Friday, March 29, 2013

LP fields most number of mayoral bets in CamSur

NAGA CITY, March 28 (PNA) -- While the Liberal Party (LP) lags behind in terms of number of district and provincial candidates among three dominant contending parties in Camarines Sur, it tops in the number of bets running for mayor under its banner in the 35 towns, one component city and one independent chartered city of Camarines Sur, the Commission on Elections’ official list of candidates shows.

The three dominant parties in Camarines Sur are the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Nacionalista Party (NP) and Liberal Party (LP).

There are 26 LP mayoral aspirants while both NPC and NP have 22 mayoral bets each for city and town mayors spread in the five districts of Camarines Sur.

In Naga City, LP carries the advantage of the incumbent with Mayor John Bongat running against two independent candidates.

Elsewhere in the Third District, where Naga City belongs, LP has six mayoral bets against the same number of the NPC’s.

NP has five mayoral bets in the seven-town, one city Third District where Leni Robredo (LP), widow of the late Jesse M. Robredo, is running against Nelly Villafuerte (NPC), wife of Rep. Luis R. Villafuerte, in the congressional race.

However, four incumbent mayors running for re-election belong to the NPC of Nelly Villafuerte while only the Naga City mayor is an LP incumbent mayor and party-mate to Robredo.

Naga City has the biggest voters in the Third District at 79,743 or about 33 percent of total voters in the district,

LP managed to field only three mayoral bets in the Second District, where seven incumbent mayors are allied to Rep. Diosdado Ignacio “Dato” Arroyo.

LP fielded former San Fernando Mayor Sabas Mabulo against Arroyo and NP’s congressional bet Gov. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte with mayoral bets in all the seven towns of the district.

In the five-town First District of Camarines Sur, four of the mayoral bets-- one incumbent--allied to Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrat, are LP members.

But Andaya supports NPC’s gubernatorial candidacy of Rep. Luis R. Villafuerte, who is running against NP bet-grandson Miguel Luis Villafuerte, LP bet former Solicitor General Anselmo Joel Cadiz and two more candidates.

LP and NPC have both nine bets for town mayors in the 10-town Fourth District, where the Fuentebella political dynasty holds sway for more than a century now.

LP fielded actor Aga Muhlach against NPC’s William Felix Fuentebella.

NP has no mayoral bet in any of the towns of the Fourth District.

NPC mayor bet Ruel Velarde is running unopposed in Tinambac town, the biggest number of voters in the Fourth District which is 15 percent of the total number of 227,106 voters.

In the Fifth District, there are only three LP mayoral bets, including the towns of Balatan and Buhi and aside from Iriga City, in the seven-town district with the largest number of voters at 245,998

For Iriga City, LP is tossing Ganggang Alfelor against cousin Emmanuel Alfelor Jr. of the NPC and three independent candidates for city mayor.

Ganggang is the younger brother of last-term Iriga City Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen while Emmanuel Jr. is the son of Emmanuel Sr., now deceased, who had also served three terms as city mayor.

Combining the number of voters in Iriga City, which has the most number of voters in the Fifth District at 55,048 and those from the towns of Balatan with respective number of voters at 17,473 and 41,658 voters, LP’s campaign apparatus could reach 114,179 or a little less than half of the total voters in the district.

Mayor Gazmen and incumbent Rep. Salvio Fortuno (LP) are allied to Gov. Villafuerte who fielded his son Miguel Luis (NP) in the gubernatorial race. (PNA) DSP/FGS/JME/CBD/ABB

Child abuse cases up in CamNorte last year; violence against women down

LEGAZPI CITY, March 28 (PNA) -- Cases of child abuse in Camarines Norte province last year increased significantly compared to its number in 2011 even as reported incidents of violence against women noticeably went down.

In the report submitted to Bicol PNP regional director Chief Supt. Clarence Guinto, Insp. Ana Rose Domingo, the WCPD chief, said her desk recorded in the province last year 106 cases of child abuse, a figure that is higher by about 20 percent compared to the 81 incidents reported in 2011.Reported cases of abuse against women in Camarines Norte, on the other hand, went down from 61 in 2011 to 56 last year, Domingo said in the report.

She was, however, referring only to cases of abuse against children and women that have been filed with the local courts for violations of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and the Children Act.

Most of these filed cases of violation against women were rape, frustrated rape, attempted rape, physical injury, act of lasciviousness, intimidation, concubinage, unjust vexation and qualified trespass to dwelling, Domingo said.

The WCPD rendered the report in line with the ongoing observance of the Women’s Month anchored on the theme “Kababaihan: Gabay sa Pagtahak sa Tuwid na Daan.”

Her office, Domingo said, has been concealing from the public identities of the victims to avoid psychological distress among them.

She attributed the decline in cases of abuse against women in the province to the continuous implementation of social awareness campaign that includes orientations on the provisions of RA 9262.

The increase in the reported and brought to court cases for child abuse was likewise attributed by the WCPD chief to the awareness drive conducted by her office, in partnership with the social welfare and development offices of the provincial and municipal governments among local schools.

“If before, children were weak and unaware that they were already being abuse, today, they are already informed of their rights. With the help of the community, their plights are now reaching the WCPD or social welfare workers that assist them in filing complaints,” Domingo said.

The Camarines Norte provincial government meanwhile has remained a “halfway home” where victims of abuses are given counseling.

It is also providing women victims with livelihood training so that they are liberated from being totally dependent on their husbands, Domingo said.

The province has also included Gender and Development (GAD) in its programs supported by the United Nations Population Fund, she added.

These programs include orientations on the Magna Carta of Women provisions on Reproductive Rights and Gender-Based Violence for the GAD Focal Point System.

Camarines Norte also has its Provincial Council for the Protection of Children, an organization of local government agencies and the private sector that addresses issues and concerns involving women of minor ages, especially those that are made to work in entertainment houses.

“Minors are absolutely banned from working in pub houses, video bars and other night spots in the province,” Domingo added. (PNA) DSP/FGS/DOC/CBD/ABB

Life brighter ahead for Bayani Challenge beneficiaries in CamNorte

SAN LORENZO RUIZ, Camarines Norte, March 28 (PNA) -- The about 2,000 Bayani Challenge volunteers who worked in building 44 houses for poor, homeless families here completed their five-day tour of duty Wednesday, leaving behind hopes for brighter life ahead to the beneficiaries.

“I see in their faces the signs of hope for brighter life. I can hear from their lips the optimism that the next days in their lives will be different under the roofs of the new homes they could call their own,” Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo Tallado told the PNA Thursday as he went around the site of the newly built houses.

The site, now called GK Friendship Village, is located in a two-hectare donated property in Barangay Laniton of this 5th class upland municipality of about 13,000 people, mostly relying on agriculture for their livelihood.

The municipality was chosen by the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Foundation as one of the 34 sites across the country for its Bayani Challenge program this year that put in around 100,000 volunteers who answered the call of volunteerism in nation building.

“The urgent call of building this nation was answered once again as we challenged to bring the best of ourselves and work together toward our goal of expressing our love for country and caring for the poor with concrete and sustainable results,” GK founder Tony Meloto said in a statement on the closing day of the five-day works last Wednesday.

The over 2,000 volunteers coming from different parts of the province and elsewhere of the country arrived here last March 23 and following brief ceremonies and pleasantries, they buckled down from sunrise to sunset for five days to build permanent houses for the 44 families considered as the poorest of the poor among local residents.

“At least, we have 44 families delivered from extreme difficulties of living in makeshift dwelling points with these new homes built out of love and respect to human dignity. I see a more decent life ahead for these families that I believe will become more productive in this new village specially established for them,” town mayor Nelson De los Santos said.

Zarena Bacerdo, a 21-year-old college junior student from the nearby Barangay Bolo here who joined the volunteers in the works said, “I feel happy for these families and proud of myself for being part this year of Bayani Challenge. I am making it a commitment to be a volunteer in this yearly undertaking.”

Meloto, in the same statement, said that since it was first held in 2006, volunteers have looked forward to each year’s Bayani Challenge as their heroic response to whatever continues to threaten the poorest of the poor.

More than an event, the Bayani Challenge is a five-day test of courage, endurance and love for country and as it continues to grow every year, more and more volunteers and nation-builders from all over the world have responded to the challenge, he added.

According to Esperanza Prades, a 50-year-old market vendor and mother of nine and who is among the beneficiaries, the new house that she and her family now have "put an end to the inconvenience we had been suffering for years while living in a small, dilapidated shanty."

“Tiyak, ligtas kamin dito sa bagyo (Certainly, we are safe from typhoon here),” she said, adding that she, a widow, can already work more for a better future of her children without the worries over their safety while she is away to work.

Martin Samson, a 35-year-old farm laborer and father of six, said, “Masaya kaming lahat sa bagong tahanan (We are all glad with these new homes).”

“Susuklian naming ito ng higit pang pagsisikap upang mapaganda ang aming buhay ayon na rin sa hangarin ng GK (We are going to repay this by way of striving hard to improve our lives according to the wishes of the GK),” Samson added.

Tallado said he is grateful to the GK Foundation for choosing his province as the only site in Bicol for this year’s Bayani Challenge.

“It is a new kind of People Power as volunteers from across the nation work together to ensure that no Filipino is left behind in the national pursuit for progress and sustainable development,” the governor said.

This year’s Bayani Challenge’s theme is “Isang bayan, Isang Bayanihan,” where volunteers sign up in teams for a five-day test of courage, endurance and love for country as they engage in varied nation-building activities. (PNA) FGS/DOC/CBD/ABB

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SCUBAsura marks World Water Day in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY, March 27 (PNA) -- Bicolano divers did their share of cleaning Albay’s marine environment with SCUBAsura, a seabed clean-up activity in Albay Gulf off the coastlines of this city which marked the recent observance this year of the World Water Day.

DENR Regional Executive Director Gilbert Gonzales Wednesday said the event was spearheaded by the regional office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) under technical director Roberto Sheen.

Gonzales said Sheen reported that at least a hundred volunteers, divers and non-divers joined the SCUBAsura, an undertaking that underlined the importance of keeping the marine environment clean.

He said the Naval Forces Southern Luzon provided rubber boats that ferried divers from the Legazpi City Boulevard to the dive site while the Bicol Scuba Divers Foundation Inc. supplemented manpower.

Also in line with the World Water Day celebration, Gonzales said, the EMB earlier conducted simultaneous river and estero cleanup last week under its Adopt-a-Estero Program that was readily adopted by local industry operators.

The World Water Day was observed last March 22 with the theme “International Year of Water Cooperation.”

The global event was celebrated locally under the theme, “Tubig Para sa Lahat, Lahat Para sa Tubig” (Water for All, All for Water). (PNA)

Masbate police crime drive intensified

LEGAZPI CITY, March 27 (PNA) -- The government crime drive in Masbate, an island province in the Bicol peninsula, has intensified and netted wanted persons and loose firearms, a Philippine National Police (PNP) official said on Wednesday.

According to Sr. Supt. Arnold Albis, commander of the PNP Regional Special Task Group (RSOTG) in Masbate, the ongoing crime drive resulted in the arrest of 1,521 wanted persons and the confiscation of 1,555 loose firearms since the election gun ban was implemented on January 13 this year.

All in all, about 13,804 assorted deadly weapons have been confiscated since the crime drive took off, Albis said.

He added that the Provincial Police Investigation and Detection Management Unit reported that this month alone, 41 firearms were seized, 77 motorcycles were impounded and 17 persons involved in illegal numbers games were arrested.

On the strength of search and arrest warrants issued by the local courts here, police operatives have been successful in arresting four suspected gun runners and seized from them various kinds of firearms.

Albis said his task group has also intensified tracking operation to deactivate known private armed groups (PAGs) EMPLOYED BY LOCAL POLITICIANS WHO WANT TO WIN AT ALL COSTS IN THESE MID-TERM ELECTIONS.



Salceda wants more resort hotels, good chefs for flourishing Albay tourism

LEGAZPI CITY, March 27 (PNA) -– The flourishing tourism industry of Albay province calls for new resort hotels to accommodate rapid increases in arrivals and good chefs for local restaurants that need to increase their servings, Governor Joey Salceda on Wednesday said here.

“My first wish from our private sector partners is new hotel resorts to address the need for new rooms. My second wish is for owners of restaurants to please hire new chefs and level up their menus and indulge in ingredients,” Salceda said, as the province prepares for this year’s grand celebration of the Daragang Magayon Festival.

The Daragang Magayon Festival 2013 on April 1-30 will serve as Albay’s cultural epiphany as the new tourism giant of Luzon.

The province is expected to further perk up following the successful staging recently of Albay’s ballet epic Daragang Magayon: An Istorya ni Mayon at the Cultural Center of the Philippines main theatre, which drew superlative reviews from critics and a mixed crowd of celebrities.

The province was also featured as the Philippines Pavilion’s highlight destination at the 2013 Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB)-Berlin, the world's leading yearly travel trade held in Berlin, Germany last March 6-10.

“We are now being marketed abroad, so we will not disappoint our visitors. Albayanos are a great people, so we show visitors what we got and they will come back again and again,” Salceda said.

With high investment spending in tourism promotion and holding of festivals, Albay became last year’s top tourist hub in Bicol with over a half a million foreign tourist arrivals, which brought in 49-percent growth rate in local tourism, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Salceda said the 49-percent tourists’ arrival growth for Albay last year was further bolstered by advertising collaterals published in magazines and newspapers, and aired in broadcast outlets--including the social media.

A recent survey of Cebu Pacific Airlines said Daragang Magayon Festival had a 14.7-percent market share among Philippine festivals, coming third to Sinulog and Bangus festivals.

Salceda expects to sustain, if not surpass, the 2012 performance due to aggressive foreign reintroduction and closer collaboration with key tourism stakeholders.

“To sustain and step up such growth, new hotels should be a destination in itself. Thus far, we have commitments for 450 rooms (3-5 star) with investment cost of P1.2 billion. But, the current capacity of 3,000 of Albay and 1,000 each for Sorsogon and Masbate or 5,000 cannot attract or accommodate a quadrupling to one million foreign tourists by 2017,” he said.

Sorsogon and Masbate are part of the Catanduanes-Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon (CALMASOR), a tourism alliance recently organized by Salceda as chair of the Regional Development Council that clusters the four Bicol southeastern-most provinces as the “Soul of the South” of the country’s tourism industry.

Salceda said the alliance was initiated to ensure a stronger and more cohesive promotional campaign among the four provinces, which all possess inherent world-class tourism potentials.

For restaurant owners, the governor said: “I like many of them, especially Boklan, Ocean Villa, La Roca, the favorite of my childhood--Legazpi Restaurant, but I want them to be better for the influx of tourists.”

“You see, excellent food will inspire happy memories which will not only make them come back but will also make them spread through word-of-mouth good feedback, thus make more tourists come. Warm people is okay, but it is more okay if it comes with warm soup also, Warm Albay,” he stressed. (PNA)

P135-M smuggled rice for auction - BOC

LEGAZPI CITY, March 27 (PNA) -- The Bureau of Customs (BoC) in Legazpi will auction in April the seized 94,000 bags of imported rice from Vietnam worth approximately P135 million, a ranking Customs official said Wednesday.

Danilo Lim, BoC Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group, who inspected here the seized rice commodity, directed the BoC Legazpi to start auctioning imported rice kept in a warehouse in this city.

Lawyer Leovigildo Dayoja, BoC collector here, said it would take them a month to dispose the seized imported rice through public auction to interested rice traders.

When asked if the multi-purpose cooperative involved in the rice smuggling importation can be qualified to participate at the auction, Dayoja said their pending case of smuggling automatically disqualifies them to participate in the auction.

The BoC official said the auction will give additional revenue to the government though it cannot generate a 100-percent return due to depreciation value of the commodity.

He said the BoC had spent some P3 million to date for expenses for pilotage, wharfage, arrastre service, warehouse lease, fumigation, labor, supplies and trucking services.

To date, 79,000 bags are stocked up at the rented warehouse while 15,000 bags are still being unloaded from the vessel at the port of Legazpi.

On Sept. 2 last year, BoC seized the 94,000 bags of imported rice from Vietnam worth P135 million loaded in MV Minh Tuan vessel that docked at the Port of Legazpi from Vietnam.

The imported rice was consigned to the National Food Authority (NFA) on behalf of several multi-purpose cooperatives (MPCs) accredited by it, but these MPCs failed to present a memorandum of undertaking and pertinent import documents.

The failure to show import documents compelled the BoC to issue a warrant of seizure and detention order that subsequently led to a series of hearing.

According to Lim, the consignees of the hot shipment of Vietnamese long grain white rice, the Samahan Ng Magsasakang Kapampangan at Katagalugan, Malipampang Concerned Citizens, Inc., Ugnayang Magbubukid ng San Isidro, Inc. and Kapatirang Takusa were charged for violating the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippine and the Department of Agriculture Rules on rice importations after they failed to show proofs of payment for the corresponding duties of their rice importation and other require documents.

Most, if not all, of the consignees of this illegal rice shipment are either “for hire” cooperatives or non-existing at all, and yet, were given rice importation allocation quota by the NFA, Lim said in a press conference here.

“This clearly shows that these cooperatives are being used by rice smuggling syndicates to circumvent the law,” he added.

Lim said that upon verification of the cooperatives’ allocation quotas with the NFA, it turned out that they had exceeded their given allocations.

He said the agency is closely checking areas considered as “high risk” countries for smuggling.

These are Vietnam, India and Thailand.

Lim said the BoC is focusing its attention on agriculture products smuggling, particularly rice and sugar import shipments coming from these so-called “high risk” countries for smuggling.(PNA)

Albay’s Daragang Magayon Festival to stage 50-mile run around Mt. Mayon

LEGAZPI CITY, March 26 (PNA) -– The celebration of Albay’s Daragang Magayon Festival will test the endurance and speed of marathon runners who will compete in the Mayon 360º, a 50-mile run around the circumference of the iconic Mt. Mayon, the centerpiece of the province’s flourishing tourism industry.

Organized as among the month-long festival’s sport highlights by the Legazpi Chapter of the Junior Chamber (Jaycees) International and the Liga ng mga Barangay, Albay Chapter, the race to be staged on April 6 is sanctioned by the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners.

Sponsored by the Albay provincial government, Governor Joey Salceda and the Daragang Magayon Festival 2013 committee, said the Mayon 360º Run will be the first of its kind in the province and the entire Bicol region in terms of distance and race route, provincial board member Joseph Philip Lee, the Liga federation president, on Tuesday said here.

“It will be a historic run as none so far has registered a record in completely running the 50-mile (80 kilometers) distance around the entire circumference of the famous Mt. Mayon that stands 2,463 meters over three cities and six municipalities of Albay,” Lee said.

Starting from the Peñaranda Park in front of the City Hall and the Provincial Capitol here, the run will go through an all-paved road passing along 77 barangays near the foot of the volcano.

The starting gun will be fired at 4 a.m. on April 6.

The race ends on the same day at the same park to complete the 360-degree route.

The last pack of finishers is expected in 15 hours after the gunstart.

Over a hundred local, national and international marathoners are expected to see action in the race.

“Considering the stamina it requires, medical certificate signifying the runner is in good health to participate in this endurance sport and proof that he/she has completed one full marathon within one year are required,” Lee said.

To highlight Albay’s tourist destinations along the race route, water and aid stations for the runners are to be set up in leading attractions such as in Daraga town, the home to historical Cagsawa Ruins where one can see the picturesque view of the entire edifice of the volcano with the protruding belfry of Cagsawa church at the foreground.

The next water station will be in Camalig town, the home to the popular Albayano dish--pinangat.

The town is a good site for heritage tour for having the most number of Spanish houses in the province.

Next station will be in Guinobatan, the hometown of local hero Gen. Simeon Ola, the last Albayano general to surrender to the American troops during the Filipino-American war.

Three water stations will be set up in Ligao City that is famous for its Kawa-Kawa Hill, where pilgrims scale its 236-meter elevation during Holy Week to meditate in its Stations of the Cross featuring life-sized statues.

Another will be in Barangay Buang, Tabaco City, at the junction leading to the Mayon Skyline Park nestled on the slope of the volcano at 2,500 feet elevation.

Another water station will be in Barangay Quinastillohan of the same city that is site of Vera Falls, with clear cascading water in the middle of the verdant forest of Mt. Malinao.

The 10th and 11th water and aid stations will be at the Tabaco City proper where one of the two churches in Albay that are registered in the National Historical Institute as National Heritage Site--the St. John the Baptist Church--stands.

Malilipot town, known for being home to abaca twine “lubid” makers, is next.

Next will be Sto. Domingo, home of Potenciano Gregorio, the composer of the world-known Bicolano love song “Sarung Banggi.”

Sto. Domingo is also frequently visited by tourists and vacationers for its black sand beaches resorts located at Barangay Kalayukai.

The last two water and aid stations will be in this city—one in Barangay Rawis, the Bicol regional government center, and the other at the city proper-- the province’s trade, business and education center.

The Mayon 360º is only among the various rare sport events to be highlighted in the 2013 Daragang Magayon Festival that refers to the province’s mythical legend of Daragang Magayon (beautiful lady) from where Mt. Mayon derived its name.

Among the many others are the “Five Peaks in One Summer Climb,” which will feature mountaineering of five local peaks--Mts. Malinao, Masaraga, Manaet, Manito and Mayon and the local version of Amazing Race which will mark the launch of the Green Zone of Bicol tourism centered on the newly formed Catanduanes-Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon (CALMASOR) cluster in promotion strategy. (PNA) LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/UTB

DA eyes beekeeping as another important industry for Catanduanes

PILI, Camarines Sur, March 26 (PNA) -– For the Regional Field Unit (RFU) here of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Bicol, beekeeping would be another important agricultural activity that could provide income and livelihood to small farmers in Catanduanes.

With its verdant forest and vast vegetated area still undisturbed by modern civilization, the province, apart from being the country’s top abaca producer, could also become leader in the field of apiculture that despite its global popularity is yet to gain a foothold in the Philippines.

Apiculture refers to the art and science of beekeeping, an agriculture-based industry that the DA is promoting through its Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in coordination with the National Apiculture Research, Training and Development Institute (NARTDI) based at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in La Union province.

With the on-going implementation of the National Organic Agriculture Program pursuant to the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, Catanduanes is in a good position to give new life to the beekeeping industry in the country as an organic and sustainable means of livelihood in the pursuit of development goals and in preserving national agrobiodiversity.

RFU chief Abelardo Bragas on Tuesday here said that as part of the program, the newly established Provincial Apiculture Center (PAC) at the Catanduanes State University (CSU) Extension Services facility, in partnership with the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) recently conducted a three-day training on “Rearing of European Queen Honeybee”.

The training held at the CSU Bio Park which had Kelly Clark, a Canadian apiculture expert as lecturer was participated in by dozens of municipal agriculture officers, agricultural technicians, farmers and extension workers, Bragas said.

He explained that queen-bee rearing is the raising of healthy virgin queens from good genetic stock and providing conditions that will allow them to mature and mate properly and be the foundation of effective bee colonies.

Queen bee typically refers to an adult, mated female that lives in a honeybee colony or hive. It is usually the mother of most, if not all, the bees in the hive.

The queens are developed from larvae selected by worker bees and specially fed in order to become sexually mature. There is normally only one adult-mated queen in a hive.

Since its establishment in November last year, the PAC had already been maintaining several bee colonies housed in simulated beehives to induce honey bee production, according to Bragas.

With the establishment of the Catanduanes PAC and the conduct of the training, he said the sustainable use of indigenous bee resources is promoted and appreciation for the industry in the province is brought to a new level.

The training course included management of bees and processing of value-added products, such as wine, candle, and soap.

Its outputs include the production of female workers of queens to improve stocks of existing colonies and for the production of starter colonies.

Beekeeping, an industry with social, economic and ecological benefits requiring minimal time, labor and resources will enable farmers to augment their income and take advantage of emerging opportunities which, in turn, shall brighten up agribusiness in the country, Bragas said.

According to the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), there are four species of honeybee--the Apis mellifera also called European honeybees, Apis cerana locally called ligwan, Apis dorsata or pukyutan and Apis melliponinea or stingless bees that thrive best in the Philippines. All of these are present in Catanduanes.

Most of the forest tree species which are good sources of pollen and nectars for the bees like narra, calliandra, eucalyptus, oak tree, molave, camachili, kakawate, duhat, rain tree, African tulip, jacaranda, ipil-ipil, among others, grow in thick volume in forests of the province, the Catanduanes PAC said.

It also had cereal crops like corn and plants such as banana, mango, coconut, coffee, cacao, citrus, peanut, mongo, tomato and eggplant that are favorites of honeybees, it added.

The product people most associate with bees is honey, although beekeeping, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said generates much more than just honey.

The maintenance of biodiversity and pollination of crops are the most valuable services provided by bees, it stressed.

Bee-keeping experts say that honey is just one of several products that can be harvested in the bee colony. Others are beeswax, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and venom.

Apitherapy, which is the medicinal use of honey bee venom as well as honey bee products, is also one of the benefits that can be derived from the beekeeping industry.

In the Philippines, the available accounts say that modern beekeeping was introduced during the American regime. It was in that time that the European honeybee (Apis mellifera), the preferred species for commercial beekeeping, was recorded to have been introduced in the country.

However, beekeeping as an industry has barely ascended in the Philippines compared to its neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Taiwan, the BAR said.

The presence of pests, lack of capital, equipment, facilities and proper training on beekeeping technologies for marginal farmers, as well as the cost of importing of Apis mellifera it said are the main reasons why the Philippines continue to fail to realize the potential of the industry in the country.

At present, there are a few actively managed and known commercial, albeit, small apiaries in the country. Two of the most popular are Ilog Maria in Silang, Cavite, and the Bohol Bee Farm in Panglao, Bohol.

While they have become well-known among tourists and health enthusiasts interested in the benefits of honey and apiary by-products, both remain as small businesses and thus only produce very limited supply that barely meets the needs of the local market.

Under this situation, the Philippines will remain a net importer of honey and other by-products of beekeeping unless a major change takes place, according to the BAR.

The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Bee Program under the university's Institute of Biological Sciences is one of the existing institutions undertaking research and development (R&D) and promotion of beekeeping in the country.

Recently, with funding support of the BAR, the UPLB designed a program aimed at reviving the beekeeping industry in the country.

As part of the Asian Apicultural Association, the UPLB Bee Program endeavours to modernize beekeeping practices in the country to match international standards specific for the honey market.

A national bee product testing and development center is also envisioned to further promote good practices that include the proper processing and packaging of bee products, the BAR added. (PNA) FPV/FGS/DOC/CBD/UTB

Bicol’s employment rate up — NSCB

LEGAZPI CITY, March 26 (PNA) -- Employment rate in Bicol improved by one percentage point in January this year compared to its rate last year, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) regional office.

Based on the recent round of the Labor Force Survey of the National Statistics Office, the region’s employment rate improved to 94.2 percent from 93.2 percent the past year.

Election-related activities possibly contributed to the increase in the number of jobs for the period, a report of the NSCB released here Tuesday said.

This means that less Bicolanos were unemployed in January this year with unemployment rate slipping to 5.8 percent.

Across regions, the NCSB report said Cagayan Valley (Region II) posted the highest employment rate at 96.7 percent while the National Capital Region (NCR) recorded the lowest employment rate at 90.5 percent.

The labor force participation rate or the proportion of those in the labor force to the population aged 15 years old and over in Bicol was placed at an estimated 3.8 million persons.

Underemployment rate, or the proportion of employed persons wanting more hours of work to total employed persons, however, inched up to 35.0 percent, 0.2 percentage points higher than that of the same period last year.

The Bicol Region continued to post the highest underemployment rate among regions of the country, according to the NSCB. (PNA) LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/ABB

MGB expects more mining permit applications in Bicol this year

LEGAZPI CITY, March 26 (PNA) -- Mineral-rich Bicol is expecting an upswing in mining permit applications this year in the wake of the lifting of the moratorium imposed by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) during the past two years.

“With the lifting of the moratorium, we are expecting more investors to file mining permit applications this year which the bureau will be processing according to the new procedural guidelines recently issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),” Theodore Rommel Pestaño, the MGB regional director for Bicol based here said on Tuesday.

MGB recently issued a directive for the lifting of the more than two-year mining application moratorium that has something to do with the implementation this month of the DENR Administrative Order (AO) 2013-11.

The AO provides for the procedural guidelines in the filing and processing of application for Exploration Permit (EP) pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 79, Pestaño explained.

“EO 79 was signed by his Excellency President Benigno C. Aquino III on July 6, 2012 to implement reforms in the Philippine mining sector and ensure environmental protection and responsible mining in the utilization of mineral resources,” he recalled.

The new guidelines, the MGB regional chief said, provides for increases in fees for mining applications and minimum capital requirements for mining applicants.(PNA) PDS/FGS/DOC/CBD/ABB

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Salceda elated over new Skyjet airline service to Catanduanes

LEGAZPI CITY, March 26 (PNA) -- “Catch you today, Catanduanes!”

This was the reaction of Albay Governor Joey Salceda to the news carried by the PNA Monday on the announcement of the scheduled mounting of new flights to service the Manila-Virac route by Skyjet Airlines starting April 16.

“This is another boost to the tourism alliance of Catanduanes, Albay, Masbate and Sorsogon (CALMASOR). Once in Catanduanes, it is easier for CALMASOR to seek them (tourists) into the attractions of Mayon, Misibis, Masbate and Donsol,” Salceda said.

CALMASOR is the bonding of the four neighboring Bicol provinces into a tourism promotion strategy convened by Salceda through the Regional Development Council (RDC) which he heads as chair.

It was introduced along with Albay Province as the highlight destination at the Philippine Pavilion during the ITB-Berlin last March 6-10.

As Europe’s premier travel trade fair, ITB Berlin is the key place to learn about new trends in the travel industry and market developments and to deepen existing business relations.

It draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from the world’s travel industry in its yearly staging.

Albay boasts of, among other destinations and attractions, Mt. Mayon -- the majestic world’s most perfect cone serving as centerpiece of the province tourism industry -- and Misibis Bay, a private tropical hideaway built on a pristine stretch of beach along the southern tip of Cagraray island in Bacacay town.

Misibis is considered a luxury island playground in the Philippines whose diversity offers exquisite adventures, arise from a treasure trove of infinite possibilities.

Another Bicol tourism pride is Masbate province.

Apart from its rich marine ecology attraction and being venue of the annual international rodeo competitions in April, Masbate is home to the well-visited Manta Bowl off Ticao Island that has become a famous dive site for underwater interactions with manta rays.

Donsol is known worldwide for its whale sharks that have been drawing thousands of tourists and visitors yearly.

Skyjet Airlines, a new player in the country’s aviation industry, will dispatch its maiden flight to Virac, Catanduanes, on April 16 to mark the beginning of its three flights-a-week schedule in connecting the island province with Manila.

Owned by Magnum Air Inc., Skyjet will mount its 94-seater, four-engine British Aerospace 146-200 jet in servicing the route every Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule, said Joel Mendoza, the airline’s chief executive officer, in a statement on Monday.

Servicing Catanduanes is part of the company’s trust to operate underserved and unserved destinations in the country with great tourism potentials, he said.

The island, separated from mainland Bicol by Maqueda Bay and sitting at the Pacific Ocean, is considered one of the promising eco-tourism areas in Bicol owing to its rich ecology and majestic coastal waters that offer exciting surfing and diving sites. (PNA) LAM/FGS/DOC/CBD/ABB

Skyjet sets maiden flight to Catanduanes on April 16

LEGAZPI CITY, March 25 (PNA) -– Skyjet Airlines, a new player in the country’s aviation industry, will dispatch its maiden flight to Virac, Catanduanes, on April 16 to mark the beginning of its three-flight-a-week schedule in connecting the island province with Manila.

Owned by Magnum Air, Inc., Skyjet will mount its 94-seater, four-engine British Aerospace 146-200 jet in servicing the route every Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule, Joel Mendoza, the airline’s chief executive officer, said in a statement here on Monday.

The aircraft is specifically made for short landings and takeoffs and designed to operate even in unpaved runways.

This jet, Mendoza said, is quieter and can load up to 3,000 kilograms of cargo.

The fledgling airline, which now flies to Batanes and Busuanga, also allows seven kilos per hand-carried luggage and another 10 kilos free for accompanied cargo.

Servicing Catanduanes is part of the company’s trust to operate underserved and unserved destinations in the country with great tourism potentials, Mendoza said.

The island, separated from the mainland of Bicol by Maqueda Bay and sitting at the Pacific Ocean, is considered one of the promising eco-tourism areas in Bicol owing to its rich ecology and majestic coastal waters that offer exciting surfing and diving sites.

Cebu Pacific is so far the only airline operating the Manila-Virac route three times a week after Zest Airways pulled out, causing shortage in air travel services for tourists and other passengers.

With its flights to Virac, Skyjet is offering a special fare for Catanduanes residents to enable them to enjoy what Mendoza describes as “international flight service on a domestic carrier.”

He said tickets are now being sold on-line for its Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule as a promotion until April 30, a cost that is significantly lower than the regular rate.

Catandunganons would have to book at ticket agents and present their proof of residency to enjoy the special, all-in fare of P3,000 complete with snacks, compared to the P6,000 price of one-way tickets sold by Cebu Pacific.

Skyjet will also reserve at least 10 seats on each flight for senior citizens, who, according to Mendoza, constitute majority of the present air commuters to and from Virac.

The airline executive also said the company will be bringing along travel writers and travel operators from Manila on its inaugural flight to Virac as “we want to promote the island as tourism site.”

Skyjet is also arranging with SM mall theaters in Manila for the showing of video materials of Catanduanes tourist destinations while promotional materials would likewise be placed in its flights to Batanes and Busuanga prior to the Virac flights.

The airline is also offering a special rate to local resort operators, who will be allowed to book complete tour packages to their potential clients.

“Tourists will be provided with hassle-free travel complete with tickets, room and board, and airport transfers,” Mendoza said.

He noted a big demand for a full service carrier with affordable fares without sacrificing seating comfort, space, and enhanced meal, beverage, in-flight entertainment and full staff service.

“Our fares are competitive and offer no hidden charges, no additional charges for seats, free snacks for short haul trip, affordable rates and more cargo space. We focus on safety and our aircraft can operate in the most challenging runways and weather conditions in the Philippines as certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines,” Mendoza said.

The airline has an initial fleet of two 94-seater, four-engine BAE 146-200 jets and another aircraft is expected to arrive soon to charter passengers from Batanes to Kaoshiung, Taiwan and vice versa, he added. (PNA)

NPC to energize Catanduanes’ tourism island of Palumbanes

CARAMORAN, Catanduanes, March 25 (PNA) -- Wooden poles interconnected by electricity lines now stand around the small community occupying Palumbanes Island, the fishing paradise that is emerging as a favorite tourist destination for its diving site gifted with rich marine life.

Through this installation put in place by the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative (Ficelco), the island and the 249 households comprising Barangay Toytoy that covers the area will be provided with electricity to be produced by a 200-kilowatt diesel-fired generator set which the National Power Corporation (NPC) will deliver soon.

Mayor Agnes Popa said here Saturday that a contractor of the NPC is set to begin this week the installation of the generator set and a 30-kVA power transformer that is expected to be completed in six months.

This means that by August, Palumbanes will already be enjoying reliable power supply which would light up the island and the houses at least for six hours between six in the evening until midnight daily.

“This will put an end to its people’s long quest for power which they never enjoyed since electricity was first introduced in the province decades back,” Popa said.

The energization of Palumbanes, according to the NPC, is under the agency’s Off-Grid Electrification Project costing over P6.5 million implemented under its missionary electrification program.

The power supply in these off-grid areas is supplied by Napocor's Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) whose rates are subsidized by consumers.

The electricity, according to the mayor, will be sold to residents of Palumbanes at a rate that is about 80 centavos cheaper than what is charged on the bulk of the power cooperative’s 45,000 customers on the main island.

“This will be a big boost to our tourism industry,” she said, describing Palumbanes Island, an about 50-hectare landmass here, as surrounded by a body of water that is considered a fishing paradise and diving site.

White sand beaches that attract excursionists and tourists ring the island that could be reached through a 30-minute boat ride from the mini port of this third class municipality located in the northern part of Catanduanes, about 87 kilometers from Virac, the provincial capital.

The white beaches and clean sea water of Palumbanes and the Awinis and Carinhongo Falls located in Barangays Tubli and Tucao, respectively, are tourist attractions in the municipality whose land area of over 252 square kilometers is the largest in the province. (PNA)

Salceda includes UNA’s JV, Migs in Albay’s Magic 12
By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, March 25 (PNA) -- Albay Governor Joey Salceda picked two promising senatorial candidates, JV Ejercito Estrada and Juan Miguel “Migs” Zubiri of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), to complete Albay’s Magic 12 as the Albayanos, he said, favored the candidacy of the two as against two other Liberal Party candidates in a local survey here.

Salceda, a former political ally of then President Joseph Estrada, told reporters here that the 12-0 votes is unattainable in Albay province as the Albayanos preferred Estrada and Zubiri in the recently concluded survey.

Albay is the second province in the Bicol region with the highest number of voters, with 720,000, based on the Commission on Elections data and is expected to deliver a 10-2 victory in favor of Team PNoy.

It will be recalled that in 2010, Albay delivered at least 65 percent votes, which was second only to Tarlac at 71 percent, to give a winning margin to President Benigno Aquino III.

And, we will work again to deliver the same intensity of mandate behind the vision, programs and projects of the Aquino administration. This election is a referendum on PNoy,” Salceda said.

He admitted though that he is campaigning for 12-0 for senatorial candidates of the administration but based on the survey here, two other senatorial bets from the opposition--Estrada and Zubiri--entered Albay’s so-called Magic 12.

Zubiri’s mother is a native of Libon town in Albay while Salceda’s mother, when she was still alive, loved JV.

In a recent survey of SWS, Loren Legarda retained her top post with 59 percent, followed closely by Allan Cayetano, with 57 percent; while Estrada tied with Escudero at the third post, with 48 percent.

Nancy Binay, Cynthia Villar and Koko Pimental ranked 5th-7th, while Antonio Trillanes ranked 8th, with 44 percent; Gregorio Honasan was 9th, with 43 percent; Bam Aquino got the 10th slot with 42 percent; Grace Poe obtained 11th, with 40 percent; Sonny Angara ranked 12th, with 39 percent; while Jackie Enrile and Jun Magsaysay had the 13th-14th ranking.

Zubiri was at 15th slot, with 35 percent, according to the SWS March 2013 survey with 1,200 respondents.

The March pre-election survey conducted on March 15 to 17 showed that Estrada was one of the biggest gainers among the UNA candidates as he improved his ranking by six notches.

Similarly, he has been consistently included in the top 10 senatorial candidates preferred by respondents in recent surveys conducted by the SWS, Pulse Asia, and StratPOLLS among the UNA’s senatorial bets.

Although Salceda picked Estrada and Zubiri to complete the 10-2 magic 12 in Albay, he said majority of the Team PNoy senatorial candidates will win in the province because of the major social programs of President Aquino, including the conditional cash transfer or 4Ps. (PNA)

Senator Pia's Bike for Women and Child Health Care launched in Legazpi

LEGAZPI CITY, March 25 (PNA) -- Senator Pia Cayetano, riding her bike with 20 local and Manila-based bikers, took off Monday at the Legazpi City Boulevard en route to Nabua town in Camarines Sur through the Maharlika Highway.

Cayetano and her biker-companions left here at about 8 a.m. Monday, and traversed the 70-kilometer stretch from this city to Nabua town.

Her group’s initiative is tagged as Bike for Women and Child Health.

The lady senator, upon arriving in Nabua town, met with barangay health workers, women’s groups and local officials.

During the consultation dialogue, the Senate health committee chair raised the issues on maternal and child health care and the high cost of medical services.

Cayetano is the main author of the Reproductive Health Bill in the Senate that was recently signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

At the dialogue, she also endorsed Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s advocacy and government platform, the "PiTiK" (Presyo, Trabasho, Kita).

Along the way to Nabua, Cayetano took a minute break thrice along the Maharlika Highway in the towns of Guinobatan, Ligao City and Polangui where she chatted with women selling buko (coconut juice), pakwan (watermelon) and broom.

Cayetano’s group arrived at Nabua town at around 11:15 a.m. and was welcomed by Nabua Mayor Delia Simbulan where they had a dialogue on women empowerment.

After the meeting with Simbulan, she had a consultation dialogue with around 55 barangay health workers (BHWs) where they expressed concern over the rising number of cases of violence against women and children in their community.

Cayetano assured the BHWs that their concerns would be addressed as she also proposed the putting up of women’s desks in hospitals and additional police personnel manning the women desk in every police station across the country.(PNA) FFC/FGS/MSA/CBD/ABB

Bicol-NSO starts business, industry survey in April

LEGAZPI CITY, March 25 (PNA) -- The National Census and Statistics (NSO) here on Monday announced that it will start this April a census of the 2012 business and industry activities and performances in the region.

The survey, dubbed "Census of Philippine Business and Industry (CPBI)," will run until June.

It will also serve as benchmark information in the measurement and comparison of national, regional and provincial economic growth.

Cynthia Perdiz, the NSO regional director, explained that CPBI results are used in constructing national and regional income accounts of the Philippine economy as well as in formulating and monitoring plans and policies in the attainment of national and regional economic goals.(PNA) PDS/FGS/DOC/CBD/UTB

Monday, March 25, 2013

BRTTH to become heart center for Bicol

DARAGA, Albay, March 25 (PNA) -– The Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) in Legazpi City will be upgraded into a heart center for the region, the Department of Health (DOH) regional office announced on Monday.

Gloria Balboa, the head of the DOH’s regional Center for Health and Development based here, said this development is included in the government’s program to upgrade through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) 72 hospitals and regional health centers all over the country to provide adequate and quality health care services.

These include the BRTTH, which will be one of the eight heart centers in the Philippines, Balboa said.

Formerly the Albay Provincial Hospital, BRTTH, which is considered the largest and most modern public health care facility in Bicol, is also the cancer center and breast care unit in the region that functions in partnership with the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City and the Philippine Foundation for Breast Care, Inc.

As the Bicol Cancer Center, BRTTH is equipped with mammography and chemotherapy equipment, apart from the costly radio therapy equipment that treats patient at a very much lower cost than chemotherapy.

These pieces of equipment were provided by the provincial government of Albay under Governor Joey Salceda.

It has also been earlier designated as the Lung and Kidney Center in Bicol.

The BRTTH upgrading to a heart center, together with the establishment of more hospitals in the country under PPP, will provide more jobs in contrast to the issues of health personnel losing their jobs, according to Balboa.

In her weekend visit here, DOH Undersecretary Teodora Herbosa explained that PPP in health care services is actually more of corporatization wherein private investors will supply the needed and modernized medical facilities and equipment.

“They will have a share in the hospital management through representatives on the corporate board,” she said.

The corporate board will include representatives from government and private sectors. This set-up can ensure efficient management since private investors are concerned with their returns and investments.

“The internal rate of return for investment on health system could range from 18 to 25 percent as determined by the National Economic Development Authority,” she said.

Herbosa’s explanation was to clear issues and oppositions over the government’s moves to provide better and wider healthcare services to the public by further strengthening the PPP strategy.

“It’s partnership not privatization. To privatize means to sell our healthcare facilities to private individuals but under our PPP, hospitals are owned by the government while our private partners provide services to the public,” she stressed.

Privatization of government-owned hospitals, which could lead to higher hospital bills and healthcare personnel losing their jobs to modernization of hospitals and facilities, was a wrong notion among government health workers that was among the issues addressed during Herbosa’s visit.

The PPP strategy has been used by government in its health programs.

These include partnership with Rotary International for eradication of polio, Novartis Foundation for elimination of leprosy and Global Fund and Pilipinas Foundation for control of malaria.

Herbosa said the poor are the main beneficiaries of these partnerships as they target 100-percent membership enrollment.

“Even if we give PhilHealth cards to the poor, but we lack the needed health facilities and hospitals, they still cannot enjoy it. That is why we are strengthening our PPP programs to provide them with modernized yet affordable health services,” Herbosa added. (PNA)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

(Lead) Bicolanos brave rain, sweltering heat to show support to Team PNoy
By Cielito Reganit

LEGAZPI CITY, March 22 (PNA) – Come rain or sweltering heat, Bicolanos came in droves to show their support to the Team PNoy as its candidates campaigned in vote-rich Bicol region.

Thursday found Team PNoy in Naga City, Camarines Sur, where sporadic rains were interspersed with sudden sun that made the weather hot and humid.

The large crowd that gathered in the city’s civic center and later in its gymnasium to attend the afternoon proclamation rally of Team PNoy candidates were alternately subjected to drenching rains and sudden heat.

However, these did not deter them from attending the administration slate’s rally even if most of them were already at the venue in the early morning and braved the sudden shifts of weather.

It helped that President Benigno S. Aquino III was present at the Naga rally, but the scene was repeated Friday in the province of Albay even if the President was not around.

Team PNoy began Friday with a rally in Iriga City before proceeding to the municipality of Polangui.

Due to the number of people pressing their way to try and shake the hands of the candidates or just try to get a glimpse of their favorite candidates, the Team PNoy motorcade was continuously delayed as it rolled towards Polangui.

As a consequence, the Polangui rally supposedly scheduled at noon started at 1:30 p.m.

But the people patiently waited in the sweltering heat just to hear their candidates speak.

The same held true in Ligao, Albay, the next stop for Team PNoy before motoring to Legazpi City for the grand rally, where the delay was hardly minded at all by the waiting crowd despite the heat.

The administration slate arrived in Ligao about 3:00 p.m.

The situation in Legazpi City is altogether different as a slight drizzle began by 5 p.m. before Team PNoy arrived that continued well into the night.

By the time Team PNoy candidates Sonny Angara, Koko Pimentel, Jun Magsaysay, Risa Hontiveros and Cynthia Villar arrived at the Legazpi City Astrodome at about 6:30 p.m. for the slate’s grand proclamation rally, the venue was filled by about 4,000 supporters from all over Albay.

Liberal Party city mayoralty candidate Noel Rosal, who is running unopposed in May, gave the welcome address and said it is a big honor for the city of Legazpi to host the proclamation rally for Team PNoy.

“This event is a big opportunity for Albayanons to see and hear the candidates that they truly deserve to vote,” Rosal said.

For his part, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the crowds that greeted Team PNoy in Albay proved the large support given by Bicolanos to President Aquino’s “Tuwid na Daan” governance and urged Albayanons to vote solidly for the administration slate.

Team PNoy would visit Tabaco City and Sorsogon Saturday for the last leg of its Bicol campaign. (PNA) HBC/CMR

Salceda vows to work hard for 12-0 win for Team PNoy in Albay

POLANGUI, Albay, March 22 (PNA) – Albay Gov. Joey Salceda promised Friday to work hard to give Team PNoy a 12-0 win in his province despite Sabah issue that is pulling down two of its senatorial candidates based on the local surveys here.

”We are fully campaigning for the 12 but we know that based on our feedback, it’s 10-2,” Salceda said in a press conference before the start of the Team PNoy campaign rally here.

Salceda named some of the 10 candidates but refused to identify two from Team PNoy who did not make it in the Albay’s own top 12 survey.

He said he had already informed President Benigno Aquino III about the results of the survey but did not tell to the two candidates outside the Magic 12.

”I will not tell them, otherwise, the two of them will not campaign anymore. Everytime Team PNoy campaign here, we lift the whole team,” Salceda said.

Salceda said the two other senatorial bets who entered the Albay’s so-called Magic 12 are former Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri and Rep. JV Ejercito, both from the opposition United Nationalist Alliance or UNA.

”Migz Zubiri’s mother is from here in Albay and his mother loves JV,” Salceda said as he explained possible reasons why people of Albay picked the two UNA bets.

Salceda said he is fully campaigning for all the 12 candidates endorsed by President Aquino but the issue of Sabah is “an elephant in my room.”

”It affects the perception. People are so patriotic here. I can tell you because I’ve been moving around. It is a major issue among the intelligence. When 12 Filipinos died (in Sabah), they get hurt,” Salceda said.

During the press conference, Salceda was with senatorial candidates Jamby Madrigal, Risa Hontiveros, Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar, Jun Magsaysay and Aquilino Pimentel.

When pressured to name names in 10-2 survey, Salceda mentioned the senatoriables on his right side but not Magsaysay and Pimentel seated on his left side.

Those not present in the press conference were Alan Peter Cayetano, AntonioTrillanes IV, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Bam Aquino and Francis Escudero who, Salceda said, topped the survey being the Bicolano.

According to Salceda, Albay province has 720,000 voters who are expected to deliver 10-2 win in favor of Team PNoy.

Salceda said the majority of the Team PNoy senatorial candidates will win in Albay because of the major social programs of President Aquino including conditional cash transfer or 4Ps (Pangtawid ).

He said there were only 3,000 families as beneficiaries of the CCT program three years ago but now it ballooned to 62,000 families.

Salceda said Albay is President Aquino’s country, adding “we will be voting for them (Team PNoy) because of President Aquino.”

”This is the first province where then President Cory Aquino campaign in 1986,” he said. (PNA) HBC/JFM

Villar dreams of building livelihood projects nationwide

LEGASPI CITY, March 22 (PNA) -- Nacionalista Party-Team PNoy senatorial candidate Cynthia Villar Friday said the 111 livelihood projects she built in the country are just too small as there are 1,600 towns and municipalities across the nation.

With this, Villar said she dreams of going to the other places in the country to build her livelihood projects that would give jobs to the Filipino people especially the poor.

In the Team PNoy’s campaign sortie in here, Villar said at present, she had established her livelihood projects in 111 different places.

Of the 111 livelihood projects, she related that 69 are found in Luzon, 35 in Mindanao and 7 in Visayas.

Villar, who has earned the moniker “Misis Hanep Buhay,” said she initially started with her livelihood projects in Las Pinas City.

She remembered that while she did a house campaign when running for congresswoman, she found out that many of our people have no job particularly women.

She said women can’t leave their houses or their children to work.

Because of this, she decided to come up with programs that would help women earn without having to leave their house or children.

“And I intend to give jobs especially to women so that they can help their husbands and eventually improve their lives,” also said Villar who served as Board of Regents of the over a hundred state universities and colleges during her stint as chairperson of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education.

She said many of the SUCs are found in the Bicol Region.

During her term as chairperson of the Congressional Spouses Foundation from 1998 to 2000, Villar also said they built 11 regional centers for women who are victims of abuse, and one of them is found in the Bicol Region, in Ligao, Albay.

Villar, who is No. 4 in the latest Pulse Asia Survey, was also the guest speaker in the induction of the newly-elected officers and members of the Federation of Baao women in Baao, also in Camarines Sur.

She promised to return and help them establish livelihood projects if she wins in the coming elections.

The former Las Pinas congresswoman had supported important legislations to protect the welfare and interest of women during her nine years in House. (PNA) HBC/JFM

Team PNoy in Tabaco, Albay

Lagmans welcome Team PNoy in Tabaco, Albay

Atty. Edcel Lagman Jr. (waving) and Tabaco City Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro (beside the podium) acknowledge the huge crowd at the city center as they welcome the candidates of Team PNoy during the grand proclamation rally Saturday (March 23) in Tabaco City, Albay. (PNA photo by Roland Nablo)

Bam's brod, Loren's son wow 'em in Tabaco, Albay

Bam Aquino's brother, BJ (top photo), and Leandro Legarda-Leviste (lower photo), son of Loren Legarda, are fast becoming crowd darlings during Team PNoy sorties as shown in photo taken Saturday (March 23) in Tabaco City, Albay as they get an enthusiastic response from the crowd. (PNA photos by Roland Nablo)