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

Friday, October 28, 2016

DTI Catanduanes holds consumers assembly

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Oct. 28 (PIA) – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Catanduanes provincial office spearheaded the Consumers Assembly on Thursday at ARDCI Function Hall here to provide a venue for the sufficient and effective advocacy and information dissemination regarding consumer rights and responsibilities.

According to Heginio A. Baldano, DTI Catanduanes provincial director, the activity also served as the culminating activity of the Consumer’s Welfare Month pursuant to Proclamation No. 1098 on the theme: “Consumer Protection:  “A Shared Responsibility”.

Baldano added that such awareness of their rights and responsibilities would help them take measure to know and make informed decisions about their transactions.

The event was attended by representatives from business sector, senior citizens, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), youth, media, Local Government Units (LGUs) and national government agency representatives.

In his message during the program which was delivered by Vice-Governor Shirley A. Abundo, Governor Joseph C. Cua said, consumers are impatient in propelling progress in the country as a whole.

He mentioned that even before entering politics, his family had ahead engaged in business, and they see to it that their consumers are given due rights. He also expressed hope that the activity will increase awareness of consumers’ rights and responsibilities.

Cua added that Catanduanes has entered a new phase of development. The competition of business is growing healthy and investors are encouraged to put up their businesses in the province.

Topics discussed during the assembly were the following: Consumer Protection from Bank Fraud and Scam discussed by Ms. Paulette Gay S. Menguilla, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) ROV; Health Product Quality, Efficacy and Safety discussed by Ms. Evangelista T. Lozada, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ROV;

Vehicle Registration and Licensing, discussed by Ms. Conie T. Penaflor, Chief, LTO Catanduanes; Text Scam Prevention and Telcos Complaints discussed by Atty. Judy Ann N. Bilangel, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ROV; and Green Economic Development discussed by Ms. Maria Belma Q. Escueta, DTI Catanduanes. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

DOH Bicol releases health safety tips, readies response team for Undas

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CTY, Oct 27 (PIA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol reminded the public not to forget health and safety concerns amidst the usual traditions done to celebrate Undas such as visiting the cemeteries or bringing and sharing food with friends and families to remember  departed loved ones.

Kenn S. Nuyda, DOH Bicol health education and promotion officer, said they are currently on intensified advocacy and information campaign to ensure safety of the public particularly against accidents, food and water borne diseases, mosquito carried diseases and other ailments.

“We will be having a long vacation to celebrate Undas with our family to remember our departed loved ones but let us not forget our health and safety especially those who will be travelling to and from the Bicol region,” Nuyda said.

DOH Bicol, added Nuyda, is currently on close coordination with other concerned agencies and health facilities in the region in disseminating information noting that they are preparing their emergency response team for the declaration of Code White Alert from October 30 until November 2 in time for the country’s observance of All Saints and All Souls Day.

“A Code White Alert is declared when there is a mass gathering or national   event and there is a possibility of emergency conditions that may need immediate medical attention. All medical teams are on standby for immediate mobilization,” he said.

Meanwhile, DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial has earlier appealed to transport owners to deploy more buses to bring people to provinces and avoid overcrowding and overloading of passengers, which oftentimes are causes of accidents.

Commuters are also urged to plan their trips, bring water to avoid dehydration, and be more patient as there will be more passengers going to the province to pay their respects to their dearly departed loved ones.

“It would be better not to bring along babies and small children to cemeteries/memorial parks as they are vulnerable to contracting diseases due to their low resistance to infection, heat, and congestion. The elderly are advised to stay at home especially if they have medical conditions or are visiting alone,” she noted.

DOH also reminded local government units (LGUs) and ambulant vendors to ensure food safety through proper preparation and sanitation when selling food.

Food-borne illnesses are usually caused by food produced for mass catering which were not cooked, stored, or handled properly. Establishments that prepare, serve, and distribute food for mass catering should guarantee the safety of the food for prevention of food borne illnesses and outbreaks,” Ubial added.

DOH also advised communities to include Search and Destroy of mosquito breeding sites in their preparation for All Saints’ Day. Insect repellants should be used to avoid mosquito bites.

In the Bicol region, Nuyda said that dengue cases along with other mosquito-carried diseases are manageable and are not that alarming as local government units and communities are in close coordination to implement and ensure cleanliness and control of possible breeding sites.

The public is also advised to bring umbrellas for protection from the rain or too much sun.

People visiting cemeteries should also beware of animal bites. Medical services are available for first aid treatment by health volunteers.

For further concerns and queries, DOH Hotlines are established 24/7 to respond to citizens who may need assistance. They may be reached thru (02) 711-1001 or (02) 711-1002.

The DOH Bicol Health Emergency Management Service (HEMS) is likewise on standby and may be reached at 48300935 local 508.(MAL/SAA/DOH5/PIA5/Albay)

DA Bicol urges Albay corn farmers to augment income thru cassava production

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct 27 (PIA) -- Over 40 corn farmers and agricultural technicians from Ligao City and Polangui, Albay participated in the recently held Training on Cassava Production and Processing in Barangay Alnay, Polangui conducted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol.

DA Bicol corn program staff Aileen Breboneria said this training aims to capacitate and help augment the income of farmers by intercropping cassava in their corn farms further citing that farmers from corn areas in Masbate and Camarines Sur will also undergo training.

DA Bicol senior science research specialist Nympha Autos said that at present there are 48 cassava varieties that were accredited by the Regional Varietal Improvement Group on Rootcrops from Visayas State University, University of the Philippines-Los Baños and other plant breeding institutions and stations of the Department of Agriculture.

Autos added that in the Bicol Region, there are cassava varieties identified as Orbase, Lanuza and Laysa.

Although there is no new technology or practice introduced during the training, Autos encouraged the farmers to have their soil tested or analyzed before applying fertilizers.

“They should also limit the use of fertilizers for their cassava since there are fertilizer residues from their corn farms,” she said.

She futher advised the farmers to plant Tuba-tuba (jatropha) in their fields as an alternate host to the pests and diseases attacking cassava plants

The participants in the said training likewise shared practices that can adopted and concerns that call for intervention from the DA and other concerned agencies.

Farmer Rodrigo Bañadera of Sitio Garayon, Barangay Balinad, Polangui shared that they plant cassava a month after they plant corn which is normally in December.

He said that after harvesting their cassava, he would lay the stalks in the field and leave it for several days from which new shoots will grow. He would again cut the stalks with new shoots and re-plant it. He then noticed that its tubers are larger compared to the first harvested tubers.

LGU Polangui agricultural technician for corn Cesar Sandro Jr. related that although there are a number of farmers engaged in cassava production, there is no stable market compared to corn.

Sandro hoped that through this training, the farmers will be organized into a farmers’ association for them to synchronize their efforts and ventilate their needs to the DA and other institutions.

“Barato an bakal sa saod kan balinghoy, a-singko kada kilo (Cassava is brought at a low price in the market, P5.00 per kilo),” said Donna Bazar of Balinad, Polangui.

Bazar said that in her 27 years as farmer, the cheap price of their cassava has always been their complaint.

At present, LGU-Polangui has no marketing support to their cassava produce except promotion and trainings.(MAL/SAA/DA5/PIA5/Albay)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Albay techno demo-farm shows hybrid rice thrives even on rainy season

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 26 (PIA) -- Unmindful of the drizzle and the distance to walk the 20-hectare technology-farm here, 74-year old Alberto Rivera of Labo, Camarines Norte said “kailangan namin ito kasi malaking tulong na makita namin ang mga hybrid rice varieties na maganda ang tubo kasi ang lugar namin ay apektado ng El Niño (we need this because it is a big help for us to see the hybrid rice varieties that are growing well since our rice fields were affected by El Niño).”

Rivera is one of the more than 1500 rice farmers, agricultural technicians and municipal/city agricultural officers all over the Bicol Region who visited the compact farm in Balangibang, Polangui Albay which was cited by the National Rice Board (NRB) as the biggest techno-demo farm in the Philippines.

“This is the first hybrid rice demo-farm for wet season and the first in the Bicol Region,” said Dr. Frisco Malabanan, spokesperson of the National Rice Board (NRB).

Edgar Pesebre, farm owner and local farmer technician designated by Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol, welcomed the visitors in his “Palayamanon ni Tiyo Edgar” learning center which was also the orientation site before the field tour.

According to Pesebre, 25 farmer participants in the techno-demo started sowing seeds on June 13, 2016. The seed varieties include 14 hybrid rice and 11 inbred (300 series) varieties.

“The hybrid rice varieties include TH 82 of US Agri-Seeds; Bigante Plus of Bayer- Philippines; SL 12 and SL 18 of SL Agritek; PhD 77 and 79 of Pioneer-Dupont; S6003 and NK5017 of Syngenta; Mestiso 19 of PhilRice; and Chinese Hybrid Rice Lomping of PhilScat, “ he said.

Other rice varieties include submergence varieties being developed by Bayer-Philippines and Inbred Variety-300 series for saline and submergence ecosystem. Bayer and Pioneer companies also provided farm machineries.

Although the documented farms were affected by flood and attacked by rats, Pesebre assured the farmers that all the rice varieties were not significantly damaged due to proper cultural management and technology introduced by assisting technicians of LGU-Polangui and private companies.

The techno farm thus showed the resiliency of hybrid rice in withstanding extreme weather conditions such as during rainy and wet season.

Junnel V. Llagas, one of the assisting agricultural technicians of Polangui attributed the success of the program to the close coordination of the DA, farmer-cooperators, and technicians from LGU-Polangui and private agricultural companies.

Product Agronomist of Pioneer Herson Arcilla shared how they managed their assigned rice fields which were affected by flood, rats and brownhopper.

"Because of proper planning and strategy and the willingness of the farmer-cooperator to adopt the specific technology, the rice plants did not lodge and performed well. His estimated harvest is 11-13 metric tons in one hectare," he said.

Outstanding Young Farmer Ulysses Salvino said he was impressed with the growth and performance of Syngenta’s NK5017 and SL varieties stressing that he will be using SL hybrid rice varieties in his farm in Magarao, Camarines Sur.

NRB President Recher Ondap further encouraged the participants to practice and adopt the learnings they gained during the field tour.

“Now that you have seen the technology, use it so that we can be competitive in the world market,” said Ondap.

 Also done aside from the field tour are discussions on “The Rice Program” by Rodel Tornilla; Hybrid Rice Production Technology by PhilRice Science Research Specialist Leo C. Javier; and Policy Options on the Expiration of the Waiver Relating to Special Treatment on Rice by DA-Central Office Policy Research Service staff Pia De La Rosa. (SAA/DA5-PIA5/Albay)

DOLE spearheads career guidance engagements for studes in Albay

By Julius B. Embile

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 26 (PIA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) provincial office here spearheaded a “Career Guidance” Seminar for graduating high school students from different parts of Albay province with the goal of improving the professional capacity of the Bicolano youth.

According to DOLE Albay officer in charge Ma. Ella E. Verano, a total of 1,460 high school students were given career guidance sessions about the professional path they should consider and about ‘jobs mismatch’.

The seminar focused on the theme “Our Skills and Passion Today; Our Career Tomorrow”.

Verano noted that Albay is considered as Bicol region’s “key province”, being home to the government’s regional offices and major universities and production facilities.

The province also serves as a human resource hub for Metro Manila and Laguna-based companies as Albay often host the region’s biggest job fairs.

Albay’s promising human resource potential is the reason why the labor department invested great effort giving career guidance for students in the province.

Verano further explained that our youth must be advised properly, not only in order to avoid having their time wasted by “shifting” college courses, but also to have them choose a proper professional course that will still be available in the future.

"Career Guidance programs are the solution to the long-time problem of ‘job mismatch’ especially for the province of Albay, being only second from Camarines Sur in terms of number of high graduates," she said.

The Career Guidance engagements have since commenced on the first week of October  participated in by students and parents from 10 secondary schools in Albay.

“Not only students, but parents were also invited to attend the the Career Guidance seminar, in order for parents to know the effect of pressuring their children in choosing a specific college course. That is the kind of mind set we need to change,” said Verano.

Verano explained that, aside from ENDO (end of contract) issue, it is also the focus of DOLE to provide assistance to high school graduates when it comes to choosing a college course so that they would be able to become productive professionals at the soonest possible time.

“Of course we want our high school graduates to finish college and have proper jobs. But how are they suppose to work if jobs available are not suitable to their respective education, whether locally or abroad?” said DOLE-Bicol OIC regional director Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla during a media conference. (MAL/JBE-PIA5)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

PNP confers Silver Eagle Awards to outstanding police stations in Camarines Sur

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Oct. 19 (PIA) --- “Today, we make one step farther to our transformation journey, as we confer the compliance status of the performance system with the frontline units of Naga City Police Office and Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office.”

This was the opening statement of PCSupt. Melvin Ramon G. Buenafe, PNP Bicol regional director, during the conferment of Performance Governance System (PGS) “Compliant” Status and Awarding Ceremony to outstanding City and Municipal Police Stations (C/MPS) of the Camarines Police Provincial Office and stations of Naga CPO, October 18 at SM  City Naga Activity Center, here.

Among the 35 MPS and 2 CPS in the province, 6 were conferred with the Silver Eagle Awards in recognition of their outstanding commitment and unwavering support in the effective implementation of PNP Patrol Plan 2030  as it endeavor to attain a highly capable, effective and credible police service.

Topping the list of awardees was the Camarines Sur Police Public Safety Company (CSPPSC) headed by PS Rodrigo Benedicto H. Sarmiento Jr. after garnering a total of 94.49 points during the Unit Certification and reporting of PGS for the compliance stage of MPS held in July at the CSPPO.

Among the C/MPS, Iriga City police station under the headship of PSupt. Alex Pederio garnered the highest score with 93.15 points, followed by Ocampo MPS under PCI Noel P. Aquino, OIC, with 92.25 points.

Bula MPS under the stewardship of PCI Rodolfo T. Oliver Jr., ranked 3rd with 90.04 points, followed by Calabanga MPS under PCI Ace Christian R. Mendoza, Assistant COP and Sipocot MPS under PCI Jerome L. Regachuelo, Assistant COP, with collected points of  90.03 and 90.02 respectively.

“The PNP P.T.R.O.L Plan 2030 has remarkably brought life to our organization and sought to re-ignite interest and brought fresh inspiration to many of our colleagues, who before its implementation may have either lost interest or have allowed themselves to be immersed in the mediocrity and nonchalance that has furthered tarnished the image of the organization,” Buenafe added.

PSSupt. Walfredo G. Pornillos, CSPPO Acting Provincial Director vowed to continue to strengthen the PNP’s resolve to fight criminality and ensure the safety of the community through the strict implementation of Project double barrel and compliance to the peace and order agenda for Transformation and Upholding of the Rule-Of-Law,” otherwise known as PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030.
Buenafe also thanked the members of the different Advisory Councils at the level of the region, the province, the city and the municipal police stations for their indispensable participation and contribution to the PNP.

Before formally wrapping up the ceremony, he enjoined every policeman to walk an extra mile to realize the PNP’s dream of a reformed organization worthy of the trust of the people they pledged to serve and protect.

“As we bring the compliance stage to a triumphant close, I implore you to keep the fire burning and prepare for new challenges the next stage, which is the proficiency stage. I am sure, we will be incorporating already our new projects, especially the projects, especially the “Double Barrel” or our anti-illegal drugs campaign.” (LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

“Karen” leaves over P670M damage to agri, infra in Bicol

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 18 (PIA) –Typhoon Karen has brought damage to agriculture and infrastructure in the Bicol region amounting to over P670 million as based on the data collated by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) today.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol has reported total amount of damage to the agriculture sector amounting to P653, 884,654.77 with 17, 996 affected farmers from some 23,485 total affected land area.

Mostly damaged are rice commodities at maturity stage pegged at P411, 879,953.74 followed by high value crops damaged by flooding and strong winds at P201, 352, 416.03, corn at reproductive and maturity stage at P40, 528,035.00 and livestock at P124, 250.00.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Bicol on the other hand reported infra damage in Catanduanes estimated at P12, 317,500.00 for national projects such as roads, bridges and other structures and P8,000,000.00 for local infra due to damaged spillway in Brgy. Sagrada, Bagamanoc.

As reported by the Department of Social Work and Development, 35 families or 149 persons are still in the evacuation centers as of 9:00am today. A total of 14, 801 with 24, 528 persons were affected and utilized 340 evacuation centers all over the region with initial assistance given amounting to P487, 659.00.

A total of 91 houses have been partially damaged, 88 of which are in Camarines Sur and three in Catanduanes.

As to reports of casualties during the onslaught of typhoon Karen, the Department of Interior and Local Government has validated that the deaths are not typhoon related. Moreover three persons are still reportedly missing in Viga, Catanduanes. They are Zaldy de Jesus, Luis Tubig and Rene del Valle.

OCD Bicol Chief Rafael Alejandro said all national roads in the region are passable, with water supply back to normal while power restoration still ongoing in some parts of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Catanduanes.

Seaport and airport trips likewise resumed operations.

As Karen exit over the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) today, typhoon Lawin has entered and is moving in a West Northwest direction.

Typhoon signal #1 is hoisted as of 11:00 am today in Catanduanes including Cagayan, Calayan group of islands, Apayao, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Northern Aurora and Polilio Islands. (SAA-PIA5/Albay)

CamSur records highest population in PSA 2015 census

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Oct. 18 (PIA) --- With 1.95M population in 2015, Camarines Sur topped the list of Bicol provinces with the biggest population recorded last year.

This is according to the data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority PSA) here during the POPCEN 2015 Provincial data dissemination forum held at the Avenue Plaza Hotel, Magsaysay here, Friday.

The province of Albay ranked second among the six provinces in the region in terms of population size with 1.31M count.  The coastal province of Masbate ranked third with 892,000 followed by Sorsogon with 793,000 and Camarines Norte with 583,000.

The island province of Catanduanes has the smallest number of population with 261,000.  The province posted the lowest population growth rate (PGR) of 1.11 percent.

Over all, Bicol region reached the 5.8 million population mark based on the 2015 Census of Population. According to the fact sheet released by PSA, this is higher by 376,578 as compared to the 2010 population of 5.4m.

PSA  Camarines Sur provincial chief Clemente Manaog said that the results of this census is an important economic tool  and are essential and timely indicators particularly for planning managers to determine the kind of programs that they are going to implement in their respective areas of jurisdictions.

The demographics are also significant in the formulation of policies and programs for the effective and efficient delivery of basic services to the constituents, especially in the allocation of resources and revenues.

The statistical data relating to the population also determines the consumer demands and supply of labor for the production of goods and services and is significantly helpful in the identification of business sites. It can also help in measuring the attainability of the millennium development goals that our country commits to achieve by 2018.

POPCEN 2015 was conducted pursuant to Republic Act No.10625 or the Statistical Act of 2013 which mandates the PSA to conduct national censuses and survey and surveys and Executive Order No. 352 which requires the conduct of mid-decade census.

The same EO also mandates the designation of statistical activities that will generate critical data for decision making of the government and the private sector. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/ Camarines Sur)

Population growth has policy implications – Abanto

By Rosalita B. Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Oct. 18 (PIA) - The result of population census has policy implications in political, economic, social and ecological dimensions for sustainable development, according to Dr. Rusty Abanto, vice-president for Academic Affairs of the Camarines Norte State College (CNSC).

Abanto said during the Provincial Dissemination Forum conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) here recently that in terms of political dimension like in Daet which has increasing trend in population, the data will be used to prioritize programs and projects of the local government units or even of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other stakeholders.

He said that population is also important when it comes to economic; investment has increased in Daet because of growing population that is why the town was adjudged as the most competitive municipalities in the country.

In Population Census 2015, Camarines Norte was the fastest growing province in the Bicol Region, because of the latest data, the investment maybe felt later, he said.

Social policies in housing, population control and other basic services also requires population counts in planning of the national government agencies and legislative branch he said.

Abanto said that in ecological dimension, we also consider not only the needs of the present generation but also the future generation  because population growth  increases pressure in the use natural resources  like the forest land which are converted into residential, commercial and other uses.

During the forum, the PSA announced that Camarines Norte was the fastest growing province in the region with an average annual population rate (PGR) of 1.38 percent during the period 2010-2015 according to the latest POPCEN 2015.

Camarines Norte was followed by Camarines Sur -1.32%, Sorsogon 1.30%, Masbate – 1.28%, Albay 1.22% and Albay 1.22% while Catanduanes posted the lowest PGR of 1.11%.

The province of Camarines Norte has population counts of 583,313 of the   100.9 million in the country.

The other topics discussed during the forum were background of the 2015 Census of Population, 2015 population counts, population density and population counts by legislative district. (MAL/RBM-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

DOLE awards P5.3M fund assistance to 13 barangays in Labo

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 18 (PIA) –  A total of 13 proponent-barangays received some P5.3 million fund assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the 789 home-based and self-employed workers from the municipality of Labo in Camarines Norte.

DOLE Camarines Norte provincial head Jane L. Rolda turned over the check with the corresponding amounts to respective village chiefs along with other barangay officials present to witness awarding ceremony.

The fund assistance were downloaded to the barangays and will be exclusively used for the purchase of equipment, tools and jigs for the beneficiaries' identified livelihood undertaking such as carpentry/masonry, welding, auto-mechanic, electrical servicing, dressmaking/tailoring, beauty care/hair cut, food processing and the like.

The 13 identified barangays belong to the second batch that qualified as Accredited Co-Partner (ACP) of DOLE, namely Pag-asa, Malasugui, Baay, Bagacay, Pangpang, Bakiad, Macogon, Talobatib, Bautista, Pinya, Gumamela, Fundado and Tulay na Lupa.  The first batch was composed of 7 barangays who received the same in 2014.

Rolda acknowledged the significant contribution of the barangays in the effective delivery of projects/services of Department that reaches even the farthest communities and provides them livelihood assistance towards income-augmentation of disadvantaged workers in the informal sector.  (MAL/REAlano-DOLE5/PIA5)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

SSS partners with BJMP to provide inmates social protection

By Julius B. Embile

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 13 (PIA) – Staying true to their task of providing social protection to Filipinos without prejudice, the Social Security System (SSS) partnered with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) of Albay province, for the launching of the ‘AlkanSSSya’ Program for jail residents.

“We agreed to the partnership, as we (SSS) are always here to help. We consider it as our responsibility, as we are tasked to provided social security and protection to all, hindi kami namimili (we have no prejudice)”, said Susan Malubag of SSS-Region 5’s Account Management Office.

According Malubag, their office was approached by BJMP officers to propose the partnership for the project, in cooperation with the Jail Residents and Visitors Association of Albay.

The AlkanSSSya Program of SSS aims to enables informal sector workers to save part of their daily income for monthly contributions has consistently complemented payments from self-employed and voluntary members by depositing money in ‘alkansya’ units.

For jail inmates, the program requires them to provide their SSS numbers, along with an ‘alkansya’ unit with their name on it, to the warden. Every month, authorized SSS personnel would be collecting the amount in the units, which will be remitted as their monthly contribution.

“While in BJMP custody, jail residents are provided means of livelihood like achara(preserved pickles)-making, carpentry and handicrafts. They can contribute what they earn for their SSS coverage,” said Alvin Orlain, jail warden of Daraga Municipal Jail, during a radio interview. “An average of Php 10 a day deposited in their ‘alkansya’ would be good,” he added.

However, through the SSS’s bracketing system, every alkansya unit must have a minimum of Php 330 per month to be qualified for a monthly contribution, and would not be collecting any amount which has not accumulated the same. If the minimum is not met, the money would be left until the said amount has been reached.

On the other hand, in order to make the monthly contribution easier, their family members of jail residents are also allowed to contribute any amount to their respective ‘alkansya’ units.

First to benefit from the program is Legazpi City Jail, where in 21 jail residents are now actively enrolled. The ‘alkansya’ units being used by the jail residents have been donated by mayor Noel Rosal and the city government of Legazpi.

An additional of more than 60 jail residents also enrolled in the AlkanSSSya Program from the Probation Office and Albay District Jail in Legazpi city. The units currently used by the inmates are also donated by Legazpi’s city government.

Yesterday (October 12), SSS launched the AlkanSSSya Program at Daraga Municipal Jail, which was participated by 39 jail residents. The said launching was facilitated by BJMP jail officers who were trained and supervised by SSS personnel.

In a radio interview, jail warden Orlain, who is also one of the BJMP officer approached SSS for the said partnership, commended the launching of the program.

“This is very important for our jail residents. Knowing that they have social security would really help them in their re-integration to society after they’re released,” said the warden. (MAL/JBE/PIA-5)

ALMASOR tourism partners train on front office services, operations

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 13 (PIA) – The Department of Tourism (DOT) Bicol conducted a free training on front office services and operations for accredited tourism establishments from Albay, Masbate and Sorsogon (ALMASOR) to further strengthen their role in the growth of tourism industry in these provinces.

DOT Bicol admin officer Bobby Guigantone said the training course aims to give proper skills and knowledge to owners and personnel of primary establishments such as hotels, inns and lodging houses, particularly on labor operations of their front-liners, to help them cater to the needs of both local and foreign tourists.

He added that the training is part of the preparations for ASEAN Integration which poses a challenge on the capacity of local tourism providers to comply with international standards and compete with other foreign countries.      

The three-day training program was held October 10 -12 at the St. Ellis Hotel in this city with DOT certified and national master trainer Dr. Freddie A. Quinito.

The first day of the training focused on socio-cultural interaction for host and guest which include meeting and greeting guests, responding to their questions or requests and participating in short, informal conversations with guests along with proper provision of accommodation reception services such as reception and check-in and out functions.      

The speaker further discussed the international standard on process reservations, resolution of customer complaints and maintenance of quality customer service in front office operations on the remaining days.

Guigantone said the same training has been conducted for tourism partners in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes also known as the Triple C tourism areas. Further trainings to step up capacities and competencies of tourism service providers in the region will likewise be conducted in the coming months this year. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Albay to host 1st nat’l rugby feat

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 12 (PIA) – The provincial government of Albay, through the Provincial Sports Office (PSO), is hosting the hosting the 1st Philippine National Rugby League Local Inaugural Competition 2016 to be held at the Bicol University Albay Sports Complex on October 15 and 16, 2016.

Provincial sports coordinator Leonardo Flores earlier said to members of the Albay Sports Council that the provincial government of will take a more active role in the promotion of physical and mental health through sports and exercises.  Sports activities such as rugby, will be encouraged for Albayano athletes to further develop their skills and abilities.

The Albay Vulcans, Albay’s local rugby team, will be squaring off with three different teams from other regions in the country composed of both local and international players coming from Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The sporting event, a first in Albay, aims to promote rugby sport in the province and encourage the virtues of friendship sportsmanship, character building, and most of all, have some fun.

The two-day tournament will feature two games for each day.

On October 15, Saturday, the game will start at 1:30 pm with the match between University of Batangas Toros and Manila Storms followed by the Albay Vulcans vs. Northern Luzon Crusaders at 3:30 pm.

On Sunday, the first game will start same time between the Albay Vulcans and UB Toros, while the second game at 3:30 pm will be the Manila Storms vs.  Northern Luzon Crusaders.

The event is free and open for everyone to watch.

Rugby is a highly physical team game played with an oval ball that may be kicked, carried, and passed from hand to hand. Points are scored by grounding the ball behind the opponents' goal or by kicking it between the two posts and over the crossbar of the opponents' goal. (SAA/PGA-PIA5/Albay)

New business hubs soon to rise in Legazpi City

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct 12 (PIA) – More business groups have committed to invest and create more employment opportunities in Legazpi City.

Mayor Noel Rosal said these include giant business companies such as SM Prime Holdings and Gokongwei Group of Companies.

“The entry of giant business groups in Legazpi City signifies the city as a center of investment in Bicol with the city’s neighboring municipalities and provinces also expected to be a strong market for these groups,” Rosal said.

He noted that these businesses will create more employment opportunities for the community and contribute to the city’s local coffers by way of business taxes that the city can use for health and social services, infrastructure and environmental projects for its constituents.

The mall is expected to provide around 3,000 jobs to Legazpeños and residents from neighboring municipalities.

Rosal bared that SM Prime Holdings, owner of the country’s premier shopping malls, will have the groundbreaking ceremony of its P1.5-billion SM City Legazpi on January 2017. The company, which is one of the biggest shopping mall operators in Southeast Asia, is in the last stage of processing the necessary documents and permits to prepare for the construction.

He furthered that the city administration and SM management are now looking for a temporary transport terminal before starting civil works for the project.

The mall will be located within the 4.5-hectare area adjacent to the City Central Terminal complex and Ibalong Centrum for Recreation, which is at the heart of the city’s commercial district in Barangay Bitano.

The developer said the SM City Legazpi will be a four-level structure that will house a department store, supermarket, cyberzone, appliance center and a five-level car parking area which will be considered as among other world class lifestyle amenities.

Rosal said the Gokongwei Group of Companies is also planning to construct the Robinson’s Galleria de Legazpi at the adjacent area of the city’s grand terminal in Barangay Bitano.

The four-level shopping mall will be patterned after the Robinsons Galleria de Cebu and will house the Summit Hotel, Go Hotel and a Business Process Outsourcing center along with a multi-level parking area.

Currently, there are five malls operating in the city, including the Gaisano Mall owned by Cebu City-based Gaisano family and the LCC (Liberty Commercial Center)-Ayala twin malls co-managed by Tan Familyand the Ayala Group of Companies.

Recently opened in the city are Yashano Mall owned by the Hong Family and 101 Mall which is owned by a local businessman. (SAA/EPS-CGL/PIA5/Albay)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

PHO to conduct orientation on local investment plan for health

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Oct. 11 (PIA) – The Provincial Health Office (PHO) is set to conduct a meeting on Data Gathering and the Mechanics of the Crafting of the Local Investment Plan for Health (LIPH) 2017-2019 on October 14, 2016.

Dr. Hazel A. Palmes, Provincial Health Officer II of the PHO said that in 2006 the Province-wide Investment Plan for Health (PIPH) was introduced to strengthen local health planning and to localize the Health Sector Reform Agenda. The PIPH is a 3 year plan which was regularly updated thereafter.

With the new administration, the Provincial Government through the Local Implementation and Coordination Team (LICT) will facilitate the crafting of the said plan now referred as the Local Investment Plan for Health (LIPH) covering CY 2017-2019.

The LIPH is a localization tool of national health programs. It shall serve as basis for resource mobilization and investment planning towards attaining local and national health goals and an official means for the Department of Health (DOH) and development partners to engage Local Government Units (LGUs).

It shall be guided by the National Objectives for Health (NOH), DOH implementation framework, LGUs Development Plans and Sustainable Health Development Goals.

Palmes likewise clarified that the meeting on data gathering and the mechanics of crafting of the LIPH will be held on October 14 while the orientation on the LIPH on October 24, 2016 at Capitol Dome, Virac.

Expected participants are Municipal Health Officers, SB Committee Chairmen on Health, Municipal Planning & Development Officers, Municipal Budget Officers, Municipal Accountants and Barangay Captains from 11 Municipalities. (EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Robredo cites teachers, urges to work for quality education

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 10 (PIA) -- Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni “ Robredo has urged on Friday the teachers to work together to ensure good quality of education among the youth as one way of bringing a better future of our country.

Robredo keynoted the the opening rites of Education Summit and National Teachers Day Celebration held at the Legazpi City Convention Center here

"Strengthening the education sector is one of the foremost agenda of the Office of Vice President," she pointed out.  

Robredo furthered that teachers has actually the toughest job, adding that they are the real heroes of our country by way of developing the attitude as well as the abilities and skills of every students in the community.

Some 3,000 teachers were present during the gathering that provide a venue to recognize their crucial role in molding the lives of the people.

The National Teacher's Month evolved on the theme: Guro Kabalikat sa Pagbabago.

Mayor Noel E. Rosal  meanwhile said the world wouldn’t be what it is now where people learn to care, nurture, respect, understand and love themselves and others, and anything that exists around them.

Rosal described education as one of the best weapons to fight the poverty, also a tool of improving the lives of the people in the community and it would serve as the best engine for economic growth of our society.

Rosal said the city government has put up various day care centers in the city’s different villages, particularly the flung areas of the city, "to ensure that young as they are they should be aware of the essentials of getting educated"

“This is also to ensure the children will get good, quality education,” he said.

The city government has also rehabilitated the old classrooms and constructed new school buildings in different villages particularly in far-flung areas as one way of giving the students an opportunity to finish their studies with less educational expenses, he pointed out.

Rosal said beneficiary students under the Tertiary Education and Extension Program of the City Administration in partnership with Bicol University (BU) are now enjoying their studies with free tuition fee in order to give them a high quality of good education.  (MAL/EPS-CGL/PIA5/Albay)

The Story of Leonie: Drug user turned partner for change

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 10 (PIA) -- "Getting into prohibited drugs or being dead drunk will not at all solve one’s problem,” Leonie said.

Leonie Buhion Belarmino, 51 years old of Bulan Sorsogon, is a recovered drug dependent.

 He is married with three children, all boys,  but bad fate has dismantled his family.

The third child among 11 siblings, Leonie is born to parents whose income is just enough to support the family especially that all their children are in school. Life was tough for the family so he decided to help his father earn a living.

After school, he would go with his father fishing and on weekends he would sell fresh fish. Leonie shared that he finds happiness when he is able to help his father earn a living.

“Pangarap ng aming mga magulang na kami ay makapagtapos ng pag-aaral,(It’s our parent's desire to see all of us finish our studies.)," Leonie said.

Getting into drugs

 Through peer pressure, Leonie started to drink “tuba” at the age of 13.

Tuba” otherwise known as coconut wine is a sweet, fresh or mildly fermented sap taken from tripping the young expanded flowers of the coconut.

For Leonie and friends, it is the most affordable instead of buying hard liquor. But it was from this coconut wine where Leonie started his vices.

Since Leony never stopped from earning a living even at an early age, he always have some penny in his pocket.

Influenced by his friends and some schoolmates, he started to take cough syrup and marijuana. Addiction greatly affected his family especially that he already started to sell his personal belongings and tried to get his mother’s medicine.

His mother has a heart ailment of which one of the prescribed medicines is a tranquilizer.He started using this prohibited drugs in 1997 causing big problem to his family.

Feeling unwanted and with the thought of getting away from addiction, Leonie went to Manila where he worked as a promo boy for eight years but things didn't turned out that way.

“Lalo akong nalulong sa droga kasi yong tinitirhan kong pinsan ay gumagamit din ng bawal na gamot”. Meron akong perang pambili hindi lang ng marijuana kundi shabu at minsan tinikman ko na rin ang cocaine, (The more that I get addicted in Manila because the cousin I'm staying with is also a drug user. I'm earning so I could afford to buy not only marijuana but shabu and even cocaine.)," Leonie added.

His father learned of his addiction so in August 20,1986 he was brought  to the Psychiatric Department of Quezon City General Hospital where he stayed for three months rehabilitation. Upon discharge he was able to return back to work and got married the next year.

"Pinanindigan ko ang isang mabuting ama, inayos ang paghahanap buhay at pilit kong kinalimutan ang droga,(I stood by my family as a good father, worked hard and really tried to forget drugs)," he said.

Life’s Struggle

After marriage, Leonie lived with his family in Laguna. However his work as a salesman demands being away from his family most of the time.

One day he learned that his wife left their abode with another man, bringing with her their children. Adding in to his burden is the death of his his eldest son due to vehicular accident.

He still tried and did everything to win back his wife but to no avail.

His frustrations pushed him to return to his addiction.

“Ang paghihithit ng shabu ay ang aking paraan para makalimot sa aking madilim na karanasan sa buhay, (Drugs was my way to forget all those experiences)," Leonie sighed with tears falling on his cheeks.

He vividly recalled losing his job, money, friends and contact with his family for almost seven months.

"I had acute psychological and behavioral problem. Ako ay naging taong grasa. Para makakain, ako ay namalimos o kumuha ng mga tira-tira sa mga restoran o carenderia, (I became a psychotic vagrant, lived in the street, begged and ate left over foods from restaurants)," Leonie said further baring that he was able to reach Manila from Pangasinan on foot.

However, his family didn't gave up looking for him.He was found by his brother and brought to Mandaluyong Rehabilitation Center for treatment. He was then brough back to Bicol where he was admitted at the Department of Psychiatry of Bicol Medical Center in Pili, Camarines Sur.

After three months, he returned to his family but was still taking shabu from time to time while his psychotic behavior recurred.

Family’s Support

His family's support has been a big factor in his recovery.

He was then admitted at the Malinao Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (MTRC)in Malinao, Albay for one year. Upon discharge he went back to his hometown and stayed with his father.

His siblings funded his capital to start a small business. He invested the amount in a buy and sell business while his brother brought him a tricycle for easier mobility of goods.

“Malaki ang tulong ng aking pamilya sa aking pagbabago. Hindi nila ako pinapabayaan, (The continous support of my family is a big help to my recovery)," he said.

Since his family and other siblings are just staying in one compound, Leonie had all the time to bond with them and have someone to talk to.

Realization and Intervention

 Leonie realized that drug addiction has messed his life. He wanted to change for good.

 According to Leonie his stay in the rehabilitation center paved way to let him see life in a different scale.

"I decided to be back to the Lord. Detoxification and withdrawal from drugs was the most difficult in the rehabilitation program. But with determination I was able to surpass these difficulties.” said Leonie

Having shown good performance while in the rehabilitation center, Leonie was identified and qualified to be with the intervention group of the START.

During the intervention, the START provided medical treatment and recovery through spiritual strengthening of a person. It also provided him a cash grant of P5, 000.00 for him to start livelihood activities.

From the grant, Leonie bought a motorized banca and had it rented giving him an income of at least 500.00 per week.

Leonie proudly said that he is now able to help his brothers and sisters provide a living for their father and now able to send financial support to his two son.

Now a partner for change

Leonie is now a strong partner in the advocacy campaign to educate and prepare families and communities on the adverse effects of drugs.

He is also actively involved in the promotion of family life enrichment activities especially those who are recovering from drug dependency to equip them with parenting and life skills to ensure a drug free home.


The Strategy Toward Acceptance, Reintegration and Transformation (START), which was piloted in Bicol region, is one of the DSWD’s program which focuses on the organization of recovering drug dependents who will later become the advocacy arm at the community level and shall be equipped through the provision of the following existing basic, social and psychological services such as Assistance In Crisis Situation (AICS), economic and livelihood assistance, emergency shelter assistance and referral services.(MAL/SAA/DSWD5-PIA5/Albay)

Friday, October 7, 2016

Illegal 'endo' or contractual labor: DOLE consults Bicol employers

By Rosalita B. Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte, Oct. 7 (PIA) – The office here of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has conducted a dialogue on labor contractualization with business establishment owners in this province.

Raymund P. Escalante, labor communications officer, said the activity sought to have a uniform understanding on the present administration’s directives on “endo” (the colloquial term for “end of contract”) and “LOC” (the acronym for Labor Only Contracting).

He said that the activity also aimed at soliciting comments, suggestions or reactions from the participants regarding the issue.

Escalante said endo is prohibited.  It is the process by which companies hire employees for less than six months to avoid being covered by the labor code requirement to regularize employment after that period.

He said that contrary to what is widely believed, the prohibition on LOC or endo is not new because it is specifically stated in Art. 106-109 of the Labor Code.

The code empowered the secretary of DOLE to, by appropriate regulations, restrict or prohibit the contracting-out of labor to protect the rights of workers; established solidary liability between principal and contractor; empowered SOLE to determine who among the parties involved shall be considered the employer; and defined labor-only contracting.

He also said that several department orders were issued and one of these was DOLE Department Order 18-A, series of 2011 which also prohibits LOC.

Under the LOC the contractor or subcontractor merely recruits, supplies or places workers to perform a job, work or service for a principal and with the elements that the contractor does not have the substantial capital or equipment, and the contractor does not exercise the right to control over the performance of the work of the employee.

He said that due to the endo issue, the DOLE issued Department Order No. 162-16 dated July 25, 2016 which is the suspension of new applicants as contractor and subcontractor under Department Order No. 18-A, series of 2011.

Under the said order, existing certificates shall be respected and this took effect on Aug. 1, 2016.

Also Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued Labor Advisory No. 10 Series of 2016 on prohibition against LOC.

He said that the Secretary invites all employers, principals, contractors to institute necessary actions to eliminate labor-only contracting before they will be assessed by labor laws compliance officers.

On the other hand, the DOLE regional office in Bicol will continue its assessments of establishments by the compliance officers with the provision of technical assistance to business owners. (EAD/RBM-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

Monday, October 3, 2016

DOLE Bicol pursues a drug-free agency, employee

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 3 (PIA) -- To show all-out unity and support to the government’s on-going campaign against illegal drug abuse, official anf employees of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Bicol has underwent a Drugs and Substance Abuse Orientation recently.

On the said orientation, DOLE Bicol proved that their office is indeed a drug-free workplace, with none of its personnel branded as “drug or substance abusers”.

The department conducted the said orientation in consonance with the Anti-Drug and Substance Abuse Free Workplace policy, issued by the DOLE head office and locally adopted and implemented by DOLE Bicol.

The orientation took place at DOLE-5’s regional office and was attended by all regional office employees, including their off-duty security personnel. The activity was handled by experts from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Department of Health (DOH).

For DOLE-5 the orientation is just the first of many anti-illegal drug measures to be implemented by the department, not just to its personnel but also to its eleven attached agency.

The department also takes pride at being the first government office to have issued a concrete anti-drug and substance abuse policy, and one of the first to have successfully implemented the same in all of its regional offices.

Proving that DOLE can lead by example, DOLE Bicol officer in charge Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla said: “Our aim is more than info campaign but rather to prove to Bicolanos that we are true to our mandate in advocating a substance and drug abuse free work place by submitting ourselves, our office, and our personnel to this kind of orientation.”

It can be recalled that DOLE has been strict in the implementation of DOLE Department Order 53-03, which requires private business firms to implement anti-drug abuse programs in their respective workplaces. The move done by DOLE Bicol shows that they too can comply with the rules that they themselves enforce. (MAL/DOLE5/PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211475479842/dole-bicol-pursues-a-drug-free-agency-employee#sthash.HqNncfoQ.dpuf