Saturday, March 25, 2017

Albay youth group to hold peace rally
By Mike Dela Rama

LEGAZPI CITY, March 24 (PNA) -- The Team Albay Youth Organization Inc. or TAYO is set to hold a whole day peace rally that seeks to put an end to the armed conflict being waged by insurgent groups on March 29.

Alfred Nimo, president of (TAYO), a civic group that actively helped in post-disaster humanitarian work in areas devastated by typhoon Nina last December, said the activity is an undertaking of the 91st Civil Military Operation Company; different community-based organizations; and youth, religious and media groups.

He said a short program will be conducted at the Albay Freedom Park, also known as Peñaranda Park, starting at 6 a.m.

“The activity is to show full support to the government's campaign to have lasting peace and protect the interest of civilians against any form of abuse,” Nimo said.

Joey Cabang, commanding officer of the 91st Civil Military Operation Company, said multisectoral support is important so all forms of abuse against civilians could be checked.

“We are conducting a series of dialogues in the communities to explain our mission which is peace and order,” he said.

Cabang said the most common problem of villagers in upland barangays (villages) are the armed encounters initiated by various armed groups.

He said the military is strongly urging village officials and community-based organizations to help put an end to the insurgency and promote peace in the communities.

“As much as possible we want to prevent any armed encounter that is why we keep advocating for peace,” Cabang added.

He added that the message of the peace rally is to have a peaceful environment.

He added the peace rally will also ask participants to commit in the quest for peace in various upland villages. (PNA)

Lawmen nab trader, teenager in Camarines Norte for illegal drug possession

NAGA CITY, March 24 (PNA) -- Police on Friday were preparing the filing of charges against a businessman and a teenager who were arrested late Thursday afternoon in Daet, Camarines Norte for possession of shabu (methampthetamine hydrochloride) and drug paraphernalia.

Supt. Victor E. Abarca, public information officer of the Camarines Norte Provincial Police Office (PPO), said Rodel D. Leona, 44, the businessman and Aldrin R. Ubana, 19, were found in possession of nine heat-sealed plastic sachets of shabu when a combined team of lawmen from the Daet Municipal Police Office, provincial intelligence police and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency pounced on them.

Abarca said Leona and Ubana were at the house of Leona in Purok 6, Barangay Borabod, Daet when the composite team of operatives implemented the search warrant against them. Ubana is a resident of Jose Panganiban town, also in Camarines Norte.

An improvised burner and tooter were also confiscated from the two drug suspects who were detained at the Daet municipal jail.

The search warrant served by the arresting team was issued by Judge Evan S. Dizon, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 40 in Daet.

Abarca said the two drug suspects will be charged with violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002. (PNA) JEJR

DA chief stresses 'technology, financing, marketing' in dialogue with Ligao City farmers, local execs
By Connie B. Destura

LIGAO CITY, March 24 (PNA) -– Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piňol turned over PHp20 million worth of agricultural production inputs and facilities to Bicol on Friday during a dialogue attended by 600 farmers-leaders and local officials in this city wherein he stressed how giving attention to “technology, financing and marketing” could adequately help the country’s farmers and fishermen.

During the dialogue called “TAPATAN: Gobyerno at mamamayan (face-off: govt and citizens)" he said it is important to help the farmers and fishermen because both the agriculture and fisheries sectors are “the hope of this country, nothing else.”

“Let's go back to the countryside because the countryside is the life of our country," Piňol said.

Emily Bordado, Department of Agriculture (DA)-Bicol information officer, said DA distributed during the event 100 bags of hybrid seeds, 200 bags of urea fertilizers, and 300 bags of open pollinated white corn seeds — all worth PHp420,000.

She said a unit of rice processing center or RPC 1 worth PHp6 million will be handed to the Monoporong Farmers Association Inc. of Oas, Albay while a cacao processing equipment worth PHp350,000 that include a roaster, grinder and cracker with cleaner and power sprayer will be given to the Kawa-Kawa Organic Planters Processors Association of Ligao City.

Bordado said 100 sets of garden tools and 100 packs of assorted vegetable seeds worth PHp170,000 will also be given to women's groups from towns in the third district of Albay while 100 heads of ducks and 10 heads of sheep worth PHp135,000 will be given to Nabonton 4-H Club of Ligao City.

The third district towns in Albay include Guinobatan, Ligao City, Oas, Polangui and Libon.

Bordado added a warehouse and combined harvester worth PHp5.6 million will be turned over to PhilRice or Philippine Rice Research Institute, a government corporate entity attached to DA that is tasked to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce sufficient rice for all Filipinos.

Piñol said to achieve the goals in the agriculture sector of the country, the government should enhance technology in the farms, financing schemes for farmers and the marketing of their produce.

He said in terms of technology, DA has introduced the solar-powered irrigation system that will do away with the building of a dam. In this regard, he added the department is set to distribute 10 solar powered irrigation systems in selected pilot areas.

DA has also launched the website "farmersguidemap.gov.ph" which will specify the appropriate agricultural products to be planted in specific areas.

"We made this guide map because for so long farmers just guess what to plant in their farmlands without really knowing what kind of land they have and what fertilizers they really need,” Piňol said.

He added that the system seeks to do away with the “guessing game in farming” which Filipinos of all ages have been doing for a long time now.

Piñol said that with the intervention and help of the government, farmers can now plant based on soil suitability and climate condition.

He said that “another page is expected to be launched soon” when DA can show farmers how water source can be detected in different barangays.

The DA chief said in terms of “financing”, the total loan package that farmers could avail of amounts to PHP3 billion with nine loan programs that can cater to both farmers and fishermen.

He said he has submitted to Congress a draft bill that will change the requirements before a loan could be obtained.

Piñol added “the requisites do not include asking for more collaterals” from farmers and fishermen.

The farmers, however, must be registered with the national registry of farmers and fishermen so they could avail of the “farmers-fishermen quick credit facility.”

Piñol said the farmers can avail of up to Php50,000 (PHp 25,000 for agricultural products and PHp 25,000 credit line) that can be released “within a period of three days.”

He said there will be another modification in terms of mode of payment of loans such that maturity of the loan will be determined by the kind of agricultural seeds being planted compared to the current practice of making the farmers pay for their loans the following year.

The DA head added the department will support the farmers, “who will be the ones who will engage in marketing their own products,” through cooperatives to be organized by DA.

He said the cooperatives will be given tractors, planters, harvesters, dryers and a rice processing facility so that by harvest time the farmers can bring their products to the market already.

Piñol stressed the produce of the farmers will become useless if the farmers are not helped in bringing them to the marketplace.

From Ligao City, Piňol is expected to proceed to Casiguran, Sorsogon where he will be joined by Senator Francis Escudero for the turnover of boats and fishing paraphernalia to identified fisherfolk. (PNA)

Scientists record steam emissions from Mt. Mayon’s summit to assess lava dome activity
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, March 24 (PNA) -- A group of scientists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and Earth Observatory of Singapore, along with civil defense officials, conducted an aerial survey over Mount Mayon on Friday morning to gather steam emission directly from the summit of the active volcano so activity inside it could be recorded in “real time.”

Eduardo Laguerta, resident volcanologist of Phivolcs-Legazpi, said the group that included five chemists and led by Dr. Regan Rebadoria, collected steam emissions near the summit for their “real time monitoring” of the situation inside the volcano.

He said they will compare the real-time data with the recorded data gathered through the so-called remote monitoring that uses Phivolcs’ instruments installed at its observatory stations in Barangay Masarawag in the town of Guinobatan and in Malilipot town, both in Albay.

According to Laguerta, they sometimes find difficulty gathering sulfur dioxide or SO2 emissions because of unfavorable weather condition that tend to provide inaccurate data.

“This is why we gather plumes from the summit itself (when the weather is fine),” he said.

Laguerta added the volume of gas gathered from the volcano is very important for a “complete” record of the observed parameters of Mayon’s activity.

He said another reason for the real-time monitoring is to get a picture of what’s inside the lava dome when viewed from the summit.

Laguerta said they need to get the data on the volume of materials inside that have remained from the 2014 phreatic (or steam-driven) explosions of the volcano.

“The power inside the volcano is ascertained by the depth of magma underneath which also causes the swelling or inflation of the mountain,” he said.

He added that the data they had gathered during their “precise leveling” at Mount Mayon in January showed a “slight inflation” that was added to the “inflation recorded” during the explosion of Mayon years ago.

“Even if physically Mayon is quiet we do not really know what is happening underneath her,” said Laguerta.

He said the present study and observations are significant as they are wary of the ensuing danger should there be a sudden phreatic explosion, especially now that it is summer.

Laguerta said the slightest explosion of ash puffs is already extremely dangerous, especially at the volcano’s rim.

He explained that even if the surface of the lava dome is hardened there is steaming liquid underneath that could pose a lot of danger when sudden phreatic explosions occur.

Laguerta said when this happens “the 45 degree slope of the mountain could trigger an avalanche of pyroclastic materials,” referring to the cloud of ash and lava fragments carried through air and vapor during volcanic eruptions.

He said geologists from Phivolcs-Manila again plan to conduct a “precise leveling” around Mayon volcano on the first week of the second quarter to get the latest data of the inflation of Mayon.

Laguerta said they would compare it with the result of the SO2 emissions gathered during the aerial survey today.

He added that whatever result they would get they will present it to the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, that is in charge of disaster risk reduction and mitigation efforts in the province, and to members of media. (PNA)

Archdiocese of Caceres launches 4th short filmfest on Bicol patroness 'Our Lady of Peñafrancia'

NAGA CITY, March 24 (PNA) -- The Archdiocese of Caceres in partnership with the Department of Education, Naga City government, Bicol Association of Catholic Schools or BACS in Libmanan and Caceres Commission on Communications (CCCom) launched on Thursday (March 23) the fourth Peñafrancia Short Film Festival 2017 as part of preparations for the annual regional religious fiesta in September.

But unlike the three previous short film festivals honoring the ,"Our Lady of Peñafrancia" or "Ina" to her legion of devotees, which tap the talents of amateur filmmakers, this year’s organizers want to showcase the talents of student filmmakers.

Organizers said to qualify in the festival the entries must be submitted by those from Grade 7 to Grade 12 and studying in any school in the Bicol region.

Only one entry in each school will be accepted with all members of the production team officially enrolled for the first semester of schoolyear 2017-2018.

Also, the actors in the film must be enrolled with the exception of the roles involving elderly actors. The mentor or coach of the production team is required to be officially employed in the participating school.

To be listed among the official entries in the short film festival, the organizers require the submission of a filled-up registration form and letter of intent and payment of P1,000 registration fee on or before June 20, 2017.

Entries that had been featured in local and national competitions, uploaded in the social media and other platforms are disqualified and only original creations that do not violate violation copyright laws could be accepted.

The past three short film festivals in honor of Ina gave top recognition to the short films created by Ronald Rebutica (Sakay, 2013), Jordan de la Cruz (Nawawara, 2014) and Aljanmar Rebeta (Laboy, 2015).

Fr. Louie Occiano, CCCom head, said all the three top filmmakers in the previous three short film festivals are now into indie filmmaking.

He said this year’s festival, which aims “to bring the pulpit to the cinema,” carries the theme “bridging communities through Christian values and Ina.” Student filmmakers should interpret the theme in a film not shorter than 10 minutes but not longer than 20 minutes in length.

Occiano added the short film festival opens opportunity for student filmmakers to bring out their talents in promoting the devotion to the Bicol patroness and at the same time be able to reach out to the young generation and devotees wherever they may be.

Entries to the short film festival will be judged by a panel of professional filmmakers, documentarians and selected staff from CCCom.

According to the rules of the festival, the short film must “highlight the role and identity of every lay faithful and the essence of devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia.”

Included in the criteria for the content of the short film are that it should courageously portray Christian values, promote deep faith in God and include Filipino or Bicolano culture and identity.

The short film festival “definitely disqualifies immoral, defamatory, obscene or scandalous content or similar content deemed unfit for the theme of the festival or Christian values,” said Occiano.

The winners who will make the cut after the deadline of entry submission on August 15, 2017, will receive cash prizes of P50,000 with trophy for the best picture; P25,000 and trophy for second best picture; and P15,000 for the third best picture.

During the launching of the short film festival, Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona pledged to add P10,000 more for the best picture prize and P5,000 more for the second and third best picture prizes. (PNA) JEJR

Thursday, March 23, 2017

DOLE grants PHp2.1-M livelihood packages to 6 villages in 2 Bicol provinces
By Gina V. Rodriguez

LEGAZPI CITY, March 23 (PNA) —- Six villages and 333 villagers in Albay and Camarines Norte have benefited from a total of PHp2.1-million livelihood packages given over a one-week period by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said an officer of DOLE-Bicol.

The distribution of the livelihood packages, which were given from late February to early March, were part of the labor department’s Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program or DILEEP, which seeks to provide an alternative livelihood to identified beneficiaries and ease poverty in the communities, said Raymond Escalante, DOLE-Bicol’s public information officer.

“We are not only giving away free stuff but what we are giving here, really, is the hope for a new life and new beginnings,” DOLE Bicol Director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla, said.

In Camarines Norte, five barangays (village) in Labo town received P1.5-million worth of livelihood package consisting of small hand tools, materials and equipment for 239 beneficiaries.

DOLE Camarines Norte Provincial Head Jane L. Rolda had reported that the beneficiaries were “very happy” with their new livelihood with some who “even shed tears of joy.”

She said the distribution was done in each of the five barangays in late February.

“The livelihood grant was distributed as follows: Barangay Macogon-70 beneficiaries with a budget of PHp465,927.43; Barangay Bagacay-46 beneficiaries with PHp313,644.19; Barangay Bautista-59 with PHp397,348.32; Barangay Pangpang-25 with PHp101,073.08 and Barangay Pag-Asa-39 with PHp270,013.57,” reported Rolda.

She said the package distribution was identified based on the skills of the beneficiaries and included start-up materials for food preparation, carpentry, welding, vulcanizing, appliance repair, dressmaking, tailoring, bag making, cosmetology, electronics servicing, automotive servicing, car wash, haircut servicing and beauty care.

Trayvilla said in 2016, 12 barangays in Labo town took interest in DOLE’s livelihood program to help their disadvantaged but skilled constituents rise from poverty.

She said DOLE has so far granted the wish of nine out of 12 barangays in Labo town.

In Albay, Ella Verano, DOLE Albay head, said 94 beneficiaries in far-flung Barangay Balogo in Oas town received a PHp0.6-million livelihood grant from DOLE.

She said the PHp629,800 livelihood package consisted of materials, small hand tools and equipment which correspond to such skills as welding, food preparation and sewing.

“If summed up, each beneficiary received some PHp6,700 worth of materials,” she added.

Verano quoted a beneficiary who said he was very thankful for the opportunity given by DOLE.

“With this we can start our own small business and support our family. Again thank you very much DOLE Bicol,” said the middle-aged beneficiary who Verano said declined to be identified.

According to her, the local government unit of Oas also signified its willingness to avail of the same project under their current poverty alleviation program.

Trayvilla stressed the livelihood program is open to all qualified beneficiaries.

She reiterated however that DOLE wants to look for those beneficiaries who really want to start anew as DOLE is keen on its livelihood program really reaching the grassroots. (PNA)