Thursday, April 24, 2014

Legazpi gets ready to host international tourism summits in May
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, April 23 (PNA) – This city is on its peak of preparations for the hosting of the 26th Joint Meeting of the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Commission for East Asia and the Pacific (CAP) and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia (CSA) to be held on May 18-20, this year.

“We are closely coordinating with the regional office for Bicol of the Department of Tourism (DOT) based here in making every detail of our preparations at its best because these events expect the attendance of hundreds of dignitaries representing various countries that are members of UNWTO,” City Mayor Noel Rosal on Wednesday said.

The UNWTO is the UN agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability.

It also offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

Apart from 156 member-states, its membership includes six associate members and over 400 affiliate members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.

The preparations include security details to be provided by the local police office, the venue which is the posh Oriental Hotel located atop a hill facing the iconic Mayon Volcano and overlooking the city, emergency medical provisions, transportation and traffic management, among others, Rosal said.

According to DOT Regional Director Maria Ong-Ravanilla, the CSA/CAP Joint Commission meeting is UNWTO´s principal annual event in the Asia-Pacific Region, attended last year by representatives from UNWTO member-states, in addition to some UNWTO affiliate members and international and regional organizations, including the World Federation of Tourist Guides Association (WFTGA) and Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).

This year’s one key item on the agenda of the Joint Commission will be a debate on air connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region, she said.

Ravanilla said the delegates will start arriving here on May 17 wherein they will be accorded with a welcome reception at the Misibis Bay Resort, a private tropical hideaway built on a pristine stretch of beach along the southern tip of Cagraray island in Bacacay, Albay, which is considered as the luxury island playground in the Philippines.

The first day (May 18) will be focused on thematic discussions on air connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region as well as on the nomination of a candidate to represent the UNWTO-CAP in the Committee on Tourism and Competitiveness, among others in the program, she said.

The second day will be for the UNWTO-ASEAN International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change wherein Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to deliver a keynote address in the opening program.

Topics to be discussed in this conference include New Realities of Tourism in an Era of Global Climate Change to be tackled by Dr. Rebecca Nadin, Director INTASAVE Asia Pacific; and Tourism’s Response to Climate Change: An Examination of Tourism-Related Initiatives in Asia and the Pacific by Dr. Andy Choi of the University of Queensland, Australia.

Other topics are Climate Change as a Major Crisis Event: Implications for a Tropical Nature Based on Destination to be discussed by Prof. Bruce Prideaux, School of Business, James Cook University, Australia; and ASEAN Framework, Parameters and Approaches on Tourism Responding to Climate Change by H.E. Le Luong Minh, ASEAN secretary general.

Philippine Climate Change Policies and Initiatives will be presented in the conference by Sec. Mary Ann Lucille Sering of the Climate Change Commission of the Philippines while Sustainable and Innovative Climate Change Initiatives in the Tourism Sector will be tackled by Dr. Dirk Glaesser of the Sustainable Development of Tourism Programme, World Tourism Organization.

The Role of Travel Agency in Tourism Risk Management will be handled on the same day by Yoshinori Ochi, Director of the Board and Secretary-General, International Affairs, Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA).

Managing Aviation and Tourism Policies: Lessons Learnt for Climate Change will be discussed on the third day with a special presentation by Khorshed Alom Chowdhury, chairman of the Bangladesh Tourism Board to be followed by Consumer Behavior and Tourists Responses to Climate Change by Prof. Martin Lohmann, University of Luneburg – Leuphana, Germany.

Before the end of the third day, Glaesser will present the Legazpi Declaration on Tourism´s Response to Climate Change which the UNWTO will officially adopt, Ravanilla said.

After the closing of the conference, she said, all delegates will be ushered to a technical tour at the Ligñon Hill and the Legazpi Boulevard, and experience ATV (all-terrain vehicle) rides.

Ligñon Hill is a 156-meter peek near the Legazpi Airport that offers a 360-degree view of the Albay Gulf, the entire landscape of the city’s urban and rural centers, the historic Municipality of Daraga and the entire edifice of the volcano.

The Legazpi Boulevard is a four-kilometer stretch of wide concrete road bordering the long beach of Albay Gulf and serving as an artistic milieu for physical fitness activities that is well-lighted at night, clean, easily accessible, secure and free from air pollution.

Tourists have learned to love this boulevard as much as they love all other local wonders, both man-made and natural, which make Legazpi known today in the tourism world as the “City of Fun and Adventure.”

An ATV ride is a one-of-a-kind adventure that includes a nine-kilometer going to the lava front of Mayon Volcano from the foot of the Ligñon Hill. (PNA) CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD/SGP

Monday, April 21, 2014

Albay police to hold research study on cop transformation plan

LEGAZPI CITY, April 15 (PNA) -- The Albay Police Provincial Office (APPO) has entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with a research team from the academe tapping its services in conducting extensive community-based research study on the Philippine National Police P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030.

The PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030 is the PNP's blueprint of transformation being implemented nationwide.

Selected city and municipal police offices of the APPO will serve as respondents in the research study.

The MOA for the contract of professional services was formally signed on Monday by Senior Supt. Marlo S. Meneses, APPO officer–in–charge, in the presence of Senior Supt. Romulo A. Esteban, representing the PNP Police Regional Office 5, after the flag-raising ceremony at Camp General Simeon A. Ola here.

Meneses said the research team will conduct survey and field interviews with key informants who are individuals most knowledgeable about the Performance Governance System and PNP P.A.T.R.O.L Plan 2030 randomly selected by the project team in APPO.

It will also determine the final list of participants in the focus group discussion (FGD), conduct FGD with individuals with close contact/communication/interaction with the police, and ensure that the proceedings are properly documented, he added.

It will further collate and process the data gathered from the survey, field interviews with key informants and FGD with utmost care to ensure and protect the integrity of the data during the process.

Lastly, Meneses said, the research team will write the final report pertaining to the research study in coordination with him.

All activities of the research team shall be in close coordination with the APPO regarding this activity with the end in view of further gathering valuable inputs concerning the PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030, he added.

Earlier, the APPO formed a Provincial Advisory Council that will serve as its advisory body by providing strategic direction in realizing its long-term objectives in its journey of transformation. (PNA) LAP/FGS/EMC/cbd/

PNP scores vs rampant carnapping of motorcycles
By Manilyn Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY, April 15 (PNA) – The Philippine National Police has finally scored against the rampant carnapping of motorcycles in Bicol following the arrest on Sunday of two suspects, one of them a former Legazpi barangay councilor, in possession of spare parts from various motorcycles without supporting papers.

A police report released Tuesday said Dindo A. Fuentes of Binanuahan, Legazpi City, was arrested at about 8:20 p.m Sunday in nearby Daraga town while about to flee with a stolen motorcycle.

Police found Fuentes in possession of 16 keys for various motorcycles.

During interrogation, he implicated one Janlen L. Azuran, a former barangay councilor of Barangay 23 (Imperial Court) in this city.

An operation in coordination with the Legazpi City Police Office (LCPO) led to the arrest of Azuran at about 8:45 p.m. Sunday at his residence in Barangay 23 here where he operates a junk shop.

Police found in his possession various motorcycle spare parts minus engines, said Supt. Joel Adan, newly appointed police chief of Daraga town.

Adan said a police intelligence report said a big-time trader is believed to be behind the rampant carnapping of motorcyles who sells the engines to fishermen for fishing boats used in Bicol island provinces.

Legazpi City is the alleged dumping ground of carnapped motorcycles that are reportedly chop-chopped.

A police report said Azuran has been presented for inquest at the Legazpi City Prosecutor’s Office for violation of the anti-fencing law. Azurn and Fuentes were charged with carnapping at the Daraga Prosecutor’s Office on Monday.

Earlier, the local police recovered a motorcycle which was reported stolen from its owner about four months ago.

The vehicle was intercepted by joint elements of the LCPO led by Senior Insp. Jan King Calipay and the Bicol police’s Regional Special Operations Group led by Senior Insp. Steve Dela Rosa at a checkpoint in Barangay Baybay here.

Upon verification, the motorcycle, colored black and bearing license plate number EI 2314, was the same vehicle originally colored yellow and white which was reported by its owner Tiffany Celis stolen from her garage in Barangay Our Lady’s Village here on Dec. 22 last year.

Its driver identified in the report as Randy Ortisio, 21, who claimed that the motorcycle was sold to him by somebody, was apprehended and charged with violation of Presidential Decree 1612 or the Anti-Fencing Law.

The court has recommended a bail of P30,000 for the temporary liberty of Ortisio who, as of this report, remains in the custody of the LCPO pending issuance of a jail commitment order from the same court, the report added

Radio broadcast accounts quoted LCPO reports that a total of 37 motorcycles have been carnapped in Legazpi alone from January to April 13 this year.

Statistics showed 19 carnapping incidents happened last March in Legazpi alone.

Latest incidents showed three carnappings happened on April 4 alone in this city in less than 24 hours, making some residents brand Legazpi as the carnapping capital in the region.

“It’s only seconds and your motorcycle is gone in Legazpi,” said a text message sent to radio station D’Wow-fm radio station here on Monday.

Mayor Noel Rosal said 30 percent of carnapped motorcycles in Legazpi City took place inside the Gaisano Mall within the city center of commerce.

According to Rosal, Gaisano Mall, which is the largest mall in Legazpi, lacks security personnel, “that is why carnap syndicate could easily penetrate its premises and flee with the stolen unit without so much hussle.”

He said he had already called the attention of the Gaisano management to address the security problem.

Previous police report showed a total of 251 carnapped motorcycles in Bicol region for the year 2013, with Albay having the highest incidents and Legazpi topping the list.(PNA) CTB/FGS/MU/cbd/

DENR uses commodity roadmap in implementing NGP in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY, April 15 (PNA) -– With 71,990 hectares targeted for the National Greening Program of the Aquino Administration in the region, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Bicol regional office has adopted a commodity roadmap that it has effectively used in the implementation of the program.

Gilbert Gonzales, DENR Bicol regional executive director, said the region started the application of the Commodity Roadmap for the Bicol Region in 2013 and will adopt it until 2016.

Timber and fruit trees are the primary/major commodities that will be planted in forest plantations in the entire region and these will cover a total of 40,000 hectares, Gonzales said.

The commodities being planted are fruits -- 20,000 hectares; mangrove -- 5,000 ha; rattan – 500 ha; bamboo – 4,000 ha; cacao – 4,000 ha; coffee – 4,000 ha; fuel wood – 10,000 ha; and timber – 20,000 ha.

Other areas are reserved for protection production areas – 4,490 ha.

For this year alone, the DENR plans to target 22,096 ha, with the commodities distributed in its 11 community environment and natural resources offices (CNEROs) in the region.

Timber, Gonzales said, is still the major target commodity to be used in 16,703 ha.

The others are fuelwood – 500 ha; rattan – 275 ha; and others in protected forest – 226 ha, and urban – 263 ha.

The DENR conducted the survey and mapping of the CY 2013 sites covering a target of 22,096 ha through a competitive bidding pursuant to Republic Act 9184, in coordination with field offices and concerned local government units, the DENR official added.

“We established colored PVC corners, measuring two inches by two feet, on every corner of the project sites and marked live corners with ‘X’ as indicator, in the event that the PVC dilapidates through time,” Gonzales said.

He said the regional office has provided the concerned offices with GIS-generated electronic data and hard copies of maps.

“Most importantly, the contractor has provided us with photo documentation of the surveyed sites to include panoramic and four-corner shots using the N/S/E/W cardinal directions at center coordinates as reflected on every map,” Gonzales added.

The 22,096-ha surveyed and mapped areas in the 11 CENROS in the region are: Albay (Guinobatan and Legazpi City), 2,300 ha; Camarines Norte (Daet), 2,542 ha; Camarines Sur (Sipocot, Naga City, Goa and Iriga City), 5,137 ha; Catanduanes (Virac) 3,807 ha; Masbate (San Jacinto and Mobo), 4,981 ha; and Sorsogon (Sorsogon City), 3,329 ha.

The DENR Bicol regional office had planted 29.3 million various species of seedlings covering an area of 43,510 hectares in the entire region as of 2013 yearend under the NGP program.

Mandated under Executive Order No. 26 issued on February 24, 2011, the NGP is a priority thrust that harmonizes all greening efforts of the government and seeks to plant 1.5 billion trees covering about 1.5 million hectares from 2011 to 2016 nationwide in public domain.

Gonzales said the implementation of the NGP will address some of the priority programs of the government for poverty reduction, resource conservation and protection, productivity enhancement, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The NGP has generated jobs that have improved household incomes and general well-being of villages across the region.

People’s organizations, non-government organizations and other entities have generated incomes from the activities under seedling production, site preparation and planning, protection and maintenance of plantations that have employed 32,896 jobs, Gonzales claimed.(PNA) LAP/FGS/Emmanuel P. Solis/cbd/mec

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DA rallies Bicol LGUs into heightened participation in climate-smart agriculture

PILI, Camarines Sur, April 14 (PNA) –- The Department of Agriculture (DA) is rallying provincial governments in Bicol into intensified participation in the ongoing implementation of a foreign-funded program that serves as a platform for a modern and climate-smart agriculture in the region.

The program is named Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) whose national implementation carries P27.535 billion in total fund -- consisting of P20.553 billion loan from the World Bank, P3.579 billion as national government counterpart, P3.118 billion equity of the local government units and P287-million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

It involves 80 provincial local government units and agri-fishery stakeholders nationwide in realizing the goals of improved food security and increased incomes, climate resiliency and enhanced policy environment and governance.

Its implementation from 2013 to 2019 has identified four -- Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon — of the six provinces in Bicol as beneficiaries that the DA is engaging in orientation-meetings on investments for Agri-Fishery Microfinance Program (AFMP) to support farmers and fisher folk engaged in priority commodities.

AFMP is a joint program of the DA, the Agricultural Credit Policy Council and the Land Bank of the Philippines to improve the incomes of small farm and fishing households through improved access to financial services that can help enable them to diversify income sources and improve the profitability of their main agricultural or fishing activities.

Albay was chosen as among the beneficiaries with coconut as the priority commodity focused on coco coir and virgin coconut oil as identified under the province’s Value Chain Assessment.

Ruben Limos, Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer for Albay, said the project will have a big impact on the coconut industry of the province since 40,200 hectares of its total 103,774 hectares agricultural land is planted to coconut.

The development of enterprises on coco coir and virgin coconut oil will create more jobs and added income for the coconut farmers whose majority relies only on copra trading.

For Catanduanes, the provincial government is yet to decide on one of the three commodities—abaca, coconut and crab -- identified for the Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) while Sorsogon has chosen pili.

Masbate has not decided yet on the specific commodity, DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas based here, on Monday said.

The orientation-meetings are focused on the four components of the program--I-PLAN (Planning at the Local and National Levels, I-BUILD (Intensified Building-Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development), I-REAP (Investments for Rural Enterprises and Agri-Fishery Productivity and I-SUPPORT (Support to Program Implementation).

Bragas said the provincial governments are being taught by the DA how to prepare their PCIPs which is a requirement for fund allocation from the program that would be released directly to the province.

A PCIP is a product of the value-chain analysis and interventions focused on the identified commodity and orientations on this are being conducted to familiarize provincial governments and their planning teams on the process of its preparation using the same analysis, Bragas said.

The PRDP is also being implemented in collaboration with the National Convergence Initiative for synchronized delivery of programs and services to the rural communities and harmonization of priority areas to eliminate duplication and maximize complementation of activities.

The Department of Public Works and Highways is also involved to provide technical support in the design of farm-to-market roads and bridges and coordination to complement with the national road network plan.

Other agencies involved in the program are the Department of Science and Technology to provide access to research activities and transfer of developed technologies related to agriculture products and processes; Department of Trade and Industry for enterprise development; and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as support to Conditional Cash Transfer Program.

The Department of Budget and Management, Department of Interior and Local Government, DSWD and National Anti-Poverty Commission are also involved for a more participatory planning and budgeting through involvement of grassroots organizations and communities. (PNA) LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/

DA-Bicol intensifies production of genetically-improved carabao breeds
By Danny O. Calleja

PILI, Camarines Sur, April 14 (PNA) –- The Regional Field Unit (RFU) here for Bicol of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is harnessing the potential of artificial insemination (AI) in accelerating genetic improvements towards increasing the productivity of carabaos.

“We are intensifying this activity to help farmers in the region in conserving animal genetics and promote better breeds that are resistant to diseases,” DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas on Monday said.

While farm mechanization is a campaign that DA is aggressively pushing for more crop production in Bicol, Bragas said the agency still accepts the fact that carabaos remain associated with local farmers who consider the animal as their best friend and work buddy especially in small hold and draft animal-dependent farming.

“Although mechanization is slowly sidetracking the use of carabaos, certain activities in the farm will never allow farmers to dispense with the carabao as, for them, it remains their best friend and work companion,” Bragas stressed.

And since the rise in oil price is significantly impacting on the cost of farm inputs -- leading to a considerable increase in the cost of production and resulting in upward movement of food prices, with rural farming families caught in a tight situation of declining net income and reduced purchasing power -- the importance of the lowly carabao that does not require fuel and spare parts persists, he said.

The swamp type of carabao is the most commonly use draft animal in the region and it can be used for farm works from four to 15 years.

It could also produce milk that contains five percent proteins, which is higher than the 3.5 percent in those sourced from cow and goat.

Its meat, commonly called carabeef, is more nutritious than that of the cattle because it has 41 percent less cholesterol, 92 percent less fat and 56 percent fewer calories.

Fresh carabeef has higher crude protein than pork and beef and the meat is produced with fewer hormones or antibiotics because they are raised mainly out of nature’s fodder and grain.

Besides, the carabao manure which is left anywhere in the field has economic importance as it contains 18.5 percent nitrogen, 43.7 percent phosphoric acid and 9.6 percent potash, making it a good fertilizer.

This waste can be used as fuel when dried and produce methane for biogas.

Despite these many uses and importance of the lowly carabao, the population of this animal, according to Bragas, is declining as most farmers are forced into selling their draft animal amid threats of diseases like hemorrhagic septicemia, a bacterial disease transmitted through infected feeds and water.

Besides, these animals are also getting smaller and poor producer of milk thus, the DA-RFU, in collaboration with the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), is intensifying the upgrading of the animal in the region through AI.

Earlier results of this activity show that crossing murrah buffalo and Philippine carabao into a genetically-improved breed called F1 makes the animal grow as much as 100-percent faster and produces up to 300 percent more milk, Bragas said.

Murrah buffalo, he explained, is the most important and well known water buffalo breed being traditionally managed under domestic conditions.

They feed on different kinds of roughages and on concentrate mixtures, and if pasture grasses are available, they graze all day long.

Growing with short, heavy and stockily-built body featuring a large belly, an F1 is resistant to damp conditions and tropical diseases and also the best breed for milk production, Bragas said.

Native carabaos, he said, weigh only at an average of some 100 kilos while the weight of an F1 could reach as much as 300 kilos.

Aside from this, the latter produces around 10 liters of milk per day, which is way above the production performance of the native of only about four liters, Bragas noted.

A female murrah buffalo can calve at three years of age and when crossbreed through AI with the Philippine carabao, he said, the first generation could be expected to be of quality animals that may also increase farmers’ income through milk production.

Bragas recalled that for the past several years, AI has been an effective tool of the DA in producing quality animals or in getting the desired genetic breed improvements.

The practice is used in crossbreeding animals and is widely and extensively used in carabao reproduction.

Since 2001 until 2012, Bragas said, a total of 1,293 calves have been produced by the DA in Bicol under this crossbreeding project that was also applied in the production of 7,362 caracows or the crossbreed of carabaos and cow through AI.

In Bula, Camarines Sur, particularly in Barangays Sto. Niño and Lubgan, about 25 calves were produced under this project and, according to Celestina Esteve, the municipal livestock coordinator, farmer-beneficiaries of the project have been enjoying better prices for their upgraded calves compared to the native.

Each head of an F1-native crossbreed calf, she said, fetches as much as P15,000 compared to the native that could only be sold at the highest bid price of livestock traders of P8,000.

This is because the genetically-improved animal is bigger, heavier and grows faster than the native carabaos, Esteve added.

“We are now aggressively pursuing this AI project to be able to produce more quality, sturdy and resistant breeds of carabao for the farmers,” Bragas said. (PNA) LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/

Poor Bicolanos pained by toll of over-fishing on favorite fish (Feature)
By Danny O. Calleja

MAGALLANES, Sorsogon, April 14 (PNA) – Pilchards, locally called “lawlaw,” which used to be the most abundant and affordable fish for poor Bicolanos, have been observed to be rapidly vanishing from the region’s fishing grounds.

The culprit, according to observers, is over-fishing.

Also known as sardine, pilchard -- an oily fish that can grow to around 10 inches in length and swim in large schools -- is believed to be a good source of protein, particularly by the average Bicol fisher folk, including lowly families in rural areas of the region.

In the past years until the middle of last year, tons of this fish species would be hauled from the waters of Ticao Pass and Burias Pass, two adjoining fishing grounds within the overlapping jurisdictions of the provinces of Albay, Masbate and Sorsogon.

The bonanza then spilled out to Sorsogon Bay that the around 8,000 fisher folk here and seven other localities, including Sorsogon City, considered God sent.

“We earned good income from lawlaw during those heydays. About 20 truckloads of the fish could be hauled then from our fish port and that of the nearby Bulan town for delivery to some canning factories in Metro Manila or delivered to markets all over Bicol,” Edgar Homo, a fish dealer here, recalled in local dialect.

Fish for everyday consumption of local consumers was not also a problem because a kilo then could be bought for as low as Php10, he said.

But now, seldom that the fish can be found in the town market or anywhere around the province, Homo lamented.

“Even for our own consumption, we can longer catch and enjoy the mouth-watering taste of lawlaw,” claimed fisherman Michael Barrios, also of this town by the coastlines of Ticao Pass and Sorsogon Bay.

According to Greenpeace, Ticao Pass is representative of Bicol’s marine biodiversity at risk, given that despite of the presence of iconic species and eco-tourism wonders, it is situated side by side with poverty in coastal communities.

It also represents the totality of the region’s fishing grounds where destructive illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing are rampant -- resulting in a considerable decline of catch and fisheries species, it said.

Ticao Pass and Burias Pass, located on the eastern coast of Bicol, are considered as Bicol’s most productive and also listed as two of the country’s major fishing grounds.

Both have very high plankton concentrations brought by strong currents from San Bernardino Strait that attract iconic marine creatures such as manta rays, whale sharks, hammerheads and thresher sharks, which feed on this marine organism.

Other fish species -- such as jacks, tuna, sardines and mackerel which are important to the local population for their daily protein needs -- are also endemic in these areas.

“When lawlaw was aplenty along our municipal waters, commercial fishing operations intrude our grounds, leaving very little fish catch for small-scale fisher folk like us. We can barely catch six kilos a day, the average haul that will give us a good day’s wage,” Barrios said.

Other modes of illegal fishing like the use of dynamites and trawl and pre-mature catching of lawlaw are also unchecked and the consequences of heavy damages are now being felt from the demolition of the population of lawlaw and other commercial species on these fishing grounds, he added.

Trawl fishing is a method of gathering huge numbers of fish and by-catch or unintended catches by dragging a giant net, sometimes up to the bottom of the sea, behind a ship.

In the nearby town of Donsol, Greenpeace said existing data have it that 32.5 percent of commercially important fish are over-fished.

The annual fish harvest of about 1,350 metric tons by the municipal fisheries sector is upset by the intrusion of commercial fishers that harvest about 12,000 metric tons of fish annually.

Municipal fisher folk along Ticao and Burias -- together with some concerned sectors both in the government and private sectors like the academe, civic groups and the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources -- are active in protecting their municipal fishing grounds and have long been opposing the presence of illegal commercial fishing vessels in their waters.

Greenpeace is also working to support local fishing community to help put an end to destructive fishing and over-fishing by way of linking arm with local environmental conservation activists in a call for a stop to rampant illegal fishing activities that undermine marine-based development initiatives in the area.

Recognized as an independent global campaigning organization, Greenpeace has recently linked with some local non-government organizations in echoing its call for stakeholders’ change in attitudes and behavior to protect and conserve the environment.

The tie-up is particularly concerned over Ticao Pass, Burias Pass, Sorsogon Bay and San Bernardino Strait -- four of the many fishing grounds in Bicol that are considered heavily exploited owing to illegal fishing, especially by commercial vessels.

These destructive forms of fishing will certainly expand to adjacent grounds once illegal commercial fishing vessels are allowed to continue venturing into the seas of Bicol, according to Greenpeace Southeast Asia Ocean Campaigner Vince Cinches.

“Illegal commercial fishing activities in these areas are stealing the future of Bicol,” Cinches stressed, as he called on local authorities to initiate firm moves against it by way of determined law enforcement.

“While we recognize initiatives by different government units and agencies against illegal fishing in Bicol seas, we lament the qualitatively unchanged condition that resulted in high poverty incidence and a very degraded unproductive marine ecosystem in the area,” the group said.

If only the laws against illegal fishing are strictly enforced, then it will create a big difference towards the wish of Pres. Benigno Aquino III that stresses on the “need to rest our seas,” Cinches said.

The President’s primary concern is to make the fisheries sector sustainable through effective management of important biodiversity areas to replenish fish and ensure good catches for fishermen not only in Bicol but also in all the other regions of the country, he added. (PNA) FPV/FGS/DOC/CBD/

Monday, April 14, 2014

Legazpi cops, regional operatives recover stolen motorcycle
By Connie Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, April 14 (PNA)—The local police recovered a motorcycle which was reported stolen from its owner about four months ago, a police report released over the weekend said. The Philippine National Police (PNP) Albay provincial office based at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola here said the vehicle was intercepted by joint elements of the Legazpi City Police Office led by Senior Insp. Jan King Calipay and the Bicol police’s Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) led by Senior Insp. Steve Dela Rosa in a checkpoint at Barangay Baybay here.

Upon verification, the motorcycle, colored black and bearing license plate number EI 2314, was the same vehicle originally colored yellow and white which was reported by its owner Tiffany Celis to be stolen from its garage in Barangay Our Lady’s Village here on Dec. 22 last year, according to the report.

Its driver identified in the report as Randy Ortisio, 21, who claimed that the motorcycle was sold to him by somebody, was apprehended and charged for violation of Presidential Decree 1612 or the Anti-Fencing Law.

The court has recommended a bail of P30,000 for the temporary liberty of Ortisio who, as of this report, remains in the custody of the LCPO pending issuance of a jail commitment order from the same court, the report added.(PNA)

2 girls drown in Albay town resort

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City, April 13 (PNA) -– Two girls, aged 8 and 10, drowned while swimming with their relatives at the Amater Spring Resort in Barangay Tanawan, Malinao, Albay, at about 10:45 a.m. Sunday.

In a report to Senior Supt. Marlo Meneses, Albay Provincial Police Office director, Senior Insp. Art Gomez, Malinao Municipal Police Office chief, identified the victims as Blessy Eunice Clapiz, 8 , and Elena Carlit, 10 – both residents of Purok 1, Barangay Santa Elena, Malinao -- who did not reach the Lianko Medical Hospital alive.

Gomez said the parents of the victims, Nessy Clapiz and Jocelyn Carlit, told them that while they were busy preparing food at their rented cottage just several meters from the swimming pool, they heard commotion, which they did not mind at first.

They later found out that their respective daughters were the victims, who had reportedly jumped into the deep part of the pool.

They rushed the victims to the hospital but the two young girls did not make it alive.

Police said their investigation showed that the resort has only one life guard on duty, Henry Capino, but he has no documents showing he has the proper training for a life guard.

The police also found out that the resort has no life-saving devices, has no markings or warnings in the pool area and has a municipal business permit that expired on Dec 13 , 2013. (PNA) CTB/FGS/EMC/CBD/NOD

Masbate’s Rodeo Festival showcases local folk’s way of life, aspirations

MASBATE CITY, April 13 (PNA) -- The 21th Rodeo Masbateño Festival unsaddled on Saturday as it culminated five straight days of festivities showcasing the best breed of cattle in the country where the ranchers, cowboys, cowgirls, cowhands, stockmen and traders gathered for a cause: to bolster sports and agri-tourism here.

The event takes place every summer since 1993 in the province of Masbate, southeast of Manila and the “Cattle Capital of the Philippines.”

The highlight of the Rodeo was a display by local cowboys and cowgirls of their muscles and brains, dexterity, and correct and safe techniques in handling cattle.

Rodeo portrays the Filipino way of life as well as the daring and persevering character of the Masbateños as local cowboys and cowgirls compete in western-style rodeo events like bull riding, wrestling, lassoing and handling where men and women are dressed in cowboy outfits to perform the feats.

The thrilling show of skills involves several categories such as those for school men, school women, professional men and professional women contests.

These events draw people from the other parts of the Philippines and around the world as international cowboys and bull riders also participate in the competitions.

Also included in the events are a fair and exhibitions and trade of cattle and horses.

Apart from portraying the way of life and daring attitude of local cattle folk, the annual Rodeo festival here is pursuing to reinvigorate the dying cattle industry here as majority of the children of the ranchers opt to work in the big cities than to follow the footsteps of their parents, said Judge Manuel Sese, non-government organization Rodeo Masbateno Inc. president.

Through this annual event, cattle ranchers, horse breeders and feedlot operators showcase their best products as the ranchers breed the best and prepare for the show annually here.

Culturally rooted in the island province of Masbate where cattle are abundant, the Rodeo Masbateño is a day-to-day ranch practice that has been turned into a display of games and fun.

“The purpose of Rodeo festivity is to showcase around the country our livestock and tourism industry. Though before it was politically laden as it was run by politicians, forgetting that the RMI is a corporation, this is our own way of honoring farmers not only the ranchers but also the cowhands -- our devout partners in the farms,” Sese said.

In September 2, 2002, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared the island province of Masbate as the Rodeo Capital of the Philippines.

The annual Rodeo festivity was organized in 1993 by local ranchers and businessmen through the initiative of former governor Emilio R. Espinosa, Jr. with the aim of promoting the age-old cattle industry of the province, having once led in its production.

Eventually, Rodeo turned into an avenue for promoting local tourism.

Today, under the leadership of Sese, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 49, the festival aims to bring back the glory of Masbate as the number one cattle producer in the country.

“We are also encouraging the children of the ranchers to love the farm. It is also our desire to unite the Masbateños as our politics become divisive. Under our leadership the RMI members, irrespective of their political affiliations, work together to bolster our quest for development and promote sports and tourism,” Sese said. (PNA) CTB/FGS/RBB/CBD/PJN