PIA5)

Robredo family comforted by people support

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Aug 20 (PIA) -- In two days of uncertainty and anticipation, Atty. Leni Gerona Robredo, wife of missing Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo still managed to smile as she accepted friends and supporters at their residence in Bulusan, Dayangdang here hoping for the best but spoke of being practical in the face of odds.

In her Facebook account, Leni expressed her sentiments at the moment and her gratitude for the overwhelming support that their family is receiving.

The post said, “Day 2: Waiting game continues. We remain hopeful as we brace ourselves for the worst… overwhelmed by the unbelievable outpouring of love and prayers for Jess and our family. Thank you to Sec. Dinky Soliman who stayed with me throughout the day. Thank you to President Noynoy for personally overseeing the search and rescue operations. Thank you also to two of Jess' closest and dearest friends in the cabinet -Sec. Mar Roxas and Sec. Butch Abad for regularly updating us from Masbate. We are truly indebted.”

The President stayed overnight in Masbate to personally oversee the ongoing search and rescue operations, accompanied by Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmen, and Congressman Joseph Abaya of Cavite.

During the first day of the search, Mrs. Robredo also requested for prayers through her Facebook status.

It stated, “ Thank you for your prayers in this very difficult time in our lives. As of the moment, Jess has not been found yet but we are very grateful for all the support and the help everyone has been extending. Please continue praying with us that God will bring him back home safely.”

After news of the plane crash, the social networking sites, specifically the accounts of Atty. Leni including that of her daughters-- Aika, Trisha and Jillian--had been flooded with support and prayers for the rescue and safe delivery of Secretary Robredo and his two companions - Captain Jessup M. Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand, a Nepalese student pilot.

In the official site of the local government of Naga, Mayor John Bongat, who is still currently in Masbate, said, “That as the search and rescue operations for our beloved Sec. Jesse M. Robredo continue, we call upon all Nagueños, Bicolanos and Filipinos to join us in prayer for the good Secretary's safety and that of the two pilots as well. Viva la Virgen!”

All Naguenos and everyone praying for Secretary Robredo and his two other pilots - are still hopeful that prayers will do wonders .(MAL/LSM-PIA5, Camarines Sur)

All system go for the 1st PTCCCA
...stakeholders affirm support and participation

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, August 20 (PIA) -- In less than a week from today, the First Philippine Tourism Conference on Climate Change Adaptation (PTCCCA) will open at The Oriental Hotel Legazpi.

On-line registration of participants continues to pour in from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

As of this writing, five of the premier hotels in Legazpi City are almost fully booked but organizers assured that there are enough hotels to accommodate the more or less one thousand expected delegates.

President Benigno S. Aquino III is invited to keynote this historic conference to find solutions to the disastrous effects of extreme weather events like the recent floods that hit Metro Manila and its environs.

The participants expressed anticipation on what the President’s pronouncements will be considering the brunt of “Hagupit ng Habagat” that caused so much hopelessness to the victims.

Besides the President, other key officials of the government are expected to grace the PTCCCA such as Vice President Jejomar Binay; Senator Loren Legarda, the UN Asia-Pacific Senior Champion on Climate change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCA and DRR); Secretaries Jesse Robredo of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Ramon Paje of Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Lucille Sering and Heherson Alvarez of Climate Change Commission (CCC), among others.

Senator Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change hopes to include the result of the PTCCCA deliberations in the framework plans to address the massive flooding in Metro Manila and the Camanava areas following the revelation of Dr. Fernando Siringan, an expert of the UP Marine Science Institute that Metro Manila has started to “sink” and why there is massive flooding even in the absence of a typhoon.

On the local scene, Mayor Geraldine Rosal of this city, Tourism Regional Director Maria “Nini” Ravanilla and Local Climate Change Adaptation for Development (LCCAD), Inc. President and PTCCCA Conference Director Nong Rangasa are the prime movers in this national conference.

Rosal said “the PTCCCA, which coincides with the Street Carnival of the annual Ibalong Festival, will boost investment ventures in the city in as much as the twin events will be highlighted by the inauguration of the Boulevard de Legazpi, a new road opening going to the South Luzon International Airport.”

While the major partners are all agog in the preparation of this significant event, local executives, development and planning officials, tourism officers, and other major stakeholders who have signified their attendance to the PTCCCA have already reached the maximum number of expected participants yet there are still more are placing reservations and hotel accommodations.

Even as the countdown begins today, some national legislators other than the six Bicolano representatives have also manifested their interest in joining the event, not to mention the local officials in Bicol who were mandated by an Memorandum Circular (MC) from the DILG to attend the conference as well as officials of government owned or controlled corporations who were also mandated by an MC from the Civil Service Commission.

LCCAD president and PTCCCA conference director, Nong Rangasa disclosed that flood-ravaged areas like Pampanga, Bataan, Alaminos and Nueva Vizcaya are sending more participants than the expected number. (MAL/LCCAD-PIA5)

Committee on population briefs media on reproductive health

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Aug 20 (PIA) -- The Philippine Legislator’s Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD), briefed members of the local media, Thursday, at StarMark Royale, here on the status of the reproductive health bill currently being amended in Congress.

PLCPD is an organization of legislators from the Senate and House of Representatives working together among legislative bodies from the national down to the local level to develop policies on population and human development.

Rio Magpayo, PLCPD Local Governance and Development Center manager, discussed the salient provisions of House Bill 4244 or an Act providing for a comprehensive policy on responsible parenthood, reproductive health, population and development among members of the press.

Contrary to the belief the RH bill is centered on abortion or the aspects of family planning only, Magpayo clarified it is only one of the 12 elements of the said bill.

“We are sometimes misguided with the notion that we are only talking about family planning when we say reproductive health. There are other concerns that are included in this bill, all for the over-all welfare of the mother and her child specifically regarding health concerns, that will not just benefit the family but the society as well,” Magpayo said.

The 12 elements of reproductive health contains maternal, infant and child health and nutrition, including breastfeeding, prevention and management of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions and disorders and proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications.

The RH Bill also includes salient provisions on the treatment of infertility and sexual dysfunction, mental health aspect of reproductive health care, counseling and education in sexuality and sexual health, male involvement and participation, elimination of violence against women, adolescent and youth reproductive health, education and counseling on sexuality and reproductive health and family planning information and services.

Magpayo reiterated that the inclusion of the family planning provision in the bill aims to provide accurate education and counseling on the full range of legal and medically safe Family Planning (FP) methods. It also aims to provide education in information on human sexuality and responsible parenthood in schools and workplaces.

In the establishment of the RH Care programs, members of the society will also be provided with information and services addressing RH needs of the poor, senior citizens, women in prostitution, differently-abled persons and women and children in war crisis situation.

Dr. John Ferchito Avelino, OIC Director III of the Center for Health Development , Department of Health (DOH) Region V, also one of the invited speakers during the media briefing , acknowledged the importance of a multi media campaign to raise the level of public awareness on the urgent need to protect and promote reproductive health and rights and population and development. (MAL/LSM-PIA5, Camarines Sur)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Family, colleagues remain hopeful Robredo, pilots will be found alive
…additional choppers, ships, divers deployed

By MALoterte, EADelgado

LEGAZPI CITY, August 19 (PIA) -- Besides the strong current and deep waters of Masbate Pass, time poses a big challenge to the search and rescue teams, which for more than 24 hours now, have been relentlessly scouring the crash site and surrounding areas to find Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and two others.

President Aquino refuses to give up and continues to stay put in the operation center overseeing the search and rescue operation until this evening optimistic that Robredo and the two pilots will be found alive.

Family, relatives, friends, colleagues and supporters of Robredo meanwhile offered simultaneous masses at the churches of San Francisco, Immaculate Conception, and Metropolitan Cathedral praying for and imploring Ina’s intercession for the safe return of Robredo and his companions.

Supporters continue to pour in Robredo’s residence to show support and anticipating positive developments for the ongoing search and rescue operations in Masbate waters.

Transportation and Communication Secretary Mar Roxas meanwhile bared that divers recovered mid-afternoon the flight plan more than 100 feet underwater indicating that the search and rescue mission is right on the vicinity of the crash site and the remnants of the ill-fated plane are close by.

The discovery of the flight manifest followed after rescuers also recovered parts of the plane's right wing with the aircraft designation plate RPC 4431.

Divers have also been deployed to investigate some trace signals of metal objects on the sea floor of undetermined origin indicated by sonar less than a kilometer off Masbate island.

Around 200 people from the United States Navy, Philippine Navy and Air Force, Philippine Coast Guard, and Philippine National Police, Philippine Red Cross, scube-ers, alongside local fishing fishermen, are conducting the surface and underwater search.

Naval Forces of Southern Luzon (Navforsol) based on this city has stated that Philippine Navy’s helicopter PNH 422 from Sangley Point, Cavite City already arrived 5:05 p.m. in Masbate to augment aerial search and rescue efforts.

The Navy, according to Navforsol, will also deploy two of its logistic support vessel to sustain search and rescue operations namely LC 550 and BU 825.

In Albay, Gov. Joey Salceda said all 4 p.m. Sunday masses today in all parishes in Albay province were dedicated for the safety of Robredo and his two other companions - pilot Jessup Bahinting and co-pilot Kshitiz Chand - for the comfort of their families, fortitude of rescuers and peace of the entire nation-in-anguish in this period of uncertainty.

"I ask every Albayano to pray for that miracle for Jesse Robredo and to storm the gates of heaven so every angel would descend to protect him," Salceda furthered. (MAL/EAD-PIA5) 

PNoy leads search and rescue for Robredo, 2 others

By MALoterte, LSMacatangay and EADelgado

LEGAZPI CITY, August 19 (PIA) -- President Aquino is in Masbate overseeing the search and rescue operations for Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and two others whose plane crashed off Masbate waters Saturday afternoon.

Following earlier briefing from Masbate police provincial director Heriberto Olitoquit on the status of the operations, the President conferred with local officials and search and rescue teams on updates and to review strategies to recover Robredo and the two pilots of the ill-fated Piper Seneca five-seater plane.

Rescue units and divers from different response teams of the military, police, coast guard, volunteer groups, including local fishermen skilled in deep-sea diving, are relentlessly scouring at least five square kilometers of the crash site in Masbate Pass bent on recovering Robredo and company.

Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Transportation and Communication, who is also at the command center with the President, disclosed that a sonar equipment is now being used to detect deep underwater metal object in the crash site.

The President Aquino was earlier in the hospital to visit the crash survivor, Police Senior Inspector June Abrasado, Robredo’s aide-de-camp who was plucked from the sea minutes after the incident by fishermen who witnessed the plane crash.

The plane, on the accounts of eye witnesses, plowed into the sea minutes after take off. The plane seemed to make an emergency landing at the Masbate airport.

Cawayan Mayor Edgar Condor said in an interview that the motor of the plane sounded like the rotor of a helicopter and once on take off, appeared to go down instead of up.

Last night, diver-rescuers temporarily withdrew around 11:35 p.m. the night time search underwater from the crash site due to darkness, and strong current, however, a number of boats from the navy, coast guard and fishermen continued to comb the surface overnight.

Also yesterday, fishermen who were first in the crash site helping out in the operations recovered a crumpled portion of the plane the size of a writing desk with the numbers "431" indicating the ill-fated plane broke on impact.

The operations proceeded as early as 4 a.m. today augmented with more rescue units, divers, ships and choppers, including a US Cherokee helicopter that arrived around 9 a.m. to help out in the search and rescue operations.

With President Aquino staying put at the command post, search and rescue operations will continue to find the missing DILG secretary and the two pilots.

Meanwhile in Naga City, masses are being offered by family, relatives, government officials, acquaintances, constituents in the churches of San Francisco, Immaculate Conception, and Metropolitan Cathedral praying for the safety of the secretary and his companions.

Supporters continue to pour in Robredo’s residence to show support and anticipating positive developments for the ongoing search and rescue operations in Masbate waters. (MAL/EAD/LSM-PIA5)

Robredo’s family awaits rescue result

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, August 19 (PIA) -- Atty. Leni Robredo, wife of DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, continues to draw strength from family, friends and supporters, as she awaits for any update at their residence at Bulusan Street, Barangay Dayangdang here on the ongoing search and rescue off Masbate coast.

Comforted that President Aquino is personally leading the on-going search in Masbate since early this morning, Mrs. Robredo, together with her three daughters- Aika, Trisha, and Jillian continue to ask everyone to join them in prayers for the safe return of Sec. Robredo.

Earlier, masses were simultaneously offered at the churches of San Francisco, Immaculate Conception and Metropolitan Cathedral for the safety of Robredo and the two pilots after almost 20 hours since the Piper Seneca sank in Masbate waters yesterday afternoon.

DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, who was at Robredo’s residence this morning, was beside Atty. Leni, consoling her and her family in this distressful moment of waiting and anticipation.

A vigil is continuously being held in front of the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia situated in front of Robredo’s house. (MAL/LSM-PIA5- Camarines Sur) 

All systems go for the 1st PTCCCA, stakeholders affirm support and participation

LEGAZPI CITY, August 19 (PIA) – In less than a week from today, the First Philippine Tourism Conference on Climate Change Adaptation (PTCCCA) will open at The Oriental Hotel Legazpi. On-line registration of participants continues to pour in from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. 

So far, five of the premier hotels in Legazpi City are almost fully booked but organizers assured that there are enough hotels to accommodate the more or less one thousand expected delegates.

President Benigno S. Aquino III is invited to keynote this historic conference to find solutions to the disastrous effects of extreme weather events like the recent floods that hit Metro Manila and its environs.

The participants expressed anticipation on what the President’s pronouncements will be considering the brunt of “Hagupit ng Habagat” that caused so much hopelessness to the victims.

Besides the President, other key officials of the government are expected to grace the PTCCCA such as Vice President Jejomar Binay; Senator Loren Legarda, the UN Asia-Pacific Senior Champion on CCA and DRR; Secretaries Jesse Robredo of DILG, Ramon Paje of DENR, Lucille Sering and Heherson Alvarez of CCC, Elisea Gozun of PACC, and Nereus Acosta of PAEP, among others.

Senator Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change hopes to include the result of the PTCCCA deliberations in the framework plans to address the massive flooding in Metro Manila and the CAMANAVA area following the revelation of Dr. Fernando Siringan, an expert of the UP Marine Science Institute that Metro Manila has started to “sink” and why there is massive flooding even in the absence of a typhoon.    

On the local scene, Mayor Geraldine Rosal of this city, Tourism Regional Director Maria “Nini” Ravanilla and LCCAD, Inc. President and PTCCCA Conference Director Nong Rangasa are the prime movers in this national conference.

Rosal said “the PTCCCA, which coincides with the Street Carnival of the annual Ibalong Festival, will boost investment ventures in the city in as much as the twin events will be highlighted by the inauguration of the Boulevard de Legazpi, a new road opening going to the South Luzon International Airport.”

While the major partners are all agog in the preparation of this significant event, local executives, development and planning officials, tourism officers, and other major stakeholders who have signified their attendance to the PTCCCA have already reached the maximum number of expected participants still more are placing reservations and hotel accommodations.  

Even as the countdown begins today, some national legislators other than the six Bicolano representatives have also manifested their interest in joining the event, not to mention the local officials in Bicol who were mandated by an Memorandum Circular (MC) from the DILG to attend the conference as well as officials of government owned or controlled corporations who were also mandated by an MC from the Civil Service Commission.

LCCAD president and PTCCCA conference director, Nong Rangasa disclosed that flood-ravaged areas like Pampanga, Bataan, Alaminos and Nueva Vizcaya are sending more participants than the expected number. (MAL/LCCAD-PIA5)