Friday, September 23, 2016

Albay execs vow full implementation of Reproductive Health program
By Mike de la Rama

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 22,(PNA)-–Local officials in Albay vowed to fully implement the Reproductive Health (RH) Law by allocating funds to ensure all RH services are available and accessible to the public despite a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court on certain provisions of the law.

The TRO covers the distribution and administration of Implanon and Implanon NXT and similar contraceptives until they have been determined to be safe.

Herbert Borja, vice mayor of Polangui town, earlier confirmed they have passed an ordinance creating the Municipal Interagency Council with funds provided for it so that all RH-related services are implemented.

He said implementation of these services will help reduce maternal and child mortality, teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV infections.

Borja said despite the TRO issued by the high court, the entire provision of the law will not be affected.

“The TRO barred the Department of Health from acquiring and distributing the contraceptive products Implanon and Implanon NXT to the public,” he said.

Borja said the local government unit must respond to the needs of its constituents in providing RH services that are not limited to family planning issues.

He said Polangui has already adapted the provincial ordinance that was approved when he was a board member.

Borja said this was the provincial ordinance which received help from the Advocacy Team headed by the Forum for Family Planning and Development being supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Camalig town mayor Maria Ardhail Baldo has endorsed to the Sangguniang Bayan (municipal legislative body) the local RH ordinance and said the budget to be allotted for RH services will be included in the 2018 annual budget.

She said the existing budget of the health sector from the gender and development fund will be used to implement the RH program “because our annual budget for 2017 has been completed and finalized.”

Baldo expressed concern about reducing teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and increasing the acceptance for family planning using modern or natural methods.

Tiwi mayor Jaime Villanueva, a long time advocate of RH services in Albay, has committed to certify as urgent the enactment of a municipal RH ordinance.

In Tabaco City, councilor Sheina Onrubia said the committee on health will possibly review the Gender and Development (GAD) Code so that RH services are integrated with specific programs and projects.

She said Tabaco City has no problem in implementing the RH law as Mayor Krisel Lagman was one of the prime movers of the law when she was representative of Albay’s first district.

“She is strongly committed to achieve all indicators in the sustainable development goals,” Onrubia said.

Onrubia is set to sponsor passage of the local RH ordinance, including creation of a local RH council to act as a recommending body and assist the local government in developing health programs.

“The TRO is only on the implementation or provision of implanon service but other elements (of the RH law) must be provided,” she said.

Onrubia said the local government of Tabaco City has been conducting a series of information and education activities on family planning.

One of these is “Usapang Buntis” (discussions on pregnancy) that is held among pregnant women in every barangay (village) where the topics being discussed include maternal and child health, responsible parenting and regular health check ups.(PNA) FPV/GVR/MDR/CBD

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Palace bars Cabinet members from speaking for President Duterte on sensitive issues
By Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, Sept. 22 (PNA) -- A high-ranking Malacañang official has ordered all other Cabinet members to refrain from speaking on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte especially on sensitive issues.

In a memorandum issued Tuesday by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Cabinet members were advised that “official statements of the President on significant national and international issues shall be coursed through and delivered only by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella or, in his absence, by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.”

“The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) shall be the primary office authorized to respond to media inquiries and to disseminate information relating to the policies, programs, official activities and accomplishments of the President and the Executive Branch,” the memorandum said.

Members of the Cabinet, heads of agencies, offices and instrumentalities of the National Government, including Government-Owned or –Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), shall refrain from giving statements to the media “except on matters directly concerning their office or unless prior clearance has been secured from the PCOO.”

The order was issued pursuant to the instructions of President Duterte and in accordance with the consensus reached during previous Cabinet meetings. (PNA) BNB/CMR

President Duterte visits 9th Infantry Division soldiers in Camarines Sur
By Connie B. Destura

PILI, Camarines Sur, Sept. 21 (PNA) -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte arrived here Wednesday afternoon and proceeded to Camp Elias Angeles, headquarters of the 9th Infantry Division (ID) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Barangay San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur, to visit the troops.

Maj. Gen. Manolito P. Orense, commander of the 9th ID, also known as the Spear Division, gave a situation briefing to the President when he arrived at the Officers’ Club at around 3:30 p.m. or four and a half hours later than his scheduled arrival of 11 a.m.

At around 4:30 p.m. when the President started his speech before the soldiers in Bicol, he initially dwelt on the “encompassing” illegal drug problem, which he said, has come to destroy the nation.

He said the drug menace will “destroy your children and the next generation.”

But the President said “the technicality of the law makes it hard for me to deal with the problem on illegal drugs.”

He added: “What is very disturbing about this country now, ang droga kasi within the government na ang away.” (the fight against illegal drugs has reached the ranks of the government)

The President made passing remarks on how the United States became interested in Mindanao.

“Naging interesado ang mga Amerikano sa Mindanao kasi walang typhoon (The Americans became interested in Mindanao because there is no typhoon). But they could not get workers to work for them,” he said.

President Duterte gave assurance to the soldiers that “there will be an inclusive government with the left but there will not be a coalition government.”

With regards to the problem with the Abu Sayyaf Group or ASG, the President said, “I do not want to talk with the Abu Sayyaf Group.”

He told the Bicol soldiers to “make the most of this time to come up with doctrines on how to deal with terrorism.”

Before the end of his speech at around 5 p.m., the President gave three Glock 30 and four magazines to the soldiers which he said were for use in encounters with the terrorists.

“Para sa engkuwentro sa mga terorista,” he said.

The President has been going around military camps in the country in previous weeks with a promise to the soldiers that they will be given what is due them while soliciting support for his programs.

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said President Duterte has to visit the military camps just like the previous Presidents to boost the soldiers’ morale and to personally interact with them on the government’s programs lined up for the AFP.

In past weeks, government troops from Bicol under the 9th ID have been sent to help fight the ASG in Mindanao.

On September 3, the 49th Infantry Battalion of the 9th ID was sent to augment the troops of the Western Mindanao Command. Soldiers from the 65th IB, also from the 9th ID, were earlier deployed to the same area.

The President's visit here in Camp Elias Angeles was his third visit to military camps across the country in a span of four days. On Tuesday, September 20, the President took the time to visit and talk to the Agila troops of the Philippine Army at Camp General Manuel T. Yan Sr. in Mawab, Compostela province.

Earlier, on Sunday, Sept. 18, the President visited the 5th Infantry Division (ID), at Camp Melchor F. Dela Cruz in Isabela. (PNA) LAP/CBD/EDS

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

President Duterte set to visit 9th ID headquarters in Camarines Sur Wednesday
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 20 (PNA) -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte will visit government troops in Bicol under the 9th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp Elias Angeles, Barangay San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur.

He will arrive on Wednesday morning in Naga City from where he will proceed to Camp Elias Angeles for a situation briefing with Maj. Gen. Manolito P. Orense, 9th ID commander.

The President will give a talk to the Army soldiers under the 9th ID, also known as Spear Division at the multi-purpose gym.

He is expected to join a boodle fight with the soldiers and have a photo opportunity with them.

On September 3, the 49th Infantry Battalion of the 9th ID was sent to augment government troops fighting in Mindanao.

Soldiers from the 65th IB, also from the 9th ID, were earlier deployed to the same area.

The President has been going around military camps in the country in previous weeks with a promise to the soldiers that they will be given what is due them while soliciting support for his programs.

In August, President Duterte visited the troops in Camp General Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu and met with top military officials to get first hand information on the military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Camp Bautista was the eighth military camp visited by the President since he assumed the presidency.

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said President Duterte has to visit the military camps just like the previous Presidents to boost the soldiers’ morale and to personally interact with them on the government’s programs lined up for the AFP. (PNA) LAP/GVR/CBD/EDS

Police nab top drug dealer in Sorsogon; pal of drug lord Peter Lim

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 19 (PNA) -- An alleged close associate of a top drug lord in the country fell into the hands of a police raiding team that swooped down on a resort in Sorsogon over the weekend, a report reaching the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO-5) showed.

Sr. Insp. Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, PRO-5 spokesperson, said suspected drug dealer identified as Reynaldo Diaz alias "James Tan" was with six other gunmen who helped him elude arrest from the police team.

Diaz, whom police tagged as a close associate of top drug lord Peter "Jaguar" Lim, was arrested by the police at Subic Saday Resort in Barangay Calintaan, Matnog town in Sorsogon.

Calubaquib said Diaz, who is facing two complaints for frustrated murder, is included in the drug watchlist of national authorities.

She said Diaz and the six other gunmen claimed to be members of the Department Of Justice' Witness Protection Program Intelligence Service Operations Group.

The six were identified as Raul Relojas, Sandy Odicta, Rodolfo Abapo Jr., Elmer Labay, Charlice Ganosa and Niño Carlo Paraiso.

"They tried to assist Diaz in eluding the police dragnet but the raiding team was quick to collar Diaz as he tried to escape towards the grassy portion of the resort," said Calubaquib.

She said the arresting team presented an arrest warrant when they seized from the suspects ten firearms that included four M16 rifles and six .45-caliber pistols.

The police confiscated magazines and ammunitions for several firearms from the seven suspects.

"There were 14 pieces of magazines for the M16 rifles and 14 pieces of magazines for the .45-cal. as well as 351 pcs. of ammunition for an M165 and 117 pcs. ammunition for the .45-cal. that were seized from the seven suspects," said Calubaquib.

Diaz was presented to Philippine National Police Chief Ronaldo Bato dela Rosa who was at the fluvial procession for the Peñafrancia festival in Naga City.

A day earlier, Dela Rosa graced the celebration of the 115th Police Service Anniversary at PRO5 at its headquarters at Camp Simeon Ola here. (PNA) JMC/GVR/MSA/CBD

Alert level 1 remains in effect on Mt. Bulusan
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept.19 (PNA)--The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), in its 8 a.m. bulletin on Monday, said alert level one remained in effect on Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon.

Phivolcs raised the alert level on Bulusan on Friday after it spewed ash measuring 1.5 kilometers high, which it said may lead to a steam-driven eruption, or what it calls a “phreatic eruption.”

In Phivolcs’ terms, level zero means “normal” while level one denotes an “abnormal” behavior.

In its bulletin today, Phivolcs said it has recorded three volcanic earthquakes in the past 24 hours while steaming activity could not be observed due to thick clouds covering the summit of Bulusan.

It said data it obtained in August showed slight swelling at the slopes of Bulusan compared to that taken in May which Phivolcs said is an indication that “hydrothermal processes are underway beneath the volcano that may lead to more steam-driven eruptions.”

The agency reminded the local government units in Sorsogon and the public that entry to the four-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited due to the possibility of sudden and hazardous “phreatic eruptions.”

Civil aviation authorities also advised pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ash from any phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircrafts.

The bulletin said people living within valleys and along river or stream channels, especially on the southwest and northwest sector of Bulusan, should be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows and lahar should there be heavy and prolonged rainfall.

Mount Bulusan is around 70 kms southeast of Mayon Volcano in Albay and about 250 kms southeast of Manila, the Philippine capital.

The new alert level on Bulusan was recorded around a week since alert level one was also raised over Mt. Mayon.

On Sept. 8, Phivolcs raised the alert status of Mayon Volcano to alert level one.

Phivolcs, in its 8 a.m. bulletin today, also said “no magmatic eruption is imminent” or that of magma rising to the crater of Mayon.

It said its seismic monitoring did not detect any volcanic earthquake in the past 24 hours while wispy to moderate emission of white steam plumes that crept downslope towards the northeast was observed.

“No crater glow was observed last night,” it said.

Phivolcs reiterated that the six-km PDZ around Mayon is a no-entry zone to the public because of the perennial danger of life-threatening rockfalls, landslides or avalanches at the middle to upper slopes, sudden ash puffs and phreatic eruptions at the summit.

Cedric Daep, head of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, has asked the disaster councils in the towns of Camalig and Guinobatan and the cities of Ligao and Tabaco to help secure the monitoring instruments of Phivolcs.

He said safeguarding the monitoring equipment on the restive volcano can determine accurate and timely advisories as well as evacuation procedures.

"These critical instruments can spell the difference between life and death on those who are still staying inside the six-kilometer PDZ," he said.

In an interview over local radio this morning, Daep said APSEMO personnel have been conducting a survey over the past week of the “actual population inside the 6-km PDZ up to the 8-km” extended danger zone of Mayon.

He stressed the importance of having an updated listing of the affected population in the danger zones so APSEMO will be prepared to undertake proper evacuation procedures when the need arises.

As both Bulusan and Mayon are on alert level one, this means Phivolcs is closely monitoring two active volcanoes in Bicol at present.

Phivolcs’ volcanologist Alex Baloloy, however, said a direct link between the activities of Bulusan and Mayon has yet to be established.

“Though both volcanoes exhibit somewhat similar abnormalities, the observed changes are isolated,” he said.(PNA) FPV/GVR/CBD