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

Friday, June 27, 2014

PHALTRA 2015 NatCon set in Legazpi City

LEGAZPI CITY, June 27 (PIA) – The Association of Local Treasurers and Assessors (PHALTRA) has chosen this city as venue of its national convention on mid-February next year.

Mayor Noel Rosal has announced PHALTRA president Nestor Quiambao informed him that members of the association have “excitedly chosen the city for its 82nd NatCon” that can draw  attendance of not less than 3,000 delegates.

“In this annual gathering, we in PHALTRA want your beautiful and exciting city the venue and witness of the renewal of bonds among our colleagues, sharing of best practices and rekindling fervor towards our sworn duties in the Assessment and Treasury Services for the betterment of not only LGUs but towards the National Government,” Quiambao said in the communication.

He explained that in its annual NatCon, the association seeks to establish and maintain firmly the unity and solidarity in working for the realization of its policies and objectives through the wholehearted cooperation and unity of its members.

“It encourages the study of economics and finance by its members, and, as may be found beneficial to the nation recommended their studies to the authorities concerned for adoption and implementation to improve the fiscal administration of the local and national governments,” Quiambao said.

The NatCom, accordingto Quiambao, usually runs for four days and also serves as a “training institute” geared towards the continuous improvement and development of the local treasury and assessment service for an effective and efficient prominence.

Lecturers and resource speakers from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Commission on Audit (COA), Land Bank of the Philippines, Office of the Ombudsman and United States Assistance for International Development (USAID) are invited.

On behalf of the people of Legazpi, Rosal said he is thankful to the PHALTRA for choosing Legazpi as host to this big gathering.

“You are all welcome to the City of Fun and Adventure. The City Government and all the Legazpe├▒os are more than eager to see all of you here and experience for yourself our warm hospitality as well as the exciting ambiance of our place now considered as a convention capital and one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country,” Rosal said in acknowledging Quiambao’s communication.

Events like these, the mayor said serve as additional inspiration for the city government and for every Legazpe├▒o to strive more toward formally achieving the ‘convention capital of the Philippines’ title.   (MAL/DOC-CGLegazpi/PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=771404119051#sthash.9hYNPwit.dpuf

Thursday, June 26, 2014

P30M worth of ARCCESS subprojects to benefit thousands of Bicolano farmers

LEGAZPI CITY, June 26 (PIA) -- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Bicol recently sealed new partnership with professional service providers (PSPs) after signing contracts worth P27 million for Business Development Services (BDS) covering 38 subprojects and another P3.5 million for Agri-Extension Services (AES) covering 20 subprojects

DAR Bicol regional director Luis Bueno, Jr. said the projects are under the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity & Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) program where through which agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) are provided with strategic and sustainable support services in the forms of professional service provision including agri-extension services and business development services, and common service facilities or farm machineries and equipment, so that they can maximize the productivity of their awarded lands and engage in agri-related enterprises.

Partner PSPs included Bicolandia Greenfields Development Organization, Inc. (BIGFIS) represented by its President, Mr. Joseph Cruz; Naga College Foundation(NCF) led by its President Ms. Marguerite Michelle V. Padua-Hornby; Mayon Integrated Development Alternatives and Services, Inc. (MIDAS) represented by its Executive Director, Ms. Cristita C. Triunfante; and Agricultural Training Institute-Department of Agriculture (ATI-DA) headed by Center Director Efren C. Sabularse.

Bueno explained that the provision of BDS to ARBOs under ARCCESS aims to improve the performance of the agri-enterprises of the ARBOs, their access to markets, and their ability to compete in mainstream and niche market – with the end goal of increasing their income.

“Specifically, BDS intends to empower the ARBOs in terms of technical/production, marketing, financial and organizational/governance management to realize self-sustaining agricultural enterprise, based on the needs assessment conducted in every sub-project. For the commonly assessed needs, interventions shall be done to address the existing weaknesses of the ARBOs,” he said.

He furthered that the purpose of outsourcing BDS for ARBs enterprises from the private sector or business association is to provide the management expertise that will catalyze and fast track the establishment of self-sustaining business units among ARBOs that will consolidate their farm management and business operations in redistributed lands.

“Agrarian reform does not end with land distribution. The bigger challenge is for ARBs to retain their awarded lands or not fall into the trap of selling or pawning their lands because of poverty,” Bueno stated.

Modernized rice production and marketing, pineapple production and processing, abaca production/processing and marketing, mechanized block farming for corn production, and intensified vegetable production are some of the subprojects that will be provided with BDS interventions to benefit another batch of thousands of ARBs in Bicol.

The BDS is the capability building and technical assistance component of ARCCESS project where the recipients are those agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) who were granted with Common Service Facilities (CSF) or farm machineries.

This component as support services intervention will benefit around 15,000 ARBs and some 48 ARBOs in the region.  (MAL/JJJP/MTVGeneral-DAR5/PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=2591403749910#sthash.BpxEkyeg.dpuf

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Looking back and beyond: Commemorating the Mayon Volcano 1814 eruption


LEGAZPI CITY, June 25 (PIA) – Looking back on February 1, 1814, Mayon Volcano erupted with “hot stones, sand and ashes poured forth from the crater, and villages were thus set on fire, and their inhabitants killed.”

This, so far is the worst and deadliest Mayon eruption ever recorded which according to accounts of “Blair and Robinson”engulfed and destroyed many villages in Albay and Camarines and claimed some 12,000 lives besides many more seriously injured. Those who escaped lost all their possessions.
Two hundred years after, the provincial government of Albay under Governor Joey Salceda earlier led the commemoration of this fateful eruption through the month-long Cagsawa Festival which featured not only the history and culture of Albay but also the strength and resiliency of its people.

This time, the province of Albay has teamed up with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) to hold another commemoration through a two-day activity that will look back and gather learnings to strengthen the awareness and preparedness of the people.

“The objectives of the activity are to provide a venue to commemorate, gather learnings/contribution to science and local community awareness and preparedness of the 1814 eruption event of Mayon Volcano, and discuss the benefits and future needs that can be utilized by the stakeholders, ” PHIVOLCS director Renato Solidum Jr. said.

The two-day activity entitled “Looking Back and Preparing for the Possible Worst Case Eruption of Mayon Volcano (A hazard awareness activity for the worst recorded eruption of Mayon Volcano) is slated on June 26-27, 2014.

The commemorative activities will be consist of a conference on the first day and will focus on science and local actions to be discussed by local and foreign experts from New Zealand, Japan, United States, Singapore and Indonesia.

Fieldwork related to the 1814 eruption and relevant structures on preparedness pioneered by the province of Albay under Governor Salceda will be done on the second day.

The historic background and significance of the eruption will be imparted by Solidum together with historian Danilo Madrid Gerona, Ph.D., PHIVOLCS Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division (VMEPD) chief Ma. Antonia V. Bornas and New Zealand Christchurch City Council environmental officer Ma. Hannah Mirabueno.

Furthermore Dr. Christopher Newhall, United States Geological Survey emeritus, will discuss the “Scenario of Possible Precursors to the Next “1814” Eruption of Mayon while Dr. Tetsou Bobayashi, Kagoshima University professor in Japan, will speak on “New Innovative Approach to Past 20,000 Years.”

Also to be cited are “Lessons from Experiences: People’s Narratives of Past Eruptions” by Mylene Villegas of PHIVOLCS and May 2013 Experience of Hikers by Joseph Wyne Manjares as Chapter Representative on Safety.

Dr. Cedric Daep, Albay Public Safety and Emergency Office (APSEMO) chief will likewise feature the Preparedness, Emergency Planning and Good practices of the province.

To be visited on the second day are Mabinit Channel where the complete eruption sequence since 1814 will be traced back until years 2000 to 2009 as shown by the changes in landscapes and channels, deposits of lava and pyroclastic materials and effects of supertyphoon Reming lahars.

Religious ruins of the churches in Cagsawa and Budiao, being the remaining witness of Mt. Mayon’s fury, will of course not to be excluded in the itinerary. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=2571403685318#sthash.KxfzSyq3.dpuf

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

DA turns over P56M worth facility to lower cost, increase income of farmers

LEGAZPI CITY, June 24 (PIA) – Over 400 rice farmers cultivating about 200 hectares of rice areas in Buhi Camarines Sur will benefit from the P56M worth rice processing center (RPC 1) building of the Department of Agriculture.

“The facility is a concrete proof that the government through the DA is responding and doing something for its people especially the farmers,” DA Bicol offier in charge Abelardo Bragas said.

The newly constructed facility was turned over to the San Antonio Farmers Irrigators Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SAFIMCO) officers led by its chairman Loreto Cenita.

He further appealed to the farmers to continue supporting the programs of the DA and to put their trust and confidence in the DA leadership especially to secretary Alcala noting his sincerity in helping the farmers and alleviating the agriculture sector.

DA Bicol information officer Emily Bordado meanwhile said the building is one of the facilities developed by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) which can be availed of by farmers association under the DA Rice Mechanization Program.

“This program aims to optimize the use of modern technologies in farming and offers machinery and equipment that lessens the drudgery of field work and lowers operational cost and increases farmer’s yield and income,” Bordado noted.

The building is located about 13 km. from Buhi town proper with300 sq. meters floor area equipped with a multi-pass rice mill (double pass; 1 ton/ hr. milling capacity).

Bordado said its beneficiairies are not only in Barangay San Ramon but also the adjacent barangays.

The DA has earlier provided SAFIMCO a flatbed dryer, a palay shed and a multipurpose drying pavement.

SAFIMCO, comprised of about 428 members, is among the top 10 outstanding Irrigators Associated recognized and awarded in the 2013 Rice Achievers Awarding ceremonies held last year in Metro Manila.  (MAL/SAA/EAB-DARFU5/PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=2571403594976#sthash.bbbiZod9.dpuf

OWWA Bicol assures close monitoring of OFWs in countries with alert levels


LEGAZPI CITY, June 24 (PIA) – Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Bicol regional director Jocelyn Hapal has allayed fears of families with relative working overseas assuring them of the latters' safety and that the government is prepared to respond to any emergency situation that may arise in countries with declared security alert levels.

Hapal said during a recent radio program “Aramon Ta Daw (Let Us Know)” of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Bicol that OWWA, together with other government agencies like the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), is closely coordinating for the well-being of more than 71,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) worldwide.

Hapal bared that the situation in Thailand has since improved and the security alert level is now lowered to 1.

“Under alert level 1, the Philippine embassy conducts information dissemination on the situation, issues do’s and don’ts to guide the OFWs, communicates with Filipino communities, gathers contact numbers of each OFW in the area,” Hapal reveals.

Alert level 1 also indicates Precautionary Phase which means there in no deployment ban for OFWs. The countries that are under alert level 1 include Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Venezuela, Kurdistan (Northern part of Iraq), and Thailand.

“Once alert level 2 is declared, monitoring of situation is intensified, wherein OFWs are required to report to embassy and advised to limit travels, avoid mass protests and actions and stock food stuff,” Hapal explained.

Alert level 2 indicates Restriction Phase providing that there is prohibition on deployment of new hires only. The countries under this alert level are Yemen and Ukraine.

“Total deployment ban is declared under alert level 3 which means no hiring or re-hiring, however with some exceptions especially those who are working in hospitals, oil rigs, personnel of international organizations, household employees and Filipinos married to locals,” Hapal clarified.

Under alert level 3, voluntary repatriation or evacuation aside from total ban on OFW deployment is enforced. The countries under this alert level are South Sudan and Libya however there is partial deployment for certain categories of returning workers.

“Total deployment ban and mandatory repatriation are enforced under aert level 4 at the expense of the Philippine Government who pays for plane tickets and other requirements,” Hapal told the PIA.

DFA confirmed this week that Iraq (except Kurdistan which remains under Alert level 1) is under alert level 4 due to its deteriorating security situation.

“Our greatest challenge however is how to arrange for the repatriation of undocumented OFWs or those who were illegally recruited or victims of human trafficking whose passports are withheld by employers and who don’t even know their exact location or address,” Hapal noted.

The government utilizes the modern technology such as social networking sites and mobile phones to communicate and locate the OFWs in crises, Hapal added.

Hapal also assured that most OFW Bicolanos are working in safe locations such as United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan which remain as top destinations for Bicolano OFWs.

“Most of them are Bicolanas working at hotels, restaurants, households, schools and factories,” Hapal said (MAL/JJP-PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=2591403655408#sthash.XNlPNhUT.dpuf

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sorsogon revives Search for Cleanest, Greenest and DRR-Ready LGUs

SORSOGON CITY, June 2 (PIA) – The provincial government of Sorsogon, through the Provincial Solid Waste Management Board (PSWMB), has reactivated the Search Cleanest, Greenest and DRR-Ready Local GOvernment Units (LGUs) in the province.

According to Engr. Maribeth L. Fruto, head of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO)-LGU, the provincial search aims to recognize the performance of LGUs for the protection, conservation and management of the environment as well as ensuring the safety of the communities against calamities and likewise promote people’s participation in all local governance and operations.

The awards program will cover the 14 municipalities and one city in the province of Sorsogon.

“It was formerly called “Gawad Gobernador sa Kapaligiran”, a search for the cleanest and greenest local government units in the province of Sorsogon under the Clean and Green program and now under the Clean and Green/CCA Program – Gawad Gobernador sa Kapaligiran,” Fruto recounted.

She said it started during the incumbency of Pres. Fidel V. Ramos, however, it became inactive during the time of Pres. Joseph Estrada.

“But as part of the over-all attempts to compliment the clean and green program of the government, Sorsogon Governor Raul R. Lee on June 1, 2012 issued Executive Order No. 011 providing for the revival of the Provincial Search for Cleanest and Greenest LGUs in the province of Sorsogon and the creation of the composition of the Provincial Search Committee,” Fruto said.

She furthed that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) moved for the inclusion of the disaster risk reduction program to help transform rural and urban areas all over the province not only into clean and green communities but into safer communities in response to the agenda being implemented by the national government under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

The LGUs to be evaluated are categorized as Class A municipality (1st to 3rd class) and Class B municipality (4th to 5th class).

Sorsogon’s 1st class municipalities are Pilar and Bulan; 2nd class – Gubat and Irosin; 3rd class – Magallanes, Castilla, Donsol, and Matnog; 4th class – Casiguran, Bulusan and Juban; 5th class – Sta. Magdalena, Pto. Diaz, and Barcelona.

“Municipalities are to be assessed individually using the assessment form to be provided by the search committee. In case of a tie, the search committee will further validate the results to determine the nominee or awardee,” said Fruto.

Areas to be evaluated under the DRR Readiness Criteria include Leadership structure; Guide to Action to Achieve Readiness; Disaster Preparedness; and Partnership, Volunteerism and Innovation.

While under the Cleanest and Greenest Criteria, for the Municipal/City Level, the areas to be evaluated are the following: (1) Public Market; (2) Public Terminal; (3) Public Plaza and Parks; (4) Showcased Barangay with Functional Segregation at Source and Waste Water Management; Vegetation and Beautification; Support System; Sustainability Mechanism; and Material Recovery Facility; (5) Community Garden; (6) Backyard Garden; (7) Municipal Nursery; (8) Roadside Beautification; (9) Central Material Recovery facility; (10) Support System; and (11) Other Facilities and Establishments present in the community.

Search Committee for Category A is composed of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Provincial Tourism; Provincial Health Office (PHO); Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO); Sorsogon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (SPDRMO); Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO)-LGU; and Provincial General Services Office (PGSO).

While for Category B are Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Provincial Agriculture and Fishery Council (PAFC), Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Provincial Engineering Office (PEO).

Series of validation activities is scheduled this month of June, in time with the celebration of the Environment Month, starting on June 3. (MAL/BAR-PIA5/Sorsogon)
- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=801401673589#sthash.xq1tDjM8.dpuf

SPES to benefit 6,500 in Bicol this year

LEGAZPI CITY, June 2 (PIA) -- The Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will soon be in full swing that will benefit some 6,500 across the Bicol region with a total budget of P12.4 million this year,

DOLE Bicol regional director Nathaniel Lacambra said that this year’s SPES has kicked-off in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon during first week of May while the Camarines Norte, Catanduanes and Masbate will follow suit not for long.

Lacambra explained that some 2,925 or 45 percent of the 6,500 slots are allotted for the SPES Baby Program, that is, beneficiaries who will be continuously enrolled in the program until graduation from school

The SPES Baby was developed to provide continuity  and to achieve a long term effect of the program to its beneficiaries.

“In fact, we are proud to say that 4-SPES babies are now connected with DOLE-Bicol and PESO offices.” he said.

 In DOLE Bicol regional office alone, 11 SPES beneficiaries under Public Employment Services Office (PESO) Albay are already reporting to work while the same scenario can be seen in DOLE Camarines Sur and Sorsogon.

DOLE expected that by end of May, all SPES beneficiaries would have been placed on-the-job so that they could get their salary before enrolment

DOLE’s SPES Program is one of the most highly rated programs of the agency that provides opportunities among poor but deserving students a chance to earn, while on vacation, to be able to pay for tuition fee during school time.

The DOLE shoulders 40 percent of the total pay of the student-beneficiaries while the sponsoring LGUs or private firms shoulders the 60 percent.

DOLE Bicol reiterated that SPES application is lodged at the PESO offices of LGUs and not at DOLE offices.  Interested applicants must inquire at the nearest PESO office in their area. (MAL-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=771401870307#sthash.7YuiYR5S.dpuf