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

Monday, September 28, 2015

DepEd lines up activities for the IPs Education Month Celebration

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Sept. 28 (PIA) ---  The Department of Education (DepEd) has prepared a month-long advocacy campaign including series of activities in time for the Regional Indigenous People’s Education Month celebration comes October.

In a regional memorandum issued by DepEd Region V, all Schools Division Superintendents, Chiefs, Section heads and DepEd ROV teaching and non-teaching personnel are enjoined to promote awareness among the school children regarding the IPs. It is through their participation in various activities or other events that recognizes the IPs defining features.

Before the actual roll-off of these lined-up events, a three-day division training of teachers and school heads serving the IPs education was conducted at Eurotel Naga, here over the weekend.

These education personnel are expected to spearhead the realization of these activities specifically in their respective areas of assignment.  The Regional and Division IPED coordinator and the alternate focal person are given the task to monitor the activities.

This include hanging of streamers highlighting the IP celebration and conduct of convocation program on October 5 by all DedEd ROV employees introducing the IP month celebration after the flag ceremony. The 2nd Regional Indigenous Peoples Education Summit in line with the National Celebration on IPs shall also be conducted from October 21 to 22.

A mini exhibit featuring indigenous artworks and crafts at the Regional and Division office, including the publication of readings and articles on IPs are also part of the activities. This intends to identify, familiarize and respect indigenous equipment, facilities and supplies of the IPs.  

All throughout the month-long celebration, partakers are also encouraged to wear ethnic accessories like earring, bangles, wristbands, scarf, muffler and pins as part of their daily uniform.  Teachers are likewise enjoined to also put up a mini museum or bulletin boards inside the classroom showing IPs equipment and supplies.

As part of the classroom activity, the educators are also directed to include Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP) across the discipline reflected in the lesson plans to develop the IPs sense of pride for their indigenous culture and ancestral domain.

Serving as Honorary Chairman of the Executive Committee who shall oversee the activities is DepEd Bicol Regional Director Ramon Fiel G. Abcede.  Dr. Jerome Baldemoro shall also serve as the alternate focal person for DepEd Camarines Sur.

The activity is also pursuant to DepEd Order No. 32 series of 2015 which endeavors to “provide guidance to schools and other education programs as they engage with indigenous communities in contextualizing the K to 12 Curriculum based on their respective educational and social contexts” or the adoption of the IPs Education Curriculum Framework.  (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861443431599/deped-lines-up-activities-for-the-ips-education-month-celebration#sthash.LEb6fxZU.dpuf

SSS cites Pepsi Cola Products Philippines as Bicol's Best Employer

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Sept. 28 (PIA) --- The Social Security System (SSS) has cited the Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Inc. based here as this year’s Bicol regions's Top Employer under the Balikat ng Bayan Awards as one of the highlights of the SSS anniversary celebration.

SSS Bicol Division head Nilo D. Despuig hailes the beverage corporation for providing a meaningful social security protection to its members.

This is the first time that a private employer was given such recognition by the SSS.

PCPP I general manager Oliver U. Onrubia II expressed feeling of fulfillment and gratification noting that the corporation is on the right track in terms of giving back to their employees the services they truly deserve.

“I am overwhelmed with the recognition.  This is a testimony where we stand right now as a company and as a reflection where we are as an organization. It also shows that we are growing as a highly competitive organization and we humbly appreciate the challenge to further improve our services and to be more consistent in what we’re doing.  This is aligned to our core values- which are upholding professionalism, service and integrity,” Onrubia added.

“We need to recognize employers who are giving due importance to the social protection of their employees, that’s why we give the “Top Employer Award to deserving employers. This is also to recognize their role as partners or kabalikat of SSS and to encourage employers to uphold and comply with the provisions of SSS law,” Despuig meanwhile said in an interview.

The search is open to all regularly paying employer, both for contribution and loan repayments and those who submits collection list electronically ( EDI, flash disk, or thru the web) and is registered as an SSS web user.

PCPPI was chosen  for its compliance to the provisions of SSS law such as the reporting of newly hired employees to their office within 30 days from date of employment  by submitting SSS form R1-A.  This includes the willingness of the employer to present documents to prove that the employees are covered by the social security.

Thirty (30) per cent for the collection, which include the up-to-date payment of contributions and loan repayments as of March 2014 and the advance payment of sickness/maternity benefits, including the filing and processing of claims/ loan applications formed part of the criterion for the Top Employer selection.

SSS also gave 20 percent rating to companies or organizations that have submitted accurate reports on time including participation in SSS programs which endeavors to raise the awareness of the company’s human resource and its programs.

Aside from hailing employers who have responded to their call of providing their employees with social security blanket, Despuig stated that they are also actively pursuing cases against erring employers who are not giving their workforces the services that they ought to receive.

SSS have added at least 3 lawyers to help prosecute erring employers here in Bicol.  Despuig stated that among the provinces with a high prevalence of employer who have violated SSS rules are their Sorsogon branch, followed by Daet, Camarines Norte, Legazpi and the city of Naga. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861443423890/sss-cites-pepsi-cola-products-philippines-as-bicol-s-best-employer#sthash.zWHywgr3.dpuf

Thursday, September 24, 2015

KALAHI CIDSS beneficiaries in CamSur get P2.2M funding for fish processing facility

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 24 (PIA) -- Residents of Barangay San Juan in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur will soon have their own bangus (milk fish) processing facility after the Department of Social Welfare and Development provided a funding of P2.2 million under its Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program.

DSWD Bicol regional director Arnel Garcia said the program on bangus seeks to help improve the quality of life of stakeholders through community-driven development providing a farming village an alternative source of livelihood.

He added that some 75 out 100 DSWD’s family-beneficiaries are also Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries.

The project involves the construction of a fish processing facility with a floor area of 180 square meters, which is expected to be completed this year.

It is designed to provide an alternative source of livelihood to the farming village, whose 75 out 100 DSWD’s family-beneficiaries are also Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipinoogram beneficiaries.

"The same village also constructed a farm-to-market road and a water system sub-projects through Kalahi-CIDSS," Garcia said.

Maria Asila Cabangon, one of the resident-beneficiaries, said,“Napagkaisahan po ng barangay na magkaroon nito dahil meron kaming 80 hectares na bangus fishpond na p'wede namin pagkakitaan araw-araw (The village folk decided to have this (fish processing facility) because we have an 80-hectare bangus fishpond from where we can get our daily income)."

Cabangon also added that the facility will employ women of the target household-beneficiaries to augment their daily income.

The residents of San Juan get poor income, especially after typhoons wherein their crops are destroyed.  As a result, they decided to focus on bangus production and proposed the construction of a fish processing facility to the Kalahi-CIDSS.

The local government unit of Del Gallego, DSWD, Department of Science and Technology and Department of Agrarian Reform forged a memorandum of agreement to support Barangay San Juan for its bangus processing center.

DOST will provide the equipment and the DAR will provide the training to its beneficiaries.

“We would like to break the cycle of poverty with the support of the people to the national agencies’ programs,” Garcia said.  (MAL-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/771443014959/kalahi-cidss-beneficiaries-in-camsur-get-p2-2m-funding-for-fish-processing-facility#sthash.Hjbe6MvE.dpuf

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

DSWD completes Listahanan household assessment in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 22 (PIA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Bicol has announced the completion of the second round of household assessment for the Listahanan or National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) program.

According to DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia a total of 1,056,722 households was assessed out of the 1,087, 720 target for Bicol region.

Some244, 245 households were assessed in Albay, 107, 549 in Camarines Norte,  339,860 Camarines Sur, 47,682 Catanduanes, 166,790 Masbate and 150,596 in Sorsogon.

“This does not include households visited, which have no qualified respondents, no respondent, or vacant at the time of visit” Garcia added.

Meanwhile, households not assessed during the regular enumeration will be given a chance to appeal and be assessed during the validation.

This will be scheduled from October to November before the finalization of the database.

It is in validation phase where the initial list of poor is posted in strategic places in the barangays. This is to let the community validate the list since they are more familiar with their neighbors.

“The validation is our mechanism to minimize the inclusion and exclusion error of the Proxy Means Test (PMT) that is why we need the involvement of the community because this phase is very crucial “said Garcia.

A Local Verification Committee (LVC) will be organized to resolve complaints and appeal received during the validation period.

The members of the LVC will include the Local Chief Executive, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer, Municipal Planning & Development Officer, Civil Society Organization representative and the Listahanan Area Supervisor.

Queries, appeals and complaints will be entertained 5 days after posting of the initial list of poor and will last for 15 days while resolving of complaints will be conducted in 20 days.

The agency encourages everyone to participate in the upcoming validation of poor households before they finalize the list.

Proxy Means Test is a statistical model that approximates family income based on the observable and verifiable non-income indicators of the family’s income.

It has been found to be a good way of targeting the in large informal sectors where actual incomes are difficult to be verified.

It has been proven to be an effective targeting mechanism in countries like Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico where the informal labor market is large.

Moreover, inclusion error refers to the error when a non-poor family was classified as poor whereas exclusion error happens when a true poor household was classified as non-poor using the PMT.

Implemented region wide, Listahanan is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are. It aims to establish a database of poor households that will become beneficiaries of social protection programs.(MAL/SAA/DSWD5/PIA5/Albay/)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571442903853/dswd-completes-listahanan-household-assessment-in-bicol#sthash.SUEAqLHl.dpuf

Bicol RDC approves feasibility study for rehab of Larap Airport in Cam Norte

By Rosalita B. Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Sept. 22 (PIA) – The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Bicol has approved the conduct of a feasibility study on the rehabilitation of Larap Airport in Jose Panganiban in Camarines Norte during its meeting held September 18 at Pineapple Island Resort here.

The conduct of feasibility study will be endorsed for fund support to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

The rehabilitation of Larap airport will provide alternative transport facility for tourists visiting the Bicol Triple C - Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes tourism area, and for businessmen transporting goods from the special economic zone at Larap, Jose Panganiban. It will also be an alternative hangar and aircraft maintenance site for private planes, and as staging facility for Philippine Air Force air assets.

The project involves the conduct of feasibility study (FS) to develop Larap Airport to Category 3C Aerodome Reference Code that can cater to AT72/Q400 aircraft with seating capacity of 70 passengers.

Jose Panganiban Mayor Ricarte Padilla said that they are eyeing for the Larap Airport more in terms of development into an international standards and will serve as an entry point for tourists to Triple C provinces and as well as to Almasor -Albay, Masbate, Sorsogon.

Daet Mayor Tito Sarion on the other hand said that he agreed to the additional airport aside from the development of the airport in the town which will also boost more tourists in the province.

It can be recalled that the RDC has already endorsed the provincial government allocation of P100 million for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Daet airport.

The council has already passed a resolution and transmitted to Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) wherein the latter has informed that the Daet airport is capable of serving turbo-prop type of aircraft.

Earlier Governor Edgardo Tallado thanked the RDC for the support in the province wherein there are endorsed projects under the Convergence on Tourism Support Infrastructure Program in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Among these are the rehabilitation/improvement of 5 road sections along Pres. Cory Aquino Boulevard with P50 million each or a total of P250M; construction of 4 bridges along Pres. Cory Aquino Blvd. with P50M each bridge or a total of P200M;rehabilitation/improvement of Daet San Vicente Road of P50M; rehabilitation/improvement of 3 road sections along Mercedes-Basud Road with P50M each section or a total of P150M and the rehabilitation/improvement of 2 road sections along Daet-San Lorenzo Road with P50M each or a total of P100M.

Meanwhile the RDC gave a plaque of recognition to the awardees in Bicol for the 2015 Cities and Municipalities Index wherein Naga City received the most number of recognitions and emerges as the most competitive component city in 2015 and from third place in 2014, was also the first in all pillars of competitiveness.

Included in the top 50 competitive component cities in Bicol are: Legazpi City (15th), Tabaco City (33rd ), Ligao City (38th), Iriga City (41st ), and Sorsogon City (47th); and in top 50 competitive first to third municipalities are Polangui, Albay, (13th ), Daet, Camarines Norte (14th ) and Pili, Camarines Sur (29th ).

The RDC also commends Mr. Ronaldo C. Reyes of Tabaco National High School of Tabaco City as one of the four awardees for 2015 Outstanding Teachers under secondary competition and Senior Supt. Marlo S. Meneses of the Albay Police Provincial Office as one of the 2015 Outstanding Police Officers both of 2015 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos.

The province of Albay was also recognized as one of the recipients for 2015 Galing Pook Award for Good Governance in the field of humanitarian assistance mission.

Albay won its first Galing Pook award in 2008 for its Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Programs and its second Galing Pook award in 2011 for its health innovations and programs.

On the other hand, the revised Comprehensive Investment Programming Guidelines (CIPG) was also approved by the RDC. The CIPG provides the principles, processes and requirements of the Bicol RDC in the preparation of the Regional Development Investment Plan (RDIP) and Regional Budget Proposal (RBP).

Other topics which were approved and endorsed were the 2014 Regional Development Report, Matnog on effective queuing system, disaster mitigation projects in Catanduanes, inclusive partnership for agricultural competitiveness, Kinamaligan Resettlement Project Phase 3 and Abot-Alam Program. (MAL/RBM-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

Tourism, HRM studes learning visit in Albay's best practices, success on tourism industry

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 22 (PIA) -- Some 250 students taking up Tourism and Hotel and Restaurant Management courses from Arellano University in Manila were in this city to learn on the programs and initiatives, much as best practices and sucess on the tourism industry of the province of Albay.

Albay Provincial Tourism Officer Dorothy Colle welcomed the students in time for the opening of the one-day seminar also expressing her gratitude to them for choosing Albay as their primary destination in honing their craft.

Their two-day learning visit in Albay comprised of a one-day seminar held at THE ORIENTAL HOTEL LEGAZPI and another allotted for sorties in various tourist destinations in the province as well as treat of the delicious culinary fares that Albay is well-known for.

“We at the provincial government are very proud of what we have achieved in the past years in terms of our tourism industry, with the leadership of our beloved Governor Joey Salceda, the influx of tourists in Albay has grown tremendously, more foreign and local tourists are now choosing Albay as their primary destination, and for a myriad of good reasons too,” Colle said.

Albay has achieved such feat, according to Colle, by way of sheer passion, passion ignited by our governor in his most sincere dedication to uplift Albay in its every aspect, our collective passion has spawned multiple programs tailor made to highlight the numerous assets the province has to offer, from our ecological wonders, to our sumptuous local delicacies, and to the very soul of our culture and being, the Albayano themselves.

The series of learning visits to tourism showcase of Albay from different groups and organizations from other parts of the country and abroad manifest a testament to the achievements of the provincial government of Albay, through the leadership and innovations of Salceda, that has brought the province in the forefront of tourism not only in the Philippines but also in other parts of the world.

Touted as a phenomenal success by the Department of Tourism, the astonishing rise in the tourism sector of the Albay has made a remarkable impression in the industry which has garnered much praises from the different regions in the country, and eliciting such educational and visiting tours to learn the formula that the provincial government has implemented.

It can be recalled that Salceda was conferred last December by the DOT the very first Tourism Star Philippines Award for Local Chief Executive in recognition for his efforts in elevating the tourism industry in Albay. (MAL/PGAlbay-PIO/PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/771442903667/tourism-hrm-studes-learning-visit-in-albay-s-best-practices-success-on-tourism-industry#sthash.iDJrnDYS.dpuf

Albay to unveil marker for best tourism advocacies and practices

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept 21 (PIA) -- The Provincial Government of Albay (PGA), through the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO), will be unveiling a tourism marker for the successful tourism initiatives and best practices of the province.

Albay provincial tourism officer Dorothy Colle said the marker is for the Tourism Star Philippines Award for local chief executive first conferred by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to Governor Joey Salceda last December 18, 2014.

Colle noted that such markers inside the provincial capitol will serve as a reminder of the success of the governor in promoting the tourism industry of Albay as well as the humanitarian efforts of the provincial government.

DOT has chosen Salceda for the said award for leading Albay’s phenomenal growth in tourism as it rose from the ruins of disasters that stunted the province for decades.

As former economic adviser to previous presidents, Salceda has successfully implemented a comprehensive tourism work program in Albay, bringing to the fore various regulations and investment projects to achieve significant tourism development.

Colle said the unveiling of the market at the Albay Capitol main lobby is set on October 26, 2015 in time for the governor’s birthday.

DOT’s Tourism Star Philippines is a new set of awards for individuals who have demonstrated strong and deep commitment to the country’s tourism through excellent customer service and investment in tourism development efforts.

The awards are divided into two categories.  The tourism front-liners and individuals who embody the true Filipino brand of warm hospitality, of going the extra mile in the service of tourists; and local chief executives (LCE), a mayor or a governor, whose projects contribute positively to the tourism industry.

The awards program also mark a significant milestone in the DOT, as it fully implements the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) which leverages on public-private sector partnerships to improve competitiveness of tourism facilities and services, capacitate local government units, ensure sustainable tourism development and initiate focused marketing and promotions.(MAL/SAA/PGAlbayPIA5/Albay)

 - See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571442822799/albay-to-unveil-marker-for-best-tourism-advocacies-and-practices#sthash.Fxxo4XUm.dpuf

DOH names Belly Gud for Health winners in Bicol

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept 18 (PIA) – The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol has recently awarded the Top 18 winners from 112 challengers all over the region for the Belly Gud for Health Challenge at the Albay Astrodome here

“In the effort to promote and protect the health of the people, the Department of Health through the Non-communicable Disease Prevention and Control Program (NCDPC) has conceptualized the “Belly Gud for Health”, which is a waist reduction program targeting health personnel and other personnel from the different government agencies with High Waist Circumferences (HWC) of more than 80 cms for females and more than 90 cm for males,” DOH NCDPC Bicol head Dr. Evy R. Sarmiento said.

Sarmiento added that the said program aims to reduce the HWCs close or back to their desired HWCs to be done in six months starting February 26 to August 26, 2015 through healthy lifestyle interventions that include proper nutrition, regular physical activities, and other healthy lifestyle interventions as recommended by their support health teams.

Notching the top spot is Henry Prestado of Bicol Medical Center (BMC) losing 24.05cms HWC from 145.5 cm to 11.5 cm followed by Hermes Cirujales Jr  as the 1st runner-up with 23.40 cm and  Dolores Villanueva, 3rd runner up, with 21.87cm both from Sorsogon provincial health office (PHO).

The grand winners received P50, 000, P40,000 and P30,000 respectively.

Top 15 winners were also chosen to receive P2000 each. All winners received certificate of recognitions and tokens.

Making it to the Top 15 are Jopete Khadaffy Oliver (BMC), Jefferson Achilles Prescilla (BRTTH), Marieta Sadia (BMC),Tara Ozelie Rogando (BMC), Dianne Rose Antes(Sorsogon PHO), Retzi Roman (Ziga Memorial District Hospital), Teresa Bausa(LGU Daraga), Teresita Biron(Pag-asa National High School), Angelica Penillos(BIR), Precious Ann Borja, Rosemarie Nabor(DPWH), Edgar Abiera(PNHS), Ma. Elena Decano(DPWH), P.Supt. Roque Arcos Bausa (CSO) and Marie Elsbeth Dionisio(BMC).

DOH Bicol director Dr. Emilia Monicimpo expressed her gratitude to all the agencies and health partners in getting involved on the promotion of the healthy lifestyle, specifically the full participation of the challengers for the said six months program.

Healthy lifestyle celebrity enthusiast Jackie Lou Blanco graced the event sharing tips on how to take care of one’s health noting the importance of balanced diet, proper exercise and diet and happy disposition in life to stay fit and healthy.

“Age gracefully. Embrace your age and do not worry too much. Always look forward. Be hopeful. Being positive is important in this world where there are indeed lots of stressors,” she said.

The recognition and awarding ceremony of the Belly Gud for Health highlights the celebration of the Obesity Prevention Awareness Week on September 7-11, 2015.

“The waist circumference (WC) is a simple and easy measure of central obesity among adults and a significant indicator for potential risk for non-communicable diseases particularly heart disease and stroke,” Sarmnineto said.

The Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) are considered a major public health concern worldwide. They account for 60 per cent of total deaths globally, and contribute to 40 per cent of universal disease burden annually.

It is projected that if no action is done in the present, these rates would increase to as high as 73 per cent to total deaths and 60 per cent to disease burden respectively by 2020.

The prevalence of NCD continues to rise in the Philippines and therefore promoting healthy lifestyle is very necessary and relevant as ever,” Sarmineto stressed.

In Bicol Region, hypertension is the second leading cause of morbidity in 2012, and eight (8) out of ten (10) causes of mortality in 2012 included diseases of the heart, cerebrovascular diseases, traumas/injuries, hypertension, neoplasms or cancer, kidney diseases, diabetes, and asthma, which are all associated to unhealthy lifestyle.

The costly diagnostic and lifetime treatment of these illnesses render families of patients live beyond the poverty line. With the remarkable increasing lifestyle related diseases in the Philippines, this result to decrease productivity and economic growth retardation in the country.(MAL/SAA/DOH5/PIA5/Albay)

Monday, September 21, 2015

US EDEN visits Bicol

By Rolia B. Lotivio

LEGAZPI CITY, September 21, 2015(PIA) – Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Representatives from the United States visitedBICOL EDEN, its first institutional member from the Philippines.

Together with officials from the Department of Agriculture Manila, the team will conduct field visits as they explore the possibility in establishing PHILIPPINE EDEN.

 In a meeting with key officials and partner institutions of BICOL EDEN last Friday, September 18, 2015 at the HERCC Amphitheatre, Bicol University East Campus, Legazpi City, Albay Governor Joey S. Salceda, Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal and Bicol University Officials welcomed the distinguished guests.

EDEN, which links various disciplines in extending research-based information and learning opportunities from food safety to field safety, from physical to psychological safety, from government to community development through disaster messaging and information was introduced by Dr. Caroline Crocoll, a visiting professor from the US Department of Agriculture, during her visit in April 2010 at Bicol University when she came as a resource speaker on Disaster Education and Messaging.  BICOL-EDEN was then conceptualized and was formally launched last July 29, 2010,
operationalized by Bicol University under its Extension Service Center.

The project has pulled together almost all government and non-government agencies hoping to reduce the impact of disaster in the communities.

The Bicol Region as located in the southernmost part of Luzon and stretches towards the Pacific Ocean is often visited with typhoons, heavy monsoons as well as other calamities.

With the excellent disaster risk and reduction management initiatives implemented under the leadership of Gov. Salceda, Albay was dubbed as the Model Province for Climate Change Adaptation.

US EDEN Representative Dr. Beveryly Samuel said that they would like to be able to work collaboratively through partnerships with Bicol and other state colleges and universities to have an institutional approach and give rise to a national network in the Philippines that will be mutually
beneficial to both US and Philippines through sharing of education resources and researches to reduce the impact of natural and man-made disasters through education and disaster messaging.

During the meeting, both US and BICOL EDEN shared their best practices and experiences to be able to craft strategies on how to better improve the network so it will be more efficient in serving the needs of the communities.  (AAN/RBLotivio-PIA 5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/761442913377/us-eden-visits-bicol#sthash.gtN1pueC.dpuf

DTI enhances skills of LPCCAC, SORCASS

SORSOGON CITY, Sept. 20 (PIA) – To keep abreast with and continuously perform effectively the monitoring and enforcement procedures required, members of the Local Price Coordinating and Consumer Affairs Council (LPCCAC) along with the officers and selected members of the Sorsogon Consumers Association (SORCASS) were exposed to a one-day orientation/re-orientation seminar on the Fair Trade Laws and the DTI’s General Enforcement Guidelines for Trade and Industry.

Organized by the Department of Trade and industry (DTI) Sorsogon, the seminar enhanced the capabilities of the participants on monitoring and enforcement of Fair Trade Laws, thus, made them equipped with the knowledge and confidence in doing their tasks as members of the LPCCAC and SORCASS.

76-yr old SORCASS member Jess Mansor said by the activity, he is once more refreshed of the mandated monitoring functions and his limitations when it comes to enforcement. He said though he had underwent before an orientation on the same topic, it is good to be reoriented as his mind also faltered through the years.

Resource Speaker DTI Regional Office 5 Mediation and Hearing Officer Fernando Clutario said the monitoring and enforcement work entails commitment, long patience and the ability to handle work with difficult people in difficult situations.

He said during the LPCCAC and SORCASS monitoring, the DTI through its authorized enforcers keeps track, watches, observes or check on goods, products, operations or services of private business entities seeing to it that these comply with existing DTI laws and regulations, while in enforcing, the enforcement agent detects violations or possible violations of the DTI laws and regulations based on the products, goods and operations and services of private businesses and entities.

Among members of the LPCCAC, the DTI, DA, DOH, DENR, DOE have specific functions stipulated in the Joint Administrative Order No 13-1, s. 2013 where DENR has he jurisdiction in monitoring firewood, plywood, charcoal, plyboard, nipa shingles, and sawali; the DTI on basic necessities and prime commodities with the new inclusions of potable water in bottles and containers, fresh fruits, locally manufactured instant noodles, fresh fruits, and livestock and fishery, among others; the DOH on drugs and medicines that are both included and non-included in the current edition of the Philippine National Drug Formulary (PNDF) Essential Drug List (EDL); the DA on agriculture products and livestock; and the DOE on household LPG and petroleum,

Meanwhile, salient provisions of the Price Tag Law or RA 7581 as amended by RA 10623 were also explicitly discussed. According to Clutario, every type of item must have a specified tag price. “In case of two tag price in one item, the lowest price must prevail. Groceries and sari-sari stores are not exempted of the price tag law. Price verifiers must not be a substitute of tag price,” he added.

Clutario further said that RA 7531 protects the consumers by stabilizing the price of supply of basic necessities and prime commodities and prescribes measures against price increases especially during emergency situations.

He likewise said that the price monitoring must regularly be conducted as this would be the basis of the prevailing price especially in times of calamities, as well as basis in determining the price ceilings and price control. “In times of calamities, the prevailing price must not be increased to more than 10 percent otherwise there will be violation,” Clutario added. (MAL/BAR-PIA5/Sorsogon)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/801442768046/dti-enhances-skills-of-lpccac-sorcass#sthash.qjTiub7T.dpuf

Thursday, September 17, 2015

EDMERO hosts Responders Training anew

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, Sept. 17 (PIA) --- In its continuous desire to strengthen the capacity of the members of the Camarines Sur Provincial Response team in effectively responding to disasters, the Environment, Disaster  Management and Emergency Response Office (EDMERO) has sent another set of trainees who will undergo the Provincial Volunteers Responders’ Training course.

Participants of the second batch will undergo longer training exposures and more extensive period to discuss the various modules this time as compared to the 1st batch of responders. This is to ensure that they have already familiarized themselves with the elements of rescue operations after finishing the 45-day training period.

Lectures were segmented into different topics to familiarize the responders on the different concerns that might challenge their persistence during the actual rescue operations.

Trainees will be given lectures on understanding the environment, including the different DRR concepts and principles. This is for the participants to learn and understand the environmental situation of Camarines Sur and increase their awareness in the protection and preservation measures being undertaken by the province.

There will be visual and participatory discussion and statistical presentations which will be conducted by experts coming from Upland, Freshwater, Advocacy and Disaster Units. The legal framework of DRRM will also be part of the discussion.

The 2nd batch of trainees, which is composed of 20 participants will also undergo a healthy lifestyle session to give them inputs on proper diet and nutrition, the bad effects of vices and how to avoid them so that the province is assured that they are also building health-prepared responders.

Discussions also include guidelines in giving emergency care, proper bandaging for the partakers to define and differentiate Bandage from Dressings and to know the importance of bandaging in First Aid and its applications. The types of medical emergencies, signs and symptoms and first aid management will likewise be discussed.

The 2nd batch of the Provincial Volunteers Responders training started on September 8 and will wrap up after 45 days.

The 1st batch is composed of 20 trainees, 6 of which are Kabalikat Civicom members from the Rinconada chapter.  Nineteen (19) of them passed the training on pre-hospital care; water safety and survival/ water search and rescue; basic firefighting; basic rope rescue; mountaineering course and basic light search and rescue.  One dropped out due physical incapacity.

EDMERO chief Luzena N. Bermeo is confident that the modules will significantly raise the aptitude and capacity of the responders to ensure the safety of Camarinenses in the advent of natural calamities and other unexpected eventualities.  (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861442471047/edmero-hosts-responders-training-anew#sthash.9x3qw6XM.dpuf

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

DAR, agencies links arms to boost kids’ health in Camarines Sur

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 16 (PIA) -- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), teamed up with Rep. Leni Robredo of Camarines Sur's third congressional district and the food caterers in Naga City have partnered to feed the city’s 2,700 Day Care Center’s school children with a healthy and balanced diet.

The feeding project was carried out under the Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP) program.

Officer in charge Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Maria R. Gracia Sales said organic vegetables grown by agrarian reform farmers will be made available for the various feeding programs of the DSWD.

“Local smallholder farmers, mostly agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) will plant or produce the organic crops needed for the feeding programs and sell them to food caterers who will, in turn, prepare the dishes for the school children,” Sales said.

Sales added that the arrangement is important, not only because the program provides the schools with fresh vegetables, but also it conveys to children the importance of producing organic nutritious foods for healthy living.

The benefits of the PAHP program do not just end with having nutritious school meals but to stimulate the local market here to increase the income of smallholder farmers, and be less dependent on chemically grown foods from other sources,"Sales said.

Aside from Cararayan-Pacol-San Isidro in Naga City, pilot areas for the PAHP program in Camarines Sur include San Antonio, Ocampo; Del Rosario, Pili; and Bonot-Sta-Rosa, Calabanga.

 PHAP is a collaborative effort of various agencies to engage poor households and work closely with the rural communities to provide essential social and economic services toward eliminating hunger and alleviating poverty in the countryside.  (MAL/DAR5/PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/771442388541/dar-agencies-links-arms-to-boost-kids-health-in-camarines-sur#sthash.qCHzdGXu.dpuf

Bicol rice production up despite El Niño dry spell

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 16 (PIA) – Bicol region is the only region in the country expected to increase its rice production and harvest area from July to December this year despite below normal rainfall condition in most of its provinces.

“Based on the standing crop in the region for July to September, some 202,923 metric tons of palay will be produced or harvested which is higher over last year’s output  of 180,296 metric tons in the same period  or  12.55% increase,” Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol information officer Emily Bordado said citing the crop estimates and forecasts by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Bordado said rice production increase in the region is attributed to the aggressive campaign and implementation of the High Yielding Technology Adoption (HYTA) Program of the Department of Agriculture.

“This program calls for the planting of high yielding varieties that are also early-maturing, resistant to diseases and resilient to various stressors such as flood, drought, heat and salinity,” she explained.

Aside from hybrid rice and certified seeds, multi-trait new rice lines called Green Super Rice (GSR) developed by the International Rice Research Institute were initially tested in several pilot areas of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and DA special projects on Climate Change Adaptation.  Among these varieties for lowland are GSR8, GSR5a, NSIC RC18 (sub1) and drought /flood tolerant varieties like GSR 11, 5a, and GSR2 in upland and rainfed areas.

“Because of their   high yield and stress tolerance to    various ecosystems  and weather  conditions these GSR lines have now been adopted by some 3,842 farmers in the region have boosted the  rice production output of  Bicol,” she furthered.

The total incremental production for 2015 resulting from the use of hybrid and certified seeds under the HYTA program in the dry and wet cropping seasons of 2015 reaches 25,081.80 MT.

In dry season of 2014 – 2015 (Sept. 2014- March 2015 planting), a total of 5,551 hectares was planted with hybrids providing 9,991.90 MT increase in production. While 1,764 hectares have been planted with certified seeds providing 1,441.20 MT increase in rice production.

For wet season 2015 (March-Sept planting), 6,026 hectares have been planted with hybrid rice giving an incremental yield of 1.8 MT/ha totaling 10,846.80 MT. While 3,540 hectares has been planted with certified seeds with a computed yield increment of 0.8 MT/hectare, registering an increase in production of 2,832.00 MT.

For 2016, the projected increase in production is 25,750 MT if the target 10,000 hectares for hybrid rice and 5,000 hectares for certified seeds will be achieved.

 Bordado said that under the HYTA program a farmer cooperator is provided with 1 bag hybrid or inbred certified seeds to be paid to his association after harvest.  A bag of inbred seeds is equivalent to 40 kilograms while a bag of hybrid can range from 15-18 kg per hectare.  Also, provided are  fertilizers at 2 bags (50 kg/bag) or less per hectare and/or other soil ameliorants including Zinc  may also be  provided  based on the assessment of the DA regional office.

Other timely DA interventions such as water pumps, farm machineries and equipment, post harvest facilities technical assistance and crop insurance also contributed to ensure rice sufficiency in the region despite the threats of climate change and adverse ecological conditions.

Bordado cited various irrigators associations in the region who have testified on the benefits of the HYTA program.

According to Stepany Breboneria, president of Barlin Irrigators Association in Baao, Camarines Sur, more than 200 of their farmer members have availed of the HYTA and harvested an average yield of 110 cavans in a hectare for hybrid and 82 cavans/ha for inbred rice. Ruth Moore, president of PESAMASOR Federation of Sorsogon, said 40 farmer members have availed of the HYTA and harvested an average yield of 120 cavans per hectare of hybrid rice.

Nena Lota, president of Imalnod Farmers Association in Legazpi City is one of the cooperators of this program and a first time user of hybrid seeds.  She  received 15 kg of hybrid  along with 2 sacks urea, 2 liters organic foliar fertilizer and 2 sachet humus plus. She also obtained water pump and laminated sacks from the DA and is very optimistic of higher yield based on the stand of the rice crop on her farm.

Another farmer, Edilberto Trilles shared that since he started using hybrid in 1988 in his .75 hectare upland rainfed   rice farm the lowest yield he obtained was 114 cavans and the highest is 130 cavans.  He said he practices organic farming and uses chicken dung as basal fertilizer to rejuvenate the soil.

City agriculturist Jess Kallos of Legazpi  affirmed the increase in number of hybrid seeds takers this year.  Based on their record only 80 hectares were planted to hybrid in previous croppings but this has recently expanded to 214 hectares.  He bared that the average palay yield of their farmers using certified seeds was 80 to 90 cavans but with hybrid seeds the average yield of their farmers has increased to 120 cavans per hectare.   He also enthused that their city was only 32% sufficient in rice in 2014 but with HYTA 1.5% increase was registered in the last cropping.

Bordado went on that although  Bicol region’s climate outlook for  September to January 2016 indicates  below normal  or reduced rainfall and increased  temperature in most  of its provinces  and way below normal rainfall in October in all its provinces,  this shall  favor harvesting  as well as post harvest processing  (rice and corn) but can reduce yield on vegetable crops .

DA Bicol regional executive director Abelardo R. Bragas likewise noted that contingency plan  for El Niño has been prepared anchored on four strategies namely:  optimize production in non-threatened areas; minimize losses in threatened areas; convert to other  crops and prepare for rehabilitation.

Interventions to mitigate El Niño include water management such as provision of shallow tube wells and pump irrigation systems in open sources (PISOS).  Production support will also be provided such as fertilizers to non-threatened areas; distribution of drought tolerant varieties; insurance subsidy to vulnerable areas and seed production of drought tolerant varieties.

Bordado added trainings, briefings, assessments and workshops with stakeholders, program implementers and LGUs will be regularly conducted along with periodic monitoring and reporting.  Information campaign via the quad media will also be undertaken.(MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571442220030/bicol-rice-production-up-despite-el-ni-o-dry-spell#sthash.eJqw8GPU.dpuf

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Legazpi cited top finalist in Climate-Adaptive, Disaster Resilient award

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 14 (PIA) –- The city government here  has been listed on top of the two other Luzon cities chosen as finalists in the inaugural Climate-Adaptive and Disaster-Resilient (CLAD) Award which recognizes this year's local governments which set an exemplary implementation of innovative strategies to manage climate and disaster risks.

In a letter received recently by Mayor Noel Rosal, CLAD Award vice-chairperson and Climate Change Commission (CCC) executive director Mary Ann Lucille Sering cited Legazpi City on top of the two other cities, Malolos (Bulacan) and Sorsogon (Sorsogon), chosen as finalists in the City Category of the awards program.

Finalists in the Municipal Category include Tublay, Benguet; Canaman, Camarines Sur; and Mercedes, Camarines Norte for Luzon; Dumangas, Iloilo; and Palompon, Leyte for the Visayas; and Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur for Mindanao.

Final presentation and judging, according to Sering’s letter dated Aug. 7, will be held this month

The CLAD awards program highlights outstanding climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (CCA-DRR) practices of cities and municipalities, much as encourages local governments to prioritize and emulate measures that enhance the adaptive capacities and reduce vulnerabilities of their respective communities and environment.

The awards program is organized by the CCC and Senator Loren Legarda, who chairs the Senate committee on climate change and recognized as United Nations champion for DRR and CCA for Asia- Pacific,

CLAD award will be given to six outstanding local governments--one city and one municipality each from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Selection of the winners will be according to the criteria set by the organizing offices that include the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Interior and Local Government, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and Aksyon Klima Pilipinas.

The winning local governments will receive a special recognition as CCA-DRR champions and their efforts will also be showcased in international and local CCA-DRR events.

They will also be prioritized for support under the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), a special trust fund created by Republic Act No. 10174 which was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III in 2012 to allow local governments and communities to put in place climate-mitigation practices to lessen the destructive impact of natural disasters.

The national budget for 2016 has programmed an amount of PHP1 billion into the PSF.

Entries accepted for the Award were cities and municipalities that have mainstreamed CCA-DRR into any local plans such as the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, Comprehensive Development Plan and Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plans, and regular government operations and processes such as budgeting and programming.

Further considerations are also given to local governments that have adopted initiatives including, but not limited to, activities outlined in the PSF -- among them, adaptation activities on water resource and land management, agriculture and fisheries, health, infrastructure, and natural ecosystems using climate vulnerability assessment.

Entries will be judged according to the criteria based on the National Framework Strategy onClimate Change, the National Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2028, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan and the UNISDR’s “10 Essentials for Making Cities Resilient” developed in line with the five priorities of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.

Legazpi City being named as finalist in the CLAD Award, Rosal on Monday said, comes while results of this year’s Gawad Kalasag Awards of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) are being awaited.

The city is also finalist in that award in the City Category and vying for the Hall of Fame this year after winning it in the last two consecutive years for its unrelenting achievements in disaster management required by the NDRRMC which includes the areas of mitigation, preparedness, response and rescue, and rehabilitation and recovery.  (MAL/DOC-CGLegazpi/PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/771442305263/legazpi-cited-top-finalist-in-climate-adaptive-disaster-resilient-award#sthash.0VvPLF2Z.dpuf

32 PWDs receive starter kit from DOLE

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Sept. 15 (PIA) - Thirty two persons with disabilities (PWD) received kabuhayan starter kit from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on September 3, 2015 at the Capitol Dome Virac, Catanduanes.

The project aims to provide intervention to one of the vulnerable groups of sector in Catanduanes who have needs to be addressed. They were awarded set of tools and equipment that could help them in their livelihood activities to augment their income and to help them alleviate poverty.

DOLE Catanduanes officer in charge Russell Ulysses I. Nieves bared that the kits include 5 sets fiber glass fishing boats; 2 set vulcanizing machine; 1 set sari-sari store; 4 sets of gadget for e-loading business; 2 sets beauty care tools and materials; 1 set for barber; 5 for food vending; 2 for farming and 1 for carpentry.

Nieves likewise expressed gratitude for the support of the Public Employment Service Officers (PESOs) the Provincial Government of Catanduanes.

He added that they will struggle to have succeeding batches for the same project.

Meanwhile, Governor Araceli B. Wong said in her message that on 2016, the Provincial Government of Catanduanes will allocate P7 million pesos for the Special Projects for Senior Citizen and PWDs.

She also advised the group to live happily, accept and be thankful of who and what they are and make use of their infirmity as assets in looking for job opportunities appropriate to their individuality.

Ivan Anton Tabo, District 1, Gigmoto – PWD beneficiary thanked DOLE and those who made the project possible. According to him, receiving the starter kit make him feel that he has importance to the society. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841442240865/32-pwds-receive-starter-kit-from-dole#sthash.ecU1wmtI.dpuf

DILG to implement online reporting of barangays

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Sept. 15 (PIA) – The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will launch the Electronic Barangay Governance Performance Measurement System (e-BGPMS), an online reporting system for all barangays which measures performance in various fields such as administration, social and environmental.

According to DILG Catanduanes provincial director Uldarico Razal, the program aims to serve as the basis for the national government and policymakers in formulating policy that would rationalize assistance to barangays.

It will also apprise the city or municipal government of the present state or level of performance of its component barangays and thus be guided in the formulation of integrated policies, plans and programs that would lead to the barangay’s efficient delivery of basic services and effective discharge of its functions and responsibilities.

e-BGPMS will also provide the city and municipal government with vital data/inputs in the accomplishments of the data requirements of their own LGPMS; and to raise awareness of the barangay government and barangay officials on their state or level of performance.

In this connection, barangay secretaries, barangay chairmen, and appropriation charimen in the province are being given training and being provided with proper knowledge on the implementation of the program.

Razal said that the implementation of the project will start after the simultaneous trainings being conducted at Amenia Beach Resort this September, 2015.

In Bicol, the municipality of Santa Magdalena, Sorsogon was the first town to implement the program.(MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841442241182/dilg-to-implement-online-reporting-of-barangays#sthash.AdoHokHa.dpuf

FNRI-DOST introduces food blends to combat malnutrition

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, Sept. 14 (PIA) -- The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has introduced the DOST PINOY or the "Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young Children" to address the high prevalence of malnutrion among children whose age ranges from 0 to 60 months in the country.

FNRI-DOST supervising science research specialist (SRS) Joyce R. Tobias said DOST PINOY is a package of nutrition interventions which endeavors to reduce the prevalence of underweight among 6 to 35 months old children by feeding them with complementary food blends for a span of 120 days.

The food blends, according to Tobias, are BigMo’s rice mongo sesame ready to cook baby food blend and Rice-mongo Instant baby food blend, a mixture of local-based rice-mongo complementary foods rich in protein and energy for children ages 6 to 3 years old.

The food mix was introduced to the members of the Camarines Sur Provincial Nutrition Council (PNC) during its recent advocacy meeting held recently at Villa Del Rey Function Hall, Capital Complex, Cadlan, here.

“The rice mongo sesame is a ready to cook baby food blend of rice, mungbean and sesame.  This can be prepared by adding the blend to boiling water, then cooked to desired consistency. It contains 130kcal (energy) and 4 grams protein per 30g serving proportions.  This can serve as complement to breast milk. The instant Rice-mongo baby food blend on the other hand, is a complementary food also rich in protein and energy but is is processed by extrusion cooking method,” Tobias added.

Julieta B. Dorado, also an FNRI-DOST supervising SRS, said that aside from the complementary food blends, they also developed snack curls for children and has strengthened their information dissemination campaign.

“We also complemented it with nutrition education among mothers and caregivers and impart information on the basic nutrition, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, meal planning, safe food handling and preparation, including backyard vegetable gardening.”

According to the 2013 National Nutrition Survey, 2 in every 10 Filipino children is underweight-for-age while 3 out of 10 or 30.3 percent of children within the same age group are stunted.  The prevalence of wasting is also high, with 1 out of 10 or 7.9 percent of children labeled under the said category.

Dorado said that the monitoring of the child’s nutrition is critical from 6 months to three years old since this is the period where their rapid growth and development takes place and window of opportunity for nutrition intervention is highly needed. This is also a vulnerable age bracket for malnutrition where damage to mental and physical health might be irreversible.

In Camarine Sur, the city government of Iriga through the Complement Feeding Processing Center (CFPC) is producing complementary nutritious foods as approved by FNRI-DOST. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861442196094/fnri-dost-introduces-food-blends-to-combat-malnutrition#sthash.gT2oOMme.dpuf

Monday, September 14, 2015

APEC to re-implement 2% surcharge on overdue bills

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept 11 (PIA) --   The Albay Power Electric Corporation (APEC) has announced the re-implementation of the two percent surcharge on overdue bills effective October 1, 2015.

“We would like to inform all APEC consumers that starting October 1, 2015 there will be a strict regulation on the number of days allowed in paying electric bills as mandated by the Magna Carta for Electricity Consumers and Distribution Services and Open Access Rules (DSOAR) wherein all consumers are obliged to settle their monthly electricity bills nine days after receiving their Statement of Account (SOA) or bill,” said APEC general manager Manuel Imperial.

It will cover all unpaid APEC bills since February 2014 of high voltage, low voltage and residential customers.

“Unpaid bills from February 2014 to August 2015 shall bear a surcharge or late payment fee equal to 2% of the total amount due starting October 1, 2015. A 2% compounded monthly shall be applied for each month of non-payment thereafter,” Imperial said.

However for September 2015 bills and onwards, Imperial said the surcharge shall be applied to the total amount due if payment is received beyond the given term of nine days after receipt of the bill.

“A 2% compounded monthly rate shall be applied for every 30 days of non-payment thereafter,” he said.

Notice of disconnection/collection will be issued should consumers fail to pay their bills on the said date. They will be given another two days upon receipt of the notice to settle their accounts.

The applicable 2% surcharge shall be computed upon payment of bills at any authorized APEC payment centers.

These include APEC branch offices, business centers, Bayad center collection outlets and its business partners.(MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571441958488/apec-to-re-implement-2-surcharge-on-overdue-bills#sthash.eHz2nB4v.dpuf

DILG cites 17 LGUs in Bicol for Seal of Good Local Governance

By Marlon A. Loterte

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 11 (PIA) -- Two provinces, a city and 14 towns in the Bicol region were conferred Thursday night with the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) or Pagkilala sa Katapatan at Kahusayan ng Pamahalaang Lokal from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) by pursuing good governance practices while providing better services to the populace.

In an awarding ceremonies last night, DILG Bicol regional director Elouisa Pastor led the awarding of this year’s SGLG citations to the provinces of Sorsogon and Catanduanes, Masbate City and the towns of Daet, Mercedes, Paracale, San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Vicente -- all in Camarines Norte; Camaligan, Canaman, Del Gallego, Ragay and San Fernando in Camarines Sur; Barcelona, Bulan and Pilar in Sorsogon and Bato town in Catanduanes.

Pastor said, "only 17 or 14 percent of the total 120 local governments in the Bicol region were conferred with the Seal of Good Local Governance since only these local government passed the yearly SGLG assessment based on the given criteria laid by the agency regional and national selection committees."

Sorsogon and Catanduanes provinces received P7 million each, Masbate City brought home P5 million, while the 14 other towns got P3 million each plus glass citation marker and

This year’s awardees received a total of Php 61 million which the recipient local governments can access through the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF), an incentive given to LGUs which come in the form of counterpart funding for local development projects.

Pastor said the SGLG was an annual awards program for local government that adhered to performance criteria in areas of good financial housekeeping, disaster preparedness, social protection, business-friendliness and competitiveness, environmental management, peace and order and public safety.

The Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) has replaced the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) in recognizing the good performance of the local governments.

To qualify for the SGLG, the LGU must possess the “3 plus 1” principle, meaning it must pass the first three of six core areas/criteria, plus any one of the another three, which may vary by LGU level and income class.

The first three of these criteria include Good Financial Housekeeping, formerly the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) that exhibits compliance with accounting and auditing standards, rules and regulations.

Second is Disaster Preparedness requires citation in the Gawad KALASAG for Best Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council or having structures, plans and systems in place for disaster preparedness.

Social Protection, being the third, requires sensitivity to the needs of vulnerable sectors like women, children, senior citizens, indigenous peoples and persons with disability (PWD), among others.

The other three criteria, one of which may be picked by the local governments as additional to the three “must” criteria may include Business-friendliness and Competitiveness that demonstrates good performance in business promotion as a result of having a simplified business processing and licensing system.

The other is Environmental Management that displays substantial efforts in safeguarding the integrity of the environment with the initial focus of compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

While Peace and Order that shows considerable efforts in maintaining peace and order in the community by adopting a Local Anti-Criminality Action Plan or Peace and Order Council Action Plan.

Pastor furthered that a total of 254 local governments passed the SGLG assessment nationwide, already including the 17 from Bicol.

The 17 local government passed and were given “Green” scorecards in the three Basic Core Seal and one of the additional criteria, where the local government can excelled in one or all ot them. (MAL-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/771441855877/dilg-cites-17-lgus-in-bicol-for-seal-of-good-local-governance#sthash.DE4e7tya.dpuf

Traslacion procession for Ina generally “orderly, solemn and festive”

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Sept. 14 (PIA) --- Thousands Bicolano and visiting pilgrims took part in the traditional traslacion procession Friday that marked the official commencement of one of the biggest Marian celebrations in the countr, that is, the feast of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bicolandia, in this city.

Following the Holy Mass at the Plaza De Covarrubias at the Peñafrancia Shrine, the pilgrims and voyadores joined the traslacion processsion of the miraculous images of Our Lady of Peñafrancia and of the Divino Rostro to the Metropolitan Cathedral for the nine-day Novena Masses.

At the Metropolitan Cathedral, Archbishop of Caceres Rolando Tria Tirona led the Pontifical Mass attended anew by thousands of pilgrims from which commenced the nine-day Novena Masses for Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia

Tirona pictured the traslacion procession as “orderly, solemn and festive” attributing which to the cooperation of pilgrims and supervision of various religious organizations, under the stewardship of the Joint Operations Center (JOC).

JOC, an inter-agency task group and unified command center, was reactivated by the city government  here to spearhead the close command, control, coordination and collaboration, including the efficient communication system amongst its member agencies during the entire duration of the religious festivity.

The activation of the JOC intends to ensure the peaceful and orderly conduct of all the festivity’s undertakings particularly during the highlights of the celebration --- the just-concluded traslacion procession and the fluvial procession on September 19, Saturday.

The images of El Divino Rostro and Our Lady of Peñafrancia will stay at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral as their temporary home until September 19 when it will be brought back to the Basilica Minore in time for the last novena mass.

 Naga City Mayor John Bongat also lauded the various religious groups, school and university heads, civic organizations and the entire team of JOC for contributing to the successful conduct of the procession.

The chief executive hopes that the same discipline and cooperation will continue in all other activities especially during the Fluvial procession which will transpire at the stretch of the historic Naga River.

Currently, the river is undergoing dredging activity covering the 2.8 kilometer river-stretch starting at the Balatas area to the “Danlugan ni Ina” site at the Basilica in Barangay Magsaysay.

Bongat explained that the on-going activity will not in a way hamper the traditional procession.

“The dredging will continue and it will only be suspended on September 19, the day of the fluvial procession. The dredging machine needs not to be pulled out, because it is very difficult to do that. It will l just stay at one of the sides of the riverbank in Dayangdang. Most of the entire stretch of the Naga River is already passable but the city will conduct another inspection before the Fluvial Procession to test the river,” Bongat clarified during an interview.  (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861442208982/traslacion-procession-for-ina-generally-orderly-solemn-and-festive-#sthash.wnkXsm02.dpuf

Friday, September 11, 2015

Interfaith dialogue highlights key issues on RPRH Law

SORSOGON CITY, September 11, 2015 (PIA) – “Promoting human dignity is respecting, protecting and fulfilling reproductive rights.”

This is the very core message conveyed by the Catholics for Reproductive Health (C4RH) during the Interfaith Forum and Dialogue conducted on September 10, 2015 at The Lewis College, this city, participated in by students, church-based organizations, women organizations, media and government agency representatives.

C4RH is a movement whose mission is to organize and support fellow Filipino Catholics in understanding, appreciating and promoting Reproductive Health as a right.

It organizes series of interfaith forum and dialogue under the over-all topic “Finding Common Grounds: An Interfaith Dialogue on Gender, Sexuality, and Spirituality towards Life with Dignity”.

According to C4RH executive director Luz Francess Chua, the forum cum dialogue aimed at bringing the participants into reflection on the teachings and traditions on gender, sexuality, and development in one’s search for human life with dignity; how it relate to the issue on Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law or RA 10354; and find common grounds on how each one would take stand as Community of Believers and improve one life’s situation.

She said the insights that were drawn from the forum/dialogue will be used to inspire faith-based organizations to focus on common grounds and that more collaborative efforts in addressing gender and sexuality concerns in society and in one’s respective faith and spiritual communities will be explored.

Forum speaker Dr. Junice Lirga Melgar, secretariat of the National Implementing Team of the RPRH Law and Executive Director of Likhaan discussed the topic on Gender and how it affects the RPRH Law. Her presentation showed the top 5 major Reproductive Health (RH) problems in the Philippines to include maternal mortality, unintended pregnancy, teen pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, and Gender-based violence especially domestic and sexual violence.

Melgar said these problems are preventable and the government has a lot of solutions to address these saying one of which is the passage of the RPRH Law, but, on the other hand, disappointed by the realities evident in the communities such as acceptance of violence as okay, women’s disempowerment, lack of preventive mechanisms, inadequate information and life skills and poor enforcement of the law.

Atty. Jihan Jacob, fellow of the Center for Reproductive Rights, defined some provisions in the RPRH Law that were considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and the RH Law from the human rights perspective.

According to her, reproductive right is human right. What has been written in the constitution has been affirmed by the RH Law citing Article II sec 2 and Article XIII sec 1 of the Philippine Constitution.

Unconstitutional provisions in the RH Law include third party authorization where spousal and parental consent for certain RH services and procedures may be required; conscientious objectors are exempted from performing certain RH services and procedures; health care providers who fail or refuse to disseminate information regarding RH programs and services regardless of his/her religious beliefs are not liable; and public officials who fail to support RH programs or do any act to hinder the implementation of the law are not liable.

Rev. Erahvilla Maga-Cabillas, IFI the Parish Priest of UP Holy Cross Parish underscored in her discussion Life In Its Totality: Gift, Responsibility and Commitment, and likewise presented the Life’s Ultimate Goals based from inter-faith perspective.

During the Open Forum, DILG Sorsogon representative Ms. Conchie Galeria said there is a need to strengthen the Information, Education and Communication Campaign specifically particularly in the communities to better understand the content of the Responsible Parenthood Reproductive Health Law. “The DILG is committed to support the national government’s agenda but there must be clearer explanations as to the role of the major key players like that of the national government agencies, the DILG, the LGUs and those supporting the advocacy.

Media representative Alice Lopez of Sorsogon Guardian said responsible parenthood must be given emphasis in the advocacy and suggests for an establishment of counseling centers in the communities i.e. in the barangays where the teen-agers can easily access least they have reproductive health concerns and problems.

DOH Bicol Representative Dr. Lita Ang calls on support from the participants to help them in making the public understand the key concepts of the RPRH Law and in looking for service providers so that the intended health services including that of the reproductive health, under the law, must be provided to the members of the community in need. (MAL/BAR-PIA5/Sorsogon)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/801441971331/interfaith-dialogue-highlights-key-issues-on-rprh-law#sthash.7MOZ8qxN.dpuf

SSS, GSIS, Pag-Ibig Fund announce upgrades, expansions on programs

By Rosalita B. Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Sept. 10 2015 (PIA) – The Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-Ibig Fund bared recent upgrades and expansions of several benefits and claims which members can avail of.

In the recent “Talakayan sa PIA” of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Camarines Norte provincial office, SSS corporate executive officer Leticia M. Del Barrio has encouraged members to avail of their sickness assistance benefits aside from the usual retirement, maternity, disability, death, funeral and employees compensation assistance.

Del Bario said that an SSS member can avail of Sickness Benefits which is a daily cash allowance paid for the number of days a member is unable to work due to sickness or injury.

SSS member can qualify for the sickness benefit, she added, when he or she is unable to work due to sickness or injury and confined either in a hospital or at home for at least four days.

"The member should also have at least three months of contributions within the 12 month period immediately before the semester of sickness has been paid; all company sick leaves with pay for the current year has been used up; the employer has been notified, or, if a separated, voluntary or self-employed member, the SSS directly," she explained.

The amount of a member’s sickness benefit per day is equivalent to ninety percent (90%) of the member’s average daily salary credit.

Del Barrio furthered that the Funeral Benefit for members has also increased from P20,000 to the variable amount from P20,000 to P40,000.

SSS also has program on option to sell shares of stocks under stocks investment loan.

The release of Educational Assistance Loan now is being given at their branch which previously mailed to beneficiaries, she announced.

She also encouraged employers to enroll their “Kasambahay” to SSS citing that very few availed of the “Batas Kasambahay”.

Del Barrio announced that they will also implement Personal Equity Savings Options (PESO) on the last quarter of this year for SSS members.

The SSS has an online portals that allows members exclusive access to their contributions and membership records, make online transactions, set appointments with their SSS servicing branch and request copies of their of their records.

GS ISLoan and e-Service Unit staff officer Richard Allan Francisco, on the other hand, said that GSIS offered Enhanced Conso-Loan Plus Program since July this year wherein members who have at least 15 years of service with paid premiums may borrow a 12-month salary loan, while those with not less than 25 years of service will be eligible for a 14-month loan.

Previously, the credit limit for the members was only 10 times their salary and the GSIS also extended the maximum payment term from six to 10 years for members with not less than 10 years of paid premiums.

He said that availment of the Enhanced Conso-Loan Plus Program will result in the consolidation of the following salary loans: Salary Loan,    Restructured Salary Loan, Enhanced Salary Loan, Emergency Loan Assistance, and Summer One-Month Salary.

"The GSIS is working on for the increase in the funeral benefits from P20,000 to P30,000 as well as in the designation of survivor if the member is single and these are now in Congress under deliberation," he said.

HDMF Housing Relation Officer Jose Jaime P. Tandog meanwhile urged members to join the Modified Pag-ibig Program, a savings scheme designed to provide members with another savings option similar to time deposit scheme that would grant them with a yield higher for a period of five to 10 years.

"The program has since started in 2012 but very few availed of this," he said.

He said that those who wish to join Modified Pag-ibig Program may contribute P500.00 per month aside from the mandatory deductions and the interest rate is 4.68 percent per annum and is tax free.

Tandog also said that for the P450,000 socialized housing program, the interest rate is only 4.5% while in other housing loans is as low as 6.500% per annum compared to 6.985% in the previous years.

He clarified that those who already availed of the housing loan can again apply for another housing loan provided that it will not exceed P6 million.

Previously housing loan can be availed one at a time and cannot have another one unless the previous one has been paid.

Acquisition and installation of solar power will be allowed in Pag-ibig Fund and they are just waiting for the guidelines for its implementation. (MAL/RBM-PIA5/CamarinesNorte)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/871441779910/sss-gsis-pag-ibig-fund-announce-upgrades-expansions-on-programs#sthash.hZt3BZmr.dpuf

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Forum on Tourism Industry Development set in Catanduanes

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Sept. 10 (PIA) - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) provincial office here will spearhead a Forum on Tourism Industry Development on September 22 to help promote continuous growth and harness the potentials of the tourism-industry in the province.

Russel Ulysses Nieves, DOLE Catanduanes chief, said the forum is pursuant to DOLE’s mandate on Tripartism and the commitment of Catanduanes Inter-Agency Committee on Tourism Industry.

He said that participants are toruism-related establishments, Techinical-Vocational Institutions (TVIs) offering tourism-related courses, transport groups, Local Chief Executives and respective Municipal Tourism Officers.

Topics up for discussion are Tourism landscape; Employment and Investments Bets practices on Tourism Industry; Equipping/improvement of shiles in the tourism industry; Retooling of crews, staff, personnel and Introduction in TVIs of the Events Management and Promotion Cause;

Investment incentives on tourism-related projects; Fnancing windows for tourism; Small business corporation; Organization of Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC) on the tourism industry; and the Presentation and signing of Voluntary Code of Good Practices in the Tourism Industry.

Speakers will come from various agencies and departments in Catanduanes.

The activity is also in coordination with the Provincial Government of Catanduanes and partner agencies. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841441897714/forum-on-tourism-industry-development-set-in-catanduanes#sthash.LOUuyK6o.dpuf

Bicol Surf Jam to kick off at Bagasbas Beach in Daet

By Rosalita B. Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Sept. 10 (PIA) – The Bicol Surf Jam, the first of its kind in the country, will start its first leg at Bagasbas Beach in Daet town, this province on September 19-21, 2015.

Daet Mayor Tito S. Sarion said that the surf jam has been designed to provide a venue for camaraderie, competition and excellence in the pursuit of creating a united community of Bicolano surfers and producing world-class talents.

This is also the first-ever Regional Surf Circuit Competition  in the country and it specifically aims to step up the competitiveness of surfers; recognize and discover the region’s most talented athletes and promote Surf Tourism in the Bicol Region.

The second leg will be held on October 16-18 at Barangay Buenavista, Gubat, Sorsogon while the third leg will be on Oct. 20-24 at Puraran, Catanduanes.

He said that the jam is open to surfers from all provinces in the region. The surfer who earns the highest accumulated points from all three legs will be announced as champion.

In Daet town this is in partnership with the local government and Bicol Harvest Magazine. Also partnered in this event is the Tourism, Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

Invited to grace the event is Regional Director Maria Ravanilla of the Department of Tourism (DOT) at the opening program on September 19. (MAL/RBM-PIA5/Camarines Norte).

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/871441856036/bicol-surf-jam-to-kick-off-at-bagasbas-beach-in-daet#sthash.qoVfoAJx.dpuf

Classes, work suspended in Naga City in time for Traslacion procession on Sept. 11

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Sept.10 (PIA) --- The city government here has suspended classes in all levels the entire day and work starting 11:00am in all government offices tomorrow, Sept. 11, in time for the traslacion processsion of the miraculous images of Our Lady of Peñafrancia and of the Divino Rostro to the Metropolitan Cathedral for a nine-day Novena and Holy Masses.

Mayor John Bongat of this city has issued yesterday Advisory No. 2015-001, declaring suspension of classess and work to provide time for locales to take part in one of the biggest religious activities in the country that draws millions of devotees from all over the world

In the advisiory, classes in pre-school up to post-graduate studies in institution within the city's jurisdiction are suspended the whole day, while work in the local government offices and national government agencies are suspended commencing at 11:00 am except those involved in the maintenance of peace and order and health and sanitation offices assisting the Joint Operations Center (JOC).

Traffic management enforcement personnel and members of the City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office will be required to report for work as their presence are mostly needed during the entire duration of the event.

The same advisory also has cited that the suspension of classes and work will be implemented in anticipation of the heavy volume of vehicles that may cause heavy traffic and Marian devotees from across the province that are expected to move in flock towards the city as the formal start of the annual feast of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia unfolds tomorrow.

Meanwhile, local authorities has advised devotees who will be coming to this city to join the traslacion procession to take heed of the safety precautions to prevent lawless elements who will also be roaming the busy streets take advantage of them. .

Bongat has already directed P/Sr. Supt. Narciso D. Domingo, officer in charge of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in this city, to ensure the security of the pilgrims and other visitors.

He  particularly ordered police visibility in the area to immediately respond to anysituations during the traslacion procession.

More than 800 police personnel from the Bicol Police Regional Office were also dispatched in various parts of the city to assist the local police force in ensuring the peaceful conduct of the religious activity.

Personnel from the Army's 9th Infantry Division, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and other allied agencies will also be around to assist the JOC members.  (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861441856549/classes-work-suspended-in-naga-city-in-time-for-traslacion-procession-on-sept-11#sthash.DHLabOTX.dpuf

Archdiocese of Caceres, JOC members sign agreement for a peaceful and meaningful Peῆafrancia Fiesta

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Sept. 10 (PIA) --- The Archdiocese of Caceres and the city government has formally signed with other member agencies of the Joint Operations Center (JOC) the Cooperation Agreement for the Peῆafrancia fiesta celebration this year in a simple ceremony held at the Archbishop’s Residence on Tuesday.

The agreement was crafted to ensure the solemn, peaceful and meaningful celebration of the Peῆafrancia fiesta commencing this Friday until next weekend to celebrate the feast of the Our Lady of Peῆafrancia, Patroness of Bicolandia.

Caceres Archbishop Rolando Octavus J. Tria-Tirona and Mayor John G. Bongat of this city led the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA witnessed by officials and representatives of different national and local government offices and private institutions that will be operational starting on the date of the signing.

Bongat said, “the actual signing of the MOA will bind each and everyone of us and our respective organizations as part of the collective effort of both the private, the government sectors and of course, the Church, for us to be able to help ourselves and one another towards effecting a solemn, meaningful fiesta celebration in honor of Our Lady of Peῆafrancia, the Patroness of Bicol.”

Before the signing ceremony, messages of solidarity were delivered by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, Philippine Army (PA), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Office V, where they expressed their renewed unwavering support and commitment to ensure the public safety, successful and peaceful celebration of the festivity.

In response, Tirona thanked all the participants and members of the JOC for their presence and messages of support, which he said were not only uplifting, but confidence-bearing since they were messages uttered of commitment, cooperation, working together, and participation. For him, the messages are the important words that will make a big event a successful one.

Tirona also lauded the cooperation, camaraderie and commitment exhibited by the various agencies to secure the city and the devotees during the biggest Marian event in the country.

“For the 3rd year that I became part of the JOC, the Gazebo of the Archbishop’s Residence is a testimony of the coming together of our network in making the festivity, not just as  successful in terms of peace and order, but pretty sure all the more successful in terms of deepening the faith of our people,” he added.

Tirona is confident that the faithful will again experience the same joy and success, and the same network relationship during the Feast. (MAL/LSMacatangay, with reports from Jam Madrid-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861441794365/archdiocese-of-caceres-joc-members-sign-agreement-for-a-peaceful-and-meaningful-pe-afrancia-fiesta#sthash.x8IsOrg1.dpuf

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

DOH steps up drive on production, consumption of iodine fortified salt, staple foods

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 9 (PIA) -- The Department of Health (Bicol) regional office launched Tuesday the Diamond Sangkap Pinoy Seal "Saktong Iodine sa Asin", a quality seal of good nutrition which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will award to licenced manufacturers which fortify their products according to standards.

In the launching ceremony, Julius Cesar Alejandre of the National Nutrition Council-Nutrition Policy and Planning Division (NNC-NPPD) said the Diamond Sangkap Pinoy Seal "Saktong Iodine sa Asin" will be awarded to manufacturers of staple foods, including rice, sugar, cooking oil,flour and salt which manufacture and fortify their products within the national standards as prescribed by RA 8976 or The Philippne Food Fortification Act and RA 8172 or The ASIN Law.

"These products, when fortified, will increase the micronutrient intake of the population, particularly the groups at risk, and help eliminae the problem of micronutrient malnutrition in the country," he added.

The adequately-iodized salt quality seal has been developed to strengthen and revitalize the existing seal used in the labels of iodized salt, as well as help in the campign to increase awareness and use of adequately-iodized salt in households and point of purchase.  It will also guide consumers in identification and purchase of adequately-iodized sal and fortified products.

The Diamond Sangkap Pinoy Seal "Saktong Iodine sa Asin" will be awarded by the FDA to compliant salt products those bearing 30-70ppm iodine

Alejandre noted that the drive on iodine-fortified salt and products has since been going on to address iodine deficiency - a major public health problem in the Philippines. Iodine is an important micronutrient needed by the body to achieve optimum mental and physical development.

DOH studies showed that Iodine helps boost lerning and intelligence wherein populations with adequate iodine intake have 10-15 IQ points higher than those with inadequate intake.

The 2013 National Nutrition Survey (NNS), showed that among 6-12 years old, 16.4 percent have mild to moderate iodine deficiency, which is an improvement from 2008 NNS of 19.7 percent.  Also, the proportion of households using iodized salt is only 71 percent, of which only 25 percent is using adequately-iodized salt. This explains the continuing existence of iodine deficiency disorders across the vulnerable target population that includes pregnant women, lactating women, and children 6-12 years old.

While Iodine deficiency can also lead to low birth weight, stillbirth, abortion, cretinism, underdevelopment and mental and physical retardation.

Iodine deficiency is considered one of the most important health issue in the Philippines yet can be easily and economically addressed through salt iodization.

Salt was identified as the best medium for delivering iodine because most people have access and eat salt in small quantities every day, enough to achievethe required iodine intake.

With the revitalized campaign on universal salt iodization, DOH tragets 90 percent of households using adequately iodized salt and fortified products by 2016.

It can be racalled that The ASIN Law requires ALL salt for human and animal consumption be adequately iodized.  While it has been also noted that some slat remain non-iodized and not adequately iodized when FDA provides that iodine in salt should be 30-70 parts per million or ppm.

DOH further noted that salt distributed in the market is either poorly iodized or not iodized at all and there are several factors contributing to this occurrence such as lack of monitoring by regulatory agencies considering the layers of trading and complex supply distribution modalities.

For such, DOH has urged local governments to pass and implement ordinace on iodized sal distribution with penalty provisions on violator in place; provide budget in MNAP for salt monitoring in markets, to cover test kits; and allow the MNAO or MHO to actively involve in the Bantay Asin Task Force of the region, especially in monitoring salt distribution activities.

They are also encouraged to cooperate with the FDA to ensure that salt producers, traders and repackers in their areas of responsiblity registered and complied with iodization standards in salt.

For populace, on the other hand, DOH advised that next time they buy table salt, they should look for "Saktong Iodine sa Asin" seal on packages and even on the sacks of salt being sold in “takal” or retail in the markets.”  (MAL-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/771441698178/doh-steps-up-drive-on-production-consumption-of-iodine-fortified-salt-staple-foods#sthash.C88rsjnS.dpuf

Young inventors take centerstage at 2015 BRICE

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NABUA, Camarines Sur, Sept. 9 (PIA) --- A showcase of various utility models, industrial designs, invention and presentation of creative researches highlighted the opening of the 2015 Bicol Regional Invention Contest and Exhibits (BRICE) at the Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges (CSPC) here, Monday.

The three-day exhibit featured the innate talent of Bicolanos in coming up with world-class inventions comparable to the quality of the country’s international counterparts.

Under the theme “Philippines: A Science Nation innovating and Inventing for Global Competitiveness” participants vied for a win under the six (6) categories:  Tuklas (invention), Utility Model, Industrial Design, Likha (creative research) and SIBOL)l (Student Creative Research for College and High School).

Their output should also be aligned to the activity’s sub-theme: “Driving Bicol’s growth and Development through Invention and Innovation.”

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Bicol regional director Tomas B. Briñas, CESO III lauded the limitless talents of the Bicolanos and their exceptional ability to come up with topnotch creations.

“The DOST has provided the push and direction to enhance efforts to harness the inventive and creative capabilities of inventors with the enactment of RA 7459.  Incentives and financial support have been put up to accelerate the development , promotion and commercialization of inventions.  This activity we have today, is a manifestation of that support,” Briñas added.

Republic Act No. 7459, also dubbed as the Investors and Invention Incentives Act of the Philippines aims to provide incentives to FILIPINO investors and expand the functions of the technology application and promotion institute.

The sole entry under the Invention category-the Compact Fluorescent Lamp remover and Installer belongs to a group of students from Camarines Sur Polytechnic College.

Under the Utility Model category, entries were the twin turbine hydro electric generator, Combined Hydraulic Jack and Safety stand, Automotive Charging System apparatus and Ignition System Trainer/ Apparatus, all from the students of Partido State University-Tinambac Campus.

Also included in the list are 5 hopefuls for the   Industrial design category, 13 creative researches, 13 entries for the Student Creative Research College and 39 for the High School category.

Briñas also announced that they have infused creativity contests for this year’s BRICE.

“This is to spark the brains of our young minds with a water rocket launching and design of climate change resilient bridge competitions. We are also giving recognition to the science scholars and outstanding researchers who do not only bring honor to the country but also act as a role model for youths to emulate.”

In the forefront of the said event is the Technology Application and Promotion Institute of the DOST. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861441793049/young-inventors-take-centerstage-at-2015-brice#sthash.5i1hT8Ok.dpuf

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Albay celebrates Literacy Week

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept 8 (PIA) – The province of Albay formally opened yesterday the Literacy Week Celebration held every second week of September since 2012 as part of the Albay Literacy Week program created in support to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on education.

In accordance to the MDG goal of achieving universal primary education, the provincial government likewise aims to achieve 100 percent participation rate, cohort-survival rate and literacy rate of youth aged 15-24 years old.

Albay governor Joey Salceda led the opening ceremony proudly stating that the province of Albay is one of the few provinces that celebrates Literacy week, expressing that he mandates its celebration because the event is very close to his heart.

“I came here because I believe literacy should be for everyone and it is the PGA’s responsibility to make sure that everyone gets the opportunity to instill this basic fundamental for achieving good wellbeing, because at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters,” Salceda stressed.

Salceda went on to detail the impressive rise of the state of education in Albay under his term but said that all those statistics are merely numbers noting that literacy allows a person to realize his potential and achieve their dreams which in turn will result to good wellbeing not just for the person, but for his family as well.

“Literacy bridges what is available in the outside environment and what is inside you,” the governor said.

The governor explained to the attendees composed of students and teachers from schools all over the province that literacy is the ability to comprehend, how to understand the information and tools available around us and filtering out which ones can be utilized for the personal development of a person.

“It’s like going to social media, you open up your page and see all the posts in your wall, yuou don’t click like to all of them, but you filter out the ones that interests you, literacy is intelligent absorption and conductive response,” Salceda said.

He went on to urge the attendees to “infect” other people with the knowledge that they will be imparted with today, saying that everyone should do their part for Albay to reach 100% literacy rate.

The whole day opening program featured creative writing workshop facilitated by Albay Poet Laureate Engineer Abdon Balde, Jr, readathon, and an hour dedicated to reading a book.(MAL/SAA/PIA-PGA/PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571441697651/albay-celebrates-literacy-week#sthash.r1KCPMrd.dpuf