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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bicol gets P1.07B for poverty-reduction projects in 2013

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 31 (PIA) --The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) of the government has aided some 2,051 communities with P1.07 billion in Bicol for continued implementation this 2013.

Bicol regional director Arnel Garcia of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) disclosed that all provinces will receive grants to target poor communities, with Albay receiving P149 million; Camarines Sur, P360 million; Camarines Norte, P97 million; Catanduanes, P48 million; Masbate, P197million; and Sorsogon with P218 million.

Garcia added that Kalahi-CIDDS, a multi-funded project of DSWD, covers at least 70 municipalities in all provinces of Bicol providing poverty-reduction projects to address local needs in the poorest areas in the region.

The project operates in different implementation processes with funding from the government and other international agencies.

Kalahi -CIDSS is a community-driven development (CDD) project in the Philippines which strongly advocates the involvement of local communities in the design and implementation of development projects to address the issue of poverty in the country.

The project also aims to improve local governance by having the people participate in the development process.

Garcia explained that community residents consensually decide on what type of poverty-reduction projects they need for funding.

“Common projects include: public goods or access projects such as pathways, farm-to-market roads, health centers, water systems, day-care centers and school buildings; community enterprise projects such as solar dryers, rice mills and community markets,” he furthered.

Garcia said that the selection of Kalahi-CIDSS project areas is based on the 2009 Philippines poverty statistics of National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

He noted that the regional poverty incidence among families is 36 percent. (MAL-PIA 5/JBMarbella-DSWD5)

Community-based festivals to bring out the best in Pinoys - NCCA

By Mike de La Rama, PGA

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 31 (PIA) -- The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is encouraging local artists to engage in community-based festivals in the Bicol Region to bring out the artistic brilliance of the Filipinos.

NCCA is spearheading a campaign on cultural policies of the Philippines to encourage local communities to promote their festivals, said Lutgardo Labad, NCCA National Committee on Dramatic Arts head said over the weekend.

“The community-based festival, Labad said, is very different because we need to involve the community, especially out-of-school youths and vulnerable groups to value social entrepreneurship and tourism.”

Labad said NCCA will provide a one-year training to organize the composition of community-based arts and drama groups.

“Their festival can deal with local prime commodities, lifestyle and other mythical stories in the community," Labad added.

He said the ultimate goal of the program is to create income from tourism.

In the province of Albay, festivals have a major impact on the development of cultural tourism to the host communities.

Labad said in the community-based festival, trained artists will use their respective historical and cultural themes to develop the annual events to attract visitors and creating cultural image by holding festivals in the community settings. (MAL/MDA-LGU-Albay/PIA5)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nine NPA rebels abandon armed struggle in Catanduanes

By Maj. Angelo Guzman, DPAO 9ID PA

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur, Jan. 30 (PIA/PA) -- The Army unit in the island province of Catanduanes continues to win the peace as a significant number of NPA rebels abandoned the armed struggle and joined the main stream of the society this January.

“Nine NPA rebels made the right decision to go down the mountains from the period Jan 17-27 this year,” said Lieutenant Colonel Rodolfo Batang, commanding officer of the 83rd Infantry Battalion based in San Andres town in Catanduanes.

Batang said the primary activities the unit is focusing now is the enrichment of knowledge of the former rebels through livelihood programs and seminars that they hope would enable them to support themselves when they are taken back to the mainstream society.

In 2012, also eight NPA rebels surrendered to the 83rd Infantry Battalion under the leadership of Batang.

“Through our Bayanihan Teams (BTs) which are deployed in insurgency influenced areas in Catanduanes, the citizens are educated on the importance of the IPSP 'Bayanihan' campaign of the AFP against insurgency,” said Brigadier General Ricardo R Visaya AFP, commander of the 901st Infantry Brigade in Daraga, Albay.

The brigade has operational jurisdiction of Army units in Albay and Catanduanes.

“The active presence of our BTs and the continuous operations drove them to voluntarily go down the mountains because they are no longer able to move freely among the masses from whom they used extortion money and other insurgency tactics,” Visaya said.

He also said that these surrenderees should set as examples for other rebels to follow.

Aside from the “snowball” of surrenders, Visaya said that through the efforts of the Bayanihan Teams, an M16 rifle, an M203 grenade launcher and 46 pieces of 40mm grenade launcher ammunition were also surrendered last January 20, 2013 in San Vicente, Virac, Catanduanes. (MAL/Maj. AGuzman- DPAO 9ID PA/PIA5)

DOH issues advisory against chikungunya virus

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 30 (PIA) -- The Provincial Health Office (PHO) here has issued a health advisory warning the public against the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus after recording at least eight cases in Barangay Bagatabao, Bagamanoc.

The PHO team visited the area last January 24 and took samples from patients for evaluation and confirmation by the Department of Health-Legazpi to address the growing concern in the affected community.

Provincial Health Officer II Lubella M. Sanchez said there is no vaccine available in the country to cure chikungunya. However, preventive measures can be done to avoid it, mainly by maintaining the surroundings clean and by practicing 4S: Search and destroy; Self protection; Seek early treatment and Say no to indiscriminate fogging.

According to the World Health Organization, chikungunya is a viral disease (genus Alphavirus) which is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes-including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

The name chikungunya originates from a verb in the Kimakonde language, meaning 'to become contorted.' This refers to the 'stooped' appearance of those suffering with joint pain which is a symptom of the disease. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

DepEd Catanduanes all set for Palarong Bicol 2013

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 30 (PIA) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) Catanduanes Division is all set for the 2013 Palarong Bicol to be held on February 23-28.

DepEd Catanduanes Officer-In-Charge Jose Doncillo said last week that DepEd Catanduanes is ready for the big event. He added that the billeting schools in Virac and Bato have affirmed their preparedness and readiness for the games.

Around 5,000 athletes from 13 participating delegations from Albay, Camarines Sur, Ligao City, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Iriga City, Legazpi City, Masbate, Masbate City, Naga City, Sorsogon, Sorsogon City and Tabaco City will compete for several sports events.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Office headed by Police Senior Supt. Eduardo Chavez said around 100 police personnel will be deployed in several sports venues, aside from the regular checkpoint being done by their office.

A media center will be set up at the event for local and national media coverage.

The winners in the 2013 Palarong Bicol will represent the region during the Palarong Pambansa 2013 at Negros Oriental in April. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

DTI, LTO and PNP join forces on implementing Motorcycle Helmet Act

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan. 30 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are working together to ensure the compliance of motorists to the Motorcycle Helmet Act.

LTO and PNP formed 3 groups which were deployed in barangays Concepcion, Pequena, Mabolo and San Felipe.

DTI Camarines Sur spokesman Jay Ablan said back riders are not exempted from wearing helmets. He added that most of the violations noted on the first day of the ordinance’s enforcement were from back riders, either wearing their helmet without the import commodity clearance (ICC) sticker or from not wearing a helmet.

“We started reminding the motorists since the last quarters of 2012 and even extended the deadline to ensure that information is properly disseminated, including the ample time given to motorcycle owners to register their helmets at the DTI office. DTI even made rounds in various municipalities just to ensure that everybody will take heed and comply with the law,” Ablan said.

Based on their records, DTI was able to certify 14, 811 ICC certified helmets in the province. Some 25,000 registered motorists in the province might have brought a new helmet which already came with an ICC sticker.

Meanwhile, DTI Provincial Director Edna Tejada commended the collaborating agencies for their active participation in this endeavor.

“The joint forces of DTI, LTO and PNP signalled the public that indeed we are serious on the implementation of the Helmet Law. However, more than compliance of the law, we are after for the safety of our motorists, and at DTI, we believe that it can happen if quality helmets will be used,” Tejada said in an interview.

The Motorcycle Helmet Act or Republic Act 10054 now being implemented nationwide mandates that riders should wear appropriate helmets that have passed the standards and specifications issued by DTI. (LSMacatangay/ PIA-Camarines Sur)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bicol tax collection exceeds 2012 target by 3.16%

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan 29 (PIA) -- Tax collection by the Bureau of Internal Revenues (BIR) regional office here has exceeded its 2012 target by 3.16 percent or P169.5 million.

Rita Palmiano, tax assistance unit head of BIR Legazpi City said the tax collection based on BIR’s cumulative report from January to December last year was P5.534 billion in 2012, higher than the target of P5.365 billion.

The collection is also 19.67 percent higher than the P4.7 billion collected in 2011.

“The amount is still expected to increase in anticipation of more remittances from other revenue district offices in the region,” Palmiano said.

Palmiano said the increase in the collection was a result of the agency’s massive campaigns and programs. He attributed the high tax collection turn out from remittances made by tax withholding agents in the region and from annual registration payments of regular suppliers of goods and services by individual and private corporations including large taxpayers, among others.

It can also be credited to the campaigns of BIR Bicol to instill in the minds of the buying public the importance of asking for a receipt for every purchase they make to ensure that the corresponding tax is paid.

Palmiano said the bureau has pursued a complementary project to the Ask for a Receipt Program by launching the receipt issuance campaign to remind all business establishments about the importance of issuing receipt in every transaction they make.

Business establishments were asked to post in conspicuous places in their establishments a new sticker with the message “Sa kada pagbakal mo, Obligacion ko an magresibo” (For every purchase you make, it is my obligation to issue a receipt).

This is also to instill in the minds of the businessmen that it is their obligation to issue a receipt for every sale or transaction they make without the customer asking for a receipt, Palmiano said.

The BIR regional office here has also introduced “Robi Resibo,” the anime superhero they created whose mission is to go around business establishments as a way to further strengthen their advocacy campaign on the importance for the customers to demand receipts for every transaction and for the business establishment to automatically issue a receipt.

She said she is confident that this year the bureau will be able to accomplish the same or even go beyond last year’s feat. (MAL/ARSajuela-BU/PIA5/Albay)

Two wanted criminals in Bicol fall

By Sally A. Atento

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 29 (PIA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Masbate City has arrested two of the most wanted persons in the Bicol region.

Police Superintendent Renato Bataller, Police Regional Office V information officer, said the operation was successfully conducted through a joint undertaking of PNP forces, including the Regional Special Operations Task Group (RSTOG) in the city.

Felix A. Espinosa Jr., the 8th most wanted in the list, with a monetary reward of P90,000 was arrested last January 16 for murder charges.

Espinosa is a 37-year old farmer residing in Barangay Syndicate, Aroroy, Masbate.

Also arrested in Brgy. San Ramon, Claveria, Masbate on January 23 with the same charges and monetary reward is Pedro Francisco Mahayag Jr., the 68th most wanted in the list.

Mahayag is 43 years old, married, and is a resident of Brgy. Buenasuerte, Pio V. Corpuz, Masbate.

Police Supt. Hereberto Obias Olitoquit, Masbate police provincial director, said massive manhunts for all criminals in the province are ongoing.

“If all criminals are arrested and kept in prison, we will carry out a peaceful election this coming May 2013 since nobody will be able to make use of them,” Olitoquit said. (MAL/SAA –PIA5/Albay)

Naga City Vet Office strengthens campaign against rabies

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan 29 (PIA) -- The Naga City Veterinary Office recorded 15 fatalities due to dog bites from 2003 up to January 2013.

This was disclosed by Dr. Junius Elad Jr., city veterinary officer, during the Forum@PIA held at the Radyo ng Bayan Office held here last Friday.

Elad said the first fatality for this year was a woman from Barangay Calauag of this city who was exposed to rabies last November 2012 was recorded in his office last January 2. This prompted the City Veterinarian’s Office (CVO) to immediately deploy teams for the implementation of several programs.

One of its programs is the ongoing anti-rabies vaccination where a team goes from house to house to ensure that dogs are given an anti-rabies shot. A minimal fee of P75 is asked as payment for the vaccination.

CVO also continues to eliminate stray dogs. Free-roaming dogs are captured and impounded in their facility. The owner is then meted with a P200 penalty when the impounded dog is not retrieved.

Elad said they target dogs roaming the city streets, particularly during night time and at dawn.

“We are calling on dog owners to be responsible, and keeping their animals tucked inside their domicile is one way to eliminate the transmission of rabies from other infected dogs. We don’t want to have a repeat of the 2013 data, where we recorded 7 fatalities, the highest human fatality record we have at the city vet office,” Elad said.

Elad also announced the city’s program on dog and cat population control which dog and cat owners can avail of free of charge. The program engages in spaying or the removal of the female dog’s ovary and uterus and castration of male dogs so that they will not be capable of producing an offspring.

“We also would like to remind our residents not to throw their garbage on the street which is usually the source of food of some “askals” or stray dogs. They will not frequent an area if they cannot find any food that they can fest on,” Elad added.

Elad said they are also strengthening their campaign on the importance of vaccination through information dissemination with the help of the media. They also plan to put tarpaulins in every barangay which emphasizes how to avoid dog bites and how to deal with stray dogs.

CVO will start issuing citation tickets within the week to dog owners who will fail to comply with the provisions of City Ordinance 2006-025 otherwise known as the Naga City Ordinance for Animal Care, specifically on the impounding penalties.

“Rabies is 100 percent preventable but also 100 percent non-treatable once the symptoms are already evident.” Elad said. (LSM/PIA-Camarines Sur)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Participants of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Training working on the Participatory 3 Dimensional Mapping (P3DM) of the municipality of Mercedes, Camarines Norte, January 2013. The 3DM indicate information that are needed in planning DRR in the area. (JC Gaillard/Rose Manlangit PIA CamNorte) 

The Bicol Foundation for Higher Education welcomes Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan, chair, Commission on Higher Education for a Press Conference during the  BFHE General Assembly Meeting at The Oriental Hotel, Legazpi City last January 25, 2013. Also in photos (upper)  are Dr. Fay Lea Patricia M. Lauraya, BU President and CHED-V Regional Dir. Freddie Bernal. (Alex Cal/PIA)


IN ALBAY—Keynote Speaker and Inducting Officer Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, officiate the induction of  new set of officers of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Albay Chapter, last January 24, 2013 at St. Ellis Hotel, Legazpi City. (Alex Cal/PIA)

DPWH allots P6.6B for infra projects in Bicol

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 28 (PIA) -- Some P6.6 billion has been allocated for this year by the government for infrastructure projects in the Bicol region to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and High Ways (DPWH).

DPWH 5 Regional Director Danilo Dequito said the P6.6 billion worth of infrastructure projects was included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2013.

The P6.6 billion budget this year indicated an increase of 20 percent compared to the 2012 budget which was P5.575 billion.

Dequito said the P5.3 billion worth of projects will be implemented by several DPWH District Engineering Offices (DEOs) in the provinces of Bicol while the P1.317 billion worth will be implemented by the regional office.

Camarines Sur gets the biggest chunk with P1.589 billion, followed by Albay with P1.048 billion, Camarines Norte with P922.504 million; Catanduanes with P681.694 million; Masbate with P524.263 million and Sorsogon with P520.714 million.

Dequito said the DPWH Regional Office (RO) will implement the P1.317 billion worth of projects region-wide or those projects beyond the limit of authority granted to DEOs but whose amount does not exceed P150 million in consonance with DPWH Department Order 55, series of 2010, issued by Secretary Rogelio L. Singson.

These projects include the Camarines Sur/Albay Diversion Road or the San Fernando-Oas Section of the Philippine Highway (PPH), including bridges with an allocation of P300 million; opening the Bacon-Manito Road, P100 million; Bicol River Basin and Watershed Management Project (Flood Mitigation Component), P455 million; Legazpi City Urban Drainage Project, P300 million and drainage/protection works along national roads, P147 million.

“On top of these locally funded projects (LFPs) is P637 million worth of foreign assisted projects for implementation in the provinces of Camarines Sur and Catanduanes which will be handled by our central office,” Dequito said.

Dequito said P15 million was also provided under the GAA for the preliminary and detailed engineering activities of all the projects for implementation. (MAL-PIA5/Albay)

ICS to saturate Bicol provinces this year for disaster and emergency response

By Angelica R. Sajuela

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan 28 (PIA) -- The Incident Command System (ICS) will also be established in the provinces of Camarines Norte and Masbate within the first quarter this year after its launch in Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Sorsogon last May 2012.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 5 said ICS will be launched in two more provinces of the region, providing an improved and more organized system of responding to emergency situations.

Known as the “synchronized response system,” ICS is a standard on-scene, all hazard incident management concept that can be used by all Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils (DRRMCs) or emergency management and response agencies.

Emergency response agencies include the Philippine Air Force, Army, Navy, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Coast Guard, Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Health and Emergency Management System under the Department of Health (DOH).

Parts of the preparations and development of the system include technical training as well as modules regarding the system.

Trained experts called “cadre” or a core group of trained personnel able to assume control and able train others will train the response agencies of the provinces.

The launching of ICS is one of OCD’s ways in realizing their vision of a “strengthened civil protection and command resilience to disasters.” (MAL-ARSajuela-BU-PIA5/Albay)

DTI to assist small entrepreneurs in Bicol

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan. 25 (PIA) -- The Consuleo “Chito Madrigal Foundation (CCMF) Bikol Inc., a non-government organization for poverty alleviation, has launched its Special Loan Product, increasing the maximum loan amount available to its micro-finance members to P50,000.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Camarines Sur Provincial Director Edna Tejada said during the CCMF’s general assembly that the new product adds to the production loan and multipurpose loan already in place for small entrepreneurs in the region.

The program is also supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the (DTI) pursuant to the public-private partnership that the Aquino administration encourages.

Tejada said DTI encourages the micro-finance members to improve their products and to make them more attractive to customers and clients. She said this should perfectly fit the quality of the products that they are promoting.

Director Patrocinio N. Felizmenio of DOST who was also present at the assembly expressed her commitment to help the members improve their merchandise.

“DOST is ready to help micro-finance entrepreneurs in enhancing their products through our training on product development, packaging and labeling, product calibration, nutrition facts testing and improvement of the equipment,” Felizmenio said.

Meanwhile, DTI will assist the members through their services like business counselling, skills and entrepreneurial training, product design and development, credit brokering, marketing assistance, business name registration and license facilitation.

CCMF Bikol Inc. will provide financial assistance in the form of the production loan, which can be used to finance beginners or to sustain or expand existing micro-enterprises of CCMF clients.

The amount available for a loan is P20,000. However, if the project merits a bigger capital, CCMF will assess the business proposal or the project’s feasibility and could lend as much as P40,000 which will now fall under the new loan product.

CCMF clients can also avail of a multipurpose loan for business, house repairs and education.

CCMF hopes that hrough their Special Loan Product, micro-finance members will be able to break the culture of mendicancy and dependence.

CCMF started its operations in Bicol in 2004, after Dona Consuelo “Chito” Madrigal approved the release of a P200-million fund which served as seed money for pro-poor programs in the region.

The grants were made possible through the support of then-Caceres Archbishop Most Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P.D.D. and Fr. Joel E. Tabora, former university president of Ateneo de Naga. The program aims to promote self-reliance and financial independence. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

Photo exhibit to feature Catandunganon culture

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 25 (PIA) -- The Center for Catandungan Heritage Inc. (CCHI) will launch a photo exhibit on February 10 at the Virac Center Mall which will feature images that depict the culture of Catandunganons.

The display dubbed “Hudaw” - a local term which means “to look intently or closely,” is in celebration of the National Arts Month by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 683.

The exhibit aims to showcase the province’s people, places, events, artifacts and typical scenes of life in the island province of Catanduanes through pictures.

In this regard, the organizers are encouraging the public to submit a maximum of five photos either printed or in digital form which must bear the title, description and the name of the sender.

Photos can be submitted up to today, January 25 at the Provincial Tourism Office (PTO), Old Capitol Bldg. or through email to strelleprof@yahoo.com, tourism_catanduanes@yahoo.com, tourism.catanduanes@gmail.com, or monxar@yahoo.com.

Contributed photos will be screened by the event organizers and the selected photos will be mounted and exhibited at the venue.

The activity is in partnership with the provincial government of Catanduanes thru PTO. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

City Councilor pushes for human organ donation

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY , Jan. 26 (PIA) --- A city councilor here has proposed an ordinance to promote human organ donation.

Naga City Councilor David Casper Nathan Sergio filed the ordinance entitled “Organ for Life Ordinance of Naga City” which aims to institute a local mechanism to effectively promote human organ donation and encourage various sectors to embrace and support the program.

It also aims to raise the awareness of the public about the government’s program on human organ donation. The government through the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) also promotes various advocacy programs including organ donation, hand in hand with Human Organ Preservation Effort (HOPE) and Renal Disease Control Program (REDCOP).

Under the proposed ordinance, it is compulsory for certain government offices to ask their clients whether or not he is she is interested to become a donor of human organ or tissue.

“This is a personal decision but we are appealing to everyone to look at the point of view of saving another life through the deceased organ donation. Thousands of Filipinos die every year from organ failure, most of them die due to lack of organ donors,” Sergio added.
The major organs that can be donated for transplantation include heart, liver, lung and pancreas. Tissues that can also undergo the said procedure include bone and cartilage, bone marrow, corneas and skin.

Section 5 of the said ordinance also says that it is mandatory that a briefing or orientation on human organ donation shall be given to all Marriage License applicants from City Hall and applicants for Driver’s License in the District Office of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Sergio’s proposed ordinance is also in support of the Organ Donation Act of 1991 (RA 7170), as amended, and the latest Department of Health (DOH) Guidelines or Protocol on Human Organ Donation, Administrative Order No. 2010-0018. (LSMacatangay/ PIA-Camarines Sur)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Legazpi City gets P300M more for drainage project

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 24 (PIA) -- This city’s Urban Drainage Project recently received an additional P300 million from the national government.

Lucy Castaneda, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Bicol spokesperson, said the agency granted the additional funding on top of the P500 million released last year.

With this additional funding, the project will have a total cost of P800 million, she said.

According to Castañeda, included in the said project are the construction of pumping station in barangays Victory Village, Bonot, and San Roque which will pump flood waters to the Albay Gulf.

The project will also involve the repair and construction of a dike along the Macabalo River and the canals and streams that encircle the area.

Engineers will set up a jetty in Yawa river to secure the flow of water and prevent floods that may clogged dikes.

Like most areas of Albay, this city is prone to flash floods owing to its proximity to lahar gullies and waterways on the slopes of Mayon Volcano. Lahar and water rampage during bad weather while many of city’s barangays are in low lying areas.

The pump stations will ease the problems and complaints of communities on flooding during heavy continuous rains nowadays. (MAL/JMLobas-PIA5, Albay)

27 towns, 1 city are election hot spots in Bicol – Comelec, PNP

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan 24 (PIA) -- Twenty seven towns and a city in the Bicol Region were identified as election hot spots based on the assessment and declaration of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

Supt. Renato Bataller, PNP Bicol spokesperson, said the areas were declared hot spots due to intense political rivalries in the past elections and the presence of private armed groups (PAGs) and New People's Army (NPA) rebels.

Bataller elaborated that 14 towns in Masbate are considered as election hot spots; six towns and Iriga City in Camarines Sur; four towns in Sorsogon; two in Camarines Nort; and one in Albay.

The island province of Catanduanes has none.

Bataller, quoting a report from a joint Comelec-PNP meeting held last week, said Masbate has more than half of its 20 towns included in the election watch list, including the towns of Balud, Cataingan, Claveria, Dimasalang, Milagros, Placer, San Fernando, San Pascual, Aroroy, Balena, Palanas, Uson, and Mobo.

Bataller said of these areas, nine towns are considered as Category 1 election watch list areas because of intense political rivalries, which might once more trigger violence during the election period, while five towns are under Category 2, meaning there is presence of NPA rebels operating in the area.

He said under Category 1, the Comelec and the PNP will be closely monitoring the concerned areas and give priority action to address election-related concerns.

Worst-case scenario, once an election-related violence erupts is placing these areas under Comelec control, he added.

Bataller said the Regional Special Operation Task Group in Masbate is closely monitoring PAGs activities in four towns in Masbate; these
include Balud, Dimaslang, Milagros, and Placer.

He said two PAGs under the Arizobal and Villaruel leaderships are employed by local politicians in these areas.

In Camarines Sur, placed under election hot spots Category 1 are the towns of Pasacao, Siruma, Lupi, Bula, and Bato and Iriga City.

In Sorsogon, towns in the election watch list are Barcelona, Bulusan, Irosin, and Magallanes; while in Camarines Norte, the towns are Labo and Capalonga.

In Albay, only the town of Malinao is considered as Category 1 hot spot area while no town was included in the election watch list in Catanduanes.

At the joint meeting, the PNP regional office said it would deploy additional police forces in those areas identified as hot spots.

Chief Supt. Clarence Guinto, PNP Bicol regional director, said the police regional office would deploy additional police forces in those areas identified as hot spots while 188 checkpoints have been already set up and manned by over 1,000 policemen across the region. (MAL/MSA-PIA5, Albay)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

PNP gives scholarship grant to Isla Sison residents
By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan. 23 (PIA) -- Ten youngsters from Sitio Sagrada Familia were given scholarship grants this morning during the PNP Command Conference held here today.

PNP Bicol Director Police Chief Superintendent Clarence V. Guinto announced the good news before the local city officials, PNP personnel and barangay residents who attended the said activity.

Guinto said that the recipients will receive free education from their elementary years until they graduate from college. This will be sponsored by the Ateneo Batch ’75. The police officer said that the recipients were also recommended by the City Social Welfare and Development Office.

Aside from the scholarship grants, PNP officers also spearheaded the Medical and Dental mission which was participated in not just by barangay residents but also by members of the Muslim Community. A supplemental feeding for the children also followed.

PS/ Supt. AbdulKadil M. Guialani , OIC PNP-City Director said that he was overwhelmed by the support and participation of the Muslim community in the said activity.

“I am touched with the overwhelming support that our brothers have shown us today, particularly our Muslim brothers. If only other community can see this, I am sure that they will be inspired by this convergence and would emulate this good deed where Muslims and Christians can co-exist peacefully and harmoniously,” Guialani said in an interview.

Pursuant to the directives of Naga City Mayor John Bongat as the newly installed OIC of the Naga City Police Office Guialani vowed that he will work for the eradication of illegal drugs in the city. To prove that his leadership is serious in its campaign to transform Sitio Sagrada Familia to a drug-free haven, he suggested that this year’s command conference be conducted here, of which Guinto responded positively.

Sitio Sagrada Familia, formerly known as Isla Sison was notoriously known as a venue for rampant illegal drugs vending. The place has been a regular subject of police entrapment operations during the past years believing that couriers and pushers alike are taking refuge here.

Barangay Penafrancia Punong Barangay Jeffrey Moralde also expressed his appreciation to the leadership of Guialani and the support of Guinto, saying that this might be the sign that Sitio Sagrada Familia will eventually find the peace and tranquility it was looking for.

“This is the first time that this kind of attention and trust is given to the community. I am positive that this endeavor will not be put to waste. I am seeking for the cooperation and help of each member of this community to put an end to the illegal drug trade and live peacefully in the folds of law,” Moraleda said.
Guialani is also confident that all of their efforts will bear fruit and their campaign against illegal drugs will finally find its victory. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

3rd Summer Trade Fair, to kick-off on March
By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan 23 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Catanduanes Provincial Office will hold the 3rd Summer Trade Fair from March 25 to April 7, 2013 at the Virac Plaza Rizal.

The activity dubbed “Summer Barakalan sa Plaza Rizal” is an annual event which aims to promote and showcase the flourishing local crafts, delicacies and wares to everyone.

Local manufacturers and producers of food, handicraft, and other merchandise are expected to provide guests with variety of products seldom found all in one place.

The DTI is coordinating with concerned parties to ensure that this year’s event will equal if not surpass last year’s activity, Hegino A. Baldano, OIC Provincial Director of DTI-Catanduanes said.

In this connection, Baldano has set a meeting of all stakeholders on January 24, at 2 p.m. at the DTI Conference room to discuss details as well as to seek the participation of concerned agencies.

This year’s summer Barakalan will be sponsored by the Local Government Unit of Virac and the Catanduanes Producers Association, Inc. (CPAI). (MAL/EAB-PIA/Catanduanes)

SP passes resolution recognizing feats of former governor
By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan 23 (PIA) -- The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of the province of Catanduanes has passed a resolution recognizing the achievements of former governor Vicente M. Alberto who passed away last December, 2012.

The resolution which was sponsored by Provincial Board Member Edwin T. Tanael aims to recognize former Alberto’s accomplishments in the field of foreign service, governance, and public service and to install upon him the honor of being called “The Father of Barangay” in Catanduanes.

Elected in 1967 as the fifth governor of the island province after the assassination of his elder brother Juan M. Alberto, he was reelected twice in 1971 and in 1980. His term was cut short by the EDSA revolution in 1986.

Former gov. Vicente, the longest-serving governor of Catanduanes has been known in the province as the pioneer of grassroot diplomacy having conducted Branagay “Pulong-pulong” long before the enactment of the Local Government Code of 1991.

It was also during the term of Gov. Vicente that important issues and concerns of barangay folks were heard and given action by the provincial government thru ‘pulong-pulong’.

He was also instrumental in the liberation of Catanduanes from the Japanese forces in during World War II, and earned the distinction of being called the ‘Father of Virac’.

Alberto placed 13th in the CPA board exam in 1948 while still an undergraduate and became a commercial attaché at various Philippine embassies abroad from 1956 to 1965.

He was thrice named outstanding governor and served for many years as RDC chair in Bicol. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

Veteran newspaperman Florencio Narito writes 30
By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 23 (PIA) -- Florencio “Flor” Narito, 79, passed away on Tuesday due to a heart ailment at his residence in Barangay Bonot, this city.

His remains lie in state at the Bonot Chapel here.

His interment will be on Saturday afternoon, January 26, at the Donsol town cemetery in Sorsogon.

Narito, a veteran journalist who wrote for the Bicol Mail and several local weekly tabloids here, was also a former correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer Southern Luzon Bureau, a stringer of the Philippine News Agency and a retired employee of the now defunct National Media Production Center.

He is survived by his only son, Florencio Narito Jr. (MAL/MSA-PIA5/ALbay)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Legazpi City honors smoke-free enforcers for 2012

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 22 (PIA) -- The city government here recognized the top 17 smoke-free enforcers for 2012 who efficiently carried out their duties in the successful implementation of the anti-smoking ordinance in the city.

Mayor Carmen Geraldine Rosal gave a plaque of appreciation to each of the 17 enforcers during the awarding ceremony held Friday, Jan 18, at the office of the chief executive here.

Rosal said the enforcement office recorded 737 violators and collected P38,100 in fines last year, compared to 650 violators and P21,076 in 2011.

The awardees were Police Officer (PO) 2 Joseph Aringo, PO2 Domingo Nuñez and PO2 Andro Taduran of Philippine National Police (PNP); Ferdinand Samar, Jonathan Basquirias and Dennis Alta of the Bicol Communicators and Environmental Rescue Group (BCERG); Cpl. Jose Lazado, Cpl. JHoel Alienza, Sgt. Jorlan Almazar and Pfc Ma. Nelly Bacudio of the Philippine Army; Marvin Hernandez, Jonas S. Esplana and Domingo R. Nuñez IV of this city’s Public Safety Office (PSO) and Pastor Quintella, Jaime Olarte, Jose Ricky Olarte, and Christopher Lozano of this city’s Smoke-free Committee.

Rosal urged enforcers to sustain their efforts in enforcing the anti-smoking ordinance by strictly apprehending violators who smoke in public places, public transport terminals, schools and other crowded areas in the city.

Rosal said relentless enforcement operations, including documentation efforts by the Smoke-free Enforcement Team against the violators contributed a lot to the city’s smoke-free community program.

In the past, the city government in cooperation with several sectors of the society such as the religious, academe, non-government organizations, business group and the members of the law enforcement team have successfully implemented projects and programs related to this cause.

“Legazpi City has been awarded for three consecutive years from 2010 to 2012 as the Best Local Government Unit implementer of Republic Act 9211 otherwise known as the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 and the City’s Comprehensive Smoke-free Ordinance and exalted into the hall of fame of the Department of Health (DOH) Red Orchid Award on 2012,” Rosal said.

Rosal also encouraged the public to continue supporting the city’s smoke-free campaign to maintain Legazpi a healthy locality and a 100 percent smoke-free community. (MAL/MPS-LGU Legazpi City/PIA5, Albay)

Albay maximizes use of salt fertilizer for coconuts

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 22 (PIA) -- Some 2,783 hectares of coconut plantation in Albay will be covered by the salt fertilization measures of government to improve production and help sustain the industry.

According to Salvador Alban, acting senior agriculturist of Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Albay, area coverage this year is 1,590 more than the 1,193 hectares covered last year provided with free salt fertilizers.

Aban explained that salt fertilizers are favorable for coconut production, noting that fertilizing coconut with salts had become a practice following a study that shows coconut trees along the seashore are more productive.

In fact, applying two kilograms (kg) of salt fertilizer per tree will double its production. Thus the organic salt fertilizer is now widely used instead of inorganic fertilizers, he said.

The salt fertilizers to be distributed can cater to 110 coconut trees per hectare, totaling 306, 130 trees for this year.

Yet, Ablan noted, the area only comprises only one tenth of the coconut plantations in Albay that also needs attention, and the agency continues to ask for government’s support in the development of the coconut industry.

Coconut products are highly in demand and have great potential to help boost the local economy and the Philippine economy as a whole. (MAL/ARSajuel-BU/PIA5/Albay)

Abaca plantation in Sorsogon town up for rehab

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 22 (PIA) -- Ninety-hectares of abaca plantation in Irosin, Sorsogon will be replanted this year as part of the Abaca Industry Rehabilitation Project of the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA).

The project is funded by Itochu, a Japanese company, in cooperation with FIDA and St. Anne’s Family Service Cooperative, a cooperative in Irosin Sorsogon.

The same cooperating agencies and organizations earlier conducted technical trainings for abaca farmers in November last year.

The program is part of the company’s community service. It was launched August 2012 and will run for three years, Abmer Patricio, information officer of FIDA, said.

Some 54,000 abaca will be planted in the plantations located in the villages of Bagsangan, Tabon-Tabon, Cawayan, Carriedo, and Bacolod.

The Abaca plantation in Irosin is now ready for replanting after undergoing disease eradication.

The disease eradication is part of the Abaca Disease Management Project (ADMP) which FIDA launched last September 2012. (MAL/ARSajuela-BU/PIA5/Albay)

PNP implements “Linis Bayan – Alis Dengue Program”

By Benilda A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, Jan. 22 (PIA) -- The Sorsogon Police Provincial Office (SPPO) has conducted a clean-up drive dubbed “Linis Bayan - Alis Dengue Program” to help the Department of Health (DOH) in its drive against dengue.

Police Community Relations Office Public Information Officer PCI Nonito F. Marquez of SPPO said the clean-up drive will become part of the regular activities of PNP Sorsogon in their offices and surrounding environment to prevent the spread of dengue and as part of its support to the government’s environmental protection program.

The activity was conducted at the Camp Salvador C. Escudero Sr. in Sorsogon City last January 17 at 2 p.m.

PNP personnel in the provincial headquarters, Sorsogon Police Provincial Office and Sorsogon Police Provincial Safety Company cleaned canals, collected old cans, food containers and destroyed possible breeding sites of mosquitoes. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Training on 3D-mapping for DRR conducted in Mercedes, Camarines Norte

By Rosalita B. Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Jan. 21 (PIA) -- A three-day training on Participatory 3 Dimensional Mapping (P3DM) for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was conducted in Palm Resort, Barangay Cayucyucan of Mercedes town headed by The University of Auckland, New Zealand from January 15-17.

Dr. JC Gaillard, Associate Professor of the School of Environment of the university said the training was in partnership with the DRR Net Philippines, local government units of Camarines Norte and Mercedes through their Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices.

He explained that the P3DM consists of building stand-alone large-scale relief maps made of locally available and cheap materials over people overlap thematic layers of geographic information.

During the training, the participants plotted land use and other geo-referenced features threatened by natural hazards and climate change and differentiate them according to their vulnerability.

He said that the P3DM training will empower organizations involved in DRR with the required knowledge and skills to develop P3DM activities with their partner communities in the different contexts all over the Philippines.

The P3DM fosters the participation of a large range of stakeholders, especially the collaboration among scientists, government officials, and local communities in the integration of bottom-up and top-down DRR measures.

Dr. Gaillard said that earlier, they have conducted a research on, “Sustainable Livelihood in the Pacific in a Changing and Hazardous Environment” in Caringo Island, also in the said town.

He said that aside from the research, the community in Caringo was trained and able to produced three 3D maps. One of these maps locate Caringo within the municipality of Mercedes. The second map covers the whole island while the third one covers the area where most of the households reside.

He explained that 260 families in Caringo will benefit from the 3D maps because this indicate information that are needed in planning DRR in the area.

Dr. Gaillard also said that the community in Caringo Island who made the 3D maps in the said area were those who trained the participants in the P3D mapping training in Palm Resort wherein the latter have produced a large 3D map for the whole town Mercedes.

PDRRMO Carlos Galvez, on the other hand, said that the Mercedes town was lucky that the project was conducted here that in turn will be of great help in planning DRR in the area.

He added that he will replicate P3DM in the province and in the remaining 11 towns.

The resource person during the training was Lorna Victoria of the Center for Disaster Preparedness Foundation, Inc.

The participants were representatives from Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA); Damayan ng Maralitang Pilipinong Api (DAMPA); Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MaCEC); Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP); Coastal CORE; Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP); World Vision Development Foundation, Inc. (WVDFI); Ateneo School of Government (ASoG); Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM); Citizen Disaster Response Center (CDRC) ; De La Salle University (DLSU) Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance ;UP College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) ; and Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF). (RBM-PIA 5, Camarines Norte).

Army, UNTV medical mission benefit 1,900 residents
CASTILLA, Sorsogon, Jan 21 (PIA) –--The 903rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, in partnership with the UNTV Network, conducted its first medical mission benefiting 1,986 residents of 10 barangays of Irosin town in Sorsogon on January 15.

“With the opportunity extended to the Philippine Army to recommend areas for medical missions, the 31st Infantry Battalion, under the Brigade’s operational control, designated Barangay Gabao in Irosin as the first beneficiary for CY 2013,” said 903rd Brigade Commanding Officer Col. Joselito E. Kakilala.

Supporting UNTV in this laudable undertaking is the Kamangagawa Foundation Clinic ni Kuya Daniel Razon and Bro. Ely Soriano. The local government led by Mayor Eduardo Ong Jr. sent their municipal doctors and nurses to join said activity.

The Sangguniang Barangays including barangay captains of the 10 adjacent barangays, were also present and brought their constituents to avail of the free medical services offered.

Col Kakilala said the medical mission included medical and dental services, x-ray services, and optical check-up with free eyeglasses distribution. Soldiers from the 31IB also provided free haircut and therapeutic massage.

“The activity benefited 1,986 clienteles of 10 barangays of Irosin town. Of the total number, 315 adults and 366 pedia were given medical check-ups, 145 for dental, 260 for optical, 35 on reflexology, 95 haircut services and 745 recipients of free medicines. The UNTV’s X-ray van which traveled all the way from Manila also served 25 local residents,” he added.

Col Joselito E Kakilala further said that UNTV’s medical missions have made a huge difference in the lives of the people of Sorsogon, especially to the indigents. “This endeavor is in line with the AFP’s Internal Peace and Security Plan- Bayanihan,” he said.

Meanwhile, barangay chairperson Teresa Pontalan of Barangay Gabao said it was the first time, that they experienced a medical mission with plenty of medicines and with many doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners congregated in their place.

Irosin Municipal Mayor Eduardo Ong Jr, on the other hand, said that the medical mission boosted the health services program of the municipality providing prompt treatment and adequate medicines to their people. (MAL/BAR/Cpt MPanesa-PA/PIA5)

PNP strengthens campaign towards a peaceful May 2013 Elections

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan 21 (PIA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial office in Camarines Sur will strictly implement its campaign to ensure clean, fair and peaceful election 2013 pursuant to its “Cam Sur Safe 2013” headed by its Provincial Director.

Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) personnel have been instructed to intensify the conduct of focused police operation for the upcoming elections this year under Cam Sur Safe 2013, Psupt. Jerry F. Bearis, Camarines Sur PNP deputy provincial director for operation, said.

This also will involve the creation of Provincial Task Group Safe 2013 and establishment of Joint Security Assistance Desks (JSADs) in all polling places.

Part of the operation is its campaign against Private Armed Groups (PAGS) by strict accounting of wanted persons and intensified search warrant operations, strengthened operation against gun-for-hire, conduct of chokepoints and checkpoints and increased effort on the conduct of operations against notorious motorcyle riding in tandem criminals.

Based on their records, PNP Camarines Sur was able to attain 63.66 per cent province-wide Crime Clearance Efficiency (CCE) having cleared 1,179 cases out of 1,852 crime incidents.

Members of the PNP will also firmly pursue OPLAN Sita and Operation Bakal pursuant to their campaign against loose firearms. Along with this, they will also carry out operations geared towards the curtailment of the insurgent’s extortion activities.

In 2012, PNP Camarines Sur recovered a total of 40 loose firearms, 11 magazine and 165 pieces of ammunition. Along with this campaign, police authorities arrested 35 persons , all charged with violation of Republic Act No. 8294.

The provincial police’s intensified campaign against dangerous and illegal drugs resulted in 41 successful anti illegal drug operations in various parts of the province. It also resulted to the arrest of 47 personalities and confiscation of 8.78 grams of suspected shabu, 27.196 grams of suspected marijuana dried leaves and 3 pieces of full blown Marijuana plants. Cases have been filed against the suspects before the court.

To sustain these positive developments, the PNP management will continue its operations against illegal drugs, intensify search warrant operations geared towards the eradication of Shabu and marijuana and pursue barangay clearing operations to ensure that the community is free of the said illegal substance.

Bearis said all of these activities and related campaigns are not just geared towards the attainment of their mission to keep the community safe, but more so to ensure that the upcoming elections will not mar the peace and order situation of the province.

In addition, PNP Camarines Sur has already activated the operation of its e-blotter, e-rouge and e-warrant program in every police station both at the city and municipal levels. (LSMacatangay/ PIA-Camarines Sur)

1, 528 families benefit from government’s core shelter project

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Jan. 21 (PIA) -- A total of 1, 528 families from eight villages in Daraga, Albay formally received their certificates of completion and occupancy for core shelters from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Corazon Pitero, head of the Social Protection Unit of DSWD, said the beneficiaries of the core shelter project include typhoon victims and displaced families in Albay and Bicol, now provided with permanent and decent houses.

The families came from the villages of Alcala, Binitayan, Bañag, Busay, Bañadero, Cullat, Tagas and Malabog, all in Daraga town.

Pitero was joined by Daraga Vice Mayor Carlito Baylon, Albay Provincial Social Welfare Officer Yolanda Guanzon and municipal officials in the turnover ceremonies.

“These families were left homeless during the series of strong typhoons that devastated the areas for the past years, and this time each family beneficiary was given materials and utilized to build the houses of their own with vigour and dedication,” Pitero said.

She added that one of the factors in the successful implementation of a project is when the beneficiaries themselves collaborate and unite in the project implementation.

Core shelter is a structurally strong and environment-friendly shelter unit which can withstand up to 180 to 220 kph wind velocity, intensified four earthquakes, flooding and other similar hazards.

The project is a restoration and rehabilitation strategy that uses work teams to provide labor for the construction.

DSWD has already turned over 8,268 units regionwide.

While DSWD was responsible for the shelter units for their counterpart, the Daraga municipal government augmented the needed construction materials and the provincial government provided the relocation site.
Meanwhile, an additional 135 core shelter units will also be turned over to beneficiaries in Polangui town. (MAL-PIA5/DSWD5/Albay)

Friday, January 18, 2013

SSS-Legazpi opens clinic for members, employees

By Sally A. Atento

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 18 (PIA) -- The Social Security System (SSS) recently opened its branch clinic or physical examination (PE) center here to ensure faster and easier delivery of medical services to employees and members in this city.

Dr. Rosalind S. Zantua, SSS Legazpi medical specialist, said SSS employees and members in the province particularly those with sickness and disability claims can avail of services for free.

Among these services are private checkups, consultations, and other basic medical equipment and supplies such as medicines.

“With the separate clinic in our branch, medical services are now centralized and more private. Unlike before, our claimants are often within hearing distance of other transacting members,” Zantua added.

PE centers in around 54 SSS branches all over the country have been opened simultaneously including Legazpi and Naga for the Bicol region. Each center has a waiting area and examination table enclosed with a curtain. Assessment will be done six months after for a possibility of opening more branch clinics.

Zantua also urged members with medical claims to come personally to their office or for check up and evaluation of their condition.

“For members who will be filing for sickness or disability claims, they better come personally in our clinic for check up and evaluation so we can also help them determine how many days they should file for a claim.

However, in case, they cannot come personally, we have mobile doctors to check them,” Zantua explained. (MAL/SAA-PIA5, Albay)

Bicolano senator welcomes Comelec ruling on political ad airtime
By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 18 (PIA) -- A Bicolano senator welcomed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling shortening the airtime that a political candidate may buy for campaign ads, saying the move would level the playing field for all candidates.

Senator Francis G. Escudero remarked that those who have deep resources will no longer lord over the airwaves and leave those who have meager resources way, way behind.

“At least no single candidate can put one over the other in terms of airtime. It’s a fair game for everyone, it’s a welcome thing,” he added.

But the senator also said the Comelec’s regulations on internet campaigning remains a vague issue, given the innovative concept of the internet technology.

Comelec Resolution 9615, which covers the airtime acquisition ceiling, said “online advertisement, whether procured by purchase, or given free of charge, shall not be published more than three times a week per website during the campaign period.”

Chairman Sixto Brillantes said online election propaganda includes ads posted on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Escudero said internet regulations have many loopholes, and the Comelec has not yet developed the core competence to provide and define standards for its usage.

“It still leaves more questions than answers. How can Comelec monitor it? For example, how do they count the minutes used by a particular candidate? What if someone uploads an ad without the candidate’s knowledge or permission? Will that be counted against his airtime? What if ill-meaning protagonists will use this free uploading just to discredit a political rival?" he asked.

"These are realities that I hope the Comelec will tread with caution and consideration,” Escudero said. (MAL-PIA5, Albay)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

DPWH closes Pawili Bridge to big vehicles

By Analiza S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, Jan. 17 (PIA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office in Bicol has issued anadvisory on January 12 to temporarily bar big vehicles from using the Pawili Bridge in Barangay Pawili in this town, which is in the brink of collapse, to ensure the safety of the motorists and the riding public.

Planning engineers of the DPWH central office recommended closure, following assessment that the bridge is already in its critical stage and is structurally unstable for buses, cargo trucks and similar vehicles.

DPWH officials already designated alternative routes to motorists plying the Naga-Legaspi direction and vice-versa passing through the Pawili brdige.

The agency suggests the Nabua-Balatan road which is a national road and its adjoining area, the Panoypoyan, Bula area which is considered as a provincial road.

The 26-kilometer stretch which starts from Bula town proper until the exit point at Maharlika Highway will mean a one-hour detour to motorists and commuters who have to bear the rough roads in some of the portion of the route.

Another possible route is the four-kilometer course traversing the Himaao-Pawili road belonging to the Penafranacia Sugar Mill.

Punong Baragay Ariel Besmonte of Pawili, Bula said that the said route was also used in 1996 when the said bridge was also being to rehabilitated. This is currently not passable due to the broken spillway that connects the adjoining barangays of Pawili and Himaao.

Preparation of the road as alternate detour will also mean huge expenses on the part of government. The commuters then have no choice but pass through the only passable detour which is through the Nabua-Bula alternate route until the rehabilitation phase is over. (MAL/LSM-PIA5, Camarines Sur)

Climate Change Academy continuously training LGUs, NGOs

By Maya Filipina A. Madroño

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 17 (PIA) -- Pursuing its objective to educate the country’s local government units and non-government organizations on disaster risk reduction and climate change awareness, Albay Climate Change Academy is now on its eighth batch of trainees from Region 11 or Southern Mindanao.

The DRRM and CCA training started in October 12, 2012 and had already trained many local government units and non-government organizations coming from Regions of Mimaropa, Calabarzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Northern Mindanao.

The seminar will be held at Albay Climate Change Academy. It will be attended by experts who will serve as the speakers. They will be coming from the partner agencies and organizations of the Academy including those from the Office of Civil Defense, Ateneo School of Government, and Albay Public Safety Office.

Region 11 or Southern Mindanao which is composed of the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Del Norte, Davao Del Sur, and Davao Oriental can be regarded as befitting addressees of the said seminar considering the affliction these endured after being hit by typhoon Pablo last December 2012.

The experiences that the trainees have from typhoon Pablo will be reflected on the first day of the seminar since it will focus on understanding disaster risk by looking at past disasters.

A comprehensive lecture will also follow which will be about the kinds of hazards, distinction between disasters related hazards and climate change hazards, identifying early warning signs of disasters and human vulnerability and readiness against disasters.

On the second day, focus will be on the different approaches, principles, and laws regarding disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

They will also take up the rules and studies created by United Nations’ International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) including the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), Global Assessment Report (GAR), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX).

There will also be a briefing about the disaster risk reduction management and climate change laws in the Philippine context. The rules in decentralizing DRR agencies in their respective provinces will also be taken up.

There will be field visit in selected evacuation centers, resettlement areas, flood control areas, and hazard areas on the fourth day of the seminar.

At the end of the seminar, the participants are expected to share the reflections that they gained during the training which can be used to enhance succeeding seminars. (MAL/MAM-BU/PIA5, Albay)

Albay Guv says Oslob butanding promotion abusive, violated ecological standards

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 14 (PIA) -- Albay Gov. Joey Salceda labelled the promotional campaign recently launched by promoters in Oslob, Cebu as abusive and violated ecological standards putting the whale shark, and the tourism industry, at risk.

Salceda even tagged the act as “eco-terrorism” rather than “eco-tourism” the underwater fashion photo shoots showcasing the gentle giants of the sea being fed and being with international fashion models.

Salceda, who also chairs the Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC) and heads the Almasor (Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon) Tourism Alliance, said in an interview that he would call on the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to take strong and punitive measures against the abusive promotion made by event sponsors and promoters including the models.

The Albay governor said, “this is all very wrong--it is eco-terrorism, not tourism--they should be jailed for animal cruelty.”

Salceda noted that this kind of promotion would send a wrong signal to the rest of the world where the ecological standards - especially in the tourist markets - have heightened, instead of promoting the event.

“Such would instead expose and degrade the entire Philippine eco-tourism industry,” Salceda added.

Tourism, he stressed, is the fastest growing industry and with the most market potential, but with our inability to take care of our nature, including animals, these prospects would come to naught.”

“The promotion only subtracts rather than adds to our attraction in the long term since it shows we do not know how to take care of nature--so travel operators and agencies would expect these eco-tourism destinations to deteriorate eventually,” the environmentalist governor pointed out.

“Let’s put an end to the whale shark abuse by setting up measures that would protect these creatures,” he added.

Salceda also took notice of a report that the low sighting of butanding in the coastal waters of Donsol town in Sorsogon was due to the scarcity of planktons being eaten by whale sharks.

He said the lack of planktons must be scientifically established, but in between December to date and with the report that Oslob is feeding them again, it is so obvious that these gentle creatures might have diverted again.

Domestic and foreign tourists visiting Donsol town for a whale shark interaction recently complained of the scarcity in the sightings of the sea creature. According to reports, of nine whale sharks that attracted hundreds of tourist in last year’s season, only two had been sighted by the end of December last year. (MAL/MSA-PIA5/Albay)

1M seedlings planted in 2012 - DENR

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 17 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) provincial office here said almost one million seedlings and mangrove propagules were planted in the province of Catanduanes in 2012 in line with the National Greening Program (NGP) of the government.

According to Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) officer-in-charge Joaquin Ed Guerrero, 574,290 timber-fruit trees and ornamental seedlings were planted in 1,160 hectares in the towns of Bato, San Andres, San Miguel, and Virac.

A total of 338,888 mangrove propagules, on the other hand, were planted in 72 hectares of swampland in Panganiban and San Andres towns.

President Benigno S. Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 26 ordering and declaring the implementation of a National Greening Program as a government priority. The target of the program is to plant 1.5 billion trees covering about 1.5 million hectares by 2016.

Aside from being a reforestation initiative, the NGP is also seen as a climate change mitigation strategy as it seeks to enhance the country’s forest stock to absorb carbon dioxide, which is largely blamed for global warming. It is also designed to reduce poverty, providing alternative livelihood activities for marginalized upland and lowland households relating to seedling production and care and maintenance of newly-planted trees.

Catanduanes Mangrove Planters Association, Inc.; Samahang Pangkabuhayan ng Palawig; Mayngaway Upland Farmers Association, Inc.; Buyo Upland Farmers Association, Inc.; Genitligan Upland Farmers Association, Inc. and Samahang Magsasaka sa Maunlad na Lupa ng Progreso in San Miguel, among others, were among participants to the series of tree-planting activities in the province.

Said groups were given P1,000 incentive for every hectare planted which covered site preparation, hauling of seedlings, plantation establishment as well as maintenance and protection which was charged to the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) savings of DENR.

CENRO officer-in-charge Luzvimindo Chioco said that the accomplishment for 2012 NGP will be verified by a team of validators from DENR central and regional offices. (MAL/EAB-PIA5, Catanduanes)

CSC now accepting applications for Career Service Exams

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 17 (PIA) -- The Civil Service Commission (CSC) regional office here has announced that provincial offices of the commission has been accepting application for the career service examinations, both sub-professional and professional, to screen prospective job applicants in government.

CSC information officer Yoyie Jalmanzar said in a radio program “Ugnayan sa Bikol” of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) that the commission will administer the examinations this year in testing centers in this city, Naga City, and Masbate City.

CSC, according to Jalmanzar, will conduct the written examinations this year on April 14 and October 13.

“For the April 14 schedule, applications are being accepted at CSC field offices nationwide until February 28,” reminded Jalmanzar.

CSE are general ability tests designed to measure verbal, analytical, numerical, and clerical skills.

Passing the CSE entitles one to either a Professional or Sub-Professional eligibility which, along with education, experience and training requirements, is needed for permanent appointment to corresponding positions in the government career service.

Jalmanzar explained that the examination is open to Filipino citizens, regardless of educational attainment, who are at least 18 years old at the time of filing of application and who have not taken the same level of examination in less than three months.

However, taking different levels of examination within the said period is allowed.

Jalmanzar furthered that other examinations to be administered for the year include the Foreign Service Officer Examination (FSOE) Qualifying Test and the Fire Officer Examination (FOE) on March 10; the Local Scholarship Program-Modified (LSP) Written Examination and the Penology Officer Examination (POE) on August 11.

The CSC advises interested applicants of the said government examinations to visit the nearest CSC regional and field offices nearest in their areas. (MAL-PIA5, Albay)

BJMP re-assigns district jail personnel in Bicol

By Analiza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan. 17 (PIA) ---Fourteen Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) personnel, including chief Jail Superintendent Wilmor T. Plopinio, were discharged of their current functions in the city's district jail and re-assigned to different jail units.

This, after BJMP Special Orders Number 2013-01 from the BJMP 5 took effect last January 7 through a formal turn over ceremony.

Plopinio was assigned as full time administrator of Camarines Sur BJMP while Jail Superintendent Bernardo M. Sanchez was transferred and designated as officer in charge of the district jail of this city. They will be joined by JO1 Marifel Sarte who was formerly assigned at the Tigaon District Jail.

Jail Chief Insp. Dominici G. Batacan was relieved from Tigaon District Jail and re-assigned as officer-in-charge at the Iriga City District Jail.

Jail Officer 1 Rene Zaldy D. Catangui who will be swapping post with Mamatod will be with Batacan as the latter will be re-assigned at the Iriga City District Jail, Camarines Sur BJMP.

Also affected by the reshuffle of personnel are Jail Senior Inspector Michael Richard R. Oliva, formerly assigned in Iriga. He will be transferred at the Tigaon District Jail while Jail Officer III Mamarinta P. Mamatod who was also detailed at the Iriga City District Jail will be relocated at the Pioduran Municipal Jail, Albay BJMP.

At the Regional Office in Legazpi City, Jail Senior Inspector Gerardo B. Yuson was the newly designated Officer-in-Charge of the Operations Division while Jail Sr. Insp. Ave Are was tasked as Officer-In-Charge of the Personnel Record Management (PRM) and Human Resource Divisions (HRD), BJMP Regional Office.

Jail Chief Inspector Alberto Toledo Jr was relieved from the Regional Office V but was re-assigned as OIC at Albay BJMP. He is also the concurrent OIC of Legazpi Jail. Jail Sr. Insp. Danilo Boarao was also designated as Officer-In Charge of the Program Development and Community Relations Service (CRS) Division at BJMP Regional Office V.

The re-shuffle, according to Plopinio, is being done by their bureau in line with their existing policy, especially for personnel who have already spent 2 years in the service. This is also to avoid familiarity between the inmates and the jail officers. (MAL/LSM-PIA5, Camarines Sur)

Albay authorities issue advisory on countermeasure for cold weather

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 17 (PIA) -- At the onset of cold weather Albay province is presently experiencing, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) and Provincial Health Office (PHO) both issued Wednesday a bulletin on precautionary measures to avoid cold diseases and other injuries.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda, chair of the PDRRMC, said the bulletin recommends countermeasures to avoid diseases or injuries that may result in lowering of body’s core temperature or mal-adaptation to cold weather.

Salceda noted that cold-weather injuries may affect health due to decreased temperatures, carbon monoxide poisoning, and accidents due to impaired physical and mental function resulting from cold stress.

Pagasa recorded that Albay, along with some areas in the country, has been having cold temperature of 20.4 degrees Celsius these days and more head.

In said bulletin, residents are advised to keep warm and wear clothing the likes of jackets, sweaters, socks, hats and scarves or knit masks to cover the face and the mouth; long-sleeves that are up to the wrist; mittens and water-resistant coats and shoes.

“Also, one should avoid going outside if it is raining. If one becomes soaked, it will be colder and will further reduce the body temperature. Keep house closed to preserve warm room temperature," the advisory stated.

When going outside, layer with loose-fitting clothing, turn off air conditioning units and stock food, water and other household and personal necessities to minimize outside movements, it added.

The advisory also recommends giving special care and attention to babies and elderly.

"Overall, use thick clothing to keep their body warm. Infants lose body heat more easily than adults; additionally, infants can't make enough body heat by shivering," it added.

It furthered that infants less than one year old should never sleep in a cold room. "They should be provided with warm clothing and a blanket, at the same time maintaining a warm indoor temperature."

“In an emergency, keep an infant warm using a young adult’s body heat. Older adults often make less body heat because of a slower metabolism and less physical activity. If you are more than 65 years of age, check the temperature in your home often during severely cold weather,” the advisory said.

The bulletin also advised the public to check on elderly friends and neighbors frequently to ensure that their homes are adequately heated.

Another precautionary measure is to eat hot foods, especially soups, citing that eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer. Avoid liquor as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm, sweet beverages such as hot chocolate to help maintain your body temperature. If you have any dietary restrictions, ask your doctor.

Other measures are to cover one’s nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing; in case one develops fever, seek consultation immediately; hospitals should prepare for the admission of victims of hypothermia and increased incidence of cold weather-related diseases; and the public is advised to take precaution as the use of firewood or charcoal fires for heating and cooking within an enclosed dwelling is extremely dangerous due to carbon monoxide poisoning and it may cause fire. (MAL-PIA5, Albay)

CSC-5 calls on Bicolanos to submit nominees to 2013 Honor Awards Program

By Sally A. Atento

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan 17 (PIA) -- The Civil Service Commission (CSC) regional office here called anew on government employees and officials, including the private sector, to nominate outstanding individuals to this year’s Honor Awards Program.

Yoyie Jalmanzar, CSC information officer, said the CSC is currently conducting information dissemination drives to encourage more nominees in the region particularly barangay officials and employees.

“We need the help of residents of Bicol to aid us recognize government workers with exemplary performance who are often left unnoticed,” Jalmanzar said.

The Honor Awards Program is open to government officials and employees, individual or group, under two categories. These are awards for outstanding work performance and award for exemplary conduct and ethical behavior.

Under the first category is the Presidential or Lingkod Bayan award given in recognition of the nationwide impact on public interest, security and patrimony of one’s exceptional or extraordinary contribution. It also includes the CSC Pagasa Award for outstanding contribution that directly benefit more than one department of the government.

DILG Sec Jesse Robredo, the Bicolano champion for good governance, was among the Lingkod Bayan awardees in 2012. It was posthumously conferred by President Benigno Aquino III at the Malacanang Palace.

The Outstanding Public Officials and Employees Award or Dangal ng Bayan on the other hand is given for extraordinary act of public service and consistent exemplary ethical behavior. The basis of which are the eight norms of behavior provided under Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Jalmanzar further assured nominees of technical assistance from the CSC to help them in the packaging of needed write-ups and documentation.

Awardees for Lingkod Bayan and Dangal ng Bayan categories will receive P200, 000 cash and other forms of incentives while Pagasa awardees will have P100,000 cash reward.

“Added incentives might be given for this year’s awardees,” Jalmanzar said.

Deadline for submission of nominations is on March 29, 2013. (MAL/SAA-PIA5, Albay)

DOH-Center for Health Development Bicol Conduct the Kalusugan Pangkalahatan Implementation Coordinating Team Meeting last January 14, 2013 held at R.C. Daguinsin Hall, DOH-CHD Bicol, Legazpi City. (Alex Cal/PIA-5)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bicol PNP chief orders reshuffle of 17 police chiefs

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 16 (PIA) -- Chief Supt. Clarence Guinto, regional chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol, has ordered the reshuffling of 17 chiefs of police in three provinces in the region.

Supt. Renato Bataller, PNP Bicol spokesperson, said on Tuesday that affected by the order last Jan. 11, two days before election period, were 10 chiefs of police in Camarines Sur, two towns and two cities in Albay and three towns in Camarines Norte.

Bataller said the chiefs of police were reshuffled in the towns of Libmanan, Nabua, Ocampo, Bonbon, Cabusao, Calabanga, Camaligan, Canaman, Magarao and Pili, all in Camarines Sur; Libon and Tiwi towns and the cities of Legazpi and Ligao in Albay; and the towns of Daet and Mercedes in Camarines Norte.

He said, next to be reshuffled are town police chiefs in the provinces of Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Masbate.

The reshuffled police officers range from senior inspectors to superintendent.

Bataller explained that the move is in anticipation of the Comelec election ban on personnel reassignment during the election period which kicked off Sunday, Jan. 13.

He furthered that the reassignment of police officers is a normal procedure of the agency because some of them have over-stayed their tour of duty while some have been tagged to be chummy with the local chief executives where they are assigned.

“We would like to remove these negative public impressions and doubts,” Bataller explained.

As the election period started, PNP Director General Alan Purisima has directed the PNP Bicol to heighten its campaign against loose firearms and the dismantling of private armed groups in Masbate, considered as among the 15 election hot spots in the country.

Purisima, in his directive, intends to send additional troops to Masbate to beef up the 240-man Regional Operation Task Group and the Police Special Action Force based in Mobo town in Masbate. (MAL/MSA-PIA5, Albay)

Environmentalist group suggests regulated construction of bldg, structures

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 16 (PIA) -- The Mountain Cares and Hikers Association (MCHA), in its relentless commitment to ensure the preservation of mountain and shoreline environments, has called the attention of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Catanduanes to regulate the construction of buildings and structures along the shorelines of Virac and Bato towns.

MCHA is a non-profit organization dedicated to protection and conservation of mountains and coastlines in the province.

The organization urged SP members to invoke the provisions of Presidential Decree 1096 regulating the construction of residences, buildings, and other structures both public and private within and adjacent to foreshore and shoreline to ensure public access and safety.

According to the letter sent by the organization to the Provincial Board members, while their group believes that the provincial government is committed to the wise management of coastlines to sustain the economic value of the coastal zones, they also hold that preserving the quality of such resources requires public awareness that protection of shorelines is a responsibility shared by every member of the community.

They pointed out that the construction of permanent structures on shorelines of San Vicente in Virac and Marinawa, Binanuahan, and Cabugao in Bato is a violation of Article 51 of Presidential Decree 1067 or the “Water Code of the Philippines.”

The group believes that regulating the construction of residences, buildings, and other structures, both public and private, within and adjacent to foreshore and shorelines will ensure public access and safety.

They suggested that to ensure compliance with such laws, local governments can declare structures that hinder access to shore as “nuisance” and can have them removed.

Members of MCHA are the following: Ruben C. Geromo, president; Sammy V. Laynes, vice-president; Fernan A. Gianan, secretary; Gabriel Tejerero, chairman; Gil A. Balmadrid, vice-chairman; and Winifredo Molod, Pedro R. Arcilla, Alexander Ang Hung, Napoleon De Luna and Richard T. Bernal, members. (MAL/EAB-PIA5, Catanduanes)

Army's 903rd Brigade, 9th Battalion adjudged best units in 9ID for 2nd Sem, 2012

By Benilda A. Recebido

CASTILLA, Sorsogon, Jan. 16 (PIA) -- The 903rd Infantry Brigade and 9th Infantry Battalion consistently maintained their titles being Best Brigade and Battalion, respectively, of the 9th Infantry (Spear) Division for second semester in 2012.

Col. Joselito E Kakilala, newly installed commander of 903rd Brigade who replaced newly promoted BGen Felix J Castro Jr AFP, and Lt. Col. Julian C Pacatan, 9IB commanding officer, received the Command Certificates of Recognition awarded by Major Gen Romeo V Calizo, 9ID commanding general, after the New Year’s call and Command Conference at 9ID headquarters on January 10, 2013.

The 903rd Brigade covers Sorsogon and Masbate provinces in the conduct of Internal Peace and Security Operations (IPSO), while the 9IB, under the Brigade’s operational control, covers Masbate province.

Kakilala noted that considering the imperatives of IPSP “Bayanihan” and its emphasis on both combat and non-combat dimensions of military operations, the Brigade during the period, had accomplished more than the expected output including neutralization of seven NPA personalities: killed two unidentified lawless elements; apprehension of three lawless members; and, one surrendered.

Along with the combat operations, he added, 24 firearms were gained (20 high powered/ four low powered), although many of these were outside the focus area.

The recovered firearms included: eight M16, one M653, one M14, two Garand rifles, one Cal. 38 revolver; one .45 Cal pistol; eight homemade shotguns; 12 landmines (Anti-tank); five improvised claymore mines (anti-personnel); 30 Molotov bombs; and other subversive documents.

Kakilala furthered that the establishment of a Barangay Defense System (BDS) acted as Integrated Territorial Defense System (ITDS) in the cleared barangays especially in holding areas.

“This has been proven effective as the CNNs find difficulty in recovering lost areas particularly in Castilla, Pilar, and Donsol municipalities, all in Sorsogon,” he added.

“Similarly, the unit pursued efforts to link with agencies that could help in the development of the communities in Sorsogon and Masbate. It has opted to focus its efforts in certain areas rather than have projects in many dispersed barangays. By pouring in development projects in selected focus areas, the improvement could easily be felt by the people and there is a higher chance of success. Neighboring communities will eventually also benefit from the improved economic environment,” he explained.

Kakilala also bared that the 903rd Brigade has been active in the programs of Pamana Convergence for Sorsogon which involves representatives from the different government agencies has been a good venue to recommend infrastructure projects and target areas for development.

The two covered provinces in its area have received funds for development - Sorsogon P40 million (seven focus municipalities) and Masbate P68 million (three focus municipalities). Furthermore, in Masbate, P500-million infrastructure projects are programmed next year.

The unit also facilitated the conduct of four Medical, Dental, Optical and Legal Missions sponsored by UNTV Channel 37 in Brgy San Francisco; Brgy Butag, Bulan, Sorsogon; Brgy Rizal, Sorsogon City; Brgy Poblacion, Pilar Sorsogon together with the elements of 31st Infantry Battalion, staff and volunteers of Clinic ni Kuya and Kamanggagawa Foundation Inc. with the support of LGUs and DepEd.

The Brigade, according to Kakilala, was able to establish links with the ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya Foundation, Inc for the construction of classroom buildings in Pandan National High School in Castilla, Sorsogon and another in Cabangcalan Elementary School in Aroroy, Masbate.

Moreover, the Pinoy Big Brother, Sagip Kapamliya Foundation, Maalaala Mo Kaya Program, the 903rd Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Battalion, and the 565th Engineer Battalion partnered in the construction of a two-classroom school building in Sitio Mababoy, Brgy Guinhadap, Monreal, Masbate.

The Lewis College and ABS-CBN are the other partners for education. The Brigade has now 22 Bayanihan scholars enrolled at the college, while two other scholars who took Tesda courses were sponsored by ABS-CBN foundation.

The Brigade also partnered with the Fiber Industries Development Authority (FIDA) for the abaca planting projects in Brgy Pandan and Salvacion in Castilla. The one-hectare nursery in each barangay has already been emplaced.

It is a long time program that will benefit these barangays as well as adjacent ones and municipalities in the near future.

Kakilala concluded that the Army's 903rd Brigade has been able to perform exceedingly well in its combat and non-combat operations.

This could be attributed to a pool of well-motivated, well-trained, and experienced personnel who get the job done. (MAL/BAR/Cpt. MPanesa-PA/PIA5)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

PNP leads ‘Unity Walk’ for peaceful elections

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan 15 (PIA) -- Philippine National Police (PNP) Catanduanes Police Provincial Office (CATPPO) yesterday led a “Unity Walk and Prayer Rally for Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) 2013.

The activity was conducted to drumbeat the significance of the elections and marked the start of the election period targeting the humane and spiritual side of the electorate.

It kicked-off at 6:30 am at Virac Town Plaza to CATPPO, Camp Francisco Camacho where a short program and an interfaith prayer was held.

In his message, PNP Provincial Director Eduardo Chavez urge the different sectors of the society to cooperate with PNP for the safe conduct of elections. According to him, the support of public as well as divine intercession is very significant in achieving their goal.

Among those who were present during the activity were officials of PNP Catanduanes, employees of Commission on Elections, DILG, PIA, BJMP, Bureau of Fire as well as non-government organizations and local media in the province.

The activity also coincides with the start of the election gun-ban.(EAB/ PIA Catanduanes)