Friday, October 29, 2010

DPWH Bicol launches 'Lakbay Alalay' program for UNDAS
by Connie Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 29 (PNA)-— In line with the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) thrust of assisting all motorists in the forthcoming observance of All Saints’ Day on November 1, Secretary Rogelio Singson has directed all regional directors and district engineers to activate a composite team who will aid the traveling public.

In Bicol, DPWH Regional Director Danilo Dequito has ordered the deployment of Motorists’ Assistance Centers on strategic locations of the national highway of Bicol. Each District Engineering Office in the region has an existing organized team ready to give free roadside emergency repair assistance to motorists during long holidays.

These teams are composed of engineers, car mechanics, equipment operators and other service crews.

This program, dubbed as “Lakbay Alalay” will start at 6:00 a.m. on October 30, 2010 until 12:00 noon of November 3, 2010.

This is in coordination with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Local Government Unit (LGU) officials. These Centers will be installed at the following locations:

Albay province : Basud, Sto. Domingo (DM Jct.-Legazpi-Sto. Domingo-Tabaco-Camarines Sur Bdry. Road); Busay, Daraga, Albay (Daang Maharlika); Paulog, Ligao City (in front of Albay 2nd DEO);

Camarines Norte: Tabugon, Sta. Elena (Km 244+313, Daang Maharlika) (with roving unit);

Camarines Sur: Tambo, Pamplona (Daang Maharlika); Concepcion Grande, Naga City (fronting TMG Hqtrs); Tigaon Station (DPWH Junction); Buluang, Baao (Daang Maharlika); Bato Resthouse, Agos (Daang Maharlika); and DPWH Sub-Office, Agrupacion, Ragay;

Catanduanes: Manambrag, San Andres (Catanduanes Circ. Road); Pagsangahan, Sa Miguel (km 24+780); Bato, Catanduanes (km. 7=760); ad Sicmil, Gigmoto (kn. 64+800);

Masbate: Jct. Milagros-Baleno-Lagta Road; Jct. Tawad-Balud Road; Masbate-Milagros/Masbate-Cataingan Road; Junction Buenabista (jct. Buenavista-Cawayan Road); Barangay Del Carmen (Jct. Buenavista-Cawaya Road); Barangay Balocawe, Dimasalag (Jct. Balatucan-Cataingan Rd.); Jct. Cataingan (Jct. Balatucan-Cataingan Road); Brug. Katipunan (Jct. Cataingan-Placer Road); San Fernando South Road (Batuan Section); San Fernando North Road (San Fernando Section); San Fernando North Road (San Jacinto Section); Sa Fernando North Road (Monreal Section); San Fernando North Road (San Pascual Side); and San Pascual-Claveria Road (Claveria Section);

Sorsogon: Pepita Park, Bucalbucalan (Daang Maharlika) and San Pedro Multi-Purpose Brgy. Hall, Irosin (Km. 621+800)

At the DPWH, Rawis, Legazpi City, a skeletal workforce from Maintenance Division (Tel. #482-0429) will man the office to receive reports from field offices and to render emergency services that may be required during the said holidays.(PNA)
LOR/LQ/Connie B. Destura/

FPRDI pushes ‘green construction’ to help address climate change

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct 28 (PNA) –- A government research institution is pushing into the construction industry the adoption of a building strategy geared towards addressing the negative contributions of man-made surroundings to climate change.

The construction industry contributes to carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere, an excess of which leads to climate change. Buildings accounted for 40 percent of the total energy consumption in the United States (US) and the European Union, according to a report of the US Department of Agriculture.

Rising sea level, extreme weather events, warming of the arctic regions and changes in vegetation are only a few of the impacts of climate change, thus reducing carbon emission in buildings has become imperative and one strategy to address this issue is through “green construction” technologies.

Green Construction technologies, also called “Green Building” developed by the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) aims to reduce the impact of man-made surroundings or spaces called “built environment” on human health and the natural environment.

FPRDI is an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) whose regional director for Bicol Tomas Briñas said over the week that Green Construction uses environmentally-preferable practices and materials in designing, locating, constructing, operating, renovating and deconstructing buildings.

Under this strategy, Briñas said buildings are designed to be efficient in using energy, water and other resources. Its constructions are based on structural plans that reduce waste, pollution and environmental degradation as the same time protecting the health of occupants.

The general guidelines in green construction released by the PFRDI enumerated the strategies as “reduce, reuse and recycle; save energy and water; use simple products; avoid toxic materials and; buy/use local”.

It explained that under the reduce, reuse and recycle guideline, constructing a building should be planned carefully to reduce landfill and incineration waste by getting more than one use for a product and always recycle waste that cannot be reused reasonably.

Modular houses are good examples of green construction technologies. Manufactured in shops and installed directly at the site, these houses reduce waste during construction on site. Some house components are reusable in the shop, while those non-reusable excess materials can be recycled to form another product.

In energy and water saving, it said buildings should be constructed to be energy and water efficient to reduce carbon dioxide emission and cut down utility expenses.

Some ways to save on energy and maintenance cost are harnessing solar energy and recycling water efficiently within a building, the FPRDI guidelines said. (PNA)

Bicol police implements 'Oplan Undas'

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) - Police check points and assistance centers are set up in cemeteries, major highways, airports, seaports and bus terminals as well as major infrastructures as security measures for the traditional observance of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol said Thursday.

Police Chief Inspector Pelagio Samson Jr., PNP-Bicol spokesman said that security preparations are in place for “Oplan Undas” across the region.

Samson said the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), PNP, Philippine Army, Department of Health (DOH) and civic organizations joined forces to implement Oplan Undas in the six provinces of Bicol Region.

He said that as agreed upon, Oplan Undas Task Force will put up checkpoints, assistance centers, police and military visibility in vital points and installations across the region and will be on 24-hour duty.

Hundreds of policemen and military personnel will be deployed to beef up the existing police and military force to maintain peace and order on November 1 and 2.

They will also provide traffic, security and medical assistance to commuters coming from other regions and provinces who are taking their vacations.

Police will also check individuals bringing in any kind of liquor, firearms and any bladed weapon inside the cemeteries.

Samson said “the task force shall issue advisories to the public containing the standard operating procedures or the "dos and don'ts" with regards to the observance of All Saints Day.”

“Preparations are underway to see to it that no untoward incident happens that would endanger the lives of the people from elements who would like to sow terror during this religious event,” he said.

The PNP, in close coordination with the Philippine Army (PA), will also deploy personnel to closely guard cell site relay stations and towers in remote villages that are prone to attacks by New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas. (PNA)

Comelec urges barangay candidates to submit statement of electoral expenses
By Mike de la Rama

LEGAZPIN CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the province of Albay urged all candidates during the recently concluded barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election to submit their individual statement of electoral contribution and expenses.

Atty. Romeo Serrano, Albay provincial election supervisor, warned both winners and losers in the election that failure to submit the said required document is subject to fine of P1000 to P60,000 and administrative sanction.

Serrano said that deadline for submission of statement of electoral contribution and expenses is on November 10. “If they failed, then we will subject them for necessary penalty,” he said.

The Comelec is also looking into its own record to identify candidates during the 2007 election who failed to submit the electoral contribution and expenses.

Meanwhile, Serrano also announced that incentives for teachers who served during election is P3,000.00. “There will be no delay in the release of their incentives,” he assured. (PNA)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Salceda receives UN Senior Global Champion of Disaster Risk Reduction

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 28 (PNA) - Albay Governor Joey Salceda was awarded and named on Tuesday the Senior Global Champion of Disaster Risk Reduction at the opening of the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR at Convenzia, Songdo, Incheon Metropolitan City, in South Korea.

United Nations Assistant Secretary General Margareta Wahstrom representing UN Sec Gen Ban Ki Moon handed the award to Salceda during the opening ceremonies of the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR on Tuesday.

Salceda in an emailed acceptance speech, said the people of Albay is honored by the award from the United Nations as a recognition of the province's zero casualty performance for the past 16 years.

He said, “Our people of Albay thank the UN ISDR for this award, and we accept the award as a challenge to sustain our disaster risk reduction program in pursuit of Millennium Development Goal.”

He claimed that given the rising climate risks, no development is possible without adaptation, however, it is development that gives meaning to adaptation.

“Adaptation is the duty of the state simply because it is the poor that bears the brunt of climate impacts and natural disasters - those who are most vulnerable are also the least capable of protection, those who have more in risks also have less in resources,” Salceda noted.

Giving emphasis to Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), he said “this duty cannot be outsourced, it can not be offshored, it cannot be delegated. But it must do so by capacitating local communities and reinforcing local governance - by making cities and provinces resilient.”

Similarly, in May this year, The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN ISDR) named Salceda as "Senior Champion" of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, in Bonn, Germany.

Albay, a calamity prone province that faces the Pacific Ocean where most typhoons of the year originate, joined the conference dubbed as Asia First World Congress on Cities and Adaptation to Climate Change "Resilient Cities 2010", as a global model.

The UN ISDR aims to build disaster resilient communities by promoting increased awareness of the importance of disaster reduction as a component of sustainable development.

Salceda pioneered the "zero casualty" policy through preemptive evacuation during disasters, and hosted the National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation in two successive settings; first at the Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City Albay in 2007, and the second at the Diamond Hotel in Manila in 2009. Both were well acclaimed and attended by international crisis managers, scientists, businessmen and students.

Salceda was recognized as an outstanding campaigner and implementer of CCA and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in a global gathering of that size since it puts the Philippines in the forefront of noble objectives.

"I joined the ISDR campaign for resilient cities as global role model for Asia for two reasons: first, Albay wants to learn from the best practices in the rest of the world; second, we want to push ourselves higher on standard to drive ourselves harder on this effort and to push the envelope on development through DRR and CCA,” Salceda said.

He said adaptation is an investment, not a cost. “It reduces risks, thus increases business returns. Albay has seen a surge in investments even after typhoons Reming and Milenyo, Mayon eruption and a spate of recent disasters. CCA and DRR allow development to proceed amid disasters,” he said, as they don’t disrupt people’s lives since the provincial government takes charge of the disaster. (PNA)

Barangay, SK elections postponed in 8 Albay towns

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 25 (PNA) - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Albay on Monday postponed the election in eight towns and this city because of the glitches in the delivery of election ballots and forms from Manila.

Lawyer Romeo Serrano, Albay Comelec provincial officer, said they have to postpone the election in the towns of Polangui, Oas, Libon, Guinobatan, Bacacay, Malinao, Camalig, and this city because of the late arrival of Comelec paraphernalia and ballot forms.

Serrano said “we have to postpone the election for reasons that some forms arrived late today from Manila at around 3 a.m. These forms and paraphernalia have to be sort out before they are distributed to the various voting precincts in 15 town and three cities across the province.

He, however, said that election would go on as schedule in the towns of Manito, Sto. Domingo, Malilipot, Pio Duran and the cities of Ligao and Tabaco. Election ballots and forms in these areas arrived earlier and were distributed as scheduled, Serrano added.

On the eve of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election, widespread vote-buying was noted in almost all the towns and cities in Albay.

Candidates for village chiefs and SK chairmen were reported to have given cash dole outs ranging from P100 to P500 per voter to get the assurance of votes from them. Some candidates for village councilors gave P20 to 50.

Despite the glitches in the delivery of election paraphernalia and the massive vote buying employed by candidates, the barangay and SK election in the province was generally peaceful.

Meanwhile, Albay Governor Joey Salceda on Monday issued an Executive Order declaring a province-wide special no work, no class holiday on Tuesday to enable smooth and orderly conduct of barangay and SK election in areas where voting was postponed.

Salceda said the order was in response to the Comelec request for a provincial declaration of no work and no classes in all levels on Tuesday due to the extended barangay and SK election in the province.

He said the unusual electoral condition (postponement) represents 45 percent of the total voting population that is 679,551 registered voters in Albay.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol through the Regional Election Monitoring Committed (REMAC) reported that Camarines Norte province would push through with today's barangay election.

In Camarines Sur, election will be held today even if only 50 percent of the paraphernalia and ballot forms arrived Monday. The province has 35 towns and two cities.

In Sorsogon, only seven of the 16 towns received their election forms and ballots. These are Barcelona, Bulan, Bulusan, Magallanes, Matnog, Pilar and Prieto Diez.

In Masbate, only Palanas town in this province is holding election, 19 other towns have reset their election on Tuesday, due to the late arrival of forms.

In Catanduanes, the Comelec is still waiting for the 35 bundles of election paraphernalia and ballots to arrive from the Tabaco port in Albay. (PNA)

Peaceful elections noted in Sorsogon ‘hot spots’

SORSOGON CITY, Oct 27 (PNA) –- The conduct of the October 25-26 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in the province of Sorsogon where 61 barangays were categorized as “hot spots” was generally peaceful, according to the provincial police office.

“We have no report of any untoward incident from these hot spots or anywhere from the 541 barangays of the entire province and we attribute that to the vigilance of local residents in watching over the peace and order of their respective localities,” Senior Supt. Ereberto Olitoquit, the provincial director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Wednesday.

It was impressive to note that everybody in the barrios wanted a peaceful conduct of the elections that was why they guarded their ranks from troublemakers, religiously observed the liquor ban and kept tight watch against the presence of armed men, Olitoquit said.

Local PNP forces composed of one city and 14 municipal stations reinforced by the three Provincial Police Mobile Groups (PPMGs) in the province in cooperation with Barangay Tanod Brigades and officials were able to safeguard the peaceful conduct of the extended elections, Olitoquit said.

Philippine Army (PA) soldiers also helped in securing the villages particularly those identified as insurgency infested or hot spots because of the monitored presence of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed communist rebels sowing terror in some countryside Sorsogon villages, he said.

The PNP, PA and Commission on Elections (Comelec) have categorized 61 barangays of the province under category 2 hot spots or area of concern in relation to the conduct of the barangay and SK elections due to past and expected atrocities by NPA rebels, Olitoquit said.

The town of Gubat registered the most number of hot spot barangays in category 2 with 13 and followed by this city with 10. The rest of the 61 are distributed among the other 13 towns of the province.

Apart from the confusions experienced by voters and election officials owing to the delayed arrivals of election paraphernalia from the Comelec central office in Manila, no other untoward incidents were reported, Olitoquit said.

The delay forced the postponement of elections from October 25 as scheduled to the next day and the Office of the Provincial Elections Supervisor reported that at least 246 barangays were not able to hold the elections on the scheduled day.

“All the election materials intended for the barangays that arrived late last Monday have already been transported on the same day and we expect a 100 percent completion of the election process at the end of the day today [Wednesday],” Calixto Aquino, the provincial Comelec chief said on Tuesday.

He said the entire province was caught unaware by the delay in the delivery of the election paraphernalia that was why the postponement was never anticipated. (PNA)

Town councilor killed in Masbate

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 27 (PNA) -- A town councilor was gunned down on Tuesday by unidentified assailants in a village at Balud town in Masbate, a Philippine National Police (PNP) officer reported.

Chief Insp. Pelagio Samson, PNP Bicol spokesman, identified the victim as Ronald Arriola, a Sangguniang Bayan member of Balud, Masbate.

Samson said the incident took place at about 7 p.m. Tuesday at the boundary of Barangays Ilaya and Mapili of Balud town.

Initial investigation showed that Arriola, together with Army Corporal Sonny Mirabel who was unarmed and in civilian clothes, was accompanying a group of Board of Election Inspectors bringing the ballot boxes from Barangay Mapili when he was attacked by two gunmen clad in black jackets and armed with M16 Armalite rifles.

Samson, quoting reports from the PNP Balud station, said the assailants approached Ariola and fired at him in close range.

The victim sustained multiple gunshot wounds that caused his instant death.

Mirabel, a friend of the victim, told the police he was unarmed at the time and unable to retaliate.

Earlier, three people died and another one was injured in poll-related violent incident on Monday in Cawayan town, Masbate.

A report from Senior Police Officer 1 Samuel Barredo of Cawayan town in Masbate identified the fatalities as Bienvenido and Tranquilino, both surnamed Malagad, and one Miguel Daligdig.

The victims where siblings and political supporters of incumbent Gilotong village chief Jeffrey Malagad .

Another relative, Jekyll Malagad, sustained gunshot wounds on his left knee and was rushed to a local hospital for treatment.

Daligdig, one of the attackers, was killed by a companion of the victims. He sustained hack wounds. (PNA)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

FPRDI trains farmers on Manila elemi production
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct 25 (PNA) – Still unknown to many Bicolano farmers, pili (Canarium ovatum) trees bearing the region’s “signature nut” and fast emerging as another “tree of life” next to coconut, gives out a valuable resin known as Manila elemi.

Tree of life because all parts of the pili tree are used by man. The kernel, when roasted and ground is used as ingredient for ice cream, salads, puddings, cake toppings, bread, pastries, confectioneries and other delicacies like marzipan, fruit-cereal bar and chocolate candy.

Rich in magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, zinc, copper, iron, sodium, thiamine and niacin, it can be eaten raw, or roasted. The nut is also sold in sugar-coated version.

The pulp is also pickled or cooked as a vegetable dish. Processed, the pulp yields edible oil. It is also a nutritious feed for cattle and swine.

The shell is used in handicrafts or for charcoal, firewood and as medium for growing orchids and anthuriums. The leaves are used for salads and as relish.

The trunk is an ideal material for quality furniture, wood panels and doors. As a resin-rich wood, it is good for firewood, while the tree sap is an abundant source of natural resins and essential oils.

Resin or manila elemi has long been used by our ancestors for torches and starting fires. Locally known as “salong, sahing, pulot or pilit” pili resin has many uses.

One of the important uses of resin is the oil extracted known as limonene used in the manufacture of scents and air fresheners. Limonene can be made available by extracting the oil from Manila elemi.

The oil produced is one of the most inexpensive perfume components. It can be used in scented products like stationeries, tissue papers, ballpen inks, coatings, candles, cosmetics and even on insecticides.

Other uses include components for oil and spirit varnishes and paint, gives toughness and elasticity to pharmaceutical products such as plaster, printing inks, lithographic works and perfumery, caulking material for boats, for dressing of transmission belts and conveyors.

Records of the Department of Agriculture (DA) indicate that for many years, the Philippines had been exporting the resin Brea or Manila elimi, to the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Cuba, China, Hong Kong and Japan.

The name “elemi”, according to DA records, is a term applied to a variety of resinous products obtained from different countries and having different botanical origins. There appears, however, to be little doubt that the species concerned all belong to the family Burseraceae.

The greater part of the world’s supply is derived from the Philippines, and is known as Manila elemi. It is obtained from the trunk of Canarium luzonicum and is known locally by the Spanish term “brea blanca” (white pitch).

Brea of the best quality is soft, sticky, opaque, and slightly yellow, has a very agreeable resinous odor, and burns with a smoky flame. It is used locally as a varnish, for caulking boats, and for torches.

Manila elemi is exported from the Philippines in considerable quantities. Some of the resins shaped from Manila to Europe for use in preparing medicinal ointments and, to smaller extent, in the manufacture of varnish, while much of the product is sent to China and there used for making transparent paper for windowpanes, in place of glass.

The records also said that Manila elemi contains phellandrene, dipentene, d-limonene, terpinene, terpinolene, terpene, sesquiterpene alcohol, elemecin, trimethyl homogallic aldehyde, trimethyl homogallic acid, and pinene.

The roots contain 7.8 per cent of tannin. The seed (kernel) has a fixed oil, canariol, with triolein 51 per cent, tristearin 12 per cent, trimyristin 37 per cent, laurin; protein 12.24 per cent; fat 56.12 to 65.73 percent; etc.

The bark of this species contains 7.8 per cent of tannin and gives a satisfactory leather, which is yellowish tan, with firm texture and good grain, it said.

The “sahing” (oleoresin) is used in the Philippines as a stimulant, a rubefacient and an antirheumatic when applied externally. Poultices of brea are used externally for swellings of the legs; the brea, metted, is used externally as a stomachic, a sudorific and a sudorific and a cough remedy.

But despite the fact that around a million pili trees grow in over 7,000 hectares of land in the six Bicol provinces, no noticeable resin harvesting enterprise had risen in the region.

It is at this point that the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in an effort to help Bicol farmers and pili growers start a sustainable industry launched three years ago a project teaching them the correct way of extracting resin from pili trees.

Since 2007, about 600 people have already been trained in the provinces of Sorsogon, Albay, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes by FPRDI forest technicians with a resin extraction system developed from field experiments, DOST regional director for Bicol Tomas Briñas said here Tuesday.

The system involves correct length, depth and width of the tapping cut on the trunk of a pili tree as well as the right amount of chemical stimulant to use and the best time to re-tap, according to Briñas.
Resin extraction tapping must be done the right way to make sure that the pili trees are not harmed and their yields are sustained. Overtapping, deep tapping and frequent re-chipping can damage and eventually kill the trees, he said.

With this initiative of the FPRDI, the DOST regional chief expressed optimism on the potential of Manila elimi industry rising in Bicol. “I think it will not take very long before we see a strong resin industry established in the region, especially with the support being given to the pili industry by both the government and non-government sectors.” (PNA)
DCT/Danny O. Calleja /cbdJustify Full

Friday, October 22, 2010

The big contrast: One may be honest but some may be not
By Danny O. Calleja

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Oct 21 (PNA) –- If recently, this island province was jubilant over the news about an act of honesty of a province mate, this time, Catandunganons are fretted by an act of dishonesty reportedly involving some key personnel of the local power cooperative.

“Last week, we take pride of the honesty of Ruth Vargas-Tenerife after her honesty that we consider an innate trait among Catandunganons made her resist the temptation of keeping for herself a cash find of P50,000 and several American dollar bills,” Catanduanes Vice-Gov. Jose Teves Jr. on Thursday here said.

The find could be considered a bonanza for a lowly contractual worker receiving a hand-to-mouth subsistence salary like Tenerife but without any ado, she did her best to locate the owner of the purse found at the parking lot of the Capitol ground and returned it without expecting any reward.

“Anything lost and found should be returned to its owner. That is the belief I had with me since I was a child,” Tenerife was quoted by the Catanduanes Tribune as saying.

The owner of the purse, Annie Lopez, a balik-bayan from California, after getting back her lost valuables told Teves that "you are a blessed man, Mr. vice-governor. You are a very good leader because you have honest staff".

Lopez told the vice-governor that the P50,000 inside the purse was intended for her nephew’s college schooling in the coming opening of the second semester.

“The return to me of my purse courtesy of Mrs Tenerife saved me a lot of troubles. My passport, money and all other important personal documents were there and surely, my return to the US scheduled two days before my inspiring experience here will be affected,” Lopez said.

“I shall herald this good news about my province mates in Catanduanes that in this far away island at the middle of the Philippine Sea lives a herd of an honest race,” she declared.

Tenerife, a mother of three and wife of a construction firm driver works as a “job order” employee under the office of Teves. Her employment entitles her to a salary within the minimum wage level with no security of tenure.

Teves on knowing Tenerife’s act of honesty assured her of a continuous employment at par with his current three-year term at vice-governor exempting her from renewing her employment contract with the Capitol every three months.

“The next week however came the fiasco involving an amount of about P9,000 collection money reportedly lost by an employee of the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative (FICELCO) allegedly to two of her co-workers who connived in stealing the cash. This deceitful act has drawn the entire province to a disgracing situation,” Teves said.

“Sometimes, one honest person would lift the image of a certain community but an act of dishonesty by other persons within the herd would drag down many and shatter the uprightness of the entire locality,” the vice-governor lamented.

Much has been done by various groups in the province including the local media and the provincial government to herald the honesty of Tenerife into the whole world in an effort to portray the island as a trustworthy place to visit or even live at but comes now the P9,000 act of alleged thievery that in a sort, shattered what she had established.

The Catanduanes Tribune last week reported that based on the blotter entry of the Bato town police station where FICELCO holds office, employee Emma Bueno, 52, a resident of Barangay Marinawa, of the same municipality, stated that at about 1:40 P.M. of Sept. 8 at the cooperative’s main office, businessman Dominic Co remitted her P8,909.69 in cash for the cooperative’s services.

Afterwards, she placed the money over the table at her cubicle and left to attend to other customers. When she returned a few minutes later, the money was gone, Bueno reported. She told the police that after failing to locate the money, she informed FICELCO Officer-In-Charge, Rodolfo Mendoza from whom she sought permission to proceed to the Bato PNP to report the incident.

Mendoza however dissuaded her from doing so, saying that it would embarrass the entire cooperative.

The Tribune reported that claims were rife that many co-op personnel, including members of the Board of Directors, have seen the video tape showing one of Bueno’s male co-workers sneaking into her cubicle and taking the money from her table and putting it inside the drawer of another table.

Another man then in higher official rank went to the table, got the cash and pocketed it.

The Tribune citing a reliable source reported that later, “Mendoza informed Bueno that she had been charged with violating the electric cooperative’s policy, rules and regulations, particularly for acting in excess of authority by receiving the payment for turn-on of applicant Dominic Co and for gross negligence in ensuring the safety and integrity of payment made by Co.”

Mendoza reportedly ordered Bueno to explain in writing within 10 days why no disciplinary action should be taken against her while an emissary of her two co-workers has reportedly contacted Bueno and persuade her to accept payment for the lost cash and to refrain from filing a case against them.

These traits according to Teves demonstrated how the island province of Catanduanes has been given contrasting innate characters which admittedly won’t differ from the rest of the world’s description of functional communities, Teves said. (PNA)

Albay gov hails new BSP approach to expand access to finance in rural areas
By Mike de la Rama

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) – Economic engineer and Albay Governor Joey S. Salceda has hailed the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) specially the Monetary Board for approvinga new approach to expand access to finance which will benefit local banks in the countryside.

“Overall, it will encourage incumbent players - rural and commercial banks - in the countryside to expand their reach not only geographically beyond big town centers but also reach out to smaller clienteles,” Salceda said.

He explained that the establishment of the new category of MBOs or Micro Banking Offices will significantly boost the supply of rural credit and complements on the demand side the enhancement of bankability of borrowers through the credit surety fund.

“The new regulations also recognize micro deposits, not just micro-loans, that should encourage many who currently do not bank through ease of transactions,” Salceda also said.

The governor welcomed this development after the Monetary Board approved amendments to banking to allow the establishment of micro banking offices (MBOs). This approval presents an enormous opportunity for banks to deliver microfinance oriented banking services to areas that are hard to reach and remain underserved.

This initiative reflects a significant advancement in attaining the delivery of efficient and competitive banking services especially to underserved and unserved markets leading to a more inclusive financial system.

In the province of Albay, rural banks have been serving small and medium enterprises and also provides financial loan assistance to various organizations.

At present, around 37 percent or 610 out of 1,635 of the country’s cities and municipalities do not have a single banking office leaving its population wanting for much-needed financial services.

Establishing full-blown bank branches in these areas may not be economically justified. MBOs, on the other hand, allow an established bank to extend the reach of its services in a cost-effective manner to overcome such barriers.

With this new development in banking institution, the BSP anticipates that strong rural banks and thrift banks that have been focusing on microfinance will lead the way in taking advantage of this new opportunity to deliver a wide array of financial services to underserved and unbanked areas.

Other banking offices or OBOs in general refer to a permanent office or place of business of a bank with less requirements to set up as compared to a head office, branch or extension office. The newly approved regulations now recognize two classifications of such OBOs.

A regular OBO is one that undertakes purely non-transactional banking related activities such as marketing, customer care services, acceptance of loan applications, among others.

The other classification is a Microfinance OBO (MF-OBO) or Micro-banking Office (MBO) which provides a wide range of transactional activities which reflect the particular needs of the unserved and underserved market particularly microfinance clients, overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries.

This MBO is authorized to provide services that are appropriately designed for the target market such as to accept micro-deposits, disburse micro-loans and collect payments, sell, market and service microinsurance products, receive and pay out authorized remittance transactions, act as cash in/out points for electronic money, receive utility payments, collect premiums and pay out benefits from social security institutions and other benefit systems including government conditional cash transfer programs, and purchase a limited level of foreign currency.

Complementary to these amendments, the Monetary Board also broadened the scope and definition of microfinance to include micro-deposits which is a simplified account that is appropriately designed and priced to fit the needs and capacity of the underserved market. The features include a minimum balance requirement not exceeding P100.00, non-applicability of dormancy charges and an average daily savings account balance not exceeding P15,000.00.

This is another significant enhancement to current regulations which previously only rather narrowly defined microfinance as loans. This recognizes the importance and significant need for accessible and safe savings instruments especially for this market.

While the regulations have liberalized the scale and scope of OBO operations, it ascertains that the banks that apply and maintain such offices are strong and stable banks that have necessary processes and systems in place to ensure timely record keeping, adequate internal controls and security measures.

Such requirements will be proportionate to the level of activities that the MBO will undertake. In addition to these requirements MBOs must ensure that 50 percent of the total transactions generated shall be from the micro-deposits and micro-loans of microfinance clients.

MBOs must also have a manual of operations and must be managed by a responsible officer with experience or training in microfinance activities.

This measure may also serve as an entry point for banks that may want to engage in microfinance operations by initially establishing an MBO instead of a full branch. (PNA)

NPA rebel slain in Sorsogon

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) - Army troopers killed a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel in an encounter Wednesday at a village in Barcelona town in Sorsogon, a military official said.

Lt. Col. Santiago Enginco, commander of the 49th Infantry Battalion based in Sorsogon, said Army soldiers engaged a group of communist rebels in Sta Lourdes village of Barcelona town at 6:30 a.m.

Enginco said the slain rebel was identified as Eleuterio Mangampo alias Jun-jun, a member of the NPA Guerrilla Front 79 operating in Sorsogon.

He said an Army patrol led by 1st Lieutenant Sandro Sereno, responded to a text message sent by a resident about the presence of the bandits in the village Tuesday night.

Sereno said they spotted five NPA rebels who were leaving a house in said village. A brief firefight ensued, resulting in the death of one of the rebels.

“The rebels immediately fired their guns at us upon seeing that we are were approaching them,” said Sereno.

The rebels immediately fled, bringing along with them two wounded companions while soldiers recovered an M653 “Baby Armalite” from the slain rebel including a 45 cal. hand gun, a fragmentation grenade and a rifle grenade.

Sereno said Emmanuel Enanu, 10, sustained a minor cut in his knees when he stumbled during the firefight but he was immediately treated by the Army medics.

Enginco said that his troops are now in hot pursuit of the NPA rebels.

The slain rebel was brought to Barcelona town for proper disposition.

Earlier, an NPA rebel was collared by government troops after a gunfight with government troops in Magallanes town. (PNA)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Albay invests P67.4M to boost education

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 19 (PNA) – The investment of the provincial government of Albay for this year’s education sector has reached P67.4 million, the highest budgetary allocation of the provincial government next to health, which it has properly divided among different projects.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda’s thrust in education is to ensure that there is a college graduate in every family and to give recognition to outstanding teachers, principals, and students as well as providing cash incentives to local government units implementing new innovation in education projects.

“Education is the only investment that guarantees a return, the moment a child is born, parents are thinking about education. When employees come to work, a vast majority is working to pay for education in one form or another, this is why the provincial government is investing more to education sector,” Salceda said.

Every year, the provincial government through the Provincial Education Department (PED) is appropriating P6 million for Gawad Albay sa Edukasyon. This program aims to give recognition to the Outstanding Principal in the province; Ten Outstanding Teachers in Albay (TOTAL), Student Excellence in Academic Leadership (SEAL) and Kadunong Award for Best Practices in Education program being implemented by the local government unit.

The awarding ceremony for all categories of Gawad Sa Edukasyon is set every 17th of December.

As of October 18, 2010, there are 16 finalists for SEAL; 15 finalists for TOTAL; eight qualifiers for outstanding principals; and four LGU finalists for Kadunong Award.

Governor Salceda said that winners for TOTAL and Outstanding Principals will receive P100,000 each plus a plaque of recognition while SEAL winners will receive P20,000 each, a plaque of recognition and a Lakbay Aral Program sponsored by private partner.

The best local government unit with best education practices will receive P200,000 and a plaque or medal of recognition.

Aside from giving recognition to individuals with excellence performance in the sector of education, the provincial government has maintained its Education Assistance for the past four to five years with a total amount of P38.8 million fund for calendar year 2009 to 2010.

“This amount is being utilized as financial assistance to some 7,000 college students enrolled in 12 indentified educational institutions in the province including 3 Bicol University Local Campuses,” Salceda said.

Since last year the province is implementing the Graduate Study Subsidy Program (GRASSP) for teachers taking master's degree. This program has a total budget allocation amounting to P2 million.

Governor Salceda emphasized that GASSP’s main objective is to promote highly competitive, intellectual standards and teaching competencies through quality research and this program is available to all graduate students.

For thesis writing, each student will receive a minimum of P30,000 and a maximum of P60,000 subsidy while for dissertation writing, a student is entitled to a minimum of P50,000 and maximum of P100,000.00 subsidy.

Meanwhile, the Albay Higher Education Contribution Scheme (AHECS) is now is now on the 2nd semester of implementation. This is a newly introduced education program in the province with a total budget appropriation amounting to P16 million to cover at least 1,600 target student beneficiaries for school year 2009-2010.”

AHECS is a study now pay later scheme for poor but deserving students in the province. “Because of the increasing number of scholars and high school graduates every year, the provincial government has decided to provide a new program to help students decide what course they wish to enroll to in college,” Salceda said.

AHECS beneficiaries are given free hand to chose their courses and schools. (PNA)

DA provides Bicol farmers seeds to boost rice production
By Danny O. Calleja

PILI, Camarines Sur, Oct. 19 (PNA) – Farmers in Bicol are now being provided by the Department of Agriculture (DA) with planting seeds in support to the government’s Rice Sufficiency Plan (RSP), a nationwide effort for the country to regain self-sufficiency in the staple grain.

This initiative is part of the implementation of the Rapid Seed Supply Financing Project (RaSSFiP) of the DA in tandem with the National Food Authority (NFA) under the Rapid Food Production Enhancement Program (RaFPEP) designed to avert rice price crisis similar to what was experienced by local consumers in 2008.

“This remains an urgent response to prevent an emergency by providing seeds rapidly to increase rice production immediately,” Jose Dayao, the regional executive director of the DA for Bicol based at its Regional Field Unit (RFU) in Barangay San Agustin here said on Tuesday.

Dayao said this program, funded through a loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and grant assistance from the European Commission, provides for the procurement of certified seeds for distribution to eligible farmers on a subsidized scheme.

Eligible farmers are those who are either landowners, farm tenants, leaseholders and administrators actually tilling the land and whose farms are located in rain-fed areas or lowland irrigated areas with an average yield of less than 3.8 metric tons per hectare.

About 2,000 farmers tilling some 5,000 hectares of rice fields in all the six provinces of Bicol are qualified to the program and Dayao said all they have to do is coordinate with their respective Municipal or City Agriculturist Offices (MAOs/CAO)s) for more details on how to avail of it.

Each of the qualified farmer is entitled to one bag (40 kg) of certified inbred rice seeds per hectare. The DA through the NFA provides seed subsidy amounting to a maximum of P600 and since the subsidy ceiling is P1,200, the other half (P600) is borne by the farmer as equity.

Under the program, the local government units (LGUs) through their Municipal Agriculturist Offices (MAOs) provide the master list of farmers that are qualified to the subsidy.

The MAOs also provide the NFA listings of the farmers who are potential sources of certified seeds that could be procured for distribution to beneficiaries of the subsidy scheme.

The certified seeds that the NFA acquires should pass the testing by the Regional Seed Quality Control Service which requires that the seed should not be more than two months old at the time of purchase and with a germination rate of not less than 85 percent, free from pests.

The RaSSFiP was launched during the dry season in 2009 to support the government's Rice Self -Sufficiency Plan but due to some hitches in its implementing guidelines, it was reviewed and following some fine-tuning and the program pushed through its extension phase starting last September 16 to last until March 15, next year.

According to Marilyn Sta. Catalina, acting regional technical director for Operations and Extension and Regional Rice Program Coordinator, Bicol is among the 10 regions included in this special program.

She said Bicol farmers should take advantage of this opportunity and avail of the certified seed subsidy given that it is the only program of similar benefits under DA's regular programs.

“We wanted to maintain the reputation won by Bicol that ranked it as first among the regions in the entire country in palay production growth rate last year as reported by Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) that is why we wanted the most number of farmers to avail of this program,” Sta. Catalina said.

According to the BAS, the region posted a 17.3 percent palay production growth rate in the first semester of 2009 compared to the first semester of last year, the highest among the rice producing regions.

Camarines Sur, a consistent surplus rice producer, stood out among the provinces of Bicol in terms of volume in palay production which is an immense factor in the region’s number one ranking during the period.

Ilocos region ranks second with 13.08 percent growth rate for the same period, followed by Central Luzon which is known as the rice granary of the Philippines which registered a 9.23 percent net production growth.

Rice output in Bicol rose to 1.02 million metric tons in 2009, up 2.56 percent from the 997,581 metric tons in 2008, a separate DA report said adding that 313, 762 hectares were planted to rice in 2009 which represented an increase of 23,044 hectares over 2008.

Local leaders specifically Camarines Sur Governor LRay Villafuerte has placed high premium on agricultural productivity, especially on palay production, because of his firm commitment that it is vital to the economic acceleration of the province.

The BAS report attributes the remarkable performance of Bicol to the use of quality seeds by the farmers, the additional use of inputs and better irrigation system. (PNA)

2 Bicol towns get DILG's “Good Housekeeping Seal” Award

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 19 (PNA) -- Two Bicol towns were among the 15 towns across the country that were awarded on Monday the “good housekeeping seal” for their exemplary performance in governance, including promotion of transparency and accountability, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Bicol said on Tuesday.

Blandino Maceda, DILG regional director, said the towns of Sto. Domingo in Albay and Mobo in Masbate were among the top awardees of the good housekeeping seal among other 4th-5th class municipalities in the country.

The awarding rites which was held on Monday at Malacanang Palace, highlighted the Launching of New Initiatives with President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in celebration of the 20th year of Local Autonomy.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, who accompanied Sto. Domingo Mayor Herbie Aguas in Malacanang, commended the political leadership of Aguas for being the recipient of the house keeping seal.

Salceda said “We congratulate the people of Sto. Domingo and its political leadership under Mayor Herbie Aguas.”

In the statement, Salceda goes on to explain that in a recent comparative analysis on Human Development Index (HDI) of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) performance, Sto. Domingo also came out on top followed by Polangui, Albay, among 18 LGUs in Bicol.

The two Bicol towns that belong to the 4th and 5th class municipalities that were bestowed the seal received P2 million each.

Maceda said Sto. Domingo and Mobo towns were picked based on their performance in governance, particularly in areas of planning, fiscal management, transparency and accountability.

The awardees would also be qualified to avail of the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) where they can acquire necessary funds for the development of their respective municipalities.

The PCF is part of the DILG’s proposed P86.9 billion budget for 2011. (PNA)

Aquino gov’t taps Filipino scientists in research priorities
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 19 (PNA) – Recognizing the contributions of Filipino researchers, scientists and technologists in nation building, the administration of President Benigno Aquino III has tapped the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) in formulating the government’s research priorities for the next five years.

To streamline these priorities, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently gathered local research and development (R&D) experts from both the government and private sectors at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Tomas Briñas, the DOST regional director for Bicol based here said.

Dubbed “National R&D Priorities Delphi Assembly”, the gathering attended by over 200 participants assessed and ranked the R&D priorities in the socio-economic and enabling sectors that paved the way for the formulation of the government’s five-year research priorities plan, Briñas said.

A technique for gathering data, he said the Delphi group approach generates ideas and facilitates consensus among carefully-selected individuals who have special knowledge to share, particularly in analyzing a specific problem.

Delphi is often used in national science and technology forecasting as it enables the country’s science and research experts to come up with scientific basis for good government decision-making and administration. This method gathers experts’ ideas in two or more rounds, with the second round validating the results of the first round.

The experts gathered included NRCP Vice-Pres. Roland Sarmago, former NRCP president Dr. Olivia Caoili, former NRPC chairperson for Earth and Space Sciences Carina Lao and former NRCP chairperson for governmental, education and international policies Socorro Rodriguez.

All the participants expressed elation over the high recognition being accorded by the Aquino administration to the rank of Filipino researchers and scientists citing their significant contribution in nation building, according to Briñas.

“The fact is, our government recognized that R&D projects help in the generation of new knowledge and improve existing knowledge needed by the socio-economic sectors for the creation of new products, services, processes as well as provide solution to problems and challenges faced by the country today and in the future,” he said.

Briñas said during the assembly, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo explained that the main aim of the forum is to “harmonize all R&D efforts of various government and agencies and come up with a guide for the proper use of R&D funds.”

As a result of the gathering, the DOST Bicol chief said the government R&D activities from 2010 to 1016 would be focused on agriculture and food, environment and natural resources, disaster mitigation and management, energy, health, manufacturing and production, enabling technologies, information and communication technology (ICT) for development, biotechnology, nanotechnology and electronics.

The agriculture and food priority will involve the development of food and non-food crop varieties for high yield, quality, nutritional value and adaptability to unfavorable environment and resistance to pests.

Environment and natural resources concern forest production, utilization and protection while disaster mitigation and management would deal with disaster-resilient system and infrastructures), Briñas said.

For energy, renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency, conservation and management would be given attention and in health, confirmatory diagnostic tests and point of care technologies for infectious/tropical diseases such as dengue, tuberculosis, malaria and influenza, MDR-TB and lifestyle related diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are priotities, he noted.

The manufacturing and production priority would focus on new materials production using indigenous and other local materials while enabling technologies would involve ubiquitous/pervasive computing hardware and network.

Biotechnology would focus on conventional biotechnology involving tissue culture, fermentation technology and enzyme technology; recombinant DNA on technology/proteomics including mutation breeding and marker-assisted breeding, waste management, drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic kits.

Nanotechnology on the other hand would take care of nanosensors and actuators; nanomaterials and nanocomposites and nanoporous filters while in electronics, semiconductors and components would be the main focus, Briñas said.

By harmonizing all R&D efforts in the country, the government avoids research duplication, overlapping and wastage of funds, while saving time and harnessing more creative talents for other projects that could bring about maximum socio-economic advantages for the Filipino people, he explained.

Harmonized programs ensure proper use of public funds to address societal problems, particularly those that directly affect the people like urban congestion, poverty, food shortages, disasters, and disease infections. Moreover, the business sector would realize the usefulness of the government R&D activities to their respective industries, Briñas added.

The National R&D Priorities Plan 2010 – 2016 (NRDPP) is the first attempt of the national government to bring together the R&D activities of the government departments, agencies and the academe, particularly state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Likewise, NRDPP aims to strongly link the government R&D institutions, non-government research or science organizations and the business sector.

“Setting up this five year plan for the country’s R&D priorities poses a challenge for the DOST, according to a statement of DOST Undersecretary for S&T Services Fortunato de la Peña.

This is because DOST, anchoring on the global Millennium Development Goals, identified through its experts some 83 areas of concern for both the Socio-Economic and the Enabling Technologies Sectors, De la Peña said.

Using the Delphi method, spontaneous responses of more two hundred invited R&D experts to each of the 83 identified priority concerns were ranked using Wireless Automated Response System and PCOS machine, he added.

Dr. Alvin Culaba, past President of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering and the current President of the NRCP, said that these R&D projects, if and when implemented and completed, could help the Philippine government produce technologies that would have beneficial impact to the economy and society.

The technologies would enhance and alleviate the lives of the entire Filipino populace, putting the country at par with the others in Asia and the rest of the world, Culaba said.

This Delphi assembly is sanctioned by Executive Order 604 that created the PCCRD specially tasked to supervise research and development projects of government agencies. PCCRD coordinates and harmonizes all research projects in government to save time and money, according to De la Peña. (PNA)

Power coop in geothermal-rice Sorsogon in search for energy supplier
By Danny O. Calleja

SORSOGON CITY, Oct. 19 (PNA) – Sorsogon Electric Cooperative (SORECO) II covering the first district of Sorsogon province that plays host to a giant geothermal energy production project is looking for a power supplier vice the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

WESM is a creation of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 that opened a venue where electricity from power-producing companies are centrally coordinated and traded like any other commodity in a market of goods in a level playing field with prices driven by the law of supply and demand.

The WESM in its web site said its role in the country's overall energy reform is to create a fair, transparent and reliable trading environment that will attract investments and encourage healthy competition leading to the ultimate objective of cheaper electricity for all consumers.

SORECO II wants another supplier to dispel the exorbitant power rates of the WESM that trigger considerable amount of increases owing to its higher generation and system loss charges, among others, Isagani Mendoza, a member of the cooperative’s Board of Directors, on Tuesday said.

“We have been under the mercy of WESM since last month when the government-owned National Power Corporation and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corporation did not renew our supply contract,” Mendoza said.

No explanation could be had as to why the NPC/PSALM declined to renew its supply contract with the cooperative and Mendoza said they themselves at the Board do not have the exact idea to answer the question correctly.

A flier of notice being distributed by the cooperative to its member-consumers says that “since last August 26 and until a new supplier is found, SORECO II had no choice but derive its power supply from the WESM and pay whatever amount it would charge.”

Similar to the stock market, power rates of WESM are not permanent. They may increase or decrease based on the Time of Use (TOU) and prevailing cost, it explained.

Immediately affected, the flier said the generation charge and whatever the amount billed upon the cooperative will also be the amount it would collect from the end users.

The rise or fall of the generation charge will also affect the system loss charge being collected by the cooperative from its member-consumers and that explains why the same charge along with the generation charge also increased during the latest statements of account received by each of them, it said.

The other items in the bill like the distribution, supply and meter reading charges remain at their original rates and will not be moved unless ordered by the Energy Regulatory Board (ERC), the flier added.

Percival Alvarez, the SORECO II general manager said “we are doing our best to find a new supplier that can be of help to the cooperative and could provide unwavering power service to all its nearly 500,000 member-consumers”.

“And until we find one, Alvarez said, “our situation will be similar to the fate of most of the cooperatives and power distribution utilities in the Bicol region or elsewhere in the country whose supply contracts were not renewed by the NPC/PSALM: enduring the higher cost of power supply from the WESM”.

Power bills covering consumption between August 26 and September 30 issued by SORECO II to its consumers over the weekend carries with it the additional burden: generation and system loss charges up by a total of over P2 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) of consumption compared to the July-August billing when the cooperative’s supply contract with the NPC was still in effect.

From P4.8514 per kwh in July-August, the generation charge rose to P5.9429 in August-September.

As a result, a household that consumed 100 kwh between August and September had to pay about P1,400, some P400 more that what was charged for the same amount of consumption in the previous months when the supply was still from the NPC. Rate of electricity in the province reaches over P10 per kwh.

Mendoza said, the situation is very unfortunate for the first district of Sorsogon that covers this city where the Bacon-Manito (BacMan) geothermal energy complex of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) sits at an expansive reservation covering Mt. Inang Maharang at the boundaries of Bacon area and Manito, Albay.

BacMan, from where the Luzon Grid draws 110 megawatts of energy is also where the geothermal power plants of the NPC that converts the geothermal steam into electricity are situated.

Meanwhile, the SORECO II over the weekend announced that it is already accepting applications for the five percent discount in power consumption of senior citizens.

The privilege is in connection with the implementation of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, according to Alvarez.

Qualified for the rebate, he said are senior citizens whose electricity consumptions do not exceed 100 kwh per month.

Under the new law, senior citizen centers or residential care institutions like group homes are also entitled to discounts in power bill payments as much as 50 percent, Alvarez added. (PNA)

PA fields more combatants to hunt down NPAs in Bicol
By Danny O. Calleja

PILI, Camarines Sur, Oct. 19 (PNA) – Another battalion of newly-trained combatants had been added by the Philippine Army (PA) to its anti-insurgency might running after the estimated 500 New People’s Army (NPA) regulars carrying out in Bicol the over four-decade communist uprising to topple the government and establish a Marxist-Leninist estate.

This new batch of soldiers makes at least 10 the number of battalions under three brigades covered by the PA’s 9th Infantry Division (ID) based in Camp Elias Angeles of this capital town and currently operating through the leadership of Maj. Gen. Ruperto Pabustan.

These military contingents are distributed among Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate, all insurgency-infested provinces comprising the entire Bicol region.

In a statement Tuesday, Pabustan said these newly trained PA troopers will beef up the present military forces in the region to curtail rebel atrocities and assist the local police and civilian authorities in maintaining peace and order in communities.

“We are now deeply involved in peace and development efforts being undertaken by both the government and non-government sectors to address the root cause of insurgency which is poverty and social injustice,” Pabustan said.

In a maximized manner, he said the PA is helping both the national and local government implement development projects in Bicol like infrastructures that certainly contribute to the poverty alleviation being undertaken, particularly in remote barangays where social services are scarce.

“We are also augmenting the local law enforcement agencies in conducting security measures like checkpoints in relation to the coming barangay elections on October 25. The PA is also part of the implementation of the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC),” Pabustan said.

Initial accomplishments by joint police-military operations in Masbate for the COMELEC gun ban were the confiscation of eight high powered firearms and arrest of six suspected members of partisan armed groups (PAG) in the province, he said.

The island province of Masbate is considered an area of concern in relation to the conduct of the Oct. 25 barangay elections given the presence of organized PAGs being maintained by warring political camps in the locality.

In relation to the conduct of the May 10, 2010 elections, the province has been placed under tight security measures jointly by the PA and the Philippine National Police (PNP) under the supervision of the Task Force Masbate (TFM), a special body formed to manage the turbulent local political climate whose control is being contested by influential clans and groups that are all out against each other using their PAGs.

Owing to the massive deployment of PA and police forces across the province, bloody confrontations among the PAGs were preempted and political lords were pressured into surrendering hundreds of sophisticated firearms to the TFM.

“This time, we are doing the same mode of operations in Masbate or elsewhere in the region that warrants a similar course of action for the protection of the people and the barangay electorate given the manpower resources that we have,” Pabustan said.

While doing that, he said, the PA, without lit up conducts military operations to provide security to Bicol barangays against communist terrorist atrocities and engage the rebels once they offer resistance to peaceful initiatives when encountered.

Bicol is a known stronghold of the NPA given the fact that the first regional party committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA was organized in the region in 1970 marking the start of the massive armed insurgency in the region.

The first NPA base in the region was established in Tigaon, Camarines Sur by Romulo Jallores, alias Ka Tangkad, who pioneered the growth in the number of anti-government fighters in the region comprising the first NPA unit in the Southern Luzon area. He was joined by several Bicolano students and labor activists.

Jallores, who had achieved a folk-hero status among countryside villagers and activists in the region was seriously wounded in a bloody encounter with Philippine Constabulary (PC) soldiers and finished off when cornered in December 1971 by pursuing government forces while taking refuge in a cousin’s house in Naga City.

It is after Jallores that the biggest NPA unit in the region that operates in the Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte-Albay area was named.

Bicol had the history of patronizing the communist movement, that is why the government’s anti-insurgency campaign is giving special attention to the region that is considered the second poorest in the country, Pabustan said.

He clarified that the military presence in the region that makes around 10 batallions which is roughly 3,000 soldiers is not for a total war confrontation but to provide additional hands to the peace and development efforts of the government.

“We do more humanitarian and civic actions than combat operations. We only fire our guns when confronted with arms,” he added. (PNA)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

PCHRD develops anti-dengue solution from atis leaves
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 19 (PNA) -– Atis (Anona squamosa), a tropical plant that usually grows spontaneously in the Philippines, aside from bearing fruits of white, sweet, soft, juicy and mild agreeable flavored flesh, also yields leaves where government health researchers found extracts for the formulation of an effective anti-mosquito repellant.

As a result of its latest studies on atis, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) said it has came out with the Atis Lotion Mosquito Repellent that was formulated using the extracts of its leaves mixed with other locally available materials.

PCHRD, one of the five sectoral councils of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is a partnership-based national body responsible for coordinating and monitoring health research activities in the country.

“This mosquito repellent will surely be a great help to the efforts of the government to address the dengue fever-menace currently spreading terror among residents especially school-age children in various parts of the country,” Tomas Briñas, the regional director for Bicol of the DOST in announcing here Tuesday the PCHRD discovery.

It is not only against dengue, in fact, but against all mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and filariasis especially in areas of the country where incidence is high.

It also serves as a personal care product used in preventing mosquito bites that cause itchiness, inflammation and discomfort to individuals, he said.

The repellent uses a washable, mineral oil - based formulation and its biodegrable since, it is derived from advantage against other well known repellents which are chemical based in formulation.

The Atis Lotion is composed of 10.125 percent mineral oil, 1.02 percent Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose, nine percent Propylene Glycol, 0.22 percent Methyl Paraben, 0.135 percent Propyl Paraben, 70 percent water and 10 percent plant extract, Briñas said.

Indeed, atis is considered as among the country’s important crops given its various uses not only for food but more for natural medicines.

The leaves, bark and seeds contain alkaloid and chloroplatinate, a group of nitrogen-containing compounds that are physiologically active as poisons or drugs that are used as ingredients for medicines that kill lice, Briñas said.

The flesh of the fruit, he said is reported to contain upwards of 10 percent of sugar, mostly glucose at 5.40 percent and some fructose of 3.60 percent.

In the Philippines the leaves are applied as a poultice to children with dyspepsia. Crushed seeds with coconut oil are applied on the scalp to rid it of lice. A decoction of the seeds is used as an enema for the children with dyspepsia.

According to Sanyal and Ghose, externally the leaves, the unripe fruit, and the seeds which contain acrid principle possess vermicidal and insecticidal properties.

The crushed seeds, in a paste with water, are applied to the scalp to destroy lice.

The same is used as an abortifacient if applied to the uteri in pregnant women.

The bruised leaves, with salt, make a good cataplasm to induce suppuration and fresh leaves crushed between the fingers and applied to the nostrils cut shorts fits and fainting.

The ripe fruit, bruised and mixed with salt, is applied as a maturant to malignant tumors to hasten suppuration. The unripe fruit is astringent and is given in diarrhea, dysentery and atonic dyspepsia.

The bark, according to Briñas has been reported by Nadkarni as a powerful astringent and tonic to stop diarrhea. The leaves are used as an anthelmintic and its decoction for rheumatic baths to alleviate pain.

For infected insect bites, juice extract after pounding an unripe fruit is applied directly to affected parts three times a day to cure the infection.

The seeds are considered a powerful irritant to the conjunctiva while the roots are considered a drastic purgative.

Atis tree is small that grows only three to five meters high. Its leaves are hairy when young, oblong, eight to 15 centimeters long, with a petiole one to 1.5 centimeters long.

Flowers occur singly in the axils of the leaves, about 2.5 cm long, pendulous, three-angled, light green to yellow.

Fruit is large, slightly heart-shaped, six to nine centimeters long, the outside with knobby polygonal tubercles. When ripe, the fruit is light yellowish-green

The PCHRD studies also revealed that atis possesses anti-inflammatory properties as it yielded two new cyclic peptides, cyclosquamosin H and I, together with six known cyclic peptides, squamin A, squamin B, cyclosquamosin A, D E and cherimolacyclopeptide B from the seeds. Compound 7 showed an inhibitory effect on the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Extracts of atis fruit pericarp was also tested for cytotoxic activity against Dalton's lymphoma cells and HeLa cells.

The chloroform extract was found cytotoxic to the different cell lines tested and suggests the potential for AS fruit pericarp for the development of treatment for cancers.

The PCHRD said atis has an antihyperglycemic effect and alleviated liver and renal damage associated with STZ-induced diabetes mellitus in rats.

The diabetic groups treated with aqueous leaf extract were compared with standard glibenclamide.

As hepatoprotective the study on diethylnitrosamine-induced liver injury in Swiss albino mice showed hepatoprotective effect, with improvement in biochemical parameters and confirmation by histopathological studies.

The PCHRD also said that the ethanol crude extract of the fruit of atis for antimicrobial activity against some pathogenic microorganisms showed inhibitory activity against S aureus and S pneumoniae.

Results conclude the plant extract may serve as a valuable source of compounds with therapeutic antibiotic potentials.

Likewise, phytochemical study revealed the presence of quercetin in the atis seed extract and the results of the effects of quercetin suggest an involvement of this phytochemical in the mediation of antithyroidal activity, it added. (PNA)
LOR/Danny O. Calleja/cbd

Kasanggayahan Festival celebrates Donsol’s 5th place in top tourism spots
By Danny O. Calleja

SORSOGON CITY, Oct. 19 (PNA) -– The province of Sorsogon has an added reason to be upbeat in its celebration this year of Kasanggayahan Festival.

Donsol, the once sleepy remote town by the western coastlines of the province which is home to whale sharks, a rare marine mammal considered the world’s biggest fish has been listed by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as among the five top tourist destinations in the Philippines.

Both foreign and domestic tourists can now afford to skip Boracay but not Donsol for an exciting experience of interacting with the “gentle giants of the sea” as what whale sharks locally named "butanding" are now called, DOT regional director for Bicol Maria Ong-Ravanilla said during the kick off rites of the Kasanggayahan Festival here Monday.

Latest report of the DOT said Manila remains the top tourist destination in the country in terms of the industry’s growth based on the number of arrivals in the first semester of this year.

Cebu placed second followed by Camarines Sur, Palawan and Donsol.

Since the "butanding" sanctuary at the mouth of Donsol River was officially discovered in 1998, tourists have started flocking to the area which was later declared as the Whale Shark Capital of the World.

That gave birth to the tourism industry of Donsol that consistently posted rapid growth to earn for the municipality a place in the world’s tourism road map.

Kasanggayahan Festival, the yearly in celebration of the foundation anniversary of Sorsogon province would run for two weeks this year.

Peace, tranquility, bountiful harvest and good life, rolled into one are what Kasanggayahan means.

“The celebrations are mainly thanksgiving to the God Almighty for all the blessings received and brought forth good life for Sorsogueños.

It is also a half month of prayers for more blessings in the next year,” Msgr. Francisco Monje, chairperson of the Kasanggayahan Foundation Inc. (KFI) that oversees the conduct of the festival.

Kasanggayahan Festival is also dubbed as "The Festival of Festivals" in the province being the celebration of the 14 municipalities and 1 city depicting its historical past and developing its rich socio-cultural and economic aspirations, Monje said.

In the socio-cultural aspect of the celebrations, Monje said the festival relives the past featuring the upright social and cultural upbringing of the people of Sorsogon so that it serves as inspiration in their continuing aspiration to live the kasanggayahan way.

In the economic aspect, the festival is highlighted with activities presented as attraction to tourists and investors.

“Since 1974 when it was first celebrated, Kasanggayahan had already been marked on the calendar of tourists, visitors and Sorsogueños abroad for their homecoming as it has already established a different kind of merry makings featuring both historico-cultural and religious events,” Monje said.

Among the most attended event in the festival is the commemoration of the first Catholic mass in Luzon conducted by Spanish priests at the Gibalong Chapel in Magallanes town which also marked the Christianization of the province.

The other popular event is the “Pantomina sa Tinampo”, a street dancing of the Bicolano folk dance pantomina being participated in by dancers of all ages in colorful native outfits representing the 14 municipalities and one city of the province, schools and other government and non-government organizations.

This event that draws thousands of euphoric spectators from all walks of life would take place on the culmination day on October 30, according to Monje.

In the morning of the opening day Monday, a thanksgiving mass was celebrated followed by the hoisting of the flag, opening program, blessing of the Kasanggayahan Trade Fair, agro-trade fair at the Capitol Kiosk and ground-breaking activity of Balay Kasanggayahan.

It was followed in the afternoon by a civic- historico-cultural and float parade, street dance presentation and fireworks display at night.

Kasanggayahan Festival 2010, under the theme "Continuing Commitment to Sorsogon's Historical, Cultural and Religious Heritage" marks the 116th founding anniversary of the province.

The two-week celebration has lined up various activities that include 15 days agro-industrial fair, parade, wellness activities, nightly shows, fora, pilgrimage mass, heritage lectures, street dances and other exciting events.

"With the theme this year, we will see and feel the unrelenting support and partnership of the local government and the Kasanggayahan Foundation Inc. (KFI) to introduce the province of Sorsogon and its attributes especially in the field of tourism to the wider world," Monje said.

Meanwhile, for a short glimpse of history, Sorsogon became a separate province of Albay on Oct 17, 1894 and 80 years after, the term "Kasanggayahan" coined by the then parish priest of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Rev. Fr. Jose Ofracio, came into existence and was adopted by the province to be the official name for its festival.

The opening day was supposed to be on October 17 in time with the Foundation Day celebration but it was a Sunday that is why it was moved to October 18 to give imporatnce to the day which is a declared special local holiday in the entire province, Monje added. (PNA)
LOR/Danny O. Calleja/cbd

Catanduanes LGU to adopt Legazpi City tax collection system model

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 18 (PNA) - The provincial government of Catanduanes has announced the adoption of Enhanced Tax Revenue Assessment and Collection System (ETRACS) presently being implemented by the local government of Legazpi City.

Mayor Geraldine Rosal of this city said that Legazpi and Catanduanes LGUs have signed the memorandum of agreement to assist Catanduanes on how to strengthen its tax collection using the ETRACS.

The adoption of ETRACS by the island province was requested by Governor Joseph Cua to the city government here during the term of former Mayor Noel E. Rosal to strengthen the service delivery standard to the people of Catanduanes.

Mayor Geraldine Rosal pointed out that ETRACS is an Australian Agency International Development (AUSAID) program, under the Local Governance Development Project, and designed to modernize and speed-up the revenue operations of a local government.

She said that one of the commitments of the city government here as principal ETRACS implementer under the original Land Management Program (LAMP) 2 is to cascade the learning process of system installation, provide hands-on training and continuing technical assistance to other interested LGUs.

The lady mayor likewise said that AUSAID noted that the city government is very receptive to implementing development programs on computerization and the institution is willing to grant some P4.5 million for the expansion of selected programs of LGUs.

Rosal averred that ETRACS would further strengthen and promote sustainability, transparency and advancement in local government programs.

"What we have achieved thruogh ETRACS can be duplicated in other departments for smoother, better monitored and streamlined system of services," she furthered.

Rosal cited that her administration is very proud to be a model for the program implementation of the provincial government of Catanduanes, adding that this agreement between the city government and the provincial government would be very significant for an effective and improve tax collection system.

In the meantime, Cua has expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Rosal for giving them the full support in the implementation of the said technology.

He also said that this new technology will upgrade the tax revenue collections and other business transactions of the province to lead for more effective and transparent Government.

Furthermore, the LGU-implementers of ETRACS now include the cities of Legazpi, Puerto Princesa, Cadiz, Oroquieta, Tayabas, Iriga, Naga, San Carlos and the municipalities of Maribojoc Bohol, Oton Iloilo, Leganes Iloilo, Bayombong Northern Visayas and Nabunturan Central Visayas. (PNA)
LAP/Mike Dela Rama/cbd/utb

Support to RH bill snowballs in Albay
By Mike dela Rama

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 18 (PNA) – Supporters of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill continues to rise in number in the province of Albay from among non-government organizations and local elected officials despite criticisms from various sectors including the Catholic Church.

Albay board members Herbert Borja, chairman, committee on health and Glenda Bongao have expressed full support to the proposed health measure.

The two provincial legislators believed that House Bill 5043 or "An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development," is not merely aimed at curbing the country's population by allowing the use of contraceptive methods, but also seeks to alleviate the escalating cases of poverty caused by unplanned pregnancies.

Borja also stated that it is the responsibility of the government to make all services available to the constituents. “RH Bill will further enhance the delivery of services related to reproductive health of every individual,” he said.

“Aside from family planning, reproductive health also caters to prevention of infectious diseases like HIV and AIDS,” Borja said.

Board member Glenda Bongao said the proposed measure is not limited to family planning. “We need also to respond to the problem of child mortality and reduce the number of deaths among women due to post natal (pregnancy).”

Ranulfo Terragoza, president of Gayon Albay, a non-government organization working on HIV and AIDS advocacy, said their group is in full support to Albay 1st district congressman Edcel Lagman, author of the bill. “We been advocating for so many years for the enactment of the RH Bill,” he said.

The issue here is not morality, he said, but the health of the people which is at stake. “It is more immoral if the government will not respond to the needs of the people and fail to provide necessary services specially to mothers and children”

Torregoza also hailed President Benigno Aquino III for having a strong stand on the proposed measure. “ We commend the President, he is really the president of all Filipinos.”

On the other hand, Rep. Lagman called on his fellow congressmen who oppose the Reproductive Health Bill to open their minds and reject contrived criticisms, expose barefaced lies, refuse malicious innuendos, and resist menacing threats. (PNA)
LAP/Mike dela Rama/cbd/utb

Friday, October 15, 2010

Albay on alert for typhoon Juan

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 15 (PNA) – The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council of Albay has advised all disaster managers down to the villages to be very vigilant against lahar flash floods, mudflows, storm surges and landslides as rains brought by typhoon Juan started to pour Friday noon.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said "since the disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies and the respective rescue and response teams are in place, all we have to do is to pray the Oratio Imperata, a very powerful prayer, so that 'Juan' would spare the province as well as the country."

"Before Juan (International name Megi) entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), we were notified and updated by other international agencies. But, since it entered PAR (and it became Typhoon Juan), our provincial DRR policy is to exclusively use the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather bulletins as basis for response," Salceda added.

Cedric Daep, head of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) said that "since Wednesday, the PDCC has been monitoring the evolving weather system even if preliminary track projections have central tendencies around Northern Luzon. And Governor Salceda, being the PDCC chairman, asked our people to be on alert at all times." (PNA)

Masbate tops Bicol election 'hot spots' list

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 15 (PNA) – The Bicol Region has 311 election "hot spots" that are under tight watch by the Philippine Army, the Philippine National Police, the Commission on Elections and the respective local government units, an army officer said Friday.

The Army's 9th Infantry Division spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said that based on records, the Bicol Region has 70 villages placed as Category 1 and 241 villages as Category 2 of the Comelec's tally of election watch list of areas (EWAS) or "hot spots."

"A Category 1 election "hot spot" refers to areas where there are intense political rivalry and where armed groups supporting various politicians are present. Meanwhile, the presence or influence of the New People's Army (NPA) rebels in certain areas makes them (villages) as Category 2 election "hot spots," Cabunoc said.

Masbate tops the list with 69 villages placed under Category 1 and 103 villages as Category 2 "hot spots."

Sorsogon has 61 villages as Category 2 "hot spots" with Gubat town having the most number with 13, followed by Sorsogon City with 10 villages.

The AFP and PNP earned accolades for their successful security operations during the May 10, 2010 elections with the least number of election-related violent incidents (ERVIs) as compared to the 2004 and 2007 elections. The said national election was said to be the most peaceful in Bicol's election history.

Army soldiers have intensified their area security patrols as part of their tasking by the Comelec in preparation for the upcoming local elections. Soldiers also support the manning of checkpoints which is primarily tasked to the PNP. (PNA)
scs/PTR/LQ/Rey M. Nasol/cbd

Thursday, October 14, 2010

UN cites Albay as Disaster Risk Reduction model

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 14 (PNA)-- The United Nations (UN) cited Albay province as a role model on good practices on disaster risk reduction (DRR) marking the International Day for Disaster Reduction in Incheon South Korea.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the commemorating rites on Wednesday cited Albay for its disaster risk reduction program that attained for the province a “zero casualty” goal in times of calamities either it be volcanic eruption, typhoons, landslides, floods and storm surges.

Ban hailed Albay for active participating and leading other local governments across the world in the UN campaign to make world’s vulnerable cities more resilient in time of catastrophes .

“Today, on the International Day for Disaster Reduction, we recognize what local Governments and communities are doing to protect themselves while building more sustainable towns and cities” Ban said in an emailed statement.

He said last May, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction launched a global campaign called “Making Cities Resilient”.

More than 100 cities, with nearly 110 million residents, have signed up to the “Ten Essentials” – actions that will make communities safer from disasters.

Albay was among the role models cited with good practices, the citation also include , Hyogo Prefecture in Japan, Bangkok, Bonn, Mexico City and Mumbai.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda in a interview said that Albay was among the signatories in the “Ten Essentials”a checklist that committed to assign a budget to serve everyone – rich and poor alike – and that they invest in risk assessment, training on disaster risk reduction, ecosystem protection, and early warning systems.

He said they also assured that local government planners must also tackle the principal sources of risk in urban areas – poor governance, planning and enforcement.

Decision-making should be inclusive and participatory and the principles of sustainable urbanization must be embraced and upheld, especially for the benefit of people living in slums and informal settlements.

Salceda is the prime mover of Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) program where in he initiated two national CCA conventions in Albay that led to the signing of a CCA commitment between national and local government.

To strengthen and step up the CCA campaign Albay is set to hold a National LGU Summit on Climate Change on October 28 to 30 here this will be attended by 80 provincial governors, vice governors, town and city mayors across the country.

Ban at the commemorating rites said reducing disaster risk is everybody’s business, and needs everyone’s participation and investment – civil society, professional networks, as well as municipal and national governments.

Ban said in his closing statement that “On this International Day for Disaster Reduction, I commend those cities that are acting to build resilience to climate, environmental and social risks. And to all others I pose this question: Is your city ready?”(PNA)
LOR/Mar S Arguelles/cbd/

BFAR distributes tilapia fingerlings in Catanduanes

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 13 (PNA) - Forty fishpond operators from San Miguel, Virac, Bato, Caramoran, and Gigmoto towns in Catanduanes received some 50,600 tilapia fingerlings and breeders from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Bicol.

BFAR Bicol Regional Director Dennis del Socorro said that the tilapia fingerlings and breeders were distributed to backyard fishpond operators of these towns in support to the Agri-Business development program of the province.

Del Socorro furthered 20,000 fingerlings went to fishpond operators of San Miguel; 12,000 to Virac; 9,500 to Bato; 6,000 to Caramoran; and 2,500 to Gigmoto, while 600 tilapia breeders went to Panganiban town.

The tilapia fingerlings were supplied by the Regional Freshwater Fisheries Center in Fabrica, Bula, Camarines Sur and Tiwi Fry Bank in Tiwi, Albay through the efforts of BFAR Provincial Fisheries Office and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG) of Catanduanes.

According to the BFAR Bicol chief, distribution of fingerlings is one of the production support services given by the BFAR to assist small fisherfolk and help increase fish production in the region. (PNA)
LAP/LQ/Mike Dela Rama/cbd

Salceda sees Trillanes' potential for Albay, RP development

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 13 (PNA) – Albay Governor Joey Salceda, is looking forward to working closely with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for development policies.

He said he believes the senator will make the most out of his eagerness to start working for his home province as well as the country.

On Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino III granted amnesty to Trillanes and more than 300 rebel officers and soldiers who took part in three military uprisings against his predecessor, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“While there are four Bicolanos in the Senate, Trillanes solely represents Albay, Joker Arroyo from Camsur and Honasan and Escudero from Sorsogon. Trillanes gives pride to Albay but more than that he will prove to be a big help to P-Noy in leading the country,” Salceda told the Philippines News Agency.

Albayanos are now happy to see their biggest contribution to national leadership and to the task of nation building, he added.

Three weeks ago Trillanes agreed to meet Salceda and Albay Board Members Ramon Alsua and Ireneo Sales, at his detention cell.

He said he noticed that even with access to information constrained by his detention, Trillanes still has robust grasp of national issues and that the latter's policies are quite impressive.

The governor added now that Trillanes is free, he believes the latter would grow in stature and distinguish himself in the Senate and the national scene.

“Surely, his strong views and positions distilled in long contemplation will contribute significantly to the formation of robust consensus on national issues. But what struck me was his filial piety - that eagerness to get out and do his bit for his home province - Albay (being from Ligao City) - he insisted in knowing the priorities of Albay,” Salceda said. (PNA)
LAP/LQ/Rey M. Nasol/cbd

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DOLE, DOJ team up against human trafficking

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 12 (PNA) - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Justice in Bicol has forged an alliance to step up campaign against Human Trafficking following the arrest of two members of a syndicate operating in the region.

The alliance against human trafficking, illegal recruitment and child-labor declared a ‘unified war’ against Human Trafficking.

The team-up was an offshoot of the apprehension of two suspected illegal recruiters in Bulan, Sorsogon by the DOLE Anti-Illegal Recruitment Investigation Response Team (AIR-IRT) through a National Bureau of Investigation ( NBI) intelligence report about a suspected large scale illegal recruiter operating in Bicol for more than three years.

“We need more allies if we want to stop these illegalities.” DOLE-Bicol regional director Alvin M. Villamor said.

The team-up is said to be the ‘best move’ for Bicol to eliminate the three forms of illegal menace that are said to have been playing the region’s populace and economy.

The DOLE is the lead agency in Anti-Illegal Recruitment and Anti-Child Labor while the DOJ is the lead agency in Anti-Human Trafficking.

The newly-formed alliance will unify the existing task forces of the two agencies.

Villamor said that the DOLE-DOJ alliance would focus on personnel complementation in surveillance, intelligence gathering and most specifically in prosecuting violators and putting them behind bars.

Villamor claimed that the DOLE-formed task force, the Regional Anti-Child Labor Committee or RACLC, lacks the power to prosecute offenders while other task forces created by the PNP, DOJ, CIDG and NBI lack personnel and funding, thus compromising continuity.

“Teaming up is the only solution and we will be on top of it. Creating the regional alliances first then the provincial alliances. The DOJ is more than willing to help in this set-up” Villamor said.

To fast-track its implementation DOLE-Bicol will conduct the memorandum of agreement signing for the Sorsogon Provincial Anti-Child Labor Committee (PACLC) on Oct. 28 in Sorsogon City, Sorsogon.

“The next move will be integrating the new alliance in the existing task forces. With these moves we will address at least 3-of the 22-Point Labor Agenda set by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz” Villamor said.(PNA)