Thursday, August 28, 2014

Passenger boat sinks off Masbate; 8 passengers safe

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 27 (PNA) -- Eight persons were saved when the passenger boat they were riding in sank in the seas off Mandaon, Masbate, at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Saved were boat machinist Mona Asot Magalaman and his seven passengers who were not identified as of press time.

The victims came from Roxas City on board the boat marked "KIMDIN 1" and were bound for Mandaon.

Strong waves brought by the bad weather condition hit the boat but Magalaman was able to sound an SOS alarm immediately, prompting the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council of Mandaon to come to their rescue.

The rescued victims were brought to the Mandaon Rural Health Unit where they were treated.

The survivors were already sent home. (PNA) LGI/FGS/EMC/CBD

President Aquino attends to poor Bicol town's request for intervention to realize local solar power project

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 27 (PNA) – Pres. Benigno Aquino III has entertained the request for intervention of a poor town in the power-needy Bicol island-province of Catanduanes toward the realization of its solar power project.

In doing so, the President has directed National Electrification Administration (NEA) administrator Edith Bueno to look into it.

In her recent letter to Malacañang, town Mayor Salvacion Isuela of Camaroran, Catanduanes, informed Pres. Aquino of her local government unit’s plan to secure a loan amounting PHP130 million through the Department of Finance (DoF) to finance the project, which will be implemented in partnership with a South Korean renewable energy developer.

In a statement reaching the PNA here Wednesday, Isuela said she told the President in the letter that her administration has been “introduced by a company called Apple Korea to the newest technology of renewable energy generation by converting the light coming from the sun through a Grid-Tied Solar Power System with a generating capacity of one megawatt.”

The lady local chief executive said she told the President in the same letter that “we believe the adoption and construction of said solar power-generating system will accelerate economic development and prosperity not only in our municipality but also in the entire Catanduanes island.”

Being an area off Luzon Grid, the island-province relies for its electricity needs mainly on power distributed to its 45,000 member-consumers by the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative (Ficelco) that buys it from privately-owned generator sets contracted by the National Power Corp. (NPC).

These gensets, however, have been performing dismally due to high maintenance cost and unavailability of spare parts constantly plaguing the province with prolonged brownouts.

This power supply is augmented by the twin hydropower plants being operated by the Sunwest Water and Electricity Corp. (Suweco), a private renewable energy developer and another hydro plant being maintained by the NPC.

These hydropower facilities have also been performing poorly due to low water level, especially during summer.

It can be recalled that Pres. Aquino has approved the release of Php 200 million from the national government’s Development Acceleration Program (DAP) in 2012 for the upgrading of the island province’s power supply facilities.

Now, the project, which includes installation of transmission lines and power substations, is ongoing implementation for the purpose of energizing sitios which, since electricity was introduced in the province, have been left groping in the dark.

Observers say that the project, expected to be completed this year, would greatly improve the reliability of electric service in the province.

In her statement, Isuela said the local legislative council or Sangguniang Bayan (SB) approved the solar power project and has authorized her to enter into negotiations in behalf of the municipality for the Php1 30-million loan.

Some PHP100 million of the total amount will be allocated to the installation of the solar power facility and the rest—PHP 30 million -- for the acquisition of the two-hectare lot where the facility will be established, she said.

“I submitted the loan documents to the DoF last month and I was assured by the department that it would be approved the earliest as possible as per advice of the President,” she said.

Isuela said the help she asked from Pres. Aquino is for the expeditious execution of a power sales agreement (PSA) between the Caramoran LGU and Ficelco so that the former is assured of generating proceeds for loan servicing and recovery of investment.

Caramoran is a third-class municipality and largest among the 11 towns of Catanduanes, with its 25,240 territorial land covering 27 barangays occupied by about 30,000 people-- mostly farmers and fisher folk.

The municipality lies along the northern coastal tip of the province, nearly100 kilometers from Virac, the provincial capital.

It has an average annual income amounting to some PHP 61 million, about 97 percent of which coming from its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) and the rest from locally generated revenues.

The municipality boasts of a wide ecotourism potential with its white-sand beaches and clean coastal water, particularly in Palumbanes Island -- a leisure fishing, diving and snorkeling haven.

Under a proposed PSA, Isuela explained, power generated by the solar facility will be sold to the cooperative in a meter-based scheme at the prevailing market price.

“I informed Pres. Aquino in my letter that I already made an offer to Ficelco through an official letter addressed to its general-manager saying that under the LGU’s tariff threshold proposal, the solar energy will cost either Php 8.65 per kilowatt hour (kWh) subject to increase without prior notice, depending on the inflationary rate, exchange rate and market force,” Isuela said

Other options in the PSA, she added, are PHP 9 per kWh fixed for 10 years; or, a combined offsetting and exporting, with onsite loads to be supplied first and the excess power exported.

The lady mayor said she was informed lately by Bueno that as a preliminary action taken concerning Pres. Aquino’s directive addressed to NEA, she (Bueno), in a letter had asked Ficelco general-manager Samuel Laynes to comment on her request.

Laynes reportedly has not acted on it as of this week as he is yet to determine whether the project is viable based on its technical details. (PNA) FPV/FGS/DOC/CBD/

Legazpi City nutrition program 1st runner-up in NNC tilt

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 27 (PNA) -- The Legazpi City Nutrition Office was named by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) as 1st runner-up in the City Level Category in the search for 2013 Outstanding City of the Region during the Regional Nutrition awarding ceremony Wednesday at the La Piazza Hotel Convention Center.

Mayor Noel E. Rosal, City Administrator Wilfredo “Pecos” Intia, City Health Officer Dr. Fulbert Gillego, City Nutrition Officer Natividad Cardel and the members of the City Nutrition Committee received the award from Department of Health (DOH) Bicol Regional Director Gloria Balboa and Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Arlene R. Reario.

The cities of Iriga and Tabaco were named by the NCC as the Green Banner Awardee and 2nd runner-up, respectively.

Naga City got the merit award for sustained, efficient and effective implementation of 2013 Nutrition Program.

In Barangay Category, Napoleon Cardel, barangay captain of Binanuahan East of this city and his 10 other members of the Barangay Nutrition Committee also received an award from the NNC as one of the 2013 top performing barangays in the Bicol Region.

Merly B. Lopez of the same village also received cash award as one of the Outstanding Barangay Nutrition Scholars (OBNS).

The recognition was based on the study conducted by the Regional Nutrition Evaluation Team on the implementation of the city’s nutrition program such as Sagip Kalusugan, Promotion of Healthy Lifestyle, and Good Nutrition where Legazpi City Nutrition Office got an average rating of 90.15 percent -- the highest average of this city since 2006.

The activity aims to recognize outstanding local nutrition committees of the province, cities, municipalities, barangays and outstanding barangay nutrition scholars, who continue to effectively and efficiently manage their nutrition programs at their own respective localities.

Natividad Cardel said that based on her record, in 2011, Legazpi City posted 2,190 or 8.41 percent identified malnourished children in 2012,

It improved the record down to 1,975 or 7.71 percent and in 2013, the identified malnourished children were reduced to only 1,754 or 6.93 percent.

This satisfactory rating was the result of the aggressive implementation of the city’s Sagip Kalusugan Program, creation of the breast feeding support group and intensification of mothers class in the 70 villages of this city.

The 6.93-percent malnourished prevalence record of the City’s Nutrition Office is lower than the 19.2 percent recorded malnourished prevalence rate by the National Nutrition Survey.

Cardel explained that her office through Sagip Kalusugan program has regularly conducted medical and dental check-up to all the children in the entire city, laboratory examinations, chest X-rays, de-worming and vitamins supplementation.

In the implementation of the breast-feeding support, the city nutrition officer said her office has encouraged all the mothers to exclusively breast feed the infants and children from zero to six months.

Under the Intensify Mothers Class, Cardel revealed that her office has conducted a regular nutrition education program among all the mothers in the 70 villages of this city as part of the promotion of the nutrition guidelines by way of informing and educating them on how to apply the proper way of breast feeding, responsible parenthood, and maternal and child health care.

She disclosed that she regularly holds “Operation Timbang” among pre-school children to monitor their weights. (PNA) LAP/FGS/EPS/CBD/UTB

Albay asked to lead AlMaSor booth in 25th Philippine Travel Mart
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 22 (PNA) -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) – Bicol has asked the Provincial Government of Albay, through Governor Joey Sarte Salceda, to lead the AlMaSor Pavilion in this year’s edition of the Philippine Travel Mart at the SMX Convention Center on Sept. 5.

In a letter sent by DOT Regional Director Maria O. Ravanilla, the DOT-Bicol requested the PGA to be the lead agency in this endeavor and manage the AlMaSor Pavilion information counter to cater to guests making inquiries about the three provinces during the three-day event.

AlMaSor is a collaborative tourism promotion effort of the provinces of Albay, Masbate and Sorsogon.

It has recently been making waves in the local tourism industry as well as in the international tourism market ever since this brainchild of Salceda was set into motion.

Aside from the tourism officers and employees from the PGA, the DOT-Bicol has also invited DOT-accredited tour operators from the AlMaSor area to help market and sell Bicol tour packages, particularly those that highlight Albay and AlMaSor destinations.

This year’s Travel Mart is the 25th rendition of the yearly event, marking its silver anniversary and making it the longest-running travel trade exhibition in the Philippines.

It is also regarded as the biggest travel trade exhibition in the promotion and marketing of domestic and inbound tourism in the country.

To mark this significant milestone, the Philippine Tour Operators Association -- the biggest association of tour operators and agencies that promote exclusively domestic and inbound tourism, as operators and organizer, promised that the 25th Philippine Travel Mart will be the biggest and most meaningful staging of the event."(PNA) CTB/FGS/CBD/

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DOST- Bicol trains 10 jail officers, 30 inmates in vinegar, nata de coco making
By Emmanuel P. Solis

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 26 (PNA) -- Ten regional and provincial officers of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and 30 resident inmates are now ready to make vinegar and nata de coco either for their families' use or for business purposes.

This, after they learned the processes of making the products in a recent Skills Training on Vinegar and Nata de Coco Making jointly sponsored by the BJMP and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Bicol region office.

The training was conducted by Cristopher G. Millena, science research specialist II, and product specialists Vanessa SM. Caluza and Aubrey Rosebud R. Balonzo, who discussed the formulations and procedures in vinegar and nata de coco making.

The three lecturers also stressed the use of other indigenous sources as well as food safety and good manufacturing processes that will result in quality products.

BJMP Regional Director Ignacio S. Panti said the conduct of this activity is in line with BJMP’s therapeutic community services.

Meanwhile, in support of the programs and services of the Cathedral Parish Credit Cooperative (CPCC), one of the top performing credit cooperatives in the region, the DOST Bicol also conducted earlier a training on food processing and preservation for 20 senior citizens and retirees in the CPCC office at the Albay Cathedral Compound, Legazpi City.

The activity also formed part of the Nutrition Month Celebration in the region.

Fae B. Bajamundi, DOST science research specialist II, lectured and demonstrated on the following technologies: 1) tomato processing (jam and preserve), 2) squash processing (puree and catsup) and 3) onion preserve.

CPCC has Aurora V. N. Lucena as board chair and Nerisa Dolot as coop manager.

Dolot said they envision more members to engage themselves in productive endeavors through technology adoption/enterprise development.

Moreover, CPCC also encourages that loan applications be intended for the establishment/expansion of micro and small enterprises of cooperative members in the City of Legazpi and Province of Albay.

DOST V Director Tomas B. Briñas said their agency is committed to deliver S&T services that will benefit and improve the lives of Bicolanos -- especially the poor, displaced and low-income group -- to attain regional development.(PNA) LAM/FGS/EPS/CBD/

Legazpi water distributor cites extreme weather condition, busted transformer for water supply lack

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 26 (PNA) -- Some residents of Legazpi City will experience insufficient water supply this week, a top official of the Legazpi City Water District said.

LCWD spokesman Richard Atun said Philippine Hydro Inc. (PhilHydro), the bulk water supplier to LCWD, recorded a decrease in water supply due to extreme weather condition, aside from the busting of its electric transformer being used in the operation.

Atun said they expect the installation of a new transformer on Wednesday, which he hopes will bring back the normal operation of the water agency.

He said the decrease of water level started since summer season but became worst this week.

Atun said unstable flow of water leads to insufficient and unclean water distribution.

"Because of the intermittent supply, more residues have been formed in pipelines that lead to unclean water supply which is unfit for drinking. This can be solved if the supply will be continuous, aside from the effort of Phil-Hydro to install reverse osmosis system which will be used to filter water," the LCWD spokesman added.

Atun asked for the patience of Legazpenos for this temporary inconvenience.

Phil-Hydro's water supply comes from a developed spring source located at the boundary of Barangay Pawa and Barangay Bogtong, aside from wells in villages of Bogṅa and Mabinit and spring in Barangay Buyuan, both in the northern part of the city.

Atun said that in normal days, the water district distributes almost 200 cubic meters in a day but this week, it decreases up to 120 cubic meters only -- which is distributed to 21,000 consumers in 52 of 70 villages in Legazpi City.

Legazpi City is divided into four water areas; the Albay District, Legazpi Port District (commercial area), southern (upland) area and northern area where sources of water are.

Water supply is still limited in Albay District, Legazpi Port and part of southern area. On Wednesday last week, Atun said, the situation worsened -- reason why they started "valving" the pipelines to equally distribute water.

Valving refers to closing the pipe partially to control the flow of water into other lines.

Valving areas are at the Bogtong area to divide supply of water to reach Albay District and at Barangay Dita area to supply water to the city commercial area.

Legazpi water was declared not potable by former Mayor Geraldine Rosal last year 2011 after the University of the Philippines Natural Sciences and Research Institute (UP-NSRI) study showed that it does not conform with the Philippine National Standard for drinking water because of high level of total dissolved solids (TDS), indicating not fit for drinking and that resulted in the revocation of the business permit of Phil-Hydro.

Maynilad took over the operations of PhilHydro in October 2012.(PNA) FPV/FGS/AMM/CBD/

Saturday, August 23, 2014

DA embarks on enhancing pili production in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 22 (PNA) –- The Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol regional office is embarking on the enhancement of production of pili nut, the region’s source of prime and indigenous delicacy that has been winning a competitive niche in the world market.

“We have been distributing thousands of pili seedlings for free to farmers all over the region as we embark on the expansion of local pili nut production, which has a great potential for development as a major export crop,” DA Regional Director Abelardo Bragas said in a statement reaching the PNA here Friday.

DA Secretary Proceso Alcala would even participate in the distribution process every time he holds sorties in the region—the latest of which were for the “Bicol Rehabilitation Assistance for Glenda—Agriculture Sector,” DA’s quick response to provide immediate assistance to farmers and fisherfolk in provinces hardly hit by the typhoon last July 15, Bragas said.

For Camarines Sur alone, the recent distribution spearheaded by Alcala involved 18,500 pieces of pili seedlings given to farmers affected by the typhoon.

Almost the same number has also been distributed earlier to each of Sorsogon and Albay, also in occasions attended by the DA secretary, he said.

Apart from pili seedlings millions of pesos worth of farming inputs, implements, farm animals and facilities have also been distributed under this rehabilitation response, Bragas said.

There have been over 80,400 farmers across the region affected by typhoon "Glenda" that left around Php 3.9 billion-worth of damages to crops in Bicol.

“We in the DA Regional Field Unit (RFU) want these farmers and all the rest, including landowners in the region, to plant and grow more pili trees as another source of good income and Sec. Alcala have been doing his share in promoting it by way of talking with them as well as local pili nut processors on how to improve the industry,” Bragas said.

Apart from the attractiveness of pili nut’s products to the world market, he said, pili is another tree of life in Bicol -- next to coconut -- with all its parts being useful.

The resin (elemi), which is extracted from its bark, is a known export product of the country for many years.

It has both pharmaceutical and industrial uses -- being ingredient in the manufacture of plasters, ointments, paints, varnish, sealants, lacquers, asphalt, water and fire proofing, linoleum, plastics and printing inks.

DA records shows that for many years, the Philippines has been exporting resin or Brea (Manila elimi) to the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Cuba, China, Hongkong and Japan.

The kernel, when roasted and ground, is used as ingredients here and abroad for ice cream, salads, puddings, toppings for cakes, bread, pastries, confectioneries and other delicacies like marzipan, fruit-cereal bar and fruit and nut mixed chocolate.

Rich in micronutrients -- such as magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, zinc, copper, iron, sodium, thiamine and niacin -- it can be eaten raw or processed as roasted, fixated or sugar-coated and is served in the same way as cashew or almond, or peanuts.

Scientific studies conducted by the country’s top institutions dedicated to pili research, and replicated by studies abroad, according to Bragas, have confirmed the nut’s impressive nutritional content, being high in thiamin, magnesium and phosphorus.

As Bicol’s top product next to coconut, the pili nut has rightfully became a luxury food item -- one of the finest gifts of the Philippine tropics to the world.

It is a versatile gourmet treat, lending a distinct flavor and taste to many culinary fares.

At present, Sorsogon is the largest pili producer in Bicol, followed by Albay and Camarines Sur.

“We want all the other three provinces of the region—Catanduanes, Masbate and Camarines Norte -- to get involved in this enhancement program,” Bragas stressed. (PNA) LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cayetanos’ scholarship bill enlivens Bicolano youth’s college dream (Feature)
By Danny O. Calleja

CASTILLA, Sorsogon, Aug. 19 (PNA) – A consistent class topnotcher since her elementary grades, 16-year-old Babaylyn Barrios will be graduating from the public high school here next year with a gloomy prospect of getting into college because of poverty.

She also dreams of going to college but her mother—a widow for five years now and whose measly earnings from farming is barely enough for the immediate daily needs of the family—cannot afford it.

It’s a painful fact but like most of the thousands of Bicolano teenagers now in rural high schools, she has already admitted that college would not be possible for her after high school.

“Yes, I admit that I cannot go to college under our present economic situation but I am not giving up my dream of becoming a teacher someday, somehow. I want to take a path that is different from my peers’,” Barrios said after getting a glimpse of the works where high school graduates ahead of her have ended in.

Most of the boys are jobless and the girls—some of them house maids and several are dancers in Manila cabarets or elsewhere.

Others are tempted into early marriage and end up poorer with many unwelcomed kids, she lamented.

Barrios said she cannot give up her dream, especially now that her hope has been enliven by a legislative measure recently filed jointly by Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Pia Cayetano that hopefully will be enacted soon to grant scholarships to top public high school graduates and compulsory admission to state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Alan Peter is chairman of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture and Pia, of the committee on finance.

Senate Bill No. 2275 or Iskolar ng Bayan Bill, when passed into law, will mandate SUCs to annually give outright admission and scholarship privilege to public high schools graduates who belong to the top 10 of their respective classes.

It will cover all SUCs, except the University of the Philippines because of its institutional autonomy as the national university under Republic Act No. 9500 or the "University of the Philippines Charter of 2008"; “provided, that the University shall come up with its own scholarship programs for the Top 10 students from public high schools.”

The likes of Barrios, who certainly will graduate next year with the top 10 based on his impressive scholastic records, will be among the over 6,000 graduates from 653 public high schools across the Bicol region.

Nationwide, there are 7,913 public secondary schools operating as of this school-year 2014-2015 from where 79,130 would qualify to the grant.

In its Declaration of Policy, the bill said the “State is mandated to increase access to quality education to alleviate poverty and promote the intellectual well-being of the youth. It shall likewise give priority to measures that reduce social and economic inequalities. As such, it is the policy of the State to democratize access to education at the tertiary level and make higher education available to underprivileged but deserving students.”

The scholarship grants, it said, will be in the form of free tuition fee and other school fees to the Iskolar ng Bayan in all SUCs; reasonable textbook allowance per academic year as may be determined by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) based on annual inflationary rates; and reasonable monthly living allowance based on the cost of living as determined by National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for full scholarship.

“This is one issue we could all agree on, no matter what political color you carry. That access to quality education is a right, not a privilege, even in the tertiary level. Let us provide Filipino families, especially the poor, the kind of education that would lift them up from poverty,” Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement reaching here Tuesday.

The bill has been approved on third reading by the Senate and has recently hurdle the appropriations committee in the House of Representatives.

“This is roughly 79,000 students who are sure of going to college if this measure becomes a law. It would mean over 79,000 poor Filipino family members who would be given the chance of waking up to a better future,” he said.

Cayetano said the enactment of this measure becomes particularly important now that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has been abolished by Congress, leaving some 400,000 scholars on their own to fend for their schooling.

“I wish and I deeply pray that this bill is enacted without hitches and delay. I am now pinning my last hope on it for me to realize my dream of going to college and be able to liberate my family from the bondage of poverty later,” Barrios said as she expressed gratitude to the Cayetanos. (PNA) CTB/FGS/DOC/CBD/

Albay board OKs ordinance limiting use of ambulances

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 19 (PNA) -- The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay approved Monday an ordinance aimed at curbing blatant and frequent misuse of government ambulances, intended to be utilized for sick constituents.

Entitled “Regulating the Use of All Government Ambulances in the Province of Albay, and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof,” the ordinance is authored by 3rd District Board Member Rhederick N. Riva from Oas, and co-authored by 3rd District Board Member Herbert S. Borja from Polangui.

It aims to make government ambulances readily available to transport the seriously sick and injured patients requiring immediate medical treatment to or from a facility to another that is sufficiently equipped to handle the matter and save lives.

The legislation states that it has been observed that in many instances, government ambulances have been gravely misused, to the detriment of the public, whereas said vehicles have been seen in recreational areas where they have no business being there.

"There were cases where fees have been collected for their use, defeating the very purpose they were purchased for," Riva said.

According to the ordinance, it is unlawful for public officials or employees to use government ambulances for personal use or as an office service vehicle and it shall also be unlawful to use these vehicles for transporting patients deemed not in a medical emergency situation.

Whether with fees or not, government ambulances cannot be used for private purposes but government officials or employees shall not refuse the use of any government ambulance by patients who cannot pay fees, nor should there be any deprivation of use to any individual due to their gender, religious beliefs, economic status, or political affiliations; and government ambulances cannot be used to transport cadavers.

"There are exceptions though given to the use of government ambulances in non-emergency situations and these include the use of the vehicles in official and authorized medical outreach missions and other hospital services and operations related to medical missions, delivery of medicines and other medical supplies," Riva explained.

Public officials or employees caught violating this ordinance shall be penalized, after due process, with a P1,000 fine, and or imprisonment of one month for the first offense.

Second offense entails a fine of P2,500 and or six months of imprisonment; and being caught for a third time will result in a fine of P5,000 and or imprisonment of one year, without any prejudice to the filing of appropriate administrative charges. (PNA) LAP/FGS/EMC/CBD/

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Legazpi wins Galing Pook award
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 18 (PNA) -– Recognizing its excellence in local governance, the Galing Pook Foundation has adjudged this city as one of the 10 winners of this year’s Galing Pook Awards.

“The panelists of Galing Pook Awards have unanimously chosen your presentation as one of the 10 Galing Pook awardees for 2014. Congratulations for a job well done in your city. See you in Malacañang (for the awarding) on Oct. 21,” Dr. Eddie Dorotan, the foundation’s executive director and awards chairman, said in text message received by Mayor Noel Rosal over the weekend.

Interviewed on Monday, Rosal told the PNA here that his administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) undertakings that have been proven effective in the implementation of high-end development projects in the city was the program he presented and won the Galing Pook Awards.

His administration’s flagship project implemented through PPP, Rosal said, is the Legazpi Central Grand Terminal, a P300-million deal which was completed without the local government spending even a single centavo as it is being done under the build-operate and transfer scheme.

Located in a 3.9-hectare prime site owned by the city government, the facility -- developed by LKY Development Corp. and whose construction was completed in 2009 -- now serves as an integrated bus and other public utility vehicles terminal serving as the major transit point of the city.

The terminal has grown into one of the country’s best terminals, being a big boost to the local tourism industry and, together with the newly renovated Ibalong Centrum for Recreation (ICR), the site has also been developed into a central core for leisure and recreation.

The development within the terminal complex of a premier destination mall to serve as the main anchor for the development that would attract increased foot traffic and provide with a place where people can congregate and spend time together is now in the blueprint, also under the PPP scheme, Rosal said.

The centrality of the development of this project and its comprehensive and intrinsic integration of functions created a major destination point that rivals most developments in the region as its unique character and vast scope create myriad opportunities for growth and economic progress, he said.

Rosal said the PPP program won for the city the Galing Pook Award under the Ten Outstanding Local Governance Programs as it was able to show positive results and impact, promotion of people's participation and empowerment, innovation, transferability and sustainability, and efficiency of service delivery.

“This Galing Pook Award would further give rise to a relatively young and dynamically growing demography of the city and demonstrates the determined and persevering character of Legazpeños as they live under the shadow of Mayon Volcano,” Rosal said.

Galing Pook traces its beginnings in 1993. The Awards Program was a joint initiative of the Local Government Academy–Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Ford Foundation and other individual advocates of good governance from the academe, civil society and the government.

The Asian Institute of Management administered the awards program until 2000; however, the Galing Pook Foundation was formally established as a private awards giving body in 1998 to sustain the Awards Program.

In its almost two decades of existence, Galing Pook has become a leading resource institution continuously promoting innovation and excellence in local governance.

It proactively searches and recognizes best local government practices and facilitates their adoption in more communities in the country. (PNA) LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/