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

Friday, May 31, 2013

Farmers/ Fisherfolk Festival in Camarines Sur wraps up today

By Analiza S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, May 31 (PIA) -- More than 400 Barangay Food Terminals all over the region are stationed in various municipalities in the province, most of them can already boast of more improved products as a result of the trainings and assistance rendered by the government. The statement was made by Department of Agriculture Regional Executive Director Abelardo T. Bragas as the 3-day -day Farmers/ Fisherfolk Festival and Barangay Food Terminal (BFT) summit wraps up today.

Farmers and fisherfolk organizations in the region, including more or less 28 active BFTs attended the event including the Agri-Fishery Trade Fair which featured agricultural produce like banana, various kinds of vegetables, and other rootcrops. Featured marine produce includes different fresh fishes and crabs. Other products which were also sold during the said fair were pancit made of sea weeds, pili products and other bottled and processed products.

BFTs are part of the DA’s program to realize the government’s vision to provide a barangay-based food depot with quality and safe yet affordable foods for everyone. It also enables farmers to have a direct link with the producers to ensure that their produce will have sure buyers. The selling process is also strengthened by the community’s participation through retail food distribution system.

Pragas lauded the operators of the BFTs and valued their contribution in alleviating poverty in the countryside.

One of the significant issues tackled during the summit is the AgriPinoy Corn Program during the farmer’s forum on the 2nd day of the said activity. It tackled among others, on attaining self-sufficiency particularly in feed crops involving the yellow corn and cassava and provide supply to the growing need of the livestock and poultry sectors.

The adoption of organic farming was also given emphasis during the Summit. Organic farming is being pushed on the premise of ensuring that the consumer’s health will not be at stake. Under organic farming, the use of manufactures synthetic fertilizers are being minimized and encourages the use of the natural fertilizers.

The aforementioned programs are also part of the Agrikulturang Pilipino or Agri-Pinoy strategic framework that optimizes the use of natural and indigenous resources to ensure food security and self-sufficiency, proper natural resource management and encourage development in the countryside. (LSMacatangay/ PIA-Camarines Sur)

HAIN holds inter-agency workshop on RH concepts, issues

By Sally A. Atento

LEGAZPI CITY, May 31 (PIA) -- The Health Action Information Network (HAIN) conducted the first inter-agency seminar workshop on reproductive and sexual health basic concepts and issues held in this city on May 27 and 28.

Edelina dela Paz, HAIN executive director, said the seminar workshop aims to come up with a direct consensus of terminologies among agencies and other stakeholders involved in the advocacy of promoting reproductive health (RH) in line with the implementation of the RH Law.

“The seminar workshop primarily aims to deepen the grasp on the concepts and issues of the reproductive and sexual health in the context of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law of 2012,” dela Paz said.

The event is attended by representatives from the Inter-agency Reproductive Health Committee (IARHC) in the province of Albay which includes government and non-government organizations, local government units, academe and health care officers.

According to Nilda de Vera, HAIN project coordinator, the initiatives implemented by the local government of Albay to address issues and concerns on reproductive and sexual health will be set as a model of best RH practices to be adopted not only in other provinces but also in countries with RH advocacies.

Such initiatives include the IARHC first organized in this province by the local government in partnership with the HAIN, Albay Aids Council and other agencies concerned. (MAL/SAA/PIA5-Albay)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Albay to attempt Guinness Record on biggest human logo

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZPI CITY, May 30 (PIA) -- Albay will take its campaign against smoking in a global platform.

The local government unit (LGU) of Albay through the Smoke-Free Albay Network (SFAN) aims to set a world record for the formation of the world’s biggest no smoking (smoke-free) human logo next month.

“(This is) to give relevance and meaning to the implementation of the Albay Smoke-free Ordinance and to educate or to instill awareness on the ill-effects of smoking and its hazards to the environment,” Albay Governor Joey Salceda said.

With the international declaration of June as No-Smoking Month, LGU-Albay and SFAN lined-up activities for the month-long celebration, the highlight of which is the formation of the human logo where 13,000 participants will be required from local government units, national government agencies, schools, non-government organizations and uniformed men, Salceda said.

“We already sent a letter to the Guiness Records to officially recognize this attempt,” Board Member and SFAN Chairman Herbert Borja said. Letters were also sent out to target agencies, institutions and groups to request their participation for the event, Borja said. Borja was recently re-elected in the provincial board where he is the incumbent chairman on the committee on health.

“The human logo will be executed at the Bicol University Football field at around six in the morning of June 28,” Borja said.

A system will be designed to record the actual number of participants at the venue with at least five minutes photo and video documentation as required by the Guinness, Borja said.

“The Philippine Air Force already committed support to the event by conducting the aerial documentation with its two helicopters,” Borja said.

The AMA Computer College also signified its support as official tabulator of participants, he added.

Prior to the event, another activity dubbed “Walk for a Smoke-Free Albay” will jump start the event at five in the morning on the same day with the human logo participants converging at Peñaranda Park and will walk to the Bicol University as the venue for the Guinness World Record attempt, Salceda said.

“There will be Smoke-Free and Information, Education Campaign booths at the venue as part of our advocacy,” Salceda said.

The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Bicol Regional Office will be part of the working committee on documentation, ground preparations, promotion and publicity for the event.

Borja said that they welcome interested participants for the event. They can contact him at his office at telephone number (052)822-3175, or 0922-8398437 or at his email address hsborja8@yahoo.com. They can also coordinate through Governor Salceda’s office at telefax number (052) 481-2555 or 0908-8660824 or email address albaygovoffice@yahoo.com. Another option is through Add+vantage Community Team Services, Incorporated with telephone numbers (052)435-3003 or 0929-377-2442 or email them at smokefree.magayon@gmail.com or like them at www.facebook.com/SmokeFreeAlbay. (MAL/JJJP-PIA5/Albay)

Multi-sectoral groups join AIDS memorial candle lighting

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, May 30 (PIA) -- Around 200 stakeholders from different sectors of the community participated in the AIDS Memorial Candle Lighting, May 28, at the Town Plaza here.

The Provincial Health Office (PHO) of Catanduanes led the memorial to honor lost lives because of AIDS complications and to increase public awareness on the status of the dreaded disease in the country.

A Eucharistic celebration commenced the memorial at the Virac Cathedral, followed by a short program at the venue where a one minute prayer was observed.

The ceremonial lighting of the symbolic candle followed and a film showing featuring the testimonies of AIDS victims.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lubelia M. Sanchez, PHO Health Officer II expressed appreciation for all who participated and showed support for the success of the activity.

According to her, this is only among the many steps that they will make to help in the government's campaign to fight AIDS. (MAL/EAB/PIA5-Catanduanes)

CamSur celebrates 434th Founding anniversary with Good Governance caravan

By Analiza S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, May 30 (PIA) -- Deviating from the usual extravagant revelries, this year’s recent commemoration of Camarines Sur’s 434th foundation anniversary turned out plain and simple as it highlighted a Good Governance Caravan held at the Convention Center here.

The day was punctuated with a dental and medical mission in Tinangis Jail and Penal Farm in Pili and Iriga District Jail.

The inmates received bags, shoes and food packs for their families. They were also joined by their kins during the simple program held inside the jails' compound

The caravan, after yielding positive response from its recipients was extended up to June 7 to give more recipients a chance to avail of various government services.

Aside from the aforementioned services, all Camarinenses were given a treat as the day was declared a Special Non-working holiday in Camarines Sur pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act 9410 declaring every May 27 of each year in the said province as a free day for everyone. The provision covers the 35 municipalities of the province, including its two cities, Naga and Iriga. The law was signed in 2007.

This activity also served as a thanksgiving gesture of Governor Luis Raymond “LRay” Villafuerte to his constituents and supporters for their cooperation for the past 9 years of his headship as Governor of the Province and for installing his son, Migz Villafuerte as his replacement.

Based on the historical archives obtained from Spain, the province of Camarines Sur was officially installed as a province by then Governor General Francisco Sande in May 27, 1579. Since then, the date is being remembered as the province’s foundation as a political unit. (MAL/LSM/PIA4A-Camarines Sur)

Legazpi City recovers 3,492 kgs of residual plastic under Plastic for Rice Program

By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, May 30 (PIA) -- The City Government of Legazpi, through its City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), collected 3,492 kilograms of residual plastic in 2012 through the implementation of its Plastic for Rice Program.

The move is also in compliance with RA 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, and City Ordinance No. 0017-2009.

Both legislations aim to improve the social environmental living condition of the people by encouraging resource recovery and conservation and promoting public participation.

CENR officer Salve Corral said the Plastic for Rice Program is a special strategy of the city that aims to prolong the life span of its sanitary landfill by reducing the garbage being deposited in the area.

Corral said this is done in the 70 villages of this city by encouraging residents to collect five kilos of residual plastic in exchange for one kilo of rice.

She pointed out that this program also helps prevent the clogging of the canals and other drainage systems in the downtown areas of the city that cause heavy flooding, especially during rainy seasons.

Corral said that all the residual plastic recovered by the CENRO personnel are processed and pulverized using their pulverizer machine at the motor pool compound.

They then distributed the pulverized material to the barangays for their livelihood projects.

Corral also said some barangays are also buying from the eco aides and other scavengers plastic tetra packs or sachets of shampoos, toothpastes and juices which they use as materials for making decorative and other livelihood products.

City Mayor Carmen Geraldine B. Rosal said she had asked the CENRO and the Public Safety Office to inform the public to stop the burning of garbage from waste materials in public places, backyards, residences and all parts of the communities to stop the Unintentionally Produced Persistent Organic Pollutants (UPOP).

She pointed out that this environmental friendly policy is in connection with the compliance of the city government to a memorandum of agreement recently entered into with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the implementation of Anti-UPOP projects.

The primary task of this city under the agreement is to stop the practice of burning in dumps to reduce the release of emission of dioxins and furans, she added.

The city government of Legazpi was awarded by the National Solid Waste Management Council on Jan. 30 at the DENR Regional office in Barangay Rawis as one of the best local government units to implement the solid waste management program of the government. (MAL/EMS-LGU Legazpi CIty/PIA5)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

'Buntis Congress' to help lessen maternal mortality

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, May 29 (PIA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) through the Rural Health Unit (RHU) of Virac conducted the Buntis Congress on May 24 to help lessen maternal-related mortality.

The Buntis Congress was held to raise awareness among the pregnant and “would be pregnant” on the importance of proper health and nutrition before, during and after pregnancy.

Topics that were covered in the activity are maternal and child health interventions including antenatal registration, high-risk pregnancy, labor, and delivery, as well as newborn screening, breastfeeding, maternal and child nutrition, and family planning.

Virac Rural Health Officer Dr. Arlene Q. Arcilla said that with the holding of the Buntis Congress, the mortality rate on pregnancy-related cases in the province particularly in this town will be reduced.

Arcilla said that women must undergo facility-based delivery in hospitals to be assured of proper medication and attention before, during and after delivery.

Participants in the activity were thankful to the organizers as according to them, they earned a lot from the lectures.

Around 50 pregnant women from the 11 towns of the province attended the activity. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)#

Monday, May 27, 2013

DSWD calls for vigilance for fake 4Ps registration

NAGA CITY, May 27 (PIA) -- Two days after the mid-term polls, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office in Bicol, received reports that the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps was used by politicians in Camarines Sur to gain vote from their constituents.

The persistent report and feed backs prompted DSWD 5 regional director Arnel Garcia to issue a press statement denying the allegations, saying that there were no such activities coordinated in their office.

Barely a week after the election, Garcia reiterated his call that private individuals, organizations or any entities are not allowed to issue registration forms for the 4Ps, much more enlist them as members under the said program.

In a statement released to the media, Garcia said that if there are registration forms that continue to circulate in some municipalities, they definitely did not come from the DSWD.

Garcia emphasized that the identification of qualified beneficiaries for 4Ps is generated solely through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTSPR) and payouts are only done through the schedules and modes approved by the Department.

"For the record the DSWD is not the source of the alleged registration forms, we are not conducting community assemblies to recruit new beneficiaries for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the Partido area or anywhere else in the region at the moment and no payouts are being conducted since March 29, 2013”, Garcia stressed.

It will be recalled that a month before the election, Garcia met with the local members of the media in Camarines Sur and launched its "Bawal ang EPAL Dito.”

This endeavors to inform the public that only DSWD has the sole authority to select new beneficiaries, delist non-compliant recipients, impose penalties for violated rules and warn political “epals” not to use the poverty allegation program to further their political interests.

"The DSWD is committed to protect the integrity of its poverty reduction programs and the safety and independence of its workers for the best interests of the poor and marginalized", Garcia said in closing. (AAMayor-DSWD5/MAL/LSM/PIA5-Camarines Sur)

Brigada Eskwela 2013 kicks off in Bicol

By Sally A. Atento

LEGAZPI CITY, May 27 (PIA) – The Department of Education (DepEd) led the 2013 Brigada Eskwela or Annual National Schools Maintenance Week in this region from May 20 to May 25 this year with the theme “Isang Dekada ng Bayanihan sa Paaralan.”

“DepEd enjoins communities, non-government organizations (NGOs), GOCCs and other partners to participate in this yearly initiative, which is also our flagship program to prepare our schools for this school year,” said DepEd Bicol information officer Rey Bañaz.

Brigada Eskwela has been conducted by the DepEd in partnership with education stakeholders, parents, students and volunteers from private and public sectors to prepare the schools by cleaning, repair and repainting of classrooms and other facilities used by students.

“Aside from the usual clean-up we also check the electrical wiring connections in our schools and other facilities to ensure safety,” he added.

This initiative also aims to change the culture of most students and parents at the start of each school year.

“With this program, we are aiming to change our culture on the first two days at the start of the school year wherein students do not usually go to school thinking there will be no formal classes since they will just be cleaning the school. This time, our teachers will be formally starting our classes right on the first day of school,” he explained.

For this school year, Bañaz said DepEd projects around 1.5 million students in the Bicol region coming back to school this year.

“For the secondary level, we are projecting around 409,299 students coming back to school with around 1, 042,990 for elementary and 161, 884 for kindergarten,” he said.

The ongoing Brigada Eskwela is still open for volunteers who are willing to share their time, effort and resources.

Moreover Bañaz reminds them to give their donations in kind and not in cash. “We do not accept cash,” he said. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

Ocean Month 2013 highlights sustainable management of reef ecosystem

By Sally A. Atento

LEGAZPI CITY, May 27 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Bicol leads the celebration of the Ocean month in this region with activities highlighting the agency's advocacy on sustainable management of reef ecosystem.

Gilbert Gonzales, DENR regional executive director, said part of the celebration is the exhibit launched May 14 this year at the DENR regional office here by the Protected Areas Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS).

The officers of the Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NAVFORSOL), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police (PNP) maritime and other departments of the DENR joined the said exhibit.

Gonzales said the DENR together with these security forces of the government continuously initiate Sustainable Coastal Reef Ecosystem Management Programs (SCREMP).

Commodore Manuel Abinuman of the Philippine Navy added thay they continuously ensure the safety of marine resources against as illegal fishing and prohibited activities.

Also slated for this month’s celebration is a forum on the ocean and its resources specially its coral reefs ecosystem and presentations on the initiatives conducted to manage, protect and develop said resources.

This year’s Ocean month theme is “Ang bahura ay kagubatan sa karagatan, ating pangalagaan” (Coral reefs are the forest of the seas, let's protect them).

Gonzales explained this year’s theme aims to stress the importance of coral reefs as natural barriers that protect shorelines against waves, storms, floods and other eroding forces thereby protecting coastal dwellings and sustaining the life of millions of Filipinos especially through fishing and tourism.

"Likewise, it aims to remind each Filipino of their responsibility to manage and protect the ocean and all its resources," he added. (MAL/SAA/PIA5-Albay)

Legazpi City hosts APO midyear confab

By Manny P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, May 27 (PIA) -- Around 4,000 members of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) Fraternity attended a four-day midyear biennial convention from May 23 to May 26, at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation here.

With the theme “Together as one: Rooted and Grounded on Service,” the meeting was hosted by the APO Gamma Xi Alumni Association - Aquinas University Legazpi City Chapter and the city government of Legazpi.

Deodato Quintela of the Delta Lambda Divine Word College - Legazpi City Chapter said this giant affair of APO materialized after the APO Gamma Alumni Association - Aquinas University of Legazpi City Chapter won in the bidding process to host the convention during their 6th National Convention in Cagayan de Oro last year.

He said the bidding process for the convention was participated in by the different chapters throughout the country.

On the first day of the convention, City mayor Carmen Geraldine B. Rosal thanked the participants for their holding of the gathering in the city that, she said, has been emerging as one of the most favorite venues for conventions and conferences of both private and government organizations.

Rosal said the city government of Legazpi always welcomes and treasures partnership with civic and brotherhood organizations.

”We are privileged to have a rewarding collaboration and alliance with APO. With your brotherhood, we can accomplish more activities that will redound to the well-being of our constituents,” she added.

The lady mayor said her administration is committed to support the projects and programs of the APO that will promote leadership, fellowship and service. ”In these days of complexities, more things are accomplished through cooperation and solidarity,” she pointed out.

She also told the participants that they will never regret in choosing the city as the venue of their gathering, “as having a taste of the city’s hospitality is one experience you will never forget.”

Legazpi City has hosted several large gatherings of organizations, from February this year, among which were the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers national convention on February 20- 22; Philippine Association of Civil Registrar biennial convention, March 4-8; Rotary International District 3820 intercity meeting - Area 4, March 9; Albay Medical Society Annual Convention, March 10-11; 1st Quarterly cluster meeting of the National Capital Region and Southern Luzon Department of Health/Center for Health Development 5, March 13-15; POGS national midyear convention, April 10-12; 17th Annual Social Welfare and Development Forum and General Assembly of ALSWDOPI, April 16-19; Quota International District Convention, April 25-27, and 11th Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers Region 5 Technical Conference, May 17-18.

Other conferences scheduled to be held in this city this year are the 6th National Convention and Seminar Workshop of the Philippine Association of Municipal Assessors, Inc. on May 28-31, seminar on Illegal Drugs Law and 24th Annual National Convention of the League of Local Planning and Development Coordinators of the Philippines, Inc. to be held anytime in June.

The Bicol National Association of America (BNAA) will also hold its 33rd Year Annual Convention this coming July 19-21, while the 14th National Convention of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) will be on Oct. 2-5. (MAL/PIA5-ALbay/MPSolis-LGU Legazpi City)

Stricter guidelines for safety of foreigners needed – Bureau of Immigration Bicol

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZPI CITY, May 27 (PIA) -- Tourism is more fun in the Philippines but stricter measures for the safety of foreign tourists must be pursued.

This is the reaction of Bicol’s Bureau of Immigration chief Josephus Ojano on the recent climbing incident that involved a Russian national on the restricted area of Mayon Volcano.

“Our government immediately gives assistance to foreigners in need but our compatriots overseas do not experience the same treatment,” Ojano said.

Mark Yuchyugyaev, age 28 a Russian tourist scaled Mayon 10:30 am on Sunday (May 19) alone despite the warnings of the locals and the existing prohibition of mountaineering activities within the volcano’s six-kilometer permanent danger zone imposed by the Provincial Government of Albay in the wake of the recent deaths of four German nationals and a local guide and injuring 8 others due to the unexpected phreatic explosion of Mayon last May 7.

Yuchyugyaev made a distress call at 8:02 pm Tuesday (May 21) to Jerry Delana, a resident of Barangay Busao in Daraga town whom he met while taking some pictures at Cagsawa ruins, informing him that he broke his leg and suffering from cold temperature.

Delana notified the Bureau of Fire Protection that alerted the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) which in turn organized a search and rescue team that was ready to start the operations by 10:00 pm on that same night. The team though after assessment, took off at 6:00 am the following day due to the critical and risky terrain since Yuchyugyaev took the Mi-isi trail, a route not usually taken by mountaineers.

Earlier reports cast doubts on the real nationality of Yuchyugyaev but Ojano dispelled the rumors.

“He is indeed a Russian national however of Mongolian descent and his entry to our country is documented,” Ojano said.

Yuchyugyaev arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on May 16 on board Cathay Pacific via Beijing, China. He is allowed to stay in the Philippine soil until June 5, Ojano said.

According to the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Region 5, Yuchyugyaev was airlifted at 4:00 pm on May 23 in a Philippine Air Force (PAF) chopper that they coordinated to transport the victim. Yuchyugyaev was located at 10:00 am Wednesday (May 22) through his mirror signals to the rescuers. He was found stuck at the Mi-isi Gulley and later brought to Camp 2 for initial medical attention.

“We are spending resources as part of our culture of being hospitable to visitors,” Ojano said.

Aside from reimbursing the government on the expenses on the rescue operations, the appropriate fines and penalties must be sanctioned to foreign nationals who violated local ordinances and laws, Ojano said.

“Unfortunately, not a single barangay, municipal or provincial ordinance was passed yet imposing penalties to violators of climbing restrictions at Mayon as an articulation of the executive order issued by Governor Joey Salceda,” Ojano said.

Thus, Yuchyugayeav's stiffest penalty as of the moment is a broken leg. What is important is that he is lucky to be found alive and he can say that there is more fun in the Philippines. (MAL/JJJP/PIA5-Albay)

Daet town to celebrate 430th founding anniversary and Pinyasan Festival

By Rosalita B. Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, May 27 (PIA) -- The municipal government here has lined-up activities in connection with the 430th founding anniversary of the town through the Pinyasan Festival from June 15-24, this year.

Mayor Tito Sarte-Sarion said that on June 15, the 430th founding anniversary of the Daet will be the start of the Pinyasan Festival with the first Pinyasan fun run with dogs from the First Rizal Monument to the Bagasbas Beach of Daet.

He said that on the same day will be the thanksgiving mass and floral offering at the First Dr. Jose Rizal Monument to be followed by the Pinyasan opening program, BahayAnihan Agro Fair and Second Pinyasan dog show at the same venue.

There will be an opening parade to be participated in by government agencies, military and schools with best marching band and CAT drill competition and an opening of the Pinyasan Trade Fair and Pinyasan party night.

The Pinyasan Festival is in celebration of the Formosa sweet variety Queen pineapple, one of the province’s major products.

Sarion said that in this year’s Pinyasan Festival will coincide with the Metro Manila Councilors’ Conference slated on June 20-22 to be held in Daet wherein the invited guests are Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano and also Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III.

He said that celebrities like Kalil Ramos, Karylle and Erik Santos will also be invited for the Pinyasan Star Express on June 22.

The activities on June 16 will include the Pinyasan walk from Daet Heritage Center to Bagasbas Beach, Pinyasan beach football tournament, beach events like the paraw regatta, sand carving, beach volleyball, palo sebo and Pinyasan party night.

On June 17 will be the flag raising ceremony to be followed by the presentation of candidates of Miss Pinyasan, Miss Daet and Miss Tourism; Daet at 430th forum with Prof. Danilo Gerona; Pinyasan mural painting and party night.

A Pinyasan Food Fair and Jobs Fair will be held on June 18 together with the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Pinyasan Village Dedication Day, Pinyasan Master Chef Competition, Pinyasan Little Angels and party night.

To give tribute to our elders there will be a Senior Citizen Ballroom dancing competition on June 19 to be followed by a party night while on June 20 will be the Pinyasan Mayor’s Cup Regional Shootfest; pinya carafest, kadang kadang and sangkayaw; race with the Miss Pinyasan candidates, Got Talent and Pinyasan night.

The 5th Mayor’s Cup National Dart Tournament will be on June 21-23 while the remaining activities will be Search for Miss Pinyasan, Miss Daet and Miss Tourism Beauty pageant; horseback raising competition; street dancing; fun run; float competition; barangay night and awarding ceremonies; and fireworks display.

On June 24 will be the town fiesta wherein a whole day pontifical mass will be celebrated in honor of Saint John the Baptist. (MAL/RBM/PIA5-Camarines Norte)

CBSUA to hold National Beekeeping Convention
By Analiza S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, May 27 (PIA) -- The National Apiculture Research, Training and Development Institute (NARTDI) will spearhead the 10th National Beekeeping Convention at the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) here from May 28 to 30.

The event aims to strengthen beekeepers associations, cooperatives, institutions and other industry key players and promote efficient information, education and communication strategies.

The convention will evolve on the theme: “Beekeeping: Pillar of Agricultural Productivity and Environmental Conservation,” pursuing convergence of beekeepers and would-be beekeepers throughout the country.

NARTDI partners with CBSUA and Beekeepers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (BAPI), for the interfacing of representatives coming from various government agencies like Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) , State Universities (SUCs) and non-government organizations in the country.

The 3-day event will showcase practice and technology on propagation of bees, particularly hive management techniques for sting-less bees or native bees in the ecosystem, the prevention and control of major parasites, predators and diseases of honeybees and honeybee pollination of selected agricultural crops.

Bee experts, also invited as resource persons will also tackle apiary success stories to inspire other beekeeper wannabes to support their campaign in promoting beekeeping in the country and encourage budding bee enthusiasts and people from academe to particularly acknowledge the sustainable productivity of the said industry.

Dr. Maria Dulce J. Mostoles, director of the Regional Apiculture (RAC) and a registered entomologist, stated that it has always been their mission to educate and train existing and potential beekeepers and apiculturists in the region, and extend it to other stakeholders to enhance the competitiveness of the bee industry.

Mostoles manages the Regional Apiculture Center here in Bicol pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between CBSUA and NARTDI.

It carries out programs on apiculture at the regional level and linked it to the plans and programs at the national level.

“We want to strengthen the collaborative efforts with various institutional partners to facilitate the implementation of our programs and projects, and one of the best avenues where we do that is through activities like the upcoming National Beekeeping Convention,” Mostoles said in an interview.

Mostoles added that during the plenary sessions, updates of the NARTDI programs, the DA’s support to the beekeeping industry, CESO Volunteer Assistance Program, reports on study tour of Administrators to Canada, Beekeeping Guidelines and standard (Apis mellifera and native bees ) will also be discussed. (MAL/LSM/PIA5-Camarines Sur)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Russian climber rescued from Mayon

By Sally A. Atento

LEGAZPI CITY, May 23 (PIA) -- The search and rescue unit (SRU) teams dispatched yesterday morning by Albay Governor Joey Salceda has found Mark Yuchyugaev, the 28-year old Russian national who was stuck along the Mi-isi Gully off Mayon Volcano.

Salceda said Yuchyugaev reportedly called a certain Gerry Delana of Barangay Busay in Daraga at around 8 p.m. of May 21 asking for assistance as he broke his leg and was suffering from cold temperature at the slope of around 1,700 meters after going for a solo climb.

Delana in turn reported the incident to the Daraga Fire Station.

Yuchyugaev reportedly climbed Mayon on May 19 passing through Mi-isi trail in Daraga.

Cedric Daep, APSEMO director, said the exact location of Yuchyugaev was determined by the SRU teams yesterday morning after establishing visual contact through mirror signal.

Daep said the SRU is composed of four teams led by the PRC and BFP. Highly skilled PRC volunteers and authorized local guides comprise the first team led by Johnny Añonuevo, designated scene commander.

They set out on a critical trail at Camp 2 elevated at 2,500 feet above sea level.

The second team stationed at Camp 1 as augmentation force to the first team is currently moving to join the first team.

Another two teams are on standby at APSEMO and BFP regional headquarters.

Daep said the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) is also currently on standby for ground and air asset support.

Meanwhile all SRUs and volunteer mountaineers are advised to be on stand by pending request for augmentation from the two teams who are currently at the volcano area.

Prohibition to climb Mayon Volcano is likewise strictly enforced.

"Team1 now near that victim but decided to rest and will stay overnight as all were tired and spent as they have been trekking nearly 10 hours already on unfamiliar trail. Team 2 will try to reach location of Team 1 and they will start to assault area where the victim is located early morning tommorrow. All logistics requirement and man power support will be organized tonight to be ready for dispatch early tommorrow. Field command post closely coordinates with barangay officials of Miisi Daraga. Coordination for possible air asset support done through RDRRMC and Office of the Civil Defense V,” Daep added. (MAL/SAA/PIA5-Albay)

Election in Bicol successful and peaceful despite minor glitches – COMELEC

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZPI CITY, May 23 (PIA) -- This year’s midterm national election was generally peaceful and successful in the entire Bicol region, according to the top regional official of the Commission on Election (Comelec) in Bicol.

Comelec regional election director Atty.Romeo Fortes said that with only the provinces of Camarines Sur and Masbate placed entirely under election watchlist by the Philippine National Police (PNP) early January this year, Bicol experienced almost zero-violence incidents.

“Surprisingly, Masbate had only one fatality but only by accident,” Fortes said.

Police Officer 2 Jesus Apostol fell into the sea and suffered from a heart attack while on board a motorized boat when he was detailed to secure the transport of the PCOS machines to the polling places of San Jacinto barely a week before the polls. He was found unconscious and later on declared dead. Apostol was the team leader of the joint elements of the Regional Public Safety Batallion and San Pascual Municipal Police Station in Masbate.

On defective compact flash (CF) cards, Fortes said that they recorded only an average of two per province.

“So out of 4,800 precincts region wide, we only had 12 CF cards that malfunctioned,” Fortes said.

On the reported erroneous deliveries of PCOS machines made by Air 21, the deputized agency for the distribution of PCOS, Fortes confirmed that quite a number of occurrences were noted by their office.

“These were immediately solved since majority of interchanged PCOS occurred only between precincts within the same barangay or municipality. Malfunctioning PCOS were only few that were immediately replaced with contingency PCOS on stand-by," Fortes said.

“Misdeliveries of PCOS is only a minor problem, what is crucial is the prompt delivery of CCS (Consolidation Canvassing System),” Fortes said. The CCS is a computer unit in laptop form used in the canvassing and consolidation of the electronically transmitted election results from the precinct, city, municipal, district, and provincial board of canvassers.

“The CCS for San Jacinto (Masbate) was delivered only in the afternoon of May 17, so the results were only transmitted the following day,” Fortes said.

Fortes noted that Air 21 did not employ locals in the delivery of election paraphernalia that may have caused confusion in locating the exact destinations of deliveries. Further, they only call up the Comelec if they are already encountering problems. “Once you enter any region, coordination must be done with the Comelec regional election director per protocol,” Fortes said.

Long queues at the precincts may not have happened if the Comelec’s proposal of procuring 120,000 PCOS was realized. “Our budget was slashed thus we have only 80,000 PCOS,” Fortes said.

The ideal PCOS and voters ratio is 1:250 and maximum of 500 voters per PCOS, Fortes said. “In some precincts, almost 1,000 voters use a single PCOS,” Fortes said.

Fortes also commended the initial successes of conducting polls at jails which were introduced during May polls this year.

“We will recommend that there must be PCOS for every jail on the next elections,” Fortes said. Ballots from jails were transported to nearest precincts so that it can be scanned by PCOS.

The government can also look into improving some classrooms that can truly fit for polling purposes since elections happen every three years, Fortes said.

Another sector that is vital in every election is power to provide, reliable, uninterrupted and sufficient electricity, Fortes said. “It will ensure protection to PCOS and safety to voters,” Fortes said. (MAL/JJJP/PIA5-Albay)

Prov'l Health Office to lead candle lighting ceremony against AIDS

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, May 23 (PIA) -- As part of its campaign to fight the spread of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the Provincial Health Office (PHO) of Catanduanes will spearhead a candle lighting ceremony on May 28, 2013.

The activity aims to honor lost lives because of AIDS complications and to increase public awareness on the status of the dreaded disease in the country.

According to Dr. Lubelia M. Sanchez, Provincial Health Officer II, now is the best time to increase the public’s knowledge about HIV/AIDS. She said that being aware is being safe and protected.

PHO is likewise inviting the public to participate in the said event on the 28th, 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon at Plaza Rizal, Virac.

AIDS is a disease of the human immune system caused by infection with HIV. In the Philippines, HIV/AIDS continue to increase despite efforts to curb its growth rate in the past.

AIDS remains to post significant threat to public health today. (MAL/EAB/PIA5-Catanduanes)

Comelec-Bicol recommends compensation to family of deceased policeman

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZPI CITY, May 23 (PIA) -- The Commission on Election (Comelec) regional office here has recommended to the commission's headquarters to grant compensation to the family of the policeman from Masbate who died while performing his election duties.

Lawyer Romeo Fortes, Comelec Bicol regional election director, has requested Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. to provide monetary benefits to the family of the late Police Officer 2 Jesus Apostol who fell into the sea and suffered from a heart attack while escorting the transport of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine and election paraphernalia in Masbate barely a week before the polls.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has cited Apostol who sacrificed his life for the elections and further assured his family of compensation.

“Comelec Resolution No. 9640 only provides insurance and compensation for teachers who sustain accidents or deaths while performing election duties,” Fortes said.

"Elections on every part of the country would have not been successful and peaceful if not for the vigor of our men in uniform," Fortes said.

“Had it not to their unwavering bravery, the security of our Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) would have been compromised, as well as the PCOS machines. Their participation must therefore be highly considered," Fortes said.

“It is only just proper that they be given the same treatment accorded to the teachers,” Fortes said.

Fortes recommends that the same compensation extended to the BEIs should be granted to the family of Apostol considering that his death happened while he was performing his election duties.

Fortes even mentioned that all COMELEC deputized agencies must be given the same benefits in case of death or accident.

Apostol was the team leader of the joint elements of the Regional Public Safety Batallion and San Pascual Municipal Police Station in Masbate. He accidentally fell into the sea while on board a motorized boat when he was detailed to secure the transport of the PCOS machines to the polling places of San Jacinto. He was found unconscious and later on declared dead.

The entire Bicol Region registered only one election-related death in a province which is entirely declared under election watch list by the Philippine National Police (PNP) with no single bullet fired.

Earlier, PNP 5 regional director Chief Superintendent Clarence Guinto wrote a letter to Comelec through the Office of the Regional Election Officer in Bicol requesting for compensation of Apostol’s heirs, Fortes said.

Apostol together with Police Officer 1 Agerico Afable of Borongan, Samar who was shoot to death by unidentified assailants while guarding a PCOS machine in Barangay Calingatngan were recognized as heroes by DILG Secretary Mar Roxas during the Flag Raising Ceremony at Camp Crame in Quezon City early this week. (MAL/JJJP/PIA5-Albay)

Russian scales Mayon, calls for rescue

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZPI CITY, May 23 (PIA) -- Despite existing prohibition from authorities and warnings from locals, a Russian tourist climbed Mayon Volcano alone on May 19 and called for rescue Tuesday evening due to leg injury and physical fatigue caused by cold temperature near the summit.

Mark Yuchyugaev, a 28-year old Russian, made a distress call to Jerry De Lana, a farmer he met in Barangay Busay in Albay at 8:02 pm Tuesday night asking for help.

De Lana coordinated with the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) which immediately organized search and rescue teams to respond to the situation.

“We organized four teams for this operation composed of personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection, Red Cross, and mountaineers,” APSEMO Chief Dr. Cedric Daep said.

Daep said that Team 1, composed of Red Cross personnel and mountaineers will conduct on-scene operation by locating and rescuing the victim while Team 2, composed of Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)personnel who will be on stand-by at Camp 1 to provide support to Team 1 when required.

Daep added that Team 3 is on stand-by at the Red Cross camp and Team 4 is on-call based at BFP Regional Headquarters.

“This will be a high angle rescue operation. Yuchugaev is believed to be more than 1,000 meters away from the crater and near Camp 2 where he will be given immediate medical attention upon rescue,” Daep said.

“The manner of transporting down Yuchugaev will depend on his physical condition. Further medical treatment will be given to Yuchugaev when he is brought down from Mayon,” he added.

Daep said that at 10:00 pm Tuesday, the team was ready for the rescue operations but upon assessment, they decided to take off yesterday at 6:30 am due to the critical and risky terrain.

“As of 10:00 am yesterday, Team 1 detected mirror signals from the victim emanating from Miisi Gully,” Daep said.

Daep said that they already informed the Department of Foreign Affairs of the situation since this incident involves a foreign national.

According to De Lana, Yuchugaev earlier expressed his intention to scale Mayon while taking some pictures of the Cagsawa ruins despite admonitions of locals informing him of the Mayon explosion incident last May 7.

Yuchyugaev, who reportedly have some difficulty speaking in English, told De Lana through a phone call that he took off for Mayon at 10:30 am Sunday through Miisi Trail in Daraga, a route usually taken by orchid gatherers but seldom by mountaineers.

On May 7, Mayon Volcano had an unexpected phreatic explosion that killed four Germans including a local guide and injured eight others.

The prohibition for mountaineering activities within Mayon’s six-kilometer permanent danger zone is still up in the wake of that recent incident. (MAL/JJJP-PIA5/Albay)#

Brigada Eskwela kicks-off in Catanduanes

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, May 23 (PIA) -- Exactly a week after the local polls, Department of Education (DepEd) Catanduanes Division launched Monday, May 20, the Brigada Eskwela in all public elementary and high schools in the province.

Brigada Eskwela is a nationwide voluntary effort that started in 2003, bringing together teachers, parents and the community to do clean-up and repairs in public schools to prepare the facilities for the June school opening,

According to Jose L. Doncillo, DepEd Catanduanes Division officer-in charge, Brigada Eskwela which will last until May 25 is a preparation for the class opening on June 3, 2013.

He is also asking for more support from the public for this year’s Brigada. He said that interested volunteers are so much welcome to help.

Maintenance work such as the repainting of the roof and exterior walls, repair of leaking water pipes, ceiling boards, broken furniture and windows, cleaning of toilets and gardening are just some of the works to be undertaken by the volunteers.

Philippine Army 83rd Infantry Battalion and the Philippine National Police also volunteered and shared their time and efforts as support to the annual activity. (MAL/EAB-PIA5 Catanduanes)

BFP Sorsogon City joins DepEd’s 'Oplan Brigada Eskwela 2013'

By Benilda A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, May 23 (PIA) -- The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Sorsogon City will conduct fire safety inspections to all public schools and establishments utilized as dormitories/boarding houses in support of the Department of Education's (DepEd) "Oplan Brigada Eskwela 2013".

BFP Sorsogon City Fire Marshal Senior Inspector Walter Badong Marcial said the bureau is anticipating the influx of students in different schools as well as those students who will be staying in their boarding houses and to ensure their safety and abate the possible hazards in their respective areas, fire safety inspectors has started conducting this week massive fire safety inspection to all public schools and boarding houses within the city to ensure compliance with the fire safety requirements.

He furthered that he has instructed his personnel to coordinate with the different barangays and the DepEd to make sure that this will be properly implemented in time of their Brigada Eskwela.

Oplan Balik Eskwela is one of the annual programs of the government being supported by the BFP to ensure the smooth opening of the classes and avert any untoward incident and other similar eventualities.

Furthermore, S/Insp Marcial said that the BFP is mandated to promote public safety through the intensification of fire safety campaign and stringent implementation of RA 9514 also known as the Fire Code of the Philippines.

In case of fire incidents or other related emergency situation, BFP-Sorsogon City can be reached at their hotline numbers 421-6320;211-7996/ 0907-2927-215;0907-2927-266. (MGECorral-BFP/MAL/BAR-PIA5 Sorsogon)

PRC sets mobile registration in Catanduanes

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, May 23 (PIA) -- The Professional Regulations Commission (PRC)-Region V commenced since yesterday until May 26 a mobile registration for Licensure Examination for Teachers in this province to enable the processing of application without going to their regional office in Legazpi City.

PRC Bicol announced that aside from registration of application, the agency will also render various mobile services such as renewal of PRC ID, release of PRC licensure, initial registration of new board passers and issuance of certificate for new board passers.

The requirements for the issuance of Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card (ID) include duly accomplished Oath Form or Panunumpa ng Propesyonal; Latest Community Tax Certificate (Cedula); metered documentary stamp for the Oath Form; and the Initial Registration Fee of P600 and Annual Registration Fee of P450 for 2013-2016.

Meanwhile, those who wish to renew their PRC ID must bring the following: Duly accomplished priority slip form; Photocopy of latest Professional Identification Card; In case of loss of unexpired PIC, submit duly notarized Affidavit of Loss; One passport-size colored picture in white background and complete name tag (first name, middle name & last name) and Payment of renewal fee.

In partnership with the provincial government, PRC has been conducting mobile registration in the province since 2011. (MAL/EAB/PIA5-Catanduanes)

DTI-Sorsogon conducts 2-day 'Diskwento Caravan-Balik Eskwela Edition'

By Benilda A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, May 23 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched a nationwide project dubbed as “Diskwento Caravan” aimed at helping consumers avail of commodities at discounted prices.

DTI Sorsogon information officer Senen Malaya said they are conducting the “Diskwento Caravan” for two days in at least four barangays in the city to give more opportunity for parents and students to avail themselves of school supplies and other commodities at a lower price.

For Sorsogon, the Diskwento Caravan-Balik Eskwela Edition is being conducted in partnership with the Department of Education in time for the “Brigada Eskwela”, the Sorsogon Consumers Association as well as participating establishments.

“School supplies, uniforms, basic commodities and other items at discounted prices will be made available,” Malaya said.

The 2-day event is being held at Bacon District, Sorsogon City with the following schedule:

May 22:
Bonga integrated school (8-11:30 am)
Rawis national high school (1-4:30pm)

May 23:
Gatbo integrated high school (8-11:30 am)
L. Martinez memorial high school (1-4:30 pm)

Malaya also said that they do not just limit the caravan to residents of the four specific barangays. Neighboring barangays are also invited to proceed to the schools at the date and time indicated to avail of discounted products.

“We are also thankful to the participating establishments like the Centro Department Store, Duka Variety Store, Goodluck Commercial, and Jeanee’s Supermarket who are always supportive every time we have activities as such,” he further said. (DTI/MAL/BAR-PIA5 Sorsogon)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

DepEd trains Grade 8 teachers in English and Araling Panlipunan for K to 12

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, May 22 (PIA) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) in Bicol recently led the Regional Mass Training for Grade 8 teachers in the fields of English and Araling Panlipunan under the K to 12 program in this city.

At least 265 teachers from public schools in the province of Masbate, city schools divisions of Masbate City and Tabaco City Division were among the participants of the first of a series of mass trainings.

The 148 participants trained in the English subject while 117 in Araling Panlipunan.

The training was divided into eight learning areas, including Mathematics, Technology and Livelihood Education, English, Araling Panlipunan, Music, Arts, Physical Education, and Health (MAPEH), Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao, Science, and Filipino.

Each learning area has a five-day training wherein the mass training for English and Araling Panlipunan took place last May 15-19.

Trainors were composed of education program supervisors, division coordinators and key teachers who are members of the regional training team.

K-12 program sums up primary and secondary education, which involves Kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school (Grades 7 to 10) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11 to 12). (MAL/MZEser-OJT-BU/PIA)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

865 new classrooms up for construction in Bicol

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, May 21 (PIA) -- The government will construct at least 865 new classrooms in the Bicol region within the year under the regular school buildings program (RSBP) for calendar year 2013 of the Department of Education (DepEd).

Program supervisor Casiano B. Pendegones Jr. of the DepEd Bicol said that the construction of the school buildings is still under procurement stage, but is expected to be completed within the year.

Pendegones added that the target completion for the one-storey school buildings is on September 2013 while two-storey buildings will be on November to December this year.

Breakdown of the classrooms up for construction includes 69 in Albay, 75 in Camarines Norte, 267 in Camarines Sur, 33 in Catanduanes, 212 in Masbate, 163 in Sorsogon, while 12 in Naga City, 10 in Iriga City, 11 in Masbate City and 13 in Sorsogon City,.

Pendegones noted that this city and the cities of Ligao and Tabaco are not included in the program since other school building programs are being undertaken in the areas by Philippine Gaming Corporation or Pagcor-assisted school building project and through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.

He further explained that RSBP is a joint project of DepEd and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which intends to address the shortage of classrooms in the country.

Under the program, the DPWH will construct the classrooms, following the prescribed DepEd designs, while the latter will also be in charge of other school facilities such as construction of restrooms and providing classroom furniture.

Pendegones furthered that the construction of classrooms is under the Basic Education Facilities Fund for 2013, wherein some P629,189,000 will be allocated for the fund for construction of classrooms alone which will be administered by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

RSBP specifically targets schools which are categorized under the Red Zone or those which have a ratio of 56 or more students to one classroom; and the Black Zone, or schools which make use of makeshift classrooms and facilities.

Pendegones said that this project mainly aims to provide the students in both elementary and high school an improved environment conducive for learning.

“With better-equipped learning environment, students are able to focus more on their studies and learn more effectively”, Pendogones added. (MAL/Monaliza Z. Eser-OJT-BU/PIA5)

DAR introduces tracking system in acquiring, distributing land

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZAPI CITY, May 21 (PIA) -- As the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) is nearing its completion, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) launched a tracking system on the status of land acquisition and distribution (LAD).

Former DAR Negros regional director Elmo Bañares develop the computer program in 2011 and maximized its utilization in 2012 in the said province that produced remarkable LAD accomplishments.

Negros is noted for highly contentious land reform issues and consistently has high LAD balances.

The department is currently training its manpower all over the country specifically in the Land Tenure Improvement (LTI) Division and field operations staff including the municipal agrarian reform officers (MARO) and technologists by batches under its Intervenors’ Validation Strategy, DAR Bicol said.

In Bicol, two batches were already sent for a three-day orientation seminar on how to operate and implement the LAD Tracking System with the third batch being readied for the training.

Bañares said the computer-based tracking system aims to track performance on a monthly basis to provide the provincial agrarian reform officers (PARO) and MAROs reliable data on mode of land acquisition, CARPer phase and crops, in order to plan timely activities by having a consistent and factual report.

The system is also designed to resolve or correct inconsistent data or report available at the department’s Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, at the field personnel and the database administrator, Bañares said.

The tracking tool will also guide field personnel on their LAD responsibilities and at the same time upgrade their skills to improve target accomplishments under the present situation of a fast approaching deadline in the implementation of CARPer with still high LAD balances, DAR Bicol said.

DAR Bicol Regional Office Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer for Operations Nida Santiago said that the LAD Tracking System will be very useful to DAR Bicol due to its volume of LAD balances. The provinces of Albay, Cam.Sur, Masbate and Sorsogon, are among the nation’s top 20 with high LAD balances, Santiago said. (MAL/JJJP/DAR5/PIA5-Albay)

DAR, PCA inks MOA for coconut rehab in Bicol

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZPI CITY, May 21 (PIA) -- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) recently agreed through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to accelerate coconut planting and re-planting in the entire Bicol Region.

The move aims to boost the coconut industry that has suffered setbacks due to the two major typhoons in 2006, illegal cutting and infestations in the previous years.

DAR Bicol regional director Maria Cristina Manlagñit Tam and PCA Bicol administrator Euclides Forbers signed the MOA under PCA’s Coconut Seedling Dispersal Project (CSDP) in granting qualified coconut farmers seedlings for planting and replanting in their coconut farms.

Tam said that a total of 700 hectares in the agrarian reform communities (ARC) in the region will benefit from the project including the establishment of seven nurseries in strategic areas in Bicol.

Under the project, according to Tam, PCA provides planting materials such as coconut seed nuts and seedlings, technical assistance on nursery establishment and operation, extension services, and regular monitoring of the progress of the project.

On the other hand, she said that DAR identifies suitable lands where the project can be implemented in the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon.

DAR Bicol also identifies the target municipalities and barangays with capable Peoples Organizations (PO) and provides local counterpart contribution for trainings and capacity building for beneficiary organizations.

The beneficiary organizations provide labor for the establishment and operations of the nursery project, formulation of policies on selection of farmer beneficiaries and roll-over scheme, which DAR Bicol will return the same value received in kind equivalent to 100 good quality seednuts per hectare seven years after planting that will be distributed to the succeeding beneficiaries, DAR Bicol said.

At present, the DAR provincial offices of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay and Catanduanes, in coordination with the PCA and beneficiary organizations have established coconut nurseries in ARCs.

In Camarines Norte, 20,000 coconut seednuts of Laguna Tall variety worth around P300,000 was granted to CABILANG ARC of the municipalities of Daet & Talisay.

In Albay, the bulk of coconut area plantations are situated in Albay Tres ARC Connectivity Cluster. The Balogo ARC in the municipality of Oas through the PANALA Farmers Association has also received 20,000 seednuts form DAR-PCA partnership and 15,000 seednuts from the Local Government of Oas, Albay, DAR Bicol said.

In addition, 40,000 coconut seednuts were also granted to Pambuhan, Garchitorena, Camarines Sur while Sorsogon is in the process of conducting information campaigns and orientation seminar to gain support in the area.

Meanwhile in Catanduanes, the different ARCs were able to designate coconut planting areas under the projects, DAR Bicol said. (MAL/JJJP/DAR5/PIA5-Albay)

Monday, May 20, 2013

"Bicol Express", "Mayon Limited", "Matnog Extension" railway prospects to boost development in the countryside -- Salceda

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, May 20 (PIA) -- Albay Governor and Bicol Regional Development Council chair Joey Sarte Salceda sees the Railway Development Summit next month as a way of convincing President Benigno S. Aquino III to put railway development at the center of the national agenda.

Salceda said that the development or modernization of the railway system in the country will play a key pillar of national development and as a conduit of net resource transfers to the countryside.

The development prospects for the railway development are the central recommendations that will be presented to the Railway Development Summit, also a brainchild of Salceda, set on June 21 in Metro Manila.

Salceda said the summit hopes to gain strong support from President Benigno Aquino III who will be invited as its keynote speaker.

Salceda noted that the southern backbone of the national railway will take only a travel time of six hours from Legaspi City to Manila with a railway service extending up to Matnog in Sorsogon where a roll-on, roll-off (RORO) sea port is located.

Meanwhile RDC secretariat led by Engr. Luis Banua, the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 and the Bicol Regional Development Plan identified the revival, rehabilitation and modernization of the railway system as a priority infrastructure development program.

The train stations will also be developed as mix use commercial zones to spur economic growth in its environs.

Salceda said, "Recommendation is also up for the revival of spur lines to Legaspi and Tabaco ports, construction of spur lines to Daet, Caramoan and other major towns in Bicol for passenger and multi-purpose freight services."

National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Bicol assistant regional director Luis Banua said that Luzon regions including Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and RDC of CaLaBaRZon has signified interest on the railway development initiative of RDC for the interconnection of the north and south railways and the Metro Manila railway system.

The business community, on the other hand, has emphasized that cargo and passenger train services will propel trade and industry in Bicol.

Known as “Bicol Express” in the past decades due to its role as Bicol’s most popular mode of transportation, the railway industry had an observable slowdown and off-track direction in recent years that was overtaken by other reliable and efficient modes of transportation in the region.

Another line called Mayon Limited is a direct touristic line from Tutuban up to the historical station of Legazpi City, Albay.

The summit is expected to fuel anew the engines of the “Bicol Express”, "Mayon Limited" and the "Matnog Spur Line" back to its tracks to regain its past glory as the region’s favorite mode of transportation. (MAL/JJJP-PIA5/Albay)

TESDA Bicol opens 427 scholarship slots for TWSP, TMTP

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, May 20 (PIA) -- The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Bicol has opened 427 scholarship slots for new batches of scholars in the province Albay this year for its Training for Works and Scholarship Program (TWSP).

Aileen Lozada, TESDA technical education and skills development specialist, said the program communes with the agency’s mandate to provide accessible and relevant high quality technical vocational education and training especially to the youth.

Lozada said 102 slots will be provided to the two training centers in Albay, including 60 slots in Guinobatan effective this semester and 42 slots in Malilipot for the third semester of this year.

The remaining 325 slots, on the other hand, will be allotted for Trainers Methodology Training Program.

Lozada explained that the program provides more individuals with high quality technical-vocational education and training (TVET) and encourage technical-vocational institutions to offer programs in higher qualification catering to in- demand industry requirements.

The TWSP will cater to poor high school graduates that may avail of scholarships on commercial cooking, housekeeping, dress-making, food and beverage, welding, machining and refrigeration and air-conditioning courses, Lozada said.

She added that aside from helping the poor students to get quality education the scholarship program also aims to promote technical-vocational courses in a particular area either through school-based or center-based trainings.

"We want to help our young people realize their dreams through the scholarships we provide. Many of them are not able to go to school due to the escalating tuition fees charged by the schools,” Lozada said.

“With the scholarships, TESDA hopes to offset if not eliminate one of the factors that gets in the way of pursuing their dreams", she said.

TESDA, however, expects that the deserving ones chosen to receive the free education should do their part in insuring that they complete the course, undertake the assessment and pass it to get the certification from the agency which will prove that they possess the knowledge and skills and can demonstrate the competencies of workers required by companies here or abroad.

The new batch of scholars will be given the option to enroll in qualifications or courses of their choice but will also be directed to take up courses which will offer greater opportunities for employment in their localities.

The official also said that their agency will assist the trainees in getting rightful employment or where they can maximize their skills immediately after their training.

"TESDA will lend its support from the training, assessment and certification to employment. But we hope the scholars do their part by studying hard and completing the course”, she stated. (MAL/ Princes S. Dupitas-OJT-BU/PIA5)

Comelec proclaims poll winners in Sorsogon

By Benilda A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, May 20 (PIA) – The Commission on Election (Comelec) Provincial Board of Canvassers last Friday proclaimed the provincial level winners of the May 13 elections.

Among those proclaimed were Sorsogon first district Representative Evelina Escudero who got 87,904 votes. Escudero popularly known as “Nanay Evie” is the wife of former Congressman Salvador H. Escudero III and the mother of Senator Francis Escudero.

Incumbent second district Congressman Deogracias Ramos, Jr. remains undefeated with a landslide vote of 102,000 against his nearest opponent Guillermo De Castro who got 41,265 votes.

For Governor, Sorsogon incumbent Governor Raul R. Lee took the lead with a total of 123,232 votes against his tough rival, incumbent Board Member Mark Eric Dioneda who got 118,889 votes, a difference of 4,343 votes.

Incumbent Vice-Governor Antonio Escudero won the same position with a total of 133,745 against his lone opponent incumbent Board Member Vladimir Frivaldo who got 86,903 votes.

Proclaimed winners as Provincial Board Members for the first district are Krunimar Escudero, incumbent board members Rebecca Aquino and Eric Franco Ravanilla, Roland Anonuevo and Everesto Relativo.

For second District Provincial Board Member, winners are incumbent board member Renato Guban, incumbent Bulusan Mayor Michael Guysayko, Arze Glipo, incumbent board members Bernard Hao and Angel Escandor.

In Sorsogon City, the Board of Canvassers also proclaimed on May 17, 2013 the newly elected officials with former Governor Sally Lee as the new city mayor who got 33,895 votes against her lone opponent, incumbent city mayor Leovic Dioneda with 32, 692 votes, a difference of 1,203 votes.

Sally Lee was the first Sorsogon city mayor and served the city for two terms from 2001-2007 before she ran and won as governor of Sorsogon in 2007.

For city vice-mayor, incumbent city councilor Ma. Charo Dichoso won the vice-mayoralty race with 23,282 votes taking an edge of 2,074 votes against nearest opponent former city vice ayor Edmundo Atutubo.

Proclaimed as Sangguniang Panlungsod winners for Bacon District are incumbent City Councilors Inigo Destacamento and Roque Divina, Emmanuel Diolata and Hilario Dioneda; for East District, winners are incumbent City Councilor Florencio Jamisola, Jr., Atty. Joven Laura, Mary Ellen Jamisola and Ralph Walter Lubiano; and for West District, winners are incumbent City Councilors Aldin Ayo and Rogelio Jebulan, Sr., Dave Duran and incumbent City Councilor Pedro Alindogan.

Meanwhile, it can be noted that canvassing for the provincial level was four times reset after Bulan town and Sorsogon City failed to transmit the election returns.

Chairman of the Provincial Board of Canvassers and election supervisor Atty. Calixto Aquino, Jr. said that the compact flash (CF) cards including the back-up cards of precinct counting optical scan (PCOS) Machines for Barangays Balete and Sampaloc in this city and Barangay Beguin in Bulan town malfunctioned causing the non-transmittal of over-all results from the two areas.

Board of election inspectors (BEIs) have to wait for the replacement of CF cards from Manila before they are able to continue with the Sorsogon City and Bulan municipal canvassing. The slow delivery of the new CF cards also added to the delay of transmission.

Following the receipt of CF cards on May 16, 2013, Sorsogon City transmitted the election returns to the Provincial Board of Canvassers at 10:15 PM of the same date while Bulan was able to transmit 15 minutes past midnight.

Earlier, 13 municipalities have already proclaimed their respective newly elected mayors as follows: Barcelona – incumbent Mayor Manuel Fortes, Jr.; Bulusan – incumbent City Councilor Domingo Halum; Casiguran – incumbent Mayor Ma. Ester Hamor; Castilla – unopposed incumbent Mayor Olive Bermillo; Donsol – Josephine Alcantara, daughter of former re-electionist Mayor Jerome Alcantara who died before election; Gubat – Roderick Co; Irosin – incumbent Mayor Eduardo Ong, Jr; Juban – Antonio Alindogan; Magallanes – incumbent Vice-Mayor Augusto Manuel Ragrario; Matnog – incumbent Mayor Emilio Ubaldo; Pilar – incumbent Mayor Dennis Sy-Reyes; Pto. Diaz – incumbent Board Member Benito Doma; and Sta. Magdalena – incumbent Mayor Alejandro Gamos. Bulan was the last municipality to proclaim its new elected officials with incumbent Vice Mayor Marnelli Robles as the new mayor.

Meanwhile, Election supervisor Calixto Aquino, Jr. urged the people to support those who won the race, and work for what is best for the community toward a more productive and developed province of Sorsogon. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)

2013 Election turns out generally peaceful in Sorsogon and Masbate

By Benilda A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, May 20 (PIA) – The strategic deployment of government troops in the provinces of Sorsogon and Masbate resulted in generally peaceful conduct of elections.

This was the over-all assessment of the 903rd Brigade of the May 13, 2013 polls having no reports of election violence.

Capt. Mardjorie Paimela P. Panesa, 903rd Brigade spokesperson, said the Brigade under the supervision of Colonel Joselito E Kakilala sent over a thousand of soldiers in his area of operations to ensure safe elections.

The soldiers in full-election duty composed the Task Unit “Rodeo” led by Colonel Samuel Felipe in Masbate with two sub-units: Task Sub-unit “Samaritan” of the 9th Infantry Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Julian Pacatan and Task Sub-unit “Steadfast” of the 80th Infantry Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Ted Dumosmog; while the Task Sub-unit “Charge” of the 31st Infantry Battalion covers Sorsogon.

The Task Group Bicol of the 9th Infantry Division also sent teams to the two provinces for monitoring of election situation.

“Though there were some election-related incidents and violations noted a day before election, our men together with other security officers did it well to apprehend negative elements even before they can do evil deeds that may affect the peaceful conduct of elections,” said Panesa.

Capt. Panesa also said they have received reports coming from Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) that some Precinct Counting Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in some areas in Masbate and Sorsogon experienced technical problems, however Comelec immediately responded to it by troubleshooting and replacing malfunctioning machines.

Colonel Kakilala expressed appreciation and is grateful to his men and all those who showed commitment and support realizing a Secured And Fair Elections and achieving a generally peaceful May 2013 polls. He further assured the public that the Philippine Army will always be available to defend the country and its people against any threat, and in winning the peace that everyone has long been dreaming of. (MAL/BAR-PIA5/Sorsogon)

PRO 5 recalls augmentation troops deployed for election duties

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, May 20 (PIA) – The Police Regional Office in Bicol last week recalled and accounted augmentation personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who were deployed in one city and four provinces in the mainland Bicol for election duties.

Police Supt. Renato Bataller, PNP Bicol spokesperson, said the recall of police personnel deployed for election duties has already accounted for 571 assigned in Naga City and provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon to their respective offices.

Bataller added that police regional leadership in Bicol have also assessed whether the cops had indeed performed their duties in areas assigned to them.

He explained that this could be determined through comparing the total number of cops deployed and the total number of cops who were able to return to their respective offices.

Bataller furthered that the number of cops deployed and cops who were able to return remained the same in which a total number of 69 cops had been accounted from Naga City, 146 in Albay, 84 in Camarines Norte, 178 in camarines Sur and 94 in the province of Sorsogon.

The official explained that only the PNP personnel deployed in the mainland Bicol will be included in the simultaneous recall and accounting, those deployed in the island provinces of Masbate and Cantanduanes will have separate schedule of the same activity. (MAL/ Monaliza Z. Eser-OJT-BU/PIA)

Catanduanes to host 2013 Bicol Int’l Museum Day

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, May 20 (PIA) -- The Provincial Tourism Office of Catanduanes will host the 2013 International Museum Day celebration cum capability-building workshop for Bicol region today until tomorrow at Rakdell Inn here.

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Day in 1977 to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society.

The two-day activity will revolve on the theme: “Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change”.

According to Mrs. Carmel B. Garcia, Provincial Tourism Officer, this year’s theme was chosen by the museum community.

She said that the theme summarizes the complexity of museum tasks and recalls that they are meant to contribute to community development and gathering together.

Registration of participants will start today at 8:00 o’clock in the morning to be followed by an opening ceremony.

Expected to grace the opening are Governor Joseph C. Cua and Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento together with Ms. Alice A. Alaurin, President, Bicol Association of Museums.

Different lectures and workshops include the following: A social space rooted in its territory; Laws and legislations on the protection of cultural properties; Innovative practices for a better conversation; and Workshop on care and conservation of museum collection.

Participants in the said activity are museum curators, cultural workers and other stakeholders.

A guided tour will also be provided to the participants on the second day of the event. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

Friday, May 17, 2013

COMELEC proclaims candidates for provincial posts

By Edna A. Bagadiong

VIRAC, Catanduanes, May 17 (PIA) -- The Provincial Board of Canvassers in Catanudanes province has proclaimed candidates for provincial posts yesterday, May 16, 2013 at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall.

The proclamation occurred after Commission on Elections (Comelec) has transmitted the results of election to the national office in Manila yesterday.

Proclaimed as the province’s new governor is Araceli B. Wong with a total votes of 67,252 against the incumbent governor Joseph C. Cua who garnered 60,831 votes.

Wong, a businesswoman, was a three-time poll underdog for the Congressman position since 2004 and is a native of Pandan town.

Meanwhile, proclaimed as vice-governor is unopposed candidate Jose J. Teves Jr. with a total vote of 68,267.

Incumbent Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento was reelected garnering a total vote of 101,156.

Candidates for Sangguniang Panlalawigan posts were also proclaimed.

In the west district, proclaimed were: Engr. Jorge Reyes with 38,168 votes; Jose Romeo Francisco with 34,286 votes; Giovanni Balmadrid with 27,720 votes; and reelectionist Nel Asanza with 27,116 votes.

In the East district, the following were proclaimed: Edwin Tanael, 29, 711; Lorenzo Templonuevo Jr., 26, 682; Arnel Turado, 22, 571; and Marilyn Tatel, 21, 633.

Candidates for municipal posts were already proclaimed earlier by Comelec through its municipal board of canvassers. (MAL/EAB-PIA Catanduanes)

DAR to turn over P1.4-M muscovado sugar processing facility to farmers group in Albay

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZPI CITY, May 17 (PIA) -- Life will be sweeter for Albay farmers especially for the Maysua Farmers Association (MFA) in Polangui town for being the beneficiary of the P1.4-million Muscovado sugar processing facility. This is expected to create employment and increase income of farmers by providing and adopting new technologies in producing muscovado sugar.

The project is carried out by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) under the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity & Economic Support Services (Arccess) supported by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

Muscovado sugar is known for its healthy benefits. Unlike sugar, it retains all the natural ingredients of sugarcane because it does not undergo additional heating, filtering and bleaching process which removes most of its nutrients, DAR Bicol said.

The sugar processing facility was constructed through the collaboration of Paz y Desarollo (PyD), Local Government Unit (LGU) of Polangui, Third District Congressman Fernando Gonzalez, Aquinas University Foundation Inc. (AQFI), and MFA, DAR Bicol said.

The project is managed by MFA under the monitoring and supervision of AQFI and Project Management Board (PMB) of Polangui, Albay. The project promotes participatory community development towards reducing poverty nationwide, DAR Bicol said.

DAR Albay chief agrarian reform program officer (CARPO) Estreluna G. Ante said that the 4-wheeled drive tractor intended for MFA is now ready for turnover to support sugarcane production.

“There are trainings that will be conducted for MFA as part of the partnership for sugarcane production in Albay,” Ante said. She further added that proposed rehabilitation of farm to market roads in Purok 3 to 7 of Barangay Maysua was already validated by the province.

According to DAR Bicol, Polangui municipal government hopes to provide this year the hauling truck being requested by MFA under Arccess to facilitate the supply of raw materials in the processing plant.

The local government earlier pledged to donate additional P100,000 for the construction of extension building and water tank for the newly turned-over processing plant.

In addition, Congressman Gonzales has also pledged to donate P300,000 for the procurement of multicabs for MFA in the delivery of their muscovado sugar, DAR Bicol said.

The facility is also in relation to the project of strengthening the productive sectors in the rural areas and improving sexual and reproductive health in the regions of Bicol and CARAGA, DAR Bicol said. (MAL/JJJPerez/DAR5/PIA5/Albay)

Additional classrooms in Bicol ready for school opening -- DPWH Bicol

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, May 17 (PIA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office here is now stepping up efforts toward the completion of all school building projects in the Bicol region.

DPWH 5 Regional Director Danilo Dequito said the projects are now substantially completed and will be ready in time of the school opening for school year 2013-2014.

Dequito said the agency has completed the 73 school buildings, comprised of a total of 98 classrooms, with funding release of P48.2 million under the DepEd CY 2012 Regular School Building Program (RSBP).

Construction and rehabilitation of school buildings has a funding allocation of P2.567 million. Ninety percent of the projects are already completed including Sto Cristo Elementary School (ES) in Tiwi, with program fund of P640,000; San Francisco High School (HS) in Malilipot with P270,000: San Pablo HS in Bacacay with P664,000; and San Miguel HS in Tabaco with P393,000

Another project worth P3.190 million covers 6 classrooms. This includes the Cagbacong HS and Maslog HS in this city with a program fund of P727,000 each, and completed last January 15, 2013; Panoypoy ES in Camalig with P420,000, completed last January 11, 2013; Villahermosa NHS and Bogtong HS in RApu-rapu, with combined funds of P676,000; and Panoypoy ES in Camalig, P 640,000, completed last January 12, 2013.

The same province’s third engineering district meanwhile has completed the project with a total budget of P3,522,000 covering 5 classrooms in Niño Jesus ES in Libon with P670,00) completed last December 26, 2013; Cadawag ES in Oas and Salvacion ES in Pioduran with P670,000 allocation each, both completed last January 18, 2013. The project also included Mauraro ES in Guinubatan with P651,00completed last December 26, 2012; and Pandan ES (Macael Ext.) in Ligao City with P861,000, completed last January 18, 2013.

DPWH Camarines Sur first engineering district implemented a total fund of P2, 486,000 covering 4 classrooms, completed last January 8, 2013 from Padlos ES, Libmanan North, Ca. Sur with P336,000, Dalupaon Es, Pasacao, Cam. Sur with P800,000 and Marangi ES, San Fernando, Cam. Sur with P1,350,000.

Camarines Sur second engineering district carried out a P3,880,000 worth of projects for 6 classrooms from Salvacion-Baybay Es, Calabanga, Cam Sur and Manuel Y. Garza Sr. ES, (Frm: Paolbo-Belen ES, Calabanga, Cam. Sur with P670,000 each, both completed last December 26, 2012, Sua ES, Camaligan, Cam. Sur with P670,000, completed last January 3, 2013, Pili NHS, Pili, Cam. Sur (Rep.) with P479,000, completed last November 19, 2012 and Cam. Sur NHS (Tabuco CS), Naga City with P139,000, completed last January 8, 2013.

Camarines Sur third engineering district allocated P4,150,000 covering 8 classrooms from Maligaya HS, Caramoan Cam Sur with P700,000, Harrison PS, Garchitorena, Cam Sur having a fund of P1,400,000, Binagasbasan NHS, Garchitorena, Cam Sur with P515,000, Burabod NHS, Garchitorena, Cam Sur and Denrica Annex HS, Garchitorena, Cam Sur, both have a P700,000 program fund, completed last January 21, 2013.

Camarines Sur fourth engineering district was given a budget of P3, 801,000 covering 8 CL from Duran ES, Balatan, Cam Sur with P1,300,000, Inoyonan ES, Bula, Cam. Sur and La Victoria ES, Bula, Cam. Sur both have a fund of P650,000, Tambo NHS, Buhi, Cam Sur (rep) with P478,000, Iriga CS, Sn. Roque, Iriga City with P640,000 and Sta teresita Es, Teresita Iriga City (rep) with P83,000, completed last December 17, 2013.

The project also included 3 schools in Camarines Sur 5th DEO with P1,828,000 covering 4 classrooms from Agao-ao, Ragay Cam Sur with P690,000, Patalunan ES, Ragay, Cam Sur with P670,000 and Lubigan Jr. ES, Sipocot South, Cam Sur (rep) with P468,000 which is already completed.

On the other hand, Camarines Norte implemented projects amounting to P4,613,000 including 5 schools covering 8 classrooms from Gumuas Es, Paracela, Cam Norte having a program fund of P815,000, batobalani NHS, Paracale, Cam Sur with P1,500,000, Lalawigan Es, Mercedes, Cam Norte with P798,000, Mercedes Hs, Mercedes Cam norte and San Lorenzo Ruiz NHS, (Matacong NHS)(Imelda) Cam. Norte both have P750,000.

In Catanduanes, a total of p1,808,000 of program fund covering 4 classrooms from San Pedro ES, Gigmoto Cat. With P700,000 and Mavil Es, Bagamanok, Cat. With P750,000 both completed last February 22, 2013 and Supang Es, Caramoan, Cat. (rep) with P358,000 accomplished last January 10, 2013.

From Masbate 1st DEO, Cabitan HS, Mandoan, Masbate, Puro PS, Aroroy west, Masbate, Eartern Capsay ES, Baleno, Masbate, Macabug ES, Aroroy West, Masbate having a fund of P685,000 each, while Calumpong CS, South Balud, Masbate (rep) with P263,000, Masbate NCHS, Masbate City (rep) withP 431,000, completed last January 11, 2013 and Electo l. Verano ES, (Ubongan ES),Dacu, Masbate City (rep) with P150,000, completed last January 2, 2013, a total of P3,584,000 program fund was allocated for the 7 schools from the said District covering 16 classrooms.

In Masbate 2nd DEO the allotted budget is P3,770,000 covering 6 classrooms from tan-awan ES, Placer West, Masbate and Liong ES, Cataingan, Masbate with P625,000 each and P630,000 each for Losco-an ES, Placer West, Masbate, Manlot-od ES, Placer East, Masbate, Verdida-Sabrido NHS, Placer West, Masbate and Del Carmen NHS, Uson, Masbate.

In Masbate 3rd DEO, the budget allocated was P1,977,000 for 3 classrooms from Iniwaran Int. San Pascual , Masbate with P660,000, Malaking Ilog NHS, San Pascual, Masbate with P655,000 both completed last January 24, 2013 and Monreal NHS, Monreal, Masbate with P662,000, accomplished last December 21, 2012.

Sorsogon 1st DEO, with P3,558,000 subdivided in 6 schools covering 6 classrooms, these are: Banaban ES, Donsol East, Sorsogon with P684,000, Burabod ES, Castilla West, Sorsogon P653,000, Cagbolo ES, Castilla East, Sorsogon with 751,000, La Union ES, Castilla East, Sorsogon with P170,000 and Panlayaan NHS, West District, Sorsogon with P1,300,000.

In Sorsogon 2nd DEO with P3,630,000 divided into 7 schools covering 7 classrooms, the total amount is P3,630,000 wherein Carriedo ES, Irosin, Sorsogon given a P650,000 program fund, Bentuco ES, Gubat South, Sorsogon and Jose Frencillo PS, Bariis, Matnog with P657,070 each, Patag ES, Gubat, Sorsogon with P652,540, Tigkiw ES, Gubat, Sorsogon with P666,790, Gubat North CS and Gubat South CS both located at Gubat, Sorsogon have P172,970 program fund, accomplished last January 21, 2013.

He added that for DepEd CY 2013 Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF) and RSBP, some 357 school buildings, with 852 classrooms and budget allocation of P629.2 million, will be implemented as soon as an exemption from Resolution No. 9585, series of 2012 will be granted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“The government is really bent on addressing the shortage of classrooms in the country now estimated at 66,000 that is why there is an undeniable increase in the budget and hopefully, more on the coming years,” the director said.

Breakdown of total number of school building projects with its corresponding number of classrooms for six provinces of Bicol region for SY 2012 and 2013 include Albay, 50 school buildings/85 classrooms; Camarines Sur, 143/319, Camarines Norte, 46/83; Catanduanes, 20/37; Masbate, 98/237; and Sorsogon, 73/189.

On top of these 950 classrooms targeted for completion this year, DPWH 5 is also monitoring the construction of 28 school building projects totaling 60 classrooms implemented by private entities through the sponsorship of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. under the Operation Barrio School Program. (MAL/LVC-DPWH5/PIA5)

RDC to highlight "Bicol Express" modernization in railway summit

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZPI CITY, May 17 (PIA) -- It will take only a travel time of six hours from Legaspi City to Manila with a railway service extending up to Matnog in Sorsogon where a roll-on, roll-off (RORO) sea port is located.

These and more recommendations will be presented by the Regional Development Council (RDC) of the Bicol Region during the Railway Development Summit which will be held on June 21 in Metro Manila.

According to RDC secretariat, the Philippine Development Plan and the Bicol Regional Development Plan identified the revival, rehabilitation and modernization of the railway system as a priority infrastructure development program.

The train stations will also be developed as mix use commercial zones to spur economic growth in its environs. Amenities in trains and stations will also be provided such as internet connections, security cameras, clean toilets, medical services, amusement centers, online booking, inter-modal tickets, and modern passenger coaches that are senior citizen, women and person with disability (PWD) friendly, RDC secretariat said.

There is also a recommendation for the revival of spur lines to Legaspi and Tabaco ports, construction of spur lines to Daet, Caramoan and other major towns in Bicol for passenger and multi-purpose freight services.

National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Bicol assistant regional director Luis Banua said that Luzon regions including Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) signified interest on the railway development initiative of RDC for the interconnection of the north and south railways and the Metro Manila railway system.

The RDC proposed a railway development summit on December 7 last year through a resolution to promote the revival, expansion and modernization of the railway system in Bicol. The summit hopes to gain strong support from President Benigno Aquino III who will be invited as its keynote speaker, RDC secretariat said.

Provincial consultations were held in Camarines Sur on January 30, Sorsogon on February 27, and Camarines Norte on March 20.

A regional consultation was also held in Legaspi City On April 25 participated in by RDC members, local government units (LGU) representatives, academe, media, chambers of commerce and industry and non-government organizations. Technical consultations were also held from December to April to discuss railways technologies in terms of speed, services, capability, investment and maintenance costs, RDC secretariat said.

The business community emphasized that cargo and passenger train services will propel trade and industry in Bicol. Proposals were also discussed to deal with issues and concerns on squatting along railroad tracks, , illegal railroad crossings, Philippine National Railways (PNR)’s role, privatization and establishment of world class railways system that is fully integrated with other modes of transportation, RDC secretariat said.

“These recommendations will be submitted to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) for discussion and adoption during the summit,” Development Administration Committee (DAC) Chairman Rev. Fr. Ramoncito Segubiense said.

Known as “Bicol Express” in the past decades due to its role as Bicol’s most popular mode of transportation, the railway industry had an observable slowdown and off-track direction in recent years that was overtaken by other reliable and efficient modes of transportation in the region.

The summit is expected to fuel anew the engines of the “Bicol Express” back to its tracks to regain its past glory as the region’s favorite mode of transportation. (MAL/JJJP/PIA5-Albay)