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

Thursday, January 28, 2016

MNWD inks MOA with LGU Naga, other stakeholders to protect watersheds

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan.28 (PIA) --  The Metropolitan Naga Water District (MNWD) has inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with partner agencies and stakeholders yesterday in an effort to ensure the sustainability of safe, clean and potable water for its consumers, .

Signatories include the Office of Camarines Sur 3rd District Congresswoman Leni Robredo, the city government here, Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA), Bicol State College of Applied Science and Technology (BISCAST), the local government of Pili, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among others.

MNWD director Jorge Palma presented the organization’s Conservation Farming Community (CFC) Support Program to the stakeholders with focusing on the Watershed Management and Protection of the Mt. Isarog Natural Park.

“We intend to strengthen and develop the livelihood of the farming communities living within the buffer zone of the Mount Isarog Natural Park (MINP) so that they will not be tempted to use the natural resources around them. These resources are intended to be protected and not for livelihood purposes,” Palma added.

Palma believes that by putting in place a steady livelihood source, the forest will be preserved and the watersheds will be protected.

MNWD has 27 pumping stations to enhance water supply to its more or less 150,000 consumers.  The stable supply will be ensured if the watersheds will also be acknowledged for their biodiversity importance.  

Currently, MNWD manages the 356 hectares Kalinisan-Nabuntulan Watershed located in Barangay Panicuason, Naga City and the 317 hectares Anayan-Rumangrap Watershed in Barangay Curry, Pili, Camarines Sur.

MNWD already completed the relocation of Conservation Farming Communities (CFCs) and park occupants in Barangay Del Rosario in Pili and in Barangay Panicuason in Naga City.

Some of the alternative livelihood programs that they have already implemented include catfish-raising, native pig production, natural hog raising, additional capital program, rice trading, native chicken production, mallard duck production and distributed shelter repair kits to 38 beneficiaries from the Rotary Village Corps (RVC) and 22 beneficiaries from Panicuason, Naga City.

Even before the signing of the MOA, the signatories have already extended their assistance to the said program. The Office of Camarines Sur 3rd District Congresswoman Robredo linked the CFC youth to government agencies that offers technical and vocational programs; the city government here and LGU Pili extended livelihood and training assistance and involved CFC in the environmental management plan and policies to protect the Mt. Isarog Natural Park while CBSUA provided technical assistance thru Science and technology advisories, capacity enhancement programs, technology transfer, and commercialization.

They also engaged the participation of students and faculty in    relevant activities for the protection and conservation of the MINP.

MNWD is positive that the existing partnership will further strengthen their resolve to protect our resources and our environment. (LSM-PIA5/CAmarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861453892567/mnwd-inks-moa-with-lgu-naga-other-stakeholders-to-protect-watersheds#sthash.PEtjnlAX.dpuf

PhilHealth needs to improve enrollment in the formal economy to achieve full coverage – PIDS study

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 28 (PIA) -- Gauging the efficacy of enrollment in PhilHealth’s Employed Program will help policymakers in the health sector determine a more effective approach in achieving the goal of universal coverage, according to a study of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

Last year, PhilHealth officials iterated their commitment to achieving universal coverage by 2016. President Benigno Aquino III signed an amendment of the National Health Insurance Act highlighting the responsibility of the national government to cover the health insurance premiums of Filipinos in the informal sector.

However, full coverage in the formal sector also needs due attention and improvement. Thirty percent of PhilHealth’s members come from the formal economy where enrollment is mandatory. But based on a study by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), “full coverage” is “yet to be achieved”.

The private sector currently sits at 95-percent coverage, while the government employed sector sits at 75 percent. Denise Valerie Silverberg, author of the study, argues that examining the level of PhilHealth coverage and enrollment in the formal sector will help policymakers bridge that gap.

Silfverberg surmised that the gap in coverage can be explained by looking at how some agencies comply with labor policy. For example, the low coverage rates may be attributed to the significant number of contractual employees in government who do not enjoy the benefits of being enrolled in PhilHealth.

The perpetuation of contractual employees—something the private sector is just as guilty— allows firms and agencies to stall enrollment of employees into the PhilHealth Employed Program and withhold “appropriate benefits”.

But companies deliberately shortchanging employees are not just the only flaws. Variations of enrollment rate can also be produced by characteristics that set the private and government sector apart, and other factors like establishment size and area.

For the private sector, sectoral employment, nature of employment, union coverage, union-employees ration, and number of employees all influence variations of coverage rate. But in the provinces, it is the size of the firm that matters.

“More employees hired by medium-sized establishments lead to a higher likelihood for the province to have lower coverage,” Silfverberg pointed out, “On the contrary, the greater the number of employees in large-sized enterprises, the more likely it is for the province to have higher coverage levels.”

Silfverberg concluded that before the country can work toward full coverage, policymakers must find a way to address the problems that impede effective implementation of the national health insurance program. Enrollment should be more targeted, depending on the sectors where undercoverage occurs the most.

Monitoring by PhilHealth should also be strengthened. Medium-sized establishments, surmised by Silfverberg, are more likely to short change employees when it comes to health insurance enrollment if they are not closely monitored.

Employers have to be held accountable to follow the labor code provision on employee regularization. The rules are often undermined by resorting to a six-month cycle to prevent employees from being regularized, and to refrain from giving them their due benefits.

 Employers—both public and private—should enroll their employees into the program, whether they are regular or casual.  Compliance at the local government level should be also closely monitored. After all, it would be harder to close the gap if government units themselves do not implement the health insurance program in their own offices. (MAL/PIDS/PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211453960644/philhealth-needs-to-improve-enrollment-in-the-formal-economy-to-achieve-full-coverage-pids-study#sthash.lAcPudsF.dpuf

Catanduanes gearing up for the maiden staging of Abaca Festival set May

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 28 (PIA) – Preparations are underway for the maiden staging of the Catandungan Abaca Festival set on May this year.

Governor Araceli B. Wong has recently issued Executive Order No. 004-s-2016, creating the Executive and Steering Committee to take the lead in planning and implementation of the various festival activities that will feature abaca as one of the major industries, along with other  showcases of the province

The same committee will coordinate and collaborate with other government and private entities to craft and implement significant and meaningful activities that shall bring out to the fore the economic, cultural and tourism value of abaca.

 Under the EO, the provincial government shall undertake any of, but not limited to the following activities; Padadyaw Ginamlangan or Padadyaw kan Abaca, Pinukpok Fashion Show, Urag Catandungan Sports Competition; Binibini and Ginoong abaka, Hagyan sa Kabitoonan and Jobs and Trade Fairs to showcase the life and resilient spirit of Catandunganons, and its culture, as well as its people.

The Catanduanes Abaca Festival Executive Committee (CAFEC) and Festival Steering Committee were constituted with the following component and responsibilities; Executive Committee Chairperson Gov. Araceli B. wong; Vice-chairman, vice Governor Jose Teves Jr.;

Members: PBM Jose Romeo R. Francisco, SP Chairman Committee on Tourism. Hon. Roberto O. Fernandez, President, LMP-Catanduanes chapter; Mr. Luicito Pastor; Ms. Julieta M. Tasarra, Ms. Sonia Villaluna; Engr. Elsie Reyes; Engr. Felix U. Vargas; Ms. Alicia V. Guevarra;and Dr. Santos V. Zafe.

The committee shall provide the general direction of the intent and purpose of the festival. It shall oversee the implementation and ensure smooth flow of the Abaca Festival line-up of activities.

 Meanwhile, the steering committee is composed of the following: Hon. Jose Romeo R. Francisco, Chairman; Ms. Carmelita C. Javier, Executive Assistant, Governor’s office; Ms. Carmel B. Garcia, Provincial Tourism officer; Mr. Roberto G. Ceballo, OPAG; Ms. Lorgen  Z. Garcia, FIDA; Mr. Heginio A. baldano, DTI; Mr. Elpidio S. Tuburo, TESDA; Mr. Russell Ulysses I. Nieves, DOLE; Ms. Edna A. Bagadiong, PIA; Mr. Jaime V. Cabrera, DOST; Dr. Minerva I. Morales, President, Catanduanes State University; Ms. Arlene O. Bagadiong, PBS-Radyo ng Bayan; Mrs. Socorro V. Dela Rosa, SDS, DepEd.

Members of the executive and steering committees are set to meet this week for the identification of the final activities.

Provincial Ordinance No. 021-s-2015 institutionalizes the celebration of Catanduanes Abaca Festival every fourth week of May of every year. The ordinance takes cognizance of the importance of abaca in the local economy and the need to showcase its versatility as a major source of livelihood and craft materials which has brought fame and fortune. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

Other News
- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841453957755/catanduanes-gearing-up-for-the-maiden-staging-of-abaca-festival-set-may#sthash.Rd0KPBd1.dpuf

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Oplan Goodbye Bulate kicks off in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan 27 (PIA) – The Department of Health (DOH) in the Bicol region joined the National School Deworming Day together with the Department of Education as it launched today the Oplan: Goodbye Bulate program at Bacolod Elementary School in Juban Sorsogon together with simultaneous deworming held in various public schools in the region.

The DOH has integrated Schistosomiasis mass drug administration administering albendazole (400mg) as deworming medicine for children in the community aged 1-4 years old and students from Kinder to Grade VI classes enrolled in all public elementary schools in the region.

“DOH will administer albendazole (400mg) which is proven safe and effective and as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and inspected by the Food and Drug Administration. This medicine is used worldwide and have been through extensive safety testing and have been used with few and minor side-effects,” said DOH Bicol director Dr. Napoleon L. Arevalo.

Arevalo said deworming is a strategy endorsed by the WHO in combating the burden of Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH) infection which can cause poor physical growth and poor intellectual development in children. It can also result to anemia and malnutrition not only in children but among women of child bearing age as well.

STH infection is caused by different species of parasitic worms transmitted by eggs present in human feces which in turn contaminate the soil in areas where sanitation is poor.

Arevalo added that the Bicol region ranked second among regions in the country with high STH morbidity rate with most cases coming from Sorsogon.

“In 2015, Bicol region is second to the highest in STH morbidity rate in the country which is six out of ten children with Sorsogon taking lead with the most cases,” he said.

For this year Arevalo stressed that the DOH in the region is strengthening its campaign to bring down STH cases in the region through intensified collaboration with the DepEd where teachers are given proper orientation on the administration of the drug.

The parents are likewise urged to support the program by signing the consent forms of their children to take the medicine noting that it will help scale up efforts in improving service delivery among children in Bicol.

Arevalo further reminded parents and teachers of proper administration of the deworming drug.

“The parents and teachers must make sure that the children have their stomachs full before taking the medicine. It is also important that it is taken in the morning so that teachers and parents have time to observe for possible reactions,” he noted.

Among the symptoms associated with deworming are mild dizziness, vomiting, abdominal pain and headache.

DOH Bicol has dewormed 76% of enrolled students from public schools held July 29, 2015 as part of the DOH bi-annual free deworming of school children nationwide to combat the risk of STH infections.

Last year’s NSDD dewormed 80% or 11,470,245 students out of 14,740,075 total enrolled students.

 For more information, the public is advised to coordinate with health workers and school teachers in their communities.(MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571453880292/oplan-goodbye-bulate-kicks-off-in-bicol#sthash.Nqh4spM7.dpuf

CCC-LCCAD pushes Kto12 CCA-DRVR learning materials for students

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 27 (PIA) – The Local Climate Change Adaptation for Development  (LCCAD), in collaboration with  other Office of the President-Climate Change Commission (CCC), the Department of Education, the House of Representatives Special Committee on Climate Change and the United Nations Development Program  (UNDP), will launch here in February this year a project  entitled  “K to 12 Mainstreaming  Climate Change Adaptation , Disaster Risk and Vulnerability  Reduction : Learning Materials for Philippine Schools”.

The project primarily seeks to develop explicit Kto12 learning materials and teaching curriculum modules on climate change adaptation and on disaster risk and vulnerability reduction, in the primary/elementary and secondary levels according to the project initiator, LCCAD Executive Director  Manuel  ‘Nong’ C. Rangasa.

LCCAD is the training institution and service provider based here that caters theoretical moorings to national, local government units (LGUs) and multiple stakeholders.

Rangasa  bared that the project fruition starting on the three-day  technical write shops set  February 19-21 in this city,   came about after  the CCC  through a memorandum of agreement signed recently,  officially recognized the LCCAD as capacity development service provider for climate change adaptation,  disaster risk and vulnerability reduction convergence to LGUs.

LCCAD has since assisted LGUs for implementing their mandate through climate adaptive practices anchored on mainstreaming climate risk, disaster risk and vulnerability reduction into Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP), as well as integration into already mandated local plans such as the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP).

The LCCAD executive director recalled that during the MOA  signing, CCC Secretary Emmanuel  M. de Guzman  took note of the  LCCAD’S K to 12 conceptual framework  calling for the integration of  information on three international agreements crafted in 2015, that are related to disasters and which reflected the growing awareness about the need for more resilient communities and economies.

Secretary De Guzman stressed that 2016 is a critical and exciting year as it marks the start of the implementation of three (3) global agreements: the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals, as enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

These agreements are doubly significant for the Philippines in that they address common, interlocking issues affecting the country’s aspiration for a prosperous, sustainable future. These issues converge on the Philippines’ vulnerabilities which stem from its geographical location, socio-economic features like a rapidly growing population, and external factors like climate change which is outstripping the country’s natural coping capacity.

All of these have to be factored in the preparation of the next Philippine Development Plan with resilience becoming a national priority.

Rangasa said five Albayano solons: 3rd District Representative, Fernando V. Gonzalez, 2nd District Representative,  Al Francis Bichara, 1st District Representative, Edcel Greco Lagman;  Ako Bikol Partylist Representatives Christopher Co and Rodel Batocabe;  and Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal are the first  six high ranking officials in the province who have expressed  full support to the  project.

In a huddle here over the weekend, with the Albay legislators  and this city’s chief executive, Representative Fernando Gonzalez explained  that the K to 12 conceptual framework is anchored on educating the youth which is a significant element of a new strategy to embed climate change adaptation,  and disaster risk and vulnerability reduction  in the educational system.

Rep. Gonzalez opined that the project is in support of the global campaign on making communities resilient to disaster amid the irreversible threat of climate change with emphasis on the compelling need for the integration of  the efforts to address the vulnerabilities of all sectors in the country.

Partylist Representative Batocabe, who chairs the House Special Committee on Climate Change, took cognizance of the recent report that the United Nations  Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has noted that “the 2016 Philippine budget is the first ever  mainstream national budget that has disaster risk reduction features.”

Coupled with this report, it can be recalled that the Philippines, one of the most disaster-prone countries in Asia, was also cited for passing the National Disaster Reduction Act in 2010 and the Climate Change Act of 2009 as amended by Republic Act 10174, the People’s Survival Fund of 2012 which was best described as a “proactive approach to disaster risk and climate governance” that would fully mobilize communities.

Representative Al Francis Bichara stressed that the Philippines has already done a lot to combat and prepare for the adverse effects of climate change and natural hazards and endeavoured to put its development on the path of sustainability. However, the country keeps suffering significant annual losses from disasters and seems unable to maximize opportunities for optimum development.

Rep. Edcel Greco Lagman explained that there is that need to incorporate such information in the learning materials to be produced to make them fully instructional/educational  as regards to the impact of global warming/climate change to the development of the community.

Mayor Rosal expressed optimism that these learning materials   will be a big help in shaping this generation of students into becoming proactive citizens to the government’s risk reduction program.

Rangasa said that the project can very well be categorized as a sequel to the earlier project he initiated and implemented at the Albay Centre for Initiatives and Research on Climate Adaptation  (CIRCA)  in August 2008 when he was then the centre’s executive director.

The project called “Climate Change Adaptation Integration into Curriculum in the Philippines” was designed to bring climate change issues, impacts and responses into the consciousness of the present and the next generation of Albayanos and the Filipinos as a whole,   by integrating such topics in the academic curriculum of primary and secondary schools.

The output of that project were the lesson exemplars in all subject areas in the elementary  and secondary levels, that were pilot tested in  a Training of Trainers Teaching Demo in  some 713 public schools in the province of Albay . “From July 2009 to the present, public schools in Albay are using the lesson exemplars with climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction integrated into the lesson plan.”

Rangasa  pointed out that CCA integration into curriculum initiatives are interlinked but while the former targeted and served the teachers, the sequel  to  be produced probably in handbook  form, will serve not only as reference materials for students but  for other  sectors as well,  public or private,  in need of information, education and communication materials on climate change adaption  and disaster risk and vulnerability reduction initiatives ,  global, national and even in local scale.

 “It will be a tough series of  technical write-shops for the selected writer-teachers coming  from the eight school divisions in the whole Bicol region consisting of seven city  school divisions and one provincial division (Albay)”, DepEd Regional Director Ramon Fief G. Abcede said  “but  we will be buoyed up  by the experience during the first workshop in 2008 for us to come up with a first of its kind climate change adaptation, disaster risk and vulnerability reduction  learning  materials  for Filipino students as a sequel to the lesson exemplars for teachers developed and produced earlier”.    
Rangasa said “equally,  we would like to express appreciation for the National Panel of Technical Experts  (NPTE) coming from the various government agencies  and institutions who will provide the necessary inputs for the project  and the support of our development  and implementing partners namely: the Department of Education (DepEd) Region V; the Climate Change Commission; the House of Representatives  Special Committee on Climate Change; Albay 3rd District Representative Fernando V. Gonzalez;  the League of City Mayors  Bicol representative Noel E. Rosal; and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (MAL/EANunez-LCCAD/PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211453877774/ccc-lccad-pushes-kto12-cca-drvr-learning-materials-for-students#sthash.bI7TnKth.dpuf

Catanduanes tourist arrivals up by 19.77% in 3rd quarter

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 27 (PIA) -- The Provincial Tourism Office of Catanduanes has disclosed that it has recorded a total of 40,258 tourist arrivals for the month of July to September 2015.

According to Carmel B. Garcia, foreign and domestic tourist arrivals in the island went up by 19.77 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period last year with only 33,612.

For the month of September alone, visitors surged by 23.5 percent to 15,069, from 12,197 a year ago.

Also, tourist arrivals in July reached 11,941 and 12, 248 in August compared to last year’s 10,572 and 10,843 for the same months, respectively.

Garcia said that most of the foreign visitors were from America, Russia, China, Canada, and Taiwan. She also associated the same with the lesser number of typhoons that passed by the island in 2015.

The tourism official added that the province’s consistent publicity and promotion via social media, which is the fastest, cheapest and most accessible platform nowadays, contributed a lot to the tourist arrival.

In the first quarter, tourist arrivals jumped 23.81 percent from 31,847 to 39,432, while in the second quarter, the number of visitors grew by 15.18 percent from 46,380 in 2014 to 53,424 last year.

The quarterly tourist arrivals came from the reports submitted by various accommodation establishments in the province. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841453907798/catanduanes-tourist-arrivals-up-by-19-77-in-3rd-quarter#sthash.OyZSkiOM.dpuf

CNWD sheds light on Joint Venture Agreement with PrimeWater Infrastructure Corporation

By Rosalita B. Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Jan 27 (PIA) – The Camarines Norte Water District (CNWD) here has clarified the terms of the joint venture agreement  it has entered into with the PrimeWater Infrastructure Corporation for the operation of the water utility services.

CNWD manager Maria Antonia Bernardina F. Boma said that the water firm has entered into an agreement with a legal basis under Section 30 of PD 198 which states that a district shall have the power to enter into any contract with any person for the purpose of performing any functions of the district.

She said that the agreement between the CNWD and PrimeWater is under the JV scheme of the Public-Private Partnership program of the government and in accordance with the 2013 revised NEDA guidelines and procedures for entering into JV between government and private entities.

The agreement was signed January 14, 2016 between the CNWD and the PrimeWater for the latter to provide development projects to increase water coverage, water quality and a 24/7 water availability as indicators for the first five years of implementation.

She said that although CNWD has P204 million retained earnings which are enough for maintenance and operations, it cannot provide additional infrastructure development due to the previous loans from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

She said that salient features of agreement are: it is a contractual JVA not an incorporated for a period of 25 years; CNWD shall continue to exist with the Board of Directors and the General Manager who shall now be the Head of the Contract Monitoring Unit (CMU) to closely monitor the commitments embodied in the JVA.

Also water rights will remain with CNWD as part of the usufruct arrangement with PrimeWater and water rate increase shall comply with the LWUA guidelines and the latter shall still approved all rate adjustments.

Total investment of more than P593 million for the first 5 years or a total of P2.986 billion for the 25 years were indicated in the JVA.

CNWD shall receive a Fixed Revenue Share of P19 million for the first five years, which will increase by P1 M on year 6 and every 5 years thereafter. Prime Water shall pay the amortizations, principal and interest of the existing loans extended to CNWD.

She also said that retiring employees shall be given a retirement gratuity or package while all the remaining employees who will be absorbed by the PrimeWater will receive with an improved compensation and benefits package.

Some of the development plan for the CNWD for the first five years are administrative improvements like system improvements, service vehicle, office improvements, water truck, GIS subscription, WaterGEMS Subscription and capacity building; development of new sources like deep well set-up and accessories, water treatment, water tanks, electrical equipment and accessories and land acquisition; and the rehabilitation and expansion of water supply through distribution lines, boosting stations and provision of new water meters.

Boma cited that benefit for the consumers is that this will improve service and expand water supply coverage in the province and for the Camarines Norte this will improved climate for investment and tourism due to water infrastructure to cater additional needs while additional income to  local government units.

It is also expected that by the end of the JV project, the service coverage of CNWD would increase from 29.44% to 50.03% while the number of service connections will improve from 25,788 to 52,191.

Upon delivery of the entire plan, PrimeWater would have constructed and installed P2.986 B worth of property and equipment, which will be turned-over to CNWD by the end of the JV term.

PrimeWater is chaired by Manuel Paulo Villar, she said. (MAL/RBM-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/871453868740/cnwd-sheds-light-on-joint-venture-agreement-with-primewater-infrastructure-corporation#sthash.hf1mgCRw.dpuf

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Legazpi to host Le Tour de Filipinas 2016 next month

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 26 (PIA) -- The final leg of 2016 Le Tour de Filipinas is expected to bring anew Albay province into the limelight of international sports that for long has showcased the best of its local eco-based tourism, cuisine, and the people's hospitality.

This city will host two stages of 2016 Le Tour de Filipinas on February 18 – 21, 2016 including the finish line for the third leg, while the starting and end points of the fourth and final leg.

Mayor Noel Rosal of this city said in a press conference on Tuesday that preparations are underway for the hosting of the international cycling race, adding that the City Tourism Office has since coordinated with stakeholders in anticipation of surge of tourists alongside with the competing teams.

“We are expecting almost a hundred professional cyclists composed of fifteen teams—12 foreign and 3 local—vying for the International Cycling Union Category 2.2 Race, plus their respective support teams, families and thousands of enthusiasts thus the need to prepare our place for this big sports event is exigent,” he said.

Le Tour de Filipinas is the only cycling tournament in the country duly sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale, Philippine Cycling Federation, and Asian Cycling Federation, will run.

This year’s edition will be the first time that Le Tour de Filipinas will head to Albay in seven years.

Rosal vowed to give the best Filipino hospitality to the cyclists and their respective teams and families, organizers and guests they deserved, noting that the local governments and the Albayano themselves has been proven in all the sporting events they hosted.

Donna May Lina of the Ube Media Inc., event organizer, said this year’s race will be composed of four stages to travel a total of 691 kilometers starting from Antipolo City to Legazpi City in Albay.

Stage one will bring cyclists on a rolling 153-kilomter ride from Antipolo City to Lucena City in Quezon Province.

The second stage will be a 204-kilometer bike from Quezon to Daet in Camarines Norte, while the Third Leg will be pedaling 187 kilometers to Legazpi City in Albay, where the majestic Mayon Volcano will be waiting to awe riders with its near-perfect cone.

The Final Stage will see cyclists circle around Mayon Volcano twice on an out-and-back course of 147 kilometers starting from Legazpi City, passing through the two other Albay cities of Tabaco and Ligao and the neighboring towns of Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Malilipot, and Sto. Domingo.

Frenchman Thomas Lebas, the 2016 Le Tour de Filipinas champion, will be defending his general classification title bannering the Japn-based Bridgestone Anchor Cycling team.

Other international teams joining this year’s tour are from Belarus, United Arab Emirates, Japan, the United States, Holland, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Laos.

The local teams aiming to bring the title are the 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines, Kopiko Cebu Cycling Team and the PhilCycling National Under 23-Team.

The Le Tour de Filipinas kicks will be among the series of international and national sporting events to be held in this city and in the province of Albay to include the international triathlon XTerra on February 7, Mayon 360 Ultramarathon on April 9, and Palarong Pambansa 2016 on April 10 – 17, among others. (MAL-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211453964135/legazpi-to-host-le-tour-de-filipinas-2016-next-month#sthash.pe24WEPW.dpuf

Monday, January 25, 2016

PRC calls on support, participation of populace to Million Volunteer Run 3

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 25, (PIA) -- The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is calling on the populace to support and participate in the Million Volunteer Run 3 (MVR3) set on February 6, 2016 with the theme: “Run for Humanity”.

The MVR3 will also be held simultaneous with other running events in Metro Manila and across the country.

The activity was organized by PRC National Headquarter and its chapter nationwide, and is expected to be a major fund-raising and volunteer generation initiative of the PRC.

According to Reymond Reginaldo, PRC Catanduanes chapter administrator, they intend to make the MVRs the largest event of its kind in the world, thus demonstrating that the Philippines lead in championing the spirit of volunteerism.

He added that the event intends to show that the country is deeply committed to mobilize humanitarian action as means of saving lives.

He said that the theme: “Run for Humanity” would like to emphasize what Red Cross volunteers actually do every day.

The PRC is seeking partners from different sectors of the society who are committed to similar values, and who can support not just our projects but also the spirit behind these.

Registration fee is P400 inclusive of a singlet, race bib, and race map and finisher certificate.

PRC has 189 chapters nationwide with 6 million target runners. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841453786848/prc-calls-on-support-participation-of-populace-to-million-volunteer-run-3#sthash.16TtojfJ.dpuf

Banks remind public on demonetization of old banknotes

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 25, (PIA) -- Government and commercial banks in Catanduanes have since reminded the public on the existing demonetization process being implemented by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Catanduanes Bankers Association (CABA) member bank, Development Bank of the Philippines headed by Engr. Tranquilino Lasala said that the old bank note series launched in 1985 can still be exchanged in authorized agent banks and the BSP Cash Department.

According to Engr. Lasala, effective January 01, 2017, the old banknote series will have no monetary value which means that the New Generation Banknotes introduced in December 2010 which have more and enhanced security features will be the only currency series in the country.

This process of demonetization is pursuant to the provisions of Section 57 of Republic Act No. 7653 also known as the Central Bank Act which authorizes BSP in replacing banknotes that are more than 5 years old.

 The following are additional reminders from BSP:

1.      The old banknotes are no longer accepted for payment transactions starting January 01, 2016.

2.       From 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016, the public may exchange with authorized financial institutions, namely universal and commercial banks, thrift banks, and rural as well as cooperative banks, their old banknotes with the New Generation Currency (NGC) Series at full face value, without charge.  The public may also opt to exchange their old banknotes with the BSP or any of its regional offices/branches around the Philippines.

3.       Government institutions holding old banknotes in which could not be exchanged during the prescribed period, such as banknotes used as evidence in a litigation case, will have to request the BSP Cash Department in writing, within the period of exchange, for a special exchange arrangement;

4.       For Overseas Filipinos (OFs) abroad, who have in their possession old banknotes which could not be exchanged within the prescribed period, they may register online starting 1 October 2016 to 31 December 2016 through the BSP Website.  These old banknotes may be exchanged with the BSP within one (1) year from  date of registration; and

5.       Starting 1 January 2017, NDS banknotes that have not been exchanged shall no longer have any monetary value, and are considered demonetized.

The old banknotes have been in circulation for three decades. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841453857179/banks-remind-public-on-demonetization-of-old-banknotes#sthash.VLGquq2M.dpuf

PhilHealth Bicol turns over P400,000 to Naga City Children’s Home

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 25 (PIA) -- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) Bicol regional office turned over recently part of the proceeds of the PhilHealth Run 2015 to one of its beneficiaries, the Naga City Children’s Home in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

Philhealth Bicol regional vice president Orlando D. Inigo Jr., along with Management Services Division chief Lorena M. Rubis and Public Affairs Unitacting head Annielyn Z. San Pablo, turned over the check amounting to P400,000 to Mayor John Bongat, together with Councilor Elmer Baldemoro of the Committee for Children and City Social Welfare Officer Belle Alvargas at the Naga City Children’s Home.

The proceeds were part of the P1.1 Million funds raised during the PhilHealth Ready, TSeKaP, Go Run held February 15, 2015 in Naga City for the benefit of the Naga City Children’s Home in Barangay Pacol, Naga City and the Agta Tabangnon Tribe of Buhi, Camarines Sur.

More than 4, 000 runners joined the event to help provide the very basic needs of the children housed in the NCCH and to help build a Lake Ambulance for the Indigenous Peoples of Buhi, Camarines Sur.

Naga City was chosen by PhilHelath Bicol as one of the main beneficiaries because the agency wanted to shift focus from the region to one of the most urbanized cities in the country, with the highest number of indigent members needing leverage from the government.

"Thru this Run, we can help the Naga City Children’s Home, in the improvement of the sleeping quarters of the children temporarily housed there. As of January 2016, there are 38 residents in the Home, with ages ranging from 7- 17, sharing bed spaces. The Home is set to provide double deck beds and cabinets for these children, which will make their sleeping conditions more comfortable," Inigo noted.

City Councilor Baldemoro stated that Naga City will also provide counterpart funds to further improve the Home. Both PhilHealth and the City Government of Naga hope to finish these projects before the year ends. (MAL/AZSanPablo-PhilHelath5/PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211453445470/philhealth-bicol-turns-over-p400-000-to-naga-city-children-s-home#sthash.azZOK6IR.dpuf

COMELEC, PNP and CSC address election issues during Forum@PIA

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan.23 (PIA) --- Electioneering, on-going checkpoints, gun ban, conduct of government workers during elections and other most-frequently asked election-related concerns were discussed during the conduct of Forum@PIA held Friday, January 22 at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office Multi Purpose Building here.

Invited guests were Police SSupt. Walfredo G. Pornillos, officer in charge of PNP Camarines Sur , Commission on Elections (Comelec) Camarines Sur spokesperson Alexander Marpuri and Marife Luzurriaga of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) regional office.

Pornillos stated that as mandated, they are closely coordinating with the Comelec, in the conduct of checkpoints in various areas in the province. From January 10 to 20, a total of 715 checkpoints have been conducted with 4,660 personnel deployed to ensure that all areas are properly covered.

Three cases had been filed in court, including the apprehension of three suspects from Barangay San Roque in Iriga City on January 17, Ridgeway Subdivision at Barangay Pamukid in San Fernando and one from Barangay San Vicente, town of Bato, all in the province of Camarines Sur.

Caliber .45 pistol with 5 ammunitions were recovered from Joseph Renor Cuatrona of Iriga, while one (1) cal .38 revolver and one caliber .45 pistol with three magazines were recovered from  John Kenneth Medina Y Buenaflor of San Fernando and Francis Baldoza y Gamayan respectively.

“We have a minimum of at least 8 personnel per checkpoint and we see to it that an officer with a rank of an Inspector or the most senior police officer should be there. We also see to it that all these things are being coordinated with the COMELEC municipal officer,” Pornillos added.

Marpuri corroborated the Chief PNP’s statement regarding the conduct of checkpoint citing that every election officer has a logbook of its schedules. Two of the three (3) apprehensions are regarding the violation of COMELEC Resolution No.10015 or the ban on the bearing, carrying or transporting of firearms and other deadly weapons while the other one was the violation of RA 10591 otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act”.

Luzurriaga on the other hand, spoke of the proper conduct of a government employee in his or her usage of the social media, particularly in hitting the “like” and “share” button in their Facebook page in favor of a particular candidate.

“Liking per se is not absolutely wrong, what is wrong is that when you start to share that particular page, when you try to distribute that particular page that will influence the view of your friends that’s the time that it becomes illegal. If you think it is not necessary to like a page you better not. You should be appropriate with your actions, be mindful of your actions.”

Members of the tri-media were also given a chance to raise their concerns during the said activity.

FORUM@PIA is a program of PIA-Camarines Sur Provincial office to inform and disseminate to the public, timely and relevant information through invited resource persons from various government and private entities and members of the tri media and other stakeholders. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861453532591/comelec-pnp-and-csc-address-election-issues-during-forum-pia#sthash.ZhKA40Vs.dpuf

Friday, January 22, 2016

NFA assures sufficient supply of rice in Camarines Norte in the wake of “El Niño”

By Rosalita B. Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Jan. 22 (PIA) – The National Food Authority (NFA) here has assured sufficient supply of rice in the province in the wake of the effects of El Nino which was felt since last quarter of 2015 and expected to affect the country on the first quarter of this year.

NFA Camarines Norte provincial manager Chona E. Brijuega said that stocks of rice as of January 20 this year is 69,584 which will last until 19 days based from the rice requirements of 3,680 bags per day in the province.

"This was aside from the other sources of rice which came from the local traders who distributes commercial rice. Also a total of 168,000 bags of imported rice will be allocated this year for the province," she said.

Brijuega explained that the province is a rice deficit area wherein local palay production is not enough to sustain its consumption requirement.

The rice sufficiency level for the last three years 2013-2015 is estimated at 85.81%.

She said that its commercial rice supply is augmented by stock inflow from the provinces of Camarines Sur, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Quezon where local traders procure their rice requirement.

For this year, with the forecasted El Niño which might have a negative effect on palay production, self-sufficiency level is expected to drop to 80.72%.

She added that for 2016 production in rice form is expected to be 1,084,200 bags with the consumption requirement of 1,343,200. This would have a deficit of 259,000.

Deficit in the production will be augmented with the coming 168,000 imported rice aside from the present stocks of 69,584 and the commercial stock inflow from the other provinces, thus the province will have enough supply of rice this year, she said.

 Aside from this they are encouraging local farmers to sell their palay at the NFA with a buying price of  P17.00 per kilogram with incentives of P 0.20 for drying, P0.20 to P0.50 for delivery depending on the kilometers and P0.30 for Cooperative Development Incentive Fund (CDIF) for farmers organization.

A total of 247 NFA accredited distribution outlets are located in the 12 towns of the province in the bigasan sa palengke, barangay, parokya and barangay food terminal. Aside from these they also allocate in government agencies rice allowances, local government units especially during calamities.

On the other hand the NFA announced the schedule on the renewal of accredited retailers for January 2016 which are the towns of Basud, Talisay and Mercedes while on February 2016 are the remaining towns like Capalonga, Vinzons, Daet, Labo, Sta. Elena, Jose Panganiban, Paracale, San Vicente and San Lorenzo Ruiz.

This was discussed during the Talakayan sa PIA on air radio program of the Philippine Information Agency Camarines Norte facilitated by ICM Rose Manlangit and Reyjun Villamonte which was held recently over DWCN-FM.  The other guests were Ma. Fatima N. Bacuño, economist; Felisa M. Pobre, senior grains operations officer; and Candelaria S. Halton, administrative officer. (MAL/RBM-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/871453348782/nfa-assures-sufficient-supply-of-rice-in-camarines-norte-in-the-wake-of-el-ni-o-#sthash.fa53N2va.dpuf

Thursday, January 21, 2016

CHED declares CSU-CBA as Center of Development in Business Administration

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 21 (PIA) -- The Catanduanes State University (CSU) has been recently accorded the status of Center of Development (COD) in Business Administration by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

By virtue of CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 38, s. 2015 signed by Chairperson Patricia B. Licuanan on December 23, the CSU along with Ateneo De Naga University in the region and thirteen (13) others in the country shall hold the COD designation until December 31, 2018 unless sooner revoked.

Through the distinction, CHED recognizes that the CSU had earned a strong reputation in the field of business administration through the criteria set in the CMO No.10, s. 2007, which include firm linkage with reputable organizations, unceasing commitment to excellence through continuous innovations; and visible influence in the industry and in the community in the form of high-impact research and extension activities and alumni involvement in related fields.

“The challenge of continuously improving in the areas of instruction, research, extension and production is endless,” remarks President Minerva I. Morales, “and the elevation of the status of the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program to COD is a genuine manifest of the untiring drive of the faculty and staff of the College of Business and Accountancy to bring the program towards global standards.”

“The certification is an assurance to our benefactors and clientele of our desire to give them the quality service that they deserve,” the president continued.

CSU offers a four-year course in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Financial Management, Marketing Management, and Human Resource Development Management. (MAL/EAB/CSU-PRMCS/PIA5/Catanduanes)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841453388516/ched-declares-csu-cba-as-center-of-development-t-in-business-administration#sthash.C6mkEZMY.dpuf

More traffic lights for Naga to ease congestion

By  Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan. 21 (PIA) --- Eight traffic lights will be installed at the main thoroughfares of this city anytime soon to help ease the congestion and build-up of vehiclesparticularly in routes going to the main business area of this city.

Mayor John Bongat announced during the recent Naga City Peace and Order Council (NCPOC) meeting that the new traffic lights worth P5.8 million will be set up along the Cory-Ninoy Avenue to SM-Mariners areas. 

The traffic lights will cater to the Penafrancia area route, including the Magsaysay junction and streets leading to the Central Business Districts 1 and 2, streets passing through USI and Naga Cathedral, and junction of Roxas Avenue and Almeda highway.

This is in addition to the existing traffic lights located along the stretch of Elias Angeles Street, a populated area surrounded by big fastfood chains, commercial establishments, mall, church and plaza.

The traffic lights are also expected to ease the load of PSO officers or traffic enforcers in concentrating their jobs at the busy junctions and focus instead on other areas where they can set their attentions on maintaining peace and order.

Some six traffic enforcers are usually needed to man the flow of vehicles every day on the city’s busy streets, particularly during rush hours.

The additional traffic lights are also in anticipation of the opening of the various establishments in the city which are expected to draw more domestic tourists and shoppers in the upcoming months.  

Some of the big commercial centers due to open and are now undergoing construction are Robinson's Mall in Almeda Highway, Star Mall along the Maharlika Highway in Barangay Del Rosario, SM City Naga Annex and other Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) centers.

 The project was also supported by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).(MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861453360877/more-traffic-lights-for-naga-to-ease-congestion#sthash.THknDAYx.dpuf

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

LGU Naga awards Outstanding Barangays Councils

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan. 20 (PIA) ---  Barangays Concepcion Peqeuna, Dayangdang and Pacol were given accolade during the first Outstanding Sangguniang Barangay Awards held Saturday, at the Avenue Convention Center, here.

Barangay Concepcion Pequena received P1 million worth of projects after being adjudged as the most outstanding barangay in Naga City during the search, edging 26 other competitors who are also vying for the said recognition.

A brainchild of Naga City Vice Mayor Nelson S. Legacion, the award endeavors to acknowledge and give appreciation to barangay councils that have excelled in their performance as legislators and have fostered transparence, good governance and have encouraged participation from its constituents.

Second and 3rd place went to Barangays Dayangdang and Pacol awarded with plaques and P750,000.00 and P500,000.00 worth of projects respectively.

Mayor John Bongat stated that the Award is a giant leap to the future of a better service in the barangay.  He went back to the best quote of former Mayor Jesse Robredo, saying “the most important ingredient of leadership is character.”  Bongat added that the  Sangguniang Award will definitely give awards to barangays that have defined a character of public service to its constituents.

“This is important to the life of every Barangay Council because this is an innovation – this is the first time that we are holding the Sangguniang Barangay Awards. This will definitely challenge the capabilities of the Barangay Council to be at par with the best Barangay Councils, if not the best Barangay Councils in the entire Philippines.”

Legacion shared how they were inspired by the ENABL2E Program that was launched 20 months ago that gave way to the birth of the 1st Outstanding Sangguniang Barangay Awards.

Empowerment and Advancement of Barangay on Local Legislation or ENABL2E program in April 2014 thru Ordinance 2014-008.   It endeavors to improve the capabilities and proficiencies of barangay officials, particularly those who are involved in crafting policies and set directions for their constituents.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Eloisa Pastor who was invited to grace the awarding, hailed the said initiative and hopes that it would encourage other local government units in line with the promotion of good governance.

Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo, in spite of her busy schedule took time to attend the said awarding ceremony and emphasized that the awards should not only promote the recognition that goes with it but the inspiration it would impart to their constituents.

Robredo announced that she filed a barangay reform bill in Congress and already received words from DBM and DILG a week ago that the bill has been finalized.  (MAL/LSM/JRM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861453264614/lgu-naga-awards-outstanding-barangays-councils#sthash.YlapvbIP.dpuf

DOLE Bicol opens assistance center for distressed OFWs in Middle East

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 19 (PIA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Bicol has assured assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families in the region who might be affected by the on-going tension in the Middle East through the OFW Assist Well Processing Center opened Friday last week.

“We want Bicolanos to know that we are ready for any Middle East concerns and they can come here for help,” DOLE Bicol assistant regional director Maria Karina Perida- Trayvilla said.

The Assist Well Processing Center will serve as a one-stop OFW center that will provide immediate assistance to distressed OFWs from the Middle East and their relatives.

It is located inside the office of DOLE National Reintegration Center for OFWs (DOLE-NRCO) and manned everyday by specially trained personnel coming from the concerned member agencies of the DOLE Regional Coordinating Council.

Affected OFWs in the region can access various services from the center such as stress debriefing or counseling, local and overseas referral/placement, livelihood assistance, legal assistance and conciliation services and competency assessment and training assistance.

Full communication facilities are also set up for the families left in the region to contact their loved ones in the Middle East.

Trayvilla said other concerned agencies are also invited to provide assistance.

“Our other attached agencies like the NLRC, PRC, NCMB and RTWPB are also expected to support the center. Although they will not physically man the center, these offices will also be invited to provide assistance whenever necessary,” she said.

The assistance center is open 8:00am to 6:00pm but might have 24/7 operations depending on the gravity of the tension in that region.

“We will analyze the number of Bicolano OFWs who are actually deployed in the Middle East and the gravity of the tension in that region. If there’s a need for the center to operate for 24/7 then we will do it,” she furthered.(MAL/SAA/DOLE5/PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571453190189/dole-bicol-opens-assistance-center-for-distressed-ofws-in-middle-east#sthash.SHW3OiOA.dpuf

Former OFWs to receive DOLE teaching kits

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 19 (PIA) -- Three former overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Bicol who are now employed as full time teachers of the Department of Education (DepEd) will receive teaching kits from the Department of Labor and Employment – National Reintegration Center for OFWs (DOLE-NRCO) this month.

The grant is under the “Sa Pinas Ikaw ang Mam/Sir Namin (SPIMS)” DOLE-DepEd joint project.

The teaching kit includes a computer tablet, lapel microphone, SD Card, pen or writing materials and a choice between 2 sets of flash cards or reference materials such as math and science books.

“The entire package costs more or less P10, 000.00 which is enough for our new teachers to start in their old but new profession,” DOLE Bicol assistant regional director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla said.

The beneficiaries of the said program are Raquel G. Molina of Lanao, Sta. Elena, Virac Catanduanes; Sherryl B. Dilao of San Jacinto, Masbate and Elsie S. Balute of  Bacacay, Albay.

These beneficiaries are passers of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) but were forced to leave the country and work overseas as household service workers.

“Due to limited opportunities here, some opt to go overseas accepting jobs even if it’s not in line with what they finished in college,” Trayvilla said.

Upon their return to the region, they applied as beneficiaries of the project and were qualified and hired as full time DepEd teachers.

“Since they are new teachers they needed tools to be effective and that is why we have this teaching kits program thru the NRCO,” Trayvilla added.

SPIMS Project is an OFW reintegration convergence project of DOLE and DepEd along with other concerned government agencies which provides opportunities for OFW LET passers to return, find employment and practice their profession as teachers.

It aims to gain back the OFW, particularly the OFW LET passers and reverse out migration by enhancing their skills and providing them with the option to stay in the Philippines to work as teachers.(MAL/SAA/DOLE5/PIA5/Albay)

Other News
- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571453186211/former-ofws-to-receive-dole-teaching-kits#sthash.X4hh6PBx.dpuf

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bato RDHS bags 15TH CS oratorical cup championship

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 19 (PIA) -- Bato Rural Development High School was declared as this year’s champion’s of the 15th edition of the Cesar V. Sarmiento Oratorical Cup.

The tourney which was held on January 08, 2016 at Catanduanes National High School Auditorium focused on the theme: “Dole-Out Mentality Versus Accomplishment-Driven Public Service: How Will They Influence Our Votes in the Coming Polls?”

Francis Camacho of BRDHS won the best oratorical piece and clinched the championship, worth P10, 000.00 cash and a glass trophy and P4, 000.00 for his coach Fredelyn Tarrobal.    

The champion’s school’s trophy, which Bato RDHS will host for a year was crafted by artist Edwin Ocampo made out of narra wood and steel from old railroad tracks. Bato RDHS also received a special prize aside from a certificate of appreciation that was given to all participating schools.

Placing 1st runner-up was Angelique Jenfel Abraham of Tubli National High School in Caramoran who earned P8, 000.00 and a similar trophy plus P4, 000.00 for coach Irene Aguilar.

Ella Mae Verona of Catanduanes Colleges was 2nd runner-up taking home P6, 000.00 plus a trophy while Coach Francia Butial went home with P2, 000.00.

Other participants were: Cyr Ernest Tevar, San Miguel RDHS (coach: Ave Bernal); Justin Lance Silva of Catanduanes State University Laboratory High Schools (coach: Zaira Mae Tomagan); Francheska Myluck Samonte of San Andres Vocational School (coach: Loraine Taule);  Karen Distura of Gigmoto RDHS (coach: Rushell Manguera); Loreth Aurea Ojastro of Pandan School of Arts and Trades (coach: Venus Ibo); Czarina Reign Sallutal of Immaculate conception Seminary Academy (coach: Sarah Mae Almasol);

Emilio Rodulfo Jr. of Catanduanes National High School (coach: Evelia Malijan); Cristine Joy Posada of Antipolo National High School (coach: Ma. Zeny Abundo); Williame Kent Pascua of Bagamanoc RDHS (coach: Ma. Theresa Vitalicio); Aika santos of Viga RDHS (coach: Cynthia Tuibeo); Ericka Mae Valenzuela of Agban NHS (coach: Marissa Aguilar); and John Paul Vega of Panganiban NHS (coach” Cristine Mae Petajen).

The non-winners received certificates of participation and P1, 000.00 each as token of appreciation while their coaches got certificates of recognition and P1, 000.00 honorarium.

The Board of Judges, chaired by manila-based insurance company owner Victorio Valledor, also had as members EBMC Chief Dr. Vietrez Abella, Prosecutor Atty. Louie T. Guerrero, Tribune Publisher-Editor Fernan A. Gianan, rev. Fr. Paul Isorena, and DepEd Division supervisor Dr. Gina Pantino.

In his message, Cong. Cesar V. Sarmiento said the theme is a call for the people to reflect on what is happening today and to be proactive in increasing their participation in society building, with the coming elections a critical period in the nation’s history. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

Monday, January 18, 2016

DA sets eye on HVC improved production

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, Jan.18 (PIA) --- High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) program coordinators, municipal agriculturists and agricultural officers from the 37 municipalities in the province comprised the first set of participants to the first leg of the HVCDP consultation meeting spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol Regional Office held recently here.

The activity, which was also held in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon, intends to convey the department’s policy directions, thrusts and HVCDP priorities for 2016 to its partners and stakeholders in various parts of the region.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional High Value Crop focal person Rosita M. Imperial, explained the programs strategic directions for this year, which include among others, provision of priority commodities, employment of value chain analysis approach as a tool for value-adding and product development and establishment of production facilities and post-harvest equipment and machineries.

Imperial added that they will also ensure that the commodity’s competitiveness will be improved to reduce importation of various vegetables. DA also envisions technology demonstration cum production activity to address the proper management and fertilization of old coffee and cacao trees in the region.

DA Bicol public information officer Emily Bordado said in an interview that the department is crafting plans to ensure that production of HVC in the region will improve by expanding planting sites for cacao, sweet potato, coffee, pineapple and gabi.

Bordado  disclosed that to achieve these targets, the programs will provide interventions such as seed production for buffer stocking, planting materials and  production facilities liken nursery, rain shelter, and scion grove.

 DA Bicol will also provide small-scale irrigation, production equipment/machineries, market-related activities and extension support.

Imperial also shared that the program’s priorities will include advancement of efficiency level of farm operation and management, enhancement of productivity and production of priority commodities, compliance with export protocols and standards, linked HVC to local and international markets and ensure steady supply and prices of primary commodities.

The High Value Crops Development Program is one of the banner programs of DA . It endeavors to address the country’s concern on food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable growth while sustaining the production of high value crops.  (MAL/LSM/DARFU5/PIA5/Camarines Sur)  

Friday, January 15, 2016

CSC Bicol calls for youth participants to nationwide ARTA Caravan

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 14 (PIA) – The Civil Service Commission Bicol urges the youth in the region to be part of the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) Caravan to be launched on January 25-27 with the theme #KontraRedTape: Kabataan, Kaakibat sa Mahusay na Pamamahala.”

“The CSC hopes that the youth can wield the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) of 2007 and the social media to bring public customer service into national consciousness,” CSC Bicol information officer Lynbee Niebla said.

The ARTA Caravan will showcase frontline services offered by various government agencies and highlight the role of the youth as a potent force in curbing slow and inefficient government services.

As part of the launching of ARTA Caravan, the CSC initiated logo and poster making and short video production contests to solicit creative inputs from the youth on what constitutes good governance, anti-corruption and social accountability.

“The contests were held to instill consciousness and a sense of involvement of the public on good governance and anti-corruption initiatives of the government,” Niebla said.

The competition is open to college students nationwide. One winner per category will be chosen from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to receive cash prizes will be awarded to three cash and gift prizes.

 Deadline of submission of entries is on the midnight of January 17, 2016.

 The caravan also targets the involvement of government agencies that provide key frontline services, such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue for the application of Tax Identification Number; Department of Foreign Affair for passport applications and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation for requests of IDs and member data record.

 In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the ARTA Caravan will also showcase innovations of government offices which resulted in service delivery improvements. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571453164491/csc-bicol-calls-for-youth-participants-to-nationwide-arta-caravan#sthash.7UDEtDDB.dpuf

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

PhilHealth Bicol spearheads OFW Empowerment Forum

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 13 (PIA) -- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) Bicol regional office spearheaded Monday last week the Empowerment Forum for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) convening members of the sector and their families to better equip them with important information concerning their rights and benefits under the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).

The forum evolved on the theme: "Maligayang Bati, sa OFW ang Papuri"

PhilHealth Bicol Regional Vice- President Orlando D. Iñigo, Jr. referred to the OFWs as the modern day heroes, bringing Filipino workmanship and talents globally.

"They played a very important role of the sector in the financial stability of the country, as they help maintain our dollar reserves," he stressed.

Iñigo further shared with the attendees some insights about globalization, as opposed to the old adage "no man is an island, quoting as will a Latin line "Ultra Plus" in referring to the places that the OFWs reach, exploring what is further beyond our islands.

He went on assuring the members that they are important to PhilHealth, thus this Forum is PhilHealth’s tribute to the OFWs and their families.

The PhilHealth's Overseas Filipinos Program has a total of 30,070 members with an estimated 27,850 dependents in the Bicol region.

The sector enjoys more benefits than regular members under the Formal (Employed) Sector.

For one thing, according to Iñigo, under the OFPs members are automatically eligible for health benefits on the first day of their payment. Other sectors are required at least three months payment of contributions prior to confinement.

The members and their dependents under the OFP also enjoy outpatient benefits branded as Tamang Serbisyo sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya (TSeKaP). These are benefits that PRO V would like the attendees to understand better so they can take advantage of their PhilHealth membership.

The day-long forum was a mix of fun and learning as close to 50 attendees from Albay were entertained by PhilHealth's homegrown talents: the PhilHealth band, and PhilHealth MemSec Dancers. The attendees joined the games and were eager for the prizes. Some even jammed with the band.

To make the event more festive, 14 participants were awarded with an annual membership coverage worth P2,400 each, during the raffle.

OWWA Bicol officer in charge Teresita R. Bantinan cited the importance of PhilHealth and OWWA in her speech, recalling that OWWA used to handle Medicare for the OFWs until it was transferred to PhilHealth so their agency can focus on the other important aspects for the welfare of our OFWs.

The activity concluded with positive feedbacks from the attendees, some even urging the PRO to conduct a similar forum in the other provinces so more OFWs and their families can be empowered about their PhilHealth.  (MAL/AZSanPablo-PhilHealth5/PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/771452731064/philhealth-bicol-spearheads-ofw-empowerment-forum#sthash.h8Xwialz.dpuf

Monday, January 11, 2016

LGU Naga allots P920.75 M for 2016 budget

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Jan. 11 (PIA) -- The city government here has allocated a total of P920,750,116.89 to fund the various social services, programs, projects and other priority initiatives for calendar year 2016 pursuing the development agenda for the city.

The Executive Budget for 2016 was approved by the Sangguniang Panglunsod last month to sustain measures in pursuit of the local government's development agenda and implementation of new priorities within the calendar year.

Mayor John Bongat of this city said on top of the list is a P5 million budget allocated for the Least Economically Resilient Communities (LERC).  Twenty-three communities in 17 barangays were identified under this category and will be part of the beneficiaries under the city’s Ginhawang Nagueno program, in support of  President Benigno Aquino’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

“At the core of the inclusive growth is making sure that no one is left behind, particularly the marginalized households living in the fringes of our urban communities,“ he added.

Bongat also emphasized the need to level up the quality education to combat the ill-effects of poverty, noting that P5 M has benn added to last year’s education budget of P10 M for the Iskolar kan Ciudad Program, paving the way for a P15 M budget for more deserving students.

 A big chunk of the budget was also allocated to quality health care program of the city. An allocation of  P1 M was also specified for the procurement of medicines, on top of the budget intended for the plantilla positions for the health personnel of Our Lady of Lourdes Infirmary located in the upland barangay of Carolina, this city.

To further improve the city’s crime solution efficiency rate, P5 M fund will be allocated under the Public Safety Office (PSO) to be utilized for the purchase of additional wireless CCTVs (closed circuit television) to be installed in various strategic areas in the city.  The fund will also cover procurement of additional radio communications equipment to boost the capability of peace and order enforcers to immediately respond to emergency calls.

A P20M budget will also be apportioned under the City Engineer’s Office to fund various infrastructure including flood control projects and other disaster mitigation structures.  This is on top of the mandatory appropriation for Local Development Fund amounting to P91.667M this year.

Bongat clarified that the total budget for this year will be equally financed by the locally generated revenue and internal revenue allotments of the city.  (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861452495274/lgu-naga-allots-p920-75-m-for-2016-budget#sthash.sGLrnxfL.dpuf

Friday, January 8, 2016

SSS opens calamity relief package for Albay, Sorsogon

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 8 (PIA) – Members and pensioners of the Social Security System (SSS) in Albay and Sorsogon can avail the calamity relief package offered for areas declared under state of calamity due to typhoon Nona.

“The SSS has offered its calamity relief package starting January 4 in areas declared under state of calamity due to typhoon Nona. That includes Albay, Sorsogon, Oriental Mindoro, Northern Samar and Romblon,” SSS Legazpi communication officer Jeanette T. Mapa said in the Ugnayan sa Bicol radio program of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) here.

Mapa said the package will be offered for Masbate once declared under state of calamity by its local government.

The SSS calamity relief package includes early renewal of salary loans, advance disbursement of pensions and preferential terms for house repair and improvement loans.

The first program under the calamity relief package is the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP), which waives the required 50 percent completion of loan payment as a qualifying condition for loan renewal under regular guidelines.

“As a special consideration, members with existing salary loan who have only paid few monthly amortizations can renew their loans. The one-percent service fee normally charged on SSS salary loans is also waived for borrowers to have higher loan proceeds,” Mapa said.

The SSS grants one-month and two-month salary loans of up to P16,000 and P32,000, respectively, which are payable in two years.

Pensioners residing in the declared calamity areas can apply for advance three-month pensions.

Mapa said members and pensioners can directly claim their checks from the SSS branch that received their application within one to two weeks.

To help affected SSS members restore their damaged houses due to typhoon Nona, SSS lowered the interest rate for home repair and improvement loan from 9% to 6%.

Under the SSS Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan Program of the calamity package, eligible members can borrow funds of up to P1 million, with payment terms at a maximum of 20 years for locally employed members and 15 years for overseas Filipino workers.

Mapa reminded SSS members who will avail the home repair loan to prepare the certificate of title issued by the Registry of Deeds and latest tax declaration of their property as part of the requirements.

The calamity relief package can be availed until March 31, 2016.(MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571452213714/sss-opens-calamity-relief-package-for-albay-sorsogon#sthash.zJMJ1hId.dpuf

Thursday, January 7, 2016

CSE-PPT topnotchers hail from Camarines Sur

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, Jan. 06 (PIA) --- Ahmed Ballecer-Hemady and Audilyn Perez- Madrid, both residents of Camarines Sur, topped the recent Career Service Examination-Paper and pencil test (CSE-PPT) held October 18 here, besting the 10,228 examinees from various parts of the region.

Hemady, a graduate of AB Physics in Baguio City is a native of Bombon, Camarines Sur and spent his secondary years at Camarines Sur National High School (CSNHS). He topped the 9,214  other CSC  Professional eligible.

Madrid on the other hand, went ahead of the other 1,014  Sub-Professional passers and capped the highest average percentage under the Sub-Professional category. She is taking up BS Accountancy at Ateneo De Naga University.

Other Top Ten passers, under the Professional category include: 2nd) Justine Mae S. Esguerra from Masbate City; 3rd) Camille Astrid  O. Britanico from Legazpi City; 4th, 5th and 6th placer respectively- Ariene I. Veneda, Marie Rosielle Anne C. Cornejo, and Haze Ann Mae R. Clave all from Camarines Sur; 7th)  Angela Gabrielle J. Tuazon from Legazpi City; Jomari I. Tejeras from Camarines Norte and Jerome Eimman A. Columna from Legazpi City sharing the 8th place, Merciline Joy Palaje and Emmerson B. Ranara, capped the 9th and 10th place respectively.

Under the Sub-Professional category, 2nd place went to Ma. Louella V.Israel from Camarines Sur; 3rd – Julio Flores Jr from Camarines Norte; 4th-karla Mae N. Sirios from Camarines Sur; Manelene A. Gernale from Sorsogon; 6th –Julius Nathaniel D. Anciano from Camarines Sur; 7th- Rei Monica O. Ced from Legazpi City; 8th- Xyvel J. Lanuzo from Camarines Sur; 9th- Aida Anthonette E. Jacob and 10th- John C. Ibaretta from Camarines Sur.

In a press release, CSC Region V also announced that Bicol is among the top performing regions in terms of passing rate in the CSE-PPT examination held October 18 last year. Bicol ranked 5th among all other regions in the country, garnering a 12.34 passing percentage in the recent examination

CSC Camarines Sur Director II Jocelyn Marifosque in an interview raised her hats off to the passers who surpassed the grueling 3-hour examination. She also reminded all other future takers not to wait for the deadline but file as early as they can so that they won’t have to cram when the examination deadline is already set.

“We wish to congratulate all the passers of the October 18 examination. May I also take this opportunity to inform the public that application form for April 17, 2016 is on-going and it will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

Marifosque added that awarding of the certification of rating will be on January 21, 2016 at the Metro Naga Water District. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861452054268/cse-ppt-topnotchers-hail-from-camarines-sur#sthash.lnCEmKrH.dpuf

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

BFP stations in Labo, Daet strengthens revenue awareness month campaign

By Rosalita B. Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Jan. 6 (PIA) -- The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) stations in Labo and Daet towns have strengthened their campaign on revenue awareness month this January in the radio guesting at the Talakayan sa PIA on air of the Camarines Norte Information Center held Monday, Jan. 4.

January is the revenue awareness month of the BFP wherein establishments renew their business license including fire safety certificate.

BFP stressed that to avoid delay in getting their fire safety certificate business owners should bring their assessment from the local government unit, barangay clearance, fire safety certificate last year and zoning certificate including sketch of their establishment.

Labo Municipal Fire Marshal SFO Ronaldo R. Mojal said that they are expecting some 500 to 600 establishments who will be renewing their fire safety certificate.

He said that they have already conducted earlier the pre-inspection in Bagong Silang and Tulay na Lupa.

He said that their inspection is aligned with Republic Act 9154 or Revised Fire Code of the Philippines 2008 to ensure public safety and promote economic development through prevention and suspension of all kinds of destructive fires and promote the professional of the fire service as a profession.

Mojal stressed that they also gave compliance period to the owner of establishment and building who have deficiencies during their inspection. The compliance period and the penalty if they will not comply will be based on the rules and regulation under RA 9154.

He also cited that the town has four (4) fire trucks, of which one is located in their Sub-Station at Bagong Silang.

Fire Marshal Fire Inspector Victor S. Velasco of Daet Central Fire Station on the other hand said that they are expecting some 1,500 business establishments to renew their fire safety certificate this year.

He also cited that Daet has three (3) fire trucks and an additional one will be coming this year. They are also serving the towns of San Vicente, San Lorenzo and Talisay who have no fire station and fire truck. These towns will be having station and fire truck this year, he said.

On their accomplishment last year the two towns has conducted a year round awareness campaign, regular lecture, fire drill, Ugnayan sa Barangay, dialogue, pre-fire planning, kiddy and junior fire marshal and community or barangay fire brigade.

They plan to re-activate community fire brigade which is composed of barangay tanod and officials.

They also reported that no fire incident in the two towns as well as in other 10 towns during the holiday season due to their fire safety campaign during the period.

The other guests during the radio guesting were Municipal Administrator Fire Safety Officer Joy S. Manzo of Daet Central Fire Station, Municipal Administrator Fire Officer Arjgie V. Barco and Finance Fire Officer Realyn D. de Castro both of Labo Fire Station.

The Talakayan sa PIA on air is being facilitated by ICM Rosalita Manlangit of PIA Camarines Norte at the DWCN-FM Radyo ng Bayan every Monday 11:00am to 12:00 noon. (MAL/RBM-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/871452038246/bfp-stations-in-labo-daet-strengthens-revenue-awareness-month-campaign#sthash.tHLB6sEn.dpuf

Typhoon Nona causes P943.7M worth of damage to classrooms in Sorsogon

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 5 (PIA) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) Sorsogon division office reported Typhoon Nona, which wrecked havoc in some provinces of Bicol region, has caused close to P1-billion worth of damages to classrooms in the province of Sorsogon.

DepEd Sorsogon schools division superintendent Danilo Despi said that the extent of damage amounting to P943.7 million was based on the Rapid Assessment of Damages Report (RADAR) submitted by 437 schools or 82.4 percent  of 530 schools in the province submitted to to the division office last December 29.

Despi said that a total of 550 classrooms were totally damaged, costing P605 million based on P1.1 million multiplier per classroom, adding that 933 classrooms suffered major damages costing P326.55 million based on Php350,000 multiplier per classroom.

Other 1,218 classrooms meawhile shoewd minor damages costing P12.8 million based on Php10,000 multiplier per classroom.

Despi explained that assessment was maded base on parameter wherein totally damaged classrooms refers to academic classrooms that cannot be used while classrooms classified under major damage are damaged academic classrooms needing major repair and cannot be repaired by the schools concerned.

“Classrooms with minor damages, meanwhile, can be repaired by the schools concerned under the Maintenance and Other Operational Expenses  or MOOE appropriated for each school,” Despi.

DepEd Sorsogon Division Disaster Risk Reduction and Management point person Joseph John Perez meanwhile revealed that 390 schools, or 89.2 percent, of the 437 schools reported damages in their classrooms.

“Damaged school furniture, consisting of armchairs and tables, totaled 18,535 while the estimated worth of damage on furniture was not available because the report submitted by the schools were not itemized," he said.

"Likewise, damaged instructional materials totaled 98,321 assorted textbooks while 984 computers were destroyed.  DepEd Sorsogon also needs 569 temporary learning spaces," Perez added. (MAL/DepEd5/PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/771452060023/typhoon-nona-causes-p943-7m-worth-of-damage-to-classrooms-in-sorsogon-#sthash.pKWyqNi8.dpuf

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bicol 5th Top performing region in 2015 CSC career exam

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 5 (PIA) – The Bicol region ranked 5th among Top Performing regions in terms of passing rate in the October 18, 2015 Civil Service Commission (CSC) Professional and Sub-Professional Career Service Examination-Paper and Pencil Test (CSE-PPT).

“Collective figures show that Region 5 is among the top performing regions in terms of passing rate in the CSE-PPT held on October 18 last year,” CSC Bicol information officer Lynbee Niebla said.

Bicol notched 12.34% passing rate, ranking 5th among all the other regions in the country.  

The top four are Region 7 (Central Visayas) with 14.28% passing rate, Region 3 (Central Luzon) with 14.02%, Region 4 (Southern Tagalog) with 13.71% and Region 6 (Western Visayas) with 13.43%.

Niebla said a total of 13,152 individuals passed the latest CSE-PPT conducted nationwide.

“This represents the 11.02% of the 119,333 total examinees for the professional and sub-professional levels,” she said.

Moreover, this figure does not include the 56,985 total registered examinees from regions and testing centers in the country affected by typhoon Lando and the haze in Indonesia.

“These areas include Regions 1, 2,NCR and CAR and testing centers in Olongapo City, Cabanatuan City and Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. The examinations in these areas were re-scheduled on December 6, 2015,” Niebla said.

Passers at sub-professional levels are qualified for first level positions in the government while professional level passers may join first and second level positions.

The first level includes clerical, trades, crafts and custodial positions that involve non-professional or sub-prof work requiring less than four years of college studies. Whereas, the second level covers professional, technical and scientific positions up to Division Chief level that involves such work requiring at least four years of college studies.

However Niebla noted that possessing a professional or sub-prof eligibility is just one of the requirements to be able to join government service.

“A civil service eligible, must also meet the education, experience and training requirements appropriate for permanent appointment to a government career service position,” Niebla added. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571451960507/bicol-5th-top-performing-region-in-2015-csc-career-exam#sthash.s8YF65of.dpuf

DOH posts 114 firecracker victims in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan 4 (PIA) – The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 114 firecracker related injuries in the Bicol region for the period December 21 - January 3, 2016.

DOH Bicol health education and promotion officer Kenn Nuyda said firecracker related injuries has greatly increased this year compared to the 89 total cases reported last year in the region from period December 21 – January 5, 2015.

Albay posted 62 cases, the highest among the provinces, followed by Camarines Sur  with 31, Masbate with 11, and Camarines Norte with six. Both Sorsogon and Catanduanes posted two firecracker victims.

Nuyda said of the 114 recorded cases, 57 are children aged 7-12 years old while 22 are from age bracket 13-20 and 12 are from age bracket 29-35.

“The figures are alarming. Majority of the victims are children who are supposedly still under the supervision of their parents so probably they have their parent’s consent in buying or using firecrackers,” Nuyda said.

47% of victims in 2014 also came from the 7-12 age group.

Eighty five are active users or directly handled firecrackers while 25 are passive and four are undetermined.

Nuyda said a victim of stray bullet has been reported in Masbate but is still undergoing validation.

 Piccolo, although branded as illegal firecracker, remains the leading cause of injuries with 70 cases followed by Kwitis with 21 and five star with eight victims. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571451894375/doh-posts-114-firecracker-victims-in-bicol#sthash.2tWgLs1w.dpuf