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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cebu Pacific now has daily flight in Catanduanes

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Nov. 30 (PIA)- Cebu Pacific announced that there will now be daily flights to and from Virac beginning December 18, 2016 until March 2017.

According to Roberto L. Jackson, Cebu Pacific station officer in Catanduanes, instead of 4x weekly Airbus Manila-Virac-Manila flight, there will now be an 11x weekly ATR operations.

He likewise bared that aside from daily flights, there will also be days with two flights from and to Manila.

The new schedule is as follows: Daily Manila-Virac, 05:40H-06:50H; Virac-Manila 07:20-08:20H; Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday Manila-Virac 08:20H-09:30H; Virac-Manila 09:50H-11:00H.

The change was also made possible by Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation who requested the management of Cebu Pacific President/CEO Lance Gokongwei for additional flights to Virac during their regular meetings with different airline companies to improve their services.

Meanwhile, Provincial Tourism Officer Carmel B. Garcia said that with the implementation of daily flights in Catanduanes, they are expecting a boost in the number of tourist arrivals in the province. (EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841480478891/cebu-pacific-now-has-daily-flight-in-catanduanes#sthash.uKBzRiOh.dpuf

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

BNC, JJWC, DSWD hold youth meet vs. lowered MACR

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 29 (PIA) – To culminate the celebration of this year’s National Children’s Month, the Bicol Network for Children (BNC), in cooperation with the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the Bicol region held the #KalingaHindiKulungan Bicol Youth Meet at Legazpi City.

The main purpose of the event is to show solidarity against the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR), as proposed by House Bill 02 which was filed in the 17th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines. According to children rights advocates, making the minors vulnerable to mature criminal punishments, specifically imprisonment, would only expose them to greater criminal influence.

“We do not believe that imprisoning children would lower down the country’s crime rate. Instead, it would be like enrolling children to higher levels of criminality, because of influences they may acquire while inside jails,” said Ms. Victoria Tagum, assistant regional director of DSWD-Bicol.

House Bill 02, also titled as “Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Act”, was authored and filed by representatives Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez of Davao del Norte and Fredinil Castro of Capiz. The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 9344 or the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006”, reducing the MACR from 15 years old to 9 years old.

According to the authors, the bill’s objective is to eliminate criminal activities which use children as accomplices, like drug trafficking. In their explanatory note, the solons argue that, while the protection of children is laudable, the effect is opposite as youth offenders commit crime knowing that they can get away with it.

On the other hand, DSWD and other child welfare organization expressed their strong opposition on the matter. They argue that those within the age of minority cannot yet fully discern what is right from wrong, and their disposition lies with their environment and parental responsibility.

“Imprisoning children is not the solution to criminality. Statistics show that there are drastically more adult offenders than there are children. The solution is intervention, not imprisonment,” argues Tagum.

Since the introduction of the bill this September, DSWD has been open with their disagreement in the lowering of the MACR. During the meet in Legazpi City, DSWD showcased the details and effectiveness of the intervention programs which are already being used throughout the country.

According to DSWD, programs are already being utilized for children in conflict with the law (CICLs) with a wholistic approach, including social, spiritual, and skills development.

In cooperation with concerned agencies like the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), CICLs are given skills training like carpentry, landscaping, and handicrafts while being house in juvenile institutions, so that they may have the ability to be productive citizens after their rehabilitation.

CICLs were also given guidance seminars while being housed at social welfare facilities, while being attended by ‘house parents’.To show how the intervention programs would work, testimonial talks from ‘Arman’, a former CICL, was included in the youth meet in Legazpi.

According to Arman, due to unbearable poverty and lack of parental guidance, he was compelled to commit theft at a very tender age. However, after being given the care and attention by his house parent while serving his time in a juvenile institution, he is now a changed person who shares his story of inspiration.

“(CICLs) do not need to be punished severely in order to change. All we need are people who care to make us realize that we have a chance to change,” said Arman. (MAL/JBE-PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3301480400491/bnc-jjwc-dswd-hold-youth-meet-vs-lowered-macr#sthash.HsA90C5d.dpuf

Bicol’s “orange Cagsawa” showcases campaign to end violence vs. women

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY., Nov 29 (PIA) -- It may not seem a good start as heavy rain poured on but it didn’t stop the Bicolanos from joining the call to support the advocacy to end violence against women (VAW) through the "Orange Your Icon for 18 days" campaign launched November 25 in the Bicol region at Cagsawa Park in Albay.

Despite the bad weather, representatives from various government agencies, organizations, sectors and stakeholders from the region convened for the kick-off ceremony of the 18-day campaign to end VAW and ceremonial lighting of the Cagsawa ruins led by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Bicol and Philippine Commission for Women.

DOT undersecretary and guest of honor Alma Jimenez noted the potential of everyone to stop VAW citing the need to respect oneself and others especially the women.

Jimenez said VAW victims have the choice to be free and stay away from violent environment that will compromise their safety and well-being, further urging them to speak up and seek help from concerned organizations and government agencies.

“VAW victims have the choice to say no and enough to violence. I am urging them to speak up or else it will become a vicious cycle that can put their life at risk. Our government and various concerned organizations have programs and services readily available to help them be free from violent environment and situations,” Jimenez said.

In the tourism sector, Jimenez furthered that policies and programs are likewise in place to protect welfare of women wherein 60-70% of the workforce are women.

“Although the industry has created economic opportunities especially for women, tourism has also posed negative effects on women’s human rights. Women can be vulnerable and may fall victim to sexual exploitation and trafficking which is part of the larger social issue under VAW,” she said.

Also with Jimenez during the opening program are DOT Bicol director Maria Ravanilla and representatives from various sectors who led the pledge of commitment to support VAW in the workplace and the community.

Ravanilla has earlier called on the communities to find major landmarks or icons in their respective areas, which can be historical places, statues, monuments or buildings and light them up with orange to signify support to the campaign which has shifted to positive advocacy messaging to encourage more people support, participations and commitment.

For Bicol region, the Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga town was decorated with orange spotlight and banners to showcase the said campaign.

The “Orange your Icon” campaign was launched in solidarity with the United Nation’s Unite to End VAW Campaign with the idea to stimulate public’s curiosity about the “orange” landmarks or icons nationwide and be an opportunity to tap new audiences to join the cause.

The color orange was chosen to represent hope and a future free from violence against women and girls. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571480408087/bicol-s-orange-cagsawa-showcases-campaign-to-end-violence-vs-women#sthash.IS9nv9NK.dpuf

Monday, November 28, 2016

CamSur guv strengthens fight against drugs through CASUROG Program

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

PILI, CAMARINES SUR, Nov. 28 (PIA) --- Various efforts to curb the ill-effects of illegal drugs have already been implemented by the provincial government of Camarines Sur in response to the directives of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte immediately following his assumption of office in June 30.

Governor Miguel “Migz” Villafuerte recapitulated this commitment during the regional launch of the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) “Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Droga” or MASA MASID program Friday, November 25 at the Capitol Convention Center here.

“I mustered enough courage to speak with SILG Ismael Sueno and convince him to hold the MASA MASID regional launch here in the province simply to reiterate that Camarines Sur is 100 per cent in support of President Duterte’s campaign  against illegal drugs,” Villafuerte said

The young governor presented the province’s anti-drug program which is now slowly gaining grounds, particularly in the grassroots level.

Dubbed Camarines Sur Response Operations Group, popularly known as CASUROG program, includes among others the establishment of drug rehabilitation centers, provision of scholarship to the youth and providing supplementary livelihood programs to those previously involved in illegal drug use.

Believing that the youth will play a key role in the success of the campaign, Villafuerte first organized the youth through the Provincial Youth Summit against Prohibited Drugs held September here where he challenged the student-participants to raise their awareness on the ill-effects of drugs and encourage them to have an active role in the fight against illegal drugs.

He was also instrumental in the formation of Task Force KAbarangay Ko, TAtabangan Kong Iwasan ang Droga (KATAID)  in compliance with DILG RMC N0. 2016-015. Part of its commitment is  the provision of the provincial government’s full support to OPLAN Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel being spearheaded by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Villafuerte also cited the important role of the Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) as frontliners in rehabilitating drug addicts who will avail of the government’s program. He stated that he and his father, 2nd District Congressman LRay Villafuerte are already crafting a bill that would increase the current honorarium of the BHWs in the province.

To ensure that surrenderees will have a place to go, the governor said that a residential rehab center in Iriga City is now being worked on plus ten (10) non-residential rehab centers in the outskirts of the province to serve the out-patients.
“CASUROG is being fully implemented in the 1,03 barangays here in the province where we have designated 5 to 8 volunteers that will serve as the government’s eyes and ears. They will be in every nook and corner of Camarines Sur to safeguard the community against illegal drugs,” Villafuerte said in closing. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861480333952/camsur-guv-strengthens-fight-against-drugs-through-casurog-program#sthash.Y84LCr3O.dpuf

DILG’s MASA MASID regional launch in Bicol

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Nov. 28 (PIA) -- With the war on drugs now in full swing across the country, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) inched another step forward to ensure that the campaign will be relentlessly pursued with the help of more stakeholders and volunteers.

DILG BIcol has  spearheaded the regional launch of “Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Droga, otherwise known under the acronym MASA MASID held Friday, November 25 at the Capitol Convention Center in Pili, Camarines Sur.

 DILG Secretary Ismael D. Sueno keynoted the event with more than 3,000 participants from various local government units, students, heads of national government agencies, law enforcement agencies , members and officers of DILG, government officials, youth,  barangay volunteers and members of the media, among others in attendance.

Sueno reiterated President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive to lessen, if not totally eliminate the drug menace in the country.

“President Duterte is very serious in his campaign to free our country from illegal drugs. One of the reasons for adopting MASA MASID is to ensure demand reduction that is, get volunteers from barangays to educate others on the ill-effects of drugs and for them to serve as the eyes and ears of the government. Second, ensure supply and demand reduction by rehabilitating and reforming the community where they live,” Sueno said.

Sueno also enjoined other government agencies, particularly those directly involved in addressing the war on drugs like the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Department of Health (DOH), other attached agencies, particularly the local government units to innovate and pursue programs that would encourage more drug surrenderres to come up in the open and embrace reform.

DILG Bicol officer in chargeELouisa T. Pastor believed that the war on drugs will be won only if every stakeholder will do their part.  She acknowledged the significant role that the volunteers will play in diminishing the supply and demand of illegal drugs in every community.

The event was capped with the pledge of commitment led by the different Liga Presidents representing their respective provinces, Archdiocese of Caceres, League of Municipalities representative, and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP).

The stakeholders, led by Camarines Sur Governor Miguel “Migz” Villafuerte signed their names at the commitment wall to signify their willingness to help in the fight against illegal drugs.    (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861480330478/dilg-s-masa-masid-regional-launch-in-bicol#sthash.bmZr9Ykc.dpuf

Police, military operatives discover ‘shabu lab’ in Catanduanes

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Nov. 28 (PIA) -- Bicol regional director PCSupt. Melvin Ramon G. Buenafe of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has confirmed yesterday, Nov. 27, the discovery of a clandestine shabu laboratory at Barangay Palta Small in this municipality.

According to PCSupt. Buenafe, said laboratory was secured in a joint operation of Catanduanes Police Provincial Office, Provincial Public Safety Company and 83rd IB of the Philippine Army in coordination with the municipal government of Virac, headed by Mayor Samuel V. Laynes early Saturday, Nov. 26.

Buenafe emphasized in a media interview that the relentless campaign of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s administration and PNP with the help of the community led to the discovery of said laboratory.

The L-shaped structure lies on a 1,000 square meter lot rented by a Filipino-Chinese identified as Jayson Gonzales Uy.

Found inside the building were hundreds of water containers, sealed plastic pails, freezers, electrical equipment and three machines for manufacture of shabu that have yet to be installed.

Also found were chemical containers, digital weighing scales, plastic bags and a notebook with Chinese words and numerals beside the letters “kgs,” which apparently meant kilograms.

Meanwhile, Governor Joseph C. Cua thanked local authorities for the efforts that led to the discovery of the laboratory.

Said laboratory was the first shab lab discovered in Catanduanes. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

Friday, November 25, 2016

DOH promotes HIV awareness on Albays LGBT community

By Julius B. Embile

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 25 (PIA) – Through the combined efforts of the Albay province’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and the Department of Health (DOH), Legazpi City hosted the Bicol region’s first LGBT Convention with the objective of addressing the threat of ‘human immunodeficiency virus’ (HIV) upon the LGBT community.

Held Thursday at Legazpi City Convention Center, the said convention was a one-day event with the theme: “LGBT… The Metamorphosis… Be free, Be Informed, Get Tested For HIV.” The convention featured the talents and solidarity of the LGBT community members from the different cities and municipalities of Albay, but the consistent focus of the event is HIV awareness and education.

Based on the statistics presented by Dr. Aurora Daluro of DOH during the convention, the department’s Epidemiology Bureau tallied a cumulative total of 34,999 cases of HIV infection in the Philippines, since the infection was first detected in the country in 1984 up until the present.

However, what concerns the health authorities the most is the big increase of HIV cases since 2009. Compared to the statistics before 2009, the recorded cases of HIV infection surged by about 832% from 2009 until 2016. The data shows an average of 26 victims are being infected in a daily basis.

“These statistics are alarming enough as it is, but it is also concerning that victims are getting younger and younger through the years,” said Dr. Daluro. This is in reference to the increased number of HIV cases upon those within the 15 to 24 year-old age bracket; an age group which the doctor described as the age of ‘youth and restlessness’.

In terms of treatment, however, only 611 HIV infected patients have enrolled into anti-retroviral therapy, out of 764 detected HIV cases since August 2016. Dr. Daluro added that. Since there are victims who did not submit themselves to treatment, continued proliferation of the infection is still a clear projection.

In the Bicol region, Camarines Sur comes in first with a total of 161 cumulative cases (since 1988) and 23 cases therein are recorded in 2016.Ranked second is Albay, with 131 cumulative cases and 16 of which is for 2016.

The province of Sorsogon accounted a cumulative total of 55 HIV cases, 6 of which were recorded this year. Masbate tallied a cumulative total of 41 HIV cases, wherein 9 were recorded this year.

Camarines Norte has a total of 28 HIV cases since 1988, including one which was recorded this 2016. The province of Catanduanes recorded the least cases with only 16 cumulative total, but 3 of whom were recorded this year.

Overall, the Bicol region has a cumulative total of 433 HIV cases since 1988, wherein 58 were recently reported.

The data from the Epidemiology Bureau also provided a break-down of HIV infection in the region’s cities. Top among these cities is Naga City, with a total of 65 cases since 1988 and 11 of which has been recorded in 2016. Coming in second is Legazpi City, with a cumulative total of 37 HIV cases wherein 6 were recorded in 2016.

Ranked respectively, the DOH also identified, in terms of HIV cases, the cities and municipalities of: Sorsogon (3rd), Daraga (4th), Masbate (5th), Tabaco (6th), Polangui (7th), Guinobatan (8th), Iriga (also 8th), Virac (also 8th), Camalig (9th), Baao (10th), and Buhi (also 10th).

The statistics also showed a shift in the breakdown of infection victims. According to the data, most cases of HIV are from female victims and very little are from male victims during the 80s and 90’s. However, recent analysis show that 9 out of 10 (90%) of HIV victims are male, and now only 10% of victims are female.

In a rationale presented by Ms. Hazel Lynn Bartolome, Provincial STI Coordinator of Albay’s Provincial Health Office, the LGBT community is the social sector most vulnerable to HIV, based on recent studies. According to Bartolome, 80% of HIV victims are male, between the age of 25 and 34, who engage in MSM (men having sexual relations with men).

“HIV infection could be treated, but victims refuse to come forward because of silence, ignorance, fear, stigma, and discrimination,” said Bartolome. She explained that many refuse to submit themselves to HIV testing because of the social judgment that they may get even before the result.

The health authorities, on the other hand, continue to convince the public, especially the LGBT community, to submit to HIV testing and not be afraid to prioritize their health.

The City Health Office of Legazpi, through their Social Hygiene Clinic, invited the participants of the convention to avail of their free HIV and STI testing, counseling and free contraceptives. If, in any case one suspects being HIV positive, they are invited to approach the National HIV and STI Surveillance and Strategic Information Unit (NHSSS) to be given necessary treatment. (MAL/JBE-PIA5)

Bicolano seaman notches top spot in NRCO business plan competition

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov 24 (PIA) --  A Bicolano seaman from Manito Albay bagged the P.5 million top prize for the 2016 Business Plan competition  of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs - Integrated Seaman of the Philippines (NRCO-ISP).

“It’s a lucky time for Bicol. This is another national award by year-end.” DOLE Bicol officer in charge Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla said.

Ryan Mark A. Antiquera is an active seaman for six years and is currently aboard the Philippine Transmarines Carriers.

His winning business plan entry entitled “Soft Broom Making” was judged as the best business plan in the entire country. The entries were adjudged based on the project feasibility, use of raw materials, and impact on community development.

According to NRCO Bicol Coordinator Ms. Kristina Briguera-Oliveros, Antiquera’s   winning entry captivated the national judges due to its livelihood impact not only to the plan maker but the entire community as well since ‘soft broom’ is said to be the popular native product of Manito, Albay.

The Soft Broom Making plan includes the cultivation, planting of tiger grass, of the owner’s 7-hectare agricultural property up to the actual making of the soft broom.

“In planting the tiger grass alone, the project is already expected to employ some 20-30 local farmers and more employment is expected to be generated come the actual production of the soft broom,” Oliveros said.

 Trayvilla added that soft broom making in said area is a local skill and has even become more like a “part time” hubby of stay-home mothers.

“The raw materials are available and the skills are inherent to locals. We believe that this business plan will really take off. With this project, we are even eyeing Manito as the future global exporter of soft broom,” she said.

The “Soft Broom Business Plan” has topped among 40 submitted entries nationwide.

Another Bicolano entry from Mr. And Mrs. Allan Delfin of Libmanan, Camarines Sur “Producing and Selling Naturally Gorwn Rice, Ducks and Eggs through Integrated Rice-Duck Farming System” has also entered the top 40 slot and has won a consolation prize of P20,000.00.

 “Technically we have two winners from Bicol. Although, the entry of the spouses Delfin’s were in the consolation prize, for us, DOLE and NRCO Bicol they still winners.” Trayvilla said.

With the half million cash prize, the implementation of the “Soft Broom Making” project is expected to start by December this year.(SAA/DOLE5/PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571479972777/bicolano-seaman-notches-top-spot-in-nrco-business-plan-competition#sthash.NZoSvwLc.dpuf

Thursday, November 24, 2016

PIA to modernize, evolve with the digital world – DDG Villar

By Julius B. Embile

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 24 (PIA) – Introducing a fresh direction on the Philippine Information Agency’s (PIA) functions, the agency’s new deputy director general Gregorio Angelo Villar stressed on the agency’s plans of having its offices to grow and evolve with the modern world, specifically with the rapidly rising digital media.

Villar visited Tuesday last week PIA’s Bicol regional office for a conference with the regional and provincial offices' officials and employees as part of PIA Central Office’s efforts in bringing the agencies much closer to the regional offices.

“Information plays a crucial role in nation-building. But what we have to focus on is our approach,” said Villar.

“The purpose of these regional visits, which we plan to do as often as we could, is to get the pulse of every employee and identify the best practices that we could use to move forward,” he added.

As described by the DDG, the PIA has been trying to catch-up with the demands of the evolution of information, but now we must cease to be outdated and actually keep-up with this day and age. The agency’s new leadership, under the Duterte Administration, looks to modernize the PIA.

PIA, being a multi-media platform for the government’s public information, is to be organized with a streamlined flow of information between the government and the people. As integrated in the PIA’s immediate plans, the national and regional development communication networks are to be revived, with an increased focus on social digital media.

Digital technologies, that will provide a seamless connection among the PIA offices, are to be utilized. Under the new Digital Communications Unit (DigiComs), information sharing is aimed to evolve to technologically advance means like video and teleconferencing.

Release of public communications would also be improved by featuring internet blogs, digital TV programs, and micro-sites.

“We (PIA) are trying to prepare as early as now. Considering that digital media is utilized by 45% of the population today, it may increase by 80% in a matter of two years and by then we may have fallen behind,” explained DDG Villar.

PIA’s new direction towards modernization also included an overall realignment of the officers’ and employees’ skill sets. Specifically, skills on information technology (IT) are to be given priority in terms of the offices’ human resource departments.

“We need to be fluid and dynamic; changes would be happen fast as our President wants actions and solutions fast. We should be able to be fast as well so we would not be left behind,” said the DDG.

The first step, as explained by DDG Villar, is to eliminate irrelevant processes that would rather burden the offices for mere compliance. As laid out in every regional office of PIA, the agency’s new leaders would now focus on three main thrust guidelines: (1) capacity building to fulfill the role of advertising and public relations arm of the government, (2) development of grassroots communication, and (3) give emphasis on developmental communication for good governance.

To DDG Villar, the PIA’s new path towards modernization is the edge needed in keeping up with the needs of building informed society which has been PIA’s main goal from the start. (MAL/JBE/PIA-5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3301479885203/pia-to-modernize-evolve-with-the-digital-world-ddg-villar#sthash.VWMacNb4.dpuf

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

DOT Bicol to lead 'Orange your Icon-Cagsawa Ruins' campaign for VAW-free community

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 23 (PIA) -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Bicol will lead this year's 18-day campaign to end violence against women (VAW) from November 25 to December 12, 2016 to strengthen the anti-VAW advocacy by enjoining new audiences to join the cause and be an instrument to spread awareness on VAW.

DOT Bicol regional director Maria Ravanilla said the anti-VAW drive will evolve on the campaign "Orange Your Icon" alongside with the promotion of national and local tourism sites and landmarks as well as in solidarity with United Nations’ UNiTE to End VAW campaign.

"The idea is to attract the public curiosity on why major landmarks or icons nationwide are colored orange—a bright and optimistic color which represents hope, thereby providing opportunities for advocates to explain the Anti-VAW advocacy," Ravanilla explained.

For Bicol, according to the DOT director, the Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga town will showcase the "Orange Your Icon" campaign by putting orange lights around the landmark/icon and light them up in the evening to draw attention to the need of fostering VAW-free communities.

She added that it will be decorated and colored orange with the use of flags, streamers or banners, spotlights at night, or any other creative ways of making it orange throughout the period of the 18-day campaign to end VAW.

The ceremonial lighting of the Cagsawa Ruins will be held at 5:00 pm on November 25 that will also mark the kick-off of the 18- campaign to end violence against women and foster VAW-free communities.

DOT Bicol, in partnership with the Philippine Council for Women (PCW), has called on everyone to be part of the endeavor and cause that by participating in this initiative, individuals and groups are declaring support to the anti-VAW advocacy and bringing the message of zero-tolerance for VAW to the public’s attention.

Ravanilla also called on the communities to find major landmarks or icons in their respective areas, which can be historical places, statues, monuments or buildings and light them up with orange to signify support.

DOT Bicol, through the the Inter-Agency Committee on Gender and Development Focal Point System (DOT-ICGFPS) in Bicol region tasked to lead and tapped its craft in pursuing the campaign to end VAW by incorporating tourism.

This year's campaign will build on the theme: "VAW-free Community Starts With Me" putting emphasis on the continuous pursuit of achieving a VAW-free community through everyone's commitment and contributions.

This, according to Ravanilla, also shifts the campaign to positive advocacy messaging to encourage more people support and participations much as commitment.

The agency has also lined-up other activities for this 18-day campaign which include the VAW Banner Design Contest and other fun fairs during the launching activities. (MAL-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211479196410/dot-bicol-to-lead-orange-your-icon-cagsawa-ruins-campaign-for-vaw-free-community#sthash.H9zDjiZF.dpuf

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

BMC launches “Youth Name it” competition

Ana-Liza S.Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Nov. 22  (PIA) --- To actively engage the youth in raising awareness on early teen pregnancy, including key reproductive health issues, substance abuse and other prevailing health concerns affecting the youth, the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) recently opened the BMC Teen Wellness Center.

The teenage-friendly facilities in the center endeavors to enjoin the youngsters, particularly women who had an early baptism to motherhood to have an alternative option in pursuing a life they deserve even after giving birth.

For more recall and familiarity, BMC taught of renaming the Teen Wellness Center, a name that would enjoin youngsters to avail its services and encourage others to do the same.

Dr. Annaliza Abainza, BMC Teen Wellness Center Program Coordinator stated that they are looking for a catchy name that will suit the center.

“We want to solicit the opinion and ideas of the young people and will ask them why they have chosen that name. Along the suggested name, they have to write a one-paragraph explanation why they came up with their choice.

The “Youth Name it” competition is open to all interested youth.

The contest is still part of the BMC Teen Wellness Program and aims to address persistent problems besetting the youth like anxiety, depression, suicide, HIV/AIDS, drug addiction, over-all wellness,other teen health concerns aside from early pregnancy.

For the criteria; 40 per cent goes to Originality which says that the center's suggested name must be fresh, new and have never been used by other existing health and wellness centers; Relevance and essence for 30 percent which means that the the name should denote a youthful spirit, shall be appropriate, culturally acceptable and implicitly hints the services being offered by the  center and last, Appeal  with 30 percent which says that the name must be pleasing and attractive to the youth.

To join, they must like first the bicolteens FB page and follow it at IG@bicolteens account.

Interested participants may submit their entries at the BMC Teen Wellness Center, OPD Bicol Medical Center Compound, Concepcion Pequena, Naga City. They may email it at bmcteens@gmail.com or post it at FB@bicolteens.

The winning entry will be announced through the social media platform and over the radio. The winner will receive Php1,000.00 (tax free) plus Center for Research and Development (CRTD) give away and certificate. Non-winning entries will also receive consolation prizes.

Deadline of submission of entries is on November 30, 2016 at 12pm. (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861479783869/bmc-launches-youth-name-it-competition#sthash.blkBgTOr.dpuf

PNP double barrel "Alpha" reaps 111 arrests, 16,216 personalities surrender in Bicol

By Julius B. Embile

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 22 (PIA) – Nearly a month after its full implementation, the "Project Double Barrel Alpha" of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) in the Bicol region continued to yield results after its expansion from illegal drug pushers and users to high-value targets in the drug trade.

Last October 25, based on the command issued by PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa upon all the regional commanders of the PNP, the on-going campaign against illegal drugs has been expanded under Project Double Barrel Alpha.

Aside from the house visitation being done with Oplan Tokahang, the new Double Barrel Alpha has shifted more focus to high-value targets (HVT) and would include workplace visitations by the police.

As of November 20, PNP-Bicol recorded 16,261 drug-related surrenders and 111 neutralized high-value targets since the implementation of Project Double Barrel Alpha in the region. This was the result of 89 police operations conducted, including arrest warrant issuance, buy-bust operations and other police operations.

Under Oplan Tokhang, a sub-operation of Project Double Barrel, the house visits on suspected involved in the drug proliferation continues as well. Since the implementation of Project Double Barrel Alpha, a total of 277,221 house visits were conducted by the PNP-Bicol, resulting to the surrender of 15, 312 drug users and 949 drug pushers.

Majority of these house visits were done in Masbate province, with 89,570 houses visited which yielded 2,781 surrenders. Coming in second is Sorsogon, with 72,164 houses visited that resulted to 1,755 surrenders.

In Camarines Sur, a total of 55,401 houses were visited by the authorities under Double Barrel Alpha, prompting the surrender of 3,841 illegal drug personalities. In addition, the operations in Naga City also yielded 920 surrenders after 2,300 houses were visited by the police.

Furthermore, the province of Albay posted a total of 2,602 surrenders and 33,482 house visits through their Project Double Barrel Alpha operations. The PNP of Camarines Norte, as well, yielded 2,651 surrenders after conducting a total of 12,996 house visitations.

The province of Catanduanes reported the least number for the region, with 1,711 drug-related surrenders after 11,308 house visits conducted.

In the PNP’s operations to neutralize HVTs in the Bicol region, 105 personalities were arrested and six were killed in operational encounters after fighting the authorities. Multiple paraphernalia were also confiscated by the police in their operations, including various drugs, money amounting to Php 121,981.21, two vehicles and 13 firearms.

“So as not to confuse, Project Double Barrel Alpha is an expansion of the original Project Double Barrel,” said PSI Malu Calubaquib, spokesperson of PNP-Bicol.

Combining the results of the original Project Double Barrel and the expanded Project Double Barrel Alpha in the Bicol region, the total number of drug-related surrenders would be 62,468, with 848 total arrests through 663 police operations since July.

In an interview with PNP-Bicol chief Gen. Ramon Melvin Buenafe, the police attribute the success of the police operations to the participation and help of the community.

“It is obvious that the people are already tired of having our country, so we thank the Bicolanos and the organizations they established to help the police against illegal drugs,” stated Buenafe, during an anti-illegal drugs rally in Legazpi city last November 14.

“These operations (Double Barrel Alpha) that we are conducting are part of a whole-of-nation approach, because everybody gets to contribute and help. With this, we are confident that we can achieve our time-table. By the end of December, we expect to have curbed the drug problems here in Bicol,” explained the chief.

General Buenafe further stated that, with the combined efforts of the police and vigilant members of the community, the neutralization of the targeted 24,000 drug personalities can be attained before the deadline set by the Duterte administration.

“We are already at 16 thousand (drug personalities neutralized), and we still have time to catch the rest in our watch list,” said the PNP-chief. (MAL/JBE-PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3301479709363/pnp-double-barrel-alpha-reaps-111-arrests-16-216-personalities-surrender-in-bicol#sthash.1jeCaOf0.dpuf

Albay, DA reaffirm ties to boost agri-fishery sector

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 22 (PIA) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol regional office and provincial government of Albay have reaffirmed their strong partnership in improving the lives of farmers and fishers as well as the aqua marine industry in the province.

In the recently held management meeting, Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara and DA-Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) South Luzon Director Shandy M. Hubilla shared their common vision in   upgrading the agri-fishery sector in the province.

Bichara shared his vision to invest in the province’s agri-fishery sector and upgrade the lives of Albayano farmers while making Albay known for emerging commodities.

Hubilla backed the governor noting that the PRDP is geared towards the same direction as the project mainly focuses on augmenting farmers’ income and developing an inclusive, climate-smart, and value chain-oriented agriculture and fishery sector in targeted project areas.

Hubilla encouraged Bichara to support the on-going and future sub-projects of the province under PRDP by providing technical guidance on prevailing issues and concerns such as lack of manpower, office, and other resources necessary to deliver an effective and efficient work performance.

In response, Bichara directed his current Provincial Project Management and Implementing Unit (PMMU) headed by Engr. Macario M. Pavia to fast track the procurement process and follow the PRDP management’s timetable for each sub-project.

He also ordered the hiring of 23 technical staff to work on proposals for the targeted P1 billion sub-projects under PRDP in 2017.

Hubilla said Albay has been one of the strong provincial partners of PRDP since 2014.

Under the Project’s local and national level planning or I-PLAN component, four commodities in the province namely coco geonets, sweet potato, pili, and abaca already have approved value chain analysis (VCA) reports. Verification of VCA reports for seaweeds, organic rice, dairy cattle and laing is still on-going.

Under PRDP’s I-BUILD component, Hubilla cited one infrastructure development sub-project for the province - the P205.23-million worth Rehabilitation/Improvement of Pistola-Tablon FMR w/ 3 Units Bridges in Oas, Albay.

The province has also proposed two infrastructure sub-projects: the P2.75 million-worth Construction of Multi-purpose Drying Pavement and the Construction of 15 units Palay Shed amounting to P20.40 million.

Furthermore, Albay served as the pilot province for the PRDP’s enterprise development (I-REAP) component through the P7.68-million-worth Albay Coco Geonets Manufacturing Enterprise managed by the Tunay Tapat Lahing Pilipino Cooperative (TTLPC) in Libon, Albay.

The province was likewise granted a microenterprise project worth P1.28 million dubbed “Enhancing Farm Capacity and Adoption of Nutrition Technology for Goat Production.”

Albay’s economy is highly dependent on agriculture. About 39,433 farmers or 50 percent of the farmers in the province are engaged in coconut production while there are 4,785 sweet potato farmers in the province with a total area of 1,674.90 hectares.

DA-PRDP is a six-year project being implemented by the DA that aims to raise farmers’ income and establish an inclusive, market-oriented and climate-resilient agri-fishery sector in targeted project areas in the countryside. The Project partners with local government units in providing facilities, infrastructure, and technology to rural folks nationwide.

The major components for the implementation of the PRDP are infrastructure development (I-Build), enterprise development (I-Reap), local planning (I-Plan) and project support (I-Support).(MAL/SAA/DA5-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571479715006/albay-da-reaffirm-ties-to-boost-agri-fishery-sector#sthash.ELBSlEUV.dpuf

Monday, November 21, 2016

GK founder brings first Enchanted Farm in Camarines Sur

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur, Nov. 21 (PIA) --- A new haven for social entrepreneurs will soon rise in Barangay Bahay of Libmanan town envisioned as the first ever site for the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm in the Bicol region in the years to come.

GK founder and chairm Tony Meloto, the man behind the rise of GK sites in Camarines Sur and other parts of the country, has remained optimistic that Camarines Sur is the perfect hub for a farm village university, where young people will learn the value of hardwork, where poor people can see the power within them and bring the seed of hope to their own land.

“We want Bicol to be the showcase of the first enchanted farm outside of Bulacan and that would be here in Camarines Sur. The next will be in the place of President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao because our goal is to build farm universities and to be able to spread it in the key regions of the country, Meloto added.

Tito Tony, as he was fondly called by the thousands of volunteers from around the globe, re-visited Camarines Sur to introduce another poverty reduction program meant to bring the youth to a new perspective of development.

”We are introducing now a new model of development that is new to a lot of Filipinos. Before, it has always been top down. We are very generous, compassionate, and we always look at the poor as the object of pity, mercy and on charity. Charity alone will not sustain development. We have to see the poor as the untapped wealth of this country, our lost human capital,” Meloto said.

Camarines Sur governor Miguel “Migz” Villafuerte recalled the long years of partnership with GK of the province of Camarines Sur, starting from the administration of his father who was then the governor of the province and now representative of the second congressional district of Camarines Sur, has built and has resulted to 16 GK Sites in the province alone.

“Camarines Sur was the record holder for having the most GK dwellings in the entire Philippines and I can say that is because of the inspiration given to us by Tito Tony. We are strengthening our partnership , our cooperation by strengthening the social enterprise component of Gawad Kalinga here in Camarines Sur like what is happening in Angat bulacan which I personally witnessed  a couple of month ago,” the young governor added.

The GK farm sprawled over a 14-hectare land in Barangay Encanto in Angat, Bulacan is a haven, village, home and “university” rolled into one.it is the first farm village university in the world.

Shanon Kadka , Bulacan GK Enchanted farm  head, said that they want to replicate what they are doing now in Bulacan in other provinces in the country. The first prototype is being built North of Manila and now they are working with different partners like the province of Camarines Sur to bring the GK Enchanted Farm to the key provinces of the country.  

Aside from the GK Enchanted farm, Governor Villafuerte is also eyeing a partnership with Hello, Philippines, a community of talented social entrepreneurs dedicated to reduce, if not eliminate poverty in the Philippines to form a GK/Hello Philippines Enchanted Island, in the future. (LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861479709556/gk-founder-brings-first-enchanted-farm-in-camarines-sur#sthash.LMGnhlvs.dpuf

Gov’t agencies in Bicol team up vs. hunger and poverty

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 21 (PIA) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Bicol regional office has teamed up with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA) and local government units (LGUs) in the Bicol region to step up efforts in alleviating hunger and poverty.

Programs of these agencies were linked under the Partnership against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP) program to serve as a social infrastructure in improving access to basic services and facilitating rural investment.

“Partnership against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP) is a convergence program intended to create essential social infrastructure aimed at improving access to basic services and facilitating investment into the rural economy,” DSWD Bicol director Arnel Garcia said.

Garcia said the implementation of the PAHP program has been pilot-tested in Bicol where DSWD’s supplementary feeding program (SFP) for Day Care Centers are linked to the support services program of DAR’s Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organization (ARBOs), Department of Agriculture (DA) and Local Government Units (LGUs).

“These organizations/agencies would create greater synergy in engaging the poor households by working closely with rural communities to improve their social capital while addressing hunger and alleviating poverty in the community,” he noted.

In line with the program implementation, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been forged between the DSWD, DAR, and DA on June this year.  The implementation is being piloted in Regions VIII, IX and V.

For Bicol, the program is being implemented in the towns of Pili, Canaman, Ocampo, Bomboa and Calabanga in Camarines Sur; Castilla in Sorsogon and soon in Camarines Norte.

Garcia said a total of P3M was released by DSWD under the Sustainable Livelihood Program to fund various projects under the PAHP.

The projects are focused mostly on high value vegetable production, organic farming and training on community- based small scale sea weed value added products like pansit, sea weeds, pickles, chips, puto and lumpia with the sea weeds as the major ingredient. Dried anchovies production is also one of the projects.

Under the PAHP program, community based service providers and farm service providers collectively called the CBOs now provide the needed food items required in Day Care Centers and Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP) areas under the Supplementary Feeding Program and other government food related programs.

Garcia furthered that the pilot implementation of the PSHP is expected to be expanded nationwide where the ARBOs, Sustainable Livelihood Program Associations, cooperatives and other qualified farmers organizations will provide essential food items required for the feeding of the children in day care centers and SNP areas while improving their farm productions.(MAL/SAA/DSWD5-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571479451846/gov-t-agencies-in-bicol-team-up-vs-hunger-and-poverty#sthash.GLh3KdVu.dpuf

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Communications technology department, Masbate local government sign free Wi-Fi agreement

MASBATE CITY, Nov. 20 (PIA)—Residents of Masbate province would soon access the internet for free in several public areas as the newly established Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) works to plug the limited information in the countryside.

Information and Communications Technology Assistant Secretary John Henry D. Naga signed Monday a memorandum of agreement with Masbate Governor Antonio T. Kho for the provision of free Wi-Fi services for provincewide coverage by next year.

The service will be available in public areas such as public schools, plazas and parks, government hospitals and rural health units, seaports, airport, national government and local government buildings, according to Nonielon Bagalihog Jr., head of the governor’s information office.

Masbate, the southernmost province of Bicol region with a population of 892,393, is one of the priority areas for DICT’s “Juan, Konek! Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places Project.”

The measure comes after President Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address in July, promised free internet connection during his administration.

 Although no details were given during the signing between the governor and the DICT as to how the government would deliver the state-funded service considering the government does not own a broadband network, ICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima shed light on the matter in a recent onscreen interview.

“The government will pay something to the telecom companies in exchange for the Wi-Fi connection and we offer it to the citizens for free,” Salalima said during an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source that was aired on Nov. 7 and has been uploaded to YouTube.

Salalima downplayed concerns that the free Wi-Fi access is expected to limit data revenue prospects for Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications, saying the free wireless service is in keeping with the government’s bid to widen people’s internet connectivity, which the Duterte administration has deemed a human right.

“It is the duty of the government to see to it that the people who have no access to the telecommunication system be given the opportunity to enjoy the right to telecommunicate,” he said.

With internet speed of 256 kilobits per second, the free service will let the users do basic internet searches or access to Facebook.

Masbate Vice-Governor Jo Kristine C. Revil, who witnessed the signing, hailed the free Wi-Fi access as a “step forward,” saying people in Masbate are “looking forward to the implementation of this MOA in 2017.”

Other witnesses to the signing were town mayors including Arturo Virtucio of Aroroy; Byron Angelo E. Bravo, San Fernando; Charmax Yuson, Batuan; Zacarina A. Lazaro, San Pascual; and Kristine Hao, Mandaon. (EAD/PIA5-Masbate)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/821479639942/communications-technology-department-masbate-local-government-sign-free-wi-fi-agreement-#sthash.sA4rmel1.dpuf

Friday, November 18, 2016

DOH raises awareness on antibiotics use

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NAGA CITY, Nov. 18 (PIA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol regional office conducted Tuesday an interfacing with various stakeholders and the public to raise the awareness on the proper use of antibiotics and its ill-effects, due to irrational use.

The event dubbed “Antibiotics, Handle with Care” was participated in by students, mostly nurses and their clinical instructors, barangay health workers (BHWs), senior citizens and representatives coming from various sectors.

 The interfacing was held in line with the observance of Philippine Antibiotic Awareness Week from November 14 to 18.

DOH regional pharmacist III Maribel L. Cruz said that the alarming rise of anti-microbial resistance cases prompted DOH and other partner agencies to come up with advocacy events to make the public understand the dangers of self-prescription, which most often than not, lead to a worsened health condition.

“We have observed, not just in the Bicol region, but also in other parts of the country that most of the people are not well informed about the proper use of antibiotic. Most of them are practicing self-prescription. They are not aware that they are now prone to anti-microbial resistance,” Cruz explained.

Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change and are capacitated to resist the effects of antibiotic.

It is important to note, Cruz added that when taking antibiotics, the correct dosage and prescribed days of taking it should be strictly observed.

“You don’t stop treatment just because you are already feeling well. There is a big chance that when you stop without taking the full day as prescribed, the bacteria may survive and re-infect you. By the time you would like to use your old antibiotic, it might not work for you  and you might resort to a higher kind of antibiotic, and that would already be very expensive.”

A poster making contest was also conducted in the afternoon. Nine (9) schools participated in.  Cararayan National High School grabbed the first prize, the University of Nueva Caceres snatched the 2nd place while Naga City Science High School got the 3rd post.

DOH Coordinator for Naga and Development Management Officer IV, Imelda Dacanay, RN, RM, MAN said that they hope that through the event, more and more people will be armed with the proper knowledge on how to properly use antibiotics.  (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861479366443/doh-raises-awareness-on-antibiotics-use#sthash.zrfPfbWd.dpuf

Thursday, November 17, 2016

SP commends CSU stude for placing number 3 in Agri Licensure Exam

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Nov. 17 (PIA) -- The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Catanduanes has passed a Resolution No. 295-2016 on its 17th Regular Session commending Ray Tilo Ocol of the Catanduanes State University (CSU), Panganiban Campus for nailing the Top 3 spot in October 2016 Agriculturist Licensure Examination.

In the resolution sponsored by Hon. Gregorio E. Angeles, it was stated that Ocol, a native of Brgy. Rizal, Viga, Catanduanes was declared by the Professional Regulation Commission as number 3 topnotcher of the October 2016 Agriculturist Licensure Examination, garnering a rating of 85.17%.

Angeles added that Ocol’s excellent achievement brought pride and honor, not only for the entire academic community of the Catanduanes State University, but also to the Agriculturist Licensure Examination passers and their parents,

The same also brough pride to every Catandunganon, and again manifested the inherent intellect and determination of a true-blooded Catandunganon, having added to the long list of Catandunganon professionals who either topped or belonged to the top ten in board examinations.

The SP body likewise congratulated the parents of Ocol, Benjamin Ocol and Lilia Ocol, for having surely inspired and guided their son not just in achieving his feat as board topnotcher but in turning him into a productive member of the society.

Such achievement of Mr. Ray T. Ocol and Catanduanes State University – Panganiban Campus is worthy of commendation from the SP Body. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841479386732/sp-commends-csu-stude-for-placing-number-3-in-agri-licensure-exam#sthash.nCJvS0sp.dpuf

DA opens P4M Bicol organic agriculture research and dev’t center

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 17 (PIA) - Stakeholders in the Bicol region can now further advance programs and initiatives on organic agriculture through the newly opened P4 million worth Organic Agriculture Research and Development Center located inside the Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol regional field unit compound at San Agustin, Pili in Camarines Sur.

DA Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) director Dr. Nicomedes P. Eleazar said BAR has funded the establishment of an Organic Agriculture R&D Center in all regions and has been closely monitoring in making it operational.

Eleazar cited the Bicol region as the most progressive in terms of production of organic products further expressing his hopes that the region will serve as supplier of organic products in Metro Manila.

Dr. Edgar R. Madrid, DA Bicol regional technical director for Research, said the center is equipped with a conference room, office and processing areas where packages of organic agriculture technologies will be made. It also features facilities for organic swine production, vegetable production and vermin composting.

Madrid furthered that the center will serve as venue of research, extension activities and training on organic agriculture for farmers, students and other stakeholders.

The center can likewise assist stakeholders to develop appropriate organic animal and crop production technologies and establish organic agriculture techno demo farm and bio-safety.(MAL/SAA/DA5-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571479278638/da-opens-p4m-bicol-organic-agriculture-research-and-dev-t-center#sthash.nKslXODv.dpuf

Taboan 2016 features Bicol writers, highlights Rinconada dialect

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

NABUA, Camarines Sur, Nov. 17 (PIA) --- Bicol writers, who are into various genres of writing, met up and shared  experiences as book writers, poets, and artists using the Rinconada dialect during the Taboan 2016 forum held at the Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges (CSPC)- Nabua College Auditorium here, Tuesday.

Attended by more than a hundred students, the Bikol Taboan 2016 dubbed “Litgit-Paghinanyog sa Pulang Tingog” endeavored to encourage Bicol writers and the current generation to embrace and not to put into oblivion the use of the Rinconada dialect, a vernacular spoken among the fifth district towns  in Camarines Sur.

Frank Penones Jr., Southern Luzon coordinator of the National Committee on Literary Arts (NCLA) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) stated that Taoban used to be a national event but the NCLA decided to hold the activity here as to scatter the event on the island-cluster.

Taboan, a Visayan dialect which means “market place” is slated to be held in the country’s three geographical divisions, in Bicol for Luzon, and identified areas in Visayas and Mindanao.  The annual fest aims to promote culture and the written word.

Moderated by poet and book designer Victor Nierva, the event became a venue for the award winning guests to share their exciting saga towards the discovery of how beautiful Bicol language is.

Invited to share their thoughts were Estelito Jacob, a teacher at the Camarines Sur National High School (CSNHS) wrote a novel using the Rinconada dialect which recently won the Writer’s Prize; Elbert Baeta, a Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) but is currently taking his graduate studies at the University of Santo Tomas, and Ben Escoto, a Sorsoganon but has moved in Iriga City.

Baeta is also the project coordinator of the Bicol Taboan and will soon work on a research and documentation project of two Bicol oral practices, bansagan and rapsak songs. Escoto has already published poems in both Sorsoganon and Irigueno language.

Other invited guests included Dr. Paz Verdades  “Doods” Santos, a literature scholar and critic and award winning story book writer, playwright, artist and poet Carlos A. Arejola.

The event was capped by the Pintakasi Media arts book launch where 5 multilingual storybooks for children of Arejola were also launched.  (MAL/LSM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/861479293524/taboan-2016-features-bicol-writers-highlights-rinconada-dialect#sthash.T0Y1nLKK.dpuf

DOST Bicol spearheads training on S&T dicoveries, innovations to combat Dengue

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 17 (PIA) -- The rise of mosquito-related illnesses in the country has sent a signal for alarm and prompted actions from government agencies for a cohesive prevention and control measures.

Bicol director Tomas B. Briñas of the Department of Science and Technoloy (DOST) stated the cirscumstance also indicated an urgent call among Science and Technology (S&T) partners to carry out broader, adoptable and quick solutions to these mosquito-borne-diseases, especially dengue and chikungunya.

It can be recalled that the Department of Health (DOH)  reported a 36 percent increase for dengue cases from January to June of this year while in July 2016 the provincial povernment of Cavite declared a state of calamity after the Chikungunya outbreak hit the municipality of Indang wherein 240 cases were reported.

DOH noted that these figures are expected to rise due to the rainy season.

DOST Bicol, according Briñas, has partnered with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), has recently trained 75 provincial, city and municipal health office heads, sanitary officers, and nurses of the six provinces in the region on the national program "National Dengue Vector Surveillance Program-Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue (NDVSP-ABKD) and Dengue Early Warning System recently.

A group of Manila-based researchers from PCHRD, University of the Philippines (UP)-Manila and Manila HealthTek, Inc. were tapped as resource speakers to orient the participants regarding current S&T innovations and researches for the prevention and control of mosquito-related diseases.

Guidditta L. Gelera, Science Research Specialist II of the DOST-PCHRD, bared in her talks the latest DOST Programs and Researches on Dengue noting that the study on Tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) for use as an herbal cure for Dengue which is now 90 percent near completion.

"This plant was proven for its cell production that prevents platelet decrease and destruction during attack. It was found out that same plant can reduce bleeding and blood clotting time up to 62 percent and 58 percent, respectively," Gelera explained.

Joy Ann P. Santos, one of the inventors of Bio Tek-M Aqua Kit who works for Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, National Institutes of Health, UP-Manila introduced and demonstrated the use of the BioTek-M Lamp Heater and Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit.

Both devices are portable and designed to perform diagnostic tests to detect dengue infections in serum/plasma samples similar to the tests done in traditional laboratories.

Maria Carmen Y. Ocampo, sales and marketing officer/company pharmacist of Manila HealthTek, Inc. shared that the company now sells these devices to interested buyers and welcomes new marketing outlets in the region.

 Lhea Dyn B. Bellen, Science Research Specialist II/Regional Program Coordinator, NDVSMP-ABKD, DOST V gave the overview of the Bicol Integrated Dengue Vector Management Program (BIDVMP), a more integrated approach in the prevention and control of Dengue cases in the Region involving other government agencies namely DOH, Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

BIDVMP also includes the new Dengue Vector Surveillance and BIDVMP Website discussed by Nicole Anne L. Bejo, Science Research Specialist I, DOST V.

The website features the program strategies for dengue prevention, an updated map showing the number of dengue cases in the region and an OL index for the location and population of dengue causing mosquitos.

Briñas emphasized that this initiative bridges what S&T  can do together with the health community in addressing issues and concerns of Filipinos nationwide.

Through the years, S&T innovations, discoveries and breakthroughs brought about by scientific researches of DOST and its S&T partners have led to the development and establishment of medical and pharmaceutical industries in the country.

"The health of Filipinos, the Bicolanos in particular, must not be put at risk. Our fervent desire to attain a livable, resilient and safe region is in the S&T priorities of the department under Secretary Fortunato T. De La Peña," Briñas said (MAL/POLucena/XTLVibar-DOST5/PIA5).        

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211479361991/dost-bicol-spearheads-training-on-s-t-dicoveries-innovations-to-combat-dengue#sthash.Q5vg11EM.dpuf

Monday, November 14, 2016

Poor solo parent volunteers to help uplift lives of villagers

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 14 (PIA) -- Even a destitute member of the community can contribute to its development--for someone who lost a home and a husband, helping others is just normal.

 Marites Soquino, 42, a solo parent of Brgy. San Isidro Iraya, Malilipot, Albay was abandoned by her husband five years ago. Their romance ended with five sons who have been under her care since 2012.

Moreover, Typhoon Glenda destroyed their makeshift house in 2014 and since then, they have been living in a shelter box (tent), an aid they received from a foreign donor.

 She reports to work six days a week and takes home a maximum of P3,000 a month as a secretary in a direct selling company in Tabaco City, another town next to Malilipot. She also gets an extra profit as a seamstress. Her two children are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who receive a total of PhP2,200 for every two months when all health and education conditions are met.

She said that her children are her inspiration. She values the education of her kids and only wishes them to get a good education.

Her responsibility of raising her five sons was never a hindrance to devote a portion of her time to their village. She was a member of the Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina (KALIPI), a barangay women’s organization, before receiving a volunteer stint.

“Magtarabangan kita tanganing makatapos kamo,” she told her children.

During a community assembly in 2014, Marites and other residents were elected as community volunteers who will manage the construction of their school buildings. Being the head of the volunteers, her responsibility included the management of several volunteer committees to ensure that they are doing their part. Their group was also obliged with the prompt compliance of documentary requirements to build the school buildings.

She even skipped work despite of salary deduction just to attend all trainings and seminars relative to her responsibility.

Marites’ dedication and passion in building a better community for her children was not extinguished by wrongful accusations and rumors.

"Kapos man kami sa pera, edukasyon an maipapamana namin sa aming mga anak," she said.

Just like any other government projects, the villagers doubted the completion of their school buildings because there was a discrepancy with the documentary compliance effecting a delayed implementation. Thus, rumors surfaced that Marites and other volunteers took the money for their school buildings.

But she was relentless enough to keep the spirits of her co-volunteers high despite of the tirades and bashings. Marites continued to encourage the residents to participate. She would candidly respond to queries about their community project as part of transparency.

As a graduate of two-year course, her leadership skills help the community volunteers appreciate the importance of the project in their barangay.

Their elementary school and high school has one school building each. The construction started last June 6, 2016 and is almost complete. The said project has a total cost of PhP4,126,249.92 from Kalahi-CIDSS- Kapit- Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) is a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD).

Kristen Rozen, the project coordinator of the school building in Malilipot, described Marites as a selfless volunteer despite of her poor living conditions, she performs all her functions without expecting anything in return.

She never complained about poverty. She focused on how she can reach her goals for her family and community. She never lost hope when everything turned low. Her strength catapulted her to become a fighter who never surrenders. (MAL/JBM-DSWD5/PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211479095971/poor-solo-parent-volunteers-to-help-uplift-lives-of-villagers#sthash.91Y04x5l.dpuf

Friday, November 11, 2016

Local writers call for support to preserve, promote Albay’s rich culture, arts and heritage

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 11 (PIA) –“Albay has a rich culture, history and heritage but there are lots of things painfully forgotten. Where is it now?”

Award winner local writer and poet Rafael Banzuela stressed such query and challenge to stakeholders during the “Forum @ PIA” on the promotion of heritage, culture and arts in Albay conducted on Tuesday by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Albay provincial office and National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA).

Banzuela, together with Komisyoner AbdonBalde Jr. ng Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino,, discussed the historical and cultural development of the province along with local stories, literature, language and state of writers presenting their in particular their current state, issues and concerns.

Banzuela noted the need for stronger partnership with stakeholders such as the academe, local government units and publishing companies to generate and promote awareness, appreciation and preservation of the culture, tradition, arts and heritage of Albay.

“Our writers need the outlet to promote and publish their work but we find it hard to look for a publishing house that’s willing to gamble with us. So what commonly happens is vanity publishing or publishing our work using our own money,” Banzuela said.

On the use of language, he urged local writers along with the media to assume full responsibility in using Legazpi-Bikol language noting the need to further develop and preserve the beauty of the Bicol language and its rich past and history.

“Anyone can write history but it’s more important to have proper documentation and interpretation of what happened and its effect or impact on the community,” Banzuela said.

To further strengthen and sharpen the local dialect, he proposed for a local dictionary that will include variants of the words from other dialects although that will incur funding, hard work, research and expertise of a lexicographer.

Banzuela likewise noted the “need for Albay to come up with good museum and library to keep things being done today” which will serve as outlet to store and preserve works of art, heritage and culture.

Balde also added the practical use of culture and arts citing the need for awareness, appreciation and protection of culture and arts as valuable assets that can be used to improve our lives.

 Among his plans to further promote Albay arts, culture and heritage are publication of local stories and tigsikwhich have been compiled and translated in Englishand Tagalog for non-bicolano readers to understand. Some of these works of art have been published online in his Facebook account.

Together with Banzuela and Balde as resource speakers in the said “Forum @ PIA” are reactors Apo Gonzales, volunteer for community art development in Albay and Mario Arguilles, correspondent of Philippine Daily Inquirer Southern Luzon.

The said forum is part of the series of promotional activities conducted by the PIA and NCCA on the promotion of culture and arts highlighting its important role in the establishment of identity and foundation of nation building and development.

The NCCA has forged a partnership with the PIA earlier this year to help in spreading and inculcating cultural education and awareness in the regions. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571478682105/local-writers-call-for-support-to-preserve-promote-albay-s-rich-culture-arts-and-heritage#sthash.dJgsgUh7.dpuf

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

PIA Albay Infocen holds forum for Albayano heritage advocacy

By Julius B. Embile

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 9 (PIA) – In the spirit of preservation and promotion of historical and cultural heritage, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Albay provincial office, in partnership with the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), spearheaded the Forum @ PIA on uesday with the theme: “Pride of Race, Proud of Heritage Culture and Arts Promotion in Albay”.

Bringing together involved stakeholders like members of the academe, the press and cultural experts, the forum served as a think-tank for the advocacy of understanding and preservation of Albayano culture, including history, language, literature and arts.

Including to those invited as resource speaker for the event is Rafael “Raffi” Banzuela, awarded Bicolano book writer and renowned literature authority in the region. During his talk, Banzuela highlights the three well-needed factors in preserving Albay’s cultural heritage: research, pubic understanding, and archiving.

“We need historians. Unlike other provinces, we do not have people here in Albay that focus on the study (history) that will properly explain the evolution of our culture,” said Banzuela.

Additionally, Banzuela explained that the study and research of the province’s heritage must be invested upon for the sake of preserving the forefather’s legacy.

Banzuela’s point of improved cultural research was also agreed upon by Engineer Abdon “Jun” Balde Jr., commissioner of the ‘Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino’ and fellow resource person of the forum. “The present documents of Albayano history are made by foreigners, based on information that needs further study. In terms of language, we must have our own authorized lexicologists,” added Balde.

Given that Albay is a province rich with its own distinct cultural heritage, both Banzuela and Balde agreed that there is a considerable need to raise public interest in the province’s local language and literature, which may be resolved by the promotion of books and literary works in the original Albayano mother-tongue.

“There are many talented Albayano writers that can write books in the Albayano language. However, it is very difficult for them to have their works published. We need publishers here in Albay willing to give our local writers a chance,” added Balde. According to the resource persons of the forum, it has been a challenge for local writers to market their books as the limited target market is seen as un-conducive for business.

“Without people of authority or proper reference materials on our language and culture, how do we share the necessary knowledge to the people of Albay?” stated Raffi Banzuela.

Banzuela also stressed the need for libraries and museums in Albay.

“For a long time we have exerted great efforts in promoting our province’s tourism. But what we must realize is that the first place a tourist would visit are the museums to discover the history of the province,” explained the writer.

“History is not history without documentation. We need a place to house our books and artifacts for visitors and locals alike,” he added.

Keeping in spirit of the forum, Banzuela and Balde set the challenge for the stakeholders in attendance to take action needed for the preservation of Albayano culture via language and history. “We must begin to take initiative today, because the preservation of our heritage is preservation of our legacy,” said Banzuela as he ended his talk.

With the input given by those attending the forum, PIA-Bicol stated confidence the objective of identifying the concerns that need to be addressed has been fulfilled. Being one with the advocacy for culture and heritage, PIA gave word that such concern would be communicated to NCCA and other concerned agencies so that respective solution may be formulated. (MAL/JBE-PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3301478670775/pia-albay-infocen-holds-forum-for-albayano-heritage-advocacy-#sthash.vbIwNa68.dpuf

Monday, November 7, 2016

PIA, NCCA to hold forum on development of historical, cultural development of Albay

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 7 (PIA) – The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Albay provincial office and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) will be conducting a forum on culture and tradition, arts and heritage peculiar of the province tomorrow at the La Granja Hotel and Resto in this city.

“The “Forum @ PIA” aims to generate awareness, appreciation and promote preservation of the different culture and tradition, arts and heritage peculiar to the province of Albay, “PIA Albay information center manager (ICM) Marlon A. Loterte said.

Loterte said the event will involve interaction with invited resource persons who are experts in their own field, tapping the media for coverage and dissemination of basic concepts acquired.

“It will likewise serve as venue for multi-sectoral participants to present, clarify and address issues and concerns on arts, culture and heritage,” he added.

Among the topics to be discussed by Wikang Filipino Commissioner Engr. Abdon Balde and Albay poet and writer Rafael Banzuela are the historical and cultural developments of Albay including local stories that have been forgotten, literature, language and update on the state of writers in the province.

The members of the panel of reactors who will further deepen the discussion are Apo Gonzales, volunteer for community art development in Albay and Mario Arguilles, correspondent of Philippine Daily Inquirer Southern Luzon.

This forum is part of the series of activities organized by the NCCA and PIA on the promotion of culture and arts, highlighting its important role in the establishment of identity and foundation of nation building and development with culture as the foundation of national development and unity.

Arts and culture promotional activities in Luzon have been launched August 26 this year in the Bicol region along with the launching and write-up session for the “Call for Project Proposal 2017” featuring local arts and culture.

The NCCA has earlier forged a partnership with the PIA to help in spreading and inculcating cultural education and awareness in the regions. (MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571478491841/pia-ncca-to-hold-forum-on-development-of-historical-cultural-development-of-albay#sthash.S54XvM2N.dpuf